Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sully Meets Santa

Sully kind of froze, he didn't know what to ask for, but he won Santa's heart and now we have this adorable picture that will cheer me up whenever I need a good laugh.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'll Eat You Up, I Love You So

Poor kid. Sick, chapped, grumpy.

This morning he was banished from the girls' room because he used a straw to flick orange juice onto Elizabeth. Before Elizabeth screamed, Jack was up from his chair and frantically trying to gather his "things" in a tupperware bowl. At first I thought he was trying to prepare for time out, but he was already one step ahead of me. He was trying to beat exile.

By the time I even said "time out" he had reached the bottom of stairs. Elizabeth yelled "I'm outta here!" and Amanda replied "me too!" and they both ran for the stairs. As the girls passed him on the stairs, Jack yelled "I'm coming wiiiiiiiiith youuuuuuuuuu!" but he had already started to cry. He sat on the stairs and waited for me (and time out) with the tupperware bowl on his lap.

He tried again after time out. Knocking, then banging, then begging, then tattling. "Mommy! The sisters won't let me in!"After another time out warning, he was quiet. And then..."MOMMY!" So I replied from downstairs, "It's not Mommy, it's a Monster."

Quiet. Then the pitter patter of feet, but I couldn't tell if it was to or from the stairs. Then...



"Monster, the sisters won't let me in."

UGH. But he was curious, so he came down and played with the Monster for a bit. Then he went back upstairs and knocked on the girls' door. And the door opened.



Then I heard him gasp, the door close, and then...quiet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

5 Things To Do In An Empty Amphitheatre

1. Roll, run or tumble your way to the stage.

2. If your pants fall down and your bum is hanging out from running down the hill (Jack), pull your pants up! Blue comedy is too easy, you've gotta work for the laugh kid!

3. Dance, stomp, run, scream, sing, laugh - AMPLIFY!

4. Take a bow.
5. Hike your way back up the hill while basking in the applause (of your parents).

The Jealous Bear

We went back to the zoo with the whole family yesterday. This time, this bear would not be left out. He was ready for his close up and hamming it up. It was pretty cute.

So here you go jazz hands bear, your own post. Thanks for not jumping over and eating us!

Friday, September 3, 2010

To The Land Of Torsos!

Jack has started preschool, and I was surprisingly sad that he was my only preschooler this year. Then I remembered that this is the year (age 3-4) when kids remember to draw a torso in their portraits. Isn't that strange? I have no idea why that feels like such a big deal - but right now Jack is still drawing people with arms and legs coming straight out of their head. It's bizarre and adorable. But at some point this year, the light bulb will go off, and he will draw people with torsos. First a torso, then BLINK, he's off to college, then med school... Not yet little man, not yet! For now, I treasure each picture he makes of me, each just a big ol' head with arms and legs coming out of my eyes and ears.

Love you little guy, and I can't wait to see how much you grow - this year and beyond!

Rebels at the Zoo

I took two rebels to the zoo today: my camera and my preschooler. The camera behaved itself. The preschooler threw a book into the tiger exhibit. The tiger part was the end of the zoo trip, and I risked my life (really just a stick and my flip flop) to get the book out. Other than that, it was a perfect zoo day.

We went straight to the walkabout...

...where we were greeted by this wallaby who immediately gave us this "watch yourself" look. It worked! Jack stayed on the path with his hands to himself. The kangaroos were not nearly as social as the wallabies, they stayed far away from the path.

Some of our other great encounters:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Ratings Are In...

...and the first day of school got a 2 thumbs up from our Cougars!

When the girls woke up, I could tell immediately that their excitement outweighed their nervousness. Always a good sign! I wasn't sure which way it was going to go after the Open House nervous tummies. But they were up as soon as their alarm went off - focused, excited and ready to go. It was their first day of school together and they were both giddy that it was finally here. They had two solid first day plans: (1) wear matching outfits, and (2) make sure they sat together on the bus ride home.

This was their fantastic school bus exit:

10.0!!!!!! Bonus points for the bouncing ruffles!

They both loved their teachers and are excited about the school year. Excellent.

Teacher Survival Kits

This year, I decided to make teacher gifts for the first day of school. (Yes, I'm that excited). The Teacher Survival Kit.

I'm generally a very unoriginal teacher gift giver; bookstore gift cards for every occasion, every teacher, every year. This year I wanted to thank the kids' teachers ahead of time, because this year, I really, really, really mean it! Teachers amaze me.

I struggled on most summer days just to get something other than cereal on the dinner table. I sometimes counted pool time as a bath. (I also counted swimming in the ocean. Or when the kids spilled water/milk/juice on any portion of their bodies). I knew summer would be a challenge - common activities for ages 3, 5 and 7 - all day, in this heat? I can't even take all three to the grocery store for milk without giving myself a pep talk! I had no idea they would work so well together as a team or that I would be the enemy. But 7 is just old enough to realize that you aren't perfect, to map your weaknesses and plot your downfall. And 3 is just old enough to help execute secret missions yet look too young and cute to be guilty. 5 is smart enough to know she can get away with anything as long as the evidence portrays 7 as the brains and 3 as the foot soldier.

So that brings us back to - TEACHERS! The amazing people who take these summer monsters and turn them back into the wonderful children that we haven't seen since June. I wanted to thank the kids' teachers upfront this year, to start the year by acknowledging how much they give and to express how grateful we are for every bit of it.

The Teacher Survival Kit
. The idea is to fill a container with things that might be useful during the year, especially on crazy days when a teacher might be in a rush and need some extra caffeine, vitamins, headache relief, possibly even breakfast or lunch. Add a few convenience items, and definitely a good lip balm and a good hand lotion.

Large Pencil Case (as container)
Excedrin Tension Headache
Scott Mini Lint Roller
Purell Hand Sanitizer
Vitamin C Drops
Luna Lemon Zest Meal Bar
C.O. Bigelow Lemon Lip Balm
Nail File
True Blue Spa Look Ma, New Hands Lotion
Wisp Disposable Toothbrushes
Tide To Go Pen
2 Lipton Energize To Go Iced Tea Mix packets
2 Propel Cherry-Lime Vitamin Enhanced Drink Mix packets

On the inside lid I tried to be funny...

...but then I read that one of the teachers graduated high school in 1998. Can teachers be too young for Seinfeld references? Yikes.

Monday, August 16, 2010

5 Things That Worked Better In Theory

1. The Boredom Busters Jar

I was hooked when I saw the idea on several Mom blogs as a great way to make summer fun and enjoyable for all! Fill a jar with various kid activities so that when the "Mommy, I'm boooooored" comes along, kids can pick an idea from the jar. I'm sure that this works for some Moms. All it did for me was start "Mommy, I'm boooored" at breakfast and make it last all. day. long. All independent thought, all spontaneity, all free play (a.k.a. summer) was gone. They LOVED this stupid jar so much that I was forced to hide it and pretend it never, ever existed.

2. A Playroom

I can't really stress enough: a playroom is a mistake. Don't do it! If you do it, don't make it the room that is on display when you open your front door. Truth be told, there is nothing good about a playroom. It encourages excess and eventually just becomes a land fill. With the first child, it's cute and clean. By the third child, the kids draw straws on who has to venture through the treacherous piles to find Toy X and bring it back out to play with somewhere else. No organization helps: labels, boxes, shelves, book nooks - all just a waste of time. If I could do it over again, I would say: bedroom or trash can, your choice.

3. Orange Swimsuit

I posted about this on facebook, but I'll say it again. Halle Berry can pull of the orange suit. I'm not exactly sure what compelled me to go orange. I'm not tan and I'm not Halle Berry, and I looked like a gigantor candy corn.

4. Gardening

I must remember the following: I have 3 kids, I can't keep a cactus alive, I have a cat that poops and a dog that digs. Enough said.

5. Downstairs Laundry Room

I remember our downstairs laundry room being a selling point for me! I can't even remember why. Yada, yada, yada, three kids, family of five with closets, dressers, beds, bathrooms and linen closet - all upstairs. Kitchen towels - those are the only items that don't go upstairs. I suppose I thought that the time spent sorting, folding, etc. would be best spent downstairs? Let me say that with 3 kids, folded piles of laundry are asking for trouble, clean laundry must get to their destination asap. I need mad Mary Poppins snapping skills!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Sum of a Beach Vacation

I plan to post more pictures of our wonderful time at the beach with my aunt, my cousin and her twins, but for now I thought this picture was perfect. It seems the amount of beach clutter is directly related to the level of vacation satisfaction. The more wet bathing suits, sandy towels, tiny flip flops and half eaten apples scattered about, the better. I like knowing we spent more time enjoying the beach and less time worrying about the stuff. But with five kids (and three three year olds) the stuff was everywhere! And the vacation was awesome.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Backyard Digging

The girls have been fighting over this "diamond" for a while now, both claiming to be the finder keeper. Amanda is certain that she found the diamond while digging in the backyard around a tree; Elizabeth says she found it one time when we were hiking. I finally just took it away and put it up to stop the arguing. My plan was to just toss it once the girls forgot about it.

Yesterday Jay saw it and asked me where it came from, I told him it was just a rock the girls were fighting over. He seemed surprised that I had missed the obvious similarities between this "diamond" and um... an arrowhead? It does seem obvious now. But on any given day many items pass through my hands at the backdoor checkpoint station. Stick - out! Shoe that was missing for 2 months - in! Dead bee - out! Caterpillars, lizards, feathers... the kids and animals try to smuggle all sorts of things in this house. I don't even remember this coming in, but Elizabeth admits that it was Amanda's backyard find.

Pretty cool find, isn't it? It is back in Amanda's hands and among her trinkets, where it is once again playing the role of diamond.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

At Last

You can tell by the look on Sully's face that he is just as surprised as I am. It has taken him almost an entire year to win Moose over. This is the first time Moose has allowed Sully to get this close without a hiss or a bop to the nose. But Moose is 10, and in his defense, his idea of a good time isn't being chased by a dog around the house. Sully has never meant any harm, he just wanted a friend. And now it seems he has one.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat - part one of the "Mommy, I'm bored" edition.

We found these fun geography quiz games and Elizabeth is learning quite a lot about geography. It's also teaching Amanda about computers, she is working hard on her drag and drop skills. Truth be told, Jay and I have enjoyed a little friendly competition ourselves.

Here are two games to test your own skills (the pictures link to the game):

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Rebel

One of the first shots with our brand new camera (before reading the manual). This is one of Jay's water towers, and it made for a perfect setting to take the camera on a test run. My excitement level about reading this manual (as soon as these kids go to bed) rivals that of reading Little Women (again, and again, and again). I'm very, very excited. There will be highlighters, notes and post-it tabs involved.

You know how in Christmas Story, Ralphy wanted the Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and that thing that tells time? Well, my dream has been a Canon EOS Rebel T1i 15.1 MP Digital SLR with 3" LCD and EF-S 18-55mm IS Lens.

And guess what? Jay's parents read the post about our camera falling into the pool and asked us to meet them at Best Buy. Next thing I know, the dream camera is IN MY HANDS. Then things get blurry, Buddy points at this and that, tells them to ring it all up. Then I'm holding IT in our car, carrying IT into our house. And it's still here. In. Our. House.

We are not worthy, we are not worthy!

I have this feeling that some camera geek in a Best Buy outfit is going to burst in and tell me I have no business with such a kick butt camera and take it away. So I will sleep with it under my pillow to keep my little Reb safe. And I will learn, I will get good, and I will make the Rebel proud.

Thank you Happy and Buddy!!!!!

R.I.P. Kimya

Kimya, one of the adorable gorillas at Riverbanks Zoo, died two weeks ago. This isn't exactly breaking news, but I came across this picture today and realized it sums up the sadness of Kimya's passing pretty well. I don't know which gorillas are in this picture, we took it a few months ago.

Kimya was quite young, and he was simply found dead one Monday morning by his keepers. There were no signs of illness, no clues as to a cause of death. Hopefully the pathology reports will reveal what happened at some point.

Rest in peace Kimya, you were loved big guy.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Salute From The Shore

My brother Mike in his kayak during today's fly over. It was hard to wave and get a good picture at the same time! I was also using a different camera since mine fell into the pool about an hour before the fly over.

It was fun to wave flags and wave to this C-17, and the party stretched across the entire SC coast!

Happy Fourth of July!!!!!

Beach Triple Nap (+1)

Jack's first beach night as a "big boy" - no more pack-n-play beach nights for him! Sully loves all of the warm bodies all in one place, his favorite way to sleep. Due to Sully's growing girth (displayed perfectly in this picture) we've started to be more mindful of his access to floor snacks and cat food. We've also started calling him Mr. Meatball.

We are excited about a 4th of July C-17 fly by happening on the beach in a few hours, and will post pictures of the plane if we can get a good shot! Salute from the shore!!!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Joy of Sully

We'll never know where he spent his first two years of life, what happened to his ear or to a couple of his teeth.

We're just thankful that we found him, and I'm pretty sure he is happy about it too.

Best. Dog. Ever.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Toy Story 3

How good was Toy Story 3?

This good.

Triple full attention for the entire movie and the extra scenes during the credits.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Jack!

Three, Three, what a great age to be!

Jack and Sully are enjoying Jack's new Gator so much they already ran out the battery. Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Backyard Reading

I can't think of a better way to start a summer day than by going outside to read a book under the trees. Before the day gets too hot, too busy, too fussy, too "hey-they-have-a-trampoline-and-tetherball-in-their-yard-and-we-don't-NO-FAIR!" These quiet summer morning moments are my favorite.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

School's Out For Summer!

School is out and summer is here! This picture was taken at Elizabeth's last day of school class party, where Amanda and Jack were instructed to lie low. As you can see, Amanda does not lie low.Obviously.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Magi Fishbook & The Gang

We spent Memorial Day weekend at Carowinds and Great Wolf Lodge and it was b-a-n-a-n-a-s, bananas. Fun bananas, but bananas!

First we went to Carowinds and spent the night at a normal hotel.

Elizabeth was very angry at this roller coaster for tipping to the side. She yelled "STUPID!!!!!!" at every roller coaster we passed after this picture. We parked near The Intimidator and had to walk and walk and walk back to the car. Every time it whirled by with screaming people (at least 20 times), Elizabeth yelled "STUUUUUUPIIIIIIIID!" at the top of her lungs. Because roller coasters are stupid. Forever.

The boats were a big hit with the girls. Jack wasn't tall enough to ride!

Elizabeth on the helicopter ride. She loved it! Heights are not the issue for Elizabeth, it seems she just dislikes tipping without warning.

At Great Wolf Lodge, all three kids were in heaven.

Amanda would have tried everything the Lodge had to offer, but she wasn't tall enough for the yellow band. She went down every slide they would let her and said "that was awesome!" each time.

The kids spent most of their time in Whooping Hollow and were on first name basis with every kid in the joint by the time we left.

The kids also loved the bunk beds in our room. They had their own little "tent" section with bunk beds, a camp desk and a flat screen television. Jack went loco. We were all exhausted, but Jack skipped exhausted and went straight to odd. First he looked like this:

Then he looked like this:

Until finally, he looked like this:

Before this picture, he was so mesmerized by Wiley and Violet that he was standing with his back to the camera just staring at them. The handler had to turn him around and the photographer took a quick shot before they led us away. I think Violet may have a restraining order against Jack now. During story time there was a sea of kids sitting on the lobby floor, parents along the edges. Before we knew Jack might need restraining, it was too late. He stood up and zoned in on Violet, who saw him stand and tried to play peek-a-boo with him to freeze him in his tracks. Then it was like slow motion. The peek-a-boo only confused Jack more, and everything around him disappeared. He started walking towards Violet, grabbing other kids' heads like a stair rail. Before we could get to him he just stood there and started yelling "are you talking to ME? are you talking to ME? are you talking to ME?" while looking up, down and around Violet trying to figure out why she wasn't talking back.

In the meantime, the girls saw kids with magic wands. Magiquest. We had never heard of it, but we slowly realized the Lodge was actually filled with enchanted forests and magical creatures, so we signed the kids up to play at 9:00 p.m.

Jack was delirious by this point, and when the Wizard dude asked Jack what his Magi name was, Jack didn't skip a beat and said "Fishbook." This pleased the Wizard dude greatly and he entered Jack into the system as Magi Fishbook before we could ask "Huh?" Fishbook even played for free since he is under 3!

It was a brief but fabulous getaway, and the perfect way to say hello to summer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oh, The Cleverness of You

When they said they wanted to play Shark Boy and Lava Girl, they really meant it. I was amazed with the costume development on this one. Fins, sharks, color coordination, even some pink hair - nicely done guys. And I agree, the movie did need a Shark Boy and a Shark Girl. Lava Girl is even eating ice to cool herself down. A+!

The Alarm Clock Experiment

Today marked the second morning of the alarm clock experiment. The results were mixed, which causes a problem.

On the first morning, the girls woke at 6:45 a.m. (with Jay & I giggling in the hallway) to "It's The Best Day Ever" by Spongebob Squarepants. Amanda opened her eyes, sat up and smiled immediately. Elizabeth turned over, pulled the covers over her head and grumped "way too annoying." Amanda bounced to the music and said "I feel like this really is gonna be the best day ever!"

This was very odd considering Amanda is usually the morning grumper and Elizabeth is generally without a.m. complaints. Elizabeth is usually up, dressed and informing us about her day before Amanda can even muster a facial expression.

So, let's try this again.

On the second morning, the girls woke at 6:45 a.m. (Jay & I were already downstairs caffeinating) to "It's The Best Day Ever" by Spongebob Squarepants. Elizabeth was first downstairs and she was visibly irritated. She peered out from behind a wall of her own hair and spat "music in the morning? So annoying! I would rather have beeping!" But then it was quiet, and Amanda never came downstairs. For 30 minutes she sat in her bed, smiling, daydreaming, and bouncing to music.

So here we are. I'm not sure how it will turn out. I know that I've tapped into something very valuable with Amanda and I won't give it up. But the girls are already fighting. Fighting about beeping vs. music, fighting about the very existence of alarm clocks, the color of alarm clocks, even fighting about whether sharing a room was such a good idea in the first place. Ouch.

This has gone deeper than I had anticipated. This I know for sure: (1) I'm an idiot for stirring the pot so soon; (2) summer starts in 2 weeks rendering all alarm clock arguments moot; (3) I don't care what anyone says, my song choice was genius and payback is a witch with a capital B; and (3) Jay has to repaint that nightstand.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We don't usually get this close to the elephants, so this was very exciting for Elizabeth. But it started to get a little creepy because after a while, what do you do when you run out of things to talk about? A little awkward. Allow me to reenact...

Elizabeth: Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Hi, elephant! Mom, look how close! Daddy, Daddy, look! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Hi, elephant. I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. What are you doing? Eating? That's what you're eating? Gross. I love you elephant. I'm never this close, this is awesome!

2 minutes later:

Elizabeth: so... yeah, you're so cute. I don't have any food or anything. Mom, why is it still looking at me? I love you elephant. So...it's hot today isn't it? You gonna go get wet? There's some water over there. No? Okay, that's cool. You're so awesome elephant.

1 minute later:

Elizabeth: What? What? Oh man, I think that baby giraffe is calling my name. That sucks 'cause I'd love to stay here. Because I love elephants more than anything. But... you know, it's a baby giraffe and he was just born and everything so it might hurt his feelings if I ignore him. So... stay awesome, k? I'm gonna go now. You should go get wet! Oh, you're just gonna watch me walk away? Okay. Well, so, I'm just gonna... hey look - ants!

Elizabeth runs away yelling "Pachyderms rule!"*

*This isn't an exactly what happened, but it was awkward for Elizabeth and I do like to exaggerate.