Friday, January 30, 2009

Wii Got One

Long story short: Scott traded his Xbox for a Wii. Love it! I've never been a big video game person, but the wii is nothing like a traditional video game system. You basically have to be moving to play any of the games. Scott had Tiger Woods Golf on the Xbox and had gotten pretty good with those two thumbs. On the Wii, he now has to stand up and swing his full arm to play the game. This added movement doesn't seem to help me be any more successful at the games, but it does make me more interested in sitting down (well standing) to play.

It will be interesting to see how much we use the Wii-fit part, but I can really see how it is motivating. Every time you log on, it gives you a rundown of how often you have been exercising. As you spend more time exercising, you "unlock" additional exercises and games to try. The hoola hooping is a riot.

Friends, come on over and play!

Owen loves the Guitar Hero accessories. Guitar:

Drums:
What happens when he tries to climb the drums:
Unfortunately, that scab in in a spot that gets a lot of interaction - hands, utinsels, zippers - I think the scab has been ripped off 3 or 4 times in the past week. Man, chins can bleed a lot!

On a side note: I have "What Not to Wear" on the background, and Nick is recommending the person add bangs to their hairstyle for the 12 zillionth episode in a row. So much for tailoring the style to fit the person.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Boy and His Cat

I've written and posted pictures before about Cisco, aka "The Most Tolerant Cat in the World." He's the cat with the claws that puts up with slobbery toddler kisses, pulling ears, feet to the gut, tugging of tails, and full body tackles. I started posting about Owen's relationship with Cisco when Owen was just 4 months old. At that point, we thought it was funny to put a 10 pound Owen on the 16 pound cat. Little did we know that that relationship would not have changed. They continued to snuggle (wrestle?) when they were matching weights, and now we have a 22.5 pound Owen on that 16 (or is it 17 or 18) pound cat. No worries, Cisco is holding his own and only offers a cautionary swat once in a while.

As a baby kitten, Cisco love to hide in, under, and below anything he could fit in. At that time, he would race around under our couch. Now, he just takes full advantage of empty boxes, laundry baskets, and suitcases. Strange, those are the same things Owen is in love with these days.

We hope that someday Hudson will like Owen as much as Cisco and I'll be able to post a more common post on the theme of "A Boy and His Dog," but for now we are happy that Owen has at least one furry creature to snuggle up with. (As a side note: on a recent crabby day Hudson was lying in his bed and Owen was wandering looking for a place to settle. I heard a whine from the dog bed, and saw Owen resting his head - and contentedly grinning from ear to ear - on Hudson's back. Hudson got big dog treats for allowing that interaction, so I think there's hope yet for the two of them to become lifelong friends.)

But the dog will probably have to sit still first...


Monday, January 26, 2009

Check-up

We had Owen's 18-month check-up last week. He's doing great. Holding steady in the 10th percentile at 22.5 pounds and 31 inches. He hasn't gained any weight in the last three months, but has stretched 3 inches since the summer. I think he grew 2 of those inches since Christmas! With another haircut and those extra inches, he's really looking like a "boy." In fact, Shawndi walked into playgroup last week, looked at me, looked at Owen and said, "Who's that?" Never mind the fact that she's seen Owen almost every week since birth - she didn't recognize him!

Here's that new haircut before and after. Scottie's barber shop has officially gone from one to two clients.

Every time we make a visit to our doctor, I am reminded how happy I am with our pediatrician. They're just fantastic. So I bring you...

Ten Reasons why we love BMC Pediatrics:

1. Their office is small - only 3 doctors right now. When we call for an appointment, we see OUR doctor. When we need to get in for a same day appointment, we see our doctor or the PA (who is also fabulous).

2. They care about overall health. At our appointment, Dr. Vaughan made a point to ask about our family, jobs, the holidays, etc before focusing on Owen's physical heath. I'm sure this is to check for family stress warning signs, but it is great to know that he's thinking about all the things that play into overall health, not just whether Owen's ears and nose are clear.

3. We are KNOWN. When I call on the phone and introduce myself, Tracy says, "Hi, how's Owen." Not, "How do you spell your name?" "Are you a patient with us?" or some other question that makes you feel like a number instead of a person.

4. The nursing staff are amazing. They are warm, welcoming, and enthusiastic to see us. You could say that this is because I am personal friends with Diana, but I notice the same warmth and enthusiasm for every other family walking in the door.

5. They are respectful of personal space and attitudes. For this appointment, Owen just wanted to sit on my lap, and Dr. Vaughan didn't push it. He played peak-a-boo with Owen before doing any exam. He pretended to put the instruments in his own ears before looking in Owen's, and he generally let Owen set the pace and warm up to the exam before moving forward.

6. I never feel silly asking questions. Either in person or on the phone, I never feel like my questions are a waste of time.
7. Great age appropriate handouts and follow-up info. At every well-child visit, we get a packet with Owen's stats and key info on the front. I've looked through the handouts numerous times when I have questions about development milestones, feeding solids, discipline, etc.
8. We never feel rushed. Ever.

9.
It is calm, calm, calm in that office. Only a few doctors means on-time appointments and not having to share a waiting room with 6 other sick kids and their rambunctious siblings.
10. I always feel like I am in control. I had lots of vaccine questions early on, and that was no problem. Dr. Vaughan took the time to answer my questions and share his opinions. Even now, when I'm all comfortable with the vaccine schedule, he still takes the time to talk me through each vaccine and confirms that I'm in agreement with what Owen is getting.


All this reminds me that I need to call them tomorrow and find out if we can blame splotchy skin and 4 days of grumpiness on last week's vaccines...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Peek-a-boo

Don't worry, we have been taking photos these days. It's just getting harder, as Owen would rather grab and eat the camera than hold a captivating pose. The new favorite thing in our house these days is being IN, UNDER, or BEHIND:

UNDER the table... (please ignore the tired looking woman with the cute kid).
IN the box with Cisco.

IN "Harry Potter's Closet" (the little storage space under our stairs).

UNDER the blankets.Owen found a new place to be IN the other day. Just like everyone else, we allow Owen free reign of the tupperware cabinet. He takes the contents out on an almost daily basis, but only recently realized the cabinet is perfectly sized for a hiding place. 5 minutes in the kitchen while mom was distracted produced this...
And then quite a few minutes of fun doing this...
Related fun story: When Owen opens a door, or peers out from under a blanket, he says, "Boo." We had our friends over the other evening with their toddler. Kaden's word in the same situations is "Peak!" The two boys started climbing our stairs one at a time and looking through the railings... Peak!...Boo!...Peak...Boo! It's the little things that keep you laughing and make this all worth it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Locally Famous

Update: I fixed the link, so it should work...
This blog made the newspaper today. The local families reporter did an article about people who blog and use other websites to post family photos and communicate with relatives. I was interviewed a week or so ago, and then they sent a photographer to take our photo. I think they did a nice job with the article (thanks Alandra!). If you'd like to read the article,
click here for the link. If the link doesn't work, check out www.bendbulletin.com and then select "Lifestyle" and then "Family" or search for the article "Our Family Blog.com."

The paper edition has a picture of Owen and I on the front page of the "Family" section. If you want to see the photo, you need to select the "more photos" icon below the photo that shows up online.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My Helper

Owen is in what I am calling a "magic helper" stage. He just LOVES to participate and help with whatever we are working on. Yes, it's a pain that he always has to be standing on a chair in the kitchen when I'm cooking, but it also helps to fill our days when we can make a game out of sorting laundry, vacuuming, or cleaning up the toys. He even got his own vacuum for Christmas - one that's red and looks just like mom's. Here's a collage of my pint sized helper in action:

I assume the "magic helper" stage will not last. How long do I have? Weeks, months? I can't imagine him as a teenager running with excitement to the vacuum closet, or shrieking in delight when it's time to sort laundry. =) Although we do have a family friend (Tyler) that grew up loving to vacuum, so maybe there is hope.

Inauguration Day!

Scott and I have spent our evening rewatching the inauguration and talking about the different things we heard from watching/listening from work or in the car throughout the day. It was pretty fantastic to celebrate this day. Owen and I wore our red, white, and blue and we hung out at home a bit longer to catch a first glimpse of the President getting in the motorcade. Just sitting there on the couch with Owen on my lap, telling him that "the tall man on the left was about to become president" brought a tear to my eye. Obama may be the first president he remembers.

Obviously, I am stoked for the hope that Obama has brought to our country. We have a lot of problems and challenges ahead. It will not be a quick journey and things may get worse before they get better, but I am optimistic. It is very encouraging to me to know that we have someone in office that is willing to listen to different opinions and put advisors around him that will challenge his thinking. The best way to get to the right answers is to sort through and discard all the crummy ones along the way.

Here's to hope!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Resolutions 2009

As we are now three full weeks into the new year, I thought it only proper to post my resolutions for the new year. I think the statistics are that most people who resolve to go to the gym regularly have already bailed on their resolutions by now. I figure it's not much of a resolution if it hasn't held for at least 3 weeks, so why reveal the failures? So, here are the things I'm working on this year:

1. Eat more local/seasonal foods - this is my big one. Inspired by reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," I am learning what veggies and produce are in season at what times and finding recipes to work within those constraints. No more eating Chilean strawberries in December. We'll wait and gorge ourselves on Oregon berries all summer long. I'm also using more canned fruits this winter, since a lot of the peaches and applesauce comes from Eastern Washington. I'm looking into either signing us up for a CSA with a local farm this summer or trying to get one of the community garden plots. Right now we're eating a lot of winter squash, carrots, parsnip, and sweet potato. I consider this a resolution in progress - a challenge to myself to keep learning and making small changes all year long. I'll list some of the inspiring statistics at the end of this post. Small changes - big results.

2. Wash my face every night before bed. You would think my mom nagging me about this all growing up would have instilled a habit. Now that I'm 30, it's probably time to start paying better attention to my skin.

3. Have more patience between 5 and 6 PM. Like many people, this is the frustration hour at our house and ususally one Owen and I spend at home alone. He's tired from a long day at school, hungry for dinner, and wanting attention. I'm no better. So, I'm resolving to replace my whining, pleading, and irritated sighs with a patient voice and lower blood pressure for JUST ONE HOUR. If we can to 6 o'clock smiling, it's much more plesant the rest of the evening. Thankfully, I'm already seeing a difference - at least in my mental mantra on the way to get Owen after work...patience for one hour, patience for one hour, patience for one hour.

4. Work first, blog later. This will be the hard one for me. I always save my posting for the evenings after Owen is in bed, but I have developed a terrible habit of reading through blogs when I should be sitting down and getting work done. I love reading about everyone and catching up, but then I'm annoyed when I finish reading and have nothing else to do, but, well, work! So, I'm going to save blog reading for a reward when I get my work done (or for those crazy long conference calls, but don't tell the people on the other end of the line that!). Thanks for the inspiration simplemom and to Cailean for linking to the post.

A few Local Food Statistics:
- 17% of our national energy use is for agrigulture - and 80% of the agriculture energy goes to SHIPPING the food from place to place.
- If each American ate just ONE meal per week of local, organic meats and produce, we would save 1.1 million barrels of oil each week (barrels, not gallons).
- The US exports 1.1 million tons of potatoes each year. We also import 1.4 million tons.
- Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where we get 98 percent of our chicken, are allowed to raise up to 1,152 animals in a 6x8 ft room - picture 1,000 chickens in your bathroom. We're still buying boneless skinless chicken from Costco, but I'm hoping our buget and eating habits will allow us to shift to free-range chicken by the end of the year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Dancing Baby

Okay, this may not be as funny as that "dancing baby" that was on Allie McBeal back in the day (I never did understand that one). But we think Owen's dancing is pretty funny. We've been trying to capture it on video for a while, but he's not really a performer. As soon as we pull out the camera, he gets distracted. When I was digging through videos to post last week, we found this clip from Christmas at my parents. The family was rockin' to Rockband and Owen decided it was time for a quick dance party. Love it!

video

Well, I love the dancing - clearly the singing could use some work. Unfortunately, I am absolutely no help in that category. The only time I tried to be the singer, I got booted 3 times before teh song was even 1/2 over. Seriously, I am JUST. THAT. BAD. Looks like I'll be sticking to the drums.

That should be the last video for a while. Now back to watching The Biggest Loser while eating ice cream. =)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Give 10, Toss 10

Since the new year, I've been in "clean out" mode. I think it stems from wanting to get the Christmas clutter (decor, gifts, miscellany) back in it's place. Also, I was recently chatting with my mother-in-law about some strategies for reducing "stuff." She has had 30 years to accumulate stuff in her house, but what's my excuse? Apparently you can accumulate an awful lot of stuff in 3 years as well.

On Sunday, we decided to follow a "Give 10, Toss 10" strategy that I read about on Flylady.com (no, I don't follow Flylady's cleaning schedule - if you saw my house, you'd know - but she has some great ideas). Anyway, the concept is to go into each room with a box and a garbage bag. As fast as you can, find 10 things to give away and 10 things to throw away. It sounds like a lot, but we did the whole house in under 30 minutes. No, our bathroom cabinets are not pretty and organized, but I did toss that apricot exfoliating cream that's been under the cabinet since...before we were married! Come on, did I really pack up and move that stuff FOUR times?

No, all our clutter issues are not solved, but we did toss a full garbage bag of junk, pull together two boxes for Goodwill, and satisfy my need to deal with some of our accumulating piles.
Give 10, Toss 10, Move Fast, Quick Decisions, No Debates, just do it. I feel so much better.

On another issue: I just got a new pair of Dansko shoes. The Mary Jane style in brown. Late Christmas present because I had to try them on and order the right size. Love them! My last pair of brown Danskos lasted 10+ years, so these should stay out of the "Give/Toss" pile for quite some time. =)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Video Fun

I'm not sure how long it will take to upload these, but I thought I'd give it a shot. A few clips that are keeping us laughing in our house. (Peg, the last one is for you!)

Owen is really into shoes. He enjoys pulling shoes from my closet for me (usually picks a matching pair!), and loves to put on our shoes and try to walk around. He's doing pretty well in Scott's size 10s in this video...
video

Sometimes it's a bit of a gamble whether something will make Owen squeal in delight or shriek in anger. Such is the life of a 18 month old. Like tonight, we had to spray saline up his nose, and we braced ourselves for the worst. Scott held him still, I prepared to move in quickly, dove in for the double spray, and before I could get out of the way... he started laughing and saying, "More, more, more!" I guess nose spray kid of tickles. Anyway, the reaction to ice down the shirt was even better...

video

Finally, this one is for Peg as she preps for her Oral Exams. Perseverance at it's best. We're discovering that once Owen sets his mind to something, he's just going to keep working and working and working until he gets it accomplished. Now that he knows he can get on the futon, nothing will deter him.

video

Dancing video is coming on another day. I just don't have the patience to wait for it to upload tonight. If anyone has figured out a faster way to post video, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

18 Months! How did we get here?

I can't believe it! Owen hit the 18 month mark on Monday. When did this happen? Well, yes, on Monday, but seriously... Last year at this time, I was looking at a bright eyed baby, who had finally emerged from the depths of colic and reflux into a proud, smiling, sitter. How did this tender baby:turn into a roving toddler? One with ideas and opinions to match the physical activity?

So, what is Owen like at 18 months?

Helper
Owen loves to "help" with whatever it is we are doing. He's surprisingly good at following directions (75% of the time), and loves to participate - getting jackets from the closet, finding shoes, combing hair, brushing teeth, putting clothes in the hamper, vacuuming, sweeping (thanks for the cleaning set Grandma!), cleaning-up toys. Things take a bit longer, but I love watching him figure things out. The proud look on his face is priceless. Plus, I know we need to milk this "helper" attitude for all it's worth while we can...

Puzzle Wiz
Scott and I are marveled by how fast Owen has gotten in doing his puzzles. (Yes, he's the son of two engineers...) As long as there are pictures to match, Owen's got them mastered. He also loves his "look and find" book. Doing these matching activities are the one sure-fire way to get Owen to slow down and focus for... minutes at a time!

Demanding
He is 18 months old ...


Snuggly
We have this 20 minute period after waking up when Owen pretty much has to be held. Typing that out sounds really cute, but it kind of drives me nuts. I guess because on work days, he wakes up in the middle of my morning routine, and I just want to be doing the next "thing" - eat breakfast, brush teeth, etc. This is a good reminder to just slow down and enjoy those first minutes of Owen's morning.


Active, Active, Active
Running, climbing, turning circles, wrestling, jumping, dancing... need I say more?


Short
Halleluia for a child that is so active and yet so restricted. We've been around three different kids in recent weeks who are the same age as Owen and a full head taller. So far, Owen's little legs are too short to climb up on - or dive off of - the couch, beds, chairs, or coffee table. I figure these stocky Maxwell genes are buying us a few more months of safety. Hooray for a little guy! Unfortunately, Owen seems to have hit a growth spurt since Christmas. Lots of things that were in the "safe zone" (kitchen table, top drawers, door handles) are going to have to move to higher ground.

Babbling
Finally some conversations coming out of this kid. If only we could understand them. =) Owen does have a decent set of single words that he says sparingly.

I could go on and on. I am so in love with this kid!