Monthly Archives: August 2011

Is it possible?

Yesterday, while E was at Kindergarten… S wanted to play blocks.

During this activity, S cried for over half an hour because mommy doesn’t build the “rolling block baby stroller” (don’t ask; I was as puzzled as you are…) the way that E builds it.

While S cried, mommy built approximately 45 versions of what she thought a rolling block baby stroller might look like.  S deemed version 45 “kind of ok” and the tears (and the activity) stopped.

Yesterday, when E came home from Kindergarten…

E cried because S told her how much fun we had building rolling block baby strollers while she was at school.

I have two questions for you. 

The first is…


The second is…

It is possible to simultaneously treasure every day and be absolutely desperate for the weekend to get here?

I’m developing a better school-day plan, but need a couple days off to regroup!


Twice in the last month, I have awakened in the middle of the night absolutely convinced that a big spider is crawling across my husband’s pillow.

Fortunately for my husband, I am not the one in charge of smashing spiders in our family.  This means instead of grabbing a shoe and wildly pummeling his pillow (on which resides…his head), I simply wake him up at 2am by screaming at the top of my lungs…


On both occasions, my husband has jumped out of bed, turned on the insanely bright overhead light, grabbed a shoe and yelled,

“WHAT?!?!   WHERE?!?!   WHAT?!?!   WHERE?!?!”

On both occasions, I have said,

“THERE!!!!  THERE!!  I don’t know… Hmmmmm… M’ybe thr’s nt a spid… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…”

Then I wake up the next morning with a bleary-eyed husband whose look turns to a glare when I say, “Good morning!  How did you sleep?”

To investigate the root of my night terrors (these are the things I do with my 3 minutes of daily “me time”), I looked up the meaning of spider dreams on the internet.

It turns out that spider dreams symbolize a sense of feminine power.

Interesting, right?!

Not according to my husband.

In fact, I think “ironic” is the word he used, because my feminine power dreams are about to earn me a spot on the couch, which would be ok except…

he said I have to take all the baby monitors to the couch with me…

All of a sudden, the couch is not as appealing…

Oh well, my research did reveal at least one positive thing.  My husband can console himself with the assurance that I will never dream ants are attacking.

Apparently, a dream about ants indicates that you feel your life is “too structured and orderly”.

Ha!  Even with all of my feminine power…

even when I’m channeling my inner-spiderwoman…

we all know there is no chance of that.

Note to self (re: American Gothic)

Note to self:

Check the church calendar before volunteering to weed the church preschool’s playground on a random weekday evening.

Failure to check could result in weeding on the first night of formal church directory photos.

Of course, mid-weeding, the children will inevitably have to poop, which will require that the family enter the building bearing garden tools and covered in dirt and sand from the playground.

The end effect of this will be a moment in which fellow parishoners believe you have arrived for photos looking like Ma and Pa American Gothic with their three dust bowl children.

American Gothic, but in our version, you would have to picture me in a ratty T-shirt, my husband in a baseball hat, and three kids with tangled hair and faces covered in dirt

(and no, we did not, despite some ill-founded encouragement from some highly entertained friends, opt to sit for our photos…

…though maybe we should have…one of the things we love about our church is that you are encouraged to come as you are!)

Maybe I am the natural disaster…

As you may know, on Tuesday we felt the earthquake that measured 5.9 on the Richter scale.

Please tell me I am not the only mom who thought the house was shaking because the kids were playing during their “quiet time” upstairs.  (The term “quiet time” is kind of a misnomer in our house.  It really means, “no one is supposed to ask mom for anything for the next 45 minutes”.)

Anyway, a play-by-play of our reaction to the earthquake…

Mom’s first reaction: an under-reaction:

“What are y’all doing up there?!”

Mom’s second reaction, an over-reaction:

“Get in the bath-tub!”

(I actually gave the kids each a cookie to keep them in there in case the big one was coming…)

Mom’s third reaction, a ridiculed reaction, was calling dad, who ratted me out to his colleagues by relaying what he heard E saying in the background:

“Dad!  Can we please get out of the bathtub now?!”

Whatever.  That is emergency preparedness, mom-style.

To defend my actions, I actually went online to prove that the bathroom was the safest place to be during an earthquake, but it turns out that you are supposed to go to a bathtub during a tornado (assuming you have no basement, and your bathroom is window-free).  If there is an earthquake, the recommendation is that you hide under a sturdy table or run into an open field (hmmm…like the one right outside our house…).  The only reference to “bathtubs during earthquakes” that I uncovered during my research (ahem, google search) is the recommendation that you plug your bathtub to prevent sewage backup, which I did not do.

This essentially means that if there were a much larger earthquake, in addition to surviving the seismic event, my children will have to survive a mom that puts them in the one place in the house that may become filled with raw sewage and tells them to eat cookies.  Awesome.

You would think, with the number of minor daily disasters we survive, we would be more prepared for the big ones.

Oh well!  We do have a chance to redeem ourselves.  Apparently a hurricane is on its way…


E’s first day of Kindergarten!

This is a picture of E headed into her very first day of Kindergarten.


In her mama’s opinion, E looks very tiny (tiny!) in this picture.

Maybe it is that everything around her looks big – her school, her backpack, her big strong daddy, her very long shadow, or maybe it’s the fact that she is still her mama’s baby (at least in her mama’s mind!), but she looks so tiny!

I love that she is holding her daddy’s hand.  After I snapped this photo, I put the camera away for the day, offered her my hand too, and we all walked into the building together.

It is a walk I already treasure, because I know that within a matter of days, she will be comfortable going in on her own and won’t ask to hold our hands.

Even today, it took her all of 2 seconds inside the classroom to let go of our hands and begin the Kindergarten routine: greeting her teachers, putting her backpack and lunchbox in her new cubby and taking her seat on the mat.  Her dad and I watched her with some degree of awe.  Where was the initial shyness we had anticipated?  How did E – so tiny in the parking lot – suddenly look so amazingly big?!

But there she was!  (In her dad’s words, “looking around like she owns the place”…)

And although I am sad when I think about how much we will miss her during the schoolday, it was impossible to be anything but happy when watching the uber-excited, ultra-happy E.

In fact, I have to say that the only thing sweeter than seeing E admiring her new surroundings from her spot on the mat…

…was seeing her daddy admire E from his perch on a tiny (tiny!) Kindergarten chair.

Have I mentioned recently how much I love this guy and all our children?!

Congratulations and good luck this year, E!

Who peed in this guy’s milkshake?

We encountered hundreds of friendly people on our recent trip, but of course we have to tell about the exception!


The crazy ice cream guy…

The backstory:

On Wednesday (the one day my husband had to work) my inlaws and I decided to go to the Turtle Rescue Center, only to discover that it is open every weekday except Wednesday.  Oops.  But no worries, because (a) we’ll come back tomorrow and (b) the rescue center is right across the street from the Patio Playground, where there are 18 holes of miniature golf and a rockin’ ice cream stand.

After a questionable beginning, i.e.

–       S needing to go to the bathroom

–       which required the owner of the stand to un-lock the chained and padlocked porta-potty

–       which allowed S to peer into the blue poop lagoon at its base

–       which resulted in her request that I flush it

–       which prompted my explanation of porta-potties

–       which inspired S’ decision that she didn’t really need to go, because – as I’m sure you know – 3 year olds are known for their ability to hold it

but I digress…where was I?  Oh, yes…

After a questionable beginning… we turned our attention to the ice cream stand.

The conversation:

(Note: my mother-in-law heard the whole thing and can vouch for the accuracy of this account)

Me: The kids would like three cookies-n-cream ice cream cones, please.

Ice-cream guy: Are you sure you want the ice cream in cones?

Me: Yes, please.  Three cones.

Ice-cream Guy (looking at my children):  I’m sure you’d rather have their ice cream in cups.

Me: No.  They love the cones almost as much as the ice cream, so we’ll take the cones.  Thanks, though.

Ice-cream guy: Cones just mean a big mess for you to clean up and a big mess for me to clean up.  How about cups?

Me: No.  I told them they could pick whatever they wanted.  They can see that you have ice cream cones.  That’s what they asked for, so that is what I’m ordering for them.   Please.

Ice-cream guy:  If they asked for a pistol, I guess you’d buy it for them.

Me (in disbelief): No, I wouldn’t.  And that is the reason I brought them to an ice-cream stand instead of a gun shop.


I cannot type all my internal thoughts.  But the tamest among them are (1) Did he really just equate a sugar-cone with a firearm?  and (2) This guy might be in the wrong line of work.

I wish I had a picture of my mother-in-law’s face as I turned around after having this conversation.  She overheard everything, and her expression was priceless.

And, as a side-note, the owner’s wife was an angel.  After her husband left to run an errand, she let the girls play a free hole of miniature golf – “as long as you agree not to tell him when he returns”.  That placed me (and my three young children) simultaneously on hole one and in the middle of her marriage to the psycho.  Not exactly what you envision when you take the kids out for a treat…

Anyway, the kids loved their cones and their miniature golfing experience, and my mother-in-law and I bonded even further as we relayed the story to my father-in-law who missed the exchange when a phone call required him to spend an extra five minutes in the car.  Lucky man.

Or a wise man, taking the call.  Perhaps he smelled trouble from the beginning?

Then again, I guess that could have just been the stench from the chained and padlocked porta-potty…

Which in retrospect, should have been some sort of sign that this was not the best place to get ice cream for the kids!

A taste vs. a tease

This spoon was in the kitchen of the beach house we stayed in last week.


Upon initial inspection (size, cute factor, my forgetting to pack any toddler-sized flatware, etc.), I decided it was the perfect spoon for feeding one year old T.

I was mistaken.

In fact, T, despite his inability to speak, has still managed to officially declare this the most confusing/frustrating spoon in America.

You see, T loves hot dogs.  Loves them.

This means that whenever we gave him this spoon, the poor guy would see his oatmeal on one end of the spoon and the hot dog on the other.  Quite understandably, he went for the hot dog approximately 100% of the time.

What a tease for T…

What a mess of oatmeal, falling off the other end of the spoon!

And for those who are concerned, please note that we did switch to a different spoon, since we never knowingly torture the children.  Still, once they have the idea that hot dogs are an option, no one is eating oatmeal.  Cue the spitting noise…


Thanks for the oatmeal shower, T.

Excuse me while I go get a wash cloth…

And while I’m getting that, could someone please boil this kid a hot dog?

Let’s give T a taste instead of a tease!

Beach Vacation Recap!

We are back from our beach vacation!  It was fantastic!  And we are so grateful to some wonderful folks who made it possible.  They get the first shout-outs on this “beach vacation edition” of our traditional post-travel game.

That’s right.  It’s time for another edition of “shout-outs and boo-hiss”!


–       To our beloved “outlaws” (i.e. my sister’s inlaws) who loaned us their beach house.  Hello beautiful beach, wonderful pool, fantastic playground, amazing home, and a setting that inspires quantity and quality time with family.  Thank you, thank you, thank you outlaws.  Please take us up on our offer to host you anytime!

–       To my beloved inlaws, who joined us for the vacation and unexpectedly extended our trip several days by renting a nearby condo.  (How fantastic is that?!)  Thank you for that, and for everything else, including making the trip from NY, the wonderful meals, fun art supplies and such great time with the kids.  In case you are wondering whether they felt the love, while we were floating out in the ocean with E & S (while you were graciously listening out for the napping T in our house), S told me “I saved you and dad from that wave, mom.  But you know, if you and dad had floated away, I know Grammy and Grandpa would take care of us.”  That is a grandkid who feels secure with her extended family (although clearly not completely secure in the ocean).  And don’t worry, we would never float away (for more than 2 weeks… to a tropical island… with at least one pay phone… where you might be able to reach us… what was I talking about again?)

–       To the kids.  Have I mentioned recently how much I love this age?  They are up for anything.  On this trip: kites, sandcastles, swimming, a game of “Pretty Princess”, several card games (some high intensity “Ursala” – the Disney version of “old Maid” – from this crew) and Jenga.  We also carried our dramatic productions seaside, with many presentations of the little mermaid movie.  (Script includes covering legs with sand, having mom play the mean witch who traps the mermaids voice in a seashell during a mermaid song, and a dramatic moment where the legs emerge from the sand as Ariel becomes human).  Note to self: Beach is not the place for reproducing the Tinkerbelle movie, since although pixie dust in the face equals flying fairy, sand in the face equals crying sibling. 

–       To the local surfer who let our girls touch his surfboard.  They had just spent 10 minutes watching surfers ride the waves and then got to meet “a real surfer!” and feel a real board.  You’re cool with us, man.

–       To Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, for reminding me that a book is the ultimate escape (well, right next to a beach vacation).

–       And finally, to the Turtle rescue center we visited with the kids.  Totally volunteer run.  Totally important.  Totally amazing.  What a great thing for the animals.  And what a great thing for the kids . . . I just love it when they get an opportunity to meet people who are actually working every day to make the world better in a way that they can – at their young ages – really understand.  We are now all about turtles, by the way.  (Well, turtles, surfers, mermaids, and of course still princesses and cowgirls.  What can I say…with 2 minute attention spans, we have time for a little bit of everything…but turtles are an important addition to the list.)


–       Boo-hiss to the fisherman who accidentally caught “Lennie” the Sea Turtle in his net and reacted by smacking Lennie in the head, permanently blinding him.  Lennie is now a lifetime resident of the rescue center and the favorite patient of E & S.  We’ll tell you what we told the girls: that the fisherman (who we did not meet, but heard about when listening to Lennie’s story) made a mistake and has hopefully learned a better way to react if it happens again.  Still… he earns a boo-hiss, and S delivered the ultimate punishment as we left the building.  “I am not inviting that fisherman to my birthday party.”  Sorry, man.  Her birthday is in February.  That gives you 6+ months to make some serious amends.

–       To the worst ice cream man in history.  This guy earns his own blog post.  Stay tuned.

–       To the end of summer vacation.  I just love long summer days with the kids, and I have especially enjoyed these special months knowing that E starts Kindergarten this week.  Can you believe she is big enough to go to Kindergarten?  Wasn’t she born, like, two weeks ago?!

But . . . we still have a few days of summer left to enjoy, so I’m off to enjoy them. More vacation details coming soon!

Mom tip of the day (re: Class Lists)

We just returned home from our beach vacation (details coming soon!), but had to pause our unpacking for one quick, time-sensitive post.  Credit to a mom friend for sharing this tip at yesterday’s neighborhood back-to-school social.  (Can you believe E starts Kindergarten on Friday?!)

Class lists are posted today, so we’ll find out who E will have as her teacher and who her classmates will be.  I know this will be a bigger deal in future years (when we actually know all the teachers and she is more attached to specific friends at school), but even now we are hopeful that her class list will have at least a few familiar names (i.e. kids we have met at summer school socials, etc.)

Anyway, the lists are posted on the school doors at 3pm, and apparently it is a mob scene. We won’t go right at 3, but have been advised that whenever we go we should take a camera, snap a quick picture of the list, then have it for reference once we get home.

The lists are not posted online, and having a photo copy sure beats copying it down by hand or meeting someone tomorrow (at our final summer school social) and not being able to remember if they’re in E’s class or not.   And I would never have thought to take a camera to snap a photo of the list if the mom-friend hadn’t shared the idea.  (She has an older child and says many parents do this every year.  Who knew?)

Keep E in your prayers this week.  She has a big transition coming up.  (As do her siblings and mama, who are really going to miss her during the schoolday!)

Note to self (re: beach vacations)

When discussing our upcoming vacation with the children (we can’t wait!), refer to it as “a trip to a beach”, not “a trip to the beach”.

Otherwise, your 5 year old daughter will assume that her two close friends – who are also going to “the beach” this weekend – will be there to fly kites and build sand castles with us.  This could mean a half-hour conversation about how we’re going to all going to have a great time!  Just at different places…

Of course, while attempting to correct the misunderstanding, I managed to convince E that everyone would be scattered on different beaches around the globe.  This was devastating, as she had been so looking forward to being at “the beach” with Grammy and Grandpa.

Egads. Can we start all conversations about this beach vacation over?  Where’s the reset button?

Deep breath.

We are going to a beach with Grammy and Grandpa.  Your two friends are each going to their own, different beaches (i.e. not with us and not with each other).  We will not see them at “our” beach, but we will see them when we get back home.  Once at home, we will tell them all about the sand castles you built at a beach with Grammy and Grandpa.  (This, finally, made E smile.)

Whew.  I need a vacation . . .

Oh, right!  I’m getting one!

(That means a break from blogging for a week or so, but I’ll be online again when we get home!)