The Blog Returns with the Beginning of Summer !

I’ve decided not to let this blog die 🙂  So it’s back by popular demand…by the only readers…who happen to be the grandparents of my children.

I was writing about Christmas the last time I wrote.  Fast forward six months…summer vacation has begun!  Pat mentioned a couple weeks ago that he felt like the school year flew by.  I told him it was a little different from my perspective; being the homework supervisor makes for some long weeks.  And I just went through a stack of paperwork 2 feet tall that contained all the hard work of a year of first grade.  I also cleaned out a mailbox of email reminders and notes from Jack’s teacher.

After a week’s vacation in Ocean City, we are back home to start the summer routine, or the lack of routine.  We have a big list on the refrigerator of all the things we want to do this summer.  We have started the summer point system whereby the kids get points for helping around the house and after so many points they get prizes, the big one being a trip to Chuck E Cheese.  I just need to find that piece of paper I wrote last summer with all the things for which they can get a point.

The kids are on the swim team at our country club and started practice this week.  Their first meet is tonight.  Jack has been at baseball camp in the mornings and then gets a few minutes of swimming in after.  Casey is watching a show while wearing her bathing suit as I write…she’s been working very hard in the pool.

But so far, this week at home has been worse than the adjustment to the first couple weeks of school.  These kids are tired!  Casey threw a tantrum last night because I sent her to her room.  I can’t remember if she’s ever thrown a tantrum like that.  Jack got sent to bed without stories.  They both broke down crying at the pizza place because they didn’t have any mini make-your-own pizzas.  (The employees had no pity for my plight.  You make pizzas…can’t you make two small crusts and throw it in a box for me?  Seriously?)

And the questions!  I feel like I have two three year olds right now.  I think they must have stored up a school year’s worth of random questions to ask me.  Casey asked me this morning, “How many heads would it take to fill up the earth?”  What?  Maybe Pop Pop knows the answer to that because I sure don’t.  Are they 8 lb heads?  Adult heads or child heads?

Jack has his own stash of questions but then he likes to argue with you after you give him an answer.  I was telling him that the Arlington Baseball Team (where he is going to baseball camp) won the state championship in 2012.  He, of course, already knew that because he saw the sign at the field and he wanted to know when they would take down the sign.  I told him that they’re proud of it and they’ll probably leave it up for a while.  Then I told him about the high school near our house in Virginia that won the state football championship in 2011 and I said that their sign is still up.

Jack:  How do you know their sign is up?
Me:  I saw it when we drove by the high school when we were in the area last week.
Jack:  I didn’t see it.  Why didn’t I see it?
Me:  You weren’t looking out that side of the car.
Jack:  Oh it was on Casey’s side?  I thought it used to be on my side.
Me:  It’s on different sides depending on which way we are going.  It used to be on your side on the way to school and on Casey’s side on the way home.
Jack:  I’m pretty sure it was on my side most of the time.
Me:  It was probably about half and half.
Jack:  Well you don’t know if that sign is still up.
Me:  I just saw it last week.
Jack:  They might have taken it down.
Me: Okay buddy, you win.

I think we will adjust to this summer business soon.  Next week, we have no camps, just swim team, so I think we can have some fun and get some rest and start crossing some things off our list of things to do!  And I will get to researching the surface area of the earth and figure out how many heads will fit on it.


Chopsticks & Invisible Skeletons

A few weeks ago, after I put Casey in bed, she came out and yelled down from her room.  “Mommy!  Do you have any chopsticks?”

Since I was in the kitchen, I wasn’t sure I had heard her correctly.  “What do you want?”

She said, “Do you have any chopsticks?”

I was a little puzzled at this point so I decide to ask her why she needs them.  “What do you need them for?”

She replies, “For my lips…my lips hurt.”

“Ohhhh…you want chapstick!  I’ll bring some right up.  That’s chapstick, not chopsticks!”


A few weeks ago, I noticed that Casey’s laundry basket was filled with all of Jack’s clothes too, so I asked her why all of his clothes were in her laundry basket.  She simply said, “Because he has an invisible skeleton under his bed.”

Yes, right, the invisible skeleton.

It was funny to hear Casey say it in such a matter of fact way, but I wasn’t confused when she mentioned the skeleton.  I had heard about this invisible skeleton.  It caused some bedtime stalling one night.

Jack can’t tell me how he knows that it’s there, but he knows it is.  He would believe nothing I said about this skeleton.  I told him there really wasn’t one there.  I told him if it was there it wouldn’t bother him.  I told him invisible skeletons are really quiet.  Finally I told him there was an invisible ninja under his bed and it would protect him from the invisible skeleton.  That seemed to do the trick for that night.

Apparently the invisible skeleton has not been dislodged from under Jack’s bed.  It no longer causes night time issues.  However, I asked Jack why he was getting dressed in the hallway a few days ago.  He said, “Because there’s an invisible skeleton in my room.”

Obviously.  Silly question Mommy.


While Casey was at dance today, Jack and I had a few minutes alone together in the car.  I guess we were in between movies because he was very chatty…

Jack:  Mommy, Chinese Skittles have a very different package from regular ones.
Me: What?  Where did you get Chinese Skittles?
(I’m very confused…I’m wondering if regular skittles say Made in China on them or something.)
Jack:  At school.
Me:  Where did they come from?  Did Mrs. S bring them into class?
Jack:  No, A brought them in.
Me:  Does she have Chinese family?  Where did she get them?
Jack:  I don’t know.  I guess she got them from her family.  But the bag is very different.  The only thing Mrs. S could read on it was Skittles.
Me:  Did you try one?  Are they the same?
Jack:  They are.  Even the S is the same on them.
And there you have it.  The only thing different is the bag.  But it’s very exciting to a 1st grader.  And a little confusing for the 1st grader’s mother but I feel a little more cultured after all that.

Election Eve

***This is a rather abrupt jump back into blogging, but I just need to write when I feel like it.  Hopefully there will be more to come.***

This boy.  He came home and he was very grumpy about doing his homework.  He chose to work on a math program on the computer called IXL and he had to do 20 minutes of it.  He wanted to be done at about 15 minutes.  He tried to out-grump me and then finally sat down to finish it up.  When he was done he ran off to play.

Then I decided it was time to turn the heat on.  I don’t know why I resist this so much.  I have been cold for a couple weeks.  I like to see how long I can go without heat.  And yet the whole time I resist it all I want to do is get in my bed because it’s warm there.  It’s not very productive.

I went upstairs to set the program for the heat and Jack says, “Look Mommy.  It’s Romney and Obama!  I have the O for Obama and the M for Mitt Romney.”  He shows me a Lego creation he has been working on.  It amazed me that he had come up with an idea to build an election scene with his Legos.  I ran to get my camera while was on a search for coffee cups so they would both have one.

I love his creation.  He went on to tell me that people are voting tomorrow and that “both Romney and Obama were born in the 19s!”  I told him I was born in the 19s too.  The one on the left is Obama because he has flatter hair more like the real Obama’s.  I guess that left Romney with a beard and mustache.  I think it looks good on him.

Then he created them each on their own stages.  The red loose pieces are the curtains.  I tried to get him to use blue curtains for Obama but he wasn’t quite grasping the red and blue and different political parties.  “Parties?  What are you talking about?”

I asked him who he would vote for.  He said Romney and when I asked him why, he said he didn’t think Obama had done a very good job of running the country.  He must catch bits and pieces of conservative talk radio in the car when he’s not watching Batman or Star Wars.

Later he asked Casey who she was going to vote for.  She said, “Is there someone that begins with O?  I want to vote for him.”

“Obama?  You’re only saying that because you don’t know anyone else,” Jack claimed.

Casey retorted with, “No, really, that’s who I’d vote for.  I like Obama.”

Jack also came up with a “fun game” wherein he and Casey both run for president and I have to vote and pick the president.  But after his two terms I would get to be president again.

And just before he ran off to play again, he said, “I can’t wait for election day tomorrow. I don’t even know why I like election day so much.”

Jack the Engineer

On Wednesday, Jack decided that he was going to get some work done!  I took a wee bit of an afternoon nap and when I next saw Jack, he was dressed liked this…

He came over to me with a piece of construction paper and showed me his plans.  It was very impressive.  He drew some parts and added arrows to show how they went together.  Then he had numbers to indicate how many of each part was needed.  I think he might be an engineer some day. (I tried to scan it but the purple construction paper is not coming through well.  I wonder if he thought purple looked more like a real blueprint.)

Later on, he added more to his design, including a compass rose.  Then he started explaining the details to me but I’m still not sure I understand.  He’s building a castle and I believe the castle is for a mouse.  But he’s worried about ants getting into the castle so he’s created some kind of hole into which the ants will fall.  He also wants the roof to be strong so he said, “I’m probably going to use some stainless steel on the roof Mommy.  Then it will be strong enough.”

He’s a little upset that he doesn’t have a toy saw and is adding that to list of things he’d like to get.  He also  wanted to know if he could get a toy ladder, like the step ladder we have in the garage.  I told him that the toy manufacturers probably think that’s a little dangerous for kids.  He then decided to make one.  He had a couple of dowels and wanted to know what he could use for steps.  I pointed him towards the popsicle sticks.

Then a lot of thought and effort went into what would be the best way to construct the ladder.  He really thought he was going to be able to stand on it when he was done.  Initially he thought tape was the way to go.  But he couldn’t find the tape.  He also thought about nails but I think he realized that was beyond his abilities.  He finally settled on some Tacky glue.  It’s still a work in progress but the top and bottom rungs are glued on and he’d like to add something to make it stand on it’s own like a real step ladder.

He called it a day early but it was certainly a good day’s work.

Jack’s New Talent

Even though we spent the Memorial Day weekend at the beach, it was too nice out on Tuesday not to head to the beach again.  Jack didn’t want to go and claimed that he was just going to sit in his chair and watch.  He didn’t even want to put his bathing suit on.

But, mean Mommy made him put his suit on and as soon as we were at the beach, he was in the water.  Didn’t even unfold his chair.

We were having such a great time at the beach that we didn’t want to leave.  However there were some nasty looking rainclouds as far as we could see and it started spitting a little bit of rain.  We packed up our stuff and ran to the car through the rain.

On the way home, Jack said, “Why do we have to go to the beach so much now?”

I told him because the weather was hot and sunny and it feels good to be at the beach, playing in the water and with our friends.

He then said, “I guess that’s my new talent.”

I asked (while smiling), “Going to the beach is your new talent?”

And he said, “Yeah, it must be because we do it so much.”

Casey’s Eye Drama

A scene from the car –

Casey:  [Screaming and crying] My eye, Mommy!  I just poked myself in the eye!

Me:  Okay, it will feel better in a minute.

Jack:  Maybe she’s getting the red eye.  [Also known as pink eye.]

Me:  No, if she just poked herself then she’s not getting the red eye.

Casey:  [still crying]

Me:  Is it feeling better Casey?

Casey:  No.  Am I getting sick?

Me:  No.  You just said that you poked yourself.

Casey:  No, I didn’t.

Me:  You told me you poked your eye.  If you didn’t poke it, what happened to it?

Casey:  I don’t know.  I didn’t poke it.

Me:  [Silence.]

Casey:  Oh Jack, did you just see that Mighty Machine over there?

Thus concludes the eye poking drama.

Strawberry Season 2012

Strawberry season is here already in southern Virginia.  We’ve gone to the fields two times and gotten two huge buckets of berries each time.  This year we headed to a different farm (than years past) for their organic berries and both Jack and Casey were excited to get fresh strawberries.  
The first trip was on a pretty chilly day.  Casey was freezing and the “jacket” that she grabbed wasn’t keeping her very warm.  But she carried the bucket for me and let me fill it up.  She’s not really much of a picker…just likes to watch the bucket get filled.
Jack on the other hand, was spouting the strawberry rules to me almost verbatim from what he heard last year.  “Mommy, don’t pick any with white on them.  Make sure they’re all red.  The white ones are ‘tomorrow’ berries.”  He then reminded me that the proper way to pick the berries is the pinch the stem, not pull on it.

I don’t have any pictures from our second trip that we took this week.  There were a lot of red berries, so Jack didn’t have to remind me not to pick tomorrow berries.  However, I might have reminded him about overly ripe red berries.  He was exclaiming about how great the berries were and all the red ones he was finding.  By the time I filled my bucket I couldn’t believe he had already filled his.  He was so excited to find all those berries.  For some reason it kind of made me love him even more that he so diligently picked all those berries and was so proud of himself.  Even when I had to throw half of them away, I was still so proud of him.

The nice thing about this farm is the sand pile beside the produce stand.  The kids had a great time playing in it both days.  A big pile of dirt and lots of toys – what’s not to love?  And while they played on the first trip, I had to go back and fill up the tops of the buckets as I realized I had paid by the bucket.

The April edition of Southern Living has been very helpful with finding a use for all the berries.  With the first batch, I made strawberry refrigerator jam, canned strawberry-honey jam, strawberry cream pie, strawberry salad, strawberry ice cream and froze about a quart.  With the more recent batch I made strawberry caprese salad and we’ve just been eating them with some whipped cream.  Jack claims he is tired of them already but not when I offered some whipped cream.  I still have a bucket left…maybe some more jam.  I was going to freeze a lot more but the garage refrigerator lost power and I have no more room left in the kitchen freezer.

When I mentioned getting some more berries and giving them to the teachers for teacher appreciation week, Jack said, “The farm again?!?”  Maybe after a few days, he’ll be ready again 🙂

Easter 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s been just a little more than a week since Easter.  I went to Tennessee to do some house hunting with Pat and my mom stayed with the kids for a few days last week.  I think it probably felt like more than a few days for her.  Also, I’m not sure if they whined a lot while she was here or if they just saved it all up for me the day everyone left!

Back to Easter…
We had a beautiful day for the Easter Bunny to visit.  I didn’t really hype the Easter Bunny up this year but they knew he was coming.  I wanted to avoid questions such as ‘How does the Easter Bunny get in our house?’ or ‘How does the Easter Bunny know what to bring us?’ or ‘Won’t Tugger try to catch the Easter Bunny?’  I’m not sure about the bunny but Tugger was certainly interested in the chocolate and that was quickly moved to a higher location.

As it was, there were plenty of speculations on how the Easter Bunny does business.  And I’m glad I heard some of them before he arrived.  Jack had pieced some things together from memory and word on the street I guess.  According to Jack, Daddy told him that the Easter Bunny comes through Tugger’s doggy door.  Which is fine (and Pat doesn’t remember saying this) but Jack also believes that the Easter Bunny is mascot sized and I don’t know many mascots that can get through the doggy door.  Thankfully he didn’t question it.

When I mentioned that we were going to set some baskets out for the Easter Bunny to fill, Jack quickly reminded me that the Easter Bunny brings gift bags, not baskets.  Because this is what the Easter Bunny has set out for the last few years I guess.  (We were traveling for Easter last year and the bunny thought it would be easier to conceal gift bags than big baskets.)

So Easter morning arrived and thankfully the Easter Bunny got things straight.  He even realized that he should put the chocolate up high so Tugger wouldn’t eat it.  Because she would if she could.  The kids had fun checking out their gifts and searching for eggs.  That bunny even thought to color code the eggs so they would both get the same amount of jelly beans.

We got to church early for 11am mass, although not as early as we did for Christmas.  Jack and Casey played nicely with their markers and paper before mass began and then were very well behaved during church.  The choir sang beautifully and there was a wonderful solo after communion.  I was happy to have spent Easter at our own church this year and will miss it next year.

After church, there was an egg hunt.  We forgot baskets but luckily Jack remembered some reusable bags I keep in the glove compartment and Casey pulled all her hair trinkets out of her “hair bag” to use.  The field was full of eggs.  I don’t even know if there were enough kids to collect all the eggs.  In the end they turned their overflowing baskets reusable bags/hair bags of eggs in for huge piles of candy.  Jack said, “This is just as good as Halloween!” while I wondered how much of it I could reallocate to the garbage can.

We had a pretty good dinner – bone-in pork roast and roasted veggies.  The roast was difficult to carve around the bones.  Mostly I hacked at it until I got some meat and served it.  Veggies were delicious.  And dessert was decent – strawberry chocolate tart.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Easter Sunday trip to the carnival.  You all have that tradition too, right?  I was hoping the kids would forget about the carnival but since we drove by it on Saturday and learned that it closed on Sunday, they begged and begged to go before it would close.  And so we spent an enjoyable hour at the carnival on Easter Sunday before dinner.  The rap music didn’t really bring to mind resurrection but I’m sure the carnies had already done their worshipping.  The kids had a great time on their three rides and I even went on the teacup ride with them…which is totally not my cup of tea.  We played one game and lost but Jack has had pretty charmed carnival experiences so far because he claimed that he “always wins a prize” and was disappointed that he didn’t.

And so that’s how we celebrated our Easter!


Playing with Photo Booth

I just spent way too much time trying to figure out how to upload photos to blogger from iPhoto on my new computer.  Sadly I think it was exactly the same way I used to but I didn’t scroll down enough to see the Media button that I needed.  But now I don’t have it in me to write the post I was going to so I’ll prove that I can upload photos.
There is a fun Photo Booth program (app?) on our computer that lets you take all kinds of fun pictures.  Jack, Casey and I have had a blast in the last couple days taking funny pictures of ourselves.  Finding something that makes all three of us laugh hysterically is pretty great…something I should remember to do on those days that aren’t going so well!
 So we have my alien children…

The chipmunk family…

I think we are a frog family here…

This one is called blockhead but I’m going to say it transforms us into Klingons pretty well.  Just need a few more ridges in our foreheads…

This is the mirror function.  Jack worked pretty hard to position himself just right so he has three eyes, two noses and one mouth!

The kids think the mirror is pretty funny but I like this picture because I think it captured how much fun we were having…