Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!  

It is fitting today to share with you some things that I especially love and appreciate in members of our little family crew.

Foreman Sebe:
Lets me sleep in after a night up with little diggers.
Doesn’t mind folding laundry.
Often cleans up dishes that have been left out in our dash to a new activity/bathroom/diaper change.
Can fix anything.
He’s a stellar athlete.
Sparks creativity in all of us.
Patiently builds great friendships.
He’s extremely practical.
Applies dispassionate logic to any potentially emotional topic.
Builds with Blake.
Sings to Gavin.
Likes to hike and be outdoors.

Digger Blake:
The way he says "delicious" when he likes a particular food.
Builds 'chines out of Legos.
Likes to give hugs to all, including Gavin.
Tells stories.
Likes to be the leader when biking/dancing/hiking, etc.
Loves to swim.
Helps cook, and likes to make his own "concoctions" (he actually uses this word) with lots of 'gredients.
Checks books out from the library.
Doesn't like to see other people sad.  He'll give back a toy and comfort Gavin... well most of the time anyway...
Calls daddy "Dada."
Loves being tickled.
The glint in his eye.

Digger Gavin:
The way he navigates you around the house with his pointer finger when you are carrying him.
Has long conversations.
Vroom, vroom with the toy cars (he makes the symbolic functioning noise).
Laughs with Blake.
Pure joy at seeing our cat appear.  He loves stuffed animals too.
A hearty meat eater.
Can do the shape sorter already (15 months), climb a 2-step ladder, get his own snack from a drawer/counter, and brush his own teeth with toothbrush.
Identifies, and loves, chocolate.
Hangs on when you hold him.
Loves to swim.
His smile.
The glint in his eye.
I am also so grateful for our family and friends.  Thank you for being part of our lives.
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


As we were leaving the grocery store the other day, a man was walking out with his daughter and two cases of Hawaiian punch.  His kid looked totally normal and healthy and I sort of admired his audacity to purchase something that must be on some national forbidden list by now.  After all, aren’t sugary drinks the new tobacco? 

It also made me feel better about making a longer-than-usual-stop at the frozen food section.  I needed some new meals, and somehow frozen peas and pot stickers have become very reliable friends when kids are hungry.  (Pot stickers actually cover three food groups!)  So I thought I’d see what else was in those grocery store freezers.  Turns out there is quite a bit and we went home with the bonanza of them all – corn dogs! 

I mentioned my shopping observations and purchases to my dad in a phone call that afternoon and here’s my recollection of the exchange:
 “Ali, you can do better than that.” 
“I do Dad.  About 90 percent of the time I am making fresh food for them, but occasionally I just want them to eat.  Why not make it easier on myself every once in awhile?”

He was clearly dismayed that his grandsons were being offered frozen corn dogs; surely that food item must be on a national forbidden list by now too.

Alas, it wasn’t long before the corn dogs were offered up.  And of course, they liked them.

I’m sure everyone will be happy to know that I do make homemade chocolate pudding regularly.  And let me tell you, the kitchen is very quiet when that gets put into boys’ bowls.  No throwing food, no complaining, no special food requests, no moaning to get down, nope, there’s nothing going on but eating.  It even got Gavin to start using a spoon (thanks again for the nifty front loader spoon, Dad).

And yes, for my birthday, my dad and his wife (a fabulous cook herself) sent me a slew of new cookbooks.  We may have to try making our own corn dogs!

Nutrition value:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tender moments

People say it’s a lot of work raising children.  I find myself wondering which part of it gives it that reputation:  is it due to children unexpectedly waking me in the night, or is it that I have to think of constructive activities every day, or perhaps it is the never-ending search for a lost item – such as the television remote—that a toddler has relocated for you.  Add to that list the the emotional juggling of three-year old whims, the firmness required to toilet train, and the timing of getting everyone fed before meltdowns occur.  Whew, I’m tired just thinking about it.

There is always more to do and that can make parenthood feel like a blur from one event to another.  It’s in this whirlwind that I find a longing to accomplish something—to see measurable progress in my job of raising children.  And for me, that is a main contributor towards feelings of tiredness or lack of fulfillment.  The marker posts of progress and achievement in child-rearing are hard to see and the feelings of accomplishment that feed human satisfaction sometimes seem elusive.  

But then, when I least expect it, there are moments when a grain of goodness sprouts in my child and all the hard-won toilet battles, repetitive reading sessions, and hugs pay off.  They are moments—just moments—but oh so precious.  They explain how the word "rest" can be defined as "lack of friction" rather than "lack of activity."  Here are a couple of those moments at our house:  gracious interactions between brothers who are learning how to live together.  When I see these boys express tenderness and compassion with each other or with others, I feel satisfied.  That’s when I know we’re getting somewhere…and that somewhere is good.

                        Sippy cup video           Sandbox guarding video

Reading time with Daddy

Mommy hugs

Monday, November 1, 2010


Blake is fond of saying, “It takes a long time for _______.”  You can fill in the blank with boxes, birthdays, morning, anything he’s looking forward to... and Halloween was no exception.  Figuring out what to be is the consummate Halloween question.  I am usually pretty psyched for this holiday in September, but as October 31 gets closer, my motivation wanes.  We knew Gavin would fit into the frog costume that we purchased last year, but Blake was still a question mark. 

He and I had had many discussions here about what to be—“house” seemed to be topping the list.  And then finally in the pool on Friday Oct. 30, Blake announced to his swim teacher that he’d like to be a garbage truck.  So that afternoon, he and I sat down to sketch our ideas and design the costume:  I drew him with clothes on and trash stuck to him (yes, mom was trying to take the easy way out), but Blake quickly pointed out that that didn’t look like a truck.  That meant we were going to have to go for the real thing. We enlisted family and neighbors to acquire the needed boxes and after a lot of tape, cardboard, construction paper and hot glue, here is the garbage truck.
Boo Garbage Collection Services Truck

And here is the frog.

Gavin the frog

And here is a bag of trash for "Boo Garbage Services" to collect.

And finally the whole Ziesler clan.

We trick-or-treated in the neighborhood with our neighbors and good friends Scott and Shane and their twin girls Sadie and Sophie, as well as their grandmother Shari. 
Sophie the flower and Sadie the bunny

The entourage
I’m a fan of the fact that former President Bush changed the dates for daylight savings time to enable little kids to trick-or-treat in the light, but Sebe pointed out that without porch lights on in the dark, perhaps people could put up a sign so we don’t have to walk all the way up the sidewalk to find out that no one is home and there is no unattended bowl of candy waiting for us.  Nonetheless, Halloween falling on a Sunday seemed to ensure a fairly high likelihood of people being home and we made a pretty good haul.  

We went to Grandma B’s house afterwards for cider and a special treat and Blake got to hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters there.  He got a big kick out of that!