Saturday, September 27, 2008

Overheard in the office

"Stephen, daddy's trying to get some work done, so it's not a good day to try to drive a car on the piano keyboard."
--Ryan Leatherman

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


As promised, here is footage of Abby's first "meal."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Family Photo

Here is a photo someone took of us last night at the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. I'll upload to snapfish as well.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Faces of Abby

This is what I get to stare at all day!

I took the photos while standing with Abby on the other side of the glass at the gym class Stephen attended yesterday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Glad We Could Illustrate Your Point for You

For some reason in the past week, the kids and I just seem to be in the right place at the right time.

We were at the Urbana Library one morning and Stephen was playing with the train set. A crowd of international folks (older than traditional undergrads) descended on the children's department, led by a tour guide who I assume was a librarian. I don't know all the nationalities involved, but right after the guide showed them all the toy area, the cameras started coming out, snapping photos of Stephen! I can imagine them emailing the pictures home to show how kids play in libraries in the U.S. Of course you'd think kids would read books. And Stephen does read books, but not at the library.

This morning we were heading to the Infant Cognition Lab for Abby to do her work and as we entered through the handicapped door, a crowd of about 20 students (undergrads this time) stepped aside so we could get through. I heard their professor say, "And this is why we need our building to be accessible. As you can see, it's not just handicapped people who use the ramps and elevators." I don't know what sort of class she was teaching, but I'd say the students lucked out today - it was beautiful outside!

Some quick recounts of what we've been up to:
I'm watching a sweet little girl twice a week. Here she is playing with Abby.

Bethany flew to Germany yesterday and should now be getting settled in the guest house in Oldenberg. We dropped her off at the bus station yesterday so she could take the bus to O'Hare. Stephen now thinks she is permanently on a bus, just like he thinks Eric is forever on an airplane.

Some of Stephen's new words: knuckle, quesadilla, crunchy

Abby's first food, eaten a couple nights ago for dinner: avocado. We'll try to post the movie when we get Ryan's computer back.

We enjoyed visiting Evelyn in Peoria last Friday. I was amazed that we were able to occupy Stephen for an hour and a half at a nursing home!

Yes, Abby is clearly teething. Nothing showing yet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Burnt Beans. Bummer.

We have a lot of black beans soaking in the fridge, and so I'm going to make Brazilian Black Bean Soup for dinner and then hopefully some Black Bean Brownies. I would be skeptical of the brownies, except my friend Sue made some brownies for us with lentils and they were really yummy.

So before Stephen went down for his nap, I put the beans on the stove, just like I'm supposed to, with an inch of water covering them. About halfway through the cooking process, I noticed there wasn't much extra water so I boiled some more and added it. Then just when it was about done, Abby wanted to nurse. So I stirred and then came to the living room to feed her. Only 5 minutes had passed, but they were crucial. I now have a charred blob of black beans sitting on my stove, and now another pot of them cooking. It's alright; I think I can still have dinner ready by about 6.

Yesterday we were treated to free picking in a friend's garden. I got tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, okra, and more. Then last night for dinner I made what I called "Joni's Garden Pizza." It was my homemade crust (easy in the breadmaker), spaghetti sauce, cheese, and then everything I thought would taste good on there! Even okra!

We've been listening to the Sound of Music quite a bit--it started because of the song "Maria" though "Do Re Mi" is now Stephen's favorite--and just this morning we heard him speaking to himself: "Do Sol Mi ..." It's not in tune, but it's a start at least ...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Tales from Pottery Lane

It's always such a treat to visit Don and Laurel in Port Orchard, Washington. Their land and house is so different from what we're used to, living in town. Their driveway is lined with beautiful blackberry bushes. The blackberries we picked are begging us to eat them atop ice cream after the wedding this afternoon. I wished Stephen were with us as we fed the goats and went to collect eggs from the chickens.

After we had a quick visit with them at their house this morning, we walked from the hotel to the farmers' market. Sorry, Urbana, but this one is right on the water! We shopped a few thrift stores since I still didn't have a top to wear for the wedding ... and it's in 2 hours ... is that some sort of record?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dinner with the bride and groom

Abby and I are in Seattle. It's weird. I have been away from Stephen for 2 nights in a row before, but I've always been in the same state. I know he'll be fine; he's in good hands with Ryan and Susan (Ryan's mom). And Bethany is around, too, since she doesn't go to Germany till next week. I even got to sing Amazing Grace to him tonight (our nightly ritual) over the phone. I just can't help but wonder what's going on in his mind regarding my whereabouts.

But we're having a good time here. The flights were smooth, and several people commented that they didn't even know a baby had been on board. (Thank you, Abby!) We enjoyed Don and Laurel's dinner and time meeting Lynette's family. (Lynette is the one pictured with Abby.)

Tomorrow is the wedding and I don't know what else we'll end up doing. Our hotel, though nothing fancy, is right on Puget Sound and the view is wonderful. I think I'll open up the curtains and read some John Grisham while Abby sleeps.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Milestone of the Sleeping Variety

I am happy to say, but in no way expect to happen again soon, that both children slept through the night for the first time ever!

(Stephen had been doing so before Abby was born but has lately been back to waking up a couple times just to make sure we're still here.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

What are the odds?

Two years ago our friends the Beards had a baby, Naomi Shalom, on Labor Day.

Today (on Labor Day) they had their second baby, Talitha Charis Helle Beard; this time it was a home birth in Costa Rica. Good job, Mare!

Labor Day Parade

Since we couldn't be in Wisconsin with the family, we were here to enjoy the Urbana parade. Here are some photos from the morning.