Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Super Boys

I don't think I've put up any pictures of the superhero capes my mom (aka Super-Gramma) made for the boys. The kids wear them all the time and Ethan was even more enthusiastic about it after watching The Incredibles last night. "Where is my soooopersuit? Is dis my supersuit?" Unfortunately, his superpowers do not include the ability to put on underwear right-side-out.

Evan's greatest power is the ability to order me around using monosyllables. Guess what he's asking me to do here, AGAIN?
Oh yeah, right where I want her.

I got a book from the library today called The Minds of Boys. Hopefully it will explain such phenomena as the inability to use an inside voice, the need to knock your little brother down for no reason, and why all the couch cushions need to be pulled off even when you are just passing through the living room to play somewhere else. Seriously: WHY? Maybe my next post will be full of revelations about the inner workings of the male brain. If there are any yuk yuk.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Of Band-Aids and Heartache

Ethan used his patented two-armed-slide-under-a-vehicle, or in this case the vibrating baby seat, to fix somefing this morning. Unfortunately, he did not calculate the risks of performing this manuever on a wood floor and ended up with two splinters in his rear end, one of which was at least two (2) inches long. Agony! I don't think he cried that hard after shutting his fingers in the door last year. Even after a band-aid, Tylenol, phone calls to Dad and Gramma, and a bowl of ice cream, he was settled on the couch watching Curious George and still letting out periodic shrieks. "I just want someone to make it stop hurting," he sobbed. Oh, if only. Why don't these babies come with a magic wand we could use for just such a purpose? And I realize the things that will bring suffering to these little hearts will get farther and farther from my control. I can keep stocking Band-Aids and ice cream, but how do I prepare for the rest of those hurts?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Ethan used to get really excited when he saw Barack Obama on TV but I think the constant coverage today has burned him out. "I want to watch somefing that is myyyyyy fave-wit," he started whining a little while ago. "Dis is your fave-wit." Yes it was my favorite, and we had quite a fun little inauguration party. I would have traded one of the kids for the chance to be in DC (just kidding, sweetie) but we celebrated with a picnic on the living room floor and later took some musical instruments outside to have a parade of our own. Now Obama's work will begin in earnest. I pray for his continued safety and that our lawmakers will be able to work together to accomplish his inspired goals.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I went to the dentist today, for the first time since I was pregnant with Ethan. I don't know why I put it off so long. I love how clean and shiny my teeth feel right now. Matt stayed home with the boys so the appointment was practically like a spa treatment.

Also, I joined Facebook. I know, I know. First I thought it was lame, then I figured I was too old, now look out tech world, here I come! Let's be friends.


Yesterday we went to a baby shower in Kearney for my cousin Craig and his wife Tammy. Perfect timing, because today she gave birth to their little girl! It is always wonderful to spend time with my extended family. My aunts brought presents for the boys, and they were thrilled to play with my sister and cousins. Evan even acted like a normal baby, not a whiny clinging little spider monkey.

When we were loading up Ethan's 'pack-pack' for the road trip, he announced "I need to bring two twactors- one for me and one for Tessa."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Heart Barack Obama

I got home from a (fabulous, more on that later) baby shower just in time to catch the rerun on HBO of the inauguration kickoff celebration in Washington D.C. I started tearing up as the first camera panned the crowd and the music started. I ache to be a part of it all but will have to settle for staying glued to the TV while Matt complains about missing Dirty Jobs. My heart is so filled with hope and pride and gratitude and prayers for the safety of the Obama family. I spun my laughing children around as we danced to John Mellancamp and Garth Brooks (whom I was rather surprised to see performing), and I listened awestruck as the inspiring words of historic leaders were repeated. What an amazing, amazing time we are part of.

Ethan got a lot out of it, too. When Bruce Springsteen appeared, Ethan shouted "Wook! He pways the guitar wike me and Kirk!" Yes, Buddy, exactly like that.

Great article

My very own opinions, cleaned up and presented interestingly by Maureen Dowd:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

So far, so good

Saturday is half over, and so far it has been a perfect weekend-day. The sun is shining, we all slept late...ahhh. The boys and I went to town to run errands this morning. We usually park at the grocery store then walk down to the library. Today we brought Ethan's scooter for him to ride. My grandpa bought it for him for Christmas and he absolutely loves it. It looks like a big kid's toy but it is the perfect size for him. Anyway, I wanted to let him try it out in the real world instead of just endlessly circling through the house. Success!
So we got some books, some groceries, dropped off the recycling, and then I saw the Goodwill pick-up trailer was parked in town. Score! I have conveniently been carting several boxes around in my trunk and forgetting to drop them off when I'm in the Big City. I love being able to check more than one thing off my list.

Then we got home and got back to our work...

Now both kids are napping, the washing machine and dishwasher are going- gosh, parenting is so easy! We've probably all entered a new phase where everyone plays nicely, goes to sleep at a reasonable time, and the house stays clean. Right?

Friday, January 16, 2009


Betsy Shaw over at Momformation once described bedtime at her house as a 'crescendo of overstimulation.' That is an extremely apt description of the long, progressive meltdown that accompanies going to bed over here. Lately Matt puts Evan to sleep and promptly falls asleep himself, while Ethan and I putter around downstairs and read some books, then catch The Daily Show. All very peaceful, even through the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trips to the potty and the discussion of chocolate milk versus water. Eventually the reality of bedtime hits, and Ethan's face contorts into the first step of a particularly annoying 'ooooohh-aahhhhh' tantrum. And after he is snuggled in bed, my patience starts to disintegrate at the same rate his system is revving up. More requests for drinks and trips to the potty and wails of I don't wike to go to bed/beds do not feel good for me/ahhhhhhhh. After a while I start snapping, then escalate to increasingly shrill threats til we finally collapse in tear-streaked exhaustion. Last night Matt deemed this Unacceptable and marched both boys up the stairs at 9pm. He and Evan fell asleep, and Ethan started his routine 2 hours early. Total fail, and a very crappy ending to what was a surprisingly awesome day. Even though it was our second straight day stuck inside due to frigid temps, we had a lot of fun playing dress-up, hide & seek, building forts, coloring, "shkooping" with the many pieces of heavy equipment they accumulated at Christmas, singing & dancing, etc etc. The boys even played together occasionally while I rounded up paperwork to do taxes. So does the fun and trauma balance each other out? Or since it all ended on such a sour note, will yesterday be remembered as a bad day? Or since the kids are happily shkooping right now as I type this, is the heartache forgotten and no long-term damage done? I'll go with that one.

Happier times:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tidbits & Notes

Thrill (if you are a 1 or 3 year old male): A repairman came to fix my oven and the boys stood over his shoulder, enthralled, for a good 30 minutes. Evan cried when he left.

Chill: It's frickin' cold here.

Evan is boycotting his highchair. I wonder if Poison Control has an equivalent service for Head Trauma.

Dear Evan,

Changing your diaper is not something I do for my own enjoyment. It is just as thrilling for me as it is for you, which I realize is NOT AT ALL, and it is not helpful for one of us to run screaming through the house half-naked.

That goes for you, too.

Your loving mother.

Dear Ethan,

I very much appreciate all the work you do around the house. No one else is thorough enough to use an entire bottle of Swiffer cleaner on the bathroom floor. And thanks for putting some of your toys away last night. You're right- the fridge is a perfectly logical place to keep pirate guns.

Thanks again.

Love, Mom

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bright spots

These days have been a little, uh, trying. Both boys seem to be going through a coordinated bossy/opinionated/tantrumy/clingy stage. Double the fun, I tell you. There were a couple of gems today, though.

Ethan was measuring the length of a tool: "Two-eighths and... a hundred dollars."

We often read a book called Owl Moon, about a little girl and her father walking through the woods late at night calling to owls. It is a lovely, peaceful story. Ethan walked around the house and announced "I'm going owling." I silently congratulated myself for 1) raising kids with healthy imaginative play and 2) instilling a deep love/respect for nature. Then he came back.
"I shooted all the owls. Now I'm going deering."
I guess one out of two isn't bad.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Evan's 1st Haircut

My mom gave Evan his first haircut today. (Gee, I hope the title didn't give away the ending.) He slept through the whole thing and woke up looking like a big boy. Ok, bigger. Even I had to admit that it -the hair- has been a little untameable lately. See, it is too curly, I pointed out defensively to Mom as she snipped one perfect ringlet. Yes, but in such a homeless-child way, she replied. Well, he is the epitome of well-groomed now! If I could just get his fingernails clipped...

Flashback to Ethan's 1st haircut. I think he was 17 months old. Photography by Tessa.


No curls!

Friday, January 9, 2009


To recap: Wednesday was traumatic, Thursday was really fun, Friday was looong and dull- who knows what surprises are in store for us tomorrow?! Hopefully the ice storm will clear and my parents will make it up. That should help A LOT in the mental-health department.

Yesterday Evan said three new words: teedee, while we were playing with kitties; dahdee, while petting the dog; and uh-oh each time he dropped a pretzel out of the wagon, one by one. This brings his total vocabulary to 10: mom, dad, Matt, bye-bye, nite-nite, gamma, and tay doo (thank you).

Ethan uses a lot of phrases right now. Normal questions are followed with or what? or or somefing? as in, "Should we go outside now, or what?" His favorite saying right now is "Are you kidding me?" which makes me want to roll my eyes and snap, yes, I am kidding you, I don't really want you to pick up your toys. He is also quoting a lot of Dr. Seuss books at surprisingly appropriate times. This mess is so big/so deep and so tall/we can not pick it up/there is no way at all! he'll recite when faced with the mountain of things to put away. We can have lots of good fun that is funny, he kept saying on Wednesday. It's fun to have fun/but you have to know how. Those are all from The Cat in the Hat, by the way, in case you aren't lucky enough to read it 372961 times a day. He used to call our dog (Sam) Sam-I-Am but has apparently outgrown that. :(

And now both boys are in bed, and we have survived another day, filled with our usual array of activities, each one more exciting than the last:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Better Now

In case any of you were considering making an anonymous call to Social Services, I wanted to let you know we are all coping much better today.

Last night, after everyone was finally asleep, I prayed for more patience and kindness and compassion. When we woke up, I greeted each child with a smile, hug, and "I'm so happy to see you this morning" instead of hissing "it is way too early to wake up, go lay down RIGHT NOW." Of course, it is much easier to be kind at 8:45 than at 6am. Which is especially true for those small children. How unfair of me to be annoyed with them for acting out due to being tired, when I was doing the exact same thing. I spent a lot of time yesterday getting angry at them, then getting angry at myself for expecting them to behave better than I personally could manage. I don't feel like I managed our time very well yesterday and today I am feeling badly about that. It's amazing how one bad day can destroy your confidence and perspective, causing the future to look like a bleak stream of poor choices and endless hours of misery. But the one constant of parenting is that nothing stays constant, which makes me nostalgic about the good times, but oh what a blessing when it comes to the tough parts. Today is a new day, with many many opportunities for me to respond with kind words and fun ideas. So far, so good- and it's almost nap time.

Ethan cutting pieces of a cookie for Evan on his "knifing board."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Let's call Daddy again

Despite the brief snowfall this morning, ominous clouds, and nearly-2-hour power outage (WTF?), it was pretty warm outside this afternoon. The kids were able to put off their tantrums for a few minutes of peaceful scooping and digging. Evan has finally figured out how to navigate in snowboots so we walked around the yard with the kitties for a little while. It all deteriorated within 10 minutes, though, just like the cookie-baking and the bathtub fun and the Zingo game. I have no idea what the deal is, or rather, what is responsible for the crappy sleep issues they're both having. Maybe Evan is getting more teeth, but what is Ethan's problem? O how I hope they're not coming down with anything.

They look so innocent...

In other developmental news, Evan now insists on feeding himself. It's fine, I was almost caught up on the laundry and was wondering what I would do with my free time. Phew, crisis averted. And yes, he is using a fork to eat yogurt. You try reasoning with him.

Message in a Bottle


Help! Trapped with two feral children, possibly cannibalistic.
Send tranqs ASAP.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I'm not sure why I haven't written anything here lately; we haven't really been busy, just pleasantly occupied. Evan has two new molars and is now a much happier guy. For some reason, though, both kids are waking up during the night lately, WHY OH WHY? And this morning Ethan ran into my room at the crack of 6:15 -AM!!!!- asking if it was time to go to Ethan Kipp's house. Um, no, I'm pretty sure if we show up at his house at 6:15 that would be our last time. We did go at 10:30 and everyone had a lot of fun.

A few random images... not the most flattering photo, but aren't their jammies cute?

One afternoon Ethan wanted to take his nap on the couch. During much stalling and squawking, I went upstairs and tried to ignore him, while inwardly cursing about how difficult he was. When he quieted down, I checked on him and saw this: Awwww. Ok, he's pretty sweet after all.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Family Fun

Matt has had the past couple days off work and we have all been enjoying these uninterrupted days together. The boys and I have helped with several ranch projects, which always leaves me with a (slightly over-inflated) sense of pride and accomplishment. Oh yeah, I drove the pickup/held the gate! I rock! That man is lucky to have me.

Tonight we went out to dinner and then sat down for a rousing game of Candyland. "We are all playing together!" Ethan kept announcing in awe. Well, if you count Evan trying to eat the cards.

We, okay, Matt, finally got the kids' Christmas present built. "Some assembly required" was a bit of an understatement, but they have really been enjoying their little kitchen so I think the labor was worth it. After we were done baking cookies this afternoon, Ethan wanted to make something else. I told him to wait til tomorrow, and he rushed over to his stove and began mixing. "I'll make somefing in my own kitchen!" he announced. Works for me.

The rosy cheeks are kinda cute, but they're starting to look a little painful. Aquaphor is not doing the trick, does anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Really, 2009?

Aah, a bright and shiny new year, just waiting for me to scratch some resolutions into its paint. I don't usually do resolutions, as my goals have been pretty basic recently, such as keep the children alive. Since I managed to accomplish* that, I am going to ask more of myself this year with specific objectives in the areas of organization (stop laughing), financial recordkeeping, and fitness (I'm serious, STOP LAUGHING). I also considered making some possible improvements in my parenting, like no yelling at the kids, at least until 10 am, but decided against setting myself up for failure. So watch out, the new and improved version of me will be coming soon! Unless all that makes me too tired.

Ethan is home. We are glad to be a complete family again. Evan randomly stops in the middle of playing and hugs him and Matt is happy to have his ranching buddy back. Ethan is full of stories about his time with Grampa and Gramma and Kirk. It seems like he is talking even better now, but maybe my standards are just lower since I've spent the past week being ordered around nonverbally.

2008 was a wonderful year for us. I pray that 2009 will again be filled with blessings, for all of you.

* Close counts in horseshoes AND childrearing.