Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from the Gang!


And when the dust settled:

(Yes, those are gallon bags.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

EEEEK! A Spider!

Yes they are spiders, and yes, Tom and I made them all by ourselves. Aren't they cute? Thanks so much to the M's guys for showing us the way! I modified it so that the kiddos didn't go into a diabetic coma (extra chocolate bar not included in mine), and Max's class enjoyed them after a long day at the zoo (gotta love second grade)!

Other Fun Halloween Activities

Seems that this year was full of cool things to do at Halloween time. Aside from trick or treating with friends, we went to the Air and Space Museum for Air and Scare, the Pumpkin Playground, Boo at the Zoo, and a preschool Halloween parade. I'll admit it (and it's pretty clear) that most of these activities had nothing to do with the kids, and everything to do with fun stuff for me. I'll let you know though, that not only did the kids enjoy themselves, but even Tom had fun!

You can check out all these pictures HERE! Happy Fall!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reminders of why I still love them


leave big messes everywhere,
don't listen,
can't for the life of them decide what to eat for lunch,
occasionally beat on each other,
yell and scream a lot,
refuse to take naps, even when really tired, and
did I say smell yet?

Yet they say...

"Mommy you look just like a teenager"
"Why's that Max?"
"It's the cool sunglasses and your hat."
"Thanks Max."


I love you American Sign Language. "Thanks Ian, I love you too."

Sigh...maybe today wasn't such a bad day after all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Did You Know...

"Alaska covers 570,373 square miles of land, plus an additional 45,000 square miles of water.
It's the biggest state in the country. Alaska is 2.3 times the size of Texas, 10 times the size of Georgia or Florida; and 499.7 times the size of frequent comparison victim Rhode Island. Alaska covers 20 percent of the total U.S. area. Alaska stretches across 57 degrees, 34 minutes of longitude between 52 and 54 degrees latitude." And on top of it all, Alaska has a population of 626,932. I looked all this up on because a lady in the grocery store parking lot asked me a question.

Ian, Sam, and I were walking (quickly) out of the grocery store yesterday on our way to the MOMS Club Halloween Party. It was drizzling but not very cold (only about 60 at this point). I was asking Ian where his jacket was - he had it earlier and was getting wet so I figured I'd ask (he's old enough to keep track of it but I still have the call as to whether he wears it or not). There was a lady next to me with her kids all decked out in their rain boots and slickers (we have boots but no slickers - and it really wasn't raining hard enough then to even justify the boots, but I digress). She turned to me and laughed and said how she couldn't WAIT for it to snow. Now, we've only been here through one winter, but as far as I remember it really doesn't snow until like JANUARY or FEBRUARY. It's October. So as a response (I really wasn't sure what to say honestly) I mentioned that a friend in Alaska had already gotten 6 inches of snow.

Then came the question. "What's your friend's name - I have a friend there too - maybe I know her?" Huh? O.K. So this is where we get back to the facts above. 570 THOUSAND square miles, 626 THOUSAND people and she thinks she knows my friend. I told her the first name then told her to have a good day and she smiled. Guess she didn't know my friend after all.

Now, it's one thing if we were talking about a high school, or a small town, but an entire state? Am I missing something? Then again, how much smaller would my world have gotten had she indeed known the same person...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Like Mother Like Son

I know, it isn't quite the time of year when we discuss black eyed peas. New Year's will be here soon enough (and all I will say about black eyed peas at that point will be that I don't like them and won't eat them). I'm talking about the Black Eyed Peas with the big B, the big E, and the big P. My kids like their music - and I don't blame them, they have a great beat. They even asked today to add them to their Mix Tape list. But I think I need to be a bit more careful about what I let the boys listen to. One of the kiddos likes to sing. I'm not talking about Itsy Bity Spider or the Pumpkin Song - he likes to sing along to the CD's that we listen to in the car. He listens to the words and tried to understand what they are saying and repeat...and he's pretty darn good at it (the repeating the correct lyrics part - the singing

So here's the latest addition to Ian repertoire:

Don't Phunk With My Heart

"No, no, no, no, don’t phunk with my heart
No, no, no, no, don’t phunk with my heart

I wonder if I take you home
Would you still be in love, baby (in love, baby)
I wonder if I take you home
Would you still be in love, baby (in love, baby) "
-The Black Eyed Peas

Yea, that's all he has now, but it doesn't always come out sounding the way it should - he's got those articulation troubles you see. He hasn't tackled the rap part of it (thank goodness) but I'm sure he's close. He talks through the verses so I'm sure his little brain is sucking it up. But for now I hear, from a little voice in the seat behind me: "No, no, no, no, don't phunk with my heart."

At least it isn't the 70's and at least I'm not playing the soundtrack to the musical Hair. Apparently my mom had a similar problem when I was three. If you are curious, it's the only song on the soundtrack that starts with "S." This is a relatively clean blog so I won't put the actual name of the song, but take a stab and you'll figure it out. If you want, go look it up and you'll see why my very free spirited mother stopped playing the record when I was three - I knew ALL the words. Maybe it's time for me to shelve the BEP's. Bummer.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That four letter word that you don't ever want to hear but knew was coming...

Yeah, but it involves the kids, so it's not any of THOSE four letter words. I just popped open my e-mail and got a note from Max's teacher that one of the kids in his class has HEAD LICE. Yuk. Yuk, yuk, yuk. She explained that it was common among 2nd graders - apparently they are dirty little buggers (not the lice the kids). She went on to say that they checked all the kids and saw no more today, but to keep an eye out for them. Good thing we are cutting the boys' hair tomorrow anyway - Max has pictures on Wednesday and he needs a trim anyway. That won't prevent the lice, but they can be seen easier with less hair on the head. So I mentioned the lice to him, and he pipes up that "Yes, J. has lice." Huh. That's one of his good buddies. He was out of school a few days ago because of this and Max didn't feel the need to mention it. Guess he didn't realize that lice were BUGS THAT LIVE ON YOUR SCALP. Yuk. I told him not to touch anyone's hair and not to let anyone touch his hair, so hopefully we will dodge this bullet. I don't do well with bugs, so seeing them in my kid's hair will probably send me over the edge. I might have to be committed (and released after the lice are gone - completely gone). Yeah, I don't want to hear about the dust mites either - I get that they are there. But hey, as long as I can't see the dust mites, no harm, no foul. I'm itching just typing this. Yuk.
P.S. - I think the Louse that I found is cute - click on it and you'll see where you can get Lice, E-coli, Ebola, Fleas, Scum, White Blood Cells, Heart Worms, Lyme Disease, and many more. Seriously, go peek - they're cute.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Things Kids Say - Part Gazillion

Well, I've lost count now. It's probably only about 3 or 4, but I do get the zingers. And once again the zingers come when I'm in the car without another certified grown up. Sam mentioned the other day that once you turn 6 you become a grown up. That's not the zinger - far from it. I explained to Sam about grown ups being older - 18 or so - and the whole thing about being responsible, etc.

So, the zinger came out of the mouth of my oldest, Max, once again. Smart kid - full of good thoughts. And he's certainly full of fantastic questions. And apparently he has a desire to ask ME these questions though, and they almost always catch me off guard. "I don't think life is real. I just don't get it." Huh? Was he talking to me? Wonder what the heck he's talking about. "I think this is all just a dream - I really don't get it." Huh? Double huh? So we talked for a bit more - I went on about seizing the day and living each day to the fullest. Also, talking about how we don't know if it is all a dream (I wanted to cite that one season of Dallas where they erase the entire season by attributing it to Bobby's dream, but I figures that Max was a bit young for any of that explanation.) and how it is real for us because we are living it. He wandered about for a bit (we were on the way to soccer) talking about things in life that he can't tell are real or not, and then he hit me again. "How do you know how many kids to have?" Geez man. I have this one covered though - we didn't choose to have three kids, we chose to have two and had a bonus one thrown in there. But, this was a slow pitch compared to the rest of the questions, so I went into the decision making surrounding having kids - and then told him that sometimes folks just throw all that to the wind and welcome little folks into our lives anyway!

So, it was another car ride and another set of off the wall questions. While I go on about these questions, I really don't mind getting them. it shows me that he is plugged in, that's he observing the world around him, and that he's inquisitive. Couldn't ask for more in a little man.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I can SEEEEEE!!!!!

So I picked up my bifocals on Thursday and spent the weekend getting used to them. Cool part is - I can see pretty much EVERYTHING now! My cool glasses are accompanied by a pair of very cool, slightly sparkly sunglasses as I couldn't find a pair of glasses that had those sunglass clips that I've grown to love over the past, oh, 12 years or so. So, I have a pair of bifocal glasses and a pair of single vision sunglasses. =>

My brain is still trying to adjust not only to the slight change in prescription, but also the bifocals and then switching between the two pairs when I go in and out of the sun. I'm getting there and can see so much more clearly now than I have in a long time. I just thought that my vision changed the minute I walked out the door. Little did I know that I actually needed two different prescriptions! So, all is well now in bifocal land, and after my poor little brain gets all used to seeing out of said glasses, all will really be well!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Can't Believe My Eyes

I went to New College at the University of South Florida in the early 1990's. While I really enjoyed my time there, USF didn't have a football team, so we hit the USF basketball games and a few NHL games as well to get our sports fix. I was happy as a clam when I got to to Florida State as I could watch all the football I wanted (and we were pretty good back then - won the National Championship in 1993 and 1996,a nd again in '99). But I went back to New College and back to a school where I watched FSU play each Fall weekend.

So, you can imagine my surprise when in 1997 USF decided to join the big boys and play Division I football in the NCAA. At first I kinda laughed at the idea, but supported them in their quest. Then, we moved away, found a second football home (University of Texas), had plenty of football to watch on those Fall weekends, and ultimately forgot about the new football team at USF. So imagine my surprise when I saw USF creeping up the rankings, their program still considered to be in it's infancy, towards the top of the Div I football polls this season. They keep winning games, and they aren't playing South Dakota's School for the football impaired (apologies to thse in South Dakota and especially to those who are football impaired - no offense intended), they are playing schools like Auburn and West Virginia, who happened to be ranked in the top 10 when he Bulls beat the snot out of them. Anyway, it was a delightful thing to watch, but I figured it wouldn't last. How wrong could I be...and out came the first BCS rankings of the season and look who is sitting at #2:

Bowl Champ. Series
Ohio State
2. South Florida
3. Boston College
4. LSU
5. Oklahoma
6. South Carolina
7. Kentucky
8. Arizona State
9. West Virginia
10. Oregon
11. Virginia Tech
12. California
13. Kansas
14. USC
15. Florida
16. Missouri
17. Auburn
18. Hawaii
19. Virginia
20. Georgia
21. Tennessee
22. Texas
23. Cincinnati
24. Texas Tech
25. Michigan

So the Bulls are at #2, and the Seminoles are not...on...the...poll. Yeah,not so unexpected after the way they are playing. UT is sitting at #22, and that's after two not so fun to watch losses (and hopefully no more). The Bulls are #2 after only 12 short years of having a team in the division at all. Man, now that's impressive. So now I guess I have three teams to watch every weekend. Go Bulls! You are more than just a basketballl team to me now!

* And boo hiss to all those who read this and call me a fair weather fan. I'm still a rabid FSU fan even though they are out of the polls, and will hang my hopes on UT even though they have slid down to the bottom of the top 25. If you need more proof, I was a Dallas Cowboys fan in the 70's, 80's 90's, and even today. So, no. I'm not a fair weather fan - just had my eyes opened to the Bulls for the first time this season!

The Pumpkin Playground

One of the local nurseries (plants not kiddos) sets up this very cool playground around Halloween. It's loaded with big slides, rope swings, a petting zoo, castles and forts, huge airplanes and trains to climb in, merry-go-rounds, and of course, pumpkins. We took the boys there today with the MOMS Club. Tom had taken off from work so we dragged him kicking and screaming (well, not really - he digs hanging out with the family so it wasn't hard to get him to go at all!). Here's a Smilebox with the pics from the day - enjoy!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Jungle Book Journey

We did something really cool yesterday. We headed to the zoo for something called the Jungle Book Journey. It was sponsored by the Imagination Stage Theater and the National Zoo. We visited all the animals in the Jungle Book, got stamps in our book, and got a cute stuffed animal at the end. The best part was that we hit the zoo early enough in the AM that most of the animals were actually out. Not all of them were awake - the lions and tigers were napping as was the momma and the daddy pandas, but we did see some of the animals that are normally asleep when we go (like the reclusive Daddy Tom animal not normally seen at that hour). The boys enjoyed hitting the zoo and we all got to hang out for a morning!

Jungle Book Journey
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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cat Love

Yeah, it's not cat love for me, but it is cat love for my laptop.

And I wonder why my computer overheats...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Music to my ears

"Max, Please can you read this Pokemon book to us?"

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My turn at the eye doctor wasn't so fun

First off some background. I'm 35. That's all you really need to know for this story.

O.K., Now for the rest of the story. I'm getting bifocals. Yes, bifocals. Did I mention that I'm only 35? This isn't the greatest indignity that I've suffered, but it sure does come close. I'm not really upset - the thought of being able to see both close up AND far away is appealing. But geez - bifocals? I did tell you that I'm just 35, right? That matters because I actually don't have presbyopia, the thing that you get when you get older. The doctor said that I'd get that in about five or ten years though, so that's not a nice thought. But what I have now is a pair of eyes that over focus. This means that they cannot correct the stuff close up and the stuff far away with the same prescription. So, bifocals. Makes sense I guess...IF I WERE 50. Yeah, I'm a little miffed about this. It's not even the traditional "You're getting old so you need bifocals," but rather "There's something else weird about you that we need to fix." Huh...bifocals. You do remember that I'm only 35, right?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

THAT kid

I officially have THAT kid. You know, the one on the playground that causes other moms to glare at you in disbelief because he's just done something terrible - not harmful but socially unacceptable (and sometimes gross). I guess the fortunate part is that my kid didn't commit this terrible act in front of anyone, and he made a point of telling me that too.

I picked the boys up from preschool and as always they were filling me in over lunch about what they did at shool. We were discussing the playground, when Sam leaned in like he had something serious and important to say. So, I leaned in to listen. Then he tells me, with a twinkle in his eye, but in his most serious voice, that he peed in the sandbox.

My kid peed in the sandbox at his school.
He peed in the sandbox that his friends like playing in.
He peed in the sandbox that his brother LOVES playing in.

Geez louise. After a brief explanation about why we don't pee in the sandbox, I think that Sam understands that he's not to do this in the future. I guess this is the next step into the downhill descent we call being a boy. I fully exect to walk outside this winter to see yellow snow...

Monday, October 08, 2007

I am a bad...

Chrismas card sender. What do you call the person who sends the card - the giver, the sender? The person getting the card is called the recipient, but it's late and I'm tired and the Cowboys are about to beat the Bills...maybe. By the end of this post they might have lost too. Anyway, I still haven't sent out Xmas cards from last year. I have had good intentions of doing so, but I just haven't. Now I have told just about everyone on the the story about why they don't have cards yet, but they still, a month later, don't have them. So, here I sit, watching football instead of folding the letters up and sealing up the envelopes. Maybe tomorrow I'll do it (and thus the problem - there are too many tomorrows in the past year...and way too much football...)

So, if you are expecting a Christmas card from me for 2006, it will be on it's way shortly. Now I've tossed it out to the blogosphere, which, as we all know, spurs on action. Hmmm...guess I better get some new stamps as well...

And the Cowboys won. Go 'Boys.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My Little Engineer

Sam is turning into quite the Engineer. First it was the Transformers. He would sit there with these HUGE Transformers and the directions and attempt to transform them. Sometimes he is successful and sometimes not, but he keeps plugging away and eventually gets the toys to transform.

Today it was Legos. He is quite the Lego Creator. He is so proud when he builds anything and always shows us, but some of the stuff he's bringing me lately is pretty impressive. Today's creation was a ship - not unlike something you'd see in Star Wars. He built his ship from scratch with all the bells and whistles that a good ship would have - he pointed out 8 separate guns, two wings, and a few other parts that I have no idea what they are. And, as Tom pointed out, it was symmetric. That's pretty impressive for a four year old. Do we have a potential engineer in the making? Perhaps. This is something that Sam sits and does for longer stretches of time, which for him is something new. He tends not to sit for anything, even meals, so the idea that he has found something that can keep his attention and that he can completely wrap his brain around is cool. And the stuff that he comes up with keeps getting more and more complex. Today a miniature version of a ship, tomorrow, the real deal in our back yard.

Friday, October 05, 2007

So very tired...

So where do you fall asleep if you've had a long day of pre-school and playing at the park?
Well. if you are Ian you find the nearest desk chair:

And if you are Sam, you snuggle up with the cat...on the back of the couch:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Arrrrggghhh...It's a Pirate!

Max wears glasses. I knew it was coming, just didn't know when. Well, that day was yesterday. He hit the eye doctor last week and she was surprised he wasn't running into walls and having trouble playing soccer - his vision was so bad. So, Max got glasses. He picked them out himself (after some guidance away from the really ugly orange ones) and ended up with a really cool pair. now it's only time until the other two get them as well.
The doctor was a hoot. She said that when he's 9 or 10 that he could get contacts. Hah. This from a woman with four kids - none of whom wear glasses. Guess she'll get that part figured out (although you'd think she'd have figured it out after the first 20 years of her practice). Anyway, bucking the national trends, Max is astigmatic in an eye that is farsighted. He is also slightly nearsighted in the other eye. Poor kid - shouldn't be able to hit the side of a bard with...welll...a barn. But somehow he's managed to not only get through the day without running into everything (don't get me started about falling off of chairs - that's apparently a genetic things with my kids - has nothing to do with vision) and is successful at playing soccer. Who knows - mystery unsolved for now.

So these cool glasses came with a bonus (and thus the pirate part of the post title). The eye that he really can't see out of is so weak that the other eye just basically took over (maybe that's why he's not running into stuff?). He is compensating completely with his left eye. So, for as long as he will tolerate each day Max wears a patch on his left eye and makes that right eye work. Aside from soccer, PE, riding bikes, and such, he is supposed to wear the patch as much as possible. His glasses are to remain on his face all day long.

Gushy Mom's note: He is TOTALLY CUTE with those glasses on! I may be biased, but he does the glasses thing well. maybe it's the style of the glasses, but he looks good in them.

So, now I present to you, Mr. Max in Glasses and Max the Pirate!

Finger Frogs

Ian and Sam's Finger Frogs


Both little guys have started creating art in school and have brought some of this art home - not sure where the rest is going, I only hear about it but haven't seen it yet. I am so excited to see their creations, but we've started a large pile of art in the kitchen, and at thsi rate we'll need a storage shed for the art alone. We will put up some clips for select pieces of their art, but for now we are overrun by paintings. I decided to snap a few pictures, then decided to snap a picture of absolutely everything they bring home so that I don't have to keep it. The deal is, if you walk in the door with art you stop and pose for a picture before you add it to the pile. So far so good - everyone is cooperative. Not sure if they realize that I'll be tossing msot fo the art and only saving a few prize pieces, but hopefully the pictures will suffice. Max never really minded when I tossed his stuff in a box, so hopefully these guys won't mind either.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from each. Ian has told me that he likes to paint, and Sam would rather skip the art thing all together, thus the discrepacy in teh number of projects. Ian came home with three in one I said, overrun.

Ian's First Big Painting (and his funny face - he wanted me to snap this pic!)

Ian's Second Painting (Notice a trend here?)

Ian Stamping with Apples

Ian's "Face"

Sam's First Painting

Sam's Second and only other art

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

All New Territory

While Max ventured briefly into the religion thing a year or two ago, I think we're about to get hit full on with the questions. You see, Ian and Sam are attending a preschool at a United Methodist Church, where they do get to attend chapel, and they do say a prayer before they eat snacks, and some of the kids do go to Sunday school. Last week one day the boys were sitting down to have their mid-afternoon snack. Ian mumbled something and said Amen at the end. I stopped and asked him to repeat what he said. A bit louder he said " Thank God for great food. Amen" Huh. My kid saying a prayer before a meal. Never thought I'd hear that one. For those who don't know, Tom and I are not religious in the least. We support freedom of religion and agree that people have the right to worship whomever or whatever they choose, but we ourselves are not religious. We each have our own belief systems (which are very different from each other) but we've never even discussed this with the kids. So I took this opportunity to introduce the idea that different people believe in different things, and gave them a very very brief overview of religion. Ian and Sam tuned me out long before I finished, but Max seemed to be satisfied with my response.

Well, a few days ago Sam asked why he doesn't get to go to school on Sunday. Not sure if they mentioned it at pre-school, but apparently one of the kids in his class said that they get to go to school on Sunday, and Sam shared with me that he wanted to go to. I told him that only people who go to the church get to go to Sunday School, but he wasn't satisfied and asked again today. Not sure where this is coming from - I guess it's a good sign that he wants to go to school more days, so I just told him that his days are Tuesday through Friday, and that other kids have different schedules. I wasn't ready to have the whole religion conversation with my four year old. He is pretty bright, but man, how do you even start that conversation.

I guess I'll leave this one up to the school. I got a note today that the kids are going to start attending Chapel next week. They'll go once a month, and it looks like a neat program. It's Kids Chapel, with someone who already works with kids, teaching them some neat stuff. I'm asking about it tomorrow as there was an opt out form in their totes today, but I can't see the harm in learning how to be good to each other, how to be responsible, and how to be respectful. I'll make sure that's what they will be teaching the kiddos and maybe Sam can get his Sunday School fix this way. Then again my kids might come home preaching the Gospel, at which point my husband's head will explode. Now that would be a funny sight. I'll keep you posted.