Thursday, July 29, 2004


Well, for all of you who've been waiting on pins and needles to find out about the county fair pet show, my oldest got another blue ribbon showing our dog. She did really well answering the judge's questions, and she even managed to keep her footing when the dog tried to run back to me at the edge of the arena and lunged hard on the leash. He's a good dog, but he's partial to his "mommy".

I realize I've been talking up my oldest daughter, seemingly at the expense of the younger. And I feel really guilty about this, but the truth is this has been a "breakout" summer for Big Sister while Little Sister has just been along for the ride. I guess life goes in cycles: one child shines forth for a while, then the other does. And I promise, when its the youngest one's turn to shine, I'll feature every achievement right here on Pickle Street.

I don't know if I've said very much about my husband, but I want all you readers out there to know that I am married to a man who is just about as perfect as a husband can get. He's a loving man, firm but gentle with the girls, fair minded but grounded in his convictions and Christian faith. He's incredibly competent with tools, but also has pretty decent cooking skills. He's just an all around great guy.

Is my life idyllic, or what?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

The Perils of Boo-Boo

In our house, we call our youngest daughter Boo-Boo. Not because she was a mistake: no, no, no - she was (insert Jocelyn Elders drawl here) "a planned and wanted child". We call her Boo-Boo (or Boo for short) because she's always getting another boo-boo somewhere. Her sister falls off her bike and scrapes her knee, Boo falls off hers and scrapes both knees and an elbow. But unlike her older sister, who was afraid to ride for a while after her accident, Boo-Boo gets right back on and keeps going. That bike is her freedom, and her great achievement for the summer, and by golly you ain't-a-gonna keep her off of it for nothin'. (I dread the day she gets her learner's permit.) But at six years old, she's had a hard time learning how to accept responsibility for her boo-boos when she's the one that causes them i.e. when she's at fault. Take yesterday for example. She had two friends over and they decided they wanted to play a board game. Well, the game was on the top of her wire shelves and instead of calling for me to get it (like she KNOWS she's supposed to) she and one friend tried to climb the shelves to get it. KA-RASH!!! Over came the shelves. Fortunately, no one was hurt (this time). I sent her friends home and started the process of trying to put her room right again. Boo, however, kept trying to say that it "wasn't her fault", "I tried to tell them not to", and "I forgot not to". I finally sat her down on the bed and told her that she knew darn well that she's not supposed to climb those shelves. She's been told time after time ad nauseum DO NOT CLIMB THE SHELVES. I also told her someone could have been badly hurt, and that since its her room its her responsibility to make sure that her friends don't misbehave. I told her that saying "it wasn't my fault" when she knew it was, was telling me a lie, and I don't like lying. She sat and thought about it for a while, then looked at me and said, "It was my fault, Mommy. I'm sorry" I pulled her on my lap and cuddled her, told her she was forgiven and that I loved her, and asked her next time, please ask Mom for help. After that, all was well. The only thing that was broken was a plastic container, so I guess it could have been worse. But I have to admit that I was very proud of Boo-Boo because the lesson about responsibility finally got through, and I hope it sticks, just like the band-aids that cover my baby's boo-boos.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Pardon My Bragging

As I mentioned previously, my oldest daughter suffers from autism. I say "suffers" but it really doesn't hold her back much. She just needs to take her time. And I KNOW I mentioned that she is incredibly smart. Therefore, I must now brag upon her. Yesterday was the opening day of our county fair, and it's my daughter's first year in 4-H. She has three projects: 1 - an animal science poster on our dog, 2 - a food and nutrition entry of "unbaked" cookies (the kind you make on the stove with cocoa, sugar, peanut butter and oatmeal) and 3 - the Sunday pet show where she will show our dog. Well, yesterday they judged the poster and the cookies and my oldest baby won a blue ribbon for the poster and AN OUTSTANDING JUNIOR PURPLE RIBBON on her cookies!!! Yeah!!! I can't even begin to describe how proud I am of her. If you would have told me in her preschool years that she would achieve this, I'd have said you were crazy. But thanks to the all the prayers over the years from our family, friends and church, God has blessed her to be able to overcome her disability and achieve great things. THANK YOU LORD!!!! Oh, and while all of you are out there praying, pray for her on Sunday as she will be showing our 105 pound black lab and rottweiler mixed dog and the fair's pet show. The dog's a handful to control, but I know my girl will do her best. Just pray that the dog will cooperate!

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Family Matters

Well, we finally got our oldest daughter up on a bicycle and riding well. She can balance, brake and corner without falling on her knees, and I am so proud! However, this morning she woke me up EARLY to inform me she wanted to go bike riding, and she wanted me to go with her as she's still a little scared. I said "Is your sister awake? We can't leave her here by herself!" So we waited another two hours for "baby" sis to get up (she likes her sleep, just like her mommy) and after breakfast we all went for a bike ride to the convenience store to get bubble gum. Ah, childhood! The fun, simple pleasures of getting on a bike for a run to the candy store. And while I didn't have a "deja vu day" on this, it did remind me of the little town near where I grew up. My brother and I would ride our bikes to Reese's Tavern, where for 50 cents you could get a candy bar and a bottle of pop. Mr. Reese would open the bottle and pour your soda into a glass for you, and you could sit there in the air conditioning and have a nice snack. Reese's is gone now (I swear, my old hometown is the only small town in Iowa without a tavern) but it's nice to know there's a safe place my girls can go for their little treats. My only wish is that they could buy their stuff for the same price that I bought mine.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Deja vu days

I am experiencing a new phenomenom this summer. I call it "having a deja vu day". It happens when I'm doing something with my girls, and all of a sudden I get sucked into a cranial time vortex where I'm simultaneously in the present (2004) but also in the year 1974.

Let me give you an example: Last week, I was folding laundry with my oldest daughter. While I was watching her work, a breeze blew in through the window and I suddenly realized that I was watching myself, in 1974, fold laundry with my mom and I had become my mom. It was an ethereal, disorienting feeling, and it creeped me out a little. So I called my mom and asked her if anything like this had ever happened to her, and she said yes. Whew! If it happens to Mom, it must be a somewhat normal thing.

This summer, more than any other, has brought back alot of childhood memories, and I'm trying to figure out why. It's been a relatively cool summer, and the windows have been open alot. The windows were always open when I was a kid, because we didn't have air conditioning. But there's something else about this summer. Every once in a while I'll hear a sound or smell a scent that instantly transports me back 30 years to my childhood on our farm. It's a weird, but I must admit pleasant sensation, because the memories are never unpleasant. Hmmmm...

I'm feeling a little odd right now, as a matter of fact. I think I'll go open the windows (it's a cool morning) put on some Credence Clearwater Revival music, and go look out my back door.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

A Step Away

You may have noticed, at the top of my blog page, that I have two girls. One is ten, the other six. My oldest is a high-functioning autistic and although she is incredibly smart, she can be a little slower to do things or to figure things out. This isn't a problem: we all just give her the time it takes for her to do whatever it is she needs or wants to do. This is especially true of bicycle riding. While all her schoolmates were biking around the neighborhood by the end of kindergarten, she showed no interest whatsoever about getting on a bike. However, just within the past couple of weeks, my youngest learned to ride (so that she could get to her friends' homes more quickly) and as they say, monkey see, monkey do, the oldest just had to try too. So we've been working with her for a few days and yesterday she managed to make it down the street with her baby sister riding by her side. She did great until she tried to make the turn at the bottom of the hill. She didn't navigate it well and ended up in the ditch/culvert with a scraped knee. I brought the van down, loaded up the girls and their bikes, took them home and fixed the oldest one's injuries, then got them both a snack. Later that evening she got back on her bike to show Daddy how well she was doing. I'll be helping her learn how to steer through corners, so that she can ride merrily around the block with her sister. The two of them, side by side, taking one more step toward maturity, and one more step away from Mommy. I don't know whether I should be cheering or crying. Maybe both.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

You have to start somewhere

OK, folks, this is my first blog post ever. As a matter of fact, until this past weekend I was only vaguely aware of what blogging was. I knew it had something to do with the Internet - however, to this mother of two it sounded like something that happens when your kids get sick on the school lunch. ("Hello? This is the elementary school calling. Your daughter gagged on the pork sausage and lima bean casserole and blogged all over Miss Wormwood. Can you come get her?") However, I was introduced to real blogging this past weekend while at my brother's. It seems that my niece and her husband both had blog sites, so when I got home I read them and became fascinated by the fact that I could blabber inanely on the Web and someone might actually read it! Oh, the unlimited possibilities! But I have to post this first before you can read it, so I shall do just that. Thanks for stopping by!