Friday, May 31, 2013

Shower talk/vocabulary lessons

My mini lecture to Sarah this morning:  I'm in the shower only five minutes a day.  If you have a need that absolutely can't wait till those five minutes are over, you can speak through the shower curtain. It is not a sound-proof barrier.  There is no need to whip the shower curtain open to ask me ridiculous questions like "Can I have ice cream for breakfast?".  Also, please refrain from relaying the entire conversation that your friend had with her mom until I get out of the shower. 

Her response:  What does "refrain" mean?

Me:  I will explain all this when I get out of the shower!

So now I'm standing in the bathroom wearing a towel, having this conversation:

Me:  To refrain from something means not doing it. 
S:  Chloe's mom said "We'll have to play it by ear" about what time we can get together today. What does that mean?
M:  It means we'll wait and see how things are going. 
S:  So basically it means "maybe"?
M: Basically.
S:  But that's not really an answer!

[Interrupted by knocking at the door.  Sarah runs to see who's there.  It's her friend Katie.]

S: Mom, can I play with Katie?
M: Yes, briefly.
S (to Katie):  I can play briefly.
K: What does that mean?
S: It means for a short time.
K: How short?
S: I don't know.  Till Mom calls me.  I'm planning on playing with Chloe, but we have to wait to play it by her mom's eye. 
M: Ear. We're playing it by ear.
S: Whatever.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Preserving memories

I have spent countless hours writing in journals ("blogging" before blogging was the hip new thing), keeping scrapbooks, taking video, and making photo albums.  After an especially memorable weekend, I've been busy updating all these things.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone will ever look at all these things I've poured so much time and effort into.  Will they rot and mold, get tossed in the trash or burned after I'm dead and gone?  I decided I'm at peace with whatever happens to them, because for me, the joy is in making them.  I love to look back through old pictures and read the stories of when my kids were babies and the things they've said and done.  I like reliving the good moments and even looking back on the bad ones to see how far we've come. 

There's a history of dementia among the women in my family, and while I don't want to curse myself, I have seen early evidence of it in myself already.  Sometimes my grandma doesn't know who I am.  She loved preserving memories too, and sometimes I'll take an old photo album that she made many years ago and go over it with her, looking at the people in the pictures, talking about the old stories.  Sometimes she comments politely in a neutral way, and I know she doesn't remember any of it.  Other times she doesn't even comment, just stares blankly.  But once in a great while, I see a spark of recognition and there's a brief moment of connection before she retreats to her lonely world again. Maybe I work so hard on preserving the memorable events of my family for myself, because I fear I'll forget.  But watching my kids leaf through their scrapbooks and photo albums, laughing and enjoying them, I realize that I do it for them too.

If you ever want to see any of my albums or even watch some old family videos, I'd love to share them with you. And I'd love to see yours too!

Funning up the backyard

At our old house, we had a super fun backyard, and all the neighborhood kids congregated there.  There was a tree swing, tree house, and big sandbox.  When we moved here, there was nothing fun, so we've been working on funning it up.
We found parts of an old trampoline that someone put out for trash, and Mike turned it into a gymnastics bar.

We thought maybe our kids were too old to enjoy a sandbox, but they insisted they wanted one.  The minute Mike finished building it, neighbor kids appeared, and they all spent a long time making villages, volcanoes, etc.


It was a big weekend for us.  The day after Sarah's recital, she and Noah got baptized at Trinity Church.  It was Pentecost Sunday, a perfect day to get baptized!  I had to wake Noah up to get to church early.  I said, "Happy Bappy Day! It's Pentecost too!  Do you remember what Pentecost is?"  In his morning fog, he mumbled, "Some kind of shape...don't remember how many sides." 
Sarah giving her testimony

 raised to walk in newness of life!

buried with Christ

receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit


Ballet recital

Sarah's final ballet recital was Saturday night.  Her beloved ballet teacher is going to college in the fall, so it's the end of an era.  What a wonderful opportunity it's been for Sarah to have studied under such a delightful young woman for the last four years. 
Seeing her tutu for the first time at Friday's dress rehearsal.

 Arriving at Blessed Sacrament church two hours early to prep and primp.

16 bobby pins holding this thing together!

One of the best things about Miss Rebekah is her seemingly tireless ability to listen to Sarah.  Here Sarah is explaining how I just bought her a hair bow with purple tulle at Dollar Tree.

 She was so excited to be dancing a solo this year! The song and choreography were perfect for her.
 Noah had been fishing all day, but got home in time to clean up and hand out programs at the recital.

 He turned one into a paper airplane.

waiting in the wings
 She was fantastic.  It's not just my mom bias talking; other people thought so too. 

 waiting to go on stage for their final bows

 As soon as the recital was over, she whipped her tutu off and ran out to play.


Thursday, May 16, 2013


Noah:  Hey, I just made up a joke! Wanna hear it?
Me: Yes
N: What's the smelliest sport?
N: Nope! Guess, Sarah!
S: I don't know.
N: Just guess a sport!
S: Baseball.
N: Nope, it's ping pong!


N: Isn't that funny! I just made it up!
M: Okaaaay....why is it funny?
N: Because it's ping PONG! Get it?
S: No.
N: Pong is another name for poop! 
M: It is?  In what country?
N: I read it in my Big Book of Gross Stuff.
M:  Oh. Well then it must be true, so that's pretty funny.

Potato musings

Noah requested a baked potato for breakfast, so as I was making that happen, two questions came to mind:

1. Is there anything nastier than a rotten potato?

2. When I push the "potato" button on my microwave, how can it possibly know when the potato is done?

3.  Wouldn't it be nice if chicken skin was as healthy to eat as potato skin?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sarah's rough day

Sarah came home angry from science class. I asked her about it, and she said, "This kid put his knees in my chair and made it uncomfortable!"

Me: Did you ask him to move his knees?
S: No, but I glared at him.
M: Sometimes boys can't figure out our looks.  We have to use words.  Maybe he didn't know why you were glaring at him.
S: Oh yes he did!  He just wanted to aggravate me!

Later, after an unpleasant incident, I spanked her.  She cried and said, "When you spank me, can you not do it so hard?  Because it hurts my butt!"

May 15

This anniversary gets less sad as the years go by.  The baby girl I delivered on this day would be 10 years old now if she had lived. I thought about her this morning, allowed myself to imagine what she would be like, and moved on. 

In other news, Sarah wrote this poem.  She just spouted it out, and I transcribed it.  Her ability to make up poems astounds me.

I sought the Lord and He answered me.
He sent me a little genie who granted me three wishes.
I wish to have wisdom.
I wish to be wise.
I wish for God to open my eyes.
I wish to see the fireflies' mirth.
I wish to see all the earth.
I wish to see the first snow.
I wish to see everyone grow.
I wish to see everyone smile.
But everything is not worthwhile.
But now I saw my last fireflies'mirth.
I saw my last moment on the earth.
I saw my last snow.
Now I have to go.
I'm up in heaven with God,
and He is a lot to me.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A beautiful sight

 A package arrived yesterday.  The kids were so excited, as always.  But the excitement ended when I opened the box and discovered...a whole box full of math curriculum!  

I love the sight of brand new books, so pure and perfect and full of possibilities. All that learning that's going to happen!

Just another morning in the Janes kitchen

 Sarah is making breakfast for Noah. Noah is emptying the dishwasher for me.  I'm making breakfast for Sarah.  Sarah drops an egg on the floor for the cats.

I was hoping the cats would enjoy a special treat and clean it all up for me, but no.
Her little face says it all.  They did not see it as a special treat.  The floor needed cleaning anyway, and this was the last straw. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pitiful looking work crew

Mike bought this big beast of a basketball hoop, and it was delivered today.  The delivery guy called to be sure someone would be here to help him unload it, since it's crazy heavy.  I told him a crew would be available.  So he pulls up in this big truck, gets out, looks at the middle aged flabby woman and her two little kids in the driveway, looks past us, looks all around with a questioning look.  I said, "We're your work crew!" and he looked skeptical and disgruntled and said, "Seriously?!"  I told him we're stronger than we look.  It was hard, but we did it!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Gotcha Day #11

Today is Saturday, May 11, the day before Mother's Day.  I'm driving my boy to a baseball game and later to a friend's house.  Sounds like an average day, but it's that same boy's Golden Gotcha Day!!  Eleven years ago, May 11 fell on a Saturday, and it was the day before Mother's Day.  I hadn't slept at all the night before, so we left ridiculously early Saturday morning to pick up both sets of parents and drive to O'Hare to wait for our baby to get off the plane.  After an excruciatingly long wait, I got my first glimpse of him down a long hallway.  His wispy hair was sticking straight up on top, and he was beautiful.  He looked slighty scared, but mostly he was observing everything, and probably (now that I know him) wanting to ask a million questions. 

I clearly remember the feelings I had when I took him in my arms, and it still makes me cry eleven years later when I think about it.  Instantly overwhelmed with complete love.  I was crazy about that boy, and even now with his adolescent mood swings, I'm crazy about that boy. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Misc. pics on a rainy day

 McKenna is teaching school today.

 Noah hauling a load of laundry to his room.

 Noah didn't want McKenna to teach his class, so he did a Kuk Sool Won technique on her. 

 Rainy day math

 Sarah and McKenna doing the splits

pedicure compliments of Sarah

Health food

I read about this on facebook, so who knows if it's true, but I couldn't resist trying it.  It's a parsley tea that's supposed to cleanse your kidneys.  Wash a bunch of parsley, boil it for 10 minutes, strain it, and drink it.  I added lots and lots of honey.  It was definitely not a tasty beverage, but it wasn't too bad.  Not sure how to tell if my kidneys are cleaner.

Fruit salad.  I cut up one of each of these fruits: orange, apple, kiwi, banana, and added 3 oz. peach yogurt. We all ate some, and it was good. 

Healthy bars that actually taste good!  Even Sarah liked them.  Melt 1/2 c. peanut butter, 1/4 c. honey, and 1/4 c. coconut oil (which is super fatty, but they say it's the "good" fat).  Stir in 1 c. oat and 1 c. whatever you want (I did chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries). Spread in a pan and chill in the fridge. 

Monday, May 6, 2013


The Alzheimers Association calls me practically every day, wanting more money.  When they called yesterday morning, I said, "Really? On a Sunday morning??"  and Noah said, "It's Alzheimer's, Mom.  They probably don't even realize what day it is."

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The fake side

 Yes, I've gone over to the fake side.  I'm not a fan of fake anything, but the thought of not having to water the flower boxes all summer made me do it. 

 Walking by on the street, you'd never guess, would you?

I won this as a door prize last night at a mother-daughter dinner.

And here's Noah slinging a bag of cat poop into the trash can.  That has nothing to do with the rest of this post at all.

What's under my bed?

 We've only lived here two years, so what could possibly have accumulated under our bed during that time?  Surely not much.  Our bed squeaks like crazy, so Mike decided to remove the box springs.  It would make the bed really low, but that would be far better than the hideous groaning noise it makes every time anyone moves.  So we took off the mattress and box springs, and I was shocked at what was under the bed.  Stuffed animals, bookmarks, beads, string, tissues, books, airsoft bullets, popcorn, Nerf darts, cat toys, a granola bar (still in it wrapper), a screw, coupons, an envelope, Sarah's drawings, a tire from one of Noah's cars, Legos, hair bows, and lots of dust bunnies!  

While I picked all that up and vacuumed the area, my smart husband was taking apart the box springs.  What he found was pretty surprising too.  There was not a single spring in the "box springs".  It's just a frame of wood with a layer of cardboard and a thin piece of material stapled on top.  He figured out that it was the cardboard making the horrible noise (who knew cardboard could be so loud?!), so he ripped it all out and put the bed back together, and now it's completely silent.  It's like a whole new bed!

Samurai lunch

 I made this for lunch today.  It was a huge hit!
They were pretty excited to get hot dogs too.  I didn't tell them that they were actually chicken dogs. 
And lemon shortbread cookies with lemon glaze for my lemon-loving girl.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sailboat kayaking

 Noah has this genius friend who is full of creative ideas and experiments.  Mike says he's like the Benjamin Franklin of the 21st century.  I think he's sort of a cross between Ben Franklin and MacGyver. Here's Mr. Franklin explaining to Mike how he made a sail for our kayak out of an old sheet, duct tape, an old broom handle, an old pole from our swing, and some string.

There's Noah sailing the kayak on the creek.

 Sarah just used the new paddles I bought this morning at a garage sale.  No more paddling with shovels and brooms for us!

 Noah and Ben Franklin's little brother had a good time paddling together.

 He and Sarah mostly argued.  They both wanted to be the boss of the operation.

 These two turned out to be too heavy to sail the ship together.  They were sailing along, taking on water, when MacGyver turned around and asked Noah, "Are we sinking?" and Noah replied, "Well...yeah, a little."

 Noah sacrificed himself for the good of the sailing team by bailing out of the boat.

 Of course he had to jump in the creek.  He always does.