Wednesday, April 28, 2010


He is delighted.

He is proud.

He realized a dream.

He learned to pump.

He loves the swings.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I've been cracking the whip. I'm sure the neighbors have been wondering what is going on. My kids are sequestered until they clean up their playroom. And this time, I'm not helping. So, every day following our usual errands or school the boys march down to clean. Without constant supervision, however, they start playing. Then I march down and holler a little bit. The boys scurry to do as I ask. But as soon as I retreat to folding the laundry or some other chore of my own, they begin to play. Then I stomp down the stairs for another bout.

Despite the fact that I can see they do not get how serious I am, Cooper recently stopped my lecture with, "Do we have to have this fight, again?"

Oh little man, brace yourself. Unfortunately, in life, we -- the grown-ups of the world -- often find ourselves having the same fight, over and over and over, again. If you learn now that it's exhausting and emotionally injurious to have a perpetual and persistent fight you will be so much farther ahead than the rest of the human race.

We all have fighting thoughts, which one could you put away forever? Peace be with you until we meet, again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

You Won't Believe Me

Supposedly there is a certain serenity to be savored in an uncongested home. But I have a "stacks of stuff" decorating theme. Not slob, per se, but nothing has a place. Or rather, I believe I'm the only one who knows all the places. And so I think you can see where this line of reasoning is going.

My husband has another opinion. And while we disagree on where the fault lies, one thing we do agree on is that we all feel better when the house is in order. I've been trying to do that. Frankly, I don't have much to show for my efforts.

While I promised myself I would not idle away time online until I had the clutter under control -- I had to stop in to share a funny.

Cooper is reading. We are fortunate to have benefactors with boys just older than ours who live just up the street. They send us their used books and puzzles. The newest installment is very fancy -- I must add -- and we are enjoying them very much. I especially like the included parent guides that help you conduct effective comprehension tests for your child. Anyway... one of the questions instructed, "Make up a sentence of your own using the word clap." Clap, more accurately applause, was a word from the story.

Cooper wasted no time and said, "I caught the clap."


PHOTO NOTE: Children shown here, googling, "What is gonorrhea?"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I am determined to reign in the chaos and clutter. So, for a day or two or three, this channel of confusion will take a quiet, peaceful break. I'm confident that if Mason can climb the fireman's pole, I can surely find my cell phone charger, make 3 beds, finish all the pending sewing jobs, and noodle on how I feel about my birthday. Until then, be grateful I'm keeping my big mouth shut. Or my hands folded... whatever is more appropriate to say here.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Once upon a time I took a picture of my new peach tree. It was full of little peaches waiting to grow and ripen. Good thing I took a picture of it, the following week the damned squirrels took all the peaches. They didn't even leave me one. Don't they know the biblical rule that vegetation wasn’t an acceptable sacrifice?!?!?! Not fair.

Then once upon last weekend I took a picture of my freshest bulbs peeking through the cracks in the sidewalk between the driveway and the front steps. I hope this does not mean I have jinxed them to burial by freak spring snow storm -- please read this and weep with me just a little bit.

Is there anything you need to remind yourself of this spring? For myself, I'm headed to the hardware store for squirrel abatement and some kind of weather predicting stick. They carry those, right?

Something is Holding me Back

We have some serious chores to do around here. Spring cleaning on the order of room by room clearance. But something is holding me back. More than sheer laziness. There's a nagging little voice that is saying, "Don't pull the summer clothes out, it could still snow." There's also another little whisper saying, "We might need those snow boots next weekend." While I was taking pictures of tulips, grape hyacinth, and narcissus this weekend, it was just last week that I was shaking the snow off of them.

It's driving me crazy.

So I have piles of coupons waiting to be thrown away, but not until they expire, of course. About 200 reciepts are hastily bunched up by the shredder -- but not yet disposed of because I'm worried about needing to return a few things. A drop cloth is strewn from the threshold of our remodeled bathroom to the top of the staircase because I need to paint, but I haven't done it quite yet. A stellar stash of party gifts is stacked on my sideboard waiting for a party on Tuesday. The bag of knitting is patiently waiting for me next to my bed, but I can't work on it because I'm at a point in my pattern where I am good and stumped. A week's worth of clean, pressed and beautiful clothes are parsed out at the end of my closet waiting to be packed for a trip to Vegas -- but I don't leave for another two weeks. My stack of to-be-read books is near toppling over and the library just called to say they are holding two more.

Don't even ask me about the sewing room. The producers of Hoarders: Buried Alive are knocking at my door. Help me.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Hip Bone

We have some relatively suspect pastimes at our house. Some may label them square, nerdy, even dull as dishwater. But I'm here to argue there is something hip in helping your children identify the tibia and the fibula and the femur. Our boys take pride in their academic prowess, so I don't need to get all gasbag-ish on their behalf. But I will say this, I did discover they were putting puzzles together upside down. That is to say, putting the pieces together while looking at the brown paper back.

Evidently, the boys around here like a challenge. Which brings to mind -- as warm months and summer looms -- what will you do to keep your kids' brains working through the school break? I'd like to take an architectural tour of Chicago. But I know that is out of the question for the under 46" tall set. If they had their beating heart's desire we would be on a plane to LEGO-land. That's a possibility.

PS -- Did you notice Cooper's shirt. That is is absolute favorite shirt. I bought it directly after Halloween for about $1.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shaun White is My Hero

Remember the shy little boy that lives at my house? You know the one, he cried at swimming lessons every week for a full 6 months. Well, he's got a secret. He's actually a little daredevil. Check out these pictures and do not turn us in to child protective services.

PS -- Please note my husband's face. He is genuinely freaking out. Mason is crazy and we all know it. Even Cooper won't do what Mason does on the staircase.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How No. 1 Felt About Egg Day

Who is that Easter Bunny guy anyway? Is it just dad?

I don't know what Coop's teachers are talking about when they say he needs to learn to blow his nose!?!?!?

It's pink, but I'll take it.

It's pretty cold out here, can I go back in and get my winter coat?

Counting the loot... everything is fine by me.

How No. 2 Felt About Egg Day

I believe in Spring. New beginnings, brisk air, and treasures hidden in little plastic eggs calling to you from under a rock, an empty flower pot, or the lip of a window sill. I think I've converted the boys.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Schming

Once upon a time I owned a Jeep Wrangler. I loved that jeep. Loved it. It was equipped with a hard top that I could remove -- though rarely without smashing my own and my friends' fingers. One rule that I had to follow, however, was to leave that top in place from Labor Day until Memorial Day. If I dared pull that top off before Memorial Day, no matter how warm the temperatures, I would get caught in a freak spring snow or rain storm of torrential proportions.

Wyoming is a little bit like the Wrangler -- except for the part about love, because I certainly do not love Wyoming. I will not be traveling in, through, next to, or near Wyoming from Labor Day until Memorial Day. If I even hint that I might want to, please remind me of this vow.

5:12 a.m.
I get my brother to help me carry my children to the car and load them up. I thought they would sleep through this transition -- since they only slept about 4 hours -- but am surprised to find they are excited to get in the car and open their bribes. In fact, both agree it's like Christmas.

As we drive in the absolute dark of rural Idaho toward the local Starbucks Mason cheerily says, "I think my daddy is saying, 'Huh? Where is my Mason?'"

Make it to Starbucks. Without my asking, Cooper volunteers, "Mom we don't need anything." Well, good, because the last thing I need is for you to ask for a Venti Caffe Late.

I load the John Williams playlist I have assembled on my iPod and turn up the volume. May I recommend listening to the Star Wars Theme while driving through darkness? Feels exactly like flying at light speed. Well, except for the part where it takes eons to get where you are going.

Pass Malad, Idaho and the funniest marquee sign -- too dark to photograph -- announcing Donkey Basketball tournament at the high school. Donkey. Basketball.

Cross the Utah state line.

Is it too early for Junior Mints? If the pretzels and Junior Mints I'm inhaling for pre-breakfast snack are any indication of the nutritional value of the next 12 hours, then I am in for a dietary disaster of epic proportions. Fatness is in my immediate future. Well, maybe not fatness, but some serious self loathing.

I80 (planned return route) closed at Rawlins, WY.
Begin driving to in-laws house for advice and a good internet connection.

After reviewing web cams along I80 and a few along I70 I elect to leave Sandy, Utah and drive toward I70. I80 is closed and I70 appears to have closures and chain restrictions 2 hours outside of Denver (final destination). As we buckle up to move out Cooper says, "I hate that Wyoming part."

Hit McDonald's for breakfast. Make mental note to TiVo Food Revolution.

Our first "pee on the side of the road" moment. Cooper christens the Yuba Lake exit ramp and says, "Hey mom, this is kinda like grandma's dog who pees on trees." Oh great. Are all men born territorial?

We stop for gas in Scipio. Mason is asleep and I can't convince Cooper to use the gas station bathroom -- seeing as he just relieved himself at Yuba Lake.
(doesn't look very comfortable, does it?)

12:29 p.m.
Oh guess what? Cooper HAS to pee on the side of the road, again. This time Mason wakes up and claims he needs to go, too. But seeing as it's 45 degrees and windy outside, neither one of them has too much success.

Stop for gas, restroom breaks, and a sandwich at Subway. I have no idea where I am and am pretty sure I have never been in this town before.

Cooper falls asleep. My family -- back in Idaho -- starts to realize that I'm way off course and calls to check up on me.

With no brother to chat with, Mason strikes up with me (though he doesn't really let me have a word in edgewise.

"Do you know that I sometimes dream? Sometimes I tell daddy, 'I had a bug dream.' And he says, 'Huh? You had a bug dream!??!?!?' And then I was asking for you. And sometimes my dream is about stinky cheese and daddy says, 'Whoa! That's a stinky cheesy dream.' Actually I said, 'Which hand is it in?' and daddy will say, 'This hand.' And then I said, 'Which hand is it in?' and daddy will say, 'This hand.' and then I said, 'Which hand is it in?' and daddy will say, 'This hand.'"

Me: "OK, Mason, I get it."

"And then he sees the Batman helicopter and he will say, 'Where did you get that from?' And Cooper will say, 'How did that get in there?' And then I'll tell him to wake up. And daddy will say, 'Open your eyes Cooper.' And mommy I want it to be star wars.

It's official, I loathe myself. And also, my ass hurts. It could hurt because it is spreading right now. Can you get stretch marks from road trips?

Cross into Colorado

You know what I really want to "I Spy"? Home.

Mason falls asleep. Cooper and I jam out to Black Eyed Peas -- the only non-hairband my husband has on his playlist.

Mason wakes up and Cooper calls home to make sure daddy is at home.

Pull into our drive -- which surprisingly has about a foot of snow on it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

No Grown Ups Allowed

There is a small room under the stairs of my parent's home reserved for grandkids. It is filled with toys and draws kids in with the smell of new plastic, brightly colored toys, and a low ceiling.

My mother -- seeking some quality grandma/grandson time -- opened the door on Mason and expected to be able to join him. He flatly informed her, "Grown ups can't fit in here."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Name Games

In preparation for our Spring Break trip we reminded our children of fun times they have previously had with their grandparents -- all four sets of them. Our littlest had a perfect recollection of his grandpa calling him Little Squirt.

When he arrived and was greeted with, "How's little squirt?" he was delighted, if shy. Once his timidness wore off he met every Little Squirt with, "Big Squirt!" I managed to catch his pride in this photo -- though it's a bit blurry and under lit.

Life lesson No. 46,793: Having a nick name that suits you and you appreciate is almost as meaningful as giving someone else a fitting nick name. What's yours?