Saturday, March 31, 2007
After hanging up the phone from talking to my sister, Landon asked me, "Was that Brittney, Mom?"
"Yep," I answered, "that was Beemoo."
"It's called, Britt-ney," was his firm response as he carefully articulated her name.
While shopping at Menard's the other evening, both kids were sitting in one of those little play trucks attached to the cart. Janae kept screaming and I could tell Landon was instigating the scream. I also noticed his hand was snugly tucked between the two of them in kind of a peculiar fashion.
"Landon, what are you doing to Janae?" I simply asked.
He quickly looked up at me and said, "I'm not pinching her."
Some Things Aren't Obvious When You're 3
Landon was sick one night so I tucked him in the little baby bed in our room in order to keep better track of his fever. After getting all quieted down, shutting off the lights and settling in to go to sleep, I hear a tiny voice from the little bed, "Can I sleep in here Mom?"
He Must Be Relieved
Landon asked me recently, "Did you and Dad 'got' married, Mom?"
Concerned for Janae as she headed out the door to watch a big black bird eating crumbs off our deck, Landon called after her, "Don't touch the bird, Jea."
Friday, March 30, 2007
Was it neglect on the cobbler's part to not provide shoes for his own family though he kept the town well shod? No, not mere neglect; it was just a simple shift of priorities was all.
I am not married to a cobbler but still we have the same problem at our house. Not with shoes of course. Rather, it's a scarcity of tools, nails and important handyman instruments within our abode.
Not only that, but my "honey-do" list is almost pointless. I finally threw it away when I realized that if Toby does it at work everyday, that very thing needs to be done in our house.
I'm married to a roofer. Our house needs a roof badly.
I'm married to a window retailer. Our house has several broken windows.
I'm married to a siding and soffit guy. Our house is without soffits on an entire end.
I'm married to a deck builder. Our deck is rotting through in several places.
I'm married to a real-handy-with-a-hammer guy. Our kitchen table kept losing a leg during mealtimes until I finally retired it.
Of course I know that the entire list above will be completed on a rain-less Saturday or on a book-work-less evening. I'm not too anxious; Toby always gets his work done. I just smile when I realize that he does these things everyday yet his own house sits with the same kinds of ailments his customer's houses have.
Then, one day when the kids were playing on the deck and I was trying to get some sewing done, I decided to take the hammer that I keep safely hidden in a closet and use it to construct a gate. The make-shift gate currently implemented was not very trustworthy and seemed to be attracting the kids to figure out a way through it. Plus, their toys kept rolling off between the gaps in the "gate" so I thought it was time to be more practical.
I found a gate that would work well and just needed a few nails and my secret hammer to fully construct it.
About the hammer. When we were first married, I was surprised to find that rarely was there ever a hammer in our house. If I needed to pound something in, I had to use a big spoon or a piece of wood or even a screw driver, if I was lucky to find one of those. I was surprised by this reality, considering I was married to a man who's entire livelihood was conformed around a hammer.
My sister-in-law (married to Toby's business partner and brother) told me one day that she finally had given up keeping a hammer in the house. She kept finding their hammers at job sites, in the work van or somewhere out in the work shop. She finally decided to buy a substantial ice cream scoop to use as a household hammer instead. Her husband didn't seem to take that out of the house like he had all their hammers.
But, I had a better idea.
I found a hammer and found a good place for it and explained to Toby that sometimes we need a hammer in our house. He agreed and said it was a good idea to keep one around. The hammer stayed in the house for a long time, always being put back in the same place after every use.
Then one day, Janae found the hammer and used it on Landon's head. So, we had to send the hammer to a new location in order to fully protect our growing son's cranium. The hammer continued to reside in peace and was always available in it's child-proof location.
Until the day I decided to build the gate.
The hammer was totally gone. It had completely disappeared. I assume it joined the ranks of it's fellow tools in the Nelson Contracting tool box but I still don't have the evidence to prove that. For now, I just needed a gate.
So, arming myself with a substitute tool, I tackled the gate. The results were impressive until it rained. But, at least I got my sewing done for the day and the roof didn't leak too badly from the rain storm. I wonder if masking tape would fix the roof too??
Friday, March 23, 2007
While Landon was playing with his sister, I heard him happily exclaim,
"Thank God for every minute!"
The Equal To Inside Out Plus Backwards
After Janae plopped herself down on a sled and happened to land facing backwards, Landon half chuckled and said, "Huh! You're 'onside' backwards, Jea."
Sun And Hot Are Synonymous
As an airplane flew overhead on a cooler Spring day, Landon and Janae put their hands up haphazardly on their foreheads, an attempt at blocking the bright sky while watching the plane. Landon informed me just then that he does that now when a plane goes by. I asked him why and he said, "Because it's hot out."
A Good Reason To Get Remarried
While intently staring at a wedding picture of friends, Landon was admiring the bride's bouquet.
"You should get one of these, Mom," he said, pointing at the flowers.
"Oh, I already had one of those when I got married," I informed him.
"Well, get married again," he said.
Birthday Fun Confusion
I had just told Landon that we were going to go to his cousin's birthday party the next day.
"Are we going to watch him wrap presents, Mom?" he asked.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
As we left the restaurant, Toby took a turn opposite from home. Figuring he was just doing his typical "along for the ride" driving, I didn't think anything of it as we merged into traffic.
Toby has this way of driving at times that would make most people think he was merely a passenger. He'll embark on a journey for the sole purpose of sight seeing or just for the sheer pleasure of going for a ride, but yet he's the driver.
If he happens to be in a turning lane, he'll turn -- even if he has no desire to go down that road. If we drive past an exit on the interstate, often we'll take the exit for no reason. If he gets behind a slow driver on a 4 lane street, sometimes he'll slow down and follow the guy for miles before finally using one of those convenient left lanes.
And he's often hand less too. No matter if traffic is wild or the road is especially slippery he'll perch his wrist on the top of the wheel, relax in his seat and just enjoy the ride while avoiding the cars driving straight or while we slip all over mud, slush and wash boards.
Then, when we come to a turn, it gets even more exciting -- you'd think we were in a semi truck though. We need a sign on the back of our mini van that says "This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns." Couple that with a cell phone, triple it with a can of pop and quadruple that by changing the radio station on him, and your time as a passenger will be more thrilling than a roller coaster ride.
Since he's a roofer and notices waves and lines in places most people don't even look, it gets even more scary when he happens to drive past a house with crooked shingles all while drinking a can of pop, talking on his cell phone, switching the radio station AND making a wide right turn with his wrist.
This is a fun experience; I should sell tickets.
Anyway, thinking we were going for one of our typical evening rides, I didn't think anything of the fact that he was on the wrong road to get home.
We were chatting and discussing a quiet, blooming park to take the kids to, The Sunken Gardens. A beautiful, peaceful little city park created for the sole purpose of leisurely walking through while enjoying the millions of bright, fragrant flowers and listening to the sound of a mesmerizing water fall as it flowed several feet down into the center of the garden.
Then he made a wrong turn.
I still didn't think anything of it; he drives like this sometimes when we go to Walmart and that's only 2 minutes from our front door.
I continued to chat, not noticing the lame excuse he made for making that turn: he decided to go to the water falls by the Capitol instead. Figured the kids would enjoy seeing that more than flowers.
Then he circled a city block over and over while looking for a parking spot. The city block was no where near the Capitol.
As he parked, I still didn't think anything of it; he had said he wanted to walk too.
Wishing I had brought the stroller for the long walk between our van and the Capitol's water falls, my mind was in that "I knew I should've done that" mode. I totally didn't notice anything out of the ordinary considering I was regretting the absence of the stroller.
As Toby shut the van off, I reached for the door latch. But, he was looking at me funny.
"What?" I asked him.
"You have no idea, do you?" he asked me.
"No idea about what?" I returned.
"Can't you tell where we are?" he asked me.
Several blocks from our destination, I was thinking but didn't say.
"Um, not really," I slowly said, trying to figure out what was so special about where we were.
"What do you think about getting a new piano?" he finally asked.
"TOBY!!!" I screeched, realizing we were by the music store... "NOT at this music store... we should try to get something used... this would be way too expensive... a used one is just as good... I really don't need a new piano... this store is way too expensive anyway... I've been watching the paper..." I rattled on and on and on.
He finally quieted me down and helped me feel better by saying, "lets just look here and you can at least play several and decide what you want."
I figured that was a safe and cheaper idea than just flat out buying a new piano.
The music store is in one of those old, quaint, high downtown buildings. I love going there. It's swarming with musicians carrying all kinds of instruments in and out of the doors. Everyone is dressed to play the part too and is dressed in a classy yet inexpensive attire. Kind of that "health food store" look. Real natural and down to earth. You can tell they've dedicated their lives to music and seem to dwell in the music scale of their sacred instrument. Their eyes dance with treble clefts and bass clefts as they look at the world and determine which category everything fits in. There's always a new piece of music to learn, a new technique to master and deeper understanding to attain in the instrument of their choice. This music store is the perfect place to indulge in such lofty aspirations.
And there I was, the play-by-ear mommy with a baby on my hip and a husband and young boy in tow. Me, who's only performance had been on the day of my wedding. Yes me, walking among such learned musicians.
The 3rd level was filled with the enchanting pianos. We launched ourselves up the elevator and landed on a past century, high ceiling cathedral looking room. Just through glassed french doors, black grands and white baby grands stood waiting for someone to polish their ivories.
I thought I was in heaven.
I sampled several, even comparing the studio pianos with the sound of the real grand pianos. Nothing I tried was what I was looking for. Toby thought it was the prices discouraging me so reminded me again to just find what I liked for sound quality. But, even ignoring the prices wasn't helping.
Since I play by ear, it's all about sound to me. If the piano's sound alone doesn't appeal to me, I have to learn to get over that before I can make my song sound acceptable to my standard. It's a weird technique but that's how I've always been.
Standing along a far wall positioned behind the more appealing studios and digital pianos, stood an old 1800's looking monster of a piano. The varnish was faded, the wood was a beat up and keys were nothing pretty. I ran my fingers over it's dull, peeling keys knowing that it's only the uprights that bear the true sound of good piano.
The sound was lovely.
Toby happened to walk up just then with this look of, "why are you touching that thing?"
"THIS is what I want," I beamed at him, while the piano completely lent it's sound board to my tripping and unpracticed fingers. I could tell this piano wanted to be played.
"You like THAT?" he asked me while blinking and comparing it to the beauty of the studio pianos sitting close by.
"This is the only piano that sounds right," I told him, while playing on the high keys.
He was in a predicament. The last thing he wanted was a beast of an instrument to haul around for the next 50 years of his life. (Our aim is 50 years of marriage -- after that, we'll go for another 50.) In order to move this thing 2 inches, you'd need a work crew. It would be equal in size to adding an addition on our house. But of course it would take precious floor space in our already crowded house.
I could see a look of concern and fear coupled with shock on his face. The piano I admitted was a little ugly but the sound was all that mattered to me.
Toby came up with a compromise. (I think he was desperate.)
"Try one of the higher-end digital pianos," he suggested. "You can always change their sound and the way they play."
I agreed with him since what he said was true. Plus, the size of this thing was enough to scare anyone away and I knew size mattered to Toby since he'd be the one in charge of hauling it around. But, I wondered if the digital feature was appealing to him because it fell into a computer category. As long as it sounded nice though, I didn't care.
He directed me towards a substantial looking digital piano. It sounded good and I deemed it well enough, considering with a little tweaking, the sound could easily be improved. So could the hammer action. Little did I know that the owner's manual that would come with that piano was equal in size to a phone book. But, certainly with all those buttons and gadgets and dials, you could create a sound equal or superb to one of the grand pianos sitting near by, even if you didn't read the directions.
"I'll take it," I said. And Toby sighed.
The piano came the next morning. An old man and a overweight middle aged man huffed and puffed it through the door in the rain. I knew Toby would be impressed with how light it obviously was -- the delivery guys definitely didn't play the part of what you'd think a piano delivery guy would look like.
My new piano was beautiful. I loved it. During nap time that day, I spent hours playing and recording and learning my new piano. It was so fun, I hardly got a thing done that day. Everyday after that I would spend my spare time enjoying the thrill of the piano's perfect ivories.
Soon my children became infected with my zeal for this piano. Landon learned how to get "The Muffin Man" to play on it. Janae learned how to permanently delete sound clips. Landon also learned how to plug the "microwave" (microphone) into the plug-ins and sing heartily. Janae enjoyed pushing the buttons and changing the screen display light to completely white. Once Landon put "Piano Lock" on the piano and I had to resort to the owner's manual in order to unlock it.
As I'm sure you can understand, eventually I had to sneak my piano playing in if I wanted to spend any quality time on it.
Just last night, I gave into the urge to play a tune and suddenly out of no where, two little people arrived, absorbed in the enchantment of the open and "on" piano.
Landon plugged his microwave in and began to bounce along to "Jesus Loves Me."
Janae tried selecting the "8" button just above the high keys but grew increasingly emotional when I discouraged her from touching the setting.
While I attended to Janae, Landon reached behind me and managed to change the piano sound to a weird organ/piano combo and dropped the keys down an octave or two. I think he reads the owner's manual in his spare time; he knows how to change settings and styles that I don't even know exist.
After I set it back by shutting off the piano and restarting it, Janae was back and climbing on the bench next to me.
Before she managed to fall off, I carefully set her on the floor next to me while Landon tinkered with his microwave and took it apart.
I put his microphone back together and quickly set a jolly tune to play before something else drastic happened.
Stepping away from the open piano for just a second, enabled my children the opportunity they were waiting for.
Landon got a jolly "If You're Happy And You Know It" playing while Janae drooled her half-chewed apple all over the display screen and thumped along with the song.
While I attempted to wipe the screen quickly with my skirt, I was finding my a-line jumper just didn't seem to reach. I was desperate though since the juice could perhaps seep into some seam or crack somewhere and then my beautiful piano would be tainted with souring apple juice. I was about ready to pull the hem of my skirt up but realized that my pregnant belly would make it almost impossible to reach the screen. Just then I noticed a fresh dribble of drool on several white, shiny keys, near middle "C."
Right at that time, Landon switched the song and Janae tripped over the microwave cord.
By now, it was getting a bit scary for the piano. I let the piano play but shut it's cover and walked away. Both children were amused by that but yet somewhat offended that they couldn't reach the keys and buttons and dials. How would Landon change the song with the lid down?
They stood close to it, peering intently into the closed seam of the cover. Eventually, Landon carefully lifted it an inch and peered up into the lid like a mechanic looks up into the underside of a car.
"And everyone wonders why I don't play my new piano more often," I mused to Toby. Thankfully, just at that precise moment, bedtime struck.
This piano has always been an exciting ride -- since the day I got it. But, with aspiring pianists blossoming around me, I think I may have to hang up my lofty musician goals until baby drool no longer threatens it's sound board and smart little men learn to leave the notes in a normal octave. Until then, we'll enjoy jolly "Muffin Man" tunes and out of tune "Jesus Loves Me" lyrics in the microwave with the piano lid closed.
Besides learning a handful of songs and figuring out myself how to change the piano sound without resorting to the owner's manual, there's only one thing I've learned since getting this new piano: there's more than one way to play a piano.
And while I continue to learn that way and teach my kids valuable lessons of boundaries and limitations as well as learning the music scale, I'm enjoying the ride but still looking for those peaceful moments to indulge in the beauty of music myself.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Learning Important Geography
While looking at a globe and memorizing states, Landon was full of questions -- and answers...
"Where's Nebraska?" I asked him.
He promptly put his finger on the state.
"Where's Grandma and Grandpa?" he asked me. I pointed to Wisconsin.
"And... where's Walmart?" he asked.
"Mom, Janae has Bertie," Landon complained to me while playing with his Thomas Train set.
"You're going to have to wait until Janae is done playing with it," I reminded him.
"Can you put Janae to bed?" he asked, knowing then she'd be done playing with it.
"No Landon... you wait until she puts Bertie down and then you can have a turn with him."
Landon turned to Janae and said, "Drop it, Janae."
Definition Of A Short Nap
While putting Landon down for a nap one day, he was rather reluctant to surrender himself to an afternoon of sleep.
"Can I just take a little bit nap, Mom?"
One morning Landon was grinding coffee beans for me. He stopped for a second, looked through the clear top and said, "Whoa! They broke!"
Don't Wait For The Clouds; Buy A New Moon
As we were getting out of the van one night, Landon noticed the moonless sky.
"Where's the moon?" He asked with concern.
I explained it was under a cloud.
"Oh," he said, "we can just get another moon at Walmart then."
Landon was taking his time eating supper one night.
"What's in your mouth?" Toby asked him. Landon opened his mouth and showed it was empty.
"Landon, you need to keep putting 'that' in your mouth," Toby instructed, pointing to the plate of food.
Trying to show interest, Landon responded with, "Like food?"
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I knew what he wanted.
Fish are... too boring.
I despise insects and spiders.
Exotic or unique creatures are interesting but definitely don't appeal to me.
Not, mice-in-your-house type rodents but caged ones. You know, the ones that you intentionally feed; they don't steal food from you.
When I was young, my grandma had a couple of pet rats. I think my rodent infatuation began then. She didn't have them long but it was long enough for me to realize that I thought rats were intelligent creatures.
I built their cages. I cleaned their cages. I stocked hundreds of bales of hay for their cages. I even hauled hundreds of pounds of rabbit feed every year. That's saying a lot for someone who can hardly haul a bag of groceries now.
While pondering the importance of getting a pet for our growing children, we considered a dog. Definitely not a good idea with our house and yard set-up. We already had two children to potty train, why would we want to add a dog to that project too? "Okay kids, get the dog, it's time for everyone to go potty."
Monday, March 05, 2007
Thank you to everyone for the prayers and encouragement this past week. We're officially in the hacking and runny nose stage that can tend to go on for awhile. But, as long as no secondary infections develop, we should be on the road to complete recovery and health.
Thank the Lord!
"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season..."
We were having family devotions one morning and Toby explained this verse to Landon who was intently listening.
"You know how a apple grows on a tree," he said to Landon, "A godly man shows fruit in his life too."
"The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away."
He explained this verse by using a wheat field in his illustration and how a tractor goes through and harvests the "seeds" but then the grassy part blows out into the wind and flies away.
"The "chaff" is blown out but the seeds are kept and they make bread out of it," he explained to an attentive Landon.
"Appleseed's?" Landon asked.
Not What I Wanted To Hear
After dealing with a week of sickness in our home, I was looking forward to the day when the kids would wake up well. As I checked Landon's fever one last time before bed, I would tease him and say, "If you're still sick in the morning, Mama's gonna 'pank your boompen!" It would always invoke a little smile -- which was wonderful to see on a feverish face.
One night, after hearing this time after time, I was chiding with Landon and asked him what Mama would do if he was still sick in the morning.
"Give me more medicine," he said, very matter-of-factly.
You Can Tell What's On Her Mind
I was trying to teach Janae the line, "Jesus loves the little children." Word by word, I said it, she echoed it.
After she echoed back the first three words, she finished the line right off, "Babies!"
A New Way To Look At Things
While playing with a handful of nails, Landon came across one of superior size.
"Oh my, Honey!" He gushed across the room at me, "Look at this big toe nail!"
That Other Relative
As Landon watched the squirrel one day that frequents our back deck, he squealed across the house, ""Look! There's Uncle Gabe!"
The Happy Medium Of Push And Pull
While pulling and prying nails out of a make-shift "board" (thick card board), Landon handed one to me and said, "Here, I peeled this one out."
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Since last Sunday afternoon, we have had one barrage after another of fevers, coughs and typical flu-like symptoms. We even went to the doctor 2 days into this. And I hardly ever take the kids to the doctor unless its life threatening.
And this time it was. Janae was so congested, she could hardly breathe. That has since improved thanks to a dear friend lending us her nebulizer -- thanks Sarah! -- and I made a tea of thyme leaves and kept that steaming in her face for most of that day.
Even Landon is running high fevers, which for him is unusual. Plus, he has a really annoying (for him) cough that seems to jump out of no where at any given time.
"Hey Honey," I began as I sat down near him, "I need to talk to you about something."
Immediately, my listening husband said, "Okay, talk." And then he picked up his cell phone and made a call.
A few minutes later, I told him again we needed to discuss something.
"Okay, talk," he attentively said as he resumed the program on his computer, giving it his full attention.
The phone rang at this point and he answered it. I knew I definitely couldn't talk now so waited for the call to pass.
After he hung up, he headed out the room. Through the doorway as his voice grew distant, I heard him say, "Honey, you can talk now."
Friday, March 02, 2007
The older you get, even strangers will comment on how much you "look just like your dad."
Before you were born, I didn't know about boys.
The older you get, the more I'm learning about boys and the ways they become men.
Before you were born, I lead a complicated yet carefree life filled with adult things.
The older you get, the more I find joys in simple things like trains and trucks and writing the alphabet.
Before you were born, I knew of the best shopping places and malls.
The older you get, I spend my spare time looking for fun playgrounds and zoos to take you to.
Before you were born, I never had a messy house.
The older you get, the more I learn that there's more important things in life than a clean house.
Before you were born, I never gave thought to the necessity of a good sized yard.
The older you get, I've come to realize that a house without a yard is like a kitchen without a stove.
Before you were born, I thought a birthday was just a date on the calendar.
The older you get, the more I anticipate those special days.
Before you were born, I thought kids stayed little forever.
The older you get, the more I realize how little time I have with you.
Before you were born, I had very little to pray about.
The older you get, the more my prayer list grows.
Before you were born, I had never been a mom.
But now that you're there, 3 is a huge and awesome number!
Happy 3rd Birthday today Landon!
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Just before naptime, I instructed Landon to go potty before getting in bed.
"I already went potty," he informed me.
I assured him it was okay to go potty again, even if he already did.
He sighed heavily, "But Mom, I just did go potty!" he said and then went on to explain, "lastnight when it was dark, I went potty."
A Fitting Name
Landon does not call our new pet guinea pig a guinea pig; rather, she's a "bunny pig." And Janae calls her a "puppy pig." (every creature to her is a puppy.)
Potty Chair Privacy
Landon was busy doing business on the potty chair when Toby walked in to check on him.
"How's it going Landon?" Toby asks the quiet, sullen boy.
"Fine. It's going," Landon says expressionlessly as he lifts his hanging head. "Will you please leave Dad?"
Let It Snow
Though he dislikes playing in it, is struck with a major case of cabin fever, and is anxiously waiting summer, as he looked out the window at all the melting snow recently, Landon came to one conclusion...
"We need more snow Mom."
Grandparents Bring Jesus
Confusing visits with grandparents being only in connection with Christmas, when I told Landon that Grandpa and Grandma would come to our house when the baby was born, he asked, "And Baby Jesus will be here?"
I Don't See The Moon And It Doesn't See Me
Traveling home from church one evening, I heard from the back seat...
"MOM!" Landon gasped. "I can't find the moooooon," He wailed sadly, completely over taken by the tragicness of the situation.
"Well, its probably just above the van and you can't see it yet," I informed him, hoping he would cheer up a little.
"But, I can't find it!" He worriedly said then sighed and concluded with, "It's prolly still at Church."
When explaining to Landon one cold, winter day that a short sleeved shirt was intended for hot weather, I never imagined how he'd end up taking that explanation.
A few days later, he came out of his room with a short sleeved shirt on, seemingly pleased with it.
"I just love my hot shirt, Mom," he said as he strutted past me.
The Sunday Dollar
Considering we normally use plastic or check books to pay for our everyday purchases, we usually only have cash on hand for the Sunday Church offering. Because of this, real cash in Landon's mind is only for Sundays.
While playing with his cash register and looking for his play money, I heard him exclaim, "I can't find my Sunday Dollar."