Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I received a few e-mails today from old friends at the agency I used to work for in Illinois, Developmental Services Center. They are holding a fundraiser selling raffle tickets for a chance to win $20,000. The tickets are $20 each and the drawing is on Oct. 17th. I wanted to pass along the information, even though I hope I am the lucky winner!

DSC is a great place that serves people with developmental disabilities. I loved it there and reading about the fundraiser and all the local places you can buy tickets made me miss my Illinois days. I pulled out a few pics and reminisced about how care free things were there, in the grand scheme of things. We'd go out on the weekends, watch t.v. and lounge around the house in the evenings, and we even made a regular trip to the movie theater on Tuesday nights when you could get 50-cent popcorn if you took your own bowl. I haven't been to a movie in ages now, let alone on a weeknight!

I pulled out a few photos--boy did we look young! Here is Bryan in front of our first apartment. This is where I first realized Bryan didn't put dirty clothes in the hamper.

Here is Bryan somewhere on the U of I campus.

Me striking a pose in front of one of Champaign's many corn fields. I realized I was adjusting to being a Midwesterner one day when I was out for a walk and I caught myself thinking, "Wow. The corn is getting high." All that corn made for a wonderful Sweet Corn Festival--I think they had a one-to-one ratio of corn and a stick of butter.

We made great friends at the U of I. The picture below was from one of the dances we went to. We're lucky enough to live by some of our Illinois friends now even though we're in Virginia.

Anyway--back to the fundraiser. Since none of you are probably local--you can buy tickets at or write a check to Developmental Services Center (DSC) and mail it to CASH RAFFLE, 1304 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, IL 61821. Good luck! I'll let you know if I win!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thanks for Clarifying

Today when I picked Evan up from daycare, he was with a group of kids and was just sort of walking around. His back was to me, and I wanted to watch for a few minutes to see how he was doing and if he was interacting with the other kids. He is still adjusting to the daycare and spends a lot of time crying, so I was hoping that he would actually play with something or someone.

One of the workers walked up to me. "You're Evan's mom, right?"

"Yes, I am," I answered and then turned back and looked RIGHT AT Evan (his back was still to me).

She actually pointed at Evan and said to me, "He is the one right there, in the hat, walking around."

Ummm...yes...thank you for clarifying. I thought that was him, but I just wasn't quite sure. Now that I'm confident that one is mine, I'll go ahead and take him home. I mean, I would have hated to get all the way home with another little boy only to have to bring him back later and exchange him for the right one.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

B Without the L or T

I have been trying to use up things we have in our freezer, so I did a quick inventory before going to the grocery store this weekend. I saw a pound of bacon—BLTs it is, I decided. Last night was BLT night, but I was frantically trying to get some work done, so Bryan offered to make dinner. He fried the bacon. Then asked me where the lettuce and tomato were. Hmm…those are integral parts of the BLT, aren’t they? At least I remembered to pick up the bread! Neither one of us wanted to go to the store, so we settled for B sandwiches. Bryan brought mine to me and I ate in front of the computer. I didn’t even miss the lettuce or the tomato on my sandwich and I realized why later. After I finished up my project, I went into the kitchen to do the dishes and put away the extra bacon. There was no extra bacon. That means Bryan and I each had a half pound of bacon on our sandwiches!!! No wonder I didn’t miss the veggies!

And--all that talk about bacon reminded me of this clip.

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Well-Rounded Weekend

Heading into the weekend, I usually have a ridiculously long to-do list that I never finish. This weekend was no different. I was a little upset with myself as the weekend came to an end since I still hadn't organized my magazines, finished my ironing or cleaned out my car. But just because I didn't finish my to-do list doesn't mean I didn't keep busy. I was thinking of some of the things I DID do this weekend. Here are the things that stand out...both the good and the bad.

I fished a little boy's toy truck out of a public fountain after Evan tossed it in. Maybe letting Evan throw rocks into the lakes in Canada for hours on end during our recent vacation wasn't such a good idea after all. I followed up the truck retrieval with several apologies to the parents of the truck's rightful owner. (The picture below is us in front of the fountain shortly after I rescued the truck).

I went for a run and decided I was nuts for signing up for the Rock 'n Roll half marathon, which takes place in about a month. I also decided there is no way I am going to actually run in the race.

I pledged that by this time next week I will break my addiction to Diet Coke. To prove my commitment, I completed my grocery shopping without buying a 12 pack (okay--so I did get a 2 liter, but it was on sale and I can't go cold turkey. The bad news is, it is already more than halfway empty).

I learned how to say ball in Polish (pilka).

I taught Evan how to buzz like a bee and hoot like an owl. We played trucks, and I read "Five Little Ducks" more times than I can count.

I rocked Evan back to sleep after a 2:30 a.m. wake up on Friday night.

I retrieved Evan's blue hat (size 4T!) from the lost and found at the pool.

I shot hoops with Bryan and actually made a basket (playing basketball also gave me awful flashbacks of junior high gym class and the red shorts and white t-shirts we had to wear).

I polished off a whole box of reduced fat Nilla Wafers all by myself (I'm not proud of that, but I still think it was an accomplishment).

So--overall, I decided to give myself a break. My to-do list will still be there next weekend. Along with all the other things that come up along the way!

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Lengths We Go To

For some reason Evan has developed a sudden fear of the bathtub. He used to love the tub and would fuss when we took him out. But, beginning on Monday, he would only get in after some coaxing (i.e. throwing a handful of balls in the tub and yelling, "Splash, splash, splash.") and he refused to sit down. It isn't just that he wouldn't sit, but he really seemed scared and would try to climb back out of the tub.

Normally Bryan does Evan's bath with him, but he was working late for the first half of the week, so I was in charge. I tried to convince Evan to sit, but nothing worked. So, he'd stand, I'd lather him up, then I'd rinse him down.

On Thursday Bryan was home in time to give Evan his bath. I explained the new turn of events and told him I'd just been letting Evan stand. We both wanted to show Evan everything was "okay," so Bryan WILLINGLY VOLUNTEERED to get in the bathtub with Evan. This from the man who for the past seven years of our marriage has referred to any bath I've ever taken as "wallowing in my own filth." I've never seen Bryan take a bath and the two times I foolishly suggested he take a bath to ease an aching back, he looked at me like I was crazy and reminded me of how disgusting baths are. Apparently even a shower before a bath can't remove enough of one's own filth to make a bath tolerable.

But on Thursday night, Bryan put all this aside to help ensure Evan would enjoy his bath again. The good news is, IT WORKED! Bryan got in and started playing with the toys. Evan stood for a while, then sat down. He played and played and Bryan ended up spending far more time than he would have liked in the tub. Evan still wasn't ready to get out, but the water was getting cloudier by the minute and Bryan couldn't take it anymore. Not only was Evan upset he had to get out, he kept trying to get back in. Success!

I have to hand it to Bryan--I know how hard it was for him to hop in the tub with Evan. Good job! By the way--it only took me two days of begging to finally get Bryan's permission to post this story on my blog!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

I'll admit it. I love McDonald's. I enjoy everything on the menu and have been known to hit the Golden Arches three times in one day. While I may be willing to eat anything on the menu, I don't necessarily want to start Evan on this path. A few weeks ago, I had locked myself out of the house, so Evan and I had some time to kill. I could have gone to the library, but I decided we needed a snack (more like mommy needs some caffeine and grease).

I ordered Evan apple slices and water, but treated myself to a large order of fries and a Diet Coke. Evan wasn't fooled. He had about two apple slices before he determined the fries looked appealing. I don't know when or how I became the type of mom that let's her toddler have fries, but it happened. I let him have one fry, then gave him his apple slice. From that point on, he quickly tried to give me the apples while reaching for the fries. Like any mom committed to good nutrition, I decided I needed to down the fries so Evan wouldn't be tempted. But the whole McDonald's trip made me realize I am going to have to re-think my own eating habits. When Evan was an infant, I could hit the drive through and he was none the wiser. Now he wants to share. I'm afraid I am going to have to turn into a closet fast food junkie! I have visions of sneaking out after Evan is in bed ordering my favorites. I think I'm going to need a 12-step program to get to the root of the problem.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hide and Seek

I think Evan has entered a new stage of development. Today alone I fished a cell phone out of the toilet, Bryan's Deloitte access badge out of the kitchen garbage can and a harmonica out of the diaper pail. It recently occurred to me that these are the things I've actually seen being disposed of. There is no telling how many treasures we've lost. I'm going to have to start taking a daily inventory! And stash Clorox wipes in every room of the house.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Major Changes Underway

A few weeks ago I posted that I had decided I needed to make some changes. I wasn't ready to post about them until I had a plan underway, but now that I have the ball rolling, I'll spill the beans--I'm leaving my job beginning in September. It is a major change and I'm not quite sure that we'll be able to pay all of our bills, but we've decided to make a leap of faith.

I am going to continue to write articles for the magazine I currently edit and I plan to hang a shingle and freelance where I can.

As everyone knows, I have felt torn ever since I went back to work after maternity leave. Leaving Evan every day is awful and I just can't wait to get back to him at night. I've worked to pay our bills and I've been lucky enough to enjoy my job. But the stress has been getting to me, and, after our childcare fiascos over the past few months, I decided I need to have more flexibility. Bryan's job isn't flexible and he works quite a few hours. So, after the second day of dropping Evan off at daycare, I walked into my boss's office, handed her a proposal I had drafted up and told her I needed to make some changes. My boss didn't accept my proposal exactly as I had presented it, but she did say she wants me to continue writing for her. We're working out all the details next week.

In the meantime, the clock is ticking and I'll be out of there within six weeks. A woman within the company is going to move into my job, which is great for her. I think she'll do a wonderful job and, since we already have my replacement, it will make the transition easier.

I think this is going to be better for all of us, but I am nervous about not having a paycheck! I just hope Evan and Bryan will enjoy dining on peanut butter sandwiches if we can't afford groceries!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Slurping Spit

Evan has learned how to slurp spit. At least that is what Bryan calls it--the "technique" that involves gathering a ball of spit at your lips, then letting it drip down a few inches before sucking it back up. I have known that at some point, Evan would come home from school doing this, trying to see how far down he could dangle his spit before slurping it back into his mouth. But, I figured he'd be six or seven--not 16 months. He must be advanced for his age because yesterday we were playing with him and he did it--letting the spit drop in a small string with a teardrop shape glob at the bottom then sucking it back in.

Bryan and I looked at each other with wide eyes. "Did he just..." It could be a fluke, right? He probably didn't even know what he did. But he did it two more times later in the day! I'm not sure where he learned this. It could be an innate boy trait or it could be something he picked up at daycare. Either way, I don't know if I should be proud or disgusted (I mean--he did get it clear down to his chin without it breaking)!

Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Back on the Charts

Evan had his 15-month appointment today (disregard the fact that he is 16 months and three weeks--we got a little behind). The good news is, he is growing into his head! Evan has a large size head for his age. He has been off the charts since he was three months old. The pediatrician even had us consult a neurologist because Evan's head was growing so rapidly. The neurologist took one look at Bryan's and concluded it was genetic. As a precaution he sent us for a CT scan. Science confirmed big heads just run in Bryan's family. The photo below demonstrates it, too.

At today's appointment, Evan's head measured in the 95th percentile, so it is still on the "big" side--but it is getting there!

I have to say though--his head doesn't look big to me. I told the pediatrician that at Evan's 12-month appointment. She just looked at me like, "Are you serious?" I followed up with, "But I guess I don't see toddlers all day long." She actually replied, "It is pretty big."

I accepted it a few months ago when I had to buy a size 4 T hat for my baby that is just now getting into 2 T outfits. That extra size leaves plenty of room for brain growth, which must account for the five words he says and the 10 words he signs. The pediatrician gave him high marks and added that he was one of the "most pleasant" 16 month olds she has ever seen.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Germs Are Winning

My cold has morphed into a sinus infection and the bad news is the germs are winning! I had to call in reinforcements, so hopefully my amoxicillin will start taking over soon. I took Evan with me to the doctor and cringed when he wanted to play with the toys in the waiting room. We had a full bag of toys that were only contaminated with the germs I am packing around (and at least I know I wash my hands throughout the day). Evan was deep into play with one of Annandale Family Medicine's worn out toys when it was finally my turn. I tried to make him part with it, but I really wasn't up for a fight--pick your battles, right? As much as I hated to do it, I asked if we could take the toy with us. Oh, the germs that must be living on that thing. When we got into the back, I washed Evan's hands in the doctor's sink. I doubt it did much good since he went straight back to his play, but I figured it probably didn't hurt. I really need to start packing hand sanitizer around with me! Hopefully Evan's immune system is strong enough to ward off anything he may have come in contact with at the doctor's office!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Playing Hooky

Evan played hooky from daycare today, going to work with mom for a bit and then spending the afternoon with the neighbor and her grandson (who actually in Evan's class at daycare). Evan and Nate (the neighbor's grandson) were really cute playing together, but Nate gave Evan a push when Evan tried to kiss him. We're going to have to teach Evan a little lesson about who he can kiss and who he can't. He is just so sweet! The boys also had a few grunts over some rocks that neither one of them wanted to share. Those boys and their rocks! I think Evan enjoyed the break, but I don't know if it is going to make it better or worse tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Time Marches On

Tomorrow will mark Evan's first full week of daycare. It has been a rough week for all of us. On Saturday, Evan came down with a cold, which I now have. For some reason Bryan is convinced that "baby" germs can't infect adults, but I can definitely prove him wrong on this one. Evan still isn't adjusting well and cries the full day. I've started leaving work by 2:30 so Evan can get home a little earlier. He is pretty exhausted when we get home and is pretty fussy.

Today I was bound and determined we were going to have some fun after I picked him up, even though I don't think either of us felt like it. I got my swimming suit on as soon as I got home and then wrestled Evan's on him through a few tears (I'm not revealing if they were his or mine). Evan has figured out how to turn on our car alarm--the red button on the FOB--and loves to push that button if he can get his hands on my keys (as soon as the horn starts beeping Evan will look at me with wide eyes and say, vrooom, vrooom). As we were leaving for the pool he made a valiant effort to get the keys. When I wouldn't let him have them, he launched into a meltdown. I was holding Evan under one arm, our towels under another, gritting my teeth and saying, "Come on, Evan. We're going to have some fun." It could be that he was tired, or maybe he just doesn't trust my intentions when I put him in the car.

As soon as we got to the pool, he loosened up and we had a great time. I took him in the baby pool and the real pool, where he learned how to jump in off the side. We did that about fifteen times before I was completely pooped. As he was sitting in the baby pool, I dangled my feet in. I happened to look down and see a patch of hair on my ankle that apparently I have missed while shaving since, oh--I don't know, junior high. How is it that I could miss the same spot THAT many times? I'm sure the mom sitting next to me saw my shameful stubble (she had a two month old and a 20 month old and looked like a million bucks), which means Evan probably won't be getting a playdate with Brendan any time soon. (Have you seen Evan's mom? She doesn't even SHAVE! Poor thing has really let herself go.) I am going to have to get into some sort of a spa routine before he hits preschool.

I'm still struggling with the daycare since Evan is having a hard time. I have talked with my boss about possibly going part time. She is out of town this week, but I hope we can come up with a plan soon. I'm considering going to Utah for a few weeks to have my mom watch Evan. My boss has agreed to let me work from there, even though I know it isn't the perfect solution for her.

I know Evan would enjoy it more, even though we'd be away from Bryan. I know I would rest easier. I think I've been up most of the nights since our "Plan B" fell through. My mom has agreed to this plan and I'm sure I can tap into Grandma Betty and Grandpa Stu. Although, Grandpa Stu had back surgery just a few short days after his stint as Evan's manny. Anyway, I am sure we'll get it all straightened out. Thank you to all of you who have sent encouraging e-mails! I've been bad at responding, but if it makes you feel any better, I'm neglecting multiple things right now (except Evan!). I'll catch up as soon as we get everything in order.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Picking Dandelions

During our Great Canadian Adventure, Grandma Roz taught Evan how to blow on a dandelion. It was one of the cutest things I've ever seen. My heart melts every time I look at this picture.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

He Looks Like He's Crafting a Plan

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

We took this picture when we were in Canada. I love the little look in Evan's eyes and the way they are looking to the side. I have no idea what he was thinking, but I would love to know!

By the way, Bryan told me yesterday's post was too sad! I didn't mean to be sad, I think it is just the mood I've been in lately. But c'mon, not every thing can be as funny as the tourists who went crazy over Evan, right?

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Worst Fear (or Fears)

There was a tragic story on the news last night about a local man who forgot about his little boy in his car seat when he went into work. The little boy died and the father now faces ten years in prison. Evan suffocating in the car is one of my worst fears--the day I freaked out in the Safeway parking lot is proof. I can't imagine how awful the dad must feel. An article in the Washington Post said that since 1998, more than 376 children across the country have died after being left in hot vehicles. I've heard that this has increased with rear-facing child safety seats, since parents can't see the child. I made it a point to always check the car seat, even when I knew Evan wasn't with me just to get in the habit. Before Evan went to daycare, I was leaving him home, so it wasn't as big of a worry. But now that I'm dropping him off in the mornings, I'm going to be even a little more paranoid than usual.

I have tons of fears that revolve around Evan. So many that I'm surprised I can even get out of bed in the morning (then again, I did read that article about the toxic chemicals in mattresses, so I should, in fact, leap out of bed). I worry that Evan will drown, choke on a grape, touch a hot pan, fall down the stairs, poke out his eye, need stitches, get a sunburn, get a rug burn, get pushed on the playground, swallow bleach, get into medicines, inhale dry cleaning chemicals that linger on clothes, develop autism from watching t.v., chip a tooth, chip a nail, stub a toe, smash a finger...the list goes on and on. I think my hair gets more and more grey every day. I hope all moms are this paranoid. Not that is good for us all to be neurotic, but at least it means we're all in the same boat.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Rough Day...

Evan started daycare yesterday and we've both been having a rough time the past few days. I was relieved when the daycare got him in early (he was scheduled to start in August). But, when I picked him up yesterday at 5:30...well, let's just say it probably would have hurt me less if I'd cut my arm off with a dull knife. Evan was standing in the middle of the room crying with a little bit of a bloody nose. I know kids get bumps and fall down, but I was so upset. Ugh!

This morning, he did fine for the first two minutes while I was signing him in. But when I said goodbye, he turned beet red, scrunched up his face and started to cry. Oh...the heartache. I kept my door closed at work today because I kept bursting into tears. I picked Evan up early today at 3:00, but we couldn't go home because I had locked myself out of the house this morning (luckily Evan was with me and not inside when that happened--and I was actually locked out--I tried ALL the doors this time. The other good thing was that I had already loaded ). I'm a little frazzled, what can I say. So, on the bright side, we hit McDonalds and munched on apple dippers (and, yes, maybe a few fries--never thought I'd be THAT mom). Luckily, our neighbor who has our spare key got home a little early tonight.

All of the turmoil over the last few months have made me decide I really need to make some changes. I'm working on a plan...I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

They Call the Thing Rodeo

On our final day in Canada, we took Evan to his first rodeo--The Calgary Stampede. There are so many things I love about rodeos. I think it probably all stems back to when I was little and two of my older brothers competed. I loved watching them ride. Kirt rode bareback and K.C. rode bulls. I remember holding the program in my hands--the butterflies building in my stomach until it was their turn. I thought they were real-life celebrities when the announcer would say their names. I know it is impossible to hold your breath and cheer at the same time, but it always felt like I did.

The best rodeos back then were always the ones in or near my hometown because not only would we get to watch Kirt and K.C. ride, they'd also "crash" at our house with all of their rodeo buddies. After all the extra beds were taken, they'd each pick out a parcel of floor in our family room. You couldn't walk in there without stepping on someone.

Even before my fascination with pro rodeos, my brothers and I would create our own living room versions. We captured some of the highlights on film. Polaroid pictures were big in my family in the 80s and while they may have offered instant gratification, they haven’t stood the test of time. But even though they're grainy, the photos are still worth a laugh.

Check out my chaps emblazoned with my initials. That's right--MJ--I was big time. This particular ride was at our family Christmas party with all my aunts, uncles and cousins watching in the background. My brother, Duane, was the bull. And to think other families gather around the piano to sing Christmas carols.

This picture shows me getting bucked off "Bad Jack," according to the note on the back of the photo. No chaps needed for that ride. Just plain, stark-white undies.

K.C. was also my tame horse who I named Shaggy.

He would let me saddle him up with a bridle and would willingly hang out in the stable I made for him out of our sofa cushions. I would bring him slices of oranges and water. I think he was just bribing me, though. After we were done playing rodeo, he would draft a note that said, “Please sell my daughter one can of Copenhagen,” sign my dad’s name to it and then send me into the local convenience store. The clerks thought nothing of selling chewing tobacco to a five year old, who in turn took it to her underage brother. (I think K.C. started living the rodeo lifestyle long before he ever entered a rodeo).

I know several animal rights groups are opposed to rodeos, but I don't think anything could ever change how much I love them. I was happy we got to take Evan to his first rodeo, but it occurred to me that he will probably never love it like I do. He will grow up in the city and he'll probably think of rodeos as something we go to once a year or one of those weird shows his mom watches on T.V. (yes--I watch rodeos on T.V. when I can find them).

It is amazing when you think back to all the little things that happen along the way that shape who you are. As a mom, it is exciting and scary to think about how saying yes to one thing but no to another will affect the man Evan becomes. I'm sure, thirty years from now, he'll pull out one of the many photos I've taken over the years, point to it and say, "See. This explains it all. I can't help it. This is why I am who I am." Just like I do with my grainy rodeo pics.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

If I Had a Nickle

Let me tell you--if I had a nickle for every time Bryan and I had this argument, I would be a VERY rich woman: It is comforting to see we're not alone.

Monday, July 7, 2008


We arrived home on Saturday completely exhausted. They say getting there is half the fun, but getting home took its toll on Evan. He was tired from our week of adventure and didn't enjoy the plane rides home. Mid flight he had a complete and total meltdown. After a flight attendant came to see "how she could help," we got Evan some milk and he finally fell asleep. Whew! He had a break down on the second flight, too, but it was much shorter in duration and there was no one next to us. Thank heaven for small mercies.

We got home, ate dinner and hit the sack. (By the way--I still plan to post about Days 2-7 of the trip, but all those pictures are on Bryan's computer and I can't write about our adventures without including photos). There was plenty to do on Sunday, but since I'd rather do almost anything that clean, do laundry or go grocery shopping, I decided Evan and I should bake a cake! Nothing fancy--just a cake mix, but I thought he needed something fun. He loves to stand in his learning tower and help me cook.

I poured the cake mix into the bowl and went to the fridge to retrieve three eggs. I did this with my back completely to Evan since he always thinks eggs are balls and wants to play with them. I cracked each egg into a bowl. I was very proud of how well I blocked the egg cracking from Evan's view. Hmmm...I should have realized that since he couldn't see me, I couldn't see him! I turned around and this is what I saw:

I snapped a few pictures before cleaning him up. I threw the shirt in the wash last night. I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to get all the chocolate out! I think my procrastination tactic backfired since it resulted in more cleaning and more laundry! But, we had fun and Evan now officially loves chocolate.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Bryan, Evan and I got our first (and probably our only) taste of what it must be like to live like stars. Evan garnered the attention of about thirty foreign tourists who went crazy over what a little cutie he is. It all started when Bryan and Evan posed for this picture.

Then, a group of tourists walked by and stopped to take pictures of Evan. Then they started getting their pictures WITH Evan. Evan seemed a little surprised at first, but he adjusted quickly. He smiled and blew kisses to the ladies, which made them SQUEAL!!! At first, I just watched in amazement, laughing at how out of control things had gotten. I finally grabbed the camera to capture what I could of the whole spectacle.

Honestly, the pictures do not do it justice. A clerk from the gift shop actually walked out to see if someone famous was there. I know my face was red, although I'm not quite sure why I was embarrassed. The same thing happened on a much smaller scale as we were leaving. This time, I finally grabbed the video camera to capture a bit of the chaos. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Throwing Rocks

I started this blog to help me remember the day-to-day moments that pass by so quickly and are easy to forget. I sat down at the end of our first day, even though I was completely pooped, to get down all the things we had done so I wouldn't forget anything. But, as I went to bed that night, I realized I had left off one of the best things I had done that day. It didn't cost a dime and it wasn't on our agenda. I didn't even take a picture of it, but I want to always remember how much fun Evan and I had throwing rocks.

Evan loves balls and, in his mind, anything not square is a ball. He thought he had hit the jackpot when he saw the bed of river rocks that sits just outside the railing of the small back porch of the condo we're staying in. He took me by the hand and led me to the porch. Then, he stood at the railing saying ball and pointing to the rocks. I would reach through the bars of the railing and gather up a handful. He would laugh so hard when I handed him the rocks. Then, he'd throw them back out into the bed and point to them until I handed them back. I laughed each time I handed him a pile. We threw rocks for hours that day and for hours each day since. I'm always going to remember this as the trip when Evan discovered rocks.

We have thrown rocks in several places, graduating from the simple railing on the porch. Evan's favorite place to throw rocks has been Johnson Lake inside of Banff. There was a perfect bridge where Evan could stand and throw rocks into the water below.

He would laugh so hard when he'd see the splash. The whole family joined in the fun, gathering up rocks so Evan would have plenty to throw. We considered filling a bag with the nice round rocks from the condo, but we decided not to. Bryan and my dad were the main rock hunters, bringing back stones that were small enough to fit in Evan's hands, yet large enough they would make a visible splash.

Today we made our final trip to Johnson Lake to let Evan have a final hurrah. It has been chilly most times when we've been at the lake. Today it was hot, so for a grand finale, we took off our shoes and dipped our toes in the water.

If I could only take one memory home from this vacation, it would be the sound of Evan's laugh when he picked up a new rock. That and the sound of all of us laughing at the smile this silly little game brought to Evan's face.