Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snowshoe Adventure

Before the holidays, we made our first snowshoeing foray of the winter. Our last attempt last winter was a dreadful failure (much too cold and snowy for an infant in the backpack), but this adventure was a "moderate success." We got to make some fresh tracks, got the dog some exercise, and Owen was generally happy for about an hour. We learned our lesson and made the turn around BEFORE he started getting crabby, but still had about 10 minutes of angry kiddo before we could get him back in the car for some snacks and warm air. We're hoping our next adventures go even better since Owen got snow pants, snow boots, and warmer mittens for Christmas.

Out on the trail:
Yes, I am carrying Owen instead of Scott - he was on dog assignment, which is actually a much harder job. Can you even see Hudson in the picture below? We put a red dog jacket on him when we're out - partly to try and keep him warm, but mostly so we can see him better in the snow.


It's always a special treat when you get to make fresh tracks. Pretty easy to find your way back to the car when this is your trail...

Happy back in the car:
Here's to more adventures in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Calla Update

Calla is doing better and gets to go home tomorrow. All the tests for nasty bacteria or other major illnesses have come back negative. Looks like Ryan and Sara will just have to watch her for seizures associated with fevers while she's in the baby stage. Scary, but good news that it's not something more serious.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pray for Cousin Calla

Niece Calla is at Children's Hospital for the next few days. They're still running tests to try and figure out what caused her fever spike and seizures today. I can only imagine the worry that Ryan and Sara must be experiencing. She's only 9 months old. We are praying for Calla and Ryan and Sara... healing, good test results, some rest tonight, and piece of mind.

Holiday Cheer

We got back last night after five days full of holiday cheer in Seattle. It was great fun to see both our families and friends and brave the crazy snow around Puget Sound. I only have a few photos, but am hoping to get more in the mail/email over the next couple weeks.

We were lucky that our travel plans coincided with a lull in the weather. We took a gamble that Owen would sleep through the drive if we drove at night, and it paid off! Minus a couple quick pull overs to rescue a binky tossed under a seat, a 40 mile (planned) detour due to construction, and 30 minutes wandering through Toppenish looking for an open bathroom at 11 PM, we had a very uneventful drive. We got to my parents house (all the way up, up, up, up their hill) at 1:30 AM, and had Owen back asleep by 2:00. I didn't get much sleep that night (does a hour dozing on the blue couch with Owen aleep on my shoulder count?), but at least we were there. By 6:30, our car had another 3 inches of fresh snow on it!

Christmas Eve was with the Boettchers. My brother hiked up the hill through the snow and was rewarded with Rock Band for his Xbox. That kept us all rockin' for the rest of the evening. After Owen crashed (a hard day of playing with mom's old toys will do that to you), my dad barbequed steak in the snow and we broke out the Wii for some tennis (I put a dent in the wall...), golf, bowling, and boxing (my best game). We opened presents Christmas morning, had french toast, and then Scott had to put on the chains to get us down the hill.

We braved the snow through Seattle to reach the Maxwells for Christmas afternoon and dinner. The whole family was there and we had a great time opening gifts, catching up, playing more wii, and devouring prime rib and potatoes (and a few more snacky foods along the way!). We kept commenting that Christmas is a lot more fun with little ones around. Owen and Calla were so cute with their matching Tonka trucks.

It was great fun to see how much Calla has grown and share mommy stories with Sara. Calla is 9 months old and such a happy baby. Now that her eczema is under conrol, she is very content and generally happy. She loves to study faces and is such a talker - she babbles as falling asleep, after eating, etc!! She and Owen are like matching opposites. Same shape, opposite personality. We're looking forward to many years of holidays watching the cousins together.

On Friday, we had our montessori group brunch (25+ years and counting) and then took Owen to meet Scott's grandpa. It was a special opportunity to see him, as he is in hospice care. We got to take a "four generations" photo with Bill, Jeff, Scott, and Owen.

On Saturday, I connected with Amy (and Sam - nearly 2) and Katie (with Billy - 10 months). The three boys tore Amy's house apart and us gals got to catch up after way too long. We also had a major Wouters Family (Scott's mom) gathering on Saturday afternoon with all four Wouters siblings and Scott's cousins. 20 people in all makes for a full and loud house!

As if that weren't enough, Scott and I ducked out Saturday night, left Scott's mom monitoring the sleeping baby, and met Spencer and Jonny (and Beth and Amy) for a few beers and a rousing game of Apples to Apples. If you live in Seattle and haven't been to Cooper pub on Lake City Way, it's worth a visit. Beer and Board Games - great combo!

On Sunday, we were privledged to attend Calla's baptism at UPC. For such a large church, it was a beautifully intimate ceremony. We had to dash out of the reception a bit early to hit the road, but we're glad we were able to be there for Calla's special day.

Our drive home was quick (only 6 hours!) and my mom was with us to help entertain Owen.

If that's not five days of Holiday Cheer, I'm not sure what is. After all the fun, we are glad to be back home. We're paying for all the fun with a few yucky head colds, but it was worth it!

For those still reading, here's my favorite shot of the festivities...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Came Early

Since we are planning a trip to Seattle for Christmas, Santa came early to our house again this year. Unfortunately, Owen is fighting a crummy cold, so he was a bit of a miserable, snotty mess for most of our celebration. He and I stayed home from church this morning, so he could take an extra nap, and "Santa" made his visit during Owen's afternoon nap. He was a great trooper opening gifts, and was genuinely excited.

For the last week or so, we've been checking the stockings every day to see if there was anything inside, so I think he understood that it was special to find something inside this afternoon. Owen's big gifts were a Little People airport (to drive his cars on), new toddler dishes, snow pants/mittens, and some fun books. (Want, Need, Wear, Read) Santa also brought him a big train set (thanks Ikea!), that was a wonderful distraction from the sniffling cold.

He's really got the train noise down. You can see the "Choo, Choo!" in this picture. =)

We're looking forward to our trip to Seattle, but sending our strongest hopes that the weather will cooperate. We're hoping to drive up there after work on Tuesday, but not if we're experiencing a "WINTER STORM WARNING!" The weather is supposed to get better later in the week, so it may be early Christmas in Bend and late Christmas in Seattle. Keeping our fingers crossed!

Friday, December 19, 2008

How to tire out a toddler...

Plan a swim day with your play group. Get bundled up for the drive to the pool. Open the garage door and realize that it's not super cold and actually sunny. Let Owen play outside in the snow for a 1/2 hour while I shovel the driveway. Spend an HOUR AND A HALF in the pool with our friends. (Usually, Owen's teeth are chattering after 45 minutes, but the water was super warm today and we had good company.) Get home and realize this sunny weather might not last - spend ANOTHER half hour outside in the snow before lunch.

Snow - Swim - Snow...
Owen was practically falling asleep while eating his lunch. I'm pretty pooped too, but we're off to the library to see the holiday trains this afternoon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Days!

We FINALLY have snow pictures!!

Our snow was so late this year, that we finally packed Owen up two weekends ago and drove up to Mt Bachelor to try and find some winter. Even at the ski area, they only had a few inches, but Owen decided he liked the taste of it.


Here are my two guys at the mountain...

On Saturday we got some real snow at our house. Scott had to shovel the driveway for the first time this year, and we discovered that beach toys work in the winter as well. Unfortunately it was SOOO cold, that we could only play outside for a few minutes and the show was too dry to throw snowballs or build a snow man.


We've had snow flurries over the last few days, but today the heavy snow really hit. Our temperatures are back up around 30 degrees, so it's perfect for playing. Owen and I went to the gym this morning (which was surprisingly busy) and then came home to play in the snow before lunch. I worked on shoveling the driveway, and Owen "helped" with his beach shovels. He thought it was so fun to toss snow in the pile or have it fly in his face. He kept laughing and threw a pretty big fit when it was time to come inside. Thankfully, Owen's big thing right now is "helping" take jackets and hats on and off, so being inside was okay once he realized that meant helping take off all our layers and lay the hats and gloves in front of the fire. That and some warm chocolate milk made giving up the snow okay. For now... if it's not crazy cold tomorrow, I'm sure we'll be out again - maybe a snowman next time!

A little deeper today...

It was snowing so hard, that the driveway was already covered again by the time I finished shoveling. The white area behind Owen is where I started shoveling. Needless to say, Scott had to do the driveway a second time when he got home from work.
No snow in this photo, but I just love the close up of a happy kiddo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

COLD and COLDER

We finally got our first snow over the weekend, but the pictures are on the other computer. I'll get them uploaded (and maybe video) sometime soon. For now, we are just trying to keep our toes from freezing off. We went from a prolonged fall to the dead of winter in about a three day span. When we left for daycare/work this morning, my car said 0 degrees. Z-E-R-O. That's too cold. Schools were closed yesterday, not due to snow or ice, but because they couldn't get the buses running - the fuel was gelling in the cold!

The sun came out today and it warmed up a bit - all the way to 14 on my drive home... I like winter, but you really can't enjoy it at this temperature. We need 20 more degrees, so we can go outside and play in the snow. (And we need it to be safe to drive up to Seattle for Christmas next week. We'll be keeping our eyes on the pass cameras.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Traditions

A while back, I posted about our gift giving plan for this year – Want, Need, Wear, Read. I’m almost done with my gift purchasing, and it’s been really fun.

Now that we’re into the advent, I’m starting to think more about ways to celebrate the season. In fact, our family will be lighting the advent calendar at church on Sunday, and part of that responsibility is to share with the congregation about or family’s holiday traditions…hmmm. Better figure that out.

When I was growing up, we had one Christmas Eve tradition that was unique to our family. Since we weren’t a churchy family, we would go over to my aunt and uncle’s for their open house/dinner and then come home for… Elves Party! I’m not quite sure how it all started, but I remember that one year my mom made us all little elves shoes (slippers) and hats with bells to wear. Each year, we would pull them out, dance around to Christmas music, drink hot chocolate, etc. We also would open one “family gift” that was always a board game to play that evening and finish the night by reading The Polar Express and setting out cookies, carrots, and milk for Santa. It was totally silly and corny (and embarrassing to admit as a teenager), but also incredibly creative, lots of fun, and a tradition that belonged to only our family. Anyone else grow up with an Elves Party?

Since Owen is so little, we haven’t really established many rock-solid family traditions, but I’m reading with interest what other families are doing and starting to plan for the future. Here are some of my recent favorites:

My friend Phyllis
always does month-long activities with her toddlers. Each night, they get a small gift that relates to a story about Jesus. They also read the advent story each night and add a new figure to their nativity scene. For example: (DEC. 2 - In the stable there was a MANGER, filled with hay . . . and DEC. 3 - . . . for the animals to eat. There were animals like a CALF . . . ) I love that!

I also read about a family that always put a big emphasis on Saint Nicolas Day (December 6). They always let had the kids open stockings on that day and talked about who Saint Nicolas (the Turkish Bishop) was and what he did to help people. Annie
wrote that they always grew up knowing that Santa was a story, but Saint Nicolas was a real person that they could be inspired by.

Colleen
is using December to teach her 4 boys about serving others. They're making a paper chain all month long with one loop for each "service" thing they do. Wouldn’t it be cool to meld those last two traditions? Open stockings on December 6 and kick off a month of service by talking about Saint Nicolas?

I also read about a family that is giving their kids 3 gifts each. Jesus got three gifts, we get three gifts. I could get inspired by that.

I guess we have a few years before Owen will be ready for these things, but it’s fun to ponder. I know our traditions will always evolve and it’s not something you can really plan for. They just develop over time until you (hopefully) look back fondly at the things that your family does to celebrate the season.


P.S. Thanks to Phyllis for the great tip on how to add the falling snow. We don't have any falling in Bend yet, so I'm loving having it on my screen (easier to drive in this way, too).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Haircut

Okay, so that "first haircut" sticker was one we never had to use in Owen's "Baby's First Year" calendar. He was still pretty bald at that first birthday, but that soft, blond, wispy baby hair finally started growing in. I was hoping to postpone the haircut a while longer, but I had three people at the park last week ask me how old my DAUGHTER was*. Time for the clippers!!

We expected Owen to be a pretty tough client - squirmy, squirmy. We used my parents old trick of putting the toys out on the tray, but we didn't need them. Owen did SOOOO well! He sat still and was pretty interested in the whole thing. Now, I realized all these years of Scott cutting his own hair (seriously!) paid off for two reasons: 1) Owen has seen and watched the clippers in action, so getting his own haircut was "cool," and 2) Scott's really good at cutting hair! Owen's cut looks awesome except for the couple places that I tried to help. Oops! Scott's in charge from now on.


Most recent BEFORE shot.


Cutting team in action.


The final product.
He looks like such a little boy now. No more baby!

*We're pretty sure the comments had more to do with Owen's purple sweatshirt (Husky gear!) than the hair hanging over the collar, but the comments were motivating none the less.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Expanding the palatte

Happy Thanksgiving!
We're enjoying a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. Scott's parents came down to stay with us and provide the much needed expertise in the kitchen. Since there would only be a few of us in the "family" category, we expanded our table by adding friends. Diana, Shannon, Brian, and baby Ben were wonderful additions to our day of celebration. The meal was great - salad, turkey, mashed potatoes, gallons of gravy, cranberries, mounds of stuffing, mashed squash, root veggie medley, rolls, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin cheesecake. Needless to say, we've had plenty of leftovers to keep us fed all weekend. Of course, we got thai take-out last night to get some other spices in the palatte. =)

Owen ate none of the dinner - much too distracted. I, on the other hand, have found a lot more on the thanksgiving table to enjoy. Both Scott and I have realized that we really enjoy squash (and pumpkin) and root veggies, since I started cooking a lot of those as purees last year for Owen. Go figure - the 9 month old baby adds new veggies to our diet. Also, as a kid, I never liked stuffing. I think I was afraid of it - not quite sure what was in those mounds of food. Now that I've seen it made...different story! Soooo good. Bread, bacon, apples, onion, celery, herbs, herbs, herbs. Heck, add some chicken and it could be a main dish in our house.

Hope you all are enjoying family and friends and counting your blessings this weekend. I know we are.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rough and Tumble

Between our rough and tumble kid and his dad, I knew there would be lots of roughhousing in our future. I just didn't know it would be in full swing before Owen was 18 months old. Or that I would be a full participant. =) These days, when we're sitting on the floor, Owen gets this little twinkle in his eye and will come toddling over.
He throws all of 22.5 pounds against the closest shoulder and gets a huge kick out of it when we fall to the ground. Seems like we're having nightly wrestling sessions... with lots of shrieks and giggles. Bring it on.

Other current favorites:
Ring around the Rosey - especially the falling down part.
Turning circles - Owen has just figured out how to spin around on his own, but gets really confused why he can't walk straight after a few spins. Hilarious.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Want, Need, Wear, Read

So I know Thanksgiving is still a week away, but we've been doing some Christmas planning around our house. This year, we're embracing a new gift giving agenda in our little family. This isn't an idea for emphasizing "the true meaning of Christmas," which is, of course, of significant importance. Rather, this is just a new way of selecting gifts for one another. Until now, Scott and I have always set a dollar limit and then each purchased for the other one within that limit. It works fine, but results in us focusing on "maximum bang for the buck" instead of thoughtfully selecting the gifts we truly want to give.

Here's the new plan. Each of us will receive four gifts. One under each of the following categories:
Want
Need
Wear
Read

Four categories. Four gifts. Each with a fancy tag stating the category. For example, Owen's "wear" this year will probably be snow pants and mittens and his "read" will be a book of trucks. His "need" could be new sippy cups or bath towels. Still fun gifts, but hopefully this will help us keep things reigned in both now and down the road. We still have to work out what this means for Santa. He'll probably fill the stockings and leave one significant "Santa Gift."

For now, I'm excited to shop with these ideas in mind. It changes your gift buying perspective to brainstorm, "What would Scott like to read?" Instead of "What would Scott like that costs $27 because that's how much money I have left in the pot."

We'll see how it goes.

P.S. This is one of those ideas that I pilfered from the blog of a friend of a friend of a friend. At this point, I have no idea where I found the idea, so how about a big shout out all those blogging mamas who are posting great ideas for the world to read. Here's one mom's blog that's doing this and even has gift tags you can purchase.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Simple Joy

Every once in a while, I experience one of those rare moments where the sweet joy of motherhood shines through. You would think those moments would show up at significant times, but really, they are usually during the most insignificant of events. On Saturday, we were playing out in the front yard. Owen was chasing the cat and tumbling around in the lawn. When he stood up some of the grass was sticking to his hands. He looked around and immediately toddled over to me, hand extended, knowing mom would fix it. A quick brush off, a delighted smile, he was back on his way, and my heart was enjoying the sweet joy of being a hero to my kiddo.

It's the little things...

From Jon and Kate Plus 8: "This may not be a glamorous job, but it is VERY rewarding."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Running Tired

I've had a lot of people see Owen lately and say, "Oh my gosh, he's running." Sure enough. The kiddo is motoring all over the place. Scott captured this quick video of him doing one of his favorite new activities - running through the house and diving into the little tent we have set up in the corner. He could do this 8 or 10 times in a row and then promptly hit the bedtime wall. Why is it that kids get that burst of energy right before bed?

We wanted to get a video up for the grandparents to enjoy...

video

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Fish

Happy Halloween!

Kids costumes can be so cute, so creative, and so time consuming and/or expensive for the 2 hours they're going to wear them. Thankfully, with all the kids in Bend, you can get great costumes at the resale stores. We were even luckier to borrow this fantastic fish costume from our friend, Diana. Scott asked if we can just be on Diana's hand-me-down list every year, and I said, "Only until Penelope turns 4 and decides she wants to dress like a princess..."

I now present, Owen the fish:


We met some friends at our outdoor mall to trick-or-treat through the stores. A pumpkin, tiger, german boy (authentic leaderhosen), fish, and purple dinosaur made quite the group strolling from store to store.


The shops were encouraged to hand out things OTHER than candy - stickers, pencils, glow in the dark snakes, etc - so we only got a few pieces. At one point, Owen was checking out a tootsie roll (great texture for teething) and before I knew it, he had eaten the whole thing - including the wrapper! Yum. As expected, the costumes got old after a while, so Owen spent the last 1/2 hour walking around like this...

At leas the hat has ears.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Clearly I haven't been very motivated to blog lately, but we have been having some good adventures.

We went to the pumpkin patch again this year. Nana and Papa joined us for the fun. Last year it was beautiful and sunny and Owen slept in the front pack the whole time. This year it was beautiful and COLD, and Owen was ready to run everywhere. He was still too little to do a lot of the activites, but we did do the tractor ride and picked our our pumpkins.




I've been going through some rough mommy patches lately. Owen's doing great, but he's had a rough couple weeks - a little teething, poor sleeping, and general toddler frustration has resulted in a very short fuse. Last week, it seemed he spent all of his time screaming in frustration, crying because mom said "no," or running in the exact opposite direction of my requests. A couple days of short fused Owen lead to a short fused mom. By Saturday, I was trashed. I honestly felt like I did a year ago when we were in the middle of colic and messy reflux.

Thankfully, I had a good cry on Saturday night, Scott affirmed my frustrations, and I was able to remember that "this too shall pass." Owen finally took a good nap Sunday afternoon and a few days later we had a happy kid again. Today has been a good day with a walk, playing in the yard, trip to grocery store, good nap, building Ikea furniture, play group, and swimming. (Yes, all that activity actually makes for a BETTER day than if we try to sit around the house - have I mentioned this kid is BUSY???)

Parting Shot:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hugs

We're still here. We've been a bit out of our normal schedule, but doing really well. I spent 2 days in Florence (Oregon Coast) last week for work, my parents were here last weekend and my mom stayed through the week, Kate got into town last night, and I'm leaving to see Amy and Liz in Portland over the weekend. Fun, fun, fun!

There will be lots to update when I get back!

For now, the best new thing that Owen has picked up is HUGGING! I love it. Last weekend, he loved running back and forth across the room to give mom a hug, dad a hug, mom a hug, dad a hug... over and over. Who are we to say no to hugs? They are the best toddler hugs, too. He wraps his arms around my neck, buries his face in my shoulder, says "ahhhhh," and seems like he'll never let go. I'm happy to embrace every second. Something tells me we won't get the same snuggles when he's 12 and running out the door for soccer practice...

(Owen's hugs also remind me of my time in Siberia. There was a little girl there - probably 2 1/2 - who gave the most amazing hugs. She was selective in her recipients, but if you were chosen, you could have a snuggly Melanie wrapped around your neck for 20 or 30 minutes. I saw a picture a while back of the team still working in that area. Melanie must be middle school age now. Crazy!)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

15 Months - Truly a Toddler

Way back when, I was trying to do monthly updates to track what Owen was up to. That fell by the wayside somewhere around a year, but Owen is still changing so fast. It seems every week he acquires new skills, and makes new discoveries about this amazing world. I love watching him come across a new experiences - he has this awesome face that says, "Hey mom, did you SEE this?" It's pure wonder and awe.

At 15 months, three words to describe Owen:

BUSY. Walking, climbing, shaking, running, kicking, dancing, chasing, wiggling, reading, tossing, laughing, squatting, throwing, splashing... our day is one constant active word.


SNUGGLY. Owen loves his mom. First thing in the morning, he just wants to sit close and read books. It's heart-warming and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything. (Except on some weekend mornings when Scott gets up with Owen and I trade those moments for extra sleep.) The snuggling also comes with a bit of stranger anxiety, but Owen's getting better about being left at the church nursery and gym daycare.


ASSERTIVE. We are certainly on our way toward that tell-tale toddler attitude. The positive word is "assertive." The other words are demanding, frustrated, and angry. Owen threw a pretty good fit yesterday when I wouldn't let him go outside to play bubbles, and he had his first "time-out" last weekend after the third foray into the dog dish.

Owen's language has made a pretty big jump in the last month. A few weeks ago, the only "words" he would say were Dog, Cat, and Duck (and all those sounded strikingly similar). Now, he seems to be picking up new sounds all the time and finally adding some double syllables. I'm not sure if anyone other that Scott and I could translate his babble, but I understand when he says:
Dog, Cat, Duck, Truck, Book, Bubbles, Turtle, Mm-mm (tastes good), Choo-Choo, and other "all boy" noises when pushing cars and trucks around.
He also does signs for Dog, Duck, More, Fish, and gestures for the bottle, binky, and crib.
Note that the words for Mom and Dad are conspicuously missing from this list.

Favorite Activities:

Chasing and tackling Cisco the Cat

Petting the dog

Pulling foam letters out of an empty Kleenex box

Having tissue paper streamers "poured" over his head

Running across big grassy fields
Hiding under blankets

Pushing the stroller around
Wrestling
Playing "ring around the rosey" when "we all fall down"
Getting tickled and laughing, laughing, laughing
Owen is a daredevil. He tries to climb onto everything and often shocks me at what he can haul himself up on. It's probably good he's short and his legs can't reach higher or he'd be up on the couch and probably escaping out of his crib. We've been working hard on the concept of sitting down, or spinning around onto the belly to get down from high objects, and he's FINALLY starting to try it out instead of walking straight off the edge of play structures, slides, or stairs. Yikes!

No longer a baby, Owen is a full toddler. What a kid!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fall Picture Day

We had another picture day at "school" today. Since Owen doesn't go to daycare on Thursdays, we made a special trip over there to get his picture taken and participate in the group shot. I also spent the hour as an extra set of hands to help the teachers - getting 15 babies and toddlers lined up for photos is not an easy feat!

I forgot to snag a picture of Owen until right before bedtime, but he was still a good sport about it. I don't think he cracked a grin during the school photos, but we'll see when the proofs come back.

Ever wonder what happens when a toddler wants to feed himself yogurt?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When it Rains...

We have had a DRY summer. It's only rained a handful of times since April. That means Owen really has no idea what rain is or what do to with it. I, on the other hand, have started to miss the rain - especially that distinct smell that comes with a rain after a long dry spell. Ahhh...

This afternoon we had a special treat - the forecast predicted thunderstorms, the temperature was over 80, and the drops started falling as we pulled into the driveway. Dinner can wait. Off with the shoes and socks...

Feeling those first raindrops. The puddle is starting to form.

This kid does have Seattle in his genes - no demonstration needed for him to dive right in and stomp, stomp, stomp. Look how hard the rain is coming down in that puddle.

Five minutes later and soaking wet. Deep belly laughs from Owen and smiles of joy from mom.
How hard was it raining? This was the scene from our garage.

Yes, I was hanging out in there with them debating between running inside to change clothes or diving into those puddles with my work clothes and dress shoes. My self preservation won out and I stayed dry and just dashed inside to grab a big fluffy towel when Owen's teeth started chattering.

I'm so thankful for another mom from our daycare who invited us to the park a couple weeks ago after "school." Instead of taking her up on the offer, I raced us home and then stood there dumbfounded realizing we had missed a great opportunity for simple fun because I was so focused on our after work routine. Owen and I went to the park after school the next day, I told the other mom that we would be up for the park next time, and vowed to seek more opportunities for everyday wonder.

In the last two weeks, we've taken advantage of the 1/2 hour after work to visit the community garden to look at the fall harvest, check out the creepy crawlies at the pet store, swing at the park, and dig in the backyard dirt. All so much more fun that wandering around the living room waiting for mom to change clothes and make dinner. Plus, it's a much better way for mom to transition from work to evening play time. Hooray for seeing the world through a child's eyes!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Unfair Battle?

One of Owen's favorite activities remains wrestling with Cisco the Cat. Cisco remains somewhat intrigued by the menacing toddler who shrieks and laughs while following him around our living room. Cisco is also decently tolerant when he gets pushed to the ground and smothered with snot and slobber. However, it seems that Cisco is growing a bit leering of the whole interaction and it may have something to do with the growing weight difference...

Or the fact that Owen can now follow him into his old hiding places - like the dog bed. Cisco is still safe up on the arms of the couch, but I don't think that's going to last long.

It just doesn't seem like a fair fight...but it sure is fun to watch. =)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Over and Over and...

I think every parent has THAT TOY. The item that your child wants to play with over and over and over and over and... Owen has found his in this set of "touch and feel" farm cards.

Each card has a different texture - soft goose, prickly straw. Owen likes to take them in and out of the box and get me to read the names. It's a cool concept, but I finally hid the cards under a blanket last week. It was much more exciting for both of us when he found them again today.

The cards are a little puzzling for Scott and I. They have the standard animals (cow, duck, dog, pig, goat...) and other farm items (barn, scarecrow, tractor...) but we're wondering about this one:

Is COMBINE HARVESTER really an essential object to learn at 15 months?

The Earrings that Never Die

With a grabby toddler, my jewelry has been reduced to stud earrings - no necklaces, no hoops, no bracelets. Thankfully, I have a great pair of stud earrings that Carole got for me in Ireland - they have been a wardrobe staple for almost a decade. These earrings will not die. I've lost the backs more times than I can count. At one point, I lost one of the earrings and figured I had to start a quest for a new "favorite pair." Good thing I was too lazy to throw out the other one because the lost earring showed up in the bottom of my sock drawer WEEKS later.

The earrings worked their magic again at the Husky Game in Eugene. While I was out walking the concourse with Owen, he managed to yank one off my ear. I hunted the ground, but decided it was a loss. We walked a few more laps around the stadium, spent another quarter cheering in the stands, walked 45 minutes back to our car, drove the hour to our hotel, unloaded, changed clothes, and then Scott stepped on the missing earring while climbing into bed. It must have been caught in my hoody for all that time...amazing!

These are winners!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Missing Pics - August

Here are a couple pictures from our summer adventures.

Our first "real" hike in August along the Metolious near Camp Sherman. We hiked along the river to the fish hatchery. Owen managed a nap on the way back, but we need to rig up a contraption to keep his head from bobbing all over the place. He slept fine, but we felt bad...




A couple pics from our trip to the beach. Owen would have run all the way to China if we would have let him and he loved chasing the birds all over the beach. Bye mom! I'll be back later...maybe.




We're definitley having our last week of summer here in Bend - 95 yesterday, 85+ today with thunderstorms and then down in the 70s over the weekend. After 3 years of living here, we know that we have to take advantage when the weather turns from Summer HOT to autumn mild. We usually only get 3-4 weeks in the glorious 70s and sunny before the cold rolls in. By Halloween, it's usually time to break out the snow jackets! Here's hoping for lots of time outside in September and October!