Thursday, May 31, 2007

Brotherly love!

Here is a lovely photo circa 1942 of my dad at age 20 months or so with his big brother, Bob, who was probably 9 years. I just am touched by the way Jimmy is holding Bob's wrist and how Bob is snuggled up to his little bro.

To this day, despite troubles within the Daley clan, my dad and Uncle Bob are still in touch and phone regularly.

I'll be sure to scan pics of their twin younger brothers (Uncles Bill and Tom) soon.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Morning ritual with Dash

Scene: 7:45 a.m., the four of us, all packed in the car, pulling away from the house.

Dash: Bye-bye house! Hi, Dad-da! Hi, Mam-ma! Hi, Dju-Dju! (we all answer, Hi, Dash!)

Driving through the neighborhood:

Dash: Woof, woof, dog-ga! Hi, squirrel! Hi, car! Hi tree! (and so on. But, not to be forgotten:) Bye-bye creek! (which is a favorite place to throw rocks and make big splashes.)

Just sharing the sweetness. He is so full of joy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Playset design for beyond preschool

Our kids love our playset right now, as all the research and development for its particular design and function is for ages 3 to 10 years. We had friends over for a Memorial Day barbecue yesterday, and our friends brought their children. With the exception of Daniel (6 months), all the kids that were over were in the optimal age range for enjoyment of our swingset/slide playset, although at 8-almost 9-years, the entertainment factor is pushing it for Kira. In fact, at 18 months (and not officially in the bracket) Liam was arguably having the most fun of all! Dash just marched around and claimed ownership of everything ("mine swing!"), kind of spoiling his own enjoyment, but that's part of being two years old, right? Lila figured out how to flip around on the trapeeze, which Rosie has been happy to just dangle from; kudos, you coordinated little flower!

So, what is there when your 8 to 12 year-old is bored with your playset that was designed to keep a 4 year-old entertained? Some architects and conceptual artists envision "new spaces to stimulate the imagination (and the metabolism) by encouraging exploration and free play."

The writer mentions that she has asked other designers for input. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dash is 23 months today

Here's a photo from my new phone of my sweet little Dash in his carseat, eating his favorite treat, chocolate. He's 23 months today, which means that we need to start sending invites out for his birthday party!

At 23 months, Dash is cheerful, very active, and is right on track with his verbal skills. He is putting together multi-word sentences, like "car, go, Mama, store!" when he wants to take a trip (probably to a store with chocolate for sale). He's quite the artist, using paints, crayons and tape, on all sorts of media (like the walls AND carpeting).

He loves his sister, Dju-Dju, and follows her around everywhere. Their favorite game is "hide" where they find a hiding place (especially Rosie's closet) giggle until AJS or I come to find them. In daycare when he's upset, his teachers know that a visit to Dju-Dju will cheer him up—I think he's over in Preschool visiting daily.

He's very empathetic when he hears a baby crying, letting me know, "sad baby, Mama." His favorite things right now are going outside, visiting our neighbor, James (5 years), stacking tall block-towers, trying out his potty, throwing balls, running, dancing, and counting (two, four, six, nine). He loves hot-doggas for dinner with tay-tos, noodles, chicken nuggets (nugga!), peas, and all kinds of beans.

When he does have tantrums, he's pretty easy to redirect. I managed to curtail diaper-changing meltdowns by pretending that his toes are my most treasured things in the world. :-D He now will offer his toes up for kisses with a huge smile instead of fighting for his life.

What will his birthday party theme be? His most loved toys are still ducks and Elmo, but Thomas the Tank Engine is rising in the ranks...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pushing my buttons (a rant)

Why do bedtime and waking up have to be such a struggle? I am mostly talking about Rosie here. Dash has, so far, been a pretty easy guy to get down and wake. Rosie though, requires many pre-sleep steps before we are released from her domain.

First, there's the "just one TV show".

Second, AJS usually reads her books until I'm finished with Dash.

Third, when I get to her room, we read three books; last night she had the same books from the night before. I suggested we get fresh books, but no (weeping ensued); whatever. She was tired, so she wanted to flop on me and then demanded that I hold the books at strange angles where I couldn't even read the words, so I made her cry by holding them so I could actually read. Then she claimed I was reading them wrong and insisted that I re-read several pages. This went horribly awry with me running out of the room several times to get tissues for her tears and runny nose (note to self: bring tissue box in Rosie's room). Somehow, I read the books, managed to get her in bed and left, but it was well after 9:30. [As an aside, someone was outside playing basketball until 9 p.m., which in the state I was in with Rosie, was like someone slamming the ball into the side of my head everytime it hit the pavement.]

Last, when I leave, she asks for me to send AJS in one more time for a kiss. Then Igive her kisses, hugs, wish her peaceful sleep and tell her I love her. Despite all the struggles, she is a beautiful girl and can be very sweet.

And, ugh, it's not even worth it to really get into what I went through this morning. Suffice to say that setting up her clothes the night before and getting her buy-in is time very, very well spent. I will be doing my super-best to keep that ritual going. Whew.

I'll try to come back later and write about the nicer parts of the weekend. That's just not what I'm focusing on at the moment.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dash Potty!

Last night, for the first time, Dash tried out his potty! Before now, he has only identified it as "potty" and pointed, but when we asked if he wanted to sit, we heard a big "NO!" Yesterday, however, he sat for a while, said, "Dash poop," and got up a few times (however, the potty remained unsoiled). He received plenty of positive reinforcement from AJS and me!

The part I thought was hilarious was that he wanted to be completely naked before he sat down. Will he be one of *those* people?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Now we know who did it!

Me (feeling sandpapery grains on scalp): "Dash, did you throw sand in your hair?"

Dash: "Djeah!"

AJS: "Oh, he'll say yes to anything. Dash, did you shoot McKinley?

Dash: "Djeah!"

And here's a video of our little man, for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, May 11, 2007

Top ten music challenge

Kelly O set a music query out to her readers: "Here are ten of my all-time favs. What are yours?"

While most of these tunes never made it on the radio, my criteria are: that the song sends those lovely chills up the spine, I loved the tune enough to buy it and play it over and over, I actually know the words and occasionally sing along at the highest volume allowed, and —if appropriate— sends me running out on the dance floor without any prodding. So here goes (I added some lyrics and oddly, found that many of my favorite songs have birds mentioned; funny.):

Dead Can Dance: "As the Bell Rings, the Maypole Spins"

David Sylvian: "September"
The sun shines high above / The sounds of laughter / The birds swoop down upon / The crosses of old grey churches

Depeche Mode: "Dream On"

Sinead O'Connor: "Troy"
Oh, I love you / God, I love you / I'd kill a dragon for you / I’ll die / But I will rise / And I will return / The Phoenix from the flame

Violent Femmes: "Blister in the Sun"
When I'm out walkin' I strut my stuff / Man, I'm so strung out / I'm high as a kite and I just might stop to check you out

Ministry: "We Believe"
In the east where the bear is dancing / In the west where the eagle flies / In the middle we stand our ground / The forces pull us down, down, down / We believe

Peter Murphy: "Cuts You Up"
I find you in the morning / After dreams of distant signs / You pour yourself over me / Like the sun through the blinds / You lift me up

Tones on Tail: "Lions"

Love and Rockets: "Rain Bird"
Rain bird flies to the edge of a gilded cage / Hiding in the spotlights / Of a famous stage / He tries to become invisible / Whilst stealing the front page

Yann Tiersen: "Les Jours Tristes"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

If you clean your plate...

Dash is learning the rules. Rosie knows, if she wants to have a treat after dinner, she has to eat everything on her plate; it's usually not a large amount, it's just different foods that she's too picky to try. It's her choice to make the effort or not. Dash has been learning from Rosie. He likes treats too (especially chocolate: boc-boc!) and asks for them well before he's eaten much dinner.

Until yesterday, he seemed to think that we'd be fooled if he just pushed his extra food off the plate onto the table, or gave it away to us. (Ha! Not quite, Dash.) But last night, he finally got it. He heard Rosie was talking about chocolate, then grabbed all his food in two fists and shoved it all into his mouth at once, moistly yelling, "BOC-BOC!!"

His plate was clean (he held it up for us to examine), so he got one Hershey's kiss.

"Was it good, Dash?" "Gud."

(P.S. tonight's dinner: all he wanted/ate was oranges and didn't ask for any treats.)

Monday, May 07, 2007

More storage, courtesy IKEA

We went on our IKEA trip on Saturday exactly when it opened, with both kids in tow. Since there are 2 IKEAs about equidistant from our house, we opted to alternate and went to Woodbridge. I had carefully measured the two spaces where we wanted to add shelving, and so felt prepared: we would buy 2 or 3 shelving units, no more.

Of course, that place is like a beehive with winding paths, incredible amounts of distractingly fun stuff, so while wandering, we found about 4 or 5 small odds and ends, mostly for the kids. When we found the storage area, none of the shelving on display was the exact size I wanted, but I identified 2 units that would be close enough.

When we got to the warehouse area, we were all ready to leave and the kids were getting antsy. AJS couldn't understand why I was staring frantically at stacks and stacks of what looked like the same thing, but each had different measurements, and so I was not immediately reaching for any one item. After some indecision, I grabbed a few things that looked right (they weren't) and loaded them on the pallet. We located the second item and after a glance, decided it wouldn't fit in the wagon. Sigh.

A small victory: we did build one unit of the shelves we bought (not the best size, but will do) and loaded it with some goods. We also donated three boxes of books to the local AmVets donation site. I know there are book drives all over, but these were all very odd books about Celtic mythology, wedding/fertility/pregnancy planning, outdated software & travel guides, and other fiction miscelleny.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Back into mildly freaking out about bird flu

About a year and a half ago, I was totally obsessed with avian influenza. I checked the World Health Organization updates regularly, read online disaster scenarios (that predict an 8-week recovery period, best-case), and researched what I could do to be prepared. And more importantly, I wanted to know what my community, my County, and the state of Virginia was doing. I contacted regional health officials, got them on the calendar, and they gave a moving presentation at my neighborhood association's monthly meeting.

I purchased some books and some large water/food storage containers. I went to Costco and started buying some instutional-size quantities of odds and ends. I considered becoming trained by the Medical Reserve Corps and volunteer during an emergency (the incentive here is, as a volunteer, you and your family get first dips at vaccinations).

But, after a few months of this at some point, I just couldn't sustain the sense of urgency. The information about the outbreaks started fading from the headlines and buying the extra supplies was hurting my wallet. And, a major hurdle to creating a workable storage system was to actually be able to store supplies. We have a perfect place in our basement, but it's full of other stuff; finding time to clear it out (which would involve many trash bags, recycling, donations to charity, giving stuff to friends, eBay sales, and/or a yard sale) hasn't been a priority with the kiddies taking up all our time and energy during waking hours.

All this to say, my Mother's Day wish is to have the storage area ready. I have AJS on board to help clear the junk out this weekend. We will make those donations, give stuff away, and move the remaining items chosen for future disposal to the attic. The next step is to go to IKEA (or similar place) and buy some cheap-ish but usable shelving.

Then I can move onto the next stage: stocking the space with supplies.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Proofs are here!

Picture Day at daycare was three weeks ago and we just got the proofs back. I grabbed the copyrighted images from and wish to let them know that I don't intend to alter or print these images (nor should you). I fully intend to buy packages.

Here are my picks; tell me what you think:

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dash and Rosie like duckpins!

We went to a duckpin bowling alley in Baltimore on Sunday for Alan's birthday party. Dash loves duckpins!
Rosie made a friend named Cori. I think her father works as a mechanic there, so Cori knew all the bowling rules and kept my kids out of trouble. She was very happy to have other kids around (and the good snacks that accompany them).

Dash was almost, but not entirely, conked out on the way home.

Our little circus

On Saturday morning, our yelling kids and shrieking bird were sending AJS up the bricks, so I suggested I take them all for a walk. Bird included. Out came the radio flyer wagon from the shed, insert pillow and blanket, Rosie in the back, Dash between her legs, and Weegee in his carrier between Dash's legs. Off we rolled, down the street (cue circus music).

Dash loves Weegee; he helps feed him and gives him hearty pats while I keep the pointy beak away from his tender mitts. Weegee is a Senegal parrot and is nine years old; in good health, his breed will live to be 35 years or more. AJS and Weegee didn't get off to the best start (discipline issues), so Weegee thinks he's the Alpha male and succeeds in dominating AJS with shrieks and bites. I get preened and kissed. Rosie mirrors AJS with Weegee: she'll make chatter-noises with him, but doesn't want him out of his cage. Dash wants Weegee "out" and "up"!

Before kids, Weegee was the baby. I'm most certain that he dearly misses all the attention and playtime he used to get.
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