Category Archives: Out of the mouths of babes….

Thoroughly Thoreau

Good morning Everyone!

My Side of the Mountain

From - The Book Cover

I was driving Kayla to school last week, when suddenly she asked me if I had ever heard of a book called My Side of the Mountain.  I told her “no” at first, but then after she described it for a minute or two, I realized that I had read it in elementary school (lo these many years ago) and that it had been one of my favorite books.  She really liked it too, so she and I had the fun of discussing a favorite book together.

Catskill Mountains

An overview of the Catskill Mountains from

Of course, she was much more familiar with it than I was, having read it the prior week, while it had been at least 37 years since I read it, but still I remembered a good portion of it.  In the book, a young boy (I don’t remember his age, but he is either a tween or in his early teens) runs away from home to go live in the wild in the Catskill Mountains.  He makes a home for himself – in a large tree, if I remember correctly – and has a pet falcon and gets to know many of the animals in the area, as well as having some incredible adventures.  He manages to stay there about 2 years before he finally is discovered by the public and then decides to go home.

While he is in the wild, he meets a hiker one day who has gotten lost.  The hiker is an English professor, who gives the boy a nickname.  Kayla told me that the nickname was “Thorough” and then got very thoughtful.  She added, after a minute, “I think it was because the boy cooked his food so thoroughly.”

Henry David Thoreau

A photograph of Henry David Thoreau

After a hasty cough on my part to help swallow a laugh, I gently suggested that perhaps she had heard the word wrong, and the nickname was in fact “Thoreau,” based upon the Thoreau who lived in a cabin on a pond in Massachusetts.

Walden Pond Thoreau

A photograph of Walden Pond, from a post by Mike Dash on

She said, “Well, maybe so.”  Then she brightened up and added, ” But at least that wasn’t on the test!”

Have a great day everyone!


Observations Regarding The Ten Year Old Girl

Good morning everyone!

Today, I reflect upon the unique characteristics of the ten year old girl.

The ten year old girl dresses in sleeveless dresses in the wintertime for church, but when it is 80+ degrees outside, runs into the den, turns on the gas fireplace and huddles in front of it like a child out of a Dickens novel.  She is willing to go swimming at the beach when the water temperature is somewhere around “Arctic” and tell you that the water “isn’t so bad.”  She sees no inconsistencies in any of this.

The ten year old girl will inform you that the reason that she is wearing a sleeveless dress in the middle of winter is because she wants to broaden her wardrobe.  When asked about one long-sleeve dress someone gave her, she answers, “I’ve worn that every Sunday for weeks.”  When asked about a second long-sleeve dress that was a gift from someone else, she answers, “I’ve worn that every Sunday for weeks when I haven’t been wearing the other dress.”

The ten year old girl fails to see why her parents find that statement funny.

The ten year old girl is smiling and laughing, then angry, then somber, then smiling, then crying and then back to sunshine and laughter – all in the space of about five minutes.

The ten year old girl is still willing to hold hands with her parents.

The ten year old girl, when asked to clear the table, will get everything but two napkins, one spoon and a drink glass, and then look at you, puzzled, when you ask her to finish the job.

The ten year old girl will decide she wants to help clean the house, and in her eagerness, dash forward to help by choosing to do the one thing that is absolutely useless to what you need to accomplish that day, such as sweeping an already vacuumed floor when the next chore involves dusting furniture.

The ten year old girl is still willing to cuddle with her parents on the couch.

The ten year old girl is aware that items cost money.  She is not aware that all money is not equal, and will eagerly offer to take the whole family to Disneyworld with her copious savings of $12.59.  No, she is not joking.

The ten year old girl, unlike a five year old girl, has a filter in place between what she thinks and what she says.   Unfortunately, the filter is calibrated so that it kicks in about ten seconds after she has already spoken.

The ten year old girl is willing to empty the dishwasher once she is reminded 10 times, but unable to concentrate on the task long enough to finish it.

The ten year old girl has boys she “likes” at school, but is still young enough to tell her parents about them.  The pool of ten year old boys she has to draw from still aren’t really interested in girls.  The ten year old girl’s parents find that satisfactory.

The ten year old girl is trying hard to be nice but sometimes things just come out wrong.  Last night, when a big package came to a house from Omaha Steaks with some frozen dinners, one ten year old girl looked at her mother and asked, “Gee, Mom, are you just going to give up cooking altogether?”  When reminded that the mother had cooked for several days straight, she said, “It’s okay to lay off it for a little while.”

My ten year old girl is the light of my and her father’s life, and we can’t imagine life without her!

Have a great day everyone!


Conversations with My Ten-Year-Old

Good morning everyone!

I thought you would enjoy sharing some conversations we have had at our house lately.

I.  While backing out of the garage to drive Kayla to school:

Kayla:  Mom, don’t hit the basketball goal.

Mom:  Why?  Am I about to?

Kayla, grinning:  No, not yet, but you just backed into the garbage can.


II.   After school, Kayla working on homework looks down at Mandy:

Kayla:  Mandy, why do you chase your tail when you know it’s going to hurt when you catch it?

Mom:  Kayla, why do you leave your stuff all over the house when you know it drives me and Dad crazy?

Kayla:  I don’t know.

Thoughtful silence.

Kayla:  I’m sorry, Mandy.

III.  Driving Kayla to school while she’s slouched in the seat yawning and looking sleepy:

Mom:  Sings “You are sleepy, you are sleepy, you are sleepy right now” to the tune of the immortal “Kill the wabbit, Kill the wabbit, etc.” from one of the great Looney Tunes cartoons starring Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny.

Kayla stays slouched in the seat yawning and looking sleepy, but gives Mom one of her “You’re crazy but you’re mine” looks.

Mom:  How about I sing that song in the hallway at your school while we’re delivering this Valentine stuff.

Kayla immediately sits up straight in her seat, forces her eyes wide open and announces:  I am a bright and happy child.

IV.  Dad, Kayla and Mom are looking for a DVD to watch.

Dad:  How about “The Patriot”?

Kayla, immediately:  No.  I’m not up for football.

Mom, helpfully:  No, Kayla, it’s not about the Patriots but is called The Patriot.

Kayla:  Why would I want to watch a movie about some football guy?

Mom collapses in laughter on the couch, leaving Dad to sort out the historical and sports references properly.

Sunrise at my house, April 28, 2011

Have a great day everyone!


Inappropriate O’Fences

Good morning Everyone!

Kayla is at an age now where one of our joys is listening to her thoughts and vocabulary expand.  Of course, she doesn’t always get every word right the first time, but the things she says can really surprise us.

This weekend, we went to the hospital to visit someone, and on the way into the hospital Mark was roughhousing with Kayla, just a little bit.  She looked up at him and said sternly, “Playing in the hospital like that is inappropriate.”  Both Mark and I had to stifle a laugh.  (Somehow, laughing out loud in the hospital waiting room also seemed inappropriate.)

Sunday night though, I laughed out loud.  While we were eating spaghetti and bread on trays in front of the TV (it was the playoffs, after all!), Mark started teasing Kayla about something.  She informed him that doing so “while I’m eating is O’Fences.”  I started to laugh, and had to calm down enough to explain that the correct word was “offensive.”  Mark thought it was funny, too.

Have a great day everyone!


The Vegetarian, Veterinarian Veteran

Good morning Everyone!

The following conversation took place between Mark, Kayla and I as we were headed into choir last night.


Kayla:  Mom, some of the kids are saying we’re off next week.

Mom:  No, just Friday for Veteran’s Day.

Kayla:  Veterinarian’s Day is Wednesday, November 9.  We are singing that day.

Mom:  Veteran’s Day, dear, and it’s November 11.  You’re just singing Wednesday because you’re off on the 11th.  Do you know what a veteran is?

Kayla, dismissing the question with a wave:  Yes, they’re someone who served in the military.

Kayla, moving forward to essentials:  We’re singing the Army-Navy song, My Country ‘Tis of Thee and This Land is My Land.  Do you know that song?

Mom, looking over at Dad, who hates “This Land is My Land”: Yes, we know that song.

Kayla:  Did you know that Veterinarian’s Day is the day after my birthday?

Dad:  (Ignoring the temporal inaccuracies of the previous statement): Veteran’s Day.

Kayla:  Veteran’s Day.

Mom:  Do you know what a veterinarian is?

Kayla, scornfully:  Of course I do.  They’re the ones that only eat vegetables.

Mom, hastily smothering a laugh:  No, those people are vegetarians.  A veterinarian treats animals.  That’s different.

Dad:  Unless you have a veterinarian who is a vegetarian veteran….

The lady walking into church in front of us started to laugh.  She probably thought we were crazy, but then again, that’s what keeps us sane!

Have a great day everyone!


Mother’s Day, 2007

Good morning Everyone!

Kayla came to live with us the year I turned 40.  She was three. I noticed immediately that I was usually the oldest mother in any gathering, but I didn’t know that Kayla had noticed it too.

The year she turned five her day care held a Mother’s Day lunch, and of course I went.   I arrived bright and early with my camera, to find the tables neatly decorated with tablecloths, flowers planted in styrofoam cups for decoration, and signs taped to each chair.  The signs were drawn by each child, and were meant to mark their mother’s place.  I found my place adorned with the following sign:


It said: 

My Mom is 100 years old.

She has Brown hair and brown eyes.

My mom’s favorite color is all colors.

She likes to eat salad the best.

I make my mom happy when I hug her.

My mom always says I love you.

My mom is so smart she can read.

I love it when my mom and I hug.

I laughed until I cried over the age; it was even funnier when I overheard one mother, who was roaming the tables looking at the signs tell another mother “Oh, look, that mom’s child put her age at 80” and the other mom say, “Well, some poor woman’s child listed her age at 100!” 

It won’t surprise anyone out there, I am sure, to learn that the sign is still in my closet, hidden away for posterity.

Have a great day everyone!



Hi Everyone!

Kayla has recently found a new toy to play with that gives her hours of enjoyment on the back porch with both Mandy and Darwin in tow – binoculars!  Now that the weather has cooled off a little bit, it is very pleasant on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to be out on the porch, so she will take the two youngest dogs out with her (sometimes they go voluntarily, sometimes involuntarily) and walk around the porch staring into the woods at the end of the court to see if she can see the deer, or any other type of wildlife.  We have told her that the deer are not out much in the middle of the day, but since youth is ever hopeful, she has blithely ignored that unpleasant fact and happily searches.  She did get to watch our neighbor’s Yorkie chase a cat through the woods for a little ways one day; I was a little surprised that the cat ran, since it was bigger and stronger than the Yorkie, but run it did.  Oh well, there are a lot worse things she could do, and the view from the porch is certainly stunning this time of year!

View from our porch!

She has, she believes, learned the ins and outs of nursing parents through surgery.  She announced to my Mom-in-law yesterday, when she was told in the course of good-byes to take good care of me, that I was easy to take care of; you just needed to provide me with a pillow and my best friend, Diet Coke, and I would be happy!  I am sure Mark and Mom, both of whom have been very good to me this first post-surgery week listened to that with an exclamation point.  It’s been a lot more work for them than just giving me Diet Cokes and pillows! 

The dogs certainly have enjoyed this past week; there’s been a lot less crating because someone has been at the house more, giving them extra time to pursue their busy nap schedules.  Mandy is particularly concerned; every so often, she jumps up with great haste from the spot where she is napping, rushes over to another spot, and settles in for her next nap.  I don’t know why she couldn’t just stay in the first spot, but it seems to be important to her.


I better sign off now; I am seeing a rope toy making huge circles behind my mother, so I need to make sure that Darwin isn’t about to do something silly.


Have a great day everyone!


The World According to Kayla

Hi Everyone!

Kayla telling Darwin what to do.

We had the chance to take Kayla and a friend bowling this weekend, which meant Mark and I had the rare privilege to eavesdrop on the conversation between two almost 10 year olds.  The trip bowling put Kayla in such a good mood that her personality was still bubbling over on Sunday. 

  • “We already squealed about that.”

Kayla was invited to be in the Purple Ambassadors at her elementary school a couple of weeks ago.  It is the equivalent of an honor society for fourth graders and it is a big deal to be asked to be in it.  Mark and I did not know that Kayla’s friend, whom I will call “R,” had also been asked to be in it until we heard R and Kayla discussing the Monday morning 7 a.m. meeting.  I turned my head to R in the back seat and asked her if she was in the Purple Ambassadors too.  Before R could answer, Kayla said, “Yes, she is.  We already squealed together about that.” 

Apparently I missed the celebration.

  • Whale

R lives down a county road, about five minutes from town, and Mark and I are always afraid that we are going to miss her house.  Kayla reassured us from the back seat.  “I know exactly where it is; it is the house with the whale in front.”  I know R’s mother and grandmother and the idea of some kind of a whale decoration in the front yard seemed a little out-of-place, so I asked Kayla if she was sure.  Kayla said that yes, she was sure, then she said, “You know, Mama, the thing where the water comes out of the ground.”  Her Southern accent, in its most extreme form, had gotten us again – she was saying “well” not “whale.”

  • Multiplication

Sunday afternoon late, we decided to go get Mark’s mother and take her to Outback.  On the way down there, I asked Kayla what she had done while Mark and I were taking our naps that afternoon.  She told me she had practiced grammar on her computer (a hand-me-down, stripped-down laptop from Mark), combining sentences.  (For example, she would type, “Kate is running” then “John is running” then combine the sentences to “Kate and John are running.”)  I said, “That’s nice,” then asked her if she had worked any on her multiplication tables.  A half-laugh, half-“Mom you must be out of your mind”  “Huh!”  came out of the back seat.  Then she decided that a more polite answer would be appropriate, and added, “No, ma’am.”

  • Itch

The best line of all came that night at supper though.  Mark’s mom was talking about someone who has to have a medical procedure next week and that she had put that person on the prayer list at her Sunday School class.  “After all, ” she added, “Prayer never hurts!”  All of us nodded agreement at the table, then Kayla added, “But a bad itch does!” 

The rest of Outback must have wondered why our table was laughing so hard.

Have a great day everyone!


Cruise (Not!)

Good morning everyone!

I called my mother the other day from the car, and since Kayla was with me, let her talk.  Kayla was in a chatty mood, so she and Mom chattered away while I was driving.  It reminded me of the first time I can remember them having a lengthy conversation on the phone.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

It was back during Kayla’s kindergarten year, when we had already moved to where we live now, but were still going to church back in our old town.  On the 30 minute drive back from Wednesday night choir practice and GA’s, I called Mom and let Kayla talk for a while too.  Eventually, Kayla brought the subject around to spending the night at my Mom’s house sometime.  Kayla said something like, “We’ll have to figure out what to do with my Mom and Dad.  I know!  I’ll send them on a cruise.”  I asked how much money she had to use for said cruise, and she proudly told me that she had a dollar she would use.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Well, I let Mom and Kayla build castles in the air for a little while, but about the time Kayla started telling Mom what she would bring to wear “next Saturday” when she came over, I felt compelled to interrupt so that Kayla understood this sleep-over was not something that could happen right away.  (Mom lives about a six-hour drive away from us.)  I said gently, while she was still on the phone, “Kayla, I’m sorry, but you can’t spend the night at Grandma Dottie’s this week.”  Without batting an eye, she turned to me, with the phone in her hand, and answered firmly, “Then you ain’t going on no cruise!” and turned her back on me to continue her conversation with my mother.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

I laughed all the way home.

Have a great day everyone!



Good morning everyone!

When all's said and done, nothing's better than taking a minute to hug our dog!

I hope all of you had a great weekend, and, for those of us here in the United States, a great Labor Day weekend.

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

Thursday night I went shampoo shopping with Kayla.  I normally do this about once or twice a year to remind myself why I don’t normally do this.  We were in the drug store, and two aisles of hair care products was a bit much for her to process.  I watched her carefully read each label, looking for something, so after about five minutes, I asked her what she was looking for.  She told me she was looking for a shampoo that could make her hair longer.  I explained that there was shampoo that could make your hair curlier, straighter, shinier or fluffier but not longer.  (A lady at the end of the aisle was dying laughing at our conversation.)  FN. 1.

From PrintShop Professional 2.0

Kayla nodded acknowledgement of my words of wisdom, and continued to look.  The first two sets of shampoo and conditioner she picked out were from the left side of the aisle (the “premium hair care products” side.)  I told her to put those back; she asked me why; I explained that I wasn’t going to pay $20 a bottle (each) for shampoo and conditioner.  The third time we had this conversation, I gently picked her up from the floor where she was sitting cross-legged, rotated her 180 degrees and told her that the right side of the aisle was where she needed to look.  That demonstration finally got the point across to her, but she was happy to review the right side of the aisle as thoroughly as she had the left side.

I got excited twice when it appeared we were close to a decision, but then she changed her mind.  It took 30 minutes for her to make her selection.  (For the record, I did let her get a more expensive “premium hair care” product that was a spray on styling aid to reduce frizz.)

From Print Shop Professional 2.0

On the way out, she decided she wanted to try rolling her hair, so we also picked up a set of foam rubber curlers and I promised to roll her hair for her that night after she washed it.  As proof to my friends and family who find it inconceivable that I would ever put a child of mine in curlers, here is the final “wound-up” product.  FN 2.

Kayla investigating moths on the outside window

Front Curlers

I really didn’t expect the curlers to make it through the night, but they did.  She got up earlier than normal to pull them out, and got mad at me when I started brushing through them because it looked like I was pulling the curl out.  I told her to wait a minute, and I would show her some magic.  I pulled the top layer of her hair back into a ponytail, leaving the bottom loose, which revealed a lot of curls, and she was happy.

Final Outcome

This latest round of hair care products better last a while now; I don’t think I’m up for another such excursion for quite a while.

Have a great day everyone!


FN1.  “To die laughing” is a Southern colloquialism meaning “to laugh as hard as you can.”

FN2.  I had her permission to take the pictures of her in curlers; it seemed fair to ask her before posting them.