Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It is one of those absolutely fantastically gorgeous days here. Everyone, go ahead and feel envious, because this is perfect. It's sunny with blue skies and just enough clouds to be picturesque. The temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Xander had an early release day today and everything has the feel of a holiday. He is in a great mood. I thought it was because he had a short day and therefore didn't have time to get too overexcited and tired out. It turns out that, in his opinion, everyone in his class had a great day because so-and-so was absent and he is "the rudest person." I am sorry to hear that for the absent boy's sake but happy that Xander had such an awesome day.

Nick is happy and loud today. He woke (again!) at 3 AM but I was able to get him back to sleep pretty quickly and he slept in a bit. I will take it. I told him he was quite feisty today and he said, "Yes!" While waiting in a tax office for our files, he was so cheerfully loud that the proprietor came out to say hello. I am proud to say that Nick wanted to share his outing snack with both the proprietor and Xander.

So, the new simple learning activity for the day is: Calculator. Ta-dah! This is how I "made it up:"

  1. Nick spilled some chocolate milk on our little hand held calculator. I said, "Uh-oh, I hope it still works!"
  2. Xander said, "Let's test it and see if it still works."
  3. I showed him how to press a number, press the + symbol, press another number, and press the = sign.
  4. He was fascinated with the numbers he could add up to for a long time.
  5. I'm surprised I didn't think of this sooner. Talk about educational hand held electronic entertainment!
I can't forget to brag on Erik. Last weekend, I realized the washing machine was broken (wasn't spinning the water out of the clothes) and told Erik this was going to have a big impact on our lives within a week. He did the research, took the machine apart (did you know washing machines have a clutch and a transmission?!), bought a new part, and fixed the thing! In two days!! I squealed and jumped around, that's how excited I was.

And here are our latest pictures:

No-Bake Healthy Cheesecake (Healthier, that is)

Xander adopted this puppy he found under our bed (a gift from Grandma Lucy at Christmas)

He made sure to design a puppy bed out of his slipper and had me knit a blanket that was just the right size (Oh, he did make sure to tell me, "Pretend this puppy is already house trained." It's a convenient puppy.)
Nick's cutting strawberries

Toddler knife, don't worry

There's our good ol' Nick

Strawberry Heartcake for Valentine's Day
Look at this picture of me, my dad, and my siblings back in the day (I'm the one in the Shalom Y'all shirt)

Xander's class Valentine's Day party - tons of treats

Mmmm, ice cream sundaes

Making candy necklaces
Enjoying his table-mates

with his table-mate who moved away - this was his last day

Yep, Nick is handing me his diaper...outdoors

Monday, February 13, 2012


We had snow! It started as tiny hail, then turned to sleet plus large snowflake drops. I even captured some on film. Look for a couple of white fuzzy circles in the photos below:

Xander was very happy, although he did not get a chance to make a snowman like he wanted to.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Erik got home yesterday and we were all so glad to see him. Hurray!

He said he would put Nick to bed (considering all the hours I had put into bedtime lately). We got Nick ready while he whined and cried. Erik had a solemn talk with him and put him to bed. He explained that Nick could not have his teddy bears unless he laid down in bed. Nick laid down. Erik left the room. Nick proceeded to stay in bed for about 13 hours.

Erik came out to the living room where I was smiling with puzzled relief. He said, "That's called Daddy-wise."


Xander and I had another little talk about privacy and how he doesn't have to have good manners if someone is hurting him or touching his private parts (other than maybe the doctor, Mom, or Dad if necessary).

He said, "If someone tries to touch my private parts on purpose, I will face-kick them!"

Nuff said.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I deciphered something Nick's been telling me!

For months now, every once in a while, Nick says, "Mac-tooties! Mac-tooties! I want mac-tooties!"

Often he is pulling on some kind of box that I can't associate with anything he would want. I have just been confused and never gave him his request when he asked for the mysterious mac-tooties.

Today I told him I had a sort-and-match activity for him and he said, "Yes! Yay! Mac-tooty!"

Slowly, it dawned on me. "Do you mean learning activity? Is that mac-tooty?"

He said, "Yes!"

We were both so pleased.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Middle of the Night

So Nick got sick and miserable two nights ago and decided he would learn how to get out of his bed. And he did. A bunch of times. The first night a child learns to get out of a crib and bedroom is a bad one for parents, who may begin to feel like they will be standing holding a door knob for the rest of eternity.

I was exhausted. It was the middle of the night. Nick had ibuprofen and water in his system. I laid down on his toddler bed (which he doesn't want to use yet) and eventually went to sleep. Nick was playing with dinosaurs in the living room. Terrible, I know. I decided I would have a better plan the next night and would brew a pot of coffee in the wee hours if that's what it took, but Nick was tuckered out after the previous night and stayed in bed sleeping for 13 hours. It would have been longer if we didn't have to take Xander to school.

Especially with our second child, I am No Good at middle-of-the-night care. I simply fall asleep. If I had a mug of coffee during that time, I'd wreck my chances to get any more sleep but I'd be cheerful and competent. Probably a worthwhile trade-off for those really bad nights. This calls to mind a time when I was about four or five years old, traveling with my parents, and they stayed up with me for quite a long while, walking me around the house, giving me coffee and juice and sympathy and other things...because I had a bad case of constipation. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

I wanted to put a picture of Nick in or near his bed at the top of this post, but after browsing my photos I realized almost all of the pictures I have of Nick are him eating or pushing the wheelbarrow. :)

We got to Skype with Erik this afternoon, which was fun and, strangely, a relief. It's been five days and will be five more before we see him in person. Nick and Erik had a game of catch via the computer: Erik would say, "Throw it, throw it!" and Nick would throw his ball, grin, run after it, look back at Erik, and bring it to the screen. They did this for a long time. Nick got a little upset later when Daddy wouldn't take the water squirter through the computer so they could play squirt gun.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I've been looking back at previous posts. I think Xander looks older even since Christmas! See?

Here are more pictures from this month:
Strawberry Surprise Salad for the kids

Our broccoli sprouts, which are growing beautifully

Nick made seed balls at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

And we've planted them at home!

Digging for plastic bugs was a big hit there, too

In our back yard

He looooooooves that wheelbarrow
He uses it in unconventional ways, like dumping mud from it onto his head

Not so happy


Here, we made those Gingerbread "Corndogs" that Xander thought up

The finished result, though heavy for popsicle sticks, was dipped in frosting

It wasn't quite what he envisioned, but it was a very nice snack for the whole family

Later, we all watched Tron and had homemade popcorn and M&M mix. (Or, as Nick calls it, popcorn and treat.) I wasn't prepared for how inappropriate Tron was: I thought it was better for middle-school-age. But there was no blood (people died or were "repurposed" by shattering) and no swearing that I can remember. The big surprise for me was that both kids loved it and were not at all disturbed or scared by it. After all, Nick gets upset sometimes at "The Remarkable Runaway Riderless Tricycle" when the tricycle is in danger of being pursued by a police car!

Then it dawned on me that in one case, with the tricycle, he can understand that there is danger, and in the other case, it's all foreign. Probably what they liked were the fluorescent-lighted vehicles and suits in Tron.

Having Fun Is on Our List

Nick asked for graham crackers today. I told him we didn't have any but we could put it on the grocery list to get this week.

He said, "Yes. Go-shee list gam cackers putting on."

He continued, "Have fun, go-shee list putting on."

I said, "You want me to put having fun on the grocery list this week?"



This month at Xander's school is Loyalty month, and the school newsletter recommended Charlotte's Web as a good book about loyalty. I love that book, so I decided to borrow it from the library and try it out with Xander. Our read-aloud time is in the early morning during breakfast, when he and I are usually alone. I picked up the book, but he had an immediate negative reaction. He really didn't want to read this book. Eventually, he told me he didn't like the spider on the cover, but I'm not sure if that was the real reason.

A week later, I picked it up at breakfast and said I was just going to read it to myself. I did, for about a chapter.

Xander said, "Mom? I think I'm ready to listen to that story now."

So we are reading Charlotte's Web together. He identifies with the love that Fern has for Wilbur - I knew he would.

Yesterday, I helped with an activity in his classroom while Nick played at the YMCA Child Watch. The children did well, especially since it was a very long, involved activity about counting to 100 by 10s. (I love that his teacher was willing to do this activity with the kids even though it was extra work.) It's interesting to see your child's behavior in class. I noticed that at times Xander was one of the slowest in getting his work done, as his teacher has told me and as we are working on at home and at school, but he was also extremely attentive even with all the shenanigans around him. Unfortunately, it only takes one or two to be disruptive, and his class (probably most classes) has three or four off-task children at any given time. Xander seems to remember every single thing his teacher says, verbatim, and I could see why. He sat still, looked at her, and listened quietly. This made him one of the best-behaved kids in the classroom. :)

Even though Xander does not take very special care of his appearance (wearing his pants backward as often as forward, and not being embarrassed by it), I could tell he was excited about the care I took with him and his outfit this morning. Today is....Picture Day. In the pictures, he is likely to have a goofy grin, his eyes closed, and hairs sticking up from the natural progression of the school day, but we did put a nice red dinosaur sweater on him that should show up well in a group picture. School is fun!

Put that on the grocery list, too.