Thursday, February 19, 2015


Hashtags like #OldSlickory and #Snowbama and #DwightDIcenhower have been popping up all over social media in Middle Tennessee this week. That's what you get when all these people are cooped up inside, drinking wine and getting creative. They've been having a little fun with the Great Presidents' Day Ice Storm that hit Nashville earlier this week. 

Yes, this is what it looks like when Elsa from "Frozen" comes to town: ice everywhere. Then a nice little sprinkling of snow on top, just to keep things interesting. 

It was sleeting heavily when I snapped this shot. Cold AND wet. Nice.

And since it's been cold, the white stuff is sticking around. The boys have been sledding pretty much every day this week.  The sole benefit of having ice is that it makes the sleds really zip along. I took about 50 videos of the boys sledding down various hills in the neighborhood. We had a few wipeouts, and a few near misses, but no one got hurt and no one cried, which makes it a whopping success in my book. 

Andrew was a little tentative at first,
but after his first whoooooosh down the hill, he was hooked.
We are staying inside today, however, because it was only about 9 degrees the last time I checked the temperature. No thanks. We don't have clothes for that. Yes, before you ask, we do have some Cabin Fever, but I think Cabin Fever is slightly preferable to frostbite. Ask me again later today, though...

William, preparing to slide down the hill
and hopefully avoid slamming into the trampoline.

Monday, February 02, 2015

My, this sleeve looks tasty!

A few weeks ago, an acquaintance mentioned on Facebook she was collecting suggestions of things that kids do that make parents wonder if they're the only ones.

For example, a parent might wonder, "Is my child the only one who...

...eats dog food right out of the dog's dish?"

...sticks beans/holly berries/erasers/beads in his nose/ears/both?"

...demands privacy when she goes to the potty but barges in on me every time I dare to shut the bathroom door?"

My contribution to this list would have to be, "Is my child the only one who chews on all the sleeves of his shirts?"

Except, well, I know that I'm not. Who knew that this was a common childhood thing for lots of kids? I didn't know until the Internet because I never did this as a kid, and David says he didn't, either.

William used to chew on the neckline of his shirts. Thankfully, he stopped. Eventually. But now Andrew has started chewing the sleeves AND the necklines of all his shirts and sweaters. It is driving me bananas. He KNOWS that this drives me crazy and that he's not supposed to do it, but he does it anyway. And somehow, the clammy damp slobbery fabric flapping around his wrists (and neck) DOESN'T EVEN BOTHER HIM.

Gah. I'm having the vapors, just typing it out. Yuck yuck yuck.

No, Andrew doesn't have any sensory or anxiety issues. In fact, he's pretty well adjusted, and he supposedly doesn't exhibit any behavioral issues in school. He is able to focus very well on projects for long periods of time, too. He just....likes to chew on his clothes.

Several people have suggested that I buy what's essentially a teething necklace for him. Another friend suggested a bracelet. Many of these products are marketed towards children with sensory disorders or other developmental issues; a brand that I've heard a lot about is Chewelry, although I'm sure there are other, cheaper, products out there that would work just as well. I'm about ready to do anything to get him to stop gnawing on the sleeves of that precious striped Hanna Andersson sweater that I love so much and hate to see being ruined. But I'm not even sure I could convince him to 1) wear a necklace or bracelet and 2) chew on said necklace or bracelet instead of the shirt!

He's my own personal version of Chewy Luis (Luis Suarez, the Uruguyan soccer player who can't seem to resist biting things....and, er, people). That's my kid: Chewy Drew. Thank goodness that he's only chomping away on his own clothes, though, and not other people and their clothes.

Someone else, wisely, said to me, "This, too, shall pass." And of course, I know this from personal experience, as William did stop. I just wish I could get Andrew to stop RIGHT NOW. Perhaps I need some sort of anti-anxiety device myself....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas, Y'all

Check it out! It's the Wyckoff family version of a Christmas Miracle!

It took the endless patience that only someone like Diane has to get one halfway decent Christmas family photo of the four of us. But we got one! Woohoo!

The children's Christmas Eve service at our church had just concluded, so the boys were rarin' to go. Poor David's still at the church, preparing to sing in the 5 p.m. candlelight service. A service that will be full of nice, quiet adults and youth who can sit in their seats and hold live flames. I know....I can't completely grasp it, either. It sounds like a fairy tale. 

The boys and I are fixing to go drive around look at Christmas lights while David sings. We started doing this the year that William had strep throat--we just piled in the car and drove around to look at lights while listening to Christmas music. And um, eating chicken fingers. (Look, if we're eating, we're all happy.) Hmmm, where's the best place around here to get some chicken fingers?

Hope that you have a merry and meaningful Christmas this year. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Now with extra festive!

Can't get enough of the holiday cheer, can I?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This was taken at the Dickens of a Christmas festival in Franklin. It was probably the best picture I took all day. I may have to make some Christmas cards after all...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We are festive!

I got the obligatory visit-to-see-Santa out of the way early this holiday season, which was a good thing because Thanksgiving was late, and I feel like we're trying to jam-pack everything into a much smaller window of time. Probably because we are. Even though I've deliberately tried to curate our obligatory holiday cheer into manageable chunks, it still takes time to be festive, you know. 

Festive with Santa!

William asked Santa for a Disney Infinity video game thing. Andrew asked for--and I quote--"surprises." When asked about his response later, he said that he'd just like some surprises that he's never gotten before. Done and done. God, I love him. Thank you, my dear younger son, for making this holiday easy on your weary old mom and dad. This means we can get him anything, and it will satisfy his criteria. 

What other holiday frivolity have we indulged in thus far, you might ask? Well, let's see. Mom, Diane and I took the boys to Franklin for the Dickens of a Christmas festival last Saturday. Very fun. Very crowded, but very fun. William and Andrew sampled pickles, crawled on Civil War cannons, listened to handbells, and were, yes, festive. I took Andrew to the Walk Through Bethlehem event at Woodmont  Christian Church on Sunday afternoon. And we decorated a gingerbread house a couple of weeks ago. We just need to make some cookies now. Cookies TBD. 

Both boys have class parties this Friday, and then they'll be out of school for the two-week (ish) break. Maybe I can whip up some more holiday-themed activities during that time. Suggestions and recommendations are welcome.  

More festive! For reals! Mom didn't even have to
threaten or cajole to get this level of festivity!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cure for a Book Hangover, Kid Edition

A few weeks ago, William read the last page of the final book in Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series. He contemplated the back cover of the book and sighed a deep, shuddery, eight-year-old-in-an-existential-crisis sigh. It was finished.

It's a phenomenon well known to intense readers. He had become deeply immersed in the series of fantasy books, recommended by my friend Erica, whose own son had enjoyed them, and finishing them gave him that sense of melancholy that hangs over us when we grudgingly finish reading a terrific book. Someone referred to it as "a book hangover," which I think is very apt.

But what to read next?

William finished the Harry Potter series over the summer and then tackled the first few books in Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Little House on the Prairie series. He also read Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus series. He loved all of those. But he keeps putting the first Fablehaven book on my nightstand and imploring me to read it so he'll have someone to discuss it with. So that should tell you how much he enjoyed Fablehaven--he wants to hold a book club meeting with his mom.

I wanted to find him something awesome to read. Something that would lessen the book hangover. But I wasn't sure what to recommend at that point. He mentioned wanting to start reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Ring series, but David and I both remembered struggling with those books when we were young. (Heck, I struggled with them when I read them as an adult. And I'd already read books like The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.) So we suggested that perhaps he might want to wait on those for another couple of years. But in the meantime, what could he turn to?

I turned to my second favorite source of info after Dr. Google: The Facebook. "Help!" I wrote in a desperate post to my Facebook friends and their friends and the friends of their friends. "I neeeeeeeeed book recommendations for William."

And oh boy, did they deliver!

What the Facebook peeps (and their kids) suggested:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  • Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Books by Andrew Peterson (example: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society series of books by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Redwall series by Brian Jacques and Gary Chalk
  • Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo
  • 39 Clues series by Rick Riordan
  • The Sisters Grimm series by by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson
  • The Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer
  • Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
  • The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood and Jon Klassen
  • Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
  • The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann
  • Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland
  • Keys to the Kingdom books by Garth Nix
  • Gregor The Overlander and the other Underland Chronicles books by Suzanne Collins
  • Peter and the Monsters books by Darren Pillsbury
  • Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage and Mark Zug
  • Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon by S. S. Taylor and Katherine Roy
  • The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy
  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
  • The Pendragon books by  D.J. MacHale
  • The Three Investigators books by Robert Arthur
  • Books by Nancy Farmer (example: Sea of Trolls Trilogy)
  • Books by Madeleine L'Engle (example: A Wrinkle in Time)
  • Warriors series by Erin Hunter
  • Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Inheritance Cycle books by Christopher Paolini

As a book nerd, this list makes my heart sing. A long list of books to try! Even if William doesn't respond to some of them, others will surely appeal to him. If your child is looking for new reading material, you might also find some good candidates from this list.

Got any other recommendations? I'd love to add more books to this list. so please let me know.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

A dark and windy Halloween

It was a dark and stormy night.

No. Make that, it was a dark and blustery night.

Oh, and it was cold too. Teeth-rattlingly cold. And blustery. Did I mention the blustery part?

But the Scary Chef and the Ninja would not be deterred. Neither wind nor cold nor dark of night would keep from making their self-appointed trick-of-treating rounds.

Not only that, but William and Andrew and Sammy trick-or-treated for more than an hour and a half during this rather extreme weather situation. Along with hundreds of other kids, of course, their parents, Chewbacca and a host of Darth Vaders, Princess Leias, and Elsas from "Frozen." Bruce and I accompanied them, and we were pretty amazed by how fast our kids could run when motivated by candy. I'm wondering if perhaps we should enter them in the Boston Marathon since they are so good at sprinting in full costume. 

I praised Andrew for saying "trick or treat" AND "thank you" when he went up to the front doors. I added, "And you were very cute, too." Andrew immediately responded, "You mean scary." And I nodded solemnly, "Yes of course." 

Not cute.
Scary. Very very scary.

Andrew, Joseph, William and Sammy.

The Scary Chef and the Ninja.
The grandmothers were not put off by the Scary Chef.
David removed his Darth Vader helmet so he wouldn't compete
with the fierce scariness that was the hallmark of the one and only Scary Chef.
Even ninjas love their mamas.
All in all, we had a lovely Halloween again this year. Even if we lost a few things along the trick-or-treat route, everyone seemed to have fun, and no one got frostbite. I didn't get a good picture of me wearing my giant black-and-purple tutu, which was the focal part of my 40-year-old princess get-up, but that's okay. I was able to drown my sorrow in Twix bars, and really, can you ask for more than that?