Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Theme Songs

On our most recent trip home from various exploits and escapades at the beach, Tony and I entered into one of our typically intellectual discussions. Namely, wouldn't it be fun to organize playlists by theme? We have a friend who does this, but his "themes" are like, Hysteria. In which he listens to Def Leppard's Hysteria all day long. Me, I'm thinking we organize disparate songs by something they have in common. Cool, no? Now, perhaps you already do this, in which case, you must spend a lot of time assembling playlists on your iPod, mix tape, whatever.

And because I love internet interaction, I thought I could propose a theme, list songs that would be on my themed list, and get your additions and input. You know, in case I plan to actually do this someday. Because then I could have a playlist like this:

Songs That Feature "Na Nas"
1. Na Na Hey Hey - Steam
2. Hey Jude - The Beatles
3. Lovin Touchin Squeezin - Journey
4. Land of a Thousand Dances (of course) - Various artists made different versions, including Wilson Pickett.
C'mon, friends, there are more! Tell me, please!
Maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, I'll post another awesome theme and the songs I would include. Believe me, the options are endless. Anticipate it! This could be a regularly-occurring feature at T&A!
And now, gratuitous Charles photos:
Watching Buster... check out those cheeks! Charles loves Buster more than any other being in the universe. I am not sure how I got bumped out of the number one spot, but I sure did. Gotta grow more fur.

Being coy.

We are surviving the heat, but barely. I assembled a wonky, cheap canopy in the yard today and it is utter crap, but hopefully will provide shade over the pool for then next few days (that is, if it doesn't fall down in a zillion pieces. Which it might.). Buster has a mysterious limp and could power a city block with his panting. So, not a good week for the dog. Tony has an air conditioned office. Guess who's jealous? Goodwinds is unbearable. Thank goodness we had new windows put in the house last week... I can't even imagine this heat without the benefit of double-pane, reflective coating, argon-filled glass. We probably would've been forced to sleep at Tony's office.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

On the Bright Side

  • It has been stinkin' hot here (no really, we stink). But, on the bright side, it was only 75 or 80 degrees today, so I was relatively comfortable at work.
  • I made a batch of bread that was waaaay too big. But, on the bright side, it was good bread. And if you're going to have too much of something, it might as well be something good.
  • Charles continues to grow at an alarming rate. I don't know how heavy he is now, but it feels like he has gained 30lbs in the last three weeks. Okay, so it's not that bad, but really. My neck and back and shoulders hurt. Charles is too long for his 18-month onesies and too big around for most of his 18-month pants (mind you, he's not long enough for them yet, but they are busting at the waist). But, on the bright side, he is healthy and proportionate, and I don't have to worry about him getting enough nutrients. Also, my arms are super strong.
  • I'm still nursing and it's hard. Charles eats everything I can give him - I don't think he'll fire me anytime soon because he loves nursing, but I have to really work to pump enough for him while he's at daycare. Which means I pump literally every time he nurses. My boobs are going to be deflated and sad for the rest of my life from this abuse. But, on the bright side, I know how good breastmilk is for him and I am happy to give him this awesome chance at solid brain and immune system development. Also, for the great bonding.
  • We (Tony and I) have a sleep debt larger than our mortgage. Charles sleeps from 8 pm until about 2 am, sort of waking a couple of times to fuss himself back to sleep (so long as one of us makes our presence known by rubbing him on the back for a second or two). Then, he wakes again at 4 or 5 am, and wakes for the day at 6 am! 6 am is REALLY early, especially when you get up twice between getting into bed at 11 (I always plan to be there by 10, but there is too much to do!) and getting up at 6. He is teething right now, so it has thrown everything off and he is practically inconsolable in the wee hours of the morning. But, on the bright side, he is mega happy when he wakes for good at 6. I mean, you have never SEEN such a smile! And giggles and shrieks! He's happy all day long, but his best hours are the hours between 6 am and his 9 am nap.
  • I have a ton of housework to do, always. Taking care of three boys (if you count Buster, which I do) is hard work. They are messy and dirty and smelly. They create a lot of laundry. I started a chore chart the other day so Tony could pick an item on the list to do at random when he had a few minutes, and the list is already a page long and I am nowhere near finished! I sometimes feel as though I will drown in the housework. But, on the bright side, the housework is an indication of the great things in my life. Not having housework would mean that I didn't have my wonderful family. So I'll take the housework.
  • Traveling is tough with Charles, if only because he doesn't enjoy being confined to the rear-facing car seat for hours on end. Also, I hate packing. But, on the bright side, we are headed to the beach this weekend for my 10-year high school reunion on Friday and Saturday, and then the Chellis family reunion (Grandma Lorna's family) on Sunday. It will be a great time!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oyster Dome Hike

Hi there,

I know. It's been a while since I posted, but Amelia's just better at this than I am. Anyway...

Yesterday, we went on a hike to what is called Oyster Dome. It is a wonderful, and very challenging, hike. Our friends Jeremy and Jamie McCullough, with their 15-month daughter Avery and Jeremy's dad John, were with us as well as our friend Ryan Schols. Buster and the McCullough's dog, Tatum, were with us too.

Oyster Dome is located off of Chuckanut Drive just south of Bellingham. We arrived at the trailhead about 8:30am, loaded up the kids in backpacks and started on our journey. Luckily for us, Jeremy knew a back logging road that cut about 1000ft of elevation gain off of the hike. Seemed like a good idea at the time...we had no idea.

Jeremy had the map and after starting down the trail (instead of up) for about a quarter mile, we backtracked and found the right trail to take. To Jeremy's credit, the correct trail did lose elevation initially from where we had started.
Here are Charlie and I about a third of the way to the top. I was already sweat-drenched.
Most of the hike was in the forest, like the picture shows. Luckily, since we were early in the morning, the bugs didn't come out in full force until we were on our way down. They sure were thick then!

The entire trip up was about an hour and a half, but the hardest part was the last 10-15 minutes. I'm not sure I would have even attempted that last part on a muddy day, especially with Charlie on my back.

However, the views from the top were well worth the trek. When we first reached the summit, the morning clouds were still around and we could only see the surrounding forest, the tops of the San Juan peaks and the distant Olympic peaks. Here is a bit of our initial view to the north with about half the clouds still around:
However, after about 20 min, the clouds dissapated and this was our view:The island in the foreground is Samish Island and beyond that is Anacortes. Below is Jeremy, with Avery on his lap, and Jamie.
Charlie zonked out just before we reached the top. He was working hard!

It wasn't long before he was up again!

And my personal favorite from the trip:
Here are some more good pics:
We napped quite a bit the rest of the day as we were well wore out. We are hoping to go on another hike in a couple of weeks. It sure felt good to be outdoors and get a workout.
The best part of the whole trip was capturing some video of Charlie laughing when we were at the top. He just LOVES being on my shoulders. It's fun to have him up there, too, notwithstanding the hair pulling and ear grabbing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Aye, aye, teeth!

Oooh, aren't we lucky? Charles is cutting his two upper eye teeth (still doesn't have the two front teeth, so he's about to look like a strange, little boy-jack-o-lantern) and we are livin' the good life of snot, shrill cries, coughing, pained expressions, and gooey eyes. Wanna visit?
"What's going on, guys? What's with the little guy? Wanna go play toys in the yard? Can we go for a walk? Huh? Huh? Huh?" {Side note: Buster loves Charles. It's awesome.}

When he's not shrieking in pain, he's shrieking in joy. Our boy expresses himself without reservation. He will wave at you, offer a smile, and then bury his head in my shoulder as if he is shy (he's not). We are so blessed to have such a happy baby.
"NNNNNNGGGGG!" Charles loves tofu. And it loves him, too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sans Fireworks

The weekend at the Landon's was a trip planned, originally, to allow Tony and Andy to go head-to-head in a triathlon in Richland. Sarah also moved party plans around so we could all celebrate Claire's birthday that weekend, and Joe and Loris came out, too. Unfortunately, Tony's days have been just a bit too packed to train for a race, so we watched Andy compete instead.
We did, however, follow through with Claire's birthday party, at which all the kids had a ton of fun, even if we parents were smoldering in the heat. You see, the kids had pools.

Charles got to enjoy some fun time with his grandparents, so that was great also.

Not even heat could get this guy down.

I'm sure the Landons will post about the party, but Claire seemed quite satisfied with her toys, even if Cousin Hannah pushed her down and stole her toy stroller.

At one point, I had corralled all the cranky kids (my own included - it was sleepy time!) onto/nearby my lap on the couch inside (in the Tri-Cities, you have air conditioning, so I hung out indoors whenever the heat outside got unbearable) to read books. It was quite sweet, as I had started out just reading to Charles, and then one by one, other children gathered.
Check out this video. Plastic bottles are Charles' favorite toys.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Weekend at Landons

Books - good source of fiber and fun!
We're lucky to have family that is also friends. We spent last weekend with the Landons in the Tri-Cities where they put up with us West-Siders who were not AT ALL used to the oppressive East-Side heat. On the 4th, the mercury hit 104. I have said this before, and I'll say it again, I do not do heat. Tony and I were pretty much sloths in that weather, and Charles was his usual happy self.

This is cousin Claire. She asked me frequently, "What's Charles doing?" and "Where's Mister Charles?" She is quite the well-spoken little girl, and Sarah and Andy have much to be proud of in her.

Tony took a long nap with Charles
Charles continues to wake often at night. While he is not as bad as he was a couple of months ago, he still has his nights of difficulty. He is asleep between 8 and 9 every night, but it's the continuity (or lack thereof) that is slowly driving me mad. I had a classic breakdown last night, in part prompted by the fact that I spent most of today in bed with some sort of achy-muscle crampy-stomach flu bug. I feel much better now, but when you're feeling rotten and your baby wants to scream in the middle of the night, a mental breakdown is the least that can happen. We let him fuss it out pretty often now, but it has not resulted in any miraculous sleep-all-night changes. Oh! And he crawled out of his crib yesterday morning, which was a big shocker. The boy is a monkey.
Thankfully, no matter how badly he appears to sleep, he is alway super happy the next day. I have never met such a smiley, happy baby in my life. The ladies at daycare are always commenting on his general contentedness, and willingness to offer a grin to every human.
Charles is, I think, getting another tooth. I can see it, but it's not one of his top front teeth... rather, it is a top side tooth. He's gonna look like a jack-o-lantern! Too bad he can't wait for Halloween, though I think we're planning on dressing him as Bam Bam from the Flintstones, anyhow. Only I would be thinking ahead to Halloween.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Squirm Bucket

Sometimes, it can be pretty tough to get Charles dressed in the morning (especially with the distraction of daddy taking photos). Observe:

Finally! The clothes are on, but Charles isn't happy about it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


A few weeks ago, we celebrated my friend DeAnna's birthday with cake and ice cream at her house. Charles had squash, but it was celebratory squash.

Anyhoo, DeAnna's younger brother, Cody, was tossing a ball in the air as we were getting ready to go and Charles was giggling SO MUCH! He laughed for 2 or 3 minutes before we finally got the camera out to capture the action. The first few giggles on this short video are more like what he was doing pre-camera. I think the laughter was tiring him out near the end.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


A link for the mothers:

Because I, too, look for the funny in all this. Did I tell you about Charles' explosive diaper yesterday? Or his projectile vomiting during his last cold (he coughs with force!)? We need a laugh on occasion, sistahs.


Would you like it if we posted more? Wouldja? Well, too damn bad. Life is busy, y'all.

Aw, jeez, I didn't mean to make you upset! No, seriously, stop crying. Okay, here, have a baby photo:

Phew. Now we all feel better.

Well, we are leaving again. Buster is headed to the kennel and the rest of us are trekking to the Tri-Cities for the long weekend. It's Claire's birthday party (watch out, Sarah and Andy, we got a noise-maker!) and I'll get to see some Walla Walla friends and scorch my poor white skin in 100-degree weather (I thought it was bad that we have 80-degrees-plus here!) and hopefully escape the angry hordes of mosquitos that are feasting on said poor white skin. We would take Buster, cuz I hear that Claire loves doggies, but the extra-thick coat of fur does not play well with 100-degree heat. I think he would just be miserable all weekend. And probably take over the kiddy pool, angering the young ones. This way, he gets to be with other doggies. But I'll miss him. Buster, I LOVE YOU!!!

Also, before I go, an update on Daddy: He will check out of the hospital today, and though he is very drugged, the surgery/radiation is over and he will hopefully see his cancer indicators plummet over the next few months. It might seem premature, but I am already thinking that we can call this a success!

See you next week, when I hopefully will find time to regale you with stories of mirth and joy from the weekend! (Here's also hoping that I remember to take photos, as I summarily dismissed my camera last weekend - during which I partied like a rockstar, or at least like a married, young mother rockstar - as too heavy to lug around.)