Archive for February, 2009

Olivia Fix


Ava Fix

Ava recently made a music instrument out of a sushi mat, ribbon and two spoons. Up next, satellite radio from a juice box and Hello Kitty pen.




More Madison

I drove into downtown Madison on Thursday morning, and I did a double-take when I saw the isthmus reflected on the screen of my Garmin:


To make myself feel completely at home, I met Melissa and Alisa for a lunch that involved far too much wine for a Thursday afternoon. At this point, I found it was possible to be completely homesick for two places at the very same time.

Later in the day, I caught up with my friend Renee (this time over a far more sensible cup of coffee), and I was even able to see my friend Stef as well.

I stayed with Liana and Scott, who spoiled me further with another fabulous dinner and a quiet guest room. Even Coca seemed happy to see me (every single time I walked in the door!).

We spent Friday running baby and shower related errands, ending the day at Jolly Bob’s.

On Saturday, we woke to what I thought was six or seven inches of snow, but Liana pointed out that it was really only three or four. I (again) borrowed what I needed to head out into the snow for a walk down the lake with Liana’s neighbor.



See that spot in the distance on the ice of Lake Monona? That’s Coca!


Here’s more of a close-up (at this poor, but quite stubborn, kitty’s expense):


Later that morning, we braved the still-falling snow and headed across town to celebrate our impending birthdays with pedicures at our favorite spa. You’ll probably think I was the one who suggested skipping shoes and socks in order to preserve our perfectly painted toes, but it was my usually quite sensible companion. Besides, we only walked to the cute little bakery next door.


Liana’s baby shower was Saturday afternoon, but more on that later.

In this morning’s news…

Local Mother Breaks Three Cardinal Rules of Parenting

KANSAS – In what parenting experts across the U.S. are calling “unadvised at best,” local mother Rebecca Smith broke three cardinal rules of parenting before breakfast early Wednesday morning.

The incidents, all of which involved Smith’s three-year-old daughter, Ava, occurred between 7 and 8 a.m at their home in eastern Kansas.

Smith recalled the first affront occurred shortly after Ava woke. Smith, admittedly weary from days of wardrobe battles with her eldest child, simply said, “Ava, if you get dressed without argument, I’ll let you watch TV.”

Parenting experts often warn that this type of bribery, while successful in the short term, leads to long term consequences. “Bribery rapidly becomes addictive for the child and the behavior becomes more and more scandalous in the expectations of achieving better and better rewards,” noted a popular parental advice Web Site.

The second infraction also occurred while Ava was getting dressed. Smith explained that in an effort to hurry Ava along, she knowingly contributed to creating sibling rivalry. “Ava, do you think you can get dressed faster than Olivia?” Smith asked.

This seemingly harmless contest has the potential to create a lifelong competition between the two siblings, who are three and a half years apart in age.

The final–and arguably the the most damaging–incidence of poor parenting took place a few moments later. Despite knowing the dangers of idle threats first hand, Smith hollered, “Maybe I should just call Grandma and Grandpa and tell them not to come!”

When asked if she would indeed call her in-laws and request that they postpone their visit, scheduled for later today, Smith said, “God, no. I can’t wait for them to arrive. I need some help.”

Smith’s husband, Bryan Smith, noted that Smith herself has reminded him many times how critical it is to provide only concrete consequences in which follow-through is imminently possible. “She’s always saying, if you’re not going to follow through, don’t threaten it.”

When asked how she could so easily eschew her own advice, Smith said, “Look it’s been a little stressful around here lately. I’m tired.”

Experts might caution her, though, that while these ill advised tactics save time and energy now, they will likely increase the amount of work required of her as a parent down the road.

Olivia update

After more than six ear infections in an eight-month period, we took Olivia to an ear, nose and throat specialist yesterday. Our family doctor had warned us that we were likely headed for tubes, and the ENT doctor confirmed it. One quick look revealed a common structural defect that prevents the ears from draining correctly.

Olivia was fast-tracked for outpatient surgery in Kansas City early this morning, which gave me just enough time to Google “risk of tubes” eight or nine times. I had already read that more than 700,000 children have this procedure each year, and while that should have calmed me, I instead started to worry that is was far too common and maybe a bit unnecessary. Then, I remembered how Olivia howls when we have to deliver a an antibiotic shot because oral antibiotics no longer work on her stubborn ears.

So, we loaded the girls up at 5:30 this morning. (Our sweet friend Dawn agreed to keep Ava overnight, but Ava came home from preschool with a bit of a stuffy nose. Since Dawn has a new baby at home, we decided not to share those germs with her. Instead, we spread them across the Overland Park surgical center…)

Olivia was in good spirits, and I was able to stay with her until she went back to surgery. The process only took about 15 minutes, and in addition to tubes, she also had her adenoids removed and her ears drained. She was able to keep her blanket and pacifier with her the entire time.

She was in a bit of pain when she woke up, but thanks to a dose of medication, she seems to be much better. (She’s not allowed to drive or operate heavy machinery for the remainder of the day, though.) We left the surgical center less than two hours after arriving, and Liv was quite chipper by the time we got home.

Her appetite is back, which is a great sign.




And I’m back

I drove to Madison last Wednesday (the same day my pint-sized beautician decided she needed a trim–more on that later). It’s not a bad drive–just eight hours–and really, I can’t even tell you the last time I had that kind of time to myself.

Of course, though, I cried for 30 minutes after I dropped off Olivia at daycare that morning. When I hit Kansas City, I realized that I was completely unencumbered and totally free for four whole days. Then I immediately felt guilty and cried a bit more for good measure.

Despite the near blinding tears, I managed to find my way up I-35 to I-80. I even stopped at the outlet mall Bryan always zooms by (not that great, but I enjoyed the break). I had reasonably clear roads until I crossed the Wisconsin border, and even then, they weren’t too bad.

I stayed overnight with Chuck and Lori at their farm near Mt. Horeb. They treated me to a really incredible dinner and amazingly cozy guest room. On Thursday morning, I slept through chores, but Lori took me on a hike around the gorgeous farm a bit later.

There’s more than 80 acres for Duke to roam:



Here’s Lori with the horses. I quickly found that my winter wear is sorely lacking, but Lori loaned me a pair of boots and warmer gloves.



The farm is fenced by a soon-to-be stocked trout stream.



One of the beautiful old barns…


The corn crib:


And, my personal favorite, the chicken coop, with condos just waiting to be filled this spring!


I can’t wait to come back–maybe when it’s a bit warmer, though.

Shear Excellent Parenting

Bryan here.  I’m home alone tonight with both girls.  I assured Bec that everything would be okay leaving the girls with me.  After all, I have almost 4 years of experience in responsible parenting.  However, within just 30 minutes of arriving home with both girls tonight, I went to check on Ava who was playing quietly while I was making dinner and tending to Livie (who was hungry and grouchy).  Guess what Ava was doing and how much trouble Daddy will be in when Mommy returns?   Here’s a hint:


In my defense, those are safety scissors, but I think I’ll probably still be in trouble:




Blog break

I’m taking a short blog break the next few days. Check back early next week for new posts. Thanks very much!

Ava Fix

When we told the kids we were going out to dinner Friday night, Ava needed some time to “get ready,” which apparently meant putting every “clippy” we own in her hair. All 34 of them. She wouldn’t allow me to take a photo of her hairdo, but she would allow a photo of her ring. Still, I think you’ll get the gist…


Fun at the park