Sunday, December 20, 2009

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

Someone is 12-Days-of-Christmasing us.  And doing a great job of it, I must add.  Everything is packaged up very fancy and pretty.
The first day, December 13th, we received a basket full of red, green, and brown pears with a little stuffed felt bird ornament.  I took pictures.

The 2nd day is my favorite - for Two Turtle Doves we received a package of Cummings Chocolate turtles and two bars of Dove soap.

Three French Hens  - for some reason this keeps uploading vertically.   Three Tyson Frozen Cornish Game hens.

Four Calling Birds - three water warbling bird whistles and a chirping keychain bird

Five Gold Rings

Six Geese a Laying

Seven Swans a Swimming - that's a fancy swan ornament on top of six floating candles

Eight Maids a Milking  - this was on our porch this morning. That's 3 chocolate milks, 1 strawberry, 1 lofat, 1 eggnog, a whipping cream, and a buttermilk.

I started taking pictures on the 2nd day of Christmas because I was floored at how clever "my true love" is being.  I mean, Dove soap and Chocolate turtles?  Fabulous.
I strongly suspect I know who it is - but do I ever tell them I suspect?  Am I spoiling the fun of it all if I do?  Will they reveal themselves on the last day?  It's a dilemma. 

My birthday was wonderful, Hubby took the girls shopping and asked them what they liked to do best with me.  They both said they liked to play board games.  Which is somewhat predictable as it's one of the few things I can stay interested and stay awake to do with them.  So I received a game of Clue from Thing 1, and a new game I'd never heard of before called Sorry Sliders from Thing 2.  It is great that the girls are old enough to play games like this.  It's also a trick to find games they both like, but they both seem okay with these, so we've been playing a lot of them since my birthday.

Hubby brought me back some jewelry from Iceland.  It's fabulous, a black stone - volcanic stone, apparently, set in silver.  He gave me a necklace and earrings.  I don't have a picture, and the website won't let me copy down just the picture of the jewelry...  but here's a link -

It's really interesting and pretty - Hubby always picks out the most amazing jewelry.

On the dog front, Kelso has been using the edge of the cone of shame to scratch his neuter incision.  The tech at the vet's office was very impressed, he seemed quite surprised that the dog would have figured this out.  It caused some bleeding onto his fur, so they told me to duct tape a tube sock around the edge of the cone.  That lasted about ten minutes before he worked one corner up, then it just became a REALLY convenient chew toy that he carried around with him every where he went. And it looked absolutely ridiculous.  The vet's office told me to bring him in and they could do something to the cone.
They said the incisions all were healing nicely (no expensive antibiotics) but all they did to solve my problem  was give him a longer cone.  So now not only does he look like he lost an argument with a lamp, he lost an argument with an even bigger lamp.

I had to elevate his water bowl even higher - which is a pain because when he's done drinking and turns to walk away, the great big cone catches the bowl and he almost always dumps it over. And he can no longer even reach his toys when they're laying flat on the ground.  You have to hand everything to him, and then he chews on it for a moment, drops it, and whoops it's gone.  He just strains toward it, capturing it in the circle of the cone and for all I can tell, just stares at it.  Our little house, with narrow pathways between chairs and tables is a tight fit in the best of times, but with the cone on he catches on everything, and just digs in and pushes onward, either careening forward when the cone finally drags off the obstacle, or dragging the furniture with him.
The cone is scheduled to come off on Thursday, Christmas Eve.  I am so looking forward to it.  I think I need to schedule him his first Petsmart Puppy Grooming appointment that day - he's starting to be a little ripe.

This is the dog in the back yard with something he found he could reach to play with from the recycle bin.  He is flinging it around, then leaping after it.

He is growing so fast it's alarming.  He weighed 21 pounds on his first vet visit a few days after we got him, November 2nd or something like that.  When I took him in this last week for his new cone, he weighed in at 41 pounds.  He's not even five months old yet.

Friday, December 11, 2009

He wears the Cone of Shame

Kelso had a big day yesterday.  I did too, but in a long-term perspective, his was bigger.

After I dropped the girls off at school, I took him to the vet for his vaccinations, dew claw removal, and neutering.  It is sad to turn this happy tail wagging little guy over to the vet and walk away, knowing that a rare kind of horror awaits him...

I had a very busy day planned as my folks were driving down to celebrate my birthday, which is on Saturday.  I squoze in a morning of volunteering at the school in Thing 1's class until 11:30, then came home and started working on my Christmas cards.  My folks showed up around 12:30.  Their original plan was to take me to lunch, but my mother always has other things on her agenda - like buying buttons for a couple of sweaters she knitted, and buying fabric so she could make some Christmas Pajamas for my girls.  (she's a fabulous seamstress).
We figured that between then and 3:00 when it would be time to pick Thing 2 from school (Thing 1 has an after school class on Thursdays and gets out an hour later) there wasn't time to do all that and go to lunch too.

About then I mentioned that I hadn't renewed my drivers license, which was up this year.  My mother looked shocked and said you have to do it before your birthday.  I thought I had until the end of the month.  We looked on line, looked at the letter, and finally figured that though the information was somewhat unclear, better safe than sorry.  I'd hate to have to take the test or something just because I waited three extra days.
The big problem was I couldn't do it today, Friday, as all the offices are closed.

So we ate lunch from what I had in the fridge and then Mom and I drove over to get my license renewed.  Miraculously, that only took about twenty minutes.  We raced through our other errands, had my dad pick up Thing 2 from school, and got home in time for me to run over and get Thing 1.
I usually walk over with the dog.  She had forgotten about his big day, and when she remembered she broke into tears.  She cried off and on the rest of the evening and lamented about how much she loves him and how much she misses him... my folks took us to Chuck-a-rama for dinner (not my first choice, or probably my 2nd, but with the kids in tow it's so much the easiest place to eat) and Thing 1 spent the dinner hour lamenting and worrying and tearing up.
We ran to pick Kelso up after dinner.  Thing 1 was wringing her hands, drying her eyes...  They put us in a patient room and gave me the post-op instructions.  Then they brought him in.

Thing 1 and 2 took one look at him and just busted up laughing.  He was a little stunned from the medication and everything, whimpering a little... and there they are just barely able to stand from laughing so hard.  So much for sympathy.

Notice the "workout sweatbands" as my sister called them.  My sister says when her dog was neutered he only wore the cone a couple days.  Kelso gets his for two full weeks.  Mostly it's to keep him off the dew claws.
Today he's doing great, and was bouncing around this morning like there was no problem in the world.  The girls were discussing that it is a little embarrassing to walk him to school with him in the cone.
He is such a pretty dog, and he carries himself so nobly...  it is such a contrast to see him wearing this goofy cone head thing.
His walking buddy, the bull mastiff named Winston, goes in for the snip today.  He's only getting the neuter job, not the dew claws as well.  Chances are he'll be out of his cone in a couple of days, while our baby Kelso will be sporting this thing until Christmas Eve.  Just in time for the Christmas photos.  Phew!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eee's a mean wabbit

The dog has ramped up his chewing.  He's started gnawing at things he's completely left alone for the last month and a half.
He's created some more serious casualties.  Today it was the girl's pencil box, that we have by the kitchen table for easy pencil access for homework.  Somehow he pulled it off the shelf, shredded half a dozen pencils, left bite marks on some others.  The girls were quite upset.   Yeah, well, it was a bunch of pencils.  No big deal.

The big deal was yesterday.  I was blissfully taking a nap when the shock, the horror was discovered.  It was Thing 2's FAVORITE Littlest Pet Shop creature.  Mind you, no matter which one would have been chewed, I'm pretty sure it would have been her favorite.

The picture can't do it justice - what used to be a benevolent fluffy creature is now scarred, damaged, and somehow evil in a way that I can't understand.  That once sweet gleam in his eye is now sinister.  The scratches on his face and the broken end off his ear are not a source of pity, they are horrifying and repugnant.  His turned up nose is now concealing bared teeth.   Oh, the humanity!
Could we buy another one?  I told her probably not, these things are seasonal and they make them for a while, then discontinue them.

Thing 2 marched into the kitchen and flung the zombie rabbit in the garbage, yelling her anger at the dog as she stormed past. 

A few minutes later her eyes lit up and she announced that she could ask Santa, who would just have his elves make a new one, and he could put it in her stocking.  She was content.

Santa found one on ebay for $5.95 including shipping, which is probably about what it cost originally.

Santa Claus is real, and he shops on ebay.

Report cards

Thing 2 brought her report card home first.  The ratings they give are not A through F, they're... I think it's 3, 2, and 1 for Outstanding, On Grade Level, and You Better Do Better!

Both of my kids do very well in school, mostly 2s on their report cards with an occasional 3 for reading.

For this last report card, her first for first grade, Thing 1 did just that, all 2s with one 3.  I was REALLY proud.  By comparison, Thing 1 in first grade got all 2s except the 2nd and 3rd trimester, the 3 in reading.  So Thing 2 is doing very well.

This first report card of 2nd grade for Thing 1 was ALL 3s except one 2 in Math.

I was floored!  Bless her little heart!

I am so proud of both of them!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kelso doesn't do well with turkey

I neglected to mention in my Thanksgiving report, that on Friday as the dogs were in the garage, my sister's bigger boxer pushed the gate aside and got over to the work bench, where all the leftovers were lined up for cold storage.  He somehow nudged a 9x13 pyrex dish full of turkey leftovers off the bench, which of course crashed onto the floor.

When I walked out that evening to start shuttling food in for dinner, I couldn't even tell what had been in the dish, the glass had been licked clean.  Calls to mind the scene from A Christmas Story, don't it?  So we didn't have much turkey left over.

My sister was worried sick that Kelso had eaten some glass.  Her own two gluttons she figured deserved whatever the got, but if they led my little innocent boy into intestinal puncturing, she would never forgive herself.   But there was no way of knowing how much turkey or glass he'd eaten, if any.  Her bigger boxer is pretty dominant and might not have let Kelso near the turkey.

He came through just fine, so to speak.  Sunday afternoon when we got home from church we found that he doesn't digest turkey very well.  He had diarrhea on the tile floor (his first "accident" in weeks, but it's hard to count it as such), and there was a large piece of undigested turkey in the middle of it.  Was that more than you wanted to know?  Probably.  Sorry.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Bird Day!

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Despite getting off to a late start, we were the first of all the company to arrive at my sister's house on Wednesday, we got our soup made, and everything was ready by the time people started to arrive.

Despite my fears that my sister's rambunctious boxers would eat my quiet little puppy alive, they got on FAMOUSLY and Kelso ended up completely wearing out the more active of her two dogs, Willo.  (Kelso didn't quite figure out how to play with her older, more relaxed dog Ruger, who mostly watched the two younger ones play).  The first night we were there it was a real dogfest, with the three of them barking and chasing each other around the house during our pre-Thanksgiving Soup Dinner.  We kept sending them outside, then letting them back in when they were quiet, only to send the three of them out again.  I'm sure my father thought it was crazy to let them be right there with the family, but I found it amusing to watch, and my sister said she's so immune to the barking that she hardly notices it anymore.

Kelso chilling on the back porch with his doggy cousin, Willo

Despite the fact that the official festivities were not at my mother's house, everything went off swimmingly, we had a marvelous time on Thanksgiving Day.  All of the days, actually.

Thing 2 rides Chaz, the best horse around, who is sporting his long winter coat.

Thing 2 got to go Horseback riding, and Kelso had the time of his life playing for 3 days with his new cousins.  He even did fabulous in the car up and back, not drooling all over himself.  If he thinks that Willo is at the end of a car ride, he may decide the car isn't so bad after all.

Thing 1, my niece, and Thing 2 enjoy their dinner.
Notice Thing 1's grown up grasp of the fork and knife.

I made Apple pie, it turned out okay.  The crust part was the only questionable part, it was okay and the guts of the pie were really good.  I also made my cousin's Sweet Potato Pie (a dessert that moonlights as a vegetable), this is the one that one of my sister's stepsons offered $5 to his dad for the last serving of a couple of years ago.  I made a double batch, screwed up the recipe a little, and still there were only about three servings left by evening on Thanksgiving day. 
The girls had a great time playing with their cousins, my mom was less stressed because everything wasn't at her house, and I had a wonderful time.

Typically, there are lots of people in the kitchen.
Five at this counting (you can just see my sister's arm stirring
the pot in front of my aunt in the red shirt.) Six if you count me

The only downer was that Hubby had to fly out today (Saturday) to Iceland.  So we only got him for this one short week. 
But what a lovely holiday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Paris? No Thanks

We've been doing really well lately.  Hubby's home, which is always a bonus, though he has a heinous trip coming up after Thanksgiving.  He leaves the 28th for Iceland for a couple of days, followed by a couple days in London, followed by a couple days in Paris.  He returns the 12th of December or so, which happens to be my birthday.  He tried to talk me into meeting him in Paris - who wouldn't want to be flown to Paris for their birthday?
Me, for one.
He has a long standing history of trying to do wonderful over-the-top celebrations for my birthday, which usually involve a night or two at a wonderful hotel or something.  This was fine and dandy until we had kids.  As the kids got older it has become a real juggling act of the holiday season, that not only do I have to get everything ready for Christmas, I lose a couple of days in which to do it, and I have to arrange for someone to watch the girls - my folks for the most part.  There were a couple times when trying to juggle his schedule and the girls' schedules and my folks' schedule, and getting everyone where they should be at the right time kind of sucked all the fun out of it for me.  It started to become more of a hassle and less of a delight.
So I turned down the Paris trip.   He'd be teaching a class most of the day, I'd be bopping around Paris on my own except for meeting him for dinner...  Don't get me wrong, I love Paris, I sort of speak French, and it would be fun, but having fun shouldn't be that much work.

And this year I would have the added problem of the dog, which would not go over well with my folks.   We would probably end up putting him in a kennel.  Which would not go over well with the dog.
So I'm staying home to keep the home fires burning.

I took the dog to a do-it-yourself dog wash place last week.  He HATED it but boy howdy did he ever come out fluffy and cute.  He smells less doggy, and his fur has that fluffy, bouncy Breck-Girl shine.  It might be hard to tell from a picture, but believe me, he is much softer and fluffier than before.  He better get used to this bath idea, as I see many such baths in his future.


We'll be doing Thanksgiving at my sister's house this year.  My parent's house is sort of under construction (see earlier blog). The kicker is my dad's idea of having the floors put in while they were on vacation in order to avoid living in construction for a week completely backfired and now they're living in a construction zone for over a month through the holidays.  I'm so proud of my mom who claims she hasn't once said "I told you so!"

With my family Thanksgiving is a two or three day affair.  Bigger than Christmas in some ways.  I'm looking forward to it.

The change of location helps us in one way as it makes it easier to figure out what to do with the dog, since my sister has dogs, we're hoping they all get along well enough.  Had we had it at my folks', the dog would have been in his kennel the entire time, or locked in my sister's back yard or something.

Time to start figuring out my grocery list as the festivities begin tomorrow, and with my mom's kitchen all torn up, I'm helping out more than I usually do.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Call it a success!!

The baptism went really well.  Thing 1 was so excited she could hardly stand it...  everything went off very nicely.  My brother dunked, my dad blessed, and both did beautifully.  The one detractor was an older guy, I believe the grandfather of one of the other little girls getting dunked, who started in whispering after my dad finished the blessing part.  Hubby and I sitting right in front of him could hear him loudly whispering "He did it wrong!-" over and over again to whoever he was sitting next to.  "They've got to do it over!  He did it wrong!"  It was kind of distracting that when I'm hugging my girl and beaming her, and beaming  happy thank yous at my dad, I can hear this old rooster in my ear murmuring how it was screwed up.  After the closing prayer Hubby went up to the bishop and asked.  The bishop said my dad had said " the power" instead of "... through the power" or something extremely minor like that, and it wasn't really a big deal.  Certainly nothing worth bothering over.  It made me mad the old biddy behind me spoiled my basking in the moment with his worry fest.
Everything else went beautifully.
I needn't have worried about the whole white dress thing, though.  Of the two other little girls dunked on Saturday, one of them wore purple, and one wore white and black.  Thing 1's outfit was just fine.

The dog behaved very well for the after baptism party.  I thought I'd have to put him out in the freezing back yard while we had everyone over for dinner, but he mostly sat or slept rather contentedly on his rug in the kitchen and watched everyone come and go.  The dog people in my family were hugely impressed, the non-dog people were commenting loftily that we'll have to see how long it takes before this crazy "getting a dog" idea - especially one as big and hairy as this one's going to be - turns out to have been a bad thing.  Yeah, whatever.  The piddle counter is still going, and so for he doesn't shed.

While I went to exchange the shirt on Saturday morning, the girls went outside and played in the snow with the dog.   Off leash, I might add.  It is so nice to have a puppy who doesn't just run away.  Thing 1 got a kick out of piling snow on him.

  He mostly sat on the front porch and watched them romping around.

Today was the Primary program.  This was the third one I've written and been in charge of.  I was surprised at how well it went.  The kids really out did themselves.  We had a bunch of solos, and every kid spoke up and said their parts, some of which were pretty long for little kids (something you can do when you only have a dozen kids in the primary), and they all sang out just great.

I'm glad it's over.  But I kind of expect I might have to write one more before I'm released. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Four Days Since Rug Piddle

My folks have been in Italy.  They got home tonight to find that the new hickory wood floor that they were having installed while they were out of town had to be ripped up because a valve in the dishwasher broke and flooded.  It soaked through to the basement in one of the back rooms, it's going to take a month to dry out the sub floor, get new hickory and "acclimate" it to their house...

Looks like we won't be doing Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's this year.
The dog went three days.  Then I think it was Tuesday I went into the dining room, he followed me, sniffed around a little and was making me nervous and then sure enough, piddled on my dining room rug.  So I started down the piddle counter again, and now it's been four days.  I really don't have time tomorrow for him to piddle again, as adding one day to his previous record is not a system I'd be really happy with.

Tomorrow is Thing 1's Baptism.  There are some mixed feelings about this, as Hubby won't be performing any of the ceremonies.  It's not really an endearing quality about the church to run it this way.  She is excited and scared and disappointed because of course she'd like her daddy to do it.  We're trying to not make much of the disappointed part of it.
I spent most of a day last week going from store to store looking for a white dress that would suit her because of course this is not white season, and even if it was, she is not going to be happy with sequins across her empire waisted filmy materialed dress...  I finally found a nice satiny sort of shirt at Macy's, with a little matching black knit skirt.  I decided I better try it on her tonight, and found the skirt is fine, but the shirt is obviously a size too big.  She normally wears a 7, but the shoulders hang off of this and the ruffle on the sleeve comes down to her fingernails.  Part of the problem, why I just found this out today is because she HATES to go shopping.  It just isn't fair, a picky dresser who refuses to go shopping with me?  My threats that she can wear the same pair of tacky baggy velour pants everywhere is completely hollow because I do so love to see my girls dressed nicely.  So I'm going to be dashing across town to exchange the shirt in the morning, leaving Hubby to get started on the food. Luckily the baptism doesn't start until 4:00.    Also the house is moderately clean, but not company clean.  And certainly not "company who have never been here before" clean.  That will take a bit of work.  I should probably go to bed as I've got a big day ahead of me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It may be too early to call...

The day isn't over yet, but it looks like we may have actually passed two whole days with no dog accidents on the floor or rug.  It's been 48 hours, anyway.   I'm not sure if he's being trained to pee outside, or I'm being trained to take him outside all the time.

I want to take the dog to puppy school, but the timing at PetSmart is all off for me.  The other lady in the neighborhood with a collie recommended a private trainer.  The private trainer's prices for group lessons are a little more than PetSmart, but not dramatically so.  I am coming into her 8 week session 3 weeks late, so we're getting a deal on the last 5 sessions.  She also recommended private lessons.  I said sure, a couple of private lessons would be helpful.  What I didn't realize was that 1) she comes to your house (that's fine) 2) she wants to do private lessons in a series of 4 lessons minimum (okay) and 3) they're $75 an hour.  WHAT?    I can't commit to three hundred dollars of dog training right now!
So we're just going for the group lessons.
We start on Wednseday.

It's cute to see the girls so enamored of the dog.  Thing 2 likes to grab either side of his furry neck and rub her face in his.  They tell him about every five minutes when they're around him how cute he is.  I hope they still love him when he loses his puppy charm and just becomes a big hairy dog.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Holy Cow! It seems to work!

(Did I mention that Hubby is Brilliant!?)  He's the one who told me to try Firefox.

Okay.  The other thing worth mentioning is the puppy.

Kelly left a wonderful comment in reply to Gravity's kind comment asking about the dog... Thanks, Kels.  It's nice to think we're not just mooning over our new puppy, he really is a sweetie.

This is Kelso and Tadaki.

It's hard to get a good perspective on how big Kelso is without a person next to him.  He looks small next to Tadaki, but Tadaki's a regular sized lab... and he is closer to the camera.  Tadaki looks pretty big there.

Naming our puppy was a pain. He was 'Good Boy!' and "Puppy" for a week. The girls were so excited to take him to show and tell, but I insisted we couldn't take him until he had a name.  They were voting for food names, "Waffle" was a front runner for a while, followed by "Caramel," and "Maple."  Hubby was voting traditional names.  I think Scout was his front runner.
I was voting Scottish names.  I found a website that was quite helpful.  Had I not been completely voted down, he would have been named "Tavish" but in retrospect that wouldn't be as good to bellow across the dog park.  Not enough good vowel sounds.  And Thing 1 didn't like it because it sounds like "Radish" and she doesn't like radishes.
Kelso is the name of a town in Scotland, close to the English border.  I don't know if I've ever been there, but I liked the word.  I don't watch "That 70s Show" so I didn't know until after we'd pretty much settled on it that it is also Ashton Kutcher's character on the show.  Oh well.

It looks like he's wearing one of  those weird elizabethan ruffle collars there.

So the funny story is I'm not the only one who had trouble naming their dog.  Also, Kelso isn't the only collie on the block.  It's kind of strange that I had such a hard time finding collie puppies in the state, which helped my indecision about a dog (yeah I like them, but we have to pay $350 to ship it here!), yet there is a full grown one two houses away. People (including the owners of the other collie in the neighborhood) have told me that Kelso is the first collie puppy they've ever seen.  You don't find them a lot around here.  Maybe because they're big, comparatively, for the little houses in this neighborhood?  But I saw a Great Pyranees puppy Trick or Treating, and we play with a Bull Mastiff puppy on the playground, so who knows.

But back to the dog naming.  The other collie, who hopefully we'll have puppy playdates with someday when Kelso is big enough to hold his own and not just get mauled like he was the first visit, is named Windex.  Yep.  Why Windex, you ask?
Because they had named him Simba after he got all of his body shaved but his head - he was a rescue dog and was a mess when they got him the only way to deal with it was to shave him.  But the name just wasn't fitting.  She said they eat dinner on the glass topped coffee table sometimes, and she left something on the table only to come back and find it completely disappeared, and not only were there no crumbs, but the dog was thoroughly cleaning the table.  She told him, "You're better than Windex!"  He threw his head back, and grinned, and she knew he'd found his name.

We weren't nearly so dramatic.  I basically got tired of looking for names, Kelso seemed as reasonable as anything else... "He Who Must Not Be Named," or "Voldemort" for short was brilliant on the part of my brother in law, but it wasn't sticking.  "Quandry" was a possibility, but seemed a little odd...  And I wasn't coming up with anything else.  So Kelso it is.

There.  A big ramble about dog  names.  Your reward for reading this far is another photo.

He's not dirty, his white ruff just doesn't go all the way around.  It kind of brown-grays out on his left.  We'll just have to see what he looks like when he grows into his coat.

We kind of settled on collies because they were one of the bigger dogs I had been considering, and Hubby likes big dogs.  I've also really liked them ever since Lassie, though the only ones I'd ever seen in person were a couple of old ones I saw once when I was in High School, and then a few glimpses of my neighbors when we were walking.

To give you some perspective of how big he is... here is a shot with the girls on Halloween.  remember he's 3 months old.  His father was 100 pounds.  We'll see how big he gets.

 I don't want to be one of those people who has no life outside of their pet - NOT THAT THERE's ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT... so I hope to not ramble on too much about him in the future.  But I feel I deserve a little rambling, since he's relieved himself on my floor more days than he hasn't... I can be a little obsessed since most of my indoor time is watching him, or sniffing after him. 

Change to Firefox

Let's see if this works.  The only way I know to test it is, well, to test it.

We had a great Halloween.  Thing 1 wanted to go as a bat.  I found a bat costume on line that involved ripping apart an umbrella, it worked out pretty well but I couldn't get her ears to stand up.

Thing 2 was Cinderella.  She looked absolutely lovely. The problem is Cinderella did not go out in her little ball gown on late October mountain evenings.

  She was warm enough for the school carnival, but I didn't want to cover up the beautiful costume her grandmother made her for trick or treating, so I made her a cape.


Don't want to ramble on because it will just frustrate me to no end if I lose this post too... but it's letting me put in pictures, so let's give it a try..

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The girls didn't have school today (monday) and Hubby is in Brazil, so yesterday afternoon I took them for an overnighter to Grandma's. They played really well all day, and we made applesauce.

(I have a picture to put in here, but the blogger website is TOTALLY NOT WORKING and it FREEZES every time I try to add my picture. STUPID HEAD BLOGGER.COM!!!) (Did I mention it no longer has a spell checker on it? And there is no longer a movie-add button, functioning or not!)

Thing 1 has become our prayer sayer. She is volunteering a lot more regularly to say nightly prayers and blessings on the meals. She often rambles a little, blessing everyone everywhere in general, and praying stuff like: "Bless that everyone in the world will have good luck. And the people with good luck will have better luck." Stuff like that. My favorite in a while came the other night, she said, among other things, "Please bless that everyone's dreams will come true... ... tomorrow night."

Got that, God? You've got about 24 hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I have always loved dogs. We had a couple of family dogs when I was growing up, with varying levels of success. I was sure that when I moved out of my parent’s house, I would get a dog.
I went out into the world only to find that an apartment that allowed a dog was much further out of the city, possibly more expensive or at least a crappier place for the same amount of money. Apparently it wasn't as important as I thought to get a dog after all. My dog dreams were put on hold indefinitely.

Well, I've been thinking that maybe the time has come. My requirements have changed, of course. I'm now looking for a dog that is
1) Fabulous with kids
2) A good watchdog
3) Trainable

Preferable size would be medium to medium large.
Coat options have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other - I've seriously considered poodles and collies, and several other breeds in between... Something that was a cross of those, or a German Shepherd, would be great.

I've spent whole days on the Humane Society website, classifieds, and rescue websites for different breeds. One lady who runs the Sheltie Rescue here (turns out Shelties would probably not be kid friendly enough for me, at least the ones she gets) recommended rescuing a Pit Bull from the pound, and gave me information on a couple that were due to be euthanized. I considered it, even went to look at some Pit Bulls. In many ways they sound great. They're a good size, they're protective and are good watch dogs, and if socialized they should be good with kids and other dogs.
However... They're Pit Bulls! Everyone I've told has had much the same reaction: a look of shock or surprise, and a suggestion that I look at another breed instead. The most influential comment I heard was that a friend who runs a kennel had said that Pit Bulls were the one breed that could never be trusted 100% to not turn on someone if provoked enough. My kids are great, but they have friends... and I HAVE to know that even if they were mildly abusing the dog it wouldn't bite anyone. NOT THAT I WOULD EVER LET ANYONE ABUSE IT... but the dog is higher on my expendability scale than the kids.

Anyway. It's kind of a dilemma.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Makin' movies

Last month I had the typical dilemma about what to get Thing 1 for her birthday. Then Hubby had an absolutely brilliant idea - we'd give her a digital stop motion animation program for her birthday. She absolutely loves the stop motion animation exhibit at the Children's Museum, and this way she could do it to her heart's content. He has his practically new but completely despised Vista computer, which he can't stand to use and prompted his move to the Mac Camp. What else is it good for? So he cleaned off most of his work and we loaded the new program on it.

This is her first EVER movie. It is a combination of Playmobil and Floam. I have to admit responsibility for the dripping white goo on the table. Everything else is Thing 1 and Thing 2. We learned a lot - we now tape the camera and the background to the table, and I have argued against the floam except for some special effects. Even little changes with the floam are kind of complicated because the kids kept picking up the pieces to manipulate them, and then couldn't get them back in the right spot.

She has made a sequel, but I want her to add sound to it before I release it to the world.

Coming soon:

Dragon Attack II

Watch for it in theaters near you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

First class family

We left Pat's house Saturday morning to catch our flight back to the states.

Hubby flies so much he gets upgraded on most flights. When the girls and I are flying with him it happens much less, of course, but we have been upgraded a couple of times. Well, we hit the jackpot on the way back from London, and got upgraded to Business Class. It was incredible. A completely different world on the other side of that magic blue curtain. Three appetizers before dinner, four choices for dinner, none of them were incredible, but all were something I'd have expected from a restaurant, which is of course quite a bit different than what you'd expect from a plane. The headsets that cover your ears are complimentary so you can actually hear the dialogue in the movie. All the games and movies are free. There was an outlet to plug in the charger for the girls' DS games, so the batteries never died. And the seats reclined in every position on their way to a full horizontal bed. There is a nice quilted comforter and a full sized pillow. Not to mention a cheese plate and/or ice creams sundaes for dessert, and warm chocolate chip cookies as a snack. The flight attendant personnel are ultra nice and accommodating.
We didn't even open the travel games we'd bought in the airport to keep the girls occupied. We also didn't really sleep, despite the windows being closed and the cabin being darkened and having the ability to fully recline. It was just the wrong time to tell your body to sleep, besides it was too exciting having access to all that comparative luxury on the plane.
I took photos. I was a little embarrassed to be so freaked out about being upgraded so I didn't really get any good shots. It's hard to describe how different this is from coach. These pictures just don't show how much room there is... I didn't get any pictures of anyone laying out flat. It was just amazing.

I remember looking at the map and thinking "Oh, four more hours. That gives me time to try and doze a little, maybe read my book a little, and maybe watch another movie. How nice." Normally seeing you have four more hours is the time the real internal groaning sets in.

We had a three and a half hour layover in Atlanta, and then had to jostle for seats on the next flight, as we only had two together, and the plane was completely full. There were lots of other families returning from a Disneyworld Cruise trying to get seats together too, It turned out the lady next to me (who I knew, ironically, she is the secretary at the kid's preschool) was willing to trade so I could get Thing 1 and 2 by me, as both of the seats next to our other two seats were couples and didn't want to trade. Then in a wild multiple swap, a bunch of people agreed to juggle and all the other families ended up next to each other, and the preschool secretary ended up in 1st class. She was thrilled, and everyone else was happy. So I sat in between Thing 1 and 2, and Hubby was back a few rows. The girls both slept most of the way home.

We landed just before midnight, got home around 1:00 am, got the girls to bed at 1:30, and Hubby and I made it to bed around 2:00. Of course Thing 1 woke up at 5:30, raring to go. Sigh.

Today we're just resting up, grocery shopping, and doing laundry. Hubby left about an hour ago for North Carolina. It was a good trip, but it's awfully nice to be back home.

I have gone back and added a few photos in the previous posts now that I'm home and don't have to bargain for laptop use.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Warwick is pronounced "War-ick"

We got up and got out of the house later than we'd like, of course, but by noon we were sitting on a train bound for Warwick Castle. This was one of the places Hubby and I had visited 11 or so years ago, and knew the kids would probably like. It was one of the things that was important to me NOT to bump off the itinerary, and I also wanted to do it on one of the days Hubby wasn't conferencing and could go with us. The castle is an hour and 45 minute train ride north of London, and though Pat very generously offered his car, figuring out how to drive for just the one day hardly seemed worth the stress and effort. Since we're practically train/tube masters, and it causes less trouble when Hubby sleeps on the train than when he's driving, we decided to just do that.

We had a very nice train ride up.

The castle grounds have been added to quite a bit since we were there before. Now there is a big playground on one side, and there is a "Princess Tower" exhibit in one of the castle towers. Obviously for little kids, but it's kind of fun. There are two major sections set up with period furniture and wax people, one section is some historical Earl of Warwick stuff, showing how the castle folk are getting ready to go fight for the king of their choice in the War of the Roses.

The other section is more 1800 stuff, with identifiable people (whom I didn't know most of), Countess This and Lord That and Their Friends. Though I do know at least one, this is Thing 2 with Queen Elizabeth.

The girls got a kick out of it, I think. We climbed a couple of towers and battlements, which freaked the kids out a little because the stairs were so narrow and twisty. It didn't help that there was a movie going on at the bottom of one of the towers, sending spooky sounding muted noises up the stairwell. The girls were absolutely sure the place was haunted.

Unfortunately we had misunderstood what time the gift shop closed, and made it back to that end of the castle grounds half an hour after it closed. The girls were quite upset not to get their souvenir, which is by far the most important part of any excursion for them. We compromised after we got back into London by taking them to a couple of touristy shops in Oxford Circus that Pat had told us about. We had one of our few real dinners out, Hubby found a place called Vapiano, which was quite a good, fun place, if you're in Oxford Circus or Regents Park (look at me name dropping!) I recommend it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Science Museum

We moved out of the Greenwich apartment today. We loaded up our stuff and marched the girls and the bags to the train station and started our commute to Ealing, on the other side of town, where Pat lives, and where we were staying for the next couple of nights before we left.
After we dropped everything off we caught the train back into town to go to the Science Museum. We've had such a hard time getting anything done as we start so late. Even having checked out of one location and commuted across town and moved into another we were back on the train to London around 2:00, which is about when we seem to get going. Which is terrible. We should be out and about by 9:00 or 10:00 am.

The kids loved the Science museum, though obviously we ran out of time. The museum is very well set up for kids, and has tons of hands on displays and interactive things for the kids to do. Currently there is a Wallace and Grommit "Cracking Ideas" exhibit, which the girls got a real kick out of. That's where we spent most of our time.

We got back to Ealing that evening to have dinner with Pat and his kids. They are absolutely marvelous kids, Pat is their stepfather, and they all seem to get on very well. I just hope our kids show a similar lack of surliness and teenage angst when they're that age.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tate Modern

We just have a hard time getting out of the flat. We have been letting the girls sleep in as much as possible... then Hubby had some emails and work related stuff to do. Crazy, but by the time we're up and moving it's nearly 2:00 pm. Then with the commute in... We got off on one tube stop only to find the sidewalk we were using to get to the museum was closed. We crossed the Thames instead of being able to walk up it, and walked on the other side up to the Millennium bridge, and walked down.

Thing 2 brought Elizabeth, the Welsh Corgi she purchased as a souvenir at the Tower.

The bridge is quite nice and something we wanted to walk along anyway.

Unfortunately I couldn't take pictures inside.
The most amazing exhibit was a giant table and chairs... my chin barely came up to the seat of one of the chairs, the bottom of the table was five feet or more above my head. The girls loved it, on their hands and knees they were about the size of mice. Or a little bigger, really, but telling them they're rats isn't as appealing as telling them they're mice.
Of course we didn't have as much time there as we'd have liked before it closed. We had made arrangements to go out toward Wimbledon to meet some friends of Hubby's from the conference for dinner. A lady originally from New Zealand has a house in East Putney, her husband is in Belgium (this is a real traveling society) but she works with Hubby, and used to live in Northern California, where he visited her before and met her kids. She has two, a five and three year old, the little one was too little to say much but the five year old butted heads a little with Thing 2 at six years old, they both like to be in charge.
Some other people from the conference were there, folks I've heard about but never met before It was nice, it's funny that hubby knows more people in Great Britain than he does around home.
The lovely hostess of the party hired a car for us back to Greenwich so we wouldn't have to take the tube with two sleepy girls. She must have instructed the driver not to tell us how much it cost, apparently, he was very cheerfully closed mouthed. Now hubby doesn't know how much to try and pay her back.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Tower is a Hit

This has become a travel journal in which I am dumping as much information about my day as possible. I'm not trying so hard to just capture the entertaining parts, in fact there's a good chance anything entertaining will be completely lost in the avalanche.

Hubby left early for the conference, in the spirit of recuperation I tried to get the girls to go down for a nap at 11:00. Very unsuccessfully. But somehow or other it took us until nearly 3:00 to get out of the flat.

We took the slowest train in the UK to the Tower, and only had a couple of hours to look around once we got there. Maybe that's why the very nice ticket person did NOT charge me the 9.5 pounds a piece for the girls' tickets - Woo hoo! Thank you very much!

We walked in the gate and they were doing a weapons demonstration in the moat, which is now a lovely grassy swatch. Why is it that everything is funnier in a British accent? I kept giggling, and half expected John Cleese to appear on the battlements and beat himself on head. He did not, but they were obviously looking for laughs. The people doing the demonstration were in period costumes, and had that periodic memory where they don't know anything beyond their century. They were showing weapons of war, firing on a dozen wooden silhouettes painted white out in the field. We got there when they were starting the demonstration of how to work a... well, he called it a "Perrier," but I'm not sure how to spell it. I thought it was a Trebuchet, but one of the men in costume explained that Trebuchets are launched by rocks or other counterweights, and are much much bigger. The one they had was much smaller, and was operated by the weight of four people tugging on it. Two teams of volunteers were called from the audience to demonstrate it. The ammunition they used for the demonstration was large water balloons. Water balloons? What are those? Certainly not! They used Pig Bladders, filled with Horse Urine. These were the special blue rubber Pig Bladders tied with a little knot. Both teams came quite close to the targets. As the rest of the audience was leaving, Thing 1 asked them how do they get the horse to pee into the pig's bladder. He told her it takes a lot of carrots to make it hold that still. Then she asked how the pig feels about giving up its bladder. They had a chuckle themselves over that. I didn't get many photos of the demonstration, I took a video though. Maybe I'll upload that sometime.

The girls were very appreciative of the architecture and everything they saw. They were appropriately fscinated, and I was appropriately pleased. Knowing we didn't have too much time, I took them to the Royal jewel display where we saw the crowns, the scepters, and the Holy Hand grenades. Surprisingly enough, it was Thing 1, who generally despises accessorizing, and not Thing 2, who wanted to go back and ride the slowly moving sidewalk past the row of display cases. From there we went to the armory display, which was amazing. They had a special History Channel thing called "Dressed to Kill" about Henry VIII ("Mommy, why do they call him vee-one-one-one?") and had tons of armor and weapons on display. It really was interesting. The girls noticed one suit that had this huge iron codpiece on it, and so we asked one of the museum guides, who explained it quite well as a cross between a "The King had to be biggest and best," and a "Boys will be boys," and sort of a "fashion of the day" thing. Every room we went into, Thing 1 lingered behind, entranced. This was better than I'd hoped, I was afraid they'd be bored. But they really weren't. They really enjoyed it! Especially some time browsing in the gift shop.

Unfortunately as we left, Thing 2 was developing a fever again. Of course we were traveling light and I had left the medicine back at the flat. She started complaining about being hungry and cold, despite wearing her own and my jackets, when neither Thing 1 or I felt cold. Poor little nubbin.
We had made arrangements to meet Hubby at the London Eye at 7:00, and as I couldn't get ahold of him to change plans, we kind of had to go over there. I didn't know how long it would take us to get there, and anyway I thought we'd head over early and get something to eat there. Thing 2 fell asleep on the tube, and had to be carried through the whole commute. We got to the Eye at 6:35. She revived a little to choose a large raisin filled cinnamon roll from a stand, and perked up more and more as she ate it, waiting for Hubby. Her fever even backed off.
Turns out Hubby got there about 5 minutes after we did, but we didn't spot each other until around 7:05. Drat!!! There was no line at the Eye, we got around as the sun was completely leaving the sky, the half hour ride ended in full dark. The girls had a good time.

The worst part of the night was when Thing 2's fever came back and she continued to get sicker and sicker. She fell asleep on my lap as we had dinner in the train station, and woke up on the train complaining of horrible stomach pains. We had to either walk a mile, or catch one more train to get home. Both girls had a wild need to go to the bathroom, I think that was the real problem Thing 2 was having, but whatever it was she was groaning and crying most of the last train ride to the apartment. After getting back and going to the bathroom she was much better, and went straight to bed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three girls loose in London

Our adventure has begun.

The details are too tedious to go into, but suffice it to say that the flight was an adventure.

Thing 2 developed a fever somewhere over the Atlantic, and was prone to fall asleep all day anytime she stopped her forward momentum.

We were met in Heathrow by our most wonderful friend Pat, who took us back to his apartment for breakfast and a breather. Thing 1 and 2 watched a movie with Pat's son while the grown-ups talked, and browsed the internet for the best way to commute us to the other side of town to the flat we had rented in Greenwich. Turns out the best commuter rail trains were down that day, so Pat decided to drive us. Once offered, his hospitality is inescapable. We let him drive us. Thing 2 fell asleep, and continued to sleep most of the rest of the day.

The next day, Sunday, was Thing 1's turn. We went into London with Hubby, who was meeting some people from the conference. I went on with the girls to the Natural History Museum. Thing 1 whined and stumbled around like a petulant zombie, collapsing in a puddle whenever there was a rug underneath her. We were sitting on a bench at the entrance of the museum and I was examining the map to see how much I could show them as quickly as possible, and this family came over to the booth we were sitting next to, and came away with red backpacks on all the children's backs, and plastic pith helmets on their heads. Thing 2 looked at me with wonder. I went and asked, and sure enough, the adventure backpacks were free, and they had, yup, two left. I roused Thing 1 and we signed out our backpacks. The young Indian guy working the booth was so cute, so enthusiastic with his instructions. "You're going on an Adventure!" he told the girls. "There are CLUES in the backpack, so you can find which animal the clues are for. Each backpack has PAPER, and CRAYONS!" I asked the girls to wear their helmets. Thing 1 declined. "But you can't have an adventure without your HELMET! You never know what you might run into in the WILD," the young man encouraged. Mind you, he has this beautiful Indian English accent, just perfect for starting a jungle adventure. Thing 1 wore her helmet long enough for a couple of photos, then it went right into the backpack.

Thing 2 was awake enough to figure out the Teeth clue belonged to a Polar Bear.

She collapsed on the floor in front of every exhibit we stopped at, which almost was okay as we were spreading the contents of our backpacks out on the ground to try and match the clues with the animals. But finally in front of the life sized blue whale suspended from the ceiling, I found a bench and she laid down and went to sleep. I gave up and we started the commute back to Greenwich. I wanted to get them some medicine, but by the time we got back to the flat and I fed them some dinner, it was time for bed. The walk to the nearest pharmacy is nearly a mile, and I'm not dragging two sick girls down to a pharmacy that very well may be closed anyway.

Thing 1 was resting on a bench for that long commute back to Greenwich.

Today after Hubby went to the conference I locked the girls in the flat, in their pajamas with instructions not to open the door, and walked into the shopping area. Now.. did I fear all the way to the store that if something happened to me they'd be trapped there until Hubby came home? Of course. Do I want to drag two sick girls a mile to the store? No. We choose the lesser of two evils. I carefully looked both ways several times before crossing every street and made it there and back without incident.
I got them some Sudafed, and some other groceries, but realized when I got back to the flat that I probably got the wrong KIND of Sudafed, and I'd need to go back. Sigh. I told the girls to take a nap. Thing 2 complied, Thing 1 did not. Well, she tried for about 1/2 an hour. I sat around reading, she played her DS until I got tired, told her again to take a nap. I got her a blanket and pillow, tucked her in on the couch thinking this is the girl who couldn't stay awake 10 minutes yesterday, surely she'll fall asleep. I went in to sleep next to Thing 2 on the bed.

An hour and a half later, Thing 1 woke me up. She hadn't slept at all, she just came in because she'd heard a noise that had spooked her.

I woke up a little crabby that this girl who couldn't stay awake yesterday was giving me such trouble about taking a nap today. I need her to recuperate! I want her to see something of London besides the inside of a flat!

I woke up Thing 2 and told both of them we're getting dressed and going outside! If Thing 2 slept much longer I worried she'd be up all night. Just as we were getting ready to go who knows where, Thing 2 suggested swimming. The flat we rented has access to an exercise room, including a rarely used lap pool. Fine. I changed them into their suits and we went to the pool. Unfortunately I had forgotten their goggles and dive toys, and the water is a little too deep for them to touch bottom. After they paddled around for a while, they were done. We came back to the flat and I bathed them, locked them in with a kid's show on the Telly and walked to town to get the right kind of medicine and pick up some dinner. McDonald's. I hate it, but I knew they'd eat it.

We were just cleaning up when Hubby came back from the conference. He reported that his presentation went okay, which based on how hard on himself he usually is, means it probably went quite well. Huzzah!

I hope that the girls are feeling better tomorrow... I'm awfully tired of the inside of this flat. It has fake IKEA wood floors, which makes the room act like a sound chamber, echoing and reverberating every noise to a high annoying pitch. Thing 2 is normally kind of exuberant, but in this little condo her volume seems to be maxed out. Even the normally quiet Thing 1 seems noisy. I've told the two of them to hush a thousand times. That's with the normal kid noise, I'm not talking about the times Thing 2 shouts "Hello Out There, World!!" off the balcony.

I'll add pictures later. Right now I'm worried I'm coming down with their cold.

Monday, September 21, 2009


We leave in four days to London. This will be the first time the girls have REALLY used their passports, since that first time when we crossed over into Canada during a shore excursion from our Alaska cruise I don't think the border officials even opened the pack of documents we handed them.

The problem is we haven't made hotel reservations until, well, just now. We should have done it weeks ago, but I'm married to a last minute kind of guy. Hubby has been in Brazil, just got back to the states yesterday morning, only he flew to the client site, since he'd only have been home about two hours anyway and would have had to add a flight to his day. After I put the kids to bed, he and I were up on the phone and internet until 2:00 am. (his time, midnight for me) looking for hotels near where his conference will be in London. It was kind of a mess, hardly any hotels have rooms that will accommodate 4 people, and none of the few that did had any rooms that first night, Saturday, after we land. We checked all the areas around the conference, and around areas that we know and have stayed at before, and finally gave up so he could go to bed.

So today I spent my whole afternoon in a massive online hotel search. It helped a lot to put in a call (thanks to the marvels of Skype) to our most wonderful friend Pat in London who advised me which neighborhoods to avoid, and helped me gravitate to the one we'd already been leaning toward. He was also very helpful in agreeing that since there are no hotels in London for that first night, we'd probably be better served by heading out to Windsor that first night, and knock that off of our "Things to See" list. The next day, Sunday, we will take the train into London to the best located family hotel we'd found. So bless his big-as-the-whole-island heart Pat will be picking us up from the airport and shuttling us to Windsor, giving us a quick tour, and then taking us to our hotel, where we expect the girls to collapse. We'll catch a train the next day into the downtown London area.

Hubby will be conferencing on Sunday afternoon through Tuesday. That leaves me two and a half days to entertain the girls. The only problem is when Hubby hears what I have in store for them, he wants to come too. Which is fine, except for that whole pesky conference that he came to speak at..?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Color It Hers

We had Thing 1's friend party yesterday. She had only wanted to invite five people, three boys, and two other girls, with Thing 1 making six kids. Of course with Thing 2 and a couple other younger siblings of the invited kids it came to 9 kids.

I was very happy Thing 1 agreed to have the party somewhere other than our house, so I could avoid all the cleaning and hosting stuff. We went to Color Me Mine and they painted their little objects.
Of course they don't want to paint a plate or cup, they all wanted to paint a statue, which will sit on the shelf and get dusty, to eventually commit suicide with a big crash.

But they had a great time. I am all about having the girl's birthday parties somewhere else.... my laziness is showing.

I did have to provide the cake. When I asked Thing 1 what kind of cake she wanted that morning before school, she ran to a book my sister had given me about cupcake creations and pointed to an aligator in the book. She's not much of an aligator person, she's much more into dragons, which aren't that far away from aligators, especially in terms of cupcakes. So here's my cake.
The teeth wouldn't stay on - they're cut up marshmellows. I made wings out of licorice and fruit roll ups, but they were so big and heavy they wouldn't stay up either. I ran out of time before I could make a go of some smaller wings. The ears are licorice and fruit roll ups too. Some wings about the size of the ears might have worked.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why I Don't Cook

I have never enjoyed cooking very much. It is such a thankless job. I don't get inherent satisfaction from it, and I've never been very good at looking in the fridge or cupboard and figuring out a wholesome, delicious meal. When I was single, I would make a casserole or whatever and unless it was truly awful, I'd eat it until it was gone, mostly to avoid cooking again.

I expected when I got married I'd have to turn over a new leaf and start cooking. Turns out my Hubby is a much better cook than I am, and mostly enjoys it. However, he's usually gone, he's always busy, and somehow or other his enthusiasm for cooking has waned.

The girls have added a whole new horizon to the cooking landscape. Thing 1's accepted main dish dinner menu consists of Cheese Pizza, Chicken Nuggets, German Pancakes, and broccoli. If served very infrequently, she will not object too much to Baked Talapia, and bow-tie pasta with butter on it. But if these things come around more than once a month or so, she'll shut down and stop eating them for a couple of months. Thing 2 is much more willing to try new foods, but of course she has developed an intolerance for Thing 1's top menu items. So what one eats, the other doesn't want to.

We eat out a lot. Much more than is financially or calorically responsible to do. So I decided it's time to bite the bullet, so to speak, and look at that new leaf again. With both girls in the school until 3:00 most days, there aren't too many excuses not to make dinner anymore. Over the past couple of weeks I have actually cooked several meals. A couple, anyway. And we've eaten out less.

Today I made Chicken Pot Pie. It took much longer than I thought. My crust didn't turn out so hot, the broth was much too runny, all in all it wasn't my best effort. And of course Thing 1 was HORRIFIED when she saw what was for dinner. She spent the entire mealtime trying (unsuccessfully) to negotiate with me for dessert - in our house if you don't eat dinner you don't get dessert - (eat it or don't but stop NAGGING me!) and walked away from her plate having only eaten the broccoli. They say your children won't starve themselves, but she looks enough like a holocaust victim already it pains me to see her skip dinner. I let her have a piece of dry bread.
Thing 2 didn't like the pot pie crust, but was okay with the "soup" inside and had two servings of that.

To justify making this pie, I ate probably twice what I would have or should have.

Now what am I going to do with 3/4ths of a mediocre pot pie that no one but me will eat?

And what am I going to make tomorrow night?

Pig boys

Thing 2 came home from one of the first days of school and reported that one of the boys had poked her in the stomach, for no reason apparently. Not REALLY hard, but hard enough to tick her off. I said "Oh honey, boys bother you when they like you..."

Two days later I watched "He's Just Not That Into You" and sat there with my mouth hanging open at the beginning montage of women justifying men treating them terribly, with that same mantra, "boys treat you bad because they like you," and how positively twisted it is to teach our daughters that the men who love them are the ones that abuse them... It all fell together... how so many women look for love from the bad boys, the ones who don't treat them well...

Two days later we were going clothes-shopping with my mother, and one of the girls mentioned how some boy had been mean to her. Out of my mother's mouth came those words, the placating words to make you feel better when some one's being mean to you, about the boys that tease you doing it because actually they like you.

I went off on a rant about how we are NO LONGER going to think that way in this house... Those boys don't tease you because they like you, they tease you because they're boorish pigs! Pig boys, for a lack of a better term, as I need one that's clean enough for my daughters. If they like you, they should be nice to you. We do not tolerate being treated poorly... etc. etc. etc. I went on, but it gets repetitive and lectury here.

Wouldn't it be great if our daughters shunned the pig boys from the start?! GIRLS! Avoid the pig-boys!! Look for those kind, intelligent guys in the back, who are not being mean to you! Those are the ones you should date!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thing 1 turns 8... in a couple days

We have been planning for a couple weeks to have Thing 1's birthday party on the 12th of September. I mentioned it to my mother on Saturday, and she told me she was pretty sure that my brother and his family - whose daughters are some of my girls best friends, and whose presence is VITAL to any party at our house - will be out of town. OH NOOOO!!!
Looking at the calendar, since Hubby is traveling so much the next month (and we're going with him on one of those!) there are no good times in September, it would be halfway into October before we'd be able to get everyone together. So I frantically called everyone and we bumped the party to the next day - Sunday. Amazingly everyone was able to come.
Luckily Thing 1 wanted Pizza, which is the easiest birthday party to have, so the only hard part was making her the cake. Usually we order a cake from a lady we know, but 24 hour notice isn't enough time to do that. So Hubby decided to do it. He was going to make a Pikachu pokemon, it's kind of a little round ball with ears and a tail, it ought to be pretty easy to represent in cake and frosting. I think he was going to try and surprise her. But luckily, or unluckily, she saw what he was up to and it turns out she doesn't really LIKE Pikachus. She likes elaborate, involved looking pokemon. After quite a bit of back and forth, they came on one that she liked that he had a prayer of doing. I think he did a pretty good job. Though you kind of need the picture to see what it was supposed to be. Everyone thought it was a really angry elephant with it's trunk up in the air, until they see the picture.

So we celebrated Thing 1's family party last night, and her friend party will be this week.

Another weird thing - we solved a mystery. Thing 1 had homework on one of the first days of school. I know she had it, I remember pulling it out of her folder. But then it dissapeared. I couldn't find it anywhere. My house isn't completely tidy, but there aren't too many places it could have been. I looked in all of those places, but we couldn't find it. I had to send her to school with no homework, with a note from me saying it was my fault, we looked high and low but somehow lost it. Which is a real thorn in my side as I pride myself with them doing their homework quite regularly. Her teacher made her do it at recess.

Well, I found it.
Scooba ate it. We have one of those floor mopping robots, my husband knows that while I love having a clean house, I don't like cleaning it and since I'm a stay at home mom I can't justify hiring anyone, so he has given me my cleaning buddies, I have a Roomba upstairs, and a Scooba downstairs. Apparently I had the swamp cooler on (translate - GALE FORCE WINDS) while Scooba was running. Scooba requires some monitoring, as it wedges itself under my cabinets in a couple of places, but it calls me with a frantic beeping when it's stuck, so as long as I'm in ear shot, it merrily works away. And to clean it, you open it up and push buttons to release brushes, pull out filters, and clean them off. I don't remember the last time I turned it over.

Well, getting ready for this birthday party I turned on Scooba to clean the kitchen floor. It was almost immediately obvious it wasn't running right. Completely weird, it was leaving these strange little rolls of lint everywhere, and kept stopping. I pulled out several filters, tried several different things to clean it, but nothing worked. I was on hold with their customer service department when I finally just turned it over to find a wet wadded up ball of homework stuck in the outer brush. I was able to unwrap the paper wad enough to see yup, it's Thing 1's homework.

I'm not even going to try to explain that to the teacher.