Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kindergarten recap, our hero and the tea party

The verdict is in: Caleb loves kindergarten! Here's what I know so far. His teacher is nice. He sat next to Omar at lunch. One kid in his class has a Ninja Turtle back pack. He went to music today. He played with Shane on the playground. He sat with Peter and Cody on the bus.

I tried to get him to tell me more about his day by asking very direct questions and even suggesting he act out parts of his day like Charades, but he wasn't interested. Maybe tomorrow he'll share more details!

So Chloe was our hero the other day. Yesterday morning I woke up around 3:30 when I heard her crying over the baby monitor. When I went to get her I heard a funny noise, like someone had left the shower running. I tracked it down to the kids' bathroom, stepped into the room and felt something cold and wet on my feet. My first thought was that the toilet was overflowing, but thankfully that wasn't it. None of the faucets were turned on, but there was a water sound coming from under the sink. A pipe had busted under the sink and so I had to wake up Rob to have him come fix it. A turn of a wrench later and at least the water was shut off. Thank goodness Chloe woke up when she did. Otherwise we'd have woken up to a house full of water!

Here's the hero herself.

Last Saturday I treated the kids to a tea party using Camille's play princess tea party dishes. We had cookies and milk "tea" - I definitely won the best mom award for that one! Here are Caleb and Camille in their "tea party clothes."

And here's a funny picture of Chloe from the other day. I don't know what she was thinking about, but she was working so hard it made her hair stand on end!

And one more for the sake of cuteness:

Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of Kindergarten

Today was the first day of kindergarten. Can you tell someone was excited?

He kept saying "Happy Kindergarten!" instead of "cheese!" - that's why he's making such crazy faces!

He had a great day - he played with blocks, ate his snack outside, wrote a story and put his head on his table for rest time. That's about all he told me. Oh, and he ate his fruit roll-up last like I told him to! Today only the boys went to kindergarten. Tomorrow just the girls go to kindergarten and everyone goes on Wednesday and thereafter. Caleb can't wait to go back!

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Recipe from the Master Chef

Caleb loves to cook. I've been thinking about letting him help me more in the kitchen. Here is a recipe he concocted this morning.

For some reason we were talking about chicken feet over breakfast. (That's one of the joys about living in the south. Our local Piggly Wiggly sells such delicacies as chicken feet, pig feet, souse, pork brains...) Anyway, I asked Caleb what he would do with chicken feet. "Should we make chicken feet soup?" "No, I don't like chicken feet soup." "Should we make chicken feet stew?" "No, I don't like chicken feet stew." "What should we do with it then?" "Hmmm...I know! We could make chicken feet pie!" "Chicken feet pie? How do you make that?" "It's easy."

Are you ready? Write this down.

You need "all the chicken feet you can get." For our family that is 4 packages - "one for me, one for Camille, one for Mommy and one for Daddy. Chloe can't have any yet."

Chop up the chicken feet, preferably in Mom's kitchen aid mixer. "When we find the bones, we stop the mixer, put our hands in and pull the bones out." What do you do with the claws? "Chop the claws out with scissors." What's left after you take out the bones and the claws from the chicken feet? "Leave the skin and the meat." (Because we all know there is a lot of meat on chicken feet.)

Then, once the chicken feet are all chopped up, put juice on it. What kind of juice? "Whatever juice we have. Like apple juice."

What then?

"Wait for it to dry. Leave it out in the mixer. Then you eat it."

That's it? Don't you have to cook it?

"Oh yeah. We do cook it. Cook it for 12 minutes at 250 (degrees). Then wait for it to cool. When it's cool you put muffin cream on it. Or frosting or sprinkles. Whatever one we want to do best."

What is muffin cream?

"The cream you put on muffins." (Duh!) "I like sprinkles best."

How do you serve it?

"Scoop it out of the mixing bowl. Put the leftovers in the fridge and heat it up in the oven when you want more."

Did you get that? Be sure to make it and let us know if how tasty it is!

Lessons Learned

Our day was full of adventure and lessons learned.

Lesson #1: Ants like children's toothpaste. I'm not sure where the ants were coming from, but they made a beeline for the counter where Caleb had last left his toothbrush and there was a trail all the way up to the toothbrush holder where they were swarming on our toothbrushes. Nice.

Lesson #2: Ants also like dead flies. I found a whole bunch of them clustered around a dead fly on Caleb's bedroom floor.

Lesson #3: Little boys who can swat flies with flyswatters need to also be taught how to pick up dead flies.

Lesson #4: When you get the idea to send your potty training toddler to the potty, make sure you follow up on it. Don't listen to her when she says, "I don't have to go. You don't have to worry about it." You do have to worry about it. Otherwise you will have to worry about cleaning up pee. And poop. Out of dress up clothes that are not machine washable.

Lesson #5: Don't leave the baby in her play gym when her big sister is reading books nearby. Especially if the books are on the coffee table. They can gain just enough momentum as they fall to make baby wail.

Lesson #6: It sometimes isn't enough to tell your little boy that boys don't wear earrings when he comes to you requesting help putting on his sister's clip-on princess dress up earrings. "But rock stars wear earrings..." "Do you want to be a rock star?" "No. Will you help me put these on?" (I made him do it himself.)

Lesson #7: Teach your children to put their dirty clothes away immediately after taking them off. That way you won't put the last of the dirty clothes in the washer only to discover a pair of Ninja Turtle underwear hidden among the dress up clothes and have to use the sniff test to determine they were dirty. Also, it will save you the trouble of sorting the clean from the dirty when your husband decides the best thing to do with all of the clothes in your daughter's room is throw them into a bin and let them sit for a few days - or until you get around to dealing with them - so you can sort the clean from the dirty. Now there's an extra load of laundry to do. Almost. Well, not quite. Just enough to sit around and stink up the house.

Lesson #8: People who pee standing up need to look where they're peeing every time. Otherwise the bathroom will probably smell like pee until Mom can figure out where the pee is hidden. (Remember, if you can't hear the pee hitting the water in the toilet, it probably isn't.)

Lesson #9: If you button your daughter's dress when she puts them on in the morning, she is likely to scream when it gets stuck on her head as she tries to take it off two hours later to change her clothes. It's much better to leave them unbuttoned (or unzipped) so she can change when the mood strikes her.

Lesson #10: Old bunny Halloween costumes that are tough to get on are likely to be uncomfortable and difficult to take off.

Lesson #11: Crackers are not a food that should be fed to children in the living room (even at the table) unless you want to sweep the floor.

Lesson #12: It sometimes takes school staff several tries to determine which bus your kindergartener will ride on his first day of school three days from now. Even if you give them your address, describe the location, give landmarks and cross-streets, and even plot it on a map for them, they are likely to deny that any bus will go past your house. They will suggest a bus add him to their route; then he can be picked up at 7:00. When you try to explain (again) where you live and that, oh, there is a bus that goes right by your house to pick up the other elementary school kids in the neighborhood at 7:20, they will call you back telling him that another bus is willing to add him to the route and will pick him up at 6:45. When you explain (again) that there is a bus that goes right by your house at 7:20 and that's where the other kids from that school pick up the bus, they'll still act like they don't know what you're talking about. Here's how to solve the problem: Walk down the street to get the house number of one of the neighbor kids and give that to the bus lady. Also give them the neighbor kid's name so they can look up where she picks up the bus. Bus lady will then call you back to tell you that there is a bus that goes right by your house and will actually stop in front of your house at 7:20 on the first day of school.

Lesson #13: If you give your toddler yogurt and water at the same time during dinner, don't expect them to stay in separate containers for long.

Lesson #14: Little children don't realize the value of waiting for fruit to ripen. Hard crunchy peaches taste much better than ripe juicy ones, didn't you know.

Lesson #15: Don't let your toddler dump the pee out of her little potty by herself when her brother is in the bathroom. Toddler + pee + big brother on toilet = pee on bathroom floor + pee on big brother + pee on toddler + big brother screaming that he got pee on him + toddler screaming that her dress is covered in pee + one screaming baby because her mother had to stop feeding her to go clean up pee + one mother who is tired of cleaning up more messes that she doesn't make.

Lesson #16: Even when they're driving you nuts and making you want to pull out your hair, children are such wonderful, exciting people.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Today's Good and Bad

So the kids have had one of those days where they play nicely for about fifteen minutes and fight not-so-nicely for the next fifteen.

Here are a couple of things that have helped stretch the fifteen nice minutes into 30 or more.

The Oriental Trading Company catalog. Thanks to Mr. Todd, our mailman, for delivering today!

Peep and the Big Wide World videos, courtesy of Auntie Su!

A decorate your own crown kit I bought for 20 cents at Michael's this week.

A quick list of things kids have fought over today:

Who got the bigger banana. (Followed by a tantrum because the garbage was too full and Camille's banana peel kept falling out when she tried to throw it away. Mom had her hands full of baby and wouldn't get up and take care of it just then and Camille didn't want to put it on the counter and wait until later to toss it.)

A house made of pillows and couch cushions. (Caleb was building. Camille apparently knocked it down. I was in the other room. I heard screaming. I ignored screaming. I got up when I heard, "If you keep crying, I'll keep hitting you.")

Camille's grapes. Caleb ate all of his and she hadn't touched hers yet, so why shouldn't she share, right? (Or so he thought.)

And it's *only* one thirty! I wonder what the afternoon will have in store.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rhinestone Cowboy

Camille got herself dressed this morning. Apparently she was a fancy cowgirl.

She decided the rug would be her horse (I tried to convince her it looked more like a magic carpet, but to no avail). When I went to snap a picture she cried, " out. I'm going to run you over!" Nice kid.

But that's not all she can be with that outfit. Here she and Caleb model their "wrestling costumes".

Here she looks like she thinks she's on Dancing with the Stars.

Some brother-sister love

And here's a couple of Chloe for good measure.

Playing in the swing (she was smiling until I pulled out the camera...go figure).

Tummy time

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Getting ready for kindergarten!

Caleb had his pre-kindergarten doctor visit today. He passed his hearing test (now he has no excuse for not hearing Mom ask him to do things!) and his vision test with flying colors. He had lots of questions about why the nurse wanted him to pee in a cup and poke his finger with a needle to get blood out. He was very unhappy to get his four shots, but a Popsicle when we got home made it all better!

His teacher called last night - Mrs. Paramore is her name. Open house is on Thursday and Caleb is so excited to meet his teacher and his classmates and see his classroom. Just two more days!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Someone's been reading our blog!

It's you! We know you're reading our blog. Come on, 'fess up!

Here's your chance to see your name on our blog, all of you who have been harassing me to mention you by name.

Leave us a comment - let us know you were here!

(Just click on comments under this entry to see the comment form.)

We can't wait to hear from you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The stolen goods

So this is what I found under Caleb's bed this morning.

Two pairs of scissors
A pair of kitchen tongs
One pampered chef bag clip (or nunchuck if you like to pretend you're a ninja turtle)
A small box of nails
A pair of baby nail clippers
A makeup brush
A brand new pack of gum - about a third of the gum was gone, but the wrappers were intact
A sheet of stamps with several stamps removed

Since the food cabinets are latched, Caleb and Camille had to find a new source of contraband goods. They raided the secretary desk and another cabinet. Don't worry though Mom, more latches are coming!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Picture overload

Prepare for picture overload:

Here's Chloe the other day in the most darling little dress. Some day I'm going to be able to take a good picture of her in it. Maybe when she learns to sit and I don't have to prop her up.

We spent a couple of hours on Saturday at the Library Story Time Picnic. They held it at the big park in town and had food and playtime and even a face painter. Here is Caleb with his face all done.

This would be a turtle in the ocean. (The guy couldn't do a Ninja Turtle, so this is the best we could do.)

Here is a snake.

This would be two greenish-blue hearts on his forehead.

He did these one at a time, with lots of time in between. Somewhere between face paint 2 and face paint 3, Caleb decided wearing a shirt was not something he wanted to do. While he insisted he needed a face paint on his forehead, I tried to make an argument for getting one on his chest or his back even - like a giant fake tattoo - but he was so not interested!

What he was interested in was doing art when he got home. This week I had picked him up a foam visor (Camille got a princess crown) and I decided Saturday afternoon was the perfect time to decorate them. I pulled out the foam stickers - stars and dinosaurs - which the kids enjoyed, but I got extra great mom points for breaking out the puffy paint. Remember that stuff? You can use it to make 3D art on t-shirts and whatnot. My grandma was real into it in the mid-90s. Anyway, I have a ton of it that I got super cheap at Michael's back in 2000 and I've been carting it around with me for the last seven years (much to Rob's dismay) thinking it'd be useful someday. Oh, did my kids have a heyday with it!

Here is Caleb hard at work.

Camille putting the finishing touches on her crown.

Camille actually did most of this by herself. Caleb gave her the idea to put the little stars on the points of the crown and I helped her with the puffy paint when she needed it, but she did all of the design herself. Not only was I impressed, but Caleb was as well. This is what he had to say about it: "Wow! Camille, that is the most beautiful crown I've ever seen!"

So here are two very scary pictures of my children in their new head gear.

It's hard to tell in these pictures, but Caleb did some very elaborate puffy paint art. He drew a boat (the boat he and Daddy used for canoing several months ago), a shield, some weapons and a baseball ring.

Here are a couple of pictures from today:

Chloe playing in the swing

Caleb and Camille reading nicely together

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Busy day

So yesterday morning the kids got up before I did and made their own breakfast...sort of. I found them hiding behind Caleb's bed eating their feast: a bag of white chocolate candy melts, two cookies, some gum and a package of chicken bouillon. Sounds tasty, right? I asked Caleb why he wanted to eat bouillon - he told me he thought it was candy. Like candy usually comes with a picture of poultry on the front!

We finally put locks on the cabinets and drawers!

Caleb and Camille had a fun day playing - they finger painted this morning. Here they are in the tub, getting cleaned up after they smeared paint over their faces, arms, torsos and other assorted body parts. They were mostly clean by the time I thought to grab the camera.

They played dress up, danced on "stage" (aka Caleb's bed), made a fort, read books and got married. It was a busy day!

Chloe was a little more laid back today than her brother and sister, but when isn't that true? She slept in (didn't really get up until around 8:00!), hung out in her swing, played in her baby gym, sat in her bouncy seat. What a life! We did all go out to Walmart where she slept snuggled in the baby sling. (Let me tell you how many times I heard people ask "Is there a baby in there?" as they passed by us!) She did, however, wake up to eat at Wendy's with the rest of us.

She (finally) went for her two month well check. She's 12 lbs, 2 oz and 23.5 inches tall - between 75 and 90% on the charts. She had two shots and was pretty grumpy about it. I can't say that I blame her. I had to have my rubella vaccine repeated when I was in the hospital and yikes! did that hurt! Now I have a little more sympathy. I had forgotten how shots burn going in.

Here is a cute shot of Chloe from a few days ago.

And here is Chloe playing with Caleb on his bed. He must have been saying something very interesting - she looks like she's hanging on to every word.

Giving big brother kisses.

(Please note the nice pajamas Caleb is wearing. He dressed himself and obviously believes all of his pajama sets are mix and match! I figure if I can get him to dress himself without fooling, stalling or complaining, I don't much care what he wears.)

Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Chloe pictures

Here's Chloe from today.

Showing off her double chin!

Hiding a smile

She may end up with red hair after all. This picture sure does look like it.

Being cute

And serious

And fun

Surprisingly calm although her headband slipped down to cover her eyes. I was out of the room when it happened, so I wonder how long it was there.

And here are all three this morning...
Looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (almost!)

A little more awake and cheerful

Loving on little sister

(Caleb always wants to do a "looking at Baby Chloe" pose...not sure why)

Friday, August 3, 2007

The dancers, the sneaks and their baby sister

My kids love to dance. Today the music of choice was The Temptations. Here they are dancing with each other. They made me sit in the chair and be the audience. Apparently I don't dance well enough to keep up!

Then Camille decided she'd rather dance with her pink ballerina dog. It worked out okay since Caleb wanted to practice some of his ninja moves with wooden spoons he swiped from the kitchen.

Lest you think spoons are the only things that have been swiped from the kitchen today, here is Caleb eating a cookie he grabbed when he thought Mom wasn't looking. Note his need to hide.

Other items that the kids tried to sneak include gum, a water toy that was in a high cupboard, a glass vase filled with colored glass stones (I found that under Caleb's bed) and library books into their beds during rest time and bed time. I am going to make it a point to check under beds every day, especially after I heard Caleb tell Camille that she should hide things under there so she won't get in trouble. (Oh yeah, I also found a sheet of address labels under Caleb's bed.) I'm not sure what the obsession with hiding things is these days - is that a normal almost-five year old thing to do?

On a good note Caleb and Camille have been playing very well together lately. They spent hours yesterday playing Ninja Turtles - Caleb was Leonardo and Camille was Nettie, the pink Ninja Turtle that Caleb made up.

Chloe has managed to keep out of the line of fire during these games, except when the big kids decide they need to lavish her with affection. She's a very good sport.

Here's a picture of the girls yesterday watching Baby Einstein while I tried to get dinner going. This was the first time I purposely sat Chloe in front of the tv, lest anyone think I am purposely trying to raise couch potatoes from birth.

Here's Chloe blowing spit bubbles. They're kind of hard to see, but they're there.

I'll have to take some better pictures of Chloe tomorrow. I only seem to remember to take out the camera these days when she's sleeping in the sling and it's really hard to take pictures of her when she's stuck to me!