Sunday, January 29, 2012

Caption needed

What caption would you give this picture?

Of course I'm teaching them Latin!

Sarah's homeschooled friend was talking about how she's learning Latin, and my brilliant daughter said, "Well, I know some Pig Latin!"  Oh yeah. It was a proud moment for me. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Too attached to our stuff

Sarah cut off a big chunk of Barney, Noah's security item (he doesn't take him everywhere anymore, but he still sleeps with him).  I told her that her punishment was that she would have to throw out 2Blanken, which is one of her security items.  It's disgusting, and I can't wash it or else it falls apart and jams up the washing machine.  So I've been looking for a reason to throw it away.  She's never been as attached to it as Noah is to Barney anyway.  She put on her stoic face and mashed 2Blanken into the trash can.  Mike thought I was being too mean and rescued the nasty thing from the jaws of death.  Even Noah didn't think I should make her throw it away.  I guess I'm just a cold hard shell of a person.  When Mike went to return it to her, she was sitting on the bed sobbing, so I guess he did the right thing.

Noah's room is a terrible pit.  If we didn't constantly work on him, he'd be a hoarder just like those ones you see on TV.  He keeps every little piece of trash, and it all has sentimental value.  His drawers are stuffed with junk, and every surface is piled with stuff.  Mike asked him if he wanted him to clean his room for him.  Noah, knowing that his dad would plow through it with garbage bags, said no.  Just the thought of it made him teary eyed and sniffly.

I don't usually have an unnatural attachment to my stuff, but in my crazed PMS state this morning, I was dusting the piano and thinking about getting rid of the lamp that sits on it.  As I remembered that my realtor gave it to me as a housewarming present when I bought my first house, I dusted it off and put it back.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A little math, a lot of dancing

We did the bare minimum school work,

and then had friends over for a Wii Dance party.

Science experiement

The kids are really into Mythbusters, so I ordered a book of Mythbusters science experiments from the library.  We did an experiment last night testing the best method of cooling your mouth off after you eat spicy food.  Mike and Noah were the guinea pigs.  They ate a slice of jalapeno, and when their mouths lit on fire they tried various remedies. 
They're both heading for more water.  Sarah is charting the results.
Noah has just begun to feel the heat.
The milk didn't cool off his mouth as much as he had hoped.
Sometimes science hurts!

Killing time in the winter

Whittling sticks in the basement
The kids combined all their old playdoh that they've had for years and made this ugly brown color and decided to use it all up by making an army of animals. 
Then they made a house for all the animals,
tiled the floor with packing peanuts,
and perpetually got in each other's way.

What's for dinner?

Yesterday I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner.  I'm not one of those organized people who has the whole week's meals planned.  I usually just fly by the seat of my pants.  Having just spent $100 at the grocery store a few days ago, I should have plenty of options.  I open the fridge and stare for awhile.  Nothing's coming to me.  It looks strangely empty.  How can that be?  I look around and see two hungry kids, both munching on something. 

When nothing inspires me, I have a couple go-to dinners I can almost always whip up.  I decided on tuna casserole.  Who doesn't have tuna sitting around? Me, apparently.  Down to my last option: scrambled eggs.  I pull out the carton of eggs.  Oh no.  It feels too light.  I open it...2 eggs.  Suddenly I wish I were one of those organized people with a plan.  I discover a bag of potatoes and 2 onions, and a plan takes shape.  I grate up the onions and potatoes, throw in the eggs, some flour, salt, and pepper, and fry up some potato pancakes.  The troops seem pleased enough with that, and as soon as "dinner" is over, I make another trip to the grocery store.

Now I have food, but still need inspiration.  What are you making?

Sunday, January 22, 2012


It has come to my attention that some people are not aware of the naked McDonald's incident referred to in the previous embarrassment post.  So here it is, from 2003.

I took Noah to Walmart in East Peoria, and he would not sit in the cart without crying, so I carried him around and pushed the cart with one hand.  I knew his diaper needed changing so I tried to get in the bathroom but the door was locked. I waited a few minutes and nobody came out, so I decided to just chane him on a bench outside McDonald's.  So I stood him up on this bench, and he played with the big Ronald McDonald statue while I pulled his pants down, unsnapped his onesie, and took his diaper off.  As soon as I took the diaper off, he peed all over his pants, socks, shoes, onesie, and Ronald McDonald.  So I had to take all his clothes off and put them in a plastic bag and throw the diaper away and wipe off Ronnie McD, who had pee dripping off his elbow.  While I'm doing all that, Noah takes off running into McDonald's, completely naked and screaming like a wild man.  I didn't even rush in to get him because I thought there's no way anyone's going to kidnap a naked screaming freak like that.  I had my hair in a ponytail and he had grabbed a fistful and pulled it out of the tail, so I had this big chunk of hair hanging in front of my face and I was all sweaty and nasty looking just from the effort of hauling him and all the stuff around.  McD's was very busy at the time and everyone was laughing.  I had stuff all over the place and was trying to gather it all up and cram Noah into a diaper and dry clothes while he's crying the whole time.

The privilege of work

Sarah came in early this morning, woke me out of a dead sleep, and started ordering her usual elaborate breakfast.  I said, "Since I get to do it all week, maybe Daddy would enjoy the privilege of making your royal breakfast this morning."  She looked at me like I was crazy and said, "It's not a privilege. It's work!"

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Food chain

I heated up a plate of leftover food, and the three of us that were here gobbled it up in less than a minute.  I said, "We attacked that like a pride of hungry lions!  There's just a couple crumbs left."  Noah said, "We left those for the vultures and hyenas."

Friday, January 20, 2012


Mike is an assistant coach on Noah's basketball team, and he's leading the devotions tonight.  After I told Noah that, he said, "He's not going to sing, is he?"  I assured him that he wouldn't sing, but then I threatened to get up and sing and dance in front of his whole team.  He rolled his eyes and said, "That would be yet another 'Most Embarrassing Mom Moment'."  I asked him when I had ever embarrassed him and he said there were too many times to count!  I said, "Are you seriously talking about ME embarrassing YOU?  I'm not the one who went running naked into McDonalds and peed on the Ronald McDonald statue.  I'm not the one who fell out of the cart at Kroger and screamed.  I'm not the one who..."
He said, "Ok, Mom, I got it."

Brightest bulbs in the pack

This morning Sarah ordered for breakfast oatmeal with honey, raisins, and apple, toast with cinnamon and butter, mandarin oranges, fruit snacks, and pretzels.  After spending considerable time and effort, I delivered this complicated order and received....silence.  I said, "You're welcome."  She looked confused and said, "Huh?  Nobody said thank you." 


Last night Noah came in my room long after bedtime and said he heard noises.  I told him it was just the noises the ducts make.  He ran to the window and said, "Really?  There's ducks out there?"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adjusting expectations

The list of things to do after a long weekend is usually pretty long, as I feel we have to catch up on lots of things.  Today's list was huge:

CBS homework
piano practice
post office
clean kitchen floor
clean litter box
clean rooms
wash dishes

By lunchtime, the kids had crossed off nothing, and I had spent the majority of the morning washing dishes and snuggling with kids.  They were in one of those rare moods where they can't get enough of each other and just want to play together.  I was close to interrupting them several times to get busy on the list, but I just couldn't do it.  They were playing so happily, and that seemed more important than crossing off anything on the list.  They even shared a bowl of cereal and are planning a sleepover in Sarah's room tonight.

During lunch, we had a discussion about how the afternoon was going to go.  I told them I was going to postpone my library and post office errands, and that they could skip typing, cursive, and possibly spelling, but they absolutely had to clean their rooms, since Daddy put that one on the list.  The kitchen floor couldn't be put off any longer, so I did that while they cleaned.  The litterbox is done, and we have to do CBS homework and the visitation.  I'd like to get math in somewhere and a short piano practice, but we might end up reading a few chapters of our current book instead.  Flexibility is one of my favorite benefits of homeschooling!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Children's Museum

Mike was off work today, and Noah had an appointment in Bloomington, so we went to the Children's Discovery  Museum.
This kid kept messing with Sarah's grand plan. She handled it surprisingly well.

Mike and Noah tried to play a game of mega chess, but little kids kept walking across the board, moving the pieces, etc.  Mike and Noah were amazingly unflappable and just continued playing wherever the pieces were dropped. But when Sarah started messing with the pieces, that was a different story.  

Thinking hard about his next move.

Milking a cow
No innovation was allowed.  :)

Sarah made me dress up and act on the stage.
 Making a crayon rubbing

Free zoo day

When we first pulled up to the playground, dyslexia kicked in and I thought this sign said "Girls Prohibited".  I told Noah that, and he laughed and said, "That would be cool!"

We weren't there for even five minutes before the kids saw some friends. 

Noah's buddy challenged him to a game of tic tac toe.  Noah said, "Ok, if you want to get your butt kicked."  Then Noah proceeded to get his arrogant butt kicked.
Giving his little sister a boost.

Can you believe it's January 6, and we're having a picnic?

Noah fell off the picnic bench in classic Noah style.

Noah speaking in tongues with the python.

My little monkey climbing the wall.

Noah on his king-of-the-jungle throne

The contents of the jar

Here's what went into the Complaints jar today.  And it's only 2:00.  We might need a bigger jar.

"You didn't fill out the times on the the allergy form."
"I don't like it." (after unsuccessfully trying to play Jingle Bells on the foot piano at Children's Discovery Museum)
"My head still hurts." (after hitting it on the fake combine at CDM)
"Lunch was all strawberry-flavored." (That's because I vigorously shook the bottle of strawberry milk, not realizing he had already taken off the lid.  He claims this wasn't a complaint, but then he complained about my writing it down as a complaint, so I'm counting it.)
"They ran out of empanadas at Taco Bell last time I was there, and they didn't have strawberry fruitistas."
"The water flow is puny." (at the water table at CDM)

"My book is boring."
"I don't like this radio station."
"I'm starving!" (several times)
"The water table is too hard." (at CDM)

"There's talking on every radio station I turn to."
"You backed the van so far up that I can't even open the back door!"
"I'm tired of Noah's complaining."

Sarah: (surprisingly the winner so far with only complaint)
"I'm bored." (at Noah's allergy appointment)

What a bunch of whiners!  And this is while we're supposed to be fasting.  We did stop ourselves many times. Hopefully we'll get better by end of this three weeks.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No complaints here!

This is the life!

First complaint

So today the Janes Family Complaint Fast began.  Three weeks of no complaining or negativity.  I tried very hard and bit my tongue a lot, but I did let at least one fly.  I made the Complaints jar. Anyone who gripes about anything has to write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar, then pick something from the basket.  The basket is full of things we should be talking about/focusing on instead.  The first person to use the jar was Noah.  What was his complaint?  He complained that he doesn't like the Complaints jar!

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's a good day!

This morning I picked up my little cat for a quick pet before I exercised.  She's very loving, but will only allow me to hold her for a few minutes before she wants to get on with her life. But this morning, she curled up in my arms and purred contentedly.  I sat down on the couch and she stretched out and licked my face and went to sleep.  So much for exercising.  Plan B:  pick up the remote and watch some TV.  A few minutes later, Sarah woke up.  She was dry, which is a jolly start to any morning!  She got under a blanket and joined me on the couch.  A few minutes later, Noah came stretching out and wedged himself between Sarah and me.  Snickers was still purring on my chest.  We started watched Survivorman.  I love that show.  The guy was trying to survive on top of a mountain in the freezing rain.  I looked outside and saw the cold wind and snow around our house and was so thankful to be curled up with my kids and a cat, wearing pajamas and snuggled under a blanket.  And later today we're getting together with our best friends, which we haven't been able to do in a long time.  AND I remembered something I was trying to think of, which is rare anymore.  It's a good day!

Selective hearing

Sarah (outside playing in the snow): Mom! Can you bring out some maple syrup so I can make snow candy like yesterday?

Me: No, not today.

Sarah:  Ok, thanks!

I thought she took that amazingly well, but a few minutes later...

S: Mom!  Where's my maple syrup?

Me:  I said I wasn't giving you any today.

S: No you didn't!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pencil sharpeners

With a title like that, you just know it's going to be exciting, right?  If you have better things to do (and I really hope you do), just move on.  I'll never know anyway. 

Still here?  Then you get to hear the fascinating history of our pencil sharpeners.  We seem to go through a lot of pencils around here, which amazes me, because we really don't do that much work.  I had an old pencil sharpener, which I blogged about here.  I don't remember where I got it, but I had it for years, and it died a slow death.  I replaced it with a newer electric one, which was cheap and broke within a few months.  Then I bought this one:
It was cheap, but it was really cool.  It plugged into the computer and lit up in all different colors when you stuck in a pencil.  It didn't, however, sharpen the pencil.  So finally, I went old-school and bought this trusty, tried and true pencil sharpener, just like the ones I had in school hundreds of years ago, complete with pencil dust underneath:

When Mike saw it, he told the kids how he and his classmates used to raise their hands and ask permission to sharpen their pencils all day long, just so they'd have an excuse to get out of their seats and jack around.  I knew exactly what the result would be of telling my squirrelly students that story, so I gave him a look and said, "Thanks for that." 

Sure enough, they've spent more time jacking around at the pencil sharpener than doing anything productive today:


Our pastor has called the church to fast for three weeks, starting this Sunday.  One of things he suggested fasting from is complaining, so our family will be doing that.  When Mike and I were talking about it, I said, "What are we going to talk about it if we can't complain?" and he said, "I guess we just won't speak."  What am I going to blog about? 

I guess I have to air all my complaints now, before it starts. This morning we woke up to a nasty surprise in the closet.  Marty had peed, made two piles of poop, and sprayed the wall with poop.  I bagged up the poop and delivered it to the vet, though I don't think there's anything physically wrong with her.  She's a nice girl, but she's obviously harboring some deep resentment.  I didn't have time to ponder that, because when I got home, I had two wicked kids to handle.  I was gone ten minutes to the vet, and when I got home, Sarah was sulking in her room, and Noah was waiting at the door to explain how he didn't mean to kick her in the face.  Yesterday I had to spank him for the first time in years, and today his ipad privileges have been removed.  Sarah's attitude and behavior have been mostly atrocious for the last two weeks, and mine haven't been much better.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guest writer--Snickers

Here I am, in another Mexican standoff with my sister.

I've obviously annoyed her again.  All I wanted was just to be close to her.

Oh no.  She's punching me again.  And she did it so fast that it's all a blur.

Mom! She's being mean to me again!

Let's try a reverse Mexican standoff.  Maybe that won't bother her.

Help!  She's making herself even bigger!