Snowball Fight in Adventure Field

Sometimes, we just have fun.

We’ve got a structured evening routine, here on Breaking Tradition, but it does leave room for fun and games.

For example, yesterday, I came home and read with Beanie while dinner cooked.  Then, after I ate, I got her started on “homework,” which meant writing a letter to a friend in Michigan. Then, after piano practice time, we played rhyme Dominoes.

After that, we had an hour until shower time.  What were a mother and daughter to do?

Well, we headed out to “Adventure Field.”  There are two good-sized grassy areas in the marina, and Beanie has named them Adventure Field and Chaos Field.  Last night, she wanted to go to Adventure Field.

We couldn’t find her ball, so we brought a bag of cloth “snowballs,” made by one of our friends in Michigan.   A fun (and funny!) evening ensued.

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I hope your October is treating you equally as well!

 

In Praise of my Mischievous Child

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I keep a secret from my daughter.  There is something I don’t tell her, when I’m giving her a time-out or discussing the reason for the bad report from her teacher.

I am secretly happy that she gets into trouble.

Beanie isn’t angry.  She doesn’t get in trouble for deliberately harming anyone.

What Beanie does is test limits.  She conducts social experiments.  She’ll put her hand on the fire alarm to observe her teachers’ reactions.  She’ll say a bad word, to see what happens. She hits her friends, because she thinks it’s funny.

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Of course, we show her what happens when she crosses a line.  We don’t encourage her to “misbehave.”

But I still like that she does it.  I like that she believes enough in her own worth to be unafraid of making mistakes. She’s not afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and learn.

Can we say the same for ourselves?

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I know that I have always been a people-pleaser.  I have always been terrified of doing anything that might offend, or lead someone to “not like me.”  Being socially shunned has always been my fear.

And because of this fear, I have been afraid to try. Better not to rock the boat, than to do something “wrong.”  And when I inevitably made mistakes anyway, it led to a ridiculous drama in my head.  I admonished myself for being so stupid, and spent more time regretting the fact that I tried something that didn’t work, rather than learning from it.

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Beanie is not a people-pleaser.  She doesn’t feel the need to do anything or be a certain way in order to be loved.  Yet she also has no desire to hurt anyone’s feelings.  She realizes that her experiments won’t hurt anyone’ feelings, at least not in a way that a hug and an “I’m sorry” won’t fix.

Beanie doesn’t freak out when she makes a mistake.  She thinks no less of herself.  She merely  learns from it, and, if not, she repeats the “lesson.”  

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And the most amazing part of it all?  While staying true to herself, Beanie DOES have a lot of friends.  In the three schools she has attended, she has been quite popular in all of them.  She is very successful, socially, even after being the “new kid” twice.

I think we all might have something to learn from that kid.

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First Day Excitement!

The first day of school has always been exciting for Beanie!  Even though she’s done it four times now.

Onto the bus for Head Start when she was 4…

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In Grand Haven the weekend before she boarded the Head Start bus once again when she was 5…

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Getting ready to ride a bigger bus to kindergarten, when we lived in our apartment in Clear Lake…

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This year, however, there were some changes!  Beanie would not be riding the bus through Clear Lake Shores

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Somebody’s excited!

 

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Don't worry, she took off her life jacket when she got there!

Don’t worry, she took off her life jacket when she got there!

 

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It’s only a couple blocks (less than a mile) from our marina to the school, and we thought bicycling would be easier and quicker than riding the bus or dropping her off by car.  When we get a dinghy, there is a canal that ends across the street from the school, so she will probably arrive by boat then.

Beanie had an excellent first day.  This year, she is in a co-taught class, like she was in preschool.  In kindergarten, she was in a general education class, with an aide who came to work with her for 30 minutes each day.  Her teacher and case manager recommended inclusion for her this year, so that a special education teacher or aide would always be in the room, though not specifically to work with Beanie.  That way, Beanie could get the one-on-one time she required, without being stuck with a certain time period where she got the extra support.  So she is in a general education classroom, with the same expectations as the other kids, but there is also a special education teacher in the room.  (I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but I spend the majority of my day co-teaching as a special education teacher at the intermediate level).  She will also continue to get OT and speech.  I think this will be perfect for her!

As for Beanie’s opinion?   I think her joyful rendition of the school song spoke volumes.

Pancakes

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I’ve never told you that sometimes I’m a bad mom.

I don’t always remember to read with my daughter every night.  I didn’t do a single in-kind activity with her during her last semester of preschool.  Some nights, I forego the bath, because we were out so late having fun.  And she’s often the one who reminds me that her teeth need brushing.

I am the parent who forgets to sign the forms for school, and needs frequent e-mail reminders.  Some nights, when we’re at the boat, we pick up a Happy Meal for her to enjoy.  Bedtime involves her watching Cinderella, until she’s ready to go to bed (which, surprisingly, always happens at a reasonable hour).  In spite of my resolve to be “natural” and “countercultural,” she knows all of the Disney princesses by name, owns numerous electronic toys, and loves playing Mario Kart with Rob and me.

Our life is one of squalor.  While we once aspired to have the elegant label of “minimalists,” we now live in a way that transcends labels.  My bicycle, with my helmet slung off of the handlebars, is the focal point of our living room.  Beanie’s tricycle stands next to it; there is no point in putting it away, because she rides it nearly everyday.  At times, her toy train runs through the entire apartment, acting as a means of transporting her toys from one room to another.  Boxes are strewn about, with boat and moped parts ordered from around the world.  Behind our table, a tiller handle is propped up against the wall (oddly enough, we don’t have sails stashed anywhere in our apartment.  That might be a first).  The once-empty master bedroom is now completely full.  The plastic kitchen that we pulled out of the dumpster has become a Doc McStuffins hospital, with a few teacups hanging amidst the stuffed animals.  In the middle of the floor, Beanie’s bicycle and scooter stand ready for action.  Her cardboard playhouse occupies the wall opposite the kitchen, and that is where she enjoys her movies.  The closet is filled with toys removed from the toybox, and her Pikachu and pirate costumes are strewn about on the floor.

It was in this squalor that my morning began, today.  I had made my way through our kitchen, filled with the remnants from last night’s cooking experiment (I have yet to have success with perogies, but I won’t stop trying!), and created some coffee for Rob and me.  After coffee and conversation, followed by a shower and my morning routine, I made my current favorite breakfast, one fried egg with pepper jack cheese. So far, I’ve loved 10 pounds off of my body, by eating simply and mindfully.

While fully enjoying the soft yolk and crispy whites, I heard some chattering just before the master bedroom door opened with a cracking sound.  Beanie emerges, with her hair disheveled, wearing the sundress she fell asleep in, with temporary princess tattoos covering her arms.  With a sleepy smile, she climbs onto my lap and leans against me, her ear over my heart.

A year ago, she could not speak in sentences.  Today, she proclaims, “I love you, Mommy!”

She draws her head back, grins at me, and relives our spring break adventures.  “I go to Kemah boardwalk,” she begins.  “I ride Jungle Bounce.  It is so high!  I go to music park (the park near our marina slip has an area where you can stomp the ground and hear a great drum beat.  At the end of this post is a video of Beanie dancing to it).  I go to Houston Children’s Museum.  I want to be a doctor.  Or an ambulance.”

I know she means “paramedic.”  I smile at her.  The world is your oyster, Beanie.

I’ve finished my egg, and it’s time for her to eat something.  Breakfast and lunch are when Beanie eats the most, and she’s still pretty twiggy, so I’m always eager to get her lots of healthy calories.  I consider making her a PBJ, but today seems to require something special.

I’m not a good cook.  But I have a friend who is, so I used his pancake recipe.  I poured too much batter into my cast iron pan, and it spread to completely cover the surface.  Thus, Beanie was treated to a “gigantic pancake,” which she excitedly took, once I had placed it on a plate.

“I want a Pacman pancake!” she announced.  I asked her if she wanted me to make it into a Pacman.  “No, I make a Pacman pancake,” she insisted.

So Jelly Bean joyfully ate her creation, then caught me trying to make more giant pancakes for the rest of the week.  She danced in front of the container in which I was placing them, until I gave her one more.

Later today, she will head over to Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment, where she will spend the night.  On Monday, she will accompany me to the gym, for my yoga class, and she looks forward to playing with the kids in the nursery.

I’m not supermom.  But who is?  Within the squalor of our life is something very real, very pure, and very deep.

This is love.

 

Pictures from my Commute (and a Bean)

I have decided that, for now, I will do one written and one pictorial post each week.  Normally, the pics will be on Friday, but I’m not in a very verbal mood today.

Here are my pictures for this week.  First, my commute:

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That’s the beauty I see every morning, from my bicycle.  Of course, this was an unusually spectacular sunrise, preceding a very crazy storm!  But the beauty that morning, is the best way to describe my emotional and spiritual state today.

And here is Beanie, out trick-or-treating.  We are glad the storm let up, just in time!

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Have a wonderful week!

Another Storm

Note:  Two days ago, I began to feel anxious and fearful–completely in survival mode once again.  I dissected it, and found nothing.  Until I realized that I was actually coming down with something, and my moods (and limited capacity for rational thought) were just reactions to feeling sick.  Today, finally, the room began to feel like Moonraker at anchor, so I left work early and took a day off. 

But I am sharing with you a very special post that I wrote, two falls ago, about an incident that happened in my classroom, early in my teaching career.  I hid this post after I wrote it–I had no subscribers at the time, back at Blog.com, and I didn’t plug it on Facebook, because I thought it was too personal.  My, how things have changed!  This is about a student, but there are no personal details, so his ananonymity is protected.  I hope you enjoy it.

At this time, on this day, every year, a certain student weighs heavily on my mind.

If all went well, he graduated last year. I hope all went well. I hope his success continued after I was no longer a part of his life.

Seven years ago, on this day, that student physically harmed me. He caused an injury that left me in constant pain for over a year. Three months of physical therapy led to an almost-miraculous improvement. After that, I was still noticeably weaker until our sailing trip from Tawas to Bay City. At that time, I had to take the tiller with my left arm through higher winds than we had ever encountered. That run was physically exhausting, but it never caused any pain to my damaged arm muscles. My left arm has been as strong as my right since then.

November 2004 was a time that challenged me. It taught me to rely on my team members; those who held me up and supported me through such a dark time, and those who challenged me to see everything in a different light. When I saw what could possibly be, I fought to keep this student under my care, in spite of the damage–both physically and emotionally–that I had sustained. Then, as we worked together, I saw a life transformed, a story changed. The student who damaged my body went on to achieve straight A’s. I was humbled; I was awed.

Those of us on his team were connected; we were bonded by the fact that we had all witnessed–and been part of–a miracle. To this day, even though we rarely speak of it, we have a strong friendship resulting from that experience.

I took the helm through the storm. But a helmsman is no greater than her crew. Had I not been told the coordinates, I could not have gotten us through the fog.

That year, on this day, I learned to believe. To believe in the power of a human being to change, to become something wonderful once given the right supports. To believe in the power of forgiveness, of moving past your own injuries to care for the wounds of others. To believe that tomorrow is something that can’t be seen, something that can be wonderful.

I would never ask to relive the experience. But it has changed me, and I am grateful to be the person I have become.

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Care to Join Me in My Challenge?

I know that I was going to give you a few days to read my sailing stories.

But an idea has been bouncing around in my head, and time in running a bit short, so I wanted to throw this challenge out there. Hear me out on this, then feel free to go back and read my sailing stories from yesterday.

You see, the past few days have been a time of reconciliation for me. I’ve made peace within–with my own perfections, with an unknown future, with the risks we are taking, and with my own notion of unworthiness. I’ve made peace, and gotten to work decluttering.

But something still was missing.

I’ve felt the need to DO something. As the work on the house is consuming all of my time, I feel like our individual situation, is also consuming all of my time and energy. It is the drive to do something, outside of our family, outside of our little bubble, that was been causing me unrest.

Donating is something that I often do, when I do not have extra time to spare. I remember the excellent job we all did on Gracyn‘s fundraiser (Gracyn is doing quite well, by the way!), and the helping with medical expenses is an issue I feel quite strongly about, for a variety of reasons. So, I have been challenging myself to donate–any amount I can spare, even $1 sometimes–to a child in need of medical fundraising. I wasn’t going to tell you about this challenge–it’s something I’m doing on my own–but I thought that maybe you would like to help.

So here’s what I’m going to do. Once a month, I’ll feature a child who needs help. I’ll choose one who is not near their goal, so that we can surprise their family with a little bit of help. This time, there are no give-aways, and I don’t even necessarily want to know whether you’re participating. I’m going to donate anonymously, and I urge you to do the same. I’m just going to throw it out there, and let things happen as they may.

So, for this month, I want you to consider 3-year-old Abby.

Abby had a massive stroke while undergoing heart surgery, and is running out of insurance to cover her therapies, as she recovers.  Having a child in therapy myself, I know how quickly the expenses can add up.  And Abby needs quite a bit.  She is relearning how to walk, talk, and even eat.  She will be requiring therapy for some time.

So please, visit this site to help Abby’s family out, with the financial end of things.  Remember, EVERY little bit helps–a bunch of people giving $1 adds up to a bunch of $.  The family only has 15 days left on their fundraiser, and they are barely halfway to their goal.

So let’s see what we can do to help!

Life With a Bean

Living with the Bean is certainly not boring.  Nor is it always conducive to having a productive day, packing.

Case in point: two days ago.

Rob and I woke up with high ambitions.  We discussed our plans over coffee: begin the day by going to the bank and getting a new ATM card (oh, yeah–we lost my wallet somewhere in our decluttering adventures.  Hopefully it will turn back up!) taking a carload to Goodwill, then filling up the car so that another load could go the next day.  We hoped to have more rooms emptied out. 

Well.  First, enter the flying ants.  The previous day, when Rob was cleaning out his hopelessly cluttered workshop, they kept biting him, leaving horrible welts.  Now, remember that Beanie encountered fire ants last spring.  After such an exposure to ant venom, she has developed an apparent sensitivity.

So, there Beanie was–while we were making plans–lying on the floor in the hallway, whimpering.  On her back was a huge, infected bump, surrounded by other obvious ant bites.  The flying ant had found his way into her bedroom.

I will spare you the details, but the bump needed to be dealt with.  Which was hugely upsetting for us, and even moreso for the Bean.

We snuggled her, and set her up in front of the laptop, with some They Might Be Giants podcasts playing.  The Goodwill trip wasn’t going to happen right away, so I started hauling some items out to the motor home.  When I approached the house, to get the next load, I heard Beanie crying.

Inside, Rob was snuggling Beanie, sitting next to the linoleum kitchen floor.  Beanie had thrown up.

After cleaning it up, Rob told me that it had looked like coffee grounds were in it.  He wondered if she had eaten dirt.  I consulted Dr. Google, and learned that this was actually blood, and was horrified by the litany of serious ailments this could be.

I was afraid that we were in for another trip to the E.R.

But then, in small, non-highlighted print, it said “GERD.”  It turns out that minor bleeds are quite common with GERD.  Beanie has had a number of reflux episodes lately, as we have not been as careful with her diet as we should be (actually, we were challenging to see if she had outgrown it, which apparently she has not.  I think she’s a lifer).  After more research and phone calls, I learned that the little bit we saw did not make this an emergency.  So we watched her, figuring that being upset from the ant bite caused her to have an episode.  She did not throw up again and gradually got her energy back.

So, by the afternoon, we knew we would be safe to make a Goodwill run.  First, we stopped at the food co-op to drop off two bicycles, with “free” signs on them.  Seeing where we were, Beanie insisted on going inside.  And she did not feel that a trip there was complete, without making a purchase.  So I armed Beanie with a dollar, and she selected 4 miniature organic chocolates.

Off we proceeded to Goodwill.  After we dropped off our donations, Rob decided that he could benefit from buying some shorts that actually still had buttons.  So we drove around to the front.

Then we looked into the backseat.

Beanie’s face and arms were completely covered in melted chocolate.  In true SPD style, she decided that the candy bars would make an excellent facial treatment.  She was in the process of licking it off her arm, and took offense to being called “chocolate monster.”

In the end, Rob found a shirt and shorts.  And Beanie didn’t have time to get ornery or get into mischief while he was shopping, because she was busy getting cleaned off in the restroom.

And I got a few more grey hairs…

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Six Years Ago, Today

First, check out my post on Be More With Less.  Thank you for allowing me to share my simplicity story, Courtney!

pgmommy[1]Early October, 2006

It was a very calm start to the school year (and the year would prove to be the best that I experienced in that building).  Rob and I had been living in our house for nearly two years now, my job seemed more secure—no talks of lay-offs this year—and we were eager to become a family of three.

Resolve wasn’t enough to make it happen though, and it was an emotional roller coaster.  In April that year, I had a very probable miscarriage.  I was finally beginning to face the fact that I might not be able to have a child.

That day in October, though, I was getting some physical signs that were definitely more than psycho-somatic.  I wasn’t sure what was going on—I had my doubts that I was actually pregnant—but I bought the test anyway, after work.

I had an entire ten minutes, home alone, before it was time for me to drive two hours to a class I had that night (I was working on my master’s).  I took the test, and saw that one line showed up right away.  My heart sank, because I thought it was the line that indicated that the test had worked.  But, THAT line appeared after a minute or so, much fainter than the original line, which showed a positive result.

We had no cell phone, so there was no way I could contact Rob, who was at work.  Shaking, I drove to class, making sure to pick up a rather large dinner on the way.  The first people I told were the other students at my table, in Intro to Cognitive Impairments.  I said I wasn’t used to babies at all, and the girl sitting next to me said, “Well you’d better get used to them, missy!”

I took another test when I got home.  It was the idiot-proof kind, that says “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”  Rob wouldn’t believe me until I actually showed him the test, with the telltale word.

March 2007

The ultrasound had shown that I had a previa.  Instead of being up, near the top, the placenta was down, possibly blocking the baby’s way “out.”  I would have to do another ultrasound in 6 weeks, as 90% of these resolve themselves.

My mother-in-law, who was a nurse, told me that as time went on, if this didn’t resolve itself, my activities would be reduced, until I was put on bedrest.  This didn’t sink in until the next morning at work, when I was explaining it to a friend, and I realized that I was the breadwinner.  Being on bedrest would cost us income, insurance, and possibly my job.  I left the room and locked myself in the bathroom.

My friend talked me back out, and we found an empty office, while our aides—who knew what was going on—covered our classes. 

“First of all, you won’t starve,” she said.  “We have welfare, we have food stamps.”

Then she asked me, “Do you believe in God?”

I nodded, although my faith and spirituality had been quite weak for some time.

“Then you need to believe that He has a plan,” she said.  “He will take care of you and your baby.”

I wasn’t ready to believe that—yet. 

April 2007

I was driving home from work, so you can infer that the previa resolved itself.  The placenta was still in the wrong place, but it was no longer a problem.

I had one week left until spring break, and I was ready for some time off of work.  I drove our red LeBaron convertible through the road construction, under the overpass, until I was next to Burger King, about 10 minutes from home.  Suddenly, a red Dodge Shadow crossed the center line, clearly aiming for the Burger King parking lot.  Thinking that they would see me and stop, I kept the cruise control on but swerved onto the shoulder.

That move may have saved as many as four lives.

When we hit, doing 55, we bounced off of each other, instead of coming to a dead stop (which would have happened, if I had stayed in my lane.)  As my car spun around—I didn’t even notice that my head and shoulder were slammed against the window—I thought “not again!”  I had been in two car accidents, one fender bender, and one ditch, since I had started driving.  I drove into the BK parking lot, when it hit me.

There were two of us in that car.  My doctor had recently lectured me on not riding a moped—or even a bicycle—while I was pregnant, because of the risk of a fall.  And now this had happened.

My baby was in danger.

Two bystanders came over to make sure I was all right, as I got out of my car.  These included the man I wrote about in this post.  He let me use his cell phone, to try and call Rob, who wasn’t there.  I kept repeating that I was going to lose my baby.

He told me tlebaron[1]hat I was hurting my baby now, by being so upset, and that I needed to breathe and calm down.  Another man approached, saying that he was a paramedic and asked if I needed help.  I continued to repeat that I was going to lose my baby, so he let the man I had been talking to, continue with his efforts.

Finally, he asked me if I wanted to hold his hand.  “My wife is right there, it’s all right,” he said.  I took his hand, and began to pray, “Please let my baby be all right,” over and over.  “That’s better,” he said.  “There you go.”

May 26-27, 2007

I learned at my next doctor’s appointment, that if I hadn’t have had the low-lying placenta, the seat belt would have likely caused it to detach, resulting in an emergency c-section and a premature birth.  But, sometimes there is a method to the madness, sometimes life does throw you a bone, and I carried the baby full term.

I didn’t know what labor would feel like, but I thought I might be experiencing it the day after school got out.  So off to the hospital we went.  We stopped at a gas station on the way, to get soda, and the girl at the counter asked, “So are you ready to have that baby?” 

“I think so,” I replied.

Things started off slowly, and the nurses advised us to get some sleep.  I tried, but the contraction picked up.  I spent some time bouncing on an exercise ball in the shower, then later, in the room. 

My spirits were high, until they checked and found that there had been no progress.  They began to talk about Pitocin.  The nurse said it was completely my choice, but I hadn’t done my homework.  So we went for it.

I bounced on the ball, with the IV in my arm, and not much changed.  What pushed me over the edge, was when they checked again, and there was no progress.  Sitting in the recliner, the contractions suddenly seemed unbearable—since they were leading nowhere—so (not being the crunchy mommy that I would later become) I ordered the epidural.

Rob nearly fainted from the needle, so my nurse had to hold me up while the anesthesiologist put the line into my spinal cord, but the relief was great.  But then I started feeling contractions again.  I told the nurse, who got the doctor who was on call.

It was then that I saw the monitor.  It turns out that the drugs in the epidural had made my blood pressure drop through the floor, and they had been giving me a crazy amount of fluids, which were doing nothing to improve the situation. 

I commented on my BP to the doctor who said, “Well you’ll live a lot longer with that blood pressure, than if it were too high.”  And he ordered more pain meds.

The Pitocin, meanwhile, did nothing.  Then, the doctor determined that I had two amniotic sacs, with fluid in-between.  This is significant, because it provided the baby with extra protection during the car accident.  Once that situation was taken care of, things started moving, quickly.

All went well, until delivery time.  They had to turn off the epidural, since I was unable to use or feel the necessary muscles.  I pushed for 2 ½ hours (I told about the nurse who helped me through that, here), and in most hospitals, this would have resulted in a c-section.  Even without the pain meds, I have very low muscle tone, which probably made things more difficult.

The baby’s heart rate dropped, so they gave my oxygen (which did nothing).  At one point, they had me lay on my side—I later learned that was because the cord was wrapped around the baby’s head.

mommydaddyili[1]Finally the doctor left the room and returned with the vacuum extractor, and asked my permission to use it.  I wanted to ask him where that was 2 hours ago!

Within the next two minutes, this very tiny person, with a head full of black hair, was placed on my chest.  “It’s a girl!”  the doctor proclaimed.  “Are you sure?”  the nurse asked.

We had been counting on having a boy, because at my last appointment, my doctor (who was on vacation for Memorial weekend) had called the baby “him.”  We had a girl’s name picked out, and we thought we would use the last half of this name, as the baby’s nickname.

yawning[1]But that day, on May 27 at 5:31 p.m., I addressed my daughter by the first half of her name, giving her the nickname she has today.  Then, through my tears, I exclaimed, “You’re beautiful—I love you!”

Happy sixth birthday, Beanie.  You’re still beautiful, and I love you even more than I did that day, if that is possible.

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Raw Meats! (And an Epic Tricycle)

Jelly Bean has never named any of her toys.  Often she’ll just call animals by what they are, as in the case with “Monkey Friend.”  Or the toy will already have a name, such as Theodora the teddy bear. 

But, at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, she finally got the chance to name a toy.

While they were baby-sitting her, Grandma and Grandpa took Beanie out to Target, where they found a good-sized stuffed horse.  Beanie loves horses, so this was a must-have. 

When we came to pick Beanie up, she was sitting on the floor, feeding this horse the cloth carrot that came with it.  Curious as to what Beanie’s reply would be, my mom asked her, “What is the pony’s name?”

Beanie thought about it a bit.  Then she answered, with all the confidence in the world:

“Raw Meats!”

My mother started laughing so hard, that she had to leave the room

Rob and I, questioning Beanie’s resolve with the choosing of this name, has frequently asked her about her pony’s name.  Her answer is always the same.

Last weekend, when it was time to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, Beanie started jumping around, excitedly.  “Pony time!”  she exclaimed.  “By the name of…Raw Meats!”

Gotta love that kid.

Beanie also got a very epic tricycle, from Harbor Freight.  She has been learning to balance on a bicycle, but her distractibility and lack of leg strength have made it difficult.  We found this trike, which is designed for older kids, and able to go off-road quite easily.  It looks cool, and we think it will help her build up her leg muscles.

All in all, it was a good weekend!