Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas, and wake me after New Years!

We're back in Grand Rapids now. I can't remember ever having a trip to my parents that was both so fun and so incredibly exhausting. When we weren't chasing around after 3 toddlers, we were either eating or playing Wii. Kevin pretty much ruled, but Jen took him down a notch by cleaning his clock with bowling on Sunday night.

The trip back was uneventful, if a little frightning at times--the winds really kicked up when we got into Michigan. The fun started when we got home--Jen's boss's daughter house sat for us. She had one of our spare keys, and her mom had the other. Unfortunately, we don't actually have two spare keys--I put mine in our super secret extra key location just in case they needed it. So we got home and had no key to the house. I had to climb in through a window.

Then (and we didn't realize this until later), we found that we had water in the basement. I think all of the snow melt and rain was too much for our ground to handle. Thankfully it isn't too bad, and there's really nothing of value that got wet. I'd much rather have some water in the basement than have the roof ice dam up again--the roof seemed to come out fine.

I picked out a Christmas picture from each kid to share; we may post more in the weeks to come.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Divas

Kaylee and Katie broke into an impromptu song last night--so impromptu that nobody knows what they were singing...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Recipe for making Grandma jealous

Take two grandchildren; one of which lives out of town.
Layer on sauce, ham, and cheese

Leftovers can be stored in a box in the bedroom. :)

We're so happy that Katie and Caleb came and brought Uncle Kevin and Aunt Pam. Everybody had a ton of fun. Katie and Kaylee also helped to make waffles on Saturday morning.

Jen and I also had some goals for the weekend; Kaylee is, nicely put, a copy cat. She wants to do whatever everybody else is doing. So, since Katie is potty trained and sleeps in a "big girl bed", we did some setup. We had a kid seat for the main potty as well as a kid potty. We also bought a matress for Kaylee's "big girl bed" (there was a post on that about a year ago--it's been in storage since). We cleaned up Kaylee's room (seriously--it was clean before three toddlers hit it in the picture above) and we were able to get the toddler bed into the room. Not only did Katie and Kaylee have a sleepover, but Kaylee got *really* jealous that Katie was the one who got to sleep in the big girl bed.

We're not any closer to being potty trained, but (after a little work) Kaylee is right now taking a nap in her big girl bed. :)

Here's a couple more pics from the weekend, including some Wii action. I never knew Pam and Kevin had so much pent up violent frustration...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween, Hippy Style

Here's our hippies.

Kaylee is obviously concerned about something hippy-ish, like the rainforests, world peace...or maybe there's just something in her diaper.

Right now she's trying to comprehend the concept of Halloween. "So, I go to people's doors, and they give me candy--and I'm supposed to take it. Isn't this what you warn me to NEVER do the rest of the year?"

Nana never did like hippies, and so she puts Kaylee to work right away.

This year was Kaylee's first year Trick-or-Treating. We had a couple of false starts; we'd get outside, and she'd start to cry. The neighbors got most of their extended families together and went around our neighborhood, and when Kaylee saw them congregating, she got more interested. So I talked her into taking a walk down the street with me.

We walked by our other neighbor's house, and Kaylee just wanted to keep walking down the street. About 2 houses later, I convinced her that it was OK for us to walk up to someone's door. Kaylee didn't make it all the way up, but the nice lady came outside and gave her some candy. We did that once or twice more, and then, by the end of the street, she was pulling me along door to door. We stopped at the neighbor that she snubbed on the way back.

We also got this picture on Halloween, but it's not really related. Kaylee's been wanting to dress herself lately. Friday morning I got her up, and her pajama pants were on inside out. Now, I know that I put them on properly the night before, so this means that she has successfully gotten the pants back on all the way. But during her nap on Friday she got her pants off and left it at that. She was worn out from a day of activism. :)

OK, one more political post

I decided to put up a yard sign--first time ever.

(For those of you scratching your heads, it's a Simpson's reference from their "Treehouse of Horror" episode in 1996, just before the Clinton/Dole Presidential election)

Friday, October 31, 2008


One of my coworkers (http://shouldntigetpaidforthis.blogspot.com/) was raffling off a Nintendo Wii to raise some money for her kid's dancing activities. The drawing was earlier this week, and I was the winner!

Neither Jen nor I have had the guts to actually take some video of us flayling around in front of the TV set. :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

First trip to the Dentist

Kaylee had her first dentist visit on Tuesday afternoon. We scheduled all of our appointments for the same afternoon, so that one of us could stay with Kaylee while the other got worked on.
Jen went first, and Kaylee and I stayed in the room while Gidget (our hygenist) started cleaning Jen's teeth. Kaylee was really interested in everything going on. It was past naptime, though, so after about 10 minutes, Kaylee wanted to sit with Mom. I took her out to the waiting room then, and she threw a massive fit. Thankfully there wasn't a lot of people there (1-2 is their usual lunch hour, but Gidget did lunch early so she could schedule us at 1:30).
When it was Kaylee's turn, though, she was a champ. No complaining at all. Gidget cleaned her teeth (no picking, thankfully), and even put flouride on. She even responded well to us when she needed to say "AAHH" or show her front teeth.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Be part of the 5% Solution

I've been debating whether to post this, since our blog tends to be Kaylee focused, and at least dealing with us as a family. But we're 4 weeks away from a Presidential election, and I promise this will be my only political post.

Ask yourself two specific questions. First, did your choice for President vote for the $700 billion bailout bill--the bill that will either destroy the value of the US dollar, make the federal government the biggest home owner in the world, or possibly both? If you're voting for either of the major party candidates, the answer is "yes". They didn't just vote for it--they both flew back to DC after months away to vote for the most pork laiden version of it that they could vote for. If it makes your blood boil, then keep reading.

Second question--what's the difference between your candidate and the other one? Forget the baloney about secret Muslims or "McSame" or any of the other party lines. What's really the difference? One is a good public speaker while the other is a war hero? One wants to have the government take over your life in a slightly different way than the other? The differences are almost imperceptable--yet, if you were to judge them based on most of their supporters, you'd think one was evil incarnate and the other was the second coming of Jesus. It just depends on who you talk to as to which one is which.

I think a lot of people feel that a viable third party would shake things up for the better in this country. But we are also (for the most part) not idiots. The last outsider to have a chance of winning the Presidency was Ross Perot, and that was just because he had more money than God. Nobody votes third party because we know that the third party won't win.

What we don't realize is that the goal isn't 270 electoral votes. The goal is to bring legitimacy to a third party. The goal is the 5% Solution.

If a third party gets 5% of the popular vote in November, that party becomes officially recognized by the federal government. The party can participate in the federal funding available to Presidential candidates (that "Check this box to dedicate $3 of your tax" box on your 1040). The party must be included in debates. 5% means that, in the next election, the third party is no longer just some fringe group--it's officially part of the process.

I'm just gonna be straight up--one of these two dolts will be elected next month, and it doesn't matter which one it is. What matters is that, in 2012, we aren't faced with two even bigger dolts. I hear people saying that "If "the other guy" gets elected, this country is going down the tubes." But we all know that if "our" guy gets elected, the country is going down the tubes anyway--maybe just not as fast. And then, in the next election, we choose someone else that might not destroy us as fast as the other guy. We've been doing it for as long as I can remember, and if something doesn't change, we'll be doing it for the rest of my life.

Your vote in this election could mean that we could see real choice in 2012. You could be part of the 5% Solution. Imagine if your vote this year could be pivotal in putting someone onto the ballot in 2012 that not only had a real chance of winning, but would put this country back on the right track.

Check out http://www.bobbarr2008.com/ and consider voting Libertarian next month. You're vote isn't going to get Bob Barr elected. But that doesn't mean it's wasted. You can be part of the 5% Solution. 5% means that, long term, America wins.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kaylee's Growing Up - Happy Birthday Baby!

Well, Kaylee turns 2 today! I can't believe it's been 2 years already since she was born. Everyday I thank God for the miracle of her and of the blessings that God has showered us with because of her. I think not only has she grown, but Tim and I have grown as well, but that would be another topic for discussion. (Not that we've grown up, we've just grown!)

Well you can definitely tell that Kaylee has grown up! I looked at her 1 year-old picture this morning and compared to what she looks like today (or at least yesterday, since it was before she woke up) she has lost the baby chub and has gotten much taller! It's like she's started growing into a bean pole! I'm sort of glad she doesn't have my genes, because if she did, she'd be short and round and not growing, and... well I could go on, but then I'd have to list all of my faults and it is way too early in the day to do that!

The other way I know she's growing up is she has developed a fear of the dark. Yes the Boogie-Man has hit our house! The last few days she has been saying "dark". Me being oblivious as usual, I figured, "Ok, so she's figured the difference between light and dark and the light being on in a room and the light being off. She's starting to verbalize this along with everything else in the world." (We can't get the child to stop talking anymore... sound like anyone familiar:)) Anyway, so I'm Ms. Oblivious here and figure she's just talking more and verbalizing, when what she's starting to do is realize the dark is scary to a two year-old!

Needless to say, last night we had a crying fit for almost an hour because she was afraid of the dark. We hopefully somewhat solved the problem by putting on a small night light, that is located in her baby monitor, and giving her a little flashlight, like the one she has at Nana's house. She still cried, but at least it helped her cry less and she at least was able to tell me she understood that she had options when I left the room. I felt terrible, as any parent I think does at those times, but what else do I do, stay in the room all night? That wouldn't help anything. I figured that a night light, Mr. Stripes, a flash light that she can turn on and off, and baby doll could comfort and keep her occupied until she tuckered herself out enough to fall asleep, which happened in about 5-7 minutes after I left the room.

I have to admit, feeling helpless while your child is really scared, really sucks! Finding solutions to problems that make you feel better is easy. Finding solutions to the problems that make your child feel better is really hard, especially when, to them, the world is ending RIGHT NOW! I hate feeling helpless! I guess that's why they say parenting is hard. Wow, did it take me two years to figure that much out? I guess I am growing up... Nah, just a passing thought!

Anyway, Happy Birthday Baby! May you grow big and strong and may God continue to bless and keep you. May the wind be always at your back, the sun shine on your face, and may God keep you in the palm of his strong, faithful hands. Love you, Nutter!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Some Vacation Pictures

Not much time for commentary. Just some good pictures of Kaylee and Ethan.

Monday, September 15, 2008

4.5 inches of rain in 3 days; I've got a snorkel in the truck just in case

I turned the sprinkler system off. Figure I don't need it right now. :)

The tough part was yesterday, though, when Kaylee went to the back door and said "Outside? Outside?" Tough to explain to a 2 year old that the ground is so wet she'd sink into the lawn.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

We're back from Vacation

Now that we're back from vacation, there will (hopefully) be a flurry of posts. Figured I'd share some stuff from Jen and my night on the town in NYC. Beth and Pat bought Jen tickets to Wicked! for her birthday, and we went into town on Tuesday night to see it. We had dinner at a little hole in the wall Irish pub (no TGI Fridays this time for us!), and then went to the show (which was excellent).

Afterwards, we went across the street to this diner that Jen spotted to get some dessert. It had a sign that said "Home of the singing waitstaff". We figured it was just some cheesy thing, like when the staff at a chain restaurant gets together and half heartedly sings "Happy Birthday".

We couldn't have been more wrong. All of the wait staff are aspiring Broadway actors and actresses. They took turns belting out showtunes and other music all night long. I got a quick video of one waitress doing (fittingly) one of the songs from "Wicked!"

If you watch the related videos, most of them are of other waiters and waitresses from the diner. Ryan, our waiter, does a Barry Manilow song that is absolutely hilarious.

We knew we wanted to take a cab back to the train station--we walked up to the theater, but needed to get off our feet. A guy driving a bike rickshaw pulled up to the curb, and I figured "Why not?" I haggled him from $25 to $20 (I only had $20 cash on me), and he biked us all the way back to the station. Our path took us right through the middle of Times Square--going through Times Square on a bike is an interesting experience, to say the least. I was able to get a pretty poorly lit picture of us being deftly manuevered through NYC cab traffic.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2 Year Old Portraits

Kaylee had her portrait taken at Daycare a few weeks ago. They turned out so well that we decided to use them as her 2 year old shots. If you bought the full package, the photographer included a CD with the pictures and a copyright release--meaning we own the pictures and can do with them as we please. So here they are, for your (clickable) viewing and printing pleasure...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Warning: Graphic Carnage Enclosed

Just look at those lifeless eyes. I can't believe my daughter did that.

I'm so proud.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bring out the hose...

And look, there's that new patio that I still haven't taken pictures of...

Friday, July 11, 2008

So, some landscaping pictures

Just going around the house. There's still a little work to be finished up on Monday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Landscaping Pictures...NOT!

Our landscapers started on Monday. It was actually a surprise; our contact at the landscaping company said he'd contact us the week before they were ready to start, although they had us on the schedule for this week. He was out last week, though, so when I emailed him on Monday to find out what the schedule was, he told me "Oh, sorry--they're probably there already."

Anyway, I had grand plans of getting pictures each day to show off the progress. I've been snapping pictures each night, and tonight I had some time to pull them off the camera.

That's when I found out the memory card was corrupted.

Thankfully, it was just landscaping pictures on that card, and while I'm a little bummed at losing the daily progress, the yard will still be there tomorrow to take more pictures of. It is coming along very nicely, though--the work around the house is just about done (edging and plantings are mostly in, and rock will probably go down tomorrow), the base layer for the patio is done, and they've scraped up a lot of dirt. Today they put in the giant concrete steps going up the hill--that had to be an impressive task. The blocks are 8 inches thick, about 4ft wide and 2ft or so deep. Dr. Google puts that around 800 pounds each.

I hope to get some usable pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Have your people call my people

We'll do lunch.

Edit: To answer those of you asking "Why is she wearing her winter hat in the middle of summer?" We cleaned out the coat closet earlier that morning (there are actually 5 Goodwill bags in the back of the car behind her). Kaylee saw her Dora hat and wouldn't let go of it.

You choose your battles. :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What was that noise?

Actually, nobody was around when the big storm passed through. Jen came home to see that a rather large limb from one of our trees (the chunk you see in the bottom picture is more of the same limb--it's taking up half the yard) had fallen on top of our neighbor's shed.

The neighbor and I pulled the side panels off (last picture) and got most of the stuff out--it appears that the only real damage was to the shed itself. The bikes, lawn mower, etc got pushed out of the way by the collapsing roof.

We actually gave the neighbors that shed a few years ago--I had bought it for storage while we built our new garage, and no longer had use for it. I told him that's the last time I give them a shed--they trashed it! :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Illusion of Privacy

(BTW, I stole that title from Auntie Lisa)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Folding Screen

Here's the latest woodworking project; a folding screen with cloth panels for Jen's office. I'm not entirely happy with the picture--shows too much of the mess in my shop. Jen is going to try to get a picture of it at the office.

I've got to make one more, so she'll have two at her office to provide a moveable wall.

You forgot to take me to Daycare!

I had a rough day yesterday. It actually started Monday night when I had a hard drive go out at the office. It could have waited until Tuesday morning to get fixed, but I figured I'd have trouble sleeping worrying about it, so I went into the office around 11:30pm. Got home around 2am. Then the file server crashed at 7am, so no sleeping in for me. A bunch of other stuff went wrong at work during the day, and by the time I got home I was beat. I went to bed at 8:30 and pretty much slept until 7am.

I felt a lot better this morning. Got up, got Kaylee up and ready, and we hit the road. I got about half way into work when I looked in the back seat to see Kaylee, still sitting there. She smiled, and then just started laughing. She knew.

It was her way of saying "You dork, you forgot to take me to daycare!"

Sunday, May 18, 2008


This is the first time Kaylee had her hair braided. She's had it done twice more, little different style each time.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

How I spent my Spring Break, Part 2

I said I'd have it done this weekend. Not only did I finish it, but I finished it on Saturday, so that we were able to move it upstairs on Sunday and load it up. We went through our clothes as well, making up 3 big Goodwill bags, and now we can walk into our closet without hunching over or stepping over baskets!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mom out of retirement? Never thought it would happen!

Well I guess my hiatus has ended. Tim has been such a great blogger in my absence it almost makes me want to go back into retirement, but alas, I think I will blog instead.

So where have I been since... holy cow... October? Well I have been sick, taking care of Kaylee, sick, taking care of Nana, sick, taking care of Kaylee... and yes you guessed it... sick! It's been a hard winter here in, what I like to term it, the house of plagues! I have been sick for quite a bit of the time this winter and when I have any time left, I've been busy with work, Kaylee, and more work.

Ordering season has started again which is always an awful time at work. We get really busy the end of March and it doesn't quit until August. This of course brings stress on the Mama and then sickness ensues. Anyway, I'm feeling good and looking great in my new haircut and glasses.

Speaking of haircuts... as Tim had said Kaylee got her first haircut about a week ago from Auntie Elaine. Elaine has been cutting my hair since I was about 11 and even came to the house on my wedding day to do my hair. She has been a great beautician and friend! We love Elaine!

During our adoption process, she offered to cut the household's hair for free that way we could save money! The only stipulation being that our child's first haircut had to be done by her. Of course it wouldn't have been any other way!

So about a week ago, we went and got our hair cut. Kaylee was of course squirmy and sat on her own for about 1/3 of the haircut. Then she got to sit on Mama's lap the rest of the time. She was not as good as her cousin Ethan (see http://hurfordfamilynews.blogspot.com/) as Kaylee squirmed, squirmed, and squirmed some more. At one point Elaine had to cut her hair upside down. (No Elaine, we didn't get a picture of that and you can thank me later!)

Anyway, Kaylee's hair is now a bit shorter, as she had a lot of dead and split ends. Now if you let her hair go, it looks like one big, round fro. It's very cute, but not as cute as the "Kramer" hair style she sported back when she was first born. My hair got cut quite a bit shorter too, and I'm sure you'll see it in a picture soon.

Tonight, one of the nice ladies from daycare is coming over to do Kaylee's hair in braids and beads. I'll get a picture of it and put it out on the blog for all to see. I'm sure she'll be really cute! The ladies at daycare are very nice to me. They do Kaylee's hair when Tim or I are not able to get to it. They also taught and still teach this "very white" mama to do Kaylee's African American hair. This is quite a feat for me and I am proud to say I am getting the hang of it.

Miss Daphne, one of the ladies who does Kaylee's hair so perfectly gave me the best complement I could have been given. She said one day, "Oooooo Mama, her hair looks so good today. It looks as if I had done it myself!" I was floored and very flattered. We love all the ladies at daycare, but Miss Daphne and Miss Megan, will always have a special place in our Hall of Fame!

So, now that I've posted at 4-5am since I couldn't sleep, I think I will go get ready for work and then head off to do more... Yes, I'm going to say it... gulp... Orders!

Hope this post gives, all of you who are addicted to all things Kaylee, your fix for a while, because who knows when Mama will go back into retirement! Oh, and top of the morning to you! I will leave you with a picture of Kaylee and I (pre-haircut) on St. Patrick's day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How I spent my Spring Break

It's spring break week here, so the office has been pretty quite. I decided to take Wednesday off and spend some time working on a project I've had going for quite a while.

I hope to get it finished this weekend; we've been in our bedroom for almost 2 years now, and we still live out of laundery baskets. It'll be nice to finally have a dresser. And to keep a sense of symmetry, the dresser is made out of floorboards recycled from our attic from before I started on converting it to a master bedroom suite.

Oh, and Kaylee got her hair cut last week (maybe Mom can come out of Blog Retirement and share a little more about it. :) )

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's getting crazy now...

Little Miss Independence has made a couple of big steps this week. She's got a training potty now. We've noticed lately that she is telling us when she needs her diaper changed, which is supposed to be one of the big signs that it's just about time to start training. We've got a tiny little bathroom on the first floor, but we managed to squeeze the little plastic toilet in there. Last night as part of our bedtime ritual (more on that in a second) I stripped her down and she sat right down on the toilet. Didn't do anything, but she's beginning to understand what it's for.

We've started back with our bedtime ritual, which now includes teeth brushing and hand washing. The first night I did it (Monday, I think), I grabbed a step stool out of the kitchen and put it in the bathroom for her to stand on. She still needs a little more of a boost to wash her hands, but she gets them wet, waits for soap, and then rubs them together. She is doing a lot better with her teeth than before; we stopped about a month or more ago because she just wanted to suck on the toothbrush, and she'd scream if we tried to guide it. Now she's doing a little brushing, and doesn't seem to mind some help.

The part that surprised us most, though, goes back to that stool. Tuesday or Wendesday night (I can't remember), I told her it was time to brush her teeth, and she seemed very upset that we were forcing her towards the bathroom. Turns out she wanted to go get the stool out of the kitchen. She now carries that from the kitchen every night, and carries it back when we're done.

Bedtime this week has been going really well, too. We're keeping her up until 7:30 now, and I think that, combined with the wind down routine of washing up and brushing, leaves her really calm at bedtime. She insists on taking a book to bed, though--she is her mother's daughter, after all.

We've got a "big girl bed" for her, but after the first night of trying that, I set the crib back up. I think it might be something worth trying again soon, though.

Edit: Almost forgot, she also fed herself about a half of a bowl (one of her little bowls) of chili last night. She's doing pretty well with scooping--still doesn't grasp the idea of stabbing, though.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yup, it's Dad again

I'm not going to make any more promises about what I hope to post--you get what you get, and, darn it, it's Kaylee and you should be happy with it! :)

Anyway, Jen has been really sick the past few weeks (one or more of the flu varieties going around). Kaylee and I both had a little bit of it, but we both got over it pretty quickly.

Below is one of the reasons that we just don't have time to post anymore (she's climbing now, folks...). I've got just a diabetic coma-inducingly cute photo, too.

And for those of you struggling with children that don't stay still, especially during diaper changes, try out the baby straight jacket! I'm sure the people that make it would hate that term for it; they prefer "Hug and Hold". But it does work: http://www.change-eze.com/

Monday, January 14, 2008

Are the Laird's still around?

I think we are--it's been a little busy the past couple of months. Nana broke her leg and lived with us for a few weeks, we did some whirlwind travelling at Christmas (to our friends in the QC's--sorry we couldn't visit; we were able to come into town for a couple of days at New Years, but it was such a last minute trip that we didn't have time to get with anybody), and overall we're just trying to keep our heads above water.

Kaylee's doing great--she does have an ear infection in each ear, but she doesn't seem to mind too much. Doc has her on an antibiotic. She's as active as ever--her new favorite pastime (besides dancing--she still can't stop moving her feet) is to take her two rolling pull along toys (a dog and a frog), give one to me (I usually get the dog), and we race around the dining room table...

For 15-20 minutes at a stretch. I have fun--but if you're the type that thinks NASCAR is boring, you'd hate to watch this.

We'll get some Christmas pictures posted soon (maybe by next Christmas), but here's a couple for now:

Enjoying a roaring (electric, heatless) Christmas fire.

Kaylee with Cousin Ethan (how's that for a pose?)

Kaylee and Cousin Katie