July 30, 2011

Four-Alarm Birthday

Amanda and I threw a firetruck-themed birthday party for Hamilton and Grady who both turned two in July. And by "Amanda and I," I mean mostly Amanda. The party had been scheduled before my descent into the pit, so Amanda did most of the shopping and gathering of party items after my surgery. Saturday morning 11 kids and their parents came over to our house for a water-play party. The kids played in Hamilton's pool, with the beach-ball sprinkler, and at Grady's water table.
We served WATERmelon and HOTdogs to stay on theme along with some other party food. My small contribution to the party was the firetruck cake: Though it was pitiful looking, it was recognizable as a firetruck by four-year-old Abby Koch. The boys didn't seem to mind the sad look of the cake with its crazy, too-much-butter icing. They ate it with such delight.

The dalmation-puppy cupcakes turned out much cuter, but only the adults could really appreciate their relation to the theme.
Because Amanda's an awesome mom and party-planner, she arranged for a real firetruck to make an appearance at the end of the party. The kids loved it!
Hamilton ran to the front yard once he heard there was a firetruck. He pointed excitedly at the firetruck as he ran to get a better look.
The kids took turns trying out the driver's seat in the firetruck. Hamilton wore his official-looking fireman's hat with pride.
We attempted a group shot in front of the firetruck.

The Two-Week Pit

Friends, readers, and fellow bloggers, how I've missed you and missed writing in this space. The first few days after my appendectomy seemed fine, but after the pain of surgery subsided I did not feel any better. I felt worse in different ways. I felt mentally like I was surviving in a dark pit for that week, and I didn't even have the mental energy to open my laptop--much less blog. With Mom's fantastic, encouraging help, we survived. We also received tons of delicious food and encouraging notes from our church family and friends, reminding me I was not alone or forgotten.

After multiple calls and conversations with various doctors and nurses during the worst-feeling week of my life, they decided to do another CT scan this past Thursday which revealed an abscess had developed following my appendectomy. Friday Mr. Morgan and I were back in the hospital so I could have the abscess drained, and now I'm finally feeling much better. I have several posts planned including Hamilton's joint birthday party with Grady and Collier's three-month update.

July 16, 2011


I thought Mom and Dad were coming for just a short visit; however, my slight abdominal pain from Tuesday, which my doctor thought was probably an ovarian cyst, turned out to be a ruptured appendix which a pelvic ultrasound and CT scan revealed yesterday. Mr. Morgan drove me to the hospital last night for my emergency appendectomy (Is there any other kind?), and thankfully we were allowed to come back home about 9 pm.

I've got some good pain meds, which I definitely need since the pain is way worse now than it was before removal. Providentially Mom and Dad were already in town, so they've been a huge help and exactly what we needed. Sadly, Mr. Morgan and I were supposed to see THE MOVIE this weekend--the original purpose of Mom and Dad's trip with their free babysitting, but we'll have to wait until I can move around a bit better before going. I'm sure the theaters will be showing it for a while.

Two Boys, One Visit

I made appointments for both Collier and Hamilton to see our doctor together, since Hamilton's two-year checkup coincided with Collier's two-month checkup. Though it was great only to get out with them once instead of twice, I had my hands full at the doctor's office. Both boys are growing quickly with Collier weighing in at 13 pounds and 7 ounces. He's the size Hamilton was at about five months old! Collier's 25 inches long, which is an inch longer than Hamilton was at two months old. Collier cried a lot more with his vaccine shots than Hamilton did, but he'd calmed down before we left the office. Hamilton weighed 31 pounds, and the doctor said he was growing normally and talking well--by "well" I think she meant "all the time."
Hamilton loves to play on the floor with Collier. This shot is indicative of what usually happens after a minute or two on the floor: Hamilton begins his roll onto Collier.

July 15, 2011


Two days each week Hamilton has standing playdates at Grady's and West's houses, and on Thursday mornings I watch all three boys. Since school was out for the summer, we moms decided we needed scheduled times each week for the boys to play together--and for us to have some time away from our two-year-olds. We call it "camp."

Last week I kept the boys outside most of the morning, and they played in the pool and spinkler. Well, West was a little timid around the water, so he spent most of his time on the backporch playing with toys.
After a few minutes I went inside to check on the sleeping baby. When I came back out, the boys had loaded themselves into the wagon. I pulled the heavy crew around the yard for a few minutes.
Then West got out to try his hand at pulling the other two. I guess I'd made it look like so much fun.
Grady and Hamilton also decided to try pulling the wagon, but they both declare, "Tuh heh-bee, tuh heh-bee" before giving up.

Hamilton and West got a little stuck at one point. The wagon makes for such cute pictures, and I didn't need to do any cajoling to get them to play with the wagon.

July 13, 2011

A Recent List

1. I have not fallen off the face of the earth as my mother so sweetly asked me this morning over email. Keeping up with two active boys has proven problematic for my blogging. When I have help with the kids, I usualy find more time to blog. Good thing you're coming for a short visit soon, Mom.

2. Mr. Morgan and I tag-team the boys' baths and dinner cleanup each night; so by the time our little ones are in bed, my brain is a little fried which doesn't make for a good blogging environment. We usually enjoy our new favorite show on Netflix streaming and go to bed early.

3. Yesterday I went to the library with both boys because Amanda and Grady had invited us to go to a toddler reading event. I knew Hamilton would love to see Grady and get out of the house (plus, who can resist Amanda?), so I loaded everybody into the Freestyle for the morning outing. Now Hamilton is a handful by himself, but with Grady's mischievous encouragement he's wilder than normal. Add in an infant who needs to be fed at the exact time we're enjoying storytime. Feeding Collier is a two-hand job, so I had no free arm to keep Hamilton in line. Disaster ensued when Collier spit up way more than usual. He was covered, his bib was soaked through, and the one burp cloth I had was soiled on all sides. Then I stood up to help Hamilton at the craft table after storytime only to discover my shorts were wet with the familiar liquid. As I longed for the comfort of home, Hamilton relished coloring his hands with the only marker in the pile of crayons. I've decided that feeding Collier cannot be done just anywhere if I also am responsible for Hamilton at the same time. I think we'll stay home for most feedings after that experience.

4. Since I spend lots of time feeding Collier and pumping, I watch several shows on Netflix streaming. Hamilton enjoys some of them more than others when he's around to watch with me. I only watch things that don't require all my attention, are entertaining in short snippets, and are not riveting--so I'm not tempted to keep watching once I'm done feeding Collier or pumping. I'm enjoying Clean House, Dress My Nest, and Bones these days. Hamilton likes the opening credits and closing music for Bones, so he asks for it by name throughout the day. I'm not sure when Bones will be inappropriate for him to watch even as sporadically as he does, as sometimes the images are gruesome. But I love to hear him say, "Wah Booh-wensth" (with his cute lisp), and he gets so excited when I turn it on.

5. Though we're one July boy short, Amanda and I are planning a small birthday party for Hamilton and Grady next weekend. I'm hoping they'll enjoy our efforts to make their firetruck-themed party fun. I'm on the hook for another cake, and Amanda found instructions for making what I hope will be a simple firetruck cake.

6. I'm so glad to have composed most of this post from Panera this morning while I waited for Christy. We're attempting to have a writers' group meeting after a two-month hiatus. Obviously, I need the encouragement to write and blog, since my last post was over a week ago. I have much to post including stats from Collier's latest appointment, cute pictures from camp last week, and a growing list of Hamilton's daily-expanding vocabulary.

July 4, 2011

Sprinkler Fun

After dinner we hooked up the beach-ball sprinkler that Uncle Travis gave Hamilton for his birthday. He and Claire both loved it!
Hamilton and Claire played in the water as Uncle Travis controlled the flow. Hamilton squealed every time, but on this video he tells Uncle Travis to do it again.

July 3, 2011

Hamilton's Family Birthday

With our train cake and abundant family, we had quite a party. We enjoyed barbecue sandwiches and other delicious fare for birthday lunch, then we cut into the train cake.
We sang "Happy Birthday Cha-Cha-Cha" to Hamilton, and Claire's idea was to change the "cha-cha-cha" to "choo-choo-choo" in honor of the train theme. We also added a "whoo-whoo" to the end, and he loved it. He attempted to blow out his candles, though he still needs to work on getting enough air to come out to extinguish a flame. Hamilton thoroughly enjoyed his birthday cake especially the frosting.
We opened presents next, and Hamilton loved them all. After opening this "dog" on a string, he ran around pulling it behind him.
Uncle Travis gave him a water toy for outside, and those pictures will come later.
He opened his train set from Mimi and Pops, and the coffee table served as a perfect table for constructing a train village with help from Sissy, Pops, Uncle Douglas, and Uncle Travis.

Birthday Visitors

Since we celebrated Hamilton's birthday on Saturday, Uncle Douglas and Aunt Mary came to spend the day at the farm to help us celebrate. They love to come visit when the grandkids are also visiting, and they hadn't met Collier yet. We loved catching up with them on their short visit.

Making a Choo-Choo Train

Claire's idea for Hamilton's birthday was to make him a train cake. So this past week Mimi and Aunt Judy worked out the logistics of creating a train cake, deciding to make individual cakes for each train car. Mimi bought animal crackers and Swiss Cake Rolls, Twizzlers and pretzel sticks to help create the different train cars.
I made a big batch of frosting, and we added food coloring to make several different colors.
Aunt Judy worked on the caboose, and Claire decided to make a car with half coal and half sand. Jess created a log car, and I tried to do a circus car with animals in cages. The project was so fun; however, we are definitely not professional cake decorators. The yellow cake and buttercream frosting was so delicious even if it didn't look professional.
Though our train looked a bit funny, Hamilton knew exactly what it was. And, as usual, he was so excited to see a train!
At church I mentioned to Bonnie (who made Hamilton's cake last year) that we attempted a train for his cake. We definitely could have used her expertise as a cake decorator!

Fun for the Fourth

The parade is the highlight of the celebration in Mountville, but with so many friends who come back for the festivities, the whole evening feels like a family reunion. Now all my friends and I have so many kids that it's mass chaos during the hot-dog supper. Collier enjoyed a late-afternoon snooze on Grandma's lap, and Aunt Judy got to experience her first July Fourth celebration in Mountville.
The big boys lounged in the shade after the hot-dog supper.
Travis brought Jess to Mountville for the crazy fun, so hopefully she wasn't too overwhelmed.
Though there were rambunctious children as far as the eye could see, the older folks did make a strong showing with Grandma on the far left holding Collier.
The newest baby in attendance was Samuel who's one month old, and he looked so sweet sleeping on Cindy's lap.
Hamilton played with the dirty tricycle for a long time, and three-year-old Maggie Brooke jumped on while Hamilton pushed.
Then Maggie Brooke returned the favor and pushed Hamilton around.
Hamilton loved the go-cart ride!

Parade Pictures

Though Hamilton was a little unsure of the decorated golf cart at first, he quickly smiled being back in Uncle Travis's lap for the Mountville parade. Hamilton waved his little flag and giggled as he passed by the spectators.
These sweet girls threw out candy for us spectators.
Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty were precious in their battery-powered jeep.
The "younger crowd" who are now in college and graduate school donned bandanas and cut-offs for their Hell's Angels impression. Each year they come up with the cutest ideas for their parade showing.
Grandma got to ride in this old car again this year.
Mom and Aunt Judy worked hard to decorate the golf cart, making it festive and fun for the kids.
Anything goes in the Mountville parade with little ones riding bikes and older ones driving golf carts and four-wheelers.
Hamilton and Uncle Travis rode in the back of the golf cart that Claire drove.
Mr. Morgan joined in the parade this year to ride shotgun to Claire and to hold Baby Collier.
Claire was excited to drive the golf cart again this year in the parade.
Mimi made Collier a sweet, patriotic outfit especially for the parade, and she made matching bandanas for Claire and Hamilton.