Thursday, June 25, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Both Angie and Carrie posted this on their blogs and I’ve been giggling about it for days – “slo-mo dove”, “spin around, ninjas!” and “over-surprised guy” (and, of course, “mullet with headlights?”) continue to bring me near tears. The 80’s were awesome and I need to share the love. You really must go watch it now. Right now. I'll wait... Oh, the laughter, the tears. And that video was supposed to make sense with the original lyrics? I get the "bright eyes", but really? Ooookaaay. (this really probably should have been its own post, but it's Thursday, so what do you do)

I still haven’t come up with a really good camp name.

I have reached a point in my Portland life where I feel guilty buying anything pre-packaged (which I don’t do that often anyway) and anything not organic or with more than five ingredients. This is not to say that I don’t buy those things anymore, just that I try to hide them when I do.

Our library has an awesome summer reading program. The girls are always totally gung-ho for it. Free T-shirts for everyone, woohoo!

We got Vicki & Lexi’s incomprehensible report cards in the mail on Tuesday. I miss the good old A-B-C-D-F system. At least then you know where they stood. We have letters, but they’re E, M, CM, N, NM and then funky symbols like \, +, --, V. It’s so confusing.

We also got the official school uniform (sorry, Code of Dress) information. I cannot wait. I’m probably putting too much into this, as if all my problems will suddenly disappear when the girls are wearing uniforms to school. But a lot of them will, since half our battles are about what they get to wear to school each day. No more!

Ellie can’t say “able”. She says, “ableble” and I love it.

I can’t believe I will have a 4th grader in September.

When Chris goes to CA on Tuesday instead of Wednesday, I’ve discovered that it throws my whole week off. All day Tuesday I thought it was Wednesday. Yesterday I thought it was Thursday. Today I keep thinking tomorrow will be Saturday. This is not good.

I had jury duty on Monday. This was the third time I’ve been summoned (I like how that sounds – official and slightly scary), and the other two times I was selected to serve. What are the odds? When they got around to calling names for the first trial on Monday, whose do you suppose was first? Yep, mine. Luckily I didn’t end up being selected. I say luckily because, while I’m all for doing my civic duty, I think that having served twice in 12 years is enough for one person. Give me another 10 years and I’ll be good to go again.

In 22 days I will go on vacation without kids for a whole week! But, really, who’s counting?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wacky Wednesday

Well, it's not really wacky. I just like the alliteration. But I have a bunch of random pictures, none of which really warrant a whole blog post. And I can't think of anything else to post about, and it's been 4 days (!) since my last post, so I figured if I wanted to hang on to the few of you who read this, I'd better post something.

We went to the park to play frisbee a while ago, and I just love this picture of Vicki pouncing on it, like a cat or something.

Here are all my now Junior Girl Scouts at their bridging ceremony. We like to joke that they went from Brownies to Junior Mints.

At Lexi's gymnastics class a couple of weeks ago they got to use the bungees, which hang over a trampoline, and which she's been dying to try out for 9 months now. You can't really tell from the picture, but she's at least 20 feet in the air. She recently moved up a level in gymnastics and is now in an advanced beginning (sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?) class, with, apparently, the potential to be on a pre team if we're willing to pay more in time and money. She loves gymnastics and it's a great way for her to get her wiggles out.

I finally got my new camera. I stuck with Nikon and got the Coolpix S230 (no, the amazon reviews are not fabulous, but I got a good deal at Costco, and you can't always trust those reviews anyway) and I'm really happy with it so far. Of course when I got it we all had to try it out by taking random pictures all over the house.

(This is of a project Lexi did in school. I'll have to post the text of her report one day. It's adorable)

(I just like this next one because I think it makes me look really skinny! After 3 kids, anything that makes me look skinny is VERY welcome!)
Last but not least, we went to the high school and shot off some of Chris's rockets a couple of weeks ago. We had a blast and we didn't lose any of the rockets, which made the day even better!

Friday, June 19, 2009

In which I invite you to call me names

The girls are going to Girl Scout day camp in a couple of weeks. And, sucker that I am, I’m going along. I will, apparently, be in charge of a unit of 3rd graders, although I supposedly don’t have to do more than get them from place to place, mostly. We’ll see how it goes. I’m excited.

But here’s where you come into play. All the leaders are supposed to have camp names – fun nicknames that we go by. The lady running the whole thing goes by Meadowlark. I’m not entirely sure of the purpose, except that it’s been a Girl Scout camp tradition dating back at least to when I was a Girl Scout, because I remember two camp counselors called Pinky and Mouser. I don’t know what to call myself, and I need ideas. What’s a good camp name for me?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Sigh. I knew when I posted that picture that the shirt wasn’t going to go unnoticed. All my protestations that I’m not a huge Twilight fangirl, and then I post a picture of me wearing a shirt that says, “Twilight...Only a vampire can love you forever.” I have two things to say about the shirt: 1) it was a birthday present from my Twilight-obsessed bff Mela, and 2) I wear it because it makes Chris laugh (and while I’m pretty sure he’s laughing at me and not with me, I like to pretend otherwise.) The girls have decided that it means Chris must be a vampire, because Mom could never even dream of anyone else! Too bad he doesn’t sparkle.

A recent conversation, which took place the day after Chris brought home the eight unclaimed boxes of Girl Scout cookies from his office:
-Ellie: Dad, you had too many cookies, so I ate some, and now you just have two!
-Dad: How many did you eat?
-E: A whoooooooole bunch!
-D: And I just get two? Do you think that’s fair?
-E: Yep! And you know what? You’re gonna share them with ME!

3+2=5. But 3 little girls + 2 more little girls = chaos worthy of 50 little girls.

We’re learning lots of lessons about the power of advertising these days, thanks to our good friend Qubo. In order to illustrate how the amazing Ab Roller might not be quite as effective as they’d have you think, I had to do a demonstration of how the same person can look skinny and fat. After I did it, Lexi said, “You look weird skinny. Do the fat again!” Thanks, sweetie.

I just figured out how to do a hyperlink in a comment. There is no charge for awesomeness (or attractiveness.)

I like my banner/header thing big. But I think it looks kinda funny and I haven’t quite figured out why yet. But I’m getting bored with my blog template and may have to start creating something new. With all my free time.

Yesterday some friends taught Vicki and me how to play a game called Farkle. And they were asking what card games we play, and I realized I cannot remember how to play Pounce. I still have all my cards, and fond memories of playing in the stairwell of the York Youth Hostel, but for the life of me I can’t remember the rules. I’m a disgrace to the name of Youngberg, quite possibly. This must be remedied.

Just a word of advice: when the 3-year-old says, “I can be so self-reliant!” don’t take her word for it. And don’t let her get a full pitcher of juice out of the fridge by herself. Unless you want to spend the next half hour bathing children and scrubbing juice off of unlikely surfaces, that is.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 Years

Ten years ago today Chris and I were married.


Ten years (six in school), three cars, four apartments, two houses, four fish, and three adorable children later:

I think it's clear we were made for each other.

Here's to another ten, and twenty, and thirty, and more!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Candy and Cake

Ellie's dance recital was last night. It was possibly the cutest thing we've ever spent $40 to see (can you believe we had to pay $10 a ticket? This on top of the regular class fees plus the outrageous cost of the "fancy-fancy sparkly bluish-greenish tutu") Good thing I get paid to babysit!

There was no photography or filming of any kind allowed during the actual performance (they have it professionally recorded and you can buy the DVDs), but my wonderful friend with the YouTube account recorded the dress rehersal, so enjoy!

(Ellie is second from the left - the one with the very wide pliƩ)

Monday, June 15, 2009

But wait...there's more!

Well, we made it unscathed through the digital switchover. We did end up getting Fox, so thankfully we won’t have to shell out for cable. And now, my sweet children, who have never in their lives watched anything other than PBS Kids, have discovered Qubo. All kids shows, all day long (and all night, too!) Forget Sesame Street, Arthur, and Cyberchase. The girls now get to watch shows like Lambchop (you know, the puppet lamb with the song that never ends – joy), Postman Pat (and his black-and-white cat), and (I swear I am not making this up) Marvin the Tap Dancing Horse.

One of the things we have always loved about PBS Kids, other than the educational nature of its programming, is that there are no commercials. Ever. Other than the quarterly pledge drives, they never broadcast anything that asks for money. And even then, there’s only the tiniest mention of it during the kids’ shows.

Qubo is a different story. Oh, they don’t show regular commercials. We get no plugs for toys, tampons, or bathroom cleaners. No, instead, in between every show, there’s a mini-infomercial. I am not joking. Vicki just came in and excitedly informed me that we need some sort of hanger contraption that can hold up to five hangers and reduce crowding in your closet. And while I will admit that this is a bit of a problem in their closet, it’s nothing that can’t be solved by Mom going through and sorting out the clothes hanging in there that don’t actually fit anyone right now. But the girls see a different solution – the Wonder Hanger! She brought up here with her not only the verbal information, but a napkin on which she’d written the phone number, the price, and a note that we’d be getting a $50 value for just $9.99! Not only that, but if we call now, we’ll also get a free closet light! (never mind that every closet in our house already has a light)

After I (unsuccessfully) convinced her that we don’t need and aren’t EVER going to buy anything off a TV commercial, she said, “Are you bothered by toothpaste messes on the counters?”

Oh, Heaven help us all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

Like my new logo thingy? How cool am I? I definitely had better things to do today, but I’m rather proud of myself all the same.

Come on, you guys! Only a few of you had any real camera advice? I know more than five people read this blog in the last few days (hooray for the visitor tracker thing!) and I know most of you have cameras, because I’ve seen your blogs! Oh, fine, I’ll just have to make my own decisions.

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, I changed my settings so that anyone can comment – you don’t have to have a google account (I’m just sayin’...)

This afternoon it got really quiet...not a good sign around here. I went downstairs, where Ellie was supposedly watching Aladdin (her new favorite) and instead found her in the bathroom, proudly refilling the soap dispenser. There is now a tiny bit more soap in it than there used to be, but I am now out of soap and the bathroom floor is a lot cleaner than my plans for the day intended it to be. How can you get mad when they’re just trying so hard to be helpful?

The new wagon is a huge hit. The kids love it, and what’s even more awesome, people actually slow their cars down and comment on how cute all the girls look piled in there.

I spent too much time last night reading the most heartbreaking and yet inspiring blog I have come across. It’s called Bring the Rain. I highly recommend it.

My visitor tracker thingy used to think I’m in Salem, but now lately it seems to be divided between placing me in Portland and Beaverton. Weird.

The digital switchover takes place tomorrow, as the friendly people on PBS keep reminding us. They ask, “are you prepared?” No, thank you very much, we’re not. Our converter box gives us various channels sporadically and with varying degrees of quality, but so far all we get is four flavors of PBS, four ION stations (whatever that is), and two NBCs, but only sometimes, and one of them is a 24-hour weather station. This should be interesting. If we don’t get Fox, we can’t watch So You Think You Can Dance, and that’s not acceptable. We may have to subscribe to cable, because not only would we miss the summer season, but they’re adding a fall season as well. It would be tragic.

Why is it that when I feel grumpy, my kids are overly silly? I think they’re trying to compensate for my grouchiness, but it just makes me grouchier. This is not good.

When did the word fart become okay in our family?

I got a new computer chair. It’s cushier than the old one, and I don’t constantly feel like it’s going to collapse from under me.

We almost bought a Roomba last week, but we decided to wait until we can actually afford it. When we do get one, we already know what we’re going to name it. But I can’t tell you, because you’ll steal it from me. It’s that awesome.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I need your help!

I have a lot of catch-up blogging to do after our long and exhausting week, but first I need some help.

I want to buy a new camera. My old one works fine, but there are a few things about it I don't like. First and foremost is how long it takes to recover after the flash goes off. We're talking like 8 seconds. Now that may not seem like a long time, but next time you're watching a kid do something cute and photo-worthy, count to 8. Boom, the moment has passed.

So I'm looking to upgrade. My current camera is a Nikon Coolpix 5600 (and I most certainly did NOT pay what amazon is currently charging, nor would I). I have only ever owned Nikon digital cameras, and I know and trust the brand. But I'm open to change.

Here's where you all come in. Tell me what digital cameras you have and what features are most important to you. What do you like? What do you hate? What features are a must? Do I need a 3-inch LCD screen? Is a touch screen worth it? Should I be happy with what I have and save my money? Recommend something to me.

Here are the provisions:
*Costs under $200 (I know that narrows the margins significantly, but it's what I have to work with right now)
*Significantly shorter shutter lag
*Decent zoom (my current camera has a 3x optical with 4x digital - it's okay)
*Easy to use
*Not easy to screw up

Ready? Go...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Thoughts Thursday

I got my wagon. This is what we looked like on our way to pick up the girls from school.
Cute, no?

Now that my own kids are pretty much consistently going all night long without waking me up for anything, and it's warm enough to leave the windows open all night long, it would figure that the neighbors' baby wakes me up. Every. single. night. Why???

One of Ellie's sippy cups is missing - has been for about a week now. It's the one we usually put milk in. At first I was eager to find it. Now I'm just scared.

I have a mystery reader in Australia. To my knowledge, I don't know anyone there. I think my "readers" in Korea and India were just flukes, because they don't seem to have been back, but my Australian friend keeps visiting. I love it - it makes me feel that much cooler. G'day, Australian reader! *waving*

I just finished watching the finished product of the DVD slideshow we made for Vicki's Brownie troop. And I cried like a baby because these little girls we started working with in 1st grade are growing up. I'm such a sap.

I said to Ellie, "What are you eating?" and she looked at me, sporting a lovely brown mustache and goatee, and replied, "Chocolate milk powder!" With a spoon. Ick.

My crazy week is almost over. Now if stuff wouldn't keep popping up for next week...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

That's my girl!

Ever since she was in kindergarten, Vicki has wanted to be in the school talent show. She's a talented kid, no doubt about it, but she hasn't had many talents that are show worthy, if you know what I mean. You can't really get up on stage and speed read and make a connection with your audience. Last year she wanted to play the piano, and I had to point out to her that 1. she didn't know any songs, and 2. we didn't have a piano. It was heartbreaking.

But then last summer we got a piano. In October she began taking lessons. She is her teacher's only student (apart from her own children), so there hasn't really been an opportunity for recitals or anything like that. But she was determined to play in the talent show this year and she's been working for the past few months on her piece. She's gifted with a natural ear for music and things tend to come very easily to her, but she also has the downfall of becoming very discouraged when things don't come so easily, so mastering this piece has been a bit of a mountain for her to climb. We finally worked out a practice schedule that works well for everyone involved, and the improvement over the last month or so has been astounding.

She may not have been the most polished pianist at the talent show this morning, but I still think she was the star.


Monday, June 1, 2009

I'm so busy, my head is spinning

I was going to do this whole post about how my life is so much busier than yours, but it felt too much like something TAMN would write, and I strive very hard to be as un-TAMN-like as I possibly can. So I decided not to write it.

Then I changed my mind, because the subtitle of this blog is "Life with three little girls", and I'm only this busy because of these three cute girls, so now I can feel justified in telling you just how crazy things are around here.

Here's our week:

Monday: field trips for Vicki - to Cannon Beach to look at tide pools - and Lexi - to the zoo. Ellie and I went along with Lexi. After returning from the beach, Vicki had talent show practice. Chris is working late.

Tuesday: Vicki is in the talent show at school, which is being put on in the morning during school. Ellie and I will be attending, along with Violet, one of the little girls I babysit. When that's over we will go to the grocery store. In the evening is the "real" talent show.

Wednesday: there is no school (this doesn't help). Ellie has dance class in the morning. Lexi and I are walking in the Junior Rose Parade (part of the Portland Rose Festival) with her Brownie troop, and Vicki and Ellie may join us if my friend decides not to go and watch. In the evening we have to sign up for summer swimming lessons and Chris needs to be at the church for the youth activity. Vicki's church activity was canceled this week.

Thursday: I babysit two little girls all day. It's M&M Field Day at school, so the girls will run around and do lots of field day-type stuff, and earn M&M's (I'm not entirely sure this is the best way to promote physical fitness, but hey, whatever works.) I will spend the day baking brownies for Vicki's bridging ceremony on Friday. The after school program has ended, so Vicki and Lexi can't stay after school and come home with Violet's mom when she picks her up, meaning I will get to haul three little girls down to the school and bring three more home with me. Lexi has gymnastics in the evening, in Vancouver.

Friday: my only non-babysitting day. I will spend this day getting ready for the bridging ceremony for Vicki's Brownie troop, who will then become Juniors. This will involve driving to the Girl Scout store to buy new uniforms, to the church to pick up the bridge, to the grocery store to buy ice cream and Junior mints (we're so symbolic), and to the school to drop off the bridge and set up chairs and a TV for the DVD slide show we made. The bridging is that evening.

Saturday: collapse.

See? I'm way busier than you. Then there's only one week of school left. Then our summer will be filled with swimming lessons, Girl Scout day camp (for which I have just signed on as a volunteer, meaning even Ellie gets to go), vacation with the in-laws (and no kids - woohoo! Oh, I mean, gosh, I'll miss them, too bad Grandma & Grandpa E. said no kids allowed, poor Grandma Y., having to watch them for a week, what a hardship for her), Girl Scout resident camp for Vicki, more swimming lessons for everyone, a visit from Pam & John (and I'll finally get to meet Keira!), and then school starts again. I have no idea how my mother managed with four kids, especially considering the 12-year span we covered.

But it's fun. It is. I wouldn't trade it. I can do this. I really can. Right?
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