It has been terribly cold for Belgium this last week. The frost never burns off the back lawn, and I never completely warm up until I crawl back into bed at night. Today we decided to stay home where it was (fairly) warm and cozy, instead of venturing out into the deceitfully bright and cheery but actually freezing winter morn. So we just left Liam in his favorite jammies — the one’s with the fire truck — and he spend the morning toddling around looking adorable and being snug-as-a-bug warm. Ummm, can I get a pair of these?

He’s also getting progressively better with an open-top cup. Here’s a couple pics of him sharing a cup of water with Bear.

Incidentally, over the last week or so he’s also decided that Bear should wear a diaper, and I’ve found him on numerous occasions laying Bear on the floor and lifting his legs, trying to get a diaper beneath him. Today Liam actually read a book to him. I think someone has a new best friend.

101 things continued…

32. pickles
33. cheese and mushroom pizza
34. his “Brum” shirt
35. his fire truck (nee-naw) jammies
36. making weird faces
37. seeing us make weird faces
38. baths (pre-washing up, of course)
39. airplanes (those he’s not on, of course>
40. birds
41. scented candles
42. his sock monkey
43. his two bunnies
44. spinning locks on mailboxes
45. playing with his belly button
46. spinning in Daddy’s computer chair
47. getting his own way
48. flushing the toilet while I take a shower
49. waking Daddy up
50. trucks trucks trucks trucks and trucks

Just 51 more favorite things to go. Did you make the cut? I know I did. Here’s Liam giving me my reward for being his Favorite Mom.

Liam's tricks

Update to the drawer lock situation…

We had drawer locks on the armoir that holds our television and DVDs. He can now open and close the bottom drawers with impunity. I may as well remove the locks. As for the kitchen drawer, we use a spatula to depress the latch. If he can reach that spatula on the counter, he tries to do the same thing. He can’t see into the drawer, but he knows very well that spatula is to push on something then the drawer opens.

Furthermore, he connects some of his signed words together now. He knows very well the difference between apple and orange juice. And, when we are getting him some juice from t he refrigerator, he strings together the signs for “apple” or “orange” then the sign for “drink”. He is now able to voice his preferences.

Liam also knows what the abstract idea of synonyms is. He knows that “orange” and “mouse” each have two different meanings, and uses them in the correct context.

I think he’s a pretty smart little boy.


My stuff for a change

K writes all the posts, so I thought I’d put in one of my own. No pictures. Physics 111 is child’s play. The course isn’t done until February 20th, but I’ve been done with all the homework assignments since last week. I was expecting a calculus based physics course. This is discovery channel stuff. All the better for me.

What else? I finally sent off my wristwatches for service so I can wear them. Over the years, I’ve collected three Seiko watches and a nice Citizen watch. None of them were cheapos. I suppose I just replaced them when they needed service and I was somewhat tired of them at the time. So, I like wristwatches. Anyway, it didn’t seem to me to be much use having nice wristwatches in a box if none of them worked. Two of them will still need bands after I get them back…

I installed a drawer catch in the kitchen to stop Liam from getting into one of the drawers. We can’t open it either, without a tool. The countertop overhangs the drawer stop, so the only way to press the catch is to reach in with a spatula and push down the latch. That’s security.

There is a NATO civilian post vacant in my shop. It was advertised once, but not filled. So, it will be re-advertised sometime soon. I will be applying for that job. I wish I was done with my engineering degree, but I don’t think it will matter too much as far as getting hired. I have a lifetime of experience in the field and, I know the chairman of the selection board very well. That can’t hurt. My only concern is if NATO can wait until I am released from active duty. It seems my service commitment is June 2007, which is when my tour here is up (if I don’t ask for an extension). So, if I submit retirement papers, I can be out as early as June 1st minus 100 days, which works out to February 21, 2007. I wonder if I’ll know about the NATO post before I have to decide whether to retire or extend my tour here.

So, that’s the news from me. I hope it was interesting.



We regret that we must preempt today’s portion of “101 things Liam loves” to bring you this special announcement. We have been suckered into buying a Sky subscription.

Those of you that know us well might remember that, upon leaving Hawaii, Jesse and I vowed not to have ANY television in our next home. We were going to make do with DVDs et al, and spend all the time we used to spend watching television doing family things. But somehow that scenario, while all warm and cosy from a parenting magazine , fades in the cold, gray Belgian winter. When we first arrived, our house was already wired with Belgian cable. So for about four months, we occasionally watched the two English-speaking channels we received. Then we decided to get a Sky box, which would allow us to get the free-to-view programming off the British satellite. We were fine with this for some time.

Then enters our friend, Derek. Every time he goes on vacation, he leaves his Sky card with us for *safekeeping*. Hah! I think he must secretly work for Sky, and gets a commission when one of us saps sign on. Every time it gets a little harder to give it back. The last couple of times I’ve been hoping he would forget to come and collect it. But he never does. So finally J and I have succumbed to the lure of having hundreds of channels at our beck and call. We currently have every channel known to man — or at least to every Briton. We have to keep the full package for one month; at that time we will ditch the movie channels (think HBO), the sports channels, the music package, and all the extra news channels. No, really. Hmmm, unless Derek can talk to his chums and get us a good deal…?

Liam sizes up the new programming lineup.

101 things

Every blog must have a *101 things* list on it somewhere. 101 favorite things. 101 worst moments. It’s a rule. I looked it up. So here’s the beginning of our list:


1. Tractors — to the point of obsession. We have seven spread out on our living room floor at this very moment.
2. Sitting on his daddy’s lap and watching video of the bagpipes we saw in Scotland.
3. Giving sips from his juice box to me… and to Tractor Tom and to all his stuffed animals.

4. Going outside without a coat on.
5. Being told he’s a “baaddd” boy.
6. Cuddling with his mommy or daddy first thing in the morning.
7. Figuring out how things work.
8. Making coffee for us.
9. Playing with anything breakable.
10. Flipping the lights on and off and on and off and on and off.
11. Being the one to feed the dog.
12. Oranges.
13. Walking down the street to the bakery.
14. Being carried around, even though he’s a big boy now.
15. Playing with the radio.
16. Telling us what color everything is.
17. Oatmeal-raisin cookies.
18. Reading books.
19. Listening to Beethoven.
20. Bending us to his will.
21. Thomas the Tank Engine.
22. Beer.
23. Keys.
24. Playing in the sink and splashing water all over the floor.
25. Helping me cook.
26. Playing with the computer.
27. Hide and seek.
28. Taking all the DVD’s out of the drawers.
29. Going for car rides.
30. Going for car rides at night when the everything is lit up.
31. Talking on the phone.

Well, that’s enough for the night. Come back tomorrow — heck, who am I kidding?? — come back next week for the next third of the list.

hug a monkey

This post is for Jesse’s Gramma. When he was a boy, she made him a sock monkey. Now it’s one of Liam’s favorite stuffed animals. Here’s a shot of both generations with their monkey.


I remember hearing stories of my cousin Chris practicing faces in the mirror — trying to get the sad, pitiful look down pat for sympathy, you know? Well, Liam’s been practicing his “happy” and “sad” faces. See?



The sad look is getting better, as he can now make his chin quiver on command, and can add an impressive sniffing sound. I think we have our work cut out for us in the coming years!

catching up

Are you sick of hearing how sick we all are? Us, too. Now that life is nearly back to normal — gone are the long coughing spells and the goo oozing from our noses — perhaps we can get this blog back on track. Let’s see, what’s been happening as of late?

Most of you may know this, but for those that aren’t aware, I just finished my college degree. In fact, I just received my diploma two weeks ago. It took me fifteen years, but I finally got my BA. Why fifteen years? Well, toss in an early marriage to the so wrong guy, years of recovering from that experience, a brief sojourn in the navy, a whirlwind courtship with the right man, moving literally halfway around the globe to be with said right man, taking a job that didn’t give me a moment to breathe, getting pregnant and having a baby, moving back to the other side of the globe… you get the picture. ANYWAY, fifteen years later, I’ve got my degree.

Jesse said I could have anything I wanted for my graduation present. Now, what I really want is for us to buy a house and settle down where we’re going to live out our lives. But that’s part of our 5-7 year plan, not part of our *immediate future* plan. After a couple weeks of hemming and hawing, I had an epiphany. Sitting in my living room next to me is a high-end elliptical trainer. Not a $300 walmart special, but a real gym-class machine. It’s great! Jesse set it up a couple days ago (with a modicum of cussing, some so original they still baffle me), and I got my first workout in on it that evening. And then spent the night coughing so hard that I thought I might puke. We agreed to let it gather dust for a couple days while we finish recovering.

Oh, you say you don’t really care about that? Fine. Here’s what you really came here for.

Don’t you just love Liam’s spiky hair in this picture? Obviously, he just got up from a nap. Yes, that is my foot in his belly. It was the only way I could keep him far enough away from the camera to get a shot.

Just a cute one of Liam sitting at the table, examining a CD cover. Do you love the yellow oxford?

Recently Liam has developed a habit of sucking in his upper lip and jutting the lower one out. This isn’t the best pic, but captures the look. He does this all the time! He loves it when I grab his lower lip and say, What’s this?!

It boggles the mind how much that little boy of ours knows. Because he isn’t much for talking yet, sometimes it’s difficult to gauge how much he retains. For example, we just learned that he knows all his basic colors — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, and white! He’s also just added another word to his repetoire — father (fa-jah). Why does he start with the difficult f sounds? We’re starting to work on counting and his alphabet, but until he chooses to bamboozle us with all the speech skills he’s storing up it’s anybody’s guess as to how much the genius already knows. Heck, I’m probably wasting my time. I should have just handed over Jesse’s physics textbook when Liam grabbed for it earlier! I’m probably underestimating his abilities!