Friday, February 26, 2010


The other day my mom and I were talking about being a mom.  We were talking about my post from Saturday regarding seeing little boys in a different way once you have sons.  I asked my mom if there was ever a time when I was young that she felt I was vulnerable, because I never really considered myself the vulnerable type.  She brought up fifth grade.

I hadn't forgotten about fifth grade.  It was horrible if I remember correctly.  In fact, I think I enjoyed junior high and high school so much because I held out through the worst of it in fifth grade.  I even wrote a multi-chapter book titled "Why Fifth Grade?" when I was in fifth grade.  (I was a BIG Judy Blume fan, so the title and book itself is a big tribute to her. :))  It was 52 pages of pure drama and shenanigans. 
Fifth grade started out great - I had a huge group of friends - popular friends - surrounding me.  I probably even had some poor sap "boyfriend" (i.e. the one boy in the entire class I would ignore more than any other boy until it came time for recess, where we would hold hands while standing as far apart as humanly possible, not saying one word to each other the entire time.)  I was on top of the world.  I can remember the time and place that it all changed. 
Warning: The following comes completely from my memory and may have been distorted in my favor with time.  We were at a Varsity basketball game - my dad would always take me to them so that he could watch high school basketball while I ran around the cafeteria ignoring above said boyfriend and giggling way too much and too loudly.  It all began because another boy showed me a note from my friend that called me a bad word.  It hurt my feelings so I told her so.  Now, my memory may be a bit off, but from what I can remember that was all the ammunition she needed to turn every friend I had against me.   The days that followed were every little fifth grade girl's worst nightmare.  I was completely friendless.  My old friends would get the boys in our class to throw balls at me during recess.  They verbally made fun of the fact that I wore my pants at my natural wasteline - (which, in hindsight....fair enough.)  They always found some reason to let me know I was inadequate.  Which makes me wonder what type of person I was before all of this happened.  I wasn't raised that way, but if these people were my friends, did people consider me to be the same way? To be completely fair, we WERE in fifth grade so our social skills were not exactly developed at this point.  I even consider some of these girls friends again at this juncture in my life.  AND I could also have a completely distorted view of how this all went down.  However, none of this matters because the point of all this isn't how mean everyone was to me.  The point is how nice Heidi was.
I would be REALLY surprised if Heidi reads this fact, I never see or talk to her anymore (although we are friends on Facebook. :))  The reason I'm even writing this post is because ever since my mom and I had this conversation on Sunday I have been thinking about Heidi.  H took me in under her wing within days of all this happening.  She was pretty, nice, and she actually wanted to be my friend, even though she already had her own friends and didn't need me.  H taught me how to be a friend - a true friend.  I wanted to transfer schools and run away, but H gave me a reason to stay.  She loved me unconditionally.  Even when my old friends decided that they wanted her to be friends with them (I still fell short of that honor), instead she was loyal to me.  A few years later we drifted apart (again - this is my memory of the situation).  However, she still holds a very important place in my history.  I hope that Heidi will someday know how much her friendship changed my life and made me a better person. 
Now, I know you are all wondering about this silly novel I wrote.  I still have it.  It still makes me laugh.  Only a few people have read it.  It is pretty laughable.  What seemed like a very serious situation back then has turned in to a laughable, yet life-changing moment.  The book is bound, and hand-written - all 52 precious pages - and even has a dust cover (all done by yours truly).  I even inserted black and white photographs of Heidi and I as the illustrations (perhaps a precursor to my future career?).  The funniest part when I look back at the book is how I switched my character with Heidi's - or how I felt about Heidi.  Anyone who actual reads the book would think that I have completely full of myself.  The truth is that I gave the character with my own physical features the traits that I found so endearing in Heidi.  It's now embarassing to read, because I describe myself (or the character that was based on myself) as generous, beautiful, and very cool.  The reality is that I felt the complete opposite of that - and thought of Heidi as all those things.
So the moral of this long-winded and ridiculously insightful post is to say "thank you" to Heidi.  Maybe someday she'll read this.  Maybe someday she'll realize what she's taught me.  And maybe someday I can repay her for the way she has touched my life.  My wish for the world is that everyone can have a Heidi at some point in their lives.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Movie Monday!

a.k.a. Hands are delicious!

This movie was taken on Sunday while Miles was going down for his nap. Dustin and I have very different strategies for putting Miles down. This is Dustin's.

Lesson of the day: always carry an extra tube of mascara.

Today started out like any other.  The entire house slept while I got ready for work.  I don't dread getting ready for work because right now I really like my job (it might also have to do with the fact that I have been on maternity leave more than I've actually been at school over the last year).  In fact, unlike every other day everyone slept the entire time.  There were no little footsteps outside the bathroom door and no one yelling "bear" and "da" from their bedroom.....until I was putting on my coat to leave.  Just as I was sitting on our bed to say goodbye to Dustin and give him instructions for the day (he was still half asleep of course), Miles came out of his room carrying this giant laminated picture of - can you guess? - cars and trucks.  He walked over to our room and climbed on my lap to show it to me.  After a few brief minutes of cuddling I told him I had to go.  He kept saying "bye bye" and held my hand while we walked to the door. Only when he realized that I was stepping over the babygate without him did the tears ensue.  Create a mental picture if you could of a young toddler in tight pajamas and a terrible case of bedhead starting to cry tears of pure sadness and anger.  A hissy fit of tears followed.  Not just tears, but full-out stomping and flailing.  He even flung his tiny little body onto the floor and buried his face in his hands - something I've never actually seen him do before.  I stood there helpless while he carried on, suddenly questioning everything I thought I was doing right.  He has never cried when I've left before....and it absolutely broke my heart into a million pieces.

Am I doing the right thing by going back to work?  Do I work too much?  I like working, but I suddenly feel terrible about it. Are my children missing out on something by me not being there?

Just then Dustin came out of the bedroom and scooped up Miles.  By the time I was pulling out of the driveway he was just fine - waving at me from the window.  But I wasn't.  I cried all of the way to work.  I had my own little hissy fit.  I'm sure he has had a great day and was fine within minutes.  It's taking me a little longer.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Going to church with Miles....

Before I had kids I knew that my kids would be incredibly well behaved at church.  I knew that I would force them to sit quietly through the sermon, not disrupting anyone around them.  I knew that they would sit facing forward, maybe even with a book in their laps - preferably a children's Bible, and if not, would have their hands folded nicely on their laps while they sat in an orderly quiet row between Dustin and me.

10:32 - we drop Miles off at the nursery and shove him in the door.  Today he cries, which he has never done.  I close the door and will myself to walk into the sanctuary.
10:34 - after listening outside the door to him sobbing in the nursery I figure, what's the harm in him sitting with us if he doesn' want to be in there?
10:35 - we sit down and the announcements and singing begins.  Miles is the perfect angel.
10:36 - it is a good thing there is singing because Miles is sees a vehicle on the projector and starts yelling "truck".
10:40 - more announcements - Miles can't decide if he wants to sit on my lap or Dustin's and after trying out both laps multiple times decides on Dustin's - we break out the big guns....snacks!
10:42 - Miles joyfully munches away while kicking the pew in front as hard as possible, creating a nice little rhythm.
10:45 - Just because I told him not to, he pokes the guy's shoulder that is sitting in front of us.
10:46 - Prayer....Miles chooses this time to verbally and physically point out (loudly) to the people behind us that he is sitting with "Ma" and "Da", over and over and over again.  They can't get enough.  He'll point to me and say "Ma!" and then point to Dustin and say "Da".  I hear snickers in the back.  He then sticks his finger up his nose and blows (This is is shhhhhh sign).  Everyone loves it...except me.  The only prayer I'm saying is for the prayer to be over soon.  It eventually turns into the Longest.Prayer.EVER.  I beg Dustin to take him out before the prayer is over.  Dustin refuses because he would have to walk over people in our row.  Now we are the ones being loud.  Miles starts looking up at the ceiling and bringing his head down quickly while yelling something that I can't understand.  I'm sure everyone is looking at us, and I can't understand how the pastor couldn't just have enough mercy to end the prayer so that I can get Miles out of the sanctuary.  Now he's throwing cheerios.  Not entirely on purpose, but he is definitely enjoying the result.....and the loud and repeated "uhOh" that follows.  I swear the prayer was going on half an hour at this least it felt like it. 

10:48 (although I'm convinced it was much later) - Prayer ends, Dustin takes Miles out to the nursery.  Apparently something out there caught his attention because I didn't see either of them for the remainder of the service and had to sit there by myself....although it wasn't bad compared to the alternative. :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Dustin and I just got back from seeing the movie The Blind Side.  It was a great movie that of course made me cry.  It is such a touching movie.  This boy's mother is no longer in his life because she is so caught up in drugs and probably other terrible things.  And yet, she has this boy that loves her so much. 

Because I only have boys right now, I find myself looking at boys differently.  Whenever I see someone like the boy in the movie I wonder if his mom laid on the bed with him as he smiled and cooed to her, like I do with Liam.  I wonder if she threw him up in the air when she came home from work, like I do with Miles. 
Now, when I look at boys, I see them as babies....
When one of my students acts like he doesn't care about anything in class, I see him as a tiny toddler with flailing arms and legs while he lies on the floor next to his mother. 
When I see a mug shot of some young man on the news I picture his mother laughing at his infant smile and tickling his chin.
When I see little boys from the news in Haiti I picture their lives before the tragedy when their moms and dads must have chased them around while they giggled and ran.
When a student annoys me I see a part of what his mother must see.
The cocky and tough basketball star becomes a tiny little toddler in a diaper who wants his mom to lie in bed with him.
The goth dressed in black that won't look me in the eye becomes the tiny tot that insists on his parents singing the "bird song" over and over again.
Sometimes it just feels like too feel so much all of the time. 
What will my boys grow up to be like?  Will they be well rounded and full of character?  Will they insist on me dropping them off a block from school?  Will they talk about me to their friends like I'm a freak of nature?  Whatever happens (and I'm sure it won't all be perfect), I hope that I can always go back and remember them as the  gurgling cooing infant and the boisterous funny little toddler.  And I hope that they will always remember me as the mom that loved them more than she thought she could ever stand.  I hope they see me as tolerant and accepting.  I hope they know that they make me proud, and that they will always be my little boys.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010


The Wyse-Fishers would like to wish everyone a 
Happy Korean Lunar New Year (a.k.a. Seollal).

To learn more about the Korean Lunar New Year click here.  
 Miles in the Hanbok his foster mother gave him (it finally fits perfectly!)

Yesterday was not only Valentine's Day, but also Seollal.  We were invited by some friends to celebrate by going to a Korean restaurant in Champaign named B*Won.  It was delicious!  We haven't eaten at a Korean restaurant for almost a year since there are none in Peoria, and I was so sick in Korean that we couldn't ever go out to eat in the evenings like we wanted to (although we did eat at one of the street carts one afternoon - and still don't really know what we ate, except that it was spicy and delicious). was great food, and it realy was worth the trip.  I'm sure we'll be going back again soon.
The funny part was the Miles - my child who will eat anything, including spicy Indian food and salad, wouldn't even try a SINGLE BITE of food from the restaurant.  I don't think he was necessarily turned off by it, because it was all food that he would have loved....I think it was just that he was 1. distracted by the chopsticks and 2. being ornery (big surprise!)  Finally we got him to try a few bites of broccoli and rice, but he was still completely uninterested.  Oh well, more for us!
Liam (a.k.a. Hot Stuff) enjoying some Korean cuisine - or at least looking at it.

In the end we decided to get a group picture of the kids - which is always a great idea.  He is a little photo essay of how it went down.....
Here you can see Miles thinking about what he is going to do next.  You can almost see him weighing out the good vs. bad of this situation.
Here he decides to go for it - the cute little girl in the dress that is.
Look dad!  She TOTALLY wants me to give her a hug.  (You can see my legs in the background rushing to save the poor girl.)

Finally we ended up with a great picture of everyone.  Notice how Miles is waving at the camera with both hands - he did this for about 30 seconds like he was President of something - pretty funny!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Right now

A year ago I was working at and owning an art gallery that could barely pay rent.
A year ago I was waiting for a travel call that wouldn't come for another month and half.
A year ago the only child I had was living around the world and being raised by someone else. 
A year ago I spent every Friday night at a wine bar listening to fantastic music and serving delicious wine.
A year ago I was surrounded by friends all of the time, never running out of things to do and social activities to enjoy.
A year ago I was sad but hopeful.

Right now I am sitting in a coffee house all by myself.
Right now I am sitting in a seat that has sun streaming through the window
Right now three boys are sleeping at my house and my most recent memory of them has them sleeping silently, safe, and snuggled up in bed.
Right now I am drawing out new jewelry designs - something I haven't done for a year according to my sketchbook.
Right now I am happy and content.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (minus the lengthy post I just published separately)

Yes, I'd like some cheese with my whine please, PART 2

The reason this is post is labeled PART 2 is because I just spent a ridiculous amount of time writing a post about all of the things that are going wrong in my life. I have been so busy having a pity party for myself these last few days that my obsession with being inadequate has taken over my thoughts. After getting it all typed out onto the computer I realized just how ridiculous it all was. I am embarrassed that I even wrote it, although it did make me feel better.

So, instead I decided to write about all of the things that I am thankful for today. Because the truth is that I've got it pretty good.

1. I'm thankful for friends. My first complaint went on and on about how I feel my friends slipping away in the wake of having two babies in such a short time. Talk about an identity crisis. Just as I finished writing it one of my friends emailed me asking how my day was and telling me she missed me. It was perfect timing. I do have amazing friends.

2. I'm thankful for my independence. There are times lately when I feel like it is being challenged, but the truth is that I have a husband that is almost always willing to take on the boys solo so that I can go out and have a life. The challenge now is convincing myself that it is okay.

3. I'm thankful for my gray suede boots. They keep my feet warm, and their stylish. (Did you think everything on here was going to philisophical?)

4. I'm thankful for the beach body grace period. I've never had a supermodel body, but the fact that I can't find a single acceptable thing in my closet to wear beats me up inside a little everyday. Instead I am choosing to be thankful for the fact that I've got a good five months until I need to show it off in even less forgiving clothing. My students don't care that my sweater fits a little tight around the middle. They barely even notice I'm there. :)

5. I'm thankful for a husband that shovels the driveway without me asking. No explanation needed.

6. I'm thankful for all of the people that fixed or brought me dinner over the last 10 weeks.

7. I'm thankful that both Dustin and I have jobs. We're not rich, and like everyone else we have our financial shortcomings, but we also always know that there will be a paycheck.

8. I'm thankful for my warm house.

9. I'm thankful for my faith. When I'm at my lowest I always have someone to turn to. I just need to remember to turn to God when I'm also at my highest.

10. I'm thankful for Tom Petty and Red Hot Chili Peppers. On days like today they speak to me. Sing it Anthony Kiedis, you sexy guy.

11. I'm thankful for color theory. I can't think of anything I'd rather be teaching my students right now. It's fresh, it's fantastic, and they actually smiled today when I made a color joke. (not to be confused with actually laughing.)

12. I'm thankful for my students. The good ones make my day and the naughty ones keep me on my feet. Some days they think I'm fabulous and hilarious, most days they bring me back down to earth faster than a meteor heading for the ocean. Today one of them even told me to have a good day.....

13. I'm thankful for children's books that make me cry. I like to cry - it's no secret. I think it is good for the soul. If your looking for a good cry, keep it simple. Here are some of my favorite mascara smearing reads.
Love You Forever
On the Night You Were Born
Guess How Much I Love You
I Love You Through and Through
God Gave us You
Little Boy (this one I just got tonight from my sister-in-law Amy (see below) and every mother with a little boy should read it and - if you're like me - weep.)
I'm sure there are tons I'm forgetting.

14. I'm thankful for surprise Valentine's Day packages from my sister-in-law.

15. I'm thankful for my super comfortable bed.

16. I'm thankful that Liam is a good sleeper.

17. I'm thankful that Miles is social and is never afraid to try something new.

18. I'm thankful for Ellen DeGeneres. Oh Ellen, everyday that I get to watch your show it becomes a better day automatically. Even the next day when I think back to something that happened on your show the day before it makes me smile.

19. I'm thankful for food - good, delicious, food.

20. I'm thankful for faculty meetings that include free soda and cookies.

21. I'm thankful for my brothers remembering my birthday. After many years of it being ignored, they are suddenly remembering the one day a year that makes me special. That means a lot to me.

22. I'm thankful of other people's blogs. I stalk them like crazy, but find such comfort in them. I wish they realized how much I enjoy them.

23. I'm thankful for good neighbors.

24. I'm thankful for red wine - the dry kind.

25. I'm thankful that I was able to have Liam, because I didn't think that I would ever be able to.

26. I'm thankful that God didn't send Liam a minute sooner because then I might not have my other beautiful son, Miles.

27. I'm thankful that I have learned to trust God's timing more than my own.

28. I'm thankful for Modern Family because it makes me laugh.

29. I'm thankful for peanut butter cups and fountain Coke.

30. I'm thankful for our wonderful nanny and for my in-laws who are always so excited to babysit when needed.

31. I'm thankful for Skype and the moments when Miles can talk to my parents who are miles away.

This list is three times longer than the last one. The last one made me feel a little better, but this one makes me happy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My brother's girlfriend - who I adore - sent me this.  I want to share it with all of you, especially if you are raising boys.

The heart goes out ahead
scouting for him
while I stay at home
keeping the fire,
holding the house down
around myself
like a skirt from the high wind.
The boy does not know
how my eye strains to make out
his small animal shape
swimming hard across the future
nor that I have strengthened myself
like the wood side of this house
for his benefit.
I stay still
so he can rail against me.
I stay at the fixed center of things
like a jar on its shelf
or the clock on the mantel
so when his time comes
he can leave me.
Myra Sklarew


Lately I've noticed that only Dustin and I are the only ones that can get Miles to laugh when we tickle him. Others have tried, but they just assume he isn't ticklish. It's sort of our little secret. Maybe he's just faking for us. Either way, I get a little bit of a sick pleasure out of knowing this because my parents were the only ones that could actually get me to laugh when they tickled me. Otherwise I was never ticklish. You can't buy that kind of loyalty. :)

Miles thought maybe Liam wanted to participate in playing with his Dad's phone when he wasn't supposed to.  He's already trying to get him in trouble. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dear Miles - A.K.A. Little Stinker

Dear Miles - lately known as "Stinker, Turkey, or Trouble",

I'm writing you this letter because I want to document what a big boy you have become in the last ten months. That's right, exactly 10 months ago today we were walking off the plane with a sweet, sleepy, quiet, shy little boy. That day 10 months ago I thought I had been blessed with a well-behaved and timid little boy. Boy was I wrong. Instead, I was blessed with something even better.

Hence your most recent nickname "Little Stinker." It's the only thing your father and I can think to call you when you are going about your little shenanigans. Hopefully by the time you read this you are no longer testing all of the limits, but are still as witty as you are today. Everyone knows that I never expected a genius baby (although you're pretty darn close), and I've never thought that my children would be perfect. However, my close friends know that I did always want a witty and clever child....and boy is that you to a "T". Every single day you make me laugh and most of the time it is when I shouldn't be laughing at all and should instead be disciplining you.

Some of the things you do that are funny, but are not really supposed to be....

**You grab Liam's pacifier from where ever I have set it temporarily, put it in your mouth, look at me, suck vigorously, and then back away slowly.....until I start to get up, and then it is a full-out run across the room (and if you're lucky, up the stairs, across another room, through the doorway, and then around the bed.)

**Lately you've been waiting patiently in our room next to the laptop. As far as I know you are just sitting there patiently looking at the screen. However, the minute I walk in you are banging on the keyboard (you look an aweful lot like your father at this point), moving the screen up and down, plugging the charger in and then unplugging it, and pushing it off of the footstool. All this happens within a matter of about 5 seconds. (Did I mention you are a quick little stinker?)

**Yesterday I was in the bathroom and I heard you outside the door playing with the doorknob. When I opened it to see what you were doing you quickly put both hands behind your back and looked up at me with the funniest expression and said clear as day "key". It was like you were tattling on yourself. I had to turn around to hide my smile. Apparently you had taken your dad's keys out of the bowl (where you know you aren't supposed to go) and were trying to unlock the door.

**Today the babysitter said that you got into your dad's deodorant AGAIN. Apparently you brought it downstairs looked at her and took the cap off. When she said, "Miles, don't lick it..." you licked it as vigorously as you could (which in itself is pretty disgusting) and then threw it down the stairs.

**You are constantly trying to microwave everything - from your matchbox cars to "Bear." One of these days I'm not going to catch you in time. (Note to self: What idiot thought putting the microwave below the counter was a good idea? Oh yeah, me.)

It seems like you are constantly just trying to test us and see if the rules still apply. The problem is that you are just so funny when you're doing it that you're making it really hard for us to get upset with you. You've always got this funny little smile that you give us like it is a big game. The problem is that it is contagious and we can't help but think it's pretty funny. If you could do me a favor and stop being so irresistible, that would really help me out in my quest for "ultimate mommy" status. Thanks.

However, there are many many instances throughout the day when you are cute and are not testing the limits. For example, you are such a good big brother. You always have to make sure to give Liam a hug and kiss before you go to bed. Sometimes that is even more important than giving one to Cooper, which is pretty shocking. You also want to push him in the swing and always make sure that the appropriate music is playing for his listening pleasure (although not necessarily for your parents'). Tonight I caught you playing "peek-a-boo with Liam and his little bear blanket. It almost made me cry, (Okay, mom, you're so pathetic.)

Then there is the way that you are so observant and mimic the adults around you. You always put on people's shoes whenever they come to visit. Also, you love to try and tie shoes that are really looks like you are doing it, and one of these days I'm going to look over and you're going to have something looped and double knotted. Yesterday at dinner I took a bite of shredded cheese - by throwing my head back and shoving it in my mouth. (It was both elegant and graceful :)) I only realized how silly I looked when I gave you some cheese and you ate it the exact same way. Your dad thought that was pretty funny.

So Miles, the purpose of this long-winded and never ending letter is to let you know what a joy you've made our lives. Everyday you wake up a little bigger, a little more independent, and a little funnier. You have enriched our lives so much, that I can't remember what it was like a year ago without you in must have been pretty darn boring.

Love you forever,
Mom xoxoxox

Monday, February 1, 2010

Movie Monday

Today was my first day back in 8 weeks. It went pretty well and the students were on their best behavior. AND I even had this to come home to..... you can't really beat that for the first day back on a job.

This clip contains a little bit of everything (which it should for being several minutes long) including a few new animal sounds, the exploration of tastebuds, and even more of Miles feeding Liam his pacifier (we just can't seem to get enough of that footage).