Wednesday, March 30, 2011

They're Taking the Hobbits to Isengard

Second annual Lord of the Rings marathon? Check. We began Friday evening, and the fun didn't stop until Sunday night. I could give you a play-by-play of everything we did, or describe how much fun we had, but if you aren't a fan of the movies, you'll just think we sound like total dorks. And if you love them like we do, you already know it was a good weekend! So instead, I'll keep this short, and summarize some observations I have, looking back on this Hobbit-y party.

Observation#1: If you're going to do something slightly nerdy, (like have a Lord of the Rings marathon...) the more nerdy you are about it, the more fun it will be! Here are some of the nerdy things we did, that made it VERY fun!

Souvenir t-shirts with the flag of Gondor

Elven Lembas bread wrapped in leaves

A menu! (of course!)

Specialty hobbit teas

Ent draughts
Observation #2: The hobbits must have been British. And they must have baked a lot. Shortbread and scones and pies...oh my! Most of our food was hearty Brit fare, (shepherd's pie, beef stew, sausage, mushrooms) mingled with a healthy dose of desserts. Here are a few of our goodies.


Empire Biscuits

Individual Apple Pies with cream

Observation #3: We should take certainly more photos of people, and possibly less of the food! I don't have a single shot of a single movie watcher! But I did document all the meals! So here they are!

First breakfast: Berries and cream, pumpkin scones with glaze, coffee and cream

Second Breakfast: Bacon, sausage, eggs, taters, mushrooms and crumpets

Elevensies: Mushroom leek soup, scones and cheese

Luncheon: Sausage, taters, field greens and roasted carrots

Afternoon Tea: Savory scones, jam, cheese,fruit, and tea
Dinner: Hearty beef stew, crusty bread (and carrot cake!)

Supper: Shepherd's pie, field greens and crusty bread
Observation #4: Mathematical formula for successful Lord of the Rings movie watching is as follows:

[number of days allotted for watching]={number of children present}+(1)

Last year we pulled it off in two days. This year it took three (and we didn't QUITE finish). Next year, when Graeme and Ashlee's little peanut makes his or her appearance, we're thinking we'll need four. Or a week. Here are the elf and hobbit who slowed us down and prevented us watching even a single movie without interruption. Or falling asleep. Either that or we're getting old. Nope. It must be the kiddos!

Looks like Phil Mickelson...

...found himself a new accessory this week!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Concerning Hobbits

We are getting ready for our second annual Lord of the Rings weekend, and since it's our second one, we decided that we needed to up the ante and make it EVEN BETTER. This will be hard, as it was already pretty great! But we've started out by making it three days instead of two, (which means more time to watch movies, and of course, more food!) and have been looking at the books, menu planning, and doing our best to make it as authentic, epic, and wonderful as possible. (It has to be good, because it's the only thing that can help us forget that we're HERE instead of on our way to meet Baby Calvin. WAH!) As we've been doing our research, we've confirmed something we suspected from the start. Liam is a hobbit.

First of all...He's fat! Hobbits are "inclined to be fat in the stomach", and as we've already made clear, this boy is a chub-a-roo! This is probably directly related to his love for eating, which is another hobbit trait.

Hobbits are fond of seven meals a day, when they can get them. Liam currently only gets six...but it's not for lack of trying! He takes breakfast at 6am, second breakfast at 9am, luncheon at noon, afternoon tea at 3pm, dinner at 6pm and supper at 9pm. All he's missing is elevensies, and I'm sure he wouldn't say nay if it was offered!

Also, he's hairy! This boy was born with more hair on his head than his brother had at a year! He also had hairy arms, hairy legs, hairy shoulders...he's a little Esau. Or a little hobbit.

Add to this the minor details, like the fact that he is small in stature, dresses in bright colors, wears no shoes on his feet, has a good-natured face, enjoys a deep laugh...and we're pretty sure. He's a hobbit! And a pretty cute little hobbit at that!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

He's HERE!

C is for COUSIN...hip hip hooray!
A for arrival! He made his today!
L is for loved, a nephew so dear!
V for victorious! Calvin is here!
I is for Iowa, where we all say
North Carolina is too far away.

Calvin Palmer Pitman
Born March 22, 2011
12:46 pm
8lbs 13oz
Congratulations to Mom (Becky), Dad (Stu) and Big Sis (Courtney)!!
We love you all!

Two 'til Two

Well Iain-man, in exactly two months you will be two years old. Happy twenty-two months little boy! In the past few weeks, you have REALLY grown up. It's making your Mama quite alarmed! I'm not sure what it is, I think a combination of many things, but you just don't seem little any more!
First of all, you've started speaking in sentences! We can't believe it! Your grammar leaves a little to be desired, but it's so cool to see you putting thoughts and concepts together. We can actually have a conversation with you, and you answer questions and tell us information-it's weird. You continue to add words to your vocabulary daily. We only have to tell you something once, and it's in the vault forever. And you pick up EVERYTHING that is going on around you. You are still constantly curious; "Wassat? Wassat?" And lately you've added a very clear "THAT" to your question if we don't answer quickly enough. ("Wassat? Wassat?...THAT!?!")

You still love music and continue to learn songs every day. We sing a song to you once, and you ask to hear it again for weeks. And then you memorize it and sing it back to us constantly. Current favorites are ABCs and Happy Birthday. You have gotten very particular with your night-time song requests: You'll tell us "Sing this one...Silly Willy" or whatever your song of choice is for the evening. You still love "Rock-a-baby", and in the last month, you've requested that we rock the following: Mommy, Daddy and all the family, burzah and all the animals, Shane's guitar, Baby-Iain, Baby Iain's bottles and spitters, and of course...a stinky-doodoo! You love to interrupt with your opinion right in the middle of a song, and when Daddy puts you to bed, I can hear him laughing as you call out your requests in a most adamant tone.

In fact, with your newly expanded vocabulary, you've just gotten more demanding in general! You boss us around day and're a firstborn for sure. And you are so funny lately! We can't believe the things you come out with, and you love to make us laugh. When you ask for something if we tell you "No", you seem to think the only reason that you aren't getting what you want is because you didn't ask nicely enough. So you turn on the charm and make the request in your "nice voice", which is a high pitched, sugary version of your regular's hilarious! You love to tell us that things "fall down", which usually means you dropped them. Another favorite expression: "Haha...That's funny!" (Usually when you're doing something you know is frowned upon!) You've also been telling us lately that you are "scared" of things. We don't know if you know what it means, as you've been "scared" of foxes, Grandpa's garage, the bags of mulch, the dark, the birds...etc. etc. in the last few weeks.

You still love to read, and Dr. Seuss books are still your first choice. You have several of them just about memorized, and will "read" them back to us. You also love your Bible storybook and will sit and listen to story after story. I think this is where you get your big vocabulary from, and we are so happy that you love books.

Thankfully, as you've begun to communicate better, your behavior has improved a ton! Your time outs and discipline for hitting, screaming and bad temper have decreased dramatically! This is a big plus! We've also discovered that more times than not, if you're in a bad are either hungry (like your dad!) or tired (like your mom!). And some food or a nap will work wonders that the time-out chair could never accomplish.

You continue to love Baby Liam and like to show him how to do all of the things you know how to do. You still can be rough with him, but it's mostly when you don't remember how little he is. You want him to be able to eat the things you eat, do the things you do, play the games you are a great big brother.

Finally, you've conquered your fear of the potty! This makes you seem very grown up as well. You're still not a big fan, and there are plenty of "No thank you, why not, no thank you please"s, but you will go! The thought that you could potentially soon be on your way out of diapers makes you seem very grown up indeed! got your first haircut! And you instantly looked like such a big boy! You did really well, and were not freaked out at all-in fact, you wanted the scissors! It's nice not to have such a nappy rats-nest in the back, but I must confess, I kind of miss your silky baby locks. You just look too big!

Also, you've been trying lots of new food this month! How grown up of you! You have been consistently eating (and loving!) cheese and apples. You also like peanut butter! You still won't try macaroni, (we even tried to bribe you to eat just ONE piece, and you would NOT!) and love your pizza, crazy bread, mashed potatoes and pudding...but we are making progress. I think. Maybe by the time you are ten, you will actually eat a vegetable.

The best thing this month? You've been sleeping like a champ!! You go to bed great for Daddy, usually around 8:30 or 9pm, and you sleep in until anywhere from 9:30-11am! You were waking up earlier and earlier as it got lighter, so we put a blanket over your window, and it has done the trick! You wake up so happy, and still take a good nap (2-3 hours) in the afternoon! I had no idea you needed this much sleep...but it's been wonderful to see what a difference a well-rested boy makes!

We've been lucky enough to have LOTS of opportunities to play outside this month! And you love it! I think you'd stay all day if we'd let you! You've been practicing golf on the lawn, making snowmen, digging in the dirt and helping Mommy with chores-it's been a good month! You are pretty coordinated for a little guy! You can hit that golf ball a lot better than your Mama can! And you seem like such a big boy when you do.

A couple of your other quirks have disappeared as well. You've gone in the church nursery happily several times! You stayed with a babysitter other than your family and had fun!! When we took our trip to Canada last month, you actually enjoyed the car-ride!!! Oh Iain, you are getting so big!

But. You don't always like to be a big boy. You often tell us that you are "Baby Iain". (And ask us to "Hold this baby!") You want to be swaddled when you see us do it to Liam. (But then say you're "stuck" when we show you how it's done!) You say you don't want to use the potty, but prefer diapers. (But all of a sudden, don't like getting them changed!) And you still like to be cuddled and snuggled. (Even though you're getting too big to fit on my lap!) You still come running for comfort when you get hurt. (And can tell us exactly what happened!) You still mix up your "you"s and "me"s. (It's pretty hilarious!) So even though you are closing in on two, I guess you've got a ways to go before you're all grown up. We don't mind. We'll keep you little for a while yet.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Outdoor Living

Today makes it a solid week in which we've spent the majority of each day outside. We've shed layers each day and were down to spring jackets at the end of the week; it's been lovely. Iain literally would spend his ENTIRE day outside if we'd let him-he eats his lunch outside, plays happily for hours in the yard, and whenever we're in, he begs to go back out. Liam enjoys the outdoor life as well- he has his meals Al fresco, and happily soaks up the vitamin D. The house is staying nice and clean (since we're never inside!) and I can actually sit down and enjoy a cup of tea (on the patio!) while my busy boy plays. He has utterly forsaken his winter activity (hockey) for his spring sport (golf). Guess his team didn't make the playoffs! Here are some photos (for Grampy) from this morning's golf lesson and lunch greenside. "BIG SWING!"

I'll Tell Ya One Thing...

There's ONE member of this family who will be VERY disappointed when (if?) the dishwasher is fixed (replaced?)! And ANOTHER member of the family will be very disappointed when this "helpful helper" phase ends! Some of Iain's favorite things to do are "fowd waundry", "doda dishes" and "vacuuuuum"! Now...if I could just get him to make beds!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day (as I'm sure you all know!), and the mischief of those little leprechauns was certainly at work. Neil's Dad celebrates his birthday on St. Patrick's Day, and this was his 60th. Mom SURPRISED him all day with lots of birthday fun, culminating with a SURPRISE birthday dinner at the Olive Garden. I think he actually was SURPRISED, and it was a lot of fun! We finished off the evening with dessert and presents at our house...however...those planned birthday SURPRISES weren't the only ones that the day had in store.

I baked cupcakes for the birthday dessert, and was SURPRISED that they stuck in the pans and were a total flop! So I re-baked a layer cake, and was again SURPRISED when the cakes fell apart. I was also SURPRISED that I was able to "glue" it back together with icing and make it (slightly) presentable. I was pleasantly SURPRISED that Iain slept until 11am and then entertained himself all day while I sorted out my baking debacle.

Neil and I were VERY SURPRISED that Iain did NOT have a fit when we left him with a babysitter to go out for dinner! Maybe he's outgrown his "stranger danger" phase? Or maybe he just really likes "Aunt" Bethany. We were also SURPRISED that Liam slept the entire time she was watching the boys! We should get babysitters more often!

Iain was SURPRISED when we all burst into birthday song...he didn't quite no what to make of if, and when we finished proclaimed "AGAIN! Sing this one...'happy birthday to you' again!!" Finally, we were all quite SURPRISED when we tasted Ashlee's delectable lemon meringue pie, only to discover that it was SURPRISINGLY salty. And Ashlee was very SURPRISED to discover that the 1/2 cup of sugar for the lemon filling that she had sent Graeme to the neighbors' to borrow, was indeed 1/2 cup of SALT. And I think that Graeme was SURPRISED to learn that the neighbors he went to borrow said cup of "sugar" from keep salt in a canister on the counter...much like sugar.

Those crazy leprechauns. Always up to no good!

When my dad turned 60 last month, "Grandpa" gave a message via Iain to "Grampy" that he was an "old man". So yesterday was "Grampy's" turn to get back at him! And Iain firmly let Grandpa know that he was inducted into the "Old Man" club!

Mmm! Salt Pie!

We finished the night by busting out the leprechaun hats for old time's sake!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patrick's Day...

...from two little leprechauns!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


What is it about March that always makes us jump the gun? 364 days a year, you'd never catch us clamoring to go play outside in the 40 degree weather, but give us one weekend in March that's above freezing, and we're there. It's like we don't believe that there are more nice days on the way, so we have to make the most of it while we have the chance. Or maybe we're just so tired of the long Iowa winter, and so sick of being cooped up inside that Spring fever takes over in spite of our common sense. Whatever the reason, we celebrated "Spring Ahead" by spending the afternoon outside.

Iain helped Daddy clear out the yard and hill from all of winter's debris and detritus. Then he worked on his golf game. He's been outside for four hours, and I don't know how we're ever going to get him in.

Liam spent his time bundled up in the stroller, and he wasn't too sure about this "Spring is here" business. He's now conked out from all of his unaccustomed fresh air.

Ella thought she'd won the lottery, as she's been requesting to go outside for the past three weeks. A good brushing later, she's looking a few pounds lighter!

Neil and I traded coats for sweatshirts and enjoyed the day with our boys. I started weeding the garden and Neil made the first "campfire" of spring. We're now off to cook some dinner on the grill, and stay up an hour later than usual, in honor of it staying light.

The only one who had a bad day was Mister Snowman.