July 28, 2008

My compliments to the chef

As Andrew's food repertoire grows we strive to offer things we can all eat happily. It's so refreshing when we're all eating the same meal. Spaghetti is now on his list of approved foods but, to date, had not been on Thomas'. Like many other foods, he seems to want to eat pasta but it also seems to make him gag. He'll always try a bite but it usually ends in a rush for water and us telling him to just spit it out already! (This is where someone can insert a joke about how if I knew how to cook pasta it wouldn't congeal to a texture that leaves it as a gagging hazard.)

For whatever reason we seem to have rounded a corner on this, however. Last night he ate spaghetti successfully. By "successfully" I mean, "with both hands, with enthusiasum, with sauce." That is a fork in his right hand but it was merely an accessory.

After dinner Andrew made a grocery list for us. Thomas wrote his also. As I dictated the spelling of words Andrew wrote them out and Thomas repeated me letter for letter.

Andrew's covers his diet basics: milk, yogurt, bread, bars (NutriGrain) and juice (orange). When I told Thomas we were having pizza for dinner tonight he said, "no pizza, noodles!" Because of this I'm guessing his list says: a good cabernet, garlic bread, olive oil and marinara.

The good news is that he cleans up well and the strawberry chap stick that he ate this morning (channeling his inner-Aunt Stephanie) pretty much covered up the scent of tomatoes.


The boys had a Hawaiian day at school last week where each classroom competed for "best Hawaiian theme" and the students were encouraged to dress accordingly. Pre 2 was transformed into a Luau for a day complete with tickets for entrance and learning how to hula. The Toddler Room presented an underwater theme with blue plastic wrap on the lights and lots of toddler-created underwater artwork.

Our contribution to the event was two appropriately-clad boys.

July 24, 2008

101 things

There's a book by an author named Kristin McCracken entiteld, 101 Things To Do Before You Turn 40.

Because the list is long - like 101 items long - and I'm sure the author would like for me to actually buy the book, I won't list them all here. However, as of today, I've got five years to get cracking on a few of these. There's no time like the present, right?

3. Admit to everything
7. Build a nest egg
9. Date a twenty-five year old, one last time - JUST KIDDING! ANYONE READING?
10. Put a lid on it
21. Lose the snooze
26. Think outside the box
31. Control the future of your face
32. Say NO
34. Accentuate the positive
35. Say yes to bubbles (create reasons to celebrate)
40. Sculpt yourself
43. Go to Paris
47. Buy a piece of real art
48. Take a stand
52. Enact a two-drink maximum
58. Take a sabbatical
64. Purge (things, not food!)
70. Show gratitude
72. Take a mental health day
88. Ditch your college furniture
96. Figure out what you want to be when you grow up
101. Accept that forty is the new 30

Although birthdays aren't quite as exciting at halfway to 70 as they are when you're, say, five, I've had a good day and am quite grateful for all the great in my 35-year-old world. (See, I just started working on #70.) Take that, list.

p.s. Happy Birthday wishes to Jennifer Lopez, fellow-Kansan Amelia Earhart and Lynda Carter.

July 19, 2008

The King's English

The boys and I planted saguaro cactus seeds today. As we were finishing I explained to Andrew that we wouldn't have a great big cactus right away and that, in fact, it would be several days before we would see anything happen with them so we needed to be patient.

I took the soil and gloves back to the garage and when I returned to the kitchen I found both boys huddled over the tiny plastic pot staring at it. That's when I heard Andrew, in his Andrew way, explaining to his brother:

"Thomas, nothing will happen until the 'several-eth' day so don't be too anxious. You have to wait until the 'several-eth' day."

Someone call Merriam-Webster.

July 16, 2008

Half right

While telling me about his classmates' new puppy who came to visit at school today...

Andrew: Josh and Sophie have a new dog named Wrigley. They brought him to school this afternoon.

Me: That's great. What kind of dog is Wrigley?

Andrew: One of those half and half dogs.

Me: Do you mean a mutt, like Madeline?

Andrew: No. A Labradoodle.

Me: Oh, half poodle and half lab?

Andrew: NO! Half labra and half doodle.

So there you have it.

July 14, 2008

Things about which I'm wondering

1. Is it normal to be so absorbed by the Tour de France that you watch several hours of coverage even on a rest day?

2. Why, oh why, is the word "butt" so fascinating to the PreK set?

3. How in the world do the dishes get in the dishwasher? It's like magic how they just spirit themselves from the sink to the machine and back out to the cabinets.

4. Is it normal to be tired ALL. THE. TIME?

5. If I won the lottery then called up Pottery Barn and said, "I would like the bedroom on p. 29, the living room on p. 55 and the rug on p. 72," would they ship it via FedEx or would someone come hand deliver it?

6. Does anyone out there want a dog? She's very sweet.

Five in style

We've officially got FIVE! on the books. It was a more than weeklong event that began on the holiday weekend and came to a close on Saturday with a party for friends. Lucky kid, huh? He started getting mail on about the 3rd of July and it just keeps coming.

We spent time over the holiday weekend with my aunts and uncles, which is something I hope my kids will someday recoginze as the treat it is. I grew up thinking it was average to have a whole bunch of cousins and a whole bunch of aunts, uncles, great aunts and great uncles just hanging around. In my advanced years I now realize that it's not necessarily the norm but it's a blessing. And, not only do my kids have the opportunity to really get to know this extended family, but they're being spoiled by them as well.

Andrew received a couple of gifts from family over the 4th and the big hit - with the uncles and the kids - was a glider that winds up with a giant rubberband. The box said it could fly the length of two football fields but the uncles doubted that it would carry through on that threat. It gets assembled, it gets wound up and...

it gets rescued off the roof of PaRon and Grandma's house by Uncle Dean. After being admonished by the birthday boy that this wasn't a good idea, we moved to another locale. At that locale it ended up flying over the houses across the street, bypassing the empty field it was intended for and landing in the backyard of some folks a street over. By a stroke of luck and coincidence it turns out that I know the people who live there and, this is the best part, they were out of town so we let ourselves into their backyard. At that point the party moved to the elementary school's soccer field up the street where we had success.

Not to be left out of the action, Thomas is now the proud owner of a fireman's nozzle that fits on a garden hose. The yard has never been so well irrigated.

The birthday extravaganza continued on Tuesday when PaRon and Grandma surprised him at school to take him shopping. He went to Wal-Mart with them all by himself and chose any toy he wanted that had a price tag beginning with a "1"or a "2". He somehow turned that into a couple of those for himself, one for Thomas and one to leave at their house. I could feel some guilt over that but I figure if they're soft enough to let that happen it's not really my issue. He chose great things and then insisted they take them home and wrap them so he could open them on Wednesday!
My gift to Andrew was carrying out his wish to take donuts to school to celebrate his birthday. They had to have sprinkles, they had to have white frosting and we had to purchase them that morning at the Dillons' bakery. Picture me with both boys, pre-8a.m., juggling 24 assorted sprinkled donuts while trying to manage the self-checkout. I was sweating by the time we arrived at school.
Wednesday brought all the birthday hoopla one boy could stand both at school and at home complete with him decorating his own birthday cake. The amount of sprinkles and colored sugar that one white box cake can hold is astounding but PaRon, Grandma and Great Grandma were good sports in eating it anyway. And, Thomas? He's still eating it. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Saturday ushered in the fast-becoming-annual Gymnastics Party. Andrew and 10 of his closest friends enjoyed the trampoline, bounce house, foam pit, balance beams, slides and rings for 90 minutes of exhausting fun. It's money well spent and I even got to go in the bounce house with Thomas, which made my day. I don't know when I was last in a moonwalk but I think it's good for you.

He's still getting mail (he's very excited to plant the cactus seeds that arrived today!) and he's trying to use five-year-old manners. He informed me tonight that now that he's five he gets five of everything and that he would try to earn that privilege. I'll keep you posted on how that's going. In the meantime, he's coming back to earth!

July 8, 2008

Enough about me, let's talk about me

Because tomorrow is all about Andrew, I would like to take this opportunity to make his birthday all about me. I'm told I'm good at this, so kick back and relax.

I took today off from work to do something that I would do for a very short list of people. I drove - through pounding rain as it turns out - 2.5 hours down the Kansas Turnpike to see my dear friend Kristie. I drove all the way to Wichita just to eat lunch with her, see her 2-year-old son and then turn around and head back home and I would do it again tomorrow without hesitation. (Well, if I could be guaranteed less hydroplaning on the way home.) I hadn't seen her for a year and it was well worth it. The great thing about my afternoon was that even after not having seen her for a year, it seemed as though just weeks had passed, which is always the way it is with good friends.

That brings me around to the fact that my son turns FIVE! tomorrow. Technically he turns FIVE! in about three hours, as he chose to join us in the early morning hours of July 9, 2003. And, just like the time that has passed with my good friend, it seems impossible he's FIVE! already.

FIVE! years ago tonight my husband and my doctor were discussing the Tour de France. Lance was having a rough start and the Tour had hit mainstream media so everyone was talking about it. I recall being a tad annoyed that we were discussing bicycling and Lance Armstrong because, really, come on guys. I'm kind of trying to have a baby here. I've only been on pitocin for something like 86 hours. Don't mind me. Just grab an anesthesiologist once you're finished discussing the next mountain stage because I've only waited 13 hours for an epidural, what's a few more?

Tonight, that baby I was about to have and my husband are the ones discussing the Tour. Andrew is soaking up everything Mark will share with him about the riders, the strategy, the history, you name it. It's quite amazing to me that the creature causing me so much discomfort FIVE! years ago tonight is now the member of our family with the best memory and is quickly on his way to having the broadest vocabulary in the house as well.

Just wow.

If I've got a FIVE!-year-old, I must be getting up there. I'm not sure when I got this old, since for a couple of hours this afternoon I felt like I was 20. And, also, does FIVE! years seem like a long time to wait for an instruction manual to arrive?!?!

July 3, 2008

Happy (early) Independence Day!

Andrew has gained many interesting tidbits of knowledge about the 4th of July holiday this week at school and many appropriately patriotic works of art have been created. This one is my personal favorite. Happy 4th of July!

July 1, 2008

Anyone still out there?

It's been approximately three weeks since I was last here. I guess that's because we've just been sitting around without much happening. Yep. That's it. Nothing happening. Of course the truth is that posting to this blog a lot like catching up with an old friend. The longer you go without talking sometimes the more difficult it is to make that phone call because so much has happened, where would you start?

So, old friends, here's all the stuff I should have posted on but didn't make time for because life got in the way.

  • Mark and Andrew participated in the Bill Self Parent/Child Basketball Camp at KU. Our good friends came from Alabama, Seattle and Springfield and all together the dads and sons fielded a very fine starting five. The dads (and mom! we missed you at girls' night, Carolyn!) and kids spent the night in the dorms, ate pizza and might have played a little basketball during the event. I was lucky enough to have an evening out with Robin and Heather while the dads were camping, which felt like a pretty big treat. Two of your best friends, Tellers and sangria can't be beat.

  • Butch and RoRo came for a visit! It was fun to have them here and to see the boys with them. Thomas mastered Butch's name on about the sixth day of their seven day visit. Andrew loved having extra adults around to watch him ride his bike, to help him with the computer and to just generally attempt to impress in any way possible. Madeline loved having them here so much that she did her now patented pooping all over the basement out of spite routine after they left. (We've relented and agreed that the next time they visit she can go home with them for an extended sleepover.) And, the folks up at our local HyVee are still asking when Butch is coming for his next visit.

  • The Lawrence CVB hosted the Kansas-Nebraska Chautauqua during the same time that Butch and RoRo were here. I won't bore you with the details of that but let's just say that after five days of those festivities I was a treat to be around.

That brings us roughly to today - minus a few details - where we've got a 5th birthday looming and we're looking forward to a fun 4th of July weekend.

I promise that from here forward I'm going to call more often so there's less ground to cover in between!