Friday, November 30, 2007

Doh! update

I just received an email from the Toy Company that shipped the wrong items. Turns out, they just sent the wrong email. My items haven't shipped, yet. Hooray! There's hope for Christms, afterall!

Doh! Doh! Doh!

So, I got online yesterday and began my shopping Christmas blitz. I thought I should shop early to get the particular non-toxic toys I've been looking into. I received an email from an American toy company that I made an order with the other day saying that the items had shipped. "Hooray!" I thought. Then I paged down to the bottom of the message. The two items listed were not the two items I had ordered. Sigh. I emailed them right back. Hopefully I'll get the correct stuff in the mail. Today I got a note from from another American toy company through Amazon saying that that toy would be shipped on the 20th, and would probably take a week. So much for buying early! Well, I've always wanted to do the 12 Days of Christmas. Maybe this will be the year. Sniff sniff.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Don't Forget to Donate Toys this Christmas

I read an article yesterday that said that charities like the Salvation Army, and even the Marine sponsored Toys for Tots are having problems getting toys this year. With the innumerable recalls we've had over the last several months, it seems people don't know what to buy. They don't want to donate something tainted, so they're not donating at all. While it's great to not want to contaminate the kiddies, these charities are dreadfully in need. This article said one Salvation Army location had purchased toys back in the summer, and over half ended up being recalled. My plan is to purchase two of what I get for Duncan. Maybe not everything, because I don't want to end up in the poor house, but a few things. I figure the stuff I'm getting for my own child I've done the research on, and feel comfortable about donating. Finding American made toys right now is getting tougher. Many companies are selling out, because the manufacturers have a lot of new customers due to parents concerned about the lead paint issue. does carry many American toy products as of two days ago. If you don't have any luck online, check out some local shops. Good luck, happy shopping, and donate!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Evan Enjoying a Good Book

One year ago today our little boy lost the battle with Bacterial Meningitis and Septicemia. I have shared some of our favorite memories of Evan over the past months. Today on the first anniversary of Evan's death, we'd like to hear some of your favorite memories.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Evan, the Photographer

Evan Reaching for the Digital Camera

I suppose most little kids (and some big ones) are interested in The Camera. Particularly now that we have digital cameras. There's the lure of buttons, flashes and little noises. But with digital cameras (and polaroids), you get to see a picture right away. When Evan was younger he'd ask to see the baby on the back of the camera. He didn't realize he was the baby!

An Artistic View of the Ceiling Fan

Last Fall, we decided to go ahead and let Evan try out The Camera. He mostly walked around talking and pressing buttons, not necessarily looking for a subject. When we looked back at the log of shots, we were pretty impressed. He took pictures of the world around him (our house), the family, and probably by accident, himself.


There was also a little video button on The Camera. He pressed that a few times, and the result is a couple of very short Evan films. In one he says, "I can't see you, I can't seeee youuuuu!" He was trying to find me in the viewfinder!

Baby Brother

Let There Be Light! It makes me wonder how he got this shot.

The Obligatory Finger Shot

One year ago today Evan was admitted to the Pediatric ICU with Bacterial Meningitis, and never returned home. Given what happened, these pictures and movies are very special to us. To hear that little voice again....

Self Portrait

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One Line

Evan with His "Dacuum"

On Saturday Justin and I received a letter in the mail. There will be a memorial service at Scottish Rite in the near future, and they would like a one line statement about Evan.

One line.

To their credit they do say that this would be a statement that "enables them to know a portion of the essence" of Evan. To think that even "a portion of the essence" of a person, even a small child, could be summed up in one line. It is heartwrenching. What to say? There are so many things. They did include a couple examples of statements from previous years. They were lovely. I read them and can tell those parents felt the same way I do. The statements are beautiful run on sentences about children who died too young. I had thought of sending in something similar to what I wrote in my Snakes and Snails post. How Evan was lawnmowers, tools, and playgrounds and pools. Justin said, "Don't you think we ought to include how much we miss him?" I was at a loss. And the kicker was we had to submit the statement by Monday. So, we only had a couple of days to think of something so tender, yet so painful. Being the wordy one, I thought the task would fall on my shoulders, but Justin emailed me with a statement that we both liked. I fixed the spelling errors, and sent it along. Here's what he wrote:

Evan once listed his favorite things as milk, grapes, cheese, lawnmowers...
Our favorite things about Evan were his laughs and
smiles, the full body tackle he thought of as a hug,
his happy demeanor and sense of humor, and the
affection he had for all of us.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Evan Joining in on a Duet

I've been practicing more lately in preparation for a couple of church music programs in December. I feel like I'm finally starting to sound good again. I haven't devoted much time to the flute, because I haven't had any gigs. And, honestly, I can't say that my heart's been in it until now. It's nice to have something to work have a goal. I've even been doing all the boring long tones and scales in addition to "real music." Evan and Duncan both like my playing. They both try to play the recorder (note to Santa.) Once when I was practicing, I heard some music, and Evan came running in with his musical drum. It plays steel drum versions of a few nursery songs. He beat the drum, and I played flute. It was a lot of fun. Duncan is more of a dancer. He can cut a rug to any kind of music. He likes to show his appreciation for music, too. He claps his hands at the end of a piece/song on the radio. Sometimes after I finish a piece, I can hear his little claps upstairs for me!

Duncan Tolerating Mommy

It's interesting the variety of music that toddlers seem to enjoy. Mine like the usual nursery songs, but also popular music, and even jazz. Evan had specific music that he liked to jump to. He called it "jumping minkits." And the music for extreme jumping was "big jumping minkits." He was very particular about what he wanted to hear. Justin would play a little bit of a song, and ask "Is this big jumping minkits?" Evan would shake his head, until Justin found the right song. When Evan talked about music, he said, "musit." We had recently listened to some Gershwin songs sung by Ella Fitzgerald, when I put in a CD of Renaissance music. I asked Evan if he liked it. He said, "Put on Ella Fitzgerald!" Although, he did seem interested in the Telemann Baroque CD I played for him later. He would often ask "What's this musit?" if he was interested in what was playing. Duncan also seems to like a variety of music. He likes Coldplay, REM, U2. I think he can dance to about anything. There was some country song about a girl loving this guy's tractor, and Duncan was really getting down. And I already mentioned the head banging that was done at the Pumpkin Patch to classic rock.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my musical boys. I can't help but have visions of having a kid in the band. Oh the memories!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Superman Spotted at Local Eatery

Justin and I were dining out tonight, and were graced by the presence of a real live super hero! Superman was sitting at the next table with his mom and little sister. It was very exciting. He busted some cool moves when I Heard it Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye played on the stereo. After a meal of chicken fingers and a juice box, Superman and his family made the short trip to the toy store. He had a blast. I hope we see you again someday, Superman!

Thursday, November 15, 2007


We always tried to follow a routine when getting Evan to bed. After dinner Justin and Evan would go upstairs for bath time and some play time. Then I would bring up the bedtime snack, and we'd read stories and sing songs. A favorite story was the classic Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. To make the story more our own, we would pile Evan's three bears on top of my head. When we got to the part where it's supposed to say, "And there were three little bears sitting on chairs." We substituted, "And there were three little bears sitting on Mommy's head!"

Mommy, Evan and the Three Bears

As Evan got a little older, he used more delaying techniques to put off bedtime. Storytime began to really get abused. It's hard to say no when a little boy says, "One more book!" Evan started to become a little bit of a bossy boots, too. After reciting Goodnight Moon from memory, we would ask him if he'd like to sing a song. At first we sang The Wheels on the Bus every night. It's a great song for a kid who's upset, because you can make it as long or as short as you want. You can use the traditional lyrics, or add your own. At about the same time Evan started to become fascinated with garage doors. He decided that shirts were similar to garage doors. If my shirt was a little up and my belly exposed, Evan would tell me, "You're garage door is open, Mommy." He had to incorporate this new and exciting information into his song. So, his new verse was "the wheels on the garage door go up and down...." We also had the wheels on the Mommy (and I would do a corresponding movement), and the wheels on the Daddy. He'd even ask for the wheels on his Bear Bear. We enjoyed his creativity, but I think Evan was just testing the bedtime limits. And getting an amusing little show to boot.

Evan at Bedtime

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Christmas Wishes

Duncan Checking out the Tree on Christmas 2006

Evan Playing with His Front End Loader on Christmas Day 2005

This time last year I was bubbling over with excitement. I had already sneakily purchased Evan some Thomas track and a play table, and I was planning on getting some engines. I had also picked up a toddler digital camera, because Evan loved to take pictures (more on this later.) I've already mentioned that Evan had a running list of things he was planning to ask Santa for Christmas. And as Santa's elf, my ears were open.

The holidays aren't just about home baked cookies, pies, and church activities. They're also about finding ways to celebrate your very own traditions. When I looked for Evan's first stocking, I was sorely disappointed in the selection available. I decided to make him one myself. Keeping with the tradition, I also made Duncan's...and just barely got it out in time for Santa! Evan's is red felt with a white bear (just like his Bear Bear!) Duncan's is green felt with a gingerbread boy. Last year, I was thinking of purchasing Evan a slightly larger stocking from Pottery Barn Kids for his Big Kid stocking. They have some really cute quilted ones with a train, Santa, a snowman, you name it. I thought Evan might like the train stocking. One day I asked him which stocking he would like for Christmas. He looked at the pages in the catalog, pointed to a picture, and said, "I want the big sock." I looked at the catalog. He was pointing to the picture of a little girl holding a stocking almost as big as she was! I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that he wanted the "sock" that could hold that much more stuff! Smart kid.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

That's what old fashioned little boys are made of. But what about the Modern Little Boy? Snakes are slithery, snails are slimy, and puppy dog tails are wiggly. Sounds just like Duncan, actually. But I think there's more to the Modern Little Boy. Once Justin and Evan were climbing the hill in our backyard, and Evan was listing off some of his favorite things, "Grapes, cheese, lawnmowers...."

Evan with His Beloved "MawMower"

Lawn mowers, in fact, any landscaping equipment should be included in a description of the Modern Little Boy. Evan was enraptured with Pop's leaf blower, and told him, "That's a cool blower!" He admired his Daddy's form when he was "workin' the rake." And Evan could dig and water with the best of them with his own little shovel and watering can.

Duncan Getting some Important Measurements

In my experience the Modern Little Boy is also made of tools. Evan was quite the Tool Guy, and his little brother is showing an interest in tools, as well. Evan and Duncan both do very convincing sound effects for electric tools, they show a knowledge of how hand tools work (especially the hammer--watch out!), and they are mesmerized when any sort of project is going on in our house (when is it not?!)

Duncan on His Slide

And last, but certainly not least, is playtime. I guess that could go under the Puppy Dog Tail category, but let's not ruin it. Whether they're sliding, swinging, running with reckless abandon at the park, or splashing in the pool, the Modern Little Boy loves to play.

Evan, Our Little Fish

Lawnmowers and Tools and Playgrounds and Pools. That's what little modern boys are made of!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Two Peas in a Pod Revisited

Kids, as a rule, are not known for their superior table etiquette. The kitchen or dining room table often becomes a battleground between kids and their parents. "One more carrot, junior, and then you can play." We haven't had a lot of issues with getting our kids to eat. They've both been called "good eaters." Being a good eater, however, does not mean they're not messy. Check out these pictures of our good eaters.

Evan Needs a Little Snack, and Dives in to the Cheerios. You can't always wait for Mommy to get them for you, afterall!

Duncan Enjoying Sitting on Goldfish. Duncan's snacktime usually involves dumping everything out on the floor, playing with it, and then eating it.

Evan Loved Pasta. On this occasion Justin thought it would be better to serve Evan pasta with no shirt, rather than getting his clothes very messy.

Another Pasta Eater! Aha! We actually served pasta when Duncan was wearing red. How fortuitous. That red/orangey color is the devil to get out of clothes. It's a wonder we've gotten it off their little hands and faces!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sweet Syrupy Goodness or, I Guess We'll be Doing Laundry Tonight

Well, the day hasn't been a total bust, after all. Sherrie's feeling better, although my head is starting to hurt. I got some new maternity clothes (fun!) I should have known that the little boy that's been so sweet all afternoon (sans nap!) would be up to his tricks again. I should have known that when I left Duncan alone for a minute or so AND he was so mysteriously quiet that something was up. I should preface this with the fact that Duncan has mastered not only doorknobs, but also lids. He obviously got the tricky "childproof" lid this morning. But he's pretty consistently opening caps and tops to all kinds of stuff. Mostly kitchen items. Today he discovered the sticky goodness of Karo syrup. I swear I turn around for one minute, and then all of a sudden the kid is covered in syrup. There was syrup all over the floor, and the bottle. He was quite a sticky mess. So, I managed to peel off the pants and socks that were soaked through, and clean up the floor. I wiped Duncan down. He was upset by the stickiness, but once he was clean, he was back at the lazy Susan looking for more. Sigh. Little boys.

Ouch! My Wallet Hurts!

I decided to fill up the gas tank on the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house this morning. I had just over a half tank to fill, and the total was $30! I had gotten somewhat used to the $40 for a full tank...I'm not saying I was happy about it, just accustomed. They say it will hit $4 a gallon before the end of the year. Wah! As if the holiday season wasn't eating a hole in my wallet already. Oh well. At least I don't have to fill up as often as some poor folk. We also had a little family emergency just before we left home. Duncan unscrewed the childproof (is that meant to be a joke?!) cap on the Children's Motrin, and proceeded to measure out a dose or two. There was some spillage. Knowing that there wasn't much in the bottle to start with (and he wasn't covered in the stuff), I had a pretty good idea that he hadn't actually had any. But to be safe, I called Poison Control. We decided the most he could have had was a swallow or two. I should give him a snack and drink, and everything should be ok. Maybe a little tummy ache. So, we shared a snack, and he sacked out in his seat as we made the drive to the Grandparents. He seems to be just fine. Shoo! We were supposed to hang out with Sister, but she's in bed sick. Well, hopefully today won't be a total bust!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sister Mommy

My sister Sherrie is visiting. I would post a cute picture of her and Duncan, but she won't let me. Wah! She's using the visit as an opportunity to get to know her little nephew a little better. Of course, he is still pretty small, so he can't communicate all of those deep feelings that all toddlers have. He mostly looks at Sherrie like, "Who is this lady? She reminds me of someone....hmmm." Sherrie came to visit at the time I went on bedrest when I was pregnant with Duncan. In fact, I went into the hospital during her visit. So, she not only got to visit me at the hospital, she also got to visit a little more with Evan. He stayed with Grandma and Grandpa while I was in the hospital. They tried to explain to him that Sherrie is Mommy's sister. He didn't call her "Sherrie" or "Auntie". He called her "Sister." And when asked where Sister lives, he would name her state, even though he had know idea where it was. She came back last October. And I explained again how Sister was Mommy's sister. So, then Evan started to call Sherrie "Sister Mommy." I think this may have disconcerted her a bit, not being a parent. We've been calling her Sister this time, too (and Aunt Sherrie.) We'll have to wait until Duncan has more words to find out what he calls her!