Tuesday, September 27, 2005

William holding his sister Posted by Picasa

Anna on her blanket Posted by Picasa


Anna and William are both making a lot of progress lately. I thought I’d write some of the latest things they’ve learned.

Anna has learned how to smile! When I go to get her out of her crib after a nap (as long as I don’t wait until she’s screaming at my neglect) she’ll smile at me with a big open mouth and coo and gurgle until I pick her up. Of course, if I spend too much time enjoying the smile and pleasant noises, they turn to cries of anger and frustration, but sometimes it’s worth it just to get as much out of the smiley girl as I can. She is also starting to try to suck on her hands. She hasn’t figured out yet how to separate the thumb, but she sometimes calms herself by sucking her hand for a little while when I can’t get to her and she wants to eat. Unfortunately, it never lasts very long.

William is making more and more progress on his speech. One of his latest favorite things is to talk about something being “too hard.” He’ll say “it’s too hard to” do this or that, whatever it is that he’s doing. But then he goes ahead and does it anyway. “It’s too hard to climb up,” he says as I take him up the hill at the park. But he doesn’t stop walking. “It’s too hard to eat this apple.” But he still eats it – core and all. (I gave him an apple yesterday morning. I offered to cut it for him, but he decided to just bite into it. When he realized that that was an effective way to eat it, he refused to give it back. I left him eating it while I made waffles and didn’t think anything of it. Later, he came to me with a face covered with apple juice and apple bits and asked to be wiped off. I asked him where he left the rest of the apple and went looking in the family room expecting to find the core sitting abandoned somewhere. Silly me. How would a 2 year-old know not to eat the core of his very first whole apple? There was no sign of the apple. William had eaten it, stem and all.)

William’s also learning the names of more and more animals. He loves to watch the Baby Einstein videos, especially all the animal ones, and I think that’s where he learned the majority of their names. And he’s getting better and better at making sentences. He was playing with his Sesame Street shape sorter the other day and pointed to one of the pictures on it and told me “Cookie Monster’s holding a pig.” I was impressed. I can’t wait for Anna to start being able to interact with him instead of just opening her eyes wide in terror when she hears his cry of “Baby ANNA!” that usually precedes him slapping at her face or stomach.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Anna on a campout Posted by Picasa

Blackberries!!! Posted by Picasa

Our Yurt and William - Champoeg State Park Posted by Picasa

Hangin' by the campfire - Heidi and Doug Bingham and Kip with Little Anna Posted by Picasa

Camping with the Kids

This weekend was our long-awaited trip to the Yurts of Champoeg (pronounced sham-poo-ee) State Park. A Yurt is an Oregon thing. It’s a round wood frame building with canvas walls and a teepee style roof. The center of the roof is a plastic dome that can be raised and lowered for ventilation and the walls have three screened window openings that are covered with canvas flaps that can be rolled up and tied out of the way. There is electricity – one power outlet and a set of lights – and a heater. Each Yurt is furnished with a futon and a bunk bed where the bottom bunk is a double and the top is a single. There is also a table and two chairs. As far as camping goes, I think Yurts are the best. They are like tents, but you can stand up all the way and you have beds and – best of all in mid September – HEAT! It was really very comfortable.

Our Yurt trip was planned early in the year by Rachel. She invited us and the Roses to join her in the trip and reserved our Yurts for us. Since that time the Roses moved to Virginia and Rachel and Josh had scheduling conflicts and couldn’t go. We canceled one Yurt and invited the Binghams to use the other one. Luckily, they were available. So, Friday afternoon, we packed up our cars (their one car and both Killpack cars – there was too much to fit in one Nissan Sentra with two adults and two kids in car seats.) and headed for Champoeg. We got there about 7pm, unloaded the cars and settled in.

Our first activity that night was to break in Kip’s dutch oven. He filled it up with grease; we mixed up some dough and had fry bread. It was really good. Then, we headed into the Yurts, turned up the heat, and settled in for the night. Even with both Sentras, we hadn’t had enough room to bring Anna’s play pen, so I decided to make up the futon as a bed for her to share with me. Kip slept diagonally from corner to corner of the bottom, double-bed bunk and William slept on the top bunk. It worked out OK. I kept Anna on the top back corner of the bed bundled in a blanket with a warm hat on. When she needed to eat, I fed her either there in bed or on one of the chairs close to the heater.

Saturday morning we made another Dutch oven creation. Kip cooked sausage in the oven, then took it out and cooked hash browns in the fat. Finally, he topped the hash browns with eggs and the crumbled sausage. It was delicious! Plus, it wasn’t done until 10:30, so we were all starving by that time. Unfortunately, the yellow jackets were starving, too, and were not at all disturbed by our attempts to keep them away. They wanted our food and they would do anything to get it. I think lack of sleep may have made me a little irrational and I got a little touchy about them. Luckily, that afternoon we had a small thunder storm and the rain drove the yellow jackets away so they weren’t as annoying the rest of our stay.

While we were getting going that morning, William disappeared. Kip wandered off to find him and realized that William had discovered a blackberry patch. The poor boy was standing at its edge trying in vain to reach the tempting black fruit and nearly toppling into the ditch in front of the bush. Kip picked him some berries and brought him back. William begged and begged for more, so Heidi and I headed back to the bushes with him. The strip of blackberries ran the length of the yurt area – probably about 75 yards. The best berries were all up higher than most of us could reach. They were even a stretch for Kip. And as we picked we frequently got tangled in the loose branches that reached out from the main bush like arms intended to trap the unwatchful. While I picked, William got himself completely ensnared. When I went to free him, I found myself pinned in, too. But the berries were good and we managed to pick quite a few. William wanted to eat them all, but we tried to keep him under control.

So, after being home from Israel for over 2 months and longing for the cool weather and rains of autumn, they finally arrived on the weekend of our campout. On Thursday it was in the 80s. On Friday it was in the 60s. Saturday, it rained all afternoon. We canceled the walk through the woods we had planned and moved into the Yurt to play games. William and Isaac (18 months) played with the toy cars we had brought. They did OK except that Isaac tried to interact with William and he found that threatening. Of course, sometime that interaction did involve taking William’s toy, but William reacted just as unhappily if Isaac attempted to give him a toy instead. But our card game went well and we had plenty of snack food, so the afternoon was a pleasant one.

The rain stopped around 5:00 and we headed back out to give the kids room to let off energy and to start dinner. Kip made us a Dutch oven BBQ chicken dinner and we ate it with potatoes baked in the coals of the fire. It was great. We had a calm dinner and then cleaned up and put the kids to bed. Of course, I managed to miss all the cleaning up by slipping off into the Yurt to nurse Anna by the heater. I really felt bad about that…That night we (the parents) ate smores by the fire and talked until late about fun things like school and playing the flute.

Sunday morning we all got up and cleaned up our Yurts (I helped this time) and packed up to head home. We picked a bowl of blackberries to take with us so we can celebrate our return with a Dutch oven blackberry cobbler tonight. We got home Sunday just in time to shower, put on church clothes and head to church.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Our pretty little princess. Posted by Picasa

Happy family - before church on Sunday, August 4th. Posted by Picasa

Proud brother, sad sister. Posted by Picasa

Anna's 1 month old!

Anna is now one month old. It’s been a month of adjustments. William really seems to like her, although he struggles with the amount of attention she gets. When he looks at her, he can’t help laughing and calling her ‘baby Anna’ in a high-pitched, happy voice. He gets very enthusiastic about it and frequently slaps her in his excitement. We have to keep reminding him not to touch her face and not to hit her. There are suddenly a lot more things for him not to do. I feel bad for him sometimes. He gets a lot of negative feedback. I have to try to remember to throw in the positives whenever I can or follow up the ‘no’s with a suggestion of something he can do with his sister.

One day I had Anna on the floor in William’s room and was talking to him about the things he could do that Anna couldn’t do yet. I told him that she couldn’t eat anything but milk yet and someday he would have to teach her to eat goldfish (the cracker kind) and everything. He took a goldfish from his baggie and reached toward her. “Baby, open mouth,” he said and then tried to push it in. It was really cute.

When Anna cries, William likes to alert me. “Baby cry,” he says. I ask him why she’s crying and we list some of the possible reasons. Generally, though I think it’s just because she wants to be held. Anna’s quite a snuggler. Her favorite position is upright against my shoulder, where she frequently spits up all over me. After eating, I always lift her onto my shoulder to burp her and she tends to fall asleep while there. Then, I take her to her bed and put her down. Sometimes she goes back to sleep. Sometimes she doesn’t.

Anna’s very strong already. From her first doctor’s appointment people were commenting on her ability to track things with her eyes and head. She’s very good at holding her head up when I have her on my shoulder and she’s already making attempts at rolling over. I’m guessing she won’t take as long to get mobile as William did, but it may just be survival instinct that gets her going, what with William hitting her (not in a mean way) every time he sees her lying on the sofa.