December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This year, as I've experienced childbirth and being a mother, I am even more blown away that our Lord and Savior came to earth as baby boy. I now know what Mary had to do to take care of Christ, from tending to his circumcision, to feeding him, changing his nappies, and seeking to soothe his cries, and I am humbled and awed that Jesus came down in such a vulnerable form to save us. In winter, when we most need light and joy, we can celebrate this amazing salvation.

When Lincoln has fussed over the past (almost) seven months, one of our favorite things has been to sing "Come, Thou Fount," which serves the dual purpose of calming me down as well as him. Today, and all days, I especially think of the second verse: Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God, he to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood. I picture not only Jesus, but God the father, rescuing us from danger as we wander, just as I would rescue my son.

May your time with family (I have 17 people descending on my house!) be peaceful, joyous, and may you remember your children, or childhood, and think of small Jesus, coming to rescue us from danger.

December 24, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursday: Christmas Picture Outtakes

Why are you trying to take my picture when I have a cold? Can't you just cuddle me?

I hear your funny noises, mama, but I refuse to look. My blanket is just too interesting.

This is what I think of your photography, mama!

I see you, mama. I am going to stare you down.

December 19, 2009

Lining a Hat

A question was asked about lining the half-birthday hat, so I thought I'd post a few things. First, I'm no sewing expert or hat expert. The directions in the pattern said to lay the hat on the fleece and cut around. So, I did that. I then whipstitched the side seam of the lining, pushed the lining into the hat, and started whipstitching. I used plain old thread, black, and it hid right in there. I followed the edging, turned the hat inside out, and then stitched around the inside. It went fast, and is surprisingly sturdy. It doesn't look gorgeous, but it works!

Stay tuned after Christmas for pics of all my Christmas knitting--if all goes well over the next six days, four people will be getting knitted gifts! An all-time record!

December 17, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursday: Going Bananas

We've begun working on solid foods--a new and exciting frontier. Prior to this beginning, the wee lad was happy to sit in his high chair and play with toys.

As you can tell, he's not sure about what is going on. Mashed bananas looked fun in the bowl, but why is mama trying to put them in my mouth?

I think I'll spit them back out. And look very distressed.

Two days later, we try again--success! He likes bananas! Of course, he also then gets Mr. Cool's cold, so we are a bit sick, tired, and snuffly. More solid foods to come--we'll keep you posted!

December 12, 2009

Just for Fun

He may be getting tired of getting bundled up.

December 10, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursday: Half-Birthday Hat

A new tradition: every year, on his half-birthday, my son is going to receive a hand-knitted hat. I love to knit hats, I love him, so it's perfect! This year I was a bit late, but I had the idea only a few days before his half-birthday, so I think I did okay.

While he's not entirely sure about wearing this hat, it should keep him warm. It's the Itty-Bitty Hats Inca Snowflake, knitted in Noro Kureyon and lined with fleece. Lining a hat was a new challenge, as was embroidering, but they were good challenges, that made me feel as if my brain still works.

I think he might like it a little.

Update: The hat kept him quite warm, as we braved the cold on a diaper run!

December 03, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursday: Decorating the Tree

What is this? Does it go in my mouth?

Why am I hanging it on this tree? Oh, well, I guess that's what Daddy wants me to do. I heard Mama telling him that he needed to help me like Christmas and not be a huge Scroogey McGrinch like him, so I'll help Daddy out. I like Mama, and I want to be Lincoln, not Scroogey McGrinch. I'll hang this thing on the tree. Maybe I can put it in my mouth later.

December 01, 2009

A Published Author

If you can find a Denver Post today (Tuesday), and find the lifestyle section, and read The $25 Haiku, you will read my first published work of "literature." I wrote the winning haiku on the theme of yarn:

My small son watches
Yarn twisting 'round my needles
His green hat growing

This has been a very exciting occurrence for this stay at home mom!

November 30, 2009

Original Sin

My six-month-old knows that he is not supposed to grab the corner of his blanket. He had just been told no about 30 seconds prior to this picture. Look at the look on his face--he's thinking, "Oh-ho, mama, I'm going to put my hairy toe over the line and see what happens!" He may be the world's most delightful baby, sleeping well, making cute-cute sounds, and dealing well with his croupy cold, but he is going to press any boundary given him.

Not seen in photo--Mr. Cool hanging out in his Snuggie!

November 29, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursdays: Now on Sunday, Or, It's Not Always Cute

The wee lad got sick this week--a brief bout of croup, signified by a barking cough, lots of snot, and some crankiness.

We weren't very thankful for Thanksgiving, even though Grammie and Auntie Cool visited.

But by our half-birthday on Saturday, we had rallied to enjoy our first present, and hanging out in our pajamas.

November 20, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursday: A Day Late, But Not a Dollar Short

You'll note Mr. Cool hijacked Cutie Pie Thursday, but early Friday morning should work just as well. Our theme this week: new stuff. The lad has turned into the king of sitting up, and has added two small front teeth nubbins (which are rapidly growing into real teeth!), and can scootch around the floor a good bit. I have no pictures of the teeth (he's very private with his mouth) or the scootching, but I've got some great sitting pics!

See? Nothing's propping me up! (Oh, and his bald spot is growing back, just blonde, so it's a bit hard to tell!)

Check it out, mama! It's so easy to suck on rings one-handed when I'm sitting! (I also love the gut hanging over his jeans!)

November 19, 2009

Officer Safety - Pass it on!

In my five years plus of Law Enforcement, I've seen some very good training videos that reflect the practical realities of the trade. This is right up there as the best and most authentic when it comes to the use of force and arrest control. It is a short video, but well worth your time. At only 33 seconds, you may have to watch it a few times to get the full effect.

Tell me what you think, Mp.

November 18, 2009

Stay-At-Home Mom Files: Daytime TV Observations

The other thing I watch during the day!

Lest you think I am just swanning about the house in my bathrobe, eating bon-bons and watching TV, I will quickly justify myself here: the wee lad still spends a chunk of the day nursing away, which gives me the freedom to watch some daytime TV. Now, anyone who has spent some time about the house on a weekday knows that daytime TV can usually be placed in three categories: talk shows, game shows, and soap operas. Here are my top picks for each category:

Talk Show: Rachael Ray--now it might just be my Food Network withdrawal, but I like watching Rachael's show. It's fun, has good tips, she cooks a couple of times, and it's not weird or gross in any way. My one complaint is that sometimes 9:45 is a bit early in the morning to think about dinner, so I've usually forgotten her idea by the evening. Runner-Up: Ellen, who is also fun and puts celebrities in a dunk tank, and thanks to her I've learned that Harry Connick, Jr. has absolutely no aim with a baseball.

Game Show: Price is Right--my #1 daytime show, the one I'll watch even if the lad isn't having 2nd breakfast. I think Drew Carey is perfect as the "new" host, and I just love watching people lose it. I'm already working on my ideas for a t-shirt if Mr. Cool ever takes me to Hollywood and the Bob Barker Studio. Runner-Up: Let's Make a Deal, as Wayne Brady is pretty funny (although I, for one, always think of his Chapelle Show sketch whenever I see him) and Zonks are a good time.

Soap Opera: Days of Our Lives--now, I've been watching Days on and off for about twelve years, and as I watching it the other day, I realized that the fine folks of Salem are in the midst of their second baby-switch drama in that time span. Now, I had a C-section, and after the wee one was born, Mr. Cool stayed with me while they stitched me up. That's right--someone had ten minutes in which to switch my baby! This whole non-morning person stuff is making sense! Runner-Up: None. I also watched Passions, but they took that off the air. Thankfully, the best-looking guy on Passions is now on Days. Serendipity!

November 16, 2009

Not a Morning Person?

Lincoln working on a nap in his crib.

I enjoy, as Lincoln grows older, the emergence of his personality. This morning, I think I was granted an interesting peek into who he is, and it reminded me of his Aunt Sarah and Auntie Hannah.

The lad usually awakens between 5-6:30 AM to nurse. After he nurses for an hour (during which I watch an episode of Mad Men (my report in full will be coming soon, Hannah)), he goes back to sleep for about two hours. This morning, he was up at 5:45, nursed until 6:45, and then went back to sleep. I showered, vacuumed, emptied the dishwasher, read the morning paper, and drank some tea with my toast.

About 8, I heard some waking up noises from my boy, so I hurried to his room. I leaned over his crib, and saw his bright blue eyes. "Good morning, Lincoln!" I said, all keyed up to begin the happy morning routine. He looked at me, pulled his blanket all the way over his head, made some "growly bear noises" (so named by Grammie Joy), and went back to sleep for 45 minutes. I don't think I'm dealing with a morning person here.

November 13, 2009

Hobbies by the wayside:

Four months to the day from my ATV troubles – and they shall never be spoken of again (unless relevant or funny). I’m tired of reliving it, and I’m sure you’re all tired of reading about it. Sunday I go back to work full-duty and am really looking forward to returning to shift. So, enough of that. What have I been doing in the mean time?

From these pages you may have deduced my hobbies: shooting, riding, and woodworking. Of these activities, I’ve just returned to shooting a few weeks ago (awesome!), have forgone riding for a while (at least till the spring) – but have gotten back into woodworking. This hobby and skill has seen little favor on these pages, but I’ve accumulated some nice projects over my years, all without loosing a digit.

The first is probably the nicest - an entry-way shelf/mirror/coat rack, built back in 2006. Materials costs: $35 Tool costs: $125 (per unit cost would have been lower if I’d built more than one, but I needed a band saw to get the curves right - don’t judge me!). It only took a day to shape and built, and it looks great and actually hooks coats and reflects images.
Instead of spending $250 on a baby changing table, I spent $43 on a sheet or pre-finished birch plywood and built a top to cover Mrs. Cool’s old school desk and hacked it into a changing table - built in May of 2009. . Looks good, works great. Material costs: $43. Tool costs: $0 (I already had the band saw…).
My latest is a Gondorian spin on plywood – from last month. Our swamp cooler has never had a permanent cover - just cheap looking, unfinished plywood. After three years of living here, and with desire to be productive and without the ability to stand for long periods of time, I was inspired to do some wood carving. Watching the special features on the Lord of the Rings about the WETA workshop gave me an idea: carve the white tree of Gondor (one of Mrs. Cool’s favorite icons) as the center piece of a new cover. The birch plywood was cut to size and then hand-routed (read power tool) after some sketching and tracing. It took as long to trace the designs as it did to rout it out. Paint the tree, sand, and stain. Material costs: $0 (scrap plywood from Little Cool’s changing table). Tool costs: $10 (new router bit). Not bad.
It’s not all adrenaline rushes and busting caps. Sometimes in measuring, cutting, sanding, staining and getting cutes smiles from cute kids.

November 12, 2009

Cutie Pie Thursdays: The High Chair

I could post pictures of my boy all day, every day--one of our favorite games is camera! to cut down on that, though, I'm instituting Cutie Pie Thursdays, with a special theme each week. Today, our newest baby gear, the humble high chair.

The brand-new model, with Linc the Lion's meal of choice: the elephant!

The family classic, Aunt Susan's from 19(cough, cough)--he has just dropped an heirloom spoon!

November 10, 2009

Only 45 Shopping Days!

Lincoln has already started his search through the toy catalogs.

Believe it or not, Christmas will be here in 45 days. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday I was pregnant, teaching, grading and then WHAM! here we are, with an almost-six-month-old who will soon be enjoying (I hope) his first Christmas. We stashed away a few things to give him for Christmas, and luckily he will be 6 MO +, which allows him to enter a whole new world of toys. I'm working on knitting a giant mitten to serve as his first stocking, and it is turning into a giant mitten. I only meant to double the size of a regular mitten, but it has gotten a bit out of control. For the first time, I'm not only enjoying the world of snow and Christmas through the eyes of a baby, but I'm not having to cram it in around teaching and finals. I hope this season we will be able to relax and rejoice. I love this time of year, and I hope he learns to love it as well.

November 08, 2009


I'm still a bit too small for daddy's cap, but I wanted to say hello, and happy Sunday!

November 05, 2009

Stay-At-Home Mom Files: Microwave Popcorn

I had a great teaching idea the other day, and realized I probably won't be using it for a while. I must turn my mind to more domestic matters. So, I present a problem and solution for your enjoyment, enlightenment, or my need to write and communicate with someone.

Problem: Mr. Cool and I like popcorn. Microwave popcorn is expensive and often unhealthy. My old and reliable air popper can be a bit unreliable, spray popcorn about the room, and take too much effort for Mr. Cool. (Sorry, honey, but you said it.)

Solution: Homemade Microwave Popcorn. Take a brown paper lunch sack, fill it with 1/4 cup popcorn kernals, 1 tsp. oil (optional), and salt (also optional). Shake. Put in the microwave for about 1 min. 40 s. Keep an ear on the popcorn, and stop it when it when more than 2 seconds pass between pops. Shake bag, and pour into a bowl. Add any seasonings you would like.

Thoughts: This made me very excited yesterday. I'd seen recipes on the 'net for this--search homemade microwave popcorn and you'll find many, many posts/recipes/ideas--but I hadn't tried it yet. It tastes great, makes you feel fun and subversive, and for about $13, you can have enough popcorn and bags for 100 batches. Try it out!

November 03, 2009

Sleep Paranoia

How will I sleep tonight? You'll have to wait and see, Mama.

The babe slept great last night. Only one small peep between 9 PM and 5:45 AM, when it was time for first breakfast. He's asleep now, in his quest for nearly twelve hours. This is amazing, and tempts me to fall into a relaxed state about getting a solid 8 hours myself. Many a maternal doomsayer has warned that his quality sleeping habits won't stay--they warn of teething, illness, disrupted nights. I'm sure that's true, and thanks for the positive encouragement, but I want to be able to enjoy his good sleeping.

When he first started putting in quality hours at night, I would wake up frantic every half hour or so. I would ask Mr. Cool if he was sleeping too much, if I needed to wake him up to feed him, if this was bad that he slept so soundly. I now realize I was merely adding lines to my face, creating the white hair I pulled two weeks ago, and robbing myself of good sleep. There are many things in life we can't guarantee--I don't know that he will sleep well tomorrow--but when things are going well--when my lad curls up with his blanket and knocks out solid hours of sleep--I should relax and rejoice.

I've always tried to live by the ideal that you shouldn't borrow trouble, or worry about tomorrow, but I find these even harder credos with a small babe in house. It takes serious effort to give him up to God, and enjoy the moments as they come. It's effort I'll continue to give.

Oh--I believe my boy has been reading the parenting books. He was almost 4 months when he started sleeping in his crib, and the longest he could fast (sleep with eating) was six hours, just as the book said. The book stated that when he reached 5 months, he could make it nine hours. Sure enough, the night of his 5 month birthday, he hit nine hours before he cried to eat. He's kept to that ever since. He's pretty amazing.

November 02, 2009

1 Baby, 3 Costumes: 1st Halloween!

A little cowboy, complete with boots, a pearl snap-button shirt, and a little horse.
A small inmate, contemplating life on the inside of the crib.
A bear, lost in the first snows of the year.

November 01, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again...

Well, are experiment without the internet at home is over, and it has failed. Internet access is more expensive than it needs to (or should) be - but it has become an indispensable tool of the modern community. Wifi is nice, but when you're toting a baby - it is woefully inconvientent to rely on the library, Safeway, or McD's to find out what's going on with friends and family. So, we ponied back up - and are trying this thing again. Hopefully this will mean more pictures of the cute one - I like it already!

The leg is doing well, and am two weeks away from returning back to shift - full duty - assuming in the next 14 days I can get my running stride to work properly. I still struggle with stairs and running - but most other leg skills are doing well. Just 3 days ago I spent 2 hours shoveling snow with no issues. In other good news - the insurance company decided to pay in full the helicopter expenses, as well as my surgery and stay at MCR - a combined $74K and change. The internet is good - God is great!

October 28, 2009

Evolution of Play

How did my shaker get on my foot? What should I do about that?

Ah-ha! I'll grab it off and put it in my mouth! Success!

October 26, 2009

Catching Up With My Little Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings! Lincoln enjoys playing pull the rings off with us--soon he'll be sitting!

What is this new and exciting thing? I think it's attached to me! He's just discovered his feet in the last two weeks.

The first snow--one of my boys likes it, the other one is reserving judgement. You can probably guess!

Bundled up to head outside and brave the cold as mommy goes to the library to get on the 'net.

October 13, 2009

My Last Doll, or A Fashion Show

One of the things that bummed me out the most about having an adorable son, instead of an adorable daughter, was the fact that I would not get to play with my American Girls dolls with my child. People have reassured me that boys can be nurturing—tucking in cars, carrying penguins, and asking for baby dolls. That’s all well and good, but if anyone is not familiar with the American Girls Collection, just check this out and then let me know if a red-blooded American Boy could get away with playing with these with his mom. Maybe in a darkened secret corner of our home.

Anyway, in lieu of that, I’ve enjoyed playing with my own American Boy, who came complete with a ton of great clothes. The wee one is now six inches taller than an American Girl, and we are just starting to enter a warmer world of clothing. So, instead of his traditional onesie, I present the new Cool in overalls, jeans, and pants. For now, I will enjoy dressing and playing with my own little doll.

Overalls and sweaters—a perfect, little, preppy ready for school!

Guitars are a favorite theme in our clothing—this one is as comfy as sweatpants, and involves the world of two separate pieces of clothing. (Mr. Cool took these, hence the shirt not quite pulled down.)

Hoodies and jeans—this will be his uniform in a few years, if male fashion doesn’t change a lot soon. His shirt reads, “Sleep, hugs, and rock & roll.”