Sunday, September 30, 2007


Okay, so my job doesn't exactly rake in the cash, but it has an unbeatable benefits package.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Running Class (Week Three): In Which Chelsa Gets Hit In The Face By A Duck

Yes, I said a duck.
Twice a week, the whole running class meets, with coaches and assistant coaches and people to say encouraging things to us, and we run in a park in West Davis. We are also expected to do a run on our own at some point during the week, following the exercise plan but choosing our own time and place. Many of the women choose to run together anyway, including myself, and we meet downtown on Saturday mornings. Today we decided to run in the arboretum, which seemed lovely and shady and scenic and therefore a good place to commence movement. However, the loveliness is largely due to small water pools scattered here and there throughout the arboretum, which look nice but smell bad. The shade is largely due to oak trees, which do provide shade but also scatter treacherous slippery acorns everywhere. Two women sustained embarrassing acorn-related injuries. I did not slip on an acorn, and I was just beginning to bask in my uncharacteristic grace when the duck thing happened. Our large-ish group passed by a gang of ducks (can you say a gaggle of ducks, or is that just for geese?)about halfway through the run, and apparently the sight of so many women in sneakers frightened them. They all flew indignantly into the air, and I was not quick enough dodging to the side (you see how I could have made a pun about ducking my head, and I didn't? You're welcome) and the duck totally winged me in the face as it flew past. And then it quacked angrily at me over its shoulder. (Ducks do too have shoulders, and no one likes a nit-picker.) I was very prepared for stiff muscles, sore joints, shin splints, and general tiredness when I started running, but I did not think to arm myself against ducks to the face. I am still enjoying the class tremendously, but if we ever go to the arboretum again, I will be purchasing a giant hamster ball to run in, for protection. Prudence dictates it, I think.

Friday, September 28, 2007


As wonderful as it is to watch Max grow and thrive, it is also alarming, and a bit sad, to see how quickly he leaves each developmental phase behind. He is so funny and charming right now, and while I know that he will only get funnier and more charming, he will inevitably outgrow some of his behaviors, catch-words, etc., and replace them with new ones. To help us remember his freshly turned two self, and to share with those of you who can't see him every day, I have made a list of some particularly splendid Maxisms:

1)He loves the alphabet, and many of his favorite games revolve around identifying letters. He pronounces the 'W' "dumbleboo". Ian and I make him say the 'W' as often as we can.

2)He has begun greeting people by saying, "Hi, Baby!" It started in imitation of us talking to Maggie, but now he says it to everyone. He sounds like a very young pick-up artist. It slays me.

3)When he snuggles up with Ian or I, he says "Nice and cosy!" in a gravelly little voice. It's pretty much the best.

4)He frequently walks up to Maggie, gets right up close until he is nose to nose with her, and says, "goo!" No one knows why.

5)He talks in his sleep almost every night. He makes dream jokes, and then he laughs at his own wit. Yesterday, he spent from 4:30-4:45 saying, "poof!" and then chortling about the humorousness of his own self, over and over again. You'd think it would be annoying, and it kind of was, but it was downright adorable, too.

6)He will often ask for things, and then when you repeat what he said, looking for confirmation, he will say, "okay!" Example: Max says, "Milk?" You say, "You want some milk?" and Max says, "Okay!" like it was your idea and he is humoring you by accepting your offer.

7)When he is messing around with something he shouldn't be messing around with, he will cheerfully say, "Mama's!" or "Dada's!" depending on whose item he is illegally handling. This idiosyncrasy has saved us on numerous occasions. Two mornings in a row, I followed Max's jubilant voice proclaiming "Dada's! No no Max, Dada's!" and arrived just in time to prevent Max from using Ian's starch to make the entire universe a crisper, more wrinkle-free place.

8)When I pick him up now, he proudly says, "Oof! Max heavy!" He's right, too.

9)He almost always asks for milk in his green sippy cup, and water in his blue sippy cup. I was sort of baffled by this, until Ian pointed out to me that the green cup is bigger.

10)At least twice a day, he runs a couple of laps around the house, one fist held out in front of him, singing the theme song from Superman with great gusto.

There are more, but I don't want to take up too much of your Internet, and these are the current top ten. No, Max is not available to rent for any price. Sorry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Auntie Jessi Day!

Yesterday on Tracksy, I noticed that somebody got to our blog by googling "Beautiful Aunties". Congratulations, anonymous blog looker, because we at The Magic Number have more beautiful aunties than you could shake a stick at. None of them are for sale, however, so back off. Hopefully, as we speak, my sister Jessi is celebrating her birthday and her triumphant first month of college in style. Since she is far from me in Canada, I cannot help her celebrate in person, but I will be thinking of her fondly (as I do every day). We love you muchly, Jessi!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Left to her own devices, Maggie has begun flipping over in bed and sleeping on her tummy. I am nervous about the tummy sleeping, because every nurse, doctor, pediatrician, midwife, janitor, and parking attendant at the hospital were so vehement about making babies sleep on their backs to lower the risk of SIDS. My question for the masses is: at what point can you start allowing babies the freedom to choose their own sleep position? I am trying to gain access to Maggie's doctor to ask about this, but he is apparently busy treating other children (the nerve!) and so I am seeking information to tide me over. I have looked online, and I have found a WIDE range of opinions. Some sites say that as soon as they are physically capable of flipping, they are cleared to do so safely, while other sites seem to feel that your college student is still at risk for SIDS if he or she is tummy sleeping. My temporary solution has been to allow Maggie to sleep on her tummy, but to check on her so frequently that I inevitably awaken her and irritate the entire household with my paranoid hand-wringing. While I think that this solution is balanced, informed, logical, and good for everyone, Maggie seems to think that there may be a better option out there. Any thoughts?

Monday, September 24, 2007

There Is Another Skywalker

(If you just felt a soft breeze gust over you from the direction of Davis, you were not imagining things. I am fairly certain that Ian, upon seeing this blog post, will consider his life's work well done -- not only is his daughter exhibiting early Star Wars enthusiasm, but his wife titled this blog post with a quote that she would never have known or used without his influence. His sigh of satisfaction will be deep enough to alter wind patterns as far north as Canada.)

Maggie is not crawling yet, much to her dismay, but she has learned to inch along the floor by pushing with her toes and digging in with her elbows. The military has several times tried to recruit her, but she is unwilling to commit her talents to their cause. I adore her.
Good grief, where was I? Ah, the crawling. While not yet efficient enough at the art of motion to strike fear into my heart, Maggie can, given enough time, work her way into some unexpected positions. When I set her on the ground today in order to prepare Max some breakfast, she was several feet from the birthday light saber (which has a friend now, by the way. Ian bought a second light saber so that he and Max could duel. Ian's death at my hand is officially imminent), and she was lying on her back. While I lovingly buttered a bagel for the boy, Maggie evidently flipped, inched over, and began trying her hand at the Jedi arts.

Or, maybe she didn't so much go to the light saber. Maybe she brought the light saber to her, via The Force. If so, the military will almost certainly redouble their efforts to win her allegiance. (I think that I have carried this Star Wars metaphor far enough without drawing the obvious comparisons between our government and the Dark Side, but feel free to make up your own if that's your thing.)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Max Has Apparently Inherited Grandma Tillman's Love Of Puns

I found this when I got up this morning and followed Max into the bathroom. Who says he doesn't pee on the potty? Get it? P? On the potty? Ah ha ha ha ha!

Friday, September 21, 2007

But, On The Other Hand ...

I stand by everything I said in this morning's post, including the part about Bob The Builder. The man is clearly delusional. HOWEVER. Just now, Max brought Maggie a whole pile of duplos, dumped them on the ground in front of her, and said, "Maggie play?" Maggie looked up at him and laughed a gurgly, delicious laugh, clearly congratulating herself on the awesomeness of her big brother. Max crowed delightedly while Maggie scrabbled around amongst the duplo pile he had made her, and informed me, "Maggie play. Maggie happy." So, while I will be unable to recant my blood feud declaration with the noisy neighbors, my children and I are once again at peace due to their extraordinary cuteness.

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Really Bad Sleep

(The picture, by the way, is relevant only in that Max kept saying "Sleep. Sleeping" while he lay on this lounge chair, but he was never actually sleeping. Much like me last night.) Well, it is now 8 something, and I have remorselessly parked Max in front of his new birthday "Bob The Builder" video, where he will remain until I can scrape myself together and prepare breakfast. It might be awhile. (By the way, it just occurred to me -- what if Bob The Builder is actually crazy? What if he thinks that all of his construction equipment can talk and emote, but when he shows up at building sites, everyone else is secretly humoring him while they call the men in the white coats because Bob is the only one there and who is this Scoop he keeps chatting with? I'm really tired.) Last night, the earth tilted on its axis, the clocks began chiming thirteen o' clock, and everything went horribly awry. Admittedly, we kicked off the proceedings by going to bed way too late, and we are adults in our thirties who should know better. We were watching a really good episode of 24, though, and we got started late because Max, whose schedule was off all day yesterday, felt the need to chat about the walls and the ceiling and therefore could not find time in his busy schedule to go to sleep until 11:19.
Once we were finally in bed, we heard people yelling outside. Now, I am a tolerant neighbor, People. We live in an apartment, with a lot of students and young families, and I generally figure that we are at least as annoying as everyone else and should therefore be accepting of the occasional carrying noise. However, these guys spent at least three hours stretching my loving spirit to its breaking point. They swore. They broke things that made tinkling noises. They mocked a dog by riling it up and then imitating its bark. (The dog, contrary to my wishes, did not respond by biting their throats out, at least as far as I could tell.) They laughed heartily over things that were stupid. I would like to formally declare a blood feud.
They may have carried on for longer than three hours, but I lost track of them because Max woke up at 3:34 and requested a transfer to the big bed. He and Maggie then took turns waking up and demanding various forms of assistance until 7:45, when Max got up, chipper as a monkey, and started his day. Maggie is still in bed, sleeping off her long night of nursing every half hour. It tires a baby out, you know.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Running Class Week 2

To sum up: Running class: excellent. Sore muscles: diminishing. Intimidating yet compelling athletic prowess: firmly established. # of times today that I have so far had to remind Max not to threaten any living things with new birthday light saber: 106. # of times Maggie was poked by new birthday light saber: 1 1/2. # of minutes Max cried when new birthday light saber was removed from his custody: 14. # of times I cursed Ian under my breath for buying Max the wretched new birthday light saber: 5. Anticipated mood upon leaving the young Jedi Apprentice with his light saber-purchasing father so that I can go run tonight: gleeful.

Thank You. That is all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thumbs Are For Suckas

Sure, some babies prefer to stick to the straight-and-narrow, sucking their thumbs or their pacifiers, placidly following in the drool-moistened, well-trodden footsteps of millions of babies before them. Not my daughter, though.

No, Ladies and Gentlemen, Maggie will not be fettered by convention. She thinks outside the box. The thumb is good, but the toe might be awesome. The pacifier is chewy and fun to bite, but who knows what untasted delights the toe could offer? Somebody has to be the trail-blazer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Party Like It's Your Birthday

For those of you who could not share in the Max-related revelry in person, I now offer a summary of the wild party and the many delights it contained:

There was the obligatory airing of the Birthday Suit.

There was live music.

There were beautiful expressions of artistry.

There were courtly fingertip kisses exchanged.

Like any really good party, there were a few times when things got a little out of control. We managed to avoid having the cops called, however.

There were presents.

There were people to help open the presents.

And people to help play with the presents.

Most important of all, however, there was a cake. Made by Grandma. Shaped like a tire. Served on a Cars-themed plate. And relished, down to the last ice-creamy crumb.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


September 16, 2005. It is hard to imagine now, but Max was, at birth, a scrawny little urchin who needed help to breathe. I hope that we all (him especially) will forget the scary parts of his birth and early hours as time goes on. I know that we will never forget the sudden and amazing sunburst of joy that Ian and I felt the first time he was laid on my chest and we got to see him. We will never forget it, because it has stayed with us ever since.

September 16, 2006. Max's sly sense of humor is firmly established and clearly visible.

September 16, 2007. Max is now officially not a baby, even if I stretch my Mama-esque desire to keep him one as far as it will go. He is a little boy, independent, funny, smart, and wonderful. Max, every day that I get to be your mama is a gift, and while I sometimes wish I could stop time and live some of your stages over and over again, I also know that every day is better than the one before it, because more of you emerges. Happy Birthday, Max! We love you and we are so very proud of you in all your glorious twoness!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Aunt Carol!

This shirt was a gift from Aunt Carol, and while it is still a tad bit large, the sentiment fits nicely! Happy Birthday and thank you for your ongoing words of encouragement, on the blog, in letters, in emails, and (whenever we can manage it) in person. We hope you are enjoying your birthday!

Friday, September 14, 2007

You Big Bunch Of Weirdos

I have recently become fascinated by our Tracksy account, which keeps track of where our blog is viewed from, how often, and by whom. The part that I find so compelling is the Google Searches, where you can see the subjects that people were scouring the Internet for when they stumbled upon your blog. While I find this information endlessly entertaining, some of the things that led people to our corner of the blogosphere keep me up nights, too. Most people are looking for something fairly run of the mill, such as song lyrics, name origins, or, occasionally, Max in his Wolfsuit. Whoever was looking for "Castlegar Girls Boob Pictures", however, was probably disappointed by what they found on my blog. Sorry about that. "Scary Dangerous Foam Alphabet Child" may have been similarly disappointed, but it is hard to tell, because I have no idea what that means. "Fluffy Auntie Aly Quilts" -- well, we do have fluffy quilts, and they were made by an Auntie Aly. I am not sure she would be willing to make more, or to become your Auntie Aly, but I will ask her. I would like to offer special recognition, however, to whatever giant freak was looking for "Grandparent Boob". Among many a strange, sometimes comical, often inexplicable Google Search, yours is officially both the weirdest and the most disturbing. Congratulations! I would respectfully suggest, however, that you conduct further searches elsewhere. Seriously, move along. I don't think we have quite what you're after 'round these parts.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Auntie Jill!

If you are reflecting in wonder on the vast number of birthday posts there have been lately, you ain't seen nothin' yet. September is HUGE for birthdays in our family. Today is my sister Jillian's turn. Happy Birthday, Jillsie. We are glad and proud that you belong to us, and we will be thinking of you fondly today, as we do every day. We love you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Chelsa Runs For It (Day One)

I am officially a lean, mean, running machine. Okay, more precisely, I am a not particularly lean, occasionally crabby but mostly friendly, embarrassingly stiff from one day of running but still triumphant machine. My first running class was last night, and it was great. There are many people to chat with whilst you toil, so the time goes quickly, even with the sweating and the out-of-breathness. I am a bit achy this morning, but not as much as I expected to be, so I am feeling quite tough. (More so, I suspect, than the actual run-in-the-suburban-park-for-40-minutes warrants, but I will milk even the modest victories for every drop I can.) Ian seemed to fare well in my absence -- he, the children, and the house are all still in one piece. Max spent his Mama-free hour watching Star Wars, I suspect, since he now knows the words "storm trooper", "x-wing", and "Yoda", which he did not know yesterday. Maggie was crying when I got home, but Ian said that she had been happy for 3/4 of my absence, and she seems to have forgiven my abandonment. So success on all fronts. When I eventually become so speedy that only a blur is visible to the naked eye, I will try to remember to slow down enough to say 'hi' occasionally.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Star Wars Episode VII: Max Makes A Classic His Own

Now that Max's -- (verbalness? verbacity? verbalocity? I have no idea which of these is correct. I suspect none of them is exactly right. To avoid the whole issue, I am going to go with ...) speech and vocabulary are burgeoning, I get endless amounts of entertainment out of listening to him play. I love to hear his imagination at work, especially since he is frequently and unconsciously tremendously funny. Because I am a giving sort of person, I will share with you an example of what I mean, in the form of the following transcript. Without further ado, I bring you:

An Original Script By Max Tillman

R2D2: Beep Beep?
C3Po: Feet.
{Figures bump into each other three times, sounds of struggle}
C3Po: Fight. Rrrr. Grrr.
R2D2: Beep. Diaper. Dipey? Ewww.
C3Po: Arm? Nose. No nose. Wipe Maggie?
R2D2: Thank You. Bonk. Beep? Ohhhhh noooooo ....
{R2D2 falls off of rocking chair}
R2D2 (from floor): Foot? No hair. Beep.
C3Po: Thank You. Hand.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Points For Trying

Ian's mother has long desired a photograph of herself holding all of her grandchildren. This seems like a perfectly understandable and heartwarming desire, easily accomplished. Until you throw in the fact that she ideally desires a well-lit, flattering photograph of herself holding her grandchildren, all of whom are looking directly at the camera and smiling beatific smiles. Still heartwarming, still perfectly understandable. Not quite so easily accomplished. Behold:

Attempt Number One: July4, 2007. Things that I would like you to take special note of: a)It was 10,000 degrees on the 4th, and Max, Joey and Elaine all have the glassy-eyed stare of the severely dehydrated heatstroke victim, b)Max and Joey are both clearly attempting escape, and are only in the photo at all because of the prominently visible restraining hands of their respective mothers, c)not to be outdone in picture-ruining tactics, Maggie is screaming bloody murder, so much so that her entire body has turned a brilliant shade of red, and d)the picture is, at least, relatively well-lit.

Attempt Number Two: August 31, 2007. Things that I would like you to take special note of: a)NO ONE is looking in even the general direction of the camera, b)while the heatstroke risk is somewhat less significant on this occasion, the lighting is also brighter, making it look as if everyone's blue shirts are melting together, and c)The Tillmans are reproducing at an alarming rate, and none of the offspring are small in size, rendering the space on Grandma's lap insufficient. While Elaine seems to approve heartily of the increase in the number of grandchildren in spite of any and all spacial issues, this picture is technically of Elaine holding two grandchildren, while the disconcertingly incomplete form of Chelsa lurks to her left propping up the third.

To summarize: We will, of course, soldier on, and try to keep the hope alive that we will eventually achieve photographic perfection. With four subjects to contend with, however, three of whom are two years old or less, it's looking grim. We may have to wait until the kids all grow up, and then photograph Elaine sitting on their laps.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pretty, Peaceful, And Peculiar

When Max slept half on and half off the sofa awhile back, I thought that I had seen the most bizarre living room nap position possible, and could therefore die content.

But I was wrong.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you our new Champion. Weirdest. Napper. Ever.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Tumultuous Love Affair Is Born

Our friends, The Lindsays, had their fourth baby about two months after we had Maggie. Samuel is their first boy, and he happened to have the exact same birth weight and height as Maggie. If that's not a sign that they are destined to be together, then I don't know what is. To help cement their early commitment, Ian's mom bought them matching outfits, and on Tuesday night, we prepared to reap the photographic rewards of our matching giant babies all lined up. Things began peacefully, Maggie on her side of the blanket, Sam bewildered but calm on his side.

At first, we all took Maggie's reaching out and grasping Sam's arm as further proof of their compatibility. "Oh, look!" we exclaimed fondly. "They're holding hands!"

It soon became apparent, however, that Maggie's intentions were not quite so benign. Tired of teething on her own tender fingers and thumbs, and having already gnawed her mother's fingers down to bloody stubs, Maggie seized the opportunity to stuff Sam's fists into her questing maw along with her own. Sam bore this abuse stoically, demonstrating his infant manliness.

I am very sorry to say that Maggie's irrational aggression deepened as the night progressed. None of us know what Sam could possibly have done to deserve this fist upside the head, but Maggie's defiant and remorseless stare seems to indicate that more is in store.

Oh, Maggie. Is it because I made fun of you so much as a fetus? Speck was an affectionate nickname, Maggie, I swear!

Sam bore up relatively well under the noggin punching, but when Maggie moved down and started working the midsection, he was forced to request assistance. I suppose I should be grateful that Maggie is clearly a strong woman who is not afraid to stand up for herself. If she is truly destined to be Samuel's life partner, however, I will be giving him a helmet and various kinds of discreet padding for a wedding gift.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Woman Of Steel

For my birthday this year, my mom and my mother-in-law signed me up for a running class for women, which meets twice a week. Ian's contribution to the gift was his agreement to watch both children alone while I go and take the class. Last night was our trial run (no pun intended), as I went for the class orientation and Ian prepared for single fatherhood. I was worried about Maggie, who is a bit of a Mama's girl (no one has encouraged this by holding her constantly, so I don't know what you're rolling your eyes at) and who is currently teething and a bit crabby. It was Max, however, who sucker-punched me with guilt. When I told him that I was leaving for a little while, he made a high-pitched whining noise, asked to be picked up, and then said goodbye to Ian and Maggie, as if he were going with me. He cried and tried to follow me out the door. I made my tearful way to the class, chanting through clenched teeth the whole way, "You are not a bad mom. He will be fine. He's probably already fine." And, of course, he was fine. When I got back, Ian reported that Max's tears lasted 3.2 seconds, and then Ian put a video on and Max basked in the movie-watching until I returned. Maggie did fine, too, chewing on her thumb thoughtfully until she spotted me again, at which point she yelled angrily at me until I nursed her into appeasement. The class seems like it will be great. There are lots of women in the class, and there is a wide range of ages and levels of athleticism, easing my fear that I will be the slowest and clumsiest runner in the group.

What do these pictures have to do with this narrative? Nothing, except that I am hoping that their cuteness offers up some sort of excuse for why I am such a wimp about leaving my children.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Just now, Maggie is sleeping in my arms. A moment ago, some small noise or movement disturbed her. She did that baby startle reflex thing where all of her limbs shot straight out in every direction, and her eyes flew open. She saw my face, smiled, sighed, and closed her eyes again, utterly and securely content and peaceful. I have been a mama for awhile now, and it is unpleasantly easy to focus on the more mundane or frustrating aspects of the job. Every now and then, though, I am still struck with awed gratitude, not only for Max and Maggie, but for my own role as their mother. To be somebody whose mere presence allows them to rest securely, somebody that they associate unquestioningly with comfort and safety, is more than gratifying. I suspect that it is why I am here and what I am for.

Happy Birthday Grandma!

As aforementioned, we ventured out to Roseville on Monday to celebrate my grandma. Maggie, who is teething (already!), mostly celebrated by gnawing on this teething ring with jaws of steel and drool that flowed like a river of plenty. Attempts were made to admire her and pass her around. These attempts were largely unsuccessful.

Max, on the other hand, has no objection whatsoever to being admired or passed around. He is especially fond of my cousin Holly (perhaps because she is a lovely young lady, perhaps because she is a lovely young lady with a deep reservoir of patience for Max's antics), and tried to forcibly restrain her when she had to leave at the end of the party.

Max also enjoyed eating no lunch and then gorging on cake, like the small booger that he is. In his defense, it was really good cake.

I think that Grandma enjoyed herself. She exclaimed over her cards ...

... and she seemed to relish the homemade cake and ice cream (as we all did) ...

...but her favorite part seemed to be the company. Happy Birthday, Grandma!