Friday, June 27, 2008

Nolan's baptism photos

Us at baptism copy


Favorite flowers

Yellow roses, my favorite.

Baptism moment copy

Such a good boy, in his Grandma Keating's arms.

Like a Sunflower copy

 "Like a sunflower, that follows every movement of the sun, so I turn toward you, to follow you, my God."

Sean and sunflower

Our little rockstar.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baptism Day


I love this image (from a card Angie originally sent Sean for his baptism), and how it captures the sense of a community lifting a child up together. The idea of baptism washing away "Original Sin" from an infant has always seemed ridiculous to me, but I embrace it as a ritual. A welcoming into a community that will support this newest one on his personal journey of faith.

Today was Nolan's Christening, and I'll add photos later this week, but I just want to remember a few details. How Brian managed to fit him into Aidan's baptismal outfit, despite my being convinced it was too small (taking it off was definitely more challenging). Seeing the three older guys in our family all dressed in white shirts (freshly ironed by Gramare) and ties. Sweet phone calls this morning from friends who couldn't make it and from Nolan's godparents in Illinois. Our beautiful church---this was the first service in it since the remodeling finished, and the fresh newness of it, with lots of natural light pouring in, seemed specifically made for a baptism.

Yellow roses and irises on the altar. Sean thrilled to see his buddies and favorite girls.  Tearing up during "On Eagle's Wings" (which was worth all the drama last week with the organist who doesn't know it). Our friends of different faiths and practices taking the time to join in our celebration (that meant SO much to me). Nolan sleeping through most of the service, and then wide-eyed with curiosity while water was poured on his head.

All the children holding sunflowers while we sang, "Like a Sunflower". The cake from the women of St. Claire's Guild. A friend taking my camera when I realized at the very last second that I couldn't both participate and take photos of the baptism.

Kids in swimsuits in the backyard, yelling and running and splashing (all will sleep well tonight). Brian standing over the grill. Amy rescuing us from a ketchup-shortage:-). Good tunes on the deck with the new mist-er cooling us down. Kathy's yummy dessert bars.  The way everyone pitches in so it is never over-whelming. Nolan kindly sleeping while we ate. Sweet gifts and cards. A phone call from my dad and my mom.

And then Dylan, a neighborhood friend of Aidan's, showing up hours later, while we were enjoying taped Sunday political round-tables and leftovers for dinner, sad to learn the party was over.

A good day. I am so grateful.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Photo Week: Day 5

The summer roadtrip

Are we there yet?

Thanks, Anne, for the inspiration. I made it five days in a row, yay me! I meant to post a kiddie pool photo, but there were just too many to choose just one. Loved seeing all the photos, and the litany of summer joys on Anne's site as well.

We're preparing for Nolan's baptism this weekend. We have family here this week and posting may be infrequent for a bit.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer to the fullest and staying cool.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Photo Week: Day 4

Yummy watermelon

Yummy watermelon. Aidan, 15 months.

Kevin, now I agree with you---he may have been the most photographed baby ever. Wish I had something better than a point&shoot back then.

More summer fun photos at Green Jello.

Summer Photo Week: Day 3

Nothing makes you happier than a popsicle

One hot day + one young boy + one homemade popsicle = Happiness

Welcome to the World, Henry

229514021_65328ff4a6 Photo from Barebaby

So happy to know Henry Galway made his grand entrance yesterday safely. My little sister is doing well and both parents are already in love with their little man. Our boys can't wait to meet their littlest cousin!

ETA: Nope, that's not Henry in the photo. Unfortunately Mimi is a bit less photo-obsessed than her big sister, but I'm sure we'll see some soon. I just couldn't post without a photo, and the Barebaby site is kind enough to share their amazing images. They have a book coming out soon, check out the link!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A little self-deprecating humor

Interrupting Photo Week to share a little funny, in honor of Brian, who humors our inconsistent attempts to feed our children healthy food even as the cost of such sky-rockets... (found on Design Mom's site)

Summer Photo Week: Day 2

Crocs sure sign of summer copy

I resisted the crocs craze for a while, but now I fully embrace it (for children at least). They protect little toes from hot driveways and pool sides, are easy to clean, and best of all, even two-year-olds can put them on all by themselves.

When the crocs come out, we know it's summer.

Part of Anne's Summer Photo series. 

Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer Lovin Photo Week, Day 1

Anne at Green Jello is celebrating photos that represent summer. I'd like to play along, find photos that capture some essense of this too-fleeting season, and see if I manage to post every day for one week.

 Those hazy lazy days of summer

Circa 2002, my very first babe, Aidan, on our front lawn in Ashland, Oregon.

Maybe because all my babies have been born in the spring, but I associate summer now with a baby on a blanket, and the pursuit of shade.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Sean was insistent that we find a Mr. Incredible card for Brian on Father's Day.

Mr Incredible2 web He is an incredible father. I can honestly say I don't know of any boys as lucky as my three when it comes to their dad.

They already worship him, which I knew to expect. Even before we had kids, I knew I'd never be able to compete as the cool parent with a father who fought wildfires for a living.

What I didn't know to expect was how much it would move my heart to see his gentleness with his sons or to witness how he delights in them. He takes the time to teach them things, and to listen to them. I love having a partner to exchange looks with when Sean says a sweet prayer, or when Aidan describes in detail his newest invention. I especially love having a partner when there is a fever that won't go down, or a million other scenarios that are made easier knowing, I'm not in this alone.

It has always been important to me that my kids have a great dad because I have one of the best dads on the planet---witty and warm, smart and hard-working, a great story-teller and a great provider. When I was growing up, he always had more than one job, sometimes more than two, and yet he is still such a strong figure in my memories. His presence and character touched everything in our home, even when he wasn't able to be there. And when he was home, then everyone else had to be too. To this day, nothing makes him happier than having his family around him.

Dad Dee Kevin  I could write about him forever and still not capture it all, but these are my two favorite things about him.

1: He is extremely loyal, committed, and in love with my mom. I've never heard him say a negative thing about her in all their 40+ years of marriage.

2: He has always been proud to be the father of six girls. I'm sure he was delighted when his three sons came along as well (that's the youngest one, Kevin, in the photo with us), but I'm deeply grateful that I grew up in a home where my opinion was valued as much as my brothers, and expectations were set as high for the girls as they were for the boys.

"When my life is over, I know that the most important thing I'll be judged on is what kind of father I was." -Tim Russert in his book, Wisdom of Our Fathers


We were long-time fans. Brian is a news junkie, and while I avoid the news in general, Sunday morning political shows are my favorite. In the past year, it felt like Tim Russert joined our family, as Brian read a chapter from his second book to me and to Nolan growing within me, almost every night.

There are a lot of things being written about his career. I like this essay by David Remnick, could relate to this one by Jon Meacham, and was moved by this rare sincere moment on Conan O'Brien.

Sundays won't be the same without Tim Russert.

Friday, June 13, 2008

3 Months

3months004 web

At three months, Nolan...

* is 16.5 lbs & 25", with beautiful rolly-polly thighs. I laugh when I hear people say, "He's so healthy-looking." Yes, he's chubby and I hope he enjoys the 24 months of life you are allowed to be as chubby as you want with impunity.

* can almost fit his entire hand into his mouth. He's too young to be teething already, right?

* likes to make Daddy waltz him around the room when he's cranky

* loves pulling my hair. When nursing or falling asleep, he'll grip it like a security blanket and wrap it around his wrist.

Nolan Aidan web

* is delighting his brothers by delighting in them. He seems especially fond of Aidan's rendition of "Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting." When Sean gets a big smile, he sounds like he's imitating Sally Field: "Nolan likes me! He really likes me!"

Nolan Sean web

(Please overlook the wonky coloring...I am PSE-impaired at this time)

* does not, repeat, not like Jamie Oliver's Asian Noodle Salad

(Sidenote: My little sis is about to have her 1st baby any day, and I was giving her Too Much Information about said salad's affect on lil Nolan when she said, "What have I gotten myself into?"  We couldn't stop laughing, me especially, because I realized she wasn't as worried about how to care for a constipated baby as she was worried about becoming someone who talked about her baby's constipation. Now I've blogged about it as well, which will horrify her further and hopefully make her laugh even harder---and induce labor. Since I've already shared so much (how many mistakes in judgment begin with that phrase), you might as well know that today I left Brian a voice-message at work---because I hate for him to miss out on the exciting moments of my day--that announced "We Have Poop!"  I thought phrasing it like that would make it sound less SAHM-ish and more NASA-like; what I couldn't have predicted was that he'd listen to his messages via speaker phone. Another proud moment.)

* is sleeping 8 consecutive hours at night :-)  Stays awake about 2 hrs between naps during the day. He slept 10 hours one night.

* may have laughed out loud. I haven't seen verifiable proof but Uncle Kevin definitely got a reaction when tickling Nolan's feet and Brian gets a laugh when clapping Nolan's hands together. I think he's still slightly on the cusp of true laughter.


* enjoys walks in a stroller, swinging, and gazing at ceiling fans (That sounds like a really bad personal ad)

* coos and talks with animated expressions. Made a clear "Da" sound tonight.

* went to Flagstaff, Aidan's graduation, a few T-ball games, Zac's pizza, Arches National Park, the microbrewery, Sean's music class, the art fair, and more.

* met his Aunt Mimi and Uncle Denys, Uncle Kevin, and the whole Rockow family this month

*is so lovable, kissable, and cute right now, I wish I could freeze time. I wouldn't want him to stay this age forever, but I do wish I could revisit it whenever I wanted.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Good Things

Ten Things Making Me Happy...

Play station 1. Aidan's play station shirt. So soft, and the sentiment makes me smile every time I see it. Thanks, Lori, for the link.

2. Red pepper hummus. Who knew? Thanks to Amy for the introduction:-)

3. Wee Gardens, as found via Anne's web site. Love the idea of creating our own in a large pot this summer and seeing the boys run with it.

4. Perennials. I had completely forgotten that I planted these 'red hot pokers' last year (after I accidentally "weeded" my blanket flowers). I'm always amazed that you can dig a hole one year and plant something that will give back to you for years.

Firecrackers_edited-4 web

Nolan web 5. This hat (thanks, Peggy!). I love baby hats. And I've always been lucky that my babies wore them happily. But Nolan's head is so big, almost all the sun hats and caps passed down to him from Aidan and Sean are too small. So this one will be getting some good use.

6. "My Boys" returning to TBS on Thursdays. Myboyscrop Normally, having me as a fan is the kiss of death for a TV show (eg: Homefront, Once and Again, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). So I assumed this show had been cancelled.  It's a silly 30-minute comedy, but it's set in Chicago---and unlike "Sex and the City," where I could never relate to the Manolos or the falling for guys who treat you poorly, I get PJ's world.

8. Nolan sleeping from 8 pm to 4 am regularly ---(now I just need to get to bed before midnight).

9. I probably say too often that Aidan doesn't have an aggressive bone in his body. Sometimes I worry that he won't be assertive enough. Last week, Brian and I overheard a little girl mocking Sean. She just wanted attention but still, it was mean. And it ended immediately when we both heard Aidan say, with great authority, "Don't make fun of MY brother!"  Way to make us proud, kid.

10. This chocolate chip cookie recipe from Alton Brown. It isn't necessarily the "best" (still searching for the definitive one) but it is very tasty and a little salty (which I like) and the butter is melted which works for me because I always forget to leave it out in time to soften. We baked a batch last Monday to thank Brian on Aidan's last day of school. 

When Nolan was born, Brian took over the morning routine of getting Aidan fed, dressed, and out the door. Even packing his lunch. We'll pretend not to notice that Aidan was remarkably less tardy once Brian was driving him to school. Doing all this meant that Bri started work 30 to 60 minutes later than normal. He gave up that quiet time when you can get work done before people and interruptions arrive. He also gave up getting a good parking spot:-) But he gave me a spring full of peaceful mornings not spent trying to get three boys all in a car before 8 am. Priceless.

Of course I'm incapable of stopping at ten, but it is almost midnight now so here are just 3 more things.

11. This Jamie Oliver recipe, ala Pioneer Woman, for Asian Noodle Salad. Definitely going to be a summer regular around here now (though Bri, not surprisingly, wants to add chicken next time).

12. Hawaiian Ice or Shave Ice. Oh. My. Goodness. I don't like to chew ice, so I've never liked snow cones. These, however, are like eating snow. Yummy snow that tastes like green apples or a pina colada.

13.Cover The Week, thanks to Erin. Maybe this should go on my previous post as a great baby shower gift. Love finally being able to finish an article for a change, thanks to their brevity.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Material Mama

"I spoke to a woman with a masters in finance-- and all she wanted to talk about was her diaper genie."  -Miranda, "Sex and the City"

To care for a baby, you really don't need much of anything. A car seat if you have  a car, somewhere for the baby to sleep, diapers, and some clothes for the baby. This is not a post about what you need.

I like to think of myself as a non-material girl. I spend more on books than I ever would on shoes.  Brian and I were together for years before we owned a car, for a decade before we owned a TV. I truly believe less IS more. But put a Pottery Barn Baby catalog in front of me, and I'll get misty-eyed.

20070411_061549_hider My latest favorite discovery is Bebe au Lait, or as they are more widely known, Hooter Hiders. In the "old days" (about 2 wks ago for me), if you needed to nurse in public and maintain some privacy, you'd use a receiving blanket thrown over your shoulder. There were three problems with this.

  1. The baby would pull the blanket down at random moments.
  2. In the summer, the blanket would feel uncomfortably warm for you and the baby.
  3. You couldn't see under the blanket, which makes proper latch a challenge.

This nursing cover solves all three---it can't be pulled down, it is made of super light material (and even has a terry-cloth corner pocket for convenience), and, best of all, it has a rigid neckline sewn-in, so that you and your baby can see each other the whole time. Maybe in a perfect world, there would be no need for covers of any kind, but in this world, I feel more comfortable nursing with a little privacy. They come in beautiful patterns~mine is black and white. Love it!

Target has started carrying them too. I imagine a lot end up on Ebay after the baby is weaned.

And, since Miranda mentioned it, we prefer the diaper champ over the diaper genie. I feel bad enough about not using cloth diapers; the long plastic sausage of diapers would put me over the edge. The champ is much simpler---Sean can toss diapers in there for me:-)  Still, poopy diapers go immediately in the outside trash can because I don't think anything can really fight that odor.

21Kk8X8XZBL__SL500_AA197_These are Nolan's pacifiers of choice. He's not very keen on any pacifier (at least when held by me, Bri tells a different story), but these are one piece, so there aren't icky corners to clean out. Safe silicone, latex free. 412XWV4K0DL__SL500_AA280_

We're fans of the Baby Bjorn, our swing, and this little ducky we use once our babies can sit up. You don't waste a lot of water (as you would filling a tub for 6 month old) and the sides are soft. Best $10 I've spent.

41pZl2-lxlL__SL500_AA280_  This isn't our exact swing, but it has the most important feature, an open top so you can easily lift baby out without worrying about his head. We've never used the toy tray that came with ours, and I find all mechanical music annoying. Equally annoying are the toys people insist on dangling in front of a newborn's face. Maybe when they're older, but babies just want to look at people (and ceiling fans). If you have a swing, you don't need a bouncy chair, and vice versa.

Probably my favorite thing we purchased when expecting our first is our glider. It is a cheap chair from Sears or JC Penny's, but I've nursed all 3 boys in it and read many a story with a boy on my lap in it. Even cheap chairs aren't cheap, but it is a splurge that I found worth it.

On the opposite end, things I wouldn't recommend are baby wash cloths. They're too small and feel so cheaply made---same with most baby towels, especially those hooded ones. Cute but flimsy. A quality towel is better. Nothing seemed to provoke my boys' eczema more than those washcloths.

Also those small burp cloths that are only 4 inches wide. Useless. I recommend prefolded diapers or Gerber's burp cloths that are as wide as a cloth diaper.

We also liked, for the slightly older baby, our Roo Baby plastic bib with the pouch, our backpack diaper bag (we 515u7LphmdL__SL500_AA240_ stole the idea from Angie and got one from Lands End that came with a changing pad...don't think they still make theirs, but it is great to have arms free when traveling with a babe), and Joseph Garcia's Sign with your Baby series, as well as Signing Time DVDs. I still believe being able to communicate with sign language saved our boys a lot of frustrations and tantrums.

Parents enjoy preparing for a baby's arrival, and companies know this. Be wary---so much is marketed that is unnecessary (hello, wipe warmers and baby comforters?!). And one person's favorite item might be a complete waste to another.

I'll leave comments on for a change so you can share your favorite baby shower gift or what you found most useful/useless when you became a parent. Please share your favorites!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Summertime copy Summer officially starts when the first strawberries are picked and the last school bell rings.

We had a great weekend in Flagstaff, though I don't think I'll ever ask my kids to spend 12 out of 48 hrs in a car again. They did great, and we don't even have a DVD player in the car, but we were all just sick of driving by that last long hour before home.

Still, it was well worth it for them to see their buddies, the Rockows, again. And for us to witness Meagan's big day.

Meagan with her godparents I can remember so clearly the entire year of preparation that went into my own first communion. It is a rite of passage for Catholics, and I found myself misty-eyed just seeing Meagan in her great-grandmother's veil.

It was a beautiful thing, to see this tradition carried on and to see Meagan take yet another step in her personal journey of faith.  I can't wait to know the woman she becomes.

There is never enough time when we visit, but I am grateful that Aidan got some time with his godparents as well.

Aidan with his godparents 2008

And that Angie got to know our little butterball, Nolan, a bit more.

Angie and Nolan  

And in the never-slowing-down fashion of life, today was Aidan's "graduation" from kindergarten.


Most of our indoor shots turn into a blur like this, but I love this one. Aidan is turning toward the camera in the far bottom corner, and you can feel the buzz of activity that was going on.

His teacher announced last week that she was moving away. Last week Kevin teased me a bit about the shutterfly book I was making for her, and obsessing a bit too much about, as is my way. In light of her news though, I was even more grateful we had put it together, with photos from the school year and illustrations by each student of what they loved most about kindergarten. It made her cry when she read it, and I explained to Aidan that is actually a good sign.

Aidan and Mrs. Sturman

I had so much trepidation about Aidan entering the world of public school, worried that school would actually turn off his natural curiosity and his excitement about learning. I saw so many smart boys when I was teaching who had shut down and lost any enthusiasm about anything. I loved school as a kid, but I also see how much of it is really training for a passive public, wanting you to sit down and shut up for the most part, or at least until a bell rings.

Enter Mrs. Sturman. She set me at ease in the first week, because she seemed to immediately "get" Aidan, and appreciate all his gifts. She offered the best combination of great patience and high expectations. Aidan loves school, and so much of that is thanks to the wonderful teacher he had this year. I'll always be grateful he began his life in school in such a positive way.

Now, summer, here we come!

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