Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beat the Heat.

Today was a scorcher...at least for Michigan. I biked to work and ended up beating the guys home by about a half hour. When daddy and Liam arrived, I took Liam to the paint-your-own pottery studio down the street while daddy made dinner. I wanted to pick up an item for guests to decorate/sign at Liam's up-coming birthday party. Liam found a small train, big surprise, and I let him paint it while I made arrangements to take a plate & paints home with us. I watched him paint. He has pretty amazing control of a paint brush. He would dip in the paint and daub paint here and there with some precision. He chose the paint colors - green, blue, and orange. I am thinking of incorporating his bas relief train into the decorative plate somehow....hmmmm

After dinner, we went back outside. It was very hot, inside and out. But outside we had the advantage of filling the kiddie pool. Liam was very excited to play in the water. He helped us fill it with the hose and then had a blast stomping, splashing, and pouring water. When I brought him a small watering can, he scooped water and took it over to water the plants in the garden. It was very cute! But after a while, it started to get messy when he began pouring the water all over the yard and making mud. Oh, well...thank goodness it was bath night!

Daddy gave Liam a bubbly bath. When he was done, Liam and mommy snuggle on the couch for a while. Then we read a bedtime story. After the story, Liam started humming. Then he asked for a "song". He wanted me to sing my usual lullaby. It was so sweet that he asked. Now I know that he does appreciate it, even if I'm not that great of a signer.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Road Trip

Friday and Saturday were pretty much taken up by a yard sale and various chores. But Liam was ecstatic to see his grandma pull into the driveway on Saturday morning. She hung out with us during the yard sale and then helped us take what was left to be donated. Afterwards, Mommy made a picnic dinner to take to Potter Park. The weather was beautiful and Liam could hardly wait to play on the playground in the picnic area. He could climb up to the big tornado slide just like the older kids...but it was more fun to have grandma pick him up! Liam played for a little while and then we walked over to the zoo entrance. We had planned to go to the zoo after dinner, but they closed just as we came to the gates. Bummer, we went home instead. We were all pretty tired from a day of hard work anyway.

On Sunday we decided to take a road trip to Grand Rapids and go to the John Ball Zoo. It is our favorite zoo in Michigan. Even though it isn't very big, it has great exhibits and a beautiful, parklike setting. We took a slightly different path than usual and started out at the Australian animals exhibit. Liam spent much of him time playing on the wooden train (big surprise). Eventually we persuaded him to go pet some goats and sheep. We also found a chicken who was willing to let us hold her. Liam got to feed a budgie in the aviary. He also put his hands in the water with baby stingrays. Liam had a potty break while we were in the aquarium building - that was only the second time he used a public toilet and he did very well! We got a small glimpse of the Lions in the new African exhibit area. And petted some more goats; this time, noisy African pygmy goats. Mommy's back was hurting and the day was getting pretty hot, so we decided to head home before we saw all of the zoo. We'll just have to come back again some time! What a fun road trip with grandma!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thank you, thank you!

Our boy finally started saying thank you! He said it once our twice last week, but now he says it all the time (with some reminding of course!).

I also wanted to post a picture of the teepee that I made for Liam's birthday. I wanted him to have a "play house" sort of structure, but I also wanted it to be portable and easily stored. I made it so that it could be folded up and washed. The posts are removable. I put a floor in because I needed it to stand up without putting the posts into the ground - that way he can play with it outside or inside.

On the back of the teepee is a fun train appliqué that I found at the fabric store. I am please with the finished product. Hopefully he will enjoy it!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sandy Boxy.

We finally finished this project. As usual, it required no less than three additional trips to the hardware store to complete, but at least it's done. Poor Liam only got about 5 minutes of play in before we left for dinner. :) But it was still a big hit!

Geocache for Dad.

This morning the rain was still falling and Liam was still chasing the cat. Thankfully the rain dissipated around mid morning and we were able to go out for a while. One of the things that we did to commemorate my father was to "hide" a geocache in is honor. Earlier in the week I had checked out a potential spot to hide it, but when we tried to put it there this morning, we were disappointed to discover that the container that I had was too big to fit. So we decided to try another location and were successful. Later in the day I logged in the cache - when I last checked, two people had already found the cache!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hair Scare

Liam's hair has been getting more and more unruly as of late (much like Liam himself!), so Sean finally took him to the barber today. Before they went, I asked Liam if he wanted to go to the barber to get his hair cut? He said "Barber?". I told him that the barber would got "snip-snip" and cut his hair. He said "barber go snip-snip". It was the cutest thing ever to hear him say "barber"! You can see the before picture of Liam's hair - he looks like David Tennant as Doctor Who!

Here is Liam after the barber did her magic! He might actually look respectable if he'd keep is tongue in his mouth! :)

Other than a short trip out to run errands and stopping at a few yard sales, we were pretty much stuck inside today. Liam loved the pajamas that we found at the yard sale so much, that he wanted to put them on over his clothes (and mind you, it was a very hot a muggy day! Liam went a little stir-crazy being stuck in the house. He cashed the cat around and clambered through his tunnel for a while, but still had too much energy to be inside.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Fountain

This past Sunday I watched a movie called "The Fountain". It was serendipity that I happened to check this particular movie out of the library and watch it the day before my deceased father's birthday. The movie was breathtakingly beautiful. It was about death and rebirth - how in many ways these things are interconnected. While this week has been a difficult one for me personally, as the first anniversary of my father's death approaches, Liam has been quite a godsend through it all.

Liam has been exceptionally chatty. He is trying out all sorts of new words now. Sometimes he parrots them back at us, other times he tries using them on his own. He has been particularly fond of the word "no" lately. He started saying it for the first time about two weeks ago. But now he is using it to assert his independence and will. He has also been signing a lot. He signs a song that includes the words "car", "beep-beep", and "go"...I'm not quite sure if this is a song that he learned at school or one that he made up himself. Whenever I complement him on his singing he laughs and gives me a great big smile.

The weather has been brutally hot the past few days, so Wednesday night we decided to go to the water park with dinner. I made a few things at home and we picked up some more grub at the neighborhood market. Of course Liam was too excited about playing in the splash pad to eat his dinner...so off we went to get wet. I called our friends Alissa and Ashtyn and they were able to join us there. We also ran into Caden and his mommy and daddy. We knew Caden from the Great Start play groups that we used to go to before I started working full time. After Liam got his fill of playing in the water, he shared part of Ashtyn's burrito. By the time we left it was getting quite cloudy and looked like it would storm. Thankfully for mommy and daddy Liam fell asleep before the bad weather arrived.

Monday, July 14, 2008


The family had a pretty low-key weekend. After the usual chores and gardening, we invited our friends Alissa and Ashtyn over for lasagna dinner on Saturday. Once dinner was over, we went outside to enjoy the patio. The kiddos took turns riding the tricycle and scribbled with chalk. It was very gratifying to finally enjoy the fruit of all our labors - we have truly transformed the yard!

On Sunday we joined Dan, Annie, and Aidan for Aidan's 2nd birthday at a local park. Even though it had been a while since Liam had seen Aidan, they played very well together. When I asked Liam if he remembered Aidan he shook his head "yes". The funny thing about the party was that nearly all the women attending were very pregnant!

Liam knows all about parties now. I told him that he would soon have a birthday party too. This morning I told Liam that it was grandpa Michael's birthday (he would have been 58 today). We sang "Happy Birthday" together and looked at grandpa's picture to remember him.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Wheels on the Bus

Today Liam went on a "field trip" at school. He and his classmates got to ride a city bus through town and back to school. Since his class is nearly all boys, they are currently obsessed with wheeled things. The kiddos had a real blast! I am told that Liam was all smiles and pointed out all the cars, bikes, and trucks that he saw on the bus. I am glad that his teachers had such a good idea and that Liam had such a great time. Eventually I might get a copy of some of the photos they took on the bus ride and I will post them to share.

Today is the first day that I felt somewhat human in quite some time. Liam and I both caught bacterial meningitis. I was really hit hard because I wasn't able to get to the doctor right away. Now that I finally have some antibiotics I am slowly recuperating.

Liam has been very talkative lately. He comes out with new words every day. One of his word today: satellite. He's also started counting with me. While I was counting to ten, he said "four" and "six" before I said them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Holey Moley!

Last night, I was feeling bad, so Liam and I read books in bed for a while. He was so cute, pointing out the cars and trains in the pictures. We also talked about the people, pointing out body parts, who was the mommy and daddy and boy and such. Every day he does something new to surprise me...he noticed that I had spots on my arms. He pointed to one of my (many) moles and said "owie". I told him that it wasn't an owie spot, but a spot called a "mole". He then proceeded to look for all the moles on my body and then daddy's body. I asked him if he had any moles. He was upset that he couldn't find any...I told him that he was probably better off. ;-)

In other news, Liam can go down the stairs standing and facing forward all by himself. He still prefers to hold my hand, but doesn't have to anymore. He also figured out how to peel stickers off pages on his own too. One of his favorite pastimes is peeling and sticking stickers.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Showing Our Colors

Liam turned 23 months on last Thursday, the day after we laid my dear grandfather to rest. Unfortunately for Liam, he spent the day feeling pretty bad. I found out from daycare that Liam was exposed to a child with HIB - a bacterial form of meningitis. I took him to the doctor to get some antibiotics. I was just beginning to feel bad myself, but I didn't get a chance to see the doctor.

Friday morning we went to my mom's lake cottage. I felt pretty sick all day, but managed to join in a little. We walked around the lake and stopped at a yard sale. Liam amused us with his patriotic "hat" that he made at school (check out his cool socks too!). He also played with a pretend firecracker that he and I made, which was a decorated paper towel roll stuffed with sparkling red, white, and blue pom-pons. He made the pom-pons "pop" out the firecracker and then stuffed them back in again.

Most of our time was spent talking and lounging around outside. The weather was really nice, but a little chilly for July. Even so, Liam did wade in the lake for a while. He had lots of fun splashing mommy and grandma with water. In the evening we watched the neighbor's fireworks. Liam was a little worried by the noisy ones, but we reassured him that they were "fun booms".

Saturday morning, Liam and I went for a paddle with grandma in our canoe. Before we got around the lake, my aunt, uncle and cousins, grandma and aunt Chris arrived. We spent a little time with them before heading home. I was too sick to be much fun.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Memorial for Larry, Liam's great-grandfather

Grandpa always said that there was nothing more beautiful than a tall woman, standing straight and proud. He would know, because he married a tall woman and had a family of tall daughters and granddaughters.

I cherished the time I spent working on the farm with him – having deep conversations while pulling weeds, or riding on the scorching hot fender of a tractor. I learned the satisfaction of hard work and share his enthusiasm for gardening.

I never would have attempted to remodel my bathroom or build a patio if it wasn’t for the confidence in myself that I leaned while helping him in the garage and around the farm. It was often a process of trial and error as I figured out which tool was what, but I was a quick study. And like my father, grandpa taught me that girls were just as capable as boys.

Grandpa is probably best known for his stories about his childhood, the war, going to college, and his work. I am sure that we all know the one about his trials communicating with the foreman at a mill in Italy. Or how he targeted planes with “stereoscopic vision”. If had a nickel for every time he told a story I would be very rich, but nonetheless I am richer for hearing about all his adventures and the interesting life he lead.

His stories about college impressed upon me how important it was work hard in school. I know that he was proud of his children and grandchildren for going to college.

When it came to recycling, grandpa was way ahead of his time. He could make all sorts of cleaver things out of odds and ends. He had an artistic streak and made bits of folk art – like painting flowers on an old milk can or making the perfect stool for weeding the garden.

I feel fortunate that I was able to get to know my grandfather so well, especially when many people in my generation lost touch with their families. Grandpa taught me many things and much of who I am is thanks to him.

With love,

Me on grandpa's lap (July, 1979).