Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Just In Case You've Been Missing 24

Terry has updates on the last two episodes.

Classification

I'm still transferring music to my new toy and a CD of bluegrass from the Oxford American magazine got listed as Alternative/Punk. I've decided to reclassify it for obvious reasons, but Bluegrass isn't a choice. Would you stick it under Country or Folk?

New Toys

This has been a season of new toys in the Adams' house -- and I'm not talking about the things for the kidlets. We've been fortunate enough to acquire some nifty electronic gadgets. The newest one -- which I bought by saving up my credit card points until I had enough to get several gift certificates from Best Buy -- is a 30 gigabyte iPod.

I don't really think of myself as a music person, so for the last many years I didn't see much value to me in owning such a thing. I'm not going to be jogging along listening to it, since I'm not going to be jogging along at all. However, when I discovered that I could beam it through the radio in the car and carry every CD we own in one tiny little gadget, I suddenly looked upon the thought of such a thing in a whole new light.

And thus, after securing the requisite gift certificates we got the iPod and all the other things that one needs to go with it. Then we started transferring all our CDs to the computer. I don't think of myself or my husband as "music people" but for non-music types we sure own a lot of music. We're up to 2000 songs and haven't transferred everything yet. It's interesting to take a look at one's whole collection of music -- the good and the bad. My husband mocks my Abba album and my collection of Kingston Trio CDs without mercy, but someone has more INXS than strictly necessary and what is London Beat? It's been interesting to realize how much kiddie music we own. We're up to 8.5 hours on that playlist and I think I still have another Wiggles CD stashed away.

Toot toot chugga chugga!

It's Been A Few Days

Since last I was here, I've spent days deep cleaning the house, had a lovely potluck for The Boy's class which was much enjoyed and which I would definitely do again. I've been to the dentist and had two fillings. I've drawn a picture and designed a bookplate for the library-to-be at The Boy's school and I've baked cookies for a bake sale we're holding tomorrow to raise money for the library-to-be.

It's been rather busy around here and because the weekend was beautiful, I spent almost all of Saturday and Sunday (when I wasn't in church) outside playing in the yard. In fact, I earned the title (again) of Meanest Mom in the World for making the children play outside for two whole hours. Shocking isn't it?

I can't wait for spring to really arrive. Here in middle Tennessee, the forsythia is already blooming and some of my daffodils already have buds. The dandelions are also blooming, which makes it easier to find them and dig them out. I am once again waging my usual battle against dandelions and wild onions. Maybe this will be the year I can do some real damage to the violets in the front yard.

Anyway, I'll be back in a bit to report about my new toy and how much I love it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Welcome, Claire!

I keep saying I'm going to marry my son to one of Alan's beautiful daughters, so isn't it nice that he keeps thoughtfully providing more for The Boy to choose from?

Welcome to the new baby girl!

What Was I Thinking?

The Boy's Kindergarten class has a monthly potluck. In the fall we had them at the park, which was lovely. Now it tends to be cold and is definitely dark, so I volunteered my house. Why? Temporary insanity. We have a smallish house, but I don't mind having a lot of people crowding into it. Still we have the potential for 17 kids plus their families and the teacher. Yikes.

To further complicate matters, the potluck is Friday night, which means I don't have a weekend day to clean the house and I won't have any husbandly back-up to help with all the cleaning and stuff. Especially, because my husband is working like mad most of this week. To further complicate matters, there is another party, for an attorney friend that my husband has to go to and I would like to go to on Friday evening.

So can I get the house ready for guests all by myself? Where do you all start when presented with the task of housecleaning for a party? And if I can get it all done in time, would it be madness to leave home for the hour before our potluck to go to another party elsewhere? It would keep the kidlets from messing my house up.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Super Spidey Sense

Sara had the interesting idea of taking multiple "What Super Hero are You?" quizzes to see how similar the results would be. She's mostly Batman with a smattering of Wonder Woman. As it turns out, I'm mostly Spiderman with a dash of Batman.

Your results:
You are Spider-Man
Spider-Man
55%
Superman
50%
Robin
45%
Green Lantern
45%
Hulk
45%
The Flash
40%
Wonder Woman
38%
Catwoman
35%
Batman
35%
Supergirl
33%
Iron Man
30%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

spider
Hey, You're the friendly neighborhood Spiderman!!!

You're cool cuz you're nice, you try to

please everyone, and above all, you are

humble. Those powers of yours are for good

only. No messing around.


Which Superhero Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla











Batman

Congratulations! You scored a super 67%!

Cool, calm and powerful. Whilst your actual super abilities may not be anything too dazzling, you have earned the respect of both friends and enemies in response to your amazing fighting skills, strategic combat and experience.
Luckily you have access to the greens which can fund all your majorly cool gadgets, vehicles and weapons! Also, you're reluctant but still accepting to the idea of having a teammate/side-kick, which just makes everything a whole lotta fun, doesn't it now!
On the down side, you've probably suffered some sort of trauma at a young age (that's why we don't talk to the old man near the swings, kids).
Similar to the Wolverine, your past is a base for your current motivation, undertaking some kind of personal vow in search of justice. All in all though, you're one tough nut. There's not a lot of people who have the minerals to go up against you, and you're experienced enough not to get cocky and let the little things like never finding happiness get you down!












My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 68% on Heropoints


Link: The Which SUPER HERO are you Test written by crayzee69 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

You scored as The Amazing Spider-Man. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker was transformed from a nerdy high school student into New York's greatest hero. Peter enjoys the thrill of being a super hero, but he struggles with the burdens of leading a double life. He hopes someday to win the heart of his true love Mary Jane, the woman he's loved since before he even liked girls. Right now, he just wants to make it through college and pay his bills.

The Amazing Spider-Man

79%

Maximus

58%

The Terminator

50%

Neo, the "One"

50%

Lara Croft

46%

Captain Jack Sparrow

38%

James Bond, Agent 007

29%

Batman, the Dark Knight

29%

William Wallace

21%

Indiana Jones

21%

El Zorro

17%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Tagged

It's attack of the meme tags out there.

First up, ChewyMom tagged me for a belated New Year's meme of sevens (shouldn't we do sixes in honor of 2006?). Many of my answers are the same as hers.

7 things I want to do in 2006:
Paint more paintings.
Lose a bit more baby fat.
Be more patient.
Read outloud to the kids in the middle of the day more often.
Keep a cleaner house.
Invite people over more.
Smooch my husband more.


7 things to do less of in 2006:
Over-react.
Yell.
Spend money.
Goof off.
Procrastinate.
Complain.
Worry.

7 ways I‘m going to be a better spouse/parent/friend in 2006:
Pray more.
Smooch my husband more.
Invite people over more.
Basically, do the things on my "want to do list" and don't do the things on my "don't do list".

7 Scripture Passages I want to memorize in 2006:
Haven't thought about it.

7 Books I’ve Never Read that I‘m Going to Read in 2006:
I don't have any idea. I don't plan my reading like that.

7 Movies I’ve Never Seen that I’m Going to Watch in 2006:
Narnia
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The next ones are just things I've requested from the library, not necessarily things that I really care that much about:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Brother's Grimm
Spanglish
The Terminal

Second meme tag, Guilty Pleasures from Mary

Meme: Ground Rules: The first player of this "game" starts with the topic "5 Guilty Pleasures" and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their 5 Guilty Pleasures as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names

1. Blogging and reading blogs -- I know I should be doing laundry/cooking/etc.

2. Shoes -- ask my husband, I love shoes.

3. Sewing/crafting stuff -- I buy way more than I need or will use.

4. Hot baths -- I could spend the whole day in one, if the water would stay hot and people would stop insisting they need me.

5. Hot tea -- mmmm...

As for tagging people, anyone who wants to do either or both of these is perfectly welcome to. If they want to do it, I'd love to see answers from Blair, Patricia,
Dan, Francesca and Marc.

Lawyer-in-training

My children are quibblers. They will parse everything.

The Middle Girl, age three, sat down on our sofa this morning, bonked her head on the books piled precariously on the back cushion and exclaimed loudly, "What dumb-dumb boy left these books on the sofa so I could bang my head on them?"

I reminded her that she isn't supposed to use the phrase "dumb-dumb" in relation to her brother.

"But I didn't say I was talking about my brother. It might have been another dumb-dumb boy."

Monday, January 23, 2006

Thirty

Today my husband turns thirty. I robbed the cradle. Well, not really although I am older than he is.

In honor of his entering a new decade (and no pedants out there better start with the zero thing, hmph), I present thirty random things about Justin.


  1. He sings and whistles a lot. Our house will never be without music when he is around.

  2. He spent ten years in Taiwan.

  3. He managed to use the word "bastard" in the first sentence of his college honors paper to good effect.

  4. I've known him for over a third of his life.

  5. He has spent many years seeking and perfecting the cooking of the perfect scrambled egg.

  6. Although he loves pork, he manages to put up with his non-pig eating wife and rarely goes on a bacon binge.

  7. He can build a beautiful gate.
  8. He loves tools and gadgets.

  9. He loves Legos and we have all umpteen million from his childhood, although they have been taken over by The Boy.

  10. He was a Presidential Scholar for the Arts, and yet is not an "artsy" person (whatever that means).

  11. He is a better decorator than I am though.

  12. The children like to treat him like a rock star when he returns home from work. All three rush the door or wait impatiently on the porch for his arrival.

  13. He started this blog.

  14. He's the same height that I am.

  15. He loves real fires and will never agree to a gas fireplace.

  16. He also loves real grills and will never agree to a gas one.

  17. Unlike his wife who bashes fifteen holes in the wall for every picture, he carefully measures and marks and generally manages to hang things correctly on the first try. Can you guess who hangs things in this house?

  18. He doesn't like cake and so he gets a cheesecake for his birthday every year.

  19. He's taught himself to (mostly) sight read music, with or without shape notes.

  20. Caffeine doesn't keep him awake at night.

  21. He's been the same weight the whole time I've known him.

  22. He once made a girl cry, when as a writing tutor he used "big words" around her and told her things like her words were pejorative.

  23. He first asked me on a date over e-mail.

  24. He can restore order to our house in just a few minutes, while I struggle with the toy explosion for hours.

  25. He likes his steaks rare.

  26. The Boy looks so much like his father that pictures of young Justin can be mistaken for current photos of The Boy.

  27. Although he claims to be a Southerner, he was born in northern Indiana.

  28. It drives him nuts to see me trying to do something that he thinks he could do faster or better.

  29. I never (or almost never) drive when he is in the car.

  30. He's my best friend.



Happy birthday, Sweetie!

Friday, January 20, 2006

I'd Love to See the Reaction

Hippie German School sent home a survey for the parents about all sort of things -- Who they could hit up for money? What we love/hate about the place? What we do for a living? What our top three sources of news and current events are?

I'm not sure which is going to annoy people more -- that I chose to call myself a housewife or that my top three news sources were NPR, blogs and National Review.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Full of It

Sometimes I look at my fourteen month old and wonder...



how can one person be so small and poop so much?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Recipes and Experimental Cookery

I recently checked out a couple of the Moosewood cookbooks. Not because I'm planning to go vegetarian, but because I have always heard good things about the cookbooks and I was looking for some new ideas, including especially new soup recipes.

My children are a bit strange and happen to love and adore lima beans. For the weekly soup snack at The Boy's school, he gets a bit annoyed if I don't bring lima beans. When I make vegetable soup at home, it had better have lima beans and I've spent time at the Indian buffet picking lima beans out of the vegetable biryani for the kids. A recipe for succotash chowder caught my eye, because they also like chowders.

I made the chowder two nights ago and it turned out really well, although I kind of violated the idea of a vegetarian meal by throwing some chicken boullion in the milk. Last night we had some left over, but I exactly wasn't in the mood for the soup again and there wasn't really all that much left. I cooked some short grain brown rice (2 cups water with chicken boullion, a bit of butter and a cup of rice), sauteed some diced carrots in olive oil and made up a bread crumb topping with some bread that was getting stale, melted butter, sharp white cheddar and parsley. Once the carrots and rice were cooked, I combined them, stirred in the leftover soup (I imagine about 2 cups worth), dumped it in a casserole dish and sprinkled it with the bread crumb mixture. I baked it for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

The result was marvelous. The kids gobbled it up and told me that it was one of their favorite dishes (having lima beans in it helps, of course).

For dessert (and breakfast this morning) I made muffins from my newest cookbook The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook -- corn and apricot muffins with orange essence. I loved them. My husband loved them. The Boy ate them after picking out all the apricots and The Middle Girl wouldn't touch them. The Toddler Girl will eat anything. I told you my children weren't normal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Very Bad Combination

Since my current favorite pair of jeans seems to have developed a large-ish whole and they were getting a little loose anyway, I went to Goodwill this morning to see if I could find a new pair.

Although my Goodwill claims to have things organized by size, you really have to look through everything to find what you are looking for. There always a few size 2 pairs of jeans wedged next to size 18 jeans. I dug through everything in the process saw a combination of words that should never appear on a tag together "low cut waist" and "size 18". The phrase "low cut waist" probably shouldn't be on anything, but if they must be made, they should not be sold over size 4. It's just not right.

Waiting Rooms

If you can help it, avoid going to the doctor's office on a Monday. If you can avoid it, don't go to the doctor's office on a holiday. If you can't avoid it, take some reading material, extra snacks for the children and mentally prepare yourself for the wait.

Our pediatrician's office is wonderful. I love and trust our doctor and her two partners are equally good. The nurses are kind and not the know-it-alls who try to prevent you from ever seeing the doctor by making you think everything is all in your head. Whenever I call, the doctors are always able to squeeze in a sick visit for the kids. They work hard and do a good job.

The Toddler Girl had no sooner gotten over her ear infection and ensuing spots, then her nose started running and she caught another cold. We've been watching her and running the humidifier, but yesterday she woke up with a crusty nose and two matching streams of thick green mucus. (All together now, "Eeeeew!") Since she had just been sick and had just had an ear infection, I decided I shouldn't wait a couple more days.

We got a 10 a.m. appointment and since The Boy was out of school, I bundled all the kids off to the pediatrician. Our pediatrician has both a sick and well waiting room and although it probably wasn't quite up to snuff, I let the two healthy kids go into the well room, because there aren't any toys or books in the sick waiting room. I kept the baby in the sling and stood in the hallway between the two.

When we got to the doctor, the parking garage had been a nightmare and I'd been forced to use valet parking to get parked at all. The doctor's office didn't seem too bad, but something was putting them way behind. We wound up waiting about 75 minutes before going back to a room, and then waiting another 15 or more to be seen by a doctor. Then, as it turned out, it was one of our pediatrician's partners because our pediatrician was dealing with too many other patients and a cold of her own.

Diagnosis -- another double ear infection, of course. Once my no ear infection luck failed, it's headed out the window, big time. We're using stronger and much, MUCH more expensive (Ouch!) medicine. Apparently ten percent of people who are sensitive to 'cillin drugs are bothered by these too, but we're trying it anyway. Let's hope she's not allergic, ok?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spelling Tip

By far the search phrase most often googled to reach my web site is "marther luther king" because last year I was making fun of my children's mispronunciation of the man's name. And now, a year later, I have not managed to inform the public sufficiently -- so I'll try again. His name is M-A-R-T-I-N.


Cleaning -- Good and Bad

Saturday I spent the afternoon doing various cleaning tasks. The ones that I normally ignore. I got out the step ladder to change a light bulb in the kitchen ceiling.

Since I had the ladder out, I took it outside to change the bulbs that were burned out on out porch fixtures (each of the three had one burned out bulb) and since I was changing those, I took off the globes, cleaned out all the dead bugs and brought the globes in to be washed. I should do that more than once a year, because they sure look nice when they are all spiffied up and free of dead bug bodies. I was positive that I was going to break the glass on one of those suckers, but I didn't. Which is good.

Bringing the step ladder back inside, I looked at the valances on my dining room windows which were covered in dust and at the curtains that the dog has soiled by repeatedly staring out the window and putting his muddy paws and chin on the window sill. I got the bright idea to wash everything. The valances are machine washable. The curtains I made a couple of years ago, and I kind of assumed they were washable (in fact, I think I washed the fabric before I made the curtains). You can kind of see where this is going, I suppose, but not only did I shrink the curtains (in cold water on a gentle cycle) but I also, who knows why washed the valances (burgundy) with the cream colored curtains -- so now they are both too short and pink! That's bad.

I did clean the baseboards in the dining room. That's good. I let The Middle Girl help and she sprayed the walls and the buffet with cleaning solution. Not so good.

Other than the curtains, which will have to be replaced, all is tidier and more in order. A little fresher and a lot more pleasant. The good outweighs the bad, although I may continue to bang my head into a few more walls while saying "stupid idiot" to myself over the curtains.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Warning

One of the many, many, many warnings I received from my mother as a child was never, ever to use the drawers of my dressers as steps. She told me something along the lines of, "It will fall down, squish you and you'll die."

When The Boy was a wee lad, I made my husband fasten all sorts of things to the walls. You can even buy baby-proofing stuff just for this, although we used wire, screws set into the studs and the backs of the furniture and some washers, I think. When we moved into our house here, I meant to have my husband do the same stuff again

We were busy moving in and doing the big, necessary stuff and having another baby and all. And besides, The Boy wasn't a climber and I'd told him not to climb the furniture lest he die. So we never got around to it. And honestly most of the furniture isn't about to tip over on anyone.

The Middle Girl is a climber. I've told her never to climb the furniture and although she scales the cabinets, stands on the top of the kitchen table and could probably hang from the chandelier, she hasn't ever climbed a bookcase or a dresser.

When we recently moved a bookcase/drawer thingie from one side of our dining room to the other and started using the drawers for the kids shoes, I worried and suggested that we really needed to fasten it to the wall. Especially, because the floor isn't exactly level there and the thing wobbles a bit. It's not on the verge of falling over, but its big and solid walnut and if it went, it would fall hard.

And, of course, life intervened and my husband didn't think it would fall or that the kids would do anything stupid. (Ed. note -- Ha! As if!) Nobody climbed it, but this evening, The Middle Girl sat down on the bottom drawer to remove her shoes. It wiggled, so she rocked. I was across the room and saw it going. My husband and both daughters were in its path. We both caught for the shelf, everything came sliding off. A gorgeous art tile we got for a wedding present and potted plant we've had almost as long smashed on the floor. Remarkably, the only injury was the corner of the shelf clipping my husband's head. Nothing hit either girl. We were incredibly lucky. If I hadn't been watching. If I hadn't yelled. If we hand't caught it or if things hadn't landed where they did, we'd be in the hospital right now.

That shelf was fastened to the wall -- into two studs -- immediately.

This wasn't funny. It was a scary reality check -- a reminder that kids do stupid stuff and baby-proofing some things is totally necessary.

Give all your babies a hug tonight and fasten down the wobbly furniture.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

What Not to Wear

My children are often shining examples of what not to wear. They think that green, red, purple, orange, pink, blue, black and brown can all be worn together all at the same time with rainboots, a crown, a sword and maybe a feather boa. Sometimes, when we aren't going any place more exciting than the grocery store or the library, I let them go out like that. Sometimes, when we're going some place special like church, I pick out most of their wardrobe and lay down the law, but most of the time I think they are adorable in their special, self-chosen outfits with their shoes on the wrong feet.

After all, this special fashion sense doesn't last forever. My son, who is known to many as Mr. Rainboots and who used to wear them in all weathers and for all occasions, has suddenly started to balk when I insist that he wear them when it is pouring down rain and the puddles are large enough to swallow small children whole.

I see lots of other mothers accompanied by their off-spring attired similarly to mine, so I know we are out there.

But, through conversations with friends recently, I learned that there are really two kinds of moms. Forget working moms vs. stay at home ones and nursing moms vs. bottlefeeders. The real issue is are you a mom who lets your children select their outfits, go out of the house with a hair out of place and a milk mustache or are you one who insists that all outfits must be perfectly clean and unrumpled, matching, and if their is more than one child that generally all of them need to look like they are about to head out for a family photo shoot.

Before I had children, I admit that I would see the little blighters out with smudged faces and wonder why their parent's didn't clean them up, but after many quick swipes with my tongue dampened thumb, I realize that those parents like me, probably just didn't notice the giant tomato sauce stain until they were out in public under the harsh glare of flourescent lighting. I always thought I'd want my children to be in darling little well matched clothing too, but when they put on their wild and crazy clothes, I can't help but be pleased that they dressed themselves. And as I said above, the wild stage just doesn't last, soon enough they will be dressing like everyone else and worrying about what the world thinks of their clothing. For the brief time that they are free from that concern, it is pretty funny to see their choices.

Other than wondering what some moms were thinking when I see them putting their 4+ year old sons in sissy-boy rompers with smocking, I tend to not ponder the clothing or cleanliness choices other moms make for their anymore. I discovered though, that my friends and acquaintances (well some of them) who worry about their own childrens' appearances far more than I do, are watching. And some of them are really wondering what moms like me are smoking when we let our kids out in public dressed like that.

So I'm here to say that I'm not smoking anything, but as long as they aren't too filthy and they are fully dressed, I'm not going to interfere with my small children's clothing too much. When they get to be pre-teen and teenagers, we may have more "discussions", should any of the baggy, off-the-rump jeans or shorts that say "Juicy" on the bottom still be in style.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fours

I've been seeing this one everywhere and finally got tagged by Athena.

Four Jobs I've Had:

1. Teaching Assistant
2. Psychology Lab Assistant
3. Reference Librarian
4. Mom


Four Movies I Watch Over and Over Again:

1. Auntie Mame
2. Gigi
3. The Great Race
4. The Princess Bride

Four Places I've Lived:

1. California
2. Arizona
3. Ohio
4. Alaska

(and Germany, Delaware, Alabama and Tennesee -- my adopted home state )

Four T.V. Shows I Watch:


1. Frazier
2. King of the Hill
3. The Simpsons
4. MASH

(I only watch TV after the kidlets are in bed and the above shows are about all that is on then that interests me at all.)

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:

(Does it have to be recent vacations, because we never, ever go on a real one. Anyway...)

1. My parents' house in Ohio
2. My inlaws's house in Florida
3. ...
4. ...

(Pathetic isn't it?)


Four Websites I Visit Daily:

1. Possumblog
2. The Llama Butchers
3. Yahoo Groups
4. Lots of other places

Four Favorite Foods:

1. A good medium rare steak
2. Soup
3. Almost any fruit
4. Almost any tea (except the vile Lapsong Souchong)

Four Places I'd Like to Be Right Now:


1. In bed
2. Taking a long hot bath
3. Scotland
4. Fairbanks

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging:

1. Blair
2. Chris
3. Earth Girl
4. You over there!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Garden Daydreams

It's been unseasonably warm here in my part of the South recently. I've gotten out and pulled weeds and finished some of the fall cleanup garden tasks that I never gotten around to. I've cursed the squirrels who have been eating my tulip bulbs and I've noticed some of my allium springing to life.

In January when one expects to wear coats and see at least a bit of white now and then, it feels like April. Although I know I can't plant anything for several more months, this weather makes me want to go outside and stare at the ground. In the evenings, I peruse garden catalogs and try to decide if this will the year I get into roses.

I know it isn't spring yet and I'm not about to start wishing that time will pass any faster than it already does, but days like we've been having make me long to get some dirt under my nails. I guess I'll content myself with planning further plant aquisitions and digging out the dandelions while the weather holds.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ahem. It has come to my attention, through various discussions with friends that there are two kinds of mothers in the world. Ones who let their kids out of the house looking this:


And ones who insist that their children have hair that is combed, faces that are wiped and clothing that matches. If they have more than one child, they usually want all the children to match each other, if possible.

Before I had children, as with so many other things, I thought I would probably be the latter kind of mother. I couldn't believe the kids that I would see out and about with unkempt hair and jelly smears on their clothes. What kind of mom did those kids have anyway?

Um. Me. They had a me kind of mom. The kind who lets them dress themselves and doesn't worry to much if shoes are on the wrong feet, Halloween costumes become every day wear, hair sticks up in funny places, and an outfit manages to include multiple bright clashing colors all at once. They got dressed all by themselves! Sometimes, I'm so blinded by the outfit, I even forget to check their faces and they go out with food encrusted around their mouths. Oops.

To a certain extent, I admire the ability other moms have to coordinate their children's attire, but I can barely dress myself in some semblance of tidiness and lack the ability or desire to impose that much order on the kidlets. Actually, I think most of their outfits are pretty adorable in a toddlerish sort of way and then they outgrow it. The Boy at age six has mostly stopped wearing his rainboots everywhere. His only major fashion blunder of the moment is a penchant for wearing a short sleeved t-shirt over a long-sleeved one (with color combos that aren't always too hot).

To my embarrassment (and I do actually find it more embarrassing than taking my children out in funky, toddler outfits) sometimes my kids want to match each other. Today The Middle Girl insisted on wearing the same tights, turtleneck and denim jumper that her sister was wearing -- and although I never going around asserting my innocence in their outfits that include wizard hats, rainboots and orange and neon green (I figure you all should know they chose that themselves) -- I spent the whole day proclaiming that I had nothing to do with their matching outfits other than allowing The Middle Girl to put on exactly what I had put on her sister.

I don't notice so much what other moms are doing with their kids. I generally don't see if the kids match each other, if their pants match their shirts or even if their faces and hands are relatively clean. I'm too busy with my own brood most of the time. On the other side, I think there may be some one-up-manship and those curious feelings of "don't those moms care?"

And yes, I care about the kids. Sometimes I even care enough to pick out their clothes, because I want them to wear something specific. Most of the time, I try to make sure their faces and hands are clean. Most of the time, I brush their hair. But mostly, I want them to learn to do these things for themselves and they do seem to

Yoohoo!

Do I have any lurkers? It's de-lurking week, you know. So come out and introduce yourselves. Assuming, of course that you are out there.



Monday, January 09, 2006

Christmas Presents

You thought Christmas was long over by this point, right? Yes, we've gotten everything cleaned up, packed away and we've even taken the loudest, most annoying toys off to Goodwill already.

I'm talking about what I got for Christmas -- lots of lovely things including pjs and slippers from the kidlets, a new cookbook, a new CD, and some other lovely things. The best and most thoughtful gift came from Santa, or that's what the note said. I think my husband may have had something to do with it though.

I got a beautiful wooden easel, oil paint, a few brushes and a couple of canvases. The whole thing is gorgeous. I hardly dare to touch it. Except, I'm dying to start a project and dive into painting something.

There is the rub. I haven't done an oil painting in about eleven years. Whatever I start with is bound to be in the mediocre to crummy range. The last things I did in oil were still life compositions, which are good practice, but not particularly fun. Painting, like any skill you want to get good at, takes time and patience, which I have in short supply.

What to do? Where to start? If someone handed you a blank canvas, what would you fill it with?

Degreasing the Baby

Dawn -- it isn't just for dirty dishes any more.

Those of you with children, at least more than one child, are well aware that baby proofing a house is an on-going, child-specific process. When my son was little, we had no need for toilet locks, stair gates or any of that stuff. We put a couple of locks on cabinets and were done with it. When the middle girl came along, we needed a lot more and now knew why some people installed cabinet locks on their upper cabinets (had we any cabinet doors on our upper cabinets, we would have considered locking them). Finally, the Toddler Girl -- she has interests that are again different from the older two.

One major difference? With the older two, we never had to put any locks on the bathroom cabinets. They just simply never showed any interest in getting into the stuff in there. Not so with the third child. She's very interested.

Since we contend daily with extra toothbrushes (still in their wrappers) and hairbrushes and what not being strewn all over the floor after one of her "investigations" you would think we would have locked things up by now. But we are busy, slow to get things done and well, sometimes a wee bit lazy. Even after she managed to open up and empty an entire, brand new bottle of shampoo into a drawer, we have not put on the kiddie locks on all the places we need them.

Thus, the cries from the older two children, "Mom! The Toddler got into something yucky!"

There she sat grinning at everyone, with both hands in a tub of Vaseline she had managed to open. She had painted herself and rubbed it over her head into a good thick layer.

Bath time. But shampoo and body soap are not made to contend with grease like that. I called for the dish soap and after a couple lather, rinse and repeat cycles, we had a non-greasy, merely water-slippery baby.

Yes, it is certainly time to rethink the baby proofing. No, we haven't locked the cabinet, but at least after we tossed all the stuff that couldn't be salvaged from contact with too much shampoo or Vaseline, there isn't much left in there.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Carnival of the Mundane

Not that I actually remembered to send in an entry or anything, but the first Carnival of the Mundane is up at Inspired by a True Story.

Spotted Babies

The Toddler Girl is spotted. As previously reported, she had a double ear infection, which led to a course of amoxicillin which in turn seems to have led to an interesting leopard-like appearance. At this point we aren't sure whether she's having an allergic reaction or if this, as apparently happens at times, is a side effect, but not an allergy. Don't ask me the difference. All I know is that I will be hoping she doesn't need any 'cillin drugs.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Banana Berry, Bubble Gum, Orange Cream

How did we get so many tubes of fluoridated children's toothpaste? Only one out of our three kids knows how to spit properly and uses the fluoridated stuff, but we have lots of tubes of toothpaste.

This came in handy last week when we ran out of grown-up, minty fresh toothpaste and were too sick and worn out to go buy more. And when we did get some after a few days the tube's bottom wasn't crimped closed. For about a week, I was getting my pick of all the fruity, sweet flavors with which my son brushes his teeth.

Blech! My teeth never felt as clean and my mouth never felt as fresh. Who knew I would be so thrilled to use real toothpaste once again.

If my son didn't act like he was being simultaneously burned and poisoned when I give him mint toothpaste, I think I'd dump all the fruity stuff in the trash.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Decisions

Over our vacation time, my husband and I finally finished Icewind Dale, which we bought and started the first time when we only had one child in the family. Moves, children and getting stuck in a dungeon meant we let the game languish and finally started playing it again from the beginning a few months ago.

Now it is over and our two newest games just arrived from Amazon. The time has come for a decision -- Icewind Dale 2 or Baldur's Gate 2? It's so hard to choose.

Back On the Clock

The joy of vacations -- even sick ones -- is life off the clock. For the past week, we have stayed up later, gotten up later, and eaten our meals later. No one has been in a hurry and life has been peaceful.

But this morning? Off goes the alarm. We groan. We blink. We try to remember why we have to be conscious.

Breakfast can't be leisurely and large. Run. Put shoes on. Grab your hat and gloves.

It's time to get used to being back on a schedule.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Answer Me These Questions Three

Er...well there aren't three questions, but there are lots of things to choose your favorite of the three from in this meme I snagged from My Favorite Llamas.

Beatles, Stones or Beach Boys? Beatles, although every spring on the first warm day, I always have an uncontrollable urge to roll down the car windows and play the Beach Boys.

Kant, Hegel, Marx? Shudder. Moving right along...

Clue, Monopoly, Scrabble? Scrabble, though I'm kind of an original Trivial Pursuit kind of girl myself.

Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford? Jack Nicholson scares me. Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park? Mmm. Just keep him young and don't ever let him talk politics.

Bach, Beethoven, Mozart? Mozart

Australia, Canada, New Zealand? Australia

Groucho, Chico, Harpo? I have very little opinion on the matter, but the most knowledge of Groucho.

Morning, afternoon, evening? Evening

Bridge, Canasta, Poker? Solitaire

Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou? I've only seen one of the three, but can also say that having read about the others, I'd still like O Brother, Where Art Thou? the best even I'd seen the others. And what a great bluegrass soundtrack!

Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau? Hobbes. He's such a wonderful dog.

Cricket, football (soccer), rugby? Soccer, I suppose, although if I'd ever seen a cricket match, I think I'd like it better.

Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte? Jane Austen.

Parker, Gillespie, Monk? Gillespie.

Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld? Cheers, but the correct answer is "Frazier."

Henry Fonda, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart? Cary Grant...drool...

France, Germany, Italy? Germany. I was a German major and all that, remember?

Apple, orange, banana? Apple

Rio Bravo, El Dorado, Rio Lobo? It's a sad fact, but I can no longer recall which one(s) I've seen.

Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman? As if the three women in this category were really comparable? Hmph. The divine Kate, of course.

Chinese, Indian, Thai? The cuisine? Indian, then Chinese.

Handel, Scarlatti, Vivaldi? Handel

Oasis, Radiohead, Blur? Oasis -- as much as my very limited knowledge of the bands allows me to make a judgement.

Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones, Yes Minister? Fawlty Towers -- again, as if these were really comparable?

Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw? Shaw

American football, baseball, basketball? Baseball

FDR, JFK, Bill Clinton? One of these guys is not like the others. One of these guys doesn't belong...FDR. Not that I really like any of the choices, but really people...

Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky? An even worse group of men to choose from than above...pass

Paris, Rome, New York? Rome

Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck? Fitzgerald

Blue, green, red? Blue

Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady, West Side Story? My Fair Lady, though I think the real answer is either The Sound of Music or Gigi.

J.S. Mill, John Rawls, Robert Nozick? J.S. Mill

Armstrong, Ellington, Goodman? Armstrong. At the story time I take the kidlets to, they always close with "What a Wonderful World" and I get sniffly every. single. time.

The Sopranos, 24, Six Feet Under? Don't have HBO, never watched any of them.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday? Saturday

Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear? Hamlet

Fried, boiled, scrambled (eggs)? Scrambled

Paths of Glory, Cross of Iron, Saving Private Ryan? Never watched any of them.

Trains, planes, automobiles Automobiles

North By Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo? North by Northwest by a lot, although Sean Connery is rather dreamy in Vertigo.

Third, Fourth, Fifth (Beethoven Piano Concerto)? Fifth

Coffee, tea, chocolate? All three. Tea first. Curse my husband for addicting me to the bean though.

Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin? Edinburgh

More Toddlerese and Sweet Things

I often simultaneously complain that my children ever learned to talk and yell "Mom" or yell at each other, while also adoring their toddlerese mispronunciations (something my husband swears the woman he married would never have approved of), funny phrasology and meltingly sweet statements.

While all of us have been sick and grouchy, we've had plenty of the yelling part that I'm not so fond of (not, I must sadly admit all on the part of the children -- hanging head), but also many of the good parts of speech are going on around here.

First, the bittersweet -- some of my children are learning to pronounce words like popsicle correctly. Once long ago, the older two argued whether the word was said "popskable" or "pop-see-el" but now one of them says it correctly. Soon only my husband and I will be left saying "plasagna," "gomana," (banana) "gaboon," (balloon) "ice pubes," and "popskable." And they look at us like we are crazy when we do. Is there no justice in the world?

I love, however, that my daughter's vocabulary is big enough to let her creatively explain things that happen, while not being quite big enough to use the correct words. Where else but from someone in this position of verbal innocence would you hear that you wear floatation devices at the pool to keep you from "floating down" or that (my personal favorite) her "bottom burps"?

But best of all, I love it when my kidlets, who I wouldn't really sell to passing Gypsies (no matter what I threaten them with) for all the gold or tea in China -- snuggle up to me, wrap me in their arms (as The Middle Girl did last night) and say, "I love you, Mommy. You're vewy pwecious."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Gash, A Rash, and Purple Bumps

In Shel Silverstein's poem Sick little Peggy Ann McKay comes up with an amazing list of ailments which will all keep her from going to school -- until she finds out it is Saturday and she heads outside to play. In our household, we just wish we could have looked at the calendar, seen that my husband was taking a whole week of vacation and headed out to play. Instead, we've all be thoroughly and miserably sick since before Christmas.

We've had runny noses, sore throats, pink eye, vomit, fevers, and The Toddler developed the first ear infection my children have ever had -- being an overachiever, she made it a double.

Just to liven things up, The Toddler also fell against a chair and split the inside of her upper lip. Have you ever tried applying ten minutes of direct pressure to the inside of a screaming baby's mouth? My husband managed, but I would have cracked under pressure within about 15 seconds.

Fun times abound. I can only hope that the beginning of this new year will bring much better health -- once the Toddler gets over the stomach bug and I kick the pinkeye out of my system. I wish much better health for all of you out there than we currently are experiencing here.

Happy New Year!

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