We've got a small thunderstorm right now. I was surprised we would get anything. :-)

We're taking a one-day trip north to see my great-aunt Caroline who lives in Hugo, OK. I haven't seen her in over 15 years. I was a lanky teen with bad hair and braces when she saw me last. Now I'm a slender adult with better hair and decent teeth. Among other positive attributes. I have a box of old family photos passed on from my grandmother, many of which are of family members I can't identify. In my effort to maintain some family history, I'm hoping she can ID a few people and maybe give me some estimate of time. I'm also looking forward to the trip for the change of scenery and slightly cooler climes, by three degrees.

I was hoping my dad would visit this summer. He made this big deal that he would come here on the way to seeing Nel's family. While I was totally excited by the idea that he would travel to Dallas to see his grandkids and us, I was also expecting him to back out. True to form he will not be coming. I'm a little glad I didn't fully expect him to actually come here, but also bummed. I had just enough hope to be disappointed. I've lived in Dallas for eleven years this summer and he has come only one time: for my wedding. Since then it's always been some reason he can't. Money. Work. Taking care of his mother. It's typical that once again I feel let down by him. One would think that in nine years he could have found one weekend, one stretch of vacation time, one two-day time off that he could use for me. Intead I've spent my own time going to see him. I can't do that as easily with the kids anymore and regret that he won't be there as they grow up. I worry they won't know who he is and then he'll be gone.

There's an unspoken hierarchy of friendship. It's a cold unspoken rule of social etiquette that once you tun your back on your girlfriend, partner, or spouse you can no longer rely on that person's friends for support in the same way you once did. Here's how it works: you make a friend who introduces you to their girlfriend, partner, or spouse. Your friend has the higher hierarchy over whomever they introduced to you. If your friend breaks up with their girlfriend, partner, or spouse, your loyalty goes to your friend, not to who they broke up with. (With rare exceptions.) Here's an example: a friend of more than ten years is facing the end of his marriage to someone I've also known for the same amount of time. He has a long history with Rusty and introduced me to her when they first met. My loyalty goes to the original friend, not his soon-to-be ex-wife. It would be imprudent to call her and maintain that friendship.

Not that I would want to anyway.

Potty training achievement: Josh went poop in the potty! yay!! But it wasn't that easy. After dinner we took him to the potty where he peed. That was good. He played a bit then dashed upstairs abruptly. As he went, it dawned on me that he was going to poop in his room, one of his preferred locations. I sent Rusty to assist him since I was holding Elliot at the time. Josh screamed and protested. I stepped in as "good cop" and helped him to the potty. After a moment he got bored and began fidgeting with the blinds. To distract him from the blinds and toilet paper, I gave him a small picture book then left him alone. A couple minutes later he shouted "I went poo-poo in the potty mommy!" I did a dance, clapped my hands, gave him hugs and high-fives then we all left for an ice-cream sundae treat. We'll try to catch him again tomorrow.

The school is taking him to the potty every 45 minutes or so and says he's getting better. I'm going to try to keep on the same timing when he's home Friday through Monday. I'll also put him in underwear those mornings to give him a chance to start out the day diaper free.

It's Father's Day! I got my dad a BBQ dinner from a local restaurant and got Rusty a concrete bench to sit on outside. He now has a comfy place to smoke and talk on the phone where the kids won't see him. I also got him a nice ceramic jar with a lid where he can store his butts. (Isn't that a lovely word- 'butt'- to describe what goes into the mouth of a smoker? I think it's appropriate. In fact, I think there should be more gross words to describe smoking. The pack could be 'coffin', the lit end could be a 'maggot', the ashes could be 'scabs'.)

We started out the day so fabulous! Last night we took Elliot to a boat party with us while Russ and Anne had Joshua over to spend the night. Apparently he was a charm and a gentleman for them. Meanwhile, we got to sleep in and snooze, do some cleaning, set up Rusty's new bench and relax a bit. Then Josh came home WIRED. It was as if someone slipped him an espresso or something. He was bouncing off the walls, running circles, going two miles a minute. (Which is 120 MPH. If you're a car.) He refused a nap so I took him swimming thinking that would wear him out a little. Oh not in the slightest. He finally chilled thirty minutes before bedtime and zonked asleep within minutes of his light going out. whew!

I host the playdate for the neighborhood om group tomorrow afternoon. I fully expect my home to get trashed but I'm looking forward to it all the same.

Rusty did some research on what the cost would be to purchase a Toyota Prius Hybrid versus keeping my car, a Mazda 3. He figures:

$937 per year in gas for Prius at 4.50/gallon (48 mpg)
$1875 per year in gas for a Mazda3 (24 mpg)

$10,345 trade in value for the Mazda
5% interest

$29,649 for new fully loaded Prius

$364/month/60 months of car payments
$78 in savings per month for gas
We're not buying a new car, not now anyway. I'm rather attached to driving a manual transmission and I own my car. When the time comes to upgrade, I'll likely go for a hybrid or fuel alternative car. And maybe not a Prius since Toyota doesn't strike me as a great car manufacturer.

We took Josh to school this morning back in diapers. Rusty told the teachers we would try again later when he's more ready. They insisted that if we sent him to school with Pull-Ups that they would work with him on potty training. Everyone I've talked to who had quick success doing the potty training themselves swears that going cotton (forget the pull-ups) is the only way to go. I think they're right. But if the school is willing to help potty train him using the pull-ups then I'm game for it. I suppose there's no other way for them to do it without having pee and poop accidents.

I sent Josh to school yesterday as usual hoping he'd have some success with going to the potty since he'd be among peers that go potty and have access to a toilet his size, but when I picked him up the teacher had him in a diaper. Damn her! So I'll kept him home to practice some more. By lunch I had given up. He was less successful over the weekend and not showing any signs of wanting to use the potty. I made him clean all of his messes, even the pooped in undies. By lunch it was clear that he wasn't ready. I think it's more of a willful child issue than a knows-how-to issue. After four days, we're calling it quits and will try again in 2-3 weeks.

In the meantime, I'm telling him he wears "baby diapers" in hopes that it will sink in that he shoul be done with them.

Day Two and a Half of Potty Training. Josh did better. We started the day with no messes! Then at lunch he made up for it by peeing and pooping. That was such a- eww, yeah, let's not go there. Ok, then at naptime he didn't pee (yay!) but instead walked to our bedside to wake up Rusty who was snoozing then proceeded to pee there by the bed. We had fewer mishaps in all and more trips to the bathroom. We gave him a small ball of chocolate every time he peed in the potty along with high-fives, praising and clapping. When he goes poop there (he hasn't yet) he'll get a small ice-cream sundae.

We have lunch with a long-time friend of my Dad's today named Molly. She's been keeping up with the family through Betty and laura over the years. I vaguely remember meeting her when I was much younger but she's changed so much in twenty years that I didn't recognize her right away. I also met her son and his wife and their two boys. We walked about raising kids and weather mostly. Between Elliot who got fussy half-way and Josh who needed potty breaks and watchfulness, it was difficult to carry on any significant discussion. I'm curious to know what my dad was like in high school. I wonder if she has any stories to tell. Perhaps in time...

Dinner tonight was low-key since we packed it in with tex-mex for lunch. We had a bag of Bertolli's pasta and asparagus with cashews. Here's my favorite asparagus recipe:

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp minced ginger root (fresh is best)
1/2 bunch asparagus stalks, ends cut
1-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 cup crushed cashews

Directions:
Heat olive oil and sesame oil in large flat pan over low to medium heat. Add ginger and stir-fry until slightly brown. Add asparagus an stir-fry for a few minutes then add soy sauce and cashews. Cook until asparagus is tender, crispy and bright green, stirring frequently.

Serves 2. Cooks in 10 min.

Day One and a Half of Potty Training. I'd say we had a few more accidents than successful visits to the bathroom. Whenever Josh did go tee-tee I'd get super excited, high-five, applaud, say how proud I was, do a little dance, say woo-hoo, and even offer a treat on a couple of occasions. This however did not cinch the deal. By the end of the day, he was willfully arguing he didn't want to sit on the potty and he did end up pooping in his pants after dinner. I figured being wet and/or messy would be at least a small problem for him but he doesn't seem to mind. He walked around wet like nothing was wrong. Tomorrow we'll keep at taking him to the bathroom every 30-45 minutes and going ape when he does it in the potty. We're also keeping him off the carpet upstairs until he's better at controlling himself.

Ok, wish us luck. Day one of potty training started this afternoon. He peed in his underwear and shorts three times. Tomorrow we'll be more aggressive with taking him the bathroom and rewarding him when he goes there. No more diapers at all except at nighttime and swimming. (Although if we find ourselves going on a road trip this summer I may use the pull ups, but we'll see.) On that note, I need to do a load of laundry...


Elliot tried apples for the first time. I steamed up an organic apple then fed it to the hand blender. If you've never tasted homemade applesauce you're missing out! However, Elliot seemed to disagree. He's still sticking his tongue out at dinner. At anything on a spoon really. It started out as tongue-trusting, but now it seems to be more resistance to solid foods. We sneak in spoonfuls when he complains or laughs or makes a sound with his mouth open, but then half or more comes out again. I thinking about giving up on solid foods with him for a couple weeks or more then start fresh again. Maybe his interest will peak from watching us eat or maybe he'll outgrow his tongue-thrust reflex with more time. Either way, it'll be less messy and less aggravating for everyone!

I took both boys to their pediatrician appointment on Monday. Both are healthy and normal.

  • Elliot weighs 17.13 pounds and is 27.25 inches tall. He's hit all of the milestones except he's not babbling yet and still does the tongue thrust when we feed him food. I'm hoping this will change in the next month or so.
  • Joshua weighs 34 pounds and is 40 inches tall. He's met all of the milestones too. He's a skinny bugger- he's 90th percentile on height and 25th percentile on body mass index. We talked about Josh's high level of energy but she's reluctant to label him anything but normal for his age at this time.

Meanwhile, following news about color additives linking hyperactivity in children, I'm going to consciously drop coloring from the foods we buy when possible. I did a quick scan of labels this morning and didn't find much with it, although we don't have in stock some foods that Josh likes, such as Goldfish. Kaukauna Cheese has some in the Port Wine flavored, but not in the Sharp Cheddar. A few weeks ago a neighbor mentioned that she cut color out of her son's food then saw a noticeable change in his behavior. It's worth a try and certainly doesn't hurt to switch to more wholesome foods anyway.

It's eerie. Both boys have been napping since 1:30 and it's now about 4:20 in the afternoon. Both of them! I went shopping for clothes while Rusty's been chillin' at home. I fully expected to get called home shortly after I started shopping b/c I didn't expect Elliot to stay down for long. Not only did I find several new shirts and a new pair of shoes, I have time to eat a snack, blog, check email and have some conversation with Rusty before they're up. This extra time rocks!

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