Monday, December 29, 2008

instant family: just add marriage!

B: "Rob? Um, I mean, Dad? (running over to Grammie Joyce and whispering) Can I call him 'Dad?'"
J: (with what I'm sure was a HUGE smile on her face) "I think that would probably be okay."
B: (right in Rob's not-quite-sleeping face) "DAD! DAD! Wake up and play with me!"

Whoa. I know I've been kind of waiting for this (see almost all my posts to date), and that I hoped this particular transition would be an easy one, and that I prayed ESPECIALLY that God would bring us a man ready and willing to be a husband to me and a father to Blake... but WHOA. It is humbling and jarring and cool and scary and all of that rolled into one three-letter word. I've never heard Blake address someone as "Dad." Ever. All you folks out there who hear it every day, hear it shouted and whined, whispered and exclaimed, said lovingly and accusingly - think about that.

This is the first time I've ever heard my child call a man "Dad" (and typing that right now has me crying).

How cool is that?!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

yep, especially the part about 15-minute things taking 45 minutes

Click to enlarge.

that's what he said

B: "Mom, is this a shirt?"
A: "Yes. It's not jammies - that's a shirt. You can wear it today."
B: "Because I'm bigger?"
A: "Sure."
B: "But you can't wear it until you're smaller or you'll get all haired up."
Blake LOVES Rob. He's ready for Rob to live in Bozeman with us and play with him all the time. I'm glad that he's such a fan now, because it will make him less likely to hold a grudge after Rob starts actual parenting and discipline. Blake's so enamored with Rob that he keeps trying to overcome my apparent disdain for R. in certain regards, such as the last three times he's said a variant of the following:

B: "Rob, where are you going to sleep?"
R: "Either on the couch or at A & L's. Is that okay with you?"
B: "Well, I think you should sleep in my mom's bed because it's safer."

Rob stayed at A & L's, but it's nice to know that him sharing my bed won't freak Blake out. Blake's tried this tactic (telling Rob to sleep in my bed) in Bozeman, Billings, and Spokane.
At Thanksgiving during garage church at the Schuylers (garage church: smoking cigars and drinking wine around the wood stove in the garage):
R: "Matt, Scott, I need you guys to keep a secret."
M & S: "You can't tell it to anyone safer. As soon as we leave the garage, we won't even remember what you said."

When they found out the secret (Rob was going to ask my dad for permission to marry me), both agreed they might actually remember that one.
B: (to Rob after bedtime) "You need to stop talking and laughing so loud, because if you have to come back in here again, I won't be very happy. I'm going to go to sleep now."
AB: "You know who that is shoveling snow out there? That's my daddy. That's Rob's daddy too! Grampa Cec is our daddy!"

(long pause)

B: "Who's your daddy?"

Friday, December 26, 2008

as ready as we'll ever be

December has been fraught with emotion for me. The first three years after big Blake died, I experienced a great deal of anxiety about the anniversaries (wedding and avalanche). I'd worry so much about how those days would affect me that by the time the day dawned, I'd have used up all my fretting. I would wake up, realize it was just another day, and feel almost silly for all the unnecessary fear and worry I'd undergone. It was a consistent reminder that worry is like paying interest on a debt you might not even owe.

This year, no worry for me. Not really. I had something new and interesting to look forward to, I knew that anniversaries were non-starters for my heart, and I was more curious than anything about how everything would shake out for me. Also, I had started taking a hormonal supplement that seemed to be freeing up some of the emotions that I'd hidden behind a carefully built wall. Rather than be anxious in the lead up to the anniversaries, I found myself simply experiencing grief and sadness and missing big Blake at the most random times. And crying about it.

I haven't cried much in a while, so the tears are almost a novelty (which is strange - historically, tears come easily to me). Blake's response has changed dramatically from the last time I really broke down in front of him. He's such a little man that this time he saw my tears as a problem to be fixed. Something he did at dinner just smacked me with reminiscences of Daddy Blake, and I promptly started leaking.

B: "Mom, what's wrong? Why are you crying? Do you miss my dad?"
A: "Yes, sweetheart. I miss your dad, and you remind me so much of him sometimes. I wish he were here to know you."
B: "Well, maybe we can get a new daddy. (brief pause) Maybe Rob can be my daddy."
A: "Wow. Would you like it if Rob was your new daddy?"
B: "YEAH YEAH! Rob can be my new daddy! Mom, can we call Rob right now?"

I dialed and handed the phone to Blake, thinking he'd prattle on like he usually does to Rob while I got my emotions back under control.

R: "Hi sweetheart!" (it's my name on the caller ID, not Blake's)
B: "Rob, will you be my daddy?"

I burst out laughing despite myself. Blake had an agenda, and he wasn't wasting any time, no sir. I could hear Rob hemming and hawing about needing to ask me first and how we were going to see if maybe that would work... and Blake just kept repeating the question: "Rob, will you be my daddy?"

He knew it was a yes or no question, and he hadn't yet gotten an answer that satisfied.

Since being in Spokane, Blake has been telling new folks he meets that Rob is his daddy. I gave both Rob and Blake NERF shotguns for Christmas, and Rob labeled his "Dad." When asked, Blake tells you that Rob's sisters are Auntie Rachel and Auntie Bethany. We're still moving from "Mister Cec" and "Missus Joyce" to Grampa Cec and Grammie Joyce, but everything about being adopted into a new family has been easy. We belong here.*

*Bethany has an iPhone, too, so she's an instant hit. I believe, when asked, the iPhone was listed as the #1 reason why I (Rob) was "ok."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

come on, ring those bells

For those clamoring for it (um, everyone), here it is in all its glory. It's white gold with a Yogo sapphire in the center flanked by two petal-shaped sapphires. Rob designed it with the help of a Spokane jeweler:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

we made it

For those who knew we were on our way to Spokane today, we made it safe and sound. After twelve hours of travel from start to finish (with a stop-over in Bozeman), we have numb butts and brains, but Blake did great, Rob is seriously the best driver ever, and I read aloud to keep from looking at the road.

Two and a half feet of snow in Spokane. It's not as cold as MT, but they have nowhere to put ALL THAT SNOW, so the danger isn't icy streets as much as it is crowded streets. Oh, and since the sidewalks are largely unshoveled, there were people walking along in the street. All I can say is that they are lucky I was not driving, because the sheer stupidity of what they were doing meant I would have been compelled to remove them from the gene pool.

Merry frickin' Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

stupid gmail, stupid ambivalence

So, I sent out an email to a large number of people on Saturday announcing Rob's and my engagement. It was short and to the point, but I thought I'd sent it to most of the folks that I'd prefer learn about it from me directly (as opposed to on facebook or my blog)

Turns out Gmail has changed their rules for a contact list, and if I haven't formally added a person to said list, they do not appear in my "main contacts" page. They appear as "suggested contacts." Some of my close friends are merely "suggested contacts." I did not see their email addresses in the list I was perusing and out of sight = out of mind.

I'm SO SORRY if I left you out. It was accidental and an oversight on my part and bears no weight on how deeply I care for you. And now I feel like an ass. Stupid Gmail.
For those of you who do not know, today would have been big Blake's and my sixth anniversary. I'm a wretched ball of conflicting emotions right now. Sometimes the joy leaks out, sometimes the tears. I'm threading the jagged rocks of processing and dealing with my thoughts and feelings while being sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others.

Rob handles it pretty well - he holds me when I cry, listens when I talk, and prays over it all when I'm done. The hard part for him is the realization that his presence alone doesn't make everything easy on me, and that proposing on a different day or in a different time of year may not have changed any of what I'm feeling - and would have just annoyed me at how long he might have waited!

Rather than write a tear-jerker of a letter to big B or opening my heart too fully when it's not quite ready to go there, I'll just be almost done.

I got an email today from the MSU Foundation. They (thoughtfully) drafted this letter for me, should I want to mail it out in my Christmas cards. Clearly, they've never received one of my perpetually late Christmas cards:

I wanted to take a bit of time this year to let you know a bit more about the scholarship which was set up in Blake’s memory at the College of Engineering at Montana State. Family, friends, and others (many of whom didn’t know Blake, but were moved by his passions and his story) provided memorial gifts totaling $3,013 thus far. We have also had some fundraising opportunities associated with the movie about Blake’s expedition.

I hope that we can build a scholarship fund that will provide a full tuition benefit for special students who are interested in avalanche studies at MSU -- to do that, we will need to be working toward a $50,000 endowment goal for the next several years. I know that this year times are particularly tough, but I know that many of you will want to be involved in Blake’s memorial anyway. And we have some time to build this. Through the university, these contributions will be tax deductible and those of you involved with corporations may be eligible for a corporation match for your gift to higher education. Memorial gifts can be sent to the MSU Foundation, P.O. Box 173820, Bozeman, MT 59717-3820. Please designate your gift to the Blake Morstad Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Even though I think it's totally cheesy that they wrote this for me, I have "given" my in-laws the gift of a donation in Blake's name... because it still matters so deeply to me. And today, of all days, I thought you might feel the same.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

that's what some of the others said

"Hell yeah!" - Lindsay & Chad
"Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" - Julie
"This is the shortest email/comment I've seen from you and is maybe the most exciting. You have learned thrift of word at the most inopportune time I see. Congratulations..." - Chris
a: "Addie's engaged!" to Julian
j: "I heard that."
a: "You have been here 3 minutes and you didn't tell me? You disgust me. You are dead to me." - Aubyn




"i am so amazed by the way this has all fallen into place for you. it's incredible. and beautiful. and what an amazing way for blake to be there and know that rob gets to be his new daddy! i am so happy - seriously - i can't stop crying." - Heather
"Addie, Addie, Addie!!!!!!!!!!! I am soooooooooo excited! I will be going over this and over this in my head for days and days, "He said, she said, He said, she said" ! ... I'll be poised with pen in hand for the date of the celebration!" - Lil
Yes, Sarah, this is the same man you met at AleWorks.
McBride family, you make my heart full, and I've always loved the special place we've held for one another in our souls.
No, we don't have a date yet. We're working on that, because it's going to be soon. Long engagements are a tool of Satan, don't you agree?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

that's what they said (well, pretty much)

R: "Will you marry me?"
A: "YES!"
A few weeks ago, Rob mentioned that he wanted to visit the rock where we'd first kissed while we were in Billings before Christmas. After a long silence, I said, "You know that's pretty obvious, right? What about 'no big decisions until after Christmas?' You're not going to, you know, blow our timetable?"

"Huh," said Rob, "You think you're so smart. What if my plan was to get you up there, kiss you again, then get back in the car and leave?"

"So you're saying that you are now toying with me?"

"Maybe. Quit thinking about it, and it won't drive you crazy. And I'm not obvious."

"Fine," I said, with a heavy sigh. "I will stop thinking about it. What's the weather like there?"

Cut to today. We're on our way past the house where lies the rock upon which we enjoyed our first kiss, headed to Molt for breakfast with Molly and JR. There's a great little place that way that has live bluegrass music on Saturday mornings, and we'd been planning this for at least a month. I knew that Rob was still intending to visit the rock, that he'd cleared it with the owners of the home (thanks Pollard family!), and that Molly and JR knew we'd be pausing briefly there.

We climbed the snowy hill, slipping a little, with me painfully aware of the fact that Blake, Molly, and JR were all waiting in the car, watching us. Rob helped me up the rock (slick with snow and sub-zero temperatures), we kissed and looked around a bit, and I bent down to tie his boot, which had come unlaced. When I stood up, he went down on one (cold) knee and held up a ring, then asked me if I'd agree to marry him.

I burst out laughing, then said, "Yes, yes... a thousand times: yes!"

Or not. But I did laugh and agree, then threatened to knock him off the rock for being such a sneaky sneakerton. He was tickled that his boot had come unlaced accidentally, because me tying it gave him the unexpected chance to get the ring out of his pocket. We slid our way back down the hill to find everyone (the Pollard family, JR, Molly, and Blake) inside, with JR having captured much of what was visible on his camera.

What was visible: us from the waist down.

We entered into the warmth of congratulations and hugs, and I eventually got the chance to bend down and talk to Blake. "Rob asked me if he could be your new daddy. I said yes. What do you think of that?"

Blake looked down shyly, then turned and threw his arms around Rob's knees, nodding happily.
In some regards, I've been expecting this (Rob and I have been talking marriage and are reading a great 'marriage prep' book), so it's anticlimactic. In other regards, Rob really did surprise me, and my heart's been playing catch-up to the shock.

Rob is an amazing man. I haven't scared him off, despite my best efforts to do so simply by revealing myself honestly. He knows me, deeply and truly... and he loves me anyway. The more you know me, the more you should respect him. I love him more than words can say, and I can finally see what a friend's father told me a few years ago, very soon after Blake had died:

"You might not be ready to hear this (I wasn't): It won't be the same. Things will never be the same. But they can be better."

And I've discovered that this is true in ways that do not reflect poorly on the character of the dear man whose name my son shares. God is so weird. And God is so good.

Friday, December 19, 2008

that's what they said

M: (to Blake) "You've lost your mind. Go find it."
R: "That's you! Beautiful and crazy, arm-in-arm."
A: "Thank you?"
B: "Rob, you need to get me! Save me from Sam!"
M: "Your son is showing off for Rob over there."
A: "Aren't they lucky to have each other? Aren't we lucky we're over here? Where did you get this wine?"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

i don't even have a shotgun

From Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott, given to me by T:

"I'm unclear about the fine line between good parenting and being overly protective. I get stumped by the easy test questions - like whether I should let Sam ride his two-wheeler for several blocks without me when I secretly want to run alongside him like a golden retriever. He wants to walk to a friend's house; I want him to stay inside and draw while I sit on the front porch with a shotgun across my lap like Granny Clampett.

Unfortunately, we have no front porch."

it smells like blood and wet hair

Maia, the BPL black Lab mascot, was trying to entice me to play with her last night. She was breathing heavily in my direction and refusing to give up the ball. After getting in really close to try to wrestle it away from her, I stopped abruptly and shooed her off, telling Ryan (my boss/friend/brother) that she smelled just like a dead mule deer. His response was less apologetic than surprised and impressed that I knew and could identify such a smell. I got a text from him last night after I left work:

"OMG you're right. She totally smells like a mule deer. Blech."

I like validation as much as the next girl, but this was more icky than victorious.

Monday, December 15, 2008

that's what he said

(thrown in at random when on the phone with two separate grandparents this week) "chatter... chatter... chatter... My mom's going to the bathroom. chatter... chatter... chatter..."
Now can I open my Christmas present since I cleaned up/ate dinner/came inside?
I really hurt myself with the crepe spreader.
A: "How was your day at preschool?"
B: "The fire alarm went off and freaked me out."
A: "Oh? Did you have a fire drill?"
B: "Yeah. It freaked me out and we went outside and plugged our ears and sang a song because it freaked me out."
A: "Did you learn a new phrase today?"
B: "When something freaks you out and you have to go outside because it freaks you out and a fire drill would freak you out because it would be loud and it freaked me out."

He then got on the phone with my mother and proceeded to use "freaked me out" or variants about twenty more times.
"I'm going to kiss you like Spiderman." (he proceeds to attempt an open-mouth kiss on me, then demonstrates how Spiderman kisses Mary Jane, wherein I realize that all movies must be G-RATED from here on out, then insist that only mommies and daddies kiss like that... okay, only grownups... okay, you're not dating until you're thirty-five!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

just today

I wore my big Sorel boots to lead worship at church. They are enormous snow boots, perfectly practical, and I've had them since fifth or sixth grade (because my feet were almost this big back then). Because I was not nearly as practical then as I am now (please stop laughing - this is actually IMPROVEMENT), my mother graciously gussied them up with fuschia shoelaces, which I sport to this day. Singing Christmas carols at the front of church.
I went to a great cookie exchange and got a ton of fun varieties to nibble on. During my time there, I'm pretty sure I offended a handful of people with the one naughty swear word I used. I'm just grateful I limited it to one... but I wish I could not be so ornery and choose better words.

Rob and I were talking late last night as I baked up the cookies (of course, my contribution required hours of chilling, which meant I was almost done baking at 1:30, when I gave up and went to bed), and, as it was his turn to pray (we alternate), his prayer included something along the lines of "Dear God, please help Addie make wise choices tomorrow and come back with the best cookies there. And please help her to not eat them all before I get to Bozeman."
It is ridiculously cold here. Sixteen below, and I'm not sure it ever got above negative numbers at all today. Booger freeze weather, for lack of a better term. I'm not sure if the temp was the cause of this, but I got behind an older SUV today that was emitting tons of steam/exhaust, and the most unusual part was the smoke rings it was throwing off every few seconds.

Honest-to-goodness smoke rings from the exhaust pipe. I wonder if it can French inhale.
This isn't from today, but has been knocking around in my head since I read it in a book from Molly & JR:

"Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Savior. He who has stood before his God, convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honour of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed." -Charles Spurgeon

This has been convicting me lately. I think all too lightly of my own sin, though, peculiarly, not too lightly of the sins of others.


I hate being a hypocrite.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

keeping my ideas to myself

Because I don't want to score high on this test.

Friday, December 12, 2008

because i'm a huge nerd

K: "Your closet is color-coordinated!"
A: "Yours isn't?"
I love being able to write a little html code. It means I can make ugly things pretty (or something like that) on this blog, on BPL, and on craigslist.

Oh, and I'm selling this (link removed because the diaper bag sold!) and this.

I no longer need the first due to potty-training, and the second was recently replaced by Rob, Rob, my heartthrob.

catching up

  • Blake's response to Rob going back to Spokane on Wednesday.
When it became clear that Rob was leaving without us, Blake completely melted down. He clutched at Rob's clothing, and I had to physically restrain him from wrapping himself bodily around poor Rob or running after him. He pitched an astonishing fit, which I've not seen done for when I leave (are you kidding?) or when Grammies leave (which is kind of surprising). Now, it was two hours past his nap time, which I'm sure colored his reaction, but Rob wasn't sure what to do. Leave the frantic child who is so upset he cannot even say goodbye?

YES! I finally had to shoo him on, since his lingering was making Blake worse ("Maybe if I cry harder, Rob stays!"). After thirty minutes, when Blake finally calmed down and went to sleep, I called Rob to let him know we were both okay, and that if Blake was going to cry that violently about him, I would rather he did when Rob left, rather than when Rob arrived.

When Blake woke up, I explained that Rob had to go back to Spokane for work, but that he'd be back in a few weeks for Christmas. Well, he refused to go to bed that night because Rob wasn't back yet, and he needed to talk to him. We've spoken to Rob on the phone a few times, and Blake regularly asks if Rob is done working and can come over now.
  • A brief essay (paragraph?) on two of the websites I'm crazy about these days.
I love and I'm getting rid of all kinds of stuff I couldn't really do much with otherwise: spare hangers? unopened spices I never use? old picture frames? I list them on freecycle and someone comes to get them. I'm grateful to be rid of them without throwing them away; they are grateful to get something they need for free. I LOVE IT!

For books, I post the ones that I'm done with or that Blake's outgrown. All I have to do is ship them when someone requests them, and I can use the credits to order any book I want from anyone else. I've rounded out my collection of hardcover Brian Jacques, some C.S. Lewis, and amassed a big stack of a variety of books that Molly or Newsweek has recommended.
  • How I got Rob's Christmas gift for $60 bucks off when it wasn't on sale. It may involve partial nudity; it may not, but it's a good story!
Target made a labeling error. When I asked if it was an error, the electronics guy said it was not, and that if the gift rang up too high up front, have them call him, since he'd confirmed the lower price. That's all there is to it, but I told Rob that I had to flash the teller to get the better-than-Black-Friday deal. "Because that's how much I love you, baby."
  • A list of all my sizes that are fit to print. Molly and I came up with this, and it sounded both funny and helpful for all you out there pondering what to get me for Christmas. You might get something ugly, but at least it will fit.
I'm still pondering this. It would be long and would merit its own post.
  • How Blake and I do the Nativity scene (hint: it involves hide and seek).
It's pre-Christmas, so Mary, Joseph, and the donkey are still on their way to Bethlehem. I move them around the house kind of daily, and Blake finds them. On Christmas morning, Jesus, the angel, and the shepherds arrive. January 3: enter the wise men. He's not as interested in finding them this year, probably because Joseph is not Spiderman/Ironman/Batman.
  • How my food sensitivities are doing, and what I can still have, despite those lists.
I don't consider the foods allergies, and I'm working on avoiding the big ones for the next three months. However, this will be wildly inconvenient, and my diet will either become numbingly simple or extremely interesting. At first I thought I could just kick the big ones pretty easy, but lots of other things were still okay, like breads and cheeses and stuff. Except that soy is a biggie for me. And soybean oil is in EVERYTHING. Like breads and crackers. I'm not sure where to begin, but Rob's encouraging me in this (he's taking it much more seriously than I am!), and is trying to bargain with me by putting something I want from him on the table. It's tempting but for the insane amount of work I'd have to do.

Plus, I found out that the sensitivities can vary based on what I eat (eat too much milk and you become sensitive to it), and that the Western medical community doesn't put much stock into this particular test. I'm on the fence. Still, if Rob is taking this seriously and can help, I suppose I can try harder.
  • What my friends are saying about Rob.
"We want you to know that we love you so much, and we are proud of you. It has been a tough road, and it still can be a tough road, but we know that God has a plan. He brought Rob into your life, and we are so excited for you. He is a great person, and has a good sense of humor. He was jumping right in with our sassy friends, so I know he is for you. :)" - SK

"It was really fun to see you together-- you looked so beautiful and happy. We knew we'd like Rob, so we were glad to have a chance to confirm that opinion. Very impressive that he seemed at ease in a group of strangers that was there to see him." -AS

"We can't wait to meet him, and we are so excited for you!" -a variety of folks who missed out for one reason or another

Thursday, December 11, 2008

some cats don't walk alone

I got this from my delightful production assistant today. She gets me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

that's what he said

"I just don't want you to leave, Rob. I want you to stay with us for a long time." (said through tears)
"Rob, no toots at the table."
(gasp) "Bad word!" if I say 'never,' 'stupid,' or 'hate'
T: "Who's your best friend?"
B: "Ummm, I think I like my mom."
T: "Awwww!"
B: "Yeah. And I think I like EVERYONE."
"Cows always eat grass. Horses too. Horses always eat grass.

But penguins don't. And cows always poop."
(pushing play on the portable DVD player while on the drive from Billings to Bozeman) "I going to watch Toot & Puddle many times." (as he watched it for the third time)
(after blowing in his face)
"Ew. Your breaf is kind of sick."
A: (tired of hearing him sniff) "Would you like a Kleenex?"
B: "No, thank you. I just like to sniff to make the inside of my nose cold."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

thinking and driving (pictures too)

I remembered what I was going to post last night, far too late (though I appreciate that everyone agrees with me about the terrible name of that gas station).

I attended Lane & Bing's reception on Sunday night, in Billings, at the Yellowstone Country Club. Ten o'clock rolled around, and I headed to the car to pick up Blake from my friends' place (That's right J & K! You are my friends!). With my phone in one hand and a clove cigarette in another (Thanks sweet T, on both counts!), I found the divided entry/exit and headed down the small drive. After about fifty yards, I thought, "This is looking less and less like a street. I bet I'm driving on the golf cart lane. I bet I'm on the golf course."

Sure enough.

I threw the car in reverse, set down the phone (duh), and carefully backed back onto the parking lot, avoiding trees and utility boxes. I laughed hard and called Rob, needing to tell someone of my silliness and knowing he wouldn't judge me.

He totally judged me, but I think mostly because I had full hands while driving. Again. At least this time, I actually found the street.
Rob and I exchanged Christmas gifts. He got me a new, smaller camera. I love it. I'm still learning how to use it and all, but it takes great photos.

Blake loves taking pictures. This one even turned out okay (old camera, though).

Showing off his "skateboarding shoes" from Uncle Bing. They finally fit. He really likes them. Too bad his street cred can't withstand the sippy cup in his hand.

If I remember correctly, this is Spiderman all tied up? Something like that. I don't want to be like one of those mothers, but doesn't this seem advanced for a three-year-old?

The buggy Jell-O. He loved it.

Helping (doing) the Spiderman puzzle. It's a bit beyond him yet.

New camera! Thanks Rob!

One of three decent pics Blake took. He took about forty.

"Mom! I'm gonna get you!"
"Not if I get you first! RAAAR!"

The M - we were shooting the sunset on Pete's Hill.

Me staying warm next to the camera.

We went up Bridger Canyon for some shots, and while Rob got some time lapse stuff, Blake and I had a snowball fight.

I got to babysit Maddox! Once he was fed, he was cheerful, but before that, LOOK OUT. The kid has some lungs on him!

Chad and Lindsey K. They made fun of me for keeping them from leaning together. I stand by my assertion that it makes people look funny... and here they look normal. Ish.

Aubyn, me, and Molly - aren't we cute?

Yes, they are praying. Yes, I'm still taking a picture.


The street toughs that accosted me with delightful dancing technique.
Morgan, Ruth, Riley
Emme, Grace
(Aubyn, please correct me if I'm wrong!)

My delightful and handsome parents.

Yes, we are doing the Macarena. No, I'm not checking out my mom's bum.

Ok, I probably was. You know me!

Me and Laubster. She's the best.

Janelle and Seth. Janelle has pretty intimidating dancing skills, but I was not afraid.

You know who else has mad dancing skills? Bing. He was in fine form and damn funny.

I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Bing, Lane, and Julian (Bing's brother).

Congrats you guys!

Monday, December 8, 2008

posting after 11:00 pm should be verboten, like buying hair color after 9:00 pm

I don't care if that's the name of the store. I refuse to write "Kum and Go" on anything ever, including my personal finance software. I call it "Conoco" or something like that. Gasoline is gasoline, and that name is just icky.
I don't think it's weird to ask someone not to celebrate their toots.
I had more, but I got distracted by cheese.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

how do i love thee? let me count the ways (and the days)

So he leaves again
Parting as such sweet sorrow?
No way! It just sucks.

I'll bet you can imagine what she was referring to. He comes back in less than two weeks to pick us up, swing us all through Billings for time with Molly and JR and my family (hi, Grammie! can't wait for you to meet him!), then drive ALL THE WAY back to Spokane to have Christmas with his family.

Side note that I forgot to include in my post below: my old cat, Calvin, still lives. I got a call from the dear woman who had adopted him, letting me know that he turned 16 in November, and that I was welcome to visit him any time. She had no idea that I had a son who loves cats, nor that my reason for giving Calvin up (big Blake) had died, and went so far as to offer Calvin back to me if I wanted him. Bless her heart. I said, no, thank you, our space is too small, but we will be heading out to Manhattan to see if he still remembers me.

Good old Calvin. I gave him up before I got married because big B had a dog that killed cats (we had documented evidence of this), and I figured that was one MAJOR fight we could avoid. Big Blake also gave up Zouri (his dog), in a gesture of good faith and fairness. Calvin and I journeyed from Billings to Bozeman to Seattle and back. Super affectionate, he learned to climb a ladder when I slept in a loft, let me flip him on his back for tummy rubs, and had a purr that was loud and persistent, though otherwise unremarkable. He was not popular with many of my roomies, which was perfectly understandable, as he was alternately wildly anorexic and willfully incontinent, puking everywhere and/or peeing in my closets.

Gosh, I've missed him. And yet, I'm still perfectly happy being cat-less. Hmmm.

Friday, December 5, 2008

is this someone's idea of a joke?

I got a Tiffany & Co. catalog in the mail today.

Naturally, I want everything. Especially these. And this. And these. And do you know where I had to go to get those links? You KNOW I had to look around a little more.

I need a drink. And about $30,000 to blow on fancy jewelry to wear exactly no where.

gotta keep you coming back for more

Whee! I get to have a slumber party tonight with sweet T! Also, I'm hanging out with another friend today (in fact, must go soon for that), I've heard from Rob how much he can't wait to come back, and I'm headed to Billings tomorrow for Lane & Bing's reception party.

Oops, Blake just melted down. Cable's not working, so there's no Go, Diego, Go! to numb his brain.

I've got a bunch of posts floating around, but many other things to do first, so here's a list to whet your appetite or to weigh in on, if something seems wildly inappropriate. Of course, you know that if you tell me it's inappropriate, I'M TOTALLY POSTING IT.
  • Blake's response to Rob going back to Spokane on Wednesday.
  • A brief essay (paragraph?) on two of the websites I'm crazy about these days.
  • How I got Rob's Christmas gift for $60 bucks off when it wasn't on sale. It may involve partial nudity; it may not, but it's a good story!
  • A list of all my sizes that are fit to print. Molly and I came up with this, and it sounded both funny and helpful for all you out there pondering what to get me for Christmas. You might get something ugly, but at least it will fit.
  • How Blake and I do the Nativity scene (hint: it involves hide and seek).
  • The haiku written just for me. I'm not sure why, but I seem to inspire odes and haiku.
  • How my food sensitivities are doing, and what I can still have, despite those lists.
  • What my friends are saying about Rob.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

seriously, lower your standards with me!

TO: All those people getting Christmas cards out now
FROM: Addie

Sick. Just sick.
What are you, over-achievers? It's not even April.

But thank you for including me while you make me look bad. My only consolation is that my Christmas card, arriving sometime after Easter, makes a splash too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

that's what he said

One of the few songs I can identify from preschool, with Blake's pronunciation:

I have a little turtle
His name is Tiny Tim
I put him in the bathtub
To see if he could swim

He drank up all the water
And ate a bar of soap
And now he's in his bed
With a bubble in his froat

Bubble bubble bubble
And now he's in his bed
With a bubble in his froat
A: "You're a dancing man."
B: "No, I not."
A: "Yes, you are."
B: "No, I not. I surely am a fancy mover, but I'm not a dancing man."

Monday, December 1, 2008

i told you we'd have fun...

and here's the proof:

keeping company with those who make me better

Sent to Aubyn by one of her friends:

"Yo Aubyn - I've got a beef to settle with you.

It all started when I stumbled across your Facebook page when you got that cool new profile picture. I saw the link to Hannah's blog, and I followed it like a fool. I didn't even know who Hannah was. After looking at her blog and seeing all the pictures of her adorable baby, I went to the other blogs listed on her blog. Three hours and some ten blogs later, after making the discovery that you are all somehow related, I found myself extremely jealous. You seem to have awesome friends/relatives, which I covet."

Yes, we do have awesome friends/relatives. We're so lucky.

because i can only handle so much nickelodeon

We pulled Thanksgiving off! Rob brined the turkey, Reese and I tried new and tasty recipes, Mom brought the pies, and a few of my in-laws came down from Calgary!

It was awesome. Blake stayed with Margie and Kent pretty much all weekend (they dropped him off for naps, then picked him up again!), and they all did a great job of spoiling one another. It's particularly sweet to me to see how Blake has grown attached to Grampa Kent and how that's essentially got Grampa Kent wrapped around his finger. Everyone's a sucker for the adoration of a cute kid, right?

I ate things I shouldn't have and paid for it with some discomfort and a tender mouth (hard to describe - it just hurts, but there aren't any specific sore spots or wounds), but it was totally worth it. I'm now trying to figure out how to give away all the leftover turkey. Also, I'm coming up with plans for clearing my pantry of all the things I shouldn't be eating. Rob's been helpful, and I think we're going to come up with a menu of things that I CAN have so that I can at least move towards something (positive) instead of merely avoiding things (negative). And I'm taking great comfort in the fact that I can still have dairy, grains, chocolate, and beer.

We're now getting all wrapped up to take a drive up to Bridger for the late morning/early afternoon, and we're getting coffee on the way. Rob will probably be heading out on Wednesday, and the good news is that we've put up with each other for almost two weeks now.

I think that's a good sign... also good: he had as much fun stringing Christmas lights and decorating our tree as I did. Blake: not so much. He'll come around, and if he doesn't, we're headed for the snow right now, so I'll throw snowballs at him until he's having fun.

Because that's how it works in this house. I will MAKE you enjoy yourself, dammit.

Friday, November 28, 2008

that's what he said

My dad: "Looks like you two are finally bonding."

I was vacuuming. Rob was grinding coffee.
After I showed him my freshly painted lips...
B: "Maybe when I really big, I can have hot lips too."
A: "Not if I have anything to say about it. I'll paint your toenails first."
B: "Okay!"
Grammie G: "I think I'm going to be a dandelion."
B: "I'm going to be a geek."
After inadvertently taking Rob to his house...
Matt: "Oops. I guess you want to go home to your wife?"
R: "Ummm... yes?"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving... don't put that in your mouth

First off, happy Thanksgiving. I'm particularly grateful for my family and friends, the abundance of the Lord, and the way that God keeps me on my toes by continually throwing me curve balls.

Ok, I might not be exactly grateful for that last bit. But Blake has been a super-sweetie the last two days, and he is SO PLEASANT to be around when he's behaving and obedient and has a good attitude. We've been having a great time with lots of hugs and kisses. Rob has even been included, whether he likes it or not!

The latest curve ball (the one I'll divulge to the internet, anyway) is the news I got yesterday. Just in time for the holidays, yessir. I had some blood work done last week, and the results came back. The lab was testing for food sensitivity - as in, which foods induce my body to produce IgG antibodies? These are not allergies, but sensitivities, and the doctor guessed that some of my symptoms are due to unknown sensitivity to foods that I eat at least regularly, and that cutting them from my diet could help with the acne I've been experiencing, as well as some of my back pain and general fatigue (among other things). I was willing to give it a go, since I saw a different doctor months ago to try to get the same test done. He sent me to a dermatologist.

After sitting down with me, the doctor (Amy) said she'd never seen a workup like mine. This, naturally, reassured me to no end. She showed me the results and sat back.

Now, there are four levels of response: None, Very Low, Low, Moderate, and High. Her advice is usually to give up all foods that elicit anything above "None" for three months to see how your body feels, then gradually and slowly add back some of the "Very Low" to "Low" foods to see what happens and how you feel. She cannot recommend this for me, because I would have exactly nothing to eat. She sympathetically advised me to start with the "Highs" (because they are "banned for life" kinds of foods) and possibly the "Moderates," but said it was completely up to me.

Here's how it broke down and broke my heart:
High Reaction
  • Artichoke (I LOVE artichoke!)
  • Apple
  • Cabbage
  • Celery (WHAT? This is just water in green form!)
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce (Again with the green water.)
  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Tuna (I only eat it in sushi, but it's all I like for sushi.)
  • Pork
Moderate Reaction
  • Grape
  • Papaya
  • Pear
  • Avocado (This will never work.)
  • Beets (Well, I'll give these up. If I HAVE to.)
  • Green Pepper
  • Onion
  • Spinach (Seriously, no more salads for me.)
  • Sardine (See beets, above.)
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken (See beef, above.)
  • Turkey (See beef, above.)
  • Corn
  • Pecan
  • Soy
  • Cashew
  • Millet
  • Watermelon (Ok, so this time the water's pink, but STILL.)
I won't get into all the stuff I still CAN eat, just because those are slightly less interesting lists (rye?). And technically, I shouldn't be eating them either. Amy said she's never seen someone react to EVERYTHING, and her guess is that because I eat the bold stuff very regularly, my body has enough inflammation to react to any little thing. Now I'm wondering what it would be like to drop all the High/Moderates and see what my blood work came back with after three months.

I took some consolation in the fact that the foods I was most fearful of having to give up (milk, bread, beer, coffee, grains, cheese) got off easy with Very Low/Low ratings. And generally, I already notice that eating some of the above foods makes my mouth hurt... but I just thought it was due to acidity or something. My biggest problem is my protein options: I have none. Looks like scrambled egg whites and lamb stew for Addie from here on out. And I need to start hunting again, since they don't test for venison.

Turns out ignorance really IS bliss. Humph. Who knew?

P.S. I'm having turkey today. Yes, yes I am. Also, apples, onions, and pecans. It might kill me in the long run, but I WILL DIE HAPPY. And blissfully full and grateful.

Monday, November 24, 2008

two ski resorts within an hour, old chicago, a three-foot playmate, and me

So far, Rob's batting 1000. We've done growth group, a date at AleWorks, a meeting with my discipler, church, and one dinner with friends. I've gotten to cook and bake for him and have gotten rave reviews. He plays with Blake darn near endlessly, which is both helpful for me and sweet to watch. He updated my network so I now have wireless* (for his laptop, not my desktop) and even took out the trash last night. *(N-series, no less. Great for MacBook Pros and iPhones.)


My friends like him. There was a line (small, but a line nonetheless) to meet him at church, and don't you think I didn't see your furtive nods and smiles and even teary eyes. I love you, my church/friends/family. Rob's been gracious and cheerful about the parade, still teasing me good-naturedly about anything and everything.

We had a dinner out at AleWorks, and when they made a small mistake that meant we couldn't play pool right away, they comped our appetizers and the three hours of pool we managed to play. We weren't even upset at all - they just bent over backwards immediately to make sure we were MORE than happy. Despite owning my own cue stick, I am rather unremarkable at billiards, so Rob even got to win* more than his fair share of games. *(Because Addie sunk in more 8 balls than I was able to put in of my own.)

Blake is in heaven, as he now has a wrestling buddy. Rob is perfectly amenable to being the jungle gym, car crasher, Spiderman accomplice, and bad guy in jail. He's such a great sport, and the only problem is that Blake's forgotten that I cannot be treated quite as roughly as Rob. I can't decide if I need to toughen up, if Rob needs to rein him in a little more, or if Blake just needs to recognize different levels of play given the person... but I don't think it's the first option. Probably a combo of the second two.

Yeah, that's it.

Finally, this long visit has allowed me to actually cook for my fella. Feeding others well is one of my love languages, and something I try to do regularly. Rob being in Spokane has been wildly inconvenient for this particular gift, so I am making up for lost time.
  • Honey baked French toast
  • Puffy pancake
  • Spaghetti
  • Grilled salmon
  • Pumpkin cake with brown butter icing
  • Lucky Charms
He loves whole milk and sugar cereal. I think that he and Blake are perfect for each other, and I will have to be content with my skinny jeans* and skim milk. *(And you look so HOT in them!)

Friday, November 21, 2008

that's what he said

B: "Mom, the cows are going away!"
A: "Actually, I think they are just moving to the other side of the field."
B: "Yeah, they're going to pass some new grass or they are going to poop."
A few months ago, I picked up some Batman and Transformers britches in one size bigger than what we have now. I told Blake that he could wear them when he was bigger and fully potty-trained, both as a reward and as reality: the child has no butt to speak of, and they were really too large. He's now pretty much all potty-trained during the day, and I pulled them out in one of my regular re-shuffling of clothing sizes. Thrilled, he would like to show almost everyone that he has these underwear on. EVERYONE. That poor, random woman in Target.

"I really have a big bottom, 'cause I wearing my Batman underwear. Want to see?"

After backing up to the mirror and looking admiringly over his shoulder, he looked at me and made fists, then, in a "YES!" motion with both hands (I don't know how else to describe it), said, "Optimus Prime! OH YEAH! I love it!"
A: "Want to read with me with the silly voices? You can be the big bad wolf, and I'll be the little pigs."
B: "No thank you. I want you to read because I just a dangerous fragile flower right now."
R: (not so silent laughter, pointing his finger at me) "That sounds like someone I know."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

i don't give advice so much as throw it at you and hope it sticks

My cousin Hannah, her husband Jarred, and their wee baby Noah get to come to Montana for Thanksgiving! Hurray! They are going to Billings, not Bozeman, and I have no plans (yet) to be in Billings myself. Boo!

Still, it's exciting that they are closer than Seattle, I guess. I'll take what I can get. She expressed some concern about not knowing what to pack for the first plane trip with a two-month-old and was asking (probably) rhetorical questions about what to do. I jumped right in - are you surprised? - and my first tidbit of wisdom was to bring a change of clothing for herself and her son on the flight. She'd probably only need a spare top, but might toss in a spare pair of pants too, just for good measure. See, I learned this one the hard way...

Blake was four months old, and we'd been invited to come along with my friend Molly's folks to her graduation from seminary. In Philadelphia. I was a little nervous, but decided that with the help of J. and K., I could handle a plane ride. Well, the trip out was fine (at least, I have no memory of it, which is a good sign - J. or K. might disagree, but this isn't their story!). Thing is, K. was going to drive with Molly all the way back to Montana, so J. and I got to fly back together. With a four-month-old. That I was still nursing. Oh yeah, and J. is Molly's dad.


Close seats, but J. was sleeping during Blake's first meal, so no worries. I was all proud of being self-sufficient and private, despite being on a freaking airplane. I went to burp little man B, who had gastroesophageal reflux for the first, oh, eleven years of his life. I might be exaggerating, but when your baby spits up one-third to one-half of every liquid feeding, it doesn't seem like they'll ever outgrow it, or like you'll ever smell like anything other than sour milk. GER is like acid reflux in adults, and where adults can usually keep their food down, the sphincter on babies' esophagus isn't well-developed... but their stomach muscles are.

I learned to burp my kid while on a linoleum floor, standing very straight and/or leaning back a little. It made the mess easier to clean up and rarely required a fresh shirt on me.

So, I was in the midst of burping Blake, and he proceeded to spit up all over me, but mostly all over my burp rag. Success! Of course, he got it in my metal watch band and wedding/engagement rings, but those things will wash... so far, so good! He was still young enough to be a lap child, so I sat him on my lap, facing the very exciting seat in front of us. Most babies tend to poo immediately after getting a full tummy, and my child did not disappoint. He ripped a big one, and I was glad that our positioning muffled the sound a bit, right up until I felt dampness on my shirt.

I leaned him forward and was horrified to see the yellow stain of a breast-fed baby poop smearing up the back of his onesie. I'm not kidding, it was halfway up his back (liquid diet = mostly liquid poop). Oh yeah, and it had transferred onto my shirt.

I apologized to J., who may have been awake by now, but I don't recall, and got out into the aisle, firmly holding my son against my front. No WAY was I going to show off THAT mess. Everyone facing us smiled and cooed (Molly was actually taken aback by how many people stopped me on the street in Philly to remark on my beautiful baby), as I made my way to the tiny plane bathroom in despair. I didn't know how I was going to clean this up with no counter space, but I at least needed to cry in privacy if I was going to be covered in barf and shit.

Once in the bathroom, wonder of wonders: the whole back wall folded down into a changing station. It was gloriously big. I got him cleaned up and in fresh clothes (the offending clothes in a plastic bag carried for just such an occasion), then tackled myself. Stripping off the tank top, I praised God for having a zip-up hoody with me, then wiped myself off and just zipped up. Having created a shiny clean family and feeling more human, I decided that I was going to be VERY amazing. Rather than walk Blake all the way up to J. for holding so I could use the facilities, I figured I would just balance him over my knees and do what I needed to do, then put him back on the changing table/wall while I washed my hands.

Proud as punch and grateful for generally being over-prepared, I was peacefully balancing and practically patting myself on the back, when I felt something wet on my legs. Blake was spitting up IN MY PANTS.

Motherhood is so glamorous.

That beautiful baby (Molly has one of him in his banana hat - which I think is what got us stopped - and I can't find a digital copy to save my life):

Monday, November 17, 2008

why don't i do more laundry?

Why do all my socks and unmentionables (panties!) gravitate to the corners of a fitted sheet in the dryer?

I fold laundry, thinking the sock monster has struck again, aided and abetted by a panty raider, then I shake out the king sized sheet and pelt all corners of the room with the missing items, wadded up and slightly damp.

Yes, it's late. No, I haven't been drinking. These are the things I think up and find too irresistible not to share. I can't help myself!

blah blah blah

I'm eating roasted sweet potato and rutabaga right now. It's very yummy (and sweet/salty). I'm also eating a dip I made with edamame, garlic, cottage cheese, and lime. Also yummy, though better warm, which is weird for a non-cheesy dip. I'm dipping red peppers and bread in it. Deciding whether to drink a glass of wine (unwise in the afternoon) or a beer with it, because water is just so... boring. Plus, I might find out I have a food sensitivity to beer in about a week or so, and ignorance is bliss. I want to indulge all I can before I know what terrible havoc I'm wreaking on my insides.

I'm on three new supplements as of Friday and think I might already be seeing results (or it's placebo effect, but either way, I'm happy). I had blood drawn today, and Blake kept asking the phlebotomist "What are you doing to my mom?" He was all protective and cute - he knows blood - but was mystified by the quantity and how it was flowing into the tube, not down my arm. I couldn't look because I'm back to being rather squeamish about needles and my own blood leakage.

Funny how a woman who has delivered a child through sweat and tears and pain can find the poke of a needle in the arm nearly enough to make her swoon. My heart flutters, I feel light-headed, and it almost makes me gag when they remove the needle. Blake asked the phlebotomist if I was going to turn green, which made us all laugh and broke my concentration on how much I hate having blood drawn. After a little juice, I'm fine, but my arm is sore at the needle sites (I got poked twice). I'm such a BABY.

Mmm, I chose beer. It's yummy too.

Finally, I'm wondering where all my commenters have gone. I know that people read this (my statcounter shows mostly U.S., but here's a shoutout to my regulars in Canada, Kenya, Australia, and the Ukraine), but no one has anything to say? Do I need to be more inflammatory? Post even CUTER sayings by my kid? Post less frequently? I've been trying to post daily, both to keep up with all the stuff floating around my head and coming out of my son's mouth and because I know some people check this place at least that often. I figure you all care enough to read what I'm saying, I'm just not sure WHY. And yes, this is a shameless request for feedback. I'm not too proud to say it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

that's what they said

"This is my teacher. She helps me to find my things."
"This is my grandmother. I love her because she has lots of shirts."
-both on drawings Blake did at preschool.
C: "E losing half his blood made him the perfect running partner for me."
B: "Hey Mom? Princess Leia loves butterflies."
A: "She does?"
B: "Yes. Princess Leia loves them so much and she hugs them."
(During timeout, from his room)
B: "Mom? Do I have to stay in here?"
A: "YES."
B: "Then I going to clean up my room because it was so dirty this last year."
(Watching him aggressively pick his nose)
A: "You diggin' for treasure?"
B: (removing finger momentarily) "Yes. I digging for treasure. But I only finding boogers.
(going at it again)
Oop, look! There's a big one."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

he gets that from me

Blake's been especially needy lately, for some unknown reason. He tends to get in my face and my space A LOT, and I hear "Hey Mom?" approximately one hundred times a day. He says it even when we're in conversation and he clearly has my interest, and it's quickly driving me nuts.

One of the things the teacher mentioned in the parent/teacher conference was that he tends to not respect other people's space, crowding them when he wants their attention. Yep, that sounds familiar.

I don't know if I've inadvertently taught him this, being distracted until he's rightupinmybusiness, or if this is something he gets to grow through and out of that he came up with on his own. Probably a little of both, though I'm not really sure how to correct it without dropping everything each time he calls to give him my full and undivided. Of course, that might teach him bad habits of a different sort, so I should probably just go on ignoring him.

The upside to all this is that he's also been SUPER affectionate lately, asking repeatedly for "lovins" at bedtime and every other time. Leaving his room without enough lovins (hugs and kisses) elicits tears.

"I just need some lovins. I just so sad."

He's gotten to be a really good hugger, too, nice and tight, sometimes wrapping his legs around my waist to really get the point across that I am being hugged and hugged well. He's seen me do this with Rob.

Or not. But we are affectionate when we're around one another, so maybe he sees that physical touch is something I respond favorably to? If that's the motivation, he is darn right. Touch is one of my love languages, and a good friend once accused me of being "aggressively affectionate." As in, "I'm going to give you a squeeze whether you like it or not."

Does that make me needy?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

fancy new underbritches

For your edification and education, I prefer the word "britches" when referring to my son's big boy underwear. I'm not sure why. I just like it. It's short, is easier to say than "big boy underwear," and is far superior to the choice my mother and aunt (both mothers of nothing but girls) are in the habit of using:


letting go

I successfully navigated my first parent-teacher conference today. Got Blake's first ever school pics on Tuesday.

Blake's pretty much on par with where they would expect him to be. He's one of the youngest in his class, so some of the skills that he doesn't get didn't surprise me a bit. Also, we've not been working on them at home because scissors? Are you kidding me? We have a leather couch! But recognizing coins? I can do that. Whew.

He is the only child in his class that is not potty-trained. I promised to work harder, because, truth be told, I had just given up. I figure he'd just decide to do it, then do it, and that it would require very little from me, since that describes most of my parenting experience so far, right?

He kept his Pull-Up dry all day, so we're trying out britches tonight during Bible study. I will probably excuse myself every thirty minutes to embarrass him in front of his idol, Eric, and ask if he's gone potty in the potty, then make him do it anyway.

As for the school pics, he looks so cute and big and almost awkward that I cannot stand it. I may have gotten a little teary about the new milestone I am crossing easily a year sooner than I'd anticipated. Yikes. Next thing you know, he'll be shaving.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

that's what he said

"Look Mom! There's Rob!"
(about some random, non-Rob guy in the Rockin' R Bar / Pickle Barrel where we were having lunch)
"Mom, I just need something very eatiful for dinner. I need something very eatiful and very yummy because I hungry."
A: "Whew! You smell like tinkle. You should go change your Pull-Up."
B: "Like Rob? Do I smell like Rob?"
A: "Uh, no. Rob doesn't pee his pants. Do you know something I don't?"
(when doing downward facing dog)
"Look! I stretching like a dog!"

My exercise video starts the cardio routine with a little "power yoga." He loves doing this part with me, because it's the only stuff he can keep up on or even come close to replicating. We roll out his "exercise towel" so he'll stay off my yoga mat (I step on him or he crowds me and we both fall over, which is less fun than it sounds), and he tries to match my poses.

"Mom, I have really big muscles," he says, as he trots off to play.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

would you could you with a mouse?

I hear a mouse in my walls. I think it's trying to chew its way through the drywall next to my dryer, because Lane and I sealed this place up good and tight from the inside (Dad and Justin H. sealed it up from the outside via the crawl space) with expanding foam. The few crackers I've left around to test for the presence of critters have gone untouched, which leads me to think it can smell the food and cannot reach it yet.

But I still hear it. It drives me nuts, knowing it's there, knowing that my neighbors' crawl spaces are NOT good and tight, and knowing that there are monsters in my crawl space, preventing me from going down and setting the poison and traps myself. I bought all this lethal stuff two weeks ago, in addition to a big flashlight (doubles as a club!), but cannot bring myself to actually enter my crawl space. Because of the monsters.

Now, I'm a pretty rational person. Stop laughing. I AM TOO. But in the middle of lakes or the ocean - and in crawl spaces - live monsters of a nefarious sort. I cannot describe them, but they are the same things I feared sitting on a porta-potty as a child. Heaven only knows what can grab you from depths you can't bring yourself to look in, much less see anything in if you tried. I've had two folks respond very sympathetically to this wildly irrational fear (one was Rob, the other Kellie), telling me that if they were there, they'd go in my crawl space for me.

On the one hand, I would see them as rescuers. Heroes of a noble and truly valiant sort.

On the other hand, I'm scared that I would never see them again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

rob's version of a love note

From our last Spokane visit. What do you think? My fella does good work, yep.

that's what he said

"Mom, can we buy a kitty today?"
I made lime Jell-O and dropped a large plastic bug in each Jell-O cup, for something fun and different (we tried it over Halloween, but did it too late, so Blake couldn't enjoy the result). "Buggy Jell-O," as I call it, is a big hit, and I'll try to take a picture of the last two in the fridge. Blake was eating some after dinner last night and asked what flavor the Jell-O was.

A: "It's lime. Green is lime."
B: "Oh! Lime! I love lime. Mom, listen to this rhyme:
I eat the lime
and the slime
is on my chime."
A: (open-mouthed shock)
Blake changes his own Pull-ups when they're just wet. He likes to open the diaper pail with his foot, pick up the Pull-up between his toes, drop it in, and close it with his foot. Immediately after doing so this morning, he smelled the green blanket that's folded and stored very near the diaper pail (smelling blankets is a mystery, but he does).

B: "Sick. This blanket smells dirty."
A: "Actually, that blanket is clean. I think you were actually smelling the stink that wafts up from the diaper pail every time you open it. Smell the kiki again."
B: (taking a deep whiff) "Great! This kiki smells great! I love it. Do you want me to cover you with it?"
"Mmmm, this hot chocolate is delicious." - said with all the enthusiasm of a foodie.
B: "Mom, there are no guns allowed at preschool."
A: "That sounds reasonable. Is that a rule they told you today?"
B: "Yes, there are no guns allowed at preschool. Guns belong at home."
A: "Well then, let's go home so you can do some shooting."
B: "Okay!"

Not two weeks later...
B: "Mom, there are no weapons allowed at preschool."
A: (nodding with understanding) "Oh. Did they make you put your light saber away?"
B: "Yeah." (nodding sadly)
A: "It's a good thing you still have your spiderwebs."
B: "Okay!"

Sunday, November 9, 2008

christmas lists

Despite my assurances that Blake and I want for nothing, I know that there are some out there who will probably get us Christmas presents. Hurray!

However, if you are floundering, knowing you want to get something but have no idea where to start, well, start here.

Blake Samuel:
  • Clothing, 4T to 6T, depending on the stuff. The kid is growing like a weed and is in 6T jammies.
  • A hard bottomed sled. The soft, roll-up thing I got last year bruises our bums and is no fun.
  • Star Wars DVDs, preferably IV-VI.
  • Light saber (found at Target these days, and I've resisted all his attempts at wheedling one out of me so far).
  • Luke Skywalker toy or costume (he has mentioned both and may not differentiate between the two).
  • Transformers that actually transform. He loves these, and I guess I could use the brush-up on the mechanics of how a toy can quickly drive you nutty insane, because he can rarely transform them all the way. And when I say "rarely," I mean "never."
  • Bike with training wheels. I think this is our year, which opens up all kinds of possibilities outside the small rectangular sidewalk outside our condo. Whee!
  • Weapons. I'm dead serious. Swords, guns, etc. would go over HUGE at the Morstad house this Christmas. I'd prefer wooden (even a short, painted dowel would be a great sword), especially for the guns, and nothing battery-operated unless you want me to send you something similar when YOUR child gets bigger. Because I will do that and raise the ante by also giving you a puppy.
I seriously debated adding "kitty" to the list, albeit one that doesn't poop or shed, but figured someone would send us a stuffed animal, which would not work at all. He desperately wants a cat, and I desperately don't right now... which leads to the first item on MY list:

Addie W.
  • A house with a yard in Bozeman.
  • Scrabble Deluxe, with the board that spins and has a grid so the tiles stay on. I covet my mother's, which I gave her, and might need one of my own.
  • Subscription to Radar magazine, which is irreverent, unholy, and wildly funny.
  • Gucci Eau de Parfum II - it has undertones of something spicy, which I think is rather appropriate.
  • Shirts from the Buckle, Gap, or Old Navy, because you can never have too many clothes.
  • Massages via Genelle... but you'll have to ask me for her number, because I love her too much to post it on the internet.
  • A decent cordless phone and answering machine (though I may be dropping my land line for reasons of cost - we'll see).
  • Candles of all shapes and sizes. So long as they aren't too smelly, I love burning candles all winter. Also, perhaps include new batteries for my smoke detectors. Just in case.
I'm happy to say that it appears the item on a list provided to my family two years ago has been provided by the good Lord. That item: Amanda Hugginkis

After all that, please know that if anyone gets us anything, it will be wonderfully appreciated. This isn't so much a list of demands as it is pointers for those who might want them. I love getting wish lists from others because I usually need the help. Forgive me for assuming the same of the internet as a whole!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

i have some pictures

Blake at one of the last great days in the park, sporting his new Transformers sunglasses and a hat from our Calgary visit (thanks, Grammie G!).

B: "Momma, what am I?"
A: "A walrus?"
B: "That's right! I'm a walrus!"

We got a visit from some Plentywood cousins...

and Blake decided to take pictures.

He loves using my camera.

He's just not very good at it.

Reese hosted a baby shower for Lane and Maddox in October, so a bunch of our friends could meet him.

Holding the little punkin - he's a cutie and very mellow, which I think he gets from his Daddy's side. (Sara, Naomi holding Maddox, Reese, and Lane)

Reese throws a great shower: food, talking, and NO GAMES. (Lane, Tracie holding Maddox, and Becca)

I came in after nap time to find that poor Mr. Snowman had been bad, so Blake tied him up in jail.

Friday, November 7, 2008

i'm game

If anyone has an excess of wild game in their freezers, preventing them from going hunting for more, I would happily take some of it off your hands. I would even help pay for the processing (provided I got some sausage), because I love wild game, I haven't hunted in years, and meat is expensive.

I'm just putting it out there. Also, Dad, what bribes are you taking to get your out-of-practice eldest out for a muley?

that's what she said

K: (fingering a bra at Victoria's Secret) "Look at all this padding! Wouldn't that just make you feel like, I don't know, false advertising?"
A: (checking out same bra) "HA! That's NOTHING! Let me show you what I wear every day. It makes my shirts fit better, and that way, my tummy or my nose aren't the first thing to enter a room."
K: "But..."
A: "'But' nothing. If anyone gets lucky enough to see the girls and mentions false advertising, you just PUT THEM AWAY. That'll show him."
Upon being greeted (while in the shower, no less) by a boy with a diaper in hand, wearing nothing on the bottom, saying "Momma, I pooped."

I have never finished a shower so quickly. This was easily a year ago, and Blake was no where near potty-training (because he's SO MUCH CLOSER now) and in diapers. I'd been coming into rooms and seeing that he'd pulled everything down to his feet, then smelling what he'd done, which was why he dropped trou. The messes weren't awful, but they weren't fun, either. Since then, I've had to ask the above question far more often than I would ever have guessed, but that first time, the answer was downright easy: all in the diaper. No where else.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

that's what he said

I used to be silly, but not anymore.
(long pause)
Not anymore, when I was fishin'.
(we were putting his coat on)
I want to listen to that one song. The one that Rob gave us this last weekend? Because I love it. It's the most beautifulest song today.
(Track 1 on the Iron & Wine mix given to us by - you guessed it - Rob)

halloween pics

We couldn't go to the party, but I wanted to show Rob how ready I was for it. I sewed the buns out of two pairs of pantyhose, some fiber fill, and a headband. The skirt, shirt, and belt were pre-owned, and a friend loaned me a paintball gun. I was a big hit... to a small audience, sure, but a bit hit nonetheless.
"This IS my princess look."

Forget Obi-wan. I'm helping MYSELF.

"Do ya feel lucky, punk? Well? DO YA?"

"Oh, see, now I feel silly."

Blake's jack-o-lantern, which we carved with Jasmine. My battery died when I tried to get a picture of hers. Boo.

My topless fellas. Blake would get a running start, then jump onto Rob's shoulders with his knees. Repeatedly. Rob finally helped him go from kneeling to standing and assured me that he likes being used as a jungle gym. I'm glad, because this one is TOO FRAGILE for it any more.