Thursday, August 26, 2004

Has it Really Been Two Weeks?

Life is a bit busy right now. Like crazy busy. It's good, but busy. Two weekends we drove out to Southern Ohio for a family reunion. With stops on the way out, it took us 11+ hours to get there. The reunion picnic is 3 hours long. On the way out we were trying to figure out how to make the most of the reunion to make it a valuable experience for us and the kids, especially given the length of the drive and the relative brevity of the actual function. Things never turn out as planned, we'll just leave it at that. 12 hours drive back home, trying to figure things out.

I have been helping a neighbor frame up an addition to his home. Nonna has been coming to watch the kids. She is amazing. Playing with the kids and making them feel special and loved, while still finding time to do things like laundry, ironing, prepping dinner. How does she do it? It is really forcing me to think about some of the areas where I have been, shall we say, falling a bit short. I have one more week of framing, and while I will miss some aspects of the work, I hope to come back to my real job with renewed focus and inspiration. Thanks, Mom! You are incredible.

LuLu's vocabulary continues to grow and she continues to amaze us with how her little brain is developing. Mon reports that LuLu was trying sing the ABC's tonight. It sounded pretty cute. Nonna brought her and Four down to the house where I am working today. They had been there less than two minutes, and she's asking for "Chiece" (her version of "Chief" -- our neighbor's dog).

I came home from a bike ride tonight and was greeted by Four's project. It was awesome. Three long narrow pieces of wood wrapped together with electrical and packing tape. It brought a huge grin to my face and reminded me of the crazy stuff I would try to build when I was a kid. It got even better when I got inside. After his inspiring visit to the construction site, Four had been motivated to come up with his own workman outfit. He put on a pair of blue shorts, a blue windbreaker, passed one of his belts through the handles on a blue gift bag, placed the homemade toolbelt and pouch around his waist, and filled it with his tools. He was so cute and excited that I couldn't resist when he asked if we could hang his clothes hooks that we had bought last weekend. As M and I both lay in his queen size bed reading him stories tonight, he says, "I feel like a grown-up helping Daddy hang my hook."

Thursday, August 12, 2004

what would I have to pay that guy at blogging the children to get him on my staff?This is too much fun. Pick one of almost thirty poses, one of five backgrounds, and get George to say whatever you want.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

So Sorry Song

Today I was playing Jem's "They" (sample - click the play triangle - lyrics)which frankly we don't listen to very often -- maybe twice, and even at that, I'm not sure when Four would have heard it. Four asked within the first 35 seconds -- I thought to look at the counter in iTunes -- "Is this the 'So Sorry' song?" I was flabbergasted. They hadn't yet sung those words. I had to rewind in to the beginning to verify, and, in fact, they hadn't. Despite his doing similar things before, I was so excited I had to call Mon at work. He does seem very musically astute. I am considering signing him up for Paul Green's School of Rock. Seriously.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Saddling Our Children with Debt

To think what else this money could have bought:

Thanks to the DadTalk site for bringing this to my attention. And be sure to visit, to see what this money could have done for Pre-School Kids, Public Education, World Hunger, and more. I, too, wonder how much less we'd have to spend on defense if we were feeding and educating people instead of fighting them.


A few days removed both temporally and physically from the situations of Thursday and Friday, I am feeling much better about how things are. We had a great weekend as a family, and even some escape time to recharge the batteries. Learning a new skill is difficult, and it probably won't feel natural for quite some time. However, I feel as if I have already seen an improvement in the way Four responds to requests. Now, perhaps its the fact that we did have a great weekend, and he did get to spend some great quality time with Mom and Dad, and he's more eager to please in order to get more of that. But I can't help but think that some of the marked change is some of the info I've been able to glean from Dr. Gray.

Also, we've made some progress in the BM area. Two good ones today from number one, and one good one yesterday. How? More fiber, no dairy, glycerin suppositories, milk of magnesia.

I don't know

Today, we were getting out of the car on one of our errands. I asked Liv where her shoes were (if the drive is any more than about 15 minutes the shoes come off). She answered somewhat slowly and very deliberately, clear as bell, "I ... don't ... no."

17 months, but still won't say "Joosh peez."

Saturday, August 07, 2004

What a Difference...

...a couple of hours makes.

Last night was our neighborhood's ice cream social down at the Lake. Immediately following was the camp out. Four and LuLu had such a great time. Its awesome b/c Four is getting to age where he and his friends can run around on the beach and surrounding lawn and entertain themselves (with a watchful yet distant eye*). Four and I stayed for the camp out, and he couldn't have been more excited -- this was his first camp out. We set up our tent in the small tent city of about ten tents. Later in the evening we roasted marshmellows and the kids again ran around entertaining themselves with flashlights and walkie-talkies. Around 10:30 -- way past normal bedtime -- he decided to get into his pajamas, despite the fact that many of his friends were still running around. I was impressed by the decision. After one round of goodnights to all his pals, we were back in the tent where we stayed until around 7:30 this morning. I was nervous that we might be making the trip up the hill in the middle of the night, but he did great. A few times, he wanted to hop out of his fleece bag and into my mummy bag, which was fine. Crowded, but fine. I figure it will be soon enough that the little bugger won't want to snuggle with his dad. He did wake up around 5:30 and said to me, "Dad, you hear the birds? That means its time to get up?" Somehow I convinced that we needn't get up with the birds. Around 7:30 we heard some of the other kids racing around outside our tent and went out to join them.

One by one, different families whose spouses (mostly the moms) had not camped out showed up with pitchers of coffee, raw eggs, onions, bagels, bread, etc. Our recently donated gas grill got quite a test as breakfast was prepared for 20-plus hungry campers. It was awesome. What a sense of community. This is not the first time such impromptu gatherings have sprung up, and Monica and I are continuously thankful for having moved into such a great community.

* thanks to Catherine Seipp for forcing me to be extra vigilant and precise about what I write. Feels like I'm sensoring myself lest my words, if not perfect, might end up being used to denounce dads everywhere.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Sh*tty Day

The past two days have been pretty sh*tty both literally and figuratively. My children have adopted positions at opposite ends of the BM spectrum, which ends up leaving me pretty much up to my elbows in the not-oft-discussed excretions. The boy child grows through these periods where he doesn't eliminate for several days and then ends up having these 'soiling' events. There are times when you can tell he needs to go but he refuses. His age and the frequency with which we deal with this lead me to do a few google searches and found several sites which are very informative on the subject of encopresis. Essentially, after ignoring the urge to go frequently enough for whatever reason (i.e. pain during constipation) the brain just starts to ignore the signal. Stuff starts to back up. It gets pretty ugly, if interested in learning more (questionably likely), visit link above. But, essentially, the experts insist that the child effected by this is not doing it on purpose. So, I have been working to be extra understanding and compassionate during this time. Unfortunately, as it turns out, I am human. You see, between the scrubbing of dirty underpants and reading in the bathroom for periods of over 30 minutes, my other charge finds her way into trouble. At one point today, I felt completely overwhelmed. I just couldn't keep up. By lunch time, I had already changed at least 4 poopy diapers, and dealt with this other issue, including a trip to the pharmacy for some over-the-counter remedies as recommended by our pediatric practice. Another frustrating thing about all this is that after I've done all this research about encopresis and try to talk to the medical staff informedly about it, I just get the impression that they're like, "Yes, yes, thank you, but you'd better let the professionals take care of this." They just talked about fixing the 'flow' right now and didn't address the chronic nature of the problem.

I don't mean for this to sound like poor me at all. After all, I get to be home with two (mostly) wonderful kids, and our problems could be far worse. I think what makes this all the more difficult right now is that I am listening to the audio book "Children are from Heaven" by John Gray (author of the Mars and Venus books). The CAFH book/content is about positive parenting skills and love-based parenting. As I am trying to learn and implement some of his techniques, I end up stumbling over some of my old habits and end up getting more and more frustrated with myself and my parenting, my organization, and my planning. I am going to persevere with it though, as his ideas and logic make sense on most levels.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


My parents have recently installed ZoneAlarm personal firewall software and pop-up blocker, which for some reason or another does NOT like Shutterfly. Therefore, I am considering changing to ofoto for my digital picture sharing and printing. Here are some test pics.

New Old Add-Ins

I have added some new posts that I had captured in my planner, and finally got motivated enough to go get my planner from the other room. If interested, read Time Out! and Manipulate. I'll try to be more timely.

Getting Along

It is so awesome to watch these two little creatures when they get along. This morning Liv woke up in a grumpy mood. Turned out she was pretty constipated. Things got much better after she had a BM the size and shape of a golf ball and nearlly as hard. Too much detail, huh? Anyway, until that point, she had been miserable and Four loving brother that he can be when he so chooses, was doing all kinds of things to cheer her up. He was talking in a sweet and gentle voice and just being genuinely concerned. Then tonight the two were playing together and, minus one altercation, they were both being so nice to each other. Leaning on each other while playing cars and dinosaurs, neither one minding the presence of the other, in fact, I like to think they were thoroughly enjoying each others company. Here's to hoping they remain close.

New Words

Liv's vocabulary grows daily. Today we were watching Jo-Jo's Circus after lunch (we're trying to cut back -- Shane's turning into a junkie, but that's fodder for another post), and Liv pointed at the tube and said "Jo-Jo" each time the little clown made an appearance, and each time Goliath her pet lion showed up she would point and say "Line". Early, we were visiting a neighbor who has a relatively new puppy whose name is Chief. She called him "Deefz". All of these have happened almost spontaneously without our encouragement. Its neat.