Monday, March 29, 2010


Liam got a haircut over the weekend.  His hair grows like a weed.  Before:

(Liam has taken to running into Will's room in the morning, crawling into bed with him, and tweeting like a baby bird.  He calls Will's bed the nest.  On Saturday, they ate waffles in the nest.  More on this some other time.)

Here is the during:

Our neighbor cuts Liam's hair (and mine).  She's great. 

And the after.  This also is an example of what face you get when you ask "Liam, please smile so mommy can take a picture."  (Yes, he wore his PJs all day on Saturday.  Even to his haircut.  And out to play in the yard.)

We had an otherwise pretty quiet weekend.  Warm and sunny enough for a long walk to the food co-op Saturday (and Liam walked the whole way) and cold and rainy enough to feel good about serving short ribs for dinner Sunday night.  Howling wind and rain on overnight Sunday drove the dog upstairs into the beds, and the storm it brought is turning the mountains white again for spring.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Traffic Jam

On Monday I was caught in traffic driving home from work, so I called to let Will's parents (who have Liam on Mondays) what was going on.  This introduced the concept of "traffic jam" to Liam and he has been on it ever sense.  It's hard to explain a traffic jam to a little kid who's not quite 3 -- there is lots of discussion and lots of  "What's a traffic jam?" and "Why mommy, why did the cars not go?"  When Liam got home, we made a traffic jam from his (seemingly endless supply) of toy cars.  Traffic jam.

Today, we saw a (sort of) small traffic jam on the way to Will's parents (about 12 cars lined up at some kind of blocked intersection or something).  Liam was so excited "A traffic jam mommy!  Look! A traffic jam."

In other news, Liam also is very interested in hiking and Will's father has been taking him for walks at various parks.  Yesterday Liam announced to me: "I love hiking mommy, it's really healthy."  At least I know he's listening.

My father's birthday today.  Happy Birthday Daddy -- we miss you every day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Big Ships in Our House

I love how Liam plays with his toys -- it has worked out really well for us to have some fairly basic toys that he can make what he will out of.  Lately it is all big ships, all the time.

These big ships sail back and forth between where-ever and Japan, they take on cargo, often some of the plastic animals, and they go very carefully into and out of the various "docks" which include the stack of magazines on the coffee table, the parking garage, and any baseboard anywhere in the house.  Liam is very particular about where the superstructures go.  They have to be exactly the same width as the big ship and they have to go at the very, very back.  If they're even a little bit off he works at them until they are where he wants.  If you've never had a 2 1/2 year old talk with you earnestly about superstructures and cranes and where the "man" goes on the big ship, you've missed something really sweet.

Please don't judge our floors. Someday I'll have the time to clean more and the money to have the floors refinished.  In the meantime, they are what they are.


PS: In the morning when we come downstairs Will often will have moved the TV remote big ship to some other part of the living room.  This is a problem that gets remedied immediately. The peg hook rail is, of course, not really a toy.  Liam appropriated it one day when it was waiting to be hung up in the kitchen; he proclaimed all the pegs to be cranes and the whole thing to be the best big ship ever.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Herbal Vapor Rub

Yesterday I bought this booklet, and today we made a vapor rub for Liam.  We're not calling it the $30 vapor rub.  Not.  Without giving too much away, hopefully, it is olive oil (on hand), beeswax (on hand), lavender flowers, vitamin E oil (that was the expensive part), essential oils of eucalyptus, rosemary (on hand), and peppermint (on hand), and blue glass jar (new!).  The recipe recommends mullein as the herb, but the hippy-herbal store had a run on mullein earlier this week and they are out.  Seriously.  (This is too bad, because mullein would have been great; the herbalist recommended lavender as an alternative approach since it has soothing properties which complement the opening properties of the eucalyptus, etc.)  I almost didn't add the peppermint, since we plan to use it mostly at night, but I ended up adding a little.  Not quite so much as was called for.

The vapor rub is an alternative to the herbal steam I had hoped Liam would like.  He tends towards sinus congestion, our baby.  And all the pediatricians seem to want to do is write prescriptions or start him on over-the-counter allergy medication because "usually the way allergies are dx in children is we give them the medication and if they get better...voila. . allergies."  This seems like a self-fulling prophecy to me and one I'm not quite ready for.   Unfortunately, not so much with the steam, even though I made it not-scalding-hot and showed Liam how much fun it is to have your head under a towel.  I honestly thought he would love the steam; he still loves peek-a-boo.  (I will try it again, he recently announced that he now likes tomatoes and will in fact eat them up, so he understands the process of not liking something at first but then trying it again and liking it later.)  At any rate, we've been diligent with the saline spray, and running the humidifier set to all ahead frantic nights with rosemary essential oil and I think that has been helping, so I'm hoping the vapor rub will be what puts it over the top.  It's cooling in the fridge; we'll know more tomorrow.

A few days ago I had started to think maybe Liam does just have allergies, but today I have a killer sore throat and big-time post-nasal drip that tells me he has a cold and has managed to pass it on.

It was a quick project.  I haven't made up an infused oil since my college days, and I probably should have just gone upstairs and dug out one of my old herbals to make this vapor rub, but who can resist a cute booklet with just the thing you're looking for in it.  Also in the early-childhood medical dept., we refer quite often to this book, which is great and which recommended the steam in the first place.

I think some of Liam's favorite words are "do you want to do a project?"  I promise I did not let my baby near the (still warm) lavender infused oil with melted beeswax in it.  Don't try that at home.

PS: Happy, happy birthday to Auntie Chris.  The best Auntie and sister in the world.  We love you and miss you very much.

Monday, March 8, 2010

In which a big ship enters our lives. . .

In looking back over recent posts, I’m thinking we should re-title this space: Liam goes to the park.  We have been going more than usual lately, and it’s a relief to have some outside time in general and for pictures.  Indoor winter light being so, well, dim and miserable. 

But in reality we go only about once a week.  Weekdays are taken up by work and household chores for me; doctors appointments or treatments or resting and doing house stuff for Will; and child care either with his grandparents or at “school” for Liam.  Luckily between grandparents and school at least Liam gets outdoors pretty much every day.  I’m a big believer in the importance of outdoor time, natural light, and unstructured exposure to nature (even if it’s just in the playground).   And grandparent care is about the best type of child care anyone could hope for, so that’s all good.  (Of course, I still dream every day of quitting my job or reducing my house by 50% so I can spend more time with him.  As it is he generally spends more waking hours in a week with Will’s mother than with me, as he always has since I went back to work when he was 6 weeks old.)

I think I owe an update on Will’s progress.  He had pulmonary clinic last Monday and continues to be stable.  That’s sort of a double edged sword.  It means that his lung functions are not improving (which is disappointing), but they also aren’t decreasing.  He remains on 3 liters of oxygen, 24 hours a day.  We have a concentrator and lots of tubing for the house; small tanks and an on-demand delivery valve for when he goes out.  A big back-up air cylinder in the closet in case the electricity goes off.  The doctors think a plan of alternating inhaled antibiotics (maybe with a few weeks off between switches if Will feels okay) will help to keep the infection colonies under control.  He’s back on inhaled Colistin now (hateful stuff) and when he’s done with that (maybe another week) will start the new inhaled antibiotic that the CF community has been so waiting for.  It’s inhaled azetreonam called Cayston.  Not a cure, but a breakthrough nonetheless and welcome. 

That's our news.  My parents are visiting this week and have Liam during his grandparent days.  Today, wonder of wonders, a big ship arrived just as the sun was going down and Liam got to watch it travel all the way into the harbor and to the pier.  (Which can be seen from my parents house.)   Liam loves big ships, which arrive every week or so to take on logs before departing to, I think, Japan.  We can see them at the pier from the window in Liam's room upstairs and hear them clunking and clanging when we're out in the yard.  Driving home tonight, we went a different way and pulled over to look at the lights of the ship and the tug boats from across the bay.  So close it was like you could reach out to them, the ship lights getting brighter as the dark took hold.  Then we went home and Will and Liam played What Do Whales Say When They Talk? and Can Right Whale Understand Orca Whale?  (No, not really, in care you're wondering.) And that was the day.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Back to the park

We were at the part earlier today, before 9:00.  We were out of coffee at the hose (Horrors!) so Liam and I went early to the bakery where Liam was remarked over ("I remember when your mommy carried you in here and you were too little to walk" etc.) and shown the espresso machine.  Time flies.  Then Liam argued successfully for park before grocery store, so off we went.

I love this picture of Liam testing the bowsprit of the play boat at the park before walking out on it.  It is so how he is wired; and he has been that way for always. And it is so not me.  I pretty much don't test, at least not methodically or with intention this way.  But Liam, Liam watches, thinks it through, figures out what might be going on, tests it out.  He gets this entirely from Will, I believe.  Will likes to figure things out too.  Think about how they might work.  Test.  Liam decided the bowsprit was fine and walked out to the end, then back.  Then back to steer the other boat for a few minutes, and then off to the grocery store.

It was cold at the park this morning.  Our fake spring/non-winter is over for the week.  Frost on the roofs the past few mornings and it's meant to be only in the 40s tomorrow.  At the park we watched the water in the empty fish ladder.  Enjoyed having the place pretty much to ourselves.  Walked on the bridge.  Played on the boats.  Then enough errands to choke a horse, and home to a quiet afternoon.