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June 29, 2010

Stars and Stripes and Bison bison Forever

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It's holiday time again ... Time for us to blow the powdered sugar from our treasured family sugar cookie recipe and whip up a batch to usher in Independence Day! Sadly, my cookie cutter collection is wanting. We easily made a bunch of flag-shaped rectangles, but had to use our Star of David for fireworks. We did manage a red elephant (upper left corner of photo), but had to have our Dakotan friend Bison bison stand in for the blue donkey (lower left corner of photo).

Which reminds me, our Oregonian friends Pam and Mac play this endearing game - well, it's sort of a long-term game - where they try to discover as many animals with the same genus and species name. For example, Bison bison or Alces alces or Troglodytes troglodytes. Fun! I think I'll build on that game and start a completely trivial collection of cookie cutters in the shape of animals that have the same genus and species name.

And then, I'll use them to make more delicious cut-outs.

June 24, 2010

And the first word is...

Alright, I'm calling it. Henry has spoken his first word.

Don't get me wrong, he has spoken words in the past. He toyed with "dog" for a while, but he was inconsistent, varying between saying "dahn" or "doht", but usually speaking in reference to an actual dog. He has given up on "dog", for the time being, and now when he is particularly excited about Ophelia he says, "Ophlel", or some variant thereof.

He also sometimes says "Hi" in perfectly appropriate context, but do we consider "Hi" a worthy first word? We do not.

Henry loves balls. He loves to chase them, crawl around with them and, lately, throw them with alarming velocity. But his first word is not "ball."

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No, these are just charming pictures of Henry with balls. And "ball" is a fairly straightforward word to say. You can even swallow or elide the final "l" sound and be understood. Henry, however, has chosen a more exotic word: "balloon."

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From a fairly early age, we made sure that Henry and Adelaide both received balloons in equal measure, and Henry was the recipient of several leftover balloons after Erin's graduation party, one of which (a silver mylar star) is still bobbing gamely about the house. He said "bloon!" with intent in the correct context three days ago, and he has since inserted the full first syllable. He always says it with a certain "Hey! Whaddya know? A balloon!" connotation and, unfortunately for posterity, he is usually much too busy and excited about the balloon for me to catch him on camera.

June 13, 2010

Work Hard, Play Hard

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Erna and Shelbs, post-party. They barely know their own names.

All said and done ... Erin's Commencement and Graduation Party are a thing of the past. But, boy, did we work hard and play hard. We cleaned, decorated, and hosted. We minded our manners (most of the time). We imbibed at least 2 1/2 bottles of Bacardi Lemon, in addition to other beverages. We played some Candyland and Tick. We watched the Hangover and went to the Como Zoo. We laughed and cried. We made two pans of 7-Layer Bars, one for the party and one for the ants. We cooked and ate. We napped and slept. We parented and baby-sat. We remembered and shared with old friends and new friends. It was a busy week.

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Mom and Dad's garage all tricked out, pre-party. Note the kickin slushie machine.

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Grandma Vi and Adelaide, post-commencement.

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Mame and Henry. Love.

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Henry entertains the ladies: Auntie Judi, Mame, Marmee. Uncle Denny laptops in the background (He's met babies before ...)

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D and Adelaide whip up a batch of scrambled eggs for the crowd.

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Adelaide and Erin take a necessary, winky rest.

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Adelaide fills her new bug box with worms from Marmee and D's garden.

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Owen enjoys a spin in the newly acquired Cozy Coupe.

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Look closely ... Henry is throwing that green ball to D. What an arm, eh?

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A sisterly shmoochie for the Grad!

June 6, 2010

O Happy Day!

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Last night, Erin graduated from high school ... True to herself, Erin proudly marched to Pomp and Circumstance with her classmates, wearing her Converse and her best and brightest smile. We all took our cue from Erin's great joy; there were only a few tears among her supporters, mixed in between the cheers.

Poised on the edge of this wonderful accomplishment, catching her breath while looking back and ahead at the same time, is this beautiful person that I am so very proud to know and to love.

Congratulations, Erin! We love you!

June 5, 2010

Henry's First Steps (for Joel)

So, we're up at Marmee and D's again, to celebrate Erin's graduation! Owing to commitments of a pathological nature, Joel plans to join the us in about a week, and so remains ensconced in the peace and quiet of home with just a canine and a Nine for company.

We weathered the six-hour trip well ... I was so proud of Adelaide, my little helper, passing Henry extra paci-rahs, more Goldfish, and giving me little updates throughout the drive: "Henry's just lookin' out his window" and "Rest time is over, but Henry is still sleeping!" As always, all of us were overjoyed see Marmee and D's watertower, a tangible symbol of our road trip success.

So, we're here and no less than 2 hours after our arrival, Hal took his very first steps. The little guy's been a crazy crawler, not showing any real signs of interest in becoming a biped and seeming to prefer all fours for speed and convenience. Who knows what inspired him to pick up his hands and stand, but here he is doing it!

Sorry for the shaky cam, but you get the idea!

Just for the record books, Adelaide walked at one year and 74 days on Memorial Day weekend camping trip to New Ulm, Minnesota. Now, Henry is walking at one year and 30 days. Although Henry gets credit for throwing caution to the wind a little sooner, Adelaide took her first daring steps around a roaring campfire!

June 4, 2010

I believe the preferred nomenclature is "Mailcarrier."

Ophelia had gone more than a week without destroying a toy or piece of clothing ("chewed" does not quite convey her technique of carefully ripping off a teddy bear's face), but yesterday we let our guard down and she perforated a Tinkerbell DVD we had received from Netflix ("from the mailman" in Adelaide's terms). Her fang marks around the rim of the shiny disc are reminiscent of a backwoods road sign that's been used for target practice.

Shortly after we discovered the crime, Adelaide asked to watch the Tinkerbell movie (which, despite my lifelong hatred of the treacherous fairy, I enjoyed quite a bit). "You can't watch it," I replied, "it's broken.
"How did it get broken?" Adelaide asked.
"Ophelia chewed it," I replied, worried that she'd get angry at the dog. (Which is my job.)
"Oh no!" she exclaimed, "the mailman is going to be so mad!"