Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Now, B never gave me but so much trouble. G, however, is a redhead, and he has the fiestiness to prove it. Luckily, I worked as a middle school teacher for twelve years. Bring it, Baby.
Monday night's menu: ham, mashed potatoes, and lima beans. G loved limas as a baby. He adores bacon now. Who doesn't like mashed potatoes? Still, he refused dinner. During the twenty minutes when B and I ate, he sat in his high chair and announced that he wasn't going to eat "this dinner." That's a shame, really, since I'm mass producing cookies this week. I'd answer, "If you don't taste dinner, you can't have a cookie later."
He refused. He "had to go potty" (though he didn't actually have a deposit). He took a few bites of mashed potatoes while I cleaned up from B's and my dinner. He got down afterwards, and played until he had a real potty break. After the successful pee, he announced, "Now I get a coo-kie!"
"No, G. Cookies are for those who ate dinner tonight."
I kid you not at this point. I assure you, that even though he's only two, he feigned surprise and asked sweetly, "Oh, I gotta eat dinner?"
I took deep breaths, cussed in my head, asked him if he was TRYING to make me crazy (for the record, he answered, "Yeth. Yeth, ma'am.") He got no cookie.
Tuesday's menu: pizza. I was trying to help him, by choosing one of his faves for dinner on this cookie night. He ate just a couple bites, then stalled til it was snickerdoodle-producing time. I balled up the sugar cookie dough, dumped it in his bowl of sugar and cinnamon, and he'd spoon the mixture over the dough. His uneaten pizza sat just a foot or two away on the table.
"I gonna eat this dough," he said as he swiped one from the bowl and took a bite.
Now, I am big on sanitary while baking. I know him well enough to know he'd put it back in the bowl if I told him not to eat it. "Give it to Mommy. You didn't eat."
He relinquished it. I ate the half eaten cookie dough ball. Then I asked if he wanted to eat his pizza so he could have a cookie. Without even looking up, he continued his cinnamon sugar cookie spooning ask he calmly answered "No. I good."
He is good. Really good.
Tonight's menu: spaghetti and garlic bread. Cookie of the night: gingersnaps. Tonight he ate a cookie and a half before I realized that he'd skipped the spaghetti and only eaten half a garlic bread.
It is one crazy day, where kids come and go between the cookie table, cutting island, outdoor play area, and playroom as they please until batches and batches of cookies are done.
We all wash our hands a million times, laugh, and make a mess of our OCD mom's kitchen. But it's wonderful. Now we get to see the older kids help the little kids decorate, and each year our little artists come up with new ideas. Sure, they pile on the sugar and stress us out a little bit, but they look forward to "Cookie Day", and we love teaching them to make things for the important people in their lives.
Here are 2 slideshares. Why 2? Because I'm too cheap to go Pro and they won't all fit in one on the free account.
Each year, we have a middle finger and a dog pooping. This year, E takes the cake for introducing the yellow snowman.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
When we returned home, G slept in the snuggle nest in our king sized bed while Josh slept in the guest room so our night time feedings/my snoring wouldn't keep him awake. As G grew, he often would fuss as we were all busy cleaning the house. Josh would set him in his high chair, face him towards me and say, "There's your Mama!" Sure enough, baby would calm down.
G has pulled a few times of screaming at his godmom's house as I walked out. It makes no sense. He loves that woman, and asks about her whenever we aren't there. He fusses about nursery, too. His lip pokes out as soon as we park the car. I'll toss him to the worker, grab a pager, and reassure her that he'll raise Cain for about three minutes, then be fine. He is, too, til he sees me walk through the door, then he'll turn on the waterworks. If I hadn't known better, I might think he'd been crying the entire time.
"Mama, hold you!" in Wal-mart as I'm trying to push a huge cart of groceries. My motto is, "If he'd have been my first one, he'd have torn my nerves straight up."
Don't get me wrong. This kid is overall pretty laid back. He'll laugh and play and be generally jovial. Still, he wants mama when he wants mama. It can be draining sometimes!
Then just the other day, as we were reading a book with photographs of babies, we came across a crying baby. "He's sad," I noted.
"Yeah," G said, "He needs my Mama."
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Cassie: With the lessons you learned from that year, and years following, we have gotten BF down to a well organized machine.
Catina: Yes, it is the closest I come to sports. Our record now is pretty good. I don't think we've had any misses! Course, we also have a great team.
Cassie: And like sports, you have to go in with a good game plan. I start trolling online for ads a couple weeks before BF.
Catina: I'm old school. I like to wait for the circulars, then circle in sharpie.
Cassie: The week before, I start gathering gift cards and coupons and make a tentative list. But the real planning starts after Thanksgiving dinner. We sit at the table with a couple of newspapers, scrap paper, sharpies, and pens.
Catina: We organize lists by store, then make a copy for each player.
Cassie: Each list has the store name, items we are looking for with prices, and the time the store opens. I also write the coupons or gift cards I have at the bottom of my lists.
Catina: Generally we put the list on index cards for easy sorting.
Before leaving, we coffee up, bundle up, tie our tennis shoes tight, and pile into a vehicle or two.
Cassie: We also make sure our cell phones are charged and make a quick contact list for whoever is in the group that year for easy communication.
Catina: The plan at each store is: split up,grab what you can off the list, call/text updates,
and meet back at the checkouts where extras are ditched or given to newfound friends.
Cassie: And if we have an extra person, that person typically stands in line with a cart for us to put our deals (b/c BF lines are insanely long at the major stores like Target, Toys R Us, and Kohls.)
Catina: Exactly. Thuis year, we texted ourselves observations so we could share them with you!
Cassie: "Shoulda had drinks before this. Oops."
"5 people in a little Honda. They should have gone to sleep. They don't even know what they are doing. I screamed at them "you suck at Black Friday!" But in my head- I'm not getting shot."
"The pizza delivery guy just walked by. WTH?"
Catina: We were at Toys R Us at that time.My MIL and I had caught up with Cass and Mom, who waved us into line where they were. People behind us looked a bit miffed, but I didn't want any cool stuff, plus, I really wanted to visit, so we chanced it.
Cassie: Yeah, the one chick looked like the type of person that would cut a line cutter, but we made it without any altercation. Probably b/c Catina kept saying loudly "I just want legos this year. No electronics for me."
Catina: Just to be safe, I avoided her when we got inside.
I liked the bouncer at the Toys R Us, too. We could have used him at Target last year, when I had to loudly proclaim so the dushkanu that cut in front of us would hear that if he took the last of what I was there for, he'd be going down. Cass, remember you talked me down from telling the police officers?
Cassie: Yeah, it would have taken too much time and we would have missed the good deals. Like Season1 of Punky Brewster.
Catina: Also while in the Toys R Us line this year, I searched on my SMART phone for the 1600 piece Legos I'd written down as in Walmart, but couldn't find in Walmart. Stupid mobile app couldn't find it OR Colonial Heights. Luckily, I fussed about it on FB enough that a pal shopping in PA picked me up a set. LOVE her!
After that was Kohl's, which was NUTS with the line. A pal offered us 20 bucks to cut when we reached the front of the line, but I'd already tested fate with the possible cutter, so we did not take him up on the offer. If we HAD, though, Cass would have paid for all of her Walgreens purchases with $8 and change to spare.
|Cassie's Walgreen Loot: $11.62 total|
Cassie: If you didn't know- drug stores are the sleepers of BF. No lines, no crowds, and great deals.
Catina: Cass also uses Rewards coupons there, and makes out like a bandit. I should have visited them before school, when I got ripped off at major stores. Could have gotten a teacher discount there, too. Let's move back to BF; I'm still bitter!
So Target, my MIL got some movies at good prices. I was disappointed at the "Shirt and Beanie" combos for boys--they were all Christmas themed! Sure, $6 apiece is a great deal, but not if he can only wear it for another month. Besides the fact that I have a $5 rule. I buy sizes bigger and limit myself to $5/shirt. That's a general rule, not just BF
Cassie: This is the first year I didn't buy anything at Target. The only thing I wanted was a $4 game- not worth an hour in line. Lines aren't all bad though- they are great for making friends, trading coupons, and trading info on BF deals.
Catina: The line was surprisingly fast. MIL made it out so quickly, I didn't have time to bring up my $4.45 shirt for B!I was done after Target. So done, that I didn't even let Mom buy me a drink from Starbucks. I was ready for sleepy.
Cassie: I kept it going- Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. (I usually wait till the crazies are out of Walmart to avoid lines and drama, but that means I miss out on some video games and movies. I feel it is a good trade-off).
Then JCPenney for a free snow globe and some boots. Mom and I finished our night at Michaels and JoAnn's for crafts and decorations. I highly recommend making a stop at Michaels, even if you don't need anything, b/c they give out free chocolate if you get there early.
Catina: Wait, FREE Snowglobe? AND free chocolate? Boo!!!!
Cassie: Yup, and the chick at JCP that handed them out started at one door but moved to another while we were shopping. Since she was our reference point for where we parked, we wasted at least 15 minutes looking for our car. I'm wondering if that was her payback to the crazy shoppers for making her get up so early for work.
Catina: Well, that and all the chocolate she could eat.
Cassie: Nope, that was the snowglobe lady. No wonder she was so smiley. She knew what she was doing.
Cassie: After over 24 hours being awake, I called it a night and headed home for sleep. Later that day, I added up my deals. I spent a total of 189.54, and got over $400 worth of toys, decorations, stocking stuffers, and... toothpaste.
Catina: Ooh, ooh! Tell, them the rate of spending/hour!
Cassie: I saved an average of $17.99/hour. Totally worth my time.
Catina: She posted that on FB. That's the gifted in her that makes her do that.
Cassie: Not only did I save a bunch and get a ton of shopping done, but the entertainment of BF is priceless. And I don't mean people cutting each other or getting maced. I've never seen that. I'm talking the comraderie of strangers, the laughing, and the thrill of getting all (or almost all) of the stuff on my list.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Halloween morning, my husband called me down to the playroom to check on Chicken-Pop, our sweet guinea pig. Chicken-Pop wasn’t moving much, or really at all. We tried giving her some lettuce (one of her favorite snacks), but she refused to take a bite. I picked up Chicken-Pop to snuggle with her, and could hear her breathing catch a little with each breath. For the first time ever, Chicken-Pop bit me, which may have been because of the lettuce my husband put on my shoulder, but I’m pretty sure it was because she wasn’t feeling well. Either way, it made me feel even worse for her, because she just wasn’t herself. It wasn't very long before Chicken-Pop passed away, and we were all very sad. Ok, N doesn’t really understand death yet, so he wasn’t so much sad as he was confused about where exactly his beloved guinea pig had gone.
After her passing, my husband was very clear – “No more guinea pigs. Do not bring home anymore animals.” Well, I’m not great at following directions, especially when I’m on cold medicine, so tonight I brought home our newest family members, Spanky and Alfalfa. My husband is a great sport, and helped me carry our new additions in. He didn’t even fuss at me once (although I’m pretty sure I caught him shaking his head).
Oh, and I am pretty sure the names will be changing. Not that I don’t like the Little Rascals, but I think it is weird for my kids to call anything Spanky. Also, I think guinea pigs eat alfalfa hay, so naming one Alfalfa is the equivalent of naming your kid Hamburger or Pop-tart. Weird, right? Yeah, I think so too.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Problem was, I couldn't remember how to play, and the directions were in Spanish. There is no idea where the English version is in our house. Luckily, Cassie is taking a college course in Spanish right now, and both of has have taken quite a few courses in high school. So, she read the directions in her American southern twang, and between the two of us we could kind of translate it. A few words seemed funny, but it could be that we just didn't remember the correct translation of those words. Maybe. N sat patiently, which was really nice.
Anyways, we finally deduced it's like the kids' version of Speed, so I grabbed the cards and got them ready.
N's eyes snapped to my hands. His mouth dropped open and awe took over his face. "Woah, TT!" he exclaimed, "You can shuffle?"
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Halloween for 4 kids can get pretty crazy and expensive. The average kid’s costume is $20, pumpkins are $5, trick-or-treat bags $1, and candy to hand out is gonna run $10 (minimum). This means our family can expect to spend at least $100 on this one evening of fun – and that doesn’t include sending in snacks for class parties, trips to the pumpkin patch, or school harvest festivals.
Usually, I wait till 1-2 nights before Halloween to shop for costumes to save time and money. See, by this point, the stores mark the costumes 25% off, plus there are slim pickings so my kids can pick up and consider every costume in under an hour. (Seriously y’all, my kids change their minds a million times and if we go when the store is fully stocked, we are stuck in that aisle forever.) Of course, the school can always throw a wrench in my plans by celebrating Halloween 3 days before the actual holiday (thanks so much).
This year, for the first time, we decided to get creative and put together our own costumes instead of buying packaged sets. K loves Tinkerbell, so I got some wings, a green shirt, and a cute headband with a flower on it. Throw in a skirt that I made of tulle and a little glitter, and we have the cutest Tinkerbell ever. After seeing me make K’s skirt, the older boys were dying to put together their own creative costumes. E decided be a bum, and C is going to be a werewolf (which was quite the challenge to make since masks are not allowed). E’s bum costume consists of a pair of ripped jeans, an old flannel, a cardboard sign that says “will work for candy” and some makeup to make him look dirty and in needs of a shave. C is wearing old ripped jeans, a flannel shirt, brown gloves and wolf makeup. Poor N had to go store-bought, only because I have NO CLUE where to begin with making a Bumblebee Transformer costume (I’m only human.)
N’s kindergarten field trip to the pumpkin patch supplied us with two large and perfectly shaped pumpkins. Last night, the kids teamed up and planned their pumpkins, after digging out (and playing with) all the mushy, squishy, goopiness inside. Tommy’s excellent carving skills brought their jack-o-lanterns to life, and since I was feeling all Martha Stewart from the costumes, I roasted pumpkin seeds- one salty batch, and one sweet apple-cinnamon batch. YUM!
All total, we have spent under $50 on costumes this year- which warms my frugal little heart. More importantly, the time spent with the kids, brainstorming ideas and seeing the costumes come together, was so much more fun than wasting my life away in the costume aisle. This home-made and crafty approach to the holidays just might have something to it. So if you see me on Halloween, I’m not wearing a costume on the outside, but I’m pretty sure I look a little like if Suzie Homemaker and June Cleaver on the inside.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
11:45--I awaken from my 1/2 hour snooze two hours later than expected.
12:00--Admit to self that I am not going to find my brown corduroy jacket. Settle for jean jacket, and snatch gift bag and card from stationary closet and drawer and high tail it out the door with G.
12:25--Back the car up to hit "No, I do not want another transaction" at the ATM.
12:45--Pass exit for Birthday Girl en route to book store to get present.
1:30--Pull into driveway, sneak into party with G.
2:00--Present time! Confirm the gift is from us; card is in the front seat of the car.
2:05--Way too hot for my jacket so I remove it.
2:15--Whisper in my ear: "I might be wrong, but I think your shirt is on inside out."
The school that C and N attend is doing a lot of cool historical stuff this year because it is the anniversary of some historical event. I can’t really remember which and I’m not great with history, so that led to this conversation with my mom the other day:
Me: Well it can’t be the nation’s birthday. I know that one was in 1776. Who would celebrate the 435th?
Mom: And Virginia already had their big one a few years ago.
Me: Yeah, b/c they made all those 400th Anniversary license plates. Maybe a war? They should really put the year, location, and reason for wars in their name. It would make it easier to remember. Wait, what was the War of 1812? That was 200 years ago.
Mom: Was that one with France?
Me: I thought we liked them since they helped us get rid of England. Wait, maybe they stopped sending croissants over or they were stale after crossing the ocean and we wanted the recipe but they wouldn’t give it to us.
Mom: I don’t think we started a war of croissants.
Me: But it makes sense, because croissants are pretty awesome, and if I was in America and France wouldn’t give up the recipe, I would totally shoot them. Then they would shoot me back and it would turn into a big war with lots of shooting. Then our people and their people would sit down and we would work it all out over French roast coffee and pumpkin spice creamer. We would trade some pumpkin butter for their croissant recipe and everyone would be happy.
Mom: You know that wars aren’t usually over food, right?
Me: Ummm pretty sure they are. Battle of the Bulge? Boston Tea Party? People get serious about their food.
So, regardless of what the history books say, I am convinced the War of 1812 was over croissants. And now it is on Wikipedia, which makes it official. This is probably why I don’t home school.
PS. Didn’t the Irish have some war about potatoes? And notice how Switzerland doesn’t ever have to fight wars because they are awesome about sharing their cheese and chocolate with the world.
PPS. I'm starting to think my mom isn't much better with history than I am. Not only did she not know what this year is the big anniversary of, but she didn't know most wars are over food.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
He replied, "OR you could read it: Late? Oh, yes!"
So maybe my earlier post about being on time wasn't completely sccurate.
As we went through the list, we found another combination that made a sentence. Actually, if you add it to the first "sentence", you are well on your way to a paragraph spoken when we run late..
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Josh had to go to the oral surgeon today, and I had to renew the license I'd accidentally let expire three days ago. I'm sure Cassie will address my driving reputation in many subsequent posts.
Anyways, the errand list meant I'd called in today, which meant we all got to sleep in a bit. The DMV doesn't open until 8, and B doesn't have to be at school until 8:40.
Everyone in my house cooperated today. We were out the door and in the car by 7:58, which was entirely too early to drop him off at school. The bus was scheduled to arrive at the sitter's at 8:05. Unfortunately, the sitter lives ten minutes away.
In the past, it's been Cassie's kids who skid in the driveway just in time to load the bus. In fact, she's asked me to have B stall the bus driver at times. I hope she was kidding, since we never actually have.
My mind was racing. Which mom's mind isn't racing? I did quick calculations and realized we could head the bus off at a later stop, which would be earlier for us considering that we were coming from the other direction. Josh was driving. He can't take my thought process--it makes him nervous. I directed him to a crazy location, and we arrived just as the bus did.
Ha! Made it. I think he thanks me for that.