Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Choosing Joy....Nevermind

When I'm feeling blue...all I have to do, is take a look at you, then I'm not so-oo blue...please tell me I'm not the only one with song lyrics running through my head constantly. My children are subjected daily to snatches of song in the middle of conversations, and I've been known to disconcert friends and family by bursting into song in the middle of a thought. I try to keep it under control, I promise, but sometimes it just leaks out. My children think I must really love them or else that I'm desperate for them to obey because they hear, "STOP!...In the naaaame of looooove! Before you break my heart. Think it oo-woh-ver."

My post title promises I'm writing about choosing joy, not random ramblings about the random ramblings in my head. So. Choosing joy.

Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. Still humming.

La la la la something,
My whole world could shatter, I don't care

Wouldn't you agree, baby you and me, we've got a groovy kind of love

Don't quite know all the lyrics. Must look them up.


I had a friend in high school named Joy. A year younger. She had a brother in my grade. I wonder what ever happened to them?

I want to write a thoughtful post about choosing joy over the blues, contentment over frustration, love over impatience. About how we can't control our emotions, but we can control our habits. About mindfully practicing joy and peace, rigorously, in order to lead a joyful and peaceful and mindful life.

Hmmph. I can't focus. My head is a parade of songs and plans for tomorrow and where-are-they-now and not enough sleep and chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar, all bumping and jostling around my brain clamoring for attention.


Another day, perhaps.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Snail picking

A penny a snail.

The fine young entrepeneurs earned forty cents yesterday searching for snails and dropping them in a bucket of soapy water. I told them that they're welcome to smash them, step on them, drown them, feed them to the chickens, whatever, as long as the snails cannot make it back into the garden to eat our salad.

Eldest gent was not interested. Middle gent was inspired, and he hunted and hunted. Of the forty cents, 36 were his. Once his brother realized how much money was at stake, he pitched in too and found four snails before guests arrived.

The gents want to see how much snail money they can earn over the course of the summer. This morning they each wrote "Snail Money" on pieces of paper and taped the papers to a jar or tin. Clink-clink-clink went the coins. I had to explain to middle gent why he only got three coins, while his brother got four.

Perseverance and focus, the value of our time and choosing how to spend it, counting money. Getting to see the pennies mount up. Hard work.

And fewer snails.

Life is good.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Garden Buzz

Not the kind you hear when a bee whizzes buzz.

The fine young gents and I took a trip to the Farmer's Market in search of Sungold cherry tomatoes. Well, I was in search of the Sungolds. The fine young gents were lured to the market by promises of cookies and getting to push the buttons on the pay-to-park machine. We also bought celery starts, a mild hot pepper plant, two varieties of watermelon for the gents to try, and fresh strawberries for tomorrow's breakfast.

Next stop: A quick trip to the garden store to look for a natural snail deterrent. Some things slimy munched my beautiful broccoli, then helped themselves to our lovely salad greens and gorged on our spinach for dessert.

While at the garden store, a fine young gent needed to use the restroom, which meant a trip across the way to the coffee store. Serendipity. On the door to the coffee store was a sign offering free coffee grounds to gardeners. The coffee gal led me around to the dumpster, conveniently located next to the garden store. Bags and bags of used coffee grounds and filters, plus a large bin of coffee grounds for those gardeners savvy enough to bring their own containers. Tea and tea bags, too, Coffee Gal told us. We grabbed as many bags as we could carry, the gents groaning the whole way back to the car. On the way home our car smelled like coffee.

As for my snail deterrent, which I forgot to buy, I read this article: How to Compost with Coffee, which states that, among other things, coffee may be a slug and snail deterrent because they don't like the texture or the caffeine, and (even better) coffee grounds can also be a cat deterrent.

There's a light layer of coffee grounds sprinkled around my poor mangled broccoli and my hole-y greens in hope that our slimy night visitors will go away, and a generous sprinkle in our tiny flowerbed-turned-cat-toilet in hopes that the neighborhood cats will stay away too. Despite washing many times my hands smell faintly of coffee. And oranges. There was a whole orange in one of our coffee bags, thrown away once it had been zested, and since citrus may be a natural cat deterrent as well, I squeezed the orange over the coffee grounds for good measure. Tomorrow I'll dig the rest of the grounds into my nearly-ready compost bin and share the wealth with my dear friend down the street, then back for more some time this week.

More information about composting with coffee grounds:

Coffee Grounds and Composting at

According to, "Sunset sent a batch of Starbucks’ used coffee grounds — the company gives them away for free — to a soil lab for analysis. Turns out the grounds provide generous amounts of phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper. They also release nitrogen into the soil as they degrade. And they’re slightly acidic — a boon in the Western climate." Read the full lab report: "The Starbucks coffee compost test".

Coffee and Gardening at Sustainable Enterprises
As long as I'm at it, a garden report:
We've got carrots up, just thinned. We'll plant some more this week. I love carrot tops in the garden. They're so cheerful.

Our first planting of peas is climbing the string trellis, peas from the second planting have peeked their little heads up and are racing to catch up to their earlier brothers.

The tomatoes we bought a couple weeks ago are thriving, and I've counted ten volunteers of at least two different varieties, joined by a lone strawberry volunteer far from the strawberry bed.

The strawberries in the front and back yards are loving the warm-cool-warm-cool weather cycle, growing tall and covered with blossoms, and we spotted a nearly ripe berry yesterday.

We've harvested greens--salad and spinach--twice already, and they were...greening?...growing, anyway...beautifully for a third harvest until the snail feast. Fine young gent chose head lettuce at the Farmer's Market today, so we'll have plenty of salad for the table this summer.

Our raspberries are thriving and spreading. Even the one I left for dead but couldn't be bothered to pull up has sent up shoots or whatever they're called all around the bare stick I planted last year.

The rhubarb has returned. Last year we got one stalk. This year we'll get plenty, maybe even enough to divide the plant and share with a gardening friend.

We've been gifted with cabbages, dill, lettuce starts, and another tomato by our lovely friends and neighbors. Some are planted and thriving, and some I planted just yesterday. Thank you, my lovely thoughtful friends.

In two weeks we'll get to pick up our CSA box from the Food for Lane County youth farm. We've never participated in a CSA program before. I can't wait to see what's in the box! (What is CSA? Read about it here. A list of Eugene area CSA's--Community Supported Agriculture--here.)

We've got a promise of free tomato and sweet pepper and cucumber starts from the youth farm when we volunteer on Wednesday. (IrieMeg, if you read this in time, want to join us?) We may be able to bring home some lovely rich leaf mulch as well, which we need for one of the garden beds and to mix into our compost bin.

Waiting on the planting table: A Sungold tomato, celery, marigolds, a hot pepper, head lettuce, a bush baby watermelon and a yellow watermelon, and assorted flowers chosen by the fine young gents.

I'm reading The Vegetable Gardener's Bible.

And I hope to get the camera (and my own busy self) out into the garden this week.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday Word

Mondegreen: A misheard lyric

From Wikipedia:
The American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term mondegreen in an essay "The Death of Lady Mondegreen," which was published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954. In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line from the 17th century ballad "The Bonnie Earl O' Murray."
She wrote:
When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me from Percy's Reliques, and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray, [sic]
And Lady Mondegreen.

The actual fourth line is "And laid him on the green." As Wright explained the need for a new term, "The point about what I shall hereafter call mondegreens, since no one else has thought up a word for them, is that they are better than the original."

Olive the other reindeer (All of the other reindeer.)

Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life (Surely goodness and mercy… from Psalm 23)

Round John Virgin ('Round yon virgin.)

And so any favorites?

And, for word-lover fun, a whole site devoted to mondegreens.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tuesday Ten: Say Cheese!

My sisters, Busy Cristy and IrieMeg have cool fancy cameras too. And they've read lots of camera books and taken classes, and they write photography stuff on their blogs. I'm feeling a little left out. So I've written my own camera tips just so I can feel cool, like I'm in the photographers club.

Don't expect to learn anything, though.

Tuesday Ten: Camera Tips from a Fumbling Photographer

1. Kids like to make faces.
But it's way better than the "cheese" face. You know the one....your little camera hog sees you pointing the lens in their direction and immediately the head goes to the side and the photo smile appears. You don't even want to press the button because you've got hundreds of pictures of this kid with the exact same face, exact posture, exact tilt of the head.

I like to say, "What are you cheesing at, camera hog? I've got better things to photograph. I was taking a picture of...that....dead tree next to you." Or I pinch them. Then I take pictures of them crying. Because it's way more interesting than the "cheese" face.

Er....or I ask them to make silly faces.

2. When you go out with the kids to take their pictures, don't forget the camera. Yup. You read it here first. When you're asked, "What's the most brilliant photography tip you've ever read?" you can say that a very wise woman once wrote, "Don't forget the camera," and it's stuck with you ever since.

3. Hire professional kids. Pretend they're yours. They'll stand still. They won't expect you to play with them. They won't crab at you, "Mooooo-oooom. Stop taking my picture." It's way easier than taking pictures of your own kids, who don't care what they wear or if they're standing next to a plastic trash bin.

Not really. But darned if my little stinkers actually think I take them outside to play and stuff. They want to wear garish colors and that ugly Spiderman glove because it's really a magic gauntlet. They don't care if they still have breakfast on their faces (um....not that I don't make my kids sparkle when they leave the house, I just mean all of those other messy kids, that's it) or if they're standing in a shadow or if their grimy little feet are ruining the perfect shot of their brother drawing in the grass.

4. Shhhh....don't tell the camera snobs in my life, but this one is one of my favorites: If you don't want to lug around the giant camera, take the point-and-shoot. It works just fine.

I just got back from accompanying the lovely ladies on their choir tour. Loving husband was surprised I didn't want to take the new camera. Best decision I ever made. Well, besides remembering my Swiss Army credit card tool. This thing. I was a chaperone, and had to deal with a sliver, dropped camera (not mine), write down a number, and cut off tags. Back to cameras, I had to carry my luggage, my pillow, my travel bag for the bus, my purse, and all of the things my lovely lady dropped or forgot. The last thing I needed was another bag or a heavy (and breakable and very expensive) camera hanging around my neck. I got some decent pictures anyway.

5. If you share a camera, check the white balance before you start taking pictures. So your kitchen and your boy won't look blue. Even if you just put the camera down for twenty minutes. Someone will come along and mess it up for you. And look at the pictures as they come up on the review screen so that you figure it after the first picture. I know you can Photoshop it and stuff, but sheesh, I barely have time to read the camera manual.

6. Better yet, hide the camera. That way no one can take off with it and change it in the first place.

7. Even better, find out what white balance is, first. I know, I know. This one is almost as good as Tip #2.

Seriously, this is like learning a whole new language. Fun. Challenging. Time-consuming. Thank goodness for loving husband-- for two reasons.

First, because he understands cameras and can explain them to me. The guy can't take a decent picture to save his life--more about this later--but he understands how the camera works and how to get the most out of the camera settings, and he's patient enough to explain. I, on the other hand, know nothing about the camera yet, but I do know how I want the pictures to come out, and I'll take ten pictures of the same thing to get the best shot I can. If we could squish our brains together, we'd make the perfect photographer.

Second, because he understands that I don't have a lot of time. When I've got to pack a snack, fill water bottles, gather nature outing supplies, slather kids with sunscreen and find sun hats, the last thing I've got time for is flipping through the camera book and fiddling with the camera. I can hand him the camera, say, "We're going on a nature hike. It'll be mostly shady." He'll set the camera for me and quickly show what I might want to try switching around. Then when I get home he'll explain more fully.

8. Whatever you do, don't give loving husband the camera. He will take your picture. He doesn't care if you haven't done your hair and you're not wearing makeup and you're grimy because you've been weeding in the garden all day. He doesn't care if the pictures make you look old and tired and puffy. He doesn't care that if he doesn't include the guitar in the picture he's taking of you playing the guitar, you'll just look like you're trying not to cry. We've got pictures of me chewing, pictures of me with my eyes half-closed, pictures of me talking, and pictures of me turning around saying, "What?"

9. A totally gratuitous "after" shot that has nothing to do with photography tips.

I donated my hair to the Angel Hair Foundation.

Have fun. Take pictures of the moments you want to remember, the things that make you laugh and the things you'll miss and even the things that make you want to cry a little.

Life is good, and you'll have the pictures to remember it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mt. Pisgah Arboretum

On Friday, we took a nature day at the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. The camas is in bloom.

The Wildflower Festival is next Sunday, May 18th, and the fields are purple with flowers. The fine young gents and I bemoaned the fact that we had forgotten our wildflower book, but the arboretum volunteers are prepared for wildflower lovers-- there was a laminated wildflower guide on a stand along the trail. (For an online wildflower identification guide, try here or here.)

Lovely lady had a day off from high school. We all heard a downy woodpecker, and our sharp-eyed girl spotted him first. The fine young birders also spotted European starlings, American crows, American robins, all of which we've spotted in our own backyard, and a spotted towhee, which we haven't. And some little flitty brown birds we couldn't identify.

Then we headed to the turtle pond. The fine young gents stopped several times on the way to explore an hollow stump, blow "wishes" (dandelions gone to seed), look in the ditch, examine new flowers, throw rocks in the river.

I took pictures with my new camera. You all with have to bear with me for a while as I experiment with all the buttons and what-not. Fine young gent above (with his hair brushed, I'd like to point out) is telling me to stop taking his picture so he can show me the owie on his finger.

We didn't see any turtles at the turtle pond, but the gents had a grand time searching. We've never seen turtles, though many of our friends have seen them basking.

Time for nature journals. Each child has a nature journal, colored pencils and a water bottle in his backpack. Littlest gent was quite indignant at the suggestion that I carry his water bottle in my backpack. He is big. He carried it all the way without complaining.

The fine young gents finally got to play by the creek, which is why they'd wanted to come to the park in the first place. The arboretum has a wonderful picnic area with tables, a covered enclosure and a sitting area in a small tent. Last week we visited the park with friends, planning on a hike, and the children spent the entire time splashing in the creek and playing house in the tent.
As we gathered our things to leave, one of the fine young gents found an injured Anna's hummingbird. It had flown into the skylight of the picnic shelter and fallen, and seemed to have an injured leg or foot. I gently scooped it right into my hands. It was so tiny and amazing, that little living creature sitting in my hands like a little jewel. It was serendipitous that we'd visited the Cascade Raptor Center just the week before, and I'd happened to ask what one does with an injured bird that is not a raptor. You put the bird in a shoebox or other bird-sized box if you can do so safely and call a wildlife rehab center. (What to Do If You Find An Injured Bird.) The park volunteer we found to help couldn't find a small box, so we made do with a pickle jar. We slid the hummingbird into the jar, put a paper towel over the top of the jar with a rubber band, and poked air holes in the paper towel. I wrapped it in my sweatshirt to keep it dark and so that it wouldn't be frightened of the big scary people. On the way home we took quite a detour to drop the bird off at Willamette Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Adventures with Chickens

Loving husband built me a chicken coop. (Technically, he built a chicken coop for the chickens so that I wouldn't have to build it myself, but you knew what I meant, right?)

Isn't it nifty?

One of the way cool things about the chicken coop is the ramp. The idea is that during the day the chickens run around in the bottom pen, then go up the ramp into the coop to roost. The ramp raises and lowers so that the chickens will be shut up safely at night.

Here's the problem: The insult "birdbrain" was coined for a reason. And, quite frankly, chickens aren't exactly the Einsteins of the bird world.

The chicks can't figure out how to go up and down the ramp.

After two nights of crawling under the coop to push them up the ramp, I think to myself, "There's got to be a better way." Last night I had the bright idea of coaxing them up the ramp with food so that they get the idea of walking up the ramp all by themselves, only to find themselves -Surprise!- in their cozy chicken haven.

I opened the side door of the coop:

I reach into the coop with my arm stretched as far as it can go down the ramp. Instead of the nice pristine floor you see in the picture, there are shavings and....well, chickens aren't potty-trained.

"Here chick-chick-chick!"

They know my voice. I wasn't kidding in the first chicken coop post when I pretended they were calling me "Mom." They think I'm some kind of giant chicken with weird feathers and a cluck impediment. So they perked up and started looking for food.

Inching up the ramp bit-by-bit, I coax the two smartest chickens ("smartest" being relative, of course) into the coop. Woo-hoo! They settle right down into the corner together, snuggling chicken fluffballs.

Two down, two to go.

Another problem: Not only are chickens dumber than a fencepost, they're also flock animals. At this point the two chicks below realize that they've been separated from half their flock. Never mind that they watched their companions climb the ramp up to chicken heaven, all they can think is "Our friends are gone!" and run around frantically cheeping as though the sky is falling. The frenzy of the chicks below alarms the chicks above, and they completely lose their minds as well. The place that they can best hear one another is through the crack in the floor---ceiling--depending on where they are, so the chicks, above and below are running back and forth along the edge of the coop.

To recap, picture this:
Me, stretched all the way inside the coop by now in an attempt to distracted the crazed chicks below with food, lying in God-only-knows-what (ok, I know what too, but I'm trying not to think about it) with chicks frantically jumping in my hair.

Not one of my finer moments.

I gave up and crawled under the coop to retrieve the remaining chicks. "Oh, thank God! It's you, giant weird chicken Mom!" they said when they saw me. Not in so many words, obviously, but I could tell. I managed to scoop them both up, wriggle my way back out from under the coop, free one hand to open the side door by tucking a struggling chick under my arm, and put them to bed.

Stupid chickens.

Tonight I was gone until after dark. I left the ramp down. When I came home I went out to put them to bed. Inside the coop there was a cozy ball of chickens snuggled together.

All by themselves.

Hey! I heard that! Who ya callin' birdbrain?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie

The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, May Gibbs.

"Humans, Please be Kind to all Bush Creatures and dont pull flowers up by the roots." (From Gibbs' first illustration on the contents page.)

Mom brought the Poohsticks gang this charming Australian children's classic. The lovely ladies and I fell in love with the little gumnuts (eucalyptus nuts) and their adventures in the bush, and now the fine young gents are enjoying the stories of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Mr. Lizard, Ragged Blossom and the wicked Banksia men.

The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie is comprised of three volumes written by Australian author-illustrator May Gibbs: Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: their adventures wonderful, Little Ragged Blossom and more about Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and Little Obelia and further adventures of ragged Blossom, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. The delightful stories remind me a little of Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories, another Poohsticks favorite, and May Gibbs' illustrations are absolutely charming. Not only are the stories delightful, they're a perfect read-aloud for young nature lovers, as Gibbs writes with a clear love and respect for the natural world.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday Ten: Ten Things I Should Be Doing Instead

I shouldn't be doing this. I should be elsewhere, I really should.

Someone call me up and tell me to get to work. Call me right now. Unless it's three in the morning, then don't call, go to bed.

By the time you read this post, I won't still be writing it anyway, right? But chances are, that when you read this I'm procrastinating about something, so you might as well call me anyway. It probably won't do any good, but it's worth giving me a jingle just in case.

Because there are at least Ten Things I Should Be Doing Right Now Instead of Blogging. Like....

1. Laundry. Yeah. Big shocker, huh? There's always laundry. The last few days have been insanely crazily busy, so laundry procrastination and just plain not being home have met one another and mated or something, resulting in The Abominable Mount Laundryman. It's a little scary going down to the basement. I think I heard it growling at me this morning.

If only I could convince my family to run around naked. Or wear the same outfit for a week or a month or so.

2. Cleaning something. I don't know what, but I'm sure I could find something.

Which, now that I think of it, is why I'm here. If I start looking around, next thing you know I'll be scrubbing the bathroom floor or something, and who wants to do that?

(I can just hear all you neatniks cringing. Don't take me too seriously. I have three little boys, one of whom is still learning to aim and another who likes to hold conversations or look out the window while he's standing at the toilet. I scrub the bathroom floor almost daily.)

3. Bible study homework. I've got Bible study questions to read and ponder. Verses to look up. A new chapter to read, except I haven't even purchased the book yet. Maybe I should get on that, since Bible study is in two days.

4. Cleaning up the dog crate. The chicks lived there for several weeks. It was cleaned regularly, but now that the chicks are in their cushy new home I need to hose down the dog crate and get it ready for Poppy's return.

5. Sleeping.

6. Reading. I've got three photography books on my to-be-read stack, and Child of Wonder, which we got, autographed no less, from Ginger herself when we saw her at our Friday field trip to the Cascade Raptor Center, which I still need to write about because it was a fabulous experience. I started Child of Wonder right away, but it's been floating around the fine young gents' bedroom because their pictures are in the book. They think it's way cool to be in a real book. I should rescue it from the end of youngest gent's bed.

7. Eating cheesecake. Not really. I should not be eating cheesecake. But I wish I was eating cheesecake.

8. Voting. I got my ballot in the mail today. I should be reading the voters' pamphlet and marking my ballot. It's not due for a few days, though, and I can always drop it off in the drop-box next to the library on the very last day if I forget to stamp it and mail it. Which I will.

Can I go off on a little tangent here? (Oh sure. Quit rolling your eyes. I can practically hear you thinking to yourself, "Now she asks. And why? It's not like I can stop her." Just hush and read.) I love Oregon's vote-by-mail. Love, love, love. I can vote in my pajamas. I can holler across the room, "Hey, honey, what do you think about this one?" and engage in stimulating political discussion while I vote. I can eat cheesecake while I vote.

Well, I could if I had cheesecake.

Which I don't.

9. Petting the cat.

I didn't write that. I swear. I walked away from the keyboard and when I came back there was a number nine on the list. There's not even another person in the room....except...the cat....

10. Having a real-life conversation with my real-life loving husband who loves me so much that he spent several hours in the driveway building a chicken coop. Plus, when he read over my shoulder, he left for the bakery to get me a piece of cheesecake.

Gotta go.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

Loving husband really loves me. I know this not because he brings me flowers and gives me expensive jewelry, but because he's willing to invest a sizeable chunk of his leisure time in building a house for a bunch of birds about whom he really couldn't care less.

Ok, I guess he could care a little less. I mean, he appreciates fresh eggs. But if our chickens dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow he'd be sad for, say, ten minutes and then he'd be over it.

Even though he's not really a "chicken guy," he built me a chicken ark. Now that's true love.

It has nest boxes and an egg door.

The bottom opens so that we can let the chicks out into the yard if we so desire. Or not.
It has a side door for cleaning.

The chicks are no longer in the dog crate in the basement, which was fine when they were cute and fluffy. But not so much now that they look like real birds. I'll bet they're complaining about the cold right now.
"Um, Mom? When do we get to come back inside?"

(Chicken coop plans here.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Serenity Now

In Which We Make the Bed

Fine Young Gent, 5, going by Young Link today: "Mom. Are you changing my bed?"

(Indeed I am. As he can plainly see.)

Me: "What am I doing, bunny?"

Young Link: "Changing the bed."

Watches for a moment.

YL: "Mom, are you putting on blue sheets?"

Me: "What color are the sheets I'm putting on?"

YL: "They look blue."

Me: "Indeed they are."

YL: "So, Mom, are you putting on blue sheets?"

In Which I Am Called Mom

Fine young gent, 3, also going by Young Link after much furor over the question of whether or not he can choose who he wants to be: "Mom?"

Me: "Yes?"

Young Link Too: "Mom?"

Me: "What bunny?"

YLT: "Hi Mom." Big cheesy grin.

Me: "Hi bunny."

YLT: "Mom?"

Me: "What, love?"

YLT: "Mom!"

Repeat. About 50 times.
Seriously, I keep trying to get them to call me Princess or Dude. Or Princess Dude. Or even Princess Mom. Anything. They won't do it.

If one more little person does "Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom-Mom" my ears may just jump right off my head.

They think it's funny when I say that. They think that just because I laugh when I say it, that I am joking. I'm not.
In Which I Sit on the Couch to Read a Book

Young Link, the five-year-old: "Mom, can I sit with you? On your lap?"

Me: "Sure!"

YL: "Mom, I love you. I just love you so much."

Young Link Too: "Mom, I want to love you too. Can I sit on your lap?"

Their brother whose pretend name I can't remember: "I want to sit on your lap too. I love you too, Mom."

Mom's reading time turned into wrestling tickling time. But it was worth it.
In Which I Make Lunch

Young Link, the five-year-old: "Mom, are you making lunch?"

(Indeed, I am. I've got the lunch plates out and fixin's for sandwiches. And I announced that I was going into the kitchen to make lunch.)

Me: "Yes, bunny, I am making lunch."

YL: "Are you making sandwiches?"

Me (Patiently, though I may have sighed a little): "What do you see on the counter?"

YL: "Bread and soy butter and jam."

I nod.

YL: "So, are you making sandwiches?"

I try not to sob hysterically. I cannot wait until he stops asking me these questions. I know he will eventually because his brother stopped.

Me: "What do you think, sweetheart?"

YL: "You're making sandwiches?"

I nod.

YL: "So, what kind of sandwiches are you making?"

Man, it's a good thing they're cute. That means that they will live to see the day when I miss answering the obvious and having them underfoot.

Life is good.

The Stream

By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day."

From Chaper VI "In Which Pooh Invents a New Game and Eeyore Joins In," The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne.