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?