Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun with Ashley

I walked up the stairs last night after a looooooooooong day to hit the hay, and found the following semi-disturbing hallway exhibit lovingly prepared by Miss Ashley.

What could it mean? What did poor Jiminy et al. do? And why are those stuffed animals looking at them so judgmentally?
I don't know whether to file this under (a) "my baby is so creative!" or (b) "all the warning signs were present at an early age."
Right now, I'm going with (a). And for Jiminy's sake I hope I'm right.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fun with Owen


Poor Scott. It looks like Owen is not going to be the left-handed superstar MLB pitcher that he dreamed of.

(But there's nothing saying he can't be a superstar MLB righty! Righty?)

And yes, we killed the cherry tree. Accidentally, of course. Scott "transplanted" it this weekend, though, so it may still recover. I'm not exactly sure what that means. But it involved a shovel and some special dirt and Scott being outside for two hours.

And I don't know where the heck Owen's feet went. The grass was even mowed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Conversations with a Preschooler

Do not scoff when your almost 4-year-old tells you that she's going to go play hockey in the middle of July. Because you just might walk back into your kitchen to find this:


Where there's a will, there's a way. Here are a few more of our encounters over the last 24-hour period. I'm never quite sure who's the winner when we try to hash things out....we both tend to wind up rather befuddled.

Ashley vs. Mommy

Scene #1: The kitchen.
Background: Ashley will be serving as the flower girl in our friends' wedding in a couple weeks. Scott is the best man. I am a bridesmaid. The wedding ceremony involves a full Catholic Mass. I currently do not have any plan of containing her in the church other than relying on my quick wits and bribing her with copious amounts of fruit snacks.

Me: Ashley, next week you have to be quiet in church. You can do that right?

Ashley: Yes, mommy.

Me: Okay, let's practice being quiet.

Ashley: **silence**

Me: Nice job. Now, what if somebody comes up to you in the middle of church and goes "waka waka waka!" **Cue me doing a waka waka waka dance in front of Ashley. Use your imagination as to what that looks like**

Ashley: I'll still be quiet. See? **silence**

Me: Good.

Ashley: But mommy. Why would somebody do that?

Me: Well...you never know.


Scene #2: The family room couch.
Background: Ashley and I are snuggled up watching an episode of Blue's Clues. Joe (we are not fans of Steve) has just informed us that the clues of the day are (i) water, (ii) soap, and (iii) a car.

Me: Ashley, what do you think the clues mean?

Ashley: Water, soap, and a car, mommy.

Me: Yeah, I know what the clues are, but what do you think they mean? Where do you go that you need all that stuff?

Ashley: The zoo.


Scene #3: The family room floor.
Background: Ashley has been throwing tea parties left and right lately. However, she only has 3 teacups and apparently her stuffed animals have higher priority for teacup use than her own mother.

Ashley: Mommy, will you have a tea party with me?

Me: Can I have a teacup this time?

Ashley: No mommy. The bear and the monkey and the baby need the teacups.

Me: What kind of a tea party is it if I can't even have a teacup?

Ashley: I'm sorry, mommy. But, you can bring your coffee.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fruitful Plans

It all started last week, when I was absentmindedly cruising about on facebook and came across some lovely pictures posted by my dear friend Anna. Apparently, Anna had decided to redecorate her kitchen. And because Anna lives in a different state than I do, I feel free to mercilessly copy her whenever I get the chance.

So far, I have copied her bedroom furniture, her family room paint color, and I am seriously eyeing her wildflower garden as inspiration for next year's planting season. But luckily, Anna knows that imitation is the highest form of flattery (right, Anna??), and doesn't seem to mind being my decorating muse.

So, in her facebook posting, I saw that Anna had taken pictures of various fruit items at a farmer's market, framed them and hung them on her kitchen walls.


Isn't that a great idea???

And thus, a bee entered my bonnet and I was unable to think of anything else all week except snapping pics of fruit with my SLR.

Well, that's not entirely true - I also got a bee in my bonnet to book a vacation to Paris, which led to an agonizing decision by Scott and I on Friday night on whether to go out for barbecue or put the $30 we'd surely spend on pulled pork and cornbread into the Paris fund instead. (BBQ won - I shouldn't make decisions regarding the Paris fund on an empty stomach).

Anyways, what was I talking about again?

Ah, yes....fruit.

So, I decided that I needed to take pictures of fruit for my kitchen, just like Anna. Unlike Anna, I was not patient or organized enough to wait for an appropriate farmer's market setting to shoot such pictures, so I informed Scott that he was taking me to the produce section of the grocery store tonight for an impromptu photo session.

Scott: You want to what?

Me: Take pictures of fruit at the grocery store. For the kitchen!

Scott: You are a fruit.

Well, that may be so. But when inspiration calls, you must answer it. Even when it's calling from Aisle 1 at the local Hy-Vee.

Basket Bliss

Basket


Bliss

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Games, Games, Games

As it turns out, Ashley is a gamer.

This is awesome, because I love games. Board games, card games, video games...you name it, and I love it.

However, no one will ever play with me. It's really a sad state of affairs to be a gamer with nobody to game with. There's only so many rounds of Bejeweled Blitz I can play by myself on facebook before the congratulatory exclamations of the bejeweled blitz voiceover (Good....excellent...INCREDIBLE!!) start to sound a little meaningless. I bet he says that stuff to everybody.

So I am delighted that Ashley is a gamer like me. Granted, playing board games with an almost-four-year-old can be a challenge in and of itself. You can't be committed to the rules of the game, that's for sure.

For example, we played Disney princess monopoly the other day, which basically consisted of us handing each other wads of play money each time we rolled the dice. And placing pink, purple and orange castles in various spots on the game board and other various locations throughout our family room. And talking in fake princess voices.

We're also big fans of Candyland, where the object of the game is not to be the gingerbread man that finishes traveling the candyland path first. In our version, you want to be the gingerbread man who has the most candy cards at the end of the game. Basically, it involves a lot of flipping over cards and saying "No, just a [purple][orange][red][yellow][blue]" with an occasional exclamation of "The lollipop!!!" or "The candy cane!" or "What's that?" (peanut brittle)

Or the classic children's game, Memory. You know the one - where you flip over the cards two at a time and try to make a match. Simple stuff. Except the version of Memory we have in our household is the "My Little Pony" version. Where the cards are all pictures of ponies. Ponies that, in both mine and Ashley's opinion, look exactly alike. So instead of trying to remember where we saw "that first pony that looked like this one but wasn't", we just keep flipping over cards until we get a match. Strangely enough, it's just as satisfying as the original version of play.

I hope the boys will be gamers, too. I'm already making a list of 4 player games that we could buy...oh, the possibilities!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Speech and Sauce

As I've mentioned before on the blog, the twins have a propensity to speak monkey instead of english. Because we strive to be good parents, Scott and I consulted with their pediatrician about their lack of english-speaking skills and were told to have them evaluated by the state to see if they'd qualify for speech therapy services.

So that's what we did. We had a few nice ladies come out to the house who administered different tests and filled out various checklists and what not. It went something like this:

Nice lady: Owen, can you find the banana??

Owen: silence

Nice lady: Owen, where's the banana??

Ashley: THERE'S THE BANANA!!!! RIGHT THERE!!!! THERE'S THE BANANA!!!! THAT BANANA IS YELLOW!! YELLOW'S MY FAVORITE COLOR!! I LOVE BANANAS!

We thought there was a pretty good chance we'd qualify for services. If for nothing else, at least to get some tips on how to keep Ashley quiet so her brothers could get a word in edgewise.

However, the nice ladies ultimately decided that monkey-speaking toddlers do not qualify for speech therapy in the good State of Nebraska. Apparently, the boys are.....average.

I suppose that's....good? In an average sort of way?

So we're on our own. Which I'm not too terribly worried about, because the visit from the nice ladies apparently scared the boys straight. I think they thought we were going to institutionalize them or something so they decided to get with the program and try to actually communicate with us.

However, the boys don't understand that just because they can say what they want, doesn't mean they will always get what they want.

Take Aidan and his applesauce, for example. Aidan would eat applesauce for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we let him. If Aidan had to choose between ice cream and applesauce, he would choose applesauce every time. If applesauce went and jumped in a lake, Aidan would jump right on in after it. If applesauce went to prison, Aidan would visit it every Sunday. Aidan would take a bullet for applesauce. Aidan would...oh lord, I could go on all night.

Suffice it to say, Aidan loves applesauce.

So, the other night for dinner I fed the kids pasta and apple slices. Not applesauce - apple slices. The real deal, people! Granny Smiths for everyone! They all ate happily until Aidan realized that he didn't have a side of applesauce to go with his apple slices.

Aidan: Gah, mama.

Me: What?

Aidan: GAH! MAMA!

Me: Ashley, do you know what he wants? (Ashley is more fluent in monkey than me)

Ashley: I think he wants applesauce, mommy.

Me: Aidan, you want applesauce?

Aidan: YEAH!!!!!

Annnnnd...cue the applesauce jig. The applesauce jig is a little happy dance that Aidan has invented whenever he realizes he is about to get the coveted sauce. I love that dance. In fact, I've been known to give him a second helping of the sauce just to see the dance again - it's that cute.

But, applesauce jig or no, I was not about to let perfectly good slices of real apple go to waste, especially since I had almost sliced my finger off in the process of cutting them earlier. By God, Aidan was going to expand his horizons - it would be a solid apple slice or bust!

Well, it was a bust. Aidan threw a fit when he realized I was not going to give him his applesauce fix. And let me tell you, Aidan is certainly not average when it comes to throwing tantrums.

But in good news, at least he understood what I was saying! Right? We were communicating!! Who needs speech therapy when you have a good jar of applesauce in the fridge. Not us, apparently.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hard Workin' Twins

I have decided that Aidan and Owen are like sheep dogs - they need a job in order to be happy.

This is probably the one trait that they did not inherit from me. Their dad has a killer work-ethic, while I am more of a couch-potato type. This does not exactly work well with our current set-up (i.e., me as sole breadwinner), but that's the pickle called life.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand: comparing my children to dogs.

According to my extensive research on the subject, sheep dogs live to herd sheep. They love it. Can't get enough of it. They love it so much that....oh, forget it. Old-school Sesame Street can explain it so much better than me:



Granted, that's a border collie and not a sheep dog, but let's not split hairs, people. The point is - my twins need to stay busy in order to be happy.

Because child labor laws prevent me from shipping them out to the nearest factory, I've tried to come up with several jobs around the house that they might be able to help me with. Things like putting their silverware in the sink, throwing their left-over peanut butter & jelly sandwich crusts into the trash, picking out their shorts and shirts for the day, etc. etc.

The only problem is, the twins' idea of a job well done and my idea of a job well done are not quite meshing.

Take laundry for example. As you can imagine, there is an insane amount of laundry to do when you have three children aged three and under. Now, we all know that the washing and drying is not the hard part of the laundry equation - it's the folding and the putting away portion of the experience that gets us everytime. Baskets upon baskets of wrinkly clean clothes all though the house - tangible textile proof of our perpetual state of existence: almost, but not quite.

So, this weekend, I decided to let the boys help me tackle the laundry piles. I parked myself on the floor, and started folding and sorting away while the boys brought me various articles of clothing.

However, I am not a speed folder. And because I was taking my sweet little time making sure the creases in everyone's tee-shirts were folded just so, I stopped paying attention to the boys. Which meant that they started bringing me clothes from the "already folded pile" to be folded yet again. Which meant that I spent a lot of extra time re-folding already-folded laundry when I could have been couch potato-ing instead.

That is unacceptable.

So, I tried a new tactic. Instead of sitting in the same room with the laundry piles, I sat way on the other side of the house. Then I had the boys run to and fro between me and the piles, bringing me as much laundry as their little arms could carry (i.e., a shirt plus sock). Because they did inherit their short legs from me, the running to and fro took enough time that it allowed me to fold all the clothes uninterrupted between laundry sprints.

When all the laundry had been folded, the boys were tired.

And happy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

True Love

Your first ferris wheel ride...

Should be with a man who will always love you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July Recap

We had a lovely 4th of July celebration this year.


I put all my parenting qualms aside, and let the kids dope themselves up on tons of sugar, stay up way past their bedtime, and hold flaming objects. Judging by the looks on their faces, I'm pretty sure it was the best night of their short little lives.



Luckily we had some friends over as well, who helped supervise the toddler sparkler extravaganza.

Look at Aidan's face...a future pyromaniac in the making, perhaps? I gotta keep my eye on that one.


Earlier in the night, Ashley almost got arrested.

"Why, no, Mr. Fireman. I'm not engaging in any illegal firework activity. By the way, did you know yellow's my favorite color?"


Although who could arrest someone with a face like this??

Those firemen never stood a chance.

Anyway, we all had a blast. Our neighbors subscribe to the "Go Big or Go Home" theory of 4th of July, so they went all out and had a huge fireworks show.

We mooched the view from our driveway (see my previous post for the picture evidence), and ooh'ed and aah'ed the rest of the evening away.

The inevitable sugar crash occurred right at 10:30 pm, so we wrangled the kids inside and tucked them all into bed. Then they slept until 10:00 am the next day. Unheard of. And highly appreciated.

It really was a lovely night. I don't think I've had that much fun on a 4th of July since I was a kid myself. And I didn't even get to hold a sparkler.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy (belated) 4th of July!





(Fireworks courtesy of my pyrotechnically-inclined neighbors)

Cookie Spirit

On Friday, the kids and I headed to Nana's where we mixed and rolled and baked and decorated patriotic cookies.

And then we ate them all. Because that's what good Americans do. We eat. A lot.


And we wouldn't want to let our country down. Not on its birthday.

God bless the USA.
(And Nana's sugar cookie recipe).

Friday, July 3, 2009

We All Have Our Talents

Ashley's?

Is sneezing on command.

See the post below for the video evidence. (I am experiencing some technical difficulties).

I don't know what planet she came from. But if I ever go there, I'll be sure to bring some Benadryl.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Forever Young


I think I am having a mid-life crisis.

For one, I've worn hoop earrings twice this week instead of my sensible studs.

Second, I have actually been thinking about starting to exercise a little, maybe. Or not.

And third, I was this close to updating my facebook status the other day to read "Boom Boom Pow." I have no idea why - it just seemed like a good idea at the time.

(If you can't tell, I am not very good at having a mid-life crisis).

I think I have just been working too hard, lately. I need to unplug from my billing station, defrost from my office's ridiculously cold central air, and enjoy summer while it is still here. This 3-day weekend cannot come soon enough.

It may not help my mid-life crisis, though. The 4th of July tends to bring out the kid in me.

I do love a good sparkler.