Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cookie Cookie Cookie Starts With "C"

New Poll. Help.
This IS my life.

Does it ruin it for a 3-year-old to explain puppets and muppets? Can we preserve the magic with all of these explanations?

I guess I could assume the puppeteer's feet are Cookie Monster's own...but then Henry would want to know exactly what KIND of shoes was s/he wearing so then he could ask for that exact pair too.

Uncle Johnnie & Aunt Am's Visit

I finally collected all the photos from my camera and mom's (I'll add Meredith's if she has any) from our visit with John Stewart and Amber. It was almost a month ago, but we are all still talking about it and loving every minute we got together.

The pictures are here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just Rehearsing

Great volume has always been a part of our house.
Whatever we do, we seem to do it loud. I think we scare cousin Lydia when she comes.
Lately, Svea and Henry have been trying to find ways to join their once separate high-volume moments. I'll be in the kitchen and will hear one of them start fake laughing until the other joins in and they end on a high note. Or sometimes a low note. Sometimes they try to clear their throats at the same time and vary their pitch (which is no easy task). In the car, they will occasionally sing to the part of the song where they forget the words and they'll hold the last note, looking at each other sideways, until the volume reaches Outside Voice Range instead of Inside The Car Voice Range.

At first this was all very irritating. Then one day, for some reason, I found it funny. After Thanksgiving, it all made sense.

I like to think that Henry and Svea are holding rehearsals when they join pitches, that our search for harmony begins with our families at ages two and three and then branches out.

We went to Birmingham for Thanksgiving, but actually spent more time in the Odyssey than anything. Bottom line: we just tried to do too much. Big surprise there.

Thursday we dined with iHusband's family once everyone had arrived.

Henry slept through lunch, which was fine. Svea entertained by looking at her plate after the blessing when all was quiet and saying, "Yummy doo-doo."

Friday we drove to Decatur to eat with my family, and then drove back to Birmingham for the night. While in Decatur, this weird smush-each-other game started after lunch. I'm just glad nobody puked.

Henry caught butterflies with Bobbie and Svea talked on the phone a lot.

I think she was calling Mama J, who was actually there in the kitchen with her.

In these pictures so far you have not seen a game of football. But BELIEVE ME it was ever-present.

Saturday, we dove in head-first to the Auburn v. Alabama game in Auburn (about 2 hours away). Yeah for the Odyssey.
We were a Family Divided (they like to call it) as some of us were for AU and some for AL, but all of us had a favorite cheerleader (Trent, you are second favorite).

So we tailgated and cheered for Brooke cheering.

We even got to see the big truck that had Alabama stuff all over it.

Then Linda and I headed back to Birmingham while the rest of the gang went into the game.

For those of you who care, Auburn won for the 6th year in a row, the season is officially over, and Weagle Weagle Rammer Jammer Whatever.

All in all, some years Thanksgiving feels more about the food, some years more about the family you get to see, and some years it feels like it's more about the football. I remember Thanksgivings at my grandparents' Apartment B3 in Montgomery when the adults would sit around the Au v. AL game and the kids were allowed to roam the apt. complex for hours, walk the dog for hours, or play Barbies in the next room WITHOUT BEING LOUD for hours until the game was over. I remember thinking I was glad we were for the team with the navy uniforms because they looked much better on the tv than those white ones the other team was wearing. Clearly I GOT it back then, too.

Regardless of what this holiday was most about this year, it's helpful to view it as a rehearsal. It takes the pressure off getting it "just right" with out-of-town family to miss, obligations to navigate, passive language to perfect - I need multiple practices with these. Especially before I have to start hosting my own dinner.
Henry and Svea still lead in the volume category, and probably will in the years to come. As loud and fumbling as we are, I hope the coming Thanksgiving Rehearsals involve all the family we saw this year and more, all the food we ate this year and more, all the laughing and joy we felt this year and more.

On the way home, exhausted and driving in the rain, iHusband did ask if we could NOT do this again for maybe another year. I think Svea agreed (this is truly how she fell asleep):

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Some of my New Faves

I got to go through some of my mom's iPhoto - always a treat - this weekend and got a bunch of pictures from John Stewart and Amber's visit a few weeks ago. I'll put them up on flickr when we get home and settled from Thanksgiving.

Thanks, Mom, for these:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hi-yaaaaa! (& Svea watching cartoons)

...this all started when I was trying to get Henry to wear a bandana to keep his bangs out of his eyes. He won't let me cut them and he keeps complaining about them being in his eyes. But the bandana only turns him into a temporary karate chopper then he's bored and pulls that off.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We May Have Gone Too Far on This One

This poll question on the left was a serious one tonight.

And we may have really crossed a line - a blogging line - in making it public here. But our vision is cloudy here, you see? Our understanding of what is appropriate conversation is now murky waters.
So to us, this was funny, and to Henry, very serious.

Help us out with the answer.

Just an FYI, Big Al is the mascot for University of Alabama and Henry and Svea have a stuffed version of this elephant and it plays the fight song when you squeeze it's hand or paw or whatever. Aubie is the tiger mascot for Auburn University. Auburn and Alabama play each other this coming weekend in Auburn so tensions are running high in our house.
I have chosen to cheer for the Dillon Panthers and I feel good about that. The other three members of this family can cheer for whomever they want on Saturday.

The Newest Member of Our House

Brian and I are such nerds and are so excited about this operating system.
We traded computer lessons for it...I LOVE to barter.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Overhearing Henry in Our House

If you had been in our house the past few weeks, you mighta heard Henry say, "Mom. Look at my bum. It's cracked."

Or, while building with Lincoln Logs he informed me that now, after arranging the pieces carefully, he was ready to build his condoms.
(of course he meant COLUMNS)

On a recent trip to the library, Henry decided (amazingly) not to check out one of the many Airbud sports videos. He escalated. This time he picked out, "Kids who RIP: Youth in Action Sports" and on the cover is an 11-year-old boy doing a one-handed hand stand and holding his skateboard to his feet. It has kids (mostly boys) waterskiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, you name it. I'm gonna have to get me some more Tums.

Svea was more interested in the blocks at the library so I checked out "Zoes Dance Moves Starring Paula Abdul." She LOVES it. And thankfully, so does Henry.
Randomly through the day I hear him in the next room saying "single, single, double!" just like Paula does in her dance lessons. Then at dinner the other night Henry kept saying to Svea, "Hi! My name is Holla [meaning Paula, of course] and I loooooooovvvvvvve to dance!" and then Svea would say, "Holllllaaaaaaaaahhh!" It was awesome. I walked in to watch them repeat this conversation over and over and this is what I saw:

I'm not sure if it's all the dancing or the adventure sports, but on the way up the stairs yesterday Henry said calmly, "Mom, my back fell off."
Not real sure how that would happen, honey.

Irving's Room

I have a deep love for the radio as an instrument, a love for storytelling and news and gossip, and a love for the anticipation of a show in real time (as opposed to Tivo, DVR and podcasts - love those three as well but there is something genuine and wonderful in the actual waiting).
The radio show This American Life combines those loves for me.

I have collected and listened to its shows for years and came across an old favorite the other day about a hot dog factory. This factory moved from the southside to the northside of Chicago into its custom-built, dream building. Once hot dog production began in the new place, the hot dogs not only tasted different, they tasted BAD. The recipe and ingredients were the same, they had the water inspected, but the hot dogs tasted gross and came out pink instead of bright red.

One night, the workers sat around discussing the good old days in the factory on the southside and starting reminiscing about Irving.
Irving was one of those workers who knew everyone and who had worked there as long as they could remember. His job was to push a cart of uncooked meat from the freezer on one side of the factory to the smokehouse on other end, giving the meat time to warm before smoking and contributing to the signature, yummy taste. In the new factory, the smokehouse was built next to the freezer, eliminating the need for Irving's walk. No one even recognized this crucial detail in the construction of the new factory.

I should probably be disturbed that a story about a hot dog factory has helped my level of patience in parenting this week. So should you.
But I have noticed how much I push the kids on my agenda (that I have made for THEM for THEM to learn and have FUN so come ON with Mommy's plan already). I give Henry 4 instuctions in a row and then end up just DOING some things for Svea instead of letting her figure them out for herself.
I am not as aware of the times that I let them wander, let them figure out how to climb up and down on their own, let them put on their own socks as slowly as they want. I'm sure in their minds their manner is efficient for their goals, but for ME in MY mind, they are lolly-gagging, dilly-dallying the day away and are completely inefficient beings.

The hot dog factory fixed it's problem by building on a new room to the outside of the building in which the meat could warm and dilly-dally before going to the smokehouse. Kind of like an Irving's Room.

I guess I KNOW somewhere deep down that we all need a chance to be in Irving's Room, but I'm really glad Henry and Svea remind me of this more often.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Getting Over It

A few months ago, one of my favorite writers, Dooce, wrote an article - actually it was a letter to her daughter - in "Real Simple Living." Entirely moving and poignant, Dooce reminded all parents and caregivers out there how much we learn from our children.

Since then I have been more aware of the steep learning curve I climb each dark morning with Svea pulling on my arm, inviting me to have orange juice and Pops' cereal with her.

I thought I would start listing some of the more obvious Life Lessons I am learning from Henry and Svea in my trusty captain's log. The first, and maybe hardest in-the-moment lesson is the one to Just Get Over It.
Seriously this lesson touches all of the Perception of Actual Time lessons I face, as well as the How Much Life Can Offer If You Live in Thirty-Minute Increments lessons. You gotta get over it AND move on.
This is hard work, people.

There is no understanding of grudges and resentment by them, nor is sarcasm a useful tool.
What a relief. But what a bizarre reality in our culture.

So I am grateful for Henry and Svea's ability to be entirely emotionally present in a heated moment and then to completely be over it in the next. As we discuss consequences and do-unto-others, their anger is gone though their memory isn't. So maybe anger doesn't have to be a part of democracy.

Again, what a relief. Thanks, kids.

(and thank you, Leta, for these pictures)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wardrobe Issues

Ever the slaves to fashion in this house, I couldn't leave for church yesterday without taking this picture.

Svea does in fact have a dress on with one of Henry's cushy jackets over it. She picked purple socks and cowboy boots to complete the outfit, and would not let go of her miniature Boots the Monkey or her Little People character she has named Arwyn who goes with her everywhere:

Henry has on a gray and red Alabama football shirt, then a short-sleeved striped button down, then the baseball t-shirt. All of the shirt layers were acquired as the sport-of-the-moment changed and he needed to display the current team accurately. And no uniform would be complete without the loafers.

During lunch today, Svea snuck into the kitchen and grabbed the container of pistachios off of the counter and snuck them into the living room to line them up on the arm of the chair and eat them.
Brian and I were searching everywhere in the kitchen for the pistachios, blaming each other of course, until he realized how quiet it was.

Henry had been stressing over his new outfit so we were distracted fitting the hot pink gloves perfectly to each finger while struggling to get the Christmas tree sweater vest UNDER the navy blue football jersey. All of that was to match the motorcycle helmet, bathing suit and cowboy boots.

Then this afternoon I walked in on this scene:


I gave her some cranberries as a snack and some voodoo starts happening or something. A friend made that bow in her hair and got her to keep it in there for longer than 3 minutes. I was thinking about growing her bangs out if she would start wearing barrettes, but it looks like I'll be trimming them instead. When she remembered the bow, a lot of hair came out when she ripped it off of her head.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007


So the marketing geniuses out there have figured out that October and November are the months to flood mailboxes with catalogs of children's toys. We have a little door in the foyer that Henry and Svea can open and gather the mail each day. They also love to hide toys in there.
Henry carries around a catalog until the stapled binding tears and he has to move on to drool over other toys in other catalogs. He has found one though that has football, soccer AND baseball board games. And he really wants one.

This has begun many discussions about saving your money, earning some money, using your own money, waiting for Christmas, asking for presents from people, how iHusband was kinda EXACTLY like this at Henry's age, etc.

When we got to the part about Henry saving his change in his baseball coin bank he ran and got the bank and poured all the coins on the open catalog to "buy" the game he wanted. I obviously was not explaining myself well.

I suggested that maybe he could do some things to help Mommy and Daddy and that he would get paid for the "chores" he did.
To this he exclaimed, "Mommy, I already DO chores!"
(You can see where this is going)
So I asked, "what chores do you do, Henry?"
Obviously, he answered, "FOOTBALL IS A CHORE."

Who knew.