Thursday, December 31, 2009
Nut Brown loves his family. He loves each of us individually, and he loves his family group. (This is one of the things that kept us from returning him after he was born- he was so obviously pleased, even as a newborn, to be part of this family.) He likes it best when we are all together and involved, and when we talk about doing anything he carefully checks to make sure everyone will be there. "Daddy come too? Mommy come too? Roko come too?" And he loves group hugs. When giving hugs to a single person, he often invites the other people in the room to come and hug too, proclaiming, "Goup hug! Goup hug!" He rejoices in sharing affection with everyone. Group hug! Hooray for family!
Rudolph comes in through the children's bedroom window and leaves a trail of nuts across the room and down the stairs to the Christmas tree. Making the trail this year (I hope my kids don't read this for several more years) I put a couple nuts on top of the dresser that's under the window and then made the trail across the floor. Rose Pink came up to me that afternoon and said, "Mom, I KNOW Rudolph came in my window." Oh? I said. How do you know? "Because," she said, "he left nuts on top of the dresser!" It was a sweet magical moment.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I didn't know about the frog, or that my Gia made it. I only knew the satin edge, and that I like to chew it. My sister says it's stinky, my father says it's rank. My mother would like to wash it, But I say to her, No thanks! ...to be continued
Some of my favorite moments from our Christmas: --the fact that Mr. Brown & I couldn't fall asleep because we were so excited about our kids' excitement the next morning --hearing Nut Brown wake up Rose Pink the next morning and say, "Socks! Downstairs!" --the fact that Nut Brown's first instinct on finding a trail of almonds left by Rudolph from their bedroom window down the stairs to the tree was to pick them up and put them in a basket --Rose Pink's squeal of delight upon opening Santa's gift of a mermaid barbie --Nut Brown conscientiously hanging the tag from his gift from the three kings on the front door as if it were a Christmas card --Mr. Brown's enormous smile when he realized that he had received a great big monitor for his xbox for Christmas --Nut Brown flourishing the cape that Grandma sent and exclaiming, "I'm Batman!" --my sister-in-law's thoughtful gift of a corn butterer --the tremendous amount of love that I felt from everyone who prepared gifts for our family, and the amazing love I felt for all of you who sent evidence of affection Happy Christmas!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
A new phrase has risen to prominence in Nut Brown's vocabulary: "do it myself!" Last night we were crossing a reasonably busy street after sundown and I grabbed his hand to cross. He resisted and struggled, shouting, "Do it myself! Do it myself!" I said very firmly, "I'm sorry, Nut Brown, but it's dark and there are cars and I want to make sure that you're safe so you must hold my hand to cross the street." He paused and then said quietly, "Do it myself, please?"
Last night after work I stopped at a store on my way home to buy Christmas crackers. It was gray and cloudy and dark and slushy outside, just a generally yucky December day. On my way home I was watching the gray and cloud outside and thought, I am going home to a warm, light house filled with people who love me. The thought was so uplifting that it held me up the rest of the night, and I was so happy to be home and happy to be with my sweet family and so happy to have my life just the way it is. Feeling so completely happy has been a bit rare lately, and it was wonderful.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Last Tuesday night we had a caroling party. We decided that we would "carol for cans" and ask the people that we visited to donate a can for the food bank. It turned out to be the coldest night of the winter so far- temps in the single digits Fahrenheit- but a few brave souls turned up and we sang to houses in the neighborhood across from our townhouse. The guests also brought cans, and we collected about fifty cans altogether for the food bank. I have photos of our stacks of cans, and the sign we carried so people would know we were collecting cans, but I haven't gotten around to uploading them, so you'll have to do without. The kids LOVED it. We sang hymns and popular songs, and they sang along with us. Rose Pink took turns with her friend Layton holding the sign at people's doors, and one couple invited us in and gave us cookies. We had such a good time altogether that I think we'll try to make it an annual tradition!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The other day when we couldn't stand being inside any longer we went out sledding in what is left of our snow. The snow was patch and full of ice, but we did our best and had a lot of fun. After 30 minutes or so and crashing into 1 tree Nut Brown turned to me and said. "Daddy I'm cold, I'm freezing, Go in, have tea, have lunch." I don't think I will ever tire of hearing my little boy talk to me. I am so glad that his speech delay cleared up. I don't know if it was the speech therapist or just time passing, but I am just so grateful for these moments when I get to see what he thinks about.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Rose Pink decided to potty train her brother. Yesterday she invited him to put on a pull-up and told him it was big-boy underwear, and this morning it was the same thing. So when I called this morning, Nut Brown told me that he was going to earn lots of jelly beans today by going pee pee in the toilet. At lunch, he'd been completely successful, and Mr. Brown told me that Rose Pink also earns jelly beans by reminding Nut Brown to go sit on the toilet. Of course Mr. Brown is doing his share of asking, "Do you need to go to the bathroom?" and if he doesn't need to go, Nut Brown responds, "I went last night." We'll see how well this works! He's off to an auspicious start.
Nut Brown's best new trick: jumping off the stairs from the fourth stair up. Rose Pink's best new trick: reading a verse from the scriptures with us every evening. Mr. Brown has been working on sight words with her so she reads straight through all the short words, recognizes words like Nephites and Lord, and does her best to sound out long words like "contention" and "remainder". It is hard work for her (her concentration wavers sometimes) but often when she finishes one verse she asks to read another one.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I just discovered that I haven't shared a favorite memory Nut Brown made with me back in October. Remember those hundred daffodil bulbs I bought? I was trying hard to get them all in the ground somewhere, and decided one sunny Saturday afternoon (on Halloween, actually) to plant the last forty around the trees in the green area behind the garages. When I put on my jacket and shoes, Nut Brown said, "Come too? Come too?" and so he and I went out together with trowels and gloves and bulbs. He wanted to push the plastic shopping cart out to Mr. Stump, so I helped him. We put the bulbs in the cart, and he helped me by handing me a bulb after I dug each hole. He played around me while I dug and then hurried over to get me a bulb when I asked for one. Eventually he found a green shoot growing out of the base of one of the trees. First he treated it like a microphone and then he realized he could bend it over and ride it like a horse. He and I had a lovely time together planting bulbs. He is such a wonderful little boy.
Nut Brown, our little cuddler, likes to come climb in bed with us in the morning and snuggle. For a little while. Then he starts saying things like, "Wake up, Mommy!" and "Breakfast?" and "Go downstairs." This morning he crawled in between us and lay there chewing on his boppy. He started whispering to himself, and he said, "MY mommy. MY daddy. MY sister. MY boppy." I said, "Is this YOUR family?" and he said, "MY family." I love him so much!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Nut Brown has these fire truck pajamas that he loves. And I love how much he loves them. Our Christmas cookie plates. Mr. Brown worked really hard this year and made fruit bread, saltine toffee, jumjills, and snowballs, and I made the chocolates. Everything was fabulous, except the chocolates, which were mediocre. I'll try again next year. He made up twenty plates and we carried them around to neighbors and friends, and sang to them. We still have a bunch left over, which we're going to use for refreshments at the caroling party we're having on Tuesday.The other night getting ready for dinner, Mr. Brown assigned Rose Pink and Nut Brown a sorting activity. Rose Pink got beads to sort however she chose into smaller dishes. She immediately began telling a story with them instead of really sorting them. Nut Brown got buttons and he sorted them by color into the dishes. I didn't think he had the attention span for it, but he worked steadily at it for fifteen minutes or more, by himself. And then he'd sorted them correctly, too. I watched him dither over one shaped like a pink heart with a yellow back, and move it back and forth from the pink bucket to the yellow bucket. One of the things that I am really enjoying about homeschooling is that Mr. Brown often chooses to engage the kids with things like this - interesting and fun but secretly developing skills - rather than brushing them off or telling them to just 'go play'. (Although we certainly do a lot of 'just playing', too.) It is so fun to watch them work at something and practice and learn.
Household news: the purple couch is gone. We found a toddler bed at the thrift store, so we brought the futon Nut Brown had been sleeping on down to the living room, and Mr. Brown completely deconstructed the couch and put it in the dumpster. The afternoon after the change, Nut Brown and I were walking outside and he found a scrap of the upholstery fabric on the driveway. He picked it up and said, "Couch," thoughtfully, and then asked for help putting it in the dumpster.
Someone suggested to us the existence of heated mattress pads. We invested in one and I LOVE IT. The bed is never cold now when I get in, and it stays warm all night. It's like sleeping on a giant heating pad. It is wonderful. Decadent, yes, but wonderful!
Monday, December 7, 2009
It all began in the bathroom, when Nut Brown discovered Flatulence. I had always assumed that it was 7-9 year old boys who free fall into bouts of hysterical laughter at the first measures of the gastrointestinal polyphony. But I now sit corrected. Last week my wonderful two year old began bursting into laughter at the faintest breeze, and today he ran around for hours making raspberry noises with his mouth followed by, "Oh Pass gas, Haxuse me!" *Uncontrolled Laughter* Both he and his sister thought this joke was clearly the best joke on the planet and told it back and forth to each other literally hundreds of times. Being his father I can't help but say, "Wow, look at how advanced my boy is!!" I expect his mother has other opinions about our little prodigy.
At Thanksgiving, our St. Louis cousins were up visiting, and Rose Pink was very impressed with her 13-year-old boy cousin, who is as tall as his father, and taller than his mother, and talks in a deepening voice. (Picking an alias for him- let's call this cousin Cedric.) While they were visiting, she kept saying, "Cedric is an adult. He's an adult." Rose Pink is getting a cold that is making her hoarse. She was up three or four times last night getting drinks of water because her throat hurt. It's made her voice raspy and deeper, and this evening she went around saying, "Hi. I'm Cedric. I'm an adult."
We took cookies around to some neighbors and sang to them, and when we came home we all had a cookie to enjoy. Rose Pink: Can we have toffee too, Mom? Mom (deciding that one is enough): You already have a chocolate to eat. Rose Pink: Oh, I see, we're having them one at a time. She got a second piece of candy.
Friday, December 4, 2009
When I was putting the lights on the Christmas tree last Saturday, I made myself dizzy just by walking around it to get them on.
I went on a quick trip to Detroit with my supervisor this week. We left Tuesday morning and returned Wednesday afternoon. The meeting we traveled for was a dud, but getting to meet face to face all the people that I work with daily was really great. They were all so friendly, and really seemed eager to meet me and eager for me to move up to Detroit. Honestly, it made me think about moving there a little more seriously, because really nice coworkers can make a bad job bearable. (As I know from current experience!)
The day after I got back we had a dance party in the living room and as we all frolicked in the living room, I thought about how much I love my family. I've turned a corner. While I have never disliked any member of my family individually, I have often been frustrated with the family collective, with the restrictions and responsibilities that have fallen on me because of my children. But the past several weeks I have found that the frustration has dissipated. I love my family individually, and I love the family group, too. I am so glad and grateful that they are all in my life right now, together, at this time. And I'm really grateful to feel that way, too.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Also, this weekend, Nut Brown learned how to use "what" and "who". He has a much more effective way of gaining information now, which has exponentially increased the number of questions asked. We got out the Christmas decorations, including our plastic Nativity set. Rose Pink has been asking about it for weeks now, and she played with it for three and a half hours straight that afternoon. We invited her to other activities, but she declined in favor of the nativity set. For all those people to whom I suggested "figurines of any sort" as a gift idea for her - here is the proof what a great gift that would be!
Our thanksgiving highlights include the easiest Thanksgiving dinner we've ever prepared, and listening to Nut Brown play with blocks in the living room as we made mashed potatoes. He was singing to himself, "Ice ice baby! Ice ice baby!" I don't think Mr. Brown's brothers will ever let us live that down. I am thankful today for my lack of experience with the terrible twos. Neither of my kids has come anywhere close that temperamental stage, and I am grateful for such sweet, obedient children.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tomorrow Mr. Brown and I are going to coordinate Thanksgiving dinner at his brother's house in Iowa City. One of the things that I am grateful for is the fact that his brother and sister-in-law are our friends. Really, I am so lucky to have married into this family, and I'm glad for their friendship and glad to know them so well. Rose Pink insists that her cousins are mean to her, but really, they spoil her in a lot of ways. I am also grateful for the opportunity for her to really know well at least part of her extended family. Last time we were out there, their oldest daughter coordinated this nonsense. They even trucked leaves from the front yard around to the back for this activity. They're burying one of the boys, and then they all run off and hide and shout, "Mummy mummy arise for the dead!" and he climbs out of the leaves and chases them. Nut Brown came out once after the burial but before the resurrection and was he startled to see his cousin climb out of the leaf pile!
While visiting Gia earlier this month, we spent a morning at the Oklahoma City Zoo. We brought it up at breakfast and Nut Brown made a beeline for his shoes, repeating, "animals. animals." The zoo residents were surprisingly active that day as well, and we got to see all kinds of animals up and moving around and interacting with each other. Mr. Brown's favorite part was the night barn, which they kept dark so that visitors could see nocturnal animals, like bats, skunks, owls and flying squirrels, active. Instead of going to see exotic animals, we ended up in the local Oklahoma section of the zoo, and that was just as interesting. We saw things like raccoons and possums and badgers, as well as bears and buffalo and mountain lions. It was so much fun!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Nut Brown has learned the magic of Mom's kisses. When he has a minor injury he comes running to me, crying this sad little cry and holding the injury up for me to kiss. When I kiss it, it is like magic- the crying stops and he runs off to play again. (Note: this medicine is less effective for real injuries.) Rose Pink outgrew having her various bumps kissed a year or more ago, and I had forgotten how rewarding it is to be able to instantly heal an ouchy.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Rose Pink this year for Halloween said that she wanted to be a house. So I made this really awesome fun haunted house costume. The roof ties under your chin (Mr. Brown made it) and the dark outlines and vines are pipe cleaners. The windows are construction paper and with foil ghosties, and there are windows on the back as well. Here's what she would have looked like if she'd worn it: Here we are on October 31st:
Nut Brown is a ghost, so he can haunt her house. But she decided to be a witch instead. If the costume she's wearing in this picture looks familiar, it's because it's the same dress and hat she has worn the last two years. Oh yes, this is her third year of being a witch. And Nut Brown is a ghost made out of a bedsheet with holes cut in it.
Having gone to the trouble of making really good house costume, I wore it to take the kids trick-or-treating.
And since everyone else had tried it on, Nut Brown wanted a turn too.
Rose Pink ended up going around with her friend Macayla's parents (Macayla is the little girl with the red and black dress on) and I took Nut Brown to some houses. He was too slow from the girls. He got cold really quickly, but even though he was shivering and shaking, every time I suggested we go home, he insisted that he wanted to knock on one more door. It was really fun! They were both so satisfied and pleased with themselves.
Thanks to Mr. Brown for uploading the pictures for me!
Driving back from Oklahoma, the sun went down around 6 pm, when we were somewhere in Kansas, planning on stopping in another half hour or so to find a hotel. It felt like the middle of the night- it was really, really dark outside, because I-35 in Kansas is pretty unpopulated. Mr. Brown agreed to stop on an unlit exit ramp so we could get out and look at the stars. It was beautiful- you could see so many, and you could even see the Milky Way stretching across the sky. When Rose Pink got out of the car, she said that she wanted to be an astronaut so that she could bring me back a star. We showed Rose Pink and Nut Brown the fuzzy white band of our galaxy, and explained about stars being bigger than the earth but so far away that they looked really small. It was so awesome to see how beautiful the sky was away from city lights. Nut Brown started to wander away and I grabbed him. He struggled to get away and then stopped and started to asking something- "------ go?" After he repeated himself several times, we realized he was asking, "Where hotel go?" We'd been talking about how the next stop would be the hotel, and he was stumped by the dark space around us when we got out of the car.
Since we got home, Mr. Brown has been taking Nut Brown's boppy away from him after he wakes up, and only returning it for naptime and bedtime. It's helped Nut Brown be a lot more active- before he would just lay around and chew on it instead of playing. The first day Mr. Brown decided to sneak it away from him and tell him that it had gone somewhere interesting. When Nut Brown asked for it, Mr. Brown said, "It's gone on a trip! Where did it go?" He and Nut Brown discussed various places it might have gone- "Did it go to the zoo? Did it go to the library?" Nut Brown negatived each of them and finally suggested, "Milk Way!" Apparently the boppy had departed for a day among the stars.
Last night, getting ready for bed, he asked, "Milk Way? Milk Way?" to find out if his boppy had come back yet. I had him run up and look on his bed (sometimes it reappears there at bedtime), and Mr. Brown snagged it and had it "knock" on the front door while Nut Brown was upstairs. Nut Brown of course immediately came to the head of the stairs when he heard the knocking, and heard Mr. Brown say, "Oh, welcome back, boppy! Just in time!" Nut Brown ecstatically received his boppy and went back upstairs chanting, "Just time. Just time." I love the games we play.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
We stopped at Adam Ondi Ahman on our way back. It was beautiful. And very peaceful.
At Going Bonkers in Dallas- best indoor playplace EVER. Books to draw in while driving. Indispensible. Fascination with long hair. The kids playing at a park in Norman that Mr. Brown and I helped build when we were in college here a long time ago. The kids, in Gia's driveway, writing in their journals. Are they not adorable?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Nut Brown loves the Skippyjon Jones books we read at Gia's house. This morning, referencing one of them, he was running back and forth across the living room shouting, "Pickle pants! Pickle pants!" Mr. Brown asked him, "Who's pickle pants? You?" and Nut Brown replied, "No....Daddy!"This morning Mr. Brown called me at work. Me: How many kids are up? Mr. Brown: How many kids are downstairs with me? One. How many kids are upstairs singing to themselves? One. Nut Brown (in the background): Three!!
I unexpectedly was approved for ten days off work at the beginning of November, so we have been out of town enjoying sunshine and warm weather with Gia in Oklahoma. I'd requested the second through the 11th off, and my leave request was approved on October 29, so it was all very last minute. We debated leaving on the 31st, but decided instead to stay home and celebrate Halloween. Mr. Brown started packing Sunday morning before church. We packed til 8:30, then rushed through breakfast and into Sunday clothes and dashed to church, arriving only two minutes late to discover an empty parking lot... daylight savings time. So we went HOME! TO PACK SOME MORE! We finished loading the car and came back exactly an hour later (yes- late again!) but then left from church and spent the afternoon in Iowa City and drove on to Des Moines where we spent the night. We were certainly eager for this vacation.
I bought a camera the day before trick-or-treating because our kids' costumes were too cute NOT to photograph. We went to Wal-Mart and purchased the hundred-dollar Kodak model, because I HAD TO HAVE PICTURES. I actually like it quite a bit. It's not perfect, but for a hundred bucks, I definitely got my money's worth. Of course, the pictures are still on the camera, waiting politely at home to be downloaded, and the computer is now on the fritz. Sigh. But I do have pictures that I will post eventually. Maybe by Christmas.
The kids had such fun trick-or-treating. Rose Pink went out with her friend Macayla and another little girl named Ruby, and Nut Brown and I hit a few houses together. He was pretty psyched about the whole thing, and even when he was shaking from the cold bravely maintained that he wanted to keep knocking. We also attended the ward trunk-or-treat and that was EXTREMELY CHILLY, thanks to a freezing wind. It went really well, though, and it was really fun to hand out candy to such sweetly-costumed children.
Rose Pink had a Halloween party this year on the Wednesday before Halloween- a cakewalk, Halloween stories, bobbing for apples, and a pinata. It was a success. Anything involving a pinata is a success, right? We broke the pinata stick and had to borrow a bat from a neighbor, but everyone had fun and got to wear their costumes one extra time.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Hooray! Mr. Brown & I have tickets to go see A Prairie Home Companion in Des Moines the first Saturday in November. I am so excited!! Thank you to the Iowa City Browns for agreeing to watch the small ones for us while he and I drive out to Des Moines.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
On cold days, Mr. Brown makes up a travel mug of fruit tea for me to take with me to work. I forgot it on the table the other morning. Nut Brown & Rose Pink both love tea, and they know what the travel mug is for. That morning Mr. Brown was finishing up his video game level after Nut Brown got up, so Nut Brown went up to the kitchen by himself to scavenge for breakfast. Mr. Brown heard a little voice shouting, "Daddy? Daddy?" He came upstairs and discovered that Nut Brown had dropped the travel mug full of hot tea on the chair he was standing on, and was now standing on his tiptoes at the back to avoid the puddle of hot liquid on the chair! We were very pleased that he could use words to get the help he needed instead of just crying or screaming.
Yesterday, Nut Brown was left alone in the basement momentarily, and he started to shout, "Clean up! Clean up!" When Mr. Brown went down to see what needed to be cleaned up, he found that Nut Brown had gotten into one of his containers of D&D miniatures and dumped the whole thing out. He was asking for help to clean up.
Nut Brown has also learned to count off the members of his family. He says, "Mommy, Daddy, Rose Pink, Nut Brown!" in a cute little voice. So fun!! He has finally learned an understandable pronunciation of his sister's name. (He uses the last two syllables.) For a long time we knew he had something he called her but we couldn't tell what it was.
This morning Nut Brown demanded milk for breakfast.
Nut Brown: Milk!
Mr. Brown: Milk, please.
Nut Brown: Milk, please!
Mr. Brown: You bet! (pours milk)
Nut Brown: Milk please you bet! You bet!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Rose Pink has a variety of superhero identities, some of the standard issue such as Batgirl and Kim Possible, and some of the imaginative sort, such as Captain Nauvoo. The other day she came downstairs and announced, I'm HANDICAPPED GIRL! A superhero! Seeking to teach sensitivity to others, we asked, "What does handicapped mean?" She said, "It means that I have superpowers!" Okay, good enough. Mr. Brown says that Handicapped Girl seems to be linked to wearing especially awesome clothes, like her pink pants with giant purple roses on them.
When Nut Brown wants to come in from outside, he stands outside the door and yells, KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! at the top of his lungs instead of knocking. This was funniest to me over the summer when he was on the back porch at Grandma's house and started hollering, rather than bang on the door. We didn't even realize that he was outside, when a loud little boy voice suddenly shouts, "KNOCK! KNOCK!"
Nut Brown tells a knock-knock joke now. Nut Brown: Knock knock! Mom: Who's there? Nut Brown: BA-nana! Mom: Banana who? Nut Brown: Knock knock! Mom: Who's there? Nut Brown: BA-nana! Mom: Banana who? Nut Brown: Knock knock! Mom: Who's there? Nut Brown: Oinge!
I was going through some photos from when Nut Brown was a newborn yesterday- he sure looked funny, and not at all like the cute cherub he's grown into- and I was remembering how we got a visit from a social worker a couple days after we came home from the hospital. I was all groggy from hormones and lack of sleep and a nicely dressed young lady came into our living room and asked us why our new baby's stool had tested positive for marijuana! We were highly alarmed, mostly because it seemed to us that she didn't believe our assertions that we don't use marijuana, we never have, and we're never around people who do. She kept saying things like, you can tell me if you have in the past, and when we kept saying that we had nothing to confess, she intimated that it would have been better if we had. So I'm all freaking out about the state taking my baby away based on his poop testing positive for a chemical we don't keep in the house, and fortunately Mr. Brown leaned over and looked at her papers, and then asked, "Doesn't that say that you're looking for an African-American female baby?" She says, Yes. Not to be racist, but Mr. Brown & I & Nut Brown don't really look African-American. And I know the fact that we'd dressed the baby in blue is not a final determination of gender, but it might have merited further investigation. She, however, did not seem to think that this was worth looking into at all, and after pressuring us further for another few minutes, she took her leave, promising or threatening to talk to her supervisor about our case. Mr. Brown immediately got on the phone to the hospital to ask for more information about the stool tests, how they're done, what sort of accuracy rate they have, and so on, and he told the hospital that we'd been visited by a social worker. The hospital did some checking and it turns out that there were two babies born that afternoon- both to mothers named Brown. And the other baby was an African-American female. The hospital apologized profusely. The social worker's supervisor apologized profusely. I'm glad that Mr. Brown was clear-headed enough to get things sorted out. I was dithering in a hormonal nightmare of having my baby taken away, but he got everyone straightened out and nothing actually happened. Hooray for him! Hooray for the tender mercies that let everything work out so well.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Mr. Brown has developed the charming habit of falling ill on Thursdays so that I have to stay home from work on Fridays. Two weeks in a row-- I'm crossing my fingers that he'll be sick again this Friday. He and I have been busy planting bulbs to get ready for next spring. I went a little crazy buying them, so he planted sixty crocuses, and I have planted six hyacinth, six pink irises, five narcissi, twenty snowdrops and about sixty daffodils. I started with a hundred daffodils so I still have forty to go but I've run out of places to put them. I'm thinking maybe I'll take them back and put them around the roots of the trees back by Mr. Stump but I haven't been brave enough yet. It's supposed to be in the sixties for the next couple days (a bit of a warmup after the frosts we've had) so hopefully I can get them planted SOMEWHERE. Mr. Brown and I went out during naptime to plant, and Rose Pink was playing by herself with her barbies. We said, We'll be down in the garden if you need us, and she said, Okay. The garden is within shouting distance. I went back once to check on her. She was in the middle of some drama with the barbies and when I interrupted her to ask if things were okay, she gave me a completely disoriented look- who are you? Why are you talking to me? I love the way she talks to herself while she's telling stories. She still talks to herself in the morning when she wakes up, too. Reading with my children is a surprisingly verbal activity right now. Nut Brown wants to repeat every word you say, so it's impossible to read to him while he's eating dinner, because he stops eating in order to talk. (Why was I reading while eating dinner? Because I was trying to entice him to stay at the table and eat. He stayed, all right, but he didn't eat because he wanted to talk.) Rose Pink is learning to read, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this, but learning new words and practicing new sounds together involves lots of verbal repetition. She reads through a sentence, we go over and sound out the words she doesn't know, and then she reads it over several times and repeats the tricky words over and over out loud. We don't prompt her to do this, she just does, and I have to remind myself that repetition is the mother of learning and not interrupt her while she's cementing things in. She is really getting the hang of sounding things out- I've caught her doing it without prompting a couple of times. And now I get frustrated with English- she reads "One cow" and pronounces it "oh-nee cow" or tries for "people" and gets "pe-uh-plea". Oh well, it's all part of learning, I suppose. I can't change the language, so I'll just have to correct her apologetically. Some neighbors that I grew up with sent us some questions cards for 2-3 yr olds that we have been reading with Nut Brown. They're full of questions and pictures and are meant to be conversations starters for you to use with your two-year-old. Nut Brown loves to sit and go through them with us- we ask him questions, look at colors, count the puppies, talk about fish and shopping and so on. It is a really, really great tool that helps us discuss a variety of topics with him. Last night he and I were going through a few of them, and we came to a card about the zoo. I asked him if he liked the zoo and he looked up at me and said, "Yes!" and then he said, "Monkeys!" Do you see monkeys at the zoo? I ask. "Yes!" says Nut Brown. "Lions!" and it went on like this, with him naming things that he remembered seeing at the zoo- train, elephants, giraffes...it was really amazing because it really felt like I was having an actual conversation with him, discussing what he'd seen at the zoo- a place that he remembered being. So wonderful! It was just totally amazing to feel so engaged with him, talking about something abstract like what we did two weeks ago. He calls elephants "bumps" and generally refers to a horse as a 'nay' and a cat as a 'mow' (rhymes with cow). At supper last night when I was through reading to Nut Brown, Rose Pink decided that she was going to read to him. We had been looking at Richard Scarry's Word Book (thank you, Grandpa!!) and she kept turning pages and naming items, and he sat beside her and repeated them. She would say, Nut Brown! Feather! and he'd repeat, feather, and she'd move on to the next word. It was so sweet to watch them together- the good part of a bossy older sister, mothering her little brother. They both had a great time.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Nut Brown has learned to say "Halloween!" (how-ween!) He is going to be a ghost and Rose Pink is going to be a haunted house. Mr. Brown has made the rough framework of her costume out of a box, and she and I are going to decorate it to look like a house with markers, colored paper, foil, and pipe cleaners. Nut Brown has been having a ball pretending to be a ghost. He asks for available loose fabric to be draped over his head and wanders around saying "oooooo!" He is most gratified when we shriek and run. I went to visit a new baby the other night with Nut Brown, and the family asked how old he was. Trying to show off like any other proud parent, I said to Nut Brown, "How old are you?" Nut Brown held up crossed fingers and announced, "THREE!" Rose Pink loves to make up stories and tries to involve us in them. Tonight as we were walking she was working on one (they're dialogue-heavy) and she says to me, "Do you want to be my mother?" Well, I had a pretty good day today, so I said, "Yes!" and she said, "Really? For real?" and I said, "Can I take you home?" It just made me laugh inside. We were at the skywalk downtown to run around because it was 1) dark and 2) cold and 3) Mr. Brown was sick. He's got some flu bug or something.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Nut Brown is sleeping upstairs, and Rose Pink is playing some princess story with the barbies. She asked Mr. Brown to get a tight sleeve on a barbie, and he suggested cutting the lacy, delicate, finger-grabbing sleeve off entirely. Rose Pink was very pleased with the idea and has brought me three more dresses to cut sleeves off of, and one pair of tights that she suggested we make into leggings. She also suggested cutting their hair, but I negatived that one. A new little girl named Makayla (sp?) has moved into our complex. She is five and she and Rose Pink took to each other immediately and have been inseparable since. Mr. Brown and I also approve- we find her nice and well-mannered and she really seems to enjoy playing with Rose Pink. Yesterday she was over for dinner (she didn't want to stop playing and go home) and when Rose Pink had to go do her chore of putting away the silverware Makayla asked if she could help. I was impressed. Her parents are also pretty relaxed about her, too, which has made it very easy for Rose Pink to make friends. I am so glad that Rose Pink has another friend. The only downer about the whole thing is that Makayla is a child of divorced parents so she's only here some of the time. Nut Brown has been producing more and more words. He's in that delightful parrot stage where he repeats every word you say like a little echo. It is so, so fun. As his vocabulary has expanded we've started to hear more adjective+noun phrases: big truck, red truck, etc. and requests, like drink please. ('Drink' is pronounced 'gonk'. Only his parents know what he means.) Today he negotiated with us for the first time- I told him, time for your nap, Nut Brown, and he said, "ONE BOOK! ONE BOOK!" So we read one book and he went to bed. He 'reads' a verse every night by repeating each word after the speaker. The other night he and I were out playing by ourselves and he suddenly says, "Sssss!" and made monster hands. I said, Oh, are you a lion? and Nut Brown said, "Nake! Sssss!" He was pretending to be a snake. He has a very vivid imagination, like his sister. But he imagines different things. He has also completely, utterly fallen in love with books. An empty lap is an invitation to trot over with a book and say, "read!" It's the first thing he does in the morning (even before breakfast) and the last thing he does at night. He's not interested in stories as much as he is in identifying and naming objects. I love reading to him. And when he comes downstairs from his nap or from his night's sleep, he smiles and says, "Hello!" He also says "Hello!" to me when I get home from work, and to Mr. Brown when he comes up from the basement. He is still small enough that when I pick him up under the armpits I can feel his heart beating under my fingertips, and that feels so intimate. Rose Pink is learning to read and reads from Dick and Jane to us. I am amazed at how well she does reading and remembering words. At night when we read scriptures, she reads all the words that she knows (and, the, if, is) and repeats after us the ones she doesn't. Mr. Brown is looking for a list of common words for her to memorize. Nut Brown just got up from his nap ("Hello!") which means that Rose Pink has been playing barbies by herself for almost two hours.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Happy new fiscal year! We survived! I get to go home in daylight today!!
Rose Pink has a green shirt that says "Nauvoo" on it. When she wears it, she announces herself as "Captain Nauvoo!" the new superhero.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Mr. Brown and Rose Pink had an outdoor sketching session the other day and she produced this: a drawing of our neighbor's scooter and a sketch of the line of garages behind our house. More about dinosaurs, to include Dinosaurus Rex, next time. Watch this space.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Today in Primary they talked about General Conference upcoming and that the prophet was going to speak to us. What did we think he would talk about? And each child was given a piece of paper to draw/write what he thought the prophet would discuss. Rose Pink turned to me and said, "I hope he talks about whirlpools. I want to learn about whirlpools that swallow ships!" and then she drew a lovely picture of whirlpools with ships going round and round in them.You can see the row of windows drawn in the ship at the top center of the page. Also there is a "girl with long hair" on the right side of the paper.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Nut Brown has this darling habit of pretending to be a lion. He crooks his fingers into claws and says, "RAAAHHR!" as loud as he can, which is not very loud, and chases us around while we run screaming. It is so funny!! Yesterday I reminded Rose Pink to do her chore of putting away the silverware from the dishwasher. I had taken the silverware holder out and put it on the counter by the drawer for her. She sighed and came over. I was putting away other dishes. The next thing I hear is, "Captain! Captain! Stop the ship. This is our home and we going to scuba dive down to it! No, no, you mustn't go! Oh, but captain, you can come with us! You can scuba dive, too! No, I mustn't! I must stay with the ship! But it's your home! Captain! Come scuba dive with us!" and the forks and knives and spoons all scuba dived themselves into the drawer and away, and she handed me the holder and said, "Mom, will you put this back in the dishwasher for me?"
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Want to know a secret? I love blue cheese. Mr. Brown marvels at this. I tell him, but it's so creamy, I love the texture! He says, camembert is also creamy but it doesn't come with the kick in the teeth flavor. I say, I like the kick in the teeth. I know this makes me a bit weird. Some friends of ours shared some cheese with us this week- a mild cheddar, a chunk of Provolone, some Dutch cheese (not Edam), a hunk of Gruyere, some feta and a blue cheese. I think the blue was the reason they gave us the batch- it was calling out to me (and no one else). Yum. I love blue cheese. I went to get some crackers to eat it with and when I came back, Mr. Brown said, I can tell that you are serious about your cheese. Oh? I said. Yes, he said, I can tell because you got flavorless crackers to eat with it. I said, If you're going to eat cheese, why would you want every bite to taste like garlic? Or sesame? Or rosemary? I want to taste the cheese! He said, That's my point exactly. Besides the blue and the feta, the rest of the cheese was pretty forgettable, so I made a quiche with the Gruyere. That was certainly the right choice for that cheese! It was fabulously flavorful with the eggs and cream and bacon. I ate three pieces for dinner and two for lunch the next day. I think everybody else only got one piece.
I have really been enjoying the round eyed people that spring forth from Rose Pink's pen.
Here is some handwriting on a post-it. She was helping make a to do list. You can see "shoes" in the middle- we were getting ready to go somewhere.
Mr. Brown has read a couple books on homeschooling as we're exploring it a bit more. He discovered that in general he favors the philosophies of unschooling and unit study and maybe Charlotte Mason, all of which are tend towards unstructured. He did decide that he's going to pursue more learning with Rose Pink this fall, mostly in the way of lots of reading and more science movies, since she loves movies, and also the encouragement to ask and answer questions. He has always been really good at attending to and answering questions she asks. Yesterday they called me up to ask how elephants sleep. (Standing up.) He does tend to complicate answers sometimes. Yesterday she asked how elephants hear, and he responded, "Do you know how waves work?" She just looked at him, and he said, "Elephants hear with their ears." Her face cleared. Of course. With their ears.
They've been reading books about volcanoes lately, and yesterday at dinner Rose Pink took a drink of milk and said, All the bumps on my tongue- that's the village. And the milk is the lava. She picked up her glass and said, Aaaaah! Look out! Run! and then took another drink of milk.
Our Primary had a talent show last Saturday and Rose Pink decided to do a scarf dance for her turn in the spotlight. She chose The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" for accompaniment. She was third on the program initially but the first two little boys bailed (ran from the room) so she ended up being first. It was held on the stage in the cultural hall, and when she first came out she just stood there, but I mimed dancing for her from where I was standing and she remembered why she was there and went after it, jumping and twirling and swirling her scarf around. (Thank you to Gia for the scarf!) She was fantastic!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
More and more words from Max. Yesterday he shouted, "Watch!" and we turned around to see him take a flying leap off the piano bench. Rose Pink, incidentally, has discovered a word that she can't say! It's "fuel". She was trying to tell me that she was going to school to learn about rockets, and that rockets need fuel, but she kept saying "flew... flew... flull..." and then she started laughing because she couldn't figure it out! We practiced a few times- few + ull- but she couldn't put them back together. Finally we just giggled and moved on.
Kidney stones are back...Mr. Brown went in for surgery on Friday to get them removed. They slid in a tiny little grinder thing up his urinary tract and buzzed them to pieces. Also put in a stent to hold the tract open while it's healing to prevent urinary backup and potential infection. It means that he has to go to the bathroom ALL THE TIME. It was major surgery- he was completely anesthetized so I had to drive him to and pick him up from the outpatient place that did it. He was feeling pretty cruddy all weekend. It's yearend so things are pretty frantic at work- we were helped on Friday by the other moms in our complex who watched the kids all day so I could go back to work. And then they made us dinner, too!! What a blessing. Fortunately Mr. Brown had all weekend to really recover before I had to go back to work all day yesterday. He is trying to go slow but is able to watch the kids all day. If it wasn't year end, I would just take some time off, but it's September, so I can't. He is being so patient and understanding with my inability to be home right now. He has an appointment this Friday to get the stent removed, so his planned trip to Oklahoma/Texas has been postponed until we see how well/poorly that goes. He's a little anxious about how he'll feel afterward- right now whenever the stent gets jostled it causes a great deal of pain, but apparently for the removal they're not planning any sort of anesthetic. Maybe he'll be more healed up by then.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So I almost ran out of gas driving home from work last week because, for the first time in my life, I am solely responsible for the level of gas in the car's tank. I've never had my own car before! Mr. Brown has always taken care of these things! I don't know what I'll do when I have to get the oil changed!
Just returned from a lovely weekend away in Iowa City. We had been contemplating a weekend in Chicago over Labor Day but then Mr. Brown had a kidney stone (or stones) so we didn't want to go too far away in case he wasn't as much better as he thought he was.
Rose Pink told us that we were fulfilling all her dreams by staying in a hotel with a pool. We actually had a bit of trouble finding a place to stay because it was the opening weekend of football season and Iowa City was full of Hawkeyes fans, but eventually we found somewhere with open rooms and a pool. And a free breakfast. Saturday we had a picnic lunch with our friends the Lees, who are departing Davenport this morning and played around with them in the park for awhile, then drove out to Iowa City. After we checked in, we headed to the movie theater, which is part of an enormous nearby mall. Mr. Brown and Rose Pink were dying to see Ponyo, the new Miyazaki film. All four of us went to see it, and all but one of us enjoyed every minute. Nut Brown watched it for almost an hour and then got up and wandered around the theater. He was very good, though. And we all enjoyed it very, very much. After the movie we went back to the hotel and the kids had a snack dinner (leftover pancakes, tortilla chips, goldfish, apple slices) while Mr. Brown went to get dinner for the rest of us. Then they had baths and we tucked them in, and Mr. Brown and I ate in the hall while they went to sleep.
Sunday morning Mr. Brown enjoyed the exercise facilities at the hotel while the kids and I had breakfast and got ready for church. We were late and had to sneak in and sit in the back. Happily, this meant that we ran into Mr. Brown's old friend Nick and his wife! They were visiting from California that Sunday and were also sitting in the back! It was so completely random- that they ended up picking the same ward, and then we were late- if we hadn't been late we'd have sat up front and not have seen them at all. What a happy coincidence.
After church we went swimming and then went over to Hugh and Jessica's for a visit. We walked down to the elementary school park with assorted nephews in tow and had a great time playing there. It was very fun and relaxing, and then we went back to the hotel about seven to put the kids in bed.
Monday morning we had breakfast and Mr. Brown exercised again, and then we went to the Iowa City Children's Museum. It is in the same gigantic mall as the theater- Mr. Brown laughed about the fact that we were going on vacation to a mall. But the museum was great fun, and lunch was easy to find- just walk down to the mall food court. We were there for two hours and only played in two of the museum rooms- so much to see and do. Originally we were going to go back after lunch but Nut Brown was approaching meltdown so we went instead over to Hugh and Jessica's again and put him down for a nap and planned a cookout for that evening: hamburgers, hotdogs, watermelon, and ice cream. Then we drove home!
It was such a fun and relaxing weekend. Mr. Brown said that it was nice to be reminded that we all get along so well and have a lot of fun together when we can relax and enjoy each other. It was super nice. And so kind of Hugh and Jessica to let us come hang out with them in the afternoons. Hooray for vacations!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I've been packing up some of Rose Pink's clothes that are too small for her, including a bathrobe. She saw the box that I'd stashed and complained to Mr. Brown. Why is Mommy putting away my clothes? I still USE those clothes! Do you? said Mr. Brown. Yes! said Rose Pink. I used the bathrobe for Stitch (stuffed animal) yesterday!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
In the evenings reading scriptures together, Rose Pink likes to have a turn repeating the verse after us. So we read a few words, and then she repeats what we've said. Last night Nut Brown decided that he wanted a turn, so we would read a few words and he would repeat the last one. It was so cute! I love watching him grow and learn.
Yesterday Mr. Brown and Rose Pink discovered YouTube karaoke and spent the morning singing at the top of their lungs into "microphones". Then they made me do it when I got home from work. Very fun. We like singing.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Yesterday we drove out to Iowa City to visit cousins and went to the Fossil Gorge. It's a big ditch by Coralville Lake. In 1993 (?) a big flood washed out the ditch, which is part of the spillway for the lake, and uncovered a bunch of slate filled with fossils. Lots of fun to walk around and climb on and look at. Also there are lots of sinkholes and loose rocks to throw in them. Nut Brown thought he'd died and gone to heaven. And I take back calling him a little monkey. He's a mountain goat.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tonight at dinner Rose Pink is creating a drama and she says to me, Your eyes are just like my mother's!! (pause) Your hair is just like my mother's!! (pause) (I yawn.) Your yawn- it's just like my mother's! YOU ARE MY MOTHER! Nice to be so firmly identified.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Okay, I know this is silly, but sometimes, when I'm driving our new car, the Kia, which is bigger than the Civic, I keep turning to look over my shoulder because I'm convinced that someone is riding my bumper. But it always turns out to be my own bumper following me. I'm just not used to having a longer car!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Nut Brown has figured out how to make himself dizzy by running around in circles. He thinks it is hilarious, and will run and run and run until he falls over. Last night Aunt Amri was talking about Disney World, and Rose Pink asked what it was like. Aunt Amri said that she met Cinderella, and Rose Pink's eyes got really big. "Really?" she asked. "Like, a real Cinderella? Really?" When Aunt Amri answered in the affirmative she looked at me as if it was completely unbelievably wonderful. Nut Brown has this fabulous habit of leaning over to look at you and cocking his head to one side while he does it. And then he grins. It is so darling!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Last night after dinner we walked down to the creek (and Rose Pink rode her bike) and threw things into it. Grandma and Rose Pink tried to play Pooh Sticks but the current was slow, so Grandma started a 'bomb the boat' game where they gathered up rocks and tried to hit the sticks in the stream. Spencer climbed down by one of the piers of the railroad bridge that crosses the bike path and pulled a kid's bike out of the stream using a stick. Rose Pink followed his example, took off her shoes and got her feet wet too. A lovely evening.
Nut Brown sat very still while we sang Happy Birthday last night- he is unfamiliar with this custom and wasn't sure how to act. But then he blew out his candles and thoroughly enjoyed his cake and ice cream. Rose Pink gave him two toy cars whose doors open. He was so interested in those that he didn't want to open his other gifts. Eventually he consented, however, and opened a book about trucks with moving parts from Grandma and Grandpa and a toy that blows balls up in the air to be chased from his parents. Also toy where you hit balls with a plastic hammer and they run through a maze. Quite a birthday- he was fascinated with all of them. We had guests for dinner and were talking after he had finished eating, so he got down and put his shoes on and headed for the sliding door. "Oh," I say, "Are you going outside?" Nut Brown nods and says, "side" and reaches for the door handle. "We are about to have cake and ice cream," I say. Without missing a beat, he turns around and heads for the kitchen. "Cake," he says.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Rose Pink is not big on playing games by the rules. Whenever we play Candyland, it disintegrates into storytelling on the gameboard with the playing pieces. At bedtime we give treats and compliments to our kids before family prayer. Last night Mr. Brown was prepping the treats (peanut butter M&Ms in little cups) and Nut Brown, who is not a big talker, was jumping around him in excitement. "Tuh-ree!" he exclaimed and held up his hands. "Me hold!"
Thursday, August 6, 2009
We are back from vacation but have little to recount. My kids had a fabulous time with their cousins and also with their very accommodating uncles and aunts and grandparents. We still haven't bought a new camera so I have no pictures to show from this journey. It was warm enough in Alabama to swim and Rose Pink and Nut Brown both made beginning strides towards actual swimming motions. I like swimming. I wish it was warmer here so we could swim more often. No other real news. I have been really busy at work and year end is coming up so things are probably just going to get more busy. I had a funny experience the other day at work when a co-worker told us that her uncle-in-law's family (who are Mormon) had lost their twelve-year-old daughter in a car wreck, but that they seemed to be "doing okay". I expressed sympathy and later that night in bed I thought, you dope! Why didn't you tell her about eternal families, and that they're probably "doing okay" because they've been sealed in the temple? (I am making assumptions here, but he's a bishop so I think they're pretty good assumptions.) Eternal families is your favorite thing about the gospel! So the next day I came in and was going to tell her about it and brought in a copy of the Family Proclamation for her, too. We missed each other so I emailed her and she said she was interested in other religions too (not sure if she's just being nice to me) but I'm going to get a Book of Mormon to go with the Family Proclamation before I give it to her. That's what she gets for being polite. :)
Monday, July 20, 2009
I bought a piano last Saturday. I was out at garage sales with some friends from work and one of them was offering a piano. I tried it out- all the keys worked, the pedals worked, it looked nice, the bench was stable- so I asked how much they were asking for it. They said, "$200." I said, "I'll take it." Mr. Brown rented a U-haul and a furniture dolly and we rounded up three heroes to help, and now we have a piano in the living room. Our days of rearranging the furniture are over. But the days of piano music are just starting!
Mr. Brown was tightening up a doorknob and Nut Brown wandered into the corner that the half-open door was making with the wall, stood facing the wall and said, "waaaah. waaaah." Aha, said Mr. Brown, are you in timeout? and Nut Brown turned around with an affirmative grin on his face.
Rose Pink, when she changes her mind about what she just said, will ask us to "blow those words back in my mouth". And when we do, she swallows them, and we are to pretend that they were never said. She came up with this all on her own. Yesterday, I blew some back at her request, and she swallowed them and said, "hmm, tastes okay!"
Last night they had difficulties staying in bed once put there. Finally, after a stern lecture, they remained in their room. At 8:45 (more than an hour after the initial good night) I went up to go to the bathroom and they were still talking together. Mr. Brown and I went up to bed at 9:15 and when I went to check on them they were both in Rose Pink's bed, cuddled up together at the head. They were also sleepy but not asleep, and Nut Brown consented to be moved back to his own bed as Rose Pink said she was having trouble going to sleep because of him. It is so sweet to me to see my children being friendly with each other.
Rose Pink and I spent 45 minutes yesterday on the back porch wrapping duct tape around a four-foot long stick. I think originally we were making a sword, but partway into it she decided that we were bandaging up a wounded person, and she said sympathetically to the stick, "How did you hurt yourself so badly? Oh, you fell out of a tree?"
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
We put Rose Pink and Nut Brown both down for naps on Saturday afternoon. Things did not get quiet, however, and when we looked in, they were sitting next to each other on Nut Brown's bed, reading a book together.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Nut Brown has started to self-identify when his name is used. So when Rose Pink prays, "Please bless Mommy and Daddy and Nut Brown...", he pipes up and says, "Mak!" and points to himself. When we're planning an outing, he's learned how to be included. I'll say, "Let's go to the park. Daddy and Rose Pink..." and Nut Brown will shout, "And me! And me!"
Yesterday Rose Pink read us the first thirty pages of Dick & Jane. Really reading, what Spencer calls 'whole word recognition'. She'd look at the page and say, "See Jane. See...no, Look, look, look..." as she recognized that 'look' was not 'see'.