Sunday, December 30, 2007


Today we were scheduled to fly home. But when we got to the airport we told them we'd be willing to give up our seats if the flight was oversold. It was! So, not only do we get an additional day playing here in Michigan, we each get a voucher for a free trip on United, PLUS they rescheduled us tomorrow in first class! How cool is that?!

Since Soren joined our family our travels have been slightly more challenging. Not only do we have one less income, but we also need to buy one additional plane ticket wherever we go. So whenever we fly now, we volunteer to be bumped just in case we can get free tickets. The most amazing part of all of this is that we are on the trip here on free tickets! And we got those tickets because we had been bumped another time. So, this is the third time on a trip to Michigan that we end up with free tickets. Free tickets on free tickets on free tickets. That is the way to travel!

Who knows...maybe we'll be able to get bumped tomorrow too...

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Fabulous Week

We've had such a fantastic week here in Michigan. But not really much to blog about. A listing of all we've done this week would be something like:

* Luke and Soren had a great time playing with their new Christmas toys.
* Luke and Soren really had fun playing at Luke's house.
* Luke and Soren had fun chasing each other in the new Thomas the Train tent.
* Luke and Soren loved going to the Children's museum.

See what I mean? Lots of fun, just not riveting reading. The snow had mostly gone away but today it seems to be coming back full force. Fortunately, not blizzard force this time. Just snowy. So tomorrow we do hope to be able to go out in Granpa's sleigh.

Tonight Peter and I are going to go out *gasp* just the two of us...Grandma is going to watch Soren. Hurrah!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Well, I suppose we would have been disappointed had we arrived in Michigan to find it only cloudy and chilly. No need to worry though - we certainly weren't disappointed. The last time we came to Michigan in the winter we decided that from then on it would only be summer visits. Easier air travel, fun at the beach, riding the horses, fishing in Grandpa's pond...a never ending parade of delights. But this year with our free travel vouchers (thanks to voluntarily giving up our seats on a previous overbooked airplane) it seemed that the opportunity to travel for free during the most expensive time of year and spend Christmas with Grandpa, Grandma and the rest of our family was just too good to pass up.

We approached our trip out here with an attitude that it was going to be a long day...but that we'd make it fun. Oh, and what a long day it was. We actually made it out of Portland relatively on time but upon landing in Chicago it became obvious that the weather would be a factor there. 4 hours later - made up of consecutive 15-minute delays - we were finally on board. Then another hour waiting in the plane...first for luggage, then for de-icing, then for who knows what, maybe the pilots called for take-out pizza.

Upon arrival in Michigan we found an airport completely without power. They drove a stair truck out to our plane and we climbed down the icy steps and bolted through the blizzard across the pavement to get into the building. The very dark building. They had to unload all the luggage by hand so we waited another hour or so for that. Then they handed it out in the airport.

Much of the drive to Grandpa's house was in white-out conditions. But thanks to Grandpas' decades of Michigan driving we made it safely, if slowly, to his warm house where to Soren's delight Grandma was waiting.

The storm was raging when I tucked Soren in to bed. His bedroom was on the western side of the house. The wind was fierce. After I tucked him in he called me back to the room, crying. He demanded "shut the window, mama!" It was so noisy that he was sure that the window must be open.

This morning though we all awoke to a calm, quiet winter landscape. Blessed to be with our family in a very white Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gingerbread House Update

As intriguing as it was to consider following Natalie's advice to stuff our gingerbread house with illegal fireworks and detonate it (taking care not to burn our hands) we just couldn't resist the siren call of all that sugar.


p.s. It was very yummy.

Another Tradition: Christmas Light Touring

Last night we tried on another Christmas tradition. We drove to one of the best light display neighborhoods in the area to see all the decorations. We each had a mug of hot cocoa to sip while we drove through. Soren insisted that I sing Christmas songs the entire time. Since he doesn't allow me to sing the same song twice, I had to dig pretty deep to remember the words to a lot of them. Peter was pretty good at pulling out random Christmas songs that no one really knows the words to (Good King Wenceslaus, anyone?) so I will admit to a slight bit of improvisation. Still, I think it was an impressive performance (and Soren certainly agrees). Soren only got mad when I improvised with his name because he is quite certain that he is not in any Christmas carols.

He wouldn't take his eyes off the flashing train long enough to look at the camera:


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another Tagging...

I've been tagged again, this time by my friend Kendell...but I'm thinking that since this is the Soren Gazette I should answer these questions from his perspective:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Soren says: bags are no fun at all. I like ripping paper.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Soren says: What is artificial? (Amy interupts: actually we decorate one of our house plants! It is a 10 foot Norfolk pine so it fits the bill quite well. Well, until if fell on my head Sunday night...)

3. When do you put up the tree? Soren says: huh? You mean, not all people have their Christmas tree in the house all the time?

4. When do you take the tree down? Soren says: huh?

5. Do you like eggnog? Soren says: No, eggnog is gross, no matter how much daddy tries to convice me otherwise.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Soren says: Ah, so hard to remember that far back, but my favorite present ever was this little Fisher Price car that I can ride. My dad chose it for me for my very first Christmas. Mom thought it would be just another piece of junk sitting around the house but I proved her wrong and I've been playing with it faithfully for two years.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Soren says: You betcha. But we don't have any sheep or angels.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Soren says: Everyone since I usually want to buy presents only for myself.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Soren says: Me.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Soren says: Mail, of course. I like looking at all the cards with pictures of people that I know.

11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Soren says: huh?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Soren says: I've never seen a Christmas movie. My parents are clearly stunting my cultural development.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Soren says: As soon as my mom starts dragging me to the stores.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Soren says: isn't recycling a good thing?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Soren says: My gingerbread house was pretty tasty.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Soren says: I like all lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Soren says: Whatever my mom will sing for me. I'm pretty sure she makes up a lot of the words though.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Soren says: travel. Last year we went to Grandpa and Grandma U, this year it is Grandpa and Grandma P. They both live in snowy places too - so that is fun!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Soren says: Of course. I might not be able to list the names that you might be thinking of. But could I name them? Sure! I think they should be called Blueberry, San Diego, Cement, Banana Peel...

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Soren says: I can't see that high up.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Soren says: As soon as I can convince my parents.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Soren says: waiting.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? Soren says: trains, trains, trains!

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Soren says: This may come as a surprise, but I really like trains.

I'm tagging Amanda, Katie M., and Amy in South Dakota!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fantasy vs. Reality

Peter and Soren went up to visit some friends of ours in Bellingham. Peter's been planning this for awhile (it was a ski trip), and honestly I knew the time would come when he and Soren would start taking to the road while I'm working. Actually, I'm sort of surprised that it has taken 2 1/2 years before it happened. But still, I have to say that I wasn't really excited about it. I really love to see them every day!

As the time drew closer though I started thinking about the possibility of all this free time that I was going to have. For me, other than the lack of sleep, the loss of free time has been the hardest part of motherhood. So the idea of having 4 days with only myself to please grew more appealing. I could go shopping! Take long leisurely baths! Get a pedicure! Lay on the couch and read magazines! Go to the movies! So many possibilities.

Well, now here we are on the last day of all my free time...and what have I accomplished? I did do quite a bit of aimless shopping on Sunday. That was fun. Soren is a good shopping partner but we don't just browse too much. I went in to a bunch of stores that I'd never even been in before. But since then I've gone in to work early and stayed at work late every day. Is this what I did with my free time when I was childless? I've accomplished a lot..but still it didn't turn out quite as blissfully relaxing as I anticipated.

They are on their way home now. I'm excited to see them. Maybe I'll take that long leisurely bath after Soren goes to bed tonight...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Soren's LEAST Favorite Things

1. Bedtime. Actually, this is a pretty new thing. He used to be so mellow about going to bed. I'd announce that it was bedtime and we'd happily embark on our routine. But lately he's become hugely resistant to going to bed. He just wants to stay up and keep playing. We had two stories come out of this new aversion. The first was when he decided to run away from me so that I couldn't put him to bed (that is really cute the first two times...) and he was running full speed and took a corner way too fast trying to evade me. He crashed full speed into the door frame. Peter came running from the other room because the crash was so loud. Poor little guy. The other story was last week when he kept announcing "I AM NOT GOING TO BED ANY MORE!" I do really try not to laugh out loud when he's being so serious. But I have to say that was a tough battle watching him insist on never going to bed again.
2. Leaving the library. We go to the library for story time every Saturday. After story time he plays in the playroom there. He's started throwing fits when we leave now...even though we are leaving to do one of his favorite things - Starbucks!
3. Waiting to eat his pancakes until he's eaten some eggs. On family breakfast day he gets pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage. He loves pancakes! He'd eat a mountain of only pancakes if he'd have his way - especially now that he has discovered syrup. So we make him eat a few eggs first.
4. Loud noises. He hates loud sudden noises, but also noisy environments in general. We were at a big Christmas party last weeked with lots of people cheering and clapping and he wanted to go in the other room because it was too noisy.
5. Bad smells. I swear he's inherited his father's sense of smell. Between the two of them "eww, what's that smell?" is probably one of the more common phrases in our household. And not only when I'm cooking!
6. Peter and I talking too much when I get home from work. Soren really wants my undivided attention when I come home. He'll tell us to "stop talking!" if he feels like he's not getting enough mommy time.
7. Anyone other than me putting him to bed. He's fine having an occasional babysitter (and actually, I should have put Zoe on his list of favorite things) but there is something special about bedtime that he really only likes to have me do.
8. Children who don't talk to him. He understands that babies can't talk, but he is completely bewildered when other children either don't talk very much or ignore all the questions he sends their way.
9. Cookie Monster. Not sure what is going on there, but he's suddenly decided that Cookie Monster is very scary. He'll run out of the room if Cookie Monster ever comes on TV.
10. Blowing his nose. Oh how I wish he'd let me use that little bulb syringe to clean out his stuffy nose!

This list was actually much harder to come up with than the list of his favorite things. He's a pretty mellow, happy kid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Soren's Favorite Things

I'm stealing this idea from my friend Katie's blog. Here are Soren's 10 favorite things:

1. Me. (I realize this is only likely to last a short I at least have another 10 years or so though?)
2. Thomas the Tank Engine and all his friends. And by that I mean James, Percy, Henry, Gorden, Cranky, Diesel, Diesel 10, Murdoch, Emily, Annie, Clarabelle, Butch, Byron, Trevor, Terrence, Skarlooey, Duncan, Salty, Bertie, and countless other little trains that I am constantly stepping on because they are spread across our family room floor.
3. Starbucks. Complete with Horizon's organic chocolate milk and a bagel with cream cheese.
4. "The playground". Which means any playground.
5. Bubbles at the Children's museum.
6. Teddy Grahams.
7. Playing with other children. Doesn't happen nearly enough.
8. Reading books. Clearly he didn't get this from a stranger...this kid loves to read!
9. Working outside with Dad.
10. Helping. He insists on helping with everything and heaven help me if I try to put on make-up/set the table/make oatmeal/open the car door/get the newpaper/turn off the bathroom light/or close the refrigerator without his help!

Coming soon: Soren's least favorite things.

Friday, December 07, 2007


The other night I went into Soren's room before I went to bed to be sure he was covered up. This is the position I found him in. He was completely sound asleep.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time might remember last year's Santa debacle. I didn't really know if it would be better this year or not. I mean, you have to admit Santa could be a pretty scary guy - so huge! so red! so hidden behind a beard! and always wanting people to sit on his lap!

We've been talking about Santa for awhile this year and Soren was really excited to go see him. We talked about how it would happen...that Soren would sit on his lap and talk to him and tell him what he wants for Christmas.

We got a chance to visit Santa last weekend. Soren brought a cookie for Santa. This Santa was really awesome, very warm and gentle. Soren adored him. Check out the look on Soren's face - he's totally tuned into Santa.

I sure love Christmas.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not To Be Trusted...

I've been doing quite a bit of my Christmas shopping online this year. I told Peter that some of his gifts would be coming in the mail and that under no circumstances was he allowed to open any of the packages that might come while I was at work.

Yesterday, I came home to find an Amazon box partially ripped open on the living room to some incriminating evidence - a can opener.

Peter claims that it was Soren, not him, who was behind the box opening. In fact, he took video to prove it. (Note: Stephen Colbert's face smiling out from the cover of the book - no hiding which book I ordered!)

I say that the video was started too late to fully exonerate Peter. So, no one is off the hook yet! ;-)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

We Made a Gingerbread House!

Last night Soren and I made a gingerbread house. Well, mostly he asked if he could eat the frosting and candy.


This is the first time we've ever made one. One question: what happens next? Am I just supposed to let it get all dried out and yucky? Or is there supposed to be some occasion for eating it?