Introducing Paisley

Paisley Autumn Claire Krueger (not a pseudonym) was born at 4:15 AM on Sunday, September 25. She shares a birthday with her uncle Jim! Here is Jenna's birth story. Everything went very well. Labor was quick and we were out of the hospital the same day.

This baby was a little shrimp! Six pounds and six ounces was her recorded birth weight, but the next day it had supposedly dropped over 10%, although she didn't look any skinnier. Anyway, she's still a tiny peanut, light as a feather and only 18 1/2 inches long.

Baby's first facepalm. Paisley was very alert and grabby right out of the chute. I forgot to take photos until one of the nurses reminded me! And I almost didn't have the camera at all, because I had left it in the car when we first arrived, thinking we had plenty of time.

Natalie has been a great big sister. She loves to hold her "newborn baby" and even asks to help feed her from the bottle for a minute or two. Overall Natalie is handling the transition very well so far. She only asked once about Paisley going back into mama's belly!

I stayed home from work this week to take care of my girls. Sometimes I kind of forget that Jenna needs me, because she was so strong and amazing during the labor and delivery, it seems like she could handle anything on her own. But I still do what I can to help.

Time to make the donuts!

Cool autumn weather makes me want to fatten up with comfort food and find a cozy den for hibernation. Soups and hot drinks are on the menu. We have baked three batches of mini-donuts so far, and last weekend I made fresh salsa with our bounty of peppers and Waconia-grown tomatoes. Mmmm...spicy!

Our garden is basically done. Jenna ripped out everything except for the pumpkin vines, which are still going strong. We've got one huge orange gourd and one little sphere that may not amount to anything. The chickens are still stubbornly not laying, except for our Old Faithful, Prinny who keeps cranking out an egg almost every day.

My beekeeping coworker brought his harvest of honey in to the office. I grabbed a jar to stash in my adventuring kit. Natalie and I are planning for a few more food-based excursions before the baby arrives and I want to be prepared!

Resume Updated

Lolamade Monsters

I participated in the "Creating An Event" panel at The Creative Connection conference last weekend, as planned. It seemed to be quite successful! I spoke with several people afterward who thanked me and said that the discussion was valuable.

The format was mostly like this: our moderator asked a question, and then we would go down the line and answer it, if it applied to us. I tried to engage my fellow panelists with my responses, and we did get some good cross-talk going towards the end, especially with Alli. It was a good group! I was the only Minnesotan and the only man, so I represented the minority.

Afterward I walked around the Marketplace to chat with Craftstravaganza artists and sponsors. I promised we'd have applications ready soon, so we ought to get going on that! And look at these adorable monsters I found!

Tom Waits for no man

Have you heard the new Tom Waits single? This is amazing music.

Natalie is 3

Jenna just posted a set of photos she took for Natalie's third birthday. Go look!

Darkness, My Old Friend

Winter seemed so far away. The days have been getting shorter and my morning runs are illuminated by nothing but the light of the moon, but we're only halfway through September! Surely we have plenty of time to enjoy beautiful weather this year, right?

With frost on the ground and temperatures in the high 30's this morning, I had to face the facts. Summer in Minnesota is officially over. I started running in January this year and today's run was a flashback to those frigid late-winter workouts. Not a pleasant sensation.

Let's all take a moment to reflect on the joys of autumn.

Full Term

So Jenna is still carrying a baby inside of her. You may have forgotten since I've written precisely nothing about her pregnancy for the past four months.

That's how we've handled the whole process this time around. We over-prepared for Natalie and her labor had to be induced, so maybe if we ignore this baby she will arrive on her own?

It could be any day now. The due date is October 2. September would be just fine. Any day before October 16 would be an improvement on the last time!

Trail-Loppet Half-Marathon

Photo ©Ericka Bailie-Byrne showing tornado damage

I completed my first half-marathon on Saturday! And a trail run at that, which proved every bit as challenging as I had been warned. But I did manage to finish and complete all my racing goals. The route was kind of nuts due to damage from the tornado that swept through the area earlier this year. Those were hard-earned miles. But the trail was marked well and I never got lost. The aid stations were great too but if I hadn't brought my own bottle of Gatorade I don't know that I would have made it.

I tripped twice but managed to recover both times. Others were not so lucky and got banged up. At one point there was an ambulance on the trail and paramedics were helping a young lady walk back to it. Around mile 10 I gave up on racing for time and focused on just finishing. I was in good company as several others were walking or painfully limping through the final miles. I watched the clock change to three hours just as I entered the finish chute and the announcer called out my name.

After gulping down water I sat in the shade until I felt well enough to drive home. I was so out of sorts that I even passed up free beer! I was okay again--if a little sore--by the end of the day. After this, the Monster Dash next month should be a cinch!

Race recap (nearly 2,000 ft of collective elevation gain!)

Labor Day Weekend

Completing two 500-piece jigsaw puzzles was our primary accomplishment over Labor Day Weekend. We drove up to the lake on Friday night. On Saturday morning I took Natalie to my parents' house and we played some board games with Kevin and Anne too. It was a wonderfully low-key vacation.

Jess and Nadia came over and I entertained the girls. Natalie is holding her shoes because Nadia ran outside barefoot and she didn't have time to put them on. Without her big cousin's example, she would never have set foot in the garden without them!

Training with Natalie. She loves to race. I took her to feed the cattle down the street and we had a talk about where meat comes from (dead animals) and how some people don't eat it and some people do. "I want to eat it," she said. After standing quietly by the fence for a while, she asked, "are we waiting for the cows to turn into food?"

Natalie's first representational drawing. She made this while we weren't paying attention. "I have a surprise for you," she told us. "It's water made out of chalk." Later she helped me build a fire and she was very upset that we had no marshmallows for roasting. "But," she said, "what are we going to make with the fire?"

Sunset on Sunday night. The weekend was much cooler than it has been this summer, but warmed up on Monday for a boat ride before heading home. Natalie wanted to stay forever and so did I. I'm thankful that she gets to enjoy our lake home like I did as a kid. Sadly, we probably won't return until next year, so we tried to make the most of this visit!

Around the Farm

A bee.

We weeded our hill garden.

The pumpkin we grew.

...and you will know us by the trail of feathers

There was another chicken death in the backyard. This time we caught the dog in the act. It's a bad dog, a very bad dog. We called the sheriff's office this time because, well, three strikes and you're out.

Things we learned:
  • Where the dog lives.
  • That we can legally shoot the dog if it's on our property.
  • They will haul it off to the pound if we can grab it.
I reinforced the fence and clipped the hens' wings again so they can't fly out. I don't really want to shoot somebody's dog. It's not the dog's fault. Anyway I don't have a gun. So we'll continue our strategy of crossing fingers and hoping for the best.

September Banner

Here is the piece I made for The Soap Factory $99 Sale. Look familiar? I drew the outlines in Sharpie and then painted with watercolors. The stamp is, of course, my hand-carved hanko from Sumi-e class.

Usually I outline my work first in non-photo blue pencil, then do inks, then scan into the computer for coloring. So it was a challenge to free-hand this one instead. I'm happy with how it turned out! Hopefully someone likes it enough to spend $99 tonight (or $66 tomorrow at the leftovers sale).


So it's not just me

Natalie gets very concerned when I do this. I'll be reading a story or singing a lullaby, and suddenly start talking gibberish because I am 90% asleep. And sometimes I'm just barely aware that I'm doing it, and I can keep on riffing for several minutes at a time, and that's when it gets weird even for me.

But at those moments I do wish that I had a voice recorder.