Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inspired by my new favorite website cake wrecks, I thought I'd post 2 interesting pictures. Daniel reminds me that we all see the world differently, as showcased in the "this is what they ordered and this is what they got" posts on the cake site. (by the way, if you visit the site, check out the Scottish themed cake--what they got is priceless)

This is what Daniel saw.

And then this is what he was inspired to make.

I love this kid.
It takes very little nudging to get him to run off and create something. And he's always so proud of what he made. (as am I)
While his version demonstrates fine use of working with what you have, I'm anxious to go to town on something that resembles the first picture. Except with more candy corn. And more frosting. And with black lights and sound effects. And moving parts.
Halloween is the best time of the year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This is a cute little critter, don't you think? It sorta looks like a precious teeny field mouse. (technically, it's a vole.) When I was little, if I saw a mouse in the yard I wanted to keep it for a pet or at least hold it. I did have two pet mice once. Unfortunately, they reproduced and soon I had tons of them. Only to have them die mysteriously one by sad little one.

We also had a small (wild) rodent who fed his family cat food from Snowball's dish. Now that was entertaining. I would camp out next to the dish and watch for the sneaky little thing to come out, grab one piece, run back and come out again. When you are watching 4 channels on a 13 inch black and white screen with questionable reception, anything is fun.

My point is, I think they're cute.
Shannon not so much.
At Grandma's this past weekend, she spotted a small dark rodent scurry across the room and went into hysterics. She was on the table in 2.5 seconds flat. Just as she was calming down from perpetrator number one, another scampered along the wall.
If my parents still had that wagon wheel chandelier, she would have been hanging from it.
Then, while we worked out an elaborate plan of attack, (involving tupperware and oats) Shannon remained secluded in the "safe" room to recover from her traumatic incident.
Shortly, we heard whiny wailing and sounds of objects being upset from behind her door.
Out she came crying from her first bee sting.
Poor thing.
She was so stressed out from her ordeal at Wild Kingdom she vowed never to return to the cursed place.
Except the lure of a party can do wonders for one's phobias. I took her home but she decided to brave it out and return because there was going to be dessert and fun teaseable cousins at this party.
On the way, I almost hit a squirrel and I may or may not have mumbled something in reference to the squirrel I did hit the day before. Shannon of course heard me and then announced "I hate dead nature." (as opposed to the living creatures she nearly passed out from earlier)

We don't know exactly what we saw at Grandma's, but if it was one these (a mole) she has my full support if she wants to live on the table. Just look at those fingers(?)!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

This is Hughey.
He is cranky and ornery. He nips and kicks. He will purposely step on your foot while you are trying to tighten the cinch and then reach around and take a bite out of your butt when you deftly move out of the way of his heavy hoof.

Not too many people (or horses) like him for these legitimate reasons. I was scared of him at first. And yes, they do smell fear. He tends to act up more the more angry you get when he acted up the first time. (get it?)
But I like the way he rides. He's attentive, and almost always does what you ask of him. He wants to be good. He just got screwed up somewhere on the way.
He's a lot less nasty to me now, and while I'm riding him, he's very tolerant of my ineptitude.

I'm not as fit as I once was and thus my riding skills (and Hughey's back) suffer for it. This was taken in 1980-something on a very nice but boring mount called Lady.

See his ears are back a little? He's saying "Get this tub off me and let me go graze or something."

But despite his irritable personality, I love him like he was mine. Probably because he's just like me. I'm cranky all the time and would always rather be napping.
Hughey's not very handsome or popular, but if you stick around and get to know him, he's an alright guy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh my. "Lord help me and save me from this yada yada etc etc." I say this way too often. Every kid has done this. Several times. This was not the first time, (or the worst) nor will it be the last I'm sure.

She is still going through her diva phase and is giving me too much grief about (what I'm sure she considers) excessive picture taking. So I broke down and used the flash because all the other pics were blurry. If she were to sit still, that problem would be remedied but I can only ask for so much from a 3 yr. old. Some day I'll post all the blooper pictures. It takes so many shots to get one halfway decent one.

This incident reminded me of the time Daniel and Katie were too quiet for too long upstairs in the girls room. I can never leave the two of them alone for more than five minutes. The first indication something was awry was Katie looking like a pasty ghost coming down the stairs. After I gulped my heart back to my chest, I realized she was just covered in something and not suffering from heart failure. I noticed it was a dusty white substance with such a familiar scent. Baby powder. A bottle had been forgotten in the closet from Shannon's baby shower. (I never used it)
Just the image of Katie was funny at the time. But as I ascended the stairs calling 'Daniel, what's going on? What did you do to your sister?" and not getting a response I was left dreading the worst.
And it was.
The dark blue rug was now a baby blue color and every toy, knick knack, nook and cranny was covered in the stuff. Including Daniel. These incidents make me want to scream "What were you thinking?!" When you are in the bathroom pouring water on the floor "What are you thinking?!"
It was one of those moments I felt like laughing till I came across more and more of it everywhere and the reality of what a job it was going to be cleaning it up was starting to sink in.
It was bed time, Tim was at work, and I was SO ready to go to bed myself. Then it wasn't quite so funny.
I hate dusting.
Now, much later, it's funny again. It's like a rite of passage in parenting. Every kid gets into the baby powder and all children draw on themselves and each other with permanent marker. You'd think we parents would learn.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No real post today because I feel like I should take the very profound and philosophical advice Thumper's mom made him recite.

"If ya can't say somethin' nice.... don't say nothin' at aawl."

But I'll leave with a funny website I discovered from PW's site.
Cake Wrecks


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Somewhere several years ago (before kids) when we were making our first stabs at training our (then) puppy Tobi, I had heard that it was wise to give the dog an ice cube instead of a treat. The logic being that if we intelligent humans act like frozen chunks of water are the cat's meow, the dogs will also believe it to be true and therefore sit, stay, heel, or do backflips when promised such a delicacy. The trick is getting the dog excited enough about what he hasn't received yet to make him think he's actually getting prime rib.

In other words, brainwash your dog to like ice and he'll never want a real treat.

Save money and be healthy.

Tonight, I accidentally discovered the same trick can be used on kids.
I've never really bothered with ice for the kids because frankly, why should I? They don't know what they're missing and I'm not bothered with whiny comments like "But maaam, there's no ice in my water." Next would be requests for lemon slices or worse, threats to turn this establishment over to the health department if bottled Perrier isn't provided NOW!
Because I'm so generous (or really feeling guilty we had nothing better to drink in the fridge) I splurged with ice in the water at dinner.
Daniel looked at it like it was a rat in his soup and refused to drink it even after I dumped out the cube. Shannon and Katie were thrilled and wouldn't stop comparing cube sizes throughout the meal.
It was like I gave them cotton candy for dinner.
*jealous glances* *brag brag* "Ooohh... mine is still big. See yours? It's teeny already."
They sounded like a couple of girls at a sleepover comparing bra sizes.
By dessert, Daniel must have heard enough ooohing and ahhhing to let curiosity win out over pride because he requested a cup of ice water for himself. So after I explained that ice water does not come from a magic pitcher in the fridge but from adding ice to a plain cup of water, he tried it.
I think he felt a bit slighted.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Despite a constant background noise of children in various stages of playing or fighting, our home is a relatively happy one. However, I have been known to raise my voice on occasion, and yes, sometimes I need to bring it to a level that says I mean business. Once in a while, I have to demonstrate the business.
The other night, the fighting was unrelenting, despite my multiple warnings of the dire consequences. When the fighting didn't stop, the kids witnessed their angry, frustrated mother carry out the punishment they were generously forewarned of.
I put all the toys from the first floor of the house in the garage. I'm ashamed of how many toys that turned out to be because now our first floor is quite bare. (though I really like it) This was two days ago and I have happily kept them in the garage except for a few small things. They were supposed to earn them back but they didn't ask, so I didn't say. Thus, the confiscated loot remains in the slammer.

Today my little gremlins showed me just how creative they can be. Daniel made a school bus out of the couch and a rubbermaid attachment that came from the kitchen somewhere. I think the weights are the headlights. All night he kept insisting that everyone needs to get on his bus. Angrily. I think he might have some road rage issues.

Katie and Shannon filled up the rest of the living room with these pop-up tents that I neglected to put in the garage while on my "mean mommy" tirade. The entire living room was filled with stuff and I thought it was all in the garage. Where did it all come from?
This proves to me to never underestimate the destructive (or creative in this case) power of children. It is a force to be respected like mother nature. (The destructive side is another several stories)

And this poor little guy. Well, the only reason why there is even a picture of him is because Katie made me take one. She was fascinated. We spent at least twenty minutes discussing this thing in our basement.
Mom! Cwi-et!
Yes, that's a cricket. But I think he's dead honey. He hasn't moved all day. (I'm not disposing of it-Tim can do that)
Mom! What they eat?
I don't know. Grass I guess. Maybe small bugs.
Mom! Wha dinos eat?
Dinosaurs? Some eat plants and some eat other dinosaurs.
Mom! I don' eat cwi-ets!
No, we don't eat crickets.
Mom! He not dead. He sweepin!
(Now I'm scared she might start crying if I force the issue and she realizes he's really dead, but I can't leave it alone. I have to be right.)
No honey, he's pretty dead. (I'm expecting some reaction-anything)
Mom! Don' let Maggie (the cat) eat him!
Okay hon, I won't.
You get the gist. She wouldn't let me not look at that stupid bug. It's all she wanted to talk about for twenty minutes.
Very amusing.
Also, off the subject but I want to put it out there. I saw on the news tonight that through the partnership of a private donor and the school, RIT will be offering full scholarships to those who qualify. To qualify, you must have excellent grades. (good-very fair) Your family must be below the income level set. (ok, still with it) And you must live in the city. That is where I have a problem. So if my kid is a grade A student, and we're poor, (we do fall below the income level set ) we may not qualify because we choose not to live in the drug-infested, violent, crime ridden city? Is this discrimination? Maybe I don't know the whole story. Quite likely. If that's the case, I'm sorry and I'm wrong. But I am feeling increasingly jaded towards attempts to fix poverty through handouts. At least this program would get kids to strive to be better students and earn a reward. I totally support that idea. I should be happy for those benefiting who really need it. But we need it too and I'm angry we wouldn't qualify simply because of where we live. Again, I may not know the whole story yet so I'll shut up now.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This is our firstborn.

My crash course in child rearing.

She cried a lot as a baby. She slept all day and was up all night. We felt pretty helpless and frustrated but mostly clueless during the first few months. There was a lot of "Why won't she stop crying? She must be sick. What's wrong?" and "It's your turn to hold her. I need to sit down." We hadn't realized yet how much babies eat. They're pretty much always hungry. By the third kid, we figured out all you have to do to shut 'em up is stick a bottle (or to my sore nipples' dismay) a boob (sorry) in their mouth. Poor Katie, I fed her so much she was always projectile-vomiting after nursing.

Today we are still clueless, but sleep deprivation is no longer a viable excuse. This little thing, now almost eight years old, received her first phone call tonight.

teeny meek voice- Hello?
(I'm sure there's a mouse on the other end) Is Shannon there?
Yes, just a minute. (calling outside) SHANNON! PHONE!!
long pause... What??
You have a phone call! Come inside and talk!
What? Who is it? Is it just Daddy? What do I say? *teeny tiny voice* Hello?

Then the rest of the conversation went something like this. (but at a much higher volume than the above interaction.

Who is this? Oh! HELLOOO!!! *giggle giggle* Yes...yes. Oh I know... squeak squeakity squeak...
Hang on a sec...
to the two year old we babysit who is not making much noise at all - Would you mind to please be quiet?! I'm on the PHONE!
Ok, I'm back. giggle giggle.... play date? Oh yes! giggle cackle...
Are you done talking now? Are you there? Hang on a sec.
to the 2 yr old- I am on the phone, can you please be more quiet?
okay, I'm back. Now she's twirling around and pacing. Then sitting, lots of pauses and more giggles. Then finally, after a ridiculous (but cute) amount of snickering and smiling and giddiness, she says bye and asks me how to hang up.
Then she importantly informs the disturber of her peace that it's ok to go back to playing now, she was making a play date and is now off the phone.

I remember when I witnessed the first smatterings of her growing out of little kid-dom.
We were watching the live-action version of Peter Pan which stars a lovely twelve (?) year old Wendy and a very cute Pan, about the same age.
It was one of the first live-action movies I dared to hope the kids might be interested in, (Disney is great but a person can only handle so many fairy tales before they go bonkers) and it was the scene where Wendy offers Peter a "kiss". As I sat wondering if it might be too "old" for the kids, I heard a noise near me that I couldn't identify. It was sort of a squeaky but squashy sound-like someone was smothering a happy little kitten. When I looked over, I saw Shannon in a very twisted/contorted position making these alien noises with the crookedest wicked little smile on her face.
I thought she was sick.
Are you ok?
Hee hee heee.
Oh. I get it. Here we go. That one snuck up on me. I wasn't expecting any attention to boys or romance till she was... I don't know, older.

So now we've reached the next emotional milestone.
At least it was a girl calling.

Friday, September 18, 2009

As we were having a (rare) moment of quiet story time tonight, I happened to look out the window and saw this. Nothing shocking or as pretty as those glorious pink and purple sunsets, but nice. Fluffy clouds that look like pictures against a blue sky.
Just nice.

It immediately reminded me of one of my favorite artists.

Maxfield Parrish, an early 20th century painter, was known for his rich use of color, beautiful light, and fantasy-like quality. He was a working illustrator as well and did many works depicting children's rhymes and stories.

This one is one of his more famous paintings. It's called Daybreak.

We have a poster of this one. Because I'm such a fan of the "Mary Mary Quite Contrary" rhyme, (caution, extreme sarcasm) I couldn't resist having this in our home. (I think it was done as an ad for seeds using the does your garden grow... tag line)

And you Enya fans will recognize this one.
Go to this site to see more of his beautiful stuff.

This one is my favorite. It's called "Morning".

His work danced with illustration while still maintaining fine art credibility. Which is what I used to try to do in my college days. But back then, (fresh out of the eighties) some of my art professors were still wrapped up in the ultra angry feminist Guerrilla Girls movement and were determined to squash my conservative ideas about contemporary art. Back then, if it wasn't abstract or weird or unusual, it was crap. I was SOL because I preferred making art that was recognizable. Maybe not give too much information in a piece, but give the viewer something to think about other than just color juxtaposition or composition or is that fruit or a naked person?

Alas, the pressures involved with being a working illustrator were not something I wanted or was capable of handling so I'm content just to look at this kind of stuff and allow it to inspire me to paint a picture or two once in a while.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the spirit of Mexican Independence Day, Teresa called me spontaneously and suggested we make sopes. (pronounced so-pays) We don't really know the correct way to make it, I apologize to anyone who may be out there saying what the hell? that's not a sope! that's a chimichanga! I love Mexican food but I have no idea what one dish is from the next. I usually just look for whatever has the ingredients arranged the way I like it. Because most Mexican food is just some combination of beans, salsa, cheese, some sort of corn and flour based version of a tortilla, and cilantro anyway. Thanks, I'll have mine shaped like a tube today. Tomorrow I'd like it to look like a burro please.

Our type of sope looks like this.

I like lots of cilantro. It's intoxicating. I'm convinced that it is a descendant from the marijuana family because it makes me so happy every time I eat it. I'd like to plant it in my garden (yard) enabling me to inhale it all the live-long day except the rabbits would get to it and I really don't want tripped out bunnies reproducing all over our postage stamp of a yard. Either that or I'd be explaining "no officer, it really is for medicinal purposes." like those wacked out Californian weed farmers.

Sorry. Sidetracked. ADD.

Also the chorizo is worth mentioning. I dislike sausage with the same enthusiasm I dislike cleaning the kitty litter but this stuff is sooo tasty. It adds just the right amount of saltiness to the savory-ness of the other ingredients.

And the cotija cheese. Mmmmmm. I can't convince anyone who isn't already a believer because it smells like feet. But it's the very best topper for anything Mexican.

Even if the dish is shaped like a burro.

The fact that I had coincidentally made a Mexican dessert (yesterday's post) made my cilantro-induced high reach new levels. It was a meal that was destined for greatness.

Happy Anniversary Tim and Nicole!! 4 years, you guys are still newlyweds!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I can't write tonight because I'm making this. It's far more labor intensive than the usual easier-than-pie cake mixes.

By the way, why is the phrase "easier than pie" supposed to imply the ease of a thing? Obviously that person has never made pie because it's a real pain in the tush. Especially if you're making a homemade crust. Or an apple pie with all that peeling and slicing. Unless they mean eating it is easy. That I'll agree with.

Also putting a kink in my project tonight is my scary mixer. It's not really that old but when I turn it on, it makes this awful metallic clanging sound and I'm frightened that the top that covers the motor will explode off and the sharp metal pieces of shrapnel will shred me to bits. So I'm using a hand mixer where a stand mixer is called for and even though there isn't really any time difference, it's more work because now instead of standing and watching the mixer do the work, I have to hold the hand mixer while it does the work. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. So I have high expectations that this recipe needs to be scrumptious.

I'm only in the baking stage right now, there are cooling, forking, drizzling and frosting stages also so I'll be up all night.

I'll let you know how it comes out at probably 1 am or so.

Monday, September 14, 2009

At the rather soggy Autumn Days in Livonia this past weekend, we did quite a many activities.
But because I'm obsessed with getting good/interesting portraits of the kids, I failed to photograph anything we did.
All I have is the kid's reactions to stuff so you'll have to use your imagination.
The parade was first on the schedule. Our Godson proudly marched with the Boy Scouts.


This is our nephew, Conner. He could have been watching tractors or fire trucks or a band or those Shriner guys or any number of typical parade attractions. I don't know because I thought this was much cuter than geriatric men with tassels on their heads squashed into teeny tiny cars. So I kept taking shots like this.

Here I'm fairly sure a blaring fire truck was going by, or it could have been the soft swooshing of the color guard. He's pretty sensitive to sound. (if it's the color guard, that would explain the smile)

And this is the only one of her I got that day. She's decided lately to act like she's an ultra-famous diva and I'm the evil paparazzi so she screams for her agent when I whip out the camera.

Okay, I lied. ONE picture of the parade. (actually I took a few more, but this one was the only one worth posting. I mean, who wants to see pictures of ancient tractors anyway?) See how the one on the left is twitching his lip? I'm calling him ED and pretending he's talking to me-convincing me to buy a ranch and as many horses I can so as to free his brothers from gigs like this.
We also saw some beautiful exotic animals. My only excuse for no pics of that is that I was too busy holding a snake. Yes, I can't look at an arachnid without doing the heebie-jeebie dance but the snake? That was kinda neat. Shannon and I sorta got attached to a beautiful orange "corn" snake and now I know what to get Shannon for her birthday instead of those smelly hamsters...
These though... just yucky. A slimy end to a soggy day. What are they? Giant mutant homeless snails?? So slugs then?


Friday, September 11, 2009

There are events in history that have such an impact on our lives, we remember where we were and what we were doing at the time they happen. Everyone (over the age of 50) remembers where they were when Kennedy was shot. (which by the way was exactly 40 years before Daniel was born)
I remember that I was home sick when the space shuttle Challenger went down.
I remember how shocked I was when Princess Diana was killed, and that I was upstairs standing next to the bathroom doorway at Grandpa's when mom told me. I never really followed the royal family, but it was a profound moment nonetheless.

On 9/11, I was 7 months pregnant with Shannon and I was at work. A coworker made an announcement over the loudspeaker to turn on the news, something important was happening. My coworker from the next module had just been talking about her plans to visit her brother in NYC that upcoming weekend. (tragically, she has since passed away about a year ago. But that's another sad story)
At first, the general feelings were of confusion, not panic. "I don't know, something about a crashed plane in a building." I imagined a little single engine plane in a remote warehouse.
I didn't even know exactly what the WTC was. Then people started to watch the footage and soon silent fear replaced speculation among us.
I went outside and looked up at the sky and real panic creeped up on me. I can't get hurt. I'm pregnant. Thank goodness this baby is safer in me right now. But what am I bringing it into?
Driving home, all I kept thinking was how out of control I felt as I kept checking the unusually empty skies.
And then, after returning home, I heard about our friends who were expecting their first baby too. He was born just a couple hours after the towers fell. Without sounding too melodramatic, it really was a beautiful thing amongst all the chaos happening around us.
Today is the day to pray for those lost and their families, but also to celebrate what we have and to be reminded not to take our blessings for granted.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When I was a little girl, I remember often sitting on the counter that separated the kitchen from the dining area. What I don't recall is exactly how I got up there. The agility and grace required to jump up to such a place were not qualities I possessed in the least so I think it's safe to assume that I was placed there, probably strategically.
Right around dinner time daily, it became ritualistic for me to run maniacally at my sister Teresa from the other room and scream "BEAR HUG!!" before ramming into her full force. She would generously oblige and then promptly set me on the counter. Her best defense against another attack was stranding me up there because we all know Teresa probably has only one hug in her per day and I filled her quota consistently. Unfortunately, her efforts to fend me off were usually thwarted by a more severe and painful result of me being on the counter. When perched there, my Frankenstein forehead reached exactly the middle point of her nose. And for reasons I conveniently don't recall, I may or may not have bonked her repeatedly on her perfect schnoz with my monstrous cranium.

I'm sorry Teresa, that your would-be straight nose is now slightly bent. And that you probably don't have full use of it mostly due to my childhood games.

But I sense an impending come-uppance. Fear not. You will be avenged.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Okay, one last *first day of school* picture. I know how exhausted everybody (facebook users in particular) is with these mundane yea-yea-yea-so your kid goes to school-so-what photos so I'm done.
After this one.
Because it is evidence of a phenomena that I am scared I will never (ever) see again except in my dreams.

Dan came home proclaiming that school was so much fun and appeared genuinely excited to go back.
All is right with the world.

Except not so much this.
You know those exercises where you look at a picture filled with various items in a relatively normal scene and you have to pick out what is wrong with the picture?
This is NOT one of those pictures because everything in this image doesn't belong. (Now I'm singing "One of these things is not like the other, which one is it, can you tell?)
Two summers ago, that hole started out just big enough to bury a rabbit in. I let it go because Daniel loved to turn it into a construction site or a monster truck arena or just to dig. Digdigdigdigdig. Now it's big enough to bury a small pony in and I don't know whether I'm more frightened of falling in this gaping dusty void happening in our otherwise normal yard, or the fact that I keep comparing it to burial sites.
Either way, it's starting to wig me out and so, as a tribute to the closing of the summer season, I think it's time to say goodbye to what has become like a reliable old friend to Dan and Kate. (ok, when I put it like that it's a lot harder to get rid of the stupid thing)
Because soon I'll start calling it "the pit of despair" in a strangely raspy voice and threaten the kids with it. As in "If you don't pick up your toys right now, I'm going to throw them into the pit of despair and it will swallow them whole, digesting them slowly for over a thousand years."
Yeah, something like that.
Maybe I'll leave it alone a little longer...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Happy days are here again. The skies above are clear again. Let us sing a song of cheer again. Happy days are here again!"

Yay! Yippee yahooie! Whoop whoop! Who's happy? Everybody's happy!

Except Daniel not so much.
His day doesn't really count anyway because I went with him and it was only orientation for an hour and a half. I was worried about this day because last year he had a bit of difficulty understanding that school is not just playtime. When this concept sank in, he sort of shut down and refused to cooperate with any task that remotely resembled anything educational. No coloring, no puzzles, no singing, only on the playground was he interactive.
He did not surprise me today.
When it was time for the kids to separate from the parents, he flipped out. He ran to the corner, sat down crying (screaming) and REFUSED to get up. I picked him up and put him in the cute little line of kindergartners. Nope. Like a little mouse that keeps running to it's food no matter how many times you pick it up and put it elsewhere, he was back out of line, on the floor and crying loudly.
Every class has that kid. This year I get to be the parent of him.
And so Shannon came home reporting a wonderful first day and that she can't wait to go back.
So one out of two ain't bad right?

Last night we had one last summer hurrah at the park.

We went swimming. (sort of)

There was a bonfire. (kinda)

We were so far out in the country we saw a cowboy. (okay, I'm not foolin' anyone. Hi Dad)
Great picnic food too.

A little pigskin.

And some playground action.

But what's this? What did they find over there in the woods?

Yeah. To celebrate summer, the kids went sledding too.

I don't know how they got that out of the tree, (or why it was in a tree) but they got a kick out of it.
Now we're ready for winter.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Girl's Night In

I've always wanted a bunk bed. They're like your very own tree house right in the comfort (and bug free-ness) of your room.

When our kids numbered from two to three, I thought for sure we'd get bunk beds for whichever kids ended up sharing a room.

After Katie was born, I made the mental note to have bunks in the girls' room. A couple years later, I made a further note that Katie would be on the top bunk because Shannon has a tendency to sleepwalk and while her dazed mutterings and wanderings are endearing, broken bones are not.

She is SOUND asleep. I think we'll have to wait a bit longer before ANYONE is sleeping on any top bunk. Though I may be willing to trade places for a night or two...

Daniel is sleeping over at Uncle Tim and Aunt Nicole's tonight so it was a girlie night. I never thought I'd say or do anything that involved discussing the 20 shades of fuchsia or hair styling; rollers or curling irons? But after having and almost thoroughly enjoying raising girls, I have lost my anti pink-and-feminine-and-cutesy attitude. So when Shannon begged to paint nails and do our hair and tell secrets, I obliged happily.

Katie's secret telling was simply whispering the word *secret* over and over much to Shannon's disappointment. She had expected to hear juicy details about unrequited love from her 3 yr. old sister.

I have never put make-up on my kids before and I stressed to them that it won't happen again unless it's Halloween or they are 18. But it was kinda fun and Shannon made a nice model.

Katie not so much. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "she would not could not..." ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to have her picture taken. I wanted to take her where the light was natural and abundant because she really looked cute but she wanted to slurp chocolate milk with a huge spoon and dribble it down the front of her white cotton dress instead.

It's the third time around with her. I'm not stressed about the perfect picture anymore. It's just more fun to watch her make a mess. I don't need two overly sensitive, princessy drama queens in the house anyway.
I couldn't handle that... sincerely.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just a Comparison

Here we have a very cute one year old who won't take her hat off (even for bed) that doesn't know it yet but she's got a couple of very naive folks for parents. Still the only child, she also remains blissfully clueless to the challenges that will come with the addition of two more siblings to her universe in the near future. (her parents share this lack of information)

It's 2003.

Now it's 2009 and I'm pretty sure she's wising up.

But so are we so we're still ahead of the game.
Also, how do kids sit like that? I wish I could still do that. I also miss the ability to sit on my rear in what is really the opposite of Indian style-with shins splayed outward instead of folded neatly.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Great Outdoors

I'm starting with a somewhat pleasant picture because soon to follow is one I know I wouldn't continue on with after seeing.
We all know Katie is a bit more active than the other two. Is that an understatement? Today she successfully got herself into three mini-accidents within a ten minute time frame.
First, she was attempting to move a chair. That's all. But lacking the herculean strength she thinks she possesses, she managed to crush her toes with one of the the chair legs in the process.
Tears and hugs.

Then, one minute I'm glancing fondly at her while I make dinner as she intently watches the toaster oven while standing on a stool. Then suddenly she is no longer standing. She is falling to the ground. (cue slow- mo action of me dashing heroically to her rescue) Not being the Speedy Gonzales I know is inside of me, she still fell.

Tears again.

And the finale. I grabbed the toaster oven tray to carry to the counter and as I was turning, I clocked Katie in the head with it. (I couldn't see her!) Now it wouldn't be so bad if it was the flimsy metal tray that comes with the oven. No, it was the Pampered Chef STONEWARE tray. I swear I heard it BONG when it struck her head. She's ok, it really didn't hit her hard. I think it scared her more than hurt her. But I had visions of explaining to the ER staff that no, I don't intentionally break my kids' heads with various kitchen items. It really was an accident!!

More tears and hugs. Poor thing.

Since we live in the suburbs, we don't see much wildlife. When we venture out to the country (Avon/Livonia) and the kids see cows, it's exciting. Katie always crunches up her face and says "Wa dat fnell? Chows? Moo chows!" Although being in upstate NY, I'm sure that thrill will peter out pretty soon.
Today started out like every other.

Except I came down to the basement and discovered this fellow. I wanted to show how big he was but I was not about to get close enough to put any sort of point of reference in there. It was hard enough to take a picture with one leg curled up to my stomach while I squirmed and suspiciously eyeballed the ceiling and the walls for this guy's friends. I know they're out there. They don't appear to, but I know they travel in packs and they get revenge for their fallen brothers. Despite that knowledge, this picture marks his last moments and he was soon smushed with a binder onto part of the computer after being sprayed from a safe distance with bug killer. Someday when Tim cleans the computer he will find spider guts smeared into the hard drive because I'm not touchin' it. He's lucky I disposed of it and didn't drag him out of bed to ice it himself. I must have been feeling brave because that's always what I do. But I was afraid it would get away and I would be glancing over my shoulder like a paranoid freak for the next 5 months.

The spider was just the beginning of our visits from the animal kingdom today. This bunny has been hanging around for a couple of months, then he disappeared. Today he came back. It doesn't need to be said that I like him much better than his scary predecessor.

This was taken a few days ago but it sort of adds to the Mutual of Omaha feel I'm going for here.

Then tonight I look out the back window and see a gazillion birds feasting on what I hope were only worms in our backyard. This picture doesn't do the real image justice. I mean there was a scary number of birds which led me to wonder about the even more heebie jeebie-inducing image of what critters they were eating and that they were in the same yard we (not me) run around barefoot in.
Then I saw the chipmunk.

Then I was sure Walt Disney's ghost was playing a practical joke on me and tomorrow I would see the trailer for Enchanted II-Giselle's evil stepsister (me) gets eaten by killer backyard critters.

And this is just pathetic. Also proof of the aforementioned running around barefoot. Did I miss something? Do we live in the country? Because in my dreams of such a life, I am singing to all the cute cartoon animals and the dirt is actually powdered chocolate because we live in Willy Wonka land.
If we were to actually move to wide open spaces, I don't think I would last very long.