Friday, January 26, 2007

Busy Knittin' Mittens

On Wednesday evening I took a Mitten Knitting course at my local yarn shop. . . there were just two of us there, the instructor was awesome and we had a blast. Amazingly, I was able to knit one complete mitten during the 2.5 hour class. I finished the other one this afternoon during naptime.

Viola! I am pleased as punch with the results and feeling so productive to boot! This is my first finished project for 2007. I have completed one of Hatfield's pink and white striped legwarmers, so now I'm onto the next!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Happy Birthday!

January is a Big Birthday Month in our family. . my husband, mom, stepdad, brother-in-law, sister-in-law. . .and now mine.

My husband and children delighted me this morning by surprising me with a homemade birthday cake (pictured above). When my crew realized that they didn't have any cake decorating colored frosting to write Happy Birthday, SuperDad improvised by tinting the white frosting with red kool-aid from a packet that I bought about 4 years ago but never could bring myself to feed it to my kids. . .waste not in our house! I was so impressed with his creativity that I forgot to ask him why he didn't just use our food coloring kit, LOL ;)

The kids were thrilled to continue our family tradition of having birthday cake for breakfast this morning. . .one piece a cake and two cups of coffee has me shaking so badly that I can barely type this blog!

So here's to another year. . .I hope that it's a healthy, happy, fun and chaotic as the last one!

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Get 'Em Ernie, Get 'Em!

The other day I was at Target with my girls and our delightful neighbor Maddie (Maddie if you're reading. . we love you! Come over and knit with us soon!), and the big girls convinced me to buy this stuffed oppossum for Ernie as a "training device."

Ernie LOVES this new toy. For a 3-legged beast who is not at all fond of the snow, he will spend hours . . .well, 45 minutes, but in dog years that is hours. . .in the snow trying to rip this poor stuffed animal to shreds. I'm hoping that when the actual oppossum shows his his beady little face, Ernie's training kicks in and he goes to town!

Truthfully, no. I would have a major freakout if I had bits of oppossum strewn about my backyard and Ernie trying to get in all bloody and googly-eyed. Enough of a freakout to require a horse trainquilizer for sure (good thing we live by Fleet Farm, LOL!). Instead, we borrowed our friends "humane trap" and are trying to lure the thing into it with cat food. To date, no luck. But soon! 2007 is going to my rodent-less year, I can just feel it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

35 Minutes

35 Minutes!

That's how long it took me to find this:

tiny little microscopic piece in this:

ginormous pile of Legos!

All because I am way too obsessive compulsive/stubborn to think outside the box and creatively replace/recreate the part which I could not easily find. And unfortunately, my four-year old son has inherited this trait from me.

If anyone knows of any "deprogramming" methods to help us shake this horrible pattern, please feel free to let us know!

On the plus side, during the misery of the 35-minute search, Atticus entertained me with his Yoda impressions (we're watching Empire Strikes Back). He's quite good actually.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sarah's Public Service Announcement

This is what I recovered from the cavity beneath my dryer's lint screen:


Frankly, I'm absolutely amazed at how much lint collected in the 7 months that we have been in this house. I'm even more amazed that my dryer had not turned into one huge fireball!

My dryer in West Allis "nearly" caught fire. I say "nearly" because by the grace of God, I went downstairs to find a dryer that, although turned "off," was so hot that the top of it burned my palm, a heating element so overheated that a strong red light lit up that corner of the basement, and the first wisps of smoke visible. The first culprit: an out-of-whack heating element, which we immediately had replaced. The second heating element overheated in the exact same matter two days later and we decided to get rid of the thing right there and then.

That lesson taught me to NEVER ever run a dryer when one is not home.

This lesson taught me to ALWAYS check my dryer for errant lint at least once a month.

So please, if you are reading this, go check out your dryer lint trap to see what allergy-provoking gunk you can find.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Warning: Contents Under Pressure

It's just about impossible to buy any product without it bearing some sort of warning label. While some definitely deserve merit (do not place rear-facing infant safety seat in a seat with an air bag), some are completely absurd: Tide: not a good food source; paint-removing heat gun: do not use gun as a hair dryer; sleeping pills: may cause drowsiness.

Yesterday we discovered a well-deserved warning label for our daughter's lunch thermos that the thermos company neglected to issue:

Warning: If soup is left in Thermos for 3 or more days, insert earplugs, place rubber gloves on hands, remove yourself from all other living beings. Then carefully remove cover.

Laugh all you want, but we're serious here! Last week Wednesday I gave Hatfield hot alphabet vegetable soup in this thermos for her school lunch. She came home from school that day, and in an effort to help me, placed the lunch box, still containing the thermos of leftover soup, in the lunch box cupboard. On Thursday and Friday I then used a different lunch box for Hatfield.

Come Sunday night, I take out the lunchbox and lo and behold, find her Thermos. Ewwww. I tried with all my might to open the darn thing, but the top wouldn't budge. I attributed this to dried out soup around the top of the thermos, and asked my husband to help me open it.

So here we are in the kitchen; me, innocently washing dishes, Cliff standing to my immediate left, being a good husband and opening the thermos, which is about 2 feet away from my left ear. .

Cliff and I are shell shocked for a moment. Through the intense ringing in my left ear, I suddenly hear Atticus. "HOLY COW!!! DO THAT AGAIN, DAD!!!"

Apparently, when a thermos holds leftover vegetable soup over a period of several days, the soup releases gas as it begins to decompose. The gas then builds up in the thermos until the unfortunate person chooses to open it. If this happens to you, please heed our warning: Proceed with caution.

Better still, if you can afford it and/or have bad health insurance, avoid the risk altogether and buy a new one.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sister Mary Hatfield Strikes Again

Our daughter Hatfield has had a long-expressed devotion of God and religious ritual, hence her nickname, Sister Mary Hatfield. It all began with the following tale:

One day in the Fall of 2005, Hatfield came home from First Grade requesting that she bring in the family rosary the next day at school.
Sarah, looking blankly at Cliff, replies "Do we even have a rosary?"
Cliff: "Yes, yes, of course. I think I brought one from Seattle." This is the Mister's stock reply to nearly every obscure request. Truth be told, the man moved out here with a moldly antique military backpack full of (horribly unfashionable) clothing and an old tattered suitcase full of books and random papers.
Sarah: "No, you did not bring one from Seattle." After a moment of reflection, "I think we're going to have to go to one of those Jesus stores and buy one."
Hatfield, looking COMPLETELY disdainful: "Mom, how can we be a good Catholic family without a rosary?!?"

Hence the name Sister Mary Hatfield. Over time, our precious girl's behavior has continued to uphold this title. . .wanting Santa to bring her a kiss from God for Christmas, reading the Bible while on long car rides, explaining to us that her teacher who was once a nun used to be married to Jesus, and could there be anything cooler than that?

And tonight, for example, we caught our girl "baptizing" her brother and sister while they were in the tub. Yes, I know that many a kid does this, but how many do this while proclaiming, "You are cleansed of all sin!" and "Your pure soul is ready to receive the Lord!"

We're now just waiting for her to start assigning Atticus ten Hail Mary's every time he is mean to her ;)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Week of the Beast

A definite ying/yang nature of parental boasting certainly exists. Last month, I posted several boasts regarding my childrens' various school programs and activities. In an effort to avoid losing any precious non-parent readers, I promised that I would post about the next bout of heinous behaviour. Well, true to my word, here goes!

Our dear Paloma has been a beast all week. With a very genuine reason, mind you: the poor thing cut all four molars. So now she has her two top teeth, her two bottom teeth, huge spaces and then molars. In the spaces are huge white bulges that hurt to just look at them.

So the teething crabiness, in addition to her usual fearless self, has led to some feelings of parental exasperation. Wednesday morning, after making her round of "climbing from chair to chair round the kitchen table" and trying to get up on the counter for the umpteenth time, I suddenly remembered, "Hey, I'M the parent here!' and that enough was enough! I dug out the booster chair, shunned by my darling several months ago, strapped it to a chair and informed Paloma that this is where she was going to sit, tantruming or not.

To my great surprise, she decided that she now LOVES her booster seat and happily sits in it:

So I did it! I tamed the wild beast (in a very small sense ;)

And now we move onto Atticus the Beast:

As many of you know, Atticus takes daily violin lessons at school. He has thrived in the lessons and takes them very seriously. Well, apparently on Wednesday two of the little boys in his class had a sword fight with their bows until the conductor prompty intervened. So of course, Thursday comes along and Atticus decides to give his bow one good pirate "whoosh" toward a boy (but nowhere near him at the same time).

His conductor promptly told Atticus that he could never, never, ever use his bow like that.
"But I didn't," was Atticus response. He then went on to deny it for several more times before he admitted it. She then said, "Atticus, you always must tell the truth right away. What would your mom say if she heard that you were fibbing?"
"Don't tell my mom, okay?" was Mr. A's response to that.

As you can imagine, I heard that story, and nearly died!

The violin teacher was very good-natured about the whole incident, and because Atticus is a very charming boy in his behavior, she even giggled about it a bit. When I told Cliff the story and got to the "Don't tell my mom, okay?" response, even he laughed at it. Now that a full 24 hours has gone by, even I can chuckle over it. Of course, not in front of Atticus though.

When Cliff asked Atticus how his day at school was, Atticus answered, "Oh, I was naughty in violin." At least the telling-the-truth lesson sunk in!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Five Semi-Thawed Chamorros

Our weather for January has been unusually nice. I mean really, truly unusual: no snow accumulation. None. At all. As a native of Titletown, I can tell you many a story (with pictures to back it up) of how we would have so much snow that my folks would have to dig our mailbox out after the snowplows came through.

On January 3rd, the kids had a great time playing outside after school. We dusted off the scooters, bikes, jump ropes and had a blast. Little Miss Paloma wants to be Big Kid Paloma so badly. Sharp as a whip, she insisted (aka whined until I caved) that I take down Atticus's red bike helmet and bicycle so I could peddle her around the driveway.

Looking at these photos, I feel a bit sorry for my children. They'll have no "we had so much snow we had to dig the mailbox out before strapping on our snowshoes to get to school" stories to tell their children. Instead it will be, "It was so warm that we rode our bikes all about on January 3rd!" But hey! Thanks to their mom, they'll have pictures to back their preposterous tale!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Cliff!

Today is Cliff's 34th Birthday!

We did the "official" celebrating yesterday. Prior to his family birthday party, Cliff went for an afternoon plane ride in his friend Craig's plane, which is a prop plane (is that the right term? I'm just "plane" ignorant on the subject!) that seats four. Cliff, an experienced traveller, wasn't quite experienced enough for this ride and his 10-minute "go" at piloting the plane himself.

The poor guy came home green to his very gills, although there was a good mix of ashy grey in there as well. How do you know when my husband is really, really sick? When he passes on homemade lumpia, red rice and ooey gooey chicken burritos! While the rest of us feasted, our birthday boy laid in misery on the couch, trying to get his land legs back.

He felt a bit better for some of the chocolate devil's food birthday cake that the kids and I made for him (from scratch too, mind you, how's that for a throw-back?). And by 10 pm he was able to get a small plate of food down.

The kid's worked hard on their birthday cards for their old man, and here are the great results!

Happy New Year!!!

Happy 2007 to All!

Sorry for the HUGE lapse in blogging. . .over the holiday break, Cliff relocated his office to our basement and decided to switch ISPs. Due to a scheduling mishap, we went a good 10 days (and what a loooonnngggg 10 days they were!) without any internet service. But after a two hour installation and presto chango, we're back in business!

We had a rockin' New Year's Eve party here at our home, "Kid Style," complete with fake champagne glasses and sparkling pear mango juice! As you can see from the following pics, the kids got pretty crazy ;)