Brett makes the newspaper! (college newspaper that is)

The University of Oregon Daily Emerald just published this article on the Peace Corps. It is a descent article on activities at the University of Oregon and what makes the U of O a top producing university of Peace Corps volunteers.

University of Oregon Highly Ranked On Peace Corps 2008 Volunteer List

Barack Obama in Eugene, Oregon!

7:45pm: So Laura decides she wants to get out of the house this evening since my mom is in town and will be able to watch Ethan. I was in for the evening, having settled into a cozy pair of sweats and sitting on the couch reading the latest issue of Mother Earth News. I decide what the heck since we don’t get out much. We drive around a bit and Laura says she would like to go by the University of Oregon and see how long the line is to hear Obama speak tonight.

This event was the big thing in town tonight, and with the arena having a capacity of 9,000 or so, I knew we would not get in. People had been in line for hours waiting to see him. I am all for it though, even if it meant we just have a nice walk across campus holding hands. Well, we park the car and walk about 10 minutes only to find a line of thousands. We walk past the rec center, the soccer fields, Hayward Field and finally come to the end of the line. We realize we won’t make it in, but let’s just wait until someone says its full. Keep in mind, this event is free. About two minutes later, groups of people are walking past us, saying the arena is full and we should head to the overflow area to hear him speak in 45 minutes. We following the small groups heading to the overflow area (the back of the arena) where we end up standing about 7 or 8 feet from a barricade. Speakers are playing the opening acts for the event. These are state politicians speaking inside the arena, but no one outside is really listening.

Obama in EugeneWe stand around from 8:30 until 9:12pm when Obama comes walking down a ramp with secret service in tow. The thousands outside scream and chant “Yes We Can” as he takes a microphone and addresses the crowd. He spoke only for a few minutes and then proceeded to shake hundreds of hands. We had a great location because he was about 7 feet from us. He then made his way inside the arena where 10,000 are waiting to hear him speak for the next 45 minutes. It was a wonderful to be part of history.

Here is a video of Obama speaking to the crowd we were in. You can only hear him because of the angle of the person filming.

Here is the video of what he said inside the arena, and what we watched at a local bar with others who didn’t get inside.

Ethan Is Growing Up

In our effort to tire the little guy, we tried our infamous bouncing routine. Unfortunately, or fortunately for our video purposes, he found lots of amusement in being bounced on the exercise ball. He is now 7.5 months and about 21 pounds. He is sitting up and making “ma ma ma” and “da da da” sounds, though he has yet to associate the sounds with either of us. He enjoys listening to all kinds of music and will sit on our laps as we play the piano for him. He usually tries to grab the sheet music so he can eat it. A few weeks ago, we made the switch to cloth diapers and, in conjunction, we are using a toilet training seat. Besides the environmental reasons, it economically makes sense. We hadn’t switched earlier because of the frequency of pees and poops and we didn’t want to spend our days hanging out at the laundry machine. This has been proven to be a good time. Unlike disposable diapers, Ethan gets irritated after one pee in his diaper, whereas in disposables he could pee three times and not be irritated. We are practicing with the toilet seat so that he will want to use that instead of peeing in the cloth diaper. So far he uses his toilet 4-6 times a day. We just let him go with the flow and don’t force anything. He has been eating solid foods since January and now eats two meals a day of solids. Laura is making most of his food, though we buy his rice cereal and a few organic baby foods. He eats apples, squash, pears, and popcorn. So far he has enjoyed everything he has been given. We recently introduced him to an all natural brand of Cheerios cereal that allowed him to work on his hand and eye coordination. He rarely actually eats the cereal. By the way, just kidding about the popcorn. We left him alone with our neighbors for the first time a couple weeks ago. We were nervous about it, but let’s just say that when Laura came home to pick up, he almost didn’t know she was there because the four year old in the family was entertaining him so well. It was a great experience for all parties involved and hope our little guy will continue to feel at ease with his babysitters. His sleeping schedule is great, though actually getting him to bed isn’t always easy. Once he is down, he will sleep 9-11 hours a night. In the daytime, he usually does a late morning 2 hour nap and a mid-afternoon 30-60 minute nap.

Ethan is sleeping, not suffocating, with his dog Blue.

Ethan’s first snow hike in the forest.

Duff and Ethan hanging out with the toys.

Ethan galloping on his horse Norm.

Ethan riding on his dog Duff.