Saturday, August 25, 2007

Working at "The Dirt Pile"

If you look closely, you'll see bright green poking out of his shorts. Yes, that is an underwear band. Despite my ongoing battle to suppress my worry about his lack of interest in potty training, and the thought that he wouldn't be able to attend preschool without at least some of this skill, this week he has actually agreed to put on underwear and even today agreed to the Diego underwear I've had for months-ones that he would beg and cry to not wear! John caught him using the toilet this morning (with the lid down unfortunately-we'll work on that one later!) and he went again later on his own, too. A week before school is to start and he's at last making some progress.

Thomas will be 3 1/2 on September 21st. I'm thinking by this picture that my little boy is growing up faster than I ever wanted. I wish I could slow it down right now. His sentences are clear, he loves to laugh, cuddle and play, he's showing interest in Cooper.....still wants undivided attention at all times and struggles to share his things, but....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cooper's First Trip to Yakima

Gracie, Tommy, and Jake

Cooper and Grace

What a wonderful time we had! John was on call for work, so on the spur of the moment, we quickly loaded the Pilot and raced for the rez. It wasn't quite the car adventure I had prepared myself for. The boys were fabulous and we only had to stop twice, which is about what it used to be when it was just John and I. It was quite fun to surprise both Mom and Dad in the parking lot of Miner's, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Miner burger that I splurged on.
Back on the farm, Thomas quickly covered himself in various types of dirt, all of which coated the bathtub that night, and the boys and Grace had a lot of fun exploring and teaching life on the farm, including meeting the new kittens, "playing" with bull snakes, riding bikes down the driveway, watching Drew jump his racing bike, climbing fences and getting really, really dirty. There was many a squeal (of terror?) when the dogs took delight in chasing Tommy, Bronco rides, back of the truck adventures, and even a ride on the old (ancient!) tractor that needs multiple steps just to HOPE it starts! (Kudos to Dad and Billy for the work that it took just for a ride!)
On Tuesday, we trekked back into town to see the old town where I grew up. You hear it all the time, but I was amazed at how very small it all looked. The road that I grew up riding my bike down, the little house I was raised in, the creek that I played all looked so small. Each and every part brought back memories flooding in. The migrant camp that I remember as a child, where families loaded in for the season of picking, is now a housing project. It's much, much nicer than the dilapidated tents and open firepit cooking that it was back in the day. I remember Dad talking about how the migrants would bathe in the river that we would pass by. It makes sense that they would. They could not have done otherwise living in tents like they did. A mobile home now sits on what used to be the old grocery store. The tavern still stands, but the nasty cabins that lined it have been torn down. It was pretty amazing to see again.
Mom says that I haven't been to Joyce's house since high school. I would have swore that their house was a mansion. To us as kids it was. It was so fun to be back, to hang out on the porch, to wander around their plots of berries, tomatoes, pumpkins and grapes. The kids had a lot of fun on the trampoline in the orchard, and we actually got to have a nice chat with Jim and Joyce as well. It's not easy chatting and catching up when you have five kids to watch, but we managed. Aunt Virginia came up to see us as well, and I was so thankful for the time they all took to welcome us in and fill us up with treats!
All in all, it was a short but sweet trip out, a break from our normal routines here at home.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Black & White (to hide the road rash)

IT was bound to happen. After months of watching him race down the hills in Geneva, near misses and helmet speculation, the big crash finally occured. (Not on my watch, though! Yesterday I had him by the collar of his shirt, choking him to get him to a stop on a particularly steep section, trying as well to keep a hold of Cooper in the jog stroller.)
A hitch, a slight break in the glue that was holding a previous break, a wobble...and it was over. Tommy came tumbling down! The first of many, I'm sure, but the road rash spotting his hairline and forehead, the skin gone from his shoulder and elbow, the crunched up fingers...that was all it took for him to reluctantly agree that it was time to head to the bike store for a helmet. Daddy took him down and picked one out, which is perfect in a way. John spent many hours and hundreds of miles riding his bike throughout the county years back, chasing away memories and hoping for new. I hope he is able to find absolute joy in the prospect of happier miles with his young sons and hours spent picking out helmets, finding and building up the perfect bike and sharing the memories together.

Up at Cable Street aka the "struction", Tommy took advantage of the new and beautiful fresh laid asphalt that they've been working on all summer. What a wonderful evening to "pick his line" as he flew down Cable without a construction worker in site. ( I wonder what Great Great Grandpa Otis would think?) Tomorrow they will never guess a little boy was marring the smooth surface of their project! Soon the masses will return. It will be back to being a major route to Sudden Valley, full of cars, trucks and noise. But tonight, at least, Cable belonged to him!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thoughts on the Lynden Fair

Now, just to clarify, I have high hopes for the Lynden Fair each and every year. We go each and every year, buy tickets, wait in lines, check out the parades.... This year, I'm going to grumble a bit. Maybe because I'm tired. Maybe because I have a three and a half year old. Maybe just because Lynden needs to join the technological age for Pete's sake!
It started months ago. I tried to get three tickets to a grandstand concert. I had multiple options. I could buy tickets online through their website, in which I wouldn't see the ticket itself, meaning I wouldn't know which seats had come up until they arrived in my mail, leaving no choice over where I sit for this show. Another option was to call and buy over the phone. Again, they explained that they would pull up seats and I would have to take what I could get to come up, again not knowing where they would be until they arrived in the mail, but that they COULD write down my preferences and try to accomodate them as best they could. I pulled the phone back and looked at it like it was a creature from the dinosaur era. OR, I could drive up to Lynden and buy them in person. Would I actually see the ticket location then? I bet they would blindfold you just for kicks! I went ahead and bought tickets, waited anxiously for them to arrive in the mail, and wasn't too disappointed in them, however much I worried I'd be located at the top of the grandstand.

Yesterday we went to the fair. I took along a nanny prospect, to both check her out and see how the kids would do with her. Mainly I just needed an extra pair of hands to enjoy the fair and still keep Cooper with us. When I got up to the gate, with a very limited amount of cash for inside the gates, they informed me that they don't take credit cards! YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! There are tiny shops down on the streets of B'ham that have a card machine, and a major Northwest fair can't be bothered with this technology? Maybe if I brought a chicken to barter with we would have had better luck.

Highlights of the Day

Buying more John Deere tractors and playing with them in the grass by the actual John Deere tractors-instead of going on the rides.
A meltdown to end the morning trip-by Thomas!
A meltdown to end the evening trip with daddy along this time-by Thomas! (I'll point out that Cooper did not cry once on either outing. Hmmmmm..something is fishy here!)
Changing double dirty diapers hiding behind a John Deere tractor!
We did not visit the animals. We did not visit the food vendors. We did not make it past the John Deere tractor section of the fair. We did not visit the bathrooms. Short and sweet and to the point! (John and I did manage to pound back a Moo-Wich, though!)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Cooper at 3 1/2 months old

Our little (but growing!) bundle of joy! He is getting so big these days, and we've been remarking almost daily about how big he seems. As I sorted through old clothes from Thomas, I found 9 month old Seahawks pants that fit and an 18 month old shirt that fits, although long in the sleeves. When John saw him in it, he reminded me about the pictures on our wall where Thomas is walking in that shirt. "Yes, I know that. But he's growing, and..." I think I need to get on some shopping. Coop has a doctor's appointment coming up, so it will be interesting to see what his measurements are these days. We haven't weighed him since his two week check, so it's been awhile.

During the reunion, it came up several times about our choice of names for Cooper. Where did the name Cooper come from? Hmmmm...good question. It was very, very difficult for us to have to find another boy name, as most names that we would like or others would suggest for us held some sort of bad, horrible or just totally unacceptable story behind it from our days working with mentally ill kids and juvenile offenders. My folks thought we were just holding back on them. Honestly, the night before Cooper was born, as I lay in the dark of the hospital room, I still did not know what we would name our little boy. I played the lists over and over, the names that John had written down on a short list, hoping that it would suddenly come to me. I may have written this before, but it was during that night I decided. Our two names, Max and Cooper, had to be decided on. Max was cute, but out on the playground or in the lockerroom, it could be easily turn into maxi pad. Cooper could easily turn into pooper-scooper Cooper as well. Which did I think more acceptable? Cooper won out. No way would I subject my son to a name that could turn into a feminine hygiene product! When I shared this with John, late that night in the dark, he agreed and we didn't speak of it again until Cooper was in my arms and we looked at each other. Cooper it would be. (Punkie mentioned Pottery Barn Kids magazine the other night...yes, I think Cooper landed on the short list because I saw it in this catalogue and thought it looked pretty cute, too!)

Cooper continues to be total joy. Today he giggled for the first time, and continued to do it when he saw my absolute shock and delight! No, he figured out that sleeping through the night was overrated, so he hangs out with mom briefly during the night, but I'm learning to be okay with it. The hard nights are when Cooper wakes me up, only to find Thomas waddling into our room just minutes (it seems) after I've managed to get my eyes closed again. It usually turns into musical beds, but these days John ends up on the floor to avoid Tommy's deadly and spot on kicks. Cooper likes to rise early, though, so I'm still calling on the swing to help out for another hour or so of sleep before Thomas wakes up around 7 or 8 am. If I'm lucky, John will drag himself out of bed and watch the kids until he has to leave for work, allowing me another hour or two of sleep to fill in the gaps from the middle of the night. Thomas still needs to nap in the afternoons, but when he does, he's up until late that night, so although I dream of an afternoon nap to keep up with them both, it rarely happens anymore. I wanted to run out of my house with my fingers in my ears the other afternoon when both boys decided to melt down at the exact same moment and were howling at the top of their lungs. Instead I just looked at the wall and wondered if God was smiling at me then. The wall didn't offer much sympathy, but I was able to gather myself and figure out who needed me most for that second.

The picture above, of Cooper in his stroller, was taken by Grandma Lil after a family reunion hike up to Fir Cliff and then on to Camp Firwood. Cooper enjoyed every minute of it and smiled throughout. He is quite the early adventurer!

We took him into get his shots today about a month and a half late. He's at 15 pounds now, which puts him into the 70th percentile and although I can't remember his height right now, he is in the 70th percentile there. I thought he was a bit more of a chunk, but apparently not. The scratches on his face and head that I thought were him just rubbing as some sort of developmental stage that he missed as an infant? Yeah, turns out the poor kid has eczema. We've treated him for two days now and he's slept through the night again! Unbelievable. I feel so bad that we let it go for about three weeks with him scratching away while he tried to sleep and I had no idea. His skin was dry and I just kept fueling it with more lotion. Hopefully this little phase won't last long. Poor little dude!

New progress....

Almost rolling over from his back to his tummy, just gets hung up on his shoulder
Trying new foods. Once a day I try a bit of oatmeal with a bit of something else, like squash or sweet potato. He doesn't need it just yet, but we're getting there.
Sitting up with a steadier head on his shoulders. Not so "wheeble-wobble". He's not very content just kicking back now. He has to be sitting up, looking around at all the action.
Chattering more and more, growling his displeasure if he's not attended to when he thinks he should.
Not very content in the swing anymore. Why did I worry about it? Now I beg him to take a longer nap in it to make up for his short cat naps throughout the day!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Daddy and Cooper-lah

John Deere 101

Cooper & Papa

In the loving arms of his papa...and I think Papa is pleased with Cooper. It was a lot of fun having Dad and Jake join us for the remainder of the week. Dad didn't really have a choice to come over or not. Jake would have nothing of being left out again. And I enjoyed all the boys together again. We had a lot of fun taking them down to Fairhaven Park to play with Lauren in the fountains and had fun trying to teach Jake to enjoy the boat. He is still resistant. There is still a lot of bulldog in that little body! It still remains to be seen, though, if Thomas and Jake will agree to like each other, though. More often than not Jake is side tackling him or Tommy is whacking back. Adult referee is mandatory at all times with these two!

I have been telling John since our other jet ski broke down that I really need to get a new jet ski. It's something that I can do by myself with the kids. I can manage the ski boat, but I'm very nervous about not only being responsible for the kids but the boat as well. That does not mean that I don't want to be able to go out on the lake when everyone else is gone. I think a new jetski is the answer. Until today I was not getting a favorable response. Today, Jason Kinloch offered to let me go out on the jet ski he'd brought over, and after just a moment of hesitation, I jumped at the chance to take Tommy out. And my resolve to get another jet ski increased. My husband may just be softening on the idea after seeing today's fun! I will still hope..... (although John has reminded me just how old his truck is...oh bother!)

Tall Ships