Monday, June 30, 2008

The Daily Shower Wars

The kids have made getting into stuff a tradition while I shower. Too bad I shower each morning. This is getting old.

Today I come out of the shower to find an entire storage cabinet emptied, all my sewing thread unraveled, the caps off the craft paint & all over Avery, and all the ribbon unrolled. They literally dismantled every craft supply I have. I then noticed that the TV was on, but the screen was blank. It turns out the screensaver had been activated, because the kids had found the remote and changed the TV to the Spice Channel. Yes, that is an "adult" channel. Thank goodness it's pay-per-view and they couldn't see anything!! I just get so tired of them doing things like this every single day. Today I had to pawn them off on my mom because I'd had enough by 10 am.

I try to reason with them. I tell them that mommy gets so mad at them for being bad and doing what they shouldn't, but mommy wants to be nice to them and happy with them all the time. I try begging them. I try bribing them. I try shock - "why are you watching that channel?? That has bad things on it!" Abby's response? "Will we learn to do things to other people by watching that channel? Don't worry, we only watched the good parts, not the bad ones." What a relief...

Nothing, and I mean nothing I've tried works. They get into something every single time I shower. I really like to shower, I'd hate to give it up. I also think Daniel would hate to see (or smell) me give it up, too. But the kids get more and more dangerous by the day. Saturday morning I walk into the kitchen after my shower, and find Avery on the counter. He has every single knife out of my knife block, lotion squirted all over the counter, and he's trying to "cut" the lotion with the knives. I had the baby gate up, but he just knocked it down.

Maybe this makes my kids seem like big brats. They're really not - just when I shower. But I'm writing this out of desperation. What can I do? I need ideas. Has anyone gone through this? Did it ever end??

Friday, June 27, 2008

Learning from TV

Today while I watched TV with my kids, I learned a lot. I learned that Abby wants to go to the Cayman Islands this summer. After all, she "told me that!" ...I must have forgotten. I learned that all kids are super special. I also learned that if a kid wants to be a donkey, then you're a jerk if you don't let him.

Apparently Kai-Lan's friends are all super special, and one of them is only super special if he's dressed as a donkey. His horrible friends were playing safari, and let some other kid play the donkey. It turns out that every single kid in the world is special somehow - some can jump super high, some can run super fast, some are super smart. So anyway, this kid wants to be the donkey and he wasn't, so what did he do? Of course, he got the heck outta there. Why even hang around your friends if they won't give you exactly what you want, anytime you want it?? The kids were concerned, so they went after him and figured out the problem. They decided to take turns being the donkey and everyone was happy.

What else did I learn from that? The same thing my kids probably learned - if you don't get what you want, throw a fit or sulk until you do. It works, just ask Kai-Lan and her friend. These are just awesome skills to teach our kids. It goes right along with the "nobody loses" idea that is permeating schools and soccer fields everywhere. Our kids are so super special, they deserve to never lose and never be without what they desire.

Umm... Didn't the Bible say to "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves," (Phil. 2:3)? It sounds to me like Kai Lan missed the boat on this one. Personally, I would rather teach my kids what God thinks than what some cartoon Japanese girl thinks.

Although I do think my kids are pretty special - maybe even super special. But that's for my mind to think - I don't expect everyone else in the world to agree or recognize this specialness every second of the day. If my kids want to be a donkey, but someone else is already a donkey, then I would say, "too bad - guess you're the giraffe instead." After all, are there even donkeys in the Savannah at all?

My kids are special to me, but they don't need special treatment from teachers and other kids and other adults because of it. Instead, I aspire to make my kids normal. That's right - just like kids are supposed to be, and have been for centuries. Even Jesus was a normal kid at some point. Why can't we just celebrate the kid in our kids, instead of always looking for something that makes them better than other kids? I've talked about this before, on a mommy level. Read this to see what I have to say on the matter. Because I'm so darn super special myself.

Now if I could just learn why all of Kai Lan's animal friends have only one tooth, but her human friends have no teeth...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Hidden Picture

I went into Abby's room to check on Avery, who was supposed to be taking a nap. I opened the door and found this (and yes, the room was clean when he went in there!):

Notice the red blanket. Can you see Avery under there?

Here's a closer view:

Pretty tricky, that boy...


I found this great website with recipes for a few different kinds of glue. I'm making the decoupage glue to decorate a table I got for Abby - I love the "as-is" section of Ikea! That's right, I've learned to not completely hate all things Ikea. It's a nice store if you stay downstairs.

Back to the glue. The stamp glue recipe at the bottom of the page sounds awesome. My kids love licking things, so I will definitely be trying that one out. If anyone tries out the other recipes, let me know how they turn out.

Glue, glue, glue.

Money Can't Buy Happiness - But Gum Can!

The whole getting-into-things-we-shouldn't-as-mommy-showers thing is getting very, very old. Nearly every day the kids do something to ruin something while I shower. I'm thinking I'll have to shower at night instead, or at 5 in the morning, or something...

Today they got into my purse while I was in the shower. The boys squeezed out all my good hand cream all over my rug (yes, the rug, again). They then used my credit cards (and my CVS Extra Care card!!) to scrape up the lotion, and rubbed it back into the rug. Avery also enjoyed chewing lots of gum while I was showering.

When I saw it, I punished Avery and took away the gum he had in his hand. He started crying, of course. I then made him go potty while he threw a little fit. After he actually went potty, I figured I may as well reward him with the gum he had already opened. He then told me:

"I'm happy now, because I have gum."

And the tears stopped.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How to Entertain a 2 Year Old for an Hour

Summer Camp at Home day #... I don't know. But we made sock puppets and it kept Avery happy for quite a while. It seems 2 year olds don't just like sock puppets on their hands, they are also funny on their feet. 4 year olds seem to like sock puppets filled with buttons.

Look Closely

Can you spot the hidden picture?

The Out of Doors

We went hiking Saturday. Things like this really tell you what kind of temperament your kids have, and how much they like the outdoors. Turns out none of my kids enjoying falling on their faces onto a pile of rocks (go figure), they all love orange day lilies, and one of them loves peeing in the woods (and another one gets jealous of the one who gets to pee in the woods). We also learned that Ethan tends to roll if he falls down near a pond.

We only hiked a total of 1/2 mile, but it sure took long enough to be at least 3 miles. The kids did really well, and especially liked the creeks they got to walk through and the bridges we crossed. We also saw some dead and stuffed animals in the nature center, and a real (alive) chipmunk and frog.

We even got a family picture!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Take 5.

Because sometimes you just need a juice and Teddy Grahams break. Yes, that's a laptop next to him - he writes this blog, after all.


This is my official 100th post!

Gee, I really don't have anything to add to that.

So, getting back to the summer theme I've had going on for a few weeks... I've noticed that alot of the things I mentioned in my last post about my childhood are now considered "incorrect". Like catching fireflies and minnows - now you have to "catch and release" fireflies and minnows. Sprinklers waste water, and shouldn't be used. Bubble solutions are bad for the environment and shouldn't be used outdoors where they could run off into the water supply. Even making a birdhouse is dangerous - if the holes are not the perfect size, the birds will get stuck and die. If you make your own hummingbird food, you have to perfectly sterilize the water and use distilled water, lest you cause teeny tiny tummy aches.

So my recommendation? Let your kids have fun and do what you did as a child - just don't disclose all the details to everyone. Umm... Like on a blog, or something... It's not that I don't care about the environment, it's just that I think we have bigger fishes to fry than fireflies and bubbles.

Here's a recipe for the perfect bubble solution and the homemade hummingbird nectar:

Foolproof Bubbles

Simply stir together 6 parts water, 2 parts Joy dishwashing liquid (this brand works the best), and 3/4 part corn syrup. Store in a covered container.

Hummingbird Nectar

4 parts water / 1 part sugar

Bring water to a boil and stir in sugar. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Let cool. Excess nectar / hummingbird food can be stored in a tightly covered jar in refrigerator for one week.

Do NOT substitute honey for sugar!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Childhood and the Quest for the Perfect Summer

Well it's definitely summertime. It's hot, school's out, and getting soaking wet is part of our daily routine. The calendar may not say it's "officially" summer until June 21, but my reading material lately says otherwise. It seems that everywhere you look, there are articles and memoirs and stories about summer and what it means to adults and their children. Stories of summer memories and activities, and even instructions on how to do things like catch fireflies and build sandcastles.

Do we really need instructions on how to be kids? Although I find myself wanting to recreate my best summer memories with my kids, I'm also learning that I don't have to teach them to do these wonderful summery things. The kids discovered fireflies all on their own (and aren't they always the ones who see that first light?), and they started scooping dirt and mud into trucks and pots all by themselves. They picked a dandelion and automatically knew to blow on it and subsequently plant 1,000,000 more dandelions in my yard. No one showed Abby how to swing from that vine at the park, but today she did. I didn't even have to show them how to run through the sprinkler (although I did, anyway, because it's more fun that way).

So as I read through these articles of how to create the perfect bubble solution and mix just the right amount of dirt and water for the best mud pie, I think "Great! I need to tear this out and do it with the kids!" I gather the ingredients and tools, and show them. They're interested as I create it, but when I show them what to do they always seem to have a better way of doing it. A way that gets them messier and louder, and actually seems to make more sense after I see it.

So I started thinking about my summers as a kid, and what I was taught and what I already knew. I remember things like playing hide and seek in the dark, ducking behind parked cars. I remember hiking in the mountains when it was so hot and dry that you don't even sweat. I remember swimming in my little blow-up pool after twilight, while my mom grilled hamburgers for a late dinner. There were fireflies, slip n' slides, and catching minnows in paper cups at the creek. As I think about summer and my childhood, I realize why it's such a well-covered topic in magazines and memoirs. It really is a great time of year - I had just forgotten until I had a 4 year old.

Now my summer days are filled with activities and crafts and things to learn. I feel like summer is so short, and my kid's childhood lasts for only a little while. I want my kids to discover what I discovered over 20 years ago. I want my kids to see what my husband saw as a boy - even if I think most of it was dangerous and scary. It's all part of growing up and staying a child.

I never realized the importance of reminiscing and discovering and showing until I had kids. And now I can't go a day without remembering and planning the next day of summer. Welcome to yet another essay on summer memories.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Avery's Song

Please notice of the lyrics of the chorus of this song. They are:
" Take my life
take my mind
take my soul
take my will
I am yours now, and I give it all to you"

Yet, Avery has his own version:
"Take my life
Take my wiggles
Take my Abby
I love her."

I'm not sure which I like best.

My Mistake

What do I think is the biggest mistake I've ever made? Easy - Asking for more patience. I pray all the time that God will give me more patience and self control with my kids and with other people. So how does God seem to be answering that prayer? By giving me opportunity after opportunity to exercise patience.

Yesterday was the chocolate syrup incident. Today it was the complete fridge emptying incident. This will also be known as the eating of all the cold hot dogs incident. And every single day, Avery dumps out every toy in Abby's room. I did take all her toys away, practically, but the baby dolls and the books remain - and they continue to get dumped out into the middle of the floor at least once a day.

I also had to re-clean that doll house bath tub. Someone decided to scoop dirt into it in the front yard. They were then sent inside, where they dumped all the plastic craft beads all over their room, and all the stamps and stamp pads.

Never, ever, ever, ask God for more patience.

Monday, June 16, 2008

We're Out of Chocolate Syrup.

This morning started out great. I got to sleep in a little, sort of, since Ethan woke up early and wanted to lie in bed with me and sleep a little longer on my arm. Abby and Avery were being good. They were just sitting on the couch watching Playhouse Disney like little angels. At least that's what I thought they were doing...

Ethan finally wakes up, and we head into the living room. Abby and Avery were playing together very well and having tons of fun. Unfortunately, my living room was covered in chocolate and strawberry syrup. Apparently, the kids thought the doll house people and the baby dolls would enjoy a nice chocolate spa treatment. They filled the doll house bath tub and baby cradles with the syrup, and one by one they dunked the dolls.

So I had to wash my couch slipcover, give 2 kids a bath, wash about 10 towels, scrub the carpet, and wipe off the throw pillows - all before 8:30 in the morning. I know Daniel is going to ask me if I got any pictures. No. No I did not. Things like this are only funny long after they happen.

Right now my rug is outside drying - even though it's not "washable". My driveway is the baby doll drying zone. But on the bright side, the doll house people and the baby dolls are just blown away at how soft and supple their skin is after the spa treatment.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Remember your baby's first steps? Her first words? Maybe even her first tooth or solid food or whatever? What about the first time she moons the entire neighborhood?

What? That's just my baby?

Well, today started out normal. We were outside doing some art work, which we needed to wash off afterwards with a hose. that led to hosing off the driveway, which led to kids spraying each other with a hose. That led to running through the sprinkler fully clothed. And that somehow led to Abby pulling down her skirt and mooning the neighborhood.

So I tried to hide my smile, because come on, it's funny, and made the kids go inside for lunch. How do women go from thinking it's okay to show your bare butt in the front yard to being ashamed to wear a swimsuit in public?

Here are some non-nude photos of the sprinkler fun:


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Best Intentions...

Of course, Summer Camp at Home was supposed to start last week. It didn't. Daniel was in Philadelphia for work all week, we didn't have a fully usable kitchen, and Avery and I got food poisoning. We decided to start this week instead. Well, Monday ended up being an "out day" because we went to the zoo with some friends. Yesterday was I guess... a science day...? Abby was bad all morning and refused and refused to clean her room. You know, the battle of everyday again. So I had to finally take away her arts and crafts day for punishment. But, as the boys napped in the afternoon, she reformed herself. So I filled up various buckets and bins with water, placed them in the driveway with cups and straws and bottles, and told the kids to have fun.

It's amazing how every kid reacts differently to such open-ended games. Ethan hesitantly began splashing. Avery filled up bottles and cups, then poured them back into the buckets, and filled them again. Abby immediately started baking a "cake" for a surprise party she was planning. Apparently it's my birthday again. Surprise!

Today I had planned to do the library and movie day, but alas, these things do not start until next week. So I think we'll still do the library day to sign up for the summer reading program, but not to listen to a story.

On the bright side, the kids are behaving much better today. They also have no toys - I took them all away yesterday. Maybe there's a connection here...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pipes and Such

I know, I know, some of you (well, at least one of you) are just dying to know what "major thing" Daniel did to our house these past few weeks. Well, he's actually been remodeling the kitchen. I mean tear-down-the-walls-to-the-studs remodeling. AND, he's doing a great job. I would even say he's almost finished. We went a few days without water, a few days without hot water, a few days without a washer and dryer, a few days washing dishes in the bath tub, and now we have all those things and more! Avery is still living in Abby's room, though - poor baby.

Actually, if you want to know the truth, Daniel didn't really get this far on his own. Ethan helped a lot. Here he is showing Daniel how to hook up the sink:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Daddy's Day Out

I was watching an old episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond," and noticed something really interesting. In this episode, Raymond took his sons on a "Daddy Day," which means he took them to his golf club and played golf while they played in the sand trap and chased golf balls into the pond. The boys had a great time, and to quote Raymond quoting the boys, "ya - hoo."

This reminded me an awful lot of my own sweet Daniel and the times he takes the kids out without me. There was just recently when he took Avery to get his hair cut. They stopped at the park on the way home - so Daniel could play basketball. BUT the boy did have fun. Then there was the time Daniel took Abby to the park to play, and he ended up just happening to have that basketball in the trunk and tennis shoes on. Surprise! There was also a basketball court at that park.

I've had this conversation with Daniel before. I say he shouldn't take the kids somewhere that is for him and disguise it as a fun time at the park for the kids. He feels differently, and I bet a lot of dads do. Daniel thinks basketball is fun for the kids, since they're out and at the park. Truthfully, I've never heard the kids complain - and trust me, Abby can complain. After all, there are a lot of dads out there that never, ever take their kids anywhere. Also, when Daniel takes the kids to the basketball courts *ahem* I mean the park, I get a nice break.

So, what works for me when the kids are bored is this: send them away. Better yet, send them away with Daddy. Even better-er yet-er, let the poor guy have fun, too.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Cheeseburger

For some reason, this is just really funny to me. If you don't watch the office, and if you don't listen closely to the lyrics, it probably won't be as funny.

By the way, Abby says Jim Halpert looks like Daniel in this video. I have been known to say that Jim Halpert is quite *ahem* handsome, yet cannot compare to Daniel in handsomeness. I guess Abby disagrees...

Don't worry, Daniel - you're still my cheeseburger, and there are no half price bacon and eggs for me!

** I found this on The Natural Mommy and had to share!

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