Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eric's Birthday Party

Eric turned 7 last month, but due to scheduling issues, his birthday party was delayed until yesterday.

Eric chose airplanes for his theme this year. I issued simple but fun invitations. The formatting doesn't look as pretty in my blog, but you can get the idea below:

Eric Berry Air


Name of Passenger:

Daniel Berry

Traveling to:


Carrier Flight Date Time

EBA PARTY Oct 11 1:00-3:00 p.m.

*Passengers are allowed carry-on parents,

if desired. Please confirm your reservation

with your travel agent, Gail Berry, at

(***) ***-****. If you need to bring extra

carry-on family (such as siblings), please

alert the airline to make the necessary

arrangements. Boarding begins at

1:00 p.m. from Terminal B Gate 7.

Eric Air is a discount carrier with limited

cargo capability. Please try to limit your

checked baggage. (Translation: you don't

need to bring presents. Really. Of course,

no one is ever required to bring presents,

but you know what I mean.)

The cake was not my fanciest, but it was easy and edible. It contained sufficient sugar and the children seemed content.

Eric Airlines cake. Candle inventory: one candle at the tail and one on each wing (collision lights) and four below (runway lights) make a total of seven. (Yes, the runway should be green. Or black. Don't quibble.)

Eric blowing out the candles. Let's hope he's instrument rated if he's planning to pilot the plane in the dark!

The party went well. We had six kids besides Eric and Danny. The playset was a big hit, as was the wooden castle. Both have more than recouped themselves because they saved me from needing to supervise more structured games. It was a low-key party, really more of a play date, except for the cake and ice cream. And the traditional Homer Happy Birthday song (about death and dismay) that my Dad learned at girl's camp.

Still, my favorite part may well have been several weeks ago, on Eric's actual birthday. He had been asking me for puzzles and challenges for several days, so I obliged him. I sent him on a treasure hunt to find his birthday presents. (A Choose Your Own Adventure book and an excellently-illustrated chemistry dictionary for children.)

The clues run as follows:

Happy birthday, Eric dear!

You'll be seven all this year.

But “Where's my present?” you may ask.

Well, first you must complete a task.

If you can solve this puzzle, then

You'll be the cleverest of men.

What's that you say? You're still a boy?

Oh no! I did not buy a toy!

Instead, I got a book or two.

A special gift from us to you.

Now here's the first clue you must solve:

How can you see the world revolve?

Now, number two. It cannot be:

A rectangle with corners three?

And yet it's so. At night, and oft,

One corner disappears aloft.

You got it. Humph. I'll try again

To bog you down in marsh and fen.

(That was a metaphor, you know

Which means you'll get confused and so

Give up, or pause, or play awhile

Distracted by your Mommy's guile.)

Or, “bogged” may mean, as you might guess,

You've gotten stuck in mud or mess.

Now, where's a messy spot 'round here?

My kitchen? (No!) In Danny's ear?

Where do clothes, books, and toys converge?

(Hint: Place that, presently, we'll purge.)

Just wade through there, and in the rear

You'll see a chasm, grim and drear

Just step inside! Yes, have no fear!

Your present should be somewhere near!

Happy birthday, Eric dear!

I hope my budding engineer

Approves his present; after all--

Aha! Already you're in thrall.

I'll tiptoe softly from the room

And go prepare a different doom.

I must create ('cause I'm depraved)

A dinner daring few have braved.

I am pleased to report that he was quite taken with the book. (Score one for Mommy's fiction campaign.) He was also quick to figure out the clues.

I am holding the answers hostage until I get more comments. (Please! I crave comments!) A few daring souls might even entertain the rest of us by posting their guesses!

All in all, a successful birthday operation. Now I just need to get through Christmas, followed by the January triple crown: Jon's birthday, Danny's birthday, and Grandma Homer's birthday all within fifteen days of each other.

The most terrifying part is that next year, Eric turns 8. I keep trying to convince my boys not to grow up, but they insist upon it. (I also try to convince them that, if they're so keen to grow up, they should take shortcuts and skip certain years, like ages 13-15. Alas, that hasn't worked either.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mommiest Moments: September 2008

“Mommy, there was a stampede of wild hangers.”

--Danny, explaining the tangle in the closet.

A Stampede of Wild Hangers. Let's hope my cowboys are skilled at roundin'em up.

“Carolyn thinks I'm odd because I had a dream about cannibalistic zombie hot dogs.”

--Gail. It was awful, I tell you! Sheets of hot dogs were spewing from grates and drains everywhere. I was hacking at them madly with a short sword while trying to command the magic university's campus defenses...

Mommy: Eric, did you try reading your Time Warp Trio book while waiting in the carpool room?
Eric: I wasn't that bored.
--I will not give in on my quest to make him read more fiction! I won't!

"Mommy, will you tell me a commercial bedtime story? And Ursa Major will be in it because Bear is the daddy and he had to go to work all day and all night."
--Danny. Fortunately, Jon's almost-all-nighters seem to have ended now.

Danny: Do I start school soon?
Mommy: Yes. Next week!
Danny: Yay! But wait. Who will help you if I'm not here?

[First day of school]
Mommy: Bye, honey. [Hug] [Deadpan] I will do my very best to handle things without your help.
Danny: Okay. [Nods seriously, then disappears into his new classroom.]
--Am I a bad mother because I don't cry at the start of school? Ever? (Freeeeedom!)

[After school]
Mommy: Was Maddie in your class?
Danny: No, but there was a new girl I made friends with.
Mommy: That's nice. What's her name?
Danny: [singing cadence] I don't know!
--You had to hear his inflection to get it. It was funny. Trust me.

[Wincing] "Much as I want to say, 'What are you talking about? My child is perfect!...' "
--Gail. Under less than ideal circumstances, obviously.

"I want a bedtime story about I-derry-keeka flooding his city with a potion of healing."
--Eric. I'm delighted that his imagination is improving, as are his story prompts!

"...So the young dragon, exasperated by all the adults' reasons why he couldn't have a pet, decided, in a defiant mood, that he would find the biggest, naughtiest, messiest, most hyper-allergenic, most mind-bogglingly expensive pet ever. He decided that as soon as school was over, he would go out and find a hurricane. Of course, the details of what he would do with the hurricane, and how he would tame it he decided to leave for later..."
--Mommy, telling a bedtime story.

Homework question: What is something special about this person?
Eric: My Mommy tells funny bedtime stories.
--Awww! I love having my work appreciated!

"Mommy! You forgot to give me my allergy medication! And my vitamins! And I don't think Eric had his, either!"
--Danny. I swear, it's like having a tiny adult. That is, when he's chiding, not whining.

Gail: "...And for only $1.49 out of pocket, I got a tube of toothpaste and a diabetes monitor! And I figured this one out all by myself!"
Carolyn: But, why did you need...?
Gail: That's an excellent question!
--The answer is that I got it for better-than-free. I ended up earning more in rebates than I paid for the thing. And I will happily give it to a person with a legitimate need. Anyone want an AccuChek compact diabetes monitoring kit, the market value of which is roughly $50 to $75? (I should mention that I made a minor error in my calculations. I had thought I would pay 50 cents out of pocket, and it ended up a dollar extra. Ah well, I am still an acolyte. This is no fault of my amazing mentors, though!

"That...that may possibly be brilliant! And even have merit!"
--Gail, to her mother, who had made an excellent suggestion about how to create coupon storage pockets. ("Manufacture your own," she said. "You have a Bernina. It can do anything!") Which advice I followed, mostly. (Being a rebel Gail, a "never-read-the-manual" Gail, naturally I had to make some slight personalized modifications. It turned out wonderfully, despite my tweaks, and received many compliments!)

Left: The inside flap of my coupon binder, complete with scissors, calculator, and pockets for "active" coupons. Right: Sample pages of cleaning supplies, configured 8 and 9 to a page.

"Are you saying her pretender isn't as good as yours?"
--Eric. With a twinkle in his eye.

"I will not say that I was wrong. Merely that converted."
--I never like to admit I'm wrong. (Especially to Jon, with whom I have a standing joke that I am always right.) I used to say that clipping coupons was not worth my time. However, when my couponing mentors tell stories like "And then the cashier opened the cash register and paid me fourteen cents to haul away my groceries," even I will swallow my pride and say, "Where do I sign...?

Mommy: Danny, you are doing such a great job reading! Let's set a goal. If you read an entire Dr. Seuss book out loud to me, I will buy you ice cream at Goodberry's.
Eric: [Hopefully] Mommy, if I read a Dr. Seuss book...?
Mommy: No. For your level, reading one of the Chronicles of Narnia would be more appropriate.
Eric: But it will take me a very long time to read that out loud!
Mommy: You could read it silently to yourself, and in stages.
Eric: But then how will you know I actually read it?

"Why do both my boys resist reading fiction? Well, one of them resists fiction, and the other resists reading.”
--Gail. It forces me to think up silly stories, crazy characters, improbable plots, and magical machinations almost daily! Woe is me!

[Speaking of highly imaginative stories...]

Gail: “...And the secretary at Eric's school looked at me funny because I was talking to Danny about the etymological origins of the word "alphabet" (From Greek alpha, if our "ABCs" turned into its own word). And when Danny asked if "QOD" spelled anything, I said no, but then taught him that "QED" stands for quod erat demonstratum, and what it means. Why does everyone think it strange that I have educational conversations with my 4 1/2-year-old son?

Mark: They're jealous.

Gail: They're jealous that I have dreams about getting locked up in a psych ward, stalked by a guy who is honestly insane (not just a little crazy), fomenting a revolution against the nursing staff, leading my crazy followers through the pharmacy full of hallucinogenic drugs, through a weird glass skybridge, and into the spirit world? (Talk about 'storming the gates of heaven!') They're jealous that my dreams create spiritual crises, because I discover doctrinal contradictions, like the spirit world is actually divided into four sections, not two? And the high-telestial kingdom is like a really dirty bus station with security guards/temple workers (wearing white uniforms/suits) kicking us out after business hours? And thinking, "But Danny's Bear shouldn't be able to manifest physically!” as Bear goes through an airport-style security screening before being permitted to move with us to the Terrestrial level?

--I wouldn't trade my imagination for anything. I love my imagination, even when it has very weird subconscious outlets.

"According to my statistics, Daddy has been telling me most of my bedtime stories lately, so I think it's likely that I will probably get a Mad Scientist story tomorrow."
--Eric. If statistics work that way, does it mean that a woman who has three boys in a row has a 3/4 chance of producing another boy with the next pregnancy?

Danny: Mommy, I will help you clean tomorrow and that means that I won't be able to work in my workshop but that's okay because Ursa Major will be in charge and she will tell everyone not to go in there.
--Getting ready for Book Club.

Mommy: So because the hurricane was being obstreperous, the dragon lost control and crashed it into a forest several miles away, thus losing the bet.
Eric: [upset] But I think his friend did not realize it was the hurricane's fault!!!
Mommy: No, it was The Curse taking effect.
--The serial bedtime story this month is about a dragon named Timothy, his pet hurricane, and his curse to lose every game or competition he ever plays. The serial bedtime story last month was about Mommy's dream castle in the Monster World besieged by an army of Orexes (half elephant, half dinosaur, and bright orange) and rescued by SCA'ers. Before that was a really long, twenty-five chapter novella about peasants plotting a really well organized revolution.

"You have a really good ear."
--Eric's speech therapist. He has officially graduated! No more weekly trips to Wake Forest! We will definitely need to continue practice at home, though.

Eric: What should I name my new beaver? Mommy, do you have any suggestions?

Mommy: [Mulls it over] Hm. Hoover?

--This is also particularly apt given the financial turmoil of these times. I neglected to mention that to Eric, though. Let the kid enjoy his childhood.

"My Mommy tells better bedtime stories, but my Daddy tells them more often."
--Eric. Personally, I think Jon's Mad Scientist stories are also adorable and entertaining.

Danny: ...and then I read a book, and then I finished it and started another book but I didn't have time to finish it so I will read it again tomorrow...
Mommy: Wonderful! What was the book about?
Danny: I don't know!
--Again, you had to hear his inflection to get how funny it was.

Eric: But why is Danny in trouble?
Mommy: Because it is a consequence.
Eric: But what did he do?
Mommy: That's between Danny and me. He may tell you if he wishes.
Eric: Danny, will you tell me what you did?
Danny: Eric, no thank you.
Eric: [Frustrated] But I might not ever find out what happened!
Mommy: [Deadpan imitation of a British butler] Truly, I am overbrimming with sympathy.

--I went on to explain that often another person's mistakes are none of our business. I lectured about sin and the Bishop and the Sacrament, but I don't think it made a dent.

[Snuggling on the couch]
Mommy: Eric, what kind of girl would you like to marry when you grow up?
Eric: I think she should have a really good imagination.

Danny: Mommy, will you read me this book?
Mommy: Sure! Will you help me read it?
Danny: No thank you.
Mommy: How about two words on each page?
Danny: No, thank you.
Mommy: One word per page?
Danny: Mommy, no thank you. I want you to read it.
Mommy: [sighs] Okay. But If you don't help me, you might not like how I read it.
[Reads it blazing fast. Not quite as quickly as the "micromachine" ad guy from the 80s, but really fast.]
Danny: [blinking] Mommy, will you read it again? This time I will help you.
--Sweet reason and gentle persuasion.

"But why do garages have to have garage freezers?"


Eric: I need help with this homework.
Jon: [glancing quickly] It looks like a simple addition word problem...[reads] "Tim has twenty fish. Five are red. How many are blue?" Ah, I see the problem.
--Jon offered to help write a note to the teacher about specificity, but Eric declined. He was flexible and wrote down the answer the teacher wanted as opposed to a critique. Jon was proud, but also disappointed. ;)

"This reminds me of a story I heard about an Aspie middle-schooler. On his EOGs he had to write an essay based on the prompt "What would happen if a dinosaur egg hatched?" The kid wrote a very well-organized, well-argued critique of why the prompt was stupid, because dinosaurs are extinct, any of their fossilized eggs are millions of years old, the entire scenario was impossible, and the test-makers were idiots. A very well-written essay, other than his insults; sadly, it didn't "answer the question" and so he got no credit for it..."
--Gail. EOGs are End Of Grade tests.

Jon: So we're trying to create our own standard-cell library as discreetly as possible. If Munich gets involved, it will be awful.
Gail: 'May the Lord bless and keep the Czar...far away from us!'

“This is the trap I built that doesn't hurt good people but only bad people with spikes. “

--Danny. Jon immediately banned it from the house. Too dangerous. Especially if its sensor was set too high and it trapped naughty children along with bad ones.

"Poor Danny has been subjected to six hours of Pride and Prejudice while I clipped and organized coupons. I heard 'Can we please watch Veggie Tales now?' a lot."

"But why was Netherfield Hall vacant? And why did Mr. Bennet quarrel with his cousin, Mr. Collins' father? Did Mr. Bennet marry Mrs. Bennet because he got her pregnant? No, probably just because she flirted and he was flattered, the poor introvert. If Mr. Darcy was so snobby, why was he hanging out with Bingley all the time? How did Mr. Gardiner meet his wife if she grew up in Darbyshire? Why did they move to London? But the most vexing question of all is, 'How did Sir Lucas come to be knighted?'"
--Gail, trying to piece together an outline of what preceded Pride and Prejudice. Somebody should write a prequel!

"I want to play for my bedtime story. Wait. Mommy, I want a bedtime story that is a commercial that ends on a cliffhanger."

--Danny. I want you to know, I pulled it off.

"For my bedtime story, I want the next chapter about the dragon going on a quest to break the curse that he will lose every game he ever plays. Or about a hurricane that loses its wind and so isn't a hurricane anymore but just a tropical depression."


[Telling the story]
Mommy: Poor Joe. He moved in ever-widening circles laterally, but never found his spiraling winds. After a while, no longer hurricane but merely a tropical depression, he parked himself gloomily over a small island in the Atlantic and cried.
Eric: [giggling] But hurricanes can't cry!
Mommy: He wasn't a hurricane anymore. --And cried, and cried. Of course, the people on the island just thought it was raining a lot. But after a few years of this, they all started moving away--
Eric: But why was it just sitting there and crying and not moving?
Mommy: Because he was a tropical depression.

"Here, Mommy. You can be the caboose."
--Danny, generously giving up his spot in line when I volunteered in his preschool class. I refrained from pointing out that normally one allows a person to “cut” in front, not behind. It was a noble gesture on Danny's part.

"Drat! Another coupon for $1 instead of $0.99!"
--Gail. Some grocery stores automatically double coupons less than a dollar, see...

"I wonder how they'll manage a cockney accent in French."
--Gail, preparing to watch My Fair Lady with the French sound track.

"Dear Heavenly Father, please bless us to have a good morning, good afternoon, good noon, good night, good evening, and good day. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
--Danny, saying, ironically, the evening family prayer.

"Mommy, four plus one is five and four minus one is three! That is a hard math I figured out myself!"

"Daddy, that consequence is a good thing because it will help me not to be lazy."

“Our children are freaks!”

--Jon, after Danny's comment above.

Danny: Mommy, will you look in my bookbag?
Mommy: Of course! [Parks the van and rummages in the backpack while Danny buckles] Oh, this is a nice painting. That must be the orange that got on your shirt a few days ago. Is it a...truck?
Danny: It is a tractor.
Mommy: Of course. Oh, and this is also a very nice painting. The blue is so sparkly! That must be what got in your hair yesterday. And this that a castle or a house?
Danny: It is a house.
Mommy: And here I see how you drew a triangle with smaller triangles inside.
Danny: Mommy, actually it is a triangle roof with trapezoid windows.
Mommy: [Gaping slightly] Who taught you about trapezoids?
Danny: Nobody but I just did them anyway.
Mommy: Well, you're right. Those are certainly trapezoids. [Shakes her head and begins driving]

"Daddy, this is the art I did at school today and this is my name. I wrote it with an m because I am tired of writing two ns."

"Mommy, I want to be called Daniel at school." [Pause] "But at home, you may still call me Danny."


"Some idiot put this wrapper in the washer!"
--Eric, helping with the laundry. I can only say that I'm glad Jon and I don't use profanity!

"So, distracted by the chaos of a purple dragon chasing a mama sheep and her baby all around the cafeteria, our hero spelled e-w-e instead of y-o-u and lost the spelling bee. The other dragon children laughed and poor Timothy was so embarrassed! The Curse had struck yet again..."

[Eric's "challenge" homework. It was way too easy.]
Q: What do these numbers have in common?
A: They are reversed!
Jon: [checking Eric's work] No, they are symmetrically rotated. You need to fix this answer.

"Mommy, you forgot the period!"
--Eric, in Sacrament Meeting, calling after me as I walked to the organ. I had been in the middle of writing Danny a very simple story to keep him entertained.

[Coughing] "My stuffed animals were supposed to be non-allergenic pets!"
--Obviously they have been collecting too much dust. Also, obviously, this means I should play with them more. Poor dears.

"What happens when a hurricane goes to sleep?"

"At every store I went to this week, the cashier had to call the manager."
--Gail. It was always a sale/coupon issue. Naturally.

"Eric, when you are done with that book, I want to read it."
--Danny. (Hallelujah!)

"Why is it that when I make money off of coupons, it is for less nourishing food, like pop-tarts or pudding cups? Oh, right, because cheap carbs"
--Gail. My coupons actually did net money on those items; I paid $2.00 for the pudding cups and got $2.25 back in coupon savings. I will put them in the storage room and pack them in the occasional lunch.

"Mommy, I did not want you to purge my cup!"
--A family of perjurers. Purgers. Whatever.

[After escorting Danny to a roller-skating birthday party.]
Gail: I did not, alas, manage to fall and sprain my wrist.

Jon: This is a bad thing?

Gail: It would relieve me of music duty. When I was 15, I fell while skating (at a youth activity) and sprained my wrist badly. I couldn't play the piano or organ for a month. Except for my ad hoc performance at an emergency wedding at youth conference, but I had to fudge the bass line by plinking with my pinkie finger while moving my arm, not my wrist.

Jon: Wait. A wedding—at youth conference?

Gail: [Grinning] I love doing that to you!

--It's a true story. The stake president, a rather impulsive fellow, pulled me out of a youth dance and asked if I could play for a wedding. I smelled drama and entertainment—which was more than could be said for the dance—and agreed. I don't know why the bride and groom were being hustled into marriage—they didn't look like Fallen Sinners—but it was obvious the stake president had decided they needed to get married and was now vacuuming everyone else into his vortex of personality. Rather an amateur Miles Vorkosigan (a brilliant, hyperactive, and manipulative science fiction character who could somehow make people do whatever he wanted). The couple looked dazed, like they'd been enveloped by a tornado.

It was the oddest wedding I've ever seen. The mother of the groom arrived with a few minutes to spare, remarking (albeit pleasantly) that she wished she'd had more warning than a phone call an hour beforehand. President M-- went around the room and asked all the people present (there were less than a dozen) to offer a sage piece of advice to the new couple. He started to skip me, but I asserted myself and said, “Always present a united front to your children.” I suppose the incongruity of a teen-ager saying that was dwarfed by the other absurdities of the situation, like everybody sitting in the Relief Society room, singing the hymn "Love at Home" off-key as if it were a regular class or quorum meeting...

---I should mention that some of the details above may be faulty, but the core of the story is accurate.

----P. S. For more anecdotes about this crazy stake president, read the comments section.

Danny: But a while ago, why did a daddy get into his car and leave church without his kid even though he knew he needed to take his kid?
Mommy: Uh, honey, I have no idea what you're talking about.
Danny: [Frustrated, he yells, stressing each syllable] Mommy! Why. Did. A. Dad.Dy. Leave. His. Kid. At. CHURCH?
Mommy: Daniel. Yelling will not help me understand you better. As to why a father might leave his kid behind...maybe he thought she was going home with her mother. Maybe he thought she was in the car and didn't check. Maybe he simply forgot about her, though that's unlikely.
Danny: Or, maybe he got drunk but went to church anyway and then left his kid because he was drunk.

--I swear. I have not the least idea in the world where this came from.

"But, Daddy, I know Mommy will not be able to puzzle with you. But I will still have family home evening on Monday night."
--Danny. Jon was going out of town Monday and Tuesday for a business conference. Jon and I “puzzle” every night. We compete doing network puzzles and kakuros. And, when we have time, futoshikis.

"I think those are foothills and if we went that way we would get to mountains but the road doesn't go over there."
--Danny, looking out over some woods from an interstate overpass.

"I meant, the bridge was like a mountain"
--Danny, recovering smoothly when informed that the woods were just woods, not foothills.

"The good news is, Eric was immediately concerned about rescuing the bed monster from the fire. The bad news is, he didn't stop to put out the fire."
--I've been "playing" with Eric by leading him through a choose-your-own-adventure story.

“And then I came and I was four-and-a-half and I used my words and she was hearing and not deaf and so she gave Bear back!”

--Danny, interjecting comments into a story as I pushed him on the swing.

“That's okay, because Bear can still be a Daddy bear even if he has a cousin.”

--Danny. This was during a story about Bear getting lost in a toy store but serendipitously discovering his long-lost cousin Gertrude in one of the bins.

Mommy: The pudding cups are only for special treats because they are not very nutritious.

Eric: But it says “Good source of calcium”.

Danny: “I made an excursion with a purple crayon.”

Mommy: Was it on a piece of paper...?

Danny: [Pedantically] No, Mommy, an excursion means going out and doing something.

--(Turns out he had just drawn pictures of where he wanted to go.)

“So her litter of tantrumy, terrible-toddler tornados was too much for the poor Mama hurricane...”

--Mommy, telling another story about hurricanes. Have I mentioned that I'll be glad when hurricane season ends? Eric is entirely too obsessed with them.

“I putted it away.”

--Danny. I love allomorphs!

“Mommy, look, the twilight catched us!”

--Danny. (He meant that we could see the sunset again.)

“But Heavenly Father designed things so that they move when we are driving in the van.”

--Danny, explaining why the sunset was chasing us.

Danny: I want it to be a story about our whole family but there won't be any problem, just details.

Mommy: [Tells a story, which, lacking conflict, is quite boring.]

Danny: But, Mommy, you forgot to include what I told you about the magnets holding the ball diagonally in the story.

Mommy: But you inserted that halfway through! It wasn't in the original prompt!

Danny: But, Mommy!

Mommy: But you mentioned it so I didn't think I had to!

Danny: But, Mommy! It is part of the story!

Mommy: Fine. [Tacks it on at the end.]

Danny: But, Mommy, if you put it at the end, it will make the story twisted!

Danny: Mommy, here is a special snack for you! [Presents Mommy with milk and crackers.]

Mommy: Mmm. Delicious milk!

Danny: [modestly] Thanks! I made it myself.

Mommy: Boys, its time to purge the playroom.

Danny: Eric, I have one little assignment for you...

Jon: You kids will have to live with an imperfect globe since you didn't take good care of it. It looks like there's a huge crater in Iran.

Gail: 'Bomb, bomb, bomb...bomb bomb Iran...'

Gail: I don't know if I like this new organ or not.

Jon: Hopefully as you two spend more time together, you'll work out your differences and become good friends.

Eric: Danny tried to get out of the van first even though he should have let me!

Mommy: Eric, questions of precedence and protocol in exiting the van do not concern me. I'll let you two work it out yourselves.

Danny: Eric, I still will not play with you. Eric! Errrrric! [frustrated growl] ERIC!!!

Eric: [Finally looking up from his reading his birthday present, a Choose Your Own Adventure book] What?

Danny: I still will not play with you!!!

“We shall have a pleasant snuggle.”

--Eric. I'm enjoying this phase while it lasts!

So, when asked about health care, Bob Barr said, 'Government shouldn't be involved.' Ron Paul said, 'Let the private sector handle it! I see no constitutional justification for government to meddle...' John McCain answered with his standard speech about businesses competing more. Barack Obama quickly outlined his proposal for the government to do more. But Ralph Nader of the Green Party surprised everyone by saying, 'I think we need an environmentally friendly solution. We need to invest in a Manhattan-style project to develop a potion of healing, and then mass produce it and get it into the water supply. In fact, we could lace hurricanes with it...'”

--Mommy, telling Yet Another Bedtime Story about hurricanes and potions of healing. Under protest.

“Hey! A Homer, even one by adoption, can do anything!”

--Gail, giving Jon a pep talk before a job fair.

“Jon blinked. 'You really like me, so you want me to go work for a direct competitor in a job you guarantee I'll hate?'”

--Gail, describing an odd experience Jon had at the job fair. (The issue is that the gentleman in question would love to hire Jon—who wouldn't?—but won't have the resources for a year or so.)