I have lived in the same place for a little over 8 years now and have become strange friends with an unlikely candidate.  A tree.  A dead tree.  She has been dead ever since I knew her.  She used to have a friend, also dead, but years ago the friend fell down and rotted into the fertile soil beneath.

I don't know that I can explain my love of this tree.  I liked how she stood there, strong and defiant.  An old, apparently useless thing; she dared me to love her beauty, to accept her just as she was.  And I did.  Any time I drove back and forth to town, my eyes would light on what I came to think of as my tree.  Just a moment, a brief nod to this steadfast friend.  Part of me always wondering if this would be the time that she would be gone, blown over by the wind or simply having given up and fallen down, roots flailing in the air as sometimes happens.

Recently, construction started in the field nearby and I knew this was my cue.  I pulled my car to the side of the road one sunny…

Say What - The Munchkin

I am aware that The Munchkin gets much less attention than her sister did in terms of documenting her life.  I'm trying, but a second child adds something like 4 children worth of activities.  Here are a few things she says (or said recently):

1.  When she saw a photo of herself recently, she would point to herself in the picture and say, "my you".  Of course we would confirm, yes, that is you.  Now she calls the photo by her own name.

2.  How she came to know of them I don't know, but she is afraid of "monkers" (or monsters) and "gose" (or ghosts).  She is convinced that the light that shines on her ceiling from her nightlight is a ghost (but doesn't want to get rid of said light).

3.  In the path of her older sister, she can make a verb of any noun by adding "ing".  She said, "It's darking" instead of "it's getting dark" the other day.

4.  When she wants something, she will say, "I WHANT it".  …

Changing Seasons

It is officially Fall.  August and its sultry weather stayed with us well into September, and Indiana days are just giving way to the cool sunset evenings that call the entire family out of doors.  Tonight I marveled as I watched my daughters play together, both pretending to be super heroes who could fly (on our swings) and then chase criminals as they giggled their way through the yard.  The dog chased the cat through the too-tall grass and I looked at the Mister.
"I don't know if you've noticed," I said, "but our family is just about perfect right now."
"I have," he replied, smiling.
All of this comes on the heels of one of the deepest depressions I have ever experienced.  It is one that frightened me with its insidious nature.  Even now, I cannot look back and say when it began.  Was it three years ago, after our miscarriage?  I admit that I did all I could to avoid the feelings surrounding that time, choosing instead to stay busy.  Was it aft…

Say What?

This two and a half year old munchkin of ours, she provides lots of laughs (along with some headaches).  Here are a few of her phrases these days:

1.  Any time the sky gets dim, she runs to us yelling, "Ih's fwainee!!"  In Munchkin speak, this means, "It's raining!!"  This is the first weather phenomenon that she has recognized, and it's fair to say that she is fully obsessed.  Days are getting shorter,  so when she goes to bed and the light is dim, "Ih's fwainee!!"  When she wakes up to more dim light, "Ih's fwainee!!"  Along with her obsession with the rain, she worries constantly about the cars getting wet.  Often, "Car wet!" are the first words she says to me when I see her in the morning.  No amount of persuasion can convince her that it is not, in fact, raining and that the car is dry.  When it actually IS raining, watch out.  These topics are on a constant state of repeat for hours on end.

2.  When she has a …

The Munchkin Turns 2

Oh, my little girl, you are two!

You, my love, have got such a personality!!

I joke that someday you will have a very social job like cruise director!  Certainly, the life of the party, which you already are.  You have absolutely got joie de vivre, your smile can light up any room and you have a knack for drawing people in.

You are still working hard on your language skills, so communication can be a big area of frustration for you.  Smiling and screaming are two of your current extremes.  You do have lots of words though.  You love animals and can name several animals and their sounds.

This year we had a "Bobo" party (or Elmo to those who don't understand the translation).  You love Bobo, you love baby Einstein videos.  One of your favorite activities right now is to hold hand with Mom, Dad and The Nugget around the dinner table and sway back and forth to whatever music is playing.  You LOVE music and dancing and I have already seen your future as a crowd surfer at s…

Game Time

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to invite you to play a game!  People of all ages, gather round for a guessing game that I like to call:

Toddler or Cat
All you have to do is correctly guess the answer to each question by using the word either Toddler or Cat.  
Winners will receive the right to pat themselves on their own back.  No further prizes exist.
So now, if you're ready, let us begin!!!
1.  Likes to scream at the door anytime she or he is not allowed to follow the dog out. Did you guess cat?  Give yourself one pat!  He will continue to cry until the dog comes in or he manages to escape, resulting in much cursing, crying and barefoot chasing around the yard.
2.  Likes to dig into the laundry and get a pair or pairs of underpants wrapped around her or his head. Did you guess toddler?  One more pat!  This is an EVERY. DAY. OCCURRENCE.  
3.  Attempts to get all of the things off of all of the surfaces all of the time (think counters, tables, etc). It's a tricky one!  It's …

3AM Won't Last Forever

During the newborn phase of parenting, I found it important to remind myself that those middle of the night wakings would end.  I needed to keep up the mantra to myself that it won't last forever.  Newborns take a lot from a parent; all of that missed sleep is such a difficult thing.  Knowing that at some point I would get back to a normal sleep schedule was the only thing that got me through.

Now, though, every night at some point, The Munchkin will fuss herself awake.  At 21 months, she goes to bed like a dream and sleeps most of the night through.  But somewhere between 3 and 4, inevitably, she wakes and needs a cuddle.

I go to her and lift her from the crib, bring her to the rocking chair and we rock.  Usually only five minutes or so, sometimes longer if one of us needs.  Sometimes I have a bit of an internal battle with myself about this nighttime ritual.  I tell myself that I am only reinforcing the waking by picking her up and rocking her.  I tell myself I should let her cr…