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Hello cyber world: I'm glad to be a "blogger" now, however, with this blank page staring me in the face, and with all the pressure to write something witty and cool for my initial entry, I think I'll just start with a hello, and a report on my dinner. I made a pot of beans, which I do on at least a weekly basis, but today I tried using my crockpot to cook them while I was away at the park with the boys. They were some of the worst beans I've ever eaten. I guess I'll have to practice with my crockpot if I am to do that again.

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails : Tonight while I was putting Atticus down for bed, he said, "Mommy, I'm sad." I asked him why, and he replied "because I don't have a dog. Or a piggy bank." We'll have to go visit Grandma to satisfy the puppy desire, but the piggy bank wish should be an easy one.

The Wheels on the Bus: Today I rode with Atticus and Samuel to KU campus on public transit. I try to take Dave lunch at school every Friday, riding the bus, and making it a little fun outing for us all, but particularly for Atticus. The first time he took the bus, he was with Dave, and he tantrumed when the time came to exit. I, on the other hand, have been lucky. No tantrums. Yet. The bus picks up right in front of our apartment, so it really is convenient. Samuel sits strapped into our Kelty "kid pack," and Atticus enjoys selecting his own seat and feeling like a big boy who rides the bus to school. The particular bus we rode home today looked like it was out of the Kennedy era, with new upholstery, of course.

Task Avoidance: I have done a lot of productive things today, mopped and vacumned all my floors, made a batch of granola, received a haircut, finished reading Steinbeck's East of Eden, and other less mentionable things. Why do so much on a Saturday? So that I can procrastinate writing my 15 minute talk for 9:00 am Sacrament meeting tomorrow.

: I survived my speaking assignment in church. I'm so glad that is over. The good thing is that once you've had a turn, you know it will be a good while before you have to do it again. On the other hand, Atticus woke up this morning with a very hoarse throat. I told him that he should have a drink of juice, and he would feel better, to which he replied brightly, "Yes! Then all my froggies will jump out."

: I am so grateful for my dishwasher. I made a carrot-ginger soup with biscuits for dinner tonight, the first time since becoming a "dishwasher owner." I have made this meal many a time, as it is one of my stand-bys. It is fairly involved though, chopping 5 pounds of carrots and pureeing the soup in a blender when complete to name just two of the more messy tasks in preparation of the meal. Well tonight I used my food processor to chop the carrots, and when the meal was all done, I loaded the mound of dishes from my counter into the dishwasher, not to be seen again until clean. What a miracle.

What?: Yesterday, Atticus approached me and demanded "Let me see your nails." I couldn't understand him for the first three or four times he asked, partly because a lot of my comprehension of what he says is based on context. I had no idea what "nails" he was talking about. He repeated and repeated himself, and finally he asked, "Do you have nails like me on your thumb?" He showed me his thumb, and I showed him that I indeed had nails on my thumbs, too. He went away very pleased and satisfied like he'd learned some secret to the universe.

: They say that a mother shouldn't begin to wean her child during any time of trauma, including teething. Samuel now has one top and two bottom incisors, and I can see the small bump on his gum that indicates he is cutting a second top incisor. He has also recently found great humor in biting me while I am nursing him. So does that rule about not weaning during teething still apply?

Chagrinned: My sister, Kristen, alerted me to the existence of a MTV show that follows pop celebrities. This show is entitled "A Day In The Life," so I think I'd better change my weblog name. I didn't intend to allude to MTV. I had something else in mind.

: I began weaning Samuel today. Apparently, he has a kinship to Gandhi, because he is on a hunger strike. I finally pitied the child at around 3:00pm and I nursed him, but then he bit me again, so I’ve learned my lesson. With Atticus, I took my time and switched to the bottle gradually, but after today, I must do all or nothing with Samuel, or he’ll just hold out for his mum for every feeding. He has to make this transition soon anyway, so why not today?

: Today was generally frustrating. Thursdays are my long days. Dave has a night class in Kansas City on Thursdays, but still has to go in at 8:30am and stay until 5:00 to get his work done. Then he leaves for KC at 6:00. That is a long mommy shift, but I think I’m getting better at handling all those hours alone. I haven’t had to since before Samuel was born, so this has taken some getting used to. On a happy note, Atticus saw his first rainbow today. He was genuinely thrilled. It was a bold, beautiful bow—(I didn’t intend the alliteration). Perfect for a first sighting.

Socializing: We have been quite busy this weekend. On Friday night, we celebrated "Canadian Thanksgiving" with a handful of Canadians that we know, and some we didn't, from our Ward here in Lawrence. It was really fun. If you are wondering, no, there is no difference really in the Thanksgiving feast of a Canadian as compared to one in the States. Although--have you ever eaten Nanaimo Squares? Well, that would have been one unfamiliar item to most Americans. The first taste I had of this delectable Canadian treat was at our pre-wedding reception in Cardston, Alberta.

Tonight we went to a "dinner group." I signed up on a paper that was circulating on a clip board in Relief Society, and someone organized all the names into "dinner groups." Now we are taking turns as host, providing the main dish, and all other group members bring a side dish, dessert, etc. It seems like it will be fun. It was enjoyable tonight.

Trilobites: We received a fun package of trilobite fossils from a very thoughtful cousin today. When I explained to Atticus that long ago, these creatures got stuck in the mud, he was alarmed. He said, "Mom, lets get them out!"

Them Bones: Atticus found a book about bodies, and he was fascinated when he realized that he has bones and muscles. He danced around and contorted himself while admiring his movements. Then he exclaimed that he has blue bones. Blue is his very favorite color. What other color would they be?

: As I wiped the nastiness out of Samuel's high chair seat tonight, I thought of Atticus saying to me, "You're not a princess--you're a mommy!"

[Comments] (1) : I'll be glad to put my feet up when this day is over. Went to the library, and to the park. Got two good naps out of Samuel, and he even drank about 6 ounces of formula today. That is better than I've seen since I weaned him (all except an early morning feeding). He of course eats lots of solid foods. Tonight I'm going to make sugar cookie dough (like Susie) to chill overnight, and clean up the mess of living in our apartment.

: I am continually trying to settle into routines: bedtime routine, morning routine, weekly routine. I am so obsessed and I devote so much energy and thought to establishing a schedule.

In such a vein, I ordered a book online called “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” It is the “newly revised and expanded” version of the 1987 publication, now with a forward by Cindy Crawford. Great. The book makes me feel like all my problems will be solved if I just read this book and implement the ideas. To be fair, I did use the first edition to help understand Samuel’s sleep needs when he was first born, but I sniff the reeking odors of marketing for big sales in this revision.

[Comments] (5) Snap, Crackle, Pop: After attending to Atticus in the middle of the night, I heard a popping sound from somewhere in my apartment. I thought at first that maybe Atticus was clapping his hands to irritate me and further conspire against my sleep needs. I rushed into his room to scold him, and found him snoring and deeply asleep. So then I returned to my bed, and tried to relax, until the popping began again.

I rose up again from my bed to stalk the source of this noise. It seemed to be coming from the kitchen. The sound ceased when I entered, so I opened the dishwasher door and thought maybe that would solve the problem. I again returned to lie in my bed. This time, I was disconcerted enough that I could not sleep. I listened for the pop to continue, and now that I was thoroughly awake, and would be until I discovered whether a mouse or some creature was creating the racket, I decided to follow it until I found the source.

Well, I went to the kitchen stood listening; the sound came from a bowl of chickpeas I had left to soak overnight. I picked up the bowl and I could feel the pressure of the popping beans like tiny explosions in the water. I never knew that such a riot might come from a bowl of soaking beans.

Confessions of a Brown Thumb: I have wonderful memories of my great Aunt Jeuney's backyard in California. Most vividly, I remember the sweet, full fragrance of her roses. The smell of the flowers overcame me whenever I went outside. Really, my memory of LeJeune’s home in Sunnyvale is connected to memories of my grandpa Earl’s death. Eating chocolate dipped strawberries at a family open house. Purple irises on Grandpa’s casket.

Anyway, I was thinking about Aunt Jeuney today when I looked at my mostly-dead ivy plant. I bought it at the farmer's market here in Lawrence. The lady at the stand said the plant would be easy to care for. A week ago I noticed that I had a crop of mushrooms peeking out of the ivy leaves. I stopped watering it so much, and now, everytime I look at it, another vine is totally dried up, though the soil is damp. I guess LeJeune's green thumb genes skipped my DNA strain.

[Comments] (5) Wiltingly In Love: My mother has a "boyfriend." What a strange reversal of roles to hear my mother carry on like I am her college roomate and she has just found the man of her dreams. Stories about staying out until 4:00 in the morning talking, descriptions of the first kiss, you know. She really is in love.

What they say about dogs is true . . .: Our backyard neighbor has two doggies. Anytime an emergency siren wails, the dogs add their own howling echo. It is rather cute, and I actually look forward to it. The funny thing is, they start to howl minutes before I hear the siren. Dog ears really are more sensitive than human ears!

[Comments] (1) Superman for Hire: Samuel found Atticus' Superman cape today. He brought it to me, grunting until I took it from his hands. Then he turned his back to me--and waited until I put on the cape. Our "baby" Samuel will be one in three weeks. He strolls around the apartment, and has even attempted to run a few times. We can't believe how much he's grown.

Potty Humour: Atticus was so proud of his bathroom success today that he called Dave saying, "Papa, come see my new poop. It's like--ultra."

Excursion: Yesterday we went on quite a tour. We visited Kansas City, and had intended to visit the Crayola store at the Crown Center among other things, but the kids were sleeping really well. We didn't want to wake them, so we drove around areas where Dave lived while on his mission. It was pretty wild. Then we went to meed Ken, a friend from Dave's master's program, at the Liberty Jail visitor's center. After that and some great bar-b-que at Gate's and Sons, we came home exhausted. I wish our sons had remembered daylight savings and slept in this morning.

Jayhawk Fan: We like to tease Atticus while we are driving to church on Sunday, passing jayhawk sculptures along the way. "Don't look out your window or you'll see a jayhawk." And he covers his face with his hands until he knows we've passed the site of the jayhawk (there are 30 large jayhawk mascots throughout the city--"Jayhawks on Parade"). Today our friend, Ken Baird, asked Atticus if he likes jayhawks. With a strong defensiveness in his tone he replied, "I like jayhawks. I'm a jayhawk man."

True Kansans: We have exchanged our Utah Olympic plates for Kansas plates. Pretty sad, but we can't keep Utah residency if we are going to be here for four years.

[Comments] (2) : Atticus announced today that he needs a little sister. I reminded him that he has a fun baby brother to play with, thinking that would satisfy him, but instead he said, "Brothers need a sister, too."

Well, he'll have to wait a few years.

: I took the boys to a Halloween party today that was a mild disaster. One of Atticus' friends' grandma hosted the party. Her beautiful house is full of very nice things, so imagine about 15 kids 4 years and under wandering around at will--and then imagine the stress of the mothers. Yikes. At least the boys enjoyed themselves.

Fright Night: Samuel came down with a pretty bad cold last night, so Dave stayed home with him while Atticus and I went to a "Trunk or Treat" at the church, with carnival to follow. Atticus, dressed as a knight in shining armour, or "prince," was in awe of the whole experience. I guess he doesn't remember much from last year, because he seemed surprised that people kept throwing candy into his bucket as he walked from car to car. He won a few prizes at the bean bag toss, and ducky grab, and even had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles painted on his face. His favorite part of the evening was attacking the young men with his pretend sword, though. They were good sports to play along.

Right now Atticus is sorting through his candy bucket, exclaiming over and over, "Look at this, Mom!! Look at this! Taste this one, Momma, it's so yummy!" What joy.

Rotten Luck: My keys have been lost for almost a week now. A certain little resident of this apartment, about four feet tall, is the main suspect for the crime. Been searching all morning. I've found three old pacifiers that I thought were history, but no keys.

Lost Keys: Guess my culprit was more 5 foot 4. I found my keys, right where I'd put them last.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye: Dave has updated our family photo log. Check it out at www.matkin.com.

Somewhere in the Middle of America: I went to Omaha for the week with the boys. Dave had two literature review papers due, as well as two other more minor papers. Not being able to abide the thought of an entire week by myself with my restless children, I left for a stay with Dave's cousin, Anneli. It was a nice visit. We really enjoyed a couple trips to the Omaha Children's Museum, and it was fun to chat and catch up with Anneli and Steve.

: Tonight I insisted that Atticus let me brush his teeth. Trying to use the logic of a three-year-old, I said, "Atticus I HAVE to brush your teeth; there is dirt on them." To which he replied, "It's not dirt, Momma--it's chocolate!!!"

One Year Old: I can't believe that Samuel will be turning one on Monday. That is less than a week away. I love the age of one-year-olds, because they are so cute--little walking babies. They eat heartily, they sleep well, and they still love to snuggle lots. And they grow more and more exploratory. How fun it is to watch them figure out the world around them.

Today Atticus, by some miracle, took a nap--at 10:00 in the morning! When Samuel awoke from his morning nap, he searched around for his brother. Not finding him, Samuel went to the closed door to the room where Atticus slept. He began to bang and call for his buddy. It was fun for me to see that Samuel missed his brother.

No Small Miracle: I am pleased to report that Samuel slept last night for the longest stretch of his life. He went to bed at 7:30 and didn't wake up until 6:00 am, and then woke only for a feeding. He went back down until after 7:00. I am very hopeful that he might at last begin sleeping through the night.

[Comments] (8) : I just found out about a knitter's circle that meets every Saturday afternoon here in Lawrence. Horray!! I might actually finish that sweater I started for little infant Samuel after all. Too bad HE won't be wearing it. Any announcements out there that might benefit from a small sweater due to be finished sometime NEXT winter? :) At my pace, I'll be lucky to finish it by 2005.

[Comments] (3) Maybe some prayers are better left unanswered: We read a story in Atticus' Friend magazine about a little girl who lost a cat but prayed to find her and did. Well, the lesson learned in Atticus' mind was that he should pray to get a kitty, and he will. Hmmmm. How do I explain the harsh realities of a landlord and life as a renter? Besides, I'm not ready to clean kitty litter.

[Comments] (1) Friday "Date Nite": Dave and I worked on a crossword puzzle and watched all the new movie trailers that came up on apple.com last night. Pretty funny date night if you ask me, but just right. Graduate school poverty is sure leading us to discover new ways to spend an evening, but we are having more and more fun together all the same. One of these weekends I'd like to check out this really nice used bookstore called The Dusty Bookshelf on Massachusetts street, downtown. That would be another fun date.

Kitchen Cupboard: You'd think we have a little Harry Potter in residence. Samuel has lately been interested in digging out garbage from the trash bin, which we keep in the cupboard under the sink. I became so weary of this game today that I took the garbage and moved it into the laundry room and closed the door. Instead of playing in the trash, now Samuel hides out in the cupboard. That's okay. I prefer this much more sanitary practice.

[Comments] (2) : Today I was describing to Dave the new grocery store, Extra Foods, that has recently opened in Dave's hometown. Atticus was wandering mindlessly--at least appearing to be--about us. I was clarifying that Extra Foods sells much more than groceries, and was trying to name other non-food items that are in the store. I knew there was more, but I was stumped, and "clothes," was the only thing to come out of my mouth, when Atticus chimed in "flip flops," and he walked out of the room. Random. We didn't even think he knew what we were talking about, IF he was even listening. The funny thing is that he really had an obsession about flip flops when we were visiting this summer, and our shopping escapade looking for a pair must have really stuck out in his mind. Maybe you had to be there to catch the humor in his tone of voice, but this was really funny at the moment.

[Comments] (2) Happy #1 Birthday: I have a sinus infection, so Samuel's birthday bash was quite anticlimatic. We sang the happy birthday song and helped Samuel blow out his candle, and then took a few photos of him devouring his cupcake. I didn't even get out today to buy his birthday present, I was so lacking in energy--we will buy him a big ball tomorrow. That is the one thing that will really make him smile.

When it rains, it pours: Fall in Kansas evidently means rain. We enjoyed another torrential rainstorm tonight. I love thunder storms.

New Pics: If you want a family update in color, check out our family photo log.

[Comments] (3) Divine Chocolate: I just got home from the most marvelous cooking class with a professional chef and pastry chef at the Merc. It was a chocolate class where we learned how to make ganache, a wonderfully rich chocolate sauce, chocolate mousse, truffles, and chocolate gingerbread souffle cakes. You should have seen people come alive, and become inebriated with pleasure as Chef Sula brought around a chunk of ganache and spoonful of the finest cocoa for each attendee to form his own truffle. Some had small chocolate mustaches from the cocoa, a woman with braces caked thick with the ganache, others with chocolate crumbs around the mouth. A high school aged boy a few seats down from me went all out, rolling the chocolate in his palm and fingertips. This scene reminded me of one in the French film, Babettes Feast, when all the townspeople are brought together at the end of the movie by Babettes feast, hence the title. Also like in Chocolat, which, come to think of it must be inspired by Babettes Feast.

[Comments] (4) Which has to go: onions, or mascara?: I have discovered a solution to all the tears that spill forth while I'm chopping onions. On Reading Rainbow, LeVar once had a cooking episode. The guest, a chef, gave LeVar sunglasses to wear while chopping the onions, and the glasses served as a barrier keeping offending vapors from his eyes. I finally tried the trick tonight. I actually wore a pair of swim goggles, and they worked!! I didn't cry!

WWF: The first birthday must be more of a milestone than I thought, because Samuel has assumed a new personality. Now, he really protests things with a defiant grunt, as if to say "How dare you remove me from my bath?" Or "I want the cookie, not the carrot!" Where did this come from? Moreover, this afternoon we were all playing in Atticus' tent. Samuel was diving in and out of the door, literally. Then, suddenly, he turned to Atticus and pounced on him, using a wrestling move he had fallen prey to so many times before. What happened to our benign little infant?

It is an entertaining change for all of us, though.

Ahhh, Friday: We went on our usual bus trip up to campus to have lunch with Dave. After lunch I took the boys to visit the KU Natural History Museum. I've taken Atticus three or four times before, and he really loves that place. The exhibits are larger and more sophisticated than at the Bean Museum on BYU campus, so Atticus is pretty enthralled with this new experience. His favorite parts are the panorama of six or seven different climates and their ecologies, the bee exhibit (with a microscope where one can closely inspect a bee antenae or leg), the few dinosaur bones, and the rattlesnakes (only because we happened upon a rattling rattlesnake once before). It was a good outing.

Batman Visits the Grocery Store: Atticus has been wearing his batman cape all day--even to the grocery store this morning. He has proclaimed me "Batgirl." We bought some groceries in anticipation of our holiday visitors. My mom, Julie, Michelle and Lorna are coming to visit on Wednesday.

[Comments] (1) Arachniphobia: I saw a very fat, large spider--the size of a silver dollar--on my window frame this afternoon. Most bugs that I find inside my apartment I gather in a cup and transfer outside, but spiders and mosquitos don't get the same treatment. Mosquitos get squished, and spiders get flushed. I don't mind killing the mosquitos, but I always feel bad killing spiders, especially when my son is standing by reminding me that James (of James and the Giant Peach) is friends with a spider.

: Today, Atticus was sitting at the kitchen table eating his lunch and looking out of the window into our backyard. We live in a second story apartment--one of four--and the two top apartments have large sliding glass doors that open onto small balconies. Anyway, he was watching the trees and he spotted a small woodpecker. Up until that time we had only seen squirrels, puppies, and cats in our yard.

Peter Pan Visits the Grocery Store: On Monday Atticus would correct me every time I called him by his name, and not by Batman. "I'm Batman, Mama, not Atticus." Well today he was Peter Pan, and would not answer to any other name than that. While we were driving to the grocery store for some last minute Thanksgiving meal shopping, you wouldn't believe it but all the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, Wendy, John AND little Michael showed up in our car and accompanied us on our shopping trip. And "Peter Pan" was extremely distressed when he discovered, as we were driving away from the store, that we had forgotten the Lost Boys! I am sure another boy will pick them up and take them home from the store when they are discovered tonight.

: What a great holiday! Dave essentially took five days off; we may pay price for that this week, but we'll see. He's been working his tail off up to this holiday, so I'm sure he'll be fine. Anyway, I enjoyed seeing so much of my husband for a change.

We ate a delicious feast: turkey from a local farmer, gravy, sweet potato souffle, stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, hand-made rolls, the you-gotta-have-jello side dish with strawberry gelatin set with mashed strawberries and bananas, crushed pineapple and a middle layer of plain yogurt. Dave, the pie-man of the family, baked two delicious apple pies. The food was all very nice. The company was even better, with my mom and sisters Julie, Michelle, and Lorna. Julie was in charge of the rolls, Michelle made the stuffing, Lorna helped core the apples for the pie. My sisters each enjoyed participating in the food preparations.

Jennifer Taylor, my close friend from high school, had her first Thanksgiving deep in the heart of Texas with her in-laws in Lufkin. The Taylors serve "catfish stuffing" as part of their Thanksgiving meal. I am interested to hear her report on that one tomorrow.

: Today was so nice that we couldn't miss a trip to the park. Atticus was particularly interested in the swings, so we spent a bulk of our time practicing "pumping." Mostly, I pushed while Atticus ineffectively swung his legs forward and back. Then, at the highest point of an upswing (and a high one--the command was to push him up like a rocket ship), he let go. In a moment of slow motion, he did a literal sommersault in the air as the inertia of the swing thrust his legs up and over his head, and then he landed right flat on his face and stomach. It was a really scary, sad moment waiting for him to catch his breath to say, with tears streaming his cheeks, "Momma, let's do it again."

[Comments] (4) : In recent days, Atticus has demanded that I address him according to his imaginary whim of the day. Peter Pan and Batman are two favorites in our house. After a UPS employee dropped off a package this afternoon, Atticus came up with another alternate identity. Today he would answer only to "UPS man." Not "UPS dude," "UPS guy," or "UPS person" even. UPS man. His favorite game for this theme was instructing us to stand behind a bedroom door. He'd knock, greet us, hand over the package, and ask for the signature. Funny little dude.

[Comments] (3) Life is Funny: I was just thinking about my neighbor, Rachel. I knew her back in Provo; we both lived in the same neighborhood a year or so after Dave and I got married. When I met Rachel, her baby, Matthew, was about 3 months old. I was about 6 months pregnant. Dave was finished with his bachelor's, and I was finishing up with mine so we could go on to a 3 year PhD program in Clinical Psychology. When Rachel told me her husband was barely a sophomore working on his bachelor's degree and was planning on graduate school, and I felt so sorry for her. She was going to be in school FOREVER!! I thought, "We'll be done with school for good just when RJ was finishing his undergraduate work." Now, here we are, neighbors again, my two sons play with her two sons, and it looks like our husbands will graduate with their PhDs at the exact same time.

[Comments] (1) : I've been nursing sick children for the past few days. Fevers, congestion, runny noses, a little nausea, you know. A touch of everything. I'm just about worn out, and I'm not even the sick one!!

[Comments] (1) : Looks like it will be another sick day at my house. I hope that my kids get better soon. The night time needs are starting to get to me. Last night when Atticus called out for the first time, I was so tired and disoriented that it was like rising from the dead to go to him. It was one o' clock. Dave was up, still working on his paper that is due today. Both of us are pretty tired, for different reasons. I'll be glad when finals are over. Christmas and summer vacations are the salvation of student life. We can all agree about that.

[Comments] (5) Last Chance: We have a bedtime routine with Atticus that includes reading stories. Atticus really looks forward to this part of the evening, and it settles him down for a good sleep. The other night, however, when I started getting his books ready, Atticus said that he was too tired, and he just wanted to go to bed.

"You don't want to read stories?" I asked, surprised.

"No, I'm tired. I want to go to bed. No stories."

He did seem unusually tired, so that was that. Dave took over from there, putting on his pajamas, and then he took Atticus to his room, where Atticus announced "I want to read stories."

"It's too late. You said you want to go to bed without stories," Dave said. A tantrum ensued, and as Atticus built his opposition, Dave tried to reason with him. Their conversation went something like this:

"I want to read stories!"

"Sorry. You said you were tired and you wanted to go to bed without stories, so it is time for bed."

"But I want to read my stories!!!"

"It's too late. You lost your chance. Time for bed."

More desperately, Atticus pleads "No, I didn't lose my chance. Look, Papa, its coming. Look there, it is walking over here!"

"Honey, chances don't walk."

Hysterics begin "Papa, look, it's HOPPING."

At that point, Atticus fell apart, and we were glad that even in moments such as these, there is a touch of humor to be enjoyed.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow: Just for the record, we got our first few inches of snow last night.

[Comments] (2) Did You Know?: Did you know that a person burns almost twice as many calories sitting and reading a book as sitting and watching television? TV watching burns 47 calories, while reading burns 70. Isn't that interesting? Have you done your reading exercises today?

: I thought that my children were on the mend, but Samuel woke up with his eyes all gummed up, Atticus woke with his fever returned, and before I could even get clothes on him after his morning bath, Atticus fell fast asleep curled up in the comforter on my bed.

What Language Are You Speaking???: Today Samuel was whining in the bath tub, pulling at his left arm. Pulling and pulling. I was a bit alarmed because he was being so urgent in his gesture. I inspected his arm, looking closely to see if he was hurt. Then it dawned on me: for the past month I have been modeling a handful of signs for Samuel. He was using the sign language I had taught him to tell me to take him out of the bath (for the first time). Sheesh. Where is my brain these days?

[Comments] (3) : I was teaching Atticus a new Christmas song, leaving out a few words and letting him finish the phrase/sentence. This is how it went:

Me: "Said Samuel, within 5 years the night will be as . . .

Atticus: "Day"

Me: "And baby Jesus will be born, in a land . . .

Atticus: "Called Honah Lee."

(The lyric is supposed to be "far, far away.")

[Comments] (2) Out of Control: I haven't mentioned that Dave and I have been subbing for a Sunday School class of 6 hooligan boys for the past 4 Sundays. This class is notorious for its "energy," and has burned through a handful of teachers over the course of the year. We knew we had trouble on your hands the first Sunday when we saw two things: a) The three-year-old Sunbeam class was better behaved than our class in Sharing Time. b) There was a line-up of adults waiting outside the Primary room after church was over with a knowing smile: "So--how'd it go?"

Yesterday, since the Atticus and Samuel were both still sick, I taught all 6 boys by myself. On our way to class, they all took off ahead of me, and as I neared our classroom, from the hallway I could hear a chant: "Fight, fight, fight, fight . . ." When I opened the door, two of the boys were throwing punches at each other, while the rest of the crowd circled the two and continued, "fight, fight, fight . . ." That took a minute to break up, leaving one of the "contendors" in tears. Then, I looked around the room, and realized that there were no chairs!! What else could go wrong? On top of that, I had brought a heaping plate of cookies (for bribes, of course--I knew I would need reinforcments). I couldn't leave the acrimonious boys together, nor could I leave the cookies, and I really needed the chairs if I hoped for any order during our hour of class time. It was like a real life application of that old riddle about how to get a chicken, a basket of eggs, and a fox across the river on a boat that could only hold two of the three per trip.

Thankfully, someone from the hall came to my aid and brought the chairs. After that, with my reign of cookies, everything went smoothly, and we actually had one of our best classes yet.

[Comments] (3) : Have you ever eaten a float with orange juice and vanilla ice cream? If you haven't, you should!

[Comments] (1) Crack of Dawn: Atticus has only one request for Santa this year: he wants a Batman shirt. A friend of mine told me yesterday that she had seen them at a clothing store here in Lawrence, and told me that the store would be handing out $15 gift certificates to the first 500 customers at 7:00 am today. I arrived in the parking lot of the store at 6:45 and waited second in line to get my coupon. I felt kind of silly when I left with my purchases and they were still handing out coupons. The other bummer is that today was the "once-in-a-blue-moon" event of the boys sleeping in past 7:00.

Ironic: Sorry

[Comments] (7) Overheard: Atticus in the other room saying to his friend Matthew: "I'm going to be a dog in a manger. Are you going to be a dog in a manger?"

I tried to explain the phrase a while ago, and he'll repeat it in the funniest of times. I guess metaphors are above his head at this point in life.

[Comments] (1) Time to Brag: Dave just got his first grade back--an A!! Kudos Dave! More to come I am sure.

The End Has Come: Dave finished the semester today. Phew. Only five more to go (optimistically speaking, and not including dissertation semesters).

[Comments] (2) : Atticus and I made paper snowflakes while Samuel was taking his nap this afternoon. It was strange, but the act of cutting little nicks out of folded paper transported me to some segment of childhood memory. Forgotten emotions and thoughts. Very strange.

[Comments] (2) Where did THAT come from?: Atticus said to me today, "Mama, I am a golden sample."

I said, "What? You're a golden sample?" enunciating to make sure I'd heard him correctly.

He replied "Yes, an OBEDIENT golden sample."

[Comments] (1) : Tonight we went to a gingerbread house making party at Jon and Sarah Amundson's. It was a lot of fun, and we managed to destroy two sets of gingerbread house pieces. But we brought home a decorated "gingerbread tent." But it was great fun, and we ate lots of yummy sweets. Our contribution was a large bowl of carmel popcorn balls. We have lots of leftovers. Any takers?

Kansas Christmas: Today we had an un-official Christmas morning, opening all the presents from Grandma and Grandpa Matkin as well as Aunt Patty and my good friend from high school who we affectionately refer to as Aunt Jenny (joining us now is Uncle Jay). We have very generous friends and family who have made us feel loved and cared for. Tomorrow we leave for my mom's in San Antonio, Texas, so happy holidays all ya'll!

: Anxiously awaiting the arrival of Frances and Rachel. Should be here this afternoon/evening.

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