Monthly Archives: June 2010

positive associations

Little O usually spends the church service in nursery.  Once he started walking, the Huz and Parakeet left him there.  He was too hard to wrangle during service and he’s never had huge stranger anxiety.  They often go the second service and that makes him one of the only children in there – he gets special attention and is happy.
Most weeks for probably the last four months he spends the entire hour at the train table. In fact, whenever they drive up to church he says, “there it is! Play Church! Choo Choo!”
Most times he gets into the car he say, “Play church?”, as if that would be the only acceptable and fun place to go.
The Parakeet has also joined the church playgroup so O gets to hang at his train table twice a week.  He LOVES it.  Whenever the Huz picks O up after church – they go straight to the treat table. Little O has very positive associations with church – choo choo trains and cookies.  So be it.
The early service, however, has a children’s message.  The Parakeet likes to keep O with them through the Children’s message if they ever attend this service.  O tries. He drives cars through the pews and is silent with awe during the singing.  After the message, mom or dad then takes him down to nursery and they finish service as adults without distraction.
This morning the Huz needed to sleep after working until 1AM.  He knew there was a sub-pastor – those two factors together made him decide to skip it.
The Parakeet decided to get to early service. O had been up for two hours anyway.  She also thought they would walk.
Well, it was very hot and humid, nearly raining by the time they got there.  She took O with her to the pew and tried to set him up with toys. He stood up on the pew to check things out.  After the Parakeet got him seated, she handed him a small cow from his fisher price farm. He chucked it nearly four rows up. Oh man…
Then, there was singing. He was fine. Then, they asked all the children to come forward.  The Parakeet started to walk him up. Quietly but consistently, Little O kept repeating, “no. no. no. no.”  She leaned down and whispered to him, “O. We are going to walk up front and sit and listen quietly to the Pastor and then we will go downstairs and play with the choo-choo”.
O sat front and center, straight-backed, patiently listening to the Pastor talk about Jesus and Creation.  Then, she finally said, “Now you can walk back with your parents”
Little O stood up and yelled, “READY. CHOO-CHOO!!”
Pretty much everyone present laughed.  The Parakeet walked him out, blushing.
Yes, O, it’s time for choo-choo.


A Couple Earthy Things

So.. it’s no secret that the Parakeet has a heart for environmental issues. If memory serves correct, there were even green recycling triangles on her campaign posters in seventh grade for Student Council Secretary.

She tries to make choices that will reduce her consumption in general.  Of course – there are just so many choices in a day – you can’t get them all “right”.

During June, her church is doing a sermon series on Creation Care. It has been so refreshing and interesting learning about conservation from a spiritual perspective.  The church has a composter in their garden any member can come dump kitchen waste in for free.  The Parakeet really wants to get a bucket.  The Huz really wants her to forget about this idea.  Any compost-ers out there? Suggestions?

The Huz and the Parakeet are getting their veggies, eggs, and meat this summer from a CSA largely for environmental reasons. It’s also yummy and healthy. They have used cloth diapers primarily for Little O since he was about one month old.  This saves money, but it really helps the environment.

Recently, the Parakeet borrowed this book from the library.  The crafts are lovely and it was an excellent reminder that often what we ‘need’ is right here in our homes.  OK – there are some extremes the bird will not go to – women’s cloth? No. That might make common sense, but it doesn’t make family sense.  There will be no covered enamel pot of soaking soiled fabric in their bathroom. A contradiction after cloth diapers? Probably.  One that the family is comfortable with? Definitely

But speaking of the diapers and of contradictions – they have to be washed every other day. twice. Then dried.  The Huz and Parakeet’s pastor announced that he and his wife decided not to use their dryer anymore. It’s a big strain on the power grid. Woah.  The Keet decided, though, that she could stop drying those diapers. The basement already has line hung all over the place and clothespins. So this week – the diapers and inserts have hung to dry. It’s working fine since usually the Parakeet does this laundry at night anyway – going to bed when she moves the diapers to the dryer and getting them in the morning. Now – she is hanging them on the line and getting them in the morning.

This is making her feel better about running the ACs constantly – maybe it will sort of kind of even out? Who knows? But mentally…it feels good.

Her new philosophy is that all the little things DO matter – take cloth bags to the store. Rinse out the ziploc baggies. Just don’t buy so many things.  Then – all the other times – when she goes through the drive-thru or buys a cheap plastic toy made in China or eats conventionally grown veggies from California in off-season – it’s OK. Because NOBODY is perfect.

How does your Garden Grow?

This Summer is flying by just like all the others.  Little O helped the Parakeet prepare the garden this year.  She remembered her whimsical thoughts from last year and went ahead and bought only purple and white flowering plants.  The only other woman in the building who had plants growing in the backyard moved out during the winter (after nearly 30 years) so the Parakeet has free reign.  She hasn’t dug up any of the beds yet, but she is going to trim back that crazy rose bush.  Yikes.
It was so fun to have Little O pulling out the impatiens and yelling “Yay!” and clapping as each one was dropped into the ground.  Every day he likes to ‘check the garden’ and drives his dump truck full of dirt and mud through the flowers.  He uses a trowel to carry more “eewy dirt” over from an abandoned planter that seems to have a never-ending supply.
The Parakeet finally dug up the row of Lily of the Valley that grew along one brick wall in the back-yard. Apologies to those of you who love it, but it was quite invasive and annoying. Also, by August it just looked like weeds.  She planned on putting something else pretty back there, but it has proved more helpful to have a strip of dirt just for Little O. He can crouch back there and dig up rocks.  He hides behind the now gimongous Hosta.  So, for now, it will just stay a strip of dirt.
After the squirrels getting every single tomato last year – they didn’t attempt anything edible.  For now – the garden is just a pretty place to visit and stay a while – whether it’s with a book and a cocktail or a dump truck and a sippy cup.

the first of may
now, here in June

playing where the Lilies used to be
getting more eewy dirt


The Parakeet has been thinking a lot lately about how it feels watching your baby grow up.  It’s hard to describe the sometimes sad feelings that come when he outgrows his clothes or says a new word.  There is so much excitement with each new phase and even still a lingering nostalgia with his hug good night.  She can’t express it in words just yet. Check out the pictures below to see what a difference one year can make.

June 9, 2009

June 10, 2010

A 2nd May Trip

When the Parakeet was 16, her aunt asked her to be the god-mother for her 4th baby and first little girl.  The Parakeet was flattered adn excited.  Her mom helped her understand what it meant and how she could be a good ‘sponsor’ from far away.  It was extra special because this Aunt is also the Parakeet’s Godmother….some things just pass down..
Baby Abigail got a little older and started going by Abi.
She was 6 years old when she was the flower girl in The Keet and Huz’ wedding.
She was 7 when she came to Chicago all by herself and got to see a Cubs game and get a jersey for her doll.
Since then, the Keet and Huz have been lucky enough to drive to Missouri quite a few times and spend time with Abs-cadabs.  When the Parakeet was ‘any day now style’ pregnant she ate deep dish pizza with Abs and her parents downtown Chicago-style.
Last month, Abi was confirmed.  Since this is like the duty of being a godparent, there was no way the Parakeet was going to miss it. 

She decided to drive by herself. No need to risk Little O’s good track record with two days of driving in a row.  She went down Saturday morning and enjoyed the solitude in the car.  She had only one hilarious stop where she bought gas station sunglasses.  They appeared to be that sort of tortoise shell pattern.  Well, as she tossed them into her purse a few hours later, she noticed they were actually covered in flaming skulls.  So the Parakeet is a biker. Or something.

She had a wonderful twenty-four hours with Abi and family.  The service was lovely and the personalized custom cookies were just delish!  Aunt D and Uncle P were hospitable as always.  There was a big comfy bed and more food and drink than one bird needed.  She just had to have cookie cake for breakfast….

Congratulations to Abi!  Everyone is so proud of you.

Florida Trip Part B

After Jo and Brian’s lovely wedding, the Huz and Keet said good-bye to friends and some family and drove back to Lake Mary where they got to hang at GB and Poppy’s House.  The Huz stayed one extra day and they all drove to Orlando to see Big W, Baby Ele, and of course – Aunt M and Uncle B.

While in Lake Mary, they took O to a Splash Park.  He was the only kid there for about thirty minutes. Maybe the Floridians sleep in more than O.  He was scared at first but got more and more brave.  They spent most of an afternoon loading a big Penske truck with furniture from GB and Poppy.  So exciting! Little O was up and down the ramp of the truck.  You can read about that here.  He was also in the cab of the truck for a loooong time.  He sat in front of the steering wheel and pushed and pulled at buttons. Mama Keet sat in the passenger seat next to him when he turned to her and said, “need key”.  Oh my. What will this truck obsession lead to?  He said “BIIIIG White Truck” for days. In fact he often said , “Daddy – big white truck”.  It seemed the Huz was having one of those Dad moments where you’re trying to decide if you’ll keep your place on the pedestal with your son or just tell him the truth.  He tried explaining to Little O that he was just borrowing it,  but still “Daddy Drive BIIIG white truck!”

The Huz left on his own to drive back to Chicago. He had a long and pleasant drive home.  He was pulled over in North FL because it turns out that all trucks have to go through inspection.  They opened the back and saw only furniture and let him drive on.

He stopped for a night in Tennessee and got to have a special dinner with his aunt, uncle, cousins, and cousin’s children. Wow! Everybody is growing up.

The Keet and Little O managed to entertain themselves at Poppy’s house with trips outside, a playdate with the cousins, and lots of ‘running around’.  The Keet was happy to stay up late with Uncle J, Mom, and Dad playing scrabble and parcheesi and generally solving all of life’s problems at the same time.

The long-time readers of A Bird, A Carpenter and a Baby  know that Little O is not the best traveler.  The Russells still talk about the 45 minutes he slept on the 10 hour drive from Branson last summer.  HaHa. Nope – still not quite funny. They’ll get there. 
But miracles do happen and he appears to have grown out of most of those “I hate my life in this carseat” screamy fits. 

The Parakeet sent as much as she could back with the Huz and managed to somehow (the kindness of strangers) check in to the airport with a carry-on, a toddler, and a car seat.  One man looked at her and said, “now I see why some parents put leashes on their kid”.  You do, do you? OK then.

Once they were waiting to board all was fine.  The Keet and O ate some chicken fingers and sat down to play cars.  O revved his car up and down the airport for all waiting to see.  He was having a great time.  He didn’t really understand that he needed to be still on the plane, though.  They were seated next to a sweet elderly lady who was just trying to do her sudoku and Little O, nearly half the size of the bird, was wriggling and whining and squiriming all over.  It pretty much made the Parakeet feel utterly cheap and short-sighted not buying him his own seat.  Then, the flight attendant came over and let her know that the back row was entirely free.  Hallelujah.  They moved to the back.  O flopped around with books and toy cars the last hour or so and they all survived.   He was pretty silent the two hour drive home and fell asleep before she pulled off the highway.

Daddy was very happy to see the little guy and changed him into jamies and put him to sleep.  A pretty successful trip!