A brief glimpse into the daily happenings of a 6-year-old, his new baby brother and his family.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mom My Ride

So funny and so true.
(Thanks, Jeremy)

Even though my ride hasn't been "mom-ed", I do have a "back-car-seat driver" to help me find my way on the busy, busy streets of Suburbia. Yesterday, a woman rolled through a 4-way stop and I had to brake quickly to avoid a crash. Thank God my back-car-seat driver alarm went off...
H: What?
H: Mommy just had to stop fast so I didn't crash with that lady.
H: No, really. It wasn't that close. Besides, it wasn't my fault. (do you like how I'm trying to defend my actions?)
H: Seriously. It was no big deal. The lady made a mistake (I was careful to aviod the word "accident" for fear of how the story might get twisted later). She just forgot to stop. Mommy didn't even road rage at her. It's no big deal.
B: MOMMY, I'm NOT happy about this.

After a few moments of silence, during which I can only imagine he was analyzing every road rule he could think of, a little voice from the backseat said..
B: Her just make a mistake. Mommy not rage.

That's right, love. Where would I be without my back-car-seat driver? Don't know how anyone drives around without one.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Boy Mom of the Year RUNNER UP

On Wednesday, Ben and I made this season's inaugural trip to DeAnna Rose Farmstead. They've added a new dairy barn that has AIR CONDITIONING, a snack bar, sweet baby cows, and a moooo-vie theater where kids can watch a short video on how milk ends up in those plastic jugs at the grocery store. All our favorite animals were there, many with new babies. The buffalo (who Ben calls "Ed") delighted Ben by staring "right at me, mama."

Spending time with him there made me realize how much he's grown and changed since our last visit there in October. No longer was he too short to reach the door of the goat pen, no longer did he want to make the sounds of each animal. In fact, when I said, "Look, Ben! There's a chicken. Cluck, cluck.." He put his hand in my face and said, "Uh, Mommy. We don't need that." Then he said, "I really like this rooster." I guess I'll have to up my "barnyard game" a bit before our next visit. How about we compare and contrast the quality and physical features of the various breeds of chickens. No? Maybe he'll enjoy a cost analysis on "free range" chicken raising vs. those enormous industrial Tyson-type chicken farms.

Riley and Jill went to the farm with us because it was a beautiful day and because Jill and I are united in our belief that you have to find some way to pass the time from 10:30 until 1:00 that ensures your child will take a nap. I have to say, Jill gets the "Boy Mom of the Year Award." Seriously. The farm has this little pond that is stocked with some sort of fish (unless it's shrimp on a platter with cocktail sauce or a goldfish in a bowl, I don't really know my fish). Jill says, "Do you guys want to go fishing?" I made a face that translated to, "Sorry. I'm a princess. I don't do worms. What if he caught something? Then I'd have to touch a fish to throw it back into the water. Plus, you have to be still and quiet to fish. Nope. Nothing in the whole fishing game for me."

Little did I know that Jill not only knows what she's doing, but actually enjoys fishing. I watched in amazement as she ripped worms in half, carefully stuck them on the hook, helped the boys cast and willingly participated in the whole gig. She even gave them pointers about where the good spots would be and how to expertly reel in a "whopper". If she had performed open heart surgery right there on the little bridge, I don't think I could have been more amazed.
Ben really seemed to enjoy fishing, but Riley was the one who caught a fish. Truth be told, I think fishing might be genetic and Ben must be my kid. He was WAY more interested in sticking the fishing pole as far as he could into the water until I'd grab it away for fear he'd drop it. Oh, and did I mention the cool gravel on the little island? Again, way better than actual fishing. I think he was up for fishing until he realized it is a quiet, still task.... 2 adjectives not synonymous with my charming kiddo. Still, it made for some darling pictures.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Babies(!) Aaron and Zachary

Hooray for the Stinson family who welcomed not one but TWO babies into the world yesterday. Baby Aaron weighed in at 7 pounds 1 once. Baby Zachary weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces. Mom, Dad, and big Sister, Sari, are all doing well.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What the bunny brought me (sorta)

We spent Easter Sunday just as all good Christians should--- car shopping. On Monday night, we sealed the deal on a new minivan. I have proudly joined the ranks of a stereo-typical JoCo mom. I've even had entire conversations with people about the joys of "stow and go" storage and the thrill of 3-climate zones. Don't even get me started on the remote side doors. Chills. It seriously gives me chills.

Ben is loving "Mommy's new blue van rocket". He's pretty sure it's magical enough to blast into outer space. Anytime we leave the house, he asks, "We get to take your new BLOOOO van, Mommy?" As we travel down the road he giggles and yells, "Whee! This is fun. I love this BLOOOOOO van." Yeah, he's a nerd. That ol' apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

So, the next time you and your 30 friends need to go somewhere together, you know who to call. I might be able to cram 35 friends if some are willing to be "stowed."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Early Saturday morning, Allyson passed away. I haven't blogged about it until now because I don't know what to say. Today I decided that, instead of making this blog about her horrible cancer or the amazing sadness I feel, it was much more true to Ally if I shared some of my favorite memories and the positive things I've learned from knowing her.

Even as a preschooler, Allyson was completely fearless and totally comfortable in her own skin. In fact, she thought her skin was pretty terrific and that the whole world should know just how terrific she was. Many times, I'd watch as she'd strike up a conversation with a random stranger (never kids her own age-- she liked the high school crowd or adults) about their day, her new shoes, what she had eaten for breakfast, whatever was on her mind. After a few minutes, the stranger would be ready to buy the kid a pony or anything else she might want.

Once at the lake, she said something way beyond her years and I called her "Miss Sassafrass." Now, normally, I could have told her to jump off a bridge and she'd have smiled and asked if she should land in a tuck or pike position. But, for some reason, she was totally offended. I don't think she even knew what "sassafrass" meant, but she decided it was unacceptable. For several hours, no matter what I said or what deals I tried to make, she wouldn't speak to me. She wouldn't even look at me. I had crossed the line and would be punished. Years later, when she was in junior high, I asked if she remembered that day. She said the only thing she remembered was that I had "called her a name and made her really mad". When I told her what I called her, she laughed and said, "I was a sassafrass. I'm still a sassafrass." How right she was. (Below is a picture from that weekend. I've been carrying this picture in my purse since Saturday.... it's my favorite picture of her because I remember how much fun we were having and because she was completely healthy. It's nice to remember her that way.)

Right after Allyson got sick, I picked her up from school one day. We were discussing her leg surgery and the impending chemotherapy. She was an 8th grader at the time. She was telling me about some painful procedure and she swore (for some reason, I think it was the dreaded "S" word). With a slightly shocked, slightly apologetic, slightly sly (sassy?) look on her face, she turned quickly to gauge my reaction. I started to laugh at her and right then and there, we made a pact. Since she had to deal with cancer and treatments and hospitals, she was free to swear with me anytime she wanted. No words were off limits (as long as it was only the two of us and as long as, if a word slipped out when anyone else was around, she didn't rat me out). So, for awhile, she threw colorful adjectives and interjections into stories anytime the two of us spoke alone. But, being the positive, upbeat kid she was, once the novelty wore off, she replaced those words with comments about how nice her nurses were or how hard everyone was working to help her.

I know it was very important to her that everyone knew she fought her illness bravely and that she didn't give up. I don't know exactly how she'd say she wanted to be remembered or what wisdom she'd pass on, but here is what I will carry with me:

1) A smile and a "thank you" is as good for the person's soul who is saying it as it is for the person hearing it. (even when those hearing it are doctors and nurses who put you through painful, but necessary, procedures and who don't always have the answers.)

2) Be sassy... or as she might have put it "livestrong".

3) Speak up and work tirelessly for something you truly care about. Allyson spoke to a congressional committee to lobby for more funding for research, donated her time to the Children's Miracle Network, and the Dream Factory. It was Ally's wish that people continue to support these charities because they had done so much for her. In addition, she was an amazing role model for other kids who were battling illness.

4) Make lemonade! I have never known anyone who could consistently find something positive in any situation. If you've read the journal entries on her caring bridge website, you know that is something she learned from her mom. Every time I want to take the easy road or complain, I have a Jiminy Cricket named Allyson who helps me stop and re-evaluate the situation. It makes a huge difference.

Please keep Allyson and her family in your thoughts and prayers. If you'd like to read her website or sign the guestbook on the site, you can visit:

Friday, April 6, 2007

The DARK side of Easter Egg hunts

I sincerely hope there is a 12-step program (12 points...weight watchers) for addiction to Cadbury's Mini Eggs. I innocently sampled one that Ben had in a plastic egg from the neighborhood Easter Egg hunt last Saturday. After "sorting" all of them out of the rest of his loot, I still didn't have enough so I bought a couple of bags at Target. I'm pretty sure that those won't last until the Easter candy is 75% off (at which point I'm buying Costco quantities). Just while typing this, I left the computer twice because the picture looked so delicious, I had to have a few. Now that I'm finished, I'm going back for more.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

Saturday night, Ben had guy's night with his buddy, Riley. Now, not being a guy myself, I'm not really sure what goes on during a normal guy's night, but this one was pretty fun.

We began with some fine dining and endless entertainment at our favorite rat pizza establishment-- Chuck E. Cheese. Yeah, "the Chuck" is a rat. A big one. What better mascot for a place that serves food? A place that serves food and has games and rides. A place that has pizza, games, rides, AND A MILLION SCREAMING CHILDREN. I'm pretty sure that a truck carrying massive quantities of sugar had overturned somewhere in the city and that all the kids there had been encouraged to eat as much of it as possible then come to Chuck E. Cheese for a night out. I know I'm somewhere with a ton of noise when my kid is the quiet one. The boys had a great time and have both mastered the fine, fine art of weasel-ing grown ups out of tokens. We even managed to get both of them to eat several pieces of pizza. Dinner and entertainment? Check.

Once we returned to our house, Ben suggested that it was time to take a bath. A bath! Of course. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that is what the big boys do. As a rare treat, I broke out the bathtub crayons and the boys practiced their graffiti skills on the shower walls.
After the boys finished admiring each other's pajamas, I was at a loss for what to do next... if it was guy's night, I was pretty sure that painting fingernails and crank calling boys ( a la slumber parties) wasn't in the cards. So, I decided on Plan B and we made a big bowl of popcorn and watched a movie. I even put a couple of sleeping bags on the floor. The boys looked much older than 2 and almost 3 as they munched their popcorn and watched Finding Nemo. I told Don that it was like peeking 4 or 5 years in the future--- minus the bathing together part, of course.

On Sunday night, when I told Ben it was time for a bath, he said, "Where's Riley? We need to color and then watch a show on the slippy blanket (sleeping bag)." I told him that Riley was at his house because it was a "school night" and we only have friends over for almost sleep-overs on the weekends. He looked at me, made a sad face, and said, "Dude. Bummer." Hold on, Kid. Only a few more days until the weekend is here again.