March 28, 2011

Conversations with Sam

After seeing something on Colbert about how to donate money to Japan Tsunami/Earthquake victims...

Sam: Can you feed poor people with money?
Justin: Well, you could buy them food.
Sam: No! Can the mouth of the WORLD eat the money?
Justin: Pop! My mind is blown.

***

We are playing with finger puppets. Sam puts them in a house and says it can fly.

Rachael: Where are they?
Sam: They are at Disneyland.
Rachael: What is Disneyland?
Sam: It's a place where all your dreams come true.
Rachael: Oh, really? What kind of place?
Sam: A place where your dreams come true.
Rachael: What do you do there?
Sam: You solve the mysteries of your dreams.

***

Sam: Bees have butt swords!

***

Edie and Justin were talking about a (bogus) speeding ticket she got today when a kid ran across the street in a school zone. Sam told us to stop talking about it, that it was "freaking him out"... because kids shouldn't run across the street without an adult.

He then explained how an adult should have been with the kid because you never go into the road without holding hands because the cars are dangerous.

The best part is that we didn't even know he was listening to the conversation (about 10 minutes at that point, mostly over the reasons the ticket was bogus and to things like never choosing "mitigate" as your plea if you ) and all of a sudden he chimes in with his opinion on the matter, and he phrased it in a way that was concise, coherent, an correct.

Justin followed up with "That's why I love you, Sam... you rock"... That puzzled him a bit, because all he did was state the obvious. Never run into a street by yourself!

***

Sam: Everybody was babies in the wild west... and the cities... and the east too. Yeah. The east.

***

Justin: It might be a tumor
Rachael: It's not a tumuh!
Sam: It'a a three-more!
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March 17, 2011

13 Things Strep Throat Taught Me This Week

It all started on Sunday morning when I woke up with a vaguely sore throat. While I was out that day, I felt out of it - my head wasn't right and I sort of felt like the world was just happening around me. By the time I got home from my book club in Seattle around 9 that night, full on chills had set in. It's been a miserable week.

13 Things Strep Throat Taught Me This Week

1. It is possible to go from being freezing and shivering under 2 blankets with slippers and a fleece shirt to sweating as if you'd just run a marathon in under 20 minutes. Without moving.

2. Every day you can wake up and think you feel better, to be reminded only 10 minutes after being upright that you still feel crappy.

3. It is hard for 2 kids to deal with a Mom who is sick and a Dad who might possibly be coming down with something.

4. My husband is awesome.

5. Even when the 101-102 fever you've had for several days goes away, you can still continue to have hot flashes.

6. If you are deciding whether to call the doctor because you might be dying and your throat has white spots, you can Google pictures of strep throat and find this guy. You will laugh even though you feel like crap.

7. If it didn't hurt so much and make you want to collapse into the fetal position, strep throat would be a great weight loss plan.

8. Sometimes, you don't care how many hours of video games get played as long as it's occupying someone and you don't have to move.

9. It is possible to throw up even if you have not eaten in 2 days.

10. If you've already taken your temperature, maybe you should not decide to experiment by taking your temperature in your armpit because when it reads 102.5 you will feel even more miserable.

11. It is possible for the screeching of a baby and a preschooler to be even more painful than normal when your entire head is full of sick.

12. Not being able to physically walk to the bottom of your (1/4 mile long, hilly) driveway with the baby to get your 4 year old to his bus will make you feel lame.

13. It is possible to become exhausted just from writing a list post. I need a nap.

Hope your week was about 2 million times healthier than mine.

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March 14, 2011

30 Days of Truth Days 13-16: Four birds, one stone

The prompt for Day 13 of 30 Days of Truth is "A letter to a band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days."

No. Just no. I'm not doing this. I really like Sarah McLachlan, and she makes me feel things, her music really means something to me. But I don't really credit her with getting me through anything. Because I am 30 and not 15, I don't think I can really answer this.

The prompt for Day 14 of 30 Days of Truth is "A letter to a hero that has let you down."

I honestly would not know what to write here. I am sure at some point I have had a hero that's let me down. Maybe. But I really don't know who, or what they did. Sorry Charlies. I'm just not that jaded.

The prompt for Day 15 of 30 Days of Truth is "Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it."

Huh. The only thing I've tried living without that I can't give up is certain types of food. Which, like I've said before, is why Weight Watchers is so great. Because I don't have to give anything up, I just have to limit myself. I can't think of anything else I've actually HAD to live without, so instead here are 13 things I wouldn't want to live without. Because, really, the only things I COULDN'T live without are like air, water and food, right?
  1. My family - my husband, my kids, my sisters, my Mom etc.
  2. Samoas
  3. A notebook to write my lists in
  4. TV
  5. Books
  6. My Clarks clogs
  7. The Internet
  8. Indoor plumbing
  9. My camera
  10. Yoga pants
  11. My best friends
  12. Cheese
  13. Toenail polish in summer
The prompt for Day 16 of 30 Days of Truth is "Someone or something you definitely could live without."
  1. Ever seeing anyone with camel toe
  2. My cat's incessant meowing when he wants something, which I think is usually something imaginary, because nothing I do makes it stop
  3. The stench of Danny's formula
  4. Fatness
  5. Commercials for sanitary products, erectile dysfunction drugs, hemorrhoid cream, and catheters
  6. Black licorice
  7. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, George W. Bush, and the Governer of Wisconsin. No, I will not Google his name because he sucks.
  8. Gas prices
  9. People who like to think that stay at home moms are lazy/don't work
  10. Clutter
  11. When one of my kids starts screeching, then the other one joins in because the first one is too loud
  12. The Real Housewives of ANYWHERE
For the other 29 days, click here.

For more Thursday 13 posts, click here.
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March 10, 2011

30 Days of Truth Day 12: I NEVER get compliments on...

The prompt for Day 12 of 30 Days of Truth is "Something you never get compliments on."

You know, this meme is sort of fun. Except there are some days that you can tell were written by a teenager. What the hell is this? Is this where I'm supposed to fish for compliments? Or am I supposed to list things I don't get complimented on because they suck? I don't get it.

Here is a list of 20 things I never get compliments on.
  1. My spleen
  2. My kneecaps
  3. My juggling skills (they don't exist)
  4. My keen sense of distance (it's not)
  5. My appendix
  6. The fact that I still have my tonsils
  7. The way I smell after 3 days without a shower
  8. My list-making neurosis
  9. My hamstrings
  10. This one big mole on my back
  11. My cellulite
  12. These really ugly pink sweatpants I wear around the house that have two small holes in the butt from when I used them as a unicorn Halloween costume and tied a purple and white feather boa on for a tail.
  13. My chapped lips
  14. The bags under my eyes
  15. The way I drive (it's average)
  16. The money I make (um.... yeah... this doesn't pay)
  17. My strict, disciplinarian skills with my children
  18. My resistance to Girl Scout Cookies (hahaha)
  19. My score on the SATS (it was 1280)
  20. My hairy big toes (hobbit!)
See the other 29 days here.
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March 9, 2011

He went to smoke and never came back

It is odd being in the emergency room. I always brace myself before I enter the room, because I never know what I'll find. Sometimes, I get some back story from a nurse or a police officer before I go in, sometimes I just get a name and room number.

Tonight, she has not decided if she wants to report her assault, so no Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner has been called in. There is usually one on, but she is sick tonight. The SANE's usually keep the door closed, but tonight it's open.

It's strange to hear the noises coming from the other open doors. Across the hall, there is a little kid, probably four or five, who can't stop barfing. It's sad. I hear whispered conversation from the person in the bed next to hers. Clips of conversations about a previous miscarriage, something about diabetes.

We always believe the assault survivors, no matter their story. I find that it's almost always easy not to doubt them. As soon as I see their faces, I find a moment in their shoes, and I want to take away their pain. I know it's impossible, so I do what I can.

The bedsheets on the wheeled gurneys in the ER never fit right. They look soft, like t-shirt fabric, but the edges always hang loose like extra skin on someone who lost a lot of weight. The white blankets always look so thin, and I wonder if she is warm enough.

I feel so secure, loved, and care for in my life and I can't imagine a life of being scared and abused always, from the moment you can remember.

Where is the call button? We've been waiting for someone, but we can't find the button. Eventually, I find it on the floor, hanging from it's cord on the wall. It must have gotten knocked down when she got her X-rays. After an hour, I leave to find someone and get information about what is next.

When I arrived, her "friend" was there with her. He told me he was going to have a cigarette and never came back.

There are children at home, and I try to imagine being raped and then having to find a babysitter.

*as always, my posts about my volunteer work are not specific to any date or situation, but composites of memories I have.

*****

I had to make a difficult decision recently to take another break from my work as a volunteer advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services. I love it, but right now I have two small kids at home not sleeping through the night, and my one night alone with my husband most weeks just got changed to Friday, which is when I've been doing my on call shifts. With our family life and our schedules, it's just too much right now. I'm sad to give it up because I love it, but my kids and my marriage have to come first. I'm staying on the list so I can volunteer at one off events and attend trainings, and hopefully participate in some of the events for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. For now, I'll just have to look forward to the day when I can jump back in.
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March 8, 2011

30 Days of Truth Day 11: The Write Stuff

The prompt for Day 11 of 30 Days of Truth is "Something people seem to compliment you the most on."

Doesn't it feel weird to write about something people compliment you on? We really should be allowed to toot our own horns once in a while, but humility is such a virtue, right? In any case, one thing that people have complimented me on is my writing. I LOVE to write. I have since I was young. It's evolved over time. I started writing in a journal in 5th grade, and by the time I was 20 I'd filled about 25 blank books with writing. Everything from crushes, to letters that could never be sent, to poetry, to what I was up to at that time in my life to free writing. As a teenager, I wrote a lot of poetry. I have an enormous binder full, and every once in a while I share a little bit of it here. I wrote some short stories, which I haven't shared here, but perhaps I should. I know none of them are DONE done, but they may still be good enough to entertain SOMEONE out there. I wrote for my high school newspaper for three years, and at one point wanted to become a journalist. I have started a novel I'd love to finish one day. I wrote a column for a local paper a few times when I was 17 or so.

Now, this is where my writing lives. Even if no one read it, I'd still write here. Because it's in my blood, and I love it. I also do some ghostwriting online, which is wonderful and lets me use a part of my brain that parenting and housewifery doesn't. I would write if no one was reading, but when people tell me I am a good writer? It certainly feels amazing!

Here's one of my old poems for you. I originally wrote it in London in 1999, then revised it for a poetry class I took in college a couple of years later.

South Ken

I walk, surrounded
by the sounds of buskers,
the sight of husks full of people
sleeping bag cocoons of bodies.

These sights, sounds and feelings
send me reeling with awe,
the shock of a flaw in such a magical city
overflows my mind.

Voices pull me back, flush
with the rush of normal people bustling,
by, accustomed to hustling by and ignoring
“Homeless and Hungry – Please can you help?”

Imagine living
a life dependent on the giving of strangers
facing the dangers of cold and sickness
with only a sleeping bag and cardboard sign.

Playing a flute
in a putrid underground tunnel
people funneling by with glassy, uncaring eyes
thinking ‘maybe if I had smaller change’.

I pause before wood,
tiny statues laid on blankets, and should I buy
a polished lion or butterfly just to feel better?
I don’t meet his eyes.

And we walk
surrounded by din, talk winding around us like a snake
I can’t seem to shake off this white noise
wondering why
we never stop to wonder why.

Read the other 29 Days here.
[Continue reading...]

March 7, 2011

30 Days of Truth Day 10: I could do without

The prompt for Day 10 of 30 Days of Truth is "Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know."

This is a hard one. I don't really feel that there is anyone in my life I need to let go of. No one is causing me pain or hardship because I have a bad relationship with them. I'm sure that there have been times in my life when there were people I needed to let go of. One of the things I've learned over the years is that I need to let go of expecting every friendship to be exactly reciprocal, or exactly the same. I have friends I see only once a year who I still consider some of my best.

All seriousness aside, I could definitely do without this guy.

And this guy.

And DEFINITELY this guy.


SCARY!

See the other 29 days here.
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March 4, 2011

Friday Fragments: Crying it Out

Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, "Heard" items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post.

Friday Fragments are the brainchild of Mrs.4444 and you can find more at Half Past Kissin' Time.

You guys, I have not been a good Friday Fragmenter. I have posted the last couple of weeks, but not found the time to visit the other participants. This week, I will try my best to visit each and every one over the weekend!

*****

My mom shared this one Facebook, a friend of hers got it from a chain letter she received in email. I liked it, so here it is.

Are you sick of highly paid teachers?

Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work 9 or10 months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do - babysit!

We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and plan-- that equals 6 1/2 hours).

Each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585.00 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.

LET'S SEE....

That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year.

(Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6 1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher's salary (nation wide) is $50,000. $50,000/180 days = $277.77/per day/30 students=$9.25/6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student--a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)

WHAT A DEAL!!!!

*****

Does anyone else find this Luvs commercial creepy, gross and strange?



*****

We started cry it out with Danny this week. The first night, he cried for 40 minutes, the last 15 intermittent. He only woke up 3 times that night and needed comfort, and fell back to sleep within 5 minutes each time. The second night, he only cried 25 minutes, the last 10 intermittent. The second and third nights, he slept from 9 until 8 the next morning without needing us.

I don't like doing it, really. But it works. It worked for Sam, and frankly I have not had a good night's sleep in over 9 months. I need him out of my bed. While I was reading a little on the internet (some people think it's great, some hate it... OF COURSE), I found this post by Jon Armstrong at his blog blurbomat. It made me feel better, and I think it's well written. I did feel a moment of... something or other when I was at a gathering talking about using cry it out, and someone said it doesn't work. It wasn't a whole conversation, but just that comment made me doubt myself for a second.

Either way, I'm not really interested in debating whether it's the "right thing to do" or not. We're trying it. Hopefully it works out. If not, we'll try something else. The bottom line is that right now, Danny's sleeping better in his own bed than he did when he was with us, and so am I. I am looking forward to NOT having bags under my eyes one of these days.

*****

Now for something serious. March 2 was a national day for awareness in ending the use of the r-word. If you don't know what it is, it's "retard".

As a 30 year old woman, I can tell you that learning not to use that word was a change for me. I think that for my generation, in middle/high school we used that word a lot to talk about things that were dumb, stupid, or silly.

Then I grew up. I became a mother, and I read stories from other mothers like Tanis about how hurtful it is to them when people casually throw around the r-word in conversation. I don't like it when people use the word 'bitch'. I don't know why I'm extra touchy about it, but I am, and it's one word that my husband knows that he shouldn't call me even when we're joking around. I imagine the way I feel when I hear it, and then I try to multiply that by about a million to try and imagine how mothers of disabled kids feel when they hear the word spoken without thought.

I had to make a conscious change to take the r-word out of my vocabulary. I have worked to make sure that it's not introduced into my 5 year old son's vocabulary either. I know I'm a few days late, but take a couple of minutes to read these wonderful posts from mothers, and then maybe visit R Word: Spread the Word to End the Word or The Social Challenge, who are working to combat the r-word on Twitter.

"Why You Shouldn't Use the R-Word" by Tanis @ Redneck Mommy
"Hear My Battle Cry" by Tanis @ Redneck Mommy
"The Retard in the Next Booth" by Eli's Dad @ JC West
"If you ask people not to use the word 'retard'" by Ellen @ Love That Max
"A Word I Hate" by Laura @ Adventures in Juggling
"Jennifer Aniston, the r-word, and the aftermath" by Jean @ The Washington Times

*****

And now for my weekly ramblings about Top Chef. First off, how did I not catch that Antonia is a single mom? I guess I've been under a rock. She called her daughter at the beginning of the show which is code for either she's going to win or she's going home. I loved when she said 'Is Padma going to walk in here?' and then... she totally did. It was funny.

The quickfire was interesting because they never got told exactly how much time they had, which is unusual. I've never seen them do that before. I love that Richard has had MRE bags with him all season just in case. I guess they came in handy. Mike made a soup that he said he wouldn't even serve to his cat, which was kind of funny. I was sure Antonia or Richard would win. To me, Antonia's looked the most tasty, although I'm not sure about the hot dog flavor infused into it from the hot dog machine. I was surprised Carla won with her weird orange salad. It did not look tasty, but I guess looks can be deceiving, right?

I really liked the elimination challenge. I think it was very cool to give the chance to let people see how amazing they are as chefs by cooking food without so many gimmicks, and based on themselves and their heritage. Although maybe this would be a challenge better for earlier in the season considering how WELL they all cooked, and the final outcome.

I loved that Richard found stuff about chemistry and meat markets in his packet. And then Mike and Antonia figure out they're distant relatives. So funny. It makes me wonder how many people I know/have met that I am actually related to somewhere, you know?

I felt SO BAD for Richard when they said 'pack your knives and go... to the Bahamas!" He looked like he had a heart attack. I guess I should have seen it coming when one of the moms asked "have you ever had a final five." This is where I start thinking maybe this wasn't the best challenge to do at the end. If there had been some kind of gimmick, maybe someone would have cooked less well. I don't know. I get that ALL their food was good, but it's kind of pointless to just keep everyone when the whole point of the show is elimination and getting down to one chef.

I am excited about next week - going head to head with the chefs who won their season? Crazy!

*****

I went to McDonalds today to get Sam some chicken nuggets, and I ordered a cup of water. I always specify because I don't want the bottle, I just want free water. The guy taking the order asked me to repeat myself, and then said 'oh okay. I thought you asked for a cumquat! I was like, we don't have those. This is McDonalds.' It was really funny.

*****

It is Friday night at 9:00 and both of my kids are asleep in their bedrooms. WOOT! I'm off to visit some Friday Framgents!
[Continue reading...]

March 3, 2011

I miss my friends.

Sometimes, I forget. But then something happens, and it comes to a head inside me. This aching, longing pain of missing my friends.

My best friend forgot to invite me to her son's birthday party.

It's not as big a deal as it may sound on her part. I wasn't mad at her at all, we both have hectic lives, she has 3 kids and we just don't see each other that often. We talked about it last time I saw her and she told me where it was going to be, they just hadn't decided on a time yet. When I checked with her about whether she was attending another friend's birthday party, she replied that they were scheduled at the same time and she forgot to email me about it. It's not a big deal.

Except. I know that if I saw her more often, she would have told me. If I still lived close, and we still hung out a couple of times a week, it would have come up in conversation. As it is now, I see her once a month if I'm lucky. When I read her email, it broke my heart a little. Not because of the fact that it happened, but because it just reinforces this feeling I've had lately that I'm missing out on my best friends' lives.

When I was in high school, I had a group of three girlfriends. We were very close, and hung out together a lot. In the years following, we changed and moved, but remained friends. After a falling out, we stopped all spending time together, but I remained close to all three of them individually. Now, one is in Seattle - I saw her a month ago. We had coffee and sat together and talked as if no time had passed. It felt good, but also made me wish that we were both better at getting together more often. One is in Portland and has twins the same age as Sam and another one who I've only met once. The third just moved to California. I'd like to visit her there, but with two kids and a tight budget, who knows if it will be possible.

I imagine if we all lived near each other. Maybe old wounds could be patched. Maybe not. Regardless, I could spend time with these women who mean so much to me. I could have a relationship with the children of one of my best friends. I miss them so much.

When I lived in Seattle, I established a wonderful group of friends. My best friend was one of the women in this group of my closest friends. I would go to a movie with her once a week, and we would hang out during the days. There were play dates where I could take the kids to play and we mothers would stay connected and where my sense of community was fulfilled.

With my best friend in particular, I can pick up where I left off. When I get to see her, it's like a breath of fresh air. But I miss her. Even after we moved to Bellingham, I used to go down to Seattle once a week for work and would stay at her house and hang out with her. It was the best of both worlds - living close to my Mom and staying connected to her. Eventually, the job ended, but I would still go down and visit. Now though, with two kids? It's so much harder to get down there. And I am afraid that I'll lose her. There is nothing in the world that could keep me from seeing her as often as possible. If I describe Justin as my heartmate, I would describe her as my friend soulmate. The thought of losing that connection makes me feel sick.

I admit that I am jealous. She is still a part of this community that I am now looking at from the outside. Our old church, our small group, and friends she introduced me to or that we met through book club who I don't get to see as often. She has another friend she goes to the movies with every week now. I am so happy that she has that, and I actually really like this other woman. I just wish I was there too.

I get to go down once a month for book club, and it rejuvenates me, it re-energizes my soul. It's like a fog lifts and I feel amazing after seeing this group of women who have been through so much together. Maybe I should just feel lucky I get to see them that often.

When I first moved back to Bellingham three years ago, I joined a local Moms Group through Meetup.com. It was a lifesaver, and I don't know what I would have done without it. For a long time, I hung out with the women in it and felt I'd made friends. There were play dates at least once a week, and much-needed monthly moms nights out. Somehow, it faded. Ever since a bunch of us got pregnant with second kids, I don't see them anymore. The meetup group has become all but defunct.

I don't know if everyone stopped doing things, or if I am just left out of privately arranged play dates now. There's one woman I really like who I will see this week and am going to make more of an effort to hang out with. But the bottom line is that for the past 9 months I have felt disconnected.

I miss my friends. I feel stubborn because I just want my Seattle friends. I don't want to find a whole new community to invest my heart in up here if it's just going to ebb like it did the last time. I miss my best friend, her kids, her husband. I miss sharing stories with my friend whose son's favorite shows are about woodworking and who wants to know everything about the world. I miss hanging out for hours on end and having something to do during the days. I miss having girls nights out with my closest confidantes - letting off steam, confiding in each other, and supporting each other.

I don't know that there's a solution. I would like to be able to get down to Seattle more. During the summer, I'll be able to go down with both kids to spend days and do outings with my friends. And it just has to be enough. I just wish there was another way.

For now, I just sit here and the pain in my heart is palpable. I try not to think about how I'm feeling this loss, because when I do it bring tears to my eyes.
[Continue reading...]

March 1, 2011

I'm so glad I'm your Mommy

IMG_1283

Dear Sam,

It's only two months from your fifth birthday, and I know I'll write something for you then. But there are so many things about you rattling around in my head right now that I don't want to forget. I've been meaning to write them down, because I'm sure some of them have slipped away already.

In the past two months, you have changed so much. Watching you grow and learn is one of the biggest joys in my life, and never ceases to amaze me. We recently had the first of three little orientation classes at your kindergarten. I can't believe we're almost there. But you got your hair cut recently, and you just look like such a big boy.

You make up your own games all the time. They often involve superheroes, bad guys, monsters, wizards, princesses, portals, transporters, power ups and tons of other stuff I'm sure I am forgetting. This morning as we walked down the driveway we went through three portals to level four. In level four, there were only trees. Black, evil trees. And nothing else. We had to destroy them, so I grew a giant axe on my hand. But you were the real hero - you had bombs. You would throw them, and then they would go in the branches and explode. After we'd taken down all the trees, I asked if we'd beaten the level. You said no, there was one more guy. A tiny mouse. I asked you what we should do, and you said you had a tiny mouse bomb. You threw it at him, then declared "I pastroyed him with my tiny, tiny mouse bomb." Then we beat the level, and were ready to go through the portal to level five when the school bus pulled up.

As I walked back up to the house, I couldn't help but marvel at your creativity and the power of your mind.

Every night, you take a bath and then Daddy gets your jammies on you and the two of you head upstairs to read. Santa brought you your first chapter book in your stocking, a Magic Treehouse book. You devoured it, and have started a small collection. Recently, Grandma Edie brought you Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. Some nights, I listen to Daddy reading to you in your room. I love it that you have your special time together every night. It's something that I hope you'll remember when you're all grown up.

You make up stories now, too. The other day you told me a story where we were all aliens except Daddy. He was a zombie.

Sometimes, you have a hard time sharing your toys with your little brother. But for the most part, you love him. You play with him now, and he's often incorporated into the adventure games you create as a giant baby monster. I just can't wait for the two of you to become friends and make up these adventures together.

You're doing so well in school. You can write your name like a pro, and you're just starting to sound things out. You say "D-D-Danny. Starts with a D!" Before I know it, you'll be sounding out words and reading books.

One of the hardest things to realize as a parent is that a lot of times, children do things in their own time. You have slept in your own room and bed off and on over the years, but you were never really ready to stay there. We would revert to you sleeping in our room, or coming in to our room every night in the middle of the night. Recently, we moved you to a mattress on our floor. You just never wanted to be alone.

About 2 weeks ago, Daddy and I started talking about getting you and Danny both sleeping in your own rooms. It's been 9 months since I've slept in a bed with no kids, and I am exhausted. 8 days ago, during the day, Daddy started talking to you about how that week you'd have to start sleeping in your own bedroom. You were resistant because you love being with us, but then suddenly, you said you'd start that night. And you did. Tonight will mark 9 nights in a row you've slept in your own room. The last 2 nights, you didn't even wake up and need us to tuck you back in during the night. I'm so absolutely proud of you.

Lately, you've been really into the idea of the sleepover. You've had them with Grandma Edie and Grandma Deanna, and you love it. When we have to leave from a friend's house to go home, you often talk about how you'd rather have a sleepover. You asked if you could have a sleepover with Alec, one of your closest friends from school. I didn't know how to explain to you that most 5 year olds are not really ready for sleepovers!

You're in a why phase right now - you ask all the time. Sometimes it's hard to think of the answers, because you ask about things I don't think about much. Sometimes, it's fun, like the day you asked why we have bones.

You've also started showing more attention to what words mean. You ask me often to tell you what something means. One day, you asked what 'both' meant, and then 'also.' Sometimes those are hard to define too, but it's so much fun to explain things and know that I'm helping you learn about the world.

I think you would think it was crazy that I didn't have a computer until I was in high school. You play on the laptop by yourself all the time, you know how to get to your favorite websites (Lego, Cartoon Network, Disney, Nick Jr) that are saved in your bookmarks. You love Angry Birds just as much as everyone else, and you're better at it than a lot of us are. You figure things out so fast, and without anyone showing you. By the time you're 10, you'll probably know way more about phones and computers than I do!

You're still a picky eater, but lately you've been on this waffle streak. The other day, you ate four of them for breakfast. You eat them like toast, with just butter. Is it weird that I still think the sound of you chewing is cute?

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Sam, you are so amazing. I tell you every day how much I love you, and how proud I am of you. I wish that my words could convey even 1/10 of the actual feeling behind them. You always tell me you love me back. Today I told you that I am so glad I'm your Mommy. You said "I'm glad I'm your son too." What a gift. I hope you always feel that way.

Love,
Mommy
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