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July 31, 2009

By Leaps and Bounds


Henry adores Adelaide. Or, at least, he loves the sight of her smiling face. Often, when he’s crying or upset, Adelaide antics make him smile again. Adelaide’s version of Peek-a-Boo, using Henry’s high chair tray table as a springboard from which to pop up and scream “Peek-a-Boo!”, made Henry giggle with delight.


Shortly after this photo was snapped, Henry successfully rolled from his back to his front for the first time! Unfortunately there isn't a photo of that event because Adelaide and I were too busy cheering and applauding Henry!

Today was Adelaide’s three-year well child visit to the doctor, and the experience was not without a few new adventures. Like a blood pressure check (111/56 - kind of high for a kiddo, but she was crying and holding her breath) and a Snellen eye exam (cleverly disguised as a matching game, Adelaide’s vision is 20/15; in short, she sees better than most people). Her height and weight are holding steady in the 50th percentile and - good news - no more head circumference checks! But mostly, Adelaide just danced around the exam room, snooping in drawers, drawing on the handy-dandy eye level chalkboard, climbing up on (and threatening to jump off of) the exam table, while the doctor (a friend from Joel’s South Dakota medical school days) and I chatted over Henry’s screams. Indeed, Henry tried to usurp Adelaide’s appointment with his own complaints about needing to eat, but in the end Adelaide was the star.

She’s getting so big, so clever, so imaginative, so opinionated, and so ... well, Adelaide.

July 19, 2009

Sunday Scavenger Hunt


This morning, to amuse Adelaide and pacify Henry while Joel put the finishing touches on an overdue autopsy report, Adelaide, Henry and I went on a scavenger hunt in the park behind our house.

We discovered amazing things! Fairy berries, craphatches dust-bathing, gnarly bark, crunchy gravel, a blue dragonfly, and flowers and leaves of all shapes and sizes. We even saw a group of people enjoying the summertime Sunday with an outdoor church service; Adelaide murmured to me as we watched the group give one another the sign of peace, "They're peace-ing. And hugging."

But my favorite moment happened on the way home when I quizzed Adelaide and asked her to name the Black-Eyed Susans and Cone Flowers that we'd identified earlier on the hunt.


Pointing to the Black-Eyed Susans Adelaide said, "These flowers are Black Eyeballs." And then referring to the Cone Flowers, "and these flowers are Ice Cream Cone Flowers."

July 13, 2009

The Return of Tolo


The marvelous Tolo toy has re-appeared to offer lengthy minutes of stimulation to our young Hal. Our little guy is on the move ... Henry prefers standing to sitting, constantly kick, kick, kicks, and daily seems frustrated by the fact that he can't just get up and walk, run, and play. All in good time ... After all, just remember a few short years ago ...


In a snapshot, circa mid-2006, Adelaide kicks her new Tolo toy with apparent disdain, er ... glee. At least I think that facial expression is glee.

July 9, 2009

Chewing Our Cud

This July marks one year since we moved to Iowa City. To us, a new house means new resolutions ...

It's been one whole year since we pulled up stakes and swore off steaks. Hailing from a land that houses almost 5 head of cattle per person, we decided that a move to a new state prompted a change our household dietary habits. Although Iowa reigns supreme as the largest pork producer in the nation, Joel was not prepared to rescind his "In Defense of Pigs" platform upon our arrival to Iowa City. No, for fear of coronary artery disease and toxic atmospheric emissions, at our house we adopted a new saying: Bos taurus, it’s what’s not for dinner.

Cutting a single species out of one’s diet is tricker than swearing off the whole of ungulates (e.g., bison, deer, pigs, sheep). I think that it’d be easier to simply be a vegetarian and avoid the chilly, moist air in the grocer’s meat department altogether, but we like the idea of Meat as a food group in the T.V. tray of supper, so most nights we dine on turkey or chicken.

There are, naturally, exceptions to this general rule. We heartily drink cow’s milk, stir up cookies with cow’s butter, and eat mostly cow-made cheeses. And when guests visit or for special occasions, you’ll find our table graced with family favorites, like Uncle Cha-Cha’s Stove Top beef burger, hot off the grill, or my aromatic, orange-scented beef stew. But, for the most part, in meat form, we eschew those that ruminate.

And so far, we don’t miss it. Absence has made the heart healthier (hopefully). Perhaps we all should have our cholesterol checked just to see if our experiment has made a difference, but I don’t think that we’ll go back to beef on weekdays anytime soon even if our LDL is low and our HDL high. Our turkey tacos and vegetarian chili suit us just fine.

It's another new year at our house, I wonder how we should improve ourselves this year?

July 2, 2009

Somebody's Summer Vacation

As all in Toadsland might be quick to guess, Marmee, D, and Erin are vacationing with us and have brought with them scads of smiles, plenty of that can-do spirit (e.g., our garden is weeded, the lawn is mowed, and the screen doors fixed), determination to puzzle through our newly acquired Nintendo DS games, and lots of snuggles for the wee ones. Still they're technically on vacation, so we're trying to spice up all the housework and parenting with little day trips, good food, good booze, and hearty laughs. Today, for example, after a tranquil sojourn to Amana for the express purpose of buying some homemade jam and old-fashioned saltwater taffy, everyone is presently tucked into a pretty serious game of Yahtzee. Last night, we stayed up too late after a decadent birthday supper for Big D laughing hysterically at Joel's cool find of the day (It's a good thing our second year resident is finding time to help the helpless at work).

But we always love it when people come from far and wide to visit, there's something about these guys that makes everyone's face light up.


I am positively, absolutely thankful that the Grands are here this week, especially to weather the storm of Adelaide's First Swimming Lessons. On Monday things started out serendipitously enough when we met one of Adelaide's schoolmates, Helenipa, at the pool, signed up for the same swimming lessons as Adelaide!


Just minutes after that happy photo was snapped, Adelaide realized that she was to go into the pool alone. Despite the presence of her friend, Adelaide seemed so upset that not a single one of her familial supporters was going to join her in the water. Her nerve was tested all week long as she was overwhelmed by her sudden singularness, but eventually the fun of bobbing up and down, leaping from the side, and blowing bubbles won her over. We're still working on that whole dunking-under idea.


July 1, 2009



Men seldom make passes
at girls who wear glasses.

Unless you're Big D and Adelaide ...

Happy Birthday, D!