Sunday, May 30, 2010



The other day I was in Esme's room, ridding my girl of a yucky diaper. Beside her changing mat there is a small, ever-rotating stash of toys that I keep to amuse her (i.e., keep her from rolling over) during diaper change time. On this particular morning, the toy of choice was a small, wooden carrot that Esme really seems to love. Watching her stare at its bright orange smoothness, I wanted to give her its name.

"That's a carrot, Esme. Carrot."

"C-----t!" said Esme.

I paused in mid-wipe, trying to believe I'd imagined the similarity of her sounds and mine, but the doting mommy in me won out. "That's right, Esme! Carrot! Carrot! Can you say it again? Carrot."

"Ffffffffffffffff," she replied.

"Carrot. Carrot? Carrrrrrrot!"

""C-----t!" said Esme again.

"Good, job, little girlie! That's right! You said carrot!" I covered her in kisses and smiled down into her sparkling eyes.

And then my little prodigy stuck her foot in her own poop.

The End.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Things That Go


Matthew's wheels are a' turnin'.

This kid is watching, thinking, processing and talking in ways that surprise and delight us day by day. His speech abilities have exploded in the last three weeks, both vocabulary and grammar. Suddenly we're getting complete sentences (even a couple of compound sentences!) where there were two-word phrases before. Suddenly he is our Life Narrator--constantly monologing on all that he sees and refusing to be silenced until we acknowledge him. "Yes, buddy! We see it too! OK!"

This morning we were outside, in front of our house. Matthew was wielding a stick about a foot long, intent on finding ways to use it in his play. After an initial dig in the shrubbery, he wandered over to the minivan, stuck the stick up the exhaust as far as it would go, and rattled it around a bit.

"F-fiiiixa you car, Mommy!" he said triumphantly.

"Wow, you fixed my car?"

"Yes." Eyes aglow, he turned back to the tailpipe for more. "Fiiixa you car again!"

Later we were down at the bottom of the street, and when lunch time came, Matthew made it half-way home before asking me to carry him. He climbed aboard for a piggyback and started rattling off the names of everything that caught his eye.

"Boo car!"

"Yep, that is a blue car."

"Boo pick-up chuck!"

"That's right, a blue pick-up truck."

"Boo mowercycle!"

"Yeah, blue motorcycle!"

"Uhrrr mowercycle!"

"Yep, it's another motorcycle."

One thing's for certain: he is still a Boy. His observation skills are in high gear (sorry) when it comes to all things transportation. And the color blue, evidently.

Case in point: a couple of days ago we were driving in an area that is unfamiliar to my kids, and we passed by a large Sunoco station with a blue canopy over the filling area. Intent on the road ahead, I didn't even see it until:

"Gaaaaas," said Matthew. "Boo gas."

Ohhhh, little man. You bring us so much joy--you, your planes, trains, automobiles, your gasoline... and all your hot air too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yeah Way

Excerpt from a conversation with Meg on the way home from ballet class yesterday:

Meg: Some people say "yeah way."

Me: Oh... Yahweh?

Meg: Yup. Yeah way.

Me: "Yeah way." Ok. Hmmm.

Meg: Some people say "no way," but some people say "yeah way" when something gorgeous happens or something like that.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cubby's Caring Bridge Page

Again, I can't offer enough thanks to the many kind friends who have mentioned that they're praying for Cubby. God is hearing and answering our prayers! Cub has made some encouraging progress this week, and we are so grateful.

If you are interested in staying current on Cubby, consider visiting this page that my folks set up. My mom wrote an update just yesterday, so you can pop on over and read about our latest reasons for thanksgiving, as well the most recent prayer requests.

Thank you again. We're praying for more years with our dear Cub, and it's just amazing to have friends who so graciously join us in lifting up our requests to God.

Someone... attending her third round of ballet classes with Aunt Lena this week...

...and loving every minute. This is what she looked like last year this time, at the start of her very first class:


She's growing up fast!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sickie, Smiley Baby

This little one has been running a low-grade temp for the last 36 hours, yet she remains the sweetest, most placid, sunshiney thing in the world. (As long as Mommy is near, that is.) I just love her to pieces.

Finger Painting

Picked up two pots of finger paint on clearance at Michael's yesterday...





Friday, May 21, 2010

Update on Cubby and Co.

Matthew and Cubby at the beach last August

Thanks so much to those who have asked about my grandfather, Cubby.

For those who may not be aware, my mom's dad went into the hospital almost three weeks ago for a heart catheterization and the possible placement of stents. Then, due to the severity of the blockages in Cub's arteries, which they discovered during the cath, he was scheduled for double bypass surgery just two days later.

Since then (to be brief) there have been many ups and downs. The surgery itself was successful, but an immediate follow-up was required, and the process of getting Cub to breathe on his own again has been arduous. Yesterday the surgical team performed a tracheostomy. We are hopeful that this operation, though not really our original preference, will enable Cubby to get back on track with his breathing, get out of the ICU, and move on to healing and rehab in other areas of his body.

Thank you so much to all of you who have prayed and continue to lift up prayers. I know that Cubby, my mom and dad have all felt them particularly. Making the trek to D.C. every day, interacting with doctors and nurses, and watching her dad's daily gains and losses have been pretty hard on Momma. She's seeking the Lord for faith to strengthen her own heart and trying to minister encouragement to bolster Cubby's faith. And dad tries to help her interpret medical information and keep her from killing herself with exhaustion.

In the midst of Cub's trial, my sister Lena graduated from Towson University (with special honors from her department!) this week. My Gran and Grandpop came to town for the festivities, and I was concerned about Mom's ability to play hostess given her already demanding schedule and depleted energies. And unfortunately, I was completely unable to help, having spent all last week sick myself and caring for a feverish boy this week.

Enter the dear, dear folks of Covenant Life Church: on Tuesday afternoon, Mom arrived home from the hospital in time to grab a change of clothes and head to Baltimore for Lena's award banquet that evening. She opened her door to find the ladies of her care group cleaning, preparing the house for Mom and Dad's guests. The next night, the same group of women collaborated to provide a special celebration meal for my family, so that when we gathered after Commencement, there would be a wonderful, prep-free meal ready for my Mom to serve. Is that amazing, or what?

Dear Debby, Mel, Kathleen, Tita, Becky, Janet, Catherine, Vicky, Jo and Aunt Sherry: I don't know if any of you will ever read this, and I don't know exactly how each of you was involved. But I thank you so, so much. I can't tell you how blessed and relieved I was to know that you were caring for my mom and meeting her needs so practically. Thanks for loving my folks as they serve Cubby through this challenging time. You are heroes to me, and I am moved to tears by your kindness!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Clubhouse

One of the benefits of living in the end unit of our row of town homes is that our kids get to enjoy what we call our side yard. It's actually a common area, mostly grassy, with a couple of nice trees and... The Clubhouse.

The Clubhouse is situated at the back corner of our house, on the steep bank that separates our neighborhood from the main road. It consists of a group of large forsythia bushes that grew up in sort of a U-shape. A pack of small neighborhood children can tote various props--dolls, doll strollers, kitchen stuff, back packs, balls and sticks--into the center of the U and be snug in their own little nest. (I'm sure they feel like they're hidden from the world; fortunately, I can see them through gaps in the branches from the back and side windows of our home.) I think it was our 7-year old neighbor Aurie who christened it The Clubhouse. At any rate, my kids love it and play there often.

Here Meg is sweeping out her "kitchen." (I keep coming back to this picture, with Meg's hair pulled back and that expression on her face. I think she must be reminding me of someone--maybe on my side of the family? But I can't quite figure out who it is. Anyone have any ideas?)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Special Snack

One day at snack time, I got inspired.

Rice Cake + Strawberry Cream Cheese + Thinly-Sliced Strawberry + Whipped Cream = YUM




Sigh. "Mommy, I wish I could have some ice cream."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back to School

Back in October, we started doing some preschool activities with Meg (and Matthew, according to his interest), going through the alphabet with a letter each week. Well, 'round about Christmastime, school petered out, and some how we never really got back on track in the New Year. Last week we finally dived (okay, waded) back in. I know, I know; most people are now wrapping up school for the year. Shhhh, my kids are too little to know or care!

Since we left off in December with G is for Goose, we picked up in May with H. And H is for Hunting... hunting through magazines for words that begin with H! We're big on collage-making around here. I love it as an art form, and the kids thrill to anything that involves scissors and a glue-stick. So here's what we came up with:
(The tear in the page is a late addition by Matthew, a.k.a. The Destructor.)

Also occupying Meg's mind and fingers: Pasta Letters and Noodle Numbers! In the fall, she had gotten pretty confident about her alphabet; she would write almost any letter confidently (capitals and some lowercase). Recently she's been faltering on letters I know she used to have down; small wonder with so little practice. This was sort of a silly way to reinforce letter-shapes and boost that confidence.

She thought it was so fun to lay the noodles over the printed letters. We talked about whether a given letter was curved, straight, or both, and which type of pasta would be better suited to form it. After Meg practiced several times, I let her make permanent versions with glued-on noodles! Joy!

Hooray for school! Meg is so happy to be back, and so am I!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Don't Faint, But...

I'm posting on my blog. With pictures. (Grandmas and Grandpas out there are weeping for joy right now.)

Yesterday I took the kids across the street for an impromptu picnic at our neighborhood playground. It was probably the muggiest day of the year so far--not that hot, but the humidity made it feel much worse than it was. I think my kids were surprised by it. For a while, they did this, which is how they begin their time at every playground:

It was sort of hazy and blinding out. Meg said, "Mommy, it's a sunny day and a cloudy day today!" Matthew said: "Too shiny."

After a short swing, they were ready for food.

Meanwhile, Esme was sitting pretty in the shade.

Matthew, so cute, called this his "cup." And why not? If you don't know the proper word, just commandeer one that works.

The big kids took some brief forays to the climbing and sliding apparatus, but the plastic must have been too hot or something, because they were less-than-usually interested. They spent a lot of time running/walking laps around the perimeter of the playground. Meg strolled her current dolly-of-choice, Betsy.

She brought me back a treasure after one venture: a teeny, tiny, baby pine cone.

Esme, still sitting in the shade, watched the world go 'round. (And 'round, and 'round...)

She's very interested in grass right now (unlike her brother at around the same age [scroll down to the third picture].)

OK, three last shots. This one is Matthew, who was standing immediately in front of me doing something that I would describe as "wagging his bottom back and forth." My son earnestly described his actions as "Mah-yew doing ex-cise."

Her Perpetual Cuteness, Miss Esme Rose:

And Meg, who ended our field trip and shocked her mama by actually asking to go home from the playground! This never happens! She would be outside all day every day if we had a fenced-in yard that would allow for such liberty. But she said she was sweaty, and I concurred.

So we went home and put everyone down for naps. Ahhhhhhhh.

The end.