Monthly Archives: September 2009

Ethan’s Birthday, Part II.

Duff Goldman I will never be.

I'll never make a living doing this

But when my weak imitation causes this reaction:

Worth the hours I put in

I can’t say that I care.

Ethan had a great day today. Visiting with family, walking into a house occupied mostly by balloons, playing with trains. He had been anticipating his ‘big party’ for several days. After a delicious meal of kabobs, rice, and salad, Ethan opened his presents. Then we sang happy birthday accompanied by Laurel on the violin. Then we dug into that poor little cake. And it was good.

Balloons First gift Second Gift Not the best shot but the look on Laurel's face is priceless Didn't quite get them all with one puff

Happy 4th Birthday, Ethan!

Today you turn 4, Big Fella.

Four years ago it was pouring rain at 6 a.m. when your dad drove me to the hospital. You were born just a few hours later, at 12:50 p.m.

And oh, how our life changed.


We never had to worry about your appetite, though in the first four months you were a skinny little thing. So skinny, in fact, that the good doctor told us if you hadn’t adequately gained by six months, we’d have to look into supplemental measures.

So we just started feeding you whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. We fed you so much that sometimes this happened:


It worked, though! You grew and grew until you were quite a bruiser.


Then you started climbing. God help us.

The past year has been a brisk one for us. You’ve traveled all the way to Yellowstone National Park and everywhere in-between. You realized you’re not scared of fireworks. You talked your daddy into a cat.

But perhaps your biggest achievement (in your eyes) was learning to ride your bike without training wheels. At three. You call it your ‘balancing bike.’ I have to write that down because I’ll forget that someday without the reminder.

You also call umbrellas ‘gorillas.’ Personally, I think holding a gorilla over your head to shelter yourself from the rain would be a lot more creative.

The most fun thing for me this year is that you’ve sort of discovered a sense of time, so the days leading up to your birthday have been magnificent with anticipation.

These are the golden times.

Happy birthday, Ethan. We love you.

ethan with balloon animals

Sunday with the Train.

Anyone who has been around Ethan for any length of time knows how he feels about trains, so yesterday we took the kids to the Wabash Frisco and Pacific Railroad.

The weather was perfect, we all had fun, and Ethan ended up with an engineer’s cap. Oh, and then we enjoyed a picnic on the grounds. There really isn’t anything more to say.

Before Departure train shed scenery Approaching a bridgeprepping for the returnEthan with his engineer's cap

This week and next weekend are extraordinarily busy. Stay tuned.

Sunday Morning History.

Yesterday we drove to Grafton, where replicas of the Niña and Pinta were docked. We thought it would be a good opportunity for the kids to see the conditions under which Columbus and his crew sailed. We wanted to see it, too.

Boy, was it an eye-opener. The ships were TINY. “65 feet long” seems long until you’re standing in it; then it feels awfully risky.

Both ships had several interpretive signs that told us, among other things, that Columbus’ captain’s quarters were tiny and that there was so much cargo in the hold that the crew slept, ate, and lived on the deck.

It was a fun adventure on a gloomy day, even though the ships were crowded. And of course, the Great River Road is always a treat.

Nina Pinta Aboard the Pinta masts More masts ship boat for shuttling between ship and shore via oars or sail

Ethan, on Disasters.

Ethan: [insert overly animated gestures and facial expressions as appropriate]  “We close our door when there is a fire, like this!” [closes door] “We do that. And one night there was a storm with LOTS of thunder, and LOTS of lightning that made me sit up in bed and then I went in Mom and Dad’s bed.” [this is untrue, he has never come seeking shelter in our bed]

“And then there are big tomatoes.”

Me: “Big tomatoes? What?”

Ethan: “You know, a BIG TOMATO came and blew away the house and garage.”

Me: “You mean a big tornado?”

Ethan: “Yes! A great big tomato!”

Weekend, Where Hast Thou Gone?

Really, this post is about two weekends.

During the first weekend, Greg was out of town. After working my ass off for two days mowing, cleaning, painting, et cetera, I decided to take the kids to the Missouri Botanical Garden. My decision was heavily (okay, solely) influenced by the fact that admission was free that weekend for Zoo members.

Even after the decision was made, it was not without its problems. Just before we left, I heard a crash from Ethan’s room followed by a wail. Ethan had pulled his dresser over on him. After a couple of panicky moments, some serious comforting of a scared little boy, and firing off an e-mail to Greg which said – and I quote – “Ethan’s dresser FELL ON HIM a couple of minutes ago. I think he’s okay, but ANCHOR THE FUCKING THING when you get home,” I discovered Ethan bouncing around and being as generally raucous as his usual self.

So off to the Garden we went.

smelling flowers in front of the lily pond Climatron watching the floral clock climbing in the children's garden Atop the rock in the children's garden the future locks and dams at the children's garden

First of all, you’d think we never buy Laurel any nice clothes because she flatly refuses to wear them, preferring instead her old ratty shorts, but whatever.

Also, see the nice photo of her atop the rock – and Ethan trying to climb that rock?

Laurel got up on that rock and was afraid to come down. Some parents around were trying to help her, but I just said, “You got yourself up there; you can get yourself down. Figure it out. Jump, climb, whatever, but get yourself down.”

I know, I’m not very sympathetic, am I? But how the hell else is she going to learn? I’m sure the other parents thought I was the meanest mother around, but I don’t much trouble myself with what other parents think. There’s a reason my kids are independent – I force it. And of course, she DID figure out how to get down. And she was able to be proud of herself for it because she did it ON HER OWN!

Ethan never made it to the top of the rock. If he had, he’d likely have just launched himself off it with no regard to height, the way he was doing with the bales. He’s not quite so risk-averse (and I’ll be quick to point out that being risk-averse is not necessarily a bad thing).


The second weekend we went to Eckert’s to pick apples. Last year’s honeycrisps were so delicious we decided to do it again this year. We picked right at 40 pounds of apples. We have a lot of apples around right now, but we EAT a lot of apples.

The kids each got to pick a little free baggie for themselves, though we had to argue for them. I guess we were supposed to have a coupon for the kids to get the free bags, but the ladies handing out the bags said nothing about a coupon. We didn’t find that out until we reached the register.

My reaction? “Well, we don’t have a coupon and the ladies handing out the bags didn’t say anything about a coupon, so I guess we’ll just leave these bags of picked apples right here.”

They went ahead and gave us the bags.

Ethan's big apple Laurel's juggling act I don't care if I ever run a tractor again, but Ethan disagrees

Note: Laurel’s got those shorts on again!

At least she’s comfortable.

Good times.