This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:56 pm

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.


Year-end sum-up post, 2010 edition

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:31 am

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
I parented a two-year-old.  As if that wasn’t exhausting enough, people keep telling me the 3’s are even more challenging.  I don’t mean to be negative, though.  I also parented a hilarious, smart, opinionated 2-year-old, and I’d never had that pleasure before.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I’m afraid I didn’t.  My resolution last year was to finish the book I was working on, and I didn’t get that done.  I’ve also been stalled out on a short story I’ve been working on for months.  I seem to be having trouble with follow-through lately.  I wonder if it could be related to the fact that I never have more than about 40 consecutive minutes to concentrate on anything.

As for this year?  I resolve to do stupid stuff more thoughtfully—that is, I won’t do stupid stuff because I can’t think of anything better to do, but rather because I actually want to do it.  I like how this goal is very vague.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
Nobody super-close, no.

4. did anyone close to you die?
Same as above.

5. what countries did you visit?
Just the U.S., but a decent chunk of it.  We hit California, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, and did a variety of things in those places.

6. what would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
An additional human baby would be nice.

7. what date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I’m not very good with specific dates.  One of the more memorable days, though, was when Denny and I went whale-watching.  I think it was in early July.  We saw so many whales, humpbacks and blues, pretty close to the boat.  It was amazing.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
I learned to stop being bothered (mostly) by things that are out of my control.  This is primarily stuff related to my job.  Sometimes you just have to stop worrying about it.

9. what was your biggest failure?

10. did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a bout of what I think was food poisoning while in northern Wisconsin at a trivia contest, and that was horrible.

11. what was the best thing you bought?

Tickets to Puerto Rico for our trip this June.  Denny would probably say the new windows for the house.

12. whose behavior merited celebration?

Directly copied from last year, because it hasn’t changed a bit:  Miles, Miles, always Miles.  We clap and say “YAY!” a lot.  He can say so many words, dance with such energy, laugh so jolly-ly.

Denny, for being virtually ‘tude-less.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I don’t want to pull a dooce here.

Additionally, the people in charge of the U.S. immigration system.  I’ve been following the case of my friend and high school classmate Emily and her husband, and it’s really horrifying.  Pedro was brought to the U.S. (illegally) from Guatemala by his mother when he was a little kid, but when he grew up he went through the proper channels and stayed legally on work visas.  Over a year ago, his aging mother applied for permanent resident status, and in so doing accidentally stated some inconsistencies that led to immigration authorities bursting into the home of Emily, Pedro, and their toddler son’s home in the middle of the night.  They dragged Pedro away in handcuffs, and he has been incarcerated and separated from his family ever since.

Emily has been fighting for Pedro’s release, but an overloaded court system and an apparently unwavering judge has made the situation frustrating and hope-crushing.  Pedro, a non-violent man who has spent his life as a contributing and almost exclusively legal member of the American community, is taking up prison space that could be used for violent criminals.  Are you proud that your tax dollars are serving that purpose?

14. where did most of your money go?
So far, probably the windows.  We’ll be shelling out more for a downstairs remodel project, too.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
Whales!  Miles!  Pretty much anything that ends with -les.  Shingles?  Pringles?  Apples?

16. what song(s) will always remind you of 2010?
Maybe that mashup of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” with the theme from the Andy Griffith Show.  I jogged to that a lot this year.

17. compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?:  Happier, probably, though I think I was pretty happy last year at this time too.  But life is good.
ii. thinner or fatter?:  Slightly fatter.
iii. richer or poorer?:  About the same.

18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
Cooking new recipes.  I feel like I cook the same 10 things over and over.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
Picking my cuticles.  I really need to stop that.  Maybe that would be a good new year’s resolution.  Or maybe that could count as one of the stupid things I should only do if I decide I really want to do it.

20. how did you spend Christmas?
We dodged all over the state, hubbed in Ames.  We hit Des Moines, the farm down near Greenfield, Storm Lake, and Albia

22. did you fall in love in 2010?

23. what was your favorite TV program?
Lost.  Did that end in 2010?  I think so.

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
My opinion has shifted in a negative direction of a few, but hate is a word I try not to use with people.

25. what was the best book you read?
I just read Every Last One by Anna Quindlen, which I don’t recommend if you don’t like devastatingly sad books, because that’s what it was.  It was very well-written and compelling, though.  Right now I’m reading Franklin and Eleanor:  An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley.  It’s not as well-written as the former, but it’s really interesting subject matter.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t think I had any, sadly.  Oh, maybe Julieta Venegas, but I don’t know if that would count as a true discovery.

(I don’t know what happened to 27 and 28)

29. what did you want and get?
This cool cupcake/regular cake carrier I’ve been wanting.  I’m so excited to bake things and then transport them.

30. what did you want and not get?
I can’t think of anything.  Well…maybe a potty-trained child.

31. what was your favorite film of this year?
I saw Harry Potter, Tangled, Inception, and maybe something else.  I still want to see a couple more before the Oscars, like The Social Network and Black Swan, but I don’t know if that will happen.  I think my favorite was Inception.

32. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33.  I think I might have baked myself a failure of an almond tart.  I hope we went out to dinner or something.

33. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less depressing outcomes for the mid-term elections.

34. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Oh, you know.  Sweaters.  Dress pants.  Shirts.  Skirts now and then when I feel wacky.  Jeans when I feel lazy.  I’ve been trying to wear more of the lovely jewelry I have, thanks to Denny.

35. what kept you sane?
The Internet, early bedtimes (for both Miles and me), regular exercise.

36. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tim Gunn has been pretty funny this year.

37. what political issue stirred you the most?
I was so disheartened by Iowans voting out our Supreme Court justices based on one issue (gay marriage).  How would you like it if you could get fired from your job for doing one thing your boss disagreed with?

38. who did you miss?
I missed a lot of my friends.  I get so busy, and I’m a natural introvert so I need a lot of quiet time alone to rejuvenate myself, but that means that a lot of times I neglect friendships.  That’s uncool.

39. who was the best new person you met?
Did I meet anyone new this year? See, I need to get out of the house more.   Ooooh, I met the Iowa Board of Regents, including former gubernatorial candidate Bonnie Campbell.

40. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010:
Make him think it’s his idea.

41. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
From “Limón y sal,” by Julieta Venegas

Sala tenerte cerca
Siento que vuelvo a empezar
Te quiero con limón y sal
Te quiero tal y como estás
No se falta cambiarte nada

It’s salty having you near
I feel like I’m starting over
I love you with lemon and salt
I love you just the way you are
There’s nothing you should change



Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:55 am

A:  Do you still want a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for your birthday, or have you changed your mind?

M:  Never.



Filed under: — Aprille @ 3:58 pm

D:  Miles, it’s very important to say “thank you” to Mubby after she does something for you.

M:  But Mubby will love me no matter what!

This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 1:13 pm

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.


My two-dimensional life

Filed under: — Aprille @ 4:14 pm

We were reading Robert Munsch’s Show and Tell before bed last nightThe premise is that a boy brings his baby sister to school for show and tell, and when she cries, none of the adults can make her stop.

M:  Why is she crying?

A:  Because she misses her mommy.

M:  But why?

A:  Because babies like to be with their mommies.

M:  But why? (can you tell he’s almost 3?)

A:  Don’t you like to be with me?

M:  Yes, but you always go to work and Hy-Vee.


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:23 am

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Photo by Denny


Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:20 am

Around 6 months ago, Miles got into doing this thing where he touched one of his nipples, said “Mommy,” touched the other nipple, said “Daddy,” then touched his bellybutton and said “Miles.” He hadn’t done it in quite a while.  The other day, I had finished up a workout and he saw me in my sports bra and exercise shorts.

M:  Do you have “Mommy, Daddy, Miles”?

A:  Oh, I guess I do.  (mimicking his pointing pattern) Mommy, Daddy, Miles.  Do you?

M:  (trying to lift his shirt, but not being able to get it up very high) I just have Miles.


Tabula rasa

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:48 pm

Miles, Skittergramps and I were sitting around the dining room table early this morning.  We heard the shower turn on, but we didn’t know if it was Mubby or Denny, since neither had made a formal appearance yet.  I was trying to help Miles practice his deductive reasoning.

A:  I think we should look for evidence, like detectives.  I think we should go peek into the play room (aka the guest room) and see if Mubby is in there.  (tapping one area of the table) If Mubby is in the playroom, then who (tapping another part of the table) is in the shower?

M:  That’s the table.


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:17 pm

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.

Monthly Miles Memo #35

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:01 pm

Dear Miles,

Can you believe this is your last Monthly Miles Memo for your second year?  Crikey.  In less than a month (because I was a little pokey getting this posted), we’ll have a three-year-old in the house.

You’re a pretty fun guy to have around.  The other morning, you woke up early and were lounging around in bed while your dad and I got ready.  Out of nowhere, you started laughing your head off.  I asked you what was so funny, but you never articulated an answer.  You just kept laughing and laughing, lying there in bed.  Later that day, I recounted the story to Mubby and Skittergramps, and you said, “I saw two dogs wearing sweaters.”  Sure enough, the previous day you had gotten a kick out of a couple of winter-outfitted dogs on the walking path, and I guess it stuck with you through the next morning.

Speaking of I, your pronoun use is almost flawless now.  You’ve got the I/you/he/she/they/we thing covered.  In fact, the only time I hear you regress to your old ways is at bedtime, when I ask you, “Do you want to walk, or do you want me to carry you?”  Then, in your sleepy little voice, you almost always say, “I want Mommy to carry you.”

Your language has improved in other aspects, too.  You consistently pronounce letters like f and s that have been hard for you, which is helping us decode the mystery song.  There’s this song that you sometimes sing, always the same with the same intonation and rhythms.  We don’t remember hearing it in any of your favorite YouTube videos, and Beanie doesn’t know what it is either.  It goes something like this:  “Oh-ay, oh-ay, jumping oh.  Jumping over the ee-ah-oh.”

We hypothesized that the “ee-ah-oh” might be “airport,” but you nixed that idea.  You kept singing it, and we kept straining our ears and memories to figure out what it was, but nothing.  Then, a few days ago, you sang, “Oh-ay, oh-ay, jumping oh.  Jumping over the sea floor.”  Sea floor!  See how much difference an s and and f can make?  We still don’t know the source of the song, so if any of my fair readers have a clue, please help a mama out in the comments.

Usually you’re pretty good at explaining things, so I know eventually you’ll just tell us the whole story.  I’ll wait.

We had a really good visit to Willowwind School a couple of weeks ago.  That’s where you’re probably going to preschool next summer or fall, depending on your personal development (most critically, your use of the potty, which has been pretty much nil to date).  They held a story time for little kids, and you had a wonderful time.  It was much better than our last visit, which happened to coincide with a really unpleasant phase for you in which you screamed and cried and clung to me in the face of anything even a little unfamiliar.  This time, though, you joined in the activities and had a good time exploring the classrooms.  The people running the place were really warm and caring, and it seems like a great place for you to start school.

You’ve done some other pretty great things this month, too.  We had an unseasonably warm fall, so we got more outside time later in the year than in the past.  You’re a master of the playground.  Twirly slides do not scare you anymore, as long as they’re not too big.  We even got to play at the Roosevelt playground after Thanksgiving with Mubby and Skittergramps.  Your favorite thing there is the rubber bridge, which you crossed about forty times.  You bounced on it, you ran back and forth, you made outrageous faces.  You make a lot of nutty faces, which makes you a good portrait model.  Your dad seems to think you inherited this proclivity from me, which I guess is probably true.  At our Willowwind visit, a shocking part came up in the story, and the leader looked at me and said, “Great facial expression!”  I can’t help it.  The world is interesting, and my face shows it.  You’re just the same.  I love watching your face light up when you make a discovery.

Photo by Gary Clarke

You really enjoy figuring things out, like words that rhyme or somehow related.  Yesterday, we got a holiday card with a picture of your cousins Paige and Olivia on it.  It’s been a while since you’ve seen them, so you held the card and studied it as I told you their names.  After I said Paige, you puzzled for a few moments.  Then your eyebrows went up, you smiled widely, and said, “Hey, just like a page in a book!”  I hope you continue to delight in language, because it’s one of my favorite things too, and it would be fun to share that with you.  We’ve been watching the French-Canadian kids’ cartoon Caillou a lot lately, mostly in English, but now and then you request the Spanish version.  I haven’t been speaking as much Spanish with you as I should.   I keep promising myself I’ll get on that, but in the meantime, I’m glad you like “Caillou pasea al perro” just as much as “Caillou Walks the Dog.”

Another fun thing for you this month was your first trip to the movies.  While Daddy and Skittergramps went to see Uncle Tyler in Lincoln, you and Mubby and I hit the theater.  We saw Tangled, which is a Disney reinterpretation of the classic Rapunzel story.  I wasn’t sure how you’d do.  I made us sit near the aisle so it would be easy to get out if you were too loud or squirmy.  At home, you almost never do anything for more than ten minutes at a time.  You watch YouTube videos, yes, but you’re always jumping up and running to find a toy, then taking a break to color, then stacking a few Legos, then back to the video.

At the movie theater, though, you were entranced.  We got there kind of early, and even through all the ads and previews, you sat sit and watched.  You ate some chocolate during the movie, but you probably wouldn’t have needed the distraction, because you just sat on Mubby’s lap for the first half and mine for the second, and watched the action.  When we told Skittergramps about it later, he reasoned that it was consistent with other times you’ve been in a performance environment.  At the Justin Roberts concerts we’ve attended, for example, you prefer not to dance in the aisles with the other kids.  You’d rather just sit and focus and pay attention.  At those concerts and at the movie, it almost seemed like you weren’t having fun, because your brow furrowed and your face got so serious, but I’m pretty sure you liked it a lot.  When I commented days later that your hair was getting long and you needed a trim, you said, “Just like Rapunzel!”  And when you got to choose a balloon in celebration of some good behavior when I know it wasn’t easy for you, it was the Rapunzel balloon that caught your eye.  Your favorite characters from the movie were Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon (which you call a frog).

The twos really haven’t been terrible at all, my little Miles.  I love you a hundred thousand units, and I’m excited to find out what your third year will bring.  Maybe some potty use?  Maybe a rediscovery of the foods you used to like but are suddenly no longer into (I’m looking at you, Cascadian Farms Organic Vegetable Medley)?  Maybe finishing every book Robert Munsch has ever written?

I’ll meet you there, Scoop.  I love you like doggies love sweaters (unless they don’t actually like them, which I don’t know).




Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:33 pm

M:  Daddy, you have eyebrows.

D:  Yes, I do.

M:  They look like little rainbows!


Demonstrative adjectives are confusing

Filed under: — Aprille @ 6:58 pm

M:  I want [something unintelligible], Mommy.

A:  You want what, Mommy?

M:  (leaping into my arms) I want that Mommy!


This moment

Filed under: — Aprille @ 10:42 am

{this moment (with special thanks to Darah)} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.


Feeling butter

Filed under: — Aprille @ 8:23 am

The other night at bedtime, Miles and I were reading Robert Munsch’s Up, Up, DownWe got to the part where the daddy falls out of the tree and lands on his bottom.  Michael Martchenko’s illustration depicts his (clothed) rear end red and throbbing.

M:  Why is his butt red?

A:  Because he fell down, and the picture shows that it hurts.  He has an owie.

M:  He need some butt cream.

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