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Griff and the toasty, pretty hot, extremely warm, very steamy day

Today was so unexpectedly and amazingly productive, we’re kind of at a loss about what to do tomorrow.

We started out by arriving at the Durham Farmers Market just a hair after 8am. Donuts, sausage biscuits, and muffins were consumed and tomatoes, corn, blackberries, cantaloupe, strawberries (last of the season!), blueberries, peaches, cheese, bread, and crackers were brought home. We stupidly forgot the cooler, so we skipped buying meat and headed home with our haul. Jag left to take a load of boxes and packing materials from the move to the recycling center while Griff and I made popsicles with peaches, strawberries, vanilla yogurt and a little maple syrup.

Strawberry/Peach yogurt pops

Jag came back home just as the FedEx guys were dropping off the water table we’d ordered from Amazon in anticipation of this weekend’s weather. We got Griff’s little hard-sided pool and a new cheapo 5′ vinyl pool set up and filled with water, figured out how to put the water table together, and settled in for a morning of splashing around.

Trying to beat the heat

Eventually Mommy and Daddy took advantage of the pools, too. Aaahh.

Trying to stay cool

After lunch, Griff was so tired from all the water play that he went down for an at-home nap for the first time in three weeks! Jag had time for some very relaxing reading and I was able to sew Griff a pair of shorts from some awesome Viking longboat fabric. I got the fabric at Hawthorne Threads and used the TieDyeDiva Cargo Shorts pattern for the shorts. I’m fairly happy with the results, but there are a few tweaks I’m planning to make with the next ones. The fake fly is a cute feature.

New  Viking longboat shorts for Griff

My model obligingly interrupted his post-nap popsicle sampling to show off his new shorts for Mommy.

Check out my belleh

We made Greek lamb pies for dinner (though in retrospect, using the oven today was a bad idea). Griff was pretty excited about having his own rolling pin to imitate me with.

Rolling with mommy

For Kitchenaid ice cream attachment experiment #2, we tried a more custardy mix than our first no-cook attempt. We used this Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream recipe, with the custard mix made the night before to make sure it was cold enough. It. Was. Amazing.

Is it done yet?

After I portioned out bowls of fresh ice cream for everyone and turned back from putting the rest away in the freezer, I saw that one of us couldn’t control himself around the not-quite-empty freezer bowl.


Griff and Jag went with their usual crumbled Oreos, while I had peaches on mine.

Homemade vanilla ice cream with peaches

And now to pass out.

How to get a 2-year-old to stand in one place for 20 minutes


You scream


I scream


We all scream


For ice cream!


(And we read the manual for the ice cream attachment to make sure Mommy is doing it right.)



Also, we have ROSES at the new house! Yippeeee!


Packathon 2012: Day One

T-Minus 6 Days til the Move.

Good progress was made today in packing, with Griff blissfully playing at daycare and Jag and I using up 5 rolls of tape and wondering how we ever managed to collect this much crap. We managed to finish packing up several rooms and got a great start on the kitchen, and we even had time to stop by the new house to drop off a load of cold stuff for the fridge/freezer and check up on the progress of the painting and other minor work we’re having done. (The colors are looking great; before/after pictures to come this weekend once the work is finished.)

We headed to Cary in the late afternoon to pick up Griff and then stopped to run some errands at the local Target and Lowes. Our little bookworm insisted on bringing some reading material with him. Apparently “Wheels on the Bus” is a gripping yarn that keeps you turning the pages until the shocking, blood-soaked ending. Or something.

Our little bookworm

We grabbed a quick fast food dinner in Cary and then decided we’d all be better for a visit at North Cary Park. This was clearly a good decision. Sean and I felt a bazillion times less tired and tense afterwards, and Griff had a total blast.

A few park features if you’ve never been:

Not one, but two awesome slides built into hills.

Hill slide at North Cary Park

Daddies like them, too!

Slides are fun for Daddies too

Sunset sliding

The real attraction, though, is the giant sandbox. It’s eleventy million times more awesome if your parents let you take off your shoes and run around like a crazed mongoose.

“I am the King of the Small Artificially Molded Climbing Rock!”

I wanna ROCK

Sandy feet. And hair. And clothes. etc.


Dumping the sand

After a while mom and dad give up and take off their shoes and run around, too.

Playing in the sand

“I don’t always completely cover myself in sand, but when I do, I make sure I sprinkle some in every conceivable bodily crevice so there are plenty of surprises when my mommy and daddy are putting my jammies on.”

Hanging in the clubhouse

Awesome morning was pretty awesome

We got off to a rocky start thanks to a 5am wakeup call from Griff. But things improved from there, and we ended up at the Durham Farmers Market at around 8:30 on a gorgeous morning, before the main bulk of the crowds arrived.

Strawberries and doughnut muffins from Scratch were consumed. (And a gouda cheese pretzel from the pretzel truck.)



Giant birds were scaled.



A cool vase was purchased. (As well as some camera-shy cheese, herbs, and meat.)


After dropping off the perishables at home, we headed out to the Few’s Ford entrance of Eno River State Park. What a totally perfect day for the river. Warm, but not hot, partly sunny, and the water temperature felt great.


Does Griff love the river?






Yes, he does.


Rocks were thrown.


Rocks were tasted.


Deep thoughts were thunk.



Cuteness occurred.






And on the way home, at least one of us got some much-needed sleep.


Knee biters and the boobie tree

This evening while clearing the table after dinner, I noticed that Griff had scraped his knee. Naturally, I inquired about what had happened.

“Jackson bite a knee,” Griff informed me, then added, “Wobert bite a knee.”

I felt moved to record these stunning allegations of rampant knee-biting at day care. In his rambling, raisin-filled testimony, Griff also revealed the surprising truth about his father’s whereabouts during this post-dinner period.

During our after-dinner family walk around the neighborhood, we stumbled upon something even more mind-boggling: a Boobie Tree!

It appears more or less harmless from a distance.

Boobie tree from a distance

However, as you approach, you can clearly see the shocking truth!

The Boobie Tree, from a distance

Helpful diagram

Young children are terrorized by this unexpected arboreal mammary spectacle.

Young child terrorized by boobie tree

There can be only one solution. I must sneak out at night and put a bra on it. Or maybe some pasties.

Tree Bra?

All kinds of randomness

The last few weeks have been rather sucky and stressful for various reasons, but I have managed to get some enjoyable things done (as well as some things that weren’t exactly fun, but have been bugging me for ages and now they’re done and I’m all happy about it).

Take, for example, these two end tables. Nothing wrong with them, just your basic solid wood tables from the unfinished wood furniture store. Except that they were never actually, you know, finished. They had been in this state for years, the wood was getting banged up and discolored from spills and water rings, and I declared that they would not be entering the new house in their current state.

End tables, before

Enter an unexpected day off, and we now have two finished end tables! I’ve never done this before, and it definitely falls into the “time consuming and a lot of work, but not hard” category. I used water-based stain. While it’s lower odor, it is a bit challenging to worth with because it dries so fast, and you have to quickly clean it out of the various joints and crevices in the wood so you don’t get obvious dark areas. I used two coats of stain (a mix of oak and walnut) and two coats of polyurethane, letting the poly dry for 24 hours between applications and sanding between coats.

Finished end tables

The tables even found time for a round of golf in the yard this afternoon.

Finished end tables

Let’s see. I got in my last round of dyeing before the move, and tie-dyed Griff 5 shirts for the summer. I’m pretty happy with the results, but when I do this again I need to use some thickening agent in the dyes to help stop the bleeding between colors.

Tie-dyed shirts for hippie Griff

All the craft bloggers are doing this, so I jumped on the decoupaged wooden letters bandwagon (I used scrapbook paper). These will go in Griff’s new room after we move.

Decoupaged Griff letters

Speaking of the little man, here he is, sweeping the floor in his wizard hat. I have no explanation.

I have no explanation

I’m very slowly knitting myself a pair of socks. I haven’t knitted socks in a couple years, and I just grabbed an old ball of Opal from the bottom of my stash, cast on 80 stitches on size 1s (I’m a tight knitter), and I’m cranking out a basic top-down sock.

Sock knitting

One of the great things about Durham is the parks. Just when you think you’ve already been to all the great playgrounds, you find another one. We stopped at Burch Avenue Park on a whim this weekend, and Griff totally loved it. Some kids are obsessed with trains; Griff is obsessed with school buses.

Schoolbus at Burch Ave park

The Griffins on the bus bust out the window

Daddy got in on the action for a minute or so before being summarily kicked out.

Griff and Daddy driving the bus

The other play equipment was pretty impressive, but Griff was not interested.

Playground at Burch Ave Park

Griff was totally content to spend nearly the entire time climbing around the bus (until we realized that he had a giant poop in his diaper, and also it was time to leave to go grocery shopping, and there was some crying and wailing). But here’s a happy picture to end with.

Griff enjoying Burch Ave Park

The End.

Touch a Truck, and Vikings

Today we attended the Fourth Annual Touch a Truck fund-raiser at University Mall. Basically, this involves a whole bunch of police cars, fire trucks, buses, construction equipment, etc parked in the University Mall parking lot while millions of screaming toddlers clamber up into their driver’s seats in order to lean on their incredibly loud, industrial-strength horns for several minutes at a stretch.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad. It started at noon, and Griff is a strict right-after-lunch napper, so we knew we had a short window of opportunity. He had a great time right up until his tiredness caught up with him while waiting in line and we had to drag him off while he screamed about “MY firetruck”. For about 15 miles.

At Touch a Truck

At Touch a Truck

He loved the helicopter. He could have spent a half hour playing in the cockpit.

Elmo is my copilot


In the helicopter

And he loved the motorcycle…

Get me a beer and some chicks

And the dump truck…

Drivin' a truck, drivin' a big ole truck..

…and this giant bus…

A BUS!!!!

…And the ambulance.

Checking out the ambulance

We grabbed lunch at the mall before the event and when Sean foolishly left to find the potty, I grabbed Griff and ran into The Red Hen, a children’s and maternity consignment shop. This place is everything a consignment store should be. It has a fantastic, clean, well-organized selection of clothes, toys, and other items, the prices are excellent, it has a play area, and the staff are wonderful. I found the most awesome Viking ship toy for Griff, and while I was checking out I commented to him that he only had to wait a few more minutes to see the big trucks outside. The woman at the register overheard this and offered to hold the item for me so I could come back with my Touch a Truck armband and get a 20% discount. SCORE!

So yeah, is this thing not amazing?

Griff's Viking ship

The historical accuracy is stunning. Here we have a typical Viking family of four, out for a Vike in their longboat. In the back are Pa and Ma Viking. Pa has braided his beard for the occasion.

Ma and Pa Viking

Up front are the Vikelets, fighting over who is taking up more room on the rowing bench. “MAAAAaaAAA! Thorfinn is TOUCHING ME!”


Here we see the family as they head off to sack a monastery (we can assume this because the only supplies in the boat are an empty barrel and an empty treasure chest, so they must be planning to pick up a snack and some valuable gold altar pieces while they’re out and about). Ma and Pa are canoodling in the back while Thorfinn is making Snorri smell his feet.

Vikin' here and there

The hammer of the gods/will drive our ships to new lands…

Bon Voyage

Dear Eno River,

You are my favoritest river ever!

At the Eno

Griff and Daddy

I lurve you.

Eno River


Ok, fine. I kind of like these two guys, too.

Griff and Daddy

Griff and Daddy

Happy Birthday, little man

At exactly 9:14pm two years ago, you popped into the world. We still can’t quite believe that you’re here, but we hope you’re enjoying the ride!

Man, what a week. Griff was really, really sick for the first time, with a fever that registered at either 104.2 or 103.5 depending on which device we used, his first ear infection, a runny nose, and a wheezy cough that required a nebulizer treatment at the doc and some at-home asthma spray. Despite our best efforts (which at his age can only amount to Advil for fever and pain, a warm steamy vaporizer in his room, and raising one end of his crib mattress to help him breathe), poor Griff didn’t sleep through the night for a week. He was utterly exhausted after waking 3 or more times a night, and so were we.

We also had our first experience with Griff refusing to eat and drink for an extended period (which resulted in one of our most stressful days since he was a newborn and I was frantically trying to figure out the nursing thing) and our first time being unable to get him to take medicine (he’s always sucked down his liquid Ibuprofen like a champ). We were totally unprepared for the coaxing, begging, pleading, multiple failed attempts to disguise the antibiotic in various yummy foods, and finally, the all-out screaming wrestling matches that left us feeling like the worst parents on the planet. Note: even if you can get medicine into a toddler’s mouth, it doesn’t mean they’ll swallow it. Ever.

We now know that liquid Amoxicillin is the most vile substance known to humanity, with a stench that no amount of delicious decoy food can hide, and that if you call the doctor and explain that your kid is not having it, they’ll prescribe something else that 1.) tastes pretty decent all by itself 2.) only needs to be taken once a day instead of twice and 3.) has a dosage volume roughly half that of Amoxicillin, which means it’s really easy to stir into a small amount of chocolate pudding that the unsuspecting victim patient can reasonably be expected to consume, given his reduced appetite. Which of course begs the question of why they didn’t prescribe this alternate medication in the first place.

Things have improved quite a bit, although Griff’s appetite is still not back to normal and he napped for almost 4 hours today. Here he is with his beloved school bus (a $4 toy we bought on a whim to keep him occupied at lunch one weekend, which he has since become utterly obsessed with. The house rings with cries of “Mah BUS! Mah BUS!” when he misplaces it.)

A boy and his bus

I haven’t been feeling any knitting projects lately, so I’ve turned back to sewing Big Butt Baby Pants as pajama bottoms. The pattern only goes up to 2T, and I’ve needed to start adding cuffs to make them long enough. As you can see, I’ve decided to give up and embrace the Elmo thing. La-la-la-LA! La-la-la-LA! Elmo pants!

Griff jammie pants