Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thanks for the Generosity!

We all want to send a big THANK YOU to Sean's cousin Jill and her family! They sent us a ton of great toys and clothes. Joshua, now 10, generously gave Liam his wonderful Thomas train table (made by his grandpa), his huge train and tug boat collection, as well as a bunch of great books, wooden puzzles, and a couple dozen videos. They also gave us a bunch of 2T and 3T clothes for this winter, including several really nice winter coats. Thanks so much!!! I was going to ask for books and puzzles for Christmas gifts, but Liam is pretty well set! Liam is one lucky little boy!

Christmas Projects

I know, I is Halloween, so I shouldn't be writing about Christmas already. But I've been working on several hand-made Christmas gifts for Liam and I wanted to share some of the ones that I finished already. So far I'm very happy with the results.

The first gift is an activity book that teaches Liam about buttons, zippers, velcro and laces. I had a lot of fun making this out of scrap material. The only thing that I had to buy was a $2 zipper. I think it came out rather nice even though I only spent about 4 hours total working on it.

The other project that I'm still in the process of making is felt play food. So far I have a few things made including: one sunny-side-up egg; one pancake; a sandwich complete with tomato, lettuce, onion, and lunch meat; three carrots; an apple; and a cupcake with frosting. I made this food out of felted wool sweaters from the thrift store and inexpensive craft felt that I already had in my craft supplies.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

This Monday the 29th was Sean's birthday. It also happened to be the day that the contractor came to build our new shed. Sean was so excited. He stayed home from work and watched them build it. Here he is with Liam once it was done. The shed came with primer on it, but we will have to painted it some time this fall or next spring. Now Sean has his "man hut" where he can store his goodies and go work on projects.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Boo at the Zoo

This afternoon, Liam and I joined our friends Alissa and Ashtyn for the Boo at the Zoo event. It was beautiful and sunny and a little bit chilly...the perfect October day. Liam wore his Luke Skywalker costume again, since it seems to be his favorite.

I also managed to cobble together the rest of my Princess Leia costume. I stuffed brown pantyhose with batting and then stitched them into buns. Then I sewed the faux hair onto a cap I made from an old brown t-shirt. You can see the was highly entertaining! You should have seen the looks I got at the zoo, not to mention in the car on the way there!

We spent most of our time in the farm area. Liam wanted to feed the goats his candy. I somehow don't think tootsie rolls are part of their approved diet.

After the zoo, Liam and I took daddy out for his pre-birthday dinner. We went to our favorite Chinese restaurant and had quite a feast...dim sum and all!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Liam's Playspaces

About a month ago I ran across a great thread on about play spaces for your little ones. It got me thinking about what I wanted to do for Liam in our new house. We went from around 700 sqft to 1200 sqft, so we finally had room enough to give him places to play throughout the house. He has a place to play in nearly every room. His bedroom has this great overhang that makes a natural play space. We found a cute "road map" rug at IKEA that perfectly fit the space and then added cubbies from an auction and a shelf that we salvaged. I still want to paint clouds on the walls and hang some curtains to really enclose the play area and make it more fun.

Our dinning room is quite big (compared to the 8 by 10 ft one we had in the old place), so I made a play/reading nook for Liam in one corner. He has a bookshelf with toys and plenty of soft and board books to look at. There is a little rug for him to sit on and a rocking chair to cuddle in.

In the living room Liam has several baskets of toys under the couch. He can pulls these out any time. It's also a great place to store his toy truck and pound-a-peg toy. The baskets make picking up really easy that even Liam will help sometimes!

Our office is fascinating to Liam, but can be a dangerous place too. I made another reading/play nook on this small futon. He has his own basket of books here too.

Once I finish his play kitchen Liam will also have a place to play in there as well. Hopefully I can get that project done before Christmas. I am also making play food out of felt and fabric scraps.

Haunted Housewarming Party

Today was quite a busy day for Liam. This morning we prepared for our housewarming party. Then grandma Bev and grandpa John stopped by for a short time in the afternoon. Liam had just woken from a nap and was a little timid at first, but then was very happy to see grandma and grandpa. They took this picture of us in our party costumes.

Before we knew it our guests started arriving. Many of our friends with toddlers came. I think at one point there were eight toddlers wreaking havoc on the house! But everyone and everything survived. Our elderly neighbors to the south of us had fun watching the little ones run around...I think it was the most fun then had in years! Many of Sean's friends from work also came. It was definitely a FULL house and lots of fun! Everyone brought such good food too! Here are a few pictures of the festivities. We had a monkey, prairie girls, a clown, super man, pippi longstocking, a pirate, and even Aurthur Dent.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Force is strong in this one.

Today while at a playgroup at the Library I heard about a trick-or-treating event in downtown East Lansing this evening. So I quickly put the finishing touches on Liam's Luke Skywalker costume and we all went out for some fun.

I was a little worried that the costume wouldn't come off very well...especially since I only invested $1 into the making of it. I used a shirt I bought at the thrift store, which I cut open and then sewed a new collar into using scraps from an old t-shirt. Then Liam wore a cream pair of fleece pants and carried Sean's toy light-saber. We got SO many compliments for the costume. Plus it helps that he is such a ham! It was gratifying to hear people laugh and remark at how cute Liam looked toddling around with his light-saber in hand. (If only I had gotten together my Leia costume!)

Liam really got into trick-or-treating. After stopping at a couple places, he quickly understood how things worked. He would get all excited and run up to the next store and even try to bypass the line of kids because he was small enough to get around them. He was VERY possessive of his bag of goodies, even though he didn't know what he was getting, he knew that they were his.

Chilly Man

Tuesday night I made chilly for dinner. Liam REALLY liked it! He gobbled it down like there was no tomorrow. He even managed to eat some of the chilly off of a spoon instead of just shoveling it into his mouth with his hands (like in the picture). He has started getting much better hand-eye coordination.

Liam liked the chilly so much that I gave him the leftovers for dinner on Wednesday night. The only drawback is that chilly makes for really icky diapers...and I mean Icky!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Critters in my pants!

Last night, as I was getting ready for work, Liam came to see me with all these critters in his pants. I just couldn't stop laughing. Daddy put them there of course, but Liam thought it was a load of fun!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Apple Butter Festival

The weather couldn't have been more gorgeous this weekend. Unfortunately, we spent much of our time working on the house and at the home improvement store, so we didn't get to enjoy as much as we should have. But Liam and I did manage to go to the Apple Butter Festival this afternoon. Unlike last year, when we had to wear heavy coats and hats, this year we just wore light shirts.

After buying the obligatory apple butter, we briefly ran into our friends Alissa and Ashtyn before heading for a walk on the trails. We didn't walk too far, but Liam sure had a great time. He had to explore every interesting log and rock on the side of the trail. I took lots of cute photos...aren't we just two ragamuffins!

I also reflected on how much Liam has changed since our first trip to the festival last year. Then he was just a couple months old...a tiny baby. We took him for a walk on the trails in a stroller. We were still struggling with his GERD and he was very colicky because of it. Now he is a little person, running and playing and exploring the how time flies!

Friday, October 19, 2007

We weathered the weather.

Last night was quite a long and turbulent one. The tornado sirens went off at least a half-dozen times! Luckily, nothing touching down in Lansing, but the nearby town of Williamston wasn't so lucky. In addition to the storms, Liam and I are also weathering earaches. Now that he is a little older we are trying to wait to see if it can heal on its own before we resort to antibiotics (especially since we had so many side-effects with the antibiotics last year). So far so good.

Liam has been such a little smarty. This afternoon he said "again" when I asked him if he wanted to do another somersault. Last night he told me he was ready for "bed". He's also said "clothes" and "goat" this week too. If I could just get him to sit down and look at books with me...I know he's learning language, but I'm concerned that he might begetting behind.

He's also quite the helper. This morning he picked up Sean's socks on the floor and I asked him to put them in the laundry basket and he did. Later after I dressed him for the day, he put is jammies in his basket. He will also put his toys away in their basket (with a little encouragement). This afternoon he found his boots in the wardrobe and got them out. He brought them to me so I could put them on him. He had fun wearing them around the house. He also knew to put them away when he was done with them, just like he does with his shoes.

One last funny story. Last night Sean fed Liam some hummus. When he was done, Liam's hands were covered with hummus. I teased him when he came over to me and said "yuk, don't touch me with your sticky hands!". Liam immediately came running at me with his hands outstretched. He knew exactly what I said and was teasing me back.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Swing Low

Yesterday afternoon was a brief return to seasonal temperatures. So the whole family spent some time outside. Daddy worked on the snowblower that we bought at a garage sale for only $10, while I installed the toddler swing that I bought last Saturday. Liam had such a great time swinging that he giggled and laughed. Later in the evening, before I headed to work, we took a walk to the library to rent some more movies. Liam had spent a good portion of the morning at the community center (where the library is) playing in the gym. On Monday's and Tuesday's they have "tot time" in the gym. You pay just a $1 per child and they can play all they want in the large gym filled with toddler toys. Liam had a blast. He found the sign-in clip board and pretended to write on the was so cute. He also liked the little bicycle they had there. Most of us mom's brought our knitting projects and got a chance to chat.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dog's on Fire.

Well the weather is officially COLD here. We went from record highs to below normal temps in just one day. The first couple days we decided to tough it out and not turn the heat on...just in case the warm weather returned. But, alas, no warm weather. So we turned the heat on. Now the previous owners had five, yes, FIVE dogs and they must not have been big on sweeping or any sort of cleaning for that matter, 'cause we filled our shop vac with dog hair from the heating vents when we first moved in. Even with all that sweeping, it still smelled like burning dog when the heat kicked in. Yuk!

Liam has had a bit of a cold and now I have it too. But, we are otherwise fine. Thursday Liam and I spent a couple hours at the Fenner Nature Center interpretive building. It was too cold to walk on the trails, but the had all sorts of fun things to look at and play with in the building. Liam liked watching the turtles and playing with their puppets. We also met a 2-year old toddler and his mommy there. Liam beg quite a few of their raspberries off of them.

Friday was a crawlers gathering at the birth center. I am definitely realizing that Liam is too big for these. Some of us with toddlers made plans for an alternative meeting place. I think the second crawlers group in October will be our last. I will sure miss our times there!

Saturday was the Mom2mom sale in Haslett. Alissa and I split a table. There was a pretty good crowd and I was happy with what I sold. I also did a little shopping while I was there. I purchased a out-door swing and also a little basketball/baseball toy for Liam. Overall, I retrained myself from getting more.

Saturday night, our friend and former neighbor, Chris, came over for lasagna dinner. Chris brought a chocolate bar for Liam. I wasn't too pleased with the idea of him eating chocolate, but he loved it. Unfortunately, he started burping up chocolate later and even spit up some of it. :( Today Liam and I played a lot while daddy painted with Chris.

Liam has such a sense of humor now and has been doing a lot of really amazing things lately. He thinks it's funny to give me a kiss and tries to do it every chance he gets. On Thursday night he picked up his dinner plate and blew on it too cool it off. Yesterday he pointed to the ghost on a Halloween blanket that I have setting out. I told him it was a ghost and that ghosts say "Boooo". He then pointed at the ghost again and said "Go, booo." Today he grabbed my hankie and pretended to blow into it. Later he pointed to a picture of an erupting volcano that is on his play rug. I told him it was a volcano and that the volcano was going "boom". He repeated me and later pointed to it and said "boom" again.

It is such a relief that he is communicating again. He's been boycotting signing as of late and even refuses to use a sign for "milk". Consequently, there have been many more tantrums because we can't always figure out what he wants. I hope that this was all just temporary due to teething or something and that he is now focusing on communication once again.

PS - I almost forgot that Liam pretended to give me raspberries on my stomach this afternoon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Assorted Activities

Well, I have no excuse for my belated posting other than a hectic life. The past few nights Liam has been extremely clingy and I couldn't get any time to post anything. On Monday night (when the weather was unseasonably hot) Liam even managed to kick daddy out of bed. Sean went to sleep on the couch, away from the hot and cranky toddler. Without daddy there, Liam had only me to snuggle with. I think teething is the culprit again. All 4 of his canines are coming in at once, just like his molars did two months ago. Right now both of his upper canines are poking through and the lower ones are swollen.

So to recap a little...Last Thursday was a warm and sunny day, so Liam and I spent some time outside in the backyard. We raked a little and also planted some daffodil bulbs. Liam helped dig a hole and planted one of the bulbs himself!

On Friday the family went to stay with my Aunt Jan & Uncle Scott in Goshen. They were kind enough to put us up for a couple days while I attended a conference in nearby South Bend at Norte Dame University. While I listened to boring papers and later gave a boring presentation of my own, Liam and daddy played in my aunt and uncle's large yard, went for walks around the neighborhood, went yard sale shopping, and also went to Potawatomi Park Zoo. They claimed that the zoo was a disappointment, but I'm sure it was better than what I was doing! :)

Saturday night we drove down to Fort Wayne from South Bend. It was a long drive, but Liam held up pretty well. I entertained him by acting goofy and singing to music. We stayed the night and most of Sunday at my mom's house. My mom and I spent some time looking for some of my old toys for Liam. I was so thrilled when I found my ancient See-and-Say still working...Liam fixed that after playing with it for about 5 minutes. What a bummer! The rest of my toys faired better, however, and it was nice to see him enjoying things that I remembered playing with.

Monday Liam and I went to the Natural Family group at the birth center. He loves playing with all the babies and toddlers there and get so excited as soon as he sees the building. It will be a shame when he outgrows these play-groups.

Tuesday, we met Lisa, her daughter Lesli, Eva, and her daughter Hannah at the Potter Park Zoo. It was so much fun because all of the kiddos are now walking. Liam was racing this way and that way all over the zoo! Here you can see the three of them pausing briefly at the Ostriches (From left to right: Lesli, Liam, and Hannah). Things got really exiting at the when we went to see the baby snow leopard...he kept pouncing at the trio. Unfortunately, Liam was oblivious to the excitement because he turned around every time the leopard pounced.

Today, Liam got to paint while in the toddler room at daycare. They were making paper trees and the kiddos got to paint in cutouts of leaves. Sean picked Liam up from daycare, so I didn't get to see the finished project, but I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Reconneted to the world wide web...

Yesterday our dsl service was finally connected. Now I can update you on life with Liam. It has been busy, as always. Liam is really a mover and a shaker now. He can run, walk backwards, dance in circles, and stamp his feet. Consequently, it is getting harder and hard to take pictures of him. Hence, this shot of him scurrying away from me in our recently (mostly) unpacked office.

Last weekend we took a nice road trip around central Michigan. We stopped at a local tourist trap, Uncle John's Cider mill. It was complete craziness, but we stayed just long enough to get a shot of Liam sitting on this huge pumpkin. While we were out and about we spotted a place that builds sheds and other out-buildings. Sean wanted to take a look at their sheds. Liam and I played in this Victorian playhouse. Liam had so much fun that he didn't want to go home!