Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tucker quote

This morning, Tucker slept in until 8 am, which meant we slept in till 8 am. It was amazing. Delicious. Exquisite. Unheard of.

After he woke up, I said, "You were tired." Then I paused and added, "Mama was tired, too."

Tucker looked at me very seriously and said, "No, Mama not two. Tucker is two."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Leaving behind the nursery

Tucker is very adament that he is a big boy now. He is very clear that babies use diapers and cribs, and that he is NOT a baby. We were going to the local children's museum yesterday, and he was admiring my gloves; I told him that they were big and he was little so they wouldn't fit. He immediately disagreed, saying, "No, Tucker BIG."

Anyway, we took down some of the nursery decorations this week and put up big pictures of trucks. Helen gave us extra 16x20 frames that she had lying around, and I took pictures of his trucks, then found a place online to have 11x14 prints made for $3.50, and got pre-cut mats at Michael's, and we were in business. Tucker, unsurprisingly, is a fan. I think this is a decorating strategy that can grow with him--when he gets tired of the trucks, just take pictures of his new interest and put it in the frames, or use the frames to frame his own artwork.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Our new toaster

Yes, I really am blogging about a toaster. And no, it's not really new. Toasters are one of those things that get gross so quickly in our house. Maybe it's the number of times we use ours in a day (have I mentioned that Austin eats A LOT?), or maybe we are especially hard on toasters, but the glass gets all grimy and the metal part all discolored. I insisted on replacing Austin's from bachelorhood when it was two years old because of all these problems. The only problem is, our "new" two year-old toaster inherited all the same problems.

Buying a toaster every two years is ridiculous. I know, the ones I buy only cost $20, so what's the problem, you ask? Answer: Waste! Principle!

Anyway, I discovered that appliance spray paint works wonders. Just spray the metal all over, wait for the paint to thoroughly dry (if you use the toaster with the paint still wet, it has an interesting but perhaps not beneficial effect on the paint, FYI), and you're in business.... Well, unless you're like me and forget to protect the glass from the spray paint. Then you'd have to google how to remove spray paint from glass and enlist the help of a razor and nail polish to get it off. If you escape the nail-polish and razor routine, I found the glass is much easier to clean with oven cleaner.

Happy Birthday, Ben!

My dashing boy turned ten two days ago, and I forgot to blog about this pivotal milestone in his life. Ben has taken going into the double digits with his typical grace and panache (he is snoring on the couch as I type). He isn't even harboring a grudge about the lack of birthday cake. What a guy.

Here's to at least ten more, old buddy!

Austin's dreams fulfilled

We got a new wood stove this week. It's pretty nice, but wood stoves are not really a thing I think a whole lot about. Austin, on the other hand, has been salivating over this wood stove for ages. Our old wood stove in the kitchen had a small firebox which meant it was really annoying to operate and couldn't keep a fire going all night. Opening the firebox all the time decreases the air quality because it's when you open the lid primarily that particulate matter enters a room. Our old stove had a great antique charm, but it also was broken which made the particulate matter worse than it was rated to be, which is not as good as they make nowadays anyway.

So, for the sake of Austin's sanity, having a warm kitchen/main living area, and our lungs, we have a handsome new wood stove.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"What's that uh-uh mean?"

This is Tucker's favorite phrase right now: "What's that uh-uh mean?" That's how he asks what something is called and what's it for. It's really cute, though hopefully he isn't picking up verbal fillers ("um") from me yet.

Today at the grocery store his ducky needed to come, and actually spent the last 20 minutes of shopping on Tucker's head. Tucker almost always eats a banana in the store, and the fact that a large duck was draped over his head didn't dissuade him from munching a banana at the same time. A couple people stopped and said it was a perfect picture. (Incidentally, to pay for a banana that a child has eaten, just ask them to ring up another banana twice.)

In other news, I managed to either seamlessly get another cold on top of the one from 2+ weeks ago that is still lingering, or the old one has turned into bronchitis. That puts my tally at 6 or 7 colds since the fall. Argh! At least it's clear now that our wood stove is absolved from being responsible for me getting sick.

Austin complains that my blogging frequency has gone down this year, but life is pretty quiet these days. Tucker is entirely amusing, when he's not trying to pick fights with us (which is not too often, but he is a two year-old). Yesterday he ran and got a snow shovel from the shed and ran all the way down the driveway with the shovel yelling "help Daddy!" because he was hoping Austin might need to fix the driveway drainage with him again. Or maybe he was just reenacting the fact that they had fixed the driveway together.

Tucker is against all things baby right now. At Bible study last week, Tucker was in my classroom before it began. Several of the four and five year-olds were already there, and so I excused myself and said I needed to bring Tucker to his class. One of the four year-old boys said "Yeah, he's in the baby class." That was the perfectly wrong thing to say. Tucker was so upset about going to his class because it was for babies. I had to show him the nursery where the babies were and show him his classroom to "prove" to him his was NOT the baby class. He still did not entirely believe me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A jam packed morning... with nothing accomplished

This morning was a comedy of errors in trying to get a few errands done. I went to the gym early so that I could meet my guys in town after my class was over. But then I found I was parked in at the gym parking lot, with an almost-dead cell phone. I used my almost-dead cell phone to call Austin's cell, which was safely at home. In the meantime I set about trying to get the car moved that was illegally parked behind me. Unfortunately, a medical emergency immobilized the front desk of the gym (it was scary--a 17 year old boy just keeled over unconscious, though thankfully he was still breathing).

Austin and Tucker were at our appointed meeting place, waiting for me. They tried to find a working pay phone, but succeeded only in finding one that had a broken number "0" which meant they couldn't call my number which starts with 540.

I did finally get to Kinko's, and we copied our identification to include with Tucker's passport application. Next stop: the passport office, which in our town is at the main post office. Except, of course, the passport function is not open at any convenient time that the three of us would be together in town.

Next stop: Lowe's. We're trying to install a runner on our stairs so they won't be quite so much of a danger to Tucker. They are tall and hard and it makes us nervous. It turns out that the OTHER Lowe's is the one that has the big spools of stair runners.

While at Lowe's, I discover I've left my credit card in the machine at Kinko's, so we race back there, and a good Samaritan has turned it in.

Then we give up on all productivity and eat lunch. We barely make it home by Tucker's naptime, having accomplished nothing except retaining possession of my credit card, watching our son consume an enormous amount of french fries, and learning when and where we are supposed to do these errands to actually get them done.

Maybe one day I will learn to collect ALL my belongings, carry a charged cell phone, leave extra time, and call ahead. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Here's Tucker enjoying Daddy's old quilt and bunny.

Potty Training, for real

I posted ages ago about considering potty training Tucker. I started thinking about it last summer, and we took a few half hearted steps, but nothing really serious until recently.

One of the problems was that I had bought a potty chair and a potty seat that didn't work for a boy. Not to be too graphic, but unless there is a pee guard, there is no way that a toddler boy can pee sitting down without aiming or making a big mess. Until I found a potty chair that didn't need the advanced skill of aiming, potty training was pretty much an impossibility.

Tucker helped choose the potty colors and was thrilled when the potties came in the mail. I bought a lot of training pants and devoted several days in a row last week to not leaving the house and filling Tucker with fluids so that he had a lot of opportunities to practice the whole thing.

At first I thought he might never get it, but by the second full-time day, he definitely knew what was going on. We have reached the point that he can be basically accident free with peeing when he's at home with us, although it does take a certain amount of convincing him that he needs to stop playing and sit on the potty. In fact, this weekend we started having a battle of wills about sitting on the potty, and it was getting pretty frustrating for all involved.

The solution: consequences. We don't make him sit on the potty if he adamently refuses. But, we have taken away all his matchbox cars and trucks and placed them on the mantle of our fireplace. He needs to earn them back by using the potty. Each time he successfully goes on the potty he gets one back, and each time he goes in his pants, we put the last one he got back on the fireplace mantle. I have to say this merit/demerit system has placed the decision in his hands. If he adamently refuses to go when we know he needs to, then he has an accident and loses a truck. It is very motivating for him.

Of course, we still have our challenges, namely going #2 and being comfortable going to the bathroom outside the house. It also would be nice if he eventually told us (or at least didn't deny) when he did need to use the potty.

But progress is occurring, and we're a little more than a week into it. Still, if you wonder what I'm doing rather than blogging, this is it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More trucks

Here is yet another truck item of Tucker's, a truck tote bag. I made it last weekend out of some fabric I found in a thrift shop, and it has been very enthusiastically received. The only problem is that it's a bit large for Tucker to really carry himself... I need to shorten the straps so that he has more success when he wants to help me.

In other truck news, Helen and David brought over Austin's quilt from when he was a toddler, which is full of trucks. Tucker is in love, of course.

And speaking of saved Austin items, this is Austin's old lovey, Bunny, which Helen found cleaning out a closet a few weeks ago. They brought Bunny down to see Tucker this trip and it turns out that Bunny and Ducky are fast friends. Tucker really doesn't have much interest in stuffed animals, but he immediately decided that Bunny is really special. Pretty cute.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Has it been four years already??!



Happy anniversary!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Big boy bed

Tucker is very enthusiastic about his new big boy bed. I thought he would like it, but not necessarily want to sleep in it quite yet because he still seemed to adore his crib and had never even tried to get out of it. Wrong. Tucker was in love with the bed from the minute it was partially assembled. He was practically trying to go to sleep on it before the mattress was even on it. The morning after he first slept in it, he told Austin to put his crib away because cribs were for babies.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thought of the Day, Henri Nouwen

"Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, "How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?" There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let's rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away."

-Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Budding artist

Tucker got an easel for Christmas from his grandparents and is very much a fan of it! We've transformed the upstairs hallway into an art gallery to show off his creations... a little bit more exciting than the blank walls that were there previously. The chalk is always around and he likes to go up to it and scribble and tell us what it is and then laugh hysterically. Last night we caught him trying to draw on the chalkboard with an ear plug! It wasn't working too well.

The paint is the most exciting, of course, which means that I have to hide the paint really well. When I was assembling the easel, Tucker was so excited to paint that he pried open the paint drawer in the desk (popped out three screws in the child safety lock!). We have invested in longer screws since then and I will be surprised if he can break into Fort Knox paint drawer now!

(FYI, the picture of Austin is one that Tucker took, so it is related to the artist theme, in case you were wondering.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Next year...

It took me until yesterday to feel recovered from the craziness of the snow, Tucker getting so sick, Christmas, traveling, etc. Of course the circumstances were extenuating this year, but next year I want to build in more time for reflection and stillness and not make my way through the Christmas season feeling like I'm just hanging on!

Other notes for next year:
1) Make and eat our won tons on Christmas Eve BEFORE church, and have salad/dessert after, instead of trying to smoosh it all in after. Too busy!

2) Spring roll wrappers can make a good gluten-free wonton alternative, but each wrapper needs to be patted dry before it is cooked or it becomes a goopy unappetizing mess.

3) We need to do better invitations for our New Year's day party, and send them out earlier... the third week of December is too late!

4) Don't let the Christmas tree freeze solid on the porch in a 5 gallon bucket of water. It's a bummer to try to move inside and takes forever to thaw!

5) Pay attention to the weather and the roads in Virginia... they can mean business. :)

6) My stroke of genius for today's party was putting Ben behind the baby gate in the pantry. Everyone's food was safe, and yet Ben could see everyone from his bed we moved there. He got lots of toys and love and didn't intimidate any little ones (and was still lots of help cleaning up afterwards!).