Friday, February 29, 2008

February In Review

#1 & #2- N won the award for 'best workmanship' in the Pine Wood Derby. Perhaps we should mail his certificate to the company that pre-carved the car form and sold it at the craft store where I bought it! #3- I chopped my hair in a radical new do. Since moving here, I have learned that long, thin hair can be teased into looking good in Utah, but looks like junk when exposed to humidity. I progressively chopped 10 inches off over the last 6 months. Usually, when it is short I keep it in a clean bob, so this is a bit extreeme. I may have to go back to the salon and conservative-it-up. What do you think? #4- Our chocolate covered Strawberries from Valentines Day. #5-This is the magnet board that I made for a school fund-raiser for the elementary school. #6- We were treated to several ice storms. I now understand the severity of freezing rain and the subsequent foreclosure of schools based on the probability of said weather phenom.

February Quotes From My Kids:
N: Rules are dumb.
A: Could you be more suspific?
Z: If Dad is dead can we get a dog?
Z: I don't get it. Why do they call it a fur-og? There is no fur on it. Only green
Z: We like good boys and good skunks. The kind with out any stink in them.
A: I would give up my I-pod if we could move back to Utah.
N: I wish I was Davey Jones - just not so tentacally.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Assignment of Numerical Value

For a long time, Z - who is 4 - had a favorite number.  It was 1,038.  I don't know how he came up with the numeral, but he frequently used it to quantify his feelings.  For example.  "I love you 1,038...I hate this 1,038...I want to do this 1,038"...etc.  I found this expression hilarious and I was quite sad when recently he ditched it's use.  However, he now has evoked greater creativity in his assignment of numerical value to different emotions.  The following is an interview I conducted with him to illustrate his matmatical evaluation of personal feelings.

How much do you hate pickles?
459 a thousand and 30.
How much do you love ice cream?
459 a thousand and 78 and 9
How much do you like mustard?
How much do you hate mustard?
Maybe 459 and 7
How much to you love Disneyland?
Oh, I don't love it...they have stamps...well maybe.. I love it 78 and 459 and 80 thousand.
How much do you love thin mints?
That's a hard question.  I am thinking...I am thinking...9 thousand and 66....and 459.
How much do you hate latin music? (Which he decided he greatly disliked after being exposed to it at a music kiosk thing at Target recently.) 
479 and 58
How much do you like preschool?
Maybe 1 except when it is fun and I like it 1 thousand
How much do you like Scooby Do?
Oh! 459 and 78
How much do you like brocolli?
Oh, maybe 1
How much do you like salad?
How much do you hate salad?
Never-ending 4,000
How much do you love your mommy?
459 and 4,000 never-ending

Awww!  To be loved 459 and 4,000 never-ending makes my day!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Philosophy on Fitness

I go to the gym, not for love of physical fitness but out of necessity.

Translation: I like treats and I have to compensate for my liberal consumption of them.

So when my Hub recently shared with me his humorous opinion of the gym he really cracked me up. His statement was as follows:

"I hate the gym because it wears me out. The weights are heavy and the cardio makes me tired".

I whole-heartedly concur.

And now, I take my leave to go to the gym, because I see some Thin Mint Cookies in my near future.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Your Mom Yells

"I feel sorry for you because your Mom yells at you". It was a comment that I overheard my daughters friend utter one night. I had spent the evening with my 2 sons, my daughter and her friend. We had gone to dinner and a movie, and for the life of me, I could not recall one unpleasant moment. I never raised my anger.

I will admit that in general, it is true. Yelling is never my plan, but at times - I raise my voice when talking to my kids. Nothing 'mommy-dearest' or anything, but I will 'yell', when I deem it necessary.

But when I overheard this friend of my daughter share her opinions on my parenting. I had to stop and think. Had I been handling things incorrectly?

After dropping the friend off at home, I asked my daughter about the overheard comment. She confirmed that our evening had been great - and didn't know what the friend was talking about.

Still, it bugged me. I started to examine the minutiae of the evening, recalling every detail of the night to figure out what this girl had been talking about.

Slowly it all came back to me. I hadn't yelled, as in screamed, but I had raised my voice several decibels- many times.

When one of my boys was listening to his MP3 player in the car as we were driving to dinner, I raised my voice (so he could hear me through the ear phones) to remind him that the volume of the player should not be so high that he could not hear me when I needed to speak to him.

Once we arrived at Chick-Fil-A, my other son started to throw a medium sized temper tantrum over not being allowed to order a dessert instead of a dinner. I raised my voice to tell him to knock it off.

At the movie theater, my daughter and her friend, in a fit of giggly girly-ness, darted into the parking lot without looking for oncoming traffic. I raised my voice again, to get over their din, reminding them to be aware, and stay with me as it was dark and we were in a public place.

And after we had gotten seats in the theater, all four kids started loudly begging for different snacks, and expressing displeasure over one anther's choices. I again spoke, more loudly than normal, informing them in a firm tone that they would get what ever I selected, and they would then say 'thank you'.

But I never yelled. Not by my definition.

A few days later, the comment was still bugging me when I went to pick my daughter up from this same friends home. While there, I overheard a conversation between the girl and her mother. It was about 9:00 at night and the girl was begging her mom to let her start a movie. The mom said no. This went back and forth for many minutes while I waited for my daughter to find her shoes. The Mom had many reasons why there was not time and why the girl needed to be in bed - and the girl kept begging. As my daughter came to the door with her footwear, we said goodbye. On our way out the door I heard the Mom say "Oh - all right. But you have to go to bed right after."


In my house, when I say NO, that's it. I will not entertain anymore conversation on the disputed topic. And if my kids try to press an issue, I will firmly, possibly a bit more loudly than normal, remind them - "Your Mom said No."

As I drove home, something clicked. I had been worrying over this girls perception of me. Feeling self conscious that some random nine year old percieved me as having parental defficiencies. I was concerned that I was an embarrassment to my kids, but suddenly, I saw the light. If this is the type of parenting that my daughter's friend was used to, than I would indeed by viewed by her as quite a loud and tyrannical authoritarian.

When I think back on the night of dinner and a movie, I am fairly certain that I spoke firmly on more than the few occasions I can recall. That is my style. My number one job it to be my kids disciplinarian. And if you look up the definition for the word discipline you will find that it means 'training to act in accordance with rules.' I am their advocate second, friend third, but their push-over? Never.

In the car, on the way home, after listening to the mother/daughter exchange, my own daughter said: "Can you believe how she was begging her mom? That is totally not okay. And I can't believe her Mom actually gave in! You would NEVER do that!"

No. I wouldn't. And apparently, my daughter knows who is in charge in my house.

So, here is to all of you Mom's that 'yell'. May we produce a more responsible, respectful generation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Most Disgusting Thing Ever

Nothing tops a long hard day of Mommy-ing like vomit ALL OVER the kitchen table. In the middle of dinner.

And this is what happened.

I will openly admit that I intentionally included red peppers in our chicken and pasta dish. I added them at the last minute, so that the flavor would not infuse with the cream sauce.

In retrospect, I should have just used them as a garnish for those adults who wished to partake, but alas, I did not.

I told all of the kids to simply place the offensive vegetable to the side of their plate and not bother with them any further. However, 'A' (my oldest) came up with a fateful plan. She asked for some dessert, in exchange for her consumption of red peppers.

I agreed to the deal.

She nervously ate them, claimed with relief that they weren't too bad, so I told her she could have an ice cream bar. 'Z' (my youngest) asked if he could have a bar if he just ate one pepper. Though 'A' thought he should have to digest all peppers on his plate, I agreed to his terms. He ate one bite, earning his ice cream.

Then 'N' (the middle child) decided that he did not want to be left out of delicious dessert-ing, so he opened wide to eat his one bite. No more than 30 seconds lapsed before he vomited - the entire contents of his stomach - on to the kitchen table, completely filling his own plate and liberally splattering everyone else's . He then angrily bawled "that was the most disgusting thing I ever put in my mouth".

Apparently he does not care for red peppers.

The weird thing is, and I quote, "the most disgusting ever"?

I am talking about the kid who one day in church was licking the bottom of his shoe.
The same kid who tasted his own ear wax to see if it was a similar flavor to snot.
This child has scraped ABC gum off of a metal railing - with his teeth.
I have dragged him, as he kicked and screamed, from where he was sampling a pile of cotton candy that was on the ground. It looked as though the sugary treat had been there for some time as it had been melted by the sun. And driven over multiple times.

But a quarter inch square piece of red pepper?

Yeah, THAT is disgusting.

He did not get dessert.

And I cleaned the table.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Presidential Weekend

Mom and I decided that the best possible way to kick off our President's Day weekend was by visiting Mount Vernon, the family home of George Washington. Once we arrived (after getting a bit lost on the -267 E-495 S-95 N-1 S- freeway combination) we had a great time!

We visited with Martha, but sadly never touched bases with George - we spotted him from behind though - he looked pretty good for 276 years old!

When asked their favorite aspect of our outing the kids replies were as follows.

N: "Fort Necessity was awesome. It was soooooo bloody."

Fort Necessity was the British Fort under Washington's command during the French and Indian War. The museum on the estate grounds had a miniature diorama of the carnage at the Fort after the British/Colonists were attacked by the French/Indians. It was indeed, bloody.

A: "I liked going into the Mansion House because it was really big. Way bigger than our house - which is not very big, you know.

Well, here is a big fat apology to my daughter for moving her across the country where real estate is just plain e-x-p-e-n-s-i-v-e. She has her own room, so she can go sit in it, and mope about our diminutive real estate holdings.

Z: "I thought I liked Martha, but I don't. She was fake. I liked nothing. Mount Vernon is boring. I like the dogs in the parking lot.

Happy President's Day!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Candy Free/Tabloid Free Grocery Check-out

It sounds like a great idea - right?  

You be the judge.  

I was at the local grocer's today and though I had no kids with me (a rare and fantastic feat) I ended up in the newly advertised 'candy and tabloid free' check out.  

You may be wondering what the hierarchy of the grocery store chose to fill the empty shelving units where candy and tabloids once resided.

Any guesses?

It was a vast selection of trashy romance novels!  There were numerous salacious titles, complete with illustrated covers depicting barrel chested, lusty looking men and scantily clad, rather voluptuous women.

I had a difficult time selecting my personal favorite but it came down to either 'Wicked and Wild' or 'Pirate's Pleasure'.    

Because I was there with my Mom we laughed at the irony, but If my kids had seen any of that I would have been livid.  

We complained to the management. What were they thinking? 

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The Hub is out of town, so today I will celebrate with my three fantastic kids. They really are the meaning of my life. And by saying that I fully understand that my life is predominantly defined by anarchy and chaos mingled with a healthy dose of whining, crying, fighting and screaming. I must admit that there are occasional bouts of peace and harmony, which is what makes it all worth while.  (Occasional being the operative word.) 

I will also celebrate with my Mom who ditched Dad to spend some time with us! (Thanks, Dad!) She flies in today and I am really looking forward to her visit, as are the kids. I wasn't going to tell them that their grandma was coming so they would be surprised when they came home from school (taking a page out of the Rex Thornton play book), but A is a bit of a sleuth and discovered the secret!

This is a scene from our early V-Day kick-off with the whole fam - though not in the picture Matt and I did attend the the pre-party!  The kids were thrilled that I pulled out the cookie making supplies.  It was difficult, but I relinquished control and let them decorate their own cookies - what you see here are the results - aren't my protege's doing well? 

After all kids went to bed I took over the decorating to appease my freakish quality control issues.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

4th Grade Performance


Last Thursday we enjoyed a rousing performance by the 4th grade classes at the Elementary School.   They sang seven songs - mostly in Spanish - and performed various feats of latin dance. A stunned us all with her solo performance - she was fantastic, though being mono-lingual we did not know what she said/sang.  Every photo that I took that evening turned out very blurry due to the 4 year old hanging on my arm pleading with me to please, please let him dance with the girls.  So here are the only 2 pics that turned out (though still sightly fuzzy) - the fam in the school auditorium!  

Please notice A's super cool shoes!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Slacker Mom's Menu

I love to cook.  I also love to eat yummy food.  I don't have much time to spend in the kitchen so I have been trying to streamline my meal making efforts.  My plan is to keep a record of my recipes on my new and exciting blog...Slacker Mom's Menu.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 8, 2008


After looking at the pics of Z I felt the need to blog about not just his propensity towards grouchiness but one of his little quirks. He has an ingrained and intense phobia.
Of stickers.  

I first became aware of his fear during a co-op preschool activity that involved placing apples stickers on a tree.  Grabbing his picture of the tree, running from me in panic, he had an all out melt down.  At first I thought it was an isolated incident, but some number of days following the apple tree trauma, we went to Wal-Mart where a nice older man offered Z a round, yellow smiley face sticker.  Z screamed 'NO!', literally in terror, and buried his face in my arm -whimpering.  After that, when ever we went to Wal-Mart, he would fall apart.  Clearly traumatized, he would frequently tell me how much he hated the 'sticker man'.  I won't go into detail about the primary(church class) pajama party that required kids to wear a 'hello my name is' sticker.  Suffice to say, it wasn't pretty.      

His phobia extends, though not as severely, to stamps.  Last summer, after exiting the 'most magical place on earth' we each recieved an invisible hand stamp so we could return to the park later.  I had to force him to get his stamp, then though he couldn't even see it, he glared at his hand and angrily exclaimed "Oh! I hate Disneyland!"

A few weeks ago, I got him to do a workbook activity involving stickers, so I was hopeful that this weird phase was over, or at least that we were making progress .

I was wrong.

Yesterday, we went to a craft store.  As I was walking down the scrapbook/sticker isle.  Z got all fidgety till finally tearfully exclaiming "Can I just wait for you over there?  I can smell stickers everywhere!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Many Faces of Z

My sister Heather recently asked me to get her pictures of my kids for a project she is working on.  Before pulling up my photo files I knew that it was going to be difficult to find a good picture of Z.  He has a super sweet side but also a rather grouchy persona.  I got a good laugh looking at all of his close up's and though I would share.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


He is trying to have fun - really, look how hard is trying to smile!  Gotta love him!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ode to the Loudoun County Department of Sanitation

Today was trash removal day - and I forgot. 

I was eating toast.                                

You were collecting trash - I heard you from the kitchen.

By the time I got outside - you were half way down my street.

But you saw me coming.

You waited for me.

I ran to you - in my pajamas.

And flip-flops.

Dragging my trash can behind me.

You sat on the back of the truck - and watched me run.

You did not laugh - too much.

You took my trash.

My green can is empty again.

Thank You.  

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wisdom from my Sisters

From Kristy: When ever anything in life is unmanageable, thusly causing stress, change your hair.  While many things in life are beyond our control - or lack a quick fix, changing your style or color is an instantly gratifying experience.  Additionally, life would be worse if we were to start drinking excessively.
From Heather:  Tactics used in a Special Ed classroom are quite effective when used on my children.  What this says about my children...I don't like to admit.  What this says about Heather is that she can handle a lot of deviant behavior.  Also - when under stress it is perfectly acceptable to cry to a stranger (i.e. the comcast guy) if no one more suitable is around.  
From Becca: Many of us agonize over the fact that most pictures taken of ourselves, are less than beautiful.  When once in a while a good picture turns out, we are glad that our imagined beauty has finally been captured on film.  We need to accept that the opposite is true.  We actually look mediocre much of the time - so mediocre pictures are an accurate representation of our physical reality.  Remember: those few really good pictures of ourselves are not how we actually look.   
From Mom: (who must be included even though the blog title indicates only Sisters) As women, many of us spend much of our lives agonizing over weight and the last 10 pounds (or fill in the number with whatever poundage you choose) that we want to loose.  Many of us also spend much of our lives enjoying snacks and treats.  At some point we need to say "This is what size I am.  I like to eat ice cream (donuts, cookie dough, etc.), and will continue to do so."  Then we need to stop agonizing.  Or stop eating the treats.  Pick one of the two.     
From Me:  (Just because I don't want to feel left out!) Laugh at yourself.  Life is hard/ stressful/disappointing much of the time.  Find the funny and lighten up!  If by chance you are unable to find humor in your own life, watch America's Funniest Home Videos and laugh at someone else.  A heavy set woman falling off of her bike into the mud, a poorly executed trampoline move ending with some guy getting it in the sweet spot, a little old grandma falling from the dock into the lake - these things are all very funny.   

Please note -  when entertaining the idea of taking of Kristy's advice - (hair cut or color) it will only be instantly gratifying if you pay someone whom you trust, who is also qualified to do the task.  This does not include a sister (Becca), trustworthy but untrained in cosmetology, who thinks she knows how to home-job some bleach blonde high-lights on my normally dark brown hair. Don't think of her too badly though, she let me do her hair at the same time so we both looked crappy - but we looked crappy together.

And that is the point of having sisters - togetherness.  Whether we are living in the same state or not. Miss you guys!   

Never Not Get It?

In the great and rainy state of Virginia school has been cancelled. Yes, that's right I said 'rainy'.  And I said 'canceled'.   I am looking outside and the rain is in fact, heavy, but it is still just - rain. Coming from Utah, living at 6,000 ft, I drove through 2-3 feet of snow, in a raging blizzard, more than once, to get my kids to the bus stop. After braving the elements there, this seems - weird. People say that I shouldn't scoff, after all it is freezing rain. Which is the kind that freezes (hence the name) when it hits the ground, and apparently people here do not know how to drive on slick roads.  Ergo, we are all homebound for a 'rain day.'  Excuse me, a 'freezing rain day'.    

Consequently, instead of getting ready to go to the gym, I am overseeing the clean up of the basement. Whilst, goading my 3 offspring into action, we had the following 'intellectual' conversation:     

N: If my birthday was on Christmas would I still get presents?
Me: You bet.
N:  Awesome!  I wish my birthday was on Christmas! 
A: I wish my birthday was on Thanksgiving.
Me: Why?
A: Because we would have a big feast for my birthday dinner. (She looked suddenly thoughtful) Can I never not get my own birthday cake?
Me:  What?
A:  Can I never not get my own birthday cake?
Me: What do you mean?
A: Um, like, if I didn't finish my dinner?
Me: Well, usually we have something good for your birthday dinner - so you want to finish it.
A: But if it was Thanksgiving dinner, I might have to eat some gross vegetables or something, and I wouldn't want to, but I wouldn't get my dessert if I didn't finish - so can I never not get my own birthday cake?

Never Not?  I was thinking that A could have really used this day of school to brush up on her grammer, but before I had time to delve into double negatives, the kids began to battle over N's prolific creation of Mii's on the Wii.  A is angry that N is wasting Mii's.  N feels very strongly that Heather will really want a personalized Mii waiting for her when she comes to visit this spring.  And so will Kristy.  So will Grandpa Rex.  I resolved the issue by dictating that A can make all girl Mii's and N can make all the  boy's.  But only for real people.  N will have to delete all of the fake Mii's that he created, because let's face it, that is wasteful.  In fact, Some kids don't have any Mii's at all, and here N is all willy-nilly with the wasting.  (If you don't have a Wii and don't understand this, just chalk it up to kids having another pointless argument.)

On the tails of resolving the Mii issue there have been loud disagreements over:
a) who actually turned the Wii on (because this was not allowed until the basement was clean)
b) who demolished Z's club house (because they should have to fix it)
c) why Z should pick up all the Scooby-Doo toys and not just Daphne (sadly, his all time favorite toy - besides barbies and polly pockets)
d) how N threw A's book at/to her and so will never be allowed to touch any of her things ever again
e) how Z is not helping clean
f)  how N is not helping clean
g) how A is the only one who is cleaning even though she never makes any of the messes   

I am wondering if I can never not get any peace and quiet today.  Z is crying, N is yelling, A is tattle taleing, (perhaps I could be more parental but I am blogging)....and it is 8:30 a.m.

It would seem that my kids day off is my day to pull a double shift.  Time to go be a mommy.