Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I'm happy to report that our little patient is recovering well from his medical ordeal. He has really powered through the discomfort and pain with great fortitude, and shown enormous restraint in hoarding the consumption of frozen sweet goodness over his brother. Sleeping is a real challenge, but during the day he's pretty happy and chipper. That may have to do with his steady diet of television, board games, snuggles, pain medication and copious amounts of high fructose corn syrup at every meal.

Additionally, Max is doing a great job on inventory management. Each day he monitors any potential inequity of Sam's diet (liquid and sweet) over his (solid and full of vitamins and minerals). When Max leaves the house he's prompt upon return to inquire as to how many servings of ice cream his brother has had, how many t.v. shows he's watched, and diligently counts the empty juice boxes in the recycling bin. I'm honestly not sure which is more trying - keeping up on Sam's pain meds or making sure that Max feels that he hasn't been jipped of the greatest opportunity available to small children. We've tried to explain to Max that he's the one receiving the good deal here as he's riding the popsicle/Penguins of Madagascar wave right along with his brother, yet without the loss of glandular tissue. But each time we offer up a Danimals yogurt smoothie to Sam, Max's shoulders shrink down to his dairy-allergic belly and his lower lip quivers from the injustice of it all.

Sam handled all aspects of his brief stay at the children's hospital with his usual subtle humor and low key one-liners. Without argument, but with clear disdain, he put on the hospital gown that was covered in ridiculously animated dogs, shaking his head at the nurse "But my don't like dogs. And..there's a hole in the back", as if she hadn't noticed about that tying action. When she offered him a green stuffed bear with a soccer ball on it that he'd be able to take home after the surgery, Sam just shook his head and said "No sanks. Max he will just take it from me" (a valid point). Instead, he chose the bland beige bear with "1999" lamely embroidered on it, proving that he's the only child in 11 years who was able to overcome impulse and was willing to take the plain and boring bear rather than deal with the painful fallout of his older brother's anticipated drama.

With the gift of childhood innocence, Sam seemed pretty un-phased by the somber nature of our time at the hospital. During the pre-op exam in which they asked me about his medical history, Sam looked at the nurse with a completely straight face and told her "My only allergic to monkeys". After requesting a "Little Mermaid Night Night Story" from the anesthesiologist, Sam took the masked-man's hand and walked right with him into the operating room, Scooby Doo doll in hand, bypassing the nurse/gurney that was ready to rip him from his nervous mother's arms.

Modern technology allowed us to view the progress of surgery much like the status of an order of fries and a cheeseburger: each child is given a random number and it's posted on an electronic screen in the waiting room. It's color coded to let you know when your child is in pre-op, surgery, incision closure, etc., and then onto the recovery, which can be an additional hour before the child can be seen by anxious parents. Sam knew that time line just wasn't going to work for me, so he made it pretty clear that any recovery that he was going to have needed to be in his parents arms. Which, of course, was just what I needed and he knew that.

This little episode has proven to us we are enormously blessed to have a thoughtful, tough, and hilarious little son. And that hopefully, however enlightening they are, our trips to the hospital will be few and far between.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ice Cream You Scream

Tomorrow morning Sam will be undergoing the Ear, Nose & Throat Triple Play - ear tubes in, adenoids and tonsils out. I took him to the grocery store today and we loaded up on popsicles, ice cream, juice, otter pops and other cold, liquid treats.

I let him stand in the freezer aisle, door wide open, and told him to pick out popsicles and ice cream. He warily asked if he could have the red, white and blue rocket ships and was shocked and awed to watch me put them in the cart. "What else, Buddy?, I asked as I lifted frozen fruit bars from his icy fingers. "Anything else in there look good to you, Sam?"

He looked up, grabbed his arms around me, snuggled his little face into my belly and kissed my hand over and over again, proclaiming his undying love for me and frozen dairy products.

I'd be lying if we both didn't consider it one of our best days ever at the grocery store. Tomorrow. Yeah, that probably won't be so fun for either of us. But at least we'll have ice cream.

He Be Nimble, He Be Quick

Max got to be in his first school play today: an all-kindergarten rockband tribute to Mother Goose. I loved watching him let his little light shine as he poured himself into the nimble and quick character. I could see him react to the audience's cheers and delight in the joy of performance. Given how much he loved the whole experience, I have a feeling that we'll be watching this boy on stage for a long time.

Ka-Chow Max!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainbow Connections

I've missed posting some really important moments of the past six months on this blog. I've finally resolved a highly irritating issue that I was having with photo organization on my computer, and going back and re-dating/sorting everything is just way too boring and overwhelming for someone who has no Virgo compulsion for order, nor uninterrupted time for such detail-oriented tasks.

So instead of linear/chronological order, here's a reflection of the absent months of 2009-2010 in Rainbow Order (ROYGBIV).

Today I'm seeing life through rose [red] colored glasses:

Like the reddish curls of Sam's hair.
These curls continually melt my heart and bring smiles to my crankiest days. They are as much an expression of Sam's buoyant personality as his light-up-the-sky smile, twinkling eyes, and precocious vocabulary. It's just that we get to admire this feature quietly, from behind his face; making him pretty much 360 degrees of precious, 365 days a year.


"Look at me! My flying!"
Little red airplane at Train Town in Sonoma, CA
February 2010


Spokane International Airport, September 2009
If anyone ever asked me to summarize my two children in one photo, I would probably reference this shot. I snapped it while while I was talking on my phone as we were waiting for some friends to pick us up at the airport. Tired of sitting still, Max cleverly set up an obstacle course out of car seats and luggage. Max is giving his body what it needed - movement - without running away or complaining (believe me, he's done both of those things plenty of times, too). But here he jumped, swerved, spun and ran about a mile, all within about a 10 foot radius. Sam, who was also tired of traveling and was well, just tired in general, joined right in on Max's action and appointed himself as supervisor/cheerleader. Like most of us watching, Sam enjoyed and admired Max's unique energy and entertainment style.

My Mom bought that little red suitcase for Max when he was about 10 months old. She thought it would be perfect for him on overnight trips to visit the grandparents. Okay, so she gave it to me, but I think we both knew for whom is was really intended. And she was right, he loves traveling with it all over the country, but especially going to visit Bubbi and Grandpa.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday Night Bath

Who ever knew the poetry of bath time could be so sweet?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

But my don't like dogs

In honor of Sam's birth nearly four years ago, my parents purchased and planted a beautiful little tree in our front yard. It's a lovely dogwood that comes into bloom each year right before his birthday, and Sam proudly refers to it as his "Dog Tree".

As if we didn't need enough reminders that this little guy's birthday is coming upon us shortly, the dogwood began blooming this week. It's gorgeous and delicate and abundant with fiery color. Sam loves to come out and look at it and point at the opening blossoms.

In addition to the wonders of a bloom that coincides with one's birth EVERY year, Sam also is quick to recognize the irony. Without any measure of irritation, Sam easily explains to us all that the tree is his, " don't like dogs."

At least he appreciates the tree. We'll work on dogs later.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

My blogging has been dormant for the Winter, but with Spring in full swing, I intend to get some more posts of my little seedlings sprouting.

The boys are growing, blossoming, digging in roots and stretching their boundaries. Spring will always remind me of the beautiful season of their births, and how much richer my life is with their presence.

Bursting from the slow, dark days of Winter, we are a flurry of activity around here. Everything seems to get crammed into this time of year - sports, birthdays, school plays, science fairs, bike-a-thons and other endless requests for our limited free time. This morning we enjoyed acknowledging Spring and Earth Day with the simple act of planting seeds together.

Jack Be Little pumpkins, Marigolds, Sunflowers, green gourds, and summer squash made a new perch behind our kitchen sink. I'm also pretty sure that Sam planted a few errant globules of oatmeal left on the table from his breakfast. He's hoping for a bumper crop this summer.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Not Officially Christmas Until..

..someone cries at the tree farm.

Fortunately, he was quick to recover. And proclaim every single tree in the forest "Perfect!"

Ultimately, it was time to be done. The nearest tree became the perfect tree, and was chopped and hauled to our home.. the Pied Piper of Grand Firs leading his merry minions back to the truck with the siren song of hot cocoa and ginger snap cookies waiting at home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Testing, testing, 1..2..3

Just making sure this thing still works. Feeling a bit creaky, almost forgot my password, but we're back in business.

Can you tell I've got a bazillion things to do to prepare for our Thanksgiving departure tomorrow? I'm desperately procrastinating on all the packing decisions that need to be made, laundry that needs to be tended to, facebook updates that must be read, etc.

Come on over..cinnamon rolls are the oven, I'm about to start a craft project with the boys, and I'll probably come up with some other monumental distractions.

Or, maybe I'll just post the pictures that I've been neglecting for the past two months on here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What A Difference A Bus Ride Makes

Max on his first day of Kindergarten, feeling a wee bit nervous and silly.
At the bus stop, the boys and I had a little snuggle before Max climbed onto the bus and bravely waved goodbye.

But here he is, all grins and accomplishment after he got off the bus at the end of a long and memorable day. And look! He remembered his sweatshirt! So proud!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ready Or Not..Here We Come!

Max will soon be waking and getting himself ready for his first day of Kindergarten. He's excited, anxious, and very ready for this new transition.

I tucked the very getsited Max into bed last night and his little body was a mess of wiggly dinosaur fleece and story-time anticipation. I snuggled up next to him on his bed and we listened to music in the dark and tried to find stillness.

I thought of all the attributes of Max's that I love and strive to bring more of into my own life: his sense of humor, his enormous heart and compassion, and his irrepressible curiosity and wonder. He will love school and the joys that are ahead.

I'm just a little sad that the apron strings are being loosened a bit today. This new joyful adventure will be one that he discovers without me giving him the high-fives, good-job-hugs and laughter that we both find so satisfying throughout the day. I will miss his giggles and wonder and curiosity, and especially his enormous hugs and smiles.

Now it will be Max's chance to filter out his day and share the highs and lows with us with the benefit of past-tense. High-fives and hugs will be delayed until the tail lights on the bus blink and we trudge back up the dirt road together.

He is ready for this. He will shine.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Morning At The Monkey Ranch

Our new camera arrived this week to replace its worn and weary predecessor who has opted to no longer point nor shoot. As soon as my new toy was out of the box I took these photos. I love how they reflect the peaceful (albeit rare) moments around here when the boys are engrossed in their world and I in mine.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summer Nights

This is what I'm gonna remember come February when I haven't seen the sun for 93 straight days and the lawn is too wet to walk on, let alone lay down and dream upon:

I'll remember this ordinary, yet magical, night when the boys came home from swim lessons and launched their new foam rockets with the force of air and laughter and joy.

I'll remember how they burst over and through the ripe blackberries with the fuel of giggles and cheers, smelling of summer's magical mixture of pool chemicals and fresh tomato sauce. I'll remember how Summer serenaded us with birds in the woods and speedboats on The Sound.

I will remember the far-away laughs of neighborhood children and the nearby tackles and songs of my Monkeyboys launching their rocket ships to the heavens as they aimed for the nearest cloud.

And I'll remember how we all seemed to sense that nights like this were going to end soon as the days grow cooler, damper and darker and school and responsibility creep upon us. And I'll remember how, on this ordinary and yet magical night, we all wished that we could have this feeling forever.

Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose

Among Sam's many charms and endearments is the adorable way that he says his age, "My Free" and holds up five fingers.

Our little "free"dom rider has been in quite a state of three this week. He's been defiant, objectionable and veeerrrrryyyy whiny. Part of this may be attributed to the lack of sleep he's been getting as he's transitioned to a "big boy bed" and has been staying up very late reading and playing. He's also been deprived of his normal nap ritual this week due to some scheduling craziness surrounding his brother's sports camp. Sensing that he really needed some quality sleep last night, I put Sam to bed back in his crib and watched him fall into peaceful slumber faster than you could say "Meltdown at Target".

He awoke this morning and yelled from his crib "Mommy! Get me out of here! Right now!", then proceeded to kick me and wiggle out of my arms whining about how he didn't want to be carried. Charming. Clearly, he wants some independence and to be a big boy, and yet, sometimes, he's all about being the baby.

This attitude continued this morning as I made the wrong breakfast, put his bowl down at the wrong chair and did, in general, all the wrong things. I made it clear I didn't appreciate the way he was acting. Then, he brought me over to the fridge and asked me to pick him up and talk about the picture of me and my Grandpa Ralph on the horse.

He asked if it was him and his Grandpa. When I told him (for the umpteenth millionth time) that no, it was me when I was a baby , he said oh so sweetly..."When you whined?"

I smiled and hugged my impressive little man. Yes, Sam, that one time that I whined. That one time that I felt conflicted and confused and not quite right in my skin. That one time that I didn't quite know who I was or how to act or why people were expecting so much of me. That one time that I was learning all sorts of new vocabulary and trying to figure out a new schedule and just really wanted to hug somebody all the time but also felt like I needed to act like I didn't need a hug all the time.

Kind of like that one time when my first child started Kindergarten. Kind of like that time when I have to start thinking about putting the kid who cheers for firetrucks! and cement mixers! and garbage trucks! onto a school bus while praying that he gets from my hugging and high-five-ing arms into the arms of someone else who will love him, understand him and honor him as much as we do. Kind of like learning about late-start Wednesdays and manipulative math curriculum and literacy boxes and lunch boxes and peanut free zones and filling out a field trip permission slip for the child who still can't even make a trip to the bathroom without some parental assistance.

Kind of like that time that I whined.

Freedom, Sam. It's not *just* another word for nothing left to lose, as Janice Joplin said. It's a little about loss, and also a little about something to gain. Like more time to spend with your sweet little face...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last month we took a little family road trip to see my in-laws and their adored farm. Along the way we drove through an eternity of forests and mountains; following long, wide highways with pull-outs perfect for viewing volcanic destruction or for disciplining small children, depending on your needs. We also traveled on the treacherous dirt roads normally driven by the Forest Service and logging trucks. "Roads" that bump and haul their way up and down winding, steep passes while jostling the minivan's suspension and sloshing my vertigous stomach juices. It's never a good sign when your vacation involves focusing on the horizon while telling everyone in the car to stop talking; especially if they are under the age of five.

Fortunately, some technology saint invented this cure for road-weary travelers:

On our travels, we even drove by to catch a closer glimpse of Mt. Rainier, whose majestic white tip is visible from where we live. Each day, the boys eagerly await the moment when we cross the bridge to see if they can be the first to spot it or if it's hidden by the clouds. Locals refer to a day when she's visible as "The Mountain is Out"; but in the getsited way that Max enjoys abbreviation and contraction, he has come to simply calling it, "Outin'".

It was certainly "Outin" from up there.

We stopped for a picnic and our ever-present travel buddy offered up his interpretation of the National Park:
These Happy Campers were far more interested in the pic-a-nic basket.

And asking the age-old question on the meaning of life and true existentialism... "Are we there yet?"

Yes, boys. I think we're right where we need to be.

Sunday, July 19, 2009