Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Five - summer edition

Once again, I'm taking a page out of Jessi's book and ripping off her Friday Five list. This week it's the summer edition: 5 loves, 5 hates (or at least, dislikes). Since I recently did a similar list, I think I'll try and think of some new things this time.

5 Things I Love About Summer:

1. Swimming.

Yeah, okay, so this is a repeat, but I wanted an excuse to post that picture. We have swimming lessons every morning except Fridays for six weeks in a row, and I love it. The teachers are great and the kids just LOVE it, even when the water is a little chilly, which it can be in the morning. We have a whole routine of biking there (parking is difficult, so biking is worth the trouble, plus it's good exercise for me) and going to our lessons (Daniel is by himself with a teacher and I'm in the parent/tot class with Anya, though I think she's about ready for the next level), then playing in the wading pool while the locker room clears out, then having our mini-showers and changing into dry clothes, and finally sitting in the warm sun and eating a picnic lunch in the concession area. This whole process for a 25-minute lesson takes at least two hours when you count all the time it takes to get there and get changed and eat afterwards, but that's one thing I like about it. This gives us routine, helps fill the long hours I'm with the kids during the day. The best part is what they're learning. On Wednesday, Daniel swam all by himself for the first time!

2. Not Wearing Socks. I like my feet aired out, yo. Barefoot, sandals, flip-flops, however my feet are shod, I like them sockless. Ditto the kids. We're all just more comfortable that way. Also, I hate laundering jillions of tiny socks.

3. The Clothesline. Except for cloth diapers, which take too long to dry and get too stiff, I hang all our laundry out on the clothesline all summer long. Also, if it rains too many days in a row, I have to make an exception and use the dryer because in our house, the dirty clothes pile up pretty fast. I love the smell and feel of line-dried clothes. I even like the process; there's something meditative about the act of hanging everything up one at a time and reaching for each clothespin out of the bag tied around my waist (it's extremely fashionable, too, as you might imagine.) The energy saved is a bonus (plus our dryer totally sucks and I don't like to use it.)

4. Daylight. Madison is the farthest north I've ever lived (except for the summer I spent in Interlochen, Michigan), and there is such a dramatic contrast between hours of daylight in winter and summer. Now, just coming off the solstice, the sun is up around 5:00am (and so the kids are sometimes awake, if not out of bed) and goes down around 9:00pm. I went on a 4-mile run in broad daylight at 6:00 this morning. I biked home from teaching a piano lesson without a functioning light at 8:45 last night and felt perfectly safe. We can go to the park in the evening after supper, or even the pool if it's warm and muggy enough.

5. Special Events. Madison is such a nice place to visit in the summer, partly because the weather is generally mild (though it can certainly get unpleasantly humid), and partly because there is just so much going on in this city. There are free concerts on the Capitol Square every Wednesday evening by the WCO; I might try and take Daniel to one this year. Every July is the Madison Early Music Festival, which is fabulous, if a little geeky, and something I enthusiastically participated in before I had kids. Most neighborhoods do big fireworks displays every 4th of July, and the city sponsors a big live concert with fireworks over Lake Mendota called Rhythm and Booms. There's also Opera in the Park, which is close enough for us to walk to. Boy, this list is pretty much all music events, isn't it? Well, fine. Let's not forget Art Fair on the Square, the weekly farmers' markets..and whatever else is going on.

5 Things I Do Not Love About Summer:

1. Bugs. Now, I'm fairly tolerant of bugs, and I appreciate their right to be on this earth. Mostly. I make strong exceptions for the ants in my kitchen, the fruit flies hovering above the sink even when it is immaculately clean, the mosquitos everywhere, whatever's eating my zinnias out in the front garden, and Lyme disease-bearing ticks that are prevalent in many parts of Wisconsin.

2. Lack of preschool. Daniel so loves preschool, but it's out for the summer. He misses his friends, and even though we have made a good effort to make playdates with some of his classmates, it's just not the same as being with the whole group. It's hard on me, too, to have both kids with me all day, every day, and find enough for us to do. Even with swimming lessons, we run out of ways to entertain ourselves and get cranky with each other by the afternoon.

3. Lack of sitters. This is a big problem for me right now. Our regular sitters are unavailable for the summer (one just had a baby, so she is unavailable always from now on!) and I can't seem to find anyone else on a regular basis. It's just as well, because my teaching and playing schedule gets all spastic in the summer, what with students leaving for vacation and whatnot, which is probably why all the sitters I've tried are already too busy with other work. What, they're not all just sitting around waiting for me to call with random 2-hr babysitting jobs?

4. Poison ivy. I am, in fact, immune (as far as I know), but poor Daniel has fallen victim to the dreaded P.I. twice since April. He picked up the first round in North Carolina when we were there visiting Stuart's brother. As for the second case, we unfortunately have no idea where it came from. I wish we did, so we knew where to avoid going. He's had an itchy rash for two weeks that occasionally wakes him up yelling at night. Steroid cream helps a bit, but mostly we have to wait it out.

5. Ennui. Warm weather and all the time spent outside tends to sap the creative energy I usually have for things like knitting and sewing. Not that I've quit all of that entirely, but the usual inspiration is not there.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I don't think I've mentioned this here before, but Daniel stutters. I can't remember when we started noticing it, but it might have been around the time he turned three. At first it would come and go; some days he'd struggle with words, then for several days or weeks at a time it would go away. It was more pronounced when he'd have a surge in vocabulary. Now it's nearly all the time, though the extent to which he is "disfluent" (a term I have only very recently become acquainted with) fluctuates according to a variety of factors, like how tired he is or how complex the idea he's trying to express.

So far, this doesn't seem to bother Daniel much. He has plenty of friends from preschool and is comfortable talking to just about anyone. One morning last week, for example, a woman was loitering by her car outside our house, and he ran outside to introduce himself and tell her about his best friend across the street. It turned out she was a real estate agent waiting for the new owners of another house across the street to show up for the closing. She was very kind and patient. In fact, I've noticed that most, if not all, of the people Daniel interacts with are kind and patient - or even oblivious, but it amounts to the same thing - and thus he is so far uninhibited in his social interactions.

I'm worried this will change and that he will grow self-conscious and unwilling to communicate. Many children who begin stuttering in very early childhood grow out of it, and I certainly hope this is the case with Daniel. We've got family history on our side; Stuart stuttered for a time when he was young, as did one of my uncles, and both of them grew out of it well before adulthood. But what if this keeps on? It's so hard for me to watch, helpless, as he struggles, sometimes a little, sometimes mightily, to get those words out.

In any case, I've decided to take action, as far as I can. My youngest cousin just finished a degree in speech pathology, and she sent me a questionnaire and offered to do an evaluation when the extended family gathers for a wedding next month. Our time may be limited, what with the wedding and all (her brother is the one getting married!), but hopefully she can give us more information and some suggestions. Maybe speech therapy is in our future, or maybe we have to wait it out. The best thing for right now, difficult as it may be, is to be patient.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

fathers' day

In no particular order...

I made Stuart's favorite breakfast this morning: huevos rancheros, or at least, our version of it. I sautéed chopped onions, garlic (garlic scapes in this case, since we have a whole bunch from our CSA box), and jalapeño, then added grated tomatoes, cooked it down a little, and poached eggs in the juice. Serve with homemade corn tortillas (easier than you think - I'll maybe do a tutorial sometime) and grated cheese.

I had not yet put in my contacts before I made breakfast. BIG MISTAKE. For once, my hands weren't burning from the jalapeños, which are from the grocery store and not really so potent, but the hotness must have been lingering on my fingertips because I tried about three different times to put in my contacts and every time it resulted in unbearable burning. Yow. (Why did I try it three time? I guess I'm just dense.)

I seem bound and determined to injure myself today because I also banged my leg but GOOD on the back deck. There's a lump and a nasty little bruise that is guaranteed to be about three shades of purple tomorrow. It's nothing serious, but it still throbs badly enough I couldn't go on a run this afternoon like I'd planned.

I talked to my own dad on the phone for a while this morning. He's hard to get a hold of these days because he is spending several weeks at summer camp with the Boy Scouts teaching merit badge courses in Weather and Space Exploration. I suspect the merit badges from his classes are well-earned because my dad knows his stuff, is an excellent teacher, and won't let shoddy work slide, even at summer camp. He also has to endure hot, humid Kentucky summer weather, 11yo boys in large groups, and camp food. I felt a little bad when I told him what we had for breakfast this morning, because the best thing he'd consumed at camp all week was tepid Kool-Aid. (Until he got home for the weekend, that is, and ate my mom's wonderful cooking.)

We went strawberry picking this morning. Because our twenty pounds from the first haul isn't enough, apparently! This time we went to Jen Ehr, an organic farm near Sun Prairie (the first time was at Carandale, also excellent for strawberry picking, though not organic.) This time Anya helped pick instead of falling asleep in my lap. This time Stuart came along. This time we had just under five pounds of berries, which is enough for two batches of freezer jam, plus enough leftover for one generous recipe of strawberry shortcake and another pint to cut up raw and stick in the freezer.

Stuart watched World Cup soccer with our friend Sam, and they both had a mid-afternoon beer. They are also both considering playing hookey from their respective work obligations Wednesday morning to watch the next match.

Sam brought his 6yo daughter along, and I suspect she eventually got a little bored, but she did a great job acting as the ringleader for playtime, organizing a paper airplane event in the back yard, and playing other games with Daniel and Anya (this is usually MY job!) while I made the freezer jam in the kitchen.

I can't stand the thought of heating up and messing up the kitchen to make dinner, and I'm obviously not going to ask Stuart to make dinner, not on Fathers' Day, so the kids are having mac-n-cheese (Arthur-shaped, no less!) and we're getting Thai take-out. Mmmm...spicy fried tofu and noodles...

Friday, June 18, 2010

eye candy Friday: yellow

(Thanks to my friend Pat for the adorably yellow hat!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

it's tuesday

I started to write a post complaining about this, that and the other, but then news of sudden and serious hospitalizations for two members of my extended family (hip replacement for one, bypass surgery for another) slapped some perspective back in me. I know that we humans are fragile, mortal beings, but events like these make this reality like a bucket of ice water. You know that water is freezing cold, but don't realize it until you've dunked your head in there.


Speaking of cold water, swimming lessons started this week. Thanks to wet, chilly weather, we have yet to actually get in the pool. The rain isn't really the problem (as long as there's no thunder, obviously), seeing as being in a swimming pool means getting wet anyway. It's the temperature hovering around 65 degrees the last couple mornings that put us off. We actually showed up for the first lesson, but in street clothes and rain jackets rather than swimsuits, just to meet the instructors. I was surprised to see how many kids had shown up for lessons and were in the pool, even in the parent/toddler class. Everyone climbing out of the pool appeared pretty cold and miserable, so I didn't regret holding us off for the time being. Tomorrow looks to be much warmer and sunny, and if I'm lucky, Anya will be ready for lessons like Daniel has - with a teacher without me - and I might have a chance to swim laps. Mind you, I haven't swum since last summer so I won't last long, but I've got to start somewhere.

Friday, June 11, 2010

5 things - double edition

You get two lists today. First is Jessi's idea of listing 5 things you feel you are alone in your opinion about.

1. Arch support. It's totally overrated. Actually I know I'm not alone in this opinion since Born to Run was on the bestseller list for a while which means lots and lots of people have read it. Anyway, that book is what convinced me to run nearly barefoot (I prefer my VFFs to running completely barefoot) and walk around in shoes with very little support or shaping in the sole. I live in my 8yo flip-flops all summer, I wear Vibrams to run, and so far my feet are doing fine. My husband has had mild but chronic knee injuries most of his adult life, and since running barefoot he's doing much better. He's convinced that all those shoe inserts doctors told him to wear for years screwed up his knees even worse, and he's still undoing the damage.

2. I believe I am the only one I know who can't stand either movie Dazed and Confused or Groundhog Day. I do not find them funny or clever. I find them stupid and boring.

3. I like all kinds of weird food. Bleu cheese from goat's milk, brussel sprouts, roasted parsnips, mmmmmm...

4. I'm not into shoes. Isn't every woman supposed to have or want to have like 100 pairs of shoes? Not me. I go for functional and long-lasting and not very many. That may call my femininity into question, but I don't care.

5. I don't do facebook.


Ready for round two? Jenn-Jenn wants to know about five little addictions, not like chemical dependencies, but more like guilty pleasures. So here you go:

1. Glee. I just started watching the first season from Netflix this week and I'm hooked. It can get a little dorky and I'm not wild about all the musical selections and the way smaller side story lines go unresolved from episode to episode kind of bugs me, but the singing is sometimes quite good and the characters are quite engaging.

2. Harry Potter. A few weeks ago I needed something to read and didn't want to dig into anything too heavy because reading before bedtime makes me sleepy and I can't concentrate on serious adult lit, so I started re-reading the Harry Potter books - for like the fourth time.

3. Strawberries.

4. Running. I don't go every day, and I wish I were faster, but it feels good and I have more energy and a better disposition now that I'm being more disciplined about it. I run between 12-15 miles every week, and I'd like to increase that number.

5. This practically goes without saying, but knitting. I just started a lacy cowl out of angora yarn. It's about the last thing I feel like wearing in warm, sticky weather, but it's lovely anyway.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

strawberry season

It is strawberry season.

Pick your own for $1.50/lb? Count me in.

The strawberries are so sweet and plentiful, they practically fell into the boxes as we squatted in the rows of plants. I may have gone a little overboard.

The morning has not been without a couple of hiccups, though. Daniel did great. He is enthusiastic about most outdoor projects, especially if they involve my friend Pat (who joined us at the farm this morning). Anya, on the other hand, stood among the rows of strawberry plants and whimpered that she was hot and tired, even though it was only about 70 degrees and very pleasant outside. She got more and more pathetic until I agreed to hold her on my lap while I picked the berries, and then she fell asleep. So there I was, squatting in the strawberry field with my daughter - who is two and a half and not exactly an infant anymore - sleeping in my lap clutching her monkey doll, and every time I had to move over to get more fresh berries, I had to do this awkward sort of crab walk while scooting the ever-heavier picking basket over to make room. Urg. Once we were out of the field, she woke up and happily joined us for a picnic lunch, though.

The second problem is that I got home with 20 pounds of strawberries, one box of pectin to make freezer jam out of some of them, and realized that I have about 1/2 cup of sugar left in the canister. The kids were way too tired to be dragged to the store and the berries were getting riper by the minute after sitting in the warm car, so I nixed the jam idea and just washed them all to be stored in the freezer. Then I was scrambling for freezer containers, even though I bought a ton last year and I'm not sure what happened to them all, and had to make due with a bunch of little zipper sandwich bags. I don't like using those because they don't stack well and always tear when you open them up with frozen berries inside, but it was the best I could do.

I still want to make some freezer jam, so maybe I'll go back next week. I'll be sure to buy some sugar first, though.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

about the basement

Sharla asked about our basement plans, so I thought I'd give a little update on that in case anyone else is interested. Point of fact: I have spent considerable time down there today because it has been raining relentlessly all day long, and other than a trip to the library this morning, the kids and I have been finding ways of entertaining ourselves inside. It's hard this time of year, when we're used to playing in the yard and going to the park and generally enjoying the outdoors. This afternoon I played Go Fish and Candy Land, read books, supervised messy picture painting, made bread, got a head start on supper and that was all well and good but come 3:30 we all ran out of ideas until I suggested going downstairs to play. This was met with enthusiasm by both kids, but after an hour of hide-and-seek and closing up Daniel in a cardboard box so he could pop out about 50 times, I just couldn't take it anymore and I begged the kids to watch some TV.

I also poured myself about 1/2 glass of wine. Don't judge me. It's 5:00.

So yeah, the basement. The work won't start down there until autumn because our contractor has other projects to finish up before he can get started on ours. I wish it were done RIGHT NOW, but I'm just being impatient. Really, it's worth the wait because this guy does good work and is honest and trustworthy. Plus, there's a lot of stuff to clean out first. Like old cans of paint that is probably rotten, some baby stuff we don't need anymore, several cardboard boxes, and my not insignificant yarn stash.

It doesn't hurt having some extra time to save up more cash, too, because this is a huge project. It's not just cosmetic improvements like drywall and flooring. The first thing is to cut a couple of egress windows to let in more light and make any extra bedroom legal. We're adding a bathroom, which involves - and this makes me sweat just thinking about it - a term the plumber calls "breaking the concrete". The plumber also tsk-tsked the very outdated piping (1/2" galvanized steel that is nearly 60 years old, same as the house), so that will be re-done. The water heater is older than it should be and will be replaced. Oh, and the furnace is 30 years old and should have kicked the bucket a decade ago, so that's going to be replaced, too, along with most of the ductwork in order for the ceiling to be high enough and to get heat down there. The old, fuzzy, pink fiberglass insulation hanging unattractively out of the walls is going to be replaced with some kind of spray-on stuff that is more efficient. Old storage shelves in the unfinished part of the basement (where the furnace and laundry, etc live) will be ripped out and replaced with better ones - "better" meaning that they won't sag, won't have rusty nails sticking out every which way, and won't be covered in cobwebs, dust and ancient mouse droppings.

I wish I could also say we were going to replace the ancient, inefficient washing machine and dryer, but they are still functional, and what we have to get done is already a stretch financially - doable, but a stretch - so those will have to wait.

The basement project is a big commitment, and I don't just mean that in the financial sense. It means we will not move out of this house, at least for a while. I love our neighborhood and don't want to leave, and this will make staying in this house possible. A new basement will not give us a garage, a dishwasher or a dining room (3 things that I sometimes long for but can live without a while longer), but it will give us significantly more livable space, a badly needed second bathroom, and a better, cleaner place for the kids to play. Also, it will provide private space and a bathroom for overnight guests, which is very important since we have NO family near us and out-of-town visitors are a frequent occurrence. This means Daniel and Anya, who now have to share a room, will eventually get their own rooms. Sharing a room is okay for now, but they will want more privacy and more personal space in a couple of years.

While I'm waiting for the basement work to start, though, I've been making some minor improvements upstairs. I organized my spice cupboard. I picked up some color samples for painting what will eventually be Anya's room. I broke down and bought a new area rug for the living room. (Yeah, I know Anya's not potty-trained yet, and she will probably poop on it one of these days, but this one was only 35 bucks at Menard's and looks 100 times better and was totally worth it.) I want to make curtains for the bedrooms, which have only cheap aluminum blinds at the moment. I'm also thinking of painting the kitchen red...but judging from Stuart's reaction when I suggested it the other night (raised eyebrows and questionable grunts) I may think on that for a while.

Monday, June 07, 2010

art installation

Daniel has created a string sculpture in our back yard. He's done this on a small scale in his room, looping scrap yarn around the doorknob and around the bedframe. But this, this is a mess.

Even though this is a mess, I have to say it's fascinating to watch Daniel put this together. He is quite intentional about where he loops and knots and makes tangles. After preschool today, working on his string sculpture occupied him for a good twenty minutes while Anya napped in the bike trailer.

Obviously, Daniel's project is a safety hazard, so have kept a close eye on him in the yard, and I've told him it has to come down at the end of today. I'm not sure it's possible to untangle all this yarn, especially since it got wet in a brief rainstorm yesterday, so we may have to cut it down. It's really something, though.

Friday, June 04, 2010

please don't make me do the dishes

I am on strike from housework. At least for the next 15 or 20 minutes or however long the kids last in the bathtub while I enjoy a beer. Normally I don't mind the cooking and cleaning so much. It's become routine, and I'm used to it by now. It's that it never ever ever ends, and I do nearly all of it myself. Add to that two extra tired and cranky kids (because they get up too early and don't nap), and you get one Susan who has reached. her. limit.

Much as it pains me, I can do nothing to clean up the horrific oil spill in the Gulf (other than renew my resolve to drive less and bike more) or secure peace in the Middle East or reverse global warming (except for the thing about driving less) but by golly I have the power to take care of my house and kids. Except that every time I clean the kitchen, it takes about five minutes to belch up a pile of newly dirtied dishes and compost rotting in its bowl waiting to be taken outside. And every time we pick up the toy clutter, more are brought out. And every time I vacuum the rugs, someone tracks in a bunch of dirt. And there is no end to the laundry with kids who often go through 2-3 changes of clothes a day, especially now that it's summer with the sweat and mud and all. And no matter how I try to play with the kids and ignore that other stuff to pay better attention to them, they still wear me and each other down and end the day whiny and weepy and obstinate because that's just how kids are. At the end of day when I finally have everything done (or not), I barely have time to watch an old episode of Star Trek with Stuart before I collapse into bed and wait for the next morning's early rising.

Don't get me wrong. There is a lot of joy in my life, and I have a lot to be grateful for. I only have to think of a handful of certain friends of mine who have it so very much harder than I do to feel guilty about complaining at all. This post must seem so inexcusably petty and I'm sorry for that.

It's just that everyone needs a little break now and then. Even me. So please don't make me do the dishes, not tonight.

ETA: Stu did the dishes while I was helping get the kids to sleep, and he hadn't even read this post. So yay, Stu!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

summer blues

My parents left this morning after an almost week-long visit, which included the holiday weekend. It's always a lot of work for me to have overnight visitors, mostly because having more people in the house - even responsible grown-up types - makes for 2-3 times the amount of normal cooking and cleaning as usual. At least we were able to eat outside (or, in the case of breakfast, in shifts) most of the time because we don't have a dining room and the kitchen doesn't seat six comfortably. Someone is always having to move his/her chair so someone else can open the fridge for salad dressing or get to the sink for a glass of water or fetch one of the 101 things one of the kids needs (napkin, juice, second helping of vegetables hahahahahaAS.IF.)

It's always so nice to have them here because, you know, they're my parents and I love spending time with them, and the kids can't get enough grandparent time. My mom brought Daniel a game of Go Fish, and she consequently had to play it with him at least half a dozen times a day. (She has her limits with Candy Land.) My dad brought some model rockets to shoot off at the park, which thrilled Daniel to no end. This time we only lost one in the trees.

Now the house feels empty and quiet. So do I. I'm always a little sad after visitors leave. Even though hosting can be tiring - right now my back is so sore all I want is to go out on a nice 4-mile run and stretch out but there are currently thunderstorms cramping my style - I love having the extra people around. They appreciate the food I make, they play games with the kids, they're fun to talk to...but now they've gone home and I'm feeling a little blue.

There are other things adding to my melancholy, but nothing worth writing about here. If I did, it would just be whining, so instead I think I'll try and cheer myself up with a list of things I have to look forward to this summer:

1. Swimming lessons. We're doing the full 6 weeks. We joined the pool again this year, and I've got to justify the expense somehow. Plus, if the last couple weeks are any indication, it might actually be hot enough this summer to want to be in the pool and we might actually get our money's worth this time. I'm crossing my fingers that Anya will be ready for Level 1 lessons, which means she'll be with a teacher and not with me, so maybe I can swim laps without hiring a sitter.

2. Running. It turns out I'm not as out of shape as I thought. I went on a run with Stuart the other day (other parents will understand the pure luxury of being able to run with one's spouse). We went 3.75 miles at a pace that felt pretty relaxed to me. I'd like to be going 4-5 miles regularly while I can be barefoot or in my Vibrams.

3. A big trip at the end of July. My cousin David is getting married in Oklahoma. Now, I know that Oklahoma at the end of July isn't exactly a popular destination, but the whole extended family will be there, and we'll be able to swing through Kansas and see my in-laws while we're at it. Yeah, Kansas in August is misery - why don't we just sit in the oven and call it even? - , but I hear there's a new splash pad in their small town and every place has A/C anyway. Plus, we got married in central Kansas in August, so there's a certain amount of nostalgia there, I guess.

4. Fresh produce. This could probably be about a half-dozen sub-categories, actually. I get ridiculously excited about things like the farmers' market, berry-picking, vegetables shares and gardening. We have our first CSA pick-up tomorrow. Strawberries have appeared at the market already, and u-pick places ought to be open next week. We have a community garden plot this year. Also, I was so stoked to see the goat cheese guy this morning at the market. We had to catch up on everything from parent talk to the status of his hot sauce business since we hadn't seen each other since last fall.

5. Hot air balloons. There's a balloon ride company that often launches from the park right by our house. Our neighbor rushed over a few nights ago to tell us they were filling the balloon, so we ran over to see, freshly grilled hot dogs still in hand, and it was every bit as cool as you'd think it would be. Next time I'll bring my camera, I promise.

What are YOU looking forward to this summer?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

signs, signs, everywhere the signs...

The last week or so, Daniel has been having a lot of fun making signs and taping them all over the house, both inside and outside. I think he was inspired by an episode of Curious George, but the why is irrelevant. The how is the funny thing. He starts by cutting out small pieces of paper, usually smaller than a 3"x5" index card. Then he writes various words or names and may or may not cross them out, depending on what he feels should be allowed or not. Last, he uses scotch tape (I broke down and bought him his own roll of scotch tape a couple days ago) to put his signs up in the place of his choosing. I told him as long as nothing is taped to the wall where the tape might peel the paint, he can put these signs where he likes.

Many end up on his climber in the backyard:

These signs, which read "Daniel" and "Anya", mean that Daniel and Anya are allowed in there. Somewhere on the side there is a sign with "Mom" crossed out. I am forbidden to enter the plastic play structure. (Boohoo)

The sign on the bottom says "Tuesday"...because it's Tuesday, of course.

He is rather proud of himself.

This sign has the words "LEMON JUICE" crossed out, which means you are not allowed to squeeze lemons in the living room. Good rule, I say.

I'm not sure what's going on with the hieroglyphics on the larger sign, but the other one is Daniel's rendition of a "No U-Turn" symbol. He saw one of those while we were in the car and wanted to know what it meant. Then he came home and drew one. These are posted above the mailbox, and I'm sure the mail carrier was scratching her head about them today!