Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Blue Bell

Our family has a new travel goal--a summer road trip to the Blue Bell ice cream plant.

D's progress

Baby D told my husband tonight that tomorrow he wants to use the potty all the time. We haven't been pressing him on the subject at all, and in fact I feel daunted by the prospect of starting serious potty training on his proposed schedule. He's also been asking to wear underwear. D can make letter sounds in sequence (bbb-aaa-t), and I think he gets the idea of sounding out, but he can't combine the sounds into a word. He was sounding out "bat" today, but insisted that the word was "cat." My husband suggests more reading videos.

Garden report

Some of the sunflower seedlings are about three or four inches high. The basil is making a little bit of progress, but the tallest plant is probably about two inches tall. The gladioli are about two feet high but show no sign of flowering. The rose bush in the yard has a couple dozens blooms, the pecan trees have their spring foliage, and a small tree near the fence seems to be either an apricot or a peach tree. I still haven't planted my seeds and plants from Homestead Heritage.

C's math

C can do simple coin counting problems with groups including quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. She finished her first Kumon coin counting workbook and has started the advanced coin counting workbook.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Spouse: I notice you don't have any candidate endorsements on the blog.

Me: It's not that kind of blog.

Spouse: Shouldn't you say which candidate is good for backyard gardens?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

D's wish list

D says, "I want a gecko on my window."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Since my dad is colorblind, I'm a carrier, and we've been anxiously monitoring D to see if he has it, since colorblindness disqualifies you for a long list of professions. D seemed very slow at learning his colors, but he is pretty good at color identification right now and keeps us guessing. My husband thinks that he may be memorizing the socially accepted colors for various objects. More evidence for colorblindness came this evening when I asked him what color a red brick wall was. "Red," said D. There was a pause. "Reddish-green."

Music therapy

"Do you want music to make you feel better?" D asked his father.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bridal news

I heard today that an old high school classmate (the product of an old pioneer family) has just gotten married. His bride is apparently very accomplished, being both a beekeeper and a blacksmith.

Outing to Homestead Heritage

My husband, D, some relatives, and I finally made a day trip to Homestead Heritage today. Homestead Heritage is a large commune, well known for woodworking. We saw their pottery building, the woodworking building (where a class was underway), the ironworks, a water-powered flour mill, a petting farm, and assorted poultry. They have a complicated rainwater capture system to make up for the fact that groundwater is 1200 feet underground. Their furniture is eye-wateringly expensive (Pottery Barn and up), but we had a very nice lunch at their deli and I got some more sweet basil seeds, some Thai basil seeds, a lavender plant, and garlic chives, as well as a small booklet from Homestead Heritage on herb cultivation. I also finally got my very first hoe at Walmart today, which means that the weeds currently occupying half the flower bed are doomed. There were a few other plants at Walmart that I'd like to get (like oregano), but that can wait.

D advises mommy

D has told me repeatedly, "You need to learn to drive."

Summer is coming

This evening, I found the first gecko of the spring hanging out on our kitchen window screen. Out in the flower bed, the sunflowers are starting to come up.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Red cardinal

C spotted a red cardinal high in a tree in our backyard this morning. A while back we'd seen the pinkish brown female.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What price preservation?

C recently bought a replica of D's beloved yellow stuffed elephant, which is now grey and worn after many washings. C's elephant is new, fluffy and yellow, and has never been through the washer. I think I heard C explaining to a babysitter yesterday that she wasn't hugging her elephant because she didn't want it to wind up like D's elephant.

Teatime with Dali

D (to C): Put cream on my bus!

I've also seen him putting imaginary sugar from the toy sugar bowl on the cute little Fisher Price school bus.

Fraternal correction

D was noisily eating a slice of toy pie from the toy kitchen.

C (looking up from her Kumon math workbook): It's not nice to eat all the pie!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Baby D: The moon is going with us!

Fun facts

Baby D: The moon is the closest star.

4th birthday plans

Baby D: I want a space birthday.

Just 10.5 months to go!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hebrew vs. Greek

Asked whether she would prefer to study Hebrew or Greek, C said she would prefer Hebrew, since Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament, and the Old Testament came first.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Future kitchen

I think I've found a magazine picture with exactly what I'd like for our future kitchen: white cabinets, yellow paint, and blue and white Delft tiles and china. It's really cute, and the yellow paint keeps the blue and white from looking too cold or sterile. I've got another magazine clipping of a living room with white painted woodwork and French doors paired with a lavender sofa. So, theoretically it might work to use white woodwork throughout our future house but to vary the other colors used.


I checked up with the manager who takes care of the rental houses in our neighborhood, and it seems that the rumor we've been hearing is correct. Our neighborhood will probably be demolished in 2010. That gives us two years to get our affairs in order and move. I'm not crazy about our rental house (dark kitchen, low ceilings, windowless carpeted dining room, foundation problems, cracking drywall, ants coming through the woodwork, wood paneled den, inconvenient bathroom configuration, etc.) but it has its virtues (excellent storage, big rooms for the kids, fantastic location), and is the biggest, most convenient house I've ever lived in. It's been a great house for us, and I hope we'll be able to find something at least as good to buy.

Baby D likes cilantro

Lately when we've been outside on the patio, Baby D has been asking for cilantro, and I've been giving him a few leaves. My plants are nice and bushy but only about three inches tall, so I'm not sure how much of this they can take. On the other hand, I saw fresh cilantro in the store the other day at 49 cents a bundle, so I could let D eat the homegrown cilantro.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Potty training

C says, "Let's toilet train D quick."

After church

Overheard after mass: He's not sick. It's just that taking out the trash is a full day's work for him.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Caves and IKEA

Yesterday we took a day trip to a cave open house. We followed our directions and arrived at what turned out to be a vacant lot in an exurban subdivision. We waited our turn and then all four of us descended down a ladder into a black hole and then down a stair into what turned out to be a fairly large chamber with very nice limestone formations, and no bats whatsoever. We eventually had our traditional Swedish meatball lunch at a nearby IKEA. C got to go to Smalland and play, while D (not being fully potty-trained) had to snake through IKEA with mom and dad. D really wants to go to Smalland and he also really wants to be potty-trained, so I'm adding that to my motivational arsenal. We got fluorescent bulbs for our dining room fixture (it's much cooler now and I'm expecting our AC bill will shrink a bit this summer), a 49 cent blue elephant for D (compensation for not getting to go to Smalland), gooseberry jam, lingonberry jam, and fish egg spread for my husband (who loves the stuff).

Friday, April 11, 2008

Being a big boy

D considers himself a big boy these days. He's been talking a lot about what it means to be a big boy. Here is a list of what it means to D: going to preschool, going potty, cleaning up, and playing chess.

Favorite movies

Baby D says, "I like Fiddler on the Roof."

Making lists

This morning, I noticed that C had a piece of paper in her room with the inscription "make 2 pots." She explained that they were going to be making pots out of play doh today (the class is studying Africa), and it was a reminder to make two.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Twin elephants

For some time, D's favorite stuffed animal has been a yellow elephant, now greyish and slightly ratty after many visits to the washer. Also for some time, C has been coveting the elephant. She recently bought a duplicate elephant which, being new, is yellow and has a pristine fluffy surface. C doesn't do much with the new elephant, but she's pleased to have it. D is also happy that she has it. This evening, he picked up both in the living room and delivered his to his room and C's to her room. I think he's done that twice.

Preschool thoughts

"I like going to preschool like Buddy Bear," says Baby D, who has never been to preschool, but who has a big sister in school and a live action DVD featuring an anxious bear cub who goes to preschool and has a good time. It is D's bedtime, but after he said that, I had to put in the brainwashing video. He's set to start a two-day program in a couple months.

Planting sunflowers

This evening after dinner, C and I planted a couple rows of mammoth Russian sunflowers. If they take, they'll grow 8-12 feet tall with blossoms the size of dinner plates.

Dill, grass and pecans

Many of the dill plants that used to look like feathery grass sprouts are starting to fork into the characteristic dill fronds, although they're still only about 2.5 inches tall. The grass seeding is a huge success, with the sprouted grass now about 3 inches tall. The pecan trees are leafing nicely, and I've discovered that many of the hard-to-pull 6-inch-tall weeds are actually pecan seedlings. I've also discovered that the ants are less active after rain, so I took the opportunity to weed around the gladioli this afternoon while D was playing. I also weeded a little around the mature rosemary bushes, which means that I'm going to smell like rosemary until my next bath.

Monday, April 7, 2008


A little boy at school told C that Pluto is not a planet, and C is taking it hard. "I like Pluto," she said.

C's future room

I was asking C this evening what she would like to do with her future room, and she says that she would like it to look like a garden. She likes the idea of having things painted on the wall, especially if she could help.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bird watching

We saw a female cardinal in the back yard yesterday (light brown with a flush of pink), and today I saw one blue jay in our back yard, and one at the park. C's bird guide says that cardinals enjoy suburban life.

C at Mass

C is almost 6 now, and way past being old enough to go without cheerios, juice, and coloring books at Mass. Coincidentally, a sticker chart and behavior guide giving guidelines for good behavior came home this week from her religious education class. We located several suitable books for her to take to church (a child's illustrated missal, a book explaining the Mass, and a couple handmade books from CCD explaining the Mass and the Our Father). We read through the guidelines together and practiced a bit last night, and we made sure she had a snack, and she did beautifully this morning, with some wiggliness. I didn't see much of it, since D and I were in the cry room much of the time, but I bet that helped, too. C got her sticker.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Coin progress

C can now add nickels and dimes together. She is less than a dollar away from being able to purchase a yellow stuffed elephant that is a duplicate of D's favorite stuffed animal. C has been longing after D's elephant for a long time.


Baby D can identify the silhouette of the state of Texas.


There are now some one-inch grass sprouts coming up from the seed that I recently planted. It's not all sprouting, but it's nice to see something coming up, especially since we didn't do the multiple daily waterings that the instructions demanded.

Friday, April 4, 2008

What to do with chocolate

C wants to mold a chocolate space shuttle, with a white chocolate body and chocolate detailing. She and my husband have done a bunch of similar projects, including plaster Chinese dragons, a pink soap unicorn, and chocolate bunnies and angels. I don't know that they can manage the chocolate detailing, though.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Over dinner, my husband was suggesting that C is old enough for a trip to Poland, especially Krakow. I'd like to go too, but I'm not sure D would be appreciate it, even a year from now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Carnival at the cafeteria

We went to our favorite cafeteria tonight, which was hosting a carnival night. They had carnival food (funnel cake, sausage on a stick, corn dogs, cotton candy, etc.), as well as various games. C tried her hand at darts, magnet fishing, and a cake walk (I'd never seen a cake walk before). She looked very pleased and excited to walk round the chairs to music with the other cake walkers (who were all big college students), and she eventually won a very pink cake. She had a go at the apple-bobbing station, too.

Chapter books?

I just peeked into C's room and found her reading (or at least paging through) a Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book. She's read lots of picture books (especially on natural history), but this is probably the first time I've seen her reading a chapter book by herself. I think she was inspired by the (really terrible) Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle TV show. Previously, she seemed really put off by the plots, which are about the reformation of various horrible children.


C: D, there is no silver rule.