Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Grandparent Smorgasbord

So many grandparents, so little time! Last week, Grandpa and Grandma Cheyney came for a visit from Florida. We spent a lot of time over at Mom and Dad’s, visiting and having a good time. The kids especially benefited from all the spoiling/playing/holding/spoiling by the Great Grandparents. James spent his week going from one grandparent to the next, looking for a sucker to take him outside, upstairs, or wherever his little heart desired. With all the fam there, he had four grandparents to choose from and made his rounds. (Not to mention Auntie and Uncles!) James’ new thing is to bring someone all his toys and pile them in their lap. He would pile his house and barn into someone’s lap, and then he’d try to climb up and try to play. Now that things are back to normal, James is wondering what happened. He has gone to the door a few times and said “Baw-Paw Cheen???” We ran to Mom’s to pick up some stuff the other day and he went in and immediately looked around for some Grandparents. No dice. Everyone’s back to their normal routines, which means absolutely zilch to a two-year-old looking for someone to play with.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Jeff always tells James he is goofier than a wooden watch. Here's why: wearing a camo sweatshirt and my heels, pushing his lawn mower in high style! Some people's kids!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Calling All Diminutive Birds

Fall is finally here! We had our first light frost this morning, which for nerdy folks like me is very exciting! It also means that I have to harvest my birdhouse gourds ASAP. I am actually not into the whole birdhouse gourd scenario per se, but I thought it would be fun to make a birdhouse with James. So, I planted the seeds, watched them sprout, let poisonous weeds sprout amongst them, and waited and waited till little gourds appeared. There was a slight problem, however, no pun intended. The little gourds just never got any bigger. My birdhouse gourds have not gotten very, well, birdhouse-sized. I guess due to the dry summer their growth has been stunted. They are, in fact, what a hummingbird would consider a studio apartment. Not much room to move around in. There are a few somewhat larger ones (about the size of a hummingbird one-bedroom apartment), but they are not ripe. I think they will just rot. Oh, well. It was a fun experiment anyway. Maybe I can channel a little of my inner Martha and make them into some nifty and festive d├ęcor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Twisted Marketing 101

Thank goodness for advertisers! Without them, we would never realize we have a need for a new diaper disposal system or a pickle-grabber or a Wrongful Something-or-other Lawyer. We would just go about blissfully unaware of our own needs. Yesterday, I discovered a few ads that made me scratch my head. Apparently, I am spending too much time disposing of diapers and not enough time with my babies. That’s why I need a fancy new diaper trashcan. The ad says that I can spend less time disposing of diapers and more time with my kids. I didn’t know that I was neglecting my kids due to the laborious task of diaper disposal. Now, if they came up with something that changed diapers for you, that would be worth the money and would actually save time! Another ad I saw implied that a dirty diaper can interrupt the connection between your and your baby. If only you use their diapers, you can be closer to the baby you love! And all this time I was wondering what I was missing! Ha! I was just using the wrong diapers. The last ad I saw, and my personal favorite, was ‘Student Special.’ Bring in your high school ID and you can receive a month of tanning for only $25! Now that’s just fantastic! Let’s give kids a discount so they can get a head start on skin cancer! Genius! Now pardon me, while I run out and buy my new diaper disposal system.

A Night at the Roxbury

It was nine years ago today that Jeff paid good money to take me to see one of the world’s most pointless movies, ‘A Night at the Roxbury.’ It was our first date, a blind date I might add, and he even bought me popcorn and a Coke. We were livin’ it up back then. I am not a fan of popcorn, in fact back then I HATED it. But, I ate it. Seriously, here was a guy who was sweet enough to take me to my seat and then go back and get me popcorn and a Coke. So I politely ate the whole bag of it, and didn’t tell him for years that I hated popcorn. We sat through the movie, despite its dumbness. He turned out not to be a creepy stalker type. Hooray! On the way home, in my flashy gold station wagon, affectionately dubbed ‘Baby Poo,’ he asked me if I wanted to go out again. I think I replied with something incredibly dumb, along the lines of ‘Uh, I dunno. Do you?’ What was I thinking? Well, anyway, we decided to start seeing each other and the rest is history. Here we are, 2000 miles away and two kids later. Who woulda’ thought?

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Few Random Pictures From The Weekend

James and Uncle Phil making a slam-dunk!
James hiding between the door and the screen door.

My friend Candi and I at the shower
Katie all dolled up for her shower

Great Grandma was happy to hold the baby for a while!

Those aren't blueberries!!

A two year old plus some yummy looking berries equals trouble. That’s what I found out this morning. We were out in the garden picking the last peppers of the season. James was piddling around, chucking green tomatoes in the air and bonking himself on the head. In a split second, I turned around and he had bright pinkish purple juice all over his chin and hands. Although he could only have eaten a few, I wasn’t sure what in the world they were. Thanks to the power of Google, I quickly typed in a few words and found out that James had eaten Pokeweed berries. People grow these things as ornamental plants, apparently. You can even buy them online. Cool. My son ate an ornamental plant. But wait. I kept reading. The berries, as well as the roots, can cause:

“retching or vomiting after two hours or more. These signs may be followed by dyspnea, perspiration, spasms, severe purging, prostration, tremors, watery diarrhea (often bloody) and, sometimes, convulsions. If a fatal quantity is eaten, perhaps including roots, the above signs are followed by paralysis of the respiratory organs and other narcotic effects, culminating in the death of the poisoned person.” (

Of course, I was now concerned. Although I figured that he couldn’t have eaten very many, I didn’t want to find out by waiting. I called poison control and they said that he probably didn’t get enough to cause any harm. The worst thing that could happen is that he might get a stomach ache and diarrhea (like you wanted to know). But the good news is, 24 hours have passed and he’s still kickin’. He may have shaved a year off my life, but he’s fine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

James is Watching Over You, Little Fishies

James in now the patron saint of microscopic fishies. Jeff and his work pal, Sal, have been getting into a little fish farming in addition to their normal engineering duties. They have managed to breed a couple batches of fish, and kill off an undetermined number of them. Maybe they felt like they were being watched too closely, but that's only a guess. To give the tank a little flair, they have added a picture of James to entertain the fish. Sal also added a nice touch with the rocks: notice the parting of the Red Sea? There was also a bubbling Champagne glass in there but it was removed due to some technical difficulties. So now you know what engineers do for fun! And if you are wondering where the fish are...they are there...right by James' forehead. They are VERY small!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

C'mon in! There's plenty of room in James' tent :)

Tired of shopping: James fell asleep on the way home

'Holt, pees!' James loves to hold Katie and laugh as she wiggles around. He calls her 'Kate-Dawg' since that's what Jeff calls her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mind Your Own Beeswax!

We went to the pediatrician today. A double whammy: both kids had to get check-ups. But as my mom reminded me, check-ups aren’t what they used to be. Its more of an interrogation of your home conditions than a health check for your kids. Yeah, they got weighed and measured. Katie has gained 2+ pounds and 1 ½ inches in 6 weeks! And James is just about 3’ tall! But anyway, while the doctor was looking in their ears and poking their bellies, she fired away with question after question. Do I read lots of books to them, can James stack at least 5 blocks, does Katie sleep on her back, does James eat fruits and veggies, how much does he eat, when do they go to bed, when do they wake up, when do they take naps, are we going to put James in preschool this year or next year (note there was no option to not put him in preschool), how is James’ behavior, how many times do they poop and pee. They asked me to fill out a survey, for the second time, about my moods, feelings, etc. Seriously!? Is this all relevant information? Will I get turned in to social services if my baby sleeps on her side instead of her back?! Or if my kid goes one day without eating his veggies?! And here is the kicker, the question that most annoyed me! Do you have guns in the house? I wanted to say ‘No, but what if I did? I don’t have a problem with gun ownership.’ Rach said I should have noted that my president was Charleton Heston. Mom said I should have told them that I owned a glue gun. That would’ve been funny! But I just said no. Honestly, what is this world coming to! Are they going to start asking me if I make sure my kids watch Baby Einstein and go to Mommy and Me Yoga classes? Argh!

Monday, October 15, 2007

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Plywood. Tinfoil. Copper tubing. Black spray paint. If this sounds like the makings of a drug-manufacturing operation, think again. These are a few of the supplies needed to complete the new supplemental heat system Jeff is creating, otherwise known as the PARABOLIC TROUGH. In the ongoing effort to harness the power of the “15 million watt light bulb in the sky,” he has devised the plans for this heat-producing contraption. Before you think that Jeff is going ‘green’ for environmental reasons or in support of Al Gore, let me explain. (Nothing wrong with environmental reasons, by the way) Rather, he is attempting to harness the sun in order to:
  1. Make use of the free energy coming from the sun (Very cost effective, eh?)
  2. Prove to wife that he can and WILL not only design the PT but actually execute the plans
  3. Perhaps shave a few pennies off the ol’ electric bill
  4. To make us appear to all our neighbors as eccentric and strange, and to fuel conspiracy theories amongst them
In a nutshell, he plans to paint the copper black, stick it in a parabola shaped through lined with tinfoil, fill it with water, pressurize it (I think), and stick it out in the sun. The parabola will intensify the heat of the sun and heat the water in the pipe. Then the water is forced through the pipe into the house somehow. And voila! Heat! (And you thought I wasn’t listening, honey!) There may be something involving a fan or a car’s radiator after that. I get that part confused with the last home heating invention. If it does involve a radiator inside my house, I have suggested making paper flames to glue to the front. That way we can pretend we are sitting around a fire, instead of a radiator. Sounds cool, right? I remember growing up, a friend of ours lived way out on the edge of nothing. Her dad always had these strange whirly-gig things outside, and I heard it was some sort of experiment. It was like he was a mad scientist, trying to harness the wind. Little did I know that I would someday grow up to marry a mad scientist who would dream up ways to harness the sun. The part that worries me the most was the statement Jeff made right after explaining his plans. I quote: “I just have to figure out how to keep the thing from blowing up.” That would be a start. Maybe someday we’ll be rich and famous from the Parabolic Trough. Then, I will have to eat my words. For now, I am interested to see how the PT is going to work out. Go, Jeff!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

One Month

Katie is already one month old!

Welcome to the 'Burbs

Anywhere people live in close proximity to each other, weird things are bound to happen. Actually weird things happen everywhere. There are just neighbors here to notice them. So, that leads me to give you the low-down on the strange things that happen in our 'hood. I would like to state up front that I do not sit at my window with binoculars. I don't even own binoculars. BUT, being home all day and taking daily walks provides me with a sufficient amount of neighborhood drama. So, in no particular order, here are a few things that have made me scratch my head lately.
I like to take the kiddies out for a walk almost everyday. This week we saw two grown men acting like complete idiots! Our neighborhood has a greenbelt running along side of it. Its basically a narrow strip of woods and a small creek flanked by a strip of grass. Our token 'open space.' So, there were two guys standing there on the grass of the greenbelt. At first I thought they may be fishing. (You never know what you may catch in there: sunnies, bluegill, a shopping cart maybe) But upon closer inspection, I realized that they were wielding golf clubs and the bucket was full of golf balls. I wondered if they were trying to hit the balls into the creek. Sounds pointless, but what else would they be doing? Well, turns out that they were whizzing golf balls into the woods across the creek. One after the other, they were sending these golf balls at rocket speed into the woods. Whats wrong with that, you wonder? Well, the woods are the local hangout for neighborhood kids. They explore, play, ride bikes and probably do lots of nefarious things back there. In fact, the woods were alive with the sound of kids, even as the idiots sent projectiles rocketing their way. I don't exactly know what they were thinking, but I sure hope no one was hurt. As if to prove their intelligence, as I was walking past, one of the men crouched down to get another ball and saluted us with a horrifying two-bun salute. Yikes! I need therapy!
Last week we saw a man scouring the greenbelt near the baseball field with a metal detector. I've seen this guy before. He goes all along the greenbelt waving his magic wand around looking for.......what?!? Seriously, does he think he's going to find something fabulous? He might, but there's a better chance that all he'll turn up are a few nickels and someone's lost half of a 'Best Friends' necklace. I can't see how its worth his time to poke around our neighborhood looking for someone's discarded treasures. Hmmmmm...maybe its a cover-up operation for something more interesting. I'll have to develop a conspiracy theory about that one.
While I am in therapy for seeing some stranger's hind end, I think I will mention my neighbor's bird. Its enough to make me crazy. Our neighbors are the kind of people who collect pets. They have a menagerie of birds, dogs and cats. Their newest addition to the aviary has the loudest and most hideous bird noise I have ever heard. It sounds somewhat like an air horn and can be heard inside our house, with the windows closed! And the offending bird is across the street inside its own house! It reminds me of the dog with the mutant bark/wail that used to live next door to my grandparents. Is there some kind of obscure sound ordinance that prohibits the owning of loud obnoxious birds? I'll have to check into that!
In case this sounds like the neighborhood of your dreams, there are several houses for sale on our street! Seriously, its a nice neighborhood, but even nice neighborhoods have their weirdos. Hopefully I'm not one of them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Word Spurt

If there is such a thing, James has just had a word spurt. (Like a growth spurt for the brain) He has been repeating words we say, as if he has said them all along. Except that they are totally new words for him. He now says 'orange juice,' as opposed to just asking for juice. He says 'home,' when we are going home. I was telling him that Great Grandpa and Grandma Cheyney were coming to visit soon. He said 'Ba-Paw Cheen,' for Grandpa Cheyney. He asks for his 'shirt' and 'pats.' He has even told me, two days in a row, that he is 'ting-tee.' (Stinky) Oh, and he tries to say 'nasty.' That cracked me up when I realized what he was trying to say. He told Grandpa that he wanted 'more of that.' Wow! A real sentence! He says 'peez' and 'tats.' One of my favorite James-isms is 'Jootz peez?' (Juice, please?) Pretty soon we'll be having regular conversations with him.

Feeling Grateful

Katie has been home with us for four weeks now. Each day, I keep thinking 'James would have been home for a week by now', or 'James was still on his monitor at four weeks.' What a difference it is to have a healthy baby. We've actually been able to experience all the little newborn things, without the health worries and the monitor. We can hold our baby whenever we want. We don't have to go through miles of hospital hallways and scrub up to see her. We don't have to stick little wires to her, or awaken to the shrill alarm of the monitor. I can dress her in anything, without thinking about where the wires will come out. Each night, sometimes several times a night, I look over into her crib and watch and listen to the sound of her breathing. I hold the monitor up to my ear and strain to hear the sound of James sleeping. I even listen to Jeff's breathing. I don't think I will ever forget what it was like to watch my sweet James struggling for each breath. Now the sound of breathing is such a comforting sound. When I can hear at least a peep out of everyone in the family, then all is well and I can go back to sleep. I am so grateful to have both my babies home with me, healthy.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever."

1 Chronicles 16:34

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dressed Up

Katie got to dress up for the first time today. The truth is, I got to dress Katie up for the first time. She could really care less. But hey, its my right as a mother to dress her in cute little things, right? We also managed to get James to stop for a millisecond to pose for the camera.

Jeff and James watching Veggie Tales


James reading with Katie

Peees, Bee-bee? (Please can I hold the baby?)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Mad Scientists and Their Ill-fated Experiments

Jeff and James have been up to some strange business. Here are three of their experiments, in no particular order:

Experiment #1: Sneak into bathroom and experiment with a roll of toilet paper and lots of water. Conclusion: Toilet paper makes a mess when wet and sticks to all your fingers.

Experiment #2: Slop a dollop of mashed butternut squash on Mom's plate from a foot or two above the plate. Conclusion: Not a good idea. Squash uses the plate as a springing board and flies onto Mommy's shirt, the table, the door and the wall.

Experiment #3: Jump up and down on the bed in an energetic frenzy. Take a flying leap onto Mom's carefully organized piles of recipes. Roll around on said recipes. Repeat.
Conclusion: Jumping on recipes is fun, like jumping into a pile of leaves. It doesn't, however, do anything for the organization of the recipes.

Can you guess who did what? James was responsible for #1 & 3. Jeff can take credit for flinging squash everywhere. And who cleans up these messes??? Hmmm....

Friday, October 05, 2007

Siblings (I can actually say that!)

So James and Katie are siblings. Weird that I can claim that I am the mother of siblings. It still hasn't quite sunk in that I have TWO. Its amazing to watch how James has taken to her. I think they already have their own language together, or at least James does. He gets right into her face and says quietly, "Hi!" He gives her more impromptu kisses than Jeff or I ever get. He talks to her when she is crying. If she spits up, he finds something to wipe it up with. A couple days ago, he had just gotten out of the bath and was wrapped up in a towel. He saw that Katie had spit up and used the corner of his towel to wipe her chin. James also grabs Katie's hand to wave "hi". He thinks that all those flailing baby movements are her wanting to wave hello. James does have his moments when he doesn't quite understand what gentle really means. He is a two year old boy after all. He already laughs hysterically any time Katie burps, hiccups, or makes other noises if you know what I mean. Kids obviously don't have to be programmed to think that stuff is funny. I'm sure it won't be long before they are plotting together, 'hiding' under the covers from us and giggling loudly all the while. That'll be fun!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Three Weeks Old Already!

Newspapers and Broccoli

So you are probably all wondering if I have gone over the sleep-deprived edge and lost my marbles. You're thinking that the new blog name has nothing to do with anything and is just, well, weird. Hey, what do you expect from us anyway? I was pestering Jeff to help me come up with a new blog name, and this is what he came up with. While I was trying to come up with something cute/catchy/relevant/etc, Jeff told me to be random. Strange, coming out of his mouth, but I needed some ideas. So, after me blurting out many random and really stupid ideas, Jeff came up with 'Newspapers and Broccoli'. Where did he come up with that, you may wonder? Allow me to explain: each day, sometimes several times a day, we hear the obnoxious sounds of 'Pop Goes the Weasel' wafting up the street. As the music gets louder, James usually rushes to the window to see the approach of the ice cream truck. At first, we would shout 'Look, James! Here comes the ice cream truck!' Now, our friends' kids call it the 'music truck,' and they are happily keeping them in the dark as long as they can. We thought that was pretty smart on their part. Jeff and I started calling it the 'Broccoli and Newspaper' truck. Maybe that will deter him for at least a little while. Considering that the top of the van is shaped like a giant popsicle, I seriously doubt it. Anyway, there you have it! The reason for our new title.