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Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Hope at Least While He Was Doing His Dirty Work, He Writhed in Pain and Cried, "I'm Melting, I'm Melting . . ."

See this little purple crayon wrapper? Acting all innocent?

Don't let him fool you.

Have a look at his pile of victims:

Friends, I have seen laundry incidents in my day, but this -- this was the ugliest. Nothing in this very full load was spared. Even the smallest sock came out polka-dotted purple.

A couple of examples:

Homemakers everywhere, feel my pain. And, um, did I really take my laundry out on the back deck so I could take pictures of it for my blog? Yikes.

Friday, February 27, 2009

First Annual Presidents Day Family Cross-Country Ski Outing

Scene: Presidents Day morning at our our house.

Peter: Adam, do you know what we're doing today?
Adam: What?
Peter: We're going skiing.
Adam: Yes! (For weeks he's been asking, "Mom, when do I get to go skiing? It's right up there with, "When are we going camping?" in his list of favorite questions.)
Jane: NOOOOOOOO! I don't want to go skiing! (Launches into tantrum.)
Peter: That's OK, Jane, because, actually, you're not invited. (We anticipated that Jane would be the lone naysayer and planned this response in advance.)
Jane: I'm not?
Peter: Right. This trip is only for people who really want to go.
Jane (in her pouty voice): Alright, I guess I'll go.
Me: No, Jane, you don't understand. Today we're only taking the people who are really excited about it. We're not taking anyone who's going to be unhappy and ruin it for the rest of us. We'll find something else for you to do today. (This was only part tricky reverse psychology. I was fully prepared to find somewhere else for her to hang out for the morning.)

I'll leave it to better writers to describe the magic of The Great Outdoors in wintertime, but magical it is, and I think the ideal way to experience it might be on a pair of cross-country skis. I'll be forever grateful to Melissa, who back in college suited me up with a spare pair and took me out for my first time in the foothills above our apartment on a snowy day. I'm kind of a lousy athlete, so I was nervous I'd fail miserably, but (hurray!) not only could I manage fine, it was also so. much. fun. The best thing about cross-country skiing was the new world of winter possibility it opened up to me. There were places in the mountains around my home that I'd loved all my life but never really visited in winter before. That I could rediscover those places in their beautiful winter clothes was a glorious revelation.

Long story short, I have a vested interest in indoctrinating my children. So although I played it cool when Jane came and sweetly asked if she could please come along, inside I was jubilant. I was glad too for the small miracle that the little collection of used kids' skis and boots from ebay I've been cobbling together over the years (call it an act of faith) worked to outfit everyone semi-decently.

See Jane's smile?

They all fell down plenty, . . .

except for these two.

Jane and Zuzu really started to get the hang of it.

Hilariously, it turned out that Adam's expectations of skiing were based on ski jumping on the Wii Fit. He kept pointing at the steep mountain face at the edge of the meadow and saying, "Now I want to ski down THAT! And I will go, '[insert classic little-boy-style sound effects]!'" Fortunately, he still managed to be thrilled with trudging and slipping around on the flat.

In the end it worked out to about two hours of preparation at home for about 40 minutes out in the snow. Yes, I hope this ratio will improve in the future, but in the meantime, however difficult the process of getting outside can be (and just getting out the door on a normal day with these four little kids should be an Olympic Event -- it's that difficult) it really is all worth it within seconds of being in a snowy meadow in the mountains next to a stream with the loves of my life.

And now Adam, Zuzu and Jane keep asking, "Mom, when can we go skiing again?"


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aww, Nothing Today, Again?

Am I the only one who sometimes has the impluse to check my own blog to see if I've posted any fun, new content?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If Your Dad Was a Heartless Butcher of Living Things, You'd Run Away Too

Saturday Peter was pruning some trees and roses while Jane stood by bitterly protesting that he was cutting "waaaay too much" and ordering him to stop. Finally, it drove her to the point of packing some things and announcing that she was running away. Here's a picture of the runaway enjoying a little lunch. I had to be sneaky and use the zoom. She was a whole two houses away.

It was interesting to me how she did the whole thing with a kind of wry irony. I guess she's too well-read a seven-year-old not to be aware that she was acting out a classic childhood cliché.

"Make Sure All Words Are Spelled Correctly"

Sorry if the title got you all geared up for my promised post on grammar. I'm just sharing an example of Adam's internet use.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Glamorous Life: A Few Tidbits from This Morning

8:30 Staring into my closet, I consider that I would like to be more like my children in some ways, but growing out of my clothes each season isn't one of them.

9:00 Although doing housework, again, today, like every other day, sounds mind-numbingly boring, I start on some laundry and pick up some clutter, while mentally composing bloggish bits bemoaning my lack of housekeeping skill. I think that if I were up for an annual review for my job, I probably wouldn't be getting a raise this year.

9:30 Ellen perfects the art of opening the fridge, setting the tone for the rest of the morning. Since I now need to stay close to the kitchen anyway, I abandon the housework and submit to Adam's wish -- helping him put together a set of puzzles over and over and reading Pierre three times. The 4th time, he "reads" it to me.

10:00 Narrowly averted through my vigilance thus far: freezer jam all over the carpet; yogurt all over the carpet.

10:45 I take the tilapia out of the freezer to thaw and look and look and look in both freezers because I know that last time I cooked brown rice I brilliantly made a double batch and froze the extra. Finally find it in the fridge, smelly and slimy. Hey, at least I didn't put it in the pantry.

11:30 Downstairs in the laundry room, hearing Zuzu upstairs wail and repeat incessantly, "I wanna do something fuuun! I WANNA DO SOMETHING FUUUUUUUUN." I can relate to the sentiment.

12:00 I ask Zuzu to bring her book from school to read to me and without missing a beat she launches into her trademark wail, the one that is tuned to the exact resonant frequency of my last nerve.

12:45 Adam & Zuzu accidentally lock themselves out. They're banging on the door and ringing the doorbell and I'm considering how long to wait before letting them back in.

1:30 Adam & Ellen are both asleep and Zuzu is playing at a friend's house. I waste this precious, precious bit of free time composing this post. I decide to only give a cursory mention to cleaning up the spilled bowls of cereal and picking the whole box of tiny beads that Ellen dumped out of the carpet, because, well, speaking of mind-numbingly boring . . .

Note: Generally, I hope to Ac- cent- tchu- ate the Positive in what I choose to post here. Listening to me whine and complain is, after all, Peter's job, not yours. Let's chalk this one up to "keeping it real." And speaking of the positive, Zuzu just handed me this:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Where I Go When I'm Not Here

You know how I go several days at a stretch without posting here sometimes? That's when I've slipped back into blogging the way I used to: in my head, usually while I'm lying in bed or taking a shower, etc.*

When you've done something one way for so many years, it's hard to change.

And then when I think, "I should post some of this on my real blog," either I can't remember the imaginary blog posts, or else I can but I'm all, "Booooorrring." Because, come on, I thought about it once already. Old news.

Sometimes the ideas in my head don't make it to the blog because they're of the semi-complex, essay-type variety and would require a lot of time and thought to compose clearly (like the ones about religion from yesterday morning's shower). Unfortunately, time and uninterrupted thinking are scarce resources in my life. Also, I'm just better at thinking than I am at writing. I was an English major in college and oh, how I loved the reading and class discussion, and oh, how every paper I had to write was torture. Random content = easy; clear form and structure = very, very hard. (Wow, that could be a metaphor for my life. But that's a subject for a future post that won't ever happen.)

So, when will my next real post be? Maybe next week. Maybe next month.** In the meantime, let me offer you the enticing tidbit that yesterday while I was folding clothes I was mentally composing a post about . . . grammar! Yes!

*(My sister did this too before she started her blog, and called it her imaginary blog, which she went on to use to title her actual blog. Which you should visit because she is clever and funny and insightful, and her kids are nearly as cute as mine, which is saying a lot.)

**Let's be honest. It will most likely be tomorrow, when I get those cute pictures of my kids off my camera. Because, as I'm sure you've noticed, for me, kids = insta-blog content.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Heaven Help Us if He Gets Hold of Anything More Lethal than a Tinker Toy "Arrow"

Adam: I shot you! With a arrow! I'm playing I'm a good guy.
Me: Adam, let me help you understand something. The good guys don't shoot their moms. They defend their mothers from the bad guys.
Peter: She's right, you know.
Adam: I'm a good guy. Pow, pow, I shot you! [Runs off.]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Might Be Insane

When we finally found our old electric blanket last year and plugged it in, it sizzled and sparked and smelled funny. We took this to be a possible bad sign.

My dilemma: I couldn't bear to send it to a thrift store to masquerade as a properly functioning electric blanket, lying in wait to deceive -- or injure -- some poor unsuspecting consumer. But I also couldn't bear to send what would be a perfectly good blanket of the non-electric variety to clog up a landfill.

So I did what any crazy person in possession of a sewing machine would do: opened it up along the top, pulled out all of the wires, darned the hole where the plug had been, sewed the top closed again, and then sent it to a thrift store.

But now I want to know: What would you have done if this were your blanket? Honestly, I'm curious. I find it fascinating to learn about the habits of normal humans. Delurk, 'fess up, leave a comment.




Monday, February 16, 2009

Maybe She's Better at Multitasking Than I Am

As she explained it, "I'm a chef, a maid, and a detective."

Ah yes, of course. Everything makes sense to me now, except for the fuzzy poncho, for which I can find no explanation.

And looking at that can of cleaner next to that rolling pin makes me a little concerned about cross-contamination.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"I'm Drawn to You, Valentine"

For Jane's and Zuzu's class valentines, they made a prototype sheet that we copied onto cardstock for mass production.

Valentines with corny puns are a tradition I hold dear.
"You're sharp!"
"You're all 'write' with me, Valentine."
"Nothing Can Erase Our Friendship, Valentine!"
Jane's cards:
Zuzu's cards:

Looking over Jane's, I couldn't help noticing that one of these things is not like the others:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zuzu Searches for the Right Word

Last night I was cutting one of these

and Zuzu saw me and hollered, "Hey! Can I have some of that bikini?" Then she came over next to me and said, "Please can I have a bikini, mom?"

Me (suppressing laughter): Can you remember what one of these is called?
Zuzu: Uh . . . Salami?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

More From the Family Birthday Factory

Jane made a party game: "Pin the bow on the kitten."  We never found the original one; this was its replacement. 

Jane also made The Birthday Girl a bracelet.  Mom helped with the start and end, but Jane chose the beads and strung them.

Mama made her a shirt.

And Daddy made a piƱata -- out of a couple of pizza boxes, no less.

P.S.  Thanks for the great party suggestions!  I know where to go when I need ideas again.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake


Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Place for Her Birthday Money

Zuzu is constantly losing her money, so Saturday night I made her a wallet. Now I'm smacking my head that I made it without any kind of tether, however, because this is Zuzu we're talking about. (Fortunately she doesn't read my blog, so it should remain a surprise until tomorrow.) Also, it turned out to be very fiddly and my make-it-up-as-I-go-along style caused me to have to take apart and redo parts and stay up way too late. But I like it, despite a couple of wonky bits.

While I was making this, I had a sudden flashback to commiserating with my friend Emmie in my elementary years about her terrible misfortune that her school's colors were -- ugh -- brown and gold. Ha.




Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Someone's Turning Six

So she designed a party invitation for us to put into production.
"It's an owl, a bat, and a bird."

You wouldn't know it from the invitation, but this year she's requested a Hello Kitty party. I think I'm set for the cake, favors, and decorations, but so far I have nothing on the agenda to entertain the crowd but a Pin-the-Bow-on-Hello-Kitty game that Jane illustrated (pics forthcoming -- if I can find the thing). Ideas, anyone? Please?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Adam Hits Upon a Truth

Adam, while I'm buttoning his church shirt: This shirt's a little too small for me. But Anakin could wear it.
Me: Anakin could wear it?
Adam: Yeah. He could wear it when he . . . when he . . . (Thinks for a minute.) No. It's never Sunday in Star Wars.

As Peter Put It, "Remind Me Never to Let Him Take My Appendix Out"

Trying to avoid the sides is not part of Adam's "Operation" game plan. When Peter agreed yesterday to get down the game for him to play, Adam exclaimed, "Yes! And I'm gonna buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

He's So Mean

To say that Peter doesn't like to toot his own horn would be understatement. But the guy is gifted, in more ways than I will try to mention in this little post, and I'm generally of the opinion that gifts are to be shared. Friday night he was displaying one of his special talents and I said, "Hey, can I take a video of that and put it on my blog?"

Peter: No.
Me: God didn't give you the ability to play "Friday I'm in love" on your cheek with your finger so that you could hide it under a bushel.

Even in the face of scripture, he wouldn't relent.

Edit: The following comment was too good not to add to the main post.

Peter said...

I'm sorry to have to do this since it sounds like tooting my own horn, but just to clarify, so that people don't overestimate my relationship with "Friday I'm in Love"... I can play pretty much any song on my cheek with my finger. That just happened to be what was playing at the time.