It's been a busy couple of months for us and I haven't even been able to hold to my unstated goal of posting at least once a month in this space.

Shortly after my last post, we made Memphis-style ribs for my sister's birthday using a recipe from Cook's Illustrated. We've made ribs plenty of times in the past, and we've gotten some pretty variable results. There is a definite relationship between the amount of effort we're willing to expend, the cuts of meat that we use, and the quality of the final product. In this case, the amount of effort required wasn't very high, the cuts of meat (St. Louis-style ribs) weren't terribly expensive, but the results were phenomenal. I highly recommend that recipe to anyone who enjoys ribs.

In mid-September, we took a trip to visit my family in South Dakota. That was the first very long car trip that we've taken with Garrison since he was just a little infant. We managed to schedule the time in the car so that he wouldn't be awake for some of it, but it still required plenty of stops at playgrounds along the way for everyone to stay sane.

Garrison seemed to enjoy himself in South Dakota. My mom took care of him for a night, which let Sarah and I take a one-night vacation; that was the first time both of us had spent a night without him in the house since he was born.

Garrison's language development continues apace. He loves words that end in hard 'K' sounds. Only, he likes to say them with a particularly harsh, phlegmy sounding 'chk' at the end. People have asked us if we speak German at home because his pronunciation of the hard 'K' sound is so phlegmy. For instance, when Sarah's parents were here last weekend Garrison picked up the word 'hawk'. Of course, he says it 'haw-chk'. He's also got 'stuc-chk', 'duc-chk', and his most commonly used word, 'mo-chk' (which is milk). He now routinely calls us 'Ma Ma', and 'Da Da'. That's been a relatively recent change. He also now says things like, 'Hi, Da Da' when he returns if he knows you stayed home while he went somewhere or if you enter a room and he hasn't seen you for a while.

Dalla is pronounced with a strong Spanish influence as 'Dai-ya'. He particularly loves yelling at and for the dog. At least once a day he says, "No, no, Dai-ya" as she waits around his chair to clean up his mess. (Dalla, for her part, doesn't acknowledge that form of her name any more than she does any other derivation of the name Dalla.) The other night we were all chanting Dalla's name and she got pretty worried to hear her name used so much. Garrison now often says 'stuc-chk' when he's stuck or when something else is stuck that he'd like to manipulate. Of course, he still sometimes goes straight to yelling and screaming and then if you ask him what's wrong, he says, 'stuc-chk'. In the last week or so, water has become 'non-non', I'm not sure why. A horse is a 'bum, bum'. Almost all birds on the grounds are ducks. Birds in the air are hawks. Fire hydrants, fire trucks, ambulances, and any other vehicle of sufficient size that is fire engine red in color is a 'wow-wow'. He's also come up with 'wet', 'Go away, Dai-ya', 'root (roof)', and 'hot' for coffee.

Garrison has a placemat that's covered in dinosaurs and he was pointing at them the other day and I was naming them "seismosaurus, allosaurus, triceratops", etc. Then, he pointed to the stegosaurus and I named it. He said, 'duc-chk'. I named it again. He named it as a duck again. That continued for a couple more iterations and I gave up. I asked him about it the the next day, and he named it as a duck again. When I showed that to Sarah, she said, "Well, they are descended from birds."Sarah's family visited us two weeks ago and her parents seemed to enjoy their time with our family. My mother is visiting us this week and she's helping us out by babysitting several days while our day care is closed.

Curling starts up again this week. I'm now curling on Tuesday evenings and Sarah is curling on Thursdays. I'll have a new skip for the first time in eight years. Every other year, I've played with the same skip, so this will truly be a new season for me.

We've been making slow but sure progress towards getting the house and yard ready for winter. The gardens are all done, so we took out the plants and replaced them with leaf mulch. The hanging baskets are all taken down and stowed in the garage. We are in the midst of getting a new sidewalk in the front of the house and are also getting a sidewalk poured from the front drive to the patio in the back. We'd walked on that ground so much and it was so compacted as a result that nothing could grow on it. The sidewalk will also be easier to clean off in the winter when it snows because we'll be able to use the snow thrower. In years past, we would use the snow thrower and then shovel out a path by hand to the back yard.

There are a handful of new Garrison pictures in the Photo Gallery for interested parties.