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Nathan's Big Boy Bed

The big boy bed
The big boy bed
assembled
assembled
For the past six months or so, Nathan has been sleeping on a twin mattress on the floor, sharing a room with Nicole. We moved them in together so Annie could have a room to herself while she is still a crying machine. When Nathan switched rooms, we moved him out of his daybed (crib) and onto a real, big-boy mattress. He was so excited. We looked and looked for a bed that we liked, but could not find one. We wanted something that was made out of wood, stained rather than painted, and with a low or no footboard. He is going to be a tall boy when he reaches full height and I don't plan on getting him a bigger bed. Without a footboard, his feet can hang over the end. What good planning, eh?

I finally decided to make a bed. My mom had made all our beds when I was a kid. I know what is involved -- really not much. A headboard, two rails, a footboard, and a platform. Shortly after I made the decision to make the bed, cherry went on sale at our local Rockler and I bought a bunch. It turns out that I underestimated and had to go back for some more, but I had a start. Darren and I started making the bed the first weekend in January. We only worked on Saturdays and even had to skip a couple. So all told, it took about 8 weekends (of about 4-5 hours each) to build and then about 6 hours to finish. This comes to a total of 42 hours. Multiply by $60/hour (two people at $30/hour), add in the $450 of materials and we are the proud new owners of a $2950 twin bed. What am I doing giving this to a 4-year old? Honestly, it pains me to proffer up my labors to the wrecking machine, but I find a lot of solace in the fact that he absolutely loves the bed. It is all part of the branding, much like the Daddy brand bread and pizza are better than all others, Daddy brand beds are on a whole new plane.

Pictures of Anne

Napping on Dad
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I remembered to bring the camera home with me this evening. The big kids and I spent the afternoon at the hospital with Lauren and Anne. Little Anne slept most of the time that we were there. I think she must have napped in my arms for nearly three hours. That is fine with me. In my opinion, cuddling is all babies are good for. They grow out of it so fast; Nathan was my previous cuddle bug and is getting to be a little too big and bony to be a cuddle bug.

Speaking of Nicole and Nathan, when we arrived at the hospital, Anne had a present for each of them: a cape, for the Super Siblings; a magnifying glass, for seeing all her little parts; and a pinwheel because they are fun. The two caped heroes are pretty darn cute. I am sure they will be great helpers with their new baby sister.

The rest of the pictures we have taken so far can be found in the Tiny Anne album.

Say hi to Anne

Anne Muriel was born today at 5:39 P.M., weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. and measuring 21 inches long. Labor and delivery went smoothly, despite being an induction. Well, it was mostly smooth from my point of view. I think it was somewhat less stressful than Nicole or Nathan's birth, but the whole labor/delivery thing freaks me out. The worst part was when the anesthesiologist was giving the epidural. That part took a while and was somewhat painful for Lauren.

Lego Adventure

Nathan got a little Lego set for his birthday and it has turned into a daily favorite. Honestly, I think Nicole loves it even a little more than Nathan does. Mostly she builds the trucks and machines that are in the little 'manual' of ideas that came with it. She is getting to be darn good at following those instructions. Nathan loves for Nicole to build him things. Or me. Or Lauren. He can 'fix' broken things but still isn't quite up to creating new things.

Little picnic princess

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Princess Nicole
Of all things the media (read Disney) had to push upon the poor unsuspecting parents of this world, did they have to choose princesses? Sure, while some of the princess fairy tales have some redeeming value in the form of a good moral or something, that is not what is emphasized in all the princess glamor hoopla. Try as we did, we just could not shield Nicole from this one. They get you coming and going. All her friends are doing it. Nicole is our little princess.

As far as I can gather, Cinderella is her favorite. We have checked out several different versions of the story from the city library. I think my favorite was the one that was told from the point of view of a raven. I can't remember the title, but it shared a nice story of love and sacrifice by the ravens to make Cinderella a dress and finally give up their prized golden ring they found. I guess maybe I liked it because it took the focus off the princess. As a side note, Nathan is a fan of Cinderella too, though he calls her Cinderbelly. (In your head, sing the Cinderelly song from the mice in the the Disney version of Cinderella to see where that comes from.)

A dillar, a dollar, a dinosaur scholar

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Goin' Fishin'
We have a lot of ground to cover since Christmas. I suppose more frequent updates would alleviate this problem, but what would be the fun in that? I am just going to say that I have been very busy and that will have to suffice for my excuse.

A few weeks ago Nathan and I went 'fishing' with some friends at a local lake that was recently stocked with trout. I made a fishing pole for Nathan out of a stick of bamboo and a piece of small rope. While we didn't catch anything (not that we expected to with the gear we brought), we had a lot of fun. Enough fun that we went again a month later and brought Nicole along with us. Mostly, they just ran around chasing ducks and playing with the other kids while all the dads fished and talked. But it was really a nice relaxing way to spend a Saturday morning. Someday, I might even invest in some real fishing tackle and a license. Until then, we will just have to fill up on our imaginary fish. Or we could always tell the story of the one that got away...

The (pre)school girl

bean bagged
bean bagged
Since I wrote about Nathan and all his super-great qualities, I feel the need to report on our super-duper-great girl as well. I guess it must have become commonplace around here that Nicole is no longer a toddler; Nathan has taken that role. Nicole is a big girl.
In daddy's shoes
In daddy's shoes
The pants that we used to roll up now fit just right. She can dress herself without any help from us. Her words and phrases get more sophisticated every day. And she gets sillier by the minute (I'm not quite sure where she gets that from.)

Her imagination is taking off and we are doing the best we can to make sure it doesn't get stifled. Just yesterday, I was reading a book on the couch next to the kids while they were watching Sesame Street. She saw me reading and pulled out one of her Richard Scarry books and started reading that instead of watching the TV. It made me so happy to see my little bookworm pull her head out of the TV and put it in a book where she could use her imagination. Periodically, she would interrupt me and say things like, "I have never seen pickle car with pig's tail before" or, "I love to eat grapes and raisins."

He's all boy

potato head kids
potato head kids
Nathan has been growing and advancing by leaps and bounds. And of course that is the time I choose to neglect reporting all his stories. Though he is not even 18 months old, he seems to be a two year old to us. Both Nicole and Nathan participated in the library summer reading program. They both read (or were read to) for countless hours over the summer. Still, one of the favorite pastimes is reading books.
little bookworm
little bookworm
In addition to being a bookworm, Nathan is learning to say a handful of new words every day and his comprehension seems to be far above that. He doesn't seem to like to submit to the constant daily quiz that we would give to Nicole at his age: "What does a [cow, pig, horse, dog, etc.] say?"; "Where is your [ear, nose, arm, patella, etc]?"; "Can you say [some new precocious word]?". We put Nicole through these questions constantly because she loved the interaction and praise. Nathan doesn't seem to put up with this kind of testing. But when we give him a pair of folded socks and say, "Go put these away", he takes the socks to his room and puts them in his sock box. I guess what I am trying to say is that Nathan is a freakin' genius in his own way.

I'm not spoiled

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We were having dinner with some friends recently, and in an effort to get Nicole to finish her dinner, Lauren hinted that we might have something else to eat (i.e., dessert) when she finished her food. She plowed right past Lauren's hint and exclaimed, "A treat!" Her expectant response prompted one grown-up friend to say, "Wow, Nicole, you must be spoiled!" Nicole piped right up and replied, "I'm not spoiled, I'm a girl!" Looking into the brain of Nicole, I figure she was thinking something along the lines of "They just called me a spoiled. I am not sure what a spoiled is, but I know I am not a spoiled because I am a girl." All that happened in a split second and then she came back with her retort. To her, I figure, she might as well have just been called a boy. She knows she is not a boy, she is a girl.

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Nathan is growing like a weed. He is finally cutting his fourth first-year molar. He loves to eat, so this is a really great advancement for him. Like most one-year-old kids, just about everything goes in his mouth. Just the other day, I was sitting on the couch working on my computer when all of the sudden my foot was suddenly warm. I probably wouldn't have noticed that except that seconds later, the warm spot turned into a spot of sharp pain. I shook the pain off my foot and looked down to see an open mouthed Nathan with matching teeth marks on the top of my foot.

Last of the birthday season

present princess
present princess
Piles of presents. Noodles, green beans and chocolate cake. I would venture to say it was a nearly perfect Nicole birthday. This year she got toys that are mostly along the lines of helping Mommy. Or little Mommy. A grocery cart with little plastic foods; a little pink stroller; a little kitchen tools set with a rolling pin, wooden spoon, etc.; a pretty dress; and the book "Big Dog, Little Dog." How can you go wrong with a book about dogs? It really was a good thing that she got a stroller AND a grocery cart because Nathan thinks he needs to push one of them and for now, thankfully, is content to play with whichever one Nicole is not playing with.