Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Quick Update...

Everyone has gone to bed, and I am about to go and mop my kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. I'm starting to realize that if I want to get anything done around here, I have to stay up after everyone else. That is probably more a reflection of my poor time management skills than anything else, but right now my house is a mess and it is making me crazy. I'll make time tomorrow to post about Christmas, as well as the trip we took to Fairfield, Idaho today. I think I have some new pictures to share, too. Off to find my mop!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cooking vs. Baking

Do you cook, or do you bake? Both? Neither? I would have to say that I am definitely more of a baker than a "cooker". Some of my favorite things to bake are cookies, muffins, scones, biscotti, and granola. Though I haven't done it in a while, I can also make a mean wedding cake, as well as just about any kind of birthday cake (thanks to some Wilton classes I took, many years ago). That being said, I long to be more of a savory chef. When I made the decision to stay home with my boys, one of the things I told myself was that I would take this opportunity to become better at planning and executing meals. I would teach myself more of the basics so that I could be more successful in the kitchen. Steve claims to love my cooking, and with the exception of one meatball recipe I prepared for him, has never said that he dislikes anything that I make (thank goodness).

The root of my problem seems to be in my timing. I can plan out a menu, but inevitably, I end up forgetting to put something in the oven (or take it out), forget an ingredient, or I just get plain frazzled. Both of my parents are fabulous cooks - - they each have their own style, but can equally prepare delicious, lovely meals. They can both bake, too. My dad is known far and wide for his famous peanut butter fudge, and my mother makes beautiful cakes (she was my inspiration for learning to do it myself) as well as cookies, bars, candy, etc. I have always admired the elaborate meals that my Aunt Jean prepares. From appetizers, soups, chowders, roasts, breads, and elegant desserts, she does it all.

Back to my idea of becoming a better cook. So far, I haven't accomplished much of anything that I thought I would do, once I quit my paying job! I think I still have a couple of months of fitting in a "new baby" before things run as smooth as I'd like. Okay, so Griffin's three months old now and doesn't exactly qualify as new, but we're still working on getting nap time down pat, keeping Camden happy, etc. However, I have recently begun studying different cookbooks, trying to figure out where to start. I think one thing I need to do is to simply be a little more adventuresome. If I read a recipe and it sounds the least little bit complicated, I'll immediately think, "Well, I can't make that!" and I move on. So, I think I will start by tackling some recipes I've had my eye on for a while, and see what happens. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

I Love My Boys

Camden, checking out our "first snow" today
Sweet Griffin, napping this morning
Camden, visiting his Dad at "Army work" yesterday
Griffin likes to hold his binky cock-eyed, like he's smoking a cigar

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Sounds of Christmas

I'm talking about Christmas music, folks. I think I have a slight addiction to it. I often wonder if Steve cringes when he comes home at night, because for the month of December, there is usually Christmas music playing throughout the house. I can't help it - - I love it. I have quite a collection going at this point in my life, but here are a few of my favorites:
  • The soundtrack to the movie, "Elf". If you haven't seen this movie, I think it is worth renting. Cute holiday story, and I love Will Farrell anyway. My favorite song on this particular CD is, "Baby, Its Cold Outside"
  • "White Christmas"/Martina McBride - this one is full of all the classics, and my favorite is her version of "O Holy Night"
  • "A Scottish Christmas" - this one is traditional Scottish carols, wassail tunes, etc., all done on bagpipe. I'm sure it isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I love it
  • "When My Heart Finds Christmas"/Harry Connick, Jr. - this is a must-have as far as I'm concerned, if you are obsessed with Christmas music like I am. Best track: "It Must've Been Ol' Santa Claus
  • "A Christmas Together"/John Denver and the Muppets - uh-huh, THE Muppets. This was an album (yes, an actual record album) that we had growing up. Now I have it on CD and love it as much, if not more, than I did back then. This year, Camden has decided he loves it, too. The other day while it was playing, he sat in the recliner and listened to the whole thing.

Some honorable mentions would include a mix that my father made me of Charlie Zahm, then of course Peggy Lee, Elvis, Willie Nelson...who am I kidding - - if someone is singing Christmas carols, I generally love it. If you are having a hard time "getting in the mood" for Christmas this year, just play some Christmas music and you won't be able to help but feel festive.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Odds and Ends

It's a bit quiet around here today...Steve is off skiing so the boys and I are at home, attempting to get a few things done around the house. I was supposed to go Christmas shopping by myself yesterday, but that turned into grocery shopping with Griffin instead, so hopefully I will figure out a way to get what I need to get done, sometime next week. I have been feeling for quite some time now, the need to get out of the house by myself, but for some reason it hasn't worked out yet. For some reason I am the type of person that needs time by myself from time to time - - time when I can drive the car and blast the radio, browse lazily through some of my favorite stores, sit quietly and sip a mocha - - just collect my thoughts. I've talked with other women who claim they absolutely do not need "me" time, but not me - - I NEED it. Not a lot of it, but just once in a while. I wish it didn't feel like it was so hard to come by.

Last night, Rex, Kasey, and Banzer came for dinner. They leave on Wednesday for Christmas in Maine, so we exchanged gifts last night and had a great time visiting. I love this shot of Steve and Banzer. I can't get over how quickly he is growing. He has the longest, most beautiful eyelashes you have ever seen. He is 4 months older than Griffin, so as you can imagine, next year at this time, we'll have a mess of busy boys on our hands!

I've been pondering cloth diapers for many months now- - I've done a ton of research on them, but haven't quiet decided to take the leap yet. Cloth diapers have gotten quite high-tech. There are so many to choose from that it hurts my head just thinking about it. I did find a woman in Boise who makes them, so I bought one (modeled here by sweet Griffin) and we are currently in "test mode". This particular diaper is called a "pocket" diaper - - there is an opening inside the diaper that you stuff with a terry insert. The lining is microfleece, so when it gets wet, the moisture is drawn into the diaper and the fleece feels dry. They are pretty bulky, but I've done the math and they would save a ton of money over the length of time Griffin will be in diapers. I'm giving myself until he moves up to size 2 diapers to make up my mind. I think I need to try a couple more types of cloth in the meantime.

I love this time of year, not just because I love Christmas, but because Starbucks serves Peppermint Mochas! Yay! If I could drink them all day every day, I would. If you haven't had one, please visit your nearest Starbucks and try one. Yum! At times I fantasize about working at Starbucks, just so I could drink mochas and frappuccinos to my hearts content. Most of you already know that I have a slight Starbucks problem. What can I say. I love froo-froo coffee. I can't help myself.

Camden and I baked some Christmas cookies today. As I suspected he would be, he was mostly interested in trying to eat sprinkles. I did manage to get him to put some on the cookies, but he would have been happier if I'd just let him drink the sugar crystals right from the bottle.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The End of Another Week

It's about 6:30 a.m. and I've snuck downstairs to the computer, as Camden is still asleep, and Griffin is quiet, but not yet screaming to get out of bed. It was a long night - - I'm guessing (or hoping) that Griffin is having a growth spurt, because he was up every 2-2.5 hours to eat last night. He had been sleeping for 3.5-4 hour stretches, so going back to getting up 3 times per night is wearing me out. You may be wondering what I am doing up, if I didn't sleep much...I don't really know - - I think I just wanted a few minutes to myself before I start the day. Ooops, must run upstairs and check on Griffin - - this may be the end of this post. I'm back, Griffin is still asleep, but Camden is now up. He's having a glass of milk and watching Thomas the Tank Engine, so that I can finish this post.

I can't believe that Christmas is in 10 days! I have a huge box to mail to Maine, but still have a few items to track down, before I can mail it. Christmas shopping has proven to be a bit more difficult this year, for sure. Tomorrow morning I'll head out by myself in hopes of finishing up our shopping.

Yesterday, I checked out a local MOPS meeting (MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers). Okay, it wasn't exactly local - - it was about a 20-minute drive from our house. Unfortunately, the town we live in has absolutely NOTHING for stay-at-home moms or children, except for a music class one day per week. I can't believe the library doesn't even offer a story time for little ones. Anyway, the meeting was great. There are about 30 members, and I found everyone to be very nice, and welcoming. Basically, when I got there I dropped Camden off at the "3 & 4 Year Old Room" where he got to play with a ton of other kids - - they had gym time where they got to run around, play time, and then they decorated cookies (just had to run BACK upstairs again - - Griffin is stirring). During that time, I attended the meeting (with Griffin sleeping in his carseat). We were supposed to watch a DVD about parenting but the player was broken, so instead we all just visited, which was nice, too. There was lots of food, and we did a craft (right up my alley). I think I will join the group - - it was really good. Camden loved playing with all of the kids, so it was great for him, too. Lately I've been trying really hard to find some set activities for us to do. Camden is needing so badly to interact with other kids, and I need out of the house (Griffin is now in my lap, so we'll see how much more I can type). It has been terribly dark and rainy here the past few days, which I think has contributed to my blue mood. Hopefully there is some sunshine on the way in the near future!

Camden started gymnastics this week - - he'll go every Monday from now on. This is the same outfit that provided the "Magic Tumble Bus" at his old preschool, so he was familiar with how things were run. We had a great surprise when we arrived for class in that one of his classmates from his preschool was in his class. This is a little girl that he had been in "school" with since he was 13 weeks old, so he was thrilled to see her, and they had a great time together. Another big development for Camden this week is that he is now a "meat-eater". Believe it or not, he's never eaten meat (aside from hot dogs - - if that qualifies as meat, and an occasional dinosaur-shaped chicken nugget). I'm embarrassed to say that he is an extremely picky eater, but we are working on it. Anyway, this week he's had chicken twice (an actual chicken breast), a pork chop, and yes, even an elk burger. So, I feel like we are finally making strides in the right direction. The Christmas tree continues to taunt and frustrated the boy - - he asks at least 10 zillion times per day if he can open a present. Yesterday, he even asked me if I would call Santa on the phone and ask if it would be okay to open the presents. The boy is getting desperate. I hope we both survive until December 25th.

Griffin, as I mentioned earlier, isn't sleeping so well at night. He still isn't napping well either, unless we are out running errands, in which case he sleeps the whole time. It would be great to get him on a napping schedule, and I'm just hoping that it will happen sometime soon. He's full of smiles these days, and loves to "talk", too. He's beginning to put weight on his legs when held upright, and has started grasping for things, too. I just can't believe how quickly he is growing and changing.

Steve is as busy as ever, between work and command. He's excited to start skiing, and will be going with his friend Chuck this weekend. He has a couple of ski trips in the works over the next couple of months, too.

I'd like to post some pictures, but that will have to wait for the weekend, when I am not trying to complete a post with a crying baby in my lap.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ode to My Kitchen Appliances

I have a "thing" for kitchen appliances. Okay, kitchen ANYTHING. Ask my husband. Gadgets, dishes, utensils, cookbooks, recipes clipped from name it. I know that secretly it makes him crazy, but he's learned over the years not to say anything about it. I'm thankful for the large pantry in our new house, which provides ample room for all of my kitchen toys. In no particular order, my favorites are:
  1. Crock Pot - How can anyone live without a crock pot, I ask you? I currently own a 5.5 quart Rival digital model, and I fear it is a bit too big. I think I may need to get a 4-quart one, also (don't tell Steve). My favorite crock pot is the kind that is all one piece (rather than the removable stoneware type). While this large one that I have is great, I think it would be handy to have a smaller one, too.
  2. Food Saver Vacuum Sealer - Seriously, I love to vacuum seal. Thank goodness the special bags are a bit on the spendy side, or everything in our house would be sealed in tidy little bags.
  3. Bread Machine - I use my bread machine 1-2 times per week. I love it. I love to make pizza dough in it, and I am trying to get back to making our bread, rather than buying it. I use to love to make bagels, but haven't attempted it since having children. Lots of steps to bagel-making and I can't yet envision being able to complete all the steps without having to stop and feed a baby, change a diaper, or play with a preschooler.
  4. Folding Electric Griddle - This thing is great. It is just very handy that it can be folded up for storage.
  5. Smokeless Tabletop Grill - Okay, so I've only ever used this thing once, in the 2+ years that I've had it, but it is so nifty. It is basically along the same lines as a fondue pot - - it is a round non-stick grill plate that you place over a can of sterno, and then everyone at the table can grill their own food (bite-size pieces of meat, veggies, seafood, etc.). My sister-in-law and I had a grand time one night with this thing.

I've recently decided I'd like to have a digital toaster oven. Maybe Santa will bring me one. Are there any appliances out there that I failed to mention, that maybe I should add to my collection?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Griffin's Stats

Sweet little Griffin had his two-month well-baby check yesterday. He is actually 10 weeks old now. Anyway, he weighs 11 lbs., 4 oz., is 23 inches long, and his head is 16 inches around. I dug out Camden's baby book, and he had his 2-month check at 7 weeks of ages - - his stats were quite different! He weighed 15 lbs., was 24 inches long, and head was 16 1/2 inches around. Mind you, he was three weeks YOUNGER than Griffin is now. Griffin's percentiles ranged from 40-55%, while Camden's were 97-99%. Yikes! The immunization portion was not pleasant - - I just cannot stand the cry that comes out of a baby when they are stuck with a needle - - the one where you know they have no idea why they are being hurt - - heartbreaking! Griffin is running a slight fever this morning, which is new to me because Camden never had any reaction to any immunization. He mostly just wants me to hold him, which is fine with me.
On our agenda today: we are off to Boise to sign Camden up for gymnastics, and then we'll head over to the book store for story and craft time. I'm about to throw some chili in the crock pot so dinner will be ready by the time we get home.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Christmas Photo

I can't seem to get one this year. Yesterday, I dressed the boys in their matching Christmas jammies (thanks, Nana!) and tried in vain to get a shot of the two of them together. For some reason, whenever I pull out a camera these days, Camden does all the things you don't want someone to do when you are trying to take their picture. Leans back like he is being blasted by a large gust of wind, cheesy smile, eyes name it, he does it. Add Griffin to the mix, and if you want him smiling, you have to talk a lot (in a high-pitched, gitchy-gitchy-goo voice) and snap fast. Yesterday probably wasn't a good day to attempt it anyway - - I was seriously sleep deprived, weepy, and, if you recall, I'd nearly ripped the driver's side door off my car, first thing in the morning. Anyway, here are some of the pictures:

Camden's eyes are closed...Griffin looks a wee bit uncomfortable...that one won't work

A little dark...Camden looks cute, but as you can see, Griffin isn't in the shot

Sweet Griffin and his friend, Frosty (Camden had given up at this point)

Then, my mom pointed out this morning that my date stamp was messed up (2002?), so even if I'd gotten a good picture of the two of them, I wouldn't have used it because of the darn date stamp. Anyway, I gave up, and in my fragile emotional state, decided there just wouldn't "be" a photo this year! So there! This morning, as I was folding laundry and chatting with the boys, the opportunity presented itself and I got a pretty cute picture of the two of them (yes, together!). No Christmas jammies, no tree...just Camden and Griffin hanging out. Sorry I can't post it, you'll have to wait until you get your card.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday Morning Advice

When backing out of your garage, it is generally NOT a good idea to leave your car door open.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas is in the air at our you can see, we made a trip to the post office yesterday, to mail our letter to Santa. When we got back, we set up our new advent calendar, and got out a few decorations. I'm thinking that after we get back from town today, we'll be digging out some more, as Camden got pretty excited about the whole thing. We'll put up our tree this coming Sunday.

Thanksgiving was really nice - - we spent it at Steve's brother's house. Kasey cooked a lovely meal, and her mom and stepfather were there, as well as her brother. We had a great time! This past Sunday, we took the boys to "Breakfast with Santa", which is part of the Festival of Trees in Boise. I'm hoping this is something we might be able to do each year from now on.

Griffin continues to grow like a weed. I'm anxious for his 2-month appointment next week so I can get all of his official "stats". He smiles non-stop now, and even laughed for the first time yesterday. He's not doing so well in the sleep department - - I think he kept Steve and I up for the better part of the night last night, which is why I am sitting here blogging at 5:00 a.m. Hopefully the boy will catch on soon, and start sleeping with some regularity.

Camden thought it might be fun to put Griffin in his doll stroller yesterday. I'm not sure Griffin agrees

Camden, at "Breakfast with Santa"

Friday, November 24, 2006

Fate and Long Lost Friends

Fate is defined by Wikipedia as, "destiny, an inevitable course of events". Last weekend, my mother and father stopped by a craft fair that was being held at Mt. Ararat, my old high school. I suspect it was held in the dining commons or the gymnasium - - either is quite large and it was surely packed to the rafters with people. As my parents passed by a random vendor, my mother overheard a woman say, "If you see Heather Smith, let me know." (you all know my real maiden name, but I'm not a fan of making last names public on the internet). Well, my mother paused for a minute, thinking she must have been hearing things. Then, the woman repeated it, not once, but two more times. Thinking this was all a little too weird, my mother asked this woman who she was talking about. Sure enough, she was talking about me. As it turns out, the woman behind the craft table was the mother of an old college friend of mine, Jen, who I lost touch with, right before Steve and I were married. What are the odds? Keep in mind, this woman does not live in the town my parents live in, and participates in many craft fairs throughout the state.

Now, a little background on Jen. Back in 1990, as a freshman entering the University of Maine, Jen and I were "assigned" to be roommates. Earlier that year I had attended freshman orientation and had met a great girl from Cape Cod over that weekend. We'd decided to be roommates, and notified whoever we were supposed to notify to make that happen. Well, there was some sort of glitch and so, on paper, I was paired up with this "Jennifer" from Greene, Maine. If memory serves, I believe I wrote her a letter and said, "Sorry, I already have a roommate." As luck would have it, she ended up living across the hall from me. Just the other day I nearly fell out of my chair, when I realized that "freshman year" was 16 years ago. Yikes. Anyway, I'm not sure that I could adequately describe Jen here on my blog. Wicked sense of humor. Smart. Crazy (and I mean the good kind of crazy). Adventuresome (is that a word?). Gosh, that girl made me laugh. I have a great piece of videotape of Jen, giving me a tour of her dorm room, and then belting out Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues". Maybe I ought to dig that out today and watch it. Anyway, to me, Jen has always been one of those people who I've held close to my heart, even though we've lost touch from time to time. There is just something about her that has always set her apart from others in my mind. The last time we saw each other was back in 2000, when I was lucky enough to meet her husband and new daughter. We had lunch at Brian Boru in Portland, Maine. Now, Jen has 3 kids, I have two. She lives in California, so I guess you could say we are practically neighbors.

Fast forward to this week. I was involved in an unfortunate incident at the beginning of the week that, on the surface, didn't bother me so much. However, after thinking about it a little too much, this incident caused me to question my self worth a little, and for that matter, humanity in general. I've spent the past few days feeling pretty depressed about the whole thing, and not really knowing what to think. WhenI got up this morning, I snuck downstairs to check my email like I always do, whenever both boys are occupied or asleep at the same time, and I have a few moments to myself. There, in my inbox, was an email from Jen. For some reason, after I read her kind words, it put everything that had happened earlier this week into perspective for me. That may sound a little dramatic, but to me, it all makes perfect sense. Some things deserve to have energy put into them, and some do not. Thanks Jen, you really helped me out this week, and you don't even know it. I'm always saying, "everything happens for a reason" and I can see this morning how true that is.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Latest Photos

Try as I might, it is very hard to capture "new baby" smiles with a digital camera! Griffin is smiling a lot now when I talk to him.
The boys, hanging out in Mummy and Daddy's room
A rare moment a few days ago when Camden took a nap. He stopped napping over 10 months ago. Yes, it just so happened that Griffin was asleep at the same time, and yes, I was in such a state of shock that I didn't even know what to do with myself
Camden was pretty excited to be giving Griffin a bottle

Griffin has been known to sneak into bed with Camden from time to time. I believe Camden was reading him a book about trucks in this shot...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lysol, Pepto, and All Kinds of Fun

It has been a little over a week since I last posted...had errands to run earlier in the week, which usually ends up being an all-day affair, since we live quite a way "out of town". On Wednesday night, Steve started feeling queasy, and by Thursday morning the poor guy was down for the count. He spent the day in bed, hidden away in the guest room down stairs, while I frantically washed my hands repeatedly until they cracked and bled (literally), and doused my house with Lysol. Nobody likes to be sick, but I feel like I live in fear of getting sick (must get a grip on that) with some sort of gastro illness, because I wonder what the heck I would do! I know people do it every day, but I'd rather not go through that experience. At this point, it is hard enough caring for Camden and Griffin at the same time, much less, if I were ill. Steve felt a lot better this morning, and ended up heading into the office mid-morning. So far, the rest of us seem fine - - lets hope it stays that way.

In other news, Griffin seems to be growing like a weed. According to my bathroom scales, he is a little over 11 pounds now. He doesn't have his two-month check-up until December 6th, when he'll be closer to 2.5 months old, so I have to wait a bit longer to get all of his official "stats". He loves to smile, and he has started cooing over the past couple of weeks, too. I was laying in bed last night, thinking about how fast this is all speeding by already. There are so many little things about babies that I totally forgot about...little things that I just love so much. In the picture below, Griffin is doing one of my favorites - - for some reason he likes to hang on to the neck of my shirt when I hold him. I love that. Other things I love and will soon miss - - the smell of the top of a new baby's head -- warm and sweet. I also love how Griffin chirps like a little bird when he eats, or how when we get up in the middle of the night, I can see him smiling at me in the dark. I love the jerky movements of his arms and legs right now. He's just figuring out how they work and sometimes it seems like he'll propel himself off the ground with all that movement. New babies are so much work, but there are so many little details that are so priceless.

Camden continues to adjust to his role as big brother. We are finally beginning to be able to find time during the day for quality time for just the two of us, which is great.

How is everyone doing, preparing for Christmas? I really need to hurry up and get organized. I'm trying to accomplish a lot of it on-line, as I know I won't have much of an opportunity to actually get out and shop. I'm getting excited to put up the Christmas decorations...probably will do that the first weekend in December.

Over the past few days, I've begun transforming the downstairs family room. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a "before" picture. The walls are all wood paneling, the lighting is poor, and one large wall was covered with some sort of wall paper that was a forest scene, no joke. It was so dark down here. I primed and painted the paneling white, and started hanging up pictures, but I still have half the room to do. Painting fake wood paneling is no small task, let me tell you. I'll post some pictures soon.

Must think about making lunch for Camden and getting on with the day.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Things I Find Myself Saying...

First, let me dedicate this post, with great love, respect, and admiration, to my wonderful mother, Roberta:

Lately, I keep finding myself saying things that my mother use to say, throughout my formative years. Back then, her words (as she can probably confirm) fell mostly on deaf ears. Not only that, but I'm sure my brother and I found it somewhat annoying at the time. Here is just a sampling of things that either come out of my mouth, or that I SCREAM INSIDE MY HEAD, on a daily basis:

  • "Watch your mouth!!!" I find myself saying this to Camden a lot now - - he has been showing quite a sassy side to his personality, since his little brother came along.
  • "Rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher!" Okay, this one is obviously directed at Steve, since Camden isn't quite loading the dishwasher yet.
  • "Clear your plates!" Camden is getting better at this one. I guess I should have put this one before dishwasher comment, since many times the plates, glasses, etc., seem to have a hard time even making it to the kitchen counter. I mean, do I look like a waitress? Seriously.
  • "Put your clothes in the hamper!" Again, Camden is getting better at this one, but I'm constantly finding teeny tiny undies, socks, etc. in weird places.
  • "Quit horsing around! Calm DOWN!!" I might as well scrap this one all together. I'm outnumbered by boys. Who am I kidding.
  • "Did you HEAR what I JUST said?!!??" I'm guessing this has something to do with being three years old. I can say to Camden, "Please, Dearest, do not poke your infant brother in the head with your dinner fork," to which Camden will reply, "Okay, sorry...", only to resume said poking two seconds later. ???!!??

Oh my. I believe it is time for a cafe mocha vodka valium latte.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Freedom Salute

On Saturday, the boys and I went to the armory with Steve for an award ceremony for his company. In the picture to the right, Steve is presenting three of his soldiers with Army Commendation medals, which they earned while in Iraq. Another part of the ceremony was the Freedom Salute, which is one of the largest recognition programs in Army National Guard history. The Freedom Salute acknowledges Army Guard Soldiers and those who supported them during the President's call to duty for Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. The campaign began in December 2003 and has thus far recognized over 100,000 soldiers, family members, friends, and employers for their service and support. Each soldier is presented with an American flag in a wooden display case. The ceremony was really nice, and the Commanding General of the Idaho National Guard (Major General Lafrenz) spoke with each family and thanked them for their sacrifices, which I thought was particularly nice.

Here's Camden at the whiteboard in Steve's office

Trying out Steve's beret

Griffin, almost 6 weeks old

Time to feed Griffin and head off to bed. One more week of Army school for Steve, and then hopefully, life will begin to return to normal for all of us.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Violet Jean!

Today is our niece Violet's first birthday...I can't believe a year has gone by already! This photo was taken yesterday by my Aunt Jean, when the family celebrated her birthday in Hollis Center, Maine. We wish we could have been there! My mom and my aunt sent us lots of pictures of the festivities, and it looks like everyone had a great time!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Boo at the Zoo

This morning, the boys and I packed up the car and headed to Boise, for our first official "major" outing. Boy did we pick a doozy! "Boo at the Zoo" is held at Zoo Boise each October, and I'd heard from friends that it is a "mob scene" - - basically it is a huge Halloween party for kids, with air jumps, face painting, loads of good food, vendors, and of course, the animals. I decided we'd arrive at the time the zoo opened, so maybe we could get ahead of the crowds. Well, when we got there, there were literally thousands of people already there. It was crazy! We had to park over a half-mile away (thank the good Lord for our Sit and Stand stroller!) and then waited in line for over 20 minutes (which is equal to about 5 hours, when you are three years old). Camden was quite a trooper, not once whining or acting crazy. We had so much fun! All of the vendors had candy, so the kids could trick or treat throughout the whole zoo. Was it insanely packed with people? Yes. Was it nearly impossible to maneuver a stroller? You betcha. However, we'll be right back there next year. Camden absolutely loved it.
As you can see, Camden took the face painting rather seriously. Once we were done at the zoo, we hot-footed it for Barnes and Noble, for story time. Featured today was Clifford, the Big Red Dog, which is all-important in our home, as Clifford is Camden's current imaginary friend. After the stories were finished, Clifford made an appearance. It was pretty funny, because when Clifford appeared, a smattering of preschoolers began shrieking and running for their mothers. Not our boy! He boldly plowed through the melee, and positioned himself right in line, so that he wouldn't miss his chance to hug Clifford. We had a great day, and I have to say that toting a baby and a little boy around town wasn't nearly as difficult as I feared it would be. It wasn't even difficult really; it just took a ton of packing to get us out the door. I'll have to work on my timing -- it was a bit off this morning.

Time to get dinner ready!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Just Pictures

Sweet little Griffin Peter
The boys, before bed
Check out my Robeez, Papa!
Griffin's new double-chin

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Peanut Shell

I do believe my life has just taken on new meaning. The other day, I ordered a Peanut Shell Sling, and it arrived today. I never had a sling with Camden, but since Griffin arrived, I've been struggling with the fact that we are now in a two-story house, I'm running up and down the stairs ALL day, and Griffin also seems to like to be held quite a bit. With a rambunctious 3-year old, I need both of my hands most of the time. Anyway, this sling is made out of microfleece and is all one piece. Easy to put on, comfortable (important for my back), and I think Griffin will love it. The poor boy - - I've been trying to get him to nap all morning, and then this arrives in the mail about 15 minutes after he fell asleep. Silly me - - I actually ripped him out of bed so I could try it out. He never woke up, so I'm thinking that's a good sign. Now, all I can think about is how many things I can actually get done now. Yippee! For anyone interested, you can find the Peanut Shell at . Here's Griffin, all snuggled up inside. Coincidentally, he is one month old today!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Things have been pretty crazy around here lately, new baby and lack of sleep aside. We have tenants moving into our rental property on November 1st, and so there are just a few short days left to wrap things up next door. The floors have been refinished, the 3rd bedroom is almost finished, and the utility room is done. There is a ton of touch up painting to do, as well as a deep clean, and a handful of other odd jobs. Today I called Merry Maids and they'll be coming out on Thursday to give us a quote on cleaning the joint. Steve and his dad are next door as I type, putting a coat of poly on the bedroom floor. It is odd to think about that in a week, Steve will no longer have that house, weighing on his shoulders. Ever since we've been married, he's spend nearly every weekend working on something to do with that house. It will be so bizarre to have the weekend arrive and to be able to say, "What should we do this weekend?" I can't wait!
As you can see from the picture above, the boys took an afternoon off this past weekend so that we could visit the Berry Ranch and get some pumpkins. After that, we stopped at a local winery for their Harvest Festival. The weather was just perfect.
Griffin seems to have his first cold, I'm sad to say. Camden didn't get sick for the first time until he was 15 weeks old, so it breaks my heart to hear Griffin sniffing, snorting, and gagging, but I'm not completely surprised that he got sick. So, we are laying low right now, and I'm hoping in a day or two that he'll be feeling better.
I took this picture of Steve and Camden a couple of hours ago, when Steve got home from work. When I started preparing dinner tonight, Camden announced that he was going outside to "wait for Daddy". When Steve gets home at night, the first thing he does is play out in the yard with Camden. He's such a good father, and Camden loves him to pieces.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Be Careful What You Say to Chubby Ladies...

I believe I discovered the secret to post-partum weight loss yesterday. So I'm at the salon, having a very bad color job "corrected". My hairdresser and I are chatting happily, when she says, "Remind me again, when are you due?" To which I respond, "I had my baby three weeks ago." Her response? "Oh....sorry about that."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Getting a Grip

I'm typing this morning with a sleeping 3-week-old in my lap, while trying to finish eating a lukewarm bowl of oatmeal and sip an already-reheated-in-the-microwave cup of coffee. Camden spent the night last night with my in-laws (they have a travel trailer out here), so I find myself with a bit of time to get caught up on a few things, and pull myself together. I'm still struggling a bit, trying to balance my time between a newborn who wants to be fed around the clock and needs me for everything, and a very active 3-year-old who misses his Mummy. I'm looking forward to the time where it won't hurt so badly. I really had no idea that it would be like this. I simply wasn't prepared for the emotional aspect of providing care for two completely different little creatures. I think the bulk of my struggle right now stems from the fact that I have been putting far too much pressure on myself these past three weeks to get everything done like I use to, rather than making adjustments where I need to, and create a new "normal".
I recently taped an article on the inside of my medicine cabinet, in an attempt to remind myself to calm down and let things happen as they are naturally meant to. It came from the September issue of Child magazine, and here is a small excerpt. It was entitled, "Confessions of an Imperfect Mother".

Looking back, I think my performance was mixed. In focusing on one child, I would often neglect another. What seemed like a good idea on Tuesday often proved to be a bad idea by the end of the week. I got tired. I was misinformed. Dare I say it? I was sometimes lazy. And scared. But now, 25 years later, with my children grown and raising children of their own, here is what I want to whisper in their ears.
Be patient. Nothing good you do for children is wasted. Some seeds simply take longer to germinate. Don’t be afraid. Your children’s success does not depend on you. It depends on them. This doesn’t mean you can retire to a bistro and watch their progress over an aperitif from a distance. But they want to come into their own even more than you want them to. Trust them more.

Phyllis Theroux

In other news, the rental next door continues to come right along. We had inquiries all weekend from potential renters. Steve and Dev sanded the floors, and will seal them next weekend. Our contractor arrives bright and early tomorrow morning to finish the third bedroom. We are right down to the wire, but it looks like it should be ready for tenants by November 1st.

I'll pick Camden up around 11:00 this morning, and then I think we'll head into the city for story time at the book store. Maybe we'll even stop by Daddy's office for a visit. I'm happy to report that after nearly a week of waking up every 1.5-2 hours during the night, Griffin slept for a nearly 5-hour stretch last night, so I feel like a new woman today. I am feeling badly for my husband and boys as they have had an unfit wife and mother the past few days. It is scary what severe sleep deprivation can do to a girl.

Time to get to some bill-paying and assorted paperwork.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Story Time

I had to post this picture that I took last night of Steve with the boys. Griffin looks as engrossed in the story as Camden does. You may also notice that Camden is in his Superman costume/jammies again - - he is knee-deep in a "costume phase" right now, and it is next to impossible to get him to put on actual clothes each day. He'd much prefer to wear his jammies all day long. We are currently rotating between Batman, Superman, and Spiderman.

All's well on the home front. Griffin seems to be entering a growth spurt and wants to eat all day long. I'm pretty sure our sofa is going to have a permanent imprint of my butt, because it seems that all I do is sit on the sofa 24 hours per day, nursing. Phew! This morning I am really feeling the effects of not enough sleep last night, but I'm pretty sure I'll live.

Tomorrow we have an appointment with the pediatrician to check Griffin's weight (he needs to be at least 7 lbs.), and for Camden to get a flu shot. I'm dreading that part of the appointment, because Camden isn't crazy about going to the doctor anyway, and I'm afraid a flu shot will throw the poor boy right over the edge. Wish us luck!

Still trying to fall into some sort of routine and I think we are slowly getting there. We've been out walking the past few days, and have been scouring the Treasure Valley Family magazine for fun things to do this month. I cannot believe how many great (and free, for that matter) activities there are for preschoolers. I think we'll also join a Mom's group, which will be good for me.

I don't often find (or make) the time to read, but when I was breastfeeding Camden, I read a ton of books. So, I'm happily reading again, since I spend so much time each day, sitting on the sofa! I recently finished, Still Me by Christopher Reeve, and it was really good. I learned so much about him and his accomplishments as an actor, prior to his accident. The real eye-opener for me was learning about his everyday life after his accident, and what it entailed. Now, I'm reading The Confession by James McGreevey. You may recall that he is the former governor of New Jersey, who resigned in 2004 after announcing that he was gay. He was recently on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and was so interesting. I really recommend his book - - I'm only about a third of the way through it, but he really is an amazing man, and a good writer.

Time for Camden and I to do a craft project, while Griffin is still snoozing.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Here are some pictures that I wasn't able to post a couple of days ago:

Camden, shaving with Daddy

Griffin's first bath

Griffin loves his activity mat

Nana, Superman, and Griffin

Sunday, October 08, 2006

General Update

My folks left early Saturday morning and we sure do miss them. We had such a great visit and I'm so glad they were here when Griffin was born. I just wish they lived nearby because I know we would spend a ton of time together. I'm already looking forward to our next visit - - I hope it is soon.

Yesterday, my sister-in-law stopped in for a visit, along with our nephew, Banzer. He's grown so much! I see him about once per week, but it seems like he changes so much every few days. He's full of smiles and has the longest eyelashes I've ever seen. We thought it would be fun to line the boys up for this picture. We are creating quite the little posse, I believe! Around this time next year, when Griffin and Banzer are starting to walk, we will really be in trouble! Later in the afternoon, our friends Chuck and Debi stopped by for a visit, with their kids, Aaron and Georgia. Aaron brought his old "big boy bike" for Camden, along with some hand-me-down costumes, which was right up Camden's alley because he is all about dressing up in costumes right now. They also brought us a brand new, never-been-used Baby Jogger double jogging stroller. I guess they got it a few years back when their daughter was younger, but never used it. It is gorgeous and is sure to get lots of use at our house. Yippee!!

Today I found myself feeling quite a bit more human. My dear husband saw to it that I got to sleep in for the past two days, which was wonderful. It really helped a lot. I was also able to get out for a walk with the boys today. I think pushing 50 lbs. worth of boys in a double stroller was a bit much, so tomorrow I'll stick to the treadmill, but it was great to get some fresh air just the same. This afternoon, Steve took us on a scenic drive, and then we stopped off at the river so Steve and Camden could do a little fishing and rock-throwing.

Earlier in the day, Camden informed Steve that he needed a shave, so of course Daddy obliged and "pretend" shaved Camden's face. Camden thought that was about the best thing ever.

Per usual, I have a few more photos to post, but Blogger won't let me, so I'll have to do a separate post for pictures.

Griffin is calling, so this is all for now!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Boys

Thought I would post a couple of pictures from today. Griffin is having a hard time staying awake at all during the day...the poor boy wakes up long enough to eat and then goes right back to sleep. Unfortunately, around 9:30 at night, he decides it is time to be perky and alert. Last night, he actually slept for a 4-hour stretch (from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.), but unfortunately, Camden woke me up about 2 hours through that stretch, so I wasn't able to enjoy it!
I'm finding the most challenging aspect of this adjustment is that I struggle to find a balance in being sensitive to Camden's needs while he adjusts, and keeping his naughtiness in check. I'm very proud of how well he has handled Griffin's arrival, but he is beginning to show signs of possible jealousy over the fact that my time is now divided. I'm sure it will get easier with time, but right now I hurt for Camden.
Time to get supper started. Steve was able to get an earlier flight home from Arizona, so he should be here before I go to sleep. I really missed him this week and can't wait to see him.
Tomorrow we'll clean house and do some baking, and on Saturday, my folks head back to Maine. I wish they could move in! We are going to miss them so much!
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