Friday, October 31, 2008

Busy, busy

Wow, what a busy week. Andrew's been off, and it always seems we're so busy when he is. :o)

Wednesday was the Halloween party. It turned out great, I think. The girls had a great time and the babies did too. We played a handful of little games, decorated cookies, and did a costume "contest" where everyone won an award.

Yesterday I did my best to win the "good wife" award. LOL My husband is leaving today to go hunting with my dad for a week. I spent the day cooking and baking. By the time I was finished I had two loaves of banana bread, a batch of brownies, four dozen chocolate-caramel chip cookies, a huge pot of Mexican chicken & black bean soup, a big pot of rice, and a pasta salad. That, with the other groceries Andrew picked up, should keep them from starving over the next week.

They're taking my parents' motorhome up to use as their base camp. I really want to go up next week for a couple of nights with the girls. It would be pretty cushy in the motorhome - they even have TV and such. I'm not sure what I'd do with Izzy, but I might try to work it out because I think it would be fun, and we need some outdoors adventures before winter sets in.

Today is, of course, Halloween. Since I spent WAY too much time on two little costumes, I intend to let the girls wear their costumes all day, and we'll just find places to go. I need to visit with my grandparents and aunt, the library has a puppet show and indoor trick or treating this morning, we might go by my dad's work, and I do have a couple of errands to run. We'll see how long I can convince Cora to wear her wig, but I really wanna show them off. The mall has a trick or treating thing, and they do a costume contest there. I'm not sure I wanna brave it though - nearly every child in our town goes, the contest lasts hours, and out of all the kids, there are only three prizes per rather large age group. It's practically impossible to win. Chloe won when she was Cora's age - she was a jack-in-the-box, and got a $100 gift certificate to the mall for it. That was pretty neat, I guess, but I'm still not sure it's worth the headache of trying to go with two little ones. I guess we'll see. Then tonight, we're meeting up with her friend Tori, and another of Tori's friends, and we'll all get together and go trick or treating in one of the upper class neighborhoods around here. Should be a great time... and I'm sure we'll all be exhausted!

Tomorrow, I will knit. :o) I need some knitting time. LOL Actually, I'm working on a great little sweater, and if it's finished by Sunday afternoon, I want to give it to my sister-in-law, who is getting ready to leave for Canada to get engaged. I thought it would make a nice gift. If I can get it done....

Hmm, other than that, i guess I don't have anything else to report. I need to upload our pumpkin patch pictures from last week, but I'm a slacker.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Costume & Party Pics

I've been holding off posting their Halloween costumes, but I suppose it's finally time. :o) Yesterday we hosted a Halloween party for all of Chloe's friends, and they got all dressed up.

Chloe as Rapunzel

That's her "princess smile". I can't convince her to do anything else, she thinks it makes her look beautiful. :oP

The dress is a Simplicity pattern made from sparkly satin. She picked out everything. It was an absolute blast to make.

And here's Cora:

:o) I think she's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen. I couldn't stop squealing with delight every time I looked at her.

I made the wig - lots and lots of red yarn and what felt like several hours of toiling with straight pins and the sewing machine. The stockings are hand knitted and her favorite part of the costume.

I love making Halloween costumes.

And a few pictures from the party:

"Bobbing" for apples - you tie the apples to strings hanging from the tree so there's not all the yucky shared germs and water mess from the real version. It was just as much fun, I think.

Decorating sugar cookies
This is Cora and her little friend Dalton. They have a love/hate relationship. LOL They always fight over sippy cups. By the end of the party, Dalton had a red spot on his nose from Cora's make-up. We're not sure if they were kissing, or what!

The party-goers in their costumes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

You have GOT to...

listen to this song.

Seriously - everyone needs to hear it.

I remember back when I was 16 years old or so, this song came out on the radio, but I only ever heard it a couple of times. Now, 10 years later, all I could remember about it was that there was some guy, and he talks about sunscreen.

Thanks to the help of a friend, I found the song, and it's definitely as great as I remember. So take a few minutes and listen to it, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. :o)

(All you should have to do is click the link - it's to a Myspace Music site that plays the song.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nosy Neighbors

The more I think about this, the more irritated I get.

Earlier today, Chloe and Isabel were playing in the front yard, which I only allow occasionally (usually they're in the back.) I let her go out there though while I did some things around the house. The front yard is fenced, so I feel safe letting her play out there alone, and I check on her no less than every 5 minutes - usually more often than that.

Some kids went by on skateboards, Izzy started barking at them. Chloe attempted to get her to stop barking by yelling "Izzy! Stop barking!" and then started throwing twigs at her. (Obviously, that didn't help. But whatever. It was over in 30 seconds.)

Immediately following the incident, I get a call from my husband. "Josie (the old lady across the street) just called me. She said she's concerned with how Chloe is treating Isabel outside." She told him Chloe was hitting and kicking Isabel.

This bothers me on a lot of levels. I'm nearly certain that Chloe wasn't doing that. She occasionally will hit at Izzy if she's being too rambunctious, but never would she (or could she) actually injure the dog. And she has never kicked her to my knowledge. I suppose that it is faintly possible that in the 45 seconds that had passed since I'd watched the twig throwing incident, she could have had a sudden outburst and began viciously abusing the dog, but I really, honestly doubt it.

Second, what on earth could make that woman think she has any right at all to call my HUSBAND while he is at WORK over something happening at home? I don't even get to call my husband at work! She has my phone number, she could have called me if she was really that concerned. It's almost like she wanted to tattle on me - she's made it clear in the past she thinks I'm a rotten mother (and that my husband is a saint), so maybe she was bored and saw an opportunity to tell on me for neglecting my kid by letting her play outside alone?

I'm not sure. But I'm irked. I've tried to be nice to her. I try to remind myself that she's a lonely old woman with nothing to do and no one to talk to. But calling my husband while he is at work over something so trivial and stupid is just going too far.

For the record, I did call Chloe inside, let her know it's not alright to throw anything at the dog, even if it is just twigs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I made some stuff

The girls' fall dresses. Both are sundress style and can be worn with a turtleneck underneath for much needed warmth.

Whenever I finish a big project, I knit a bunch of silly little things and have a bunch of false starts on projects before I start another. I have sitting in my knitting basket right now a raglan homespun sweater, a cotton wash cloth, a lace scarf. I won't even bother trying to explain the powder blue acrylic and novelty fur dog sweater, which is finished but will probably never have the ends woven in....

Happily, I've managed to actually finish a couple of projects too. I finally jumped on the Calorimetry bandwagon:

This is one of those patterns that nearly everyone who has the internet and knits has made.

Yarn: Paton's SWS in Natural Plum, leftover from a diaper cover last year.
Needles: I don't remember, whatever the pattern called for.
Mods: casted on 100 sts instead of 120, worked 12 repeats of row 5.
Used another of my recently inherited antique buttons for closure. Every project I knit for the next five years is going to have antique buttons. That pleases me.

In answer to Deb's question about buying the gorgeous $50 skein of yarn - no, I didn't buy it. Instead, I spent $50 on yarn for a sweater for the Husband. It's called Cable Guy from Debbie Stoller's Son of Stitch & Bitch, and a picture of the pattern can be seen here. (Site may only be available to Ravelry members. If you can't view the site, I guess you'll have to wait until I finish the sweater to see it. Which may very well take the better part of the next year.)

And Deb, thanks for being an enabler. I need more people like you in my life. :o)

I also made an uber comfy, utterly boring but still quite pretty scarf:

Absolutely simple shell stitch pattern (that's crochet, not knitting.)

Hook: J
Yarn: Plymouth Superwash Wool in 3 coordinating shades of green.
It's over 6 feet long, I can wrap it around my neck two or three times comfortably, the color is perfect, I already washed and dried it so it's super soft and cozy and I have no doubt I'll wear it regularly for years to come. That makes me feel better, because knitting scarves makes me want to kick something. Scarves are like socks - they take FOREVER for a very small finished product, but once I finish them, I usually wear them constantly. I rarely knit scarves for myself - in fact, out of the dozens of knitting projects I've completed, I think I only have 5 scarves for myself. I do knit scarves for other people though, because they are one size fits all and most people will wear a scarf. Except my mother.

Anyway so yeah, that's what I made.

Deb also asked about Cora's shiner...

It's doing fine, I guess, if you call a dark greenish-purplish-black bruise surrounding one eye "fine". It's especially fun to take her out in public, let me tell ya.

She fell again today. She got all excited when I came to find her (unwinding a ball of yarn) and came to greet me from the computer room. She stood up high on her knees, put her hands up, and then intended to plant her hands firmly on the step that goes up from the computer room into Chloe's bedroom. Except that her hands missed the step, and her forehead didn't. She has now acquired a gorgeous reddish purple bump on her forehead, which coordinates beautifully with the black eye.


This child is going to make me crazy before she even really starts walking.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Poor Baby :o(

I know it's inevitable. She's a toddler - she will fall. But I don't have to like it.

This picture was taken a few hours after it happened. It was worse yesterday morning - I need to take more pictures. We've started calling her "bruiser". :o)

We were at the park this evening, playing on the playground. She usually just goes UP the stairs. This time she decided to go down... face first.

She hardly cried - maybe 15 seconds. Then she was pushing me away so she could get down and try it again. It looks so terrible though. I'm afraid to take her out in public - people will think I beat the poor child.


Can someone remind me that it is absolutely ridiculous to pay $50 for one skein of yarn? I need someone with some logic and reason to point out that I can make things that are just as pretty without spending that kind of money. On gorgeous, hand spun, hand painted blue-faced leicester yarn... and it's a big skein! 310 yards.

I must be going crazy. I'd never spend that much on yarn.

Oh, but it's so beautiful. And completely unique, one of a kind.

I should get out the roving I have and spin that and dye it. Except I'd spend that much in dye. Ahhh I must be crazy. :-) Absolutely NO justification for something like that. Right?


Miss Chloe informed me yesterday that she thinks she is lucky because she is homeschooled. :o) Since the first few weeks felt a little bit like pulling teeth, I was worried. But we're totally in the swing now, we have our little daily schedule and routine, and she's loving it.

She was looking at a book yesterday while I was knitting, and I wasn't really listening to her. She likes to "picture tell" with books, where she tells the story based on the pictures, not the words. But as I was knitting, I started hearing what sounded a lot more like actual words. "It was a fine day in the town of Chewandswallow..." And she was reading it, every word. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is not a Step 1, Dick and Jane kind of book. It's a real book, the kind an adult has to read outloud. Usually she's too intimidated by books with that many words on a page, but she really wanted to read that book. She did great - had to ask about a lot of words, but made it through. I am so proud. I just want her to love reading like I do.

Math is getting fun - we're learning about the 10's and 1's place in numbers. Kidney beans take the 10's place, lentils take the 1's, and she's really getting the hang of it. She's definitely math- and science-minded.

And the crafts! We've come to realize she does great with all of her reading/language/phonics first thing, and then a break while we do a craft before taking on math, science, and social studies. Today we're making cats out of soup cans, to be used as plasticware holders for her Halloween party next week. Black paint, felt, glue, and we'll have cute little cats. I'm excited. The internet is incredible for arts and crafts ideas - we could do a craft every day of our school year, and still have hundreds we didn't have time for.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Standard (and not so standard) playground chatter

If you have ever taken your small child out anywhere in public, you are aware that the standard question asked by all adults about your little cherub is "how old is he/she?" This is a general ice-breaker amongst parents at the playground, a topic of conversation in the Wal-Mart line, and a way for parents to generally compare their children's development and personality.

We were at the playground the other day, and a mom was playing with an adorable little boy, just starting to toddle around. I was enjoying watching him put so much effort into walking, and since I was sitting there with my almost-toddler myself, I thought I'd strike up a bit of generic conversation to help pass the time.

"Aww! He's adorable! How old is he?" The mother looked at me as if I must be entirely stupid. "One."

What kind of answer is that? Everyone knows that before a baby is two years old, his age should be measured in months. "One" is such a vague answer at that age. Obviously this woman was unaccustomed to being asked this Standard Question, which I can only assume means she has not made it out of the house with her child since he was born.

One the other end of the spectrum, there are definitely questions that are NOT standard, and should just not be asked. Some things are not any of anyone else's business.

Another day at the playground, two mothers were there with their four year old little girls, and my five year old was playing with them. We were sitting around just chatting, when one of the mothers says, "I know you!" That statement is generally enough to make my heart skip a beat. Please, please just don't say you know me from high school or StarTek. (A very rough time in my life. I was a teenager, and struggling with finding my identity. I don't like looking back on that now.) "Oh?" I say. "I'm afraid I don't remember you. Where do we know each other from?" "We worked at StarTek together. You were my trainer. But didn't you have your head shaved....?"

I smile, say yes, but that I've moved into a different part of my life now, thankfully.

Shortly after, she asked what my husband does for a living. I gave her the answer I'm sure she expected - the answer of 90 percent of all stay at home mothers in Grand Junction, CO: "Oil Field."

Her response? "My husband does too. How much does yours make in a year?"

I stared at her as though she'd suddenly grown a second nose. "I'm sorry, what?"

She looked at me like I was either stupid or deaf to have not understood such a clearly asked question. She certainly hadn't beat around the bush. "Mine makes 85 thousand." She had a very smug look on her face. At least no one can say she isn't proud of the man she married.

"Oh? That's really great...." I reply.

Who the heck cares how much money her husband makes? And who the heck thinks that's an acceptable topic of conversation on the playground? Good God, just ask me how old my kids are, and let's start there, lady.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Is it selfish...?

Chloe's two bottom teeth are about ready to fall out. I'm so excited for her, that's a huge milestone.

And I was anxious all evening that she'd lose them while she was at Mark's last night. I just don't think he deserves to experience that milestone, or any others, with her. And I don't think I should have to miss them on account of him.

Is that selfish?

Yes, he called, finally, a week or so ago. He told me he'd been out of town for work for three weeks, but that he'd called and left a message on my phone. I can't tell you how many times he's said that, but there's never any message. I told him "Verizon must really have something against you personally, since they never seem to deliver your messages to me, because I get every other message that is left." He didn't think that was funny.

I'm not sure if I blogged after he called that day or not. But suffice it to say, I ripped him a new one. I never stand up to him, I always just do whatever it takes to keep the peace. but that day I was really mad, and I finally let him have it. I think he was surprised.

So he had her Thursday night and last night, and is supposed to have her back at 9:30. Yesterday morning I told him to drop her off no later than 8:45, as school starts at 9:00 in our house. He dropped her off around 9:15. He has no concept of "on time" and that irritates me. We'll see how he does today. I'm sure he'll want her again tonight, and through Sunday, but it's not happening - I just have to make sure I have the courage to tell him so. :o)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


This is a gift for Ashley's son Dalton. His first birthday is November 1st.

Modeled by my baby girl:

I'm really quite pleased with the end result. The scarf felt like it went on forever, but it was worth it. I just might have to make a set for Cora in girly colors.

Pattern: Striped hat and scarf set, Adorable Knits for Tots by Zoe Mellor
Yarn: wool blend, washable and super soft. I'm in love with this yarn, and it's totally affordable.
Needles: size 4 and 6 circulars

Took about 10 days' worth of knitting time altogether - 15-20 hours.


Anthropologie rip-off hat:

You can see the original that I copied here. No way would I pay $38 for a flipping hat. This one cost $7. :o)

The picture of me actually wearing it is the best true representation of the color.

Pattern: a mix of a few, but mostly Foliage ( mixed with Headline News (Stitch & Bitch Nation) with some mods and tweaks and I just made up the band. I used antique buttons recently gifted to me by my great grandmother instead of their crocheted buttons. I like the little bit of extra color they give it.

Only took about 3 hours from start to finish. Foliage would make a great gift hat done in the chunky yarn size.

Seriously, go check out if you haven't seen their stuff. They have the most gorgeous clothes. And most of them would be so easy to make. :o) Next on my list is a beret, and then maybe a bit of sewing so I have some tops and dresses to wear my cool accessories with.

I'm feeling selfish, and I'm making myself stuff instead of knitting Christmas presents like I should be.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Autumn :o)

It's definitely autumn. The leaves are finally changing and falling, and its cool enough to wear the sweaters I spend all year knitting.

Yesterday I made a big pot of soup, and boiled a chicken to make stock. The house smelled so good - just like fall.

I covered my garden Sunday night, thinking I'd protect it from a couple of cold nights since it's due to warm up again now, but my puny sheets didn't stand a chance against the cold - the dog's water froze, there was a thick layer of frost all over everything. My garden is, sadly, done, except for some spinach, lettuce, and beets that will hang out for awhile yet. I had a bunch of half-grown bell peppers and tons of green tomatoes, but I didnt' bother picking them because I thought I could save them a bit longer. Ah well. Now I can start ordering seed catalogs and planning for next year's garden. :o)


We had a big tree cut down yesterday in the back yard in preparation for putting up a new fence. Now I need to call around and get fence estimates.


We did a fun little fall project yesterday as part of Chloe's school. We walked around the neighborhood collecting twigs, bark, seeds and leaves from different trees. (In the meantime we met some sweet elderly neighbors from around the corner that I look forward to spending more time with.) When we got home with the leaves and such, we spread them out, matched everything up that went together, and used Modge Podge to glue them all to poster board. Then we made little "name cards" for each tree - an index card folded in half - and wrote the name of each tree inside. The ones we didn't know we looked up in a Field Guide for trees (and got sucked into looking at the book for awhile too.) Then each card was tacked onto the poster board so that you have to lift the card to see the tree name. It makes a sort of guessing game she can play with people who look at it. We call it the "lift & look tree book". Got the basic idea from a book called Organic Crafts, a book I got from the library but intend to buy.


I've been knitting and sewing a lot lately. Made the girls some cute little fall dresses, started a scarf for myself after seeing all the cute scarves when we were shopping in Denver, and started on a hat inspired by one I saw on I wish I had the camera, I'd takes some pictures. I guess I'll have to break out the old camera and see if it still works.


The keys on my keyboard are slightly sticky. I'm having an especially hard time with 'j'. I suppose that's what happens when children with sippy cups and sticky fingers are allowed to play computer games and watch videos.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back from Denver

We got back Friday night from our quick little trip to Denver. We had a great time. The hotel room we booked on Expedia ended up being a one bedroom, fully stocked and furnished apartment. That was great as far as being comfortable while we were there instead of being crammed into one little room.

We visited the Zoo, the Museum of Nature and Science, and the Aquarium. All of them were great, but I think my favorite was the museum. We got there when they opened and left when they closed, and we were entertained all day long. They had a fun little area called the Discovery Zone where the kids could do all kinds of hands on things, and even Cora had a great time there. We also watched an IMAX movie: Africa, the Serengeti. I'd never seen an IMAX before, it was awesome.

At the Aquarium we got to touch sting rays, that was kind of neat. The zoo had all of our normal favorites - that's the third time, I think, that we've gone. With Chloe's love of animals, it just seems like a necessary stop whenever we're there.

Cora was amazingly good, except that she insisted that one of us carry her a lot, but hey, who wants to sit in a stroller for hours? Poor Andrew's arms are probably tired. :o)

On the way back home we stopped at the Outlet Village in Silverthorne, CO. Love that place. :o) I bought the girls matching Gymboree outfits, plus hairbows and socks, and only paid $40 for them. Still pricey, I suppose, for kid's clothes, but normally you can't even buy one outfit for that much, so I was happy. And they have horses on them, so I couldn't resist. I also got some stuff at the Carter's outlet and a couple of cute things for me at the Rue 21 store. I used to really hate shopping, but I'm really starting to love it. I am a firm believer in retail therapy. LOL

Anyway, I'd post pictures of our trip, but our camera is missing. We're fairly certain it's somewhere here, that it made it home with us, but no idea where it's at. Hopefully I find it soon - I find pictures to take on a daily basis.


So now we're back home, it's Monday, and we're starting two weeks on again. We didn't do any school with Chloe while Andrew was home (though she learned more on our trip than I could teach her in a few weeks!) We'll be picking up where we left off before and seeing how this two weeks on/one week off thing really works. Right now she's learning about greater than/less than symbols, sets of ten, we're still memorizing some words and she's starting to do better with double-vowel words. One of the mysterious pupae we've been finding hatched while we were gone - they're moths. It was neat, she came screaming into the living room because she was so excited about it. She let the moth go, but there are four more pupae left. I'm hoping she gets to watch one actually hatch. It's been a great lesson.


Last night was our first risk of frost this fall. Where did the time go? I can't believe how cold it's been. It's supposed to warm up a little bit, but then it'll go right back to being cold. I still have lots of peppers and tomatoes on the vines, so I covered that part of my garden for the evening. I'm not ready to be done with my garden quite yet.


I s'pose that's all for now. Lots to do this morning before little girls wake up!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I finally finished the jaywalker socks - a week or two ago, actually. I'm just a slacker. This pic was taken before they were washed and blocked so they're kind of lumpy looking.

Yarn: Regia Ringel
Needles: size 1 dpn's
I pretty much followed the pattern exactly, and love them. I like that the stripes don't entirely match - gives them a definite hand-knit, quirky look.

Stockings for Cora's Halloween costume (and hopefully to be worn at Christmastime too)

Yarn: Red Heart Supersaver
Needles: size 7 dpn's
Pattern: none, I just made it up as I went along. I turned the first heel after I'd had a few beers, so it's a little goofy, but oh well. :-)


Last night's dinner was stuffed peppers. Yum. And the peppers were from the garden, along with tomato sauce and dice tomatoes made from tomatoes I grew. It's so satisfying to be eating fresh, homegrown food. It also takes creativity. Really, what are you supposed to do with dozens of bell peppers? It's a shame they can't just get ripe one or two at a time, instead of all together.

Stuffed Peppers:

6 bell peppers
1 lb ground beef
2 cups prepared rice
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Brown the beef, then toss it in a bowl with the other stuff and mix well. Add whatever spices you like or have on hand. Cut the tops out of the peppers carefully, creating little pepper cups. Stuff the mixture inside, bake for 45 minutes at 350, until peppers are soft.

The recipe makes lots more stuffing than you need to stuff 6 peppers. Put the rest in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and it can be thawed to have stuffed peppers on a busy night when you don't feel like cooking. :-)


I also have an obsession with food preservation. I canned 5 pints of bread and butter pickles the other night with cukes from the garden. Altogether I've probably canned about 30 quarts of food this year, and we haven't done apples yet and I still want to do salsa. The girls love snacking on canned peaches mixed with yogurt, Chloe eats pickled asparagus like it's going out of style, and we eat peanut butter and peach butter sandwiches all the time now. There's just something so satisfying about feeding my family things I've made like that.

The list of canned goods:
Peach salsa
Peach butter
Sliced peaches
Peach halves
Pickled asparagus
Bread and butter pickles

That might be all.... Not to mention all of the green beans, corn, and pesto I've but by in the freezer.


My honey is off for the week again. I'm letting him sleep in now, at least a little. There's much to be done over the next two days, and then we're heading to Denver for a field trip/family getaway.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Kid pics

I still maintain that we are the owners of the best, most patient dog in the whole world. The baby is constantly climbing on her, sitting astride her, or otherwise tormenting her, and she takes it all in stride.

And she even tolerates playing dress up.
Silly baby was very sleepy.
This was the night she tried to escape by going under the fence... her skirt got stuck so she crawled right out of it.
Can anyone identify this mysterious creepy crawly? We found it in the garden. It's now living in the Bug Barn. I'm pretty certain it's a larvae of some sort, but not sure what. Love how random digging in the garden produces homeschool science projects. :o)
This is what dish washing looks like in our house... Cora's quite the helper, or so she thinks. (Why is the child washing dishes in her underwear? don't ask. She'd happily never wear clothes if it wasn't a social requirement.)

Guess who has a loose tooth? Actually, two loose teeth, as we discovered tonight. I'm so not ready for this - I thought we had a year or two still until we got to this point. It's such a big thing - such a grown up thing - to lose teeth. She's thrilled, of course, and wiggles it constantly to try and get it out.
Littlest Miss, "helping" in the garden. Unfortunately, she is not able to distinguish between RED and GREEN tomatoes. That's alright though, she has a great time.
Big sister showing Cora how to make the perfect mixture of mud.

Recent Chloe-isms:

"Ignoptious" - Something along the lines of obnoxious, I think.

"I'm afraid of high climates" - not heights, high climates.

Chrain, Chree - She wrote these words for me when we were practicing spelling. I had no idea she was even pronouncing them wrong, but when I corrected her and said "train" and "tree" she was surprised. :o)

A conversation between my daughter and her friend, in stalls at a public restroom today:

Tori : "Chloe, are you done?"

Chloe: "No, I'm making a turd."

Tori: "Mom, what's a turd?"

Ashley (trying desperately not to laugh): "It's poop, Tori."

Tori: "You mean like boy poop?"

Ashley (failing miserably at the attempt not to laugh) : "No, just poop. any kind of poop."

I love children. :o)

Five year old fear

Chloe is afraid of EVERYTHING. Well, not everything - she's not afraid of bugs like I am. :o) But she has a lot of fears that don't make much sense, and really frustrated me and put a damper on our lives.

When I took her to the fair, she was afraid of pretty much every ride. She's terrified of heights, which means she's been rescued from playground equipment several times. The other day we went to Michael's, and we had to walk near the Halloween decorations. She screamed so loud I'm sure the other customers thought I was actually murdering her right there in the store. We had to leave, she was really scared of them. She informed me that day that she doesn't want to go trick-or-treating this year because she doesn't want to see scary decorations. She just wants to stay home on Halloween.

She doesn't sleep in her own bed because she's afraid there are monsters. She's afraid of the dark and won't go in the hallway at night if the light is off. She's afraid of balloons so much that she won't go to parties or into a party store. She's afraid of the swings at the playground, and if someone on our swingset swings her too high she's in tears and won't play again. There are a lot of times she ends up sitting with me instead of playing with other kids because she's afraid of playground equipment - especially the kind at McDonald's. She doesn't complain about not playing, and she enjoys watching the other kids, but she just sits there, and it makes me sad for her.

I've been worried lately about all of these fears. I know that when you're five, it's hard to distinguish real things from pretend things (the Halloween decorations, fear of monsters, etc.) It just seems like she's more afraid than most kids are, of a lot more things. I don't want these fears to stand in her way of really enjoying life.

Last night I was flipping through "Love for a Lifetime" by James Dobson, a book I bought for my sister-in-law. There's a section where he talks about divorce statistics (which really are terrifying) and talks about the effect of divorce on children. One statistic said 90% of children that are the product of a divorce have irrational fears.

Hmm... I wonder if that's a part of it.

He also claimed that after 3 years, most fathers no longer visited their children. It's been almost a month now since Mark has called to talk to or see Chloe. I've been worried about that too - am I supposed to call him? Ask him what the f* he is doing, abandoning her this way? It's not like I want him in her life - I hate the things she learns from him, the influence he has on her. But he is her father, after all, and she knows it and asks often why he doesn't call or come pick her up anymore.

It was my hope that having Andrew in her life would make the divorce easier, somehow. She still has a man in her life, a father-figure, that loves her very much and is a good influence on her. We do things as a family now, whereas when I was married to Mark, we didn't. But even though he's a better father, Andrew won't replace Mark, not in her heart, not in her mind.

I think now that she's a little bit older, she's capable of putting two and two together, she understands a lot more than she did when she was three, and she's thinking her own thoughts on the subject. Unfortunately, she doesn't want to or doesn't know how to share the thoughts with me.

I hate that she's in the middle of this, that she has to deal with having a mom and dad who are divorced. It's not fair to any kid. I think at the time, she handled it so well that I was convinced it wouldn't be that difficult of a transition. But now, two and a half years later, it seems to be catching up with us, and I'm not sure how to approach it all.

Any advice? Should I call Mark and ask him what's going on, or just let him fall away from our lives? Do I coddle her and comfort her when she's afraid of silly things, or should I push her to get over the fears? :::sigh::: Poor kid.