Monday, September 15, 2008

Shark VX3 -- Call Now!

The other morning Paige woke me up very early to tell me that I had to call some number about a vacuum cleaner.  She told me that she found the perfect vacuum cleaner for me and handed me a small piece of paper with the numbers "1-8-00" written on it.  

In my hazy sleepiness I looked at her and said, "Paigie, I need seven more numbers.  Go get me seven more numbers and then I can call." and I rolled back over.  

I remember thinking that the kids were playing a game of some sort.  They are always playing house or making up games.  Me?  I just wanted ten more minutes of sleep.  

She came back a few minutes later and said that I had to come right away and that she couldn't write fast enough.  I was so confused.  I followed her.  Turns out she was watching an infomercial about a vacuum cleaner and she was convinced that I had to have it.  

She was especially impressed by the fact that it could pick up nuts and bolts...and Cheerios.  I sat with her and watched.  All of us watched.  Me, Frank, Grammie, Sarah, Paige, and Nate.  A whole big infomercial cheering section.  We watched the energetic man vacuum up all sorts of things and we watched an equally energetic woman cheer him on.  The better show to watch was the kids.  They loved this stuff.  Paige especially.  She REALLY wanted me to buy one.  

When the show was finally over and they listed the price -- four easy installments of $24.99 -- the kids practically cheered.  Only $24.99!  What a great deal!  I had to explain the "four easy installments" part of the commercial and then we all talked about how cool the vacuum was but how we weren't going to buy one.  And ... that was that.  

UNTIL yesterday when I was shopping with Grammie and I saw one on a shelf in a real live store.  Grammie and I laughed so hard we almost cried.  We wondered if we should buy one.  Was it ridiculous to buy a $50 (in the store it was cheaper than on TV & we had a coupon) vacuum just so that we could make a 5 year old girl laugh?  Guess what?  I did it.  To me, it was worth it.  I was so excited standing in line to buy my vacuum.  Grammie and I took turns trying to guess what Paige's reaction would be when she came home and saw the box in our living room.  It was very exciting.  

We put the box on the table and we waited for her to come home.  It was fun. She was very excited.  No one could believe that we actually found it in a store. She couldn't believe that it was the same one that she showed me.  I think she felt very proud of herself for discovering such a great tool.  Today we got to test it out and it actually works (thank goodness!) and the kids had fun trying it out.  

I'm thinking of handing over the vacuuming duties to them from now on.........


It has not been Paige's lucky year.  

In August we went to a Picnic for Frank's work and she fell and hit her chin. She needed stitches.  

The other day she did something that gave her a miniature black eye.  

A few days before that,  she fell out of bed and bit a small hole in her lip.

Today she tripped and fell on the way to the bus.  She hit her beautiful little face on the curb.  She ended up looking like this!  She even has bloody gums, scratched up palms, and a scraped up knee.  She's so sad.  

I was lucky to have my mommy here to help.  She put Sarah on the bus and then drove Nate to school while I nursed Paigie back to happiness.  Thanks, Mom!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tense Negotiations

It's Nate's 4th birthday and he chose this superhero cake.

I always let the kids pick whichever piece of the cake they want.  

We often have one slice missing from the center and another from the edge and another from some other spot.  Why not?

Yesterday, the kids spent a good bit of time discussing who would get which slice of cake.  
One kid wanted a word ... 
Another wanted a piece of the wall ... 
Another wanted as much icing as possible ... 

The cake slice negotiations are almost more fun than actually eating the cake!  

Gustus! Glorious Gustus!!

This weekend we celebrated Nate's 4th birthday.  
He FINALLY got his most desired toy ever ... GUSTUS!!  

Ahhhhhhh Gustus.  How do we love thee?  Let us count the ways.....  
If you are not sure how much Nate wanted a Gus, just click here.

Star Wars Cha Cha Cha Star Wars!

Yesterday we went to see some of our favorite Star Wars characters at our local Pottery Barn Kids store.  

It was really cool and the kids were thrilled to do it!  

I was worried that it would be a crazy crowded mess, but it worked out perfectly and we got to see everyone twice with barely any waiting at all.  

We even got our Star Wars book and some photo mats signed by all of the characters.  Woo hoo!

Lazy Fairy

Paige lost yet another tooth.  This is her sixth tooth!  
She is going to be SO ready for Halloween this year.

In our house the Tooth Fairy has a habit of forgetting to leave presents.  
She is a little bit forgetful.

The girls have decided that this is not a result of laziness on the part of the Tooth Fairy. Instead, they believe that it is a result of the fact that no one in my house stays in the same bed for very long on any given night.  

It is true that we travel a lot during the night.  This could certainly cause a fairy some confusion, right?

The solution has been to leave notes everywhere to guide the good Fairy to our lost teeth.

Grammie helped Paige write her notes this time.  We left one note on Paige's bedroom door and another one on my bedroom door.  

It worked.  In the morning Paigie's tooth was gone and she had a brand new book and a couple of dollars waiting for her in her bedroom!  What an exciting find!

Thanks for your help, Grammie.

Little Trouble Maker!


The other day Nate and Luca were playing outside while I was playing inside.  
(Read: NOT watching them.)  

They were playing on our swing set in the backyard as they often do and I was trying to get some paperwork done for my Girl Scout troop.  

I just happened to walk through my kitchen at the exact same time that Luca's dad was storming across my yard with an angry look in his eye.  He was headed straight for the boys.

I went outside to find out what all the commotion was about when I noticed a big wad of what I thought was mud in Luca's hand and both boys covered in dirt.  Then I saw the swing set.  Almost every surface was covered with thick clumps of mud.  The swings ... the cargo net ... the rock wall ... the slide ... the deck ... everything.  

Then ... it happened.  They said it.  They confessed.  
It was not just mud.  
It was DOG POOP!  

DOG POOP!!!!!!!

DOG POOP!!!!!!!

Man were they in trouble!  Pablo and I yelled.  We hollered.  We scooped up our poop and mud covered boys (well, actually, I kind of gingerly picked mine up by any clean spot I could find) and then carried them away (mine was at arms length) to throw them in the tub.

I tossed Nate in the tub with as much bubble bath as I would find.  I scrubbed him down with my favorite tangerine sugar scrub and followed it up with a loofah soap scrub.  (He is softer than ever!)  

While he was in there I kept asking him why.  Why would he do this?  What would make him think to pick up poop?  What would make him think that this was a good idea?  Was it his idea or was he following someone else's idea?  

Honestly, I wasn't sure if I preferred him to be the mastermind or the weak-minded follower in this case.

He said that they were setting a trap.  They wanted Sarah to come over and sit on the poopy swing.  They thought it would be funny.  That was it.  It was simple and disgusting.  I could get him to confess to nothing else.  Mostly, he tried to tell me that it was Paige's idea.

As his punishment, we took away a small pile of his favorite toys and sent him to bed as soon as he was out of the tub.  We also told him that he had to help clean the swing set and that he could not get his toys back until the job was done.  He was devastated.

Mother Nature lent a hand with the final part of his punishment -- it rained for about 24 hours following the great poop fight.

The photo above is of Nate in my rain boots.  I wanted to wear them while we cleaned the swing set.  He got to them first.  

I think you can tell how upset I was about the swing set by the sheer lack of photo evidence.  I didn't take a single photo of the event.  It never even crossed my mind.  All I have is this one smiley Nate photo that hardly reflects the drama of the original day.  So sad.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Smiley Cookies

After I crashed my bike my mom sent me a dozed Smiley Cookies to cheer me up.  

They arrived in twelve dozen pieces!  

We ate them anyway.  

As an apology, Eat 'N Park (Home of the Smiley Cookie) sent me a brand new set of un-broken cookies!  

Much to the delight of my sugar-crazy little man, the new cookies arrived today.  

He asked me why we got the cookies.  I told him that Grammie and Poppy sent them to me to make me feel better about my broken arm.  

A few minutes later he reminded me about how he fell yesterday and hurt his arm and wanted to know if his arm was hurt enough for him to be included in the list of people who were going to be allowed to eat the cookies.  

I shared my cookies.

Nate's First Day

Today ... it was finally Nate's turn.  He was very excited.

He helped pack his own lunch.  He picked everything himself:
  • Turkey Sandwich
  • Hummus with Carrots and Pretzels
  • Blueberries
  • Yogurt
  • Water

He grabbed his favorite Spiderman backpack, attached his lunchbox, and we were off!

When we got to school he ran into his classroom so fast that I never even got to say goodbye.
What can I say?  The kid loves his school.  

He's still angry with me for not signing him up for five days a week.  

He's going to go four days only -- I want to keep him home with me for at least one day.  I like him too much.  

Happy First Day, Nate!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Will We All Die After December?

My little man has a song that he learned in school last year.  
It is of the months of the year.  
He sings it quite often.  

Some time ago he was singing it when he suddenly asked me "What will happen after December?"  Then, without hesitation, he followed up his question by asking, "Do we all die after December?"  

I thought about this question for a minute.  It made sense in a way.  I suppose. That's the end of the song. It's the end of the list.  Why wouldn't it be the end. Period.  

He was very matter of fact about his question.  
It didn't seem to bother him at all.  

I explained that, no, we would not die.  As a matter of fact, the months just start over again and then we will start a new year.  

I THOUGHT that he was satisfied with my response.  
Until today.  

Today we were walking around the girls' school and he was obviously thinking about the months again.  This time he was pretty confident that he figured it out.  

He asked, "Mom?  Will the months stop after I die?"  

Again, I said no.  I basically told him that the months would keep going for all of the rest of the people who were still alive.  I told him that the rest of us would need those months.  

He thought about this for a minute and then he perked up and said, "Oh, yeah! Like for the NEW little people!  Uncle Chris and Aunt Lori will need the months when they have more babies!"  

And I said "Yes.  Yes, Nate.  This is exactly why the months will keep going.  So that Chris and Lori can keep having babies."  

And with that our conversation ended and he was happy.

Paige's First Day of Kindergarten

Paige started kindergarten today.  She was very 'Paige' about it (as we like to say around here).  She's a cool kid.  Cool as in calm, cool, collected.  She's cool.

Paige is going to afternoon kindergarten.  She does not ride the bus with Sarah in the morning.  Instead, she catches a kindergarten bus after lunch.  She is the only kid at our stop and the bus stops right at our house.  I think that she loves the idea of this.  It actually makes her giggle when we talk about it.  Today we sat in our front yard while we waited for the bus and she spent her time rolling down the "hill" and collecting up fresh grass stains for her first day.

Before we knew it the bus was here.  She just hopped on as if she has been riding the bus forever.  I barely even got to take her picture.  Nate and I had to be quick, though, because we had to meet her at school for orientation!  We jumped in our car and basically followed her to school.

Once we were there we got to visit Paige's classroom together for a short while before they kicked the parents out for another meeting.

Shortly before the end of the day we were all shocked when there was an unplanned fire alarm.  We had to evacuate the building and stand in a field while the fire department came to check the building!  It was quite an exciting end to a fun first day for my lady.

I'm so happy to report that we are two for three on excellent first days.  
Nate's is tomorrow...
Cross your fingers!

Happy first day, Paigie!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's the First Day of School ... For Sarah

This year, my people start school on three different days.  

Sarah starts Second Grade on Tuesday.  
Paige starts Kindergarten on Wednesday.  
Nate starts Junior Kindergarten on Thursday.  

It works out well for me because everyone gets their own special day and I don't have to do too much running around to try and be present at each "first".

Today was Sarah's first day of second grade.  SECOND GRADE!  Oy.
My lady is getting big.

She picked out her own outfit and had her new backpack all ready to go.

Nate had to chase her down to get his smooches before she hopped on the bus.

I was unhappy with my before-school photo shoot so I made them all pose for an after school special.  It didn't go any better!  Oh well. This is how I like my pictures ... real life.

Happy first day, Sarah!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Food, Glorious Food!

We celebrated Frank's birthday this weekend.  We had lots of random little festivities planned for him.  Kid-sized festivities.  We took him to see Star Wars Clone Wars.  We had gifts wrapped and stashed in various locations around the house.  The kids all picked out cards (we LOVE the singing Hallmark cards around here).  And I decided to cook for Mr. Frank (I know, I know ... I can hear a collective *gasp* from around the globe).  

I pulled some manly recipes off the web and decided to shower my man with manly sandwiches and other manly meals all weekend long.  

The first manly sandwich of the weekend was my own version of a McMuffin.  I thought it was great.  He took one bite and the gooey egg insides squirted out onto his pants.  I'm not so sure he thought it was as fantastic as I though it was.  

Next, the girls and I made some yummy looking cheesy muffins (not so manly, but they sounded delicious).  I forgot they were in the oven and they ended up being a little bit crunchier than I think they were supposed to be.  (Sorry, Chief.)  

(I stole this picture and the recipe from

For lunch I made a super manly spicy chicken sandwich with bacon and pepper jack cheese on a deli roll.  This one worked out well.  We ate our sandwiches with smiles on our faces.  Frankie had seconds.  (Whew.)  

(Again, recipe and photo courtesy of

For lunch on Sunday I made my second manly sandwich.  It was from a recipe titled "Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich".  You can't get much more manly than that, right?  This was a steak and onion-y sandwich on a toasted roll and it was good and messy.  

We weren't sure how to eat it!  I decided to go after it caveman-style while Frank actually tried for a more civilized I-think-I'll-try-a-fork approach.  I liked this sandwich.  (I had some of the leftovers for my lunch today.)  Frank, I think, liked it too.  He's not one to pretend to like something just to make me happy ... he said it was good but that it would have been better with some cheese.  (I tried that today -- he was right.)  

(Once more, photo and recipe from

Now, Sunday night dinner was my big dish.  I made a lasagna, salad, broccoli, and something called "Mystery Rolls".  The lasagna recipe came from a website with another irresistible title (something extra super catchy like "Best Ever Lasagna") AND a story about how this lasagna has been known to make men propose and fall in love and blah blah blah.  I had to try it.  

I cooked all day long.  (Can you imagine what my kitchen looked like by now?)  Anyway, our meal was finally done, we called Frank to dinner and I told him that he better start looking for flights to Vegas because he's going to want to re-propose after he eats this fantastic dinner I just made him.  So we start eating and after a minute or so he looked over at me and he told me that he would very certainly take me to Vegas but that he very certainly did NOT love my lasagna! Ohhhh ....  I didn't know if I should laugh or cry.  I told you that he doesn't lie to me.  I warned you.  

We spent the rest of our dinner trying to re-write the recipe.  We tried to figure out what it was that was the offensive ingredient (or ingredients).  Who knows?  All I know is that, in the end, I'm lucky because 1) Frank's birthday is only once a year, 2) I never have to make that lasagna again, and 3) I may still get to go to Vegas!  

I guess it's back to weekends full of take out food for us.  

(I took this picture - this is the ACTUAL offensive lasagna!)

PS.  All of my manly recipes came from this website:
Check it out.  It's a cool site.