Abraham, Rachel, Soren and Liam. Our life together in Smalltown, Idaho.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Soren: March 2011

I came home from work last Friday very worn out. I was already been sick to begin with and the day....well...let's just say I've had better. Friday is usually the night that Briar makes us pizza (pbuh), but we were out of cheese, so there was no pizza when I got home. I greeted the boys cheerfully, hugged and kissed them both, made them each a slice of toast to stave off starvation, and, in no mood to cook, proposed that we buy ourselves pizza for supper. Everyone was in agreement, so Briar handed us some cash, Abe and I loaded the kids into the car, and we headed into Idaho Falls.

We got about one block into the drive when a little voice wafted up from the backseat. "Mommy, why are you so grumpy right now?" Caught. I hadn't said a word about my day. I hadn't raised my voice. I hadn't even said anything cranky. But Soren noticed I was sad anyway-- and he was worried about me. I explained to him in very simple words why I was sad and he listened attentively and asked lots of questions.

I thought that was that, but he must have been keeping a pretty close watch on me because a half an hour later he asked, "Mommy? Why are you sucking on your finger?" The dry skin on one of my knuckles had cracked and was bleeding. I explained this to him, and told him it wasn't a big deal, but he persisted in his concern. "Are you just going to drive with one hand?" he asked. "No, sweetie," I told him. "It doesn't really hurt. I'm fine." "But I think it does hurt," said Soren. As soon as we got home he headed to the bathroom, got out the Lubriderm, and brought it to me in the kitchen. "This will make it feel better," he said.

And let me tell you: nothing takes the bad out of a bad day like lotion handed to you by a worried four-year-old.

And oh my goodness, what I wouldn't give to keep him four. So sweet, so small. Little enough to be picked up and cuddled, to put his little hand into mine when we walk, to believe that the solution to all his problems begins with M- and ends with -ommy. But big enough to converse, to tell stories, to sing songs, to express opinions.

One particularly nice thing has been that he and Liam have recently reached a better place in their relationship. They are more friend, less adversary. They were playing around on the recliner one morning when I told Soren it was time for us to go to Grandma's. He looked over at his brother and said, "I want to be with you, Nyeeum, but I have to go now." Then he ruffled Liam's hair, slid out of the chair, and put on his coat all by himself. When Liam started to cry, he told him, "It's okay. Daddy will keep you safe."

A few more highlights from the past couple of months:

-Liam fell asleep while he and Soren were playing together in the living room one afternoon. Abe came upstairs to check on them and Soren said, "Sssshhhhh! Daddy! Liam's asleep!" So Daddy tiptoed back downstairs. Soren then found his green safety scissors and carefully cut off Liam's soft baby locks while he slept. He also cut a patch off the top of his own hair. When Abe came back, Liam was still sound asleep on the carpet, surrounded by a halo of hair.

-Abe got up with Liam one morning so I could sleep in. Then Soren woke up, came out of his room, saw Daddy, and asked, "Where's Mommy?" "Mommy's still in bed. She needs some more sleep," Abe told him. Soren digested this for a moment. He then sighed deeply, turned, wordlessly walked back into his bedroom and closed the door.

-While the boys and I were out running errands on a Saturday morning, I decided to take the car to get washed. Unfortunately, the car wash in Shelley was closed when we arrived. Soren is terrified of car washes and was, therefore, glad to see we wouldn't be going. His comment to me, however, was very diplomatic: "Sorry, lovey. Looks like you'll have to wash the car another day."

-Soren is fascinated by the days of the week. Every day he wants to know WHAT day it is. And he'll say funny things like, "I only like Liam on Fridays and Tuesdays" or "I only eat good food on Mondays and Sometimedays."

-For several weeks he was doing this weird thing that he refers to as "going peepee after I go peepee." What this means is that he was having to pee every three minutes or so. It was very strange and quite disconcerting. We took him to the doc, who gave him a UA, said everything looked fine, suggesting that he maybe just had an undersized urethra opening. Abe found information on the internet that described this sort of case in children and said it was probably psychological. Whatever the cause, it finally got to the point where we'd put him in a pull-up every time we went somewhere. Then we just had him in pull-ups all the time. This caused me all kinds of motherly panic and after a couple of weeks I finally insisted that he begin wearing underwear again. This caused massive tantrum throwing, wild running about, and general mayhem related to what appeared to be his soul leaving his body, but he's doing much better now. He'll pull out the "I need to go peepee after I go peepee" schtick at least once a day still, but I just tell him he'll have to put it in the potty, and he seems to be urinating on a much more regular schedule again. More than ya'll wanted to know, probably, but oh wells.

-Probably our biggest behavioral concern with Soren right now is his complete lack of deference for anything of a religious/spiritual nature. He refuses to sit quietly during prayers. He refuses to even say prayers. Sacrament meetings with him are a bit of a nightmare/wrestling match. I had always thought kids were naturally kind of religious, but Soren turns that theory right onto its head.

-If there's anything that delights Soren, it's making mommy laugh. If he pulls a silly face and I laugh, he'll pull three dozen more and do a couple of crazy flip-flops around the room for good measure.

-Soren loves, loves, loves The Magic School Bus series. (Or, as he calls them, "Scoobus Books.") We always have to have a handful of Scoobus Books checked out from the library at any given time. They are excellent reading, I must admit, though I always try to avoid them at bedtime because it takes FOREVER to get through even one with all his questions.

With an owl he made out of playdough. It's one of those newfangled modern art owls.

With one of his myriad Duplos creations.

This is the tickle ball. It's invisible, but if you touch it you'll get tickled.

The child has fashion sense up to here.

These two photos are what he refers to as "dressing silly." He loves to see how many ways he can put on clothes incorrectly. (Or should I say unconventionally?) And yes, I let him go out like this. But only to Grandma's. Or Auntie Clee's.

Trying to look innocent. What Daddy? I haven't seen a Daddy. I certainly didn't use my mad kung-fu skillz to flatten a Daddy. Why do you ask?

In the house he built out of books and drawers.

Soren promises me that even when he's great big he'll still be my little boy.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Gospel of the Green Smoothie

So it all started a couple of months ago when I noticed some talk among my Facebook friends about a mysterious thing they called a "green smoothie."

"My kids think that it's not a smoothie unless it has spinach in it," one of them remarked.

Spinach? In a smoothie? Kids? Drinking it? How could such an thing be possible? Was this green smoothie the secret entrance to nutritional nirvana?

My interest was piqued.

I googled "Green Smoothie."

During slow moments in meetings at work, I started peeking at websites about Green Smoothies. I read recipes. I memorized the health benefits. I mulled it over the possibility of making one of my own. For weeks, I let the idea simmer in my mind. I told my family and friends, "I've been thinking a lot about green smoothies."

It sounded like a great idea. Green smoothie advocates say that they find that this is the best way to get your green leafy vegetables in every day, partially because it beats chomping down a plateful of salad, but particularly because the blending breaks the cellulose down somewhat, making it easier for you to digest the plant and absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from its leafy goodness. The leafies also help slow your body's processing of the sugars from the fruits, so you feel fuller, longer, with steadier blood sugar levels after drinking the smoothie. It sounded like a good deal to me.

But I was afraid.

All the recipes I had found online called for fruit, water, and some sort of leafy green vegetable. This did not sound good to me. The people kept claiming it was good, but people also claim that trout is good, so I do not believe people and their culinary lies. I was afraid I would ruin a whole blenderful of precious fruit with the addition of a bunch of leafy greens.

So I finally asked my friend Becca, who has three small children and was involved in the Facebook conversation that triggered my obsession, about how she made hers. And she told me basically everything I'd already read on the internets, except that she said she added orange juice to the mix! The ingenuity! Juice! Not water, your raw-food eating fools! Juice!

So, a few more weeks of mulling, and I finally bought a bag of spinach and a bunch of frozen berries, along with my usual array of snack fruits. And I made my first green smoothie.

It consisted of the following:

5 strawberries
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 banana
2 cups of spinach
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
3/4 cup water

And....it was fabulous! Because of the blueberries, it was actually a lovely dark purple hue. And it was delicious-- even the kids liked it. LOVED it, even. I asked Soren if he wanted some and he, having watched with interest while I assembled it, declined. "No, not with that salad in it," he said. But I talked him into a tiny taste...and a tiny taste turned into a cup. And then another cup. So it was like I fed my kids a spinach/fruit salad for breakfast. And they were begging for more!

I pretty much skipped around the rest of the day, buzzing from the burst of nutrition, singing little songs to myself about antioxidants and iron and fiber.

And so I wish to share it with you, my fair readers. Come, come, and partake of the joy of green smoothie goodness, for it is worthwhile and wholesome and will make you so healthy.

(Purple green smoothie-faced baby.)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ode to Spring, by Laura

Morning sunshine!
So far so good! My heart is fluttering! I can see sidewalk! IT IS A MIRACLE!
I love SPRING!
I love warmth!
I love sunshine!
I love cool breezes coming through open windows!
I love street sweepers that brush away the yucky rocks that give us traction in the winter.
I love windex that cleans the filth off of nasty winter windows.
I love dogs that can go distances to poop in someone else's yard 'cause there is no snow!
I love little birdies that I play chicken with on county line road!
I love slushies!
I love sand on the shores of lakes that boat in!
I love water warm enough to dip your feetsies in!
Are you picking up what I am layin' down?
I think I have the FEVER!
I may not be a church goer but I have FAITH in springtime!
I am Mother Sunshine! I love everything sunshine!

This was taken from an online chat with my friend Laura this morning. She was feeling a wee bit excited by the possibility that spring might be on its way. She rhapsodized for quite some time, despite the fact that I was trying to grumble about outsourced phone support. It pleased me so. I just put her parts in 'cause they're the cute ones and my portions might be construed as xenophobic.


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