Monday, November 14, 2011

Carson Live!

Well, not really. But here are some videos to commemorate our boy at two years old. These were all taken in September. Note that you can enlarge them by clicking the arrows at the lower right of each video.

"Hugging a Caterpillar"



"In the Kitchen"

2 years

Here at last, a month overdue, we celebrate Carson's turning 2. If asked his age, he will still say "I'm gon' be two in October!", so maybe I'm not that far behind.

For his birthday he got to spend time with his favorite people--his grandmas, of course. And also grandpas :^) Our little tool junkie had a tool-themed birthday; I spent quite a few hours trying to make him a tool box cake, and this was the result:

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Good thing he's only 2 and not picky! The tools were molded from chocolate. The cake was structurally unsound, as you can see, but I was just happy it wasn't pink--it took 2 whole bottles of food coloring to make it a very deep salmon. Not sure if this was the practice I needed in order to make something better next year, or the flop that will keep me from decorating a cake ever again.

Much better than cake in Carson's opinion were the huge tool set he got from Grandma and Pop-Pop, and the toy lawnmower and weed-whacker from Auntie Karry and Uncle Norm completely put this birthday over the top.

carson with tool belt

Carson is a dear sweet boy. He's tender with his parents, asking us for kisses and wanting to give us hugs. He plays well with other kids and talks about his friends frequently. He loves his cat Hannah (the only one of our three who will let him near) and always wants to give her treats, show her his toys or share his food with her. He loves to sing, dance and be tickled.

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carson laughing


He does have well-developed bargaining skills already. If prohibited from eating or taking something, he'll assert he's due "just one, only one" (usually accompanied by shaking his finger "1"). If told to put something down, he may insist "I'm going to hold it for now." When issued any other command he'll often come up with a variation on it and declare that he'll do that.

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In his 24th month the popular question "what's that?" somehow morphed into "what's that thing like?" and we were constantly replying, "um, that's like a [trailer, wrench, grape]. Well, it is a [trailer, wrench, grape]." But in the past couple of weeks Bub has started calling him "The Pope" because he pontificates--suddenly he's an expert on everything. "That's a weed-whacker. That one, right there, that one." Carson, this is a nail. "Actually, it's a screw."

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He is just now starting to ask to do things himself--"Carson do it!" But generally what he most loves is to have the undivided attention of one or both parents and to do something "togebder" (and he always verbally notes that this is occurring. He keeps a running commentary on everything through his day). Well, really he'd prefer dad. He's obsessed with Dada and is miserable if dad leaves him behind even for a minute to run something out to the garage. He wants to do everything "like Dada does it!"

lawnmowers together crop

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Dad and Mom both adore this boy and can't wait to see what he'll learn to do next!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So, really, I plan to get a birthday post (or two) up soon, but meanwhile, just a couple quick things:

Carson received a US puzzle for his birthday (Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Mac!). Like his dad, he loves maps. And thanks to dad, he already knows six of his state capitals... really! So, today we played around with this puzzle a bit, for the first time. A short while in, this was the scene:

Michi-gun ed

"Bang, bang! I have both guns!"

Let's take a closer look at one of those guns, shall we?

michigan gun

I told him the name of the state, and he noticed it sounded like "gun" and looked like a gun, all on his own, and went off hunting for the other gun. At least he hasn't started using every stick he finds as a firearm yet.

Secondly: Here are some of Carson's latest pals.


Their name is Elizabeth, apparently. Or more accurately, "Ewizabiff". Both of them. What sound do these fearsome creatures make, Carson? What do they say?

"Ongwaduwayshuns." Congratulations? Wow, what thoughtful and courteous monsters. (I still can't figure out where he picked up on this word!)

Elizabeth's favorite activity is to be "bounced" on the couch--Carson creates an earthquake by pounding the cushions. He likes mom to do it with him:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1300 miles

Here in Mount Shasta we don't lack for mountain scenery. And there's much more to be had within 3 or 4 hours' drive. Nevertheless, 1300 miles is the distance we covered (round trip) on our 4-night camping trip last month. Bubba loves a road trip above all else, so for his birthday I told him he could take one--5 days only, fit tightly between our work commitments. He had the destination picked almost immediately: Steens Mountain. Now, Steens is on his short list of places in the West that are gorgeous and little-traveled and that he has yet to see. And it's only 6 or 7 hours away, so it was perfect for a short trip.

Only problem: this was a record snow year. The week before our slated departure date in late July, Bub called to check on trail conditions at Steens. No go. He was disappointed but started checking into other options, only to have repeated conversations with Forest Service personnel along the same lines: No, you can't get up there yet. Any other year.... After inquiring as to just how many hours I could stand to drive in a day, he almost decided on the Wasatch above Salt Lake City, but then discovered it was to be the weekend of Pioneer Day, the biggest outdoor recreation holiday in Utah. Too crowded.

So, after much map-reading and more phone calls, he settled on the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho. Neither of us had seen much of that state before, and we surely didn't do more than scratch the surface on this trip! But it was enough to give us a healthy respect for Idaho's beauty and huge areas of wilderness. Bubba is excited to think all that is only 11 or so hours away.

We left the boy in the care of his generous Grandma Suess, and I'm sure he had even more fun than we did. Meanwhile we snuck out early on Saturday morning and headed north to Bend. Bubba wanted to make the most of his road trip by covering different roads on the way there and back. So after hitting Costco and REI, we turned east....

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Painted Hills, John Day NM. Terrible midday light...

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...but still fantastic.

We spent the first night in the Strawberry Mountains, near John Day. We hope to come back for a longer stay so that we can do more hiking and see these larch trees turn golden:

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Strawberry Lake. There are mountain goats up on that rock!

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Varicolored penstemon

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The Strawberries from Prairie City--the prettiest part of Eastern Oregon I've seen.

We arrived in Stanley, ID the following afternoon and were wowed. The Sawtooths were strongly considered for National Park status, and it's not hard to see why, with its jagged, precipitous granite rising above huge lakes:

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Redfish Lake

We camped...

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Minimalist (but free!) campsite right on the Salmon River. (Bub made that stove table.)

we hiked....

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El Cap Alice Lake

we picnicked...

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We spent early mornings shivering and waiting for the light...

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mt mcgown trees
Mount McGown from Stanley Lake

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The Northern Front

sawtooths gate

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Can you tell I'm undecided when it comes to composition? Please help!
Which of the three above do you like best?

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Stanley has a reputation as the coldest spot in the lower 48,
with winter lows reaching 40 below, and chilly summers too.
We were lucky it was just a little frosty.

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It's my belief that cows improve every landscape. Unfortunately these were on the
wrong side of the road. They were unfazed by the chill.

Of course, I spent much of my photographic energy on the flowers:

wildflower collage 1

wildflower collage 2

It was a lovely time. Hope to see you again soon, Idaho!

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carson's 21 month update

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I missed my update last month, so here's a twofer (twice as long?). I hope the "endless brag session" feel that my sparse blog has so far is not irksome to anyone; I include many items that are probably only of interest to my immediate family looking back from the future. Feel free to skip the text and just look at the pictures of my incredibly adorable child. :^)

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By 20 months, Carson was counting to 10 (no, not really counting, but he knows the sequence anyway!) and identifying all his colors. This past month he's been working on the alphabet.

Thanks in large measure to Grandma Suess, he also knows quite a few songs by now. He will often ask us to sing "Jesus Loves Carson" (Jesus Loves Me) or "Jesus Loves [the Little] Children", and he also knows all the words to "The B-I-B-L-E", "Baa Baa Black Sheep", "Row Row Row Your Boat" and "Twinkle Twinkle". He likes to listen to Raffi and will sometimes sing a little of those songs on his own. "The Eensy-Weensy Spider" is a favorite but he associates it exclusively with practice sessions on the potty (not too much progress there, but at least he wants to try).

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He has a huge vocabulary, but "yes" is not in it. He answers in the affirmative with "OK" (sometimes very emphatic, OHHH! KAYYY!) or just "Oh" for short. He will often follow up a request this way to guide our response. "Carson need a drink? OK!" Another language idiosyncrasy he's developed is commenting on an action he just performed by asking a question. "Did you step on snake?" "Did you jump over?" "Did you spill it?" (Well, it's obvious he's been listening to me!) Note, he is still referring to himself as "you" (or Carson) most of the time, but his pronouns are coming along. Today he observed "Mama's holding me." And he will say, "Wanna pet Hannah? Hug her", or "Here comes Dada! Here he comes!"

carson puddle crop

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June rain

For several days last month he greeted everything, animate or not, with "Hi____! [flower, Black Butte, 'matoes etc.] Doin'?" (He also set his water cup down and told it, "Bye-bye water. Have good day.") Now that's less common, although he likes at least to say hi and wave, but if anyone asks that question "how are you doing?", he'll respond with "He's find" (sic) and a grin as if telling a joke.

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His enunciation and word usage are so good so much of the time that I am especially attached to his slip-ups. Anything that is hard to do is "heavy". Apricots are "paporcots", so that I keep wondering how he's sustained another office injury. I got him some Target Crocs-type sandals and he dubbed them "cwockodio [crocodile] shoes." And somehow railroad spikes became "toenails". I love the way he says "manzani-TAHH" and "pas-TAHH", and seeing his mind at work as he says something is "kine wike" (kinda like) something more familiar. A yield sign is "kine wike a shovel"; any pickup is "kine wike Dada's twuck."

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"Dat's a TOE-NAIL."

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In the past few months I've really enjoyed picking up on fragments of language as he chatters to himself and figuring out what he's thinking about, often a book or song. " 'Ternoon sun", for example, is a reference to a favorite part of A Picnic with Monet: "Hop on a horse when lunch is done, and take a ride in the afternoon sun." He loves it when I expand on what he's referencing and recite the lines with him. Here he quotes Cowboy Small: "Kerplop! Cowboy Small hits the dust."

Favorite books currently include: Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes, "Stories" (his name for Tomie's Little Mother Goose), Jamberry, and DK's The Big Book of Things That Go (with special interest in the hot air balloon, the huge loader carrying the "huge rock!", and sometimes the ATV.)

2011June 034

reading magazine
"weading magazine"

He still loves to read, but he's happiest outside. He adores swinging and spraying water from the hose, but he's also very happy to do anything with tools (especially if he can imitate dad) or tote Bubba's gas cans from the carport all over the yard. He's also starting to enjoy building with duplos and "making train tracks" with his bucket of Brio.

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These photos were not posed!

In the last month he's developed quite a number of opinions. He's no longer content to dictate what he will eat (a very short list for most meals these days); now he wants a particular bib, a particular cup. And he changes his mind frequently. "Do you want your milk warm or cold?" "Warm. Cold...warm it up!" Then, as I put it in the microwave, frantically: "Cold-cold-cold-cold!" He's also getting pushy--he'll grab my hand and try to get me up or lead me where he wants.

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One toddler trait he has not yet developed is "do-it-myself"ism; he asks for help whenever he thinks that will get him what he wants faster. But after nearly a month of mom being completely passé and hearing "Need dada!" and "Grandma hold Carson!" at every turn, I'm perfectly happy being available to him for as long as he wants my help. Who could resist this face?

2011July 251

high chair collage