Friday, October 31, 2008

Glad I took some pictures at the Fall Festivals....

No, my camera isn't broken, but I didn't get many photos tonight.... Mister J ended up sick this evening, and didn't get much trick-or-treating in before he and Big J headed home early. Miss M and I stopped at a few more houses before heading back ourselves. So, not much trick-or-treating equals not many pictures....

On the bright side, Miss M did enjoy herself, and went from whispering 'trick-or-treat' to actually saying it so she could be heard. She was having a great time until the bigger kids started trick-or-treating - they are bigger, faster, and aren't really concerned about respecting personal space.... My little cutie even scored extra candy at some houses just for being the cutest clown on the block :) Here's the best shot I could get of my excited little girl before our excursion -

She opted to not wear the clown "hair", but has been very agreeable about ponytails and hairbows lately (so unusual, and I'm taking advantage while I can). By the way - not only is that my Halloween costume from when I was a kid, that's my pumpkin, too! (Yep, plastic stuff lasts forever!)

The kids have been on Fall Break from preschool since the conclusion of the Fall Festival on Wednesday. I managed to get a few good shots there, too. Here are the kids playing one of the many games - my shots of the inflatable slide didn't turn out so well. Thankfully, there isn't one of me carrying Miss M up to the top, or sliding down - but it sure was fun!

Hope you had a lovely evening - whether that means you got lots of candy or gave lots away. Our 60-ish treat bags were nearly gone when Miss M and I got home! Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Fun!

It's finally here! It's Fall Festival and Halloween party week! I can't tell you how excited I am to show off my kids and their costumes this year!

Mister J is old enough now that I let him decide how he wants to dress up, and he chose to be a mailman this year. Thankfully, he's not picked out anything too complicated yet. When he does, I'll be calling Grandma RL to pull out all the stops and work her costume magic, as she did every year when I was a kid.

The most exciting part about this costume (for me) was getting a real nametag from one of the ladies at a local post office. I guess that's one of the benefits to taking the kids along absolutely everywhere - the people we see on a regular basis get to know us and do nice things for us! The ladies at the post office, in particular, recognize us when we stop in, and ask about the kids if I'm there alone. Perhaps that's why Mister J is so interested in all things postal right now.

Miss M will probably start choosing her costumes for herself next year, so I have enjoyed this last opportunity to make the selections this year. She has two costumes again - it seems to be a tradition for her to have more than one.... For the festivals and parties this year, she is wearing this cute little (non-scary) witch costume that I picked up at our church's clothing exchange earlier this fall. We have been asked about the tights SO many times, so I'll let you in on the secret - they came with the dress and hat (and so did the turtleneck she's wearing underneath).

When we trick or treat on Friday, she will wear the clown costume that everyone in my family wears for Halloween when they are two. I wore it, my cousins wore it, even the neighbors' grandkids wore it when I was growing up. Mister J wore it, and now it's Miss M's turn. Yes, it's another piece of my Mama's Magic - which happens to be over 30 years old!

Y'all already know how I feel about trick or treating this year, but I think we are going to try it out anyway. Miss M did well at the 'trunk or treat' at Fall Festival - although scouting out which trunks to avoid is much easier than being picky about which doorbell you ring. However, I'm going to pack our own candy, and if I see candy that's off limits I'll just ask folks to give Miss M a piece of the candy we'll be bringing along. I'll let you know how it goes!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Overheard...

... today, as I was ferrying a hundred different things (apple slices, soup, crackers, drinks, flatware) to the table for lunch:

Mister J (frustrated): Mom, I don't have my drink yet!

Mommy (with as much patience as possible): I know, sweetheart, I'm working as quickly as I can. I only have two hands.

Mister J (incredulously): Only two? Not six?!?

Big J (from the other room): snorts of muffled laughter

Yes, Big J is raising his own mirror images. ::wink::

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mirror, Mirror ...

If ever there was an example of how children reflect what they see their parents say and do, this is it!

We were sitting at the dinner table this evening, when Big J was trying to entice Miss M to eat some chicken, and told her she had to take a bite before she got her second cup of milk. Of course, she dilly-dallied. Big J held up her cup and pretended to drink from it - he "sipped" and "mmm-mmm"ed over the milk before setting the cup down. Miss M eventually finished her one and only bite of chicken, and got her cup of milk. Here's what happened next:


video

Needless to say, no one could keep a straight face - and hiding our silent giggles was impossible - so we all enjoyed a good laugh (you'll hear the two J's in the background). Hope you did, too!

Day off?

Here are the results from Columbus Day poll:

2 of 7 (28%) had Columbus Day off
5 of 7 (71%) had to work on Columbus Day

Where did I fall in that poll? Working, of course - mommies don't (usually) get holidays!

Fright Night

You might have already guessed that with Miss M's food allergies, Halloween is particularly nerve-wracking for me. There's a great post from a mom of a food-allergic child over at Rocks In My Dryer, and I wanted to share it as a reminder to my readers of what we live with on a daily basis.

If you haven't already bought your Halloween candy, Jane Anne makes some suggestions about "safe" candy for food-allergic children. Non-food items (stickers, Play-Doh, etc.) are also good options.

I am sure that Halloween will become less 'scary' as the years go by and Miss M is old enough to understand her allergies (and why some candy is off limits). Until then, though, it's scary enough for me without the witches, ghosts, and goblins.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Other Goings-On

Mister J's 5th birthday is sneaking up on me. I know - I can't believe it either - the little man is turning five. The major elements of the party are planned, but I still have to work out the details - writing the guest list, making the invites (yes, making them), etc. I love this kind of thing - just love it. Can't wait to break out my scrapbooking tools and get to work on the invites. I already have an idea of what I'd like to do - of course something I've never done before - so I hope it'll work and I don't have to make up a Plan B. As always, my Mom is working her magic on the birthday cake. I'm not going to spill the beans - you just have to wait.

I finally got to use the Laptop Lunch System when Mister J stayed for lunch bunch at preschool last week. I was so excited to try it out "for real." Yes, I'm weird that way. Wanna see what his lunch looked like? Good, because you knew I took pictures, didn't you?


He had ham and cheese pinwheels, grapes, cucumbers (cut into star shapes), carrots, hummus (in the purple container), pasta salad (in the yellow container), vanilla wafers, and a tiny box of Nerds candy as a special treat. And, a little note from mom. His drink was 2/3 water, 1/3 apple juice. I bet you can guess what got eaten first.... I was actually really proud of how well he ate, even though he did eat the candy first.

When Miss M saw me packing Mister J's lunch that morning, she wanted me to pack hers, too. So, even though she was eating at home with me that day, and even though she had hers for brunch, here's what she had:
Ham and cheese pinwheels, Craisins, grapes, cucumber stars and carrots (underneath), hummus, and Ritz crackers. Since she'd refused breakfast, she ate nearly everything you see here. I have to tell you, these boxes are magic! I think I could put broccoli in them, and the kids would eat it. Seriously.

I just got back from a (solo!) trip to visit my Dad last weekend. It was a quick trip, but I was so glad I was able to go spend some time with him and with my little sis, who also joined us. Y'all, go and visit his blog and be amazed by his positive outlook on "living and working with" the big C - I sure am. He started a new treatment regimen this week - so keep praying that all goes well, that the side effects are minimal, and that he continues to receive great care.

Finally, an update on my latest addictions. I've already told you how much I enjoy geocaching. So much that I made a quick stop for a cache on my way to see Dad last weekend, and also had a long awaited girls-only caching "playdate" yesterday. I was so frustrated at one we missed yesterday that I went back to the greenway today to try and find it, with Miss M along for the walk. The caches are located along a nice, paved trail that was easy work for the jogging stroller. Miss M enjoyed the wildlife and other folks on the trail while I figured out how to work my GPS received properly - something that escaped me yesterday during the hunt. I found the location today, and while the cache was not easily retrievable with a 2-year-old in tow, I know I'll be back to find it. And I'll definitely return to the greenway for non-caching walks - the kids will both enjoy it, it's far enough away from the road that they can run freely, and it's so nice to know several good areas for walking so I don't get bored, either.

You caught on - I said "addictions" - plural. My newest interest is the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Apparently, it's all the rage with the appropriately-aged Facebook crowd - but it's spreading to adults, too. I finished the first book, Twilight, in 2.5 days. I have to wait until Sunday to borrow the rest of them -- pure agony! But I know my family is glad to have me back until then. The oddest thing about my interest in the series is that it's about vampires. I know - totally not something you would imagine me reading. Me, either. But, it's the love story part that gets me. Personally, I think it started a tad slow, but I was so eager to find out the answers to a few questions that I kept reading, and got totally sucked in (pun totally intended).

On the horizon - Halloween! A trip to see the in-laws/grands! And Dream Dinners tomorrow morning (my freezer is getting empty)!

Pumpkin Patch

It's that time of year again, and true to our better-late-than-never style, we finally picked out some pumpkins last weekend!

We went to our favorite pumpkin "patch" (which will soon become our favorite Christmas tree "farm") and started our hunt. Thankfully, we had some seasonal weather this year - I think we wore shorts last time. That's part of the beauty of the South, but it makes for some ... odd .. pictures for the scrapbook!

Mister J quickly started searching for just the right one, but let me have my pick of the pumpkins this year. A great big one with a stem that curved just so.









This particular "patch" always has great decorations - perfect photo spots for people like me! A couple of old wagons, a big, round hay bale, and lots of HUGE pumpkins. Mister J has fun climbing into the wagons all by himself this year!

In his own words:

"I climbed up on the big stuff and got my sister a pumpkin. I got Mommy a pumpkin."

We picked out a small pumpkin for Miss M, and Mister J will be bringing one home from preschool soon. I'm interested to see what kids of "pumpkin activities" he did in class. Perhaps that one is already decorated. Which would be nice, so I don't have to carve my great big one, and then it can last through Thanksgiving, too. I've got to be practical, after all - those pumpkins weren't free!

So, I suppose you are wondering how Miss M enjoyed her trip to the pumpkin patch. Well, take a look...

You might recall that she's not napping anymore. Well, I suppose I can't say never. We made a late afternoon pumpkin run, and sitting still for a ride in the mommy-van put Miss M right to sleep. She didn't wake up until the hunt was over and we were loading up for the trip home.

Though she missed the pumpkin patch, she's satisfied with our selections. She wants to carry the little one everywhere. And she tries to pick up the big one - which I haven't even picked up. I left that to Big J. Who also though it was funny that Miss M was drooling on my shoulder while we searched for our pumpkins. What he didn't realize was that I was wearing his vest to keep dry -- I mean warm.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I am Mommy, Hear Me Snore (or... The Paci Chronicles, Part 3)

Miss M has finally stopped asking for her paci, except yesterday when my mom and I went to the grocery store with Miss M in tow. Riding in the cart (oh, the magic that grandmas can do!) down the cereal aisle, out of the blue, she says, "I need my paci." And of course, as only a grandma can do, my magic mama distracted her with something much more fascinating, and the idea of a paci once again vaporized into thin air.

I, however, long for the days of the paci.

I long for the days when naptime was between 1:30-2:00, and naps lasted for 2 or 3 hours. I long for the days when, once tucked in, little feet were not heard to pitter-patter around (and toys were not heard to crash) upstairs while I tried to get work done without interruption.

Ever since the paci was evicted from our home, Naptime packed his bags and left as well, with a grumpy scowl back in my direction on the way out the door.

It would not be honest of me to say that life is "crazier" than before. It's still just as hectic, but without the nice mid-day break. A four-and-a-half-year-old can, most days, find a quiet activity for an hour or so while Mom works and little sister naps. A two-year-old cannot. A four-and-a-half and two-year-old, together, are even less likely to be able to - somewhere in the negative, those chances.

So, while Miss M adjusts to life without the paci, Mom adjusts to a non-stop busy kind of day (as if there were really any other kind). And earlier bedtimes for us all.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Woggle Goggles

Just have to show you a snap of the 'official' Imagination Movers outdoor playtime uniform. This is Mister J's impression of Mover Scott, who wears "wobble goggles" to help him see through things (talk about imagination!). And, since it's a bit of a tongue twister, Miss M calls them "woggle goggles" - which is just too funny.


Mister J and Miss M argued constantly over this pair of goggles until we found our second pair. I bought them from the dollar store, so I hope they make it until next season when I can buy more (or at least until the "special" wears off). And the rain boots, well Mister J wears them everywhere right now. Everywhere. He's about to outgrow them, so we may have to invest in another pair.

Poll Results - #1

Why do you check in? To:
See how big the kids have gotten - 1 vote (16%)
See what crazy thing the kids are up to now - 3 votes (50%)
Read a heartwarming story about the kids - 1 vote (16%)
Read some of your nutty, yet helpful, advice - 0 votes
Figure out how not to raise my kid - 0 votes
See if anyone has voted in my poll - 1 vote (16%)

Thanks for voting - and for not insulting my parenting style by selection option 5 ;)

Friday, October 10, 2008

You know playtime is over when...

Big J and I had a nice, quiet, adults-only dinner this evening while we listened to the news and the sound of the kids playing outside (the rain finally stopped - hooray!). We let Mister J and Miss M continue playing even after we finished our dinner, knowing that they would tell us when they were hungry. They didn't get to stay outside quite that long, though. Big J took a peek outside and quickly determined that, hungry or not, it was time for the kids to come inside. Here's what he saw:

video

This is obviously a little girl who is A) very proud of her latest skill, B) very talkative, and C) lacking in modesty. We are proud of her, too. Well, except for the 'lacking in modesty' part, but we know that it will come soon enough. At least this was in the backyard and not anywhere public. As you can see, we have a good sense of humor about it all, but will eventually have to get around to setting limits on where it's okay to undress (like, oh, inside).

In case you need a translation of the toddler-speak, Miss M was telling us that her shirt was on the steps, she took it off, and it went bye-bye. Got to love that toddler logic - keeps life interesting!

Recipe Adventure - No. 1

I borrowed a recipe and a 6-quart crock pot yesterday and made the most delicious soup I've ever made. It has earned a place in my recipe box - written on a recipe card. Trust me, that's a big deal. I wish I could remember where I found it - besides on a blog. When I do figure that detail out, I'll post the link to give credit where credit is due. In the meantime, anonymous blogosphere friend, thank you for sharing your recipe for...

Crock Pot Taco Soup!

You'll need:
4 chicken breasts
2 cans each corn, pinto beans, black beans
1 can Ro-Tel
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 package dry taco seasoning mix
1 cup chicken broth

Toppings:
shredded Monterey Jack cheese
tortilla chips
sour cream

You need at least a 6 quart crock pot for this recipe. You can use frozen chicken breasts, too - run them under hot water for a minute and put then in the crock pot frozen. Then dump the other ingredients (except toppings) on top of the chicken. This really means dump - don't drain anything. Cook all day long on low or 4-6 hours on high. Before serving, remove chicken, shred with forks, and return to crock pot. Top each bowl with cheese, sour cream, and chips.

Additional notes from my experience....
Don't try to make it in a 4 quart pot. It won't fit. Hence, the borrowed crock pot.
I used fresh chicken, but you better believe I'll try it with frozen sometime (as if it wasn't already easy!).
I was hesitant to just dump the black beans since most recipes call for you to rinse and drain them. I wondered if I could drain/rinse/add a little extra chicken broth. However, I have my own personal rule about not changing a recipe until after trying once as written, so I dumped them in.
I used low sodium taco seasoning, and have decided I'm going to look for recipes to make my own taco seasoning and dry ranch mix (to see if I can make them preservative-free).
The only ingredient I questioned at all was the dry ranch mix - but don't leave it out!

After letting it cook for about 5 1/2 hours on high, I was starving! So, I filled a bowl - and this soup was good even before I added the toppings! But who can argue with adding cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream? Not me! Mister J gave it a taste, and actually dipped a few chips in before declaring himself "full." Big J tasted it when he got home (late, so he'd already eaten dinner) - he's excited about having it for lunch tomorrow. Did I mention that this makes a LOT of soup? By the way - if you want to make this vegetarian, I bet it would turn out just fine. I can take or leave the actual chicken, but I'd probably still use chicken broth for the flavor.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My poor, sweet, sleeping girl

One of the 'benefits' of this latest bout with fever is that Miss M has actually napped three out of the last four days. Not official "let-me-tuck-you-in-now" naps, but the "asleep-in-her-tracks" kind of naps. As I was finishing up dinner this evening, I heard the familiar sound of sleep. Not silence, but this:

video

She's so going to be mad at me one day for posting this. But I just had to share my sweet, sleeping Miss M with you. By the way - other than the fever, she's fine. She's not congested, just noisy.

Feed a what? Starve a who?

I'm home with Miss M today. My exciting, had-it-planned-for-over-a-week, Mommies-Only Playdate got rescheduled due to my feverish little girl who couldn't go to preschool today. Oh, and because of the rainy weather. Yesterday's rain wasn't very conducive to geocaching today, especially since my friend and I were planning to walk the Muddy Creek Greenway on our hunt. But, I digress....

I think I have finally figured it out - I know the answer to the old "Feed a ____, Starve a ____" advice! It's feed a fever, starve a cold (as if any of us would actually starve a sick child....). How did I figure it out? Because my feverish child has been ravenous today. Applesauce, crackers, chicken, fries, more crackers, more applesauce, and LOTS of (straw)berry milk. She also asked for yogurt and a bagel, but that happened when we were on the way to preschool pickup and had no food in the mommy-van. Miss M never eats this much. Ever. Not when she's well, and definitely not when she has a cold. I can barely keep up with her today. So I'm convinced I should feed a fever and 'starve' a cold. Oh, and did I mention my budding vegetarian ate chicken today? Granted, she was only doing it so she could have some fries (one of her favorites), but she wasn't refusing. And - she ate steak last night. Not kidding. She actually asked for seconds on the steak. Wow. I'm thinking that aside from the not going to preschool today part, the fever this time is not such a bad thing....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Good News!

If you are a regular reader, you have probably noticed quite a few changes on my blog lately. There's a new layout, a new seasonal background, and a new counter to log the number of visitors. One of the earliest, yet least noticeable, changes in this round was adding some blogs to my Blogs I Read list. One of those was The BIG "C" - which is my dad's blog. It's about "Living and working with cancer. A (sometimes) lighthearted approach to things in life."

If you are a regular reader, you know that my blog is always full of newsy stuff. It's a way to reach out to our family and friends and share news. My dad's diagnosis with lung cancer was some pretty big news, but this is the first time I've blogged about it. Why? Well, there are a hundred reasons why, but mostly fear. Not just fear about what might happen to my dad, but fear that if I put it out there for all to read, it would make it that much more "real." I emailed a few close friends, put Daddy on the prayer list at our church, and said my own prayers whenever I thought about him. I didn't talk about it around the children; in fact, I rarely spoke about it face-to-face with anyone. It was just too hard. And even though he recently got some really good news, I am still tearing up as I type this.

I don't think I was quite ready to share my personal struggles, even with my regular readers, and I'm sorry. Although this is my space to share funny stories and "I wish I'd thought of that!" mom advice, it's also where I share my struggles. This has been one big struggle, and I shouldn't have forgotten that you are all willing to share the burdens, as well as the triumphs, with me.

Daddy - I love you!

Click to Give

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a link I used to visit quite often has come through my email inbox again (thanks, Mom!). It's the link to The Breast Cancer Site, where your click (that's all - one click!) helps provide free mammograms. Also from this site, you can select from five other click-to-give tabs - The Hunger Site, The Child Health Site, The Literacy Site, The Rainforest Site, and the Animal Rescue Site. In less than 10 seconds online, you can help donate free food, books, healthcare, and more. So, add The Breast Cancer Site to your bookmarks, and make it a habit to click six times before you check your email each day. And, if you have a couple of minutes to give, challenge yourself at freerice.com.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Paci Chronicles, Part 2


It's been a little over a week now since Big J started Operation No More Paci. It's been going very well. Really, it has. Except that Miss M has refused to nap for 4 days in a row now, and for most days since the beginning of Operation NMP. That has been hard. She might stay up in her room playing for about 45 minutes, then she will go to the top of the stairs and yell, "Mommy, I waked up! I waked up!" As if she ever went to sleep! This is one of the few times we have listened to her with the 'room monitor' function of our phones. We listen to her sing and play - she sounds so sweet and happy. If you look at her room afterwards, though, you will see that she's unloaded the basket of stuffies, dumped the basket with all of the dollhouse people and furniture, and unloaded the bookshelf. Nice.

I am feeling total defeat on the nap issue. Yesterday, I didn't even try to put her down for a nap. I just sent the kids out in the yard to play since the weather was so nice. I am feeling total defeat on the nap issue. The trade-off to not napping, though, is that she fell asleep during our later-than-usual dinner at 7:15. At the table. And even through the change into pjs and a clean pull-up, she barely woke up. She did ask for her blanket, which I went back downstairs to retrieve. She was snoring before I made it back to her room.

This morning, I realized that Operation NMP still has a ways to go. Our sweet little girl came into our room at 5am this morning. I wasn't ready to get up, so I tucked her into the little "bed" I've created for the kids, and she went back to sleep. When she woke up again at 7am, she came over to my bed and whispered to me. Among other things, she asked, "Where's my paci?" Ugh. I whispered back (so as not to wake Big J), "I don't know." That seemed to satisfy, as she didn't insist upon finding one, but I know that she hasn't forgotten about it. I guess that will take a while. I'm glad that her dolls only have bottles....

Reclaiming Some Space

I have reached the point where a change must happen. Actually, I want to see a lot of change around my home. I want to rid the place of all the clutter. I want to catch up on my kids' scrapbooks so I can toss the rest of the "stuff" I'm holding on to so I can remember the dates and times and places that go with all of the photos. I want to be able to park the mommy-van in the garage again. But first, I want to reclaim my space in bed.

Our kids know that if they wake up in the night and need something, they can come to us. If they need a snuggle, they know that they can climb into bed and snuggle until morning. There's plenty of room. In fact, that's why we got the gigantic bed in the first place. When Mister J was little, he slept with us most nights until he was around a year old. Miss M spent several nights with us early on, as well. (No shrieky-shrieky allowed - it's a personal decision, let's leave it at that.)

So why, with the gigantic bed and the open invitation for so long, have I changed my mind? Because the goal is really not about being selfish, it's about getting enough sleep be able to function the next day. You see, the kids are getting older (surprise!), and as they get older, they get bigger (I know, you are shocked!). And since they both seem to like sleep upside down and sideways in the bed, it gets crowded really fast. Plus, Mister J is truly a bed hog. I'm not making that up. Also, I'm kind of a light sleeper. It doesn't take a kick in the face wake me up (yes, that really happened), just one of the kids rolling over. So, with two extra people in the bed, trying to snuggle next to me from about 3am to real, sunshiny morning (around 3-4 hours), and me usually not getting to bed until midnight, I'm averaging around 3.5 hours of good sleep, and then 3.5 hours of crappy sleep. At that rate, after a few days, I should not be allowed to drive. Something had to change. And it did. And Big J was shocked.

I cleaned out the corner of the bedroom nearest my side of the bed. Then, I took a comforter that isn't currently in use on a bed and folded it into a kid-sized, bed-shaped cushion. I put that into the corner, along with a pillow and a baby quilt. Viola! My kids now have a place to sleep in the middle of the night when they come into our room. And I get a better night's sleep! And Big J doesn't get disturbed as much, either.

When the kids saw me putting the new kid-space together, they asked what I was doing (after all, I was cleaning, and they were perplexed). I told them what the new space was for, and explained that when they came into our room at night, this is where they would be sleeping now. Of course, they both wanted to check it out. They thought it was really cool. But the big test would come around 3am.

The first night, Miss M came into the room. She fussed about being tucked into the kid space. She wiggled and squirmed. In the end, we were up for the day at 6am, and I'm a 7am kind of girl.... When Mister J came in for his first try, he fell right to sleep and even slept late. Miss M's next time, she wiggled and squirmed and I gave in and pulled her into bed so I could sleep. On her next try, she stayed in the kid space and even slept later than her set-in-stone-no-matter-what 7am wakeup.

The best news in all of this? For the most part, the kids are staying in their beds all night. In the 2 weeks since we have implemented this new arrangement, I think the kids have come into our room a total of 5 times. They might not be sleeping all night, but if they wake up, they are soothing themselves back to sleep. And I'm sleeping like a baby.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Patriotism

I was brought to tears today by my sweet little boy.

As we sat in our home office this afternoon, Big J asked Mister J about his day at preschool. In addition to answering the standard questions, he demonstrated one of the things he's learned since preschool started. He recited the Pledge of Allegiance. And, I'm proud to say, it was nearly perfect - he only left out the "with" at the end. Big J and I were both stunned.

Sixteen days of class so far. Thirty-one words. Two proud parents.