Friday, October 31, 2008

Super (Pooper) Thursday...On Friday

I know, I know, it's Halloween. We'll get to that tomorrow. We don't have pictures of Halloween until it's actually over with, mmmkay? But, let me prepare you in advance, you WILL be witnessing perhaps the cutest monkey ever to don the costume. It will melt your heart; it will make your eyes weep; it will move mountains...if he keeps the hood up. He's not too keen on hats! You can at least see the attempt at "coloring" his punkin today. It went poorly. I think he drew one line on there before deciding that brushing Eddie was of more pressing importance.

Eddie, whom by the way, he's decided he is clearly the boss of lately. Yesterday, Collin simply would not be moved to go to the park until he pressed the dog's bottom to the floor to make him sit. Then, as if that weren't enough, he backed out of the house, pointing at him, glowering and very sternly voicing a command that started with the letter "s" but truthfully could've been "stay" or "succotash" for all I know. It was adorable but very silly.

Anyway, as you might know, Thursdays are big days in our house because the rock star garbage man comes by, not just once but twice! It's the first sound my little man hears in the morning and at the cock crow of the whirring engine approaching, he beckons me to grab him and drag him down to watch the truck as it barrels down the street.
The garbage man has come to expect us sitting on the curb, waving and yes, now giving him a standing ovation as he passes our house, so much so, that he not only waves at us in return, but gives us a garbage truck salute by lifting the front of the truck and dumping nothing into the back, just to let Collin see the hydraulics move a few extra times. Nice guy, huh? Then, it's up the stairs to get dressed and do it all again and we dash back down to watch him go back by the other way.

Well, this Thursday was extra super, as the night before we must've eaten something that was clearly a gear greaser for my man and on the dash downstairs to meet the garbage man I realized that he was a bit wet in the butt. Well, I also realized he was a bit stinky. It's not like he's never had a wet seat before on the curb. I mean, come on, a boy, sleeping all night, of course he's soaked. My kid drinks water like he just ran the Ironman so he usually wakes up with an eight pound diaper.

But, this wet was a bit mushier, a but more "special," if you will. And yes, by the time we got to the curb, it's aroma was wafting to my nose, even outside. It was lovely, that wait for the garbage man. I wonder if he could smell it too, all the way across the street, over the stench of trash. I wouldn't be surprised; it was just that special and just that super.

Of course, it's always a dash to get him dressed in time for the second round by. Don't ask me why we don't just wait down there in the first place. I don't know. It's just not how things are done. We have a routine and we're sticking to it. So of course, with World War Poop down there, it was definitely an extreme rush to get him down in time for the second pass, and he knew it. He could hear the truck approaching while I wiped and was straining to get away, wrestling against the wipes...hey, he had places to be. But, phew we made it.

After poop incident though, Thursday got even more super. We voted! Collin participated in his first real election. He mailed the real, actual ballots for both Mommy and Daddy. And, since Mommy and Daddy both voted for the same guy, I didn't have to throw Daddy's away instead to make sure only the important one counted :) Hee Hee. He got to wear Mommy's "I voted" today sticker all day, which left a lovely clean white circle underneath it after he played at the park and promptly got completely filthy surrounding every other square inch of himself. I keep trying to tell him that Mommy's vote was more special than Daddy's though because Mommy stayed registered in Ohio and Ohio is still a swing state but he pretty much knows Mommy's his special gal anyway, why rub it in?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Liar, Liar!

Collin had another major first today...a milestone really, his first fib. I'm curious as to whether or not that is one of those things that I etch in gold lettering in the baby book or if I pretend it didn't happen because my sweet boy would never do such a thing. I mean look at that innocent, sweet and joyous face...who could believe he'd ever commit such a crime!
For a kid who can't talk, lying is a feat in itself, I think...and I'm concerned that it means that he's headed down a slippery slope. What's next? Complete sociopath? If he becomes a criminal, I'll at least insist on a prison tattoo of "Mom" in a heart on his bicep.

Here's what happened. I caught him dragging the remains of a battered--just kidding, nothing that bad. He told me "poo-poo," and pointed to the bathroom. Since we've been practicing just sitting on our potty, nothing else, just sitting and saying the word poo-poo, I thought, hooray! I asked him if he wanted to sit on his potty and if he had to go poo-poo. We're really working on cementing the idea that bathroom equals poo-poo right now, not so much that he has to do anything about it. I don't think he's ready. But, whatever.

Anyway, he shook his little head yes and dragged me to the door, which was closed. So, little me thought that we were making a breakthrough, that super hooray, he was making the connection, that maybe, just maybe, he'd make his poo-poo in the room where we are supposed to do it. Getting a little ahead of myself, maybe eons, years, decades, I imagined the possibility of cleaning up a little turd out of the potty instead of the diaper that he would imminently fill this afternoon.

No such luck, the minute I opened the bathroom door, he reached for the story we'd left behind a little while earlier, picked it up, turned on his heels and left the bathroom behind. When asked if he had to go poo-poo at all, he shook his head no. Apparently, it was all a ploy to get his story. Grrrr.

He may not know that poo-poo goes in the bathroom but he knows how to be a little s-h-i-t already...okay, too harsh. He knows how to act like one on occasion. He's still my little angel. I was just taken aback by it. His first lie! I'm pretty sure he doesn't know he did it and he probably just knows the bathroom is the poo-poo room and the wanted in there, but still, it seemed like a lie and that's the story I'm sticking to.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Aunt Robyn Wins the Day

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that yes, Aunt Robyn did of course, graduate too. That was the point of the trip, right? And, she was a distinguished graduate no less. For anyone who has been within shouting distance of the McClain family for more than ten minutes, you would have expected no less of our dear Robyn because if there is a top slot in anything, she's sure to get it. We could not be more proud of her and we're super happy and have to tell the world...see! (ignore the weird bump in my skirt that makes me look like I should be hiding something with a Trapper Keeper)

And, Aunt Robyn made everyone misty and teary-eyed by giving Bryon her wings. Well, not her wings exactly. But apparently, there is a tradition by which it's bad luck for the pilot to wear their first set of wings, so they break them in half, thus rendering them unwearable. They are supposed to keep half for themselves and give the other half to someone important in their lives, making sure to keep the two halve separate. The two halves are only to meet again when the pilot dies, at which time they meet at the pilot's final resting place, where they will help the pilot soar in the afterlife. Well, the half they give away is supposed to go to someone that has helped them soar now, right?

It seemed a no-brainer to me...she'd give them to J, her hubby. Nope, she gave them to Bryon! Jeesh. What a moment. We all melted. And, she even made a beautiful shadowbox for him to keep them in. It's got a picture of his little sister looking all tough and brave in front of her plane and a plaque with her name and the date on it and a little blurb about the wing breaking story. It's so gorgeous and sweet, I don't think there's a wonderful enough place that we can hang it in our house. Maybe in the White House? Can you tell that we're proud of her?

Collin decided that he was pretty proud and excited too. He wants nothing more than to be a pilot just like Aunt Robyn and Uncle J...or to just sign "airplane," the rest of his life, because they fly "up high," which he can actually say aloud.

Playground of Death

I'm not saying that they do things backwards in Mississippi, I'm just saying that the playground at the state park where we spent most of our time on our recent trip is perhaps in the land that time forgot. It's possible that in our over abundance of safety standards, padding and helmets for diaper changes, that we might worry a hair too much about our kiddos; but I think that the playground we went to was a might bit on the dangerous side.

I haven't seen a merry-go-round in ages. I'm pretty sure they have been yanked out of most playgrounds because they are too fun. Or, because one in two kids either falls off and chips a tooth or gets knocked unconscious. But, although I'm assured that others have seen this type of merry-go-round before, I've never seen this bucket type of merry-go-round. Seriously, a bowl? Is that so you can catch the puke in one convenient, easy to save for the next kid to sit in, location? It WAS fun anyway.
And, I'm pretty sure that bar spacing on any structure is standard for a reason. Both so kids can't fit through and so they don't try. Leave it to the one kid who's too big to fit through to try it. Yep, that's my son. He was pretty sure it looked like a good idea at the time. It didn't take long for him to rethink the decision. Hilarious after the rescue...scary for the moments he was actually stuck.
The play structures were a story in and of themselves, having been constructed sometime predating the Civil War, and therefore, I'm pretty sure a historical landmark, especially down there. When we weren't dodging the protruding screws and the rotted bits, we were making sure the metal slides weren't searingly hot from baking in the sun. But again, they were still long as we were within centimeters of Collin making sure he wasn't going to die. The ONE "newer" play structure was no better anyway, as the tippy top of it was missing the pole or ladder or whatever access to the ground it formerly had, and instead then was equipped with a ledge that dropped immediately off about twelve feet to the ground. P.S. none of these play structures were surrounded by anything softer than packed dirt.
My favorite fun thing at the playground of death, which I didn't take any pictures of, was the see-saw-roundy thing; yeah, I don't know what to call it. It was a circular ride on animal structure that bounced. There were four animals for kids to ride in the form of an X. It seemed super fun, until you took a close look at the axis and note that of the four major screws holding the thing together, two were missing and the two left were visibly loose and shook pretty wildly when we bounced. Hmmmmm. Collin thought the thing was a hoot anyway. I'm sure he would've laughed even more hysterically if one of the adults would've flown off wildly when the whole thing careened off the axis and we plummeted to our deaths into the sand bed it sat in that had been converted to a fire ant nest.

Alas, it was not a safe playground. But, it was a fun playground nonetheless. I'm pretty sure that we were not remiss in letting him play there since we at least noted the dangers lurking at every corner. I felt a little leery for the girls playing there while their mother napped in the parked car in the lot. But, hey who am I to judge? We all survived and had a good time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to the high life

Yep, we're back to the big city living. I know I'm not a small town girl. But, I have to admit, I enjoyed the canoeing and the time with the kiddo. But, I did affectionately call the quiet, peaceful cabin that we hung out at the "toddler deathtrap." Considering that it came equipped with a balcony with slats three feet apart (yep, wide enough to step right through and plummet to your death), a steep staircase to the ground, easy access to the lake right outside the backdoor and to the road outside the front, I think it was an apt nickname.

Alas, it was so much fun for us though. Collin had so many eyes on his little adorable head the entire time, I don't think he could so much as sniffle without anyone wondering if he were okay, let alone trip and fall or splash unwittingly into the water and get hurt. Although the little neighbor girl from the next cabin over fell into the water while her daddy slumbered in a lawn chair. He woke up as my father-in-law plopped her dripping little self in front of him, having rescued her.

Still, we're home now, back where I like it, where there are more than three cars at a traffic light. But, I am trapped in the house. And, I'm not just trapped by the forty-two loads of laundry we accumulated on the trip or the dog hair so thick you could wade through it that I now need to vacuum (okay, I'm exaggerating); but, trapped by the stupid house painters.

The privatized people that own our house are painting the exteriors. Nice, yes. Annoying, yes. They have all the windows and doors taped shut with plastic and we are literally trapped and it's totally dark in here. It's eerie and weird and the dog really has to pee. So, I'd take me a little small town lake toddler death house that's super fun over this weird windowless paint fume house any day...even if it is in Columbus! Instead, I'll just sit here, take a deep breath and probably get a little bit of the high life here. :)

P.S. My favorite picture from the trip...isn't it awesome. Don't worry, I'm sure I'll sprinkle more throughout the week!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Columbs, Mississippi...Not a Fan!

So, Columbus, Mississippi is a small town. And, by small town, I mean that they have a Wal-Mart. Yep, and they've got a McDonald's too. They've also got a lot of fields and some ditches and a whole lot of run-down looking shanty homes and some trailers; but hey, lots of southern hospitality. All in all, it's a place I'd pretty much die if I had to be stationed at. But, thankfully we'll never have to come here as it's a pilot training base and thanks to four-eyed hubby, it won't happen.

But, Robyn (sister-in-law) is stuck here another four years because she's now an official pilot as of Friday and her hubby graduated last month. And, to stay together for another four years, they decided to become instructor pilots here. So, to make the situation bearable for themselves, they bought a house.

The house is friggin' amazing. It's huge and it's gorgeous. Apparently, you can buy a lot of house in the middle of the southern, for lack of a better word, armpit, for almost nothing. Hopefully, no one I know and love who reads this hails from Columbus and will be offended. If you are, too bad; it's a matter of opinion. Even Robyn cried when she realized she'd be stuck here for a handful more years, even though it meant at least she'd be with her hubby.

It's not really that it's THAT bad. It's quite pretty and the people are nice. But, I NEED a mall, more than three stores within a twenty minute drive and less than three trailers per five people. It's just me, maybe I'm a snob.

At the moment though, Collin is living it up here. Bryon's dad and stepmother rented a cabin on the lake as their accommodations and he's obsessively loving the "boat" idea and the fish, not to mention the hot dogs and mac-n-cheese. He is finally putting to use all that practice of the "airplane" sign we did so much of in preparation of finally seeing Aunt Robyn again and now he pretty much thinks that's her name. He blows her kisses when she's not looking because that's what we do when we see airplanes, of course! So, to him, Columbus isn't so bad.

I think for Mommy, she's just a big town gal. Apparently though there's some good barbecue down here and they have someplace that cooks some pretty amazing food right in some guy's personal crock pots! I'll pass on that and take everyone else's word for it, but local color, right? For now, I'll enjoy my big city assignment and hope for another.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What does TSA Stand For?

Tyrants with Snarly Attitudes?
Tiffy Snippy Apes?

Of course not! I know that TSA does a pretty important job. But, I also know that a family carrying a 19 month old child, and holding military I.D. cards as they pass through the metal detectors is probably NOT a threat; so, it's probably not necessary to give US of all people, a hard time. Still, that's what Mr. TSA in L.A. thought best to do yesterday.

It started with the car seat/stroller contraption that our super friend Kari let us borrow for the trip. This thing is awesome. It is designed for airports so it converts from a stroller to a car seat with one swift motion and it fits down the aisles of most planes. Anyway, Mr. TSA was a little perplexed at it and annoyed that it didn't "break down." What? Who ever heard of a car seat breaking down. I could almost hear him grrr-ing.

So, off to the side it went for manual inspection. He was then further annoyed that I had to carry my son through the detector. Then, Bryon had the wrong boarding pass...a mistake that should've been caught at the stand prior to this when it was stamped by Miss TSA who inspected it only moments before. But, I digress.

Anyway, he promptly, and in a raised voiced shooed him back from the metal detector and pretty much indicated that he was trying to board a flight to Bahrain with bombs in his shoes. Meanwhile, I've made it through after having set the darn thing off with my belt. So, I reach into the backpack, which has made it through the belt by now, and get the correct boarding pass and hand it over the wall to my poor hubby who's being detained.

Wrong choice! Mr. TSA yelled at me. Apparently, I'd been instructed via telepathy to hand him, and only him said boarding passes, not Bryon. So, I was told to go "STAND OVER THERE!" By now, I was pretty annoyed, barefoot and tired of holding my beast of a child and wondering if my car seat was cleared to set him down.

Mr. TSA #2 told me it was, but I was still pretty afraid of Mr. TSA #1's wrath so I waited until we were clear of the line to put him in. Alas, after Mr. TSA #1 sheepishly saw that Bryon's I.D. card was, in fact, a military I.D. and it did, in fact, match his boarding pass, he was a bit red in the face and he let us pass without further incident. Gee, you mean the innocent looking family with the baby and the diaper bag WASN'T a bunch of terrorists. I'm shocked! Shocked!

The rest of the day passed...eventfully! We had a two hour delay! Mr. Collin learned that escalators are super fun and that they are endless. Yep, that was an adventure that I think I could go on living forever. He also learned that throwing things really annoys Mommy. Sippy cups, his pacifier, his blankie, pretty much anything will do.

The plane rides themselves (both of them) were pretty uneventful. He LOVED kicking the chair in front of him...but he loved Mommy holding his feet still even less. I got the suggestion from Erin a little late for lollipops. I'll try that on the way home. He was all about crackers...and throwing them! He was pretty entertained with Skymiles magazine for a while too, until he tore it up and threw that and for some strange and inexplicable reason, ate it.

He also proved Mommy right. Daddy was certain that because we'd arrive in the middle of the night, surely he'd sleep in the car on the way to Aunt Robyn's. I said nope. I was right. So, today we've got a toddler running on less than six hours of sleep. Any bets on how long he lasts before he becomes a terrible monster that eats parents and grandparents alike?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Huzzah! It happened!

Since Bryon started working at El Segundo, he's brought home more colds than I can count. Thankfully, Collin and I, being of stronger immune system stock than his weak father, have resisted more colds than Dada. But, last night Collin succumbed to the most recent bout of booger-nose. Why does it always happen at night? And, why does it always happen on the eve of some major event?...this one being our FIRST plane ride today to visit Aunt Robyn in Mississippi and celebrate her graduation from pilot training.

Anyway, since he was an infant, he's REFUSED to sleep with us. He wanted no part of snuggling in bed with his Mama and Dada, much preferring the solitude of his own crib, reaching and grasping for it the minute he sees it when it nears bedtime. I comfort myself when I think of the many minutes of lost snuggles I'm missing out on with the tortured complaints of parents who can't get their kids OUT of their beds at night. Still, on occasion, it would be nice for just a few minutes of snuggle time after a nightmare or when he's got a tummy ache.

Nope, not going to happen. He thinks the sheet patterns are a game or that maybe, just maybe we'll turn on the t.v. because once, just once, we did and he got to watch an episode of the Muppets on DVD with us, snuggled in a pillow nest on a Saturday morning.

Anyway, last night, after the billionth time of waking up in fear that he would never breath again, and thus crying and whimpering for Mama, Dada or whoever could bring him oxygen in mass quantities, I brought him to bed with me. I've tried this before so I figured this wouldn't work...but you know what? It did! He snuggled right in and flopped right down and zonked!

It was horrible. He pushed me, he kicked me, he flopped his arm across my face. He snored. He threw his pacifier in my eye, then picked it up again, gouging my eye in the process. He used my back as a kneading board for his toes, all while fast asleep. Then, he suddenly woke up, sat bolt upright in bed, pulled me by the arm until I was doing so too and pointed animatedly at the t.v., like "hey, that's what we do in here, right?"

Well, off to bed with him again where he promptly slept the rest of the night through. And you know what? Ten minutes after he was gone, I missed him terribly again. Every night, about ten minutes after we go to bed, I tell Bryon that I miss Collin and wish he was with us, and even after our "snuggling" that was not snuggling at all, I wanted him back. I wouldn't "slept" all night not sleeping to have my sweet boy next to me again.

What is wrong with us parents? More pointedly, what is wrong with us mothers, that we think this way? What makes us want to have knees in our backs, wrists in our eyeballs and snot caked to our cheeks from hot little fever faces stuck to our own in the middle of the night? Oh yeah, I guess it's pure love. And, it's pretty great, isn't it?

P.S. Wish us luck on our first plane ride!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Family Prepares For The Mississippi Trip

We love Eddie. We really do. He was my baby long before I met Bryon, then he was OUR baby long before we had Collin. He is a "special" dog, in that way that kids who wear helmets on the bus are special. Kidding! But he does have his quirks. (Doesn't the new addition look happy to be introduced to the old kid on the block here? I think so! Eddie looks equally pleased!)

He is mostly afraid of being outside alone for longer than it takes him to do his business. He doesn't much care for the idea of barking unless it's at the doorbell, and then only one quick BARK! He is pretty sure that ceiling fans were put on this earth as a means for his destruction and thus fears them with pain of death. He has also decided that Homer, the cat, is his lord and master and pretty much lets him run the show around here. He also has no clue of his massive size and is pretty sure that regardless of your size, he'll fit just fine on your lap should there be even the slightest hint of thunder.
For all his foibles, he's also painfully sweet, a great snuggler and like any other dog, loved endlessly by his family. So, when it comes time for us to have to travel and leave the little guy, it's a painful decision. Thus far, we've not had to resort to kennelling him. I just cannot do it. The idea of my fearful puppy behind a gate with other howling dogs makes me imagine him imagining himself in someplace akin to prison, clanging his cup on the bars and screaming ATTICA!
So, we hire pet sitters. You want to know something about pet sitters? They are not cheap. This gal is sixty bucks a day for two visits and two walks. But, we're hoping she's good. She seems nice. But, you want to know something else about pet sitters? They ALWAYS know way more about animals than you do and of course, therefore know more about your animal than you do.
It's like walking into a new parent group and meeting the one know it all mom who points out that your kid is playing with a recalled toy or that he's actually choking on that raisin not just chewing it really, really well. Pet sitters have a way of walking in and oh so delicately pointing out that maybe your brand of dog food isn't the best, or that your dog SHOULD really mind you on the first command or that maybe your cat's box isn't lined with the best litter. Grrrrr.

P.S....Collin took this stunning picture of his best buddy!!!!
One of these days, I think I might get the cajones to tell someone I'm paying to come into my house to shut up and color and do things my way with my animals. Meanwhile, I smile and nod and get embarrassed that my dog's tail is between his legs because he's shy, or as pet sitter lady says, "not socialized enough."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh yeah...and Super Monday!!!

Collin and Mommy have a pact: he sleeps for at least an hour for nap time, usually three and I promise to keep loving him. Just kidding. I love him anyway of course. But during that nap time, I write. I write and write and write. It amounts to stuff sometimes. Sometimes it doesn't and that's okay. I've been doing it since he was a few months old and most everyone who knows me knows a little about it.

Anyway, yesterday will go down in history as Super Monday in my little writing world because I got not one but TWO acceptances. There have been plenty of black Tuesdays, or bleak Thursdays, etc. where I've gotten two rejections or ack! more. But, never have I gotten more than one acceptances in a day!

So, look for new links soon! I'll have new publications coming out! And thanks Collin for keeping up your end of the bargain for sleeping as long as you do for as many months as you have. You are the best napper I have ever heard of! And, you are pretty good on the computer too, helping me send out all those query letters!

Awww...this is a really old picture (well as "really" old as a picture of an almost 19 month old can be). Can you tell that I'm reminiscing today?

As the Punkin Turns....

Just for perspective, this is our punkin patch (yes, I know that's not how you spell pumpkin, but I REFUSE to spell it correctly and I won't for the remainder of this post) excursion last year, during which my strongman wannabe tried to pick up his own punkin. As you can see, he had to be held up and was obviously unsuccessful in his strong-man endeavor.Not surprising, considering the punkin was eighty-seven times the size of his head and outweighed him by at least that much. These days, not much seems to outweigh our super-beast of a toddler and most things are smaller than his head too. And, at punkin patch time, he again decided that he should try to heft his own punkin home.Comparatively, I think he might've selected a slightly smaller punkin than last year; but nonetheless, he still thought he might heft it home on his own, and nothing would stop him from insisting on picking it up and carrying it himself. I was a little sad to realize how big that meant he'd gotten...until...Like any toddler, he got sick of the idea of any singular idea, this one being carrying the same object for more than two minutes, and gave me his punkin to carry for the rest of the day. I quickly swapped it for a smaller one. Hey, like he'll remember that he originally chose one the size of Colorado instead of a nice petite Rhode Island one? He barely remembers to call me Mama instead of Dada, sometimes just going for the all-purpose MamaDada. I'm pretty sure Rhode Island punkin will suit him just fine.

But, when I got home and looked at how tiny he looked next to last year's punkin pictures, I couldn't believe it. Next year, it will be even worse! And the next year even worse still. But, maybe the year after that, he'll carry his own darn punkin all the way to the car.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Terrible" Twos?

My kid is always the quiet one. In a room containing more than two people, he's the one you'll find nestled in my lap, watching the whole, in his opinion, "crazy" scene unfold. Usually, after an appropriate amount of time, ranging anywhere from ten minutes to ten days, he'll decide it's safety to emerge from the protective cacoon of Mommy and explore. He's the one you won't hear a peep from all evening if we're at your house from dinner, and not just because he can't talk, but because he's busy being shy. How can you question an innocent, "quiet" face like that...I guess it's what lies beneath...dum-de-dum-dum-DUM!

We had a barbecue last night: eight adults, four toddlers and a crawling baby. So, you could say it was a full house. I learned something. My kid is only the wallflower on someone else's turf. He is pretty confident being a CRAZY child when overstimulated by kids he knows en masse (including his little girlfriend Grace), fruit on a stick (thanks Daddy for thinking an 18 month old and toothpicks mix), and his own toys.

He started off quiet enough, but still not needing Mommy's lap, that's for sure. But, by night's end, he was slamming his toy box shut within centimeters of Grace's fingers, then shwacking her on the head with puzzle pieces, just for the heck of it, and not regular puzzle pieces, those big wood ones with huge knobs! He was throwing toys within centimeters of other children's heads. He was loud. He was running faster than I'd ever seen him run. He wasn't alone of course. The other kids, except sweet and quiet Grace who looked like she was witnessing a crime, were running a bit rampant too.

Time out was a joke at this point. Our "work" on sharing seemed to be all but forgotten anytime anyone, anywhere in the entire house touched any of his toys. He was a bit of a monster. After everyone left, I asked Bryon if he was, in fact, said beast, hoping that I was exaggerating his behavior in my mind, thinking my embarrassment for my kid was just in my own weird parent-mind. Nope, Bryon said he was a monster too.

In hindsight, the morning after. He wasn't that bad. He was just a kid. He only threw two toys. He only hit Grace once. He didn't make her cry any more times than on a normal day at a playground. Heck, he's a boy and she's a girl. Girls cry more than boys and take things a lot more seriously, and much more dramatically. He's not a bully and he's kind and gentle usually with her when he makes her cry, usually unintentionally. In fact, he usually apologizes with a hug.

Yesterday was a party, what could I expect. No one got hurt. No one threw up from eating too much food when we weren't looking. No one had to go home in tears. No one actually had to be punished. No one got screamed at or seriously punished. Everyone got along well. No one's mommy rolled their eyes at anyone else's mommy. Oh yeah, and no one BIT anyone else.

I forget sometimes that he's only eighteen months old. Sharing is hard. Not throwing your toys is hard. Not hitting someone with a puzzle piece can be really hard too when her head is right there in front of you, I guess. Hey, sometimes I've debated hitting him with a puzzle piece, right? Okay, only for a second when he's really, really, really fussy! Maybe he gets this from me!

P.S. Does he look like a crazed monster in this picture or's from the heatwave week, not from the party, but still...CRAZED MONSTER, everyone get out of the way!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Disneyland Secret...Shhhhhh!

We're Superdorks! Yep, that's the secret. If you know us very well, you probably know this already. If you know us as casual acquaintances, you probably have suspected this and elbowed your significant other about it, giving them the "eye" when you thought we couldn't see you. We saw you. We just didn't care because, yep, we know it already.

So, when we go to Disneyland, we sort of all-out-dork it up. Well, it may be my fault. I have this theory that if we all wear the same color, it'll be easy to find one another in a crowd. I know, it's totally lame because first of all, what mother in her right mind, lets go of her toddler or lets him out of her sight, regardless of what he's wearing? Wait, I could get him one of those toddler leashes...NOT! Oh, but wait, they look so humane because they are shaped like teddy bears and almost look convenient because they have a backpack too...or I could also just drag him around in a cage, or even hook a collar to his neck and teach him to sit, stay and beg for treats. (Yep, don't like those!) And to that point as well, what wife ever really looses track of her husband when he's got the wallet full of money?

And, truth be told, I really halfway do it because I think it's fun! The first time we went, it was a lark. Bryon put on an yellow shirt and I thought, wouldn't it be neat if I wore an yellow shirt too? We could match and it would be like we were in sync. Awwww. So, I waited until he was downstairs because I knew he'd change immediately if he saw me do it. Then, I dressed Collin in yellow too.
Then, I promptly made up the story about getting separated and how it'd be so easy to spot one another in crowds, blah blah blah. I kind of believe it now as my primary reason because it does sort of make sense. Besides, if you do something three times, it's tradition. So now, we HAVE to do it, right? I think in his way, Bryon would be sort of bummed if we didn't' match the next time we went.

The next time we went, it was an automatic matchy-matchy day because it was a Friday. If you've know the McClains for more than a week, you know that Friday is Hawaiian Friday in our house. Period. Thus we were decked in our usual obnoxious Hawaiian gear. But, Collin wrecked the whole thing by peeing on his by lunchtime and he looked the odd man out because we had to buy him an outfit at the gift shop. So, I made up for it the next day by copying Bryon's shorts in the morning and then sneaking Collin into the mix when I dressed him. I'm pretty good that way!
This time, the color was green. It was hard to see most of the time because I was cold, and wore my jacket. But, we matched all the same. We're such a cute family, I swear If I wasn't in it, I would barf if I saw us. Still, even with green covered up, could Collin look any happier to be with Dada? I don't think so. And, I try to convince Bryon that although we match, no one would notice. Do you think it's obvious? (Oh yeah, and doesn't Daddy seem to be enjoying the game Collin invented? It's called, "Give me your tonsils")

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Secret Loving...The Only Way I Get It

We went to get flu shots today. We took Kari and Grace with us because Kari's husband Barry (go ahead, take a moment to process that name thing, she's used to it), has their car during the week. Since she's pregnant and thus considered "high risk," the kids are automatically "high risk," and I'm a pansy about the flu; so therefore categorize myself "high risk," we all got a shot.

I kind of like shot days. I know it's horrible to like pain for your child. But, here's the thing; I have a now, almost nineteen month old BOY. That means I get kisses at random and when I bribe him for one by holding his meal or bedtime pacifier hostage. I get hugs (or how Collin interprets hugs, thus being headbutts) even more seldom. It isn't that he doesn't love me, it's that he's too darn busy. Carpet lint is more interesting than affection. But, Grace gets full body, arms around the waist hugs at regular intervals. I've learned to accept this.

On shot days though, I get snuggles. I get hugs. I get kisses. I get the whole shebang. I kind of wish shot days were a more regular occurrence sometimes. On checkups I sometimes ask twice: Are you sure he doesn't just need ONE immunization? Maybe something like malaria? We COULD be going to the never know!

So, I wasn't totally bummed about flu shot day. I braced myself for a full on snuggle. Wrong. When the needle went in, he shrieked and reached for me. I hoisted him up on my shoulder and waited for the lean-in that was due to me. He saw over my shoulder that Grace was still waiting her turn in the chair area with Kari and he strained to get down. What?!!!

Yep. He wanted Grace. He ran to her and hugged her. I was left standing in the immunization area dumbfounded. Apparently, Mommy hugs are useless compared to those of someone who understands your pain all to well. Adults that don't cry, wail and take it like brave soldiers just don't get it, I guess. Grace's shot was next and SHE wanted HER Mommy. So, I'm at a loss to explain my son's behavior except to say that he is a bit off. Another kind Mommy in the waiting room just shrugged her shoulders, looked at me and said, "Don't feel bad, it's a girl thing. He's a boy."

For now, I'll keep stealing my kisses. This one came after a full day at Disneyland...yep, we went AGAIN..he's a spoiled kid, huh? More on that later, probably.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

48 Hours of Misery...with Joy Sprinkles

Mommy has some tummy troubles...maybe serious tummy troubles, and Mommy's doctor wants her to take some unpleasant tests to figure out what's wrong with her. If Collin had to do this, she'd probably buy him a Lamborghini and a Porsche because she'd feel so sorry for what he'd have to go through, then she'd buy him a pony to keep in the trunk. Needless to say, these tests are unpleasant, and you need not be filled in on the gory details.

Daddy had take a day off work to take me to the "procedures," and thankfully Monday was a holiday, so he was already off to watch Collin while I did the prep for them. The prep consisted of starving myself (okay, the doctors call it fasting) for a whole day and then drinking a yummy (NOT) concoction that further ensured my entire system would be spic and span clean for the doctor to look at the following day. When I say yummy, I actually mean that it tasted like dirty salt water; not like ocean salt water, like salt water that has dead things floating in it.

Anyway, you'd think this was an all bad experience; but it wasn't. On fasting/starving day, I was technically allowed to eat two things: Jell-O and clear broth. Boy, you sure can fill up on those two things. Sense sarcasm? You should. But, I have the greatest husband on the planet because he pretty much bought out the store of the flavors of Jell-O I was allowed (no red or purple) and he actually made me jigglers too, and special ones at that: see below. Awwwwwww.
And, he took care of Collin once the preparation for my tests began. I anticipated the body cleanse to be an altogether unpleasant experience, but I didn't realize I wouldn't be able to leave the bathroom AT ALL. So, he hooked me up with my computer and some DVDs and a little nest and I was all set. Meanwhile, they hid yummy smelling food away from me downstairs and he even brought up the pictures later so I could see how much fun my son had enjoying his first enchilada. Cute, huh?

Mommy doesn't look like she's having nearly as much fun, does she? Hey, at least I'm still should've seen me a few hours later, after the second dose of the salty-water-tasting concoction that kept me up half the night with visits to this lovely room. Nothing says fun, like lying on the bathroom floor, right?

The next day, after the "procedures," I slept. That's it. Slept. After not eating...oops...I mean fasting, for twenty-four hours, then not being allowed to even take a sip of water for twelve hours, then being cleaned out and dehydrated by the concoction, I was wiped out. Besides, I felt like someone had jammed stuff through my tummy and intestines...wait a second, they had! But, I got lots of visits from my favorite energy ball. He thought it was great fun to be able to jump on the big boy bed, and on Mommy's sore tummy. How can you feel sick with this kid around? That lump back there...that's me.

The end result is...more tests. I'm sure that I'll survive, especially with a Daddy that takes such good care of us. In the meantime, I'll just go back to eating my go-to sick food...grits and ginger ale. It always makes me feel better when I have a tummy ache. Yep, I know it's gross. Don't care.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Heatwaves and Haircuts

So, my son is going to be a modern day hippie, or at least mistaken for a girl relatively soon. It's actually already happened three times. If ever anyone wants to know the stories, I can tell you exactly when they were, and two of them were recent and yes, I think the people who did it are maniacs; but yes, it was because of his hair.

See, I can't cut it. I just can't. CAN'T. Some moms feel like they can't let them give up their blankie or their pacifier or their bottle or whatever. I feel like if I cut his hair, I'm cutting off something he was born with. I know it's crazy. Tell me all about how we shed billions of hairs a day or something scientific and watch my eyes glaze over. In my glazed over, catatonic state, I'll be imagining those bygone days of infancy when he was sweet and idyllic.

Meanwhile, his hair grows longer and longer every day and loses the most adorable thing about it, the curls! We see them peeping out when he gets hot...really, really hot. Like last week, when we had a heatwave, he looked like I gave him a perm and then gelled it that way. It was awesome. Well, except for the discomfort he appeared to be in with the fair skin I've gifted him with that shows rosy cheeks if he even thinks of being hot, let alone if he's sweltering. He's also got seemingly over productive sweat glands (a gift, I'm pretty sure from both mommy and daddy unfortunately...thank you over-the-counter prescription secret!). But, if he's not totally sweating and roasting, those curls lie flat and hidden :(

Still, I can't bring myself to chop them off, so I'm thinking that by the time he starts kindergarten, he's going to have to learn to braid it, put it in ponytails, or wear headbands. I don't know. Or, Mama is going to have to buck up and get over it. One or the other. It's not at do or die point just yet, so I think I have some time to warm up to the idea.

P.S. When do we get too old to hang out naked in the heat? We have no a.c. in our house and I had to wear clothes but let Collin strip...just wondering were the cutoff is? 25? Look in the the background, even the dog is hot and he IS naked.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Who you gonna call?...DUST BUSTERS!!!

Yep...two days, that's all it took to figure out an even more absurd way to handle an absurd problem. Problem: Dust. Solution: Mommy. See, moms wear all kinds of caps in the household, from slave to the sticky side of Velcro to their toddler that is the fuzzy side stuck to her leg at all times (from laundry folding to peeling potatoes to peeing). But, I've just figured out that one of our most important tasks, other than figuring out just what the freak they are trying to tell us half the time, is tackling irrational fears and quashing them.

So, I've spent the last two sun-streaked mornings trying everything from standing on my head and kicking my feet through the dust to show my son that my piggies are magical and upside down now to picking him up and swirling him through the "pixie" dust sparkles. I know, I know, that's a little gay. We've waved our arms and swirled. We've yelled at it. We've howled. I've huffed and puffed and flapped my arms.

But today, I tried something random and apparently hilarious and it worked. I leaped and clapped at the same time and this is apparently what KILLS dust. Oh, and you have to yell at the same time. Yep, YELL! So, while I got ready for my shower, I tried this last ditch effort, buck naked (aren't you glad to know that part?) while he whimpered at the door and looked pitiful. It worked.

His glee was immeasurable, like he was trying to tell me all along that he wanted me to do this and if only I'd done it earlier, this problem wouldn't have gotten so out of hand. He barrelled into the bathroom, leaping, clapping and howling! Whee! I took a shower and heard his little feet pounding the floor the whole time, his hands smacking together and his exuberant voice telling those terrible dust particles to get the heck out of his bathroom! He's a tough cookie when he wants to be!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The C-Dog!

My son is officially weird. I've been suspicious of this fact for a while, but now I know it to be true. I cannot deny it any longer. He is full-on weird. I'm just glad that when the official news broke, it was only Grace and Kari that witnessed his fall into the category because his little girlfriend already loves him, right?

At the park today, after we climbed the monkey bar bridge approximately 72 times in a row because he's decided that climbing it the normal way isn't good enough and now he needs to master it by holding onto the sides (which he can't reach) like a big boy, he broke down into weird zone. He literally decided that he was a dog, or some other bizarre animal that is yet to be named. Still, I've decided that since at least a dog is "normal," he's a dog.

He began running circles in the sand and then flopped down randomly on his stomach. Suddenly, he buried his head in the sand sideways, and began to drag his face along the sand the way you see dogs do when they have just had a bath and are vigorously trying to dry themselves on the carpet. He drug his head along the sand, digging a little tunnel of dirt for himself around the perimeter of the playground. It was really quite something.

Apparently he thought so too because he realized the hilarity of the situation and began spontaneously laughing at himself, which made further head-dragging impossible, as he rolled to his back in a giggle fit. He then, sat up and began his cleansing routine...a sand shower. This involved copious amounts of sand thrown into the air and over his head. Again, followed by a giggle fit and then more head dragging.

When we left the park, I had to de-sand him first. I took off all his clothes and yes, he was naked as the day he was born in public, and it was as if he was a different color altogether...gray. There was the equivalent of a full diaper of poo in his pants, which I changed before we went home. He was none too pleased to be so exposed in front of his gal, but I was not bringing him home in that condition.

I told him: don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Still, all's well that ends well. He seemed irritated at the clean up but had a great time. This is Collin before nap time...exhausted and mad that I delayed his sleep by taking a picture. Still dirty.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy I've Got Collin in My Tummy

Damien Dagger Teeth, you've got serious problems. No kidding. Serious. Problems. I can't spell it out more clearly than that. Today is the third time he tried to bite my child. And no, I don't think it's because I dipped him in tasty, tasty chocolate before we got to the park or because I taught him kung-fu and he kicked that little teeth-kid in the jugular. It's because the kid is a nut-bag.

I takes a lot for me to call another kid names. A lot. Kids are great. Kids are all cute, they are all sweet and wonderful and full of life and joy. But this one is a nut-bag. I'm sure that in six months he's going to be wonderful and sweet too and you know what? He's really cute, even now. But for the present, he's bonkers. And, maybe it's just my tasty-treat kid that makes him that way.

I just wish I knew why. I swear I'm not the mom who can't see the wrong her child is doing by bashing another kid in the head with a steam shovel toy or that he probably shouldn't be shoveling sand into another kid's mouth. In all truthfulness, Damien is literally taking running charges at a stationary, usually oblivious Collin and attempting a chomp-down.

Like today, Collin was gazing in amazement at a spider on a bush. He was totally alone, not a care in the world when Damien, like a jungle cat, actually charged THROUGH the bushes to attack. It was like freaking National Geographic. I swear I heard bongo drums or something. Thankfully, Damien's mother has become like his shadow and practically leaped over the bushes to protect my son and I ran around the bushes to get at him from the other side, and thus, no blood was shed. But, I saw those dagger teeth and that open mouth. We pretended it was a harmless incident and she said, not for the first time that day, "Not so close to Collin." And, we both laughed uncomfortably.

I watched him today, and noticed that he didn't seem to take lunges at other kids. It seems to be my child that inspires the biting fits. While he got close and in the face of other kids, it's my son that inspires the most attempts at chomps. What's the deal? Although, when he's not at the park, every mom there has asked, at one time or another, has your kid been bitten by "that boy" because mine has? Still, in a crowd, he seems to glom onto Collin like he's got radar.

This is for Damien....Lunch equals food, not Collin.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ack! Dust!

My son is the bravest child I've ever seen. Mommy friends of mine have come to me in hopes of finding that their child was not the only one who feared the water going down the drain in the tub, or the vrrooooming vacuum. They have whispered to me, hoping that their kid wasn't a freak because he was afraid of his shadow, hoping my kid was also a freak.

But, alas my kid chases the vacuum, clapping with glee and has actually learned to turn it on himself to push it around. He puts his toys down the drain to watch them swirl and screams if you take him out of the tub before he waves bye-bye to every last drop of water going down. And, he kind of likes his buddy shadow. I figured he'd never, ever, in a million years be afraid of anything...while awake anyway (night terrors are a thing we deal with regularly).

Today though we find his nemesis. Dust. Yes, dust. Over the past week or so he's been increasingly interested in those specks of dust that you see floating through the air when sunlight beams through a window. At first he showed mild interest, pointing at the little flecks an making an "aaaah" sound. Then, it became a show of mild discomfort as the "aaah" was accompanied by stepping farther and farther away from the dust flecks and the vocalization became a bit louder and agitated.

Today, he progressed to full-on shrieking and crying complete with torrential downpour of tears and snot face. I've never seen anything like it. The most sunlight comes into our upstairs bathroom and he wouldn't even come into the room. He stood rooted to the door way, flailing his arms at the shards of sunlight, snot running out of his hysterical nose, shrieking to me as I tried to complete my routine in there. Apparently, he feared for my life.

It was pitiful. I tried to show him that dust wouldn't kill either of us. But, if you've ever tried to convince a toddler of anything like this, you know that you might as well be trying to get Jesus and Elvis to R.S.V.P. for your dinner party. Not going to happen. The best I could get him to do was wave a shaky hand through the dusty air while wailing hysterically as if the air itself was on fire.

This whole thing makes a few things abundantly clear: it's a totally adorable and weird thing to be afraid of, it makes it seem like my house is filthy and he'd better get over it pretty quick because there's nothing I can do about it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Turn the Page!

I know, I know all kids do this. They pick a book that they love and they make you read it over and over and over and over and over again. And then you bury it in the back yard, put the play structure on top of it, maybe move to a new town and they still find it, pull it out from beneath the soil and make you read it again. But I feel like my son has taken this to extremes.

We bought this gigantic book at Costco a few months ago, which at the time, he seemed to hate. This ticked me off because it was $8 and it was meant to amuse him while we shopped, which it did not. I felt we had to buy it anyway because it has those little doors that you peek-a-boo with and he'd opened them and sort of bent them and I didn't think we could leave a "used" book behind. It was kind of like taking it to the bathroom with us. Stupid $8 book!

Fast forward to a month later and the gigundous book that's too over sized to fit anywhere is his favorite thing on the planet. If I were kidnapped by martians in the middle of the night, he'd be cool with it, so long as they left his book behind. I should be happy he likes to read, right? I should be loving the fact that instead of wanting to smack me, pull my hair or bite me, he wants to sit on my lap for long stretches, and I do mean loooooong stretches of time and read, right?

The thing is, we're reading the same book, every day...all day. And most of the time, we're reading the same page. God forbid we move on from the first page. No way, Jose! We NEED to talk about that garbage truck until we've talked ourselves blue in the face. And, don't forget that we've got to eat our fill of pretend ice cream, enough to make you pretend vomit! Yep, and there's got to be plenty of pretend petting the kitty too! So much pretending to do on one page! And then....we do it all AGAIN!

My favorite is when he makes me point at all the pictures for him. He actually takes my finger in his little fist and drags it around the page, making grunting noises: "eh? eh?" As if pointing himself is just too taxing for the hundred-thousandth time today.

I know that when he's fifteen I may have to restrain myself from dragging him and his algebra book onto my lap and asking him to point at the quadratic equation with me, but for now, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I'm pretty sick of THIS book. I'm all for reading and snuggling, but maybe another book, even one about trucks would be okay by me.

I like when other people visit and he cons them into doing the reading.... :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Collin's First the Democratic Process

It's a banner year for voters, young and old. And, the youngest in our household is learning to be part of the democratic process. We've bent the "no t.v." rule to allow for the presidential and, yesterday, for the vice presidential debates. He even laughed a few times, although I'm pretty sure he was just joining in when we did and he liked when Mommy talked funny like Mrs. Palin.

Bryon claims that he even pointed to the Obama and McCain in the paper after the presidential debates, a sight I missed because, sigh, I was away for the weekend. Yep, I'm still lamenting the time I missed that weekend. I'm pretty sure he grew!
But, with the military comes some voting pitfalls. I can't take him to the polls with me to let him poke pins in ballots, push the touch screen or check boxes; whatever the option is here. Mostly, I can't do that because I'm still registered to vote in Ohio. I've been trying to tell Collin how this is a really good thing in actuality, although it means missing out on the buzz of voting for "real" at the polls.

While I don't think he "gets" the idea that voting in Ohio means more than voting in California for this particular election because of the logistical math of Ohio being a swing state and California being a sort of done deal, I am in love with the idea of telling him about it. He just sort of keeps going back to the cupboard and asking for another cracker. Still, they say that they hear you, they absorb and that they are sponges. They learn language, life and everything from listening to you. I'm pretty sure Elmo isn't talking about swing states, right?

Collin decided, okay Mommy decided, that he should participate in the electoral process as much as he could, as early as he could. Because hey, it's never too early for the future president of the U.S. to start! So, he helped mail mommy's absentee ballot request this morning. I think that's a pretty big deal. I can't wait for him to help me vote...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Magellen...I am not

We went to the zoo today. Grace, Grace's mommy (Kari), Collin and me. We had a great time. Collin got to have his pacifier. Grace got to play with said pacifier. Collin got to enjoy this game immensely. I think even the gorillas outside this exhibit wanted a little paci of their own so they could try to one-up the cuteness factor of this game, as the little tykes in the strollers were drawing the crowds' attention away from their antics. Their swinging from ropes just wasn't cutting the mustard with these two hamming it up.

Upon entering the zoo, Kari and I promptly tucked our maps away in our respective diaper bags and declared that neither one of us was good at reading maps. This was a mistake. Still, I figured, it's a freaking zoo, right? How much trouble can you get into? There's signs EVERYWHERE! In fact, my famous (what could've been) last words were: we'll consult the map when it's time to find the exit!
How wrong I was about the trouble part. We started off fine, petting some goats, even brushing them. Awwwww. We had some lunch, nutritious of course. And even got a swirly straw that we had to purchase for $3 because they won't give you a straw for free as they could be dangerous to the animals...huh? Apparently $3 swirly straws are less dangerous.

That's when the trouble started. We veered off our path. We veered off any path. Somehow, we ended up on the zoo service road. As hearty travellers in the heat and the seemingly consistent uphill path, it took us approximately 18 miles to realize we were NO longer on the zoo path. Eventually, a ranger took pity on us and noted our existence BEHIND the exhibits and steered us back towards civilization, not before warning us to stay away from the fences "back here because they're lower than in the park and animals can get over them." Eeek.

In reality, we were wandering back there for close to forty minutes or so. Really. That's a long time to be at the zoo but not in the zoo. It was pretty hot, pretty weird and at one point, I thought we might be eaten by the Donner party or maybe a wildebeest. But, it was fun. Grace and Collin thought their mommies were on a great adventure. And, we were.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

They're Registered at Pottery Barn

Collin's got a little girlfriend. Her name is Grace. It started off slow, the way most relationships should, as friends. But, she made the first move a few days ago and it's progressed from there. She hugged him and since then, they've been sharing shovels, buckets and holding hands at will. My shy guy has even decided that she's worthy of more hugs than I am, doling them out to her willy-nily and for reasons unknown to the rest of us but understood by the two of them.
They get along well, I think, because they are the only two on the playground that aren't yelling, running and jumping. They are the two that hang back and sit a spell, waiting to see how the whole scene pans out before they decide what they want to do. They are the two who let everyone else go first on the slide, even if it's their turn. They are the two that flick blades of grass between their fingers for eons and then sit there again tomorrow and do it again.

And, they are the two that can dig in the sand area for the entire playtime and never get tired of trading shovels. Well, that's what we call it. Really, it's Grace patiently allowing Collin to steal hers and Gracie's mom gently giving Gracie another one or me sneaking her another one so it's fair. And Gracie, true to her name will retort with, "That's alright Collin, we're sharing!"

They wave at one another from yards away, excited that their friend is coming. When one doesn't show up in the morning, the park is darker for their absence and I know Collin's neck is always craning around the corner, looking for his sunshine. Even if she isn't playing with him, she's playing near him and that's enough for him. She is showing him just how a three year-old should kick a ball, swing on a swing and wear sunglasses and that's how he likes his lessons taught; forget this mommy business. And, if she lets him bury her in the sand, all the better.

We are so glad to have found one another. And, it melts my heart to see the sweet affection...even if sometimes Collin knocks her off her feet with his hugs. I think she's teaching him to be a man this way too; because don't we all have a story of some stupid guy, blinded by love who was just trying to be kind and sweet but messed it up and did something dumb instead?