Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning Photos

The first batch of photos are up on our Flickr account!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

23/365: breakfast out & an ego boost

I took Jack to breakfast at Wildwood Cafe, this cute little breakfast place on Third Street. (This was for Alex's request in honor of his Christmas bonus: "More sleep!")

We spent an hour there and toward the end of our meal a very sweet-looking elderly woman stopped by our table for a moment. She didn't want to interrupt, she explained, but she just wanted to let me know that she had noticed us and wished that every child could be raised with such care, attention, and patience as I was giving to Jack. Then she let Jack know that he was an absolute pleasure to share a restaurant with (to which he stared mutely and shyly at her) and was on her way!

Needless to say, we were very flattered and proud of ourselves! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

22/365: country living

Today we got to see a baby cow.... and I mean a BABY. She was born this morning at 8:30 a.m., and Jack and I were able to go over and visit around 4:30 this afternoon. Jack got to touch her muzzle and admire her for a few minutes before she needed to go spend time with her mama. She was already up and around, being willful and adorably stubborn as Chris tried to lead her places. :)

I was going to take pictures but I left the camera at home and my phone's camera wasn't up to the low-lit task. I'm not too worried about it though -- we'll be seeing her again soon enough!

21/365: good idea!

Jack has finally figured out a way to play with Pooka without getting scratched!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

20/365: Jack decorates

Jack and I got into the boxes of holiday decorations! I saw where most of them ended up as he distributed them, but one caught me by surprise: I went into the kitchen to cook our next meal and found this intrepid Santa fighting his way across the... windswept, frozen linoleum?

19/365: Parade of Socks

I recently (this month) knitted my first sock. It went so well, I knitted another! And another, and another.... Socks have got to be the easiest, most rewarding knitting project I've found yet.

Here's the biggest one, made for me. The rest are toddler/baby socks and will get their own post with pictures all together as soon as I finish the second sock of the baby pair I'm working on right now!

19/365: Parade of Socks

I recently (this month) knitted my first sock. It went so well, I knitted another! And another, and another.... Socks have got to be the easiest, most rewarding knitting project I've found yet.

18/365: Fire Station

A while back, the fire department had a pancake feed where they brought all their engines out into the street for everyone to admire. The city blocked off the street. (That's something they are quick to do if it's for a kid-related activity.... Thank you, Mac, for being so family-friendly!) They even had three engines driving loads of kids around downtown.

One of my friends called me and let me know it was happening, so of course we set out to get a fire truck ride. :)

We jumped right into the line to wait for a ride, but it was a long one. We passed the time playing "Go touch that fire truck...."

"and come right back to tell me about it!"

I didn't actually get any pictures when it was our turn to ride. Jack was WAY too excited for me to do anything but juggle him. Technically they were only giving rides to kids 3 and up, but apparently we asked very nicely. We even got to sit in the front seat with the driver!!

After our ride we found out that the trucks in the street were not only for looking at.... They were for climbing in!! I had no idea. For some reason we were the only people taking advantage of this, but that just meant Jack got to keep the whole fleet to himself. :)

17/365: Pooka

We haven't mentioned here that we got a new kitty! He showed up in the bushes outside Alex's work. Since he was all black and very loving, we pretty much had to bring him home with us.

A few weeks/months (who's counting?) and a vet trip later, he is a lot bigger than he was in these pictures, but just as much of a troublemaker.

Did I mention this kitty is very good at finding places to snuggle?

It took him about two weeks to realize that the food and water bowls weren't going anywhere. In the meantime we got this balloon kitty, whose belly was always bigger than his head!

Bo gave him a tentative approval to live with us.... but he's NOT going to be friends. We were worried about Bo being mean to him, but it turns out that Pooka is the bully.

Here is Pooka "to scale" next to some of Jack's toys. He really was a tiny kitty when he came to us!

His favorite part about being domesticated? This particular spot on the couch, which he naps in at least twice daily. :)

16/365: Movie Night

We've started doing a movie night on Sunday nights. Recent features include Up and Cars. Here's Jack enjoying the show: (We do all sit together for the movies but Jack was ready while Alex and I were still wandering around doing whatever boring stuff parents do to delay fun activities.) ;)

15/365: Snow!

We had snow recently! Jack was really excited to go exploring. He has seen snow before, of course, being a New Hampshire baby, but he doesn't remember it. This was essentially his first snow.

We made it about halfway down the stairs before he started to reconsider. "Mommy, I cold!!"

We made it down the stairs (after much coaxing) to taste the snow!

"Tastes like ice!"

Then we tried crunching on the snow "with Elmo boots!"

A bunch of fat robins were eating some kind of goodie (seeds, I think) that had been knocked off the trees.

Wiping snow off the cars was fun until he realized how cold it made his hands....

This was another moment where the dazzling appeal was wearing off for a moment.... He was trying to convince me we needed to get in the car and drive somewhere warm.

...or we could crunch in the frozen grass. :)

The best part of the morning was when we found our fix-it man, Clive, spreading sand on the walkways. This was downright AMAZING.

Jack literally chased him around the entire apartment complex, just marveling at the sand-throwing machine. (It was pretty cool! Clive says we will use 150 lbs of sand per snow/ice storm just to cover our sidewalks.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

14/365: Baby coming!

There is SO much left to do! I can't believe there are only eight more days until December. I wouldn't say I'm starting to panic or worry, but I've definitely noticed how much I want to get done before I have the baby! For now I'm going to bed. No matter how reasonable it seems at the time, staying up past 11:00 is never a good idea.

13/365: Technical Difficulties

At this rate, this project is going to take me more than a year. November seems to be my annual time for cataclysmic computer-related events. The laptop is dead, down to the last "dear God, please let Alex save the data" sputterings. This might be the end of my NaNo whether I like it or not!

Even more than my NaNo, I'd love to have my budgetting calendar back. It is this wonderful program that Alex wrote for me that allows me to budget on a calendar where I can view the whole month and year. It thinks just like I do -- the perks of having my husband design it specially for me! It's been a day since the laptop fully died; I miss it terribly already.

Friday, November 19, 2010

12/365: Chinese Food

I've lost the camera again. I have no doubt it will turn up, eventually.... This is the kind of thing I was talking about with yesterday's post. Instead of finding my camera, which I actually want to use throughout the day, I'm writing for my NaNo word count. Argh!

Well, in the meantime, more text. We went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant with really yummy and well-prepared food. Jack is practicing his restaurant manners, which right now consist of the following:

1) We sit on our bums or knees in the booth. We do not stand up and peer (or shout) at other diners.
2) We don't climb around under the table.
3) No, seriously, put your wiggly little butt back down on the bench!

He actually was sitting rather than climbing for at least 50% of the time, which I consider a victory at this point. :)

This restaurant also wins points for having the best crab puffs we've tasted since leaving New Hampshire (where we had the world's BEST right next door..... we're still sad about moving away from those!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

11/365: NaNo: Quit while you're ahead?

Well, I'm seriously thinking I might need to drop this year's NaNo due to having way too much baby prep to do. This seems kind of silly since I've already written 30,000 words, but it's consuming a lot of time and attention that I'd rather spend cleaning, getting ready for the holidays, and organizing baby stuff.

I will decide by the end of the weekend. As of right now, I have no prediction. Hmm....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10/365: Help!!

I am way too disorganized right now to take and post pictures properly, but I finished Jack's first pair of hand-knitted socks! I have never felt so admired and awe-inspiring as when I showed him the final product. He definitely thinks I'm magical for having created socks from string, and wore them happily all day. I hope they last until Christmas, when he gets his next pair(s)!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

9/365: The Countdown

Alex and I recently realized that we could have a new baby as soon as three weeks from now! Holy smokes. I feel like there must be a million things we're supposed to be doing, but darned if I could tell you what they are!

On top of any baby-related work still to do, I feel like the holidays are suddenly barrelling down on us and before we know it, it will be the new year! I'm supposed to be baking a turkey for Thanksgiving this year, too. That's something I've never done before!

...and we are still having a heck of a time choosing baby names. I tell you what, one way or another this is going to be an exciting month and a half ahead of us!

Monday, November 15, 2010

8/365: Swimming

We've started going on family swimming trips in the evening. The family pool at the Aquatic Center is a very friendly 5 feet deep at its deepest point, and we've found out it's tons of fun to bring all three of us there at once. (As opposed to mildly frazzling at best when it's one parent and one toddler!)

With two parents there, we managed to finally convince Jack that it's okay to wear a floatie, and two visits later he is swimming on his own! He can now float and kick on his own and go eeeeever so slowly from one parent to the other. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

7/365: NaNoWriMo

I'm halfway through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in which I write 50,000 words during the month of November. They don't have to be good words, thankfully. Just 50,000 words which come together to form some kind of a novel. The motto is "quantity, not quality," which is really liberating.

Today I hit the 25,000 mark, which means I'm a whole day ahead of schedule! The story is surprisingly coherent, too. :) In addition to writing my own novel, I am the "Municipal Liason" for McMinnville. This basically means I'm the group coordinator, which can be a bigger job than you'd think, especially when 8 1/2 months pregnant! But so far so good. We've been holding regular meetings and the McMinnville group is averaging about 50,000 words per DAY!

Because I'm slightly ahead of the game, I took most of the night off from writing to work on knitting the second sock in a pair I'm making for Jack. He is soooo excited about them! But more on that tomorrow, when Alex can show me another way to get photos off the camera....

6/365: Laptop Suicide

I'll start by admitting that I completely missed posting yesterday! But I have a good excuse.

I do all my work on our laptop, while Alex uses the desktop computer. Last night I was carrying it to do my normal routine of sitting with Jack, playing music and getting work done while he goes to sleep.... when it somehow fell/jumped out of my arms and landed on the floor. It landed on one corner first, which I suspect is the worst possible way.

The damage: The keyboard doesn't work. Nor does the mouse. Nor the mute button. Today I found out that it also refuses to read the camera's memory stick. (Not surprising since the reader is in the corner that hit the ground first.)

Alex got me set up with a keyboard and mouse that can plug in, so I'm basically functional for now, but it looks like we will need to buy a new laptop pretty soon. :(

Friday, November 12, 2010

5/365: Trains!

Jack LOVES trains. These are a few pictures we've collected that prove the point:

Here's the beginning of a train ride at the zoo:

The thing about trains, is they're EXCITING. And that means they're tiring.... We quickly progress to the "snuggle and look at scenery" phase.

And before you know it, the train-nap has struck again. :D

Once, before Jack fell asleep, he was allowed to go in the actual engine part while the driver took a break. Here's him almost releasing the brake:

And examining the fire box (I think). Notice how he really is in the train all by himself. He could have driven the thing away, if he had been lucky enough to find the right combination of levers!

According to his current plans, when he grows up he is going to drive trains and tractors. I believe it, too! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

4/365: Slow Day

Some days we run all over the place, doing story time, projects, swimming, etc., etc., etc.

This was NOT one of those days. Jack didn't sleep well last night so we had a quiet day of groceries and a few other errands, and spent the afternoon napping and then playing with blocks. Jack built this awesome street of houses, all by himself!

That about covers it for the Bowling household today. We're going to continue doing not-much-of-anything until bedtime!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3/365: Story time!

I've tried a couple of times to get pictures of the main event at Story Time, which is the big bubble-blowing finale. This is probably Jack's favorite event of the entire week! I feel like I captured a little bit of the magic that Jack sees every time, but it's times like these when I recognize exactly how much I don't know about photography....

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2/365: Farmer Jack

Chris recently bought a farm, and the place is pretty much heaven in Jack's opinion. There are dogs, kittens even more pliable than Pooka, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and rabbits. And that's not to mention two of his best friends, Daphne and Cyprus!

Plus, Chris makes a mean taco and he definitely loves when we have them for lunch. :)

Jack is just now able to skip his nap on some days and survive, sanity intact, until bedtime. We usually take it easy for the afternoon, reading books and doing other quiet activities. Well, today he did skip his nap and then we decided that to fill our afternoon, we would go to Chris's farm and see how big the pigs had grown since our last visit.

We ended up tromping around the farm all afternoon while Chris fed the animals. Jack was excited to see them all. He even went in the pig pen and got knocked down in the mud by three curious pigs. He didn't mind, even when he tripped and fell right back into the muck after I had just rescued him!

The big hit was the hen house, where Daphne found two chicken eggs, and Chris found five. Jack was totally impressed, especially when Chris gave him an egg to take home! Here is the single photo we managed to capture immediately after returning home: (Do you know how hard it is to photograph a tired toddler?)

Here is my darling little boy with his boots on the wrong feet, peppered with mud splotches, exhausted beyond belief, and yet still totally excited about the egg he earned for his help doing farm chores.

Right after this, he watched Daddy crack and scramble the egg. Then he ate it (followed by a few more) and snuggled on the couch briefly before conking out. All in a day's playing, right?

Monday, November 8, 2010

1/365: spices

Every so often while I'm cleaning the kitchen, Jack comes in and spends time with me by climbing on the counter and checking out the spice cabinet. He likes to open each jar, smell what's inside and ask me what each one is called.

"Ooh, pepper!"

He was having a great time after he smelled each one, announcing "EWW!" and "GROSS!" This is the funniest possible thing to do with spices. :)

This time he decided he wanted to taste the spices too. He tried tiny tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Then he needed a drink, big time!


A few nights ago, it was almost time for Jack to go to bed. Of course, he didn't want to, and he chose a very sweet way to express that. He climbed up onto the couch with me and snuggled at my side, insisting we read a stream of books, tickle, snuggle, and so on.

Jack and I ended up being very silly and playing while Alex was a good Daddy and made bedtime happen despite our best efforts. (And without tears, I might add!)

After Jack was finally asleep, I realized again how totally sweet he is, and how much I love spending time with him. And that I'm not going to have much more time where it's just the two of us playing all day!

In other (obvious) news, I've had trouble updating the blog regularly, and I have probably lost my mind, but I think the answer to this problem, and a way to appreciate and share my time with Jack even with a new baby coming to add mayhem and distraction, might be to commit to a project where I post something every day for a year. Crazy, right? But it just might work!

So, that's the plan. 1 post per day, preferably with photos, every day for 365 days. When the baby arrives, she'll be tucked into the project too. :) And yes, I will admit I'm stealing inspiration for this from my friend Chris's blog,!

Friday, September 17, 2010

fiercest shamrock in the west

This shamrock came to me from my Grandmother's garden in Arizona, by way of my mom who lives in Massachusetts. I was living in Oregon at the time, and it somehow got all the way to me as a ziplock bag filled with sad little bulbs that we sincerely hoped were dormant, not dead!

That was at least three years ago -- I really think it was closer to four or five! This shamrock has been on TWO road trips across the country

Friday, September 10, 2010


Nothing like swimming during cool weather.... The pool was nearly empty and we got to spend 45 minutes paddling wherever we wanted, doing whatever we wanted. We OWNED the stairs (Jack's current favorite, in keeping with his fondness for activities he can do "by y'self") and got to play with any of the toys we wanted!

Still waiting on the camera's new memory card. If it were here, I could post a picture of the mountain of food Jack is eating now that we're back at home!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

knitting season

The knitting store on 3rd Street had a sale recently so I grabbed a bundle of nice, soft yarns. I usually get non-wool yarns but I'm trying some merino wool. Chris says it's different enough from normal wool (which makes me itchy) that it will probably be fine.

First project is a hat for Jack; then a hat and bootie socks for the baby, and a new hat for Alex.

I'm really liking the hat for Jack so far. I'm doing a loop stitch, which is very simple but knits up nicely. I got the stitch directions from some magical books of Chris's that have photos of each pattern so you can really tell what they look like. I'd love to post pictures and will as soon as our camera's new memory stick arrives!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday breakfast

I just scrubbed the kitchen quite thoroughly, so we decided to enjoy our breakfast at the counter this morning. :) This is one of Jack's favorite ways to get his breakfast while I'm still cooking, so he can see all the action!

I was GOING to post pictures, but our camera's memory card just died. :( A new one is in the mail. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Jack has started playing with nonsense words, testing them out and seeing whether I respond to them. His favorite right now is "certainly dot-dot" instead of "certainly not". It's hard to tell when he's just messing with me, since he IS adding new words to his vocabulary all the time, and some of them are hard to decipher!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

the un-American family

The other day, some woman was lecturing me in the grocery store. (This must happen to all young moms, but that doesn't make it any less ridiculous!) I couldn't escape, either; she was my cashier!

The short version is that she noticed that my face was slightly sunburned and decided I must need to be taught about the dangers of skin cancer, and that she needed to solve my "problem" that Jack could get sunburned on his scalp.

The conversation really wasn't that interesting. What was interesting was when she decided that because he had a hammer on his shirt, Jack's "favorite thing" must be Bob the Builder, and that the perfect way to get him to wear a hat was to slap Bob the Builder on it.

"He will LOVE it," she assured me.

With most American children, she probably would have been right. But Jack has NO idea who Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob, and all those idiots are. The only item we own with a pop-culture character on it (aside from books) is a classic Winnie the Pooh umbrella stroller.

This got me thinking about what weirdos we are. In our house, a popsicle is homemade ice cream, made from berries we picked ourselves, and frozen in a mold in the freezer. Soda is flavored seltzer water mixed with weak juice. Jack eats "peanut butter and jelly" which is actually pure ground almond butter and homemade jam. It's not all food-oriented (we don't have cable TV, for instance), but that's probably the most visible difference.

I was feeling distinctly like an expat in my own country until I realized that my food choices are quite American after all -- just from the wrong decade. Before fast food hit and mamas, for the most part, left the home, my homemade jam and ice creams would have fit right in!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

baking cookies, testing Flickr

Jack and I recently made a batch of cookies to send to Nonnie. Since Alex showed me what a great tool Flickr was with the Japanese Garden photos, I thought I'd try my hand at using it. Here goes nothing....

Click here for the photos!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Japanese Garden

Jack and I went to Portland's Japanese Garden in Washington Park. Washington Park is awesome! It has the Japanese Garden, Chinese Garden, Arboretum, Zoo, Childrens' Museum, Forestry Center and I'm probably leaving out somethings. I figured it would be best to simply use Flickr to organize the 52 photos we took there.

Here is our Photostream.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daffodil Walk!

On Sunday, Jack and I went with Chris, Daphne and Cyprus for a 5k walk in farm country. It was all for the Daffodil Festival over in Amity.

We walked. Then we walked some more. We strolled. We piggybacked. We backwards-walked. We shoulder-carried! We lent the stroller to Daphne for a little while, but I was really impressed that she walked about 4k on her own!

Of course, there was plenty of nature to look at, and even a few farm animals! Jack filled a diaper when we were almost done walking, and (of course) I hadn't brought any diapers or wipes! We made do with some helpful grass and just packed him back into his pants sans diaper. By this time I was giggling.

We made it up the last hill and over to the porti-potty. I was just looking at him wondering "What am I going to do now?" when a spot of wet appeared on his pants. This quickly became a flood that soaked his pants, socks, AND shoes! "Oh my!" I was stricken with belly laughs now!

There was nothing left to do but throw his wet clothes into the stroller and take him, wrapped pretty much only in my jacket, into the daffodil fields! After all, there were flowers to be picked! I plunked Jack next to a big clump of daffodils, since he really didn't like the feel of muddy ground on his feet. He spent the time decapitating daffodils, throwing the heads in a neat ring around where he sat, and sending me into fits of hysterics every time he farted and made me think another accident was impending!

Well, we got a nice big bouquet, and no more accidents after all. A short bus ride back to the car (how could it take five minutes to return us to the beginning of a 4-hour walk?) and we were back in diaper country!

It was all very adventurous, and totally worth it! After all, I got a bouquet of free daffodils out of the bargain! :)

school for Jack!

While I worked part-time at Delphian recently, Jack got to go to "school" in the nursery for staff/faculty kids. Well, my gig ended, so I had to take him out of that group. However, he had been having such a good time doing mornings at school, and learning SO much (he can count to six! sometimes all the way to ten!).... we decided we had to find another daycare for him to play at.

Enter Little Learners, a totally cute preschool facility about 10 minutes away from us. When we went for a visit, he jumped right into "Circle Time," which is when they sit in a group and read books, talk about toys, and other stuff like that. He didn't even care whether I was in the room!

Yesterday was his first day. They did a ton of activities, and (no surprise, considering how busy he had been) he fell right asleep at nap time. He had such a good time that on the way home he told me, "had fun. Had fun! Had fun," for almost five straight minutes!

So, with Jack in school three mornings per week, I am going to be working part-time (to pay for the daycare, essentially) at TTR with Alex! This is definitely a new phase of life for us all. It's proving to be very hectic, but very rewarding!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

blustery morning

Jack and I just had a great walk around 3rd Street. We visited the Red Fox, a great local bakery, and bought a croissant with chocolate drizzle on top. We snacked on it while walking around. Of course, Jack ate the drizzle and left the rest to me.... little did he know there was a chocolate center too!

Then we walked all the way down to the end of 3rd Street to find the library was closed.... all the way back up with a stop at Cornerstone Coffee to thaw out while admiring their coffee-roasting machine in the back.... stopped to holler about the sheer awesomeness of a big bronze statue of a cougar, had a couple of sips from a water fountain (which had an oval on the side, much to Jack's excitement!) and then it started to rain in earnest so we had to head for the car and come home.

We froze our buns off, but it was totally worth it. What a fun morning! :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

learning manners

Jack has added three new words to his vocabulary: pease (please), ehkyu (thank you) and n'ekkum (you're welcome). It's very charming to see him working on his grown-up manners. All that time saying please and thank you to him is paying off now!

My favorite thing is that he prompts me about what I should be saying.... He will hand me a toy and say "Thank you!"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Salem trip!

Recently, my friend Chris and I went down to spend the day in Salem. She loves the city, and I have to admit it provided a very nice day out! I've been much more fond of the country and big open, grassy areas recently, but it was nice to see all the city had to offer. Particularly, we found a nice open park area in front of the capitol where the kids were able to play. There was a series of bronze sculptures that the kids got to play on, and Chris took a couple of great pictures!

Here's Jack playing on a drumming aligator:

And all three kids playing on some kind of stilt-walking frog:

I absolutely LOVE that picture! It is the perfect shot of the stages of growing up. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Where'd Mommy Go?

Melissa is apparently finding her hands full with all of her projects and blogging here has fallen by the wayside (as you may have gathered). It is now up to me to post things (probably mostly pictures), so that you can know what is going on here in McMinnville, OR.

Jack has started building things on his own now (see evidence of train tracks and legos below).

Also, for the past few weeks he has been in the nursery at Delphi while Melissa has been working there part-time. When they eat snacks down there, he (though being the youngest) is allowed to sit at the "big-kids" table because he is able to sit in his seat and bus his own tray after snack time. Along this vein, we decided it was time for a booster chair at home instead of a highchair. He loves it.