Wednesday, January 30, 2013

snowy days

We hosted a few of the Bedfords after Christmas, and Auntie Bip's Christmas present to Blake included some time on the sledding hill. It was packed and mostly ice, but that just made it WAY MORE FUN. Except the first run. The first run, Blake was eager to go by himself, and I watched from the bottom while his smile quickly morphed into a rictus of fear. With no knowledge of how to slow or control his sled, he very nearly ran into a utility box well off the main course of the hill.

Now, I love that boy dearly, which is why I can say this confidently: he is not a particularly tough kid. He can be very brave, yes, and he has his moments of toughness, true, but overall, he can be a bit delicate. The scare of an uncontrolled whip down the hill and near-collision left him teary and shaken, so he had me, Rob, or Bethany on the sled with him for the remainder of our time, and he still ended up in tears at least once more after a tipped sled incident. The fun of such things usually outweighs the fear, though, and he kept on going. It was a beautiful bluebird day, and Rob and I agreed that we need more and bigger sleds.

My fellas, on the right. I'm on the hill, climbing it as well, but it's a steep one, pocked with kicked-in treads that are not very stable. Or grippy. Or big.

The punkin. His new glasses have lenses that transition into sunglasses, and he LUUUUUUHVES them. He originally wanted to try to reach the lake you see in the background, but got more and more anxious about such a possibility as time went by.

Auntie Bip, always a great sport about having fun with nieces and nephews! In Blake's opinion, childless aunties are kind of a big deal: none of their own bebes to interfere with their loving devotion of him. He makes outrageous requests of Aunt Ernie and Aunt Bethany that he wouldn't dream of posing to my own sisters.

Thing is, they are usually all too happy to oblige him!

They are coming straight for me. Perhaps I'd better move...?

With a 3.5-year-old in their house, Joyce hasn't been able to do many puzzles lately. She helped finish one I'd started and got a good start on a second! About an hour before this pic was snapped, Cec was headed for bed, then stood and placed a few pieces, then knelt to get a better view, and finally quietly just got his own chair. I'll now be their puzzle haven, at least until my little one begins interfering with such things.

I had at least two puzzles where I know that I know that I know that Blake took pieces and hid them or threw them away when he was very small, simply because he was too small to help, and I told him so. Sneaky little bugger...

Poppa and VeeBee. He got her attention by clucking his tongue at her, and she now repeats the trick! She's gotten rather good at it, though another trick she pulls is getting Rob and I to cluck at her repeatedly to encourage her to start... while she just looks at us, bemused. Sneaky little bugger...

Monday, January 21, 2013

sweeter than sweet

This morning, I heard a knock on the bathroom door as I was showering. "It'll have to wait!" I said loudly, and I finished my shower and began my morning preparations. Over half an hour later, I came out and did not see Blake in the kitchen, dining room, living room. The light in his room was off, but I heard Vesper's half-whine, half-chat coming clearly from her room.

Blake had been knocking to tell me that Vesper was awake. When I didn't appear right away, he dragged the rocker in her room over to her crib, tugged her as close to the side nearest him as possible, and began reading her stories to soothe her. He did not stop to come get me again, because he said she'd start to cry even harder. I kissed his head and told him how proud I am of him, and what a great big brother he is to our little VeeBee.

We began vision therapy for Blake last week, in efforts to correct his inward-turning eye and the difficulty he has focusing on things near him with both eyes (shorthand: we're working on the turning, the focus, and the tracking of his eyes). The homework involves time wearing his eye patch, and as I sat across the table from him last night, Vesper on my lap, he pulled his patch on.

Vesper let out a peal of giggles.

Blake giggled back.

The room filled with joyful noise as we all laughed, delightedly, at one another. "Homework is going to be fun if she does that every day!" Blake said cheerfully, as he turned to his first exercise.

I sure hope so.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I have failed to mention here that our time as dog owners was short-lived. That yellow lab on my nightstand in the post below is the only dog we'll have for a good long while.

We wanted to do so well by Thrall. We had him groomed (matted hair in 90+ degree weather had to be miserable), we played with him, we wanted him to be well-behaved. Unfortunately, he was not well-behaved. He was aggressive to other dogs and barked A LOT. He ignored us if he was off-leash and alarmed folks walking by with his not-quite-friendly approach. I'd let him out to run and play for a solid 15 minutes (he helped me nab two rodents in the backyard, in fact), then find that he'd poop in his kennel not five minutes after being put back inside. All of this was frustrating, but not overly alarming... until he displayed food-related aggression towards both me and Rob, and he bit my hand. It was a warning bite, he was very stressed, and he did not break the skin (he could have hurt me badly had that been his intent)... but there it was.

We wanted to work more with him, but it was quickly clear that he did not see me as dominant, and I had a newborn in the house. I couldn't give a dog the time needed to break those bad habits when my time was so thoroughly occupied elsewhere. While I didn't think Thrall was necessarily dangerous or bad, he was unpredictable, and with all the kiddos we have running around here regularly, unpredictable equals dangerous. We called Rob's family, who had left their fence and kennel up, just in case things didn't work out.

So, Thrall is back in Washington. I feel badly that we couldn't do what we'd set out to do for Thrall. I think he'd be a great ranch dog. But... he seemed happy the last time we were out there, and I know that they love him. I'm not afraid our pet is going to snap at my children, nephews, or pretty face. And one of these days, when we have the time to dedicate to it, we'll get another dog. It might be years, which Rob reluctantly agreed to. I did hold out some hope for him, though: if we get a puppy, I will probably cave on my "outdoor dogs only" rule, because I might be coldly rational about many things, but tiny, wee, sad-eyed puppies are not included in that list.


not always.

I did already write about the time Rob brought a puppy home to the condo, eyes filled with such innocent hope that I couldn't help laughing in disbelief, before I squashed that idea and made him take it back.

Friday, January 18, 2013

that's what he said

First of all, I want to reiterate what she said. All of it. Except the part where Reese confesses to being a fire-breathing dragon, because honestly, I never see that. I have singed all our children (hers, too) with my own temper, and I regularly admire her aloud for her seemingly endless patience and kindness to her children. She is probably just being transparent for me, but all the stuff she says about our sweet Momica? Yep. True. In fact, I feel badly for Lane, even though I know she loves Coeur d'Alene, because she's that much farther from the help that Reese and I get to count on.

And on we go...

Blake handed me a small photo card of a yellow Lab, which indicated (on the back) it was something American Girl produced. I have no idea where he got it, but he brought it home from school. He probably stole it from a little girl.

B: This is for you, Mom.
A: Thank you! What do you think I should do with it?
B: Hmm. I think you should put it on the wall in your bedroom. Next to your light.
A: Well, it would be pretty lonely. I don't have ANYTHING on the walls in the bedroom. Where else could I put it?
B: How about I put it on your nightstand, next to your alarm clock? Then you can look at it before you go to bed and when you get up.
A: Um, ok.

That conversation was at least two months ago. I took this photo two minutes ago:

B: (immediately after finishing dinner) Done! I don't want dessert tonight. I'm too full.
A: (stunned) Wha-???
B: (arms thrown wide, sly grin) Well, you don't ALWAYS get dessert, it's a special treat!

He then scampered off and hid because I was coming to get him, still amazed that my sugar-loving kid drew a healthy boundary for himself, and that he used a perfect blend of cheek in his humor and defense. I love that boy.

B: Mom, can I take a picture?
A: Sure. Here's the button you push.

 Hi, Vesper!

 Mom, look what I did to Vesper's rabbit!
He's just chillin'...

Say "cheese," Mom!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

just another baby pic

We had friends over for a meal just before Christmas, and I was reminded anew of how blessed I am to have gotten to work for and with them, despite the fact that I don't see S NEARLY enough and R has a sense of humor so dry it always gives me cotton mouth.

Baby. Beard. Gun.

Vesper's exercise program:

Blake dearly loves to have her next to him while she's jumping, especially when he's at the table. He'll also pull a blanket from his room and all three of his LEGO bins to set up a building shop beside her feet. This kid is SUCH a great big brother, and she adores him right back, having eyes for no other when he's in the room. The other night, I asked him if he wanted our next baby (still a twinkle in our eyes, no announcements here!) to be a boy or a girl. 
B: A girl.
A: Really? That surprises me. I was SURE you'd want a brother!
B: (contemplatively chewing a bite of food) Well, I used to. But I just love Vesper so much that I want another baby sister.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

happy christmas!

More photos from my mom. After my folks spent Christmas day and had dinner with us and the Schuyler family, she commented that neither Reese nor I had pulled a camera out. We both protested that we take more photos of the day-to-day events, but that in the midst of the chaos of "special" days, it's hard to do.

Mom, that's why we have you!

Day-to-day photo by me: Blake's school Christmas program.

Christmas day at the kids' table! Grammie brought small Coca-Colas for the small boys. I think Blake is the only one who polished his off.

Reese made a birthday cake for Jesus, we sang, and the boys helpfully blew out candles. Sawyer was going to help her add sprinkles after frosting it, but the sprinkles were still sealed, so I helped him open it while Reese warmed the frosting to make it more spreadable. I turned around to catch him in the midst of dumping the whole jar onto the half-frosted cake. Reese totally saved the day and didn't even snap at him - she's sort of my parenting hero right now.

Gunny-boy is clapping! He brings joy wherever he goes, because he is a smiler with dimples. 

Vesper and Grammie.

Our new trap for visitors: JustDance4. So far, we've managed to rope almost everyone into playing, and so far, almost everyone has enjoyed it. Winning!

Grammie and her grandies.

Blake schooling Papaw in Battleship. The little stinker IS alarming good at finding the "twosie," which makes him a formidable foe.