The Chill Mom

When I was eighteen or nineteen, I was home for the summer and we were at the softball fields watching someone in the family play ball. There were two fields adjacent to one another and the entrance to both was right off a large and crowded parking lot. And since this is small town Colorado we're talking about, rec league softball means mostly tailgating and driving through busy crowded parking lots with very little caution. Because you need to show off your muffler that doesn't really muffle. Or whatever.

At the game there was a family from church - they had one daughter (the oldest) and six sons (they later had one more girl). At the time their sixth son was about a year and a half old - big enough to toddle off. And toddle off he did...right out the gate and into the middle of the parking lot.

I happened to be arriving just then, recognized him, and just as I was about to leap out to save him in super heroic fashion, his mom came meandering out the gate and walked in what I recall was this agonizingly slow pace toward him, caught him by the hand and wandered back into the gate with him.

I remember thinking to myself, "Wow. That could have been disastrous. I can't believe his mom wasn't watching him better and that when she realized where he was, she wasn't moving faster...Maybe that's what happens after you have several children. Stuff like that just doesn't get you any more."

As the years went by, I grew to love and admire his mom in a million ways. But I've always remembered how chill she was, with her toddler running out into a parking lot of chaos.

Today I took my four little boys to a new swimming pool. (We just discovered the joy of the city association's awesome pools, so we've been making the rounds, trying them all out. This one is the best so far, and it's quite close to our home. Yay.)

I loathe donning a swimsuit in general, but there are things you do for your kids. You know.

Anyway, at today's swimming adventure, there is a wading pool with the sloped entry for tiny people and splash fountains and sprayers all around and one end that's just deep enough for the more adventurous non-swimmer, but not too deep. To make it totally awesome, there is a fenced in sand pit that the boys loved playing in during the safety breaks when they couldn't be in the water.

It was during one of these safety breaks that there were three parents standing in the gateway of the sandpit area, with the gate completely open. I was in the sand area and decided to take our bottle of water over to our chair in the pool area before it got sandy-fied and was no longer potable. I counted all four boys - Charlie was playing next to Calvin - and I stepped out for fifteen seconds.

When I came back, I counted heads again and there were only three - Charlie wasn't in the sand area anymore. I looked into the pool area and spotted him walking to the edge of the wading pool (it's zero inches deep - a very gradual slope into 12 inch deep water and he wasn't there yet). There wasn't anyone in the pool, since it was safety break, and I headed over to get him. (We're talking a total distance of ten yeards, maybe, between the sand pit and the pool...)

At the same instant that I saw toddling Charlie and was excusing my way through the three parents standing at the open gate through which Charlie had walked without their notice, a random mom who was lounging in the pool area shrieked (it was quiet, safety break time), "He got out!!!"

Yeah, I'm getting him. Sheesh. By then, I was out of the tangle of chatting gate parents and walking over to him, but I wasn't moving fast enough I guess. Because the lady shrieked again, "Run!!!"

I felt really awesome right then, having donned a swimsuit for the occasion, as everyone in the quiet, safety-breaking pool area looked to see what the drama was. For a second I couldn't believe someone was screaming at me to run. Seriously. And then I was trying really hard not to laugh to myself.

I didn't run. I didn't meander, either, but I reached Charlie just as the water was covering the top of his wading little toes, caught him by the hand and made my way back to the sand area with his perfectly safe toddling self.

I thought of my friend, the chill mom of the parking lot, and felt like I had arrived.


It's What You Say and How You Say It

I took the boys to the Washington Monument on Thursday. Our local Relief Society has a Cultural Fieldtrip Group and they ordered timed tickets to ride the elevator to the top. I've done it once before and it has been high on Calvin's list of things he wants to do before we leave the country, so we went.

The boys were great. It was hot and we had to walk quite a way from our parking space to the monument and then wait about twenty minutes in a single file line before we went in. They didn't fuss, they didn't run away, they didn't complain.

They did sit on the marble bench we were lined up against and wanted to scoot all the way to the center, because it was wide and rounded in the middle. In the process of sliding back, one of them accidentally scooched his hand under the purse of a lady who was sitting on the other side. I immediately reminded them that they needed to stay on our side of the bench because people needed to sit on both sides.

The lady who had been "violated" turned around and said in a really quite saccharine voice with an equally fake and pursed smile at the boys, "Oh how adorable. Four! And how old are all you little monsters?"

For moment I thought she might be trying to empathize with me in some backhanded way, but then I was trying mostly not to be offended because I realized that even though she had two teenage children with her, she really did think it was OK to refer to other people's children as monsters.

For most other people I would encourage the boys to tell them their ages and converse appropriately. But I couldn't. And they were looking at her blankly. Even Calvin did not want to impart his knowledge to her. I could tell they also were not impressed with her icey melty tone of voice and I think they were a little confused by the "monster" part. Because they really were acting so nicely, except for the accidentally scooting back part.

I almost felt like telling them to show her how real monsters act. Because I know they could do it. But even when they do act that way, I don't call them monsters. And I spend twenty-four / seven with them. It even would have been different if her tone of voice wasn't what it was. Trust me - it was amazingly awful. She wasn't joking. And she didn't even know us. And the boys were NOT being bad! (That's what I couldn't get over.)

A silent second or so passed with this lady still smiling tightly at the boys and me wondering if I was just being supersensitive, when my friend, who has raised six children (five of them boys), looked right at the woman and with a genuine smile said firmly, "There are no monsters on this bus! Calvin and David are 5, Henry just turned 4, and little Charlie is 1. They are GREAT little boys."

My boys smiled brightly at my friend and stood up in the line again.

Right then I realized how much a word can make a difference - to a mom, to a child. And whatever we say we think of someone, especially a little someone, they will feel it and believe it and act it. I also realized that unkind words even in a sugary voice can feel like an icey bucket of water being dumped on your head when you're trying your best to be good.

Words and voice. I've got to be more careful about that.


Henry 4 Ever

We had a birthday bash for Henry last Saturday. I have a hard time getting it together for birthdays in general, but we have family celebrations at each birthday and have determined to have big "friend" parties for the kids at age 4, 8, 12, 16 and 18 (the "big" years). Henry has been dreaming of his birthday party since Calvin's 4th, so I was trying to make it great and fun and memorable and all that, even though it had to happen a couple weeks after his actual birthday.

It was pretty much a comedy of errors. (That happened last year, too, for Henry, but I blamed it on having a newborn...Hmmm.) We had a backyard water party at Auntie S's house. I over-invited (as in number of guests) because there is a mass exodus here every summer and I wasn't sure many people would be able to come. Only a couple of people RSVPd at first, so I thought that it was true that only a couple people would be in town and able to attend. But it seems that everyone was out of town when the invites went out but back in town for the party, and they RSVPd when they returned. So we had oodles - and I do mean oodles - of four-year-olds.

The games were a flop (I have never been more mortified than when I looked at several glum 4-year-old faces, even in the presence of water balloons). But free water play and a really fun dad (I love my husband) were a hit and the kids were still going strong with sponges, straws, the trampoline, a sprinkler, water balloons, and a few buckets an hour and a half later. With a couple breaks for popsicles and cake and some terrific goodie bags assembled by Auntie S, I think everyone left happy anyway. (Nice cake, eh? It went right. See, I'm only pretending that this post is about Henry. *wink, wink*)

There were some definite highlights, even though the party of my Super Mom dreams didn't exactly take place. Mostly I just realized a really precious attribute of my Henry:

He came into the shade from playing at one point and noticed the pile of gifts on the table and stopped short and stared. I could see the gears whirring in his head as he slowly lifted one finger to point. He was so genuinely surprised that it made me glad I'd invited so many friends to give his unpresumptios little soul so many gifts.

He looked up at me and said, "Are all those presents for me?!" He honestly had not even thought of the loot aspect when we talked of having a party. When I told him they were indeeed all for him, the grin on his face was priceless.

Later when he opened a present from Auntie S, he was so thrilled: "A light sketcher? This is so cool! I have to go tell Calvin!" He ran out to find Calvin and told him, "Calvin! Auntie S got us a light sketcher!!!" If that didn't make me go to mush over his sharing little heart, I don't know what could.

As far as other things about Henry at four? Here are some other little moments from the past couple of weeks to note for you, the internets, and posterity...


He calls Malfoy from Harry Potter "Math Boy." He says it in such a contemptuous voice and he likes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban the best because that's the one where HoMiney punches Math Boy in the face.


Sometimes we stop at 7-11 on our walks and get Slurpees for the boys. Every time I come out with the treats, David says, "It doesn't matter what 7-11 you go into, or how briefly you are in there, you always come out smelling the same way." What is that smell, anyway? It's distinctive, really. And it does stay with a person. Today I had to run in and pay for gas and the boys hollered for me to get slurpees for them. I told them I didn't think I would because Slurpees are a special treat, blah, blah, blah. I came back out to the car empty-handed and we pulled away. A few seconds later (I'm pretty sure it was about the amount of time it takes for a smell to travel to the back seat and reach Super Henry with the power to smell), Henry said in a happy little sing-song voice, "I smell Sloooooohhhpeeeeez!" Hmmm. I don't think so.


Yesterday, we went to the Washington Monument (I have a whole other post for that), and we had to be there at a certain time so I was pushing the stroller rather quickly with the other three boys following (or running ahead, chasing, geese). Henry was always at on my heels. I was trying to be patient about that because I had told them to stay close by me. And just when I was about to ask him to back off just a little, he said, "Mom, don't walk so fast! I'm trying to stay in your shadow!" Since it was noon, my shadow was not very big, so that explains his closeness. And it made me smile that he thinks up these little "games" to play.


There isn't a pair of eyes as beautiful and expressive as Henry's, or a giggle more contagious in the world, I am convinced. His hair still grows into messy curls, he can raise one eyebrow at the most hilarious times, and he is crazy about his mom still. He adores his brothers and can hold his own with them, too. I love his sense of humor and his imagination and ability to entertain himself and everyone around him. No one does "naughty" quite as well, and very few people make you want to squeeze and kiss him as much either.

I'm looking forward to this school year, when he and I will have a lot of one on one time. I'm hoping that he will feel the attention he needs and that we will be able to make a lot of wonderful four-year-old memories together.



Charlie has discovered the joy:


It's All For Me

Calvin came bamming out of the bathroom yesterday afternoon with something on his mind. Both of my boys bam in and out of the bathroom - I have no idea why, but that is the only way to describe the door and lid and flush and door action that accompanies their toilet use...

Anyway, he bammed out of the bathroom and stopped short of me in the hallway and said, rather authoritatively but with a forced-casual wave of his hand:

"Mom, the reason we don't have a nanny and you don't go to work is because nannies cost a lot of money and because we love you and don't want you to have to go to some weird job somewhere."

I have no idea where this thought came from - our only discussions of nannies have been rare and almost exclusively between David and I alone, except for the houseguest telling me I should get one once we move to Kiev. I actually don't entertain the thought or converse about it much, mostly because (as I mentioned before) I'm not sure what I would do with myself while someone else watched over the children.

Cal does have lots of friends who have nannies, though, so maybe this came up in his mulling little mind because of that. I don't know. At any rate, "Because we love you and don't want you to have to go to some weird job somewhere" is probably the best thing I've ever heard.

It put a whole new spin on the situation for me, imagining Calvin and Henry and Charlie making the loving decision to sacrifice having a nanny so they could keep their mom safe and happy at home, and so she doesn't have to deal with any weirdness somewhere else.

I'm sure that someday I will thank them for it.



I was handwashing a bunch of dishes this morning, partly because a bunch of non-dishwasherable things had stacked up and partly because opening the dishwasher while Charlie is awake has become a three-ring circus that I can't hardly manage.

Calvin came in, and just on a whim, I asked him if he'd like to dry the things I put on the counter and put them away. "Sure," he said, and he got out a towel. He started chattering away while he was drying, and innovating as he went: "Mom, how 'bout if you hand me the pans after you wash them, then I won't have to go back and forth." I explained that I just wanted to stand in one place, too, and wash everything first then I would help him put things away.

Then he disappeared for a minute and I thought I had lost my brief helper. But he came back with a large bathroom towel and said, "Since I'm carrying wet things across the floor, I brought this towel to keep the floor dry."

"I'm doing a good job, huh, Mom?" he asked a couple of times and I assured him that he was.

"I like this! It's fun to work with you. We're going to be done quick because we're helping each other," he said a little while later.

He stayed in the kitchen and helped me dry every last dish (there was quite a stack!), lining up all the things that he couldn't reach to put away in a perfect line on the edge of the counter for me to take care of.

It made me happy to work along with my little boy like that and he smiled so proudly when I told him thanks. It made me realize how eager he actually is to be a help and to please me, how he wants to do things better. I definitely need to remember that at other times, when he's not so helpful or pleasing, and build on what I know he really wants: approval and help and time with his mom.


Naptime Never Looked So Good

David and I stayed up much too late pillow talking last night. It was after eleven when I got done teasing him - brilliant man that he is - about not being able to comprehend Pig Latin.

We had no sooner dozed off than Charlie decided it was one of his wake-every-hour nights. And he is getting a lot more loud and a lot more stubborn about letting us know that he is awake. By the time I had him settled in for good at 2:30 a.m. I was no longer tired - the second wind had kicked in.

After listening to Henry and Calving both get up - Henry twice - to make their loud way to the bathroom, I stared at the ceiling and tried my best to will myself to sleep, but it didn't work. So I played Tetris (in my nightstand drawer for occasions such as these) until I felt tired again at 4 a.m.

I forgot to get bread yesterday and the boys have been on a toast kick for the last couple weeks, so no bread would be really, really bad. We needed a couple other necessities, including gas, so I crawled out of bed at 6 a.m. to go to the grocery store before David left for work. (I can take four children on outings, but I cannot do the carseat buckle buckle buckle buckle drive one minute to the store carseat unbuckle unbuckle unbuckle unbuckle two minutes in the grocery store turned to twenty because four children are along and then carseat buckle buckle buckle buckle drive one minute home carseat unbuckle unbuckle unbuckle unbuckle. I just can't. Sad that 6 a.m. after no sleep is preferrable, huh?)

When I got home at 6:40 a.m. Charlie and houseguest's boy were up for the day. I didn't cry like I wanted to when David walked out the door for work.

Here it is, 9 a.m. and it feels like it should be noon already. The little boys are playing high-pitched-voice Duckie-related police airplane games while Calvin makes them toast. He's in the kitchen talking to the toaster: "Come on now, we've got hungry customers waiting." (Again, I ask, where does he get this stuff?")

I must say it's a beautiful thing when kids can make their own toast.

And if I didn't feel like I'd been run over by a Mack truck, I'd be really glad that Charlie sleeps eleven or twelve straight hours most nights and that (for the moment, knock on wood) there are no barfing, fevers, extracurricular mess-making or fist fighting going on.

I think the children sense how unpretty any one of those things would make me today.


The Wonder of It All

(I've been wanting to enter Scribbit's monthly Write-Away contest for several months now and especially loved the "Wonder Woman" topic this month. This older post from when I was expecting Charlie came to my mind, so I reworked it a bit and decided to "send it in." Hope you don't mind a bit of a repeat. Wish me luck! Oh, and check out Scribbit later this week for a list of the other entries - there's always some great reads!)

There are things about each of my boys that I can pick out and say - He got that from me. Or, he got that from my husband. A trip to the grocery store the other day had me pinpointing Cal's inherited traits pretty clearly:

He put California rolls, dark chocolate truffles and purple tulips into the cart and credibly talked me into each one of them...He's my child.

Riding in the car home from the grocery store, he asked after some quiet minutes, "Mom, when you turn off a light, where does the electricity for that light go?" Now, have I ever thought of that? No. Do I know? No. Have I ever cared to know? Actually, not really...He's my husband's child.

So, the summary of genetic manifestation in Calvin: Inclinations toward the delicious, fattening, aesthetic or sentimental - Me. Inclinations toward acquiring unprecedented amounts of information and wondering how or why everything and everyone does what they do all the time - My Husband.

In pursuing his desire for every kind of information, Calvin has asked several times in the past couple weeks, "How does the baby get out?" My husband, who is usually so eager to give anyone and everyone a ride on the super highway of information that is his brain, has kindly handed the answering of this question to me.

I don't really have a problem answering these kinds of things, and long ago determined to be as up front and clear about answering questions like this in an age appropriate manner whenever my kids are asking. But I've put off this discussion for a bit because of visions in my head that my knowledge-imparting (husband's child) four-year-old will share everything he knows about the birth canal with his Primary class at church just as the room gets really quiet...

Anyway, the subject was covered today because he caught the last bit of A Baby Story on TLC. I kinda did it on purpose, letting him see that. Maybe not the best strategy, but he's my first child and keeps asking, so I know he needs to know. I talked about it the whole time we watched, and he took it all in stride, without an excessive amount of shock or disgust or whatever I was expecting. He actually seemed fairly impressed.

Which is why he needed to share the info at dinner with his Dad, who he knows enjoys great and interesting pieces of knowledge. So as we were finishing talking about the opening that mommies have that stays really small until the baby has grown big enough to be born and then it opens up to let the baby out, he concluded in an excited monologue: "And then the lady counts to ten lots of times and the baby just comes out!" Ahem. "Babies are pretty messy when they're first born. But they're so cute and tiny!" A little pause, then, "But how come only mommies get to have babies? What do men get to do?"

Now THAT is a question from a perspective that unfortunately few people have ever really considered. And just like that, I understood in a moment that being a woman and being able to have a baby is one of the most powerful, priceless and precious gifts of life.

But there are always more questions to be answered around here. Cal prefaced one today with, "I've been thinking of this one question...that I just don't know." I thought, Uh-oh. Here it comes. But having been successful with the baby getting out conundrum, I asked him what was on his mind. He asked, genuinely perplexed, "How can ONE person take care of TWO boys all day?" I told him, smiling to myself, that I honestly do not know. So he asked his dad.

His dad told him, without a pause, that the person had to be a superhero.

I love these guys.


What Larks

I've been talking up the Nikon D60 that I've been reading about on several of my photo blog favorites...you know, telling my husband in a terribly enchanting whine, "But everyone else has one..." The thing can do some pretty amazing stuff, and my little pocket wonder, while being a great camera, has never been quite the same since the beach two years ago. I'd love something that could take pictures in which the reflection of people standing behind the photographer are clearly visible in miniature, in the eyes of the subject. I just think things like that are awesome.

But seeing as how I'm not even a semi-professional photographer nor do I have $600 in pocket change to justify or excuse such a purchase, I know the D60 dream will always be just a dream. Especially after snapshots like these, today at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens...I'll never be able to convince anyone that I need a camera that does more. My refurbed Finepix does a fine job, huh?

The Aquatic Gardens are wonderful, by the way, should you ever want to venture into Southeast DC. A quiet marshy peaceful park run by the National Park Service that you wouldn't even know was there...

People say I'm crazy to go into the city like that with four preschoolers, but I seriously have days when I would go crazy if I did not. Today was one of those days. I couldn't take another moment in the house and the boys were beyond cabin fever, so we hopped in the car and off we went.

They loved it. I am always amazed at the natural curiosity and wonder at nature that they have. The giant leaves that are big enough to be bowls and actually hold dew in them...

...and the flowers that grow on long, long stems and have such big, heavy blooms, and insides that look like shower heads.

Or maybe they're not shower heads, but microphones? The boys amused a very serious photographer when they reached for one and started saying, "Hello? Can you hear me?" into one of them.

When a top of one of the flowers broke off (it was truly an accident), we watched the milk pump and bubble out the top of the broken stem - is this fascinating or what?

When we got to the boardwalk and headed out into the marsh, the boys started tiptoeing (of their own accord!) and talking in hushed whispers, looking for turtles and frogs. We didn't see any amphibians today, but a large crane stood for a minute in the park about thirty yards away from us before swooping its huge wings and stretching its lanky neck into flight. It was awesome.

Overall, a lovely outing, complete with a pleasant baby in the best stroller ever and a nice climbing/posing tree on the way out:

Nothing like a little midsummer day's adventure.

P.S. Do you know what book the phrase "What larks!" comes from (on your honor, don't cheat with google!) and which character says it?



I was carrying Charlie down the stairs yesterday after his nap when I stepped squarely on a small, invisible, but very metal toy that was strategically positioned in the middle of one of the steps.

I fell and slid down a couple steps, managing to keep Charlie upright and unharmed, then sat there and cried - hard - because my foot hurt so bad.

Yelling at the kids to get all their stinking toys picked up now didn't help me feel better at all. (Maybe if there would have been more toys out or if the children weren't all outside at the time...)

Today I have a deep purple bruise in the middle of my instep and it feels like I'm walking around on a very hurtful ping pong ball. Perhaps I will govern the chaos mostly from the couch today.


A Nice Feeling

I finally settled on a date for a birthday party for Henry. (Four years old is a big one around here, and Calvin had a "friend party" for his fourth - Henry has been waiting anxiously for his turn.) So today I had to get to the store for invitations so I can mail them right away.

I had no choice but to take my three boys and the houseguest's boy with me. They actually behaved themselves, but it ended up being a three-stop expedition and every time we got out of the car into a parking lot I felt pretty insane.

At the last store, as I was telling my boys to stop right where they were (for the millionth time) while I unbuckled Charlie, I heard a mom telling her child to stop right where he was while she was getting a baby out of the shopping cart at the door. Her voice sounded like she had said it for the millionth time, too.

We passed each other in the parking lot - she coming out, me going in. She had two boys holding her hand in a chain and a toddler on her hip and was seven or eight months pregnant. I had three little boys holding my hand in a chain and a toddler on my hip. Our eyes met and I smiled and said, "I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one." She laughed out loud and said, "I'm so glad to know it's still possible to make it out of the house with four."

Little exchanges like that make me happy. Sometimes we moms get so busy in our own houses or our own cars and our own routines and it can feel like we're alone dealing with preschoolers and babies and endless conversations about poo and endless administrations of time outs for everyone but ourselves. Then our paths cross for a minute and we know we're not alone. I like that.


We celebrated Independence Day in Manassas. We had decided to take in the fireworks close by, but then changed our minds and wanted a little drive. We got drenched in rain in the afternoon, came back home to get dry, went back to watch the fireworks, and got drenched while watching them. I have to say that it was totally worth it. Manassas knows how to do fireworks, and they thrilled me.

I packed a picnic and the crowds weren't too bad - maybe because of the intermittent rain - so we were able to find a great place to eat and talk and see the fireworrks. The boys played on the lawn with a bunch of other kids and did sparklers right before the show started.

What I loved most was sitting there with my boys and looking at their faces light up in flashes, mesmerized by the different colors and the boom boom crack boom. They are such good sports, too - sitting in the drizzle, enjoying the show.

There was hardly any traffic on the way out so we were home and all in bed at a decent time, too. Pretty much a perfect day.

The rest of July promises to be hectic, with a lot of to-do's and miscellaneous nagging tasks. Summer is flying by and I haven't caught up with it yet.

But now we're at the final countdown for our beach week at the beginning of August. I really do try not to wish time away, but there about a million reasons why I can not wait until we are soaking up the sun and playing in the sand in North Carolina. It has become a summer tradition and I live for it. There just are not very many other times or places when I can just be, and my little boys can just play and run and splash and dig in sand absolutely to their heart's content, and I can have uninterrupted conversations with people.

Twenty-six days.


I'm Waiting...

Tomorrow, Henry turns four years old. I've been holding on to that milestone because the last time I had a four-year-old, it was pure magic, the way he turned from a three-year-old who might not make it to his fourth birthday to a little guy who turned me to absolute mush. That's what I'm hoping for, because this year has been r.o.u.g.h with Henry. I think it's the combination of being smack dab in the middle of two brothers and also just being three. Don't ever let anyone tell you about terrible twos. I'll take the twos over the threes any time. Just so you know.

And on the other hand, I can't believe he's four. My little rosey-cheeked with sweaty curls Henry is four years old. My little fat snuggler has turned little boy. His imagination is still going full throttle and he still makes a great Duckie voice and sleeps with Fringies. But he concentrates really hard so as not to say "f" instead of "th" anymore, and he likes to be allowed to play in the front yard / neighborhood like a big boy. ("I won't wun away, Mom. I pwomise!") I know it won't be long before sitting as close to me on the couch as he possibly can will not be his main goal in life anymore.


In the meantime, he has been wanting a house for the "loving family" he got for Christmas. It costs $59, the deliuxe version being about twice that the last time I checked. I can't really justify that, since it is aggressively pink and is not really made for rough and tumble boys who may or may not play with it appropriately. Plus, it takes up space and has lots of parts. I hate parts.

So, I made a substitute for his birthday out of foam board, scrapbook paper, and masking tape. Don't look too closely at the craftsmanship, but I think it's going to be a hit. It's a four-room place - I decorated two of the rooms and left two for Henry to fix up the way he wants. (It also stores flat when not in use.)

I can't wait to see what he thinks and to watch how he plays with it. It's pretty funny to hear how his family talks to one another and what they do in a day. Sometimes superhero action figures and dinosaurs join them. I think this could be really fun.

And except for my little boys growing up and a couple little surprises to look forward to, everything else seems to be at a standstill...Our move around the world date remains indefinite due to things out of our control, so it's hard to make plans (I dearly love to make plans)...So I'm waiting.

As summer rolls on...