Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Shoes to Fill...Literally

Evan was a big boy from the get go. He wasn't was of those 14 pounders at birth, but he was a respectable 8 lbs 13 oz. And for a new mom expecting a 7 pounder, almost 9 pounds seemed huge! I still remember the doctor saying as Evan's head popped out, "That's not the head of a 7 pound baby!" He always got comments about his chubby cheeks and jowls. And I kind of got tired of people saying, "He's a chunk!" But he was a chunk. He was heavy, he had a big head, and he was tall. Evan was a big boy. Always in the 95th percentile and sometimes higher in everything they measured (these are physical measurements of a child's body at the checkups for you non-parents.) People always told me that Evan had big feet. He was my first baby, so he seemed sweet and tiny to me, no matter what anyone else said. But as he started wearing shoes, I too started to see that my little man was not so little. I think his first pair of shoes were size 8's. I didn't get Evan "real" shoes until around his first birthday. Up to then he wore soft sole shoes that are supposedly good for new walkers. And he went barefoot. A lot. His foot size increased rapidly over the next year and a half. As school started in September 2006, I purchased Evan, my 2 and a half year old, some size 11.5 sneakers. Oh yeah, and always Wide. Which means I have to go to the kid's shoe store and pay twice as much. Evan only wore those shoes for a few months. He died at the end of November that year. The shoes have sat in his Duncan's closet...until recently. Duncan, who has also always been called a chunk and a big boy, but never measured quite as big as his big brother (but not by much!) is finally wearing 10/11s. Duncan is about a year older than Evan was at the time of his death. Yeah, Evan had big feet!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ditch Diggin'

In an effort to give the Back 40 better drainage, we've been digging ditches. We got started on what would have been Evan's 6th birthday. It was cold, muddy work, but just the sort of thing a little boy would love.

We started in the area where I installed a path next to Evan's Garden last summer. We continued forward to the creekside and back to the back of the property. Lots of roots. Lots of rocks.

Next, I started the new trench where the playground used to be. That one goes forward to the creek and back to the back, as well. The topsoil in the back part of the yard got scraped away in the fall floods, so water has pooled there since then. When we dig water fills in the bottom of the new hole. It makes for hard work! Mud is so slippery and heavy. We'll dig, then let it drain for a few days and let the water table go down, and then start up again.

We purchased gravel and piping to go into the trenches once they are the right size. And we'll top it off with heavier stone and/or stepping stones for paths. I'm so antsy about getting this part of the project done. I want to get my plants in so they'll be somewhat established before summer (and any possible new flooding.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fifty Pounds of Awesome!

We watched an episode of Kipper the Dog today. The episode is called, "The Butterfly." Kipper chases a purple butterfly around, but doesn't seem to be able to capture it. He thinks he's finally got it in his paws. He says, "It's wriggling in my hands. It tickles!" But the camera pans up, and the butterfly is on Kipper's head! Kipper opens his paws to find that he's captured his own tail! I explained to Duncan the humor in this.

Justin asked Duncan, "Do you have a tail, Duncan?"

"No." he said.

"What happened to your tail?" his Daddy asked.

"It's broken!" Duncan replied, as if it was completely obvious. Duh, Daddy.

"Would you like to fix your tail?" asked the intrepid father.

Duncan shook his head, no. I asked him if he'd like some duct tape to fix it (because to Duncan, duct tape is The Most Effective Means of fixing anything. Anything!)

Nope. He's ok with his tail being broken.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Evan's Olympics

I can't really think about the Olympics, especially the Winter Games, without thinking about Evan. I was big, fat and pregnant with Duncan during the last Winter Olympics-Torino 2006. As usual, I planned to watch All Olympics All the Time. We were out on the first or second day of competition visiting with family or something. On the way back home Evan was a bit cranky. We suspected he was tired, but he stubbornly fought off sleep. We finally arrived home, and broke out the cookies for our cranky boy. (Cookies are the best medicine around here!) He took his cookie, climbed into my lap and fell asleep before the first bite. I clicked on the Olympics and watched while I held my sleepy boy. When he woke up the luge competition was on. Evan loved luge. I don't know if it was the speed, the slide like course, or the fact that the competitors were dressed like sausages. But for the rest of the Olympics, Evan eagerly awaited more luge! Unfortunately, there were only a couple of days of luge. Of course, bobsledding had a similar look, so that was good, too. But every time I turned on the TV, Evan yelled, "Luge! Watch luuuuuuge!" And we snuggled up on the sofa together and watched.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The At Home Olympics, Winter Games

I'm a self confessed Olympics junkie. I don't love every single event, but I get caught up in the excitement and goodwill. I try to understand the love of Curling. And I think I've decided that the players go out for beer afterwards, so for them it's all about the fun. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

A friend was telling of her children and their teddy bear Olympics lately. It reminded me of our own Olympic efforts during the Summer Games in Beijing. And it looks like all the TV watching is bringing back more athleticism? Wackiness? I don't know. You decide.

Olympic Lift Mommy Off the Chair (aka Weightlifting (facepalm))

The Downhill Pillow Push

Ummm...the Backwards Luge? With Cushion?

Duncan was doing his own version of the Half Pipe. The cushion was his snowboard. He moved so fast that I mainly got pictures of him on the floor!

I'm not sure if there's a boating event during the Winter Games. Soooo...Bobsledding with a Paddle!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bloom Day--A Day Late...Again

Our Crape Myrtle we call Evan's tree, because it was planted in honor of Evan's birth.

We don't have much for blooms just now. And these pictures aren't actually from the 15th, but they're still purty.


Our Japanese maple that we've christened, "Hirohito."

We picked up this Leyland Cypress (we call him Leyland. Clever, huh?) for Christmas 2000.

And the Daphne odora I planted on the one year anniversary of Evan's death. She actually has buds coming in. And the scent is so, so lovely. I used to have another Daphne, but I got a little shovel happy last year, and I think I hit some roots. It's a shame, because it was a beautiful plant, and the one that I had shared with Evan. I beckoned him over one day to take a whiff of the scent. He looked at me like I might be playing a trick. But he did come over and sniffed. And looked at me with a look of pleasant surprise on his face. Sometimes if the winter is fairly mild, Daphne blooms on or around Evan's birthday. But we've had unusually cold weather this year, so she has still yet to bloom. Hopefully, the snow and below freezing temperatures won't have an impact on the blooms!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Yesterday afternoon it began to snow. So, the kids and I decided to go outside and play.

Miranda takes a snowy stroll.

Duncan, doing some ice fishing.

I got the cold, wet kids back inside with the promise of hot chocolate. The snow continued. And we woke up to this...

A winter wonderland!

At first, Duncan showed no interest in going back outside! I was beyond surprised. Finally, we all got dressed and went outside to play.

Our sledding was a bit of a dud. We don't have actual sleds, seeing as how we hardly ever have actual snow. So, we used a plastic lid and some cardboard.

Duncan and I went back out in the afternoon. After a sunny day most of the snow had melted. Although, it could still be found in the shadier spots. We found quite a bit on the driveway. Duncan balled some up in his mittens, and tossed a snowball at me! We threw more snowballs and giggled. Then we were off for more exploring. Duncan jumped onto the ground like Kipper the dog and made an attempt at a snow angel. It was the first time in decades that I made a snow angel!

And, of course, Duncan had to build a snowman. I really had fun mounding the snow with my son, packing it in, looking for sticks for the arms.

And a carrot for the nose. I balked when he said he wanted to build a snow dog. My yarn gloves were soaked through, as were my shoes (his shoes, too!) But we built his little dog.

Then we posed for a picture, and went inside for some more hot chocolate!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Duncan the Destroyer!

Duncan is and always has been our little Guitar Hero. He enjoys playing his toy guitars and Daddy's video game guitar.

He finds a suitable "stage" for his performances. And he often seeks out people for his audience. Although, I've heard him saying, "Thank you, thank you" even when he's playing to an empty room.

But when a rocker uses his axe, like...well, an axe...

Our gee-tar hero must improvise.

Oh yeah, he might be playing a vacuum, but that boy has rock star written all over his face.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Polka Dot Princess

Before Miranda came along I swore I'd never call her "Princess." I don't really remember the reason why. Maybe I thought it was too cliche. Or maybe I didn't want her to grow up thinking that she had to wait around for some prince on a white horse for her life to be complete. But, of course, she came into the world all cute and cuddly and sweet. And she was our little princess.

Of course, now it's taken on a whole new meaning. As sweet as Miranda is, she has a bit of a mean streak. One part bossy, two parts sweet, and one part sneaky. I guess I knew that the kids would do the tug of war over toys. And I suppose it occurred to me that I would hear a lot of, "Mine! Mine!" But I didn't think the battle over food portions would happen for a while, yet. I've seen that peanut butter commercial where the two little boys are fighting over the last of the peanut butter. The Mommy cleverly has one boy slice the sandwich in half, and the other boy has first choice. Those boys are at least 7 or 8 years old! I thought I had years before doling out equal numbers of M&Ms. But my little Panda Bear knows when she's getting The Shaft. She's very observant. She watches the milk being poured in the cup. She waits for it to be placed into her ha....what?! It's Duncan's?! Mwahh! Of course, her's is there waiting for her, but she's already halfway to Meltdown City. And she doesn't bother with whimpering or getting her eyes a little red and wet. Oh no. My Polka Dot Princess has huge tears streaming down her face within seconds! But, I've solved the cup dilemma by pouring out both cups, putting on the lids, and then handing them over at the same time. It's the same with snacks.

She occasionally gets so mad or frustrated, but she is so not gonna cry. This is when she does what we call the Panda Rage. Her eyes get big, her face turns red, she holds her arms out in a "What happened?" sort of pose, but they're really stiff. She's done this for so long, and we've laughed about it so much, that now Miranda can do a Panda Rage on cue.

She's cute. She's sweet. She's got a 'tude. Yeah, She's a princess.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Evan!

We love you and miss you, sweet little boy.