Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Happiness

The Holiday Sing was wonderful. Honestly. It was magical. Island Boy and his fellow performers produced some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard.

It was so much fun to be there in the crowd and see the little faces light up as each child scanned the crowd and located their families. It must have been pretty overwhelming for them as they lined up on the risers and faced so many adults with their many big cameras. Once he located us in the crowd, Island Boy sent us a huge smile, then buckled down and took his task so very seriously that he barely cracked a smile while performing his songs. He performed flawlessly (as far as we know) and sang each song complete with adorable choreographed gestures.

It was a wonderful holiday treat!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Island Boy Takes the Stage!

On Thursday, Island Boy will take the stage for the first time - officially, that is. (As readers of this story know, Island Boy loves to take the stage informally at nearly every opportunity.)

He's been practicing for weeks - entertaining us with surprisingly harmonious holiday melodies complete with adorable choreography. I am positively bursting with pride. It's wonderful to see him practicing for his performance and enjoying his ability to master the lyrics, the melodies and the choreography. I cannot wait to see it all pulled together!

Music Hath Charms

Last night we were transported...if only for a few magical moments...

We attended one of the most chaotic and fun Christmas parties ever. There were children. LOTS of children. And they were everywhere. But the party was well-organized with supervised craft projects to keep the little ones focused as well as backyard trees to keep the less-focused little ones occupied.

The highlight of the evening were the Christmas carols sung by professional carolers in traditional costume. The guests were positively captivated. As if that weren't enough, a professional singer among the guests graced us with her rendition of, "White Christmas". While she sang, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Everyone enjoyed the evening. It was lovely.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

'Tis the Season!

Well, it's been almost a month since the burglary and it's time to be MERRY. Island Boy still says, "Someone broke my house". We're all still processing and dealing with the monumental task of filing an insurance claim that represents such a paltry token of compensation for what was lost, but we're getting there.

Island Boy helped us pick out a Christmas tree and it's finally starting to feel like the holidays. It was fun to hear Island Boy's joy when he got home from school and said, "My Christmas tree is still here!" and we got a laugh when he let us know exactly how he felt about the slightly larger television that replaced our stolen one. "I want the smaller one, Daddy! I want my TV, Daddy." Yes, we do, too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Happened, Mommy?

Our home was burglarized last weekend. It was traumatic, to say the least. Island Boy is dealing with it better than I am, as usual.

It was terrifying to come home and realize that someone had been in - and was possibly *still* in our home and it was heart wrenching to walk through and assess the damage. A number of the items can be easily replaced, but much of what was taken can simply not be replaced including our sense of security and so many little items I'd collected over a lifetime from the first pair of earrings I ever bought to so many other memories that are now simply that.

Island Boy sang the "goodbye song" before we left for school on Monday morning and after mentioning the names of several of his classmates he sang, "Goodbye, tv. Goodbye, Daddy's computer. Goodbye, Mommy's jewelry." It broke my heart, but apparently, this is the way children work through things like this. If only it were so easy for me.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Two Years Goes Fast

We met our son two years ago today and I can say only that it's difficult to remember a time when he wasn't in our lives. He's an amazing person, full of curiosity and kindness with a healthy dose of mischievousness and a fine sense of humor. Best of all, he's happy and so are we.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goodbye, Gourmet

Ok, maybe I'm just a basket case because I have a newborn at home and a toddler transitioning to preschool, but it's not just me, is it?? Did anyone else cry when they opened their mailbox and saw the November (aka Final) issue of Gourmet Magazine?

Yes, it was a magazine about food and there are certainly plenty of magazines about food, but there was something very special about Gourmet. It was so well done (no pun intended, really).

Beyond that, it is another of those American institutions that you just expect to be there for you year after year or perhaps it's like that little Mom and Pop shop on the corner in your hometown that you thought would always be there. But now it's gone. It's not just about this particular magazine. The world has lost a lot in the past few years.

As Island Boy would say, "I'm sad".

Monday, October 19, 2009

Scientific Method at Work

A friend picked Island Boy's Daddy up for a meeting yesterday.

"Windshield wipers!", Island Boy observed as he checked out said friend's car.
"Mommy's car has the same! And Daddy's car has the same!"

He didn't stop there...he noticed the rear wiper on Mommy's car and said,
"One more windshield wiper!"

Noticing that Daddy's car had no such rear wiper, he formed the hypothesis that some cars have windshield wipers on the back and some do not. He then walked around to the back of Daddy's friend's car to check his hypothesis.

Check! Hypothesis confirmed. He seemed satisfied with his work.

Don't you love to watch little minds at work?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Uh Oh, Truck!

Driving down the freeway yesterday Island Boy was worried.

"Uh oh!", said he.

Mommy and Daddy continued chatting in the front seat.

"Uh oh!", from the back. Louder this time.

"What's wrong?", I asked.

"Uh oh, truck!"

"What's wrong with the truck?"

"Uh oh-oh! Somebody took off the back!"

Anyone care to guess what was bothering our son?

You guessed it! He saw a semi cab with no trailer on it. (I hope I am using the correct terminology for those things - I'm not exactly much of a "truck person", although I am better versed in truck lingo these days than I've ever been in my life.)

This little boy makes us laugh every single day. I love the way he looks at the world.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Apple Juice Store

One of Island Boy's favorite neighborhood adventures is a jaunt to the "Apple Juice Store". No, not the Apple Store, but rather the Apple Juice Store. Never heard of it? Sure you have and I'll bet you have one close to you, no matter where you are.

The Apple Juice Store that Island Boy is referring to is Starbucks and surely you've heard of them, yes?

In Island Boy's world, Starbucks translates to the Apple Juice Store since apple juice is the treat he gets on the rare occasion that he visits one. It's so much fun to see the world through the eyes (and taste buds) of a toddler!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chinese Horror Story

If you haven't seen this story yet, prepare yourself to be horrified. I can barely imagine how the people that did this can sleep at night. I cannot imagine how the people to whom this was done can sleep at night and I cannot imagine wondering if my family could be one of the families that might have been part of this despicable behavior.

Here's the story. Read it. I typically like to look on the bright side of any dark situation, but the only good I can find in this is that articles like this one will help to ensure that these crimes will stop if they haven't already.

More Tuba, Please!

We were sitting around yesterday which is an unusual thing around here on its own when Island Boy said, "I want tuba, please!".

Excuse me? Could he be thinking of Tuba Dad? It's been a while since we've seen them and I'm pretty sure he didn't actually see Tuba Dad in action. Hmm...

"Tuba, please!"

We don't have a tuba, son.

"Tuba. On the TV. Please!"

Puzzled look from me.

"Tuba, Bam!"

"Oh!! You want to see the tuba that was on TV last week, right?"

"Yes! Tuba! Bam!" (this was followed by squeals of delight)

Ohio State fans will recall that just last weekend, one very enthusiastic tuba player dotted the "i" in Script Ohio with such pride and conviction that he unwittingly knocked out the cameraman covering his closeup. 'Twas quite the sight, and rather impressively, both men continued to do their jobs with barely a hiccup.

Enjoy (in both focused and full-length versions)!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stride Right

Island Boy got his first "real" bicycle a couple of weeks ago. Oddly enough, it has no pedals.

Stranger is a relatively new invention as far as I can tell (to be honest, I have no idea of the history of the balance bike so if you do, please tell!).

Apparently, the "balance bike", as these types of bikes are called, is better-suited for learning the skills needed to ride a "real" bike (e.g. one with pedals) than say a tricycle or a bicycle with training wheels. Since the real skill one needs to master bike riding is not pedaling (that part is easy), but rather balance, the balance bike makes perfect sense.

Although this all sounds good intellectually, it remains to be seen how it will play out for us. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, Island Boy has made amazing strides (har har!) with his new bike. He went from taking it out for long walks (and by that I mean wearing his helmet and literally walking next to his bike the entire time) to walking while straddling it for a portion of each walk to now sitting on the seat and striding with it for the entire walk, comfortably rolling up and down hills.

He has yet to move into the advanced balancing that the bike is designed to encourage, but we're getting there and Island Boy is having a ball along the way, so we couldn't be happier.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Day of School

Today was Island Boy's second day at school. The first was on Tuesday, when half of his preschool class had their first day of school (the other half had theirs on Wednesday). He sailed through the day with flying colors as all of the children did. It was the nervous parents that, arguably, didn't do as well.

School philosophies differ. In the case of ours, the separation process is handled with kid gloves, so to speak. It began with several "Transition Days" in June when we showed up for what amounted to something like a play date at the school where we simply got familiar with the environment. Then, last Saturday, just a few days before school started, Island Boy received a letter in the mail. It was a card bearing a picture of his teachers and a little note saying that they were looking forward to seeing him in school. How wonderful is that??!

The next step in the process was a home visit by the teachers the day before school started. Island Boy enjoyed that visit thoroughly. He was the perfect host, offering food and plenty of entertainment.

Finally, the parents are invited to attend class (actually, expected to) for the first week or more, depending on the needs of each of the children. Although this is all set up to ostensibly help the children transition more smoothly, I suspect it is at least as important for some of us parents.

Of course many, if not all, of the parents were both thrilled to see their little ones growing up and going to school, yet a bit sad at the thought of them moving on to another phase in their lives. A new authority figure, the teacher (or teachers, in our case), will now get some of the time, some of the smiles, some of the rewards, some of the affection and respect that had previously been just for us.

To gauge the way the parents were adapting one need only have glanced at the differences in the parents from Tuesday to today. On the first day of school, the parents stood, cameras in hand, lined up like paparazzi, eagerly aiming to capture the moments, to hang on to just that little extra bit of connection with their children as they passed the baton over to the teachers to share in the duty of helping their children grow.

Today, those same parents sat, cameras at rest, while the iPhones came out in full force to pass the time. As one parent observed, we looked like an Apple commercial. And our children played happily nearby, clamoring up on the laps of their teachers, dropping by occasionally to check in with us (or to comfort us??), sensing that we were all beginning to relax into our new roles and knowing that things would never be quite the same.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Air Travel Tips with Tiny Ones

As someone who has traveled much and often and, more specifically, as someone who has flown with a child on my lap - yes, including internationally, I have some very strong opinions about what works and what doesn't work for us when we travel.

When preparing for traveling with small children, our thoughts usually turn to surviving the trip - that is, surviving the trip without going bonkers. This post isn't about that particular aspect of airplane travel with little ones (however, I do have lots to say about that so will post on that in the near future as well). A post on Delicious Baby got me thinking so this particular post is about surviving serious turbulence.

The FAA suggests holding your infant in front of you as you lean forward over her. Here is what Transport Canada advises on the subject and it sounds ok but potentially difficult to execute.

What's interesting to me is that I've never heard of anyone doing what we do while we're on a plane. I don't know if it's because it hasn't occurred to anyone else (I doubt that) or if it's because I just haven't happened to read about anyone doing it, but it makes sense to us and it feels safer than trying to hold a baby in our hands.

I wear my baby in the Baby Bjorn during plane travel. Yes, usually for the entire trip. It just feels SO much safer than anything else (with the possible exception of purchasing another seat and lugging along the infant car seat, but since I will soon no longer have the option of NOT paying for that extra seat, I'll opt not to for now, thanks!). I doubt that any studies have been done to determine whether or not using the Baby Bjorn (or another similar carrier) is safe during plane travel, but it has to be safer than trying to hold my baby in what sounds like a pretty similar position with no assistance while we're both jostled about in turbulence, right?

Parenting Research

Here's an interesting article on how sons and daughters may or may not learn parenting from their own parents.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What Kind of Parent are You?

I don't ask the question to make you wonder whether you're a good parent or a bad parent (Although every parent makes mistakes, very few of us are truly bad parents.), but rather to get you thinking about what kind of parent you'd like to be. What kinds of things do you want to do for your children? What kinds of things might be too much?

Read this article to get you thinking about some of the ramifications of what you might or might not want to do and see whether it changes your mind. Or not.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bagging Our First Summit

It is difficult to stand perched atop a mountaintop and not appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.

Unless you are two. If you happen to be two or so, you might instead enjoy the challenge of bagging the "summit" upon the summit - i.e. clamoring up the pile of rocks located near the Ranger's feet. Technically, I guess he had found the highest spot on the mountain, although I'm not sure if temporary structures count. Still, you have to give him credit for going for it.

We bagged our first summit as a family of four last weekend. While riding the gondola to the top was a far cry from the way we conquered summits in the past, it was rewarding nonetheless.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

More on BPA

Read a great summary of the issues and findings with regard to BPA from one of my most trusted sources by clicking here.

Friday, August 21, 2009

SIGG Alert

If you happen to use the practical and fashionable water bottles by SIGG, you will want to read their statement about BPA content by clicking here. If you have a SIGG bottle manufactured prior to August 2008, you can send an email request to the company for a replacement liner. If you're not sure when your bottle was manufactured, look at the photos here to figure it out.

The bottles really are pretty great to use, so I'm glad they've worked it out (they do claim that even the older bottles were completely safe, but I'm one to be ultra conservative with this sort of thing, so I don't plan to test the theory on my own family).

It does make you wonder what kind of gunk is in pretty much everything we use. For our part, we're trying to eradicate as much plastic as possible from our lives - especially any plastic that touches our food. That isn't easy to do, particularly when it comes to food storage. We also try not to let aluminum foil come into contact with our food. These things aren't easy, but we're doing our best.

Monday, August 10, 2009

And the Holidays Keep on Coming!

Just when you thought it might be difficult to beat National Donut Day, here it is...(drumroll, please!)...

National S'Mores Day!

Yes, indeed, today is National S'Mores Day, folks!

In case you're reading this on the wee late side and missed it, I checked the etiquette books and it's perfectly fine to celebrate this one a day (or a week or a couple of months) late or even a day (or a week or a couple of months) early, so feel free to grab a couple of graham crackers, toast up the perfect marshmallow and slap it between a couple of slabs of Hershey's chocolate.

Mmm!! I do love them so.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Save the Planet!

According to a growing movement, if you really want to go green you shouldn't reproduce. And there you have it...not only is adopting a child a wonderful thing for so many other reasons - it is also the right thing to do for the environment.

In all seriousness, it's hard to ignore the fact that babies, while they are in their baby state, seem very bad for the environment what with all of the products they require these days - diapers, toys, car seats, strollers, and on and on and on. I guess we all get even worse for the environment as adults with all of our need for transportation and housing and whatnot. Sooooo...

Be environmentally responsible and adopt a child today! You'll be very, very glad you did.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

We spent the last 2 plus weeks in Ohio, visiting family and reveling in the joys of summer in the Midwest.

The best part of the trip was being surrounded by family every day. Island Boy always had cousins, Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles to play with and even though we had some rain and a bit of cooler than expected weather, we still spent the majority of our time running around outdoors in endless stretches of lush grass and at the beach along the smooth sand at the water's edge.

We visited a UNESCO World Heritage Site candidate, a National Park, the world's largest basket, a small town railroad museum and a big city dinosaur museum, watched a parade and fireworks on the 4th of July, read books, saw bald eagles, wild turkeys, baby bunnies, deer and ground hogs in the wild, ate fresh basil from the garden, fresh mulberries from trees and black raspberries and blueberries from backyard vines, roasted marshmallows, dined on local delicacies, sampled handmade ice creams and frozen custards, shopped local farmer's markets and picnicked on the sweetest sweet corn you can imagine, savored beautiful sunsets, climbed trees, chased lightening bugs and - this part really goes without saying - ran around barefoot and threw rocks in the lake.

Yes, Ohio in the summertime is, in my biased opinion, one of life's great pleasures and one that is made even better when it's shared with your children.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Delay Tactics

Island Boy is a master of creativity. This evening was no exception.

As we prepared for his bedtime, he pulled a new arrow from his quiver and told us he had an "owie" on his toe.

We took a look and indeed there was a bit of a rough edge on one of his toenails, so Daddy went off to get the nail clippers, came back and clipped the offending nail.

All better?

Not so fast!!

"Now, this one!", said Island Boy.

Daddy took a look at the new area of concern and obediently complied with the request. All set?

Not yet!

"This one!", said Island Boy. Once again, Daddy complied.

"This one!", Island Boy said and this time neither Island Boy nor Daddy could keep a straight face as they both realized how ridiculous the game had become. He may not have gotten to bed quite as early as we'd hoped, but we did all have a good giggle along the way.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nice Shoes!

Our son has a pair of the ubiquitous Crocs that everyone loves to hate - they are so ugly they're cute. Podiatrists love them or hate them, depending on their point of view (love that they bring in more patients with foot and ankle injuries caused by wearing them, hate that they cause foot and ankle injuries).

While we discourage them for activities that involve lots of walking and forbid them (or at least try to) for anything involving running, we do love them for anytime that Island Boy needs to get in and out of his shoes quickly. Island Boy, like every child, loves Crocs because he can get in and out of them quickly on his own.

We popped in to a restaurant this evening for dinner and when we came out Island Boy spotted another toddler. Before we even noticed what he was commenting on, with all of the admiration and irony appropriate to the situation, Island Boy placed his foot next to the toddler's Croc adorned foot and said,

"Nice shoes!!"

Island Boy's Daddy and I looked at each other. Those Crocs weren't even the same color as Island Boy's Crocs!

We were amazed that Island Boy grasped the irony of the situation and came up with the subtle humor that applied. We have no idea how he could possibly have learned such a thing but it was pretty darn adorable.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Family Festival

We attended a Family Festival a few weeks ago and Island Boy was in Heaven. Not only did it have tons of activities perfectly suited for persons of his size and age, it also had enough interesting things for Mommy and Daddy to do that Mommy and Daddy didn't get bored too easily. In that sense, it was brilliantly planned.

Upon arrival Island Boy immediately located the Treasure Hunt. Ok, not quite immediately. We had to work our way past the live music first. Fortunately, the live music took a break and we were able to investigate other activities. It wasn't long before we located the reptile show taking place as we walked by.

Island Boy was fascinated with the lizards and snakes and even with a frog (I don't think he was bothered at all that it technically was not a reptile, nor was the millipede) and was thrilled with the opportunity to touch each of these creatures.

It was sometime not long after that that we actually made our way over to the Treasure Hunt where Island Boy rapidly located treasures too numerous to count (ok, there were seven) beneath the sand. It was adorable to see how excited he got over the plastic slugs and brightly colored ceramic disks that served as "treasure".

Island Boy even enjoyed several crafts where he painted and glued to create some beautiful decorations for our home. The event had so many things going on it's difficult to mention them all, but I will say that the ultimate was drumming right along with the musicians on stage. Yes, the live music was meant to be a collaborative masterpiece and drums and other percussion instruments were placed in front of the stage for attendees to play along with the band. Those were some VERY happy children playing along and Island Boy was in his element.

As usual with events as fun as this one, the only complaint we had was that it was very, very difficult to leave and unlike other things we do together as a family, this is not something that comes along all the time, so we won't be able to do it again next week. With any luck though, we may be able to do it again next year.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


One of Island Boy's favorite activities these days is to pick out things that are the same.

It's fascinating to watch him as he drops what he's doing to show me that he understands that the color of his train matches the color of the chair (and the plate and the picture frame and the pillow case and the towel and the tag on the side of my pants and the flyer that came in the mail and the beak on the bird in the picture on page 5 of the book and...) or that the picture of the owl in the book is the same creature as the plastic owl statue that guards our apricot tree in the back yard or that the spider in the book is the same as the arachnid we saw on our walk or get the picture!

While this game is fun, it's even more fun when Island Boy tests us to see if we're paying attention by showing us that something is the same when he knows it is not the same. He always does this with a watchful eye and bursts into laughter when we catch him at it. If we don't catch him at it, he will continue to test us until we finally realize that he's caught us and you cannot help but smile when that happens.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Greatest Holiday Ever

Yesterday our family celebrated not one, but two special days. In case you missed it, yesterday was National Doughnut Day, a day that could in fact be the greatest holiday ever invented.

What? You've never heard of it, you say?

If that is the case, I can only attribute that to the fact that this holiday is not what one would consider a traditional "Hallmark" holiday. No, unlike Sweetest Day, for example, you need not purchase a $5 card to celebrate. No, you can dispense with worrying about the proper way to say something sweet and with fretting over whether chocolates or flowers or both are required to convey the proper sentiment.

No, on National Doughnut Day it is very clear what you must do to celebrate!

Eat doughnuts!!

You gotta love that.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Future Librarian

Island Boy is a budding Librarian. Our evening book time is rapidly becoming "An Evening at the Library".

It began with Island Boy's surfboard stool. He pulled it up to his book shelf one night to select a book. He then shuffled it over in front of his "audience" (aka Daddy, Baby Sister and I), sat down, opened his book and held it open for us to see.

He didn't stop there. No, he held the book high and turned slowly from side to side, making sure that each member of the audience, including teddy bear, duckie, turtle and more, got a good look at it before turning to the next page and repeating the procedure.

Our Librarian is taking his self-assigned position very seriously. He does not stop with one book, nor did he stop when we moved his surfboard stool to another room. No, he simply found another lectern and kept right on going.

While it is adorable, it is a very effective method for delaying bedtime, so Mommy and Daddy are trying to have shift the Librarian's schedule accordingly.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Two Puppies

Picture this:

Island Boy approaches with a note card (held vertically) and a crayon.

"Two rice?", he asks, taking your order.

"Yes, please.", you say.

"Two rice.", says Island Boy, nodding and writing.

"And two puppies?", Island Boy adds.

Yes, that's right, folks. Island Boy has learned that the key to getting what you want is to be adorable when you request it. In this particular case, he had help from a friend we'll call "Uncle E". Thanks, Uncle E, for the help on this one.

As for the order for puppies?

Hmm...not sure we're ready for that just yet, but we'll take it under consideration!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shootin' with the Big Girls

We were invited to a friend's home for a traditional Memorial Day BBQ and Island Boy was in heaven. The house had a pool and a dog and people that love children.

Island Boy was having so much fun he decided to grab Mommy's camera and give the two professional photographers in the group some serious competition.

We're having fun reviewing the HUNDREDS of photos reflecting Island Boy's view of the world. Here are just a few for you to enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


We were examining a deck of playing cards last week when I pointed out that the red things in the corners of certain cards were called, "hearts".

"Boom! Boom!", Island Boy stated.

"Huh?", thought I.

"Boom! Boom!", he told me again. Then, when I continued to look puzzled, he clarified by pointing to my tummy and saying:

"Heartbeat! Boom! Boom!"

Yes, Island Boy remembers listening to the heartbeat of his little sister while she was still inside of Mommy, so now whenever we see cards (or anything else) with a heart on it, "Boom! Boom!", is what we hear.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Mothers, Daughters and so much more

It's the season for reflecting on what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a family and even a wife. This year, there is much to consider beyond that of other years.

This year, we have two incredible children in our home. They came to us in very different ways yet they are both miracles to us. Does it matter how they came to us? Does it make any difference in the definition of motherhood or that of grandmother-hood? No, not one tiny nanobit.

I have finally learned that as with so many things in life understanding what it means to be a mom is something you cannot fully comprehend until you are one. The things that define motherhood are not the particulars of how it came to be, but rather the daily struggles and pleasures that we share with our children as we guide them through the river of experiences that mold them. Motherhood is so much more than giving birth and so much more than the thrill of first steps, first words, first haircuts.

Motherhood means that I am the one with the privilege of sharing the joys and pains of growing up as they manifest themselves through tantrums, through smiles and through hugs so powerful you cannot understand how they can come from such tiny arms or fingers (as is the case with our tiny sweet daughter). I am the one that gets through my days and nights without sleep, without checking off the "high-priority" items on my to-do list and without reward other than the best reward of all:

In the dark of night, when the ladybug monster climbs into bed with my son, "Mommy!", is the cry that wakens me. Other times, nay, often times, I hear the cries of my tiny daughter and know that I am the only one that can sooth her. As I tear myself from my dreams (on the occasional night when I am not too exhausted to have dreams), I think first of what it means to be loved and needed enough to be the one whose name is called. And smile. That is what it means to be a Mom.

Thank you, Mom, for being the one that I still call and thank you, A-Ma, for being there for all of us too.

Happy Mother's Day to every one of you reading this with extra special wishes for all of you that are still waiting!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prepare to Be Embarassed

A good friend of mine and mother of three shared this sage admonition while we were still waiting to become parents:

"Prepare to be embarrassed!"

I asked her to elaborate and she offered only, "You just wait!".

Today we had a small glimpse of what that could mean to us. On our way in to the doctor's office, we found ourselves walking behind a woman that had a unique gate. We didn't give it a second thought until we observed Island Boy walking at the same cadence as the lady and with the identical tilt and bend of the knees.

It was obvious that he found this way of walking to be very interesting and wanted to try it on for size. It was also one of the funniest things you've ever seen as long as no feelings were hurt in the process. Daddy and I kept our amusement between ourselves and Island Boy soon tired of the game but left an image in our minds that we won't soon forget.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cement Mixer

It *is* a pretty dynamite cement mixer, isn't it??

Monday, April 06, 2009

Proud Big Brother

Island Boy has had the past six days or so to settle in to his new role as Big Brother and I cannot tell you how proud of him I am.

While he will proudly run over to introduce his little sister to any visitors and he knows that giving her a gentle kiss on the cheek or head produces very positive reactions, it's obvious he's doing it for more than a reaction. When we're alone, just us four, Island Boy is just as eager to kiss her, to cuddle with her, to care for her as he is when he is doing it in front of company.

He even takes great care of his little sister when she's not even in the room. He is happy to pretend she's in her car seat. He will check on her and offer her some pretend milk and he's even super gentle with the pretend version of his little sister.

He loves to hold her hand, or gently stroke her hair and give her hugs. Apparently, he was even been telling all of his friends at the park about the latest family addition, too.

We're not sure if all of this behavior has anything at all to do with the fact that his little sister gave him a cement mixer as a present when he came to visit her in the hospital for the first time, but I'm sure that didn't hurt.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Baby Sister

Island Boy got a new baby sister today. He seems excited and even supportive. At the very least, he's very interested.

He's already learned to be very gentle with her and given her several kisses while marveling at the size of her tiny hands holding on to his. It's magical to see them together.

We're all doing fine, although eager to get home from the hospital.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lil Sis

Island Boy is expecting a little sister any minute now. He seems genuinely excited and has an amazing intuition about what is about to take place.

For the past few months, he has correctly identified items that are specifically for his little sister even if we have not pointed out that that is their purpose in advance.

We're all a bit excited and a bit terrified. Life is about to change for us once again and we couldn't be happier.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

In case you missed it, and if you happen to be reading this post on the day it is being posted (3/20/09), check out the Google homepage today. Seriously, how cute is that??

Ok, if you happened to miss it, you can get a little idea of just how cute it was by clicking here. See what I mean?? Sooo cute! I also cannot believe that that book sells a copy once every 30 seconds somewhere in the world! Isn't that crazy? It's been 40 years since it was published. I'm not saying it's not a great book - we love it, but WOW!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Paperwork Surprise!

Today the whole family happened to be together as we opened the mail. Since we recently ordered a number of things from our Vital Records office, I was only slightly suspicious of a certain parcel from that entity. I only paused briefly before opening it, thinking that we had already received everything that we had ordered from them.

Can you guess what it was?? I didn't and probably for good reason.

Although we would have liked to have a birth certificate for Island Boy over a year ago, we weren't able to request one until almost a year ago and we were told we would be waiting up to a year for it. When I last checked on the status of that document over a month ago, I was told that with the budget crisis in California (and the nation), staffing cutbacks meant that birth certificate processing was being delayed more than ever, so I hung up the phone and prepared for a continuing wait, thinking that it might be another six months or even more.

Both my husband and my son stopped what they were doing when they heard my reaction to seeing our son's birth certificate there in my hands. WOW!! What a THRILL! Could this really be it??!

We had a mini-celebration.

Why did this particular document make us so happy? It wasn't new information to us and it didn't really change anything legally. What it did was represent the final chapter in a long road of paperwork. Oh, I hate to say that because as soon as I do, another challenge will present itself, but still, whatever that document meant, it felt good to hold it and to know that all of the paperwork - all of it - has been worth it.

Now we're off to get our little Island Boy a new passport!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Did he just gerund??

While enjoying a lovely ride in our car on Sunday, our son requested his magnetic writing tablet. (What are those things called anyway??)

"Write!", he said, indicating he wanted his tablet.
Ok, son, here ya go...
and we handed him his tablet.

A few moments later, Daddy and I were back in our conversation when Island Boy declared, "writing!".

"Did he just gerund?!", Daddy asked.

Yes. Yes, I believe he did.

I'm not sure which should impress me more - I mean, how did my husband find that word floating around in his head?? I admit it's been a while since I've used the word, "gerund", and unless you happen to be an English teacher I'm guessing it's been a while since you have, too. :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Whale Watching

We got away for a day in Santa Barbara over the weekend. While Santa Barbara is always a beautiful place, on this particular day it was amazing.

We had the rare treat of watching a young gray whale frolic in the bay. He was there for hours (or days??). Of course, we have a toddler, so we watched for "minutes" and enjoyed it all. Island Boy was captivated. Who wouldn't be?

Unfortunately, there was some controversy as kayakers and even boaters in relatively large vessels crowded in for a closer look. The whale was surfacing *very* close to some of those kayaks and I'm sure it was a genuine thrill for them.

Luckily, we had a tremendous and close up view of the Cetacean from the wharf - not quite the same as being in a kayak, but certainly dryer and more reliable!

As Island Boy said, "Amazing!!!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009


We've been attending a class which requires each child to locate their name tag among all of the children's name tags when we enter the classroom each week.

The teacher patiently guides each student to the correct name tag each week and the parents happily pin them on. While the students are all under the age of three, it turns out that this exercise has not been entirely in vein.

This past week I watched in amazement as Island Boy walked over to the name tags and, before teacher or Mommy could intervene, he correctly selected his own name tag amongst all the choices! I'm the first to admit that Island Boy is not yet reading (nor should he be), but the fact that he may be able to recognize his own name (even in this entirely unscientific and very limited "experiment") is pretty exciting. Of course, I'm trying to restrain my excitement a bit as I wait to see if he does it again...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

First Haircut

Island Boy had his first haircut this past weekend. Yes, he's now TWO and just getting his first haircut.

We couldn't help it - he was so cute we didn't know who to trust with his precious locks. Finally, we received a recommendation and gave a place specializing in children's haircuts a chance.

Their technique involves throwing every possible distraction at a child. Those distractions included a chair shaped like a rocket ship, endless books and toys that were given to him in groups of 3 or 4 (I found this puzzling and stressful. The poor kid only has 2 hands and he couldn't figure out how to hold all of these items let alone enjoy them before a new group was foisted upon him.), animal crackers given at the halfway and "nearly done" points and a very loud television blaring Sponge Bob. Island Boy sat calmly through all of this, but honestly, Mommy was seriously overwhelmed with it all.

The final result? Island Boy still looks adorable, although definitely a bit older. As much fun as it is to watch him grow up, it's also bitter sweet. It happens so quickly.


Island Boy has always loved music. Before he could speak, he would make his desires clear if Mommy was listening to too much talk radio in the car, for example.

Recently, he's found a new way to make his preferences clear. Although it is probably the least represented genre in our home music library, Island Boy's most frequent request of late is:

"Opera, please!"

He will also occasionally ask for "Classical" or "Rock, Roll", but for whatever reason, the boy does love his opera. Apparently Mommy and Daddy need to shop or some opera music to update the collection!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Preschool Tryouts

I've been to three preschool functions in less than a week. That's correct, we're not yet *IN* preschool, but I have found myself hustling back and forth to a variety of activities. Although technically not mandatory, these functions are, in fact, a test of the level of commitment one is willing to offer to a particular school. I'm not complaining. In all fairness, these activities are, for the most part, fun. Still, if you had told me a few years ago what was required or preschool entry, I doubt I would have believed it.

Yes, this is the season for preschool decisions - the time during which preschool directors are reviewing applications for Fall admissions and deciding which lucky families will be a part of their programs beginning next Fall.

For parents, it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Island Boy and his future classmates are blissfully ignorant of the many hoops their parents are jumping through in an effort to secure their spots. Oh, to be 2 again!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Tantrums? What tantrums? None here! Ok, maybe a when those few crop up, I try to remember the following beautiful sentiment.

I found this to be lovely. One of my favorite blogs adapted it from the Tao De Jing:

The whirlwind's spent before the morning ends;
The storm will pass before the day is done.
Who made them, wind and storm? Heaven and earth.
If heaven itself cannot storm for long,
What matter, then, the storms of man?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Young Comic

Last night, Island Boy placed his hands on his lower back, arched his back, stretched out his belly, looked down at his belly button and said, "Mei Mei" (that's Mandarin for "little sister").

Yes, my darling son has noticed that Mommy's belly is sticking waaaaaaay out and he was actually imitating me!!!

Fortunately, Mommy can take a joke and we all got a good laugh. Hopefully, he will use discretion when delivering such commentary in public.

The Paperchase Continues...

We've been home for nearly a year and a half. We've completed all of our social worker visits, been officially recognized as a family by the governments of two countries and even received a US flag that had flown over the US Capitol building in celebration.

So, are we good to go?
Of course not!

We received a notice in the mail (or rather, Island Boy did) that we must appear in court once again if we'd like to receive proof of our son's citizenship. We must also bring a certified copy of each of our birth certificates and a certified copy of our marriage certificate along with certified copies of all court documents relating to our case and I'm sure a few other items I'm forgetting as I type. We've sent off to all of the appropriate places and have our fingers crossed that we'll receive all of the required documentation in time for our court date.

You know, I was kind of feeling like I needed a little something extra to keep me busy. :-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Best Software Ever

As a former software engineer and generally voracious consumer of technology, I have seen and used a lot of software in my lifetime. Yesterday I installed what I am fairly certain is the Best Software Ever!!!

If you are not yet a Mac user, stop reading this post right now and go purchase a Mac. I'm serious. You need one in order to get iLife and you need iLife in order to use the amazing iPhoto '09. Yes, I think the Best Software Ever may be iPhoto '09. Ok, ok, I'm sure there are many other amazing applications out there that are making the world a better place, but there is nothing as fun and easy and just plain crazy genius out there today as iPhoto '09. (No, I do not work for Apple although I did work for Microsoft.)

What makes iPhoto '09 so much FUN??!! It recognizes faces and catalogs them for you, so if you, for example, have oh, let's just say 30,000 pictures or so in your digital library (ahem!), you don't have to go through all 30,000 by hand to figure out which ones your little loved ones (or your big loved ones) are in. You simply find a picture that has the face you want to identify in it; you name it, and voila! iPhoto presents you with many of the other photos that that person is in. So. Much. FUN!!

I admit it's not flawless, but even that was part of the fun. It was fun watching the software sift through all of our digital pictures (this process took hours given the number of pictures we have) and pick out the faces. Once it was done, it was fun seeing which faces it thought belonged together - it mostly guessed correctly and we got some good chuckles when it didn't.

If I seem a bit giddy, it's because I am. If you're a PC or haven't installed your copy yet, you can at least enjoy a demo by clicking here.


Island Boy insists on doing pretty much everything we do. The results of his efforts are somewhat mixed.

However, in the use of chopsticks, he is determined and, with a little help from a piece of plastic, gets the job done with surprising skill.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Play Dough

My son located a rock-hard ball of play dough and presented it to me.

Squeeze!, he commanded.

I can't squeeze it, I told him. I went on to explain that the play dough was all dried out because we didn't put it back in the container.

Island Boy considered the evidence and, in a leap that wouldn't be made by most adults, responded with a very logical, "Wash, please!"

Ah, the world is sometimes much simpler than it seems to those of us that have been in it for a while! I'm glad our children are here to remind us of that and to give us good reason to smile along the way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bye Bye Tree

"Bye, bye, tree!", he said. It really seemed like one of the saddest things I had ever heard: Island Boy saying goodbye to the Christmas tree. It was a sad sight to see.

We tried to help him through the transition by taking the candy canes and ornaments off the tree, wrapping them all securely (except for the candy canes, of course) and storing them away for next year. We told him we'd have another tree next year and explained that we'd soon have other things to celebrate, including his birthday. In the end, he seemed to feel a little better when he picked up the Christmas tree-shaped rosemary bush from our front yard, carried it in to the house and placed it where the Christmas tree had been. It wasn't quite the same, but at least it was something that would last for just a little while longer.

And yes, I know, I know! I haven't even written about putting the tree up yet and it was already time to say goodbye to the tree. That's the way the holidays worked out this year - I wasn't quite ready for them and, in a flash, they were over. *sigh*

Monday, January 19, 2009

Technical Difficulties

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet here lately. It's not that things have actually been quiet around here, of course! We have a toddler in the house. How could they be??

No, we've been experiencing technical difficulties of the sort that so often accompany the busiest times in our lives. Yes, I have managed once again to completely overwhelm my computer's storage devices. Tens of thousands of digital pictures will do that and they will typically do that at the least opportune time.

So, after yet another addition to our home Tera Monster (see note below), we are nearly back at work here at Island Boy and my, do we have some serious catching up to do!!

Note: Years ago (yes, more than I care to recall), I visited the data farm of one of the world's leading corporations. They proudly showed me the massive room housing their data farm. They lovingly referred to it as the "Tera monster". It was impressive for its time, but the same amount of storage today would fit rather neatly into the rather smallish room where I now sit. My, how things have changed!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Horse Dog

Shortly before Christmas, Island Boy woke up to see this in his living room. A gift from dear friends, it is a larger-than-life size replica of a Bernese Mountain Dog. In fact, it is about three times the size of our Bernese Mountain Dog.

Island Boy stood back, warily observing the thing.

"Horse!", he declared.

I see your point, son. He continued to study the thing and soon declared, "Bus!". Wow, another great choice!

Yes, as large as a horse (or a bus) but in the likeness of a dog, this creature defies definition, so we now refer to it as the "horse dog". It was just one of the many highlights of our holidays this year and Island Boy still doesn't know quite what to make of it.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Big Red Barn

I happened to be browsing the maternity clothes in Target's online store when I noticed a very curious thing...a rather...shall we say, "overweighted" selection of red items. Upon further inspection, I found that the color of the items bore the label "Barn Red".

Now anyone that knows anything at all about marketing can tell you that labels matter and anyone that knows anything at all about women can tell you that most of us, pregnant or not, would prefer not to be compared to a large, broad structure - particularly not one meant for housing farm animals.

No, Target, as much as I love you, "Barn Red" was not your finest example of marketing prowess and thus it is no surprise that one can find an unusual number of items in the color "Barn Red" in the clearance section of Target's website.