What we did and when we did it. Sometimes.

What we did and when we did it. Sometimes. People, places and events to remember.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer. Week Two.

Not much to report from this week.  

We've been trying to take a little time every day to draw, write, read and do math.  We picked up some summer bridge books for the kids from Lakeshore Learning.  I highly recommend the journals.  We got this one for Evan and this one for Corrie.  Corrie has been eager to draw and write in her journal every day.  Evan, not so much.  He's been enthusiastic about math, though.

Since we were traveling at the beginning of the month, we got into a fast food and sandwiches groove.  This week, we tried to break out of that.  I cooked and froze several pounds of pinto beans, baked and froze my favorite banana chocolate chip muffins, and then made homemade pitas and cashew chicken curry on Thursday.  After cooking all week, we've eaten leftovers all weekend.  Thankfully, we have plans to go out for lunch tomorrow!

The kids got to go bowling twice this week, thanks to kidsbowlfree.com

In other news, Ben has had a persistent cough all week.  I've been using the nebulizer every day - sometimes several times a day - but it didn't seem to be going away.  I finally gave in and took him to the doctor on Friday afternoon.  He got a prescription for a nebulized steroid, plus an antibiotic for his ears.  Already, he seems better.

Big news in the Ben department: no more bottle!  I know, I know, he's almost TWO.  The bottle should have been gone long ago.  He just didn't seem to totally get the straw, and I didn't push it.  However, I noticed a small tear when I washed the nipple yesterday, so I decided we would just have to be done.   He did great today, but I don't think he drank as much as usual.  I'll have to keep an eye on his fluid intake.

No pictures from this week, but here's one from the park a month ago ... just after Ben ate a banana chocolate chip muffin.  :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Road Trip

When I was a kid, our family regularly took road trips for vacation.  My dad grew up in a small town in Alberta, and most of his family lived within a couple hours of the family farm.  We visited the Neilsons once a year; sometimes we flew, sometimes we took the train, but we also had some memorable road trips.  It took days of driving to get to Canada from Mississippi.

Back in those days, we didn't have the same seatbelt regulations that we do now.  My parents would take the middle two seats out of our minivan, leaving just the bench at the back.  We would spread a quilt on the floor, and my two brothers and I would take turns sitting on the seat or playing on the floor.  I even have a vague memory of lying behind the backseat during one trip.  I think we were listening to my favorite cassette - Janet Jackson's Control album.  Miss Jackson, if you're nasty.

My mom and dad planned our road trips so that we would get to see some interesting parts of the country as we traveled.  I remember stopping at Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, the Rocky Mountains and Estes Park, Glacier National Park, the Grand Canyon, the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, and countless random roadside tourist places.  We saw waterfalls, went on hikes, read books, played mini-golf, and always hoped that there would be a pool at the next hotel.

My mom says that we were all pretty good travelers, and I guess we were.  It helped that Mom and Dad were patient and willing to help entertain us.  The alphabet game remains a classic.  And then there was the one where someone would count to three, and then each person in the car would start singing whatever song he/she wanted - all at the same time!  The person who could last the longest without getting confused or singing the song wrong was the winner.  We laughed a lot.

Mom loved to sing.  She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain still says "road trip" to me.  Dad told corny jokes and sang silly songs.  I Won't Go Huntin' With You, Jake, But I'll Go Chasin' Women was a favorite.


And now I have a family of my own, and we take road trips.  We have an I-pad and I-pod and a Droid and laptops, so the kids are easily distracted.  We limit them to a certain amount of time with electronic entertainment.  At our most generous, we give them one hour with a device, and then an hour with no device.  Let's keep those imaginations working, fellas.

We have driven to Mississippi from Chicago countless times, and now we're learning the route from Texas to Mississippi.  Last year, we did a major trip from south Texas to Chicago (3491 miles. Over 60 hours in the car. Nine states. Seventeen days. Four hotel rooms. One jumpstart. One new car battery. One lost wallet. Two poop explosions in the carseat).  This year, we made our way to Colorado, and then drove back by way of Albuquerque and Oklahoma City (3100 miles, five states, I think only one poop explosion this year, etc).

The kids love to sing, so we play musical games: the loud competition I mentioned, plus others where we pick a word and everybody has to think of a song with that word in it.  Evan likes to trip everyone up by picking a word that is clearly from one particular song.  Like "awesome."  He'll pick "awesome" then sing "Awesome God."  And the rest of us give up.  

Ben fits right in.  He loves the singing - he'll do motions or dance to any song that we sing or play.  Whenever he fusses, Corrie breaks into a mournful rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."  And he faithfully twinkles and raises his hands up high.  It's sweet to see their affection for each other.  

And he has his own version of electronic entertainment.  I think we brought four different toys that would light up or make noise when you pushed a button.  As Ben got bored, we rotated between Alphabet Town, the Fisher Price Laugh & Learn puppy, a noisy play clock, and a ladybug shape -sorting toy.  Not to mention the pile of books and toys that didn't make noise. 

We eat.  Favorite snacks include goldfish crackers and chocolate covered granola bars.  

It's a good time.  We generally get along, and we plan fun stops with friends or neat places to visit.  For the first time in four years, my kids got to see snow.  (Except Ben.  He napped through our brief stop at the Continental Divide).

I loved seeing the country when I was a kid, and I think - I hope - that my children are enjoying it, too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

She's a character!

Corrie is my five year old.  She brings so much zest and enthusiasm to our lives.  

She loves passionately.  For example, when we drop Emmett off at work, she never fails to roll down her window and shout - loudly - "I love you, Daddy!  I'll miss you, Daddy!" regardless of whether the parking lot is empty or full of college students on their way to class.  Emmett often comments that he plans to yell out the window at her when he drops her off for school in the 8th grade.  He's terrible.  

The other day at church, a lady I didn't know came up to me and said that Corrie was adorable and reminded her of Pippi Longstocking.  That kind of thing started happening regularly once Corrie started picking out her own outfits.  She has a unique sense of style.

She has a vivid imagination and loves to lie on her floor at night, telling stories.  It can be a little frustrating to play dolls with her, because she is the director and wants the story to be told just her way.

Corrie also has a great capacity for emotion - the highest of highs, the lowest of lows.  She can bounce between delight and despair with nary a breath between.

Tonight after dinner, she collapsed on the couch in tears, wailing. 

"You are ruining my life!" she said.  Repeatedly.  

Would you like to know what dreadful thing happened?


Dinnertime.  Corrie eats one chicken nugget and one small helping of mac-n-cheese.  "I can't eat any more ... my tummy hurts," she said.  "OK," said her mom, "but you can't have any candy or treats later if you can't eat your dinner.  If your tummy hurts, you might be sick."

I suggest we go for a walk.  "Noooooo!"  So we all head upstairs for a dance party.  Afterwards, I send Evan out to ride his bike, and Corrie asks me for an ice pop.  I said no (per our conversation after dinner).  Cue her complete and utter devastation.

She sobbed for a few minutes, then complained, "You are just not listening to me!"  I paused, because I was irritated at all the drama ... so I quietly sat next to her on the couch.

"What's up?"

"You don't understand!  I didn't mean to say that at dinner!  I wasn't speaking English.  I don't even know English!  I was speaking in butterfly language. 'My tummy hurts' means 'I'm done with my dinner." 

I did not even know what to say.  My whole self wanted to laugh.  I had to look away.

She continued, "And I was still speaking in butterfly language after dinner!  'Ice pop' means 'fruit!' I wanted to eat fruit!"

She climbed onto my lap and cried for a few more minutes.  I held her tight and hoped she wouldn't notice that I was shaking with laughter.

"I would be glad to get you some fruit, Corrie."  We filled a bowl with blueberries and strawberries and went outside.

Butterfly language!  What on earth?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer. Week One.

The first week of summer has come to an end.  I have grand visions for our summer - some lofty house-decorating goals, and regular fun stuff like bowling and trips to the pool, the occasional ice cream or slush outing, but primarily I want to build good routines.  I'm going to have two children in elementary school next year, and I would like to establish morning and bedtime routines this summer, before school begins again.

This week was a complete failure in the routine department. 

However, in the ice cream and slush area, we rocked.  Stripes has 12 oz slushes for 29 cents, so we picked those up one day.  Then Sonic had half price milkshakes another day - we were there!  We also had Chick Fil A for breakfast one day, and lunch the next.  Next week, we are sticking to meals at home - PB & J, and popsicles from the freezer.

I'm giving myself a break because we just got home from a fantastic two week vacation - a week at a dude ranch in Colorado and then a week of traveling to see family and friends.  I have still not caught up on the laundry.

Here's a couple of photos from this week:

1.  Watching the Spurs game with Daddy.  Ben is practicing the "p" sound here.  We watched the game while on facetime with Papa (grandpa) in Hawaii, and everyone kept telling Ben to say "Papa."  He didn't manage to say the word, but he totally has the lip movement figured out. (Note the photo-bombing gunslinger in the background).

2.  Playdate!  Piles of kids in the living room.  I think they were shooting for a pyramid.  They suggested that I lie down to be the bottom layer, but I refused.  Spoilsport.

3.  Ben is giving Evan a kiss.  

3.  The girls were climbing, too.

4.  Ben "ate" Cheerios.  Mostly, he emptied fistfuls of cereal from the bowl and then put them back.  As long as he was happy, I wrote it off as fine motor exercise combined with snack time.

4.  Note the empty bowl.

Week one of summer is done!  I haven't counted how many weeks we have, and I don't want to know.  I think if I knew I would feel overwhelmed because IT'S SO LONG ... and saddened because IT'LL BE OVER BEFORE WE KNOW IT.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The First Day of Summer

The kids and I stayed home all day.

     ... I didn't get dressed until after 3 p.m.

          ... The kids still aren't dressed.

We hung horseshoes in the kids' bedrooms.

     ... Corrie asked "what else is there to do?" a little after noon.

It took 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese to feed the four of us for lunch.

     ... We had ice pops as an appetizer.

I unpacked all the suitcases from our vacation.

     ... My once-clean laundry room is now full again.

Ben took a 2 and a half hour nap.

We watched PBS.

     ... We played PBS Kids games online.

 Evan did math for 30 minutes while Corrie colored "My Little Pony" pictures.

Ben turned on the computer, the Xbox, and changed the TV settings and channels.

     ... Repeatedly.  

          ... While emphatically signing "Baby! Time!" (for Baby Signing Time)

We ran out of almond milk, peanut butter, and baby wipes.

The kids have enjoyed playing together.

     ... Mostly.

Hello, summer!  I promise to be more motivated ... tomorrow.  :)