Monday, September 28, 2009



There are not enough capital letters and exclamation points on the planet to properly express my disgust right now. I was sitting at the kitchen table and Stella was on the floor next to me. Suddenly she leaped up, ran across the room, and doubled back as the little mouse ran between her legs. Then, she caught it and ran in the living room. I chased after her and got my hands on her collar just in time to see her tip back her head and gulp down the tail. ARGH!

How long has this been going on? Do we secretly have a mouse infestation whose severity we didn't understand because the dog has been eating the mice after we go to bed at night? What about out in the yard? Chipmunks? Squirrels? Cats? Just what has Stella been eating that I was blissfully unaware of?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


We went to the Hesston Steam Museum today. It should go without saying that the kids were in heaven.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We Won't Be Doing This Again Anytime Soon

We had our family pictures taken today. Although the morning got off to a much smoother start than last week, the kids were NOT in a good mood when we got there. Atticus was clingy and shy. Norah had no use whatsoever for sitting still. At the place we used, you view your pictures right after your sitting. All the other families around us were looking at hundreds of adorable photos. In our case, the company had picked out the twenty least terrible pictures. If you think the ones they have on the website are terrible, you would die laughing at the outtakes. I kind of wish we could buy those, because they would probably be starting to seem funny right about now.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Car Conversation about Being...Productive

This evening Paul was driving home with the kids and talking with them about their day. They like to tell us about playing trucks, or balls, or choo-choo and they love naming the other kids they played with at daycare. Today the discussion continued on like this:

Atticus: Mama work.
Paul: That's right. Mama was at work today. What does Mama do?
Atticus: Mama teach. Mama school.
Paul: That's right! Mama teaches at a school! What does Papa do at work?
Long pause as the children consider this.
Norah: Bapa go poo-poo at work. Bapa poo-poo!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Enjoying the Last Days of Summer

Despite my bitching and moaning on Saturday morning, we ended up having a lovely weekend.

We went to the zoo twice this weekend. On Saturday we went for a birthday party and then Sunday Atticus requested to go back. Once we got there he started asking for his friends and cake, so we're pretty sure he thought we would be returning for another party. At any rate, he got to ride the train again, so he was a very happy camper.

Paul and I got to go on a real date, including cocktails, dessert, and a movie. Thanks Mom for the babysitting! We went to see Julie and Julia and I loved it. Now I'm working my way through Julie Powell's original blog about the project and enjoying that too.

Atticus and Norah get so excited to see their grandparents and GiGi. There's a special place in their hearts for "Nommie's car". We awoke on Sunday morning to the sound of Atticus peering out his window and declaring that my mom's car was gone. None of us really understand why they're so fond of the seafoam-colored Altima, but they sure do love it and the people who arrive in it.

Here's Norah catching site of the Nommie's car:

We had a picnic. I wish it could always be early autumn!
Someday when I tell Norah that her skirts are too short, she can dig out this picture from the zoo and tell me it's my own fault. They've both been growing like weeds this summer!
Soon it will be cold and we'll always have to resort to picnicking indoors while pretending to be on the beach or at the lake:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Just Your Average Fun Saturday Activities

We had our first-ever family pictures scheduled today at a photography studio. The morning began at 6 AM with a very crabby son. He stayed up two hours later than usual last night, but still decided to get up extra early this morning.

I am not dealing well with toddler whining. I hate to admit that, because it feels like a personality flaw, but several hours straight of whining to be carried - NOT carried that way, carried the other way, NO! why are you carrying me? DOWN! DOWN! Why are you walking away Mama? I need to be CARRIED!!! - wear me down. All the way down.

In the midst of this, I need to do Norah's hair so that it's camera ready. She'd been walking around with an Al Sharpton hairdo for a couple of days and it wasn't something I wanted captured on film. Norah doesn't like having her hair done. Now she's whining because I'm doing her hair and Atticus is whining because I'm not doing his. Awesome.

It was Paul's morning to sleep in, and when he gets up he is greeted by a fair amount of screaming. Mostly from the kids. I'm getting nervous about getting out the door on time because I hate to be late. I still haven't had a shower. Norah refuses to take off the Ethiopian dress I was trying on her. Atticus has put on Norah's pink glitter shoes. This makes her quite angry and he's unhappy that I'm trying to take them off. I give up trying to get a shower and flatiron my hair instead while applying extra deodorant. Atticus whines to be picked up. Paul discovers a flaw in the sweater he was supposed to wear. The phone goes unanswered four times. The dog barks. There's more crying about needing to be carried.

At this point I go out to the backyard and sit in a lawnchair for five minutes so that I don't yell or do anything else I'll regret. I contemplate jumping in the car and driving away, but that would involve going back upstairs to change into real clothes instead of the boxer shorts and T-shirt that I'm still wearing. Instead, I go back in the house. I use my Nice Mommy Voice, kiss the kids, apologize to my husband, decide it doesn't matter if our clothes get ironed because surely a professional photographer can airbrush out any completely unsightly wrinkles. If we don't color coordinate we can just buy black and white prints.

Things begin to turn around. The kids are suddenly in a great mood. Paul and I exchange pleasantries in the car. It appears we may actually be able to demonstrate our normal happy family status for the camera rather than producing photos in which most of us appear to have been crying.

We arrive at the photography studio at 9:40 - only ten minutes after the 9:30 time we'd been aiming for. The thing is, it turns out that we're not actually late - we're nearly 168 hours early. Our appointment is for next Saturday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In Case This Is Their First Memory

Atticus and Norah are getting to the age where some of their memories will become permanent. I find this a rather intimidating concept because whenever something goes wrong I start to wonder if it will make an impression and become their first real memory.
So, just in case either of them remembers how mean their mom was when she took their yogurt away tonight...I offer photographic evidence and I'll restate my claim: Five dollar organic yogurt is not for facials or footrubs.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Forever and Ever and Ever

I was telling the kids their adoption story this morning. When I ended it in our usual way by telling them that now we'll be a family forever and ever and ever, Atticus exclaimed, "Ooh! Nice!"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Our Little Pitcher Has Big Ears

Atticus has received a couple of timeouts at his grandma's daycare recently for using bad language. I have to admit that at first we were a little doubtful. Maybe he was just saying "sit" or "shut" and it was being misinterpreted. In June, I was in the kitchen talking to my mom on the phone when I accidentally hung up on her and I let out a naughty phrase only to turn around and see Atticus at the baby gate watching me and repeating it. Ever since then, we've been even more careful about our language.

A few days after the daycare incident, however, we were all in the car when Atticus dropped the toy he was playing with in the backseat and very, very clearly exclaimed, "Oh Shit!" I won't doubt my mother-in-law's hearing again in the future.

This past Saturday, Atticus woke up at 5 a.m. I was just getting him settled down and back to sleep in our bed when Norah let out a cry and I may have been in a bad mood...and that is how I ended up having an early-morning conversation with my son about why it's really not okay to say, "Oh crap. Norah crying Mama. Crap!"

Honestly, I think he may have only heard me use that word once - nearly a week ago. Tonight though, when both kids were fussing in bed, I went in to re-tuck Atticus only to have him tell me once again, "Crap! Norah sad Mama. Norah crying. Oh crap!" I have to shoulder complete responsibility for his use of this word because it's not one Paul ever uses. (Although I would wager that they learned to "beep-beep" at oncoming traffic from my darling husband who utilizes the horn far more than I do when driving.)

His verbal language continues to develop in leaps and bounds. It's amazingly exciting to see and to watch him acquire new words and phrases almost every day. When he first came home, he was diagnosed with a slight language delay (how they determined that a 9 month-old who had just immigrated from Ethiopia had a language delay I was never sure...), so it's especially gratifying to see. Sometimes though, we're still caught off guard by how quickly he acquires things.

P.S. Poor Norah has second-child syndrome when it comes to recognition of her verbal accomplishments. Since she's fourteen weeks younger and tends to acquire new words a tiny bit after her brother starts using them, we have a tendancy not to notice for awhile that she's using them too. Thankfully, she has yet to mimic my poor choices.