Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

We are wrapping up a week on Puget Sound with the whole Eppley clan.
We hope everyone one out there has a great rest of the holidays!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yeah, I can do that

Originally uploaded by mandy&john
At the doctor's office Tuesday, the doctor expressed curiosity that Alex could sit up (mostly) yet not roll over. Wednesday morning during tummy time, he rolled onto his back. That afternoon at the allergist's, he rolled from his back to his stomach. Apparently, he just needed to be told.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back in the E.R.

Back in the E.R.
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Last night was Alex's turn to visit the MIlford ER.

Alex developed a lovely rash yesterday in time for his six-month doctor's visit. The doc said that it looked like hives and was more likely food related than the dog. We switched his formula to an organic brand a few weeks back when the melamine story broke. That is now the most likely culprit for his current discomfort. The doctor put Alex on a hypoallergenic formula and he was up all night screaming, so we took him to the ER around 3.

It's still not clear what it is that's setting him off, but it's likely not the dog. We'll let her stay where she is until we figure this thing out, but it looks like we'll get to bring here back home. I'm not glad Alex has a food allergy like his brother, and I wasn't pleased to be in the ER at 4am. But if we can find one or two more things to cut out of our diet in order to make him happy and let Joey come home, then I'm OK with that.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Walking with Joey

walking with joey
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
The weather warmed up above 20 degrees this morning, so we picked up Joey and took her for a walk. It's supposed to be 40 and raining this afternoon, so this was our best chance. All had fun, but I didn't put warm enough pants on Chris and he got a little chilled and cranky by the end. I made it up to him with some hot cocoa later. I think he forgave me.

Monday, December 8, 2008


nog 2
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
We had a nice (though, sadly ) evening tonight of sitting around the (plastic...Nona can't do pine) Christmas tree singing carols and drinking ( eggs for Chris) nog. Despite all the absences and substitutes, it was lots of fun. Chris is obsessed with Frosty and made us sing it about 6 or 7 times. I'm also a pretty big fan of the snog.


Back before Chris was born, we worried that he might be allergic to the dog. We sort of joked that if it happened that way, we'd have to find someone to take the baby. It never crossed our minds with Alex, yet it seems that he is allergic to her.

When he was about 2 months he was coughing non stop for a few weeks and was eventually diagnosed with bronchiolitis and a touch of pneumonia. With some antibiotics he was able to breathe much better, but the cough never completely went away. He hasn't gone more than a day or two without coughing since. Supposedly it takes awhile for bronchiolitis to fully clear out, but this seems excessive.

A couple weeks ago, we noticed that he had a huge coughing fit in a house with a cat, and we started putting things together. It happened again last week in a different house, also with a cat. He is definitely allergic to cats.

We don't know 100% if he is allergic to Joey as well, but there is a fair amount to suggest that he is. We've been trying to keep the house extra clean, but it you know either of us, that's not going to be good enough. To make matters worse, it's been really cold lately, so we haven't been able to open up the house at all. On top of all that, at six months, he need to be on the ground all the time now to learn how to move himself around. We can't leave him on the rugs, or he starts coughing, and the floors are frigid.

So we've made the difficult decision to get Joey out of the house for awhile. Fortunately, she is a wonderful dog and there are many friends and family who would take her in, including Nonna who's just minutes away. The plan is to give it a month or two to see if Alex improves as the house clears of Joey dander. His reaction doesn't seem to be very severe, so we are optimistic, that given a chance to recover first, he'll be able to tolerate her eventually.

In the meantime we plan to visit her an take her for walks and hikes frequently. I'm not sure if I'm more depressed that we had to banish her or that she'll be taken care of better at her new home. Not to say we're bad parents to her, but she's dropped down the priority list an awful lot in the last two years, and she is going to get spoiled rotten for the next little bit.

I think Chris is still too young too really get it, but he knows where she is ("Nonna's house") and doesn't seem too upset about it. He also had a miniature broom and dust pan yesterday to help us clean up the Joey fur.

We are pretty upset and crossing or fingers that she'll be back with us soon. Hopefully she'll enjoy herself at Nonna's. We miss her already and it's been 1 day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Junior Baker

Chris and I baked bread this afternoon. Well, he helped me dump ingredients into the breadmaker. The last thing to go in was the yeast, but I need one more thing. When I turned back to the counter, Chris was holding the bag of yeast over the pan. He looked up and said of his handiwork, "Good dumping".

"Chris, how much yeast did you put in?"



cart stacker.JPG
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Chris likes sticking things.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stories from the big bed

Originally uploaded by mandy&john
We put Chris into a twin bed about a month ago. It's been a little rough as he is waking up more frequently now than he used to. I'm not convinced that it's not a coincidence, though. His sleep troubles could have something to do with the new molars that are appearing in his mouth.

Last night, when I put him to bed, we found Joey curled up on his pillow. Chris happily snuggled up next to her. When she came down to join us in the kitchen a few minutes later, he cried for a bit. I gave him the giant stuffed dog uncle Mike gave him last year, and he used it as a pillow all night. We didn't hear another peep from him.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's cold

swinging in the cold
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
The lakes are already starting to freeze, yet Chris still insists on going to the playground. I think it was about 30 degrees when I took this picture.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Edaville 08

Originally uploaded by mandy&john
We went to Edaville on Saturday to see the Christmas lights. I forgot the camera, so I got one blurry picture of Chris in the airplane ride. That's all. He loved it, though.

For those who don't know about it (most of you), Edaville is something like a local amusement park in the cranberry bogs south of Boston. It was apparently huge back before the days of SixFlags. There is a roughly 1/2 scale train that goes around through the bogs, and in the middle is a collection of carnival rides and a train/cranberry museum. This time of year, they set up tons of lights around the tracks.

We went on a few rides before and after, but the train ride was the highlight. Chris kept running across the car to see everything on both sides.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Moss Hunter

Originally uploaded by mandy&john
While exploring the woods across the street with the boys and Joey, I carelessly poked at a mossy mound that was probably once a tree stump. Alex, Joey, and I were waiting for Chris, who had stopped to try to pick up a log half his size. With Alex in the Snugli, I had to kneel to reach the ground since bending over would result in a screaming baby and a week of back pain. When Chris finally caught up, I stood to continue, and he promptly knelt right where I had been and started poking the mound. I told him he was playing with moss and wandered a few steps farther down the trail. Before I knew it, Chris was pointing out every clump of moss he could find.

PS: Sorry about the format. I apparently had iMovie set in widescreen mode.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Originally uploaded by mandy&john
I just posted a few videos of Chris we took yesterday.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Originally uploaded by mandy&john
This weekend, after a morning at the Boston Children's Museum, we gathered for lunch at the attached Au Bon Pain with the Portland cousins and Nicole and her family. Mandy and Chris split the Mediterranean Wrap as they did the last time we had lunch there. It's hard to go wrong, as far as Chris is concerned, with hummus.

When she split it in half, Mandy asked me what I thought the dark sauce was. I figured it was just the sun-dried tomato salsa and brushed off the question. A little way into lunch, Chris starts coughing a little. We assumed it was nothing at first, but it just got worse and he was reaching into his mouth.

Afraid he was going to vomit, I rushed him to the bathroom where I realized he was breaking out in hives around his mouth and starting to rub his eyes. I washed his face and hands as best I could and he seemed to be more comfortable pretty quickly.

When we got back to the table, he asked for more of his lunch. Given that he was reacting to something, we gave him some benadryl. It was apparent that his eye was starting to swell up. Mandy took him this time to clean up some more and get some fresh air.

While they were gone I was nervously nibbling on the remaining food at the table including their wrap. I immediately figured out that I was wrong about the dark sauce. It was clearly peanut flavored. Apparently, someone behind the counter didn't bother to read the sauces or thought the Thai peanut sauce would compliment feta and hummus nicely.

The manager was only moderately apologetic and offered to make us the proper wrap or get us something else. We went with the banana he's eating in he picture. After saying something about how similar the sauces look in the squeeze bottles, the manager refunded the cost of the wrap, but not without subtracting the banana first. Apparently, he was offering to sell, not give, us something else.

Although this manager was not too concerned to see one of his young patrons getting puffy around the eyes, the company responded a bit better. We sent them an email that night and got a call form the regional VP on Sunday morning.

Chris seems fine now and there's no real harm done, I'm just upset that Chris might have to deal with being allergic to lots of things. I've been telling myself that he's just going to outgrow the egg thing. Now I'm not so sure. I'm picking up an epi pen from the pharmacy on the way home from work.

Full House

full house.JPG
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
We had a busy week here in Hopedale. The Portland clan showed up Wednesday night and left Sunday Morning. The grandparents stopped by Saturday night and left today. It was great fun, but we are all exhausted. We went apple picking on Thursday, visited the basketball hall of fame on Friday, and toured the Boston Children's Museum Saturday morning. My folks helped with the boys as we tried to recover yesterday. They also arrived with a truck full of my crap that I had abandoned when I left home. Now that we own a place, they no longer have to store my stuff.


Originally uploaded by mandy&john
I just put up some new videos on flickr. Most are from this weekend, but there is one from this summer (embedded here).

Ready to roll

ready to roll
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Alex keeps getting bigger day by day. He's always been a strong little bugger, but he doesn't seem to be the explorer that Chris was at this age. This means that he is strong enough to roll over, but just hasn't bothered to do it yet. He came really close this weekend.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

hot dog vendor

hot dog vendor
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Chris seems to be developing a fake smile for the camera. It's too bad, because I like his normal smile much better.

I started posting this while Chris was still asleep upstairs. I heard an awful noise coming from his room and went to fetch him expecting a boy with a cold so bad that he sounded like a duck when he yelled. I found a happy boy with a kazoo.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Look, it's Alex!

Originally uploaded by mandy&john
It's been a while since I've posted anything about the boys. I haven't even uploaded pictures since August. We've reached an important point, I think, and it bears mentioning, even though the month is only 1/3 over. There are more pictures of Alex this month, than of Chris. That hasn't happened before.

Mostly, Alex has looked just like Chris did, so there have been fewer moments where we just had to go get the camera. Recently, though, you can start to see Alex (and not just another Chris) in the pictures. So I've been taking the camera out more. Also, I noticed just how uneven the picture count has been and I started feeling guilty.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The big bed

We've been on the cape all week and Chris has been sleeping in a pack-
n-play all week. He often asks to sleep on the bed instead, but
changes his mind quickly. Today he stuck to his guns and Mandy left
him on the bed. It took about 15 minutes, but he finally nodded off.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ante the elephant

Ante the elephant
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Yesterday, Gabi and Sandip came out to visit and brought Chris a little stuffed elephant on wheels. He called it "ante" and dragged it nearly a mile through the parklands.

Today, he was still dragging it behind him when we went to the zoo. He stops every little bit to turn to the elephant and say, "Ante, walk."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Originally uploaded by mandy&john
While I don't think we had anywhere near the harvest that Vivian hauled in, we had a good time picking blueberries this morning.

The woods across the street are full of little blueberry plants. Most are tiny and not producing fruit, but we found a few with some ripe berries.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big brother on the job

couch time
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
This morning, over breakfast.

Dad: Crunch (eating ceral)
Alex: Wah!
Dad: Crunch (still eating ceral)
Alex: Wah! Wah!
Chris: Baby up.
Dad: Should I pick Alex up?
Chris: OK

(The photo is from earlier, but also a good big brother moment)

Bottle Break

snack time
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
I took the boys for a walk through the parklands yesterday. Chris got stung by a bee. Again. The poor guy has been stung three times this summer already. He was a trooper, though. He wanted to keep walking. I had to beg him back into the stroller, so we could rush a head to the benches and feed Alex before he imploded.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Band concert: Nonna and Alex

We spent this evening at the band concert. The Kellys and Nonna and Bop were all there. We spent more time with Abby than with our own boys.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Breakfast on the Porch

breakfast on the porch
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Last Monday, our new door arrived and Mantoni and Co put it up for us while we were out. When we came home, we were amazed by how much nicer the kitchen felt despite still having half an unfinished wall. The door is mostly on large double pane of glass and makes you feel as if the porch is just an extension of the kitchen.
The next two days, we had breakfast on the porch, just because.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Poop and ABCs

Chris has been busy this week. It seems while we were ignoring him, paying attention to Alex, he's been playing with the letter magnet thing that says the letter when he puts it in. He seems to know somewhere around half of the letters, and has started singing the abc song with us (by filling in a few missing letters). He seems to be enjoying himself and is definitely entertaining us.

He also managed to poop in the potty this morning. While I was at the gym, Chris started saying "poop" to John. When John asked if he pooped, Chris said no, so John put him on the potty. Sure enough, he pooped in the potty. He was rewarded with chocolate and naked time. Now we'll see if he does it again...

Monday, July 7, 2008

puzzle solving

puzzle solving
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
We bought Chris a potty today. It may be a little early, but he's started announcing his poops and watching us intently in the bathroom. We'll give it a try for a week and see what happens. He's got the basic form right, but his timing is still off.

sunday morning reading

sunday morning reading
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
We just wrapped up a nice visit with the Texas grandparents (who drove up form Long Island). It was a pretty relaxed visit by Eppley standards. The only hike was under 3 miles and involved a bakery. Chris loved every minute of it.

Here he is with the grandfolks on Sunday morning showing a few signs of regression. For the most part he's actually done a lot of new things since Alex arrived, but on Sunday he was obsessed with the pacifier and "Black on White", his favorite book when he was two months old.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Beach trip

Today was the first day in over a week that we spent the whole day at home. That is why there was a spate of posts this afternoon. Today we spent mostly in the house and yard with my parents. Our adventure for the day was an evening stroll around downtown. It was a nice break.

To finish our week of trips, we went down to Rhode Island on the Fourth to meet my parents at Aunt Frannie's beach house. It was a packed house with nine adults and two greyhounds. Alex just slept and ate the whole time, but was pretty relaxed about being handed off from relative to relative.

Christoper had a wonderful time. He played with everyone, followed he dogs around, collected rocks at the beach, and ran away from the waves. He spent tee whole ride home talking about his day. It wasn't much of a conversation, but he was going through all the day's words and events. He stayed awake for the entire 1.5 hour drive until we got home at 10pm.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

at the farm

at the farm
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Here we are going to get our CSA veggies last week. This week, just Mandy and I went with Alex while Chris stayed at Nonna's. Halfway through the pick-your-own-peas, Alex got hungry. Mandy sat down in the shade of the sugar snap peas to nurse him while I went to cut flowers.

While they were nursing, a woman paused during her picking to stare at them. She caught herself and apologized. Apparently, she did the very same thing with her child a couple years previously. It seems there are not too many good shady spots on the farm.

feeding Alex

feeding Alex
Originally uploaded by mandy&john
The other day, I got Chris to feed Alex so I could finish making breakfast. He was doing very well, but I wasted most of his patience looking for the camera to take this picture.

Not long after this, he said "Daddy do" a few times before dropping the bottle and looking for his granola.

Kelley in town

Kelley was in town last weekend for the Boston Invitational ultimate tournament. We went to watch. Both boys were great at the fields. Alex didn't seem to mind being hauled around and Chris loved being outside with lots of people.

Kelley hung out the next day and we went to the zoo.


Originally uploaded by mandy&john
Here's a picture of Chris reading to his brother last weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Still here

I know all the posts are about Chris right now. Don't worry, Alex is still here. He just doesn't do much yet. You can just assume that any given day goes something like this:

Alex slept, ate, pooped, and cried today. He doesn't do much else, but is unbearably cute:

alex impersonates chris

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

more pak choi, please

Last night I made a stir fry of tofu, pak choi, and other farm fresh veggies. Chris was so hungry by the time it was ready that he slammed Mandy's laptop closed in the middle of his favorite (at the moment) youtube cartoon when I set the table.

Once he was seated and strapped in, he took one bite of tofu, picked up his bowl and dumped all of it into Mandy's bowl. He then dragged the combined portion over to his place, grabbed Mandy's fork, and dug in. I guess he liked it.

flag day

On memorial day, we sat on Jenny's lawn to watch the (small) Hopedale parade go by. A guy on a golf cart came by ahead of the band handing out little flags to the kids. Chris and Daniel stood there and watched the whole thing go by, all the while waving their flags to folks in the parade.

This last Saturday, Chris found his flag on the floor of the car. He promptly took it down to the end if the driveway to wait for the parade that must be coming.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quick update

All is well here in Hopedale. Alex is asleep in my lap after having just finished a bottle, so I'm going to turn in soon, too. Oops...urp. We just uploaded a bunch of pictures from the last week. There are a bunch of good shots of both Chris and Alex.

Chris has taken the new arrival very well. Too well, possibly. He really wants to help out, but has been frustrated because there are few ways a 1.5 year-old can help with a 1.5 week-old. He tried to pick hip up out of the car seat this evening. He's been trying to help Mandy off the couch by pulling on her arms. He's still clumsy the, though, and I'm saying "no" or "careful" too him too much. The poor kid is a bit frazled.

We did get to the zoo today, though. I'll have those pictures up later. In the meantime here are a couple of my favorites from last week.



Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sick puppy

sleeping in

As I mentioned in the previous post, Chris was a little sick last night. I went home to stay with him and when he was finished heaving, he slept soundly in our bed. The above underexposed cameraphone image may not be clear, but he was adorable. When he finally woke up, he quietly got out of bed, walked out into the hall (right past the monitor I had set up), and then cried.

Bringing home baby...soon

The pediatricia just gave Alex the all clear to go home. The OB on call today is running late, so mom is still not cleared. She is ready to be out of here, though.

The most likely thing to keep us here right now is Christopher. He threw up right befre bed and was sick until midnight. He seems fine this morning, but if it happens again, we may keep Alex out of he house for another day.

Also, it's supposed to be muggy this weekend and the hospital has A/C.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hello, Alex

Christopher now has a little brother and this blog has another subject. Alexander Francis Eppley was deliver by c-section at 8:55 am on June 4th. He was 8 pounds 15 ounces and 19.5 inches long. Unlike his big brother, he came out screaming.

Chris has come to visit twice now. He's a bit on the crazy side with all the disruptions, but he's been really sweet with Alex. He knows his name already but drops the "x".

"Chris, what's the baby's name?"


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Potty Monkey

This was "recommended" to us by a friend.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Baby bunk

We got the bedside bassinet built for Christopher's little brother. Of course, we'll have to get him out of it at some point.

Breakfast in the baby bunk

Mimi visits

With his mom on pseudo bed-rest, Christopher called in his Mimi for a week. He took her out to the Gold Star indian restaurant when she arrived:

finishing the veggie korma

She brought some gifts:
freak-key fingers

...and took him shopping for a new sun hat:
elmo hat

They had fun out back:
eating with Mimi

Chris took her to his favorite park before dropping her off at the airport:
at the park with Mimi

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


breakfast in bed
After breakfast in bed Friday, Mandy came home and has been doing well. Chris handled the whole thing very well while Joey was a nervous wreck. They were both happy to have her home, though.

family story time

A few days rest seems to have reversed the kidney swelling, and it looks like she'll make it to the end if she can take it easy. Mimi is in town this week to look after Christopher so Mandy can rest. I'm taking over those duties next week. Fortunately, everyone at work has been extremely understanding and supportive.

Bonus picture: Friday afternoon, Chris discovered the joys of resting on a log during a walk in the woods.

rest stop