Thursday, July 30, 2009

If it gets him to eat some veggies...

Liam has been on a thorough and undiscriminating veggie strike for months now. Even the common kid-pleasers like potatoes, corn, and carrots earn a gag and a launch onto the floor. His diet is mainly consisting of bread, fruit, and cheese/yogurt. Maybe he'd rather live in France? I don't know, but I think I may have to check out Deceptively Delicious and work on incorporating pureed veggies into things he will eat.

In the meantime, he has another solution. If I let him help me cook, he gladly samples what we're making. Last night it was shredded zucchini (from the garden, of course).

But it sure made a mess...

Now if only he was as enthusiastic about the frittata we made with it...


Yesterday, Liam and I went on our first official playdate with Trang and Allison. Trang was a fellow CM major at JBU with Gabriel, and now we have children the same age. Allison is 4 months older than Liam, big enough for Liam to be fascinated by her big-kid skills and eager to copy her every move. They played well together, and Trang and I had a great time getting to know each other.

We decided to make this a weekly date. I feel a marvelous friendship in the making...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A little stress with my Stress-Free Whole Grain Pancake Mix

These past few weeks have seemed particularly rough for me. Between Mr Cranky Pants (who should now also be known as Clean-House-Destroyer), Gabriel being gone every other work week on business trips, and the ongoing upheaval in my family, I feel like I'm in constant crisis mode. The littlest things send me over the top, like stepping on a star-shaped toy at 4am when a certain someone is awake and crying. At 4 am. Aargh.

I know I have LOTS of things to be thankful for and overwhelmingly happy over, and I am, but sometimes I forget to find joy in even the smallest of things. Like my favorite pancake mix recipe. Gabriel won't eat it (it's too grainy for his tastes, which run along the lines of all-white pancakes doused in hfcs "maple" syrup), but Liam eats them gladly.

Even when he wakes up grouchy, Liam will perk up for pancakes. And with this mix ready in the fridge, pancakes are on the table in less than 10 minutes...and the fussing turns into mmm...

Whole Grain Flaxseed Pancake Mix

I stumbled upon this recipe on the Whole Foods website a few years ag and have been making it ever since. I usually double it.

  • 1/2 cup flaxseeds, ground
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 up rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dry milk powder (I often use soy beverage mix)
  • 2 TBSP sugar (I use sucanat)
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
Dump all ingredients into an airtight-lidded container. Shake to combine. Store in the refrigerator

When you're ready for pancakes,
Add to 1 cup of mix:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup of water

I usually let the mix stand for a minute or two (it'll thicken dramatically), then I cook them up like any other pancake recipe. This makes 4 good-sized pancakes.

Liam and I like our pancakes with unsweetened applesauce liberally scooped on top.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


It's crazy to think that he is now closer to 30 than 20... We celebrated his special day on Saturday with the Grays. They brought an ice cream cake from MaggieMoos. Here's the birthday boy chowing down.
Happy Birthday, Gabriel. I love you.


A couple of weeks ago, Liam and I drove out to Tulsa to check out the zoo. It was a hot day, but Liam was just fine in his sunhat and new favorite munchy.

I've mentioned before that I have high expectations when it comes to zoos. Let's just say this one was a disappointment.
The majority of the enclosures were in these formidable-looking buildings. All of which had two sets of double doors one after the other for the entrance and exit. All of which had automatic buttons to push. None of which worked. Going from building to building with a stroller was tricky.
If you look closely at the door on the right, you'll see a no-firearms sign. Do we really need to be told not to carry guns into the zoo? Really? We are definitely in Oklahoma...
The buildings covered several geographic regions: Southwestern Desert, Arctic Tundra, Eastern Forests, Lowlands (under construction), and Rainforests. Most of these buildings were in sad disrepair. There were holes in the walls, peeling paint, bowing trim work, and the Eastern Forest smelled overwhelmingly like B.O. Most of the enclosures were pathetically small. I almost cried when I saw the bald eagle sitting on the ground in his cage, panting from the heat exactly like our chickens.

But there were some pleasant surprises.

The Rainforest building, the largest of the group, was my favorite part of the entire zoo. Rather than displaying the animals in cage after cage, much of it was a large open atrium divided by tunnels of rocks, trees, and vines which directed the crowd through the exhibits. But the best part was the zoo keepers, who mingled with the guests, walking around and striking up conversations about whatever we were looking at. They didn't recite a script or stand in one place to point out key features. It was really cool.

And then there were the funny zookeeper notes. Like this one.
reads: I'm not stuck. I like to play and relax in the moat. When ready, I'll climb back out.

Liam and I both had fun in the petting zoo. These goats were definitely friendly.
I didn't realize that Liam still had his apple core in his hand until we were in with the animals. I took it from him and kept it discretely in the palm of my hand. It didn't take long for the goats to figure this out.
They all wanted that apple core. The zookeeper noticed all the commotion and came over to scold me. I gave him the apple to throw away, gesturing meekly at Liam. How embarrassing.
Liam's favorite part of our day was the playground. There were all kinds of play structures, but his favorite was this boardwalk. He walked back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...
He eventually tried some of the other play areas and liked them, too.
We made the drive to Tulsa again today, this time to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. Liam had a blast. We went through the entire thing with me holding him up to look in the tanks. He was very serious abut examining what was inside each one. And then I let him get down and run around. This made him very excited. He walked all oer the place. Peeking up at the tanks, saying hi to anyone and everyone, going in circles. He walked around for at least 45 minutes (He is getting really good at walking now). I was too busy chasing him to take very many pictures, but here is one I managed to squeeze in.

This boy likes fish.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Pigeon Roost Trail

In case I've never mentioned it here before, the weather in Arkansas is fickle.

Last week: 100+ every day.
This weekend: highs were in the 80's. And the lows were in the 60's!!!

The only fitting way to celebrate such great weather in the Ozarks is with a morning hike, even if that means skipping church to do so.

We drove out to one of our favorite hiking spots, the Pigeon Roost Trail in Hobbs State Park. It is a 4.5 mile loop which meanders through the forest and dips down to one of Beaver lake's many branches.

Liam decided he had to play in the water, even though we didn't have swim gear, sandals, or a spare diaper. Going commando in a onesie and a pair of socks worked just fine for him.

throwing rocks

taking a dip

looking at fish

dripping dry

He even did some hiking on his own.

It all made for a sleepy ride home.

Bye, Caleb and Owen

Our friends the Boucher family moved to Connecticut on Saturday. We'll sure miss you guys!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Liam has been difficult to keep happy lately. He is still working on cutting in that stubborn molar, which seems to really bother him. He has needed his pacifier and his blanket a lot lately...But sometimes I think he is just bored. Especially with me. So I have been trying to be extra creative and come up with new things for him to do.

Playdough experience round 1:

I cooked up a batch of playdough for him to try out. At first he seemed a bit uncertain.

Do I eat this stuff?

But with a little help, he got the idea pretty quickly.
It was especially fun to hammer and smoosh the balls of dough.

All in all, this gave me about 5 minutes of happy and entertained boy. And then the grouch returned.

Other ideas we've tried:
  • Putting fabric scraps in a basket he can sort through. He especially likes to feel the different textures.

  • Letting him help me cook (translate: throw flour all over the floor)

  • Playing dress-up (this seems to be a favorite)

  • Playing dress-up with Dahlia.

I'd be happy for any other suggestions :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I was starting to wonder if Liam would ever learn to walk, but at 15 months, he finally decided he was ready. Just further proof that I need to let him learn at his own pace, which is always just right for him...

Liam started taking his first real steps while we were on our trip. Since then, he's been getting more and more confident.

Since I'm goofy and can't seem to remember that I can't turn the camera to take a video, you'll have to watch this one sideways. Sorry.

since then

Here is an update from the past couple of weeks since our trip to New Orleans:

Liam - teething, temper tantrums, and general grouchiness...

Me - compassionate, patient Mama giving way to exhausted, frustrated, just-please-stop-crying Mama

Getting stuck under the couch
Making really big messes (I intentionally let him do this one...on a particularly fussy day when I was desperate for a few moments of peace and quiet. It worked for abut 30 minutes, but then I had to clean it up)
A new haircut. Suddenly he looks so much like a little by. Maybe that has been his problem the past few weeks? Growing up can be a difficult thing :-)
4th of July watermelon
Story time with Daddy. Liam has become very interested in books again. His favorites are ones involving flaps and puppy dogs.
Still managing to be cute, even with the necessary pacifier in his mouth (he usually just gets this while going to sleep)
Here's to hoping for happier days...soon!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Down in the Swamps and City Park

Here it is: the last New Orleans post. This has taken me embarrassingly-long to get around to finishing. Oh well.

Our favorite part of this trip was when we actually left New Orleans and drove south about 30 minutes to the Jean Lafitte National Park.

Crossing the Mississippi aways seems so monumental.
From the visitors center, there are several trails to choose from. Most of them meander through the swamps with these boardwalks, which put us just inches over the wild. We never saw any alligators, but not because we weren't anxiously keeping our eyes out for them. We saw some fresh tracks through the murky areas, and a few suspicious splashes in the distance, but mostly it was just a steady hum of insects, birds, frogs... it was surprisingly noisy.
Walking through so many cypress trees dripping with the moss was beautiful.
We walked for a couple of miles before turning around. On our way back we were horrified to realize that in all of that time we'd spent scanning the swamp below for danger, we had missed the humongous spiders in webs spun across the boardwalk, just over our heads. They were frighteningly large.
Eventually I'll get around to posting more about all of the crafting I did in preparation for our trip over on my blog; but for now, here's a shot of the dress I made for the trip.

One of the mornings we drove up to City Park. Let's just say that nothing in New Orleans opens before 10 am, including park attractions. But we had a nice time admiring the ancient oaks an meeting some overly-eager ducks.
They all came waddling at us with surprising speed.
This one was especially bold.
These Canadian Geese apparently have decided to hang around all the time. It was neat to see some up close.
The history of the place seemed to be the most dominant theme in New Orleans, everywhere we went. As if the city is clinging to a bygone era. What a great opportunity to get just the smallest taste of it for a few days. I'm glad we went.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I won!!!

I'm a bit of an online contest junkie... If I see a giveaway for something I'd like, I always enter. And now I've won the best thing yet: A Husqvarna sewing machine!!!

You can see the official announcement @

Thank you Sew Mama Sew.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Uptown to the Zoo

While walking the French Quarter was a lot of fun, taking the St Charles streetcar Uptown was even better. The breeze through the open windows was almost refreshing, and sitting back and watching was a great alternative to all of that walking.
The streetcar went along with traffic, so there was a lot of stopping and going. We had to hold on tight.
This streetcar was an antique. It was neat to watch the operator pull the different levers.
And then we stopped at a corner and the operator hopped out and stepped into a corner market. He was gone for a good 10 minutes, without giving a word of warning.

Then he came back. With his lunch. And we kept on going.
The line went though the Garden District, where this was the average home. Gorgeous.
Liam took a snooze on the way.
We got off at Audobon Park and walked the mile to the zoo. They have a "shuttle", which is really just a small SUV that can only take 4 people at a time... There were others, so we walked.
We're glad we did. This park was beautiful. Full of these amazing trees.
Liam was really happy to get to the zoo. It had been 6 months since our San Diego Zoo trip. He enjoyed it then, but he seems to be old enough now to really get excited about the animals.
Here he is, pointing out our first stop.
Growing up with the San Diego Zoo as my standard, I guess some may call me a zoo snob. I was so impressed with this zoo. It was beautiful: lots of bronze scultpures, incredible landscaping, gorgeous fountains, and, most important of all, great animal exhibits.
Liam thought this little elephant was just his size.
Getting to touch the real elephant was a little scary for him, but he smiled when he felt the elephants bristly skin.
It was such a hot day that most of the animals were napping, but a few were still out and about. It was so much fun to see Liam eagerly look for animals in each enclosure.
But it was sure a hot day to be outside in the sun.
The reptile house seemed to be one of Liam's favorites. Besides the fact that it was dimly lit and air conditioned, it was full of snakes, lizards, and turtles. Liam really enjoyed looking and finding the creatures in each tank... I'm afraid he may be one of those boys.
Because we're in Louisiana, here is an alligator:
And because we're in New Orleans, well...
He thought this was realy funny. Being a seal.
And then he tried to climb through it...
He wasn't so sure about touching the snake. They're definitely better behind glass. That's right.
Meeting some goats in the petting zoo.
He felt safer petting the sheep behind the fence.
And because we were roasting hot (have I mentioned that yet?) some sorbet was definitely in order. It was too much of a cold shock for Liam at first.
But he settled into it just fine.