Monday, September 28, 2009


I took roughly 9082 pictures at the park this weekend, and wouldn't you know, my favorite is one I didn't realize I'd be taking until it was done.

Yes, he was fine.  And T's response on seeing it was: "Get up NOW!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where we are

T has a lot of girlfriends  friends and family spread across the state that he calls and visits.  To help him wrap his little brain around where his loved ones live and where we're headed, I taped a map of Wisconsin to the side of the refrigerator:

I covered the whole map with clear packing tape to keep T from peeling it off and allow us to shuffle people around if they move.

I used a photo editor to make 1" square of head shots of T's friends and family and "laminated" them with clear packing tape.  We taped them on the map together.

Now T runs to the map to see how far away Grandma is when they chat on the phone, or just how far the drive to Grandpa's house will be.

He's already learning where to look on the map for specific people and is starting to remember the associated city.  I'm thinking that on a rainy day, it will be fun to "drop" everybody in Lake Michigan to see who can swim.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I'm friends on FB with someone who is in high school. Every one of her status updates has words with lots of repeated letters. Does her keyboard have sticky keys? Does repeating letters make something awesomer? Is this a common teenager thing to do?

Kyle has some superbly planned half days of vacation and so was home Friday before we finished eating breakfast. We spent the day showing the zoo a little love. It's been too long and we've been neglecting her.

T was smart enough to be apprehensive about the massive tiger on the other side of what could have been, for all he knew, a piece of Saran wrap. The kid next to him was all, "Hey TIGER - EAT ME!"

Riding a bronze tortoise was one of the highlights of the day.

I'm not sure who had more fun - T or me. I love love love the giraffes, and they were supremely awesommmmmeeeeee.

Repurposed potatoes

Now that I am unemployed, I get to eat dinner with my family on a regular basis.  Kyle can't make it back for dinner every night, but he's here more than half the week.  For me, this is a vast improvement in society and a slight improvement in fare.  When I worked second shift, I ate dinner by myself in a dingy room.  I sometimes had the company of another second shifter, but there were only 3 of us in the whole plant, so often I ate alone.  What I ate was microwaved leftovers from what my boys had eaten for dinner the night before.  I'm sure it was all delicious initially, but some things just don't reheat well, and the crusties in that old microwave could impart a peculiar flavor.

Since I am now home all day, the responsibility for meal planning and cooking is on my hesitant shoulders.  I never took the lead on this in the past, even when I wasn't working nights.  Kyle's a good cook, and a less lazy better planner.  I've enjoyed the first few weeks of reading cookbooks to find fun new dishes to try.  Kyle and T have obligingly eaten my sweet potato quesadillas, veggie quiche, Moroccan stew, and tofu burritos (can you tell we're dabbling with vegetarian cooking?).

In my first week of cooking dinner, I discovered some random ingredients in the house that had no immediate purpose to me.  Kyle had bought them with meals in mind, but those meals never materialized before I took over, and by the time I asked him "Why do we have broccoli, 2 potatoes, and lemming fat?", he'd forgotten what dishes he'd intended them for.  So T got to make some potato print art.  He was way into it, and he feels strongly that it's the only way (apart from fries) to use a potato.  On further consideration, I should have let him stamp with the broccoli as well.  That would have looked really cool.  I'm going to use the lemming fat to make a new line of soap.  It will get you as clean as everybody else.

Petting Farm

A petting farm is nothing if not a 2-hour photo op. Our trip was particularly pleasant because the rest of the world seemed to have something better to do on the day we went. T practically had the place to himself.

First pony ride. Ever since, each car trip is a brutal and constant, "Horses? Want to see Horses! Horses? Horses?!?"
"I'm not too sure about this thing standing behind me. You're gonna pick me up now, right?"
"I definitely like petting animals better from above them."

"Milk comes from there?"
Greedy goats, or, Hand Sanitizer - Oh How I Love Thee
Pot-bellied pigs. We found a box of brushes presumably for the pigs, and T had a ball brushing them. They relentlessly tried to eat my shoes, so I was far less of a fan than T was.
"I think I could really get into this farming thing."
(Disclaimer: This trip was actually a couple of weeks ago. Yes, he's had a haircut since then, and no, it isn't pretty.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Whoo whoo whoo

There is an honest to goodness real live owl outside my window that is repeatedly hooting 3 times. No lie. So where is my spinning wheel? Why is he teasing me?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mark the date

This could be the only time in his life that T voluntarily immobilizes himself.

Or maybe he's just trying out some new rules for the bean bag toss. I think blocking the opponent's hole by standing in it is a little unfair, but at least he's thinking outside the box.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another date

This time, it was just the critter and I. I offered Kyle the opportunity to join us at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival, but oddly, he declined. He was even more firm in his decision after I tried persuading him with the promise of two. full. barns. of yarn vendors. How puzzling.

So I took the other boy of the house hostage (he's not smart enough yet to know he should have protested), strapped him to me, and tromped around the Jefferson County Fairgrounds all day.

Mostly, I carried him in the Ergo and got all the looks I always get. Yeah yeah yeah, he's big. He can walk perfectly fine. But he hates the stroller in large group situations (would *you* really want to be strapped into a chair that puts you at butt level to a bunch of strangers?) and he hates holding his hand above his head to hold mine even more. The Ergo is comfortable for both of us. So hush your strange looks, everyone. We won't be using it when he's 12. Probably.

First, we hit the sheep barns and watched some talented, hard-working young people showing their sheep. I have absolutely no idea how the judges could talk for so long about their choices in picking the best animals, but they sincerely seemed to see a difference between all those identical sheep.

Then we found the herding demonstration area. There were no demos going, so T tried his hand at herding from outside the fence. He did awesome - truly a sheep whisperer. Look at that neat little bunch of sheep. I am so proud. He could grow up to be a border collie!

The sun was hot so we headed inside to watch the Ultimate Sheep Shearer. He's always at this festival. Every year. He's a sheep shearing god. He has clearly been shearing sheep for at least 12 lifetimes. I'd never thought of shearing as something to be breathless over, but he's that good.

T could have watched him giving "haircuts" all day, but I moved him along to the lamb area. Once he saw those lambs, he took off. Mama who? He ran repeatedly from one section of fence to another, trying to get his hands of some soft lambiness wherever he could. Never once looked up for me. Um, yeah. Still working on that attachment thing.

My extroverted son then walked right up to the *6* year old who was working to feed the sheep and asked if he could help. The kid was amazingly gracious and explained he had just finished putting the last of the hay out, but that he'd show T how he feeds the lambs. He led T by the hand to the area where he prepared a bottle of milk, and then held up a lamb for him to pet before he fed it.

This kid was phenomenal. I asked him how much work it was for him to care for his animals, and he explained to me how he drops his backpack inside the door when he gets home from school and heads straight to the barn because he has to feed his lambs every 2 hours. He feeds them again after dinner. That kid is a good egg. Smart and hard working and sweet and SIX. T wanted to go home with him. I wanted to take him home with *me*. But that sort of thing is frowned on.

We rounded out the day with a quick walk past all the vendors pushing their luscious yarns of all colors, weights, and textures. I couldn't not walk through those vendor barns, but I had to keep singing to myself, "La la la la la, I can't SEEEE you, you pretty're not really there, and I certainly don't neeeeeed yooooouuuu....." When the devil, I mean, a kind old woman offered to show me how to spin, I ran screaming from the barn, "I will NOT begin another hobby that I have no money and no time for!!!!"

I escaped the festival without a single bit of wool or knitting/spinning/weaving gadgetry on my person. (I hired someone to smuggle it out for me. I'm waiting by my open window now. Kyle's a light sleeper, but when I hear three owl hoots, I'll slip out the back door for my 3 cases of yarn, dozen rovings, and new thousand dollar spinning wheel.) Just kidding, Kyle. No purchases. Really. Miracles never cease. But I'm not making any promises about next year.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Date

We forgot to take a single picture as photographic evidence, but Kyle and I stole away for a nearly 10 hour date today. (When you only go on one date a year, you've gotta make it count!) We enjoyed lunch at my favorite spot in Spring Green, hiking around Tower Hill State Park, and then an amazing outdoor performance of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale. It was lovely.

At lunch I had the jarring experience of running into a woman who coached me in forensics in, ummmm, 1991. She didn't remember my name, but remembered which poem I performed as a 7th grader. Unbelievable. She said she remembered it because she'd never liked the poem until she heard how I interpreted it. I later wondered aloud to Kyle if she didn't remember it because I was especially horrid, and he lovingly remarked, "Well, you can be sure your performance was memorable."

Hiking the trails around Tower Hill was wonderful despite my skirt and inappropriate footwear. The weather was perfect, if not a little warm for the steep climb up the to of the hill they used to make lead shot on. After seeing the house they melted the lead in to drop down a shaft to form round balls of shot, we hiked down to see the tunnel they'd dug in the cliff to haul the shot out to the river for shipping to far-away cities. I was amazed how the cold air just rolled out of the tunnel in the rock. We spent some of our time in silence just because we could! (T is rarely ever quiet. =) )

The play was incredible and we were really impressed with the performance. Since I just finished reading Pride and Prejudice last night, I loved comparing the two stories. Couples of unequal rank seem to be such a common theme in British literature. I was especially impressed with the strength of the women characters in the play (with the exception of the stoic queen who inexplicably was in some strange grief coma for 20 years, but it was Shakespeare, so I'll let it go).

T seemed to fare well on our day away. He was already fast asleep, half hour ahead of schedule and with no fuss, when we arrived back home. I'm hiring "Aunty M" to do bedtime every night, because for us, he would have been up making a scene and crying for another hour at least.

With my new (non)work schedule, Kyle and I are going to try to make a point to get out more often. I loved spending the day with him.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


This morning T was really upset because he wanted to do something and I asked him to finish his breakfast first.

He told me he wasn't done eating, but started to cry about wanting to get down from the table.

I was exasperated because his bowl was empty and he didn't want more, but he was insisting he wasn't finished, and was also begging to get down.

He then proceeded to eat 12 handfuls of imaginary food before proclaiming he was all done.  He was so relieved that he could finally get down from the table to play.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Summer Recap

I'm not working anymore (woo hoo!) so I *might* have time to resurect my much-neglected blog.

Here's a quick recap of our fun summer in pictures, because no one wants to read old news:

Clint and Brienne's wedding

The 4th of July

A week at family camp

T learned to ride his "bike"

Rock County Fair

Wisconsin State Fair

I knit a baby sweater

T learned to somersault

We registered T's adoption at the Thai consulate in Chicago

Thai American Association Picnic

Lots of Geocaching, including our 100th find

A fun camping trip where we forgot to take a single picture

Grandma's birthday party

T potty trained himself. NO MORE DIAPER LAUNDRY!!!

This summer did NOT include wasting time weeding our garden. Clearly.