Friday, December 21, 2012


Cassie and I are blessed to have our 91-year-old grandmother around.  She moved in with our parents earlier this year.  I don't like close enough to visit her as often as I like.  Still, I get to see her a lot more often than I used to--like today!

For the past few years, Cass and I have taken our kids to Swift Creek Mill Theater's Christmas play.  It features many of the same characters each year in a new story.  Lunch is included with the play, and the characters mingle with the crowd as they dine.  This year we took our nieces and Oma.

Oma loves plays.  She attended several at ECU in the past few years while she lived with my aunt and uncle.  My cousin and her husband work there, and Eva was always really good about getting her headphones so that she could hear the performances.

I'd totally forgotten that as we sat down today.  She was seated next to the youngest of our crew, but we were in the next-to-the-last row.  After the play, I asked her if she could hear it.  She smiled and replied, "Oh, no, but that's OK.  I make up a story in my head!"
During lunch, Santa asked Oma why he hadn't gotten a letter from her for some years.

Now, I don't know that I'll live to be 91.  If I do, though, I hope I have an attitude like hers!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MIA... and I peek into my life

I know, I haven't blogged in forever (or 3 months, but who is counting?  And if you are, then you should probably get a hobby.  I suggest knitting.)  I've been a little busy with work, school (mine and the kids'), soccer (all 3 boys are playing and I'm coaching a team), dance (for the princess), and a lot of laundry.  But that isn't very interesting, so I'm going to treat y'all to a few fun interactions I've had with my kids in the last week.

N (coming out of the bathroom): Guys, I gotta tell you something.
Tommy and Me (with trepidation): What is it?
N: Well, I was going to pee, and I just... I have two underwear on.
Me: Wow, I'm really glad you shared that with us.
N: Yeah, I was pulling them down, then pulling them up, and there was two of them.  And, they both had red stripes.
Me: That is so silly.
Tommy: So why did you put two on?
N: I don't know .  How does underwear just jump on you without you knowing? 

Yes, this is a mystery for the ages.  Where, oh where, is Encyclopedia Brown?  I bet that kid could tell us how this happened.

C: Mom, do you have lockers at work?
Me: No, but we have drawers that lock.
C: Do you keep nunchucks in them?
Me: No.
C: Why not?
Me: Well, that would be a little weird in an office building.
C: Not if you know how to use them.

Obviously, he thinks my work is way cooler than it is. Also, I'm feeling a little inadequate since my drawers only have paperwork, utensils, and  ketchup packets in them.  

And finally, I leave you with this fun little peek into my life.  My older boys have been making their own lunches for years (their choice).  The rules are that they have to have a sandwich, a drink and at least one healthy item (yogurt, fruit, cheese, etc.).  Other than that, they can pack what they like.  I occasionally peek in their lunchboxes to make sure they follow the rules, but don't check every night.  My oldest has gotten a little lazy this year, and tries to skirt the rules.  Earlier this school year, I had to call him downstairs shortly after bedtime to make a sandwich, which he "forgot" to do when he made the rest of his lunch.  Tonight, I decided to let him sleep, and instead left him this in his lunchbox--

I'll let him know tomorrow that if he tries to skip the sandwich again, I'll switch the junk food for fruit, and won't be leaving a yummy sandwich.  But for now, I hope he enjoys!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Battling the Yes-No's

Josh was home this morning to help me get the boys ready.  He was surprised that I woke them up with a mere fifteen minutes to get ready.  I have learned that this makes my mornings much easier.  I get ready, then wake up B and G.  I get G dressed; he and I make my coffee and breakfast, and B joins us about then to put his shoes on & help me carry out my coffee.  It's a whirlwind, but it's only fifteen minutes of crazy.  Then we settle in the car, and G listens to music while B practices twenty addition and subtraction facts from his stack of flashcards in the backseat. 

This morning, however, G was in a mood.  No matter what he chose, he changed his mind.  I have named this attitude of his "The Yes-No's".  Before kids, I swore that I'd be totally consistent.  I'd state my expectation to my children, then calmy discipline them swiftly if they didn't oblige.  After B, I was able to maintain this policy.  I could promise B a spanking for his defiance, and he'd avoid the spanking. 

Then I had the Redhead.

Ninety percent of the time, G is an awesome kid.  However, when he isn't an angel, he epitomizes stubborness.  G can take a spanking, keep fussing, get over the orignial fuss, and begin fussing over the spanking.  He has cost me thirty minutes in leaving the sitter's house (mostly when I'm picking the boys up, once while dropping them off) as he and I battled out over what he would or would not do.  He heeds Sitter's warnings at these times, but makes me look like a jerk. 

This morning's finale at our home was G screaming, stomping, begging me to hold him, then refusing to sit in his carseat.  I was totally calm, and buckled him in anyways.  I refuse to honor "Yes-No's".  I reminded B to gather his addition and subtraction facts, and B projected his voice over his brother: I don't want this!  Hold me, Mama, hold me! 

So, I did what any compassionate mother who wanted to help her angry child would do.   I offered the boy some Metallica, which he decided he didn't--then did--want.  I turned on the Black Album, and he'd calmed down before B had finished all twenty facts. 

Now that's good parenting. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Patience, My Dear

Last year about this time, I had a vision in my head for the wall above the couch in the "Reading Room" of our house.  I saw three rows of four 11x14 black frames with white mats surrounding 8x10 prints of my favorite family photos.  The frames were put up today. 

Step 1:  Print Photos and Purchase Frames.  This step proved much more difficult than I'd thought.  Several of my favorite photographs were files too small to become 8x10 photographs.  I considered going with 8x10 frames and 5x7 photos, but changed my mind.  The second obstacle was the price of the frames.  At one point, I had 12 cheap 8x10 frames without mats, but changed my mind and returned them.  There was also the issue that 10 of them were really 8x11.5 document frames.  Oops.  I ended up getting frames that were orignially $24.99 from Michaels.  I found them 40% off and used a 25% off coupon and my 15% teacher discount. 

Step 2: Prepare to Hang.  I went with Command strips.  I chose the ones that held up to 16 lbs.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I would need one for each side of each frame, so I bought exactly half of what I needed. 
Step 3: Call in the Menfolk.  This is where I had to exercise the most patience.  I waited a full week before Josh would actually hang them.  I nearly crawled out of my skin in anticipation.  I tried really hard not to nag.  He needed tools like a tape measure and a level, which I had to borrow.  B joined in and took over the sticking of Command strips.  During the endeavor, I realized why Josh had been putting the task off.  First, the process of getting rows and columns is a pain in the tail.  Second, I am the worst helper ever.  Level looks crooked to me.   Also, I had him hang the first row too high because we started with the bottom and worked our way up on the left-most row.  Our ceilings are sloped.  After the first row was hung, we worried that the right-most row wouldn't fit.   So we abandoned the left side and restarted from the right. 

Step 4: Enjoy.  For now.  I need many more Command strips: one for the top and bottom of each frame.
 That means I need to buy twice as many as I bought the first time. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Distinguishing Between "Migrate" and "Hibernate"

B knew most of his spelling words this week, but he kept messing up migrate and hibernate.  He'd sound them out, then struggle if it was r or er in the middle of the word.  On the way to school this morning, I handed him the iPad and told him to open Magnetic Alphabet. 

After having him spell migrate and because, I asked him to spell hibernate.  He added an e in migrate: migerate and couldn't remember if there was an e before the r or not in hibernate.  Teachable moment!

I told him to spell both migrate and hibernate on the same page.  Instant whine.  "Why didn't you tell me that when I spelled migrate?  Now I have to spell it again!"

My plan was to show him how mi-grate had two syllables, and hi-ber-nate had three syllables, which is why he'd need the e.  He complained and grumped, and even told me they had the same number of syllables after he'd told me migrate had two syllables and hibernate had three.  Then I had him take a snapshot with the iPad and spell each out load. 

Through clenched teeth, he spat out every letter in migrate: "...E.  A.  T."

I was going to lose it.

Why would he put eat?  That makes a long e!  I mean, really! 

When I complained to Casssie later, she suggested that maybe he didn't need so much logic.  Maybe he just needed to write each fifty times.  I think she's right--check out what I found in the iPad's photos later that day:

Also, while talking to Cassie, we determined where eat could have come from: a compound word of my and great.  I'm not giving him much credit, though.  If that was his error, he'd mispelled my.  I also decided that I needed to either migrate or hibernate after my morning debate.  If I have to do so with my offspring, though, I choose hibernate

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mama Bears Kill Big Stingin' Bug

So the other Saturday night, my mom, sister, the boys' godmom, and I were hanging out with a total of six kids when Godmama heard a buzz, and saw...a huge stinging bug.  Two things to know about big stinging bugs: 1--you don't want one in your house, and 2--if you make them mad, they sting. 

Instinct took over and she dashed to B's room where she guarded several of the boys playing in there.  Mom called for a shoe and one of us took a whack at the Big Stingin' Bug.  She got it, but he was only dazed.  He flew a dazed circle then flew off.

Great.  Now we'd made Big Stingin' Bug mad.  Cass, Mom and I grabbed a shoe apiece and tried to position chairs below him to get another crack at him.  G followed around, pointing an invisible gun and shooting him.  Soon I found him by the light over the kitchen sink, positioned my chair, and whacked at him.  The light globe was in the way, though, so it wasn't a perfect shot.  He lazily nosedived towards me.  My bladder went weak.  I charged off the chair, through the dining and "reading rooms" and toward the master bathroom.  Cass followed with G and K, and closed the door behind them, telling them to stay where it was safe.  Then she went back out to battle with Mom. 

I have no idea how Big Stingin' Bug survived as many whacks as he did.  It shouldn't be bugly possible.  By the time I returned, Mom was screaming for a magazine.  I searched high and low, but I'd recently ridded the house of all that extra paper, so all I could offer was a thin textbook.  It didn't have the malleability to conform to the slanted ceilings, so it did little good.

The next request was for a broom.  I was pretty sure Josh had taken it out to the shed, but was lucky to find it the utility room.  Now, Big Stingin' Bug was hiding, though.  We searched and searched, and even took one of the boy's suggestions to turn off all but one light so Big Stingin' Bug would gravitate toward it, but it was futile.  Finally we gave up. 

It was then that Mom heard the buzz.  She looked up, and Big Stingin' Bug was right above her.  She called for the broom.  I tried to strike him, but I'm not really good with a broom, so I handed it off to her.  She got him, and he dropped to the floor in front of the sink.  He was still moving.  She slammed him with the broom, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 times!  He twitched, and Cass through her flip flop at him. 

Now to dispose of him.  since he'd been so resilient, we picked him up with a dustpan (which, as you can see from the photo is really dusty), and flushed him...twice.  Tenacious bugger. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Keeping Boys Quiet in a Waiting Room

B, G, and I waited for Josh in a waiting room for about an hour tonight.  Yikes!  I'd brought a book for G, and for a while, he looked at it while B perused Highlights magazine.  After about twenty minutes, though, G abandoned the book and B claimed it.  This was our first crisis.  G only wanted the book if B had it; B wanted the book mostly to tick G off.  I ruled in favor of B since I couldn't prove that he was being a jerk, and because G needs to learn that if you leave it, it's fair game. 

Luckily, there was construction just outside another window in the waiting room.  If only the machines had been running, the boys might have been occupied for more than five minutes.  After that time, G began climbing on B, and a wrestling match was in the making.  I separated them and we took a bathroom break. 

When we returned to the chairs, books were out.  G was getting antsy.  I found a matchbox 4-wheeler in my knitting bag and handed it off to G, who was content.  B was upset, though, because he didn't have a vehicle.  Referee again. 

Once that became boring to G (and just after I spanked him for raspberrying at me when I told him to sit), I noticed the box of buttons in my knitting bag.  Thank God I like to knit.  I dumped a handful out for G, who happily lined them up, then curved them into a "rainbow", then circle.  B wanted to play, too, so I gave him a handful.  He wanted the 4-wheeler to drive on his "obstacle course", but I foresaw another fight, so I gave him 2 large blue buttons to use as a pretend car. 

G hopped in and out of his circle, then picked up all the yellows.  Then I had him pick up all the pinks.  Then he picked up all the browns.  Twenty minutes of peace!  I tried to snap a picture, but B had destroyed the course in the time it took me to click "camera" and "click" on my phone.  Oops!

PS: for all you fellow worriers, there were no little kids around.  We were also very careful to be sure we picked up every button before we left!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crayola Washable Colored Bubbles

Today we spent time outside.  I broke out some bubbles.  Including these:

Grammy bought them an Easter or two ago for B and his cousin.  They came with bubble guns, which were super cool, but which jammed pretty easily.  These bubbles are thicker than regular, and take longer to burst, so that's cool. 

B was really into mixing the bubble solutions of different color, adding water and regular bubble solution.
I am so glad that this stuff is washable. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

A few months back, I blogged about G's attempt at stalling at bedtime.  Last night, he showed up in my room in a panic. 

"There a tiger in my bedroom!"

I glanced up from Pinterest. 

"Here, G, use this sword and kill the tiger.  Then go to sleep."  I handed him a pretend sword.  G and I hand each other lots of pretend things: cookies, dog treats, weapons.  It's cool. 

"Ok!" he agreed as he dashed off to his room. 

A minute later he re-entered my room with "Tiger Pooh":

Then off to bed he went. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Food Chain

G has been really curious lately about what different animals eat.  I'll spare you my answers and just share his side of our recent conversations. 

"Mama, halligators eat people.  I a halligator.  Yah!!"

"Mama, bears eat people.  I a bear.  Yah!"

"Mama, hippo-pahmuses eat people.  I hippo-pahmus.  Yah!"

"Mama?  What birds eat?...Worms?  No, they not!  Them eat fish!"

"Mama!  Caterpillars are scared of bears.  Bears eat caterpillars."

"Bears not eat bearies.  That silly."

"Mama!  What dinosaurs eat?...T Rex not eat other dinosaurs!  Dinosaurs eat carrots!"

G enacts T-Rex eating pretend carrots

G has until third grade until he starts learning the food chain.  I'm not going to worry just yet.  Still, I wish he'd listen to me every once in a while!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Case of the Missing Case

Last Saturday, I lost my contacts.  Yes, plural.  I lost both contacts.  Actually, I'd lost the contact case that was housing both my right and left contact.  I have no extra contacts; this is my last pair.

The night before, B and I had returned home around 10ish.  We'd been to Natural Bridge with Cassie and her boys that day, only to return to a storm so torrential that we couldn't see five feet in front of her minivan.  Because of the low visibility, we'd hung out at Cassie and Tommy's until the storm died down enough for me to see the road.  I'd had a migraine on the way back from Natural Bridge and had slept most of the ride to Cassie's house.  By the time we'd reached home, we were both so exhausted we went straight to bed.  Well, B did.  I took my contacts out first since I can't stand sleeping in them. 

The next morning, I could not find the case at all!  Now, when G was littler, he was obsessed an empty contact case.  He loved to toy with it in his little Pack-N-Play while I was in the shower.  As he got older and learned to open the tops, I switched to a blue contact case and let him play with my old green and white ones.  I still find old cases in odd places in our house: under the couch, in the hallway, near his bed.

So, my first move was to bring G in for questioning.  After thorough interrogation, I felt I could rule him out as a suspect.    Interrogation involved bringing him to the bathroom and asking him sweetly if he could help me find my contacts. 

"I find you's contacts, Mama!"

"No, G, that's an old contact case.  My contacts are in a blue case."  G does know colors. 

"I find you's contacts, Mama!"

"No, G, that just the top to a blue contact case.  Mama's contacts are in one with two tops."

"I find you's contacts, Mama!"

"No, G.  That's contact solution." 

Had G taken my contacts, he would  not have played this game.  He would have known what I was talking about.  He might have been coy about showing me where he'd hidden the case, but this line of questioning was revealing that he truly had no idea where the case was. 

I gave up.  I'd have to wear my glasses until I could get an appointment at the optometrist. 

Later that morning, Josh called me to the bathroom.  "Is this what you were looking for?"  Apparently, when I had put away my hair straightener that morning, the case had gotten snagged in the cord of the iron.  It had then been pulled into the bottom of the cabinet next to the drawers in the bathroom.  G had nothing to do with it. 

Case solved.  By the way, I have an optometrist appointment for this Friday.

Friday, July 20, 2012

No mushy brains here

Because Catina is a teacher, I am very familiar with the "summer slide".  Simply put, this is the knowledge and skills kids lose over the summer break when they aren't challenged intellectually. To avoid this slide, my kids can be found doing math worksheets, playing online at educational websites, and reading books on their chosen subjects (which have included sharks, frogs, astronomy, and ancient civilizations) throughout the summer months.  Now before you think I'm the meanest, most boring mother ever, I can assure you that my kids are also spend lots of time playing video games, swimming, playing cards, and plenty of other fun activities.  

Another benefit of having a sister who is a teacher?  She takes her kids and mine to the library regularly throughout the summer, and lets my kids tagalong to the museums she visits over the summer.  This summer, I've taken a few days off to join in on some "field trips".  Last month, we spent a morning at the local zoo followed by an afternoon in the pool (and it was a scorcher).  This month, we are headed to Natural Bridge with the 4 oldest kids.  We plan to hit up the caverns, visit the toy museum and wax museum, check out Natural Bridge, and walk some trails (if we have the time and energy).  

The tricky part of this month's trip?  We have decided to leave the DVD players, DS's, and Ipods at home.  This is going to be a technology-free trip.  Well, except for our phones (for safety purposes) and the GPS (also for safety purposes, b/c I have a tendency to get lost).  Yes, we plan to have 4 boys in a vehicle for 3 hours each way, and not bring any electronic entertainment.  Don't worry, we aren't dumb enough to think they can entertain themselves for 6 hours without some help from us.  We plan to bring some folders with car games (printed from, a few books, notebooks for the boys to write about the trip, and plenty of snacks.  If the boys still get bored, we will throw in some radio time, accompanied by loud off-key singing and interpretive dancing.  Catina and I can be very entertaining like that.  

We may regret this, but it's only 6 hours.  We had many road trips as kids without electronics and not only did we survive, but we *gasp* had FUN.  How bad can it be?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Making Inferences

G won't be three until late September, but he has an excellent vocabulary. Just the other night, as he was "making cake" at Grammy and PawPaw's, he stopped mid-stir to exclaim, "Hey! There's no 'gredients in here!" He also knows several words I'd prefer he didn't share at church.

Today, he climbed up on Josh's lap, smiled sweetly, and asked for "chocolate inside". When we asked for clarification, he gave us his sweetest, "please". This is G's newest thing. He'll ask for something impossible, then politely beg for it.

Then he started crab-hands. Both of my boys did/do this as toddlers/preschoolers. It's where they tap their index finger and thumb together over and over like a crab pincher. The pinching becomes more panicked the longer it takes to achieve their desired result.

Josh: What's "chocolate inside", Buddy? Let me know and I'll let you have some.

G: I try get chocolate inside, but I can't reach it.

We don't have chocolate in the house, despite what my waistline might infer. He had been at Grammy and PawPaw's for a couple nights, though. My mind ran through a quick inventory of the snacks Josh had picked up from their house when he'd retrieved the boys. Pop-tarts, Mondos, Doritos, Krave cereal... Krave cereal! Krave has chocolate inside!

I had solved the mystery! G craved Krave! Here is a picture if my happy son.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hide and Seek

When you are a "little sister," you want to play with your older siblings and be as big as they are.  You think you can do everything they can, and want to join in all their games.  I know this, because I was the little sister.  So I completely understand when K wants to play video games or Lego's with her big brothers.  Usually the boys are willing to let K have a turn or share some toys with her (although you can see their fingers wiggling and itching to take the controller as she repeatedly crashes on Mario Kart).
My favorite, is watching K play hide and seek.  First, she is not a quiet hider.  Her giggles and squeals of "someone's coming!!", usually give her away.  Second, she is not great at picking hiding spots.  Her favorite spot to hide is in my bed, where she makes a very wiggly giggly bump under the covers.  If the "seeker" doesn't find her quickly, she will get out, run to the hallway, and look to see if he is coming yet.  She may even yell "come find me!", just in case they forgot.

Occasionally, K skips the covers altogether-
This pillow is supposed to keep anyone from seeing her

Sometimes, she will pose as a pile of dirty laundry under a basket
No one could possible see her through the holes in the basket

When outside, you have to improvise.  While playing with brothers and friends at the sports field, K thought she found the perfect spot.  I took the picture from the vantage point of the "seeker" when she was counting.
As long as you keep your head down, they can't see you

Luckily, K's poor skills at hiding places are proportionate to her impatience for being found.  I think her brothers agree that the squeals of excitement and giant hugs that she gives when found, make it playing with her totally worth it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My kids are geniuses

When C was younger, he had a knack for climbing the counters to get to the good snacks.  Unfortunately, he didn't know how to climb back down, so he was often caught sitting on the counter with chocolate around his mouth.  After getting fussed at a few times, he wised up.  No, he didn't stop climbing on the counter.  Instead he found the perfect answer for "young man, who said you could have cookies before dinner?"  C would look at me with his wide eyes and tell me "God said I could have the cookies."  I'll admit, the first time, I was stunned.  "Well, ok.... I guess... umm... Let me help you down."  After all, how can you argue with God.  No one trumps Him, not even mom.  Sensing that his mother was stumped, C continued to use this excuse.  Finally, I had to tell him that I also talk to God, and that C must have misunderstood because God and I had discussed having the cookies after dinner, not before.
Fast forward 7 years, and now I'm having similar talks with my daughter.  See, K's best friend is Jesus.  She calls him on her Disney Princess phone on a regular basis.  He tells great jokes, and makes her giggle a lot (which is funny, because C used to get the giggles, and explain to me that God tells the best jokes).  In return, whenever K gets a treat (candy, cookie, gummy snacks, etc), she insists that she get one for her and one for her best friend Jesus.  But Jesus isn't always hungry, so sometimes she puts his share to the side.  It is not uncommon to find a cinnamon altoid on my dresser, or a cookie on the coffee table, that has been left for Jesus.  Sometimes, K will tell me that Jesus didn't want His treat, so she is going to eat it for him.  We've had to start putting our foot down.  Now when K tells me "I need one for me, and one for my friend Jesus," I answer with "Sweetie, Jesus is big enough to help himself, so we will leave it in the box/cabinet/fridge, and He can get it when He is ready."  So far, it is working.

The way I figure, my kids are either some pious little pumpkins that are great friends with God, or they are some sneaky and clever little snackers.  Either way, I'm going to pray a little harder each night, b/c I'm going to need God's help to raise these geniuses.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A penny saved is a gas card earned

Let me start by giving a brief disclosure.  I am not an extreme couponer.  Not by any means.  If you are, then you should probably skip this post because it is going to make you all kinds of mad b/c I'm not doing it right.  You've been warned.
Still here?  OK, good.  Moving on.
I occasionally buy a Sunday paper (or two), clip coupons, and peruse the circulars.  My faves are the drug stores- they always have some pretty neat deals, and I have rewards cards for them all.  This week, I was particularly excited.
Rite-Aid had Crest toothpaste for $2.99, plus a $2 Ups Reward, and I had a $.75 coupon.  So I paid under $5 for 2 toothpastes, and got $4 in coupons for my next trip.  I call that a win.
But my big score was CVS.  They currently offer $10 gas cards if you spend $30 in listed products.  One of the products happened to be some cosmetics that were buy one get one 50% off, and I had coupons for $3 off of 2.  I also had $8 in rewards from my trip last week, plus $2 toward any candy or soda purchase.  Add to that a coupon for buy 1 get 1 Head and Shoulders shampoo, plus my $2 coupon for any shampoo.  For $25, I got 2 mascaras, 3 eyeliners, a mask for the pool, 3 king size Reese's cups (which were buy 2 get 1), 2 bottles of Head and Shoulders, Cinnamon Altoids (b/c I can't find those anywhere), and a $10 gas card.  I also am earning points that will turn into dollars for my quarterly rewards.  I was disappointed that I didn't go 3 days earlier- before my $3 off of any cosmetics coupon expired.  I still think I made out decently for an amateur.

Another hot tip- JCPenney has sales racks out the first Friday of each month.  You have to schedule some time to pick through the racks, but you can score some great deals.

Now if you are a couponer (and didn't I tell you not to read this post?!), feel free to share your secrets for saving money, or tips for couponing.  I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hair: Cut 1

Mom called me on her way to work tonight. I probably sounded like I was ten.

"Guess what? I'm gonna cut Cassie's hair, and she's gonna cut mine!"

Hesitant pause, then, "Really?" which meant, "Lord, I prayed for years for them to get along again. Talk some sense into them!"

You see, there was an incident when Cassie was in elementary school. I trimmed her bangs. Mom knew about it. In the backyard, I carefully trimmed from right to left. They were perfect! Well, almost perfect. The last little snip was a teeny tiny bit shorter. I'd done such a great job, though, I was sure I could even it up. However, going from left to right was not as easy for a righty like me, and they were a bit crooked. The next thing I knew, I'd made several passes, the bangs were still crooked, and they were only about 1/2 inch long on the short side. I had no more chances to fix them! I apologized. Her horror stricken face and new hairstyle was a hilarious combination, and I let out a nervous giggle that developed into a laughing fit.

That's how mom found me. She incorrectly deduced from my laughter that I had butchered Cassie's hair on purpose. Man, was I in trouble. I never attempted a trim again. Mom took over bang trimming, and used Scotch tape as a guide until Cass grew her bangs out.

So, when Cassie first asked me to cut her hair tonight, I was pretty sure she was kidding. Really, she just needed to save some cash. I've been needing a haircut, too, so I told her I'd cut hers if she'd cut mine.

"Oh, so if you mess mine up, I can get you back?". Ouch.

Actually, in thirty-some years, I've had quite a few bad haircuts, some purchased. So, if she did ok, it'd save me some money. If it was horrible, I'd go short again and splurge twenty dollars at the Hair Cuttery for repair.

So we donned bathing suits, took the littles in the backyard pool, then cut each other's wet hair. There were a few close moments, like when our sister-in-law and the boys' godmom exchanged looks with the beautician. There was also the time factor. My hair was nearly dry halfway through my cut, but the kids helped with that. I walked to the pool amd they gave me a good splashing, and then a blast from the pool noodle fountain. But guess what? We're still talking--at least until we see the haircuts in the morning.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to Rid One's Home of Pesky Dinosaurs

As we leave our road, we pass by goats. G calls them "baby goats" since there were some this past spring. Yesterday morning, we didn't see any, but then it has been ridiculously hot.

Me: Where are the goats, G?

G: At their daddy's house. They hiding.

Me: Hiding from what?

G: The Sara-Saratops.

We may watch too much Dino Dan.

G: Quick! Get the fire truck!

Me: Fire truck?

G: Yeah! I gonna 'pray that Sara-Saratops!

Well, alrighty then. I guess I can sleep well at night.


I have many memories of my family gathered around the dining room table, piecing together a 1,000 piece or more jigsaw puzzle. My cousins would visit during Christmas or summer break, and we'd claim sections of the puzzle and work late into the night, passing boxes and cookie sheets full of organized pieces.

B is 7 now, and methinks it's puzzle time. We started out with a 550 piece. I realized the first night that this was not going to be the magical time I'd planned. As "we" were separating flat pieces, I noticed he was much less efficient. I think his machine was to blame. B was smashing each piece between two coaster with a robotic whoosh, raising the top coaster, and then placing the piece in the correct pile...not necessarily face up. What a terribly inefficient sorting machine!

The point is to have fun, though, so I let it go.

The next night, as I was gathering similar pieces and joining a few together (side note : puzzles classified as age 12+ can be challenging), B rejoined me. I asked him to help me find gray pieces. He paved roads and delivered them to me via a Lego truck. It was beginning to look as though I'd be piecing most of this puzzle together myself.

Maybe that wasn't really a bad thing.
Luckily, we hosted my niece's birthday party that weekend. Mom and Cassie were hooked, and soon the younger generation joined in, too. That may have had something to do with the holdup on cake since I declared that the dining room table would not be cleared of puzzle until it was finished.

Someone got a picture of the finished product. Another first: my dad did not steal a piece so that he could complete the puzzle - traditionally the last hidden piece is his only contribution.

Best news? My goddaughter and best friend were visiting, and we completed three more puzzles with B! Then yesterday, my husband texted me while I was working: You boy is working on a puzzle. The 250 puzzle we'd halfway completed the night before was finished when I arrived home that night.

Tradition officially passed down.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The amazing and magical Ms. Vole

When school let out for the summer, there was a lot of talk about school year memories, favorite teachers, and plans for the summer.  K, my 3 year old (and only girl) was not to be left out.  One night, K, N, and I were snuggling in my bed.  K started talking about her teacher.  

"Mama, I love Ms. Vole.  She is so pretty and nice.  She is really funny, Mama." Giggle, giggle, sigh.  "I just have so much fun at school."

While K went on and on about this amazing teacher and all of her awesomeness, I wondered when her big brother was going to correct her.  You see, my daughter has never gone to school, or daycare.  There is no "Ms. Vole", although it sounds like she would be a lot of fun.  I kinda want to have a Ms. Vole, afterall, like to have fun.  But N just sat and waited.  Then like the selective listener he is, he looked at his little sister and said "K, I can't wait till you are in kindergarten.  You are gonna be soooo cute."  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Disney Moment

Remember Disney's Cinderella?  Remember the scene where she was singing "Sweet Nightingale" while washing the floors, bubble all around her?  Well, I wasn't foolish enough to picture that in my endeavor this morning. 

Our house needed a really good cleaning, so I stopped by the Dollar General yesterday afternoon and picked up supplies: toilet bowl cleaer, Lysol spray, Endust, paper towels, soft scrub, and two sponges. 
That's right, two sponges: one for each son, in different colors so they could easily identify whose was whose. 

During breakfast, I explained the steps to scrubbing the tubs: 
1.  Remove everything from the tub.
2.  Mommy will spray down the tub with the shower hose. 
3.  Mommy will add soft scrub.
4.  Boys scrub.
5.  Mommy rinses. 

Simple, right? 

I also had one more moment of clarity, and let both boys strip down to diaper/underwear so that they would not make a mess of their clothes.  G decided he'd keeps his socks on.  Whatever. 

So here's what happened.  The boys finished eating, ran into my bathroom, and took all their toys out of our large soaker tub.  OK, I hadn't planned on cleaning that one--I'd meant the shower and their tub, but I ran with it.  G could just reach the sides and B could get the bottom.  I ran and grabbed them each a cup so they could help rinse.  While they scrubbed, I removed all the soaps from the shower.  It was going great!  G started soft scrubbing the outer edge of the laminate around the tub.  I redirected him, promising him we'd get that part with Lysol.  He agreed, and as soon as I turned to get a shampoo bottle, he swiped the shower gel, unscrewed the top, and poured himself a healthy dose of "cleaner" on the laminate.

Before he could scrub, scrub, scrub, I dashed to the toilet, snatched some tp and the trashcan and wiped up the gel.  Whew.  That was a close one.  I redirected him to the tub and all was well again.  Luckily, he found the squirt bottle to the color changing hotwheel set that used to live by that tub, so he was occupied.
I grabbed the soft scrub two seconds later. Then I snapped some pictures and congratulated myself for helping their future wives.  Go, me! 

The boys flung water all over the tub to rinse it, then we began on the shower.  It pretty much went to plan except B rinsed the shower from inside the shower.  Maybe naked cleaning wouldn't have been a terrible idea.  No matter. 

I decided to keep the cleaning train on track:  Gabe used paper towels to wipe down the laminate around the tub after I sprayed it with Lysol.  I quickly doused the toilet with toilet bowl cleaner, then left it to sit.  I asked B to grab the soft scrub and sponges, and asked G to grab the paper towels.  I grabbed the Lysol and off we went to their bathroom. 

Then a different kind of Disney moment happened: G never met us at the bathroom.  Phineas and Ferb had caught his attention, and he dropped his unravelling roll of paper towels as soon as he saw the boob tube.  B scoured the tub while I got the toilet and counters--after tearing through the house for the paper towels since G wouldn't answer me.  I was NOT going to be stupid enough to leave cleansers unsupervised for more than a second with these two!

In all, the house got cleaner.  There was no time for singing, though, and I think I may have burned more calories this way.  Still, I think it's important for kids to help keep the household running.  That's the best preparation for learning to run households of their own, right?  Besides, any time spent together is quality time.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cold Medicine Cassie

I don't take medicine often- partly because I just don't like the idea of it, and partly because medicine affects me in a weird way.  Most prescription meds (for pain, nausea, or vertigo) as well as all cold meds, tend to make me pretty loopy and I completely lose my filter.  I compare it to what most people are like after a few drinks.  My friends and I call it "Cold Medicine Cassie".  
This week, I have quite the summer cold, and I've been treating it with lots of water, hot tea, and some cold meds.  And for your entertainment, I thought I would share some of the random things I've said and done over the past couple days.  

Monday at work: a coworker commented that I was quieter than normal.  I promptly said "you're welcome, I'm on cold meds."
Monday afternoon: after nearly falling asleep at my desk, I walked across campus for some Starbucks.  On the way back, I nearly walked into the wrong building.  Luckily, I brought a friend with me, and she was able to steer me the right way.
Later the same afternoon: While texting my sister, I stopped to tell her to thank auto correct- b/c without it I couldn't type or text.  I stand by this- my texts would have been a mess!
Monday leaving work: I said goodbye to a friend, who wished me a safe ride home.  I assured her I would be fine b/c I would be using my GPS.
Tuesday at work, I had a meeting with my manager.  When he told me that we were going to "kill 2 birds with 1 stone,"  I replied with "We're killing birds?  I usually do that with my car."  
Tuesday at Walmart: after grabbing a few things (and forgetting only one), I went to put my groceries in my car.  I knew the side of the lot I parked on, and that I had a great spot, but I couldn't find my van.  I reached for my keys, so I could hit the "lock" and make my van beep so that I could locate it easier.  That is when I realized that I didn't have my van- I had driven my husband's truck.  After another minute, I located his truck but couldn't get the cart through the cars to get to it. So I pushed my cart into the cart return, grabbed my bags, and pretended that was exactly what I meant to do the whole time.

Luckily, I'm aware of the effect of cold meds, so I do my best to be quiet, avoid any responsible decisions, and warn friends and family that I am under the influence.  I also take the minimum dosage in an effort to minimize the effects.  This week has been pretty tame compared to past times I've been on cold meds.  However, if you cross my path in the next few days and I look a little lost or confused, I probably am.  Just point me in the right direction and enjoy a good laugh.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Similes with a Smile

G, at age two, has an extensive vocabulary.  He also is my King of Similes. 

"Look, Mama! My toy is yike a can-dole!"
Yes, G, your toy is like a candle. 

A flexi-straw is "yike a dragon".  A tree is "yike a tree"--ok, that one isn't really a simile, since a tree IS a tree, but he is only two. 

The most confusing simile was at the Petersburg National Battlefield Park one weekend.  I was tying his shoe, my hair flowing in the breeze, when he told me, "Mama!  Your hair is yike a cheeseburger." 

A cheeseburger?  I must have heard wrong.  That made no sense!  I asked him, and he replied, "Yeah, it yike a Krabby Patty."

So much for poetic genius.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pee Pee Candy Negotiations

My mom is excellent at potty training kids.  She (and if I remember correctly, her sister) had a simple but effective reward system: 1 Skittle per pee pee deposit.  Yes, you read that correctly: ONE Skittle.  That's it. 

Mom used the system with us, with the kids she babysat for a living, and with her other eight grandchildren.  Today, you can find a jar of Pee Pee Candy on a top shelf of one of her cupboards.  Her youngest child is twenty-nine.  Our brother is reprimanded for swiping a handful.  "Just one!" she'll scold.  He's argued that the candies are for all the deposits since his last visit, but Mom isn't going for that. 

I think G is finally ready to potty train.  He's peed on the potty in the past, but now I'm ready to commit to the training.  He complains each morning that he peed in his big boy bed, and on his socks, and anything else he's wearing, even though his diaper hasn't leaked.  I take this discomfort as readiness to go on the potty.  I also am sick of buying diapers. 

So, yesterday I showed G the Skittles

"Look, Buddy!"

"Candy?"  G loves candy. 

"Yes!  If you pee pee on the potty, you can have one!"

He ran right to his potty chair, which he calls his bucket.  He flung open the top, gasped, and announced, "I get a candy!  I pee pee!"

We were going to need some clarification.

"No, Pal.  If you pee pee in the bucket, you can have one."

"There pee pee in my bucket." 

I looked.  There was a water spot from when I rinsed it the last time he'd peed--three months ago. 

"No, G.  That's old.  You have to pee pee now to get a candy now."

Later, he did pee in the bucket.  "Yay!  I get candies!"

"No, Bud.  You get one candy."

"No, I want much."

"No, G.  You get one.  Which color would you like?"  See the wisdom there?  By getting him to commit to one color, the kid gets one piece of candy, argument-free. 

"Orange."  Ha, I won.  "Put them in a bowl please," he requested sweetly.  I think he was hip to my "wisdom".  You see, when he's gotten Halloween and Easter candy, I put them in a bowl so the doesn't have to wrestle a wrapper.  Them.  Plural. 

"OK."  The trick to avoiding a fruitless argument with an unreasonable party is to remain calm. 
He accepted the bowl, ate the candy, and immediately returned to his bucket.  I honestly worried that he might give himself a hernia eeking out another three drops. 

"I did it!  I get a one-a-one [another one]."

I dropped another Skittle in his bowl.  Hey, the kid was building muscle control. 

When he peed this afternoon, he requested his bowl.  He received it, as pictured above.  No arguments, no fits.  Then, this evening, just before we brushed his teeth, he made another deposit.  I grabbed a green Skittle and he opened his mouth for it, like a little baby bird. 

Now, I am not going to foolishly declare victory.  No, that is what G wants.  He wants me to let my guard down, til he can con me into much Skittles at a time with his sweet "passive" ways.  I'm still on defense, calmly considering my responses before I make them. 

I truly annoys the piss out of me.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

They All Do It

All kids try to cut hair.

Most cut their own.  I cut my poor cousin's.  It was her first haircut ever, quickly followed by a trip to a licensed beautician. 

When I taught seventh and eighth grade, I'd always preface any lessons that involved scissors with, "Boys and girls, we only cut paper.  We don't cut our hair or our friend's hair.  We don't cut clothes."  The kids would laugh at my silliness, but I can boast that I did not once, not ONCE, in seven years of teaching middle schoolers, ever have a student cut anyone's hair.  Not all my colleagues were so lucky. 

In November 2009, I posted this small album of Rocky the Horse after B gave his tail a punk layered look:

I foolishly thought that was B's only attempt at cosmotology. 

Tonight, the boys got baths early so that we could go to the High School and see a children's musical put on by the Fine Arts department.  As B's hair dried, I noticed it did not lay quite right.  Just as the play began, I asked him if he'd cut his hair.  He admitted that he had, during my nap. 

What happened neat was pure reaction. I told the truth.

"It looks really bad."

B's feelings were hurt. I was at a loss. Did he think it looked good?

"Did you use a mirror?"


"Did you think about it?"

"No. I just cut it."

Now I was dumbfounded.

"Well, why'd you do it?"

"I don't know."

After further interrogation, I can say with confidence that B truly has no idea why he snipped off a random section of hair. I think it was just impulsive snipping. All kids cut hair, though. I'm just glad that G has too little hair to damage.

Monday, April 30, 2012


G is the better sleeper of my two boys.  His crying tore up my nerves a bit, but not nearly like B's.  Bedtime is bedtime, and he usually hops in, says a prayer with me, and heads off to dreamland.  G is two, though, and he likes to test sometimes.  Last night, he tried to give me trouble.

When I went to bed at 9:00, I knew he was still awake in his bed.  He'd been in bed for about 40 minutes.  Still, I was surprised when he showed up in my room around 9:10. 

"Mama, I fall out my Big Boy Bed."

"Well, climb back in, Buddy!  Night."

"And my pillow fall too." Pause. "And I'm too yittle to get it."

Nice try, pal.  "You're a big boy.  Put it in your bed, climb in, and go to sleep."

Off he went.  I assumed he'd go right to sleep.  Instead, I heard Jingle the Husky Pup ask someone to read to him over the baby monitor.  He requested his story several times, but I ignored him.  Then I heard some banging, and a crash.  I had visions of G hanging by his neck from his big boy bed or some other danger I'd missed.  I'm a born worrier. 

I dashed off to his room.  I left so quickly, I did not grab my glasses.  I have really terrible eyesight, so I probably should have snatched them.  As I neared his room, I nearly ran into G, who was on his way to mine. 

"Mama, there's a dinosaur in my room!" 

"G, there is NOT a dinosaur in your room."  I took him by the hand, turned him around, and headed back to his room.

Suddenly, I had a vision of a lizard in G's room.  The kid is two and I'm not sure we've ever used the word lizard around him.  Perhaps he equated one to a dinosaur, a word in his vocabulary.  Fear seized me, and I debated between running back for glasses so I could see a creepy crawly or waking my husband to scour the room for the critter.  Then I noticed a big green blob lying on the floor of his room. 

It was his play kitchen.  The toy had been overturned, its contents spilled on the floor.  A lizard must have done that. 

"What happened, G?"

"There's a dinosaur," he replied, then opened his toddler fist.

I knelt down really closely to his hand.  Adrenaline took over; I was ready to save my child from the creepy crawly.  Inside his chubbly little hand was this:

"G, go to bed."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Looking Forward to Summer

You need to know two things before you read this post:
1.  I am a teacher.
2.  I do not think I am better than you. 
(To prove that statement, read many of my earlier posts)

I cannot wait for summer.  Most people think that, as a teacher, I spend my summers and afternoons relaxing, and enjoying "vacation".  This is not entirely true.  I have worked EVERY summer, except one.  Incidentally, that was the summer when, after much trying and crying about not being able to get pregnant,  B was conceived.  I think it was possibly lack of stress. 

Last summer, I cut back my working during the summer workschedule to one day/week.  This gave me time to take between 2 and 6 kids somewhere once or twice a week (the "extras" were Cassie's).

Here's my philosophy.  As a teacher, I know about the "Summer Slide"--the tendency of students to lose some ground in what they've learned.  It's why kids have to review when they first get back to school.  Also as a teacher, I do not have a lot of money.  I have high hopes of raising some smart, moneymaking sons, nephews and niece who will both be able to afford extravagent vacations AND be unable to dream of a summer without fun-loving me. 

So, my basic rule last summer was to go to Storytime/Library once a week and to visit a museum or park once a week.  This did not always happen, and honestly, at the end of the summer, Storytime/Library WAS the "field trip".  Still, it was a good goal.  We collected a stamp through the Virginia Time Travelers Program.  We'd VISITED other places, but forgot our "Passport".  We also attended a lot of the free programs through the local library like making beach hats, visiting an aquarium-mobile.

Then last night I came across a Summertime Fun Bucket List via Pinterest.  I started a modified version using one of the Thirty-One Carry-All bags I have.  I cut down purple and green slips and put them and a washable marker in the outside pocket.  I then began filling out green slips for places we could GO on a whim, and purple slips for things to do at home for the day.  So far I've listed local playgrounds and free museums on the green slips.  On purples, I've listed Popsicle Sticks,Tent Day,Bake something, Make Popsicles, Train Set,Hopscotch, Board games, ABC Scavenger Hunt,Megablocks,Make jewelry, Paint.  Basically, these are things I'll drag out for a day, but don't want to clutter up the house all the time.  Some are things that are already in their playroom,but that I know they don't play with for extended periods of time (trains, megablocks).  All are things I already have (Did I mention a tight budget?).

Once all the free events at local stores, libraries, and museums are up for summertime events, I'll plug them all into a google calendar that I'll reference in making plans.  I'll copy over what I know I'll do to my personal google calendar which syncs with my phone.  I'll keep the other one separate in case plans fall through.  When the calendar is done, I'll link it on this blog so you can enjoy some freebies, too--and help beat that summer slide!

Friday, March 23, 2012

I almost got mugged today

Every Friday night, I stop for cash for the babysitter. Sometimes I make it early enough to go inside the bank, but often I end up going to the ATM outside. I don't particularly care for where placement of the ATM- it is on front side of the bank without any parking next to it. Instead, you must park in the lot on the side and walk over.
Tonight, I arrived to the bank just minutes after the doors were closed and locked. I parked my car in one of the few open spots, which happened to be next to a car that had 3 guys and a girl in it. All the car doors were open, but they were just sitting in there, none of them smiling. They all looked young, maybe 20 years old. It seemed a little strange to me, but I figured they probably had a really good reason for parking there. (I would have asked, but didn't want to seem rude.)
So I walked to the ATM, and just tried to remain aware of my surroundings. I put in my card, entered my pin, and typed how much cash I wanted. Quick look around, all clear. As the ATM beeped to alert me that my cash was coming out, I heard hard footsteps running toward me from the side of the building. My heart started racing. It took me a second to focus on the bodies running toward me... and realize it was just a couple of kids, running ahead of their mom to the ATM. Whew, that was close.
Walking back to my car, I still felt a little on edge, and tried to decide if it would be weird if I got in the passengers side to avoid the car next to mine. Then I realized there is no keyhole on the passenger's side, and to unlock the passenger's side, I would have to unlock ALL the doors. So instead, I decided to focus on the make/model and license plate number on the suspicious looking car, and hope for the best. I unlocked the door just as I reached it, and locked it quickly as I got in (all while trying to be very subtle and avoid looking like a paranoid freak).
I started the van and breathed a sigh of relief- just in time to hear "HEY" and see a face out of the corner of my eye closing in on my window. My heart stopped. I reached for the gear shift, and prepared to floor it, trying to remember what that darn license plate number was. Then I realized, it was just that same running kid, sweetly bringing me the receipt I had left hanging from the ATM in my haste to avoid being mugged.

Once I was safely down the road, I called my hubby to tell him about the danger I was almost in. I mean, I nearly got mugged! He was pretty torn up about it. At least I assume that is what the laughter was about, you know, a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of almost losing his wife.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Music Time

This morning, Josh, the boys and I ran some errands on our Snow Day. A song kept playing over and over and over in my head. I had to hear it.

Now, back when that song was popular, I could have asked someone in person or via my cordless phone. Then, if I wanted to listen to it, I'd have to sit in front of my radio and wait. If I was really invested in keeping the song, I'd have to get a ride to the music store. The alternative was waiting in front of the boom box in a quiet room with a blank tape and fingers poised over the record and play buttons, ready to strike as soon as the opening notes played.

Luckily, it's 2012. I opened the Facebook app on my smartphone and posted the following to my girl Carrie's wall: Whats the song that says 1,2 checka microphone checka. Wrecks in effect in effect I'm a wrecka? Cuz it's stuck in my head

Within two minutes, she'd responded with the title [Ha! Rump Shaker.] and youtube link[]. Yes, I could have googled, but I knew my girl was quick. Besides, I knew she'd want to reminisce about flat-tops, high tops, and Top 40 countdowns.

I clicked the link on my phone. It was not available for mobile, but I searched it on youtube. Boom! Just like that, it was opened and hooked via mp3 jack to my car radio. In under five minutes, my boys were experiencing Rump Shaker.

G, my younger one, wanted to hear it again and again. Josh, my headbanger husband tried to remember if he'd heard it on Kids Bop. One day I'll tell my kids about how we worked for our tunes. Right then, though, I just sat back and sang along.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's Superwoman's fault

I am perpetually late for everything- work, church, doctor's appointments, and anything else that has a set start time. I don't do it on purpose, and I always mean to be on time, but I have a horrible habit of underestimating how long it takes to get places. I also think I'm superwoman, and have a tendency of over-estimating how much I can do in a day, morning, hour, etc. But sometimes, it has little to do with me- some mornings one of my kids can't find his coat or another forgets his bookbag at home. Sometimes my daughter and I have a difference of opinion on clothes, like I think she should wear them and she wants to go commando in the middle of winter.
Then there are mornings when I walk into a room to find something like this-

Yes, that is Anakin Skywalker in my living room, teaching Superwoman to sort her crayons into piles by colors. It is pretty common in my home, to find Star Wars characters, super heroes, princesses, and fairies playing with each other, and helping each other to learn new things. (And in case you were wondering, both kids walked out of the house dress like this - one to school for character day, and the other to the sitter, who is now accustomed to the costumes.)

Friday, March 2, 2012

G's Got Hookers

B is at Grammy's tonight, so G took the opportunity to pilfer B's side of the car when I picked him up this afternoon.

"I had this first! I had it first!" he yelled, lest I try to get B's stuff back for his absent brother. 

"What is it?"

"I got hookers! I got hookers!"

"Let me see?"

"They 'rasers." Erasers. Conversation heart, scented erasers that were in the goodie bags the boys and I made for B's class and for the other kids at the sitters--mostly because we had enough left over. Hopefully none of the twenty-some kids we gave those erasers to tried to eat the scented "candy".

"Did you call them hookers?"

"Yeth. They Hooker's!"

HOOKER'S! MRS. Hooker's, B's reading teacher. B had brought hers home because he didn't give it to her.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

I guess I'm old-fashioned

Have you ever encountered one of those people who is cynical and sarcastic, and seems to revel in his orneriness? Sometimes you can learn a little something from him, even if it isn't the lesson he intended. I ran into one of those today, and a comment he made that really made me think. He said "why 'ladies first'? We don't need to be blindly follow antiquated rules of etiquette and get stuck in tradition." (I don't think he said it quite so eloquently, but I took a little poetic license since he's not here.)

I remember when I thought the same way- why do men have to pay on a date, hold the door open, pull out the chair for a woman., and be the "bread winner". These are all things that women can do for themselves; we don't need for a man to take care of us. As I've grown and learned, I realized I was looking at it all wrong. Of course women can open a door, and pay her own way. That isn't the point because that is not what any of these actions are about. They aren't meant to put a woman in her place or hold her back. These actions done as a sign of respect, with honor, and done in love. A man doesn't do these things because he looks down on a woman, but because he thinks highly of her.

This isn't to say that my husband always opens the door for me or pulls out my chair (although he has on occasion). My husband shows respect for me and honors me in many other ways. He corrects our kids when they speak to me in a manner that is disrespectful. He makes dinner, and often makes my plate when we are at home. (I reciprocate by making his plate when we are at friend's/family's homes.) He reminds me to take a break when I am overwhelmed, and makes it possible for me to relax. He isn't trying to put me down, he isn't trying to hold me back- he loves me and is trying to make me better. He wants me to feel honored and adored. I sure hope our kids are watching and picking up on the importance of taking care of those around them. If that is traditional and antiquated, then perhaps being modern is what is wrong with relationships these days.

Fashion Genius

A couple days I blogged about my husband's fashion sense. Yesterday morning, I swore B took after his father when I witnessed this outfit: Reminiscent of the Christmas lumberjack, no?

I tried to get him to change the bottoms. I mean, red bottoms, green top? He couldn't change the top. It was School Spirit Day, and he only fits the green school shirts. In fact, that shirt is over TOP black and green shirt. He wouldn't go to jeans, though. He SAID it was because his shoes were already on.

When I got to work and told a friend, though, I realized: My son is a fashion genius. You see, it happened to be on Leap Day. Once every four years, an "extra" day is added to the year. I falls right between "Normal February"--a month wih symbolic red--and March--a month with symbolic green. MY kid combined both colors on the day sandwiched between "typical".


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My 3 y/o is planning her wedding

It all started very innocently. Last night at dinner, N asked me how I got married. I answered simply that a really cute guy, that I loved, asked me to marry him and I did. Apparently, that didn't completely answer his question, so N turned to Tommy and asked how he got married. Tommy answered that we got married, and reminded N that he has seen the pictures. N was still waiting for a better answer, so I told him the fairytale story of our wedding-

"After Daddy asked me, I put on a pretty white dress and Daddy got dressed up" (here is wear E and C chimed in that Daddy wore a tie.) "All our best friends and family came, and they were all dressed up too. Pastor Rocky asked Daddy if he would love me forever, and Daddy said yes. Then Pastor Rocky asked if I would love Daddy forever, and I said yes. Then we kissed " (Paused here, to demonstrate our kiss.) "After that, we had a big party, with lots of food, dancing, and music."

By this point, N was satisfied with the description, while K was absolutely enthralled. She had sat quietly while I spoke, in absolute awe. Breathlessly she said "Mama, I wanna do that." To which I answered "Well, when you meet someone nice and wonderful, and Daddy says he can have your heart, you will get married too." That was all she needed. I could see the wheels spinning in her sweet little head, and she was excitedly talking about dresses and parties. Yes, at 3 years old, my daughter is planning her wedding.

Ps. While K was dreaming, the older boys were on to the *important* things. C asked "did you get presents at your party?" To which Tommy answered, "Yes, we got the plates you are eating on, some pans, and a lot of other stuff. Then we went on vacation to the beach, and I got a new TV. That's the kind of stuff that happens when you get married." Yes, we girls get lost in fairytale of romance, love, and pretty dresses, while boys are excited about the honeymoon and presents.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fashion Sense

I wish I was more of a fashionista than I am. Every once in a while, I get ahold of some dresses, pairs of cute shoes, or jewelry and make a small statement for a while. As far as boys' clothes, well, my style is different from Cassie's. As we pass our sons' clothes to each other, she keeps the rompers, sweaters with characters on them, and sweater vests in the bag until I need them for the next boy, and I keep the flannels in the bag til I hand them back to her.

We both agree on some basics, though. For example, I know if I send one of my boys to her house, I can trust her to dress them and take them in public. I do not have the same confidence in my husband. When B was a baby, Josh dressed him every morning, using the outfits lovingly hung up on the pegboard above his changing table.

If I forgot to hang up outfits, B would sport interesting combinations: pants a size up or down, tops of one shade that didn't match the shade of the bottoms, or windpants and a button down shirt. Josh is the first to admit he doesn't care that much. I recall one Valentine's Day when I shouted to Josh to please put the child in red. B toddled out in a red flannel and green corduroys: the perfect Christmas Lumberjack.

In fact, the pegboard thing fell through often enough that Babysitter and I had a code. If he was dressed funny and I mentioned that B had a doctor's appointment or some other public appearance in the afternoon, she'd make sure he pee through his clothes and require the backup.

This morning I woke up to a dressed G. Really, I had to wonder if Josh had searched for the combo above. Stripted top, plaid overalls (which happen to say "Old Navy Gal" on a tag on the front), and Camo socks. I think I may have solved the mystery, though. Instead of looking through the actual dresser drawers, he's grabbing hanging clothes (the shirt) and clothes I've thrown aside in the closet next to the dresser (the girl pants--and the 6 month sweatpants G sported as capris all day at home yesterday).

Now to stock the sides of the closet with acceptable clothes--like the rompers Cassie and Babysitter love so much.