Monday, December 21, 2009

Toilet Music

Today we went shopping for presents. (Zeke now has FOUR gifts.) As part of our trip, we at lunch at a casual dining establishment.

After lunch, Victor needed to use the potty. He took forever, probably because he kept getting distracted.

"This is bad music for a bathroom," he told me, referring to the piped-in Christmas tunes. But when the song changed, he allowed that "This is a good song for boys." Also, he spent some time "thinking about Thomas."

He was also very proud that he could reach the paper towel dispenser by himself.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


What should I get Zeke for his 2d birthday and for Christmas? He already has a full complement of cars and trucks and trains and puzzles. Is there anything else?


Jeremy and I have been married for 7 1/2 years, and this year we finally bought our first Christmas Tree.

Jeremy says that's not true. He thinks our 18 inch fakie from Target counts as a tree. But I'm talking about a real tree.

(I did eventually get a tree skirt and decorate the mantle.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Hose

Yesterday we watched a movie about fire fighters. When a call came in, we watched them jump up from their dinner (they didn't even put the milk away), slide down the fire pole, don their gear, and speed away on the fire truck. Then we watched them put out a raging garage fire.

It was all very exciting. But when they got back to the fire station, Victor only wanted to know if they were still hungry.

He also has a new wish, referring to fire extinguishing equipment: "I wish our hose could do that."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Lights

This year we got very fancy with our Christmas lights. In addition to some colored-light nets on our front shrubs, we put a string of colored lights around the entry.

Pretty jazzy.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Jeremy's Great Idea

Today Jeremy had a brilliant idea.

He thought the high chair was dirty, so he took it to the Rainbow car wash.

First he soaked it with tire cleaner/degreaser soap. Second, he let it sit while he washed his car. Third, he used the high pressure wash setting. Fourth, he used the high pressure rinse.

You should see it now. It sparkles.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Victor's Christmas LIst

Victor told me yesterday, and on Tuesday, and on Monday, that he wants a great big forklift for Christmas. He also asked me where the presents were and advised me that they should be wrapped with a big bow (which he mimed).

I managed to hang the stockings this week, and Victor has asked me to put up more decorations, including a Christmas tree, which he insists on having.

Also, according to Victor, Zeke wants a doll for Christmas.

I'm pretty sure that's not true.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I can hear Zeke playing in the sink. Amazingly, he just turned OFF the water.

Here he comes. "Wet, wet," he says.

Lucky for me, he is now asking for "Daddy, daddy."

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I hate Halloween, but I put on a mostly happy face for the children.

Victor wanted to be a combine harvester this year. Here is what I came up with:

Zeke was a dump truck.

Jeremy took them both trick-or-treating. I think they were gone for twenty five minutes, tops. I stayed home to pass out candy.

Jeremy has something to say: I love Halloween. Halloween is one of the last community events in our culture. When else are you ever going to actually speak to someone who doesn't live within 50 feet of your property line? It is a great opportunity to say hello to people you don't see often, and it gives you a chance to . . . as NPR would say, connect with members of your community. *gag. It's true, though. You walk around, wave, and say thanks for the candy. You meet your neighbors; everyone has fun. I see nothing objectionable about it whatsoever, and I think participation by buying a bag of candy and a pumpkin is not only reasonable, but a civic duty.


I hate Halloween. I will never believe we are in truly dire economic straits until we stop celebrating this ridiculous holiday.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Boo Hoo for me. I got stuck five times today.

Five sticks and no real answers.


Friday, October 16, 2009


This morning I went to the doctor to have some blood drawn and tested. Nothing new there, except it was for blood clots instead of cancer.

Unfortunately, the results were not good enough, and I'll have to keep giving myself shots. The bag of pre-filled syringes I picked up at the drugstore was enormous. My mouth dropped open when I saw it. According to the receipt, my insurance saved me $4068.00 on my prescription. Pretty neat.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Tests on the Horizon

On Monday I had my post-chemo CT scan. Cancer-wise, it was good. It showed no cancer--although I haven't had my official post-chemo doctor appointment, so I'm not feeling too confidant, yet .

However, the scan did show something fishy in my lungs. A second CT scan confirmed two pulmonary emboli, one in each lung. This is not a good development, but at least they know how to treat it.

So, chemo is over, but now I have to be on blood thinners for somewhere between six months and my whole life, depending on what they decide caused the clots.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Actually. . .

We have been enjoying the company of my sister-in-law Candice and her five month old daughter, Laura. Victor calls her "cousin Laura" and Zeke calls her "beebee." They both adore her, and she tolerates their attention very well.

Yesterday, Candice took Victor and Laura to Portrait Innovations to have Laura's picture made. On the way out, the photographer said to Victor, "Thanks for being such a big helper, Buddy."

He replied, "Actually, my name's Victor."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wonder Me

Guess who just unclogged the clear tube on the vaccuum.

It was me.

I'm amazing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Reign of the Aunts

We had either Grandma Nancy and Grandma Munk staying at our house full time from the end of April to the end of August. It was amazing of them to spend that much time helping us, and we couldn't have done it without them.

Alas, they are both teachers, and their fall students called.

Fortunately for us, we have some generous aunts who are now here to rescue us. Aunt Liz (of The Sommerkorn Blog) was here for two fun-filled weeks. And now my Aunt Kristin has come down from Maryland for a week and a day. So far, we're having a wonderful time. We even eked out a couple of games of Boggle at chemo yesterday. At this moment, she is exhausting the boys at the Children's Museum.

But wait, there's more. Aunt Candice (of the Peter and Candice blog) will be coming for ten whole days with baby Laura after Aunt Kristin heads home. That will take us to the end of our three weeks after chemo.

Then life will be totally back to normal. Right?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Treatment SIX

Today is chemo treatment number SIX! Yay Yay Yay!!!

The week before my other treatments have been full of anxiety and worry about the weeks ahead, but this time I only felt excited that we are almost done.

Mel asked me the other day where I go from here. Medically, I get new baseline bloodwork and CT scan, and have follow-up appointments every three months. Emotionally and physically, I don't know what happens next. I start running my own house again, making my own dinner (well, maybe not that, yet), and tending my own children. Many people have offered to help me, and I am being optimistic and proceeding on the belief that I will be able to do it. I was actually at home alone with the boys on Thursday and Friday, and with the help of my friends, things went pretty well. I was surprised that we didn't have any crises.

Would you like to know about chemo? It is administered by IV through a port located two fingers down from my clavicle on the right side. I get all sorts of drugs: nausea drugs, antacid, a massive dose of Benadryl (which is why I can't drive myself home), steroids, and two actual chemo drugs (taxol and carboplatin). It doesn't hurt. I sit in a moderately comfortable recliner in a big room that has seven chemo chairs and one chemo bed. There are privacy curtains between the chairs, but people rarely pull them.

Almost everyone else at chemo is elderly, or at least past retirement age. Also, many people are tall. (I guess Harvard was right about that.) I'm not used to being around women who are taller than I am, and I've encountered several here.

There is a snack bar with chips and cookies and crackers, a water cooler, and a fridge with juice and soda. My chemo-buddy (today it's Aunt Kristin) is in charge of driving out to find lunch.

The nurses here are oncology certified, and are especially personable and kind. The other patients are generally quiet. I am in the room for much longer than most people because my treatment lasts five hours and 20 minutes.

Well, that's chemo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Zeke is in that fun stage of language development where he comes up with new words every day. Useful words, like "chips" and "shirt" and "toes."

And today, he added "Zeekie." He was so proud.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Sommerkorns Blog

My sister Liz is here for a couple of weeks, and we're having oodles of fun. If you'd like to see some of the projects Liz and the boys are doing, head over to The Sommerkorns blog. The link is in that list on the right.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Preschool, Day 1

Today was Victor's first day of preschool. He prepared by feeding himself breakfast. Aunt Liz, sans glasses, thought he was eating a bowl of cereal, but he was not. He was eating a tupperware of chocolate frosting.

Victor wore a red plaid shirt (thanks, Shena) and some blue shorts today. He also insisted on olive green socks and his new shoes (size 12).

Our first day in the drop-off line went smoothly. Victor's teacher, Miss Angela, was waiting to escort him into the school. He hopped out of the van with his backpack and proudly declared, "I've got all my stuff!"

I'm not sure what happened during school, but I have gleaned that he played on the big playground, used his towel, ate a snack, and that two of the boys in his class had "flashlights on their shoes." Also, there was something called criss-cross applesauce. Whatever that is.

When we picked up Victor after school, he trotted proudly to the car and told us that he didn't get a snack. His other teacher, Miss Kelly, assured us he had eaten Nilla wafers.

Victor refused to eat any lunch, but happily went to the Science Center with Aunt Liz this afternoon. He then ate two big bowls of mac and cheese with peas for dinner.

All and all, a successful first day of school.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jeremy Wins!

Jeremy spent oodles of time working on an appeal this past year. Today, the Court of Appeals rendered its opinion, and Jeremy's clients prevailed.

The opinion is McDonald v. Biltmore homes, and you can read it here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CA 125 and Preschool

Today I took Victor to visit his new preschool classroom. He decorated a folder (with some encouragement--I don't think decorating things is within his current sphere of interest) and played with some plastic farm animals. He also played a color-sorting game that made me more confident that he is not colorblind, like his Grandpa Munk.

The preschool is run by a Baptist church, so there are some excellent murals on the walls. My favorite is of Jonah tumbling, limbs askew, from the mouth of a whale.

Also, my CA 125 level is down to 15.2. I wonder if it will level out.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Treatment Four

Today was treatment number four.


Now we're getting somewhere! In the next six weeks I'll have my last two treatments, and we'll be on the road to recovery.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I have no idea how long it will take for things to get back to normal.

Still, four down is a good number.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CA 125

CA 125 is a cancer marker that can be detected in a person's blood. It can also be elevated due to normal ovarian function or recent surgery. It doesn't tell you much unless you can verify the presence of a cancer and get a baseline, but once you have a baseline it is a very good way to monitor a cancer patient for progress or remission.

In my case, the baseline is 70 (which is not even in the obvious danger zone) and the goal is 30. The measurement was done before my first surgery.

I am pleased to report that my CA 125 level is now 16.9, clearly below our target of 30. This doesn't get me off the hook for the other half of my chemo, but it's encouraging all the same.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Day

Today I spent the day alone. Jeremy got the boys up, dressed, and out the door to my cousins' house for the day.

Being alone for twelve hours was a change of pace. The house was so quiet all day, and I could leave the taffy box on the counter without fear. I'm not feeling terribly good, so I did everything very slowly. The low point of the day was when I couldn't tear an envelope of junk mail in half. The high point was discovering that quesadillas still taste good.

Victor was so pooped when he got home this evening that he didn't even say hello. He went straight to bed. Zeke, on the other hand, greeted me enthusiastically and wanted to read stories after he played with Jeremy.

I am very grateful to the people who have been staying with us so I can be with the children every day. Being alone is refreshing from time to time, but I wouldn't want it to be my long-term solution to being sick.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Zeke's Stats

On July 9 I took Zeke to his 18 month check-up.

He weighed 25.8 pounds and was 35 inches tall. That makes him taller than he is thick.

Zeke is also learning lots of new words, such as TRASH and BUS and HELP. His crowning linguistic triumph so far is "GO OUT."

Zeke is rather attached to a certain blankie and loves to play with vehicles of any kind. He likes to eat black beans and to drink milk.

Zeke's Stats

On July 9 I took Zeke to his 18 month check-up.

He weighed 25.8 pounds and was 35 inches tall. That makes him taller than he is thick.

Zeke is also learning lots of new words, such as TRASH and BUS and HELP. His crowning linguistic triumph so far is "GO OUT."

Zeke is rather attached to a certain blankie and loves to play with vehicles of any kind. He likes to eat black beans and to drink milk.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sweet Words

Victor just said to me, "Mom, I like your hair with no hair!"

And then he gave me a kiss.

What a sweetheart.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Jeremy's Favorite Sporting Event

It's Tour de France time!

The Tour de France is Jeremy's favorite sporting event. He says it is the only one he likes, but I know he likes Duke basketball, too. He likes the large number of competitors, the lengthy races, the mind games, and the fact that if he wanted to, he could go to a bike shop and buy a racing bike.

Not that we're going to do that.

What we will do is sit on the couch watching cycling every night for the next few weeks. It's on Versus, if you're curious.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chomp Chomp Chew

Does anyone have a suggestion for teaching two little boys not to bite?

I think Zeke started it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Thomas Show

About a month ago, I went into Victor's room to check on him. I could see he was awake, so I asked how he was doing.

"I am just watching my Thomas show," he said.

Then he pointed to an area on his headboard.

The next day I noticed that he had composed a song for his Thomas show. The lyrics went like this: "Thomas and the train, whoo whoo whoo, Thomas and the train."

This development of an imaginary movie has great possibilities. I can now tell Victor to go to bed and watch his Thomas movie--that's exciting, right?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Treatment Two

Yesterday was my second chemotherapy treatment. It was still scary to walk into the room, but I didn't have to completely stop at the threshold this time. I just had to take a deep breath.

The conversation was good, and we had Chinese food for lunch.

And that's just about all I have to say about that.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Aunt Candice: Victor, are you eating cookies for breakfast?

Victor: Yes. Two at a time. They're tasty, with crumbs on top.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Zeke's Surgery

Yesterday was Zeke's hydrocele surgery. He did very well. The surgery was a success. But things did not go so well in the recovery room.

Poor Zeke was inconsolable. He arched and twisted and cried and screamed. Jeremy and I tried to comfort him. But Zeke had an IV in his hand, and I have had a number of bad IV experiences lately. When I saw blood in the IV, I might have thrown Zeke at Jeremy and rushed out of the room to faint/throw up. A nurse found me and put me in the recovery room next to Zeke with a warm blanket and a ginger ale.

While I was out, the nurse tried to clear Zeke's IV of blood. The re-taping was obviously insufficient because Zeke ripped the IV clean out. All I could hear was Jeremy saying, "Oh. Help. I'm really sorry," and the nurses saying, "oh dear--let's clean this up." Apparently, there was blood and IV fluid squirting everywhere.

I'm not sorry I missed that part.

I eventually came back in the room, but Zeke would not be comforted. Nor would he drink his juice (I don't think he really knows what it is) or eat the popsicle. Who gives an 18-month-old a grape popsicle? What a mess. And let me tell you how mad he was when he bit off a chunk and it froze his poor little mouth.

We finally gave up and went home, where Zeke could be mad and inconsolable in his own bed. It took about two minutes for him to give up and go to sleep.

He's fine now. He woke up hours later and ate and ate and ate and ate. Today he seems to feel better than he has for weeks. So I guess that's a happy ending.

At least, I hope that was the ending.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Five Foot Nine

According to Harvard, I am at increased risk of cancer because I am tall.

I quote:

Being tall may raise your risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer. Scientists aren’t sure why. One reason may be that tall people have more cells in their bodies, which increases the number of cells that could become cancerous. Another reason may be that tall people grow faster as children. Faster growth is linked to changes in the genetic structure (DNA) of the body’s cells, eventually causing them to become cancerous.

Being tall also increased my chance of being a good basketball or volleyball player, but that sure didn't happen.


Zeke has a hydrocele on his left side. In other words, fluid has traveled from his body into his nether parts.

The surgery will be on Friday at 10:00 AM. It is extremely low risk, and he should be up and around in a day or so.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When it rains . . .

I took Zeke to the doctor today for a swollen body part.

He'll need surgery.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Big Question

On Saturday, Victor wanted to play outside in his pool. We turned on the hose, put it in the pool, and Victor found and put on his swimsuit. Then we put on sunscreen. Then, as he was almost out the door and into pool bliss, Victor refused to put on his hat.

No hat, no pool.

After ten minutes of high drama, Victor came to see me, hat firmly on head.

And he had a question: "Why have to wear a hat? I am wearing sunscreen."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Awesome Movie

Last night, Jeremy and I went out. You know, like we used to.

We went to Vito's for some dinner and then we went to a movie. Naturally, we ended the date by picking up some items at the grocery store. You know, like we always have.

But the grocery store is not the point. The point is the awesome movie we saw last night.

We saw Star Trek, and it was awesome. I mean, really, really terrific. Terrific like Batman, but not as dark or depressing, and maybe even better. Jeremy can't think of a movie he's seen for five years that he liked as much. I can't say that, because Serenity was out in the past five years, and that, too, was excellent. James Bond #1 was also very good.

One thing I liked was that the action sequences were not filmed with shaky, hard-to-follow camera work. Also, the story was easy to follow for a non-avid Star Trek person like me.

The surprise actor appearance was Tyler Perry as a Star Fleet Academy professor. He was not wearing a wig.

So there you have it. Go see Star Trek!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Chemo Treatment 1--some reflections

Many people have been kind enough to ask how my first chemotherapy treatment was.

I will tell you: It was not my favorite thing ever, but it was not as bad as being sick in Manaus.

Before my first treatment, I had a "chemo teaching" session with my nurse, Robin. She explained the most common effects of the two chemo drugs I would be taking. The drugs are Taxol and Carboplatin. Taxol is the more severe of the two, and the one that causes hair loss. Both have similar effects, though: loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, hair loss, kidney trouble, other tummy troubles, bad taste in mouth, change in taste, mouth sores and sensitivity.

Now, I'm not going to detail how it affected me, other than to say that I was surprised that so many of the symptoms showed up so quickly. Somehow I developed the delusion that the effects wouldn't set in until treatment 3 or so. I will say that the muscle and joint pain was like having Dengue fever (thanks, Manaus), growing pains, and arthritis (thanks, Fairgrounds Jr. High) all at once.

It's been ten days since the first treatment, and I'm feeling much better now. Still queasy and tired, but much better.

The above picture is my and my Mom on June 6, 2009, two days before my first treatment. Don't you think my hair is the most adorable thing you've ever seen? I just love it. I'm crossing my fingers for less than total hair loss during chemo.

The bandages you see on my chest are from my port--a roughly truffle-sized devise that now resides under my skin. The purpose of the port is to allow injection of drugs and dyes (for CT scans) without subjecting me to IVs. Having a port is creepy, but since I'm a hard stick, it's well worth it.

Finally, the first chemo session itself was scary. I had to take a couple of deep breaths before walking into the big chemo room full of recliners and IV stands. But Mom was there with me, the port worked like a dream, the drugs were clear instead of some toxic color, and the National Geographic magazine had an interesting article on botos, the dolphins of the Amazon. I didn't know that the pink color is only found in males, and is thought to be scar tissue from their violent encounters with each other.

Scary as it was, it improved--slightly--as the hours ticked on and I watched a number of other people come it, sit down, do their treatments, and go on their way. They (except one lady) looked like normal people just running a normal errand. It was encouraging.

One last thing: I learned that I most definitely need the help my mom and Jeremy's mom are providing full time, and the support that so many people are giving from near and far. Thank you, friends.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Since I've had two abdominal surgeries in the past month, I've spent a lot of time lying down. Lucky for me, a friend lent me her portable DVD player. So I've been using the opportunity to start watching Medium, starting at season 1, and to re-watch The X-Files.

I adore The X-Files, even if watching too many episodes in a row makes me paranoid.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Other OC

Today in Relief Society, I told the sisters that I was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Through a staging surgery, we know that although I have a high grade, invasive clear cell cancer, it is in Stage 1. That means it was isolated to one ovary and has not spread throughout the abdominal cavity or to other organs, or invaded the lymphnodes. The prognosis and low recurrence rates are very encouraging.

I will do six rounds of chemotherapy. The first one was last Monday. The others will be every three weeks, provided my blood counts of hemoglobin, white blood cells, and platelets remain high enough to proceed.

Well, now you know almost everything I know. If you're thinking, "Didn't my great-aunt Ethel have ovarian cancer when she was 80?" the answer is probably yes. This is an uncommon cancer in someone my age, especially since I have no biological family history of it.

You can look up ovarian cancer on the internet, but it might freak you out. I don't recommend it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Toilet Master

I have not written about Victor's toilet progress for the past month because I didn't want to jinx it.

But I am going out on a limb to say that VICTOR IS POTTY TRAINED!!!

He uses the toilet, doesn't have accidents, and doesn't need to be reminded.

How did this wondrous thing occur? I don't know. Grandma Nancy was here and took charge of the first accident-filled days with great patience and no drama. Then when she went home, he kept doing it. The one condition was that I cannot be involved. I can't remind him, tell him to go, ask him to go, or anything like it. It is entirely Victor driven.

He was having trouble with messy accidents when I happened to find some Bruder trucks at TJMaxx on a super discount. He happened to see the cement mixer in the trunk of my car.

V: "Oh Mom. A cement mixer. Can I have it?"

Me: "No. Not today."

V: "Ding! I know! I can earn it!"

Me: "Okay. I think that would be fine."

We negotiated the terms of earning the cement mixer: only using the potty, including for poop, for five days. I was pushing for three days, but Victor insisted on five.

And he did it. My mom walked past the bathroom several times that week to hear Victor saying, "I'm earning my cement mixer!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lesson Learned

On Monday night I asked Victor what good thing had happened to him that day.

He said, "I did not pull the fire alarm today."

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Parenting Fail

We have two "warm fuzzies" at our house. A "warm fuzzy" is a tube sock full of rice that one can heat gently in the microwave and use to relieve aching muscles.

Or, as Jeremy demonstrated to Victor the other day, it can be a wrecking ball.

He was showing Victor how to swing it into things when I suggested that might not be the best idea.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Will He Like It?

Apparently, my cousin and I were on the same wavelength yesterday when we did trial runs in the Nursery with our almost-old-enough offspring.

Here is what happened:

I took Zeke, screaming, out of Relief Society. I dragged him, screaming, to Nursery.

Once inside, he promptly stopped screaming, let go of my hand, and toddled off to play.

I call that a success. I also have great sympathy for the Nursery leaders, because it was 8000 degrees in that room. Have I mentioned how I feel about our building? It starts with S and ends with "tinks."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

This morning my mom asked Victor what he wanted for breakfast.

"Mushrooms!" he replied without hesitation.

A few minutes later she tried again. "Anything else?" she asked.

"Nope," he said.

Then he went to get the box of Lucky Charms, which happens to have a picture of a mushroom on the back. That's a less-funny punchline than wanting actual mushrooms for breakfast, but it does make more sense.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


On Sunday morning I walked past the toaster.

"Hmmm," I thought. "That should be unplugged. But I don't want to ruin Jeremy's toast."

So I didn't unplug it.

A few minutes later the smoke detector went off because smoke was pouring out of the toaster.

I used my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on the smoke-kissed section of the cabinets, but it still smells.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


When my brother Alex was a little lad, he had a funny fake snore: it was the word "honkshee." I remember him running around yelling "Honkshee, honkshee, honkshee." (It was sleeprunning, I guess.)

Little Zeke has developed his own method. He has always been good at indicating he's ready for bed. When he was super teeny, he would lean towards the crib. Then he graduated to pointing. Now, he finds his favorite blankie and a pacifier, finds me, and then lies down near my feet and fake snores. Fake snores! It's super funny.

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Alarming Sunday

Yesterday was a very eventful day.

Jeremy had removed Zeke from the building because the other ward had the chapel doors open and Zeke has a charmingly loud little voice. They went out on the lawn. Jeremy turned around for one second. When he turned back around, Zeke was holding a mushroom with a giant bite out of it.

Jeremy did not panic. He called poison control. They told him to get some ipecac syrup and give it to Zeke within 35 minutes. Jeremy went to Walgreens, where they couldn't find the ipecac for several minutes, and then headed home to induce vomiting.

Meanwhile, someone was kind enough to tell me what had happened at the end of Primary. I went to get Victor from Nursery, but he had already excused himself, run across the back of the other ward's Sacrament Meeting, and found the candy jar in the clerk's office. I found him, lost him again, and found him again with help from several kind people.

Then Victor and I went into my appointment with the Bishop. That went as you can imagine, especially when Victor announced that he needed to use the potty. We ran and he did--which was awesome. When we got back, we had to wait to continue our appointment.

Then Victor pulled the fire alarm.

The fire alarm went off and people had to run around looking for the key to turn it off before the fire department came.

What did I do? I just sat there with my hands over my face.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Dishwasher

We decided to replace the dishwasher after the old one died. I have to say that the new one, although an unexpected budget item, has been wonderful.

First, it gets the dishes really, really clean. Squeaky clean. The old one was more of a hot water rinse for pre-cleaned dishes that usually found some way to leave deposits on the glasses.

Second, it is very, very quiet. Like a mouse. It does not disrupt conversations or television programs or the neighbors.

Third, because each rack has its own spinning, washing arm underneath it, I can load things flat on the bottom rack and not worry about blocking the washing apparatus for the top rack.

Fourth, because I bought it at Sears, they price-matched a lower price I found in the next city over.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fly Swatter

Victor is very interest in fly swatters.

This afternoon, while I was talking on the phone, I heard Victor telling a fly that he was going to swat it. I found him stalking said fly with a four-foot long board that had come loose from our spare bed.

In the interest of not losing our computer, TV, or drywall to his enthusiastic fly swatting, I showed him the real fly swatter and demonstrated it proper (and hygienic) use.

Of all the lessons I've taught Victor, I hope that "don't use a 1 x 4 to swat flies in the house" sticks with him.


Romantic Evening + Victor = No Romance

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seven Years of SwindleFun

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary.

Our wedding was fantastic, despite a last minute dress substitution and the wrong flowers and the fact that the Grand America printed the price on the menus because someone forgot to mention that it was a wedding luncheon.

Jeremy says, of our seven years, "It's been nice."

I agree.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Today, I was hoping to find a big pile of bills in the mailbox.

But I didn't get a single one!

I feel disappointed.

Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

101 Dalmations

I've always wondered something about 101 Dalmatians.

Roger writes the song "Cruella de Ville," and it's a big hit. It's also defamatory. It calls Cruella evil, scary, a spider, a vampire bat, etc. Now, in America, were Cruella to sue for defamation, Roger could defend based on truth. Not so in England.

So why didn't Cruella sue? She seems litigious enough.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Left and Right

Okay. Confession time.

I'm not so good with lefts and rights.

If I am driving a car and you are sitting in the passenger seat and you say, "Go left," chances are, I'll turn right. I usually try and compensate by keeping my left hand in the shape of an "L," but it doesn't always work. When Jeremy gives me directions, he points. When I give him directions, I either tap the window (for "go right") or point (for "go left").

Lately, it occurred to me that I should try extra-hard to get my lefts and rights straight for the sake of my children. I've been making an effort to point out (accurately) right and left.

And I think it's working!

Last week, Victor and I were putting stickers on his playhouse. I said, "Where does this one go?" And he nodded his head to one side and said, "Put it on the right." Sure enough, that's where it belonged.

Then this week, his grandma asked him where McDonald's was as they drove down the road, and he said, before he could see it, "It is on the left." Sure enough, it was on the left.

I therefore declare Victor free of the left-right curse, and brilliant besides.

At least, I hope so. Now, if he can also learn to tell time . . .

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My Favorite Vegetable

Zucchini is my favorite vegetable. I think it is delicious.

My favorite way to eat zucchini is to slice it medium to thin and then sautee it in a pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, along with squash, carrot spears, and a few sliced mushrooms.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Amish Friendship Bread

About three weeks ago, my neighbor gave me some Amish Friendship Bread, a starter, and a sheet of instructions. I haven't done it in years, and it's delicious, so I gladly accepted the gift.

The instructions say that only the Amish know the secret to the starter, but I have my doubts that it's really Amish. First, the starter comes in a Ziploc bag. Do the Amish use Ziploc? Second, the recipe calls for vanilla instant pudding mix. I don't associate instant pudding mix with the Amish.

Maybe I'm uninformed about where the Amish shop and what they buy, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see Ziploc or instant pudding in the Amish store I visited three years ago.

If you get a starter but you don't want to do the whole "pass along the love" thing, you can make the bread directly from your starter without adding any thing on day six or adding and dividing the starter on baking day. Also, if you find yourself with lots of starters, and are bored of friendship bread, you can make a bundt cake instead. It's really delicious.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Creatures at the Zoo

Yesterday, we went to the Zoo.

Since the last time we went, signs have been added that say "No Smoking, Please." I was excited to enjoy the zoo sans cigarette smoke.

You can imagine my dismay, then, when a man walked by with an enormous cigar clenched between his teeth. It was soooo stinky. This same man had a long beard, a muscular build, and a bandanna on his head. He was distinctive enough that I noticed him a few minutes later when we neared the lion enclosure. He was off the path, picking up something in the wooded area.

What was he doing? You're going to love this: He was picking up rocks to throw at the lions. You see, they were sleeping, and he wanted them to wake up. So he threw rocks at them.

Lucky for the lions (or perhaps himself), he didn't even come close to hitting them. It was one of those moments when you think, "did I just see someone do that?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

White Azaleas

The azaleas have been and continue to be glorious this time of year. The plainest little house can be totally transformed with the eruption of color. I have three azaleas behind the house, near the Japanese maple. They are in a shady area, so they bloom later and last longer. They are dark pink, and not too large, and I love them.

As I was admiring some white azaleas the other day, I was reminded of Happy Valley. No, not Utah Valley, but the Happy Valley described in Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca. Have you read Rebecca? My friend lent me her copy a few years ago, and I devoured it. There is also an excellent film version, which won Best Picture in 1941. An interesting tidbit is that Rebecca has never been out of print.

Anyway, at least two flowering shrubs (or bushes? there is a difference, although I don't know what it is) feature prominently in the book. Blood red rhodedendrons that line the drive to Manderlay, and the white azaleas of Happy Valley and of Rebecca's perfume. It was her trademark scent.

Naturally, I was excited to finally have the chance to smell white azaleas. I have to say I was disappointed. They didn't smell like anything at all. I'm always disappointed when a beautifully described something in a novel turns out to be not so beautiful. I had a similar experience when I first tried Turkish delight. Thus it is now with white azaleas.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Clean and Cool

Good News. The house is cool and the dishes are clean.

I'm sure that's of great relief to everyone.

Weather Report

We had a very warm weekend.

Can you guess who's air conditioning is broken?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Appliance Question

If the bottom of my dishwasher is full of water and I can't get it to drain, does that mean I need a new dishwasher?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


When I was in elementary, junior high, and high school, I was fortunate to have teachers who assigned bazillions of writing assignments. We wrote about what we wanted to be when we grew up. We wrote and illustrated stories. We wrote reports on states of the union. We wrote book reviews. And essays. And analyses. And poems.

And I used the word "till." As in, "I won't be able to go to law school till I finish college."

And my teachers--not all of them, but most of them--invariably crossed it out and substituted "until."

I was always unclear as to why they crossed out "till." I read a lot, and I read "till" all the time. Being chronically overconfident, I figured my teachers were simply unaware of this usage of till.

The funny thing is, I still get a little thrill every time I read "till." Just this Sunday, as I was reading the first chapters of Sense and Sensibility, I read "till" at least twice and thought, "Ha! It can be used that way."

Friday, April 17, 2009


When Victor was post-laugh but pre-talk, he had a little gas when I was changing his diaper one day. Then he laughed. He thought it was the funniest thing ever. And I thought, "where on earth did he learn that was funny?" He certainly didn't learn it at home, and he doesn't go anywhere else.

Fast-forward two years. I was reading a little songbook to Zeke this afternoon. "A you're adorable, B you're so beautiful, C you're a cutie full of . . . " "BUM," Victor interjected, giggling. Bum?

But wait--there's more. I kept singing along, and so did Victor. Except I was singing "M N O P, I could go on all day," and he was singing "poop poop poop poop poooooooooop," and laughing hysterically.

I want to know where he learned this!


This year, my mom was in town for Victor's birthday. If you know my mom, it will not surprise you that when Victor showed her his birthday money, she said, "You can put it in the bank!"

That was it. Victor was determined to put his money in the bank. All $11.00 of it.

Yesterday was the day. We all put on nice clothes (i.e. clean for the kids and for me, not a faded Target t-shirt), and went to our local branch to open Victor's very own savings account.

We completed some paperwork and Victor handed over his $6.00 (I couldn't find the other $5). Then he got a green lollipop, and we went home.

That night, when he told Jeremy about our trip, it became very clear that he thought he had gone to the bank to purchase the lollipop. So I guess our next lesson will be about the value of money.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Movies I Don't Like

Yesterday, I watched part of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine goes to see The English Patient, and doesn't like it. Everyone else likes it, but she thinks it stinks.

It got me thinking about movies that I really didn't like, but which other people seemed to like. So far, I can only think of two:

Happy Feet

Pretty Woman

Oh, and The Book of Mormon Movie deserves a special mention for being the worst movie I ever saw. It was craptastic.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Victor and Zeke talked to their Grandma Nancy, Great-Grandma Alice, and Aunt Kassie on Skype this morning.

Well, Zeke babbled and waved. And Victor flopped on the floor behind me and said he could not talk. Then he turned the lights off with a Matchbox car.

Grandma Nancy cheerfully told Victor that when she came to visit, she was going to "lay the smack down" on that kind of behavior.

Victor wailed, "No! You will not lay it DOWN. You will lay the smack UP. You will lay the smack up in the airplane. You will leave it there up in the airplane!"

Grandma laughed her head off. And I was happy that Victor could showcase his knowledge of opposites.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Victor has a new book. It's called Worm, and he wrote it himself.

Worm can be any book he finds, so long as there are no pictures. That way, he cam make up any story. Right now he is using the scriptures.

A typical Worm story is like this:

Once upon a time there was a Worm. He lived in a nice house. Well, he was right in this house. Oh, Pongo and Perdita. First, they were right in this town. In town there was a big [something]. Then, after, after, the end.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Zeke Grew

Yesterday was Zeke's 15-month checkup. He got 2 shots and had his blood tested for hemoglobin and lead. He did NOT like the finger stick, the poor little thing.

Zeke has grown 2 inches and gained 2 pounds in the past 3 months. He is now 33 1/4 inches tall (95th) and weighs 23 pounds (25th). He's my little featherweight.

He says five words, if you count shaking his head NO, which the doctor says counts as a word at his age. The other words are Dad, Victor, hat, and Mama. He can make a nice doggie sound, but it's nothing like his second cousin's animal-sound repertoire, which is amazing.

Zeke can point to his head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth and lips, ears, tummy, and toes. When you tell him it's time for a diaper change, he runs into his room and to the changing table. When you tell him it's time to go outside, he runs to the door.

When Zeke is hungry, he usually goes to his high chair and tries to hang on the tray. He also signs "eat," makes a funny smacking sound, and babbles "yum yum yum." (Victor's early word for food was "mabum.")

He loves to eat with a fork, to put on shoes, and to drive cars and trucks on any available surface. He is totally into If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. He like to eat quesadillas, black beans, pears, and Honey Nut Cheerios.

Victor behaved well during the appointment.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Sound of a Great Idea

Victor likes to watch Sesame Street. Since it's one of the few kids' shows I like, and since he watches it quietly while I get other things done (and Zeke sleeps), he watches it most weekdays.

Victor has picked up many interesting bits of information from Sesame Street. He has learned lots of songs. And he has learned the sound a great idea makes when it pops into your head.

That sound is "ding."

We frequently have an exchange like this:

V: Is that a castle? Who lives there?

Me: I don't know.

V: Ding! I know. It's Cinderella.

Or like this:

Me: What should we have for lunch?

V: Ding! How about peanut butter and jelly.

Or like this:

Me: (reading the paper)

V: Ding! Let's go to the park.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Laughing So Hard

I am laughing so hard at right now. You really should check it out.

Thank you, Who Calls So Loud.

My Warm Refrigerator

Every couple of days, like today, I open my refrigerator to find that it is too warm to properly refrigerate anything. This happens with my freezer, too.

The first time it happened, I panicked. I did not want to purchase a new refrigerator.

But then reason prevailed and I checked the temperature dials that control the refrigerator and freezer. Sure enough, the freezer had been set to "OFF." Similarly, ever other time the refrigerator has felt unseasonably warm, the dial has been set to "OFF."

I will let you guess who is behind this. I have two theories.

One: Fridge Fairies

Two: a small boy whose name rhymes with "Schmictor"

Friday, April 3, 2009


At the Science Center yesterday, Victor tried his hand at using a plastic screwdriver to remove a plastic screw from a plastic engine block.

Or as he described it: I am screwffing the screwf with this screwfdriver.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Today is my oldest niece's birthday. Happy First, Vea!

Today is also the 10th anniversary of the day I came home from my mission. That was a strange, great day.

I remember getting on the airplane and feeling like I'd stepped out of an alternate reality into the present day again. I remember looking at myself in the airplane bathroom mirror and feeling desperate because my skin was hammered and my hair was something else. I remember looking down at the Amazon as we flew away. I remember feeling excited.

Everything I had smelled funny. I had very little luggage. I was startled to see the redesigned VW Beetle in a magazine and that PriceWaterhouse had become PriceWaterhouseCooper.

Our group ate Whoppers in Miami, and they were delicious. We stepped outside during our layover to stand on some North American asphalt.

We had to run across the Dallas airport twice because our gate changed.

It was snowing when we landed in Utah. Snowing! My mom had brought me a coat to go with my lavender sundress that Grandma had made me and my sandals.

When I got home, the carpet and drywall and ceilings made my ears hurt because the sound was so deadened. The hot water in the shower and the high water pressure were alarming. My family thought everything I had smelled funny. They kept looking at me like I was crazy.

I slept in a bed that night, with pajamas and sheets.

The next morning, I was alone for a few hours. That was glorious. I poured myself some Cheerios and started picking through them looking for ants. Then it occurred to me that there would be no ants in my cereal.

I got my hair cut. I got released.

My parents washed everything I had brought home in hot hot water, and my mom admired how sparkly white my whites were. Hand washing is very effective, I told them.

My grandma bought me some delicious whole milk to drink, and my mom made me tacos and chicken squares. Kristy came over and we sat in the big chair together and watched the X-Files movie.

In the next week, I drove myself the 15 minutes to Provo, learned that the car radio would go off once I opened the driver's side door, reclaimed ZimZim from Katie, and figured out how to answer my parents' new phone. I signed up for spring term and got an apartment at the Promenade with my friend Liz (recently returned from Portugal).

Three months later, I met Jeremy. And that's another story.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We Gave Up, Part II

On Sunday morning, I admitted defeat. I was just barely on schedule to get to church on time, and I still had to do my hair.

I had two choices: flat iron or (new) curling iron.

I chose the curling iron. And do you know what? It was faster, easier, and yielded a better result. I even liked the updated design (although the turbo button is silly--who wants her curling iron to heat up slowly?).

So, sorry, flat iron. I don't have time to dilly-dally on Sunday morning. Maybe we can get together sometime on a Wednesday.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Zeke Speaks and Blows His Nose

Jeremy went back to the doctor today. He is even sicker than we thought, but he has the right medicine now. Hopefully, anyway.

Being home sick has its advantages, though. Yesterday, Jeremy got a special treat when he heard Zeke's first non-Dad word. (DAD was Victor's first word, too. And he didn't say Mama until waaaaay after he consistently referred to our neighbor, Bob, by name. But I digress.)

The word was HAT. He said it when Jeremy put something on his head to be funny. I heard him say it later that day when Jeremy put something else on his head to be funny. Why HAT, any why does Jeremy keep putting things on his head? It's all about Go, Dog. Go! I don't really understand the appeal of that book, but Jeremy and both boys adore it. Zeke will bring it to me and sit through the whole thing. He's very patient.

Zeke passed another milestone this week: he learned to blow his nose. That's right, if you put a tissue up to Zeke's nose and say "blow," he'll blow. And hard, too. And actually, you don't even have to say blow. It's amazing.

One more totally amazing thing about Zeke. Tonight, as I was trying to interest Victor in a "game" of picking up his cars and putting them in the car basket, Zeke got into the fun. He hunted for little cars (with some direction) and threw them in the car basket with joy. He was so pleased with himself.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Triple Coupon Date

Jeremy being home in the afternoon is a boon for my errand-running. Once the boys are asleep, I can get in my car and travel to such interesting places as Wal-mart.

Yesterday, I went to the county courthouse to ask to be excused from jury service on account of my family responsibilities. It was too bad, but what on earth would I do with Victor and Zeke if the trial took more than three hours? I took Victor on this little trip as living proof of my prior commitments.

Today, Victor was not inclined to take his nap, so I decided to take him to the grocery store to buy Gatorade and bananas for Jeremy. Jeremy is still totally sick. It's amazing.

When we arrived at the store, a "special trip with Mom," according to Victor, we saw a sign announcing Triple Coupon Days. Coincidentally, I had some freshly clipped coupons in my bag. We pulled them out and went to town.

Frosted Mini-Wheats? With the buy-one-get-one free and the $1.00 off each box coupon in the aisle, I got 6 boxes for less than $1.00 each. Now tell me that's not a great deal. Wait. That wasn't a triple coupon. But I had some, and I "saved" $79 with them, and $58 with my VIC card. Awesome.

But the most awesome thing about the trip was making three new friends: a man and his two tiny marsupials he was wearing in a zippered cloth pouch around his neck. They had four legs and long tails and each one had a stripe down its back, like a chipmunk, only they were brown and white and black instead of reddish-brown. Victor pet them, and was both enchanted and baffled.

So that was our triple coupon date. We got lots of $$$ off our grocery bill and pet the world's smallest marsupial. And it all happened because Jeremy was sick. Poor Jeremy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Straighten, Smooth, Flip, Curl

Today I used my new flat iron for the first time. The results were not spectacular, but I am sure that's due to my inexperience. By "not spectacular," I mean that although my hair ended up smooth, it was way too flat. I've got to work on the body part of the equation. And I have no idea how I could use it to curl my hair.

In other news, Jeremy is SICK. He's taking his medicine, but he is still running a 102 degree temperature, and he can't eat or move much. I am washing my hands at every opportunity and sleeping in the guest room.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Today, Jeremy was home sick.

He is so sick.

He even went to the doctor. Turns out he has the flu. He hasn't eaten since lunch on Saturday, he's freezing cold all the time, and he feels terrible if he moves. We should have seen this coming because I had this same sickness the weekend it was supposed to be icy. It took me a week to get over it, but Audra brought me hot rolls, so it was pretty much worth it.

Victor and Zeke seem fine, but they also got flu shots. I've never had a flu shot.

Jeremy's sickness enabled me to run errands this afternoon while the boys napped. I returned some sunglasses, picked up Jeremy's Tamiflu (no generic, darn it), went to Tuesday Morning just for fun, and bought a 1" flat iron.

It's not a brand I've ever heard of (it's not a CHI, sniff, it's a SoSilk or something like that), but the box says it will smooth, straighten, spike, piece, twist, curl, and lift. That pretty much covers everything I ever hope to do with my hair, so I decided to give it a try. And I figured that my hair is not like Liz's hair, so I could try the non-CHI option. I can always return it if the spikes aren't good enough.

This is a good purchase. My hair looks positively awful after an air dry--straight, curly, matted, and frizzy all at once--and today's extended effort with the round brush was just that, an extended effort. The results did not justify the amount of time it took.

It looks like Jeremy will be home sick tomorrow, too, so I'll have lots of time to figure out the SoSilk. I sure hope it delivers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

RIP, Curling Iron

Have you ever noticed that curling irons and hair dryers always break on Sunday mornings? Well, mine always do.

This morning, the little spring that makes the curling iron snap shut on the hair broke. Also, my round brush was missing. (I later found it in the diaper bag. Huh.) Instead of adding smoothness and body to my hair, I had to settle for getting it mostly stick straight.

So that's what was up with my hair today. It wasn't an ill-advised new look. It was a multi-level equipment failure.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Detecting Deception

In an effort to be more on the ball this year, I attended 6 hours of CLE today. The class was "Detecting Deception." Most of the other attendees were from the Forsyth county DA's office.

It was an interesting class, taught by one Don Rabon (pronounced RAY-bin). He has written several books on the subject and lectures all over the world.

I won't elaborate on the details, but suffice it to say that I am now a deception-detecting machine. What a way to spend a Saturday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

After a long wait . . .

there are two new albums of pictures on Jer's Superfun Family Extravaganza. Did I mention we've had computer issues?

Three Years of Victor

Victor turned three on Sunday, March 15. Also, as Victor told me, Dog turned three on Sunday. "He used to be a little baby Dog." But he's big now. And well loved, as you can see. Victor often tells me that "Dog is my best friend. He's a good friend." Dog is a sweet friend. Since I was convinced that my dolls were real when I was little, I understand where Victor is coming from on this one.

(Note: They were real dolls, not real people. There is a difference, and it mostly has to do with being able to transform their physical surroundings by power of imagination.)

For the benefit of people who don't see Victor as often as they'd like, I have compiled the following gems:

--Victor is 41.5 inches tall and weighs 41.5 pounds. He is slim and sturdy. His pediatrician told me that he is the height of an average 4 1/2 year old and the weight of an average 5 1/2 year old. I guess 5 1/2 year olds are lighter than I had previously thought.

--Victor likes to write. He gets out a pen, finds a piece of paper, and writes things. Most recently, he wrote an email for Dad on an old bill. The only letter he can make on purpose is O, and sometimes C, but when he happens to make a V or W or A or N or anything else, he points it out and is very proud.

--Victor loves Dog.

--Victor plays with toys. We get a lot of mileage out of toys, especially ones with wheels, cranes, ladders, and truck beds. They all seems to have personalities, and they talk to each other. He also believes that when his toy boy and girl ride in the dump truck, the boy must drive. I don't know where he got that idea. I'm sure I could drive a dump truck.

--Victor eats just about everything. Except mashed potatoes. He loves oranges, frosted mini-wheats, tacos, and the candy he gets from the clerk's office every Sunday.

--TV would be a much bigger part of Victor's life if he had his way. He adores anything on the Speed channel (Jeremy must turn that on for him), Clifford, Sesame Street, and whatever program is on after he's supposed to be asleep.

--Similarly, Victor loves Peter Pan and 101 Dalmations. These two movies feature prominently in his play. He has a special crocodile dance, and he is always pretending that his cars are Horace, Jasper, and Cruella. To the village!

--Victor can make a peanut butter sandwich, pour water neatly into a cup from the Britta pitcher, pour cereal into a bowl (less neatly, it must be said), and get out pretty much anything he wants to eat, like hot dogs and cheese. He was less successful cutting (!) an orange last week, and has not tried again. If he and Zeke were left alone, they would not starve for at least a week.

--Victor knows a bunch of songs, although I'm not sure who taught some of them to him. A perpetual favorite is "How Much Is that Doggie in the Window."

--Victor is not particular about his clothes, but he usually chooses shirts that have pictures of trucks, cars, wreckers, etc. on the front.

--Victor loves to be startled. He thinks it's hilarious, and has since he was a teeny tiny baby.

--In the morning, Victor says to me, "Good Morning, Mama." He recently added, "Did you have a nice sleep?", and this morning he even brought me a glass of water.

--Victor has great faith in doctors. One day, he was sick, and the doctor made him feel better. Ever since then, he is eager to suggest a doctor's visit when anyone is sick, sad, or grumpy.

--Victor is a pretty good little talker. But he confuses the words "castle" and "casserole." Thus, when the opening credits roll for Peter Pan and he sees the Disney castle he says, "Is that a casserole, Mom? Does the Beast live there?" I think he's going to keel over with joy when we finally take him to Disneyland.

--Victor has a hole in the back yard. When we go outside, he gets the (big) shovel and dig dig digs.

--Victor likes hanging from monkey bars, but he does NOT like slides.

Okay, I think that's enough about Victor. If you want a list of his favorite books or his sizes (5 shirt, 4 pants, 11 shoe), just let me know. I'll tell you all about Goldbug and Lily and One Fish Two Fish and Make Way for Ducklings and his new favorite, Greens Eggs and Ham. Or, as he calls it, "Ham, ham, any eggs." He chants it in between his reditions of the Olympic fanfare.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Glorious Day

Today is a glorious day. Why? Because Grandma is coming!

Is there anything better than a visit from Grandma? No, there is not. Grandmas are fun, they are calm, they have vast powers of persuasion, and they can think of something different to fix for dinner.

When Grandma arrives, the house has been freshly scrubbed and smells a little like bleach, surely one of the best smells in the world. The children are excited, and I get to dial back my patience-reserves by half. It's an excuse for ambitious excursions to such exotic places as the zoo. With any luck, it will inspire a certain small person to use the toilet. As far as I can tell, the only loser in the equation is Grandpa.

Hurry, hurry, Grandma! We're waiting for you!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We Gave Up (But don't tell my Dad)

It was past midnight when someone told me that today was Spring Forward Day.

We got up late this morning. Jeremy rushed off to a meeting, and despite my efforts, we were late late late to church today. Victor's diaper didn't help anything. As we struggled out of the car (okay, van), I saw Jeremy, across the parking lot, getting into the car. I waved my arms and called his name, but he still drove away.

"He's going to look for us," I thought. "He thinks something must be drastically wrong for us to be this late."

Then we went into Sacrament Meeting, via the bathroom to wash hands and dispose of aforementioned diaper. Zeke thought the ladies' room was way neat.

Five minutes later I was hauling both boys out of Sacrament Meeting, as I had been unable to persuade either of them to behave in a way that even narrowly resembled reverence. I apologize to the Caseys, the Russes, and the Bests for our family's failure at reverence.

Because I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior, I hauled the boys into the thankfuly-empty mother's room. I shut the door to contain Zeke, and I let him loose. Then--and this is the fun part--I sat in a chair with Victor clamped in my arms. He was so not happy about this. He only hit my shins with his shoes a couple of times before I wised up and moved my legs, and my lip only got bumped once. I did manage to stay calm, but it was not the happiest moment of our lives.

After some time--minutes, hours--Jeremy returned from his rescue mission, heard the commotion through the door, and retrieved the children. I intended to collect myself and return to the meeting, but it took a little longer than I had expected to collect myself. So I just sat there. And chatted. Since we had been so late, there wasn't much time left, but I still whimped out.

Jeremy took the boys to another room, closed the door, opened the windows, and also gave up.

We'll try again next week. This week was such a collossal failure that it shouldn't be difficult to effect some improvement next Sunday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Compliment

The other day, Victor told me, "Mom, you're fantastic!"

Thanks, Buddy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Victor's Snow Adventure

A few minutes ago I heard the front door open. "That's strange," I thought. "I guess I forgot to lock it after I got the paper."

No, I did not forget. Victor, being uncontrollably tempted by the four inches of beautiful snow outside, had found my keys and opened the door. Then he donned Jeremy's old sneakers and went outside to play. When I found him, he had tramped around in the snow and stumbled to the end of our front walkway.

He was wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants and Jeremy's size 14 shoes. Once he was off the curb, he was a goner. Because I am committed to empowering my children, I let Victor navigate his own way back to the front door. He was not happy about this, but he made it. Ditching the shoes was key to his success.

When he got into the house, his little hands and feet were stinging, so I ran a couple of inches of warm water in the tub for him. He cheered right up. But I don't think he'll be venturing out again on a solo snow adventure.


Yesterday, Jeremy witnessed the following scene:

Victor put on Jeremy's glasses and said to Zeke, "No, Zeke. I cannot play with you. I have to go to work."

I'm not going to say "poor Victor," because I am grateful for Jeremy's job. I even act excited about it around the boys so they will understand that work is a good thing. My cheerleading has sunk in, at least a little bit, because Victor will tell me periodically, "Dad is at work. He works so hard."

But you know that Daddy's Homecoming is the best part of the day, hands down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Key to Victor's Identity

Last night, Victor decided to watch the news with me. He loves asking me who everyone is and what they do. He especially loves seeing Barak Obama. "It's Barak Obama!" he says. "He is the president."

(We recently distinguished between "president" and "prophet," and learned that President Bush is now Governor Bush because his term was up.)

Anyway, Victor was interested in everyone's name and position until Dick Durbin came on the screen. His face lit up, and he said, "Hey! He looks like me!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Children's Museum

Today we went someplace new: the Children's Museum, downtown. Most of the exhibits are play areas: a kitchen, a doctor's office, a post office, and, most perplexing, a community center. There were also some vehicles to play in: a fire truck, stock car, police car, and airplane nose (which was being renovated). There were several train tables with a large supply of Thomas.

There weren't many people at the museum today, so Victor and Zeke had the run of the place. I was surprised, then, when Victor did not plunge into euphoria when he saw the fire truck, police car, mail Jeep, and stock car. I expected his normal response to any vehicle: "OOOooooo . . . it's a fire truck! Look, Mom, a fire truck! A big, big fire truck! It's so beautiful!," followed by siren noises and a dash for the fire truck.

That's not what happened today. He didn't want to approach them or touch them. He vehemently didn't want to sit in them. He only wanted to play with the Thomas trains.


Zeke, on the other hand, was thrilled to sit in the stock car and climb on the fire truck. After ten minutes or so of Thomas, Victor decided to approach the vehicles. First, he went to the gas pump and filled up the stock car. Then he spun the wheel. Then he checked out the fire truck. And after that, he turned into his normal little self (he and Zeke really enjoyed hollering at each other through the pipe on the side of the fire truck).

What do I take away from this experience? I take it as evidence that Victor is growing up. He is approaching new situations more cautiously than before. Since before was dashing towards things while making happy, eardrum-splitting shreiks, it's probably best.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wednesdays II

My dear sister Liz pointed out another thing that is great about Wednesdays: Life is on. If you don't watch it, it's terrific on all counts. Except for one thing.


Why, oh why, did NBC have to put Life up against Lost? I am devoted to watching Lost. It is my TV trump, and this season is super-duper so far. NBC has lots of shows I don't like, and I would really appreciate it if they scheduled one of those shows during Lost, and put Life somewhere else. But not Tuesday, because that's my dance class.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Do you know what I like about Wednesday?

On Wednesday, I get to read Miss Manners' weekly column. (I read it online in the Washington Post.) It's delightful and informative.

And that's what I like about Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Potty Drama

Last Wednesday morning, Victor told his babysitter that he wanted to wear underwear. He went to his drawer, chose some drawers, and put them on. A short time later, he had an accident in the dining room. When I came home, he had been changed and cleaned up, and he had also successfully used the toilet.

Since he hadn't used a toilet in months, I was completely confused when the babysitter told me he had had an accident. How can you have an accident when you're wearing a diaper?

Anyway, that afternoon, Victor decided that he wanted to stay dry and use a potty. I was skeptical, but decided to go with it. I put a whole lotta candy in a mason jar and set it on top of the fridge where he could see it. Every time he went potty, he got a bunch of candy.

This lasted for several days. Victor was very pleased with his successes, and he was very proud of being a big boy, but since it all seemed too good to be true, I decided that I didn't care if it worked out.

It didn't work out. He lost interest (except for after bedtime, of course). But at least I didn't care this time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


It's Valentine's Day, so I thought I'd write a post about love.

There is a commercial on TV for Sylvan Learning Center, or something similar, in which worried mothers look at their teenagers in despair as the teenagers play soccer and listen to music. The voiceover says, in ominous tones, of course, "Does your son not gets his kicks out of algebra? Does your daughter prefer rocking out to writing an essay?" Then the tone of voice changes and sunnily suggests that your child will develop a lifelong love of learning at Sylvan (or wherever).

PBS runs countless commercials--I mean public service announcements--claiming that its programming turns children into lifetime lovers of reading. It even demonstrates things you can do to make your child book-loving for life.

Enough, I say!

Love is an emotion. It is not an assessment of capability or competence. Loving books does not make you better than someone who loves basketball. Loving learning does not make you better than--well, actually, I don't even know what it means to love learning. I like to absorb interesting facts and master enjoyable skills as much as the next person, but I wouldn't describe the experience as anything akin to my feelings for the people I love.

I am afraid that it is chic to claim a love of books as a shorthand for "I'm a good person." Claiming that one's child loves to read is shorthand for "this is pretty much the best child ever." And claiming that one or one's child likes to read books we all know are dead boring is the coup de grace.

Now, before you think I've jumped off the deep end or point out that I've said a bazillion times how much Victor enjoys books, let me say that my objection is not to reading or to people who enjoy reading. Heck--I like to read! I have even pretended to like books that I thought were boring. (I promise that's behind me.) I just don't think it's a moral failing or indicative of deep inferiority if a person does not like to read.

I propose that we excise the idea of loving to read as a social goal. Instead, we should focus on building competent readers. You don't have to love reading to be a good reader. Good: can read material (novel, newspaper article, white paper, bank statement, contract, play, scriptures, court case) and understand what it means, as shown by an understanding of chronology, cause and effect, plot, instructions, analysis, obligations, and other functional measures. I think it is far more useful to society to have competent readers than book-loving readers, because love does not beget competence (see the entire world of amateur athletics).

Finally, if it is somehow important to society that people "value" reading in a non-economic way, I believe a competent reader is more likely to truly enjoy a good book because he or she will be able to understand it.

So to the moms in the Sylvan commercial, I say, let your son play soccer and maybe he'll be more willing to do his algebra. What person wouldn't rather kick a ball than solve for x? And don't be dismayed that your daughter prefers music to writing essays. The whole opera industry revolves around this premise.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Housekeeping Tips of the Day

You can use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to gently coax permanent marker off fabric.

But you should not use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on yourself.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

John Williams Strikes Again

Last summer we watched a fair amount of TV during the Olympics. Victor wandered in and out and enjoyed some of it (i.e. anything that he could describe as "fast"). But one part of the Olympics stuck with him: the Olympic Fanfare. He's been singing and humming it to himself consistently since last summer. He even has a high-stepping march of sorts that he does to the music.

I'd like to acknowledge John Williams for writing a piece of music so attractive to small boys. And although I would like to hypothesize that it all means that Victor will grow up to be an Olympian, it's far more likely, given his parentage, that it means he will grow up to play a brass instrument.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Festival of Learning, Day 2

Day 2 of the Festival of Learning was all I ever hoped it would be. Duke professor Scott Silliman's presentation on the legal aspects surrounding the detention, interrogation, and trial of detainees was very interesting. His presentation is on the internet somewhere--you could check it out. Did you know that those charges against Guantanamo detainees were dropped this week to avoid double jeopardy. It attaches at a different time in military court proceedings than in federal court proceedings. He favors using courts martial for enemy combatants.

I also attended a seminar on intellectual property for all of my Etsy-loving friends. It was all for you, Mel and Joan!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Festival of Learning, Day 1

Today was Day 1 of the Festival of Learning. In other words, I spent 8 hours in legal seminars today. I learned how to talk to the press, and the latest in 4th Circuit employment law. It was very interesting.

Tomorrow I get to go back for Day 2. But that will only be 4 hours of fun.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You Ride the Bus, Gov. Dukakis!

Today I heard Gov. Dukakis (you remember him from 1988) on the radio. He said we Americans should be embarassed about our public transportation. I have this to say about that:

You ride the bus, Governor!

I cannot imagine the awfulness of doing today's errands if I had to ride the bus.

Come on kids! Bundle up! Let's stand in the freezing cold and wait for the bus. Victor, stay here. Don't run---STOP! That's the street! Hold Mommy's hand. Keep your hand on the stroller. Jump up and down to get warm. Oh look--here's the bus. Wait for me! I'm putting down the stroller and trying not to drop Zeke. Here Zeke--climb into the bus. Don't eat that. Yuck. Good thing I'm not pregnant. Wait! That is not your purse. Don't pet the guide dog. Shoot--I dropped my fare card.

Oh look--we're at Home Depot. Let's get out and put up the stroller and walk up the hill. Keep walking!

Then we'd repeat all of the above--adding our parcels--while we waited for the bus, which may or may not even go to our friends' house to drop off two bags. And then to get Victor's hair cut. And then to the grocery store. And then home with our OJ and roast beef and eggs.

There is no way to do this and live in the suburbs as we know them. Kudos to you urban moms who get it all done in the city!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Victor was up half the night screaming and crying and whining.

Today he was up at his regular time, perfectly happy.

What is up with that?

Monday, February 2, 2009

A New Kind of Car

Jeremy and Victor went for a car ride on Saturday. Victor became very excited when they passed a car with team-spirit flags waving from the windows. He said:

"DAD! It's a pirate car!"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What a difference!

I went to church alone today.

Victor has a fever and a cough. He says he feels "a little sick" and that "I'll feel better soon." He was clearly too sick for church.

(How do you decide when your child is too sick for church? I ask myself if I would want an equally sick child sitting next to my child. If the answer is NO, then no church.)

Because I'm the Primary music person and Jeremy is the Zeke-toting person, I went to church and Jeremy stayed home with both boys.

Here's how it went.

First, when it was time to go, I picked up my things, walked out the door, got into the car, put on my seatbelt, and drove away. There was no diaper bag, no snack bag for Zeke, no two trips, no car seat, no last-minute diaper, no chasing Victor down the street, and no van. It took about 1 minute instead of 8. Also, I wore a nice necklace and a skirt that gets too short when a small person sits on my lap.

Then, when I got to church, I got out of the car and walked inside and sat down. There was no chasing and no near-misses in the parking lot.

During the meeting, I sat still and listened. I sang all of the hymns. I did not get up or move around or trade seats with anyone. No one got a time out. No one pulled my clothing in an embarrassing direction. Did I say that I listened? Yeah--I listened.

Primary was the same as usual, but after it was over, I didn't have to retrieve Victor, find Jeremy to get Zeke, or beg any young person to help me find Victor after he ran off through the building or parking lot.

Then I drove home, got out of the car, and walked inside. Everyone was asleep, so I sat down and read the paper.

It was the strangest Sunday ever.

Did I mention that I listened? Yeah--I listened.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wuthering Heights

Do you love Wuthering Heights? If you do, will you please tell me why? I think I'm missing something. Am I supposed to admire Heathcliff's devotion to Cathy, or her passion for him? To me, they both seem like awful people.

Please help me. I am missing out. I think.


When Victor turned 18 months old, he became eligible to attend our church nursery on Sunday. We took him to Nursery, he saw the trucks and the snacks, and in he ran. When church was over, we picked him up.

In the car on the way home, I asked Jeremy how he had enjoyed church that day. He responded with unexpected enthusiasm about all the great lessons he had heard that day and how much he had enjoyed it.

And so our family was hooked on Nursery, the biggest life upgrade of Victor's first 18 months besides sleeping through the night and playing independently with toys.

Victor still loves Nursery. When the Sacrament Meeting speakers go too long, Victor often pipes up with "please stop talking," or "I want my trucks." Both comments are quickly stifled, of course.

I have been interested to see what he learns in Nursery. I can rarely get him to tell me what he learned about on a particular day, but the knowledge pops up during the week. One day I asked him to speak more quietly and he said, "Inside voice!" Yes! Thank you, Nursery. He has also developed a great interest in temples that I am sure is supported by what he learns in Nursery. He is adamant that he will get married in the temple. I did have to explain that he could not marry Grandpa, though.

Best of all is the music he learns. Every so often he'll burst out with a song I didn't know he knew. We sing around the house, but I'm sure he learned I Am a Child of God and most of Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam in Nursery. His current favorite is Child of God, although it's odd to hear him sing it interspersed with truck noises and the ABC song.

So to all of you Nursery leaders out there, Thank you. You're doing a great job. And we're so happy that you'll be adding young Mr. Zeke to your class in five more months.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Hair

I want you all to know that my hair "looks very pretty today." That's what Victor says.

Monday, January 26, 2009

In the Bush?

Yesterday, Victor came up to me and started asking about a bush. A bush? Yes, "in the bush," he kept saying. I was confused. I had no idea what he was talking about.

Then he went and got a DVD to show me what he wanted.

He wanted to watch "Into the Woods." A-ha! We had watched Act I on Friday, and I guess he really liked it. Smart boy!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Victor's Beautiful Crane

What you see before you is Victor's new favorite toy. It's a MB tow truck with 4x4 vehicle. The tow truck has a crane, a moving flatbed, a tilt cab, and more. All of the parts work.
Victor just loves this toy. In fact, yesterday he was telling a lady at the park all about his "beautiful crane." She wasn't sure she heard him right. "Beautiful crane" isn't a phrase you hear very often, I guess. (Alisa may beg to differ.)
My sister tells me I'm lucky to have children who play with toys. And it is indeed lovely that Victor and Zeke will occupy themselves with toys. It keeps them busy and they enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I have had no success so far in teaching Victor his colors. It's possible he's color blind, like my dad, but I hope not, for his sake.

Today, however, he showed his first awareness that two things are the same color. What are those two things?

Brownies and my eyebrows.

An Independent Child

We got four large boxes in the mail yesterday from Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Ross. Oddly, Victor didn't ask me about them.

This morning I found a chair in the laundry room. "What on earth was Victor doing in here," I thought.

Later this morning I figured it out.

Victor had retrieved the utility knife, opened it, and then stabbed at the boxes in an attempt to discover their contents. He then left the opened knife on top of a box that was precariously balanced on a dining room chair.

So today I am grateful that Victor's first (I think) foray into utility-knife-using did not end badly for him or for Zeke.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Grammar Mistakes

I learned in a class years ago that when children become aware of grammar rules, they start making grammar mistakes on irregular words. Victor has a few grammar mistakes that make me laugh every time. My favorite is how he pronounced "does." He just puts an /s/ on the end of "do," and ends up with /dooze/.

Comed is another new mistake.

A larger mistake happened the other day when I told him not to do something and instead of saying, "Okay, Mom," he said, "But Daddy dooze it."

"And when you're the dad, you can do it too." I said this in a happy, positive tone of voice. What's the point of being an adult if you can't do anything that was off-limits to you in your childhood? I feel fine about having different rules for parents and children in our house.

Gum chewing? Parents only (but if you've read the minty diaper posts, you know that Victor keeps a stash).

Eating in front of the TV? Parents only. Wait! I mean, we never do that.

Driving the car? Parents only. Or when Jeremy is in charge, with parental supervision only.

Pouring milk? Parents only.

Watching 24? Parents and un-cognizant babies only.

Using markers? Parents only.

Some day I anticipate allowing Victor to pour his own milk and watch 24, but not for a while.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Home Repair

Today we did some home repair.

Well, we went to Home Depot three or more times. A licensed professional actually did the work.

What did he do? He replaced our bathroom fan, installed a new kitchen faucet, sealed some leaking thingys on the roof, and replaced a switch (which only broke this afternoon).

Our first faucet install did not go well. The install was great, but the faucet was terrible. It was a chrome American Standard number with retractable hose/faucet. Except the hose did not retract without pushing, and pushing on a hose is rarely effective. More importantly, when you moved the faucet to the right, it immediately swiveled back to the center on its own. How annoying is that?

So we pulled it out and went to Home Depot and got a Price Pfister (or something) that was (a) prettier and (b) worked properly. It works beautifully, and is handy for washing little hands that don't yet reach a traditional faucet.

We also had to exchange the fan we bought (top vent) for a model with a side vent, get new tubes for the water connection, choose a new dimmer switch, and buy roof tar.

In sum, we are now poorer, but less leaky, humid, and dim.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jeremy's Car

For those of you who are intrigued by Jeremy's post yesterday and wondering what he drives, it's a white 1995 Lincoln Towncar with dove gray leather interior. We call it Air Force One.

Thursday, January 15, 2009



I was driving to work today, and I saw a guy in a new Mustang. I realized how much I really like my car. It really is fantastic. Whatever problems it had in the past, it's only needed a few minor repairs in the past year. I mean, yeah, it's a 1990's Ford product, and therefore complete trash as compared to a Japanese car, or even my Chevy Van, but still . . . it gives me such great pleasure to have a car that I do not have to make payments on and that is not smoking blue smoke or leaking oil like my Honda did. I guess I see now why my dad drove a Chevy Cavalier from 1984 to 1992. How can you mess with paid for and relatively dependable?

That's why it was so weird to see the kid in the Mustang. He was like 23, with that shaggy hair that is so fashionable among a slightly younger set than myself. Though the new Mustang is a vast improvement in every way from previous Mustang models, I couldn't help but imagine the weight of car payments on that kid, like a giant anchor. I thought of the burden that car would be to his family in a year or two if he settled down. As a Ford, the car payments will be replaced almost instantly with repairs and the burden of worry.

[Spare me the comments, we all know that until the very late 1990's, all Ford products were a grand experiment in dull, cheap-looking plastics, gutless engines, and tiny pieces of electronics that give out inexplicably and require a computer to diagnose].

Anyway, speaking strictly and solely in the realm of automotive purchases, and not in the realm of other worldly goods or luxuries, of which I have all I want, I am reminded of the words of Nancy in Oliver! when she said, or rather, sang "If you don't mind having to do without things, its a fine life". I can attest to this fact. I do not mind going without a newer or better car than the ones I have. I am happy.

Imagine how expensive it would be to be unsatisifed with your car. You'd have to get a new one! What a burden it would be. And who has that kind of money laying around?

Is this smug? I'm not smarter than the kid with the Mustang, I just have an advantage in terms of not caring. It's not a conscious decision, I just don't care.

Maybe he cares about fitness, who knows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Today, Victor mastered the wearing of gloves.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zeke's First Opinion

In the last month, Zeke has become more like a real person and less like a baby. All of a sudden he plays differently, reacts differently to people, gets upset at different things, refuses to eat certain foods.

He's always had likes and dislikes, but his first true opinion was revealed on both airplane rides during Christmas.

You see, Zeke really, really wanted to look out the window. He got all intense and used every bit of vocal and physical power he had to launch himself towards it, clawing his way over Victor. This might have been a tactical error on his part, as Victor is much bigger and stronger than he, but Victor is rarely too rough with Zeke, so maybe he didn't know what he was getting into.

I have been used to balancing Victor's wants with Zeke's needs, but now I see myself balancing competing wants. I can't wait to hear my first, "It's not fair!!!" I'm sure it's coming. Zeke needs his turn at the window, too.

And he really, really wanted it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ding Dong

Today I replaced our doorbell. It has not worked for almost two years. When you press the button, it emits only an anemic nnnn sound that does nothing to alert us to your presence unless (1) the house is utterly silent and (2) we happen to be sitting at the dining room table.

Enough is enough! We went to Home Depot and chose a new unit. This afternoon, during naps, I took out the old one and put in the new.

Lucky for me, the instructions were pretty clear. They even suggested reversing the polarity of the diode if the new unit did not appear to work. I reversed said polarity of said diode and voila!

We now have a working doorbell.

Zeke Goes to the Doctor

Thursday was Zeke's one-year doctor's appointment. He did very well--no screaming (except at the end), no huge messes, no bonked heads. Victor was also remarkably well behaved.

Zeke is now 31.5 inches tall and weighs 21.1 pounds. To balance his 90th percentile height and 50th percentile weight, his head circumference is just below the 25th percentile.

Zeke is now also vaccinated against chicken pox, measles, and Hepatitis A. I'm a big fan of hepatitis vaccines, having received many of them in connection to my Amazon mission experience.

Zeke also demonstrated yesterday afternoon that he can throw a ball overhand. He's now one up on me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Poor Victor. He's exhausted from last night. It's almost 10:30 a.m., and he's still sleeping (between two beach towels, no less).

Zeke, on the other hand, is downright chipper.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Fountain of Grapes

I have often wondered if young children can overeat.

Tonight I learned the answer. Yes. A child can consume too many grapes without adequate chewing.

I also learned what happens when a child consumes too many grapes without adequate chewing.

You get a fountain of grapes, issuing forth from the child's mouth, burbling up, spilling out, tumbling down onto the blankets your husband so foresight-fully placed between the child and your freshly ironed sheets.

I have never before laughed at throw-up, but I did tonight. Whole grapes emerged. Whole Grapes! Are you kidding? No wonder Victor stays so lean--he doesn't chew his food. His body has no chance for digestion! I am going to have to find a way to reinforce positive chewing behavior. What would be a good reward for thorough chewing?


We've been having computer trouble here at the SwindleHouse. Fortunately, the offending laptop is still under warranty. It's an HP. Among other troubles (i.e. five keys have gone missing), it shuts off at random.


Today I signed up for my annual twelve hours of continuing legal education. In an effort to economize, I will be attending a two-day grab bag of one-hour courses. Most of the classes are pretty standard--direct and cross examination, opening statements, intro to IP law, recent Fourth Circuit decisions about employment law.

But some of the classes are more . . . what's the word . . . horizon-broadening?

For example:

North Carolina Lawyers in Recent Books, "a review of recent NC books that deal with lawyers and their work--discussing and evaluating the authors' and their characters' understanding and insights into law practice and their relevance to today's legal world.

Dealing with the Press, "you will never have to say 'no comment' again. This session is a practical guide on how to prepare for and handle newspaper and TV interviews. The presentation will include what to expect from reporters, how to recognize and avoid common traps, how to craft and deliver your message and tips for on-camera interviews."

This is going to be terrific!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Excellent Timing

Today I discovered that the end of a two-week out-of-town vacation is an excellent time to clean one's refrigerator. It is much easier to get up the gumption to pull out all those drawers and glass shelves when the only contents are a bottle of lemon juice, two jars of salsa, and some garlic.

Further, a sparkly clean fridge is most rewarding. You're sure to feel like an expert housekeeper when the inside of your refrigerator glistens like a diamond.