Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Neighbor kid to the rescue

Do you know how many dishes we've broken since we moved to this house with ceramic tile floor in the kitchen?  I don't either, but it's a lot.  The kids have done a few, but it's mostly me.  I don't think Mike has broken anything (perhaps because he doesn't spend much time in the kitchen). 

This morning, I was unloading the dishwasher, and I shattered a glass plate to bits.  My kids and neighbor boy were in living room, so I yelled, "Nobody come in the kitchen!"  Of course, they all immediately appeared at the edge of the kitchen.  I was standing there barefoot on my island surrounded by a sea of shattered glass, wondering how I was going to get out, when I noticed neighbor boy was not following my "no shoes in the house" rule.  I asked him to get my shoes from the garage.  He did, and I swept up the big chunks, vacuumed the little shards, and now all is well.  We're going to need new dishes soon.

Fireflies and June bugs

Catching fireflies.  My camera doesn't do well in low light, but look at Marty's creepy glowing eyes!
Lightning bugs in a jar
Sarah spotted a June bug in the garage.  She doesn't like them.  Click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see her face.  :)  
She ran to Daddy for protection against the horrible bug.
She spotted another June bug.
Fishing a lightning bug out of the grass. 

The girls kicked off their shoes, and this is how they landed.  Probably not bloggable, but I thought it was cool, and it's MY blog, so there you go.

Sarah's smoothies

Sarah makes a smoothie almost every morning.  The ingredients vary, depending on what we have available.  This one has strawberries, milk, orange juice, banana, frozen blueberries, pineapple, and carrots.
She drinks some and freezes the rest into popsicles.
Smoothie moustache

Friend fun on a hot day

Sweet neighbor girl came over, and Noah brought out a pile of newspapers.  A full-blown war ensued.
The battle made us all hungry, so we moved outside for a cookout.
She really wanted to catch a duck. 
S'mores with burnt marshmallow...his favorite.

The new nagging

I hate nagging.  To lessen my need to do it, I'm implementing a new system: the envelope of activities.  When the kids don't clear their plates after eating, they have to choose a strip of paper from the envelope.  Each paper has something written on it that they have to do.  They're not all punishments, so I called them "activities".  When they leave their stuff lying around, I point them to the envelope. 

Oh dear. What's this?  Looks like Sarah ate some corn and left the remains on the table.
Time to draw from the envelope...
She was the lucky winner of "Wipe down garage door inside and out."  

This is what's written on the slips:

Clean out van
Pull weeds for 10 minutes
Rub dad’s feet for 5 minutes and do ‘this little piggy’ to him.
Give mom and dad a hug and say, “I will never leave my stuff out again.”
Wipe down garage door inside and out
Empty all garbages
Write a letter to someone who has done a service for you and tell them thank you.
Rub dad’s back for 5 minutes while telling him how thankful you are for him working so hard.
Rub mom’s back for 5 minutes while telling her how much you love her.
Sweep front porch and ride your bike around the block.
Dust piano
Tell your sibling 3 things you love about him/her
Write 20 times “I will not leave my things out.”
Do 25 jumping jacks while singing, “I am a cleaning machine.”
Run around the house for 1 minute and see how many things you can pick up and put away.
Draw a picture of you picking up things and your mom and dad smiling BIG!
Make up a song about a clean house and perform it in front of your family.
Sweep kitchen floor
Sweep garage
sweep basement stairs
play with Snickers with the rope for 5 minutes
call a grandparent and tell them how much you love them.

The evolution of education

I thought it was important to teach my children to write neatly.  One of them can.  The other one writes like a doctor and argues like a lawyer.  He says he doesn't need to write neatly, because he'll just type everything.  He can write well enough to fill out a form, so I focused more on teaching him to type.  Now he can type (slowly).  His buddy introduced him to texting, and as I watch him jabbing away with his thumbs, I think what's the point of learning to type in this day and age?  I should just teach them to text (even though I've never texted and don't have the desire to).  Now there are new phones that have voice recognition, so you just talk into them and they type out the message.  I can't keep up with technology!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I found a baby bird on the ground two days ago.  His nest was way up high in our tree.  No way to get him back in it.  My kids and their friends dug for worms.  No luck.  We soaked some cat food in water and fed it to him.  Noah found a grub, and the bird gobbled it up.  Here he is in a nest I found, which is not his, but he settled right into it.

I called Clara, the wildlife rehabilitator who raised the baby mourning dove I found last year.  She told me to bring him right over to her house.  I delivered him, and he is doing well.  Clara asked for suggestions for a name, and I immediately thought of Isaiah 40:31 ("But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles...") and suggested Isaiah.  She liked it, and now that's his name.  

Clara and I didn't know what kind of bird he was, but I did some research and was pretty sure he was a grackle.  This morning I heard his siblings high up in their nest, screaming for food.  I watched for awhile, and Mom and Dad arrived with food.  Definitely grackles.
I told them that Isaiah is doing well.  I hope he flies back to visit when he grows up.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Poem by Sarah

Penguins leap because they cannot fly.
They leap into the endless sky.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bison at Walmart

We learned in school that a bison roar can be heard three miles away.  I told Sarah, "If a bison roared at Walmart, we could hear it from our house!" and she said, "No, we couldn't.  There would never be a bison at Walmart, Mom."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Two moms

Noah and Sarah are playing a Wii game where you find the look-alike Mii characters.  All the Mii's are swimming around in a pool, and you're supposed to click on the two identical ones.  This time, the "Janel" Mii was the one that had an identical twin.  Noah said to Sarah, "What if there were really two of her?" and Sarah said, "One of them would be making lunch right now."

No video

Noah came in to invite me to a concert in the back yard.  He and Sarah formed a rock band and wrote a song in honor of Mother's Day.  My first thought was, "I'll have to bring the video camera" but I hadn't even finished thinking it when Noah said, "And don't bring the video camera.  I don't want this to turn up on Facebook or your blog or who knows where."

When I got outside (feeling naked without my camera), Sarah asked indignantly, "You didn't even bring the video camera?!"  So I came back in and got it, but in honor of my tween, I can't post it here (not that I even know how to post videos on here).  It was a great show though!  The only lyrics were "Mothers are the best; they never rest" but it was a catchy little ditty.


Last night we were driving home and I spotted this fence in someone's garbage can at the curb.  I wanted it for our garden, so we hauled it home.  Today I untangled it and spread it out, and guess what?  It's the exact perfect size to fit our garden.  This shouldn't surprise me, because God is that amazing.

While I was working on the fence, Marty was enjoying the tiny sprouts of catnip that are just starting to come up.  Looks like the fence's main purpose will be keeping her out until the catnip is bigger.

She went nuts on it, licking it, chewing it, digging it up, rolling around in it.

I ended up fencing her in while I was putting the fence up.  Here she is, all doped up on catnip, trying to push the fence over.

Killer sleep

Finally slept 7 hours in a row last night, first time in months. But it was marred by a dream that everyone I met was trying to kill me. There was one person I trusted through the whole ordeal, and he ended up trying to kill me. The police finally showed up, but guess what? Yep, they tried to kill me. Everyone was throwing things at me, and when they ran out of weapons like knives and rocks, they threw flour and sugar. I told Mike about the dream this morning, and he said, "How did you survive? Were you some kind of ninja or something?"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sex and laundry

My mom gave Noah a new shirt, and he's so obsessed with it that he's worn it every day for three days.  I told him he had to take it off and give it to Sarah, because she was going to start a load of laundry (because it's her week; I'm not a chauvinist!).  He reluctantly peeled it off and handed it to her, and she held it at arm's length with one finger.  She said, "Ewww, it's gross" and Noah replied, "Yeah, that's how I hold your underwear when I do laundry.  I guess the clothes of the opposite sex are gross."  Sarah said, "Why are you talking about making sex? That's even grosser!"  Noah rolled his eyes and said patiently, "Oh Sarah.  Just wait till you get to be my age and Mom makes you read the puberty book.  Then you'll know way more about sex than you ever wanted."

New leaf

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf.  I want to be a kinder, gentler mom, who doesn't speak angry, critical words to my kids.  When I hear them talking to each other in mean, impatient voices, I know it's because they've heard the same thing from me.  I love being a mom, but sometimes I do more enduring than enjoying.  Now that CBS is over for the summer, I started a new Bible study with myself called "The Power of Motherhood".  It's so good and helpful.  I started it yesterday, and today I made the no-turning-back decision to turn over that leaf.  I was determined to guard my words and my tone of voice.  

Things started out well.  I looked at my children and smiled at them.  I told them I was thankful for the privilege of being their mother.  I went outside and played frisbee with them before school.  When they messed up, I quietly and pleasantly corrected them.  I noticed a difference in them after having been treated this way for only one morning, and I was encouraged (and convicted at the same time).  I forget how powerful a mother's influence and attitude is on children and what a huge responsibility I have to influence them for good.

Sarah offered to go inside and make Noah a sandwich.  I was basking in the sweetness of it, when she came running back outside, bleeding and saying, "I had an accident!"  She told me that she had dropped my cheesecake on the floor.  I asked her if my nice glass pie pan had broken, and she said no, and I was relieved.  Then she added, "It just cracked a little bit into a few pieces.  It didn't shatter all over like last time."  When I came in the house, this was the scene I found:

She bandaged up her own foot (with toilet paper and string!) while I cleaned the mess.  Of course the devil knew about my new leaf, so he started fighting back.  Thankfully, I won this time and remained calm.  I was even able to laugh, thanks to Noah.  He followed me in, saw the mixture of cheesecake, glass, and blood on the floor, and said, "I'm sorry for your loss, Mom."   He's been well-trained in sympathy by being dragged to too many funerals!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stinky shampoo

I bought this bottle of shampoo, because it was on clearance, marked down to dirt cheap.  You'll soon see the irony.  The first time I used it, I realized why it was on clearance.  Notice it says "with eucalyptus & olive leaf extract" which is fancy for "dead mouse in a moldy field of rotting potatoes", which is what it smells like.  I hold my breath as long as I can while I'm using it, and if I must breathe, I take quick breaths through my mouth.  Then I have to slather good-smelling conditioner on my hair to cover up the stench.  I dread washing my hair every day, but can't bring myself to throw away the shampoo, because does lather up nicely and clean my hair.  Thankfully, it's almost gone.  Didn't anyone do a quality control test on this stuff before they sold it? 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sarah's famous living room shows

Sarah loves to perform "shows" in the living room.  She always has.  She seats us in the audience and then lets loose with singing, dancing, gymnastics, or whatnot.  Here are scenes from the latest show:

Having been to hundreds of these shows over the years, the audience sometimes loses focus....

Even Snickers dozed off.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


The south side is finished!