Thursday, May 29, 2008

No Autographs Please

You know how all these blogs are about how cool and smart and cute the boys are? ;) Well, you know they've got to get that from somewhere...and today, I think we could all argue, they get it from Sandy!
Make sure you pick up a copy of NATURE magazine today, because Sandy's got an article in it!!

It's pretty exciting that this article has made it "mainstream" especially since it's one of the last articles he worked on before he left the NSSTC where he did research.

The official title is "An infrared ring around the magnetar SGR 1900+14" but one of the online reports has a great title: "CSI: Milky Way team works scene of dead star"

Exciting, huh?

You can buy the magazine at just about any bookstore, and there are lots of articles about it online. Here are a few links.

He's had a few other articles in NATURE, actually. The abstracts are online, and you might be able to find the full articles out there, too.

Stay tuned for the post about how the boys explain Daddy's article to me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

These funny boys, v 2

I think Connery says a new word almost every day, so our Connery- speak section is going to get longer and longer... Connery-speak:
bike--(That one is VERY clear.)
NoMommy. NoDaddy.--He doesn't just say, No. He says, "NoMommy" very quickly.
Off me!--That one is clear, too.
My see--I want to see.
Oth, thih-thih, oth--Watch, Kieran, watch.
Doing?--What are you doing?


teddy....t-t-t---T! (He's constantly trying to figure out what words start with.
Know what Amy starts with? F! (I guess because it's pronounced "ehf" and he thinks "Amy" has the same sound.)
My teddy bear's name is "pimple. Is that a funny word?"

One night, Kieran didn't want to go to bed, so after Sandy went downstairs, he climbed into bed with me. I asked him if Daddy told him he could lay with me, and he whispered "When daddy gets in here I will get out of your bed." It turns out that Sandy he could, but it's funny that he felt so secretive about it.

We're out of school for the summer!! We're lucky that our preschool lets us have the summer off. It saves us a lot of money and really gives me quality time with the boys while I'm off. I think they'll miss their friends and teachers at school, though, so we may stop by every now and then just to say hi or read some books or something. We might stop by on a Thursday every now and then for show and tell. Otherwise, Kieran will miss a lot of the alphabet! And this week is his favorite: K!
The past couple of weeks he took (Mr.) Incredible for I day, and The Jungle Book book for J.

Kieran was wheezing a couple of weeks ago, so our pediatrician met us at his office and prescribed some medication he has to take through a nebulizer like Connery used to use. Kieran's has a cute Nemo-looking mask, though. He is remarkably cooperative about getting "his medicine" and will even hold the mask in front of his face while he reads or play with toys. It takes about 15 minutes, so the last 5 is usually tougher, because he gets restless. One day, I even tickled him to get him to breathe it all in hard, and he never took the mask off!

He says, "No, ma'am" and "No, sir," but usually only when he knows he's in trouble. And he often mixes them up, so Sandy gets the "Yes, ma'am" a lot.

One day, we spent the day at Butler, and that night he called me "Mrs. Patel" and laughed. I asked him who calls me that, and he said "your friends" meaning my students!

A few nights ago, Philip slept over, because Mike and Susan had to be in Birmingham early the next morning. We were excited, but just a little nervous...I had flashbacks of sleepovers that ended with a call home for Momma and Daddy to pick me up. But Philip did great. He got a little spooked by Gryphon early in the night, and cried that he wanted his mommy and daddy, but after about 20 minutes of cuddling and distracting, he let that go. Bathtime was a blast for the big boys, but Connery kept trying to climb in with them. He's used to bathing with Kieran and didn't probably thought he could figure out a way for all three of them to fit in the tub. Even bedtime went smoothly. Connery fell asleep in the rocking chair, Philip laid in Connery's bed and let me read a couple of books, and Kieran finished his medicine and lay on the Spiderman blow up bed. We want to have the next sleepover during a weekend, so we can stay up late and watch movies...

One morning Kieran looked over at a beautiful magnolia tree in our neighborhood, and shouted, "Mommy, look at those eggs!" I explained that those "eggs" were really blooms, or flowers on the tree, and he said, "But they're eggs. And some of the eggs just opened up by themselves."

Kieran noticed a sore on the back of Connery's back and wanted to put a band-aid on it. While he did, he explained to Connery that he needed a band-aid for his "sword."

Sandy and I set up a swingset in the backyard yesterday, and I thought Kieran was going to lose his mind waiting for us to finish! He kept asking, "Are you finished yet? Can I ride on this now?" Connery hasn't gotten to play on it, because it rained right after he got up from his nap and is raining today. But I know it will be a daily playspot this summer. I'm excited about all the adventures we'll have while we're out of school. But if Connery doesn't stop biting and hitting, HE may spend the whole summer in the corner! *sigh*

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kieran the Camper

Canoe + Life Vest + a Water Gun + Smores + a Tent = Kieran's first camping trip!!
And he LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEEDDDDD it. I can't even stretch the word out long enough. You don't have to take my word for it. I wish I had video of the different times throughout the day when he would blurt out, "We're having fun, guys." Or "This is really great." Or better yet, when he would lean over the side of the canoe, drag his hand through the water and just sing. I don't know the words to the song he sang, but it was pure and genuine. Just a 3 year old loving life.

We went to Elk River Canoe Rental in Kelso, TN, with several of our friends on Saturday. Our friends Jim and Angie organize the trip every year, and it's pretty incredible. We left Connery with RitaBa--just a little too young this year--and have been talking it up to Kieran for a couple of weeks. He's been excited and would say that he wanted to go "Today" so I really had my hopes up that he wouldn't get scared or fussy. And he never did. He loved the life vest and wore it for about 9 hours straight, even after we set up camp. He buddied up to our friend Cameron immediately, which was cute, especially because he's usually timid when he first sees people again. He wasn't scared in the canoe at all, even sitting on his own seat. He was very helpful trying to set up the tent. And, of course, he thought it was fun to pee in the woods.

We saw lots of tiny fish, some buzzards and geese, and even a raccoon who crept to the shore and caught a fish with his paws. Kieran took his "catcher" (a plastic fishing reel with a magnetic end) and let it drag through the water for the first 30 minutes at least. He even asked a couple of fishermen along the way, "Did you got any fish?" When they told him "No," he bragged, "I did." We were on the water for at least 6 hours, with a few stops for sandwiches, learning to skip stones and peeing in the woods. He never complained. Never. He helped paddle, but never quite got that he should oar from front to back. I think he liked the splash that he got when he pushed the oar the wrong way.

We bungee'd our canoe to a couple of other canoes for some of the trip, which really creates a party on the water ;) He loved being bungee'd to Nathan's canoe, because they could talk kid stuff and eat some of the great snacks that our new friend Sunni brought. Mmmm...Cheetos.

And if you ask him his favorite part, he will tell you the water gun fight with Nathan. Nathan had a Super Soaker and he used it well ;) He let Kieran have a small water pistol, and I don't think Kieran ever realized he was at a disadvantage. Later he got to shoot the Super Soaker, too, at poor Georgia, who was unarmed.

We got back to base camp and set up the tent. He helped hammer down the stakes, "because I'm s-rong, Mommy." And ran around like crazy inside it! Then Mike and Philip showed up, which was a real treat, because Kieran and Philip are great friends. They're only a couple of weeks apart, and they're in the same class at school. Philip had a new Cars tent, which fit perfectly INSIDE our tent, so they played inside a little bit. And wandered around with the "big kids" (or at least the experienced campers) Mitch, Natti and Nathan. We roasted marshmallows and made S'mores...with crunchy peanut butter--YUM!

The next morning, he wanted to do it all again.

Today, while we played in the backyard at home, he found a stick with a couple of points on it and pretended that he was roasting marshmallows! I am already anxious to take both boys next year. And in the meantime, we'll have to make some S'mores over the fire pit. Ah, the small joys of life.

(Check out the pictures:

Rookie of the Year!

Kieran played in his very first t-ball game Thursday! Papa, Nana, Meagan, Ba and PaGaga came to watch, which I'm sure made him feel like a real celebrity. The entire team looked simply precious in their uniforms, and I was impressed by how well they played, considering that they still have to be reminded to go to 1st base first, or to throw the ball when they get it...

Kieran cracked us up by hitting the ball with lots of energy! He held the helmet a little above his head the whole time, and later told me that "The helmet just moved when I ran and it was just tickling me." But he runs from 1st to 2nd, or 2nd to 3rd. Who knows?? His reluctance to run to 1st actually got him out once. (The only out of the game...woo hoo! ;) But I don't think he even realizes it, because according to t-ball rules, a player doesn't have to leave the field when he gets out. So he still got to run the bases afterwards.

One of my favorite moments of the game was when Finn batted Kieran into home. Or when Kieran held Caleb's hand to take position at 2nd base. Or when Ba had to get on the field to help when it seemed Kieran wouldn't play any other way. And especially when they all lined up at the end of the game to give the traditional hand slaps. I admit that I got teary a few times during the game, but I remembered...There's no crying in baseball!

Speaking of crying, I caught Kieran crying on the field once (Not sure why), but he's eager to play again. I'll try to get video at a game soon.

Arrgghh!! Pirates...kings of the sea. Er, the field!
(Check out the pics at

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Big Boy Beds

Connery used to lie down in his crib easily, but lately, he cries if he's the least bit awake. In the morning, he wakes up and is content just to lie around and jabber and will even fall back to sleep. (We're LUCKY that our boys will sleep until 8, 9...even 11 am!) Sorry, I'm sidetracked. And pissing off some other mothers, I'm sure.

Last weekend, Kieran stayed all night at MommaBa's, and at bedtime, Connery pointed to Kieran's bed. So we let him sleep there. No harm done, right? Well.......

The next day, he napped there with Kieran. (Very sweet.) And Sunday night, he fell asleep there with him. Of course, Monday night, when I tried to put him in his crib, he cried and pointed to Kieran's bed. Sandy and I relied on spelling-speak: "He wants to sleep in Kieran's B-E-D."

We knew it was TIME.

So while I rocked the boys for a few minutes, Sandy grabbed some tools and took the front off the crib, making it...Ta-DA! A toddler bed! We covered his eyes as we walked back in, and he climbed right in. Of course, they wanted to jump on it first thing, so we had to discuss the dangers of that. (Not that they care.)

He fell asleep pretty easily, with me just rubbing his back and singing. (No pacifier, even.) And he lasted for 2.5 hours before he fell out onto the floor. And went right back to sleep.

Tuesday night, both boys had secretly decided that they should switch beds, so now Kieran's in the newly converted crib-bed, and Connery's in Kieran's old bed, which works better because it has rails on it.

We think the next step is getting them bunk beds, but Friday night, little Madeline (Kieran's "princess" remember) jumped off the top bunk, hit her head on the ceiling fan and had to get 7 stitches. So we'll wait a little while...

Monday, May 12, 2008

These funny boys

Some random moments from the past couple of weeks...

The other day, I smelled something. The faint whiff of "diaper" from a few feet away. So I got up and pulled Connery's pants back to look down in his diaper. Yep, dirty. I told him we needed to change his diaper and walked to the counter to put my glass down...and he lifted MY skirt! Like he was checking MY diaper...

Kieran has learned to "brake" on his bicycle. In fact, he doesn't go very far at a time now, because he gets a little momentum and then brakes just to show off.

He loves to see flags flying and tells me which ones are out of batteries (because they're not waving).

Connery has started to recognize colors, but he calls everything "boo." He talks much clearer than Kieran did at his age and even strings several words together like "ma ha da pee" (more hot dog please) and "yayo ba" (yellow ball).

The other day, Connery got his first haircut since THE first haircut. I worried that he would have a little tantrum or want me to hold him, but he was so calm. Cool, even. He leaned back and put his arm over the back of the chair like he was modeling! Kieran told me the next day, "I took a haircut so now I don't have any hair. But now I just have more."

He hold his arms up to show off his "missiles." An appropriate wrong word, huh?

On the way home, he was trying to figure out what letters started different words. b-b-b-buzz...Buzz starts with B! starts with D! fw-fw-fw-fwoody...Woody starts with WE!

He was excited that last week's letter at school was H, because he could bring a horse for show-n-tell. They've been bringing items which start with certain letters of the alphabet during the last few weeks. Kieran missed the A and D weeks, but here's what he's taken so far. Buzz, his Camera, Elmo, a Firetruck, George (Curious George)...

Oh, and, still, when you ask him what he dreamt about or what he's going to dream about, he says, "hortheth." I think that's been his answer for about a year now.

He told us the other day that he had to hold the rail while he walked downstairs, or else he'd fall and crack his head open. Crack his head open??!! Where in the world did he learn that?? "Luke Shomber" as he calls a little boy in his class. The same boy who taught him the word "venom." But he also wears red galoshes as often as Kieran wears his "rocket boots" (aka pirate galoshes) so he's got to be pretty cool.

Finally, tonight we visited with our friends "Toser and Tater" and Toser took Kieran outside to see the moon. When we got back home, he walked to the front door and shouted, "I have a moon and my friend has a moon too! Two moons!!"

You just never know what he's going to say...and Connery's right behind him.

P.S. I'll post an update about little Tater soon. I couldn't believe how big he's gotten...and what a content little boy he is. His sign for his big brother "Toser" is to put his hands beside his head and move them around like "crazy hair!"

I am Mommy, hear me roar!

with laughter, mostly. Because they constantly crack me up. But, yes, I have to roar "In that corner, NOW!" or "No, Connery! Bring it here. One, two, THREE!" or "No, sir! I told you NO!" In fact, a couple of times this weekend--even once on Mother's Day [wince]--I did the swat on Kieran. Not a spanking, but that quick, get-his-attention-because- he-won't-quit-squirming-and-he's-screaming-so-loud-I-can't- think-straight swat. I think it surprised him more than anything. And it worked. He stood up straight, cried for a minute, then really listened when I talked to him about whatever led to the corner banishment in the first place. And then I felt TERRIBLE. We spend all this time teaching him not to hit Connery...well, mostly teaching Connery not to hit Kieran, but still....

This Mommy business is tough. Lord knows he's saving a special place in heaven for my own Momma. How did she EVER raise me and Kelly to keep from killing each other? And now she has FAR more patience with the boys than I do. Several times a day, I ask, Is this right? How do I...? Should I...? And I don't anticipate finding the answers anytime soon. I think Sandy and I are raising two generous, patient, inquisitive, energetic boys, and I'm extremely proud of them. But those moments when they're not so generous, patient, etc. I think, "Who is this child?!?"

But this tough business pays well. When Kieran says "Mommy, you're my best friend" or "I'll share with Connery" or when Connery says, "Oth, Mommy" (Watch, Mommy) or signs "I love you" (his version looks more like he's holding up the number three with his middle finger, ring finger and pinky)...I think "This child? He's mine, all mine."

Yesterday, Kieran held my face in his hands and said, "I want to give you a kiss." When I puckered my lips, he held his hand up and said, "No I kiss YOU." So I kept my lips still while he puckered and kissed me. Then I told him it was my turn. We went back and forth until we were smiling so much they weren't even kisses anymore.

Happy Mother's Day, indeed.