Friday, March 30, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Do you know the button man?

Elijah is in a phase right now where he likes tiny things.  Which I suppose is not all all together surprising, since to him, they are probably more like normal-sized things.  I sometimes consider proportionality when it comes to toddlers and I wonder why they are not totally freaked out all the time.  But that is a reflection for another post.

These days, it's all about the little things.  Literally.  I have to be super-vigilant, because occasionally he will attempt to explore these objects with his sense of taste, but generally he just wants to hold them, move them and take them in and out of containers.  We took the metro to dinner one night, and he held onto a nickel and penny that I gave him for the entire half hour trip there.  

Yesterday he found a bag of my sewing supplies, and he was entranced.  Between the bobbins and buttons, my miniatures-loving man was in heaven.  For 15 minutes, he sat on his little chair and took the supplies in and out of the bag, handed them to me, put them on the table, and moved them to a little box.  At one point, he was focusing so hard that he was actually drooling.  How many grown-ups can say we've been that engrossed in an activity recently?  What can I say, the man loves his buttons. 

Notice the sheen of slob on his chin, the mark of true toddler concentration.  And teething.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oh no!

For some reason, the pictures from the camera's memory card are not showing up on my computer right now, and the post that's in my head just won't be the same with out them.  But all of this is just as well, because I've got a heck of a head cold.  You'll all just have to wait until tomorrow to hear why Elijah + spools of thread = awesome.  See you then.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deja vú, all over again

The other day, I was wearing my blue and white striped t-shirt, and for some reason, I kept having the oddest feeling all day long.  It was the feeling of, "Somewhere, sometime, I have done this before."  I just couldn't shake it.  Finally, I realized what it was.  We have a family picture from church hanging in the hallway, where I pass it probably 30 times a day.  In it, I am wearing that very shirt.  Somehow, this picture has become so imprinted on my mind that my subconscious just kept trying to connect.  Weird.

I had a similar feeling not long ago when Elijah started wiping off the table after he ate (see above).  Then, I was looking through our picture archives, and I found this:

What can I say?  Like my mom says, sometimes my brain is smarter than I am.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Should you toddler-proof your house...

...or house-proof your toddler?

It's such a tricky, sticky question, but the answer seems to get at the heart of one's individual beliefs about parenting.  So let me start with a little disclaimer:  I am one parent raising one child, and I know many other parents who have successfully raised children in using a myriad of styles and techniques.  Also, I am a co-parent with my husband, and we do not always share exactly the same opinions about the best way to parent, but I fully recognize that his ideas are equally as valid as mine, and that we must together determine the best way to parent our children.  


So, anyway, back to the question at hand.  As for the answer, in my 1.5 years as a full-time parent, I have done both.  In the toddler-proofing department, there are child locks on both of the kitchen cabinets, one that contains an assortment of cleaning supplies and one that has a lot of heavy glass bowls, pans and the like.  The second child-lock came later, and I must say, it was less for Elijah safety than my own sanity.  Because of a lack of space in our kitchen, the cabinet is arranged in a just-so configuration in which every piece of kitchenware occupies a space that is approximately equal to the actual size and shape of the object.  Which is to say that every time Elijah wanted to take something out, it required a major reorganization on my part to get it all back in.  That got old pretty quick.  

Also, in the toddler-proofing department, it helped that even before children, Kurt and I were generally opposed to the collecting of small, pointless, dust-collecting objects.  Again, with a small house, things get cluttered pretty quickly.  So there weren't to many blunt (or pointy) objects that had to be put out of reach.  

Basically, I want Elijah to know that this is his home, and that he can feel comfortable here.  My telling him "No" all the time did not seem to align with that objective.

BUT.  Two things: 
1.  We (Kurt and I) live here, too.  And we lived here for awhile before Elijah came along.  And just because we have a toddler doesn't mean that we should have to take all the books off our shelves, or that we can't set a water glass down on a low-lying table.  
2.  Elijah has gone, and will continue to go to places that are not child-proofed.  I want him to be safe in those places, too.  That means that I need to keep a eye on him, of course, but also that he needs to understand that there are things that he cannot touch.  He may not recognize those things immediately, so in addition to learning to identify hazards, he needs to understand that when I tell him not to touch something, I mean it. 

This is a tricky balance to strike, somewhere between permissive and authoritarian.  Elijah is a fairly cautious child, which make my job a bit easier in this department.  I know from the experience of friends and family, though, that the second child (or third) can turn all these ideas on their heads.  I will be sure to let you know when that happens to me.  

What I really want to know, though, for any parents out there reading this, is what do you think?  Where do you fall on the toddler-proofing vs house-proofing debate/negotiation?  I welcome your thoughts and advice.

And, in case you were wondering, yes, Elijah does like playing with Q-tips.

Friday, March 23, 2012

{this moment)

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Word of the Day: Sisyphean

Sisyphean: adj. 1. Relating to Sisyphus, King of Corinth who was condemned in the afterlife to roll uphill a stone which perpetually rolls down.  2. Actually or seemingly endless or futile.

Ex.: Keeping the floor of my house clean is a Sisyphean task.

Definition courtesy of  Example provided from personal experience.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My son, the TV star

Sure, here in the city we don't shear sheep or frolic in our backyard fields to welcome to new season.  

That's okay, though.  

Instead, we like to celebrate by eating lots of free Rita's Italian Ice. 

Preferably on television.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two years ago...

....this is what winter in DC looked like.

So, imagine my surprise when I went out to the garden yesterday and found this:

No, that is not a giant weed (although we have some of those, too).  It is arugula that we planted last spring, still going strong.  Crazy.

Monday, March 19, 2012


The weather here this weekend was absolutely gorgeous, so on Saturday morning we hopped on the Metro and headed for the zoo.  We are blessed to have a great, free zoo only a short trip away, making in the perfect place for a short outing (as, I'm sure you know, is really the optimal length for any outing involving a toddler).  In addition to allowing us to enjoy the beautiful day, the zoo gave Elijah the chance to (over)use one of his more recent words: Look! (or, in Elijah-speak, "Wook!"). 

There were lots of things for all of us to wook look at.  Mama is quite partial to the reptile house, where we enjoyed all manner of scaly, slimy and slithering things.  We also had a special treat, as we got to see the orangutans use the "O line", a series of ropes and platforms that wind through the zoo, right above the visitors' heads.  Apparently it is high enough that the monkeys (are orangutans monkeys?) won't attempt to jump down, but we did have to beware of any "monkey bombs".  Thankfully, none fell this time around.

The funniest part about going to the zoo with Elijah, though, was seeing what he felt was worthy of our attention.  He would shout, "Wook!" and point urgently until we discerned the object of his excitement.  Squirrels were a favorite, along with anything resembling a ball and any and all light fixtures.  Oh, yes, and the fact that one of the monkeys had a water fountain in his cage was simply unbelievable.  The gorillas seemed to be the only actual animals (besides the squirrels) that received more than a passing interest.  It helped that they basically pressed their rear ends up against the glass. 

But, I got my fix of cold-blooded friends, Kurt got to see the monkeys swing overhead and Elijah got to look and look and look, all on a lovely 70 degree day.  Sounds like a successful trip to me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Life imitates (comic) art

As the parent of a toddler, I often feel as though I am living in the midst of a comic strip.   Today I was actually able to capture this phenomenon in real time.  Enjoy! 

I love bath time!

Is that a green cookie?

Hmm, let me try it and see.

Worst. Cookie. Ever.

Whew.  A handy mouth-cleaner.

Hmm.  This tastes pretty good.  Much better than that green cookie.

(In case you need a hint as to what is going on, the green thing is actually a bar of soap.)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

To Remember

I was at school the other day, and the middle schoolers had made posters around the question, "Why do we write?"  The answers were mostly unsurprising: to entertain, to inform, etc.  I realized later that there was one important answer missing, though its absence was also unsurprising.  After all, they are only 11 or 12 or 13 years old.  

Sometimes, we write to remember.

When I was in seventh grade in Miss Elmore's class, we were assigned the task of writing our autobiographies.  I remember almost nothing about my finished assignment, although I would love to get my hands on it now, going on 20 years later.  What, in my young life, did I feel was significant enough to include?  I do know this, though.  It began with the sentence, "I was born on November 29, 1983, at 9:19 am."  

The reason I remember this minor detail is because, as was the fashion at that time, we traded rough drafts with our classmates.  I was charged with reading that of a boy named Phil Patnaude.  I began with the first sentence.  It read, "I was born on November 29, 1983, at 9:19 am."  I though it was a joke.  It certainly made no sense.  How could it be that someone I barely knew, who just happened to be in my seventh grade English class, had the exact same birthday as me, down to the minute?  But it was true, as only unbelievable coincidences can be.  

We were never quite friends, Phil and I, although we traveled in some of the same circles.  I remember when he wrote the word "perpetual" on his arm so he could remember the words to the Faith Hill song and sing it in physics class.  "It's centripetal motion.  It's perpetual bliss."  I remember how he and a friend used pieces of poster board taped together to play the world's biggest game of dots, storing it in someone's locker and playing between classes.  

We never forgot our birthday bond, and when we went to the same college, we met up our freshman year to exchange gifts.  I gave him a tiny keychain version of Monopoly, and he gave me some pretty stained-glass candles wrapped in newspaper and hidden inside an orange plastic pumpkin.  I guess maybe we were friends, in our way.

Last Saturday, Phil died.  It was tragic, horrible and every other adjective you might think of to describe the death a young man, who would have been 29 years old on November 29 of this year, just as I will be.  I cannot imagine the devastation felt by his family and close friends.  In a situation like this, it is impossible to know what to do.  So, I do the only things know.  I pray.  And I write to remember.

Rest in peace, Phil.  May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Yes, those are our actual rings.  And, yes, this is a weird picture.
I love my engagement ring.  Kurt picked it out himself with no help from me or any of my relatives.  The diamond is from a necklace given to me by my paternal grandmother, and I specified that I would prefer white gold.  Other than that, he was on his own.  And he did very well.  It is simple, but the etching gives it a little something extra.  My wedding band completes the set, so I always wear the two together, which suits me just fine.  (I did get a little puffy toward the end of my pregnancy with Elijah and had to revert to an old high school ring, but it never felt quite right, and I was glad to get the real ones back on once I deflated.)

The one and only downside the my beloved engagement ring is that because of the way it is set, from time to time strange things become trapped between the diamond and the band.  Play-dough, pizza dough, dirt, sauce.  I guess I shouldn't say strange things.  Everyday things, then.  

Sometimes I can get the debris out with a toothpick, or it dislodges itself.  Sometimes, though, the ring just needs a soak in this magical jewelry cleaning solution that my sister-in-law gave me.  A quick dip and the ring is good as new, or better.  

Which is why Kurt and I went away this weekend, just the two of us.  Rings, marriages.  They can both use a deep cleansing now and then.  Helps dislodge the play-dough, you know?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The parents are in town, so I will be taking the rest of the week off.  Please feel free to peruse the archives in my absence.  I will return Monday to regale you with tales of excessive grandparent affection.   See you then!

Image taken from IvyGate

Monday, March 5, 2012

More blanky-ness

Some of you may have been wondering why yesterday's post seemed a little...retro.  Well, there are two reasons.  1) I didn't start blogging in earnest until Elijah was a year old, so there are stories from those first few months that remain untold, and 2) the blanket story now has another, more recent chapter.

At some point in those first few months, Kurt and I notice that Elijah had become a little sparkly.  Specifically, we kept finding tiny pieces of glitter stuck to his little bald head.  At first we just figured that it was proof that he actually was an angel.  Then, we discovered the real culprit: his darling Baby Snoopy blanket.  The fabric used to make the outside edge had glitter embedded in it, although apparently not very well.  Not to worry, a few washings and the problem, if it ever was one, was solved.

The maker of the blanket, mother of one Raymond Hatch, was dissatisfied with this glitter phenomenon.  Despite our reassurances that it was no big deal, she felt bad.  Plus, she is just one AMAZING pseudo-grandma to Elijah, so last week, she gave us this:

Wow.  Incredible.  It has become Elijah's new favorite sitting spot.  I can't get over how beautiful this thing is.  Did I mention that Elijah is one blessed little boy?

Blankie love

Around the time Elijah was born (shortly before and shortly after),  he was the recipient of LOTS of homemade blankets.  Here's a little rundown:

Because of it's ideal dimensions, the one in the picture above was our go-to swaddler for those early months.  It was made by the mom of one of our dear friends.

Then, there was this one, made by the beloved Mamo to match Elijah's nursery curtains:
Slightly larger, it made the perfect laying spot for our afternoon trips to the arboretum.

Oh, and then there was this one:
Sure, the color scheme was a bit girly, but it was started by my late grandmother, Nancy, and was thus a certifiable family heirloom. 

In addition to these, there was one in our birth center gift bag, a monogrammed fleece one from my sister, and my own yellow blanket from my crib as a child. 

So, basically this kid could use a different blanket every day of the week and never run out.  Each blanket is unique and dear to us.  When he gets to the fort building stage, he will have plenty of materials to work with.  Each one has a story to tell.  And, the moral of those stories is all the same: This is one beloved little boy.

Friday, March 2, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a recent moment. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
Thank you to Amanda Soule of Soule Mama for the words and inspiration.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Elijah Weighs In

Elijah here.  It has come to my attention that my mom likes to talk about some of her favorite children's books on this blog.  That's all well and good, but she is a grown-up, and these books are for kids. Would you trust my review of The Hunger Games?  I didn't think so.  So I am going to tell you about my three current favorite books.  Mommy knows they are my favorites because I ask her to read them to me about 10 times a day.  

1. Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton.  First of all, you know this book is going to be good because it has farm animals on the cover.  Then, it surprises you by getting even better at the end because there are dogs in it too!  My mom is a little concerned because when she asks me what a pig says, I say, "La, la, la".  Well, I learned it from this book, so it must be true.

2. The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss.  I like this book because it is about my favorite body part, eyes.  I like eyes so much that I often help people out by showing them where their eyes are.  On a side note, it might be safest to wear sunglasses when I am around. 

3.  Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss.  Or, as I like to call it, "Gockigock".  If eyes are my favorite body part, then socks are definitely my favorite article of clothing.  I like the way the words sound in this book, even when mommy and daddy mix them up.  I usually get too excited about the first few pages to make it to the end, so I don't know what happens.  That's okay, though.  The first half is excellent.  My daddy tried to hide this book and switch it with another one so he wouldn't have to read it any more, but I was not fooled and kept asking for it in a loud voice until he "found" it.  

So that's it right now.  I have some others that I like, such as Goodnight Moon and One Duck Stuck, but I'm okay with only reading those once or twice a day, so they didn't make the list.  I will be back to update you when the list changes, which my daddy hopes will be pretty soon.