Friday, January 30, 2009

No comment

poster, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Random Question Thursday

walk/ride , originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Walk or ride?

I tend to take the stairs. But if I take the escalator I usually walk on them, too. I like the sensation of being able to walk at a running pace.

Of course, If I take the elevator I jump up and down. ... Some people say that provides the sense of flying. I'm not convinced.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I don't think so

ITTYBIT: Your favorite is Mike Coldcowski.

MAMA: *blinking* *and looking around wondering what in the world brought forth this declaration* Uh ... What?.

ITTYBIT: Mike Coldcowski! Mike Coldcowski! He's your favorite monster from Monster's Inc.

MAMA: You mean Mike Wazowski.

ITTYBIT: That's what I said.

MAMA: Actually, I think I'm more partial to Sully.

ITTYBIT: You mean Kitty.

MAMA: That's what I said.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cold feet?

love letter, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

"Annabel, when we get married can we live at my house?"

"Elias, can we talk about something else?"

Monday, January 26, 2009

It has come to my attention that I may be incorrectly calling myself a 'mother'

... As I peer over the shoulder of a friend, who has been assisting both of our children at the stove in the making of puffed rice marshmallow treats.

ME: "I'm just peeking ... I've never made these."

HER: "And you call yourself a mother. ..."


See? Poor little deprived Silas. Never had a crispy treat before some other mom made it for him.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Subliminal messages

j, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

HIM: You know every time I go to use the toilet I find a "J" in the bowl ... Are you throwing it in there or is Silas?"

ME: *giggling*

HIM: ... I'm beginning to get a complex.

Friday, January 23, 2009

At the week's end ... I'm letting my inner curmudgeon out

who packed this bag?, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

You know how you go to the grocery store with those Earth saving reusable totes that are all the rage?

And you know how good it makes you feel?

Aside from the fact that you've forgotten (YET AGAIN) to bring the sturdy, somewhat stylish totes from the car ... from the place were you stored them in the house the when you unpacked them the last trip ... into the store, and you'll being buying another set of the ugly store-brand kind just so you won't have to bring ALL. THOSE. EVIL. PLASTIC. BAGS. HOME. AGAIN. Or worse, you'll leave the cart and schelp BACK out to the car with a screaming baby and a whiny preschooler ...

Uhm ... Where was I?

Oh, off, damn tangent. What was I saying?

Ah, yes. ... You feel good about this. This is good. This is right.

AND ... It's even saving you a few cents, because the cashiers often take off a nickel or a dime here and there for each bag you haul in to carry off your items.

So WHY for the love of Petey, when they would put Brillo pads and bananas in their own separate bags if they were flimsy plastic ones, do these baggers insist on packing the bags in QUARK so you need a gantry crane to get them from the shopping cart to the trunk of your car?

Is there an Olympic supermarket bagging sport I missed?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Random Question Thursday

i heart grapefruit, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

What about parenthood surprises you?

Sometimes, when you're staring at something, you just don't see the most obvious thing ... and other times the most obvious thing just reaches out and grabs you in a way you might never expect.

One day you just look down at your grapefruit half and you see your heart, still wedged into its shell, promising flavors both bitter and sweet.

Raising children is like this.

It becomes oddly apparent that, like this fruit you might never have considered eating as a child -- or anything for which it took some level of maturity to aquire a taste -- is what parenthood is all about.

Children make you eat your heart out: bitter and sweet.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Driving Miss Crazy

Ok. So there are those among you who live in areas of the world where winter driving means more than dealing with a few extra days of rain. Like me, you live in an area where ice and sleet and snow pile up overnight and seemingly out of nowhere.

Because you are SO well trained in tranversing the universe in the midst of inclement weather you, no doubt, have advice for the rest of us.

The radio announcers among you DELIGHT in telling folks to take it slow, whereas the rest of the driving public (you know who you are) are souped up and ready to mow down any people who actually take it slow.

Can you guess which group I'm driving with?

You betya. I'm at the head of the pack of slowpokes holding up the procession.

You HATE me.

You blame me for causing accidents.

I know, you do. Don't try to deny it; I'm married to one of you souped-up winter drivers, who believes, in his heart of hearts, that the overly cautious should just stay home.

Now ... granted, there are some folks whose caution -- let's say, STOPPING where they should yeild -- does tend to lead to unsafe conditions under normal circumstances. But I'm not talking about normal circumstances. I'm talking about the roadway ahead is just one, big sheet of ice and the car you are navigating is sliding ALL OVER IT.

ME: "If I know my car would be out of control why would I speed up?"

HIM: "Because your car IS NOT out of control and the chance remains that you could cause someone behind you to lose control if they can't stop. ..."

ME: "Because they're driving too fast?"

HIM: "Well ... That's one way to look at it. Another way is that you are driving too slow."

ME: "Yes, but if you were driving slower on this really crapy, winter day you wouldn't come up too fast on a slow-moving car and lose control, now would you?"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today is a very good day

I’m not much of a history buff.

I can’t rattle off chapter and verse on the cause and effect as it pertains to events in the past and be able to follow my own (or anyone else's) line of thought. Maybe when I was in school, and the teachers were grading me on it, I could delve into the black hole that is my mind and extract "1492" and pair it up with some silly Italian explorer who got lost as he was looking to spice up his life.

But by the time summer vacation rolled around the dates got all jumbled up with the pictures. ... And I never did really trust the stories.

For instance … When we learned about Martin Van Buren -- the follically-challenged 8th president of the United States who hailed from nearby Kinderhook – I burned into my memory the fact that he had red hair; that he was small in stature; that he was of Dutch decent but the first American-born citizen to hold the office; that he was a one-termer, probably a result of an economic depression that gripped the country in the year he was elected; and that the biggest controversy surrounding his name was whether or not he coined the colloquialism, "O.K." (as in Old Kinderhook), as part of some brilliant political promotion that helped him pack his bags and head to Washington.

I expect more comparative histories to be written about “The Little Magician” -- as he was called back in the day -- as Barack Obama’s presidency progresses since the former presided over a similar boom/bust economic era as this country is experiencing today. Of course the hope would be that the 44th president is compared more favorably than the 8th president, who, at the end of his tenure, was known to readers of the press as “Martin Van Ruin.”

But I digress.

This was supposed to be about the stuff about Martin Van Buren that I hadn't realized.

Such as the hostile policies he and Andrew Jackson created toward Native Americans when they began removing and relocating them to areas West of the Mississippi River. Funny how I learned about the Trail of Tears and its horrificness, and yet somehow divorced the policies that caused it from any real human and married it instead to the nameless-faceless federal government in power during our westward expansion. When in fact, it was aided and abetted by a man from the place I now call home.

I have more hope for Mr. Obama. I have hope that his presidency WILL be remembered with more past-gazing into the likes of Abraham Lincoln than into our man, Van Buren. Like I said, I have hope.

But I also have caution. I know history isn't really in the now of today, but in looking back from the hindsight of many tomorrows. I know this man we put into office doesn’t walk on water. He will struggle. He will be tested. Sometimes he will pass, but not always. And yet, as I prepare to accept his mere mortalness I am also prepared to be awed by his miraculousness. I am also prepared to marvel in our own miraculousness as a nation. It's not all on his shoulders, after all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

On righteous indignation

obamacon, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

So The New Yorker runs this extremely interesting essay on breastfeeding last week called "Baby Food," wherein historian Jill LePore ponders the suckage that is human suckling, and in the end asks the primordial question "If breast is best, why are women bottling their milk?"

Now, as I was reading the piece, a particular parenthetical point struck me as being a little flip, harsh and kind of, well, incorrect -- "(When did women's rights turn into the right to work?)" -– but after I stopped blinking I decided to ignore the sentiment and read on to the end.

Salon's Kate Harding didn't ignore it. She wrote a somewhat blistering retort in the online journal, lambasting LePore for not allowing the mommy wars to rest under the starched white flag of diversity.

"Even if I am as generous as possible in trying to understand LePore's point here -- which apparently has to do with the value of mother-child bonding and the resultant need for longer maternity leave -- implying that the hard-won right to work outside the home ought to be regarded as the comparatively trivial concern by the National Organanization for Women is throwing the baby out with the leftover expressed milk."

She goes on to say that "LePore's underlying 'Mommy should stay home' argument becomes more obvious and more dizzying as she goes on to state that breast-feeding provides unique social and emotional benefits that aren't really unique."

As Harding reads it, in addition to the work debate the article completely ignored daddy’s role in feeding and cuddling the baby at night with mother's milk so mom can go out on the town ... or have a little extra shut-eye ... as possible benefit of breast pumps. Where is the village it takes to raise this child?

To fly the white flag again at full mast, Harding looks to her friends' experiences ... some who loved breast-feeding, others for whom it didn't work out: We are diverse individuals, she explains. We don't need to take only one side of an issue that's, in this case, shaped like a breast.

I didn't read LePore’s initial piece quite like that, though.

Maybe it's me, but I didn't really get the whole 'women should stay home' vibe Harding mentioned.

In my reading, I saw a simple point: American women's long history of breast-feeding has been influenced by everything from science to style, and even with pediatric recommendation, celebrity sightings, fancy gadgets and special rooms, CDC breast-feeding targets haven't been reached.

Now I'll agree that the sentiment inside the parentheses of The New Yorker piece might have been better stated to friends during the haze of cocktail party banter, but the question -- if you accept the idea that the right to work is NOT balanced on the imposition of being barefoot and pregnant against one's will -- seems valid. Why shouldn't we accomodate women at work in a way that would allow them to successfully breast-feed their children?

And as unpopular as this thought may be, I'll ask the question it spawns anyway: Have equal rights protections for women run its useful course?

At the very least it's unpopular to suggest that women should do anything with respect to her body and her life that she herself hasn't agreed to do, but why should we demand they follow the rules of business? Why should a woman appear any less professional with a baby strapped to her body than with a Bluetooth wedged in her ear?


Womanhood, afterall, doesn’t mean any one thing to any one woman.

Stay home.
Have a baby.
Don’t have a baby.
Nurse your baby.
Don't nurse your baby.

What I got from my reading was the question "If this is best -- and with the uncertainty in the marketplace, tainted products and the like, I have no doubt that it is -- why aren't we making it a priority as a society to ensure that women who have to work or choose to -- have enough leave to do it successfully. Or at least accommodations so that baby can be with mom at work?

Every time I look at this problem, all I see is that we look at ourselves and everyone around us and stack up who's got what ... as if some mathematical accounting will decide what is fair.

It won't. We have to decide for ourselves and let the rest of it roll off our chests.

The fact is we women are replacing the human race. The first six months are huge in the development of these new humans. Equal rights to work like a horse, be thankful for a refrigerator in which to store our liquid gold, and the fifteen minutes allotted to the smokers in which to pump it isn't really all that equal in the end.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Random (Rhetorical) Question Thursday

illuminating, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

How did I miss this on the first (second and third) walk-through?

And ... it's official. We own a second (primary) home. When it's renovated we will move ... and we will no longer be able to say we live in a barn. *sniff. *sniff.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rejection and redemption

this kid, this kid, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Poor Jed. Whenever he arrives to pick up the children at the sitter's house Silas runs away screaming.

He doesn't want to leave.

Ordinarily, this wouldn't really be a problem. Ordinarily I would convince Jed that it's merely a testament of how well the kids are being cared for and how much fun they are having in our absence. Everyone knows how hard it is to change from one activity to another when you're still enjoying yourself.

But the same thing doesn't happen to my father when it's his turn to pick up the kids. When he arrives (usually early, too) the kids drop everything and practically claw each other to pieces trying to be the first to get into his arms.

Jed = Crushed.

"It's me. He hates me."

“He doesn't hate you. He just has some mad crush on papa."

So this morning, when the boy wanted nothing to do with his mama, and everything to do with his "DADA," I reminded him to savor the moment.

"See, he loves you. You just have to take it when you can get it."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hungry for words

what does the cow say?, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

The words are coming, sometimes fast and furious, and other times slow and agreeable.

"Tank coo" has been a staple for a while, but joining the menu lately have been delicious little coversational words such as "Peas," and "Good" and "OK" and "DAT?, as in "what's that?"

Yet, it seems that although he's at the very beginning of verbal conversation, he's much more mature in his ability to argue.

For a while now he's been walking right up to me and damanding to nurse by looking me directly in the eye and yelling "MILK."

If I don't reach for the clip on my nursing bra immediately he doubles up on the demand.


When I continue to hold him off, he lowers the volume and adds a plaintlve little trill to the end of the word, like a question ... "milk? milk?"

If he stands there unsatisfied he starts stamping his feet and screaming "MILK! MILK! MILK!"

I've taken the opportunity to work on patience. I pick him up and walk him around the kitchen. I tell him I have things to do, and I name them. "First I have to feed the dog, and then I have to get a drink for your sister. When those are done I'll give you milk, OK?"

And he smiles. "OK."

Sometimes, after he's calm and I've put him down, he forgets his request and runs off to play.

When I find him, instead of claiming his meal, he holds the blocks that Santa gave him for Christmas, signaling the primordial game: "What sound with this animal make if it were made of flesh and bone instead of maple and paint?"

Sometimes he answers, sometimes he waits for me to tell him, and then he disagrees.

ME: "What does the cow say, Silas?"
SILAS: *blink-blink*
ME: The cow says 'MOO'."
SILAS: 'NO! Moo, Moo!'

Come to think of it, I think he's learning A LOT from his sister.

Monday, January 12, 2009

So ... we took a wrong turn on the way to a friend's birthday party

tooth story , originally uploaded by toyfoto.

But I have a tendency to do that kinda thing, so I stopped BEFORE I wound up in the wrong town, and turned around in someone's nicely plowed (but still snowy) driveway.

I was pulling back onto the roadway when excitement exploded in the backseat. (That's when the shriek came from that general direction, anyway).


My! Wiggly! Tooth! Came! Out! My! Wiggly! Tooth! Came! Out! My! Wiggly! Tooth! Came! Out! My! Wiggly! Tooth! Came! Out!

I turned around and nearly panicked at what I saw. Annabel's mouth and hands were stained a deep dark red. She was cradelling what I correctly assumed was the wiggly tooth.

A multitude of diffrent thoughts attacked my brain: "... What the ...? Is that blood? I don't remember primary teeth bleeding that profusely? Thankfully she didn't swallow it." ... and finally "... Oh yeah ... she had that leftover strawberry shake thing from the day before that I never removed from her carseat's cupholder. ... It must have been frozen."

Which was indeed the case. The red hands and face were from trying to claw the drink into fluidity again.

Of course, she still scared the pants off some of the other parents at the party. They hadn't remember baby teeth to bleed, either.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wherein (not so fast) fast food saves the day ...

We might have been here had I not given in to the whims of a five-year-old and stopped for a hot dog as we were leaving Target yesterday.

And to think, at the time I thought it was unlucky that there was only one person behind the counter taking and serving orders. Whew.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Salad days

the home office, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

It’s been a while since I’ve really done any introspective thought about my how I got to this point in my life.

And then Mrs. Chicken over at Chicken And Cheese wrote something that sounded so familiar.

In coming to terms with her new life as a “celebrity” blogger, she revisited her previous life as a suburban newspaper reporter wherein she could write about anything and everything she wanted; and where the full force of the best and worst of what this life has to offer plays out on a human scale. The real stuff of life.

I was a similar kind of journalist. Our tiny, weekly newspaper was set in a more rural than suburban setting, however, and I did everything from covering breaking news … to taking photographs at pancake breakfasts … to writing features about the new pastor come to town … to theater reviews … to writing editorials … to drawing editorial cartoons … to slapping hot wax on the back of a typeset story and gluing it to the page in anticipation of the rolling of the presses. I didn't have to scrub the toilet and I can't recall who in the office kept them clean, although I could probably guess.

Most of what we did, after all, was routine.

I reported on the small-town politics that made everyone hoarse from the screaming (or selectively deaf from the indignation).

I sat, riveted, month after month, as one town couldn't make its residents understand why they had to buy town garbage bags to pay tipping fees, when their own Glad-handled ties held so much more household waste.

I wrote about local musicians: the ones who aspired to something bigger than their weekend gigs at nearby clubs as well as the musicians who were already international names with weekend homes.

I interviewed the elderly, who shared with me some of their most vivid memories, such as what a gentleman Gen. Omar Bradley was, and how his wife, poor thing, had a box of chocolate melt on the lap of her crisp white suit in the heat of a parade.

I was charmed by the 98 year-old quiltmaker who as a child had wanted a horse, but her doting parents could only afford a donkey. She described her excitement as she and her parents went to collect the animal from the train station in an old Desoto. She laughed about how the beast of burden must have looked to the inebriated sailor standing on the street as they passed by: A jackass with its face pressed against a back window. She imagined he'd thrown down his bottle and never imbibed again ... just like they did in the movies. I couldn't help but buy one of her quilts.

I also covered the little old lady who was brutally murdered in her apartment. She'd been there a while before somebody found her. Her killer was never found.

I showed up, camera in-hand, at accident scenes and fires. I’ve been called a vulture and spat at.

I’ve also been sent elaborate thank-you notes (one of the more notable included booze and a recipe for making a tasty, adult beverage) for writing colorful stories about colorful people.

I covered a story about a boy cited for saving his best friend’s life when a swarm of bees attacked the allergic teen. I covered the story again the following week, when the hero had accidentally shot and killed the boy he’d saved.

I’ve had people take one look at me and disappear from the room, returning with a yellow, dog-eared photograph I’d taken of their kid … in an old car on the way to their wedding, shaking the hand of Uncle Sam at a parade, standing on stage at a school spelling bee … that made the paper.

Day to day it wasn’t what you might call a terribly exciting job. I fetched the mail from the post office, collected columns, film and photographs from some of our more far-flung correstpondents, and I typed press releases into the antiquated mainframe computer system. At five o’clock, I went home when the office closed, ate dinner and went back out again to attend one of three town, two village, one city or three school board meetings. On Saturdays and Sundays I’d troll the countryside looking for feature art for the front page. Lather. Rinse. Repete. Six years.

On the seventh year, I was promoted to Editor.

Nine months later, during the eighth year, I was unceremoniously laid off. Downsized. It practically crushed me. But never mind that. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

I moved on ... I got a job at a small daily designing pages and writing the occasional story or editorial. I got freelance jobs where I got to do what I loved most - photographing people in the places they lived and worked. Sometimes I wrote the stories that accompanied the images, but not always.

I had grand hopes. I even had glimpses of something more; I got a byline or two in national publications but nothing bigger ever materialized.

When the children came, i ended the sideline work and focused on the day job and the laundry.

And yet, it occurs to me that I never really let go of the salad days.

They were special, those days when I was the only 20-something I knew who understood the basics of zoning and what it meant to file an Article-78. I knew how much the superintendent of schools made and what a rubber stamp the school board was. I had an opinion but I knew how to keep the story impartial.

I was young an unencumbered. I could work 12 to 14 hours for $12,000 and think it would take me places.

Mostly, though, it meant I couldn’t go to the corner store for a loaf of bread or a quarter-pound of cheese (pretty much the staples that sustained me in those years) without being stopped by someone who wanted to tell me what I should be covering.

I worked for their paper. They loved to hate it.

And I hated to love it.

Random Question Thursday (Friday edition)

What hat did you want to wear?, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

What did you become?

I wanted to be a veterinarian ... a scientist ... a rockstar ... a photographer of rockstars ... and then finally an artist.

I became a small-town newspaper reporter and got to talk to a lot of people in those professions and others.

In many ways I think I probably exceeded my expectations, even if it didn't (and sometimes still doesn't) seem that way.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A virtual world almost as wonderful as the one we currently inhabit

Meet Jenny, Annabel's virtual pet Webkinz. Jenny's pseudo real-life counterpart, a stuffed dachshund toy, has been sleeping with Annabel since we activated the account.

For those of you still blissfully unaware of this particular corner of hell; let me enlighten you.

These are -- for the most part (but not in Jenny's case, of course) -- the crummiest looking stuffed animals ever manufactured. But the toy itself isn't the real draw; the $12-$14 you shell out for it also covers the cost of a secret code that allows entry into the Webkinz World, an online hub for video games that promote all that is wonderful and annoying about the interwebs, including social interaction and consumerism.

All the things we love and hate about reality are realized in Webkinz World, too.

In Webkinz World you can get a job, earn cash to feed and clothe your little friends, and collect over-priced virtual stuff to decorate your intangible pet's imaginary house. You can play some games for hours and others are only available to you once a day. You can click on ads. Put purchases in shopping carts. Watch your imaginary money dwindle away as you buy $900 tables, that don’t really fit into your pet’s tiny room anyway. You can work at the pizza joint for a few hours and make enough dough to buy your pet an extra room.

You can even sell your pretend stuff back to the make-believe shop (which sold you the invented junk in the first place) -- no questions asked. You will have to resort to that once you get fired from your ghost job at the shoestore that the employment office set up for you because you aren’t terribly skilled at matching shoes, and you won't be making any tips in the replacement gig you got on your own by visiting the Arcade: It's hard to make pizza when you have to follow when the video game won't allow you to do two things at once.

Of course, you can't do two things at once in real life very well anyway, so quit yer bellyaching.

In this virtual world you don’t have to deal with folks dressed in floral housecoats and wearing socks with sandals, pawing over the stuff you’ve dragged curbside, trying to negotiate a lower price. You can just get your money back for that apple you bought for $25 bucks regardless of when you bought it.

Of course you can learn a lot about your kids’ priorities when you activate their account and let them go hog wild.

For instance, Annabel isn’t terribly patient when the Web site crashes and I have to sign her in again (because she can’t read or spell her sign-in and passwords.

“MOM! I feel like I’m 25!”

“Why is that?”

“Because it’s taking so LONG!”

But really, I think poor Jenny is gets the worst end of the deal.

She may have the best room EVER, but her mistress is forgoing food to pay for it all.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


wiggly tooth

... that she, indeed, has a wiggly tooth.

*She wants it known far and wide that the Toothfairy will be visiting her in the near future.

And, speaking of teeth ... Silas has a few more, finally. A molar is popping in on the lower jaw on the left side. And something else is coming up on the top, but it's hard to tell just what. He's not terribly cooperative when he's being prodded.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Oh, so amusing ... almost

little silas on the prairie, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

I'm not sure when it happened, because it sure seems like a recent occurance, but I have yet to get through a routine medical visit in less than an hour. In fact, 60 minutes these days seems like a walk in the park compared to the marathon waits we've had lately.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I have been taking both kids to well-kid visits instead of making separate appointments. It's a little easier as SIlas becomes a little more independent but it's still a chore. With Annabel I get the chorus of AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? AM-I-GONNA-GET-A-SHOT? for the majority of our drive, and our time in the waiting room and in the examination room as we wait for the doctor.


Until she hides under the exam table and has to be dragged out kicking and screaming.

Good. Times.

Silas, of course, has a special doctor - in addition to his regular doctor - that he has to see. A urologist.

And that doctor is the only one within 100 miles (or so) who even sees children. So we're lucky that when I take three hours out of my day for an ultrasound and a consult, I really only have to drive across the river.

But I'm not bitter. I'll take the "thanks for being patient," compliment.

Of course we weren't terribly patient. Silas (whom they called Cialis again? WTF?) spent our wait bashing my cell phone and keys against the metal table to hear them clang, and rearranging the specimen cups that were presumably hidden under the sink. (Don't worry. They WERE clean.) He made a hat out of his diaper (also clean) and a sled out of his diaper changing kit, and yelled WEEE! very loudly as he pretended to whiz down the mountain.

That all gets old quickly, though, and we might have been asleep had there been any comfortable chairs but alas, there were none.

Anyway, the good news in all of this is that Silas, who weighs 19 pounds, six ounces(below 5%) and measures 31 inches tall(10 -25%) -- as compared to Annabel's 32 pounds and 39.5 inches {both 5 %} -- and who has a head circumference of 47.5 cm (25-50%), has shown slight improvement from his last renal ultrasound in July.

So, while not greatly improved he's not backtracking. More watchful waiting, which is good news.

Of course, there is bad news, too. My cell phone is still working.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Nice things are overrated anyway

Dear Silas,

I've been so accustomed to ignoring you, my independent, happy, quiet boy.

There was a time when you'd sit yourself down in the middle of a room and play quietly as the adults chatted away. Sometimes you'd walk around and get into things, but back then you were just emptying drawers and refilling boxes. Nothing too dangerous. Never did we consider you "danger mouse."

Yes. ... I can still hear the admonition from our guests back then ... "If he were my son I'd be in so much trouble ... he's so quiet you can practically forget he's here."

I'd laugh, and then agree.

Of course It never occurred to me to actually seek out the source of quiet as you got older and wiser (and more of a wiseacre) even though I know trouble looms in its presence.

As was the case yesterday, when your sister was busy helping your dad in the workshop, and you were happily ensconced in her room, playing - I thought - harmlessly.

I emptied the dishwasher and put away its contents (having to rewash some thanks to the new ecofriendly detergent with a name I can't pronounce, so I believe it roughly translates to DOESN'T REALLY CLEAN DISHES). I checked my e-mail. I swept the floor. I emptied the trash. I rechecked my e-mail.

Then I remembered: You had been VERY quiet. And, more urgently, I remembered: I think I left my coffee in Annabel's bedroom. So I went off to retrieve it check on you.

When I opened the door I didn't see you at first. The room was in its usual disarray, so I didn't even notice anything amiss.

It wasn't until you shrieked with delight at my arrival that I saw you sitting in the middle of the bed, a large dark coffee stain spreading across the sheets and fishfood sprinkled liberally around the pillows and quilts.

You'd also found a magic marker (which I will be checking with consumer groups to see if something can be done about that horribly, inaccurate name. ... It should be "The Bane of a Parents' Existence Pens") all over the walls above the head of her bed.

Thankfully, I managed to wrestle it out of your hands before you ran over to your sister's new dolly to give her a kiss:


"Yes. That's a baby. But you are not. You are whirling dirvish."

I suppose it wouldn't have mattered. Later in the day your sister, with the help of a visiting friend, applied makeup to the face of her horse; the one that makes clippity-clop sounds when you squeeze its ear.

She said she was just trying to make her look pretty.

Just so you know, THIS is no longer the only reason we can't have nice things.

Love and soapy scrub brushs,


Sunday, January 04, 2009

I'm not a YouTuber ...

I'm more of a ME Potato, but THIS ...

makes me so glad we got her a pink ukulele for Christmas.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I predict one day SHE will be rocking the suburbs

rocking the suburbs , originally uploaded by toyfoto.

"Mama ... I hope the girl who is the Pumpkin Squasher buys our house."

Friday, January 02, 2009

TMI Friday

Adrienne (matuko amini of Flickr) tagged me with a little randomness.

If you've been around here most Thursdays, you know I have a love for the random.

So … here it is … 16 random things about me:

1) I have had a nervous habit of picking my eyelashes since the time I was in fourth grade. I try to circumvent it by wearing too much mascara. I usually wind up with black-stained fingertips.

2) I remember where I was and what I was doing the first time it occurred to me that the world was a frightening place: I was four years old, listening to the news on the car radio in Washington, D.C. The story was about a mother who had killed her children.

3) I was 35 when I decided I actually liked broccoli. I was 34 when I learned I liked spinach.

4) Every time I eat at a restaurant that has lamb on the menu I order it … and then I realize that I’m not a huge fan of lamb.

5) I hardly EVER notice when people lose weight. Well, I notice but I can’t pinpoint what it is about them that looks different. I think maybe it’s the hair … maybe they got taller. … maybe they’re wearing glasses.

6) I passed my driver’s test on the first try. I was shocked. The woman who administered the test seemed unhappy at every turn (literally).

7) I like the color combination of pink and orange. Yeah, shocks me, too.

8) I don’t like drinking wine. It makes my stomach feel as if I’ve ingested a water (or wine) balloon the next day.

9) I believe in education but I don’t always believe the educated.

10) I can sing Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” but not in four-part harmony.

11) I have 20/20 vision (when I use both eyes) … but my left eye is a little better than my right or the reverse … I can’t remember.

12) I think the word “HATE” is as fine a word as despise, loathe or detest. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to HATE when you poke yourself in the eye, or HATE when get lost when you’re looking for the bathroom. I think it’s even fine to HATE your job, although it’s probably a good idea to sharpen up your resume if that’s the case rather than sharpen up your machete. What I mean is this: actions are the problem, not the words.

13) I’m fairly certain I had the “patience of a saint” before I had children. Now I’m trying to exercise what little patience I have left.

14) I am 5’ 2” tall. I usually tell people I’m 5’ 2.5” tall (because I wear clogs).

15) I love coffee. I rarely finish a cup of coffee, despite having one with me at all times. Like a security blanket. A cold, wet, black, sugarless security blanket.

16) I can't figure out the "text messaging" feature on my cell phone. Sad. True. I can only reply to them, and the last message I sent to my husband was this: "Yes 9." (Only without punctuation ... because I don't know how to do that.)

I'm not going to tag you; but you know you want to do it ... and link back here when you do.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Random questions Thursday ...

Are you making a New Year's resolution?

If you are, what have you resolved to do?

This year I plan on making a concerted effort NOT to take embarrassing photographs of my kids (so as to not have an unfair advantage when they bring home some special someone to meet the parents one day).

Well ... That was a bust. Maybe I'll have more willpower next year.