Blog Archive

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Boy Taters

Garsh, I sure love this dog of mine.

Just now I was on the phone with my dad, sitting outside in the sunshine of the "island house" across from the Coast House.  The dogs came out with me and we all just soaked in the relaxing warmth. Ahhhh.  I told my dad I'd take a picture of the precious doggies to email to him. But of course they could tell that I was talking about them (my tone, I guess) so they jumped up and ruined their pose.

It's okay, though, because Taters came over to me for some loving.

I can't believe I ever lived without dogs in my life. Never again, I can't go back to those dark (fur-free) days.

Anyone who argues that animals are incapable of real, unconditional love toward humans and are only drawn to people who feed them has never had canine companions before.  I feel bad for people like that.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Eddie's Prime Picnic Spot

Last week Dave changed the oil in the van after work one evening. Instead of staying at the Coast House while he worked on the car up at the shop, I suggested that we get take out dinner and have a picnic. Eddie decided on the picnic spot. 
 Are you surprised at his choice?  I'm not.

My dad later commented that I probably influenced his affection for gravel/rocks/dirt since I've been letting him play in the stuff since he was a wee babe. No regrets, here, though. It's cheap, abundant, and boosts his immune system.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Homemade Kraft Mac-n-Cheese

While poking around on household management and cooking blogs, I stumbled upon references to using cheddar cheese powder at home. I was curious, so I bought some off of Amazon.  Eddie loves mac-n-cheese for an easy lunch or dinner so that was my first trial recipe with it. 

Before preparing an actual box of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese one day, I measured out the dry pasta and orange cheese powder first.

1 1/4 cups dry macaroni noodles
1/3 cup cheese powder

Cook, drain, and add:

1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine

You can use cheddar cheese powder and whatever noodles you want to make the same thing at home.   It's also good on popcorn for a movie snack.  We find that it doesn't stick to the popcorn as well as commercial cheesy popcorn snacks so we just dip our popped corn into it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eddie Starts Preschool

How did this creep up on us?  Who authorized Eddie to get SO BIG so soon?  I ask him this all the time:

Mama: "Eddie, how'd you get so big?  Who said you could get so big and handsome and smart?"
Eddie: "My body did, silly!"
Mama: "Who let your body get so big?"
Eddie: "It's from all the food and veggies I eat!"
Mama: "Well, where'd you get all that good food to eat?"
Eddie: "YOU MAMA!  Are you joking me, Mama?"

Dang, he's right.

This morning he attended his very first day of preschool. He's in Teacher Kerri's class, along with 15 other kiddos, in room one. The class helper is named Maria. We got to check out his cubby and his new classroom. It was all very cool and exciting with daycare friends and new friends everywhere.
Eddie and Dave headed straight for the play dough table when we arrived.  The little girl on the left was happily painting just after I snapped this picture when, all of a sudden she realized where she was. She put down the brush and started looking around and cried out, "I want to go to Terri's!"  Some of parents around laughed because Terri is the daycare teacher and she clearly forgot where she was.  Hopefully she gets to go to daycare after school with Eddie.
I read Eddie a book about Clifford the Big Red Dog going to school when he was a pup. After the story, we gave him a hug and lots of kisses and then we were off.
His class is from 8:15 - 11:15 am and Teacher Kerri will walk the daycare kids around the corner to the daycare afterward.  Breakfast is provided (for a fee of $1.25) so he'll get a second breakfast each morning--I doubt he'll mind.  I packed him a lunch to eat at daycare, which we put into a Spider Man lunch bag inside his new Star Wars backpack.  
First day of school lunch.
Before heading out the door this morning, I was on Mom Duty and made him pose for a bunch of pictures...and again at school.  What can I say?  Mama + Smartphone + Cute Kid + Pinterest Ideas for First Day of School Pictures = Many Pictures.
Biggest Boy!

Look at the size of his backpack!  He choose a Star Wars one.

Eddie Bower, Big Boy Preschooler!
I made a sign showing (a very condensed) list of the family members who attended the same school before him. The list would be longer except that there was NO school here when his great great great grandparents were around. His preschool is actually not part of the public school, but is a state preschool that uses the building.  We tell Eddie about his family heritage all the time so I think he understands that there were people around before him, us, and his living grandparents. Sometimes he'll lament, "My great great great (fill in the blank) died." He'll say this to anyone, like fellow shoppers at the grocery store. They're always a little confused and startled and don't know what to say. I think it's adorable and sort of fun to watch him figure this type of thing out. My response is along the lines of "Yes, that's true. But so-and-so lived a long, long time ago and everyone dies at some point, usually when they're really, really old." And thus ends the longest picture caption ever.
Eddie and Dave with the family list.
Dave got a call from Teacher Kerri saying Eddie had a pee accident--not surprising to anyone since he often gets very busy and forgets to run to the potty.  I might put an extra-extra pair of pants in his emergency clothes stash at school.

We're all very excited to watch him develop and go through this learning experience together.  My guess is he'll pick up letter recognition pretty quickly, once he decides he's ready to focus.  

Here's to a great school year and a long, fun, challenging educational career for Eddie!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Four Year Old Voice Mail

Four years and one week ago, Eddie was born. My mom called me that day and left Eddie a "happy one week old" voice mail.  I have listened to and saved that message on my phone ever since. Today I finally got around to recording the message.  It took me a while I figure out how to do all that (record, convert to mp3, upload to Google Dive, share with link) but it's finally done.

Because of my heart problem during week 14 of the pregnancy, I had to avoid all potential caffeine until Eddie was born. I remember being excited to finally eat chocolate again. So I made some brownies and stuck a candle in them to celebrate Eddie's 7th day of life.  Edward teased me but agreed to take a picture of the momentous occasion...and partake in some of the brownie eating.  How fitting that Eddie should choose to have brownies last week for his birthday dessert, too.

Click here to listen to Grandma Jane's voice mail for Eddie's one week birthday.

Three Bowers and some brownies on 8/20/2009. Holy crap were we TIRED back then. ...And boy was I chubby...

Three Bowers and brownies on 8/13/2013.
Happy 4 years, 7 days Edwardamus!


Eddie Turned Four!

Two weekends ago we hosted our very first house guests at the Coast House.  We picked blackberries and apples, ate a hearty salmon dinner, and survived a couple of nights in bedrooms still under construction and without power.  Edward stayed over for the rest of the week with us, partly to make his long trip up to the coast worth the effort, partly so I would have company on the drive to Livermore, and partly because Eddie turned 4 on Tuesday.  FOUR.  I seriously can't believe it.
Happy birthday big Eddie!
On his birthday we had pancakes with sprinkles in the batter.  We often stir sprinkles in, but I used extra sprinkles for his extra special day.  He went to daycare that day where he got to wear a special crown covered in dinosaur and tractor stickers and share Girl Scout cookies with his friends.  I offered to make cupcakes or something but he wanted Samoas and Thin Mints.

We had a mini celebration that night at dinner, with Uncle Edward, Papa, and Grammy there. We'll wait for his real birthday party until September.  He chose the menu of hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, tomato and blueberry salad (weird...but really yummy with basil!), and brownies for dessert.

I used sauerkraut with spicy mustard on one dog and caramelized onion with Thai sweet chili sauce on the other. Boy howdy, were they ever yummy. We've been making our own mac-n-cheese using powdered cheese from Amazon and whatever pasta we have on tastes exactly the same as boxed.
Eddie wanted a tomato salad and I offered to use red, orange, yellow, and green tomatoes. He asked if there were blue tomatoes and since there aren't, he opted for blueberries. With lemon olive oil, thick balsamic, and basil shreds, it made a lovely birthday salad.
The lucky boy was gifted some neat things: his daddy's childhood electric keyboard from Grammy and Papa, a pogo stick from Auntie and Uncle, a gallon bag of used LEGOs and a huge watermelon from Mama and Dadda, and a cool Eddie Bauer brand outfit from Grandma Jane.  The shirt says, "Captian Eddie" on the front. Later, he got a wooden bowling set from Aunt Bernie and Uncle Michael.
Eddie is learning about polite things to say to people who gift him things. For example, instead of just saying, "thank you!" we're trying to get him to acknowledge what he's thankful for. Here he's saying, "Thank you for the piano, Grammy and Papa!"
At four years old, Eddie sure keeps us entertained.

  • Favorite color is blue but he loves me so much that he also includes pink and green, my favorites.
  • Favorite foods change every few weeks but he favors fruit over veggies and still doesn't drink soda or other "bubble" drinks. He'll tolerate eating things like zucchini if there's a reward like ice cream attached to the task but he'll happily eat salad, especially with balsamic vinegar.
  • Favorite toys include LEGOs, light sabers, and bungee cords ("hookers"...hahaha).
  • Favorite playtime activities include looking for "bad guys", making ships with LEGOs, and constructing complicated traps for bad guys and dinosaurs.
  • The best way to get him to do his nighttime routine in a timely manner is to "race" him: who can undress and get into the shower fastest (one of us usually showers with him to make this work), who can soap up and rinse off fastest, who can hang their towel fastest, etc. But then he always tells us that "brushing teeth is not a race."  Well then.
  • He still doesn't sit still for a whole meal and we have to remind him many times to finish his food.  "But I just have to get ONE MORE piece for my LEGO ship, Mama."
  • We read three longish books each night before tucking him in. He stays awake playing and reading books for another hour or so.
  • Tucked in for bed ~8:30-9 pm, woken up ~6:30 am. Both of these times need to be at least 30-60 minutes earlier! He takes a ~2 hour nap at daycare still.
  • Gets to watch up to a few shows a day on one of our laptops. We still don't have a living room and therefore don't have a tv set up (we might not ever do it just to avoid being couch potatoes in the evenings). Eddie is one of the only kids I know who doesn't own/have access to a tablet or iPad or smartphone for watching shows. He still doesn't play video games or education computer games.
  • Can count up to 20 and actually knows the value/meaning of up to 10. He can count up to 5 in his head but uses his fingers to count past there.
  • Can spell his name out loud and on paper. He seems to be realizing that all the letters in books are what I'm reading to him. Recently he's been asking me which part of the text I'm reading at a given time so I try to run my finger underneath the words the whole time.
  • Really wants a kitty cat and a baby sibling. He'll have to wait a bit longer for both!
  • Expresses love by saying "I love you" or "I give you lots of hearts."
  • Expresses frustration usually by crying and sometimes by trying to hit us. He doesn't have uncontrolled physical tantrums and never really has, whew. He's learning new descriptor words at daycare and tries using them at home. When we hear something new like "idiot," which he came home with the other day, we tell him it's not okay to use that word. He asks why, we explain what it means and how it can hurt people's feelings. Usually he'll then ask why people say it. Other words include: damnit, stupid, hate, and the phrase "Oh my God."
  • Weighs ~40 pounds, ~42" tall, wears size 11 shoe, and 4T clothes.
He starts preschool on Thursday and will be in Teacher Kerri's morning class from 8:15 am - 11:15 am and afterward she'll walk him around the corner to the daycare.  I can't wait for him to be in a classroom where he can learn in a different way than he ever has before.  It'll be interesting to see how he does.

This big boy of ours keeps us buuuuuuuuuuuuuusy asking questions, eating food, and running around. We love him tooooooooooooooooooooons and tons and are so happy he'sin our family.  
Three Bowers on 8/13/2013.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Updates on Jane: Nursing Home

I just emailed out another update about my mom:

Hello friends and family,

My mom has been in a skilled nursing facility in Livermore since just before the last email update in late July.  She seems to like her room and roommate.  They watch Judge Judy together twice each day.  It turns out they have acquaintances in common from the VA...and as you know, my mom loves it when she discovers these sorts of connections.

Unfortunately, the liver complications have made chemotherapy no longer an option.

Of course, she's being well taken care of by the nurses and doctors and seems to be quite comfortable. 

Thoughts and prayers for comfort for my mom are much appreciated.