Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Could this kid *BE* any cuter?

Exhibit A: Arlo found my lipstick.

Exhibit B: He also has cool new Vans, coveted by his mother.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Hilarious. You can thank me later for helping you get all your Christmas shopping done waaaaaaaaaay ahead of schedule. You're sure to find something here for everyone on your list!


Drink in this photo of our new maple flooring... it's just beautiful! I can't thank Ted and my dad enough for their hard work installing the new floor--Dad was at our house all week last week laboring away, and Ted spent three full days working as his apprentice. This is the best shot I have right now showing the expanse of hardwood from the dining room (which is where Ted was standing when he took this photo) through the kitchen and hallway.

You may also notice, if you look at the right hand edge of the photo, that I also decreed that the dining room MUST be painted before the furniture was replaced. Yes, I made my poor husband paint after a tough week of work, both at home and at "the office." In my defense, though, I will point out that I did at least half the painting, even going so far as to climb up on the ladder (but only VERY carefully and tentatively, and with respect to my physical limitations) and crawling around on my hands and knees painting trim. We (okay, mostly I) selected the color "Drizzle" from Sherwin-Williams, and I bought the "zero-fumes" Harmony paint, which, as luck would have it, was on sale last week. We painted all Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and--honest to God--you could not smell it when you walked in the house. Amazing!

The dining room is now fully painted, including the walls on either side of this photo. The muted greenish-blue really sets off the lovely variation of maples in the floor, and I'm just tickled to be done with it--and to have eliminated three more white walls in my house! As I've told Ted, if I had my way, there would not be a single white wall in the whole place.

We're still in the process of putting furniture back in place and dusting everything, as every surface in the house is covered with wood dust from the floor project, so I do not yet have my official "After" photos. Stay tuned for beautifully staged photos of the end result.

In the meantime, here are a few more pics of the project and on-site laborers.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Growing Imagination

Over the past few days, Arlo has repeatedly impressed me with his emerging creativity and imagination:
  • On Sunday, we had the down comforter and a big pile of pillows heaped on the floor of our bedroom, since I was stripping the sheets from the bed to wash them. Arlo had tunneled underneath, and as he emerged from the pile, he told me, "I'm cracking out of my egg!"
  • Two nights ago, I walked into the dining room to find that he had very precisely lined up the following items: a yardstick, a toy dump truck, and a sippy cup. I asked him what he was doing, and he said, "I built a birdhouse!"
  • Last night we had dinner at the Okoboji Grill with my dad. Arlo picked up a pair of coasters from the table, and began passing them through the slots of his ladderback chair. "Look, Mommy," he said, "I'm putting in some movies"--as if they were DVDs going into the player.

It's incredible to watch Arlo as he progresses from merely responding to stimuli to creating scenarios in his imagination--and making new and inventive connections across the different parts of his world. I'm amazed and surprised at the depth of his understanding sometimes.

I'm also amazed and suprised at his rate of physical growth these days. Over the weekend we marked another notch on the wall in his bedroom, where we've been tracking his height since he was about 18 months old. We had marked his latest height in mid-June, and I wouldn't have even thought to measure him again so soon--but he had the bathroom scale out, and was really interested in knowing his weight (35 lbs., holding steady for several months now) so I figured we might as well check his height too.

Between 6/13/07 and 7/22/07, my dear son has grown more than an inch. I made Ted double-check my measurements, and he confirmed. Amazing! And it's no wonder all of his shorts are falling off of him.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Odd Reward for Good Manners

Once upon a time, I gave Arlo a TUMS because he said his tummy hurt. Ever since then (and it's probably been 6 months), he has been obsessed with TUMS. At first, he used the tactic of claiming that he had a tummy ache as a ploy to get more TUMS. Pretty quickly, though, I figured out that when Arlo says, "My tummy hurts," he really means, "I want a piece of candy."

Still, I confess, I didn't see the harm in giving Arlo a TUMS. I mean, loads of people chew them every day as a calcium supplement--and Lord knows that I eat them like they're going out of style, now that I have entered the Heartburn Trimester of my pregnancy. And it's better than candy, right?

However. Faking illness to get a treat is not a habit I wish to promote in my son, so I explained to him that he should not tell Mommy that his tummy hurts unless it really does hurt. If he wants a TUMS, I explained, he should just ask for one.

I know. Y'all are probably aghast that I give my child over-the-counter antacid as a treat. Please, at least forgive the tastelessness of it by recognizing that I have cleared its safety with Arlo's doctor and with our friendly Walgreens pharmacist.

Also, I must tell you that TUMS is a very reliable form of currency in my household. Much like chewable vitamins (and really, it's not much different in substance either), they can be used to coax Arlo out of the bath tub on a stubborn evening, or it can put him in a chipper mood before breakfast, when he and Mom are both rather grumpy some days.

And you would not believe how good he has gotten at asking nicely.

The TUMS first helped him learn to say "please" reliably when he's making a request. Now I've taken it a step further.

Arlo will say to me, "I want a TUMS."

to which I reply, "Well, Arlo, how do you ask nicely for a TUMS?"

and now, instead of just saying, "Pleeeeeeeease," as was the first level of politeness training, he says, "Please may I have a TUMS?"

It's brilliant. And I never have to worry that Arlo might be calcium deficient.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

We Love You, Clean Turtle!

I've not read the finslippy blog in several weeks--but I went there this afternoon and found this heart-wrenching story about little Henry and his lost "Minty Bear." Having a little son who is equally attached to a stuffed animal he has had since infancy (Turtle--perhaps you've met him?), I was just so touched by Alice's description of Minty Bear and Henry's relationship with her (incidentally, Arlo's Turtle is a "he")--not to mention her blisteringly accurate description of the smell of the beloved bear. I'm pretty sure you have to be a parent to understand how the scent of dried spit and toddler pee can be endearing, but trust me. It can.

We've had a couple of close calls this week. Arlo left Turtle on a bench at the Rec Center on Tuesday when we were there for swimming lessons . . . but we went back an hour or so later and found Turtle still sitting there. Last night, Turtle was nearly lost under a table in the restaurant where we ate. We searched and searched, and Ted retraced our steps back through the Farmer's Market to the car, returning empty-handed. Luckily, we didn't give up. Turtle had fallen behind a booth bench, against a wall--not the table where we were sitting. Whew!

How beautiful that Henry and Alice found a successor. I hope that Henry will grow to love New Minty as much as he did the original.

For our part, as soon as we realized that Turtle was going to be an important member of our family (Arlo was maybe six months old), I went right to the Web and Googled the info from Turtle's tag, finding and ordering an identical turtle, in case the worst should happen. For months, Arlo used the two Turtles interchangeably, but gradually--almost imperceptibly at first--he began to show a marked preference for one over the other. Naturally, his favorite is the grungier, more threadbare, and, of course, smellier of the two. This is, obviously, a situation that perpetuates itself.

The best part about it? He calls the stinky, worn, more deeply loved Turtle "Clean Turtle." Not because he actually thinks it's cleaner--but because he understands that clean is good, and dirty is bad, and he most certainly must refer to the preferred Turtle in the most positive terms available.

I hope to be able to follow up on this post by adding a photo of Clean Turtle and/or Arlo with Clean Turtle, as soon as I get a chance. In the mean time, here's a picture of what Turtle looked like when he was brand-new:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Notes from the Underbelly

We all know that a pregnant woman's protruding belly makes it difficult task for her to keep her shirts and dresses free of food stains. Not only does it stick out and grab hold of any falling morsels that would normally fall to the floor, her lap, or the table... it makes it impossible to actually get close enough to her food if she's sitting at a table. The whole notion of "bellying up" to a table is a whole new prospect when you're great with child.

I just want to say that the top of the belly is not the only danger zone. You also have to remember to check the underbelly for debris and stains. Twice today I have discovered junk on my shirt (a white one, of course) on the underside of my belly---and this is troublesome, because in general, other people can see this area of my shirt when I'm walking around but I can't!

I think the last incident--coffee grounds across the lower abdominal region--must've come from when I was washing my hands in our coffee/supply room and my tummy might have grazed across the counter top. Earlier today it was also a coffee spot. Methinks I should be mindful of my belly position when in the coffee area!

Not only that, but I think I might be wise to avoid white shirts from here on out. We'll see.

Oh, and if you see me walking around with some food or other junk hanging off the bottom of my shirt--where it is likely to be hidden from my view--please just tell me. I'd like to try to maintain some semblance of presentability, in spite of my burgeoning shape. Thanks!

Happy Times

Good times this week! I won't complain about how having a holiday off in the middle of the week threw off everyone's rhythm and made us all a little crazy. Sometimes crazy is good. Believe me, if someone offered to let me have Wednesdays off for the rest of my life, I would not hesitate for one second.

We'd been talking up the fireworks thing for a couple of weeks with Arlo, because this year was his first fireworks show. I remember way back when (2001?) my sister's little boy, Michael, then three, experienced his first (I think) fireworks display, and he did not like it one bit. I remember Michael crying and holding his hands over his ears. But then, his mom and dad had just moved him overseas from Denmark to the States, and they'd only arrived (in Florida, in the insufferable July heat) the day before... so you can't call his reaction standard, necessarily. And you certainly couldn't blame him.
We weren't sure how our boy would react--but, true to Arlo form, he embraced the experience with rapt wonder, and general enthusiasm. He stayed up way past his bedtime, with the only noticeable (and possibly unrelated) effect being a temporary dip in his potty-training progress.
Even three days later, while we were driving in the car, he burst out with a spontaneous "BOOM! Crackle, crackle, crackle!" from the back seat. These were sounds we practiced in preparation for the big show, in my attempt to make him understand that it would be very noisy and FUN. Apparently it was a successful tactic.
Saturday was Mara & Rockne's annual Pig Roast--an event that seems to get better with each passing year. That's where the photo above was taken, by the hostess herself. Big fun! You can see more pics right here on Mara's flickr page.
Last week my regular obstetric visit to the doctor yielded a troublingly high blood sugar reading, so I had to go back to the lab on Friday for additional testing, to diagnose or rule out gestational diabetes. And by additional testing, I mean a grueling morning with no food except for a bottle of hell's own nectar (the glucose solution they make you drink on an empty stomach), and hourly blood draws for three hours. Did I mention I wasn't allowed to eat?
NOT EATING is my number-one least favorite thing to do in the morning.
All in all, it actually was not as miserable as I expected (if you ignore the fact that, after my morning at the lab, the car wouldn't start and I had to get it towed... but anyway). In fact, it ended up being a pretty tolerable morning involving a LOT of knitting, and catching up on some podcasts that I'd been saving for a rainy day.
The best part- I finally got the call from my doctor's office this morning, and I do NOT have gestational diabetes! Though it would have been completely manageable and temporary if I had been diagnosed (it goes away when the baby is born), I would have had to go on a very strict diet, and possibly deal with insulin injections and such. Not to mention worries about the baby's health, and the micromanagement of every morsel of food I would consider allowing to pass my lips.
But HA! Keep the ice cream coming, people. I dodged a bullet this time. Pass the brownies, please.