Friday, December 31, 2010


The day after Aunt Liz traumatized Victor regarding the presence of corpses in McDonald's, Victor and Zeke had a fight.

We had just passed a McDonald's.

Zeke: Old McDonald's does not kill me. It only kills Victor.

Victor: No it does not! There are no dead children in McDonald's!

They "discussed" this issue for the rest of the ride.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Traumatic Outing

Today, Victor and Zeke went to the mall with Grandma Munk and Aunt Liz.

Victor was hungry.

Victor: Can we go to old McDonald's?

Aunt Liz: Ew, no! That will kill you!

Victor, visibly upset: Old McDonald's does NOT kill children! There are NOT dead children in Old McDonald's!

Victor, shouting, near tears: I will show YOU! I will show you there are no dead children in Old McDonald's!

Liz, to Grandma: I should not have said that.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Day

Today was a big day.

First, Jeremy arrived! We've missed him.

Second, Zeke told me that he needed to go potty AND THEN WENT. Amazing.

Third, Victor built his first Lego car. I was so proud of him!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Potty Training, Week 3? 4?

Zeke has been wearing underwear for about three weeks now. I'm trying to take a zen approach. The carpet already looks horrible, which helps. (Obviously, he's not allowed near the couch.)

The thing that motivates Zeke is wearing underwear. The Batman is his favorite. He tells me that Batman is a bad guy until he takes off his mask. Then he is a good guy.

He only volunteers that he needs to go when we are out and about, trying to accomplish something. At home, he doesn't go into the bathroom on his own. Usually, I notice a tiny spot of wetness on his person and escort him to the toilet. If I don't notice in time . . . .

I check him frequently.

He wears Pull-Ups when we go out, and the most reliable hours for staying dry are while he either out or napping.

We're pretty square with #1. Number 2 is a different matter, even though Victor taught him the magic words: "Rrrrrrrrrrrr YAK!"

Zen approach.



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spoon Update 2

Spoon #6 has surfaced!

It was in a powdered drink container that had not been opened for approximately 14 months.

A Present for Zeke

Zeke's birthday is Christmas Eve.

I have asked him three times what he would like for his birthday.

"A present!" he replies.

"What kind of present?" I ask.

"A red present!"

Today's progress is that he thought of things that are red, such as remote-control Corvettes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Primary Music Binder

To answer le's question, I only have a Primary Music Binder. If I had a Primary binder I think Victor would react the same way her child does, i.e. collapse in disinterest.

The music binder is where I put songs from the Friend and the "new" songs they learn in Primary each year. (I put new in "" because judging from their copyright notices, most of the songs have previously appeared somewhere.) With the exception of the builder song, I have loved the "new" songs for the past three years. Last year's song, "I Know That My Savior Loves Me" was Victor's favorite/only one he liked.

My friend Kari gave me the idea for a music binder. She has all sorts of fabulous binders.

Monday, December 6, 2010

No More Winkling!

I was just updating my Primary music binder with the song from this month's Friend.

(I am not in Primary right now. Having a Primary music binder is part my attempt to be an involved parent. I'm not sure it qualifies as fun, though.)

"Ah!" I thought. "This would be the perfect time to add the 2011 Primary Program feature/not-in-the-Children's-Songbook song." So I went to the Church website and discovered that it has undergone a makeover.

Despite the makeover, it still took several tries to find what I was looking for.

But once I located the 2011 Primary Sharing Time outline, I found it much improved. Each month has a two-page spread that tells what should be taught each week during Sharing Time and what song will be taught that month. Brilliant!

Now if I want to know what Victor learned in Sharing Time, I won't have to winkle it out of him. I can just look!

(The 2011 song, in case you are wondering, is a nice Sally deFord piece called "If I Listen with My Heart."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Victor's Future, expanded plan

I've mentioned that Victor plans to marry "Gwendolyn," who is in our ward and who lives next door. He truly loves her.

He also plans to have three children: Gwendolyn, Evan, and a third who has sometimes been called James.

The family will live in a red brick house that has an upstairs.

Victor will drive a red pickup truck.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Alarming Incident

I was looking at pie recipes on Liz's website today when I heard Zeke say, "Bye-bye, poop!"

Then the toilet flushed.

As I thought it was unlikely that he had actually used the toilet, I sprang from my chair and rushed into the bathroom. Zeke was standing, proud as punch, next to the toilet.

"Mommy! I had an accident! I had an accident!" he cheerfully proclaimed. Then he proudly showed me how he had emptied his underwear into the toilet and washed it out in the sink. By some miracle, he had actually managed to clean up his mess.

He was very proud.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Atlanta Housing Authority

I am interested in reading about social problems and how different cities, states, and countries work to resolve them.

Today I read an interesting article in City Journal (thanks to The Weekly Standard for the link) about the Atlanta Housing Authority and its director, Renee Glover. It is called Atlanta's Public-Housing Revolution, by Howard Husock, and it is very interesting.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's That Special Time Again

Zeke will be three at the end of next month.

It's time for potty training!

We started last week at Grandma Nancy's house and over her carpet.

It's not going badly, but it's not going especially well, either.

He's dry most of the day. But then, suddenly, he's wet.

And, at least once a day, this is what happens when he is supposed to be sitting on the pot.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Annual Growth

How much hair can a person grow in a year?

If you start with this,

This much!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Thoughts on the TSA Patdowns

In the last week, I've been patted down twice at airports. I got the patdown because I set off the metal detectors.

Was it like a sexual assault? Let's put it this way:  if my Beehives asked if a boy could touch them that way since he wasn't touching their actual girl parts, I'd say not on your life. No one is allowed to get that close with that kind of pushing and feeling--I don't care what side of the hand they are using. And no one should be feeling around inside the waistband of your jeans without a lot more evidence than "you set off a metal detector." Since I was wearing an undershirt, they didn't touch my skin. Most people would experience a TSA agent going under their clothes to touch their skin. Yuck. Can you say "unreasonable search"?

I did not request a private screening room. Why on earth would you want someone doing the patdown in private with no witnesses?

There is a theme among the pictures I've seen (Friday's WSJ front page, for example) and the people I observed getting the patdown.

It's mostly women who have set off the metal detectors, and for two apparent reasons:

1. A figure that requires supportive undergarments. Both TSA agents acknowledged this to me. The first even complimented the fit of my bra.

2. People with implanted medical devices. TSA agent #2 pushed too hard on my port and demanded to know what it was. She hadn't asked if I had a medical device, and since I don't normally think about it, I hadn't mentioned it. I had to pull down the neck of my shirt to show her my scar and the bump under my skin. It's about three fingers below my clavicle. I explained that it's for cancer, that mine is made of plastic, and that it doesn't have enough metal to harm an MRI machine.

So from my observations, we're scrutinizing curvy women and women with fake knees and port-o-caths. In other words, we're wasting most of our time searching people who are not remotely dangerous. And everybody knows it, including the TSA agents.

This has got to be the easiest screening ever for a would-be terrorist to avoid. Just don't put metal on your body.

Back Safe Home Again

We're back from Boron!

We had a very nice time.

I shot a 44 Magnum and used a scope for the first time.

Victor decided he wants to live in Boron when he grows up because there is a lot of dirt to dig in.

And I got another patdown, this time at LAX. It was even more aggressive.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Victor Is Right

Yesterday we went to the dentist. Zeke hopped right up into the chair, but Victor was wary.

Victor was also correct about something.

He has four loose teeth.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Growing in Love

Jeremy and I have been married for eight and a half years, and I can tell that our love has really grown because we have spent the past two nights sleeping in a tiny queen size bed, and we're not miserable.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Luxury Travel

Yesterday we took a long trip. But since I got to sit next to Zeke instead of a full-size adult, it was no biggie. The main event of the day was when I set of the metal detector for the FIRST TIME in my life.

I got the full pat down.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Disappointment

Now that I have ample locks, I require hair appointments.

Unfortunately, when I arrived at Ulta this morning, no stylists were there. Apparently, Sarah, who cut my hair last time, "is not longer with us." And it further appears that she deleted her appointments from the system, leaving me high and dry and embarking on a trip to my in-laws sans style.

Boo, Sarah!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Spoon Strategy

In an effort to trick the Irony Fairies into returning my spoons, I have purchased six new spoons at Target.

I'm glad Oneida offers six-packs of teaspoons. Especially as the new spoons nest so nicely with the old spoons.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Spoon Update

Spoon number five has been discovered in a container of freezer jam in the freezer.

Victor thinks freezer jam is like ice cream. Jeremy thought that was odd until he tried a bite. Yum.

Kitchen Shears

Some time last year my Henkel kitchen shears disappeared from their spot on top of the fridge.

I cleared the top of the fridge and cleaned everything. No scissors.

I moved the fridge. No scissors. But I knocked a pine-scented candle off the top and its glass shattered everywhere behind the fridge. That was fun to clean up.  

I searched everywhere I could think. No scissors.

Two days ago I was doing a regular top-of-the-fridge cleaning, and there they were. Right on top. Slightly open. Very dusty.

It is 100% impossible they have been there the whole time. 100%.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I assumed that we would start losing teaspoons when the boys got older. Since I'm attached to my flatware, I have been mentally bracing for that day.

It has come.

EIGHT of my twelve teaspoons have disappeared. Since they are not allowed out of the kitchen, let alone the house, I don't know how this happened. Zeke seems the most likely culprit because Victor has been responsibly using spoons for years.

I even asked Jeremy if he has been cooking methamphetamines or crack or something, which I hear requires spoons, just in case.

He said no.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fun Mom Goes Nonfiction

I hear learning is supposed to be fun, so we got some nonfiction children's books at the library today.

Two books are on desert habitats, in preparation for our trip to Boron. One even has Joshua Trees on the cover. Which is highly appropriate.

One book is on wolves, a subject of great interest since we started watching Beauty and the Beast every day. (Today's question: can wolves swim?)

One book is about nocturnal animals, which Victor studied in school last week.

And finally, a book about the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving, just in case they don't cover that in school any more.

My final thought about the library is this: do librarians take courses in Grouchiness and Unfriendliness? I mean, come on. If you don't want common folk wandering into your place of work and touching everything, library science may not be for you.

Mansfield Fine Design

My very talented Aunt Keeta has a new website for her home design company. Fun! And pretty. Very, very pretty.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I have a little research project going, and I need some female assistants who know Mormon men over age, say 23.

Here is the gig:

1. Go find your YW Medallion.

2. Show it to your husband/father/brother/male friend. This will not work if the male is not Mormon.

3. Say, "Hey, look what I found," and act as if he should know what the Medallion is without revealing its identity.

4. Using cleverness, determine whether or not the male person knows what it is.

5. Report back.

Results Preview: Jeremy had no idea what it was. No idea.


 Halloween is not my favorite thing. Still, I tried to be fun.

For example, we went to a pumpkin patch and took a hay ride. Or, to be more precise, we looked at a lot of expensive pumpkins on a church lawn and then rode around the church parking lot behind an old blue tractor. During this trip I realized the TAMN was right. My point-and-shoot is lame, and I didn't even know it. Oh, well. At least I didn't annoy a wagon-full of people by draping my child over the hay bales while knocking other people's elbows in pursuit of the perfectly staged hayride shot.
 We didn't buy the $35 church pumpkins. We got these instead, at the grocery store. Except for the little one, which spontaneously grew in our garden this summer. We didn't get around to carving them, so they still make nice porch decorations.
 We did get some costumes for the trunk-or-treat. Zeke was a garage-sale lion, and Victor was Uncle Peter.

The truly fun part of Halloween was a visit from Peter and Candice and cousin Laura!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Team SwindleRun tore up the track today! Our veteran racer, who was also our fastest racer, expressed her opinion that it was a challenging course because of the many hills, some of them uncommonly steep.

I am proud to report that I accomplished my goal of finishing in less than one hour. My time was 39 minutes, or, 21 minutes faster than my previous personal best. I guess it's easier to run when you are not pushing a stroller. Also, when your doctor is right behind you, loping along with her kids at "Gee isn't this fun" speed.

The most fun part was running the second half with my mom. She was awesome. We even sprinted to the end.

Victor was the only casualty. He fell and jabbed a teal ribbon mini-flag into his throat. He's at the doctor's right now.

Thanks to all of our team members. We had a great time!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow is our big run.

My goal is to finish in less than one hour.

Go, Team SwindleRun!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Primary Program

Sunday was Victor's first Primary Program. He did nothing outlandish. He did pull some odd faces and shout into the microphone "I take my cars and go to Church," but he also appeared to be singing at least once.

The sweetest moment was after the program ended and he rejoined us on our pew. Zeke was hopping up and down in front of him, saying, "Victor, you did a great job! Victor, you did a GREAT job! Victor, you did a great job!" Then Victor said, "Thanks, Zeke. You are a great brother."

And then they hugged.

No, I am not making this up.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jogging, Day 17

Saturday is our big 5k event, so my jogging buddy and I went for the gold yesterday and jogged a whole three miles. Hooray, us!

We took turns pushing the BOB (we only had two kids between us that day), and I had to walk for a minute or so a couple of times, especially early on. But we reflected on how far we have come since we started two months ago, when we were truly pathetic. Now, we've graduated from "pathetic" to "very, very slow."

For me, though, it's a triumph over last summer and fall when I could barely limp along at 1 mile per hour and I didn't have the strength to do anything but shower and rest.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sneaker Status

The Debbie Downers at the science center weren't kidding.

The sneaker has an odor such that I cannot allow it near the house.

And the tongue has been ripped to shreds.

And I don't think the lights work any more.

It is currently submerged in baking soda in an old GAP bag, hanging from the mailbox post.

And you can smell it from several feet away.

And, as I write this, I realize THIS IS THE SOLUTION to our "animals-eat-our-garden" problem. With that scent, no rabbit, groundhog or deer will get within 100 yards of our squash. Hooray!


The anteater zookeeper has recovered Victor's shoe! We can pick it up this morning.

"I don't know if you'll be able to get it clean," is the exact phrase. "It has an odor."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Awesome, Consistent Parenting

Tonight was "Spirit Night" at a local Chick-fil-A for Victor's school. The idea is that you dine at the restaurant, which then donates 15% of the proceeds to the school. There is a contest element, too: the class that generates the most proceeds wins a prize (which can be redeemed at Chick-fil-A, of course).

We've never gone to spirit night. I'm just not that fun.

But it seemed to matter to Victor this time, so I told the boys that if they ate their dinners, which they had approached with some skepticism, they would earn dessert at Chick-fil-A.

Victor dove right in to his fajitas. "Wow, Mom. This is actually good!"

Zeke resisted.

I put three little pieces of chicken on his plate, but he did not eat it. Not as I tempted him with milkshakes. Not as we walked out the door. Not as I sat with him in the Chick-fil-A parking lot while Victor was inside, enjoying his milkshake with Jeremy.

Instead, he proposed that I eat his chicken for him. And he pleaded, "Please, Mom? Please can I go inside?"

It did not work. We were unmoved.

No chicken, no ice cream.

Zeke Speaks

Zeke, chattering to himself: My mom is a genius!

Me: I'm a genius?

Zeke: Yes. You're a genius! I'm a genius, too.

Me: Wow. Thanks, Zeke.

Zeke: It's a dream come true.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jogging, Day 16

In an attempt to alleviate some hip pain, last week was devoted to various kinds of strength building other than running. But today we had to get back out there, rain or shine.

Rain, it turned out.

Zeke and I ran just under 2 miles before deciding that we were wet enough to call it quits. It was a landmark day, though, because I RAN up the BIG hill on the big-hill loop.

Maned Wolf Toy

I called the science center this morning to ask if the zoo keepers had been able to retrieve Victor's shoe.

In short, no.

One of the animals has carried it off and hidden it.

This makes perfect sense when you consider that the shoe flashes blue and white lights when dropped or nudged. What maned wolf (or anteater) wouldn't like a toy like that?

Also, Victor attended school in his cheap-o clay-stained play shoes today. The boots, as observed by our commentators, would have been too much fun.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Life Lesson

Today, Victor learned what happens when you repeatedly stick your shoe between the slats of the railing alongside a walkway over a zoo enclosure.

1. Your mother tells you DON'T DO THAT because YOUR SHOE WILL FALL.

2. Indeed, your shoe falls into the maned wolf/anteater enclosure.

3. Your mother becomes upset. And then she says I TOLD YOU NOT TO DO THAT.

4. You are very upset because (a) now you have only one school shoe, (b) it was a cool shoe, (c) you are in big trouble with your mother.

5. You have to walk back to the car with one shoe.

6. Your friend, who was obedient during the whole outing, points out that SHE was obedient and still has TWO shoes.

7. You must now depend upon the anteater's keeper to *maybe* retrieve your cool shoe and bring it to the front desk this evening.

8. You will have to discuss the situation with your father when he gets home. Wait. Jeremy doesn't care about shoes. Scratch that.

8. You will wear rain boots to school tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Space Flight!

Do you want to feel queasy AND jealous of the most fun dad in the universe?

Check out this video. As noted in the article, the good part starts at 2:35.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Team SwindleRun

Have you registered for Athena's Run yet? Team SwindleRun now has TEN members and we're looking for more.

If you are worried about being the slowest, never fear. Jeremy will be pushing a 30-something pound BOB with about 85 pounds of Victor and Zeke in it, so he will not be terribly speedy.

When you register (just Google "Athena's Run" and you'll find it), please note that we have, by far, the coolest team name.

If you find registration too difficult (and I totally understand difficult-registration overload), I will be happy to do it for you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jogging, Day 15

This morning, Zeke and I headed to the longer loop for our jog. We went a little more than 2 miles in about 35 minutes. We ran or jogged most of the time, taking one-minute walk breaks at 16 minutes and 25 minutes, and walking up most of the really big hill at the end.

We also saw the 5 Little Monkeys ladies again. The last time I saw them was at the big-hill park, chanting 5 Little Monkeys at top volume and then jumping around like monkeys while hooting to their stroller-bound offspring. Today half were chanting Old MacDonald at the babies while the other half sprinted in a small loop while talking smack.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jogging, Day 14

Between the rain and general fatigue, last week was a complete jogging bust. In an effort to do something, however, I returned to my elliptical. I was quite surprised that I had to double my former resistance in order to feel like my muscles were working. So I guess that means I'm making progress.

Today, I planned to walk three miles at the loop with big hills. Instead, I added some running (yes, real running!) on the less-big hills. I did two five-minute runs and one ten-minute run.

However, it took me about an hour to do all three miles.

That is way too slow. I used to be able to walk it in 50 minutes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Conference Weekend

Watching General Conference with small children in the house is interesting. It means a LOT of time in the house, not playing.

Saturday morning, pre-conference: Victor puts a toy truck through a screen. Jeremy takes the boys to the hardware store. I cannot convince myself to go jogging, so I use the elliptical machine instead.

Saturday morning session: Victor starts to cry when President Monson talks about missionaries. I push "Record" on the DVR. Massive drama ensues. Jeremy fixes the screen. I clean the kitchen.

Saturday afternoon, pre-conference: Jeremy takes the boys for haircuts. I go out to buy some hand soap.

Saturday afternoon session: I go to a friend's house and watch in peace and quiet. Jeremy and the boys tape the screen-material tubes together and run cars through them.

Saturday evening: Jeremy picks up pizza and goes to Priesthood session. The boys play outside and then take an hour-long bath. After they go to bed I read The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud. When Jeremy gets home, he orders me a pizza and we watch the recorded morning session.

Sunday morning, pre-conference: Victor and Zeke break a library DVD in half and rip a page out of a library book and detach the pull-cord from the ceiling fan.

Sunday morning session: Jeremy and I watch in the living room. The boys watch Veggie Tales on Netflix.

Sunday between sessions: Lunch with friends. Neither boy breaks anything or falls into the koi pond.

Sunday afternoon session: Jeremy and I finish the morning session on DVR and watch the last session. Victor and Zeke watch Pingu until Zeke becomes bored and comes into the living room. We turn up the volume. Then we see my beautiful friend Allison on the Kiev Temple special.

Post conference: a family walk and a late dinner.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Great Leslie

Tony Curtis has died.

He is famous for many screen roles, but to me (and most of my maternal cousins, I would guess) he is best known as The Great Leslie, whose hair is always combed and whose car is always clean.

I shall now watch The Great Race on streaming Netflix in his honor.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jogging, Day 13

Saturday morning was spent searching for a muffler-repair shop, and we didn't get to the park until noon.

It was 91 degrees outside. My goal was 2.25 miles.

I jogged most of two miles but had to spell myself with a minute of walking here or there after the first half mile. But I did the two miles two minutes faster than last time, so yay.

The last quarter mile was only accomplished after a breather during which I recalled that the last time I jogged two miles it had been unseasonably cool.

It was really hot outside.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Extra Mile

My hair was getting very crazy, so last Monday I set a goal to make a hair appointment this week.

Happily, I met and even exceeded my goal. Not only did I make the appointment, I kept the appointment!

Many thanks to Sarah at Ulta. Because of her efforts, I no longer look like a shaggy 12-year-old boy.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Living the PB Dream

Thank you, Uncle Orson, for sharing the lives of Gary and Elaine, Catalog Dwellers.

Jogging, Day 12

Yesterday, Zeke and I went to Costco. We had 15 minutes, tops, because we had to hustle to preschool pickup.

Thanks to our new ability to jog, we were in and out in EIGHT MINUTES, which is a world record.

Today's schedule called for a 1.5 mile run. We attempted the loop with big hills again today, and did not manage to run up them. My calf muscles are killing me, but perhaps following Tuesday's jog with Tuesday night's dance class was not a good strategy.

Victor, Zeke, and BOB in January 2008. Only BOB is unchanged.

Not a Child of God

Sometimes I can corral Victor to look at new Church magazines when they arrive in the mail.

Today was such a day, and we spent 10 minutes or so looking at this month's edition on temples. We looked at the pictures and read some captions and sidebars.

One side bar referred to "children of God." I asked Victor if he knew who was a child of God.

"ME!" he said.

I asked, "Am I a child of God?"

"No," he said. "You are a grown-up like God."

Victor, age 16 months, at the Washington, DC Temple on July 7, 2007

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How's It Going?

My standard way of checking in on Victor is to ask:

"Hey, Victor. How is [insert name of activity] going?"

Yesterday afternoon, in the laundry room, Victor checked on me.

"Hey, Mom. How is laundry day going?"

He was right. Monday is laundry day. And it was going fine.

Jogging, Day 11

I will skip a recap of Day 10. It was not good.

Day 11 was today. Day 10 was so bad I almost skipped Day 11 in preemptory despair. But we went!

I ran all of laps 1 and 4 (minus 10 seconds to look at an unusual caterpillar with Zeke), most of lap 5, and almost most of laps 2 and 3. Also, I did about 1/4 mile of lap 4 actually running. It was kind of like flying, and I liked it.

There were no other people on the loop, so Victor had free range on his bike. I love that he can go off on his own, but that I am still very close by. He's getting stronger, too. He can power up some of the hills now.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Commando Force

Our city has a new police unit comprised of handsome officers on four-wheelers who wear aviator glasses. I'm not sure what they do other than ride their four wheelers along the new bike/walk/run trail that's built on an old easement, but they sure look awesome.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Good Fortune

Jeremy ate Chinese food for lunch today. He kindly brought home a fortune cookie for me.

My fortune is:

"God will give you everything you want."

The "shoe size 13-16" men's socks I found at Costco last week were clearly a foreshadowing of my good fortune.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jogging, Day 9

Today, feeling confident after my TWO MILE RUN on Saturday, Zeke and I headed to a park with bigger hills.

We went our two miles, but barely, and we did NOT run up the hills. Or on all the flat parts.

On a positive note, my legs are getting a lot stronger. I can tell when I clean the house.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jogging, Day 8

On Saturday I discovered that pushing a stroller really slows me down. Not because it's heavy, but because I like to swing my arms while I jog. It's a nice motion. It helped me run up the hills.

Sans Zeke-in-B.O.B. I ran TWO MILES. In a row. Without stopping.

It took 34 minutes. But I was still mighty impressed with myself.

Friday, September 10, 2010

1922 in Color

I ran across Kodak's 1922 Kodachrome Film Test on the internet today.

What is it about seeing black-and-white eras in color?

Jogging, Days 5, 6, 7

Day 5 was a bust. Jeremy and I made the mistake of allowing Zeke to bring his trike on our family ride/walk/jog, which meant that Jeremy had to hang back with Zeke, who pedaled like mad while yelling, "I'm fast!" Meanwhile, the weekend Lance Armstrong wannabes zipped past poor little Zeke. Really, folks, is there nowhere else you'd rather show off/ride than a small loop around a park?

I had the job of staying with Victor while he struggled up hills and booked down them. It would have been fine had there not been eight bazillion people also using the road. Victor was always interested in the grown-up cyclists, but his bike follows his sight lines (which I understand because I used to drive like that, terrifying my parents) and he kept veering towards the aforementioned zippy cyclists despite my yells of "Victor! Stay to the side! The side! THE SIDE!"

By the end of our outing I was a crazy person.

Day 6 was much better as we had the park mostly to ourselves. The few other patrons smiled indulgently at Victor as he rode, as if remembering what it was like to be small and experiencing the freedom of a first bicycle.

Jogging-wise, I got the idea from a running magazine (thanks, Jen) to try and run for 10 minutes straight. Last week, that was impossible. I could not even run for two minutes straight. But on Day 6, I did it!

On Day 7, I jogged with a friend at yet another park. AND WE JOGGED THE ENTIRE FIRST LOOP! Let me say WE ARE VERY IMPRESSED WITH OURSELVES. Further, WE JOGGED UP and down THE HILLS. Did you catch that? WE RAN UP THE HILLS.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


SwindleRun is the name of our team for Athena's Run for Gyn Cancers.

The 5k event is on Saturday, October 30, and you can sign up here.

Make sure to join team SwindleRun!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jogging, Days 3 and 4

On Thursday I went jogging with a friend. Between us, we had two ladies, two double joggers, and two boys on bikes. Fortunately, the trail was not busy, and we managed to jog* on flats and down hills. It was way more fun to jog* and chat.

Saturday was a revelation. Jeremy and Victor rode their bikes and I pushed Zeke. And I could even jog* most of the loop.

I almost couldn't believe it.

I actually improved between Monday and Saturday.

*By "jog" I mean the motion of jogging. I make no representation as to speed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sharing, Caring, That's the Thing to Do!

Tonight we dined at Poblano's because all meals are half off on Wednesdays. I ate fajitas, Jeremy ate mole something, Victor had (at his request) shredded chicken, black beans, and rice, and Zeke had chicken fingers and french fried.

Naturally, Victor wanted a french fry. So he asked "Zeke, can I have a french fry."

Zeke said something like "Um, yes," and selected a fry.

Zeke then broke the fry in two, and then in two again.

"Here Victor!" he said, offering him a stub of french fry.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jogging, Day 2

Today's jogging attempt actually went better than I expected. Now that my legs have figured out what they are supposed to do, we have moved to the stage where they protest as we jog down hills and on some flat parts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Jogging, Day 1

Today I went jogging for the first time in about 13 years. It's not that I don't like exercise but, well, I don't, really. I do it anyway, but I prefer tap dancing to jogging.

Nevertheless, off we went. Zeke rode in the BOB, Victor rode his bike, and I jogged down gentle slopes and walked everywhere else.

It didn't go very well. It was kind of like I had asked my arms to fly. My legs didn't burn or seize up or shake. They just didn't run.

Except down gentle slopes.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Two smells that do NOT mix:

L'Oreal Kids Orange Mango Smoothie Shampoo


Old Spice High Endurance Body Wash in Fresh scent

If you have both of these items (or similar), do NOT mix them in the kids' bath or you will have very clean children who smell terrible.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New and Exciting

Today we listened to a free Disney CD while we ran errands. After being regaled by numerous animated characters to seek adventure and pursue our dreams, we decided to shake things up.

So we went past The Home Depot and shopped at Lowe's instead.

Unfortunately, it was just like The Home Depot.

So much for just around the river bend.

Stupid Pocahontas.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Victor's Recipe Idea

Today is my sister Liz's birthday.

Happy Birthday, Liz!

So we called her on the webcam to watch her open her present. At some point, Victor explained to her (and to Alex, who was also there) that tonight he wanted chocolate carrots as a treat.

"You put jelly and chocolate and carrots together and put them in the oven. Then it gets real flat and about this (gesturing about eight inches) long."

I can usually figure out where his ideas come from, but this one has me stumped unless he's simply combining two of his favorite snacks with jelly.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Rookie Mistake

Today I made a rookie mistake at the pool.

I put sunscreen on Zeke's face and shoulders and then put my hat on.

That's it.

I didn't sunscreen the rest of me or Victor at all.

Fortunately, Victor was already very brown.

Friday, August 13, 2010

This Morning's Interjections

Me: "Victor, please don't grab my arm while I'm pouring the milk."

Victor: "Boing Boing"


Me: "Victor, please get dressed."

Victor: "CHICKEN!"

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Another way to express anger or frustration or to create a diversion is to exclaim, "Broken Nuts!"

Monday, August 9, 2010

Color Photos

Did you ever see the Calvin and Hobbes when Calvin's dad tells him that old photos are in black and white because the world used to be in black and white?

Well, here are some color photos from the Great Depression.

It's so cool to see a black-and-white era in color.

Distracting Outburst

Often, when Victor is receiving unwanted instruction, he'll burst out with a distracting interjection.

For example, today I was asking him not to yank on my arm while I was trying to hold a book we were reading.

"STINKY NUTS AND POOP!" he burst out.


Apparently Zeke got it because he started cackling and yelling "POOP!"

[More boy laughter.]

[No mom laughter.]

Sunday, August 8, 2010

1:30 Church, Week 2

Today we experienced the downside of 1:30 church: our building is an inferno.

Still, the heat was far outweighed by the other benefits.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Brave Mom

Even though I'm fun now, I don't really care for activities that involve being hot or in a crowd, which is why I felt very brave as we drove to our local shopping center this morning to purchase shoes for Victor during the tax-free weekend.

It was kind of like exercise at the gym, and I should have worn my sneakers.

Victor didn't really understand the "walk for me" part of shoe shopping, so instead of just walking six feet and then walking back, he half-danced, half-shuffled, making it impossible to determine if the shoes were slipping on his heels. This left him as the sole arbiter of whether the shoes fit. In the end, he declared that all of the shoes except the size 13.5 light-up Sketchers were simultaneously too tight and too big. So now I'm a mom who buys trendy shoes for her preschooler.

Then we went to buy some jeans. This led to our first encounter with a dressing room, and it was an unmitigated disaster. Wait! It was not an unmitigated disaster because somehow several pairs of jeans were tried. Since some were discarded and some selected based on fit, I'll just call it a tearful and sweaty experience.

Other highlights of the trip included testing the light-up sneakers in a bathroom, crying under a clothes rack, banging an elbow, and apologizing to a very understanding lady.

Zeke quietly enjoyed the shopping trip from the Maclaren.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Approval Rating Survey

I love surveys. Jeremy is very kind and passes the phone to me whenever someone calls with a survey. I felt like part of the ruling elite when I got to participate in Nielsen's May sweeps survey.

Yesterday I got the jackpot political survey: Obama's approval rating measured by likely voters and which candidates I would select for US House and Senate if the election were held tomorrow. I also got to rate how important various issues are to me and how likely they would be to influence my voting in November.

Of course, it's possible that the survey was really measuring how people selected numbers when asked to rate things on a scale from 1 to 100. But I sure hope not.

A Triumph

For at least the last year I have been teaching Zeke how to ask politely for things at the table.

Despite my best and most consistent efforts, we were still having this conversation every meal at the table.

Zeke: Milk. Milk! MILK, MOMMY, MILK!!!

Me: How do you ask nicely?

Zeke: Please?

Me: Zeke, say, "Mom,"

Zeke: Mom

Me: "May I"

Zeke: May I

Me: "Please have"

Zeke: Please have

Me: "Some milk."

Zeke: Some milk.

Me: Yes, you may.

Yesterday, however, after having the above conversation one time at dinner, we had the following, triumphant exchange.

Zeke: Chicken. More chicken! MORE CHICKEN!!!

Me: Zeke, how do you ask nicely?

Zeke thinks for a while. Then, as the Brazilians say, "a ficha caiu."

Zeke, with a smile: Mom, may I please have some more chicken?

Me, with a big smile: Yes, yes you may certainly have more chicken you sweet, sweet boy who knows how to ask nicely for more at the table!!!

Like I said, a triumph! And it only took a year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

1:30 Church, Week 1

As predicted, based on my survey of one other person, Jeremy and I are in the minority of our co-congregants as regarding our opinion of 1:30 church.

We like it.

1. Jeremy does not have to leave for a meeting before the rest of us even get up.

2. I do not have to get the kids up, fed, dressed, and in the car by 8 a.m., the time we usually rise in the morning.

3. We have a whole morning of family time when everyone is well rested instead of aching for a post-church nap.

4. We don't have to bring any food to church because everyone has eaten. (As a cancer patient, I excused myself from the No Food in Sacrament Meeting rule this year.)

5. We can play games until late on Saturday night.

6. We can eat bacon on Sunday morning.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Compliment

I made a new dinner the other day. Victor sampled it and pronounced it very tasty. Then he added, "Thanks, Mom. I didn't even have to say it was yucky."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Car Conversations

Victor talks while he play cars. That is, the cars talk to each other. They have contests, too.

For example, right now, a red Beetle, a white VW, and an huge old red boat of a Cadillac are conversing. Imagine screeching noises and "ert"s every sentence or so: "Oh Cadillac, I think my engine is broken. Let's try again. Whoa, how'd you do that, Cadillac? Engine little fire things. I'm mistaking my wheels and some tall things and the little tiny windows and the shiny muffler and another one and another window and one fire machine and one piggy engine and one small buffer that's looong. How'd you do that? Watch.

[More screechy vrooming noises than usual.]

"Here I go. Go as fast as we do. Watch! On your mark, get set, go. [Racing noises.] Go! This is the most spectacular place I could ever see the white car. I'm too short. There you go. [nosies] Great, guys! Here's what to do. Do you think you guys could try? Come on, Cadillac, you haven't even tried. What is that guy doing? I think he's going to his home for the rest of the day. Or for a nap.

"Oh, crazy! That's what you have to do. I'm a little long. Uh, wow. That's pretty darn cool. Now you try. Whoa. Pret-ty crazy. What is wrong? I'm stuck behind this big bump. This big bump is hard. That is why you jump. Hey guys, look at this! Cadillac, I mean, fire car, how did you get that high. It's in this cozy warm thing. Oh. Is there anywhere for us to sit? Yes, over here. Come on, fire car. Come on Cadillac. There are two ways.

"It's scary to go over and try again there. Oh, right. I have my own place that is darker. (He's now playing with a rolled up sleeping bag.) That is the darkest thing I've ever heard, Cadillac. It's too dark in here. Let's scare him. Boo. He can't hear us. It keeps its eyes open. Boo. Almost there. Almost. Almost there. Boo! Aaaah! I only have a motor. Boo, I said. Boo. Aim close to his friends. Aim close. Almost there. Is he really hiding?

"Excuse me. Excuse me, I thought you were a monster. This is our house. This is OUR house. Knock knock. Come it. It's a monster. It's me, Mr. Blackie Car. Where is Cadillac going? He's afraid. Where did he go? A-ha! Nope. Not in there. Where's the rest? I could try to dig in to there.

Whew. Those are some busy cars. I just realized that he won't play like this with me in the room as he gets older. That will be sad, because I love hearing what his cars are up to.

Also, today he added time phrases while his cars played in the sink. I kept hearing, "some time later" and "not long after" and such things.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good Society

If you haven't seen the latest adventures of Elizabeth, Fanny, Emma, et al., may I direct you to Jane Austen's Fight Club.

Power Fun

Today we journeyed to our friends' home in the country.

Their boys have a power wheels truck, which filled the Swindle boys with joy. They were even happier than the kids in Fisher Price commercials.

And Victor surprised us all with his remarkably adept driving skills, including perfectly executed three-point turns.

Zeke did not surprise us with his exuberant but alarming driving skills, which landed him in the neighbors (thankfully fallow) field.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pioneer Day

The Primary sang a pioneer song today in Sacrament Meeting.

Victor's participation was much the same as on Mother's Day.

He mournfully trudged to the front of the chapel and onto the stand. His face reddened and tears appeared as he faced the congregation.

Then he sat down on the steps, completely out of sight, for the duration of the song.

At the end he trudged back to our row.

"I just sat down and did not do anything," he confessed (loudly).

That's okay. I praised his excellent walking to and from.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday, after I was dressed and almost ready for the day, Victor looked at me and said, "Mom, you are not wearing any earrings."

"No," I replied. "I have not put them on yet."

"I will choose them for you!!!" he said. And he dashed off.

(Normally, my jewelry box is off limits, but oh well.)

He came back with a favorite gold pair that has small dangling baubles.

"Oh, Victor," I said. "These are very nice. Dad gave them to me when you were just a baby in Mommy's belly."

He nodded. "When I was a baby in your belly, I said that I liked them. What sound do the ding dongs make?"

A faint tinkling sound, it turns out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Zeke Sings

Zeke delighted me this afternoon with a rendition of If You Chance to Meet a Frown. Not to be outdone, Victor told me that HE likes to sing in Primary. His favorite song goes like this:

I have a pretty little garden
with fourteen flowers.
I'm going to pick some for my mom.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wolf Control Strategy

Last night Victor asked me to tell him the story of Little Red Riding Hood. I can't remember the Grimm details, so my version is mostly from Into the Woods.

"The wolf liked to eat little girls," I said.

"But not boys," Victor interjected.

"No, not boys," risk-averse me replied.

Victor then explained that a wolf would not eat him because he would throw a stick and the wolf would chase it. Then the wolf would be wherever the stick was, i.e. not near Victor.

It was like those Sunday School lessons that urge you to decide now how you'll respond to temptation, but more focused on physical safety.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Win, One Fail

Win: Weav-its, the Harris Teeter-brand substitute for Tricuits.

Fail: The Locked Garden, a depressing youth novel that doesn't go anywhere or accomplish anything. It's like the author read the first chapters of Jane Eyre and thought, "I'd like to duplicate this feeling of hopelessness."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

James Wins!

This summer, three of my cousins got or are getting married.

I'd like to announce that JAMES is my favorite! Besides being a spectacular guy, he sent me an announcement! (With a very attractive picture enclosed.)

Thanks, James!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Hard up for an FHE lesson tonight? Here are some of my past favorites:

  • Whatever Victor learned about in Sunbeams yesterday;
  • Shaking Hands;
  • Our last name is SwindleFun;
  • How to sit when the home teachers visit;
  • Answering the telephone;
  • These are scriptures.
Each of these lessons takes three minutes, tops, excluding time for practice.

Fun Game

Yesterday we had some time between meetings for a fun game.

The game is called "I Like," and I invented it myself.

You play by asking each person in your family, "Person, what do you like?" And then the person says "I like X." Repeat as necessary or until interest wanes.

Zeke likes cars, monster trucks, sandwiches, and barbeque.

Victor likes heavy trucks (but not the exhaust), dump trucks, birds that turn red, and Dad's Beard (boo).

Jeremy likes hot dogs, swimming, going to church, and birds.

I like birds that sing, crepe myrtles, and zucchini.

Dish Soap

After a number of experiments, Jeremy got bold and tried dish soap.

It worked!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Help Needed

Victor scribbled on the new LCD monitor with a pen.

He says he didn't know it was a computer and that sometimes he doesn't know what a pen is. We've discussed it, and I'm sure he knows now.

But now I need an ammonia-free and alcohol-free cleaner, and nothing in my house at the moment (Pledge multi surface, Windex with vinegar, eyeglass cleaner) fits the bill.

Will vinegar work? What's the water:vinegar ratio?

If you know of such a product, please help!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Today three of my requested books were waiting for me at the library.

Elantris, by Brandon Sanderson

Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades, by Jonathan Phillips

Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices, by Mosab Hassan Yousef with Ron Brakin

(The principle author of this last one was the subject of a fascinating immigration or homeland security hearing this week. Fortunately, he prevailed.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Zeke's Future

Me: Zeke, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Zeke: A rabbit!


Jeremy: Zeke, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Zeke: A princess!

Victor's Future

Many moons ago, Victor decided he would some day marry his friend and neighbor and church-compatriot. We'll call her Gwendolyn. Victor plans to marry her in the temple. (No word on the length of festivities he prefers, for those of you who read The Aery Beat.)

Yesterday he told me that when he had a family, he would have two children. "Ethan, and Gwendolyn. That way we will have a girl Gwendolyn and a wife Gwendolyn. That's two Gwendoylns."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Potato Fun

It turns out that Mr. Potato Head is a fun toy!

You can put his arm in the middle of his face!

He can wear a mustache on his ear!

He has a funny hat!

But our Mr. Potato Head is a bachelor. If you happen to see the Mrs. on sale, please let me know.

Family Fun

We had a lot of family fun this past weekend. Some of it, like sleeping in a tent in the back yard, was experimental fun. That is, I experimented with it because it sounded like something a fun mom would do. It was only sort of fun.

But Toy Story 3 was lots of fun. So was sending Jeremy to the grocery store with the boys and taking Victor to the mountain bike area at the park. He had lots of fun acquiring bumps and scrapes.

Letting Zeke ride his tricycle around the walking trail (another experiment) was fun except for the last 20 minutes.

Spending three whole days with Jeremy was the most fun of all.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Computer Maitenance

Yesterday our neighbor came over for part of the afternoon while her mom ran an errand.

After some vigorous play, I decided the children ought to watch a movie. So I ushered them to the back room and turned on the streaming Netflix.

"Now, children," I said. "You must not touch the screen. That's the rule."

Little Friend replied, "My mom sometimes says 'don't lick the screen,' so I wont' lick the screen, either."

"Wonderful," I said. And it appears that the screen was not licked.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shopping List

Today we went to Walmart and bought only the things on our shopping list:

  • Child-sized hangers
  • Royal blue thread
  • Stapler
  • Flowers
  • A personal item
It was a strange list of items, but that's what we needed.

Oh, and a mini flat iron for my crazy hair. We needed that, too.

Friday, June 25, 2010


I am trying to organize my pictures on our new computer. Here is Victor at three weeks old.

And here is Zeke at three weeks old.

Finally, we have Victor at fifteen minutes old.


Victor and I just engaged in the fun activity of watching a movie on our streaming Netflix. (He loves watching movies together.)

We watched Up.

It was amazing. It is not a normal movie experience.

There was so much to discuss as we watched it.

Pixar has done it again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Look Like an Awesome Mom

It is not difficult to give the impression that you are an awesome Mom.

1. Do a fun, ostensibly educational activity that requires a membership, such as going to the Science Center. This shows you care a lot about enriching your children.

2. Let your children play freely while you read a smart-sounding new novel. This shows your breadth of mind and your devotion to your children's opportunities for self-learning.

3. When one of your children hits the other with a train, smile beatifically and put down your book. Rise with alacrity and move smoothly but swiftly to your howling children. This shows you are unruffled by "the small stuff" we all hear tell about in annoying church lessons and talks.

4. Put the naughty party in a chair firmly but kindly so he can "calm down," but do not look irritated or ruffled. Cuddle the other one while murmuring "you'll feel better soon" in a soothing whisper. Continue to smile beatifically. You will appear unflappable.

5. When your tykes recover their happiness and run off to play/discover learning again (which happens quickly because they are as fun as you are), smile a private satisfied smile and resume your reading.

If you follow these simple steps, you will look like the most awesome mother on the planet and everyone will be jealous of you. Guaranteed.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Several Big Things

1. After an approximately one-year hiatus, I'm back in the church calling game. I get to be the Beehive Advisor! Easily the best calling ever.

2. Victor made his first spontaneous rhyme: "Mom, worm rhymes with germ."

3. We have a new computer, retiring our 2002 laptop with the broken screen and the other laptop that randomly quits because it can't detect a power source, and not a moment too soon. This one is very sensible, very reliable, and, best of all, completely quiet.

4. I discovered a new FUN ACTIVITY for hot days. It's called Wash the Car, and it's almost as fun as Wash the Windows.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Children's Television

There is some genuinely charming television programming for children. There is some terrifically awful programming, too, but it's easy to avoid. It's also fairly easy for me to yell "Not everyone's a winner and that's okay" from the kitchen when necessitated by a stupid story conclusion (I'm looking at you, Dragon Tails).

Thanks to Netflix, we also have a wide array of streaming programs to occupy the hour between 6 and 7 when I watch the news.

The favorite TV shows at our house are Phineas and Ferb, Super Why, Curious George, and Clifford. The favorite Netflix shows are Kipper (Puppy Love is my favorite), Thomas (awesome because the trains get in trouble and have to make it right) and now Pingu, a delightful Swiss claymation penguin who lives in Antarctica with his family. Victor stumbled up on Pingu this week, and he's a hit. I highly recommend him.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zeke's Sentences

Zeke's sentence structure is making great leaps forward.

On Tuesday, Victor, in the passion of uncharacteristic anger, said, "You are a bad Zeke!"

Zeke replied, "I am not a bad Zekie. I'm a good Zekie!"

So grown up!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Sewing Projects

I have done four sewing projects lately. I suppose one was not actually sewing because I used Stitch-Witchery instead of a needle and thread.

1. I re-hemmed some shorts that were a smidge too short. They are now seriously kosher.

2. I repaired a two-inch split seam in a small stuffed duckling. Zeke was delighted.

3. I replaced a button on some hand-me-down Winnie the Pooh pajamas with a button I found in a baggie stamped Casual Corner (where I last shopped in 1997).

4. I re-affixed the button on the newly kosher shorts.

Many thanks to my Grandma, who gave me some needles in college; the proprietor of Catch the Window, who showed me a nifty way to put a knot at the end of my thread back in 2001; my mother, who tried many times to teach me proper sewing; and Liz, whose 2006 wedding occasioned the purchase of the Stitch-Witchery.

No photographs or Etsy shop will be forthcoming.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Victor found the keys! Hooray for Victor!

They were in Jeremy's closet, among the shoes.

Why was that not the first place we looked?

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Major Accomplishment

Yesterday, after many months of diligent attention, I finished Anna Karenina.

It was very good. If you have a lot of time, get the audiobook (mine was read by Davina Porter). Having a professional read all those Russian names make it a breeze to keep track of who's who. If you don't have a lot of time, I think an abridged version would serve you perfectly well. I can think of whole chapters that could easily be omitted (Levin goes hunting, or Vronsky and Levin attend the elections, for example).

I have to say that I was not moved to tears, as an unrelated article I read today suggested that most people are, by Anna's fate. What I really thought about was how relevant her actions are to understanding the breakdown of families in any era. The effects of infidelity are timeless, really.

Also, I realized that I don't usually care for philosophical discussions because I don't find philosophy reliably illuminating. I feel the same way about allegories. If I want an allegory, I'll refer to a scriptural one.


We have not found the keys, but we did find a webcam, two cordless telephones, a sock, a book, two water bottles, a tube of Brillcreme (in the pantry), and about eighty five Matchbox cars. Add that to the novel, two hair bows (they must be little Laura's), sock, Legos, and other eighty five Matchbox cars I found under the back bedroom bed on Wednesday, and it's been quite a week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No Answers

Not in the car.

Not in the dryer.

Not under the bed. The webcam I thought we lost last year was under the bed. Good thing I got a new one last week.

A Big Life Question

If you were a set of keys, where would you be?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Anatomy Lesson

We recently replaced our long-gone webcam (thanks, Grandma Nancy!) and have been enjoying our video calls with my sisters.

Last night, Peter and Liz were admiring Victor's stature and strength.

"Let me see your muscles," said Peter admiringly.

Victor just looked at Peter and shook his head.

"They are inside," he informed us, indicating his arm.

(He also informed us that Dog's birthday is the 4th of the month of Gentral.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Star Wars

On Saturday mornings, Jeremy finds the Star Wars cartoon on TV and watches it with the boys.

This past Saturday, Victor saw Yoda for the first time. His reaction:

"That's a scary cat!"

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Zeke Pretends

Zeke was very good during our special two-hour church meeting today. He made the most of the toys we had brought, and since we were in an overflow room and he mostly (a) was quiet and (b) stayed in his area, no one seemed to mind his sweet antics.

For example, he took two crayons and stuck them in his ears.

"Look!" he said, "I'm a doctor!"

Stethoscope, crayons, whatever.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Happy Zeke

Here is a picture of Zeke on a happier trip to Costco.

A New Decade of Computing

Today, the future arrived via UPS (in what Victor calls "the PUS truck").

It was a new computer monitor. A wide-screen, HD, flat computer monitor. It replaced the old-TV style monitor we got for free when the Wake Forest Law School was replacing all of their monitors four or so years ago.

The setup was easy and it looks great. I bet it will look even better when the new computer arrives and we can set the resolution properly. Our dear old Dell does not offer 1900 x 1080 pixels.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Public Vomiting

Today I discovered that if one must throw up in public, Costco is the best place to do so because:

1. Wide aisles allow other shoppers to avoid the mess, even if the mess is in the middle of the walkway;

2. Sample-giving employees are stocked with paper towels;

3. The normally annoying ride-on squeegee floor-cleaner (or indoor street sweeper, as Victor calls it) is likely to be close by and can clean up the mess in a jiffy without being summoned;

4. General noise masks your child's whimpering as you race around gathering your foodstuffs.

I also discovered that when Zeke repeatedly complains that his head hurts, he could mean that his stomach hurts.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another Triumph

We've had a thrilling week at the SwindleHouse.

First, Victor learned to ride a two wheeler.

Then, on Thursday, Zeke figured out how to pedal his tricycle.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Irrational Desires

I had an irrational desire to buy something today at the toy store.

A white Pegasus, spreading its wings.

It was a hand-painted play figurine from the display of dragons and orcs and knights. It was magical, but I did not buy it because I am not seven years old any more. But maybe I should have, and tied a ribbon around it, and called it a Christmas tree ornament.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Something Sweet about Victor

Something sweet about Victor is that if he beats another child in a race a couple of times, he'll let the other person win the next few times.

He doesn't say anything about it, but it's obvious when a tricycle is suddenly able to outstrip a two wheeler.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Victor's Two Wheeler

Thanks to a fun dad who (1) bought a bike just for fun about a year ago and (2) took off the training wheels just for fun about a month ago, and thanks to a fun mom who turned off Lark Rise to Candleford in order to help her boy try to ride his bike this afternoon, we have had the following development.

Victor can ride a two wheeler! Without training wheels!

This is a giant leap forward for fun.

Victor Feeds Himself

Victor has always been self sufficient when it comes to feeding himself. He gets his breakfast in the morning, he makes sandwiches and snacks, he uses cups and utensils, and so on.

He is often willing to try something new. Like a glass of honey.

Or better, chocolate chips in milk.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bunny Cake 2010

Because we had this in March:

We had this in April:

This year's bunny also had an adorable marshmallow tail.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I just read in the WaPo that drop-side cribs will shortly be BANNED.

It is not immediately clear from the article which agency is responsible for this, but I'm pretty sure its director was not a tall person who had 9 and 10 pound babies and a sore back who was healing from a c-section, who was also good at assembling things.

If the problem is truly flimsy materials or faulty mechanisms, for goodness sake require better materials or a specific kind of mechanism.

Sloth Orphanage

I hate animals and all, but these orphaned sloths are adorable.

Zeke Rips

Thanks to Zeke, my scriptures are now two pages shorter.

And not the second half of Numbers or Titus, either: 3 Nephi 11 and 12.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Zeke Swings

Victor, Zeke and I went to the park today to see the ducks and to play on the swings.

Zeke loves swings. He has since he was an infant. He loves to swing high, and he can do a baby swing or a big boy swing.

Except that today, after quite a long time of successful big boy swinging, he toppled backwards at the apex of his swing forward, went heels over head, and crashed onto his face and the back of his neck at the same time. Don't ask how. He just did.

He's fine now. He was not fine then.

(And I'd like to thank the Eagle Scout whose project included the new picnic table, which was perfect for cuddling and assessing damage.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Too Much PBS?

Victor just refused a snack I offered him.

"No. That's not healthy enough," he told me.

Odd, because based on the state of the freezer, I'm pretty sure he had ice cream with his breakfast today.

A Fun Anniversary

Sunday was our Eighth Wedding Anniversary. Since we couldn't go out, I got meat for shish-ka-bobs and asked the boys what kind of treat I should make for Jeremy.


Then, I had a FUN FLASH. What if we made cupcakes and celebrated not our anniversary, but our birthday as a family?

So we had yummy dinner and cupcakes. We put in the birthday candles and sang Happy Birthday Swindlefun Family.

We even had a teaching moment (for super-Sabbath fun): our family began eight years ago when we were married in the temple. We observed that eight is greater than four (Victor's age) because a mom and a dad must (should, technically, but for V and Z's purposes, MUST) be married before they have kids.

We asked each person what he likes about our family. Zeke likes "Camping. In a tent."

In short, the family birthday party was way more fun than just celebrating an anniversary. And as a bonus, I used the rest of the neon red frosting from Victor's birthday cake.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Actually Ill

I checked Zeke's temperature this afternoon, and it was 101.4. Poor little guy.


This morning I emailed Jeremy:

"Was Zeke up at all last night? He is having a hard day--won't eat, fusses, only wants to sit on my lap, says his tummy hurts, etc."

Jeremy replied:

"Poor Zeke! He fussed a while last night, but we had both doors shut and a humidifier on in each room, so who knows? He’s a kid; it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to get sicky.

"However, I note for the record that he ate only chocolate milk and cupcakes last night; he sat in front of his food but didn’t really touch it. So, a combo of tired and sugary-tummy ache could have done it."

Jeremy further noted that Zeke was offered and refused a healthy meal.

But since he was given cupcakes after refusing his healthy meal, it is clear that no one was in charge last night.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Birthday Cake

My birthday was on Tuesday. As I spent this one having fun instead of visiting the oncologist for the first time, it was a much better day than last year. Much better.

In fact, it was downright fun. I went to my mother's group in the morning and shocked myself by allowing a stranger to cut my hair. For free. And it's super cute. Wow. Then I had a delightful lunch, spent all afternoon on the phone with an assortment of family members, and went to a movie with Jeremy. (Iron Man. High marks.)

One of the highlights was the surprise cake that Jeremy had made for me. He knows that my family does home-made cakes, which are high on every mark but one: no frosting roses. The bakery cake he ordered for me was especially girly: pink lemonade cake with light yellow frosting, white piping, and a tasteful sprinkling of light pink roses.

And written on the top (in light green): Thanks for Not Dying!

He had to explain the caption to the bakery lady. He asked if it was in bad taste. "I don't know, Sir," she said. Since this is the south, who knows how strongly that translates. But "No Dying" is Rule #2 of being married for us. So I understood what he meant.

This year's cake is now one of my Favorite Cakes Ever, joining the Strawberry Shortcake cake my mom made when I was about 5 and the Barbie-in-a-cake-like-a-skirt cake my grandma made when I was about 8 (which was also pink).

What Moms Do

We have a family of dogs at our house. All pretend, of course. There's Dog, Mom Dog, Dad Dog (a.k.a. Beagle Puppet), Beagle, and Wictor Dog. They are a family.

Sometimes the dog family has conversations, with each other and with me. Yesterday, Dog described to me what Mom Dog does: she helps Dog all day long, because he doesn't know how to do things yet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fizzy Drinks

Today Victor discovered that if you drop a can of root beer, it will spray everywhere when you open it.


Jeremy worked a lot last week, so to help him be ready for the Fathers and Sons Campout on Friday, I went shopping and packed the car.

It was my first time packing for someone else's camping trip, and I made a few errors.

1. I should have packed three sleeping bags, i.e. one for each person, instead of two sleeping bags. I figured that Zeke was too small for a whole sleeping bag, but that turned out to be incorrect.

2. Relying on the bonfire to cook dinner was a mistake. A bonfire is much bigger than a campfire, and is not suited to roasting hot dogs or marshmallows.

3. Jeremy does not care for barbecue-flavored chips. I didn't know that. It's only been eleven years.

4. One package of Hebrew Nationals is not enough for three people. If two hot dogs get dropped in the bonfire and each son eats three hot dogs, there are no more hot dogs for Dad.

5. Generic hot dog buns are always a mistake. I should have known that.

6. Five bagels are not enough. If Dad has no hot dogs and no chips and is left with cookies and marshmallows for dinner, he'll want (reasonably, I think) to eat one of the breakfast bagels.

7. Lanterns are great for INSIDE the tent, but not outside because they attract bugs like crazy. I should have included at least one ordinary flashlight.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother, I Love You

Today the Primary sang Mother, I Love You during Sacrament Meeting.

When it was time to sing, Victor exited the pew and walked toward the front with the other children. The closer he got to the front, the lower he hung his head and the further his little shoulders slumped. I could hear the Charlie Brown Dejection music in my head.

His sweet Sunbeam teacher shepherded him up the stairs with his classmates. He stood as far to the right as he could.

The music started, but Victor did not sing. Instead, tears welled up in his eyes. He had the biggest frown I'd ever seen. Until the next moment, when the frown was even deeper.

I smiled and waved encouragingly, but after the first verse, Victor slowly turned and faced the side wall. His profile was to the audience.

At the end, the song leader kindly took his hand and led him down the stairs (because he wasn't moving), and he Charlie Browned back to our row.

I put out my arm to welcome him and he said (very audibly), "I just could not do it."

"You did a great job standing there with the kids," I said.

"I did not sing a single word," he told me tearfully.

Later that night I asked Jeremy's mother if Jeremy had participated in special music as a small boy.

"He stood at the front facing away from the other children and did not sing," she recalled.

But what's a Primary musical number--in any generation--without a recalcitrant Sunbeam?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Blind Side

Since tonight is the Father Son Campout, I am enjoying a very QUIET evening at home. I watched The Blind Side. It was very good, and it made me want to be a better person. Or at least have tons of money to help people with.

I am curious to know how Jeremy's night is going. Since he's trying to sleep outside in a tent with two boys and no Dog, no Blankie, and no Wuzz (that's Zeke's pacifier) after an evening of hot dogs and cookies, I have a guess.

I bet they're having a marvelous time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Victor's Story

Fun mom has been sick. Again. And I'm not so fun when I'm sick and have a sore back.

So today, Victor and I played a new afternoon game (after our obligatory three rounds of Candyland, which I was so desperate to get through that I cheated to let Victor win more quickly).

The game is called Tell a Story, and I got the idea from Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. You play by starting a story and handing off key plot elements to the child. In this case, I provided the structure and Victor provided the specific facts and details. Here is our story:

Once upon a time there was a boy named John Doe. He could do lots of things. He could fly. He could run faster than a speeding train. And he could jump over tall trees.

John Doe had a problem. He didn't have any money to buy food. He wanted to buy some celery, so he asked his mom if he could earn money by helping her bake cookies. She said yes.

First, Mom asked John Doe to get out the eggs. John Doe went to the refrigerator and got the eggs. "Good job, John Doe," said Mom.

Then Mom asked John Doe to get the mixer. John Doe got the mixer and put it on the counter. "Good job, John Doe," said Mom.

Then Mom asked John Doe to get the butter. John Doe got the butter out of the refrigerator. "Good job, John Doe," said Mom.

Then Mom asked John Doe to get the black stuff from the cupboard. John Doe got the vanilla. "Good job, John Doe," said Mom.

Them Mom mixed up the cookies. Last of all, John Doe put in the chocolate chips. Then John Doe got out two cookie sheets and Mom baked the cookies.

"John Doe, you earned your money by working hard," said Mom. And she paid him $3.27.

John Doe went straightaway to the grocery store and bought some celery. He brought it home and put it in the refrigerator.

The moral of the story is that if you work hard you can earn things.

The End

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why Victor Loves Mom

I attended a little Mother's Day party at Victor's school today, but instead of socializing, I decided to sit in on his class's carpet time.

The teacher asked the class what made their mommies special. "Kisses!" "She makes me breakfast!" "She helps me feel better when I'm sick!"

Victor said, "When my mom calls me, I come quickly the first time I am called! That makes her happy."

Which wasn't actually the question, but he is correct.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Measuring Up

On Friday I took Zeke for his two-year checkup. Today I took Victor for his four-year checkup. Both boys have been judged to be in the best of health.

Zeke now weighs 31 pounds and is 37 inches tall. That bumps him down to the 90th percentile for height and up to the 75th percentile for weight.

(By comparison, Victor was 32.8 pounds and 39.5 inches tall when he was four months younger than Zeke is now.)

Victor gained a stunning five inches and six pounds in the past year. He is now 46.5 inches tall, which is off the charts for a four year old and puts him in the 50th percentile for six-and-a-half year olds. He weighs 48.5 pounds, which is about 97th percentile for four year olds.

Victor also had a question for the doctor: I want to know about my cough. Answer: adenoids.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Last night Victor was reading his scriptures.

He opened the book and read:

"Oh. . . Gazer Beam!"

Anyone want to guess how often we watch The Incredibles?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Commemoration

Also in commemoration of last year's general breakdown in health, my back has gone out.

This has never happened to me before. I find it intolerable. Everything in the house that is below waist height is a mess. For example, the bed is made and the clothes are put away, but the toys are everywhere and the dishwasher has not been unloaded.

Empathy for people with back problems: CHECK.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago, among other things, our dishwasher broke.

Yesterday, our hot water heater marked the anniversary by gushing its entire contents into the hall and bathroom.

The dishwasher breaking turned out to be the one bad thing last year that was actually good. Why? Because the old dishwasher was horrible and the new dishwasher is amazing. I'm hoping for a similar outcome with the new hot water heater.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Terrific Show

I just finished watching disc 3 of season 1 of Lark Rise to Candleford (available on Netflix).

It is superb. And it has an Anne of Green Gables flavor. I recommend you add it to your queue.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I read in a magazine today that play is very important for adults as well as children because it stimulates the brain.

So being fun is healthy!

The pictures showed grown women doing cartwheels.

That does not sound healthy. But one of the points of the article was that women tend to say "Nope, too dangerous" and thereby avoid fun play. (Or in my case, thereby leaving all fun play to more courageous/non-risk-averse members of the family. Which is everyone else.)

Play with husbands was also encouraged. Like tennis, I guess. But one woman's "game" of seeing whether she or her husband could fit more peas into his mouth was just gross.

Luckily, the article concluded that your should only play things that are fun to you. So I will be able to skip the cartwheels and pea-face-stuffing in my quest to be a fun mom and wife.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What's on Zeke's Mind

This morning, I spent some time reading outside while Zeke played. After a little while, he pulled his little lawn chair over to mine and sat down.

Zeke: "Hi Mom."

Me (remembering I'm fun, and closing my book): Hi Zekie. What would you like to talk about?

Zeke: Flowers.

Me: Oh. Do you like flowers?

Zeke: Yes. Pretty.

Me: Which flowers do you like?

Zeke (pointing): Those flowers. Pick flowers!

He ran off and found a clover.

Zeke (sniffing): Smell flower.

He offered me a flower, and I dutifully smelled it. And it smelled good!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fun Mom Says NO

Victor invited me outside this afternoon to play "Stomp."

I'm fun. I went outside. I asked him to explain the rules.

"First, you climb up on something."

He climbed on top of a cozy coupe. I "climbed" on top of my lawn chair.

"Now, you run around in the street."

He ran down the driveway and ran in circles in the street. I stayed in my lawn chair.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I Very Nike You

I don't know if it's a normal substitution, but Victor often uses /n/ for /l/. He almost always uses it for the first sound in an /l/ word, but he'll also use it in the middle of a word, as in "fnowers" and "airpnane" (which is an improvement on whoreplane) "gnoves" and "choconate."

He also uses the word VERY instead of REALLY. For example, "Zeke very wants an orange" or "I very very don't want to eat any chicken."

Monday, April 19, 2010


Today I had my six-month follow-up appointment. My doctor told me they were planning a 5K to raise awareness about gyn cancers, to let people know that women can get something besides breast cancer.

It was such a safe environment that I admitted to becoming increasingly put out with the profusion of pink ribbons during breast cancer awareness month. (Honestly, on FOOD packaging?)

I'm very glad people know to check for breast cancer. But we rare cancer folks have ribbons, too! They're teal, the color of gangrene.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Family Photos

Have you seen the site Awkward Family Photos? Wired magazine suggested it, and it is FUNNY.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Analysis, Please

Last night I had a dream that I put on black eyeshadow. But it didn't look good, so I tried to remove it with a wet Frosted Mini Wheat.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stinky Tinky

Zeke has the profound misfortune of the nickname Stinky Tinky.

Actually, most of his nicknames involve the sound "ink," such as Tinker Tot, Zinky Tink, and Tinky.

I also call him Bingy Baby and Binger Boy (with a hard g).

He has retaliated by being, from time to time, a Stinker Tot.

Here is a fair representation of his evening prayers:

Me: Heavenly Father

Zeke: NO Heavenly Father

Me: I thank thee

Zeke: NO thank thee

Me: for my food

Zeke: NO food

Me: my house

Zeke: NO house

Me: my mom and dad

Zeke: NO mom, (with smile) Dad

Me: I ask thee

Zeke: NO ask thee

Me: to help me sleep

Zeke: NO sleep

Me: to be obedient


You get the idea.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Victor's Song

Victor is not always an eager singer.

(During the religious songs at preschool, he curls in on himself and does not participate.)

But he does like to invent his own songs.

About a year and half ago he invented a "Thomas Movie" that he "watched" in bed at night. It had a theme song, too. The chorus went, "Thomas and the train, whoo whoo whoo, Thomas and the train."

Once, when my cousins were visiting, he stood on an ottoman and treated us to a two minute song of his own invention that had several verses and a recurring chorus.

Tonight he invented a new song. It had a piano accompaniment and included the lyrics, "I love you, I love you."

When he had finished, he asked me if I had heard his "beautiful song." I said I had, and that I like the "I love you" lyrics.

Yes, he said. "It's a song about parents."

He says he'll play it for me again tomorrow.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hunting Fun

On Wednesday afternoon, we received an invitation to an Easter Egg Hunt. As participants were asked to bring 12 filled eggs per child, my default response was "no, thank you."

But wait! I'm fun!

So we went to Walmart and bought 24 super discounted Easter eggs and a bag of Starburst.

We were a few minutes late to the event because we'd been on a walk that morning. (Walks are fun.)

We got there in time for some games. First was Pin the Tail on the Bunny. Victor looked horrified and retreated to the other side of the lawn. Zeke gave it a whirl, but had to take a first try without a blindfold (in which he mostly put the tail in the right spot).

Then we played Duck Duck Goose. Zeke was baffled.

Then we played Ring around the Rosie and London Bridges. Actually, I played these games with the other children after Victor and Zeke wandered off to dig in the dirt.

Then we did the actual Easter Egg Hunt. I was momentarily mortified that everyone else had darling Easter baskets while we had Walmart bags (not fun!), but then one other family asked to borrow some bags from us, so I felt better.

The under-3s got a 20-second head start, and the whole thing was over in about 4 minutes. It was tremendous fun.

The fun did not last, as I made the mistake of telling the boys they had to eat their apples before they could eat candy and cupcakes. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Victor complied, but Zeke went bananas. I didn't give in (parenting fun!), but decided to pacify him by going to the drive-thru teller instead of the ATM at the bank on the way home. Green lollipops from a vaccuum-powered tube are super fun.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Zeke Is Bamboozled

Zeke was bamboozled into work-fun today. The task was washing kitchen and bathroom trash cans. We did it outside with soap and the hose. He seemed to think it was a game.

The cost of combining fun and work was a mere set of dry clothes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fun Fail and Fun Prep

In the thrill of last week's fun, I neglected the house.

So today, I attempted to combine outdoor fun with sweeping out the shed. It did not work. There is no fun way to involve small boys in working around yard poisons, fertilizers, and sharp tools. The shed was swept, but we did not have much fun.

Fortunately, after Zeke went down for his nap, Victor was bamboozled into thinking that a game where we matched numbers to pictures of things (i.e. the number 18 with a picture of 18 frogs) was fun. It was also exhausting, and shortly following our "game," he joined his brother in slumber.

With my new knowledge about yard and housework being no fun, I filled the sink with lemony Lysol and scrubbed the kitchen table, chairs, cabinets, counters and floor. I also discovered the trick to my double-hung windows and washed them inside and out. Oh yeah. Then I washed the panes in the back door and fixed a broken curtain. And reorganized part of my closet. And vacuumed. And washed some clothes.

We are now fully prepared for fun tomorrow.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Tonight our Family Home Evening lesson was on Joseph Smith's first vision.

I explained that young Joseph went to many churches, but that he didn't know which church was true.

Victor blurted out, "He should go to ours. Our church is the right one."

It was a short lesson.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Experiments

The Easter Bunny didn't make it to our house today. Since Victor has been telling me for weeks that he is (a) too big for the Easter Bunny and (b) a little afraid of the Easter Bunny, nobody minded.

Instead of eating Peeps and chocolate bunnies, we decided to cook the Tur-Duck-Hen that Jeremy's Grandma June sent us for Christmas.

It was very easy to cook (350 for 2 1/2 hours), and the drippings made a delicious gravy. Victor and Zeke ate some, and Victor even ate mashed potatoes for the first time. (Zeke refused.) I'm not certain I would ever purchase another turducken, but if someone sent me one, I would cook it again. But I would remember to cover it with tin foil.

Our big family tradition is the bunny cake. It is usually white, and covered with coconut. Last year I branched out and made a chocolate bunny. This year, I decided to use the leftover neon red frosting from Victor's birthday cake. I figured that it would turn a lovely pink if I mixed in half a recipe of white buttercream. Instead, it turned hot pink.

So we had a hot pink bunny this year with glittery silver whiskers. (Great idea, K!) Zeke called it
"Mom Bunny." Then he scraped frosting off its side with his plate while no one was looking.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fun Mom at the Zoo

Fun moms can handle heat, long drives, and crowds. The more the merrier!

That being the case, we went to the zoo today. It was just us and the rest of humanity.

Highlights: the giant turtles in the water under the bridge at you walk in; the sea lions that set Zeke to shrieking "A SEAL" every time one swam by; the bus ride from one zoo entrance back to our car at the other entrance; going with another family and having someone to (a) talk to and (b) watch Zeke while I tried to find Victor, who had wandered off in the aviary.

Next time we go, I will make a few adjustments, such as bringing water and snacks, putting sunscreen on my neck (short hair memory blip), tethering the boys to the stroller in some fashion, and choosing a cold or rainy day.

As we drove home, Victor said, "That sure was a fun walk with our friends."

Spot on.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mommies and Daddies

On Monday, we were downtown at the Children's Museum. On the way home, I pointed out the building where I used to work.

Victor said, "Oh. Did you use to be a daddy?"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fun Shake

We did three fun things today.

First, we spent part of the morning at the Children's Museum. (It's more of a giant play place than a museum, but whatever.) As it was especially crowded and as I am especially fun (i.e. helping Victor on the climbing wall and attentively watching Zeke play airplane), I managed to lose each boy.

I am happy to report that the museum's "Code Adam" child-finding procedure works very well. But using it twice in the space of an hour and a half is keenly embarrassing.

Fun Thing Two was making milkshakes after Family Home Evening instead of just eating vanilla ice cream. I generally avoid using more kitchen items than are strictly necessary, but Jeremy suggested milkshakes, and I thought, "Hey--I'm fun now. Why not?"

Why not? Because poor Zeke could not figure out how to eat his. It was too thick to suck through a straw, but thin enough to splatter his face when he blew INTO the straw. It was too complicated to eat with the too-big spoon Victor provided him (which is saying something because Zeke, if I may say so, is an excellent spoon-user). Glops of it fell onto his clothing. A puddle of it pooled under his chair. And he had the sad but universal experience of getting a face-full of cold shake when he tipped up his cup.

Fun Thing Three was a three-player Candy Land game. Jeremy was our third. Victor was able to strengthen his sportsmanship muscles when victory was once again snatched from him by Grandma Nut.

Our day was not all fun. I did not allow Victor to work on digging his hole this afternoon owing to the extraordinary mud created by yesterday's rainfall.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Awesome Mothering

I don't think I'm a terribly fun person if you mean spontaneous, do-new-things fun. But my mom says I should try to be a fun mom, so I'm giving it a whirl.

Yesterday, after we dropped Grandma at the far-away airport (sad), we drove to the temple. Going there seemed like a good idea despite my general rule that one must travel home from a far-away destination as quickly as possible. The only people there were groundskeepers, so I didn't feel like we were disturbing anyone. Victor was very interested to know if the temple is hard or soft. We decided the walls were hard. He insisted that the (unseen) carpet was very soft. He wanted to know what Angel Moroni was doing, and who he was warning.

Today we went to Jump N Fun, which is a large cinder block room full of blow-up slides and jumping pens like you see at carnivals. Going there broke my general policy of avoiding loud, hot, crowded, or smelly places. Turns out that the owners put a limit on the number of patrons, and the smell was not too bad, so I was able to enjoy the intense vertigo induced by going down/around/in/up/out the bouncy palaces.

Yesterday I beat Victor in Candyland and taught him about sportsmanship.

Today, we colored with Crayons.

Next week, I intend to take the children to the zoo. (See above prohibitions on long car rides, heat, noise, smell, crowds.)

Fun, here we come!