Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Unexpected Trip

Last week, Daniel's grandmother passed away. While that's horrible, it did allow me and the kids an opportunity to meet Daniel's family in New Orleans. The kids had never been down there, and so they also got to visit a new place.

At first we just visited with family and hung out around our temporary home (a nice house with just a card table, four lawn chairs, and three air mattresses in it). The kids got sort of bored doing this, and started to climb the walls. Literally.

So, Daniel and I decided to take the kids over the river to see the sites. We hopped on the ferry (just pretend that this is in the right order), and headed over to the city. Since it was a balmy 104 degrees out, and about 200% humidity, the wind felt extra good blowing on our faces.

We headed over to City Park, but unfortunately, there were pigeons at the park. We had to leave soon after we got there, because all those pigeons were trying to talk us into letting them drive the bus.

Once we headed back to Daniel's family's house, we were in for a big surprise - crawfish! Everyone was getting set up for a big crawfish/crab/shrimp boil. Yummy! Avery helped get everything ready, by rinsing off the live crawfish.

Abby was super grateful that Avery did this, because then she got to eat the crawfish! Don't worry, this picture is just for show - we removed the shells before she actually ate any.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yes, I Do Still Exist

Yes, I'm here. It's just summer... And I've been trying to keep the kids busy and get some long put-off projects finished. Like right now, for instance. I'm blogging, making lunch, trying to finish a birthday gift for my Mumsy, making a grocery list, compiling coupons, and holding Ethan. Talk about multi-tasking!

And so I will blog again. Soon? I have no idea. But I do have some thoughts floating around in my head that I would love to share.

Until then, I'll leave you with these questions:

  • Why is ‘abbreviation’ such a long word?

  • What is an occasional table the rest of the time?

  • Does God believe that there are atheists?

  • What would a burger of ham be called?

  • Why does your nose run and your feet smell?

  • What did the designer of the drawing board go back to when his/her original design was a failure?

  • Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

  • Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?

  • Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there... I'm gonna eat the next thing that comes outta its bum." ?

  • If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Music For Kids

Sadly, there are people out there who do not like kid's music. Daniel sent me an article today about this very subject, where the author complained about bands such as The Wiggles and the Laurie Berkner Band. Personally, I think kid's music has taken quite a turn since my Raffi days (over 20 years ago). There's actually some very good music out there for kids these days. Not that Raffi wasn't good. I'm just saying that his songs get stuck in your head in a bad way, and now there are kid's songs that get stuck in your head in a good way.

So why, then, does McDonald's insist on putting CDs like Kidz Bop in their Happy Meals?? Abby rarely gets Happy Meals these days, since we're trying not to eat fast food that much. Well, the other day I gave in and bought the kids Happy Meals. Inside I find that CD. And do you know what was on that CD? Songs about boyfriends and money, but sung by kids. There was even one controversial song on the CD that is arguably about a very adult feeling. In other words - nothing that I want my kids to hear.

But, back to the good kid's music. Here are a few of my favorites, along with some new ones that the article introduced me to.

The first one, by The Board of Education, actually addresses a great mystery that I've pondered since I was five...

Now for one of my absolute favorite children's musicians, Dan Zanes. He's pretty awesome, and you can catch his videos every now and then on the Disney Channel, then head to Starbucks to buy them!

And my favorite Dan Zanes song, "Smile":

Now a favorite from my teenage years - Reality Bites, anyone? Here's Lisa Loeb, now doing kid's stuff:

Even though I'm pretty sure this is the type of kid's music that the article was condemning, I really like this song. The kids and I love to sing it, and look forward to hearing it every day on Noggin.

Maybe on Halloween I'll share my favorite Candy Corn song with you guys! Until then, open your eyes up a little bit to kid's music. It's fun, almost always about a positive subject matter, and I don't think you'll have to worry too much about curse words (!).

Are there any other good ones I missed?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Some Thoughts on Riding the School Bus

First of all, I would like to say that my kids will never ride the school bus. Never. No matter what Daniel says, no matter how much he thought it was okay as a kid, no matter what anyone else says.

Now, I did not get molested on a school bus as a kid, or anything like that. I just do not like the idea of my kids riding the school bus. To better understand why I feel so strongly about this, I'm going to try and analyze my own past to find the source of this dislike.

But first, I would like to let you know that Daniel rode the school bus in Thibodaux, Louisiana for years, and still thinks that it is okay for our kids to do the same. His bus riding stories are all full of him getting in trouble, being rude to the driver, or seeing other kids fistfight on the bus. To be perfectly honest, I'm pretty sure that Daniel was one of those kids that I'm trying to keep away from my kids by not letting them ride the bus.

Now, onto my bus-riding past...

I only rode the bus in the Playas, New Mexico area (in the middle of the desert), and for about an hour and a half each day, and only from second grade through fourth grade. Yes, I was able to form such a strong opinion about school buses in only 3 years. After all, I did have to travel 60 miles a day round trip in that thing.

One of my earliest memories riding the bus involves a seven year old me, an older (12, maybe) boy, and a yellow dress. I walked onto the bus that morning, and sat by myself in the usual spot. The boy (who I knew), came and sat across from me. We talked a little, and then he reached over and lightly touched the hem of my yellow dress. "That's a really nice fabric," he said. At the time, this was highly disturbing to me, although I never told anyone about it. Now it doesn't bother me as much. However, if I were to put Abby in my place, then the whole scene is even more disturbing to me than it was when I was seven years old. No one, and I mean no one had better ever touch my daughter's hem.

Next, I remember being on the bus, in the back. I was one of the last kids to be let off the bus, and so the bus was nearly empty. There was a boy I knew (but not that well) that was getting off the bus at a different stop that day, and so he was riding in the back with me. Suddenly, he sits next to me, grabs my shoulders, and kisses me. I was nine, he was ten. That guy ended up forgetting about this and eventually marrying a girl I once went to church with, but me? I was disturbed by the incident, and still am. Would I want this to happen to Abby? Nope.

I can also vividly remember a time when I took the school bus home, and noticed that my friend Sarah was not on the return trip with me. I got off at my stop, went up to my door and could not get in. The door was locked, my mom's car was not in there, and I panicked. Around the same time, my friend Sarah's mom pulled up, looking for her daughter. Apparently, the school had gotten a call from my mom, asking them to send Sara home with a friend (on another bus). They instead sent Sarah. She was at a stranger's house with my mom, and I was alone at my house with her mom. Now, I know this was only a mistake, and those things happen... But I really don't know what Abby would do if she got to our house and no one was here, aside from curling into a ball and sobbing.

Three nice school bus horror stories, no? Yet, I have one more...

It was a hot, hot, hot (did I mention I lived in the desert?) September day. I was riding home on the school bus, when I was thrown into the seat in front of me, and heard a loud screech/thump/crash. My school bus driver curses, loudly. I look in front of the bus and see a horse trailer on it's side. Yup, my bus driver hit a horse. And a trailer.

This naturally caused a delay. A 3 hour delay. And it was hot. There was a near-dead horse on the road. And I was eight years old.

Finally, finally, the accident was cleared up, the horse shot dead (though not in front of us), and we continued home to our bus stops. My mom was actually not that upset, because I guess someone had notified her that everyone was okay or something. However, I can picture the whole thing rather clearly in my mind, to this day. Now don't worry - that school bus driver stopped driving buses about 2 years later, after he ran over his own nephew with a school bus. But really, even with that guy no longer driving buses, I still don't want Abby, Avery, or Ethan on one of those giant yellow deathtraps.

*phew* Now that was painful. But tell me, am I over-reacting? Would you (or do you) want your kids to set foot on a bus after hearing these stories, much less experiencing these stories firsthand? Daniel laughs at me, but my kids will never - no, not ever - ride on a school bus. Period.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That Itches.

Have you ever had one of those days? It's definitely been "one of those days" for some of us in this household today. One of us actually woke themselves from a deep sleep this morning by falling out of the bed, while simultaneously biting three of their fingers and a lip. Thank goodness that wasn't me! I would feel really silly for that one, but it's okay for a three year old Avery to do it.

Another one of us woke up covered in poison ivy. That one would be me. Which reminds me...

It's my fault that Avery is so "active," as Daniel and I call him. Yup, I had poison ivy so badly while pregnant with Avery, that I had no choice but to risk taking the prescribed steroids to get rid of it. I get severe reactions to poison ivy - like severe enough to scare the doctor - and it just gets worse when I'm also pregnant. When I took the steroids, I worried that Avery would end up huge when he born, or at least come out as a mini-jock with a football in his hand and a crewcut on his head. But alas, he did not. Now that he is three, though, I can see what the steroids did to him. They made his little three year old body think it is a sixteen year old body constantly playing football, and so he cannot hold still.

So, even though I refuse to use an epidural while giving birth because I fear it will hurt my baby, and I refuse to give my kids formula because I fear what it might do to them, I sure will give them steroids while they are still fetuses. Because, after all, I was itchy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Introducing.... The Cutest Ethan, EVER.

So, this little guy has gotten quite cute lately. Not that he wasn't already cute, but now with the talking and the facial expressions and the cuteness - he's become unbelievably cute to me. I can see that these are his last days of babyhood, so I wanted to share with you guys just how cute he is. Here's a video of Ethan talking (including some bonus Abby and Avery bickering in the background):

Our Vacation

Last month we took a... vacation? I guess it was a vacation, even though it seemed way too short and we only traveled five hours to get here. But the kids seemed to have fun, nonetheless. Here are some pictures:

Ethan's first time in a cave. Coincidentally, it was also his first time sucking his thumb. Maybe the dark was a little too much for him... Or it could have been the white crawfish and "cave spiders."


Abby has a new love for birds. *sigh* I hate birds. But, she got to feed some on vacation, and has talked about birds a lot since then. Too bad no bird will ever, ever enter our house.


And then we tried to feed Avery to a lion. Turns out it was a fake, bronze lion. *phew* That was close.


We visited a life-sized Athena Parthenos. Abby was quite taken by Athena, but I'm not sure if it was her size (41 feet), her gildedness, or something else. I think Abby will end up an artist one day.


Monday, May 18, 2009

You Think They'll Forget That?

It seems that my kids never forget anything. Unless, of course, it's something that I've told them to do...

Yesterday, we all got in the van, buckled in (or so I thought), and I backed out of the driveway. As soon as we hit the street, Ethan starts crying hysterically. I slow down, look back to see what's wrong, and he's pulling at his carseat buckle. Which, by the way, is not fastened. He was crying because he thought the world might end or something if he left the driveway with no seat belt on. Don't worry, I stopped and Daniel buckled Ethan in.

This is very similar to Avery's fear of falling out of the car if he does not wear a seat belt. He's dreamed a couple times that he did fall out, and that we kept on driving and left him on the road. Now how pitiful is that? And all because I told him once that he had to wear a seat belt, because it keeps him from falling out of the car!

Abby's memory has always amazed us, too. She remembers every detail of her 2nd birthday, from how the cake was made and decorated, to who was there, and what presents she received. She also has a very vivid memory of the time she spilled an entire gallon of white paint on our brand new bathroom tile and ruined it. Daniel hosed her off, and that is something you just never forget, I guess.

So now I've realized how careful we have to be about letting the kids see things on TV that might later affect them. One time Abby walked in the living room while Daniel and I were watching The Simpsons. They just happened to say a** as she walked in, and she laughed and repeated it. She had never heard the word before, but we were afraid of her remembering it in preschool two days later. Fortunately, we never had a problem with that one.

However, a week ago she walked into the living room while we were watching The Soup. Due to some weird freak of nature, the clip on at the time was of an outdoorsy guy tasting... bear excrement... to find out what the bear had been eating. This made me sick, but it absolutely delighted Abby! Now she has been mentioning it every day or so for the past week. I wonder if her Kindergarten teacher has heard about the guy who eats bear poop? Wonderful...

I've really got to be careful with these guys and their darn memories!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New School

I'm kickin it new school now. Not really - I'm actually just talking about Abby going to a new school next year. You remember how I stressed over sending Abby to Kindergarten at a public school or a private school? Well, I did decide on the private school, since the Kindergarten was half-day. But now that full day school is just around the corner, and Avery is also about to start school, followed by Ethan in a couple years... I've just realized that we cannot keep paying to give our kids an education.

And so, Abby is heading off to public school for first grade. To ease my anxiety a little - oh yeah, and Abby's anxiety - Daniel, the kids, and I went to her new school last week to register her and to take a tour. The school is brand new, and has a cute little music room, art room, and a library. I'm actually excited that she will be going there, and that she'll be going there for a full day. I think that Abby will get to enjoy things like music class and art class more when she has more than 3 hours to her school day.

But, the issue of lunch still exists. I will not be the one feeding her, making sure she eats well, making sure she eats the good stuff before the snacky stuff... It's so hard to let your kids go in certain areas. For me, it's food. I won't know if she's eating nothing, a hotdog covered in frosting, or just a cookie for lunch. All I can do is pack it, or send money for it, and then the rest is up to her. I think I'm going to need to stock up on after-school snacks around here.

Also, Avery heads off to preschool this fall. Can you believe it? My little blue-eyed baby is going to school. I'm sad to see him go, but he is just so ready for it. I took him to his preschool to register him and let him visit the classrooms, and he wasn't at all afraid. He walked right up to everyone, talked like he had known them for years, and then went into the classrooms and exumed dinosaur bones (rotini pasta) from the sandbox like a professional palentologist.

This is the same preschool that Abby went to last year, so maybe he just feels at home there, you might say. But no, when we took Abby on the tour of her new school, he did the same thing. He was totally ready to join the second graders in music class, and make Mother's Day cards with the first graders. He walked around like he owned that school, even though he was only the second smallest kid in the entire building. That kid has guts, that's for sure. He's really not afraid of anything, other than Ethan's growling and the hand vaccuum.

So, now I'm trying to slowly let myself adjust to idea of having only one kid with me three days a week. That will be quite a change. I'm expecting to adjust to it around the time Ethan starts school, and then I'll have no kids all day. But still, the idea of having another baby hasn't completely left my mind...

As Wrong as Pants on a Trout

Thanks to Curious George for that title.

I've been told by my hundreds (or a couple at least) of my fans (okay, family members) that they just do not know me anymore since I've slowed down the blogging. Well, I used to make it my goal to write at least one blog post every week day, but then life got a little more lifey, and something had to go. However, since I finally finished the past semester (college, you know), I have found myself with a teeny bit more time on my hands. Also, pretty soon Abby will be out of school for the summer, and that frees up a lot more time.

And so, I've decided to try and start blogging regularly again. I'm starting with telling you guys about everything the kids, Daniel, and I did while I was not blogging. That's actually a lot of stuff, so I'll try to leave out all the toothbrushing and eating of lunches, and basically all of the redundant stuff we do every day. But, if you've ever read my blog before, you probably realize that I like to write about that stuff, so that promise may not be kept after all.

But either way, I've realized that my not blogging is as wrong as pants on a trout - at least to me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Guest Post - Daniel, Again

*** Please enjoy this new guest post from my husband, Daniel. Apparently, he had a very different experience on vacation than I did. ***



Although my anger has subsided a bit since I’ve first came across the Tawny Frogmouth Owl, I am still somewhat bewildered, as I’m still trying to understand the reason for its existence. Give me a minute to retell the tale of this asinine experience, as it represents just a couple minutes of one day of our grand vacation to Nashville.

We stopped at a little zoo in southern Kentucky that specializes in animals from Australia. Kangaroos, dingoes, and lorikeets were all very popular animals to visit. However, when we meandered to the aviary to see the laughing Kookaburra, the most unsuspecting thing happened to me! I saw it! I wondered, “Is that just a head of a hawk? This must be a mistake! Someone must have forgotten to clean the cage when they were cutting the heads from the bodies of the owls. Wait? They don’t do that at zoos!!!”

Dumbfounded I stared. But then it looked at me and that’s when I got scared. I screamed, “Sara, it’s alive! Where’s the bird’s body? Where’s his wing?! Where’s his feet?!!” As he stared at me, I felt as if he was thinking, “not this again.” I felt as if he went through this day after day and was resentful not only to me but the entire human population (or at least Kentucky’s). I felt him hating me as our eyes locked momentarily. I could have felt pity, but I didn’t. My bemusement turned quickly to anger because of his ill-will toward me.

I did not want to ever see this creature again. I wanted rid of him from the earth. Predators, poachers, hunters, bored teenagers, global warming do your worst to this bodiless thing! But as I’ve said before, I am less upset now that I’ve had time to adjust.

If you know of any other animals that are equally heinous, please share because I do not want to go through that ever again. You know, things like wiener dogs without legs (they just look like a hot dog that barks), a turtle without a shell, people with eleven fingers (and the eleventh isn’t necessarily on either hand), cats with no ears (they exist!).

Big Kid Beds

So, about three months ago, we bought "big kid beds" for Abby and Avery. Since Abby was five years old, we figured it was weird for her to still sleep in a toddler bed (even though she fit just fine). Also, her friend came over one day and said, "Wow, Abby. You have a small bed." Like in a monotone "wow" voice, not in a mocking voice, but still....

And so we headed out to Ikea, because I love that place, and found ourselves some new beds. We ended up finding two identical twin beds, but in white for Abby and in black for Avery. Avery's was on sale, but Abby's was not. Apparently they weren't identical after all. But they are cute, and they are big kid beds.

Now I'm slowly, slowly decorating the rooms and trying to make one of them sporty (my choice) and the other one fancy (Abby's choice). The fancy room is also supposed to be a princess room, but I'm not into themes such as that and we're compromising. Compromising as in, "I'm doing what I want, because I have the money in my wallet."

So here are a few pictures to let you know what I'm going for:

This is the color scheme, but my camera is hard to adjust to get a true picture. I think they look much prettier in person. They've got the colors right and the theme, so I love them. I got these signs clearanced at Michael's, so the thrifty side of me is happy as well.

This is the big girl bed. The comforter is a leftover from the toddler bed, but it sort of fits into the color scheme, though not the princess theme. For now, it works, but I hope to make her another quilt eventually. But you can ask my mom, Abby shouldn't hold her breath on that one.

And this is another sign that I made for Abby's room. I found all the wood picture cut-out thingies clearanced at Michael's, and the white board was in the "Handyman" section of Ikea. Another thrifty decoration! You can also see the pretty lavendar color we painted the walls in this picture.


Has anyone else been decorating lately? I would love to get links to your blog and see the pictures if so!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Shouldn't Be Surprised

I don't know why I wasn't expecting it this morning when Avery woke me up at 6:36. I don't know why I was surprised. After all, this is the same kid who stuck one of these (the little ball thingies) up his nose just two months ago:

This is the same kid who broke his little pinkie when he was only one year old. He had a yeast infection in his eye once. I found him across the street, playing with garbage cans when he was 15 months old (and supposedly playing in his room). He was almost born in the car, for goodness sakes!

Yet, when Avery woke me up at 6:36 this morning to tell me that something was still in his ear, I was surprised. He informed me that "the thing from his dresser was in his ear," but "it doesn't hurt anymore!"

I was alarmed. I asked him what it was, exactly, in his ear, and how it had gotten there. All he knew was that it had come from inside his dresser, was circle-shaped, and white. Oh yeah, and still in his ear because he had stuck it in there.

So, instead of really trying to remove it myself, I called the doctor when the office opened. I've learned that the doctor is best at these things. We went to the doctor's office later in the morning, and he used big tweezers (forceps, as he calls them) to remove the object. Turns out it was a rubber drawer-stop thing that prevents the drawers from getting slammed. Apparently, these things are the exact same size as Avery's ear canal.

Maybe I should have expected something like this from Avery, since he did this and this. But no, I was still surprised. Even though he tried to pick up a smashed tampon in the CVS parking lot the other day, while screaming "clouds!" Yup, he continues to surprise me daily. Sometimes even hourly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Presenting... Tulips in the Snow!

Well, we woke up this morning to snow. Snow - in April? Yes, it's supposed to be Spring, but Ohio doesn't understand this. Fortunately, we did have a couple weeks of actual Springy weather before this snow got here.

Last weekend we were able to play in the yard, go to the kite festival, and fly a few kites of our own. Daniel decided to try something new, and took the training wheels off of Abby's bike for a few minutes.

Just look at the joy on her face! She went up the driveway once with Daniel, crying the whole time. She then went up the driveway with me, semi-crying, and then down the driveway with no tears. Of course, we didn't actually let go of the bike, but she then decided that she had had enough of this.

And the training wheels went back on! On the bright side, the lack of training wheels for ten minutes made her much braver on the bike once the wheels went back on. She raced me up and down the driveway a few times, winning every time.

And so it is back into the winter coats the kids go. Hopefully I can pack these away for the Spring and Summer, eventually.

If you're the type that tears up thinking about how big your kids are getting, try this:

1. Do the laundry.
2. Fold 5 pairs of your underwear.
3. Fold 5 pairs of your kid's underwear.

See? They are still small.

Monday, April 6, 2009

You Know the Feeling... Right?

You know how your kids like to ruin everything you like to do? I mean, in most ways kids make your life better. But sometimes, they just make things so hard to do. And other times, they just completely ruin things.

Like when my favorite song finally comes on the radio. I turn it up a bit to enjoy it, and inevitably, the kids either start fighting or really, really need to tell me something at that exact moment.

After I hear "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" I finally turn down the music and ask what they want. The answer is usually something like, "I really like candy!" or "I can wear my shoe on my hand!"

And very often, as soon as Daniel or I sit down to watch our favorite TV show at night, the kids need to potty or are "tirsty." Sometimes Ethan comes in the room just to tell me that he found a different color pacifier, and has decided to use that one instead of the one he went to bed with.

The kids also know how to really ruin a love of reading. They can wrinkle a page, tear it up altogether, or simply lose a book just before you decide to read. Of course, this actually has happened a couple hours in advance, but you don't realize it until you finally have 30 minutes of overlapping nap time and Abby entertaining herself time.

But what really makes these moments worse - or maybe better, I don't know - is when people who no longer have little kids tell you that you will miss these moments when the kids grow. Sure I will. I will definitely open up a book and think, "where are the crayon scribbles, wrinkles, and torn pages?" I will sit to watch a TV show and wonder what that loud sound is, and then realize that it is actually the TV show, which I can now hear. I will turn on my favorite CD and think, "I never heard that verse before!"

And then I will miss the noise, and the annoyance, and the pain in my butt.

But, alas, right now I am at still at an early first phase of parenting, where the kids drive me nuts and I cannot even imagine what my life would be like if they were not 2 and 3 and 5. But for now, I have to end this post early because the inevitable fight over whether Ethan's shirt should be zipped up or not is occurring right now, and I have to break it up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Oh! Hey! Another Big Idea!

So, I was reading this blog. Not this blog, but this blog. And you know what? I really, really like her ideas. I have this crazy 2 year old and this crazy 3 year old, and all they seem to want to do in the morning is make messes and fight. The mom that writes the blog actually home schools her kids, but the idea is very similar to what I did with Abby when she was about 18 months - 3 years old.

Okay, if you didn't check out the blog, then I'll tell you what it is about. Sheesh. You're lazy! (Just kidding!) The mom has a 2 year old as well, and she basically teaches him in a Montessori-style every day, for like an hour. Montessori-style is more play-based than lesson-based, and it works better with some kids. So, the mom has these trays that she sets up, with different objects on them each day. The kid is free to pick a tray and work on it. The trays have things like pasta and bowls to sort them into on one, then the next tray has beads and things to string them onto. I can definately see my kids loving this.

The mom on the blog says that "Tot School" is actually a great way to teach her older son (a six year old) that he is not "the center of the universe." Hmm... Now is there anyone in my house that I can see acting that way? Yes. Yes, there is. (No, it's not Daniel) And when that certain someone is out of school for the summer, I can also use Tot School to teach her - err, I mean non-gendered them - the same thing!

So, I'm going to be compiling a small stock of things like beads and votive holders, pipe cleaner and pitchers, tweezers and tongs, etc. over the weekend. Then, hopefully, on Monday the boys and I can begin Tot School!

** As a side note, the "tot" on the blog looks suspiciously like my tot.**

1+1+1=1's tot:

My tot:

Weird, huh??

Get a Job!

You know the economy is bad when two year olds have to get dangerous carpentry jobs....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Family Size-ism

Have you ever noticed how biased our country is towards families with two parents and two kids? I notice because I have three kids, but I wonder if this ticks off people with one kid, or more than three kids too....

  • You know how restaurants have nights where kids eat free? You'd be surprised at how many of those places specify "one child eats free per paying adult." So the third kid always has to share with the other two, cause I'm sure not buying a kid's meal when the other two are free!

  • Frozen Waffles pretty much only come in packs of 10. That means we always have one extra waffle per box. Every three weeks or so, after we've gone through three boxes, the kids all get "variety waffle day." A different waffle for each kid.

  • Hot Dogs and hot dog buns (at least the brand we buy) only come in packs of 8. This time there are two wasted. That means we have two "hot dog variety nights" after we've finished three packs.

  • Minivans are designed for families with 2 kids. Why else would they make the back have only 5 seats? That means that if we ever go anywhere and take the kid's friends with us, one kid gets left out.

  • Hotel packages are rarely even designed for families at all, but if they are, it's a four-person family they have in mind. Some hotels actually charge extra if you want to keep three kids and two adults in a room. Like my 2 year old really takes up that much room. If the package includes tickets to the zoo or anything like that, I can guarantee you that it will only include two adult tickets and two child tickets.

  • Even the human body is designed only for two kids. Two hands, two arms to carry them, two legs to sit them on, two eyes to watch the little guys. Maybe God is trying to tell us all something...

Monday, March 23, 2009

What's Happening

All kids are different, right? I mean, there is no way you can have three kids and have them all be exactly the same, is there?

My kids are no exception. Of course they are never exactly the same - but they sure are identical in a few areas. For instance, at the exact age of two, they all start having what Daniel calls a "hot foot." They get strapped in the car seat, and immediately have to take off their left shoe and sock. The right one can stay on, no problem. But that left one? It must not be on once the car door closes. No exceptions. All three of my kids did this from the moment they turned two until the moment they turned three.

Now for differences. Ethan has suddenly become "the dressy one." He stands at the closet door when I tell him that I'm going to get a shirt for him to wear. If I even touch a t-shirt, he cries, "No! Shirt!" Lately he hates to wear t-shirts, and prefers button-up shirts. Apparently, t-shirts are not really shirts to him. He also insists on having his shoes put on when I dress him, even if we won't be leaving the house. This is very different from my other two kids. The second they come in the house, their shoes and socks are off. They hate shoes, Ethan loves them. He also insists on wearing a reversible wind-breaker/fleece jacket, while the other two are happy with hoodies. I hope he's not becoming metrosexual.

Another difference - Avery is still noticing that skin colors vary, while Abby seems to be oblivious to this. The other night, as we were waiting for a table in a restaurant, an older black lady sat next to us, and started talking to the kids. Abby politely talked to her about movies and food. Avery took one look at her and announced rather loudly, "You're brown!"

What is the proper response in such a situation? I'm sure the lady knows that she is, in fact, brown. But does she understand that this is purely Avery's own observation? He's never said such a thing before, and we've never said anything like this to him either. He's actually been around people of color before, and said nothing. The kids are just different.

Abby is also learning that other people are not exactly alike, even if she doesn't seem to notice skin color. Generally, Abby makes friends very easily. This is just how kids are, I think. Everyone near Abby's age that she talks to seems to also like her. There are 13 kids in Abby's class, and they all seem to like her. At least up until about two weeks ago.

All of a sudden, there is this one boy in the class who would rather sit and do nothing at his desk than play with Abby during playtime. When Abby told him that we were going away for a weekend trip last week, he said, "I wouldn't want to go anywhere with you." Abby has actually spent at least one playtime crying because this kid wouldn't play with her. The poor girl has never been around a kid her age that didn't like her enough to play.

So, it seems that differences are making things a little tough in our household. You hear so much about celebrating differences these days, that I don't know how to perceive situations such as the boy who dislikes Abby. So, for now I'm just letting her handle it.

I guess that way I'll eventually learn how my kids handle difference on their own.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Future

We went out to a Chinese restaurant the other night, since my kids adore Ni Hao Kai-Lan
(who told them that Chinese dumplings are delicious). Of course, we all got a fortune cookie at the end, and of course they were completely accurate.

Daniel's fortune:
"Utilize what you have been given." Translation: Stop buying so many tools and materials just to finish up the home improvement jobs you started last year.

Sara's fortune:
"To learn without thinking is effort in vain." Translation: Pay attention in class!

Abby's fortune:
"What's that in your eye? Oh... It's a sparkle." Translation: You have sparkly eyes.

Avery's fortune:
"The thing in us that we fear just wants our love." Translation: Dogs, train whistles, pieces of fuzz on the floor, monsters, and Ethan going "Rarr!" just want your love.

Ethan's fortune:
"Suppose you can get what you want..." Translation: You can never really get what you want, because you are only a baby and all you want is candy.

The backs of the fortunes also accurately predicted our family's health for the following week 3 out of 5 of times:

Ethan: "Learn Chinese - To have a fever (shao)." Ethan woke up Sunday morning with a very high fever.

Avery: "Learn Chinese - Cold (leng)." Avery caught a cold last week.

Sara: " Learn Chinese - Headache (tong)." I have three kids - of course I had a headache this week.


These odds are almost as good as the odds that the Chinese Gender Chart will be right - and it has been for all my kids. So, next time you're unsure about your future, you might want to head to a Chinese food restaurant!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

It All Adds Up

I thought I owed you all (or... one) an explanation. I haven't been blogging regularly for... quite a while. But the truth is, I feel too busy right now to blog. Something had to give, and for now it's this blog.

So, until I either graduate college (yeah right!) or at least take a semester off, blog posts will no longer be regular. I will still blog, but not that often for a while.

Will you miss me?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Now Take Requests

As requested by a friend, I present to you The Story of Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the kids and I stopped by a friend's house to see if we could take them to lunch. We decided to head over to the always elegant Burger King (please see Fancy Nancy
for an explanation). This particular Burger King also had a playplace inside, so it was the perfect and most logical choice for our group of 6 kids and 2 adults.

Now, I can see why a person might assume and look at us in awe with our six children if, say, one of us was a man and the other a woman. Maybe then it would appear that we were a couple, and had a whole bunch of children. That would be insane, of course, but people may assume this if the children are with a man and a woman.

However, we were two women with six children. Yet a woman still came up to my friend and asked if all those kids were "ours." *ahem* True, I am majoring in Women's Studies at my college, and I am a feminist, but... "Our" kids?

So, after this woman left the restaurant, my friend and I had a good laugh at her question. Then a new person showed up with a kid, and sat in that woman's seat. This time it was a "Nana," and her grandson.

Avery immediately began to bond with the grandson. The two played on the playplace, danced on the mat in front of the slide, and took turns blowing into the boy's cherry Icee to make red bubbles. Now that last thing I mentioned - how do you stop your son from blowing into a stranger's straw when the stranger's own grandmother thinks it is funny and cute? How do you not appear rude in that situation, yet also not allow your son to soak up every germ that kid may have?

Back to Avery. Now, as I have mentioned before (here, here, and here), Avery has blonde hair and everyone else in our family has brown hair. This friend of mine that joined me at Burger King also has brown hair, as well as her three kids. In fact, we often joke that her three kids and Abby and Ethan are all her kids, while Avery is mine because the other five look somewhat alike.

And so Avery spent a large portion of the day with these seven people with brown hair. Guess what color hair that little boy he bonded with had? Blonde! Finally, it seems, Avery had found one of his own! This other blonde boy even had a Nana, just like him!

Now I feel the need to seek out friends with blonde hair, or at least blonde children. My poor little Avery - it seems he'll always be a minority in our house.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


You know, I've blogged quite a few times about the things people say to me about my three small kids. Things like, "You sure have your hands full!" But really, no matter how I make it seem, there are a handful of people who say these things in a polite way. I think it's all in your tone, facial expression, and the other words you add (or fail to add) to your comment.

For instance, the example I gave above can be received as quite rude if the person walks up to me, says it in a "Gee-your-life-sucks" tone of voice, and then walks away. Multiply this by ten if my kids are misbehaving at the time.

On the other hand, the kids and I were at the grocery store the other day (the same one where this happened), and an older lady said the dreaded sentence - but it was not at all rude. She also said that she had three kids just as close together - a girl and two boys - and she just wanted me to know that she is 72 years old. In other words, she knows how hard it is, but she survived!

Maybe the difference is comradery. If they've been through what they see you going through, it seems less rude to comment. I'm not quite sure. However, if I'm out without the kids, I do try to let other mothers know that I have the same problems with my kids as I see them having with their kids. They might not care at all, but I feel like empathizing with them is the right thing to do. Like I totally understand that their kids are not brats all the time. My kids are exactly the same!

Yeah, I know it probably is perceived as rude after all. But I feel like I would appreciate the degree of sisterhood that parenting small kids can provide, if I was in their shoes.

So, the next time you see someone at the store with the same amount of kids you have, crying, fighting, yelling, or peeing on themselves - tell her that your kids are just like hers. It will either make her relieved or depressed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


You see this cute little boy? This is not just any cute little boy - he's now a potty trained cute little boy! Actually, according to him he is a cute "little big boy."

Since Avery is now 40 months old (3 years, 4 months), and I started potty training him at 26 months (2 years, 2 months), we had to throw the kid a party. Really, we give each of the kids a potty train party once they can go two full weeks without having an accident. The thing is, we thought we would be having this party about a year ago. Abby was potty trained earlier than this, so we just assumed that all the kids would be the same. I guess that's one of the first lessons you learn in parenting - no two kids are exactly alike. So, here is over a year later and he is finally potty trained!

We had the party last weekend. Even though Avery had said for a very long time that he wanted a potty "train" party (Thomas), we couldn't think of any games that went along with Thomas. Instead, Avery got a Cars potty train party. He had to drive up mountains and learn to handle the turns on a bumpy racetrack, all while racing to California for the Piston Cup.

When Abby had her party, we did a Dora the Potty-er party. She had to follow Map and climb the tallest mountain (a pile of pillows), answer a riddle and get over the Grumpy Old Troll's bridge (I was the Grumpy Old Troll), and walk through the spooky forest (green and brown steamers hung from the ceiling).

Now the pressure is on for Ethan. We haven't even started potty training him yet, but if he's anything like Avery, it will be a while before he needs a potty train party.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Rude!

Please tell me it's not just me. Strangers seem to come up to me regularly, and say rude things about my kids. Is this an epidemic of rudeness, or is it just me and my kids that experience this?

Just today, a lady in Kroger came up to me as Abby was talking about... everything... and made the international hand symbol for "she talks too much." She then told me that my daughter does, in fact, talk too much. She tried to soften it up a bit, though, by telling me that her daughters are all grown and she only hears silence at her house these days. Poor lady.

I've also been told by other parents (whom I do not know) that my child (whoever is a baby at the time) has huge feet/hands/entire body. Now really, could you say such a thing about an adult? Then why say it about an adult's baby?

Abby has apparently always been loud, because strangers would stop me if they heard her crying as a small baby. They would say, "she cries louder than any baby I've ever heard!" Also, I've often been told that she is, "such a princess!" And that Abby "certainly is spoiled!" Hmm...

With the boys, I've been told that they don't look like Daniel "at all!" Nice. Why don't you just flat out tell my husband that you suspect his wife is sleeping around on him?

So, strangers, next time you see a baby at the grocery store, either smile and say nothing, or think really hard about something nice that you can say. Chances are, the mom dragging those kids through the store has had a really rough day and can't handle your boldness at that very moment.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Growing Up

This past Sunday I finally got a chance to visit a friend of mine that had just had her first baby. Just, as in 4 months ago.

Yeah, I know I'm a lousy friend, but at least I did finally see that sweet little baby! There are other people I know that have just had their third and fourth babies (three years ago and six months ago, respectively), and I have yet to visit them. Of course, the mother of these two babies is actually my cousin, and not just a friend. For some reason, I feel like that is explanation enough...

And so I was able to hold this little guy on Sunday, and watch him do all those sweet little baby things, like babbling and laughing and hitting himself in the face with a toy. I watched my friend nurse him (well, it's not like I just sat and watched her, but I was there), I watched her play with him on the floor, change him into cute little jammies with puppies on each foot... Every possible thing that a "maybe-I'm-done-having-babies" person could ask for.

But you know what's really strange? None of it made me wish for another little one, or even made me completely nostalgic about my own little ones that are now big ones (uhh... I mean my kids).

I'm usually pretty predictable about desperately wanting another baby after I've been around a new one. But, even though this little guy was definitely the cutest little Stephen I have ever seen, I was perfectly content knowing I am past that stage with my own kids.

Does this mean that I am finally ready to accept that I have three kids - and will always have just three kids? No. After all, I may change my mind tomorrow, or even later today. I think this just simply means that I am learning to enjoy my own kids as they grow. It seems that every new age and stage they reach is more fun than the last. I can actually picture Daniel and myself with three older kids - and there is no baby carrier next to us in that picture.

Of course, all this came at the same time that Abby became an adult (or rather a b-dult, according to Abby). Today, after I asked her to stop banging her feet against the floor while she was coloring, she simply responded, "Sorry! I'm just so used to doing my own thing." You know, like paying rent and cooking dinner and heading off to work every morning...?

She then followed me around the house for the next 50 minutes while I cleaned and she rambled - I mean talked to me. She talked to me about ice skates, and how her doll needs some, and how she likes to pretend her knee-high socks are ice skates. She explained to me what a stranger is, and how to react if I come across one. I promise to run, and tell my mom or my teacher right away. "Umm, Dr. Wilson? Some stranger just talked to me in the hallway. What should I do?"

And Abby has also grown socially. She has lots of friends - best friends, even. She is invited to birthday parties a lot. While I sit in the van waiting to pick her up from school, she stands outside with her friends, their arms around each other's shoulders and laughing. Abby thinks about what would be the perfect Christmas present for her friends, or what would make the perfect tea party to which she could invite her friends. She has, on several occasions, asked for a nice couch of her own to place in her bedroom, so she could have friends over and offer them a place to sit.

But with all the growing up that Abby seems to be doing, I don't feel that same apprehension about her leaving babyhood behind that I used to feel. I'm sort of excited about this growing. Every day I'm reminded of just how little she knows about life. I get to literally teach her something new about life every day. Just today, for instance, I taught her what a tongue-twister is. A tongue-twister. When is the last time you had to be taught such a thing?

So we've spent part of the day coming up with tongue-twisters for Abby to try to say. This was all started, of course, by Punxsutawney Phil. You know, the groundhog? We heard a DJ on the radio ponder the relationship between groundhogs and woodchucks, and then proceed to do the "How much wood can a woodchuck chuck..." thing. That brought on a whole slew of other tongue twisters between Abby and me, and the rest is history.

I will tell you that Abby is not so good at creating her own tongue twisters just yet. But I leave you with a good one that the radio DJ came up with:

"How much hog can a groundhog ground, if a groundhog could ground hog?"

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