Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mommy I have a question for you…

Last night as I tried to get Cooper to settle down in bed (we were only 16 minutes behind schedule) he started crying, “Mommy, I have a question for you.” Weird. His grasp of the English language is really starting to crack me up. Anyway… he then “asked” if he could put his toys away before bed! What?

This was absolutely, hands-down a trick to stay up longer. But then he started to cry really hard and tell me that he needed to clean up his toys because his room was really messy. True, it was. So, I let him pick up his toys before bed. Only set us back an additional 12 minutes and he fell asleep with no struggle.
Sometimes sticking to the schedule isn’t worth it.

To Infinity and Beyond...

Here are some random museum pictures of one of Cooper's favorite exhibits. It's the space ship room.

The activity that currently keeps the attention of both boys the longest is this ball contraption. It launches steel balls into a box of sand. Then a camera replays the action in slow motion (showing how a crater is probably made). Then the steelie is trucked up a chain and pushed into the chute, again. Then it is shot into the sand, again. It's actually pretty cool.

The lights in the space exhibit change the entire time you're in there. They fade from red, to blue, to green. This makes Mason squeal with delight. Again, his perspective is always looking up at the ceiling. There is also a full suited astronaut model hanging from the rafters that he likes a lot.

Then there's what I like to call tot-tronaut playland. This is where little kids can put on space suits, push buttons, try to manipulate grabbers and pick up foam moon rocks. Really fun for kids Cooper's age. Mason just tried to put everything in his mouth. Pretty disgusting.

Here's an exhibit that is the source of most of our frustrations in the space room. You can use the joystick to "drive" the shuttle to a little red light where it can be refueled. Well, the shuttle moves soooooo slowly that Cooper just can't get the hang of it. He moves the joysticks really quickly -- like he's playing pac-man -- and gets mad when the ship just goes in circles.

In the auditorium of the space room they have space news and fun demonstrations. Like how to freeze stuff with dry ice and what not. That was really making Mason kick and squeal

What can I say, my kids have a thing for science. We've got ingenuity on tap around here... example, Cooper's latest mode of transportation includes rocket boosters of his own device.
When I say, "Go fast!" He literally stops, tilts over then pushes an imaginary button on his hip and makes a noise like a hydraulic or a bus door opening, then runs off sputtering and spitting. On occasion he leans too far over and his noggin takes over. OOOooooopsy daisy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Gag Reel

Do you ever watch the gag reel at the end of a movie? I love those things! BUT, I must say the gag reel of my life is really gaggy. Today I caught Cooper chewing on something. I asked him what he was eating and he said, "A booger!"
OK, I'm speachless.
Then about 4 hours later I asked him to eat two spoonfuls of mashed potato, 1 bite of beef, and about 12 peach cubes (this is the nightly negotiation for dinner). He proceeded to gag, retch, gasp, heave, keck, strain, and struggle to make me believe he just couldn't handle the smell of the food. He literally said over and over again, "I smell something! It's making me cough, mommy." Whatever. Mind you, as soon as I pulled out the strawberry shortcake he got really hungry. Guess who had to eat 7 bites of beef!?!?!?!?
Dear Son, sometimes the initial offer is the best offer. Don't try negotiating with mom, she's seen all your cards.
Now, on the other end of the spectrum I have sweet little Mason. He eats everything we put in front of him... unless it is in a bottle. More success with the sippy cup today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


We've noticed in the past couple of weeks that Mason's motor skills are improving. He's been able to clap two blocks or balls together for a few weeks now. But in the past week we've noticed that he claps his hands and even claps when he hears music or applause on the TV.

Then tonight, I noticed that he was bouncing up and down to the beat of the music. He's such a funny little man. Grandma Go-Go is going to have a great time watching him in June.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Hooded Gnome and Baby Long Legs

Hey everyone... was planning on a great post tonight. But my writing time has been eaten up by picture downloads. I needed to back up my photo files... had to dump 2,880! So, that took 24 minutes. Then I needed to check the weather in Portland. (Steve is going to have fantastic weather!) Now, Cooper is helping me. As he puts it, "Wid da bwog?"

Our Memorial Day was spent as a family. Steve started a traditional holiday meal at 10 a.m. and let it cook all day. It was scrumptious. We all loved it. But while it was cooking we got a lot of things done -- and I took 61 pictures. You'll have to decide what you want to see next. (There's quite a back-up.)

But in my haste tonight, I figure you'll enjoy these pictures that we took at the very end of the day. The sweatshirt was a product of walking to the park rather late in the evening and it turning a bit chill outside. (Though, Coop was the only one complaining.)

For those of you concerned, the boys did bathe both yesterday -- and tonight! Don't mind the ring of grungus that has collected in Mason's neck. We're not sure how such a pencil-necked little kid can get so much crud in there.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Oh My Baby

Photo by: Greg Laugero

Rolley-Polleys and Other Magical Creatures

We love bugs at our house. From our Icky Bug Alphabet book to our Blue Owl Bug House, we’ve got bugs on the brain. [Don’t worry, no bug has yet died in captivity. Cooper can’t help himself and just springs them out of jail before they croak.]

Our daily routine includes at least 20-30 minutes of extra dawdling as we look for rolley-polley bugs and other magical creatures. And every time we walk outside through the front door we have to hang a left and check out how many wasps are in the wasp trap that hangs on our porch.

So, I decided to treat the boys to a special day. We drove about an hour to one of the northern suburbs and visited the Butterfly Pavilion. Besides butterflies this small adventure museum offers interaction with all types of bugs, spiders, fish, crabs, butterflies, tropical plants, etc.

As soon as we got there Cooper spied an enormous atrium tank filled with hundreds of pill bugs – or rolley-polleys. He noted they were eating lettuce. Then it was on to the sea creature room.

Here Cooper and Mason touched two starfish (so did mom, blech). One was fuzzy and the other felt like the hook side of Velcro. Then Cooper touched the hermit crab and a horseshoe crab. Mason and I kept our distance. We also saw Nemo and his dad!

Then we entered the tropical forest exhibit. This glorified greenhouse was filled with sweet smelling flowers and tons of butterflies, turtles, fish, and frogs. There were also a couple of small birds (nothing big enough to eat butterflies). The butterflies would just fly right up to you or sit on bananas and suck the sticky juice. It was fascinating. I could not believe how close we got to all of the creatures. Mason wasn’t sure what to think of the climate in the tropical room. It made him a little cranky.

Leaving this exhibit was fun. You enter into a mirrored chamber where you are supposed to check your clothes for hitch-hiking butterflies. So fun! We didn’t have any on us. But there were some school children that managed to find a couple strays.

Next it was a stop in the “Shrunk!” exhibit that had been built to make visitors feel that they were the size of bugs. So, there were giant ants, scorpions, a honeycomb, and a 15-feet tall praying mantis. Was very cool.

The icing on the cake was a trip to the arthropod room. This is where all the random bugs were. The spiders were really creepy. I mean really creepy. There were walking sticks, enormous grasshoppers, and a clear, working beehive with access to the outside. Real bees were just flying in and out of the room through a clear pipe and into the clear hive. So interesting! Then the real nail-biter… a forest-ranger type asked Cooper if he wanted to hold one of the bugs. I thought he would shy away when he saw the bug. But he bellied up and stuck his hand out. To this she plunked a 3-inch long Madagascar Cockroach on his hand!

He was so brave and he didn’t even flinch. Until I tried to snap a picture. The flash freaked out the bug and it started scurrying up Cooper’s arm. Meanwhile I was trying to balance Mason, not scream, and not laugh.

The lady in the shorts was more concerned for her precious bug and started saying, “Don’t squeeze it!” Mind you Cooper was so afraid the bug was going to climb into his shirt through the sleeve that he clamped his arm to his side like a vice. It was fantastic.

All in all a very good day.

PS – Happy Birthday to G-Ma Go Go. Hope you’re having fun in NYC.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Modes of transport

When carting two kids, there are a couple of modes of transport...

Double Stroller



And as fast as their little legs will carry them...

Tradition: Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Showing Off

I'm sorry, but I have to brag about my Feng Shui for a minute. It looks so great and I have to show them off.

As you all know by now, peach, red, and purple are very lucky colors for Feng Shui. Also, flowers -- any living plants -- are good for kicking up the chi'i. Also, the front entry way to a house is very important. So, I combined all these Feng Shui guidelines and planted my front porch containers. This year I was able to do that for Mother's Day.

The boys got in the act and helped to dig and carry flowers and pots. (Actually, Mason mostly just cheered us all on.) Cooper loved soaking the moss in water, then filling up the ENTIRE pot with the moss. I actually let Cooper help pick which flowers went in each pot. So, none of them are the same... as I would have elected to do. Happy accidents! They all look great.

The project actually took a couple days in a row. First, we went out to the local nursery to shop for the plants. I love this nursery. They have live music most weekends. On the day we were there they had a huge clan of Scottish bag pipers in full regalia. Mason was the only one with me. He loved the music and waved his arms excitedly everytime they started up. It was very loud, but he didn't care.

Then there was planting day number 1. On this day Cooper poured an entire bag of potting soil onto the landscape rock in the front of our house. Oooooops. But we finished two of our 12 pots. Then, on the next day we finished the rest.

For those of you who care about these kinds of details... I had been eyeing some hanging baskets with copper inserts for the porch. They were in a catalog I absolutely love called, Ballard Designs. They were $119 per pot! An obvious NO for our family/budget. But, I found a pretty good knock-off at -- of all places -- Target. They were only $19/pot.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Go, Baby!

At a recent family party Mason and his third cousin Isabella were fussy-fussy. But as soon as we set them in front of each other, they settled right into getting acquainted. Which for Mason meant getting up close and personal with Is' blankie.

We had a great time at the cousins' house. Caught up on everyone -- sounds like everyone is just fine.
Mason loves all babies. It's a phase, he likes to watch the creepy Disney show (only 5 minutes long) called Go, Baby!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Brotherly Love

Listening to the boys in the bike trailer is a little like listening to bunnies die in a window well.

Foreman Cooper

Exhibit A: Pointing finger of 2yol, ensuring all things done decently and in order.

Nothing like settled weather to bring on a list of chores. And so it is with nearly every weekend we hasten to the yard. As many of you know – and have read – we are in the process of sprucing up the yard. We’re in the final stretch of selecting a contractor/designer. But before work can begin, we needed to get our sprinklers going. (Didn’t want to loose the last of the turf we do have!) As soon as the toolbox is consulted, Cooper jumps into action and bears sway on every decision, activity, and tool choice!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

3…2…1… Blastoff

Boys and their aeronautic exploits…

Some of you will remember the famed airplane hobby that Steve took on for like a month a few years ago. Spent a grundle on a really cool airplane kit. Spent a month building it. Took it out on a beautiful day and crashed it in about 3.42 seconds!

Saturday Steve woke up with aeronautics on the brain. The whole family went to the hobby shop to pick out the rockets. Then we scooted over to the local high school, only to find out a little assembly was required. When I say a little assembly, I actually mean a lot of assembly.

So, we shelved that adventure. But today was a new day. Got up early – rockets assembled – and went to the park. We had two rockets and a few “engines”. These are basically explosives. (Yes, we let our 2yol play with explosives.) And a huge pointy thing that they call a launch pad. I, myself, think it looks something like a bayonet and was a little nervous to have Cooper bounding with excitement around and over it.

Cooper was fairly patient and attentive. He helped Steve countdown to blastoff and he would then run after the rocket. He got a little upset when he saw the first one – blown in two and its guts on the ground. But once he learned that it could be all stuffed together, again, he cheered up. His little legs motored all over the park looking for rocket parts.

After a few voyages, the dandelion puffs became more interesting to him. Then the swings… then a dog… then the drinking fountain… then the woodchips… then…. Well you get the idea.

Mason enjoyed the entire experience. The rockets didn’t faze him one bit. He just lazed in the sun and ate garden peas and sweet potato puffs. But he’s definitely one of the family. A small cesna zipped by and Mason look right at it and cooed then waved his little hands at it. I couldn’t believe he could see it!