Thursday, February 28, 2008


It's all fun and games at our house...

I taught Soren how to play Candyland last weekend. It went quite well at first, but I think the pace might be too slow for him because the past few times we've played he's asked if we can "play without the cards" which means we just pretty much push our gingerbread men randomly around the board. But he's right, that is more fun than just moving one green square at a time. Especially when we stop off and pretend to eat all the candies along the trail.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How To Eat a Taco

It seems like we are just born knowing how to do some things, but one of the joys of having a child is that you can watch them learn all sorts of simple how to eat a taco. It probably helps that Dad is pretty good at giving lots of detailed instructions and embellishment.

A Visit With Our Friends in the ER

Sigh. Another trip to the emergency room last night. I suppose I shouldn't say "another" as if we go there all the time...Soren hasn't visited the ER since we were in Poland in October. So I suppose that he's skated through this cold & flu season quite well. He came down with a minor cold this weekend, the same cold that Peter and I have too. But whenever he gets a cold we watch him pretty carefully for signs of that nasty barking croup cough. This time he hasn't had too much of a cough so I thought we were clear. Yesterday morning his cough had worsened slightly, but still it wasn't bad at all. But things declined slowly during the day. And, as if waiting for the doctor's office to close, his breathing really started to concern me at about 6 pm. He was lively, happy and energetic, but he was doing quite a bit of grunting while he was breathing. Peter called the nurse's line and when she heard about the grunting she said we should head in to the ER.

The nice thing about this visit is that it wasn't in the middle of the night. Somehow I had the idea that we'd waltz in, get seen and then head home in time for his 7:30 normal bedtime. Delusional, obviously. The lady who checked us in was a kindly asmathic who obviously sympathized with Soren's breathing problem. She whisked us right in, in front of the 40 or so other people waiting in various states of agony. But still the process once we were in the ER was very slow...he had three breathing treatments, a nasal swab to check for RSV (negative), a chest x-ray to check for pneumonia (also negative) and various other pokes and prodes. By the time we got home it was nearly 10:30.

They gave us a small inhaler to use in case he has continued breathing problems. But hopefully at this point he's on the mend.

Monday, February 25, 2008

My Decorating Consultant

I've decided to spend some time redecorating our house. Nothing major, just some tweaks after having neglected it for too long. Yesterday I tackled the living room. After lots of furniture moving, deep cleaning, and accessory rearranging Soren and I were relaxing and looking it all over.

He looked up at me and said: "Good job, Mom. This room looks very stylish."

At this point I'm not sure if I'm more surprised that he knows the word stylish, or whether I'm just thrilled to have that word applied to my handiwork.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Llama Llama Mad at Mama

One of our latest favorite books - Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Singing for Grandpa

Grandpa P came to visit recently. In addition to wanting to trim his fingernails, Soren wanted to make up songs in honor of the occasion...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Summing up our California Trip

We managed to fit quite a lot of fun in our trip to California. At the end of the trip I was reviewing it with Soren, listing all the things we had done - seen big tractors, cows, horses...gone to Disneyland with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto...ridden lots of thrilling rides...swam in a big swimming pool...ridden on a few airplanes... I asked him what had been his very favorite thing of all.

His reply?

"You, mama!"

Aw. Nothing like a two year old to put everything into perspective.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Pictures of California Fun

Barney DVDs make the long car and plane rides a bit easier...

Safety first...
After a refreshing dip in the hotel pool...
One of the countless fascinating people we saw at Venice Beach...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lost in Hugs

As promised, here are some more photos of Soren lost in the hugs of some large puffy characters.







Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Happiest Family on Earth

We had a fantastic day at Disneyland yesterday! We were at the park just after it opened and zipped right off to the best kid areas - Fantasyland and Toon Town. Soren loved most of the rides except for the "scary ones". I guess I should have expected that from a boy who is scared of the cookie monster, especially since Disney seems to love putting some sinister element in all their animated movies. He did pretty well on the Alice in Wonderland ride (which is a ride through the dark where you see all sorts of characters painted up in glowing paint) until we came to the big scary queen-like character. She didn't howl or anything, but looked big and scary enough to scare the heck out of Soren. So we skipped the Pinochio and Peter Pan rides because those would likely be too scary too.

In fact, we were later walking through the park and saw that Alice queen character and Soren took one look at her and bolted the other direction!

What he wasn't afraid of though was the adrenelin pumping type rides. He wanted to ride on all the rocket/plane/car/coaster rides. I took him on the roller coaster in Toon Town since I saw that there were lots of small kids on it. He was really excited. I told him it would go very fast and be very bumpy, but he didn't waiver. He wanted to ride it. So we went. As soon as the thing took off I regretted my choice. It was fast! A kid's roller coaster, but still a roller coaster! His face was pretty much expressionless as we whizzed around the curves. I was pretty sure he was terrified into silence. But when we came screeching to a stop he looked up at me and said "that was fun!"

I think the part of the day he enjoyed the most was meeting the characters. When he first saw them he'd bolt over to them because he wanted to give them a hug. I don't think Pluto has ever been hugged so long and so hard by any child at Disneyland. He loved them! I'll post some pictures when we return. Most of them just show large plush creatures with little boy legs dangling below - he tended to get lost in the hugs!

Not sure yet what we are doing today. Likely either the Venice Boardwalk and Santa Monica Pier, or maybe the Wild Animal safari. We had considered going to Knott's Berry Farm, which neither Peter or I have ever been to, but I think we are ready for a switch from the crazy amusement park busyness for the day. We'll see.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Tractors, Cows, Horses PLUS Disneyland?

It has been an exciting week for us. I had to work at the World Ag Expo which is the largest agricultural show in the world. 100,000 people from all over the world come in to see the latest farming products. I arrived on Sunday and Peter and Soren joined me on Tuesday. I expected Soren to like all the tractors (enormous state-of-the-art monsters), cows, and horses (which were here to demonstrate all the related products) but I think Peter may have enjoyed it even more than Soren did! Fortunately, we were able to leave without having to refinance our house to support all Peter's purchases. I think he only ended up buying some sort of specialized hose attachment. Probably only because we didn't have a decent place to store a new tractor though.

I'm done working now and we are heading to Disneyland today. I think I'm at least as excited as Soren is. (Hm, am I seeing a theme of us doing things that we say are for Soren but are really for my and Peter's enjoyment?)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Soren's First Snowman

Perhaps I should explain.

Last week we had an unusually large amount of snow here in Oregon. Enough to force schools to close and drivers to panic. It was really beautiful (the snow, not the panicked drivers). On the day with the most snowfall I drove to work only to find that two miles from our house it was totally raining. So I called Peter and told him hurry outside so that Soren had a chance to build a snowman before all the snow vanished. They did. In fact they made a huge, lovely, traditional snowman. I even got to see it when I came home from work.

Unfortunately, we didn't think to get the camera out until after four 40-degree, rainy days had passed. Oh well, better late than never, right? You can see how our grass has turned back into the lush green that we expect all winter here.

By the way, Soren named his snowman Frosty the Snowman.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Under The Couch

Some proof that Soren and I should have probably spent our time cleaning instead of shopping this weekend...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!

My Little Shopping Buddy

Peter is out of town this weekend. He's on a 3-day meditation retreat. Since he's getting all calm and non-material Soren and I are balancing out the karma of the universe and shopping like crazy. Yesterday morning we did our usual Saturday morning routine - swimming, library story time and Starbucks. Then after our nap time we hit the stores. I finally started looking for lights to replace the broken bronze-y sconce lights in our living room (I think I found some, I have them home on demo to see if Peter agrees). And then we went shopping for carpet. That is probably still a fantasy at this point since the cost of recarpeting a 3,200 square foot house mostly sent me into shock. But still we have some samples with which I can feed my fantasy.

Today we went to Gap (bought Peter a birthday present - can't believe he's out of town today, his birthday!), Banana Republic (I guess we could pretend it is my birthday too), and then the John Deere store to get Soren a lunch box for his weekly toddler time class (Sorry Grandpa P. I don't know where to find a Kubota store). Isn't it cute (even though it is only a camera phone photo)?

Then just a little more carpet shopping. Shew, I'm exhausted. After our naps this afternoon, we're going to make Peter a birthday cake.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Christmas Morning

Ok, we're well past the Christmas season, but I just realized that I never posted the video of Soren finding his stocking Christmas morning. Unfortunately, I missed the very first moment when he discovered that Santa had eaten all the cookies...but still you can see how excited he was just knowing that Santa had been there...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Online Friends

Normally I really focus on Soren stories here. But there is a story that while not featuring Soren is related to him, so I thought I'd include it.

When I was pregnant with Soren I joined an online message board with other women throughout the US and Canada - we were all pregnant with our first child and due in April of 2005. Pregnancy is a life-changing event and it was nice to be able to chat with other people who were experiencing the same things. I assumed that we'd all go our separate ways once our children were born, but as it has turned out we all then had newborns and there were even more things to discuss... So, we've all continued chatting online a few times a week for more than three years now.

There are probably about 30 of us who interact online fairly regularly. Over the years I had met a few of them in person. Mostly while I've been on business trips around the country. A large number of the women are from the NE US and they've gotten together a few times in real life. Recently I flew out to Atlantic City to meet up with a group of them for a mommy getaway weekend! So strange to actually meet a group of people with whom you've shared so much and still have never met in person. We had a fabulous time and in true form we chatted non-stop for the entire weekend. It was really great to meet so many of them at last.

Here we are at the Melting Pot fondue restaurant - yum! From left to right: Cristy from New Hampshire, Christine from New Jersey, Me from Oregon, Courtney from New Jersey, Jeni from Indiana, Jenn from Pennsylvania, Cyndi from Pennsylvania, and Cindy from Texas.