Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
We were doing math during lunch, and Sarah asked me, "What's six plus six?" With food in my mouth, I answered, "Twelve". Silence for a few seconds, and then she said, "Don't you know what six plus six is?" I told her that I already said twelve, and she said she thought I had said, "Weeellll...." as if I was thinking about it.
Mike and I were referring to each other in terms of endearment. I said, "What kind of cookies would you like me to make, Honey Biscuit?" and he said, "Chocolate chip is fine, Sweet Muffin." Sarah piped up, "I like chocolate chip too, Toasty Bread."
While we were making the cookies, I was teaching her the names of different groups of animals. I told her that a group of penguins is called a colony, and she said, "We're making a colony of chocolate chip cookies!"
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Sarah looked at this picture on the box of vanilla wafers and said, "Look at that vanilla ice cream with the vanilla wafers." I said it was probably strawberry ice cream since it's pink, and she stubbornly insisted that it was definitely vanilla. I asked her why it was pink, and she said, "Because they put food coloring in the vanilla ice cream." I was staring at her, trying to rise above these ridiculous kind of arguments that we've had since she first learned to speak. Noah, always the mature diplomat, gave me a histrionic wink and said, "I'm sure you're right, Sarah."
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Noah: Why can't we say whatever words we want to say?
Sarah: I don't know.
Noah: Go ask Mom.
Sarah (coming into the kitchen): Mom, why can't we say whatever words we want?
Me: Because some words are not good for you to say.
Sarah goes back to Noah's room and says: Because some words are not good to say.
N: Which ones?
S: I'll ask Mom....Mom, which ones?
M: Well I'm not going to say them because that would require saying them.
N: We've heard you say them before anyway.
M: Well, I'm trying not to say them.
N: Can we say butt?
N: Shut up?
N: [unrepeatable expletive]?
M: Certainly not.
N: But you say it when you're mad.
M: Yes, well...I shouldn't.
N: Why can't we say it? What's so bad about it?
M: It hurts people's feelings and makes God sad.
Several minutes of relative quiet, and then Sarah comes out again, sent on another mission.
S: Can we just say the bad words quietly to ourselves?
M: No. Because if you say them in your mind, they will eventually come out of your mouth.
She reports this to Noah, and he laments, "Oh, man. I really want to say bad words!"
Slimy Guy, our pet frog, died yesterday. Noah didn't want to have the funeral without his friend Maddie, because she's the one who found the tadpole at the lake last summer. She kept him in her garage in a cooler for a week, but then her mom needed to use the cooler, and somehow we were awarded custody of the tadpole. By fall, he had become a frog, and we were feeding him flies and crickets that we captured. When the weather started getting cold, I suggested that we release Slimy Guy at the lake so he could "find a wife" before winter. Noah became so upset that he cried hysterically for days. He kept sobbing about how he wanted Slimy Guy to have a wife, but he just couldn't bear to let him go. I ended up buying a fire belly toad at the pet store to be Slimy Guy's wife. So instead of getting rid of the one frog we had, we ended up with two. I had to buy crickets at the pet store to feed them. All was well for several weeks, until yesterday when Slimy went belly up. I called Maddie and invited her and her sister to the funeral. After school, they dutifully turned up to mourn. Sarah hugged them both and said, "I'm sorry for your loss." We gathered around the toilet for a lovely ceremony, and Sarah flushed the body. Noah seemed fine, but later, we were looking at a picture of Noah taking a bath with Slimy Guy, and that started the tears. It took him a long, long time to fall asleep last night because he was so sad. The pictures show Slimy Guy on Noah's head, and the sad mourners at the funeral.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
We did 3 major projects today.
1) We made our own pizzas. We made the sauce first, then the crust, each rolled out our own crust (some of us tossed them in the air), baked them, added lots of toppings, and baked them again. It took all morning, but they were so good!
2) We put up our Christmas decorations, including the tree, fake snow on the window, nativity scene and lighted cross outside. We bought a flocked tree at a garage sale about 10 years ago, and that thing has plagued us ever since. At least a gallon of flocking comes off each time we put it up, and I'm always amazed that when we pull it out of the box the next year...it's still covered in flocking. I think that stuff regenerates itself all year long. This year we did get smart and wear our vinyl pants and jackets while putting up the tree and decorating it. In the past we've worn pajamas or sweat pants, and the flocking sticks to us like velcro, and then we track it all over the house. This year it was contained to the living room floor, where Noah vacuumed it all up.
3) We made Christmas cutout cookies, which took much of the afternoon.
We also played outside, jumped on the trampoline, drew, played hide and seek, danced and wrestled around, played tag, read books, went for a walk around the neighborhood after dark (Sarah and I in our pajamas), and then drove to the next neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Noah decided that when he grows up and has his own family, he's going to put multicolored lights all over the house and various gawdy decorations all over the yard. That surprised me, since he's such an introvert. Sarah said, "When I grow up and have a family, I'm going to take my kids with me everywhere, and at night I'll sleep with them in beanbags on the driveway."
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The plank has been removed from my eye, thanks to my son, the ingenious problem-solver. I told him that my eye had been bothering me all day and that I didn't know how I was ever going to get Sarah's toenail out of it. He said, "Cut an onion." I breathed in the fumes of the onion and cried prolifically, and washed the thing right out onto my eyelashes.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
N: When we grow up, we'll have our own houses and our own kids that we can boss around.
S: Yeah! And we can watch TV all day!
N: Dad can help us install a satellite dish, and we can watch whatever we want! But...how will we make money?
S: We can be cashiers.
N: At what store? Aldi? Wal-Mart?
S: No, we're going to open our own store.
N: That's brilliant, Sarah! Then we can boss around the people who work for us!
S: And when we go home from work, we can start bossing our kids around!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Me: I know you love Noah, but you can't marry him, because he's your brother.
S: I'd like to marry Kyle Nix, but I don't like Livvi.
M: Livvi is his sister's dog, so she wouldn't be living with you and Kyle.
S: Kyle is going to build us a house right in the middle of your yard, like a dog house. Then you can visit us whenever you want.
M: That will be nice.
S: I don't think Daddy would mind if Kyle borrows some of his tools to build the house.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Noah and Sarah spent the entire morning setting up an elaborate wedding for two stuffed dalmation dogs. They dressed up in their fanciest clothes. I was asked to play the harp for the wedding, so I was also required to wear a fancy dress. The wedding itself was rather uneventful, and then we spent a long time cleaning up while the happy couple went off on their honeymoon. The pictures show:
1) Noah and Sarah in their wedding clothes
2) Me in my wedding clothes (I also had fuzzy slippers on)
4) The happy couple
5) The fancy layered wedding cake
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Oh how wonderful this day could be without that!
After he said his poem, Sarah said angrily, "I'm not sad. I'm happy!"
Here is her poem:
I'm going to whisper in your ear,
so Noah won't hear.
Noah scowled at that. Then there was an unfortunate incident, which inspired us to write the following poem:
Once there was a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries tall.
It took a terrific fall.
Oatmeal on the wall.
Now I've seen it all!
Cleaning up will not be a ball.
I wish I could stall,
but I have to crawl.
Wish there was a maid I could call.
It's creeping towards the hall.
What if we don't clean up at all?
Let's just go to the mall!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I read the book "Seven Blind Mice" by Ed Young to the kids today. It's a great book for learning colors, ordinal numbers, and a great lesson about looking at the big picture. The kids cut out seven mice and colored them according to the mice in the book. They colored and cut out an elephant and glued tails on the mice. I read some math story problems and had the kids act them out with the mice and elephant. That was the end of my plan, but it was only the beginning, as far the kids were concerned. They taped the mice and elephant onto straws to make puppets. Then they disappeared into Noah's room to make a puppet stage. I stayed in the kitchen to make dinner, and I could hear things crashing in his room. They kept making trips to the pantry to get soda cans, apple juice bottles, and lots of other things. Then they started emptying the bookshelves and hauling it all into Noah's room. I tried to ignore them, because they weren't asking for my involvement, and I was enjoying the time alone to cook, but I knew they were making a gigantic mess. I squashed my control issues as long as I could, but once I got the casserole in the oven, I went to see what they were doing. They put on a cute puppet show for me, and then I made them get busy cleaning up. That's the when the arguing, complaining, bossing, whining, and not listening started. Two of us ended up in tears, and Mike came home in the middle of a tense situation. But before it turned ugly, there were a lot of good times.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
We spent the morning cleaning the bathroom and making collages. See how happy Noah looks while he's scrubbing that drain plug with a toothbrush? He seriously loves to clean, especially disgusting detailed jobs like that. I discovered that neither of my kids was aware of how many months are in a year (!), so we made a collage of months. Sarah's attitude needed some adjustment (actually, a complete turn-around), so we did another collage of the things on which we SHOULD be focusing. It was supposed to be a lesson for the kids, but every time I look at those dolphins jumping in the sunset, it makes me happy. It's not just the kids who need to focus on what's good and lovely.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This was the artwork in our hotel room in Chicago. When Noah saw it, he said, "That looks like something Sarah scribbled!" I agreed and wondered how much the artist got paid for it. The funny thing is, we kept coming back to it and studying it and commenting on it, and I finally realized that THAT'S what makes it art. If it had been a nice scenic picture, we may have commented that it was pretty, if we mentioned it at all. But we ended up spending a considerable amount of time discussing this "scribble".
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
-the perfect weather
-watching the kids chase pigeons
-the great food
-the Asian taxi driver who loved my little Asians and gave them a candy bar
-beautiful harvest moon over the Chicago River
-eating ice cream at the zoo with Nina and Julia
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
N-catching the escaped crickets
S-knowing where the measuring cups/spoons are
S-using good manners
N-finding the wooden spoon
N-knowing what a pastry blender is and how to use it
N-figuring out that the tablespoon makes a good cottage cheese scooper
S-sharing and being generous
The next challenge was a very difficult treasure hunt. They're used to treasure hunts, but this one had a new twist: the clues were written in code. Noah very impressively decoded the clues and read them to Sarah, who was very good at finding them. The treasure was a painting activity, which they did while I washed dishes. During the painting, Sarah was rushing through it and said, “I want to get this done so I can go to DQ!” (we’re going to DQ tonight to celebrate her Gotcha Day). Noah told her, “Take it easy and enjoy this time in your life. Someday you won’t have this kind of life. You’ll grow up and be an adult and you’ll have to work and then you’ll die.” Sometimes he's so wise and profound! They learned a lot, and I learned that they are capable of more than I realized.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
1) The kids and I gathered up all the board books and other babyish books that they've outgrown and bagged them up to give to my friend with a baby.
2) Sarah and I concocted a soup made almost entirely from leftovers. The only new thing I added was an onion. I cooked it in chicken broth and Sarah threw in leftover broccoli, carrots, pork, and mashed potatoes. She put some cheese on top, and we ate it. The kids loved it and spent several minutes brainstorming a name for it (which I have since forgotten).
3) I washed and de-stinkified our towels, washcloths, and dishrags. How do they get so stinky??? I washed them using nothing but vinegar and very hot water in the first cycle. Then I ran them through again using my usual laundry detergent. Then I dried them on an extra long cycle. They came out smelling good and looking bright and fluffy.
The rest of the day was spent playing together and reading a lot.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Today I was wearing a pair of khaki pants that someone gave me about ten years ago. They used to be too big on me, and now they're too tight. They've always been too short. The button has been missing for a few years. Today the zipper broke. I discovered this when I had to pee really bad, and the zipper was open at the bottom but still zipped up. So I pretty much had to rip it apart in a hurry. It was a liberating moment when I decided to get rid of these pants right then and there. But what to do with them? I certainly couldn't give them to anyone. I hated to take up landfill space, but I decided the only thing to do was throw them in the garbage. On my way to the garbage can, I spotted my kids, who were lolling around in the living room, looking bored. On an impulse, I tossed my pants to them and said, "Who wants to destroy my pants?" Were they ever excited! Their eyes lit up and they headed outside, saying things like, "Get the scissors!" "Bring the markers!" "Hey, I know! Ask Mom for a bowl and some food coloring!" They were busy for a long time and made quite a mess.
Monday, September 29, 2008
She said: "I'm never going to win this."
Noah said: "You need to have a positive attitude. Do you know what that means?"
Noah: "It means you have to think you can win. Maybe I'll even let you win."
Sarah: "Oh yeah? Well maybe I'll let YOU lose!"
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Halfway up the stairs I could smell the nastiest burning smell I can ever remember. It was then that I finally remembered the potatoes, which had long ago steamed to a brown mush. The water had all evaporated, and the bottom of the pan was roasted beyond repair. I soaked it and tried to scrub it with various items, but the actual surface of the pan was bubbled up and peeling off and certainly unhealthy for food preparation. It was my favorite Pampered Chef pan. As Sarah watched me throw it away, she said sadly, “No more steamed beets for us.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the food had burned to a crisp onto the crockpot, and I didn’t notice the smell, because it all blended in to make one horrific scent that I could smell across the street at the mailbox. It made Noah gag and his eyes water. Right about that time, Mike came home. Earlier in the day, when I was slaving and chopping, I had imagined him coming in the door and saying, “What is that delicious smell?” but in real life, he came in scowling and said, “What did you burn?”
Even now, hours later, the entire house just reeks.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I just counted the various jars and containers housing bugs in the garage and on the front porch: 16. Noah loves collecting bugs and caging them up for further study. He usually studies them to death, literally. That's why I call these "bug houses" death traps. Old applesauce jars, spice containers, sour cream tubs, etc. all full of interesting creatures, including some revolting arachnids.
One day I heard the sound of glass shattering in the garage and my first thought was not of my children's safety, but instead: "Please let that not have been the spider jar." Of course it was. Noah was yelling, "Killer and Swallow are getting away!" Two huge furry spiders were making a break for it through the shards of glass. Fortunately, they had been in the death trap for so long that they were pretty weak and slow, so it was not much of a challenge (physically at least) for me to stomp them.
One time we were at Walmart, and Noah said, "Can we get this mayonnaise?" I told him we didn't need any, and he said, "But this container would make a GREAT bug house!" In addition to 16 bug houses, we also have a worm bowl, fish tank, tadpole habitat, and butterfly garden.
This morning I harvested several bunches of broccoli to put in a pasta salad that I'm taking on our camping trip with friends this weekend (hooray!). The problem with organic gardening is, of course, the bugs. I washed the broccoli in the sink and flushed out several green caterpillars. Noah ran to get a death trap. He wanted to know what kind they were. I looked them up in our field guide and discovered that they would become cabbage butterflies if they survive the death trap. Noah remembered seeing cabbage butterflies swarming around the broccoli. Apparently they were laying eggs.
I cut up the broccoli and dumped it into boiling water with some pasta shells. Several caterpillars rose to the top of the water, stiff. I scooped them out, and I think I got them all. I hope the people we're camping with this weekend don't read this, although I guess we would survive if we ate a few caterpillars with our pasta salad. My mom would call it extra roughage.
While the broccoli and pasta were cooking, Sarah looked up at me with her big brown eyes and said sweetly, "Would it be possible for us to eat some of that before you turn it into pasta salad?" I gave her a bowl of it, and then Noah appeared and wanted his own bowl. After refilling their bowls a couple times, I realized that they had eaten more than half of it. Looks like I'll be making more pasta this afternoon.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"Oh no! Get the paper towels!"
"No, that won't be enough...get the big beach towel!"
"Hurry up before Mom sees it!"
"Don't step in it!"
When I got out, I considered going to investigate, but I didn't want my good mood to be ruined, and I realized I didn't want to know. Maybe I'll ask them about it later, but for now, ignorance truly is bliss.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
The weather is perfect today, finally, after almost a week of clouds and rain, so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at Christy's Tea Room. As if that isn't special enough, while we were sitting outside waiting for our food, some good friends drove by, spotted us, stopped and had lunch with us! When we got home, butterflies were swarming our flowers in the front yard, so the kids spent a long time chasing them and working together to capture them.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sarah experienced the entire range of human emotions (except maybe for thankfulness) tonight at the Pumpkin Festival. When she woke up this morning, she was full of anticipation, and the first thing she said was, "Happy Pumpkin Festival Day!" Just before we left home, she reminded me not to forget the tickets. When I told her I had them, she said, "Are they squeezed tightly in your hand?" When we were walking toward the rides, she was skipping with joy and shouting about all the rides she wanted to ride. While she was on some of the rides, she looked scared to death. She got hurt when a boy had a fit and yanked away from his mom, cracking his head against Sarah's. She was full of wonder as she released her helium balloon and watched it disappear with all the others. She was mad that she didn't get her own ice cream cone but had to share with me. She was bitter that she didn't get to ride some of the rides she wanted and disappointed when we left. She staged a sit-in and refused to walk when it was time to go. Just before we put her to bed, she sighed and said, "I'm tired of crying." The weather was perfect, and it wasn't too crowded when we first arrived. Noah had a good time, without the emotional peaks and valleys of his sister. He said this year's Festival was his favorite. (If anyone is actually reading this, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
- We had a picnic on the patio to celebrate the perfect weather.
- The kids helped me make split pea soup and wheat rolls and play clay.
- My new blender arrived, so we were back in business with smoothies and popsicles.
- Mike's mom stopped by with delicious apples and peaches from Tanner's Orchard and ride tickets for the Pumpkin Festival.
- We had a fun play time outside after dinner.
Monday, September 8, 2008
We spent all afternoon studying the Amish today. Noah and Sarah have no desire to be Amish, because they think it sounds like too much work, and they were appalled at the thought of no TV, no computer, and no electricity. I've always secretly wished that I was Amish. We learned about their beliefs and way of living and read a great Patricia Polacco book (Just Plain Fancy). We hard boiled some eggs, and Sarah and I colored them, and Noah peeled them. He crushed up the shells, and I drew a peacock on a piece of cardboard (there was a peacock in the book). We spread glue all over its feathers and covered them with colored eggshell pieces. We also covered the kitchen floor with colored eggshell pieces. Sarah vacuumed. Then we made a traditional Amish shoofly pie. It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I wanted to make split pea soup too, but the kids thought we had spent enough time in the kitchen.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Hot Quinoa Breakfast Cereal
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup apples, thinly sliced
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Milk or cream Honey or brown sugar
In a medium-sized bowl, soak the quinoa in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. In a medium saucepan, combine the soaked quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add apples, raisins and cinnamon Simmer until water is absorbed Serve with milk or cream and sweeten to taste with honey or brown sugar.
Sarah, who loves to eat but is not very adventurous with new foods, declared that she didn't like it, even before she tried it. She just wanted "plain old oatmeal". Noah and I ate it, and she soon joined in and ate more than we did. Noah pronounced it "Ok, but not my favorite" and I thought it tasted rather plain and vaguely soapy. It was interesting to cook, because when it's cooked little curved tails come out of it. Quinoa is supposed to be the most easily digested protein and perfect for babies. Wish I had known that when I had babies.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Currently, you could dine on any surface in my bathroom, if you so desired. I scrubbed the shower walls, bath tub, sink, counter, light bulbs, clock, towel racks, floor, toilet, and walls today. I also washed the towels, window curtain, closet curtain, and shower curtain. This kind of major cleaning only takes places about once a year, but it is a joy to go into the bathroom right now. Everything smells fresh and looks clean, at least until the kids get in there to do their bedtime routine.
In other news, my blender had a meltdown today while I was making smoothies. I had it loaded with fruits and vegetables, yogurt, orange juice, and milk. I turned it on and went to stir my stir fry on the stove. Soon I heard mechanical choking noises and smelled that horrible smell of something electrical burning. Smoke was pouring out of the blender. I turned it off and found little bits of rubber in my otherwise delicious-looking smoothie. The rubber ring at the bottom of the blender had completely disintegrated and spewed its debris all over the smoothie. It was a sad thing for me to have to dump it all, and now I have to order a $60 replacement part.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Tonight I went to my harp teacher's house to observe a lesson and see her instruments. I have ordered a harp online, and it should arrive on Friday, so next week's lesson will be my own! I've wanted to play harp for several years, but encountered many obstacles. I just found this teacher who only lives 3 miles away, and she helped me find a good beginner's harp. I wanted to make a good first impression on her, so I changed out of my mommy uniform (shorts, faded baggy Tshirt, pony tail) and into a long denim skirt, white shirt, and hair clip. When I arrived at her house, it was like entering another world. It was lovely, quiet, peaceful. I felt like a super hero coming out of a phone booth. I was no longer Frumpy Housewife Mommy....I had morphed into Fancy Sophisticated Musician. I know I'm going to love this 30-minute transformation every week.