Friday, December 27, 2013

Trouble with Tribbles

Every time I think of this blog, I get a little pang of sadness in my heart.  I often think of posting here, but life is so busy with two boys and a crazy job that keeps me working late hours.  2013 was by far the lamest year ever, with only 4 posts so far.  So much has happened in the past year!  My boys are growing up so fast!  While the well meaning grandparently figures in your life warn you that this is the case, it is so very different when you live it.  When I look at Liam now, he is a quite a grown up boy. Grant is no longer a baby, not even a toddler really, and is quite mischievous now.

I am happy to report that the boys *mostly* like the same things I like, especially when it comes to science fiction.  Earlier this month, we got on a Star Trek kick and watched a number of episodes from the original series and Next Generation.  One of the episodes was "The Trouble with Tribbles".  Now after I first watched this episode as a child, my parents deviously planted yarn ball tribbles (pon-pons) in my room, who then increased in number for several nights.  I decided that this was too fun a tradition not to continue it with my boys.  So....

The next morning, Liam and Grant woke to find a single tribble in their beds with them.   The boys made a big show of pretending to feed the tribbles, despite my warning not to.  (I spent the next few nights frantically making pon-pons out of all the softest yarn in my house.  I made 14 tribbles in all.)  The following morning they had three more tribbles each.  The photo above is of the excitement over "tribble babies", as Grant called them.  I made sure that they put the tribbles in a secure place before they went to school.  Before I left for work that morning, I stuck the tribbles in a box full of oranges on the counter.  Sean and the boys found them there when the came home.  Of course the next morning, the boys found even more tribbles!

Liam exclaimed, "There's like a HUNDRED tribbles!"  They had lots of fun with the whole thing.  It was quite special seeing them believe that the little critters were alive.  That is the true magic of parenthood.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Baby Lamby

Grant has been obsessed with Lambs for about a half a year.  Now that daylight savings time has given us more light at the end of the day and the weather is slightly more mild, we took a family trip to the MSU sheep barns so grant could see some REAL baby lambs.

 Newly born lambs with mom.

 Guard burrow.

 More lambs.

Happy Grant.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lost Tooth

Liam lost his first upper tooth today and his third tooth overall.  It fell out while eating a grilled cheese sandwich.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Green Delights

Every February our family looks forward to the MSU Orchid Show.  It's a much welcomed respite from the cold grayness that is Michigan in the winter.  They boys enjoy the children's indoor garden too.

Crossing the bridge.

Tree frog on a fence.

Happy Boys.

Liam took this lovely photo.

Friday, January 18, 2013

It's been a grueling two weeks at the beginning of the Spring semester.  Today, however, I took the day completely off to just hang out with my youngest son.  He had no daycare today and I never get a chance to be with him the way I did with our eldest.

The day began with taking Liam and the neighbor's son to school.  Grant got to ride along with them - they were all talking up a storm about little boy things - it was just too cute.  It ended up that we got to school way too early.  So we took a side trip and went exploring a large old cemetery nearby.  There was a neat 1920s mausoleum, an oblisk, and beautiful views of the frozen river.  The kids had so much fun they kept thanking me for taking them on the "adventure".

After the big boys were dropped off.  Grant and I went out to breakfast and I let him play in the playplace for a little while - he was too scared to try the slide, however.  We were waiting for the I-5 museum to open at 10am.  We ended up spending the rest of the morning at the museum once it did open.  Grant played with a lot of different toys in the First Impressions room: cars, magna blocks, puzzles, water toys etc.  He even managed to get up the courage to climb on the playset and go down both the little and big slide - he's usually really shy about climbing activities.  Then we went out to the rest of the museum and played instruments, made a button picture, and watched the model trains.  Sadly, I forgot my camera.  But Grant had a marvelous time and played so much that he fell asleep on our short 5 minute drive home.  

Once home he woke up and so we got a light lunch and played for a while.  We built with Legos and played ninjas and's a long story.  After a late nap, we played board games until daddy and Liam came home.  It was truly wonderful to have that special time alone with Grant.  It went by too fast.

Liam came home with a lovely hand-colored British flag that he made at school.  He had even found a straight stick outside and expertly taped the flag to it.  Apparently some of the kids gave him flack for making the Union Jack, but I think it's marvelous that he put so much effort into it.  He even colored both sides of the flag.  He has very good artistic talents for a 6 year old.

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

This poor blog is nearly defunct. Even though my boys keep on growing and changing, life has been simply too hectic to write about every thing that has happened in the past year. Grant has grown and changed SO much! Liam continues to frustrate and astound! Here are some of the year's highlights - at least those that I can remember...

July: The whole family went on vacation to northern Michigan. While the scenery and location was amazingly wonderful, our children's behavior was not. Our patience was sorely tested. We also celebrated Grant's second birthday (and Laim's 6th)! We held a joint party for both the boys in Hunter Park for family and friends.

August:  The boys and I visited Fort Wayne and stayed with Great Grandma for a long weekend before I went back to work. We had a lot of fun, especially when we visited the Children's Zoo with Grandma. I spent 14 days up north in the field - it was hard being away from everyone for so long.

September: Liam started 1st grade! Although his first day of school was not without turmoil, as there was mass confusion about which classroom and teacher he was assigned to. Thankfully, it was all worked out and he got the teacher that we hoped for.

October: What a busy month! I had a conference and grants to write. But somehow we also squeezed in lots of fun Halloween events and also took a short family vacation to Mackinaw City. This trip was much smoother than the summer vacation. Although I was terribly sick for most of it and Grant wasn't feeling his best either.

November: We visited family for Thanksgiving and stayed with Grandma Kathie. We went hiking nearly every weekend, taking advantage of the glorious fall weather!

December: We had a wonderful Christmas season. We spent some time with both sides of the family before Christmas and stayed Grandma Bev and Grandpa John. The weather finally cooled off in time for a white Christmas. The boys and I played outside in the snow...we plan to go sledding tomorrow!


Grant: Well Grant is my smiley happy guy, except when he isn't. ;) He is usually pretty easy going, and even stay that way after his second birthday in July. However, in the last couple of months, he has figured out that he too can be a rascal if he wants too. For example, he will often have his Lamby (his favorite stuffed animal) do something naughty, like break his brother's legos. And when you admonish him for it, he will say "Lamby did it". He will also sometimes admonish his bigger brother and yell "naughty bro-bro" when Liam does something he shouldn't be doing.

Grant has learned his colors pretty well and can identify some ABCs. He can also count to nearly 20! He is currently obsessed with Spiderman and spends most evenings wearing his spidy mask from Halloween. Grant also sings a LOT! He will often sing sweetly while he plays, some variation of twinkle, tinkle little star.

Liam: My eldest has grown up quite a lot in the past year. At this time last year, we were worried that he would have to repeat Kindergarten. Now he is doing well in school, especially math, which was problematic last year. Part of his success may be owed to starting medication to help with his ADHD tendencies. While I had wanted to stay away from medicating my child, his behavior was becoming more and more problematic and our household was suffering because of it. In the summer, we initiated a referral process to seek out other ways of helping Liam. After a long wait and several visits and tests, we were able to start him on some medication around Thanksgiving. The change has been dramatic in some ways and subtle in others. Overall, I do not regret doing it, since it has helped us become a happier family.

 Liam's likes are pretty much the same as they have been. He is obsessed with Lego and anything star wars. He also likes super heros. He has become a very talented Lego builder. He can assemble very complex sets rather quickly. Even more remarkable, he can build his own creations - some of which are thoroughly impressive, such as the submarine that he built this month.


2012 has been a year full of ups and downs. While we've had a lot of opportunities and fun events, I've worked so hard at my job that I feel like I've missed out on a lot of things, including sleep. But thankfully, my children, my husband (and myself) are resilient and we seem to pull together as a team when it matters. In fact, I'd say that we are a well-oiled machine, even with our problems.

I love my family more than anything and I hope that 2013 will bring good things our way!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Little Archaeologist

Today Liam accompanied me into the field. It was sort of a last minute decision. I had told him that I would take him one day this week, but had not planned for that day to be today. When he asked me, however, I decided it was a good day, since the weather was supposed to be cooler. So we quick packed him a bag and a lunch and he rode up to the site with me.

At first I was a little nervous that things wouldn't go well, because he started complaining about the long car ride almost immediately. But once we got there, he was all smiles and excited. He made friends with SK and Kyane while we mapped in some things with the TDS. He chased after butterflies and braided strands of grass with SK. Later he got to screen with Bryan and helped Jordan find fossils and cool rocks in her unit. He helped carry things and hunted for grasshoppers. He was a very busy boy.

During the drive home, he kept saying that this was the "best day ever"! I definitely scored some awesome mommy points today. He feel soundly asleep on the drive home. All tuckered out.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dental Dilemma

Today was a huge milestone for Liam and for me, as a parent. Liam lost his first tooth! I was in utter shock when Liam announced happily in the middle of breakfast that he lost his tooth. It had started getting loose only a couple weeks ago, so I certainly didn't expect that it would fall out so soon! I had only just begun researching "tooth fairy pillows" like this one to make it easier for me to retrieve the tooth since both boys are such light sleepers. I figured I had at least a month before I had to order one, but I figured wrong! Liam was so excited that he wanted to take his tooth to school to show everyone. He kept remarking about how small it was. I suggested that he keep it safe at home, so that he wouldn't loose it and loose out on a gift from the tooth fairy. This evening, I was so tired from the first long day of field school, that I nearly forgot about his tooth. I found a nice crisp $5 in my wallet. Then I crept into his room, being careful not to wake either Liam or Grant, and carefully felt under his pillow. To my relief, it was near the edge and I quickly retrieved it and left the bill. It is so surreal to be doing this for my own kiddos!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Splish, Splash, Spring?

This entire week has been unseasonably warm, more like spring than the middle of winter. On Thursday, I decided to go swimming at the community center pool. It was so wonderful that afterwards I purchase a family membership for the year. Today Sean and I took the boys to the pool. Liam was very excited and was not very nervous in the water. At first, Grant was very cautious and a little scared. But once he saw Liam trying to swim with daddy, he decided he couldn't be out-done and was soon splashing and kicking and having fun. Eventually Liam was treading water without holding onto daddy (with a flotation device of course). Grant had fun throwing a ball and then going after it with help from me. Everyone had a wonderful time and hopefully we will make this a regular event.

Before we went swimming today, the boys and I had to run a bunch of errands. As a reward for their good behavior through all five stops while we were out, I bought them both a small Lego set. Grant's was a safari rover with assorted animals. Liam's was a ninja, complete with flying serpents. Liam built his set all by himself. After I built Grant's set, I decided to make a safari cottage (the yellow one) to go along with it. Now Liam and Grant both have cottages to play with.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jumping Beans

The boys have been going stir-crazy stuck indoors lately. So today we took them to Jumping Jax - which is a large indoor bouncing-house. The boys jumped and slide themselves silly. Grant's favorite was one that had a bunch of basket balls in it. Liam like the giant slides. Sean and I each took turns playing with the boys, so that we each had a few minutes to read or play on the netbook. They had a blast and it was totally worth the $8 to get in. I only wish that I had remembered to bring my camera with me to record their happy smiles!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Hot and Cold

It's hard to believe that two days ago it looked like this outside and was 45 degrees:

And today it looked like this outside and was 25 degrees:

Thankfully, my morning and evening commute was uneventful. I even got away with not driving - I carpooled! Today was also the last day of the first week of classes. I have a grueling schedule this semester, and I'm glad one week out of sixteen is d.o.n.e!

Tomorrow, sledding!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Worms

I spent much of my time over the holiday break reading for pleasure and it seems to have rubbed off on Grant. Now every evening, he constantly brings me books to read to him. He started out asking me to read the little board he's bringing me all of the oversized and long children's books that we have in our extensive collection. Occasionally he even brings me one of my own paperbacks, saying "book, book" and handing it to me.

I'm not complaining though. I'm very happy to sit and read to Grant and Liam in the evening. It is one of the few things that they can both do with me and it is very relaxing for all of us.

So here's to a good book! Or books!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

Today was the beginning of a New Year and mother nature seemed to know it. The wind came up something fierce and following it was a snow squall. This winter hasn't been much of a winter...warm and wet with little snow. So while I wouldn't normally welcome snow, this little storm was a welcomed change for the new year.

We spent a quiet day at home playing and tidying. Sean and I both managed to empty a few boxes of stuff we had been storing in the basement. I also decided to finally let go of a bunch of clothes that no longer fit me. I packed five bags of items to donate in the car this afternoon. It felt good to accomplish that. Sean and I also took apart the TV and media equipment, cleaned everything, and then re-hooked it back up in a better way. We also resurrected the PS2, so now we can play those old games as well as our Wii games.

The New Year promises to be a good one, with some wonderful news from my family. My sister just got engaged to her boyfriend! I know they will be very happy together! And one of my cousins just announced that she and her husband are expecting their first child July 30th!

This evening, Grant and Liam and I all sat on the couch reading our own books. It is so lovely that they enjoy reading as much as Sean and I do. I'm going to spend one more evening scrapbooking before my break is over. So much to do...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 In Review

Usually I take a few moments to reflect on the year on New Years eve and write in my journal. I have no idea where my journal is, so I decided to do my reflecting here.

The past year has been pretty good for us. Sean has continued working for his new office and enjoys it most of the time. I received a one of a time chance when I was offered a post-doc this summer. Commuting has been difficult, but we've made due. Sean helps so much with the boys! We have found much help from our neighbors too, who watch Liam for us after school. Liam enjoys having the extra time to spend with his friend, Joshua. John, Nicole, Joshua, Lidia, and Penny spent part of the morning with us today in fact!

Not much else has changed, really. They boys continued to grow and amaze me. I feel very fortunate for all that we have and all of the opportunities that we have been granted. All in all, 2011 has been a good year and I hope that fate will continue to be kind to us in 2012.

Fly Boyz

Yesterday we took the boys to the Air Zoo. The trip was nearly perfect. The boys were very excited, but behaved pretty well. Both Grant and Liam enjoyed themselves looking at planes, cycles, cars, and misc NASA stuff. Grant loved playing with the toggle switches in the gemini capsule. They were both brave enough to ride some of the amusement park rides with me. Grant flew biplanes and rode on the ferris wheel. Liam rode those two plus the spinning balloon ride. We couldn't have asked for a better day!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Very Merry and Very Early Christmas Morning

Christmas began very early this year, when a super psyched Liam woke everyone up at 4:30am! Sean and I relented and got up at 5am. We came done to find that Santa had been busy the night before and left ample gives under the tree and in stockings. We started with stockings and then allowed the boys to open the few gifts from mommy and daddy. Then it was time for some breakfast. I made homemade blintzes. Yum!

But one we had food in our bellies, it was difficult to stay awake. So Sean and Grant and I all laid down for a nap between 7am and 9am. After a little rest, we came back to continue opening gifts from Santa. After all the packages were open, mommy got busy building the Lego sets that both Grant and Liam got for Christmas. We spent the day playing and eating Christmas treats!

In the evening, we visited our neighbor, Peggy, to spread a little Holiday cheer. She has had a rough year and I knew it would brighten her day to see the boys. She also treated them to a gift. Grant got a see-and-say, Liam got a hexbug and an ornament. They are sure lucky boys!

The day after Christmas, we received a visit from Grandma Kathie and Great Grandma! The boys had lots of fun showing the grandma's their new toys and going out for a Chinese lunch. We are so glad they could come spend the day with us!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Fun

Today we had thought about taking the boys on the Polar Express Train ride, but we were all in no mood for traveling. So we decided to go to the City Market's holiday event in town instead. It turned out to be a great decision, because there were lots of fun events going on. Liam and Grant got to both visit with Father Christmas, listen to live harp and violin music, pet ponies, and decorate a giant ginger bread house. We also tasted real roasted chestnuts - super yummy! Upon leaving Sean and I entered a drawing for a free dinner and the kids got goodie bags. Later when we got home, we received a call that we had won the drawing for the free dinner!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December Day

It's hard to believe that Grant is already 17 months old today! He had a rough week, particularly, yesterday, when he had a flu bug. The poor guy woke up sick and couldn't eat anything all day without getting sick. We spent the day together, snuggled, and had low-key play. I just hope that I don't end up getting it after cleaning up all the messes. Today he was feeling better and could hold down some food.

Liam also apparently had a rough day yesterday. Sean met him at the bus stop to pick him up and the bus driver told Sean that Liam had been miss-behaving and was getting written up. In particular, he supposedly hit a boy who sits behind him. After talking with Liam we learned that the other child had been harassing Liam - that doesn't excuse his behavior, however. The big concern is that if Liam continues his behavior, he will be suspended form the bus for three days. This will make things quite difficult for Sean and I. What a way to start off December...

On the plus side, Grant is talking up a storm - I can actually have a conversation with him now! This evening I got out the peg board and he spent quite some time playing with it. He nearly filled the board with 100 pegs! Later, Liam and Grant were both making music with daddy. Grant and Liam were having fun playing with the little keyboard. I love it when they are creative. :) I told Liam that I would let him take piano lessons if he learned how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb. I taught him the first part of the song. He was very pleased with himself and I think he may actually be determined to learn it. Liam was also inspired to draw an orchid, because Sean and I were working on our orchid artwork for next year's competition. Liam's drawing was very impressive for a 5 year old!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Little Wordy Guy

Grant has really discovered the power of words and has been using them. Today alone I heard him say: bye, kitty, more, apple, horse, chew-chew, train, draw, night-night, and probably more that I missed. He also has been showing that he wants to help and be a big boy. On Tuesday he pulled out the cat food and carried it over to the cat's bowl. So together we fed the cat and then he put the food back. I praised him for being such a great helper and he just beamed with pride. He's helped me feed kitty every day this week, since. When it's time for us to clean up toys, he likes to sign the clean up song and usually pitches in with picking up toys. In the past few weeks, Grant has also been using spoons to feed himself. He does a pretty good job at it too!

This morning Grant and Liam and I played with trains while Sean made breakfast. I made them a fun track for their trains. The boys actually played really nice together. Later, after we took care of chores, I took the boys to the horse barns and we fed them apples.

Yesterday, I hung out with Grant, since daycare was closed. He and I went to the Impression 5 museum. Grant had so much fun at the museum - he was giggling and squealing with excitement. I ran into another mom, who I used to see at a mom group when Liam was little. She has a little girl a few months younger than Grant and a son a few months younger than Liam. Grant and the little girl played with blocks together. Grant did a very nice job putting duplo blocks together in a small tower.

Grant also weaned this week! November 1st was the last day he nursed. He has nursed less and less for some time. We made it down to just once a day and now that he quit, he doesn't seem to notice. I feel a little guilty for weaning him so much earlier than Liam, but it's just much harder to keep it up with me working long hours and being away from home so much. And then there has also been the issue of recurring thrush, which has made nursing quote miserable for me. So on the whole, I am relieved to be done with nursing.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Treat! Yes, today Liam and Grant went out begging for candy. Grant really got into the swing of things. He was talking up a storm. This evening was the first time he ever said "trick-er" and "thank you". He also said bye-bye several times, which he started saying for the first time last week.

When we got home, Liam helped hand out candy and Grant played with all our mini pumpkins. Then we went in to eat some candy. Grant really enjoyed his chocolate. I don't even know how many Liam ate, but I was relieved to see that some of what he ate included fruit snacks. :)

This morning, I helped out at Liam's school party. The kids all paraded through the school and showed off their costumes. Liam behaved very well and I think he enjoyed having me around. He is really lucky to have such great teachers and a good class of kids. They all seemed to get along pretty well for five year olds!