Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Smart Seed

Mom, I was born for math.

Oh yeah, who told you that?

No one. I knew it even when I was just a seed.

Uh....huh. Yes, you are really good at math.

I was such a smart seed, I knew what 1,000 plus 1,000 was!

So, what is 1,000 plus 1,000?

Moooooo-ooommmmm, it's 2,000!

You're right, you are a smart seed.

Was, Mom. I'm not a seed anymore.

True. Well, you're a smart something, not sure what, but definitely something.

Friday, May 30, 2008

So, what are YOU up to?

What? You don't hang out on top of a Jeep on a sunny day? Where else could you possibly relax and blind everyone with your winter-white skin?

And no, I did not mean to dress them alike. But, since they were wearing practically the same outfit, do you think it would have killed them to look and smile at the camera at the same time?

Apparently so.

Emma is counting down to the last day of school, and doing a lot of talking about how she's ready for second grade. We'll see how that evolves over the summer. By August we're usually having daily conversations about the next grade being so much harder, her not knowing anybody, and it won't be any FUN!!! Typical stuff, and the open house day always resolves each and every one of those fears. I wish we could do open house before the end of this school year!

Yesterday I told George's preschool teacher that he won't be attending his last day of school next week. I really didn't think I could get through the "graduation" to Kindergarten for the other kids without crying. (Considering I couldn't get through that conversation with her without crying, I think I made a good call on that one!) It's one thing to intellectually make the decision to keep him back a year, to sign the papers and meet the new teachers, and set goals for making it a valuable year. But it's something else entirely to watch the other kids move on without him.

Sorry, didn't mean to get maudlin there. The sun is shining, the kids are (almost) healthy, and Jason's bringing home pizza. Life is good. I'm going to go sit in the sun on top of a Jeep!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Goodnight Sweetheart

Happy Memorial Day


We are about to enter the summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking activity, as it's the only type of cooking a 'real' man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:

(1) The woman buys the food.
(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:

More routine....
(5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
(6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning.
He thanks her and asks if she will bring another beer while he deals with the situation.

Important again:

More routine....
(8) The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces, and brings them to the table.
(9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:
(10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
(11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed 'her night off.' And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women....

Enjoy your BBQ's today, remember to thank the helpers, and, most especially, remember those who earned this holiday for you.

Happy Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brief periods of calm

Peaceful, loving children depicted in above photo bear no resemblance to actual children in our household.

One looooooong weekend filled with strange weather, one craaaaaaaaaanky child filled with a head cold, one girl child filled with attituuuuuuuude, and one set of tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired parents trying to fill the long weekend. Put them all together and you may hear some yelling, see some children being (oh-so-lovingly) put in their rooms for increasing amounts of time, and find a few bottles of wine and beer in the recycling bin. Not our shining moment of parenthood, this weekend.
Only a few weeks left of school. Goody.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why it's always good to hand over the camera

Little Man had a school fund raising event this morning. He didn't have the best time and we ended up leaving early, but my mom managed to get a couple of pictures of us before we left. Thanks, Mom!!
I have to say, it was pretty cute watching 50 or more little preschoolers chasing the U of O mascot as he skipped across the baseball diamond. George was very intrigued, but not enough to get too close! By the time the mascot showed up, we were well past George's stress limit anyhow, and the tantrums were insane. I'm exhausted this afternoon. It's so hard to remember that one unsuccessful event doesn't mean he's regressing. It just was a combination of more sensory input than he could handle, him waking up with a cold, and an event waaaaaaaay out of his ordinary school-day routine. I think I'm ready for summer and new routines!!
See that pathetic hair cut my boy is sporting? We're partway through a multi-stage haircut. He's only willing to sit for so long while I cut it, and this time I had the added obstacle of him wanting to help. His version of helping consists of grabbing at the clippers while I'm trying to use them. Thus, a few bald-ish patches and uneven sides. Hopefully I'll be able to clean it up tomorrow. Otherwise, the next pictures you see will include a boy with a buzz cut!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hippie farmer

My little tie-dyed girl helped her grandpa plant tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, carrots, and radishes. I helped George make mud puddles with the hose. All in all, a good day's work for everyone! Thanks Dad, for filling up our garden, we can't wait to start harvesting!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Men at Work

Think these two boys are related?

The planters are filled, flower beds cleaned up, and I have several pairs of formerly white socks to wash. We seem to have skipped spring and gone directly into 95 degree summer weather, so we're all moaning about the heat, but happy to be outside!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers & Daughters

One of the best aspects of living where we do is the amount of time we are able to spend with family. Spending Mother's Day with my daughter, mother, and grandmother is about as good as it gets. Then again, the nap that I took later in the afternoon was pretty spectacular too!
And the FOOD!! Donuts and coffee for breakfast; steak, noodles, broccoli with cheese, fresh berries, and wine for dinner. YUM!! (All dinner foods chosen and prepared by Jason and Emma, LOVE THAT!!)
Oh yeah, these people are pretty darn great, too. The two kiddos that made me a mother and the guy that made those kiddos possible. Handmade cards and gifts (and a stack of magazines from Jason, thank you, hub!) and some extra hugs made this a perfect day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Feeling the sun

I know you've already seen this photo, but this is the first page I've scrapped in weeks. It makes me happy!

Prepping for Mother's Day

Yesterday we spent most of the day out and about. A long drive up the freeway to IKEA, where the kids played in the Smaland for an hour. George did amazingly better than expected, had lots of fun playing. An hour seems to be his limit, though, by the end he was wandering around saying "Mommy, I want Mommy!" in the most pitiful voice ever. Still! An hour! In a place he's never been, with people he didn't know, in a fairly overwhelmingly stimulation-filled room. Altogether good in my book.

And Emma did fabulous on the drive (about an hour and a half each way). George loves drives, it's a treat for him. But Emma gets bored and restless. She did great yesterday and there were NO disputes to break up and NO whining!! WOW! I think I've already gotten my Mother's Day present!

But a long day filled with unusual events and places, combined with lots of sitting in car seats, led to skirmishes and tantrums in the evening. So today, we have no plans. It's 1:30 and Emma is still in her nightgown. We have art supplies strewn across the table, as you can see, with several cards and pictures being created. They both just discovered my hole punches, so I'm sure vacuuming is in my future. Luckily, George still thinks that's fun!

Later, we'll make a trip to the store for milk (and possibly some treats) and one to the library to restock our bookshelf and video choices. A nice, lazy day. Nothing better.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Bowling Blur

Horrible pictures taken without a flash so that I could do a continuous shot, but you get the idea. She has great form, don't you think? And the last picture? She's shushing her daddy who dared to speak before the score was announced.

Ah, bowling from the comfort of your living room. Less smoke, no nasty shoes, nice light controller instead of a heavy ball, and just a wee chance of tossing that controller through your TV. (Or big, picture window, but I promised Jason I wouldn't mention that "almost oops".)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Score one for MOM!

After days of conflicting behavior reports, a great weekend, and the Worst Day Ever at George's "regular" school, I decided to corner the preschool director (who often works directly with George and is a very honest person, tells it like it is, good or bad) and get to the bottom of this mess. Why is George having so many difficulties all of a sudden? How do I balance the reports I get from the different teachers? What can I do at home to help him succeed at school?

After an hour of discussion, this is what it all comes down to: George was doing GREAT. The teachers had a GREAT support system built into his day (picture schedule board, good/rotating choices, timers to help him know how long to stay at each activity or how long he needed to wait for a toy, etc.) And again, he was doing GREAT. Then, the teachers got complacent. And stopped using the support system tools.

See, with a "normal" kid, once they understand routines and behavior requirements, you generally don't need to keep reminding them. You don't have to tell them their activity choices or rotate their choices for them, they know where they can go and what to do there. With kids like George, it's like they built a really cool playhouse on top of a bridge. A playhouse where he felt very comfortable and knew how to maneuver safely. Then they demolished the bridge. Without the visual cues and structures in place, he would race through his daily routine (that he quickly became bored of) and then run spinning through the room, looking for something new; but not knowing how to appropriately get it, do it, share it.

Add to that his still emerging verbal language abilities, and you have a big, manic toddler throwing tantrums because he doesn't know what to do or how to express his confusion. His newfound love of attention for being silly didn't help things much either!

SO, as of yesterday afternoon, picture schedules are back in place. Timers have been pulled out from cupboards. New choices to stretch his imagination and verbal skills are available.

And you know what? When I picked him up yesterday, the teachers and children were all smiling, I was flashed several thumbs up, and my boy was happy. Told ya he was just trying to tell us something! Moving on.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Handy Man

The soil in our yard is not the best. We live on a rocky hillside and many, many years ago, my grandfather planted bamboo to hide our house from the street. Did you know that if you plant the wrong kind of bamboo, it spreads? Everywhere? And it's nearly impossible to kill off? You have to use a pickax if you want to dig a garden in our yard and even then, nothing really grows. Emma tried to grow radishes last year and they failed miserably. Radishes. One of the easiest things to grow. Not here.

So this year, I asked Jason to build us some planter boxes. And so he did! I love having a husband that enjoys wood working! The basement looks a bit messy you say? Nah. It's just in the middle of being rearranged for the fifth or sixth time since we moved in. And there are a few projects that were set aside in order to make my boxes. It's all about me and my needs, you know. ;) So here they are! There's another, larger one that hasn't made its way outside yet. Now, we just need to fill them. Emma wants sweet peas and tomatoes. Jason wants radishes and cucumbers. George wants to dig. I think I'll have my hands full this summer!