Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

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Our little fox doesn't say much, but he really enjoyed collecting candy during trick or treat in the rain tonight!

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Luke recycled his costume from last year because who wouldn't want to be a rocket ship two years in a row?! Cheaper for me!!!

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One day I'll get a picture of them together that looks nice. Obviously not today.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pic of me

At 31 years, 1 month and 10 days. I haven't put eyeliner around my whole eye in years! (Was heading to a party.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


We made it on the jumbo tron at the reds game last night!

(Luke doesn't like how loud things are before the game starts. Once it started he was fine.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

These kids!

A week or so ago, Nathan backed up while getting ready to go down our slide and fell about 4.5 feet from our swing set. I was standing at the ladder. I do not know how he was not hurt -- he landed on his shoulders/back/neck region. I seriously thought that maybe I shouldn't move him and just call 911. But, he was fine except that he bit his lip. Seriously, there is no reason that he was fine. It was awful. I called the pediatrician but by the time they called me back he was acting like his normal self. So much to be thankful for. 

Our swing set was the previous homeowner's and it was very old and unsafe and we had been meaning to take it down. But we didn't and just were watching to make sure the boys were safe on it. Well, that night I pulled the slide off with my bare hands and also broke the ladder rungs so they couldn't climb up to the platform. The whole swing set is now dismantled.

These kids, I swear.

Tonight, Luke, who is recovering from a cold, went to school today, and didn't nap, asked to go to bed at 7:30. Yikes. Nathan cried for an hour when he woke up from his nap (teeth and cold) and was mad when Hal put him to bed. I can't wait to see how they are tomorrow.

But then there are these moments. This picture makes me so happy. I looked up from checking email yesterday (my birthday!) and these two were like this. What a great birthday present. 

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And here's Luke on the first day of school:
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Luke hates his birthday, but he's three anyway!

I have no idea what happened to make Luke so anti-birthday this year. Was it the fireworks on "America's Birthday?" Was it that Nathan got all messy on his birthday? We have no idea. He was super upset about his birthday, though. He burst into tears the other night when I sang "Happy Birthday" to him! I did not think that the birthday hating started at age 3.

Due to major protests when we mentioned his birthday, we ended up having a "baseball party" or a "party for no reason." 

Instead of singing "Happy Birthday," we sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Could he look more glum about it?

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BUT! He loved presents. He got all sorts of things, and especially love his automatic pitcher.

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(He also got that bengals jersey. He is sleeping in it.)

We celebrated with family. I was proud of my photo collage I did for him today:  photo IMG_1157.jpg

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Conquering the goopy eye.

This guy had a goopy eye.
It wasn't very fun.
So we went to surgery.
And now the goop is done.

Nathan has had a blocked tear duct since birth. After massaging his eye for a year, the doctors surmised that it was not going away on its own, like they normally do. After consulting the ophthalmologist, we discovered the best course of action was a quick surgery to unblock the tear duct. Yesterday, we had the surgery.

Our whole little family trooped up to the Children's Hospital surgery center. Pre-op, Nathan was in good spirits. We loved that they marked his eye so they would fix the correct one!

(Check out that molar!)

Surgery lasted approximately 25 minutes. I was able to hold him while they put him to sleep, which was nice. He didn't fight the mask at all, just sat calmly on my lap while breathing the strawberry-flavored gas in. The anesthesiologist sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to him twice and he was out.

Post op was not as nice. He wasn't in pain, but he was grumpy and confused from the general anesthesia. He also tried to pull out his IV. I took this picture once we got to the car and he had calmed down. Poor little guy. He was pitiful.

He got a little nap in in the car and once we got home it was like nothing had ever happened. 

The eye looks great today! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


On Sunday, we got Nathan into Gammy and Pa's pool for the first time! He loved it! Luke is getting braver this year, too. He likes jumping off the side!

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Soccer Game!

In order to help Luke burn off some energy this summer and give him something a little structured to do, we enrolled him in a soccer program. It is a program for Under 4s and consists of a short lesson/practice session and then a 3v3 game.

We have been trying to prepare him for soccer for awhile now by talking to him about it. We have met lots of resistance because he would remind us that he is a baseball player, not a soccer player! He was also not impressed to be on the green team instead of the RED team (we convinced him that his team was called The Green Reds). He was unhappy when I brought home shinguards for him last weekend, but wore them to bed when we told him that catchers wear shinguards, too.

He has been iffy about naps lately, so I was surprised that he fell asleep for a nap on Saturday, the day of his first session. Which started at 4:30. And he fell asleep at 3. Yikes. We woke him up at about 3:50 and he fought us from that moment until he got to the facility. He cried the whole way there. We promised him if he didn't like it we didn't have to go back and we could get ice cream to celebrate his first game (sigh -- resorting to food bribery). He still didn't want to go.

Until we got in. And he saw the teams in front of him playing. Then he perked up. And then I gave him his uniform shirt, and he was convinced:

When the group before him was done, he ran out, grabbed a ball, and had a blast! So much of a blast that he didn't really pay much attention when they tried to do the lesson with them. I tried to go out there and hold his hand for a little while, but that didn't really help. I was just excited that he wasn't crying (several of the kids were).

The poor kid liked to kick the ball and fall down immediately. That reminds me I could never stay on my feet while playing. Poor Luke.

He is going to have to work on having nice hands. Luke gets great joy out of tackling people. That is not good. His pushing stressed me out! He kept going between pushing and hugging. I am hopeful that he'll learn to be less pushy by next weekend. I do think that by the end of the game he was doing less overt pushing and more of a soccer "lean-in" with the shoulder. Which is not better, but a step in the right direction!

The lesson was adorable (even if he didn't pay attention), and the game was really cute, too. Every time the kids did something right during the game, they got a stamp on their hand. It was fun to watch. 

He ran for an hour straight (the 3v3 game turned into an everyone v everyone game because so many of the kids were having a hard time just being on the field). He was a sweaty mess, but he loved it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

A weighted statement

Luke held the meat thermometer up to me tonight and said, "Mommy, I see how much you weigh." 

Me: "How much?" 

Luke: "Two years and 20,000 miles."

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Confession

I was laying with Luke to try to get him to go down for a nap. He was being very sweet -- kissing me and saying, "I love you just the way you are."

Then he said, "I tell you a secret."

He got very close to me and whispered, "I. Killed. Mufasa."

Friday, May 17, 2013

An open letter to Glee's Mr. Schuster

The following contains spoilers about the TV show "Glee." I was inspired to write this post after seeing the episode "Lights Out." 

Dear Mr. Schu:

It started out so nice – the teacher that uses his talents to reach out to the children of his school who may be struggling. You were a builder! You put these kids together into a family. You gave them a home at school.

But there were troubling things, too. Maybe the fact that you were a Spanish teacher but you didn’t know Spanish? Maybe the fact that you just simply transitioned into teaching history because, well, you liked it (although there was no evidence whether you were QUALIFIED to teach it).

It’s definitely troubling that your high school students are you only friends. 

I can forgive and forget some of these things. I hate the way your incompetence as a teacher made other teachers look. I hate the way you just waltzed into a completely different subject area disrespects the teachers around the nation who work very hard to be qualified and to prepare themselves. I won’t even mention how disrespectful a bad teacher is of his students.


There was an incident, Mr. Schu. And our shaky relationship might have to end over it.

One of your students, a male, shared with your group that he had been molested by an older teenaged 
girl when he was a youngster.

Look at that, Mr. Schu. You have engendered trust to your students. They can say these things in your presence. That’s good.

But what did you do?

First, without responding with any sympathy, empathy, or love, you blurted out, “I have to report this.”

Yes. You do have to report it. You’re correct. And maybe it was important to get that out in the open before he continued in case he wanted to censor himself in the light of that admission.

But, well, that’s basically all we got from you.

Immediately the other boys started giving your student the predictable, culturally appropriate (AND WRONG) responses — asking him why getting molested (at 11 years old!) by an older girl is anything but awesome, telling him that he’s the man, etc.



This, Mr. Schu, was more important than a teaching moment, although the opportunity to correct the way these boys viewed molestation was there. It was (and is) necessary to address.

You left your student, already vulnerable, floundering. You left him there as his friends dismissed his pain. You said nothing to alleviate that — at the very least you could have stopped the other boys from saying these things in your presence. For a teacher who prides himself on addressing bullying, who gathers together groups of students some would consider marginalized, you were silent. At one of the most dire, important, and necessary moments for you to speak, you were silent.

Your student left the room saying fine, he agreed, the other boys were right, he was the man. He didn’t mean a word of that, you know. He may never speak up again to you. He wasn’t even allowed to claim his own experience, call it what it was.

The other boys left the room with their assumptions affirmed — that of course being sexually involved with an older woman is awesome, even if it was forced, even if it was illegal. That young men can’t possibly be victims in this situation.

Your millions of television viewers left the room. Maybe some didn’t see any problem. Maybe most were so shocked by Ryder’s story that they didn’t notice your silence. Maybe some rolled their eyes at his story because they have the same beliefs your other male students have.

This viewer left irate.

Ryder’s story wasn’t shocking. Abuse happens — statistics say 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused by age 18 and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by age 18.

But you had an opportunity to educate. And you squandered it.

And your silence affirmed the stigma.

And I hope that some child watching doesn’t stay silent because they saw that even the most empathetic teacher on TV didn’t believe that this abuse was a problem. 


For the national sexual abuse hotline, please visit: or call 1-800-656-HOPE.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


When Luke was really young — days, weeks old — we began taking walks with him around our neighborhood in the evenings when it wasn’t too hot outside.

I remember looking around on one of those first walks and feeling overwhelmed.

It was so hard to imagine that he knew virtually nothing; he had experienced virtually nothing. The scents in the air, the colors, the noises, the air itself — all new.

It was overwhelming; the sheer weight of the world. All of the things he needed to learn.

A few months ago, Luke was very interested in all the vehicles we would see while driving. We would tell him what they were and what they did.

We came upon a money car — the armored vehicles that transport money from place to place. As Luke loved pointing out the big bank near our house, we were excited to tell him about the money car.

And there was that weight again. How do I explain to him why the money car has to be armored? Not knowing what armor is, he hasn’t asked, and I haven’t explained.

But there was that overwhelming feeling again. The weight of all the bad things in the world. Things that sooner or later we will have to try to explain for him.

How do you explain these things?

One day, I envision my much-older children asking me about 9/11. About Columbine. About Boston. About the times when their uncles were at war.

And it’s overwhelming. To become a voice for that experience — my experience, which is not like others’ experiences. Not like the experiences of people who saw it in person, people who lived through it, the person who sat next to me when we saw that news on TV or Facebook or from the receiving end of instant messages sent from Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s a weight, a responsibility in becoming the voice of that experience to someone who was not here.

I want to do it right.

And it’s overwhelming.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Almost a year!

Nathan is getting closer and closer to his birthday! He is doing well -- he is finally drinking some milk out of a cup. We actually finally had success when we put chocolate milk in there. So now we are weaning down to regular milk. He's still nursing, too. His sleep patterns aren't very predictable right now, although he slept through last night for the first time in a week or so.

At 11 months (to about 11.5 months), Nathan:
~Still has blue eyes (we think they might stay that way)
~Walks everywhere
~Climbs things
~Loves the dog's water and food bowls. (And loves the dog!)
~Dances and claps
~Signs "all done" and waves hi and bye
~Now wears shoes and walks all over the place outside
~Likes to steal my phone to chew on it (and runs away laughing if we try to go after him when he has something he isn't supposed to
~Likes opening the cabinets and wants to climb in the dishwasher
~Is ticklish, especially on his thighs.
~gets excited when his daddy comes home

He is fully into his 12 month clothes now. He's a little guy compared to where his big brother was. I think he'll weigh somewhere around 22 lbs. at his 12-month appointment.
He is very sweet. He loves kisses and music. He will settle into you and listen hard when you hum in his ear. He is very serious when he is first around people he doesn't know, but is very smiley when he knows you. He thinks Luke is funny and he is pretty resilient when Luke knocks him down.

I'm so glad we're getting to this point. I kind of wish babies were born at 1 year -- I find them so much more fun around now. :)

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He looks so much like my brother Stephen in this picture (above). Something about the look on his face, especially around his eyes. Stephen is his godfather. 

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His first haircut. He didn't cry, but he wasn't such a fan. :) 

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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter to those who celebrate (Happy Sunday to those who don't)!

Our serious boys celebrated the days with lots of plaid and candy.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2/17 Firefighter

2/16 bison

We woke up early enough on Saturday to go out to breakfast as a family. Afterward, Hal decided he wanted to take a drive with no destination. Luke did not like this and kept asking when we were going to go home. We happened upon the sign for Big Bone State Park and decided to turn in to see if we could see the Bison!

I haven't been to Big Bone since I was in 5th grade and on a field trip. I have a picture of that trip somewhere and should post it one day.

Anyway, we saw that the bison observation was only .2 miles away. Despite it being 28 degrees F, we thought we would make the trip. Luke wasn't dressed warmly enough so I put my coat on over his coat (I had another coat with me), and we wrapped Nathan in a blanket.

It was COLD. But we saw bison! So that was fun.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2/15 Wrestling!

The boys are now starting to rough house together.

2/14 valentines

Nathan and Layla are best buds. Layla really seems to like Nathan better than she ever did Luke. We often wonder why that would be -- is she just better used to babies now? Regardless, they like to play together and this picture really sums up their relationship. (Nathan is sans clothes because he had just finished lunch and his outfit was covered in squashed bananas.)

I got some little Valentines together for the boys and Hal.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2/11 cheating

Sorry weight watchers.

2/10 the sick

Poor hal and Luke were felled by a stomach bug.

2/9 stripping

Sounds more fun than it is.

(can't wait to see what google searches I get for this post.)

2/8 playing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

2/7 The Park

As part of my fitness goals for the year, I have decided to take a walk whenever it is above 50 degrees. My temperature requirement comes not from myself but because of the boys. I don't want them to be too cold just for the sake of me wanting to walk.

Well, Thursday was GORGEOUS. It was almost 60 degrees and I was able to walk with just a sweatshirt. We decided to hit the road when we got home from picking up Luke from school.

I made the impromptu decision to walk down to the park. I saw down because it's pretty much a huge hill down to the park. It's 1 mile away (I checked later with my car), which wouldn't be too bad except for the hill.

Let me tell you, walking down a hill while holding a dog and about 75 lbs of stroller is not easy. It was all I could do to keep the stroller from getting away from me on the steepest parts.

I should have paid more attention. But the stroller was too wide to see.

The bump.

A part of the sidewalk had sunk and left a several inch straight up cliff between it and the next piece of sidewalk.

I hit that cliff going fast because it was downhill.

My strollers wheels were too small. They stopped.

But the rest of us kept going! All of the sudden I was flying over the handlebars as the stroller pitched forward, almost going upside down. I fell to the side and hit the ground next to Nathan.

Layla was confused. A car traveling alongside me on the road paused perhaps a little bit longer at the stop sign and then kept going when it saw me starting to stir. 

I pulled myself up and struggled to upright the stroller. I pulled back the canopy and two sets of eyes looked at me. Not a peep. Luke had his hand on the ground, bracing himself. Nathan was just sitting there, and I'm thankful that we still had him in the shoulder straps or else he would have probably fallen out.

I got them upright. No one was worse for wear. My pride might have been a little hurt.

So we continued to the park. Where Luke climbed the crazy ladder thing like a big boy and Nathan loved the swing.

And then we walked home. Slowly. My shoulders hurt for days, and I had a big bruise on my elbow. But what an adventure!