Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maybe Engineer, maybe carpenter?

Yesterday, I needed to get some work done out in the garage, so I took the Girl and Max out and we closed all the doors to the cold and I let them play with each other as I tried to work on logs for the house.

After a few minutes, I look over and see that she has taken the wood scraps and is crouched down, arranging the wood. Some of it is standing up, some of it is balanced on other pieces. She had a incline in there as well. I thought, that is neat; she is creative.
After a bit, I look over and she has arranged the scrap in a straight line, from longest to shortest. Any pieces that are the same length are either on top of each other or side by side, depending on thickness. She pointed this all out to me, very carefully checking to make sure I understood.
Then I noticed that she really fits the stereotype for the Trades. Every time she bent over or crouched down to point something out, here pants creeped down and her plumbers butt crept out.
To complicate matters, Max took advantage of having us in the garage to treat Kat as his own chew toy. They looked like the ad for coppertone.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Hallows Eve

It may be hard to tell, but the Girl dressed up as a flapper... or an indian princess, I am not 100

% sure. The boy is a road construction worker. He carries it so well, too.

When it came time to go out the door, Boy wanted none of it. He and Gma stayed by the door, giving out candy bars to the U of I college kids that felt like they needed to go trick or treating in the neighborhood.

Grandpa took Kat around the 'hood. Kat didn't know what all the fuss was about, but she really liked being the center of attention every time someone opened the door.

Both of them and both grandparents had a wonderful time Sunday evening and with the kids being watched by the grandparents, Wife and I managed to sneak a few minutes at the mall and then have a nice conversation at a quick dinner. So nice to have a quiet conversation with the one I will spend the rest of my life with.
The garden yielded a dozen pumpkins this year. However, the Girl did not want to cut into a pumpkin. "NOooo!" she howled. So I took a marker and drew pictures on the pumpkin. That seemed to be just fine.

If you look closely, you can see both of the kids growing before your very eyes. You cannot tell from the pictures, but the boy is NOT happy if he doesn't know where his older sister is hanging about. While it doesn't happen often enough so far, they play very well together. When she is out of sight, you hear him calling, "Neena!" and you can hear her call back, "I NOT NEENA!" On the other hand, she dominates him pretty well when she wants to. There isn't much he can get his hands on that she doesn't take away from him. I have warned her, He won't put up with that for much longer, you might want to start being nice now.
They keep us very busy and I don't have much time to post pictures of them, but I enjoy them more than I ever thought I could.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Boys first haircut

A week ago I took the boy to (wo)menards.

As I pushed him around in the cart, encouraging him to pick out hammer, pliers, level, square, and duct tape, a lady approached us and said, "oh, what a pretty little girl!"

I was mortified.

Kyle flirted with her.

So I told Wife, it is time. Those curls have got to go. And go they did.

I don't think he was totally in agreement, tho. Just before he got into the chair, he filled his diaper, and how!

Jenny was so good, she distracted him and cut. Talked to him and snipped. Distracted some more and combed and cut.

In a brief 20 minutes, she had clipped over 2" of beautiful locks off of his head.

Now he looks like a proper little man.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

We have lost our minds

It is official. Parenting by poor decisions.

Wife and I really like dogs. If you read far enough back in this blog, you will note that we had a really cool dog. Tough, Territorial, boss of all she could see (except me).

When she started attacking people, we couldn't keep her.

So we have been 21 months without a dog.

We couldn't stand it any longer so we started doing research. What is a good dog that is really good with children. Wife narrowed it down to 11 possible options.

This dog wasn't on the list, but was available and CUTE.

So we brought him home.

Maximillan, the Brittany Spaniel.

I think he is a keeper, but it does not matter what I think.

The Girl KNOWS he is a keeper!

Now we have another boy to potty train. and literally, as I typed that, he pooped on the kitchen floor, with Girl scolding, "NO! NO!"
What were we thinking?

Monday, September 20, 2010

And the kids are alright!

Well, they are a little sick.
The little one came down with the pukes this evening. Everything we tried to get him to keep down he brought back up. Yuck.
'Nina just has a cough and sneezes... I don't think it will get any worse.

I mentioned 'Nina. That is the boy's name for his sister, Kat. For some reason he cannot quite get Kat into his vocabulary so he calls out, usually at the top of his lungs, 'NINA!
It is still pretty cute.

Over the weekend it was cloudy and cold. Last night I put a fire in the wood burner to make the house nicer. Today it was 80F outside and Wife turned on the A/C. Gotta love Iowa!

It is amazing how quickly the kids are growing up. Kat is asking why five times for every question / situation that comes up. I think she is going for her six sigma cert pretty soon. If I see a fishbone chart, I will know it is a done deal.
Kat is getting taller every day and she doesn't miss a thing. Wife and I have to be careful in our conversations as her ears pick up every conversation... except to pick up toys or finish her squash.

The boy is into everything these days. If he cannot throw it, he wants to climb it. If it cannot be climbed, he wants to destroy it. Kat was always curious and tries to figure out how to take things apart. Boy doesn't have that patience, he just wants to wreck everything.

I think the next 20 years are going to be interesting.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nephew turned FOUR

Wife and I have several dozen nephews to keep track of. At last count, right around six or so. Dozen.

At least that is how it sounds when any two of them are in the same room and gramma is feeding them some form of refined sugar because, "I don't have to take them home"

Anyway. At Nephew's birthday party, the Boy got a small piece of cake that was more frosting than actual cake.
He started slowly, trying to figure out exactly what type of food this was. Once he got a taste of that goodness there was NO stopping him.

He picked up handfulls of cake and frosting and proceded to lick and nibble every little bit off of his fingers then out of his palm. He went back to the plate for every last little bit of that sweet goodness and when it was gone, he was overwhelmed.

We don't give him refined sugar often but it was very fun to watch him to get caught up in the moment.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I am still around

Still around, really busy. Here are some pictures... got a bunch of funny stories.

I will be trying to post short little posts more frequently so I don't have quite so much dead air time.

Here are birthday pictures and when Aunty Gabby came to town and when Kat discovered mascara and boy in a sugar coma.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Where have I been?

Except vacation for me does not mean going someplace exotic, it means take days off to work on one of the 15,000 projects that need to be done to get this place ready for sale.
And now, on my last day off before returning to work, Wife just brought back the boy who clearly has the flu.
So I will be finishing my windows with pukey, poopy boy helping me.
Other than I really feel for the kid for being miserable, understand me when I say...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

best Sunday evening so far

First, Yesterday was The Wife and I's (is that right?) anniversary. We been married a long enough time that we are barely newlyweds, but not so long that we feel like we have been married forever.
You guess how long. Mom and all the Dales and Nois, no giving it away.
She got me a nice gift, more than I deserve. I got her something practical that takes a battery. If you know Wife well, you know she is always 5 minutes late... So I got her a nice watch! Nothing says I love you like saying, be on time.

Tonight, we all took a walk around the garden. Wife has bronchitis and the kids are all fussy cuz it rained so much this weekend that it was wonderful to go out as a family and enjoy each others company.
In our walk around the garden we counted the apples (23) and walked the rows until we came to the peas. We noticed the peas were ripe and so Wife and I introduced Kat to the art of picking fat pea pods and splitting them open for the goodness within. Let me tell you, rabbits got nothing on this girl. She ate peas for 15 minutes straight. Later, as we were getting her ready for bed, she wanted to go back out and "pick peas".
Kyle wasn't much interested in peas... in fact, he had a hard time staying upright in the tall grass. After a while he just laid on his back and rolled around and laughed at us, nibbling at the peas on the vine.
It was such an nice experience I ran into the house to get a camera to capture this moment forever. People tell me they won't be little nearly long enough and I am starting to feel uneasy that they might be right.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fantastic weekend!

We bought our log home in 2002. So far, I think every year has been a learning experience.
This weekend we learned about our chimney.
For the last couple of winters we have worked hard to heat the house as much as possible with wood.
Two years ago we bought a high efficiency free standing wood burner, a Lopi. We like it quite a bit.
As we heat more and more, Wife and I thought it was time to get the chimney checked out. When we bought the house we had it inspected along with the rest of the house. That was eight years ago and we are on our second wood stove.
So a husband of a co worker who used to work for a chimney cleaning and inspection service came over today. He used to work for the chimney service because when the great flood hit Cedar Rapids back in 2008, the shop was under 16 feet of water and the owner decided to not re-open. Of course, Brent's house had 10 feet of water in it, so he has had a lot on his mind.
Brent told me to clean out the ash box at the base of the chimney inside the house before he came over. So last night after a pretty busy day, I opened up the little doors and started shoveling out ash with a small garden trowel. Ash I expected. What I wasn't ready for was the birds. Seven bird skeletons along with feathers. Dried up, no smell, disgusting little skeletons. The skulls were creepy with the beaks and the eye openings.
So he stopped out today and gave me a list of things that need to be done. Just what i need, another list of things to do. He did, however, let us know that the chimney is in really good shape for not having been maintained for the last 27 years.
Now I am sitting on the porch in the shade watching Kat cover herself with sidewalk chalk.
Earlier she managed to find a bad tempered paint turtle. This is actually pretty surprising. How she managed to find an eight inch turtle, green, in foot tall grass, I will never know. When I picked the turtle up, she stretched her head out of the shell and hissed at me, then snapped her mouth shut.
In all of my years I have never seen a paint turtle behave that way. Kat agreed, we needed to put that turtle back in the pond. We did, and I hope she is happy.

Friday, May 14, 2010

What keeps me up all night.

Work, Ear infections, money, doubt.
Who knows.
What I do know is it makes me really tired in the morning.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers Day to my Mother

I have been thinking about this post all week.
While I am pretty sure that Mom knows how much I appreciate her love and support over the years, it never hurts to come right out and say it.
To know me now, you would not suspect that when I was much younger I was a doubting, insecure artist. I didn't feel like I fit in anywhere and I was near blind and near deaf and I thought that there was no chance that I would be popular or successful in my lifetime.
Through all of this, Mom was there to encourage and support me. She helped me explore different activities and understand that I didn't have to do EVERYTHING that my brother did. She helped me find 4H, where she helped me go to State with my photography (I still have that photograph, I can see it from where I am typing right now). She let me not wear my hearing aids in jr high because I was so self conscious about them, even though it made schooling harder because I didn't understand what was happening in class.
I remember her tirelessly supporting and encouraging me to just be me. To believe in myself that whatever I put my mind to, I just needed to be me and do the best I could do. In doing my best, I would be successful.
I can recall a picture of me wearing a coonskin cap that Mom made (with little advance warning) for a play. It didn't matter what the school activity, hobby, scouting activity; Mom was always willing to do whatever it took to help out.
I can remember when I brought home a garter snake and she helped me put together a bucket with grass and some water so that I could keep the little snake. I liked snakes and frogs and mud and bicycles. She was so tolerant of my pets that she even let me keep a bullsnake in the house in her planter. It was just a little one, though... until he left the planter and was lost inside the house. She even supported my raising gerbils... to sell to the neighbor who had several boa constrictors and needed a source of food.
Even today, since Wife and I have started our family, you have made a point of coming up to visit just about every week to support and encourage our children (as well as give Wife and I a break) and offer occasional advice and suggestions or even an ear to listen when we get frustrated or overwhelmed. Both of the kids know the sound of your voice and RUN to you when you show up because they LOVE the relationship that they have with G'ma Pat.
I suppose in all of this rambling what I am trying to say is that not only do I love you, Mom. I appreciate all of the support and encouragement you have given me and continue to give me.
BTW, I completely enjoyed Betty White last night on SNL. Who knew an 88yo would be so funny talking about her muffin.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Simple Saturday

Here we are on Saturday morning... Not much going on. I woke up at 5am like someone flipped on a switch.
Rather than wake up anyone else, I went out to the garage to work on my motorcycle. When I started getting the bike ready for riding, I discovered that the mice had crawled into the air box and chewed through the air filter and nested in the intake tubes. So I ordered a new filter a few days ago and installed it this morning, after cleaning out an incredible amount of mouse crap. Then I hear the weather forecast while I am working and find that it is supposed to get UP to 50F today and down to 28 tonight. Happy mother's day! I don't think I will be taking the bike out for a spin today.
I am the president of a social club where the primary activity is to get together and try and find Templeton Rye Whiskey. It is made in Iowa and is usually hard to find. Yesterday an impromptu meeting was held in my office at 330. People just showed up, came in and sat down. We wondered if anyone had any Rye left. We started calling around and I think we found and bought the last 5 bottles in CR.
I got a text at 930 last night from one of the guys, "This stuff is so good, it is worth driving all around to find it". Happy for you Carl, I really am.
I am noticing that the kids personalities are starting to show up. Well, Kat's has been evident for a while. She is all GIRL! Ribbons, bows, pink and purple. She wants to look PRETTY! And she isn't afraid of a bit of DRAMA to try and get her way.
The boy on the other hand is a pretty simple guy. He is pretty direct when he wants attention, he comes up to right in front of you and stops with his arms out. He is also very determined. When his sister is doing something that looks interesting, he goes right up to her and tries to push his way in. We hear a lot of "NO! Go AWAY" from his sister. Neither one is really big on sharing, but they are both pretty good at TAKING.
I have been making a determined effort to leave work at work and spend my evenings playing with one or the other, in between things like laundry and supper. They really are growing so fast and changing every day. They do sometimes get on my last nerve, but then they smile and want a hug and it is hard to be annoyed. I guess I am teaching them how to push my buttons.
Well the boy is awake and wants breakfast, I hear him laughing and giggling from his crib. I better go get him before wife tells me to.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Snippits

Five or six years ago, I found that having a beer on a warm afternoon after working hard around the house and then immediately getting on a riding mower to spend the next two hours going in circles on a vibrating machine is not a good idea. Unless you like a very bloated gassy stomach sort of feeling.
Unfortunately, over the last few years my life has changed ALOT! So I forget little details like that one.
So yesterday, about 15 minutes into mowing the back yard (see turkey picture, that is a LITTLE bit of my back yard) I remembered how the drinking a beer then mowing is a not so good of an idea.

Yesterday I decided to change the oil in my truck. So while running around in town, I bought filters, oil (four gallons for that oil hog) and then after supper, I drove the truck to town and back to heat the oil and prepared to drain the oil.
Just then, the garage door opened.
"Your daughter would like you to SAVE her."
From who? From Mommy, it seemed.
Excuse me? It seems that to delay bedtime, she told Wife she was hungry. No surprise, since she ate two spoonfuls of applesauce and a cracker, ignoring her tater tot casserole that Wife experimented with for our supper.
Just then Kat, wearing nothing but a pull up, came running into the garage. Arms raised she scurried over to me. I picked her up in a hug. I asked if she was hungry. "yessss" she replied. "Lets get you some GOOD supper!"
So I took her inside and we sat down next to her chair. I put a slice of cheese over her tater tot casserole and tried to trick her into eating it. Once she saw what I was doing, she wanted off my lap in the worst way. She didn't eat much, just what little amount I could slather with cheese.
After changing the oil, I thanked Jill for the much needed chuckle. "Your daughter would like you to SAVE her" then the little sprite running towards me for protection from a funny looking supper.

Last weekend we packed up the kids and went to my MIL for Easter dinner. I knew, heading down there that she had some chores for me to do. Namely, cut up some trees that had come down. They were in part of the pasture that will be THICK in wild rose and if we don't get the trees out now, we won't get them until December.
So I put the saws, oil, and gas in the loader tractor and followed her instructions. "Three trees are down where the two electric fences meet at the top of that hill."
I went up and found two hickory trees and an oak. The oak had to have come down 10 years ago, but had landed on another log so I just dried hard, it didn't rot.
I spent the next two hours cutting logs up and stacking wood. Then I walked back to the house for dinner, having worked up an appetite. After dinner, I knew if I didn't head right back up, I would fall asleep. So out and back up I went. I had saved the biggest log for last. 40+ feet of hickory. I started small and worked my way back to the trunk. After about 15 feet the log pinched my chainsaw so I got to walk back to the house for another saw. I hate it when that happens.
Walked back, carrying the medium chainsaw and got back to work.
The trunk was probably 20" across and in really good shape. This tree had probably come down in the last 2-3 years and had at least a truckload of good wood.
I then had the joy of stacking all of the wood so that it would not be lost in the wild rose, rag weed and nettles. Then I loaded the loader bucket with the trunk and oak logs to take back to the house and chained the two saws, gas and oil to the bucket and went to leave.
It seems that I had enought weight on the front of the tractor that I had no traction on the back of the tractor to back up the hill. I dug two ruts as wide as a tractor tire and about three feet long.
So I walked back to the house and asked MIL to get the cab tractor and come get me out... I would walk back up and unload the bucket of the hickory trunk and the oak, then we could chain the two together and she could pull me out.
By the time she got up there, I was ready for her. She hopped out of the cab of her tractor and looked around. "What are you doing over here?" Well she could plainly see that I had been cutting up trees, so I told her that I had been getting the tractor stuck. "Yes, but why here?"
This wasn't really funny and I was pretty tired. Didn't she want me to cut up three trees where the electric fences met in the upper pasture? Isn't that where we are right now with a stuck tractor? What is her point she is trying to make?
"Oh," She said, "I meant where this electric fence meets the other electric fence. Over there about 100 yards. You cut up the wrong trees in the wrong place. I did not even know these trees were back here."
"You will need to come back next week end and get those trees over there."

So it seems I had a very nice, tiring, afternoon in the woods, communing with nature, cutting up the wrong trees.
I am going back up this morning to do the job over. Hopefully, without getting the tractor stuck.

The BOY is a dancer. He loves the rhythm and beat of the music from the 80s and will stand up and dance. He likes Paula Abdul, Ace of Bass, Robert Palmer, (loves) Weird Al, Michael Jackson, RHCP, B52s, Devo, and John Denver.
(Disclaimer, this is Wife's Play list from her iPod, don't look funny at me.)
I have noticed tho, he has the same dance no matter the beat or the song.
The Boy is also an aspiring musician. We have a toy electric keyboard that is his FAVORITE toy. He plays on that thing every single evening and all weekend long. It is a hand me down, but Kat is not getting it back.

On that note. (get it? early Sunday humor) Wife intends to enroll the kids in Musical appreciation this summer. 45 minutes each Saturday for an hour the two will go and be exposed to different instruments, dance, and in general learn to appreciate music. Kat will be 3 years old and Kyle will be 18mos.
I am looking for feedback from you, my half dozen readers. Is this a little young to be enrolling them in music class? We expect Kat to get the most from it, but they have a half off sibling offer, so they will both be there.
Let me know what you think. Would I be better off just letting them listen to their mother's iPod? Or better yet, taking them to Loren's for piano lessons?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You're a turkey, I'm a turkey!

I stayed home today to work on a couple of projects around the house today. I worked outside most all day. One of the times I headed into the house, I happened to look out over the back yard and, for the second day in a row, saw a flock of wild turkeys.

Because I scared them by stalking them like papparazzi, I got treated to a sight of 10-15 pound birds trying to launch themselves into the air.

These guys could have used some sort of JATO pack.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Long time, no see...

Since drivers ed a month ago, I have been working extra extra hard on work/life balance.
A lot of that balance involves leaving work at a reasonable time to either pick up the kids or get home to play with the kids.
The girl is at just about the funnest age that I can imagine. She is up for any adventure, any challenge, any meltdown that she can find. I had read in a blog about a concept called horizontal parenting and found it to be interesting. So I will go in to Kat's room, lay down and play games with both kids... Roll the ball, hide the toys, let them cover me with blankets and read to them.
I hope they remember the fun we have together when I ground them in high school.

Wife cooked up a diabolical plan, I helped execute it. We are awful parents, trying to cope with Pink Blanky. Kat has her favorite blanky. There are times that she absolutely won't let that thing out of her sight. I swear, her arm could fall off and as long as she had Pink, she would be comforted. Anyway, Pink was gross. So Jill had me look online to Amana Woolen Mills to see if they still made this particular model of child blanket. They DID! So one Sunday, we made a road trip with our new Garmin to the Amanas and bought a decoy blanket. And we are VERY careful to not let both of them out of the cupboard at the same time. Now we can have one washed and clean for when we need to wash the other.

A couple of pictures here of what I call a playstation. I went to my brother's house and helped finish taking it apart. A buddy came over with his car hauler and we loaded it up and brought it home. It isn't where it is supposed to be, yet. It has a footprint of about 15' x 28' when it is all assembled. But I do have the climbing wall and the slide screwed together. I wasn't going to put up the climbing wall b/c I didn't think it was safe for a 33mo old. However, after I picked her up and put her on a platform 4.5' off the ground, I decided we needed to burn off her energy more than mine. Before I had it completely screwed in, she was climbing it and sliding down. She played on it for over an hour last night.

In addition to her playing on her PlayStation One, I took her to look for antler sheds along the fenced in pasture next door. It was fun for about 400 yards of fence. Then she was all, "HOME daddy, HOME!" So we took the diagonal across the field back to the house. After about 50' of rough pasture, she stopped and said, "UP!" So I carried her the rest of the way home. Pretty tiring and hard on the back to have 30+ pounds carried right in front of me. When we got back to the house, I put her down and she immediately wanted to race. So she took off running down the driveway, down the lane a ways. Until she found some PURPLE flowers. She examined them for a while, then wanted me to race her home.

All in all, last night was a great night for playing outside with the little girl.

Monday, February 8, 2010

slow motion

What do you think of when everything around you suddenly slows down? When you are acutely aware of every tenth of a second as it passes?

I woke up Saturday morning to Kat's music in her room. When I looked in on her, she was dancing. Spinning in circles with her arms and hands outstretched, a huge smile on her face with her hair thrown around. "UP, Daddy! UP!" So I picked her up and danced to Itsy bitsy spider. Her face in mine, watching her smile and hearing her giggle. We spun around together like grinning fools, enjoying the moment. Nothing else really mattered.

AS the truck tire fell off the pavement, the DOT hadn't plowed and the front end swung around, I wasn't driving fast. Maybe 55 MPH. The roads were a mess, snow covered and no way to tell where the shoulder hid, waiting to pull you down to a catastrophe.

The boy has been sick. He had my cold and now has my cough. He has a rash and other problems that make him miserable. Last night Jill and I held him and tried to comfort him. He would have none of it. He stood and screamed at the injustice of it all; why did HE have to hurt? Did he really want these teeth? We held him and tried to comfort him and share his frustration.

The truck is sliding sideways, free of friction from the road and the tires held to nothing, just sliding over snow and ice. The headlights pointed into the median and the road starting to curve into my travel. Counter steer, just like I was taught in drivers ed, over 25 years ago. Pray, just like I was taught at home nearly 40 years ago.

Kat, wound up and cranky. Cabin fever making her temper boil. I found her at the door, in her jacket, hat and mittens. Crying to DO SOMETHING. Outside? Sled, she tells me. So I dressed quickly, put on her boots and carried her out and got the sled. I tell her to hold on and enjoy! She is going down the hill, faster and farther. Looking back for the security of daddy watching over her. Laughter and dancing, jumping up and down. Again! Again. Four trips in all, up the hill, position in the sled and point down the hill. GO! down the hill, faster than before, I hear her calling, Daddy!

There is a van stuck in the median. The truck has swung nearly 180* and I see the van coming up on my left. Or is it? The van is still, I am shooting towards it when the back of the truck hits the thick, wet, sticky snow of the median and the front end snaps around like a whip. The van seems to pass me by, when I should know I am the passer by. Nose into the deeper snow, slowing down as though I just drove into a lake. Snow splashing up all around, I see the snow pass over the hood and past my windows. How deep will I go?

Sunday morning, Jill took Kyle to the dr, leaving Kat home with me. Kat is mommy's little girl and spends a half hour crying for MOMMY! and looking all over the house trying to find her mommy. I distract her finally with the music from the day before and once again we are dancing, cheek to cheek. In a rare moment of perspective, I marvel and appreciate the moment. She doesn't want me to hold her often and we don't dance together. "This is precious and I don't want it to stop." I am in the moment and I know what priceless really means.

The truck is nearly in the other lane. Headlights flash in front of me, staring into my eyes. This makes it hard to see and I have my eyes open to meet my fate. What will happen when I finally come to rest? I am now heading back towards the middle of the median, snow showering all around me. Will my planner hit me in the head? Will my flashlight shake free and fracture my teeth? Will I be a burden to my family, paralyzed or blind? Is this all karma; am I wearing clean underwear?

A rough night last night. Wife and I got back to sleep around 530. We snuggled up close and dozed off. We had each gone to the children to help them get through the night and back to sleep. One woke the other and they both resented the interruption of sleep. We all did. Jill and I hit snooze and we wound ourselves closer to one another. I murmured in her ear; we used to do this every morning, BK. We cuddled and snuggled and stored up love and affection like squirrels storing nuts, corporate life is like a stark freezing Iowa winter. Store up your love and affection because outside of this house you don't have many friends or allies to help nourish your spirit. Some days that nourishment of your spirit runs out before you get to the safe haven of home.

I realize the truck has some response in the wheel. Maybe I can, I think. I am at the bottom of the hill, I have been plowing snow for a quarter mile. Give it some gas and steer. The worst that can happen is unthinkable; the best that can happen is still possible. The truck responds to the foot feed and slogs its way in the deep snow. Thirty more yards, twenty then five and OUT! We are on the road! Careful, don't go to the other ditch and look for cars coming down that hill! Keep driving a little faster, up to 45 and pointed in the right direction. Lets get home carefully, safely; ten miles to go and the road isn't any cleaner.

I park the truck at home and feel kind of weak. shut the garage door and go inside. It is too much to hope the kids are up; it is 8:15. DADDY'S HOME. A bundle of long brown curly hair runs out of her bedroom and throws herself around my knees. UP, UP, UP she commands. I pick up my daughter and a tear slides down my cheek. Jill comes into the kitchen carrying Kyle and we have a group hug. A hug has never been more precious or needed than right at that moment. I would freeze that moment in time if I could and never regret it.

I feel like it took thirty minutes to drive through that median and another hour to get home but that hug lasted for barely an instant.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

family observations

So how many wipes is it supposed to take to change a stinky diaper? I think my expectation in the beginning was two. Because, really, I use two when I have to wipe. Isn't it reasonable to expect the same of my kids?
Apparently, not.
But I got used to changing Kat. Four wipes and we were done.
The boy? Who knows?! With all of the extra equipment to wipe around, who knows how long we will be there.
I swear, he works at making poo difficult.

The kids were having a moment tonight. Both of them were screaming and waving and having fits.
I tried reasoning with them and they would have none of it.
After what seemed like HOURS but was more likely only one hour or so (maybe a full minute), I shut off my hearing aids and let them work it out for themselves.
Not bad, I should have tried that earlier.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

You say it's his BIRTHDAY!

The boy celebrated his birthday yesterday. It was a zoo with most of my in-laws over with their children and my mom. Our little house isn't really well equipt to deal with four little kids under 6 to run off their energy.

The star of the day had a blast with attention from everyone and CAKE!

I managed to keep very busy during the party with helping making lunch for everyone (pouring the ham juice down my front in the meantime) and constantly washing dishes and attending crying kids. Right after lunch I needed a time out so I went downstairs to the man-cave, took out my hearing aids and put on ear muffs to enjoys some peace. Jill brought me back up for cake.

Everyone had so much fun running around then having cake and ice cream. We had a back up cake and a pie so there were lots of choices for everyone. We didn't play any organized games as the older kids made up their own.

Kyle was pretty much passed from aunts to grammas all day long, he was the star of the party!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help out a friend

I haven't done this before, but there is always a first time....
A friend of mine is in the hospital after getting treatment for cancer. She isn't feeling well and when I was talking to her husband, he said that he would like it if she received a 'boatload' of well wishing cards or notes.
So, for the price of a 41cent stamp, let's send Barb a get well card.
Send it to;
Barb Figgins
Room 7091
200 Hawkins Dr.
Iowa City, IA 52242.

If you have a holiday card left over, use it up by writing a nice note of encouragement and send it to a great lady who isn't feeling well.