Thursday, August 27, 2009


Our Kansas summer hasn't been nearly as hot as usual. August in Kansas is typically marked by 100-degree days and a blazing sun in the sky. However, this summer has been a pleasant one, with temperatures rarely reaching three digits. It's been a nice surprise, although it does make me wonder about the winter ahead ...

With summer quickly winding down, we decided to spend last weekend at the lake. The weather was beautiful and the water was equally as nice. It was a great way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

We met a pal at the lake who also has two little boys. His oldest just began kindergarten and his youngest is just a few months older than our little man. The three of them make great friends and they all enjoy the fun of the lake.

Because the weather has been cooler, that also means the fishing was a bit better. While I still wouldn't call fishing at our local lake good, it is still fun to load up a hook and cast a line with the little man. The pal we met at the lake happens to love to fish for fun and has a keen eye for where the fish are biting, so we followed him over to little cove.

It was just a matter of minutes before he snatched up his net and threw it into the water. Out came a net full of little Shads. The boys squealed with excitement. He emptied the net into an orange bucket he had on his boat. The boys quickly swarmed the bucket and began sticking their hands in.

"Mommy! Look!" Little man squealed as he held a fish up for me to see. "It's a fish!"

The adults looked on and giggled as the three boys dug their hands into the bucket, pulling out fish after fish and watching them squirm in their hands.

They insisted on showing us each and every fish they had "caught." The boat deck was full of little fish that had squirmed out of little hands and fish scales.

It was a little boy's dream.

As the Shad one by one quickly became less squirmy and eventually "sleepy" (through no fault of little hands squeezing them and throwing them about, of course) we finally found a shore where the little ones could throw some rocks, squeeze some mud and explore as far as the eye could see (that is, as far as mommy's eye could see). We finished the night off with some gooey, sticky, s'mores fresh from the fire.

Preceded, of course, by a thorough drenching in hand sanitizer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Baby Will

Some very dear friends of ours just welcomed their first child, William. Although once upon a time they lived just a few blocks away from us, their jobs took them to Washington, D.C. However, recently they made the brave move, with a 6-week-old, to Chicago. Still not a matter of blocks away, but a bit closer nonetheless.

Since they still have many, many friends here, they took the opportunity to swing back by for a weekend baby shower and to catch up with old friends. So, they loaded up their car with diapers and other baby paraphernalia and headed our way for a weekend visit.

The little man was mighty confused when momma started bringing up a menagerie of soft baby blankets, the bouncy seat and the pack-n-play from the basement.

"What's this, momma?" he asked as he sorted through the baby blankets.

"Those are for Baby Will, he's going to come see you," I told him.

Little man sat with a smile on his face and eyes wide open as I told him all about how those were once his baby blankets and how he had once loved sitting in the bouncy seat and feeling the soft vibrations. All of these objects that once were so much a part of our lives were not even a memory in his mind. He had no recollection of the soft lamb blanket or the blue bouncy seat.

As much as I tried to keep the little man out of the baby things in anticipation of Baby Will's arrival, the temptation was just too much. If he was missing I knew I could find him near the baby stuff.

"No, those are for Baby Will," I told him.

"But he needs to share, momma," the little man insisted. "Baby Will needs to learn how to share."

"I don't think it's Baby Will who needs to learn how to share," I told replied as I shooed him away.

The weekend came and went and we all had a great time catching up and playing with Baby Will.

Even if the little man didn't understand why Baby Will couldn't play with his matchbox trucks.

Once they had left, I washed the baby blankets once more and packed them away along with the other basement baby items we had gotten out and dusted off for Baby Will's stay.

I reflected back on those early days and couldn't believe that the little man had no recollection of them. They were so clear and vivid to me - and even though they were 3 1/2 years ago, seemed like yesterday.

A few days later, the little man was having a particularly hard time falling asleep. He was cranky and sleepy but just couldn't fall asleep in his dark room. I went in to tuck him in again and tell him it was time to go nite-nite.

"You gotta go to sleep buddy," I said as I rubbed his back.

"Sing me a song mommy," he whimpered.

"What song do you want?" I asked him.

"My song," he said. "Sing me my song."

I paused.

He did remember one thing from his baby years.

There was a song. A song I made up and used to sing to him in the late night hours in his nursery. His very own lullaby.

As remembered the words and sang it to him, his eyes slowly closed and he drifted off to sleep, just like he used to. I crept out of his room and closed his door.

And although he may not remember the lamb blanket or the bouncy seat, he does remember one special thing. A simple, private little song from his mommy to him. Proving that it's not the toys or the gadgets that make a difference in a child's life ... it's the oh so little things.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ride Bell

I have an uncle named Dennis that we all affectionately refer to as "Biker Trash."

His wardrobe consists solely of Harley Davidson t-shirts (from around the world) and if you passed him on the street you probably wouldn't even notice him.

But in reality, my uncle is an extraordinary man.

Burned severely as a child by the neighborhood bully, the doctors told my grandparents that he would never walk again.

But they underestimated his tenacity. And he proved them wrong.

As a young man, when he was diagnosed with MS, the doctors again told him that he would soon be wheelchair bound.

He looked the doctor straight in the eyes and told them they were wrong.

Decades later, my uncle has lead an exciting life full of adventure. And the doctors are still wrong. While his MS may have slowed him down a bit - he's still far, far from being wheelchair bound.

His greatest love in life is riding the open roads on his Harley. But don't let the black Harley t-shirts and old jeans fool you. We may jokingly call him "Biker Trash" but he is so much more than that.

He's one of the kindest men you will ever meet. He's the kind of man, that even if he had nothing else in the world to give, would gladly take the shirt off his back and give it to you if you were in need. And although he may have more reasons than anyone else to complain and stay in bed all day - you will never hear a complaint, excuse or "I can't" from him. He's an inspiration to us all.

He also adores the little man.

{And keeps him fully stocked in toddler Harley wear.}

We recently received a package from my uncle addressed to the little man. I opened the small package and inside was a small, old bell and a note:

Little Man,

It's high time that you have a "Ride Bell."

So let me tell you the legend of the "Ride Bell." First of all the "Ride Bell" may not be purchased by the rider. It must be given to you by someone who loves you and is also a rider. I fit both of the required elements. There are evil bugs that infest all the areas that you will ride on. These evil things will attach themselves to your ride and make it break down. The ringing of the "Ride Bell" drives them crazy and makes them get off before they can do any hurt to either you or your ride. Many times when they fall off they will make a pot hole or crack in the surface you are riding on.

This "Ride Bell" can be used on any Trike, Bike, or Motorcycle that you may own for the rest of time. This bell was owned by one of my very best friends, and now it is yours.

Papa, attach so that the bell will hang and ring freely. Don't be afraid to drill a hole and use wire to attach the bell.

Mama, the bell has two purposes for you. It will protect Little Man and help you keep track of him. Love your Blog and I read it on a regular basis.

Biker Trash

And although the little man isn't quite up to Harley speed, he now has one special Big Wheel.

And a Ride Bell to keep him safe as he begins his own adventures.