Sunday, June 29, 2008

Matthew the Chef

Paul walked into the kitchen the other day to find Matthew doing this:

Chair pulled up to stove? Check.
Pan on appropriate burner? Check.
Eggs cracked neatly into pan, and shells disposed of properly? Check.
Burner turned on? Thankfully, no. He doesn't know how--yet.

I decided to give him a hand.

I have got to get this boy signed up for some cooking classes.

Thomas is 9!

Here's the birthday boy with his cookies-and-cream cake.

Blowing out the candle while holding off his two younger siblings. (We ended up relighting the candle a few times so everyone could have a turn.)

Catey/Katie (we're debating the spelling of her name) thought the candle looked like a cookie.

Grandma and Grandpa gave him the old Lazer Tag set that Dad and the uncles used to play with back in the day. Those of you who know John and Nancy will not be surprised to learn that it was in mint condition.

A new Nintendo DS (half of which was his present, half of which he earned himself), Red Robin for dinner, cake, ice cream, and Lazer Tag in the dark until waaaay after bedtime. Life is good when you're nine.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shout Out to the Lurkers

Sherise said to me the other day, "[Name changed to protect the innocent] told me she comes to our blog quite often and likes it. I didn't even know she KNEW about our blog."

This one comment has sent me on a quest -- to find out just how many people actually come to our blog. There are many crude devices like page view counters on people's blogs, but they don't tell you a whole lot. I decided to apply a little more technology to the process, and I've been amazed at what I've learned:

48 unique visitors have come to our site. A more accurate term would be 48 different web browsers have come to our site. At least four of them are ours (my work PC, my CrackBerry, Sherise's desktop, my desktop). But either way this means that the remaining 44 visitors are either people who like us so much that they check in on us from multiple computers, or they are unique individuals who have stopped by to see what we have to say. Either way, I'm flattered.

73% of our visitors have come back at least once. So we're not completely boring over here. Again, I'm flattered.

The "average" visitor views 1.5 pages while visiting our blog. Or another way of thinking of it, 1 in every 2 visitors looks at more than one page while they're here. Again, I'm flattered.

Our visitors span 5 different countries (in descending order of visitors):
  1. U.S.
  2. Belgium
  3. China
  4. Georgia
  5. U.K.
Within the U.S., our traffic comes from (again in descending order):
  1. Utah
  2. Montana
  3. Colorado
  4. Washington
  5. Virginia
  6. California
  7. New York
  8. New Mexico
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Nevada
  11. New Jersey
I don't think I know anybody in Montana, New York, or Pennsylvania!

So please, leave a comment, let us know what you like, what you'd like to see more (or less) of. We want you to keep coming back.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I am not

My friend Kristy just posted here about a rhyming verse (I hesitate to call it a poem) that's always bothered her. It reminded me of my feelings about this one:

Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl,
One was an optimistic soul;
But the other took the gloomy view,
"I shall drown," he cried, "and so will you."

So with a last despairing cry,
He closed his eyes and said, "Good-bye."
But the other frog, with a merry grin
Said, "I can't get out, but I won't give in!

I'll swim around till my strength is spent.
For having tried, I'll die content."
Bravely he swam until it would seem
His struggles began to churn the cream.

On the top of the butter at last he stopped
And out of the bowl he happily hopped.
What is the moral? It's easily found.
If you can't get out -- keep swimming around!

Every time I hear this, I think, "No, the moral is 'Always check your butter for dead frogs.'"

Whose kid are you?

(The Scene: I'm getting Matthew ready for bed, and he wants to watch a movie.)

Mom: Hey buddy, let's get your teeth brushed, and we'll read a book together.

Matthew: No! Books are annoying!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Good Parenting?

This is how I let my five-year-old leave the house to run some errands with me today:

Let's go in for a closer look, shall we?

Now, I think allowing a child to go out in public wearing shorts, a swim mask, and a hoodie says, "I allow my children to express their personalities in creative ways, and I'm confident enough in my parenting skills that I feel no need to force him to change just to avoid negative judgments from others we might see as we go about our business." Other people might read it as, "I'm way too lazy to find something else for my kid to wear."

I'll let you decide for yourself.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Calvin's Book

Here--in his own, completely-unedited-by-a-parent words--is the story Calvin just turned in for a school project. The events he described really did happen, although I don't recall administering any beatings as he alleges. (Paul might have a different story to tell. . .)


The shiny, squeaky clean toilet sat next to the white bathtub and tall counter. The counter was (or seemed) 18 inches tall. That was the perfect height for a two year old to grab something off the counter. Let’s say a razor blade.

For those of you who are wondering “How the heck did a two year old find a razor blade?” it was the plastic cartridge holding the blades. Since that’s a mouthful, I’ll just call it the razor blade. I’d seen my dad use it, but I didn’t know what it was. On a day like that, I thought it would be fun to flush stuff for sheer entertainment. Along with the razor blade, there was toilet paper, a tooth brush, and a tooth paste cap. My game was to drop the contestant in the toilet, flush the toilet, and try to retrieve the object before it was too late.

By the razor blade’s time, I was pretty proud of myself; the only object I missed was the toilet paper. Then it came the razor blade’s turn. I dropped the razor blade in the toilet, pulled the lever, and rummaged blindly through the bowl.

I don’t know if I missed the razor, or if it slipped through my fingers, but the razor blade ended up in the pipes. Using my best two year old judgment, I decided that I should scram. I really screwed up this time, so I better not get caught.

Well, life went on, and nothing happened; so I tried to act innocent rather than guilty. I did my normal routines for two or three days, until my mom ran the washing machine. When she did so, the main level toilet backed up. I was en route to use the main level toilet when said actions occurred, so it isn’t my fault I thought the earth was under attack by vicious, man-eating aliens.

What I think happened in the pipes was the razor blade entered at such an angle that it got caught in the bend. I also think that the toilet and washing machine shared a pipe with the main level toilet, and the upstairs toilet’s pipe let into that pipe. The razor blade came down the upstairs toilet pipe and got stuck in the bend.

My parents had experience with my naughtiness and knew I did something, but not what I did. They called the plumbers and made me promise to leave them alone. That very next day or so, the plumbers came and I left them alone. Before I knew it, Mom and Dad called me down to the basement. They found my last contestant, and began questioning me. Since I was only two and couldn’t really lie, I fessed up.

My punishment, you ask? Let’s just say that I couldn’t count the spankings I got. (I lost count at ten.)

After the countless “Promise me you’ll never do this again.” s, I was dismissed. Toilets and razors, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But in my bit of maniacal rage, I saw the baby (talcum) powder. I wonder........................... nah. However, ........... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...