Saturday, May 31, 2008

Big Can Drive!

The 3 older kids played with Play Doh today during Big's nap.  It was supposed to keep them fairly quiet so Big could nap undisturbed, but Bud is used to doing it by himself while the girls are in school and so had a hard time sharing some of the cool stuff.  Hopefully it will get better.  If only my kids were darker skinned (Ginger in particular), then I could just send them out all the day long.

One of Bud's creations was this awesome giraffe:

After I took the picture, he noticed (and was mortified by his faux pas, I might add) that he had put the snout in the wrong place.  He quickly fixed it, but too bad for him I already had the cute picture in the can.  I wish he would have let me photograph his elephant--it was great!

Big had his first truck-cart experience today.  I wish you all could have seen it!  I was afraid he'd give himself whiplash from all his excitement.  It was really funny watching him drive--you'd think he had been watching Rophone drive rather than facing backward looking at where we'd been.  He drove with one arm on the window frame and the other hand on the wheel, just like his dad.  Big's posture was even the same!  It must be in the genes, because we haven't even put his car seat in a forward-facing position yet.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Face Food

If you have young kids, you know it can often be frustrating to find things they'll eat.  The thing that drives me most nuts is the mind-changing that goes on. After much waffling they finally decide on what they want, only to change their mind again right as I get it fixed. I know that Bud quite often refuses to eat because I called it "lunch" and he only felt like a snack. 

Over the years, I have developed many methods to try and solve the problem. I have used all shapes and sizes of cookie cutters to cut out sandwiches to make them more appealing, I have made homemade "Lunchables" placed in divided containers, and sometimes the hors d'oeuvres lunch (where I cut everything up into bite-sized pieces and serve it with a toothpick) is a big lifesaver. We're the only family I know that eats rainbow colored pancakes.

The other day my sister-in-law, Aunt Jazz Hands, posted a blog about what she has been doing to combat her own troubles with her children and food. It has been a fun thing for us to explore the past few days and has made mealtimes a bit more fun. It also allows me to get slightly healthier foods in their bellies than they might ordinarily be willing to eat.

Here are two of the faces I've made (terrible pictures, sorry):

Bud's lunch, consisting of cottage cheese eyes, cheese eyebrows, bagel ears, banana nose, apple mouth (with more banana and apple on the side).

Pen's dinner of tuna/Frito hair, bagel ears, orange and grape eyes, apple nose, sugar snap pea mouth with a ranch dip soul patch.

We'll see if I can come up with enough food face ideas to last the summer. Hopefully they'll allow a few repeats. The idea is so fun, I kind of want someone to make one for me!

I was also busy in the kitchen last night making Orangettes. Ginger's teacher loves orange sticks so I made some using the recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen, a great food blog I have been enjoying. Her pictures are fantastic! If you like cooking and love eating, you might want to check it out.  Rophone also loves orange and chocolate together so will have no problem eating the leftovers.

Now I just have to think of what to fix for dinner.  Food face, anyone?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Boys

I took the boys outside today to enjoy the beautiful weather.  It was a little sunny and made for some scowly-looking pictures, but I couldn't resist. The girls get out of school this week (I can't believe it!), so I'll be posting more pictures of them soon.

Big looking at his feet being tickled by the grass:

Bud telling me all about how he's going to climb the tree:

Tired of pictures:

I never thought I'd have a kid with eyebrows this blonde:

I sure do love my boys.  They make my life fun and interesting (and yes, sometimes trying) and I couldn't imagine my life without them.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Blast from the Past

For some reason I was reminded this morning of a brief conversation I had with Pen when she was four years old.  I was helping her fill out an "about you" type of thing for preschool. It made me laugh then and it makes me laugh now.  Here it is:

Me: So, Pen, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Pen: Well, if we ever happen to buy a castle, I would like to be a princess.

She seems to still be practicing to be a princess, so she must not have given up on her dream. Anyone know of a castle for cheap?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

As Promised

Auntie Art made sure we got our finished ceramic projects last night (thanks, Auntie Art!). The kids were super excited to see how they turned out (and I was, too!). We're hoping to have some opportunities to go to Auntie Art's school a few times over the summer so we can make more fun stuff.

Here is Bud's vase:

Ginger's sailboat and star plaque:

Pen's mask and her bird sans feet (we need to glue them on):

The bowl I threw on the wheel.  Rophone thinks it's the perfect size for ice cream:

Big with his new "big boy" haircut:

We are excited to spend the day together as a family tomorrow.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a few good pictures.  Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Don't Get Me Wrong

In regards to my last post: don't get me wrong--I have a fabulous life.  I have a great husband who loves me, fantastic kids... I just don't have any outside interests at the moment.  So, it's not that I don't have a life, it just isn't as multi-faceted as I might like it to be right now.

The other day, Bud had a complete brain freeze type of moment that was hilarious.  We have multiple instruments around the house and Bud easily knows the names of them all, but for some reason he couldn't think of one when he needed it.  Rophone plays the drums, but also dabbles a bit with the guitar, so guitar picks can sometimes be found laying around.  Bud noticed that Rophone had emptied a few picks out of his pockets onto the bathroom counter and said, "Hey! There are some clips for Daddy's drumtar!"  Not only is he creating new medical specialties, but a new instrument, too.

In other news, Big has swapped his toilet seat addiction for a ball addiction (thank goodness!).  I hear the word "ball" about a thousand times a day, but it is much better than worrying about what he might be sucking on.

"The Talk"

I have taken a few days off blogging.  I look at how much more frequently I blog compared to those I know and realize that maybe it looks like I have no life. Well, I'll admit it.  I have no life at the moment, and you get to share it with me.  Aren't you lucky?!

Last Sunday, Rophone and I sat the girls down for "The Talk".  Pen is 9 1/2 and will be in 5th grade next year, so it's about time.  At 7 years old Ginger is maybe a little young, but we figured that Pen would share what she learned later anyway.  

As the girls moved close for our conversation, I noticed that Pen was in need of (insert gasp here) deodorant!  It appears that our timing was very fortuitous.  "The Talk" went pretty much as expected-- with Ginger giggling and saying how funny it all was, and Pen cringing, wrinkling her nose and saying "ew".  It was all Rophone and I could do not to laugh. We tried to keep it casual and let the girls know that it was something they should feel free to ask questions about and talk about, but I'm not sure that Pen believed us.

Since no one as of yet has volunteered to tutor me in Girl, I fear a crash course is in my future. I am determined to survive. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Retail Therapy

Believe it or not, I am trying to teach myself to spend money.  For those of you to which this comes naturally this may seem an odd thing--in fact, most people are trying to cut back on their spending.  Not me.  It's time I learned to drop a few bucks.  

Rophone and I have been married for 13 1/2 years and, during that time, he has been the one to spend most of the money.  The majority of the errand running has been done by him either on lunch hours, on the way home from work or after the kids are in bed.  We also make frequent trips as a family in the evenings.

Originally, this all came about because for years we only had one car.  Even in the years of 2 car ownership, however, this pattern has continued and it's all because of me.  I have never been a spender.  Rophone frequently uses me as his savings account (he will often give me money to put in my purse and a few weeks or months later while we're out he'll ask me if I have any money and I'll say, "Sure. I have that 3 dollars you gave me last month").  The notion of spending money on a treat, snack or other little extra is so foreign to me that money just doesn't "disappear" on me.  I struggle to even pay for things that I know are needed.  The ketchup or other item has made trips into the cart, back on the shelf, into the cart, back on the shelf....well, you get the picture.

It's time for a change.  I don't want Rophone to have to stop on the way home from work--that just means more time away from the family.  As our lives are getting busier, going everywhere as a family in the evenings or on Saturdays to get things done doesn't always work, either. I have the whole day (minus Big's nap time) with just the two boys at home in which to get things done. I just have to make myself do it.  Hence, the retail therapy.

I have made great strides.  Several mornings a week I make myself go out to run errands and spend money.  I have been using the resale shops to get clothes for the boys (the inexpensive clothing is a great baby step for me), I go to the grocery store for food and to Target for toiletries.  I even have managed to throw a few things that weren't necessities (but that I wanted) into the cart!  Occasionally the freedom and lack of stress that I feel when whipping out the card shocks me!

I still struggle, though.  Sometimes I hit a wall.  If things are beginning to pile up in the cart, I will, at times, decide not to purchase something that we can do without for a little while longer.  Just yesterday I spent $30 dollars at the grocery store in the morning (albeit not purchasing a few things on the list), but when we went out as a family in the evening to buy Pen ballet clothing for her upcoming classes, I had to have Rophone make the purchase.  I definitely reach my spending limit.

I get a little freaked out by the thought that there are now two of us spending the money, but the free time it has opened up for Rophone to spend with me and the kids is well worth it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Don't Cry, It's Only a Mullet

You may have noticed that Big has been sporting a sweet mullet.  Rophone and I have really enjoyed watching it grow, especially recently, as it has begun to look like bad hair extensions (you know what I'm talking about--we've all seen an actor with them in some movie or other).  

A new kids haircutting place just opened up in town this week, so we decided maybe it was time for the mullet to go.  As you can see from the pictures, Big didn't enjoy it too much:

Imploring Rophone to save him from the torture:

I couldn't resist this shot of his cute feet sticking out of the bottom of the car (I was going to say cute little feet, but that just wouldn't be true):

Thank goodness Bud doesn't cry and scream anymore. Now he just looks bored:

Big wasn't feeling up to posing for a last shot of the finished cut, so I'll have to post one later (as you know I will).  Plus, he looked a little too much like a retired business executive with the way it was combed.  I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my "Mother's Day".

Friday, May 16, 2008

I'm a Basketball Widow

During the NBA Playoffs I become a basketball widow. This, of course, leaves me plenty of time to take pictures and blog (aren't you lucky?). Today was beautiful, so it was a bummer to have to spend the first half of the day at the doctor's office. Bud came down with croup in the middle of the night last night-- caught, no doubt, at the doc's when we went there healthy on Monday. Then we proceeded to the radiology department at the neighboring hospital for some x-rays of Bud's right leg. It's time we finally figured out his recurring limp. I don't expect the x-rays to show anything as I think it is caused by something else. At least this time Bud made some attempt to explain why he was limping.  Once he told me that his foot was "just tired", and today he told me his leg was "tickle-y". Hopefully we can get it all figured out. 

Sweet Ginger:

Why is it that when you send two members of the male species to pick out some sunglasses they come back with these?!  Is this all that's available for little boys?  I feel that maybe I need to buzz Bud's hair, attach frogs to the stems of the glasses and, perhaps, get a small can of chew for his back pocket.  (Sorry if your kid has these glasses and you love them!)

Who is this unfortunate tourist, and where is he from?  I do love the eyeball sticker, though:

Much better:

Anxiously hoping that it's Daddy driving down the street:

Rophone doesn't have band practice tomorrow, so it looks like we're going to have fun as a family.  I can't wait!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Toe Curse

I have been feeling kind of bad for Pen the past few months, what with the toe curse and all. About 3 or 4 months ago, Bud began to open the bathroom door while Pen was in residence. Strongly desiring her privacy, Pen slammed the door shut on Bud with no concern for the consequences.  Unfortunately, the door caught Bud's big toenail and lifted it from the nail bed (those of you who have heard Bud's high-pitched scream know what then ensued).  

Almost immediately after Bud's injury Pen started having trouble with her own toes.  It seemed she was stubbing them, getting them stepped on and dropping things on them left and right (Just this morning, in fact, she dropped a full water bottle on her toe and split the nail). Sadly, Rophone and I had to break the news to Pen that she had been afflicted with "The Toe Curse". We had to tell her that she will suffer from the curse until Bud's injured nail falls off.  Too bad for Pen that Bud's toenails grow so slowly.  Maybe next time she'll think twice before acting out in anger. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Can't Help Myself

Okay, okay, I know I've already written about a gazillion posts this month, and I really intended to take a couple of days off to give you readers a break so you don't get sick of me-- but then I went outside with the kids and took my camera along.  When I viewed some of the shots I was getting I knew I was going to have to blog again tonight.  I just can't help myself!

I love this picture because you can see the lines on his cheeks from the block bucket:

Usually the last kid is the least photographed...well, I don't think Big needs to worry about that.  Maybe I'll get good enough at photographing my own kids that I can offer my services to others someday.  I think I'd like that.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Just How Big is Big?

Today both Bud and Big had their well child visits.  Bud is really average in size-- he weighed 32 pounds (although he hadn't been #2 in 3 days) which is 50th percentile, and he is 37 3/4" tall (60%), and his BMI is in the 40th percentile.

The real question, though, has always been "How Big is Big?", and will he beat Pen?  Big was measured at 30 3/4" tall (I'm not sure about the accuracy of this measurement, however--he wouldn't hold still) which is 80%, and his weight is (insert drum roll here) 26 # 8 1/2 oz. (>90%)! For those of you who remember, Pen weighed in at 27 pounds at a year, although I'm not sure that her appointment was so immediately after her birthday.  She is proud to have held on to her title.

Even though Big didn't beat Pen, the fact remains that he is still big (as those of you who have held him lately can attest to).  He's awfully cute, too, so I think we'll keep him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day, Rescheduled

Rophone ended up getting sick in the middle of the night last night with food poisoning.  I ended up having to do pretty much everything while he recuperated.  He felt well enough by the time I returned from church that we made the trek to my parents' house for dinner. Rophone loves treating me like a queen on Mother's Day, so he was really bummed that he couldn't do what he wanted.  We're going to reschedule it for next Sunday instead.

I did get to open my gift, though.  Rophone got me a fantastic new tent that will fit all of us (we outgrew our old one years ago).  We can't wait to try it out.  He also got me a screened-in room to put over the picnic table so we can eat and play games without being eaten alive (since I am a mosquito magnet and all).  He knows me so well.

I hope all of you mothers had a fantastic day!  I can't wait until next week!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I can't believe that Big turned one today.  He is getting so old.  I took the kids to Auntie Art's school this morning while Rophone was at band practice so we could glaze the things we made last month.  I let Big crawl around and explore while we were there and he had a blast pushing the stools around the room.  On the way to the school, Big fell asleep for 15 minutes (at 10:30 in the morning) and, unfortunately for us, he decided that his normal afternoon nap was no longer necessary. Not good. 

The people who came to Big's party were Grandpa Fish, Grandma P, Auntie and Uncle Art, Gigi M and Rophone's cousin PopPop (his wife is going to have twins!). Big was really frightened of Gigi M (101 1/2 years old, remember), so that added a bit to what took place today.  I served lasagna, salad, grapes and bread, with chocolate cupcakes frosted with chocolate pudding for dessert (and ice cream, of course!).  I took a bunch of pictures (with a little help from Auntie and Uncle Art) to tell the story of the afternoon.

I tied the balloons to the back of Big's highchair.  Here he is playing with the ribbons:

After playing with the ribbons he turned and licked the screen (see the dirt?):

Waiting patiently to open gifts:

Reading the card first like you're supposed to do:

Little known fact--the tongue helps with bow removal:

"Now that's what I'm talking about!":

"The light's rather pretty, but what's it got to do with me?":

"Mesmerizing, really.":

"This thing isn't nearly as cool without the light.  What's up with the feet?":

"Really, this thing is making me more than a little nervous (help?).":

"Auntie Art dabbed some pudding on my lips!  Aaaarrgh!":

"If you can't tell, I'm really not having that great of a time! (Seriously, help!!)":

"Balls always help calm my nerves.":

"Aaah.  Much better than that silly cupcake would have been!":

Hopefully next year will be little less traumatic.  All in all it was a great day. Hope the pictures made you feel like you were there.  I'm not sure if this made sense because I'm awfully tired.  Time for bed.