Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yes, I'm actually asking for your opinion.

**Post-edit** Thank you all for your good suggestions and kind offers in the comments! I do want to clarify, in case our aquaintances ever stumble onto the blog, that they did attempt to return it. The miscommunication was that they left it at the church and we didn't know that. Then the church didn't know whose it was and so they sold it in a garage sale raising money for missions. So, it went to a good cause, the couple did not make a profit. :) Back to the original post....
For ONCE, I will shorten a long story for you. We got an awesome baby backpack when Carson was born. We didn't know what we were doing when we registered and just stumbled onto a great one that the Bowders and Kolodges got us. Then last summer, we loaned it to a couple we we barely knew and have only seen in passing since. Many months afterwards, there was a miscommunication when we discussed returning the backpack, and we found out a few weeks later that yada, yada, yada....it was sold at a church garage sale. :( If I think about it too much, I get almost sick with disappointment, so I just have to let it go. Here's a pic of Carson at 9 months in the pack with Bapah Roy.

ANYWAY, we need to register for a new one, and I can't find the same one. It was a Snugli brand. I would love to hear from anyone about baby/toddler backpacks that they have/like/don't like so we can make an educated decision. We use it for walking/hiking/camping. Thanks!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Beach Getaway

My side of the family has made it kind of a tradition to try to do a weekend getaway each spring. It has usually been to Black Butte, due to a friendly gift of free rental house, but this year it was at Pacific City on the coast...due to a friendly gift of free rental house. We really look forward to these trips every year, because by now we have a predictable and enjoyable pattern: LOTS of food, lots of movies, lots of reading, lots of sleeping, plenty of outdoor exercise for Mike and Trent, and a decent amount of outdoor exercise for the rest of us. Of course, having kids has change up our pattern some, but their addition has made up in fun what it has taken in relaxation.
Evidently, I was having such a good time that I forgot I had a camera and took hardly any pictures. Have you noticed that after you have kids you suddently have NO pictures of adults? (Unless they are holding children.) So here's just a few.
One of the highlights of this weekend for us was getting to spend extended time with Jack, our nephew. Carson was really looking forward to this and Jack didn't disappoint. Carson constantly wanted to know where Jack was and what he was doing. He was (mostly) a big helper and fetched pacifiers, burp rags and toys so we didn't have to get up. It cracked us up to see the way Carson would get up into Jack's face and talk in voices that I'm sure he's witnessed through us. He said things in high-pitched voices like "Hi sweetie! Hi! Hi!" or "I love you! Yes! Yes!" I did hear myself say "Gentle. Gentle! GENTLE!" several dozen times, but it was all really good experience for when he gets his own baby here 24 hours a day. Here's a pic of when Carson got to help feed Jack. Jack is either looking at me lovingly or for help.
Both boys first thing in the morning.
The one solitary picture that turned out on a GORGEOUS weekend at the beach!
Gma and Gpa were pretty much in heaven with this little guy!
OK, seriously, it was dang cute.

Friday, April 25, 2008

One more swim video

Whenever Carson would go under the water, his teacher would let him give her a high-five that knocked her into the water. He thought that was so funny and mentioned it to me afterwards several times. Also, then he got to go to the toy basket and get a new water toy. I don't think he got to the point where it didn't bother him, but he was willing to do it!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Especially on the nights after I've taught all day, I'm always a fan of games that involve me NOT getting up. This is one he came up with the other night.

Swimming Lessons!

These last two weeks, Carson and Trent took a parent/tot swimming lesson at one of the local pools. The classes are every night a week for 2 weeks! I think the main goal (at least, our main goal) was for Carson to have a positive experience in the water and get comfortable being there, even eventually going underwater. These are pics from the first night, and you can see he was holding onto Daddy pretty tight!
There was lots of splashing and kicking...

and jumping! Carson was probably the biggest one in the class, which ranges from infants to 3 years old, I think. There was one girl older than him, but she was smaller.

These videos are from Wednesday night. This first one you can see Trent trying to get him to put his face underwater, and Carson's answer with his shaking head!

But eventually...they did it! Sorry the quality of the videos is showing so poorly.

Tonight was our last night and they gave out certificates of completion. All the classes stood around soaking wet and they called out "Carson T. has completed level one!" and we walked up to get his certificate while people clapped. He was pretty proud! I cracked up when I saw the names of the different levels, referring to the skill learned, like: float and stroke, freestyle, etc. Level one? "Bubbles" WOOHOO!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oooo! Good one! (Strong opinions to follow.)

I haven't posted about American Idol yet, even though we watch it and probably many of you do too. But last night's episode was so chat-worthy, I can't help myself! First, I thought Sayesha did a really great job. I really like her voice and the Broadway thing was good to her. I did NOT like Jason Castro. He is one of those one-dimensional musicians that is good at his thing and nothing else. I thought Simon's comment about him being a kid forced to sing that by his parents was exactly right, and I've felt that about a few of his performance. Plus his "I'm inarticulate and goofy-shy during every interview" is getting old.

I know Kristi does NOT like him, but I still think David Archuletta has a wonderful voice. He is so controlled and can make just about anything sound good. Plus, I'm a power ballad kind of girl, and that is his specialty. However, I cannot stand to watch him being interviewed or stand there awkwardly grinning and licking his lips before the song. Carly was good too. I think she has the best voice of the girls, but there is something about her delivery and maybe her personality that keep me from totally thinking she should win.

Then there was Brooke. Who doesn't like Brooke?! I mean she's sweet, she's pretty, she has a pleasant voice and is a musician as well. Of course there's no way in heck she's going to win! I almost dropped my Magic Shell last night when she told the band she needed to start the song over! I could not believe it. Trent and I have watched this show most seasons, and I have NEVER seen any contestant do that during a live performance. I felt so bad for her. But (for ONCE) I think I agreed with Paula--I don't think she should have done that. (Simon and Randy said it was the right thing to do.) You just make it up, hum, or let the band vamp--whatever you have to do to Get. It. Together. Unfortunately, there are times when it is unavoidable and not your decision. Maybe that's why I was so sad for her--I was having flashbacks! My freshman year in college I was starting a song for our big choir while out on tour. The solo led to a trio of tight harmony--I think it was with JJ and Ember. Well, I started the song out on the wrong notes..I was singing the harmonies not the melodies. Our director stopped the band and said quietly to me "Let's try it again, Jen." (Yes, BTW, this is with an audience, and 80 pairs of eyes boring into the back of my head thinking: I should have had that solo!) Then I did it--AGAIN!! She stopped again and looked at JJ, who hummed the right note in my ear. Third time's a charm! Still one of the top 3 (no-4) embarassing moments on stage. Someday I'll elaborate on the other three.

But am I the only one who thought David Cook was totally the star of last night? Many people I know have been huge fans of his for weeks. I've liked his stuff. (Loved the Billie Jean night.) But, like I said, I'm kind of a power ballad kind of girl. I liked him, but still felt like he was still a little Bo Bice-ish with his rock vibe. But last night, I thought he totally cleaned up and showed that he can SING! His tone is so unique and the song was beautiful. Scoot over--I'm hopping on the bandwagon!
PS: Does anyone know what it up with the spacing on the new blogger template? Double spaced or crammed together--and I don't remember choosing either?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Seriously, how beyond adorable is my nephew Jack!?!? This is not even that great of a photo--I mean it's not artistic, he's not smiling, it has bad lighting (it was taken in a Subway restaurant), and I left his binky in. And yet, he is still mind-numbingly cute. His eye-lashes are the envy of every woman he meets. Click to enlarge the picture for the full effect of the lashes. I can't wait to spend all weekend with him at the beach!

Monday, April 21, 2008

And just like that, the dream is over.

I've complained (sometimes at length) about my son's sleeping (or lack-thereof) habits, so it is not news to most of you. I think you'll recall the recent vacation of 9 straight days of 6:15 ams. Well, after we got back, it was like Carson was so happy to be back in his room and his bed or something, he started sleeping longer. And harder. He is known to wake up 2-3 times a night and holler--HOLLER--out to us until we come to check on him. We had about a week and a half of AFTER 7 am sleeping! One wonderful, glorious day, he slept until 7:50! I honest-to-goodness went to check on him around 7:40 to make sure he was still breathing. I thought maybe, MAYBE our son had turned into a normal 2 year old child who sleeps longer than his parents. Of course, we had to discuss it between ourselves (Trent and I) and we jinxed it.

Saturday: 6:15
Sunday: 6:05
Monday: 5:55 with stalling and computer games until 6:25


Friday, April 18, 2008

Who knew?

It turns out that Portland has a pretty awesome children's museum. For some reason, I've never really had a desire to go, b/c I figured most of the activities would be for preschool and up. I was mistaken! The other day three 2-yr-olds went with their baby sister, baby brother, cousin and mommies to the museum, in part to celebrate Nate and Becky's same day b-day. (We were missing the fourth musketeer: Henry!) This place was full of things to touch and experience, and it was perfect for toddlers.

This room is called The Dig Pit. Pretty much a little boys dream land.

And the construction room.
Carson lasted about 2 minutes during story time.
All three boys contentedly playing in one place! This didn't happen a lot, so it was fun to catch it on film.
This is where you get to paint your face! Every morning Carson asks if he can put my make-up on, and finally he had some of his own!

This is inside the pretend ambulance.
Dr. Tompkins, MD?

This was the water room, which was a huge hit for Carson and Nate. Ethan wasn't as excited about it.

He was having so much fun he was just wandering around, not sure where to go!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'd like to make a dedication, vol. 4

So often since I've started blogging, I've had delusions of grandeur that I would make a birthday dedication post to all my friends and family who I know read this blog. I think I did it once, maybe, for my husband. Well, today makes twice! Today is my amazing sister-in-law's birthday. Mike and Becky started dating (if you call it that when you are 15) right before I went to college, so even though I knew her and always liked her, we weren't close.

Then we were both given the disguised gift of having to take adminstrative jobs at the church. For a year and a half, we sat about 3 feet apart and experienced that depth of friendship that happens when you have someone you really like within talking distance for 8 hours a day, months and months at a time. We talked about everything from our families to church politics to random and trivial things like TV shows and our bad hair days. I knew it was fun, but at the time I didn't realize what a blessing it was that I was being given a foundation with my brother's wife that was transforming us from friends to sisters.

Becky is an amazing singer, friend, wife, sister and mother. I love you, Becky, and hope you have a WONDERFUL birthday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Happy Girl

Ever since college I have loved magazines. I love reading in general, and it extends past my English lit degree to the trivial pleasures of reading fresh-off-the-stand magazines. Currently, I have a subscription to 4 magazines, and would have more if I had the $$$. I wouldn't say these four areas summarize me completely, but they provide a very genuine glimpse into the mind of Jen. Today, something happened that has never happened before. They ALL came on the SAME day! I'm a happy girl. (This is especially good timing as today at lunch I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns and it was so intense and depressing that I either needed some Tina Fey or I was going to have to re-read some early Harry Potter stuff.) Here's my 4 mags: Creating Keepsakes (scrapbooking), Simple and Delicious (easy recipes), Entertainment Weekly and Parents. (I also receive a free subscription to Parenting--I forgot about that one, but it is the same idea.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fess Up and Make Me Happy

I totally stole this jpg from Kristi's blog because she and I have talked about this topic several times....the nature of blogs is that you hop around and look at your friends' friends' blogs, or your aquaintances' blogs, but you don't comment. So now is the time, people! Friends, family, strangers, long-lost lurkers, time to out yourself that you read my blog! I want to give props to those of you who HAVE become acknowledged brazenlilly blog readers--it makes my day! Maybe I'll even fess up to a few blogs that I've been lurking....

Close call

Whoa. We almost just had to have our first conversation with a 2 year old about death. Our fish, Nemo, (yes, I know he looks nothing like Nemo) was milimeters from being down the kitchen drain. His poor little bowl gets very dirty because we are lazy pet keepers--which is precisely why we have a FISH, which is as low-maintenance as you can get. So, I decided that it was time to give Nemo a fresh bowl. I've done this a handful of times. My method is: I pour the bowl into the sink, until Nemo is close, then I pour Nemo and some water into a glass to wait for his bowl to be cleaned, then I pour him back into the clean bowl. Well, Nemo snuck up on me this time and he went into the sink with some of the dirty water. I seriously. Panicked. He was flopping around in/on the little rubber flaps of the drain that lead to the--ew--garbage disposal. His body was honest-to-goodness halfway down. Carson was right behind me, and I didn't want him to know what was happening. I kept thinking: this is it! He's going to die in my kitchen drain and sooner or later I'll have to turn on the garbage disposal and I'll KNOW what is happening! Against my natural instincts, I tried to grab this slimy thing and at least succeeded in getting him out of the dangerous clutches of the disposal. Now he was flopping on the white porcelain, begging for life. He slipped out of my fingers three separate times, and I even thought of trying to quickly fill the sink with water to save him, but there was NO TIME, PEOPLE! I finally got a hold of him and threw him into the empty glass and added water quickly. Fyoosh. First pet death avoided. Toddler child spared of devastating loss.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Sometimes I don't know if it's technically correct to classify something as a "craving" when it is a food that I like even when I'm not pregnant. However, this is something kind of unique that was sitting in my cupboard for 7 months untouched, until several weeks ago when I got it out. Since then, I have had to purchase 2 new bottles. We found an inexpensive, low-fat ice cream from Safeway, and I cover it with Magic Shell, the chocolate syrup that hardens on your ice cream. I bought some last summer when I made some yummy ice cream/brownie sandwiches, and I found out that Magic Shell (or an equivalent) comes in Reese's and Heath flavors. HELLO!? Also, confession: part of the reason I'm writing about it is that we are all out of ice cream and I'm wanting it. I wonder if you can put Magic Shell on apple slices? Or wheat thins? I'll let you know.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

California Adventure

The last year that Trent and I lived in Orange County was 2001, and Disney was building and completing their new park, California Adventure. We had annual passes to Disneyland and went really often, but our passes expired in June and we were moving to Oregon in August, so we never paid the $$ to add another park to our pass, nor did we pay to go for one day. So our time there last week was the first time we got to see it. To be honest, I think we were pretty spent from the day before, so it wasn't quite as thrilling, but we still had a really fun day. Following our success the day before, we decided to go right to the ride we knew we couldn't miss: Monsters, Inc. I thought this was one of the most fun little kids' rides. It never got dark and strobe-lighty, just kind of took you through the movie with Mike and Sully right next to your car. Carson usually says this was his favorite ride.
This pic was actually taken at the end of the day, when my ankles had kind of disappeared. But we wanted to remember it.
Even though most of our friends had to go back to their home state or go back to work on this Tuesday, three of the mommies joined us with their kiddos. Tiffaney and Keenan, Sarah and Tanner and Kristi with Lex and Haley. Sarah and Tanner came early with us, and they filled us in on this cool little show (right next to Monsters, Inc) that had three very talented singers doing a medley ode to Disney animation. Then at the end, Mickey, Woody and Cinderella come out.
Well, most tourists don't know that, and if they do, they don't know where these three characters will be walking right after the show. We did! So we sat right in the front row where Woody would be. Sure enough, we cheered really loud and made a big fuss over him, and he walked right off stage to us and held Carson's hand, walking him over to his assigned "character" spot so we could take some more pictures. Carson was stoked! Woody was really nice and spent several minutes with Carson and Tanner.
Then, high on our victory of having met Buzz and Woody in two days, we went over to the area with rides based on A Bug's Life. These were all great rides for Carson's age.

Trent was even able to sneak away and ride some of the adult rides that I couldn't ride on. This is the Little Mermaid carousel, and unfortunately, the best pic we got of Tiff and Keenan. (Sorry, guys.)
I kind of dropped the ball on a lot of pictures that afternoon--the time flew by and also I was losing steam fast. Tiff and Howie watched several of the kids so Kristi, Haley, Trent and I could ride California Soarin', which was a totally unique and fun ride, and one of the only grown-up rides that let preggos go. Then I got my second wind when we went to see the parade, which turned out to be a Pixar parade. Again, we don't have the Disney channel, so these Pixar movies are our bread and butter! Carson has either seen or is familiar with all these movies. The only downer was that EVERY. SINGLE. FLOAT. shot out tons of water, and it wasn't that warm of a day.
The Incredibles (I don't know if Carson has seen this one.)
Lightning McQueen.
Potato Head from Toy Story.
Rex from TS.
Army men from TS.Mike Wazowski!
Nemo! There was one special moment that I did not get on camera. The guy controlling Nemo really seemed to be responding to people cheering in the audience. He would bring Nemo right over and down to the kids so they could say hi and even touch him. Trent took advantage and picked Carson up and started yelling for Nemo, and he came right over and paused about 10 inches from Carsons face and blinked his eyes and flapped his fins. Carson backed away a little, but smiled and then touched Nemo's nose. It is so silly, but something like this just left us grinning, because it was so exciting for Carson.
Crush from Nemo.

And there you have it, people. We've been home a week, so it's probably time to stop with all the vacation posts. Two things I am bummed I didn't take pics of: I got to visit with my friends the Hills and their kids were awesome entertaining Carson so the adults could talk. And also, we waited to visit my family, Ron, Leota, Nicole and GGma, until our last day of vacation, and I'm so sad that Carson was not feeling well and therefore was not his normal charming self. They adore Carson, so this was an extra bummer. We promise next time we'll come see you guys first! I also want to give a huge shout-out to Stephanie again, who went way out of her way to finagle free Disney tix, making our fun days possible. You rock, Mama!