Christmas' past & present

2009: Our first Christmas with baby Jo!

2010: Jo's second Christmas- we were about 7 weeks pregnant with Baylor when this was taken

2011: A big addition this year- Baylor! This is not the best picture, but it is hard to get two squirmy subjects to sit still!

An armful

By this account, Santa should be a lithe and wiry old man. These things are heavy.

Avocado for Jo & Baylor

Both of the kids tried avocado for the first time at 4.5 months old.





I think Jo liked them more.

Thoughts on Mr. Grinch

She was profoundly impacted by the grinch's...grinchiness.


We propped Baylor up on Christmas. It really can't be called "sitting" quite yet. In this video he gets a kiss from Jo which causes him to faceplant and knock over my coffee(no coffee spilled thanks to my contigo spill proof coffee mug)- poor kid. He's tough though- didn't even cry.


a post to make up for the last one

If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is sappy gooey gushy public displays of pollyanna-ness (ie my previous post). Sometimes I am prone to these outbursts. In fact, I bet statistically speaking 1 out of 5 posts I write make someone like me gag. You know: "I'm so lucky. I just got a speeding ticket but I am just so darn thankful for the reminder to drive safe." or "I am being audited by the IRS which is just an awesome way to help me be more accurate on my taxes!" So rather than un-blog it I will let it be, and instead counter it with this post. I sincerely meant everything I wrote below- I am thankful and happy. That is a wonderful reality. THIS is also a reality, if a bit less happy-warm-fuzzy:

Dangers of Potty Training & a Solve-It-Yourself Potty Training Equation

I knew potty training would be messy business. Cleaning up accidents. Pee pee in the car seat. The trials of a toddler learning do-it-yourself wiping. I was NOT prepared for the following:
1. Once I kissed Johonna and got a fleck of poo on my LIP. This means it was on her FACE. No amount of listerine can erradicate this.
2. Here's a potty training story problem:
1 toddler goes #2 in a potty training toilet in her room. Toddler walks out to living room with pants around ankles saying, "HOORAY! I WENT POOP!" Mom jumps off couch to take toddler to the real bathroom for clean up efforts that deserve appreciation but get none. Mom returns to toddler's room to clean out the toddler potty. There is now 1 dog in the room and zero #2.

You do the math.


happy where i'm at

Well this is a rare moment. I'm awake, drinking coffee, waiting for luke to get up & then I'll go run. BOTH of my children are happily sleeping, and I'm reveling in a quiet house with christmas lights twinkling on the tree and the heat blasting. Oops- wait, Jo is talking to herself now. Well anyway- it is a nice morning.

Before I blogged I used to write letters to Luke- not so much for his sake, but for me to keep as kind of a journal. History recorded wihtout the embarassment of "Dear diary" marking each page :) Luke's not gotten many letters in recent years, but I wrote one a while ago and part of what I said sums up my feelings this Christmas season:

...I fall asleep to the sound of the tv in the other room and “rockabye baby” music coming through the baby monitor. I feel like a very happy momma hen- with her chicks bedded down and her protector in the next room. So safe and sound. I know someday we’ll be up until 2 am waiting for a crazy teenager to come home safe. We won’t have to fight the bed time battle or get anyone a sippy cup of water or wipe any bottoms- but I think we’ll look back at these days and think: “man- even though parenting little kids was exhausting, at least you had them quiet and safe in their beds each night.” So I’m making effort to be thankful for that now, and it isn’t hard.

I try to be thankful so that when times are bad/hard/worse I will NOT look back with regret and think, "I wish I'd appreciated that other time more." That sounds kind of pessimistic, but what I'm trying to say is that sometimes you don't know that you're living in your glory days until they've passed. People tell me all the time, "Oh someday you'll MISS when they were this age." Everything fascinates Jo. She is filled with wonder (and obstinance- but let's maintain our optimisim). She tells me about how Mary had baby Jesus in the 'table (that's "STABLE" for most). Baylor (to his unending delight) has found his newest obsession: his hands. We have happily settled into a routine that means few dinners out, rare opportunity for spontaneity or sleeping in, and a dinner hour in this little house that would make your head spin. But we are happy. So I'm reveling in my glory days this Christmas and thankful to be where we're at.


Christmas Festivities

When we went to get our tree a few weeks ago, the first thing Jo saw was the nativity scene. She wanted to touch baby Jesus so we let her. (Why is it that whenever I say or think or write "Baby Jesus" I am haunted by the sound of Will Ferrel's voice in Taladega Nights!?)

Here are the mobile members of our family. The stationary/drooling one stayed in the car (It was a VERY small lot and we were there all of five minutes)

And just tonight I took Jo & Baylor to see Santa. Predictably Jo was more frightened than excited- but I think she warmed up to him a little.
From 2011-12-15

And finally- a little video of Baylor-man for Daddy who is out of town and misses his kiddos!


Moose from Jordan Valley

Aunt Laurie sent Baylor a moose to be his special stuffed animal. It must have been meant to be - Baylor has a matching moose vest he likes to wear for dress up occassions. Moose has yet to be named...but I'm leaning towards moosey.

Baylor says: Thanks Aunt Laurie!!


This year we're thankful for so much. Here are a few pics from thanksgiving at my parents. I didn't take ANY pics @ Grandma Jo's!!! boo!


a little bit Portland, a little bit Milwaukie

I practically live in Portland. I barely live in Milwaukie. I am NOT in like the used car dealerships/McLoughlin Milwaukie- I'm in the we-have-community-meetings-at-the-newly-built-elementary-school Ardenwald neighborhood. We're like one community garage sale away from having those self important green neighborhood signs that say "Ardenwald Neighborhood" like you see in Sellwood (which is Milwaukie's slightly more affluent big sister). My house is .6 miles from the dividing line. I know this because I drive over it every day. In case you were curious, BOTH cities, in fact, enforce the speed limit by way of photo radar. Those are the sorts of messages you see around here when you cross boundaries. It's not quite as friendly as the "thanks for visiting Washington, come again! (yeah right- no thanks Vancouver!)" or "Welcome to Oregon." It's more like: "don't speed or you'll get caught. feel free to park 12 cars in your yard, use the grocery cart to get your groceries home, and bowl every night of the week, but do NOT speed."

Anyhow, I was born in Portland. I fancy myself a Portlander, not a Milwaukian. But maybe I'm just fooling myself.

1. Tonight I took the kids for a walk. (Outdoorsey Portlandy)
2. I took the dog too. (Very Portlandy)
3. The dog is a pitbull. (uber-Milwaukie.) Just teasing- he's an Australian Shepherd. (Phew- Portlandy)
4. I pushed my kids in a double Bob jogging stroller. (Atheltic Portlandy) Bonus Portland points: I bought it off craigslist.
5. I wore a hoody, jeans & running shoes (definitely Portlandy- hip and not trying to hard.)
6. The jeans were boot cut. Not skinny. (ouch. Milwaukie.)
7. When my dog "did his business" I picked it up. (Responsible Portlandy.) Bonus Portland points: I used a plastic produce bag which I expressly saved for this purpose instead of throwing into the landfill.
8. At the grocery store I bought gourmet pretzels & beer (foodie Portlandy)

****and here's where the tide turns*****

9. The beer was Coors Light. (macro-brew Milwaukie)
10. I bought the 18-bottle case because it is more cost effective. (minimum wage Milwaukie)
11. The enormous box of alcohol was too large to fit in the undercarriage of my Bob stroller. Since I was too embarrassed to unpack it and shove it in the multitude of Bob cargo pockets (and I don't know what the Safeway return policy is on beer) I had no other choice but to put it on top of the stroller's handlebar. Precariously balanced above the heads of my precious children. (heart of McLoughlin Milwaukie)
12. I was more than a little worried I'd get mugged for my beer while walking back home. (misdemeanor Milwaukie)

There you have it. Tomorrow in effort to restore my inner Portlander I'll be shopping at Whole Foods, bike commuting somewhere, and sipping fair trade coffee in the Pearl.


My project

While on a walk one night we came by this desk, sitting for free on the curb. I talked Luke into driving back for it, with intentions of painting & distressing it. I never finish projects I start- this is a rare exception!
From 2011-10-23


What I like the most about this desk (besides the hardware & that it was free) is that it was horribly beat up- scratches everywhere. In two places someone carved something into it. Not a swear word or profanity though- in both places they carved Jesus. I love that.


a few things

1. Tonight I got Jo OUT of bed because "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" was on TV. It seemed like a good idea, and it was. She was thrilled. She kept saying, "he not a very nice guy." Then she asked where baby Jesus was.
2. I just opened a bag of dark chocolate peanut m&m's and I have bad intentions.
3. Our new nanny started today, so far so good. She's into crafting- her & Jo made an advent count down construction paper chain. Mostly I think she made it, but she said Jo was into the glue stick portion of the craft.
4. I got my tires rotated today at les schwab & then an oil change, which is more TLC than the car has seen since it rolled off the lot. My dog is jealous of my car. My husband is jealous of the dog.
5. I put Baylor down for two naps today via this incredibly complicated routine: I layed him down. That was it. Boom. Parenting expert. Let me know if you need any parenting advice. (Please don't remind me of this post when I realize he will never go to sleep this easily ever again).
6. Yesterday morning there was a blue stock pot (like the speckled blue kind you use for camping) and lid on my doorstep. I opened it cautiously, quite certain I'd find a severed head or a king cobra. It was empty. I don't know who put it there, so I put it in my shed which is where all things ranging from useless (a broken tomato cage) to precious (previously mentioned dark chocolate m&m stockpile) end up. We clean out the shed 2 times every year- always vowing to really keep it organized from now on.
7. My son likes to socialize with one of our couch pillows. He laughs and smiles at it. I keep trying to get it on video. I am choosing not to read too much into this. With limited license my mind has still come to the following conclusions: a) he's destined to be a couch potato b)he'll befriend couch pillows over other children c)he thinks the pillow is his mom d) he likes the couch more than me.
8. As a combined result of old age + living in milwaukie, I am becoming increasingly desensitized to hideously overdone Christmas light displays. My neighbor "Terry" has had his lights up since before Halloween. Some guy down the street has $3/foot color changing "lightshow" Christmas lights. I know the cost and name because I was jealous and googled it. Color changing "lightshow" lights are pretty obnoxious...and I want them.
9. I succumbed to a $13 fiber optic fake mini-tree from Walmart. I love the color changing magic and for $13 I couldn't push my cart past it. When I got home and unpacked it before unloading my kids from the car (just teasing) Luke said, "I like where your head's at." He thought this was "the" tree for the year. He was sorely mistaken and quickly corrected. It is a bonus tree. The big tree is still to come.

Merry Christmas!


My whole world in such a small space

This morning my alarm went off & I carefully removed myself from a tangle of limbs- Jo & Baylor both ended up in bed with us in the last 6 hours. Baylor is usually fitful this time of day, but he had his arms thrown up above his head and was snuffling peacefully asleep. Jo had her head curled in by her daddy and her booty up in the air. Luke was on his back as usual. They were all so happy looking. I wanted a picture but not enough to risk waking Baylor with a flash. As my mother in law says anytime we're too lazy to go find a camera to capture a moment: Memory Picture!


Jesus and some unrelated thoughts

A few unrelated thoughts:

1. Today I asked Jo if she wanted to pray for anything and she said, "Dear God, thank you for Jesus. He is a good man." Out of the mouths of babes.
2. I am glad for point #1 above, because I am attempting to untangle the following theological elements in the mind of my 2 year old:
a) Jesus' birth & Christmas
b) Santa Claus & Christmas
c) The Elf on the Shelf
d) Veggie Tales, including the Veggie Tales nativity set in which baby Jesus is represented by a small cucumber.
e) Baby Jesus vs Grown up Jesus
f) Disney Princesses vs Barbies, and Jesus. She told Princess Ariel and Snow White the other day that Cinderella was Jesus. Hopefully God's got a sense of humor.
3. Luke was in a good mood the other morning, and I was not. He felt especially chatty about something I didn't feel like talking about (something really dumb- like what we were having for dinner or something) and I had not had my coffee yet. I told him, "Talking more is not helping this conversation."
4. Jo tebowed today in her Denver Broncos cheer costume (Thanks Aunt Laurie!) and 'parkle shoes (of course). Her daddy is so proud. GO BRONCOS!


Overheard on the playground

One of my favorite "Jack" stories is from when he was in sixth grade, away at outdoor school. Mom & Dad received one brief letter from him. In his crooked, sprawling scrawl, this is what it said:

Dear Mom and Dad,
Outdoor school is da bom.

Da bom. I may need to do a post on Jack stories. There are lots of them.

Last week I took Jo to the elementary school playground. The after-school kids were on recess so Jo stood back and watched for a while before climbing on the equipment. There was a wild pack of girls running rampant through the playground. Jo ran with them on the fringes, laughing and squealing with all the joy of a lone wolf newly accepted into the pack. She was especially impressed with one gals 'parkle shoes.

While kicking it with first graders, here's what I had the pleasure of overhearing:

In confidence: "I am the ULTIMATE android!"
In protest: "Zombies CAN'T run!!!"

One girl to me:
girl: "Can I show you something?"
me: "Sure."
girl, showing me a piece of plastic jewelry she found, "finders keepers!"
me: "Oooh, that's neat."
girl, pointing at her eyes: "yeah, I found it cuz I have GREAT eyesight!"
girl, pointing to where no cat is: "like, I can see that cat over there."

Two boys dibsing super powers:
"I call night-seeing."
"I call DAY-seeing."
"That sucks."


Discussions with an artist

Here's some video of her painting.


Here's a vid of Jo chilling on her potty, reading a book. I LOVE it whenever she says tooterooter.

Big Feet

Halloween take 2

More halloween
Q&A on Halloween Etiquette- 1 out of 5 stars for cuteness. (that means only grandparents should watch it)

In Wilsonville you get FULL sized candy bars. That's right- we border hopped to get better candy.

Future President, Alameda Carpet & Upholstery ;)


Happy Halloween!

Remind me next year that MAKING a costume is NOT better than buying one. Again my daughter was subjected to a messy tangle of tulle and sparkles, which ended up being more expensive than an overpriced target costume. Baylor was a lobster & Jo was a 'parkle princess with 'parkly dress and 'parkle shoes. After one house the "trick or treat" concept sunk in & she was off & running!

For Jack & Patty's halloween party, Luke & Baylor were carpet cleaners & I was a dirty rug. Very clever. Mostly crafted around the fact that luke generally refuses to dress up for this sort of thing.

Carpet cleaners typically wear pants. If they show up without pants and they're older than this guy, close the door and LOCK it.

The whole gang- There were some awesome costumes- I think my favorite was Chris in the back- a 6'3 GIANT chicken. The costume was a little short for him. There were some unnecessary chicken thigh sightings.


this girl...

Jo has been developing some entertaining stall/diversion tactics. Here's her latest:
1. "I too tiiiiiny!" (When being told to eat her last 3 grapes)
2. "But I just a girl!" (After the "too tiny" excuse didn't get her out of eating her grapes)
3. "But I just a princesssssss!" (While protesting the rinsing of her sudsed-up hair in the tub this morning)


This was a quote from one of our aunts, upon meeting our son: "I love the name 'Baylor'! But...where did you come up with his middle name???" That sums up the majority of feedback we've gotten on our choice of names. But I mean come on- it's not like we named the kid Apple or January or something really obscure. So here's the break down of what Baylor's middle name is intended to mean and not mean:

1. "Blitz" doesn't mean the 2011 movie starring a bunch of people I've never heard of. IMDB says the film is about "A tough cop is dispatched to take down a serial killer who has been targeting police officers."

2. "Blitz" doesn't mean "Blitz" as in the 1960's beer brewed in Portland by the Weinhard brothers. I'd consider rethinking this except that Blitz beer was apparently the PBR of its time, and my son is more of a fancy craft-brewed seasonal ale kinda guy.

3. "Blitz" doesn't mean "Blitz" as in the software development firm whose website is so crappy I'd never buy something computer-related from them.

4. Most definitely, "Blitz" is NOT refering to the bombing of Britain by the Germans in WWII. No thanks.

Baylor IS named "Blitz" for the football tactic (which is actually named after the German bombing strategy). Wikipedia says this: "A blitz or red dog is when players on or behind the line of scrimmage during a play, are sent across the scrimmage line to the offensive side to try to tackle the quarterback or disrupt his pass attempt." Isn't that what ALL football plays are about? Lost on me. Anyhow, this was all Luke's idea.

And it is better than Baylor "Red Dog" Middlebrooks.


Over the Moon!

While in Phoenix, Katie's friend Lisa (Over The Moon photography) took some pics of our kids. I am in love with these!
Look at this monkeys- they had a blast together:

A girl & her rat:

love those eyes

and that smile

My little man!


Locked Up Abroad

I think that is the title of the show Luke's forever watching- where (for the most part) idiot crack heads get caught smuggling crack in their...cracks... and then get imprisoned in pretty sketch jails for years on end. The show always paints them as innocent victims (almost heroes) but I like to remind myself: if you don't put drugs in your private parts & try to skip town you significiantly reduce your risk of being "locked up abroad."

Anyhow, while in Phoenix, Savannah kept closing her & Jo in rooms. Jo has an irrational fear of closed doors (because she can't open them, mostly) and so Jo would scream and Savannah would try to talk her down, and one of us would open the door eventually. We got really concerned one morning though when we heard BOTH Jo & Savannah crying.

When we finally turned off the soap opera we were watching and put down our bon bons and wine spritzers (a typical agenda for stay at home moms, obviously) to attend to the children, we found that they were locked in the play room.

Katie, Daniel, me & Finley set about trying to free the girls. They were HYPED up. Katie offered them her hands under the door, and she said they were both SQUEEZING her hands. Now remember, they were locked in a play room. Not a dungeon, not a lion's den, etc. They were surrounded by toys. So it was sort of comical.

Girls get stuck: (worth watching for about 5 seconds only)

Finally (and I mean after about 5 minutes) I got the other door open. Watch their tearful evacuation. Jo, despite being very distraught, was not leaving without her lego wagon.