Thursday, May 29, 2008


We spent Memorial Day weekend at the farm in Iowa. It's a 9 hour drive, and we had no idea how Liam would do. So, we left our house at 5 am, thinking it could very well take ALL day to get there (If you think that's crazy, Crystal and Micah left for St. Louis at 2 am hoping Simone would sleep the entire drive...she did).

Much to our surprise - and relief - Liam was awesome. In fact, he was better in the car than he usually is at home. He slept the majority of the drive, waking up to eat, look at a couple of books, play with his cow stuffed animal - his favorite toy - and then back to sleep again. Only a few fussy moments to deal with, and he was great. Gabe drove the whole way, and I sat in the back with Liam. I had brought my breast pump and was able to pump his bottles just before he was ready to eat. It worked marvelously, although it is somewhat troubling using the breast pump so much on the way to a dairy farm...

At the farm, Gabe worked outside with his Uncle Jim and cousin Jared. He came in quite stinky, filthy, sore, and stuffy with allergies - nearly a perfect day in his mind...

Liam and I stayed inside to hang out with Aunt Janelle and Jared's wife Allison, who is expecting their first baby in October (hurray!).

On Saturday afternoon, the girls - and Liam - went to visit Mike, Wendy, and there teeny-tiny baby Amy (6 lbs), after Allison and I wrestled Liam's carseat out of the car (it keeps getting jambed in the base...we're planning to get a convertible seat soon). Amy is like a perfect little doll - Liam's 10 lbs 9 oz suddenly seemed enormous!

On Sunday, we went to church with Jim and Janelle: Liam had a major I'm-tired-of-not-being-at-home meltdown that lasted the entire service, and Gabe was attacked by a coughing fit. We were pretty bad company.

That afternoon, we hurried to dig up some plants to bring back for my garden (rhubarb, poppies, ferns, hens n' chicks) before the storm hit. The wind kept picking up, and the wind kept getting stronger and stronger. We finished up just when the rain started. Inside the house, Janelle decided to turn on the news just in case there were tornado warnings. Of course, there were, and we hid out in the basement for awhile. When it seemed as if the storm was letting up, we went back upstairs only to hear the TV announcer tornados on the ground in Aplington (that's where we were!). Back into the basement, and Jim and Gabe came in from outside because the wind had become eerily still and then picked up with gusto all of a sudden. Gabe said he had never seen Jim run so fast. The power went out; but then the storm passed, and we went back upstairs.

Then the emergency vehicles started racing past the house. They kept coming: one after the next from the neighboring communities and - as they kept coming - from increasingly distant towns. Dozens of fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars. Something bad had obviously happened. Janelle started calling people who lived in town in Aplington, hoping to find out what was going on. It turned out that the next town over, Parkersburg - where Mike, Wendy, and baby Amy live - was hit pretty bad. We were able to get power back thanks to the generator, and the news reporters described the town as "gone" and "leveled" on the South side, where Mike and Wendy live. For several agonizing hours no one heard from them. But they had made it to their basement and escaped without harm, although the same couldn't be said for their house. Sadly, Mike's grandparents died. They've salvaged what they could from the house, but could definitely use lots of prayer.

It was a pretty crazy night. We left early the next morning, since there was warnings of severe weather all through Missouri that day. We had some rain, and a bit of thunder and lightning, but other than that the trip was smooth. Liam behaved beautifully again, and we made it home that afternoon.

What a trip!

Liam really did enjoy seeing the cows...just not at this particular moment!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

from the garden

Last spring, we planted a bamboo plant, which we had purchased from the farmer's market. It was Gabe's plant from the beginning: he was careful to water it regularly and would check on it most days after work. The only growth it showed all of last year was a tiny tuft of leaves just above the ground. This year, it has shot out 2 stalks (and a surprise 3rd stalk about 5 feet away...uh-oh), all of which have grown their full height within a few days!
Gabe is ridiculously proud of his bamboo. It is now well over 7 feet tall and still growing.

In this bed:
the 4 mother's day tomatoes
a mesclun mix of lettuces
yellow bush beans
green onions
red cabbage
1 returning fennel

In other parts of the garden:
purple carrots (oooh...exciting)
pak choi
yellow swiss chard
batavian endive

That's a lot of variety for such a small yard! But we plan it carefully and don't plant more than we can eat.

I'm rather insane about this lettuce.

lil' elf

Monday, May 12, 2008

tummy time

Liam really enjoys his tummy time. I put him on our bed every morning while I'm getting ready for the day.

He tries really hard.

Sometimes it makes him mad. Which we find so adorable...

Mother's Day

And so I have officially joined the ranks of the celebrated on Mother's Day. It's kind of a strange feeling, but, boy, I sure appreciated it.

On Saturday, Gabe and Liam treated me to some tomato seedlings for our garden. We came home with 4 different varieties:

Peron - a classic "beefsteak" tomato, particularly resistant to bugs and disease

Amish Paste - supposed to be especially tasty (although the name hardly sounds it)

Yellow Pear - yes, it's supposed to look like that

Mexico Midget - wildly un-p.c., but the description of hundreds of tiny red tomatoes all season long entices me.

They're now in the raised bed, shielded with the biggest tomato cages Lowe's carries (last year our tomatoes dramatically outgrew their supports).

We also went out to eat (thanks to my wonderful parents) at the Greenhouse Grille, my new favorite in Fayetteville where most dishes are organic and/or local.

me and my boy - so happy

Saturday, May 10, 2008

7 weeks

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I had to have my cat Hawthorne euthanized on Friday morning.

When we brought Liam home from the hospital, Hawthorne began to spend more and more time outside until he never came in at all. I figured he had run away after we didn’t see him for a few weeks. That is, until the morning our house nearly blew away in the storm.

I looked out the window and there he was, crouching in our driveway. Only, he was drastically skinnier and seemed to have mud and cobwebs all over him. I called him and he wobbled up to me, purring. The mud and cobwebs were covering the worst abscesses I have ever seen. His entire forehead was rotting and his cheek was bulged out and bleeding. The smell was unbelievably putrid. I took him inside and locked him in the bathroom, trying to wipe away the cobwebs and muck from his forehead, but they were glued to him. I gave him food and water, which he didn’t touch.

The kindest thing I could do for him was to put him out of his misery. Gabe went in late to work so he could go with me down to the vet, who - for $40 – took him away. They offered for me to go with them, to hold him. But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to feel his skinniness or smell his awfulness when I said goodbye. And all he did was purr and try to rub up against me. And I just handed him over the counter and left.

Hawthorne had been my birthday present from Gabe the first winter we owned our home. He was awkward and his hair was in disarray even then, but he was mine and he wanted nothing more than for me to hold him and pet him. Hawthorne had always had some issues. We’re pretty sure he had severe vision problems. He never tried to climb up onto anything, and he would jump at the slightest noise or motion. Sometimes he would walk around cross-eyed. Over the last year or so, his once fluffy tail began to grow scrawnier. And then the hair on his sides and abdomen began to thin. He had the worst breath. Like dead fish. But his goal in life was to sit on my lap and purr as long as I would let him. He wasn’t allowed to sleep on our bed because he would purr all night.

Gabe hated him, and Hawthorne hated Gabe. They would eye each other from the opposite sides of the room. Hawthorne used to jump up onto Gabe’s lap on the couch, and then immediately spring away once he realized whose lap he was on. He once misjudged the height of the back of the couch and landed directly on Gabe’s head. Neither one of them were very happy about that.

He was my favorite cat.

I sure miss him.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


We went camping at Lake Wedington over the weekend with Tony, Rochelle, and Sage Franco as well as the Franco's friends Brian and Kristy. It was a swell time of hot (veggie or turkey) dog roasting, hobo making, s'mores on chocolate chip cookies goodness.

Liam and Sage weathered their first camping excursion admirably. Liam basically slept through it, and Sage kept trying to grab his face and kick him in the gut. They're best buds already :-)

the guys

a lovely hike around the lake

Monday, May 5, 2008


Liam started treating us with lots of smiles...

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Yesterday morning a tornado touched down a little over a block from our house, taking out the Asian market (next door to our favorite taco shop), a telephone pole, and a number of trees.

Tragically, a 15 year old girl was killed on the other side of Hwy 412 when a tree fell on her home and crushed her.

Our house and our closest neighbors have no damage, but we were all pretty shaken up.

Here's what happened:

The tornado siren woke me up out of a blissfully deep sleep at 4 am. Liam was sound asleep in his cradle, and Gabe was in such a deep sleep that I had to almost yell his name to wake him up (he normally sleeps through Liam's overnight feedings/diaper changes/crying). At first, the storm didn't sound like anything to really be worried about, and then the siren turned off.

I went downstairs and turned on the news, just to see what Drew Michaels had to say. The screen was filled with a radar closeup of Siloam, with a huge red mass just across the stateline in OK. "If you live in Siloam, seek shelter immediately..." And then the power went out. I ran upstairs and grabbed Liam, and then the wind picked up and it started hailing. Gabe followed me downstairs, grabbed a flashlight, and started walking around the house, looking out the windows, admiring the storm like a crazy man while Liam and I huddled in the pantry. From inside the pantry, I could hear a loud rushing noise, and then it was over.

We all went back to bed; Liam never even woke up.

It wasn't until morning that we realized just how bad it was...

We took some pictures, but our computer seems to have sent them to no-man's land. We'll try to take some more.