Latest Blog Posts

Things Not to Say to An Adoptive Parent

August 14, 2009 at 1:10pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The other day The Missus and one of her friends—let’s call her Maude—took the kids to a park. Maude has two children, one adopted and one biological. Maude got pregnant with the biological child right after the adoption.

While at the park, The Missus and Maude met a very nice woman who had a child around Robbie’s age. They had a nice conversation and even exchanged phone numbers. Then The Missus and Robbie left. Shortly after that, Maude and the woman had a conversation that went like this:

Maude: We adopted my son, and soon after that I became pregnant with my daughter.
Woman: Isn’t that the way it always seems to happen? Just as soon as you adopt, you get pregnant and have the child you really wanted. [emphasis mine]
Maude: ::gasp!::

I’ll be very surprised if Maude invites the woman and her child for a playdate any time soon. Rule of thumb: When speaking with adoptive parents (or adopted children for that matter), never suggest that adopted children are less “wanted” than biological children. Hopefully it isn’t true, but if it is true you’re going to open some serious wounds. Either way everybody loses.

On Stage at the Children’s Museum

July 3, 2009 at 12:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

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Sorry for the crummy quality of this photo and video, but I just had to show them to you. The Wilsons went to the Children’s Museum last night and Robbie took to the stage. We have long suspected he will someday grace the stage at the Community Playhouse (or beyond). We didn’t really expect him to do it in drag!

So Cold

October 23, 2008 at 1:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I reffed two soccer matches last night. I was an AR on the first match. The weather was cool, but dry. The rain came just in time for the second match. Twenty three people—22 players plus me—ran around in shorts in the cold rain for over 90 minutes. What a bunch of doofuses.

Gotta love the tail end of the college soccer season in Nebraska.

Memories

September 25, 2008 at 4:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I always thought kids were supposed to have really poor memories. My niece can barely tell you what she did yesterday and she’s four and a half. But not Robert. That kid seems to have an incredible memory. Here’s the latest example:

Back in late winter or early spring (January or February, I think), Robbie went to the circus. He was a few months shy of two years old. When he came home, he told me all about the things he saw and did. Most of it was gibberish—his vocabulary was pretty small, after all—but it was told with enthusiasm. He talked about the circus for weeks.

Fast forward to a couple days ago. I was sitting on the couch while Robbie played. Out of the blue, Robbie started talking about the circus. He hadn’t talked about the circus in ages, so it was a bit of a surprise. He tossed in enough small details, including the bit about seeing elephants pooping, to let me know that he was actually remembering his trip to the circus; he wasn’t just talking about the generic concept of a circus. But then he really threw me for a loop: he started talking about motorcycles. From what I could piece together, he seemed to be talking about a classic daredevil-style motorcycle act. He had never mentioned motorcycles in connection with his trip to the circus before, but he seemed to be genuinely recalling something he had seen. Odd.

Last night I asked The Missus about the circus. “Was there some sort of motorcycle act?”, I inquired. Sure enough, there was. We started talking, and we’re not even sure that Robert knew the word “motorcycle” at the time of the circus.

Now, it’s possible that Robbie was actually talking about something else entirely. Maybe while at daycare he saw a commercial for a circus and it featured motorcycles. But I think it’s cool to think that he may actually remember something from that long ago, and it’s even cooler to think that he may have remembered the motorcycle act without even having the words to describe the act at the time he saw it.

The human brain fascinates me.

That’s Pea With an A

September 5, 2008 at 1:20pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

At supper last night:

Robbie: What’s that?

Me: That is called a pea, Robbie.

Robbie paused and looked at his plate with a confused look on his face. He pointed to a carrot sitting next to the pea.

Robbie: Poop?

Me: Er, um, no ...

In other poo-related news, I must ask: How do kids figure out that farts are funny? Robbie often follows his gas-passing with a joyous “Tooted!”. We didn’t teach him that, and we’ve never seen anybody teach him that. Is it some sort of inherent boy thing, like crashing toy cars into each other?

Robbie’s First Spinning Ride

August 18, 2008 at 1:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Wilsons went to the Christ Schools Fifth Annual Family Film Festival last night. They had a bunch of games, blow-up slides and bounce houses, a police car, a fire truck, and so on. They also had a ride that Robbie was really interested in trying. The man running it said The Missus was small enough that she could ride with him, so we thought, “What the heck”. Famous last words?

Robbie was enthusiastic from outside the gate, but once he got on, he wasn’t so sure any more.

Robbie and The Missus on a ride. Robbie looks uncertain.

Uh oh, is he going to get sick?

Robbie and The Missus on a ride. Robbie looks a little ill.

Now he’s relaxing a bit.

Robbie and The Missus on a ride. Robbie looks much more relaxed.

Aha, there we go! Now he’s making faces for the camera.

Robbie and The Missus on a ride. Robbie is making a face at the camera

And so Robbie’s first amusement park-style ride was a success. Next up: roller coasters! Well, ok, maybe in a few years.

Piddle Me This

August 4, 2008 at 1:15pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Have you ever seen a two year-old fall asleep on the toilet? Actually, hold that thought. I’m getting ahead of myself.

Early this spring I (rather arbitrarily) decided that we would start potty training Robbie on or about his second birthday. Robbie has always seemed to be an intelligent boy who is capable of controlling himself when he really needs to. That seemed like enough to make potty training go relatively smoothly. Then again, what did I know? My last direct experience with potty training came 28 years ago. Well, Robbie’s second birthday came and went in mid-May. He clearly wasn’t ready to shed diapers just yet, despite a few early successes with #2. And so we waited.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. Out of the blue I said to The Missus, “I think we should seriously consider starting up potty training in earnest.” The Missus wasn’t quite as gung ho about it as I was, but we began to investigate our options. First we had to check with Theresa, our daycare provider. By coincidence, one of the girls at daycare was also ready to begin using the toilet. Since kids tend to learn these things best in groups, we decided to start together the following Monday. That was a week ago.

In the first couple days Robbie had one accident per day. That seemed about right. On Wednesday, it was two. Then on Thursday he became ill and we had to temporarily revert to diapers. Uh oh. On Thursday night I glumly informed grandma that “it might not happen right now”.

But since then he has been doing awesome. We had an accident-free weekend. And on Friday night Robbie began waking us up in the middle of the night rather than doing his business in his diaper. (We’re keeping the overnight diaper ... for now.) Have you ever sat in the middle of the night with a semi-conscious toddler with a toddler who is trying to pee? Who knew it could be so cute. Last night he even fell asleep on the toilet, upping the cute factor considerably. It has been three days since Robbie woke up with a wet diaper.

I’m nowhere near ready to declare victory over the diaper because, well, toddlers often take the two-steps-forward-one-step-back approach to learning and development, and because it takes a lot longer than a week to make sure these things stick. For now, I’m enjoying the thought of a diaper-free future. I just have one pressing question: how do you keep pants from falling off a diaperless kid who has no butt?

My New Favorite Running Route

June 30, 2008 at 1:49pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I think I have a new favorite running route. It’s a nice five mile loop that begins on bike trails and ends on quiet residential streets.

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I begin at 48th and Highway 2, though it would be easy to begin anywhere on the loop. If you don’t live on or near the loop, the parking lot at 40th and Highway 2 makes a good starting point.

From 48th and Highway 2, I head west on the newly-christened Boosalis Trail toward Shopko. Then I catch the northbound Rock Island Trail, which features several shaded areas, depending on the time of day. I go under Sheridan Boulevard and continue about a quarter mile until I reach Van Dorn Street. (Note that Van Dorn doesn’t actually cross the trail.) I take a right across the park to 33rd, then turn south. I head back to Sheridan, where I turn east. I follow Sheridan until it meets Calvert Street, hop on Calvert for a half block, and then turn south on 44th Street. 44th Street appears to end at Prescott, but I continue south by taking the sidewalk between the houses. Once I hit Pioneers Boulevard I take either 44th, 45th, 46th, or 47th Street, depending on my mood. Whatever the case, I continue until I hit Gertie, zigzag down to Claire, and pop out on 48th. And boom, I’ve just gone approximately 5.25 miles.

I like this route because it’s one big loop, so there is no repeated scenery; there are very few traffic interruptions; and there is plenty of shade at various points throughout the run. There are also a couple easy alterations for shorter mileage:

  • From the Rock Island Trail, turn east on Calvert Street. Follow Calvert to 44th Street, then continue as above. This route is about 4.5 miles.
  • From the Boosalis Trail, turn north on 33rd Street. Turn east on Calvert and continue to 44th Street, as above. This route is about 3.9 miles.

There’s also this lasso:

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It’s not usually one of my favorite routes, but since it stays primarily on good bike trails it works out well for for intervals and fartleks.

What are some of your favorite running routes of various distances around town?

Edited to add: If you don’t already use it, check out Gmaps Pedometer. It’s great for mapping out routes and measuring mileage.

Photos, Photos, and More Photos

June 17, 2008 at 2:33pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Yesterday I posted a whole bunch of family photos to my Flickr account. Three of the recent sets include: Robbie’s 2nd birthday; our recent trip to Albuquerque; and Father’s Day. Some sneak peaks:

Riding on dad’s shoulders:

Riding on dad's shoulders

Fascinated by Grandpa Rick:

Robbie loves grandpa Rick

Cousin Sam shows off his six-pack:

Cousin Sam's six-pack

Mr. Wilson’s Cute Little Garden

May 21, 2008 at 1:55pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

After hours of muscle-straining labor, my garden finally looks like a garden again. It was a long process.

First I tore out the old rock path that runs from the patio to the side yard, bisecting the garden. When I originally put it in I didn’t lay down any weed blocker, and then I didn’t maintain it very well. As a result, it aged poorly. Have you ever tried to remove a bunch of rocks that have lodged themselves in the underlying ground? What. A. Pain.

Once I finally had (almost) all the rocks out, I reworked the ground and leveled things out. Then I laid out pavers to act as a border between the path and the garden. I wanted to line up the border pavers with the pavers that make up the patio, which required widening the path a couple inches on each side, not only for the pavers, but also to make room to install the plastic edgers that would hold the pavers in place.

Then I thought, “Those old rocks are all dirty and dingy. I need new rocks. But what to do with the old rocks?” I just love creating more work for myself. I decided to extend the path around the side of the garage, using the old rocks next to the garage where they didn’t need to be as pretty. That meant buying a bunch of new rocks for the garden path.

Long story short, the new path through the garden is finished, and it looks awesome. Now to start work on the extended part that will go along the side of the garage. That part shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 hours.

I also have most of my garden planted. This year’s crop includes:

  • Jalapeno
  • “Fooled You” chile (look and taste like jalapenos but are much milder)
  • Hungarian wax chile (I love these for a mild zing)
  • Habanero (4 plants! What am I going to do with 4 plants worth of habanero?!)
  • Serrano
  • Cayenne
  • A Thai chile I can’t recall the name of (perfect for adding to summer veggie stir fries)
  • Anaheim
  • Italian roasting peppers (great for kabobs)
  • Red, yellow, and green bell peppers
  • Eggplant (a request from The Missus)
  • Cucumber (most will go to my mom so she can make cinnamon pickles)

Yes, I went crazy with the peppers and chiles this year. I still need zucchini or some sort of squash. I also have a couple spots open for other plants, if anybody has any suggestions. Both spots are in full sun. One spot has loose, quickly-draining soil and is close to the house (so it will be warm). The other spot’s soil is a bit denser and retains moisture better.

Disappointingly, I didn’t get any cilantro this year. After a couple years of cilantro practically taking over my garden, not a single plant came up this year. I don’t know what I did to make it mad.

What’s in your garden this year?

Birthday Photos

May 19, 2008 at 1:28pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Inside are a few more photos from Robbie’s birthday festivities this weekend.

Read more...

Two!

May 16, 2008 at 1:43pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Yowzers, I can hardly believe my little boy turned two today.

No, wait, that’s a lie. I can definitely believe it. When Robert turned one, it felt weird. But he has seemed like a two year-old for a couple months now. This birthday didn’t sneak up on me like the last one did. There’s no disguising the arrival of the Terrible Twos. Not that Robbie is all that terrible yet, but he can throw a fit when he’s motivated.

Now that Robbie is two, all sorts of doors will open for him:

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He doesn’t sit still very often:

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This didn’t turn out half bad, considering I just held out the camera and clicked:

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Don’t mess with this guy!

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Robbie is going to clean up this town:

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For the record, Robbie weighs in at a slim-and-trim 25 pounds and he stands 33 inches tall. That puts him squarely in the 30th percentile. (In contrast, his cousin Sam is 7 months younger but could eat Robbie for breakfast.)

This morning Robbie got to open his presents from mom and dad. The two big winners were a book about vehicles and a nifty “bike”. Tonight he will get to eat at either Gateway (for the carousel) or Red Robin (for the “balaloons”). And then tomorrow is his birthday party at the awesome Antelope Park playground. We’ll be there from about 1:00 until 2:30 or 3:00. Stop on by and say hi!

Tuckered, But Smiling

April 23, 2008 at 2:06pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Whew, I’m tired. Last night marked my 27th match of the high school soccer season, which began back on March 13. I have three more matches this week, bringing my regular season total up to an even 30, followed by six district matches next week. Thirty-six high school games is a lot to squeeze into seven weeks, especially when you consider that number doesn’t include the college spring games, indoor games, and Latino league games I did during that same stretch. I don’t know what sort of assignments I’ll get at the state tournament—or if I’ll get any at all—but by the end of the high school season it’s likely I will surpass the 50 game mark in just two months.

On the plus side, my conditioning is as good as it has been in a while. I have lost ten pounds since the start of the season, and I generally feel pretty good running around on the field. I even survived Sunday’s slate of three 90-minute games in pretty good shape. (It helped that I got to top it all off with a trip to Cristina’s in Crete for one of their awesome empanadas smothered in spicy green chile.) There’s a downside, too. My energy level is dropping, and that nagging twinge in my hamstring from the second week of the season isn’t getting any better with all the abuse I’ve heaped on it. But I’ll be fine. I have enough fuel in the tank to get me through districts, and then I’ll have a week off before state.

And I have emotional health on my side. On Friday I teamed up with an awesome company to do software development and support, along with a little website development. That makes two partnerships with very strong, respected companies to go along with the other contract jobs I pick up here and there. As a freelancer, having two stable sources of income is a huge weight off my shoulders. Plus, it means I can focus more on the fun side of contract gigs, rather than having to see each job as “that one covers next week’s groceries, that one will take care of the car insurance…”.

It doesn’t hurt that it’s spring. I can’t wait to have some time to work in the yard and garden, and to just spend time outside doing as little as possible. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Monkeys and Llamas and Trains, Oh My!

April 21, 2008 at 1:51pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus had to work for a couple hours on Saturday, so I decided that Robbie and I would go to the zoo. What started out as a boys day on the town turned into a family affair; we were joined by my parents and my sister’s family. If you’re planning to go to the zoo, be forewarned that it’s still in rough shape from the winter. They didn’t finish all of their off-season projects. If you like things “neat and tidy”, you may want to wait a month or so. Plus, things will be more green by then. But if your kid is like Robbie, he won’t give a hoot about that.

Robbie had fun donating coins:

Lincoln Children's Zoo

He loved watching the monkeys play:

Lincoln Children's Zoo

Lincoln Children's Zoo

This could have been a great shot of Robbie and his cousin Sam, but I was in such a rush to capture it, I screwed up the framing:

Lincoln Children's Zoo

What are you looking at?

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Robbie tells grandpa about the camels:

Lincoln Children's Zoo

When will the train start moving?

Lincoln Children's Zoo

The Human Brain is Awesome

April 15, 2008 at 8:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Just a few days ago I asked The Missus, rhetorically, “Can a person form a memory of something he doesn’t have the capability to describe?” In particular, I wondered if one of the reasons we don’t remember much about our childhoods is that we lack the language necessary to describe it to ourselves. If I as a one year-old can’t encode my perceptions of that thing in any coherent way, how can I later recall those perceptions in any useful form?

Today The Missus and Robbie (sort of) conducted an experiment. It was opening day at the zoo, and being such a nice (if windy) day, they just had to go. The Missus and I wondered if Robbie would remember anything at all about the zoo. After all, his last visit was when he was 17-months old, roughly six months ago. He had almost no vocabulary then; I think the only relevant word he knew six months ago was “doggy”, which he used to describe any animal with four legs.

So color me shocked when The Missus told me that not only did Robbie remember the zoo, he called out “Train! Train!” as they pulled into the driveway and before he had seen (or heard) the train. In other words, he remembered an aspect of the zoo that he didn’t have a word for the last time he saw it. He had stored a memory of the train in a way that was useful enough to him that he could give it a name as the memory rushed back. Six months later, despite all of the zillions of additional bits of knowledge and memories he has created in the mean time, Robbie managed to take a fuzzy memory of an object, associate it with the visual image of his current location, and come up with the correct word to describe the object.

I don’t know about you, but that fascinates the crap out of me.

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