Friday, June 30, 2006
Nashvillians consider making it to a concert some time.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
So back to the crayons. There they were mocking me -- daring me to pull out the clothes and look at the devastation. It was almost complete -- streaks of dark blue and green wax were everywhere. Setting aside a few towels, underwear and pjs, that would only be seen in the family and therefore crayon stains could be ignored, there was really nothing unscathed. Naturally the load of clothes included a brand new favorite shirt of the three year old's, all of my husband's khaki shorts and a whole bunch of borrowed maternity clothes.
I admit there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part, but not, fortunately, because all the clothes had been ruined. Getting out crayon stains takes a lot of work, but with one of the best tools in my arsenal every single stain -- except for a few where I got lazy and didn't rub very much (and even some of those) -- came out.
The best tool, when defense has failed and offensive measures against crayon (or beeswax from Hippy German School) gets run through the dryer? De-Solv-It. It really does work miracles on crayon and similar stains and is great for getting off sticker goo and other such things. It has a strong orange odor, but I've found that once you've gotten off the stains, run the clothes through the wash with some vinegar, and dried them, the scent is pretty much totally gone.
Once again, Super Mom (that would be me) and her handy-dandy bag of tricks, saves the day and the laundry. Yay me!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
While out of town, I think the three year old was bound and determined to sample the delights of every single bathroom in Chattanooga. We went in clean bathrooms and stinky ones; big ones and small ones. One place that had two one hole bathrooms had them simply labelled restroom and although it makes perfect sense in that situation not to make one women's and one men's, I found it hard to figure out for a minute. I got over that challenge quickly enough and realized that I could use either bathroom.
Figuring out which bathroom to go to wasn't really that hard though. The most difficult task with taking my daughter to the bathroom also is not keeping her from touching gross stuff or getting her undressed in tight spaces. The most difficult thing is keeping her mouth shut. In one crowded restroom, we entered a stall as soon as it was vacated. My daughter proclaimed loudly, "Mommy, she didn't flush!" The poor woman had, but the water was still rippling from having been flushed and my three year old didn't approve.
Later at another bathroom, we entered as a young teenage girl was washing her hands at the sink. My daughter said, "Where's her mom?" When informed that I had no idea, she suggested, again quite loudly since she only has one volume, "Maybe her mom is dead!"
I've decided before we go into another public restroom, I need to stock up on duct tape for a certain little mouth.
Monday, June 26, 2006
At these words, my six year old's ears perked up. "Henry Fonda? Is he related to Peter Fonda?"
My son is not, as it happens, a fan of Easy Rider, but has seen Thomas and the Magic Railroad more times than is good for anyone (actually seeing the movie once is more times than is good for anyone, but we won't delve further into that). The Thomas movie stars Peter Fonda and though Peter hasn't made nearly the quantity or quality of films that his father or sister have made, among the short set in our family, he is the famous one.
One truly terrible film has ensured Peter Fonda's fame for years to come -- with the ten and under crowd anyway.
Friday, June 23, 2006
First a disclaimer: I'm not an expert in the area of feeding children. I doubt my children eat any better than most other children and I probably let them have more junk food at times than a lot of people would.
For our family, eating preferences have really been all about exposure to lots of different foods -- both at home and when we eat out at restaurants. I always figured that if Indian children eat Indian food and Thai children eat Thai food, my children are more likely to enjoy those foods if we feed them to them from the beginning and continue to eat them regularly.
My kids aren't much different than other kids in their tastes though really. They aren't wolfing down super spicy foods and they'd love having French fries once a day if I let them. My son's favorite dish at the Thai restaurant is noodle based. Their favorite Indian "food" is a mango lassi, not a curry. Their tastes are only as adventurous as their parents and perhaps not as adventurous as their father's -- you wouldn't find either the children or me eating sushi or raw oysters for instance, even though Justin will eat both and even though the kids do eat fish fairly regularly.
I do try to make lots of different things (both in terms of different kinds of foods and from lots of ethnic backgrounds) and when we eat out at a restaurant it is often Greek, Thai, Indian or something else along those lines. This is not to say we never hit Sonic for a burger. Everything, both ethnic foods and fast food come in moderation.
I usually make the kids try a bite of whatever we are eating -- and there are lots of things that the parents really liked that never get made a second time, because they are so strongly disliked by the kids. I'll even do something I said I would never do -- I will at times make food for the kids that is different from what I make for myself. At those times though, and they aren't common, the kid's food is related to what the grownups are eating and easy to make. For instance, since my children don't like fajitas, I'll make them a quesadilla, but I might make them try a bite of the chicken and bell peppers I used in the fajitas.
Sometimes my childern utterly surprise me though. For instance, the bigger kids both like spanikopita and stuffed grape leaves a lot, which I never would have guessed. And my husband and I were a bit surprised when we went to a tiny Ethiopian restaurant and the kids couldn't eat the injera bread fast enough and insisted on taking every scrap of it home with us.
I figure no matter how much they are exposed to it, some kids will never like certain foods -- be it broccoli or tuna fish or peanut butter, etc. There are things I hate eating -- peanut butter, sweet potatoes and cantalope being on the list. I never, ever tell them that those or any other foods are gross though and I try never to suggest that something is too spicy, too mature, etc. for them. Two of my children will eat every black olive in sight, while one would consider it contaminating to be in the same room with a black olive. But along the Green Eggs and Ham principle, they'll never know for sure what they like if they don't get a chance to try things out and the more things they try out when they're little, the more things seem to stick later on, in my, so far, limited experience.
If the kids don't like something, that doesn't mean they won't see it again and have to taste it again later, though I take their current food favorites into account when coming up with meals. Tastes come and go. The boy who requested nothing but "hot, cooked egg" for breakfast when he was two won't eat an egg now unless it is drenched in cheese and inserted between two slices of toasted English muffin now. Sometimes the Middle Girl would rather eat nothing at all than ingest the food on her plate. When they hate something totally yummy and wonderful, in the end, we tell them not to worry, that their mouths probably haven't grown up enough to enjoy the food and that they can check again when they are bigger.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I've always found my husband to be rather genteel, but according to Brooks Brothers, it won't be until he can tell his Prince Albert knot from his Half-Windsor that he'll truly be a gentleman. I suppose he, and most every other man out there, better get cracking.
Update: I notice that Blogthings, via The Llama Butchers, has a different and one might argue more complete definition of a gentleman. Knowing how to tie a nice tie might fit in there some place though.
Justin: "Thank you. What are nose pits?"
Middle Girl: "The things with boogers in them."
What makes her father's "nose pits" so fabulous? One can only wonder and say it must be genetics.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Now I have a Thai basil plant growing extremely well and I want to try again. I need some new recipes or suggestions for good Thai cookbooks. What, dear readers, can you recommend?
Monday, June 19, 2006
She looked at me and asked, "Are they all yours?" with a look of surprise on her face. I was holding The Toddler Girl in front of me, so I'm not sure if she could tell that I was pregnant.
At the time I thought she was amazed by the number of children, although three really doesn't seem like a large family even nowadays. Therefore, I've decided she was really shocked that someone as young looking as I am could have three children.
La, la, la....
Permit me my delusions, okay?
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Do reading lesson with Middle Girl.
- Sunscreen the kids.
- Pack up chocolate chip cookies to give to friend watching the girls.
- Take the girls to friend's house.
- Take The Boy to swimming lessons four stories up on top of a building not up to modern codes.
- Retrieve girls.
- Pinch children and/or scream songs at the top of my lungs to keep them from falling asleep in the car on the way home.
- Naptime, if I'm lucky I'll get one too.
- Make dinner.
- Feed everyone.
- Play outside, catch fireflies, and swing on the new swing.
- Bed time for small fry.
- Eat either ice cream or watermelon.
- Fall asleep.
What are your plans for the day?
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
- Stop fighting.
- Go sit in the living room until you can stop crying.
- I love you.
- Put your shoes/toys/crayons away.
- Go to the changing table.
- How do you say that politely?
My friend, Jo, thinks her somewhat similar list is a sign that she needs more adult conversation. I like to think it just means I only have to repeat myself this frequently with the short set. Although, there is one phrase on the list I do repeat early and often to the other grown-up in the house.
And things are growing. Food is coming soon.
I also have two bell pepper plants, but based on past performance, I'm not entirely sure they are going to do much.
In other words, I'm not getting the amount of uninterrupted sleep that I would like to have, but otherwise I guess pregnancy is treating me well enough. I am, as I've said before, extremely fortunate to sail through the first half of a pregnancy with few problems. However, now that I've reached the second half, the physical discomforts are starting to hit, and pregnancy at 31 is much harder than it was at 24. Bending over to unload the dishwasher hurts.
I had a checkup yesterday and everything looks good. We did a second ultrasound to check on everything and there have been no changes since my little preterm labor incident a few weeks ago. Everything that is supposed to be closed is closed and the baby still has all the fingers, toes and chambers of the heart that it is supposed to have.
Sometimes, I still can't quite believe I'm expecting a fourth child and yet I'm very definitely expanding on the outside and we saw a very definite little person on screen. I need to get used to the idea and move along with some important work -- like moving The Toddler Girl out of the crib before she realizes its going to be appropriated by some usurper.
And thus ends the pregnancy update.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Once the digging was done, we bought nice snapped sandstone stepping stones from a nearby stone yard. It pays to have nice neighbors with whom you are on good terms, because after hearing that we were going to pay $100 to the stones delivered, our next door neighbor, who owns a large pickup truck, offered to go with Justin to pick the stones up and helped unload them. I offered a lot of encouragement and iced tea during the process of digging and rock moving.
Things still aren't entirely finished. We may actually take out some of the pea gravel to use elsewhere and put in larger rocks around the stepping stones. This would, we hope, make it easier to move the wheelbarrow and lawnmower on the path and encourage Toddler Girl to stop filling her clothing with tiny little rocks. Not that she would stop removing the rocks from their intended location, but big pebbles are easier to find and put back than tiny ones.
After the path was put in, we laid out a curved design to add to our current flower bed that runs along one side of the property and attach it to the path. We have the bricks put in to edge flowerbeds (and I actually dig help set a few, though not most, of those) but we have not yet dug out the turf for the beds themselves.
In the meantime, we decided the garden needed something else. After searching around and learning that most garden bench swings and stands or arbors were of a higher price than the range we had set in our heads, we found a nice cedar swing at Lowes. Its rather Mission-y for our Victorian house, but we've been enjoying it a great deal already and that was really the point.
Last, what would a tour of landscaping projects be without a little view of my current favorite section of the garden and what I hope to carry through into the new section of flower bed when it is ready for planting?
Does that make us all hypocrites? The word gets bandied around any time any one does anything that isn't entirely in keeping with something they have said at any time in their past. It is currently in the running for most over-used word.
My Webster's defines hypocrisy as, "a pretending to be what one is not, or to feel what one does not feel; especially a pretense of virtue or piety."
One should be allowed to change one's mind, to develop new beliefs about a matter and not be labelled a hypocrite when saying that the new course is the one they currently are trying to follow. For instance, a parent, who having lived out a wild youth, is not hypocritical for teaching their teenagers that drinking and sleeping around are wrong. That parent would be hypocritcal if he was still drinking and sleeping around himself, but not so if he had done so in the past and learned from his mistakes.
Too often we try to hold everyone around us to high standards of perfection. Demanding that they always be consistent and thoroughly fact check every statement and action to make sure it always adds up. To do so is ridiculous. As I said at the beginning, we're flawed. We're inconsistent. The only thing one can do is try and pray for grace when we fall short of perfection.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
This isn't a meal full of childhood memories. Oddly enough, the only one of foods that I got regularly as a child was watermelon. We ate plenty of corn on the cob, but I didn't have it sauteed until seeing a recipe for it in one of the Barefoot Contessa's cookbooks a few years ago. I made up the bruschetta recipe myself (not that it's hard or probably all that original) a few years ago and I don't remember ever having an ice cream sandwich in our house as a child.
Sure, summer also means BLTs, black cherries, apricots, peaches, yummy things cooked on a grill and other pleasures, but in the past few years, no other meal has so entirely encompassed the flavor of summer for me. What foods or meals are quintessential parts of summer for you?
Friday, June 09, 2006
Those commericals just annoy though. Some like the Starburst commerical where the man dips both his arms in flesh eating acid to chase a Starburst are much more disturbing and not at all compelling. At the moment though, the one of the commercials I think wins the most disturbing award is one that Juicy Fruit is running. We won't even bother discussing further the troublesome aspect of the commercial -- when a lovely old Volvo has its door ripped from the hinges.
Who tries to sell things with a giant killer ant? I'd like a show of hands of all the people who want a giant ant for a pet. Or, who, having aquired one would be stupid enough to taunt it by opening a package of gum in front of it. Sure, it has a nice old fashioned horror film feel, but would that really make anyone want to go out and buy gum?
How about sticking to the things that we know actually sell products? Commercials that play up our longings and desires really are more effective.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I hope I'll get to meet Elise soon.
Here's my Thursday Three:
Cantalope, Honeydew, or Watermelon?
Watermelon. I buy the others for the family and slice them up, but I don't like them. I bring myself to taste them now and again, but I can't bring myself to like them. Honeydew is slightly better than cantalope, in my opinion, but I generally won't eat either.
Would you let your little girls wear bikinis?
When my mother-in-law arrived recently with a bag full of hand-me down clothing from somebody or other's granddaughter, the most exciting clothing in the bag, from the perspective of our three year old, was a two-piece swimsuit. My husband and I decided that we did not want to start any precedents of allowing belly-baring suit wearing (even though when I was in college I had a bikini of which I was quite proud and skinny enough to wear). I suppose I've become prudish in my old age and my husband remembers what it was like to be a teenage boy and thus we'd like to start out with a position of no two-piece suits and get that established right up front. I bribed The Middle Girl with a brand new pink and purple swim suit from Target and she was more than happy to surrender the bikini.
Why does The Toddler Girl laugh hysterically when I smell her feet and say with great exaggeration, "Ew! Stinky!"? and/or Why does The Toddler Girl think she has the right to climb in my lap, stick her foot in my face and say, "Piggy" any time she wants me to play "This Little Piggy" with her toes?
And the answer? I have no idea, but she's awfully cute and I think we'll keep her.
The other morning she naggingly asked her father, "Why haven't you fixed this drawer yet?"
Later, as he was getting dressed for work, she said, "I don't think you should wear that. Your suit would look better."
The Middle Girl is the hyper-feminine one and apparently has found my nagging abilities lacking. She's decided she'll have to take her father under control or nothing will ever happen around this place. Fortunately for her, she's got her dad wrapped around her finger.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Although I am not generally the first to buy my kids anything they ask for, this has been such a long lasting and continuous desire that I would be happy to comply and get The Middle Girl the shoes she most deisres. But for one thing. Until today, I couldn't find any that came as small as a size 8. Today at Target, however, we hit the jackpot. Tiny little pink, rainbow slip-slops.
Just what her heart most desired. I had to work hard to convince her that she couldn't wear them to bed for her nap. Other than for sleeping, I don't think those sandals are going to be leaving her feet any time soon.
I thought an appropriate punishment for both of them would be to make them clean up the mess. I have been surprised both times at how readily they actually agreed to do it. Even more surprised when both commented at the end of the process that it was "fun."
Both children have been informed that, while they may clean the bathroom any time they wish to, wetting the floor is not the best way to go about earning that honor.
Friday, June 02, 2006
In Hippy German School, all the children in Kindergarten sew a baby doll and a sleeping bag for the baby. The dolls are simple, but take the kids who are learning to sew almost a whole semester to complete. In the end they are a source of great pride for their makers. When everyone has finished their baby, all the dolls get a name and are sent home with their owners.
Today is the last day of Kindergarten for The Boy, so yesterday he very proudly brought home his baby, sleeping in a pink rosebud covered sleeping bag and bearing the name "Sandra Boynton" in honor of one of The Boy's favorite authors.
He told me all about his baby and its "history." It's wearing a bandana (of rosebud covered flannel) because, according to The Boy, "It's a pirate." Then in the course of telling me all about Sandra Boynton, the doll, The Boy suddenly got a strange, some what confused look on his face.
"Can Sandra Boynton be a boy's name, because this is a boy doll?"
I told him that Sandra really was never used as a boy's name.
"That's ok. Sandra Boynton is really just his nickname. His real name is Sandrio Boynton. He's a Spanish pirate. Does Sandrio sound Spanish?"
I decided not even to mention the possibility that Boynton is not a commonly found name among Spaniards.