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.