Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Zufelt Family Feb 2015

Monday, May 31, 2010

On the Topic of Kissing

At least once a month, often more often, my family has the Mormon missionaries over for dinner. They rotate into our area and out again so their names are always changing, but there are always two 19 year old young men that need to eat. They spend all day teaching people about Jesus Christ. If they have to return home to prepare a meal, eat and clean the dishes, it really cuts into the time they could be out teaching about the Savior. So, as a congregation, we feed them dinner often. It's actually a great chance to get to know them and have more gospel discussions in our home. The kids have always loved it too. In fact, they really, really love it. Over time they have developed great friendships with several of the elders that have stayed for longer than normal periods of time before their transfers came. Elder Peterson, Elder Smith and Elder Tamir (from Mongolia who played with them non-stop) are the most recent in my memory, though there have been some fun elders pass through the four walls of our home. We currently have Elder Perkins and Elder Rothman here. About two months ago, the kids wanted to have "fancy dinner" with them. That means that we cleaned up the party table and used a table cloth instead of the regular kitchen table. Maddie made the seating assignments. She was on the end next to Elder Perkins, then Elder Rothman next to Perkins. Across from them were Brian, Ben and me with Jacob in a booster seat to the side. After we were almost done with our dinners and Maddie was getting slower and slower at eating I noticed her body slipping down farther and farther in her chair. When her head finally disappeared, I peeked my head under the table to see what she was doing. What I saw made me giggle a little bit. Maddie slid down into a ball on her chair and perched her little body like a cat facing Elder Perkins. Then she sneakily kissed his knee cap before I could stop her and went back to a cat position again. I gently grabbed her so she didn't whack her head on the table and pulled her out to the side. I explained that we can't kiss the elders. They can't kiss anybody for two years except their mothers and no one can kiss them but their mothers. It's a rule. We were all laughing about it and she just burst into tears. She was pretty upset and probably a little bit embarrassed. I asked her why she kissed his knee and she simply replied, "cause that's what you do to be nice to someone you like." What a sweetheart. Today for Memorial Day we hosted our Semi-Annual Rogue Ward BBQ at the park. We had signed up to feed the elders again, so invited them to the BBQ. Though there was no kissing to speak of, we did have to watch Maddie. She followed Elder Perkins around. A lot and wanted to sit by him to eat her lunch. So innocent and cute today. Possible terror as a teenager.

Bread Bowl Fanatic

About two years ago, we came across a great recipe for bread bowls (a glorified dinner roll large enough to scoup out the middle and fill with soup). Angie found the recipe in Heather Gillespie's blog and decided to make it for our family dinner. She filled the bowls with our favorite Baked Potato Soup (which should be the subject of an upcoming post). Ben immediately fell in love--the bread was delicious and his favorite part was when he found out he could eat the bowl after eating the soup inside. Later, when we invited friends over to share in this wonderful dinner, Ben made a point of telling the guests that they wouldn't have to clean up their bowl because it would be gone. Since that time, every time we have soup Ben asks if we are going to have bread bowls. His favorite bowl comes from Heather's recipe. However, if we have not had time to make the "official" bowls, he looks around for a reasonable substitute. This past week Angie tried out a new potato soup recipe. Of course, Ben asked if we would have bread bowls. He was not deterred when we said no, but just looked around and saw a bag of dinner rolls on the counter. He selected a roll, hollowed it out, and filled it with soup. The roll was not very big--just large enough to fit only a couple of spoon fulls of soup. Ben quickly emptied the roll and asked for more soup. After repeating this pattern several times, I just set the pan of soup next to Ben and let him do the filling. Angie and I watched as he continued to fill and empty his bread bowl about a dozen times before he finally ate the bowl to complete the meal.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Going to catch what?

A couple of weeks ago we had a ward campout. Just after we arrived a storm moved in and dumped on us. Even though we were in the middle of a warm May day, it dropped hail for a short period. Last night I took Ben to Soccer practice. During one of the water breaks he ran up to me and told me, "I want to go outside tonight to see if I can catch hail." However, he said it with more of an "e" sound instead of the "ai" sound. It made me do a bit of a double take until I remembered a storm was approaching later that evening.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Decisions Made For Me

I can't even remember how many people have asked me if I will hold Maddie Mae back in school. The Fairfax County Public School deadline is Sept 30. School begins each year near Sept 7 or 8. Her birthday is Sept 15. This means that if I choose to send her "on time" to start kindergarten she will actually begin kindergarten as a 4 year old. All I can tell people is that we are a year away from the decision. I'll register her for class and make the call in August whether we go or withdraw and wait a year. Then we got this whole move across the globe thing coming up to throw a wrench into our lives. Today I researched the Singapore American School. Their deadline is Sept 1. The way they line things up when we arrive, Maddie will be ineligible for kindergarten that coming fall, she will have to go to pre-kindergarten. She'll go to preschool to finish up that year (assuming they have space to take her). Today I'm sort of bummed out about it. I feel like she is getting pushed back two years. All her friends here will go to school. When we return in three years she'll be a year behind her peer group. That sucks. Poor girl. I guess it's all in the mindset you have. I've always had her set to be the youngest of the group. Now she'll be the big kid. Well, she'll be the older kid. That girl will never be a big kid.


This morning Ben was reading with Brian as they usually do after he's totally ready to go to school. Maddie asked Brian to put batteries in the flashlight. He sent her to me. I said I could in a minute, but two other toys needed their batteries changed. I sent her to the basement to retrieve the pink princess microphone while I got the ball blower and the flashlight and was headed toward the closet where we keep the batteries. Ben and Brian were talking about how when batteries get worn out the toys move slower and slower. Then Ben offered, "I think I need new batteries 'cause I move soooo slow in the mornings when I have to get ready for school." We could only laugh and agree. Ben needs new batteries desperately. Luckily there are only nineteen days of school left this year.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day Two

Last night went okay with Jakey in the big kid bed. I'm floored that his nap is going okay as well. I totally thought we'd be in a pack and play after I fought him and lost my temper thirty minutes into it. He's cried more times than usual and I had to put him back once. I sat on the floor next to him for about sixty seconds and held his hand. He looked scared. Like he didn't know where he was in this new place. Removing a wall has changed his feeling of security. Still, he's stayed in bed. Go figure. Do I dare hold my breath? Not yet, but I'm considering...

No Delusions

A few days ago I noticed the plastic attachment piece on Jacob's crib was cracking. Note to self, order replacement part. Days later, it had gotten lots worse. No doubt because he's a wild man in the crib. Jumps up and down like a crazy person. He thinks it's his own private trampoline and grins ear to ear as he jumps and tries to climb out the side. Noticing it was about to crack through pushed me to sit down and search online for the part. What do I find out instead? The crib was recalled. Like three years ago and the company also went out of business. Since we got it at a garage sale in Houston, I had no receipt to return it to any store so we're sunk. With no real solution in sight I just let it slide, but honestly had a hard time sleeping. If the plastic piece broke clean through, he could get his head trapped and be strangled. Yesterday I decided to figure out how to screw it together permanently so it wouldn't slide up and down but at least would be safe. On a wing and a prayer I grabbed the conversion piece and made it into a toddler bed. He went nuts about the idea from the start. While I was trying to secure it all back together with my hands I was trying to keep him off the bed with the rest of my body. It was so distracting. Finally I let him on the bed. Kerplunk. With all his persistence to get on the bed, one part had slipped when I turned my head and I missed securing the mattress support on one side. Ugh. Back off the bed he went and after I fixed it, he jumped, giggled and ran side to side for fifteen minutes. He kept climbing on the bed and off the bed and on the bed and off the bed just because he could. Then Ben and Maddie came in and played with him on the bed for almost an hour! It's the new playground in our house...which is good because we now are finding Jakey on Ben's bunkbed. He's learned how to climb the rock wall. Yikes. Have to keep that door closed now. Yeah. It's true that he is only 18 months old. I know. I'm nuts. He's "free" now. To be honest, Brian and I don't think it will work at all. He's just a tad too young to understand the command "stay in bed" like the big kids. But last night it worked. He came out a couple times and there are toys in his bed this morning. But he slept there. Time will tell, but I'm under no delusion that this is a permanent solution for the short guy I affectionately call "my little monster."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Family picnic with dad at work

Notice family missing from family picnic? Every time they have to pee upon arrival. No small task. Hike to building. Get security cleared. Metal detectors. All before an accident.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making Big Moves

Monday night we finally told the kids about our plans. We're moving to Singapore. According to the company it will be last quarter this year, therefore we are planning on first quarter next year. I've been doing a serious, SERIOUS clean out and dejunk for six months. We've given away mountains of stuff and some furniture too. I'm trying to streamline my life and be realistic about my needs vs comfort items and wants. Ben is still having some anxiety in new situations so I have been very nervous about this change, but in the present moment I've been petrified to tell him of the change. I've been putting the idea out in his head for about two months I think. Seems like forever. First time he heard the idea didn't go well at all. We were Skyping with Brian's parents right after he had got word of the potential opportunity. With the kids all right there, he out and told his parents about the move in the works. Ben freaked out. He was NOT going with us. He was mad and sulky and sat on the couch with a furrowed brow and arms folded tightly across his chest. And that's the way he stayed for a good month. The more we talked about "going on an amazing adventure" and "living in a place where we could go visit Uncle Shon easier" the more he relaxed about it. On Monday night I got a few books from the library about Singapore and some fun ones for the kids. Next they got ice cream and we sugared them up real good. Then we broke the news. It was a bit anti-climatic compared to what I had thought would happen but in a good way. I was happy they seem okay with our big news. And now we commence the waiting.

King George

A little geography lesson for those not in the DC area. Some of the counties surrounding the official District of Columbia include Prince William County (Virginia), Prince George County (Maryland) and King George County (Virginia). I think it's kind of funny since we fought a war to get away from all that king stuff. Today I had the tv on in the kitchen listening to the morning news. We don't usually have it on so Maddie Mae doesn't hear the reports very often. When the traffic report came on she keyed in to a single phrase in the King George report. "Ahhh?!?! Mom! They just said King George! I wonder where he is!?!?" I snickered and let her little princess mind explore the possibilities for a minute, not wanting to squelch her excitement dreaming of the royal possibilites. The news continued on and she heard something-something "King George" something-something "hospital." "Oh!! He's at the hospital today!!" Mystery solved. King George is in our neighborhood today and he is at the hospital. Brian called soon after that from work. I recounted the story for his entertainment while Maddie listened. I misspoke and told him Prince George or Prince William. Maddie QUICKLY corrected me. "No, Mom! It was talking about King George!! Not the Prince." My apologies my sweet princess.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Just so the story is complete, I thought I would post an update. Jacob had his nap, Maddie had a movie break on my bed, I had some grown up time (blogging my rotten morning). Then we went to the park for playgroup, got Ben from the bus with his buddy, sent Ben to a playdate with a great old friend and got to chat with the other mom for a few minutes to catch up, packed for the camping trip and went camping (in a downpour). Everyone smiled lots and lots. My family is still happy. I guess I post the rotten things in life for two reasons. The first being that blogging seems to take the form all to often of a happy travel log of our fun advenures. If you read enough blogs, you'll start to think you're alone in the world and your life is totally rotten and everyone else has a beautiful amazingly cool life with kids that behave and always say the cutest things. My blog is reality based. Some days just suck. The other reason I blog the bad is to vent it out. It sort acts as my pressure relief valve so to speak for you engineer geeks out there. My kids will read this some day when I'm gone and they'll realize that it's okay to think your losing your mind with your kids once in a while. Just wanted you to know everyone is happy and healthy in the Zufelt Zoo once again.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Days it's Okay to Cuss

I've been feeling crappy all week long. My neck and back hurt so bad I couldn't always move my neck from side to side without waves of nausea so bad I wanted to bend over and vomit. It was bad. It makes me cranky and mean when I'm that sick or in pain. Monday morning I called to schedule and appointment to get things fixed up. Thursday at 9am. Done. Got the babysitters lined up. Went. Within five minutes of working on my back it was beginning to pop back into place and feel better. By the end of the hour, I felt like myself again. Had a pretty darn good day after picking up the kids. I had playground duty last night while Brian went to soccer practice with Ben. I endured it well and even played imagination games with the kids the majority of the time. It was sort of fun. Then we came home and everyone was tired and cranky and didn't want to go to bed. I got in bed when the kids did and fell asleep, but they woke me up with their playing and fighting in bed and Jacob crying endlessly. Jacob was up at just a few minutes past 5am today. Screaming bloody murder. It went on and on and on and on. It's becoming a regular problem and I don't want to encourage it, so I won't get him out of the crib. I offered a binkie, blanket, milk, rubbed his back in the crib, but the second I move from the side of the crib he starts yelling and screaming as loud as humanly possible. It grates at my fragile nerves. By the time the rest of the family got up, I was in a terrible mood. Turns out everyone else was too. Because we had soccer last night, the dinner mess was still all over the kitchen. I tried to clear the cups of water before Jacob could climb up on a chair and dump them, but two cups slipped out of my hand, spilling all over the floor. I cleaned it up and went to lay on the couch in the living room. I must have missed a spot because soon I heard little feet slip and crash down on the floor. Maddie was crying and hurt. Brian comforted her while I cleaned my missed water spots. We manage to get some breakfast in the kids then send them to get dressed and brushed. Maddie shoves Ben off the top of the toilet where he is standing to put toothpaste on his toothbrush and he goes crashing to the floor yelling. Brian removes Maddie and she is screaming to get back into the bathroom to brush. Finally Ben comes out. Maddie goes in. I pass the doorway as she is holding her tube of toothpaste high above her brush with a long, long string of paste waving around, ready to fall and make a huge mess in the already sticky bathroom. I grab it just before it drops putting about 10 times what is needed on her brush. Of course, she is shrieking again and yelling unintelligible words. The volume and intensity increases when I tell her I can't understand her words. She wipes her hair out of her face, toothbrush in hand, leaving gobs of stringy toothpaste all over in her hair. I walk away to take a shower before my head explodes. In the shower I compose a resignation letter and pray for an added measure of patience to survive this disaster of a day, realizing it's not even 7:30 in the morning yet. How will I possibly make it today? We're supposed to go to playgroup at 10am. Fat chance of that. Jakey's gonna be a disaster by 10 am. I probably will be too for that matter. Then I have to get the kids at the bus after kindergarten and pack for a camping trip. Tonight. In the rain. Then I have to leave the campsite by 7am to take the church girls on a required hike for their camp certification. That leaves Brian to break down camp, tent and all solo with three kids, make that two kids and a monster. Last year we put all our pillows and blankets in the trunk and laid Jakey inside while we did the tent. He was happy as can be. No way that will work this time. Back in the present the morning disasters just keep coming. Maddie wants something and I say she needs to finish her morning chores. Today she still needs to put her glasses on and get her hair done. Then she's free. Unfortunately we can't brush her hair because of the toothpaste. I tell her to wash it in the bathroom sink with water. I very specifically tell her how and where to do it. She can choose either the upstairs or main floor bathroom. She wanders off to do it. Three seconds later I hear a cup, a FULL cup of water splatter on the kitchen floor. I roar like a lion. What the heck was that?!?!?! She bursts into tears. Water. What was she doing? Washing her hair by dumping an entire cup of water on the tips of her hair while she stands in the middle of the kitchen floor. I scream to get a towel, clean it up and get in the bathroom. I just have to walk away. Jakey keeps hitting and shoving both me and her. He's a mean and rotten bully. Time out makes him laugh right now. He doesn't know I'm punishing him. He'll catch on soon enough I hope. Now Maddie's hair is washed (she actually did a great job getting the sticky out), glasses on. Jakey is stealing her toys and being a bully. It's 8:22 am. In 8 minutes it's nap time. It is simply in the best interest of our family today. Assuming we all want to survive until bedtime (in the rain in the woods). Heaven help us, please, because these are the days I think to myself, "It's totally okay to cuss when you're having a day like this."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Eleventh Commandment

Today Jacob broke the eleventh great commandment. "Thou shalt not waste potato salad from Claudia." I was horrified. This stuff is to be treasured about all things in this world. It is amazing. I asked for recipe once. It was something along the lines of..."a bit of this and some of that until it tastes just right and then you..." and I knew I was sunk. The phrase "to taste" translates to mean "Angie need not attempt this recipe." Claudia's potato salad is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. I will never be able to replicate it, but I can relish every last bite. Jacob wanted to try it, so I gave him the tiniest little potato chunk. He liked it, so I gave him a second small bite. He promptly tried to spit it out and wipe off his tongue making a mess all over his face. All I could think was, "Don't WASTE IT!!!" It has the perfect zest, exquisite blend of mayo and mustard, a bit of crunch and tender, soft potatoes. Thanks, Claudia. You made my day today with your gift.

Verbal Reading Quiz

Ben's teacher does a weekly newsletter for the parents.  A few weeks ago it said to ask your kids the following words to see if they remember from the lesson.  I finally got around to it tonight during dinner.  Since Ben was across the table I tried it verbally.
"Ben, what word is this, 'a-m'?"
"AM means afternoon time."
"What? Oh, you mean AM means morning and PM means night time."
Not what I was looking for, but okay.  Try the next one on the list...
"Tell me what word this is, 'a-t'."
"What do you mean?  Like 79 and 89?"
"What are you talking about?  I don't understand."
"You said eighty, right?"
"Oh.  Yeah.  Sort of, 'a-t" sounds like 80.  You're right.  What about 'd-o-g'?"
"Good.  We got one."
I'm sticking with a visual reading test next time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On Mother's Day No Less!!!

Brian is struggling, clawing, fighting with all his might right now. You see, he really screwed up this morning. And on Mother's Day!!
He returned from his early morning Sunday meetings and offered to make me eggs for breakfast. It is my weakness. After 11 years of marriage, it still works to make me totally happy and satisfied. He is a good man. I know it, but he does love to give me a hard time about the number of eggs I keep in the house at any given moment. I get the Costco sized eggs that come with two 18 pack cartons. Sometimes I think we're running low (yes that's a relative term defined by my head, not the normal person). This time, we weren't actually low. So we had near 6 dozen eggs after I got a second pack on Tuesday. No worries. I quickly went to work eating them.
This morning Brian puts on his Texas flag apron and opens the fridge door to be greeted by 4 1/2 dozen eggs. He made me eggs yesterday too and finished off the first 18 pack. He threw a friendly barb my way about having a bit of excess in the fridge these days. In response, I begin singing in the loudest, most boisterous voice I can muster with evagerated hand motions the song from Beauty and the Beast where Gaston sings, "When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs, Ev'ry morning just to help me get large. Now that I'm grown I eat five dozen eggs, so I'm roughly the size of a barge!" To this he just smiled.
Maddie smiled too. I asked her who sang that song. She couldn't quite remember, but once I said Gaston her face erupted into a smile and she knew. I asked if I was like Gaston, big as a barge because I eat so many eggs. With a big grin she said no, but not before Brian could interject.
"Maddie, if you ever have a question you might have to say yes too, just say 'Trick Question!' and don't answer it. Okay?"
So what does that mean? Yeah. He's in the dog house, but the omlet should be done in about two minutes and he'll likely be okay after that. However, please remember, you should never, ever, even hint at the general idea that your wife might possibly be in the approximate neighborhood of "the size of a barge." I'm just sayin'...that's kinda harsh.
Happy Mother's Day!!

Maddie Has a Story to Tell

Once there was a girl that belonged in Jesus house. And she couldn't even fly. She asked if she could go down to visit the people. And God said yes. So the visited all the people, even the Holy Ghost. That day it started to get rainy, that meaned the tunderstorm was coming Girl said I want to go in the rain. God said nope. That tunderstorm day was a night day. The little girl was the only one that getted to go to sleep without getting to wake up all the night long and in the morning she getted to wake up. The very next morning there was a thunderstorm. They just went outside because the little girl didn't go get in trouble, but she still needed to go to the doctor. They just had to run. The very same day it was still the tunderstorm was still there. God telled his daughter that lives up in heaven it was nighttime and then Jesus said to his daughter that it was nighttime so they went to sleep without even a tunderstorm.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Human translator

When i tell Jacob "mas, mas, mas" he immediately translates and repeats back without missing a beat "more, more, more" in English. He is only seventeen months and already refusing to speak spanish to us. Little punk. :-)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Great Reveal - A Toothless Grin

I'm becoming comfortable in my own skin. I have been for a while now, it's just that darn picture thing I told you about a few days ago. Plus, who wants a picture taken when the acne is flaring up? Alas, I know the acne will never go away, despite being over 30 years old. And the freckles. I suppose they are all mine for life.

So... drum roll please..... here is the picture you have been waiting for.... my hill billy toothless grin....

In actuality it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Brian on occasion does do a quick double take or wrinkles his nose in surprise at dinner when he glances over and forgets that I took my tooth out to eat. He says it still catches him by surprise on occasion. The kids think it's funny. I'm a match to Anthony, Ben's best friend who has lost his front 3 top teeth and 2 bottom. I'd make a great kindergartner, don't you think?

"I'm Too Long Winded for Facebook"

If you know me at all, you know it's true. I'm just glad I finally heard someone put my feelings into words. I heard someone D.J. on the radio say it in a conversation on the morning show. A smile immediately spread from ear to ear and I finally felt I had words for my feelings about Facebook. Facebook is all about the one sentence (or less) status update. I can't express myself that concisely. I have to rewrite my emails a zillion times to shorten them, but reviewing them only makes me remember more stuff to write. If you read my blog, you'll see I have an incredible knack at making a short story long. Seriously, have you ever had a conversation with me when that wasn't the case? To be honest, this particular personality trait I posess does bug me. A lot actually. Wish I was different. I don't know. Can't seem to help it. All I know for sure is that, "I'm too long winded for Facebook!" Admit it. You're smiling right now because you know it's true...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

For the Sake of the Camel

Did you notice I've actually posted pictures a couple times lately? Not much, but a few here and there. I'm trying folks, but sometimes those little details are the thing that breaks the camel's back. Therefore, for the sake of the camel, I'm only doing what I can do and not feeling bad about it. For months I was terrible at posting at all because I wanted it to be perfect with picture properly placed. That proved to be an effective plan. I missed months and months of writing down the funnies and other things in our lives. Now they are gone forever. I'm still taking the pictures. And some day when I'm old and grey, I'll have all the time in the world to match them up to the stories I write. For now, I'm lookin' out for the camel as much as I can.

Puzzling Happy Mother's Day

We were getting our cards ready for the grandmas for Mother's Day today. I printed some cards from the Internet for the kids to decorate. Ben signed before he went to school. Then I had Maddie start coloring them. First one went well enough. Then as I gave her the second card, for Grandma Zufelt. I grabbed the reimbursement check from the flex spending insurance people. It wasn't for as much as I was expecting (try short over $2,000 for my surgery) so I had to reconcile the numbers and arm myself with ammunition to fight for my cash.
Maddie was working quietly and happily three feet to my side. Then she finished. And showed me. "I made a puzzle for Grandma's card, Mom!!"
What? Huh? You little stinker. She chopped the entire card to pieces so grandma could do a puzzle and show her when we went home to visit this summer.
Oh well. Some cards are quickly and carelessly signed then tossed into mail. This one was meticulously created with lots of planning and thinking and tons of extra love. So, I'm sending it. It may not be my vision, but who says my ideas are right and Maddie is wrong. We're mailing the love today. Hope it arrives on time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Turning 6 Accoring To Ben

"Hey Mom, I take two hands now!!"
(i.e. you need six fingers to show how old he is)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life Lessons By Maddie

Overheard a minute ago... Maddie in her most serious, business, you're in trouble sort of a voice approaches Ben with a t-shirt held over her oustretched hand, the other hand on her hip and head shaking slowly from side to side with disgust. "Ben, I'm going to teach you a lesson about shirts. You left this shirt out on your floor and you should never, never, never do that. See?" I gently asked if she had any clothes on the floor right now in her room. She replies, "Yes, but Ben needs this lesson about no shirts on the floor." When Brian asked Ben if he learned his lesson, he said no, that he doesn't ever listen to Maddie. I LOVE her stern face. It's hilarious!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Hooked On Phonics Worked for Ben...Sort Of

Miracle of miracles, I suggested reading Hooked on Phonics to Ben today and he didn't cry. He's a decent reader, but isn't making much forward progress because won't practice. He started the school year out strong, but his peers seem to be passing right over him. He'll listen to you read to him all day long, but cries and cries if you make him do it. To be honest, I haven't pushed it because I didn't want to make him hate reading. But here we are nearing the end of his first year at school and I'm not quite sure what to do about inspiring a love of reading. After he finished the Hooked on Phonics story in his workbook and earned his tootsie roll for completing it three times over the course of a few days, he started practicing the word repetition pages. They use a series of rhyming words to help the kids pick up on the similar endings and make reading fast by just exchanging the first letter. He must have been in a pretty good mood, because he started being silly with the rhymes. While reading the "ug" line, he read "bug, dug, so I guess that bug must be the opposite of dug since they are together." "Since a bug is so small, I thought the opposite of a bug would be something much larger, like a person. Would a person be a good opposite of a bug?" "Mom, I guess dug really is the opposite of bug. Cause don't you know dug is huge-r than a bug. You know. Doug Arveseth. He's real huge."

Maddie, God and an Orange Flashlight

Maddie has been playing happily in the basement today.  She asked for a flashlight. I gave her a yellow one from the kitchen drawer.  She used it for a while then came upstairs to ask both Ben and I what color it was. 
She asked, "Mom, do you think this is orange?"
"No.  I think it is yellow."
"Oh.  So does Ben."
"What color do you think it is?" We're real open and sensitive about colors since we have a bit of colorblindness in our family.  Telling someone they are wrong is just mean.  They may actually see it the way they are describing.
"I think it is yellow too."
She returns to the basement for fifteen minutes or so before she comes back to the kitchen to ask again.
"Mom.  Do you still think this is yellow?" showing me the flashlight again.
"Yep.  I still think it is yellow."
"Oh.  That's just too bad that God made it orange then.  God still thinks it is still orange."


Yuck.  Today is sticky, sticky.  Maybe I should cave and shut the windows and crank up the AC.  The humidity is so thick. I hate days like today.  The ever constant reminder of the wild hairs around my face fizzing out like I put my hand in an electric socket despite how many times I wet then back into place.  Today I have all the windows open, fans on, lights off.  Everything in the house feels sticky, even the perfectly clean kitchen table and chairs are sticky with moisture.
It reminds me that one of my favorite things in Utah was the dryness.  Two years ago when our basement would flood on a semi-regular basis.  We would pull up the carpet, drag out the fans and the beastly dehumidifier to try to suck the water out of the carpet and pad as fast as possible so nothing would mold and we wouldn't have to replace them...again and again.  Everything had to be moved and shifted every couple of hours to keep the process going.  The dehumidifier had to be dumped of gallons and gallons of water (I stopped counting at 30 gallons), the fans had to be moved to new positions, the carpet had to be lifted/rolled/flopped into a new position each time.
On one particular day when I went down in the murky dungeon to move things around, I stepped on the carpet directly in front of the dehumidifier.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  It was such an amazing feeling on my feet.  It was.  No.  It couldn't be.  Not in my house.  But yes.  It was.  UTAH CARPET!!!  It was dry as a bone.  Completely dry carpet.  No Gulf Coast/East Coast humidity.  It was so exciting I laid down right there.  Dry carpet.  If you don't understand what I'm talking about, you should totally go out west to the desert and lay down on the carpet.  I can't ever get comfortable laying on carpet anymore.  At least not since 2002 when we left the west.  In Houston I always had this underlying feeling of filth in my house because I couldn't get used to the difference.  It just doesn't have the feeling of "clean" to me.  It could be brand new, but it's not quite right.
If you live in a dry place, can you do me a favor?  Lay on your carpet and enjoy it today for just a minute or two and indulge for me.  My mom says one thing she loves about me is my oddball sense of noticing the random details.  Of course she probably said it with much more tact since I wasn't offended that she was calling me a weirdo.  I love weird things like having an airplane shadow go over me, eating M&M candies in colored pairs so I can chew one on each side of my mouth and stuff like that.  It's just so satisfying.
I'm thinking about ordering the book 1000 Awesome Things.  I think it would be right up my alley.
What odd thing do you enjoy that no one else would ever notice?

At Church

Jacob was bobbing his head up and down like a crazy person.  He was so wild that he had to brace himself on Ben's knees to keep from falling over.  His face was lit up with the biggest grin in the world with his mouth slightly opened like all toddlers do.  He would stop every now and then to look for grins of approval from Ben and Maddie.  Ben knew that he must stay calm and quiet during the service.  Finally he said to me, "Mom, Jacob is trying really hard to make us not calm........and it's working." He couldn't contain his giggles anymore as the smile exploded across his face.  Bless his little heart for trying so hard to be reverent.