January 28, 2010

Hamilton's New Obsession

A few mornings ago I went in the nursery to get Hamilton out of his crib, and he was sticking out his tongue. He continued to play with his tongue all day, sticking it in and out of his mouth--like he'd just discovered that he could do that. Maybe he did.

Claire's Favorite Part

During Claire's birthday week at school, she received letters from each of the kids in her class and the teacher. Claire has been talking about these letters for months now, especially as she's seen other kids getting their letters on their birthdays. The kids write letters telling the birthday student what they like or admire about him; they also write about what books they're reading and what they're currently learning in school. Thinking about what nice things will be written about her has been so exciting for Claire.

Last Sunday evening at dinner Claire read the letters to us: You are awesome, You are such a great friend, You are a smart student, You are fun and entergetic, and on and on the letters went. I can see why she was so excited to receive them. We laughed at the crazy things some kids wrote, enjoying especially Max's letter.Dear Claire, I think you are very nice, funny, and athetec. I have two dogs a yorky Poodle, and a Shit-zu yes Shit-zu. That is a weard name Max is to. I am reading the book the Battle of the labrith. I have learned laten stems this week. Your friend Max.

I guess Max is accustomed to reiterating the name of his dog's breed.

Claire's Birthday Party

For Claire's 10th birthday party, we decided a low-key party would be best. We invited three school chums to join us for a few hours at Blackbeard's Cove. The girls picked outdoor laser tag as one of their activities, and Mr. Morgan and I joined in the game, too. I was struck by how different laser tag would have been if we'd been playing with four 10-year-old boys instead of girls. The highlight of the day was playing arcade games and winning tickets, enabling them to redeem the tickets for overpriced, imported toys. This game is a kids version of roulette where the girls pick a color they think the ball will land on. If the ball lands in their colored spot, they win tickets.Claire was so excited that her friend Maggie could come to the party, since Maggie is no longer at Claire's school. (She's homeschooled now.)After several hours of fun and arcade food, the girls, (from left) Chandler, Maggie, Claire, and Samantha, reluctantly loaded in the car to head home.

January 26, 2010

Haiti

Our good friend John Eckley (in the green shirt) is currently serving with Water Missions International in Haiti, providing clean drinking water to the earthquake victims. He's been there over a week now, and they've made tremendous progress setting up ten water treatment systems. These specially designed systems take just an hour to set up, and they provide clean drinking water for 5,000 people per day.
If you're interested in donating any money for the cause, donate through Haiti Renewal who will match any donation amount.

January 23, 2010

Sweet, Little, Naked Boy

When I'm changing Hamilton's clothes, I like to sing a song I made up called, "Sweet, Little, Naked Boy." And those are the words. It's a silly song, but he loves it. While I'll spare you my rendition, here's a video of our sweet, little, naked boy.
video

January 19, 2010

A Great 'Attatude'

Claire is many things--bright, book-wormish, precocious, and zany; she can rarely be described as laid-back or easy-going. We're usually saying things like, "Let it go, Claire. Move on. That's just the way it is."

Just last week I spent fifteen minutes explaining to her how to add fractions that don't have a common denominator. She understood, then spent ten minutes questioning the way I'd shown her, assuming she could discover an easier, less complicated way. Once proven to her that there's only one way with those pesky fractions, we tackled reducing our fractional answers (e.g. 3/6 reduces to 1/2). Claire is intelligent and quick with math, so she understood all that I was showing her--but she didn't like it. Reducing the fractions nearly got the better of her: She was so frustrated that the book would list an answer as "1/2" when it made so much more sense to her for the answer to be "3/6," especially since those fractions are equal. Seeing that she was distraught and nearing tears, I reiterated calmly that all fractional answers must be reduced every time, all the time, ending with "don't get hung up on it, Claire. Let it go. It's just the way it is." She sighed, declared the book "so confusing," but we moved on to social studies.

So when Claire brought home the picture below, I had lots of questions: Did all the other kids write these same sentences and draw similar pictures? Did the guidance counselor single Claire out regarding her attitude?
I asked Claire these questions, wanting to know the details of the circumstances. She took one look at the picture, and a sheepish, slightly embarrassed grin came across her face, "Yeah, that's really hard for me."

The whole class drew these same pictures, though it was probably most apropos for Claire. She's self-aware enough to know she needs to lighten up sometimes, and I guess that's half the battle. When you're having a rough day, take Claire's advice on number four and adjust your "attatude."

Birthday Breakfast

For birthday breakfast Claire decided she wanted waffles and grits. While the combo doesn't occur often at most people's breakfasts, it wasn't hard to accomplish--especially using instant grits and frozen waffles. I know both are better when made from scratch, but it was an up-before-six-am morning. I wasn't trying to win any awards. Claire was cheerful and bright-eyed this morning, and we had a delightful birthday breakfast.

January 17, 2010

Glenn Beck

I listen to Glenn Beck sometimes, though he can be a little intense. I don't always agree with what he says, but I find what he says interesting and worth thinking about usually. I enjoyed this profile of him, written by a talented writer/blogger I like to read.

January 16, 2010

A New Phone

On the way home from Pilates class this morning, I checked my phone for messages. I had a text message from an unrecognized number: Hi gray, this is claire got new phone for b day. And with her first day of texting off to a good start, Claire officially enters the wired world.
UPDATE: I used "wired" meaning technological; however, she's had an iPod for several years, and she's a whiz at online computer games. I guess I should have called it the "wireless" world.

Meatless

I usually make at least one vegetarian meal each week because it's both healthier and cheaper than comparable meat-filled dishes. I'm always trying to find hearty, meatless dishes to satisfy my meat-and-potatoes man who will say, "This would be great with some hamburger in it."

Last night I prepared a potato, leek, and Feta tart--a delicious recipe I'd found in my Real Simple magazine. Since the commissary did not have any pie crusts that weren't already in a pie pan, I had to improvise: One pie crust held all the ingredients, turning the would-be tart into a pie.Then I peeled the other pie crust out of the pie pan and spread it as best as I could on top of the "pie." It wasn't pretty, but Mr. Morgan loved the resulting dish despite its having no meat.

January 14, 2010

Six-Month Checkup

At our visit to the doctor today, Hamilton performed his newest trick for her and showed off his growing vocal range. He now weighs 14 pounds and 12 ounces, and he's 26 inches long. Our doctor was pleased with his growth rate, and she instructed me to cut back on formula and feed him more solid foods. Though he received two shots, he did well bearing the pain. After just a few minutes, he was back to smiling, making the pain easier for me to bear too. He's now wearing mostly six-month clothes which includes this cute sweater.

Inspiration

Tuesday afternoon I was in the kitchen baking a cake for an upcoming church function, and Claire was sitting at the window-seat table doing her homework. As she usually does in the afternoons, Claire asked what we were going to have for dinner. Since I plan most of my meals, I usually have an answer ready for her.

Tuesdays have been my days to make a new meal plan and shop for groceries; however, that Tuesday I had hosted a lunch party instead of grocery shopping. I told Claire that I hadn't decided yet what we were having for dinner.

After a few minutes of silent working--I on my cake and she on her homework, she asked seriously with wonder, "Gray, are you baking that cake to get some inspiration for dinner?"

January 6, 2010

Family Photo Update

I updated the family picture on our blog, as you'll notice in the top-right corner. It took us nearly six months to get a snapshot of all four of us. I had aspirations of sending this family photo in a "Happy New Year!" card, but I'm not sure I'll be getting around to that project. So, here's an electronic, new-year greeting:
Happy New Year from the Morgans! We love you all! Seth, Gray, Claire, and Hamilton

Little Feet

A few days ago I was sitting in my usual spot on the window seat for working on my laptop when I noticed Hamilton had covered himself up with the blanket on which he was lying. He was playing with his feet, of course. Though I tried to be a little covert in my picture-taking, he was not fooled.
Most socks he can't pull off yet, but I'm sure before long I'll be finding many orphaned socks around the house.
The feet and socks are like brand-new toys.
Though his little outfit says 6-9 months on the tag, I've retired it to the too-small, for-the-next-baby basket. It was a sweet outfit and a favorite, but it was getting hard to button by his diaper and a little short in the legs, too.

January 5, 2010

Six Months Old

Hamilton is six months old today, and it's hard to believe--seems longer in some ways and shorter in others. He was able to sit up on his own today with only the back support of the chair; he's not leaning on his friends for support this month. He added a few new friends over Christmas, including Elmer and Sassy the elephants and LL Cool J the lion/lamb combo. Trimmings the Christmas moose must have wandered away from the photo shoot, so hopefully he'll be in attendance for next month's shot.

Hamilton has finally shed the swaddle, and he's still sleeping well. He loves his solid foods still; sweet potatoes are his favorite. The other day I fed him turnips prepared plain without even salt, and he loved them! Now the seemingly useless turnips are pureed and frozen ready for Hamilton.

He's rolling over now, and today he almost scooted himself off the window seat. Gone are the days of not keeping an extra-close eye on him! His baby sounds have started sounding more like word sounds, and he usually sounds like he's saying, "Da da da da." Hamilton seems to be more responsive and interactive every day, grabbing for his pacifier or my earrings and noticing his bottle as it's being made--and crying for it if I don't get it in his mouth fast enough.

He's obsessed with his feet: He grabs them and his socks, and the toes go in his mouth any chance he gets. Before the photo shoot was over, he was grabbing at his feet and pulling off his new day-of-the-week socks. He's also sporting the new track suit he got for Christmas.
Claire wished Hamilton a happy half-birthday. Claire is also wearing her new Christmas duds.

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

After a fun, low-key gathering at the Kochs' house late last night, Mr. Morgan and I enjoyed a semi-lazy day at the house. We slept in a bit, and I made an "eggy" breakfast for us. Mr. Morgan was still tired after breakfast, so we rested on the couch and watched Revolutionary Road. It was terrible despite the critical acclaim and awards. While I'm disappointed we wasted a Netflix delivery, I'm really glad I didn't see this film in the theaters. I would have been sorely disappointed.

For the afternoon we started cleaning up and organizing out in the garage, which needs a little attention. I also managed to finally take down our Christmas decor. I'm happy to have tomorrow to accomplish some more projects around here, since the start of a new year puts me in the organizing mood.