Saturday, July 31, 2010


Almost six months to the day, Lucian started sitting up on his own! Now his favorite thing to do is sit in the living room with pillows propped behind him and watch his big brother play. Max has also taken to sitting right next to Lucian with a pillow of his own (in case he tips over too?) and I love watching the two of them interact- just like brothers should ("No Lucian, I want to play with that! No, Lucian, don't touch that!") but even though he pretends to get annoyed, he doesn't want to move anywhere else!

This new milestone happened at the perfect time, as I've been unable to lift Louie for the past week. Saturday I was able to start carrying him a little bit, but I could plop him down anywhere when I got tired. Plus he seems to be more content when he can see the whole world around him rather than just the ceiling. My convenience, his contentment... sitting babies are great!

And super cute.

But he looks too old now...

Don't grow up too fast, little guy!


Lately, the answer to every numbers-related question addressed to Max has been "Twenty-five". I don't know where it came from, but it's stuck around for at least a week.

Max, how tall are you? "Twenty-Five"
What time is it? "Twenty-Five"
How far to the park? "Twenty-Five"

The other day, he told me that his Macky Bear stuffed animal wanted a sip of beer. (Yeah, that's our family...) Paul asked, "How old is Macky bear? Because he can only have a sip of beer if he is old enough." Of course, Macky bear was twenty-five.

Eventually, I decided to throw him a softball, so I asked him, "Max, how old am I?"

His answer: "... Please?"

I guess the only thing predictable about our son is his unpredictability!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Sticky Mess

After grilling out one evening, Paul decided to sharpen some sticks for roasting marshmallows. Super fun! While he prepared the sticks and I sat around (like I've been doing a lot lately), Max made his way to his favorite spot in the yard- the mud under the steps. When the marshmallows were ready to be roasted, he emerged looking like a homeless waif.

"Please, sir, I want some more."

I don't think this picture does justice to the volume of mud that was smeared on his face, hands, feet, shirt, and even in his hair! Oh well, let's just add another layer of mess to our already grimy little boy. Sticky, gooey globs of sugar, anyone?

Max thoroughly enjoyed his experience, at one point exclaiming, "I hotted a marshmallow!"

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Like Mother, Like Son?

This is how I spent my weekend: reading materials, ice pack, pillow, couch.

Then Max told Daddy he had a tummy ache too...

Once he settled in, it lasted about 2.8 seconds. I guess being sick wasn't all it was cracked up to be!

Monday, July 26, 2010


On Max's new favorite CD, Kids With Beards by the Okee Dokee Brothers, there is an entire song devoted to boogers. It completely caught me off guard the first time I heard it, but since then it's grown on me. I just hope they're not teaching Max any lasting habits when they launch into a chorus of "Who needs tissues when we've got fingers?"

In the middle of the song, the musicians break to tell jokes about this really appetizing subject. The first is actually one of my old favorites:

Why do gorillas have big nostrils?
Big fingers!

But the second joke is one I had not heard before:

What's the difference between boogers and broccoli?
Kids don't eat broccoli. (ohhh, eeewww, grooooan...)

It's this second joke that I would like to take a moment to address. Max has listened to this CD through at least twenty times, but he had never reacted to these jokes before now. Today, as he was playing with his Play-Doh, I saw a thoughtful expression come over his face, followed by a sly smile. He had gotten the joke! He looked at me and explained:

Kids don't eat broccoli. Boogers eat broccoli!

Oops. Almost, honey, almost.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy

Say that ten times fast. That's the fancy schmancy way of saying that I had gallbladder surgery. I'm still not sure how to pronounce it!

Everything went great, and I'm already moving around a little bit. I can't carry Lucian yet, but I can hold him on my lap. I think the hardest part of this entire ordeal was having to fast from midnight on Thursday until my surgery at noon on Friday... anyone who knows me knows I don't usually go more than a couple of hours without snacking, so that was torture! But now I'm eating whatever I want as much as I want and feeling better than I expected to feel at this point.

Thanks Cahills for the food! YUMMY!

Thanks Ten Eycks for the flowers and farmer's market goodies... delicious.

Thanks Mom and Dad for taking care of Max for two whole days so I could recover and sleep all the time.

Thanks everyone for the prayers and support!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Six Months!

On January 24, 2010 we welcomed the newest addition to our family. While I was pregnant, I had a hard time imagining what it would be like to have another baby- Max had stolen my whole heart when he was born, would I have to split my love in half to share it with our second son?

The moment he was born, I understood. There is no "splitting" or "sharing" of my love for my boys. They both have my heart in its entirety; they both have all my love.

Now it has already been six months and I can't imagine my life without our little Chubbo. I love every bit of him, from his big huge head to his adorable toes. When he smiles at me, I can't help but return the smile, and when he giggles, I melt.

Happy Six Month Birthday, Lucian

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Ok, Mom, I'll smile. But I'm too busy to look at you.

At our most recent Couple's Study, we met in the basement while the kids were upstairs with the babysitters. For the first half of the meeting, we could hear loudly pattering feet, balls being thrown, and general sounds of chaos from above. At some point, I noticed that the noise had stopped. Had they all gone outside? Fallen asleep? When we finished I went up to check on them and they were sitting quietly around the dining room table playing with a lump of blue Play-Doh!

Hmm... the wheels started turning...

Next day, we took a trip to Target and Max got to pick out a Play-Doh set of his own. He decided on the toolbox filled with six colors, a scissors, rolling pin, lots of arms, legs, eyes, mouths, etc. for making creatures, and much more (clearance item, 50% off... I may have directed him toward it just a little). We brought it home and he immediately commenced creating a masterpiece. I hung around and cleaned up the kitchen... then the living room... then I checked my email... then I read for book club... then I started dinner... nearly two hours later, he finally showed signs of being ready to do something else!

Now a week later, all six colors have been mashed together into a beautiful blackish-grayish-orangeish blob, but Max doesn't care. Every day this week, he has sat for at least an hour and sculpted with his Play-Doh. Sometimes I play with him, sometimes I don't; it doesn't make much difference to him. He is busy creating.

On a separate note, tomorrow I go in for surgery. Please pray for me and my family, especially Lucian. This will be the longest he'll have ever gone without me. I'll update you when I'm back on my feet again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fix it

While generally very easy-going, our son has a streak of high anxiety that sometimes appears without warning. It first manifested itself when he started trying to eat and drink by himself; if he spilled anything on the table, he would scream "WIPE it!!" and refuse to take another bite until the offending spill was cleaned up.

Lately what has been stressing him out is anything that appears to be broken... or simply not in the condition that he wishes it to be in. For example, yesterday he asked for a banana for a snack. He likes to hold onto the "handle" of the banana while he eats it, so I peel it upside down and he gets to eat his fruit like a real monkey. Unfortunately, my bananas have gotten overripe, so when I went to break it from the bunch, the stem broke right off! I peeled it and handed it to him, saying that I was sorry but the handle broke.

"FIX it!" he whined. I replied, "I'm sorry Max, there are some things Mommy can't fix."

When he accidentally snaps a stick in half... "FIX it!" When he mixes his play-doh colors and can't separate them again... "FIX it!" When a toy is worn out and won't play music anymore... "FIX it!"

Usually his fits don't last long, but I don't know how to help him understand that Mommy can't fix everything that's broken, and sometimes that's ok. Some things can't be fixed, shouldn't be fixed, or are not actually broken at all.

I feel like that's often how I approach God in prayer; when something isn't going my way, I whine "FIX it!" instead of recognizing that some of the things I think need God to fix for me aren't actually broken in the first place. I just need to change my perspective and my attitude.

There's nothing like parenting a toddler to remind me how a daughter of God should be speaking to her Father.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

My son is two-and-a-half years old.

He climbed this high by himself.

He has no fear.

...But I do. Yeesh...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Steubenville Conference 2010!

We took off Sunday morning for Rochester, to meet up with Patrick at Steubenville North for the conference closing Mass. Max was pretty excited to see his uncle, even if it was only for a few hours. We entered the conference center and were greeted by a woman asking us if we had pre-registered for the Mass. Uhh...?? Apparently the way they do it in Rochester is that every person who enters the auditorium has to have a background check completed. Even for the closing Mass. News to us! I explained calmly (while I inwardly flipped out) that we had driven all the way from St. Paul to see Max's uncle from South Dakota for a very short time, and was there anything they could do?!

As we sorted through red tape, Patrick came out of the auditorium and called to Max. Max took off running, yelling "Uncle PEEEEEEJ!" and jumped into his arms. SO worth the hour-and-a-half drive and the administrative headache.

We waited (missing the gathering hymn and processional) while they printed guest badges for us and guided us to a section of the auditorium far removed from the high school conference attendees. Thankfully, Patrick was able to join us, and Max sat on his lap for most of Mass... until Patrick stole him away to go show him off to the rest of the Rapid City group. I watched across the auditorium as Max danced with his uncle and friends during the closing songs. When I went to retrieve him later, he pounded his fist in the air and sang "Tell the world that! Tell the world that!" all the way down the stairs. I think he enjoyed the conference music just a little bit.

I love all these wonderful people

We got a little more time with Uncle Peej and the others from Rapid City as they ate lunch and took a group picture, but it was time to say goodbye much too soon. I really do miss the days when these conferences were part of my job. I miss being a youth minister. I especially miss all the people. But I am doing exactly what God has called me to do at this point in my life, and that is to be a full-time mother to my children. It's not flashy, but it is my job now, and I am proud to be a stay-at-home mom.

It was great to see you this weekend, Patrick! We hope to see the rest of the family SOON!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Photo Op

Lucian doesn't look the same as he did when I started this blog... ten points for Captain Obvious, right? Well, for the past couple of months, I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get an updated picture of Max and Lucian together for my homepage. I mean, the Easter picture is cute and all, but it doesn't do justice to how much Lucian has changed.

This week, I was finally victorious! I actually have several pictures to choose from, and I can't decide which one I like most, so I want your help in picking the best one to replace my current homepage picture. Here are your choices-

Choice #1:

Choice #2:

Choice #3:
Tough decision, huh? That's why I'm making you decide. Heh heh heh.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Inside Cushions, Outside Rocks!

(A poem by the Okee Dokee Brothers befitting this gorgeous day)

There's inside, which is comfy
And there's outside, which is big
Inside you can sleep
But outside you can dig

Inside you can wash
Outside you can dry
Inside you can walk
Outside you can fly

Inside you can color
Outside you can chalk
Inside you can sing
Outside you can rock!

Inside you can talk
With your inside voice
Outside you can YELL
With your outside noise!

Inside you can shower
Outside you can sweat
Inside you can memorize
Outside you forget

Inside you can sit and sit
And sit and sit and sit
Outside you can run and jump
And fall and roll and spit!

I just discovered the Okee Dokee Brothers this week, and what a find! They played at Centennial Lakes on Tuesday- just two guys, a guitar, a banjo, and great tunes. Max danced up a storm, pretended to ride a roller coaster, and joined a train of kids that chugged around the amphitheater. They are playing all over the metro this summer; I think we may become groupies!

Check out their website, go to a show, buy a CD and support local musicians!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's a Date!

Now that Lucian is old enough to leave with the Grandparents for a few hours, Paul and I decided it was time for a real live date night! On Saturday evening, we dropped Max and Lucian off at my parents' house and headed out to get SUSHI! Yummmm. It's been over a year since we've had sushi, so it was about time. The hit was the eel crab avocado roll- you can't say we're not adventurous!

Then it was off to Barnes and Noble to pick out a couple of books for Max with our gift card from his Great Auntie Jeralyn. It was SO much fun! We spent nearly two hours at the bookstore, reminiscing about our favorite books as children (Remember Harold and the Purple Crayon? The Giving Tree? Ferdinand the Bull?). While we could have easily spent hundreds of dollars, we contained ourselves and left with only two books: One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. Max has already read them each at least five times.

We then swung by home to feed Lucian a bedtime snack and check out Max and Grandpa in the tent out back. Yes, my dad the mountain man decided to give Max his first taste of camping, and he loved it! We stole away for another hour to Caribou Coffee and then came back to pick up Lucian. Max spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa and we went home to a quiet house and a movie (The Informant- not bad!)

I love my kids, but it felt sooooo good to have a night off. Believe it or not, we even managed to talk about topics other than our children. Three cheers for date night!

Monday, July 12, 2010

mmmm...Rice Cereal

Our little guy is growing up! With the help of his brother, he had his first taste of rice cereal last week. And I have to thank Max for sharing "his" high chair... the chair he hasn't used (and has barely glanced at) since we've been in our house, but the chair that is his nonetheless.

While Lucian didn't seem all too excited about it during the process, I think he was proud of himself at the end.

Pain, Pain, Go Away

Some of you know, but many of you may not know, that I've been dealing with intense, painful attacks in my back for the past couple of years- ever since Max was born. They don't happen often, so I've never really taken the time to figure out what was going on until it happened at the 50th anniversary celebration this summer.

Both my Grandma and Catherine knew exactly what it was the minute they saw me in pain. They said I needed to have an ultrasound to check for gallstones. Never in a million years would I have made the connection, but sure enough, the ultrasound showed "lots" of gallstones (that was the technical terminology used by the doctor) so I was referred to a surgeon and have scheduled a surgery to get my gallbladder removed July 23.

Last night I had what I hope will be my last gallbladder attack ever. It took two and a half years, but finally it's going to be over! Apparently gallstones are extremely common in pregnant and post-pregnant women, and people who lose a lot of weight quickly- hmmm... check, and check.

I would appreciate your prayers, as I'm not exactly excited about this whole surgery thing... but it's better than the alternative. So if you could, please remember me on Friday, July 23 as I go under the knife. Recovery is supposed to be relatively quick, but I'll update you when I can.

St. Luke, Pray for us!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stranger Danger

More accurately entitled "Max's complete lack of Stranger Danger"

Today we were sitting in front of our house counting cars. A man walked by and said hi- just some random person who we had never seen before, probably walking home from the coffee shop or the barber. Of course, Max returned the greeting several times as the man continued to walk away. Mr. Random Person turned back once to smile and wave, then turned a corner and was gone.

Max turned to me and said "Macky wanna go with him!"

Wha?! Ok, how do I approach this? I thought for a minute and then calmly(ish) replied something along the lines of "Max, honey, we never go with strangers. You can go with Mommy and Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, your aunts and uncles, but never go with someone you don't know. They might take you somewhere that Mommy couldn't find you and I would be really sad."

Instead of being deterred, he responded "Then Mommy can drive to find Macky!"

Why can't our son have a normal, healthy dose of stranger danger?? It's bad enough that he would probably go with a stranger if they asked him to... now I know he would even seek them out if given the opportunity! I am never letting this child out of my sight. Ever.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Choo Choo!

photo from Choo Choo Bob's website

Thanks to my friend Bee, we discovered an awesome new way to beat the heat in St. Paul: Choo Choo Bob's Train Store! The humidity has been killer here; even just standing outside turns a person instantly into a soggy mess. I'm not one for sweating unless it's intentional (i.e. exercise, which happens so rarely it's barely worth mentioning). Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being outside, but going to the park on days like this just doesn't sound appealing.

So. We decided to check out this little shop off of Marshall Avenue near St. Thomas. Choo Choo Bob's sells accessories for model train enthusiasts as well as all kinds of childrens train toys. But we bypassed the merchandise and made straight for the wooden train tables at the back of the store. There Max played for almost two hours! I can't think of the last thing that's kept him entertained that long. And I got to chill in the air conditioning with Lucian instead of trying to find that one little piece of shade by a playground.

Love it!

Our Biker Guy

This spring, we got Max a little bike with training wheels to give him his first taste of this oh-so-important childhood experience. We are bound and determined to have him learn to ride a bike earlier than I did (5th grade. Yeah...I know.) so we have brought him out to the alley a few times to test it out. Yesterday was the first day that he really started to get the hang of it! He thought it was super cool and exclaimed, as he pedaled down the road, "I'm a biker guy!"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let Freedom Ring

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We began our celebration of the 4th of July with Mass at St. Joseph's- what a great reminder of the freedom we enjoy in this great country! Then we picked up our favorite Granny's Donuts and headed down to Burnsville for a low-key day with Ben and his girlfriend Amzie.

After coffee and donuts, I swam with Max while the others prepared the feast: Grilled marinaded steak, grilled corn, grilled asparagus, watermelon, and Summit. Ohh, it makes me woozy just thinking about how good that meal was! After we ate, we threw Pops on the driveway and attempted several family pictures with sparklers...

We concluded the day with the Taste of Minnesota Fireworks display, visible from the roads overlooking the river near our house. We strolled the kids down near the High Bridge and staked out a spot to wait for the 10:00 excitement to begin. Max loved it! Lucian missed the whole thing.

Back at home, we had a little more fun with sparklers before it was finally time to crash.

Good night, and God bless America!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Servant to the King

Lucian isn't yet six months old, but already his brother is beginning to wait on him hand and foot! A few days ago, King Lucian was sitting in his Bumbo chair in the living room watching Max play with his loads of toys in the toy corner. I was observing from a distance when suddenly Max turned around and started putting toys in front of his little brother. I said casually, "Oh, Max, that's really sweet to give Lucian some toys to play with!" Then I went upstairs, leaving them alone for a few minutes because they were both being so good. When I came back down the stairs, I heard Max saying, "More toys for Lucian!" and I walked around the corner to see this:

You can see that when this picture was taken, there were still some toys in the corner. I assure you that by the time Max was done bringing forth his gifts, the toy corner was completely bare! I need to start watching what I say...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Keeping House

I wish to do

twenty things at once,


I am idle.

-Amelia Gere Mason

(So I take pictures instead)