Monday, December 15, 2008


Alex loves to play birthday party with his stuffed animals. It's Amber his kitty's birthday every day around here.

It's cold cold cold.... Here's Isaac ready to go out and play in the snow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Life is Hard When You're 2...

All the unfairness of the world seems to hover over Alex these days. I guess having a brother take his spot as the baby of the family has finally caught up to him. He can't get enough mommy time.

So, on Saturday I took Alex by himself to a gingerbread house making event downtown while Jeremy kept Isaac with him. Alex enjoyed it, and especially enjoyed tasting all the different kinds of candy they had for him to decorate with.

I can't say I enjoyed it as much. We're busy potty training these days. Alex is doing great with it, and tells us when he needs to go. He hardly has any accidents anymore, except when he's actually sitting on the toilet. He can't manage to aim into the toilet. We're not really safe anywhere in the bathroom with him. It's not so bad at home, where he has his fancy little potty seat that sits on the toilet, but public bathrooms are awful with him. It's funny to me that there are so many handicapped bathrooms, but never a toilet sized for a child expect in elementary schools, and the children's museum in Omaha. So, I have to hold him to keep him from falling into the giant adult sized toilet. It's really frustrating. Well, he needed to go while we were downtown, so I took him and held him up over the toilet while he sprayed most of our stall and also managed to aim under the wall and soak the stall next to us as well. His underwear was also soaked from being anywhere in the vicinity of the bathroom. I wasn't too upset about this, I knew he had a change of clothes in the car, but what I wasn't expecting was that when I stood up, my purse was soaked. While I was holding Alex, it was dangling down into the toilet. Yuck Yuck Yuck! By the time we left the stall, we were both covered from head to toe with public toilet water. And then we had to walk through the entire crowded building dripping on the way to the car. Ugh...

The other great inequality in Alex's life is that he often comes into our bedroom to find Isaac in bed with me, as well as Jeremy and our cat. Alex is the only one barred from sharing our room. It's really not fair, is it? How sad to come into a room with your entire family snuggled up together, while you've been sleeping in your own cold room by yourself. So, he's snuck in in the middle of the night a few times this week. We've been too tired from staying up with Isaac to complain. Jeremy even slept in Alex's room with him one night, so perhaps Alex isn't too left out after all.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


It seems that all we've done for the past few years is move. First to Washington with it's rain forests and so much water, then to cold and crisp Montana, Connecticut with its beaches, then back to Montana's dry heat. This summer to Omaha's bustle and famous zoo, then back again to Montana and Big Sky Country. Last week we visited Pullman for the first time to see where we're headed next. Rolling fields and high hills are what we found for our second Washington home. Dry and sunny Pullman will be a change from the other side of Washington we know so well.
We found a third story apartment to live in until summer when we may have more housing options as students leave town empty for the summer. Almost the entire town is dedicated to the school. I've never seen so many apartments. Mom and Dad came down to visit us at Julie's apartment (she moved to Moscow, just next to Pullman, after she married Ryan this summer, and will be in graduate school there for the next few years).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

For Sale

We're on the move again. Jeremy accepted an assistantship position at WSU in Pullman, WA the day Isaac was born. His return to school has been somewhat overshadowed by Isaac's birth, but we're finally starting to really get prepared to move. School starts on Alex's 3rd birthday, January 12, so we still have plenty of time, but we also have a lot to sell before then.

Jeremy has listed various items on Craig's list, and we've had a better response than we expected, although we still have a lot to sell.

We also have to sell the WRX - Jeremy's sporty little car that has been replaced by my mom-mobile. We've had very little interest in it, but we haven't tried too hard to sell it, yet, either. Anybody interested?
And then there's our big sale item: our house. We spent the last week cleaning frantically to get it ready for it's debut yesterday. It's so nice now that it's clean and we've put half our stuff in boxes, we might not want to leave it.

It's exciting to be moving again. I'm really looking forward to Pullman. Jeremy discovered that there is a museum there that I can get into with my Bozeman Museum of the Rockies membership. Also, I have been receiving more phone calls from Julie than usual, anticipating our arrival. I'm glad to have the chance to get to know Ryan better, and spend more time with Julie, since we haven't been in the same town for more than a short vacation in over 10 years. If we could just sell all this stuff, we'd be ready to go.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Bats

Here are my big bat and my baby bat. We had a great Halloween, and Alex was a great bat. He flew and flew and filled a bag with candy. We went downtown, where the shops were handing out candy in the streets. We didn't even have to go in most of the shops for him to get his candy, they were just set up outside handing it out as the kids walked by. It was a beautiful day, the best Halloween weather I can remember. Alex had never seen so much candy, and there were a lot of kinds he'd never seen before and had to inspect before we could go on to the next stop.

Alex has started to dress himself. We told him he had to put his underwear on by himself the other day, and he came out of his room with his underwear on his head. He wouldn't take it off his head, but did agree to put another pair in its proper place.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Grannies and Grandmas

Isaac has been blessed with a Granny, a Grandma, Great Grandmas and even a Great Granny in his life. He hasn't met them all yet, but here are some pictures of him with the ones he's met, and pictures of the special welcome to the world gifts sent by the ones he's anxiously waiting to meet.
Isaac with his special teddy bear from Great Granny and Grandad.

A giant box of baby clothes and a handmade pair of mukluks from Granny.
Isaac and Grandma.
Isaac and Great Grandma Vander Molen.
Isaac and Great Grandma Kingma.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Isaac Clayton

Isaac Clayton, born October 6th, 7:23 pm
8 lbs 6 oz, 19 inches

On Monday, October 6th, Isaac made his dramatic entrance into the world. After the last few weeks of suspense, taking his time, contractions starting and stopping, I suddenly started having contractions every few minutes right after dinner on Monday. Within 10 minutes, we realized that this was it, and called Jeremy's mom to come and pick up Alex. She raced across town in record speed, and while Jeremy turned Alex over to her care, I made my way to the car, afraid if I waited any longer I wouldn't be able to make it into the garage. While Jeremy was grabbing our bags, my water broke in the car and I started feeling the need to push. I was relatively calm until then, but at that point I started to panic and scream into the house for Jeremy to hurry - we were out of time. Within a few minutes we were at the hospital with me in a wheel chair, and Jeremy racing through the hospital halls with me. When we arrived in labor and delivery, our room quickly filled with nurses, and within 15 minutes of arriving at the hospital one of those nurses delivered Isaac. From start to finish took less than an hour.

We chose the name Isaac for our little boy just because we like it. His middle name is from my dad, Clayton, whose birthday is also October 6th. Perhaps Isaac will have my dad's calm, mellow, easy-going nature.

Isaac and I are doing great. I feel much better than I did after Alex was born, and really great compared to how I felt at the end of my pregnancy, waiting for him to come. We came home last night, and were up most of the night with our hungry little boy. He's been awake more today than yesterday, so hopefully he'll sleep a little more tonight.

We had a birthday party for Isaac at the hospital. Alex and his grandma made cupcakes for him, and Alex enjoyed opening his presents from Granny. Alex was afraid of his little brother though, and didn't want to sit to close to him or hold him. He's getting used to him now, though, and is helping bring him his blanket and make sure he's staying warm enough.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Perfect Baby

When I was pregnant with Alex, Jeremy would laughingly tell our friends "We're going to have the perfect baby". I had the perfect pregnancy- no morning sickness, very few aches and pains, and then the perfect labor - 11 hours of steadily progressing contractions, no drugs (I eventually took a Tylenol the night after Alex was born, since I was a little sore), no shouting at Jeremy during contractions, just a simple easy birth experience. Of course it followed that our baby would be perfect, too. And he is! He came out with a perfectly round little head, not the strange scrunched up face and body of a newborn we were anticipating, and he came out sounding more like he was talking than crying. By 6 weeks he was sleeping through the night in his own crib. And from there he has progressed beautifully, and perfectly.

He has a lot of me in him. I have no doubt that his ability and enthusiasm for talking comes from my side of the family - thanks Dad! And We're often told how much he looks like me (particularly now that I'm pregnant and my face is rounder than ever). But his Perfectness must come from Jeremy's family. Alex is very precise. He already tries very hard to color between the lines. He likes things a certain way, and lets us know exactly what that way is.

Tonight he systematically cleaned up all of his trucks and placed each one in a row on his bookshelf. Considering that I've never seen anyone in my family actually able to park their car in their garage (aren't garages made for holding the overflow items from the house?), and that Jeremy's family tends to have garages you could eat off the floor in, probably even after parking the car in them, I'm sure this comes from his side.

Alex has a potty chart to put stickers on each time he uses the toilet. I just taped a piece of paper to the wall in the bathroom and wrote "Potty Chart" at the top. Nothing too complicated. Then we started letting him pick a sticker and put it wherever he wanted on the paper each time he used the toilet. Without any prompting, he has lined up all of his stickers, making a perfect animal parade across the paper. And now that he's gone through one sheet of stickers, he's started placing matching animals together. So, if he picks another monkey, he places it right next to the monkey that's already in line. He loves things that match. He loves things to have a proper place. He loves to know which street it is we're driving on, and where we're going next.

We had a busy day yesterday. At breakfast Alex wanted to know what our plans were for the day. After I told him he said "OK, Bible Study, then lunch, then the hospital [for a doctor's appointment] then cookies [to eat on the way home from the hospital], then dinner, then the fish hatchery [a boys' night out for dinner and fun]. " Just as we were leaving for the hospital, we received a call that our doctor wasn't available, and could we please come tomorrow, instead. Alex had to adjust his thinking. "OK", he said, "Bible Study, then lunch, but no hospital." He's like a walking day planner.

As we draw near to meeting baby number 2, I have a growing suspicion that he's not going to be The Perfect Baby. At least not in the same sense that Alex is. This pregnancy has gone very well, I have no complaints, but it hasn't been quite as perfect. I did have some morning sickness, and now my hips have given up, but the contractions are what really are making me feel differently about this one. For a couple of months I've been having some strong contractions. One night in Omaha I was having contractions every 5 minutes for over 7 hours. By the next morning they had stopped, and I obviously didn't have the baby that night. Since then I've had random spurts of contractions, that randomly just stop again. By my doctor's appointment last Wednesday, I was already 4 cm dilated, looking like I could have the baby at any time, but, again, here I am, definitely still pregnant. Yesterday I started having fairly regular, intense contractions around 3:30. By 9:00 at night I was wondering if we should call Jeremy's mom to come pick up Alex. By 11:30 they had almost stopped, and I went to bed.

I'm sure this baby will be perfect, in his own way. But for now it's hard to imagine that he will be the perfectionist that his big brother has been since day one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Breakfeast Cookies

Last night I couldn't sleep, and ended up on the couch in the living room when Alex woke up and came to find me. I was too tired and uncomfortable to bother getting up to make him break feast, so he had to make it himself. I lay on the couch and watched my 2 year old serve himself 2 chocolate chip cookies, some Go Diego Go Yogurt, and a sippy cup of milk I'd filled and put in the fridge the night before. He's growing up so fast.

I then fell back asleep while he ate and woke up an hour later to find him still at the table, systematically picking all the petals off a bouquet in the center of the table. He's a funny boy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Trouble With Two

We will soon have two kids. We have two cars and two car seats. With two station wagons, we shouldn't have any problem fitting all four of us in one car, right? Wrong. With a couple of weeks left before our due date, Jeremy went out to install the little infant car seat Alex had used as a baby into our WRX. It's the newer of our two Subarus, and the one we generally use around town and always on long trips. We'd used this same car seat, in this same car, when Alex was born, so we didn't think there would be any problem putting it back in. Wrong... We'd missed the important fact that with only the one car seat, we put it right in the middle of the backseat. Now, we need to put it on a side. The problem is leg room. Who would think that a station wagon wouldn't have enough leg room for a newborn infant. With the car seat behind, the front passenger seat has to be moved up so far that there is no leg room in the front of the car. Family road trips are definitely not looking enjoyable with this configuration. I'm not even looking forward to riding around town this way. So, what about moving them over to the larger, older, Subaru? This seemed like a descent option, at least for short trips around town, until yesterday, when its radiator gave out. We're definitely in the market for a new car, perhaps two new cars. Ugh.

In other news, I'm having contractions like crazy. I was sure all day yesterday that baby was going to come at any time. After a good night's rest and a slow down in contractions today, I feel like it could be another couple of weeks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Waiting for Baby

We're back in Bozeman, again, and waiting for our little one's arrival. We should have at least 3 or 4 weeks left before he comes, but I feel like he could come at any time. I've been nesting like crazy, so maybe we'll actually be ready for him soon. Here's Alex modeling one of the many knitted hats I've made over the last months.

I certainly think I'm looking ready to pop at any moment. I'm now wearing only my largest and stretchiest clothes, so he'd better come soon. Here I am as Jeremy sees me:

And here are Jeremy and I as seen by Alex. I guess I'm all stomach to Alex now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bridger Ridge Run

He did it!! Not that any of us doubted his natural talent, but it is still impressive that Jeremy has completed his first (and last??) Bridger Ridge Run. After a grueling 15+ hour drive back to Bozeman, Jeremy completed the 20 mile race in just over 6 hours. He was shaky and sore, but came through in good spirits and without injury, which made me happy, so he could drive us home! This crazy race takes place along the ridge of the Bridger Range just outside of Bozeman. The very first peak of the race I've done previously as a day-hike, worthy of the Cochrane clan McCall days. The race ends at the parking lot below the "M". Many of you may remember the hike to the "M" from Sara's wedding - we carried giant umbrellas up it and many of us stopped only about a third of the way up. Well, that little hike that did us in was just the home stretch of this race. Jer said the race was more difficult than he anticipated, with much more of it being uphill than expected. He came through better than I expected, though. It's hard for me to imagine that anyone could go that far, in only 6 hours, and still be able to walk at the end of it. Jer never ceases to amaze me.

We're back in Omaha now, for our last few weeks here before returning to Bozeman in mid September. Our big challenge now is to come up with a baby name before he arrives. We had a difficult time with Alex and are having an even harder time this time. Alex says we should name him Alex Kingma. He thinks that's a great name.

I'm starting to slow down, feeling the strain of carrying this growing baby everywhere. It's been wonderful having the pool just out our door here to take the weight off for at least a little while.

We still haven't decided where to go from here. Life seems so much more complicated now than it did when Alex was born. Strange the difference that a few years can make. It's an exciting time, with lots of possibilities, though. Can't wait to see where the next few months lead us.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Settling In

After much anticipation, Alex and I have arrived in Omaha, and are settling in. We've already had quite an adventure. Alex has joined the Polar Bear Club at the Omaha Zoo, and has weekly meetings to learn all about different creatures, last week was bats. He was excited to learn that bats sleep while hanging from their toes. His favorite part of the zoo, however, may be the metal sculptures of animals that he's able to touch and sit on.
We have an arboretum a few blocks away from our apartment, which Alex often insists on visiting. He likes to hear me read all the names of the different trees. We're getting more exercise here that we have since living on the beach last fall.
Today we all visited the waterfront downtown, and had a nice walk next to fountains and swans.
So far, Omaha seems like a great place to live, except for the wind, humidity, and car accidents. Yes, I had my first accident the first time driving here myself. Ugh. I basically drove off the road at 50 mph, and did a 180, stopping inches from a concrete wall (we're all fine except for the car). Alex thought the whole thing was great fun, and enjoyed the police cars and riding in a tow truck. I'm getting to relive it over and over as he reenacts it with his toy trucks and asks me every time we get in the car if we are going to have an accident this time. This will probably turn out to be his first memory, and I'll never live it down.
I'm at the library and time is short, but hopefully I'll be able to update this again soon.
Hugs from Nebraska!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Alex Imagines Omaha

In a great fit of artistic energy, Alex created the following drawings of what he imagines Omaha to be like. The swirly blue line going up the left side of the page is an escalator "going up to all the toys". The light pink swirl at the top is one of the toys, a choo-choo-train. In the middle of the blue page is the swimming pool, with Alex wrapped in a towel, and his blue rubber ducky, complete with a head, eyes, a tail, and feet. I'm sure this is quite visible to you.
The yellow and green drawing features another escalator also "going up to all the toys". Omaha also has green trees and bushes. As you can see, he has a very detailed idea of what Nebraska will be like. Just a few more days, and we'll see it for ourselves. Note:inspiration for this art came from "The Third Anti-Coloring Book" by Susan Striker, provided by my personal librarian, Mom. Thanks Mom! This is a really neat book!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Golf - a Contact Sport?

Alex and I had the good fortune of a visit from dad yesterday as he passed through town on his way to Colorado. With the crazy hours dad keeps, he arrived here with plenty of time to go to the Museum of the Rockies in the afternoon. Alex kept him safe through the dinosaur exhibit, and dad kept Alex safe through the costume exhibit, featuring original costumes from Star Trek and Star Wars. Then they battled against each other through the Lewis and Clark Challenge outside. I've never seen mini golf played quite like this before.
After an unusual treat of pizza hut delivery for dinner, we headed to our backyard for dad's fireworks show. He brought hand selected fireworks for Alex , including snakes and the little pops that you through at the ground or step on to make them go bang. Alex even stayed up until dark for a show of fountains and assorted other ground blasters. Dani was home and did us the favor of lighting the scarier ones. Alex has been begging for more snakes all day today. Luckily dad left a box for him to set off on the 4th when Jeremy is home.

Thanks Dad for such a fun visit! It was a perfect summer afternoon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Grandma's Helper

Alex had a weekend of helping Grandpa install an irrigation system for their new lilacs and helping Grandma water by hand.

He also decided that he likes to climb. Here's a picture of one of his first attempts to climb a "tree". He wasn't very successful, but was very cute to watch attempting to scale the nice smooth pole holding the live trees up. Perhaps he'll try to find a tree with branches next time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Julie's Big Day

Alex and I are back in Bozeman, and enjoying looking back over the pictures from a wonderful weekend in Portland. After a few days in transit, Julie and Ryan are finally off on their honeymoon to Mexico. These pictures highlight some of the many special moments of the wedding weekend, from Julie and I getting our nails done for the first time to Jeremy escorting Mom down the aisle at the start of Julie's ceremony. And of course two of my favorite moments: Eric catching the bouquet and Julie sweeping up after the reception.

Julie is Gartered.

Jeremy coaches Alex before his walk down the aisle.

Eric catches the bouquet.

Julie cleans up after the reception.
Stuffing Julie in the car.
Off to Mexico!
baby growth