February 26, 2009

A (belated) Christmas Wish

To the tune of a popular holiday favorite . . .

I'm dreaming of a back yard
With lots of dirt and grass and trees
Where the chain link glitters
And Mommy's all a twitter
To hear Caleb playing on his own...

I'm dreaming of a back yard
With fences high and gates that latch.
May this dream come true soon
Lord, we ask for this boon,
Our son needs lots of room to run.

February 24, 2009

Korean-ing We Will Go

Not to be confused with Careening or Caroling. Korean-ing is entirely different.

Just in case you were confused.

I have taken it upon myself to learn a third language. Because I obviously don't have enough to do these days. =) And because I have access to free training. Enter my Korean students, stage right.

Last week Yuri taught me these rather useful phrases:

Pih-gon-hey (I'm tired)

Beh-go-pah (I'm hungry)

Chocolate-muck-go-ship-dah (I want to eat chocolate)

I wanted to cover all the important bases, you see. Now I'm ready for anything. As long as it involves chocolate. =)

Last night, Yuri, Mell, and couple of my old students from last semester taught me the Korean alphabet. I was relieved to learn it contains only 24 characters; the hard part is the ten vowels, two of which I simply cannot tell apart. Variations of "uh" and "oh." If I'd grown up in the South, I could probably manage. But alas, I'm handicapped by my California heritage. And accent.

My Korean lessons are fast becoming the students' favorite part of class, even though we only do them during break (after all, I'm not being paid to learn Korean now am I?). They are becoming my favorite part, too. I wonder why I didn't think of it nine months ago when I first started teaching.

An-young is how you say Hello. It is also how you say Good-Bye. Sort of like Aloha in Hawaii. The universal word for everything.

Speaking Korean is the fun part; writing it is the hard part. I might as well be looking at sandscrit or Greek when Yuri shows me how to write my name. Some letters sit side by side, others climb on top of each other like kids trying to reach the cookie jar. I'm not excited. I never did like climbing for cookies. Too much work.

I think I'll just stick with the speaking for now.

Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be as fluent with Korean as I am with Spanish (ha!). Won't that be useful?

And I'll thank you for not laughing at me. Or as they say in Korea,


February 23, 2009

Now We Shall See What God Will Do

Spring snuck up on us this week. Last weekend rained and blew winter upon us with fury and force. But this week? Mild as weak tea. Sunshine. Fresh, warm air. T-shirts and bare feet. All my windows open.

Mmmmmmm . . . I'm one happy girl right now. :)

And when I get around to unloading the last six months' worth of pictures from my digi camera, I'll take a few of our beautiful Spring and post 'em. ;)

Amazing the change one week can bring, eh? Last Sunday, clouds covered the sky. We bundled up in jackets and hoods before going to church. The windshield wipers swish-swished as we drove. And my husband was still employed.

Here we are, a week later. The weather sings a spring symphony to me every morning when I wake up. Caleb brings me the fuzzy caterpillars he finds (they're hatching en mass right now). And my husband is looking for a new job.

Yep, we're officially a causaulty of the economic recession.

We knew it was a possibility. Jason's company hasn't done well financially this last year; on Thursday, they laid off 10% of their employees. Jay was one of them.

Now this is the part where I'm supposed to sigh and worry and fret, right? Don't wives usually do that when their husbands lose jobs? Well, maybe so. But I'm not. Neither is Jay. And we don't want you worrying and fretting for us.

We're actually excited about all this.

Jason hasn't been happy at his job for a long time. We've spent a lot of time in prayer about it this last year, and we feel that God is now starting to answer those prayers and provide us with direction and purpose. He has already shown Himself mighty to provide for our needs; now we are waiting to see what He has in store for Jason and by extension, our family as a whole. Something's ending, but something new is about to begin. That's how we feel. And beginnings are exciting, aren't they? Isn't that what Spring is all about?

February 15, 2009

I Am Tarzan, Hear Me Roar!

One day, I'll find something to post about that doesn't involve my son. One day, I'll have something interesting and terribly witty to write about and Caleb's name won't be mentioned anywhere. One day, I'll realize that it's ok to write about subjects other than offspring.

But today is not that day.

When Caleb was in my womb, I loved to feel him kick. And boy! did he ever kick! All the time, in fact. "Counting kicks" as my doctor termed it, was never an issue for me. I didn't have to count them; he did the entire allotted number in the space of a minute or so every. single. evening. And morning. And afternoon. And . . . well, you get the picture.

I should have known then what an active little boy he would be. =)

Allow me to relate the conversation we had with his Sunday School teacher this morning when we picked him up after church.

Teacher: "Hello, which one's yours?"

Jason: "Caleb."

Teacher: "Oooooh." *looks over her shoulder* "Where is he? Well, wherever he is, he's moving I'm sure."

The teacher then proceeds to hand Caleb over to Jason. At which point I pipe up and ask:

"Did he do a craft today?"

Teacher starts to laugh, then says: "He is the Destroyer of the Crafts. But he does have a good time doing it. I could save some of the remanants if you want . . . "

At this point, Jason and I were laughing so hard we could hardly wave her off and say No, thank you, you don't have to save the "remanants" of the destroyed craft.

Then we looked at each other. Yep, that's our son!

Later tonight, after dinner, Jason pulled out the playdough. Those two sat at the table happily playing while I did the dishes. At some point, Caleb decided that the rolling pin wasn't the only way to flatten playdough. He stuck a ball of it on his chair and then stomped up and down on it with his bare little feet. =) Once again, we found ourselves laughing so hard we could hardly see.

Yep, that's our son.

I am fast realizing what a high energy little man we have on our hands here. He's go go go all the time. Like a cross between Tarzan and the Energizer Bunny. Cute, mighty, wild, and wired. And we don't even give him caffeine.

I'm simply amazed at how Jesus built our son. I'm curious to see what else we'll discover about him in the days ahead. Most parenting books will talk about a child "discovering" and "exploring" the world around them; what they don't tell you is that parenting is a discovery process all in itself.

Sure, the child may learn to walk and talk and to not eat leaves, batteries, and pennies.

But we parents learn much more: flexibility, patience, creativity, selflessness. We get to learn who our children are.

Leave it to God to kill two birds with one stone. The family exists not only to grow and nurture children but to grow and change the adults, too. Who woulda thunk it, eh?

February 11, 2009

Here I sit at 9:50pm . . .

. . . munching on fries and a burger from Carls. Because when I left work tonight I found myself starving as if I'd never eaten dinner. This happens often. No, I'm not pregnant. I know you're thinking that. But I'm not. I know I'm not. So please quit thinking it. Thank you.


I just wanted to share a couple of books that help me stay sane these days. If you have a toddler or a pre-schooler, or heck, if you have kids at all or any plans to have kids, I recommend obtaining/buying/borrowing/stealing these books. Ok, please don't steal them. I'd feel bad if you did.

Anyway, the first one is The Toddler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner. The subtitle reads: 365 creative games and activities to keep your 1 1/2 -to-3 year-old busy. And it does just that. With 11 chapters ranging from Rainy Day Play to Music and Movement to Kids in the Kitchen, this book is teeming with incredibly simple, incredibly easy ideas.

For example:
From Chapter 6 Out and About comes Sandpaper Play:
"This is a clean, quiet activity that travels well. Store sandpaper and yarn in a Ziplock bag and have it handy for long car rides or whenever you need something quick for your child to do.
Cut various colors of yarn into different lengths. Show your toddler how the yarn sticks to the sandpaper. She will enjoy creating a design, pulling it off, and starting over again."

How simple is that?!?!

Ok, so maybe you're like me and don't have yarn just sitting around the house. Here is another idea from Chapter 1 Rainy Day Play that I have personally tried and found effective:

Fun With Kleenex
"Most toddlers have probably tried this on their own at one time or another. Give your toddler a box of Kleenex and let her pull the Kleenex out one by one. The fun your toddler will have and the time she spends on this will justify the price of a box of Kleenex!"

*insert evil cackling here* Caleb loves Fun with Kleenex. =) And because Caleb loves it, Mommy loves it, too.

Book #2 is Preschool Art: It's the Process, Not the Product by MaryAnn Kohl. This book focuses mainly on arts and crafts with toddlers. From simple chalk and marker art to more adventerous tempura paint and glue, this book has 260 pages full of great artsy-fartsy stuff for ages 1-5. It's sorted by age appropriateness and oddly enough, the seasons. There are crafts for winter, spring, summer, and fall. All nicely organized. I like organized. =)

Nifty stuff, I'm telling ya friends.

Now, sadly, I don't own these preschool treasures. I found them at our local library and am seriously thinking that I'll never return them. Ok, maybe not that seriously . . . Amazon sells used copies pretty cheap so when Mission Valley Library calls me looking for their books, I'll have another option besides Grand Theft Literature.

And now that this post has grown much longer than I originally intended (and it's going on 11 pm and my son will probably be up in 7 hours or so and my burger and fries are now gone), I think I will bid you all Good-Night.

Good-night, bloggie friends! May you have sweet dreams of paper, crayons, and glue sticks!!

I know I will. =)

February 8, 2009

The Toddler and the Bed Wars, pt. 2

If you haven't read Part 1, please scroll down and read it now. This has been a public service announcement. Thank you.

The nap was dead to begin with. As dead as a doornail. This must be completely understood, else nothing that follows will seem wonderous.

The toddler, in very Godzilla-like fashion, roared his independance from the top of his Big Boy Bed and the mother of the toddler quivered and quaked under her own Queen-sized bed. Nothing good could come from this. Afternoons stretched longer without the nap aiding their passage. The living room transplanted itself to Tornado Alley and every evening a category 5 would strike.

The mother had done everything she could think to do. She begged and she pleaded. She yelled and she spanked. She rocked and she cried. But her efforts proved vain. Then she did the only other thing she could think to do: she prayed to her Very Big God for the resurrection of the Nap. She prayed very, very hard.

And from on high, the Very Big God answered. The boy slept. The nap was restored to sanity. The birds (and the mother) sang with all joy and thanksgiving. For four days, the family co-existed in blissful, napful peace. Then the whole cycle began again and the nap threatened to leave for good, rather than be treated in such a disparaging manner.

The mother prayed to her Very Big God again. And this time, He said:
"Mother of the nap-hating toddler, do not be afraid. I am teaching you patience and flexibility from this ordeal. I cannot promise that your son will sleep every day, but I will promise that my Grace shall be sufficient for you whether your son sleeps or no. Trust Me, and I will provide for your needs. This, too, shall pass."

So the mother learned to bend a little more than she thought she was capable of, albeit with much muttering and complaining at times. And the moral of the story, dear reader, is this: do not convert your toddler's crib to a bed unless you have read Charles Dickens and seen Star Wars and are prepared to be a character in both. The End.

What? Eh? Who's hacking into my blog and writing such nonesense?? Nap Wars? What a horrendous idea! We have no such issues here in the Inkwell household. Our son is perfect. This mommy is perfect. If you hear anything to the contrary, you've heard a lie!


As of this writing, you should know that Caleb has napped the last five days in a row. That's a new record for us this last month. =) You should also know that he is starting his speech therapy group tomorrow. *Cheers Loudly* Praise God! This process has taken many months, but tomorrow, hopefully, we will begin to find some answers and get our son talking. I'll be sure to keep you posted; thank you all for your prayers! They've been appreciated!

And now I'd like to leave you with Crazy Cole's Five Senses. The part of the blog where Crazy Cole comes out and shares her five senses:

Sight: I see a computer screen and a messy desk (big surprise there, huh?). Outside, I see wind blown trees and blue patches of sky amidst stormy clouds.

Smell: The salsa my husband's munching on and a Cider Doughnut Yankee Candle. =)

Sound: My son playing in his room (NOT sleeping) and Hubby with Hubby's Best Friend talking geeky computer talk as they play a first person shooter set in some Mayan ruins. Am I geeky too because I understand everything they say?

Also, I have The Biscuit of Zazzamarandabo stuck in my head. If you haven't heard it, you can listen/see it here on YouTube. =)) Gotta love those silly veggies!

Taste: Still tasting a delicious French chocolate truffle from Trader Joes. Oh so good! Jerk Chicken is marinading in the fridge at the moment. I'll be bbq-ing that for dinner if the weather cooperates. Thank you Natalie for the recipe, which can be found here.

Touch: The smooth plastic of keys under my fingers as I type this. Cool air coming in from an open window.

Well, that's it for now. Happy Sunday, ya'll!

February 3, 2009

The Toddler and the Bed Wars, pt. 1

*Cue theme music*

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away . . .

. . . a toddler had a bed. He loved his bed. He loved his room. He loved his stuffies. But he DID NOT love his nap. He hated his nap, in fact. That poor nap! It felt so rejected and lonely; the toddler's hatred sent the nap to many a counseling session but to no avail. The psychological damage had been done. The nap would never be the same.

Neither, in fact, would the toddler's mother.

But this story is not about her. Ahem.

Perhaps the toddler would not have hated the nap so much, but for a singular event that would forever change the course of his young life: the transition from a crib to a "big boy" bed. In the blink of an eye and a few twists of the screwdriver, the toddler experienced something totally new:


(Which is to say, that with one side of his crib now missing, he was free to come and go as he pleased).

The toddler, overcome with raptures of joy and elation, decided this freedom was just about the best thing he'd ever seen. And since freedom, and falling asleep in random places all over his room, was so much fun, the toddler decided to extend it to not only where he slept, but if he slept.

This was the beginning of many trials for the nap. And for the mother. Ahem.

For, as we all know, to be a toddler is to require much sleep. God designed wee ones that way, and we parents thank Him for it every day. When the toddler would forsake his nap in favor of unsupervised play in his room, the toddler (and the parents) would suffer for it later. 5 o'clock became the Hour of Woe. The toddler, nap-hating and sleep-deprived, turned into a terrible tornado who spun around the house wrecking havoc and mahem until 7 o'clock when he would promptly fizzle out and collapse in his new "big boy" bed. The mother of the toddler, exhausted by the strains of normal motherhood and the added job of damage assessor/controller/picker-uper, woud flop limply into her computer chair and stare at a blank blogger screen (or more often, a bustling WoW-filled screen) until 9 o'clock. At which hour she turned into a pumpkin.

And the nap would cry big rivers of tears at the whole situation and go hide in the closet with a box of Kleenex.

All people everywhere wondered why the toddler hated his nap so much. But mostly, they just wondered why the mother of the toddler had stopped writing posts.

Well, if you have read this tale, friend, you know the answer that you seek. A nap-hating toddler contains as much energy as a nuclear bomb (and requires just as much care). If you doubt that, you undermine the very foundation of my story (and you obviously have no kids of your own).

But if, like me, you sigh hopelessly and wonder if ever peace will live again and the nap yet find its healing, fear not! For you must note the title above. This is but Pt. 1. Another is to come.