Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Some Thanksgiving weekend pictures

Today was the first time that I got to finally download some of the pictures we took over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The first batch are from Thanksgiving at my grandparents new house. We traditionally celebrate Thanksgiving at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Mara's house, with my aunts extended family too. This year we kept up the tradition with our two families, but moved it to my grandparents very spacious and lovely new home. One of the highlights of the house is the game room, complete with a pool table that my grandparents have had for many years. All of the kids (young and old) enjoyed playing with the pool table. Liam had the most fun climbing inside of furniture.

Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to the Evans family Thanksgiving this year. The dinners were planned at almost the same time in two different cities. And to make things more complicated, our car's "check engine" light came on as we were leaving my family. We are sorry that we missed it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, we spent a good part of the weekend feeling downright miserable with ear aches. But on Saturday we did go spend some more time with my grandparents. We tried to keep Liam busy with a little backpack filled with toys and books. Liam loves running around in their big house. It's mostly toddler safe (only because things are not yet unpacked), but leave it to Mr. Destruct-o to break one of my grandma's dishes. :( Oopps! Sorry!

We decided to go home on Saturday evening. This turned out to be a good idea, because it gave us the time to get out the Christmas tree on Sunday. After Liam went down for a nap, I busily trimmed the tree. Sean decided to finish installing our stereo system, so now we can listen to music again. I finished the transformation of the house into a Christmas wonderland this Tuesday. I'll post some more pictures once I get a chance to take some.

Of course Liam loves the tree and can't help but want to touch it. I'm glad we decided to put unbreakable ornaments on the tree this year. It turned out that I had enough cookie cutters and existing ornaments that I didn't need the pine cones that Liam and I collected after all. I decided to used them for other decorations elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kick me when I'm down.

I've been struggling with what to post about life lately. I grew up hearing "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything". Hence, my lack of posts has really been hitting me and my family hard. Sometimes it can be a reach to say anything positive, even when Liam is just as cute and funny as ever, because of all the other crap that's flying about. So I'm giving up on being positive and just getting some stuff off my chest.

It's bad enough that my father died out of the blue this summer. But the fates decided that they had more in store for us. In the past month I learned that my mother's little brother (my uncle) has lymphoma. Ok...take a deep breath. Maybe there is a curse on people named Michael or something. mother found out that she has colon cancer after a routine check-up. This is her second go at cancer. The first time was seven years ago and resulted in a full hysterectemy. This time the doctors are calling for surgery again, and my mother is understandibly nervous about another major surgery.

After someone close to you dies suddenly, it's normal to have irrational thoughts that other people in your life will die suddenly. You start to feel like nothing is safe. You tell yourself that these thoughts are irrational until everything goes to total shit like it is. As if all the people around me being sick wasn't enough, even my cars decided that this was best time to run amuck too. On top of that, when I visited my doctor yesterday for a ear ache, he told me that he suspects I have kidney stones...more good news!

Sigh...that's why I say life is kicking me while I'm down.

Monday, November 26, 2007


We've been extremely busy the past few days over the holiday, so this is just a short post to tide you over until I get a chance to really write more. Wednesday night we went down to Indiana to stay with my mom and sister. The weekend had it's ups and downs. The up - seeing my grandparents new home, the down - being reminded of all the misfourtune that our family has suffered this year and the three of us being pretty ill most of the weekend. I think Liam is better today, the doctor agreed. I, on the other hand, have both an inner ear infection and a UTI. UGH!

More updates to come...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It's been four months...

...since my dad passed away. I am still coming to terms with the loss of my father, especially as the holidays approach. I find myself constantly fighting the urge to buy him Christmas gifts whenever I happen to see something I know he would have liked.

To get my mind off of this sad anniversary, I took Liam to the Michigan Historical Museum in downtown Lansing. Admission is free and we only had to pay 75 cents for parking. I figured it would be a good place to take Liam because it's a large space for him to run around in and is fairly toddler-proof (except the Corvette exhibit, which he climbed into!). All of the middle and high school kids who were there with us thought Liam was very cute. Liam had a blast and no one cared how loud he got in his excitement.

When we came home, Liam was feeling a little under the weather, so I tried to get him to take a second nap. He fought it, but eventually settled down. I made us a mini Thanksgiving dinner - complete with roasted chicken, seasoned roasted red and sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and green beans. When Liam woke he enjoyed his dinner - especially the chicken, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. After dinner I made chocolate chip cookies too. We went to bed with happy tummies tonight!

PS - I'll try to post more pictures from our trip to the museum later. Blogger is acting funny tonight.

Monday musings

On Monday we went to our usual Tot Time playgroup at the neighborhood center. Sara and Elli came too. Elli taunted Liam with wheat crackers...Elli was running around the gym with Liam following after her. I think Liam eventually ate her crackers. That's ok though, because I later feed Elli Liam's snack when he wasn't looking. The rest of our day was pretty uneventful. Liam took a good nap when we came home from playgroup. I took the opportunity to work on his play kitchen that I am making him for Christmas. I still have a lot more work to do! I also started taking the old burnt-out lights off our Christmas tree. Later, we went to Lowes to buy some LED light sets. We are upgrading to LED lights because they last 10 times longer than regular lights and are 90% energy efficient. Of course they cost a lot more, but it will definitely be worth it! I've also gotta get cracking on making some toddler-safe ornaments for the tree.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Well, as you can see, I'm a little behind on posting. We've just been super busy lately. Last Sunday we continued our weekly race to keep up with the falling leaves. Finally we are starting to rake leaves from our own trees, not just the neighbors. It took 10 bags to clean up all the maple leaves in the front yard! As always, Liam was my little helper. He gets all excited when I get out the rakes. The weather was chilly but not too bad, so I dressed Liam in a sweatshirt that was his daddy's. He looked very cute in it and Sean thought it was funny to see Liam wearing something that he had worn so many years ago.

We've started a tradition of making homemade soup and bread every Sunday. I am finally getting some use out of my crock pot. I guess it takes being a mom to really appreciate being able to throw the ingredients into the pot at 7am and let it simmer all day long. The only problem is that you are maddeningly hungry by dinner time because you've been smelling the wonderful soup and bread cooking all day! This weekend we enjoyed french onion soup and whole wheat bread. The week before was potato soup and sourdough bread. Yum!

My little artist

Liam loves to draw. Whenever he sees me using a pen, he wants to have it. I give him crayons and his own clip board with paper instead. He makes a very satisfied little noise every time he marks on the page. You can see an example of his drawings in middle, right of the photo (sorry, it's not the greatest photo and I was too lazy to hook up the scanner). He has also had the opportunity to make other artistic creations when we go to the Great Start gatherings. Last week they had materials for making a collage (it's on the bottom in the photo). He also got to "paint" a pumpkin shape with pant markers before Halloween (upper right). When he was in the toddler room at daycare, he painted leaves and they glued them on a paper tree (left). I framed the tree to display during the fall. It looks very nice in our living room.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Silver Bells

Every year Lansing has its Silver Bells in the City celebration. It includes a nighttime parade with lots of lights, plenty of hot chocolate vendors, and culminates in the lighting of the state tree with fireworks. We decided to brave the cold and go join in the festivities. We had a lot of fun walking around downtown and checking out some of the stores. We discovered a really nice fine art supply store and a comic book place that we didn't know about. The crowds got to be pretty crazy during the parade. Liam liked seeing the big draft horse pulling wagons and loved grooving to the marching bands. He also thought the lighted trucks were pretty neat, although he didn't like them honking their horns. We didn't stay to see the tree lighting because Liam was getting tired and a little too heavy for mommy and daddy to wear on their backs. But we sure had a fun time!


Liam loves to give kisses. He puckers up and goes "mmmaaa" when he gives a kiss. This week he started kissing some of his toys (in addition to giving mommy and daddy kisses). He will kiss his teddy bears and stuffed elephants. He also gave his toy train (his favorite toy this week) a kiss too! It is so gratifying to have such a loving child.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fun in the November Sun

Anyone who knows Michigan, knows that we don't see a lot of sun in the fall and winter. But we were lucky enough to have two mild and somewhat sunny days this week. Monday started out rainy and gray. Liam had his first dental appointment in the morning. It went pretty smoothly and Liam actually let them take a look at his teeth. He has 16 teeth in already!

After or trip to the dentist, we decided to take a trip to Grand Rapids to visit the John Ball Zoo, since daddy had the day off work. We took Liam to this zoo for the first time last fall and we really liked it. Even though it was kind of off season, we thought it would be a fun outing. While some of the animals were inside for the winter, we saw quite a few. Some of Liam's favorite were the penguins, fishes, farm animals, Bengal tiger, pygmy goats, and spider monkeys. Unfortunately, my aging camera didn't save some of the pictures to disk, so a few were lost. But here are a couple of the ones that did save.

Tuesday was an even nicer day. I took Liam to a couple local parks to collect pine cones for our Christmas tree decorations. Liam got very excited and every time I handed him a pine cone he would inhale in excitement and put it into the bag he was carrying. We also walked down to the river and looked at the water. When we came home, Liam helped me knock the bugs out of the pine cones. When daddy came home from work, we took a stroll down to the library and playground. Liam loves to swing!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A horse is a horse...

This weekend was super busy with lots of home improvement sorts of stuff. But on Saturday afternoon we did manage to meet up with Alissa and Ashtyn to go to the MSU horse farm. Liam has been very interested in animals lately and has started saying their names and making their sounds, so I thought he would really get a kick out of seeing the animals in person. Liam loved petting the horses! He also made friends with the "farm" cat that was out near the horse pens. The cutest thing was that Liam kept saying "mooo"...cows are his favorite farm animal and he hasn't yet got the hang of saying "neigh".

Friday, November 9, 2007

New hat for Liam

About a month ago I knitted three pairs of mittens for Liam. I've been meaning to make him matching hats for a while now, and started working on one this week. Here is the first hat. I am very please with the results and it fits him great!

Clipped the Curls

Well, I put off getting Liam's hair cut for quite some time...I enjoyed the shaggy look and the little curls in the back. But now that it's getting cold and dry here and his hair is constantly static-y. So I decided it was time to get his hair cut short. I took him to Olivia again. She's really amazing at cutting kids hair and can do it so fast. Here are his before and after shots...He looks like a totally different kiddo!

Kicking the leaves

The past couple days have been cool and overcast, but were still nice enough to spend some time outside in the backyard. Liam loves jumping into the piles of leaves and kicking around like he's making leaf-angels. Today he "helped" me rake leaves too. He looks so grown up in the second picture and like a child model...even though he's dressed head to toe in thrift store finds not designer clothes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wednesday Musings

This morning while Liam and I were going through our usual morning activities, Liam brought me one of his farm animal board books. He opened it to the cow page and said, "Cow, mooo". I don't think I ever been more proud of him (except when we went poopoo in the potty for the first time)! His verbal skills have been expanding by leaps and bounds in the past week. While visiting grandma he seemed to be more expressive than usual...perhaps he was trying to impress. Yesterday he heard our neighbor's dog barking and said "dog". He also pointed to the elephant painting in his room and tried to make an elephant trumpeting-sound. Other words that he has used pretty consistently are "more", "mom", "daddy", "kitty", "teddy", "bear", "GOat", and "up". He also growls like a bear, roars like a tiger, says "ruf-ruf" like a dog, and meows like a cat.

I took Liam to daycare today. When I got home I washed all the dishes that had been pilling up in my sink...I sure do miss having a dishwasher. After I finished, I was looking out my back door and happened to see a squirrel with a double chin. Yes, a double chin! This guy was not just fat, but rotund. Even his little squirrelly arms were fat! He was so big in fact, that I doubt he could have climbed a tree. He was busily digging around in the mulch looking for more nuts...I'm sure he's the one who ate my daffodil bulbs.

This afternoon I finally ventured my first try at making yogurt. I've been saying for months that I would do it, but just haven't had the time to look up how it was done and just do it! So I checked its progress a few minutes ago and it looked extremely lumpy - more like cottage cheese than yogurt. Now this could be because 1) its not done yet, 2) I didn't mix my "starter" yogurt into the milk well enough, or 3) I have indeed made cottage cheese and not yogurt. There are so many variables unaccounted for...perhaps I added the starter before the milk had cooled enough. I guess I'll check it again in the morning and hope for the best. Who knows what kind of culinary creation I end up with!?

Monday, November 5, 2007

French Food and Flower Gardens

We started our weekend in Fort Wayne by going to the local $1 theater with my mom on Friday night. I hate spending a lot for movie tickets, especially when I don't know if Liam will sit still for 15 minutes, let alone an hour! So the $1 theater seemed like a safe bet and they were playing Ratatouille. Surprisingly, Liam sat still and stayed awake through the whole thing! It was a really cute movie, although there were a couple of kinda scary scenes.

Saturday we went to PentaCon with my sister (see below).

Sunday, we went to the Botanical Gardens. We arrived a few minutes before it opened, so we took a stroll around downtown. Thankfully, it was such a lovely and sunny day. We stopped for lunch at our favorite gyro restaurant. Liam ate a super yummy spinach pie. Once in the gardens, Liam had fun looking at (and carrying away) all the pumpkins they had on display. He really liked the waterfall in the rainforest exhibit. Mommy had to coax him into a play tunnel that ended with a slide...this meant that I had to crawl down the tunnel with him...Ohhh, the crazy things you do for your children!

What a busy weekend! It's no surprise that Liam slept well on the drive home.

I spent my 15mo birthday at PentaCon

Over the weekend we went to visit family in Fort Wayne and also went to the gaming conventions known as PentaCon. Yes, we are that geeky!

Liam and I spent most of Saturday at PentaCon with my sister, Rae. Liam was quite a crazy toddler while he was there. It was tough to keep him under control. I spent most of my time running after him or feeding him snacks to keep us both sane. He did manage to take a couple hour nap, but it wasn't quite long enough for me to finish the "Wrath of Khan" game that I was playing. Overall, it was a lot of fun...though I really missed my dad (who never missed a convention while he was alive).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Trick or Treat (belated)

Last night was Halloween and as luck would have it, I had to work during trick or treat hours. So we took Liam briefly to the neighbor's houses before I had to go, mostly just to say "hi" and let them see Liam in his adorable outfit. Liam and daddy then handed out candy to other boys and girls...Liam got to see how important it was to give (not just receive) goodies.

Today was Liam's 15 month check-up. Dr. T said that Liam was growing and developing well. Liam measured in at 32 1/2 inches long and 25lbs 4oz. He's still in the upper percentiles, but has slowed down his growth a little bit.