Blueberries for Sal

We read a lot of books in this house.

This picture is from shortly after Katherine was born. I had one of those moments where it was “two quiet” (parents of toddlers, you know), and I set Katherine down and went back to Mark’s room to find out what he was up to:


It was one of my prouder moments as a parent (also, sorry for the poor lighting… life as it happens).

Mark, like most toddlers, loves reading the same books over and over. One of his current favorites is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, whom you might know from the book Make Way for Ducklings.


Some good friends gave us the book before Mark was born. It’s very cute and all about this little girl going blueberry picking with her mother and meeting bears (that aren’t scary!) who are also picking/eating blueberries.


The illustrations are simple and expressive.



Last week, Ryan suggested I take Mark out for the morning since he and I haven’t gotten to spend much time with just the two of us since Katherine was born. It was a warm (soon to be hot!) July morning, so we went berry picking.

We first picked some raspberries and Mark did a good job for awhile. Then, he got tired and decided to pick up a stick and dig holes in the dirt instead. I totally didn’t mind and kept right on picking. (Note: there are no pictures of us picking raspberries because I forgot. Sorry.)

Then, on the way to the blueberries, every person we went by smiled at Mark and commented on how much fun he must be having. Sometimes, I think people see a correlation between a little boy’s similarity to Pigpen and his happiness. And they would be right.


Mark was a CHAMPION blueberry picker. Much more at his height and come off the plant by the handful.


And we had a GREAT time. Dirt and all!


On our way back, Mark picked up rocks and threw them into the peach orchard over and over. I kept walking and called to Jim to “catch up”! So, he ran up to me and past me and turned around to say, “Catch up, Mama!” Thus, we have a new phrase


Conversations with Mark

There’s lots that’s been happening over here (parties, birthdays, baby cuteness), but I thought I would post a few of the funnier Mark Conversations we’ve had over the last few weeks. 

Mark: Mama, church! (Points at Protestant church.)
Ann: Yeah, buddy that’s a church.
Mark: Priest?
Ann: Well, not every church has a priest.
Mark: Jesus?
Ann: Um, yeah, most churches have Jesus. [This question is a tough one to answer, the more you think about it.]

This is on repeat at least ten times a day.
Mark: Lawnmowers. Ask Dada.
Ann: That’s right, buddy, we’ll have to ask Dada if we’re going to mow the lawn today.
Mark: Lawnmowers loud. Shed. Bugs. Bugs are scary.

Mark: Drops.
Ann: For your eyes, yes.
Mark: Like raining in eyes.

[Ryan walking with Mark to a baseball game at school.]

Mark: Dada hat!
Ryan: Yes, Dada has his baseball hat on. Where’s your hat?
Mark: (grabs head) Oh no!

Mark: Nana! (Banana!)
Ryan: [Takes bite of Mark’s banana before handing it to him.]
Mark: Hey, Mister!

Easter (better late than never!)

It’s been nearly a week since Easter, but I’m going to post these photos anyway. 🙂

Coloring Easter Eggs:


Wait, what’s going on in there? Mark was really excited about how the eggs changed color, but he wasn’t too wild that it took so long. 


Aunt Molly must have said something funny. 🙂

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Strawberries are one of Mark’s favorite foods, so it’s easy to get a smile for the camera when he’s shoving them in his mouth. 🙂

Easter Morning All Dressed Up:


Someday he might really be that much taller than her. 


The three!

Hunting for Eggs:


The Easter Bunny makes us look for our baskets, too. 

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“Right there!”

At Grandma and Grandpa’s:


Mark was quick to figure out that there was good stuff to be found inside the eggs. So was Dada, apparently. 


Mark and Aunt Marissa. 


Mark with Grandpa and Grandma.

He is Risen, Alleluia!

And the twos are almost here

Don’t get me wrong. I love the age that Mark is right now. I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every age he’s been so far. But this one is getting to be a little trying.

Like most kids of this age (from what my friends have said), he’s started with “Mine!”, which is just perfect timing with Little Girl coming along soon. Yay. In addition, he’s started “play” hitting us sometimes. It’s really more like tapping than hitting, but it’s not a far cry from hitting, so we’re working on getting him to stop. Sometimes it’s just because, but sometimes it’s because he’s angry. So far, we’ve had good success with the “you can hit a pillow or the couch when you’re angry, but not people” and that usually works.

“No!” is also becoming more common, but that’s to be expected as well. I try and give him choices when I can (I always make sure I’m okay with either outcome!) to make him feel like he has control sometimes, and that’s proven to be helpful. I’m also on a crusade to make sure that no one asks him, “Okay?” at the end of a sentence unless they really want his opinion. Because he will give it. At top volume, often.


What, this isn’t the most effective way to help out on Switch Out the Clothes Day?





So that I’m not a total Negative Nan, I’ll tell you that there are some super fun things about his current age.

Today, Mark started saying “Yes” to things. Before that it was “Yeah” and before that it was “Please”. So, we’re moving closer to the “right” responses. 🙂

He is so, so sweet when he wants to “see” the baby in my tummy and when we talk about his baby sister. It’s really touching. I’m hoping it keeps up for when she actually gets here and is actually being all up in his business. 🙂

Mark loves to play outside and loves digging in the dirt.  He’s also a lot more into playing pretend than he used to be and it’s fun to watch him be in his own world with his trucks and tractors.

Overall… almost-two isn’t too bad. It has it’s moments, but overall, I love interacting with my little guy like the person he is.



First Slurpee taste… it was “cold!”. 

Five Faves? Well, four books!

There’s no Mark and Mama this week as Ryan has the week off for Spring Break and we’ve been doing LOTS of stuff with the three of us all together. One of the things we did was go to Toddler Time at the library and I picked up a few books about being a big brother and expecting a new baby. I thought it would be fun to do a quick review of the four we picked up (I’ll ruin #5 for you and tell you it’s the link for the link-up… we ran out of time at the library… near freak-outs happen).

1. Baby on the Way by William Sears, M.D.

This book would probably be a lot better for older kids than Mark. It’s SUPER informative and goes into a lot of detail about where babies are from and how they grow, etc.

There are really good pictures and some nice hints about how to help mom out when she gets tired:


Overall, it’s good, but definitely meant more for kids older than Mark.

2. Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig


Another good book, but a little long to keep Mark’s attention the whole time. A LOT of information here about what it’s like for babies in the womb, what they might look like when they’re born, what they eat (not pizza), and good other facts.


The one thing I wish this one had was some sort of narrative. The book “talks” to the reader, but I think it would be better if there was some sort of story to help keep the reader more interested (well, the smaller readers more interested).

3. I’m a Big Brother by Maxie Chambliss


This book is a little different than the other two. The focus is on after the baby is born and focuses much more on the older sibling and their feelings. When we read this one, Mark liked it and wanted to read it one more time.


It’s also a lot shorter than the other two and Mark was able to keep his attention on it. I don’t know how much he was able to understand about everything, but he liked the story for sure.

4. Waiting for Baby by Harriet Ziefert


This was probably my favorite of the bunch! The story focuses strictly on the time right before the baby comes, about the last week or so. The boy, Max, is so excited to have his little sibling come that he tells the baby (at all different levels) that it’s time to come out now! Mark really liked that we got to be louder as we were reading.


The last page of the story is just a picture of Max, his parents, and the new baby. Mark loves this page and turns to it over and over to talk about all the things he sees.

We’ve read this book probably about nine times in the last three days. It’s great for toddlers, but I think kids a year or two older would probably like it too.

5. Other Faves!

I promise to do more of these books (Mark really likes reading them!), but I’m going to leave you a link here to check out some other five faves this week. 🙂 Happy reading!


Mark and I watched the Mariners and the A’s play a Spring Training game yesterday after lunch.

Here’s what Mark had to say:

“Bat! Big bat. Heavy. No touch.”

“Where’d they go?” (In between innings.)

“More bat!”

Mark: “Running!”
Ann: “Yeah, bud, that guy gets to run because he hit the ball.”
Mark: “No running.”
Me: “Yeah, he didn’t hit the ball, so he doesn’t get to run.”
Mark: “Oh. Sad.”
Ann: “Yeah, it is.”



P.S. He might be wearing Mariner colors, but he’s rooting for the A’s. 🙂

Mark and Mama Mondays 7 and 8

Last week, was a little different because Mark and I got our “Monday” on Wednesday, and it was raining. This is all that uncommon for the Pacific Northwest, but we’d had weeks of glorious sun, so it kind of took us by surprise.

Never fear! We still had fun! We went to one of the local bookstores and sold some of the books that have been cluttering up the house. We had to wait in the shortest long-line ever (there were only a couple of people, but they had LOTS of books) and Mark managed to hold it together by looking at pictures on my phone.

We took our winnings (profits?) to the cafe in the store for a treat — milk for Mark, water for Mama, and a scone to share. Mark literally dumped nearly his entire cup of milk on the floor while I went to get my water. It wasn’t his fault and I didn’t cry (ha!), and we got everything cleaned up. Which resulted in this:


After, we hit up the children’s section. There are always so many books and I have a terrible time choosing, so I let Mark decide. He led me around the section for awhile picking all kinds of books that are WAY over his head, and then settled on one about “tractors! backhoe!”.

Can we focus for a second on how short the sleeves are on his shirt? This shows two things: 1) I clearly need to update some of his clothes to 2T and 2) He has inherited my genes and has a long torso and short legs. Good luck shopping anywhere ever, kiddo. 


After auditioning a few other titles, he settled on that one and we brought it home with us. He was so happy to carry it with him through the whole store.

I love seeing how excited he is about books.

THIS WEEK… we did lots of different things.

We baked! (kind of)

I’ve been craving these cookie dough balls for the last couple of weeks. And when I said I’ve been craving them, please know that it means that I’ve also been MAKING them for the last couple of weeks. So, so good. I decided to let Mark help me put this batch together.


Not pictured: the way I cleverly set up all of the ingredients like we were on a cooking TV show and had everything in bowls so we could just dump it into the mixer. Best idea ever.

Mark did a great job and followed directions so well. He snuck a few tastes here and there (but no raw eggs! win!), which was really just cute.


Once we got the dough done, we scooped them onto the pan to freeze and Mark even helped with the popsicle sticks on top.

Finally, he went to town on the spatula. 🙂



After making those, we went to storytime at the library (which I’ve already written about, so let’s move on).

Finally, our day was capped off with a successful trip to the Dollar Store where we got “buckets!” and a “balloon!” (As my friend Kate said once, why should you only get fun balloons on your birthday?)


We didn’t get to play with the buckets before his nap, but afterwards, we played in the dirt for awhile.

“Dirt, Mama, dirt!”


Mark and Mama Monday #6

It’s hard to believe this is our sixth Mark and Mama Monday! The time has really flown and I’m all kinds of nervous-pants about the next couple of months.

This week’s edition is pretty low-key. We went to the Columbia outlet store to get Ryan a new jacket (thrilling!), but we went to the park nearby afterwards.

Mark, as usual, wasted no time in finding some sticks.


He didn’t let all those sticks hold him back from climbing the play structure, though.

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He also wanted to swing on the swings FOREVER. He loves the swing and always wants “more! please!”


The obligatory selfie. Could my hair take up more space? Doubtful.


We went home for lunch, but we had leftover cupcakes to eat, so that made it extra fun!

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Also, Mark took a nap and woke up with this hair. It’s too phenomenal not to share.


Finally, my youngest sister, Molly, pointed out to me that since she lives far away that she has no idea what I look like pregnant this time around. So, here’s a photo a few days short of 32 weeks. Craziness that we’ve come this far, I tell you!



I promise I’ll post other updates too sometime in the near future, but I’m trying to get ALL THE THINGS done before Little Girl gets here. 8 weeks. Yipes.


Mark and Mama Monday #2

There’s a bunch of new things that happened this week, but before I get to those, I have to share our Mark and Mama Monday for this week.

This week, we went to my favorite donut shop. It smells SO GOOD and has the best donuts. Mark love-love-loves donuts (and asks about them after Mass… not trained, don’t worry).


Perfect mid-morning snack? Um, yes. (Also, point of clarification: my donut is the one with the sprinkles. The kiddo doesn’t need THAT much sugar.)



After totally stuffing out faces, we went to the same story time as last week (what? he had fun!).This week, he was brave enough to go up and listen to the story about the monkey. They started reading the story and I turned to Mark on my lap who was staring uncontrollably at the monkey and asked him if he wanted to go up so he could see it. “Please!” he whispered. And up he went.


Such a big kid!

Other new things in the last week:

– Yesterday, he was literally running circles around me. I was sitting on the floor in the living room and he came up to me and yelled “CIRCLE!” and then started running in circles around me. For about three minutes. And yelling “circle!” over and over.
– Mark has started mimicking the word “okay” which is just the most super cute ever when he says it.
– On Sunday he used the word “mine” for the firs time. Over and over again. Oh, please, no, not the years of “mine”! Sigh. So far, he hasn’t repeated it too much, so I’ll live that up as long as I can.

I realized I haven’t talked about her too much on the blog yet, but Little Girl has been moving around A LOT. She especially likes to wiggle around when I’m trying to sleep. She’s growing as she should and I’m starting to feel gigantic (third trimester this week!), which is just so less fun the second time around. 🙂

Mark and Mama Mondays

This week, Mark and I had our first Mark and Mama Monday. I figured that I (hopefully) only have a few more months of enjoying Mark as an only child. So, I decided that once a week (preferably on Mondays for the whole alliteration thing, but it doesn’t have to be) Mark and I will take a morning to do something fun — just the two of us.

Yes, I am fortunate to only work part-time and I get to spend a lot of time with him. But, some of that time is spent running to Target and Costco (which he kind of likes anyway) and cleaning and whatever, so this will be fun stuff.

This week, we went to toddler storytime at one of the libraries near our house.

I don’t have any pictures of storytime itself because Mark spent most of the time on my lap, which is pretty typical. He did warm up after the first fifteen minutes or so, though, and started playing with the scarves they gave the kids and jumping around a little bit.

But, after storytime, we went around upstairs to the kids area and Mark played with some puzzles (because, you know, why read when you’re in a library when you can do puzzles?).


After that, he played with the little toy/manipulative thing, on the wall.


But then, we picked out some books for him to take home.


And he started reading them in the car. 🙂