Thursday, December 31, 2009

Speaking of Melina...

She doesn't get much face time around here, especially by herself.

This one is for the aunts, great-aunts, and grandparents! Hope you enjoy it.

It is fuzzy because Tara took it with her phone. Her cuteness still shines through, though!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Conversations With Melina

Melina had ideas of what she wanted to do after nap today.


Melina: Shoe?
Me: Okay, you want your shoes on? Please go get them.
[Melina ran off to get her shoes, came back to me, and sat down.]
Melina: Side?
Me: You want to go outside? Well, okay.
[Melina ran off to get her coat, came back to me, and looked for help with the coat.]
Melina: Wee?
Me: You want to swing? No, not today. Let's go out in the front instead.


Amazing how three words: shoe, side, and wee, can constitute a conversation, but they did. I told the story to Tim and he knew exactly what she was saying. The progression of language fascinates me with every child we have. Melina was disappointed not to be able to swing today, but thankfully, the girls put her on the sled, and she was able to go "Weeeeeeee!"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Aaron-isms

I need to start keeping a list of things that Aaron says. Today's bit of wisdom from Aaron was:

Boys are dimmer; girls are lighter.

What?!? I just had to share that with someone, and since Tim is coming home late tonight, I picked you. Aren't you lucky?

P.S. We had a nice Christmas in Michigan. We also had a nice Christmas back here, since Santa dumped a ton of stuff at our house, too. All that and the boy with the red hair still wonders why he didn't get a red robot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Are They All Yours? (Revisited)

I've written before about the different comments people have made when I have been out with the kids. The one I heard today made me laugh out loud.

We were exiting the doors of a local restaurant in front of a couple that looked to be in their late sixties/early seventies.

Woman: Are they all yours?
Me: Yes
Woman: You have a wonderful family. [How does she know? She only thinks I do because they are cute. Of course, I am biased when I say they are cute, but it is allowed, right?]
Me: Thank you!
Man: We had five. Quit while you are ahead!

I didn't see a slap on the arm from the woman, but that is what I'd have done to Tim if he'd said the same thing. No biggie -- gave me a good laugh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

5 Year Old Boys

I am beginning to wonder from which planet 5 year old boys come.

My sweet 4 year old boy (not completely innocent) morphed into this alien of a 5 year old. I'd really like to know how that can happen so quickly.

I am not going to bore you with the details of our issues as of late, but check back frequently if you'd like a good laugh, or, if you just want to feel better about your own family situation.

Perhaps it has to do with his red hair?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Revelations

There are several things that I have discovered over the last two weeks.

1. As per my earlier post, single parenting is tough work. I think I do not appreciate Tim as much as I should. Nor do I tell him that, I am sure.

2. The house is neater with one less person around.

3. I have much less laundry with one less person. I could not figure that one out until I realized that a pair of socks, a pair of underwear, and one T-shirt a day (along with towels, work shirts and pants) can really make a difference.

4. I do not like cleaning the cat litter, but do not mind taking out the garbage on Thursday night. The dog doo -- I didn't even get to that one.

Tim is supposed to return home tomorrow. I can't wait to see how the kids react when they see him get home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town!

We had an early visit from Santa this year. Or else his little elf came on by. According to the girls, it must have been his elf that left a note from Santa on their beds. The note essentially said the following:

Dear Zoe and Talia:
Have you been good this year? I want you to be honest. A little elf has told me that things at home have been a little loud. Please try to listen to your mommy a little better. She listens to you and tries to help you be good children. She also loves you very, very, much. I want to bring you good things, so please do your best. See you soon.
Love,
Santa

The girls were amazed at the fancy writing (thanks to wonderful computer fonts). They figured out that Santa (or his elf) must have stopped by when the girls were at school and the rest of us were at Meijer. Will it help? I hope so. I think they did a little better yesterday. Aaron realizes that he might be getting his own note if things don't shape up around here.

You can call me a bad parent; I call it desperate for help!

***
Speaking of Santa, we did get to see him this past weekend. I have to upload the picture of the kids on his lap. Melina would have nothing to do with him, but she didn't cry.

***
The countdown is on...2 and 1/2 more days by myself, unless Tim has to stay longer. I am prepping myself for the call that says he needs to stay put for a bit more, but I am hoping it doesn't happen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Things Tim Would Find Funny

The kids like chicken baked with bread crumbs on the outside. I was making that dish for them yesterday afternoon.

Aaron: What is that?
Me: Chicken.
Aaron: It doesn't look like chicken.
Me: Well, it has to bake first.
Aaron: What part of the chicken is it?
Me: The breast. They are called chicken breasts.
[I continue to cut the chicken breasts into smaller pieces, trimming them of the parts I don't want on them. I trimmed off a rather pink section as Aaron watched.]
Aaron: I bet that pink part was the nipple, mom.

He had me speechless. We went on to discuss the chicken and the egg conundrum. It was quite the afternoon.

***
Melina has been asking to sit on the potty. She says "bobby" and pats her bum. Cutest thing ever. She is already with the program, though, as once she is on the potty, she wants a book. I can't imagine where she would have gotten the idea to read while sitting on the potty [smile].

***
The breakfast table was rife with discussion this morning. Well, the table wasn't, but the kids surrounding it were. According to Aaron, it is the 8th of December today; the girls say it is the 9th. I thought I cleared up the issue when I confirmed that it is, indeed, the 9th of December. However, Aaron won't believe it. He even went to the calendar, circled the 8 and crossed out the 9, as if doing that makes it the 8th. Five year old logic cracks me up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fading Fast

We've been through the ringer over here, or at least I have.

Recently, I read an article regarding twins and the relationship between them. I can remember neither the name nor the author of the article, but she is a twin herself. She described having a twin as "an instant party." I think of that description often. Especially at bedtime.

This past week, Zoe and Talia have not put their listening skills to good use.

Me: Please go to sleep right away. No talking.
Them: Okay.

Then I hear giggling, singing, and whispering and realize the "instant party" has begun. Last night, it lasted until 9:30 pm, and it would have gone on longer, if I hadn't morphed into Mean Mommy. I don't like doing that, but let me tell you, it worked.

We have tried separating them at bedtime, and that does work: they each fall asleep quicker on their own. I started out that way last night, but when tears ensued (partly due to weird shadows on the walls and partly due to missing daddy), I went ahead and put them back together. Let me say that they didn't ask to be put back together, so last night's party time was somewhat my own doing. Tonight, separation galore.

***
All around, listening has not been one of our strong suits this week. I need to remember that Aaron is just five. I have been trying to get down on his level and speak quietly and slowly. I fear that Aaron's poor listening and the girls' poor listening will rub off on Melina, who at this point, doesn't quite understand what listening is.

***
I am not sure if I expect too much, or what, but this whole week has me fading fast. I am, in a word, exhausted. Tim better prepare to take next Monday off. I'll probably head out the door the minute he walks in on Sunday, and I can't say for certain whether or not I'll be back before Tuesday!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kudos to Single Parents

All I can say is this: being a single parent, even for a couple of weeks, is just plain hard. Kudos to those single parents out there that do it every day. I could never manage.

On that note, thanks to you, Mom, for coming down for a bit. I appreciate that I didn't even have to ask. I hope we didn't drive you too crazy.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hotdog!

Zoe, Talia, and Melina tried hotdogs today, and liked them. Aaron (clearly the only one with some sense) wouldn't touch them. In the girls' defense, they were made of chicken and pork, two meats that they like best.

Why did this vegetarian household have hotdogs at dinner? We were babysitting a toddler that liked them. We wanted to make sure we served him something he would eat. In the end, he liked the grapes and pretzel goldfish (after dinner) the best, but did a pretty good job with the hotdog.

That's enough excitement out of this house for one night.

P.S. Tim, I didn't get a picture, but there are witnesses.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Who's Who

I received an email at my work account today, telling me I'd been nominated. For what? Mother of the year? Not by a long shot. It was for Who's Who in America.
Since 1899, Who's Who in America® has chronicled the lives and careers of America's most noteworthy people. Today, Marquis Who's Who has grown to include the biographies of millions of leaders and achievers from around the world and from every significant field of endeavor. Executives, journalists, educators, students, libraries, and researchers of all kinds consult our online biographical database and specialized directories for in-depth, accurate information they can use with confidence. From the Who's Who website.
Who, may I ask, would want to use my biographical data for anything? They must be reaching pretty far here, contacting adjunct faculty at local community colleges. My one book that has been published, while nice, is not a best seller, nor do I do cutting edge research. I got a good chuckle out of the email at least.

***
I am missing Tim right now. Partly because things are somewhat haywire, but not too badly, but partly because he is my sounding board for when things at my school go wrong. I got a phone call today from work about a student who didn't like her grade. Let's say I did everything right, so there should not be any repercussions, but I am willing to go to the dean with proof that this student should not have passed. I shudder to think that she may someday be a nurse. On the other hand, a few great eggs just passed Biology 143! Good luck to them and their future endeavors.

***
Aaron was at school today, so it has been pretty quiet around here. Melina and I ran some errands, including a quick trip to the grocery store. She pretty much sat in the cart and wanted to have smooches from me the entire time. Melina also wanted the pasta in Aisle 4, but I explained that we would have to 1. buy it first, and 2. cook it.

More to come, more to come!



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ba-na-nas!

As in, driving me.

How many times can a 5-year-old boy NOT listen to his mother? Infinite.
How many times can two almost 8-year-old girls NOT listen to their mother? Infinite.
How many times can I hang my head, hoping that Jo the Supernanny will walk in the door? (There is a pattern here, if you haven't noticed.) Infinite.

***
We don't own too many valuable items in this house, except for the kids. Why is that? Because of said kids. Case in point: We had (emphasis on the had) two very inexpensive floor lamps in the living room. Aaron likes to stand on the base of the lamps. For what purpose, I don't know. Two days ago, I told him (again) to get off of the lamp. One day ago I told him (again) to get off of the lamp. (Bananas, I say!) This morning, the lamp looked like it was leaning. I tried to right it, but couldn't. By this afternoon, I thought I'd look into the problem. As I came upon the lamp, I noticed some dust on the floor. I picked the lamp up to find that Aaron had caused the compound under the cheap, black casing of the base to crumble. The base was no longer intact, and the lamp is now in pieces in our garage.

And I know you are missing all of this, Timmy, right?

Early Beginnings

5:41 am, Tuesday, December 1, 2009.

I wake up to the sound of 3 kids cackling in the girls' room. I look down at Melina, who is sleeping lengthwise across my abdomen at a very odd angle (yes, we believe in the family bed), and decide to try to get a few more winks in before waking her up. At least the kids are making happy sounds, right?

Aaron had gone to bed (in the girls' room) the previous night and was asleep by 6:20 pm. He promised me before falling asleep that he would NOT wake the girls up in the morning. After finishing up their snacks and books, the girls joined Aaron in their room for the slumber party. Clearly, Aaron did not hold up his end of the bargain. I am not sure what I will do this evening come bedtime.

***
We went to the library today to make a copy of something I need to send out. Aaron and Melina were enthralled by the copy machine. Aaron was pointing and jumping and saying, "Look, look!" as if I'd never seen one in action before. Melina was looking at a very large button-like structure and saying, "Ball!" If we get stumped for what to do while Tim is away, I think we'll head back for round two!

***
After posting last night, I headed up to work on folding the pile of laundry. I got through some of it, and we worked on putting some of it away this morning before school. Maybe if I get them up early every morning, we'll get everything done that we need to do.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The First of Many Days

Tim left this morning on a business trip. How do we feel about that? Imagine the dog, who is right now staring out the door, anxiously waiting for his buddy to come home. Imagine Melina, who, when she hears me open the screen door that leads to the garage, comes running and screams, "Da-Da!" Imagine the girls, who keep saying, "I am not sure I like Daddy going away." And Aaron, well, he just says he'd like to see Daddy. AND THIS IS THE FIRST DAY!

I'll try my best to post a few sentences of each day between now and December 13th so that Timmy can read up and enjoy what he is missing. Pictures also? Probably not. To be honest, it was all I could do to get a shower, keep everyone fed, and juggle bedtime with 4 tired children. The clothes never did get folded today, and unless reinforcements arrive, those same clothes might still be unfolded (along with many other, newer, clean clothes) come December 13th.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Think I'm Falling for Fall!

I stole that title from Moose A. Moose's song on Nick Jr. Aaron loves the song, and we've got it stuck in our heads around here. To be quite honest, I sort of like the song, too. I don't have all the pictures I need to convey the sort of Fall we've had around here, but the handful I am posting will be sufficient to prove that the kids are enjoying themselves immensely.

The kids love going to Bonnybrook Farms. I haven't gone with them the last couple of years since it would be too much for Melina, but I am looking forward to next year.

Melina loves the leaves as much as her siblings do. Tim was lucky to capture her sweet face before the other kids poured the leaves over her head.

***

Aaron turned 5 just after Halloween, but we celebrated the day before so as to spread out the festivities. It was quite the weekend of celebration, and because we had both sets of grandparents here, Aaron felt more special than usual, I think. The entire time the grandparents were here, though, we didn't think to take a picture of the kids with them!

Aaron loves spider webs and spiders, so I found a picture of a cake I was able to recreate.

Could he be any more cheesy?

Aaron also celebrated his birthday at school. He loves his teacher. Again, the cheesy smile!

***
And finally, Halloween itself!
Melina didn't actually dress up. She just went for a ride around the neighborhood while Zoe, Talia, and Aaron stocked up on candy. It was a pretty nice night to be out, and the kids stayed up too late. Isn't that what Halloween is all about?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tag, You're It!

As I walked out the front door to leave for work yesterday afternoon, I called out to the girls to tell them I was leaving.
Me: Goodbye, Ladies. I love you.
Z and T: Bye-bye, Mommy. I love you.
Me: What are you both doing? [At the time Z was running across the front yard, away from T.]
Z and T: We are playing tag.
T: Yeah [big smile on her face]! I am H1N1 flu.
Let us all hope it stays as a game of tag for our household. We've had enough germs already this fall.

Monday, November 2, 2009

NaBloPoMo

I thought (briefly) about trying to post 1 item a day, considering it is National Blog Posting Month (hence NaBloPoMo).

Seeing as it is November 2nd, and there was no post yesterday, it's not happening. If you'd like to actually keep up on a family whose blogger will successfully complete NaBloPoMo, check out our friend Kelsey and her family. They always have lots of good stories to share.

***
Let's keep our fingers crossed for the Phillies. They need all the help they can get right now.

***
We had a great Halloween as well as a super celebration for Aaron's 5th birthday. He informed us that he is "halfway to 10" or something like that. I hope he is as excited about math at 10 as he is now.

I don't have the pictures from this weekend handy, but I will ask Tim to load them up so you all can see some of the fun stuff we did.

Thank you to both sets of grandparents for making the trip out here to help us have such a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wheelin'

Aaron learned (today) to ride a bike without training wheels. Aaron did wipe out a couple of times in his quest to master his task, but courageously hopped back on the horse. I wish I had a picture. Tim just said "Well, we would have had pictures, but we were too busy chasing after him to get any." Maybe next time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sleep Issues and Sweatshirts

Let it be said I am happy to have a child that loves life. Let it also be said that she could be a better sleeper.

***

I found, in a box of clothes that we had loaned a friend, a little gray sweatshirt that the girls received back in 2002. Actually, we have two of them. There is nothing special about these sweatshirts, other than the fact that they were worn daily by the twins, and then by Aaron, and then by this other little child, and NOW by Melina.

Five kids will have gone through these sweatshirts, and really, I'll probably pass them on to someone else. Never underestimate the power of a good sweatshirt, eh? If everything we owned were made as well as these sweatshirts are, I think we'd all be better off.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Silence

I met a woman the other day at a lovely book party. She said she loves order and silence. She only has one child, and that might be it for them, partly due to her penchant for order and silence. I guess when you have twins first, you never get order and silence, but I could use a bit right now. Then again, I shouldn't complain, as the only thing I hear right this instant are the keys I am tapping and the whir of the washing machine. Yum.

Yesterday morning -- after having to say to the kids multiple times to "sit down, finish breakfast, get shoes on, get moving!" -- I told them that I wanted to take a break from mornings.
Me: I am going to let Daddy do mornings from now on. I will just sit with my cup of coffee in peace.
Talia: What are you going to do? Just sit there?
Me: Yes, sit and drink my coffee.
Talia: And watch TV, right?
Me: [chuckling] No. I'll just sit and enjoy the silence.
Talia: What silence?
At that point, I realized she was right. Even if Daddy took care of things in the morning, silence would be hard to come by. And to be honest (as I've said multiple times), I wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back At It Again!

This past weekend, I ran a half-marathon. It wasn't my first, but it was the first race I've done since having children. In fact, part of the reason I signed up for the race was to get back into shape. That, and MaryAnne made me (just kidding). So, I asked Tara if she wanted to join us in the pursuit of the 13.1 mile trek. She said yes.

Did we have goals? Yes, we all did, I'd say. MaryAnne, Tara, and I all run at different paces, and actually ran our long runs at different times. We figured we might not actually "run" the race together. But in the end, we'd feel like we accomplished something with each other. And hopefully, we'd fulfill some goals.

I am happy to report that we all surpassed our goals. I finally feel as though I might actually be able to run at the pace I did pre-children. Yippee! Now, if I can just find the time to stay in the running game. I don't have a picture of MaryAnne, but Tim was lucky enough to have to be up when we left on Saturday, so he snapped a picture.

Melina and I were standing right under the floodlight, hence the odd-looking hair on both of us.

All finishers were given a medal, which was cut off of the picture. Melina carries the look off better than I ever could!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life As We Know It

Whoever said being a stay-at-home-mom and working part-time is the best of both worlds never lived my world. Don't get me wrong, my world is GREAT. I do appreciate being able to be here for the girls when they get home from school, as well as stay home with Aaron and Melina during the day. But working part-time, in the EVENING, is like going from one full-time job to a part-time job, when all I really want to do is go to bed. Furthermore, because I am not at home two evenings a week, on those nights, life at home is different. Just ask Tim.

Last week, I walked in the door at 8:45 pm to find 3 out of 4 kids in bed (but not all of them asleep), 1 baby on the floor of the family room (wide awake), some dishes in the sink (the babysitter usually puts most of the dishes in the dishwasher, to her credit), and the dining room table a mess. I threw my sweater and bag on the table, washed my hands, grabbed the baby and headed upstairs. After changing, nursing, and putting the baby to bed, I moved onto the girls room. There, I told them to be quiet and go to sleep. I tiptoed into Aaron's room, checked to make sure he was breathing (I'll probably do that until he goes to college; I usually do it for everyone), and then headed down the hall to shower. Following the shower, was the dining room table clean-up, then I packed half of the lunches for the next morning, grabbed a snack, cleaned up the rest of the dishes, and flopped onto the couch. I might have spoken a little with Tim before heading to bed.

This happens 2 times a week, and while we are only in the 2nd week of classes, I am already tired of the routine. Tim tries, he really tries to make things go smoothly. And I think if he had the ability to get into my brain and channel me, he'd notice that the dining room table still needs cleaning and that the socks next to the couch, well, they just don't belong there.

And so, this routine has me thinking. Is this worth it? Do I make enough 2 times a week to cover the cost of my sanity? Well, I have to think of the long run, and someday, probably within the next couple of years, I will need to go back to working full-time, outside the home. In order to do that, I should stay where I am, keeping my foot in the door, so to speak. And on the upswing, I do enjoy speaking with my colleagues as well as the students I teach. I've made a couple of really good friends by being their instructor first.

So, I think we will be stuck, dancing the dance 2 times a week until the end of November. If I can, I'll do 2 online classes next quarter (so I don't actually have to leave the house...but then, I bet I'll miss the escape!), and perhaps by the spring, Melina will be a bit more self-sufficient (if you can say that about child that won't yet be 2 in the spring), and the whole routine will be a little less hectic than it is now.

Stay tuned. If you don't see a posting before spring, you know how it is going.

P.S. Good news in our house this week. Aunt Teresa will be getting married! Congratulations to Teresa and Dave!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pictures I love

Just a sampling of the pictures that were taken in August. Looks like we had some fun, and I wanted to make sure to share some of these with family and friends. Okay, here we go.

We attended the butterfly festival, and Melina had fun hanging out in the stroller while we were there.

Still cute with curly brown hair, both of them.

The kids played on Elbel Field, in Ann Arbor, during our quick visit. Tim and I met there. While it is hard to see the children, I love this picture because I love Elbel Field and Ann Arbor (you can pretend you didn't know that!).

Kids sure know how to be cute, don't they?

This was the first day of second grade for the girls. They were wearing the tie-dye shirts they made. No glasses yet.

Aaron on the girls' first day...being, well...Aaron.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sweet Smells of Summer

The summer vacation officially ended today. Zoe and Talia jumped on the bus and zoomed away at 7:50 am this morning. They had smiles on their faces and a spring in their steps, as they say. I didn't sniffle like last year, as I am familiar with the routine. This morning got me thinking that maybe we can get back into a posting-more-often tradition :)

I do want to share some of the pictures we have from various points over the summer. We had some family here for Melina's first birthday, and I made her cake from scratch. I usually try to put a cool design on the cakes I make, but for a first birthday, I go simple.

I found the recipe for this cake online, and it was simply delicious. No more boxed cakes, ever!

Here are a couple of pictures of Melina at her party. In the first one, I am helping her taste the cupcake I made for her (same recipe as the cake). She seemed to like the cupcake and frosting, but not enough to really dig into it. I bet that changes next year. Overall, Melina didn't have a clue what was happening that day, but if I remember correctly, she clapped for herself after we sang to her.


I added this one because I think she is cute (not biased here at all, am I?).


We tried to get a decent picture of everyone while they were visiting; the result is below. I don't know that anyone was NOT in pajamas, but I think we all had our teeth brushed.


And here is Aaron, doing tricks again. Oh to be that flexible!

Anything else will have to wait until the next post, which I promise will be sometime this week. I know you have all been waiting, haven't you?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Bad Bloggers Are We!

Um, yes, what about the promise to post at least once a week? Bad, bad, bloggers! Nary a post since late June.

But since then: Melina caught a virus, we had visitors, Melina turned 1 year old, we visited relatives in Pennsylvania, some of us headed to DC, we had more visitors upon our return to Ohio, and I started a 5-week course that will enable me to move from Lecturer I to Lecturer II. Needless to say, we've been busy.

I'll definitely post something on Melina's birthday, as I would not be able to live with myself if we didn't put a couple of pictures up about it, or mention that the cake was great (I tried a new recipe) and how nice it was to see part of the family. In the meantime, a friend sent a picture of our kids playing with hers in a backyard tent. They all look like they are having fun.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Got a Job for Bob?

Melina and I were sitting on the double bed in her room the other morning, a bit after 6 am. Aaron comes in, climbs up on the bed, and presses his nose up against one of her windows, which faces south and looks out over the 1 story roof of our family room.

Aaron: Mom, what are those black things?
Me: I think they are called vents.
Aaron: No, those black things.
Me: Really, Aaron, I am not sure, but I think they are called vents.
Aaron: Mom, I think you need to watch Bob the Builder. He would know what they are.

In retrospect, Aaron might have been referring to the shingles. But after having not slept much the previous night, it never occurred to me to ask him if that was the case.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Stubborn

This post pretty much sums up how our summer is going.

Yesterday, I got lunch ready for the three older children. We didn't have leftovers in the refrigerator, so I threw together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut up some fruit, and topped the fare off with some crunchy corn chips. Who could resist?!?

Zoe, that's who. As I headed upstairs to put Melina to bed, I told the kids that lunch was ready, and that I'd be down as soon as I could be. Twenty minutes later, Talia and Aaron had finished their lunches, cleared their places, and were happily reading in the living room. Zoe was still sitting at the table, looking at her sandwich. I knew why. Zoe likes salami and would have preferred to have a salami sandwich. But we didn't have salami. She might have also preferred a hot lunch (many times, I do make lunch specifically for them, not relying on leftovers). But I didn't have the time for that. I informed Zoe that her only option for lunch that day was PB and J, and that looking at it wasn't going to change that fact.

In my head, I had visions of Frances, from Bread and Jam for Frances (if you've never read it, go ahead...it's a good read). I mentioned to Zoe that it might be a great idea to eat her sandwich without complaint, as I could easily give her PB and J at every meal. Her response? She crawled under the table and pulled my sweatshirt over her head. Can you say ostrich?

I gotta tell ya, I was just too tired to yell, or spank, or spit out expletives that little kids shouldn't hear. Someone was watching out for me yesterday, because I simply pulled her onto my lap, told her that we don't always get what we want when we want it, and that eating PB and J was probably better than not eating at all, right? In the end (1.5 hours later!), she ate the sandwich. All of it.

I served pasta at lunch today.

***

How is Aaron doing this summer? Oh, let me count the number of times my blood pressure has risen, just because of him. Oops. I can't do that...too many times to count. Aaron enjoys playing with his sisters, but sometimes, his red-head temper flares, and any one of the following can happen: sand gets thrown, fists fly out only to land somewhere on someone else's body, words are used inappropriately at someone, toys gets stolen, etc.

Again, I think I must be too tired to react, as most of the time, I can be pretty patient with the boy. But I have to wonder, how many times can I tell him not to hit, or call someone 'stinkbutt', or that sand must stay in the box?!? Does Aaron ever listen? I think not, and I am getting tired of trying to make him do so. If anyone out there has suggestions for me, I'm open. I've recently told him to pretend I'm his teacher, as he has admitted to listening to her better than he does to me.

***
Melina is going to be one very soon, and I have not posted any new pictures of her. Next time. She has recently switched to crawling most of the time, and only using her creeping method every once in a while. She loves to scale the stairs (with one of us behind her) and looks for applause each time she goes up by one step. Her 'vocabulary' is increasing: she definitely says 'ball' and 'Shadow' along with the usual 'mama' and 'dada'. We think she's said a variation of Talia and Zoe, too, and some other words, I cannot remember at the moment. We'll be sure to put a post of her big day in July.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Those pearly whites!

I remember someone telling me (the dentist, perhaps?) that we should always go over the kids' teeth after they have brushed, just in case they missed some food. And, that we should do this until they are 10. Ten!!! So, that has been my policy. But since the birth of Melina, I don't do the brushing routine with Aaron and the girls so much anymore. Imagine my surprise when I looked inside Talia's mouth and found she now has 24 teeth instead of 20. Zoe, too. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised, as they are 7, and eruption of the 6 year old molars usually occurs around the beginning of first grade (give or take some time).

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oops!

I have been kindly reminded by a few that I never said how Shadow is doing, after having a growth removed. The growth ended up being benign, and aside from a shaved patch on his leg, he is doing well. I am really glad, as I actually would like the beast to be around for a while. The cats might beg to differ, but in the grand scheme of things, I think they all get along pretty well.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Growing Up Is Hard To Do...Or Is It?

I have been trying to write this post for a bit, but the little lady isn't cooperating. I don't know if new teeth are coming in, or if she is just more interested in her surroundings lately, but I do know that napping has become somewhat of a difficult time lately. I keep telling Melina that babies take naps and that she needs to nap in order to grow, but she just hasn't been buying it.

***
Speaking of growing up, Aaron has done so overnight. I am not kidding, either. Writing about him now could be like the beginning of a Franklin story:
Aaron could count by fives and draw bee hives. He could hold his pencil correctly and draw very gently.
Aaron can probably count by twos, but he doesn't have tie shoes, so Franklin has him there. But Aaron's artwork has exploded in detail and design, he really does hold his pencil the right way (finally) and best of all, he has been dry at night! He informed me yesterday that the box of special pants (diapers/pullups) no longer belonged in his room since he just didn't need them. Aaron also told me that he didn't need help with his shoes: "Mom," he said. "I can do it by myself. I've done it before." The growing up part isn't really hard on him...it is hard on me. My little guy is changing right in front of me, and I can't stop it. Of course, I don't really want to, either.

***
Second speaking of growing up: I just realized the girls will be done with first grade tomorrow. Done. Finished. Moving on to second grade. That means they are growing older, and so am I. Lately, their maturity has been showing (sometimes) and I am glad to see it. I found the girls sitting with Aaron on the couch yesterday. Talia was in the middle, reading a chapter book to Zoe and Aaron. They were enjoying each other's company as well as a good read. I was so proud, I called Tim to tell him what I found. I thanked Talia later for sharing her talent with her brother (Zoe can already read well by herself). She smiled, but I could tell she was proud of herself, too.

And speaking of pride, the girls both earned SPIRIT pins this year. What does SPIRIT stand for? I took this from the school's handout:
Our mission is for the students to learn about Success, Pride, Integrity, Respect, Involvement and Teamwork. We talk about these words and actions everyday so students can learn to implement them into their daily lives. It is our hope that through "SPIRIT" each child has the best school experience possible. To this end, we must work together and support each other as we nuture and educate our students.
Each time a student is seen doing something that represents one of the letters of the word SPIRIT, he or she receives a brick with that letter on it. When the student has received all of the bricks, her or she gets a pin. The kids are thrilled to have accomplished the feat, and Tim and I are happy, too.

***
Just to amuse you, Melina is body slamming the dog -- over and over and over. Aaron is laughing hysterically, and so am I. The dog isn't even bothered by it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What Is New In Your World?

Shadow is a good buddy and part of the family. The kids love him, I love him when he isn't barking or jumping, and Tim just thinks his first pet is cool. The poor dog had an adenoma removed from his leg last week. Let us hope that our 2nd redhead has many happy years ahead of him. Just so you know, an adenoma is benign. The biopsy was sent off to be read, and if it is cancer, it will be termed adenocarcinoma. What then? We'll cross that bridge if we have to. Enough of the biology lesson.

***

Melina is pulling up anywhere she can: bookcases, ottomans, couches, tables, steps. [I don' t get much done these days, inbetween checking to see where Melina is and that she is not trying to pull over the various pieces of furniture.] Each time she pulls herself up, she smiles and waits for applause. She actually knows how to put herself back down, pretty gracefully, too. My favorite thing she does right now, though, is spin around in a 360 degree circle on her belly. Over and over and over...making her own crop circles. On the tile or wood floor, she can really get some speed. If her siblings are around, Melina will do this for I can't tell you how long. Again with a smile on her face. Waiting for applause.

***

I teach 2 classes: one is in-person, the other on-line. I utilize the internet quite a bit for both, obviously relying on it for the on-line class. When I was first hired by the college, we used the Blackboard web applications, but have converted to what is called the Angel system (another web application). Both of the applications are good, but frustrating. They allow me to do what I need to do: post items, view grades on-line, check email.

But each time we either 1. switch web applications (like going from Blackboard to Angel) or 2. upgrade Angel (going from 7.0 to 7.2) there is a learning curve involved. I don't mind learning, but my time to learn is limited, you know? Imagine how much I rolled my eyes when I just found out that not only are we upgrading to Angel 7.4 in 2010, but that Blackboard just acquired Angel. Can you see us going back to Blackboard at some point? How funny.

***
And, I ran 7 miles last weekend! In one run, I mean. I haven't done that since Melina was in utero. It felt great. I can't wait until my long runs mean 10 miles or more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Random photos

I just realized that we have not posted photos of the kids for a while. I have plenty I could write about (writing being very cathartic for me) but I never put in any Easter photos of the kids. We have some other pictures, too, that I am sure at least the aunts, uncles, and grandparents would like to see. So, here we go!


Tim set up an Easter egg hunt for Talia, Zoe, and Aaron. Clearly this picture was taken before the eggs were collected. The kids had a great time, and I think Tim did, too.


Melina is shown here, chewing on the tag of the toy that the Easter Bunny brought her. She is wearing hand-me-downs from Aaron, and obviously, isn't even buttoned up all the way. The woes of being the fourth child!

I do dress Melina in pink when we take her out (here she was ready to go to church), so that we don't confuse anyone. Sometimes wearing pink or purple doesn't help, though. Melina was wearing a purple sleeper with hearts and flowers yesterday. At the grocery store, a man came up and said, "What a cute little fella!" Well, I agreed and graciously said thank you. No mention that my fella is really a lady.

Our exersaucer is no longer used in the appropriate manner. Instead, it is a breezeway for the baby.


All four kids enjoy the swingset now, and we are very lucky that the little man is so gentle with his baby sister. Aaron likes to push Melina in the swing. Whether or not she is thrilled with this idea is anyone's guess.

Tim captured a circumhorizon arc on the camera last weekend. It was beautiful, although I can't say how long it lasted.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Funny Things Said By Kids

As a mom of four, my standard uniform consists of stretchy pants, nursing tank, and cardigan sweatshirt. If shoes are on, they are an old pair of running shoes. The sweatshirt usually has some form of food on the left shoulder, and the pants, even if they are right out of the dryer, have an old stain on them. Comfortable, but fashionista, I am not. I might dress up just a bit for teaching in the evening, but even then, if the lab calls for dissecting a sheep brain, I often leave for school wearing jeans or stretchy pants.

I came home the other night and peeked in the girls' room. I hadn't seen them before I left for school, so they didn't know what I was wearing to teach in that night. It had been a warm afternoon, so I chose a 10-year old pair of summer khaki's, an old white tank top, and a breezy, navy, V-neck tunic that didn't actually belong to me (yes, I still have that, Tara...sorry!). A step up from the standard uniform.

Imagine my surprise when Zoe said, "Mom, do you have to get all fancy when you go to work?"

***

Yesterday, on the walk home from church, Aaron stopped on a pothole that had been filled in. He said, "Look! I'm a pothole-der!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Wish I Had Some Pictures...

1. I walked into the house after going for a run this past Monday. All four children were under the dining room table. The three older ones were on their backs, tools extended. Tim said they were doing home improvement projects to the table. I am guessing Melina was the foreperson.

2. Talia lost two teeth this past weekend -- one from the top, one from the bottom. In total, I think she has lost five or six teeth. Because she no longer has her top 2 teeth, she likes to smile really big and pretend she is a vampire.

3. Zoe and Talia have learned how to jump off the swing, mid-air. They are getting pretty good at doing so, but last night, while I was at school, Zoe fell. [Sounds like she fell onto her hands, and may have strained a muscle. She is right now at the doctor, as the pain has gotten worse overnight and is radiating up her arm. Tim and I don't think it is broken, as there is very little swelling and she is able to move her arm and fingers in every direction.] The girls decided to take matters into their own hands last night and construct a sling for Zoe's arm out of their stretchy headbands.

4. Aaron has decided to keep me guessing. It is hard to know what he will do next. The other weekend, he needed to get his squirt bottle out of the garage, as he wanted to use it in the bathtub. So, he opened the front door, walked out onto the porch, crossed the front walk and the driveway and made it to the garage, where he found his squirt bottle. Why is that funny? He did it buck naked! Even funnier, he could have just gone out the screen door entrance to the garage.

Guess I need to keep the camera ready. And, I need to post more often.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Older Siblings Can Do To You...

The kids all love Melina. They love her so much, in fact, that they like to dress her up with different things they have received/found/made.

Above, she has a crown on, and is doing her best imitation of a princess, I guess.
If you can't tell what those things in the second picture are, they are bunny ears...as in Easter Bunny ears. And yes, they are taped on! She didn't seem to mind too much (although her face seems to say 'Wha?'), so we went ahead and took the picture.

Melina will get back at them someday, I am sure.

P.S. We have yet to get a picture of Melina wearing a curly brown wig. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Boy and His Dog and Other Stuff

I should be sitting here doing school work, but instead, I am thinking of Aaron. Imagine that. I probably have thoughts of the other kids going through my head, too, but lately, I’ve been observing Aaron and his behavior when Zoe and Talia are at school, and Melina is asleep.

Aaron is a very imaginative child, and one that loves to play by himself. Don’t get me wrong, he does like to play with other kids (especially his sisters). However, he can amuse himself, literally, for hours. He will build towers out of blocks, draw pictures, erect marble runs, and dig holes. He talks to himself, describing everything that happens, or what should happen, and sometimes, calls out to me. But I think his best bud right now, aside from Melina, is Shadow. The two of them head outside to frolic in the sun, and what goes on out there, I’ll never know.

The other day, I was looking out the back door at the two of them, the sun shining off of the twin redheads, and I actually got tears in my eyes. I am pretty sure I teared up because, despite the presence of the dog and the look of glee on Aaron’s face, he was out there without another person. I needed to be inside at the time, and to be honest, Aaron didn’t ask for me to be out there, but sometimes, I wish he had a friend that lived next door. Was he lonely? I don’t think so. Would he have preferred to be playing with someone? I don’t know. I do know that as soon as his sisters came home from school, he followed them out to the front yard and had a blast being with them.

I hope he has a good balance of alone-time, sisters-time, mommy-time, and daddy-time, and I think he does. All I can say is, thank goodness for Shadow. Despite the barking, the mud tracking, the constant "I need some attention" behavior, he clearly earns his keep by keeping Aaron company. So thank you, Shadow. I guess you do make my job somewhat easier.

***

We haven't posted much here because we've been very busy. We've had visitors (two sets of grandparents at two separate times -- thank you to both sets for coming), spring break, and germs (Melina had a bad cold). It has been a little hectic, but fun. Taxes are now done (thanks Tim) so we'll put up some of the nifty pictures we took over the last couple of weeks and at Easter in the next post.

Aside from that, the only other thing happening in my world is my class. I am teaching Biology 142 this quarter, which just happens to cover muscle and nerve. I am excited about that. What? You aren't? I love teaching about the neuron, what it looks like and especially how it works. Moving on to muscle makes the first month of the quarter always a joy, and I mean that. Being excited about this class has even carried over to my running, where my mileage is building slowly. I am so glad that I have something happy to say instead of complaining about fatigue! Remind me I said that, please.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Firsts

We had a lot of "firsts" this week.

Melina had her first taste of sausage (she liked it). She ate potatoes and a french fry, in different sittings, for the first time (she liked those, too). Melina also tried her first O-shaped, low sugar cereal; by golly the kid liked those as well.

Most importantly, Melina's first tooth is peeking out! Once I felt it, the kids and Tim stopped everything in order to try and see it. We, of course, all clapped, too. I can't quite understand how the tooth can be absent from the mouth in the morning, but cutting through the gum by the evening. Growth is amazing!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On the Move

I don't have pictures to back me up here, but Melina is in the process of starting to move. Mobility is clearly not a problem anymore. She moves in a circle. She moves backward. She moves forward. Does she actually crawl? Not quite...yet.

Her method has progressed over the last couple of days from pulling herself with her arms, to launching herself forward (after rocking), to using her toes to push forward. Yesterday, she effectively chased Talia around the room, ending up under the table. The kids were laughing hysterically at her, and because Melina smiles at everything her siblings do, Melina sent a huge, toothless grin back to them.

The girls don't remember when Aaron started crawling, so this idea of watching a baby learn to crawl is new for three of them. Zoe, Talia, and Aaron are repeatedly mesmerized by Melina's attempts to move her leg forward after getting up on hands and knees. Each child yells out a play-by-play when Melina lifts her back up of the floor, rocks on her hands and knees, and tries to move forward in some fashion. The kids are Melina's biggest fans and cheerleaders, and I suspect that they always will be.

The thing I realized this morning is that it really doesn't matter what number child it is that is hurtling through developmental milestones; every time, the process engages you, mesmerizes you, and makes you feel so darn proud.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Interview with Aaron

What is something dad always says to you?
"I love you."

What makes dad happy?
"When I give you a big hug"

What makes dad sad?
"When I don't give you a big hug"

How does your dad make you laugh?
"You say something funny."

What was your dad like as a child?
"I don't know because I didn't see you."

How old is your dad?
"17"

How tall is your dad?
"That tall." [points from my feet to my head]

What is his favorite thing to do?
"Play with me"

What does your dad do when you're not around?
"Plays with Melina"

10. If your dad becomes famous, what will it be for?
"Throw a ball to outer space"

What is your dad really good at?
"Art"
[What? Me?]

What is your dad not very good at?
"Being careful at bats."
[When I asked for clarification on this, he said he meant the animal kind.]

What does your dad do for his job?
"Do work on the computer"

What is your dad's favorite food?
"Chocolate"

What makes you proud of your dad?
"Giving you a smooch"
[Huh?]

If your dad were a cartoon character, who would he be?
"Superman"

What do you and your dad do together?
"Wrestling."
[He has three sisters, so sometimes we two just have to rough-house.]

How are you and your dad the same?
"We like chocolate."

How are you and your dad different?
"I'm a kid. You're a grown-up."
[This may actually be the only way we differ.]

How do you know your dad loves you?
"Because you give me hugs and smooches."

What does your dad like most about your mom?
"When she's holding lots of flowers."
[Again, huh?]

Where is your dad's favorite place to go?
"The grocery store with me."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bits of Our Week

Aaron was drawing a rainbow with his markers. Excitedly, he says, "Mom! My favorite colors are primary colors!"

I don't know about you, but I didn't know what a primary color was when I was four. Gotta thank dad the physicist for that one.

****
I was feeding Melina in the kitchen, and she started to put something in her mouth that was just too small for her mouth (as in, she could choke). I took it away, and instead gave her the Fisher-Price baby Jesus, that came with the nativity set.
Me: Here you go, Melina. Play with this instead. Baby Jesus won't mind if you put him in your mouth.
Talia: Mom, Baby Jesus won't mind because he is a toy.
****
And just because we talked about everyone else, I need to put a bit about Zoe in here. I had to laugh yesterday. She was supposed to be doing her homework, and instead, I found her reading something. She hid what she was reading, and then came to the table to do her homework.

It wasn't until later that I asked her what she was reading. She informed me that she had As Your Baby Grows, which is from the publishers of American Baby. I received it at some point during my pregnancy with Melina. It really is a nifty pamphlet, complete with pictures of pregnant women, the developing fetus, and a vaginal birth. All of the kids have enjoyed looking at it.

This time, however, Zoe said she needed privacy when reading it. I am thinking that Zoe is probably actually reading the magazine this time, and not just looking at the pictures. Does that mean a birds-and-the-bees talk is right around the corner?!? I'm not ready for this!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Name Calling and Thunderstorms

Yesterday, Talia was using Aaron's Magnadoodle and, according to him, would not let him use it. I asked Talia to finish up what she was doing, and to please let Aaron use his own toy (she has her own, as well).

A few minutes later, I was in the kitchen, feeding Melina, when Talia walks in with a sullen look on her face. She looks up at me and says, "Mom, Aaron called me bad poo-poo."

I have to tell you, I really tried not to laugh. REALLY. But when the fatigue level is at the maximum, Aaron could have simply called her by her name, and I might have laughed. I know that laughing was the not the appropriate response, and Talia knew it, too. Her face fell, and she started to tear up.

I spoke very quietly to her and explained that, while Aaron should not have said that to her, I was very tired, and just about anything would make me laugh. I told her that I understood she felt bad by what he said, and that I wasn't laughing at how she felt. It was a moment where I appreciated the fact that Talia is seven and that we can have real conversations about feelings, about what is right and wrong, and what is not too bad. "And," I added, "What he said is kind of funny when you think about it, isn't it?" Talia agreed that Aaron's choice of words was sort of funny, and she laughed, too. I told her I'd speak to Aaron as soon as I could.

I called to Aaron, asking him to come into the kitchen. He made it about halfway, into the foyer, before he said, "I said it to the couch." The kid knew what I had been going to say, and already had an excuse in hand. Nice try, wise guy! By the time I got him into the kitchen, he'd admitted to using those words against Talia and that it probably wasn't the best choice he made. He agreed to apologize to her for saying something that wasn't nice. His only problem -- he didn't know which twin was Talia!

****

In the wee hours of this early morning, we had a brief thunderstorm. Aaron usually isn't a fan of storms, and sometimes wakes up and wants someone with him. I heard the thunder, and figured I'd send Tim into Aaron's room to get into bed as a precaution.

As it turns out, Aaron never even heard the thunder. When I asked him about the storm, he said he didn't know there was one. I told him that Daddy had gone in to sleep with him in case he had been frightened by the storm. He looked at me and said, "Oh. I thought Daddy was in my bed because he loves me."

How sweet is that?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Captured Fun

A couple of weeks ago, the girls went with Tim to a sock hop at school. It was from 6-8 pm, so Aaron stayed with Melina and me at home, while the rest of the crew took off for the dance. They apparently had a great time, even without a poodle skirt or saddle shoes.

Notice the sparkly shoes...the girls absolutely love those!

******
Melina is really trying to get moving. She has been doing the superman pose in an effort to strengthen her back muscles, and every once in a while gets her knees under her little body. We got a couple of good pictures of her having fun doing this:

Tim also captured some great bathtime photos, all of which he made sure were suitable for posting.




I bet she is getting too big for that bath seat.

******
And, of course, we cannot forget Aaron (partly because he is so loud, you CANNOT forget him). He has been having a blast with his little sister, but when she is sleeping or eating, he can be found doing other things...like building. Last week, he built a wall. Maybe not so exciting to you, but imagine Aaron's excitement when he rolled himself into it in order to knock it down.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bucket List

There is a note making its way around Facebook called The Bucket List. I presume it is named after the movie of the same name, in which two men try to get through a list of things they'd like to do before they "kick the bucket," as they say. I don't know about the movie, but the note lists many things that people have done, some of which include (I have not done all of these):
Gone on a blind date
Skipped school
Been to Canada
Been lost
Swam in the ocean
Cried yourself to sleep
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't.
Caught a snowflake on your tongue
Danced in the rain
Written a letter to Santa Claus
Ridden on an elephant
Swam with dolphins
Swam in the Mediterranean
Been to a Major League Baseball game

The list made me think about a list I made many years ago, one that I can probably still find if I look hard enough. I had items listed that I wanted to do over the span of my life, some of which I have accomplished, i.e. run a marathon, some of which I have not, i.e. take a trip to Italy. I think I need to find that list, look at it again, and possibly add some more items. If I were to make a "bucket list" now, I am certain it would be more than slightly different than the list I composed 15 years ago.

Some of the things I'd add to my original list would be:
See my kids in a profession that makes them happy
Have grandkids (I know I have no control over this!)
Be able to visit my kids and grandkids as often as I can
Visit Niagra Falls
Have my house and garage organized
Visit Walloon Lake
Stay up to usher in a New Year (that went out the window with the arrival of children)
Run 5-6 days a week
Make an impact on every student I teach, preferably a GOOD impact
See friends I haven't seen in WAY too long
Publish a book for children
Sell my baked goods
Donate my time to those that need it (not very specific, but I have to figure out those specifics)
Like always, I could go on, but time is of the essence. What are some of the things that you'd like to do, or have done? I'd be curious to know.

Next time, I promise some great pictures of the children. I don't want the buckets of sunshine to think they are afterthoughts (as if!).

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

Well, it might be afternoon by the time this gets posted. But this is what's been going through my brain as of late...really a bunch of questions. If you have answers, feel free to leave a comment.

1. Why do people here say, "I have to go to the grocery" while up north they say, "I have to go to the grocery store"? I looked it up. Grocery is a noun. But I find that I use grocery as an adjective out of habit.

2. Why do I like to eat cottage cheese with a fork, but I won't touch it with a spoon?

3. Will I have at least one child with my propensity for neatness? I am holding out hope for Melina here!

4. How am I supposed to answer all of Aaron's questions?

5. Why do women (mostly, and myself included) feel as though we need to take on the world? Yes, I know there are books out there completely devoted to this subject. I don't care about the psychological mumbo-jumbo...I guess this is really a rhetorical question (aren't they all?).

6. It is bad if my kids are fed, bathed, clothed, loved, with homework done and small chores accomplished, but the windows haven't been cleaned in a year?

7. Why can't I remember what the control factors for the cell cycle are and how cyclin-dependent kinases work, but if you ask me what the kids had for breakfast on January 23rd, I just might be able to tell you?!?

8. Why do people (again, myself included although I REALLY try not to) feel the need to tell others how to parent?

9. Why do restaurants think that slapping together some vegetables and cheese constitutes a tasty vegetarian dish?

10. Do people with family members that live close to them realize just how lucky they and their children are?

I could go on, but I actually do have laundry, cooking, and school work to get done. And those kids, I guess I should try to feed and love the two that are here.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Little Bookworms

Zoe and Talia had a representative from the local library come to their school to pass out applications for library cards. They're in first grade now, and that makes them eligible for their own cards. We filled out the forms, sent them in, and recently received the cards. On Saturday, Z, T, and I went to the library for a test drive.

The girls each chose two Magic Tree House books, and asked if we could stay to read for a little while before checking the books out and heading home. Since part of the reason for our trips to the library is to give Chris time to do things unrelated to being the mother of twins, I said we could stay. The plopped themselves down on a sofa with their books while I looked for a book for Aaron. I found a cute little story titled I Don't Want to Go by Addie Sanders.

Zoe and Talia sat, completely silent for about fifteen minutes, until I said it was time to leave. By then, they had each read 30-odd pages of their books, and I thought perhaps two books each wasn't sufficient reading material, but I didn't know how many they could borrow on their brand new cards, so we left it at two and would come back as soon as necessary for more. The girls asked for bookmarks to keep their places. A nearby card catalog computer had a little stack of paper slips for writing down call numbers, so we inserted two of these as impromptu bookmarks.

Because the cards come without names, we had to ask a librarian which card belonged to which child. This she did, and even told us the PINs for their cards. Zoe and Talia proceeded to the very 21st-century self-check-out terminal. They put their cards under the scanner, entered their PINs, scanned the books, and pressed the "Print Receipt" button.

"Congratulations! You just used the library," I said to them, maybe a little too loudly, but I was excited, even though the moment was probably lost on them.

We got in the car, drove home, and pulled into the driveway. I turned off the car, took the key out of the ignition, and looked at them in the rear-view mirror. They were immersed in their books and hadn't noticed we'd arrived.

"Girls," I said, "we're home. Do you want to go in?"

"No." They didn't even bother to look up.

"You can sit down inside and read. It's warmer there." Maybe this'll work, I thought.

"Ok," they said, but still hadn't looked up. By now, they were about 50 pages into their books, and I thought to myself, two books is definitely not enough.

When we went inside, Chris looked at their books, and said to me, "They only got two each? That won't even last them the weekend." I gave some lame excuse about not knowing how many books they could check out on new cards, but really, just an hour before, I had thought two books would last several days, but knew better now. Quickly, a vision of the next ten years passed before me: Zoe and Talia walking around, occasionally into walls, and hearing nothing because books are in front of their noses. They are literate now, and bookworms to boot. I can't stop that train, but I can take the flashlights from their bedroom.

Epilogue: By Sunday afternoon, they were working on completely different books. I didn't see what Zoe was reading; Talia was just finishing chapter 10 of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (I felt a little sad about that because I was really looking forward to reading this one to them). The library is closed Sundays so I suggested that they trade library books with each other. "Daddy, we've done that already..."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The End of Innocence

Saturday was a momentous day. As Tim already posted, the girls got new hair cuts. And by cut, I mean cut. Ten inches were cut off to give to Locks of Love, and a few more were taken off so that the cut looked nice. Up until this point, both Zoe and Talia had gotten regular trims, but neither child had ever had more than about 2 inches taken off at a time.


I haven’t really talked to Tim about the cut (other than saying that the girls look adorable, in my opinion) but I wonder how he feels about the act. The day that Zoe came home and told me she wanted to cut her hair off and donate it to Locks of Love, my eyes filled with tears. I quickly tried to blink the tears back, and I hope that she didn’t see them, but I can’t be sure.


My tears were twofold. I loved their long hair: the curtain of blond that swung behind them when they ran; the cascade of warm silk against my skin when we snuggled; the warm, sweet smell that lingered when they walked away after a shampoo. I knew the hair was a vestige of the innocence that we are slowly leaving behind. Magic? They believe in it. Wonder and Awe? They still have those, too. Excuse me for being selfish, but I want Zoe and Talia to hold onto those qualities so that I can hold onto them, too.


On the other hand, I cried a bit because I was proud that a daughter of mine could make a decision to help a fellow person. How many times had we donated toys, money, or time, but only because Tim and I had decided it was the right thing to do? This time, Zoe had made the decision all on her own, and could see the value of that decision. When Talia said she’d like to do the same thing, I was, of course, doubly proud.


I didn’t go to the salon that day, simply because I had to prepare for the birthday party that was being held that afternoon. Melina and I cleaned house, decorated the dining room, and made sure the cake decorations were perfect. I only thought once while we were busy, “I wonder how the haircuts are going.” It is a good thing I had an excuse not to go, as I know that if I had been the one to take the girls, I would have bawled. I would have teared up as I loaded the kids in the car. I would have sniffled as we entered the salon. I would have cried as the scissors separated the ponytail from each of my children. I am betting that in that instant of separation, I would have seen the magic that transformed my little girls into the young ladies they are starting to become.


There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How to Feed a Baby

We had this stuff in the refrigerator. I didn't know whether it was wasabi or baby peas. The obvious solution is to feed it to the baby and measure her reaction.
Her first reaction was not especially positive. Maybe I just gave Melina Wasabi sauce.
The first taste wasn't conclusive, so we'll try more.
The next spoonful seemed better.
Before long, she said that she'd do it herself...
Melina ate the whole bowl with no screaming, and was grabbing for the spoon by the end of her meal. Verdict: Not Wasabi.