Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kid for sale

I took Noah on a quick date to Dairy Queen.  We were browsing the bulletin board and saw a sign for a parents' night out.  It said, "If your children are not picked up promptly at 10:00 p.m., we will sell them on ebay."  He thought that was funny, and then he said, "Hey!  Maybe we could sell Sarah on ebay!  $500!"  I told him she was worth way more than that, and he said that was just a starting bid.  I said it should be a million dollars, and he said, "Nobody's going to pay a million dollars for a used six-year-old who still wets her bed, Mom." 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Sarah was in a bad, grouchy mood today.  She was drawing at the table, and I was working in the kitchen.  I asked her what she was drawing, and she said gloomily, "I'm drawing a picture of nobody."  I asked her how she was feeling as she drew it, and she said, "I feel all wrinkly."  I went to go sit by her, but she scooted away and said, "Don't breathe your air on me."  I said, "Why? Do I have bad breath?" and she said, "I don't know, but I don't want your air getting on mine." 

Bicker busters

My children have been bickering almost constantly over anything and everything.  It's almost more than a mom can bear.  I've been trying to think of different techniques to get them to stop. This afternoon, as the endless squabbling droned on, I took the kids outside and shot them with cold hose water.  They were so shocked that they didn't speak at all for almost a full minute. Then they forgot about their annoyance with each other, and they joined together in annoyance against me.  Whatever it takes to achieve unity!

Since they were wet anyway, they got in the pool.  All was well for awhile, so I went to get the mail.  While I was across the street at the mailbox, I thought I heard dogs barking fiercely.  I looked around and didn't see any wild dogs on my way back to the yard.  As I got closer, I realized it was my own darling children arguing again.  I told them they sounded like dogs, and that gave me an idea.

I've often heard parents telling their kids, "Use your words" or "Talk it out".  My kids use words way too much. I told them that for the next 30 seconds, they were not allowed to speak.  If they had something to say to each other, they had to bark it out.  So they started barking and growling, and eventually they both ended up laughing because it was so ridiculous.    

Tea party

Sarah wanted to have a tea party (again) this morning, so while I made tea, she set out cups and saucers. There was an extra little cup and an extra saucer. I asked her if she was planning to have company, and she said that her doll Linda was coming, and also Jason the cat. She brought out a little chair for Linda and put her in it. Then she grabbed poor Jason and tried to get him to drink imaginary tea out of a real tea cup.

Jason did not enjoy his tea, and Sarah threatened to kick him out of England if he didn't sit still and drink his tea like a proper princess.  She thought maybe a fuzzy tiara would help get him in the mood.

Needless to say, he hated it.  I began to feel sorry for him, so I did something I'm sure I'll regret.  I poured a little milk in a saucer for him and let him lap it up at the table. 

He flung off his tiara and lapped up his milk eagerly.  He kept his ears flat back, to let us know he was still quite annoyed with the whole affair, but he did stay for the party. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Military bath

The kids were taking a bath together, and they had been in there a long time. I had given them a cup with baking soda in it and another one with vinegar. That kept them busy for over an hour, didn't even cost a dollar, and they might have even cleaned the tub by accident. I heard all kinds of splashing, spitting, and giggling, and I went in to check on them. The shower curtain was closed, and they must have heard me come in, because Sarah yelled, "Mom, you do NOT want to look behind this curtain!" I agreed that I probably didn't want to, so I didn't. But I did stay nearby and listen. I heard Sarah say, "Noah, if a soldier crosses that perimeter, you spit at him!" How does my little girl know about soldiers and perimeters?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Boston--last day

Thursday, June 17

8:00 a.m. Our last trip to the awesome hotel pool.  Nobody there at first, but then a wonderful older couple from Pennsylvania came in and bonded with the kids.  They largely ignored me and just talked to the kids the whole time, which was perfect.  I love people who talk to my kids.  What a great education!  Noah chatted away with them for a long time, and by the end, the woman had pulled him up onto her lap in the hot tub.  They talked about baseball, history, her childhood growing up with her brother, and lots of other things.  We all got out of the pool and rode the elevator together, and the woman finally said something to me as she was leaving.  She said, "They're good kids."  I could tell she truly meant it, and it made my day. 
We picked up in the room and packed our stuff.  Didn't eat any official breakfast, just snacked.  Mike got done with his half day of work, and we checked out of the hotel and walked to the subway.
We walked to the Cheers bar, and nobody knew my name. Noah said, "I don't see what the big deal is about this place."  It wasn't a big deal to me either, because I never liked that show, but Mike liked it.  I wonder how long that will remain a tourist attraction now that the show is over, and the next generation doesn't even know what it is.

We walked all through Boston Common and ate at a quick, cheap, restaurant called Boloco, where we had good burritos and smoothies.  Then we walked to the Public Garden to ride the swan boats.  I really wanted to do that on our last trip to Boston, because "Make Way for Ducklings" was one of our favorite books. It was neat to get to do it this time, even though we don't read that book much anymore.  Riding the swan boat was very peaceful and relaxing.  Here we are going under the smallest suspension bridge in the world:

We saw ducks and swans, and the best part was that there were ducklings all over the pond.

We rode the subway back to the hotel to pick up our luggage,

and took a taxi to the airport.
When we got on the plane, Mike and the kids sat in one row, and I sat in the row behind them.  I thought it would be a nice little mini vacation for me, but no.  The other two people in my row flirted with each other the entire time.  It was amusing and awkward and painful to listen to.  I tried to read, but I couldn't block them out.  As the plane landed, he got her phone number.  Meanwhile, the kids turned their barf bags into hats:
Our flight out of Chicago was late. We walked by this stage, and Sarah immediately jumped onto it and started a performance.  Notice how filthy she is.  I'm not sure how that happened.

Made it to Peoria about half an hour late, and then waited another half an hour for our one checked bag to appear.  There was a jam in the baggage unloading system.  This definitely marked the official end of the vacation.  When we got home, there was unpacking, laundry, grocery run, tired bickering kids, and a wild angry cat.

Overall, it was a great trip.  Everywhere we went, even in the subway tunnels, the city was clean and most people were nice.  I learned more about American history this week than I did in 16 years of formal education.  I thought it would be interesting, but I didn't expect to be emotionally moved.  Standing right there where America was born made me appreciate the courage of our forefathers, and I think for the first time, I realized that I'm proud to be an American.

I'm also proud of my kids.  They were extremely maddening at times, but for the most part, it was a joy to travel with them. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Boston--day 3

Wednesday, June 16
We ate the breakfast special at our usual deli

and then walked to the Children’s Museum. 
 My plan was to spend the entire day there, because I knew everyone would be tired today.  Our membership at Lakeview got us in free, and we were there at opening and stayed till almost closing.  It’s a wonderful museum, and we had a great time. We walked by the site of the Boston Tea Party, 

 back to the hotel, swam in the pool, and took our nightly trip to Faneuil Hall.   I’m out of clean underwear, so it’s time to go home.  Here are pictures from the museum:
Noah chasing pigeons

We met a couple of Korean families and played in the sand with them for a long time.  This little boy next to Noah reminded me of Noah when he was little.  Noah said, "I hope these Korean people don't try to claim me and take me back to my homeland."  I assured him again (as I have done many times in the last 8 years) that he is part of our family no matter where we are or who we're with, and no one is going to take him away from us, but he interrupted with, "I know, Mom.  I was just joking."  
Sarah doing two of her favorite things: talking and painting.  Noah was quietly working away, while Sarah explained in detail every move she made.  One of the other moms said to me, "You have one quiet one and one talker, don't  you?"


Boston--day 2

Tuesday, June 15
8:00 a.m. Kids and I found an out-of-the-way deli and shared the breakfast special: 3 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, hash browns, 2 pieces of toast, and a bottle of OJ for $7 (no tax, no credit cards).

8:30 a.m. Started the long, mentally and physically taxing trek to the USS Constitution by walking pretty far down the wrong street. Lots of good learning opportunities about map reading. Every homeschool curriculum should include navigating an unfamiliar big city using public transportation. It would have been WAY easier to take a taxi, but that was $20 each way and not much of an adventure.

10:00 a.m. After walking, taking the silver line bus, transferring to the red line subway, then the orange line, and walking lots more, we finally made it to the USS Constitution. We went in the museum and then toured the ship.

11:00 a.m. Walked the Freedom Trail to the Bunker Hill Monument. Nice walk. I love Boston.

Walked up all 294 spiral steps to the top. Kids did great. I almost passed out around step 250. On the way down, Sarah encouraged every person that passed us on the way up. She kept saying, “Almost there! You can do it! It’s worth it!” It was one of those moments when loving her was really easy.

12:00 p.m. Walked back to the ship and took a taxi to North Station.  It was only about a mile, but it was worth the $5, because my legs were rubber, and we were all totally wiped out.
We rode the subway back to the bus, and walked the rest of the way to the hotel. So thankful to sit and drink ice water.

2:30 p.m. Went swimming and met a very nice man in the pool, who now knows everything about us, thanks to the kids. Sarah lost her tooth at the pool.

5:00 p.m. Boys are leaving for Red Sox game, and girls are going to Faneuil Hall. Sarah got lo mein, and I got crab chowder. Then we got ice cream and watched street performers.

7:30 p.m. Took shuttle back to the hotel and put Sarah to bed.
10:45 p.m.  Boys home from Fenway.
They had a great time, ate way too much expensive junk food, and watched the Red Sox win 6-3.  Noah finally went to sleep at almost midnight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boston trip--day 1

Monday, June 14
7:45 a.m.  In an effort to step over Sarah and also prevent Jason from escaping, I fell and hurt my arm, hand, and toe.  The last thing I said to Jason was not nice.
7:50 a.m. Left home in a downpour.  I prayed that the rain would stop by the time we got to the airport, and it did.
8:15 a.m.  Flight is delayed by 30 minutes for weather. Kids are zooming their zhu zhu pets around the airport.
9:00 a.m.  Sitting around waiting to board the plane with women weightlifters.  The check-in guy was extremely nice and joked around with the kids. 

9:40 a.m.  Getting on the plane.  Sarah flopped into the nearest seat and said, “I think I’ll sit here”, which made everyone laugh.
10:00 a.m. Plane is taking off.  As we ascended into the clouds, Sarah yelled, “It’s my first experience in a cloud!” which made everyone laugh again.  Then she announced that she was getting her hamster out, and the guy across the aisle from her looked alarmed and said, “Hamster?!”  He looked at me, and I assured him it was a fake hamster.
10:30 a.m. Can barely see the tip of the Sears Tower poking up through the heavy clouds.

10:33 a.m. Landing in Chicago.  I thought the flight attendant said we would be complaining at the gate, but she actually said “deplaning”.  Sarah dropped Jilly (her zhu zhu pet) in the aisle, and the nice man across the aisle picked her up and petted her (Jilly, not Sarah).  
11:00 a.m.  The boys went for food, and I started stressing that they wouldn’t make it back in time for boarding.  Sarah went down on her knees right in the middle of O’Hare and prayed that they would make it.  

11:30 a.m.  Sitting on another plane waiting to take off.  Can’t see anything out the window except the big loud jet engine.

3:30 p.m. Made it to the hotel and headed right for the pool.  It's nice, and we were the only ones in it. There's a big button in the elevator labeled "mezzanine".  Sarah stared at it and tried to read it, but all she could come up with was "misery". 

5:30 p.m.  Taking the free hotel shuttle to Faneuil Hall.  Driver Tom is very nice and helpful. He showed us a building built by the British in 1731, with a balcony from which the Declaration of Independence was read.

5:45 p.m.  Watching a street performer.  Sarah volunteered to be a helper. 
7:30 p.m. waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the hotel

Friday, June 11, 2010


Last night Mike had a game, and Noah had practice.  So this morning, the kids and I were folding baseball laundry.  I was intentionally, secretly, avoiding the jock strap, because....ok, I admit it.  Jock straps, in general, disgust me.  It doesn't matter if they're clean or dirty, being worn or sitting in a drawer.  They're gross.  I know that's illogical, but it's just one of my little quirks. 

Sarah picked it right up and said, "Ooooo, I get to fold Daddy's jock strap!  That's a rare treat!"  She was truly delighted, for some reason.  Then Noah asked, "Why is it called a jock strap anyway?  Aren't jocks those little guys who ride horses?"  That led into an amusing, but totally unbloggable conversation.  I'm sure you can imagine.  :)


I'd like to thank all the terrorists who have made packing for a plane trip much more difficult for the rest of us (although it's not likely that they're reading my blog). Now I can't even take a bottle of water on the plane.  Instead of sending terrorists to jail, I would like to see their punishment be something like this: 
They have to spend the rest of their lives waiting with small children in the security line.  They have to have their bags searched through and messed up and their underwear held up for all to see.  They have to take toddlers' shoes off before they go through security, and then put them back on afterwards (that one's for you, Shoe Bomber!).  They have to take their laptops out of their cases, send them through security, and then put them back in.  They get their fingernail clippers confiscated at the gate. They have to pack their shampoo in tiny little bottles inside a ziploc bag.  Finally, hours later, when they finally make it onto the plane, they have to sit next to their small children and listen to them whine about how thirsty they are.  Then they have to buy them a $5 bottle of water on the plane. 

Game nazi

I realized something about myself today: I am a game nazi.  I love games and am serious about all players following the rules.  Not just the rules of the game, but also my own added rules (does that make me a Pharisee?), such as: pass the dice to the next person when your turn is over, sit still and pay attention even when it's not your turn, keep your money in organized piles, etc. Needless to say, I'm often frustrated when playing games with "non-game" people.  I've been trying to raise up game players from the time they were old enough to roll dice.  Noah always got carried away with his imagination and would rather have the game pieces talk to each other than play the actual game.  Here's a picture of my efforts at training the next future gamer in the family:

The fairy came!

Sarah was so excited for the Tooth Fairy to come last night.  She opened her door wide and reminded me several times not to forget to leave her present.  Then she made the above sign and left it in the hall outside her room to help the fairy find her way.  She has witnessed the fairy visiting her big brother thirteen times, and she's been anxiously awaiting her turn for many years.  She would feel her tight little teeth and say, "I think they're just barely starting to get loose..."
For the first tooth, the fairy brings something extra special.  Sarah was very happy with her pink zhu zhu pet, Jilly.

Jason was a little freaked out by Jilly.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Here's the highly intelligent conversation I just had with my daughter:

Sarah: Where's my thing?
Me: What thing?
S: The thing I had my thing in.
M: Oh, that thing.
S: Where is it?
M: I don't know.

The fairy is coming!

Sarah's lip got caught on her dangling tooth this morning.  I suspected this could be the day that the tooth fell out, so I took this lovely picture of it.  Yesterday I suggested that maybe I should just yank it out real quick, but she said, "No, I'm going to let God yank it out." 

Today, God yanked it out.  She was talking to me this afternoon, and I noticed the tooth was gone.  She was shocked and ran to the mirror to verify.  Meanwhile I walking across the front porch and looked down and saw a perfect little baby tooth on the ground!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun ordinary day

Early this morning, I told the kids we should go outside before it started raining.  Sarah came right out, but Noah was reluctant, because he was involved in something unproductive inside.  Sarah and I drew with chalk on the driveway for awhile.  I drew the above picture of Noah, standing in a puddle of his own tears, with a speech bubble saying, "Why didn't I go outside with Mom and Sarah?  Wah!"  Then I came inside and told him that I drew a picture of him on the driveway, and he came running out to see it. He thought it was funny and started playing outside.

Here he is loading gunpowder (clover) into his rifle (baseball bat) while pretending to be a colonial soldier.

Firing his rifle at imaginary Redcoats.  (We've been studying a lot about the Revolutionary War in preparation for our trip to Boston).

Meanwhile, Sarah was making vegetable soup.  She said she made it out of a new kind of a vegetable called a "zucchiwi" (or maybe "zukiwi").

 We did some math on the driveway, but the kids think we were just playing a bullseye game.  The green airborne blob in the picture is the leaf we were using to toss onto the target.

We spent a long time throwing balls onto and over the roof.  The tennis balls got stuck in the gutter a few times (that's why the ladder is out), before we moved on to the bigger ones.
We ended up having several hours of my favorite weather (cool and cloudy) before it rained. I even had time to do pool maintenance and garden work. While we were sitting in the garage watching the rain, Noah thanked me for making him come outside and said he had lots of fun.