Monday, April 30, 2012

Random pics

Sarah doing some yoga.
Noah rescued this bunny from our window well and set it free.  
Pretty girl looking pensive.
She has this whole nice bed to sleep in, but she prefers teetering on the edge.
Noah was here first, and Snickers joined him.  They're watching birds.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Butterflies and the big game

Noah was so nervous before his baseball game last night that he couldn't eat before we left.  Just talking about food made him gag.  He said, "That's just the butterflies trying to get out."  After he got his first hit, he was able to wolf down a corn dog from the concession stand. 

Before the game, Sarah was watching him get ready.  He was assembling his male protection items, and Sarah asked, "Is that cone uncomfortable to wear?"
N: It's a cup, Sarah.  Not a cone.  You don't put ice cream in it.
S: You can eat ice cream out of a cup. You know, I can run really fast.  I'm not bragging, I'm just saying.
N: Saying IS bragging.

Speaking of bragging...guess who scored the winning run in extra innings?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Desperate for quiet

A big reason we chose the homeschooling lifestyle was so that we could be a close family.  HOWEVER, constant togetherness with no break can be maddening torture, so I have always insisted on an hour of quiet time in the afternoons. The rules are:

1. No talking
2. No electronics
3. Do not come in my room unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding profusely.

Seems straightforward and simple to me, but I have a child who needs to know every specific detail about everything, so I've had to clarify and explain the rules many times. This clever child hates to be isolated, so he looks for loopholes and pushes the boundaries all he can.

This is how it went today. I was in my room with the door locked, because certain people don't always respect rule #3. I heard Sarah go into the bathroom. (I'd like to make a rule that you can't leave your room during quiet time, but after all, this is not prison.). The clever child heard it too and sensed a loophole. He went in the bathroom too.

S: Noah! Get out! I'm going to the bathroom here!
N: But I have to go too.
S: Well then go in Mom's bathroom!
N: I can't. She locked the door.
S: Well, you'll just have to wait till I'm done then, and don't stand there and watch me.
N (yelling from outside the bathroom door): Are you done yet?
S: No! Stop rushing me!
N: Are you peeing or pooping?
Me (yelling from my room): Noah, go to your room and wait till she comes out.
N: But I have to go really bad, and she's just stalling on purpose!

Sarah finally came out, and there was more talking and more arguing and more attempts to get into my room.  When "quiet time" ended, I was grouchy instead of refreshed.  I went over the rules again, and in my frustration, I changed #3 to: "Do not come into my room for any reason."  Noah asked, "But what if the house is on fire or someone is bleeding profusely?"  I said, "Call 911, and go outside and wait for them."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bike rodeo

We went to a bike rodeo on Saturday.  Here's a police officer explaining the course to Noah.
Sarah navigating the obstacle course. 
Right after I took this picture, his last two scores went downhill.  Both kids did great, but they didn't win any prizes (except the participation prize, which was a free cone at DQ).  
Noah was pretty interested in the fire truck parked at the rodeo.  When he was 3, I was sure he would be a firefighter when he grew up, because he was totally obsessed with all things firefighter-related.  He lost interest for several years, but after he toured this truck, he said, "I think I might want to be a firefighter again."
Watching their cones being made.


My favorite thing about spring is all the new babies.  I love babies!
baby lettuce

baby radishes

baby ducks

My baby girl, missing our cat, Jason.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ramming around doing projects

My girl loves to "do projects".  I'm not a project-y person.  I like to bake, but this girl wants to bake something elaborate EVERY day!  And then there are the endless artsy crafty projects. Those are the worst, because I have no interest or skill in that area.  She has some of those "things to make and do" books, and she carries one around with her all the time, badgering people to help her make something. It would be fine if she would just read the book and figure it out for herself, but she doesn't.  She just makes messes and breaks things.  And she's SO bossy!!! (oops, scratch that. I'm trying to think more positively).  She shows great leadership qualities.

So this morning, her feet barely hit the floor, and she comes at me with one of the books.  "Mom, can we bake cupcakes and cookies and make a salad and then make these beanbags and decorate them and put faces on them?"  It's 7 a.m. and I'm exhausted already.  I pick the easiest thing and focus on that, hoping it will appease her.  So we're making an old favorite recipe for 100 Good Cookies (remember that one, Mom?).  In the middle of that, her ADHD takes over and she makes off with the container of oats (which is now empty) and starts poking holes in it, filling it with water, and making a watering can.

While I'm stuck in the kitchen baking the other 88 cookies, she goes off to make an "April Fool's trap".  She reminds me of a phrase I remember my dad saying about "ramming around thinking you know everything".  I never knew what that meant until I had this child.  Speaking of my dad, he made a "pets' corner" with Sarah last weekend from her favorite project book.  I was so grateful, because she had been hounding me for that one for a long time, and I kept putting her off, because it looked difficult and involved.  It turned out really cool, and she loves it.  My BFF also had our kids another day last weekend (Mike and I were at the homeschool convention), and she is the queen of artsy crafty projects.  Both my kids adore her and always want to go to her house.  She made puppets with them!  It really does take a village.
The pets' corner.


Having a little puppet show
Snickers sleeping on one of the books.  That's more my speed.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I couldn't figure out why I was so stiff and sore today, and then I remembered I spent an hour planting the garden yesterday.  There's Sarah on the watering bridge.
This is for my own reference, because my markers are pretty feeble, and when sprouts start popping up, I won't have any idea what they are.
I'm also trying a hanging pot of strawberries on the front porch.


At the end of their CBS homework was a mostly blank page.  I found it interesting that both my kids (separately) felt the need to fill the space with drawings.  Sarah's shows Jesus (wearing ballet shoes) ascending into heaven while the disciples watched, amazed.  At least it was related to the lesson.
Noah drew Ninja weapons. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Robin eggs

Noah and I went for a walk and found a bird nest blown out of a tree.  There were three eggs nearby.  One was smashed, and two were just slightly cracked . We brought those two home. 

This is what we found inside one of the eggs.  The tiniest bird I've ever seen, but perfectly formed.  Its little umbilical cord was attached to the yolk.  Noah put the other egg in a sock under a lamp and is trying to hatch it. 


I was talking with Sarah about keeping herself pure as a gift to give only to the one special man who will be her husband.  I told her that meant that she wouldn't have sex with anyone else.  She said, "Of couse I won't! I don't ever want to have sex with anyone.  It's too yucky."  Good enough for now. Will revisit this topic again in a few years.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Growing weeds and boys

As soon as Noah could talk, he talked about lawn equipment.  We would give him the Farm & Fleet ads from the Sunday paper, and he would pore over them and get all excited about the "mow-mow's" and "wee-wee's" (weedwackers).  When he was just barely two years old, he got a toy weedwacker for Christmas, and he was in love.  It was second only to his toy mower.  When his Daddy was doing real yard work, Noah would follow behind him with his toy yard tools and pretend he was just like him.   
Here he is at four and a half years old, still loving his weedwacker.  He even kept it in the shed on the same hook with Mike's real one.   
Today he used the real weedwacker for the first time, and he loved it!


Noah's buddy went on vacation and asked Noah to take care of his frogs for two weeks.  Before the kid left, I explained to him the rather spotty record we have with non-mammalian species in our house.  We took our last frog outside in his plastic cage to let him enjoy the nice weather.  We forgot about him, and the sun bloated him up like a marshmallow in a microwave.  Many, many fish, two crabs, and other creatures have perished on our watch from natural causes or otherwise.  But the kid said he understood the risks and entrusted us with his babies anyway.  He said the only way to kill them would be to give them the wrong water (they only take special spring water), and there was no danger of that, because he had just cleaned the tank and refilled their water.

Things went well for awhile.  Noah faithfully fed the frogs every morning, and they seemed happy and healthy.  His pal is going to be home in three days, and I was starting to relax.  But then, in the wee hours of this morning, something went splash in the night.

Noah woke me out of a deep sleep (I was in the middle of a dream that I was exploring a cave with the Duggars) and said, "Marty knocked the frog tank over!"  I stumbled into his room and found Marty pawing at the up-ended tank, next to a huge puddle of stinky frog water soaking into the carpet.  The frogs were scrabbling along at the bottom (which was now the side) of the tank.  Having no access to fresh spring water, Noah got purified water from the fridge.  The water was very cold, and I was afraid it was going to shock the frogs into a heart attack, so we put them in the bathroom with a space heater.   Noah somehow managed to lock the bathroom door before he shut it, so we were locked out.  And Marty was locked in.  Noah was chanting softly, "Please live, please live, please live".  This was more than I could handle, so I said, "Go get your dad."  Mike got the door unlocked; we got Marty out of the bathroom and shut the frogs in; and everyone went back to bed. 

Of course I never went back to sleep, so I got up after awhile to see if the frogs were still alive and turn off the heater before they got too hot.  It's been twelve hours since the incident now, and the frogs are still alive, and I'm very tired.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

100 ways to be a kid

Last night at 8:45, Sarah announced that when she grew up, she was going to write a book about being a kid, so adults would understand. I told her she'd better write it now, while she's still a kid.  I told her she could work on it until 9:00, and then continue it the next day.  This morning, she presented me with the first installment, rolled up like a scroll and secured with a pink ponytail holder:

  Here it is, with translation (in case you don't speak kid), published with the author's permission:
100 Ways to Be a Kid, by SAJ, aka Sarah Janes, age 8
Dedicated to Mike, Janel, and Noah Janes.  Hi, I'm Sarah, spelled S-a-r-a-h.  Most people get my whole name wrong.  Sara, Sarah James, Sarah Jones, etc.  My real name is Sarah Ann Janes.  I'm 8 and 1/4.  My brother is named Noah.  I wrote this book.

1.  Be playful.   2.  Be kind.  3.  Be cute.  4.  Be awesome.  5.  Be helpful.  6.  Be nice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brush with celebrity

We were driving in Bloomington today, and I saw a black vehicle with "Illinois Congress" on it and the number 18.  It was in the oncoming lane, but traffic was slow enough that I had plenty of opportunity to gape and see who was in it.  Aaron Schock was in the passenger seat, looking down like he was working.  Of course I pulled over and made a U-turn so I could chase him down. The kids wondered what I was doing, so I told them we were going to follow Congressman Schock.  Noah slid down in the backseat and said, "No, Mom! Please!  Don't make me meet him and say 'nice to meet you.'"  I told him he didn't have to meet him.  Sarah perked up and said, "I'll meet him! Who is he?"  Noah said, "No, Sarah. It's a Congressman.  He works in Washington, D.C., like the President!  He doesn't care about Strawberry Shortcake and 2Blanken or whatever other silly stuff you'd say to him!" 

I followed him into the Biaggi's parking lot, and pulled in right behind his car, as his lackey let him off at the door.  He hopped out, poking at his phone the whole time and looking way too busy to meet a housewife and a little girl.  He paused to hold the door open for the regular people who were coming out, and I thought that might be my chance, but Noah (on the floor by now) hissed, "Mom! No!  If you get out of this car, I'm going to die!  Let's just go home!" so we did. The Congressman got to eat his lunch in peace, and Noah is still alive. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Carnivore conversation

All I have leftover from Easter is mashed potatoes, so we stopped at Kroger to get some ham to have with it for dinner tonight.  Noah asked how I was going to cook it in time, and I said, "This isn't like the good ham we had at Grandma and Grandpa's yesterday.  It's already cooked.  You just reheat it or eat it cold."
S: I want mine hot.  I don't like raw meat.
[pause, while I'm considering whether it's worth the discussion or not.  I'm already very tired, having been with them all day at Wildlife Prairie Park, so I let it go.  Noah, however, can't let it go.]

N: It's not raw, Sarah.  Mom just said it's precooked.
S: Well, I don't know what that means, so I'm having mine cooked!
N: We're all having ours cooked, because the whole thing is cooked already!  It's kind of like....leftovers, only nobody's ever eaten them.  Can you wrap your brain around that?
S: Nope.
N: It's like this.  Somebody cooked it but then didn't eat it, so they wrapped it up still fresh and we bought it.
S: Why didn't they eat it if they went to the bother of cooking it?
N: Because they weren't planning to eat it.  Just sell it.
S: How did they cook it?
N: They killed a pig.
S:  And then?
N:  And then they cooked it into a ham and packaged it up.
S: And then?
N: And then they put it on a big truck and sent it to Kroger, where we bought it.
S: And then?
N: And then tonight we're going to eat it.
S: And then?
N: Well, then tomorrow we'll probably poop it out.
S: And then?
N: It will get flushed into the sewer system.
S: And then?
N: I guess it will end up in the ocean.
S: And then?
N: Maybe a shark will eat it.

By this time, we were home, so I didn't get to hear the rest of the story.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A little known proverb

Noah burned his tongue on his oatmeal, and Sarah put on her wise face and said, "The foolish man burns his tongue on his oatmeal, and the wise man is patient and waits for it to cool.  Sarah 19:8."  Can you tell we've been reading from Proverbs every day?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday afternoon

Record-breaking temperature this afternoon, and this is how we spent it.
Worked on siding again.  Marty inspected each piece.
Left part sided, right part not.  We're going from wood to vinyl and from vertical to horizontal.
Noah paddled up the creek.
He and his buddy designed this anchor out of a rock, a chunk of styrofoam, and duct tape.
They also made a paddle out of a water gun duct taped to a styrofoam airplane wing they found.