Thursday, December 31, 2009

31 December 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!

reindeer

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

Ode to My Boppy, by Nut Brown

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

Christmas

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

23 December 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?"

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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

caroling

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

Daddy, I'm Freezing!

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

18 December 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

bulbs

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.

14 December 2009

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

13 December 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.
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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

Bathroom Humor

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.

7 December 2009

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."
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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

4 December 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.
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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!)
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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.