i'll be honest, i'm a little overwhelmed by the possibilities with this new "blogger in draft" set-up but here's the first attempt. you would think i'd love it since the background is wood and if you'll remember my previous header was of our wood floor. one thing i am pleased with is that this new background scrolls down with the posts. if you put a background on with that "cutest blog on the block" the background stays the same even when you scroll down and it bothers my eyes. with these new options i should be excited, but have you clicked on the background option? there are quite possibly 400 different choices! and changing text color isn't as self-explanitory as i would like. they don't mean what they say, or say what they mean.

on top of that i'm a little particular about the color of the post font; i want it to be readable, as well as the sidebars, and i don't know that i'm satisfied with what i've chosen. and then there's the header: i think any kind of fancy header might be too busy so i'm stuck with plain text. agh!

all this to say, don't be surprised if i go back to the old layout, or just leave it like this for years to come.

but here's something i've settled on: mr. stainless steel kenmore. while we weren't wanting a new refrigerator we got one anyway and i must say, the water is a nice feature. sam might miss opening the door in that awkward way to get water but i think the rest of us enjoy the new simplicity. come try it out, it's delicious.


what adventures we've had. this weekend i decided enough is enough, no more diapers. and viola, cassie agreed with me. i started her off in what you might call training pants, something like underwear with a little more cloth to absorb some but not all of the pee. she had three accidents on friday but on saturday she started to get the hang of it and realized it wasn't so scary to pee in the potty. and sunday morning she came into our room andn woke us up saying "i have to go potty." she put the "potty sitter" on the toilet, moved the stool, dropped her drawers and peed. all the while tom and i layed in bed staring at each other. not only that, but her diaper was dry from a whole night. since then she had one half poop accident (i caught her in the act and she finished on the toilet) and no pee problems. she'll be moving on to underwear soon!
there's nothing as cute as kids wearing underwear and if the internet wasn't so creepy and a little more private i would post some photos of their skinny bums in undies, but you'll have to settle for these.


early this morning maas and i loaded up the kids for a little day trip to wichita. we had one goal in mind: chicken little starring mark(us parkus) maasen. and it was worth it. i think maas and i laughed more than the kids, or anyone else for the matter. the jokes were bad, like when ducky lucky comes out and yells, "DUCK!" and the other characters we laughed out loud. but nothing was funnier than when mark broke character on stage. the actors take liberty a bit with the script and ad-lib or change things around sometimes and he was having a hard time holding it in.

one of the highlights was the kids' excitement. we got to eat pizza before the show and while we were eating cassie asked probably a dozen times, "where's chicken little?" she has such a good ear too that when mark made an announcement with the microphone cassie knew is was him without being able to see him. she asked me, "was that mork?" wyatt's enthusiasm carried over to the end of the show when he got his picture taken with chicken little ("i'm not a chicken, i'm a chicken hawk") AND the king. unfamiliar people in weird costumes. notice the hand on mark's shoulder! he was stoked about the king because that's right up his playmobil alley. i think it was a real treat for him to meet a king. his joy, however, did not last long enough to have his photo taken with henny penny (totally hilarious character) and turkey lurkey. i think it was the animal costumes that started to weird him out but i'm proud just the same. cass, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with any of them. she clams up around strangers. if she's like her brother she'll probably outgrow it, slowly.
here's mark as goosey loosey with wolf disguised as a police officer and henny penny, who thinks the sky is falling. it's a different tale of chicken little, but rest assured, the sky doesn't fall on henny penny either. at one point goosey loosey and henny penny bump knuckles, which maas decided was ridiculous (but hilarious). she suggested maybe a claw bump. and not only does mark act (he was goosey loosey and chicken little), sing and dance but he also does set design. he did the set for this production, and it was pretty great. he's moving to kc in a few weeks and i know the tblake family is praying he'll get some great gigs here in town and that we'll get to see him perform again. bravo, mark!


we wrapped up tom's birthday with a bang, but not the good kind of bang that makes you go "ooh. ahh." more that type that makes you want to scream. our refrigerator stopped working. tom reached into the freezer to get some ice and got a handful of water. and so we are getting a new fridge.

just last week he asked me, "what would you do to change the kitchen?" and i told him i really like my kitchen. the appliances work great. if i could change anything: an espresso machine (check), stainless steel appliances (purely aesthetic), a big range with a grill option (like my parents'). a new refrigerator was not on my list. but now i'm getting one. it's kind of exciting, but hard to enjoy since work has been slow at the tblake household and i was really hoping to use the birthday money for a dosing grinder, not an ice box.

trusty sam came over to help us figure out what was wrong with the refrigerator. he decided it was the compressor (confirmed by handy man jim next door) and pulled his first shot. classic sam and coffee.
in less dramatic news, although maybe not, wyatt is a short-hair again. it's already so warm here that his thick hair is making him sweat. it seems very uncomfortable. the kid's hair is dense. we borrowed matt's clippers and buzzed it off. wyatt calls it the "buzzer" and he doesn't necessarily enjoy it since he has to sit there long enough for me to trim up the hair and then use the "buzzer". but he looks adorable and he won't sweat nearly as much.
i think the shorter hair shows off his eyelashes, but you'll have to see him in person to notice. i love his short hair.


"i'm 33." tom was adamant about his age today when we got out of the van this morning. i am well aware of his age, it's his birthday for goodness sake. his statement was in response to all of the familiar cars parked on our street. a surprise to him, a relief to me. as we got the kids out of the van we could hear the excited voices coming through the open windows.

he was all golly-shucks and hugs as he walked through the house. at bill's beckoning he sat down on the sunporch and opened a large box. nothing but total surprise as he pulled out bag after bag of green coffee beans. and then the roaster.
it all started to make sense but then he opened up a box from sam and cassie and saw a steaming pitcher and espresso shot glasses. and kate gave him little spoons. accessories for an espresso machine, not a roaster.

"great!" he said. " i can bring these over to bill's house." or...
he can use his own espresso machine that bill engineered! his level of excitement was only overshadowed by his total embarassment. he couldn't (and still can't) believe that there's a roaster and an espresso machine in our home. and they're ours. for keeps.

i'm also really excited about the machines. every day, right around 3 o'clock i get a little tired and it's too late to take a nap. i'm also trying to watch the calories that i drink, so the shot of espresso will be a wonderful pick-me-up. this will be a delicious adventure. and we're both looking forward to having a lot of people over for espresso on the sunporch.
pulling the first shot.
in a sadder note, i gave tom demi cups prior to the big event. i told him it was to build his hope to one day have a machine (wink wink). but when maasen unpacked them to put them out for use one of them was broken. and come to find out he doesn't like the color. so we'll be returning them for a different set. but it was a good idea, right?