Friday, April 27, 2007

Irrational Fear

Meredith has suddenly—overnight—decided that she is afraid of her diaper changing table. Whenever we put her up there she kicks and screams and claws at us with sheer, authentic terror in her eyes. We cannot understand what has gotten into her. Whenever we approach the table, she starts crying, “No! Fall off! Change on ground! Change you floor!” If we set her on the floor, she runs over to where the carpet is, in the hallway, and lays down to wait for us to join her.

She’s not the type of kid who is ordinarily fearful. She normally doesn’t mind heights. Like I said, we cannot understand her sudden fear of being up on the changing table.

We wonder if something happened that we don’t know about. Maybe she fell off the changing table at the MOPS group or at the church nursery. I’ll have to ask around to see if anyone knows about this. Until then, I’ll just be puzzled by it.

Maybe potty training time will come sooner than I thought. She refuses to let us put her on the fold out table in public restrooms and I’m certainly not going to change her on the public restroom floor!

Another reason potty training time might come sooner … Meredith spotted an “Elmo potty” in the Babies R Us catalogue (she loves to look through this catalogue whenever it comes in the mail) and daddy promised he’d buy it for her if she was good to sit still in church for four Sundays in a row. Every time she hears the words “good girl,” “church” or “shopping,” she pipes up, “Elmo potty!” How could we forget? It just so happens that this coming Sunday is the fourth Sunday.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pasta, Procrastinating, Dating, and Finals Begin

Today I ordered “Cooking Light Pasta” on Amazon. Although I enjoy cooking I rarely buy cookbooks because there are often only 5-6 recipes in a particular book that I think I would really try out and likely enjoy. (So, I’m cheap and I copy them by hand instead!) But after browsing through the “63 essential recipes to eat smart, be fit, and live well” in “Cooking Light Pasta,” I thought to myself that I would likely try at least 52 of them. So, I bought it for only six bucks, including shipping, online. Nice! I think it will truly be worth the money. The book features everything from family favorites to casual entertaining to world cuisine.

Today I also procrastinated (only for a short time) in getting my work-work (as opposed to household work) done. My favorite way to procrastinate doing work these days is to look at homes for sale online. It’s not that we’ll be able to buy any time soon—not at least until Kevin is done with school which is Summer 2008, but, hey, it’s nice to dream. Plus, it’s very wise of me to get an idea what the value of homes really are. Right? Right.

Today I also went on a date with my husband. He took a break from the books—and we took advantage of Meredith being at her grandparents’ house—to walk across the street and go to a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try for eight months. I can’t believe that we live in this “hip” part of town with lots of young people, restaurants, and night life and we never go out. Today we tried to remedy that a little bit.

Final exams begin for Kevin tomorrow. He’s taking five of them in the next two weeks. He was really happy on the last day of class (Monday) when he could fill out one particular professor evaluation form. He felt like this was the worst professor he’d ever encountered and said it was "the day he was waiting for all semester." He took all of his frustration out on that poor little form!

So far Kevin seems pretty stress-free about final exams. I hope it stays that way. We can’t wait for summer to begin! May 9th, finals are over and summer begins for the Koons household! Yay!

Monday, April 23, 2007


This weekend we tried to spend as much time outside as possible because it’s been simply gorgeous here—warm with cool breezes.

Here are a few glimpses of our weekend …

Before we got to fly the kite, the guys had to figure out how to put it together.
It was purchased in China with no directions.

Meredith thought she was such a big help! She kept yelling things like,
“Me do it! Here. Help you! Hey, Uncle Colin! Oh!”

Finally, Soaring! Success!


Me and My Girl

Hot Momma (don't ask me how far along I am because it's my second pregnancy and, frankly, I can't remember anymore--I think I'm due some time late summer??)

Brothers and the Tag-along (I can't remember what they're enamored about. Maybe grandpa is flying the kite).

Family Circus, er, I mean, Circle

Meredith went to a birthday party for a boy at our church turning two years old.
She didn’t understand why he got all the presents.

She loved every bite and lick of cupcake!

Okay, one cute Meredith-ism. I don’t mean to go on and on about my child but, I guess that’s my prerogative, right?

Last week it rained one morning so I sang her the song, “Rain, Rain Go Away!” I probably sang it three or four times throughout the day. Several days ago it rained again. She asked to go to the park and I told her, “No, because it’s raining.” She then burst out singing every single word of the song:

Rain, rain go away!
Come again some other day.
Little Meredith wants to play.
Rain, rain go away!

The “little Meredith” part is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard coming from her lips. She loves to sing and songs really make an impression on her. She remembers songs that she only hears a few times because she really, really loves them. In the next few years I have to find a choir for her to join because it seems to be her passion.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Me and the Cheese Case

Lately I’ve been tired of the same old, same old cuisine. I tend to cook a lot of the tried-and-trues for a few weeks and then I get sick of it all and want new things to explore with my taste buds. So, this week I’ve planned for a week of dinners that I’ve never made before.

When I went grocery shopping to buy the ingredients, there were naturally many items that I wasn't sure where exactly to locate. It took me forever-and-a-day to find stuff. And, to make matters worse, I didn’t head out the door until 11:00 p.m.

I’m convinced that people who grocery shop until midnight are either crazy or desperate, and definitely tired.

So, there I was, a crazy, desperate, tired person moving my cart through the aisles, trying in vain to find things like Kahlua for coffee crème brulee, lemon grass and fish sauce for Thai soup, and gruyere cheese for a Panini recipe.

It wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that, as I was standing over the imported cheese counter, squinting my eyes to find the gruyere, my grocery list (which included the planned-out menu for the week) fell through the slat of the cheese display. The slat was only about a half inch thick and my grocery list must have been just vertical enough to easily fall through it.

What are the chances of that?

At first I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t move on without my list because I had spent about an hour putting it together and had only just begun my shopping. I found a lady sweeping up behind the deli counter who looked to be about a hundred years old. I asked her if she could help me, presuming that she would call some robust man to come take the display apart and find my list. Instead, she started moving cheeses and attempting to dismantle the display herself.

The worst part is that I couldn’t remember exactly where I was standing when I dropped my list. So, we moved a bunch of cheese, lifted up a large slat in the case (it took both of us to do the lifting), and the list wasn’t there. We rearranged the cheeses, moved more cheeses, and lifted up a second slat. It wasn’t there either.

By that time, the lady looked at me like I was on drugs or something and asked, “So, you don’t know where you were standing?” I told her that I thought we should try one more area of the case and fortunately it was there—my little grocery list written on yellow legal paper! Relief!

The cheese case was a mess by the time we got through. We tried to put everything back but it was obvious that it had been sorely tampered with. The previously neat little rows of overlapping cheeses were now in complete disarray.

To my surprise, the elderly worker lady said, “Ah, as good as new!” Then she added, “I won’t be here tomorrow. No one will know.”

I seriously doubt I will ever let my grocery list near a cheese display ever again.

Hidden Forms of Exercise

Over the weekend I was inspired to do some Spring Cleaning. I got online, took a look at Martha Stewart’s spring cleaning checklist, and quickly became uninspired.

Who has time to vacuum all their mattresses and dust every single book on their shelf?

I was lucky to get my windows clean! It took about two hours and I figure that I burned 400 calories. I found this handy-dandy chart online that tells me I’m exercising even when I don’t think I am. I love it!

Staying Fit—Hidden forms of exercise

Ever wonder why you're huffing and puffing after vacuuming? It's because you're burning about 200 calories an hour! Here are some other daily activities that can get your heart going and make your body stronger.

• Kissing: 58 calories an hour
• Playing with a toddler: 216 calories an hour
• Washing windows: 200 calories an hour
• Walking the dog: 238 calories an hour
• Gardening: 324 calories an hour
• Heavy cleaning: 432 calories an hour

Friday, April 13, 2007


My aunt, who is a second-born child, recently sent me some advice about second-borns:

“As a second child, speaking from experience, let me tell you: don't forget to set time apart separately for each child. Us middle/second-born kids tend to always feel overlooked. The oldest and youngest children tend to get all the attention. Especially when it comes to baby/childhood photos.”

I remember my second-born sister always complaining about how every baby photo of her also had me in it too. She hated the fact that there weren’t any baby photos of her just by herself.

Are there any other second-borns out there with any advice?

Honestly, I’m somewhat scared about being a mom to a second-born. When this child is born she will enter a world of first-born people. Everyone else in her immediate family will be first-borns. And even all her grandparents except for one (my dad) will be first-borns.

I feel that I don’t have very much understanding or wisdom about second-born children. In fact, come to think about it, the amazing, overwhelming majority of all my friends growing up and currently are first-borns too!

Probably the best thing going for me is that I was a first-born daughter with a second-born sister and I can learn from the mistakes I made as a first-born. So, I will have A LOT to say to Meredith about what to do and not do. I have some regrets about how I treated my second-born sister. These regrets are mostly related to how I shunned her and wouldn’t include her with “my friends.”

So, maybe the best thing I can do is try to follow my aunt’s advice—to make this one feel as special and distinct and unique as possible—and then spend lots of time telling Meredith how to love her sister better and do the first-born thing right.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I love Easter. It’s my favorite. I know I say that about pretty much every holiday but (trying to be objective here), Easter is at least in the top two. The Resurrection means Victory in the Christian faith. I love celebrating this victory. I love celebrating new life. I love spring! And, okay, I admit. This year it was especially fun to make Meredith’s basket and get her all dressed up. The best thing about having children is reliving the newness of something—seeing excitement in their eyes, which is contagious.

Happy Family

Mer got these glasses in her basket from grandma.
She wore them nearly all day.
It was obvious she thought she was a rock star.

With Uncle Colin, looking fabulous in pink.
Or, did he say it was "egg shell"?

Huggin' cousin Cole.

Once she figured the eggs were supposed to go IN the basket, she really got into the hunt. She loved it! (Especially when she realized there was chocolate inside!!)

I think this picture is great! Kevin took it—of the paparazzi surrounding Cole. It captures on the faces of the adults the joy that a child can bring.

Seven ladies, a good book, and tea to go around.

We had our first book club meeting last Thursday and it was great fun. If any of you out there have thought about joining a book discussion group, I would encourage it. Either that, or start your own. One thing I love about this club is being able to discuss views and opinions on a book with other people who have the same frame of reference. I’m excited about being able to get together with these ladies once a month to delve into a new plot and new topics. It's a great group of people—I consider myself blessed to have such quality, thoughtful friends.

To kick off the club, we had Chinese treats. Heather thought of that idea, since the setting for the book was 19th Century rural China. I made fortune cookies and almond cookies and Heather brought egg custard tarts. Shannon brought some yummy authentic tea. And, best of all, we had authentic China from China. It helps to have a SIL living in Beijing who can get you stuff. This set of China was a gift from Laura, purchased via Megan.

I can’t wait for our next club meeting, in May! We’re going to try a non-fiction book and see how it goes. I have mixed feelings about this. It will be nice to try a variety of things but I did really enjoy reading and discussing a novel.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Typically I have Meredith watch a video while I take a shower to keep her distracted. This morning I decided to let her play by herself. That was a mistake.

As I exited the shower I noticed that she hadn’t taken all her clothes out of the dresser and strewn them across her bedroom, which she is prone to do. That made me glad. Then I noticed that my bedroom door was shut. She doesn’t know how to work door knobs yet, so I figured she was trapped in my room playing. I opened the door to discover what she had been up to. She had pulled my purse off the dresser and had gotten into the forbidden lipstick. She had been looking at herself in the mirror, attached to the back of the door, while doing the job.

Nearly every day Meredith watches me put on makeup. I usually let her put on powder and Chapstick so she can feel a part of it. I should have known she would attempt a self-application at some point!

The lipstick had gotten all the way up her nostrils. Have you ever tried to clean lipstick out of nostrils before? Only a mother of a toddler would know I guess. The things I never expected to experience ... and now I have.


This week has flown by. Things have been really busy here. I can’t believe Easter is coming up in a few days.

Over the weekend we took Kevin on a trip down Memory Lane—we went to a cool park he used to frequent for little league games. The weather has been so glorious! It was great to be outside. (We went to several different local parks with trails over the weekend.) Then we went to this hole-in-the-wall pizzeria called “Pizza King”—a place Kevin also went to as a boy. He had fond memories of it because they have video games at every table and a little choo choo train comes down a track to bring your drink order to your table. It was a hoot! And the pizza wasn’t totally bad either.

Okay, now I need to go get Meredith out of her bath, which I’m sure is dyed red with lipstick by now.