Saturday, October 2, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
So Caroline has gotten exceptionally sneaky lately...it's been mostly just swiping food from the pantry like dry cereal or juice boxes or dry pasta. I'm not quite sure if it's a ploy for attention or for the thrill of the hunt...or just to see how far she can go, but tonight Caroline explored new territory: my makeup drawer.
She was supposed to be upstairs sleeping. We went upstairs to check on the kids and found Caroline in her bathroom looking like a sorority girl the morning after a really great party. No, actually it looks much much worse.
Friday, June 18, 2010
The trip has been an adventure, and very enjoyable for all of us...with the exception of a few sibling spats and pre nap spouts. The driving is a breeze.(Of course, my husband does all of the driving, so I can't take much of the credit.) And our destinations have all been better than we expected- great weather, serendipitous opportunities, relaxed time to catch up with family/ friends, and no snafus or injuries or breakdowns. The tricky part is at night trying to configure the sleeping arrangements and getting three little ones to quiet down and drift off to la la land in one small room...and then the time between their bed time and ours when we struggle to keep quiet or surf the Internet and in the bathroom until we're sure they're completely asleep. Even then, we can't turn on the tv. I did bring cards and Scrabble, thinking they are nice quiet games. Not happening. (SERIOUSLY, anyone have any ideas they're willing to share?????) I have managed to watch a catch up with my summer Lifetime tv shows on the computer, thanks to my handy earphones. I brought a pair for PR, but he prefers sleeping over watching Army Wives. Hmph.
Day 1: Niagara Falls, Canada
Day 2: Grosse Pt, MI
Day 3: Dayton, OH
Day 4: Indianapolis, IN
Day 5-7: Grand Rapids, MI
Day 8-9: Chicago, IL
Day 10: Sheboygan, WI
Day 11: Davenport, IL
Day 12: Omaha, NB
Day 13: en route to South Dakota
Day 14: South Dakota sights
Day 15-16: Yellowstone
Day 17: Idaho Falls, ID
Day 18: Elko, NV?
Day 19: Reno, NV?
Day 20: Sacramento & San Fran??????
Niagara Falls: Amazing, of course. The town actually had more family stuff than I remembered, I wish we had spent an entire day and evening there...we arrived too late our first day to do more than drive through the main drag. Lady of the Mist was a big hit, especially with Owen. Caroline wasn't crazy about the spraying water, but the poncho made up for that.
Indianapolis: JUST missed the Indy 500 parade by a few days, but the kids museum was the best I've seen. Huge, hands on, and for all ages- even my new walker.
Chicago:I LOVE the city. Sooooo much to do, tons of kids stuff. We definitely needed more time there. None of us were crazy for the pizza.
Jelly Belly Factory: Well, it was okay. Definitely something to do to break up the trip and get out of the car. The tour was mostly just driving a little tram and watching videos on making the jelly beans....but the kids didn't complain when the each got a bag of candy at the end of the tour!
Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Bear Mtn,& Devil's Tower: All so close you really should do them all...but I do wish we had made time to hike Devil's Tower and stay for the evening Mt. Rushmore "lighting" with the Nat'l Anthem. Bear Mtn was the kid's favorite, tons of animals and we didn't even have to leave the car!
Yellowstone: It was truly breathtaking. I wish we had been there a week- even in the cold weather. We were astounded that we saw so much wild life- a grizzly walked right past our car while we were trying to drive in the park, there were TONS of bison, we happened upon a few moose, an elk, two black bears, a baby coyote, and lots of Osprey. (Most we saw between 6:30 and 8 on our way out of the park.)Can you believe it snowed today, in mid June??!!! I'm sure I took at least 200 pictures.
Grand Tetons: Beautiful. We only drove through and stopped to take pictures.
I highly recommend "Amazing Places to Take Kids," a book filled with destinations in all of North America. We've already hit 10 or so places, and two or three that we only knew about because of the book: the Jelly Belly Factory in Ohio. the Indianapolis Children's Museum, and Wild Bill's Cultural Center in Wyoming. After all, the trip has to be fun for the kids if the adults are hoping to have fun, right?
The journey continues....
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
We headed to the city for a Broadway show this week...and after much pleading my wonderful husband agreed to take a pre-show detour to the Waffles and Dinges truck.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I'm thinking the only thing left to do is panic and break through a window. But wait! We live in base housing and the maintenance office has a key! I call and within 5 minutes time, I have learned a BIG lesson in homeland security and have regained access to the house.
Where was Caroline? She had stripped down to nothing and put herself down for a nap.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
First I will vent. Ug. I can't count how many times I've talked to the kids about sharing their food with Hudson, about how Hudson's tummy is not quite ready for all the fun foods we eat (especially peanut butter!!!!), and how Hudson can only drink mommy's milk or water. Apparently, Caroline was consulting her personal parenting notes today. Glad to know I'm making such an impact!!
I had foolishly run upstairs to deliver a stack of laundry while she sat at the kitchen table with her lunch and Hudson sat in his high chair with his finger foods. I suspect that Caroline knew she was doing something taboo, as she was crying when I returned...complaining about hitting her cheek on a drawer that was ajar. She is all about playing the "I'm cute and sweet and have a boo boo so how can you be upset with me?" But I have finally mastered the art of decoding my daughter. It's all in how you ask the question. After scanning the room and seeing a happy and sticky little boy with the forbidden food I asked my crying little girl, "Did you hear mommy coming down the stairs and hit your eye as you were running to your seat? Were you feeding Hudson your food even though you know it might be dangerous to him?" Because she is two and wonderfully and thankfully and painfully honest she replies with a sniffle, "Yes!"
Of course I gave her a reassuring hug and a kiss on the injury...but she also got a repeat lesson in the dangers of being devious and food allergies. Something tells me I need to read another parenting book or something, because this kid is as stubborn and assertive as her mother.
I am happy to report that Hudson didn't have any reaction to the PB or cow's milk...yet.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
My first clue is always the lack of whining, questioning, or singing...when it's quiet I know she's up to no good. I look around, calling her name in a curious and nonthreatening tone. "Caroline??? Where a---rrrr----eee you?" I ask sweetly. Innocent until proven guilty, right? I check the pantry, because she had a phase recently that included sneaking in the pantry, closing the door, and then snacking on something until she was discovered. It was usually dry pasta (ick) or peanut butter, which she would lick with her ridiculously long tongue (ick ick.) Hmmm...not there.
Next, I scanned the computer area, as she enjoys popping the tiny magnets from the "chore chart" into her mouth like M&Ms. No, she doesn't eat them...she just has a mouth fetish. I guess I should be thankful she doesn't have a nose fetish! Not there...
I cringe to think what sort of mess/project/experiment may be occurring in the bathroom. Sometimes I'll find an entire box worth of tissues, each used for a single touch of the nose then wadded up and placed on a square tile- so that each tile has one used tissue adorning it. (My daughter, the artist.) Other times I will find the sink filled with water and the bath toys from upstairs (or any other toys that might fit into the sink) and the tell tale trail of water to her exact position. I actually prefer those options over the last...the messiest. She is quite independent in the bathroom, so she will confidently go in, lock the door and do her business. We haven't quite mastered the "big potty," so sometimes she will use her little Bjorn potty. All is good in the world until she tries to "tidy up" after herself. She will attempt to pour the contents of the little potty into the big potty...and this is rarely a complete success. I will come in (long after she has been there) to find a pretty good indication of every single move she made while in the bathroom. Of course I can't get upset, because she's doing such a wonderful job with it all and truly TRYING to clean up the mess. But can I just say that it is not a pleasant task.
Back to the subject. So, if there is no signs of her presence in the potty, I know she must be 1) either trying on my shoes in my closet; or 2) under the kitchen table hiding from me. So far she's been under the table about 10 times...eating Owen's Valentine's Day candy, licking from the peanut butter jar, snacking on Hudson's "Veggie Puffs," or munching on her barrettes. She's also hid under the bar stool, although this is definitely not a good hiding place, as I can see her clearly. And once or twice I've caught her under the dining room table with something fun, like the watercolor paints (RED) and Silly Putty (yes, I did have to cut it from her hair.)
What's the deal? Is it part of her game? Is she trying to have a snack AND play hide and seek with me? I doubt I'll ever know. The hardest part is once I find her, she has such an adorable little smile on her face that it's near impossible to focus on crime! I send her to the stairs for her time out for not "asking" for whatever it is that she's swiped...all the while hoping that these are NOT indicative of her behavior as a teenager.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
We were across the street for a play date and Caroline was feeling so at home, apparently, that she decided it was time to shed her clothes. She and her little partner in crime, London, tiptoed upstairs to dissect the pajama drawer of London's older sister. However, the mismatched slumber girls had their flannels on for only a short time. Just seconds after the fashion show, Owen appeared to announce that there was a "vagina party" taking place in the laundry room. Hmm.
I'm hoping this term was one of Owen's creations and not something he's seen on tv or heard about at school (Christian education has made some big changes, I guess.)
Owen does have an active imagination...once, when I was nursing Hudson he asked if I had "milk" on one side and "food" on the other.
Monday, February 1, 2010
This is a small snapshot (literally) of the kids' bathroom last night. I walked in the house after a quick trip to the grocery store (quick because there were no children with me) and PR informed me that Caroline had been busy in the bathroom. You see, Caroline duped her sweet but gullible daddy into leaving her door ajar. She then broke free and headed straight for the bathroom in search for some messy entertainment. I scanned the rest of the bathroom for evidence before deciding on a guess of her motives and sneaky activities.
The evidence in custody:
- pile of balmexed baby washcloths
- baby hair brush covered in diaper rash cream
- several pairs of socks, pajama pieces, and undergarments shoved into the trash (also covered in- you guessed it- Balmex.)
- 2 tubes of assorted baby diaper rash cream, nearly empty
- smeared fingerprints made from diaper rash cream
No Sherlock Holmes required here. But I'm not sure if she first found the tubes and then looked for something to decorate or actually made the mess and was trying to clean up the crime scene. Lucky for us, the floors are tile. Lucky for her, she was already sleeping when I discovered the Balmexed bathroom.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Two of my three are actually very well behaved. Can you guess which child has a hard time sitting at any one place for more than a nanosecond? My darling sweet Caroline, though she has a heart of gold, has the attention span of a mini pinscher. (She yaps and whines a bit like one, too.) I really can't fault her, partly because she's so dang cute and partly because she's 2 1/2. But because Owen sat for 2 1/2 hour meals on cruise ships at 9 mos, 18 mos, and 3 I have a very distorted vision of children's table etiquette.
Here's what I propose. Restaurants with designated times or days for parents with little Carolines. Clearly there is a time when older couples go out to dine- 4:00 or so. Maybe we could slide into the next slot, say 5:15 or so? It would prevent those horrible stares from tables of "date night" couples who have actually spent money on a babysitter to escape their normal dinner entertainment- or worse yet- those diners who don't own such animated appendages (and most certainly do not appreciate the sights and sounds that come with them!) Owen IS quiet. Hudson can be quiet. But Caroline...well, she didn't come with that setting.
Until the time that such places exist, I suppose we will continue our futile effort: dining pleasantly with three young children. To those who have conquered this feat- kudos! To those who are looking for ideas to ease the pain while dining out, this is what works best for our family:
-Junky toys. These are those toys that come in the fast food kiddie meals. I try to keep a stash in the car or my over sized, chaotic purse. And if you lose or forget them, well really that's a bonus.
-Crayons and some sort of paper. While many restaurants now offer this, my children always want the same (or different) color than the other, whichever is not available. I keep a Ziploc bag of crayons in my purse.
-Mini play dough containers. The restaurant will be so very appreciative if they have carpet, but it can create a good 15 minutes of quiet!
-If you are dining at a pizza or an Italian place, ask if they can bring some dough for the kids to play with...CPK does it if you ask.
-Order an appetizer or the kids meal as soon as you are seated. My kids take forever to eat, so once the food is on the table, we're usually in good shape.
-Play "I Spy"
-Keep a stash of mini books or activity pads/magazines in the car
-Bring your own little snack: dried cereal, trail mix, dried fruit this will keep them busy until the meal arrives.
-Take them to the rest room to take care of business and wash hands. Who knows how many germs they have acquired since leaving the car...and, if nothing else, it's a trip through the restaurant.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Our MOPs group topic this month was birthday parties and I was trying to think of something creative and fun to do...and I couldn't help but bust out my cupcake pan. Cupcakes are so fun, I don't know why kids' birthdays are the only time I can enjoy them without feeling guilty. If you think about it, they are portion control, right? Works for me.
I've created some pretty fun cakes and cupcakes for my kids, but I wanted to do some experimentation with new ideas...so I made two from my repertoire and two new and fun ideas: a pirate, a ladybug, princess, and lion themed cupcakes. All very easy, only the princess cakes used fondant. The rest were frosted with butter cream and embellished with candies and that fabulous "Cookie Frosting" made by CakeMate. I like that it dries quickly and once they are decorated there's no worry about colors or designs getting distorted, melted, or squished in any way. (Though I"m guessing the secret formula in those tubes is not all natural.)
Decorating cupcakes is a wonderful activity during a birthday party or celebration, as it takes some amount of concentration, seated time, and very little effort for the party planner! I would only suggest that the top coat of frosting and any fondant be made ahead of time. (Fondant is easier for kids to decorate if it has hardened.) Just have tubes of frosting or individual dishes of frosting for kids to use as the "glue." Kids are very creative and will make their own little masterpieces.These can easily be made into cakes using a round cake pan, just substitute larger cookie or candy pieces (ie chocolate covered Oreo vice Junior Mint, regular sized chocolate chip for eyes, etc.) You can also use brownie mix when making cupcakes. It's not as crumbly for kids to eat, which is good for them AND whoever is cleaning up after the party. One other note, for toddler parties, I highly recommend making cupcakes in the mini muffin pans. You can buy lollipop sticks at Michael's and stand them in some craft foam for a cute effect. Most kids really only want a bite or two (or just the frosting) and most every kid likes eating food off a stick!
Here's a quick and easy set of notes to recreate the cupcakes:
Lion: Frost with "golden yellow" Gel color. While frosting is wet, coat edges with shaved chocolate (I used dark.) Cut mini-Nilla cookies in half with a butcher knife and press into the cupcakes to create the ears. The eyes are created by dipping mini-chocolate chips into white frosting upside down and pressing into the cupcake...dip just enough so the "whites of the eyes" can be seen. It creates a more dramatic effect than with chocolate chip alone. The nose, mouth, and eyebrows were drawn with CakeMate's "Chocolate" cookie frosting.
Pirate: Frost with "skin color" Gel color. The pirate's patch is a junior mint (how easy!) The other eye is created as described above, by dipping a mini-chocolate chip (upside down) into a bit of white frosting. The rest of the eye patch and mustache were drawn with CakeMate's Chocolate cookie frosting. The mouth is a piece of licorice string cut and pressed into the frosting.
Princess: Frost with pink or purple. I also made the cake inside pink, although funfetti would be cute, too (if you can stand the taste.) To make the crown, color premade or homemade fondant (I prefer the recipe for marshmallow fondant, it has a little better taste) with your choice of princess color. Roll into long rectangles and cut to 10 inches by 6 inches. Then cut this piece in half, to make two 10x3 pieces. Using the wide round base of a pastry tip, cut out 1/2 circles along one edge of each (this will be the top of the crown.) Space it as you prefer, the one pictured is about 1/4 inch apart. Carefully lift the "crown" and place it along the edge of the cupcake, pressing and blending the ends together. The inside is filled with pink and white sugar crystals, and the outside has mini gummy bears (they looked like gems) and gobstoppers and nerds (I know, not very tasty, but it's difficult to find pink and purple colored candy!)
Ladybug: Frost with red "no taste" gel. Use red rope licorice cut into 2 inch pieces as the antennae; press ends into the cupcake. Mini chocolate chips dipped (pointed side) into white frosting and then pressed into the cupcake make the eyes. Wings are drawn with CakeMate's Chocolate cookie frosting, and the spots are mini chocolate chips pressed pointed side down into the frosting. Easy!
Friday, January 8, 2010
*side note: My husband is an awesome laundry man. He will toil with those tall and mighty (by mighty, I mean potent) hampers until all clothes have been put through the ringer. However, he then folds them and forms them into the leaning tower of laundry and places them along the upstairs hallway like tiny ancient ruins. And those towers are just too tempting for Caroline not to run through, stomp on, or kick over like a little Godzilla. Do I complain that the job has not been completed and snicker when the neatly folded clothes have become hallway lillypads for my little froggers? No. Of course I appreciate the effort...but really I'd rather do it so that it gets completely done and I don't have to look at those daunting towers every night waiting to see if he might decide to put them in their proper place. So my new system will actually solve this issue, and the job will be complete from start to finish- hooray!
This week I had a laundry epiphany. Seriously. It will completely demolish my ever flowing piles of clothes in the hampers and on the laundry room floor! How, you ask? My new strategy is simple and brilliant. One load of laundry every (week)night. After we put the kids to bed, I bring down their dirties and gather the goopy bibs and the overripe dishtowel and pop it in the wash. We have our down time while the laundry is washed and dried, and then it gets folded and put away while the children are nestled snugly in their beds. I know, it sounds simple. But it never occurred to me to do just one load a day- or I would foolishly start the load at the beginning of the day (only to forget about it and have to rerun it in the wash hours later or try halfheartedly to dewrinkle by putting the "fluff" cycle on the dryer.) No no no. You see, all those lovely smelly rags and bibs and socks and last minute-must-have-for-tomorrow items are not ready or remembered unless you wait until the kiddos are in bed. AND when they're awake I rarely have the time to sort socks and his/hers/mine and actually place them in their drawers. I figure I can alternate whites one night, darks the next so not all the laundry will be done at once, but I will avoid having those huge armloads to carry down and I might actually remember to treat the stain since it has just occurred. Hooray!!!!!
It is just my first week of this new life strategy. I will report my progress in a few months, but I am quite optimistic that this will be one for the books!