Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dan returns from Peter Harris Clothes with more than the rarely-seen-in-his-size Levi's that were his goal.

S: You can not wear this shirt.
D: I haven't tried it on yet, and it's brown, so it goes with the autumn color palette I've been going for. Reds, yellows, oranges- well, except for the yellows.
S: You can only wear it if you've decided to be a "hipster" and wear it with irony. Ronald Reagan would have worn that shirt.
D: You can't tell without seeing it on. Begins to try on shirt.
A: Daddy you need to get a shirt on! You need a shirt on! Right now!
D: Wow, you're right! This would be awesome with a black-and-white checked jacket and ripped jeans! I can't return this; I should sell it!
C: Yeah! We'll sell it! We'll go back to Peter Harris and buy them all and open a store and sell them and make lots of money!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Even if you're not left behind, don't lose touch with those who were.

I picked the very last strawberry from the garden today, from a very hardy plant that succumbed to the cold just last night. My fall gardening failed completely this year, as some appreciative animal ate all my parsley and spinach the very day we pulled out the cold frame, but we have high hopes for an early start in the spring.

A is pretty cheery today after three days of illness-induced misery, but Dan and I remain very groggy. She tried to cheer me up, though. While I was eating lunch:

A: "We saw the moon when we went on walksies. Daddy told me about the moon. It was a waxing gibbous. It peeked out from the clouds."

S: "Do you want to see if we can find the moon before bedtime tonight? We can't see the moon right now."

A: "The moon is sleeping right now. The moon is sleeping in its moon-bed."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

C's inspiration Posted by Picasa

Note the bow and arrow Posted by Picasa

So let's say you're six years old and you wake up at 5:45 in the morning, but know that your parents want to sleep in until 8. What do you do? Well, if you're C, you'll page through a craft book to get ideas, gather the materials to construct your selection, and add accessories you deem appropriate. Then you'll pour some cereal for your father and wake him up at 7:59.

glazing with egg white, which helped them brown Posted by Picasa

Fresh from the oven Posted by Picasa

completed cornucopia Posted by Picasa


Cadao really really wanted to make our OWN, EDIBLE cornucopias so we decided to give it a try. Dan cut a batch of pizza dough into strips, and we wrapped them around forms made from mixing bowls and aluminum foil. They came out surprisingly well, and tasty to boot.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Buy your daughter a Brothelmobile this Christmas! For hours of imaginative play.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

New- Puffs with Magic! (?)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A is 2 today!! Posted by Picasa

birthday cake Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 11, 2006

For A's birthday, I figured I'd make some clothes for My Little Abused Orphan so I wouldn't have to look at the old ones. The catch: I wanted A to be able to get them on and off herself, an I only wanted to spend an hour from start to finish. So the poor doll ended up with what amounts to a hospital gown (perhaps the ER let her wear it home from her last stay) and a poncho. The fitting unearthed another reportable offense- she has a heart tattoo on her arm, which had an armband glued on top of it. Pictures will follow.

Friday, November 10, 2006

problems with C's school

1) They play the same game in gym class every time they have it (twice a week).
2) They watch videos for library time every week.
3) His teacher has begun reading Magic Treehouse books out loud instead of the actual literature they started out the year with. These books are popular with the kids, but the writing is awful. I'm wondering if she's trying to fulfill the somewhat insane curriculum requirements by calling them "social studies," too, since they include history lessons which seem to have the same degree of inaccuracy as most elementary school history texts. I hope she comes to her senses soon.
4) C's bored silly of single-digit addition worksheets.
5) For "Veterinarians' Day," they told the kids that we fought wars to protect our country. Methinks that's stretching the truth bit considering the past 60 years....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It turns out that A's new doll must be of the "My Little Abused Orphan" line. The hideous pink headband was covering up two faint pink bruises on the baby's head, and it has a battery-operated implant that makes it not only cry continuously, but makes its cheeks glow red. Now I REALLY won't be able to sleep at night.

Every November, the church around the corner from us has an enormous tag sale fundraiser. This year, in addition to (our third) replacement bread machine, a sled, and a shelf for under the computer desk, A spied a baby doll. A hideous baby doll. A baby doll with permanently-attached pink polyester clothing, with a plastic head and plastic feet. Dan let her buy it, but it's so disturbing I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep at night with it in the house.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dan got a new guitar today. :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween from planet zork... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A likes shoes...(and pretzels) Posted by Picasa

C had a great "hunt" waiting for me when I got back home from Seattle on Tuesday night; "Xs" marked the spot where each clue was hidden, of course--one was even sealed in clear plastic outside, and the clue was in a yogurt container and buried under it... the prize at the end was the bracelet shown here. Posted by Picasa

we went to a halloween party at friends' on Sat. night... "woods spirits" Posted by Picasa

Boo! (and scary face)... C's pumpkin Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Every city should have a puppet lending library.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I got a book from the library titled Organizing from the inside out : the foolproof system for organizing your home, your office, and your life. Slipped inside it were five pages of notes someone diligently transcribed from the book. But given that the notes never LEFT the book before it was returned to the library, methinks that the previous borrower missed seeing the bigger picture....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

what are we in for with teenagers?

At 7 a.m. this morning, C hopped out of bed, popped in a rap CD, turned it up loud enough that we could hear every word in OUR bedroom, and started dancing.

Friday, September 15, 2006

We start 'em working young around here! (A is just finishing her silverware putting away job in this photo. She gets the chair out, opens the drawers, puts all the silverware in the correct slots, and puts everything back all by herself... not bad for 22 months!) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Her brother's modeling has apparently inspired A to tell stories already. We were in the car and she said, "Once upon a time there was girl who lived on a hill." I suspected that she wasn't going to tell the same story as ZZ Top sang about the girl on the hill, but she started mumbling so I couldn't catch how she elaborated on the plot. Luckily, a few minutes later she started another. "Once upon a time there lived a tomato who lived... someplace else." I REALLY wanted to know what happened next this time, but she got distracted by a passing truck and didn't continue. It'll be interesting to hear what kinds of stories the two of them come up with together....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Returning home from his first day! (remember to click on photos to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

C does time

Well, our little boy spent 7 straight hours in the public school system today for the first time in his life (about 1.5 hours of which was on the bus...though that will lessen somewhat as the drivers and kids get used to the schedule). Very fortunately, he was smiling when he came home, and said he had a great time.

And while they "learned a lot of rules" at gym on the first day instead of playing or running around much (hmm.... a bunch of first graders in full-day school for the first time; what shall we do with them in gym class, play active games to help ease their stress and get their energy out, help them have fun, or make sure those all important rules are lectured first thing?), his classroom teacher, Mrs. Woller, is by all acounts so far a fortunate pick (there are 3 first grade classes at Elsmere, he seems to have gotten "the best" teacher according to reputation; she's supposed to be kind, gentle, and very inspired). She also has an almost full time volunteer in the classroom, a retired kindergarten teacher, so it makes the ratio to 24 students much better!

To her credit, C said they went outside 3 times today to the playground (it was a beautiful late summer day), and even though he chose not to eat his lunch at all for some reason, just some high-protein pretzels and a few grapes between 8 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. when he got home, he seems to have done fine in general today. He made up for lost time in eating a snack, the traditional first day of school walk to Stewarts for ice cream cones, and 3 helpings of dinner...

With luck, he'll continue to be happy, make friends, and manage not to lose much of his creativity throughout his public school career...


On the way to his first day of 1st grade! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

C's new favorite song

C has not yet fully explored all the CDs I gave him for his birthday, so it was not until this week he discovered this song. He loves it so much that I was trying to come up with other songs that reference money for him, but I deemed the obvious Pink Floyd and Dire Straits picks marginally inappropriate due to language. This one has subject matter issues, alas.

the name game

A enjoys the name game so much that she believes it is only common courtesy to say "thank you bo-bank you" and "welcome bo-belcome."

Friday, August 18, 2006

A's poem

Based on the view from our deck, A composed and recited this to herself over and over:

Crescent moon
Blue sky
Green trees

She's having a lot of fun with language. From the time she could talk, she intentionally played with words, and made up rhyming words, like "Paco-maco-paco-pie." She continues to make up words to rhyme with many of the things we say, and clearly sees it as a fun game. She can insert her own words in the name game correctly (more fluently than her father, I suspect).

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

caught getting along :) Posted by Picasa

summertime... Posted by Picasa

telling time

Since we grew sick of C's constant questions about when things are going to happen, how long until this or that, and his requests to warn him 30, 15, and 5 minutes before bedtime, we've been teaching him to tell time. He's had the general gist of it for several months now, but in the past two weeks something clicked and he can tell time fluently. In addition to knowing the current time, he can calculate how many minutes to the next hour, etc. in his head. While very exciting, we're a bit perturbed- without secretly changing all the clocks in the house, we can no longer send him to bed early without his knowledge.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

book review

"We Help Daddy," by Mini Stein, is a Little Golden book from 1962. While caring for Benjy and Sue, who are about 4 and almost-2 respectively, Daddy is able to get more done than Dan and I could in a month of Saturdays. He fixes the attic door, weeds and waters the garden, trims the hedge, bathes the dog, paints the kitchen fence, and hangs a painting in the living room. Calculating best-case-scenarios for the times these things would take, and assuming that Benjy and Sue are able to manage all of their own physical needs without interrupting Daddy (even though Sue is pre-verbal), I can envision how all this MIGHT get done. But then they decide to build a birdhouse, collect and chop firewood, wash and polish the car, replace a knob on Benjy's dresser, and pull a nail out of the bathroom door. Finally, the poor kids get to eat supper, after which "we are very, very sleepy" (no doubt!) and they go to bed.

Based on my frustration with our task-completion time, Dan is convinced that I must have had this book as a child. I don't have any memory of it, but Pa Ingalls was pretty darn productive too, so perhaps my expectations are too high. Or have they sunk too low? We've needed to replace the knobs on A's dresser for about a month now; our garden is somewhat less of a Darwinian experiment than in past years, but it still doesn't look like our neighbors'; we're lucky if we get the kids bathed before they start to stink, much less the dog; and we've never built anything without having to re-cut at least one piece of wood that didn't fit the first time. We suspect, however, that Benjy and Sue's Daddy spent the last three months drunk every weekend, and Mommy has threatened to leave him if he doesn't take the kids and get this list done so she can bake cookies (we see her cheerily rolling out dough through the window in one scene) and make dinner in peace.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

trip to the museum

C's spending the week at Camp Oma and Opa, which (along with the heat wave) made the idea of a trip to the (air-conditioned) state museum somewhat more enticing because his need to discuss the attributes of every model of fire truck used since 1850 wouldn't be hampered by A's need to "walk by self, walk by self, walking, walking, walking." Perhaps, though, if he had been there, she would not have inexplicably screamed in terror when we walked in the door (maybe the mastadont skeleton got her down?) and remain frantic until I begrudging took her to the mind-numbingly-boring "Discovery Place," designed for little kids who have no toys at home, and read her a book. After that she perked up and spent aeons (or did it just feel that way?) dropping plastic fruit down plastic tubes until, not surprisingly, she got hungry.

The only place we're allowed to eat in the museum is in the cafe, which is on the fourth floor; while there presumably are staircases to reach it, I don't know where they are, so we were limited to escalators and elevators. I knew she hated elevators, so we took the escalator; or perhaps I should say escalatorS, because they are set up so each run stops midway between floors and you need to turn around to get the the next set, just as stairwells are often designed in public buildings. This meant that there were actually six escalators between us and the cafe, and by number two she was starting panic. When we finally reached our floor (after all of about 30 seconds), I caved into her demands and let her know that we would NOT go back down on the escalators, which she repeated the entire time she ate her snack. The carousel distracted her briefly- not that she would RIDE it of course, but she enjoyed watching it go around and around and around and around and why didn't I bring a book? and around and....

Finally she tired of the carousel, which meant, of course, we needed to return to the first floor. She liked the elevator about as much as the escalator. It must have been a horrid 20 seconds for her, because the whole REST of the time we were at the museum I heard nothing but "no more escalator. No more elevator. All done escalator elevator. Bye bye escalator elevator." This may have been annoying enough as mere background noise, but she generally demands confirmation following her every utterance so I needed to drone "that's right; no more elevators or escalators" continuously as well. Plus, in order to overcome the trauma of the experience, we had to go back to Discovery Place, and I had to hand her the orange to drop down the tube about 50 times, and occasionally vary my response to "that's right, the cabbage doesn't fit down the tube" when appropriate.

It was nearing naptime (well, not really, but I had to factor in the mile-long walk to the car since I'm too cheap to pay for parking, and the inevitability of being stuck behind a bus on the way home) so I said, "We need to leave in 10 minutes." She stops (holding asparagus and an apple), frowns, and says "Stay 15 minutes" before returning to her task. Luckily she can't tell time, because we were outta there in 5.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Our "parenting retreat" to Twin Trees went well; illnesses and fear of precipitation reduced our numbers, but we still had four families join us. And given how hard it was to get into the kitchen, especially after the roof started leaking, I think I'm glad we didn't have the eight that had planned to come! The kids ran wild inside on Saturday, but Sunday dawned beautifully- sunny, warm, no humidity- so they were able to get out before driving us insane. So maybe we'll do it next year- but it is soooo much work to go up there for just one day!!!

Friday, July 14, 2006

I recently discovered a local radio station with the tag line, "We play anything." I thought that this was a rather dubious distinction, but given the other options out there (106.5, which exclusively airs George Thoroughgood and the Marshall Tucker Band, and 99.5, which limits itself to "Benny and the Jets" and Matchbox 20), I kept listening. I immediately learned that they would, indeed, play anything; the song that endlessly repeats "Amadeus" was followed by the theme song to the TV show in which Tom Hanks and some other guy had to dress as women in order to keep their apartment (were sit-coms already DRAGging so hard by 1981 that they needed to invent a gimmick like that?), which segued into "Smokin' in the Boys' Room." This was followed by the president of Siena College, who enlightened listeners with a biography of the "Saint of the Day." I thought it was a funny way to advertise a school, but since obscure martyrs are much more interesting than the other stations' morning shows, I found myself tuning in more and more. (Beware sneaky Franciscan conversion techniques.) Other advertising was rare, and despite the hit-or-miss quality of the music, it was indeed MUSIC rather than babble (except of course for those pesky saints).

Last night, I mentioned the station to Dan, who'd also heard and been amused by their proud proclamation of unselectiveness, and he wondered if they were mostly-request and if they were run by Siena. I poo-pooed both these ideas; other than the informational interjections, they made no mention of a college affiliation, and they never had callers on the air to dedicate songs, which is fairly standard when requests are played. But it turns out that he was right, which explains the lack of advertising and the random play list. It does NOT explain why the DJs never acknowledge their connection to Siena, unlike WRPI which points out its affiliation every seven minutes; must be another subtle conversion/ marketing tactic. And the lack of on-air callers still seemed pretty strange, until I read a little more about it. Turns out they banned airing call-ins because they feared they were being used for gang communications. Why the thugs don't use cell phones like everyone else is beyond me, but all-righty.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Enjoying his moon pinata Posted by Picasa

Oma and A decorating for C's birthday party Posted by Picasa

C's stellar cake thanks to Sarah Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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walking in the water, a new favorite activity Posted by Picasa