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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ellen Aces Her First Job Interview

The snow has been piling up here since yesterday morning and I've been wishing I was out in it. Here's a conversation from this morning.

Me: I want to go skiing. I think I'll leave Ellen to babysit you kids. What do you think?
Jane (8 years old): I will babysit!
Me: Hmm. I'm not sure you're quite old enough yet. Ellen, would you take care of these kids for me? Do you think you could babysit them?
Ellen (a grin spreads over her two-year-old face): Yeah.
Me: What do you think you'll make them for lunch?
Ellen: Ummmm . . . Pood. [Food.] Onions.
Me: OK. And what will you do if the children misbehave?
Ellen: Hit them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Girl Can Dream

I called my neighbor after church on Sunday to meet us outside and take our picture as a family, since we were all dressed up already. No one else shared my enthusiasm for the idea, but family pictures are important, so I was willing to be the bad guy for now and let everyone thank me later. Once I'd gotten Ellen out of the high chair, made Peter abandon his industrious efforts to get lunch for the kids and had Zuzu put her dress back on, we headed out.

Here are some of the shots we were able to get before the camera battery abruptly died.

I like to kid myself that had the battery not died, we would eventually have gotten one where everyone was smiling naturally and looking at the camera. This despite the clear evidence here that Adam wasn't going to support that plan, no matter how long we stood there squinting in the cold.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Instructional Post on Small Children and Snow Play

There are no gloves for children younger than 4 that will keep their hands warm and dry enough while simultaneously allowing them the use of their fingers. It is contrary to the laws of physics. If you put mittens or thick gloves on your younger-than-four year old, she will take them off so she can use her fingers. If you put thin gloves on, she may leave them on, but the gloves will quickly be soaked through and useless. Also, the chances your small child will be warm enough in an article of snow clothing is inversely proportional to the chances that your small child will be able to move in it.

If your small child wants to play in the snow, you will spend 15 minutes getting your child ready to go out in the snow. Your child will play happily in the snow for 15-20 minutes and then will come back in, wet, and demanding hot chocolate. Your house will be draped in wet snow clothes. Half an hour later, your child will want to go back outside, and her clothes will not be dry yet.

In spite of all this, you and your small child will both derive immense joy from her going out to play in the snow everyday.

Completely unrelated to snow play: small children are able to fit themselves very nicely into bathroom sinks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Also Have Never Figured Out How I Got Onto AARP's Mailing List

Last week in the mail: a brochure advertising Similac's new line of maternity clothes. This week: two complimentary cans of baby formula. Why, oh why? Do they know something I don't? Then again, the formula claims to have "EarlyShield® for immune support." If I drink it, will it give my immune system the boost it needs to get me get over this blasted viral infection that I don't have time for?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Never Underestimate the Power of the Word "Underpants"

If it makes you feel any better -- I know it does me -- the increased traffic did not come from keyword searches. It was from my sisters and brothers reposting the original post via their blogs, Google Reader, and facebook. Never underestimate the power of having eight siblings.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It Might Work

I dislike the whole "rinse the meat, pat it dry with paper towels" thing. Do you think I could just put it in my salad spinner?

Cyndi Lauper Would Be So Proud

So, the day after I mentioned Jane's continuing love of exotic, self-styled hairdos, she got up and did this to her hair for school. At first it included several more flowers clipped onto the pieces of hair framing her face, but she took those out. Not because of any aesthetic idea of them being "too much," mind you, just that they were tending to slip out and to hit her in the face.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Example of Jane's Nice Cursive Handwriting

Found this in Jane's backpack last week.

I would have died before handing this sentence in to a teacher when I was in 3rd grade.

I don't know if that says more about the difference between me and Jane or the difference between my generation and hers.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What Autumn Looks Like When You Have Two Giant Maples in Your Yard

It's Saturday, early November, and everyone has important work to do. Here's Peter, raking,

and setting out to mow the lawn, with Adam strapped into the pack for old times' sake.

And here are the kids hard at work.
My laborious task was the photographic documentation.

By the way, if you're backing up to get a better camera angle on your daughter in a pile of leaves, and you suddenly find that your foot won't lift up, it may turn out to be because your flip-flop is stuck on a metal garden rake that your 3-year-old son left lying, tines up, in the middle of the lawn. You will be glad you were not barefoot.

See what's still up in that tree?

That means we get to do it all over again next Saturday.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloweens of Yesteryear: 2007

More costume-wishes granted by Grandma Kathe (Peter's mom): One set of Gryffindor robes (originally for Jane's 1st Harry Potter party) and one made-to-order "Belle dress." Adam reprised the flying monkey costume. Jane's intention was to be Ginny Weasley, however the mousse that was supposed to make her hair red was very . . . subtle. Hey, at least she didn't wind up with pink hair for a month like I did after using some "washes out in 1-3 shampoos!" stuff for a scene from "The Miss Firecraker Contest" for drama competition in high school.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Anyone Know Where I Can Find a Straightjacket, Size 2T?

While I was sending Peter a message about how Adam locked us in his bedroom this morning, Ellen made a mess with toilet bowl cleaner in the bathroom. While I was cleaning that up, she ripped up a book. While I was gluing the book back together, she took off her diaper and wet her bedroom floor. My tip-off to that one was her running past, naked, to the garbage, holding a wad of wipes.

Me: What's that?
Ellen: A cloffcloff.
Me: What were you cleaning up with that washcloth?
Ellen: Peeps.
Me: Oh no. Where is it?
Ellen: On a ploor. I show you.
(She runs down the hall proudly and points at her bedroom carpet.) See? It's on a ploor.
Me: No! Ellen, do we go pee-pee on the floor?
Ellen: Yeah.
Me: No. We don't go pee-pee on the floor. Never, ever.
Ellen: Why?
(I wish I could say this wasn't an exchange we've had many times before.)

If I hadn't had the bathroom door locked (remember the toilet bowl cleaner?) she most likely would have used the toilet instead of the floor. She's very interested in going on the toilet right now. And flushing it. Flushing it over and over and over again. And taking lots of toilet paper off the roll. And dunking it in the toilet and spreading it around the room.

I realize it's my fault for letting her out of my sight. I'm dumb like that.

So, how's your day going?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloweens of Yesteryear: 2006

Since I want to remain in denial about it being NOVEMBER and about the likelihood that the next time I go shopping there may be CHRISTMAS MUSIC playing, I'm going to linger here at Halloween for a while. You're welcome to join me.

The only Halloween costume pictures I could find from 2006 were these of Princess Jane in one of her dress-ups, which I'm guessing means that we did the sane thing and outfitted the kids out of the costume box that year. We could do that every year, because heaven knows, our costume box overfloweth. My neighbor has figured out that she can save a lot of money at Halloween by giving me a call before hitting the stores. This year we costumed 4 different kids outside of our family from stuff on hand, and could easily have done more.

I love costumes with a love that is deep and true.

Maybe you've picked up on that.

The cape was a birthday sewing project from one year, the dress from another. Oh, and the blue brocade was left over from my wedding, so that's kind of cool. The muff was made by Peter's talented mom, and accompanied a blue velvet dress with matching white fur trim. I would have died for that outfit when I was a child. I can distinctly remember a time when my dearest wish was to own a white fur muff. The tiara was the result of a period of time when I scoured ebay for cheap deals on real rhinestone tiaras, thinking that as a child, it would have meant worlds to me to have a chance to wear a "real crown." I wound up finding a couple of them and we keep them up high, for special occasions. For everyday wear, we've always had a purple plastic tiara or two on hand, suitable for trips to the store, the library, etc.

Based on the photos above, can you guess whether Jane enjoys posing for pictures?

She's come a long way since the days when this was her favorite camera face:

Her love of self-styled exotic hairdos continues.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloweens of Yesteryear: 2005

Many years ago, I heard from Japanese friends that there was a O-Bon Matsuri in Salt Lake City* every summer. In 2005, I finally found out when it was being held and planned to take my family. I pictured street vendors selling yakisoba and taiyaki, and everyone coming out in their festive yukata, like at the festivals in Japan. I made yukata for Jane and Zuzu to wear and was excited for them to experience a taste of Japanese culture.

What we found when we got there were a few sparsely attended booths advertising various products and companies. If you were hungry, there was a stand selling overpriced burgers and fries. The only people we saw dressed up besides my girls were the performers on the little stage that was set up between the booths. We did get to see a little bon odori performance, and if we'd come at the right time, we could have caught some taiko, but perhaps you've picked up by now that it was, on the whole, a disappointment. We walked through the exhibit on World War II Japanese Internment Camps inside the Buddhist temple, then drove back to Utah Valley for some dinner at a Japanese restaurant.

And the girls' outfits got put to good use again when Halloween rolled around.

"OK, give me your most natural smile."

"Let's try again."

Hey, at least they're both looking at the camera at the same time. That's a small miracle.

*Apparently there was a small but thriving Japantown in Salt Lake City, starting from the turn of the 20th century and up until the Salt Palace was built in 1967 on the land where it had been. Now Salt Lake's Japantown has dwindled to one small stretch of 100 South, where the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple and the Salt Lake Japanese Church of Christ are located.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloweens of Yesteryear: 2004

The Littles: Red Riding Hood & Bo Peep

We didn't get good pictures of Jane's and Zuzu's costumes on Halloween that year, so we dressed them up again and tried for a photo shoot in December. They were far too entertained by their hilarious joke of throwing down Bo Peep's staff to hold still, so eventually Peter gave up and resorted to video. We recycled Jane's Goldilocks dress from the year before and Peter's mom made the red cape and Zuzu's costume -- all except for the vintage pinafore. (Amy Moore, are you out there somewhere? Do you recognize the pinafore?) Bo Peep's staff was a giant plastic candy cane from the dollar store that I spray painted. It may have been the only time in my life I was happy that the Christmas merchandise was already out at the beginning of October.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloweens of Yesteryear: 2003

Baby Bear Zuzu, Papa Bear Peter, Goldilocks Jane, and Mama Bear Me

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloweens of Yesteryear: 2002

Speaking of when we went as Wizard of Oz characters, click on the picture below to see an album of the EIGHT costumes I made that year. It still kills me that after all that work, the only documentation I have are these half-decent snapshots.

Wizard of Oz Halloween Costumes 2002

*For some unexplicable reason, if you're using Firefox as your web browser, some of the pictures might show up as blank boxes in the album. Try using Internet Explorer or Safari instead.

Don't Tell the Emperor, But I Think My Backyard Might Be the New Rebel Base

Ewok sighted in my backyard yesterday morning:

Luke Skywalker was there too. Leia and her friend the giant turtle were off at school.

Did you know that Luke's eyelashes are amazing in real life?

Durn it, I already redid the ears once and they're still too big. When my sister's family and mine went as characters from the Wizard of Oz for Halloween 7 years ago, this fur suit was 15-month-old Molly's Toto costume. I didn't think it would work because it was too small for Ellen, but it turned out to have wide seam allowances and hems, and once I let them out, we were in business. I took off the little terrier ears and cut up the tail to make new ears which I meant to look like an Ewok's, but now I see are more like Mickey Mouse's.

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Have Good Excuses For All of the Other Days Too

I'm still here, I'm just taking the day off from blogging because it's Columbus Day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Actual Breakfast Conversation

Jane, did you know Han Solo is Indiana Jones!?
Jane: Oh yeah, yeah. It's the same guy.
Zuzu: Only when he's Indiana Jones he's not as cheeky as when he's Han Solo. But he's really good at being cheeky when he's Han Solo.
Jane: I think I'd be good at that too. I can be really cheeky.
Zuzu: Yeah, you're good at being cheeky too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Exchange That Took Place When I Decided Hair Spray Was In Order For School Picture Day

Jane: That hairspray doesn't smell delightful.
Me: It's pretty stinky stuff, isn't it?
Jane: It's stinky dot com. Did you buy it from Amazon dot stink?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sew, Very Old One, Sew Like the Wind!

Today was the birthday of a little neighbor friend, so I made her a little shoulder bag during Ellen's nap. I thought she would like something frilly and girly, and she did.

Most of the time when I get to sew now, it's a bit of a mad dash. Today was no exception. I put Ellen down, stuck Adam in front of Star Wars, raced downstairs, cut it out as fast as I could, rushed through each step, trimmed the last threads, held it up, and thought, "Oh. I wish I'd centered the print." Ha. I kind of miss the days when sewing was a slow and contemplative activity.

OK, truthfully, I was no stranger to mad-dash sewing even in pre-kids life. I'm still grateful to my mom for taking over and putting the zipper into my prom dress for me back in 1990 so I could have time to jump in the shower before my date arrived. (Thanks, mom!) Then there was the time I was doing the soprano solo in a performance of Handel's Messiah and decided the day of the concert that I needed something lovely to wear and that I could probably somehow squeeze a fancy gown out of that piece of red velveteen my grandma gave me. Several hours later, dressed in red velveteen and costume jewelry, I was lucky to hit enough red lights on the way to the show to get some make up on. I was also lucky that no one freaked out when I didn't show up until moments before curtain time. If I hadn't resorted to gluing up the hem of my lovely new dress, I wouldn't have made it even by then. (I did stitch up the hem properly before the next time I wore it.)

By the way, the little triangle sticking out from under the ruffle on the front of the purse is the button loop. It's a little fussy to open it with the ruffle in the way, so I'd probably do a snap instead next time. I used this pattern. I added the ruffle, plus a bit of topstitching, since I couldn't be bothered to hand stitch the opening closed. I avoid hand stitching at all costs.

The following is to provide the necessary background for anyone who didn't "get" my post title:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wayfaring Stranger

This little guy was discovered last Monday crawling across our neighbor's front yard. Let me tell you, nothing this exciting has ever happened in our cul-de-sac before. From the urgency of the knock of Jane's neighbor friend on our front door to alert us to the turtle's arrival, I was sure I'd be opening the door to news of a dire emergency.

He turned out to be an escapee from a pond at a house the next street over. Fortunately he came out unscathed from both his trek across the road and from the attentions of a bunch of enthralled kids.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Soundtrack to My Saturday Morning

Today Adam is marching around the house playing The Imperial March, on kazoo.

By the way, that tune was the first one that Ellen ever sang recognizably. I should try to get that on video.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Undeniable Talent

"I am a genius at drawing!"
-Adam to Ellen while they colored with crayons

"I am so. dang. good at this."
-Adam, spoken quietly to himself while blowing bubbles

We Need a Beach Vacation. For Educational Purposes. But I'll Pass On the Crocodiles.

"This is the ocean, mama," he insisted.

"It is the ocean. It has waves. See those waves?"

He really believed it.

However, when he told me next, "And there are crocodiles in there, mama. Really. There really are," he had his tell-tale grin and a glint in his eye. He likes to try to trick me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yes, I Took a Picture of This For You. You're Welcome.

As you may know, I hate to see things go to waste. You know how sometimes the little tab gets ripped off an otherwise perfectly good diaper? I hate that. But when it happened today, a thought popped into my head:

I mended a disposable diaper. Laugh if you must. But let's do some calculations. I saved $ .25 (the cost of the diaper) in 30 seconds of my time. If I could save $ .25 for every 30-second increment of a 12-hour day, that would add up to $360. And over the course of one year?: $131,400. Who's laughing now?

You, still, hopefully.

This is the way I like my math. Simple, ridiculous, and on a calculator.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last Chance to Catch Deseret Chamber Singers Summer Concert

Utah Valley Locals: The last of Deseret Chamber Singers' summer concerts is tomorrow, Sunday, August 30. We'll be singing at the Springville Art Museum at 5:00 p.m. If you like choral music, you'll love this concert. Same program as our previous concerts at the Assembly Hall and the Cathedral of the Madeleine, including David Zabriskie's stunning "Lux Aeterna," works from Palestrina, Brahms, Eric Whitacre, Moses Hogan, and more. Free admission!

Important note: Exit 260 is inaccessible due to construction on 400 S in Springville. Here's a detour map.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jane Keeping Her Chips Away From Ellen

The struggle began at floor level, then moved up onto the table. When I went for my camera, Ellen was standing on tiptoe, but by the time I got back, she had shifted to this seated position.

You can't see it well in the picture, but Jane's outfit features a belt she made from cutting up an old men's tie (one left over from the Easter egg project), fastened with a safety pin. There was much crying and negotiating with Zuzu before school to ensure that she was able to wear just the right white t-shirt (because the other 5 white t-shirts they have between them just wouldn't do) for the ensemble.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Dear, Funny, Sweet Little Nut

Dearest Ellen,

I came in from helping Adam outside to discover you filling paper cups with small servings of Frosted Mini Wheats. The count of filled cups was already up to 15. I wish I could know whether to you this was just a creative activity to pass the time or part of a larger plan.

Anyway, you crack me up. And I think you're ready for chores.