Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One Fine Year

It has been said that the first year of marriage can be the toughest on a couple. I don't buy it. I've spent the last year of my life relishing in the fact that I wake up every morning next to my best friend and the love of my life (they are the same person, by the way).

Through all of the insanities that life has thrown our way, we've grown closer, fallen more deeply in love, become better friends, and laughed all the while.

If I could come up with a way to thank you for making it the best year of my life, I would. For now, all I can do is write and share with the world how lucky I feel to call you my wife.

I still, and always will, find myself imagining our future. I love watching our children grow with you. You ground me so often and remind me to relish the little things they do. You keep me sane when the house doesn't seem clean enough. AND you've managed to teach this OCD clean-freak to put down the rag/mop/scrub brush and spend more time with the family. And I sincerely thank you for that.

I'm so proud of all of you done in school the past year. I know we made a tough decision when you changed majors, but I look forward to watching you change children's lives. I really look forward to getting summers off with you.

So, in my own little way, thank you for what has truly been the best year of my life. I look forward to the next one that will be filled even more love, laughter, and friendship. You are the most important person in my life and I am thankful every day to have you by my side.

I love you, Holly.

And then the EMERGENCY trip to Schuck's. windshield wiper, what?

It's spring break for the kiddos this week and that means there is craziness galore!

We started off early with some horrid behavior from all three of them as early as last Thursday (or was it Friday?). Brandon's mom had called and wanted to take the kids for a couple of days. I had my reservations but did not really say anything definite to her about it. So she called on Saturday to "finalize" plans for Sunday pick up (?!?!) and was irritated with me when I told her the kids would not be able to go. There is NO WAY I am sending them to her house acting like that. She's an alcoholic even without the kids but adding them and their nuttiness? Nope.

Now that we knew we were looking at a solid week of three kids at home, we looked at the weather forecast. Awesome. It's going to snow and rain all week. WTF? Tomorrow is April 1st. WHY is it snowing? (I know it snowed in June last year but I'm hoping for it to get better!)

Sunday was a lot better than Saturday and Monday was even more so. Until 8:15 in the morning. Ashley was running down the hall (which she knows not to do) and shut the door of the closet with her hand. In the middle. Where the two pieces come together.

She started screaming from how bad that hurts (I don't know why they even make those kinds of doors anymore. Sadists.) and it got worse when she saw she was actually bleeding. She also has a fantastic blood blister. Poor kid. She wore Band-Aids and one of those metal "I broke my finger" things with the blue foam on the inside and the velcro wrap around it. (you know what I mean, right?) She didn't want to wear it but we told her it was like a shoe for her pinky and would protect it from more bumps. She kept that sucker on all day.

The rest of Monday was a bazillion times better. There was the usual ups and downs of a day and the girls made a HUGE!!!! mess in their room but it was sorted out and they even got to stay up later than usual.

This morning started out with Alex asking for his PSP which he promptly got grounded from. AGAIN. I guess Ashley and Annie are short on sleep because there's been tears and crying and yelling and screaming. And it's almost noon.

I get to go to class in a little bit. Poor Aiden is stuck here with them. If he's smart, he'll institute nap/rest time again today. It did wonders for them yesterday.

Will let you all know how the rest of the week goes. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Doctor Who Listens?

Nope, I'd never heard of a doctor who actually listens before either, but I finally found one. After being re-rescheduled I finally got seen by someone at a different clinic. Holly and I were going to another place here in town, but they say things like, "You need to be more active" to people with chronic knee and back pain. Or, my personal favorite, "We don't deal with chronic pain here."

The woman I saw today listened as I spoke, seemed mildly irritated that no one had bothered to diagnose my issues, and was actually irritated that I was trying to avoid taking my pain meds. She told me I should take them regularly and at the same time every day because they'll actually do more good that way. I believe her exact words were, "If you wait until you're in a lot of pain, you're screwed."

So, joyous day. They've ordered me an MRI and x-ray of my neck at first, since my neck is the biggest issue at hand. We'll see how things go. I'll keep everyone posted.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Would YOU push the button?

probably one of a zillion complaints of weather today

Today's Forecast:
Snow in the morning...then numerous rain or snow showers in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches. Total snow accumulation up to 4 inches above 2500 feet in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s. Windy. Southwest wind 20 to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation 90 percent. (wunderground.com)

There is also a Winter Weather Advisory for Heavy Snow for locations above 2500 feet. We are 2552 feet above sea. (feels very "The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain" to me)

I seriously thought winter was over. I wore capris this week. I had flip flops on yesterday. We already had the "hanger on" snowstorm.

(View from our bedroom window, that's snow stuck in the screen)

Apparently not. In our lovely town on the desert we are looking out our windows at several inches of snow that started falling yesterday at noon. I think this was about 2.5 minutes after the last of the freak snow from last weekend melted.

(Another view from our bedroom window)

Not only is there snow on the ground and a frigid wind blowing huge gusts around, it's apparently still snowing. You cannot tell because of the wind but according to wunderground.com there is "Heavy Snow" in Pullman.

Just for fun I always compare our weather to Spokane. So I know if I have a good whining case to call Mom about. They say "Snow Fog", whatever that means.

The bottom line is I have no one to complain to (if I want to 'win' somehow).

So I will suffer without winning. But it will NOT be in silence.

Just for comparison, the pictures in the bear blog below are from yesterday about 1 hour before the snow started.

Feel my pain.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

"Nature Education" part 982,165,186,001.

Driving out to Moscow yesterday we chose to let Ashley choose which way we went; past the airport or past the bears. She chose the bears. As the road wound around we first saw running horses, then some goats, then more horses, then the bears, and then some big horn sheep.

We were pointing out all the animals to Ashley and when we had passed the last of them I said it was like a drive through zoo. Aiden was just thinking the same thing.
The bears are not statues or wood carvings or anything, they are real live bears in pens. On the way home we stopped to look at them up close. There was 4 of them out in the field and several more in their pens. This included a mama bear with 3 cubs. AWESOME! We couldn't get a really good picture of the babies since the pens have a lot more fencing around them but you could definitely see them. And after the mama came out of the building into the pen and carried them back in one at a time, you could definitely hear her growling and roaring. I don't know if she was growling at another bear or a human inside but she was NOT happy about it.

Ashley was pretty non-plussed about the growling but did enjoy watching the bears poop. We had a lot of conversation about how big it was, especially compared to the cats' and how it would be much worse to scoop a bear box than a cat box. I think the old people who were also there thought there was something wrong with this conversation.

They should have been around today. We went with all the kids and Amy and her four boys to see the bears again. The babies were not out and I guess it was too early for the bears to be up and about much. So we walked across the street to look at the big horn sheep.

Ashley was getting bored as none were ramming into each other so she and I went back up towards the smaller ones to count them. Alex and one of Amy's kids, Wyatt, had made quite a discovery while we were up there. Aiden came up to me and said they had noticed a red thing poking out of the sheep's stomachs.

Amy told them it was a distended belly button. Alex was pretty sure that was not it at all but I told him to let it go. He's almost 9 and Amy's boys are 6 and under. I don't know if they are ready for all that information just yet.

On the way back to the bears I was holding Alex's hand and he was holding Wyatt's hand. Wyatt decided to bring up the red thing and reiterate that it looked more like a sword than a distended belly button. This brought on a scenario where the sheep don't just fight with their horn ramming but with their swords.

Alex told him to let it go (I was SO proud!!) and that was the end of it.

I do not envy the job of Amy having 4 boys to raise. at all.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What Goes Around...

Remember when you were little and you were trying to put the shoes on your Barbie Doll? Remember how hard it was to get them to stay? And then you'd figure out to put them on and then push them forward so the back of the shoe would somehow dig into Barbie's heel and hopefully stay on? But if you slid them too far forward the toes would pop out and you'd have to start over?

I had a pair of pink cowboy Barbie boots that were the ONLY shoes I could get to stay on the dang doll.

Things are a little different today. They are harder. I didn't know that was possible. But there's Polly Pockets. Polly is a evil concept clearly brought to life by MEN who have never had to put these dumb shoes on. OR had kids. (They also don't try to put the clothes on the dolls or they would have made them out of something that does not rip in half after 2 tries. Maybe I missed the part on the package where it says HULK but I'm sure Polly, some ninny sized girly girl cannot rip a jean jacket in half with just her finger tips if it's made of real jeans) But I digress...

Ashley came to me today asking for help to get the pink shoes she could find (because they are SMALL and get lost easily she had two different shades of pink with different heel sizes) onto her Belle Polly Pocket. One of them went on really easily. The other one needed some convincing. It finally went on but then I breathed towards the stupid doll and they both fell off. This went on for a few minutes until Ashley decided she would go find another pair of shoes. She gave up on trying to dig through all that crap and put Belle in her pretty yellow dress and completed the look by adding what can only be described as high fashion combat boots. With heels.

I guess she got tired of the clashing look so she found another pair of shoes. After testing to ensure these shoes would stay on she requested help changing Belle's clothes from her princess yellow ball gown to a hot pink with black fringe business woman outfit. I have to say, I'm wondering what kind of business Polly runs in that get up. The hot pink and black leopard-ish print shoes don't help.

One company, which we hate on principle but can like for only this reason, has completely skirted around this problem. BRATZ made their dolls with feet that detach at the ankle using a peg and hole method. They actually stay. The dolls do not have flip flops on perma-high heel feet. They do, however, allow for colored girls to have white girl feet. ANNNND, All the dolls look like they have joined Polly-the-Pimp's aforementioned business.

At least the shoes stay on.

A Professional Whiner at Work

Last night as I was preparing to pass out in bed (10:00) Alex came out of his room for the nine-billionth (or third) time. He is the master at coming up with reasons to get out of bed. He does not just ask for a drink of water or some other minor league item. No, he has reasons that are beyond the realm of conceivable by most people.

Why was he up again? Because last Halloween while we were trick-or-treating I took a piece of gum from his treat bag. He threw a righteous fit about it so I told him I would give him another piece to replace it. I thought I had but last night he informed me that I had not.

There was crying about the injustices and when we told him this was NOT something he gets to be out of bed for, he went on and on (this boy can really get worked up) about how no one understands his brain and how his mind works. (really, I would say I don't know where he gets it from but I do. It's in my genes. My sister does the same kind of thing. Never was it me, just her. But I guess he got it from that gene pool. Or maybe it's from his dad. He argues like that all the time. hmmm)

Anyway, the argument wore thin and he was seeing his loss in sight. So he reminded me that the girls had some M&Ms left over from a science project with their lunch the day before. And we never gave any to him to make it fair.
I talked to him about prioritizing. How the gum was not going to be worked out right that minute (or ever, I eventually told him) and the M&Ms would not be doled out at 10:00 at night. Then we talked about how he's been in his bed for three hours, more or less, and he was missing all that sleep over a 5 month old piece of gum and 2 M&Ms.

He was still sure it was child abuse in some form but he did go back to bed. The weeping and wailing stopped eventually and he went to sleep.

What's the dumbest thing you've had fits about in your house?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Science Fair

The long awaited Science Fair has come. It started at 5:30 (which at this school means 5:00 or you don't really love your kid). We turned in their projects yesterday so they were really only interested in seeing where their projects had been placed. I guess even elementary school kids know it's all about location location location.

We decided to start on the far side of the room and work our way back to the door. We found Alex's project pretty quickly and then saw Annie's project shortly thereafter. The rules included that the kids have limited help from their parents. Alex did most all of his project on his own. (I did some cutting and penciled in the lines for the orbits). His looks like a third grader did it all on his own.

Annie needed a little more help. Or maybe it was just that I wanted to help with hers due to the fun stuff we were using to put it together. Either way, I think hers was the best looking project in the whole place.
We took pictures of the kids with their projects before we took them to the school yesterday. They were so excited to see them at the fair (and I forgot I had taken pictures already) we had to take more pictures. Seeing their stuff would have been the most exciting part of the whole thing for me but then I came across an experiment where a kid decided to see whether frozen candles burn faster or slower than room temperature candles.

I told Amy about that one and she wanted to know the results. I had to admit I never got around to reading that. Instead, I got side tracked by this sign. It made me feel so safe.

When it's not my pregnancy it flies right by!

All summer long the families in our apartment complex played outside. There was a Mom Brigade which would move our camping chairs around the complex depending on where the kids were playing. We all had a real sense of community. And the babies, Oh! The BABIES!!

Some of the mommies were newly pregnant over the summer, or at least newly announcing it, and the rest of them were popping out kiddos faster than we could keep up with. Aiden and I are always happy to hold babies for mommies needing a break so we had so much fun with our little set up.

Then the cold hit and the kids and mommies and pregnant tummies were locked away in their apartments. When they did venture out they were covered in so much bunting it was difficult to know who was who. And those bellies? They just hid behind fluffy parkas and loose sweaters.

Today we put Ashley on the bus for preschool and I saw one of the mommies getting home. I told Aiden I wanted to go see the belly; surely she must be ready to pop by now. She turned and I saw she was so skinny!! I was left with nothing to say but "did you have him?!"

She is gracious but I'm sure she wanted to kick me. Her baby is six weeks old.

He's beautiful, by the way, as all C section babies tend to be.

At least I bothered to remember she was pregnant. Aiden said "why do you want to look at _____'s belly? Oh yeahhhh, she preggers!"

Of course, that counts for little to nothing since he's got massive head trauma resulting in memory issues and I don't.

I'm so glad the weather is going to eventually be nice again. Then the moms can come back out and share their babies with us to hold.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

D'ya know what I mean, DANCING?

After spending the day outside yesterday (between science projects) enjoying the sun and warm-ish-ness we were due to pay the Gods of the weather. They collected payment by making it rain. The sun did not shine, it was too wet to play, so we sat in our house on this cold cold wet day. Oh yes, we did.

By this evening we were sick of each other. This was made evident by the screaming and fighting that was going on. So Aiden came up with this really great idea.

We all piled into our bedroom and found spots on the big bed. Aiden manned the computer desk and we watched dumb animal videos. You know, the ones from Purina or youtube. We laughed and laughed and laughed. There was no more fighting. There was no more screaming besides the laughter.

When you hear these kids laugh out loud at cats falling off couches or growling at mirrors, you know this is where you are meant to be. Ashley and Alex felt the need to give us non-stop instant replays of the animals' antics but even that was tolerable.

The problem with abandoning Purina's website for youtube is that youtube.com does not really care what goes on their videos. They don't ensure all the content is kid appropriate.

One clip we came across started with a baby in a carseat (or something) with a Cabbage Patch Kid. He rolled over and was rocking himself like he was going to crawl. Clearly, these people were not excited about the almost crawl as they ran their video camera. So while the adults got irritated, the kids were super excited to watch the dancing baby. This caused Aiden's face to turn SO red from laughter, not embarrassment.

Little did he know that after the dancing baby would come dancing bunnies, dancing doggies, dancing cats, dancing cows, and a dancing goat. The kids were laughing and laughing.

I kept talking about how the animals were so much fun, look at them dance, Aiden, don't you think it's so much fun to watch the animals dance?

He finally managed to suck in enough air to regain a normal-ish color of face and turned the video off. This caused a lot of whining and grumbling from the kids. Until another video was started and allowed to play having been deemed clean.
Soon it was time for bed and the kids and I were hanging out in the living room. We skipped story reading and just sang the "A Alligators All Around" song (see previous post - not like the last one but a month ago or so). The lyrics are:

A, alligators all around
B, bursting balloons.
C, catching colds,

Alex must have been in a mood to prove he was a boy through and through so when we all moved on to "C, catching colds", he went back to B and pronounced it would be "B, bursting BIRDS" and dissolved in a fit of 8 year old boy giggles.

I thought we had covered this

Yesterday I took the kids to Walmart to get things for their science projects. On the way home we started talking about how to make babies. We had talked about this last summer, naming all the parts and how it works, in generalized details.

After we covered how the baby gets in the mommy in the first place, Annie wanted to know how it gets OUT. I took a deep breath and was cut off by "I think it comes out of the bagina" from Alex. Annie asked if THIS part of having a baby hurts and I said that yes, it does. But there are a lot of things they have at the hospital to help it not hurt so bad.

She didn't care what those things are, just that they were needed at all. She pronounced that she is never having any kids. She pronounced that she doesn't want to grow up; she wants her body to stay like a little girl. I told her she didn't have to worry about it for a LOOONG time ("More than a year!" said Alex, who knows ALL about this stuff).

I also told her that it's worth it. That even though I never had them that way I had been told that when the pain is over and you get this really cute baby that's been living inside of you for 9 whole months, it's worth it.

This is helped by the fact that her teacher is pregnant and she is watching how Mrs. K will rub her belly without thinking about it and is obviously loving that baby already.

Then I reminded her that she has always said she wants to have 100 kids.

She got a look on her face that vaguely reminded me of Robin William's face in Mrs. Doubtfire when he's impersonating a hot dog. (this picture is not of that but is close enough)

She decided to edit her 100 babies down to a more manageable number.

"I think I will have just onnnne child" she said.

Then we moved on to how marsupials have their babies.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I keep laughing!

Read this.

We Do Not Negotiate With Terrorists, Either

Ashley is learning the meaning of "illegal". Why? Because she likes to manipulate situations with "If you don't let me _____, then you won't be my best". Being someone's best in this house is like loving them.

After a few months of this, during which we responded with, "oh, that's sad" or "sorry" I heard her ramping up to threaten me once again.

She got as far as "If you won't let me" when I looked her in the eye and informed her that blackmail is illegal.

"What does 'iyeagle' mean?" she wanted to know.

I told her it means the cops can take you to jail. I said they wouldn't take her for doing what she was doing but that she was blackmailing people and it was not okay.

It cut her off after a couple of times in 2 days. Until today. Once again we had to talk about what 'illegal' means.

She's also learning extortion is not okay.

Friday, March 20, 2009


On Wednesday Ashley dictated a story to her teacher who wrote it down for all to read.

Once upon a time there was horses who loved to do tricks and there was people that loved to watch them and there was a mean guy that wanted to kill them. Then they neighed really loud and made the guy knock over himself and he fell onto his booty (bottom). Then the mean guy kicked himself with his own feet and he was like "ouch, my booty!" Then the horses were about to neigh then they were like "neigh! neigh!" Then he almost kicked his booty. Then he was like "oh, my stinkin' booty!"

Clearly she is the author in this family.

What is the Peter Pan Complex Called for Girls?

Ashley got up at some time before 6 a.m. today. So Aiden had her take a rest this afternoon. She had been in her room for just a few minutes and I guess she was doing some thinking. Pretty soon Aiden heard weeping and wailing coming through her door. He crept closer to hear what the problem was.




Eventually it was just 10 solid minutes of "I DON'T WANT TO GROW INTO A GROWED UP!!"

I don't know why she is so upset about being big, but she is.

Aiden reassured her it was a long way off and that seems to have covered it. For now.

Um, Excuse Me

It is VERY hard to write about what a brat you are when you are sitting RIGHT THERE!!!!!!

Yes, the cats are brats. Today the fish called Lunch went to live in Annie's kindergarten classroom. It was for the fish's own safety because of incidents that looked like THIS:


AND THIS:'Nuf said.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Staff Meeting

Today I got to attend a staff meeting at 8 a.m. Which, dumbly, was fun for me.

Well, the thought of it was exciting. The reality was kind of boring and I'll spare you.

At the beginning of the meeting the principal had my "cooperating teacher" (aka the teacher I'm shadowing) introduce me. It was very on the spot but she did a great job making me sound professional. Then the entire staff had to go around and tell me their names and what they do there (teach 4th, lunch lady, music, etc). I'm hoping no one expects me to remember any of it.

After they all found out who I was and why they have been seeing me around ALL WEEK, Alex's teacher from last year, who I love(!), leaned over to me and said, "so you're not just hanging out".

I had told her I was hanging out for the week during lunch on Monday. I didn't realize she'd think I was really that crazy!

PS Kindergarten is awesome, still. And the best part is if the morning class is nuts, the afternoon makes up for it. Other teachers get a crazy class one morning and are stuck all. day. long. with them.

Yes, I realize it could go the other way (morning awesome and afternoon awful) but I'm focusing on what happened today.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cancun? Nawww.....

This week is Spring Break for the college. AWESOME, right?

Except I am in a class which requires me to shadow a teacher for 5 full consecutive days. Thus, spring break became kindergarten. It was either that or my first week of summer school. And let's face it, I can't afford to skip summer school, they go FAST!

Anyway, I am shadowing Annie's teacher all week. Bless her heart she has not asked me to leave and never return yet. I don't know how she feels about my being there but I asked and she said yes.

And thank GOD she did!! I am having more fun this week than I ever had before. I swear, it's just awesome.

I'm kind of sad I don't get to do this for more than a week. By that time, though, the novelty may have worn off and I'll see the kids as kids and not the magical imagination monsters I see them as so far.

I doubt it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Drawing on the Griddle

In preschool they do this thing where they will put paper on a hot plate and let the kids use crayons on it. There's lots of supervision so don't freak out.

I keep saying I want to try it but I am too bad of an artist to actually let the teacher I work with watch me do it.

Last night we had pancakes for dinner so I thought this would be a great time to draw on the griddle. If you decide to try it, I found that 250 or 275 was a good setting. If you go slowly at first the crayon warms up and it's slicker.

I highly recommend it.

What I made:

Here's Ashley and Alex. Ash can't not look at the camera. She started changing crayons every 2 seconds once I got out the camera.

Aiden didn't even know I was taking the picture.
Annie is posing at not posing.

What she made:

This is Where Crazy Comes From

This picture sits in a frame on my dresser. It has been in this frame always on my dresser since the day I kyped it from the Costco envelope on the kitchen counter. Like 1996 or something.
It's all the kids in my family the day my brother headed to Alaska to fish. We took some serious poses (because that's how Dad likes them) but then we also took US poses. We are an irreverent bunch.

The kids look at it and ask who is who even though they have been told a million times. No wonder they don't recognize Aunt Lisa. She's changed a lot since then!

How Crazy is it around here?

Since I posted about Annie yesterday I thought it was fair (and entertaining) to include some of Alex and Ashley's Saturday afternoon/evening. This is just some of the three hour block.

Alex got Batman Lego (Or Lego Batman, prolly) from Brandon for Valentine's Day last weekend. Unfortunatly he was grounded from his PSP so he had to wait a week to play it. Lego has this great series of Star Wars games out and I guess now Batman (there may be others but I don't know or care, really). When you kill something or run over it or whatever all that happens is the Lego pieces burst apart and then kind of disappear.

Because he had to wait a week to play it we let him play A LOT more than usual. He was explaining some part of it to us and Aiden said something about how it sounds pretty violent (half snarkily)

"But it's okay because it's just cartoon violence" was Alex's answer.

We all started laughing. Alex realized this was funny and said "you should blog about that".

Later on Ashley was helping me clean the fish tank. Remember? The fish called Lunch? Yeah.

She thought it was really silly that I had to catch him in my hand to plunk him into a water glass with some water (I didn't try the trick Stephanie taught me). Then she sat and looked at him while I washed the tank. I kept joking that I would eat him. Just drink him right down. She was laughing and getting really silly. Then we put the fish tank back together and carried it over to the bookshelf where we were greeting by a smiling Crook (the cat) sitting right where the tank goes. I'm serious, he was smiling.

We sprayed him with water and told him NO NO NO NO NO NO!

Then Ashley told me "He was waiting to be served Lunch!"

When she was getting her jammies on she told Aiden it smelled like "bahk" in here. Since she still has some trouble with R's becoming W's Aiden thought she had said "Bark".

She adamatly repeated it smelled like "bahhhhhhhk".

So Aiden said "Bahk?"

And she said "yes! Like 'BAHK' CHICKEN!"

The game Chicken Out was sitting on the floor that is probably where it came from but we briefly wondered what was wrong with her.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

We do Silly String Wars

Annie went to a birthday party today. On the way there we were talking about how there are more than 365 people in the world so there must be people who share birthdays. I remember learning this concept very distinctly when I was going to David Vanderveen's birthday party and realized his birthday was the same as my dad's. I didn't think that was allowed or something.

Anyway, Annie understood what I was telling her and then we started talking about how my sister and I share a birthday. "Like Twins!!" she said (because nothing is more exciting than the concept of being a twin when you are six and female).

I said that yes, like twins we have the same birthday but that she is two years older than me.

Then Annie blew my mind. "So she is thirtyyyyyy one," she said.

I know she knows how old I am. I know she can add two or count up two or whatever she did. I did not know she would have the processes in place to take those two things and put them together to get to the point.

I was floored at how fast she just put it all together.

For fun, here's a video of her at the birthday party. I love that she has friends with rich parents. These parties start at $105.

The downside is now she wants her party here next year. Saving my pennies...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Asian Rednecks (and the rest of Thursday Night)

I know this is a long post. I'm sorry. But you should have been there.

Last night Head Start had LITERACY NIGHT. Like most Head Start functions, LITERACY NIGHT came with free dinner and door prizes.

So last night we arrived and the first thing to notice is there are a bunch of round tables with seating for 8. They were already doing the announcements so I took quick inventory of what seating was left. The only table with five chairs was on the exact opposite corner of the room.
Aiden is like a celebrity with a lot of the Head Start staff and all the kids from the class he used to work with so while he hob knobbed with the choicest of 3-5 year olds, I made a beeline for the last table on Earth and started depositing as much of my stuff on the remaining five chairs as I could without getting inappropriately unlayered. I had thought ahead to the arrival of the table when I would have the kids put their coats on the back of their chairs but riding the coattails of Aiden's celebrity status was much more exciting.
Our three table mates was a family which consisted of a mom, dad, and son. The first thing I noticed is they were Asian. But the NEXT thing I noticed, as she stood up, was she is pregnant. Except it looked like she had just tucked a helmet into her sweat pants because the baby was SO low. Later last night I realized she looked like a cow, albeit a very skinny cow, who had stood up to two legs. Her baby bump looked like an udder!

The Asian family got up to go get their pizza but we decided to wait until the line died down. As our eating companions were returning to the table, Aiden and some of the kids went to brave the dying line. Which of the kids? I don't know. Why don't I know? Because I was too busy staring at how much food these people had on their plates. All three of them. I don't know about you, but when I attend an event like that, I don't pile as much food as I can onto my plate. There's other people wanting to eat, too, and I don't want to be the reason they run out of food. Seriously, the mom had 3 pieces of pizza, a HUGE salad, and FOUR cookies. She ended up adding three more pieces of pizza for a total of 6.

Look, I have been pregnant, and I know that by the time your udder is that out there, you cannot eat that much food. There's just no room. Clearly one of two things was going on: either she was not really pregnant, thus supporting my idea of the helmet smuggling, or since her baby was being carried between her knees like a hazing ritual and not in her belly button region, there was a lot of room in her tummy. Whatever.

The amount of food she ate was not the most eyebrow raising part of this family's free pizza dinner. No, that would be awarded to the part where they ate with their mouths open. And with sound effects to boot! (this did not do anything to lessen my udder-ly cow-riffic theory of her!)

It was like they were secretly proud of how gross they looked while smacking their .... huh. I want to say smacking their lips together but I honestly don't think their lips touched once!
We decided this is an excellent object lesson for our kids and leaned to each of them individually and pointed out what was happening. Then we asked if they now understand why we bother teaching them to eat with their lips closed. Very reverently, all replied "yes".
Seriously, though, how often does parenting happen for you? Like you're running after your kid to keep him away from outlets and then you drive down the street and watch some kid get electrocuted by a fork? Doesn't happen. Or you tell them over and over to not run from you in parking lots and then you watch a kid get mowed down at Wal-Mart (it would happen at Wal-Mart). Luckily, not the case. But this just fell into our laps. Awesome!
Anyway, it was like watching cud chewing by cows. Or camels.Or Giraffes.

And because so much of their food was falling back OUT of their mouths it was somehow a merging of these animals with Cookie Monster.

(If I had excellent photo editing skills I would have a better visual. Actually, if I had thought ahead and taken a picture with my cell phone... well, I couldn't do that very discreetly, could I?)

I started looking around the room. What I noticed is this: All the people in the room are low income. They have to be to participate in Head Start/ECEAP. But some of us take showers every day, brush our hair, wear clothes that fit, and present ourselves well. And some of us don't. Those who are hygenically minded also chew with their mouths shut.

After dinner the kids got to do activities in one room (brought by Palouse Discovery Science Center peoples) while the parents went to another room to listen to the connection between science and literacy (the star of the night)(unless you were sitting at our table).

We were treated to a woman from the science center, who had a fantastically authentic sciencey accent (Brittish? Australian?), read us a story called "Owl Moon". Then she talked about the details in the pictures and how the narrator (a child) was noticing all kinds of details. In science we call this observing and so here's a great way to read books with your kids, blah, blah, blah.

Somehow the subject got around to her and her kids and how they like to go for walks on Saturday afternoons and find owl pellets. In case you don't know, those are the balls of fur and bones and stuff owls "up chuck" after eating the mice and other nummies in the night. She told us how to tell the difference between pellets and poo. Then she explained her kids get to find them and then she picks them up with gloves on. Later the kids get to dissect them (we did this in fifth grade, whole other side track) to find the mouse bones and other such fun things but she made sure to explain that she sterilizes them first.

The less science minded mommies in the room (and Aiden) were all shuddering and quietly gagging at the thought of all this. One dad asked how she sterilizes the pellets. Her answer was 200 degrees for an hour.

"I save them up in a bag and then when I am heating the oven to make cookies or something I'll just pop those in first," she explained.

This did very little to calm down the gagging mommies (and daddies, including Aiden. Although Aiden was giggling with me about it. He puts on such a brave science face for my benefit. Or maybe he thinks I will mock him. either way.) . In fact, I think the collective gasp and groan was a good sign it was time to draw for more door prizes.

They had several really good door prizes and they had a bunch of crap that Bank of America had donated. We won a Bank of America On Campus t-shirt with a HUGE laundry bag (that says Bank of America), and a Bank of America travel mug. The mug is sitting in the sink until we decide if it's trash or not (it's actually nice-ish. Metal insides) but the rest of the prize went straight to the trash.

What we did not win? One of TWO hotel room stays at La Quinta and Holiday Inn, various packages of kitchen goodies, or an honest to goodness Cougar Helmet worth three hundred big ones. and I don't mean laundry bags.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Art of Racing In The Rain

Garth Stein is a wicked man. He wrote this book which I thought sounded like a good idea whilst standing in front of the new book section of the public library last weekend.

Then I read the flap inside the cover. Okaaaay, it's about a dog's life and the end of it and his attachment to his family.

And it made me CRRRRYYYYY!!!!!

I don't think I have actually tears-running-down-my-face cried at a book since I went through my Nicholas Sparks phase.

Even if you don't want a good cry, the book is a good read. There's a lot (LOT!) of Formula One racing references but it's still worth it.

Excellent metaphors are made.

Heart stings are pulled.

I'm high on this book right now. I just finished it. I started it this morning.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

She loves it but she doesn't really know what it is

There's a Hannah Montana movie being made. I don't know when it comes out. For all I know it's coming out this week. What I do know is I am going to have to take Annie to it. In the theater.

I'm so glad Aiden bought a book light and we (I!!) found the iPod.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Want GOOD Coffee

I like coffee. I like good coffee, I should say. I spent far too many years drinking sludge on a ship. I can't even pretend to like bad coffee.

The problem with getting espresso anywhere anymore is that EV-ER-Y-ONE is using automated espresso machines.

I'm sure you're all yawning at the thought of me going on some coffee geek rant about the right way to make espresso. Well too bad! I'm irritated, so I'm ranting!

When I worked at the Green Machine (a.k.a. Starbucks) only a few of the very busiest stores has automated espresso machines. Unfortunately, there is no coffee making art in automated espresso.

For example, steaming milk. Granted the baristas still have to hold the pitcher, but most of them are too lazy to do the job right. The trick is to not only heat up the milk, but also create a trillion tiny little air bubbles that explode yummy coffeeness in your mouth when you take a sip. But the baristas, they do not care.

Also, pulling espresso (the phrase used for the act of putting water through the espresso beans). There actually is about a 4 second window in which the espresso goes from good to bad really quickly. Let the water run through the espresso too fast and you get a watered-down flavor; too slow and it tastes burnt. The automated machine is supposed to be checked a couple times a day with a stop watch, but from the taste of my recent beverages, it is not.

So, alas, I suppose I am destined to bad coffee. Or I have to move to Europe. Where they still "pull" their espresso by hand. Did I mention good coffee is an art? The people who can pull espresso by hand are like the Monets of coffee.

I'll just adopt Holly's coffee drinking policy to get by I suppose. She adds enough stuff to her coffee because she doesn't want to actually taste the coffee.

See the pretty hand-pulled espresso machine:

Monday, March 09, 2009

A quick (and disappointing) update

In speech class some guy gave a speech on the history of baseball (not as boring as watching a game, btw) and said they made that an illegal move (throwing baseballs to get them out, I mean) in ____. He named the year but I can only nail it down as far as "late 1800s to early 1900s" because I am unwilling to Google it.

I don't feel totally ripped off from my creative moment (100 or so years too late) because I still have yet to hear about anyone carrying bats around to keep it safer and more interesting.

***Does a little dance in her head where she sings something about "still the creative one" or something.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Answers, given oldest to youngest.

Cut and paste these questions and ask your kids their answers (then change the title according to their age and send it back to me)....it is a RIOT!

1. What is something mom always says to you?
I love you
I love you

I love you

2. What makes mom happy?

Being with us


kissing Aiden and me

3. What makes mom sad?

When she's not with us

us being bad

hitting people

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Telling jokes to us

making funny jokes

by tickling me

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Uhhh I don't know

Um, I have no idea

Uh, kisses? ("No, was I this big or was I smaller?") she holds her hands 2 inches apart.

6. How old is your mom?




7. How tall is your mom?

Can I get the measuring tape? ("no") 4'9"

25 inches

(holds her hands 2 feet apart) 31

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Watching movies

have fun


9. What does your mom do when you're not around?

Uhhhh...be out of the house?

have some sleep

do her homework

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

greatest mom ever

being a movie star

Iono (I don't know)

11. What is your mom really good at?

being the best mom in the world

Um, uh, making pancakes (this is the only thing I have done this morning)


12. What is your mom not very good at?


games like "last word"

Playing games
**Just so you know, I thought I was good at playing games. Maybe I am letting them win too much or maybe they just have nothing to say and so picking on that was it. none of them were in the room for the others' answers.

13. What does your mom do for a job?

go to school to be a teacher?

be a teacher

I don't know

14.What is your mom's favorite food?

stir fry

pancakes? (see)


15.What makes you proud of your mom?

that she is the greatest mom

having fun (maybe we don't understand "proud")

kissing her

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

Who's that witch in that one movie/show again? (I don't like where this is going) the one where she turns a girl into a pineapple (I have no idea anyone want to fill me in?)

Alice ("frommm.....?") Mexico

I don't know

17. What do you and your mom do together?

I don't know

kiss each other

we read books

18. How are you and your mom the same?

we're in the same family

we like to do stuff

if we had the same color hair and we were twins...

19. How are you and your mom different?

She's an adult and I'm a kid

we don't have the same hair

because she has colored hair and I have just yellow hair. Because she has black and yellow.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

because she says it every single day

because she gives me kisses

because she kisses me so long!

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?

I'm betting school. (he bet wrong)

Out with Aiden


Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Weather Outside . . .

. . . is FRIGHTFUL!

Wasn't it like 50 degrees out just a couple of days ago?

A Fish Called...

My friend Stephanie works at a pet store in Moscow. We were looking for free fun today and decided to go visit her at work and see the fish.

She's told me before how there are freaky fish. One of the freaky fish is the Beta fish. Apparently you can slap them in between two wet paper towels on the counter while you clean their bowl out. Awesome. This is the kind of pet fish I need.

I asked her for a demonstration of the awesome beta powers of survival but all I got was an offer to buy my own and she'd come over and show me at my own house.

No way was I going to buy a freakin' fish. This family had fish in the past and it loses the allure quickly. Then you just have those damn things stinking up the place. And 25 cent goldfish don't die nearly as easily as you'd hope. I mean, think.

Anyway, we ended up buying a damn fish. It was bound to happen. Aiden doesn't believe me that I had NO intention of buying one when we left the house, but I didn't.

On the way home we discussed the naming of the fish.

I suggested we name it blocker. "because then it would be a beta, blocker!" I'm so funny.

Alex suggested Crook the Third. I don't know why "the third" since the first is our cat and there's no "the second" that I'm aware of.

Ashley is hot for "Fishy Fish". But only after she was assured we would lift up it's tail when we got home and make sure it's a boy fish. She's still pretty sure it's a girl. Betas are pretty, can you blame her?

Annie is pretty open to suggestions but didn't offer any of her own up.

Aiden suggested "Merlin" among others.

I also suggested "grandpa Smith". WHY? Because we could then say to Grandma Smith "all Grandpa Smith does is sit around in a bowl of water all day!".

yes, this would be funny ONCE.

We also considered naming it Stephan after Stephanie, the nazi who made us buy it for the demo, or Mack for Mackerel.

At one point I threatened to name the fish "a nameless fish". Then we could say "I have to feed A Nameless Fish" and "Did you change A Nameless Fish's water?" or other silly things.

While naming your pet a phrase makes for a lot of humor, and let's face it, we're all about the humor, naming it after a noun is also fun.

Brandon's uncle has a dog named Fish (he likes to swim) so I thought naming our fish Dog could complete the circuit.

Eventually I decided this fish will be called LUNCH. Not because he looks so delicious but because it's fun to come home from a long day and ask the cats "did you eat Lunch today?".

Alex has it!!

We went to Taco Bell today (Post about why we were in Moscow to come). It was fairly busy and we ended up sitting next to the door. Alex was right next to it.

People kept coming in and going out and the door kept shutting pretty hard.

"I'm so glad this door shuts so loud!" he said, totally straight faced.

Aiden and I started cracking up.

"Where'd he learn to use so much sarcasm?" Aiden wondered.

"Mostly from Mom" came from Alex at the same time Aiden said, "Certainly not from me!"

I was trying to be indignant but was only half right. Aiden is equally responsible. But then


Alex said, "maybe I got it from my dad."

Aiden snarkily said to me (and of course Alex heard him),"your dad is just now getting his sense of humor back. You didn't learn it from him."

Alex answered with a "yeah, he is getting it back but he never uses it!"

I love that kid.

My Friday Night Culture

If you'll remember, I am required to attend two approved concerts for my music class I am in right now. I have already attended one and half of another but still need the second full concert.

Last night, as Aiden was left with Alex and the girls who couldn't find their tin cups and thus resorted to kicking the wall between our bedroom and theirs, and I went off to my second concert with my friend, Natalie.

This concert was by a married couple who go by the professional name of 88 squared (88 keys on a piano, both of them play piano professionally. It's cute!). Both the husband and wife teach at WSU in the music department and are strangely gifted. They have played all over the US and I think all over the world. About a month ago they played to a sold out crowd at Carnegie Hall. Big news, folks.

I got in for free with my student ID and then I got to sit back and enjoy some crazy tickling of the ivories. In case I ever got confused about how well I could ever play piano I know now that I will always suck SUCK! when compared to these two. Their timing was perfect, they were playing loooong runs in perfect unison, they had 16th note chords they played perfectly together.

Two grand pianos playing in concert is strange to find. It was fantastic. During intermission they brought on a THIRD grand piano and played us and entire Mozart Concerto (No. 5, I think) and some Mendelssohn piece. The last piece had been difficult to find a third piano part for so the husband took the orchestral part and comprised it for the third pianist. Two weeks ago. She had the music 10 days before she played it in concert with this couple. AND SHE NAILED IT.

I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. It reminded me of a piano concert I attended with my mom and grandma when I was WAY younger (8 or 9 ish. Maybe 11). Only way better and I got way more out of it.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

That's ONE way to get more hits

The title of my last post apparently brought a lot more people to this blog than normal. By having the Feedjit thing in my sidebar I can see where people are when they log into this page, I can see where they have come from, a lot of the time, and I can see what they were searching for on Google when they came across my blog.

I don't think this blog is what THOSE googlers (just sounds risque anyway) were after.