Archive for August, 2011

Window Painting Activity

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by by

Today, I unpacked one of the boxes of art supplies and found the paint! I decided it would be a perfect day to make our own window paint and then paint the sliding glass door out to the pool. When I told The Daddy about our plan, he grew quiet a minute and then, in his ever-positive way, he said, “Well, that’s great! Now the window will get clean.” Not what I had in mind, but I took credit and gave an enthusiastic, “Of course! That was my plan.”

I gathered up our supplies:

  • Crayola washable Tempera paint
  • Melissa and Doug non-spill paint containers
  • Brushes
  • Dish-washing Detergent

I mixed the paint with a little detergent – a teaspoon or so. The more you use, the thinner the paint becomes, and I wanted them to have bright colors. It took only about 2 minutes to mix that up, and then we were ready to get creative! They were so excited at the prospect of ‘forbidden painting’ that they got right to work. (more…)


38 Weeks

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 by by

38 weeks was the last day in my pregnancy with Cora that she was alive.  I woke up that morning (Sunday, April 30th) to get ready for church, and when I stood up, I realized that I could breathe.  Sure enough, looking in the mirror, she had dropped.  I was excited, since it was something that was supposed to be a precursor to labor.  I would be having a baby soon!  I had random erratic contractions throughout the day, but nothing in a pattern or really very intense.  I contemplated calling into work that evening (I worked at a gas station convenience store), but I decided that standing during my shifts might help things along.

I just felt “off” all day, and I didn’t know what to make of it.  I was having a lot of discharge, and when a friend came in (she was an off shift coworker) to visit and get a movie and candy, I mentioned to her that I wondered if my fluid was leaking.  She offered to finish my shift so I could go to the hospital, and I said, “No, it’s probably nothing, I’ll wait and see what happens in the morning.”

I’ve never regretted any words more ever in my life.  She stretched during that conversation, so hard it hurt.  That’s the last time I distinctly remember her movement.  I think she might have moved a little after that, but that was the last time I specifically remember it.

The next morning when I woke up, there was nothing at all.

I’m 38 weeks today.  Allison is very active, which is comforting, but I have to admit, I’m scared to go to sleep tonight.  I’m scared for what tomorrow morning will bring.

And I miss my baby girl so much it hurts.

Back to school

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by by

Today was our first day back to school after a leisurely summer break. A first day of school juggling three elementary students in different grades and a rambunctious toddler goes something like this:

I kick everyone out of bed and make them get dressed and assembled for school pictures. An opportunity to torture children with the camera would be a pity to pass up.

Alexei is in 5th this year and has an attitude to match.


On Being Scared

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by by

Over the past several months, I’ve been working to get my body back into shape.  As much as it would love to remain a soft baby-making machine, I had to break the news that it was being permanently laid off due to a factory shut-down.  It took the news hard – so hard that it dug its feet in and bear-hugged a good 25 pounds of weight with a death grip.

Always up for a good fight – and determined to wear all those horizontally striped shirts in my closet without consequence – I signed myself up for boot camp at our local gym.  I quickly realized that it’s very hard to complain about something being “hard” when your trainer is a 65 year old guy with a heart condition who can drop down and complete (with perfect form and nary a drop of sweat) the very exercise you are griping about.  Show-off.

I also re-vamped my diet, which prior to this consisted of coffee for breakfast, whatever leftover goody-bag candy I found floating around my car for lunch, a reasonable dinner, and an evening of heavy-duty carb loading.  Sugar is my enemy.  So is dairy, for that matter.  And most grains as well.  Not only has my metabolism slowed, my digestive system has revolted.  Hooray for the 40′s!

The good news is that most of the weight has come off.  The better news is that I’ve discovered that my body is strong, and that I like it.  Don’t let me kid you – the scars of motherhood are still there – but I don’t mind so much, because I discovered that I really don’t care about being skinny as much as I care about being fit.  Big difference.

My friend Kristi (you remember, the traitor who moved to Texas) is the queen of working out.  Before she left, she convinced me to try Crossfit.  I resisted for a long time, because I was scared.  I was scared that I would look stupid or not be able to keep up with everyone else.   (more…)


The Very Hungry Cupcakapillar

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 by by

Jonah’s birthday was on Monday, and I was a bit nervous about one thing. A couple weeks prior, the whole family was driving in the car. From the back seat, Jonah piped up, “Go to the party store!” Why? We asked him. “It’s Jonah’s berfday! Get party hats and balloons and berfday cake!” Later that evening, I asked him what he wanted on his birthday hats and cake, a subject I had previously discussed with him. All he had specified was that he wanted chocolate cupcakes and Chuck E Cheese. Now, however, his tune was different. “Want…. want…. BUBBLE GUPPIES!!!! Bubble Guppies berfday cake!! Bubble Guppies Berfday hat! BUB BUB BUBBLE, Bubble bubble guppies!!!” Bubble Guppies is Nick Jr’s newest show. It’s cute. He learns a lot from it, and the music they sing is actually enjoyable, even for the adults. I would have loved to comply and gotten him all things Bubble Guppies for his birthday. The problem lies in the fact that it’s Nick’s newest show. They’ve only aired a pilot season. There is no merchandise on the market. No party hats, no balloons, no cakes.

When he first told me he wanted chocolate cupcakes, I went on the interwebs to find a cute way to present a plain old chocolate cupcake. I found this and was immediately inspired by coco cake cupcakes! The Hungry Caterpillar has always been a favorite book in our house.  Over the past three years, we have spent countless hours, reading the book countless times.  Jonah loves it! He would appreciate it. Or so I thought, before he began asking for Bubble Guppies.

As there are no bubble guppies cakes or figures to put on a cake, and as I do not have the skill required to make our own Bubble Guppies cake, I decided to stick to the plan. I showed Jonah the picture from the above website, and he said, “mmmm, very hungry caterpillar for in my mouth! UMMM!” He pretended to take a bite from the picture. Promising, I thought. So that was the green light! Here is how I re-created the cupcake cake and made it our own. (more…)

Back to School Prep

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011 by by

This week, I’ve been trying to get The Older back into the grove of going to bed at 7:30 pm and doing ‘work.’ In the beginning of summer, I was really good at making sure he read for at least 30 minutes a day and works on second grade worksheets, but when the move came, I slacked. A lot. Badly. So, getting back into the rhythm has been hard, but he’s whining less, so I think we’re in the homestretch.

On of my favorite things to do with him are the Brain Quest books.

It’s easy to use, and the learning activities are fun for him. For instance, today we worked on reading (reading a poem, locating the rhyming words, and then thinking up his own), math (figuring out how many coins equal a particular sum and such), and phonics (using consonant clusters to finish words).

While The Older and I work on his book, The Younger uses the time to sit at her desk/easel to color and use a sticker book.

I like that they both feel involved with what we’re doing, and I can divide my attention equally. I’m hoping that once school starts and The Older starts bringing homework to be done, we can make it a real “family time” so no one feels like they’re missing out on anything.

Recipe – Oven Roasted Corn

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by by

Our local farmers market recently changed from Sun Harvest to Sprouts! They are both apart of Henery’s Farmers Market, but Sprouts has now joined forces, and all markets will now be Sprouts. That is exciting news for me, because that will grow the amount of products in store. When I last visited, they had done so much cleaning and organizing, it’s like a different store. I was afraid that prices would go up, but I haven’t seen much of an increase, so that’s good.

This week they had corn 10/$2!! My Eli loves corn. Sadly, they were all out; they only had a few dozen left. We took like 6, but they only charged us for 4, because the others didn’t look very appetizing, lol. We go on Wednesdays because both ads are in effect.

Today was supposed to be leftovers, but we ate it for lunch, so… quick thinking. I had the hamburgers from a few month ago in the freezer. (Bought two packs and got all that FREE food from H-E-B!)

Oven Roasted Corn:

4-5 ears of corn

Prep: Preheat oven to 350. Strip a few husks away.

Roast: Place the ears of corn directly onto the oven rack (as pictured). Roast for 30-35 minutes (depending on size of the corn) and wait… Try to ignore the smell of roasting corn!

DING: Ta-Da! You are done. Take out the corn with some tongs, let rest for just a few minutes… Peel back the husks and ENJOY!


Shotgun schooling

Monday, August 22nd, 2011 by by

I’ve been gathering up all the goodies to begin our school year next week and balance the needs of a self-starting (if grouchy) 5th grader, an ADD 3rd grader, a year-ahead-of-schedule kindergartener, and a crazy into-everything 20-monther. Exciting stuff. But you know what has come to me? In all of this curriculum wrestling, I’ve realized that public schooling is like shooting a shotgun. A teacher aims and shoots a bunch of tidbits of information at the class and hopes that some of it hits each student.

I’m not playing blame-the-teacher. I think about some of the genuine in-the-schools kindergarten books we’ve used in the past, which are nothing but activities showing children how to wash their hands, brush their teeth, stop at a stop sign, recognize safety officers, etc., etc. These are all things that a five-year-old should already know. (more…)

Smacksy Sunday Links

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by by

Loved this over at Brene Brown’s site this week.

I’d like to walk through these rooms.

Do you know the phenomenal Jessica Bern? You should. Don’t miss her Listen To Your Mother LA reading, One and Done.

Happy Sunday.

Mark’s tangled words

Friday, August 19th, 2011 by by

Mark (10) has a flair for the dramatic.  It is surprising to people who only see him out of the house, as elsewhere he’s shy and reserved.  At school, he’s mostly quiet.  Don’t let that fool you. He’s always thinking, plotting, planning.  When he gets home, I ask…”what did you do today?”

“Stuff,”  he replies.

I’ve grown to dislike that word.

‘Stuff’ is difficult to build on.  “Stuff.  I guess. I don’t know”……it’s like untangling a string.  I have to gently tease it, come at it from another direction, pull at it, turn it over, and keep at it again.

There are times when nothing much comes of this arduous process.

However, sometimes he warms up, and he’s jumping around the couches, acting it out, and talking a mile a minute. Building some world in a video game, whatever he saw that day, a new Lego creation, and this on-going story he’s been imagining falls out of his brain at light speed. It’s wonderful on those days when my patience wins over the stubbornness he inherited from both his parents. In those moments, we connect, and I see how much he’s grown. He lets me into his mind to teach him the values he’ll need to be a responsible adult.

That makes it worth all the effort.