I get it but still

daffodils like the ones that have begun to bloom around our property always bring thoughts of Easter to me. This year, as happy as I am to see the flowers blooming, I'm finding it a little bittersweet.

Bruce's career has transformed over the years we've been together. Most recently it's taken a huge evolutionary leap. On the whole, it's a good change for both him and us as a family. Yet there is a part of these new responsibilities that require quite a bit of travel.

It's not easy when he's away, but it's certainly manageable. My parents are close. We spend many a night there for dinner. The nights we can do, we're used to having weekdays on our own as it is. We can, as much as we miss him, take the nights on our own too. The weekends are tough for us all. We do spend a lot of time with grandparents then. Something to change up the scenery a little.

There is a trip on the horizon, however, that is a bit different. He'll leave on a Thursday for nearly two weeks. He'll depart here and take a very long flight across time-zones that places him down in Singapore on Saturday...the day before Easter.

Yes, we'll be spending our Easter without him. I didn't think it'd bother me as much as it is. I didn't think it'd bother him as much as it is, quite frankly. Last night, as I showed him the big white bows we found for Meg's hair, he said sadly, "Take lots of pictures on Easter morning. Lots."

The daffodils in our backyard have nearly all bloomed now. The ones in the front are just reaching the "buds about to pop open" stage. The tulips are starting to emerge - tightly closed and green still with small hints of the vibrant red they will become. Each plant a reminder of the holiday that I'm almost not looking forward to.

I understand the nature of business. I understand why the trip can't be another time. That doesn't mean I have to like it.


I hated being right

I was four years old when began my boycott on blood tests. It lasted until I was 22 and planning my wedding. The state abolished the law requiring blood work for a marriage license the next year. That ticked me off. Forget the fact I needed more than enough blood drawn when we began our fertility testing and treatments. Forget the fact that I had more than my fair share of blood drawn as a pregnant woman two times over...or an IV both times for delivery. The mere fact that I could have avoided a needle drawing blood from my veins for a few more years irked me.

My mother reminded me of my experience at a mere four years old this morning when we spoke. She didn't need to. I remember it very well. I was getting dizzy a lot. I remember the dizzy too. I very clearly recall the sensation of being too dizzy to stand. I'd sit down on the ground and cry for help. They doctor's ordered tests. As it turns out, strawberry blonde, fair-skinned me just can't handle a lot of direct sunlight. If it was hot, I had to be in and out in short spurts. Lots of liquids. Lots of hats to keep the sun off my head. Things haven't changed all the much, only I'm not as dizzy as I did way back then.

The blood test - that was awful. I had to go the hospital for it. They poked around one arm. They tried for the vein. They missed. Not only did they miss, they poked the tip out higher up my arm. Understandably, I was a wreck. My infant brother was a wreck. My mother was a wreck. They tried again on the other arm. No luck. They ended up pricking my finger and squeezing the blood out in the vile. Slow but successful.

When I finally gave in and let them near my veins again, I recalled why I had stopped. I've got my mother's veins. They still use pediatric needles on her. My veins are hard to find with a needle - even the one on either arm that they can see in all it's blue-through-pasty-white-skin-glory. I've told my veins roll when the needle gets near. I've been told the collapse. Clearly, my veins have not quite given up my old boycott. But I'm an adult. I grit my teeth. I look the other way and I bear it. I hate it. But I bear it.

When Logan was a year old, it was time for his first blood test. They draw two small vial's to test iron and lead levels. He hated it, understandably. They had to work a little him to find a good vein because small toddler veins are tough to hit. He had another test around his 2nd birthday. The worst part for him was being restrained. He'll sit still, just not if you want him to.

Megan's 12-month well visit was a nightmare. Both kids were in massive meltdown mode. By the time the doctor came in, I had two young kids in mid-tantrum. I think the doctor was concerned with getting the vitals out of the way and then getting us out for all our sanity. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice doctor and he was easily one of the better ones in the practice that treated us this Winter's on again/off again cold fest.

The doctor that saw us for Meg's 15-month check-up asked me about the blood work. Didn't we go? Where were the results? Oh. Well, see. Didn't go. Dr Steve didn't give me the Rx for it and frankly, I didn't think to ask to put us through that hell. (So ok, I didn't *quite* but it that way.) Dr. R wasn't letting us out of it a 2nd time. She ordered the tests. Megan and I were going to have to go the lab before her next visit.

And here we are. She's two weeks past her 18 month mark. I've yet to make her next appointment because I've been putting off the blood work. I didn't mean to, actually. I had wanted to just get it over with. Yet one day bled into another and it got forgotten about. Truth be told, between the colds, the ear infections, the walking pneumonia, the massive teething all at once, the last thing I wanted to dump on the poor kid was a needle to remove blood from her veins.

But I couldn't put it off any longer. I told Bruce we were going to get it over with today. "It's going to SUCK!" I said.

"I know," he said.

And it did.

Megan is a smart girl. She walked into the exam room and had an inkling of where she was - not for what purpose but something unfun and medical was about to take place. She informed me quickly that we were "All done. Out door now!"

Instead I got her distracted with the window while the tech filled out the online forms. Megan amused herself with squirrel watching. Then the fun ended. I sat with her in the big chair used for draws. They put the arm rest over us. Megan tried to slither her way out. The 2nd tech arrived to help keep the girl still and that worked well to keep my curious child preoccupied. She was intently studying both techs trying to determine who they were and what they wanted with her.

She was quiet and fine for the ages it took to determine her right arm would not surrender a useful vein. The little rubber band tied to her upper arm as the tech poked and rubbed the inside the arm searching for the entry point. Nothing.

Megan even sat somewhat patiently as they attempted to find a vein in her left arm. She did tell the tech we were finished a few times. I even tried the "Almost" ploy. Megan shook her head at me. "No! All done. Get down. I go." she told me, clearly understanding that I wasn't getting her point.

They found a vein. They inserted the needle. Megan sat silent for a moment. Then she screamed. They had to move the needle a bit to get the blood moving down the needle point, to the small tubing on it's way to the vile. Then it stalled. Blood just stopped coming down. Out came the needle. On went the bandage. Megan hated that as much as the initial poke.

They tried to locate a vein on the right arm again. They both looked. They found one. Megan stopped crying. She did not stop yelling "I GO! ALL DONE NOW!" They tried again. Needle in. Blood flowing....slowly. They got the minimum required for the test in the first vile. They *think* they have enough for the other test in the second vile. If not we're going to have to try again.

Megan did not stop crying when the needle came out. In fact she cried harder. They bandaged her up. We wiped her snotty, drool covered face with a tissue. I stood, turning her to face me in a fluid, comforting motion. I held her tight. She put her head on my shoulder and began to rub my back. "I all done," she sniffed.

"Yes you are, honey. We're all done," I whispered. I promised her we'd go to the store to buy some Little People or M&Ms.

She sniffed back in reply. "Lil Peepulls? I ok," she said. She thought some more and added, "I wan Ms."

I sort of figured that at least one of my kids might inherit the uncooperative veins. I had hoped to be wrong. I suppose that as she grows the problem could be resolved. Maybe. Perhaps not.

As we endured the hunt for the magical entry point, I asked the tech - "Is it just that she's so young? Is the pudge on her arm an issue?"

The tech made a face, "Well, her veins are just really small."

I'm so hoping they go through a growth spurt before she needed to do this process again!


No snow, just Crocus

I decided to continue my spring flower picture taking frenzy. My plan is to frame a few and hang them in Meg's room. I think I may add this one to the set. As I look at it now, I remember why I planted these flowers - a gentle reminder that winter ends and spring begins even if there are still days of blustery cold.



The boy is a typical active young kid. Seemingly always on the move. Chatting up a storm. And quite frankly, he's never met a "no" he's not tried to nag his way past. He likes to play, big, loud, energized games of tag and hide and seek. He likes to involve anyone he can lay eyes on. He can wear the most fit adult out in no time flat.

Don't get me wrong. I love playing with him - with both of them. I look forward to sunny days when we can build sand castles and blow bubbles. I like climbing the rock wall of our swing set or playing ball. I like all the things we do. Just sometimes I like a break. Sometimes I like to get to drink my coffee before it's cold. That's not something he quite gets. He's still of the mind that I can have those breaks when it fits into his schedule.

This morning, as we stood in the kitchen gathering breakfast, my wee-clone gave it back to the big kid.

Logan stood next to me, asking me repeatedly if he could have a bagel with just a little bit of cream cheese, despite the fact I was already putting his mini-bagel in the toaster as he nagged me. Megan walked up to him and stared at him. "Brabah." she declared, still refusing to call him by name even though she is quite capable of saying it. I imagine them as old, grey haired siblings in their 90s -- in this day dream she's slightly bent over and still calling him "Brother."

Logan ignored her, as he is sometimes apt to do.

Megan, learning at the knee of the master, was determined to not take 'no' (spoken or implied) for an answer. She extended one, little pudgy toddler finger and began to repeatedly poke him in the chest as she chanted "Brabah" over and over.

It wore me down before it did him. "Logan," I said in a tone that he recognizes to mean "Mommy means business."

He looked up at me. I continued, "Your sister would like to tell you something."

He sighed. He looked annoyed. He moved his gaze from his toasting bagel to his sister. "Yes Megan?" He was using that voice that clearly settles upon the eldest the moment the youngest takes her first breath. The one that says "I merely tolerate you sometimes, you know." I know I used this same tone on my little brother as we grew up.

Megan was undaunted. Attention was attention. She could stop poking him. She smiled. She started to walk away from him. She turned and looked over her shoulder. "Brabah chase. Run!" And with that she took off. She loves this game - they run a lap around the circle of our house - the front hall to the living room to the dining area to the kitchen to the hall and back for more. Over and over. Squealing. Laughing. Chasing.

Logan laughed. He likes the game too. He started to run. He quickly moved ahead of her, which made her laugh more. He did a few laps and then stopped in the kitchen once more. Megan was behind him, chanting "chase, chase, run Brabah!"

He exhaled deeply and slowly. His shoulder sank a bit. He looked up with the face I recognized as having made myself on occasion. He started to speak. He was confiding in me. He was looking for someone to commiserate. "She's wearing me out!" he said with all the seriousness a 3 1/2 year old boy can muster.

I grinned. Oh heck, ok, I admit it. I laughed and I wasn't laughing "with" him. No I was laughing "at" him. I choked it back though. And then instead, I smoothed his hair back and handed him the plate with his bagel. I pulled his chair out for him and placed his orange juice on the table. I patted his shoulder, trying to make him feel like I knew. I understood. We could be in this together. "Tell me about it," I said.

Yet that wasn't the first thing that had popped into my head. Those weren't the words I had to choke back. I resisted that urge. I just smiled as I walked away and thought it instead - Payback's a bitch, kid.



I thought he might clam up. I thought he might get a little punchy and start acting silly. Yet he didn't do either.

Logan stood with me before a church full of people (over a 100 easily) to help deliver a request for participation in a special collection we take each year on Palm Sunday. He began our talk with a cheery "Good Morning!" He smiled brightly as everyone responded to him. I asked him two questions and he clearly, loudly, leaning into the microphone answered them both with authority. When we completed our talk he leaned to the mic one last time to say "thank you."

Our Senior Pastor has been at the church for roughly 9 years. He reminded us after the service that it was the first time in all those 9 years anyone received applause for a minute for mission. Typically we're not a demonstrative group. People tend to refrain from clapping unless it's the children's choir singing...or apparently a three-year old encouraging us to give what we have to help those that don't have anything.

He was proud of himself, as he ought to be. Several of the people sitting near us came over both during the greeting portion of the service and after the service to thank Logan for a job well done. They told him how well he did and how proud his parents must be. Logan took the praise in stride. He smiled nicely and said simply "Thank you."

I am proud of my boy. Not just for what he said today, but that, at a mere three years old, he had the courage to stand before so many adults and do it. Perhaps there are those that will write their checks for this offering remembering the enthusiastic red-head. I think it's pretty spectacular that a composed child could lead adults in such a way...but I know Logan. I saw him in action today. I know he can and I'm not at all surprised by it.


Ought to be snoozing

Sure, I could be asleep. I could be catching up on emails long awaiting my reply. I could be rehearsing the short 'speech' I have to give tomorrow during church for a minute on mission. Yet here I blog.

Just a few thoughts I wanted to commit to virtual paper. I need to for my own ability to process and remember.

1 - The dying friendship mentioned a while back. Well I decided the right thing to do was to send a little card to the birthday boy regardless. I did. I got an email tonight that not only thanked us for remembering but engaging in general chit chat. I still am not sure we're 'back' where we were as friends, but perhaps I don't have to feel so sad when my son draws pictures of two friends in the hot air balloon he made in school last week.

2 - Sometimes you think you're doing something that will shake-up your weekend and make the day go faster than just sitting around at home. Yet an hour before dinner time you find yourself looking at your spouse and saying, "You know, it seems like three days ago we were at the Discovery Museum doesn't it?"

3 - This thing I've got to do at church tomorrow, it's going to involve Logan and it's Grandma's fault. My mom chairs the committee that oversees outreach (aka local and international mission projects.) She needed someone to speak for roughly a minute during the 10am service about a special collection we'll take on Palm Sunday. The money goes to help a large number of programs both domestic and abroad. She volunteered me. She knows speaking before crowds isn't a problem for me. I'm a ham. I admit it.

I jokingly said to her that I should bring the kid up with me. Along with the adult contributions, the Sunday School kids fill little cardboard fish banks with spare change during lent. They return those boxes on Palm Sunday too. Logan has diverted to this fish bank all the coins normally destined for his and Meg's piggy banks (the very same banks that have saved almost 1/2 the money we need for next year's Disney vacation.) He has this knack for sweet talking money out of our pockets.

Grandma thought this was a splendid idea. She, while at a retreat with a slew of church folk, told the Senior Pastor that Logan may pitch in. He also thought it was a tremendous idea. There is no backing out of my little clever quip. Logan is going up with me. For now, he can't wait. He's rehearsed his few lines. He's chomping at the bit to get up there. It remains to be seen whether he'll happily participate or if stage fright will set in.

All I know is the boy has been watching movies about scam artists when none of us are looking. As we practiced together he kept interrupting me with a running commentary about his fish bank and our talk. I finally hushed him. I told him when we did this for real he was going to have to say his lines and then just be quiet, smile, and be cute.

He nodded. He smiled wide to show me how he'd do it tomorrow. Then he said sweetly, "Cute gets more money."


Mixed feelings. . .

It's the beginning of an end of an era. First the boy did it and moved on. Now the girl is. For the most part, Megan still falls back on baby-ized names for us - I'm Mama. Bruce is Dada. Grandma is often Mama too because the Ga isn't as easily said I suppose. Logan was the same way. Grandma went without a name of her own for quite some time the first kid around.

Lately, though, Megan has been dropping in a new name or two. It's not constant. She'll say it and then the next time through she'll change it back. Yet I've heard it. Others have head it. She's starting to call me Mommy.

Moments ago she wanted up in the recliner. This big blue, squishy seat has it's own name in our house. It's the "Daddy Chair" since we bought it for Daddy as a birthday/Christmas gift; although Daddy rarely gets to sit in it when the kids are around. The Daddy Chair is a popular spot. Everyone wants to be in it. Every clamors for it. Everyone asks for it by name.

Except normally Megan asks for "Dada's cheer."

This time was different. She clearly and specifically said "Daddy Chair. Up in Daddy Chair."

I'll be honest, I didn't relish the infant stage of parenting. As much as I've adored my children and enjoyed being with them, I did find those newborn days a bit tiresome and tedious. I recall feeling that I was spending my days talking to myself as I cheerily immersed my child in stories, music, and conversation. I had no real noble motivation to do so other than I hate sitting in silence.

When my oldest reached the age where he started to interact as opposed to simply reacting, I started having real fun. That time did arrive just a few months in - the giggles if I tickled him. The coo he'd make if I sang to him. The smile when I kissed his head.

As challenging as toddlerhood can be, it quickly became an age I enjoyed as a parent. We could play together. We could converse. We could understand what was happening in that little head a bit better than when we only heard cries. The older my children get, the more I amazing and wonderful I find them to be. The more they're able to give us a peek into their thought processes, their likes and dislikes, and their sense of humor, the more I realize that they are people I'd like to be with even if we didn't swim in the same gene pool.

All that to say, I rarely, if ever, have lamented the ending of one childhood phase for another. Yet somehow the start of this verbal transition has me a bit remorseful about the pending end of an era. Perhaps it's because Megan is my youngest and my last. Maybe it's not that she's growing up, but that no one else will - at least not as my child.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in tears. I'm not wishing to freeze her in time. I just wish she'd walk a little slower for a moment or two and let me savor the moment.

Oh yeah, and I wish my damn video camera was working so I could capture said moment...but that's a whole different tangent.

Why didn't I think of that?

In the fall we gathered up *most* of the leaves. A small bit, however, congregated in the corner of our backyard between the house and the fence next to the gate. The majority of this leaf mass covered a section of our shade garden - something that was completely dormant waiting for the sun to warm it back to life. I didn't worry much about clearing the leaves away.

But recently there has been green springing up all over the place. Tiny bits of young and tender leaves peeking through the soil. It was time to move those leaves.

I pulled the piles off the flower bed and made one big inviting pile just outside it -- blocking the gate. Clearly this wasn't going to work for long. The kids both leapt into the center of the mess, giggling with delight. I stood, hands on hips, and pondered how I'd clear these leaves without having to head to the garage to get the big contractor garbage bags or the rake.

Logan must have known what I was thinking. He made the face he makes when he's analyzing a situation hard. Then he held up an index finger and yelled "I KNOW!"

"Know what?" I asked. I was still pondering deeply myself and was only half focused on what he was leaping about doing.

"I know what we can do to move the leaves. I have a winter toy we can use!" he disappeared around the corner of the house.

A winter toy? What sort of winter toy did we have to move leaves? A shovel? In the garage. He wasn't going there, he can't open the door to the basement to get downstairs and into the garage. I couldn't imagine and I didn't have to. He quickly reappeared with his stroke of genius trailing behind him -- the sled. The brightly colored plastic sled was going to move our leaves.

He steered the sled into the center of the leaf pile. He pulled armfuls up and dropped them in the sled center. When it was full he instructed me to take it away. We pulled it over to a spot behind some tall bushes were we often let the leaves hang out and break down. The emptied sled was pulled back to the leaf pile so we could begin again.

Most of the leaves were removed before they got bored of the task. It was time for snowless sled rides. And darn if those two hard workers of mine didn't deserve the reward.



My mom likes to tease me about "the books." If you have kids you likely know the ones she refers to. I think every first-time-pregnant woman has them. The ones that tell you all you ever needed to know about parenting. I didn't have many books, actually. I had one for pregnancy and one for each the first years and the toddler years. I used them as reference books - "Hmmm, how high is too high again for a fever?"

I did, however, have articles and internet sites. I read a lot. And after a while, I tossed the vast majority of that crap out the window.

Don't get me wrong. I think there is value in expert 'guidance.' I think parenting trends and techniques are worth being aware of. I just think wedding yourself to any as *the* way to go is missing the boat. In fact, I've even come to think that anything you're going to stick to with rigid adherance is unrealistic.

For me, anyway, parenting requires flexibility. It's a fluid artform.

I was at the gym with my mom. When Logan was at the peak of seperation aniexty the only way to be successful in leaving him with someone else was to let him know you were leaving. It really was very by the book. No risk of ruining his trust of damaging his esteem. We waved good-bye, reassured him we'd return and made our exit.

Megan, on the other hand, does not adhere to what the books stipulate. She needs us to just go. No show. No mention we're on the way out. We bring her in. We get her invovled and we leave - unannounced. Unbeknowst to her. Typically she'll ask for us once and when she's told we'll be back soon she goes back to her play. Except sometimes she doesn't take to that it that easily and sometimes we end up back in the child care room at church of gym reassuring her.

This partular afternoon we were on our bikes getting ready for Spin. A young mom walked in to retrieve her bag. She wasn't staying. "Every time I tell her I'm going, she cries. I can't even get near the door," she said.

My mom nodded. She told her about Meg's perferred technique. The mom's eyes got wide "But the books say..." My mom shot me the look.

Logan took to sleep training fairly well. He was loud for a night or two and then he slept. He's been putting himself to sleep without issue since the year and half mark. We do his bedtime routine - bath, stories, sleep - and he happily settles down under the blankets. We moved him from crib to bed without issue. The only time we see him at night (unless he's sick) is if he needs to use the bathroom. He won't get out of bed on his own unless the sun is up - his idea, not ours. I, quite frankly, would be thrilled if he'd just get up and use the toilet at 2am without me there.

Megan, on the other hand, has been horrid with sleep training. We've tried a zillion different things and it all ends the same way - failed because she works herself into a naseauting tizzy. Quite literally. Except naps. It happened quite by accident. I was rocking her to sleep for a nap one afternoon and Logan came running down the hall in great need. I don't even remember what it was but I do remember that ignoring him wasn't helping me get Megan to sleep. I laid her down. I told her I'd be back. She never cried. She talked to herself and her bears. I left her alone. She was asleep without me.

We just kept it going. Every day I give her lunch. I tell her as she begins eating that when she's done it's nap time. She happily blows kisses to her brother while we walk down the hallway to her room. I lay her down. I leave her. She's out.

It wasn't translating to bedtime though. Except then we talked about it - her and I. The first night she laughed. She told me no. The second night the child was bouncing off the walls. She would not settle down. I laid down the law "You can only be rocked if you're going to settle down and sleep. This isn't play time. If you're going to use rocking as playing we won't be able to do it. How about we try doing it yourself like nap time."

I laid her down. She never yelled. She never cried and most importantly, she never threw up. She just talked to everything in her room. She turned her fish tank music on. She went to sleep.

We tried it again last night. Same result. Not only that - but she slept all. night. long. (Since she has done that before, however, I'm not going to get too excited until she does it many a night in a row.)

It was like a little light switch went off. "Ok, I'm ready." When we think of it, this is just pure Megan. She's like this. She'll resist a change and then suddenly, when it's on her terms, she takes to it immediately. With Logan we spent well over a week weaning him rocking to sleep. We whittled the process down until he could sleep on his own. Megan went from all to nothing in one fell swoop. She was ready.

And that's what the books don't get. That children don't fit neatly into cookie cutters. They don't all adhere to same set of rules and guidelines. They don't come with an instruction manual for a reason. The only thing we, as parents, can do is understand our options almost as well as we understand our kids.


Sum of parts

I wake up this morning much to early to be awake. The kid and I fall back to sleep in the recliner. We pretend not to hear everyone else shuffle around until the bigger kid declares it officially morning. They want toothbrushes (thank you Ms. Dental Hygentist visiting preschool. We've gone from "eh" with the brushing to "obsessed." Really do we need to brush on the hour every hour?) They want breakfast. They want milk in their cups. They want PBS kids. All I want is coffee.

I'm still bleary eyed. I stumble to the computer. Push a few buttons. Wait for it to warm up. Pull open email and there it is. The first message in my Blog comments folder. I see little else other than "site of the day."

"No way," I think. I scratch my sleepy brain and I try to remember what it was I last wrote about. Ahh, the girl. Right. Oh. Visitors now think they have stumbled into the epitome of all things Mommy-blog. That's nice. Ok, sure, in a way it's a correct assessment.

It makes me think. Someone coming here for the first time. Seeing these words for the first time. If they read just one entry in this rambling sample of an exposed soul, what impression do they walk way with.

I begin to wonder if any one piece in this entire collection of entries really paints a complete image. Of course that's impossible. The sleep is now gone from my eyes. The wheels are spinning. I think back to a class in college - social science or something like that. How do people define themselves. The professor tells us that the general belief is we, as Americans, tend to introduce ourselves by career first. It bugged me. When I think of it I try to avoid it.

"Hi, I'm Sandy, I'm..."

But what am I? I'm mother to two. Sometimes that still feels like going "career" first. I am wife. I am daughter. I am sister. I am friend. I am writer. I am lucky enough to have a job that let's me be home more than not home. I am marketing consultant. I am 30-something redheaded woman who still feels trapped in her teen years because at those times I certainly don't feel adult.

I'm a woman who ought to eat better and exercise more. I'm a former infertility patient that gave up hope only to find it when she least expected outside the treatment cycles. I am impatient, which sometimes makes motherhood challenging.

I can be somewhat scatter brained. I can be forgetful. I can be insensitive without meaning to be. I am stubborn. I am actually very stubborn. I am short-tempered although I try to control it.

I am a lot of things and yet I am none of them exclusively. Though, on occasion, it sometimes seems I am just a piece not a whole. Those don't tend to be my best times. When the whole gets ignored for the part, I'm not being true. I'm not being me.

When I review this quickly I realize that even now I've not done a good job at painting the complete picture of me. I wonder - can we ever?


at 18 months

We discovered, quite by accident, that the girl, a whole 18 months old, can "read" her name. Oh, and it's not just her name. She picks out her brother's too. She recognizes both names in the places she's seen them on a regular basis and in places they've never been in before. Write down "M-E-G-A-N" and she points to the word, then herself saying "May-may. Me!" Of course May-may is the closest she comes to saying Megan.

Apparently she can also count to three in Spanish. Thanks to Dora books and the occasional Dora and/or Diego show, she knows a few other Spanish words. Her most favorite is "Nose-chiz" (as in buenas noches - good night.)

She's fascinated by the bathroom. She's fascinated by her brother's underwear. To keep her from stealing his briefs and trying to wear them over her clothes, we bought her own. She's sat on the potty. She's used it a few times - with no regular consistancy. This morning the three of us chatted about the potty. Logan told her the big preschooler secret - they all use the potty. No diapers. Megan stared at him with a look of total awe. Then she said, with complete conviction, "No diapah. Unnerwear." I'm really ok with the matra sinking in and taking hold.

Lately it's become clear that Megan understands the vast majority of what is said *to* her. We've begun to try to explain things to her in light of the fact. Last night I talked to her about going to sleep on her own in the crib at night the way she does for naps. She stared at me and said simply "No. Rock rock chair."

"But Megan, do you see Logan rocked to sleep?" She shook her head. "That's because he's a big kid, right? He goes to sleep on his own in his room."

She stared for a moment. Then she smiled, a big, wide, I'll show you smile. "Me," she said patting her chest. "Baby. No big dirl. Baby. Rock rock chair."


Hodge Podge

So much swirling in my brain tonight I decide to just blurt it all out on virtual paper. Lucky you.

1. Friendships - My recent post on an ending friendship was met with a lot of comments running the gamut. Thanks all for your kind words and well wishes.

This process of moving on has me reflecting on my various relationships in general. My two closest friends are also my longest friendships. One dates back over 28 years. The other has lasted roughly 27 years. Keep in mind, we're on the verge of 33/34 years of age. These relationships have navigated long distances between us, different roads for our lives and different schedules - yet we've remained close. We email, mostly. We call on occasion. We get to see each other now and then. The beauty of it is, when we do get together it's effortless. It's comfortable. It's safe. It feels like home.

I suppose, in retrospect, I never had this with N. I mean we did have a comfortable exchange going when we were in the midst of a 'close' span. Yet, when our lives verged off a common course, things felt forced. At those crossroad moments when we'd be coming back into a close span I often felt like I'd rather see her in a group setting. Doing so prevented that noticable silence from setting in - those moments when you start to stir your coffee a bit more than you need to because you need to do something to fill the time.

It's not like that with my other friends. When One-S and I get together, it's like we're 10-years old sneaking downstairs at 1am to swap Oreos and M&Ms again. It doesn't matter if she's newly married and newly minted "Mom." It doesn't matter if she has one kid and I have two. It doesn't matter if she's a working doctor and I'm walking the line between stay-at-home and work-out-of-home. We just pick up where we left off - our differences making us more interesting to one another.

Same with Two-S. It never matters that our lives look so very different on the surface. When we get together we could talk about the great art of watching paint dry and we'd have a good time doing it. We can talk about our past. We talk about our present. We talk about our futures. And again, it's like we're girls whispering in the dark tent of a Girl Scout camp, smelling of camp fires and bug spray. We're giggling about Wendy's story of the three cupped bra and we're wondering if it'll once again be our tent of four stuck cleaning laterines on the last day as punishment for not adhereing to quiet time hours.

Clarity now sets in. This wasn't the reality of my friendship with N. We were friends when we had a common bond. And that's ok. There are places for those friendships. We just weren't meant to be life-long friends. I know there are those pals I'll be giggling with when I'm some crazy, white-haired old lady. And there are friends that I'll only see in my photo albums. With that in mind, I'm ok with this. I'd be ok with it, if I didn't fear it breaking my son's heart.

2. It's hard to displine a smart-ass. (Is that a bad nickname to assign to one's own child?) I asked Logan to help me clean up tonight. He decided it wasn't worth his time. I offered the option - you clean up or the toys left on the floor go in the away box. He was fine with the box.

Me - Logan, you understand what we're talking about here right? Matt Medic, your fireman props and this thing are all going to be in the box and off limits to play with.

Logan - I know. They'll come back eventually though, right?

I ought to note that once he saw how many things ended up in the box, he quickly helped me complete the task at hand.

3. Sometimes the simplest of things can bring kids of all ages the most joy. We celebrated my mother and brother's birthdays tonight. Logan wanted decorations so we picked up a single balloon and steamers. Knowing that what the kid *really* wanted was noise makers, I also picked up some of the variety that unroll as they make a flapping sound. It was the hit I expected it to be. Not just with Logan, however, but the whole family. Even those that first made a face at the bag I held in my hands. We spent a good deal of time blowing those things in each other's foreheads before cutting into our "pizza cake".

The cake? It was Logan's idea. Your standard marble cake frosted with a orange (meant to be tan) frosting on the sides and about a 1/2 inch on top. The center of the cake was frosted red. We diced white chocolate into shards and scattered it around the center of the cake - it was to look like cheese. We placed a few round brown and red-colored chocolate discs around the top to represent pepperoni and sausage. It too was a hit. The kids made the cake with a little help from me. Our only problem with eating it? Megan got upset when the little discs came off. She kept trying to climb on the table to replace them on the cake. All her hard work for naught, I suppose.

4. Speaking of Megan - the girl has gotten into two new habits. The first is covering her mouth when she giggles. It's hysterical. The more we laugh at it, the more she does it. The second is playing dress up. Not just your regular form of dress up in the cutesy little play things people buy her. My child places her winter hat on her head and then climbs into a pair of my shoes. She's content in anything else - diaper, fully dressed, pajamas, whatever - as long as she has that hat and my shoes. I've started to hide my heels.


Me and my shadow

I think merely telling you the conversation that just happened in our house around this photo is enough to explain it.

Me (handing Bruce a print out of two photos put next to each other) - Look.

Him - Cute!

Me - I think you're missing the point. Which one is Meg?

Him - You mean it's not the same person?

Here's me in that 12-18 month age range on the left. Megan at 18 months on the right.


Fare thee well

I hate to say it, but I think it's over. "It" being a friendship that I predicted as in it's waning days. (I'd even link to that orignal blog blathering but I'm too lazy to root through my archives to find it.) What started back in 9th grade Western Civ class has come to an end at the feet of two very different children. Frankly, the cause saddens me more than the loss itself.

This wasn't a surprise. We've been through this sort of thing before. Every time our life heads in a bit of a different direction, N pulls away. She did when she started dating her husband and I was still happily single. She did it when her oldest arrived and I was married without kids. And now that our kids are developing their own, very different personalities she's done it again.

It'd take a fool to deny that playdates don't work for us. When we get together her boys go one way, my kids go the other. Logan is outgoing and energetic. Her recently turned 4-year old is shy and calm. He prefers staying by his big sister's side or watching one of his shows to following Logan into the mass of toys. Big sister on the other hand, has reached the age where she has little interest in the exploits of 3-verging-of-4-year old boys. She's not often around for these get togethers. The littlest brother, a month younger than Meg, shows signs of being more like his brother than his lively sister. Meg, if you've not noticed, is a firecracker.

These are five very different personalities that aren't meshing. It's not that they fight. It's not that they dislike each other. They just sort of co-exist. They hover at the parrell stage despite the fact that the 3/4 year olds are moving more to the play-together stage.

And to me, that's ok. So we don't have playdates. What's happened instead, is that we just don't talk. We don't exchange emails. We don't act like friends because our children aren't.

I've tried. I'm just tired of being a one person relationship. I've called her once a month. When I do, it's like old times. We talk. We share stories. We laugh. Then we hang up and until I pick up the phone the next month we're in our own seperate worlds. I send emails. Sometimes she writes back. Sometimes she doesn't. If I don't email her there's no hope of getting one. The last time we talked I pitched the idea of meeting up at a park. It was met with an affirmative word or two. She promised to call the next week with a time and day that would work. She never did.

Her middle son's birthday was last week. The last three birthdays it's been her family and us gathering to celebrate with him. This year it's come and gone and we've not even heard a peep. I expected it - yet it still makes me sad. This is really it. I had been consoling myself with the idea that she was just busy with all the things her oldest was getting involved in as "big" elementary school kid now. I had come to think that perhaps it was the change in her husband's work schedule. But none of that is it.

My son's birthday is 4 months off, yet he's already making plans for a party. He lists off the friends he wants to invite - the first in the group are N's three. It breaks my heart. What bothers me most is not that I'm losing a friend but that he's losing what he thinks is a friend.


Scattered brain

I've discovered yet another benefit to parenting. It's made me a better multi-tasker. In fact, in the last hour I've managed to get myself and two kids through two stores, do some laundry, bake a batch of cookies, plow through some of the email in my work inbox AND manage a few of the resulting work projects demanding my attention. I'm telling you, I feel like super woman.

I am physically recovered from the flu/sinus torture that tackled me last week. Mentally I'm still catching back up to full health. My head took a hiatus when the cold pills started popping out of their packets. Slowly I'm returning to sense of normal.


Take me out to the ballgame. . .

Sports Illustrated has broken the spring's "blockbuster" baseball story. A soon-to-be-released book by two investigative reporters offers up mounting evidence that Barry Bonds used steroids. I forget, was this supposed to surprise me? Oh all right, even though I'd honestly be more surprised to find out he *didn't* dope up, the sort of details I've seen revealed in snapshots of this book had me lifting my jaw up off the floor. Seriously, if nothing else, I'm having trouble imagining anyone taking Clomid for any reason other than they're trying to mend their infertile broken heart by achieving pregnancy through fertility drugs. I wonder if Bonds also found Clomid to give him hot flashes, migranes and crying outburst for unexplained reasons.

The World Baseball Classic is underway now too. I'm a baseball fan. I have no idea what's going on with the Classic. All I know is the US nearly got themselves knocked out of the competition early by getting their butts handed to them by a Canandian pitcher, whose career never tracked higher than the minors.

I also know that instead of taking the boy to his first major league game this summer, we'll be taking in a single A game. We were all set to lug ourselves into the Bronx for a mid-summer afternoon start, yet within hours of Yankee tickets going on sale for this season, they were sold out. What's a poor mom to do?

Yet all that non-excitement on the pro-side is moot. The game in our backyard is just heating up. As Logan gets closer to the big "4" birthday his imagative and non-parrell play is heating up. The more I witness his bigger-than-himself imagination take hold of his play, the more I realize he's moved from toddler to child. He's not just slapping at a ball and waiting for the applause. Today he's taking on a persona.

Like when he did this:

This hit came with running commentary. "Here comes Jeter. He hits the ball....it's a home run! Yay!! [he cheers wildly on behalf of the imagined full-stadium]. Jeter runs the bases. The Yankees win the game!"

And I clap, not for his baseball feats, but for the dreams he's living out in his mind.


Spring Preview

Last week we shivered with lingering winter. Today our backyard weather station says the temperatures hit levels we've not seen in months - 75F to be exact. The high winds kept it from feeling quite that warm; most of us were comfortable in long sleeve tees, for example. Yet clearly it was a preview of what lies ahead in the not too distant future.

Other reminders are starting to appear in our yard. The bulb flowers in my front beds have begun to rise again, after taking pause during the cold snap. The daffodils budding in my backyard are starting to tease with bits of yellow pedals. And then there's this beauty - a single iris plant tucked away in a corner near the air conditioning unit.


Think Happy Thoughts

Being a veteran of the sinus infection, I wasn't at all surprised when I heard the doctor's edict Monday afternoon. Probably started out as the flu, but certainly now a full-blown, "holy cow your sinus passages are nearly swollen shut", sinus infection. Today I'm feeling better than I had been although still not great.

Suffice it to say, it's times like this I'm glad for children in my life, because seriously no adult - pro or otherwise - has the comedic abilities of a youngster.

Now granted, sometimes the things our children say are only funny to us and those that know it's in their best interest to amuse us. So, perhaps the things I'm about to share will make you roll your eyes a little. Maybe you'll roll them and then click yourself out of here thinking "Man, she needs to get out more." Should that be the case - you're right. I do. However, that's not going to happen any time soon so humor me.

Books were read, lights were about to go out for the night and the boy decided to tell one of his own stories. "Once upon a time there was a house that talked. . ." it began.

And I, being a pain the butt, could not help but ask questions right away. "Did it have eyes too?" Logan nodded and tried to continue with his story. I, however, was feeling about 10 years old at the moment.

"Don't you think that's a little creepy?" I said.

He stared at me and then slowly, clearly annoyed by the question, said "No." The boy is three; something told me were viewing from different vantage points.

"I mean your house can watch you while you're in it? All the time? That's sort of scary, no?"

"Oh," he said, getting the point. "Well it can't see. It has eyes, but it doesn't have pupils."


Megan had about a 1/4 of her dinner tonight and then announced she was done with a decisive "All done. Down! OUT CHAIR!" Dad was working late. I was running low on energy and patience and the boy was rattling off stories of his day between bites of his meal. I wasn't going to battle her on this. It was her second request. Down she went.

Normally when she's let loose she simply wants out of the high-chair/booster seat and onto a 'real' chair or lap. First it was my lap. Then it was the chair I normally sit in. Then she got a better idea. She smiled. "Brabah," she said, meaning brother.

"Megan Rose, you can't sit in Logan's chair! He's still in it eating." That's her favorite place to be when dinner is over. She climbs up in his seat to steal his cup and feel important.

Logan, however, was happy to be loved. He was delighted to have her over for a visit. He made room for her on his seat. He even held her arm as she wiggled her way up. He asked me for her bowl of untouched Mac and Cheese and her toddler-plastic Dora Spork. He was going to feed her.

She laughed and took a bite. Then she grabbed his 'real' fork and stabbed a piece off of Logan's plate. She held it out to him, making soft airplane noises as she flew it into his mouth. He nearly dropped it back out during his giggle fit.

There they sat - the 3 1/2 year old and the almost 18 month old - feeding each other from their respective plates for nearly half of dinner. Yes, I took photos. I even attempted video with our crappy-battery-won't-hold-a-charge camera. That, folks, is what destroyed the moment. Meg was distracted by the "baby" in the LCD viewer. Happens every time.


Art of conversation

Meg will be exactly 18 months old on Sunday. Her speech is developing rapidly. She adds new words, and perfects her enunciation on old words, daily. She speaks in short phrases. She uses words and gestures to clearly communicate her desires.

And yesterday we had our first real conversation. During this brief, but meaningful dialog, Megan showed that she is paying attention to her brother. And, ahh, that perhaps she inherited a certain parent's stubborn streak.

We were in my parent's family room (aka Den). Meg started to pull on my arm, saying repeatedly "Mama up." I gave in. She led me to the front door.

"Out door. Mama, play?" She flashed me that sweet little innocent baby face.

"No, Megan. It's cold and you don't have your coat," I thought I was safe. Normally that gets me a cute little "Brrr, cowd" retort. Not this time.

She clenched her little fists tight at her side. "I DO!" she said with all the fierceness she could muster.

I was surprised by her reply. "It's not on you. Where is your coat?" I said, knowing it was on the chair behind me buried under two other coats.

Megan scrunched up her nose and gave me that look she's not supposed to be able to do for at least a decade. "Right there! On chair," she said. She stomped her way to the chair and pulled the jackets to the floor. She handed me mine with a simple "Flip-roo" statement.

Flip-roo was her way of telling me to put the coat on. Logan has learned to put his own coat on via the "1-2-flip-ah-roo" method. Lie it on the ground flat, inside facing up, collar at your feet. Slip your arms in the coat part way then lift your arms up over your head and back. The coat will slip on as you do it. Megan has studied her brother intently and has perfected the art form herself. Of course, sometimes she gets that coat on backwards. Once and a while she gets it on upside down - but the point is, it's on, which is exactly where her pink coat was by the time I had recovered from my shock from this conversation. Miss Megan Rose there at the front door with her coat on backwards (zipper at her backbone waiting for me to close it). She gave one final "Out door, peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!"

And I, determined not to set the bad precedent of laughing my ass off when I was supposed to be strong, said a quick, "No."

I knew what would come next - another reason for me to bite my tongue - so I fled the room. Sure enough, as I glanced at her on my way back to Logan, I saw her do it - she walked over to the nearest seat, folded her arms as best she could in the backward bulk, flopped her upper half down onto the seat of the chair (head buried in her arms) and pouted over her defeat.

Every. Single. Time. Head on folded arms to pout. Really, wasn't melodrama on the "pre-teen" list?


Day time TV observation

Typically any daytime television I'm privvy to is the animated variety complete with happy little creatures teaching great life lessons. Being sick and childfree, however, means a whole new world of tv is once again at the tip of my little clicker finger. I'm not so sure that's a good thing.

I'm wondering, after staring mouth agape at one particular show, how many paternity tests it takes before the clueless mother realizes perhaps she has bigger problems than who the baby's father is. I'm not sure of that answer, but my guess is having to submit 34 men to the test and STILL not have a positive match is probably past that point.

I'm wondering if the host has offered up a myriad of other pertient health related blood test also.

Preschooler's Empathy

Logan clearly picked up the various clues yesterday. He realized the blanket I pulled around the house with me and the hot cups of tea meant I was cold. Or maybe it was hearing me ask his father several times "What is the thermostat set for? Oh, ok, never mind."

I walked into his room this morning just after he woke up. He smiled, a look I always enjoy seeing in the morning because it's pure "happy to see you!"

"Are you feeling better?" he asked me, furrowing his little brow some.

"No, honey, sadly I am not," I told him. "Are you?"

"Yup. I'm ok," he said. Then he asked if we could just lay on his bed and tell stories for a while before getting up.

"Mommy?" he asked, "Are you still cold?" I told him I was a little cold.

He brought his hands together in a loud clap and then started to rub them, palm to palm, back and forth quickly.

"I'm making friction," he said before I could ask what this ritual was about. "Daddy said friction makes heat. I'm going to make heat to make you feel better."

He might not have warmed my chilly toes, but sure did warm my heart.


Your attention please. . .

We interupt this normally 'glass half-full' blog to bring you some more bitching and moaning. (If you're confused, see yesterday's post.)

Today I've learned a few important lessons:

1. There are only two things that make the various body aches from the muscles of my little toes to the skin on the top of my head stop hurting:

- Advil Cold
- hot, Hot, HOt, HOT showers

Clearly I can not live in the shower all day long. The medication is my friend.

What does not work: Tyenol cold, generic cold with acetaminophen, little people that lapse into "ONLY MOMMY CAN HOLD ME!" mood at the first sign that Mommy would rather be sacked out on the couch.

2. There are three things that can stop the chills that consume my body:

- Advil Cold
- hot, Hot, HOt, HOT showers
- Hot tea - preferably my new Rasberry Cream Carmel herbal tea from Davidsons.

What does not work: the aforementioned OTC medications, piles of blankets heaped upon me and the little people also previously mentioned stealing the heaps of blankets to play peek-a-boo under.

3. Megan will eat anything that comes in a soup can or invovles homemade broth. I, however, am very picky about my soup. This sucks when you're sick and all you have is slimy canned Chicken Noodle soup. Note to self: Send the man out to by Lipton Noodle Soup boxes in bulk. I love to drown crackers in that stuff.

4. Mom still takes care of me. Tomorrow is supposed to be one of my two work days. Which means, if you're not up to speed with my life, tomorrow the kids are supposed to be with Grandma. She's picking them up anyway (albeit a little later than usual) so I can dial-into my various meetings and then veg in front of a TV for a spell before stumbling into my doctor asking her to PLEASE tell me the weepy eye with faint pink blood shot lines is NOT pink eye and that she can indeed make all this ick go away without having to say "It's the flu, just rest and drink fluids."

Surely I could skip the meetings all together, but when you're paid by the hour and you can essentially make two-three hours worth of pay for sitting on your couch with the speaker phone on mute as you watch recap highlights of the Oscars - it's sort of worth calling in.

5. When I'm sick, I make even more lazy mistakes in my writing the normal. I've already fixed a few of them, I'm ignoring the rest. Remember, you're supposed to be showing me some pity. (See below if that went over your head.)


Pity me, then move on

Two weeks ago I did something I tend to put off doing. I went to my doctor. I really am not a fan of my doctor's office but because I've yet to find a doctor I *am* a fan of, I just stick it out. The woman gives me medication when I'm sick and need it. She's yet to screw-up a diagnosis. She just has the personality of a wet rag. I deal with it.

I didn't see the doctor though this particular time. I saw her PA - Physician's Assistant. I dislike her more. She calls me hon. That's not why I don't like her, but since I don't like her the moniker irritates me. Anyway, back to what I was saying. She told me I had an acute upper respiratory infection. She gave me a five day course of some swanky 'new' antibiotic and she sent me on my way.

I took those damn pills. I felt better.

Today, not so much.

So here's the thing. It's either the flu - which is completely likely since I feel rather fluey with the muscle aches and the skin hurting and the eyes start to burn and water if they're open for too long. OR, it could be that whatever she put me on failed to do it's thing and I'm still battling what I had only now it's back with a vengeance - also completely likely since my rib cage feels like someone has tied a leather strap around it and keeps pulling it tighter and tighter.

The kids are sick too. Big one is stuffy and complaining of a sore throat. I buy that since I know I'm stuffy and have a sore throat too. The little one has replaced her cute button nose with a faucet that leaks continuously. She started wiping her nose with her shirt - I'm not sure if I should be grossed out or impressed with her ingenuity.

The only one NOT sick in the house is the spouse. He's been good. He sends me off to nap no matter how much the girl protests my absence. He coordinates dinner. He buys boxes and boxes of tissues for the three of us to fight over. He got his flu shot. The girl had half of hers - never did get the booster. Boy and I were out of luck. Maybe it is the flu. Or maybe he'll be curled in a ball moaning next week. I certainly don't wish it on him.

This sucks.


Where does your path go?

Feeling nostalgic I pulled a photo album from my book shelf today. It's wrapped in a tacky underwater themed fabric and contains the photos from the most exotic (and storied) vacation I've ever taken.

When we were married in 1997 we figured we'd give ourselves a year to settle into the routine of this new life. When the year was up we found a house and decided the time was right to start a family only to find out it wasn't. We struggled. We cried. We sought treatments. We cashed in stock options to finance in vitro. We did the shots. We did the procedures. We cried over the failure. And then we gave up.

A month later my husband was laid off. Luckily he found a new job before his severance package had even kicked in - which meant a nice mini-windfall. He cashed in the balance of his stock options lest we loose them per the severance agreement.

It'd been an awful year - a horrible struggle with careers and failed attempts for a pregnancy. We felt defeated. Life wasn't going to be what we planned and we were going to have to reframe our thinking. We were going to have to be one of those couples without kids that go on nice trips and have things like boats and impractical cars. At least it took the edge off the blow to imagine such glamour not that we'd ever quite live up to it.

We had talked about taking a vacation to just get away from it all. We had a few ideas. A few plans. Nothing concrete. We had some dreams steeped in books from the travel agent. Bruce looked at these pamphlets. He looked at his scratch sheet with his notes on our finances. He dove over to the mall.

He called me from the travel agent's desk. "I know what I want to get you for your birthday" he said, or at least something like that. He didn't want to book it without knowing it's what I really wanted. And oh, yes, I really wanted it. He got all the information and tentative reservations. We'd discuss the details that night.

We were going to Tahiti.

We booked our trip in May and traveled in October. It was a week long, island hopping trip. We stayed one night in Papeete, the main city of Tahiti. Then we puddle jumped over to Bora Bora for a three night stay, followed by a three night stint in Moorea, Tahiti's sister island. Our last day gave us enough time to wander through Papeete before leaving Polynesia behind.

A year later, unbeknownst to us, we'd conceive our son. He was the surprise child we had given up hope of ever meeting. His sister was a much easier journey. She arrived, nicely according to plan, just over two years after her brother did. Life, as it turned out, really was what we had set our initial course for, yet not at all where we thought we'd be when we stood on the tropical French islands in 2000.

As I flipped through the memories committed to film this afternoon, I decided to look for a picture I could share here. I was thinking of something that just exuded the warm, breezey air heavy with the smell of coconut and suntan oils that filled our days. Something to make me forget about the cold, blustery days of this week. Instead I found a photo that reminded me of the journey I just shared with you - something bigger than the trip to the Islands itself.

I never noticed it before, but today I realize this image is incredibly symbolic of where we were in our lives on the day we took it. Here we stood at the entrance of a path in a place we did not know. It was a path clearly traveled before into a realm of beauty and perhaps, being wooded, occasional fear and/or insecurity. Yet it wasn't a road paved and easy. Navigating down this trail would surely be bumpy at times.

And here we are today, a few miles down the symbolic road. Unexpectedly, yet joyously, taking two young souls along for the ride. We're admiring the indescribable beauty of parenthood while we're struggling to stay afloat in our own insecurities and fears of failing the very people we're molding. It's not an easy road, yet it is a worthy one. Today I'm gazing at this photo and I'm glad that verdant island gave me the sneak peak.

So what about you - when you look at this photo, where does the path take you?

Can't argue

Logan's been recently obessed with the topic of weather, storms in particular. We worried that perhaps our 'scared of oodles of stuff' three-year old would freak himself out with the information he was bent on digging up. Yet it's not turned out that way. In fact, he's finding comfort in the information.

If you were in the car with us about an hour ago, you'd have been privvy to this conversation:

Logan - Mommy, tornados don't usually come here, right.

Me - Right. We don't usually see tornados.

Logan - But if we did we'd have to go to a safe place to hide.

Me - Exactly. We'd go to our basement.

Logan - Hey, Mommy. If a tornado is at our house, do you know what the real safest place to be is?

Me - Yup. The basement.

Logan - Nope. Grandma's house.