September 29, 2010

our halfling

When Finn was a baby, John's mom gave me a little baseball uniform--It was a keepsake that used to belong to John's dad, Ron. Ron's mom made it for him, I presume.

I wanted Calvin to wear it to his birthday bash. But with the 100+ weather forecast, John said it would be too toasty to wear, since the uniform was made of, we couldn't seem to located the uniform.

So Calvin got to wear his {backward}yellow shirt instead.

I was so bummed.

A few days later, I walked in the door from running errands. And wouldn't ya know--there Calvin was, prancing around happily in the missing keepsake uniform.

"The uniform is made of dead sheep!", he proudly announced.

John and I both agree...Calvin looks just like a little hobbit with his knicker length baseball pants. Little bare feet flopping about (minus the hairy feet).

How I love our little halfling.

He wears this uniform all the time.

And although it is made of wool, it's extremely light-weight. He totally could have gotten away with wearing it to his sweltering party. Boo.

OH well. I think it's time to move on, past my disappointment.

Calvin Jack. Hobbit of mine. You make me smile. You are just as squishy and cuddly as the first day I held you.

September 22, 2010

when your mom helps decorate

I was browsing through my antique store the other day when I saw them.

Two vintage chairs: One office chair and one yellow upholstered arm chair.

They were sitting side-by-side, 2 little orphans, pleading with me to be their new mommy.

We really did need an office chair for my desk. My old orange chair got peed on, and sadly, is no more. The tag read $25. Wow. What a deal.

So I walked up to the front and offered them $20. I can't help it. I am a wheeler and dealer. Taught by my Grandma Selma. She is the all time bargainer of all bargainers. Even though I've been trained to haggle since a girl, I still get butterflies. Like they are going to tell me, "No, you are so dumb for asking".

But they said "Yes!" to my office chair and so I bought her right on the spot. I figured John would not mind. After all, it was better than blowing $20 on a shirt at Forever 21, right?

Well right indeed! John was very pleased. Much more so than when I brought home a crooked vintage ironing board. And it fits the desk perfectly. They are both from the same era.

This chair is hardcore. Heavy duty. Steel Construction. Love.

And about the other orphaned yellow chair left behind? Sticker price $50. Another great deal. Hard to pass up.

Well, I could not justify spending that much on the spot, so I waved a tearful goodbye.

Over the next few days, I wondered about my little orphan. When I was in the area, I casually stopped by to say hello. But, someone was sitting in it. A pregnant girl had parked herself in it, while her dude was rummaging through old records.

And all I could think was "Someone is sitting in my chair!"

I quickly snuck out of there. No way, no how, was I gonna bargain for that chair when someone else was sitting in it. How very awkward. "Excuse me miss, do you plan on buying this chair? Because if not...move it!" No sir.

I fled home and called the store. I had just got some b-day money from my sister Jessica. I offered $40. Shameless. They contacted the vendor.

They called back a few hours later and once again said "YES!"

See? This bargaining really works!

My mom was visiting, so I left the boys with her and drove down to pick up the chair.

Back home, we put my new yellow chair in the corner by my desk.

Hm. Not sure.

After a while my mom piped up, "It doesn't go there. It's height is competing with the orange chair."

She then suggested we swap places with the other yellow chair I had.

Gulp. My mom was rearranging my house. (Hi mom!)

I immediately started giving excuses of why this would not work. Giving her the whole song and dance of how "change is so hard for me" and "I'm not sure I can handle change". Well this lasted a whole 5 seconds before we both realized I was FULL OF IT. If I had a nickle for every time I changed my house.

I hesitantly agreed. My mom, strong as an ox, manhandled these chairs into place, while I helped.

So here is the family room BEFORE swap:

And here it is After swap.

A totally different look.

Very interesting.

The chair reminds me of Jackie Kennedy. It reminds my mom of her Grandma Edith. My sister thinks its from the 50's or 60's. I'm curious. I tried to search the internet, to no avail. Anyone know for sure?

And in context with my other furniture.

I kind of like the vibrant funky pop of color of the other yellow chair better, but the size and scaling of this chair did seem to fit this area well.

I was shocked by the change. I still am. But I think mom is right.

And the other yellow chair is rocking and swiveling, next to my desk.

The scale and ratio seem just right.

So. There you have it. My mom is re-arranging my furniture and I think I like it.(At least for now. Don't hold me to it forever).

And my boys love all the new changes.

I can't tell you how many times they've climbed onto the new chair.

This morning everyone had some chair time, with the sun streaming onto them, illuminating their messy hair.

I think I am now a morning person.

Ok, maybe not, but I can be convinced to get up early to capture some early morning rays.

September 19, 2010

battle of the broccoli

If I like it, it's mine

If it's near me, it's mine

If it's broccoli, it's yours.
modified Toddler Laws, by jenhansoniowa

Raise your hand if you like broccoli!

"I do, I do!" {{waving wildly!!}}

I've always loved vegetables. As a kid, I reportedly sat on the kitchen table, with my little index finger curled into a little hook, scooping up left-over veggies into my mouth.

Unfortunately, my boys have not inherited the same zeal and zest for veggies that I possess.

Sure, when they were babies, and did not know any better, they liked vegetables. But I've been noticing a trend: the older they get, the pickier they get.

A few months ago, I began to notice that my once-stellar-veggie-eater-Ollie was not eating his veggies anymore.

Not one.

And under the baby haze of Twain, I didn't/couldn't deal with his boycotts.

I remember one night very clearly though. It was a busy night, as we were getting ready for both AWANA and small group. We told Ollie that he had to eat one piece of broccoli, and then he could have the rest of his dinner.

And Ollie{being the very stubborn child that he is} refused to comply with our wishes.

John and I decided it was time to put our foot down. He really needed to eat one vegetable. But he simply refused.

But John can out stubborn his stubborn son. This stubborn-ness runs deep in their Swedish veins, I hear.

So, it became the battle of the broccoli. Ollie decided he'd rather skip dinner than eat his meager little broccoli. So we packed him up{with broccoli} and dropped him off at Grandma's house.

I think an hour or 2 later, Grandma Betty{also stubborn, but in a good way} finally got him to nibble on his broccoli.

Over the next few weeks, John and I fully waged war against this broccoli battle.

I know of some people who sneak chopped veggies into rice, which I think is ingenious. And I've tried it, and it works.

However, it's not always feasible. And I don't always have rice on hand. At some point, my boys must face their veggies and eat them, even if they are yucky.

So, here is something we try to do, and I've heard it works well for other families too:

Serve the veggies first.

Call it an appetizer.

But they must eat them to earn the rest of their dinner.

And for the most part, it has been working well--Ollie is eating veggies again!!!

I recently started implementing this at lunch too:

Those yellow{and red} cherry tomatoes are delicious.

Little evidences of broccoli on his lips.

Even Tweetle was enjoying his veggie appetizers.

As I sat and watched Ollie cheerfully gobbling his veggies, I wanted to cry with sheer joy. I was just about to cheer and declare victory over our battle of the veggies...

"Here Ollie eat just one more piece of broccoli and you can have your sandwich!", I said encouragingly.

I don't know why I didn't leave well enough alone.

But he glared at that lone piece of broccoli and with all the defiance he could muster he screamed,


And the battle line was re-drawn.

My heart sank. By now I was kicking myself.

But his little tone was so defiant I could not ignore it.

All in one second these thoughts simultaneously swirled in my head
  • Was I being unreasonable? He did just eat most of the veggies.
  • Was I pushing too far and making him hate veggies?
  • Or if I gave in, was I setting a horrible precedence that obedience was optional?
  • Would he learn to call my bluff in the future?

Sometimes I really don't know what to do.

But, I realized, this was not about broccoli. Nor was it about eating healthy or not healthy.

This was a battle over the heart and obedience of my child--something we have been struggling with lately and trying to work on.

Even though I was not in the mood to hear the screams and tantrums, one thing was sure. Ollie was worth going to battle for.

I decided to compromise a smidge and cut his piece of broccoli in half. Or in fourths. Whatever.

I once again told Ollie to eat his broccoli and this is what ensued.

Real tears. Over this.
Fer crying out loud in bucket.

Oh that stubborn Ollie.

This went on for quite a bit and Ollie had to sit on his bed til he calmed down.

I prayed that I was doing the right thing... and that I could stand firm with this one. I tend to have weak resolve with my children and their eating habits. The thought of Ollie skipping lunch over broccoli was very distressing.

Back at the table, Ollie finally gave in. He ate the broccoli.

I served him the rest of his lunch.

Whew. WHAT a battle.

Clearing our plates after lunch, like a big boy.

And yes, my table looks like a war zone.

As do my counters.

And if I turn my back for a second, Tweetle is into mischief. Who does he think he is?

Last night they gobbled my steamed broccoli like it was candy. I smiled happily and did a cheer,

B-R-O-C-C-O-L-I, go-oooo Broccoli!

Ok, I did not really do the cheer, but am ridiculous enough to do it. Don't put it past me.

It was a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but one that I will not take for granted. It cost a lot of tears.