Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter 2015

We have been staying home the past few Easters and really love it!  For the second year in a row, Grammy and Grandpa AND Grandma and Papa came to visit, making it a very special holiday for the children.

We started a week early, with the downtown Eggstravaganza.  We have never gone before, and to be honest, I will need to block out the memory a bit if we want to go many people in so little space kind of freaks me a out a bit.  The Nugget and Tater happily endured a long line to meet E.B. though.  And Spork, who clearly stated that he wanted to sneak past the E.B. and go play was thrilled that little sister snagged him an extra egg and immediately put her in what I refer to as, "the headlock of gratitude". 

For the first time in forever, our friends couldn't get together for an candy egg hunt (sniffle), but we made do with our own family hunt on campus after swim lessons on Palm Sunday.  We kept it a surprise and while the children were finishing up lunch, I snuck to South Quad to hide eggs.  Several college kids eyed the colorful eggs wistfully, and I promised myself that next year, I would bring extra for our kids to hide for them.

On Good Friday, both Daddy and the Nugget had the day off, so we dyed eggs.  Or more accurately, I started the egg dyeing process with the children, set the oven timer to remind the Nugget to check on the eggs, then left to go help organize the preschool while Hubby (who hates messy art projects) probably cursed my name.

No worries though, I returned before the children got out the confetti, sequins, glue, hair dryer, and shrink wrap. 

Grandma and Papa's plane was delayed, which was about the worst thing that ever happened to the Nugget, by the amount of moaning heard.  I distracted him by baking bunny sugar cookies with pink frosting.  We saved a couple for Spork and Tater to decorate/inhale the next day. 

On Sunday, the children happily awoke to full baskets.  No pictures here because people may or may not have been wearing pants at the time.  We went to the Easter brunch on campus where the kids looked adorable, and Spork consumed a personal record amount of ham.  Tater was really excited that instead of a plate of fancy Easter food the she would have to push away in disgust, I was able to get her some fruit salad and a dry bowl of Life from the student cereal bar.  It's the little things.

After a rest, Grammy hid eggs for my family's traditional money egg hunt.  I have to say that inflation has really hit hard, because in my childhood, the coins were quarters (and we felt super rich to have

$2 in quarters!), and now they are gold dollars! 

It was such a gorgeous day, we finished it off with a trip to the zoo and playground before coming home for dinner and meltdowns.  All worth it, because the three children can now look towards the camera and smile simultaneously, an Easter miracle!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hot chocolate style

The Nugget came sliding into the family room on this turtle, struck a pose and stated cooly, "Hot chocolate style."

The Nugget got to read to a therapy dog at a local library this weekend.  Earlier that morning, he muttered, "Gotta find the perfect book," and scampered upstairs.  He emerged triumphantly a half hour later, clutching, Dog Parade.  With a big grin on his face, he announced, "The dog will really love this one!"  When the time came, the Nugget got so nervous, he said his stomach hurt and his voice went down to a whisper.  But his dimples came right out when he got to pet Chance the therapy dog, who very happily and calmly listened to Dog Parade.

The Nugget's flair for the dramatic only grows as he does. This weekend, he suddenly started shrieking hysterically, "Ouch! I'm bleeding, I'm bleeding! I can taste the blood!" I calmly responded, "Let me see where you're bleeding." He perked up considerably and chirped, "Oh! Am I really bleeding?"

And after all this, the other night, the Nugget asked, "Mommy, am I interesting?  I just really want to be interesting." I don't think this kid has to worry about THAT!

Tater always tags along with me to Spork's speech therapy sessions at the preschool. He only gets a 30 minute session, which is just enough time for Tater to eat her breakfast, read a few books, make a leisurely trip to "the little potties", and get her coat back on before Spork comes bursting out of the teacher's lounge bearing his newest masterpiece dripping with glue! After many questions and conversations with Miss K and me, Tater finally understands that the point of it is is to help Spork learn how to talk. Because she is fluent in Sporkish, she probably still doesn't get why we just don't all become bilingual, but she accepts the plan. Anyway, yesterday, Spork and Tater were having yet another nonsensical conversation in the car about going to a fair, and Spork correctly blurted out something about a carousel. Immediately, Tater squealed and praised him, "You said carousel, Spork! You really said it! Yay for you! Mommy, Spork said carousel!" Spork has indeed made great progress, but speech therapy will continue for at least another academic year, for which we are incredibly thankful.

An updated Sporkish to English guide
Huskers....walrus tusks
Pie-ya...please may I have a 

When Spork was in the throes of a meltdown, I attempted to change the subject with silliness.  I asked him, "Where are your huskers?!" He snapped to attention that I used one of his words and immediately started giggling.  I got really into it, checking his pockets and under the couch, then threw my hands up and said, "Oh no, you must have left them at the zoo!"  Tater was giggling hysterically at this point, so I handed her a toy phone and jokingly asked her to call the zoo and check.  She chirped into the phone, "Hello, zoo?  You got Spork's huskers?  Ok, bye!"

Tater has very little fear, but one thing she does dread is the chimpanzee at the zoo.  For some reason, the chimp has twice now run right up to her and smacked on the window when she comes to see it.  It has been months since her last encounter, but she talks about 'panzees every day.  "Do 'panzees bite? What do 'panzees eat?  Baby 'panzees wear diapers?  Baby 'panzees use binkies?"  And when we do go to the zoo, she insists on trying to see them.  It is fascinating to see the way little Tater deals with her fears head on.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Treats

The tiny mailboxes are out this morning, and I am actually up before the kids with my contacts in my eyes, hot coffee in my cup, and camera at hand.

The bounty this year, everything below retail, including the books with my Barnes and Noble membership.  I felt extra justified in the books since B&N ran a book fair for the Nugget's school fundraiser.  As always, this is not a sponsored post, just sharing gift ideas!

The Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
Teddy bear Lindt chocolate from a four pack on Christmas clearance at CVS
Annie's bunny fruit snacks, purchased with Target coupon
Micro pack of bubble gum (I buy the bags of Orbit brand micro packs when they go on clearance at Target).
Die cast airplane from Christmas clearance at Barnes and Noble

Olivia and the Perfect Valentine by Natalie Shaw
Fruit snacks and chocolate
Stickers from last year's Valentine's clearance
Die cast bulldozer, also on Christmas clearance

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt.
Fruit snacks and chocolate
Self-inking stampers from the seasonal section of CVS.

Bargain hunters, be sure to head out tomorrow to snatch up some Valentine's clearance for next year!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I love you more than breakfast

A gem from the Nugget:  "I really love breakfast.  But even more than breakfast, I love you!"

The Nugget recently hosted the salamanders from his classroom in his bedroom for an sleepover (we had volunteered to bring them to a library event on a Saturday).  I was fearful that the sleepover might end in salamanders loose in our house but decided to put my trust in the boy, with about 10 reminders that the lid must stay on all night long, no exceptions.  He did well, but I was very relieved to turn the amphibians over to a teacher the following day.  Here he is at the library, his first animal ambassador moment.  My zookeeper heart is so proud!

Hubby says he also gave little sibs a "presentation" (Montessori lingo) on the salamanders, including their diet, habitat, and how to gently touch them. Tater was thrilled.  Spork cried upon learning that the salamanders would be in their room.  Then he cried again when we didn't bring them home from the library.  Spork also insisted on calling them "ants." "I 'fraid of dose ants.  I no want dem in my room."  "Where ants go?  Ants no come home?  Want ants!"

When I go into teach at Extended Day, I never know if Tater is going to be welcomed and coddled by the big kids or shooed away in exasperation.  Obviously she loves the former and if shooed away more than thrice in one day, she becomes sad, clingy Tater Tot or Beast Mode Tater.  But even the kids who find her as annoying as their own little sibs have been marveling at her continual verbal prowess.  She can now hold a semi-lucid conversation with them around the craft table.
Kid: Tater, can I have the sponge brush when you are done?
Tater: Sure!  Here you go.  It a Sponge Bob!
K: You know Sponge Bob?
T:  Yeah, I see Sponge Bob at the car wash.
Me: (clarifying) There is a stuffed Sponge Bob at the Drive-n-Shine.
T:  Yes, I see him in car wash.  I want to grab him and eat him!  Nom, nom!
K:  Eat him?!
M: What would he taste like?
T: He tastes like yogurt.  Yum!
M: Oh, because there is a picture of Sponge Bob on the GoGurt box?
T: Yeah, it's an ad.  I don't like ads on my food.  I don't like ads on TV.  I don't like that Elmo ad.
K:  Wow, she is getting really good at rambling.

Hubby is a Seahawks fan, so while the game was on, Grammy taught Tater to say, "Russell (Wussell) Wilson!"

Here is Tater at the preschool open house.  She is so ready to join Spork at the big preschool next year, and I am excited that she will have a classroom that she doesn't have to share with Mommy or big brother.  About five minutes into the open house, she turned to me and said, "Mommy leave now?  Daddy pick me up?"

Spork is very into pirates nowadays.  He loves to put on all the dress up garb and stomp around shouting, "Arrgh! Ahoy mateys!"

The cast cannot come off soon enough.  I am so thankful it is waterproof, so he can at least bathe normally and play outside. We cannot give him a lot of his OT work because of the physical limitations of healing bones, so we have had some backsliding this past month.  I am really eager to get him bouncing, climbing, dancing, and running again soon; it will make for a much happier Spork and Mama too!  We've had to get pretty creative with weekend entertainment.  Last weekend, we braved taking the littles to paint their own pottery while big brother was at a birthday party.  Spork was very into his work, and miraculously, no pottery was broken nor jars of glaze dumped.  Definitely a 1:1 parent/preschooler ratio required though!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Valentines 2015

I bought the mini Playdoh valentines on clearance last year for Spork to hand out at preschool.  I was going to get fancy and print a cute label, but whaddya know, the Playdoh folks included little stick on labels, so I'm all set there. And in case you wondered if sealed Playdoh lasts a year, it absolutely does.  I tested a couple cans, still squishy, so stock up for next year come February 15!

The Nugget is at a new school this year, but the rules are the same; no sweets. I thought tiny tape measures would be fun and was super impressed to find quality mini ones at a great price at D. Lawless.  Even with the shipping, it came out to less than $1 per item.  I was waiting to post until they arrived, since I haven't used this vendor before and wanted to make sure they were legit.  They arrived today and are awesome!

I'm going to use some clip art and print a cardstock tag, then tie the tags onto the keyring of the measuring tape with red and white baker's twine (from the Target dollar spot).  Will post pictures when I'm done, but wanted to share in case anyone else is hunting for VDay ideas!
Photo Update! I included the baker's twine in the photo just in case anyone is hunting for it.  Target used to sell it on spools, but currently it is sold on cards.

Sunday, December 14, 2014


Spork's favorite cereal is Honey Nut Cheerios. He will deign to switch up his yogurt flavor on the daily but heaven help us if we are out of "Bee," as he calls it. He also tries to convince the Nugget and Daddy to partake, "Daddy, want some bee? It wihwee wicious (really delicious)!"

Contraction by Spork.
Nelse - something else.

"Things I did not expect to say to my kids, cont'd"
Spork, we do not lick the leotards. (Hope Miss B doesn't add a, "You lick it, you buy it" sign to the rack or we just bought like $100 worth of sparkly spandex.)

Spork's new skills include whistling and putting on his own shoes and socks!
Spork is also sporting a fresh splint and sling these days, soon to be replaced with a real cast.  Spork took a tumble at Tater's gymnastics party, but he's not letting it get him down.  In fact, he immediately perked up for popcorn and cupcakes, so we didn't think it was broken at first.  And even in the ER, waiting for x-rays and splinting, his main concern was not his arm but the fact that his snack was delayed (ER rules).

When the Nugget spied Tater lying on her belly facing the stairs, he had a major panic attack and started sobbing and screaming that she might fall down the steps head first and die. After I reminded her to go down feet first, she happily bumped down on her bottom and I went into calm the Nugget, who was still sobbing on his bed. He blubbered,"I was so scared she was going to get hurt, and I just really care about safety. Like Chet."

I was elated/horrified when the Nugget had a scuffle with an older boy on the playground who refused to yield the monkey bars. Technically both boys were in the wrong, because they started on opposite ends of the bars at the same time without verbally deciding on who had the right of way.  Anyhoo, long story short, the bigger/older boy refused to move, the Nugget dropped down, unhurt except for his pride, and thanks to nightly readings of On the Banks of Plum Creek, he hurled out the insult, "Snipe!"  (As in, "Snipes, snipes, long-legged snipes!") Of course, the bigger boy had no clue what the Nugget was talking about, so instead of the insult having the intended effect, the Nugget had to describe what a snipe was, and that's kind of a momentum-killer.  But I'm kind of proud of my literate boy's verbal banter.  That's probably wrong on several levels. Don't worry, by the time he's in junior high, we'll move onto books that will give him tougher insults.

Lest you think the Nugget is not having a good time at school, he indeed has a plethora of good friends already.  One has dubbed him, "The King of Friendship and Love," awww.

Tater is verbal enough to hold entire conversations. It is a trip to converse with a 3 year old in full sentences and even funnier when I get to overhear her conversations with friends and siblings. Here's a gem I heard yesterday.
T: I'm afraid of band aids.
N: Why are you afraid of band aids?
T: Um, not afraid of band aids, afraid of band aids not coming off. Band aids get stuck on me, not come off.
N: Oh, I know what you mean. Sometimes they hurt when you pull them off.
T: I can no pull them off, ow! Mommy can take band aid off in tub, I no can do that. I too scared.
N: Yeah, that's hard.

Tater was happily naming the ornaments on our tree, "Manatee, penguin, Santa, snowman, bell," until she came to an unadorned limb, but she pressed onward, "Branchy-branch..."

Tater's received a boxed dvd set of Yo Gabba Gabba! from Cabbage, Bean, and co.  She literally leapt from her chair screaming, "Yo Gabbas!" and took a victory lap around the room.  Tater has been very excited about her birthday this year, and refers to her birthday as, "My happy birthday."  She has been making a lot of cakes in her kitchen lately and holding birthday parties for her lovies.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tater Tot, 3 years old

Dear Tater,
Several times a day, I throw my hands in the air and wonder aloud what am I going to do with you. And at the same time, I remember there was a chance you would not be a part of our present and future, and I wonder how we could have ever lived without you.  In the wise words of Jerry Maguire, you complete us, little one.
Love, Mama

Top 10 Challenges
10. Taking you to a restaurant is torturous at the moment. With your tiny appetite, you are done eating before he rest of us have had our first bite. Then it is a decision whether to entertain you away from the table or risk you flicking plates, utensils,and beverages on the floor out of boredom and spite. We love takeout right now!
9. Mealtimes at home are similar, but as you may be safely excused from the table, you then clamber up next to someone and try to poke their food or get in position for a piggyback ride.
8. You just gave up your binky, and boy do we all miss it!
7. You often get bored during big brothers' screen time. If there is no singing and dancing, it doesn't capture your attention, and you don't understand why you should be deprived of your playmates while it is on. In a desperate bid for attention, you snuggle up, sit on their laps, sing your heart out, and when they respond unfavorably, you get louder.
6. You have about a zillion things you take to bed. White noise, Bonky, Hippo, Llama, Monkey, other one Bonky, other one Bonky, and yes, other one Bonky. The entourage is getting ridiculous.
5. You love toiletries. You try to brush your teeth when we're not looking, lather yourself (and the couch and baby dolls) with lotion, are always sneaking into purses and backpacks checking for Chapstick and hand sanitizer. Lately, you take crayons, chalk, and markers to your face, insisting that you are putting on makeup.
4. While we have worked out a truce about your hair (20 min of combing and styling in exchange for a video of your choice), you don't always agree to leave it in place, and we've gone through a dozen hair bands a day because you have snapped them all out repeatedly.
3. You treat art supplies like a tapas bar.
2. You have 1/3 of your two year old molars, and we all pray for a swift end to your teething days.
1. When tired, you morph into a crazy gremlin.  I mean, you don't actually look frightening, but you go from this sweet funny child into a feral wild cat. Sometimes, we'll warn each other, "Watch out, she's in beast mode."

Top 10 Things I Love
10. You still love to snuggle, which is very welcome after your active brothers who became too busy to snuggle past 12 months.
9. You love to sing and dance. Your favorite song on the radio is "A Sky Full of Stars," in which you just belt out, "Starry sky, starry sky!"
8. Your voice is crystal clear, tiny, yet kind of deep. You can pronounce words like rhinoceros and blurt out sentences like, "Spork has a big appetite."
7. You are starting to enjoy story time more and have your favorite books. Karen Katz books and the Olivia series are current favorites.
6. You love to play picnic and "Baby Joy is sad," which is based on a SuperWhy episode. You make one of your babies cry, and we have to figure out what she needs. When it is just you and me, your play is very smooth and calm, and it is fun to hear your thoughts and questions.
5. You are fearless. Several times, parents have come up to me on the playground or other public play space and marveled to me that you encouraged their reticent children to try something new, when begging or demonstrating by their own parents or siblings was to no avail. But the cheerful eager way you attack a play structure or new challenge must be addictive. Let's hope this doesn't extend to hopping on motorcycles as a teenager!
4. You love to take a pad of paper and briskly ask, "What would you like?" Your restaurant's specials are always chicken nuggets, fries, and Diet Coke.
3. When given a choice, you smile so broadly your cheeks might split open, sway back and forth, and murmur, "Ummm...ummm," before settling on a decision.
2.  When we get home from a car ride, you often pretend to be asleep so I will carry you inside.  I'm all too happy to oblige.
1. You love, love, love your brothers.  You are more generous with your toys than I've ever seen a child of your age (provided the person asks you politely for a turn).  You beg the Nugget for cuddles, and when Spork is sad, you sometimes rush to give him something to calm him (which never works but A for effort). You refer to them proudly in the possessive and run squealing to them after any separation, "That's MY Spork, that's MY Nugget."