Christmas Day, 2013

My life isn’t perfect. In fact, I could list alphabetically, categorize, sub-categorize, and include an outline and works cited page for every single issue(most of which are my own fault, but I digress…), but every once in a while a day like Christmas comes along, and I’m with my family, my kid can’t stop smiling, and the love is palpable. How can I complain when I’ve got that kind of bliss just tossed into my lap? I’ve got a happiness hangover today, my kid is so overwhelmed with new toys that he’s developed a temporary case of attention deficit, and is unable to concentrate on one thing for more than a half hour. He’ll be happily amused with his Lego airport and plane, when SUDDENLY! Out of the corner of his eye he spots a gigantic remote control truck that’s calling his name! OH LOOK! A Playmobil bank! BUT WAIT! SKIS! (We don’t have any snow, but meh…) OHMYGOSH! OHMYGOSH! OHMYGOSH! NEW SOCKS! (Seriously, he played with socks for ten minutes this morning. He got a pack of brightly colored, striped, and playfully adorned socks for Christmas, and darn it if he didn’t try on every single pair.)

My son was spoiled rotten yesterday with many beautiful toys. The one he keeps returning to though is the MOST. OBNOXIOUS. TOY. EVER! Thanks so much to the guy who got my son the Despicable Me fart blaster. Great. Thanks so much. At least that same guy also got me a Wii U, so I can drown out the incessant farts ringing in my ear with familiar “boing” of Mario jumping up to collect a coin from a floating box. Also, what’s up with the millions of little stickers that come with Lego and Playmobil sets? I’m not trained well enough to get those suckers on straight. Without fail, my hand twitches right as I’m placing one. Every racing stripe, every flame decal, and every store sign are crooked, and bent over the corners of the piece. *sigh* Not that I’ve ever performed surgery, but I imagine(I know) it’s that kind of stress level. Not that getting sticky(insanely sticky! What are on those devilish tiny pieces of misery?!) little labels to line up perfectly on the first try is life threatening (it is), but come on, I’ve aged like five years since last night!

It’s 5:00, and we’re still in our pajamas, a mountain of new stuff is begging to be played with, and I’m faced with the herculean task of finding places for our new treasures. A measly 144 pictures were taken yesterday, but don’t worry, I won’t make you look at them all. You really don’t have to look at any, but I’m vain, and I think my kid is adorable, so I’ll put some up anyway. LOOK! Here they are now!











































Culture Corner plus BONUS STUFF!!

I thought that for sure that as soon as my semester ended, and I was able to let out the breath that I had been holding in since finals week started, that I’d be able to simply sit down and write. Foolish, I know. Plans usually have a way of staying just that-plans. Reality tends to sneak up on plans and knock them upside the head.

Intensity coupled with an overwhelming need to be perfect dominated my last two weeks of school. (I can hear all my psychologist friends, and my family therapist friends scrambling about for their notebooks, and a pen they can click incessantly as they ask things like, “Tell me about your childhood?” or “Why do you feel you have to be perfect?”) The truth is, I stress out really easily. The second I feel as if that rug is being pulled out from under my feet, I panic. I like knowing what to expect, so I can anticipate my next move. Things like not knowing what’s going to be on a test, or not understanding every aspect of a concept is enough to make me implode. I got through that difficult season, seven pounds lighter, with all A’s, and with a wee bit more confidence in myself.

Shortly after the chaos of a semester ending, we jumped right into the Christmas season.

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We did all the normal holiday stuff: We made cookies.


We did arts and crafts.

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We participated in a Christmas Cantata again, where I was dubbed the “audio engineer” for being the AV nerd. (My dad had to complete how many years at MIT to be an engineer again….?)

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We performed the cantata at the nursing home my grandmother passed away at too. I literally cried on one of the resident’s (the lady in the front middle wearing blue) shoulders as we talked about my grammy. She was just so…wonderful.


We chased cows out of the road.


Rowan cut his foot and had to be bandaged up for a while.

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We played games, we shoveled snow, we built with Legos, and we shaved.




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A couple of days ago I went and picked up my niece so she could spend Christmas with us, something I’ve been doing for years now. In an effort to save time, here’s a photo recap of our visit so far…my children are delightfully crazy!

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Also, there’s this guy ❤ <3:

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November 15th, 2013

In the grand scheme of things learning to ride a two-wheeler isn’t that big of a deal.  There’s learning to drive, graduating from high school, getting married, or having your first baby.  Twenty years from now Rowan is barely going to remember this day, or the moments littered throughout it.  He won’t remember that for two hours he struggled up and down the hill in the parking lot, dirt and tears of frustration streaming down his face, but never once quitting.  He’s not going to remember how he felt when he screamed, “LET GO!” only to realize that I already had, and he had soared down that hill on his own.  He’s not going to remember how he fell, and scraped his knee.  He won’t recall how he sulked off to the side of the road, stomped his foot in indignation-sure that it was his bike that was at fault.  He won’t recall how his mom stifled a laugh when he beamed, “I did it!  I perseveranced and I did it!!  He won’t understand how his mom’s chest nearly burst with the amount of pride she felt at literally letting her son go and watching him hold himself up, all by himself.  He won’t know how tiny and how big she thought he looked at the same time.   He probably won’t remember any of these things…but I will.

Culture Corner

Recently Rowan has begun memorizing, authoring, and reciting poetry. For as long as he allows me to, I will post them on this blog.

Here is tonight’s entry (unfortunately the beginning was cut off, and considering that he’s currently running a moderately high fever, I didn’t think it was fair to ask him to repeat himself.) :

“One day….”

A few days ago me and my little boy (who is becoming a man right before my eyes) had one of those days where you collapse into bed physically exhausted, but so mentally stimulated it’s impossible to let the day go and sleep.  We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, or spectacular.  In fact, it was rather normal, really.  At 8:30 that night I allowed my son to crawl into my big bed, where he curled his lanky body around mine, and started talking about every single thing.  I let him go on like that for forty-five minutes.  Forty-five minutes of precious time I could have used for sleep.  Or homework. Or folding laundry.  Forty-five minutes of precious time he could have had for an extra chapter of “The Secret Garden”, or an extra episode of “How it’s Made.”  I asked him to tell me the story of his day, and it went something like this:

(I’m grateful for my obsession with documenting his life.  It may drive people batty at times, but I don’t regret it…not for one second.)

(This is all dictated by Rowan, so don’t get after me for bad grammar!!)

“Once upon a time, there was a boy who didn’t want to do school, but he had to do it anyway, because Mommy said so.  She says Rowan has to have a good attitude. (He’s usually pretty good about school, but lately he has perfected the exasperated sigh, and the annoyed eye roll.  Heck no, boy.  You don’t get to use those moves on me until you’re at least 10!  We’re working on a little character training, so hopefully I can help him think of less rude way to deal with his displeasure.  When he DOES have a peaceful heart, he can churn out papers like these:)

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After Rowan is done with school, he likes to play cowboy.  The holster rubs on my hips, so I wear it without pants.  Cowboys could run so much faster without pants on.  Why didn’t they think of that?

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Then Mom says that we’re going to the doctor’s, so I have to wear clothes.  She said if I went to the doctor’s naked, my buns would get chilly.  So Rowan got dressed.

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Mom said Rowan could wear his cowboy gear when we went out, but he thought people might be scared that the cowboy would yell, “YEE-HAW!!!” really loudly, and I don’t think they all would bring headphones to block it out.  Rowan thought he should leave his cowboy stuff at home, so he did.

Then they went to the doctors.  Rowan wore his doctor shirt so he could fool people.  They all thought he was a doctor and let him play with their equipment.  He also took all the candy and suckers they give to the good kids.  Doctors are allowed to do that, you know.

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So the doctors didn’t take as long as Mommy thought they would so she said we had time to go through the car wash.  Did you know the car wash is really a secret cave filled with pink and yellow jewels?  It really is!

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Okay, after the mom and the boy get their car clean, they go have lunch with Rowan’s best friend.  His name is Avery, and he’s a little baby.  I can hold his hand while he walks, and I can make him laugh really hard.  I really love him.

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Then Avery and Rowan got in the car together and drove to the park.  Avery had never been to a park before, so Rowan had to teach him all about slides and swings.

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Avery got soooo tired from all his laughing, so he had to go home and take a nap.  I was upset that he had to go home, but Mommy told me that we could play together again soon.  I wasn’t so sad after I heard that.

Me and mommy went to do some Christmas shopping, and we had a snack.  Then we went for a bike ride with my other best friend, Beth.  Mommy and Beth can be friends too.  We had to wait for Beth to come to the trail, so while we waited, Rowan showed his Mommy the trail map.  She’s bad with directions (I really, really am), but I’m not.

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Beth finally came to the trail, and I rode on the bumpy trail for like, TEN MILES! (okay, it was probably a little over one, but for being such a sandy and rocky trail, I’m sure it felt like 10 miles to him.)

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At the very end the little boy got tired of pedaling, so his friend helped him push his bike to the car.

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The mom and the boy went home after that and ate a huge dinner.  The mom was exhausted, but the boy wanted to play some more!

The End.”

The Man with the Yellow Hat

Last night, of course, was trick-or-treating.  I think Rowan is at the perfect age for this type of event.  As Mike says, “Everything is so magical for him, and new and exciting.”  He’s right too.  The amount of energy that kid exudes is incredible.  It’s impossible not to catch some of his excitement.

This was Rowan’s 6th Halloween, so let’s take a walk through the past, shall we?


This was Rowan’s first Halloween at 2 months old.  We didn’t really go trick-or-treating this year, but we totally rocked the whole handing out of candy thing.  (We even gave away the good stuff!)


This is Rowan’s second Halloween costume at 14 months.  I limited the trick-or-treating to my dad’s office and the nursing home, where he was a HUGE hit!  Seriously, you want to make the elderly happy? Stick a baby in a costume in the middle of the room, and let him go nuts.  They will be tickled pink!

Construction Worker

This was the year of the construction worker.  Rowan had just turned two, and really had the concept of asking for candy down.  He even said, “Please?”  I think this was the costume that kept on giving too….he still uses that tool belt and all the tools.  I knew investing in real tools instead of plastic ones was the way to go!


For a brief time Rowan wanted to be “the guy that drove the fire truck.”  Shortly after this Halloween when he was three, he abandoned that idea to cultivate his dream of being the ice cream man.  Wise choice, my boy.  Wise choice.


This was last year’s costume, when he was four.  He’s always loved to cook (he is going to make an awesome husband some day), and wanted to express that side of him through costume.  He pulled it off beautifully, and still throws the jacket and hat on from time to time to subtly tell me that he wants to bake cupcakes.

Without further ado, I present to you, the 2013 homemade costume of awesomeness……..THE MAN WITH THE YELLOW HAT!!!!

Man with the yellow hat OH….EM….GEE you guys…I know I’m biased, but holy cow did he look cute.  Curious George has been his favorite series of books for a long time.  Years even!  Like three years!  That’s a long time when you’re only five.  We dyed the shirt and pants, cut the tie out of felt, and glued the black polka-dots onto it.  The hat is an old straw hat we found at a thrift store, that we covered in yellow felt, with a wad of stuffing to shape the top of it.  The boots are his rubber barn boots that he’s had for a year or so.  The black belt we had, and the stuffed Curious George came from my Aunt Dorothy.  The whole ensemble was a hit.  Here a few photos from trick-or-treating in town:

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Good ol’ Mike, who so graciously pulled the wagon up and down all the hills and through the crowds of people in the dark.  He’s a good guy. 🙂

Anyway, a good time was had by all.  It was a lovely time of socializing with the neighbors and getting to know them better.  I think everyone needs to take advantage of the opportunity trick-or-treating gives us to reach out to the people we share our town with.  I’m always shocked at how many wonderful people live near me that I never see or talk to.  I have no one to blame for that except myself either.  I’ve got my foot in the door now, and I hope that I don’t let another year go by without getting to know them better.


Yesterday was wet and blustery, cold and raw.  Naturally Rowan wanted to play outside.  Weirdo.

He circled the yard in his gator a few times, tied up a tree with bungee cords, and sat on his bike, cursing the rain.  While he was doing all those activities, keeping his blood pumping and staying warm, I was doing this: Image Rowan had the brilliant idea to dig out the kite that is currently rigged with a coat hanger, heavy string, and a BBQ skewer.  I tried to explain that it probably wouldn’t fly, as I didn’t want him to be disappointed when he couldn’t get it in the air.  As is his way, he persevered, and for a half hour he and I ran around the yard trying to get that darn thing up.  He eventually told me that I wasn’t doing it right and released me from my duties as string holder.  I went back to reading my book on the porch, and not ten minutes later I looked up from “The Decameron”, and he had that dolphin kite soaring. photo 5 (1) photo 3 (2) photo 2 (3) photo (1)

As any parent (or anyone who has spent any time with little kids) knows, they are strikingly persistent, optimistic, positive, and have a way of showing you your own bad attitude.  Time after time Rowan has proved me wrong.  When I say that he won’t be able to do something, it only drives him that much harder to want to do it.  Sometimes I love seeing that side of him, like when he flew the kite.  Other times, that side of him gets him in trouble, like when I told him not to use an entire tube of toothpaste in one day, so he did.  Stinker.

Anyway, I need to learn that just because I can’t figure something out, doesn’t mean HE can’t figure it out.  With every passing year the lad grows smarter than me, and not for one second do I want to repress that part of him.  If it means that I have to buy a few extra tubes of toothpaste, and clean a few messes, I think I can deal with that.

Best of Buds

A few days ago Rowan found his soul mate.  It doesn’t matter that there is four years between them, or that he lives a half hour away.  It doesn’t even matter that it’s a he!  All that matters is that Avery has this:

tractorsThis is only a portion of his (dad’s) collection!  I’m pretty sure that is part of what Rowan’s heaven will look like.

One of the things I love about hanging out with Avery, other than the fact that I get to chat with his mother, is getting to see what Rowan will be like as a big brother some day.  At first there was a little frustration about Avery wanting to move Rowan’s carefully lined up tractors, but after explaining that Avery was too little to understand, something seemed to click.  Rowan became patient and kind, loving and playful.  He gently told Avery, “No thank you, Avery, I’m playing with that.”  Sometimes Avery would move on, but if he didn’t, Rowan would silently plead with his eyes to take that kid somewhere else!  If we didn’t though, he would play with Avery for bit, explaining the parts of the tractor, or what kind of tractor it was.  It was adorable to watch these two tiny men together.


Avery’s first birthday is next week, and he was the lucky recipient of a little slide that they put together while we were at their house.  The slide was great.  The box it came in was better.  Rowan patiently played peek-a-boo with Avery, letting his little friend shut him up in the box time after time.  If Avery wandered off, as one year old’s are prone to do, Rowan would invite him back to play, and they’d giggle as I threatened to ship them to Alaska.

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We also went on a hay ride this weekend.  It was a bit chilly, but perfect for warm hats, and wrapping up in quilts.  For an hour we cuddled against a scratchy bale of hay while nibbling goldfish crackers and watching the world pass by.  🙂