Friday, November 30, 2007
In other exciting news - today Claire made the brilliant observation, "when we walk faster, it doesn't take as long to get there." Perhaps she will become a scientist one day. Ben was laughing and charming as we ran errands - until I didn't have a quarter at the store to let him ride in one of those mechanical trucks that they put right next to the front doors to torment parents. And so I carried him, screaming, while pushing a cart full of bulk food purchases to the car, and then strapped him into his car seat while he made sounds as though I was torturing him. I saw the other mothers watching. Some looked sympathetic, but a few looked triumphant. I think they were just glad to see that it wasn't only their kids who do that. He did befriend lots of people, including one of the barristas (sp?), by getting his groove on at Starbucks. All in all, it wasn't a bad day.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
In other news, the other night Ben counted from eight to thirteen twice. I have been unable to get him past eleven on repeat attempts, though. It was entirely random, too. I told the car to change the radio station, and after I said the numbers of the station I wanted he chimed in with the counting.
This week Claire's class is studying Japan. So she now says, "sayonara" when prompted, and is learning to eat pretend food with chopsticks. She is thrilled that this week all of her friends are back at school, as a few of them took extra time off last week for Thanksgiving trips. In fact she told me yesterday, when we talked about wearing a new outfit we'd bought at the mall to school, "they're going to be so proud of me!" When I asked for clarification she told me, "My teachers, and all my friends. They're going to be so proud of me wearing my new clothes to school!"
Tonight as I got them ready for bed they were pretending there were monsters in some of the rooms, and running around shrieking. We all went in Ben's room, and closed the door to keep the monsters out. Claire told me they were "just pretend", so I wasn't scared. In the middle of putting on his PJs, Ben said to me, "mon-stah" in a very deep growly voice, and then shrieked this high-pitched piercing shriek. Then he laughed hysterically. Later Claire pretended to zerbert the floor, and told me she'd zerberted the monster. She continued by telling me the monster was in her belly now so he couldn't eat us. Whew! I'm glad she took care of it, I was starting to get worried.
The minds of children are amazing things.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
At lunch Ben dropped a full cup of ketchup under the table. Then Claire kept trying to crawl down there to play. Brian got sick from something he ate, and had to bail early. Then, after losing Claire for about 3 minutes in Macy's (oh the gray hairs - the thoughts that run through your head. I was already mentally composing the description I would give people so we could start an all-out childhunt), Ben fell asleep in the stroller. This may seem like a good thing. But, firstly, he is too big for the stroller, and during much of his sleeping his feet rested on the front wheels which meant I had to tip the stroller up onto only its two rear wheels for a lot of the navigating. And, secondly, that he absolutely would not nap until after we got home.
On the ride home, in the back seat for several minutes all I could hear was, "yes!" and "no!" The kicker? They were not arguing about anything. There was no question to be answered. They just wanted to be ornery, so were disagreeing with each other. Over nothing. at. all. It was funny, but also, mildly annoying.
Ben's lack of nap at home meant that today, after I got up, I did not have a single child-free minute until about 30 minutes ago when Claire was tucked into bed. That makes for a very. long. day. No matter how cute the children are. Mama needs a break.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Claire has suddenly decided that she's a "big girl". So now I am not Mommy, or Mama. Simply Mom. Her conversations are peppered with, "right, Mom?" and, "OK, Mom?" Like this one in the car Sunday as we talked about going out for lunch.
"Hey Mom! You can sit next to me. Because we're both girls. Right, Mom? RIGHT, MOM? And Daddy can sit with Ben. OK, Mom?"
And Ben is constantly cracking me up. This morning Claire got in the car first, and when I lifted him up into his seat he reached over to grab her hand. "Ho hans, Cwawe?" Then again on the ride home he asked to hold her hand. She kindly obliged.
On at least three occasions this morning he climbed into my lap, rolled over to look up at me, and with his best flirting smile said, "hewwo" and then reached up for hugs and kisses. When I smother him in kisses or tickles he almost always belly laughs and then asks for it "AGAIN!" And he has this sweet little voice when he is asking for something he really wants. Like this morning when I was having pumpkin roll for breakfast he climbed up beside me, and sweetly asked, "I twy?" How could anyone resist that? The glint in his eye tells you he knows that he is irresistible, and he loves it.
So much sweet. It'll almost give you a toothache. But it is so worth it.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Even the dreariest November day is brightened when you can look out your door and see this.
There are a lot more Best Shot Monday pictures to see, so you better "leaf" here and head over to Tracey's (don't forget to look for all of the links in the comments)!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Legos provided plenty of fun while the kids waited patiently for the turkey to finish cooking.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
In some excellent news, we found out Friday that Grandma miraculously woke up from her coma. So we have even more to be thankful for than we thought. We were so thrilled to hear that she seems to be her usual feisty self. All I kept saying was, "Wow," and, "that's so amazing!"
Friday, November 23, 2007
Ben thought running through the carpet of leaves was loads of fun. He also thought it was hysterical when Claire or I would toss a handful of leaves up in the air, and they would fall on him as they drifted back down to the ground.
Claire made "leaf angels" and threw handfuls of leaves up in the air (or at me) over and over and over again.
Even Tiger came outside to play.
And what would be the best way to end the afternoon of fun? Sharing popsicles with friends, of course.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I am so amazingly thankful for my kids. They make me laugh each and every day, and somedays that's just what I need to keep me going.
I am thankful that I have a husband who loves me, understands me, and accepts me. And who works extra hard so that I can stay home right now.
I am thankful for our extended families. We have a truly amazing network of brothers and sisters, parents, etc.
I am thankful for my friends - old and new. They make my world a better place to be.
I am extremely thankful that we live in a neighborhood full of kids and families - neighbors that stop over just to say hello - that offer to help - that my kids love to stop by to visit.
And tonight - I was very thankful for a nice cold glass of a great white wine after I arrived at my parents house and got the kids tucked into bed.
ps - stay tuned - pictures coming soon!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
We followed that up with a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant near our house. The restaurant was nearly empty, not surprisingly. Almost all of the families that were there had kids close to the ages of ours, so I didn't feel quite so badly when they demanded spaghetti and meatballs, and then ate almost none. They did devour the vanilla bean gelato, though. I preferred the bread pudding myself.
Then home and bedtime, so we can get up in the morning. Cook a lot of potatoes, and head out to stuff ourselves full of food for the rest of the weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
They also have their fabulous Christmas giveaway going on. They already have 13 great contests going on, and it's not over yet!
So take a few minutes to look at what they're offering - you won't regret it!
Monday, November 19, 2007
Me: "Yes, Mommy's ear."
Ben: Ben pulls his ear. "Eeeeah?"
Me: "That's Ben's ear."
Ben: Ben pulls his other ear. "Eeeeah?"
Me: "Oh my goodness! You have another ear! Two ears! One, two."
Me: So then we count to two on my fingers a few times. "Two ears. One, two."
Ben: "I thwee."
Me: "No, you're not three. You're one. One." Holds up one finger.
Ben: "One." Looks at me coyly. "Thiwteen?"
Me: "No, Ben, you're not thirteen. You're one."
Ben: "I gwow?"
Me: "Yes, Ben. You'll grow."
Ben: full of big smiles
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
There were also quite a few folks out, that I am sure, Clinton and Stacy would not approve of. Perhaps the young woman in the silver sequined top, layered with a pink cabled, hooded cardigan. Or the one in the black tank top with silver sequins at the hem and neckline, combined with a pair of hiking boots.
It certainly made for good conversation while Brian was busy playing pool and making new friends. I think he might be an honorary fraternity brother now.
Friday, November 16, 2007
This afternoon we dropped our kids off at Grandma and Grandpa's house, consolidated cars, and headed down to Blacksburg with Don (Brian's brother) and Cindy (Don's wife). We stopped for dinner on the way. How nice is it to not have to ask for a kid's menu, pick-up 2,374 dropped items from the floor, and deal with tired temperamental kids at dinner? Now we're checked into the hotel, waiting for room service to bring a bottle of wine, figuring out what to order for breakfast in bed, and planning our day tomorrow (football game!).
I know that on Sunday I will be anxious to get lots of hugs and kisses from Claire and Ben, but for the moment? I am very happy to be right where I am. Four hours away.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
There have been so many recalls on toys lately that I have become rather paranoid about bringing anything new that is "made in China" into our house. Fortunately the hilarious Chris over at Notes from the Trenches posted this website called Not Made in China. It has given me a number of ideas of fun, educational toys that aren't from China that won't break the bank. Of course, I did start some of my Christmas shopping months ago. In June. And both of the big presents for the kids that I already purchased? You guessed it. Made in China. Ugh.
Don't you just love the
For those who are having trouble keeping up with all of the recalls, and what to do with your many lead-painted toys, my friend Carol sent me a link to a place called Not in My Cart, that keeps track of all of those pesky recalls in one place.
In other consumer-related news, I had to get gas this morning. Desperately. I was on 0 miles-to-go when I pulled into the gas station. I paid $2.93 per gallon, and couldn't believe it, as I'd paid $2.79 less than a week ago at the same station. Over $57 to fill up. Holy moly (as Claire would say)! Then I started paying attention to the rest of the gas stations that I passed as I ran errands. Three at $3.09, one at $3.07, one at $3.11, one at $3.14, two at $3.01, and one at $3.19 (yes, I wrote them all down so I wouldn't forget). I can't figure out why there is such a huge disparity in prices. The place I get gas now I typically get 10 cents off per gallon using my grocery store customer card. Anytime I spend more than $50 at the store in a single visit, I earn 10 cents off at the pump. Based on the other prices I saw, I guess I got a deal.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
But no matter how bad some parts of the day are, or how frustrated I get sometimes, at some point during the day (and frequently more often than that) my children do something that just makes me fill up with happiness.
Today, after Ben styled his hair with yogurt, and Claire tore a string cheese to bits and then tried to drop them all on the floor without eating any, they both got up, joined hands, and swung each other around in circles dancing to the DragonTales theme song. "Daaaaance, daaaance," Ben giggled. They were so happy, and having so much fun.
I hope there was a bit of bliss in your day today!
Monday, November 12, 2007
This picture was taken back in September on National Alpaca Farm Day.
To see more pictures from Best Shot Monday visit Tracey over at Picture This, and look for the links in her comments.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Based on the stats that are collected, in the last 24 hours I have had visits from:
San Antonio, TX
Boston, MA (hi Sarah!)
Zagreb, Croatia (did a google search for claire danse - I think they may have meant claire danes?)
Pompano Beach, FL
Corpus Christi, TX
Mt. Laurel, NJ
So who are you? How do you wind up here? I know some family, and a few friends who regularly check in, but I have no idea who many of you are that are reading. I love when I check my email and have comments from readers - it's very gratifying. So please, introduce yourself - tell me a little about you. I'm very nice, and not at all stalkerish.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
It was so enjoyable to watch her in the classroom once she got over the strangeness of all of the moms being there. She wanted to start with "advanced pouring" work, and she got a tray off the shelf, took me over to a table, and showed me how she can pour the beans back and forth from one container to the other without spilling. Then we moved onto wood polishing work. She picked up the tray, and we went back to the table. Then she took all of the stuff of the tray while we sat there. Then she looks around and says, "Now we have to find some wood to polish. Oh, we'll go over there. Push in your chair." So we got up, pushed in our chairs, and went to another shelf to get a wooden elephant statue. She showed me where it had been broken, but Miss Fatima fixed it. Then we sat down, and she carefully narrated each step of the wood polishing process.
First we put the polish in the bowl. Here are two cloths. This one is polishing and this one is shining. You use two fingers, not three. Just two. Then you polish. Like this. And now shining. Now we need more polish. Whoops, three fingers. We only use two. OK, all done. We wash out the bowl. (We went to the sink and she used the sponge to clean the small glass bowl. Then back to the table.) We put these in the basket. (Back to the sink to put the two cloths in the laundry basket.) Now we get new ones. Polishing first. (She pulls a new polishing cloth out of the drawer, and takes it back to the tray.) Now shining. (Back over to the same drawer to get a shining cloth to take back to the table.)
Then she packed everything back up, and put the elephant, and then the tray back on the shelves where they belonged.
Next up was plant washing. I learned some very useful things. "You have to be very careful. And gentle." Also, "Start from the top. Go all the way to the bottom." She spilled water all over the floor carrying her bowl back to the sink to empty it, but before she could wipe it up she had to take the towel to the basket. And get a new one. And put it on the tray. And put the plant back. And put the tray back. Then we could clean up the floor.
It made me so happy to see how secure she feels in her classroom, and to watch her working so well on a variety of different tasks.
The one big negative to the night happened before we even pulled into the parking lot. The direction we come from causes us to drive by the first church driveway to the second one to pull in. That's how we do it every morning and afternoon. Well, the traffic light at the end of the road had caused a back up, so we were past the first driveway, but not at the second one yet. A jeep that was two cars behind me, suddenly pulls into the wrong lane, and I thought for a minute that they were just going to turn into the exit so they could get to the parking lot faster. But no. That would be giving them too much credit. Instead they drove in the wrong lane past approximately 6 cars so that they could get to the entrance driveway. OK, I get that being on time is important. And that there was no oncoming traffic. But what are you teaching your kid when you break laws. That they don't need to follow the rules if it's inconvenient to them? That it's ok to put yourself and others in danger if it suits your purposes? I just don't get it. People like that make me so angry.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
The first day they got to watch Laurel call the horses up from their pasture. Obviously the best way to watch horses run by is by climbing a fence.
Or trying to climb through it.
Claire got to give each of them a treat. Basil was a little freaked out by the clicking of the camera.
The next afternoon after Grandma Laurel brought them up to the barn, she let the kids take a ride on Basil. You can see that Claire was just thrilled about this.
She even helped take care of him afterwards.
Ben on the other hand, was not so sure about sitting on top of this very large animal.
He eventually gave in, but had no interest in walking anywhere.
Thanks for being so patient with my babies, Bas.
On another day we all enjoyed a carriage ride, thanks to Maisy. (If you look very carefully you can see the outline of the Blue Ridge mountains above the trees.)
Doesn't she look fancy in her driving gear?
The kids loved splashing in the puddles while Grandma Laurel hosed Maisy down. It's hard work pulling four adults and two kids, she deserved a warm shower.
Needless to say, a great time was had by all. Even those of us who didn't get pony rides.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
So, the good news is that we have a new garage door opener. It is all kinds of fancy compared to what used to be there. It is quiet, and has a nifty keypad outside. The buttons at the door to the house give the option to just turn the light on, open the garage door, or lock the garage door.
I am slightly concerned because after the new opener was installed there were quite a few pieces leftover. I am less concerned because my father-in-law was here this morning for a very fast visit (including breakfast burritos from Anita's - yum!), and he
So no cute pictures, but still, a good day.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The rest of the week was normal. And then Saturday at 1 AM Claire climbed into our bed. When she woke me up I got up to go the bathroom, and she followed me saying she needed to show me something. I took her back to her room only to find that her bed was covered in barf. Ugh. I changed her into clean pajamas, wiped her face and nose, and tucked her into bed beside Brian while I put sheets in the laundry, made the trundle bed, and found a basin. She was up sick twice more during the night, and several times in the morning.
All day long she alternated between napping and lying on top of me. Fortunately Brian was home to take care of the boys (did I mention we'd had our nephew overnight). By about 8 PM Claire was showing signs of life, and we tucked her into her trundle bed feeling pretty confident that she was over this bug.
Sunday was fine for everyone, but we kept it low-key, and didn't leave the house all day. Then Monday it was Ben's turn to be sick.
So I spent another day masquerading as a pillow, although it was a little harder to keep Claire busy and away from Ben when she couldn't climb up on me, or go outside to play, or have the picnic that - judging by her tantrum - she so desperately, desperately needed. Everyone seemed to be healthy today, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that we are done with the viruses for a while. I cannot count the number of loads of laundry I have done over the past four days. I hope to finish cleaning and disinfecting the house tomorrow.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
When the parents arrived at school, we went into the classrooms where the children were all lined up ready to perform. They sang about three or four songs, and then we all went upstairs to the chapel (her school is in the basement of a church), and they had a parade. It was all supposed to be done outside, but the rain put a damper (ha!) on that.
I discovered it is very hard to keep an almost 2 year old still in a classroom full of intriguing things to touch and explore, so partway through the songs I had to leave the room since Ben was screaming as I tried to hold him still and take pictures with my other hand. I did enjoy hearing the continents song, and wish I'd been able to stay for the rest because Claire was so darn cute singing with all of her friends. Poor Claire kept looking around the room for me after I stepped outside (I could see her through a window, but she couldn't see me over the heads of the other parents). She thought she'd been deserted. She was delighted to see us upstairs in the chapel, though. All in all she had a fun day, and enjoyed having an extra day to dress up.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Thankfully, Tracey posted this question today over at Picture This:
How is it that YOU came across your first camera and when did you discover that photography was something you loved??
Ahh, that makes today's post easy to write.
I remember a Christmas when I was young - my guess would be fourth grade or so - when my older sister and I each received a 110mm camera. You know - they were just black rectangles, and you stuck a flash thing in the top, and every time it flashed a lightbulb in it would pop, and after you used four you had to take it out and turn it over to use the other four? Yeah, one of those. In boxes and albums downstairs I have some very old and fuzzy pictures taken with this camera. I remember specifically that we got the cameras from Santa and then film from my Uncle Barry, or vice versa. At any rate, it made me curious as to how Santa and the family each knew what the other was giving us for Christmas. Suspicious to say the least. This was one of the few (only?) Christmases that all three of my grandparents were with us for Christmas. It is the only Christmas that I can remember spending with my Nonna from California.
From there I remember trying to take as many photography options as I could in school or in camps. I attended a Saturday school where I took a class where we made our own pinhole cameras. I am also nearly certain that I took at least one photography class at either College Gate or College Academy (summer camps that we used to attend). In high school I fit in as many photography classes with Mr. Berube as possible given the rest of my schedule.
I can remember using my dad's old 35mm. Then at one point there were at least three members of my family who owned (still own probably) a Canon Rebel. I used my Rebel a lot, even after we had a digital camera because I preferred the quality of the prints over those initially available from digital cameras. Then when Claire was born we purchased an Olympus Camedia digital, and moved almost exclusively to digital photos. Now that I have the Digital Rebel I can't imagine why or when I would go back to using my film camera.
Claire already pretends that her viewmaster is a camera, and will point it at you and tell you to say cheese. Then she will offer to show you your picture on the back of it. I imagine that before long she will have her own digital camera to mess about with.
And that's my photographic memory. What's yours?
Friday, November 02, 2007
Did you know that November is National Blog Posting Month? So in the spirit of the season, I am playing along this year, which means that I will make every attempt to post every day in November.
My sister suggested that I could post a photo a day, but I don't want to intrude on her gig. Or gigs. But chances are if I'm going to be posting every day there may be lots of photos ahead.
However for today, I share with you a conversation Ben and I had the other day. We were looking at letters.
Me: Aaaaahhh, aaaaahhh, aaaaapple.
Ben: Aaaaahhh, aaaaahhh, bapple!
Me: Bbbbbb, bbbbbb, Benjamin.
Ben: Bbbbbb, bbbbbb, Cware!
I think he may not quite understand yet.
Two days down, only 28 to go. Yahoo.
PS - If you don't understand the text that goes with the image, check out LOLCats.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
We had a lovely "good witch", and a not-so-happy cat. Once they started getting treats in their buckets, though, all apprehension seemed to vanish. Ben and Claire charmed everyone with their good manners. When we got home they each chose 5 pieces of candy, and we put the rest on the porch for the Great Pumpkin who left some fun presents for them to find in the morning.
... See my Tabblo>