Monday, September 29, 2008

Park Hill

As city dwellers we tend to underestimate the profound joy of growing and harvesting. I'm reminded of it when I take my children to visit my aunt. She lives on an acre, but on her small little plot of land she has rows of raspberries, strawberries, fruit trees, vegetables. She even has a chicken coop.

Coop was the great harvester while there. He plucked the fresh eggs out of the coop. Picked berries off the cane and didn't even bother putting them in a basket -- just gobbled them up as he traveled down the line. He has since asked me many questions about the sunflowers and today even called me a sunflower head. Then he giggled. I'm not sure if sunflower head is like sweetie pie or butthead. But he thought it was funny.

When asked about his adventure at "Park Hill" he tells everyone that you must, "leave the golf ball so the chickens know where to sit." He thought this was the salient detail of the experience.
Mason harvested only rocks from the streambed, but was SO happy to dip his feet in the water and splash.

PS -- You've probably guessed that this aunt takes GROW YOUR OWN very seriously. I'll have more pictures from her spread later in the week.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


On the eve of Mason's second birthday he found himself in a brand new bed -- a queen-sized bed, in fact. But for some reason he struggled to fall asleep. So, I went upstairs to check on him and ended up having a sleep over. As I watched him -- at 1 a.m. -- rub his eyes, pick his nose, pat his own head, stick his finger in his ear, rub his nose, again, and purse his lips, smooth out his blanket, and fidget with his pillows, I was amazed that he was already 2. I've known for quite some time that he was not a baby anymore.

He's been trying to tell us this for at least six months. But it was never so clear as it has been this past week. At the family birthday party he strutted around the house in all his 2-year-old-ness. While on vacation we watched as he explored his grandma's house with interest, all the while concocting new ways to get into mischief. At his great-aunt's house he settled in with some superheroes with ease. And with his cousins he confidently ran with the pack.

At home he has staked his claim, as well. At the gym daycare he is the big boy who shoots spiderman webs at every little girl within his arm's distance. He is king of the couch -- jumping and diving on top of and underneath sofa cushions -- much to my dismay. At mealtimes he eats twice as much as his older brother and he always finishes his milk. He's a BIG boy.

When my children meet these life milestones I am reminded of a conversation I listened to. One of my mother's oldest friends was admiring her grandchildren and told her (and the rest of us sitting in the room) that we think these precious children will be ours forever. But that we are wrong. That in time they move on, and leave us behind.

Her comments were met with polite disdain and hidden disagreement. After her departure some of the other mothers said she was wrong. But the more I think about it, she is right. While we may always hold our children in our hearts, they are not ours. They have their own personalities, their own free wills, their own freedoms. And some may say they are children of God, not really mine at all. No matter what I believe and try as I might, I can't take these wonderful rights away from them. It is my joy to watch them forever, love them forever, even know them forever. But keep them? Shelter them? Guard them? One day, in time, they will do that for themselves.

All I will have is my memory, my experience, my love. Forever and every day. I can't help being melancholy at the thought that they don't belong to me, per se. But I am proud each moment they show me what they will do with their individual birthright.

While You Were Sleeping

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting There: A Photo Essay

In case you're wondering what 9 hours in a car with children looks like...

Oh, and just to be clear, these are pictures from our trip TO Salt Lake.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Let me first say that I took 237 pictures in seven days and that I have ever intention of posting all of them to this blog. Next let me say that being in a car with little else to do but listen to the radio resulted in great conversation and the chance for our family to listen to the first presidential debate of the season. Time well spent.

To recap I have to admit that I was so busy loading the car, saying good-byes, and talking politics with my hubby that I didn't even pay attention to the time. So, this travel log doesn't begin until 11:41 a.m. when we realized we had already cruised past a great deal of the pastoral, rural parts of Northern Utah... all the way to Coalville.

The boys were very quiet this morning and settled into a movie (Finding Nemo) without much fuss.

12:14 p.m. We're in Wyoming and Coop notices the geographic changes with, "Are we out of the mountains?" Thus begins the supremely boring leg of our road trip. Mason is humming the theme to Star Wars.

1 p.m. Mason starts a game of repetitively blowing raspberries and spitting. Obviously needs something else to do.

1:20 p.m. Stop at Little America where the boys flock to the playground for a self declared recess. Dad takes a conference call -- he must work at all times, you know -- and I strike a few yoga poses (much to the entertainment of a group of Haliburton employees on break). I eat lunch with the boys at the old fashioned diner and take pictures of the bathroom (because it's strange).

2:37 p.m. Dad's off the phone. We can get on the road, again.

3:10 p.m. Steve is still driving, W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L! To break up the boredom we have a game of "Let's Run Over the Rumble Strips". We think this is funny because it makes our kids giggle and say things like, "That tickles my bum." We're weird.

4:17 p.m. We switch places after 17 arduous minutes of me reading the news off CNN Mobile to Steve.

6 ish Stop at Arby's for dinner. Declare that starting tomorrow it is No Fast Food Week. Also make vow to go to the gym, and consider going twice a day until fat stops hanging over the seat belt.

7 p.m. Tune into the debates.

7:14 p.m. Conclude we're zeroing in on a candidate.

Arrive home with such jubilation that we don't notice the time. Unload the car and immediately start trip laundry and watching the rest of the debates.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'd Rather Watch the Ryder

9:34 a.m. Survive the bustle of activity to get out the door. Drop off a box of milk jugs, homemade bread, and cinnamon rolls at the neighbors’ house. Return a pile of books and movies to the library and start out on the road. Steve is driving.

For the first time both boys have figured out how to use their headphones (to the DVD players) and are quietly watching the first movie of the day. Quiet but for the random, “Whoa!” and “When is Nebercracker going to get hurt?” Our boys love movies.

9:43 a.m. Proceed to Costco gas station for our weekly gouging.

As we pull away from the gas station Cooper asks, “When are we going to get to the airport?” Oh dear. This is going to be a looooooong journey.

10:41 a.m. Hopped up on Starbucks and enjoying the more rural areas of Northern Colorado. Spot a pick up truck driving erratically. Perhaps it has something to do with the cat climbing on the passengers and all over the cab. This is making us mad! But, really we must remember, “What would Jesus do?” Oh wait, let’s pull up and ask him. The driver of the truck is a spitting image for Jesus… brings whole new meaning to the shirts emblazoned with, “Jesus is my Co-pilot.”

11:13 a.m. First potty break, which conveniently is called for just as we head into Ft. Collins. For once Cooper has perfect timing.

11:46 a.m. Mason dozes off during his favorite movie (this week) Toy Story. Coop starts in on his Gameboy.

12:59 p.m. Mason simultaneously wakes up and begins humming the Star Wars soundtrack.

1:04 p.m. Grandpa calls to give us a Ryder Cup update. Phew!

2:20 p.m. The private pooper strikes, again! Upon Cooper’s request, we stopped at a McDonald’s so that we can eat lunch and so that Cooper can use the bathroom. He tries to go before we eat but panics when he sees how many people are in the bathroom. So we eat, have a little play time on the McD Playland. Then he retreats to the bathroom for a second attempt. Unsuccessful. Seriously? Why does anyone read this blog?

2:44 p.m. The whining comes to a blessed end. Cooper has fallen asleep with a cookie in his hand.

3:44 p.m. Cooper wakes up and declares, “Oh I forgot. I had a cookie.”

Ummmmm… at some point Steve and I switch so that he can rest while I drive.

6:51 p.m. Arrive. Man, that was a long drive to the airport.

PHOTO NOTE: I have some good pictures of our journey. But will post on or around 9/27.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Finer Points of Pirattitude

Avast, me hearties! It's a little known fact that today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. In celebration I served Pirate's Booty organic treats. This is just a high-priced way to make suburban moms feel better about feeding their kids Cheetoz made out of spinach and kale, rather than boiled fat. The product line includes:

Simply Booty
Pirate's Booty
Barbeque Booty
Veggie Booty
Pirate's Swords
Soy Crisps

Pirate's Canon Balls

Or as my buccaneers call them, Pirate's Balls. I served the balls up for lunch today.

In other horrifying news, I will be winning the award for ridiculous mother skills. I am sharing this with great trepidation, so don't judge me. And please, please, please let your kids come play at our house despite reading the following.

We had two extra kids at our house today. In the late afternoon I had everyone outside kicking the soccer ball around the yard and looking for crickets. Then Cooper up and decides to go inside and go poop. This isn't the first time he's decided to relieve himself during a play date. After about 15 minutes I was beginning to wonder if he was going to come back outside. I decided to go check on him.

The rascal locked us out! That's right. He locked his mother and his friends outside in the yard! Locking his sleeping brother and himself inside. I didn't want the other kids to be scared, so I just kept them entertained with soccer as I nonchalantly walked around the house to see if there were any alternate ways in. I noticed that some of the window latches were switched in the opposite direction and figured this meant they were unlocked. Then I spotted a neighbor drive by. I asked him to come help me break into my house.


So, we crawled in the house through the window and found that Cooper had fallen asleep! To be clear there were only about 15 minutes when my kids were locked inside and I was locked outside with the other children. And for the record I think my children were at greater danger as they weren't directly supervised. But still... horrifying.

Don't judge me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Matter of Record

Do you remember what you were doing last year? How does it compare to this year? If you have no idea, then you should be blogging. One of the greatest benefits I have experienced from this blogging life is that I can remember some of the things we have endured and enjoyed over the past year.

It just so happens that last year at this time I was intently potty training Cooper. And this year, I'm potty training, again. Thankfully Mason is much more interested than Coop was. And the strange part is, I'm not really encouraging or promoting potty training (I have my reasons). He's just doing it. Just to be fair and honest, he's no pro. But, he likes to wear underwear and is pretty aware that he should keep it dry. He will "go" every time we put him on the toilet. He needs a bit more time, but I can tell it will take far less bribery, treats, and gifts.

Last year at about this time we had just returned from a vacation. This year, we're preparing to leave on a little vacation. (Hmmmm... how will I keep up on my novel goal?!??!!)

I had sick kids last September. I have sick kids this September. In fact, Coop's had to restart his nebulizer treatments. (We only got to take August off.)

My sewing skills were growing and my hobby was becoming an obsession. This year, well, I'm not even going to pretend I like doing anything else. While last September I was lamenting about the condition of my Bernina 1008, this year I'm heralding the many uses of my Bernina Serger 1300. I've gone from checkbook covers and market totes to pleated drapes and clothing construction.

We celebrated my husband's birthday in a small party for 4. This year for his 40th, we celebrated with 20!

The flowers on my porch were my pride and joy last year. This year they embarrass me, but I did plant some vegetables this year and I'm proud of that.

On the literary scene I read the last Harry Potter installment. This year I embarked on a journey to write my own novel (almost at 7000 words).

As you can see... keeping a journal or a blog or a diary or WHATEVER you want to call it, is a great thing to do. Otherwise you might just think you're stuck in a rut, going nowhere, perhaps even moving backward. Maybe you should just keep stock. I'm just saying...


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another Sunday

Wii love Sundays. It gives us an opportunity to spend valuable time doing the things Wii love.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

There Was a Little Crying

I'm not going to lie to ya. The soccer adventure was not what I had envisioned. I thought there would be little boys running around after a ball. I expected some level of confusion, but I generally assumed that the boys would understand that they needed to listen to the coach and kick the ball. Mostly there was a bunch of balls, a bunch of boys, and a little crying.

Also, my speedy Coop was slower than molasses. If he was asked to run and kick the ball he would literally walk so slow that he could easily have stopped all together and no one would have been the wiser. Here is what I have learned about soccer for 3 & 4 year olds:

1. Administer treats liberally -- before, during, and after. Naturally, it's all about the treats.
2. The parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle/coach/brother/sister to player ratio is way out of whack. About 2.7 adults to every child.
3. Soccer "games" are really just photo opportunities for parents to pretend they have an athlete.
4. Age -- at this age -- is irrelevant. I couldn't tell the 3s from the 4s. A kid may be tall, but he can still have a temper tantrum. Conversely, a kid can be itty-bitty, but have a killer banana kick.
5. I can't wait until next Saturday!

In closing, let me mention that Mason stood behind the goal for much of the practice. He might be a great goalie someday. And he is the only one I saw take a drink of water the entire session.

Oh wait, and the funniest thing Cooper said was when his coach was trying to explain a drill in which they would pass a ball to a pretend teammate (a jersey on the ground) then pick up the jersey and give it to the coach. The coach chose to explain that the drill was like when you have dirty laundry on the floor of your room and your mom tells you to pick it up. Cooper looked right at the coach and said, "I don't have dirty laundry."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rainy Days

The kids woke up rather late today, after 9 a.m., to find that it was raining. When I asked Coop what he wanted to do he immediately said, "Go to the mall. You want to go shopping, don't you mommy?" I can't say no to that! On our way to the car (to go to the mall) we had to call class to order.

Worms! We found 50 or so worms all over our driveway. This delighted the boys and they ran in and out of the garage in quasi fear. Coop found one worm that he grew fond of and decided to build him a house -- because you know, we've never done that before -- out of an eggshell. So, if you're driving by my house and you see a little eggshell hiding in the garden, check for a happy worm.

PS -- Check out that cute jacket on Mason. It's a hand-me-down from the twins and it is a perfect fit. He loves wearing the hood (which I think is a little strange). We're so grateful for this gift because he had grown out of everything from last year (sweatshirts and fleeces) but isn't quite big enough to fit in the next group of Cooper's hand-me-downs.

POST ANNOUNCEMENT: Check in tomorrow because Cooper will have his first soccer practice! We'll be taking hundreds of photos. This, my friends, is a BIG moment.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It's Important to Note

Mason has a 2-year pediatric appointment coming up. In the U.S. this consists of a series of questions that are designed (whatever) to determine if your child is growing and developing at a rate that is equatable with his/her peers (others in his age group). As this will be my second 2-year-old I'm pretty sure that Mason is just fine. In fact, he's way ahead of Cooper on speech. Here are just some of the words and phrases he's piecing together for our enjoyment.

1. There it is.
2. I see (This actually means, show me.)
3. Smell (he likes to asks to sniff stuff, what can I say?!?!?!)
4. I do
5. Buzz (of Toy Story)
6. Woody (also of Toy Story)
7. Incredibles (of The Incredibles)
8. Mommy
9. Daddy (but also thinks the man with the yellow hat is daddy)
10. Ready... Set... Go!
11. George
12. Guy (to refer to all his favorite action figures)
13. hat
14. book
15. peep (actually tells me this after he's wet his diaper)
16. hand
17. tickle-tickle
18. I'm stuck
19. bugs
20. honk
21. cars
22. eye
21. hello
22. button
23. banana
24. apple
25. please
26. cheese
27. teeth
28. batman
29. spiderman
30. turtle (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
31. Elmo
32. Nemo
33. It's Raining!
34. yes (the emphatic version includes, mmmmhmmm and yeah)
35. no (this gets a little hot and bothered)

PS -- Swimming lessons isn't going so great. Coop was much improved today. But Mason is still the scaredy cat of his class.

PSS -- Cooking school was great. Then Cooper up and decided he didn't want to go today. He has a great teacher who lured him in. And he seemed happy when I picked him up. So, we'll forge ahead.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


There has been -- and there will be -- a bit less blogging. I'm shooting for 5 days a week. But it's not because I'm not writing. I've taken on a goal. I'm going to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. What the...

Don't worry. I'm realistic. I know that it won't be at the level of those -- whatchamacallits -- published authors. But if I'm ever to be one, I gotta quit thinking about these book ideas and get them out. So, it's out there and now I have to meet a lot of little deadlines.

So, you'll see fewer updates and shorter updates on the blog. Updates you will see will go something like this.

When Steve recently asked Cooper if he would like his bedtime story read by mommy or by daddy he replied, "Two player." Perhaps we should put a few more limits on the Wii. And just for the record, he usually asks for mommy. Mason asks for George. I wonder, who is George?

Monday, September 8, 2008

It All Starts

Frankly I ask for it. It was my big, bright idea to have my boys design a birthday card for one of my brothers. Next thing I know my little artist is giggling as he marks himself with racing stripes in blue ink. I thought it would make me mad. It didn't really, mostly I laughed and took pictures. Of course our art session was followed by a bath.

I hope you enjoy the intensity of Mason's kiss as much as we do!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ice and Limes

So I forgot the ice and the limes.

Here are photos of the take-away gift for our guests. We gave each couple a bottle of Steve's favorite wine. I made a label for each bottle with a "toast" to our friends. Then I boxed cupcakes for our guests kids/babysitters. Because you remember what it was like when your parents would go on a date night and bring home dessert?!?!!?

It's the morning after the party and we're all dragging. Not for the reason you might think. We're just tired. Even our little boys are acting sleepy and lazy. I don't have many pictures, yet. I'll post those later.