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[Comments] (1) I am pleasantly surprised . . . : This weekend I received a very beautiful cookbook (and autographed by the author, too) in the mail from my cousin Leonard. Thank you Leonard!!! Today I will go to the Merc to get ingredients for our feasting.

[Comments] (1) : Happy Birthday Jennifer Lynn!!

[Comments] (1) Strange Dreams: Atticus was giggling and telling me about the dream he had last night. This imaginary tale included his conquering of monsters and strange images of his father: "Papa looked like an acorn in my dream," he said.

[Comments] (3) Macaroni and Cheese: I've figured out that if I hide a little bit of broccoli in Atticus' mac & cheese, he'll eat it without a fuss. Samuel, on the other hand, will only eat macaroni and cheese when I've hidden it in broccoli. They are a strange pair.

[Comments] (7) Fortunately, Unfortunately . . .: I attended an Enrichment Night which featured children's literature last summer. The presenter, a children's literacy specialist, read this great book that followed the formula of something good happening followed by something bad. Every sentence began with "fortunately" or "unfortunately." I can't really remember the exact events of the story, but the format was charming. I really hope I find the book someday, but for today, I have my own story to tell using the "fortunately, unfortunately" convention, so here it is. . .

Fortunately, I have an especially acute sense of smell. Unfortunately, yesterday I felt haunted by some foul odor coming from some area of the kitchen. Fortunately, this motivated normal to extra deep cleaning on my part: doing all the dishes, cleaning out the fridge, throwing out old food, taking out the garbage, moving the fridge and mopping the floor underneath, taking recyclables out to the car for a trip to the recycling center, etc. Unfortunately, this business kept me up until midnight. Fortunately, I got rid of the smell. Unfortunately, in the morning, Samuel was simultaneously feeling thirsty and independent, and he decided to take the lid-less pitcher containing two quarts of apple juice out of the fridge by himself. Unfortunately, a great mushroom cloud of the sticky liquid came crashing down and the juice went *everywhere* inside of the fridge--and outside a little bit, too. But fortunately, I laughed and didn't cry. In situations such as these, little else besides humor can keep a person together.

An Little Love from Atticus: This morning, as our neighbor was leaving to drop her three-year-old daughter at the baby-sitters for the day, I asked Atticus if he would like going to a baby-sitters house like Ana, or if he wanted to stay with me. Throwing his arms around my neck, he very gushingly replied, "I want to stay home with my mama!" And then with a grin, "And have Matthew to come over."

[Comments] (1) An Update on our Mourning Doves: Our mourning doves abandoned their nest building and must have relocated because of their noisy neighbors, the starlings, who decided to build their nest in our dryer hose. I don't know how those birds managed to open the flap outside and wiggle their way into the hose, but when I took the tube outside to empty out all the twigs, it was half full of stuff woven together. What crazy birds. I miss hearing their pretty warbling ourside our window, but I am glad I have use of my dryer hose again.

Just for the Record: As a result of Atticus' tutelage, Samuel is singing his first complete song. We're still working on his enunciation, but the song goes like this: "Da na, na na, na na, na na, da na, na na, na na, na na, BATMAN! BATMAN! . . ."

Random Thoughts: Atticus announced this morning, "Hey, Mom--I'm forty-three!"

"You are?" I ask.

"Yeah. That means I'm BIG!"

[Comments] (4) It takes a villiage . . .: Our neighbors had their baby girl Tuesday morning around 6:00 am. Rachel called at 1:30 in the morning when her water broke, so I grabbed my pillow and a blanket and spent the rest of the night on the couch in their apartment. First thing every morning Atticus begs me to have Matthew over to play, so he was surprised when I brought Matthew and Caleb over at 8:30. I know I'm not the one who had the baby, but I don't think I've had five minutes to relax since I got that phone call in the middle of the night. I've had the Rowley kids a lot so that R.J., their dad, could spend as much time as possible with Rachel. I'm glad I can be some part of this magical adventure of the birth of a new baby.

[Comments] (2) Atticus Quotes: "I miss Uncle Leonard. Sometimes Uncle Leonard comes to visit, and gets something to eat at the Merc."

: Few things are cuter than Samuel trying to reciprocate a wink.

[Comments] (4) Food for Thought: One of my favorite cookbook authors, Mark Bittman, writes this article about the growing appeal of vegetarian cuisine in the States. Many of his thoughts on the subject resonate well with mine.

[Comments] (1) : We've survived our first tornado warning! Last night, there was a terrible thunderstorm with ear-splitting thunder and lightning. The sky was a grayish-green color, and the wind was whipping branches off the trees. Luckily, the weather didn't escalate into a tornado here in Lawrence. There were funnel clouds spotted in other counties, but no full tornadoes! Phew.

[Comments] (3) Thank You, Thank You Sam I Am: Atticus has been leery of strawberries this season. When I fed him an early berry, it was a not-really-ripe sorry-excuse-for-a-strawberry sort of fruit. A few days ago I finally coaxed him into trying a nicely ripened, sweet berry and he said, "Mmmmm. I would eat this on a boat, and I would eat this with a goat, and in the rain, and in the dark, and on a train!!"

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