Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Arrested Development

We've been in California for the past several days. Visiting family and friends, eating a lot, and sleeping not a lot. We'll be headed home tomorrow. Assuming I can break Jason and George out of jail.

Takin' daddy away

Takin' Georgie away

George in charge

Cutest officer I ever did see!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Surviving Christmas Eve

Best Way To Make It Through Christmas Eve. EVER.

Making it through Xmas Eve

Simple instructions: Wrap children "burrito style" in blankets. Place on separate couches. Leave the room. (Just kidding on that last one, I promise!) Feel free to tickle mercilessly.

More crafts.


Preparations for family gatherings tomorrow.


Counting the hours until little ones are in bed and Santa can bring the loot (and assemble it).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


After a couple of minor skirmishes and sub-sequential time-outs, today has been better. I've also kept it busy. Yes, we always try to stick to a basic routine and I use our activity schedule every day, but.... when the weather has been nasty for weeks, the snow has turned to cold rain, the last round of sniffles is still hanging around, and the stores are filled with CRAZY people... there's just not much to do but get sick of each other!

However, empty days turn into scream-filled days, so today we've done a quick trip to the store for supplies, had two arts & crafts projects available, and a trip to the library is scheduled for this afternoon! Jason is inching his way down the freeway to us. (Literally inching - two hours ago he called when he left Portland, saying he'd call again from Salem, about 30 miles down the road. I haven't heard from him yet.) Hopefully we'll all be together for dinner tonight!

For now, I'll let the kids continue working on their cereal box wreaths and ornaments. I'm going to go make some hot cocoa!

cardboard & sticker wreaths

Monday, December 22, 2008


George screamed and tantrumed so much today that when Emma went to bed, she had me turn her reading light off. She said, "I just want to go to sleep so my ears will stop ringing."

Gosh vacation time (i.e. lack of structure and routine) is fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Button Trees

The kids and I spent this afternoon working on a fun craft originally shared by our friends, Ali & Simon. Button Christmas trees! When I was gathering supplies for this, my mom unearthed this wonderful box from my grandma's collection. Filled to the brim with old buttons of every kind. I love the old Alka-Seltzer bottle containing decorative buttons and even a couple of fancy clip on earrings!


Both kids really had fun choosing their buttons and placing them Just So.


When the kids took a break to get some wiggles out, one of the cats granted me with his presence. Not sure what he thought of it all, he would rather my hands were petting him, I'm sure.


I think they are each very indicative of our personalities.


Emma's is colorful, bright, and playful. She sorted through the button box, looking specifically for unusual buttons or fun shapes and chose contrasting pin colors.

Mine clearly displays my OCD tendencies and desire for an elegance that life with two children rarely achieves. Every space is filled, single color used, and a carefully crafted randomness of sizes.

And George's.... well, George's is blue. With blue pins. Lots of blue pins. Just the way he likes it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let's go sledding!

Gracie watched over the madness.

Wouldn't you know it, we spent a boring weekend, waiting for the snow to come. And then it comes Sunday night! I was up periodically throughout the night, checking for school closings and at 5:30, it was confirmed! No school today!

Good thing, since I can't get our van out of the driveway. We've seen more than one accident this morning on our hill.

Emma was thrilled when she realized there would be no school today. As soon as she started cheering for that, George ran over to his activity schedule to confirm that he, too, would have the day off. We were out sledding and having snow ball fights before breakfast!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

1st Snow of the Season

1st snow of the season

All my kids watching the early morning wet snow.
Poor George didn't understand that the snow wasn't sticking and we wouldn't be able to play in it. His verbal skills deteriorated throughout the morning as he got more and more frustrated. Finally, Jason bundled him up and took him outside. They were back in within fifteen minutes, wet and whining (mostly George). ;)
Jason took George out 4x4ing on a muddy dirt road, which cheered them both up quite a bit. And hopefully, we'll get more snow tonight that's better for playing in!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Quick Teacher Gift

George goes to two different preschools. Between them he has eleven teachers, aides, and therapists. While I believe that the teachers in our life deserve Christmas presents, and I want to give them presents, eleven gets to be a bit much. So I decided to do a small handmade, edible present, accompanied by a token gift card.

covered pretzels, before

I was going to do this project with the kids, but circumstances left me with time available only in the evening after they went to bed. It would definitely be a great (and yummy) project for them to help with though. I melted Ghirardelli white chocolate in the microwave and dyed it green with food coloring. After dipping the small stick pretzels into it, I laid them on a cooling rack while the chocolate set. The chocolate hardened very quickly, but as I filled each rack, I placed it into the freezer for about 20 minutes to be sure. I stored them in an airtight container in the refrigerator overnight.

(Side note: I tried to do some in red-dyed chocolate, too, but after the initial melt, it hardened into a clay-like consistency and would NOT remelt! I heated it repeatedly and it was hot to the touch, but still looked like Play-doh! Who ever heard of chocolate that wouldn't melt??? So, the teachers got green pretzels only.)

This morning I put about two dozen into each of these cute little seasoning shakers I found and used ribbon to attach the gift cards. The teachers at his morning school started munching on the pretzels right away and were happy about the fun, reusable packaging.

covered pretzels, finished

This is definitely an idea to remember for next year!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Today, Last Year

I saw this idea on another blog earlier today (I Do...What????) and thought it fun, so here you are.

Go into your picture files, find the pictures you were taking on this date a year ago (or as close to this date as possible).
Post (and I'm adding: share the story behind it!)

Well, when I looked into my files and found a set of photos all featuring this, I couldn't help but play along!

Tangled up in a busy box

This is George.
This is George's busy box.
This is George sitting on his busy box.
And getting completely tangled in every stereo cord Daddy put on there!
He called them his seat belts, criss-crossed them over his body, then spent minutes upon minutes flipping the other switches and pushing buttons as he drove all over his imagination!

What a fun memory, and pictures that I had never used.

Just for fun, I went back to the previous two years. Funnily enough, the photos for December 4th, 2006 & 2005 also concerned George:

For 2006, anyone who knows George would recognize this configuration. Sights like this one were our first clues to what would be diagnosed as Autism. (Official diagnosis occurred Oct. 3, 2006). Things lined up. All sorts of things, all over the place.

Dec 4, 2006

And then, the one from 2005, which completely melts this momma's heart:

Dec 4, 2005

He was always sleeping in strange positions like this one. I have many pictures like this. Oh my god, he was so very cute. Still is, thankfully!

If you play this memory lane game, leave me a link so I can come visit your photos!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

For Jason: Our Escapee

Emma's kitten, Stanley, is as mischievous and curious as any cat that ever appeared in fairy tales and children's stories. We never know where we may find him and he gets into places we think impenetrable. In order to keep the peace between him and our other cat, we have always had him sleep in a basement bedroom (which is being renovated). If the door isn't completely latched, we'll find him on the stairs leading upstairs, meowing in indignation, when we get up in the morning. Today was such a morning. But, when I glanced over at his bedroom door, I realized that it was still closed! The case of the magically escaping cat had begun!

So this afternoon, I went snooping, trying to find the weak point in the seemingly sealed room. My first clue was a few pieces of chewed up insulation laying on the floor. I looked up to the one piece of exposed insulation in the entire room and, lo and behold, there is a small gap next to it:


Now, let me put this gap into perspective:


That gap is in the corner of the room at nearly ceiling height! The only way he could have gotten to it would be to scale the built in bookcase on the right side of the room (just outside of camera range), then walk along the very skinny top of that stair-step wall, and up into the hole. Once there, it would be easy for him to leave the room: the panel at the top of that left wall hides a large shelf that runs the width of our basement; the dividing wall of the bedroom does not extend into it.

So, mystery solved! But now? Hoooonnnnneeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy, I need you to fix the waaaaaalllllll!!!!! You know, when you have a spare minute?


Monday, December 01, 2008

HTBTMMITW - Chapter 34

(How To Be The Meanest Mommy In The World) - Ch. 34:

Everyone knows that your dearest darling child is the sweetest, most honest child ever made. No need to worry about that. After all, you created that child and your family lives in a blissful bubble of happiness. Why ever would there be a need for exaggeration or falsehood? But, on the off chance that the aforementioned child should be under the impression that home is a far better place than the primary color filled land of learning, and is struck by a strange (and floating) ailment, perhaps you will need the following short, but easy to implement, lesson.

Be Boring

Take your dearest darling child home from school at the earliest opportunity. Place that child lovingly into his or her bedroom with plenty of books and dolls, but no television. After all, too much television can intensify many strange (and floating) ailments, and we wouldn't want to run that risk. Inform the child that they will not be (a) spending the day at grandma's, (b) laying on the couch eating ice cream, or (c) playing with the home schooled neighbor child. Letting possibly contagious ailments into the public airspace could have disastrous effects! Be sure the child is comfortable in their room, as they will be spending the remainder of the day within.

If done properly, all mysterious ailments are often cured with an unusual rapidity. Your dearest darling child will be ready, and excited for, a return to school the following day. If done extremely well, with plenty of details given to the child as to the dearth of choices, your sweet little angel may even choose to return to his or her class within a couple of hours!

Good luck, future Meanest Mommies in the World! You will prevail!