Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's a two (or three) chocolate cupcake kind of day

Approximately every twenty to thirty minutes since putting the baby to bed at seven o'clock this evening, she has woken from her extremely restless sleep wailing inconsolably. After four hours of this I think I've safely made a diagnosis of either one of two things. A) She's got a cold, or B) she's teething. Whew. That was a toughie. Either way it's been a real joy to feel completely helpless as to what she needs/wants. Brings me back to when she was only a few months old and made it her quest to confuse me with her crying jags each and every evening. I'm gearing up for a long night and tempted to just make a pot of coffee right now. Might be easier for everyone involved, I figure.

She started to get real pleasant right around the time I began throwing together one of my suppers of the stand-by, old-faithful sort (translation: has been made so many times since Ryan started the afternoon shift, I should have bought stock in the staples). The house was sailing (and I don't say this lightly, trust me), and she was wailing (I can't help it. Sorry. It's late and I'm simply amused.) Anyways at some point between charcoling the grilled cheese sandwiches and boiling the tomato soup over all over the top of the stove (oh, yes, I did!), I realized this unbelievably crazy day was nowhere near close to over: it was just beginning .

I looked around the kitchen in it's upturned state feeling completely overwhelmed. Tiny pieces of paper littered the floor where the kids had been chopping "mail" to deliver to every single imaginable spot in the house that might possibly resemble some minute characteristic of a "mailbox". It appeared as if the cupboards had thrown up all over the counters, for they resembled the aftermath of a multi-course meal preparation, not a three-ingredient-slap-together-insta-supper. The dishes had piled impossibly high after running the dishwasher just prior to lunch. And in my mind all I could do was continue repeating they're healthy, they're happy, they're healthy, they're happy.

So, my plans of a quiet, project-loaded evening dissipated quickly, just moments after I got the three older kids to bed and heard Adalie's first wails. And you know what? Big deal. The wind is howling, the baby is (let me type this quietly) finally sleeping again snuggled up next to me on the couch, and what in this crazy world could possibly matter more than to be right here in this moment instead of worrying about the things I didn't get accomplished today?

I cannot think of a single thing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, the secrets I keep...

As Jack & I were sitting at the table doodling on a write-on/wipe-off board I began writing the first and middle names of everyone in our family. When I got to mine and Ryan's names, Jack looked confused.

"Whose are those names?" he asked
"Oh, that's Sarah and Ryan," I said.
"Oh. I guess I write it wrong," he replied tracing MOM and DAD through the air.
"No, that's right!" I assured him, "Ryan and Sarah are our real names. But you call us Mom and Dad."
"Oh," he answered seeming to understand, "Then what's my real name?"
It didn't help when I told him Jack was his real name. I'm pretty sure he still believes I'm hiding something.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Scawy Little Gohsts

It all went something like this:
During super tonight, I let the kids know that Grandma was coming over later which prompted someone's bright idea of trying to scare her when she arrived. So they gobbled down their meals and raced off to their bedroom to hide out. And I decided not to tell them she wouldn't be here for another two hours.

So, a while later I was sitting in the living room when two odd shaped characters came "OooOoOoo"-ing down the stairs. Clad in white blankets, they proceeded to march around the room giggling and snickering between their OooOos.

"Scawy!" Exclaimed the two year old clamoring for a safe place next to me for a moment before deciding to join in the parade herself.

But, white blankets we were out of and so a blue blanket was used instead.

The two white ghosts peeked out from under their drapes and skeptically eyed the new blue ghost.

"Um," said one carefully, "Did you ever hear of a blue ghost?"
"No," said the other, "How about she's just a fake ghost."

And so the three paraded around a bit more before the tallest of them pointed out that her blanket did not reach the floor like the other two.

"Oh no!" She exclaimed, "My legs are sticking out! Now Grandma is going to know I'm not a real ghost! She's going to know it's me!"

So a quick swap up of blankets was done to find a better fit. And once again my house was filled with three ghosts. Unfortunately, by the time Grandma arrived the blankets were shed on the floor and they were on to something else. I'm sure, however, she would have never known it was them!

I suppose the time has come to dig out the Halloween box and let them have a little more fun for the next few days. Where, oh where did I lose October?!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

You might want to sit down for this one, folks

Do you know what you learn in the first month and a half of kindergarten? Besides walking in lines and taking turns and writing your name with one capital letter at the beginning all lowercase after? You learn to count to 100. Now, okay. I know what all of you mothers with older, much more intelligent children are thinking with every due right- Sarah. Counting to 100 is really not that big of a deal. It happens, like, ALL the time. Everyday in fact. Kids even, like, add and subtract numbers to EQUAL 100. And then, they multiply and divide by 100 and find the square root of 100 and use it in complicated algorithims like it's no big deal. Well, true. But when your kid learned to walk he wasn't the first either to do that either. Heh.

So, I did not know this. But then again, I don't remember much about kindergarten except that #1) my teacher was really old (in fact, she's the same age now as she was back then- isn't that amazing?) and #2) I once proudly brought my barbie dressed in a pink sweatsuit that my mom made to school. That was fun. And... and then... wait... Nope, that's it- that's all I remember.

Anyways, last night I was reading the letter that came home in Lydia's Friday folder and as I'm reading I see something along the lines of... kids will be getting assessed on letter recognition and counting to 100... Halloween costumes should be in bag with the kids name on it for next Friday.... HOLD ON, back up while I choke on my coffee. Counting to 100? Last I checked the kid could count all the way to 11. Okay, so she wasn't real advanced for her age or lining up for a spot on the quiz bowl team just yet, but hey- 11 wasn't a bad start to her school career. But, 100? Ha. Let's not get overzealous, now okay? Her recitations went more like 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 13, 19, 23... um... 12?

100. Pshaw. Must have been a typo. Now, 10? Yeah, that she could master. Like a pro!

Then again, maybe it wasn't. Maybe I should have been more on top of this. This could prove to be a bit of a problem when "assessment" time came around. You know, next week? So... as we were eating breakfast this morning I casually brought it up. Didn't want to make her feel all inadequate and come right out and ask if she could count to that astronomically high number or anything so I just vaguely asked her to start counting.

And somewhere between 25 and 30 I asked, How high can you count anyways? To which she smugly replied, "A hundred!"

Huh. Who would've thought. So, she proceeded to rattle off the numbers- yep, all the way to 'a hundred'.

"And you know what," she continued, "That's like the highest number ever!"

Well, imagine that: my kid can count to the highest number ever. What can they possibly teach her next? (I mean. Besides counting higher than 100 or wrting actual words instead of random phrases such as "WPBTRDE!")


Thursday, October 21, 2010

My little clown

My two year old is learning the art of teasing from her older siblings (and dad) quite well. And, when it comes out of her mouth, it's even more comical than it would otherwise be.

Today, I had plans to go out with the two little girls after the kindergartner got on the bus. Ryan had already taken Jack out so it was just me and the girls. So, I'm getting ready to go and Hannah comes running to find me and says, "Mommy! Dad took yo caw!" (My car, for those of you who can't translate two-year-old-speak).

"He did?" I say with surprise moving toward a window to check. This wasn't the plan.

Just as I get to the window she yells out, "Just kiddin'!"

Oh, dear. She's been on a roll, lately: discovering how easy it is to hand the teasing/taunting right back to her older sibs. And I am amused. Truthfully, I've been waiting for this day to arrive- the older two have had it coming for awhile now.

Oh, and since I'm discussing her- might I add, here- she decided this week she's done with diapers. Just like that. Not the typical way things have happened in this house (if you all recall my struggle less than a year ago...!) Imagine that- no bribes!- I could get used to this.

J & L were a bit disappointed that the snowflakes didn't fly today as forecasted. L was certain beyond a doubt it would snow because her teacher said it might. And the boy just wants to shovel snow- he's waiting for snow to play in. I, on the other hand, cannot relate. I did clean the kitchen to Chris Groban's Christmas CD the other day, however. (But that does not mean I am ready for snow.)

I worked on Lydia's quilt some more today and as I did I marveled at the fact that I could possibly win a contest for the longest start-to-finish project ever. The fabric was picked out when pink was the highest color on her  radar. So I chose fabrics on the pink, green, and teal theme. And now? Now she wants to paint her room red becuase red is her all time, no contest favorite. That's what I get for taking years to complete this project. But I'm exicted to get it done now- even if it is all the wrong colors.

I tend to get too interupted with quicker projects like this:

I originally did this pattern for myself when Adalie was born, but the bag was a bit too large for me to comfortably carry around for too long. So, I adjusted the pattern down a bit and here's the updated model. But this one was not for me. Kind of made me want to make myself another one, though. After the quilt, of course.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I remember my sister K talking about some slime-stuff that occupied her kids for hours and- needing something to keep my kids kind of on the quiet side while my hubby got some sleep- I pulled up the recipe and mixed up some... GLURCH! Remember that Gak-stuff you could buy? Maybe you still can, haven't tried to purchase it since I was about 10. Anyways, it's just like that.

And, I kid you not... The stuff has been occupying H & J since big sis left for school.

It's smashable,

And slimy...

And all around good clean, cheap entertainment.

Want some at your house?

Here's the recipe:

Bowl #1:
1/2 cup Elmer's glue
1/2 cup cold water
Mix together with spoon until glue is dissolved in water.

Bowl #2:
2 tsp. Borax
3/4 cup warm water
Mix together with fingers to fully dissolve Borax. 

Pour bowl #1 into bowl #2. Reach your hands in and pull out the glurch! There will be excess water. Just knead it around to get extra water out. After the extra water is out, it should be slimy but shouldn't easily stick to your hands. If it does, I don't know what you did wrong. The second batch I made I tried to add food coloring and it didn't turn out quite as well. Or it could have been the dollar store glue. Not sure. 

This stuff can be stored in an airtight container and used again. 
Just make sure your kids don't eat it!

 Have fun!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Hah! I apologize for the previous post that was full of spelling errors in the first sentence! I read over the main part before posting, but added that info in at the top afterwards and apparently I was in such a hurry to get that post up before the cut-off I didn't finish checking the spelling. Oops. I corrected the errors now, but that's a great way to enter a contest, don't you think?

Creativity in Children

The following post is an entry to a contest sponsored by in response to the question:

How do you encourage a creative, artistic spirit in your baby, toddler or young child?

Part of encouraging children to discover their own creativeness means allowing them the freedom to become who they will. With four children between the ages of eight months and five years, it’s no small statement to say they are all uniquely different in their personalities. That’s obvious, and any mom can tell you the same thing. What was surprising to me when I first became a mom, however, was to discover these personalities were visible right from birth. The baby that was so relaxed right from the start, for example, is still the one who grabs any chance she can to cuddle with her dad or I. And contrarily, the one who- as a baby- burst into tears when a stranger came in her sight is still sensitive to new situations today.

How, then, does a parent encourage such ranging personalities to grow together while becoming their own individual who realizes their own talents? In our house it’s not fancy toys or electronic gadgets that accomplish this. It’s not constant direction from me, but it’s giving them the foundation of an idea and letting them build upon it. It’s giving my son a pan full of flour and letting him figure out what to do with it. And then, it’s standing back and letting the floor become covered in a fine dusting of flour while he ploughs it into make believe snow banks with his trucks. It’s giving a child a lump of dough while you’re making bread to let her do what she will with it. And it’s not worrying that the little clumps of dough she formed are bumpy and too small. It’s letting her see the results of her work and being proud of her little accomplishments.

I have learned one of the most important things about raising kids is to not worry about the mess that results. There was a time when the mess worried me. I was convinced I wasn’t a good enough mom if the dishes weren’t done and the laundry was piling up. And I would feel guilty for not being this ideal homemaker I dreamed of being. Time and children have changed that, and while a clean house is still a dream, I’m okay with the mess. Allowing children to make a mess and get their hands dirty is one of the greatest ways to encourage creativity in them. It’s when the kitchen floor is covered in play dough or the table is a mess of brightly colored paint splashes, when their true spirits become visible.

One of the greatest rewards as a mother is watching my children discover their own strengths. Letting their imaginations make a town out of wooden blocks, a hunting camp out of blankets strung across chairs, a school bus out of pillows. These are the things that get them thinking, spark their creativity, and make them discover the things that bring them joy.

So much of what we become is the characteristics we were born with given a lifetime of opportunity to expand. Rigorous schedules and extracurricular activities at frighteningly young ages are not the things that bring about the joy of childhood in our children. But spending time with them- coloring at the kitchen table, laying on your backs under the stars, or pointing out cloud animals marching across the sky- these are things that open up children to their own happiness.

Creativity is not something that is taught to our children, but rather something that is discovered by them. Give them the opportunity to make messes and mistakes, bad decisions and wrong turns. Only through the process of trial and error can they truly discover what they are capable of doing. And how exciting it is to watch that discovery happen.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

So perhaps I have a *slight* addiction to fabric

Yesterday as I was browsing across some blogs, I came across a really neat idea that involved transferring a few lines of a written letter to a pillow by scanning in the written work, blowing it up, and printing it out on transfer paper. So cool. It would be really cool if you had, like, old love letters to work with, I think.

Well then today while wandering through a gift shop I saw these great wall signs that had many random thoughts on them- kind of like informal rules about life? So as I was busy scheming up how to make them, I thought- how cool would it be to write my kids letters but then instead of putting them on pillows paint them on something that could hang on their walls. No, they can't read yet- but by the time this plan is put into action they'll probably be going through chapter books. So if I get a start on it now there is the possibility they could receive these as gifts, like, when they graduate high school or something.

I do want to make one for my living room, though. No love letters, however. Just some random thoughts. I'm real good at random meaningless thoughts in case you were in doubt. Getting projects completed... well, not so much.

This morning my sister called (yes, the one who lured me to Mqt a few weeks ago with that great 30% off coupon) and informed me of the sale going on at the quilt house: 20% everything in the store.Well, now. Who can pass up an opportunity to seek that out? I mean, even if you don't need anything 20% off is 20% off so you have to just look, right? I'm pretty sure I would save all kinds of money if I didn't have my own personal bargain hunter informing me of all the great sales going on. Yes, you read that correctly. No, really. Everyone should have a personal bargain hunter- especially one that says "I'll be there in forty five minutes" and whisks you away from your motherly duties for a fun day out.

Anyways. I had a great time at the fabric shop. I love when I'm standing at the counter waiting for my fabric to be cut and the lady wielding the scissors across the beautiful prints says, "So what are you making?" It always results in me going blank and uttering something like, "Um... Uh, well I'm not entirely sure yet. But, I do have some ideas," followed by a few very convincing nods. Apparently some people get patterns first and then shop for the fabric second. I prefer the 'oh-this-is-soooo-cute-I-think-I'll-just-get-a-half-a-yard' method. I am pretty sure, however, the pattern first process would be much more effective. Might have to try that some time. But then, that would probably result in me leaving there with only what I need. And what fun would that be?

Oops. Just realized my hubby is probably going to read this. So in that case- forget the whole last paragraph, dear, I am always extremely conservative when it comes to fabric shopping. I only purchase what I know for sure without a doubt I might have the opportunity to possibly, someday, if the correct situation allows... find some especially great use for each carefully selected piece of fabric.

Trust me. Really.

Also on the agenda today was a stop at Goodwill. I found a bag stuffed full of iron on transfers in prints of flowers and miscellaneous designs. Again, their purpose has not exactly been determined, but I will think of something. Eventually. I might actually use some of the basic ones to put on fabric for Lydia to do stitching on. I remember doing those when I was about her age. That might be a fun thing for her to do for Christmas presents.

Speaking of kid's projects... Anyone have any projects for a four year old boy? He's so bored when big sis goes off to school in the afternoons and little sis is napping. It's only October and my ideas are running low- any suggestions?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Morning Musings

This morning...
  • I made an eight-cup pot of coffee
  • And I'm the only one who drinks the stuff around here
  • My kids are puppies.
  • Their names are Patty, Craig, and Beah. (Take no offense if you have the same name- trust me, it's an honor.)
  • The washer is humming along with the hope that for a few minutes I can win the laundry war. For a few minutes. That's all.
  • My husband is gone to the grocery store. He does the majority (ok, all) of the grocery shopping around here.
  • That's usually a good thing, but sometimes I think I should take it over again...
  • We are right in the middle of Ryan's long stretch of work
  • And, oh am I looking forward to his long stretch (6 days!) off next week!
  • And I'm kind of secretly hoping he doesn't pick up too many extra shifts during that time.
  • I'm feeling optimistic that I might finish some projects today.
  • I need to find somewhere to visit tonight that has a sauna as our bathtub is having leaking issues and the kids desperately sort of need a bath before Sunday
  • I'm looking forward to hopefully visiting with my niece at some point today
  • And my coffee needs to be refilled.
Have a great Saturday and a happy fall weekend!