Friday, November 13, 2009

We've moved!

We're all settled in now at And we're staying put. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

It's still Wednesday somewhere, right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Race for the Cure 2009

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is a huge event, with more than 100 races worldwide this Mother's Day weekend. Violet's Uncle Mat's mom, Jamie, is a breast cancer survivor, and Violet and I were honored to participate yesterday as members of her team.

We met Aunt Kristin, Uncle Mat, Grandma and Grandpa and more of Jamie's friends and family at her house Saturday morning, where Jamie supplied us with plenty of fuel for the race: breakfast sandwiches hot off the griddle and even powdered donuts (my favorite!). The one mile walk from Jamie's to the starting line was a great warmup for most of us; I let Violet conserve her energy riding on my back. The race got underway not long after our arrival, and once the hard-core contenders were out of the way, we joined the crowd and took off!

We had all signed up for the 5k walk, and at the outset, it looked doable. I had my Connecta (buckle-tai type for the baby-carrier set) carrier with me, so Violet could ride on my back as soon as she got tired. But she didn't get tired. She ran, and ran, and ran. Just not always in the same direction. We lost Kristin and Mat and the rest of the group early on, but my mom (hard to get used to calling her Grandma!) and I accompanied Violet as she ran up one side of the street and down the other, over and over.

I doubt we covered more than half a mile, but we really covered that stretch. Violet finally wore herself out, and sprawled out in the street to rest.

We had a ton of fun, but even more than that, I was just moved to be a part of it all. The sheer number of people who come out to support the fight against breast cancer, and the enthusiasm of everyone there is a really powerful thing to experience. We're already looking forward to next year.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Where We've Been

This blog has been seriously neglected for the past few months. It's not something I really intended to let lapse, other projects just took precedence for a while. Rebuilding the backyard and getting the garden set up again after everything was excavated to replace a sewer line consumed all of our weekends through March and much of April, but things are finally up and running. A detailed post on our new and improved plot will be forthcoming. I promise.

The other endeavor I've been devoting more attention to is my photography. I participated in a fantastic photography workshop in March, and spent nearly every spare moment in April to setting up shop. As of May 1, East End Portrait Photography is officially open for business! The blog launched yesterday, and I'm hoping to have a website up soon. (One thing at a time . . .) A second job, that's exactly what I needed, right?

And because life wouldn't be complete if I didn't find yet another project to focus my few free moments on, I have plans to redesign (and move) this blog as well. In the process of setting up the business blog, I found myself enamored with everything I could do with Wordpress, so I've made up my mind to move Postcards from the East End to a new site, with a new look. Just as soon as I get through about 16 other things on my to-do list. In the meantime, things may continue to be a little slow around here, but hang in there with me. I'll be back, and better than ever about keeping you posted on all that we're up to.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

We celebrated Easter today the way I always loved to growing up: with an egg hunt at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Violet was a natural at finding eggs and adding them to a basket . . . just not necessarily her own. She shared her stash with everyone in attendance - Grandma and Grandpa ("PaPa"), Aunt Kristin and Uncle Mat, Mama and Dada.

No doubt we had as much fun watching her as she had on her hunt. And fortunately, the festivities aren't over yet! Grandma and Grandpa will join us again tomorrow for the East Foothills Toddler Care egg hunt that was rained out on Friday. Violet may not have had much competition today, but tomorrow will be a different story. Twelve toddlers, two hundred or more eggs . . . this should be good.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's Official: AAP Recommends Keeping Toddlers Rear-Facing Until At Least Two

Shortly after Violet's first birthday, I posted about why that occasion wouldn't be coinciding with at least one milestone it's often associated with: turning the car seat around so the child can ride facing forward like everyone else in the car. There's no disputing that in the event of an accident, kids are safer in rear-facing car seats long past the one year point when most people turn them forward. So Violet's birthday came and went, and she stayed rear-facing.

The available evidence and experts - including the American Academy of Pediatricians - have long confirmed that rear-facing is the safest way for kids to ride (within the height and weight limits of the car seat). But this month's issue of the AAP News finally included a direct recommendation to keep toddlers rear-facing until two. Hopefully lawmakers won't take long to catch up. As for Violet, she'll likely sail through her second birthday long before she reaches the 35 pound rear-facing weight limit of her Britax seat.

Speaking of Violet . . . what post could be complete without a photo?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dinner and Dancing

Violet loves music, and loves to dance to it. We have tunes playing on the iPod system in the kitchen just about every night while Violet eats dinner - if we forget she's sure to remind us to put on her favorite song. Dance moves at the dinner table are pretty standard at our place. A couple of weeks ago, we were listening to a new Putomayo CD we'd recently picked up (World Playground) as she dined, and she couldn't resist this Celtic song:

(Having finally worked out the kinks to the process of posting video, I wanted to share this clip. We're really not much into videography, though - I promise I have no intentions of incessantly posting footage of Violet's every adorable antic.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, March 15, 2009

As Promised: Violet in Action

We bought our first digital video camera about a year ago, but it hasn't yet seen much use. With the SLR ever-present, it's just been easy to overlook. We're trying to make more of an effort these days. This age is just so entertaining!

Beyond just remembering to utilize this additional piece of equipment, though, there was the matter of figuring out how the hell to get what we did shoot onto the computer, and eventually onto the blog. It may not be rocket science, but it does take a little time, and with a full time job, a fledgling law firm, a photography habit, and a toddler, it took us a while to get to it. But we worked it all out this weekend, and we're excited to share some footage of Violet in action on her skis as an introduction to the video element of the blog. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Monday, March 02, 2009

Garden Prep Gone Awry?

No, we didn't go overboard getting the soil tilled for the upcoming growing season. We're getting a shinynew sewer line! It wasn't on the original agenda for this spring, but the raw sewage that flooded our basement a couple weeks ago prompted us to rearrange our priorities. For over a week now, our backyard has looked more like Beirut than Boise. Fortunately, we have plenty of playspace available right across the street at the schoolyard, so Violet isn't missing anything. And Atticus is hardly complaining about the several short walks he's been getting every day since his bathroom is under construction. Things are looking good for getting the yard put back together in time to get our garden in, but we'll be cutting it close. Which reminds me, I need to start ordering seeds . . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Saturday, February 21, 2009


This afternoon, once we were almost back to the lodge, we parked the Chariot and gave Violet the opportunity to ski again. She spent some time trying them out on her own, but what she was really interested in was a downhill run with Dada. He hauled her up a little hill and they cruised down together. Her response? "More."

Repeat three or four times and you have the end of our outing. I've got video, if only I could figure out how to post it. Until then:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ski Baby

We've been taking Violet out on the cross country trails with us since she was about six months old. She rides in the Chariot Cougar trailer (using the cross country ski conversion kit) and Eric pulls her behind him. Last year, she never lasted long before the ride lulled her to sleep, but this year, she's been soaking up a lot more of the scenery. We typically stop about halfway through our trek to let her get out and stretch her legs, and as soon as she's free, she heads striaght for our skis and tries to stand on them. Somebody's been paying attention!

After she showed interest in our skis a couple times, we decided to pick up a pair for her. On our way to the local resort last weekend, we found some just her size that strap right onto her snow boots. At the end of our stint that day, we pulled them out and let her give it a try.

Violet took to skiing without hesitation. Not at all unnerved by the strange sensation of sliding on boards attached to her feet (am I the only one who is unnerved by this? really?), she took her Dada's hands and took off. Of course she's not skating away from us just yet, but she had no trouble shuffling along with his help. When he held out a pole, parallel to the ground, for her to hang onto, she insisted on taking it from him to use as it was intended. Like I say . . . somebody's been paying attention.

Things really got exciting, though, when Eric decided to carry her up the little hill next to the lodge and ski down with her on her feet in front of him. Got himself a decent workout doing that four or five more times - at Violet's insistence - until she got too cold to stay out any longer. (Too cold by Mama's standards; Violet would've been there all afternoon if we'd left it up to her!) Now that she's had a taste of one of her Dada's favorite things, I don't know how eager she's going to be to spend her time on the mountain inside the Chariot. At least we can use it with the bikes a little longer. She's not old enough to start riding a bike, right? RIGHT??

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Friday, February 06, 2009

Halfway There!

On Violet's first birthday, I launched a year-long photo project: at least one photo of her a day, for 365 days. I post each day's image on Flickr, in a set I've titled Violet 365.

It's been quite an undertaking. Though many times I've found myself at bathtime/bedtime scrambling for a shot before the day is over, commiting to at least one capture a day has forced me to keep my camera close by, prepared for any photo op that might arise.

Enjoying her customary apple grocery shopping at the coop, November 5, 2008.

Doing a bit of her own shopping at the kids' market in the Discovery Center, January 17, 2009.

While the 365 photos are more snapshot than portrait, the project has also helped me improve some of my photography skills, through sheer repetition . . . and necessity. The onset of winter and its deficiency of daylight, for example, prompted my study of the Speedlite (external flash), and while I'll always prefer natural light, I'm so glad to be able to keep shooting even in its absence.

Hard to believe we're now more than halfway through! She's changed so much in the last 186 days, and I love that Violet 365 has documented so many of those changes, from her first steps to her first friend. Only 179 days to go . . . and I look forward to finding out what each of them will bring.

A few recent favorites:

Headed for the bath, January 28, 2009.

Hugging her baby doll, January 30, 2009.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009

High School Reunion

BFF. Could the preteen girls Mandy, Ginger and I were when we referred to each other that way - best friends forever - envision what that would look like in our 30s? When we were all married, all mothers?

It looked like this:

After more than seven years (the last time the three of us were all together in one place: my wedding), we met up in Dallas for five days after Christmas. Ginger, who now lives in Guam, was stateside with her husband Allen and baby Fern, and Mandy and I traveled from Oklahoma and Idaho, respectively, to Ginger's parents' place in Dallas . . . a much more manageable trip than the 24+ hour series of flights it takes to reach Guam.

Though we haven't really been able to hang out in recent years, we've stayed close (thank goodness for unlimited cell phone minutes). As soon as we were back together, it felt like we'd been living around the corner from each other, as we had growing up, all along. Fortunately, some things, like feeling right at home in the Haddock's kitchen and never running out of things to talk about with my oldest girlfriends, haven't changed.

Obviously some things have changed, though, the most significant being that we're all mamas now. Mandy's girls are the oldest of the group: Madeline is five and Lola is two. Violet is nine months younger than Lola, and ten months older than Fern, Ginger's baby girl. Watching the four of them together was so much fun, and watching my friends as mothers was even better. Despite distance and obvious differences in our day-to-day lives, Ginger, Mandy and I are so in sync when it comes to parenting. They are one of my most valuable resources on all things baby-related; we can spend hours discussing everything from how to fix stinky cloth diapers to whether kids really need cow's milk. They may be thousands of miles away, but they are as much a part of my life today as they were when we practically - or actually! - lived together.

It was a wild few days, though not in the college bar-scene way. These days, the craziness comes from trying to coordinate 3 or 4 different nap schedules and still make it out of the house before five o'clock. Our New Year's celebration consisted of a champagne toast with Ginger's parents, Fern and Violet asleep asleep in Ginger's and my arms as the clock struck twelve. It was nothing like it used be, and better than we ever could have imagined. We can't wait to do it again.

The next generation, left to right: Lola, Maddy, and Violet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby, Give Me a Sign

Violet has a lot to say. She’ll chatter animatedly to any available audience . . . she just doesn’t include many recognizable words in her conversation. At 17 months, her verbal vocabulary consists of "mama" and "dada," "hi," "baby," "no," and variations of "cat," "nose," "belly button," "cracker," "I see you," and "Casey" (her favorite friend). But she isn't limited in communicating by language - she can sign!

We started baby sign language with Violet when she was about 7 months old. Initially, we introduced just a few signs associated with her favorite activities: nursing and eating. She picked up the sign for “all done” first (waving her hands away from her body), providing a conclusion to mealtime we much preferred over the previous method of dumping whatever was left on the floor. Next, she added a sign for “drink,” adapting our example of a thumb to the lips to pointing with her index finger at her mouth while tilting her head back.

Other signs, like her sign for “nurse,” she created all on her own. I had been demonstrating a version of the sign for nurse that used a sweeping motion of a flat hand from the shoulder down over the breast, symbolizing letdown. Violet never picked up the sign I showed her, instead coming up with something entirely different: her sign for “nurse” is an index finger pointing into the middle of her opposite palm. Emphatically. It's similar to another version of the sign for "more" - which makes sense since nursing is the one thing she always wans to do more of - but ultimately what sign is used to represent any particular concept doesn’t matter as long as we know what she means.

Signing "sleep."

Recognizing and responding to your child’s needs is a fundamental principle of the AP philosophy; sign language provides our baby an additional tool for expressing those needs when she can’t find the words. It also allows her to tell us about what she’s observing and experiencing – signing “dog” when we pass one on the sidewalk or hear barking outside, signing “hot” to describe her dinner as steam rises off the plate.

Violet has about 20 signs in her regular repertoire now, and she makes good use of each of them. We continue to show her signs for common objects or things she shows a special interest in, letting her decide which she wants to add to her “vocabulary.” Even as she can speak more words, she may continue to pick up additional signs and “talk” to us in a combination of words and signs. Whatever she wants to say, and however she chooses to “say” it, we’re listening.

Adapted from original post at API Speaks, January 8th 2009.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Changing the Subject

Violet got a break from her role as model and muse last weekend when she spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa, freeing up both me and my dining room for a maternity photo shoot with my friend Leslie and her family. We set up the seamless next to Violet's play kitchen, which kept Leslie's almost four year old, Sienna, happy in between shots.

It was nothing like my sessions with Violet, who I couldn't pose if I wanted to. Typically, I wouldn't want to, because I prefer to capture her more candidly, but I'll admit it was nice (if a little nerve-wracking) to be able to give my subjects some direction. It was a great opportunity for me to work outside of my comfort zone, and so much fun to be a part of memorializing this family as they wait for their newest member to arrive!

Of course I couldn't resist shooting a few more frames of Sienna as we wrapped up the session - is this kid photogenic or what?

Thanks again, Leslie and family!