Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend 2015

We went to Ohio to celebrate Great-Grandma's 90th birthday this weekend!  Isn't she adorable? 

I have about 30 cousins on that side of the family, and many of them have started reproducing, so D family gatherings are now loud, chaotic, and the children love them.

 After awhile, the chaos got to me, so I organized a round of duck, duck, goose.  It didn't last long since the 3 and under crowd couldn't quite grasp the concept, but it contained them for a bit.

We went to Lake Erie with my brother's family.  Love getting the cousins together.

 Spork is concerned about mermaid anatomy.  He couldn't stay away from Ariel, but every time he picked her up, he wore this expression of admiration tinged with disgust.

 The Nugget loved the sea walls.
The Nugget rounded up the cousins and some new beach friends to help with his vision for a giant rock pile.
This weekend was brought to you by Paw Patrol.  If you need a video to satisfy multiple children on a long car ride, Paw Patrol is it.  It's got adorable puppies, car chases, goofy adults, competent children, songs that will get stuck in your head, and awesome transforming vehicles, so I think it hits all the demographics. 

This trip was one of the easiest we've had with the trio to date, but upon returning home, the Nugget immediately got sick, and today we had a toilet flood that dripped down into the master bedroom, so I'd say things are back to normal.

Monday, August 24, 2015

First Day of School 2015

Today was the first day of school for all three children.  I may or may not have shouted, "Freedom!" like Braveheart. They clean up pretty good, huh?!

My freedom will be very short-lived, as I start back to teaching next Monday, but I will suck the marrow out of the hours that I have!  Today I dropped off a vanload of items for the big consignment sale, hit the post office, picked up supplies for the preschool, scored some bargains at my favorite resale shop, and caught up on emails, and I still have 15 minutes before I go pick up Tater Tot. 

I have a couple of hours with my baby girl before we pick up that big guy, then we have tap.  I am starting to sense I will be living in the van during the school year.  Wishing you all bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Now I can drive the car?

I recently complimented Tater on her nose blowing skills. She expertly pulled a single tissue from the box, honked her little nose, threw it away, and washed her hands, unprompted.  I exclaimed, "Wow, so grown-up!"  She immediately countered hopefully, "So now I can drive the car?"

Spork has taken to sometimes washing his hands quite thoroughly for 2-4 minutes.  He used to slap dash and skip the soap, so I have been pretty supportive of his lengthier sudsing, even if it is a bit inconvenient.  But today, he had hit the 5 minute mark and was still going strong, so I came in to make sure he wasn't flooding the bathroom.  He was pumping hand soap on his sister's toothbrush and earnestly scrubbing the sink til it sparkled.  "I scwubbin' the sink for you, Mommy!"

The kids love when I give voice to their stuffed animals, so Llama Llama was watching Mighty Machines with them and having a bit of anxiety about the impending dynamite explosion.  This is Tater's usual fear, and Llama's theatrics were helping as she was trying to comfort him instead of launching herself like a frightened squid onto the nearest brother's head. Then Llama got silly and started being scared of the crane operator's mustache, and the Nugget piped up, "Don't worry, Llama, when someone has a mustache, it means he's actually a hard worker."

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Do spiders taste like Halloween?

Those clouds are really beautiful.


It's a booful day in the neighborhood, Mommy!

I making shooshee (sushi)! 

At Farm Camp, he had both a male and female counselor for the first three days. On the last day, the male counselor had a sub, so he immediately turned to his remaining original counselor and inquired, "Where dat guy go?" Being playful, she replied, "What guy?" Spork sighed and said, "You know, da guy! With the face. And the body."

This is what little dance sibs do on a Monday afternoon while big brother is tapping.  Also (not pictured) taking several trips to the bathroom, peering over the shoulders of big dance sibs playing Minecraft, making funny faces in the big mirror, and playing with doorstops.


The 4H fair photo wrap-up.  The biggest boys participated in a family game show this year.  We went for a wristband kids' day, which I highly recommend. Also, I think there should be a special "restoration service" for families upon leaving the fair, where a babysitter follows you home, plays with your mysteriously still amped up children and does the sticky laundry while you take a nap.  A girl can dream.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Spork's Pirate Party

All hail Pinterest!  I love party planning, and it is so much easier and more fun when I raid Pinterest for ideas, then tweak them as needed!

Cheap homemade invitations on cardstock, trimmed to fit in basic envelopes.
Font:  Pieces of Eight
Clip art: Galleon sail ship

X marks the spot, of course!  I would have hung it on our front door with a wreath hanger, but our front door had a little incident the day before the party.  Tempera paint on poster board, hung with twine.

 Kraft favor bags with party blowers and eye patches from Target (eyepatches were sold in bundles on Halloween clearance) and Palmer chocolate coins.  Those coins are not nut-free, so our one allergic guest got a Go-Go Squeez pouch in his.

 Favor bags all lined up and ready to go.

 The Nugget and I found and washed rocks, then painted them gold earlier this summer.  This morning, I hid them under fresh sand in the sand box and set out shovels for my little treasure hunters.  I have to remember to use Sharpies instead of washable markers, because the humidity did make the ink run after awhile.

 Especially with outdoor parties, I like to set out some basic amenities.

 Face painting table

Thank you, Pinterest!  The kids LOVED this game.

Snacks were done minus a working fridge! Cut watermelon and fresh pineapple.  "Peg leg" (honey wheat twist) pretzels and goldfish in freshly washed sand pails with shovels for the servers.  We have done many different kinds of party beverages and have found the combo of iced tea, lemonade, and ice water to be popular and economical.  Solo cups with Sharpie for names.

Store bought frozen meatballs in slow cooker with hoisin sauce.  Not pictured are the pizzas and breadsticks that Daddy picked up midway through the party.

Pump and balloons by Spritz at Target for balloon swords
Cupcakes with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. We had "green ice cream" (mint chocolate chip) too on Spork's request, though he was so excited, he didn't actually eat any dessert. The cupcake wraps and anchors were left over from Spork's 3rd birthday party but were originally by Spritz at Target.  Actually, if you frequent our parties, you will note that I reuse quite a lot of our party goods from year to year, from the number candles to little banners, which makes hosting kids' bashes a good deal cheaper.  I store leftover party goods in giant Ziploc bags in the basement.

Thank you notes from Vistaprint; I like to replace the "Thank you" with my child's full name, then it becomes personalized stationery they can use all year long.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Nugget is 8!

Dear Nugget,

You are a most astounding and interesting child.  You see the world uniquely and respond to it in kind.  You are Peter Pan, Eloise, and Bill Nye the Science Guy all rolled into one.  The world tells you to check one box; you laugh and check them all, because life isn't about coloring inside the lines but playing connect the dots.  You have an insatiable desire to know how things work and what makes people tick.  You want to be a teacher, a pilot, a farmer, the worker of a printing press, a daddy, and the proud owner of 3 whippets and dozens of cats when you grow up.  It's a little hard to imagine you growing up, because you are so good at living in the moment.

Spending time at the farm with your friends was the perfect way to celebrate you.  We love you, our fearless leader!

Love, Mommy


As the Nugget has grown, he has asked for a bit more media privacy.  I will still be happy to share photos and anecdotes, but he is the solo author of his own story.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A conversation with macaroni

Tater's favorite video these days is Yo Gabba Gabba! So she has been singing the party in my tummy song, and at dinner tonight, she had an interesting conversation with the macaroni on her plate.
T: You cooled down? Ok, come to the party in my tummy!
Macaroni (voiced by T): Oh it's so fun!
T: (to the next forkful) Well, you are sick, so you can't come to the party. You better go home and rest. Get well soon, ok? (10s pass) Oh you all better now, come to the party!
M: It's so fun!

Tater now prefers pulling her lovies in the wagon or pushing them in the stroller. She stops every few yards to readjust their seat belts or to soothe them because they are crying.

I took my trio to the library (which is always a mistake), and they had all earned prizes for the summer reading program. They chose kids' meal coupons from a binder, then the librarian turned away to pull the actual coupons from a drawer. When her back was turned, Spork eagerly asked me, "Her makin' da chicken now?"

I took the littles and some friends on a little nature trek on campus this week. We stopped to appreciate a statue of the holy family up close and personal. Spork was determined to, "touch the baby's toes," then declared it, "Dis my most favorite statue ever. It da best of all!"

A friend recently shared a Pinterest painting idea with me.  The idea was to have the children swing on their bellies with paint brushes in hand and sweep the paint onto flattened cardboard boxes.  The Nugget had to put his own spin on it and instead performed Cirque du Soleil worthy spinning/upside down/backwards painting.  Luckily, he had neglected to remove his bike helmet after a recent ride, so at least the noggin was protected. I love his creativity in messy action.