Monday, December 31, 2007

What's Under My Couch This Week

I know you probably weren't expecting a list this week. Why would there be a list? We've been gone for more than a week and only home for about five days. And yet...this is what I found under the couch today:

1 catnip mouse
1 sparkly pom pom (I keep throwing these away, and yet more appear!)
2 pieces from Lily's Little Pet Shop
1 red marker
1 small pink koosh ball
1 object built from legos
1 plastic tepee (???)
1 medicine measuring cup
1 pair of Jack's shoes
1 pair of Lily's shoes
1 yellow plastic ball
2 golf balls
1 magnetic shirt from Lily's ballerina
1 Mickey Mouse straw

I can tell by the items that Oskar was a big help in collecting this weeks pile o' odds and ends.

Anyway, before we head off to our friends' house for New Year's Eve, let me explain a little bit about the five days of radio silence on the blog. We got home at about 6:30 am on Thursday (the 27th) and pretty much slept all day. Jack, Lily and I were all suffering from a nasty cold. I spent the next day sleeping, too. Thank goodness Jim was home this week so that I got a chance to rest and get rid of the cold quickly.

We have been putting off tackling the biggest decluttering job in the house -- the office. As many of you know, we have a small entry way room that we've been using as an office. We bought a pie safe to use as storage and placed that across from the door with a nice wood mirror over it. We also had an old wooden desk, some metal hanging file holders and a plastic filing cabinet with the printer on top. Every time we printed, the printer shook the whole filing cabinet. It also lost one roller any time we tried to move it.

We tried several different arrangements, but the office never really worked. Jim and I had been talking about getting some better storage and organization for the room, so once again we turned to our old friend IKEA for ideas.

We decided to buy a tall bookcase with two frosted glass doors and a new desk. We also planned to buy a bunch of boxes and magazine holders to organize all of our paperwork. I had also been planning to buy new dishes (yay!), so we thought we'd take care of that as well.

For some reason, we decided to go to IKEA in the afternoon. On a Saturday. It was not good. We have never seen so many people in that store. We skipped our usual trip to the restaurant and went right to the showroom. Lily was a cranky mess because she was still suffering some cold symptoms. Trying to shop with her was like trying to jog on a beach with a millstone tied around your leg. Add in pushing two stroller carts through a throng of customers and you will get some idea of how we felt.

We had already picked out the bookcase and doors we wanted, so all we needed from that section was the warehouse location to pick everything up. We had to spend some time picking out a desk. Our first choice was discontinued, and our second choice was much larger than we thought it would be. We ended up finding a nice desk made from the same wood as the bookcase. We spent some time looking at storage for Lily's room, but since she kept screaming "Nothing in my room can change!" we decided not to buy much.

The next stop was the downstairs marketplace. It was so packed it was difficult to get the stroller carts around. I picked up two boxes containing 6-place settings of our new dishes, four serving dishes and eight coffee mugs. Since the dishes are stoneware, the two IKEA bags were pretty heavy. We added a computer keyboard holder (fits under the desk) and a metal cord organizer, 10 magazine holders, 4 book ends, and 8 small storage boxes. It was a lot of stuff. By the time we got to the warehouse, we had two full IKEA bags. We then picked up a big cart so we could get a 78 inch box containing our bookcase, two 78 inch glass and metal doors and a giant box with our desk in it. Don't ask me how, but we managed to get it all in the Honda along with two adults and two children, and nothing had to be tied to the roof!

That evening, Jim and I put the desk together. We really like it. Unfortunately, the keyboard holder doesn't work well with the height of the desk, so we decided we would return it. Then Jim went to get the bookcase. When we opened the was 1/2 the width of the bookcase we wanted.

If you've ever shopped at IKEA, you will know how confusing the warehouse is. This is not the first time that Jim and I have come home with the wrong item or an item that needs to be returned. We often end up having to go back the next day. I think it's a part of their marketing strategy!

So we were off to IKEA again yesterday. It was nowhere near as crowded and everyone was well rested and in a good mood, so the trip went quickly. We ended up getting the storage unit for Lily and an area rug for her room. We also picked up some new glasses and more storage boxes for the bookcase. Although the 78 inch bookcase box was thicker this time around, we found a better way to get it in the car, and the storage box fit easily into the back, so the trip home was a lot more comfortable.

We cleaned Lily's room and put together her storage unit. I will have to post some pictures later. The only bad thing is that they were out of pink bins, so we only got one of the three we need. We'll be going back to IKEA in a few weeks. Their evil marketing ploy is working.

Jim and I then put the bookcase together and installed the doors (after several frustrating attempts -- it's amazing how the "easy" illustration instructions can be interpreted so many different ways). The office looks great. We still have a lot of stuff to shred (can you say "bank statements from 2001 to 2006?") but it's amazing how big that small office looks now. I'll post some pictures of that, too.

Soooo...that's why we've been so busy since we got home and why there have been no posts. I'll be downloading some pictures later this week and will make a few posts about Christmas and the rest of our California trip. In summary -- the kids had a great time, Jack broke at least five things, Lily played more Polly Pocket, Jack got two minor head injuries, and the red-eye plane trip home went smoothly!

Have a happy new year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Creston Day 2

Here's a draft that's been sitting on my computer since before Christmas!

The kids slept pretty well, although Jack was ready to get up at 6 am. It was another relaxing day. The kids went for a hike in the morning and played with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Jill and Uncle Steve while Jim and I ran into town and did our last minute Christmas shopping for stocking stuffers.

Shortly after we arrived, Uncle Matt arrived. Jack seemed a little confused to see two uncles looking so alike! After lunch, Uncle Jon, Aunt Marcy, Claire and Andrew got into town and we all met at the Paso Robles Children's Museum. It was built in an old firehouse. Jack loved dressing up in a fireman jacket and hat and climbing all over the firetruck. He also found a lawnmower and was content to push that around for a long time. The upstairs portion of the museum was much more fun for the kids. Lily did several arts and crafts projects at tables laid out with materials to decorate paper bags and cards. Jack like sitting at the easel and drawing with crayons. Both kids put on a little puppet show, with some help at various times from me, Jim, Aunt Jill and Uncle Jon. There was also a little market with all types of play food and a big cart with vegetables organized on one side and fruit on the other. The kids really liked weighing the fruit and putting in the shopping cart. Jack played for a long time with the cash register, too.

Once we got ready to leave, we noticed Andrew had a black eye! No one knows how he got it. Weird. It was pretty much gone by the next day though.

Lily started calling Claire "Cousint." We explained repeatedly the word was "cousin," but she told us she preferred "cousint." She would yell "Cousint! Cousint!" at Claire constantly during the visit.

I'd write more about the day, but almost a week later, I can't remember much. More about Christmas in the next few posts, I promise.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Things I've Wondered About Recently

I look a lot of stuff up on Google. Both Jim and I often come up with strange questions that must be answered by a Google search. In the course of traveling and site seeing and talking with the kids this week, I've wondered about a bunch of random things. I thought it would be fun to share what I've learned!

What does the phrase "Lombard Street to a China Orange" mean?

This thought crossed my mind as we drove by Lombard Street in San Francisco. It's a phrase I've often read in British books, and I've never bothered to find out what it means. Lombard Street in San Francisco is famous for being steep and crooked, so I thought "Wow, an orange made out of china would definitely roll downhill and get smashed!" Then I thought "That can't be related to the phrase itself because I know the phrase was in fashion long before there was a Lombard Street in California." Today I googled it and learned that it means "long odds." It developed because Lombard Street in London is the center of great banking and mercantile transactions, so to stake the Bank of England against a common orange is to stake what is of untold value against a mere trifle. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but that's the explanation. I'm glad I know.

What is the difference between a buffalo and a cow?

This was a question that Lily asked. I had no idea, so I googled it. According to Wikipedia:

The biological subfamily Bovinae (or bovines) includes a diverse group of about 24 species of medium-sized to large ungulates, including domestic cattle, Bison, the Water Buffalo, the Yak, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes. The evolutionary relationship between the members of the group is obscure, and their classification into loose tribes rather than formal sub-groups reflects this uncertainty. General characteristics include a cloven hoof and usually at least one of the sexes of a species having a true horn.

So, they are a different species from the same biological family. I'm not really sure what that means, mostly because I'm not up on species classification or genetics. I'm going to summarize it to Lily by telling her the cow is like a cousin to the buffalo.

What exactly is a "beast?"

I can't remember why this came up, but Jim and I mentioned the term "roast beast" as used in the Grinch and then started to discuss what exactly a beast was. He opined that it meant beef or red meat, and I opined that it meant anything alive. Jim then pointed out that insects probably weren't beasts. According to Merriam-Webster online, this is the answer:

1 a: a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being, a lower vertebrate, and an invertebrate b: a lower animal as distinguished from a human being c: an animal as distinguished from a plant d: an animal under human control2: a contemptible person3: something formidably difficult to control or deal with.

Jim was right. Insects are not beasts. Who knew?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Creston Day 1

The kids woke up at 6:30, so that was pretty nice. Due to his night-time wake-ups, Jack was pretty tired. Jim took him for a walk around the house and he got to rake leaves. It was probably the highlight of his day! He also was fascinated by the windmill, and kept pointing to it and then showing us a little toy windmill he found in Grandma's box of toys.

Lily raked some leaves, too, but her favorite part was throwing them over Jack's head. They both had a great time riding on the little stone lambs in front of the house, and riding the tricycle around the driveway. Ironically, Jack took an immediate spill on the bike, just like Lily did the first time she rode it when she got it!

Lily roped Grandma into more Polly Pocket fun, and Jack took a nice long nap. I still had to wash the vomit-tainted clothing and bag, as well as run a few loads of laundry so I put Jack down for a nap in the Night Night Truck and sat on the bed to read my book until the dryer finished. Two hours later, Jim came to wake me up, so I guess I needed a little rest! By that time, Aunt Jill had arrived and could serve as a second Polly Pocket victim, so Lily had the time of her life.

We took the kids to Cambria in the afternoon to pick up a few last minute Christmas items. They had a lot of fun looking at the beautiful things made by local artisans, and we had hard work making sure that there was no touching. The kids loved looking out for cows, sheep and goats during the drive there and back. By the time we got home, Uncle Steve had arrived, so there was even more fun for the kids.

After dinner we had three desserts -- a custard pie made by Grandma, little cookies made by Aunt Jill and some cracker candy I made. Jack played his bus game and Lily worked on her top secret project for Papa's present. She also drew a wonderful picture of a princess and her two cats. This was the story:

The Princess and Her Cats

It was raining outside and the princess was sad because her cats didn't come home. But the cats really were home, and the princess couldn't see them because she was crying so much. One cat got green paint on his head, and when the princess tried to give him a bath he hopped out and his head stayed green. The orange cat was a rain cat, and he looks happy because he loves being the in puddles.

In other news, these are the things that Jack has broken so far:

1 helicopter
1 plane
2 trucks
1 plastic windmill

He was devastated about the windmill. He accidentally stepped on it. I was out folding laundry when it happened, but as soon as I came in the house, he said "Mama, Jackie BREAKing RAYMOO!" (his word for windmill). He was very troubled about it. He mentioned it a few times during the evening. Grandma tried to glue it back together, but when he played with it, he broke it again. More devastation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Road Trip to Creston

It went really well! We didn't even have to break out the DVD player. We had originally planned to stop in San Jose at an amusement park/zoo and wear the kids out. I realized last night that the amusement park portion was only open on the weekend during December, and neither Jim nor I was that excited about going to a zoo. Unfortunately, there weren't many kid friendly places open between San Francisco and Creston.

Once we got everything loaded into the Gold Behemoth, we set the kids up with some cold drinks and snacks and set off at about 9:30. By the time we hit the San Jose area and got near the zoo, both kids were having a great time entertaining themselves. We decided to skip the zoo and keep going until either the kids got fussy or it was time to stop for lunch.

Shortly thereafter, Lily had to go to the bathroom, so we stopped in Gilroy (the Garlic town) at a little garlic store off the highway. They had a lot of neat stuff in there! After a bathroom break, we bought some garlic stuffed olives, garlic chips, a lip gloss for Lily, some lollies for the kids, and some terrifying hot sauce from one of Jim's colleagues called "ANALize this!" They had some other ones, like "Fire in and Fire out!" and "See Dick Burn." You get the general idea.

After our pit stop, we hit the road and headed toward Salinas, where Jim and I always stop for In-n-Out burgers. We did briefly debate eating somewhere else, since we had In-n-Out on Wednesday, but both of us knew what the outcome would be. Lily only wanted the french fries, but Jack immediately grabbed his burger and said "BIG BITE!" A man at the next table saw him and pointed him out to his buddies, because he kept saying "BIG BITE!" each time he ate some burger.

The kids started to get a little fussy about twenty minuted before we drove into Atascadero. Poor Lily got car sick and threw up into my (giant) soda cup. Jim foolishly took the cup away too soon, so Lily also ended up throwing up on her jacket and into the open carry on bag that was stored on the floor under her feet. Yuck. It was my happy job to clean up all of the vomit as soon as we arrived in Creston, of course! Fortunately, she didn't get it on the car.

The kids immediately settled in with their Grandpa and Grandma. Lily was in heaven because Grandma played Polly Pocket with her for what I'm sure seemed like hours to Grandma! Jack entertained himself with a wooden train and some foam toys, but his favorite activity was the bus that winds up and goes. He shrieked with joy every time that it ran and said "FUNNY!" I think he wore Grandpa out making the bus go about 100 times in a row.

We all slept in the rig, which Jim named the "Night Night Truck." Both kids did fairly well, although Lily wanted to go to sleep in the big bed and had to be moved later, and Jack woke up twice, and wanted to stay with us the second time. The first time he woke up, I think he was confused because he didn't know where he was. When we was in bed with us, he kept reaching his hand up and patting my cheek throughout the night to make sure I was there.

San Francisco, Day 2

Jack did much better today and woke up at 4 instead of 2.

Today was a lot of fun for the kids. We met Marcy and her friend at the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito. The place is amazing. We started out in the Clifford room, where Jack's favorite activity was climbing a giant Clifford statue and sliding down his tail. Lily enjoyed writing letters to everyone in Clifford's down and delivering them to the various mailboxes in the exhibit. Unbeknownst to Lily and the other letter-writing children, Jack spent quite some time checking each mailbox, taking out anything he found and throwing it into the wastebasket in the letter writing area! I think he felt he was helping out the cleaning staff.

As we left the Clifford exhibit, who did we see but Clifford himself! Jack got really excited and started yelling "Cliff-FOOL! Cliff-FOOL!" We went over and Jack went right up and gave Clifford a big hug. Afterwards, Jack was jumping up and down and waving his arms with excitement as we walked over to the next area. I guess he really likes Clifford.

The next area we visited had a bunch of activities set up. Jack most enjoyed the moon sand table, where he used a pizza cutter-like tool, a rolling pin and a cookie cutter to play in the sand. Lily made a special peace flag that we took home with us to use in our top secret art project. She also played with the moon sand for a while. Both kids tried out the painting area, but thankfully grew quickly tired of it, as there were not enough aprons to go around. As it was, Jack ended up with green paint in his hair.

Next, we ate some lunch, and then went to play in the outdoor area. The kids really enjoyed this part of the day the most. There was a real boat that the kids could play on. It had a little galley and a room below deck at the front, and it also had a second story accessed by a little ladder. There were about twenty kids on it at once, and they were yelling "Abandon Ship! We're being attacked by a giant fish!" Everyone would either jump of the "ship" or hide below decks. It was pretty fun to watch. I did have to yell at an older boy who shoved Lily right down to the floor when she tried to steer the boat. After I said something, Lily turned to him and said "Yeah, my mom is trying to take a picture of me driving the boat, so you better share!"

There was a cave and a series of tide pools nearby, where the kids could look at the different types of animals and sea creatures that live in those areas. The tide pool was filled with plastic crabs and had a periodic rush of water to mimic the waves splashing in. Lily and I placed the crabs in different patterns to see how far we could get the waves to push them. There was a little boy next to us who screamed like a tea kettle every time the crabs were pushed toward the end of the pool. For some reason, he was really excited by the whole process.

There was a tower to climb, and Lily, who is usually nervous about things like that, actually made it up and then climbed down the rope ladder unassisted. I was so proud of her. Jack climbed up like a monkey -- he has no fear of climbing.

The next area had some broken ships buried in the sand, with the tools to allow kids to dig through the sand and find treasure. I found doubloons and Lily uncovered a tea set (the treasure was not removable). Jack enjoyed sweeping with the brooms and trying to clean up the mess.

Jack's favorite outdoor area was the construction zone. He used a shovel to fill up a dump truck with gravel and also enjoyed shoveling gravel into a funnel that shot gravel out the other side. While he was doing that, Lily and I climbed up some tree stump stairs and found a big bell to ring. Then we met Jim and Jack, who took us to this amazing house woven out of sticks. It was like a little maze inside and we all enjoyed chasing each other around in it.

When everyone was tired of playing outdoors we went to the tot area where they had a bunch of sturdy water beds for the kids to jump on. One of them was in a little round room that had a goldfish tank for a ceiling. Another one had padded lily pad pillows on it. The whole room had big round buttons with various animals, insects and birds on them, and when you hit the button, it made animal sounds. Jack really wore himself out in that room, let me tell you. At the end, he would come out and you should have seen me trying to run after him over the water beds while he laughed and laughed.

Lily, Jack, cousin Claire and her baby brother Andrew were very worn out by about 1:00, so we decided to leave and head back to the hotel. After some down time. Jim and I took the kids to Chinatown for dinner. The kids enjoyed the food and I had some of the best fried calamari I've ever tasted. Then we visited a few of the ticky-tacky Chinese souvenir stores and picked up some fun things for the kids. All in all it was a pretty fun day.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Four New Stories by Lily

The Pink Unicorn

The pink Unicorn lived in rainbow canyon and there were lots of dogs, but they wanted to eat the unicorn. So she always flew off to the woods but she flew so far she flew away from her home. But she found her way home and it was her dinner time. She ate. The end.

My Trip to San Francisco

I liked to see the fish in San Francisco. I like to go in the pool. Whenever there is something to eat I like to eat it. But when we eat pancakes I don't like the syrup. I am very welcome in San Francisco. I get to see the sea lions whenever I want to see them because I like them a lot. Whenever there's something good to do I always get to do it. I like to play at my real home but I think this is the best place to be a lot better. When you're here it's more better because you can see lots of things. The end.


Once upon a time, there was Susan and a cat. She found a new friend that was a cat but then the lady saw them that owned the pet store, but she always puts the pet that she sees that can't be taked care of and puts them in a cage and she saw that they did not be at home. She thought that they needed someone to take care of them. But someone did take care of them. The end.


Once upon a time there was a pillow that was named Pillow and the pillow always wwent everywhere that Lily went and he liked it when she went to the store to buy hot cocoa for him in the snowy winter. It was always a great day to be with Lily whenever she skipped across the street he would come with her. Once the pillow found a new thing to do. Lily didn't like it, she told him to stop, but he wouldn't. He used to like to do things with Lily but now he wanted his little pets with him. He always loved them. The end.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jack's Umbrella and the Breaking Man

I forgot to tell you about a couple of funny moments we had today. While we were eating lunch, an elderly man came up and offered the kids each a balloon sword. Sweet, right? After each kid excitedly took one, he turned to Jim and said "Money." Nice.

Anyway, the kids were holding their balloon swords for most of the afternoon. Lily was waving hers around like a sword, but Jack was poking his into the ground as he rolled along in his stroller, and chanting "BRE-la. BRE-la. BRE-la." We soon realized he was calling his sword an umbrella. We told him it was a sword, and he said "NOOOO. JACK-ee's BRE-la." He is so odd.

This evening, both kids were watching Scooby Doo. In this particular episode, the main character was an evil snowman. Jack was VERY concerned about the snowman. He referred to the snowman as "BREAK-ing MAAAAAN." He did not like the Breaking Man, and he wanted us to notice the Breaking Man and repeatedly grabbed our arms and pointed at him, saying "UH-ohhhhh. BREAK-ing MAAAN!" We finally figured out that in Jack's world, breaking not only means broken, about to be broken, opened, and taken apart, but it also means "bad." Apparently, since he knows breaking things is bad, a bad snowman is a Breaking Man. At dinner, more than an hour later, he repeatedly assured us the that the Breaking Man was bye-bye.

San Francisco, Day 1

We decided to visit Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf today. It was sunny and breezy. Although we started off with coats on, it was soon warm enough to walk around in just a sweater.

We took a trolley to Ghirardelli Square. Jack loved the trolley, and kept repeating "TRAin! TRAin!" for the whole ride. We walked the short walk from the Trolley stop to Ghirardelli. Five minutes into the walk, Lily informed me that her feet hurt and she was too tired to keep walking. It seemed like it was going to be a really long day.

Once we got to Ghirardelli, Jim thought it would be a nice break to stop at a cute little cupcake shop and have a snack. We needed a snack because we ate our complimentary breakfast when the hotel restaurant opened at 6:00 am, since we were all awake. We let Lily pick out the cupcake she wanted, we picked a vanilla cupcake for Jack (I figured the light colors would make for less mess), and Jim and I each ordered a cupcake. We all sat down outside.

As soon as we started to eat, Lily said her cupcake tasted bad and asked if she could trade. Jim gave her Jack's cupcake and tried to give Jack a piece of Lily's cupcake. Sadly, Jim was unaware of Jack's keen desire for independence. Jack is going through a stage where he wants to be given a regular portion of food and eat it himself. Once the cupcake was broken, he didn't want it and asked for Jim's whole cupcake. I told Jim to give him the whole cupcake, but I guess Jim didn't want Jack to make a mess with it, because he tried to offer Jack a bite of the cupcake. Jack had a major meltdown and grabbed the cupcake out of Jim's hand and smashed it into the table, saying "NO CAKE-ee!" He also grabbed a portion of the smashed cupcake and threw it on the ground. As a result, neither Jim nor Jack really got to enjoy their treat, and I had to clean up Jack's mess.

That was the only meltdown we had today, though, so I think we're pretty lucky. We went to a few stores in the square and got a free sample of chocolate. Then, Lily came up with a great idea for a secret art project that she plans to give to Jim for Christmas. She told me about it, but warned me not to tell any boys. We then walked down to the maritime museum and looked at the rehabbed boats. Both kids really enjoyed the museum, especially the house boat that we got to walk through. I was at my wit's end, though, because the railing along the wharf had gaps large enough for one of the kids to fall through and Jack made a beeline for the railing any time he was loose of our grasp.

Next, we walked over to In-n-Out Burger, Jim's favorite California eatery. Jack ate most of a burger by himself, and Jim got the opportunity to order something called "animal style" french fries. I tried them and thought they were gross, but he loved them! Apparently you can order things that are not on the menu if you're "in the know."

After lunch, we walked over to the Musee Mecanique. It's a huge building filled with old mechanical games. We made Laughing Jill laugh, got fortunes from a couple of animated fortune tellers, made an entire amusement park go, road on a mechanical horse and learned how to pick up bubble gum balls with a mechanical crane under the kind tutelage of the proprietor. Jim was only able to get one, so he kindly scooped out about 10 for us! I took some hilarious pictures. Jack's face as he watched Laughing Jill was priceless. He had a look of fascination mixed with terror!

After the Musee, we checked out the submarine display and then walked over to visit the sea lions. Both kids loved the sea lions, and I was relieved to find that the railing along that wharf was child-friendly. We even saw a guy out swimming. I can't imagine how cold he was -- it was only about 60 degrees out!

By that time, everyone was tired, so we headed back to the car. I thought I could see the wharf across from where we parked, so I encouraged everyone to walk. Needless to say, I was looking at the wrong wharf! After about half an hour, Jim convinced me to pay the $3.00 it cost to go on the trolley, because he said we'd only walked about half way. We got on the trolley and went 1 stop! I guess we were both wrong.

Getting home was a little hairy. It was almost 4 o'clock by the time we picked up the car (which we parked for a mere $29.50), and Jim left the map in the back of the car. He assured me we could just drive back the way we came. Of course, half way back we came to a road that was one way only! He said he knew how to get around that problem and directed me to make a few turns...and we ended up back at the parking lot! After a few more mistakes, we made it to the 101 and headed home.

I took so many great pictures today, but I left my camera in my coat pocket, and my coat is down in the Great Gold Behemoth, so I haven't downloaded them yet. Tomorrow, we are headed out to Sausolito where we will meet Marcy and her kids at a children's museum.

I just noticed Lily has fallen asleep on the floor. She was going to tell everyone a story, but we'll have to do it another time.

We Managed to Get to San Francisco

The traveling wasn't awful, but it wasn't terrific, either. Jim and I both thought we were leaving Boston at 7 am. It turns out we were leaving NY at 7...we left Boston at 5:50 am. That meant getting the kids up at 3:15 am. Basically, no one except Jack got enough sleep. Jack often wakes up at the crack of dawn, so to him, the only difference was that everyone else got up as well. He was probably thrilled to have company.

It was a little difficult to manage the two large suitcases, the small suitcase, the booster seat, the car seat, the stroller and the two carry on bags, but we made it through check in with no problem. Getting through security was another matter. There was a large, angry female TSA agent who said "Oh, great, another family. I hate this job!" as we started to put our stuff in the bins to be scanned. She had a lot of rules: no shoes in the bins. Computers and any other electronic devices have to be removed and placed in separate bins. Large bags may not be placed in a bin. Coats must be in a bin. If you have an liquids, you must removed them from your luggage and put them in a bin. She barked out these commands every time we put something anywhere near a bin.

We had to take off our own shoes, and then the kids' shoes. As soon as his shoes were off, Jack grabbed both socks, pulled them off and threw them on the ground. Apparently, if he's not wearing shoes, he refuses to wear socks. At the same time, I was trying to convince Lily to put her stuffed animals in a bin. As I put the diaper bag in the bin, the lady yelled "Do you have liquids in there? Because if you do and I see them, I'm going to have to search all of your bags." I was so flustered trying to get everything in the right bin that I couldn't think, and I said "I don't know..." She yelled "You better find out now!" I had to rummage through both carry ons and I did find a bottle of cough medicine. I'm glad she didn't have to search our bags, because she was so angry she might have beat me up. When I walked with the kids up to the scanner, she yelled "One person at a time!" Lily ran though okay, but Jack was scared -- whether it was the angry woman or the scanner, I'll never know. She yelled "Fine. Carry him and get through!" Then she said "Where are your boarding passes???" Well, as we had just shown a man our boarding passes and ids at a little station set up just before the conveyor belt thing, I'd put them in my bag. She did NOT like that. She yelled "This woman doesn't have boarding passes! Don't let her through until you check them!" to one of her colleagues.

Then she started complaining about me and my family to another passenger and talking about how she hated her job. I finally said "Do you think your attitude is helping to make the situation better? Because I don't." I'm surprised she didn't order someone to strip search me.

The flight to NY was a snap, with only one snag. Unbeknownst to us, if your kids use a car seat on the flight, they have to be seated next to the window. We were booked for two aisle seats and two middle seats. Lily's car seat fit in the overhead bin, but we had to ask someone to switch from the window to the aisle in order to accommodate Jack's seat. Since we knew we had similar seats booked for the next leg of the trip, we decided we would gate check the seats in NY.

When we got to NY, we learned we would have to take a shuttle bus to another terminal for our flight. We had to trudge down a long ramp to the outside and I'm sure we looked like overburdened gypsies with all of our stuff. Once we arrived at the right terminal, we were told our flight to San Francisco was delayed for one hour.

Now you have to understand that any time we are waiting for a flight, Jim has to wander away somewhere. For reasons still unclear to me, he always waits to do this right before boarding. Normally, I just suck it up and wait, but with all of our baggage and things to be gate checked, I didn't want to miss the preboarding on this flight. I begged him not to take the kids for a walk 10 minutes before boarding, but he said "We'll be right back." Of course, when they called preboarding ten minutes later, he was at the opposite end of the terminal and didn't hear the announcement. I had to lug everything up to the desk and let them know we wanted to preboard. I could see him moseying along with the kids, completely oblivious. He finally saw me waving frantically and they started to run. Thankfully, we made it in time.

The kids were great during the flight. That was probably the best part of the day. Jack even got in a long nap. We did have a lot of trouble in the airport when we arrived, though. For some reason, there were no obvious signs leading us to the baggage claim. We had to ask for directions twice (and we weren't the only ones lost). On the bright side, we were able to grab our bags really quickly, because by the time we found the baggage claim area, there were only a few bags left on the carousel!

We are staying at the Embassy Suites Hotel in South San Francisco. If anything, the hotel is even better than the last time, because they recently renovated. It has a gorgeous atrium filled with live plants and a huge koi pond. The kids love to look at the fish. We did have one small incident. After taking the kids down for a swim in the pool and hot tub, we went upstairs to dry off and get ready for bed. Lily, Jim and I were all in the bedroom getting dressed, and Jack was playing in the living room...or so we thought. All of a sudden, we heard the door open and close. Lily yelled "Jack went outside!" All three of us ran out into the hallway to see Jack running down the hallway in his pajamas. At the same time, the door slammed shut, locking us all out. Lily was wearing nothing but underpants (!), I was wearing pajamas and no shoes, and Jim was wearing pants, with no shoes or shirt. He had to go downstairs and get another key like that, while I stood by the door with my almost naked child and her brother. Then we got locked out this morning after breakfast, because when they issued him a new key, the other two were deactivated. We were fully clothed that time, so it was much less embarrassing.

We all went to bed between 6 and 8, so it was no surprise that we were all up at 4 am. Actually, Jack woke up at 2, but was content to lay in bed until 4. I'll blog about our day in SF later. We are having a great time!

Oh yeah...there were no compact cars available when Jim went to pick up the car rental. They told him to take whatever midsize car was in the lot. The only car available that had 4 doors and room for all of our baggage was...

...a gold PT Cruiser HHR. I don't know what "HHR" means, but it looks like a pimp mobile and it is larger than a regular PT Cruiser. People actually drive past us laughing and pointing. Seriously, who buys a gold car? I'm not talking champagne or something pale, I'm talking shiny, metallic gold. And it has tinted windows.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Weekly Couch List

Yes, it's time for my weekly list of the stuff I found under my couch. I've mostly finished packing -- there are just a few things that I'll put in tomorrow, like toothpaste and shampoo. I also put in a lasagna for dinner and cleaned the living room. While I'm waiting for the lasagna to bake, I figured I might as well post the list.

You know you can't wait for it!

1 Christmas tree ornament
1 broken Christmas tree ornament
1 bridge for Thomas the Train
1 Miss Baby
1 plush dog
3 children's books
1 notice of settlement payout from the USDC Visa lawsuit (we're getting $25)
3 tins of magnets (Jack keeps throwing them behind the couch)
1 sippy cup with milk
2 binkies
1 GameBoy game
1 wooden block
1 wooden bead
1 wooden milk carton
1 pen
1 magnetic skirt for Lily's ballerina
1 neon glowstick (no longer glowing)
1 LED light that hangs from your ear
Remote to the playroom television
1 glass stone
3 socks (a pair and a single)
1 unused gift tag
1 hamster from the Little Pet Shop

As a bonus, and because we have moved the chair next to the couch in order to accommodate the tree, here's what I found under the chair:

1 half eaten apple (!!!!)
2 children's books
1 giant lego piece
1 glass stone
1 empty play dough container
1 magnetic tutu to Lily's ballerina
1 chip clip
1 cat toy
1 sippy cup with water

Normally, I wouldn't bother with the chair because nothing really goes under there. However, it appears the couch detritus is spreading to the chair now that they're so close together! Honestly, I'm a little concerned about the empty play dough container. I can't help but wonder where the play dough is. Hopefully, it hasn't been jammed in the DVD player or flushed down the toilet.

Just a few final thoughts before we head out on our Great Expedition tomorrow. The kids are very excited. Every time we got in the car today, Jack said "Go RIDEY PLAYne!" Lily was happy there was only "one more sleep" until the trip. Jack is a huge plane fan, so I can't wait to see him when he gets on a really big plane. The last trip to NC, the pilot let him sit in the cockpit and even press the buttons during the flight check. Jack was in toddler heaven.

Now that most of the packing is finished, I do feel a little less stressed. Of course, has Jim packed anything? No. Has he printed out the plane tickets and travel confirmations that I asked for last week? No. Has he ordered a cab for tomorrow morning? No. Has he taken our Christmas treats to the 2 neighbors? No. Has he dropped off a key for the neighbor kid who will look after the cats and the mail? No. I am afraid I will end up doing most, if not all of these things after the kids go to bed. What I'd really like to do is watch a movie (I bought Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix today) and relax. We'll see how that comes out!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

This is day two of the Marathon O' Packing. Why is it that I have to do all of the packing? Is there some handbook for husbands out there that says "The wife shall pack while the husband watches TV?"

This is the first time I've had to pack for four people going to a place where we have to bring EVERYTHING. Going to my parents' house? Easy. They have car seats, a pack'n'play, toys, a stroller and a high chair. We just bring a few outfits and the kids. For this vacation, where we will be staying in three different places, we have to bring the car seats and the stroller. We're borrowing a pack'n'play, thank goodness. We'll also be bringing three suitcases because we won't necessarily have convenient access to a washing machine for most of our trip, and we would like to bring as many of the presents back with us as possible.

And, then there's the plane trip itself. This is the first time we will be flying with two kids on a 6 hour flight. We've packed a bunch of small things to entertain them. I got enough little presents to give one each hour. We have a portable DVD player. We won't necessarily use it on the plane, but it will be crucial on the two 5 hour drives we have to make during the trip. We're definitely bringing our computer, because, well, how can you not bring the computer? I basically had to beg Jim not to bring his work computer.

So, if you are in a Boston, NY or San Francisco airport tomorrow, look for us. We will be the family schlepping along with:

2 large suitcases
1 carry on suitcase
1 umbrella stroller
1 booster car seat
1 toddler car seat
1 laptop bag
1 carry on bag
2 small children

We will probably be the family with two cranky children, one harried father and one stressed out mom. Pray you don't get seated next to us!

If I could fast forward to the part where we are settling into our hotel room, I would. Got to get back to packing. I'd give you a list of everything we have to bring, but you would probably die of old age before you got to the end of it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Well, we are having a big storm today. They said it would start to snow last night around 9, but at 11:30 it wasn't snowing. I thought maybe they were off on their predictions. When I got up at 8:30 this morning, there were about 6 inches of snow on the ground! I'm so glad we aren't trying to fly out of here today or tomorrow.

We got all of our necessary errands done yesterday, so we are settling in nicely for the storm. Lily is watching Peep and the Big Wide World. Jack is lounging on the couch because he woke up at the crack of dawn this morning, and now he's tired. Jim just made a breakfast of french toast, bacon and cinnamon apples for us. It will be nice to have a family day at home with no need to rush around.

I'll leave you with some commentary on the weather from Jack and Lily:

Jack: "snOOOOW. Like snOOOOOW."

Lily: "Good. I like it. I like it so I can make my house."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Two Stories by Lily

I asked Lily if she wanted to tell a story for the blog. She had recently been scolded (again) for playing too rough with the cat, so she was in a bit of a bad mood. Here is the first story she told:

The Ugly Octopus

Once upon a time, there was a ugly octopus that really hated his mom and dad and he didn't want the Christmas tree lights on because he was horrified of all the presents his friends gave him. So he never kept the lights on, and he never liked the presents his friends gaved him and he hated his mom's hair.

(she paused to comment "Isn't that awful? That's an awful story, isn't that?" and then continued)

He hated his little baby brother and never looked at the cat and he didn't like all of the presents and he hated ever so much his slide. And he never went on it and he also never wanted to play inside with all his other friends, and he never ever let his friends give him a present because he hated to have presents a lot. And he never let his cat come in his room and he never wanted to play with anyone. That's the story!

(It took me a while to catch up because she was talking pretty fast toward the end, so she said "Why are you still typing? That's the story." Then she asked me to read it back, which I did, and she said "Wait, did I say he never wanted to play with his friends?" I said yes. She said "Oh." She seemed to be regretting her story. Then she said "I want to play with my Tyler and Emma friends, not the computer friends. I want it to be a bad story and that's the story." After a long pause, she said "I made a mistake, I want to do a good story." This is the second story:)

The Dragon and the Princess

(She started by saying again "I'm going to make a very big good story.") Once upon a time, there was a dragon and a princess. They both met each other and they always played together and they found a snow pan and they played with them, and they always played with the dog, the cat, the pumpkin, the santa, the reindeer, the candy wrapper, the snowflake, the cat and they played with everything. Every day they went out to play a game of fetch with their dog friend. Whenever they found a special toy they would give it to the dog. They always liked to play together and play with their baby brother and they always, always, always liked to do stuff like fun stuff like they liked to play with tree ornaments because they were so beautiful. When they saw them on TV they would let everyone know where they are. They always liked to put their ornaments on the tree and they always played on the computer whenever it has something to play and they always played together. The end.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Four Things I've Learned From Lily Today

1. People from Africa carry things on their heads and walk to school.

2. If you play in deep snow, you could be sucked into a giant ice cube.

3. You shouldn't call someone a fur ball because they might think they are really a fur ball and that's not nice.

4. Sometimes you can be so hungry in between meals that you can't help sneaking into the pantry to get a nutritious snack, like raisins.

A Brief Lexicon of Jackisms

For those of you who will be spending some time with Jack this Christmas, I've decided to create a helpful guide to Jack-Speak.

Adaddy: Granddaddy.

AIM-ah: Our neighbor, Emma. He seems to have a crush on her.

BEE: His binky. He can't be bothered to say the entire word, so he just refers to it by its first initial.

BEF: Our neighbor, Beth.

BIIIIIke: Bicycle, tricycle or motorcycle.

BOOboo: An injury. Often accompanied with a gesture indicating that he would like the injury to be kissed.

BOOK: What he wants read to him 24-7.

BREAKing: Most commonly used to describe actually breaking something. May also be used to mean taking apart, knocking over or opening something.

BUHee: Bird.

CAH: Car or vehicle with wheels.

CACKee: Cracker.

CAKE: Might mean cookies, cake or any type of sweet dessert. Also used to refer to anything that looks like it might be a sweet dessert. Variant: CAKE-ee.

COAT: An essential if he will be going outside. Usually accompanied with a gesture towards his stomach.

CUCK-ah: Yucky. Usually refers to a poopy diaper or something he knows he should not eat. Often used by us to deflect him from wanting things like candy or cookies.

DOWM: Down.

DownTARE: Downstairs. Indicates he would like to go into the playroom.

eye-CREEEEEM: Ice cream.

EYE-TEEE: Iced tea or any adult drink.

Foam: Telephone. Something he is obsessed with.

FUNNNeee: Used to describe himself whenever he does something he thinks is amusing.

HAT: An essential if he will be going outside. Usually accompanied with one hand pointing to his head, in case you don't understand.

HELP: Usually said when he is stuck somewhere, which is fairly often. See also STUUUUUCK.

HOWS: House.

KANGee: Candy. He loves candy but rarely gets any. He is often told that candy is CUCK-ah.

KAY-CUE: Thank you. Used without prompting if we're lucky.

KAYee: Kitty. See also OSHee and meOW.

KITE: Any flat item that is in the general shape of a kite. Also refers to shredded Kleenexes thrown into the air.

KUCK: Truck. Includes heavy equipment.

LEElie: Lily

MAma: Me

MEOW: The sound a cat makes or just another word for cat.

MESHee: Messy. Usually used to describe the state of his clothing after a meal. It is always an understatement.

MILK: Any type of drink. See also EYE-TEEEE.

NACK: Snack.

NIGH-NIGH: The act of going to bed.

OSHIE: Oskar

PApa: Jim

PEEE: Please. Used without prompting if we're lucky.

RANG: Rain. Variant: RANGing. Used to describe rain or the act of something liquid falling down from above, i.e., RANGing MILK (pouring milk from his high chair onto OSHIE).

RANG-ee: Grammy

RASHee: Rash. Lately he claims to be rashy on his chest, but we see no evidence of it.

SHOOOO: Shoe. An essential when going out and a preferred item of clothing indoors. Often refers to shoes he is wearing that belong to Mama, Lily or Papa.

snOOOOW: Snow.

STICKee: Sticker or sticky, depending on the context.

STUUUUUCK: Usually said in an extremely frustrated tone. Often leads him to ask for HELP.

TI-BOY: His version of tired boy. Used to describe himself when he is extremely sleepy.

UHoh: Something bad or disappointing has happened. This word usually precedes the discovery of a huge mess or mass destruction.

upTARE: Upstairs. Indicates he would like to go to bed.

WAH-fool: Waffle. His favorite breakfast food. May also be used to describe french toast and pancakes.

He does have a lot of other words he uses, but these are the ones we seem to hear most frequently. Especially "UHoh."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Very Big Snow Storm

We had a lot of snow here today. In fact, it is still snowing as I type this at 10:00pm. As usual, the weather folks lulled us into complacency by forecasting 1-3 inches of snow. In reality, we probably have 8-10 inches on the ground here.

It took Jim from 5:30 until 9:00 to get home, and he only made it home that early because a subway worker took pity on him and another woman and gave them a ride home. I think Jim and I had good karma today because we were both the recipients of a random act of kindness. Mine came from a woman at CVS with a huge cart of purchases. She saw that I was only buying two gift cards and she let me go ahead of her in line. She let a few other shoppers go ahead as well. I hope they both get everything they want for Christmas.

Normally, a snow storm on a Thursday wouldn't be a big problem for me. Lily is in school on Monday and Thursday, so I reserve Thursdays for those random errands that I don't have time for on Monday. This Thursday was a little complicated because I had to take Oskar in to be neutered at 8:00 am. When I arrived at the vet, they told me if the weather got worse, I would have to pick him up between 3 and 5, which was fine with me. That's when I found out we were expecting more than the 1-3 inches of snow predicted.

On the way to Lily's school later that morning, I asked her how she felt about a big snow storm. She said she hoped there would be "a hundred snow." Jack's response was "I. plAY. snOOOOOOOOOOOW!" so I think he was pretty excited as well. When we got to the school, the center director consulted me on a sign they were putting together for the door. They wondered if I would be offended to read the following message: "We are encouraging parents to pick up their children early due to the impending storm." I wasn't offended, in case you were wondering. I actually thought to myself "Maybe I will pick Lily up early if Oskar is ready at 3."

Jack and I then headed out to the Christmas Tree Shop, which was jam packed. Due to the fact that Jack woke up at 4:30 am this morning (and dragged us all up with him), he fell asleep sitting in the shopping cart. I was home by 10:00, gave him an early lunch, and we both settled in for a nap around 11:45. Around 1:20, the phone rang. It was the vet asking me if I could come in to pick Oskar up. "He's a little groggy, but the weather is just getting worse, so we'd like you to come in early."

"I'll be in at 3" I said. The woman seemed a little taken aback. "I think you'll need to come in sooner than that." I told her I would come in as soon as Jack woke up. After I hung up, I toyed with going back to sleep, but then I thought I ought to look out the window first. There were 5 inches of snow on the ground already. I woke poor Jack up, bundled him half asleep into his coat and got in the car. He was so groggy, all he could say was "Ohhhhhh. snOOOOOOOOOW!" over and over again.

Fifteen minutes later I was only a block from my house. In traditional Melrose fashion, the road had been sanded, but not plowed, and traffic was bumper to bumper on Main Street. Fortunately, I never drive on Main Street any way, so I knew a back route to the vet. The less traveled roads were awful. It took us about 30 minutes to make the normally 5 minute drive. Oskar was really happy to see us. Jack was more awake by the time we got to the vet, and was really excited about walking in the snow. Too bad I hadn't thought to put socks on him in my rush to get out of the house. His little sweatpants were riding up to his knees and the snow was up to shin level on him.

Once we had Oskar, it was clear to me that I'd better go get Lily before conditions got worse. It took me 45 minutes to get to her school (normally a 10 minute drive). She was very disappointed when we got outside. "I thought it would be more snow than it is," she said disgustedly.

It took another 45 minutes or so to get home. It was at that point I remembered I was supposed to supervise the stove installation at my neighbor's house while she picked her son up at school -- more than 45 minutes earlier! Fortunately, the stove installation had been canceled, so she didn't mind that I'd totally forgotten about it in my mad rush to get cat and child home.

It continued to snow all afternoon, and, despite my calls warning him that conditions were terrible, Jim didn't leave work early. He ended up stuck in Cambridge for about an hour. Then he decided to take the car back to the Novartis lot and get the subway home. There was more than an hour wait just to get into the subway station, so he grabbed some dinner. He told me that the subway, bus lines and roads were in a complete jam. I have to wonder -- they've been talking about this storm for several days, and they knew by this morning that it would bring a lot of snow. Why was everyone in the transportation industry so unprepared??

Anyway, while we were waiting for Jim to get home, I asked Lily if she would like to be interviewed for my blog. She asked what that meant, and I told her I would ask her some questions and then type her answer exactly as she said it. Here's a transcript of our interview:

W: Well, what do you think of the snow today?

L: I think it is a lot snowier than yesterday.'s almost Christmas and I'm so excited to give Mama her present, I just can't wait. There's lots of Christmas presents to give and have a happy night. When it's Christmas you get to share your presents and you always get to have fun. There's so much Christmas presents on Christmas Eve when there's lots of people you can see and give presents to, and I'm so happy that I really want to give my cat a new present, he'll love it a lot and he'll so much have fun with it that he'll play...uh oh (she goes to check on cat, who was playing with a toy under the tree)... and he's so much gonna love the thing I'm getting him. He'll be so much happy, he'll be too happy, he'll just love me a lot and he'll feel better about it. He'll not wait to see it, it's for the whole family, everyone will have a happy night. Thank you.

After that speech, I didn't really think any other questions were necessary!

Here's a picture of Oskar the day we got him. He looks pretty much the same now, only twice as big.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What Lily Drew

Lately, Lily has been very interested in drawing. She does most of her work on a magnetic doodle board, so we take a picture of her best work to save it. As a result, I can now present to you the artwork of Lily Deeds, complete with the artist's personal commentary on each picture. My comments are in italics.

This is a picture of flowers in a boat. They are sailing away to the sun. This picture reminds me of Picasso's sunflowers!

This is a picture of the princess cat. She is standing under the sun and you can see one piece of her crown on the ground. On the other side are two clouds and one is raining. This is my personal favorite of the three. There's something very sweet about the cat.

This is a picture of a turkey next to a piece of colored paper. Next to him are lines that represent sounds, and under that is a q-tip and a window. Next there is a flower by a cat who is next to a blank piece of paper. In the sky there is a sun, a basket, a space alien and another window. This picture sure has a lot going on! I love that she uses all of the available "canvas" to draw her pictures.

Curious Jack

Jim and I are getting a lot of amusement out of Jack lately, so I'm going to dedicate a whole post to him. He's always been really vocal, but lately he's had a sudden language spurt so we can finally understand what he's saying. Classic Jack: before he really grasped the whole English language thing, he just made up his own words for stuff. It took us months to figure out that a Tum was a plane. He finally caught on to the fact that using the same words as everyone else makes life easier, thank goodness.

The thing that amuses us the most about Jack talking is the way he talks. I don't know if I can describe it, but I'll try. He uses a boyish screamy voice. He emphasizes some words by saying one syllable more loudly than another. He also tends to pause between each word. My mom says he talks like a robot and that's pretty accurate -- he talks like a boyish, screamy robot.

These are recent conversations I've had with Jack:

J: MAma. JACKie BREAKing! KITE! (said while in his car seat)

W: What kite? Can you show it to me? (worried he has torn his window shade)


W: Where is the kite?


W: Can you point to the kite?

J: NOOOO! JACKie BREAKing! PApa KITE! (I realize he's talking about something of Jim's that he broke the day before).

Here's another one:

J: MAma. I GOINGWORK. BYYYYYYE! (hoisting the Wii bag over his shoulder)

W: (not paying attention)


W: Bye!

J: (runs around the table once and returns) I back. HIIIIIIIII! MAma.

W: Hi!

This conversation was repeated in its entirety for at least 30 minutes.

Here's a conversation we had while Jack was watching Curious George.

J. MAma. monKEY! monKEY!

W: I see him.

J: where HE GO? (every time Curious George left the TV screen) where monKEY? GO? Oooooooh. monKEY! DARE he IS! MAma. (as soon as George returns)

Later, Jack became very concerned when George lost a bowling ball belonging to the Man with the Yellow Hat. He came to get me in the kitchen.

J: MAma! BALL! BALL GO! UHoh. UHoh ball.

W: What ball?

J: (dragging me into the living room) monKEY. BALL. gone. UHoh monKEY!

In fact, Jack sounds a little like Rain Man sometimes. If he comes up with a good sentence, he likes to try out several different versions. Last month, we had to go to the ballet store to pick up some new shoes for Lily. Her feet are growing like weeds right now, and she complained that her 3 week old ballet shoes were pinching her toes. I decided to head up to the store while she was at school, so it was just me and Jack.

When we spoke to the saleslady, I told her that Lily's shoes were too tight, so we needed a larger size. As soon as she handed me the box, Jack wanted to carry it, so I let him. As we walked back to the register to check out, he kept saying "Tight." I thought he was talking about all the ballet tights. Then we got into the car.


W: That's right, they were too tight.


W: Yep.


W: The shoes were too tight.


W: Mmm-hmmm.


A few weeks later, as he watched Lily's dance class, he brought it up again! It was basically the same routine. I couldn't believe he remembered it, but he spent most of the class reminding me that Lily's shoes? TOOOO TIIIIIIght.

A part of me wonders if he does his robot speak for its entertainment value. He is a natural comedian. He often tells me "JACKie. FUUUUUUNeeeee!" And now, for your viewing pleasure, Jack being "funny" with chocolate pudding:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Yes, he styled his hair with pudding.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Seriously, What's Under My Couch?!

For the past couple of weeks, I've been keeping track of everything I find under the couch.

It all started when I skipped my weekly heavy cleaning in the living room during Thanksgiving week. My usual routine is to clean under the furniture and rugs every Tuesday. That particular Tuesday, however, I decided to skip the weekly deep cleaning since we weren't having any company for Thanksgiving. Instead, I just gave the room a quick vacuum and dusting.

The following Tuesday, I pulled out the couch for my usual cleaning and literally gasped out loud at the amount of detritus that had piled up under there in just two short weeks. There were 22 childrens' books, along with a huge assortment of random objects. There was so much stuff under there that I had to push a pile of it out just to get behind the couch to pick up the rest. I started wondering if this was a normal thing, or if my family is just extraordinarily messy.

The next week, I wrote down everything that I found and sent it in an e-mail to my mom. Here's an excerpt from my message:

1 toy tractor
1 purple bead bracelet
1 Miss Baby
1 red plastic hammer
1 toy hot pad
1 plastic spoon
1 plastic plate
1 broken pink noisemaker
1 People Magazine
1 In Touch Magazine
1 small wad of toy stuffing (I'm guessing from Lily's penguin, which has burst at the seams).
1 pink satin glove with pink feather trim
1 lion finger puppet
1 roll of black electrical tape
1 white plastic tube that may or may not belong to Jim's food processor
1 glass paperweight
1 purple scrunchy
2 children's books
1 orange pompom
3 articles from Lily's Littlest Pet Shop
1 orange spider ring
2 drawings by Lily
1 purple Barbie tiara
1 black and chrome plastic ring of unknown origin
12 beads belonging to the Mankala game that Jim foolishly thought was appropriate for a 2 and 4 year old to play with

I'm not even mentioning the numerous shredded kleenexes from Jack's self-invented kite game, and the other crumbs and normal detritus that gathers during the week.

What is wrong with my children? Why do they shove things under the sofa?

Six days later, I cleaned under the couch again. This is today's find:

1 mitten
1 Christmas pillow
3 cat toys
2 sparkle pom-poms from Lily's craft box
3 unused Kleenexes from Jack's "kite" game
1 superball
1 plastic spoon
1 princess wand from Disney Princesses on Ice
4 childrens' books
1 small funnel
1 pad of pink post-its
1 red marker missing a cap
1 half of a barrett
1 Christmas ornament
1 nickel
1 pacifier
1 sheet of computer paper
2 pieces of clothing from the wooden ballerina doll Lily received last night
2 hair elastics (1 pink, 1 brown)
1/2 of a black crayon

My mom has gotten a kick out of my lists and thought I should start a blog about it. I'd actually been thinking about canning the photo blog and starting something new during the past few weeks. The photo blog is a great idea, but I hate the grind of taking pictures, downloading them, uploading them to Flickr and then posting them. There are so many other ways I'd rather spend my time. It got so that I wouldn't bother posting anything at all because I didn't have new photos or didn't feel like taking the time to post them. The result -- a photo blog that hasn't been updated in a year.

My new blog will be a place that I can write about the day to day things going on with the kids and our family. I really enjoy writing and it's one of the things I miss now that I'm at home full time. I will definitely post pictures on occasion, but I'll probably give you a written update more often. I'll definitely be more inclined to update when I don't feel I have to post pictures to do it!