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.