October 30, 2007

Too Much Candy

Alright everyone. Gather 'round the computer. My girls have a very important service announcement for you.....

For those of you who do not speak toddler gibberish, the lyrics of their most impressive song are: Too much candy will make you sick. Too much candy will make you so sick. Candy, candy, tastes yummy but. Candy, candy gets crazy in your tummy. Repeat this, continually, at full volume, for three days straight and you will be in my shoes.

(If this video doesn't work, let me know. OK?)

Posted by Chrissie at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)

October 29, 2007

Preparing For Halloween

This weekend we was all about Halloween. We cleaned off the big pumpkin and Kevin set to cutting it open. Leina wanted to get her hands on the knife so bad she could taste it. I was afraid she was going to lose her fingers but we managed to keep every digit attached. Once the pumpkin was open though, she went right to work scooping it. She loved digging out the guts and pulling out the seeds. Kulia was a bit more timid and was happy enough just watching Leina. By the time the pumpkin was empty, the kids were covered in pumpkin mess so it was off for a bath. Leina came down first and helped me draw the face. I think their favorite part of the night was turning out all the lights and setting our jack-o-lantern aglow. Pretty, eh?

The next night, we opened up our gingerbread Halloween house kit. This was a mild disaster. I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this. Take a moment here and picture a 2 yr old and a 4 yr old and give them access to copious amounts of frosting, jelly beans, candy corn, and mini jaw breakers. Are you seeing an image of domestic bliss? Not really, right? More like a wild sugar fest with streaks of frosting all over and the sound of candy rolling off the table and all over the kitchen floor. The girls (and Artie) were in candy heaven though and I survived it but I'm thinking it'll be a few more years before I try another one of these kits. I went downstairs today and most of the candy corn has been removed from the door. I can only assume it rests in the bellies of my little ones. Leina already has her eye on a Christmas gingerbread house. Maybe I'll let Kevin have the "joy" of decorating that one. I think I've had my fill. But we are ready for the big night. I've hidden our candy stash so we'll actually have something to give away. The girls' costumes are ready and it actually might not rain on Wed night. Can you even believe it?!? Trick or treat, here we come!

Posted by Chrissie at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2007

Poor Old Man

As you can see, I'm busy with a new creation. I have a couple little girls on my Christmas list that live very far away. I have absolutely no idea what they like or what toys they have. Personally, I think the biggest let down is getting a present that you already have. All the excitement of a present and then... it's something old. What a bummer. As an adult, we know it's the thought that counts but try telling that to a 3 yr old on Christmas morning! To get around this trouble, I've decided the best plan of attack is to make a present. That way, I'm 100% sure it's something new. (Also, it's a lot of fun for me!) During the year, I'm always on the lookout for something fun and easy I can make come Christmas time. This year, it's fairies. Yes, this mess on my desk will hopefully resolve itself into a fairy or two. How am I going to do this? With a little magic of course! But for now, it's just chaos. Lots and lots of chaos.

While I am messing up my desk, I'm vaguely aware of my children pattering back and forth around the house. So long as they aren't too quiet or too loud I try to give them free reign. But on my last trip downstair for fresh coffee, I came across this.

Seemed harmless enough so I walked on by. However, on my next trip for a coffee refill - fairy magic requires copious amounts of caffine (who knew?!?) - Artie's status had upgraded to this...

Leina just came in and asked me how to make a tent. Poor old man. The worst part is, they eventually tire of this play and wander off leaving him locked up somewhere. Eventually I remember about him and dig him out of whatever mess they've left him in. I won't post the more undignified pictures I have but let's just say, he looks pretty darn cute in a bonnet and beaded necklace.

Posted by Chrissie at 09:41 AM | Comments (1)

October 25, 2007

Puke Watch

After I picked up Leina from school, I began the ritualistic pulling of information. What did she learn, who did she play with, what was her favorite part, etc. These questions are usually meet with shrugs, eye rolls or my all time favorite, "idunno". Yes, only 4 years old and already the "idunno" starts. But in between the eye rolls I can usually dig out a few nuggets. Today, I learned that someone got bit, they had pretzels for snack, and, oh yeah, a boy threw up.

Immediately, I jump to orange alert. Who threw up? Where? Where you playing with him at all? Leina took it all in stride and assured me he only threw up on the carpet, his mom came to get him, and she wasn't playing with him at all. I had backed down to yellow alert but I was still nervous. Of course, Leina then informed me that for snack she had oranges and guess who brought them? That's right. The boy who was sick. It was his snack day. So now we're back up to orange alert. There's a wicked awful stomach bug floating around right now. I so don't want to get it but I know the odds are pretty good. This does, however, inspire me to get my kids to the doctor for a flu shot.

Please, let this be a random act of puking. Let this one pass us by....

Posted by Chrissie at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)

We Need A Few More Hands

Yesterday the girls and I went to collect food for our local food pantry. Over the weekend, I had papered the neighborhood with fliers asking for extra food and sundry products. Just the basics, cans of soup, paper towel, soap - stuff you'd have on hand that our local food pantry is low on.

Leina was very curious about what we were doing. She couldn't understand why people just didn't go buy groceries at Safeway but she quickly caught on to the idea of sharing. We have extra so we share. This is a simple principle that she hears everytime we have a playgroup or go to a friend's house. She was so excited to help me look for bags of food on front porches. At least at first.

It was actually sunny and clear yesterday as we headed down our first street. The girls ran ahead, checking each porch, eager to find our first donation. But then their excitment slowed as we passed house after house after house with no luck. We were half way through our designated route and still had not collected a single item. Nothing.

"Why?", Leina asked me. Why were their no bags waiting for us? I fumbled for an answer. I didn't want to tell her that people probably forgot, or were too busy, or just didn't care. Four is a little young to have your faith in humanity rattled. So instead, I told her that maybe no one was sharing because they didn't have any extra. Leina looked at me a moment, and then looked back at the street of house with their 3 car garages, manicured a lawns, and 3,ooo sq ft homes and didn't quite buy it. "No mom," she said, "I think they just don't know how to share."

Our hike covered about 100 houses and we picked up one donation. Yup. Just one bag of soup and paper towels. The other moms reported similar results. Some found not a single donation. Other loaded up a meager bag or two. Most of the donations we recovered were from members of the moms club itself. After a whole morning walking the streets, we had very little to show for our work. It actually really depressed me. I live in such a well off community. So many big homes and big cars. I just wish we had a few more helping hands. We sure could use them.

Posted by Chrissie at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2007


Don't you love traditions? I love the feeling of continuity it brings when I bring out certain decorations or make a special dish for dinner. It just gives you a sense of time. Now that my girls are here, I'm always looking for traditions they can remember and love too. One of these is our annual pumkin run.

Right after Leina turned 2, we heard about a little local farm that had a nice pumpkin field, animals to pet and a little hay maze. It's not the ginormous affair that happens on Sauvie Island. It's much calmer and smaller but it suits us just fine. Even better, they have some cut outs that they put out every year and I make sure to snap a picture of the girls in front of them. This is our third trip so I finally have enough pictures for comparison and man, how time flies.

Here we are our first year, 2005, when Leina was only a 2 years old. Kulia was lugged around in the backpack and didn't make it into the shot.

In 2006, Kulia joined in the fun. She was a wee thing but totally game. Can you believe how much Leina grew in just one year?!?!?

Today, we added the 2007 entry to our montage. Now it's Kulia's turn to amaze me with her growth spurt.

When we got home, they wanted to do some dress-up and I snapped these pictures. They have nothing to do with Halloween but since this has turned into a photo blog today, I thought I'd throw them in for free!

Posted by Chrissie at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2007

Fuzzy Pants

Yup. It's Friday. Otherwise known as PJ day here in Casa de McLaughlin. In between Christmas projects, I like to take a break and do something quick and easy. Due to overwhelming demand, this usually means I'm making fuzzy pants. It's a really easy pattern for pj's I picked up a while ago. I took Leina to the fabric store and let her pick out whatever type of material she wanted and she headed straight for the fuzzy fleece. The kid's got a good eye for sleep material, I'll give her that. Because the pattern is so plain, after they are stitched together I get to embellish them however I want. The first pair were blue with fleece flowers. This time, I went green and stitched on some cute heart patches for the knees and bottom. She adores them which makes my day. Even better, they cost about .50 each which can't be beat. Now I just need to find an adult sized pattern and make a pair for myself because everyone needs a pair of fuzzy pajama pants. Don't you think?

Posted by Chrissie at 03:03 PM | Comments (2)

October 18, 2007

Thank ya very much

My kids are crazy dancers. Most of the time, their version of "dance" is to run around in circles going crazy loco with a total and wanton disregard for the beat of the music. It is danciing in the loosest sense of the term. But yesterday, Leina requested some really fast music and right in the middle of their chaos running/dancing, Kulia started to channel Elvis. Maybe Elvis doing karate? At least that's my take on what happened. Watch for yourself and decide. (Warning - this is hilarously cute. Be prepared for multiple viewings.)

Posted by Chrissie at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2007


My house is slowly returning back to normal. After my late night jaunt to Ikea with Liza, I went through a crazy re-org phase. I am now the proud owner of a Billy bookcase like most of the greater Portland area. Of course, putting up the new bookcase meant everything else in all parts of my house had to be moved and then removed. (Poor Kevin.) But I'm finally happy with the results. Bookshelves are good things. I need more. I also need a new kitchen. But that's a whole 'nother level of pain.

We have also lost Melo puppy (or Princess Melo as Leina calles her). Kat & Josh returned from Vegas and reclaimen their girl. Leina is slowly recovering from her Melo fix but still sighs when she thinks about all the fun they had. Melo? I bet she is happy to be back home and away from my crazy kids. The look in her eye here doesn't say "yippee I love to play dress up with 4 yr old" so much as "mom, please come home soon." I wish I had snapped a picture of the nightly walk. It involved one small white puppy with two leashes being walked simultaneously by my girls. Just the thought makes me smile. Artie loved the lack of attention he received. He got to laze around and smirk while Melo got all the cool dressing up time. Everyone needs a break every now and then, right?

Posted by Chrissie at 02:20 PM | Comments (1)

October 16, 2007

Picture Day

Today was Leina's first picture day at school and, of course, she threw a fit. She hates having her picture taken so when I announced she was getting one taken at school, she adamantly refused. First, she threatened that she would not smile. Then she threatened she would not go at all. Finally, she stamped her little foot, crossed her little arms, and glared at me.

I suppose every mom deals with every situation differently. Some moms may reason, some may threaten, some may punish. Me, I'm a big fan of the bargain. I get what I want, you get what you want and we all walk away happy. (I have heard some people call this technique bribery but these people tend to have no children of their own so their opinion doesn't really count.)

Now, I wanted my child to sit nicely and smile for the camera. That was my end of the deal. But what did Leina want? As a good deal maker, I keep a running list of Leina currency - things she just can't say no too. And right now, believe it or not, the top item on her list is KFC. Yes, that was not a typo. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Not the chicken, per se, but the mashed potatoes and gravy. Leina will do anything for KFC mashed potatoes and gravy.

You see the beauty of the deal? I told my cross little child that if she smiled and took a nice picture for me, I would take her to KFC for lunch and she could get mashed potatoes and gravy. At the mention of gravy, she threw her happy little arms around me and announced I'm the best mommy in the world and we skipped upstairs to pick out a cute outfit for her photo shoot. I'm happy to report we both fullfilled our sides of the bargain and I'm looking forward to the happy smiley picture sometime soon.

I don't know how long this deal making will last. I envision a not too distant future when the top two things on her want list are a car or a new cell phone. But I figure I'll deal with that trauma later. Right now, I've got the KFC card and I plan to use it wisely and well.

Posted by Chrissie at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2007

PJ Girls

Ah, Friday. The one day of the week where we don't have to be dressed and fed and out of the house early. No, Fridays are all about lounging about in our PJ's until 11:30am. My only motivation for getting the girls dressed is the fact that Kevin gets a bit grumpy when he comes home for lunch and finds us still in jammies. (I think he's secretly envious.) And honestly, can you blame me for keeping the PJs on for so long when the kids are so darn cute?

This weekend is looking bizarrely calm. I am finally heading to the new Ikea to do some damage on our credit card. I've wrangled Liza into driving me. She needs a cutting board. I need shelves and blinds and china hutches and goodness know what else. Might be a bit of a mismatch at checkout time but that's fine with me.

It's Friday! We made it!

Posted by Chrissie at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2007

Fly Babies

Leina is firmly on the road to recovery. That medicine sure is powerful. The fever, tenderness and swelling are almost totally gone and not a moment too soon. Leina is a still a bit grouchy and not quite back to her sweet little self yet but I know she'll shake off her funk soon enough.

This morning we headed to the mom's club halloween social and the girls got to don their costumes. Leina was grumpy and moody so the only pictures I got were of a very sullen Tinkerbell. Kulia, however, refused to hold still long enough for a good shot. Crazy kid. Both girls, however, agreed to pose with their absolute favorite puppy, Melo, who we are watching for a few days. I think Melo has done more to help Leina back onto the road to happiness than any amount of medication. Maybe she should become a therapy dog. Hmmm.

So here, without further adieu, are my little fly girls. (And the snuggle puppy.)

Posted by Chrissie at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2007


Leina woke from nap yesterday and wandered into the craft room. I took one look at her and said, "we're going to the doctor."

Sometimes, your mom sense just starts tingling. She just didn't look right in her eyes. Something was off. Just wrong. I remember when she was a tiny infant, the doctor told me that if I ever felt something was wrong to bring her in because a mom knows her baby like nobody else. I had no idea what she was talking about at the time. I had just come into my mom powers and hadn't understood all of it's quirks. But now, after four years, I've pretty much figured it out. Follow your gut.

So I called the doctor at 4:30pm and they said they'd hold the last spot of the day (5pm) for me. Of course, Kulia was still fast asleep and we had rush hour traffic to get through but I'm a big fun of back streets. I worked my mom mojo and had both kids awake, diapered, snacked and in the car in 10 minutes flat and we arrived with 2 minutes to spare. Yes!

The doctor poked and prodded and nodded. The right side of Leina's face from the front of her ear all down her jaw was swollen and hot. It felt like a large cyst was there. She was talking funny because it hurt to open her mouth and running a slight fever. After ruling out the mumps, (thank goodness for vaccines), the doctor concluded that she has a lymphnode that has gone wild. For whatever reason, it has turned on and is inflamed. By itself, it's probably nothing that a good dose of medicine won't fix. If, however, any further symptoms appear, we have some serious testing to do. By the time it was done, it was approaching 6pm and had to throw the girls back in the car and raced to the pharmacy to get her prescription filled before closing. Then, we hit CJ's for a giant vanilla milkshake for my poor child with the sore jaw. Today, the fever is down and the swelling greatly reduced and Leina has her sparkle back. Phew. I'm hoping this is just some wierd one shot deal 'cause I don't know how much more adventure we can take.

Poor Kevin, he came home around 7:30pm yesterday and we were still sitting around the table eating dinner. He was very confused but glad to hear his girl was A-OK.

Truth be told, I'm not big on doctors for myself. I moan and groan and avoid them unless I'm on death's door. But for my kids, it's a whole 'nother story. I figure Kevin works very hard and we pay every month for insurance so I'm using it! For a mere $5 co-pay, I'd rather take my kid in and be told everything is fine than have my kids suffer one minute longer than necessary. So when my mom sense tingles, I dig out the five bucks and hit the road.

Now that the danger has been averted, I've thrown myself back to my tasks. My mom friend is having a little girl in about 2 weeks and I finally finished her baby gift. I've been pretty much stalking her about the baby's name and she swears they've decided to go with Mya. I love making these name banners and I love it even more when the name is short! Lets just hope I spelled it right...

Posted by Chrissie at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2007


You ever had one of those days when life seemed set against you? Yeah, that was this morning.

Today was the annual trip to the pumpkin patch with Leina's preschool class. The girls were so excited to pick pumpkins. Here in the burbs, there are alot of working farms around so a trip to the pumpkin patch involves petting every type of farm animal plus one, fresh pressed apple cidar, hay mazes and tractor rides. It's really rather incredible. Especially coming from SoCal where the pumpkin patch was a corner lot next to the gas station that the local boyscouts manned with some old hay strewn about. Here, pumpkins are a big deal.

I think you can see why the girls were so excited. We had talked about it all week and I'll admit I was a bit twittery too. I love holding baby chicks and petting fresh puppies as much as the next kid. I imagined myself sipping hot cidar, chatting with the other moms, while our adorable children ran amoungst fields of bright orange pumpkins squealing with delight. Ok, maybe a bit optomistic. Ok, maybe alot. But imagine my distress when Leina woke in a black funk claiming her tooth hurt her. Closer inspecting revealed that the side of her face was slightly swollen. She just had her dentist xrays 3 weeks ago so I knew it was nothing major. She has very very sensitve jaws and the slightest movement of her teeth causes her extreme pain. Trust me, I've seen this girl teething and it is hell on earth. Really. I had thought I was done once her 2 yr molars popped through but I guess not. Luck me.

Because her teeth hurt, she refused to eat. You think Leina with sore teeth is bad, try making her hungry as well. Like her father, Leina quickly turns grumpy when hungry. The idea of dragging her around a pumpkin patch with a swollen face and a grumbling stomach was not my idea of fun. However, I did survive teething and had learned a few trick of the mom trade. I am not about medicating my children so out came the tylenol. Add to that, thinly sliced banana wedges and lots of milk and I had her semi-human and we headed for the door with 2 minutes to spar. Of course, that's when Kulia stopped, squatted, and announced "poopie mommmie!"

Oh my. But we made it. The animals and pumpkins were enough to keep Leina mildly entertained but she didn't have a very good time. There was lots of whining, irrational tears because the pumpkins were too dirty, and mommy cursing artfully whispered under my breath. I've decided we will go again with Kevin once the tooth ache is passed for a second try. But I'me very disappointed that the stars were so misaligned this morning. Oh yes, and did I mention that Kevin has a 5:30pm conference call tonight and won't be home 'til very very late?

But here are the best shots of my pumpkin girls. Enjoy.

Posted by Chrissie at 02:48 PM | Comments (1)

October 08, 2007

Watch Out Baddies

The girls love playing superhero. Kevin gets the role of Batman and Leina is his side kick Robin. Funnily enough, in their version of Batman, Robin runs around making the rules and bossing poor old Batman around who is often found sprawled upon the bed perusing a woodworker magazine. Who knew Batman was a woodsmith? Kulia, not to be left out, has developed her own character named "Superbaby!" (Yes, the exclaimation mark is meant to be inside the quotes. That's how she says it.) Super baby runs around after Robin and can only be stopped for a drink of milk or when patches is lost/misplaced. The other night Leina asked for a mask and I whipped this up for her.

I give you, Robin....

And Superbaby!

Kevin has grumbled that he wants a mask too. Now that picture would be worth some bucks.

Aside from costuming superheros, I've also begin working on Christmas presents. Yes, I know it is only early October but I've learned my lesson. One minute the leaves are falling and the next the light up reindeer have migrated to our front yard and the tree is lit and decorated. So I'm starting early this year. Very, very early. So early, in fact, that I have penciled in time for the flu, a few colds, and a couple of dark procrastination periods. HA! Take that Christmas! Here are a few of the on-going projects scattered across my desk.

First, a Thanksgiving banner for sweet Anna...

Then, a very cute crow quilt for Auntie Bev that I found the pattern for at the quilt show with Kat. (Here's hoping she isn't a veiwer of my website...)

I am currently taking orders for other Christmas presents. If you have been nice this year, please leave a comment with your request and I'll put you in the cue. But now, I must return to my needle and threads. Only 78 days till Christmas!

(Oh yes, did I mention that Kevin finally left me directions for how to post pictures to this site. Are you excited or what?!?!)

Posted by Chrissie at 02:32 PM | Comments (2)

October 02, 2007

Ah, Fall

I love it when the seasons change. I think it may be because I spent so many years in Southern CA where the difference between summer and fall is a mere 5 degrees. Lets face it, palm trees in the fall look pretty much the same as palm trees in the summer. And winter. And spring.

So when I moved here to Oregon, that first fall was magical. I vividly remember walking the back path to campus with my mouth open and my eyes like saucers. I still have the leaves I picked up and marveled over. I loved pulling out my sweaters and boots and winding a scarf around my neck. Coffee tastes life-sustaining on a blustery fall morning and the casserole section of all my cookbooks become dog eared and dirty.

New seasons always feel like new starts for me. A chance to shake off last seasons failures and start fresh. New wardrobe - new beginnings! So I find myself embarking on new plans. A plan to whip this house into shape. A plan to finish my crazy projects that have stagnated. A plan to whip my lazy butt in shape. Of course, all this planning exhausts me but a nice cup of coffee yanks me back on my feet and I'm off again. So this fall, I plan to shed a few pounds, clean out some dirt, and put the finishing stitches on a few projects. Of course, somewhere along the line I'll burn out but that's ok. Winter is right around the corner and another fresh start will be here before you know it.

Now all I need to do now is dig out my black kick-butt boots and I'll be mentally prepared to tackle fall head on.

Posted by Chrissie at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)