Saturday, December 26, 2009

Closing Remarks

I'm sure you're all dying to see Christmas pictures. I have every intention of posted them promptly. For now, please accept Jackson's closing remarks from Christmas Day. This is after Jackson's was put to bed. He was at the gate to his room, calling for more attention.


(Jason and I are down the hall, cracking up! Jason, "He's 2 1/2 and already I'm getting the first name treatment.")

What is that laughing about?!

A few days ago, I'd come across something annoying that Jason had done. Can't recall what now. Anyway, I mumbled, "Grrr, Jason". Jack heard me and asked who Jason was. So I explained how Daddy's other name is Jason, and Mommy's other name is Sheree. He gave me a funny look. Later he tried telling me that his other name was Jason. A few days later, he checked with his Daddy and was told that indeed, his Daddy did have another name, which was Jason. Guess he decided to try it out last night.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


It snowed. It's the kind of snow that I haven't seen in New England yet--light and powdery and deep. Jackson was so excited to go outside. I made him wait until after breakfast, then get bundled up. The snow was hip deep on poor Jackson. I had to pick him up and put him down in new places because walking was out of the question for him. He had fun shoveling [snow back onto the paths that were cleaned off]. See Jason in the background, wearing his new full body hunting suit? I took a We took a pass around the yard on his sled. Jackson had some nibbles. Unfortunately, making a snowman was out of the question in this powder. I'm sure the next snowfall will be damp.

Here's a picture of Ming, the Chinese soldier who protects our home. He scares the bajeebees out of anyone who stops by after dark, including the residents. This storm turned him into a gnome.

After playing and digging out, we came back inside to get warm by the fire and enjoy hot chocolate (pictures courtesy of the last snow storm).

Jackson's Drawing

This is Jackson's latest drawing. Well, he's actually made 4 since, but this is the one I photographed and have really taken to. Sure, its kids scribbling, but he used so many elements in one drawing. First the orange with solid patches of color placed randomly in both horizontal and vertical directions. Then more of that with pink. In turquoise, circles--big ones made with the edge of the crayon and small ones made with the tip. Plus a smattering of dots small lines, etc.
Nice job, Jack!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This day is off to an exceptionally nice start

This morning, Jackson slept until 8:30! I'm sure this was a result of 2 acts of leniency on my part. First, I let him stay up an extra couple of hours. But we were making mini cheesecakes, and it was only fair to let him enjoy his handiwork. Second and probably more influentially, I let him sleep with me the last half of the night. He's teething, and unless I drug him at bedtime (we're out of baby motrin) he wakes up screaming, "Mommy-I need you!". So at 4 am, on the second round of screaming, I tucked him back in bed, but left his gate open and told him he could come sleep with me if he wanted. He was in my bed before I returned from the bathroom. He does sleep more soundly with another person. I had to get up at 8 after the hunters' gunshots frightened my dog who nosed me out of bed. Jackson only lasted another 30 minutes on his own.
We came downstairs, and Jackson is snuggling in his fuzzy blanket and eating french toast.
Every 10 minutes or so, he said "Mom, you know...I bery lucky." So I say, "You are very lucky. I'm very lucky too." Then he might say, "We both bery lucky." I find these words to be a profound statement of affection from my boy. He came to them on his own, and I imagine they make more sense than repeating "I love you's". I'll take them. I'll also take the "Oh, mom-mom" I used to get with my hugs, but the frequency of those has declined since his vocabulary has increased.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I, Robot

Jackson insists on being called "Jack". If we say, "Monkey" or "Sunshine" or "Silly-head" he counters with "I not, I just Jack!" Jason tends to follow with a W&G "Just Jack" gesture (someday he'll be sorry.)
Sometimes, Jackson pretends to be a puppy, crawls and woof's. After getting a nice scratch behind the ears, he reverts to "Just Jack".
Today, he's told me a couple of times that he is a robot. (Shout out to Elliot!) He follows the statement with some monotone robot speech "I-am-a-ro-bot". At bedtime, he became a robot, and when I asked if he would wear his pants, he said "I-sorry. I-a-ro-bot. No-pants. I-need-my-blank-et."
So, there it is. "I-ro-bot" is the new universal excuse for being disagreeable. Frankly its a huge improvement over the whiny disagreeableness he picked up after getting hooked on PBS's Caillou.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Locked Out

I stepped outside to let the dog in the gate. I don't think I even shut the door. Jackson shut it, then stood on tiptoe to turn the deadbolt. So there I was, standing outside in the dark talking to a 2 year old through the door and begging him to unlock it. He suggested I use my key. So I pointed to the hook by the door where the keys hung.
Jackson went to the kitchen to get the high chair he's using as a surrogate stool (his real stool was hidden.). He then started moving the pile of clutter away from the corner. I thought he'd determined it was in the way of getting the chair to the door. Nope, he was going to use the high chair to get my keys from the hook. Don't know how he planned to get them through the door.
I walked over below the deck to get the emergency keys out. Unfortunately, its too dark to dial in the combination. So, I was back to trying to coax Jackson into unlocking the door.
I finally convinced him to turn the lock. I think he tried to turn it further in the same direction that locked it. It took another 5 minutes for Jack to get the door unlocked.
Now I'm grateful to be back inside. Unfortunately, I no longer have time to run to the farmstand to get our turkey. Oh well.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekend Visitors

Nicole, Ben, and Carolyn came up this weekend. We went to the baby stores so Nicole could finish registering. Did I mention she's expecting a little girl in December? See details here:

Our guests came bringing toys. A stuffed Plankton beanie baby from Ben, and a couple of books with juggling puppies from Carolyn. Both were hits.

This morning, I went upstairs and left Jack with Carolyn and Nicole. After I left, He said, "Where Mom?" After hearing that I had gone upstairs, he ran for the pantry. When Nicole and Carolyn got there, he was holding a bag of chips and scanning the shelves said, "Mom gone, find some candy!"

Jackson was all over Ben this weekend. He kept asking, "Where Ben", and had a complete meltdown when they left today. He wouldn't give them smoochies goodbye because he thought they would have to stay if he refused. :(

The meltdown signaled nap time. I took Jack for a drive around the neighborhood to get him started, then laid down with him. We slept 'til 8:30. Not so good for bed time, but it was a badly needed snooze.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

This week

Jackson and I went to the grocery store today. He was tired, and didn't want to ride in the cart. So I let him help me push it instead. He figured out (without my prompting) that he could stand on the bottom rack and ride, then just hang from the bar holding his feet up and ride. Very exciting stuff for my little 2 year old. Even more exciting was the thrill of helping me shop. First, he found the s'mores display and in went the marshmallows. I spent too long reading packages in the soup aisle, and boxes of Mac n' Cheese were tossed into the cart. I stopped by the candy aisle to get some new potty "beans" and he threw several bags of candy in, which I had to surreptitiously remove. I'm sure we'll have many adventures in grocery shopping to come, and on some of those trips cookies and crackers will make it home that I won't have see enter the cart.

A few days ago, Jackson showed me this:

He proudly proclaimed it "mine airplane".

Some time later, he converted it into this:


Thus his imagination has taken flight.

Jackson loves Mr. Potato Head or "Tado Head" as he calls him. Sometimes, only his parts can be found, and that's fun, too.

We're still having our usual night time struggles. Right now, the ritual goes something like this:
1-Take Jackson up to bed. Change him, check his armpits for critters (ticks) and re-read a couple of stories.
2-I suggest we climb in the bed and I can "Hop Up" with him a bit. He refuses and goes on playing with whatever he was playing with before story time started. It could be blocks or trucks or this weekend, a handful of makeup wedges and a butterfly hairclip (Funnest toy he's had in a while).
3-I coax a hug and a series of kisses out of him, and tell him "Sweet Dreams, Jackson" which he echoes "Pweet Dweams, mommy."
4-I turn out his light, leaving the hall light on so he can see his toys.
5-Five minutes later, he's standing at his gate calling, "Mom...Mom...Mommeeeee!"
6-I may or may not come then, but I check up on him. Eventually, he might decide to climb into bed and and "move" over so I can "Hop Up". The important thing to him is that I say "Sweet Dreams" a couple of times everytime I check in.
7-Eventually, he will go to sleep. Maybe 1 or 2 hours after being put to bed. Usually in his bed, but sometimes not.

Shown here: Jackson rocks himself to sleep. With pillow, fuzzy "Blank", the book, 'As Quck as a Cricket", a bear, and a crayon.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I slept the afternoon away with Jackson. He didn't even kick. Until he opened his eyes and saw me curled up in the fuzzy microfiber blanket that I wasn't sharing with him (gasp!). In an elaborate downward facing dog to the ribcage, he stole his fair portion away. Then we slept some more.

I dreamed that Jason came home early and made spaghetti. He's doing that now. Thank you, Jason.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Garden update

Our garden has had it's share of successes and failures this year. Most importantly, late blight wiped out our tomatoes. Thats right, the same blight that caused the irish potato famine has caused a tomato famine across the whole northeast. But! we have had wild success with peas this year (our 18 inch dwarf peas grew to 9 feet with all the rain). And we seem to have the touch when it comes to sunflowers.

Finally! A vacation!

We took a three day vacation to Cape Cod over the fourth of July week. We were very lucky to get two and a half of the only sunny days the Cape has seen this summer. It was beautiful, relaxing, and Jack had a blast at the beach! Those who are our friends on Facebook can check out more photos there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Love You, Mama

Tonight, Jackson said his first ever, "Love you, Mama."
As a response to my "Love you, Jackson."

Shout out to Jason for repeating the phrase at every opportunity.
"Love you, Jason!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

LoJack for Babies

A few weeks ago, Jackson bolted in Target. When I found him, he was 1/2 way across the store. So I spent the night comparing child locating devices on line--LoJack for babies. There are all kinds. Everything from GPS enabled devices that are trackable online (with or without a monthly subscription fee) to radio frequency beepers. I opted for the latter option--much cheaper, instant, and practical. Sure, my child could be abducted, but statistically that's a pretty remote possibility. The likely scenario is that he either runs or drifts away in a public place (or the backyard).
We opted for the Mommy I'm Here Child Locator. $25 at Amazon (link from the blog title). This one seemed the most practical and had better reviews. The only negatives were from units that arrived with a dead battery. Our's arrived in good working order.
Only drawbacks are that it sometimes beeps with no apparent reason, but I could've leaned on the button. You also have to thread it through something-- a belt or shoelaces for example. Minor inconvenience for peace of mind. Bonus, I'm not the parent with a toddler on a tether.

Some Pics from the Spring

New Features

I'm trying some new blogger gadgets. There's a new blog list, if I missed you, it wasn't because I think your blog is dull (I wouldn't exclude you for that), its just that I forgot or didn't have the link handy. Remind me. This new list lets me see when you have a new post. It also saves me a click to Jamie's blog where I had been getting that info.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm keeping tabs on you, my readers in other ways. I have a new site monitor that collects data on my viewing traffic. It's imperfect, but compelling enough to be latest OCD fixation. And hey, if the government can data-mine the web, shouldn't I get in on the game as well? I need to know if they are watching me.

Try the new search tool. Next time you want to find that post from forever ago, you can.

Hopefully the best gadget of all is the one that allows me to send this post via email. Here's hoping for format compatibility.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Emu Blogger?

Hi Emu Blogger.
We don't know who you are and your profile is private.
It sounds like you know us. Send us an invite to your blog.

Or, if you wish to remain unknown, that's cool too.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fat Cat?

Jack has been going around the house asking "Fat Cat?" for some 6 weeks now. It has been a mystery. We do have a fat cat, but if I refer to his girth, I call him "Fatty Ballooey". I haven't been using this name lately, I've been calling the furball "Ballooey Kitty" mostly. Usually the feline in question is nowhere to be seen when Jack poses the question. I sometimes wonder if he is asking for the cat, or where the cat is, but it doesn't seem likely because when he sees the cats, he squeals and the cats skedaddle through the hole in the door.

A few days ago, he said "fat cat" in the closet, which really made no sense since its not a favorite haunt of my fluffy kitty. He then requested to be lifted, and reached out for the bag of goldfish crackers left on the shelf (leftover from our camping trip.)

So, 1 mystery solved. Another mystery opened. Jack can say "Fish" very clearly, and says "Crack" for all other crackers. (Ironic since he goes after crackers as if they were indeed crack cocaine). It seems strange that combining 2 words he says clearly made both words corrupt. I am enjoying hearing his language development unfold. Hoping to soon post at length with a list of his sweet utterances and the English translations, before his speech grows up and I forget.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

See, Mom...

"See, Mom...Ope"

That's was Jackson's proud announcement of the day.
He unlocked the deadbolt for the first time.
We are doomed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ben's the man!

We went to visit Ben and Nicole in their awesome new house last weekend (in conjunction with a visit from Sheree's mom Chris and brother Ellis). Part of being married to a member of the Swenson family is having to visit some kind of tourist type attraction. They suffer from some kind of compulsion, I don't know what it is. So, after we had breakfast, the topic of "what are we going to do?" came up. Ben thought for a moment, then suggested we head to Camden to see the USS New Jersey. My initial reaction was "lame!". Ben told me to shut up, "it'll be all right". So after walking around the battleship for an hour or so, we headed up to the top deck, where there was a BREW FEST! Fifteen local micro breweries with three to five FREE beers each.

As you can see, a good time was had by all!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Just saw a blurb in the news about this guy. His name is Jeff Hanson and he was a rising star in the Minneapolis indie-rock scene. Apparently he was found dead in his new apartment after falling and hitting his head. He was 31.

I'm writing this because, like him, we have so much ahead of us, so much to expect from life. But, life is short and unpredictable. Live life like you mean it, and be thankful for what you have, because you never know. Life is fragile and short, then its back to being space dust.

So, BIG LOVE to all who care enough to check in on our little family's blog! Bigger love to everyone who helped us along the way. Biggest love to my family. (Jason)

Friday, June 5, 2009


Upon request, I gave Jackson a post bedtime snack of hotdog, ketchup, mustard, and cheese. A few minutes later, he came trudging into the kitchen shouting the following:

I guess the mustard was a little spicey. Oops.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hopeless tomato addiction!

Yellow Pear. Expect them in their millions!
White Wonder. Almost white beefsteak with a really mild flavor. Even kids who don't like tomatoes will like these.

Striped German. Seems a lot like a Brandywine variant, but I liked the color and they are supposed to taste awesome.

Mr. Stripey. Another wierd looking tomato. They produce like crazy according to the description.

German Johnson. Questionable name aside, these are supposed to be prolific, and good for sauce.

Cherrokee Purple. Old Tennessee heirloom from, you guessed it, Tennessee Cherrokee indians.

Brasndywine Yellow. Amish heirloom that can grow up to 3 pounds. Dream big says I.

Brandywine (Sudduth's strain). This is considered one of the oldest strains of a true american heirloom. It is what tomatoes should taste like.
Black Prince. Russian's seem to introduce a lot of black tomatoes, and this is one of the oldest. Red wine is mentioned in the flavor description. I can't freakin' wait!

Black Krim. Another russian black, more prolific, and make a great sauce.Aunt Ruby's German Green. Just wanted to try a green tomato. They are supposed to be very mild, should go great in salsa with tomatillos.

I admit it! I am a tomato addict! Here are a few of the varieties we are trying this year. I go to a nursery for something totally NOT related to tomatoes, and come home with a new one. Hopefully they turn out as well as the pictures that I stole from various seed websites. I highly recommend Victory Seed Savers, and for those who are likewise obsessed. Here's to a successful garden season!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Everyone once in a while, I am struck by the reality that everything my child knows must be spoon fed to him. He picks up bits of information from casual contact with friends, strangers, books, and TV. For the most part, though--the information gained has come from his parents. Last fall, I realized I had yet to teach him all the parts of a room. He knew about the walls, the doors, closets, and floors, but I had underlooked the ceiling. So we took 5 minutes to learn about it.

As we're heading into summer, we're spending a lot of time outdoors, which is teeming with insect life (especially in this wet and rural climate). One day, we came across a pile of sugar ants and Jackson proudly shouted, "Bee!". Several of Jack's books feature bees, and I make a big deal of it with buzzing sounds and tickling. Somehow, we haven't read about any other insects worth getting excited about. We do have a book about bugs that Jackson likes, but they are personified and busy building a house. They don't really relate to the critters we find outside.

So, we crouched down to talk about the ants. Now when a carpenter ant finds its way inside, Jackson is on the seen "Ant! Stomp!" (Still working on context, stomp ants inside and leave them be outside.) When we go for walks, we pass through swarms of gnats. The first time, Jackson shouted "Bee!" So we spent some time talking about the flies. Look a few posts back and y0u can see the hilarity that ensues when there are flies inside.

When we come across the insect life, I describe each one in a specific way. Now Jack knows about the ants, flies, spiders, butterflies, ladybugs, and caterpillars. It's occurred to me that my specificity is great, but it still leaves a little knowledge gap. I haven't found a way to work the word "bug" into Jack's developing vocabulary. I don't even know how to approach it. For the most part, I use the specific word for the type of insect I meet (unless there's a particularly annoying swarm, and then the word "bug" is accompanied by a few expletives I'd rather not draw attention to with my toddler). When I find an opportunity to teach the word, I expect it to be in the context of true bugs, and even then I'll probably be specific "box elder bug" or "stink bug". Should I be reassured that eventually my boy will attend preschool or kindergarten and quickly be schooled by his peers on the generic term for all tiny, mostly flighted creatures. Or should I take the responsibility to teach him more seriously and make sure he knows his preschool pop culture to prevent any playground embarrassments?

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Phrases

"Uht's up, Daad? Uht do-i"

That's, "What's up, Dad. What are you doing?"

Sounds like random syllables, but when you have the secret decoder, its very endearing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The REAL cure-all.

I have discovered a cure for all the misery and woe in the world. Baby laughter.

Now if I can figure out how to get it into bottles for sale!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden update....

We have been pretty active in the yard this year, and the garden is coming along nicely.

Lots of seedlings.

Peas are up and about a foot tall. Still waiting for flowers.

After several years, asparagus is producing. Sheree is thrilled.

We bought Llama manure for the garden. It came with millions of redworms!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sweet Dreams -- Let the Wild Rumpus Begin.

I think this is the new series. Like Ethan and Kate in their stroller, I'll be doing Jackson asleep in the Rocker. Look closely, you'll see that "Where the Wild Things Are" is now on our regular reading rotation.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


"It's not easy being a mother. If it were, fathers would do it."

Staying up late to blog about mothers. I am suprised how easily every woman I know who is a mother, makes it look like she has some kind of college degree in mothering. I will keep it short, every last one of you are amazing! I am so lucky to have Sheree for my wife, and thankful for my own mother who put up with so much from us boys. I'm thankful for grandmothers who showed us kids what kindness was. I love you all!

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother" -Abraham Lincoln