Thursday, May 28, 2009


You know how your car can make a funny noise every time you get in, but as soon as a guy -especially a mechanic- test drives it, it runs perfectly? Well apparently the same principle applies to the verbalizations of a certain 18-month-old. One recent Friday I talked to our doctor and got a pamphlet for an Early Childhood Development screening, and that very weekend Evan started using eight new words. His current favorites are up and owie, which at first he used in perfect context. Now, however, they have evolved. 'Up', accompanied by grabby fingers, can mean 'pick me up', 'put this illicit treasure up there', 'give me that', 'give me that NOW', 'on', and 'off' (duh). 'Owie' represents not only minor injuries that require a kiss but 'this is an unjust world' and 'why will no one pay attention to me'. One evening he was following me around wailing owwwwieee as I tried to something important. "You're not hurt, Baby, 'owie' does not apply," I finally snapped. "Well maybe his feelings are hurt because you are ignoring him," Matt defended him. Oh, of course.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The dark

Yesterday Momformation blogger Betsy Shaw wrote about the tendency of 'mommy bloggers' to talk mostly about the negative side of parenting, and made me laugh out loud with this jewel of an observation:

It seems obvious to me that the “light side” of parenting, which, let’s face it, generally comprises those rare moments when your kids are either sleeping or eating candy, doesn’t have the same kind of entertainment value as does the dark side, you know– those times when your kids are actually awake.

We are currently in the "We'll-give-you-$5-million-dollars-and-a-pony-if-you-go-to-sleep-RIGHT-NOW" phase of the random behavior cycle. (For those of you keeping track, we just finished the I-will-die-a-horrible-death-if-anything-other-than-a-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-somehow-crosses-my-lips stage.) Ethan is also skipping his nap a couple times a week, and 'the dark side' seems a very apt description of these many, many awake hours. I really love sleeping. One night early in his infancy, Tessa got up to feed him each time he woke up, the whole night. I can still vividly taste the relief of that gift. (I also vividly remember the look on her face the next morning, and it still makes me laugh.)

I have to agree that the crappy moments are usually much more entertaining- at some point. Well, most of them. I am still not laughing about the amount of poop I had to clean out of the bathtub yesterday, but it would probably have been downright hysterical if someone else had cleaned it up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


For a couple of years now I have been doing a few hours of bookkeeping each week for a trucking dispatch company. I go in the evenings while Matt takes care of the kids and if there's some extra work he'll take a day off so I can get in some additional hours. So last week I was telling Ethan about the plan to take care of this baby Maddie. "While her mom goes to work?" he tried to clarify. "I thought the daddy would take care of them." I explained that sometimes mommies and daddies have to go to work at the same time so somebody else takes care of the kids, but he could not get his head wrapped around that concept. I often wonder what, if anything, he is internalizing about our family life. Apparently he has a deep belief in the value of flex-time and shared parenting. (Also: He is pro-breastfeeding and prays often. My work here is done! Oh, there's more?)

Ethan and I are really enjoying this baby. Evan likes her while she is in her carseat or the swing- he'll hug her and bring her toys (and cat food- why do toddlers think this is such a generous offering?). No matter what he is doing, as soon as I pick her up he suddenly realizes that he needs to be held or nurse AT ONCE or dire consequences will befall us. I know that millions of babies make the transition to 'middle child' without turning into sociopaths but I am oh so relieved not to embark on that special parenting journey with this particular child. If he becomes a sociopath because I held him too much or cut all the crusts off his sandwiches... well, we'll just deal with that later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Work, work, work

The boys spend hours digging, chopping, and moving dirt around. They are even happier if they get some water flowing. Evan can turn on the pump himself now, too, so there is no shortage of mud here. They work so well together. I love to eavesdrop on their conversations. Is there any chance that they will maintain this level of effort and concentration when they are teenagers and I want some real work out of them?

Still here

Today began a six week baby-sitting stint for a peanut of a three-month-old. (More on that later). So last week was a mad rush of haircuts, doctor appointments, play dates, and other tasks that are chaotic enough with two kids.

On Sunday we spent the day in Cozad with Matt's family for Emma's baptism and a birthday party for Mason. The boys had a great time with their cousins. Evan bit Mason twice, but he did NOT bite the baby so I'm just going to chalk the day up in the win column.

Ethan loves babies. Evan loves babies as long as his mother is not holding them. Wish us luck for the next month and a half.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Up, down

Evan has started using the potty. I'm not sure how or why he decided to do this now, and I have no idea if it's just an interesting fluke or we really are on the road to diaper-freedom. But regardless, I am perfectly willing to drop everything and applaud enthusiastically when that chubby little behind hits the seat. It's kind of tricky, in that he can't actually say "I need to go potty," but by now we are all pretty fluent in Evan-ese so it's working. (Incidentally, 'ability to communicate need' and 'child has words for blah blah blah' are always at the top of those "Is Your Child Ready to Potty-Train" lists. Apparently Evan has not read those.) (Also incidentally, WHY WON'T HE TALK?)

So this morning our bread-making was interrupted by a potty-party. We left Ethan to hold down the fort and returned to this:

"Oh Mom, that's just some dirt from when I was in Colorado. Some Colorado-dirt," he explained casually. "And some hay."

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Happy mother's day to all you wonderful mothers and soon-to-be-mommies out there! I love you very much and am grateful to have you in my life. God bless you!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Field Trip

We went to Crete last week so the kids and I could 'help' with the kindergarten field trip to Mom and Dad's farm. As expected, everyone had a fantastic time. Ethan was quite the tour guide: "This is me and my grampa's dog." "This is me and my grampa's tractor."

Admiring the horses

Hey, I have an idea

Playing in the water

Hey, *I* have an idea

Picnic time!
We love Gramma

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


It has been weeks since we've done any kind of art project and I was starting to worry that all those little neurons weren't going to connect in the right places. (This is #49,327 on my list of things to feel guilty about, by the way.) Today we had a nice rainy afternoon, perfect for mess-making and cookie-baking. And poetry, apparently.

Look at that concentration. Complex reasoning ahead!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Can I just say, I LOVE this guy?

David Leonheart wrote about a terrific interview with Barack Obama on the NY Times website. This quote from the President really struck me:

"What I’m very confident about is that given the difficult options before us, we are making good, thoughtful decisions. I have enormous confidence that we are weighing all our options and we are making the best choices. That doesn’t mean that every choice is going to be right, is going to work exactly the way we want it to. But I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night feeling that the direction we are trying to move the economy toward is the right one and that the decisions we make are sound."

For one thing, it is very reassuring in regards to the economy and general mess we're in. It also hit home with me in the context of parenting. I have been bogged down in doubt and guilt and feelings of incompetence lately. This statement feels kind of like a gentle reminder that most of what I'm doing is okay, and it's okay to not do it all perfectly. If you replace 'economy' with 'children' in his last sentence, the whole thing sounds like very good advice from your mother or aunt or best friend.

Good talk, Mr. President. I needed that. Can we schedule a playdate sometime? Do your girls like sword fights and tractors, by any chance?

All About Ethan

As you may have noticed, there have been some gaps in the creative process over here. I started to do this Facebook thing just to fill space and then remembered, no one visits this site to read about me. So I present the ABCs of Ethan:

A - Age: 3.5
B - Bed size: Full, but I prefer my parents' King
C - Chore you hate: putting away the silverware from the dishwasher
D - Dog's name: Maggie & Sam
E - Essential start-your-day item: pancakes
F - Favorite color: 'a wot' (l0t) of colors
G - Gold or Silver: both- treasure!
H - Height: 3' 4"
I - Instruments you play: tambourine, bells, triangle, maracas, and of course the cardboard trumpet
J - Job title: Supreme Emperor
K - Kids: Are awesome!
L - Living arrangements: house in the hills with my family
M - Mom's name: Jenny
N - Nicknames: Buddy, Little Buddy, Eenie
O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: last year, thanks to rotavirus
P - Pet Peeve: bedtime
Q - Quotes from a movie: "Where I come from, we say break a leg" - Madagascar 2
" 'The road is rough.' 'I have a ball' - Bolt
R - Right or left handed: right
S - Siblings: Evan
T - Time you wake up: 9 am
U - Underwear: optional
V - Vegetable you dislike: onions
W - Ways you run late: waiting for mom to find my frog cup (sheesh, is it really that hard?)
X - X-rays you've had: stomach, when I swallowed a barrette
Y - Yummy food you make: everything I make is yummy, especially with Gramma, Laura, and Emily
Z-Zoo Favorite: lions, giraffes, and zebras

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Monday, already?

Mom and Tessa came this weekend to drag me out from the depths of self-pity and despair. Evan demonstrated extreme personal growth by saying "Tetta" and by initiating lots of interaction with both of them. I demonstrated extreme personal growth by not sobbing and hanging on to their legs as they were leaving. Very productive weekend, I would say. We also branded some cows, got caught up in the garden, and packed away the boys' outgrown clothes. I know that Tessa is secretly depressed to be leaving this thrilling place and returning to her life of softball, bars, and a TV free from cartoons.

How are you, dear readers?