Thursday, February 26, 2009

Yellow Pears

During our Tuesday morning Spanish class at CHET, my Kindergarten class was working on colors.  We had ten pictures to color, one to represent each color we were learning, so I had to make sure everyone was coloring their pictures the appropriate color.  Everyone was...until I got to Anya.  She had colored her pears yellow instead of green.

Me:  Anya, why didn't you color your pears green like I asked you to?
Anya:  Because!  Isn't this a better color for the chemicals they put on our fruit?

How could I argue with logic like that?  Her pears got to stay yellow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


The girls are cutting pictures of animals out of old magazines to use in a project:

Macey:  Hey, look at this one!  It says "Homework is boring.  Play with me instead."
Jaela:  The cat?
Macey:  Yeah, I think the cat is saying "Homework is boring.  Play with me instead."
Jaela:  Huh.

A brief pause.

Jaela:  What's homework?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Linguistic Discoveries

Last night when I got Isaak ready for bed, I let him pick out which jammies he wanted to wear.  He chose his shark jammies, with sharks all over the pants and one big shark on the shirt front.

"Excellent choice!"  I told him, "Shark jammies!"

Isaak looked at me very seriously for a moment.  "Shhhhhh...ahk!" he said proudly.

(Whose toddler is this?  I want my baby back!)  :)

Vah Humvug!

Thump thumpity thump thump thump!  The sound of Anya's feet skipping across the floor woke me up.  I knew instantly who it was, and dragged myself out of bed to go find out why she was 4:48 a.m.  And that other sound I was hearing...yes, it was definitely whispering.  When I got upstairs, Anya was just climbing back into her bed, Jaela and Macey were in Macey's bed, and all three of them were whispering excitedly about the valentines I'd left at the ends of their beds.

Vah Humvug.

I am a Valentine's Day Scrooge, but thanks to their grandmas, the girls have been counting down the days until Valentine's Day.  They've planned out what they were going to wear today, and they've been working all week on envelopes for each other that are overflowing with notes and drawings.  Jaela gave me a Valentine's note a few days ago, and when I went to bed last night, I found an envelope from Macey on my bedside table:

So I dug out some valentines and put one at the end of each girls bed, and one by Isaak's door.

And now, the girls and I have all been up since 4:48.

Hmph.  Vah Humvug.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Remember the chaotic lunch preparations I wrote about yesterday?  I got an email this morning that made me look at our time spent together in the kitchen in a whole new way.  

Someone older and wiser than I shared with me her own experiences with her young children helping in the kitchen and commented, "what fun, and what an opportunity for teaching and patience."

Yesterday, I was looking at my kitchen-ful of kids and seeing messes, enthusiasm, inexperience, the learning process, spills, helpfulness, waste, wonder, and excitement.  I saw the potential for fun, and the opportunity for me to teach, but I missed seeing the lessons that are there for me to learn.

My dictionary defines opportunity as: "a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something".  I just went back and counted, and in that description of our lunch-making process, there were 17 opportunities for patience.  And for the record, since I'm being honest here, I only took 7 of them.  I missed 10 opportunities to be patient...but at least now I know what they look like.

I'm excited now to learn to recognize all my opportunities for patience!  I'm sure that I can find them all day long, and not just when we're working in the kitchen.  The challenge will be in reminding myself that they ARE opportunities for patience, not just another mess to clean up or problem to solve!

All the Awards THIS Blogger Needs

My favorite homeschooling blogger shared a post recently on the awards her blog was given by a few of her readers and fellow bloggers.  (Click on the word "post" in the sentence above if you'd like to see what I mean...)  I have seen quite a few of these kinds of awards on my travels through blog-land, and I have to admit that I find them somewhat empty and frivolous...a waste of precious time.

Those same awards are passed from blogger to blogger, never losing any of their flashiness, and never picking up any substance along the way.  They still say the same things:  "Butterfly Award, For the coolest blog I know" and "Kreativ Blogger Award" and the "Lemonade Award" (for people who make lemonade out of life's lemons) and so on.  

I hope none of my blogs ever get any of those awards, because they would pale in comparison to the awards I have already received from my faithful readers:

"I love your blogs...Keep up the good writing."

"I laughed out loud!"

"I really enjoy reading your blog about the family."

"You are doing such a great job.  Keep up the good work!!"


"I really admire you."

The best part about these awards of mine is that I know that my readers actually love me.  Even when my blog is not cool, not kreativ, and when I choose to gripe about life's lemons.

Thanks for loving me, everyone...and thanks for reading, too!  :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Group Cooking 101

I'll admit it.  I have not been very excited about the prospect of having the kids help me in the kitchen.  They're messy, they're slow, and they tend to enjoy the strangest things at the most inopportune moments.  It is SO much easier and faster to do it myself.

On the other hand, I want to teach them how to cook, and they're eager to learn, so I decided (and yes, it took a conscious decision) to start teaching them now, before they decide it's not fun anymore.  I just make sure we're making something that is easily salvageable in case of accidents, and that we have plenty of time to get it put together.  And I'm teaching them to start with a clean work area and to clean up after themselves as we go.  :)

So, yesterday for lunch, we made Creamed Tuna on toast because our bread was going stale.  (You wanted the truth, right?)  :)  My part of the process sounded something like this:

"Everyone washed their hands with soap?  OK, Anya, you can unwrap this butter and put it in the pan.  No, if you want to unwrap the butter you can do it now and get a drink after you're done.  Macey, please get the flour.  Jaela, find a tablespoon.  That's a cup.  You need one of the spoons that says 1 TBS on it.  Macey, if you keep whining at me you won't get to do anything else.  You'll get a turn doing something.  I know, you can get the toaster out and put the bread in it.  Anya, are you about done opening the butter?  Jaela, while we're waiting for the butter you can measure one tablespoon of flour, but don't dump it in yet.  Isaak, take the ball out of the kitchen.  No, I'll pour the milk into the measuring cup because I just opened this gallon and it's too heavy for you, Macey.  Anya, is that butter unwrapped yet?  Put it in the pan and throw the paper away, then wash your hands again.  Macey, stir this butter until it melts, but be careful not to touch the pan.  It's hot.  Jaela, you can put the flour in and then get one more spoonful.  Macey, keep stirring all over the pan so that the flour doesn't stick and burn.  No, thank you Jaela, I'll put the milk in.  Keep stirring, Macey.  Jaela, you can put the flour away.  Yes, Anya, you can get out the ketchup.  Hold on a minute, Jaela.  I don't know yet what you can do next.  Anya, why are you getting the stool?  No, the ketchup is in the fridge!  Isaak, please shut the drawer.  Here, Macey, let me stir for a minute to make sure it's mixed up good before we put more in.  Jaela, it's your turn to stir.  Macey, fill this tablespoon two times with ketchup and dump it in.  Isaak, get out of the cupboard!  Yes, Anya, you can put the ketchup away.  No, please put it in right side up, it's too full to put upside down yet.  It keeps falling over.  Would you like to help open the tuna fish?  These are neat packages Daddy bought, aren't they?  Keep stirring Jaela.  What?!?  They even put corn syrup in Worcestershire sauce!  OK, dump the tuna in, Anya, but be careful of the hot pan.  Just one, Macey, and let Anya open the other two.  You can push down the thing on the toaster now, Macey.  Let me break up those chunks, Jaela, I don't want you to get splashed.  Macey get plates, Jaela get forks, Isaak get in your highchair.  Everyone helped, Macey, not just you and Jaela.  Quit trying to upset your sister.  Who wants milk?"

In spite of the chaos, it was kind of fun!  So, after snack, when no one wanted to help me work in the kitchen, I wondered aloud if I had enough energy to make the cookies I had planned to make.  Jaela immediately changed her mind and volunteered to help me.

So, Jaela and I made cookies yesterday afternoon, just the two of us.

And since Anya was the only one still at the table after lunch today when I discovered that my new crock pot had been delivered, she helped me create "Stoneless Stone Soup".

Macey, not to be left out, helped make bread later in the afternoon to go with our soup.

And Isaak just wanted in on the picture-taking fun!

Soup's On!

My new Crock Pot came today!

When I tried to make a double batch of Crock Pot Granola and barely had room to stir, and when our favorite recipe of Crock Pot Ajiaco came close to overflowing the pot, I decided it was time to research and buy a bigger Crock Pot.

I had a hard time finding what I wanted.  I knew I wanted an oval one, 6 quart capacity or larger, with white stoneware, and after doing some research, I also knew that I didn't want a "smart" one with pre-set hour selections.  My initial shopping ventures made me think that the Crock Pot I was hoping to find did not exist.  But I persevered, and finally found what I had in mind, and it was exactly what I wanted!

What I want to know is, when did I become this person...this person that got so excited about the delivery of her new Crock Pot that she immediately washed it and began to make soup?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

When we get to the commissary on Tuesdays, our first stop is always the restroom.  My rule is that even if they don't need to go, they have to try.  Usually, all four stalls are available, and there is a mad scramble amongst the girls as to who gets the one next to...whichever sister they want to be next to that day.  Yesterday was no different.  

Jaela claimed the first one, Anya the second, and as Macey swung around the door of the third stall, she looked up at the mirror on the opposite wall, and said, "Hey, Jaela!  You got...Oh, wait, that's ME!  Mommy, I thought Jaela was going into the one right next to me, but it was really just myself I was seeing!"

The Dreaded "N" Word

Isaak has finally learned how to say the dreaded "N" word, "No!"

The first week or so, he used it appropriately:
"Isaak, would you like more milk?"  "No!"
"Isaak, can I have your airplane?"  "No!"
"Isaak, do you want to wear this shirt?"  "No!"

Then, earlier this week, he tried something new.  I smelled a suspicious odor, and asked him, as I always have, "Isaak, are you stinky?"  (OK, I used a different word, but my father is reading this...)  Isaak looked directly at me and shouted, "No!"  Hm.  Well, we both knew the answer was NOT "No", so we had another round.  

"Isaak, when Mommy asks you if you are stinky when you ARE, and you tell Mommy "No!", that is called lying, and you will get your bottom spanked.  Let's try again.  Isaak, look at Mommy's eyes.  Isaak, are you stinky?"  Isaak looked away and shouted, "No!"  I gave his diaper a token swat.  He responded with token tears.  Briefly.  And asked for a hug.

Then we tried again.  "Isaak, look at Mommy's eyes."  He looked at the floor.  "Isaak, look at Mommy's nose."  He looked up at me.  "Isaak, are you stinky?"  Again he shouted, "No!"  I asked, "Are you lying to Mommy?"  Isaak nodded his head and said, "Uh huh."  Hm.  Well, we were getting somewhere, anyway!  After a little firmer of a swat, a little bit more sincere tears, and another hug, we tried one more time.  

"Isaak, are you stinky?"  Isaak nodded.  

And he hasn't used the word "No!" inappropriately since.

Windy Wednesday

It has been a very windy day in middle Tennessee.  This morning they were predicting strong winds with gusts up to 50 mph, with late morning thunderstorms (and gusts up to 70 mph) possible.  As we ate breakfast this morning, we watched the trees sway, the neighbors' (poorly constructed) fence wiggle, and big sheets of tin roofing fly off the eye-sore-building behind us.  I told the girls that it was supposed to be windy like that all day, and they promptly launched into a discussion about birds, leaves, Mary Poppins and umbrellas.  :)  After they finally finished eating, and had exhausted all the possibilities they could think of that had to do with windy days and flying like leaves, Macey sighed.

"Oh, if Mommy would let us go out and play in the wind, we could have a great deal of fun!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paul the Fish

While Mike was in Iraq, I decided that it would be fun to get a betta (also known as a Siamese Fighting Fish).  They're supposed to be low maintenance, so I figured one would be a good "first pet" for the girls.  So we bought a blue one at Walmart, and after I told the girls about the red betta I had in high school (named Paul, after some local theatre guy) they decided Paul was a good name for our new fish.  They loved him.  The water was clear, and he was feisty and entertaining.  It doesn't take much to entertain 4 and 2-year-olds.  

We discovered right away that our fish was not "normal".  He would bend his tail and "sit" on the rocks in the bottom of the bowl, or go up to the top of the water and lay in the branches of his fake plants.  Once, when he was laying in one of his plants, his back was up out of the water, and he was so still that I thought he was dead.  I touched his back, which usually made him swim away very quickly, but this time he didn't move.  I stroked my finger down his back 6-7 times, every time thinking "Oh, no, what am I going to tell the girls?"  And then suddenly, with a little wiggle, he swam off.  NOT a normal fish.  Fish aren't supposed to let people pet them.

After about two weeks, the novelty wore off.  He sat in his bowl on the counter, the water got scummy, and guess who had clean his bowl and change the water once a week, and remember to feed him every night.  Yeah, NOT the girls.

So we got a neat little tank with a filter and a light, and discovered that while we could go for weeks now without cleaning the tank or changing the water, when it WAS time to change the water, it was a chore and a half.  Paul went back to his bowl, and the tank went to the garage.

Not even half a year into our ownership of Paul the Fish, and I was getting pretty tired of fish duty.

So, thinking thoughts of short-lived goldfish and flushing toilets, I went online to research exactly how long I could expect this *stupid* fish to live.  Twenty years.  Twenty YEARS!!!  I went back to thinking about the marvels of flushing toilets, but realized immediately that the girls would be heartbroken if I resorted to such drastic measures.

When we went out of town, Mark and Mary kept Paul for us...multiple times.  I think he got better care at their house, regardless of how often I hinted to Mark about flushing toilets.  I thought of all sorts of creative ways Paul could disappear with Mark's help, but neither one of us could ever follow through on any of them.  Have I mentioned how the girls would have been heartbroken?  (Sigh.)

And then, Isaak started saying, "Pauh!", pointing at Paul swimming around in his bowl, and laughing and laughing at that *stupid* fish.  Great.  Now all the kids are attached to him.  Reluctantly, I kept cleaning the bowl, changing the water, and remembering to feed him every night.

When I went down to the kitchen this afternoon to start dinner, I realized that Paul was still in the same spot he was in last night when I went to bed.  Not a good sign.  So, I checked, and yes, Paul was dead.  I called the girls down and showed them, and yes, there was a tear or two, but no one was heartbroken.  After Isaak was in bed (and not around to get ideas put in his head), the girls and I took the bowl into the bathroom, and without ceremony (and with even a few giggles) Paul was flushed down the toilet.


*Stupid* fish.

I think I might actually miss him...but only a little.  :)

P.S. (*Stupid* is a bad word at our house...don't tell the girls I used it!)

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Best Present, Take 2

When I called the girls to the table for dinner tonight, they were in the middle of a conversation that began back in December.  Remember "The Best Present"?  I have no idea how the subject came up again today, but this is the part of the conversation I heard:

Jaela:  Wouldn't it be neat to die when I'm a kid and get to see God NOW?!?
Anya:  I think I want to wait until Christmas Eve and get to see Jesus for Christmas.
Jaela:  Or maybe Christmas morning, after we open our stockings!
Macey (shouted from the other room):  After we open our presents!
Anya:  YEAH!  I want to die on CHRISTMAS!  That would be the BEST present for God to have!!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

His Mama's boy!

My little red-headed boy,
who has one whole row of curls on the back of his head,
willingly, voluntarily, gets into his bed,
because he LOVES bedtime!
That's Mama's boy!  :)


One of Anya's chores is to wash dishes that don't go in the dishwasher.  Today, when she pulled her chair up to the sink to get started, Isaak watched carefully.  As soon as he realized what she was doing, he pulled another chair over, climbed up, and insisted on "helping" her rinse those last few things.

"Helping" is a loosely defined word in this household!