Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Say-ing #2

(Good grief, it's been a long time since I said I'd start posting "Say-ings" — the funny things Sarah says — must start doing more of these!)

Sesame Street is doing a "habitat" theme this season, beginning with a real estate agent trying to sell Big Bird a condo in sunnier climes. Today the girls were watching as the Muppets were trying to figure out where a camel's habitat is. A mountain, because its back looks like a mountain? A swamp?

Scott couldn't stand it. "Sarah and Beth, where does a camel live?"

Sarah: "In the nativity scene."

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Cyber Monday!

Woke up this morning to two rather energetic preschoolers and two rather enthusiastic reviews of some of my Etsy items on Familylicious. Scroll down a bit...look for the Teesies icon...you'll find 'em.

Now...to get said kids, a stack of phone books, and every spare string of white Christmas lights I can find over to the church by 9:30...'cause I'm spending a good chunk of the day decorating for the annual wreathmaking party. (I'm tempted to crash the rival event tomorrow night: "Manrichment," featuing a bunch of dads, a McDonald's playspace, and a Big Mac eating contest. Suppose I'd look a little out of place, though.)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Bethism #13

Out of the blue this morning at the breakfast table:

"Christmas is my favorite year of the week."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Good grief!

So here's just a snippet of my crazy week:

I'm basting tulle to the circle skirt of a Lucy van Pelt costume (the first of three — why did everyone want to be Lucy this year?), the plumber has finally fixed my tub drain (flood happened a month ago), and I should probably do something about the three baskets of clean laundry sitting on my living room floor before both ServiceMaster (to take care of the first wave of flood cleanup) and my visiting teachers arrive at 3:30. Oh, and preschool pickup time is at 3:00, and I should really make a run to the post office (to send off three tee shirts) and the Ben Franklin store (to buy more royal blue thread, for said Lucy costume) on my way home.

I am definitely going to need more cookies.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One of the cruel things about getting older

Apparently, I no longer qualify for the unofficial late-night cute girl discount at Kinko's.


It's all downhill from here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rant of the week

Costco. Seriously. Once a year or so, as you're checking out your oversized shopping cart full o' bulk items, there's an extra person standing with the cashier. He'll show you how much you spent at Costco in the last 12 months, and then try to sell you an executive membership that gives you cash back on purchases.

Today it was my turn. And for the second year in a row, the amount of money Costco's marketing department says I spent at the Mommy of All Warehouses is about $1200 more than I've actually spent. And THAT'S the part that bugs me.

See, I know how much money I've spent at Costco. I know this because I'm, well, rather anal-retentive, and also because I'm married to an accountant who likes to keep track of where we've spent all our money. So I can pull up Pocket Quicken on my Palm Pilot, do a quick report, and know to the penny how much I've spent there. (Okay, maybe not to the penny. I don't track what we spend on hot dogs and soft drinks. But then, since I don't have to have my membership card scanned when I pay cash for my completely unhealthy dinner, neither does Costco.)

This year (September 1, 2008 through August 31, 2009), my total: $3423.55 Costco's total:  around $4600.

(Note: Before you pass out from looking at those numbers, keep in mind that I buy almost everything in bulk. Bread and milk? Check. Frozen chicken? Check. Socks for my husband? Chocolate chips? Cereal? Diapers? Excedrin? Check. And then there's Scott and the whole DVD/electronics thing.)

We don't lend anyone our Costco membership card. (Seriously. Who would we lend it to? Everyone we know shops at Costco.) We don't pay cash for anything we buy there. Absolutely everything shows up in Quicken. So there are only two reasons that Costco's numbers shouldn't match my numbers, allowing for a few errors. 1) Someone in the marketing department is consciously adding to everyone's yearly total in order to convince them they need to buy an executive membership, or 2) Someone in the marketing department is too dumb to run a simple database query. Either way, that someone should be fired.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Place of residence

Scott was practicing his southern accent tonight in anticipation of dessert. "We need some paaaah," he told the girls. "Tell yo' mommy we need some paaaaaah."

I said, "Sarah, tell your daddy that we live in Boston, not Atlanta, and that he's being inappropriate."

Sarah: "Daddy, we wiv in Boston, not inappwopwiate."

Scott: "Well, that's true. I don't live in Appropriate."

Friday, September 18, 2009

I believe this is a rite of childhood passage

So...apparently Beth swallowed a hair clip a few days ago. (Why "apparently"? She complained about her throat hurting; I asked her why; she said she thought there was a clip stuck in it; I asked if she'd put a clip in her mouth; she said no; later that night she was worried about the clip being inside her.)

If it's actually inside her, it's one of those little itty bitty roundish plastic things with little tiny plastic teeth that don't even work in Sarah's hair any more. So I'm not worried. But Beth was concerned that the clip was giving her a headache. So Scott just sat her down to watch the Schoolhouse Rock "I'm a Machine" video on YouTube. I think she's a bit less concerned than she was. At least she knows it hasn't been sucked up into her brain.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This is why I love Sesame Street

Quotes like this:

"Nothing says 'Sesame Street' like an eight-foot bird singing the alphabet."

— Leela, new(ish) person on Sesame Street

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Beth has been putting 2 and 2 together...

...and getting 22.

No, really.

All summer long she's been looking at numbers. We're driving in the car and she calls out, "Mom, what is a 6 and 5?"

"Sixty-five, honey," I tell her.

Two-digit numbers mastered, she's to the point now where she can semi-reliably figure out three-digit numbers. "A 3 and a 2 and a 8 spells three hundred twenty-eight," she announces. Or, occasionally, "A 6 and a 6 and a 7 spells sixty sixty-seven." This usually makes her mom crack up, and may be impairing my driving.

I wish I had the base 10 blocks from my mom's old second-grade classroom. It would make explaining the ideas of hundreds, tens and ones so much easier. Maybe I'll pick up some graph paper the next time I'm at the office supply store.

And it turns out that Beth has a rather serious competitive streak. Two weeks ago her friend Josh was the spotlight kid at church. His dad said, "One of the neat things about Josh is that he can count to forty-ten. For your older kids, that means fifty."

The next morning Beth was busy ensuring she could count past 50. She made it to 100 before the system broke down — it's hard for her to understand that the next number is 101, not 200. To be fair, the competitive streak didn't go quite as far as telling Josh she can count higher than he can (though, knowing Josh, he's probably way past forty-ten at the moment). She just needed to know she could do it.

(Don't ask me which parent this tendency came from. Apparently it's in her genes from both sides of the family.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sarah is convinced...

...at this moment, that the local baseball team is the Bread Sox.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Managerial Accounting

Two celebrations today:
  1. Scott's birthday. (Cheese omelettes! Bike gear! A terribly tacky sunburst clock that the kids adore! Mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches!)

  2. My Etsy shop is finally in the black. It's only by $46.35, and it's only an illusion (I've been paid up front for a large order that I don't yet have supplies for, and I technically should have an "unearned revenue" line item), but it's nice to have a positive number somewhere on the books.

And, may I just say — in spite of my fear that Scott will use this as an opportunity to reiterate his belief that deep down everyone wants to be an accountant — I have a rather entertaining spreadsheet going on. I was shocked (well, and annoyed that I hadn't come up with the idea first) to learn last week that there's someone on Etsy who actually sells spreadsheets set up to handle Etsyans' accounts. Through Etsy, of course, which is in some ways its own economic closed system.

Spreadsheet, though. For my own sanity, I've been keeping track of my stock — it's nerve-wracking to have someone buy a 3-6 month baby onesie, only to learn that I just destroyed the last one in that size in an ironing incident (why oh why didn't I test the new transfer paper on something in a different size?). And of course I have to compare my data from Etsy with my data from PayPal. And I have to keep track of which suppliers offer which items at which prices (including shipping). Oh, and I should be keeping track of mileage. And to price items I really should have a page to keep track of the real costs to make them, list them, and conduct transactions through PayPal.... As I said, it's entertaining. Amusing, even.

All those managerial accounting assignments I helped Scott grade? The semester I tried to keep my eyelids propped open during a graduate financial analysis class? Time well spent. As of today there are nine tabs at the bottom of my spreadsheet.

And there are five clear 66-quart storage boxes in my office (and — full disclosure — at least four more in the attic) full of onesies, T-shirts, mailing supplies, ready-to-ship blankets, and lots and lots of fabric. Mounds of fabric, even. A big fat folder on my hard drive (yes, and backed up to an external drive) with shirt designs and product photos. I'd end this post with a nice pithy wrap-up, but I'm as unsure of where the post is going as I am of where the Etsy thing is going. Awfully entertaining, though.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Great quotes from Gigi

So my baby sister is doing her public health rotation in nursing school this semester, and she's not looking forward to it. The girl likes adrenaline, which means she likes working trauma, and instead of dealing with head wounds she's going to be giving hearing tests to Head Start kids all over the city.

Best part of the conversation?

"I like people best when they're bleeding and have a tube shoved down their throats."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

65.6% yes

That's the result on the town's vote on our new elementary school, hurrah. We moved into this town two years ago, in large part because the schools are supposed to be excellent, and got our first rude awakening in the form of an article in the local newspaper about students being sent home from school again due to heating problems.

The existing school, part of which is the remnants of the town's old high school (built in the '30s and partially destroyed by fire), is a funny cobbled-together mishmash of steam heat and hot water heat. The old section, including the office and gym, frequently has to have an air conditioner running to keep the staff cool enough to work, while at the same time the kids in the classroom wing don't bother to take off their hats and mittens when they come to school. If it gets bad enough, the kids get sent home. (It actually got bad enough at one point that the floor of the school lobby had to be repaired when the steam heat cracked the floor tiles.) Oh, and the "new" hot-water system that heats the classrooms is corroded — valves literally snap off when touched. This is where I'm supposed to send my kids? Really?

So it turns out the building is bad enough to qualify for state funds, and our turn on the list came up this year. But the town had to approve a property tax increase to pay for the rest of the building costs, and that's where things got tricky (bad economic climate, aging town population, smaller percentage of households with school-age children, etc.). How can you ask a bunch of cash-strapped elderly taxpayers who don't have children who will even attend the school to pay for a new building? ...But they voted yes, 3,849 of 'em, and though Beth will most likely spend kindergarten in a modular classroom on the high school lawn, she'll get to walk to first grade. And my favorite thing about the new school design? They're using geothermal heat instead of steam or hot water. Woohoo!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

New rule

Beth is in little-girl heaven: she's taking a ballet class with her buddy Camryn. And it isn't just any ballet class — it's a princess tea party ballet class. Oh, the tutus!

Thanks to these two little friends, though, their teacher had to institute a new rule:

No kissing in dance class.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Heard around here tonight

Scott: "Beth, you can't hit somebody just because they won't give you kisses. It's counterproductive."


Scott, singing to Sarah: "Rockabye baby, in the tree top..."


Friday, May 01, 2009


So my favorite parenting magazine, Wondertime, just stopped publication. And I'm sad. Why is it that the annoying "Ten Ways to Tell if Your Toddler Has a Rare and Frightening Disease" magazines are doing just fine, and the one magazine with well-written, thoughtful articles (and really amazing photographs, to boot) about the day-to-day parenting of young children made it less than four years?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Betsy, 2009

I've been reading "B" Is for Betsy to Beth. It's our first foray into a chapter book (other than Ursula LeGuin's Tom Mouse, which is a picture book/chapter book hybrid and is perfectly delightful), and since it was one of my favorites as a kid, well....

She loves it.

I'm realizing just how old that book is! I remember thinking as a kid in the 1970s that it was old-fashioned — maybe written about the time my mom was in school — but it's older than that. Betsy started first grade in 1939, which puts her a year ahead of my dad in school.

And yet...we live in a town where it's perfectly plausible that a little girl would walk past a flower shop and a railroad station to get to school.

Bethism #12

Beth: "Shelby invitayshed me to her birthday party!"

Me: "How neat! Shelby invited you to her birthday party?"

Beth: "Yes, she invitayshed me to her party."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Strange sleeping habits

Scott just (and I mean just) went into the upstairs bathroom to brush his teeth before bed...and found Beth curled up in the bathtub with her pillow, two blankets, and her stuffed sheep.

"Bethie, why are you sleeping in the tub?"

"Because my bed was too hard."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

This (and 16 others just like it)

is what's headed to preschool tomorrow to be Beth's birthday treat. That's a curly ribbon tail taped to the bottom of the cupcake that you see over one ear. Gosh, I had fun.

(Now to deal with the princess-themed birthday party coming up on Wednesday. Ack!)

Monday, March 30, 2009


Those of you who live out west — and by that I mean anything farther than, say, Ohio — will NEVER EVER EVER have this problem. But maybe you'll still laugh about it with me.

I finally did laundry today, after ignoring the growing piles all last week, and laundry around here is an all-day experience. (There's the lugging of overstuffed baskets down from the third floor to the basement, for starters, which I figure is worth at least five pounds of weight loss a year, but I digress.) It's been chilly outside, too, so the heat has been on all day, and every time I've tromped down to the basement the boiler has been roaring away.

I love love love love having steam heat. Having a nice toasty radiator to put my toes on in the middle of the winter (preferably while I'm reading a book and eating a stack of cookies) is one of my most indulgent pleasures. The gentle gurgle-pop-hiss and creaking floorboards when the steam comes into a radiator is a warm, reassuring sound. The air in the house doesn't get quite as dry as it does with forced hot air. Plus, radiators just look cool. And ours are spray-painted silver.

Of course, this means we don't have central air conditioning in the summer, which isn't a happy thing. It also means we have to monitor the water levels in the boiler — there's an automatic system shut-off and an automatic water fill that kicks on if not enough water is in the system, but it's a good idea not to have to use the safeties. We also have to flush the system once a month or so during heating season, which involves turning off the heat, waiting an hour or so for the steam to condense, opening a spigot to drain the disgusting rusty water into a bucket, carrying the bucket up the basement stairs, emptying the bucket down the driveway, and repeating the spigot-bucket-driveway routine until the boiler is empty — three or four buckets — before shutting off the spigot, opening the fill valve to refill the boiler, and turning the power back on to the heating system.

The whole boiler arrangement looks like it belongs in a dark dank cobwebby Depression-era cellar: pipes and pressure gauges and levers and switches and safety valves, along with a deep roaring noise when the heat's on high. But really, most of it's less than ten years old (except for the pipes). We use natural gas instead of fuel oil, so there's no spilled-petrochemical smell, and the basement is well-lit and relatively clean. The girls love the system-flushing days — they come downstairs and ride their tricycles around the basement while I lug buckets of water up the stairs. And I feel like I know some elusive secret about the inner workings of the house. (Do you know what a Hartford loop is? Right.)

So back to laundry day.

I went down to the basement at about 5:30 to switch loads of laundry, noticed that the heating system was off — hooray for slightly warmer weather! — and checked the water level in the glass tube on the side. It was a little low, so I moved the lever to open the fill valve ever so slightly (don't want to shock a hot boiler with a gush of cold water) and left it open while I put in another load of laundry. This is something I do pretty often, and after the laundry is taken care of I check the water level again and turn off the valve and go back upstairs. Today Scott happened to come home while I was downstairs, and he brought his gym clothes home with him, and he came down to the basement while I was doing laundry, and we started talking, and then we headed back upstairs.

Fast forward an hour.

We've eaten dinner, we've talked about the day, and we've moved into the living room to have family home evening. Scott mentions that he turned off the radiator at the front door downstairs because the valve was leaking, and we should add that radiator valve to the list of valves to replace this summer.

And then I hear a drip, drip, splash...drip, drip, splash and go to investigate, and the valve on the radiator in the dining room is leaking too. I run for a towel, clean up the smallish puddle, get a bit grumpy because I can't turn off this radiator — the shutoff knob has long since broken off — and then I realize that I left the water on downstairs.


The little trickle of water from the open fill valve had filled the boiler and crept up the steam pipes all the way to the second floor.

You know how I said it usually takes three to four buckets to drain the boiler? I lost count along the way, but it was at least thirteen buckets. And the water pressure was high enough that by the fourth or fifth bucket the drops that had splashed out had made quite a sizable puddle on the basement floor.

The kiddos thought it was great fun to have the whole family in the basement together. Rode their tricycles around, rocked tandem-style on the rocking horse, asked lots of questions about the vast quantities of water that were sloshing around in various buckets. Beth was so inspired by the festivities that she went upstairs to go potty not once but twice in a span of about 40 minutes.

And yes, we finished our family home evening. The lesson was on repentance: When we make a mistake, we say we're sorry, we do our best to fix it, and then we try very hard not to do it again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Come look, Mommy! I made Paris!

Left to right: a jungle gym, the cheese shop (with a piece of cheese), the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre (the small triangle-shaped building — think the pyramid entrance) and the Eiffel Tower.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bethism #11

Beth's preschool class is doing full-immersion Dr. Seuss this month. It's simultaneously charming and vertigo-inducing. Everything is Seuss — art projects, math workshops, food creations, and of course the books at circle time!

I was parent-helping last week, and had Beth on my lap during circle time. Her teacher told the kids that Dr. Seuss was the author and the illustrator of the book. "Who can tell me what the author does?" she asked.

Beth, very softly: "He makes it rhyme."

(This month especially.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sarah, with attitude

Love this picture. Really, I do.

Now if I could just get her to leave the ponytails in for a few minutes at a time....

Welcome Miriam!

Yay for the newest baby in the family — and hooray that she's another girl for my kids to play with and adore — welcome to the world, baby girl!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sisterhood of the Ladybug Pants

Probably the best-ever kid-clothing purchase I've made: the pink pants with embroidered ladybugs that I bought the weekend before Beth was born. (On sale, even.)

Beth loved them. Really, truly loved them. Insisted on wearing them. One of my favorite Beth moments was when we were walking along Walnut Street in Shadyside, Beth proudly showing off the ladybugs to anyone who would pay attention. (One college-age girl told Beth she's like to have them in her size. Beth beamed.)

Sarah, now that it's her turn, adores her "gaygeebug" pants. Thanks to our fondness for classic Sesame Street sketches, she's spent the day singing the "Ladybug Picnic" song: at breakfast, at the bank, in the car. Sadly, she's outgrowing them. They're just about the right length for her, but the waist is getting oh-so-tight around her little middle.

Thought the magical pants were supposed to fit everyone, all the time. Bummer.

(Oh, and Sarah peed on the potty today! Hooray!)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


(No, no, I'm not channeling TAMNers. Really. But oh how I laugh at that blog!)

Thanks to a kind-of-under-the-wire comment on Markie's blog, I'm going to be receiving a surprise handmade gift at some point in the next year. (It's not quite like living three blocks away and getting to hang out with her all the time, but it's still awfully nice!)

Now it's my turn: Be one of the first three people to comment on this post, and I'll send YOU a handmade gift at some point during the next year. I get to choose what it is, but I'll at least entertain requests. I'm nice that way.

But there's a catch: If you win, you have to pay it forward. You can do this by putting a similar post on your blog...or posting a note on your Facebook page...or even e-mailing a whole bunch of friends to see which three reply first. Which means you have to be willing to give three other people something handmade in the next year.

And speaking of handmade...check out the Etsy shop if you haven't already. I'm having way, way too much fun with this.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Beth the stand-up comic/scientist

For months and months and months she's regaled us with knock-knock jokes that have completely random punch lines:

"Knock knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Banana who?"

"Banana pineapple car!"

She's upgraded recently. Her new favorite, which she repeats over and over and over in various forms, is this:

"What did the window say to the other window?"

"I don't know, Beth. What?"

"Silly Mommy! Everyone knows that windows can't talk!"

At least we're laughing at her jokes now. In fact, I still laugh at that one. Her delivery is pretty good, and she gets such a kick out of the joke! (She also gets a kick out of coming up with different inanimate objects to put in the joke, and I can see her working on the analysis.)

She's also head-over-heels in love with the PBS show "Sid the Science Kid." Don't let Beth's fondness for anything pink and princess deceive you — she loves things that move and grow and do things too. I've had a lot of "why" questions recently, including some really annoying not-right-now-Beth ones: "Mommy, why is the toilet clugged?" (Yes, "clugged.")

Science, though: We spent quite a while launching her stuffed sheep around the living room with a lever made out of building blocks, and a few days ago we built a makeshift pulley (basket, string) to lift things up to the top of the playroom jungle gym. The sharing time activity at church yesterday was planting beans in little plastic cups, so we talked all the way home about how a plant grows and that plants use sunlight to make food. And she's been begging me to go back to the Museum of Science, so we're going to have to plan an outing. Dinosaurs were mentioned, but let's be honest with ourselves: there's a good chance we'll end up watching the baby chicks hatch again.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This is just going to make Brooke jealous...

...but that's not the reason I'm posting it. Well, not the only reason. (Come visit! Come visit!)

My friend Christina is in a graduate museum studies program (woo hoo!) and since she has this week off work we piled the kids in the car and drove out to Amherst, home of (drum roll, please) The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. It's a long drive — two hours without potty stops, and believe me, we made potty stops. But so, so worth it.

  • Trina Schart Hyman drawings. I adored her art as a kid reading Cricket magazine: all the delicate long-limbed fairies and arching trees and picture-window borders around everything.

  • A Leo Lionni illustration of his adorable mice. The Greentail Mouse was my favorite book as a kid. And it's back in print!

  • An illustration by an artist whose name I don't remember of King Midas descending his staircase. It's obviously meant to be a two-page spread inside the book. The staircase is curved, and everything behind Midas is gold; everything in front of him is vibrant blues and reds and brilliant flowers. If you look at it out of the corner of your eye you can practically see him moving.

  • An Arnold Lobel drawing of Frog playing the violin.

  • A Kinuko Y. Craft illustration from Cinderella, hung at Beth's level, absolutely mesmerizing to a princess-obsessed three-year-old.

  • Two lovely little Beatrix Potter illustrations of alternate scenes in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. My mom embroidered some pictures from the Beatrix Potter books for me when I was a baby, and they're hanging in the girls' bedroom now; Sarah recognized these as similar to the pictures in her room. Wow.
And then there's the gallery devoted to Eric Carle's work, celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Ducklings from 10 Little Rubber Ducks! Side-by-side comparisons of the art from the original (1969) version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the redone illustrations in the 1987 version! A video of Carle showing how he produces his gorgeous painted-tissue-cutout pieces!

I also have to add how impressed I am with the staff's understanding of their audience. The pictures are hung lower than you'd expect — they're still inside an adult's viewing range, but they're also at a good level for, say, a six-year-old (I still had to pick up my kids to show them most things). Each gallery has wide benches to sit on, and a basket on each bench containing the books corresponding to the artwork on the wall (we read book after book after book to the kids this way). In the Carle gallery, the basket also holds several little stuffed hungry caterpillars that kids can carry with them — there's a note attached asking them to see how many caterpillars they can see on the walls. Given kids' need to touch things to really experience them (every time we go to a museum I find myself repeating the mommy mantra: "Look with your eyes, not with your hands") this is genius: the girls walked around looking at the art on the walls and stroking the caterpillars instead of reaching up to touch things. And there's a library in the building, with story time twice a day. We spent four hours in the museum and didn't even get to the art studio, didn't sit in the auditorium for one of the performances by students from a local performing arts high school. (We did visit the shop, though, and I can only justify the amount of money I spent there by telling myself that I did get in free with Christina's NEMA membership, the DVD of Carle explaining his art is a Mothers Day present for my mom, and Beth and Sarah really shouldn't leave a museum like that without new books. I didn't buy any Carle-designed fabric, but I suppose that's only a matter of time.)

Oh, and the cafe has caterpillar cookies. Not what you think: they're round, and chocolate-chip. But each one has a little hole eaten through the center.

Add it up: it's an eight-hour day. I don't think we'll be going again for a good long while...like, May, when two new exhibits will be up....

Recently heard around here

Beth, after throwing the bouncy ball that showed up at our house for Valentine's Day: "Sarah, go get it!"

"Bethie, are you treating Sarah like a puppy?"

You-caught-me voice: "Yeah."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beth the budding cook

Made her own breakfast the other morning — scrambled eggs. She cracked the eggs into the bowl all by herself (sure, I scooped out a few pieces of shell) and then whisked the eggs with some milk and salt. Wouldn't cook it, since she's still not a fan of the gas stove. But oh my was she proud of herself!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A few things...

...from the last few weeks, because it's been too crazy around here to even think about sitting down to blog:

  • Sarah is now talking in complete sentences. They're still largely unintelligible, but if you can understand her you realize she's actually completing thoughts.

  • Beth, in a fit of insatiable curiosity, burned her finger on the iron last night.

  • We were all sick with a killer stomach bug two weeks ago. Sarah got it first, then me, then Scott, and finally Beth. That was one entire week when we didn't leave the house. Did wonders for our attitudes in the middle of winter, let me tell you.

  • Sarah still walks around singing, "Happy birthday, dear Sarah" (usually while wearing a mixing bowl on her head). She loved loved loved her birthday party. Tells people she is two all the time.

  • Beth has begun a true obsession with the vintage Fisher-Price little people she got for Christmas. There are elaborate stories going on (she calls them "plays"), many of which involve the people sitting in the barber's chair.

  • This last perhaps because I cut Beth's hair a few weeks ago. She's had it done by my mom, and professionally (if you can call a visit to Snip-Its professional), but she insisted that I cut it this time. I'd never taken a pair of scissors to anyone's hair before trimming Sarah's baby mullet a few months ago, and attacking Bethie's thick curls was nerve-wracking. It took an hour. If I do say so myself, it looks amazing. All hail the forgiving curly hair!

  • Beth has learned to use scissors, which fortunately has nothing to do with her haircut.

  • Scott has a paper coming out in a top-tier journal this year. Woo hoo!

  • In a fit of frustration (too many people telling me, "You should sell these!" upon opening baby shower gifts) I opened an Etsy shop. Am now up to my eyeballs in fabric and other random sewing supplies, and wondering why I ever bother to listen to other people. It's been frustrating. Nice to sell a few things, but frustrating. And certainly not profitable.

  • In the midst of this, I had a complete I'm-a-stay-at-home-mom-woe-is-me breakdown, which Scott countered with, "You're feeling like a trapped housewife and you're going to sew to make yourself feel better?" Guy has a point. I almost decked him, but he has a point.

  • I went to parent-teacher conferences with Beth's preschool teacher. They adore her over there. She's a child who was born to thrive in preschool.

  • Rose and I took the kiddos to IKEA last week, and Josh and Beth were big enough (and potty-trained enough) to go in the playspace while we did our shopping. Sarah and Lilah, free of the older siblings' influence (and bossiness) had a grand time running through the store and striking disarmingly cute poses on Scandinavian furniture. My friend Stephanie calls the parenting-preschoolers years "the tunnel." I got a wee little glimpse of the light at the end.

  • My friend Lisa got us hooked up to play in the pit orchestra for a local high school musical. I'm way, way more excited about this than I have any right to be.

  • Beth has taken to commenting on farts, her own and other people's. One night at dinner she did something particularly loud and juicy, grinned a HUGE grin, and said, "That was just disgusting of my gas!" I had to leave the room, I was laughing so hard. I'm waiting for her to do this at church, or at the grocery store, where I'll have to pretend to be embarrassed by it.

  • I found jalapeƱo ranch dressing at the grocery store. Makes an excellent dip for chicken nuggets, which we've been eating with alarming frequency.

  • Sarah, apparently in an effort to make up for Beth's refusal to latch permanently onto a particular stuffed animal or doll, has two buddies whom she simply must have with her: Pink Teddy and her new doll Eloise.

  • Beth has become a huge fan of "Shaun the Sheep" — to such an extent that she has renamed her stuffed lamb Shauna. (This is a departure for Beth; for a long time all of her stuffed animals had to be named Beth.)

  • Sarah's fascination with the potty continues, though it is unfortunately not synched with her need to go.

  • Beth has happily worked with stickers and glue and markers and construction paper to make valentines for her preschool friends, her neighborhood friends, her immediate family, and her grandparents. Sarah colored half-heartedly (ha!) on two paper hearts and declared herself done.

  • As usual, we celebrated Groundhog Day somewhat obsessively, complete with decorations and thematic food: sausage. (Think about it. It'll come to you.) No gingerbread Phil cookies this year, though.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Okay, this was too funny.

Know what bugs me most? I've started to write the darned note twice, and even though I click on "Save Draft," Facebook doesn't save it. Grr.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Proof that Beth's mom spends too much time on the Internet

This morning Scott was sitting on the couch reading to the girls when Beth opened her Ladybug magazine and said, "Look at this funny blog in my magazine!"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sick day today

Sarah has been toting her throw-up bowl around with her all day today. Not that she's actually thrown up in it. She just likes to have the option, and pretend to throw up, and make fake retching noises.

She threw up in the night last night, which we feel totally guilty about because she didn't fuss about it and then slept the rest of the night in her own vomit. Iiiiiiick. Scott found her in her rather chunk-filled crib this morning. I've spent the day doing laundry and cleaning off her various dolls and stuffed animals. Sarah has spent the day with her bowl, mostly sitting on a big fleece blanket in front of the TV (I can't even think about cleaning vomit off the living room rug) staring at her shows: Sesame Street, Over the Hedge, Word World, and now Blue's Clues. I just don't know what else to do with a sick kid. She also took a three-and-a-half hour nap this afternoon, and only woke up when Beth went in to check on her and stage-whispered, "Mommy, Sarah's still asleep."

I've also severely restricted her food and liquid consumption after she did a repeat puke on Scott's shoulder immediately following breakfast. Sips of Pedialyte, some white bread, and a little mac and cheese for dinner. She's miffed that I'm not letting her eat more. But she also insisted on having the throw-up bowl on her tray at dinner, and tells me every few minutes that she needs to throw up. Then the fake retching noises, and a big grin. So I'm not taking any chances. Poor kiddo.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trash, treasure

I spent yesterday morning at the indoor cleanup for Beth's preschool. They do this three times a year, and it was actually pretty fun, despite starting at 8am. Waaaay too early in my book...but there you go.

As I was going through bins and bins of old curricula and books and dress-ups and toys — and throwing out anything unusable — I noticed that someone had thrown out a doll. A My Friend Mandy doll. That's part of my childhood, folks. She had ink all over her face and legs, and her hair was a mess, and her cloth body was stained, but...Mandy! So I pulled her out of the pile and held her up for the director to see.

"Are you seriously throwing this away?" I asked. "Do you know what these things are worth on eBay?"

She gave me a dubious look. "Well...if you want to sell it on eBay and give the money to the Fundraising Committee...."

So I brought Mandy home, threw her in the wash to clean her up (Fisher Price was definitely on the ball when they made a machine-washable doll), and looked up her value on eBay (about $15, though a new-in-box doll fetches around $90) as well as some ways to clean her up (thick conditioner should work wonders on her hair).

Halfway through combing out her hair I realized I didn't want to sell her. Want to know why?

See any resemblance?

So the after-nap conversation went something like this:

"Sarah, who does this dolly look like?"


We went upstairs to find Beth. "Bethie, who does this dolly look like?"

"I don't know." Pensive look. "ME!" Then she had to take a look at herself in the mirror with Mandy.

She's staying. I'll write a check to the fundraising committee tomorrow. I hope Beth enjoys her half as much as I enjoyed mine.

Friday, January 09, 2009

They ARE my kids, after all

They may look like Scott, but take a gander at this picture:

That's Beth and Sarah wearing sunglasses, carrying bags and sitting on chairs in the brightest-colored room in the house. You can't see it in the picture, but they're facing the radiator.

They're playing "beach."

Atta girl.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Reality parenting

Beth came downstairs saaaaaad tonight after I'd put her to bed. Scott picked her up and hugged her and comforted her...and, over her shoulder, gave me a Look, held out his fist, and proceeded to rock-paper-scissors me to see who had to take her back to bed.

I lost.

I'm saving this story to tell Beth when she's older, some day when she tells me that Daddy is WAY nicer than I am.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bethism #10

Beth is a Sunbeam. She's three, and it's January, and that means that at church she graduated from the nursery into the Sunbeam class in Primary. And she is so, so proud of herself.

The chorister was trying to teach the little kiddos a new song today, one about heaven, and she asked them all, "Where do we come from? Where did we live before we were born?"

No response. I think some of the kids had their fingers in their mouths. So she tried again.

"Where did we live before we came here?"

Beth perked up. "Oh!" she said. "Pittsburgh!"

Every adult in the room cracked up.

It's a valid response. Heaven...Pittsburgh...I think her memories of both are equally hazy.