Thursday, March 31, 2011

Waste and more waste

Thursdays are the only days we have to be somewhere in the morning.  We're not good at it.  In typical Thursday morning fashion, I was flying around the house like a crazed bird, trying to get everyone fed, educated, cleaned, dressed, and out the door.  Two minutes before scheduled departure time, I jumped in the shower to wash only my stinky body (no time for hair today).

Less than a minute later, I'm out of the shower and multi-tasking.  I'm getting dressed, changing the roll of toilet paper, and singing a song I made up to motivate myself and amuse the children (who don't do well with rushing).  I was singing something about being a fast mommy who changes toilet paper rolls with great speed, and then the song ended abruptly as I dropped the new roll right into the toilet.  I couldn't bring myself to throw it away (it was Charmin, not the cheap stuff!).  The toilet water was clean when the Charmin fell in, so should I let it dry and use it?  No time to decide such matters now, so I snatched it out and threw it in the tub to deal with later.

I told the kids about it as we were running to the garage.  Noah asked what I did with it.  When I told him, he said, "Ewwww, I'm never using that shower again."  I told him I hated to waste all that good toilet paper.  A few minutes later, he noticed that I was driving way faster than I usually do.  He said, "Mom, are you speeding?  Now you're wasting toilet paper AND gas!"

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Sarah and I rode our bikes to a park this afternoon and played on the playground. We were having a good time and singing a song from Noah's piano book that goes, "Who's more fun than a barrel of monkeys? We are!"

Then I whacked my head so hard on the monkey bars that I sat right down and cried. The fun was pretty much over after that, so we headed home. Sarah wanted me to lead the way, so I took off for home. I looked back once in awhile to make sure she was following. It was very windy, and I had a hood over my ears, so I couldn't hear very well. When I turned around one time, I didn't see her, so I went back to search for her. As I got closer, I could hear the screaming getting louder. I found her face down on the ground pinned under her bike. Her hand was scraped raw, and her knee was bruised.

I scooped her up and comforted her, but she refused to get back on her bike. We started walking our bikes toward home, and I commented that it had not been our best trip. She said, "I cry a lot because I'm only seven, but I never knew that thirty-nine-and-a-half-year-olds could be crybabies too." We sang the barrel of monkeys song again, but this time we ended with, "We're not."

We were still a long way from home, and I didn't want her to be afraid of her bike forever, so I tried to convince her to ride. Singing is a powerful influence on her, so I started singing the Joshua 1:9 song about being strong and courageous: "Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." She finally got back on her bike, and we rode the rest of the way home. Mike and Noah were playing baseball in the yard, and when we told them our sad story, Mike even offered to put our bikes away for us.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More spelling fun

Noah was working on abbreviations today, and I had him write the name of one of his favorite people, Mrs. Stone.  Ever logical, he wanted to know why there was an "r" in the abbreviation when there's no "r" in the longer version of the word.  A few lines down from Mrs. Stone, he wrote Mr. Stone, because, according to Noah, "I can't have Mrs. Stone without Mr. Stone."  Then Sarah, true to her artistic nature, told Noah to draw a heart in the space in between, because Mrs. Stone loves Mr. Stone.  Spelling with the logical and the artistic can take a long time. 

THIS is why it's important to learn how to spell!

Sarah's spelling lesson today was about changing the Y to I before adding a suffix.  I also wanted her to review what she learned about doubling the consonant in some words, so I gave her the word "pennies".  She remembered to change Y to I, but she forgot everything else, and what she wrote was......

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March madness

Here are my guys making their basketball picks, careful to keep them secret from each other.  So far, Noah hasn't missed a single one. 

pig sty

Mike has been getting on Sarah every night about her messy room.  Tonight he said, "What's it going to take for you to keep your room clean?"  She didn't pick up on the subtle threat and innocently replied, "Probably a couple hours."


Noah ate some monkey bread this morning, and it turned him into a monkey.  Here he is later that same day....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

peer pressure

I've heard parents encourage their kids to think for themselves by asking, "If your buddy jumped off a bridge, would you?"

I've never asked Noah that, because I know what his answer would be.

If the neighbor kid dared him to jump in the creek in the middle of March, would he?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

What I admire about Sarah

Sarah is who she is all the time, with no pretense, excuses, shame, or concern for what anyone else thinks.  I admire that in her, but at the same time, it can make it challenging at times to be her parent.  This picture shows her gathering the garbage before church last night.  She went to church wearing pajamas, a robe, and rock star glasses.
This is her ensemble this morning, as we're getting ready to go to CBS. She's wearing a blue dress with a pink polo shirt under it (which you can't see in the picture), a lovely red blouse, and pink sweat pants and socks. She thinks she looks fabulous.

Wild hunter

The wild hunter is chewing on his prey (another robin).

He got a feather in his mouth that really bothered him.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Potato propulsion

Noah got a cool science kit for his birthday.  Today we were making potato bullets and firing them into the back yard.  
Sarah has the tube loaded with potato plugs on each end.

Aiming, getting ready to fire.

Noah watching the trajectory of his spud plug.


I never watched "MacGyver", but I have used one of his tricks twice.  The first time was a great success.  I was at work, and it was my job to help people who had trouble with the ATM.  One lady's cash came flying out so fast that a $20 bill got stuck between the ATM and the wall.  That situation wasn't covered in my training, so I had to improvise.  I was poking a yardstick in the crack with no success.  I needed something that would stick to the bill.  I happened to have gum in my mouth and had the inspiration to stick it on the end of the yardstick.  Not very professional, but it worked.  The lady was so happy to have her $20 that she didn't care that my gum had been sticking to it.  One of my coworkers informed me that MacGyver had used that trick to defuse a bomb or something.

So today when a pencil got stuck in the bowels of the piano, the MacGyver in me knew just what to do.  I said, "Kids, get me some gum and a yardstick."  Unfortunately, the results were less than successful this time.  Maybe the gum wasn't sticky enough, or maybe gravity was working against me.  Not only was the pencil still stuck, but now my gum was stuck in there too. 
Noah took the front off the piano and started digging around with a paintbrush.
Then there was a pencil, gum, and paintbrush stuck inside the piano.  Noah worked from the top, and I worked from the bottom, and we finally got all the obstructions out, and the piano plays great!

I think whoever said "Don't cry over spilled milk" was a cat.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How a dull pencil ended up temporarily shutting down the school.

The infamous magnetic numbers and letters

 I was going through some school supplies and weeding out things we don't need anymore.  Now that both kids can read and write, I decided to get rid of the big bucket of magnetic numbers and letters.  I had them all bagged up and organized and ready to give away, and then Noah discovered them. 
This reminds me of the only time Noah ever seriously challenged my authority. He was two years old.  He was playing around my feet in the kitchen while I was cooking.  I asked him to put all his magnetic numbers back on the freezer (he had taken them all off and strewn them throughout the kitchen).  He put a couple back, but was dallying around, not really doing anything.  After I finished washing dishes and cleaning up everything else, there were still magnetic numbers all over the floor.  I decided that I was not going to get angry (at least not visibly!), but I was going to calmly insist on obedience.  I explained to him that he would not be playing with anything else until those numbers were all back on the freezer.  He started whining about how he couldn't do it and wanted me to help him.  I told him he didn't need any help taking them all off, so he shouldn't need help putting them back.  He stared at me a few seconds to see if I was serious, then pouted and sulked out to the living room to start testing me.  

 He went over to a toy, looked at me, and picked it up.  I took it away and reminded him that he couldn't play with anything until he obeyed me.  He whimpered, “Next time I 'bey you.”   I said, “Yes, and this time too.”  More staring and glaring.  I went to do some laundry while he sulked.  Then I said, “I'm going outside to pick tomatoes.”  He said, “I go too!”  I said, “No, you won't, and you know why, don't you?”  He hung his head and said, “No picked up numbers.”   

When I returned five minutes later, he was waiting by the door and sang out “I missed you, Mommy!”  I said, “I missed you, too!” and noticed that the numbers were still underfoot.  He said weakly, “I in charge” and I said, “No, that is exactly the point I want you to understand.  Mommy is in charge.”  We read several books and snuggled on the couch and then he casually wandered over to his toy space shuttle.  He knew that Nana & Papa were coming over later, so he said “Maybe Nana want see this 'pace shuttle.”  I said, “Yes, I'm sure she would like to see you play with it.  I hope you get to.”  Then he picked it up and started playing with it, saying, “Maybe Nana want see it zoom.”  I took it away, but privately admired his clever attempt.   

More whining, crying, begging.  I prayed with him and asked God to help him obey.  He said he wanted to take a nap.  Right before he went to sleep, he said, “Maybe after nap, then I pick up those numbers.”  When he woke up, he wandered over to his doctor kit, glanced at me, and picked up the stethoscope.  I said, “You know you can't play with that yet.”  Good try.  More snuggling on the couch, more requests for help, more denying that he can do it himself.  Finally, he asked if I would watch him do it.  So I watched him pick them up, one by one, and put them back on the freezer.  Then I gave him a big hug and said, “Remember this next time.  When you get things out, you'll have to put them away.”  He said, “Mommy proud?” and I said I was very proud of him.  He said, “Jesus proud?” and I said Jesus was definitely proud and then said, “Aren't you proud of yourself?  Doesn't it feel good to make a good choice and do the right thing?” He said yes and was just beaming.  The rest of the day was great.  I think he was actually glad I proved that I'm in charge.