Tuesday, April 27, 2010


A couple weekends ago, we were so happy to be able to witness my mom surprise Beth and Julie with a puppy! Beth has been asking for a puppy since she was a little girl. Her first word was "ruff ruff," followed then by "dog." I thought it would be parakeets and goldfish for my siblings forever; I never thought I'd see the day my parents would bring home a dog. Beth was teary eyed.


I also never thought Killian would look like a giant lumbering monster. But next to the delicate little puppy, he wasn't the delicate little one anymore. I had to protect the little puppy from Killian.

(In the background of this video, you can hear John say, "Mom said, 'If you ever compare the dog with Killian, we're going to have to have a talk.'" Of course, 1 week later, my mom tells me about her sleepless nights with the puppy waking up every hour and half to go pee, and she describes it as "just like having a newborn." Mom!)

I'm so happy Killian will be able to grow up with this little puppy; i.e., visit him on the weekends at someone else's house!

Beth has named him "Apollo."


For now, Killian is content with his "doggy" that he picked out at Ikea. They love to cuddle.



Turning Off Autopilot

Unclutterer had a great post recently titled "Is the life you're pursuing the life you want?"

It really spoke to me and verbalized recent thoughts I've had on downsizing and moving out of the suburbs. The author of the post was asking us to question why we make the life choices we do.

"What are you doing on autopilot? What are you doing only because it’s a traditional behavior?"

Autopilot. That succinctly describes how I feel I was living. When Mike and I moved to North Carolina, we bought a 4-bedroom brick house on a nice lot in a nice neighborhood in the suburbs. We did so not out of a sense of obligation, but just because that was the standard thing to do. It was an autopilot decision and we never stopped to think about if a large house (and everything that is entailed with owning a house) was what we really wanted.

The other line that spoke to me:

"If you don’t know why you’re moving in a new direction, if you can’t envision a remarkable life for yourself, you will struggle with every attempt you make to get rid of clutter."

So true. How often did I make overtures to "simplifying" or "decluttering" but it never resulted in any significant changes. I was trying to make repairs to a broken home, but what I really needed was a whole new foundation.

Once we determined what foundation we actually wanted to build on, the rest of the details came naturally. Instead of fussing over getting rid of random items here and there, in one fell swoop, we parted with 80%* of our possessions. (I haven't even calculated what percentage of household tasks we parted with too!) I finally feel like now we're able to live more purposefully.

*This number sounds high but it includes the black hole that had enveloped the contents of a whole Harbor Freight store - aka our garage.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Killian's First Cookie

"I said, 'Hey, Mom & Dad. You keep talking about me trying table food. Maybe if you give me something worth eating, I might be interested!'"

"What does it take to get a cookie around here?"

Oh yes. Grandma has to visit. Smiles angelically, "Hi Amie. Thank you for the cookie!"

"Ok. So how does this work again?"

"I'll try putting it in my mouth..."

"Oooooo! It's just too much!"

Friday, April 23, 2010

Killian's First Outdoor Swing

Killian enjoys his new baby swing at Papou & Amie's house.


Killian loves slapstick and thinks its hilarious when Mom gets hit in the face with his foot.

Would like to note we were both wearing totally sweet hats.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First Trip to Library

Charlotte has a kids library, Imaginon, that I am super excited about. We took our first trip there as a family last weekend.

There are all sorts of fun and interactive activities for all ages. They even have a baby and toddler area.

Killian assesses the room first.

See, engaging for all ages!


Ooo climbing structure!


Building blocks is fun.

But it's even more fun to knock them down!
I'm going to get 'em!

And there they go...

Killian loves it when people look through holes!

Playing at Imaginon

And actually reading a book.

Who knew the library could be so much fun?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Parenting (Documentation) Fail

Warning: This is going to be a boring post about my least favorite topic: taxes - which has been consuming way too much of my free time recently.

Note to self: Next time I bring a child into this world (or country)*, I need to pay a little bit more attention to the documentation. I realized while working on our taxes, I don’t know Killian’s social security number. His card must have gotten lost in the move craziness and I never wrote it down anywhere else. The process for getting a new social security card involves sending in a copy of a birth certificate – which, oops, I never filed to receive either! (Don’t tell my Dad – I’ll never hear the end of it!) I used to be really good about staying on top of paperwork, bills...but once Killian came...not so much. I don’t even open all my mail every day – sometimes I just throw it in a pile and only look at it...whenever I get to it! I know - Dangerous :0

This year I will be filing our taxes on April 15th. But the good news is that last year our medical expenses were so high (more than 7.5% of our income) that we got to qualify for the medical expense deduction!** (Well, actually I don’t know if that’s good news.) But it was fortunate that I had all my maternity bills the same year as my mysterious neck tumor and the year Mike investigated his acid reflux problem and got to watch himself swallowing heavy metals on an X-ray machine. So once we realized we qualified for this deduction, I have been busy the past few weeks documenting every conceivable but valid deduction (prescription co-pays, eye check-ups, even saline solution is deductible) and we were able to save thousands on our taxes this year. Hooray!

*Ooo – is that an international adoption reference? It might be!

**BTW, this deduction is going away thanks to the new health care bill, which effectively raises taxes on people with high medical bills and the ederly. But no political commentary allowed on the family blog!

Friday, April 9, 2010

10 Months Old: Entering Little Tyke Territory

Happy 10 Months Killy Billy!

Killian has a few favorite songs. He especially loves songs with accompanying hand motions. The "Itsy Bitsy Spider" was his first favorite and would always quiet him down in the car when he was a newborn.

His latest favorite is "If You're Happy and You Know It" and it's many variations ("If you're a Poopypants and You Know It" etc). (Poopypants is his new favorite word by the way.) This past month he caught us off guard when he actually started clapping when we got to the "clap your hands!" part of the song!

Here is a picture from the first night he started doing it. I remember walking with him outside and testing his new ability, saying the words totally deadpan (no singing voice): "Hey, Killian, if you're happy.... and you know it, what do you do?"

Response: *clap clap*!


Part of being a little tyke now means having an affinity for climbing and crawling all over everything. There is a climbing matt he loves at daycare. Sometimes his class is playing outside when I arrive to pick him up and I see all the babies sitting on a blanket outside and then I see Killian trying to keep up with all the toddlers running around and crawling all around the play structures.

We recently had to upgrade his bathtub because he would just climb right out of it during bath time. I moved his old tub into the living room so he could enjoy climbing in and out of it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend

Easter Weekend (summarized in reverse chronological order)! This holiday has grown on me in recent years; it's like the Thanksgiving of Spring! It is quickly becoming associated with good weather, good food, and good company. This year it provided a good excuse to treat ourselves to a yummy quiche and fruit tart from a fantastic local French pastry shop, Amelie's.


But don't worry, Mom and Dad. This weekend was not completely secular. Killian's toy of the weekend was this cloth nativity set, as he seemed to be carrying a piece of it wherever we went this weekend.

Killian enjoyed playing with sweet, 3-year old Elizabeth on Sunday. They played "house" for hours.


Saturday night we walked around Uptown and Killian enjoyed (bounced to) a jazz band performing.

We had a little picnic at the Wachovia courtyard.

It's offical. I have a crush on the new Duke building. I can't stop taking pictures of it. From all different angles. It grabs my attention wherever I go.

I finally decided on a jogging stroller and to my delight, it arrived just in time for the weekend.

Killian enjoyed getting out and about.

The camel from the aforementioned nativity set entertained Killian on our jog at Freedom Park Saturday morning until he passed out.


Killian stayed up late Friday night and passed out on Uncle Dave. No, that is not a cookie in his hand. It's baby Jesus!

Friday evening, we went for a quick walk to see the waterfalls Killian has been eyeing recently on Trade & Tryon.

Mike & I took Friday afternoon off and biked to lunch and then to a French pastry (where we got the wonderful idea of buying the quiche and tart for Easter!).


Hooray for holiday weekends!