Artwork by DJG (, for Chad's forthcoming book.

My nieces Valerie (a.k.a. Val Pal) and Caroline (a.k.a. Monkey, Carrie, Carrie-okie/Karaoke, Silly Goose, Mountain Goat) are here this week with their parents, and they have provided endless entertainment at our house. Last night Becki and I babysat while their parents went out for a night on the town. Becki fell asleep on the couch, but I managed to make it through most of Care Bears II: A New Generation with the girls.  My nieces are a whole heap of adorable.

Caroline, who is two-years-old, has fallen five times:

1) A faceplant on Massachusetts St. after visiting Penny Annie’s Sweet Shoppe.

2) Off of a barstool in our kitchen.

3) All the way down a flight of our wooden stairs.

4) Off of the front porch and onto our lawn.

5) Off of one of our kitchen chairs after dinner.

She cried afterward every time, but within minutes she would see our cat Oliver and yell “Orange kitty!!!” Kids are resilient. More resilient than I am, for sure.

When Caroline fills her pants she says “I have stinky meatballs.” This is a wonderful euphemism if you ask me. Next time I am at work and nature bellows, I will simply say to my coworkers, “Dreadfully sorry to say so, but I have to attend to some stinky meatballs.”

In recent babysitting adventures, one 4-year-old child who shall remain nameless on here for dignity’s sake was laying on our cream-colored suede ottoman and, all in an instant, she passed gas and peed on the unsuspecting piece of furniture.

Her mom rushed her downstairs to change her pants. Apparently, in the middle of the changing process, the little girl said, “That was a close call, Mom!” To which her mother replied, “No, honey, it wasn’t a close call. You peed on their ottoman.” The lovely little one apologized to us, as if we did not think the whole thing was absolutely hilarious, and we told her we loved her oodles and oodles and said it was okay. Her mom replied, “See? They’re not mad. But when you pee on someone’s furniture you have to say you’re sorry.”

When we babysat for our pastor’s kids last Friday, Ethan, who is 2, did not want to go to bed. “Two more minutes!” He said upon hearing it was bedtime. When two minutes had passed I said, “Time’s up, Ethan. You need to go to bed.” He replied, “No! The time is down! The time is DOWN!” Apparently it was not… up… after all.

Kids.  Amazing.  Insane.  Insanezing.