You may remember that a couple weeks ago Liam started using the potty. It was pretty hit and miss, mostly miss. Since the weather’s been cold as of late, I haven’t even tried recently. Then, two nights ago, Liam decided by himself that he wanted to use the potty before bed. He brought it out, got some help getting undressed, then sat down and did his business. Yesterday morning he must have peed half a dozen times or more. And today, we were accident free from first thing this morning til just now, when he didn’t quite make it to the pot (couldn’t pull down his training pants in time). And he was so distraught about the accident, you’d have thought his favorite tractor lay broken on the floor.

I wouldn’t consider him fully trained yet, and it will be a while before I take him out of the house sans diapers, but we’re well on our way!

I know how you all love pictures of the lad, but since pictures of half-naked little boys attract the wrong sort, here are a couple shots from a few days ago.
First, the artwork:

Now, the artiste:

School progress

I took my last two final exams today. Physics II and Industrial Electronics. Physics was a lark. I mean a real walk in the park. I mean simple physics. The toughest question was a Lorentz contraction problem. ooohhh. Piece of cake. The electronics course was no harder, but the test took longer. The main problems with that course were a very badly written textbook and an online instuctor that did absolutely nothing except score assignments. I will so say when I get to give feedback on these courses.

One more test to take on June 19th. Statistics. I would think after teaching myself trigonometry and calculus, getting my mind around statistics shouldn’t be a far stretch.

more words

29. mop
30. moon
31. truck
32. tree
33. tower
34. wood
35. hole

I’m sure there are other words he’s added since I last updated the “he speaks” category. The words kind of slip in under our radar — all of a sudden he’s adden another word. His favorite word right now is “tower.” There’s a water tower on SHAPE in the shape of a giant ball. He also understands the concept of radio signals coming from a tower. So every tower we see, he makes sure we know that it could be a “ball” water tower, or an antenna tower for radios.

Incidentally, last week while waiting for Jesse to come home I cautioned Liam about a big hole in the ground where he was playing. I told him to be careful, because if he stepped in it he might hurt his ankle. Now, every hole he sees, he repeats that sentence to me — part in words and part in signs. The kid has a memory like no other!

Soft Pretzels

Yesterday I ran out of pretzels. They are my snack of choice at the moment — bready, salty, and relatively fat free. What could be better? So when my Snyder’s bag was empty, Liam and I decided to try making our own. Here is the recipe we used:

1 package of yeast
1.5 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar (we used Splenda)
4 cups flour
1 egg, beaten
coarse salt

Since you will be kneading the dough on the countertop, the first thing you must do is clean your surface area. Spray it down well,

then clean well with paper towels.

You will need I packet of yeast. Cut open with nifty little kid-safe lime green scissors (Liam did it himself) and put in a glass bowl. Dissolve in warm water, then add salt and sugar.

Add in the flour 1/4 cup at a time, having Mom mix it well.

Knead the dough to mix in the last bits of flour. When it is smooth, break off a handful. Roll it out into a long “worm”, as Liam is demonstrating, then twist into a pretzel shape. Note that there are no example photos. The reason is three-fold. 1) Liam prefers to leave his pretzels in their original “worm-like” shape. 2) I am the master-pretzel shaper of the family, but am unable to shape pretzels and operate a camera at the same time. 3) I’m actually not much of a master-pretzel shaper, and they all ended up looking more like a fat glob than actual pretzels.

Brush with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with salt. We used kosher salt on some (ennh, ok but not great; and rock salt on the others — better). Into the oven at 425F for about 12-14 minutes. Grab a banana to tide you over.

Voila! Fat bread gobs that somewhat resemble pretzels!

Enjoy! These don’t last long, but they won’t have to!

a belated Mother's Day post

I must confess that sometimes I find motherhood daunting. Not the daily goings on, but the fact that the well-being of this one fabulous child rests pretty much on my shoulders. And not only his well-being today, but the man he will become. And so I often find myself worrying. While he’s joyously scaling the two-brick high wall in our garden, I’m trying to gauge if I can get there in time to catch him if he falls. He tosses his blocks around, and I wonder if I should stop him, because surely he’ll turn into a bully in school if he continues along that strain. He refuses to eat a carrot, and I foresee him as a scrawny, sickly old blind man — I’m exaggerating, but you see my point. Too often I worry about the consequences of what he does today, instead of simply enjoying the person he is becoming.

It’s something I’m trying to work on: finding the same joy he finds in life. He’s getting more adventurous every day, and more willful. It’s all part and parcel of being a two year old. So instead of tensing up when he’s climbing to new heights, I’m trying to encourage him. And I’m thrilled to see him grow and change and try new things. It’s amazing the things he finds joy in.

And he found A LOT of joy in this:

And so I’ll try to put a positive spin on it. Remember the little boy that hated to get his hands dirty? I think he’s gone. And in his place is this little man that loves to experiment and make surprisingly intricate modern art collages, working in mediums never before used. Mediums, like, say….

peach yogurt. An entire pot of peach yogurt. And I think it’s funny.

I don’t want to belabor the point, so I’ll stop here. I’m so glad to be Liam’s mommy, he brings me so much joy and love.

It’s nearly time for bed. Liam chose to sleep in his “Brum” t-shirt tonight. We read a couple good bedtime books, and he even brushed his own teeth. Goodnight, Daddy.

Nature boy hit the garden today. Note the bare nekkid legs. He was especially dutiful in making sure to get the grass under the hedge.

Today was a pretty exciting day for Liam: he actually peed in the potty for the first time! And this afternoon he ran around the back garden without any britches, watering the flowers. I’d post pics of his cute little tushie, but it won’t be too many years before he’s towering over me and I don’t want to incur any lasting wrath. So here’s a shot, with pants. Poor kid; he looks pretty beat up, doesn’t he?

He also fell outside and skinned his knees today. Anyone want to place bets on when he’ll fall out of one of the trees and break his first bone? Next week?

Here at Northwood

I’m getting ready to finish my first day at Northwood, UK. We had a bit of a busy day, but not too bad. I have to go straight to the Senior NCO Mess after work to make it in time for supper. Then, back to my very small room to do some more studying for my final exams. Not much else to do, really, and I should take advantage of the uninterrupted free time. I am looking forward to coming home, though. But on the upside, I nicked a power cord for the kettle in my room so I can more easily make a cup of instant coffee in the morning before work. Yummy.

K, thanks for keeping up with the blog. I noticed it wasn’t answering again for awhile this morning. Did you fix it, or did it fix itself?

Talk you you tonight.

Love, J

Take care of my boy.

Sorry, I had a brain shart (those who don’t get it — you’re not supposed to). I forgot that I needed to resize the pics before uploading them.

Being cute doesn’t give you a free ride in this household, you know. Liam has to work to earn his keep. Here he is doing the gardening for me.

The guys relaxing yesterday in the back yard.

Battered and bruised. Note the brow, the cheek, the nose… It looks quite a bit worse today, actually.

That’s all for now. I tried to take a pic of my hair, but when you’re holding a digital camera at arms’ length to try and take a shot of yourself, you get nothing but nose and a stupid expression. (at least that’s what I get)