Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Chocolate Dog Cake

Zeke's birthday is Christmas Eve.

This year, per Zeke's specific request, we had "a chocolate dog cake." At first, I thought I'd do a variation on our annual bunny cake. But I couldn't figure out how to make the head look doggy.

Instead, I used an 8" round, which I split and filled for extra height and interest (and taste). Then I used parts of another 8" round for the ears.

Add some candy features and voila! You have a chocolate dog cake, capable of delighting a three-year-old boy.

Fun Dad

Are you Jeremy's friend on Facebook?

You really should be.

You will get funny commentary and darling photos of what fun dads do with their children.

Today, fun dads are making a rope swing in the woods.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun Toys

The following items are super fun toys:

1. An old sleeping bag

2. String

3. Tape measure, fabric or hardware-store variety.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bad Words

When I was a child, I thought the absolute worst swear word in the world was "shut up." "Get out of here" was a close second.

Naturally, I am trying to instill the same horror I felt of these words into Victor and Zeke.

I'm not sure it's working.

But they do like to tattle on each other. In the car yesterday, Zeke snitched, "Victor said Shut Up!"

Me: Victor, did you say that?

Victor (carefully): No. I said . . . Voltron.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Yesterday, we had to run two errands. One to Walmart (for allergy medicine) and one to Bed Bath and Beyond (for drinking glasses).

I told the boys, "We have two errands to run this afternoon. If you can be very good, you can earn a candy at the second store." We then discussed what "good" meant.

The boys were good, and they earned their candy. Jujee Fruits for Victor (not tasty) and Dots for Zeke (inedible).

Later that afternoon, Victor was describing his day to his buddy from next door (not Gwendolyn--the other next door).

"We ran TWO errands today! It was SO HARD."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coloring Project

Today at his religious preschool, Victor colored an Easter-themed picture of a cross with three lilies underneath it.

He outlined the cross in orange and colored it in brown. Each flower is a different color. As he explained:

"The yellow flower squirts water. The red flower is poisonous. The purple flower is swib. That means it helps the others do their best."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Victor loves to ride his bike.

The other day as he whooshed past me I heard him say to himself, joyously:

"I'm the fastest in the whole world--except for a jet and a race car!"

And That's Why Victor's Hair Is Curly in Back

Victor has thick, lustrous hair. Just like Jeremy. Well, just like Jeremy in 1999.

The back of Victor's hair is a little funny, though. He has always had a horizontal stripe of lighter and differently textured hair right across the back of his head. And now the back is developing distinct waves, a la my dad and brother, Alex.

Today, Victor explained to Aunt Liz why his hair is curly in back.

"You see, when I was three I ran very, very fast, and now my hair is curly."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Victor is Perplexed

Have you ever been so perplexed by something that you were unable to formulate a reply, let alone an objection?

Victor felt that way this morning. He got up, came into the living room and turned on the TV.

Then I got up, came into the living room and turned off the TV.

"Victor," I said. "It's time for sleep. Go back to bed."

Victor got up, looked at me, looked out the front window, gestured wordlessly at the daylight, and went back to his room.

I hadn't noticed the daylight. Why was it so light outside when it wasn't time to get up?

On the way to preschool he asked, "Why, how is it time to sleep when it is already light outside?"

I could not answer him.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


One thing I like about our home is the terrific number of available friends.

Friends make life fun.

And manageable.

For example, today I had a hair appointment. So I took Zeke to a friend's house and then drove her son and Victor to school. She took Zeke and her daughter to another friend's house, where they played with yet more children.

Meanwhile, I went to the stylist recommended by a third friend. Great stylist!

Then I ran into a fourth friend at the grocery store.

After that, I picked up the children of the first friend and a fifth friend at the preschool of a sixth friend, where I ran into a seventh friend who was picking up her granddaughter, whose mother is also my friend. Then, as I was leaving, I saw a ninth friend and made a date with her for next week.

Moving on, I drove the children of friends one and five to the house of friend two to pick up Zeke. Friend two loved my new hair. Then Zeke and I retrieved Victor and a daughter of a tenth friend at preschool. We took the daughter to friend two's house and then went home for lunch.

There are dear friends and casual friends and neighbor friends and church friends and blog friends and mom friends.

So many friends!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sweet Words

Are there sweeter words than "Mommy, I love you?"

Yes. There are.

Victor discovered them.

"Mommy, what can I do to help you?"

It's love AND service AND gratitude all in one.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

More Closets

There are some other guiding principles for organizing one's closet.

First, the things you use regularly need should be easily accessible. In my closet, the shoes I wear the most are at the top of my shoe shelves. The clothes I wear the most, or which are in season, are in the front of their section. The workout clothes are in the top drawer or on the shelf. 

Conversely, storage and out of season items are towards the back, on the very high shelves, or in lidded boxes.

Second, items should be put in the closet of the room where they are needed. For example, spare hangars should be in the laundry room or the guest closet.

Third, long-term storage should be organized by category and clearly labeled. You might have a medium-sized plastic bin of "2T Pajamas," or a box with your "Olive Wood Nativity," or a space bag of "Baby Blankets." Do not put items in long term storage unless you actually want to reuse them. Worn out baby clothes, for example, should go.

I do not favor space bags except for very long term storage because they are not sturdy. They re-inflate if jostled too frequently. Neither do I use very large plastic bins. They are too difficult to store and access without undoing a lot of other work.

Fourth, all old junk must be removed. If it is truly junk, take it straight to your trash can. If it's usable, put it in a bag or box and then take it directly to your car. I like to keep a medium-sized paper bag in my closet to collect Goodwill items.

Fifth, all items should be neat and readily usable. That means all clothing, sheets, blankets, towels, etc. must be folded or hung. Hanging is a great option for table linens. Shoes should be matched and clean. Bags should not be crushed. Items that need repair should be together in a separate location.

Sixth, do not build towers. A tall stack of games, books, boxes, blankets, or whatever else is almost impossible to access without causing a landslide. Instead, find a way to subdivide with shelves, drawers, hanging baskets, or hanging shelves. I have found the Michael Graves line of hanging shelves at Target to be very sturdy. I use them for shoes, sweaters, and kid items.