Saturday, April 09, 2011


It’s important that you have the right protective eyewear.

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Soccer Update

Well, soccer at the YMCA is certainly turning into a positive experience for Jasper.  He has a laid-back, very encouraging coach, Mr. Morris.  There is a good mix of good and clueless players on the team, and a good balance of girls and boys: Grayson, Aarya, Ethan, Jasper, Ashlyn, Sara, Anuva)   All the kids are nice!

The night before his first practice (3/19), Drew and I went to Academy after the boys were in bed (with nana and papa here) to get him shoes, shin guards and socks.  We weren’t sure which size would work.  So after breakfast we had a sports equipment try-on session.  DSC_2663 DSC_2684

before he’s geared-up



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The first game revealed that things can only go up for our son.  He wasn’t too keen on running around so much and repeatedly asked to sit or take a water break.  He also didn’t have a clue what to do. 

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The night before the second game we did a mock soccer game in the living room.  We cleared all the furniture to the side and got more aggressive with Jasper and talked to him about knowing which goal he was supposed to shoot in.  Consequently (and perhaps because the game was at 9am instead of 11am), the second game was much better.  He did not ask to come out (except for a potty break), and he ran around a little more aware (stress little).  He made contact with the ball three times, too.  (contact wasn’t necessarily initiated by him, but hey! contact is contact.)  The best part is that while playing at least once and perhaps twice he called out “dad, I’m having FUN!”  You can’t ask for more than that.  Last week, Ethan’s dad told me that Ethan played last year like Jasper does this year.  He just ran around and never had a clue what was going on.  It’s a 4&5yr-old league, and from what I can tell it’s pretty much universally true that 4-yr-olds have no clue and 5-yr-olds are the ones actually playing.  It seems to work. 

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(As an aside, it’s super cute to ask Benjamin what he’s wearing when he has this shirt on.  Hearing him say “my Yosemite National Park shirt” is fun.)


Today was game #3.  The Hornets were without Coach Morris, so Coach Gant had to sub in.  Drew did a great job, was super encouraging and did high-fives with each player after every goal (whether we scored or not).  They loved it!  Aarya and Ethan started asking him to lift his hand higher and higher so they could jump higher.  Jasper also KICKED THE BALL … on the run, to boot!  Baby steps, but this is great!  He loved playing and was only wanting to come out when he saw that Benjamin was on the sideline watching a movie on my phone.  oh well.  progress.  :) 

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After the game, we ate a picnic lunch at a picnic table in front of the YMCA.  It is a lovely day.  It’s gonna get much warmer, but in the shade with the strong breeze it is really lovely. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Thomas Has Left the Building

Not the train table or the trains or even some of the books, but definitely the animated shows on PBS. 

I got tired of having to stop the show and have a talk with the boys about what was wrong with what the trains were doing.  We have enough trouble with obedience when they’d rather do what they want to do (that’s normal – they’re toddlers).  But I was tired of having it reinforced by Thomas and friends.  So, I ran it by Drew who was in favor, and we just said no more.  Jasper wasn’t too happy with that move and still asks for Thomas sometimes.  But, this has given us the opportunity to go back to some of our old favorites: Clifford (Emily Elizabeth always does the right thing!) and the Backyardigans.  We especially like the psychadelic funk episode “Save the Day.”  Jasper’s informed us it’s his favorite too since it has a helicopter.  He also has taken a keen interest in “News Flash” because Pablo and Tyrone sing a song called “I Love Corn.”  (no lie)

Tonight they wanted to share “I Love Corn” with dad, and they had a fun dance party after dinner. 


I think we’re doing just fine without Thomas.  :)

Sous Chefs

Today I decided, almost on a whim, that I would exercise my culinary muscles and practice making my Oma’s cinnamon roll recipe before Easter arrives.  This is something my Oma used to make ALL the time, and I cannot think of a visit to her house in Coleraine, Minnesota while she was alive without the sight, smell & taste of her heavenly cinnamon rolls and icing.  Even now I can place myself in her kitchen, standing next to the microwave, looking out the window at the backyard and alley, watching over the precious cinnamon rolls as they cool and get glazed with powdered sugar icing.  Ah, how food can take us back. 

It’s been 5 years since I’ve made these.  I was pregnant with Jasper the last time I can think of trying these.  In the subsequent years, grocery store available cinnamon rolls have stood in.  This year I’m going back to my roots.

Jasper was keen on the idea and was excited to know I had started the process while they were napping.  He had no idea, however, how lengthy the process is and that it would push us all to the brink.  Benjamin didn’t remember the plan.  He got up from nap in a very sleepy state and stood on the stool at the kitchen island watching the mixer going and asked if I was making pancakes.  He slurred his speech he was so sleepy, and I had to ask him to repeat at least once.  After I told him, “no, not pancakes.  I’m making cinnamon rolls.”  It still took about 20 seconds for the reality to sink in.  Then he lit up, and exclaimed, “CINNAMON ROLLS!"

Game on!

Once the two stages of rising had finished, and it was really time to start dinner, we instead decided to do the cinnamon rolls.  I had to first cut through the enormous bowl of dough to get half of it on the counter.  (Note to self: make HALF the recipe next time.)  Then it was time to roll it, spread it with melted butter, sprinkle it with brown sugar and cinnamon.  The boys got to do the cinnamon.  Jasper assured me he is a good cinnamoner.  He tried to convince me that Benjamin wouldn’t be good, reminding me of the time Benjamin dumped a pile of cinnamon sugar on his oatmeal.  He was correct (and his memory is amazing!), but we decided to give Benj a try. 

Check out my sous chefs.  We only have one apron.  Benj was happy with the hat, though. :) 

And check out the size of the dough.  That is the largest bowl I have.  Clearly, I have to halve the recipe!

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(you’re supposed to roll the dough to dimensions of 12x18.  we needed a guide – hence the tape measure.)


this is how the dough looked just before we rolled it up.  they did a nice job with the cinnamon! :)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Lowes Again

Going to Lowes with daddy makes a big difference. And finding carts the boys could climb across like a jungle gym didn't hurt either.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Darned if you Do, Darned if you Don’t

So Nana and Papa left yesterday, and you know where everything went, right?  Yep … and a hand-basket.  Drew was home from work sick.  By the end of the day at preschool, Jasper’s teacher informed me he had been scratching all over his body and his eyes were puffy – a marked difference from the morning.  (Oh, oak pollen!)  And at naptime, Benjamin started coughing.  His cough was off and on through nap and persisted at the start of bedtime, again at 12:30am and then restarted this morning at 6:30am.  He was a snotty mess at the end of breakfast.

So … that meant the dreaded nasal aspirator.  He’s 2.5yrs old but not a reliable nose-blower.  He just started two days ago blowing (when there was nothing to blow), but now that there is stuff to expel – well, he’s less than efficient.  So, I gave him saline nose drops at his first diaper change and tried to suction.  Nothing came out.  That’s ok.  It was early in the day.  That also meant it was a quick try. 

After running errands for two hours this morning so we could let Drew sleep in some peace, the last stop was Lowes.  I had specific things to get at Lowes.  I didn't think it was asking much of them to hang with me. 

I was wrong. 

They both acted like they were on a mild hallucinogen.  Nothing I said even penetrated their ears.  By the end, Benjamin was jumping out of the cart (one of those with rear exit seats so they can get in and out way too easily), and running across the concrete floor a few feet then sliding into a side splits.  I actually heard an empty-nester guy chuckle as he walked by and saw that.  Jasper got the hiccups and proceeded to stand on top of his seat and yell in a nice old whine “i need water.”  Oh yeah, this was going well. 

Parsley?  who the heck cares!  Deer spray?  I’ll wing it at home.  I needed out. 

Much review of our fateful trip to Lowes happened on the ride home.  It isn’t even that it was a dreadful trip for them.  They got to climb up on John Deere tractors and play with long rigid hose nozzles like they were swords or microphones or whatever, while I looked in a particular aisle.  And, it sure seemed like they had fun standing up on their seats and jumping.  That’s just the problem.  I can be stern all I like, but unless I’m prepared to drop everything and walk out the door and put them straight in time out (or worse), they do not see the consequence of their behavior.  They do not recognize my frustration or anger as anything to which they must respond.  erghhhh!

Jasper proceeded to come into the house when we got home and follow all but the last of my instructions - which of course were the most important: “and don’t wake up your dad.”  After lugging in bags and herbs, I was greeted by Jasper telling me he had asked Drew when he’d get up and was also able to hear Benjamin in the bedroom chatting with his father.  Suffice it to say, both boys went into time out. 

Jasper ate like a champ at lunch, but Benj could hardly eat because he was so congested.  So, after lunch I tricked him and got him to come into his bedroom for a diaper change.  Instead I put in more saline drops and got out the aspirator again.  This time – much more success.  Until … blood.  I struck a vessel and it was bleeding enough that it was coming out of his nose while he was lying down on his back.  Oh man!  Of course the child is screaming, because he hates that aspirator.  (I don’t blame him.)  I tried to sit him up with the kleenex wadded to his nose, and guess what he did – he blew … a lot.  I got blood, lots of blood.  I was begging him, “please, don’t blow.  no, don’t blow.”  It took a while, at least ten kleenex and lots of pleading, but he did eventually stop and the blood did eventually stop.  But, I didn’t really want to put him down right away in case the blood was going to spout again.  So, despite their hallucinogen-like-induced behavior before lunch, I opted to keep them up a little and clip fingernails – which meant watching a little TV.  Not earned, but a regular fingernail-clipping distraction.  (Not that they figured out the distinction.) 

Before I actually put them down for nap, Benjamin’s temp was climbing above 100deg. 

It’s gonna be a long weekend.