Friday, February 27, 2009

Jess's Pickles

Every year I hope and pray that I am lucky enough to recieve a coveted jar of pickles from my friend Jess. She pickles the best darn pickles in the MIDWEST. I've asked her countless times for her recipe, and she keeps blowing me off saying "I don't have a recipe." So, I ask her to just tell me how she does it, what she uses...and she says she will...but here I still wait.....

Anyways, they are the best SPICY pickles ever. She throws a jalapeno pepper or two into every jar. Normally, I am not a fan of SPICY, but these are G.O.O.D! Max and I sometimes have one as an appetizer before dinner. And, when lil Max saw that...he wanted to try one too...little did he know what he was asking for!!!

Oh...look at this....a PICKLE!

What did I just put into my mouth!!??!!

YIKES! This thing is spicy!

Quick...put the bread in the mouth!

Ok...much better!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Winter Walk

We got about 6 inches of snow on Saturday, so Max and I got all excited with the prospect of a possible cross country ski excursion. We talked about going on Monday, but the temperature had dropped into the low-20s by the time we had gotten home from work, and we decided that was a little too cold to take the lil guy with us. So, we settled on tonight -- the weather was supposed to be a bit warmer, mid-thirties.

It actually got up to the lower 40s during the day, and some of the snow started to melt. What was left was really wet and heavy. I did a drive scouting out the nearby park where we ski, and noticed that there were no groomed trails, and that the snow cover was pretty patchy. So, we decided to do a winter hike, instead. We had a great time! And, as it turned out, we probably COULD have gone on skis, but it would've been a lot harder cutting a trail (for Max at least, I would've gone behind him...). And, this way, we also got to take the dog along for a fun trip -- he doesn't usually get to come along when we are on skis.

Here are a few pictures of our excursion:

The Maxes all bundled up.

Frosty nose!

Acting goofy...
(notice how lil Max is completely immune to our immaturity -- he sees enough of it at home, apparently....)

ok, lets take a nice one...

Mason (aka Pup Pup)

a beautiful sunset...

All along our hike we ruminated on the fact that winter is almost over (thank goodness); it helped us enjoy the crunch of the snow under our feet, the crispness of the air as we breathed in and the fog of our breath in the air as we huffed and puffed along. Then, just as we neared the end of our hike, I heard a familiar bird call in the trees shook my couldn't be....

oh, but it was....

a ROBIN...

not one, not two, but THREE of them....

and we all know what Robins signify....


Nina Bean's baptism

Sunday we went to the Basilica of St. Josaphat for Nina Bean's baptism. The Basilica is a seriously beautiful church, and Laura and Mike, Nina's parents were also married there!! The church is filled with so many beautiful paintings, statues, stained glass and ornate decoration that there is so much to look at -- you can't possibly see it all at one time! Luckily for us, it also served as entertainment for lil Max for the majority of mass. He was OBSESSED with the stained glass, and we had to let him walk around in the hallways at the back of church so he could touch the glass and talk to it.

It was a seriously beautiful day for a beautiful occassion. We joked that little Max was present to watch his future wife be baptised. Not many people can say that! :) Here are a few photos from the day:

So much to look at... this place is beautiful!

Lil Max enjoys a snack while hanging out with Auntie Amanda...

Mike, Laura, Steph (godmother), Eggie (godfather) holding the Bean

I realize this shot is a little creepy looking, but I think it is a perfect shot of how Max was behaving that day. HYPER! He made a bee-line on foot for the baptismal font right in the middle of Nina's baptism! There was just no stopping him!

Afterwards, he took off his vest and relaxed for a little bit....

Amanda was lucky enough to snag a spot right next to the Holy Ghost!!
Congrats Nina, Laura and Mike!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dapper Man

I blatantly stole this picture from Amanda's blog because it is so damn cute, and I wish that I would've taken it.

Lil Max was all dressed up to go to his future wife, Nina's, baptism. I will try to post some pictures of that fun event once I get them downloaded from our camera. But, in the meantime, check out this handsome dude!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Steps in the right direction

Here is some video of lil Max 'walking'. He still definitely prefers to use his knees over his feet, but we've been pushing him really hard to stand up. It has become quite obvious that he knows how to walk...he just chooses to use his knees more. Cheater-pants....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

15 month check up

Today, lil Max had his 15 month check up, so here are the latest stats:

Weight = 22lbs 14oz (we thought for SURE he'd be up to 24 lbs, so this was a surprise!); 28%
Height = 31 inches; 48%
Head circumference = 18/5 inches; 46%

He also got 3 shots and his blood drawn. The nurses were impressed with how well he handled the blood draw, and how strong he was when we tried to hold him down for the shots. He started to cry even BEFORE the shots (because he didn't like being pinned down) and then got big ole crocodile tears when he got stuck. But, the tears stopped almost immediately -- such a big boy!

Other comments by the doctor:

1) We asked about his knee walk vs feet walking, and even provided her with a demonstration. The doctor found his knee walk quite innovative, and even praised him for his creativeness. She agreed that his ability to knee walk was most likely the reason he has not chosen to walk yet. We then demonstrated the finger walk, and she said "Oh yeah, he can totally walk, he is just choosing not to..." So, no worries about his lack of walking, or his motor skill development -- he is right on target for everything (except if he STILL refuses to walk in a month we'll need to check in), and even gets a few extra brownie points for his innovation.

2) His vocabulary was quite impressive (mama, dada, nana (for banana), pup pup, kitty, ba-ba, uh-oh) and he even showed off a few signs for the doctor.

3) She was really impressed with his ability to discern color. We demonstrated with the toys on the floor and asked him to bring us different colored toys. He did it without fail each time!

4) Max also demonstrated his ability to point out body parts. When asked where his nose was, he stuck his finger up the dr's nose....

5) Like father like son...every nurse/asst/doctor in our office is FEMALE. Max (little....not big) proceeded to flirt with EACH AND EVERY ONE of them. This is his 'max'imum flirtation strategy.

a) First, when new female enters the room, you must act shy and bury face in mom's shoulder
b) Peak out every so often to make sure female in room is looking at you and is still present
c) Once a few moments have passed, and you have determined that the female in the room is in fact there to pay attention to you, start making inappropriate noises or actions to draw even more attention to oneself.
d) Once the noises/gestures/actions have solicited a reaction from aforementioned female, you have successfully lured them into your trap.
e) Continue to make noises/gestures/actions...and follow each repitition with contagious giggles.
f) If at ANY time, female appears to start to lose interest in you, you must do WHATEVER it takes to bring her attention back to you.
g) Repeat process for each new female that enters the exam room.

Bottom line? Max is a healthy, happy, smart, social and creative little man, and I am lucky to be his mama.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Week in Pictures

A busy week for all the McLaughlins! Lil Max turns 15 months tomorrow, and it looks like he just might be walking in time for his dr appt, or at least shortly thereafter. Today, after daycare, I plopped him down on the driveway and held his hand to go get the mail. He held on to one finger and walked the whole way by himself -- I think I could've slipped my finger out and he'd of been fine. Once we got to the mailbox, he decided he wasn't done walking (this is new for us, because lately it had been difficult to get him to 'practice' his walking by holding his hands...he'd just sink down to his knees to do his knee-walking right away). Lil Max kept on walking down the street....all the way to neighbor Grandma Jan's! We stopped by so he could push the 'button' by the front door (aka doorbell), and even got to see Grandma Jan for a brief moment before she had to run. Max then walked the whole way home (holding my one finger). You could tell he was so proud!!

Here are a few photos showcasing the past week, and some of our more memorable moments...

Opening up a wonderful Valentine's Day care package! Inside, the awesomest handmade and personalized growth chart for lil Max (along with some delicious caramel/chocolate pretzels and other goodies which were devoured!)

Practicing our organizational skills by arranging all of our stacking cups on the coffee table...

Is that a new mole? No...silly... you have a blueberry stuck to your chin!

Sleepy monkey....somebody didn't want to wake up this morning, so I snuck in with the camera for the photo opportunity. I love the way the flash bounced off the crib makes it look like the sun was shining in his crib...oh, and he did not wake up...even with the flash!

Hope you are enjoying YOUR week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bedtime Giggles

I keep telling Max that one of these days, I'd love to set our camcorder on the top of Max's dresser...aimed at the glider, so I can record the last moments of his day...when he snuggles in to me, gives me kisses, giggles....I love our nighttime routine, and even after a rough day, it revives me.

So, tonight, we went to go watch big Max play hockey (it was an early game) and when we got home, it was bedtime. I got lil guy changed into his jammies, and then we read a few books while we drank our bedtime cup of milk. Afterwards, the bedtime giggles (as I like to call them) started. Big Max heard them as he was getting out of the shower, grabbed the camcorder, and played peeping tom in the doorway, capturing these last moments.

So....excuse the freaky devlish eyes that the night vision on our camcorder gives everyone (plus the creepy green hue). I promise we aren't that creepy in real life! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend Photos

Here are a few shots from another fun weekend! We were blessed with highs close to the 40s both days...which in WI isn't bad for February! We took advantage of it by getting outside to get fresh air as much as we could!

Mason was pretty tired after all the long walks we took!

Max got good use of his stroller and his push car! His face just LIT UP when we brought this out...he hasn't really ridden in it since his birthday, and he was SO excited to try it out. He was having a blast honking the horn and pretending to drive!

Then, we went over to Auntie Amanda's to celebrate her birthday. We discovered that lil Max really likes black olives. He INSISTED that we put them on his fingers, before he would pop them into his mouth. I know he doesn't get the liking from me...I was astounded at how many he wanted to eat!

Popping as many as he could into his mouth at one time!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stevie Wonder better watch out....

Lately, lil Max's dancing has been really taking off. He dances to just about anything with a tune. On Sunday, he started dancing on my lap in the middle of church...I had to stifle a giggle...

It has been hard to catch the dancing on film, mostly because as soon as he sees the camera, he stops what he's doing to flash a cheeser smile. It's almost like you have to trick him into doing it. So, that is exactly what Big Max did...he set the video camera on the counter, and turned the view screen so that lil Max could see it. Who can resist dancing when another lil baby is dancing too??? As you can see, he also liked hamming it up for his alter ego....

The video is also proof that he has unfortunately inherited our 'bad dancing' genes...poor kid! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I am bittersweet about this post, and about switching our blog over to blogger.

I started our MSN spaces blog back in June 2005, right after we got married as an easy way to reach all of our friends and family all at once to say thank you or to just keep in touch. The first few months (ok, really, maybe YEARS), I didn't really 'get' the whole blogging thing...I blogged maybe 6 times each year between 2005-2007. It wasn't really until last year, 2008, that I really jumped on board with blogging. Before that, we used the website mainly as a way to share photos. But now, with the lil man getting bigger, and pictures not being able to explain everything, the blog took on a world of its own. Plus, let's be REALLY honest here...two ladies in particular, Emily and Melanie, really got me into the blog world with their own awesome blogs...they opened up a whole new time-suckage device to me...but I am HAPPY for it (Big Max may not be, however...).

Which brings me to the reason for this new blog. MSN Spaces has been great, for the most part, but over the past few months has made some layout and uploading changes that have just become way too cumbersome for me to follow. I want my blog experience to be as streamlined as possible...after all, time is at a minimum nowadays. And, most everyone else I know is using blogger...and I figure that a lot of people can't be wrong -- they're using blogger for a REASON. And, to be truthful, it is a bit easier to use than MSN Spaces, and it sure has a lot more bells and whistles and gives me a lot more freedom to design and move things around. I like that.

So, I don't have any earthshattering news for you at this moment. Just wanted to write a welcome to all of you that have found your way over from our MSN Spaces to this new website. I hope you'll stick with us over here. I'll be keeping the MSN Spaces open for awhile -- I want to find a way to get all of my entries from there to put into Max's baby book....but I won't be posting any NEW content over, if you use Google Reader, add this subscription!!

And, thanks for joining us over here! As always, we encourage you to leave comments, feedback or just tell us what's on your mind! We are blessed with LOTS of long-distance friends and family, and we'd love to hear from you!

I'll leave you with a few photos from today. We were experiencing a 'heat wave' (relatively speaking, of course) with temps in the upper 30s. So, Mason, Max and I took the opportunity to go for a walk. We got to use the stroller blanket that Melanie (see above) lovingly made for him for his birthday...and I am happy to report that it kept him toasty warm for the duration of our walk!

Max chillin in his stroller

And THIS is what happens when we took off his hat!!!The walk was pretty tiring, so Max headed straight up the stairs to take a nap...

Hope everyone had a good weekend!! Hope to see you around on Blogger!