Sunday, June 28, 2009

Baby Butter

I suppose we should introduce you to the other member of our family. Once upon a time, many moons ago, this little Cabbage Patch was MY doll named Janetta. Jed discovered and adopted her for his own, and now Jed has formally named her Baby Butter. Baby Butter goes everywhere with us, to bed, to playgroup, even to the grocery store (where she absolutely must wear a seatbelt in the cart.) At night, Jed squeezes her tight, and often his first words in the morning are uttered in a panic, "Where's Baby Butter?" (Answer: In your bed, Jed. Look under the blankets.)

As with Baby Z, Butter's gender is as yet unknown. Yesterday I tried to pry it out of Jed through a variety of questioning tactics.

Me: Jed, is Butter a boy or a girl?
Jed: No, Mom. (Looks serious)
Me: (addressing Butter) Butter, are you a boy baby?
Jed: No.
Me: But Jed, is Butter a girl baby or a boy baby?
Jed: No, Mom. (pause) Butter a green baby.


So for now Butter retains the femininity I once bestowed upon her.

Jed and Butter get up to all sorts of hijinks. This morning, Jed happily roared Butter around the house, giving her a ride in his tiny shopping cart. Engrossed in some Primary preparation, I tuned them out, until I sensed someone behind me. I turned, and there was Jed, smiling up at me. "Want ride!" He held Butter up to the bar and explained that Butter was going to push him around now.
This is the video I got:

Even for a kid with twig legs, Jed was stuck in that cart tight like a fat sausage! It took my pregnant belly and I dressed in our Sunday best quite a bit of wrestling to get him out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Road Rage

I have on very rare occasions been known to have a tiny bit of road rage. I blame this entirely on my father. Things are much more tolerable here in Indiana, where there is never any traffic, but I still have my moments.

As evidenced today by my darling two year old son.

He looked out the window and shouted at the car next to us:


Oh dear.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Family Home Evening


Jed loves Mommy's drawer in the bathroom.
We call it war paint.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wild Animals

We live in an area populated with wildlife. We have turtles and frogs all over our yard. You can find baby birds under the tree, and worms in the garden. We have a baby giraffe that comes out to snuggle after every bath. Sometimes a little puppy sits in the car seat in the backyard. Baby elephants lumber through the living room, and sometimes we even find amphibians in our breakfast cereal.

One day, Jed came running into the kitchen, out of breath.

"MOM! Come 'ere!!!"
"What, Jed?"
"Mom, there's a LION in the bedroom!!!"

Naturally, I dropped what I was doing and we ran to my bedroom. Jed threw the door open and pointed to the bed. "LOOK, MOM!" His hand dropped and confusion crossed his face. "Hey, where'd the lion go?"

Similar sightings have included an elephant in Grandma's backyard.

Sometimes our friends and their children become confused when Jed enthusiastically points out his latest animal find to them. That turtle looks a lot like a pebble. He doesn't seem unfazed by their inability to discern his creatures. He looks up, eyes glowing, "Yes! Is turtle!"

This morning Jed woke up and called my name. I went in and laid down next to him. Usually, after his nap, I ask him what his dreams were about. He consistently answers "Animals." What kind? "Rar." That's it. Today, though, he didn't even wait for me to ask.

"Turtles running and digging, Mom."
"Oh, really?"
"And horsies digging."
"Was that your dream?"
"Yes, mom. The turtles running and digging and the horsies digging."
"Were the turtles digging in the sand for their eggs?"
"Mhmm." (pause) "I hungry now."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Baby Z is the pokiest baby. Definitely a Stanfill. My stomach feels more like a bag of rocks and sticks down there than a roly-poly child. Figuring out the baby's position presents no problem at all, since Z's rear end feels like the edge of a big tin can, a hard ridge that you can almost grab in your palm. Jed was the stubborn foot-in-the-ribs-for-three-monthstype. But not this one. This baby is not content to merely squirm. Occasionally I get the very clear sensation that the kid takes both feet, curls up, and lets loose with both heels against my side. WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM WHAM! Hi Mom! Just now I laid down to take a nap with Jed, but I couldn't sleep with the little hard fists and feet pummeling, poking, kicking, banging... I think this baby wants OUT!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Lovely Evening

Saturday afternoon we had a little outdoor picnic at our friend's the Paces. They have a lovely backyard, complete with shade trees, picnic table, fire pit, a big pond, and a rowboat. Three families, eight kids, some fishing tackle, and plenty of food made for a lovely evening.

Kip, Cody, and their boys out on the boat, teaching them how to fish.

Michael caught Princess Elizabeth daydreaming in the boat.

Brandy offered to teach me how to pond fish (I don't know that I'd ever fished from a boat before... my only memories are my hilarious fly fishing lessons with Dad that usually involved lots of fake flies stuck in bushes and me falling in the creek...)
I lumbered my big body out onto the boat, much to the horror of Kip who kept politely mentioning the importance of "weight distribution." Well, frankly, it don't matter WHERE I sit when the "distribution" at the other end are two tiny little Sims girls weighing a grand total of forty pounds. We headed out nonetheless, my end of the boat two inches out of the water, the girls' end poking up ridiculously into the air. Brandy could barely row us (haha, poor girl!) I felt like I was in a comic book, and it turns out row boats aren't all that comfortable, but all was made well when just a few minutes out I CAUGHT A CATFISH!

The other fish the boys caught were only a few inches long. And look, mine is HUGE! 16 inches! I am still disgustingly proud of myself. No one ever dreamed a fish that big could be caught in that bitty pond. Me Amazon Woman!

Handsome devil, isn't he. Tasted good, too.

Fish cooked over a campfire followed toasted marshmallows and chasing fireflies. A truly lovely evening!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Daily Routine

I've been trying to consciously set up a daily routine for Jed, thinking that having something steady and familiar will be helpful for both of us when the new baby comes. Of course things will be radically different then, but at least I can be conscious of how and where his little life will change. Today I sat down and outlined how our days go and this is what I came up with:

Jed's Daily Routine

7:00 AM – Wake Up!
Watch mom fix breakfast
Breakfast Time
Family scripture study
Jed scripture stories

8:00 AM – Couch Time with Mom
Read books
Sing songs

8:30 AM – Chore Time
Mom does chores
Jed plays with his toys or in sink

9:30 AM – Activity
Mon: Chore time cont'd
Tues: Playgroup at park
Wed: Walking with friends
Thurs: Primary Meeting, Grandma's House
Fri: Depends

12 PM – Lunch Time

1 PM – Quiet Time
Read 3 books together in bed
Mom naps
Jed plays quietly until he falls asleep

3 PMish – Wake up, Snack Time
Play Time outside or inside
Mon: Grocery Shopping

4 PM – Mom fixes dinner
Jed plays with puzzles, playdough, or other activity from closet
Watch Street or kid show on netflix if fussy

5:15 PM – Daddy's Home!

6 PM – Dinner Time
Mon: FHE

7 PM – Bath Time

7: 30 PM – PJs and roll around on the big bed with mom and dad

8 PM – Bedtime Routine (Family Prayer, Warm Milk, Tooth Brush, Books, Sleep)

So there's a peek into the mystical Stanfill household. Ha ha. Though I hadn't realized it, before I even started noticing, things already had settled into a pretty familiar routine. The one thing I have changed since I started keeping track is having Couch Time in the morning. It seems like if I spend those thirty minutes or so focused on Jed, he's much more content to play on his own for the rest of the morning. And then I get more done during my chore time.

Crocodile Tears

Jed's learned the traditional art of fake crying, much to his parent's delight. Yesterday, after my flat refusal to feed him sausage for breakfast, he threw himself around the dining room, bewailing his lot. He moaned and cast himself about, wandering around the house like a tortured soul. After about twenty minutes of wailing and gnashing of teeth, he charged into the kitchen. "LOOK, Mom, LOOK!" he ordered, pointing to his face. I glanced down at the spot, which held no visible trauma. He frowned. "Mom, LOOK!" I peered closer. Ohhhhhhh. Huge, fake tears leaked from his puppy dog eyes down onto his reddened cheeks. I laughed. "Is that a tear, Jed?" "YES, Mom!" he choked out. "I SAD!" He gave me a reproachful, accusatory gaze. How could I be so cold hearted in the face of his obvious suffering?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mormon Messages

The LDS Church has come out with some really smashing new multimedia of late. I'll share some of my favorites...
If you haven't been over to Mormon Messages, you are missing out. I'm not much of a You Tuber, but these new little videos are simply fantastic! Michael and I love watching them together. Here are a few of our family favorites:

I came across this video when I was having a mini-pity party the other day. I really really really really love this video. So timely and so lovely.

I miss President Hinckley!

They played this one at our Home/Visiting Teaching seminar the other day. Michael really liked it. He commented on how using visuals can make the messages stand out, messages that otherwise we might tune out or overlook.

First Prayer

Jed said his first prayer tonight!

Every night before he and dad settle into bed for his night night routine, we say a family prayer. Usually that means that Jed rolls around on the bed moaning about how he's too tired to pray, while Dad and Mom pray. Then as soon as it's over he jumps up on his knees, folds his arms, and shouts "Pray, MomDad, Pray!" with a stern gaze, as if we've been sinfully praying without him. So we say another prayer.

Tonight, I decided, since he wanted to play that game that we'd just let him say the second prayer. So I asked him if he wanted to say the prayer. "Yes, Mom. Pray!" he replied. I leaned over until my lips just brushed his soft ear and whispered, "OK, say 'Dear Heavenly Father'." He sat back and looked at me blankly. Then he leaned forward and I whispered it again. He screwed his eyes shut tight and in a high squeaky boy voice repeated "A Heavly Father." Then he repeated the rest of a short prayer (Mostly thanks phrases addressing the highlights of the day -- playing with toys, eating sausage, daddy coming home, visiting the museum, etc.) He closed with "And Jesus A-MEN!"

I confess I got a little teary. He's such a sweet darling child and having him want to join us in prayer just makes my mom heart happy. My relationship with my Heavenly Father has been the cornerstone of my personal journey through life, and I feel that through prayer and personal revelation He has led me down a wonderful, joyful path. I want the same thing for my little Jed, and I guess it felt like this little prayer was my son's first step down along his own journey.

Witch's Brew Pancakes

The scene opens to a cheerful breakfast tableau. The Stanfill family eats a traditional pancake breakfast. Michael is dressed and ready for the day at work. Vanessa feeds pancakes to Jed, who stuffs them whole into his mouth, chunks falling from his oozing, whip cream coated orifice. They chat about the coming weekend.

Vanessa: So... does anything seem weird about these pancakes?
Michael halts in mid bite, looks suspicious
Michael: Whenever you say that, I feel nervous. I guess they are a little hard...
Vanessa: Oh that's just because I left them on the griddle too long when Jed woke up.
Michael: Chews gingerly, then pauses. What's in them.
Vanessa: (Innocently) Why?
Michael: You have to tell me now. Did you put that weird keershawhatever in it?
Vanessa: (Grins) Well, they started off normal and things just got a little out of hand.
Michael: What is in them!
Vanessa: Ummm... Well, they ended up being Whole Wheat Sourdough Kefir Flax Seed Agave Nectar Pancakes. (She starts to giggle.)
Michael. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.
Vanessa: Sings in a Little Mermaid falsetto "How many microbes can one pancake hold?"
Michael: Why must you do this?
Vanessa: It's Witch's Brew! A little bit of this, a little bit of that, then I looked down and realized that I had no idea what my concoction would taste like.
Michael stares at his breakfast. He takes another thoughtful bite.
Michael: Actually, they taste great. Just a little hard.
Vanessa: Well, good. (pause) Think how healthy your intestinal flora will be today.
Michael: Thanks for that.

Addendum by Michael:
Just to be clear, this is an almost daily dialogue between my wife and I. I'm hardly surprised anymore. If there was an elephant tail sticking out of the blender, I might wonder a bit... about where she got the elephant. Even then, it would probably taste pretty good.

I've got such a great husband.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Earlier this week, as I rotated a load of laundry in the basement, I heard Jed yell from upstairs, "MOM! I go swimming in the ocean!" I mmm-hmmmed and continued on my chore routine. A few moments later he burst through the door. He'd dug through his clothes dresser, found the swim diapers, and pulled one out and up over his already fairly bulky cloth diaper. The swim diaper hadn't quite made it over his backside, and sat slightly askew, cloth and lycra gloriously bunched into a shapeless mass. He beamed at me. "Mom! I ready! We go swimming in the ocean now!"

Well, we don't have a local ocean, and the Ohio River is anything but appetizing, but the Newburgh pool is a sufficient substitute for now. Yesterday, we hopped on over for a swim. After a hot, sweaty day, the cool water felt fabulous. Jed's swimming pool experience has been fairly limited thus far, and he waded right into the water, laughing and giggling. First he was a frog, jumping about and hooting at his own brilliance, "Watch me, my mommy! Watch me!" Later he was a baby whale, then a kicking fish, then a dolphin. He played with a few toys floating about the pool, pouring water from little cup to little pan, offering me dinner with a big side of cheesy smile on the side.

As we frolicked about, we got a little bit deeper where the water was up to his chest. He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the pool and not scared at all, which made me happy. For a moment, I looked up and watched the other kids playing. I relaxed my big heavy body, relishing the weightlessness on my poor hips and feet. I glanced down. At first what I saw didn't register. Then I realized it was my own dear child floating face down just under the top of the water. Yikes! I didn't panic (to my surprise, in retrospect), but I did scoop him up to my chest, assessing, patting his back and suggesting he cough. He sputtered a bit, red faced. He glanced up at me and gave a watery smile. "Mommy! I swimming!!!" Gee, great Jed. Thanks for being such a big boy. I tried to be cheerful and we steered back towards the side. Despite his pride in swimming, he decided it would be ok to sit on the side for a while and watch. That was ok with me.

Maybe there's something to be said for the much maligned "swimming puddle" in the backyard. . Perhaps I'll throw in some fish and we'll start calling it the ocean.