Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Still Going Strong...

...Max's pirate infatuation, that is.

The first words out of his mouth most mornings are "Your name is McGraw. Where's Captain Bogg?" Honestly. He doesn't call us anything else! He wore a bandanna and my black belt to Target yesterday, and the cart was his pirate ship. Thankfully, as he told a random woman at the store, he's a "nice pirate, not a mean pirate. Nice pirates say 'Arrr' and 'Land ho!' But when he asked me repeatedly what mean pirates say, I didn't exactly want to go there. They say... uh... mean things? Oh you want specifics? Hmmm... Luckily I was able to stall long enough that he got distracted.

If you don't already have a pirate name, you should pick one, because he is almost guaranteed to ask you what it is when he sees you. Just a warning.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of ... pop!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Giving Thanks

The boys in Grandpa's recliner

We spent Thanksgiving in Marshall with my mom's side of the family. We stayed with my grandparents Wednesday night through Friday, and it was a wonderfully relaxing holiday! Many rounds of games were enjoyed, including Bowls, Buck Euchre and Five Hundred. All the grandparents pitched in to help with the kiddos, so I could have some down time (thank you SO much!) The boys loved Grandpa Moorse's cuckoo clock and stash of M&M's, and I loved seeing him play with them! Of course, my Grandma Moorse spoiled us all with her cooking the whole time we were there (honestly, five dishes to choose from at every meal??), but the crowning jewel was the Thanksgiving feast at my Aunt and Uncle's house. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, biscuits, rolls, salad, fruit, pie, pie, pie!

I love food.

But while the food is wonderful and amazing, the day was really about thanking God for the abundant blessings in our lives. I have so much to be thankful for, and I don't say it enough. So with that, here is my top ten list of things I am thankful for this year.

10. Flannel sheets- got them for the first time ever this year! If I thought it was hard to get out of bed before, it just got exponentially harder
9. Cute animated animals (a la the movie Tangled- Maximus the Horse made my day)
8. Pirates, especially Captain Bogg and Salty- they have kept Max entertained for the past week, non-stop!
7. Coffee shops- alone with a chai and a good book, or with a friend and good conversation, there are not many places I'd rather spend my down time
6. Wine and chocolate, alone or in combination
5. Modern conveniences, especially my fridge/freezer. It's incredible how much you don't really appreciate something until it's gone... dishwasher, stove, washer & dryer, listen up- I appreciate you! You are important! No need to prove it to me.
4. All of my amazing family and friends, you know who you are and you know I couldn't do it (by "it" I mean anything & everything) without you.
3. My two beautiful, crazy boys- they are my world!
2. An amazing, one-of-a-kind husband. I love you, honey- you're the greatest.
1. My Lord, without whom I would not even have the ability to be thankful.

"I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you" -Philippians 1:3

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mr. Personality

Louie is closing in on a year, and his personality has just lit up in the past weeks! I am enjoying this stage SO much. Even as he constantly does things that remind me of Max, he is becoming more and more himself every day. We were discussing last night that he may end up being quite the handful as he gets a little older; he needs to have his hands on everything, and he is becoming very vocal about what he wants.

He LOVES his big brother and will stop at nothing to be near him! This is getting a little hard on Max, but he's learning to play in the places that Lucian can't reach, such as the dining room table... then Louie just sits on the floor by his chair and yells "a-DAH! a-DAH!" until someone pays attention to him.

In related news, our little sensitive baby is toughening up... at least in some circumstances. If he gets clobbered by Max or falls on his face in pursuit of whatever Big Brother is doing, he gets right up and keeps on going as if nothing happened. But if he has just woken up from a nap and someone looks at him sideways, his world collapses and he makes the offense known to everyone within earshot. I think Max could do just about anything to him and he wouldn't care, or wouldn't show that he cares. He knows that if he cries, someone will remove him from the situation... which is the last thing he wants!

I'm enjoying every minute of watching our sweet Louie grow up, but time is flying by! Slow down, little one, slow down!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Do you see what I see?

You know how some fire alarms spray ink on the person who pulls the alarm, so they can identify the culprit in case the alarm is pulled as a prank? That's what I thought of today when Max came into the room after coloring with his markers in the kitchen. He had blue marker all over his hands (to be expected), blue marker on the paper (obviously) and blue marker one other place, where it's not supposed to be...

I wonder what happened here?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Magoo and Baloo

Max has had the nickname "Mr. Magoo" since he was tiny. There may have been a combination of factors that led to this name: his first babbling sound was "goo", his name started with 'M', he was little, bald and wrinkly. But you know how nicknames are, they really choose themselves. I have no memory of consciously choosing this name for Max, it just happened.

When Lucian was born, I made the mistake of referring to him as Mr. Magoo on a few occasions, and Max responded as if I had been talking to him. Oops! He knows it's HIS nickname, and he's not planning on sharing it with his brother. So I started trying to think of a nickname for Lucian. Besides 'Louie', none of them stuck... because they didn't feel natural.

One day, out of the blue, I picked up Baby Lucian and said, "Hi, Louie-Baloo!" "Oh!" I thought, "That feels right!" And it stuck. It has taken various forms (i.e. Louie-Balouie, Balouie, and just plain Baloo) but in all forms, it fits him perfectly!

So now we have a Mr. Magoo and a Louie-Baloo, but more often they are simply our Magoo and Baloo.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Arr, mateys!

Max and Lucian in one of their many pirate ships. Weigh Anchor!

Pirate McGraw here, to tell ye all about our latest adventure on the high seas!

Last week, I borrowed from the library the CD Pegleg Tango by Captain Bogg and Salty. These pirate songs have changed Max's perspective on the world! We have listened to nothing else for at least three days now, and Max can sing along with all the tunes. But it goes beyond a love of the music...

Our couch has become a pirate ship, as has our Toyota Matrix. I had to wear a roaster on my head for a full day as my pirate hat (every time I took it off, Max asked me repeatedly, "Do you want to put your pirate hat on, Mommy?" until I caved). Max no longer refers to us by our real names; Lucian is "Captain Bogg", Mommy is "McGraw", Daddy is "Ramshackle", and Max is "Max Salty". At one point yesterday, I mentioned to him that he was playing nicely with Lucian. "With Captain Bogg!" came the immediate reply.

We've had glimpses of Max's imagination previously; he's been an astronaut, a fireman, a baby, and numerous animals, but it's never been like this before. Our everyday language has come to include phrases such as "Land ho!" "Yarrr!" and "Shiver me timbers!"

I feel a pirate-themed birthday party coming on...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not Cool

Sunday started out as a great day! We went down to my parents' house for brunch after Mass, and we ended up staying until the boys' bedtime. We played Buck Euchre, drank wine, made a snowman and generally had a nice relaxing day. If only it would have stayed that way!

But we went home and were greeted by a surprise...

There was stuff dripping out of the door of our freezer! We opened the door and encountered a very unwelcome sight: half-thawed food, liquid ice cream, and a whole assortment of formerly frozen goods that were no longer frozen. Luckily, we caught it before everything was ruined- the bottom half of the freezer was still very cold. But it wouldn't be for long, so we piled everything into a bin and Paul buried it outside in the snow.

Yes, in case you were wondering, the refrigerator wasn't cold either, so its contents were moved to the front porch (I'm thanking God that winter hit when it did! Last week, we would have lost everything we couldn't eat that night)

Our makeshift ice box

We spent the rest of the night trying to see if we could fix the problem, to no avail. This was a job for the professionals. In the morning I called Bill the Repair Guy, our neighborhood appliance repairman (good old West St. Paul), to see what he could do. Good news: Bill the Repair Guy was really nice and helpful. Bad news: it was going to cost us $500 to fix.

$500 to salvage an 11 year old refrigerator? We decided it was time to go shopping...

Sara came over to babysit so Paul and I could do some power shopping, and we were successful! We stumbled upon the last day (last day!) of an appliance sale at Lowe's, 20% off all Frigidaire refrigerators. What brand do you think we ended up with?? And did it end up costing us less than the repairs would have cost? Halleluia, YES!

So now we have a new fridge on order, and it should be here by next Tuesday. Until then we will be storing everything on the porch and eating a lot of canned food!

It hasn't looked like this since we moved in ... it sure smelled better then

One good thing to come of this mess: I was finally forced to throw out all the old food from our fridge and freezer that used to get lost in the hidden corners of our monstrosity. And yes, there were several moments of "Oh, I wonder what that used to be?" as we emptied everything out. Gross.

I'll make sure to let you all know when our new fridge arrives! I'm pretty excited about it, it's much smaller than our current giant, and it will make our kitchen seem more spacious. So in the end, I'm not sad to see our old fridge go, just sad to see the dollars disappear from the pocketbook.

But, as my dad said the moment he heard about our troubles, "Welcome to home ownership!"

Fairy Tales

Max told me this story today, and I thought it was too good to go unshared.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in the woods. Her name was BooBoo, and that was her name ... and she lived in her house in the deep, deep woods."

The End

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last Hurrah

Max was unwilling to admit that swimming season is gone

With the first snowfall of the year, autumn is officially over. No denying it, as the temperatures drop below freezing and we look out to see a foot of heavy wet snow in the backyard! It's hard to believe that earlier this week, we were outside in light sweatshirts celebrating the end of warm weather around a fire at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

They invited us down Monday evening for a cookout (wiener roast) and s'mores- and it felt like a late summer day instead of the tail end of fall. 65 degrees in November? I'll take it!

Roasting the hot dog was more of a hit than actually eating it, from Max's perspective. The most exciting thing for him was exploring the backyard by flashlight! With the pool covered and the yard fully fenced, he was free to go where he pleased.

Lucian was restless until we threw a blanket down on the ground for him to crawl around. Now that he's gotten this crawling thing figured out, there is no staying put! The days of sitting contentedly in my lap are OVER. Oh, well, all the sooner to be able to chase his big brother everywhere.

I can't think of a better way to spend the last beautiful day of the year than sitting around a fire in the backyard with Grandma and Grandpa!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You

"A veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life."

Dear Veterans,

How can we thank you enough for all that you have given for our country? Does one day of remembrance each year do justice to the countless sacrifices you have made? Even if it sometimes seems that we have forgotten, we have not forgotten. It is because of you that we have so many of the freedoms that we enjoy today. Thank you for your selflessness in service to others.

Thank you especially to Grandpa Moorse, for your service in the Korean war! You are the one I think of first on this day each year. I hope that someday soon you can sit down with my boys and tell them of your experiences, so they will understand what brave men and women are willing to do for their country, their children, and future generations.

God bless all of those who have served, who are serving, and who will serve in the armed forces!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Make it better

Boy are we getting hit hard this fall! First the stomach bug, now both Max and Lucian have colds! Luckily, it looks like they are running their course fairly quickly, and after dealing with the last round of illness, runny noses just don't seem so bad. However, the kids haven't been sleeping too well, so we've separated them until they're better... otherwise they take turns waking each other up! I prefer a sleeping sick kid to remain sleeping as long as possible.

So Lucian is back in the guest room and Max stays in his own bed, but every night since he's been sick he has ended up in bed with us. With the multiple night interruptions from both of them, neither of us has the energy to bring him back to his own room, so he just spreads out and stakes his territory- taking up a good 75% of the bed. No wonder I've been waking up sore; I've had to contort myself to balance on the edge of the mattress!

A couple of nights ago, Max had made his way into our bed (interestingly, neither Paul nor I can remember when or how he got there that night) and was waking up regularly, crying because he felt so awful. Eventually, we got him to tell us that it was his nose that hurt the worst, so for lack of a better option, I began giving his nose kisses whenever he would cry.

At about 3:00 in the morning, he started crying, so I automatically (half-asleep) rolled over to kiss his nose. He stopped crying instantly and, in a super sweet voice, told me "You're a good kisser, Mommy!"

Even though we were exhausted, both Paul and I got the giggles, and Max quickly drifted back to sleep. Oh, those moments make it all worth it!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What's Cooking?

Max has started to show quite an interest in cooking. He loves to sit on his stool in the kitchen and pretend to mix and bake with pots, wooden spoons, and whatever other kitchen utensils he can confiscate from the drawers within his reach.

I decided last week that he was ready to help me with some baking, so we attempted to make some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! I say attempted because... well... they really didn't turn out very good. Yeah, I managed to ruin cookies, that's not easy to do! I accidentally used quick oats, which made them totally mushy. But they were still a blast to make.

I measured all of the ingredients into cups, and Max was the Master Pourer. He dumped everything into the bowl at the appropriate time, and he even helped me with the electric mixer! He taste-tested the batter for me (it was super good then! We should never have baked it.) and helped scoop spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets.

Then we set the timer, and Max stood sentinel at the oven door and watched the cookies brown. When they were done, I took them out and served them up with milk! Even a mushy cookie is edible with a glass of milk (especially if the cookie contains chocolate).

Since then, every time he sees me or Daddy get out a measuring cup, he wants in on the action! Culinary school, here we come!

Monday, November 1, 2010


I'm not a huge Halloween fanatic. I don't like scary things in general, especially in the ghost/goblin/ghoul category. They make me very nervous.

But I love a kid in costume. And I love sugar.

So we had a great time celebrating the lighter side of Halloween, trick-or-treating with Grandma (Elmo) and Grandpa (Clown). Max and Lucian went as a Lion and a Lamb (yes, the double meaning was purposeful- Biblical imagery PLUS the costumes fit their little personalities so well!) Max took in quite a haul, even more than expected because people kept dumping extra candy into his bucket for his "little sister"! No, it didn't occur to me that a little baby in a lamb costume would be assumed to be a girl. Oh well, no harm done!

But even more exciting than the candy (at least for me) was Lucian's new accomplishment. He made forward progress! And get this: his very first movements forward took him directly toward Max's candy pile! Nothing like a big heap of sugar and brightly colored wrappings to get a kid moving.

But Max guarded his stash with his life, so no candy was harmed in the moving of this baby!

Happy sugar buzz, everyone!

Slow Down

We have recently recovered from a bout of some nasty stomach bug, starting with me and then hitting Max, Paul and Lucian simultaneously. Thankfully, we were all recovered in time to go trick-or-treating (pictures coming! I promise!), and the symptoms were of fairly short duration. But, oh goodness, it was not fun.

I'll spare you the details and skip right to the end, when Max was getting back to his usual self. The morning after the worst of it, Max was very hungry and thirsty. He hadn't eaten any solid food since the previous breakfast and he was ready for something good!

First thing in the morning, he said to me, "I would like some toast with peanut butter and jelly."

"Max, honey," I responded, "You've been pretty sick. We should probably start slow."

Very deliberately, he responded, "... I ... would ... like ... some ... toast ... with ... peanut ... butter ... and ... jelly."

I attempted to contain my hysterical laughter and got him his toast.