Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who's on first?

I love talking to three-year-olds. They're old enough to carry on a decent conversation, but not quite old enough to understand everything you say to them in the appropriate context. Take, for example, a conversation I just had with Ellie.

Me: Wow, there sure are a lot of toothbrushes on the counter!
Ellie: Oh, I put them there last night so I could count them.
M: Great! How many did you count?
E: All of them.
M: Ookaaaay...and how many were there?
E: (pointing at the row of toothbrushes) This many.
M: And how many is that?
E: blank stare
M: Did you count one, or two, or maybe five?
E: No, Mom, I counted all of them.

Third base!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

I'm a trendsetter!!!

Possibly the cutest game on earth is being played right now by Ellie and her friend. It's called "The Honey Game". They invented it themselves and they play it all the time. Here's how the game always begins: "Let's play the Honey Game!" "Yeah!" "Okay, you be the mom and I'll be the honey!" I love it.

Why is it that as soon as I wash the sheets, someone inevitably smears them with purple lip gloss, colors on them with "washable" markers, or wets the bed?

I love Fall - the crisp air, the colors, the cool sunshine (when it's not raining, of course), the comfy sweaters. It may be my favorite time of year.

But I always feel that way in the Fall. I wonder if I'd still think so in the Spring?

It's no wonder my kids hate cleaning. They learned from the best. But it feels so good when it's done. They haven't learned that yet. Which is why I'm spending today in the playroom trying to find the carpet. Sometimes you have to teach responsibility. And sometimes you have to say to heck with responsibility because, for crying out loud, things are beginning to breed in there.

Norah Jones and a cleaning blitz are, sadly, incompatible. Whenever I listen to her, I feel like I should be lying across the top of a grand piano, wearing a slinky black, or possibly red, dress and holding a glass of red wine. Not dressed in an old t-shirt and holey jeans, surrounded by piles of toys that haven't been thought about in months, but that will be NEEDED as soon as I take the box to Goodwill.

Bon Jovi, on the other hand, excellent for the cleaning blitz! Nothing like rockin' out to "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Bad Medicine" (and scaring everyone in the vicinity under the age of...well, probably anyone under the age of about 30, to be honest, but the three kids in my house today in particular don't seem to appreciate 80's hair bands - can't imagine why) while unceremoniously stuffing garbage bags as full as possible with the aforementioned toys.

However, I don't think I have the right kind of hair to really get into Bon Jovi. That's disappointing. At one point in my life, I had that hair. I rocked that hair. By the way, Mom, please burn those pictures.

I have a lot of books on my "to read" shelf, and even more on the list. No reason to clean the rest of the house when a stack of books awaits, right? Right?

Vicki's birthday is in two weeks. What??? How did that happen?

I'm not old enough to be the mother of an 8-year-old, am I?

Laundry is the bane of my existence.

I bought Halloween candy the other day. Chocolate Halloween candy. Wanna take bets on whether I'll have to buy more before Halloween? I can hear it calling my name...Allison...just one won't hurt...or two or three or four...we're right heeeeeeeere...

Picture tag

My friend Nicola gave this tag to anyone who wants to do it, so of course I jumped at the chance. Here are the instructions: Go to your My Pictures folder (or wherever you keep your pictures). Open the 4th folder and post the 4th picture in that folder. Piece of cake!

Here's my 4th-4th picture:

That's Vicki four years ago when we went camping at Bridger Lake with Chris's family. She wanted so badly to go fishing with Grandpa, and she even brought along her plastic dollar store fishing pole with the huge purple hook just for the occasion. How could a grandpa possibly say no to that? They looked so cute walking down the road together that I couldn't resist snapping a shot of them. It's been a family favorite ever since. In fact, the entire extended family loves it, because if you know Grandpa E., then you know he LOVES to fish and he LOVES his five granddaughters. So fishing with a granddaughter would pretty much be the best day ever for him. This past May, for his birthday, Chris's amazingly talented brother-in-law Russ turned this picture into a painting. Check this out:

Pretty impressive, huh?
Anyway, that's my picture. I'll follow Nic's lead and tag anyone who wants to do this one*. And who wouldn't? :)
*Backstory and family history optional

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Joke of the Day

Proudly brought to you by Ellie.

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Amboo. (I don't know what this means, either.)
Amboo who?
Do you know what? Just amboo...It's a joke, Mom!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Sleepovers are fun.

Although I'm not sure I can say, "Girls, settle down!" one more time with a straight face.

I watched TV while eating a bowl of ice cream (with chocolate sauce, of course!), but I didn't tell the kids. At least not about the ice cream - they could hear the TV. I just told them they had to stay upstairs (while not actually stated, upon pain of death was implied).

Does that make me mean?

I didn't hate driving to Vancouver tonight. This is progress. Slowly but surely.

I had three extra kids here today and I actually got a lot accomplished. And the house looks better than it did when we got up this morning. Nice.

I've been thinking about friends a lot lately. Carrie's awesome post re-lit the fire under this line of thinking. I've moved a lot, and I've been blessed to have friends in many places in the country, and the world. Along with that blessing, however, comes the sad fact that it's easy to lose touch. There are a lot of friends I miss, friends I haven't been in touch with for years, some for years and years. I have been able to re-connect with some of you, thanks in part to the beauty of the internet, but there are many I haven't found yet. If, by any chance, you are one of these friends (or even if you are a friend that's not "lost" - I'm not picky) and have somehow found my blog and are reading it, please come out of lurkdom and let me know! I promise I won't think you're weird, or that you're stalking me. Unless you are stalking me and I don't actually know you. Then I will think you're creepy ;)

Halloween is coming. This means there will finally be enough chocolate in my house! (for a few glorious days, at least)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Look what I got suckered into buying

What is wrong with me? I would never have bought something like that for the other girls! (I still wouldn't!) I never bought into the commercialization of TV shows with the other two. But Ellie has Dora everything and I'm the one buying it for her!

Okay, it was only $4.99 at Goodwill, but still...

A small seamstress

Vicki decided out of the blue last weekend that she wanted to make a skirt. Being the supportive and encouraging parent that I am, I took her to JoAnn on Saturday so she could buy a pattern and fabric. There was a huge sale going on (because Columbus needs to be honored somehow), so she managed to get everything she needed for $4.50. She wanted to start right away, but I convinced her to wait until Sunday. As soon as we got home from church, she was raring to go. We spent all of Sunday afternoon and evening cutting, pinning, and sewing. I pinned, she did everything else. I knew she could do it, I just wasn't sure she could do it well, having never sewn anything before.

She was hoping to finish in time to wear it to school on Monday, but bedtime intervened. All she had left, though, was the hem and the ribbon trim. She's fast. By Tuesday it was ready to be shown off.

I am so impressed with her. She did such a good job! It looks at the very least like an adult made it, not a completely inexperienced 7 1/2 year old. I sense some talent in the making. She was floating in the clouds all the way to school Tuesday morning, and came home excited because her teacher said he couldn't even tell it was homemade!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Maybe this will be a weekly thing. Maybe not. But it's nice to just think out loud sometimes.

It's a lot more fun to keep a house clean than it is to get it clean in the first place.

Naptime is good. Too bad no one told Ellie that.

Wait, I told Ellie that. Too bad she doesn't listen.

Colds are no fun.

I need to bake cookies again. It's been way too long.

I need a bigger car.

I need to be less focused on what I think I need and more focused on what I already have.

My family is awesome!

The combination of yoga and scriptures in the morning and counting to 10 several times a day seems to have had a good effect on me. I'm more in tune with "my core" and myself and less likely to get angry with my kids, because after 10 seconds it's easier to have a sense of humor.

My kitchen floor looks really good when it's clean.

It's not clean often enough.

My head hurts.

There's no school tomorrow. Maybe I can invent a fun way for the girls to clean their room. Or maybe I can threaten to withhold meals until they do it. Either way works for me.

I miss the sun.

IKEA alone could stimulate the economy. It's impossible to go in there and come out with only what you intended to buy. They do it on purpose.

I get to drive to Vancouver again. In the rain. Again.

Why don't my children like to wear clothes? What is wrong with pants?

There is still not enough chocolate in my house.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Ellie!!!

Isn't she the cutest kid you've ever seen? Or at least one of them (my other two are pretty darn cute themselves)

Ellie was the absolute queen of birthday behavior. After our zoo adventure yesterday we had a family party. She was overjoyed to get a package in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa E. which contained not just one, but TWO! hoodies (which she had to try on right away), a pair of pants, and some socks, plus The Sword in the Stone. That kept her giggling while I struggled to decorate the cake to her specifications, so thank you very much, Grandma!

She waited to open her presents until we said it was time, and then she exclaimed with joy over each one of them, ensuring that we all felt that we'd given her exactly what she'd always dreamed of.

Grandma and Grandpa Y. got her a new stroller for her baby doll. She loves it and walked to school today to pick up the big girls, pushing her baby and conversing with me like we were both adults.
You can definitely tell that Dora the Explorer is a favorite around here. And I, who never bought into the TV show commercialism with the other two girls, got her everything Dora. (What is it about 3rd children?) She got a Dora purse and hat, a stuffed Boots, a Dora dress, and Dora playdough. And she was in heaven.

Here is the cake. She asked for a Dora cake, and this is what I came up with. It wasn't actually supposed to be in the pan, but when I tried to take it out it wouldn't budge, and I didn't want the whole thing to fall apart. Besides (I kept telling myself), she's three. I think I did a fairly decent job, considering I just had a DVD cover to go off of, although it was a bit creepy if you looked too close. But I felt infinitely better about it when Ellie saw the finished product and gasped, "Oh, it's so beautiful!"
Today we had a party with all her friends. Most of them are siblings of kids Vicki and Lexi go to school with, but Ellie loves them all. We ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch and played "stick the flower on Dora's bracelet", "keep the balloon in the air", and "dance to the music", all of which were emergency games since I had originally planned to have her party at a park. Rain, rain, go away. The kids all had a good time, though. Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band seemed to be the all-around favorite to dance to, by the way.
It was a fun party and an excellent birthday! Here's to a great year being three!

Birthday adventures

Yesterday was Ellie's birthday. Since I babysit on Mondays, and the babysittee happens to be Ellie's best friend, I thought it would be great to do something fun with the two of them. Our library has a pass to the Children's Museum that you can place a hold on, and I'd been on the list for about six months, so I was really excited when my number came up last week. What a perfect birthday treat! So the little girls and I headed across town yesterday morning, excited about a fun day.
Hooray! It's the Children's Museum!
We got up to the entrance only to discover that the doors were locked. A glance at the hours confirmed my fears: they're closed Mondays. That possibility never crossed my mind, but I suppose Sunday (the day I would have assumed they'd be closed if I had really thought about it at all) must be a pretty busy day for them.
So what to do? There I was with two three-year-olds, who wanted to know why we weren't going inside, and it was Ellie's birthday. Big fat bummer.
Fortunately the Children's Museum shares a parking lot with the Zoo, and we happen to be Zoo members (thank you a million times Christa and Brian!) The girls were (of course) fine with the change in plans, and after a minor glitch at the entrance gate - I had just thrown my wallet in my backpack, and my membership card was at home in my purse - we were on our way to animal adventures!

Ellie thinks she has to do this every time she comes to the zoo. It does make for a cute photo op.

It was a typical Oregon day in October, meaning cloudy, damp, and cool, so there was hardly anyone there. We saw all the animals, except the polar bears, who the girls decided must be sleeping in their room. Ellie insisted on seeing the "hippobapotamuses". I'm not sure if they're her favorite because of how much fun it is to say "hippobapotomus" or if there's some other reason, but they're always the first animal she asks for when we go to the zoo.

We also saw monkeys, penguins, sea lions, frogs, a giraffe, a couple of zebras, a "huge giant snake!", birds in a building that was declared stinky by the discerning noses of three-year-olds, and naked mole rats, the sight of which made both girls scream, "Ew, gross!" and run away.

But the best part was seeing Samudra, or Sam, the new baby elephant. He's about 2 months old and is by far the cutest animal I have seen at a zoo in a long time. His little trunk was all floppy, and when he tried to run it was in a goofy feet-too-big way.

The girls had a great time, and I don't think they regret not being able to go to the Children's Museum. I'll just put myself back on hold for the pass and we'll try again in six months or so!

Best friends!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The women of Disney...a comparison study

Last night we watched The Swiss Family Robinson for a family movie night. Neither Chris nor I have seen that since we were kids, but we both remembered loving it. I mean, who wouldn't want to live in the coolest tree house ever built, and fight off evil pirates with coconut bombs and a tiger in a pit? I was really excited to share the adventure with my girls.

And then the movie started. And good grief! The women drove me nuts! I’m definitely not the damsel in distress type, and that’s all they were. Laugh and then shoo away the iguana that’s crawled into your sleeping hut? Nah, it’s better to shriek like a banshee and then cling to your husband while crying about the godforsaken place you’re stranded in. Help build the treehouse? No way! Instead, demand that the menfolk build it to your specifications while declaring that you won’t set foot in it again until they do! Lend a hand when the cute (and shirtless!) young men are in danger of being squeezed to death and/or drowned by a boa constrictor? Absolutely not! It’s much better to hide behind a tree branch and bite your knuckles in a silent scream. Sheeees.

There were so many times I wanted to pause the movie and tell the girls, “If you’re ever in that situation, I hope you adopt the iguana as a pet/build the very highest room in the house/kill the snake with your own bare hands!” I don’t want my girls to be timid and mouselike. They should be able to stand up for themselves and be strong and capable of anything. I want them to be able to be equal partners with their husbands in all things. If Chris were building something as cool as that treehouse, I sure as heck would be right there with him. I’m very proud of the fact that even though I married a man with a background in construction going back two generations, I’m the one who put together the girls’ bunkbed.

So I thought about what kind of message this movie sends to girls. Okay, I know the point of the movie is not to send a message to girls, but what if they pick up on it anyway? And then I thought about another woman in a Disney movie, one with a message I’m okay with my girls picking up on.


(Oh, and yes, I know that she actually spends so much time with the suffragette movement that she's a horrible mother, but as far as a strong woman, what Disney film shows it better? Besides, this particular song has sentimental value. Votes for women!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Little plastic rectangle of grown-upped-ness

Ellie asked for a library card for her birthday. Seriously. Her sisters have one, Mom has one, Dad even has one, so apparently it's something to be had. So we stopped by today and picked one up for her. I think she grew six inches as soon as the lady, who was near hysterics from the cuteness of it all, handed it to her.

As we were walking out the door she looked up at me with big eyes and said, "I love my card. I feel so impressed right now."

Me, too. Another reader is born.

Banned Books Week

Angie, avid reader that she is, tagged me with this one.

How to Play:
1. Copy this list.
2. Highlight the ones you have read in RED.
3. Tag 5 people to play.

The ALA list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000:
1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

I'll tag...Emily, Kara, Nicola, Danielle, & Rachel...but only if you want to!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Random Thoughts Thursday

Why did it have to rain today? Why not yesterday or tomorrow? Those days would have fit into my schedule.

It was really nice of that guy at Costco to tell me my tire was low.

Where on earth is the book I was reading?

How can my house get so messy when we're hardly ever home anymore?

I ordered 40lbs. of apples this morning in order to make applesauce, which I have never done. Am I nuts?

My baby will be three in four days. That makes me sad. I miss her being a baby.

No, Pam, I am not pregnant!

I hate driving to Vancouver for Lexi's gymnastics. It wouldn't be so bad if her class wasn't at 6:15, when everyone and their dog is driving to Vancouver. The girls love that we get to drive to another state once a week, though.

Nothing has made me smile bigger today than the sentence, "Mommy, you're so very very lovely. You can be a princess just like me!"

I think I need to hide Vicki's shofar.

I really should be cleaning out the fridge to make room for all the stuff I bought at Costco, which I just crammed in wherever it fit.

I'm scared of what's in the fridge, particularly in the back. Some of that stuff is no longer identifiable.

Sometimes I think I'm the coolest mom ever because I let me kids go to school in clothes that don't match.

Sometimes I think my kids look frumpy compared to other people's kids.

Little girls dressed as princesses fighting over a pair of Dora sunglasses is not a pretty sight.

I think we talk about politics in our house a lot. More than the average family. Vicki thinks it's not fair that she's not old enough to vote. Lexi likes Barack Obama (and she no longer thinks he's a prophet.) And today Ellie said, "I can see Russia from my house!"

Seriously, why did it rain today?

Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise and study the scriptures uninterrupted sounds like such a good idea in theory. It even sounds like a good idea at 5:30 in the morning (someone pick my parents up off the floor, please.) But by 8:30 at night, I'm done. The kids had better be in bed, or woe be upon their heads, and the heads of their children and their children's children, for generations to come.

I need to work on being a more positive person in the evening.

Where the heck is my book?

Kisses from almost-three-year-olds are the best!

There is not enough chocolate in my house.
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