Looks like we'll be heading up north tomorrow...

...if we can figure out what the wuggies did with the car keys.


Given the boys' passion for mariache, I found the perfect gift for them. Oh dear--have I forgotten to tell you how much they love Spanish music? It started before they were even born... there would be dance party in my womb whenever we listened to anything with a latin beat. A few months ago, Natebug figured out how to turn on the radio to one of the ubiquitous mariache stations, and dance to the beat. The Nutkin-bubble's tastes run more along R&B lines, but we all love dancing around the house to Shakira.

Anyway, at Wally's I found a little maraca containing a band of little bobbly fruit-shaped dancers, who start playing the first few bars of the Mexican Hat Dance and shouting Bravo! and Ole! whenever.a wuggy shakes the maraca. This is every bit as much a hit as I expected, and Natebug is surprisingly good at it. As soon as the music starts playing, he adjusts his beat accordingly, with admirable acuracy. I do believe that he has as good a sense of rhythm as I did before I came to college and sat under Gary's tutelage. (My, did he have to go to extreme measures with me! I recall whole flute lessons spent marching around the music building, subdividing my footsteps. My walk was irregular, my heartbeat was irregular... and I could not persuade my flute to keep a steady beat. I've come a long way... Now I can play other people's music with only a little bit of rubato, although my own music is still of a very fluid metre. It does my still-arrhythmic heart good to see my little son so rhythmically precocious!)

The bug-a-nate has finally put down his maraca, and is instead shaking his sleeping father's glasses. I'd best go rescue them!


Whenever we go out, Natebug is very solemn and contemplative, just taking it all in. You know... I'm rather grateful for this... Posted by Hello

That's my Isaiah Nutkin. His grandpa takes good pictures. =) Posted by Hello

Dadders imparts his great wisdom to his sons. Posted by Hello

My husband is a bachelor...

of the sciences, that is.

It's a really good feeling... we're right exactly where God wants us as a family. Andy is done with school, and is doing what he loves, and what he feels called to do. He's changing kids lives.

And I'm doing what I love best, and as I cuddle my wuggies, music flows from my pen. Yeah, yeah, everything's up in the air, Andy still needs more work, etc. etc. etc. But I feel an incredible sense of peace and right-ness.

This is where we're supposed to be... and I'm ever so glad we get to take part in this adventure together. Posted by Hello

The pickles love it when Dadders takes them for adventures in the Wuggy Buggy!Posted by Hello
So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes' heroic campaigns...

Natebug has been practicing to be a great warrior, learning to control his spear... well... the broom anyway. It's hard work, heavy and unwieldy, but Meepo has the spelunknoi.

Oh yes.


Yesterday afternoon, Andy and I watched ROTK. No, not the extended version--that would require a DVD player--just the regular version, which, believe it or not, we hadn't seen yet. (We were otherwise occupied when it came out!) Anyway, we finally saw it, and it was an amazing achievement. No, we weren't that impressed with the film--it was our least favorite of the trilogy. (Perhaps they figured they didn't need to work so hard on it, because the first two determined its box office success?) SEEing the movie was an impressive accomplishment. We all curled up as a family on the bed, and the boys were riveted by the images on the screen. Unfortunately, the images tended to be rather disturbing most of the time, so the boys were relegated to the Wuggy Bucket. (AKA playpen) Thus I spent most of the movie running back and forth finding things to occupy the pickles. Sippy cups finally kept them happy... once I found them. It was quite a search, though. I know we have dozens of sippy cups, so where are they and why do they keep disappearing? It was quite frustrating.

Anyway, this morning I found Natebug vigorously going at a sippy cup. I hadn't given him a cup this morning, neither had Dadders...and it was full of hard cider.

Suddenly everything fell into place. The boys are operating their own brewery, hiding their sippy cups behind the couch, in the toy basket, and behind the tree...

Time to crack down on the operation.


Xtreme Sports

Natebug has a new hobby--ottoman surfing. He has figured out how to climb up onto the gliding footstool that goes to our glider, and it is great fun.

Until he goes splat.

Then it is not so fun.


The eggducation of hatchlings

Yesterday after church, as we made our ritual stop at Trader Joes, Andy decided to run into the learning supplies store next door to look for math manipulatives. Unfortunately, they really didn't have much that looked terribly useful for his purposes---instead of explicating math concepts in interesting and engaging ways, these products attempted to mask the fact that this is math class with utterly irrelevant "exciting" elements that have absolutely nothing to do with the concepts at hand. Like the pen that "motivates students with flashing lights!" Most of the items displayed seemed as though they would be quite effective in teaching children that math is boring in itself, and needs a heavy dose of "interesting" stuff to make it palatable. Perhaps I should ask my mother to dig out the wonderful math games from my childhood... The fun stuff is intrinsic to math, not extrinsic. Numbers actually are much more interesting than flashing lights--even to a third grader, as long as they are properly understood--but you'd never know that from looking at these educational tools.

But I digress. While we were in the store, we looked various educational toys for pickles of the small variety. They had a lovely little play area, in which the wuggies sat upon little pint-sized stuffed chairs, grabbed a toy train from a little boy, played with a different toy train, grabbed toy trains out of each others hands, and played with the eggs. It was one of those toys consisting of a row of small characters which pop up when you push the button, flip the appropriate switch, or whatever. In most such toys, the characters are hidden under a flap door, but in this case, they were concealed inside an egg. When you push the button, the creature "hatches." I thought it was immensely cute, and contemplated getting it for a Christmas present. However, the boys found it interesting... but no more interesting than the massive quantity of toys that already covers our living room floor.

What to get the boys for Christmas? They like the noisy toys---the little "piano," the talking lizard, and the pajama-clad "Prayer Bear" that recites "Now I lay me down to sleep." And they especially like taking canned goods out of the pantry. But what they really get the biggest kick out of is just anything new. They spend their days going doopah-doopah all over the place, in search of new experiences.

I always thought of the day-after-Christmas-boredom phenomenon as something pernicious, a sign of ingratitude and discontent. Certainly we ought to learn to appreciate what we do have, instead of always wanting more, more, more. Yet can we really be surprised, or upset even, that the much desired sparkly toys lose their charm once obtained? A child's task is to learn, learn, learn, and he pursues that task with vigour. He must see the world in different, new ways, he must add new experiences to his perception of the world. Toys are generally designed to give a child wonderful new experiences, which, by definition, cease to be new rather quickly.

Perhaps the toys which would be most conducive to fun would be those which encourage them to explore deep, rather than wide, enabling them to see different elements of the things that already surround them, rather than just showing them new stuff. As in math, the best sort of fun is intrinsic to the structure of the world, not extrinsic.

At Trader Joes, they gave the boys a perfectly marvelous educational toy--a helium balloon. They were utterly enthralled. This strange red globe contradicted everything they had figured out about gravity. They spent the afternoon conferring together, trying to expand their theory to account for this new phenomenon.

Of course, even a balloon loses its charm after a while, not to mention its helium, and so late last night they found something else to get into.And thus it came about that we found the kitchen floor covered in eggs.


Our four-gnerational Thanksgiving. In the background you can see Isaiah conked out in the new high chair Grandma and Grandpa brought him. Posted by Hello

Aunt Sarah, setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner. Does she not have the most incredibly gorgeous hair you've ever seen? The wuggies found it enthralling... Posted by Hello

My daddy just sent me a CD full of the pictures he took over thanksgiving. Here's Natebug playing with his spiffy ball. Incidentally, that ball truly is one of the spiffiest balls I have ever seen. When you bounce it, or hit it just right, it starts flashing red and blue. Natebug, as enthralled with light as ever, finds it particularly fascinating. Posted by Hello



The boys are coming in with their next set of teeth. As before, they bring with them pain and grumpiness, but it is not nearly so bad as last time. The boys are learning how to make the best of things, to make lemonade out of lifes lemons. Er... maybe that's make lemons out of life's lemonade. They do love snacking on lemon slices. In any case, Isaiah has a wonderful new pastime. Now that he has teeth both on the top and on the bottom, he can clack them together. This is almost as much fun as trying to clap his hands.

Speaking of Isaiah's hands, yesterday we noticed that he has picked up one of his Dadders' mannerisms. As Andy was taking a moment to assess what he next needed to do, he leaned back a bit, and, as he often does in this attitude, absent-mindedly rested his wrists on his stomach and patted his middle rhythmically a few times---then looked down to see Isaiah doing the exact same thing. It was very cute... oh well, I guess you just had to be there.


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One small step for Isaiah...

A giant leap for wuggykind!