Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Funny Mums

100 points to whoever can dig back into their brain to high school or college biology and identify the phenomenon that is causing my mums to bloom funny.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Princess Belle, A Jedi, and A Really Good Sport

I may not be the most enthusiastic participant in Halloween, and I honestly don't understand the fun of going door to door begging for candy, when we could all just go out and buy a bag of our favorites, tell a lot of lies (to ourselves) about not eating it, and then eat it anyway; but I tried to play along, and I do think everyone looked cute in their costumes:

Even dinner dressed up:
Now, onto some holidays I do get enthusiastic about - eating until we explode and dragging full sized trees into the living room!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Flat out of fun.

We just got home from Disney World. It was absolutely fun - I'll subject everyone to vacation pictures soon.

But right now, I have a problem. I've promised a room full of kids FUN games on Sunday after they sing and speak in church, and I'm out of fun ideas.

Please help - comment with some fun game ideas!

Many thanks!!!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yo VIP, let's kick it!

Fall soccer season is in full swing, and Blue is playing on team "purple panther".  Here he is pumped up on panther juice (aka purple Gatorade):
Of course, no soccer game is complete without helpful advice from mom, part of the purple cheering section:
And finally, a purple sister practicing her own soccer moves - in case everyone on the team gets injured...at the same time.
Not pictured: purple dad, toting 10 pounds of camera equipment around to make sure we get good action shots (or maybe he's just not ready to be photographed in that purple shirt).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Fun Weekend Away!

It's not often that we have a weekend without soccer, birthday parties, or church responsibilities (thank goodness for conference online), but somehow this past weekend, the stars aligned perfectly, so with her remaining swimsuit in hand, Pink (and the rest of us) set out for a little beach trip.
It's been almost 2 years since the last time we swam in water not contained in a pool, so this felt like a first for Pink. To say she loved ocean swimming (okay, it's a gulf, but it has salt water and sand) would be an understatement.
Perfect weather, sand to dig in, and waves low enough to adequately jump without being dragged around - Blue was in heaven.
Red loves spontaneous trips, and was happy to be someplace new (and without his phone and blackberry for a while)
Green loves salt water - and sand in between her toes - and mostly spending a relaxing weekend with the family!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Oh Crap, that sucks.

It's all fun and games until somebody loses their pants.

It was the last Saturday before schools started, and I had the great idea to not only buy the 12-pound box of plums, but also to feed some to my family for lunch. And then take them to the church pool party in the evening.

Poor Pink, her little system couldn't quite take it, and she...ummm....didn't quite make it to the potty. Out of the pool and into the bathroom, but not quite onto the commode.  Being an experienced mother, unafraid of body fluids (and really with no other options, standing dripping in the bathroom of the community pool, with everyone we attend church with swimming outside), I diligently stepped into another stall to rinse out the swimsuit bottom in the privy. To give it a good rinse with some swirling action, I flushed. Who would have guessed that our community pool has jet-force suction on the toilet flush? Certainly not me until I watched that swimsuit disappear with a whoosh.

I had to leave her there confused and half-naked while I retrieved her swim cover and then tried to explain that she could not, in fact, get back into the pool, and that she had to stand up very straight while we cleaned up the party.

Now she keeps asking where her butterfly swimsuit is...and I resist the urge to tell her that it flew away.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to School, take three!

Rounding out our week of first days of school, yesterday was Pink's first day of preschool. She was totally excited about the whole idea of preschool - although it might have been more about the new outfit and the princess backpack than the actually learning.

Once we got to school, and Pink wrapped her head around the idea that I was going to leave her, she was a little nervous - or maybe it was that her teacher asked her to find her nametag, and while Pink can name every disney princess and tell part of their life story, she cannot identify all her letters. Epic parenting fail.

Fortunately, she was able to catch up with 2 other little girls whose older siblings were all in a class with Blue at this age.  And really, red playdoh cures most ills, doesn't it?  Wait, not when it comes home on their shoes...

At final report, she had a great day.  Circle time was fun, playing dress up with her friends was awesome, and the snack of goldfish crackers and water was just perfect. Maybe if the teachers are willing to come in their Cinderella dresses, she might even learn her letters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to School, take two!

After a successful send-off for Blue on Monday, and an uneventful first school bus ride home on Tuesday, it was my turn. Lots of syllabus reading and lab orientation, but a good start to the fall semester.  I've got my new backpack and lab-approved closed toed shoes, so I guess I'm good to go.  Now, all I have to do is wake up this old brain!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue goes to school!

Today is the first of three first days of school that our family will experience this week. First Blue, then Green, and finally Pink.  Not sure why Red isn't in school - guess someone has to earn the money!

We didn't get off to a very quick start, since they both collapsed on the floor after I woke them up for breakfast:

Nevertheless, after a little prodding, we managed to get everyone around the breakfast table.  As happened last year, Red's bacon omelets won out over my spell-your-name pancakes.  Protein is a good choice for a first day breakfast anyway, right?
Here's my baby boy, all ready for the big leagues.  I can't believe how quickly his little-boyhood is passing us by:

All things considered, it was a successful day:  no one cried, no one got lost, and the report at the end of the day is that kindergarten is "great".  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Prima Ballerina

Have you ever had the torture pleasure of attending a small person dance recital, and noticed that one little dancer who can't find her spot on the stage?  The one who looks ready to burst into tears (or worse)?  I am proud to announce that this year, that was our Pink.

Of course, what can you really expect from a ballerina so excited to perform that this is her on the drive to the theater:
 In her eyes - and certainly in her Daddy's - she is a prima ballerina

In the true spirit of family togetherness, Blue attended his sister's recital - and in the true spirit of little boy-ness, asked every 3.2 seconds if it was over yet.
Honestly, this was a lot of fun for her mom.  Seeing Pink so excited to do something that was all hers, and not just another thing she gets dragged to or included in because of her older brother, was priceless.  Her little ballerina friends were adorable, and since I had the pleasure of helping out in the dressing room before the recital started, I got to spend some quality time playing ring around the rosies with them.
Her studio closed its doors after the recital - I guess the economy has been hard on everyone.  We have the summer to figure out what to do next, but I'm not sure it will be ballet again - especially after Daddy took her to see Kung-Fu Panda (and may have told her that Kung-Fu was just like dancing, but with hitting).  We might be looking for karate lessons instead.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Like drinking from a firehose

A few years ago, I started talking about what my next career would be.  My first, as biochemist, didn't mesh so well with my second, as mom, so I started looking around for the third.

This past spring, after much deliberation, and the incredible luck of finding a like-minded friend, I decided to take the first steps toward a career in nursing.  I dusted off some very old college transcripts, re-learned the academic hoops necessary to pass the clep test in biology, and then enrolled in anatomy and physiology 1 during the accelerated 1/2 summer semester.

Why I thought this would be a good idea escapes me at the moment, but I enrolled, paid my tuition, and showed up for my first day of classes in a very long time. Despite the technological advances since the last time I was in a college classroom (really, the powerpoint slides are online?  why would I show up to class?), I still found it incredibly helpful to make notecards (see pyramid above) - lots of them - and memorize like crazy.

Compressing an entire semester of anatomy into just over a month was overwhelming and frustrating - a little like academic water-boarding -  but was also probably a good way to start. Kind of that "if you can live through this, everything else will seem like a breeze" way of thinking. My family has been ignored, my household chores have been neglected, and my dining room was turned into study central. The result - I passed, and I got an A.  One down, many many more to go.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We read a library book this week about sleepovers, and Pink and Blue thought that a sleepover sounded like a marvelous idea.  Of course, with no family nearby, and most preschool parents not so keen on the idea of their children sleeping away from them (yeah, okay, it's us), they were kind of out of luck.

Never easily deterred, Pink and Blue found a way around these problems.  Blue designed and manufactured an invitation for his sister (okay, it was a piece of paper with the word "bed" written on it), and invited her to a sleepover in his room.  Since her toddler bed is pretty light, we moved it in after bath time, and put them both to bed.  There was some giggling and getting up, but they managed to fall asleep and are happily snoozing away.

I'm just grateful they didn't decide that we all had to participate and started lobbying for the tent in the backyard - especially since it's still a delightful 93 degrees at midnight.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Enviable, indeed.

I know, I know, everyone is jealous...and really, who wouldn't be?  It's only May and we're already in the 90's temperature-wise, which means the first round of swimming lessons is already over.  We've had the chance to be taught by a cowgirl with an alligator in her hat...
...been forced to swim like a fish....
 ...worked on our freestyle swim stroke....
 ...been given unintelligible instructions like "hum your bubbles" and "pull your arms"....
 ...and been pushed helped off the diving board.
Yup, pretty enviable stuff.

When Dad pays up, he really pays up!

About a month ago, Pink accepted a challenge to stay in bed for 30 days in a row - with a reward of a night in a hotel if she could do it.  It turns out that given the appropriate motivation, anything is possible.  We had to sneak in a few "bonus points" to make it to Memorial Day weekend, but last Friday, Pink filled her sticker chart and was rewarded with a night and two days in this:
 The biggest indoor water park I have ever seen - and all of it connected to a hotel.  Fabulous!  We were able to use the water park starting early afternoon Friday, spend the night in the rustic-themed room (and start our day with pajamas, pop tarts, and cartoons)...
 ...and finish with a full day of water slides, lazy river, and wave pool on Saturday. Absolutely fun!
There was also an outdoor pool and more water slides (and yes, I managed to let every person get a sunburn).  Pink still refuses to take her wristband off, and keeps telling us she is going back to the hotel!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Everything I know, I learned in Pre-K.

 As those who have known us for a while realize, we really like going to school.  Since we have been married, we have experienced 4 college graduations. This past week, Blue reached his first educational milestone, with graduation from his Pre-K program.  Despite being a big man on campus, he managed to avoid the late-night parties (bedtime is still 7pm) and binge milk drinking.

Pictured above is the sweetest group of preschoolers one could ever hope to meet, and to the right are his 2 fantastic teachers - Ms. Jen and Ms. Jacee, who proudly taught in room J this year.
 As part of the festivities, the kids performed several songs including "Deep in the Heart of Texas", of course.  In keeping with his Yankee roots, Blue sang with heart and feeling, but had his cowboy hat on backwards.

We are so proud of all that Blue has accomplished - he can read, write his full name, and do basic math.  He is ready for his next adventure: the public school system!

Friday, May 6, 2011

To All the Moms:

It is not surprising to anyone who has ever so much as seen a pregnant woman that carrying and birthing a child is a full-body experience.  That part is a given.  But there is so much more to the full body experience of motherhood than that.  Mothers give their whole bodies to their children.

With her eyes, a Mother sees her newborn baby for the first time, watches her toddler’s first tentative steps, see her child off to school on the first day, watches them dress for their first date, and sees her child shine on their wedding day.  With her ears, she hears that first cry, that first word, she listens to accounts of trials and troubles, to stories of schoolyard spats and hurt teenage feelings.  She listens to her adult children as they venture forth into their own lives, and hears stories of her grandchildren and maybe her great grandchildren. With her lips, she kisses away boo-boos and ouwies, reads countless bedtime stories, teaches principles, and changes the outcome of a bad situation with a smile.  She also bites those lips when she watches her child suffer through something difficult or when she wants to offer advice that she knows is better left for another time.  Perhaps most importantly, with her lips, she prays for her children – for guidance to know how to raise them, for help with struggles, and with gratitude that she is allowed to mother these sweet spirits.

A mother’s arms and hands rock a baby to sleep, hold the uncertain hand of a preschooler, hug a tired teenager, and work, work, work.  Laundry, dishes, and household cleaning are usually a mother’s job too, and she gives herself to these tasks as an act of service, charity, and love to her family.  She throws and catches balls and Frisbees, and twists little girl hair into braids and buns.  Her shoulders are a place of solace for sorrowing children, her shoulders stand proud as she sees her children accomplish things they thought they could not do, and those shoulders stand strong when she is faced with trials that threaten her family.

A Mother's heart is permanently changed by having a child.  The author Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

A mother’s hips may never be quite as svelte as they were before she gave birth, but they make such an excellent shelf for carrying a baby and toddler – and sometimes even a preschooler who just can’t go one more step.  As the mother ages, those are the same hips that often fail, and make it harder to run around with her grandchildren, but easier to sit and enjoy their exuberant youth.

A mother’s feet walk the floor with a fussy infant, teach a toddler how to walk, and play soccer with a growing young boy or girl.  They pace the floor awaiting the sound of a teenager coming in at curfew.  Her feet walk with joy at a graduation ceremony, a wedding ceremony, or walking with her children in their accomplishments. 

A mother’s knees crawl on the floor to encourage her little one to learn to move independently, then crawl some more to race matchbox cars and toy trains around tiny tracks, later, her knees run to keep up with lightning-fast children.  And her knees are used in prayer -  In pleading with our Father to know how to raise his children and how to help them learn and grow.

I am a mother.  To my children and their upbringing, I have given my whole body.  I do it willingly and lovingly.  It was done for me and for each of us by our mothers.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom, my Friends, and my Friends' Moms, all of whom helped shape me into the mother that I am.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

When a child opens a door, her parents want to jump out a window

Am I really about to tell a story about door handles? Yes, yes I am.

A few weeks ago, we had our "looked cool in the 90's" round shiny brass doorknobs replaced with the oiled-bronze beauties pictured below (what does it say about my life that I am so excited about new doorknobs?).  

Since then, we haven't gotten a full night's sleep.  Pink, who was formerly being kept in her room by one of those toddler-proof door locks, can escape from her room at 2am now, and does every single night.

 In my last attempt to save my sanity before I go buy another round doorknob and re-attach it to her door, we are starting a sticker chart today.  See those cute beds?  Every night she stays in bed all night, she gets to put a sticker on one.  Six nights in a row, she earns a lollipop; twelve nights, she gets lunch at chick-fil-a; after a full 30 nights, she gets to go to a hotel.  

The first two of these incentives I understand - she loves candy and those weird nuggets and fries, but that last one I was surprised about.  After some intensive questioning (which is hilarious, since this 3-year-old doesn't really reason yet), it turns out that hotels are fun because:
* you get to watch tv in bed
* they have a pool
* everyone sleeps in the same room
So does this mean that if we work and try and finally get Pink to sleep through the night in her own room for 30 nights in a row, we will completely undo all that effort in the reward? 
Never a dull moment in this parenting game....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day!
Torment the bullfrogs...
 Torture the children with a hike in 90-degree humid weather...
Tell Dad about it later!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The big catch up post

It's been almost 4 months since I posted any pictures or any substantive family nonsense (is that an oxymoron?). If I set myself up to chronicle the last 4 months in depth, I'll never do it, so here is one big catch up post and a fervent hope that I might stay on top of our lives a little bit better.

Christmas, 2010:
We continued our tradition of having Santa bring the presents on Christmas Eve.  So much more pleasant (to me) than an early-morning trashing of our living space.  There were plenty of presents to go around, including a very unusual necklace for Red.

January 2011:
After 5 good years, we said farewell to our trusted Labrador Elvis.  He went to live with Red's grandparents in Pennsylvania.  It is an ideal arrangement for everyone - Elvis was slowing down and getting stressed about the rapidly increasing speed of Pink and Blue, and the grandparents, who lost their dog last year, got a well-trained companion. In typical fashion, I didn't take a single picture to commemorate the handing off of our beloved dog, the visit with the kids' great-grandparents, or the car (dubbed "snowflake") rented to take us all on this grand 2500 mile adventure - not even New Year's Eve in Nashville, and a visit to a life-sized replica of the Parthenon.

At least I remembered to pull out the camera a few weeks later when we celebrated Pink turning 3 - or maybe it was her father who had the good sense to take some pictures:

February, 2011.
This month was full of ice and snow, and one major holiday. Which Red and Green celebrated by taking a painting class...and giving the paintings to Pink and Blue for Valentine's Day. Yup, we are an original bunch. But what we lack in originality, we may make up for in ability to follow directions. Note how much our paintings look like the prototype, seen over Red's shoulder.

March, 2011.
Regardless of any wagers taken to the contrary a decade and a half ago (or perhaps to spite the wagerers), we celebrated 15 years of marriage in March.  We attended a Devotchka concert with friends, and, as might be expected of a smallish indoor concert venue, the pictures taken are kind of dim. Lack of photographic evidence notwithstanding, we are still happily married. 

April, 2011.
Apparently, when the sun comes back out, so do the cameras - and the crazy ideas.  I came home from a Friday-afternoon doctor's appointment to find my family frantically throwing clothes into suitcases for a "surprise vacation".  We drove way into the night, and didn't tell the kids where we were going until the next day.  "Bat Cave" and "Hotel Pool" were enough to sell it.

Whew... I feel better now.  I am sure there are a few things I missed, but at least we don't have a gaping hole in the family record.
A big thanks to anyone who made it through all this!