Wednesday, November 21, 2007


by Savannah

At eight months old (today!), Liam is a talker! He chats while he plays, he sings while he eats and he babbles at us in long baby language sentences. We know where he gets it...

Flashback: My Grandmother "T" and my mother Jan in a full kitchen, their voices harmonizing in a stream of busy chatter. My Grandfather Max laughs from his brown leather chair in the adjacent room, "You gals could talk the stripes off a tiger!"

I am a sometimes talker. When I am stressed, excited or have something to share, I can keep up with the best of them. Other times, I am happy to observe or listen. Caleb was quite plithy as a youngster, but these days, he is a more reticient teenager.

At five months old, Liam was laying on the changing table, looking up at his Papa. "Baby," he sputtered. "What did you say, Bop?" Again, "Baby". He performed his miracle for me a few days later in the car. Some unknown, to me, musician was crooning on the radio, "Baby,oh, baby, baby..." And from the backseat I hear a little response, "Baby."

Next came the standard "Ma, ma, ma, ma" and "Da da da". Then, "Hi!" And once, "Hi mama!"

Lately his favorite word is "Errah" (Ella). In the morning, he stands on the bed, peering over the guardrail and calls in his loudest voice: "Errah". She stumbles into the room (after sleeping for sixteen hours) and he laughs at his powers.

Some people spend the first year of a baby's life waiting for them to talk and the next seventeen hoping they will be quiet. We look forward to all eighteen years of his childhood chatter! (uhm, someone remind me I said this when the four-year-old "why?" shows up!)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The World According to Liam

by Savannah

Everything is changing fast with the little guy these days.

Just a couple of months ago, he was a little immobile baby, satisfied to bat at a hanging toy or mouth a wooden rattle. Now, suddenly it seems, he is crawling (and fast!), pulling up to standing, grinning with sharp little teeth in his mouth!

His perspective of the world seems so different. Every piece of furniture is an obstacle to be considered, tested and then climbed.

Food is fascinating and he begs for the most improbable things from my plate (like a hamburger). Watching him explore with innocent curiosity the light through a drape or the space beneath the chair can be a true teaching on mindfulness.

His favorite obstacle to explore is Ella, the dog. He digs his little hands into her fur and drags himself up over her body. She is tender. She bats her lashes at him and considers any attention to be good attention (especially now that she is “down a peg”).

And her rawhide dog bones? Well, Liam thinks they are great teething toys… Yuck!

Liam also got to see a bit more of the world a few weeks ago on a big trip to Florida and Texas. We stayed in the beach town of Destin in a beach condo for several days with my parents and brother and sister-in-law. The sand and salt were no fun for Liam, but he soaked up some love from his family (more Florida pix are below).

Back in Texas, he got to spend time with his big brother Caleb. At first, he shocked by Caleb’s blue Mohawk! He cried and pulled away when he saw his brother’s head.

But in no time, he was back in Caleb’s arms. He also met more of my family, including our beloved Memom, matriarch of the Mayfield clan.

What a joyful experience it is to see the world through the purity of his eyes: his radiant smile at the sight of Grandpa Johnny’s face; his surprise at the sweetness of a fresh peach; his chubby hand signing for “milk” as he nurses himself to sleep.

So far, in the world according to Mr. Liam, all is good.

More photos!!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Summertime and Nicknames

What's the date? September 12th? Where does the time go? I know where: into hours of playing with our bouncing baby boy, Liam. Also known as Bup, Nox, The Little Vampire, and of course, The Little Guy. Or to be more precise, "thelittleguy," said fast, as in, "what's thelittleguy doing now, Savannah?"

How do nicknames like "Bup" start? Who knows. It just seems like he bups along, happy and laughing.

Nox we don't use much, but I called him that after he was born on the Spring Equi(nox). Little Vampire? He gets that at 1 a.m. from sleepless mom after he plays for two solid hours in the middle of the night. In the dark. By himself. His teeth are coming in, we are checking for fangs.

As for "thelittleguy," that's no mystery, he's a little guy. But we say it so often it sort of runs together into a name of its own.

Soon enough, though, he'll be Little Houdini, Chatterbox or some such, as the crawling and talking phases are coming on strong.

It's been a great summer. Savvy and I have both been working very hard, but we did take some breaks, including an overnight stay near Government Camp in a cozy creekside cabin and numerous walks to parks around Portland. We did a longer hike up to Mirror Lake and even got lost - for about 15 minutes.

We hope you have had a good summer as well. Here are the latest photos! Just click to see them super-sized or to print one up.

This image was on Liam's baptism announcement. The "big dip" went well. We have no photos of the event, just video (shot by Angela), and, uh, even we have not seen it yet. But I will post it to YouTube this weekend.

Guess who's turning 3? Ella is a great dog - the best. Liam pulls out handfulls of her hair, pokes her in the eye and yanks on her tail. She doesn't move a muscle in anger. He favorite spot during the day is anywhere close to Liam. Here she is relaxing in the car after our Mirror Lake hike. That's a happy dog.

Liam sits up now. We have to get him there, and he still topples over, but less each day. Here he is exploring the field at Rose City Park.

That boy has a way with the girls - already! While playing in the park, a gaggle of kids from a birthday party happened by. This girl, Ariel, was instantly smitten. She just had to hold him.

It's a Liam attack! Actually, this behavior is called "birding" or "flying," and is a prelude to crawling, except all the landing gear is up. It's still pretty funny to see.

Liam cried for his first home bath (captured on video). I think that was the last time, though (for the crying, not the bathing). This kid loves to get in the tub with mom or dad and kick, splash and laugh.

Uh oh, you know what's coming when all the gear is down. At this point he's frozen in place. Not for long, I'm sure.

This one of my favorite photos so far. He looks ready to pounce!

This was taken during the sequence I shot for his baptism card. It was not what I had in mind for the card (the one I used was), but this was an unexpected treasure from that photo session, which took 5 minutes at most. Be sure to take lots of photos of your kids. It's important.

Here's our little hiker on the trail in Mt. Hood wilderness in August, actually on the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Canada to Mexico. We took a lunch break and during that time a guy came by who was doing the whole trail. Nice guy, too. He was 62 and had been on the trail since April. Now that's impressive.

Back at the park, sittin' in the grass. Man, these summer days go by so fast.

Here we are at Mirror Lake near Mt. Hood. Liam is getting some hands-on with the local timber. Gotta have a hat or the sun at that altitude (4,000 feet) with burn baby skin in just a few minutes.

Our friends have a house with a big pool and threw a swell party. Liam loves the water. Swim lessons will come early.

Back out on the Pacific Crest Trail with Savvy and Ella. Savannah and Liam are traveling to Texas and Florida soon to visit Savannah's family and take a much needed vacation. Bill will be stuck all alone at home to work and be lonely. Gotta go, I think the beer truck just pulled up....

See you again soon!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Say Cheese

Well, faithful blog readers, thanks for checking back in. We have been remiss about updates this summer as we are so busy as expected, but I wanted to take this time to post a bunch of photos. Not much to report - summer is here, Liam is growing and growing and becoming more of a little person each day. His blonde hair is growing in, he babbles like crazy and loves to giggle and laugh. He is healthy and we are thankful for that most of all. We hope you are well and enjoying summer. Onto the photos! (Captions are under each photo. Click on the photo to see it larger or for printing.)

This photo of Liam and very big brother Caleb is indicative of their bond - right from the start. While Caleb was here and not in the same room as Liam, Liam would look and look and look for him. Brothers indeed. Photo by Savannah.

Hmmm... I wonder if we're related? Photo by Caleb.

We had a super fun weekend in Astoria with our friends Angela and Pete. Angela is our dearest friend and was a great support during Liam's birth. She makes the world more beautiful with plant design and feng shui. Pete is a new-found friend we are thrilled to know. He is a talented musician, plant person, general instigator of chaos, and maker of miracle 40-foot baskets while playing HORSE. Photo by Bill.

Liam in fine orange hat form while in Astoria. On July 21, he was four months old. Photo by Bill.

Too low on the hat, dad! Too low!!

Most teen boys want to keep their mom at a distance as the transistion to being a man gets rolling. Not Caleb. His great love for Savannah and his communication skills are quite amazing. It was a great day at the beach. Photo by Bill.

Not much to say here from me. Choose your own 1,000 words. Photo by Bill.

Mr. Caleb has taken an interest in photography and has quite an eye. I only gave him a few pointers, and I was elated to see him take most of his photos in Black and White, and take good ones as well. The mark of an emerging master! Photo by Caleb.

Our sweet Savannah as photographed by her son, Caleb.

Aye, there be some fine eyelashes, just like daddy has. I'll teach you to use those later, my boy..... Photo by Bill

Ah, the favorite spot for Liam. Baby packs are great (thanks, Native Americans!). He's outgrown this one and is into a bigger one now. Photo by Bill.

Steps to get Liam to sleep: 1) Insert Liam into pack. 2) Begin walking.

A fine color photo by Caleb of Doc and Mary Alice's constant companion, Uncle Joey.

Caleb walks the beach with the Astoria Bridge in the background. Photo by Bill.

"Buy 500 shares of Google, cancel my meeting with Bono and warm up that bottle, pronto!" Photo by Savannah.

A little peck for my little guy. Photo by Caleb.

We'll post more photos soon! Love,

Bill, Savannah, Liam and Ella the dog...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Caleb!

15 years ago today, I became a mother.

Caleb came into the world with intensity and fierce will. He was a “fussy” baby. There were many long hours that we sat together in the night, rocking and rocking. Later that intensity turned into a very inquisitive and precocious toddler. He was talking in full sentences at age two and his favorite phrase was, “Yes, I know, but WHY?”

As a young boy, he was all physical energy and willful strength. Out in the yard swinging a stick at the tree or rolling around on the floor, playing with anything and everything, he was just plain fun to watch.

Caleb taught me my current parenting style by pure survival. I learned that children develop into independent humans with a sense of personal responsibility when you meet their needs foremost and invite their participation. And with Caleb, I found I could never win by coercion, but we could win together through connection.

I have for years called Caleb my “cling-on”. He is a nurturing, affectionate guy with lots of love to share. Particularly with his Mama; how blessed I am!

He is now a compassionate, creative and communicative young man. I am so proud of his kindness and maturity as a human being. I think one of the greatest things a parent can feel is that their kid is someone they actually are honored to know.

I am better person because he came along.

Thank you Caleb for being my boy, for teaching me about being a mother and for making the world brighter.