Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2 year old stats plus some

Liam went in for his 2 year old check-up yesterday. Our favorite pediatrician was pleased with his progress and especially happy with his increase in vocabulary. He got one shot, which he took like a champ. I don't think he was sure about the band-aid though. We talked with our doctor about how Liam was sick last week and she made sure to check his ears-no infection. However, I mentioned that Ewan had woken me up the night before (actually, Marcus woke me up and had brought Ewan to me-what a nice big brother) with complaints that his ear hurt. Since Ewan wasn't interested in taking tylenol, I told him to go back to bed (excellent parenting, I know). Our doctor checked Ewan's ears and wouldn't you know it, he has another ear infection. This is the second one in about 3 months, although, not as bad as the previous one. Lucky us that we mentioned it. Poor Ewan, he hasn't complained since last night. I guess he has a high tolerance for pain.

Anyway, Liam now weighs 32.4 pounds and is 35 1/2 inches tall. I don't know what percentage that puts him in, but he is a pretty big boy. And, he's keeping up with his brothers' growth at that age: Marcus 33 3/4 pounds 36 3/8 inches, Cale 34.4 pounds 35.5 inches and Ewan 30.6 pounds 34.75 inches.

If all goes well, next time we see our pediatrician will be after Kella is born!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter photos

It was a happy Easter for the boys in the Shaffer house. The Easter bunny (who I'm not too sure if all the boys think is real) gave them each a Webkinz dog and some candy. In a surprising turn of events, no one argued about which dog they wanted. Cale settled on the bulldog. Marcus was kind enough to let Ewan pick before him. Ewan chose the husky dog and Marcus picked the chihuahua. I'm not sure if that's the one that Marcus wanted, but he was a good sport about it. I also told him that Grammy Cece has a chihuahua and he thought that was cool. Liam didn't really care that he got a new toy, he was more interested in getting his hands on his brothers' new toys.

After lunch, we had an Easter egg hunt. Ewan was impressed that the Easter bunny could hide those eggs without being seen. It was soooo wet outside that the boys wore their winter boots and kicked up water when they ran. They had fun finding the eggs and even Liam was able to find a few. We made them divy the eggs up once they got inside and the candy was a big hit.

The spoils of the hunt. Marcus said this was the best Easter ever!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Liam's 2nd birthday!

2 years ago today, Liam entered our lives. He is such a sweet, little boy! He loves his brothers and loves playing with them. He has finally started called Andy "dad" and me "ma" (not mom, or mommy or momma). He likes his stuffed dogs, cars, bubbles, balls, being read to, playing with his brothers' toys, playdoh, dancing and singing-using whatever he can find as a pretend microphone. He can be a little bit of a picky eater-he prefers his fruits and veggies to other food. He is also into watching a few choice videos right now: Baby VanGogh (colors), Baby Newton (shapes) and Elmo's world pets. His very favorite companion is his blankie and he does like to suck his thumb (left). We are very sure that he is left-handed, too. His favorite song is "The Wise Man Built his House Upon the Rock". We sing it when we put his jammies on and Liam likes to do all the movements. Liam also goes by the names "Cocoa" and "Cocoabean". I'm not too sure why-Ewan started calling him these names and they stuck. Even people outside the family call him these names. I think he had fun on his birthday. He may have been slightly overwhelmed by his brothers hovering over him, trying to get him to open his presents. But, he liked all his gifts and had fun playing with them. We are so blessed to be his parents! What a sweet little boy!

in his new pop-up football shaped tent

a pillow pet of his own-a puppy, of course

new playdoh


time for cake!

watching one of his favorite videos-baby shapes

with Daddy

...and with Mommy

celebrating 2 years of Liam Christopher!

From April2009

From April2009

From April2009

Liam @ 1 year

relaxing with his favorite thing-blankie

Happy birthday sweet Liam!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

a little bit of early birthday

Liam's birthday is tomorrow (on Easter)! Grammy Linda came up on Friday afternoon to see the boys and to watch them while I worked that night and slept the next day :-). She also brought some birthday gifts for the wee-man. Of course, we let him open them!

He got some toys and some jams. Here he is wearing his new superman jammies. There is a cape on the back that he did not want taken off at bedtime. The party continues tomorrow!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Andy!

Happy birthday to Andy! We had fun celebrating his day! We opened presents after breakfast. Andy got a Wii game (Mario Sports Mix) that the boys were very excited about. He also got a front and back light for his bike and some bike socks (new socks are always nice) .

For dinner, Andy grilled himself a ginormous porterhouse and then we had cake and key lime pie. The pie was store-bought. I had made a key lime pie from scratch the night before, but I forgot to put it in the fridge before we went to bed. It was still sitting out this morning and was not good (thank you preggo brain). The boys liked that we had both pie and cake :-).

My favorite thing about this video is Liam jamming out to "happy birthday" :-)

Andy, we love you! Happy birthday!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

trying new recipes

I get tired of cooking the same things for dinner (but, to be honest, Andy does a lot of the meal cooking). I found some new recipes in my newest issue of Family Fun magazine. We're going to try them all-so far, I've done two of them: Two-way skillit mac and cheese (first picture) and Pork rib ragu (second picture). I have to say that everyone liked the ragu meal better than the mac and cheese meal. All the boys ate the pork meal without complaining. Here are the recipes, in case you are getting the urge to cook. Like I said, these are both out of the April 2011 issue of Family Fun Magazine.

2 way skillet mac and cheese


1 pound penne/shell pasta

5 TB unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour

3 cups milk (calls for 2%, I used whole milk)

2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

4 oz sharp cheddar, grated (1 cup)

5 oz parmesean, grated (1 1/4 cups)

1 TB Dijon mustard

1 TB worchestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 oz pasteurized lump crabmeat, no shells/cartilage

6 oz frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and squeezed

1 1/2 TB minced chives or scallion greens

1/4 cup canned diced green chiles

1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I used regular)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Step 1) boil the pasta according to pkg directions Step 2) in a 12 inch ovenproof skillet, melt 4 TB butter, whisk in flour until smooth paste is formed, whisk in milk until smooth, continue whisking until mixture bubbles and then whisk in Gruyere and cheddar cheeses and 1/2 cup of the parmesean cheese, the mustard, worchestershire and salt until cheeses melt (about 1 min), remove from heat and stir in cooked pasta Step 3) transfer 5 cups of pasta mixture to another overproof skillet and set aside, stir in the crab, artichoke hearts, chives/scallions and green chiles into remaining pasta Step 4) set broiler to low, melt remaining butter in microwave and mix with remaining parmesean and bread crumbs, sprinkle half over each skillet, sprinkle pepper over crab pasta dish Step 5) broil on low until golden brown-about 5 mins, allow to cool for 5 mins and serve

Pork Rib Ragu


2 large carrots, chopped (I used about half a bag of baby carrots, unchopped)

2 ribs celery, chopped

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

4 pounds meaty pork spareribs or baby back ribs, cut into pieces of 3-4 ribs each

2 (8 oz) cans of tomoato sauce

1/2 cups beef broth

1 1/2 TB balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 TB flour

1/4 cup water

cooked egg noodles

Step 1) in a slow cooker, combine carrots, celery, onion and garlic, place meat over the veggies Step 2) in a medium bowl, stir together tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, oregano, thyme and salt, pour mixture over the ribs then cover and cook on low until the meat is tender and begins to separate from the bone, 6-8 hours Step 3) using a slotted spoon, remove the ribs from the sauce and let them cool slightly, remove the meat from the bones and shred it Step 4) in a small cup, whisk together flour and water until smooth and then stir into sauce mixture, increase the heat to high and cook uncovered until thickened-about 15 mins, stir in the meat and heat 5 mins more, serve over egg noodles

Happy cooking!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring break in photos

We went back to Illinois for part of spring break. Fortunately, the boys are small enough not to have an expectation to go somewhere besides Decatur for their vacation time. We left for Illinois on Sunday. The weather was so sunny and warm, I almost didn't want to spend 3 hours in the car. But, the drive wasn't bad. Marcus, Cale and Ewan went to a birthday party before we left and wore themselves out playing there. We don't have a portable DVD player for the car anymore, but no one seemed to mind. It was just crazy windy during the drive, but that only bothered the driver (me).

Liam was facinated by Ronald McDonald at our stop in Danville.

Monday, we tried to go the Children's Museum (closed) and a bounce place (closed). We settled for the mall and the kids got treated to some rides thanks to Grammy Linda and then they played in the play area. That afternoon, Marcus, Cale, Ewan and Andy went to his mom's and I took Liam back to Chris and Kim's so we both could take a nap.

A breakfast photo of the cousins. Eating photos and photos on the couch are my two favorite kinds of pictures to take of people. I don't see a future for myself in photography.

We went to see out friends, the Bradds, on Tuesday. We ate and talked and played. It was a nice visit. Stephen took this photo with his awesome camera. The only one missing from the picture is Amos-he was napping. Yes, there are 8 little boys between the two families all 8 years old and under.

Cale, Ewan, Marcus, Abel, Adin and Abram (Liam did not want his photo taken and Amos was sleeping)

I liked this photo of Marcus and Savannah concentrating hard on their gameboy games.

It was just warm enough to play outside.

Yes, one more photo of the cousins all eating together. We loved seeing everyone again-forgetting that it had just been a week since Chris, Kim and the girls had been at our house. We got back Wednesday afternoon and have hung around the house since then. It's been a nice break. I'm not too sure if the boys will be ready to go back to their regular schedules on Monday!

on to the next project

This month, our project is painting our bedroom. When we moved in-3 years ago-this was one of the rooms that just had flat, white builders' paint. After several trips to Menards for paint samples (you can see the stack of them on the dresser), we decided on a color called Royal Indigo. I don't know if you can tell, but it's a deep purple with bluey tones. Very dark and rich. Very purple. After the first coat went on this wall, I got nervous about the color and went back and got more paint samples. But, you know, I didn't like any of them. Royal Indigo it is. Right now, Andy is priming the other 3 walls because we used almost 1/2 a gallon of paint on 1 wall. I guess the flat paint just sucks up the color. After the paint is done, then we (Andy) will hang new curtains (another favorite project of his). Can't wait to be finished with this project, too!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ready, set, go for spring break!

All the boys-including Andy, are on spring break this week. We don't have very exciting things planned, but will hopefully do something fun almost every day. We started out right away on Friday night by inviting Marcus's friend over to spend the night. Cale and Ewan were excitied to have someone new to play with ("fresh meat"). They all stayed up until about 1030 and were up by 730 the next morning. Of course, this was the one night that I really wanted to go to bed at 9pm. Saturday, then, was a rough, emotionally unstable day. They boys were whiney and easily brought to tears. They all got haircuts-their hair was getting shaggy, and we took them to an indoor play area before lunch to exhaust any energy they might have been storing up. After lunch, they all took naps :-) (me too!). That evening, we ended by watching Butler basketball team complete a win! I also got most of their stuff packed for today. Today, we will be heading back to Illinois for a few days. The boys are excited to see their cousins again. Hopefully we can go to the local zoo and children's museum while we're there. We will also hopefully get to see some friends of ours we have not seen in about a year. As soon as I log off, I will start packing the car. Liam is napping right now and the rest of the gang is at a birthday party. I have a feeling it will be a windy trip back. Right now, I have the van doors open to air out the car. I'm hoping the wind will also blow away loose crumbs that are on the floor of the van. See you later!