Letter to our 4 year 9 month old

Dear William,

On September 8, 2016, you turned 57 months old.  You are 47 1/2″ tall and weigh 50.4 pounds.

Time warp — 8 months old to 4 years 9 months old
slide-comparison-picture-08-2012-to-09-2016

Things We Did This Month:
8/13, we went to San Diego.  We drove down the night before and stayed overnight in a motel. The next day we left my car with the Miata Whisperer to get it fixed.  You loved the motel and I’m pretty sure you would love to live in a motel the rest of your life.  Ironically, the motel was nothing special, but it served our purposes.  You also really liked the shop I took my car to in San Diego.  It was a Miata Tech day and there were lots of people there, including another boy (who was 6) named Rylee.  Plus, they had a giant container of M&Ms on the counter and you “ate a lot of M&Ms” according to Rylee.

8/20, we were at our mountain cabin to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  You told your grandma that you didn’t like anniversaries until she told you there might be cake.  We didn’t get cake, but you got a virgin pina colada because your father ordered himself a regular pina colada and it was served in a pretty pineapple with an umbrella.  Sadly, yours came in a plain glass and you had to share it with me, your father generously gave you his pink umbrella.  We also made it a 3 day weekend and you pointed out that, while you had mommy and daddy days, we had William days.  I think going forward you’ll like anniversaries.

8/27, we had breakfast with a group of friends at the Irvine Spectrum.  You spent a lot of the visit running to the fountains and sticking your feet in the water.  Life is short and feet in the cool water is refreshing.

9/3, we had breakfast with you godmother, took Bug (cat) the vet and went to Saddleback Church’s end of summer cookout.  The summer cookout ended up being more of an adventure than a cookout, as you managed to inadvertently elude us and ended up being announced by the DJ as “we have a William who has lost his parents” over the loud speaker.  Your parents had a frantic 15 minutes and you had your 15 minutes of fame.

9/8, I took a sick day to spend with you. You were running a high fever and were feeling pretty crappy.  We took you to the doctor who said it was just a virus and it needed to run its course.  It was scary, because you were complaining of a sore neck and back.  But your overall picture of health wasn’t dire, so I had to keep a good perspective.  But… an extra day with my William was a blessing.

Recurring Things:
Saddleback Church Kids, Library Story Time,

Monthly Interview of Favorite Things:
Color:  White… no, no, actually it’s red.
Movie: Pocahontas
Food:  Pancakes!!!  At Denny’s!
Snack: Melon balls
Dessert: Cupcakes
Fruit: Plums
Vegetable: Cake. Cake. Cake. Cake.
Class: I have no class.
Teacher:  I have no teacher… Oh!  Grandma!
Subject to learn: Science.
Store: Sprouts.
Restaurant: Denny’s.
Vacation spot: San Diego.
Book: Toy Story.
Toy: Penguin family from Sea World.
Theme Park: Sea World and Disneyland.
Favorite thing to do with Mommy: Go to Disneyland
Favorite thing to do with Daddy: Go to Disneyland.
Favorite thing to do with Grandma: Nothing.
What do you want to do for a job? Nothing.  Oh, well, I guess heavy equipment.
Anything else?  No.
What do you think of being 4?  Not good.

Sleeping:
You’ve been doing fairly well with your sleep this month.  The exception has been the last week.  You managed to contract a mystery virus and for some reason your sleep is always the first thing to suffer when you get sick.  In fact, restless/poor sleep is usually the first symptom of sickness with you.  You were up 3 times one night, 2 times the next and up at 5:15 AM the next night.

Classes:  Summer is over, so I’ll start looking into various “sport” classes for you again to supplement the curriculum you work through in your schooling.

Awanas:
This will start up again mid-September. You have mentioned a few times that you miss Awanas and want to go again.  You went with your Grandma to hand in the enrollment paperwork the end of August.

Always Learning:
On 8/8, you attended your 3rd dental appointment.  During this appointment the hygienist was able to get x-rays of your mouth (1st attempt in March 2015, they didn’t have the machine plugged in); 2nd attempt in November of 2015 they used adult bitewings, so you gagged).  Despite my requests for them to try one more time, we were unsuccessful previous to this.  The results of this appointment and examination revealed that your teeth are very tight together (they should actually be spaced further apart, like picket fences) and that you have significant decay in your back molars requiring extensive dental work to preserve your future dental health.

I find myself feeling discouraged about this, because we do a 20 minute routine of cleaning every night on your teeth — starting with an interdental toothbrush, then a small flosser, a larger flosser, tooth brushing with a Sonic toothbrush, a water pik, a spot shot of mouthwash and then you swish with mouthwash.   I’ve really struggled over the years for myself, and I think your father has, too, that despite the insane amount of time we spend in our own mouths every night cleaning (we joke we should move a couch in and set it on our tongue so we can clean and relax each night in there amidst our teeth, ha), it seems there’s always something that needs to be done.  It appears that trend will continue with you.

Your dentist recommended general anesthesia (“GA”) to enable her to do all the work in one sitting, but after researching the possible risks and side effects of GA, particularly given the amount of time she anticipated you’d be under, your father and I determined that we were not comfortable with that option for you.  We consulted with another dentist for a 2nd opinion.  He concurred with your primary dentist’s treatment plan, and said he understood why she would recommend GA for that work, but he concurred with our decision to do small appointments and break the work up into “quandrants.”  We have scheduled your first treatment appointment for later this month.

Interestingly, you really like your primary dentist and didn’t like the 2nd opinion dentist at all.  Let me add one important detail to that sentence…… rewind ….. You liked your 2nd opinion dentist until you realized he didn’t have TVs or videos for you to watch while you sat in his chair.  ha

Things I want to Remember:

One day with your grandma in Walmart, you apparently saw a battery operated police car.  You really wanted that car and you told your grandma, “Well, I’m not enjoying any of my toys…”  There was a distinct pause as you formulated your next sentence, and then you said, “But if you buy me this I will enjoy them.”  Analyzing that, I thought how clever that was as a negotiation tool.  The only thing you have as tangible currency is your toys, and so it was clear that you didn’t want to give up your current toys, you merely wanted something new to add to your enjoyment of them.

Our routine in the evenings has evolved into me going swimming for a little while and then you and your father joining us.  Sometimes we eat dinner first, other times you and your father go get take out and bring dinner to the pool.  ONe evening you and your father went to Chick-Fil-A and your father later told me that you told him you wanted a picnic at the pool and swimming, instead of staying at Chick-Fil-A and playing in their playground.

The summer Olympics were this past month. They were broadcast from Rio and we watched some of the races.  You recognized our nation’s swimmers by the American flag that was on their swim caps.  Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky were our top performers for this Olympics.  You were pretty clear about your belief in me as the fastest swimmer, though, even though I wasn’t in the Olympics.  What this translated into our lives, though, is that you started encouraging “races” in the swimming pool and you took the role as narrating our swim races like the Olympic announcers.

One evening we had a lap swimmer in our pool and I told you that you needed to stay out of her (unmarked) lane.  You tried to swim through it a couple of times, and I held you back.  Exasperated, you pushed away from me, swam to the steps, climbed out using the steps, walked around the pool to the other side (thereby avoiding swimming in her lane), hopped into the pool on the other side of her and started swimming with purpose down the side of the pool to the deep end.  You grabbed hold of the wall at the deep end and said, “I’m swimming laps, too, and she has to stay out of MY lane now.”

Dropping you off at your Saddleback Kids class, I give you lots and lots of kisses and tell you that I’m filling you up with love. This helps you handle the separation easily and I know someday you will push me away because you’ll know that I’m being silly. For now though, you love it and soak it up. You push your little face into kisses, and turn your head so I can get both your cheeks, your forehead, your nose and you snuggle your cheek against mine.  While we were waiting one morning, and I was filling you up with love, you turned to the little boy’s mom who was standing behind us in line and he was fussing about not wanting to go in, and you said, “Why don’t you fill him up with love like my mommy does to me?”

Picture: I have a movie to watch!movie-to-watch

Your grandma sent me a text that read:  “Just arrived at the little park down the street.  I said, “We’re now at Awesome Park.” William says, a bit sarcastically, “No, we’re not!” His tone of voice was so funny.

Fart humor is big right now in our house.  You correct us if we try to blame farts on anyone other than who did it.  And you hilariously lay ownership to your own.  For example, You: “Oh, goodness sakes!” Me: “What?” You: “Oh, goodness sakes!  I did a big fart!”

Your father was on the couch stretched out relaxing after work one evening.  You walked up and said, “You’re taking up the whole couch!”  You wedged yourself into the couch and said, “Now, look at my cute legs and look at your long legs, daddy.”  As if to say that your cute legs fit the couch better than his long legs.

Playing in the bathtub, you laid your foam bathtub Legos out on their side and said, “Look, I’m playing on my piano!”  More about these foam Legos in your bathtub?  They can be stacked tall and be a Christmas tree, a robot, and many other things in your imagination. Upside down, they sometimes serve as cups for concoctions that your bath water magically turns into, and sometimes your other toys are taking baths in them.  Other times, if laying on their side, they are ships of various sizes.  I have learned to listen carefully before I start getting you washed up, because I don’t want to interrupt the making of a dangerous (imaginary) chemical!

You have become tired of Honey Nut Cheerios in the morning, and now we’ve switched you to Honey Kix.  So, every morning as we leave for work, you hand us two Kix cereal balls with the instructions to think of you. You give your father two, too, with the same instructions.  You have followed up with me when I call you later in the day to find out whether I’ve eaten them or not.

Taking a bath in Big Bear, you were holding your new whale bath toy that has four baby fish that store inside the big whale’s mouth.  So, there you are holding it up and you narrated, “This is the story of a whale who doesn’t like to eat fish. By Walt Disney.”
We had gone into town one evening in Big Bear, I was looking for something in the stores.  You and your father opted to wait in the car and I entered a grocery store, shopped, returned and placed my bags in the car.  Then, instead of getting in, I went into the Dollar Tree store and your father reported to me later, “William just said, “Why does she keep going into stores. i just want to go home.”  Your father still, two weeks later, starts laughing so hard when he remembers your tone of voice and irritated expression you wore when you asked him this question.
Driving through the parking lot over by PetSmart, the furniture store had a giant red and white tent in the parking lot, trying to drive sales up.  You announced, “They must be having a sale over there in the tent. And, then, when I was with grandma I saw another tent, but there was poison in it, and it was killing all the bugs.”

In the waiting room of the dentist we saw for your second opinion, you wanted me to read you a book that they had there.  Unfortunately, I was working on paper work. You said, “Well, what am I gonna do? I can’t read.”

You are ready for Halloween already, the stores and their marketing ploys with holiday stuff out three months early has done their job with you. You tell us, “There is lots of fun stuff coming up!” Because you know that Halloween kind of kicks off the whole holiday season.  And then, one night you told us, “Grandma is scared of Halloween, but I told her I will protect her.”

Grandma D. told me that one day you told her, “That’s for dolts.”  Confused, she asked you, “What? ”  You replied, “Dolts.  That activity is for Dolts.”  And you pointed at a gathering of grown ups playing a game at the park.  Grandma finally translated that you meant ADULTS and, yes, that was indeed what you meant.  This was after our Big Bear weekend where we had explained that the pina colada drink your father was having, despite it being fancy and fun looking was an “adult drink.”

After we ate dinner at Souplantation, you informed me that “the goal is to run in the grass.”  Meaning that you come along and eat with us at Souplantation (or anywhere, really), just because you get to run in the grass.

When we were riding the ferris wheel at the Spectrum, we got buckled in and you told us, “We’re in jail!!”

Back in the car, with you buckled in, you asked for your water, but you forgot to say please.  I reminded you to use your manners, but apparently you were in a contrary mood, so you informed us, “If you don’t give me my water, you won’t be my mommy and daddy anymore.”  It didn’t get you very far, and you still had to say please.

One night, we had pork and beans for dinner and caramel apple for dessert. Outside playing later, you handed your father a bowl and said “here is some caramel apple soup!”

You love coming to my work place.  For many reasons, but the primary of reasons is that my co-workers keeps a jar of Hershey’s Kisses on her desk.  I let you have one of them and then you have a mouth full of chocolate.  The other is that I keep a collection of miniature model cars at my desk and you love to play with those cars.  One day you accompanied me back to my office to pick up something i had forgotten. As we were leaving, your mouth full of chocolate, you looked at an Audi parked in the lot and exclaimed, “It’s an Olympic car!”  Well, I guess Audi’s logo does look like the Olympic’s logo.

Your father received a card in the mail detailing the restaurants that will have free food in honor of veterans.  You overheard from the back seat and asked in an awe-filled voice, “All the restaurants have free food?”  Your father said, “Yes, for veterans.”  You replied, “For vegetables???”  We had to explain the new word, veterans, to you.  ha

Done in the bathroom, you said in a hurried voice, “Let’s get out of here before something else happens!”

Driving home late after dinner, you said “I have tired bones…”

After we got home from Big Bear, you lined up all your ceramic houses on the half wall above your train table and told us that was Big Bear. It does kind of look like the village.

One of the nights recently, after your dentist appointment, we went through our routine of flossing and interdental toothbrush and mouthwash, and we laid in bed to go to sleep and I realized I hadn’t actually BRUSHED your teeth with toothpaste.  Irritated, I asked if you were still asleep, and you answered, so I told you what I’d realized and we needed to brush your teeth.  You played dead log until I said you could spit your mouthwash again.  You immediately said, “Let’s go do it!”  And then you said, “This is strange, getting up to brush my teeth in the middle of the night? Weird.”  The next night, I didn’t forget, but you said, “Let’s get up in the middle of the night and brush my teeth like last time!”

You were playing a game on your iPod and one of our cats hopped up on the arm rest next to you. You started petting the kitty and without looking said, “My Tuggy is liking this.”  Amused, I said, “That’s not Tug… you need to look at the cat you’re petting.”  You were surprised to see that you’d been petting Ripper the whole time.

Along with fart humor, you’ve also had butt humor.  I admit this is likely coming from me, because I measure sizes of room in the amount of butts that can comfortably occupy the room at the same time.  So, you told your father one night, “Daddy Big Butt and William Little Butt!”  Your father asked, “What about mommy?”  You replied, “She’s just mommy butt.”

You authored a song this month, as you seem to do every few days. This one is quite the catchy tune and lyrics, it goes, “Daddy’s butt, daddy’s butt, little wooden dump… daddy’s butt, daddy’s butt, little wooden dump.”  I *still* have it stuck in my head and I last heard you sing it on 9/3.

At the dinner table, your father announced, “We’re all going to bed in 5 minutes!”  You responded, “Now daddy… What about dessert?”  Obviously your concern wasn’t bedtime, just missing dessert time.

At the vet, you were allowed to listen to Bug’s lungs and heart.  You said her lungs sounded like “Whooshie, whooshie” and her heart “sounds like a horsey galloping.”

 

Coinciding with your week of sickness this week, you told me last night (the night of your “month” birthday) that you needed to try and get more sleep, that you are tired.  I nodded my head sagely and said, “That makes sense.  How about we try to get you to bed early tonight, then?”  You agreed.  And so we did your routine a little earlier than usual, and when you got silly, I reminded you that you wanted to go to bed early and how about you try going to sleep instead of being silly and keeping yourself awake.  You agreed and drifted off to dreamland … and as I held you, your sweetness, your warmth, all of YOU, I thought to myself, as I do every night, just how sweet you really are… and that you will always be my baby, my little William, my child… even though you grow up every day and you adamantly tell me (and anyone who asks how old you are) that “I do NOT want to grow up.”  Time seems to march on, quickly, effortlessly, the Big Events of our Life mere pickets on our fence as we blast by it, bumping along on this dusty road we call life, whether we want it to or not.  But despite that, I will always remind you that I love you Ten Times a William.

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More pictures from this month can be found here: LINK

Love you forever, sweet William,

Mommy

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Filed under Letter to William, Our Kid is Cute

Letter to our 4 Year 8 month Old.

Dear William,

On August 8th, 2016, you turned 4 years 8 months (or 56 months old).  You are 47″ tall and weigh 50 pounds 4 ounces. You are still wearing the same sizes as last month:  Boys Small for shirts, shorts and pajamas.  I just realized you haven’t worn pants for a few months because it’s been so hot lately, so I have no clue what size pants fit you.

Things we did this month…

7/10 – We saw Secret Life of Pets, the movie, at the theater.  You enjoyed it so much, that as we were leaving the theater, you were stepping on the lights on the stairs saying, “This will make it play again!”

7/11, week of – You had VBS at MOO Church (Walk This Way theme)

7/12 – We had our annual Dress Like a Cow event at Chick-Fil-A

7/16, weekend – Mountain cabin

7/18, week of – You had VBS at the local Catholic church (Cave Quest theme)

7/23, Irvine Spectrum w/ friends

7/30, stayed home (sick)

8/6, Legoland

Recurring events: Library storytime, Spanish library storytime, Saddleback Kids (Sunday mornings)

Monthly interview of favorite things…
Color:  Orange and red.
Song: Jesus loves us this I know, for the Bible tells me so, you like that one?
Movie: Hmmm, let me see. Dino Trucks, I hope that’s coming in my whale.
Food: Watermelon
Snack: Juice and sugar cookies and water.
Dessert: Sugar cookies…oh, uh, cake.  Cake, too.
Fruit: Plum
Vegetable: Broccoli and carrots.
Class: Class?  I don’t have a class. Oh, oh, the Bible School at Saddleback Church and the Bible School at Mountain View Park
Teacher: The ones at Mountain View Park
Store: My favorite store might be WALMART!
Restaurant: Shacks, do you know what I mean by Shacks?  It means Taco Tuesday.
Vacation spot: Big Bear, Michigan, Asia!  What part of Asia?  Restaurants
Toy: Toy fire trucks. Toy garbage trucks.  Toy vets.
Favorite Park:  Splash.  Splash means the water park.
Theme Park: Disneyland, because we haven’t went there for a long time.  Neeah.
Best friend: Bible School!
Favorite Story: Ice Skating Fast
Favorite thing to do with Mommy: Go to Disneyland
Favorite thing to do with Daddy: Go to church
Favorite thing to do with Grandma: Go to the park. Water, water. Splash, splash, splash!
Favorite Shirt: Lightning!
What do you think about being 4?  Not good.  OK, ok, that’s it.  I would be 4.  That’s it.

How did you sleep this month…
You’ve slept really well this month.  You’ve been falling asleep somewhere around 8:30 PM or 8:45 PM.  You’ve been waking up around 6:45 AM.  On weekends, you actually sleep until 7:15 AM or so, and I think that would be your “natural” wake time if given the opportunity to wake on your own during the week.  You prefer that I wake you before I leave for work, though, so you can say goodbye to us and give us kisses.  You enjoy our morning routine.

Things I want to remember about this month…

You were concerned about your father not having a sleeping friend. You have your 2 froggies and your ducky that Grandma H. crocheted for you, I have a bunny rabbit, but your father didn’t have anything.  So, one evening I noticed that you had put nursing bear on your father’s side of the bed.  You don’t use nursing bear anymore, and you hunted him down and relocated him.  Your father was touched by your thoughtfulness.

One Monday after I got home from work and I kissed and hugged you, and I heard about all that you’d done that day, I said jokingly, “You were so busy today, I bet you didn’t even have time to think of me!”  You replied in all seriousness, “That’s not true!  I thinked of you LOTS today.”

Every night as I snuggle you to sleep, you have a little routine you like to do.  Your father turns out the light and you whisper, “One, two, three, DADDY, IT’S BRIGHT IN HERE!”  And your father comes back and turns your room light on and says, “It’s not bright in here, THIS is bright!”  And you giggle and giggle, and then whisper, “One, two, three… ” You do this four times and you love it so much.  You told me one night, “We can do this every night!”

I picked up a bunch of Disney story books on discount at Marshall’s.  There’s a Star Wars book, a Disney pets book, a Mickey Mouse book, and you love having one of the stories read to you each night while you’re in your bath.  We also read a Bible story, too, and I love this book because the pictures are somewhat realistic and each story has a call out of some historical information about tools used, or clothing or instrument or something, in that time period.  Fascinating stuff.

You really enjoy your teeth brushing routine.  You lift your little hand and help guide me where the toothbrush needs to go next.  I’ve found that letting you hold my hand while I brush helps you feel like you’re in control (you’re not) and it helps you not gag when I get to your molars.  I switch it up with you, some nights I let you “guide” my hand, other nights I ask you to point to where the toothbrush should go next.  We have about five minutes of flossing to go with it, both before and after you brush.

We attended Chick-Fil-A’s Dress Like a Cow Event and you really enjoyed playing with the other kids in the play structure.  After we had eaten our food, you went back in and then came back out and told us, “Someone told me to find the purple bird and that is very hard to find.”  You placed your hand on the table and said, “So, can you get a milkshake for dessert?  Thank you.”  And you turned and left for the playground.

One of the days at your VBS was “crazy hair day” and we bought some temporary hair color, one can of red and one can of blue.  You thought it was pretty cool and everywhere you went that day, you proudly showed how we had colored your hair for crazy hair day.


Grandma dropped you off at your third VBS and she texted me this note, “Dropped the little one off.  He’s got this figured out now about going to different churches and comparing the toys. Ha”

You were very excited about going up to our mountain cabin, and so I tasked you with packing some food for yourself in the ice chest that we bring up for the weekend.  You said, “OK!”  I came back a few minutes later and you had 12 hot chocolate packets on the counter and 8 straws.

When I came to your VBS finale, your Grandma hadn’t told you I would be coming.  You spotted me and were so surprised to see me, you wrapped your arms around my neck and said, “I’ve missed you SO much!”  Then you looked around and asked, “Where’s my daddy?”  I told you that daddy couldn’t make it, but wished that he could, oh, so much!  You accepted that answer, and then as we walked to the sanctuary together, you proudly introduced me to everyone, “This is my mommy, but my daddy couldn’t make it.  He wanted to, though.”

When we were driving to the mountains, your father asked you, “Do you know what time it is?”  You replied, “Uhhhh, it’s past my bed time.”  I looked at the clock reading 8:40 PM and I said, “You’re right about that!”

You are very much into making lists. I have no idea where you get that from.  I make grocery lists and, as I always do, I leave them on the counter or table to add to them as I think of things.  Nowadays, I come back and it has scribbles from you at the bottom.  When I ask you about them, you tell me, “That’s my list.  See here, it says cookies and toys.”  While we were in the mountains, we told you we needed to go to breakfast and you said, “Well, on MY list of things to do is to go to the candy shop…. that’s on William’s list.”

While in the mountains, you said, “This is the best day ever, isn’t it?”  Your father replied, “Sure, are you happy?”  You replied, “Kind of.”  Surprised, you father asked, “Why ‘kind of’?”  You replied, “Actually, I am completely happy.”

Photo: Caramel apple from candy store


On your list of things to do in the mountains was to go fishing in the lake, hike Castle Rock, watch movies, eat salmon, and smoosh bugs.

For your first time fishing, we had quite the adventure.  It was kind of special that it was in a lake that we frequently visit.  Your father bought you a fishing pole, had to get a fishing license, and then he blew up an inflatable boat and put you in it and pushed you out until he was knee deep.  At one point, he decided it might be a good idea to get in the boat with you, but it turned out to be an ill-planned idea, because he got in the front of the boat and you were in the back and that meant in order not to squish you, he had to do a perpetual sit-up.  He got quite the ab work out!  You told me, “So, if I see a cute fish I’m not gonna cook him.”

Picture of first time fishing…


Picture of “I’m giving the fish sea weed!”


The next morning you woke up, startled, you cried out, “MOMMY!!”  I flopped my hand on your back and you said, “Oh, you were right there all along!”  I asked you what you wanted to do that day and you replied, “Hike Castle Rock!”  I started laughing and said, “Your daddy was thinking you would forget about that.”  You replied, “But I didn’t. HA HA!”

Picture of “Logs”


While hiking you said, “I saw on the map that it was not a very long walk, but it lied. It is a very long walk.”

Picture: Tree mailbox… there’s a mailbox in the tree and the mail is 1 BC.


You still like to wedge yourself between us when we hug, and so we try to sneak hugs in and while in the mountains you said, “I’m on my way!” and ran and wedged yourself between us.


After our day on the lake, since you didn’t catch any fish, you said you wanted to eat some salmon. So we went to Denny’s and you ordered your salmon. I suppose it’s noteworthy that it was your first meal that wasn’t on the child’s menu.

One of your favorite things in the mountains is the ice cream truck.  After we got back from our hike, you waited patiently out front of our cabin for the ice cream truck. He didn’t come that day and you were very sad.

On the 20th, you came down with a slight fever, we weren’t sure what was causing it. You weren’t complaining of pain, you just seemed tired.  We thought maybe it was related to not drinking enough water, so we asked the your VBS teacher to be sure and remind you to drink water.  The next morning, when your grandma came to pick you up, the teacher told her that you had mentioned you were a dragon, so she told you dragons drink lots of water.  Seemed to be the encouragement you needed for that day, anyway.

That night, you went upstairs for your bath, under your own motivation, at 6:23 pm.  You were in your pajamas and in bed by 7:10pm, although you had a bit of trouble falling asleep.  It was delayed because you heard kids riding their bikes under your window and they were hooting and hollering while they did so.  In their defense, it was still light outside and it was kind of early for you to be in bed.  You were so curious about who they were.  Then, a couple days later, you saw our neighbor and her two boys riding their bikes and you assumed it had been them, and you stood in your window and yelled at them that they needed to go home, eat dinner and go to bed. That you were tired and just wanted to sleep.  Thank goodness the mom of those two boys adores you and thinks you are sweet and funny.

The evening before, I had fallen asleep with you while I was snuggling you to sleep.  I love those times that I do that, although, I usually find myself awake at 1 AM and transfer myself to my own bed.  But the following morning, you sweetly asked me, “Mommy?  Did you sleep with me last night?”  I told you that I had fallen asleep with you and how much I loved that.  :)

Sometimes you get unexpected lessons in nature about the cycle of life.  One morning, getting in the car for VBS you and your grandma saw a coyote with someone’s pet cat going across the street in the community.  My immediate question was, “Have you seen all of OUR cats this morning?”  She replied, “Yes.”  And then I asked what color that kitty was, she said, “Black and white.”  I hope it wasn’t, but am afraid it was the kitty we reunited with his owners a couple weeks ago.  That thought made me sad, because that was a really sweet kitty, but I know that by the grace of God, our very own Tug was saved from the jaws of a coyote about 6 years ago, so it’s totally possible.
One Saturday as we pulled in the Spectrum for an outing with friends, you said, “I’m smart!”  I said, “Yep, you are.”  You said, “How about smarty pants?  Am I a smarty pants?”

After we had lunch at the Spectrum, we went out and walked around, rode on the ferris wheel and then we stopped at a fountain (which apparently was a Pokemon stop, based on all the people who were walking around with their phones out and poking at them).  You started a waterfight with me and, well, it was a hot day and it seemed like a good idea.  So we ended up drenched and it was very fun.

One afternoon, you went out to the back yard and picked some aloe vera and came back inside and told me that you were going to heal daddy’s wound on his back with the helpful plants.  You informed me that you had already healed the chair’s wound with it.

The next day, your grandma texted me that you guys had witnessed a fender bender on the way to the library. So, I guess in that instance you were able to see how accidents happen so quickly and how noisy they are.

Sometimes on Monday mornings I like to be extra silly to help with the tough separations that we all feel after a fun weekend together.  So, one Monday, I hitched you up on my hip and proceeded to just walk right out the front door with you.  You were perplexed and surprised and asked where we were going.  I told you I was going to walk to work with you.  You knew I was kidding, but were still a little sad when I turned around to go back into the house. But we had some special moments looking at the half moon that was still in the morning sky and the hibiscus flowers that hadn’t yet opened their blooms for the day.

A few days later, I came down sick, so apparently your fever wasn’t related to dehydration.  Your father got called into work on an emergency situation (the A/C in the server room went down) and so it was just you and me for the day.  We had been planning to go to Legoland that day, but my car’s engine was in pieces in the garage and I felt that your father needed his car so he could come and go as need be, instead of calling Uber.  So, I canceled our plans and we had a movie day instead.  We managed to watch Shrek, The Princess and the Frog, and some Scooby Doo episodes.  It was so funny, because some of the language in the Shrek movie is questionable for your age, I turned the volume to the lowest setting.  When your father came home that afternoon, he was supposed to start working on my car and, instead, he sat down and started watching your movies with you and complained about the volume being too low.  I reminded him that he was supposed to be working on my car.  haha

You had left one of your toys on the couch, a light saber.  I accidentally sat on it, and pulled it out.  You instantly asked, “Did it feel good?”  I asked you, “Did what feel good?”  You replied, “Sitting on the light saber?”

Picture: I’m the curb painter!

I ordered toilet paper from Amazon.com, and when it came, you absconded with the box and the toilet paper and said, “This is my little house!”  I wasn’t thrilled to have this in the middle of the living room, but I knew it would be funny to me later, so I took a picture of you in your little house.

Playdoh continues to be one of your favorite things to occupy yourself.  You could create things for hours on end, especially if it’s food related. You love to cook, pretend or otherwise.  You also really enjoy sharing all your creations (and toys) with your cat, Tug.  You treat him like a sibling and it really is the sweetest thing.

 

One afternoon, you came inside bearing an aloe vera plant cutting.  You declared, “This is the helpful plant. It will help daddy’s owie on his back heal.”

 

A conversation while you were in the bath tub:
What is this?”  I asked.
No, no, I want to keep it.  You replied.
But what is it? I asked again.
It’s just something I want to keep, you said.
But what is it?  I asked, yet again.
It used to be a paintbrush.  You answered.

You tossed your froggy in the air and it landed in the shutters.  We laughed and laughed over that one.  You kept saying, “Look at my froggy!!”

You love music and you always surprise me by hearing the beat or subtle sounds that normally don’t get noticed by themselves.  It’s interesting, because if you don’t like a song, you just sit down and refuse to participate.  Like the “head and shoulders, knees and toes” song, that is an instant turn off to you.  So, when your Grandma D. texted me this, it made me smile, ” Song: “driving in my car”. Cute song with actions & sounds…steering wheel, wipers, no muffler so have motor sound, wave”hi” to friend, horn. Wm got into that song!”

Mazda created the 1,000,000th Miata and it’s presently on tour.  It had a stop at the Mazda headquarters in Irvine.  I stopped and saw it on the way to work one morning, the same day that your Grandma D. brought you over to my work for a family lunch at the deli.  I suggested that she take you by to see the Miata.  That it was special to me since I’ve driven a Miata for 25 years now.  I was tickled when she later texted me this picture of you.  Although, she said you enjoyed the long fountain that is in the breezeway there more than the Miata.

When we were at Legoland, there was a little girl in the playground that you hit it off with right away. Pretty soon, you two were running around together. You got on the motorcycle together and then, hilariously, you both got off the motorcyle and, holding hands, ran to the store where you proclaimed, “OK, here’s the restaurant.  What would you like to eat?”  It sounded like you were really on a date!

legoland restaurant

You have some markers that stick together, bottom to top.  You had about 8 of them all stuck together in a long line.  You looked at me, holding that long stick of stuck together markers and said, “I heard in Korea Legos look like this.”

Your father barbequed some skewers for dinner. When he brought them inside, you looked at them and said, You eat off of a chopstick?   I guess skewers do kind of look like chopsticks.  ha

This is the time in your life when you are learning the foundations of navigating social situations which, I think most adults would even agree, can be very complex.  Children, especially if they have younger siblings, tend to be on the bossy side, and you were encountering that in some instances while you were at VBS.  One day in particular comes to mind, when I called at lunch time to see what you were up to, I could hear you crying.  I asked your grandma D. why you were sad and she said the other kids had knocked your tower of blocks down.  I asked why they had done that, as I wasn’t sure if you were playing a game with them or something else. She said it was because it was time for you to go.  I asked if there was a rush that she needed to be somewhere on time, she said she didn’t know it had happened before she had arrived.  So, I asked to speak to you, I got your side of it and I commiserated with you, validated your feelings and told you what they had done wasn’t right.  And I told you if that ever happened again, to tell the kids to stop it, and since there wasn’t any deadline from your grandma’s point of view, to be sure and put the toys away when the teacher instructs you to do so, but finish what you were doing.  I find myself giving you words to use, encouraging you to have courage and to always remember to be kind, so that hopefully the behavior you don’t like is something you realize isn’t OK and so you won’t imitate in YOUR future social interactions.  In other words, don’t be afraid to stand up for something that is the right thing.  It is never OK for people to treat you (or anyone) poorly.

 This month’s picture of you isn’t all that great in terms of photography, but I feel like it represents YOU.  You are all about jokes, laughter, and full of vibrant, beautiful LIFE.  And, yes, when  you fall asleep at night, I still lay my hand over your heart to feel it beating.
DSCN2997

Love, Mommy

More pictures from this month can be found here:  LINK

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Filed under Best Husband, Letter to William, Our Kid is Cute

Extra gum, cinnamon flavor.

I found this in Ralph’s yesterday.  They used to make this and then discontinued it sometime in 2006.  I remember searching for it when we went to Ireland that same year, and I found some weird tasting European version of it in the bus store in Dublin.

Strangely, even though the little yellow corner up there of its box proclaims it as being “NEW” it is not listed on their website as being an offered flavor.  However, I would argue that they brought it back as “NEW” because it’s in the updated flat packaging, instead of the old boxy packaging.  Just so you know, I bought 4 packs just in case there’s an apocalypse and it disappears again.

When I’m featured on some show about hoarder’s with multiple boxes of the same product stacked to the ceiling behind me, I will be standing there in my pajamas (of which I also have 12 of the same print) screaming insanely, “You companies who discontinue my favorite things brought me to this!!  It is NOT hoarding, it is inventory!”

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Filed under I feel Glad, Tidbits

Letter to Our 4 Year 7 Month Old

Dear William,

On July 8th, 2016, you turned 4 years 7 months (or 55 months old).  You are 46 1/2″ tall and weigh 49 pounds 8 ounces.  Despite the extra inches you seem to be gaining each month these days, you are still wearing the same sizes as last month.  You’re just filling them out better.

Things we did this month…

We stayed close to home this past month. Both your father and I are having issues with our cars.  Your father’s car has had intermittent “no starting” issues.  My car has been having overheating and loss of power problems.  We’ve spent a lot of time troubleshooting and doing maintenance, but that means we don’t go too far because we don’t want to get stuck somewhere!  You have enjoyed helping us with all of our car maintenance, and it was really cute when you curled up on your father’s piece of cardboard as he drained my car’s radiator.

We visited the Orange County Zoo one Saturday.  It was kind of a spontaneous trip.  It was hot and we didn’t want to go home, so we just… went to the zoo.

Your Grandma D. consistently takes you to the library craft & story times, as well as various playgrounds.

On June 11th, we went to Chuck E. Cheese.  We hadn’t been for a couple of years, yet somehow you remembered what was in there and were beyond excited to go.  You had a fantastic time, even though some of their games were broken and their car ride with Mr. Cheese was out of paper.

I enrolled you in two swim classes.  The first week it ended up being a private lesson, because no one else showed up for the class. The second week, it was a full class (4 students to 1 teacher), but you still did really well and were focused. I think it helped that you knew it was just the two classes.  I was in shock at how much just those two classes improved your swimming form!  And even though your stroke isn’t perfect, you are going for much longer stretches across the water!

Your Uncle Chris (one of your father’s brothers) came to visit his parents (Grandma & Grandpa H.).  They all came over to celebrate Independence Day here at our home and have a pool party.  You trailed your Uncle Chris everywhere he went.  Your Uncle Chris is a pretty awesome person, and you are very fortunate that you have a lot of really good male role models in your life.

The 4th of July was pretty low key, but still great this year.  As mentioned just above, we had a family get together here at our home.  We did a traditional BBQ and then went up to the pool to cool off.  After that, we came back and did little party poppers, some sparklers and a couple random fireworks we found from our “wild” younger days.  When the family went home, we drove down to the lake in our city where their HOA does a pretty spectacular fireworks show every year at 9 PM.  You were amazed and enjoyed it thoroughly, sitting there on the street in your little fold-up chair, snacking on cut-up apples and corn chips that I had put in little plastic sandwich bags.  You declared the fireworks show the best you had ever seen.

Monthly interview of favorite things…
Color:  Red. Like this strawberry.
Song: The one that has the words all fall down.
Movie: Secret Lives of Pets AND Finding Dory
Food: Chicken
Snack: SUGAAAARRR!
Dessert: Ahhh.  Cupcakes and blueberry cookies.
Fruit: Strawberry and bananas
Vegetable: Broccoli and carrots
Class: Ummm, uh, uh, uh, Vacation Bible School
Teacher: The nice one that loves kids.
Store: Store?? Sprouts.
Restaurant: Ruby’s
Vacation spot: Big Bear
Toy: My favorite toy is my garbage truck.
Favorite Park: Music!  The musical park.
Theme Park: Disneyland, Sea World and Pretend City
Best friend: Uhhh, oh dear, uhm, uhm, Kristin.  At Vacation Bible School.
Favorite Story: Star Wars
Favorite thing to do with Mommy: Go to Disneyland
Favorite thing to do with Daddy: Go to church
Favorite thing to do with Grandma: Go to Library
Favorite Shirt: My favorite shirts starts with SS SSS Sss… can you understand it?  It starts with Star… S S S, can yoiu think what it is?  Star Wars?  Yeah, now can you say it?
What do you think about being 4?  It’s not good.  I would rather be 7.  Because I would just play with toys.  Now I just go to work.  And I don’t like it.  Sometimes I just go home.  I do the same thing at work as you do.

How did you sleep this month…
You’ve been sleeping restlessly this month. It’s been hotter, though, and that seems to make you sleep restlessly.  You’ve also had some trouble falling asleep at night, sometimes taking upwards of an hour.  You say you’re comfortable, and I think that’s true. It seems more as if you’re having trouble turning off your brain.

Things I want to remember about this month…
Your silliness knows no bounds. You pushed your foot into your father and said, “Ha ha, I made you burp.”  And then the “No, you didn’t.” and “Yes, I did.” Argument ensued.

Morning conversation:
William: Daddy is this your work phone?
Daddy: Yes, it is.
William hides it in the drawer.

Your Grandma D. took you to Pretend City. You were so excited and were really enjoying yourself. Your Grandma was sending text message updates about your adventure. Then she sent this: “I told William I need a potty break. He says, “Oh, Grandma, we don’t have time. Can you go standing up?”

Text update from Pretend City day– “A bit overwhelming in a good way. He was buying groceries & running to the kitchen round & round for first half hr.. Now he’s checking the x-rays in the dentist office. Did small boat float. Also did some cutting & gluing.”  He did the theater dance and the microscope. Ended up back in the kitchen & stated “I’m home.”. Now he found the bakery.”

We found a lost kitty one evening.  He came over to the pool area where we were swimming, and we didn’t know who he belonged to, but it was getting to be dusk and I know if I had a kitty who was an outside kitty, I would want him home.  So we called the number on the kitty’s collar, and sure enough, they were looking for him.  When the owners came to pick him up, you cried because “Carlos the Cat’ had to go home.

Friday night… one Friday night, you told us that, “I’m happy because I can sleep and sleep, because tomorrow is a mommy and daddy day.”

One particular morning you whacked me across the face with your Froggy. I had told you once already not to do it, and this is your current ongoing thing, getting in people’s faces with his hands or an object, so I took it away from you and asked him to tell me what he had done. You replied, “I can’t tell you. I just can’t. Because the sun is big and the earth is small. That’s why I can’t tell you.”  I told you that of course, those things were true, but didn’t answer the question I had asked.  That I wanted to be sure that you knew what you had done, that you knew I didn’t like it, and that way I could be sure you knew not to do it again.

Your father and I were talking about our visits to the doctor (we both had sinus issues this past month), and that the doctor had prescribed a nose spray with steroids to help with allergies. You piped up from the back seat, “Did the doctor ask if you wrote Star Wars?” Your father and I laughed and explained, “No, he asked about a type of medication.” You sought clarification, “What did he ask? What was the name of it!?” We had to tell you he was talking about steroids, because it was clear you had heard “Star Wars” and nothing else we were telling you was matching up to what you had heard.

Your big question the last two weeks has been, “What company made this?”  So, anything… your scooter or our plates or candles, you ask what company made this.  Your Grandma D. says you’ve been asking her “What brand is this?”

Photo: Look, the red letters! It says movie theater!
Photo red letters

 

We watched the movie Finding Dory, As we walked out of the theater, you asked if we could go see Secret Lives of Pets the next day. We were sad to inform you that the Secret Lives of Pets movie doesn’t come out until next month

You have this new thing where you cuddle up in your blanket to go to sleep. We had a heat wave this month, where it was around 90° at night. You asked for your blanket and I told you it was too hot. I tried to substitute a lighter blanket and you told me, “I want my blanket back.” I replied, “No, because that’s even more hot.” You replied, “Well, then, I don’t like my bed anymore.”

Swimming with you and your father, you did a flip underwater and grabbed my arm. Surfacing and tugging my arm, you said to your father, “I found a wife for you, daddy! Here you go!”

I quoted a line from a movie and your father got to thinking about it and wondered if it would be OK for you to watch, but that he needed to watch it first to make sure it was OK. You were all excited about possibly getting to see a new movie and repeated back your interpretation of what he had told you. “Daddy is going to watch the movie and see what’s wrong with it.”

Text from your Grandma D., “I told William to eat the yam, that vitamin A would help him see in the dark. Then I went in the kitchen & he disappeared. “William, where are you?” He was in the dark bathroom checking if he could see. Ha”

Your sweet little sleepy voice, sweetly asking me, “Will you sleep with me, mommy?”

The first time ever, you finally asked me what will happen if I count to ten and you didn’t do what I asked.  You’ve never thought to ask before.  I just count and you get up and go do whatever I’ve asked you to do.  So, this time, I said, “Can you go to the bathroom, please?  I’ve asked you several times.  If you don’t, I will count to ten.”  Curiously, you asked, “And then what will you do?  Will you shout?”  I replied, “I will pick you up and carry you to the bathroom.”  I was glad I had an answer ready for you.

You stubbed your toe one night, and after your bath, I asked “How is your toe?”  You replied, “Now my arm hurts.”  Surprised, I asked, “Your arm hurts? How did you do that?”  You replied, “Oh, I’m just having problems tonight.”

Photo: The making of your first video
Photo-first video

One Saturday morning, you informed me, “Today we’re going to have healthy food, but first we’ll start with dessert, which is hot chocolate. I thought we would have coffee and hot chocolate together. Is that fine?”  To which I replied, “That sounds like a perfect plan to me.”

Because this is what you say to me, I decided to say it to you.  You had been in and out of my private time in the bathroom, so I said, “Can you come wipe my icky poopy butt?”  You were in the kitchen and you shouted back at me, calm as you please, “No, thank you.”

Reminder every time we go in the store that we do grown up shopping list first. So then, walking to the veggie area, you said, “After vegetable island, uh, that’s not the right word… But after vegetable island, on MY shopping list is to check for a cookie. That’s what’s on MY list.”

William: I’m hungry
Daddy: But you ate a good dinner!
William: But don’t forget fudge !!

Photo: Eating your Mackinac island fudge, that we got while on vacation last month.  Your eyes closed, head swaying back and forth.
Photo mackinac island fudge

One morning, you came in and plopped yourself on the bed as I was getting dressed for work.  You sleepily eyed me and asked, “Are those bats on your dress?”  Confused, I replied, “No? They’re really big flowers.”  You were skeptical, but took a second look and finally said, “I don’t think so. I think they’re bats and it’s Halloween today.”  I laughed and said, “Definitely flowers… see here? The orange is the center of the flower.”  You replied, “Oh… OK. So you have flowers and bats.”   I replied, “Sure. We can compromise.”

Photo: “What’s for dinner?” I asked you.  You stuck your lollipop above your head like it was a light bulb and said, “I’m thinking…”

Photo thinking about dinner

Photo: Every time we go to the store, you love to sniff soaps. I can give you a soap bar with the promise of buying it and it will occupy you the entire time we’re in the store together.  My kid, the Soap Sniffer.
Photo soap sniffer

Photo: Before we got to the soaps, you found this car.  And you were driving it around the store telling me, “This car is from 1909!”
Photo 1909 car

Photo: Looking at your piece of chocolate chip cookie pie, you said, “Oh no!  A bee got in my dessert it pooped!”  I replied, “Oh?”  You replied, “Oh, I guess it’s just a chocolate chip.”  And started eating it.  ha
Photo bee in my dessert

Getting ready to leave, you went to use the restroom.  I was surprised that instead of using the downstairs bathroom, you turned and went upstairs and I thought maybe your father was in the downstairs bathroom. A couple minutes later, you came down carrying your pants and underwear.  I looked at you weird and asked, “What… happened?” You replied, “I went upstairs because of the beautiful water.”  Surprised, I asked, “What beautiful water?”  You said, “The beautiful water in the toilet.”  I went and opened the toilet seat and your father had put blue cleaner in the toilet water.  Knowing that when your father cleans one toilet, he usually does them all, I asked you, “Well, wasn’t the toilet water upstairs beautiful, too?”  You replied, “Yes, but I peed in it anyway.”

I handed you your water to drink and you said, “Let me look down that straw….”  And instead of drinking, you peered down the straw and declared, “OK, it’s all wet.”

From the Cubbie Bear episodes, you sing the intro/ending song as you run to your bedroom after your bath to put your pajamas on.  But, instead of singing, “Here comes Cubbie, it’s a bear in a vest.”  You sing, “Here comes William in his birthday suit!” One night, you changed the song to “See the pony galloping down in the birthday suit!”

Oftentimes when making up stories, you put them to songs.  So you sing your stories.  So hilarious.

One evening I had left in a hurry while you were selecting your treat.  When you had picked one, you put them all back in your treat box and then asked, “Daddy, do you want a treat?”  Your daddy told you, “No, thank you.”  You replied, “Here’s your treat, daddy, it’s kisses.”  And you gave him kisses.

Photo: “My bike was tired, so it sat down. Actually, it accidentally tripped.”
photo tired bike

One afternoon, you asked me, “Do you need help with your computer?”  I replied, “Nope, it’s all good.”  You answered, “Welp, if it’s all good, then pay the bill.”  Surprised, I asked, “Pay the bill?”  You replied, “Yep, Twenty Dollars!”  Well, then.

Genetics are a funny thing, and it’s funny the way people are always searching a child’s face for similarities of their parents. With you, depending on who’s holding you (me, your father or your grandma D.), people will say, “He looks just like [you]!” In just the course of 5 minutes at a family event last month, one person told your father that, and 5 minutes later someone told me that. The eye of the beholder, or the angle of your face. Who knows?

When I look at you, you just look like William to me. But there are times it’s like looking in a mirror and seeing a younger me, especially the eyes. Other times there’s something that makes me think I’m seeing a younger version of your father. Then there’s something that makes me think you look like my brother, your uncle. Like this picture, the way you’re sitting with one knee up and the tilt of your head, the first thing I thought of when I saw it was, “Wow, that looks like your Uncle.”  And it’s even funnier, because you’ve only met your uncle once and it was somewhere around 10 or 11 months old.

sitting like keith

You did your first Vacation Bible School this past month at the same church where your “new” Awanas is held.  The theme was Mount Everest.  Because you were familiar with the church, you were OK with Grandma D. leaving.  She said she gave you a hug after you got your t-shirt on and you sat down with the other kids.  It was really great to see you doing so well.  It was a natural transition and you did great with the three hours every morning that week.  It was kind of funny, watching the video of the finale show, how you just disappeared and Grandma D. said she looked and looked for you and you had just sat down during the song. She guessed that  you decided you didn’t like the particular song and when one came on that you did like, you stood up to sing it.  Funny kid, whoever you end up growing up to be, you definitely march to the beat of your own drum.  And you are certainly growing up to be a funny, silly boy with a hilarious sense of humor.

 


Love, Mommy

More pictures from this month can be found here:  LINK

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Vacation: The Mitt (Part 5) — Journey to Hawks

The next morning we were to meet Tony’s parents and his 2 uncles for breakfast at a cafe in Boyne City.  As it happened, the cafe was across the street from an enormous wooden play structure.  What is it with Michigan and these enormous wooden play structures?  Never have I ever seen so many amazing wooden play structures in my life.  California is all about plastic structures that burns-your-bum-in-the-sun and that lasts forever.  And how is it that wooden playgrounds stand up so well to the extreme weather that Michigan encounters?

As I wandered through the play structure, following “William the White Rabbit” (again with the Alice in Wonderland theme), I noticed that I was walking through quite a few spider webs.  Offhandedly, I thought to myself how busy those spiders must have been to spin their webs so quickly overnight and how bummed they must be that the tall human was destroying the carefully woven web of captivation.  Then I learned a bit later (from talking to one of the other adults who was there with his grandson) that this particular playground had been closed for a good long while, and that it had just reopened that day, and the ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopening ceremony was at noon.  The timing of it all felt rather fortuitous.

Eventually, though, we had to load up in the car, go back and pack up our stuff, and hit the road.  As we drove back to the farm, I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to understand my delight when I found a giant metal chicken.  There’s a story behind this, and if you’re ever interested, feel free to ask.  But that giant metal chicken totally made my day and gave me the energy to face the day ahead.

Because… MORE ROAD TRIP (see previous post)!!!  This time, however, we were following Tony’s parents as we headed to the area where Tony’s dad grew up, and where Tony spent many of his summers in his youth.

We made a stop at the Cross in the Woods shrine and parish.  The walk out to the cross was the beginning of the ramping up of my mosquito phobia.  Anywhere there is stagnant air in humid places, there is likely to be a mosquito or three lingering around, and if that’s the case, then they will find me.  So I kept my step quick with an eye for avoiding the caterpillars that seemed to be dangling from trees like an aerial obstacle course.  I didn’t know anything about this particular place, except for what the sign in the parking lot said, so all my reading about it has been done after our visit.  When I saw it, it was rather jaw dropping… as one might expect of a 28′ bronze statue hoisted on a giant wooden cross.  From their website (link):

The sculpture of the crucified Christ was titled “The Man on the Cross” by the renowned Michigan sculptor Marshall Fredericks. It is made of bronze 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick. It weighs seven tons, is twenty-eight feet tall from head to toe, and the outstretched arms span twenty-one feet. The figure of Christ is attached by thirteen bolts 30″ long and 2″ thick that were made when the figure was cast in Norway. Fredericks wanted to portray Christ in a peaceful way. It was his dream to “give the face an expression of great peace and strength and offer encouragement to everyone who viewed the Cross”. Christ is symbolized just at the moment when He commends Himself to His Father. The sculptor received special permission from the Vatican to omit the crown of thorns and the wound on Jesus’ side. In 1992 because of damage to the crucifix caused by weathering and pollution, it was decided to clean the corpus. The Jensen Foundation for Art Conservation spent several weeks cleaning the corrosion from the bronze figure. It was then lacquered and waxed. Fredericks requested that the Cross be painted in a light tan tone to emphasize the bronze corpus. The corpus is waxed by volunteers every two years.

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After that, we headed to a McDonald’s/Gas Station/Gift Shop all-in-one combo place where you could fuel yourself, fuel your car and commemorate the visit with a souvenir.

We passed Moran Iron Works in Onaway, Michigan.  On their vast lawn, they have enormous metal sculptures of the World War II aircraft carrier Bunker Hill and a bust of George Washington.  According to Moran Iron Works’ website, Tom Moran (the owner of the company), is quite the artist and has done other items of art, which he either donates, gifts or displays throughout the state of Michigan.  You can see his art here:  Link

We stopped at a local grocery store as we neared our destination to stock up for the mosquito apocalypse that I was suspicious we were heading into.  Tony also grabbed a small can of bug repellent in a cheery orange canister and nonchalantly dropped it in the wheel well near my feet.  Then as our rental car reached more rural locations, our cell phone access got more and more spotty and finally disappeared altogether, coinciding with our arrival at The Kamp.

(Side note:  According to local lore, all “hunting lodges” or “cabins” in Michigan are called Camps.  I’m not sure why this is and, apparently, no one else really knows for sure, either.  When I inquired, there were a lot of theories that were spoken, but no hard facts were presented.  From the moment the name of it was mentioned, I changed the spelling in my mind to The Kamp, because “camping” to me is something you do in a tent.  So, camping in a building is more glamorous and, thus, should be dressed up with a K from the very start.)

We pulled into the parking area of The Kamp and a cloud of mosquitoes greeted us with great anticipation.  Like true vampires, they had somehow caught our human scent long before we even knew they were in existence.  As we sat there captives in our car, 25′ from the Kamp’s front door, mosquitoes pinging our windows, our cell phone access gone, like a super hero, Tony bravely stepped out into the cloud of vampires to run into The Kamp to open it up for our occupancy.  Four mosquitoes slipped in before he could shut the car door, and I grabbed that cheery orange canister of bug repellent and frantically sprayed them.  Now, mind you, bug repellent doesn’t work quite like an insecticide would, killing bugs on the spot. No, no, it doesn’t, and I knew that.  But I sprayed enough of it that they drowned in it, and from then until the end of time, the seats of the car should have been invisible to them.   I had unbuckled William in preparation for going into The Kamp, and as he climbed into my lap, he bravely declared, “It’s OK, mommy, I’m the Bug Killer.”  I stared at him in horror, for he was an innocent.  An untested.  He had never seen a mosquito in-person before this day.

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My purse slung over my shoulder, my son’s hand in mine, and that cheery orange canister in my other hand, I opened my car door and yelled, “RUN, SON, RUN!”  And I blasted that bug spray in a cloud all around us like it was a massive weapon of destruction with a tiny nozzle, while we ran for our lives to the door of the building.  In retrospect, I suppose I could have just casually sprayed us before we got in the car after we visited the grocery store and that likely would have been sufficient.  Or, you know, even as we exited the car at The Kamp, but that sort of rational, calm thought did not seem to make sense in the face of desperate, hungry, ravenous, starving mosquitoes who all had big eyes, sharp teeth, a kamikaze attitude, and hadn’t eaten all winter long, and here we were, served up in beautiful Volkwagen Jetta platter, just in time for dinner!

–To Be Continued–

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Filed under I have Family, I Left Home for Awhile, Our Kid is Cute

Letter to our 4 1/2 Year Old

Dear William,

On June 8th, 2016, you turned 4 1/2 years old (or 54 months old).  You are 46″ tall and weigh 49 pounds 8 ounces.  Despite it seeming as if you are getting lanky and your father thinking you were getting stretch marks on your sides (you’re not), you are wearing the same clothing and shoe sizes as last month.

Things we did this month…

  • Finished Ms. Robin’s class with a great performance (Road to Rio).  We are now taking a break.
  • Completed Tot 2 Ice Skating Class; taking a break.
  • Finished the 1st season of Cubbie Bears in Awanas; starts again in September.
  • Took a vacation and went to Michigan for a family wedding.

Monthly interview of favorite things…
Color: I have no favorite color… uh, white and red.
Song: It’s about… Who’s Dory
Movie: Finding Nemo
Food: Chicken and chocolate
Snack: Melon balls
Dessert: Cake! Uhh, fudge, actually.  And cake.
Fruit: Grapes … and plums.  And peaches.
Vegetable: Broccoli
Class: Basketball
Teacher: My basketball teacher.
Store: Where they have lots of restaurants and a lot of stores in a building.  A mall.  All of the stores.
Restaurant: All of the restaurants.
Vacation spot: Michigan and Big Bear
Toy: Garbage truck and Big Buzz and Woody, and Big Jessie and Bullseye and Big Rex.  But I couldn’t find him today.
Favorite Park: All of them.
Theme Park: All of them.
Best friend: That girl I found at the park today.
Favorite Story: The Sugar Plum Tree
Favorite thing to do with Mommy: Go to Disneyland
Favorite thing to do with Daddy: Go to church
Favorite thing to do with Grandma: Eat ice Cream
Favorite Shirt: All of the travel shirts.
What do you think about being 4 1/2?  It’s good.  But that girl I met at the park today was 4 1/2, too.

How did you sleep this month…
Sleeping has been great this past month.  Even with the travel we did to a different time zone (East Coast), you slept great.  I was so surprised when you slept until 9 AM at the hotel in Michigan our first night there.  You had trouble falling asleep one of the nights when we were traveling, but that had more to do with the room, than you.  You’ve had a couple nights where you had trouble turning your brain off since we got back, but eventually you did fall asleep on your own (I had to go take care of chores.)

Things I want to remember about this month… 
You greet me when I come home from work with an exuberant, “Hi Sweetheart!”

We were using anything and everything as leverage for you to do well in your aerial show.  We had a credit for 3 admissions at an indoor playground and I came home from work to you telling me this:  “Grandma says she’ll take me to We Play Loud if I do good in my show!”

Our neighbor has a little dog that she carries in a sling when she is outside.  The tiny dog is really old and her youngest son just learned to ride his bicycle without training wheels, so she was on her bike with her dog in the sling and her two boys were riding around her.  You were on your “balance” bike and the only thing you were interested in doing is petting her little dog.  She kept edging away, trying to get her boys back home, but she adores you and kept talking to you and you kept petting her dog.  It was so funny to watch you reel her back to you so you could keep petting her little dog in the sling.

You have all these plastic bugs that your Godmother gave you when you were about a year old.  You love them and role play with them now.  You were putting them in the birdhouses that we decorated a couple years ago, and I don’t allow you to play with mine because I have tiny, breakable furniture in it.  So you told it, “I’m sorry, Cricket, but you have to sleep somewhere else tonight.”

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Monday mornings are never easy for you, or for us, as adults, either.  Some mornings you sleep through our morning snuggles, or fall back asleep.  One Monday morning, your Grandma D. reported this to me via text:  “Mommy?”  “Daddy?”  “Oh.  It’s YOU again!”  — these were William’s words as he woke up a few minutes ago.  I thought it was hilarious!

You like to watch the Signing Time videos, and sometimes they’re kind of like a game show spelling bee.  One night, you told me, “Lollipop, it’s like you’re holding the stick and sucking on it. Lollipop.”

One of our friends has a new baby, so I asked you what you would tell a mommy who wants to nurse her new baby.  You responded, “I think she should let her baby suck on the nah-nahs whenever the baby wants to. It’s very good.”

Your father and I always try to get as many snuggles from you as we can.  You kind of skimped your father on the hugs one day and your daddy asked, “When will I get more snuggles?”  You replied, “When I get dessert.”

One night you asked us, “Where are we going to eat tonight?  Rubios?”  Then you asked with a huge grin on your face, “Is it Taco Wednesday?”

We took you to the doctor to have your ears checked, because you were complaining of ear pain.  Afterward, outside, you spotted a sea gull who was hanging out near the fountains.  You started to chase him, and I admonished you not to chase the bird.  You said, “I’m not chasing the bird.  I’m doing a fast dance.  See?”

You said to me, “Whoa, Whoa!!”  I said, “What’s that?”  You said, “It’s like a Spanish word.”  haha

Driving down the freeway to a little petting zoo, your father said, “We’re almost to our exit on the freeway, and then what are we gonna do?”  You replied, “Go to the zoo and poo!”

Just this last week, you told me, “I’m tired of summer. I just want it to be Halloween now.”

After our visit to Mackinac Island, you were playing with my five legged camera pod.  You twisted and bent it all around and then told me, pointing at it, “This is the island, here’s the fort and the flag… We’re right here right now.”

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Reading the menu on the airplane, you pointed at the picture and said, “I want the chocolate dinner.”

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We went to breakfast one Sunday morning, and the wait for our food was interminable.  You were looking for something to play with and you asked for some cars.  We didn’t have any, and so you told your father, “Daddy, if you don’t go home right now and get my cars, I’m going to be a bad boy.”  That threat didn’t work out for you at all, of course, but nonetheless, we found it to be quite funny.

Out of the blue last week, you told me, “I miss Awanas, mommy.  I want to do Awanas again.”

There have been a couple of times this past month when I’ve purchased various items with the intention of doling them out as a treat, or I purchased some figurines on sale for the upcoming movie, Secret Lives of Pets, and I left them on my lounge couch in a plastic bag.  The curiousness that is you has asked, “What are these?”  I smile at you without answering and you ask, “Are they surprises?”  When I answer in the affirmative, you happily walk away, without investigating further.  This is an amazing thing to me, because it’s not something that I’ve really thought about all that much, but you are accepting of the fact that it’s a surprise, therefore you WILL get it sometime in the future, and you’re willing to wait until that time.

Another interesting example of this is that one weekend we went to Walmart with you on a Saturday, all three of us. You requested to visit the toy department and we reminded you of our rule that we take care of our shopping list first.  Well, we didn’t end up visiting the toy department that day, because we ended up on the other side of the store and we all forgot about ti.  We went again on Sunday, just you and me, and you again made your request about seeing the toys, and I reminded you that we had to take care of our list first.  Again, both of us forgot about it.  On Monday, your Grandma D. took you to Walmart and you requested to go to see toys, she took you to visit the aisles and you had the best of times… and you even thanked her for taking you to the aisles.  I told her what had happened over the weekend and she was so surprised and so pleased that she had been able to make the time to take you.   She shared that she had even asked you to go get her a shopping cart to help her out (watching you, of course, the whole while) and that your reward for doing that would be a visit to the toys.   Of course, when your father asked you about your day, you told us that you hadn’t gone to Walmart.  Furthering the cliche of what happens with Grandma stays with Grandma.  haha

And, finally, it is noteworthy to me that life lessons start this young, as evidenced by this text my mom sent me one day about a couple of older boys who were being generally unkind to you (they took your shoes away from where you had left them to climb a structure, and then laughed at you when you got upset) and were just looking for ways to get into trouble… “William learned about trouble makers today…two little boys at the park. I tried to teach him about getting in with the wrong crowd as i took his hand & we left for a different park.”

There are times when all I can see in this world is the evil, the scary, the terrifying and the frightening.  It can all be overwhelming sometimes as an adult.  I’ve often made the joke to your father that the reason I don’t watch TV or the news is because I’m always left with the sense that it’s a miracle there are even people alive any more, and the news seems to revel in reporting the most horrific ways a person can lose their life.  Horrifying stories about shootings, acts of terrorism and, even, devastation that crawls and wiggles its way into a family vacation in the form of an alligator in Disneyland, leaving a family bereft of a child that is younger than you.  My reaction to these stories is to hold you longer when I put you to bed, to feel your heart beating more often, to seek to watch you laugh more often, I bend down to hear your words more frequently, I hold onto the miracle of the time that we have with you and each other as a family.  I pray more passionately to God for your protection, for our protection, and that He will guide the path of our lives.  I know that no matter the safety precautions in place that the very act of living, of having a heart beating inside a human body, is a miracle.

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Love, Mommy

More pictures from this month can be found here:  LINK

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Insurance Policies

It’s that time again, where Mercury decides to hike rates when policies come up for renewal.  So, here I am shopping again.  I did this three years ago and was dismally disappointed to stay with Mercury because, even though they’d gone higher, everyone else was higher still.

Last week I started shopping for insurance. I had predetermined that if AAA could beat Mercury’s price that I would go with them, so I submitted a quote request on their website.  I would have thought that would kind of make me a “dream lead.”

Within 2 minutes, I had a call from an agent out of an office 25 minutes north of me. I called him back a couple hours later, provided him with the coverages that I had with Mercury and asked him for an apples-to-apples quote as a starting point, and told him that after I had that, I wanted to go through my limits and tweak things.

He did not give me an apples-to-apples quote, he gave me what he thought I should have as coverage, or maybe what he thought would make the most of an impact. So, when he called me back, I again told him what I wanted and made him play with the amounts until I had something close. But he STILL didn’t give me an apples-to-apples comparison.

So I emailed him the Excel spreadsheet I was using to break things down for myself. He expressed shock that I had created such a monster, but I hoped that he would see that I was serious when I told him what I wanted.

Then after going back and forth a few more times, this week he called me and I still had questions that weren’t being set to rest, and he started in on me with a close. I busted him on it. I said, “Look at you, trying to close me!” He said, “No, no, I’m not trying to close you, we’re not commission, I have no reason to close you. But, come on, either you’re going to do this or not” Surprised, because I’d already told him what I wanted, I said, “Here’s the deal, I’ve already decided I’m going with AAA, but I still have unresolved questions on the quotes you’re giving me.” He said, “How about I send you over the contract and you give me your credit card and I’ll collect payment.”

He emailed me the contract and, somehow, the cost of the home premium didn’t match up with any of the quotes he had given me. Also, he had William’s name wrong on it, he had both of the adults listed as “homemakers” and a couple other minor details were wrong. Nothing that would impact the numbers, but insurance policies aren’t “just” about numbers.  So, I called him and told him to revise it and requested he explain the discrepancy in the amount. He said,”Oh, those details don’t matter… and, remember? We changed the content overage amount, that’s why the premium is different.” I did not remember that, because I had told him to take the contents coverage down, so how on earth could the premium go up?

So, today I took my binder with all my research, my Mercury policies, the 5 different quotes that the agent had sent me (because apparently my request for apples-to-apples was too complicated for him), and walked into the AAA office that’s 1.5 miles away from my office and sat down with a broker there. We went through it all, line by line. He resolved my questions, found why the premium was higher on the home policy vs. the quotes (the other agent had erroneously increased a percentage in a drill down screen to 25%, when it should have been 10%), as Detailed Agent was going through it all, he corrected William’s name, and then nonchalantly changed it to all capital letters to match the other lettering… and, that right there? I slammed my fist down on his desk and said, “SOLD!”  Because that kind of attention to detail is the kind of guy I want handling my business.  He laughed at me and told me it would have bugged him if he hadn’t.  And when he said that, I figured that maybe we could even be friends!! ha

Even though I initially was there to only get clarification, after Detailed Agent found the discrepancy, he told me, “We’re commission based, so I can’t take this over, you would need to go back to Top Agent guy.” I said, “Well, now that you’ve found that discrepancy, plus all the other things, I want to switch to you.” I guess this isn’t normally something that happens, because Detailed Agent had to get clearance from his supervisor to proceed with it, and he could only proceed because I hadn’t actually signed anything.

Morals of the story:
Pay attention to details — this is important for both parties.
If you can’t close a deal, figure out what’s unresolved and address it.
Don’t be lazy when completing paperwork. Take the time to do it right. The boxes may not matter in the whole scheme of things, but it matters to me when reviewing it.
If someone asks for something specific, either deliver it or explain why you can’t — and don’t theorize or make something up.
In no case is it OK to presume that you know what’s better for me.

As a client, I’m looking at the details. If I find something wrong, I’m going to wonder what else might be wrong that I can’t see.  And I will investigate it until I find it.  Something tells me that Top Agent Guy is going to be pissed about this.

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Filed under I ♥ My Miata, I feel Irritated, I own a Home