Friday, March 10, 2017

Goodbye, Shamrock

Our very special furry friend has been slowing down the last few years.  I've had this book on a shelf for a couple years now, and today when Shamrock couldn't stand up to go outside, I had to dust it off and read it to the Nugget while we both cried buckets into his Frosted Mini Wheats.  After the children went to school, Hubby and I took our sweet girl to the vet one last time, gave her salami and cheddar cheese, petted and cuddled her until she fell into the big sleep, kissed her cold nose, and came home without her.  She was the best dog, and we were so lucky to have her in our lives.  

Monday, February 20, 2017


Tater sometimes reads me her bedtime story.  I absolutely love this but of course can't suggest it; it must happen organically.  Today she was reading from my vintage copy of Sign Language Fun, and rattling off the names of each animal on the jungle page.
T:  Lion, monkey, elephant, honky, snake, alligator...
M:  Wait, wait!  What did you call this one?  (pointing to the rhinoceros)
T:  Honky!

Tater helped me go grocery shopping and enthusiastically dumped produce into the cart.  When I sent her to get 2 potatoes, she held them up proudly and introduced them, "This is Mike, and this one is Dave."  I reminded her we were planning to eat them tonight and wondered if that would be ok.  "It's fine, they don't mind," she said!

M:  Tater, which author are you studying at school?
T:  Norman Bridwell.  He died once.
S:  It ok though, because Jesus was with him.  Don't laugh, Mommy, it was in the Booble.

We are having unseasonably warm weather this month, and I'm trying to enjoy it and not have panic attacks about global warming.  In the spirit of silver linings, I opened the windows and put on my spring pajamas.  I like to get into my pjs when the little ones do, and Spork was really upset at my lack of flannels.  "What you wearin', Mommy?  I don't like you to wear dose.  Dat doesn't even look like pajamas.  Are you sure them are pajamas?"

Spork and Tater were recently invited to a birthday party.  They were super chatty in the car on the way there, and as usual, got into an old couple argument.  The topic wasn't memorable, but may have been about what kind of refreshments they thought would be served.  The bickering escalated quickly and ended with both of them shouting at the top of their lungs, "I'm done talking about this!"  (Which is definitely something I say, though I try not to shout it, ha!). Then they both followed through and ceased fire.  I had turned off the radio during the shouting match because competing loud noises make me wince, and Spork commented, "Sure is quiet in here!"

Spork loves eating out, and he has some pretty fantastic restaurant manners....he sits still, he uses utensils as best he can, he colors on the kids' menu, and he can sometimes even wait with minimal whining.  Spork is blessed with both a big appetite and a little sister who eats 2 bites, so he often gets her leftovers.  He's starting to get in the habit of eyeing her food, then his half-empty plate, then looks meaningfully at me and declares, "I'm still going to be hungry after this..."


I mustache you to be my valentine!

For Spork and Tater this year, I made a repeat of the Nugget's kindergarten valentine..

1.  Dress your cutie in red or pink, and have them stand against a plain wall or solid color curtains.  I happen to have pink walls in our dining room, which was perfect for Spork.  Tater was wearing pink, so I had her stand in front of a wood door.  She decided she needed pearls and 3 headbands, so I went with it.  Take a close-up photo, and make 4x6 prints.

2.  Cut around a self-adhesive mustache, so the adhesive backing is still in place.  Attach to the upper lip with a piece of double-stick tape.  Tater's pink/red felt mustaches were from Target.  Spork's furry black 'stashes were from Dollar Tree (and didn't require cutting as they were individually backed - woohoo!).

3.  Type up "I mustache you to be my friend/valentine!"  Cut with a large paper punch or in comic book style strips, and attach with double-stick tape.

Monday, January 16, 2017

I was soapin' you'd be my Valentine!

Right after we pack away the Christmas decorations, I start brainstorming about class valentines.  The Nugget's gifts are especially challenging since he's at the wonderfully hippie Montessori school - no sweets, nothing that feels too disposable, and of course now he's a big third year, so nothing too "babyish".  Tall order, but I do love a challenge!

The Nugget and I both love science, and awhile ago, we tried out the Ivory soap experiment.    I thought I could cut the bars and type out simple instructions to make a take-home experiment!  I suggested it along with a few other ideas, and the Nugget immediately wanted to share his love of scientific discovery.

The Nugget's first question was, "But what will you write?"  In our house, valentines = cheesy sayings.  I had no clue, so I actually Googled "cheesy valentines messages" and found this glorious list.  The winner was, "I was soapin' you'd be my Valentine!" and had the Nugget rolling on the floor in laughter.  He chose the font, printed and cut the paper strips.  (He's been given official permission to use the paper cutter and boy does he love it.)  I used a glue stick to mount the strip onto red construction paper.  You could use cardstock or cute patterned scrapbook paper if your child would like to fancy it up a bit.

We went to the store to buy Ivory soap (only $4/10 bars, which become 20 valentines) and inexpensive cello bags.  He happily peeled and chopped the soap bars with a pastry cutter, and I packaged them.  Normally, getting him to put the soap wrappers in the trash would have been a huge ordeal, so I just pulled the trash can out of the cabinet and sat it on the floor below his workstation, and he dropped them right in as we went along!

The baker's twine is from the Target Dollar Spot during last year's Valentine's clearance.  I have an old dresser in the basement with drawers dedicated to holding goodies for the smaller holidays, so it was easy to find in the Valentine's drawer.  I stacked the gift tag with the instruction tag, hole punched them, and attached them to the bag with the twine.

I'm super excited and only mildly concerned that I will get emails from annoyed parents ;) It is just soap, after all!  Bonus use for the expanded soap foam - Fairy Mud!  Giving the Nugget permission to unroll a whole lot of tp made his day!

Christmas 2016

The highlight of my Christmas was spending time with family, especially my newest nephew!  Let's blog-name him, shall we?  We accidentally have a food theme going, so Baby Brisket it is!  Anyway, Baby Brisket is perfection - snuggly, soft, adorable, and has that fabulous newborn smell.  Since I'm an adoptee genetic island without any family resemblance before nor aft, it is crazy/amazing/wonderful to see a tiny clone of my brother.  (Wouldn't trade my gorgeous non-clone children for anything though, of course!)

Day 1:

At Aunt B's party, while I was marinating in Baby Brisket goodness, Spork got busy drawing a snowman and leading a raucous parade.

Tater reunited with uncles, cousins, and possibly ate nothing but potato chips and Aunt B's famous butter cookies.  And the Nugget (not captured on film) somehow mastered playing "We Three Kings" on a toy accordion.

Day 2:  

A glorious early morning with a solo trip to World Market for mama and then splashing with our little swimmers in the hotel pool!  The Nugget has a serious love for hot tubs.

Delicious taco soup at Grammy and Grandpa's and hanging out with Aunt E and Uncle N.  Aunt E generously let Tater play with her Samantha, while we looked through a crusty old Caboodle full of "treasures" from our youth like plastic sunglass pins, a t-shirt clip made from a seashell, and single clip-on earrings.  

Then off to introduce my kids to Milk & Honey.  Spork asked 3 times if we could come back here every time we visit, and he's determined to eat a banana split next time.

The Nugget was slightly panicked by the vast quantity of ice cream on his rootbeer float, but he managed.  We threw our sugared up children into their church clothes and made it to the most crowded Christmas Eve Mass I've ever seen.

Day 3:

Sparkling grape juice for the Nugget in a wine glass at Aunt K and Uncle J's Christmas extravaganza!  Toys everywhere, "A Christmas Story" running on a loop, cousins laughing and chasing each other hysterically up and down the stairs, cheesy potatoes and plenty of wine.  Maybe the best Christmas ever.  Except for Daddy, who had to put together the Nugget's robotic hand, ha!

Day 4:

Movie time! We met up for "Sing", then lunch at Burntwood Tavern (thumbs up for the fish sandwich, thumbs down on the chicken parm, and I want a date there so I can sit in a tent!) and SkyZone.

Bean was determined to sit next to the Nugget and watch him Minecraft away, and Tater wanted to color with Cabbage, so we swapped kids for lunch with pretty good results.  I got to sit at the boys' table!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monsters from the north

This child has discovered makeup and face paint, and let's just say that moderation isn't her strong suit.  This was layer #1 (she's an owl), and she added layers 2, 3, 4, and 5 after the picture was taken!

Tater occasionally tiptoes down the stairs in the middle of the night, does something mysterious, and then goes back to bed.  We don't interrupt the process - so far, whatever she does at night doesn't seem to cause messes or trouble.  Anyway, in the morning, sometimes she will recount a bit of what happened during her night walks.  "When I came downstairs last night, there were tiny people walking down the railing and down the steps with me.  They were so tiny!"

Tater was putting the finishing touches on a creation made from washi tape, paper, band-aids, curling ribbon, and Scotch tape.  When we asked her to please set it in a safe place before bed, she declared, "Well, ooookaaay, but the monsters are just going to get it."  I offered to write a sign for the project that read, "Monsters, do not touch!"  She was pleased with the suggestion and helped me make the sign, but when I positioned it next to her project, she shook her head.  "It needs to go over here.  The monsters come from that direction."  (She pointed to the north, just in case you need to adjust your own monster-related signage.)

T:  When I sleep at night, there are a lot of tiny Mommies that sleep in my bed too.
M:  Do they look like me?
T:  Yep!  But they're wearin' pajamas and making little sleepy sounds.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Woodworking with Beavs

So it's been awhile, but the long running joke is that Spork is a reincarnated beaver.  It all started, because he was round and roly-poly just like the beaver I used to love at the zoo.  He also made a whiny vocalization that was exactly the sound the beaver made.  Then we started seeing other similarities - the way he would buck and twist to get down...just like the beaver!  The way he was fascinated with sticks and logs!  The way he gnawed on his wooden crib rail and the windowsill!  He is round-cheeked, industrious, and strong.  Anyway, he did some renewed beavering this past month.

One day, he was furiously running from couch to doorway with loads of pillow and blankets.  He stacked them with great fervor and precision.  This is especially notable because Spork usually begs for help and feigns incompetence with most projects, but he was boldly and decisively working at great speed.  When asked what he was doing, he said, "I buildin' dis so nuffin' can get through here!"  "Like a dam?" I asked.  "Yeah!  It a dam."  It was indeed, a well-built dam.

We recently got out the nativity set, and while Tater and the Nugget made the types of comments you would expect:  "Ooo, I remember this!  There's a baby in here!"  "I think there's a donkey and a lantern that lights up."  Spork had a different focus:  "Oh, I love dis.  I chop wood, put it in a pile."  He was remembering background accessories - a woodpile with a tiny hole for a mouse, an ax and stump, presumably for chopping firewood.  He immediately hunted for the ax and went to work chopping the wood with exaggerated flair.  This kid keeps me laughing!