Monday, February 28, 2011


The ottoman in our living room is full of board games.  Scrabble, Chutes and Ladders, Wit's End, and Connect Four are just a few of those that are available for selection in our house.  Derek and I received several of these games as wedding gifts, because along with flatware and a blender, we also registered for games like Sorry! and Clue. 

Nothing says wild and crazy like Scrabble Travel Edition.

Atticus and Adelaide's room is often littered with pieces from Hi-Ho Cheerio, Yahtzee, and CandyLand.  Atticus's pockets usually contain evidence of our children's inherited love of (board) gaming. 

Each week at school, Adelaide's class studies a different letter of the alphabet.  "D" week was a couple weeks ago, and they talked about "Dads."  We received a delightful letter from school that listed each child's name, and following their name was a reason that kid loved their dad.  The sentence after Adelaide's name read, "He plays Sorry with me."  Many evenings after supper, Derek sits down with Adelaide to play Sorry!  She loves playing so much, she's taken to playing during the day, before Derek comes home.  Sometimes I am invited to participate, but just as often not. 

Last week, while watching her set up the "Happy Highway Game," I offered to play with her.  She politely declined and, setting up all five rainbow-colored tokens, explained that she already had enough players.  Her four companions turned out to be Tinkerbell, Kelli, Lumiere, and Paul.  This made sense to me, but you may require an explanation.  Allow me.

Tinkerbell:  Animated fairy; Disney character.  Not a real person.

Kelli:  One of my sisters; her aunt.  A real person.

Lumiere:  Animated candlestick from Beauty and the Beast; Disney character.  Not a real person.

Paul:  Author of and participant in much of the New Testament.  A real (though long-deceased) person.

Adelaide won, with Lumiere bringing up a close second.  The gameplay was intense, but the players were good sports.  I believe a good time was had by all.

Because this post is largely about Adelaide, I wanted to include a photo of her.  It's obviously not recent, but she is eating a s'more and sporting an awesome dinosaur tattoo.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I very often find myself asking my children this question. 

Variations of this question include:  What were you thinking?  What did you hope to accomplish here?  Or my personal favorite, What on earth possesed you to do this?

I very rarely get a coherent response.  In fact, my query is often met with silence.

Here are some of the Why's I found myself asking this week.

Adelaide, why did you stick a rhinestone up your left nostril?

Why were you trying to step on Caedmon's back?

Atticus, why did you dump heaps of wet sand on your head when I specifically told you not to?

Why did you bite Caedmon on the forehead?

Why did you smear Vaseline all over Caedmon's bedroom window?  Again?
I took this after I had managed to scrape most of the sand off of him but before his bath.

Caedmon, why do you keep spitting up on the floors, the rugs, the furniture, our clothes, my hair, and in my mouth?  (It was gross.  And warm.)

Caedmon, how can you be happy here...

...but so distraught ten seconds later?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy-Dogs' Tails

I remember reading several articles, before I had children, about how boys and girls are just the same- it's all in how you raise them.  These authors and so-called "experts" contended that if you give your little girls Tonka trucks and your little boys Barbie dolls, they will all display similar behavior and essentially blur the line between the sexes.  I was skeptical but, not having any children of my own, and having grown up in a house where three girls ruled a land of Barbies, ballet shoes, and glitter, I was open to the possibility that what these people said was true. 

My daughter does play with trucks.  She uses them to cart her dolls to and from their dance recitals.

My son does play with Barbies.  He hurls their maimed carcasses against the walls and laughs hysterically.

I have decided that there is a distinct possibility that those people are full of malarkey. 

Another interesting difference between my son and daughter is this:

Notice the distinct bulge in the pocket region of my son's jeans.  I never had to check Adelaide's pants before I threw them in the washer.  Now, if I don't check every pocket of every pair of Atticus's pants, at the end of a wash cycle, I will remove all the clothes and find the bottom of the washer tub littered with toys, rocks, and other detritus. 

I often bring Atticus into the laundry room so I can ask him about the contents of his pockets.  Here's how our conversation went this morning. 

Me:  (Holding up the phone) "Hey, Atticus, what's this?"
A:  "Dat's my cell phone."
Me:  (Holding up the penguin)  "And what's this?"
A:  "Dat's a penguin."
Me:  (Holding up the piece from the game Connect Four)  "What's this?"
A:  "Dat's a quarter."
Me:  (Holding up the piece from the game Hi-Ho Cherry-O)  "What's this?"
A:  "That's a apple."
Me:  (Holding up the car)  "What's this?"
A:  "Dat's a car.  A gween car!"
Me:  (Holding up the star)  "And what's this?"
A:  "Dat's a sar!  Here, I wight it fer you."

He then pushes the button on the back that makes it light up.

What I really love about going through the contents of his pockets is how it shows me that even at the age of two, he has a life entirely separate from me.  We spend all day together, but I rarely catch him sneaking things into his pockets.  What, in his mind, qualifies as pocket-worthy material?  Why this rather than that?

I must confess that I'm a little concerned about what I'll be finding in his pockets come spring when we all start spending more time outside.  I did not react well last week when I happened upon a small mound of dead lady bugs' shells in one pair of khakis.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hats, Ankles, and Doctors

A couple days ago, we received a package in the mail.  I always love getting mail, but this one was especially fun to open:  It contained a hat for each of our children made by my lovely sister, Kelli.

Adelaide acting coy in her new purple hat with ears.

Atticus showing off a sideview of his new purple hat.  It boasts Vikings horns on each side and football-print fleece lining.

Caedmon in his brown teddy bear-style hat.  It is the cutest thing ever.

In other news, it looks like I'm going to have to keep a closer eye on Adelaide when she asks for the scissors to cut out one of her art projects.  Yesterday I was surprised to find that she had magically sprouted bangs where before there had been none.  Fortunately, most of her hair was in braids, so the only part she cut was the hair that had slipped out of her clips and was hanging in her eyes.  I'm also thankful she didn't cut them military-short; they're about eyebrow-length, so I think she actually looks quite fashionable.

I've been very excited by the warmer, 40-degree weather we've been enjoying the past few days.  What with the snow melting away and Caedmon finally being old enough that I can leave him for short amounts of time, I have been looking forward to finally resuming my running regimen.  However, yesterday as I was walking down the front steps, I slipped on the wet grass and rolled my ankle.  Almost immediately, it started to swell to roughly the size of a misshapen golf ball.  Inside, Derek was alerted to my plight by the sound of Atticus screaming and crying (I think it was my little spill that scared him, although it also could have been the weird gasping-laughing sound I make when I get hurt- hey, it beats crying), so he hoisted me up and carried me back up the steps and inside. 
Adelaide took this opportunity to play doctor, which was fun for her and painful for me.  After prodding my rapidly growing ankle several times and writing her analysis down on a piece of paper, she presented me with her findings. 
They read:

These are the words she knows how to write (HTA is supposed to be HAT, she sometimes mixes up the A and T).

She finished the exam by telling me she had four questions for me, and ticked them off on her fingers as she asked each one.
"First, is your other ankle hurt?"
"Okay, second, is it just the outside of your ankle that hurts?"
"Pretty much."
"Is it the same ankle you hurt last time when you were fixing my hair?"
Note:  I sprained my ankle in December, just by leaning too far over and over-extending the angle of my foot to my leg while I was doing Adelaide's hair.  So this time I'm able to use the brace I got from the doctor in December.  This kind of pathological klutziness that has resulted in so many injuries seems so grossly unfair that I feel like I should get some kind of compensation:  perhaps a tax exemption or a special parking spot at Aldi.
Anyway, back to the conversation.
"And my last question is:  What kinds of things did you learn in Kindergarten?"
"What does that have to do with my ankle, Doctor?"
"I just think you should tell me what you learned in Kindergarten."
Since Adelaide is starting Kindergarten next fall, she has become fascinated by all things Kindergarten.  It's a frequent topic of conversation in our house.  So I described many of the things I remember about Kindergarten.  This completed my examination.

As for the other kids, Atticus has moved out of the toddler bed and into the bottom bunk of the bunk beds.  It's interesting that Adelaide slept in the toddler bed for nearly two years, and it held up just fine; Atticus has been sleeping in it for just about two months, and it's already disintegrating.  He's obviously much rougher on things than his sister. 
Caedmon is now rolling back-to-front with relative ease, and he seems to enjoy this new-found (though rather limited) freedom.  I think he's trying to make up for his cranky first months by being extra happy now. 

I hope your week has been just as interesting as ours.

Monday, February 14, 2011

'Member That Time?

'Member that time I was in seventh grade and had been gathered with my fellow classmates into the commons of my middle school?  After having attended a Lutheran parochial school my entire childhood, I had only been at the public middle school for a few months, and was thus one of the newer kids in my class of 200+ people.  Many people seemed to know of me, though, as the school nurse's daughter.  'Member how, that day, I watched with naive curiosity as that same school nurse came into the room where I had been corralled?  'Member how curiosity turned to horror as she began pulling out visual aids and I thought, "No... no way... she would have told me... warned me.."?  'Member how the glances of the people around me turned to outright stares and snickers as my Mom, the school nurse, then launched into what felt like an hours-long session of sex education?  'Member how it got even worse when she concluded the lecture by letting my fellow hormone-crazed hostages write anonymous questions on slips of paper, and then she answered them in front of everyone, and I got to hear words and phrases come out of my mother's mouth that no one should ever have to hear? 

Someday I may even forgive her.

Link up with Paige and create your own 'Member That Time here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Brothers Crisler





Atticus and Caedmon:  It's interesting to find how different and alike two boys, 23 months apart in age, can be.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Winter Fun

The past weekend, temperatures climbed into the balmy thirties.  This prompted Adelaide and I to spend a measurable portion of Saturday and Sunday in the backyard, engaged in various winter activities.  The warm(ish) weather gives me hope for spring, despite the fact that the low tonight is supposed to be -11 and the high tomorrow is a whopping 4 degrees (unfortunately that's on the Farenheit scale, without any windchill). 

Saturday afternoon, with all three Crisler men down for their naps, I suggested to Adelaide we go play in the backyard.  She agreed after securing a promise from me to pull her around the yard on the sled.  This plan was hampered by the fact that we apparently have no rope anywhere, nor do we have anything that could reasonably imitate a rope. 

So I used my maternity jeans.  They worked surprisingly well- just knot one pant leg around the front handles, and use the other leg to pull. 

Adelaide loved being pulled around, and I got some excellent exercise- at it's most shallow points, the snow in our backyard measures about six inches deep, and the deepest are five-feet drifts.  This resulted in my having to lift my knees up to waist-height for every step, giving me what felt like a workout on a StairMaster.  For some reason she found it hilarious to watch me stop every so often, panting, to rest.

When I finally collapsed from exhaustion, Adelaide clambered out of the sled and declared it was time to build a snowman.  Please note that I grew up in a place that has about ten inches of average snowfall.  Huxley, Iowa receives about 32.  I vaguely remember begging my Dad (one of the few times we had enough of the right kind of snow)  to come outside and build a snowman.  I think I spent about ten minutes helping before whining that it was cold and going back inside for my hot chocolate.  I am no expert on winter-snow-fun. And now my darling daughter wanted me to build a snowman.

 Maybe three minutes into this venture, I realized a snowman just wasn't happening.  I tried explaining much of the previous paragraph to her.

Guess how much she cared?

So we proceeded in our attempt to build a creature made of snow.  Eventually we ended up not so much with a snowman as a snowlump.  But we were pretty pleased. 

Adelaide with SnowLump.  And those things under the smile are supposed to be buttons, not snowman acne.
Sunday brought fresh horrors.  After again pulling Adelaide around on the sled (I didn't last as long as I did on Saturday), she wanted to make another snowman.  In a desperate attempt to distract her from the idea of a whole family of snowlumps, I foolishly suggested a snowball fight.  She latched onto the idea immediately.

Sitting about four feet apart from eachother, I began tossing handfuls of loose snow at her.  Rather than retaliating, she was slowly and methodically making perfect little snowballs, piling them in front of her.  "Typical," I thought.  "She's more interested in making things look a certain way than in actually playing."  While I taunted her with comments like "I'm going to bury you!" she just smiled and continued to build her pile.  After a few minutes of this, she finally hurled a snowball at me.  And I discovered her little snowballs were not just pretty little spheres, but hard-packed ice bullets.  And her aim was better than mine.  And she had built herself an impressive cache of ammunition.

When that first ball hit me, I said "Ouch!" under my breath.  Adelaide heard me and cackled madly.  I'm not sure if it was on purpose, but she seemed to be aiming for my arms and legs, where I had less padding than on the torso, where I had been hitting her.  After she had hit me enough to raise what I was sure were several bruises, I began to complain aloud.  Rather than ceasing in the beating of her mother, she said, "Man up, Mommy.  That's how snowball fights are supposed to go."

Man up?  Oh,  I would be talking to Derek about that one.

I continued on in the battle for a few minutes for form's sake, then finally cried, "Mercy!"  (In an affected jovial tone, trying to keep the petulant note from my voice.)   I had to remind myself that I am the adult to keep from pelting enough snow at my four-year-old's face to erase her satsified smirk.  She was the clear winner.

It's probably a good thing that it will be too cold to go outside tomorrow.

Unbeknownst to me, Derek took a picture of our snow war.  It really was more fierce than this photo would have you believe.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day

Like so much of the country, we were hit by a snowstorm yesterday.  This resulted in preschool being cancelled for Adelaide, which means... Snow Day!

I know all five of you that read this (Hi Mom!) are just dying to know what we're doing today:

After a morning of surprisingly little fighting, Adelaide and Atticus just had lunch...

(Notice how beautiful my amaryllis is looking?  I love having flowers blooming inside when it's snowy out.)

...which means it's almost Atticus's naptime (yay), but until then he's still playing hard...

... and Caedmon got all dressed up for a day spent lounging around the house.

Thrilling, isn't it?

Derek, of course, still had to go into work today, after spending some quality time with our snow shovel this morning.  And the lucky guy will probably be heading back outside after he gets home tonight to shovel yet again.

In other, more exciting, news, Derek's sister Stacie and her husband Grant had their baby girl yesterday!  Brielle Rebecca joins big sister Aria, who's two, making Derek and I an uncle and aunt to two little girls now.

The most impressive thing about this post?  It was all done with one hand (yeah, it took way longer than it should have), while holding Caedmon with my left arm and trying not to let him drool all over the keyboard.