Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

Craig spent his evening off carving pumpkins with us. There's something about culinary school that makes what would be at least a three hour task for me last less than an hour when he's involved. It's a good thing I got these pictures when I did. Within a few hours, the Boo pumpkin and at least two of the mini pumpkins were sacrificed to the deer who like to hang out down the street.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fighting Crime

Overheard during trick or treating:

As Liam is trying to turn around and stand up in his stroller...
Craig: Liam, turn around. You can't watch for crime in the streets if you aren't looking forward.

Guy Dressed as Elmo: Ooh, and we have Spiderman.
Craig: (mumbling as we walk away) He's Batman. Get your super heroes straight, Elmo.

Craig: I already have his costume picked out for next year. Optimus Prime. Liam  loves Transformers. (Craig and Liam went shopping at the dollar store on Tuesday and came home with a Decepticon and Bumblebee. I'm sure the decision was all Liam's.)

The night's high point: Getting Goldfish crackers at Subway.

The low point: Dropping his last Goldfish cracker on the floor at the grocery store. He never quite recovered from that.
an action shot of our little crime fighter


Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Friday. Say What?

Yesterday, I caught myself telling a student, "It's almost November." I stopped myself and thought, "Whoa, it's almost November." I know it's so cliche, but the days are seriously flying by.

This weekend you'll find me:
-Spending my Friday evening enjoying delicious fall food (and a little wine, too) at the Harvest Feast. 
-Frantically throwing together a "winterized" costume for the Downtown Trick or Treat on Saturday.
-Begging Craig to carve into our pumpkin so I can make these pumpkin seeds.
-Wishing I owned this sweater.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cousin Love

This weekend was Harlee's second birthday. We spent the weeks leading up to the event practicing Liam's sweetest "Hi, Harlee." Once he saw her, though, all he could come up with was "baby." She's definitely not a baby-- she's one of the most grown up two-year-olds I've met and is destined to become the older, more mature cousin who Liam, the squirmy little boy, chases around.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hail to the Chief: A Few of My Favorite Election Day Finds


When it comes to politics, I am a total nerd. On Election Day in 2008, I came home from work to find a grocery store bouquet of red, white, and blue carnations on the counter. I'm not going to lie, I was totally smitten. This year, I keep stumbling on election-themed items that would most definitely be sitting on my doorstep in a few weeks if money (and space) were no object:

-Election-themed puzzles--pretty amazing.

-Would Liam be the nerdiest baby at daycare if he showed up with USA cookies? Do I care?

-Considering Liam's new-found love of Charlie Brown, I'd love to add these to our library.

-I genuinely want add this map and these ballot boxes to our home.

-This print press block would also be great alongside my old typewriter and globe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crash! Smash! Boom! Books With Rhythm, Rhyme, and Onomatopoeia, Too.

{As I'm watching an old episode of Modern Family.}
Me: Maybe we should send Liam to poetry camp. He really likes onomatopoeia. 
Craig: Yeah, but all of his work would be cliche. Every other word would be truck or puppy. 

It's true. Liam loves books with onomatopoeia (and rhythm and rhyme). He also loves trucks (and puppies), and we've found some books that roll his love of rhythm, rhyme, onomatopoeia, and trucks into one. 

The Little Blue Truck: We recently checked this one out from the library, and Liam loves it. We may have to purchase our own copy to keep around the house. I love the story of the Little Blue Truck helping the big dump truck out of a mud puddle with the help of his friends. At the end of the story, Liam echoes my "Beep! Beep! Beep!", which makes me smile. 

Smash! Crash!: Liam frequently requests this book at night, and it's one of Craig's favorites, too. It tells the story of Jack Truck and Dump Truck Dan who both love smashing and crashing. I had no idea that Jon Scieszka wrote books about trucks until I saw this in a little coffee shop this summer, and I recently discovered that there's a whole series of Truck Town books. I'm sure Liam will love reading the Truck Town books for many years. 

Chugga Chugga Choo-Choo: This is another book that we first discovered at the library but had to add to our collection after reading it many nights in a row. I'll concede that it's not actually about trucks, but Liam loves to "choo-choo" almost as much as he loves reading about trucks.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Story

Shortly after my Great-grandpa John and Great-grandma Alice were married on May 14, 1934, they traveled from North Dakota to South Dakota to live. Along the way, my Great-grandpa John saw a sunflower growing in a field. Everything was dusty and not much else was growing in the field. He stopped, picked the flower and gave it to my Great-grandma, telling her it was the prettiest thing he had ever seen. When I shared my wedding photos, I realized I never shared why I had chosen to incorporate sunflowers in my winter wedding bouquet. Their story showed a great deal of love and the ability to weather tough times, and that was something I wanted to remember as I looked back on our wedding photos.  

I'm sharing this story at Growing Up Geeky

Saturday, October 13, 2012

On My Mind: Family Leave

Due to some recent policy changes at my job, it's becoming increasingly apparent that if I chose to have another child, I will more than likely have to take at least some leave without pay. These changes are still very new, I'm not ready to spill any details (and I'm not sure if I'll ever be willing to spill those details here).  In true form, I have spent many late night sessions reading articles(here, here, and here), trying to sort out my thoughts on the issue.

I'm curious. Did you get paid maternity leave? Was it separate from your other paid leave, or were you required to take your PTO for your maternity leave?

In the Forbes article, it states, 

"My experience is that when faced with the choice between family and work, people will often choose family even if it means financial hardship. When someone quits without paid leave, especially a low wage worker, they are often forced to apply for public assistance which is paid by taxpayers. Wouldn’t it be better to contribute to universal paid leave that lasts six weeks, versus enrollment in public assistance that could go on much longer if the individual can’t find a new job?

Losing an employee is very expensive. Experts estimate it can cost anywhere from 50% of the wages of a low skilled employee to 200% of the salary of a professional staff person. Wouldn’t it be better to lose someone temporarily for six weeks, knowing they will come back, versus having a valuable employee quit because of caregiving pressures and replacing them? There is no guarantee the next person you hire—male or female—won’t experience caregiving challenges either."

If you're a stay at home parent, was family leave an issue that contributed to your decision to stay home?

I understand that this is a pretty delicate subject to discuss online. If you're more comfortable commenting by e-mail, feel free to send me an e-mail (my e-mail address is located under the Contact Me tab.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

on the road again + some toddler travel tips

This weekend Liam and I headed back to my hometown for my grandparents' 50th Wedding Anniversary. Liam loved dancing the night away and hanging out with all of his cousins.

In the past, I would embark on these trips alone with no fears, but since Liam's become a bit of a squirmy toddler and we ditched the pacifier completely recently, I got a little worried this time around. Surprisingly, Liam traveled really well. I thought I'd share a few things we did to make the trip go smoothly:

-Leave just before nap time-- For a 4-5 hour trip, this worked really well, because Liam slept more than half of the trip. On the way home, he slept most of the way-- it must have been all of that dancing he did on Saturday night.

-Bring car-friendly snacks-- We usually travel with  the Go Go Squeeze applesauce pouches and the Munchkin Snack Catchers filled with cereal or Goldfish crackers.

-Bring a few cloth books or board books and some car-friendly toys-- A few of our favorites include: this, this, and these cars. I'm thinking about investing in one of these-- Liam was fascinated with my cousin's during the anniversary dinner. I leave them in a little basket I found in the One Spot at Target next to Liam's car seat.

-Bring good car-dancing music--This is one of Liam's favorite activities. (He has an affinity for cheezy teen pop lately.)

-Pack one clean outfit in an easily accessible location-- It's no fun having to dig outfits out of your suitcase if there's an accident.

For more road trip tips, check out Margaux's blog.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


+thinking this guy is a genius.
+wanting to hear more Delta Ray .(When I first heard them on the radio, I immediately thought of that time I dropped Intro to Logic to take Blues, Jazz, and Rock, a decision for which I continue to pat myself on the back.)
+hoping to one day have time to write a real post.
+planning to try this some day.
+looking for a new camera. any suggestions?
+not enthused about this weekend's forecast.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oh, Great Pumpkin, where are you?

This weekend we:
-picked out pumpkins for our front porch
-watched a contest featuring pumpkin-launching trebuchets
-watched "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" in the theater (Liam's first theater movie!)

(Are you sensing a theme?)

Also, we:
-crunched leaves in the Saturday sunshine
-relaxed on a rainy Sunday
-drank root beer (brewed in Minnesota, chosen in honor of my root beer-loving friend)

How did you spend your final September weekend?