Friday, December 22, 2006

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

8 Billion Legos (through which we searched for one teeny-tiny little piece after another to finish something which looks like a cross between a shark and an airplane, but yet is submerged in water; all in all a 4.5 hour project!).

And yes, Virginia, it is true that you can go cross-eyed after digging through Legos for too long!

7 Mateless Mittens
6 Loads of Laundry
5 Frozen Chamorros
4 Bedroom Home
3 Legged Beagle
2 Front Teeth and
One $9.97 Walmart Wedding Ring to Replace the One Lost in Lily Lake!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, my true loves gave to me:

Seven Mate-less Mittens! (And it's only December, ugh!)
Six Loads of Laundry
Five Frozen Chamorros
Four Bedroom Home
Three Legged Beagle
Two Front Teeth
and One $9.97 Walmart Wedding Ring to Replace the One Lost in Lily Lake!

Monday, December 18, 2006

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, my true loves gave to me:

Six loads of laundry!

Five Frozen Chamorros
Four Bedroom House
Three Legged Beagle
Two Front Teeth
and One $9.97 Walmart Wedding Ring to Replace the One Lost in Lily Lake!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

On the Fifth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Five Frozen Chamorros!
(Honestly, that was way too easy and you probably saw it coming, but really, did you expect a different 5th day gift? Didn't think so!)
Four Bedroom House
Three Legged Beagle
Two Front Teeth
and One $9.97 Walmart Wedding Ring to Replace the One Lost in Lily Lake

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

On the Fourth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

A four-bedroom home (so never again will I ever be awakened at 11:30 pm by a crying child who cannot sleep because her brother, who's wide-awake, is jumping on her bed while she's in it).

Three Legged Beagle
Two Front Teeth
and One $9.97 Walmart Wedding Ring to Replace the One Lost in Lily Lake

On the Third Day of Christmas

On the Third Day of Christmas my true love gave to me. . .

One lazy 3-legged beagle!
Two front teeth!
And one $9.97 Walmart Wedding Ring to Replace the One in Lily Lake!

On the Second Day of Christmas

On the Second Day of Christmas my true love gave to me. . .

My Two Front Teeth!
No joke! Paloma's two front top teeth finally came in. However, next to impossible to snap a photo of!

On the First Day of Christmas

One the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me. . . .

One $9.97 Walmart wedding ring (to replace the one lost in Lily Lake, see our September Archives)!

Hatfield's Award

We are very proud to announce that Hatfield recently won First Place--Grade 2 in the Wisconsin Knights of Columbus Christmas poster! She came home from school on Thursday with the above certificate and medal of honor.

Unfortunately, the posters are no longer at her school, so I was unable to get a picture of her with her prize-winning drawing. The theme of this year's contest was "The True Meaning of Christmas." Hatfield explained that she made a triangle-shaped stable with a "big, pretty, yellow" star at the top of the it. She drew Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus resting in the stable.

When asked why she thought she won the contest, she said that many of the other students drew photos of Christmas trees or giving presents, but that to her, the true meaning of Christmas was Baby Jesus. Looks like someone's paying attention in Sunday School ;)

One Frozen Chamorro

So you want to see a Frozen Chamorro?

You're looking at one!

This photo was taken the other weekend on our annual Christmas Tree Outing with Jimmy and Boppa. While the day was fairly warm for Wisconsin winter standards, it was quite chilly and very windy. But we're hardy folk here, and even Paloma was a trooper against the fierce elements.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Winning the Lottery

Sometimes life as a stay-at-home mom can get a little mundane. Today I felt like I won the lottery when I did 4 loads of laundry and had 9 complete pairs of matching socks and no mateless socks to show for it.

Luckily for me, I have entertaining children. Paloma surprised me today by crawling into Hatfield's Hello Kitty laundry hamper. I'm sure most mothers feel this way, but sometimes I think my kids are just so darn cute that I just want everyone to see. Thank the Lord for blogs!

(To balance out the sap-o-meter, the next time my children do something particularly heinous that illustrates a less-than-stellar parenting moment, I promise to blog about that as well.)

'Pasta' Problems

I have major rodent issues in my life.

An opossum has taken up residence beneath our backyard deck. He terrorized me (and Ernie, our trusty 3-legged beagle) all of October. We didn't see at all in November and I thought "Great! He's moved!"

I was wrong.

Tonight while putting the children to bed, I hear Ernie making a horrible racket in the backyard. I race downstairs to call him in before he would awaken Paloma. I flip on the backyard floodlight, and lo and behold, the opossum returned.

The kicker: the thing only comes out to torture us when Cliff is not home.

So here's Ernie, 10 feet off our deck, barking wildly, circling the opossum. This is not the first time Ernie has cornered the blasted beast. The first time the opossum played dead and returned to his dwelling by sunrise. Upon discovering it playing dead, I nearly called my doctor for a Valium prescription. The second time, Ernie had cornered it in the vegetable garden where it just hissed and swatted and spat at our ferociously barking dog. In a hysterical, semi-hyperventillating state, I telephoned my husband, who got a jolly laugh out of the situation and told me, in all seriousness, to "chase it away with a broom."

Alas, it's now Ernie's third run-in. The vermin knows Ernie isn't the brightest beagle in the bunch so it just sits there, looking at our wonderdog in a mildly bored, slightly amused way. By this point in time Ernie is just about dizzy from the circling and barking. Fortunatley, I am able to lure Ernie in with dog biscuits, and I now have him safely quarantined from the back patio door for the night.

I can't believe this has happened again. As Atticus will gladly tell you, "My mom saw the 'pasta' and nearly died."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Cookie Fun

I have a confession to make: I am a Christmas Cookie Baking Addict. I LOVE baking holiday treats. Last year, while we lived in Milwaukee, I made a scant few cookies, due to a little baby in the house and an ill-configured kitchen. This December in our new home, I have made 9 dozen cookies of different varieties and 5 pounds of fudge, to date.

Today I had little cookie helpers in the house!

They meticulously tested the quality of our cookies, as demonstrated by Atticus:

Hatfield offered a cookie tip: "It's okay to eat yellow snowman cookies. It's NOT okay to eat yellow snowman out in the yard."

All in all: 36 cookies, 1 batch of frosting, 8 jars of sprinkles (5 of which were thoroughly emptied), 3 kiddies and one daddy on major sugar highs.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Burn Those Bibs!

Paloma's new cry: Burn those Bibs! Banish the Booster! Seek Independence!

Our dining experiences with Paloma are always an adventure. From a rather young age, she wanted nothing to do with her high chair because she had to be right at table level like her big sibs, right where the action is. So we put her in a booster seat and she seemed fine with that. Well no longer! Now our girl insists upon using a plain kitchen chair like the rest of us. . .only she needs to stand upon it. I've enjoyed the majority of my meals this week standing behind Paloma, with one hand outstretched just in case she stumbles.

The one department where she hasn't insisted on being like us is in the table manners department. For some reason there she has chosen to model herself after Ernie.

Yet with a face this cute, how could we get mad?

Our Shepherd Boy

Last night was Atticus' preschool Christmas program. We have been to many a preschool Christmas program, but this one was the best put-together, hands down. They put on a play of Baby Jesus' birth. Each and every child had at least one line of speech and one solo line of singing, and the class sang songs as a whole too.

Atticus was a shepherd in the play, and he sang "Go tell it on the Mountain, over the hills and far away. Go tell it on the Mountain that Jesus Christ was born!" His line later in the play was, "This will be the son of God." Then at the end of the play, each child introduced themselves and when Atticus did, he said, "My name is Atticus. Merry Christmas to my Mom and Dad." (Admittedly, all the children said Merry Christmas to their parents too, except the one little girl who named the closest 30 relatives she had :)

We cannot tell you just how PROUD we are of our son. Atticus sang and spoke his lines so clearly, so loudly and with such pride in himself. All the children did in fact. We were just amazed at the self-confidence they all exuded and how well they did! We are still smiling all day from last night; this is our Atticus who really didn't talk or carry on conversations until he was 3 (of course now we can't get him to stop!); this is our Atticus who last year cried nearly every time we dropped him off at his Milwaukee preschool. Here up on stage was this handsome, charming little boy--our little boy-- with a huge white smile!

Of course, he was quite the ham too. He had a difficult time sitting perfectly still when he was waiting on the stage with the other shepherds. He had to do little sitting dances, and he also repeatedly flashed his Spidey underwear (unintentionally) to the entire left side of the audience! While up on stage he took his time to model his Shepherd gear, and once he did a couple of little donkey kicks off the steps when the class was singing and dancing a bit. And to add a flourish to the ending, he was the only kid who did some huge bows while the audience was clapping.

We recorded the program with our new camcorder, and I'm still quite a novice with the device. I'm hoping to download it and put his song and antics on youtube, but no promises there.

All right, I realize that I'm probably making most of you nauseous with my Mommy pride and sentiment, but you other mothers out there will understand that I just can't help myself! And just so you all know. . .prepare yourselves: Hatfield's school program is next Tuesday and Wednesday morning there is sure to be a gushing blog review :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The kids and I were upstairs yesterday afternoon for a mid-week room clean-up. While we were helping Atticus put his clothing away, SLAM! shook the floors.

We peeked into the hallway and saw Paloma's door, once open a moment ago, now shut. We gently opened it (in case she was leaning against it on the other side) and saw this. Miss Paloma gleefully standing on her rocking chair, looking as pleased as punch that she not only got up there all by herself, but was standing on it as well.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree!

Christmas is just around the corner, and I like to decorate early. I also like to take down early and get my house spanking-clean to ring in the New Year. So this year, we put up our "Children's Tree" in our family room on the day after Thanksgiving.

The great thing about our new house is that I can have this "Children's Tree" in our family room, and my "Pretty Tree" in the formal living room. The Children's Tree consists of all kid-friendly, soft, or homemade ornaments. I like to have a tree where every ornament has a story, and this tree definitely achieves that. There are ornaments from my youth, and as we hang them Hatfield begs me to again tell her which ornaments were the ones that Aunt Stephanie and I used to fight over when we were little; there are ornaments that my children made; and special ornaments given to them as gifts over the years by beloved family members.

As showcased by my little Vanna's in the above photo, you can further see that the Children's Tree does not have any edible and/or chokable ornaments on its lower 3.5 feet, making it both Baby Friendly and Beagle Friendly. The one and only Christmas Tree Rule in our house is once a child hangs an ornament, no adult can move that ornament to a more pleasing location. Last year all the ornaments on the tree were in the lower 3.5 feet, which Atticus could easily reach. It looked funny and the boughs were drooping, but it was precious and no one was allowed to touch it!

Furthermore, we had the sturdiness of the Children's Tree tested this year by Mr. Atticus, and it passed with the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Yesterday morning I awoke to find 4 Spidermans, 1 Wolverine, 2 Doc Ocs and 1 SpideyCycle perched among the tree's upper branches. Apparently our little home decorator stood on the arm and back of the couch to reach those precarious places, and the tree didn't move an inch. . .now that's sturdy!

A Changing of the Seasons

Gone is our Thanksgiving week of 60 degree temps and here to stay is the harsh, cold winter. Want proof? I now have damp hats, mittens, socks and snow pants hanging over the heat vent to dry! Further proof? My husband has thanked me about a million times for "forcing" him to decorate the outside of the house during the week of 60 degree temps!

I'll put a picture of our home adorned with Christmas lights in a later blog. . .but here's my food for thought. Green Bay has a "Grizzy Tour." Named for the Griswald home in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, this tour features a double decker tour bus which travels around the city viewing all the over-the-top holiday homes in the area. Apparently homeowners need to apply to get a spot on the tour, and as the tour becomes more well-known, the competition is becoming fierce. I SOOOO want to be a home on the tour next year! So if you're looking for me on December 26th, I'll be at our local Wal-jhar buying all the clearance-tagged tacky outdoor Christmas decor that I can get my hot little hands on!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Miscommunication #2

It turns out that miscommunication doesn't just happen as adults at home. . .it seems to begin in the school years:

"Thanksgiving" by Hatfield
Grade 2
"Non-Fi" [meaning non-fiction]

Chapter 1
Pilgrims and the Mayflower
The Pilgrims drank beer because the water was not safe for them to drink. Their [sp] were two ships called the Mayflower and the Speed well. Boys under seven had to wear dresses. The Speed well had a leak. All the people on the Speed well had to go on the Mayflower.

Chapter 2
Squant and the Indians
Squanto sang songs and the Pilgrims didn't know what it was. Squanto was a slave twice with other Indians. Indians have no underwere [sp] in that time. Squanto taught the Pilgrims lots of stuff. Squanto got to know the Pilgrims and the Pilgrims got to know Squanto and the Indians. Squanto knew the Pilgrims were Christians. Squanto knew how to speak English.

Chapter 3
Harvest Festival
The woman and the children did most of the cooking. The people could eat as much as they wanted too [sp]. The children had to serve the people. Squanto brought ninety Indians. The Indians brought five deer."

We are perhaps wondering if our Catholic school has not updated their history books since Vatican 2. But no matter, we still think our daughter is brilliant. While the other less-gifted children wrote measly 4 sentence essays, Miss Hatfield wrote a Multi-Chapter Essay! However, maybe we should consider homeschooling after all. . .

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Our good friend Josh came over this afternoon to graciously take The Five Frozen Chamorro Christmas 2006 Photo, and so Cliff decided to fry up some lumpia for him. After the "photo shoot" and departure of our esteemed guest, the following conversation ensued:

Cliff: Should I get rid of the frying oil or keep it?
Sarah: Get rid of it.
Cliff: Really?
Sarah: Yes, get rid of it.
Cliff: Okay, I'll get rid of it.

A few hours later, Sarah fixes Atticus a snack and seats him at the table. Atticus asks for something to drink, and Sarah, seeing the two-liter 7-Up bottle on the counter, offers him that. Atticus, who rarely gets soda in this house, happily accepts. Sarah pours him a drink and goes back to planning the weekly menu.

Atticus: BLECH!! This 7-Up tastes bad!
Sarah: Oh, it must be flat.
Cliff, walking by, looking panicked: Did you say 7-Up?
Sarah: Yes, it must be flat.
Atticus: UGH! UGH! UGH! This tastes really really bad!
Sarah, closely examining the bottle.
Cliff: Oh my god! Did you pour him the oil?
Sarah, realizing that it's not 7-Up in the two-liter bottle but used vegetable oil: Oh my God, I gave him oil!
Atticus: Am I going to die?
Cliff: Quick! Give him Ginger Ale! You gave your son oil to drink!
Sarah, pouring the Ginger Ale: I told you to get rid of it! Why did you save it?
Atticus, looking horrified at the cup: Is this really Ginger Ale?
Sarah: Yes, honey, drink it up! Drink it up! Why didn't you get rid of it?
Cliff: I did get rid of it. I just didn't throw it out.
Atticus: My mom gave me oil to drink? Ack!

Parents of the Year! Right here!

Adventures in Babysitting. . .err. .. Parenting

As some of you already know, one of my greatest pet peeves in life is when a married couple refers to the husband as "babysitting" the kids when they are alone with them, as if watching the children is just a momentary chore and not something they should be held accountable for. They're parents, it's called parenting! And before I get flamed for being sexist, I would still feel the same if the reverse were true (although not once in my parenting years have I come across anyone who refers to a mom as "babysitting," even if she is the primary breadwinner and the hubby stays home with the tots). Thud! (Okay, yes, that's just me, jumping off my soapbox).

So while I was out having an adventure in shopping, Cliff was home having an adventure in parenting all of his own. When a women comes home and the first words out of her husband's mouth are, "I didn't want to call you and tell you this while you were gone cause I didn't want to ruin you're shopping trip, BUT. . ." You know that something good is NOT going to follow.

Poor Cliff! Apparently, he had all the kids in the rec room, and Paloma managed to get her hands on one of the many markers that reside in that room. Typically, no big deal. Well, this one had the cap off. And within a matter of a minute, Paloma's face, hands and mouth were a shocking shade of blue. And then she started vomiting.

Cliff hauled keister upstairs in a big hurry and called Poison Control. The good news is that the marker was nontoxic and wouldn't cause any harm. The bad news is that it's nasty stuff which disagrees with little tummies and causes a lot of throw-up. The folks at PC were very nice and even called back 20 minutes later to make sure that everything was under control.

I'm very proud of my husband for keeping a cool head and making the right decision on who to call. I felt badly about how worried he was about my reaction, but as a mother, I more than anyone know how quickly kids can get into things. Like on Wednesday when Paloma managed to crawl from the couch onto the end table, where she then stood and danced on her precarious perch, all while I was vacuuming under the rug. . .in the same room! Or the time Atticus crawled up the toilet and took a belly flop off the toilet tank--at 12 months--in a flash---while I was drying my hair not more than 2 feet away. Accidents happen to the best of parents. What matters is how we react.

So Cliff is leaving this evening for "Up Nort'", needing to start his morning at a doctor's office in the far reaches of the U.P. Normally he doesn't like leaving home on the weekened, but this weekend I insisted that he go. After a weekend of solo "parenting" he deserves a bit of R&R, with nary a marker in view.

Adventures in Shopping

So here I sit on a Sunday afternoon, trying to put together the week's menu. Paloma is napping, Atticus is resting, Hatfield's at a playdate and Cliff is working. I should be running to the store to do my grocery shopping, but dare I say it? I hate to say it! I am all shopped out!

Yes, I was one of those insane, crazy women who went out shopping in the wee hours of Friday morning with two of my girlfriends. We met at Kohl's before their 5 am opening. My girlfriends were gunning for the $40 portable DVD players, and truth be told, we were a little shocked to discover that neither of them made the evening news, with their airdives and all (but being good Christian women, we made sure they handed out DVDs to all the women they dove over!)

We shopped so hard that we filled Debbie's minivan to the point where one of us needed to ride on the roof's kayak rack (not really--Melanie came in and saved the day with her minivan. Don't knock the minivan!). I so wanted a picture of the back of that van, but again, no batteries because we hadn't been to Target yet!

At Target we had a train table, an air hockey table, two kid's media chairs and a whole lottta toys loaded in ONE cart to the point where we looked like we were pushing the Grinch's sleigh after he loaded all the Whoo's presents on it and was headed back to Whooville.

That day of shopping didn't end until 2 pm. A second wind came over me that evening, so I bundled Hatfield up and off we went to hit some more stores. Saturday morning I awoke early to find that my hair was perfectly in place, which is very unusual. I decided that this was a sign from God that I should continue my shopping, so I did!

But now I am all shopped out. The thought of the grocery store is highly unappealing at this moment. But not more unappealing than sending Mr. Cliff out to the grocery store for me, where somehow the list that I wrote "apples, milk and eggs" magically translated into "Cheetos, Koolaid and ice cream." So the list is done, and off I go, to battle the lines and chaos once again.

Those Darn Batteries

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to All!

Our apologies for no holiday post. . .we hosted Thanksgiving here at our home and we were busy little bees from early morning to late night! We had a lovely holiday celebrated with the kids' Uncle Adam, Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Kevin, along with Sarah's friend Randi, her husband Ross and their boys Hunter and Lincoln. Randi's family just relocated here from Milwaukee days earlier, and we loved having them join us for a fun holiday!

Thanksgiving provided some unseasonably warm weather here, and the kids spent most of the day playing outside! I would have some great pictures of it for you, but my darn camera batteries went ka-pooey on me without barely a photo notice :( Never again!

We'll have more photos to come in the days ahead. . .so stay posted!
The Five Frozen Chamorros

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Glamour Girl

Paloma delights in our Fun Fur scarves. Our little girl is 15 months old today!

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Way with Words

I am of the personal opinion that one of the very best parts of being a parent to children between the ages of two and four is one's first-hand exposure to their creative use of the English language.

When Hatfield was four, I took her to see the musical Beauty and the Beast. She was captivated by it, sitting on the edge of her seat, her mouth wide open in awe; I was captivated by watching her and missed the first 20 minutes of the musical. We came home and from there on out, she proudly told people that she and her mom went to see "Judy and the Beast, Alive on Stage." For years, Hattie called worms "Slimeys" and proclaimed any gold object as "Peanut Butter." She outgrew that stage way too quickly, and now the girl has a command of the English language far superior to many adults: "Actually, Mom, I believe that finding a solution to the problem which would benefit everyone is our best option."

While we mourn the loss of Hatfield's kid-isms, we are now constantly delighted by Atticus's. Here are some of his most recent ones:

"Hatfield! I helped clean your room with mom! I picked up all the ponytails!" (meaning My Little Pony toys).

"Mom, I need TWO pumpkin suckers to have my superhero powers. Two for my powers," (ahhh, what power would that be? HyperBoy?)

"Oh no, the gooses broke our pumpkins." (Some rotten kids, during a nighttime prank, took apart my pumpkin luminaries and scattered them about the frontyard. Atticus is somehow under the impression that a flock of Canadian Geese did this. Don't ask us how.)

"Mom! Did you know that God is a Cowboy? And he has teeth!" (He sings a song in school which calls God a cowboy. We're not quite certain where the teeth come in.)

"Ernie broke my heart. And my mouth." (Upon discovering that Ernie ate his vampire-wax lips.)

"I'm going to the man store with my dad!" (A trip to Home Depot!)

Meet Peter Potter

What do you get when Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) and Harry Potter collide?

You're lookin' at him!

Monday, November 06, 2006

How Does God Sound?

Here in an excerpt from my dinnertime conversation with Atticus:

Atticus: How does a baby get in your belly?
Mommy: God puts it there.
Atticus: Does he cut your belly?
Mommy: No, it's a miracle.
Atticus: What's a miracle?
Sarah: Cliff, what's a miracle?
Cliff: What's a miracle?
Atticus: What's a miracle?
Sarah: We're a family of genuises, I tell you!
Cliff: A miracle is God.
Atticus: Mrs. Johnson says God is a cowboy.
Atticus, changing subject: What does God sound?
Sarah, thinking that he means, What does God say, answers: He says that he loves all the children of the world.
Atticus, in disbelief at my obvious cluelessness: NOOOO, how does God sound? [In a low gravelly voice] Does he sound like this?
Sarah, laughing too hard to answer.
Atticus, now in a high falsetto voice: Does he sound like this? [In a spooky voice] Or this?
Atticus: So does God cut your belly open?
Sarah: We need to learn how to block the Discovery Health Channel.
Cliff: Amen to that.
Atticus: What does Amen mean?

Family News

Well, the past few weeks have been a blur and so my postings have subsided a bit. . . Hatfield thought it would be a great idea for me to post a Family Update about everyone, and I think she's right! So here goes. . .

Hatfield's Public Service Announcement

Miss Hatfield would like to remind everyone that last month was National Fire Safety and Prevention Awareness month. As such, we took the opportunity to check all of the smoke detectors in our home and install some additional ones. We also installed carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Hatfield and Cliff worked diligently on a fire escape plan, and hopefully the second floor window ladder that we ordered will arrive soon. When I was little, the fire department would hand out shiny silver reflective "+" signs to place in windows where people slept; we found it interesting that this practice is no longer employed.

In other Hattie news, she has a social calendar which puts her parent's to great shame. . .a party here, a playdate there, yet another party, and another. . .she has adjusted well to her new school here in GB and has made many new friends. Now I just need to finesse my carpool-coordinating skills!

The JabberJaw
Our Atticus loves to talk. And talk. And talk. He talks to us, his toys, himself, the walls, etc. Sometimes my ears kind of hurt by 2 in the afternoon from all the listening! :) Fortunately, he says such crazy and funny stuff that the listening is quite amusing. His newest thing is to tell Hatfield, when we are dropping her off at school, "Have a good day, Hattie. Remember, no fighting." While I think the comment is a riot, he always manages to thoroughly insult his sister with that one.

While I have yet to be successful keeping him quiet at home, he is able to handle himself quite well at preschool. Every morning the school gathers in the gymnasium for "Devotions." The children say the American flag pledge, the Christian flag pledge (who knew?), the school prayer, and "happy birthday" if it is is required. Every month a different class has the responsibilities of carrying in the flags, and that task is split among the students. Atticus had his turn this past month. I was so proud of how solemnly he carried the American flag, and how straight and tall he stood while holding it. I could see the quandry in his little head when he was supposed to hold his hands together in prayer, but yet knew that he shouldn't take his hands off the flag. And yes, he is wearing his "work" (aka necktie) in the photo.

Teething Stinks
Little Paloma is nearly 15 months old and still has only cut her two bottom teeth. She is now in the very drawn out, painful process of cutting 6 more teeth at once. . . the four top and two more bottom. The poor kid is an ooly drooly mess and bites on everything she can get her hands on or her mouth around (siblings included!). I'm hoping that one of these mornings the teeth will just all be there, but I think that's asking too much.

While we wait, Paloma continues to have a small vocabulary explosion. . "hello" "peek-a-boo" "at-ta" (Atticus) "hat-ta" (Hatfield) "ba-be" (baby) "eye" are all words she has tried out in the past week or so. "Uh-oh" continues to be her favorite word, and she certainly knows how to use it. Ernie the beagle thinks that "uh-oh" is Paloma's way of calling him, because he knows that food will typically follow. Like this morning at breakfast: Paloma: "Uh oh" dropping pancake onto the floor. "Uh-oh!" another pancake bite. Over and over. And oh yes, at Ernie's Friday afternoon vet checkup, the vet proclaimed him to be "fat."

And Last but Not Least. . Ernie
Ernie continues to be our noisy yet lazy, food scrounging beagle. He has been showing increased tolerance of the dark and cold weather due to the oppossum that has taken up residence under our deck. The little rodent ventures out into the yard every night and Ernie runs around, barking like mad. The other night he cornered the thing in our vegetable garden and just ran circles around him, barking, while the creature hissed and growled at him. The neighbors think we have a late-night 3-ringed circus in our backyard, and they're not too far off.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Tips from the Harried Homemaker

Here are some post-Halloween tips for my dear readers:

1. Never, ever put 2 pumpkins' worth of raw pumpkin seeds down your garbage disposal. Those slimy little buggers will give your disposal a loooonggg workout which may result in smoke and a vulgar burning smell.

2. Hard to believe, but a child-size set of rubber dracula fangs, if placed in one's dryer, can scar at least 86% of a laundry load. Meaning, if you have 22 articles of clothing in your laundry, 19 of them will come out besmudgeoned by melted neon green plastic fang ooze.

Happy Home-making!
Your Friend,
Sarah "Trying to Save Her Readers One Bloody Mishap at a Time" the Harried Homemaker

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween to All!

From The Cheerless Leader, Spiderman and Chicken Girl!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Atticus's "Skeer-y" Haunted House!

Once upon a time, October 2002 to be exact, my sister Stephanie (lovingly referred to as "Aunt Sesame" by Atticus) took Hatfield for a Saturday afternoon and created a fabulous haunted Halloween gingerbread house. While constructed of mere gingerbread and held together by frosting, Hatfield's haunt has the strength of a nuclear bomb shelter, thus surviving four Halloweens and two moves without so much as a scratch.

Atticus, upon viewing Hatfield's treasure, declared "No fair. . I want to make a Halloween gingerbread house." So I took it upon myself to purchase a kit and declared today as Construction Day.

I have a newfound respect for my sister. . .

Good lord, you really need an engineering degree to build one of these things. They throw a whole bunch of gingerbread pieces in a box, instructing you to "use a ruler as a guide and shave them so that they have straight edges." Then, after shaving them, they tell you that "the 3 x 3 1/2 inch piece is the right upper roof. The 3 X 3 1/4 inch piece is the upper left roof. The 2 7/8 x 3 1/4 inch piece is the left side wall. Make certain to not interchange the pieces or the structure will collapse." With such a small difference in sizes and zero margin of error, it was so obvious to me that the manufacturer had small children in mind when creating such instructions.

Fortunately, for a liberal arts graduate such as myself, I had my dear friend Melanie the Architect over for coffee at this point in the building process. With her great patience and professional guidance, I was able to construct a sturdy structure.

During Paloma's naptime, Atticus and I decorated his Spooky Ghost House. He was so proud of all of our work, and the best thing about working with a four-year old is that no matter how bad your frosting-decorating skills are, they think you are FABULOUS! "Mom, that's Awesome!" "Mom, it's beautiful!" "Mom, great job! I love it!" My ego seriously needed such boosting after the instructions made me feel like such a moron!

The job is done and now Atticus's home proudly stands next to Hatfield's for all to see. In the meanwhile, I'm trying to figure out what relative I'm going to dupe into making one with Paloma in 3 short years from now. . .

Happy Haunting!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Go Gamblers!

Last night we took Hatfield and Atticus to their very first hockey game: the Green Bay Gamblers' Season Opener at the Resch Center!

We attended the game with our dear friends Matt and Nola and their oldest son, Alec. Nola and I met nearly 5 years ago in Lamaze class when we were pregnant with our boys. Our due dates were barely 2 weeks apart, but Alec came two weeks early on May 1st, and Atticus came quite late on June 4th. We have been close friends ever since, and last year we experienced the joy in having another set of babies, Paloma and Jake, born mere days apart in August 2005.

Hatfield, Atticus and Alec all LOVED their very first hockey game. It was a fast-paced, exciting game, complete with a good fight or two. We sat behind one of the goals and were often treated to the loud "Crack!" of the puck hitting the safety glass, which the kids thought was the coolest. Green Bay won the game against Indiana 7-4, and as such Atticus and Alec were able to show off their smooth dancing skills to Gary Glitter's "Hey!" song every time our team scored a goal. Hatfield took the game much more seriously, opting to sit out on the dancing (and even a concession run with Dad and Atticus) to watch the game unfold; her experience and love of soccer really helped her to grasp the game of hockey.

We look forward to many more hockey games and fun times with our great friends in the months ahead!

Away to the Chocolate Factory

Yesterday afternoon I took Hatfield and Atticus to see a children's theatre production of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at St. Norbert College. The play was set in one of the smaller theatres, and we were lucky enough to have 2nd row seats which put us on eye-level with the actors.

Prior to the play's beginning, the director came out and explained to the young children in the audience that they shouldn't talk during a real play, because unlike a movie theatre, the actors in a play can hear the audience members and become distracted. However, he was quick to note, actors LOVE it when the audience laughs and LOVE it when the audience claps.

The entire audience, my kids included, did really well with these guidelines except for one moment involving Mrs. Teevee and Atticus. At one point in the play, Mrs. Teevee becomes so exasperated with her son Mike that she says, "Oh just shut up!" Atticus loudly gasped and proclaimed, "Oh no, that's a naughty word!" I quicky clasped my hand over my son's mouth and whispered "Shh!" to him while members of the audience chuckled around us. For a moment I was a bit embarrassed, but then when it sunk in that they used such a phrase in a children's play, my only thought was, "Well, it serves the director right."

That moment aside, the three of us had a great time and Atticus was just entranced with the "chocolate river" (a huge rectangular piece of shimmery brown cloth that spanned the back of the stage, held in place and gently shook by two off-stage stagehands). Hatfield loved the three cute Oompa Loompas, one of whom is a 6th grader at her school. We look forward to seeing The Best Christmas Pageant Ever this December, and Treasure Island next spring!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Paloma and Her Baby Doll

Paloma just loves her baby doll. One of her favorite things to do is to push her dolly around the driveway and yard in the dolly stroller. I snapped these cute photos last weekend. Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Cliff and Sarah Go to White Castle

Just kidding!

Mr. C and I just had our semi-annual date night. Ideally, we aim to have a date night every other week, but throw in a hubby who does a lot of out-of-state travel, 2 kids, 1 baby, the occassional lack of a trusted babysitter (meaning Jimmy had the nerve to leave town, LOL!), piano lessons, dance class, flu bugs, sick dogs, runaway cats and a wife who is sometimes just too darn tired to go anywhere, and date night becomes a semi-annual event. While Cliff would have been thrilled with White Castle, he was a good sport and coughed up a good chunk of change to take me to a great Mediterranean restuarant on G.B.'s east side.

This particular date night was very special because it also included our annual couple photo. Throughout our courtship and 5 years of marriage, we have just a few pictures of Cliff and I as a couple. As it turns out, they have all been taken about a year apart, and indeed, the last one was taken around Thanksgiving of last year.

So here it is! Our blog debut for our 2006 photo! Stay tuned for our 2007 photo ;)

PS- About the White Castle thing. Really, I'm not a totally bad wife. When we lived in Milwaukee, Cliff treated Atticus and I to lunch at Racine's White Castle one day. I went willingly, without complaint, and even tried one of their little supposed-to-be-beef-but-I'm-guessing-it's-something-I-don't-want-to-know burgers (and without calling it such!). Atticus, aka Mini-Cliff, didn't have to pretend. He thought their "O"-shaped french fries were the coolest things since curly fries!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Road Trip!

Saturday proved to be one of those marvelous, textbook fall days: crisp air warmed by the sun, trees showcasing their glorious colorful foilage, and the lure of apples to be picked and pumpkins to be chosen. So what did we do? We packed the kids up in Cliff's car and headed for the Pumpkin Patch Festival in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin on the famed Door County peninsula.

3 miles south of Egg Harbor traffic came to a standstill. A dead stop. Here in Wisconsin, if you're north of Milwaukee, this is virtually unheard of. Unless you're trying to get to Egg Harbor on beautiful weekend, and that weekend happens to be that of the Pumpkin Patch Festival.

45 minutes later we were cruising at our snail's pace through downtown Egg Harbor, just blown away by the throngs of people. That's throngs, people. And we have a huge stroller. And two walking kids. And boy does that all mix like oil and water.

So we just drove right though Egg Harbor and kept on driving north. We stopped at a fabulous pizzeria in Ephraim for lunch and then went on to Sister Bay, where we had a blast at their bayside playground.

Afterwards we browsed through candy shops, bookstores and window-shopped any store carrying "breakables." The kids' favorite part of Sister Bay? Discovering the restaurant with the grass roof, complete with resident goats who keep it nice and tidy for the owners. It's hard to tell by this photo, but Hattie and Atticus are standing beneath the grass roof, and at the very tippy-top of the roof there is a goat.