Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A New Smile

Roman feels that now, finally, he is truly big.

He lost his first tooth today!

(And we are going to alter the memory of the entire event to have me there when it happened.)

He lost his first tooth, without strings, doorknobs, and heaven forbid, Leathermans. (Don't ask.) He lost it brushing his teeth.

He's been smiling all day. I'm pretty sure it's to drawn attention to the gap in his smile. Which just got cuter than ever.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pictures of Fall

It is full blown fall now. While most the trees are still green(ish), there are more and more pops of red, yellow, and orange. It has started raining again, after an entire three weeks without rain. I'm telling you, Utah people, that's like a drought here in Iowa. It's supposed to fall below freezing tonight.

Full blown fall.

And we are doing our best to enjoy every minute.

A day at the lake, to have a beach picnic and play in the sand. And never mind that I said keep out of the water.

Leaf piles in the backyard.

More apple picking.

Because somehow we managed to eat fifteen pounds of apples in one week. I did make apple pie and apple crisp and we ate those too. But still, 15 pounds! Well, three of us ate 15 pounds of apples. Roman still insists he likes picking apples much more than he likes eating them.

At least someone loves apples.

Soon, more of the trees will change, and it will be time for more fall walks and drives.

Because soon it will be winter.

But for now, it is fall.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Blaise, after having an episode of coughing: "I have a coffee (coughing) bean in my throat."

Roman, nearly every day: "So, when I was little..."

Blaise, when I came home after a call night: "Mom! I miss you all night!"

Roman, after learning about water traveling from roots to stems to leaves in plant: "I can't believe I never knew that!"

Blaise, having twisted open an Oreo and having all the creme on one side: "Hey, what's the big idea?"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pass It On

Gina gave me this award several days ago, and due to my horrific schedule and the fact that I felt the need to sleep for more than four hours in a row made it so I was unable to recognize the award until today.

Thanks, Gina. Gina, like myself, is the mother of a darling little boy and she's a speech pathologist/teacher. If you're not reading her, you should be.

Okay, now for the rules.
1) Thank the person who gave this to you!
2) Copy the logo and place it in your blog!
3) Link the person who nominated you!
4) Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5) Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6) Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7) Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them!

I'm pretty sure that over one year of blogging has made it so there aren't too many big things that people don't know about me. (And if there are, no one is going to find out any time soon. Ha.)
But I'm sure that I can think of something...

1. I used to play the flute (and violin, and piano...). But unfortunately, due to demands of school, work, and parenting, it's just fallen by the way. Although, I do occasionally play a few carols around Christmas.

2. I hate dresses and skirts. I have worn a skirt maybe twice in the last year.

3. I kept a journal every day for nearly 6 years. My writing filled multiple notebooks. Now there is a box in our basement full of those old journals and diaries. I stopped writing a little after I got married, and I always felt guilty about it. I think that is why blogging is so appealing to me.

4. After Roman was born, my hair started to get darker. That's when I started dyeing my hair and adding highlights. I don't think my dad knows. Every once and a while, he'll say, "I love that your hair is still the same color it was when you were a little girl." And I just say thank you.

5. I take a LOT of pictures of my boys. I have thousands of pictures on my external hard drive. So, if you ever feel that I have posts with image overload, just realize that I'm holding back.

6. I love books. And I never get rid of them. I have many full bookshelves, and I can't bear to think of getting rid of a single one.

7. I'm still on the look out for the next great chick flick. I haven't liked any since "Return to Me" and "You've Got Mail." If you have any good ideas, I'm dying to know.

And now, for the next part...the nominations.

First, some of my truly favorite blogs (that were not already nominated.)

Tia at Clever Girl Goes Blog
MckMama at My Charming Kids
Christian at ModObjects at Home
Sobrina at Quiet Like Horses

That's four. The next nominations are for people I think are unbelievably creative. Now, if only they would write just a little bit more.

Bonnie at I Think I naC
Emma Lily at What Would David Bowie Do
Trina at Trinabug's Life

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Despite the fact that there were fantastic college football games on television perfect for watching, we got in the car and drove to a local orchard. Where there were apples perfect for picking.

I have always wanted to go apple picking.

And not just because I love apples. Which I do (even though I like peaches better.) But because it is something I want to do with Roman and Blaise. First, so they know that fruit actually is grown (Roman said on our drive over there: I never knew people had to grow peanuts. I thought they just made them somehow.) And secondly, which is always the most important one, because it is fun!

And we did have fun.

I love apples!

At the front of the orchard is a small store inside an old barn full of dusty sunlight and the smell of freshly made apple turnovers. We glanced over the map to see where the ripe apples were, grabbed our baskets, and headed out.

The orchard can be reached by tractor drive or by walking. We opted to walk. Down between pumpkin fields, over a foot bridge, and into the rows and rows of apples.

Over 130 variety of apples!!

Perfect Pick!

(Okay, not all of them were ripe. The orchard has many variety so that there are always apples ready, whether you go picking in August, late October, or mid September.)

The boys were delighted. They ran up and down the rows, picking the apples they could reach.

Please note Blaise's sampled apple

And since there is no charge for "sampling," they did plenty. Well, Blaise did. Roman insisted he only liked picking the apples and had no intention of eating any. Although he did take one bite when I said in that case, we're not buying any. (We were always going to. Because wow, those Honey Crisp apples are divine!)

I"m serious. I love apples, Mom!

So after an afternoon becoming sticky sweet and sun-soaked, we hauled our heavy baskets of apples back up to the store to bag and buy them.

Now, there are 15 pounds of apples on our kitchen counter. Between that and a boy who insists he still doesn't like apples, we should be well stocked for a while.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Making Friends

Roman started school several weeks ago. This move and new school makes this Roman's third school in three years.

He attended private kindergarten through his daycare center. Then he attended first grade at the public elementary school just down the street from us in Salt Lake City. Now he is attending the public elementary school right next door to us here in Iowa.

All these transitions make me worried.

Roman is shy, sometimes painfully so. He doesn't make friends easily. He is not a leader in groups of children, much more content to just go along with what other children are doing. Since school started (and even weeks before it did) I kept wondering how he was going to do.

Roman seems unfazed.

The day before school started, I asked him if there was anything he was worried about regarding the first day of school.

"No, I'm not worried. It's everyone's first day."

If only I could have that attitude more often.

Every day since that, I ask him about school. What he did during the day, what his favorite activity was. Between the questions about art class and gym, I ask about friends. Does he know the names of the children in his class? Who did he play with at recess? Has he made any friends?

Last week, he caught me at my worrying.

"Why do you ask every day if I have friends?"

"Because I don't want you to be lonely." That's what I said out loud. But it felt more like I was screaming it in my head. Because I want you to have friends, I want you to adjust well, I don't want you to ever resent me for taking you away from the handful of friends it took you over a year to make back in Utah. And almost like he hears the screaming and the panic, he stops me in my tracks.

"Don't worry. I'm never lonely."

The most natural feeling I have is one of protection. I want to shield my children from everything. From every hurt, from every disappointment, for every disturbing image on the news. I want them to be happy, secure, safe. I want them to have a feeling of belonging. Despite the drive to over-protect them, the boys continue to show that they are adjusting well, that they are happy.

One of the reasons we chose to come to Iowa (among many others) was the quality of the schools. When I was interviewing in Denver, I asked how the schools were. Oh, the schools were wonderful, I was reassured. Everyone was very happy with the schools, there were so many amazing options. Just one thing, I was cautioned several times. Stay away from DPS. Denver Public Schools. Well that's just great. A single family income, surviving on a resident's salary, and I was going to be expected to enroll my children in private school and pay for that too.

The city in Iowa we live in has no private schools. There is a Catholic high school, but half the children attending are not Catholic. There are no private schools to lure the best teachers away. There are no private schools for all the university professionals. Doctors', professors', and lawyers' children attend the same schools as the children of janitors, waitresses, and truck drivers. Without the option to abandon the public schools, families have invested in them, all resources go to them, and the outcome is amazing. The public school system is one of the best in the country.

I received a note from Roman's school today, and I'm attributing it to the caliber of the school. Roman has been enrolled with a guidance counselor. He is going to attend weekly small group sessions that focus on developing friendships. Some of the children in the group are new to the school. Each week, they talk about skills to make friends and good qualities of friends and friendships. They play group games. All with the goal of helping them to know other children better.

It seems like someone else (Roman's amazing teacher) noticed the same thing that has been causing me anxiety. Roman has not made any friends after nearly a month of school.

But instead of just letting it continue and allowing him to continue to be isolated and potentially struggle because of that, they have options.

I'm excited for the weekly sessions. I'm hoping it is the difference we need, me almost as much as Roman. Because he deserves everything I want for him.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

The day Blaise wore his dragon suit...

And made mischief of one kind...

And another...

His mother called him "Wild thing!"...

However, this story doesn't end with being a certain little boy being sent to his room without supper...

Instead, it ended in a sunny walk...

And a backyard picnic.

Because everyone knows that corn on the cob is exactly what wild things eat.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Every day, something new

Before we moved to Iowa (and even after we moved), we were cautioned that it was a "boring" place to live.

Well, we're still waiting to be bored.

The great thing about the city we will in is the summer arts program. Each week, all summer, that are free weekly concerts downtown, movies in the park, plays in the riverside theater, and art festivals. Due to our schedules and our current unwillingness to haul the boys around in public, we didn't do any of those things this summer. We plan on doing most of them next summer.

But last weekend, as part of the summer arts program, there was a sand castle competition downtown. Yep, sand castles in the Midwest. It was definitely something to take the boys to.

After we viewed the sand sculpting contest, the boys had their own opportunity to play in the sand.

We headed for home, sandy, sticky from cotton candy, and sporting the beginning of beach-worthy sunburns.

I have started my Surgical Intensive Care Unit (or SICU) rotation. I've been more worried about this one than any other. The patients are very sick and require care that I sometimes feel is above my level of training. The schedule is demanding, requiring overnight in-hospital call every third night. I took my first overnight call last night. I was almost as excited that I made it out alive as I was that all my patients did okay overnight as well.

After being awake for 33 hours straight, I came home and collapsed into bed.

I was awoken at 6:30 by Keith who announced that he had "tried something new" for dinner. I stumbled downstairs to be greeted by a beautifully set table and a serving of hot, Parmesan cheese covered, home-made gnocchi.

Keith had made gnocchi.

By himself.

And it was delicious.

I feel like I should write this in all caps to express the complete amazing-ness of it all.

Keith, who never cooks, who got stressed out if I suggested he make scrambled eggs or a salad by himself. Keith, who I didn't even think knew where the cookbooks were kept in our kitchen. That same Keith made blonde brownies two days ago and then spent 2 1/2 hours making gnocchi tonight. GNOCCHI! Something I haven't even attempted.

Who are you and what have you done with my husband?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Back before we had a house, back when the four of us were living in a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom 650 square foot apartment with the tiniest of patios, we would sit and talk about what we wanted our house to be like.

Not so much look like, because we were ready to settle for almost anything. We more imagined how it would feel like.

Now that we have our house, we are slowly turning it into that place we imagined so hard.

And I'm pretty sure our dream home included this...

To me, nothing says childhood like a tree swing.

Unless it is a tree swing holding two darling boys.

Keith and I made this one for Blaise's birthday. The biggest surprise is that the branch we attached it to holds not only Blaise and Roman, but Keith and me.

Adding that one thing as made the boys spend hours more time outside. Even if they are not swinging. Blaise carries a bucket around by his swing, picking up small sticks and nuts discarded by the squirrels that live in the tree. Roman sits on the porch and bird-watches.

This swing makes it feel like a family lives here.