Thursday, February 28, 2008


I'm at work today. It seems I'll be working a lot more here in the near future. I haven't blogged about it because for some reason it seems like not the right forum, but I had a friend die suddenly a couple weeks ago from a brain aneurism. She was 44 and the mother of two boys, a high school senior and an eighth grader. She was a good friend to me and also a court reporter. She worked full time for a judge about a half-hour from where I live. Her judge is going to retire at the end of April, so they didn't rush to hire a new court reporter, and just want me to fill in as much as I can. I am not going to work on any Wednesdays because that day is so busy for John and I want to be home to support him, but otherwise I am taking on quite a few days. This is on top of agreeing to fill in for another court reporter starting May 12th for 12 weeks while she enjoys maternity leave. I was reluctant to accept that position, but her judge is taking off every Friday in June and another week in July, so I said I'd go ahead and do it. So I find myself working away...and that really isn't what I want to be doing ALL the time, just some of the time, but I also feel a loyalty to the people who have been so flexible to work with me in the past, and they are really in a pinch.

Not working on Wednesdays enables me to keep up in Bible study, which I love, but I also feel like I don't want to give Gertie up for even two hours on the only day I have with her some weeks. It really isn't all week every week, even now, but sometimes it is. I guess I'm just struggling with this decision. Which I've made.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to You

Well, I woke up not believing this child could be two years old. I am amazed at how time flies. Sometimes a day seems to last a long time, although that is even more rare, it seems, yet the years fly by. My oldest is 11 years old, and I just don't see myself as the parent of an 11-year-old.

But I am the parent of an 11-year-old, and a son, and this 2-year-old daughter. I love so many things she does, but I don't feel like I comment about them often. I am going to preserve them here today. This is as close to a baby book as I have for this one.

Gertie is smart. I was reflecting on what she knows yesterday, and she impresses me as smart. My others were smart too, and I'm not sure if memory fades about these things or not. But anyway, she counts to ten without missing a beat. She'll say her ABCs with lots of holes here and there, but she gets through the song. What strikes me most is that she talks in complete sentences. Long ones. It doesn't hit me every day, but as it was her second birthday I was thinking that is a little unusual. She likes to call people by their names. Even little friends she plays with or just meets. Names seem to be important to her.

She loves her brother. She often calls him
Brother," or "Boy." And if she sees a group of kids, she calls out to them, "Hello, kids," or "wait for me, kids."

Gertie also loves soup. She gobbles it up every time we put it in front of her, which is often. She likes hot dogs and fruit. I've watched her eat three dogs in one sitting. Where do they go? She calls strawberries blueberries no matter how many times I correct her. She won't drink white milk, but she will drink chocolate milk. She loves nuts, and ate them at every chance she got over the holidays when there were many around. She loves suckers, and will even sneak them if she
gets a chance.

Gertie doesn't obey as well as I'd like her to. I really did make my other two listen better (at least as I remember it today). I sometimes ponder this and wonder why I don't force it as much. And what I conclude is I'm more patient, and I mean to a flaw. I say, "Let's put your coat on." She runs off. I say, "Come on, Gertie. Let's put your coat on. " I say it again. And again. Finally, I say, "If you don't come right now I'm going to put you in the no-no chair. " It never fails: She comes right away. I need to work on this.

Gertie is moody. And a bit whiny. A lot whiny. I am working on that as well, but it is sloooooow going. If she wakes up in the morning and I go in to get her, sometimes she wants Dad and she won't come to me. If Grace goes and she wants me, she won't go to Grace. If she kicks you in the head and you're hurt or mad, she says, "What happened?" like she's got no clue. She wants a kiss on every ouchie, including the ones on her rear end. She has faith in those kisses, though. And they don't have to be from me. There is no special magic there. She wants to kiss my ouchies too.

And Gertie is so independent. This is another thing I don't remember so early from my other two. Gertie wants to put on her own clothes, go to the bathroom all by herself, zip her own pajamas, brush her own teeth, get into the car by herself, eat by herself. If I do any of these for her against her wishes, she unzips or climbs down or pushes it away so she can redo it by herself. She just erases what she doesn't like and fixes it so she likes it. These things take three times as long as if I could just do it and be done.

She calls blankets mapes. We don't know where she came up with this. We can't find any logic in it. Sometimes she slips and calls it a blanket, but then it's right back to mape. She's clueless about colors. With all the things ticking around it that brain, there is absolutely no room for an understanding about colors. She loves to read books, be tickled and chased. She loves to give and receive raspberries. She has a funny sense of humor and laughs big and hard sometimes. I like it. She's been picking her nose lately. Any time she feels like it. And I've seen her eat it too. Not cool. She doesn't care at all when I tell her she can't do this.

Well, that's all the time I have for this today. She's my last baby. My gift from God. Oh, she loves going to church too. She thinks it's great. I'm glad I get to spend my days with her.

Happy Birthday, Gertie. I love you.
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Friday, February 22, 2008

Unkept Promises

Well, I just can't keep a promise about blogging more often. I want to, but not, I guess, more than I want to sleep or eat. And Gertie doesn't happen to be the kind of child that plays on her own while I tool around on the computer. She likes to be played with. It is making me contemplate a second child--or is that fourth? What I really need to be working on is a play date for her, I suppose. I used to be part of a play group that met once a week, but we kind of crumbled. Maybe it's time to try again.

Anyway, I wanted to blog about Ethan getting his braces off.

He looks great! It hurt him a little when the gal started to grind the glue off his teeth, but he braved it out. Here is the handsome little devil now. Just look at those shiny whites!

I got a new camera (I should say we), and I am loving using it. I was inspired by Heather (thanks, Heather, I hope you're out there!) She always takes such great pictures of her kids. I am sure this takes some talents that I don't have (yet) about knowing how to make a good shot, but at least I now have a camera that I can take some close-ups with. And it has a big window that gives me tips on what I should be doing. The one thing I was worried about was getting a better camera and never using the features. I am going to try. I'm loving it so far.

Today is Gertie's birthday. We've been having a good time. I've been taking lots of pictures, but I'll work on that post tonight or maybe tomorrow. She is a smart little cookie and we're all crazy about her. I want to go on, but I'm saving it for tomorrow. I need to wrap presents for a little party later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Good Mornings

It is -4 degrees outside right now. The kids are going to school late for the third day in a row due to subzero temperatures. (Although Grace's orchestra teacher did ring us up at 6:30 a.m. yesterday to ask Grace to come in early (9:15) for quartet practice. Oh, and could she call the others in her quartet to let them know? And did I mention that they have last names like Johnson, so when you go to find them in the phone book it will be a little tricky. This woman is intense.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

General Chit Chat

These are just some pictures because I haven't posted any in a while.

We just got back from the orthodontist. I thought Ethan was going to get his braces off today, but I guess they just make a mold of his teeth for the retainer today, and then next week he gets the braces off. He was disappointed. He told EVERYBODY at school that today was the day. Of course, that was only because that's what I told him. Now he has to go back to school tomorrow looking just the same as he did today. Mothers really do destroy lives. (Right, mom?)

Anyway, it's been a good week around here. Gertie and I went to story time at the library again. I think I just go there for myself. She just stares at the librarian as she does her little word plays or rhyming songs. I am the one singing and doing the motions. Today I learned how to say, "You are my friend" in sign language.

We had great discussions in Bible study the other day about "fearing" God. Our teacher gave a good analogy about the fear she had of her father growing up. He wasn't mean and didn't beat them or anything, but his kids jumped when he said jump. It was just making me think about when my husband is harsh with the kids, and I think he should be more gentle, maybe there is a reason he isn't . I think that's okay. Maybe there is a place in life and relationships for that sternness sometimes. Anyway, John isn't overly harsh. He has a lot of fun with the kids, which makes me think of the valentines we got from Grace this morning.

Dear Mom, I've decided to send people notes instead of cards this year. Here is a list of the things I want you to know.
1. I love you!
2. I want to keep a strong relationship.
3. I missed you a lot during the last few months.
4. I love you!!.
5. I love to talk with you.
6. I know I can talk with you.
7. You're always willing to help me.
8. You want the best for me.
9. I love you!!!
10. You mean the world to me.

To her dad she wrote:
-I love you to the moon and back.
-You rock my world.
-Nobody could have a better sense of humor.
-You are a great teacher to me.
-I love your guitar.
-I love that you accept my music taste, but hate it.
-I love your PB sandwiches.
-I love our discussions over religion and politics.

I love that girl.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Do You Need a Mate?

Let's talk socks. I am referring to the basket I have sitting on my dryer of 21 unmated socks. Do any of you have a basket like that? I've lived in this home only slightly over a year. I made a very difficult decision when I moved...I decided to throw out my basket of unmated socks at that time. So what this means is I've accrued 21 new unmated socks since our move. That's about a sock and a half a month. How is this possible? It occurs to me that possibly some of these socks are the mates to the ones I threw out before the move. And let it be known that I washed every stitch of dirty clothing in our home today. And we cleaned the bedrooms this weekend, including under beds. (It wasn't pretty.) So I know they aren't hiding under there anymore. What causes this gaping hole in the cosmos? Where are my missing socks?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A Promise (Sort of)

Today I am posting only because it's been so long since I've written anything. I have now got my blog list on Google Reader, and I check it frequently. It is quite disappointing when there is nothing new to read, yet I let my blog go too long between posts. I will try to do better, but sometimes I feel like there is nothing too interesting going on around here.

Grace had another gymnastics meet last weekend. We all went. Ethan kicked off his boots only to reveal socks riddled with holes (quite embarrassing) and took a nap(!) on the bleachers. Gertie found a friend to play with, and had a good time, and scared only one adult into a "safer" section of the bleachers. John and I watched very proudly as Grace competed in every event. She didn't win anything, but she did a great job on each event. I was beaming.

Ethan had a friend over today. We picked up the house all morning, including bedrooms, mopped floors (which really needed it), and we were ready for some fun. Ethan's friend had invited him for a sleepover, but we compromised with an afternoon play date. They had a great time together playing hide and seek and Playstation and everything else they could think of to keep Gertie from falling asleep. Our house just shakes whenever Ethan gets going. Sometimes I check on him, and he's really not being all that rowdy, but our house shakes. Even when he's on the third floor and we're on the first. Anyway, we put Gertie down at 1 p.m. and she was just falling asleep at 3 p.m. And that was after many songs and scoldings and lovings and beggings and threats, until I finally sat in the chair in her room and read my book. Actually, it was a nice quiet time for me to read. I liked it. BUT I'M NOT DOING IT AGAIN.

I am reading Into the Wild by John Krakauer. I had read another book of his called Under the Banner of Heaven. Very well done. And I'm finding this book fascinating as well. It's about this guy who starved to death out in the Alaskan wilderness. You've probably heard about him. Anyway, very interesting story.

Gertie. Potty-training. What can I say. John thought I was crazy to try before she turned two. I considered agreeing with him, but she was telling me and actually going often. I got tired of pulling the diaper off all the time. Anyway, she did great for a couple days, and then she had a bad night (wetting on her Dad's feet) and then we went to church the next night and she had two accidents (and no successes). Then we went to the library in the morning and she had another accident. Do you think I should give up? I did. I do. I went to Target and bought 100 more diapers. But then she starts telling me again all the time. She takes her diaper off when I put her down for a nap, a few days in a row now. So here's where I am now: When we're at home, she's not wearing a diaper. And this is working. But when we go out I'm slapping a diaper on that rear end and enjoying myself. Probably very confusing for her, but that's where I'm headed.

John is dragging in firewood for a big game day tomorrow. We are very excited for the Patriots to make history as they defeat the Giants tomorrow. I am hoping for a close, exciting game. And a victory, of course.