Hope Yet. Maybe.

It’s tough competing with FireDad.

I mean, if you were a four year old and you were asked, “Do you want to be a firefighter like your daddy or a writer/photographer like your mommy,” what would you choose? If you were a two year old and asked the same question, what would you answer? I lose every time. Every single time.

I don’t run into burning buildings. I stand outside with my camera and try to capture the action; I don’t live it. I write about what I felt afterward; I don’t tell the firefighter stories that start with, “So there I was, flames shooting seventy feet in the air.” Feelings are always less interesting than flames shooting in the air. I don’t save people’s lives. I don’t drive a big, red, shiny fire truck.

I’m so boring.

I was getting ready to head out to work last night and LittleBrother was bebopping around the kitchen. I told him that I was getting ready to go to work and asked, “At the new-paper?” I confirmed that and asked if he wanted to go with me and said, “No.” Then I launched into a series of (leading) questions and asked him if he wanted to be a firefighter or a photographer when he grew up.



Okay, so I apparently need to work on gender-inclusive titles on top of my children thinking I’m boring. Thrilling.

At that point I pulled a typical Mommy Guilt moment and boo-hoo-ed that no one wanted to be like me. FireDad gave me a look that said, without saying anything at all, that I was being lame on top of being boring. Even more thrilling. I put on my coat, whined about the weather and started to give out goodbye kisses. During my whining and dressing for the Never Ending Snow, LittleBrother had made his way to the toy box, found his (play) camera and came to take my picture.

Say boogers and cookies, Mommy.”

Aww, maybe he is more like me than I think. Thrilling.


The Silver Lining in the Horrendous Winter Cloud of 2010

It’s been an awful winter. No doubt. With more snow in the forecast, I’m kind of ready to channel our angry snowman, hold my snow shovel to the sky and shout, “AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I’LL NEVER SHOVEL SNOW AGAIN!” Except then we’ll have a blizzard so I think I’ll refrain from such dramatics. I will, however, share with you the silver lining of this long, cold, snowy, icy and otherwise awful winter.

LittleBrother is potty trained.

In the winter of 2007, BigBrother and I had to skip weekly coffee with my friends for weeks as he struggled to make heads or tails of his bodily functions. This time around we didn’t have to skip anything. Why? We didn’t get to go anywhere for three weeks anyway due to the weather. Therefore, LittleBrother got three weeks of running around the house in a shirt, underwear, socks and sometimes slippers. Sometimes he threw a pair of Babylegs into the ensemble and cute pictures happened.

Some people do hole up in their homes with their potty interested toddler. They turn down invitations. They avoid the store. They run out of food, starve and everyone goes insane. You know, kind of like what happens when twelve inches of snow get another six inches of snow and then get topped with three more and then some freezing rain as a cherry on top of the sloppy sundae of winter. We had no choice. We were stuck at home. Why not parade around in underwear, sit in the hallway outside the bathroom and put stickers on a piece of construction paper? What else was there to do?


We were brave. Or silly. Probably a little of both. He wore underwear to the calling hours and the funeral last week. Unlike BigBrother, he has no fear of public restrooms. In fact, he adores them. We visit them. Repeatedly. On every trip outside of the house. It’s been interesting but productive. Literally.

He still occasionally has a small accident. The other day, we were taking out the trash during naptime. We came back into the house to hear LittleBrother at his door, his little voice coming out from under, “Sorry, Daddy.” It’s okay, Bubba. Accidents happen. We do some reminding, of course, but he also asks and tells us when he needs to use the bathroom. It’s quite shocking. Writing about it is kind of brave. He’ll probably decide tomorrow that baby diapers are all the rage and I’ll cry.

Maybe it was the book. Maybe it was all that sign language we did with him before he became (wicked) verbal. Maybe it was the awesome underwear he got for Christmas. Maybe it was following anyone who went into the bathroom so that privacy was a thing of the past. Maybe he was so tired of being at home that he created a new challenge for himself (and for us). Maybe he was just ready. I don’t know. All I know is that, except for nights, we’re done with diapers. (Night time readiness is a physiological response, not a matter of training.)

So, despite the cold, long, annoying winter, I’m thrilled that LittleBrother is potty trained. He’s even wearing pants over his underwear during the day now.  I maintain that pants are overrated but apparently it’s appropriate to wear them outside the house. Maybe we’ll stay in just a few days more. (Out of necessity. More snow on the way. Woo?)

(By the way, on the post I linked to March of 2007 and in the picture of LittleBrother in February 2009, the boys are wearing the same shirt. Apparently it’s a potty training favorite because it’s short in length which means no pee on it. Win.)

A New Look for Stop, Drop & Blog

The blog looks different. In fact, I think it looks awesome. I’m pleased with the overhaul which is really the first in nearly two years. I had changed the header here and there but hadn’t changed how things worked for quite some time. As Cabin Fever has caused us to do things like remodel our kitchen and go somewhat insane, I thought I’d use some of that insanity and work on the blog.

Dee of Life in Our Shoes messaged me shortly after I pressed the activate button and said, “I love your header! The characters look so much like you guys!” Then she proceeded to ask where I found a family that looked so much like me, FireDad, BigBrother and LittleBrother. I then explained that I found an amazing artist, Adina of Adina Illustrations. She hand draws her images. Let me reiterate that, folks: that’s a hand-drawn caricature of my family up there, you guys. It’s us. But cooler. And maybe less noisy. Awesome.


Working with Adina was a wonderful experience. I followed her on twitter, sent her an email of my many (many) desires for a header and crossed my fingers that she would be able to do it all. And she did it all. And more. I mean, we look like us. I’m even wearing green! FireDad’s turnout gear is yellow. My eyes even look like my eyes. It took about two weeks. She sent me the file. I paid her. And then I went about remodeling the blog using the new (and popular) WordPress theme Suffusion. By the way, Adina only charges $55 for her header work. You might want to get in on that before she realizes she’s under-charging and hikes that price.

I’m glad to have a new look to the blog, especially one that so fits us as a family. If you see any kinks in the next few days, please either let me know (via the contact form or Twitter) or ignore them. As an example, my No-Ad pages (for compensated reviews or giveaways per the BlogHer Ad Network agreement) are currently without a sidebar at all. I’m using the Single Post Template plugin but it’s giving me fits with this WordPress theme. I also need to do a little work on my sidebars. If you also have any functionality ideas (move the RSS button, remove/add/change something), please feel free to let me know!

Let me know what you think of the new look. Unless you hate it. Then take it up with the designers of the header or theme. Okay? Swell!