Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wrap(up)

I loved this Christmas. I mean, I always love Christmas, who doesn't? Well, the Grinch doesn't, I guess. Oh, and Ebenezer Scrooge doesn't either. And the Heat Miser certainly had something against the day . . . wait. Where was I going with this?

Ah, right. I loved this Christmas. The Salad got it this year. They enjoyed the crafty part of the holiday that I enjoy so much. They helped me choose presents for Daddy, including a meat thermometer and a new extension cord. They got right in there with tape and wrapping paper. They loved driving around to look at the lights, singing the songs, eating the cookies, drinking the hot chocolate and watching the holiday specials. Frosty the Snowman was hands down our favorite show and song. M has every word memorized, and with his impeccable timing, shouts "I'll be back on Christmas Eve!" at the exact right moment. The girls loved their twirly dresses and sparkly red shoes. They almost made it through Mass without being scoochy. We made baby Jesus a birthday cake*, as a reminder of what the holiday is really about. When a baby cried during Christmas Eve service, A leaned over in her hoarse whisper and asked, "Is that baby Jesus crying?"
After each present, M said with heart warming gratitude, "Oh, thank you Santa! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" Of course it sounded more like this, "Oh, sank you Santa! Sank you, sank you, sank you!"

S screamed with excitement after each gift, "This is just what I wanted!"

And just before bed, S gave R the best gift ever, "Thank you for Christmas, Daddy. Thank you for working to make it great."

As Rachel Zoe would say when she loves something with all of her heart, "Literally, I die."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hide and Seek

We've been playing a lot of hide and seek lately. The Salad is still working on the finer points of play. Like not making any noise while you hide. Or not telling the seeker where you are going to hide. Or not hiding in very obvious places, like the middle of the living room floor. We also have to work on our counting . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, eleventeen, 12 . . .

Monday, November 29, 2010

Memories of Things Past

Recently, while I chopped tomatoes for bruchetta and the Salad ate their dinners, I recounted bits and pieces of my pregnancy with them. It was quiet in the kitchen before I started talking and the hum of the refrigerator reminded me of the one R bought me to keep in our bedroom. It was literally one hour after I was released from the hospital after my first bout with preterm labor, that R hauled kitchen appliances into our master bedroom. And so for the four months of bedrest, our room was like a hotel, complete with the white noise of a refrigerator and soft lights of the microwave time clock.

I told them that when I got cholestasis, the soles of my feet itched so badly that I thought I'd lose my mind. It only happened at night and would wake me from a deep sleep. I'd spend an hour scratching my feet on our bedroom rug. I often seized the opportunity to drink in some more of the 3200 calories a day the doctors told me to consume during a triplet pregnancy, so I'd gulp down a giant glass of orange juice. What's weird is I never really liked orange juice and have not wanted any since.

That time when I was pregnant must be on my subconscious lately. Maybe it's the time of year. The last time I was allowed to drive myself was the day before Halloween, 2006. I remember because with my last bit of freedom, I drove myself to Target to buy candy for trick or treaters.

Or maybe it's on my mind because not long ago, we drove past the hospital where the Salad was born. I laughed with my mom, as we recounted stories of her poor wheel chair driving skills. The walk from the parking garage to the high risk doctor was just too long for me, so for the last 2.5 months of my pregnancy, whoever had driven me to the hospital that day would have to roll me to the office. Many, many people thought I was in labor, asking in the elevator, "This is it, huh? The big day!" No, I would tell them, I'm only 27 weeks along. "Oh!" they'd say stealing glances at my gigantically huge belly and the wheel chair, and stare at the door or the ceiling uncomfortably, until they could run from the embarrassment. It always cracked me up.

Because, I'm mean like that.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hat Hair

I took the Salad to get haircuts after gymnastics 2 Fridays ago. I had been thinking for weeks they needed them, but the funk struck our house. We were down with the sickness for the month of October. I guess those 4 weeks in October don't account for the 14 weeks since their last haircuts . . . but, I digress.

I knew it was time when M saw his reflection in the dining room window the other night and said "Mommy? Am I wearing a helmet?"

Monday, November 22, 2010


We're on a Super Why! kick lately. The Salad, especially A, loves the interaction with the cartoon. I constantly hear her shouting at the TV, "That's a B!" Or "There! There! I see super letters!" Now, here's the part I love. See that picture up there? Everyday, a discussion ensues about which Salad ingredient is which character. The consensus is that A's hair looks like Wonder Red, the girl in the purple roller skates, so A is Wonder Red. M is a boy, Whyatt is a boy, so M is Whyatt. That one's a given. Here's where is gets funny. S thinks she looks like that princess. See that one on the right, there? The African American one? Yep. My blond-haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned child identifies herself as an African American cartoon princess. I love that she doesn't see any difference.

But here. Here is where it gets disturbing. The pig with the hat on the left? Alpha Pig.

That's me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Money, money, money, money. MONEY!

Dang. I'm behind in my blogging. I have a bunch of stuff I want to write about, though. It just never happens. I need to keep this up, so that 1. I don't feel guilty and 2. the Salad has a record of their childhood. 'Cause God knows 1. baby books were never Made 2. I have a Memory like a sieve and 3. I haven't printed out pictures in 3 years, 3 Months.

Anyway, back in the beginning of October, we studied the letter M. I used Money to base our study on, thinking the Salad would love playing with change. I was right. To begin our studies, I dumped the giant change jar that R and I keep in our bedroom and let the Salad fill their change purses. We took our Money bags down to the kitchen table, where we sorted quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. We took one coin in each denomination and glued them to a piece of cardboard. Then we took crayons and Made coin rubbings.
The next day, we conducted a scientific experiment. What best cleans pennies? Water and soap? Nope. Vinegar and salt? Nope. Turns out, if you've got a bunch of dirty pennies, grab a giant bottle of ketchup and squeeze. Chemical reaction between the copper and the acid cleans 'em right up. The Salad was hesitant at first, looking at Me like I had lost My Mind when I told them to get their hands in the ketchup and start rubbing. But once they had carte blanche, they dug right in. After quiet time on Wednesday, we read a few simple preschool books about Money transactions. They went like this - You want something that I own. You give Me Money. I give you My goods. In this case the "goods" was a bag of candy that I hide in the cabinet for the occasional treat. Then I had the kids gather their Money back in their change purses. I spread out the candy and we played candy store. They looked over My goods, decided what they wanted, asked how Much it was, and counted the correct amount of pennies. Seriously, we did this for 30 Minutes. And by the way, I am an awesome business person, because I was getting like 7 pennies for 1 M&M. Donald Trump, your next Apprentice is on her way!
The next Morning, we took what Money they had left and headed to the bank. The Salad was thrilled to dump change into a coin counter, take their receipt and head to the teller for cash. With our dollars bills in hand, we drove straight to 5 Below. R's birthday was in the Middle of October and I thought this was a perfect opportunity to put our studies into action. M had been saying for a Month that he wanted to get R a rubber duck for his birthday, A headed right for the sunglass display and S thought binoculars would be the perfect gift.

As an real time update to this post, I want to note that everyday for the last Month, the Salad has asked if the Candy store is open. It very rarely is ;)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Halloween? Fooled you!

I know you are eager for a Halloween post. You probably mentioned it today, in fact. "You know, she never said what that adorable Salad dressed up as?" Well, you'll have to wait a touch longer. I will throw you this bone though . . .

While these pictures were taken on Halloween, these were not their costumes. Nope. This is just how we roll . . . when we hang out at Aunt Jen's house, at least.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Space. These are our voyages . . .

Our study of the letter S focused on the broader Subject of Space and all things related. We read lots of books, all of which had to be revised by me on the spot, due to the Shunning of Pluto. Space is a hard enough concept to grasp, let alone dwarf planets. Our library apparently needs to update their Solar System literature. We also did lots of crafts with glitter. Anyone heard that Saying, "Glitter is like the herpes of the craft world."? It never goes away. Seriously. I found Some in S's applesauce bowl this morning. We studied Space 2 weeks ago.

I choose the week of October 18th as Space week because of the orionid meteor Shower. I had delusional plans that the children would nap and then be up late enough that they'd See Shooting Stars. I know. I'm insane. The peak was supposed to be just before dawn. My own eyes have never Seen the time "just before dawn." How did I think this was going to happen? Insanity is my best guess. I Showed them a four Second clip on youtube instead. The wonders of modern technology.

The Franklin Institute has a kid-friendly introduction to Space, a Show featuring Elmo and Big Bird. It Starts at 9:45. AM. Really, Franklin Institute? Where are these moms with Small children that are making it into the city by 9:45? Try 10:30. Then maybe I would have made it on time. But instead we arrived at 10:15. No big deal, I thought, we'll look around in the Space Command exhibit until 12:30 when we can go to The Sky Tonight Show. It should be the Same, right? Except that it wasn't the Same. It was dark. S got Scared and asked, nay, demanded to leave right then.

So we left and I treated them to $6.00 astronaut food from the gift Shop. It was met with mixed reviews.
We ended the week by enjoying a viewing of Fly Me to the Moon, complete with PJs and popcorn.

Friday, November 5, 2010

It's my carpet and I'll cry if I want to.

While R and I dress the Salad into their PJs for the night, I usually flip on "Max and Ruby" and give them a small straw cup of milk and a bedtime snack. Wednesday night was a bit different, 'cause R was late so I was doing bedtime alone. I turned on the TV, gave them their milk, changed them into their jammies, and ran upstairs to get their beds ready. When I came back down, I flopped myself down to snuggle with S, who was laying on the couch. I jumped up when I felt the milk soak through my jeans. "S! You should have told me so I could clean this!" and ran to get a kitchen towel. I gathered myself on the way down the steps, thinking to myself, there was a proverb just for moments like this, "No sense crying over spilled milk."

I cleaned up the milk and went to change my pants. When I came back into the room, I noticed milk pouring from A's tipped over cup, down the side of the lego container she was using as a coffee table. "A, stand your milk up!" and ran to get a kitchen towel. I gathered myself on the way down the steps, thinking to myself, there was a proverb just for moments like this, "No sense crying over spilled milk."

When I got there, I noticed a trail of milk, leading from the seat M had had on the floor to the seat he had taken on the couch. Sometimes if I screw the lids on the cups too tightly, the pressure makes milk shoot from the straw. And that's exactly what had happened last night. Of course. "M, give me your cup! It's leaking!" I ran to the kitchen to unscrew the lid over the sink and rinse it off. I gathered myself on the way down the steps, thinking to myself, there was a proverb just for moments like this, "No sense crying over spilled milk."

Wait a minute . . . didn't I just write that?! . . . TWICE?!

As I was down on my knees for the third time in 8 minutes, it dawned on me this proverb was for the spillers, not the spiller-cleaner-uppers. For the spillers, it means, "Don't cry, mommy's gonna clean that up and get you more milk." For the spiller-cleaner-uppers, it means, "Don't waste your tears now, they're just gonna spill it again in 3.7 seconds. Cry then." I mean, I get it, they're kids, they're gonna spill milk, mash play-doh into the carpet, get lollipops on their brand new Gap shirts.
But really, this was getting ridiculous . . .

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Party like a Preschooler

The Salad hosted their first Halloween party last week. The previous 2 days were filled with party prep. I'm kinda loving this age, 3 almost 4. They want to be around me. They want to please me. They want to help me. So when I asked them to Windex the front door, put away their train set for the day and Swiffer the kitchen floor, I had an army of eager helpers. Not that I'm taking advantage or anything.

We started the festivities with a dramatic Halloween book reading, while 12 preschoolers munched on freshly roasted pumpkin seeds, cranberries, candy corn and apple puffs. We did an easy spider craft, before heading downstairs for the piece de resistance. A haunted house made from huge boxes that the Salad and I had driven to the Raymour and Flanigan distribution center in New Jersey on Tuesday for. A long way for boxes? Maybe. A short trip for hours of enjoyment? Definitely! I spent an hour today popping out from behind the walls of our haunted house, scaring the bejesus out of my Salad. I laughed so hard that I almost peed myself. M laughed so hard that he did pee himself. Good times.

We munched on pumpkin shaped peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. And in a surprising twist, the apples turned out to be the favorite part of the party. I scooped out huge honeyscrisp apples with a melon baller and offered chocolate, caramel and pumpkin spice flavored Cool Whip for dipping. I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's all in the presentation. Offer bite sized morsels, speared with tooth picks and a variety of dips, my kids will eat almost anything.
We had a bean bag toss and painted some pumpkins, before ending the day passing out treat bags to our friends on their way out. While we were waving good bye to our playgroup friends, M spotted our neighborhood friends, driving by the house. M flagged down their nanny and before I could stop him, he shouted a hearty invite to "Come up and play later!" So after an hour's rest, we had more guests to play in our haunted house and drink apple cider with.
I let the Salad stay up a tiny bit later than usual, just because I was enjoying their cute smiles and animated stories. When I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, S said "Every part was my favorite!" For once, the day seemed too short.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rs have it. Or not . . .

"Let's wock and woll!" M shouted as we left the house for Giggle Gang. I should look into that exchange of "w" for "r", but to be perfectly honest, I'm not going to just yet. I mean, weally, how adowable is it?

"Hey Mommy! Look at my new wed wollewskates! I'm weally good, wight Mommy? Wight!?!"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Soccer Ball!

I've mentioned before that I have a pretty cool husband. Once he actually said when I wanted to put a bid on a rundown house that was 275 years old, "Let's do it! Happy wife, happy life!" Told you. He's pretty cool. And so when I've said the following things to him, he's always been agreeable.

"Hey, you snore a lot. I think you should get this crazy painful surgery."

"Joanna's coming over tonight and we're giving each other facials, Biore strips included. Wanna join us?"

"The other playgroup moms and I wanted to start the kids playing a semi-organized sport, without any pressure, though, you know? I told them you played soccer all your life and you'd probably be thrilled to try to control 12 kids, 4 and under, teaching them rules of a game that I don't even really understand. I was right, wasn't I? You're excited by this, no?"

And so Saturday mornings in October are devoted to soccer "practice." Thanks, my love, you've made your wife happy. I hope I've made your life happy.

Our team, guarding the goal!

Monday, October 18, 2010

God is where?!

There are certain days we go to the cemetery and leave flowers or rocks or buttons or holiday ornaments at Mom-Mom's headstone. The Salad was only 6 months old when she left us so suddenly and they have never questioned why we go to a rock to "visit" her.

We have never really taught them about Heaven, per say. And while we thank Him everyday for all the great things that day brought us, our talks of God are very simple. God is good. God wants us to be good. God made all things. There are people that we love with God.

So I stumbled a bit during the conversation we had as we passed the cemetery this morning.

M: "Hi Mom-Mom!"

A & S: "Hi Mom-Mom!"

M: "Mommy, is Mom-Mom in the ground?"

Me: "Mom-Mom is with God, buddy."

M: "Is God in the ground?"

Me: "God is everywhere. He's in the ground and the trees and the sky and in us."

M: "How does he get up in the sky?"

Now I'm getting nervous . . . I have no idea what to say . . . I ponder calling R and having him talk . . . luckily the girls take over for me.

A: "Wait mommy, wait. God is in us?"

Oh gosh, now I've really confused them . . .

Me: "Sure, he's, umm, in our hearts."

Silence while they digest this farfetched story.

A: "Well, I don't feel God in my heart."

S: "Me neither. But sometimes, I feel him in my belly."

Ahhhh! The damage has been done, I fear.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Downward Facing Preschoolers

alternately titled:
Morning of free entertainment.

alternately titled:
Why is her bottom shoved into my head?

alternately titled:
Yoga class!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

By the Sea, By the Sea, By the beautiful Sea

We spent the first week of September on vacation down the shore. Rather than recount every single day, I'll do lists of highlights.

Things there were a lot of:
Waves ridden.
Funnel Cake eaten.
Scrabble games played.
Sea shells found that were "PERFECT!" according to S.
Sand Angels made.
Kites flown.

Salads' Favorite things about vacation:
A - "My new pink flippies (flip flops)."
M - "Seeing 2 trains on the way home."
S - "The Caterpillar Roller Coaster and sleeping in the same bed as her brother and sister."

My Favorite Salad Moment (as we wished on a star):
A - "Mommy, why do the stars in the sky not have any points?"
M - "Thank you, wishing star."
S - "I wish for a lot of french fries."

A got her first professional manicure (also her first burn from the drying bulb).
M won me a blue duck playing a water gun game. "It's for you, Mommy." he said as my heart melted.
S got 2 holes in 1 playing miniature golf.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Poop Conspiracy

On our way home from our new preschool time at the library, "Three Blind Mice" came on the radio. "The Poopy Song!" the Salad shouted in unison. All 3 burst into song, the words not quite how I remembered them.

"Three blind poops.
Three blind poops.
Poop. Poop. Poop.
Poop. Poop. Poop.
They all poop poop poop poop poop poop.
Three blind poops."

The whole way home, this silly episode made me so happy that the Salad is the same age. Because I can only imagine the inside joke that they share that turned a classic children's song into a catchy tune about poop.

Friday, September 24, 2010

And then I hung my head in embarassment.

Shrieks of laughter and shouts of "Tickle belly!" made me burst into the Salad's bedroom in the shore house. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: "A, you are making too much noise in here with your brother and sister. It is not play time, it is nap time. I need you to sleep so that we can stay up late on the Boardwalk. Come with me and you can nap in the pack-n-play in our bedroom today."

A: "Mommy?"

Me: "Yes, A?" clearly exasperated.

A: "You want me to sleep in the pack-n-play?"

Me: "Yes, A. So that we can stay up late tonight."

A: "But not play in there?"

Can you see where she's going with this, people?

Me: "No playing. Just sleeping."

A: "But Mommy, why is it called a pack-n-play then?"

Me: "Uh. Um. Huh. You know what? I need quiet NOW. Let's go."

Dang . . . beaten by my three year old. Again. Dang.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Star

A few weeks ago, Aunt Jen and Ian watched the Salad for a few hours. When I got home, they were all playing out in the pool. As soon as M saw me, he asked me to bring him inside. Once there, I thought it might be a nice treat for him to get a bath alone. For sake of ease, I usually bathe them together.

After the bath, while I was drying him off, he said, "Mommy that was my most favorite tubby ever!"

So I asked him why, thinking he'd say he got time alone with me, he didn't have to share bath toys, he wasn't kicked in the face by his sisters, there was room to "swim", etc, etc.

But instead he smiled a innocent smile and whispered, "Because I pee-peed in it!"

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Notes to Self

We had another busy week, making homemade ice cream and eating grape popsicles with my best friend and her cuties.

I am blessed to have a 10 year old nephew who adores his younger Salad and a spontaneous sister who is crazy enough to invite us on all of their summer adventures. So this week, we hiked Newlin Grist Mill with them, traipsing over fallen trees, peeing in the woods, running in meadows, skipping rocks and feeding fish. Note to self - buy more fish food.

I was wound a little too tight that day though and instead of letting the Salad wade with reckless abandon in the water, I was a bit wiggy, warning M far too often that he shouldn't get his Toy Story light up sneakers wet. Of course, here I am 3 days later, feeling Mommy guilt for not letting my 3 year old be a 3 year old. Note to self - those sneakers only cost $12.00 at Target. Lighten up, geez. In true boy fashion though, he managed to get sufficiently wet (shoes and all) while gathering the "good skipping" stones. We tried hard to skip them like Ian, but all efforts ended with loud plunks, rocks flying here and there. Note to self - maybe not a good idea to let 3 year olds throw rocks. Too many heads around.

Lately, A insists on wearing a skirt everyday. She insists everything be pink, right down to her underwear. She sports pink patent leather shoes that she call her "princess shoes" instead of Converse sneakers, like her sister wears. We went through a period this winter in which she wore a pink and purple tutu over her clothes each day. She's a delicate girl, whose feelings get hurt easily. She sobs if she gets a tiny scrape. So I find it ironic, that she never hesitates to get filthy dirty. Soaking-wet-digging-in-the-dirt dirty. She's an enigma, that one.
Note to self - buy Oxiclean.

Friday, August 27, 2010


This post was originally written on June 28, 2010:

I'm writing this as a reminder to myself. I had a hard day. I needed more help than I had. I have a lot to get done, in the house, around the house, for the house. But I forgot today that the Salad should be my first priority. Above all else. Anyway, here goes my reminder . . .

I was trying to talk to R about finding him the phone number for the guy to fix our leaky refrigerator. I had 2 VERY WHINY 3 year olds, begging for my attention. I couldn't even hear over A's screaming to be picked up. And M and I had been butting heads all morning long, mostly over his disobedience in the bowling alley's parking lot earlier. But I digress. He was crying to talk to his daddy. I.needed.quiet. So I stepped into the office and shut the door. Immediately, the crying kicked up about 40thousand decibels with A and M pounding on the door. I finished up my call, sat on the office chair and started crying. I told the Salad I was putting myself in timeout, I needed time to myself, without anyone crying in my face. And suddenly I heard a third voice join in the crying. Loud and clear and heartbroken, my sweet little S sobbed "But mommy, you my bestest friend." Ouch. That shot me straight in the heart.

So once again, I am ending my day feeling less than stellar about my parenting skills. Hoping against hope, that even though I have a bad day, even if I have 5 bad days in a row, you 3 know that I love my Salad. You guys are my bestest friends.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fire, fire!

We had our most fun week in "preschool" yet. We had lesson after lesson about fire! The Salad loved it. First, we talked about firefighters, how they must be strong and brave. We talked about the tools they use to fight fires, then strapped on some boots and I had them climb a ladder.
During quiet time, I used yellow and red sidewalk chalk to draw flames on the cement and set the Salad to squirt them out with the hose.
Day 2, we talked about fire safety and then set some stuff on fire. Just matches and sparklers, but boy, was it a hit.

Day 4, the Salad was left in the hands of Ian and Aunt Jen, who followed along with our theme and helped them fashion flashlights out of paper and cupcake wrappers.

Day 5, we read book after book about fire safety. No Dragons for Tea comes highly recommended from my little pyromaniacs.

We spent a lot of time thrashing about on the floor, practicing "Stop, Drop and Roll." We learned about "Stay Low and Go." We set up our family meeting spot, in case there was a fire in our house. And as our grand finale to Fire Week, we had a fire drill. A took her roll as "Little Mama" seriously and stopped playing doctor as soon as she heard the alarm, dropped to her knees, and lead the crawl up the steps to the front door, where she felt the door to be sure it wasn't hot. I've never been so proud.

Over the weekend, we took a trip with R to the Fireman's Hall Museum in the city. Many of the exhibits required reading, so it was a bit over the Salad's heads. But, I had prepared a picture scavenger hunt of fire fighting tools. That, along with a small section of books, puzzles, 911 phones, and fire fighting boots and jackets kept us occupied for well over an hour.
Best of all- it was free!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Out of the mouths of babies . . .

A: "Mommy?"
Me: "Hmm?" clearly distracted by the grapes and raspberries I was cleaning for breakfast.
A: "Mommy?" thinking to herself, "She WILL NOT ignore me!"
Me: "Yes, A? What do you need?"
A: "When are you going to have more babies, so that we can fill up all the seats in our car?"
Me: "Never, sweetie. Now run along and feed your brother and sister these grapes."

Certainly, our car will be full of more crumbs, dirty clothes, tricycles, balls, picnic blankets, sunscreen and miscellaneous crap over the coming years. But babies? The car* has had her fill.

*Please substitute Mommy for car.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dance, dance, baby.

In an effort to make playgroup more aware of ethnic diversity, we headed down to the Mann music center for a youth program of Cambodian, Mexican, Irish, and African Dance & Drums.

Geez. I'm just kidding. They're only 3, for crying out loud. We went because it was free.

Anyway, I'm pleasantly surprised by how well the Salad responded to the 75 minute concert. A studied each group that came onto stage with rapt attention. S danced in the aisle and begged me to let her take lessons to learn how to "dance like the little girls in the princess dresses with Goldilocks curls." M watched the first 30 minutes and then played with Ian, fidgeted around his seat, and snacked for the remained of the time. Occasionally, he would cover his ears, say it was too loud and ask when it would be over. Then, an acrobat would leap over 4 children on stage or a stilt walker would appear and he'd pay attention again.

Now, off to find Irish Dance lessons!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We studied the letter E a few weeks back. This was a hard letter to link to a lesson – we had covered the Earth during Earth Week in April. Electricity is a no go since they’ve been taught since birth that it’s dangerous. And how much can you talk about Exits/Entrances? So, we learned about different forms of Energy. We bought pinwheels at the dollar store and talked about how Wind Energy moved them. We melted ice cubes and crayons outside to demonstrate the power of Solar Energy. We talked about our favorite healthy foods and how they gave us Energy. We drove to a gas station and they watched as our minivan guzzled up gas for Fuel Energy. We did touch upon the topic of Electrical Energy, simply by walking around the house and pointing out the many things that use Electricity to run. We talked about Energy conservation, much of which we had spoken about during Earth Week.

For a field trip, we headed to the brand spanking new Delaware Children's Museum with our friends Peter and Lucy. They have a ECOnnect Exhibit, about clean Energy that I was Eager to show the Salad. As an added bonus, the museum was a comfy 75 degrees, compared to the 102 degree weather outside. Truth be told, it was not a smooth visit. I will now list the reasons why:

1. The Salad got stuck in this Exhibit. They got scared and scattered inside of this giant ball. Then they all cried out for me to save them from their respective areas of the sphere. I was a mess, shirt covered in tears and sweat and we had been in the museum for 7 minutes.
as evidenced by this picture, they did try the sphere a 2nd time and were successful!
2. Someone would not share the canoe with Peter. I gave said someone many opportunities to do so, before forcibly removing someone from the boat into timeout, as someone wailed that there would be no apology to Peter.
3. True to someone’s word, there was no apology.
4. Someone wanted the pink bowl at lunch, which tore another someone to pieces. Nobody got the pink bowl.
5. Someone asked a 18 month old stranger to remove herself from the Engine of “someone’s” train.
6. A got her thumb pinched in the ECOnnect Exhibit generator.
7. My arm was bruised and scraped by a piece of falling playhouse roof.
8. Someone would not dance with Lucy.
9. Someone would not give Peter a high-5 when we left.

The “someone” in the above list is the same someone Each and Every time. I am keeping their identity hidden, though, because this list certainly paints this someone in a bad light, when really someone was just having an off day.

Someone Else had a breakdown later in the day. I really melted down and cried. Er, I mean, someone melted down and cried . . . yeah, that’s right . . . someone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An update, of sorts.

So, how's that list of way to "be a better Me" going? Glad you asked . . .

Take life less seriously.
This is always a work in progress. Slow, sloooooow progress.
Find gymnastics class Salad will enjoy.
They have been in class since May and are loving it!
Take better care of myself.
I joined a gym and make a more concerted effort to take a vitamin everyday. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
Design ideal laundry room.
Completo finito! And painted bright orange as of this weekend!
Introduce Beatles music to the Salad.
I sing Blackbird to them every time we eat blackberries, subbing fruit for bird, but so far, that's it.
Clean behind bar.
Done. Then junked up. Then done again. Then more junk.
Find inexpensive free standing bar.
Lowest priority on my list. I keep reminding myself that there are 5 more months left in the year. Doesn't really matter until I clean that junk behind the bar anyway.
Organize audio/visual equipment.
Does "kinda" count as an update?
Remind my friends they are important to me.
Friends? You are important to me.
Make Julia Child's Beef Bourguinon.
It was yummy, but took me all day to make.
Curl my eyelashes everyday.
I'm gonna estimate 78% of my days, I'm batting curly lashes. The other 22% it's all I can do to brush my teeth.
Be more dedicated to making Artscape, Inc. a success.
Develop simple preschool home school curriculum for Salad.
Purchased the Learning Box Preschool and am supplementing with tons of field trips and activities.
Serve my family selflessly.
Sigh. I wake up everyday trying. I love you, R and my spirited Salad.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the way to NJ . . .

We ventured out of state twice in one week, early in July. Thankfully the Salad does well in the car. R and I have chosen not to have a DVD player in the swagger wagon, so I have gotten good at tossing food, books, magna doodles, and cups into the back seats.

On Wednesday, playgroup traveled to the Garden State Discovery Museum. I think we've been spoiled by the Please Touch Museum. This one was 16 years old and the exhibits were well loved. It had the typical exhibits - doctor's office, supermarket, construction site - but it did have a few new sights to see. Namely, a giant light bright and a sporting section. We played basketball, soccer, golf and hockey. S loved every second of it.
We lunched, dressed up like ballerinas and danced on stage for a while, then got under way just as the heavens opened up. It rained so hard, I could barely see out of the windows, but was already on the highway, so we just had to keep on keeping on. We got home safely after 90 minutes on the road. Thankfully the Salad was in a good mood and talked of poop and how they are not allowed to watch Yo Gabba Gabba and that they love yogurt almost the whole way home. I asked each one, what their favorite part of the day had been and without a moment's thought, M said "You, mommy." Be still, my heart.
Thursday, we packed up and headed to the ocean for the day. As a special treat, we met up with the Salad's cousins. We got to the beach just in time for lunch. Once our bellies were full of PB&Js and strawberries, we hit the sand running and didn't stop for hours. We had a great day of discovery, finding shells and tiny crabs. M was so excited when I said we could bring his little crab home that he found. "Oh my goodness!" he shouted.
We showered off at Aunt Nicole's house and then the 5 of us (Gram included) headed to the boardwalk. After a yummy dinner, helicopters, motorcycles, trains and roller coasters were ridden. I have to tussle S's hair to help her reach the height limit to ride alone. She's always been a peanut. Anyway, we picked up funnel cake and Johnson's popcorn for daddy, changed into our jammies and were asleep before we got out of Ocean City. Let me rephrase that - the Salad was asleep - I had to drive, so I stayed awake almost the whole ride home.

I jest, I jest - I stayed awake the whole ride home!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

An imaginary "Take that, lady!"

We stopped in Starbucks yesterday and M asked if he could come in with me. He had asked sweetly and been obliging all morning, so I acquiesced, although it brought protests from the girls.

The line was 5 people deep and as soon as we took our place, M started with "I want to go back to the car." Over and over and over. I stayed calm, told him I knew he wanted to go back, but that wasn't happening until we had gotten our coffee. But he kept going, not screaming, not crying, just being a persistent 3 year old about going back to the car.

And then it happened. The woman in front of us, covered her ears, and kept them covered. An adult woman, plugged her fingers into her ears, so that she couldn't hear my son. I scooped him up, not to stop the whining, but because I suddenly felt protective. She ordered her drinks and went to sit at a table with her friend. I ordered my drinks and while they were being made, walked M out to the car and told R I'd be right back. My hands were shaking as I put sugar in R's iced coffee. I walked calmly up to the woman, bent down, and asked for her attention. And even though I felt like dumping my drinks all over her head, I held my voice steady as I told her that while I expected childish behavior from my 3 year old, I was surprised by childish behavior from an "adult". She sat silently, with a silly look on her face as I turned and left the store.

Consider this a virtual dumping of iced mocha over an immature moron's head.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

D my name is Dinosaur

We studied the letter D a few weeks ago. So Dinosaurs were our guest stars. I was just getting my sea legs back from a month's worth of sickness, During which time our preschool studies took a serious hit.
We headed into the city to the Academy of Natural Sciences, aka The Dinosaur Museum. We had been there twice before, but this time we focused our efforts on all things extinct. We watched huge bones be cleaned and learned about fossils. On our way out of the building, we stopped in the gift shop (which I never do) but was looking for these silly bandz - which I found! When we got home, we ate some Scooby snacks, aka Dinosaur bones and then traded our bracelets with each other. The Salad was Deeply grateful to each other for every trade and much hugging ensued. We also played Hide the Bone and put together a Dinosaur puzzle. To end our Day of study, we made a cool craft out of used coffee grounds. Lucky for my Salad, I have a serious caffeine addiction, so coffee grounds abound in our abode - ooooh that was Difficult to say! Anyway, we made these out of household ingredients and cookie cutters. The only problem we ran into all Day was that the Salad Didn't understand that these were not cookies. More Scooby "bones" solved that quickly, though. After Dinner, we strapped on a present that Ian had given us 2 years ago and stomped around the front yard like Dinosaurs.As an aside, an older woman parked right outside of the museum was pulling away as we were creeping along, hoping against hope I'd find close parking. However, I Didn't see until I had passed her, that she was leaving the Holy Grail of city parking. I raced around the block, only to find her still there, holding her spot for me. She motioned for me to roll Down my window and shouted out "I knew you'd be back! I wanted to tell you, I paid for 2 hours of parking! Enjoy!" and then my parking angel pulled away. It was a random act of kindness that I intend to pay forward.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Universe? I'm picking up what you're putting down.

My birthday was in the beginning of July. If you remember, last year I had the most fun, rockin' birthday. EVER. This year was the universe's way of reminding me that some days are mediocre at best. Birthdays, apparently, are not the exception to this rule.

A quick recap would include a trip to my doctor, Salad in tow, with a strep throat/ear infection/pink eye diagnosis. It would be followed up by lunch at what I can imagine is the only NON drive through McDonalds in all the land. So, I parked and hauled a hungry Salad past the playland into a McDonalds whose air conditioner had broken.

Oh, and it was 101 degrees outside.

Then, it was off for an afternoon trip to the pediatrician for our second pink eye diagnosis of the day.

Of course, my day got a little better when R finally made it home from work and promptly took the well children to Target to buy me birthday presents. My loot included 6 small pink tupperware containers, 2 Natalie Merchant tickets, 1 pink tiara and a box of gumballs. A confiscated the tiara before she even opened my present, taking it off just before bed and requesting I "put it in her dress up trunk."

R and the Salad did sing me happy birthday on day-old cupcakes. That was nice. Definitely, the highlight of my day was when M finished singing and then said "Happy birthday, to my life." Thanks, buddy, for making my day worth the mediocrity. You are my life, too. Albeit a life filled with germs and viral bacteria.
Things worthy of mention in this photo:
1. My pink eye.
2. S's pink eye.
3. "My" tiara on A's head.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Sometimes I forget that I started this blog just to remember things about the Salad. More often than not, I get too wordy and won't post something I've written because it's not quite right or I don't have the "perfect" picture to go with the post.

But for now, I am lowering my blogging standards to remember these few things.

July 1st, 2010: Impromptu day trip to the beach yielded these beauts -

M: "Mommy, you gotta duck your head when that ea-gull comes near us!"

A: "I'm too hot in the sun. I'm going into the shave."

S: "Do you have your babe-ing suit on too, mama?"

July 4th, 2010 : At the parade, a light blue '68 Caddy passed us and M shouted out "Wow, Mommy! Look at that boat!"

Friday, July 9, 2010

Come Monday

I've mentioned before that Mondays are our down days. We don't have any weekly outings or activities. Therefore, to add a little something something to an otherwise boring day, I took an idea from some mom blogs I have stumbled upon. Muffin Tin Monday! If I have learned anything about mothering the preschool set - it's that it's all about the presentation. So here is how our lunches look on Mondays.
It should be noted that Monday has always been Mani/Pedi Monday - pretty self explanatory - the Salad gets their fingers and toes done. That's 60 tiny nails. Good thing I have a whole day blocked off for it.

It should also be noted that Messy Art Monday has recently been born. An idea conceived by Miss Amy (a cool homeschooling mama in our Wednesday playgroup). We waited until nice weather to unroll this one though. Amy brings a giant picnic table into her complex's common ground and tells 13 preschoolers to come dressed for mess. She provides the idea and supplies and the kids go to town.

And one final note, because we are often around the house on Mondays, we usually do a short preschool lesson in our preschool room. We learn about the letter of the week, read a book, do a craft, practice writing and eat snacks all about that week's letter.
This week we are learning about the letter D. More on our field trip to the Dinosaur Museum later . . .

Friday, July 2, 2010

On flying and poop

This post was written June 3, 2010:

The Franklin Institute hosted Giggle Gang on Thursday morning. A man identifying himself as Dr. Lift sent things flying into the air. Paper birds, plastic bats, airplanes, rockets, ping pong balls, beach balls, balloons and even toilet paper soared above the Salads' heads. M actually squealed out loud when Lift pulled out a leaf blower to keep that beach ball afloat.
Not gonna lie though, our afternoon was not good. Stunk, in fact. Here is a list of reasons why:

1. Tired mommy.
2. Constipated S.
3. Strange gas smell (real gas, not constipated S gas.)
4. Late work night for R.
5. Little boy missing his daddy.
6. 2 popped balloons and one balloon that floated away "like a helicocker."
7. VERY.MESSY.HOUSE stressing me out.
8. Lots of futile phone calls.
9. Guilty mommy.

What can a mommy do? Get up and try again tomorrow. Should be a better day. At least S pooped.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Study in B

As a continuation of our previous days' study, we went to the Tyler Arboretum to hunt for all things B. Grammy joined us for a morning full of discovery. We headed out with Binoculars and Bug catchers, the perfect instruments for a day in nature. Tyler has a fairy, gnome and troll exhibit happening now, which went largely unnoticed by the Salad. Instead, we caught a Baby Bumble Bee, pretended to fly like Birds, and ate Berries. We tried to catch a Butterfly, but those Buggers are quick. We looked for things that were Black, Blue or Brown. A and M spent a long, long time Building with Branches. Mostly they leaned thin Branches up against other Branches and tried climbing them. My mom, S and I sat and watched in amazement - 40 minutes moving, lugging, running and laughing.
And not one argument.

It was Beautiful.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mark it with a B

The week the Salad studied the letter B, I called in a favor from Meglet, who happens to be a pastry chef/instructor at the Restaurant School. I'm lucky to have a friend so talented. I'm even luckier that she in willing to have 3 - 3 year olds run around her kitchen. But I'm the luckiest that she cares enough about the Salad and I that she spent her free time Baking a Beautiful loaf of Braided Bread. Brioche, in fact.
We got our own aprons. We made cookies with red sprinkles. We saw mixers as big as we were. We ate homemade vanilla ice cream. We wrote our names with white and dark chocolate. We saw huge refrigerators, stocked with more eggs and milk than a 3 year old could dream off. We toured the kitchens and saw students cooking duck. We ate lunch on the patio and enjoyed the weather. On our way out, we stopped by the cafe and Meglet stocked up a box of goodies for R, which he gladly accepted as his dinner.

It was an amazing opportunity. I am beyond grateful and beyond impressed. We love you, Meglet!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Alanis Morrisette said it best.

On the way out of the store, I accidentally banged A's head with her brand new bike helmet and made her cry.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Farm Living - It's not the life for us.

Our homeschool playgroup dabbled in farm living a few weeks ago. Ms. Amy had us over to read a few books and do some farm related activities. We started out reading 1.5 books about farming (little Lucy took off running midway through Big Red Barn, grabbing the book on her way outta there!) Then we gathered around the "graph" and plotted our favorite farm animal. The cow won, hooves down. Then we moved down to a picnic table for some snacks while we decorated sheep "masks." We used the masks later, during an ingenuous game of Little Bo Peep seeking her lost sheep.

We also played Farmer in the Dell, a lengthy game with 8 preschoolers. When the cheese finally stood alone, Quinn insisted that he was not cheese, but a tractor driver. No sense in arguing with cheese.

Probably the best fun was a competitive egg race. The girls diligently walked up and down the lawn, careful not to drop the goods. The boys soon realized if you did drop them, the egg became a gooey mess, super cool to play in. So they edged in on S's egg. And bashed that thing up. And she was sad. And little mama A took pity on her, and willingly gave S her own egg. And S was happy again.

Off to the creek we went for some frog hunting, fishing, hiking, and rock throwing. It was thrilling for the Salad. Not so thrilling for me, when later I pulled a tick from the crook of M's arm.
Once again, the least favorite part of my day? Swings. This time, 2 swings for 8 kids. It's hard not to take on "mom voice" and tell your kids, "Ok, it's so and so's turn. Get off." You want them to navigate their way through the world on their own. It's your job to give them the tools they need to be kind, yet firm. Teach them compromise, yet not submission. I guess all you need to know you really do learn in kindergarten.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Take a Hike

Wednesday playgroup decided to take a hike. So one very hot morning, I slathered on sunscreen, pulled hair into piggy tails, packed lunch and snacks and bottles of ice cold water. It was a slow walk for 11 little ones, with many stops to pick up worms, chase butterflies, and find the right "walking sticks." We made it a good distance, before the moms decided to turn around. Perhaps we should have done so sooner, because the walk back yielded many a whine and cry to be carried. Once we made it back to the trail entrance, we took a lunch break. The food brought the group back to life and we spent the next 90 minutes playing and negotiating turns on the 4 swings. We kicked balls and played Frisbee. We blew bubbles and used magnifying glasses on unsuspecting bugs. We climbed on a arched structure that seemed climbable, until you got to the top. But once you did, all hell broke loose. Mostly 'cause the kids could reach the top, but didn't understand when we told them to turn themselves around and come down the other side backwards. And we couldn't reach them, 'cause they were stranded like 8 feet in the air. It was intense. See?
In retrospect, I believe this "play" structure was meant as a piece of art, to be viewed from the ground, feet firmly planted on the earth. Hindsight - it might save your life on the playground.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

One fine day . . .

I left the house at 9:00 am. I stopped at Starbucks on my way to the hairdressers. Just before I went into the salon, I called home. Here's how the conversation with R went:

Me: "Hi, I'm about to go in. How are things?"

R: "Uh. Fine."

Me: "Hey, is that a dog barking in a background?" (I'm asking because we don't have a dog.)

R: "Yeah. I mean, it's S. What did you call for?"

Me: "Just wanted to see if everything was ok. Well, I guess I'll let you go."

R: "Um, ok . . . EVERYONE! Put the screwdrivers down!"

Me: "R? R?! What screwdrivers?! R?!"

R: Click. Dial tone.

Me: "Huh."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Salad Bowl

Our regular library is on hiatus until June 14th, so our Tuesdays have freed up. Last week, I took the Salad bowling. Let it be said that "bowling" for 3 year olds is not as difficult as it sounds. 6 pound balls, rolled down a small ramp onto a lane with bumpers up, surely should yield scores in the 200s. But alas, our average score was a mere 80.333333.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Week in the Life

Monday is our down day. We have no formal activities, so we usually take our time eating breakfast, lounge around, and then head out for some errands. Always, after the dry cleaners, we walk down to the pet store. After 30 minutes of looking for a green fish and "high 5-ing" the kittens, I was eager to get home for lunch. I had something new planned. A few homeschooling sites I frequent had inspired me to try Muffin Tin Monday. Here's how it looked:
Tuesday, our regular library, had a sign language instructor come. The Salad sat and signed their way through Old MacDonald. It was a little cold outside, but they wanted to have a picnic. So I opened the back of the car and we ate right on the floor of our minivan.

Wednesday, our usual playgroup planned a field trip to Smith Playhouse. It's an awesome old mansion, filled with toys and exciting finds. Except it was rainy, so it was crowded. And loud. My kids aren't big fans of crowded. Or loud. After M melted down 3 times and A once during lunch, another mom took pity on me and suggested burning off some steam on one of the many playgrounds or the giant wooden slide. "Yes," I thought, "they just need some fresh air." Boy, was I wrong. These pictures are misleading because it looks like we are all having fun. Except A wasn't. Having any fun. Instead of fun, she had 47 random meltdowns, stating her toes hurt her and she missed her friends Peter and Billy. So on Wednesday, after 2 hours of crying, I was that mom, who leaves a place, flushed, sweating, near tears herself. Holding the hand of one crying kid, with a second crying kid clinging to her neck like a monkey, with the third crying kid pulling up the rear, wailing she's "Frustrated! She doesn't want to leave. A! Please stop crying so we can stay! You are making me very sad! Very mad!"
Once I got back to the car, I remembered that I had followed our friend Amy there, and now was stranded in West Philly. After a few stretches and deep breathes, I pulled myself together, said a silent prayer and drove off in search of anything that looked familiar. A few right turns later, we stumbled past the Zoo, so I was able to make it home safely.

Thursday, we hung out at home in the morning. But I got antsy being in the house on such a beautiful day. So while the Salad took quiet time, I packed our afternoon snack for an outing. I piled everyone in the car and drove into downtown Media. After a quick Trader Joe's stop, we headed down to the tiny square in the middle of town. There's a small fountain, murals on the buildings, lots of dogs to gawk at, and a foot pedal that when pressed shoots water into your face. A perfect setting for eating grapes and throwing pennies. Friday, we went to our second gymnastics class of an 8 week course. Halfway through class, M got distracted when a UPS truck pulled up alongside the window. S kept checking to make sure I was still there, then played it off as a wave. A pays close attention to the teacher and makes sure to do everything just right. She's going to be an excellent student when she's introduced to formal education.
Saturday, was Peter's 3rd birthday party at the park. Despite swings and cupcakes, the highlight of the day was throwing soft pretzels off a bridge to the fish waiting below. Although the highlight for me was watching 15 preschoolers tear into a pinata. That poor, decorative baseball didn't stand a chance.We took advantage of a member morning stroll at the Zoo on Sunday morning. At noon, after 3 hours of horseback riding, carousel riding, swan boat riding, train riding, tractor climbing, goat feeding and face painting, M had a massive break down. It went something like this "I want mommy! I want daddy! I don't have to pee-pee! I don't want lunch! I want to eat lunch by the polar bears! I want my snack! No! I want the peanuts! I don't like these peanuts!" There was just no pleasing him. So we left. In retrospect, perhaps we over did it?
He regrouped after quiet time and we spent a peaceful afternoon planting our tomatoes. And playing with our beach balls. And squirting each other with the hose. And painting our bathtub with shaving cream.

Dude, maybe we do too much.