Monday, March 30, 2009

A walk on Ruston Way

Seeing as how it was sunny (gasp!) on Sunday, we decided to make the best of a nice day and go for a drive and then a walk down Ruston Way. Even though it looked warm, it was kind of chilly with the wind coming off the Sound. Despite that, it was still nice to get out.

The view on Ruston Way. You can see it snowing in the mountains in the distance.

Looking across the Sound to Dash Point. The pilings are from an old lumber mill.

Sweethearts finding a nice way to keep warm.

Eirik slid down into the sling just as the timer went off so all you see is his little head!

Kelly posing with Eirik in the sling

Eirik staying all snuggly-toasty and happy with his hat and binkie in the sling.

Happy family!

Otis in front of the pilings looking for interesting bits of stuff

Kelly and Eirik snuggling after his hat was blown off

"Happy Hour", Skype, and Visitors

Seeing as how Eirik and the cats have managed to coordinate their awake and rarin' to go times, mom is up, too. So Eirik will hopefully sack out in the sling, while Kelly beats the blog into shape and gets some pictures of things posted.

While we love reading email and getting calls on our cell phones, for those of you who have Skype and want to do the nifty video call thing to see what entertaining things little man can do, our Skype ID is otis.d.richardson. Give us a holler! We'd like to hear from you.

And speaking of getting in touch, one of the great/not-so-great things about living on an Army post is that you live in a gated community:

The positive thing is that it keeps out most of the door-to-door solicitors (nothing quite beats telling one of those enthusiastic young people that you've already purchased some Hinduism today) and other assorted odd folks that have a tendency to show up unannounced - like drunk neighbors, that one weird friend, or other fun characters.

The negative thing is that there still odd folks that show up unannounced because they live on post, and the solicitors are more likely to be people with large chunks of brass on their shoulders looking to do a health and welfare inspection (nothing quite beats telling one of those enthusiastic staff sergeants that you're in the middle of breastfeeding your son).

But quirks aside, it's not bad living here, and we would like you to know you're free to visit! Really!

So how do you manage to visit us here on beautiful Fort Lewis without getting the "We're here from the Government, and we're here to help" two-step?

Follow these easy and quick steps to visit us on Fort Lewis:

1. Gather the following documents:
  • A driver's license if you are driving your own vehicle on post or a government issued photo ID if you are a passenger above 16
  • The registration for your car
  • Proof of insurance
  • Current vaccination forms, credit report, and results of last physical (just kidding..)
A sample of the people we'd rather not see

2. Take all of that fun stuff and go to the Visitor's Center which is off of "Main Post" part of Exit 120 on I-5.

3. Once at the Visitor's Center, take a number, and if the line is long, make snarky mental comparisons of how this is better/worse than the DMV, or just people watch.

I've got number 215. What number are they on? 6? Oh fuuuuuuuuun.

4. Once the cheerful, polite and efficient workers at the Visitor's Center run your license to see if it's valid, as well as check your registration and insurance, you'll get this nifty piece of paper which is your all-access pass to get on post.

5. After receiving your pass, exit the Visitor's Center and get back on the I-5 North. DO NOT go through the Main Gate because our ability to give instructions to get to our house from the Main Gate is not great, and you might wind up lost and run over by Stryker.

I think we were supposed to take a left back therAHHHHHH!

6. Get off I-5 on Exit 122, Berekely Street and take a right into the Madigan Gate. Once you get up to the gate, present the magic piece of paper issued to you by the cheerful, polite and efficient workers at Visitor's Center to the cheerful, polite and efficient security guards at the gate, who will probably give you a random search of your vehicle. Don't be offended. They missed out on body cavity duty and generally try to take it out on your car.

Be gentle, it's my Volvo's first time...

7. Once through the gate, go to the first stop light and pull into the little mini-mart, which is the Shoppette, on the left. Give us a call, and we'll guide you in the rest of the way.

8. (Optional) While you're waiting, run inside the Shoppette, get yourself an adult beverage and curse the bureaucratic nonsense you've just endured.

A reward for a job well done!

That was easy, wasn't it?

We look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Building a library: Part 3, Your turn!

As soon as I hit "Publish Post" on the blog, I realized that it might be fun to read about what kid and baby books our loyal readers think are the cat's pajamas.

So loyal readers, we ask you:

What are your favorite books for children and why?

We're looking to build up Eirik's library, so we'd like your suggestions! Drop us a comment!

Building a library: Part 2, A start

Our parents read to us when we were little - Kelly's mom couldn't seem to get a moment's peace without Kelly bringing her a book to read or sliding one under the bathroom door. We believe that our parents' commitment to reading to us made us the readers we are today.

We're very big into reading at the house - Kelly practically devours books, and Otis loves his Horus Heresy, Dragonlance, and anything by Neil Gaimann. Our library is both our pride and pain (just when it comes to making it under our weight allotment for moving), and we have over 1000 books.

So when it comes to books for Eirik, we got our library started for him with a book from Auntie Erin:

You Were Loved Before You Were Born is a very cool story about all of the things a family and their friends do to get ready and welcome a new baby. It's a really sweet book.

We also would be amiss if we didn't pick up the perennial favorite of preschoolers and past-presidents alike, The Very Hungry Caterpillar:

Kelly snagged a copy of this book and a really nifty caterpillar rattle-y toy thing at Safeway on clearance one day. It's a good book for learning colors and numbers, and the pictures are pretty spiffy.

We also have a couple of books at home that are Kelly's favorites and will get read to Eirik a lot:

Cat, You Better Come Home is a really fun read by Garrison Keillor. Kelly's a big fan of Garrison Keillor and his Lake Wobegone Days series as well as the weekly radio program, A Prairie Home Companion. This book has got some great rhymes in it (can you think of something that rhymes with Chateaubriand? Garrison did!) and tells the story of a dissatisfied feline who leaves home for fun and adventure!

This is a Reading Rainbow book, and could quite possibly be the reason why Kelly loves to cartoon as much as she does. What happens when a boy leaves a drawing stranded on tablet of paper? You get Simon's Book!

We hope that Eirik loves these books as much as we do!

No light leaks here!

Otis and Eirik doing a little horizontal eyelid maintenance after a feeding time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The fuzzy family

Although Eirik is our first human kid, we've got three "furry kids" in our house as well - our cats Eddie, Lady and Toby. So far, they seem to be accepting little man ok, or in the case of Toby, perfecting the fine art of ignoring him completely while brooding in a sunny window.

Eddie (above), our oldest at 11 years, and quite possibly the coolest cat in the world, seems to really like hanging around Eirik. I almost picture him saying "Hey, kitten, you're new here... let me show you the ropes" like he's done for the other kittens he's brought up.

Mom's making lunch... I'll just keep an eye on this Gramma person to make sure you're OK, kid.

This is a lap, kid, and it's the best seat in the house.

Asleep in the sling

Eirik all snuggled in and curled up next to mom in our awesome sling. It's a custom made one from Huggabug Slings.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Building a library

Today we had an excursion out to run errands - donning the riot gear to go grocery shopping at the Commissary, dropping off the NetFlix at the post office and going to Half Price Books to take advantage of their killer coupon sale and get Eirik a copy of Green Eggs and Ham:

I loved this book when I was little. The adventures of a picky eater trying a bizarre new food with an infectious rhyme scheme had me begging anyone to read this book that I could convince, and is still one of my favorites.

Here's a little history behind Green Eggs and Ham, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Green Eggs and Ham is one of Seuss's "Beginner Books", written in a very simple vocabulary for beginning readers. The vocabulary of the text consists of just fifty different words, of which 49 are monosyllabic (the one exception being "anywhere"). It averages 5.7 words per sentence and 1.02 syllables per word.

Bennett Cerf, Dr. Seuss's publisher, wagered $50 that Seuss could not write a book using only fifty different words. The bet came after Seuss completed The Cat in the Hat, which used 225 words.

And there's even a Spanish version of Green Eggs and Ham that I read in one of my Spanish classes:

How cool is that?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

1 month old!

Eirik is 1 month old today!

Little man is growing like a weed - here he is wearing a preemie outfit that I bought on Ebay.

Hey mom, where's the flood?

Mom... I'm feeling a distinct lack of coverage here...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hanging out with Auntie Candy

Auntie Candy came to visit us spoil Eirik during a break from her job up in Anacortes.

And Aunties are always good for spoiling their nephews, both the little ones and grown-up ones alike. Not only did she watch Eirik while mom and dad got to go out and have a dinner, she brought cheesecake too!

A million thanks for the morale booster and babysitting! You rock!

Little man asleep with Candy

Hey Candy, tell me about that one time catching the big waves down in Cali....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TV Time

Because Otis and Kelly have yet to kick their addiction to Stargate (a special thanks to our enablers that gave us seasons of the show), Eirik spent some time in mom's arms learning about wormholes, interplanetary travel, and that Richard Dean Anderson still is the man... and then promptly gave us his opinion of the show by falling asleep.

But mom... all the kids wear their hats like this! I swear, I'm not part of the Baby Folk!

Seeing as how you're making such a fuss over the hat and someone busting a cap in my diaper, I took it off.

There used to be socks here... they went with the cap.

This is what we call the seventh episode stretch. Seriously, you two should get up and change the channel or something...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Family photos

Before Gramma Lamb went back home, we got her to take some photos of our new little family. We think we look pretty darn good, and that baby in the middle is just so darn cute, he could cause someone to go into a diabetic sugar coma!

Between Otis and Kelly's disappearing crinkly eyes, you will not be able to see Eirik's eyes on a future photos where he has to smile.

I still can't believe this little guy is all ours!

Gettin' some sugar from mom and dad

Otis attempting somewhat unsuccessfully to get Eirik to more fully participate in the photo shoot. You know what they say... never work with children or pets!

There's a good one for the brag books!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A couple photos with Gramma before she goes home

Gramma Lamb goes home today, so we're took some photos before she goes back home to Wisconsin.
Grammas always have a hand to hold...

... even if you can just only wrap your finger around it!

Gramma, can you get me a Pixie Stick please?

You can have all the Pixie Sticks you want... and Gramma even has a xylophone for you!

The second best seat in the house... Gramma's lap

Eirik and Gramma - all smiles!

Three generations of smiles

Friday, March 20, 2009

An excursion to Ayothaya Thai

Eirik is doing great so far and enjoying Gramma's visit. Apart from hanging out at the house, we took Gramma out to eat Thai food at Ayothaya Thai Restaurant in Puyallup. (It's awesome, and if Mom the Health Inspector eats there, you know it's good!) Eirik was a little sleeping cutie and charmed the owner's wife and most of the kitchen staff.

Dad waiting for his order of Garlic ribs and Eirik taking a nap

Gramma eating Pad Thai: Pat (grampa), you don't know what you're missing!

Otis mastering the fine art of not spilling food on the baby in the sling