Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Last night, when Mr. Wicke got home from work, we took our little family out for a end-of-the-school-year celebration.  Logan had reached her personal goal of breaking 700% for her assigned reading goal and Griffin...well, Griffin had improved his classroom deportment from near-criminal to at least acceptable.  We'll take what we can get.

I had to laugh when a friend told me that her son got a yellow card (gasp!) the other day, an unheard of incident in their household.  So unheard of, actually, that when--as she was tucking him into bed--she asked if he had gotten a green card that day and he shook his head, she automatically responded with a delighted, "Did you get a purple card?"  See, that made me laugh right out loud.  Really hard.  Of course she'd ask that.  He has actually received a few of those commendations.  I, on the other hand, didn't even know purple cards existed!

But, I have to hand it to my Griffin.  He's come a long way this year.  No more sticks.  No more special timer.  Only a couple of (well-deserved) yellow cards in the last couple of months.  And that is to say nothing of his academic performance which has always been excellent.  We are very proud of him.  I give him a purple card in my heart; how about that?

And Logan, as her teacher announced yesterday at their class awards program, received the "Voracious Reader" award; according to the computer's count, she has read 944,000 words in her outside reading this year!  Her teacher told me we should be very proud as that was an outstanding accomplishment, and we are.

So pleased, in fact, that we celebrated with bean and cheese burritoes, quesedillas, and churros at Rubios.  Then it was off to the mall where they each picked a Webkinz.  If ever I let Logan choose a reward, she suggests a Webkinz, and Griffin follows along in her footsteps.  Logan chose the Portuguese Water Dog (us and the Obama's) and Griffin got the Golden Retriever.  I'm not sure how many Webkinz Logan needs before she reaches the saturation point, but so far we have not met it.  She is "collecting" them, as she told us very matter-of-factly.

And while she is busy collecting stuffed animals, I am collecting a heartful of memories.  Yesterday, when I bumped into a couple of women from church, they both commented how they would love to go back to when their kids were little again.  How those were the sweetest, golden years.  I thought of that while I watched Griffin's end of year slide show that he brought home yesterday, and I got a little teary-eyed.  All those happy moments come and gone. 

Already my children are changing.  Learning.  Growing.  Exactly as they should be.  Yet I know it is just a blink and a breath before the children in front of my eyes are gone.  In just a couple of years, she won't love Webkinz anymore.  And Griffin, while still having a mischievous twinkle in his eye, will no longer poke his teacher's bottom (I HOPE!) or come home covered in mud.  I cannot stop it, but I can celebrate it.  We can celebrate the milestones, the happy moments, the changes, and the growth. 

There is never too much celebration.  Never too much of telling them how proud we are to be their parents.  Never, never too much love.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's the End of the World as We Know It

Mr. Wicke walked out the door this morning.  Yup.  He did.  And he won't be coming back until 5:30 pm or somewhere around there.  After six years of working from home, he has joined the company of regular working people everywhere and is chained to an office away from home for the majority of the day.

His children don't like it, and already I am lonely.

The fact is that our children can not comprehend a father who isn't just around the corner behind the closed door of his office.  Last year, when he was away on a business trip, Logan complained so badly that she missed her daddy that finally I said, "You know, most people's daddies are gone every day!"

"What?!" she sputtered, as if her mind couldn't comprehend the notion.  I knew then that if he ever were to go back to a traditional working situation, we would be in for a rough adjustment.

For the last couple of weeks as this decision was on the horizon and Mr. Wicke and I were discussing the possiblities in bits and pieces here and there, Logan put two and two together and piped in with her own opinion.  "But, but, I don't want you to take the other job, Daddy, because you will be far away!"  And while Tempe is within a very reasonable commute, this morning, with the house so very still, he does feel far away, and I feel quite alone. 

In truth, it has been a blessing having him home so much of the time, although in the beginning I wasn't sure it would be so.  A husband working from home and a stay-at-home mom equals a lot of together time.  If I didn't make the beds or clean up the breakfast dishes until three pm, I couldn't hide it from him.  Not that he would ever say anything, but at first I felt like it was kind of on-the-job supervision all the time.  It wasn't long, however, before we fell into an easy rhythm.  He did his thing; I did mine; and we crossed paths all day long.  I'm going to miss that.

I'm going to miss his back up, his chiming in with a "Listen to your mother!" when things got a little hairy with the kiddos.  I'm going to miss being able to put the baby down for his nap and running out to volunteer at the school.  I'm going to miss being able to call him to come quickly to witness a childhood milestone.  I'm going to miss lunches together, random conversations throughout the day, quick kisses, little jokes.  I'm going to miss his voice, his presence...I'm going to miss him. 

As he left the house this morning, I kissed him and said, "You're going to have to learn to talk now."  He looked at me quizzically, and I continued.  "With you at home, I knew what you were doing, what questions to ask.  Now you're actually going to have to tell me about your day."  It's true.  Our lives, these last six years, have been intertwined in a way that is extraordinary for the average couple.

Not extraordinary in terms of accomplishments, perhaps, but certainly in that quiet space of respect for one another; for, in that time, we got to see just how hard the other works, and how one hand makes way for the other, working in tandem. I think it gave us a deeper appreciation for the contribution we each make to this little thing we call our life.

And I think we've come to a conclusion in these last six years, together.  I think we are starting to see that it isn't where we go between 8:00and 5:00 pm that really matters.  What really matters happens before and after, in the walls of our little home, in the hearts of our children and each other.  That's our work that really counts.

But, even so, when Mr. Wicke comes home after a long day today, I still can't wait to hear all about it. 'Cause I miss him.  Did I mention that already?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I awoke suddenly to find my daughter standing next to my bed holding Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  We only had 3 chapters left, and she couldn't wait.

I let her go to school late so we could finish.

I had lunch with a friend.

I ran errands and picked up supplies to make magnetic paper dolls and a recorder music book.

I forgot it was gymnastics day and was 10 minutes late in picking up the kiddos.  Luckily I got to them before the bus left the school, but just barely.

Griffin told me he got another yellow card.  Then he told me he was just kidding.  I told him that wasn't funny.

My baby had trouble sleeping during the night.

I rocked my baby while the crickets chirped and a cool night breeze blew through the window.

I plan to go to bed early.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our Apologies, Mrs. Olson

The first thing I noticed when Griffin got in the car on the warm spring day was the sweat beads across his freckled nose.  The second was his impish smile.  "Hi, buddy!  How was your day?"

His smiled dimmed a bit.  "Not good."

As this is his go-to response, I chided him, "What?!  What do you mean you didn't have a good day?"

"I got a yellow card," he admitted while clearly trying to hide the trace of a grin.

"No you didn't!" I cried, sure he was joking.  His current favorite activity is pulling my leg any chance he gets.

"I did!" he said, his eyes twinkling.



"Are you kidding me?"  I was truly becoming confused.

"No," he laughed.

"You better not have gotten a yellow card," I was now officially nervous.

"I did.  Look," he said opening his backpack.

I glanced at his teacher's note, which said:  "Yellow Card: hit poked Mrs. Olson's bottom."

"What?!  You poked your teacher's aide's bottom?!"

"No!  I didn't poke it!  I just touched it--like this!" he said, his pointer finger outstretched.

"Griffin!"  Now it was my chance to stifle a grin.  I do not approve of bum-touching, but this boy is always a surprise.

"I know.  Are you mad?

"Well, son, I'm not mad.  I'm just disappointed.  I've taught you better than that."

"You never taught me that!" he argued.

"Griffin."  I had my mommy voice on now for sure.  "Is a bottom a private part of someone's body?"


"And do we ever touch any private parts of anybody's body?"


"Okay, then.  I have taught you that, and you knew it was wrong even when you were doing it!"  I really should have been a lawyer.

"I know."

"Then what were you thinking, son?"

" was right there--" he held his hand in front of his face, "--and Jade told me that she would invite me to her party if I touched it."

...Mmm hmm.  That had better be some party.

Friday, May 14, 2010

An Open Letter to my Son Regarding Weeds

Dear Griffin,

We had an interesting experience the other day.  It first began while you were in school and I was grocery shopping.  As I am prone to do while waiting in line, I flipped through magazines.  One made me particularly sad.  There has been an ongoing saga regarding a famous actress who, after achieving the pinnacle of her professional career, found out that her husband had engaged in multiple extra marital affairs.  Now that is sad.  But worse, on this day, the magazines announced that just 3 1/2 months earlier they had begun the adoption of a sweet baby boy.  And now she is left, not only to pick up the pieces of a broken heart, but a broken family as well.  It sort of turned my stomach.  I can not understand nor pity that man.  He was so very wrong.  His incredibly poor behavior sat in a small part of my brain the rest of the day.

You, of course, know nothing of these grown up affairs.  You are in kindergarten studying ladybugs, which is just as it should be, and when you came home, I was outside pulling weeds.  It wasn't long before I saw you round the corner with my adult size work gloves on your hands.  "I want to help you, Mom," you so generously offered.

As you are prone to do, you attacked the job with gusto, talking the entire time.  "Woah!  That was a big one.  Yes!  Awesome, mom.  Look at those roots!"  You were full of constant observations, and some of them were pretty signficant.

You told me that sometimes weeds tried to trick you by looking like plants.

You told me that weeds were easier to pull when they were small.  The bigger we let them grow the harder it was to get them out.

You told me that it was easier to pull weeds when the ground was soft.

And while you talked I thought.  I thought about weeds, both in the garden and in our lives.  We all have them, and when we let them get really, really big, they can destroy everything good around us.  And I thought about you, and the kind of man, the kind of husband, the kind of father I hope you grow up to be.

I hope in your life you will recognize weeds for what they are.  I hope you get rid of them early, before they have the power to destroy you and those you love.  I hope your heart will always be soft so that you will listen to the Master Gardener, whose design is one of beauty, light, and joy.

Over dinner that night we talked about some of these things, but you are six and thinking of ladybugs, and that is just as it should be.  But one day, you will be a grown up dealing with grown up affairs.  For that day I'm recording this little experience, so you will remember, so that you will know that your mother has high hopes for you, my son.  And they don't have anything to do with fame or fortune or popularity or power.  I hope that you grow to be a man, a good man, a good husband, and a good father. 

Tend to your garden, my boy.
Your Loving Mother

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Little Musical Gem

Love this! However, try as I might to embed it, I couldn't make it happen (and you wouldn't believe how much time I wasted trying!).  But click the link.  Seriously. 

I know.  You're busy, but just take a couple of minutes. Consider it a little musical field trip in your day, and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Easter Memories

"Can you believe we didn't take one picture of Easter?" I complained to Mr. Wicke.  "How did we manage that?"

I suppose all that's left, after our picture-less holiday, is to capture a couple of moments with words.  There are two memories I don't want to forget.

Like us, once again coloring Easter eggs at 9 pm on Saturday night.  It happens every single year, and it goes a little something like this:  "C'mon.  Hurry up.  It's late.  We've got to get to bed.  Just stick the egg in there.  That's good enough.  Okay.  Next one.  Keep it moving."  Okay, so maybe that's just my inner monologue.

This year, as we pull in the garage from visiting friends whom we only get to see every few years, it hits me.  "Oh, no.  The eggs."  Mr. Wicke and I peer exhaustedly at each other remembering the dozen eggs that had been cooked earlier in the day.  At the same time we look at Logan sick and asleep in the backseat.

"Eggs?  Yippee!"  Griffin shouts.

"Ssshh!" Mr. Wicke and I say simultaneously.

"What do you want to do?" he asks as we begin to unload.

"I don't know."  I'm racking my brain to figure any way out of coloring the eggs tonight.  I'm tired, too, but what I realize is there is no alternative.  "We've got to have the eggs, and the kids would be totally bummed if they missed doing it," I relent.

"What about Logan?" he asks as he carries her in the house.

"I don't know.  I guess we ask her."  And then gently waking her up I say, "Logan, honey?  Do you want to color the Easter eggs or do you just want to go to bed?"

She colored the Easter eggs.  You just can't keep a good kid down.

The other fond memory happened the next morning.  All too early the kids come padding into our bedroom.  "Mom!  Dad!  It's Easter!"

"It's 5 am.  Too early.  Go back to bed."

An hour later they return, "We've waited as long as we can.  We can't sleep.  I bet the Easter Bunny's been here!"

Mr. Wicke and I roll over and wipe the sleep out of our eyes.  "Why are you up so early?"

"It's just so exciting that we can't sleep!"  Logan responds.  It's good to see that the antibiotic is kicking in.

"Okay.  Let me go downstairs and check it out," Mr. Wicke acquiesces.

"Get in bed with me while Daddy sees if the Easter Bunny has come," I say as I roll over and attempt a brief nap.

It is quickly interrupted.  "You know, I've been thinking it must be a man dressed up in a costume," Logan muses.

"What?" I am quickly realizing no one will be going back to sleep.

"The Easter Bunny.  I think it must be a man dressed up in a bunny costume...but to go all around the world and hide all those eggs?  He'd have to get a big I sort of doubt that...but then again I don't know how a bunny could hold a basket in his paws...besides they're real skittish animals.  You throw a rock at the wall and they run right away, so..."

"Wow.  You've given this a lot of thought," I say in awe.

"What do you think, Mommy?"

I am saved by the return of Mr. Wicke.  "Yup.  The Easter Bunny's been here.  I think I may have even him jump over the fence when I opened the back door."

And with that, the conjectures regarding the true identity of the Easter Bunny are finished, and the kids run down the stairs with only the thoughts of Easter baskets and egg hunts in their minds.  The Easter Bunny is safe for yet another year.

Monday, May 10, 2010


At first I just needed a little break.

And then I thought I might be done because the longer I was away from my computer the harder it was to come back.  Or maybe the easier it was to stay away.  I don't know which, but maybe that's a sign, I thought.

Then I got some other signs.

Like, I read John Adam's letter to his son encouraging him to keep a diary (and there is a really great quote there but I loaned the book to my brother-in-law) but basically he said without recording them, the moments of his son's life would surely be forgotten, even by himself.

And then my sister-in-law told me I wasn't done.  And she is a force to be reckoned with.

And then my mother complained.  And you know how I feel about my mother.

And then I watched Laura Bush on Oprah, and her daughters' response to her recent book.  When they said that reading her book allowed them to really know their mother, to see life from her perspective for the first time, something sounded inside of me...

I am not done.