Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Noticing that cookies I had baked for a friend had gone missing, I go in search of our usual suspect.
"I hiding a you, " he says from his spot under the desk.
The next morning, it's a grape sucker that's vanished. I find him skulking behind the bar stools. Just too darn cute.
Ainsley set out this little red number for St. Nicholas to fill. Her big brothers kindly offered to eat her chocolate.
So nice to add a girly shoe to the mix!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Cleaning up after dinner one night, I noticed this pile under someone's chair.
Me: Why didn't you just tell me you don't like lima beans?
Kolbe, perplexed: Well, that would be bad manners.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thanks to the Swine Flu, Tim's birthday feast of cheeseburgers and chocolate cake was five days late - just as Tim was twelve short years ago.
If this baby hasn't been recalled, it should be. No two-year-old should be packing this much heat, even if the ammo is a suction cup.
And crammed it was. For the holidays the main aisles – the only aisles that are passable on a good day – were crammed with folding tables crammed with festive sweaters, electric travel mugs, fondue pots, and the like. My visit underscored my deeply held belief that there isn’t a merchandiser around who has actually pushed a stroller – single, double, umbrella, or jogger – through a store. Truly it’s hard to believe the fire marshals aren’t all over this place.
But cheap it was too! Cute shirts - $5.00! Cute photo coasters - $5.00! Baby shoes - $5.00! I loaded up.
As the trip wore on, I could tell the blood sugars were falling fast. I attempted to navigate through the baby section – crammed to the fourth power – and John began a rapid meltdown. He took off his shoe and then Ainsley’s shoe and then her sock. I confiscated shoes and sock as I weaved in and out of racks. What the cart didn’t knock over, John managed to grab. The blood sugar continued to plummet, and the blood pressure began to rise. I headed for the checkout counter.
Not quickly, of course, because I could scarcely move. I was stuck behind a woman whose cart was stuck between racks. Behind me was a clerk pushing an enormous rack crammed with more cheap stuff.
I was checked out and heading for the door when I noticed John was missing his other shoe. Cheap only goes so far when you have to replace a pair of shoes. Back into the fray we went in search of the shoe.
Hangers were snapping. Parkas and jeans were cascading. My patience was waning. Still no shoe.
“John,” I said in exasperation, “Where is your shoe?”
“Dere it is!” he said, pointing beneath a rack of house coats.
And dere it was.
Since Tim’s birthday last week, John has been going around singing, “May God bwess you! May God bwess you!”
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And they do.
I treasure the moments I’ve spent with my children in prayer, in Mass, in scripture reading. Their innocence, authenticity, and trust surely delight God as they do me.
There was two-year-old Kolbe who one day grasped a crucifix and said, “Jesus, come to the prayer meeting tonight and give me a big hug!”
He had just learned the “Our Father” and one night piously concluded his prayers with “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from Nemo.”
We once overheard Kolbe sing, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, I don’t want to go to bed” to the tune of “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.”
Prayer provides such a window into a soul. Kids pray about the things most important to them—for healthy babies and ailing grandparents, for long-dead cats and long-awaited puppies.
For years astronaut Alan Shepherd figured prominently in Tim’s prayers. Tim had read so many books about the early space missions, he was full of gratitude that Colonel Shepherd had survived his flight. Later Tim moved on to electronics. Kneeling at weekday Mass, I watched him clasp his hands and say, “Jesus, I don’t have a gameboy.”
As my children have grown, I have watched their prayers change a bit. One summer day we were scattered around the house having a few moments of private prayer. Kolbe had a prayer journal that walked children through prayers of praise, repentance, thanksgiving, and petition.
“Mom," he called from the next room, “How do you spell kicked?”
A few minutes later I heard, “Mom, how do you spell tripped?”
And finally, “Mom, how do you spell brother?”
I’m guessing he was on the repentance part.
Kolbe’s journal includes places to draw pictures. Nearly every drawing is of our family. The stick-family Dolins are always gathered around a bonfire. His intercessions express urgent pleas for a dog and a fervent hope that Ainsley would be a boy.
The oddest prayer? “Thank you for this day, the soldiers in Iraq, and the rights of Englishmen.”
Glancing through Kolbe’s journal, I’m glad Ainsley is a girl, but I suddenly have a yen to drag out the fire pit. As for the dog, one day, sweet Kolbe, one day.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I was flipping some laundry this morning and there it was - the "good" thermometer at the bottom of the washer looking squeaky clean.
It says that I'm 37.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Did I mention that John likes to stand on the laundry basket and watch the washing machine agitate?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I had a little bird
His name was Enza
I opened up the window
And in flew Enza
Well, it's landed here.
Tim and Dave are sick, sick. I am nursing Ainsley wearing a mask. (If you want to be aware of how often you kiss your babies, just put on a mask.)
I rolled out of bed this morning and asked Tim how he was feeling.
"Sick," he said. "Let's just leave it at that."
In the midst of it all, I am grateful for doctors who take good care of us and supply us with samples. For friends who run to the grocery store. For Tamiflu (even if it is $86.00). For my sisters Kate and Karen who call and chat and don't tell my Dad we have H1N1 in the house. For Ainsley who is, without a doubt, the easiest baby woman ever birthed. For the good health that we usually enjoy.
May I offer up this short-term inconvenience for the many, many people who are chronically ill, most especially my Mom.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Our school hosted a renowned expert in the field of nature printing. More significantly, he is the grandfather of friends. Here is what Tim produced. Neat stuff.
We planned cheeseburgers and chocolate cake. We ended up with fever and tylenol. True to form, you didn't complain. We hunkered down and watched a lot of Star Trek.
Tim, you are an invaluable blessing to our family. You are kind, honest, compassionate, forgiving, and smart.
Happy twelfth birthday, Tim. I can't imagine life without you.
Me: Have a glass of ice water.
Somebody: Water?? That's like eating plankton.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
The "experts" say you shouldn't encourage baby talk. I say lighten up! We mothers of two-year-olds deal with all manner of challenging behavior and face potty training to boot. Let's savor those elements of this stage that are sweet. Blossoming speech certainly is.
A few of John's milestones:
First word: Mama
First two-word combination: Hot Plate! (Said with a Spanish accent.)
Longest: Pwize! Aunt Patti gave it to me.
Melts my heart: Dadt! He is here! Dadt! (Followed by a high speed race to the door.)
Wish he’d never learned it: No fair!
Courtesy of his older brothers: ‘Tupid!
On itchy jammies: I don’t wike dem. Okay?
He’s a boy: It need new battweez.
On Ainsley: I hold it!
An odd one: It’s mah thumb dwive!
Three cheers for the two-year-olds in our lives. They are, indeed, pwecious.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Me: So what's going to happen at school today?
Incognito, quite cheerfully: Not a clue!
At least he's honest. And he makes me laugh.
Monday, November 02, 2009
When our first was a toddler, we, like all parents of toddlers, would find things in the oddest places. When an item would turn up missing, Dave would say, "Think like Tim."
The lock and key to our shed vanished the other day. I searched and hunted and finally said to myself, "Think like John."
John loves to throw things in the bushes. Off I went to rifle through the shrubs. The first four bushes produced a cache of five balls, one shoe, a shovel, and an icky sock (left to mulch the garden).
I was about to give up when I spotted the key deep in the forsythia.
I laugh (or groan) about Tim and the ginormous collection of books, comics, puzzles, etc. that he stows in his bed. As I settled into my bed the other night, I noticed the pile of books I had selected for the whopping ten minutes I planned to read before falling asleep. My pile is a tad neater than Tim's, but, yes, it's still a pile.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The house is quiet, and I revel in a few minutes of “me” time.
The prudent side of me urges: Check on John! Quiet is bad, very bad!
The self-indulgent side of me counters: Chill!
Inevitably self-indulgent wins the battle, but prudent wins the war. I eventually look for my sweet toddler and find that five minutes of alone time doesn’t come free.
Of late, peanut butter has been John’s partner in crime. Their favorite victim? The couch. Not the old, battered couch that could brave an encounter with Peter Pan and emerge with little to show for its troubles. Oh, no, no, no. John goes for the nice couch.
Hope triumphs over experience when it comes to finger food as well. Sliced cheese and grapes are usually safe bets, but why- oh- why do I continue to give John dry cereal in a bowl? Oh, the sound of Crispix underfoot!
This morning John and I sat down at the table to paint with water colors. We had great fun coloring Spiderman and Doc Oc. I stepped away for just a minute and, sure enough, heard a gushing sound as the water we were rinsing brushes with sloshed all over the dining room.
I have often reflected on how my children lead me to be detached from created things. There’s the son who has a tendency to lose items, the toddler who leaves his mark on everything and anything, and the infant who outgrows clothes in the blink of an eye.
“Store up for yourself treasures in heaven,” Jesus tells me in the Gospel of Mathew, “where moth and rust (and two-year-olds) will not destroy.”
Thanks to Tim, Kolbe, John, and Ainsey-girl for reinforcing the message.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I love dictionary.com. Turns out the primary use of an anvil is not to smash hapless people. An anvil is a heavy, smooth piece of iron used as a surface to hammer and shape other pieces of metal.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Her lyrics are right on for this stage in my life.
I was driving around the other day, ruminating about troubles a-brewing and the line "right back in the Lion's den" struck a chord with me. She's talking about her husband. It reminds me to be grateful for the great provider that my dear husband is. He wakes long before dawn to drive 45 minutes into what often is indeed "the lion's den." On a light day, he puts in ten hours; on a tough day it might be 18. He hops back into the truck and drives another 45 minutes home. He usually calls to see if he can stop at the grocery store on the way home.
Because he does this, I can tend the home front full-time. On my bad days I resent the hours and the burden this demanding job places on me. Today I am aware that he has returned to the den day after day for nearly 20 years. And I am grateful for Dave's heroic sacrifice.
A major moment of enlightenment came many years ago while hiking the trails of Yosemite National Park. Tim was walking next to me and 18-month-old Kolbe was in a backpack. Horses had just been through the area, and I pointed out their mess to Tim.
"Don't step in the horse poop," I warned.
Kolbe burst out laughing like I had never heard him before. Deep down belly laughs. Guffaws.
"It's hard wired," I thought. Boys hear the word "poop" and they can't contain themselves.
This weekend was the Boshears fly-In here in Augusta. It's an ever-shrinking but still fun air show. The Boy Scouts camp out at the airport. Saturday evening is something called "The Cracker Barrel." The various scout troops assemble and entertain each other with skits. Apparently there are a few tried and true routines that get reheated each year. There's a "Hans and Fritz" number that's an oldie but a goodie. Last year being an election year, it morphed into "Hans and Joe the Plumber."
Kolbe came home and recounted some of the skits for me. One of them was LOL funny. Now LOL has to be one of the most tired expressions of the day, but in this case it fits-I really did laugh out loud and offended Kolbe in the process.
"You didn't laugh like that about our skit," he complained. "And ours had underwear. Real underwear."
Yep, underwear. It's right up there with poop for knee-slapping funny.
I can't say much for the rest of the show except that at one point Kolbe came up to Dave and asked, "What's a bra?"
And Dave probably guffawed.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The sleeping quarters of a nameless inhabitant of our home.
I believe the expression "Oy Vey" was coined to describe such a scene.
The good news? During this brief photo shoot, I located a book that's due today.
I saw these slip-on tennies on the wrong feet and embarked on a trip down memory lane.
My dear niece Lissi sported a girl’s version of these and, like John’s, they were always on the wrong feet. I mean always. It was one of Lissi’s many charms.
Lissi taught my grammar class for years with her creative use of pronouns and penchant for non-standard verb conjugation.
We used to play hide and seek. We followed a certain protocol. I would walk into the room where she was hiding and call out, “Where’s Lissi?”
The one time I skipped my line, Lissi jumped from her hiding place and yelled, “You forgot to ask where I is.”
I remember her parents walking out the door and Lissi asking, “Who’s going to take care of we?” As we loaded up the van for an outing, she commented, “We’re riding in him’s car.”
Cute, cute, cute. I shared all these examples with my ninth grade English students, and tried to convince them that it’s not nearly as sweet when you’re 14.
Lissi loved cats and had a plethora of stuffed ones. When she was about three, the family inherited a live one. Poor Max. He was an anti-social, slightly neurotic Himalayan who had lived alone with my dear grandmother. Lissi was ardent in her love and generous in her affection. Max became even more of a recluse.
You could get Lissi to do anything if you promised to give her a glimpse of the cat.
I got her out of a lengthy bubble bath by promising to find the elusive Max. Lissi was soaking wet and still clutching a bar of soap when I carried her to parents’ bed and found Max hiding underneath.
“Kitty, kitty, kitty,” Lissi laughed. She was mess - wet, soapy, and covered with Max hair.
Max never quite adjusted to life in a busy household of kids. His misbehaviors were so icky they are best left unmentioned. There came the day I had to tell Lissi that Max was moving south to live with her single aunt.
She responded solemnly and in typical Lissi fashion, “Max don’t like us, Auntie Kelly.”
Lissi was and is a born competitor. There was the now-famous Game of Life. From the outset, Lissi announced her intention of bearing girls and girls alone. Imagine her disappointment when two consecutive turns brought “Add a baby boy collect presents.”
Vesuvius began to stir. Lissi was not amused.
Lissi’s turn came round again. Megan, Lissi’s older sister, read the square and began to laugh. “Bad news, Liss,” Megan giggled. “You’ve got another boy.”
Vesuvius erupted. Lissi stood on her chair, pointed a shaking figure at her plastic sedan, and yelled, “Get them boys out of my car.”
We laugh about it to this day.
Lissi is now 18. Her competitive nature paid off. She graduated from high school with a near-perfect GPA. She’s studying engineering (not English), but managed to master pronouns. She’s quite the fashionista, but prefers spike heels to slip-on tennies. They are always on the right feet.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
2. We woke up very late, but made it to school with no shrieking or threatening.
3. I cleaned out and updated three phone lists.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Just over two years ago, my friend Rachel and I had babies a week apart. Henry and John are now taking the world by storm. A few signs of the times:
- Your favorite word is Nope! As in: Do you need a new diaper? Nope! Are you ready for a nap? Nope!
- Mynt! is another favorite. It’s a variation on “mine” and follows your penchant for adding a “T” to everythingt. Megan = Megant. On = Ont. Dad = Dadt. Oddly, Mom is pronounced Momp.
- Screaming and flailing on the ground underscore your deeply held opinions.
- Saying “I wove you.”
- Standing up in your crib every morning and taking inventory of your loved ones. Where Dadt? Where Timmy? Where Kolbe? Where Ainsey?
- Carrying your new Thomas the Tank Engine train around. Sleeping with it clutched in your chubby hand.
- Doing the Linus thing and never letting go of your “bot.”
- Dashing to the window, overcome with excitement at seeing the garbage twuck.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Kolbe: Let’s play use bad grammar. I’m doing good. How are you?
John has discovered the toilet. More specifically, he has discovered that the toilet flushes.
I hear a distant flushing. Knowing that there is presently only one potty-trained Dolin in the house, I investigate.
Me: What did you flush?
Me: What is it?
Me: Tell Mama what it is.
Me: Tell Mama.
John, leaning over the now silent toilet bowl: All gont! All gont!