Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Cars Obsession

I've wanted to write about Carson's obsession for a while now, and this sleeping picture I got last week fits the subject perfectly.
Carson generally has no interest in the TV, but a while back he suddenly became riveted to the movie Cars. Since then Cars has become an obsession. He excitedly points out anything he sees recognizable from the movie and the Cars books we have have become his favorite (and the books are now looking a little more "well loved") Even when we went to the lake a bit ago, just looking at the Cars print on one of the other boys' T-shirts lying around made him happy after being rather cranky. When another kid came to see what was so interesting and started touching the shirt, Carson got all upset and possessive.
The Cars obsession has now actually morphed to include all vehicles. Our truck books are now getting as much action as the Cars books and even car commercials get him pointing and saying his Carson words used for all the vehicles (we don't know what he's saying, but it's always the same thing for that stuff).

I should also give a shout out to Curious George as Carson's major likes go. Avery had a large stuffed Curious George like the one in this pic that recently Carson has become attached to (luckily, as much as Avery loves Monkey George, he never attached to that stuffed animal). So Curious George (who really is large - his head is bigger than Carson's) is a preferred bed mate as well now and the Curious George books are also now getting some serious preference.

I'm adding this next picture just because it fits the sleeping theme. It's from last Saturday and I liked Carson's bed head. Don't worry, the sad face doesn't last long, you can see the tearfulness went away in minute and then he just looked like he was still waking up... I wish when I get all red and puffy it went away in only a minute!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sprinkler Sneaker

What a goober. I caught Avery running through the neighbor's sprinkler today and he's completely soaked in this picture. Oh well, it was hot out. He probably enjoyed eating his PB&J on the porch while he dried out...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

4th and Final Dental Picnic!

Tonight was the last annual Marquette Dental School picnic we will ever attend!

There has always been a clown for painting the kids' faces, so here's a montage of the last 4 years worth of painted faces. I can't believe how much Avery has grown!

(This year's clown wasn't doing faces?... She just started on the Batman for Avery and we had to request Carson's be on his face so he wouldn't see it and wipe at it. Then Avery wanted a matching skull and crossbones...)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cory the Monster Eater

I've been needing to write about this for a while!
Every Sunday after church Avery wants to call his Grandma and Grandpa Benjamin. 3 Sundays ago now (I think) while on the phone with them we were asking Avery about what the baby's name should be. Normally Avery just says "I dunno, what's the baby's name?" He's NOT the kind of kid who names things. Anything. That creative bone doesn't seem to exist in him, he wants to be told the real proper name of everything.
BUT, on this particular occasion Avery said,
"I dunno, Cory the Monster Eater?"
Where did that come from?!?
Now Avery thinks it's a great funny joke to say that's the baby's name when we ask him.

On a side note, here we are less than a week from my due date and we really are stuck in the name department. I'm getting rather anxiety ridden over the whole affair...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wirth Aquatic Center

Despite the playgroups that have been scheduled there, and the two previous full summers we've lived here, I have never gotten the kids to Wirth Aquatic Center. Finally, yesterday, we went!
It's a great place that has a morning rate just for the kiddie area which has a giant wadding pool, fountains, slide, a playground, and a large sandbox equipped with all sorts of toys, activity tables and faucets to make wet sand.

Avery kept saying "Owww, owww, owww!" as he let this waterfall pound him in the back, although he was clearly enjoying himself:
Carson hasn't been too sure about water lately, even baths are sometimes questionable. So here he is, "Don't let it get me, Dad!" Sometimes he would reach out to touch this little fountain, but then he'd need a lot of reassurance again:
More monkey bars for Avery:
We've never seen a peddling contraption like this on a playground before:
Carson may not have been sure about the water, but for the first time he decided he enjoyed slides well enough that he'd get himself up and sit down and slide all on his own:
I was on the other side of the pool with Carson when this next conversation happened, but here's how Travis relayed it:
"Dad, can I play in the sand?"
"No, Avery, we weren't going to go in the sand today" (I know sand is messy Travis, but that's what the shower at the sandbox entrance is for, and as long as Carson - who would hate being showered off - doesn't see than there's no reason Avery can't go in there!)
"But Dad! There's an EXCAVATOR in there!"
"Oh, all right" How's Travis supposed to argue with that logic? :)
So here's Avery filling a bucket quite expertly when I went back in with him later:
I was able to convince Carson to "go splash" and he would run to the edge, splash and run back to me in my chair. Here, he's obliging Travis with the same game:
By the end, Carson did get a little more brave. Instead of just going to the edge when we weren't holding his hand, he made it all the way up to his knees! Go Carson!
Although we had warned him it would be time to leave soon, when the announcement came over the speaker that it was time to close for the morning session Avery was nearly in tears. Such a fun place!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bears and Monkeys!

Here's two quick bits from this past week:

On Wednesday morning before Travis got to go shooting we went out to Cabela's (he needed to buy ammo). There's tons of taxidermy in there so the boys love looking at all the animals and the exhibits and the large walk-through aquarium. You can see a nice photo gallery of what's in our local Cabela's here. Even if you're not a hunting/camping/fishing kind of outdoors person, it's still a fun place to take little kids and look around.

Avery amazed me with his memory while we were there. We haven't been there more than a couple times a year, but as we drove in he instantly remembered having been there with Papa and as we walked around, he knew before we got to one area of the store that he had sat on a 4 wheeler with Papa over there. When did all that with Papa happen? May of 2007! It amazes me that a 3 and a half year old can remember such specifics from over a year ago!

This visit was the first time Carson was big enough to enjoy trying the shooting gallery (it's always nice when an employee stands at the entrance handing out tokens!)
Avery loves this bear - he always has to get big bear hugs...
And of course the boys had to stop and "drive" the little ATVs parked outside. They were both making their own "vroom vroom" type of noises here!

Then, yesterday, after an OB appointment for me and before Travis took off to the school (he had volunteered to help pass out instruments to the incoming freshman) we stopped at a park to play for a bit. I suppose Avery has been more than capable of doing the monkey bars for some time now, but in my condition I certainly never thought to hoist him up and help. With Travis there Avery tried them and did great! He thinks he needs Travis to hold his lower legs to do it, but obviously that's just a mental comfort since there's no support actually given there.
I know he seems a bit whiney about doing them in this video, but I promise he actually asked me to "make a movie" of him on them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


In all the time we've lived here, Travis has only gotten out shooting just once (out here in WI anyway) for an Elders activity. So he was more than happy to go again yesterday. Someone with suitable property for shooting had invited Eric, a school friend, out and the invitation was extended to Travis.

Eric tries out Travis' AK-47
Travis and Daniel (Eric's son). Photos courtesy of Travis' cell.

Thanks, Eric, for providing Travis with an afternoon doing something he enjoys so much!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


No, not Forks, Washington all you Twilight heads. Not even forks you eat with.
Motorcycle forks.
With many thanks to the city of Milwaukee and their HORRIBLE roads, Travis needed to replace the seals in the forks of his motorcycle. While he had it all apart he figured he would replace the springs too. Being the big guy that he is, the stock springs in there probably weren't terribly sufficient for Travis, so he ordered some aftermarket Progressive springs.

He ordered the parts he needed back in May. After issues with things on back order, they finally arrived. So back on Friday he started in on the bike. After all that waiting for parts, how annoyed was Travis when he discovered he needed a tool he didn't have. We went looking that night, but didn't find what he needed (for the curious, he needed a 17mm hex bit - it's like a gargantuan Allen wrench).
That night he found online that sears had the bit singly for $21 or a set of 4 for $40! OUCH! Harbor Freight to the rescue! How can you not love that place? He was able to get the bit he needed in a 9 piece set for only $14! The 17mm is the biggest one in the set!

So on Monday morning during Carson's nap and before we hit the museum Travis got back into the bike.

Looks strange without the forks and wheel...
Travis wanted a shot of his stuff laid out. That's one of the forks on the left. The short spring is the one that came out of his bike, the long one is the new heavy duty one that went in.
After the museum, Travis got back to the bike and when the boys woke up from their naps we all went out to give him company as he finished up. Here he is putting it all back together:
Getting the wheel back on:
Two necessary tools for the job? A PVC pipe and a battery filler - a glorified turkey baster. The PVC pipe, a whopping $1.97 after tax, was to drive the seals in, rather than the real tool that costs more like $40! He said the PVC worked perfectly. The other tool was to replace an oil level adjuster, also about $40, but his perfectly adequate alternative was also only a dollar or two!
Time for a test run!
When he got back he exclaimed, "Holy cow, I wished I'd done that sooner!" Now he wishes there were an aftermarket adjustment to the rear suspension (he hasn't really looked to see if there is). The front takes bumps so smoothly now that he can really notice the bumps coming from the rear.

Avery LOVES being outside when Daddy works on things. He wants to "help" although of course he spends most of the time playing. He does really like learning about all the tools though.
Carson really wants to get on Avery's trike here, but he just can't figure out the order to get the correct foot over...
Okay, so maybe it doesn't sound like the smartest thing to let my kids run around barefoot outside, let alone in the garage, but I promise they were safe... from everything but serious grime of course...
Not that Avery found a bath for those filthy feet objectionable! Carson did though. For some reason he's gotten really fussy about baths more often than not lately...
(btw that's the museum bracelet from earlier that day still on Carson's ankle)

One vehicle project down, one to go... until the next round of annoyances anyway...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to the Museum

With Travis having his two weeks off and my being so close to delivery and the subsequent down time, I'm keeping us BUSY! I want to get out and go and do and go and do and go and do before I don't know how to handle 3 kids and Travis is back to school.

So, yesterday we visited the Milwaukee Public Museum. It's certainly not a new place we've been since it's free on Mondays to county residents, but it's really nice for the boys getting to take Daddy along.

Avery's favorite is still the butterflies:

This one landed on the back of my arm:
Carson was SO fascinated:
He REALLY wanted to touch/hold one, but he would wiggle his little finger as he held it out...
so I love how you can see Travis' shock that one actually decided to climb aboard:
Carson registers that there really is a butterfly on him!
Bye bye butterfly. That's right, it only lasted about 2 seconds...
Avery was happy sitting in this cocoon and thought it was cool... until he realized we were setting up a photo op when Travis plunked Carson in there...
We've never stopped to play in this butterfly/insect area, so it was fun to see Avery and Travis doing this butterfly puzzle together:
Just because I think this shot is fun:
Avery was pretty interested here... "Why are they killing the bison, Mom?"
We're having so much fun doing so many things with Daddy! I have a feeling when he goes back to school this coming Monday Avery is going to have some issues...

Olympic Congrats!

Back in February I put a post up about Travis and rowing at Oregon State University. One of the guys in his boat freshman year, Josh Inman, was in the USA Olympic Men's 8 boat this year. Josh has been on the US team for a few years, rowing in the world championships and so forth, but he hasn't always been in the 8 boat. Men's 8 is essentially the main event in rowing.

Congrats to Josh and the US men for taking bronze on Sunday. They made a great push, passing others after a slow start and just barely missed the silver. The US men may not have defended their gold this time, but the women's 8 took gold for the first time since 1984, so congrats to them too.

In the picture below Josh is the tall shaggy one 3rd from the right. Coincidentally, he's the tall shaggy one standing 3rd from the right in the first picture of my last post about rowing (here).

It's fun watching for someone you know. 4 years ago, in Athens, the US men not only took gold, but set the world record as well. Travis knew someone on that boat too! Joey Hansen was a year ahead of Travis so they were never in the same boat, but again it was fun for him knowing someone.

Monday, August 18, 2008

2 Weeks to Go!

Today marks just 2 weeks until my due date! So I decided yesterday was a good day to force Travis to take my picture again since I was wearing the same little jacket I wore back in the 3 months to go post. Here's me trying for the same angle as that last post and then one of the big ol' profile.
Currently the baby has dropped significantly. Enough that at my last appointment on Thur. which was at 37 and a half weeks, my measurement had dropped back to 35cm because the kid has lodged himself so far down. (I know the moms reading this understand that - but for those that don't know, they measure your belly top to bottom and like to see it at the same number cm as weeks you are - all my pregnancies have been great about being right on or within a half cm). My doctor was literally shocked when she saw my belly while laying down and definitely didn't think she ever saw Carson get that far down!
So, amongst other signs, things are moving along... :)

Winding down after Beach Saturday?

Winding down? No. After all the excitement of our Saturday at the beach, a nap cures all. While Avery played outside and Travis worked outside, Carson had some great play time without his big brother to bug him. His favorite was throwing all the pillows off the chair so he could jump on them:

When I looked at this next picture I thought "What happened to my BABY?! He looks like a little boy now..."
Once Avery came in he joined the fun. Whatever Carson did, Avery wanted to do. Carson sat on this chair and Avery wanted to sit on it with him. That didn't go over well so instead he went and got another chair to put next to Carson:
Carson decided to play in the laundry basket and Avery had to follow suit:
Doesn't this look like a tip-over waiting to happen:Miraculously that didn't happen. Such silly boys...