Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Aren't they so cute when they're asleep?

Friday, February 25, 2011

A New Tradition

I've been feeling a little sentimental lately, thinking about the fact that Kirk and I first met 10 years ago.  We even tried to remember passwords to old email accounts and I pulled down old journals to see if we could pin it down to an exact meeting date.  Unfortunately, Hotmail dumped our old accounts, and I apparently didn't see meeting Kirk as journal worthy (I just wasn't in a journal-writing phase) so we had to just trust our memories.  We've settled on February 19th, which would have made our first date on February 24th.

We talked about reliving our first date this year (bowling and The Old Spaghetti Factory), but we both agreed it would actually be a lot more fun with the kids.  Weird, I know.  But as Valentines Day approached and I read a friend's blog about how she's turned it into a family holiday, we opted to establish a new February 14th tradition for our family.

Bowling was just as much fun as we'd expected, and it didn't hurt that I bowled the best game of our married life.  (Scroll down to see how sad it is that this is truly a great score for me.)  The boys were very well-behaved at the restaurant.  It helped that the bench seats there are kind of high, so we didn't need boosters.  The service was excellent, and they had no problem bringing us a small sample of the spinach and cheese ravioli so the kids could try it before we ordered something they might not like.  Turns out they loved it!  Dylan's favorite part was his own personal bowl of ice cream at the end of the meal.

I'm already looking forward to going again next year!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just for Fun

I managed to somehow go two weeks without transferring pics from my camera to my computer.  This has got to be some sort of a record, since usually I dump them instantly so I can start searching for my favorites.

I thought about doing one, big, picture-heavy blog, but that's just not my style.  So check back over the next few days to see what's been going on around here.

First up: the antics of our little Dylan.  Thanks, by the way, for the advice and support so many of you gave me regarding my concerns about his development.  The plan for now is to really focus on teaching him words and signs and to encourage him to at least walk holding onto our fingers.  I have an appointment with the pediatrician soon, and we'll go from there.

Since he isn't busy walking or talking, he has plenty of time on his hands to do so many other things:

Learning to eat with a spoon (Chili)
Growing in to his 18 month clothes - including this awesome hand-me-down biker jacket

Exploring head wear options - I especially like the soggy marshmallow on his forehead

Learning to make tough decisions... binky or sucker?!?

Perusing the menu at Leatherby's

Monday, February 21, 2011


I know I've said this before, but it is no less true now.  Each of us has her own vices to work on, and the biggest of mine will probably always be selfishness.

I was fortunate enough to marry someone who has not even one hint of selfish bone in his body.  Our favorite, go-to visualization is this:

You and a friend pass by a bowl filled with free tootsie pops sitting on an office desk.  There are only two remaining tootsie pops; one is red and the other orange.  Everyone knows the red ones are better.  In fact, red is your favorite flavor.  Of course, you happen to know red is your friend's favorite flavor.

If you are Kirk, you will - without hesitation - offer the red one to your friend.

If you are me, you will race to the desk to quickly claim your I-got-there-first, red sucker prize.

Of course the example can be applied to much broader decisions.  On the rare occasion that I manage to overcome my "natural man" reaction, Kirk will look at me and say, "Aww... you gave me your sucker."

Maybe it's because of my natural reticence to share that today's happenings filled me with awe.  Or maybe it really was just that awesome.  But I definitely learned a lesson from a young boy today.

The kids and I were at Fashion Place Mall killing time while waiting for Kirk to be done with his Lasik surgery across the street.  The boys were doing a stellar job of window shopping without whining.  We perused Build-a-Bear without tears about not building a bear.  The nice lady in Sees Candy gave us a sample.  Mmmm.  And there were no complaints about just sitting in the coin operated kiddie rides and pretending they were moving.

Dylan was particularly enjoying the view from the Bob the Builder truck when a boy about 8 or 9 years old approached, quarters in hand.

"Oh, do you want to ride this?" I asked, "Because if you do, I can move him."

"Nope," he said, as he proceeded to insert his three quarters, press the green start button, and walk away.


Too bad it scared Dylan half to death, and I had to quickly remove him from the ride.  I was able to call Adam and Alex over and they each took 30 second turns, enjoying the brief motion of the ride.

But still, wow.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Avoiding the Evidence

Adam has his own camera.  It's a hand-me-down from me, and in its day, it wasn't half bad.  He recently discovered he has the ability to shoot video, and his world has changed forever.

The video fills up his SD card a lot faster, though, so he came to me recently to dump the card for him.

"But Mom, can you please just take off the pictures, not the videos?" he asked.

I told him I was going to put everything on my computer, including the videos, so he'd have all the room on the card.

"Oh, but Mom, can you please not watch the videos.  They're just for me an' Alex."

Sidenote:  Whenever he says "me and Alex," I chuckle to myself because it sounds like he is saying "mean Alex."

I thought it was a weird request, so I followed up with, "As the mom, I get to watch anything you recorded.  They aren't just for you and Alex."  His brow furrowed a bit with concern, so I figured I'd better continue.  "Is there anything you'd like to tell me about the videos before I watch them?"


"Well, 'mean Alex' just wanted to shake our bums... well, we really weren't shaking our bums, we just wanted to wiggle our hips, and that made our bums shake, and well, that's on the video."

I assured him I wasn't concerned about a little bum shaking, but that if he was ever worried about what mom might think about something, that usually means it's not a good idea to do that thing.

Then we watched the videos. 

And laughed.

I'm glad I put all his pictures on the computer, because I'm working on his 5 year old scrapbook right now, and I need to do a big section on his photography.  I always love to watch the year in review from his eyes.  I love ALL the pictures, so I need some help to decide which will get prime placement.  Please vote for your favorite of the following:

Wheeler Farm Pond

Aunt Heather and Baby Dylan

Bright Blue Eyes!

Alex's Reflection in a Dusty Laptop


Dylan's Favorite Birthday Gift

Dylan's Birthday Cupcakes

Mom's Music

Self Portrait

Contemplating Bubbles

Thursday, February 17, 2011

When to Be Concerned

I know every baby develops at a different rate, but at some point, I start to wonder when I should be concerned.  Dylan's lack of walking isn't really getting to me yet.  I mean, he's definitely taking his time, but I'm really not worried.  Yet.

But what does have me a little worried is his lack of talking.  He's never been much of a babbler, and now at 16 1/2 months old, he doesn't even say "mama" or "dada."

Some sites I've checked say babies are supposed to do that by 12-15 months, and that by 18 months, they should know about 20-50 words.

Some sites say if he doesn't use gestures like pointing or waving bye-bye (which he rarely does either) by 12 months, that could be an indicator of a problem.

I don't think he shows any signs of hearing problems, since he responds just fine to everything I say.

But how long should I keep saying, "He'll talk/walk when he's ready," and at what point do I decide it's time to be concerned?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

19 Days Later

About two weeks ago, I got frustrated by the video I tried to put together to document Adam's birthday party.  I convinced myself I'd try again someday, then I'd post it on the blog.

I did not try again someday.

So here is the birthday blog, sans really awesome video.  Grrr...

FAMILY PARTY complete with KINECTIMALS cake and cupcakes:
I wasn't quite sure what I'd use for the whiskers, but then Kirk suggested poured sugar, like they do on those fancy cake shows.  I looked up directions online and thought, "Hey, it's worth a shot."  I burned the sugar slightly, so they ended up spaghetti colored, but the edible whiskers were a huge hit.

The family party was fun, but Adam couldn't wait for his MINUTE TO WIN IT friend party.

High from my whiskered success, I thought I'd carry forward my new technique and make "Minute to Win It" design shaped candies for the top of the cupcakes.

Dying the boiled sugar blue was fun.  Making the molds from PlayDoh was okay.  Sadly, the finished result was not quite as precise as I'd hoped, and we had to rinse the rings before putting them on the cupcakes because they tasted like PlayDoh.  Oh well.  Five year olds will eat anything.

We enjoyed our 3 1/2 hours with six little boys who did a great job of being competitive without being mean. We held six challenges, during which each winner got to choose a prize, and then - as long as one kid passed the challenge - all participants got to choose a prize.  The format worked well, and we didn't have tears from anyone older than three.  (It was a little difficult for Alex to keep up with big brother and his big friends.)

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is my botched attempt at video awesomeness.  The plan was to make a 1 minute video with 1.5 second clips of each kid attempting each challenge.  I was then going to set it all to the music of the 60 second countdown on Minute to Win It.  Youtube didn't cooperate, and the best I could do was these three separate clips with no cool music.  Please do watch them, though.  It took forever.

As for the whole home-party thing, it was a huge hit, and I'm sure we'll do it again some year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Worst. Present. Ever.

16 months old isn't usually one of those gift-giving milestones, but life decided to give Dylan a present anyway.

Luckily for us, it was one of those "gifts that keep on giving," and he even decided to share the fun with his babysitter.

12:00 - I drop a characteristically grouchy baby off at the sitter's.  Let's face it - he's just never been that smiley.

1:25 - My phone received a text from the sitter (said phone was on vibrate, so I didn't actually get this text until after work) which read, "I wanted to let you know that Dylan is not feeling well.  He is warm and cries whenever you put him down.  Not sure what is wrong though."

4:30 - I notice the text and two missed calls from the sitter.  Figuring Kirk has already picked up the kids so I decide to call him to get an update on Dylan.  He doesn't answer.

4:32 - I get a text from Kirk.  "Can't talk.  At Pioneer Valley Hospital."  I respond with, "Are the kids still at Alicia's?  What's going on?"

4:35 - Another text from Kirk.  "They are at Alicia's.  Give her a call.  You can come here and we can call my mom to get the kids if we need."  I respond with, "I need more information.  Why are you at the hospital!?"

4:37 - "Dylan has been crying since you left him and Alicia thinks he may have had a seizure about an hour ago."  (Okay, that one was edited.  Technically Kirk said he may have had a ceaser.)  I decide I'm not getting enough info from Kirk and call the sitter.

4:45 - I arrive at Alicia's and get the whole story.  Grouchy baby with slight fever, as indicated by the text, went down for a nap at 2:00.  When he woke up at 3:45, she gave him a cracker.  He ate half of it, then started shaking violently.  She immediately realized he was having a seizure.  Adam walked in the door from school.  She quickly sent him to get a snack while letting the baby discreetly finish his seizure in the front room.  (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for not letting Adam see the seizure!)  She called me twice, but my phone was still on silent.  She got a hold of Kirk, who was thankfully only minutes away.  Kirk came and got Dylan, and Alicia offered to keep the other kids.  Kirk whisked a completely unresponsive Dylan straight to the hospital.

5:00 - I drop the kids off at Uncle Mark and Aunt Rachel's.  Thanks guys!

5:15 - I arrive at the hospital and tell the admin desk that my husband and baby are "back there somewhere." Without checking any notes or computer systems, she looks at me knowingly and says, "Room 12."  I start down the hallway only to hear my baby screaming.  I could have easily found him without knowing the room number.  I walk into his room as they are finishing placing his IV.  Kirk catches me up to speed on the theory that his seizure was likely caused from his fever.

Time ceases to exist as I hold my very sad little one.  Kirk tells me that when they arrived at the hospital, Dylan wasn't able to support his own head, and he wasn't willing to even move his arms.  Now, he can support his head, but he is too weak and tired to sit.  They come and take him for a chest x-ray.  They cram his little body into that awful contraption and take pictures.  We wait.  We find out that his binky fell and obstructed the view on the most important picture.  They shove him in again.

We wait and wait and wait, and Dylan finally starts to become more responsive.  He sits up for 30 seconds to a minute at a time but then has to rest.  He has been poked and prodded so many times he cries every time he sees someone in scrubs.

Grandma Casdorph comes to lend moral support.  I appreciate just having someone else there to talk to.  Dylan likes that Grandma is there.

All the tests come back fine.  There is nothing wrong with my baby.  I receive an education on febrile seizures, which according to the paper are "convulsions associated with fever.  The child loses consciousness and is stiff or has muscle twitching for several minutes during the seizure."

The good news: Dylan is just fine.

The bad news: Once you've had a febrile seizure, there is a greater chance of having another one in the future.

The good news: Most children outgrow febrile seizures by the time they are 5 or 6.

The bad news: There is nothing we can do other than try to not let him run fevers.

The good news: Having a seizure is apparently not really that big of a deal.  As long as he seems like he is recovering after one, we don't even have to call the doctor.

The bad news: My baby had a seizure.  It's just freaky to me, no matter what the doctors say.

The good news: I didn't have to see it.  Thanks, Alicia!

The best news: After bringing him home and giving him a bath, he seems to be completely normal again.  Here is is smiling at his doctor-ordered Gatorade.

** Disclaimer: The last several hours wore me out, and I didn't proofread this post.  I opted to write it in the potentially tricky present tense, and I didn't even go back to see if I accidentally switched tenses at any point. Please don't hold me to my normal "Grammar Queen" standards today.  I'm just not at the top of my game. **

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Three Letters

Dear Winco,

Although parking spaces, carts, and elbow room were in short supply today, you did not run out of any of your advertised specials.  I am impressed.

Even though the time it took for me to get from the back of the line to the store exit was just shy of 30 minutes, I left your store today with a smile.  In fact, I noticed most of your customers smiling.  One customer, after hearing a complete stranger comment that she hadn't been able to find the advertised bacon, offered this woman the bacon she'd already put in her cart and went to get more.  I think this was due largely to the guys with walkie talkies you had standing around the store, managing the queues and keeping things fair.  Again, I am impressed.

Each time a passageway was cut off by one of the many hard working resuppliers I encountered, the employee smiled at me and cleared the way as quickly as possible.  The checkers you employed were working quickly and efficiently but still treating the customers with respect.  You took what could have been a nightmarish experience and made it livable.

Thank you,
-- Me.

Dear Winco Checker Lady,

Thank you for working as quickly as you could to keep the line moving.  Seriously, I have been in so many long lines where the checker worked at a snail's pace, seemingly oblivious to the anxious and ornery line gathering behind her.  Your obvious dedication to doing your job quickly and well was very appreciated.  However, when you used your forearm to shove my groceries down the customer-operated belt, which I had not yet had the chance to activate, you punctured a hole in my cat food bag.  Just sayin'.

Thanks, I think.
-- Me.

Dear Me,

Don't ever do your regularly scheduled two week grocery shopping trip on the day before the Super Bowl.  Are you insane?

You're an idiot.
-- Me.