Sunday, November 30, 2008

The baby loves his Daddy

he really does. The first thing Liam says to me every morning is "da da da." Usually, it is also the second and third thing, progressively louder. This generally wakes Mollie up downstairs and she starts walking around and jingling her coller; when Liam hears that he says the fourth thing, "ah ah ah" which is 17-month-old speak for "ruf ruf ruf" (what a dog says).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finally, Liam's Shoes

We've been looking for some decent shoes for Liam. He has some nice boots for serious trips outside that my mother got him at Target, but we wanted something less bulky for every-day errands and running around. We saw our neighbor and her daughter at the park today and she recommended a store in town so this afternoon off we went. Shoes galore. Liam choose his own shoes from the selection on the table. He looked them all over and grabbed these. So, now Liam has shoes, they seem to work great, and they promise not to screw up his feet. Also, they are adorable.

The Slide Series

Will got up with Liam and me today which is so great, so we had all day to do stuff together. This morning's activity was a walk downtown to the Farmers Market*, then to the outdoor store to try to find Liam some decent shoes (they don't have sizes as small as his feet), then to a different park, where Liam showed me how much he has learned about the slide on his walks with Daddy and Mollie. Delightful. Really. Note that Liam's idea about going down the slide is the same as his idea about going down the stairs when he was first learning. . .get all set up the way you want to be early. He's a planner, our baby.

*Liam loves the farmer's market. He especially loves to help choose the apples and put them in the bag. This has only gotten better now that he is tall enough to pretty much reach the apples on his own. Liam's only word besides "mama" and "dada" is "apple" which he says as "ump-ah." And, honestly, I think he used it in context before "mama" at least. On account of this, and also because he is a very nice guy, the fruit seller at the market (Sullivan's, they're the best) almost always gives Liam a free apple, which Liam almost always eats in these tiny, tiny (but getting bigger) bites. He spits out the peel.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Dinner

Will isn't really a fan of roasted turkey, so we made the deboned, stuffed turkey breast from the November issue of Martha Stewart (except I made my own stuffing, the kind I make every year). I would link to a picture of hers, but I just spent 10 minutes "navigating" the website trying to find a picture and, well, I'm tired. You'll have to settle for a picture of ours (in the overhead shot of the table). I love that I get to be custodian of my mother's good dishes these days; the good dishes we grew up with.

Nice things about doing the turkey this way: it really did come out tasting good, and you don't have a huge turkey carcase to carve and deal with when you're trying to get 20 other things on the table. Not so nice things: not really very many pan drippings, so the gravy sort of sucked, I thought.

Other things we cooked this year: roasted squash slices, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, stuffing, a green salad with apples and cheese, corn bread, gravy and, of course, the two pies with whipped cream. We're done eating, that's for sure. It all came out well; the turkey was pronounced a big success and Will wants to cook it that way next year too. Liam ate very little of it, unfortunately. (He had a huge breakfast and snack earlier in the day.) But he did go to bed with minimal rocking and production so. . .I know he needs to eat, but, honestly, I don't think he'll starve, and I'm a pretty big fan of the off to bed much less fuss routine. . .if I had to make a trade. . ..

Photos are: before, during, during and after. Happy Thanksgiving; I hope everyone had time to pause in the doing today to reflect on the many blessings in life.


This year, as last year, I am especially thankful for Will and Liam, our miracle IVF baby, such an unexpected and welcome gift. I'm thankful for the family that raised me and taught me the value of hard work, and that after my father died my mother was able to find Grandpa DM, who has been such an easy and welcome addition to our lives. I'm thankful for my sister -- it is so hard to believe I could be related to someone who I like so much and who has achieved the things she has. And for Will's family, who has so enriched my life. That Liam is cared for during the day by his grandparents is a blessing that goes beyond words.

I'm thankful for the work opportunities that I've been given and that since college, I've always had a good job; mostly at something that I'm interested in and that I think makes a difference in the world. And, that I have pretty good health insurance, and am healthy anyway. I'm grateful that I can provide for our little family and still have enough to give a little away to the food bank at this time of year (there are so many who need help). And that we can live in this little town that I love, and that will (hopefully) provide Liam with a good foundation from which to move into the world.

It's a long list, it could go on and on, but those are the things that seem most important to me right now.

PS -- yes, Mollie is on the couch. I'm going through a phase where I don't mind as much. Poor Mollie, I'm sure it's only a phase.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do you think two pies is too many for five people,

one of whom is 17 months old and cannot be relied upon to eat pie? Well, we have two. I confess though, I didn't make them both. The lumpy apple pie, I made (hopefully it will taste great). The good-looking pumpkin pie, I purchased here. The best pastry shop in the Puget Sound region, if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Puppet Theater

Liam was getting a little worked up at dinner tonight, so Will made a puppet out of one of the junk-mail envelopes that was around the table. Just folded, with some eyes and a mouth drawn on. Liam thought it was the greatest thing ever. We told him the puppet only would eat crackers (thus, hopefully, steering the more nutritious food towards Liam), and he would grab a cracker and give it to the puppet, and the puppet would make gobbling noises, and Liam would laugh and laugh and laugh. And eat (a little). Envelope pupped immediately diffuses imminent toddler melt down over dinner. Who knew?


Liam goes for his 3 month re-check for developmental delay next week. At his first check, they thought everything was pretty much within or close to the normal ranges, and we know he has made a lot of progress since then, so we're hoping that everything will be deemed okay and we will be released from the Children's Hospital neruodevelopment department. (Each visit ends up costing about $450 in co-pays, so we really don't want to go unless we have to.)

In the past 3 months we've been trying to introduce a number of things to help Liam develop his skills.
  • These puzzles (inexpensive, from Target) encourage the pincher grasp and are good for all around hand/eye coordination. Liam likes the noise they make.

  • This book has little holes in the pages where the fish eyes are, and Liam loves to poke at them with his pointer finger. (The Very Hungry Caterpillar works the same way.)

  • We got a variety of pull toys and encourage walking forwards and backwards (both of which Liam does well now) and walking over a variety of surfaces and obstacles (no problem).

  • Liam goes to "book babies" which is what story hour is now called, at the library.

  • We tracked down the nanny-share family and even though the nanny sharing part isn't going to work out (I'll update on that some time in the future), Will has been good about taking Liam over to play one morning a week, so he gets some time playing with a (slightly older and already talking) kid.
So, all in all, like I wrote before, it would be nicer if Liam didn't need to be followed in this way, but we are hoping that next week's visit to the doctor will be reassuring and it sure will be interesting to see how Liam does on the developmental assessment test this time.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No photos from today

Liam and I went to a local creek to see salmon swimming. Unfortunately, most of the salmon had already swum, if you get my drift. (Think: lots of dead fish.) Liam seemed to enjoy it anyway -- he likes being outside under almost any circumstance and he thought the forest was interesting, if a little nervous-making. He is going through a holding hands phase, which is just about the sweetest thing you can imagine. (Two weeks ago he wouldn't hold hands to save a life, so who knows how long this will last.) In the afternoon he and Will took a trip to the park with Mollie. The report was: lots of going up the stairs and down the slide. Over and over. I'll try for photos tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Easy Apple Pancakes

I've noticed a few recipes for apple pancakes lately, and the pictures of the $40 or whatever it is special pancake pan for apple and similar pancakes in a very famous cooking catalog, and they all make it sound like a pretty complicated procedure. Probably those complicated ones with the special pan turn out a lot better, but here's how we make them.

Mix up your favorite pancake batter. These days I'm using the recipe from Mark Bittman's book. It's basically flour, baking powder, salt, sugar (if you want it, I leave it out because we add sugar later), milk, butter and an egg. Goes together in about 5 minutes including the time it takes to walk across the kitchen and drag the flour out of the pantry cupboard.
Heat up a pan (this is about the only application besides omelets that I use a nonstick frying pan for) and drop the first batch of pancakes into it. We make small pancakes, about 3 inches across. While the first side is cooking sprinkle the top (wet) side with a teaspoon or two of brown sugar and some cinnamon. Cut up some apple slices into tiny matchstick pieces. Drop those on the pancakes with the sugar and cinnamon. When they're ready, flip them over and cook the sugar, cinnamon, apple side just as you usually would. That's it. The nonstick pan means the sugar isn't a problem and they turn out just fine and taste great. Liam had his with yogurt; duck-on-wheels just had the pancakes, no yogurt. I had mine with butter.

A note on the Owl bread. This batch turned out better. Will is eating some as I type this, and I think by Monday we'll need a new loaf. The oven thermometer is helping me slowly learn to get the best out of our crummy, too cold, unpredictable oven.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Some progress

Well, the list isn't quite done; and I managed to start another project without first finishing any of the ones that are already going. But, I did make some progress getting everything organized. Homemade Christmas. . .here we come.

One Thing

I have not been as disciplined about the "one thing a day" idea as I wanted to be. This is, I think, the crutch of motherhood, partnerhood, career. . .you have numerous, ready excuses to put off self care, other relationships, and any of your own projects. So, today's one thing, I am already thinking about it here at the office as I procrastinate making the half dozen phone calls that I really must make before I leave; today's one thing will hopefully set up a whole month or more of one things. Tonight, after Liam goes to sleep (please God, let him go to sleep easily), I will finalize my handmade Christmas list and organize all the supplies. I have only a few of the handmade Christmas projects actually started and, basically, none of them done, so we're headed for desperate times if I don't get it together soon. Also, I want to get the old tee-shirts for the caps project (more on this later) out of the goodwill bag so Liam and I can make the caps tomorrow. That's my idea. We'll see how much energy I turn out to have at 8:30 tonight. I'm hopeful; acupuncture yesterday did me a world of good.

PS - I forgot to mention. Will has edited his blog with his funny take on one of Liam's favorite songs. Will has been cogitating on this song for, umm, weeks now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tie One on Day

I like this idea about offering support in your community. Read more about National Tie One On Day here and here. I fear it may be a fabric-marketing racket, but I still like the idea and want to participate. The idea is: on the day before Thanksgiving, make a loaf of bread; tie it up in an apron; deliver it to someone in need of physical or spiritual sustenance. This is meant to honor and celebrate women's roles in nurturing and sustaining community. I'm going to try to make an apron out of some old sheets that we have. (Remember, we used to have that cat that chewed holes in all the sheets, all the time; that was back before the blog, I guess. I loved that cat. Suffice it to say: he has gone on to better things (he was 16+ years old) and I have a lot of sheets with holes in them that I can't stand the thought of getting rid of because I'm sure they're good for something.)

NPR Story on CF

NPR did a news story on families struggling to manage their CF-related medical costs. We continue to hope and pray that there will be a soon be breakthroughs in (a) treatment for CF and (b) provision of health insurance.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This morning after yesterday's birthday dinner. . .

flowers left over, washed silverware to put away, birds at the feeder, and the sweetest baby in the world reading and singing to his cup of milk in the kitchen.

Birthday Dinner #2 and the Rest of the Weekend

We didn't get any pictures of birthday dinner #2, but trust me, it was lovely. Happy Birthday Grandpa DH, we love you very much. Now we have a break from birthdays until mine in December and Auntie C's in March. So, no more birthday crowns for a little while.

This is how Liam tells Will he wants to go for a walk: he brings his shoes over. Sometimes he follows Will around the house with his shoes. Sometimes he tries to bring Will's shoes to Will; often the rubber boots, which are nearly as tall as Liam. I'll have to get a picture of that.

Today's walk employed the stroller. Liam enjoyed "helping" put Mollie's toys in the stroller for transport to the park. Will is very patient with him.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The birds arrived, and then left again, but they'll be back

We have birds at the feeders now every morning. Finally. They arrived Friday. Liam is fascinated. So far we've seen: house finches, 2 kinds of chickadees, and a nuthatch. Plus crows (although they don't come to the feeders). Liam is learning to sit quietly and watch for the birds. This has the promise of being very useful, except, so far, the birds are not buying it. As soon as Liam appears with his face pressed to the window they take off for the apple tree across the yard and wait for him to leave. Luckily, he also can see the feeders from his highchair in the kitchen (oh, the wonders of a small house), so he gets a dose of bird viewing from there. Liam's curly hair---so soft and sweet is one of the nicest things present in my life.

We are making our own bread again

I used to make almost all my own bread (which was pretty easy at the time because I used to eat almost no bread. . .for years. . .but that's another story). Liam is old enough to be very interested in bread making even if he is not quite ready to help in a substantially helpful way. Today's bread: overnight wheat/white. Yesterday we made what we call Owl bread (Wheat, Honey, Oat or WHO bread from here). I have learned over the past few weeks of bread making that our oven sucks. It doesn't heat up hot enough (setting the temperature to 400 degrees gets you about 325 if you're lucky), and it's super hard to predict. Still, I'm getting the hang of it and today's bread was better than yesterdays. I figure we'll need more by Wednesday (Liam and Will are going through a little bit of a toast phase), and hope that Wednesday's bread will be even better. Nothing like a project.

Birthday Dinner #1

Happy (almost) Birthday to Grandpa DM! We're so happy to be able to have his (almost) birthday dinner here this weekend when his two granddaughters are visiting. Here's something I notice more and more and am not happy about: Liam is really the center of attention in a way that should not be preserved long term. Both granddaughters are in really interesting school programs that I would have liked to actually talk with them about, but no one can finish a sentence but that Liam is in the middle of it. He is adorable, and he is at an age where he needs love and attention to grow and thrive but, honestly, I think he's ready to start to learn that other people get to talk to one another too.

Be that as it is, dinner went over fine and it was fun to have everyone here. I meant to take some pictures of today's meal to reinforce how easy it is to eat fewer animal products in your diet (the granddaughters both have way better diets than the average person). We've been trying to increase fish and soy and decrease animal products (well, except for cows milk for Will and Liam). So, without pictures maybe the menu will help.

To start: olives, stuffed mushrooms, dried fruits, crackers (all animal free); cheese, prosciutto (for those who wanted it)
To eat: eggplant or chicken parmesans (cheese optional), roasted squash and brussels sprouts, spaghetti with italian kale, bread. The italian kale is fantastic and is worth a photo and a separate post at some point. People are way too down on kale---it's a great vegetable.
To finish: angel cake and poached fruit (whipped cream optional).

So, that's it. My goal for a while now has been no more than 3 meat dinners a week and we've been doing pretty good so far. Plus: Birthday Crown! I still am in love with the birthday crowns still. Two down; another will be given tomorrow and then 5 more to go after that, including Liam's in June.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Our evenings sometimes fall into a little a routine. When we get home, Liam runs around for a few minutes greeting Will and Mollie, then he settles into his highchair at the kitchen table. Will gives him some snacks and I usually cook something either just for Liam or for all of us. Then, Will feeds Liam while I look through the mail at the table with them. After dinner, Liam usually asks for music and dances around with Will.

Lately, the after dinner play has also included some time with "bug" a pink and green puppet that Grandpa DM's daughter gave Liam and that he thinks is so funny. He tries to step on it, and laughs and laughs. There often is practice on the stair landing, going up, going down. Sometimes play with the cars that roll back and forth or the ball. More music.

We try to get Liam to settle in with some story books, sometimes this works and sometimes not. And then around 7 PM we ask Liam if he is ready for bath time and more often than not he makes the bath sign, then the sign for sucky (pacifier---which he gets only for sleep-time, after his bath) and the sign for milk. Will takes him upstairs and gets him in his bath and then after the bath I give Liam his milk and rock him to sleep. (Some nights this goes better than others; tonight it was about a 2o minute event; yesterday, more like 90 minutes.)

In other news of today: we had our first birds at the feeders this morning (thank God); chickadees. I've finished both birthday crowns for this weekend's two birthday celebrations (one for each grandpa), and I'm so excited about them it's not even funny. Will still seems to be feeling okay. We've been trying to make a few improvements around here, some related to Mollie (new shelter/house for outside in the works and new "den" behind Will's chair in the living room), and some related to making more of a space for sewing in the 3rd room upstairs. I'll try to post pictures soon. I think that's it. . ..

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still waiting for the birds.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. I hope they didn't all drown, it has been raining here non-stop for days. Liam checks the window every morning. Please birds, if you're on the Internet and read this, stop by soon---we have food!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Baby Sign

In the post about Liam eating dinner last night, I got a few photos of his baby sign language. Liam uses signs for: milk, eat, more, "stars" (crackers), dog, light, bird, please, sleepy and (his latest sign) cookie. He also waves "bye bye." We started baby sign with him at about 8 months old and haven't been as consistent as we should, but he has still picked some of it up. There's a great, free, on-line video sign language dictionary here.

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day to Grandpa DM and Auntie Chris; thanks so very much for your service. Remember to keep those serving and their families in your thoughts and prayers, today especially. And, remember that if you are moved to donate to support phone cards to help service members overseas stay in touch with their families, you can do so at this link.

Monday, November 10, 2008

How to Eat Dinner if You're 16 Months Old

First, talk Mommy into bringing Bobble Head down to dinner with you so you can make sure that Bobble Head gets enough to eat. (Liam got this the night we went to the Mariner's game for my work, and occasionally becomes obsessed with it. It's not a toy -- it probably weighs 2 pounds and has numerous sharp edges and corners. Still. . .I bring it down to have dinner with him because the lack of sleep has finally caused me to lose my mind entirely.)

Next, ask Daddy for a cookie. What? No cookie? Come on, it's for Bobble Head.

See if you can finally get Mommy and Daddy to agree that the food should go in your nose. What? It really doesn't go in your nose? What about your hair?

Make sure Bobble Head gets enough to drink.

Look with suspicion at the green pea pod Daddy is trying to get you to eat. Really? Pea pod?

Explain to Daddy that the pea pod would go over better if it came with some "stars" (puffed corn or something like that crackers; Liam loves them).

Finally, take a bite of dinner. Okay. Now, do it all over again for the second bite. You would think this would tire him out and make bedtime easier. . ..

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Will put up bird feeders for Liam today, in the side yard outside the dining room window. After Liam's nap we went to the bird food store and then came home to fill the feeders. So, hopefully, in the next few days we'll have birds. Photo is the promised airplane-flying shot, and then another with both airplane and race car.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Liam is not flying the airplane, he is mad at the tape measure

We try to get good pictures of Liam for these posts, even though my photography sucks. (Although, today I came across some tips for food photography when looking for vegan recipes for Dave's granddaughters who are visiting next weekend---one can't eat dairy; the other is veg, so vegan seemed the safest way to go; also, of course, the most humane way and we all should eat that way even though I'm not person enough to start. I'm so excited about the food photography tips, because hopefully I'll be able to take viewable pictures of all the stuff I'll make over the holidays.) And, we're blessed and lucky that Liam, even with his very strong personality and rather touchy temperament, is basically a pretty happy little kid most of the time. Even so, this is what he often looks like---some version of frustrated, angry, tired, or unhappy about something.

In this photo he is mad because, I'm not sure I remember exactly, something to do with wanting to play with the tape measure but the tape measure wasn't doing what he wanted and so now he is grabbing my leg and screaming and I'm supposed to. . .not sure what; pick him up and wrestle the tape measure into submission I guess. Anyway, I was trying to get some pictures of him flying his wooden airplane. He holds it sideways over his head and spins in a circle and makes an airplane noise until he falls down. Very cute. I'll try again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Will is feeling better.

One of my intentions was to use this space to keep people updated about how Will's health is doing, and I've kind of been falling down on the job. So: Will is feeling better. He is taking two antibiotics, one inhaled the other oral -- no IVs! He thinks they're working. He even has gone rowing once and said it was "fine; normal." So, that's good news and makes us hope that all this was just a regular lung infection and nothing too weird. He's been very helpful this week, making dinner twice and going with Liam to the nanny-share family this AM (which involved getting up at 7:15, which is not what Will likes to do). Thanks Will!

We've had an eventful week

let's see, where to start. Monday, honestly, I can't even remember a single thing about Monday, except going to the grocery store at 9:30 PM after Liam was finally asleep to get milk because we were out and needed it for the AM. And Will made pea soup. Tuesday Liam spent his first morning at the nanny-share family. I guess it wasn't a total disaster, but close. Liam cried all morning. For 30 minutes straight after I left at 8:30 AM and then on and off until I arrived to pick him up at 12:15 PM. (He was sniffling when I arrived.)

So, the nanny-share family is a little put off, I guess, by us. Today Liam had his second morning there, and Will went with him to try to ease the transition. Will said Liam cried some, but also played pretty well with the other child and the nanny. They were supposed to go back tomorrow, but I got a phone message from the nanny-share family mother about what a hard day Liam had had and how she thought we should take tomorrow off. So, it remains to be seen whether we have been un-invited from the nanny share. I guess I'll call them later.

Tomorrow is my all day mandatory work retreat in Seattle. It's pouring down rain and has been for about 24 hours; can't wait to see what that does to traffic!

I tried to capture Liam experimenting with what he can and cannot do on the stairs. Besides working on going up and down (this is the only circumstance in which he will voluntarily hold hands), he will get on his knees and put his hands out and then wheelbarrow out, put his feet down, then back up, then go backwards. I used to take pilates back when I had a life of my own, and I think that kind of stuff is pretty hard. Liam seems just curious about it. What does the nanny-share family know, anyway; we think he's fine just the way he is.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Outing #2: The Zoo

We decided that it might be fun for Liam to see some real, live polar bears in action so today we were off to the zoo. The nearest zoo is about 30 minutes away and it does have polar bears.

As soon as we arrived it started pouring down rain. No fooling, wind and rain sideways, etc. We were undeterred, but did spend the first 30 minutes in the aquarium part of the zoo (indoors). Then it was on to penguins (okay), walruses (a big hit), beluga whales and sea otters (okay), POLAR BEARS (squealing, jumping and growling), caribou (no reaction), and meerkats (another big hit). We ended at the petting zoo, which consisted of one well-behaved sheep and a pack of very aggressive goats. Liam thought they all were a bit much and did not wish to pet. So we washed our hands and then on to the gift shop where, being the good zoo patrons that we are, we bought Liam a zoo pullover (fleece, on sale) and a $35 stuffed polar bear that is as big as he is. He made a bee-line in the store for it and wouldn't put it down.

Oh, the glamour of parenthood: lugging your 25 pound kid and his 35 dollars worth of stuffed polar bear up 4 flights of stairs to the car. In the rain. Liam was chatty most of the way home, ate a big snack in the car, and then went fast asleep as soon as we left the highway here in town. He sleeps away still.

Photos are: on the way to the zoo; watching the polar bear; watching the polar bear some more; telling daddy all about the polar bear; and, clutching the stuffed polar bear all the way home (hard to do this and eat goldfish crackers, grapes and cheese at the same time, but Liam managed; he also insisted that the stuffed polar bear have some water from the sippy cup).

Weekend Outing #1: The Park

This is our normal weekend, weeknight, whenever outing but for some reason Saturday's trip was particularly pleasant. Liam was really interested in the park and in playing and seeing everything. Will was feeling slightly better and seemed to enjoy the walk. And the rain wasn't even that bad.

Photos are: playing with Mollie; leaning to swing; trying to put the leash on Mollie; and our blue dot, I'm so pleased that Liam, who has a very cautious temperament is starting to be able to wander off from us with out upset. We watch him, of course, and don't let him get too far.