Monthly Archives: January 2010

8 + 5 = 13?

21 January 2010
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Henry is 5, so soon to be 6 he can taste it. He can poke it it, through the gap in his bottom teeth. He lost his first tooth, an event which both frightened and excited him. His thin thin frame is starting to show that look of a school boy. He never had any baby fat, but that first bloom of elementary school is showing on his face. His face is wider, his arms are stronger, his games are more creative. He sees letters everywhere. He spots numbers and counts. Not just the STOP sign, but the 50 words on his school star word list. He she is was you I the…

Henry has become quite good at video games. I should not not proud of this. It shows the hours he has logged on the Wii and the DS. But I am of the opinion that this generation will spend most of their lifetimes with elctronica aroudn them, entertaining them, employing them, educating them. He is starting to master real games, not just the Diego and Mii creation that might have previously satisfied him.  His hand-eye coordination is growing. His amblyopia was more mild – it is now corrected to 20/20 with glasses.

School is OK. I think Henry enjoys it. He shares stories at random, and never when I am prepared. He was proud that he was the only one at his table to pick out that Elephant started with E. He has friends. He plays at recess. He enjoys gym class and regularly gets posture? sitting? conduct awards in music. The art teacher has her hands full with him. He has never enjoyed coloring per se. And he is coloring a lot this year. It is mostly free-form, which is probably better for his brain but less charming for the baby book.

At 5 and 11 months, I am awed at how big he is. How smart he is. How nice he is. He still is working on some assertiveness with his peers. Working on using words with his sisters instead of light sabers. He feels boo-bbos strongly and cries at the slights and sadness in his day.


And now on  to Miranda. Miranda is nearly 8 and half. She can’t have grown 5 inches this year already, but it feels like it. Having already been tall, I feel foolish to say she’s so tall. Yes, it is true. But she has reached that next stage of equilibrium, of grace. She is more at peace with her body. She still fights with her hair, but her long think mane is a source of pride too. There is a foreshadowing of adolescence when I look at her. I hope that the transition into puberty is kind to her.

School is harder this year for Miranda. Not too hard, but she has to think more often. She is reading well, silently, my biggest dream for this year. Math is pushing her boundaries. She understands how to do the work, but sometimes the mystery of why she has to do it that way (number lines specifically) eludes her. And she is not buying my explanation that it is good to have as many strategies as possible to approach numbers. The drama of friends is still with us. She is better at figuring out how to play with her friends. She is realizing that sometimes it is just as important to have someone to play with as it is to get to choose what to play. I am glad to see her loyatly and kindness develop more fully.

Miranda challenges me in such interesting ways. Like making me realize how mainstream a thinker I am.  She likes conspiracy theories (was the moon landing a hoax? did dinosaurs really rule the earth?) and she loves routine. I think she would like a few more routine classes, whereas I am afraid adding more into our schedule will upset her applecart. She feels things so deeply and shares that with us.

I will admit I am going to miss the kids over the next few days. And taking them away on a long weekend out of state would be both quite expensive and tiring for all of us. I will try to think of their funny as well as their sweet. They are nice kids. And I am not as easily amused as I would like to be. Maybe when I return.


20 January 2010
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Bella is 16 months old now. She seems huge – she’s so long stretched out in bed. Thank goodness she generally likes her crib and we’re not having toes and elbows in our faces all night long. She weighs 22lb now, which doesn’t seem like that much. But she’s just gotten bigger. Next to a small helpless baby, I’d think her a monster :)

My mind is a jumble with travel. I am off to SF this weekend. Not to excite any people who fit within the Venn Diagram of burglers and people who read this blog, as my parents and the kids will be home all weekend. And there is nothing like planning 3 nights away from you children to make your heart all ooey-gooey for them.

Bella is 16 months old. She is walking, running, climbing, singing, babbling, yelling, pointing, tattling, crying, stepping, and moving all the time. She is trying to open the kitchen cabinets, the living rooms cabinets, the drawer with the DS stuff, the keyboard tray, the computer printer all the time. She loves the remote controls, telephones, cell phones, toy phones, calculators, the DS, her doll, her doll’s stroller, and pulling blankets from the bedroom to the living room. She copies her big sister and lays on her tummy on the floor in front of the TV. She rarely angles her head correctly to see the TV while she does this.  She bangs on the refrigerator door for her milk. She thinks the pantry is her playground. She will pick up a toy or a remote control and run around the house. If you chase her, she runs faster. If you get close, she throws the item to the floor. She has dimples and a smile on her face most of the time.  When she gets into everything, without joy, but with a picking, angry purpose, then she is very tired. She will resist sleep. But she needs it.



Her hair is longer. Her bangs are in her eyes, but they are still baby bangs. We have been putting them into a pony tail nearly every day. One day I tried pigtails. She seems to like having her hair up. When it isn’t up, she pokes at it. She likes to rub her hair with mashed potatoes or other soft foods. She likes baths and hair washing, to a point. She hopped in the shower with me and did not like the spray.

She talks, a little. She says Mama. Grandma and Gr’pa, and M’Randa, and Enry and Papa. And baba and dada as all purpose words. She says cook-cook in a very breathy way for cookie. She loves cookies. One in each hand is best. She likes to tickle with sharp little finger nails. She laughs a lot. She wants to go bu-bye and gets her coat when anyone else gets to go away. She likes wearing shoes and boots. She like to try on bigger people’s shoes. She can take off her shirt. She can take off her diaper if she has no pants. Taking off her pants is hard.

She might get red skin after eating tomatoes or chocolate. It isn’t really clear. Her cheeks will get red or sometimes her bottom. We have tried to separate and/ or cut back on chocolate and tomatoes until we can figure it out.  She loves to eat. She will eat with as many people as have meals separately – so if I eat lunch, then Grandma and then Grandpa, Bella would prefer having 3 meals.

She takes 1 nap, usually in the afternoon. 1-2 hours long. She sleeps from 7:30 to 7, waking up once if at all. Or stirring at 5 and then cuddling in a warm bed until she warms up and goes back to sleep. The most exciting time of day is when the bus brings her big kids home. All is better in the world when the big kids and Mama and Grandma are home.

Tomorrow, Miranda and Henry, maybe in 2 posts?


16 January 2010
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I can come up with 3 reasons why I can’t fall sleep.

I can come up with 19 reasons you will fall asleep.

I have been thinking and thinking abut falling asleep. And I just can’t. The first reason I can’t fall asleep is… I can come up with 2 reasons I can’t fall asleep.

The reasons were anxious and excited about tomorrow, and a headache. I think she could have made a case for 3.

there is that

10 January 2010
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Our family room is behind our main garage. The garage addition is nearly nearly done. It lacks siding, but it parks cars just the same. It is strange yet nice to come home to wonder who is home. You used to be able to count the cars and have a pretty good guess.

While driving home from dinner Friday night (the smoking ban cannot start too soon), we turned into he dark driveway, pushed the button on the garage door opener and pulled into the garage itself. Henry must have thought we were going a bit too fast because he said whoa.  Or maybe he was taming imaginary horses? My mom asked him where we would go if we went through the back of the garage wall.  And Henry said “dead.”

I guess winter hasn’t killed my spirit, yet, as that amused me. Even if I should have driven just a bit more slowly down the driveway.

prof plum with the knife in the kitchen

6 January 2010

That was my final answer in Clue tonight. And I was wrong. I got my scheme confused. I always did a pretty straightforward “X out the cards you’ve seen” plan. And then I looked at Rob’s detective notebook after a game. Damn, he had Xs and Os and little markings. What? So I overly complicated my plan and got confused and lost.

Rob was far better at detecting. He played another round. Came up with Miss Scarlett with the knife in the kitchen. I had started with the kitchen and had seen no cards about it. I agreed, silently, with Rob’s assessment. Rob checks in the secret file and what do you know, it was the dining room.


Miranda had the kitchen card and neglected to notice or show it throughout the game. She was confused then contrite. We were mostly amused. Henry was really amused. We did not play another round.

In other news, Henry messed with his loose tooth all day long. Or so we infer from his teacher telling him to stop messing with his tooth already. And then after supper, after Clue, before bedtime it started bleeding and Grandma helped it along. Grandma with the tooth in the kitchen. Henry has lost his first tooth. 5 weeks to his 6th birthday. I am not ready.


5 January 2010
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Resolutions…I can’t say I am eager to even write some list of resolutions. I see the appeal. The calendar says we are starting over. The cold barren winter says we’re going to die. Or maybe we can burrow down and make it through the winter. If we can just believe that winter will end. I wonder if in less northern latitudes are there as many of these mournful, morbid thoughts?

Resolved, I will be more patient with my children. Particularly at bedtime. While growing in patience, I want to feel more confident and comfortable enforcing the limits and boundaries.

Resolved, to find a class for Henry. Something that interests and amuses him. He may still have to swim because swimming is good for you. But it isn’t really fun to him.

Resolved, to increase Miranda’s opportunities to be more confident. In her voice. In her friendships. In her schoolwork.

Resolved, to play with Bella more. She is taking such a delight in running, climbing, eating, babbling. And if there are no more words than mama and ampa and papa and amma…by let’s say, June? I’ll get an evaluation. For my own sanity.

Resolved, borrowing the Penelope Trunk’s resolution method, I will put on workout clothes three times a week. And take my bike out of the garage in April, get the tires pumped up, and adjust the seat.

that was the year that was

2 January 2010
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Hello 2010. Good-bye 2009.

I am not sure I can even remember all the way back to January. I started a frugality plan, along with the rest of the Western world. I can’t say I did all that well at it. I think I was good for about 6 months and then we went to a cabin with my mom, and Miranda’s birthday party grew larger, and then Halloween. I usually assume I need stop shopping. I wonder if perhaps I should not entertain at home.

But boo on that idea.

Let’s see if I review my digital photos:

January: We started rocking out on the Wii to Guitar Hero. Bella started eating real food with a rapacious appetite. She learned to roll over, at least accidentally. We went snowshoeing and for some walks into the ice and snow.

January 2009

February: We visited Chicago. We celebrated Henry’s fifth birthday with his preschool pals at Dairy Queen. We visited my grandparents in Green Bay. Bella kept growing and growing. I enroll Henry in kindergarten for next year and shed a few tears.

February 2009

March: We start some early spring walking around the block. We celebrated my mom’s birthday and my birthday. Miranda takes St. Patrick’s Day very seriously. We visit Green Bay again.

March 2009

April: I work on the preschool yearbook. We see the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the grocery store. Bella puts her feet on the grass. We visit Green Bay. Miranda makes her First Communion and her godparents come from California to see us. We take an amazing band of people to the Dells. Bella is sitting up on her own.

April 2009

May: Baseball with racing sausage madness. A family wedding and some happy time in Green Bay. Faraway friends come for a visit, if only we could pop over to Idaho to return the favor. Rob builds a crazy bike barge. I get 6 yards of dirt for the garden and Henry gets great king-of-the-hill joy. Henry graduates from preschool. We celebrate Rob’s birthday. We connect with Rob’s aunt and brother. Good friends visit from Madison. Bella starts crawling around this time.

May 2009

June: We get 6 yards of sand and don’t spread it out. King of the hill returns. We torment the children with a 5K -we cheat and it still too long. But they run in the kids race and finish! We go to Green Bay and visit our favorite amusement park. 25 cent rides can’t be beat. Rob plays drums in a barn. Henry plays t-ball. We dip our toes in Lake Michigan. Yep, still cold. Henry and Miranda go to Safety Town. We have breakfast on a farm.

June 2009

July: We celebrate America’s Independence with water slides and go-karts. Two trips to the Dells in 1 year should be too much but it is mostly awesome. We head to Green Bay and check out the wildlife sanctuary and Bay Beach. We visit the Milwaukee Zoo. Twice. With my grandparents, we head to Door County to pick cherries. We check out the Town’s heavy machinery at the Happy Days-esque outdoor restaurant. The children enjoy summer bounty from Texas. We head to the free Ozaukee county fair.

July 2009

August: We visit the fair again. We head to Madison and enjoy the company of good friends while being happy neither of us has 6 kids alone. We head to a cottage in Waupaca. We nearly drown the two big kids by flipping a pedal boat, but by grace and luck we don’t. We enjoy the lake life. I relearn that making 4 right turns makes you drive in a circle. Rob and the big kids participate in the triathlon. Our garden exploded while we were gone – the zucchini were too huge. Miranda has a spa birthday party for several of her closest friends. We signed a contract to have an extra area added to our garage.

August 2009

September: School starts. It is an odd thing to have both big kids gone all day. Bella turns 1. We have a nice party. We attend a baseball game. We sit too high up, but Bernie slides a few time, so it is OK. We get Miranda and Henry new desks from IKEA. We visit Chicago and hang out with B&B. The garage slab is poured.

September 2009

October: Halloween madness descends. Miranda is a snow princess. Henry is a monkey. Bella is a frog. Bella learns to walk. Rob is Levon Helms (And if you know who he is, god bless you :) The band was rocking out to Woodstock so I was a hippie. My desire for a car load of pumpkins outweighed my common sense and even my desire to carve 60 of them. We went to the Milwaukee Zoo to delight in their decor. We had a fabulous Halloween party, first the kids in the afternoon and then the kids mostly adults at night.The garage has walls, but no roof.

October 2009

November: While I adored the Halloween festivities, by November 1, I was done. We un-decorated and I appreciated minimalism. I started a part-time leave-the-house job in early November. Even at 10 hours, I have had challenges getting everything done. The garage comes together with walls and a roof. I decorate the outside of the house to take Christmas photos of the kids. My seemingly early planning paid off. The cards were finished. They had clothes to wear for the holiday concert at school. We decide to buy a new TV in the family room. This results in removing the gas fireplace that we didn’t like, removing the floor, putting in new laminate flooring, painting the walls, buying a new entertainment stand and desk for the computer. Perhaps Frugality 2009 should have had no parties and no home improvement? We visit Green Bay. We stay home for Thanksgiving and my brother and his wife visits. Did more happen in November, or is it just more fresh?

November 2009

December: We see Santa in the Park, enjoying Rob’s work holiday event and seeing the Enchantment in the Park lights show. I realize how awesome it would be to live somewhere warmer – whose Christmas events include fireworks? Walking through light shows. Ah, the possibilities. We start parking the cars in the new garage, before the snows start coming. The big kids each sing in the holiday program. We head to Green Bay and to Madison. Santa brings much job with presents. We find out just how early you need to go to Xmas eve mass to get seats in the old church. (earlier than 35 minutes before) We have a seafood extravaganza for New Year’s Eve. We stay in. It is quiet.

December 2009

It was a grand year watching Bella turn from a 3 month old cuddly bug into walking, nearly-talking, dynamo at 15 months. She has maintained her dimples. And her joy in being around her siblings. I hope I can say that in 10 years.