Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Pictures, including the Parade in which WE WON! WE WON!

Can I tell you a little about Halloween in our new neighborhood? First, there are only about 10 houses, and we are one of only two families with trick or treating aged children. This didn't mean that there was no Halloween here. Oh, no. More like, it was the best Halloween ever! It started at about 10:00 this morning when the next door neighbor stopped by with Halloween goodies for the boys. They weren't going to be home during trick or treat so they brought Halloween to us. Several hours later, another neighbor stopped by with the cutest little box of goodies. Same reason; they weren't going to be home during trick or treating hours.

One neighbor offered toys and candy.

Several neighbors offered "handfuls" and Devin took that quite literally, taking handfuls of candy until we stopped chatting and stopped him. 10 houses and 2 very full pumpkins, I tell you. It was a good Halloween.

We took them to see their Grandma and Grandpa after trick or treating in our neighborhood. When Grandpa asked "who is this?" Trevor ripped his hood off so Grandpa could see who it was. Devin followed suit, but it wasn't nearly as dramatic as Trevor had been.

Then, Grandma and Grandpa asked what the boys were. "DINOSAURS!"

"What kind?"

Trevor said, "I'm a spinosaurus!"

Devin said, "I don't know!"

Trevor said, "He's a carnataurus, but he doesn't have the horns."

Devin said, "My brother says I'm a carnataurus!"

(the above was actually a paraphrase of 3 conversations.)

Can I also tell you about Devin's tail? It's an impressive tail, and I pinned some reinforcing fabric to it so that it wasn't destroyed as he dragged it behind him. He can wear his costume again at Christmas. Fun. Anyway, the impressive tail was a bit of an accident. I made both of the costumes from a size 5-6 pattern. I made Devin's jumpsuit small enough to fit him (probably size 2-3), but I didn't change the tail at all. So, the tail was way too big for the costume and dragged along behind him, but it really worked out well. It was my favorite part of the costume, but it was way too big.

Happy Halloween! Do you need some candy? We have plenty. Oh, so plenty.

A moment...

I know that my readers really prefer when I blog about the boys, and I'll try to do mostly that, but I'm taking a moment to talk about chickens. I hope you don't mind.

Yesterday morning, I drove Trevor and a classmate to Harner's Farm (see pics below of same farm) for a school field trip. While we were there, I mentioned to another mom that when I was a kid, we had chickens and that I was afraid of them.

She said, "oh, did you grow up on a farm?"

I've known for awhile that growing up in Wynona wasn't like growing up in Chicago or even Pawhuska, for that matter. It was tiny and rural and we had chickens despite living in the middle of town (and a horse and a goat and a cow and rabbits and even geese and ducks, I think, when I was little). I had 9 people in my graduating class and missed out on a scholarship when I was a junior in college because at #2 out of 9, I wasn't in the top 10% of my class. It was special and unique and different.

But, it was also a really long time ago! This is what the other mom's question made me realize. We may have been kinda unique even in Wynona with our mini-barnyard collection of animals. But, it wasn't unheard of to have a mini-barnyard, was it? I don't know anyone who has chickens now, except people in the Key West with their feral chickens, but that's a whole different thing. If I brought chickens to live in my backyard, I'd get a ticket and kicked out of the neighborhood and people would write letters to the city about me. It would be bad. I'm not sure, but I'm thinking Mom and Dad might even get letters written about them if they re-stocked the old chicken yard in Wynona.

I've thought that where I live now and where I lived when I was a kid were just two different places, two different *types* of places. I thought that in Wynona, you can have chickens and ride around in the bed of a pickup. In Chicagoland, forget about it. Even in our new location, I'm pretty sure a chicken yard would get me classified as the crazy chicken lady and even taking the kids in the car buckled up without a car seat would get me hanged. But now, I'm thinking that I'm just wrong.

It's not that there are two different *types* of places. I mean, Wynona is still special and unique in its tinyness and lack of high speed internet and a strong cell phone signal. My bigger issue here is that it's just two different times. And, my childhood was just a really long time ago, and things have just changed that much.

It's just weird that I grew up in such a vastly different time than now. How can that be?

And, when did things change so much?

I thought it was me because I keep moving all over the country. But, it's not my moving, it's my aging.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We Won! We won!

I will post pictures later, but I wanted to get the word out. We won, we won! We won fifth place in group of maybe 10, but we won, and that's exciting, yes, yes, yes.

I made the boys' Halloween costumes this year. I'm not sure what got into me. It cost more than buying something at the store, and it's not like I really had a bunch of extra time laying around, but still, I did it. I made their costumes. Mom, you'll be proud to know that I didn't even shy away from installing the zippers. My first zippers. I'm so proud!

Trevor was a Green Spino-saurus with flames on his Spino spine. Devin was really a red dragon with black spikes, but we're calling him a Carnotaurus.

We walked in a big huge parade of Costumed Children and their proud parents in the downtown area. We paraded for at least 5 blocks, and when we got to the end, the boys paraded past a group of judges. Devin was waving at this point. I think he was waving all on his own, but we pointed out the judges so that Devin could wave in their direction. This seemed all right for Trevor, so he waved in their direction, too.

I don't know if it was the waving that led them to win fifth place, or if it was the waving that prevented them from winning first place. It's hard to tell. But, we won, we won!

I'm in a bit of a pickle now, though.

Tonight was a Halloween parade, but tomorrow is Halloween. And, Devin got his fragile costume with its 2 pound, 3 foot long tail stinky dirty because even though he tells me that he will be potty trained "in a few minutes," he isn't potty trained, yet.

I guess I need to figure out what to do with that...

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Wait, it's not what you think!

We got a deck of cards, and the Computer Guy taught Trevor how to play Go Fish and War and somewhere along the way, Trevor internalized that the Ace is the high card.

As they were playing War last night, Trevor's hand was face up, and for every card the Computer Guy threw down, Trevor threw down his Ace. Every hand. Everything was great until the Computer Guy threw down an Ace. Trevor threw down his Ace, and it was War. Somehow, the Computer Guy won that hand. And, Trevor cried and cried and cried. Then, I said to him "Daddy won't play cards with a crybaby." I said the words kinda gently. I really did. Well, good thing for him, he sucked it up (without me having to say "Suck it up!") and he was able to finish his game. He found another Ace, luckily, and won the game.

(I played the game with him this morning, and after a good night's rest, he actually won the game without cheating at all.)

Oh, and...............

Bring them home.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Corn Maze 2007

Another version:

"A Fund of Knowledge", "A Scientist"

We had our first parent teacher conference yesterday. The good news with my little Devin is that there are "No Red Flags." I've worried a little about his social skills, that maybe he has ADHD, and that he's too attached to Trevor. Apparently, he's less attached to Trevor than he was, and there are no Red Flags. It was a good report.

Trevor's report was also good.

I'm going to tell you all about Trevor's report, but please don't think I'm not just as happy about Devin's report. Trevor is just older and in a more exciting developmental phase.

The teacher listed a couple of things they are working on. She thought he was a little timid about his writing because he's not very good at it, yet. He holds his pencil lightly and doesn't press too hard, and they are currently working on his letters and on how to hold a pencil. He doesn't like to color, but the teacher doesn't care about that at all. Coloring doesn't mean much as far as she's concerned. It's just not for everyone.

Beyond that, we found out that he had read a book. He actually got a note the day he read the book, but the Computer Guy and I decided that he'd heard the book, had memorized it, and recited it back. Not true, the teacher said. It was the first time he had seen it, and she could tell he was "decoding" it. Actually, braced with this knowledge, I asked him to spell cat later. He couldn't get the C because it's tricky, but he got the A-T. In fact, so excited to get to the T he was that he yelled out T! at the top of his lungs. It's very exciting.

It's a magical time, right now, as Trevor learns to read. I can't describe how I feel about it. It's just like a mystery being revealed, and I'm so pleased for Trevor.

The teacher agreed that he has a fantastic memory. He pulls from his fund of knowledge to answer questions, even on topics they aren't currently covering. It's true. Ask him a dinosaur question, and he may know the answer any day of the week. He also asks deeper questions, pushing the teachers to teach him just a little bit more. It was here that she called him a Scientist.

He's a little older, of course, and now he's able to use his words with his friends when things aren't going his way. This used to be an area we needed to work on, and now, it's an area with no red flags. It's a good development.

Things are continuing to go well overall with the new school. I had been worried that I wouldn't be able to send Devin to this school without Trevor next year and was considering having him to go Kindergarten at the Montessori school because of Devin. We may still send him there for Kindergarten, but if we do, it will be because of Trevor and not because of Devin.

So, that's the update.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What was it he said?

It was something like this...

"Dad, when I woke up this morning, I thought that I just don't like days like this at all." He sounded old and tired of this world. It was foggy, cold and damp outside, so I felt certain that he was referring to the weather and the way it made him feel.

Turns out, I was wrong.

He's going to a different school tomorrow and Friday because his school is closed for parent teacher conferences and an inservice day. He didn't like today because it's not tomorrow or Friday.

But, today was a good day at school. At his school, one of the things they teach is grace (isn't that cool?) To that end, I've been packing a placemat, cloth napkin, spoon and fork in his lunchbox every day. Also, to that end, the school set up a "high table" with a white table cloth, cloth napkins, and a floral centerpiece. Trevor was SO excited yesterday because he received an invitation to sit at the high table at lunchtime. I'm not sure exactly how it went because he shuts down if I ask too many questions or seek clarification on certain points, but he got a flower, and he remained happy about his time at the high table.

His other school may be more fun, but he normally likes his current school. Right now, he's working on putting tiles with numbers 1 to 100 in order on a board in order. He's up to 62. He's been working on it for 2 days, and today he started working on it with a friend.

Some days, he just seems wise.

I really don't worry too much about his future. I'm pretty sure it's going to be bright.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I don't like it, but I do it. I count to 3 in an effort to get my kids to do things that they don't do the first time I ask them to.

It doesn't really effect Devin. In one ear and out the other to no effect at all. Trevor will get upset if I count to 3 because he anticipates the time out on the other end of the 3. Trevor gets the whole counting to 3 thing. He has internalized it.

The other day, we were playing outside on the deck. Our deck has no stairs to the ground, and it's on the second level of the home (it's on the first level, but the basement is a walk out, so the deck is on the second level.) Trevor dropped a car, and so he ran out the front door, down the hill beside the house, and retrieved the car. Devin followed because that's what Devin does. Plus, I think Trevor said, "Follow me!"

On the way back to the house, Trevor said, "Come on, Devin, let's take a shortcut!" meaning he wanted to come back through the basement. From the deck, I said, "No, you can't. The door is locked." He tells me to open it. I say No, I don't want to. He wants to know why, and I say it's because I don't want to have to walk down the stairs, and anyway, he should just come around to the front door.

He says, "Open the door, mom!"

I said no.

He says, "1, 2, 3..."

I said HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Then told him to come around to the front, anyway.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oh, Lord.

Trevor and I talk about death and God, and I'm always surprised that we are talking about either. We haven't found a church. We haven't really looked, either, and I'm a little concerned that Trevor is learning everything he knows about God from a Hindu kid at his school. I've got an open mind, but I'm not sure I want my kid to learn all about God from a Hindu kid. I do want him to learn about God from a Hindu kid, but I would prefer that he has some of his own ideas, first. So, we talk about death and God, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to grow up and become Hindu because the only God I really know is the Christian God. It would be OK, I suppose, for him to grow up and become Hindu. But, 4 is really too young to choose that path when we're not from Hindu. Or, is it Hindi? I'm not sure. I should have him ask his friend. Who may actually not be Hindu but his parents are from India, so I think he is.

Ok, well.

Tonight we were talking about death and God, then marriage, then parenthood sorta. I'm going to take some liberties, but here's the gist of it:

T: "Why doesn't God take your body, too?" (We've had this conversation before so it really did start this way today.)
Me: "By the time you die, your body is old and worn out and it needs to stay on earth so that you can enjoy your time in Heaven better without your old worn out body."
T: "Does it hurt when you're covered in dirt and the worms eat you?"
Me: "No, it doesn't because God has already taken your soul and that's what feels. So you wouldn't feel the dirt or the worms."
T: "I don't want to die and be covered with dirt and deep under the ground."
Me: "You won't die for a really long time as long as you don't take big risks and take good care of yourself. You could live to be as old as your Grandma in Florida. Maybe older."
T: "How do you take care of myself?"
Me: "You drink milk, regular not chocolate, and eats lots of fruits and vegetables and lean meats, stuff like that."
T: "I like regular milk! It's better than chocolate!! Devin you should drink regular milk, too!"

T: "Can we move into that house they are building next door?"
Me: "No, I like the house we live in now. It's big enough."
T: "When I grow up, I'm going to find a girl to marry. Is there a church around here?"
Me: "Yeah, I think there are plenty of churches around here."
T: "I'll marry that girl that I find in a church, and then I'll move into that big house with her."

I told him that would be nice. It's all I really want for him is marry a nice girl in a church and move next door to me. I told him I would watch his kids while he went to work if he moved in next door to me. This caught his imagination.

T: "Why are you going to watch my kids when I go to work?"
Me: "It seems like the right thing to do if you live next door."
T: "Are you going to work? How will I pay you?"
Me: "If you have a good job, you can pay me the going rate at the time."
T: "Oh, I know! You can work at Kidsquest and you can watch my kids there, and I will pay you there!"
Me: "Oh, that's a good idea. But, I don't think there's a Kidsquest around here."
T: Pause, Pause, Pause
T: "Oh, I know! Dad can be a builder because he likes to build things, and he can build a Kidsquest!"

He was so pleased with this solution that he rushed to tell his Daddy what he had figured out. Then, he came back outside, and he played like he was the Dad and Devin was his son (we called him Kid and later, Son) and I was the Kidsquest worker. And, he had the best job. He was a Megabeast and sometimes a snake, and sometimes, he went to work with Kid Devin at Kidsquest (that cost extra) and sometimes he took his kid to work, but he wouldn't let him take the Big Risks, and he was really good about picking his kid up every day, and they would go home and play for a minute, and then the workday would start again.

He's a funny kid. Smart, cute, immensely clever. And, I'm really glad he's not a snake because then he wouldn't be my kid. He asked that today, too. "What if I were a snake?" I wouldn't like it, that's what! Bet I wouldn't have to talk about death and God with a snake, though...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

You tell us...

I wanted to try out a poll, so I asked Trevor to give me a question we could ask you guys. Well, here's what he came up with:

The backstory is that he came home from school a couple of days ago and asked if we could turn a grape into a raisin. And, now we have a grape sitting around waiting to become a raisin. I think it's on the table. I'll throw it out as soon as it gets gross and explain how we have to remove the water a little faster next time.

So, vote! I'm closing the poll tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

And now, he's 3

It was so hard on Trevor not be having a birthday, too. Plus, letting him pick out gifts for Devin completely captivated his imagination since he knew he would get to play with the new toys.

Way Cool Toy that folds up for easy storage.

Yes, we did. We got him a drum! So there! Now you can't sneak attack us with loud and obnoxious gifts because we did it to ourselves! We're immune to future loud gifts now!

This funny kid got more excited about gifts not from Mom, Dad and Trevor. I think that makes him a Playa!


Cool fold up toy, folded out.

See, I'm really a very creative being...

I was just trying to get one good picture.

Grandma tried to help by telling him to look at me, but that just made him look at her, with this look on his face.

When that look turned to this look, I quit trying.

After looking for candles or 10 minutes, I finally found these. They're tealights, not birthday candles. But, it was the best I could do. And, then Trevor blew them out, not Devin. Because Devin was too distracted by cake.

Oh, and I made a Lasagna, too. And, it was my best lasagna, ever. I think I've only made two, but I was really pleased with this second one. Devin enjoyed his birthday lasagna way more than I expected, asking for a second helping, even! (He didn't eat the second helping, but he asked for it!)

And now, he is 3. He's not interested in using the potty this week, either.

Oh, and this is my house in the fall:

I feel like the Queen of Mums because I pinched those mums and they're huge and quite lovely. I just hope they come back next year or I won't be the Queen of Mum any more. I'll the be the queen of a flowerless flowerbed, and that will be sad.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Another Vikki Story

She's a good story teller in addition to being a good poet...

Shan walks quietly down the gravel shoulder along the two lane highway that runs through town. He is tired after running countless suicides in gym class. “Just a few more blocks and you’re home,” he tells himself.

Up by the gas station and local hangout, Shan sees Ruben. Ruben is a black man who came to live in this all white, small town twenty years ago after he was taken away from his mother. He was born with a couple of birth defects and mild retardation, most likely the result of his mother's drug and alcohol abuse during her pregnancy; he drags his left leg behind and his left arm is bent and stiff and resembles a chicken wing. His mother couldn’t see the joy in her son because she was too distracted by his bent limbs and incessant talking, not to mention the junk she pushed into her veins. As a matter of daily routine, she silenced him with words sharp as knives, and when that failed, she used fists, belts and once, a bat. It was after that incident that the state stepped in. He was placed with the mayor and his wife in this tiny town when he was seven years old. Despite what could have been, the little bent black boy was loved by his adoptive parents and indeed the whole town. He looked out for it, and it normally looked out for him.

Shan was always nice to Ruben since he saved his life when he was seven. Shan had gotten stuck under some debris at an abandoned well site on the edge of town. Ruben was well known for walking every street in their small town every day. That day, he walked the street where the abandoned well site sat behind a mostly useless fence, and he was the first to spot Shan stuck and screaming for help. He alerted everyone to Shan’s predicament saving the day and the young boy.

On any other day he would have been glad to see his good friend, but not this day. Not only was he exhausted from running suicides in the stuffy gymnasium, he just found out that his girlfriend of six months was moving to a different state. “Oh God, please no, I’m just too tired to deal with him today,” Shan thinks to himself. He folds his arms and ducks his head hoping that Ruben will pass him by. Of course, he has no such luck. From two blocks away, Ruben starts waving his tube sock in the air. Ruben was never without his tube sock. He would run his chicken wing hand through it and use it to call attention to himself.

“Shan, Shan, I see you boy,” he says as he hobbles towards him.

“Not today Roo, I haven’t had a good day,” Shan says with his arms still folded.

“What’s up? what’s up?”

“Not today now go away!”

“What’s up, what’s up my boy, what’s up?” Ruben steps close beside Shan, his mouth stretched into a goofy grin.

“Ugh, the sky; damn it, now go away,” Shan is getting increasingly annoyed with him, because he know it takes a lot before Ruben catches on.

“That right, you got it right, you’re a smart boy Shan; you did real good.” Ruben gets close to Shan’s face; he smells of slobber and sweat, his normal Ruben odor. “How many babies you got Shan?”

“I don’t have babies,” Shan said shortly, “you stink, get out of my face.”

“Not nice Shan, not nice,” Ruben threw his tube sock over his shoulder and started to walk a little slower. He began to talk to himself just loud enough for Shan to hear, “you made him mad Scooter Gimp, and you did it.” Scooter gimp is what he calls his left leg, and he blamed everything on his Scooter Gimp.

He was still following behind Shan when he suddenly started to laugh out loud; his laugh sounded like someone running their fingers up and down so many piano keys. “Two hundred and fifty-two seven,” he said still laughing, “two hundred and fifty-two seven; that’s how many babies you have Shan.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.” Shan realized that he had been tricked into continuing the conversation with Ruben. He knows of only one way to get rid of him. He knows he could say the two words that would set him off and then get on with his day. Shan had never used the words, but some of the other kids in the town had and they still do on regular basis. Shan knew those kids were bullies, but he was in no mood for Ruben today.

“That doesn’t make sense Scooter Gimp, Scooter Gimp said it not me,” Ruben pounds on his leg, “Scooter Gimp is gonna get beat by mama!” Shan can see his house now and picks up the pace. “Where you goin’ Shan boy?”

“I’m going home; maybe you should be finding your way home too.”

“I talked to your mama today Shan,” Ruben said looking out the corner of his eye, “Do you want to know what your mama told me?”


“She said that you are a moody kid on account that you are gettin’ you puberty.”

“Oh, is that right; is that what she said?” Shan started to turn red and he was breathing hard. His testosterone laced blood rushed to his head as he slowly turned his head and looked Ruben straight into his eyes. “Ruben I only have two words for you…Shut up.” He said the last words quietly and with a lot less malice than he felt at the moment.

Ruben started to shake his head back a forth; he pulled his tube sock off his shoulder and started to hit himself with it. “No Shan don’t say that, Mama is not going to like you Shan, Mama is not going to like you no more.” Ruben started to wave his fist at him like he is going to hit him. He started tugging at his own shirt until he ripped it. At first Shan is a little frightened, but then he turns and starts to walk to his house, ignoring Ruben entirely. Ruben runs up the street dragging his Scooter Gimp behind him. He continues to tear his shirt off, yelling profanities about his mother, Shan, and his dreadful leg.

Shan could hear him ranting all the way up the street, and he cracked a smile as he went through the gate of his yard. Shan almost felt bad about telling him to shut up knowing that it would send him into that rage, but Ruben’s ranting display was too comical not to giggle just a little.

He was just two feet from his front door when he heard screeching tires. “Oh shit,” there was not a question in his mind; those screeching tires were definitely for Ruben.

Back the way he came, he ran faster than he had ever run before despite his exhaustion and teenage angst. But, it felt like he was running through quicksand. He imagined his good buddy sprawled out along the highway that ran down the center of the small town. “Oh God, what have I done?” Shan said out loud as he approached the scene.

He saw a silver Cadillac parked haphazardly on the side of the road. The obese lady driver was still inside with the air conditioner blowing her hair gently around her face.

His worst fears were realized when he saw Ruben laid out on the side of the road. A small group of people had already congregated around him with cell phones in hand. The nearest hospital was 20 minutes away, so it would be awhile before they heard ambulance sirens in the distance. Shan skidded to his knees in front of his friend in a panic, not knowing if he would be saying good-bye or getting swatted in the face with an old tube sock.

Ruben lay motionless on the gravel shoulder of highway, his gimp leg more oddly turned and twisted than normal; Shan leaned in closer studying Ruben’s still face for signs of life. Tears started to roll down his cheeks as he spoke to his dear friend, “I’m sorry Roo, I know that I shouldn’t have said those words to you,” Shan couldn’t control his emotions anymore as he rocked back and forth just like Ruben would asking himself why he was such an idiot for treating this child-like man like his useless mother did so long ago. Shan held his face and said, “I love you Roo, I love you.”

The obese lady driver, dressed like she was going to a garden party, finally got out of her Cadillac and walked over to Ruben and Shan. “Is he alright?” she asked.

“No, of course he’s not, lady,” Shan threw the words in her fleshy face, “you ran over him with your big fat car!” Shan was crying like a little boy now.

“I thought I just barely nipped him,” she said wringing her hands in worry. “I didn’t think I killed him.” Her voice broke and Shan could see that she was trembling with fear.

It was at this time that Ruben slowly opened his eyes and began to speak softly to Shan, “I love you too boy…I love you too.” Shan smiled so big he nearly slit his lip; he wiped the tears from his face.

His breath still hitched in his throat as he recovered from his tears. “I thought you were dead, Roo!”

“No, no, no, not me, not me,” Ruben explained, “She hit me in my Scooter Gimp, that’s all.” Ruben looked at his leg for a long time, and then he turned to Shan with tears rolling from both his eyes, “I think Scooter Gimp is dead though.”

Shan smiled at Ruben and the crowd gathered around the man and the boy started to twitter. The twittering turned the giggles, the giggles turned to outright laughing. Shan and Ruben were laughing, too, when they first heard the sirens in the distance.

“Damned Scooter Gimp was always getting you in trouble. You didn’t need him anyway,” Shan told his buddy as he patted his shoulder.

Monday, October 15, 2007

First a rant and then BEWARE

So, to Devin I say...

Preferring that I be the one to change your poopy diaper and to check on you in the middle of night certainly does not make me feel like your favorite parent. Also, your third birthday was last week, and you still seem overly attached to your diaper. I'm hopeful that we can address the best way to express your preference for me at 2 in the morning and also that you can say bye-bye to your diaper and hello to the potty chair or toilet, if you prefer.

You know, Devin, I can't help but be reminded of the way you NEVER held your own bottle. This was sweet at the time, even though I thought you were resisting letting go of your babyhood. Even if it was resistance, there was no harm done because graduating from your bottle involved drinking from a cup, and I never had to hold that for you. And, there was time. But, you have to graduate from your diaper and into underwear and I don't want to sop pee off the floor with papertowels every time we give potty training a go. So, could you work with me on this? You promised...

So, the other day, I was trying to entice Devin to go potty in the potty chair, and I told him that I would sing and dance and clap if he would go potty in the potty chair or toilet. He said, "No, I'll sing and dance and clap." I asked him if that meant he would sing and dance and clap after he went potty? He said, "No, after you go potty."

You got all wrong, kid! (But, the comedic timing, he's got that, see?!?)


We were all running late this morning because Trevor engaged me in the following paraphrased conversation:

T: "What is a ware?"
Me: "Do you mean like 'wear your clothes' or 'where are your clothes'?
He was quiet.
Me: "Do you mean like werewolf?"
He was still quiet.
T: "What does it mean when you're supposed to BEWARE?"
Me: "Oh, that means to be careful of things that could hurt or frighten you."
T: "Oh, like you should beware of monsters?"
Me: "Yes, or like you should beware of traffic and look both ways before crossing a street."
T: "Should you beware of aliens? Do aliens exist?"
Me: "They might exist. No one knows for sure. Some people say they've seen them, but they don't have proof. I've never seen them, but the universe goes on forever, and they night exist. We just don't know for sure."
T: "If I met an alien, I wouldn't punch him in the face if he was nice, but if he were a bad alien, I would punch him."
Me: "If he were really bad, you should just run away."
He was skeptical.
T: "Do monsters exist?"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Empathy or Sympathy?

A reader with a keen eye will count two parenting errors, at least, in this story. At the end, though, please let me know if I'm describing empathy or sympathy.

We were eating a healthy dinner of broiled tilapia, steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes AND watching the Simpsons. Specifically, we were watching Million Dollar Abie where Grandpa Simpson does a lot of things, including Bullfighting. Trevor was OK during most of the show. He didn't feel bad for Grandpa Simpson when everyone hated him, and it didn't register that Grandpa was trying to kill himself when he got hooked up to the die-pod, and that didn't make him sad either.

But, then Grandpa got his new lease on life and he took up bull fighting. When the bull fighting started, Trevor got quiet and still. He stopped eating and he rested his cheek on his hand. It didn't occur to me at the time, but in hindsight, I would guess that his entire body was tense.

A couple of minutes into it, I recognized that something was amiss, and then I noticed the content on the screen. Grandpa Simpson was holding a sword over his head as the tired bull looked at him with sadness and tiredness in his eyes. And, I knew why Trevor was sad as the plaintive and mournful wail escaped from his tense little body.

I invited him to keep watching to see what happened next. Grandpa Simpson released the bulls and they ran happily through the streets of Springfield. But, the look in he bull's eyes continued to haunt Trevor. He sniffled and cried and folded himself into my arms. I patted his head and told him that it was OK to feel sad for the bull, but that the bull was OK. He still cried, and then asked to be carried to bed.

We took him to bed where he tried to brush his teeth. But, it's hard to brush your teeth when you're crying about a sad bull. Then I tucked him into bed where he surrounded himself with all of his sleeping friends (a group of stuffed animals that includes a bull). This made him cry. I hugged him and tried to soothe him and told him that I would see him in the morning.

And, when I saw him in the morning, he was fine for a few minutes, but then he cried some more for the bull. I tucked him into my arms and covered him with the blanket and reminded him how happy the bulls were as they ran through the streets of Springfield.

And, then the whole sad episode was over.

So, was it empathy or sympathy that made him cry? I don't really understand the difference between those two emotions... (I added a poll. See top left corner beneath the masthead. That way you can vote without leaving a comment.)

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's that time of year again...

They are having a trike-a-thon for St. Jude's at the boy's new school. I won't go over how I feel about St. Jude's Hospital. Suffice it to say, it's a cause I can get behind.

If you'd like to make a pledge, please send me an email at: (click contact me if that's easier for you).

I'm thinking if you're a friend of Memaw, you can giver her your money and she can send it to me, and if you're a friend of Trevor and Devin and live nearby, you can hand me the money... Something along those lines.

I love this school. They plan things like I do. Which is to say, they don't plan things very far in advance. The trike-a-thon is 10/19, so if you can let me know if you'll be pledging by next Wednesday, I would be a grateful fund-raising momma.


(Oh, and I'm sure there won't be another trike-a-thon until this time next year. The doubling up of Trike-a-thons in 2007 is because they changed schools.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicken Salad

The other day, I had a craving for tuna salad. But, I didn't have any tuna because no one in my house, except for me every now and then, has any interest in canned tuna. Socks might. Anyway, it was with this craving that I opened the refrigerator door, staring, hoping something might pop up to replace my craving. And something did. I had a chicken breast and some flank steak left over from a few days before. So, I decided to make chicken-steak salad.

This was new to me. When mom and dad made chicken salad when I was a kid, they used some sort of grinder attachment on their big old mixer. I didn't have a grinder attachment or a big old mixer, so I got out my fancy blender.

I cut up the chicken and steak and threw it in the blender. I added a little mayo and mustard, then a little more mayo, and finally, it was a paste whose consistency I was happy with. I cut up a pickle and some onion, threw that in, and voila, I had something that would satisfy my craving for tuna salad.

Does it sound good to you? It wasn't bad, and it was a good way to use up leftovers otherwise destined for the garbage disposal.

Well, it would have been if it was something my family would ever considering eating. But, they won't. Not at all. Not a bit.

Why am I telling you about my chicken-steak salad, you ask? I want you to envision how it might taste so that you can empathize with my children.

Yesterday morning, I wasn't feeling very creative when I made their lunches, so I spread some of my yummy-to-me-only chicken and steak salad on some bread, and it was so nice and easy that I hoped I would be able to do it again soon. But, I had my doubts even at 8 in the morning. When they got home in the afternoon, I asked them if they liked their sandwiches. Trevor answered like this:

"No. I didn't like that sandwich. Not at all. Not a bit."

The sandwich looked completely untouched, too.

Devin also responded that he didn't like the sandwich at all. Not even a little bit. But, he had eaten about half of his, which is normal for him. So, I'm no so sure he isn't being unduly influenced by his brother when it comes to his opinion of the sandwich.

We talked about the sandwiches later, and Trevor continued emphatically dissing my chicken steak salad sandwich. I told him that his sandwich looked completely untouched, and he said, "Oh, I took one bite all right. And, it was the worst sandwich, ever. I did not like it. I did not like it one bit."

He really didn't like that sandwich. Devin seconded Trevor's assessment of the sandwich, again. And, I think I mentioned that he had eaten half of his sandwich, but then he disavowed all knowledge of that.

So, I guess if they don't like my chicken and steak salad, tuna salad isn't in my future, either. I wonder if celery would have made it more palatable?? Probably not.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Guess who's going to be 3 in just 4 days? That's right. His name is in the subject line. It's Devin!

Let me tell you about Devin. First, I love him. He's really cute and sometimes, he's really sweet, but other times, he's the opposite of sweet, like when he hits strangers or grandparents as hard as he can in the legs.

And, his hair! It's SO blonde and since we haven't cut it lately, it's a little curly and messy.

If Trevor does it, it's got to be OK for Devin, too. But, sometimes, he fights back and just wants to do things his own way. When Trevor insists something is his, that's normally OK with Devin. But, not always. (I need to work on NOT giving in to Trevor's insistence that everything is his, myself.)

As his last cold demonstrated, he hasn't outgrown his asthma, yet. But, I think he's almost there.

He claims that he will start using the potty when he's 3. We are counting down the days. But, I don't believe him, really. Trevor is in charge of potty training Devin. I don't really remember how, and I'm not equipped for this job. I expect great things from Trevor.

He likes to sing catchy songs. His last catchy song was "Happy Valley, Happy Valley." I don't know what he knows about Happy Valley, but it made for a nice song. As soon as he started singing this song, Trevor joined right in.

He's got great comic timing.

He can count to 5 or 6 and sometimes even 10 (but not 3. He can't stop at 3. He always goes at least to 5).

He tries to make me read him two books at night, and when I give in to that, he expects me to wait while he reads the two books back to me.

When I try to give him hugs and kisses at night, he brings his knees to his chest and makes it impossible. But, when he does let me hug and kiss him, his hugs and kisses are really nice.

When he's not feeling well, he is really hard to get along with.

He drove his power wheels motorcycle all the way around the neighborhood tonight at dusk.

He laughs at inappropriate times, like when he's in trouble.

He's little for his age (which I worry about because I knew a Plant Manager once who was short and had short-man syndrome and was impossible to work with, but on the plus side, he's easy to carry around.)

If you give him a cupcake, he'll only eat the icing off the top.

His favorite drinks are apple juice and chocolate milk. He only gets apple juice when he goes to grandma and grandpa's house. So, he likes to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. He needs to see the syrup for chocolate milk to qualify as chocolate milk.

If he gets in bed with us, he insists on sleeping in the middle, even if there's no way he's going to sleep.

So, that's Devin on the eve of his 3rd birthday. I can't believe he's only been with us for three years. It seems like I've known him forever.

He's still deep

The other day, Trevor talked about and demonstrated his need to be independent. He is still just my little boy, though.

Last night, he was laying on the floor watching The Simpsons, when he started to sniffle. The sniffle turned into a cry.

We asked him what was wrong, but he just cried a little cry even more.

We asked again, and he finally told us that he was sad because he doesn't want to grow up. He doesn't want to grow up because he won't be able to do all the things he likes to do. I guess that includes eating ice pops at school, laying on the floor watching the Simpsons and drinking milk through a cookie straw.

I'm glad that his moments of struggle to be independent come with moments where independence is confusing and sad. I like watching him grow up. I do wish he realized that we don't normally give in to requests made during tantrums, but that's a story for another day.

A confession

I think that littering is very, very naughty.

So does Trevor.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I Think Fast...

...But not always logically.

Here's a story from my illustrious past.

The boys and me and the computer guy were having sandwiches at our favorite bagel shop back in Chicagoland one day. Our favorite bagel place wasn't too far from a Naval base, and because of this, every now and then, we saw people in Wranglers and/or cowboy hats, sometimes even boots. (These folks were NEVER from Chicagoland). Or, we heard people speak with Mississippi twangs. I always wanted to hug these people and welcome them to Chicagoland and tell them it was a really great place. I actually nearly did that once with a girl wearing an Eskimo Joe's T-shirt. The computer guy was mortified and the Eskimo Joe T-shirt wearing girl thought I was odd. So, I normally kept my desire to be the welcome wagon in check after that experience.

Until that day at our favorite bagel shop.

She sounded like she was from deeper in the South than me. And, she looked at my baby, Devin, with obvious admiration and longing (I imagined the longing part). In the space of about 32 seconds, I decided that she was looking at my baby longingly because she was expecting her own soon. And, I decided she was there visiting her boyfriend or husband who was currently stationed at the Naval Base. And, I figured since it was her first time to Chicagoland up from rural Texas or Alabama or Mississippi, she was probably uncomfortable and in need of a little welcome wagon action.

So, I smiled at her.

I wish I had just left it at that. That would have been welcoming. That would have been the thing that taught her that people in Chicagoland are friendly. Even if all of my assumptions about her had been wrong, the smile was the right thing to do. It's nice to smile at people.

But, I wanted to engage her. I wanted her to know that I was a kindred spirit who lapses into a Southern accent whenever I'm around others with a Southern accent, someone who can appreciate the whole Wranglers, Boots, Cowboy hat ensemble. So, I asked her a question:

"When is your due date?" I tried to stop the words halfway through the sentence, but it was too late. Too, too late.

She took it in stride, and she told me that (of course) she wasn't pregnant. I tried to explain that she didn't really even look pregnant. The shirt reminded me of a maternity top I had worn when I was pregnant. That was all. I didn't explain the rest about how I thought she looked at my baby with longing and that I thought she needed to be welcomed to the area.

That would have just been odd.

Friday, October 05, 2007

What the??

When Trevor sees or hears something that deserves an exclamation, he says, "What the??"

I don't think we taught him this, but it's possible.


Before I met the computer guy, I thought there were 2 kinds of wine, red and white. Now, there's really just One (and it's all we (and be we I mean me) want for Christmas, Midwest Auntie) but that's not really the point at all. The point is I can spill things. Have I told you this story before? If so, just skim the rest.

The computer guy and I were living in the Midwest in the house that used to be a parsonage next to the house that used to be a church, and we liked to have wine. And, we liked to have this wine in the living room in front of the TV every now and then.

I brought my glass of wine to the living room with its white walls and white ceilings and white carpet. It was a glass of Red Wine, perhaps a merlot, maybe even a Blackstone Merlot because before we discovered two buck chuck, there was Blackstone. For some reason that day, I wanted to sit on the floor. So, I sat on the floor with my glass of red wine. Red.

The glass started to fall.

I tried to catch it.

I almost caught it.

But, instead of catching it, I launched it up into the air.

It spun oh, so gracefully through the air sending a barely touched glass of red wine (red) onto the walls and carpet and ceiling.

I had spilled wine on the ceiling.

We cleaned it all up. Except for the ceiling.

Later, I married the computer guy, and we had both red and white wine at our wedding. I chose the white wine because of my history of spectacular spills and the fact that I would be wearing a white dress (white.)

I stuck with that white wine most of the day. It was a nice, fruity Sauvignon Blanc. But, then, I had one glass of red wine (red) near the end of the afternoon. I spilled it on my dress, the white one I wore on my wedding day.

This is the legacy that will stay with my children, I think, for a long time to come. This ability to spill things in a spectacular fashion. I think that Devin will be the one more afflicted with this legacy than Trevor. And, when they spill and smear milk and what-not and spaghetti and Froot Loops, I will just love them and then clean up their messes and remember the red wine on the ceiling.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Devin's dreamy lie

Trevor was telling us about his scary dream the other night, so Devin piped up with his own scary dream. He saved Trevor from whatever monster was haunting him. I'm pretty sure it was a lie because he incorporated elements from Trevor's dream into his own, and he had to wait for Trevor to tell us his dream to add to his own dream story. I wonder when 2nd children start having original thoughts? Did I have original thoughts when I was 2, or did I just repeat everything Sindy said with my own little twists?

Well, Devin apparently had another scary dream last night, and he told us about this one without hearing Trevor's dream first. Either way, it's a figment of his imagination. Here it is:

"I dreamed there was a light on my tongue, and then I laid down at the lunch place. But, I laid down on top! And, then it turned into a monster, and then the light on my tongue turned into a monster, and there was a monster in my mouth, and it scared me."

I wonder what it means.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I use to see how many hits I get on this site. And it also shows me your IP address. I am really good at Excel and I can show you a picture here on my blog using a little HTML. I can even show you links to other sites using my limited and rudimentary HTML, but I'm not nearly as technically savvy as I would have been if I hadn't married the computer guy. See, I don't have to be. I just ask him. I wanted to know how many readers I have, so I tried to get y'all to comment. My mom did. So, did my Aunt Mary. They rock. Then I told the computer guy I that I wanted to know more about my readers, and he found and then figured out how to put into my blog template so that it would keep an eye on you, my readers.

So, I'm keeping my eye on you.

But, I'm not all that technically savvy. That's the summary. That's not even the confession.

Here's the confession. I may as well be Catholic given how intense this need to confess has been. I have tried repeatedly to figure out exactly who in Boise, Idaho has been reading my Blog on a regular basis. I had all sorts of ideas about what kind of person it might be. And, I tried to call Boise, Idaho out and get him/her to comment so that I could know who he/she was. I changed daddy's name to daddy and then the computer guy because I didn't want Boise, Idaho to track me down somehow.

Then, did a little upgrade. And now, Boise, Idaho shows up in Oklahoma. I'm pretty sure Boise, Idaho is an aunt or she works with my mom. So, gosh. I don't know what else to add. I'm sorry for thinking you lived in Idaho.

Next time, I won't trust the old quite so much.

I do know a little more about you if you want to comment so that I can re-label you with who you really are. You visit using Safari 1.2 most of the time. You really ought to know who you are now. So, tell me.

It will really help me sleep at night.

Vikki, Extraordinaire

So, I know that you know that I think my sister Vikki is an incredible and inspiring person (who's stuck in a dead end job, and that pun is really not intended).

She's been a painter, a sculptress, a full-time mommy and student forever, and she's currently doing this last part while working full time and/or part time for a bunch of ungrateful and immoral bosses who will remain nameless mostly because I don't know their names. But, I wish I could tell them that Karma is bad, bad, bad, and get them to treat her right.

Anyway, she is currently taking classes so that she can become a full-time funeral director in her home state. She is taking a creative writing class, and she's found that she is just as creative and artistic as a writer as she was as a painter. I made her send me a poem so that I could publish it here for your reading pleasure. I know most of my audience knows and loves Vikki as much as I do, so please enjoy:

I will spin my web
Here, the ideal place
To catch those with wings
In my organic lace

I start from this branch
And free fall through space
To the ground and up again
To make a sturdy base

Around in circles
I make certain to take care
To be mathematically divine
Ensuring insects will be snared

Now that it is done
I only sit and wait
For unsuspecting passersbys
To meet their ghastly fates

I sense vibration
And I move with speed
I will poison and cocoon him
And wait 'til later to feed

Copyright by Vikki (is that legal and binding? I think it is)
(She has written another poem that I plan on posting in the next few days.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Mr. Independent

Trevor, the light of my life, has become very vocal on the topic of his independence. Specifically, he says, "I don't want you to be the boss of my anymore!" This statement did come right on the heels of my asking him to pick the toys up off the living room floor. It was his choice. He could either go find something else to do, or he could pick up the toys from the floor and then I would turn on a show. I thought giving him choices would be enough. It wasn't.

It took awhile. But, finally he picked up his toys. He even told Devin how great it was to pick up toys. At dinner, I mentioned to the computer guy how Trevor is tired of me being the boss of him. I don't think I was judgmental. I only told the story because I thought it was cute. But, still. Trevor offered a sheepish grin, and said, "Yeah, but I was just joking."

But, he wasn't. He's really interested in being independent. He's acting out at school and home in an effort to make his own choices, and he's even dreaming of the day when he's the boss of himself. He asked me yesterday if when I was a kid, I ever wanted to do things all by myself. When I told him that I sure did, he revealed that when he can, he will buy all the toys in the world. I remember feeling like that about cool whip, and how I would eat it straight from the freezer when I was all grown up. (I really don't do that nearly as much as I thought I would.)

So, this is a new phase, and one that I hope I manage well. Because if I can raise an independent kid who is considerate and makes good choices, I'll give myself the mother of the year award.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Haiku (Everyone's doing it)

Monday Morning

The big boy is sad
To school for French, Math, and Grace
Trashless lunch to eat

Little sick brother
his cold, asthma in his lungs
Joy like crisp blue sky

Preschool TV on
Urge to play with mom stifled
like green leaves in Fall

Mom sneezing coughing
the germs are winning right now
sleeping weather day