Thursday, November 13, 2014

Practicing Letter Sounds

Because G is a bit behind, I'm becoming adept at disguising reading skill practice. "I Spy" has varied to "I Spy Something that Rhymes with". We look for numbers and letters on signs.  G helps me count things out and tally dollars spent in our grocery shopping list. 

G takes after his mother. 

On the ride home tonight, I distracted a whiny G by telling him that two raccoons had just run near the car and I'd almost hit them. 

"Raccoon!  R!  Rrr, rrr, rrr!  Raccoon starts with arrrrgh!"

He'd made an adorable paper bag raccoon puppet weeks ago. 

I'm pretty sure the cute puppet's tongue and bottom lip are supposed to be attached to the bag and not the bag of Raccoon's face. I'm also pretty sure the coloring is toward the scribble scrabble end of the coloring spectrum. 

"Rrrr, like rrrr, rrr, rrrroadkill," I answered. 

He shot back, "Like rrr, rrr, rrrun over."

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Friday night: We run out of dish soap.
Saturday afternoon text to Josh: I forgot to pick up dish soap while I was out.
Sunday morning, wife to husband: Do you want to run out and get the dish soap or should I?

Sunday afternoon activity: wife washes, husband dries

5 Year Old's Response to "The 23 Craziest Japanese Inventions You Never Knew Existed"

This was on my Facebook feed this morning:  G happened to be nearby, and after I perused the link, I decided to see what he thought about the inventions.  I wish I could remember who to credit with the idea.  I'd read someone else's child's reaction to Pop culture somewhere. 

Highlights of The 23 Craziest Japanese Inventions You Never Knew Existed, According to G
my thoughts are in pink italics

1.  That's a pipe.  It hangs from an umbrella and it keeps you from getting wet.  That lady is not going to get wet. 

2.  What is that?  I'm going to break it.  *punches at phone screen*

4. That's funny.  You can do this *pantomimes unrolling most of a roll of toilet paper*.  For your nose, like this.  *pantomimes blowing nose*  And then you can use it for this *unroll, unroll, unroll, unroll, butt wipe, dissolution into giggles and snorts*
I am reminded of this photo, hanging in our bathroom:

6.  What is that baby wearing?...Oh, it cleans the floor?  That's funny.  And he goes like this *sniper crawls*.

8.  Those are for ear drops.  No, eye drops.  They go in that thing and into your eyes. 

11.  Why is she putting her head in an ink pad?

14.  That's a banana.  The minions love bananas on Minion Rush!

Note: We blew past 17.  I am not ready to hear what he may say. 

21.  Um, what is that?  Why she wearing that?  Wait, the noodle can't get on her now!  Now they won't be in her hair. 

23.  Square pumpkins!  We have been watching Spookly a lot lately.  I want a square pumpkin!...Wait, it's a watermelon?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Parent Teacher Conferences

Seventeen. This is year seventeen in my teaching career.

Five.  This is year five in the parent role at Parent-Teacher Conferences.

One.  This is the first year I have ever had any concern for my son's progress.

B has always been a good student.  He listens well, reads well, and calculates well.  He loves science and history.  His handwriting is borderline illegible, and he produced a failed writing piece a time or two.  However, no one has ever doubted his progress.

G is arguably smarter than B.  His entire life has been spent sitting stiller than his brother for stories. He plays with words and remembers everything.  He started Sunday School classes earlier, and talks about Vacation Bible School more than his brother.

This year at Parent-Teacher Conferences, G's kindergarten teacher shared her concerns about G's progress.  He does not color in the lines, nor can he write his name in recognizable letters.  He shows no ability to rhyme.  He recognizes only a handful of letters. He's sweet and he is well behaved at school, but he is struggling academically.

I took in all this news alone, as Josh was working.  This is uncharted territory.  Everything academic comes pretty easily to B and had seemed to come easily to G...except G hasn't wanted to play along.  So I haven't pushed him much.  Red will uprise against lessons at home.

I texted Josh the news on the way to B's conference--where, incidentally I learned that B is soaring through schoolwork.  I was picturing my boy repeating kindergarten and hating school because of it.  I'd been so cool about him repeating if necessary, since he'd just turned five the week before.  The reality of truly having to hold him back was much more menacing than I'd thought.

Then my husband, who did not excel at school and still spells atrociously, texted me back to reality.  G is little, he likes school, and "roam wasnt built in a day".

You know what?  He's right!  G has not been to preschool.  We haven't pushed letters and writing his name due to his Viking attributes.  He listens well, participates.  He's learned a handful of letters and their sounds, he can write his name, he's picked up coloring and he's connecting dots.  He knows a couple sight words and can write them.  He's learned all that in just a few weeks.
Even seventeen-year veteran teachers need to be schooled once in a while.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Have I mentioned Whiskers?  G's sidekick is the stuffed animal rendition of the mousie character in If you Give a Mouse a Cookie.  Whiskers is with G so often that I have a special album for the pair on my Facebook page.  Whiskers has become so famous with my friends that visiting friends have asked to pose with G and Whiskers.  

So when I went for a haircut yesterday, Whiskers watched from a nearby chair.  As Kim cut my hair, she and I talked about snuggly childhood friends. She told me the how her daughter's stuffed BFF was accidentally lost, and I told her about Johnny, the Monchichi style monkey my dad gave me when I was two.  Johnny also had a sad story.  After college, I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night to find my graduation-present puppy gnawing Johnny's hands to bits.

Josh and I were dating at the time.  He found a doll repair lady, smuggled Johnny out, and brought him back after "surgery" a new man.  Johnny was a very new man, actually slightly higher on the evolutionary scale.  Doll Lady could not find four-fingered monkey hands like Johnny was born with, so she replaced his hands with proportionally correct human hands.  Instead of a thumb to suck, Johnny's opposable thumb gripped a baby bottle.

I had not realized that my sons had never heard that story.  In the car, G asked, "Is Johnny the monkey with the face like this?"  Then he perfectly imitated the matted doll that sits on a shelf in my curio cabinet.  He asked me questions about Johnny, like what Riley did to his hands, and how Daddy got them fixed, and what an opposable thumb was.  When we got home, both sons wanted to see Johnny in person.  Seconds after I opened the cabinet, G shut the door and announced that Johnny had to stay in there so he could be safe.

This morning, G moved my banana trophy to the curio cabinet.

Johnny sits between the most thoughtful teacher gift I've ever received, the ceramic bowl I made in elementary school, and our cake topper.  Now my trophy resides next to Johnny as well.   

G and I have had several conversations about Johnny today.  Johnny's favorite food is bananas.  Whisker's favorite thing to eat is cookies.  We bet that they'd both love banana cookies.  They also both like milk, but Johnny still drinks his from a bottle.  Whiskers prefers a straw.  Johnny and Whiskers hung out in and by the curio cabinet today, and they said goodnight to each other tonight.  I think that those two will be great friends while Whiskers waits for G to come home from kindergarten this year.  Who knows?  They may even be roomies in a curio cabinet one day.  

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sticky Situation

Last Friday, we attended a presentation on owls by a local Rehabilitation Center.  The boys got to see four live owls and hear about the four common owls in Virginia.  A couple of friends were there with kids as well, and afterwards we chatted as most of the kids ran around in the grass.  The youngest child in the group sat in her stroller and giggled.

The peace was broken when my friend's daughter announced that G had killed a frog.  I froze.  Usually, I can discern how much a scene I should cause with discipline, but this was either something to let go or go really crazy about.  I mean, I thought I'd heard once that serial killers often killed small animals early on in their lives.  Where do frogs fit on the killing spectrum?  Are they closer to the kitten end or are they way on the spiders and creepy-crawlies end?  We regularly crush bugs at our house.  Did I need to contact a therapist?  All this decision making with a ticking clock that was counting off the seconds between the action and appropriate response.

The girl bent down, prodded the stretched-out frog, and deemed him dead.  He looked splat to me, too.  Then she carefully covered it with grass clippings to bury it.  One of her nearby friends watched, as did a laughing G, who was chanting, "I killed it!"

So how did I handle it?  I asked my friend with the baby and her mother-in-law, since they were standing there.  None of us had a clue.  So I called G to me, took him by the hand, and had him show me what he did.  Then I put on the sad face and noted how little the frog was, and how much he might have been a little baby.  I wondered if his parents would be looking for him.  G was not empathetic at all.  Then I suggested that some frogs stay small, that this one might have been a Daddy Frog, and that his baby and the rest of the family might wonder where he was when he never came home.

G looked a teeny tiny bit shaken and he squeezed my hand a little.  Very softly, I told him, "We don't kill frogs, Buddy.  They eat the bugs."

G watched the funeral.  Then a few moments later--Hallelujah!--the frog broke free from the clippings and hopped into the grass nearby.  G ran to tell me, and declared that the frog must have been playing dead.  Three minutes later, the kids were screaming again: the funeral director's little brother had stepped on and squished the frog.

Monday, July 14, 2014


On the way to Cassie's house last Saturday, G summarized the bible stories he'd learned in VBS.  Here's his side of the conversation, to the best that I can remember: 

Jesus went in the kid's lunchbox and he got the five breads and the two fishes.  And then he split 'em up in half and they got even bigger and then he made fish sandwiches for the disciples and they all ate them.  And they had grape juice.  No, not wine.  He doesn't know how to make wine.  And then the disciples could go up in the sky...because they climbed a tree and Jesus shrunk the tree and then they could fly...oh, right, they did die like regular people.  

And they put Jesus on the cross and they put the nail clippers on him.  And then there was blood and it was a lot of blood, all the way to his legs and then all the way to his head.  They took him off and they took the nail clippers out...yeah, they wrapped him up and they put him in the cave and then they put the big stone in front.  And the blood all came out and he was a skeleton with bones.  Then he moved that big rock and he was gone.  

This is much more recollection than I ever got from B.  With B, I usually fire off a million questions and get about an answer or two.  Case in point: first day of kindergarten.  Two hundred questions, including Did you use your crayons?  Did you sit on the carpet?  Did she read you a book?  Did you look at a book?  Did you eat in the cafeteria?  Who did you sit by?  Did you look at a calendar?  Did you use construction paper?  Did you go to PE? Music?  The library?, I got: "Mom, we did a LOT of things."  Sigh.

K apparently takes after B because she was tight lipped about VBS.  She and G were in the same class, though, so with my new arsenal of bible stories, I asked her point blank about the fish.

K (swinging her leg and holding onto a dresser): There was a fish [long pause, swinging leg] and, uh, um, he diiiiied, [pause, swinging leg] and, um, God flushed it.

Sounds fishy to me. 

Monday, July 7, 2014


The younger five of Cassie and my brood are going to Vacation Bible School at a local church this week.  They'd gone last year as well, and they knew all about snack.  They remembered snack so much that G refused breakfast this morning, recollecting that they'd eat at the Bible School.

After VBS, I dropped K and N off at the sitters and took C, B, and G with me to my violin lesson.  On the way, C drooled over the Toaster Strudals they were served for snack.  When G chimed in, B took him down quickly, "You didn't get those for a snack!"

Lil Red was so upset, his tongue got tied as he spat back, "I did have a Toodle Strudal!", pointing at each syllable.  Then the three boys and I guffawed about  "Toodle Strudel", 

Later in the evening, Cassie called me to ask what the kids had eaten at VBS.  The  Strudel goodness was so intense, K and N had insisted they'd been fed lunch.  They just couldn't remember the name of the entree.  Their description resembled pop-tarts, which made no sense as Cassie's kids are experts on pop-tarts.  Since older bro C was with me, there was no one to translate. After I suggested and she announced toaster strudel, I could hear the two screaming agreement in the background. 

I bought some for tomorrow's breakfast.  I'll bet G eats breakfast tomorrow without argument; he ate TWO iced apple "Strudel Doodles" tonight.  Furthermore, I have two more boxtops to save for school in the fall!

Move over, pop-tarts.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

More Food Fights

Cassie, her N & K, my B and G and I visited family that live two and a half hours away this weekend.  We were celebrating our cousin's birthday.  Eva lost a valiant battle against lymphoma last year and Saturday was her birthday.  While at the hotel, a random fellow traveler complimented Cassie on how well behaved the children were.  I'll wallow in that for a moment.

Later, G made me earn my Parenting in Public Badge. 

At Mellow Mushroom, I cut his cheese pizza into bite-sized pieces at his request.  He informed me that he did not eat "strings".  I explained that the strings were actually cheese, but he did not believe me.  Then he suggested that the some of the pieces were not small enough.  After I cut each big piece into smaller pieces and de-stringed every morsel, he lost himself in an extravagant meltdown.  Apparently another slice of pizza would not suffice.  I was to magically reconstruct the original piece then cut it the specifications that were in his mind.  Luckily we were in a party of about twenty people and we were seated on the patio.  I picked him up and swayed until cake was served.  Hey, we were out of town.  This was not the time for battles. 

Red did not agree. 

Breakfasts were fine at the hotel.  Most meals eaten where our large family gathered, however, entailed crocodile tears, shrieking demands which I could not decipher, and some time separated from the family.  He did not want pizza, sliced or cut up, sitting next to Uncle Hans nor near the adorable Baby Ruby.  He did decide to eat some yogurt.  He also ate some cake (big surprise).

Peanut butter and jelly on a roll?  It was awesome until I cut it exactly how Grandma had cut it the day before.  He lost it when I "broke the bread"--which I only learned after I'd calmed him down after a twenty minute time-out in the "Royal Bedroom" at Aunt Hildie's.  I derma-bonded the risen crust to the bread inside with jelly and then he consumed it. 

What's the best part about these fights?  First, they keep me on my toes.  Second, they make me really appreciate my family.  They ignored G when he threw his fits, then carried on when he returned.  Years ago, I'd worry if others were judging me.  They've all been through this many times before, and they love me and G just the same.  They know he isn't a full-fledged brat; he's just testing...and losing, if we we're keeping score.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kid Cuisine

I mentioned in my last post how much I cherish sleep.  I love to sleep.  I sleep in on Saturday and Sunday mornings as my children rot their brains with video games (B) and cartoons (G).  If I want to sleep really late, I stock the snack cabinet with a bag or two of powdered Donettes. 

There were no Donettes last weekend.  G woke me up with, "Hey, Mama, how do I make my own Peanut Butter Jelly sammich again?"  Note: he doesn't.  The kid is four.  No way am I ready for the biohazard that would be my kitchen if he was allowed access to the sticky of both peanut butter and jelly.  Also, G with a knife?  Yeah, that wakes me up right away. 

This weekend, I screamed for Big Brother to make it.  My bedroom is adjacent to the kitchen so I could hear the conversations between the two. 

G: Not too much peanut butter.  It's too hard to chew if you use too much peanut butter.  B!  I said not too much peanut butter!  B!

B: All right!  I know how to make a sandwich, G.  Just let me do it. 

After rustling, crinkling and clinking, B must have passed the sandwich to Little. 

G: Hey!  Where's the jelly?

B: I didn't know you wanted jelly!  You didn't say!

Me (roaring from the comfort of my bed): I asked you to make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!  Of course he wanted jelly!

G:  I'm not eating this.  I need jelly.

B: Well, I can't put the jelly on now.  If I take the top off, it'll break!  Just eat it. 

After a bit of debate, B made G a second sandwich.  When Josh stumbled out of bed a few minutes later, he saw Little with a sandwich in each hand and no plate.  He let loose on that for a minute, then got the kid settled in front of the tv with his breakfast sammiches on a proper plate. 

Ten minutes later, G snuck in my room to whisper, "Hey guess what?  I think I like the one without the jelly better."

That, my friends, is why it took me twelve hours to get ten hours of sleep this past Friday night. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Precious Sleep

What is the best thing about having a nine year old and a four and a half year old?  Sleep. My boys let me sleep in on the weekends. They're too young to be out late at night, keeping me awake with worry. I've earned this rest:  both boys woke up to eat until they were eleven months old. Dang acid reflux. 

Then the other night, B woke me up at 1 a.m. to let me know he couldn't sleep. This is highly unusual for him. I rolled out of bed and heated up some milk.  My little skeptic questions everything, so I explained that warming milk produces a chemical to help people sleep. 

Once he was snuggled in an armchair with a cozy blanket and a mug of warm milk, I googled to find out the specifics. This just in: warm milk as a sleeping agent is cited as a myth on so many sites.  Google it. 

I couldn't tell him that. 

So, I read him as much truth as I could.  Warm milk has triptophan, which helps people sleep. It increases sweatin in and melatonin production. It helps fill empty stomachs. The warmth of the milk helps people relax. 

My seventh grade English students explored bias in nonfiction this past nine weeks. Oh, the irony. 

Then I tucked B in, and left him working through the "grateful game". Instead of counting sheep, we think of someone or something we are grateful for for each letter of the alphabet. 

Then I headed off to bed, where I spent the next forty minutes trying to fall asleep.

B rides with me to work and then home or up pick up G every day.  He helps me on my classroom. He goes shopping with me. Still, it has been quite a while since he's asked me for advice. Most oft forty minutes of insomnia was spent feeling grateful that he still needs me sometimes. I was also extremely grateful that it's not often during the middle of the night. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Teaching Sons to be Fabulous Husbands

My parent have been married for 37 years. My dad prides himself on being a badass, low key husband who doesn't spoil his wife with cards or flowers. We laugh about it because as much as he steers from grand gestures of his affection, he is quick to rush to her defense (text: Call your mother and voicemail: Don't forget it's Mom's birthday). He also keeps the house stocked in her favorite snacks and keeps the coffee pot full. 

Oma moved in with Mom and Dad a year and a half ago. She's 92 years of sweetness and sass. She's lived through three years of internment camp, loss of the young love of her life, parenting of five children across three countries, and nursing of her sassy husband with dementia (who was an amazing man in his own right). She jokes along with my Dad. It's cute to watch. 

Dad took her shopping the other day. Oma found this cute card and told Dad to buy it for Mom. 
 "Oma, I haven't gotten the woman a card in 37 years. If I start now, she'll expect it."

That's Dad's badass persona. Oma laughed it off. Later, Mom opened the card. 

Anyone who's read anything Oma writes will recognize the salutation as her handwriting. The signature looks much different. 

Apparently she feared that Mom would deduce that Dad did not sign the card, for this was written on the back. 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Domino Effect

As I was scrolling through Facebook  Monday, this lamp caught my eye.  One of my collegues was selling it for five dollars.  My classroom has several pieces decoupaged with nesting dolls fabric.  I bought the lamp, broke out the Modpodge and created this:

When I put it on my desk at work, though, it was entirely too small.  It was about half the size of the desk lamp I already had.  I ended up placing it on a desk near the back of the classroom.  It wasn’t as close as I wanted it to me, but I didn’t have an outlet available to set it on the bookshelf near my desk or my filing cabinet.  

Now I needed a new lampshade for the bigger lamp.

After a lot of online searching, I found a light gray one at Target.  I ordered it and had it sent to the store.  For thirteen dollars, I had a cute lampshade.  I thought about decoupaging it with the dolls, but decided against it.  I wasn’t sure that the texture of the lamp would look as good with Modpodge all over it.  I brought it to school and switched the lampshades out.   It was not as cute of a combo as I had hoped. 

I needed a new lamp base.  

I searched online at JC Penny’s and Kohls since I have giftcards to both.  There were not any bases I wanted that were cheaper than the amount of my giftcards.  After lunch with a friend today, I scoured stores in person, and found the perfect wooden teal lamp base at Walmart for $11.97.  

Total cost of spontaneous purchase of a $5 lamp: $29 and change.

Now to find $100 for stool I saw for behind my podium at school.


By Friday afternoons, I am exhausted.  On the ride home from work after a weekly meeting, my body realizes how tired the week has made it.  Early mornings, duties, meetings, classes, sons' stories, sons' battles, dinners, housework, and late nights add up to one tired Mama.  Thank goodness my husband is wonderful and pulls more than his fair share with most of the list above. 

Yesterday afternoon, B and I stumbled through the door with my many bags.  G was at Grammy's for the weekend, and Josh was over there visiting.  B headed for his XBox and I headed for jammies with plans for a large glass of chocolate wine from my favorite mother-in-law. 

This is what I found on the sink in my bathroom:

I love Fridays and thoughtful Four-Year-Olds.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Missed the Bus: The Remix

This morning I was halfway to the sitter's when I remembered I hadn't put on make-up.  I looked tired without eyeliner, but I didn't have time to turn around.  Eyeliner is not something you can borrow from just anyone.  It's close to one's very personal space: the eye.  In fact, I usually only use mine and, occasionally, Cassie's.  Cassie is on a different schedule than me, though, and wasn't out of bed yet. 

Brainstorm!  Her older sons attend the school at which I teach.  Given the last sentence, I obviously teach English.  In desperation, I called Cassie to see if she could put eyeliner in E's backpack.  His first block class is near my morning duty at school, and I could snag it from him.  Cassie would have helped, but C and E's bus had whisked them away about ten minutes before my phone call.  Dangit.

"Wait," sleepy Cassie quipped, "You missed the bus!"

Usually, her younger son misses the bus from the sitter's and Cassie must continue on to drop him off at school.  This happens often enough for me to have made her ringtone "I Missed the Bus" on my phone. G has sings along and dances a nifty little jig each time she calls me. 

I think I made her day.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Babysitting: Brother Style

This morning, G asked B to watch Whiskers while he "went to work".  G is a very protective Daddy who delivered instructions to B in writing.  In case you need reading glasses, B was to feed Whiskers, then read to him, then tuck little mousy nephew in for a nap.  The last line says, "Keep Whiskers away from mousetraps.  Keep him safe."

I noticed as I got ready, that B was not following the list in the correct order. He jumped straight to naptime.  I can't blame him, but I hoped, for B's sake that G did not come home early.  Sure enough, G did return and he gave Brother hell for not following the list as expected.

Now, here's where "house" is different for girls and boys.  To this point, it seemed like how I'd played house as a girl with my sister and cousin.  However, when G returned to "work", B had to wrestle and contain the crocodile that threatened Whiskers.  Woody from Toy Story took care of the other gator, rodeo style. 

Flashback to "house" as played with our brother.  Every time, no matter how much he promised his dog was a "nice dog"--every time--the dog would get into some raw meat and attack, then devour the baby.  Apparently, when Cassie's C plays house at the sitter's, he is often the "mean dog", at least according to B.  When I asked if C eats the baby, B threw me an odd look and said, "No, he just growls and barks a lot."  So things are becoming less violent.  Cool. 

At that rate, my grandsons should only have to deal with mildly irritated pets in their version of "house".

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

High Heels and Hole Punchers

Cassie and I took Monday as a sister shopping day.  We scheduled a KID-FREE sister shopping day for the first time in...  You know what?  I've lost count how long it's been.  We racked up on Shopkicks while sipping the free Starbucks drinks she'd earned, and spent some Christmas giftcards.  Random shout out to the mommy friend we saw pushing two small daughters in the huge cart in Target--keep up the good fight, my friend. 

So here was my mistake: I wore these cute shoes.  G loves them, and has insisted that I wear them daily since I brought them home from a shopping trip with my mom.  I have been smart enough not to wear them for a full day of teaching yet.  I could not resist wearing them to shop with Cassie, though, since she always wears heels and looks cute. 
G models our favorite boots.

We'd made it to Books-a-Million, Starbucks, JC Penney's, half a mall, and Target.  I was toting the three hole punch I needed to organize 2014 bills in a brand new binder (thank you, Pinterest--2013's is almost organized) when Cassie decided she wanted to try Kohl's and Cato's.  Two more stores of hanging with my sister and laughing at today's fashion, and yet...all my weight was crushing the balls of my poor, aching feet.  Could I admit defeat?  Could I end the trip?

We went straight to the shoe section.

I had only brought a $20 bill and giftcards.  I was going to have to leave Punchy behind.  I'd have to run out again, since old Punchy has disappeared.  The day before, I had searched the entire house, including kitchen cupboards before declaring old Punchy officially missing.  Why kitchen cupboards?  They're Josh's favorite hideaway for wayward items when he straightens up.  I left the key to my organized 2014 atop the Coke cooler at the checkout line. 
Not as cute, but definitely more suited to our mission.

Cassie met me at the trashcan outside the Target, as I was disassembling the intricate rubber band tethering the shoes to each other.  She handed me my "forgotten" bag, which contained the new Punchy she'd just purchased.

Cassie is definitely my favorite sister. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Sleeping In"

I slept until 10:50 this morning.  Ten.  Fifty.  This makes me sound like a lazy lady.  I sound even more so when I admit that I went to sleep at 9:30 last night.  Realize, people, I have kids.  So, of course, this was not really 13 hours of sleep. 

6:44 - "Mama, I'm awake!"
I get up and set G up in front of some cartoons with some Cocoa Crunchies and a cup of Gatorade.  He's got a blanket and should be set. 

7:44 - "Mama, can you open this for me?"
I feel like I've barely nodded off when he thrusts an American Single at me, unable to wrestle it from its individual wrapper.  I free the cheese and remind him Mama needs more sleep. 

After 8 sometime - "Hey, Mama, come see!"
G is required to report when he has deposited #2 in the toilet.  It figures that he would need a confirmation during my sleepytime.

After 9 someime: "Mama..."
I have no idea what he asked for.  I just know I am not sleeping the full thirteen hours. 

10:50 - Silence
I finally wake up.  Silence is disturbing.  What are the boys doing?  Are they in cahoots?  Are they in the house?  I leap from bed to find B playing video games and G watching tv. 

G and I make pancakes.  It may have been 9 straight hours of sleep followed by choppy sleep, but I need some coffee.  G makes me some coffee.  He's such a good boy. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Eve Project

When I was a teenager, my parents hosted a no-drinking New Year's Eve party at our house every year.  One of the favorites at the party was a never-ending tray of lumpia.  Lumpia is the Filipino version of eggrolls.  They are amazing.

Back then, Mom would make up a ridiculously large pot of lumpia filling.  Then a bunch of ladies would meet at the pastor's wife's house with a bunch of lumpia wrappers.  We'd sit around a large table and roll up lumpia.  Then, on New Year's Eve, our Opa would sit outside and fry them for half the night.  Freshly fried lumpia were added periodically to the roasting pan on the kitchen table.

This year, I got the bright idea for Cassie and I to make lumpia for New Year's Eve.  We celebrate separately, but we could cook and assemble together.  She and I worked at Mom's house (Mom, Dad, and Oma were out of town, but we have keys--Love ya, Mom!).  Cassie had three of her four kids and I had one of my two.  We let them loose in the living room and got to chopping.  While we diced, I noted that our local Chinese restaurant sells spring rolls for a $1/roll.  We were going to save so much money!

An hour later, we realized they should charge more.

I had forgotten that lumpia wrappers are packaged all together, without wax paper between them.  They stick to each other and are dastardly thin.  If you don't peel carefully, one or more will rip.  Sometimes it's possible to fill some of the ripped ones if you are careful about where you put the filling and if you can position the rip as part of the layers.

It was a lot of fun to laugh while we were working together.  Life is so busy it's difficult to spend time together.  Working toward a goal while hanging out was awesome.  The results were tasty, too.