Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some Etiquette Lessons are just Lost on Kids

Today is Nana's birthday, so Husband called to wish her a Happy Birthday. Naturally, the kids couldn't be left out, so they got to talk to her too. Bug's conversation was short & sweet, but Bird's was... amusing:

Bird: Happy Birthday Nana!!
Nana: something
Bird: How old are you now?
Nana: answers
Bird: Wow, that's a big number!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crossing a New Threshhold...

In case I ever had any doubt, my baby is definitely NOT a baby anymore!! She was quite excited by the whole thing, really. And here she is, fake smiling to show you.

Looking at this picture, I kind of wonder if I should change the sidebar of our pics over there. Nah... I don't want to take a pic of MY teeth!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In case you had trouble telling...

Bug: Do you know what bad guys look like Mommy?
Me: I don't think there's an exact dress code.
Bug: Bad guys don't wear underwear.
Me: They don't?
Bug: NO! They are only wearing pants.

So now you know.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How to Throw a Disasterous Birthday Party

My baby turned SIX this past weekend. (Ack!) Naturally, being the social butterfly that she is, we had to have a birthday party. She really wanted to have it at a local playground (yes! procrastinating deep housecleaning until summer vacation!), and for the first time, we were letting her invite friends from school.

She had fun, but it didn't exactly turn out as planned. So, if you wanted to know how NOT to throw a party, here you go:

- Pick the hottest weekend in May.
- Host the party at a playground with very little shade over the picnic tables. (Although this does make for some amusement when all the parents are huddled in the shadow of the bathroom building!)
- Ensure that the bathrooms do not have any soap in them. (Thank heavens Auntie R brought hand sanitizer!)
- Invite friends from school - the ones whose parents you don't know & don't have the decency to RSVP, so you can't exactly call them up & see if they're coming so you aren't sure if there will be 25 people coming to the park or 45. (I mean, really!)
- Invite friends from school - especially when they're still little enough bring their parents. (Because then, they can all huddle up and complain about the school. Ostracizing me, cause there's no way you'd catch me in that conversation. I'd like to keep my job, thankyouverymuch.)
- Put the cake in a shady spot - mainly to ensure the ants eat the cake before anybody else can. (Again, Auntie R to the rescue - she ran an emergency Publx trip for a replacement cake!)

Most importantly, Bird had a really good time, and I had other friends there that I could hang out with & talk to. (Yes, Mom I did the hostess thing & made sure I talked to all the grownups!)
Next year, though, I kind of want to talk Bird into someplace cold.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day Mad Libs

Last year, I had an awful lot of fun reading what Bird thought about me... this year both kids had the chance to do some Mommy Mad Libbing in their classes.

My Mom - by Bug

Her hair is brown.

Her eyes are white. (It could have been worse. One kid said his mom had pink hair & orange eyes.)

She is 14 years old. (Well, at least an improvement from last year's 1500!)

Her favorite food is all the food. (Um....)

Her favorite color is pink. (No, but his is.)

Her favorite TV show is all the movies. (I had to laugh at this one. Other kids were naming actual TV shows. My kids don't watch live TV... neither do I, really so he was right.)

Her favorite thing to do is whatever she wants to. (How right he is. Husband couldn't stop laughing at this one.)

I love my mommy most when she plays with me!

My Mom is Special - by Bird

My mom is special because she cooks eggs. (My cake baking doesn't even hit the list. But the eggs I made for her once or twice... home run!)

I like it when my Mom plays with me. (I'm sensing a theme here.)

I like to make my mom smile by liking her. (Awww....)

My Mom is smart! She even knows that there's flowers in the cupboards. (Yeah, I don't get it either. Maybe it was supposed to be flour? Except that doesn't really make sense either.)

Happy Mother's Day!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Her Memory Astounds Me

All I have to say about Easter is

- Bird was up early.
- She completely forgot that she was getting an Easter basket, so she didn't pester us to go look for it while we waited for Bug to wake up.
- Once both kids were up and we told them to go look for their baskets, she went immediately to the place where we hid her basket last year.

Yes, I have the child who can't find the shoes she wore yesterday, but if you need last years bag-o-treats, she's got you covered.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Spring Break Day 1 - What I Managed to Accomplish

1. Wake up without an alarm.
2. Feed breakfast to masses of hungry children. (Okay, it was just Bug & Bird, but they seem to eat so much for breakfast that I feel like I've fed hoards of hungry lumberjacks. Minus the flannel.)
3. Start GRE practice sets of questions on the computer. (GRE is the SAT for grad school/master's degree. They send you a free little practice program that you can use to practice on the computer.)
4. Complete 3 sets of practice questions on the computer while handing out periodic snacks because the bowls of cereal + a banana aren't enough food to last little Hoovers until lunchtime.
5. Everyone takes a bath or shower.
6. Teach Bug & Bird how to play Twister.

7. Do more practice questions from Official Practice Book that I got at the bookstore. (More portable than the computer, and certainly far more helpful!)
8. Feed children lunch.
9. Play more Twister. Note that Bug is still in his pajamas. But at least he's wearing sunglasses inside.

10. Complete 3 more sets of computer questions, have program completely quit working, and realize you didn't like it anyway.
11. Park kids in front of movie.
12. Pay bills online before the end of the business day.
13. Dole out more snacks.
14. Do more questions out of practice book.
15. Remember that Husband isn't coming home for dinner tonight & realize that I should probably feed the seething masses of hungry children before their little tummies turn inside out & begin munching on the other internal organs to receive sustenence.
16. Believe it or not, play more Twister.
17. Clean up the toys & get ready for bed. The kids, that is.
18. Tuck away children & mostly clean the kitchen.
19. Finish really hard practice questions.
20. Husband finally gets home around 8pm.

21. Realize that I've answered 200+ math & verbal questions today, and that didn't count any of the questions my own kids asked me.

22. Stopping now, very thankful that the test is tomorrow morning & I then I won't have to think about it anymore. I hope.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tykes' Tips - Floor Coverings

I'm sure Martha Stewart once said that if you don't like your current flooring, you can alter the look by using area rugs.

My kids' interpretation? We don't know what area rugs are, but we have all these blankets that folks have made and/or bought for us, and they'll work just fine!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Jumping the Shark?

I've noticed (well, I'm sure I'm not the only one!) that bloggers seem to be doing less blogging lately. And I've been a little sad at that, because I really do enjoy reading blogs. Many have wondered if blogging has jumped the shark, and maybe it has.... but I still liked reading other peoples' stories.

Of course, I must then notice the plank in my own eye! I haven't blogged in 6 weeks, and very scarecely since Christmas.

Apparently, after around 18 months of writing here, I needed a break. So I took it.

Those who spend lots of time teaching folks how to become "successful" at blogging would likely be horrified. I admit, I enjoyed the thought of lots of folks coming here to read. Except, I also kind of didn't like it.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVED it whenever someone made a comment. I still have all of them saved in an email folder. Well, except for the spam ones.

I think what I didn't like was the fact that I felt I HAD to post - what had begun as a place for me to remember what happened had turned into a source of entertainment. And, me being the stubborn person that I am, didn't like the idea that I was expected to do something.

Well, poo on that. I've enjoyed my break, and I hope to start writing regularly again.

At the same time, I've run out of memory on my camera. Seems that it can hold about 1500 pics at a time, the 900 imfamous Road Trip of 08 pics. So, as I pull them off & sort them onto my hard drive, I'll likely be posting some of the more amusing ones here.

I've also put up some new decorations around here. Haven't quite decided if I like them yet. Time will tell.

Back to the camera....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I swear he doesn't watch horror movies...

Earlier this afternoon, Husband was sitting on the couch & talking to a friend on the phone. Bug wandered over and asked who he was talking to. Husband replied "Mr. B.", at which point Bug began to have a conversation with Mr. B through Husband.

Bug: Tell Mr. B I'm going to throw a snowball at his house!
Mr. B: A snowball at my house?
Bug: Yes, and then your house will turn upside down!
Mr. B: But where will I sleep?
Bug: On the roof!!
Mr. B: The roof? But it will be lonely.
Bug: Don't worry, there will be squirrels there.
Mr. B: Oh, nice friendly squirrels.
Bug: NO! Mean squirrels! They'll eat your eyes and nose and ears!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How To Make An Alligator Cake

Bug has known for quite some time now that his birthday was in January. Fortunately, he also knew that January came after December and after Christmas.

Unfortunately, his birthday is towards the end of the month, so for a few weeks we had to endure "Is it my birthday YET? It's January! I should be turning four!"

About two weeks before his birthday, we asked him what kind of cake he wanted. The first thing out of his mouth? "Alligator cake mommy!" Not only that, he wanted CHOCOLATE alligator cake.


All I have to say is - thank heavens for the Internet!! Turns out that this particular endeavor isn't so hard.

I baked 2 boxes of cake mixes (Duncan Hines devil's food in case you were curious); one in a regular 9x13 rectangular pan, and one in a fluted pan (bundt pan, but not a 'real' bundt pan). Oh, and I also baked lots of cupcakes for Bug to take to school; 6 of them were used for the legs & eyes.

I cut the rectangle into a Christmas-tree like shape (the mouth is the top of the 'tree'), and the bundt cake into thirds. With the leftovers from the rectangle, I added a 2nd layer to the head, and used a bunch of pieces to assemble a tail.

Kind of ugly, isn't it? Very uneven! This is where frosting is your friend. After whipping up a batch, I used it to glue things together & level things out.

Once I'd finished that, I tinted the rest of the icing green (light green mama! dark green alligators are BAD gators! very scary!), I used my icing squirter (how do you like my use of technical jargon) to squirt the stars. Honestly, that's the quickest part of the whole endeavor!

Here's a slightly better overhead shot of him:

I used bamboo skewers (cut into thirds) to anchor the eyes to the cake at the proper angle. The spikes down his back (and the eyeballs) are some generic gummy fish. Because there's nothing like flavored plastic to complete a cake! The teeth & claws are mini-marshmallows. Turns out that if you cut them in half diagonally, they naturally have that 'sharp' point.

And we end with a shot of Bug not-so-patiently waiting for his party to start so he can eat his new friend.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Dear Bug,

On the day of your actual birthday, the modem celebrated by frying itself. So this is written just a little late. Oh well.

Happy Birthday, Big Boy!! Now you are four years old. And you have been oh-so-excited to tell everyone about it too. Any new ability you have is due to your old age. (My feet touch the floor! It's because I'm FOUR!!) I'm starting to wonder if FOUR is really a verb & not an... adjective??

You requested an alligator birthday cake, so we celebrated by pretending the house was a jungle & had some of your monkey friends come join us. Or maybe we all just acted like monkeys. Whatever. There was laughter & sugar & fun & energy galore!! In fact, between the cake we had at home & the cupcakes you brought to school, you're due for a good old-fashioned sugar crash coma any day now....

It's been lots of fun Bug. I can't quite believe I don't have a toddler in the house anymore. But, if I'm being honest, you've been a toddler in name only for quite some time now. I suppose you do have to grow up sometime, as you are fond of reminding me.

I wish a wonderful year for you Bug. I hope you still want to snuggle every so often.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday: Small Steps

1. It is not worth it to discuss - with a three year old - that the tangerine is really a tangerine & not a little orange.

2. It's way cuter to say hiccing-up.

3. Fried cheese sticks, yogurt, and steamed veggies DO hit all the major food groups.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It Had to be History Somehow...

.... or as Husband says, everything is History, so what makes today any different?

We were able to watch the inaguration speech at school today, although we missed the swearing in. I found it far more interesting watching the students than the speech though. Some of them were so incredibly enamored; some were so incredibly disgusted.... some were hoping we wouldn't catch them texting.

And now we have a new President.

Monday, January 19, 2009

If you have Facebook and hot Quaker cereal...

Just read this over on Friday Playdate:

Quaker is partnering with Share Our Strength, a network of food banks that target children. Through February 28, you can go to the Quaker Start With Substance website and enter the UPC from any Quaker hot cereal; for every UPC entered, Quaker will donate one bowl of oatmeal to Share our Strength, up to one million bowls of oatmeal.

In the interests of full disclosure, if you click on the "start with substance" link, you realize that you can only enter the UPC codes on a Facebook page. But if you have Facebook, and UPCs, you can go enter them. Actually, even if you don't have UPCs, Quaker's posted one for you to use too.

Sound Byte

With Bug:

Bug: Okay, I'll be the baby and you be the Mommy?
Me: How do you know I'm the Mommy? Maybe I'm an alien? (yeah, I have no idea why I said it either!)
Bug: You're not an alien. You don't look like TE!!

How the child remembers ET when he's only seen him at Universal Studios is beyond me.

With Bird:

Bird: Mommy, what day is tomorrow?
Me: You tell me.
Bird: MONDAY!! Do we have school?
Me: Actually, no. Tomorrow is a special holiday.
Bird: Oh, okay!!


Bird: So who's going to come over?
Me: Erm...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday in small steps

1. Took down Christmas tree & all other decorations except for trains.

2. Kids helped take ornaments down & none were broken.

3. Deep cleaned half of kitchen & threw away lots of things we don't use anymore.

4. Husband took kids to the park, and I got to take a lovely hot shower with no audience.

5. Went to book club with other teachers from school. Can't go wrong with fruit, chocolate , and a healthy discussion!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Last Year's Theme?

Heather is apparently one of many who have decided to reflect upon their posts for 2008. The idea is that you take the first sentence of the first post of each month in 2008 and see if you notice any pattern or common theme. Sounds like this could be fun or dangerous. Perhaps both.

January: Happy New Year!
(yes, let's start off in a jolly party tone! I'm always up for fireworks.)

February: I found myself perusing my gigantic stack of magazines yesterday, when I came across this snippet (that I'm now paraphrasing cause I already recycled the magazine).
(ohhh.... trashy magazine reading.... haven't done any of that since this summer's road trip!)

March: I took a cute little punctuation quiz.
(And came out a colon. And then the room falls silent as we all think of inappropriate responses to that statement.)

April: Do you celebrate April Fool's Day?
(Just a little joke I played on my students. It went fantastically!)

May: Hmmm.... where could Bug be hiding??
(Got to love the mind of a three year old!)

June: Today, I've been slowly trying to go through the photos on my camera disk and clean them off the disk.
(Which reminds me... it's about that time again...)

July: WHOOP WHOOP - we've returned to the East!!
(when we crossed back to the East side of the Mississippi River after having driven out to the Grand Canyon.)

August: It's that time of year again: Preplanning - preparing for another year of school.
(Ugh. Starting on a Friday did stink. But hey, at least we just didn't have a workday this spring; got to jump right into classes without a second thought!)

September: Apparently, I just need some really good prompt ideas for blog entries these days.
(In which I discuss my labors on Labor Day.)

October: Imagine the scenario: a student (not mine) disobeys a teacher (not me), and the teacher writes him up.
(the first time some deep thought show up in this list! But I was rather fond of this post.)

November: Last night, Husband & I watched the new Indiana Jones movie.
(mmmm.... Harrison Ford....)

December: Perhaps my favorite field trip (I'm ignoring the fact that it's my ONLY field trip!) is where I take my physics class to a theme park to study all the different types of rides.
(And it was so much fun!!!)

I think it's safe to say.... this blog's theme? FLUFFY.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year

Hello and Happy 2009!!!

I must say, we had a fantastic holiday. Had some family over for the holiday itself, and for the most part, everything was low-key and went smoothly. The day after Christmas, we packed up the kids & spent the past week in a condo across town - a "vacation at home," so to speak. It was wonderful - no computers, no work, and no obligations - just spending time alone with each other.

So here we are, on the tip of a new year. I suppose I could say something pithy, like 'here we are, on the edge of something new & full of promise'. But really, isn't that true of every day?

For whatever reason, as I catch up on my reading... I repeatedly see folks setting goals & making resolutions. I'm not a fan of making resolutions (I break them all too quickly), and I do set goals, but it's on a constant revisionist basis.

Then this post came to mind. Yes, from two years ago. For those who'd rather not click over, the gist of the article challenged readers to pick one word as your theme for the new year.

I didn't think much of it that year (considering she posted rather late in 2007 for resolutions), and I didn't really want to do it last year either.

And yet, a word has been weighing on my mind for a while now, and I think the time has come to designate my theme for the year.


I rather wonder at the motivation of some of my decisions as of late, and have decided that living a life of fear - in any form - is not worth it.

We should be running towards something, rather than running away from something. There really is a difference.

So, my theme as my goal has been set, and here are some verses to help remind me of my focus throughout the course of the year:

Romans 8:15 - For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

I John 4: 17-19 - By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.

Philippians 1:27-28 - Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.