Sunday, December 21, 2003

December 21, 2003:The adventures of Puppy and Little Rhino

Story by Mommy, Illustrations by Daddy

Puppy was sad. The sky was as blue as a sky-blue crayon, the sun was shining, and all of Puppy’s friends were playing a game of tag together.

But still, Puppy was sad.

You see, while everyone else seemed perfectly happy to play tag or catch or hide and seek every day (except on rainy days when they all went inside and watched television), Puppy was not. He wanted to do something different.

He wanted adventures, and he wanted a friend to go adventuring with him, because as you probably already know, an adventure that you go on by yourself is no fun at all.

In fact, it can actually be quite scary.

What if you meet a dragon?

Or a giant?

Or a lion?

Or an enormous spindleblarp, the kind with eight eyes and spiny purple tentacles?

If you go adventuring alone and you meet one of these creatures, you would be smart to do one thing every time.

Run away.

But if you go adventuring with a friend—a true friend who will never let you down—then you feel much braver.

You might feel brave enough, together, to pet the lion, or shake the giant’s hand.

You might even distract the spindleblarp by doing a silly dance while your friend snuck up behind it and tickled it’s tentacles.

Then, because spindleblarps hate having their tentacles tickled, you would probably be smart to run away.

But at least you and your friend would be running away together.

Puppy had many friends, but none of them wanted to go on adventures with him.

“Would you go on an adventure with me, Squirrel?” Puppy asked.

“I’d rather play catch,” said Squirrel.

“Hey, Quacky,” Puppy said, “have you ever been on an adventure?”

“I’m not supposed to get my clothes dirty,” said Quacky.

“I don’t like adventures,” said Molly the cat. “I like to sit in boxes.”

“I can tell,” said Puppy. “But why does the box you are sitting in now say GRAPEFRUIT on the side? You’re not a grapefruit.. You’re a cat.”

“Go away, Puppy,” said Molly.

So Puppy went away, feeling sadder than ever.

But as he was walking home through the woods he heard something that made him forget about being sad. Instead he felt scared.

What he heard was a sound like this:




And it was coming from behind him.

Puppy knew that a sound like that was only made by a really big animal.

Like a dragon.

Or a spindleblarp.

Or maybe even an animal he’d never heard of before.

Without even meaning to be, he was on an adventure!

Puppy walked faster down the forest path, and the sound got louder behind him.


Puppy started to run.

He ran faster and faster and faster down the path until suddenly—WHAM.

He tripped over a tree root and fell down. And the sound behind him was so loud that it was almost on top of him, right there on the forest floor!

Puppy squeezed his eyes tightly shut and hoped that whatever it was wouldn’t hurt him when it stepped on his head.

And then he felt someone pulling at his hand.

“Come on, Puppy!” said a voice. “Get off the path before the spindleblarp gets here! Hurry!”

Puppy opened his eyes and saw who was holding his hand and tugging, hard. It was Little Rhino. Puppy got up and together they tumbled off the path and into some bushes. Then they crouched down and waited.

A few minutes later, the ground around them started to shake as if a giant was walking past, but it wasn’t a giant.

Like Little Rhino had said, it was a spindleblarp, and it came tearing down the path waving its tentacles and snarling,




Puppy and Little Rhino pressed up close to each other in the bushes and waited for the spindleblarp to pass. Then they crawled back onto the path and brushed leaves off themselves.

“Thanks!” Puppy said. “I almost got run over!”

Little Rhino blushed. “You’re welcome,” she said. “You were very brave, though. I wanted to run away.”

“Me too,” Puppy said. “It’s hard to have an adventure like that when you’re by yourself.”

Little Rhino’s eyes got very wide.

“Was that an adventure?” She asked. “I’ve always wanted one.”

“Really?” Puppy asked. “Me too.”

Puppy and Little Rhino smiled at each other.

“Maybe,” Little Rhino said, “we could go on some more adventures—together?”

“Like finding a dragon’s lair!” Puppy said, “Or a giant’s cave.”

Little Rhino was nodding her head, but then she stopped and her smile faded.

“There’s just one thing,” she whispered.

Puppy felt his heart sink. “Don’t you want to be my friend?” He asked.

“No!” Little Rhino cried. “I do! That’s not it. It’s just that, well, I might get scared sometimes and want to run away.”

“Oh!” Puppy said. “that’s okay.” He squeezed her hand. “We’ll run away together. That’s what friends are for.”

Puppy and Little Rhino walked home together and promised to meet at the entrance to the forest path the very next day.

An adventure was waiting.

Puppy and Little Rhino and the Thing that Was Not an Aspirin.

Posted by claycomb at December 21, 2003 10:34 PM


please, hurry! more puppy and little rhino! i laughed, i cried... i learned an important lesson that truly arrived at the perfect time (after all, many pre-holiday anxieties are often spilled all over one's special adventure partner, and said special adventure partners hardly ever like being spilled on.) thank you thank you thank you! and i do hope molly returns in the next adventure, appearing in a stylish box, of course.


Posted by: fritz at December 22, 2003 11:56 AM

You two always amaze me! Thanks for the joy.
Aunt Betsy

Posted by: Aunt Betsy at December 22, 2003 12:11 PM

Great story ! Are you published yet??

Posted by: Betty Lou at January 28, 2004 11:31 PM

Sunday, December 14, 2003

December 14, 2003: Physical update

By the way, we never gave the update on the babies' 1-month doctor's visit on the 2nd. Obviously, this was a couple of weeks ago, so a lot of it is out of date, but as of last count, Collin had caught up some in weight, and was only four ounces and one inch behind his sister. We estimate that they are now both between 8 and 9 pounds, and are probably 23 inches or so. We'll go back for their next check up after the new year, and will post the results then. Otherwise, the doctor said they looked great!

Posted by claycomb at December 14, 2003 10:25 PM


Those babies are too cute! I'm in awe that you've been able to keep this web page updated so well. I can't even keep my baby books current!

Posted by: Dris at March 10, 2004 8:27 PM

Baby books? What baby books?

Posted by: Ryan at March 18, 2004 9:50 AM

December 14, 2003: The rarity of sleeping

We wish this were the normal state of affairs:

This past week has been week six in our darlings' development, and we suspect that a sudden disruption in what was becoming a reliable schedule means one thing: Growth spurt.

The immediate effect of this has not been too-small diapers, or a progression into the next set of baby clothing (not yet, at least), but a screwy eating and sleeping schedule. And while Ann is affected by the former, we are all affected by the latter.

It all began last week when we had the kids out two or three days in a row. by the second day they were both getting a little overtired, but Collin especially was feeling it.

Several things conspired to make a long week. 1) Collin was over-tired, which meant that not only was he fussy when he was awake, he was having trouble sleeping well because he was so upset. 2) Collin has trouble falling alseep when he is not beeing held, which meant a lot of holding of the fussy baby by the soon-to-be-fussy parents 3) Lilah lives here too, and since she was also a bit overtired, but not so much, Collin kept waking her up with his crying. 3) This made Lilah very fussy.

Thursday evening was VERY Long. We started the bedtime routine early--about 5:30. They both finally got to sleep at about 8:00 slept for 20 minutes, and woke up hungry again.

Fortunately, Friday offered Collin some catch-up sleep, and we seem to be back on track a bit more by tonight (Sunday). But if we look sleepy in the next few days, you'll know why.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

December 9, 2003: On Collin

(Part 2 of a 2 part series)
Allow me to introduce you to our boy, Collin:

Like his sister, Collin's name is significant. But unlike his sister, his name has significance in the family. His first name honors his paternal grandmother, whose maiden name is Collins. Wanting to distribute the honor equally, we decided to look for a name on the Boerner/Standaert side that worked well, and we found Francis, which is Collin's Uncle Paul's middle name, and his Gramps' confirmation name, too. It also call to mind Grandma Mirene's brother Frank. Coincidentally, Francis also has signifcance on the Claycomb side as well, since Pappy's middle name is Francis, and MomMom's mother and sister both got the name Frances (Frances Collins, in fact). So while Lilah's name honors the things her parents have in common, Collin's name honors the generations before them that helped bring them about.

But Collin occasionally gets turned into "Collie" which may contribute to his nickname "Puppy" or "Pup." The nickname may also dervive from the preponderance of cute clothes with small dogs on them--check your baby announcement for an example.

He, like his sister, is a genetic miracle, since he has features from so many places , it's hard to say he looks like any one person. He has his Grandma Mirene's nose, and his mommy's chin, his Daddy's wrinkly forehead and his MomMom's eye shape, and his Pappy's eye color (so far at least). His voice isn't as loud as his sister's, but he can be more persistent when he is fussy. He is VERY affectionate, and loves to be held, to the exclusion of takinig naps alone sometimes. Good thing he has a sister to nap with!

Since Collin was born a little small, we have been working on his comportment so he will appear more confident and more charismatic. Since his nursery has a fairy tale theme, we're trying to teach him how to be Prince Charming:

Both Collin and Lilah like to go out, but Collin seems especially attuned to it: he sleeps better after an outing, and he loves to be held by lots of people. Those who visited us in the hospital after his birth will remember how well he slept even as he was passed from person to person. This has remained true when people come over, and also when we go out. A recent trip to Costco found the pup in our arms greeting all the well wishers who walked by.

Collin also seems to like the outdoors. In fact this past weekend, he saw his first snow, and went out onto the balcony with daddy to look.

He is a sweet child, and there is no better feeling than when he falls asleep on my shoulder. I was initally afraid of having a boy, of raising him to feel too entitled to the blessings he's been given. But when he wakes up from a nap and stretches out that little hand, I want to fill it with the world.

Posted by claycomb at December 9, 2003 12:46 AM

Oh are these pictures fabulous!~! I am currently going through a bout of CollinandLilah withdrawal! (This may also explain their fussyness!) I can't wait to get them in my arms once again.
Much love,
Posted by: Mom-Mom at December 15, 2003 11:58 AM

I can't wait to get them into my arms....period!
This is not fare...Mom-Mom cheats.
Aunt Betsy
Posted by: Aunt Betsy at December 22, 2003 12:16 PM