Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moo-sic to my ears

I heard the Salad chanting the other day.

A:  What do the cows say?
M & S:  Moo! Moo! Moo!

A:  What do the cows eat?
M & S:  Grass! Grass! Grass!

A:  What do the cows leak?
M & S:  Milk! Milk! Milk!

I whispered to myself: Weird? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kids say the darndest . . . well, you know

This Christmas season has been a veritable feast of "almost right, but not quites." 

There will never come a time, that I will correct a little boy who sings "Skink! Skank! Skunk!" rather than the traditional "Stink! Stank! Stunk!" version of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."  Even when he is in high school.  Even if "skank" offends some hoochie mama.  'Cause it's just funny.

Though, M's favorite Christmas song is Lou Monte's "Dominick the Donkey." I know because we listened to it so many times. I have submitted a screenshot of our iTunes playlist as evidence.




The other morning, during a confusing discussion of why we celebrate Baby Jesus' birthday if he is dead, A wondered what "Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh" were.  I explained it's a precious metal, a doctor who accidentally created a horrible monster and an aromatic oil.  What?  I answered the girl's question.  Didn't I?

S got it in her head that she wanted to recite the first 3 pages of "Twas the Night before Christmas" during our Christmas Eve reading.  She got quite a bit almost right, for example, "The stockings were hung by the chimney with care and I hope St. Nicholas is gonna come soon."  But when she carefully recited "The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while pigeons and sugar plums danced in their heads" I wondered if the hearing loss in her right ear is having a bigger affect than we all think.  Or maybe pigeons really dance through her dreams.  Who am I to say otherwise?

Monday, December 12, 2011

You've got Mail

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 7:13 PM
Subject: For Peter

To Peter, from M
Is this the kind of snake we saw







or is this?






I think it is this one, because it's greenish and has nut* eyes, like Ms. Amy said.
M
PS - Oh man! I forgot to give Peter and Lucy the homemade walkie talkies we made this morning!
M
* He definitely said "nut eyes."  Oh, I tried to change his mind about that word.  Do you mean brown eyes?  No, he said.  Nut eyes.  Do you think she said round eyes?  No.  Ms. Amy said nut eyes.  Resignedly, I wrote "nut eyes", followed up by an email to Ms. Amy.

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 8:39 pm
Subject: Follow Up

Hey Amy,
Also, I am wondering what got lost in the translation about the snake's eyes? "Nut eyes" I know can't be what you said, can it?
A

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 7:17 am
Subject: Re: Follow Up

Hi A,
M's closer than you'd think about the "nut eyes." Venomous snakes have almond-shaped pupils; regular snakes have round pupils. Of course, if you get close enough to a snake to see his pupils, you'd better hope they're round.
Amy

On Tue, Nov 29, 2011 8:20 am
Subject: Re: For Peter

M,
It's the first snake. Because it is thin. How you make the walkie talkies? You can come over for a playdate someday? I love you.
peter

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Treasure Hunt

We explored a new park with friends the last Monday in November.  It was so close to the end of November that I'm calling it December for the sake of "Can you believe it was 70 degrees outside!?!"  It was warm enough that as soon as we saw a stream, off came the shoes and socks and in went the kids.  I suggested this park for three reasons:

1. It's close to home.
2. Our favorite waitress told us there were lots of frogs.
3. There are 3 geocaches, hidden throughout the trees. 

The kids played hard.  They found a beautiful, green 8 foot long length of bamboo.  I'll be darned if M and Peter with a little help from one of the girls at the end, didn't carry that bamboo from a small island to the "mainland" while balancing themselves on a log, fallen over the stream.  I'll note here that Peter spotted a snake on the small island.  M had made it to the mainland already, but when he heard that news, he scurried back across the island to see said snake.  Ms. Amy scurried right behind, to be sure the snake wasn't poisonous.  Be on the look out for a follow up post, including a detailed discussion over email between 2 preschool boys.
We ate snacks in the woods.  We made a see-saw from a fallen tree.  We climbed the steepest hill ever.  We slid down the steepest hill ever on our bottoms.  We dangled precariously over a bridge.  Some of us may have peed on a tree, while the rest giggled with delight and curiosity on the other side of the tree.
   
We never did find those frogs or those geocaches.  But there were so many parts of the day that more than made up for it, that as we drove away A said, "That's OK we didn't treasure hunt.  That just means we can go back another day!"  Note to self - when we do go back (and we most certainly will) bring a GPS.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sew what?

I handed M button up jammies to put on before bed the other night and then left the room to throw in a load of wash.  When I came back, he had buttoned up the shirt but I could see the buttons and holes were not properly aligned.  I didn't mention it, 'cause I didn't want to discourage him and it was only off by 1 hole anyway.  He was staring down at the shirt, clearly he could tell something was wrong, but couldn't figure out exactly what.  "Mommy," he said thoughtfully, "could you ask Meglet to add a button up here and a hole down here?  It looks like there aren't enough!"  I was proud of him for his problem solving skills, and also embarrassed that even he, at such a tender age, knows my limitations when it comes to sewing.
Thank God for Meglet.

PS - Meglet?  A needs you to sew a seam of her quilt.  Thanks in advance.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Matthew 19:14

Several weeks ago we were invited to watch baby Thomas get baptized.  The kids were thrilled at the prospect of seeing Thomas' head get dunked under water.  They asked many curious questions. Will he cry when he gets "drowned"?  What are they going to do to him with all those candles? (It was a co-baptism with several other children being christened in one ceremony).  Why can't I be wearing no sleeves on my dress like Lucy?  Does this mean he's a member of the Church now?  Can we go eat some glitter cake?
So yeah.  I think the Salad got all the main points of the sacrament . . . water, candle, member of Church, cake.  Yep.  That about sums it up.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's grosser than gross?

Ms. Amy asked if we were available to play one fair-weathered Tuesday.  We knew we wanted to be outside.  First, we tried to find the model airplanes at Valley Forge, but they weren't flying that day.  Then we tried to watch the planes land at Wings Field while we ate a picnic lunch, but the airfield is under construction.  Ms. Amy had a stroke of genius when she realized how close we were to Morris Arboretum!  So we headed there and it was the perfect move.  Lots of climbing and exploring and splashing in fountains and make believe barbecues with our friends.  I didn't have to break up one fight or hear one unkind word.  I love days like that.  If I'm being honest, though, there were 2 things I wish hadn't happened.  Nothing very bad . . . just gross.

1.  We found a stream and immediately the 4 - 4 year olds, 1- 3 year old and 1 - 1 year old wanted to dip their tootsies.  It was almost 70 degrees and November, how could we say no?  Shoes were thrown, socks were stripped, pants hiked up and in went 12 little feet.  Here's the thing though.  It still was November in the Northeast.  So even though, the air was warm, the water was not.  And S couldn't hold it together anymore.  As soon as her big toe touched that ice cold water, she peed her pants.  "Just a little!  I still gotta go, Mommy!  Run me to a bathroom!"  I scooped her up in my arms, barefoot and soaked, yelled to Ms. Amy to watch my other 2 bathing beauties and took off running to a bathroom.  By the time I found one, S told me she no longer had to go.  For she had already gone.  On my shirt. 

2.  We stopped to eat lunch at a gazebo overlooking a gently sloping hill.  After we ate, the kids ran off to experiment with 4 different types of flying machines that the Salad and I had brought along for everybody.  Once we were through with those, the kiddos took to the hills, throwing themselves down with reckless abandon.  Gathering speed and bowling each other over like pins in an alley.  They laughed and shouted and rolled over and over.  Right through goose poop. 
On the drive home, I realized it was just another day that I somehow wound up with one or all of us covered in poop and pee.  I guess it could be worse . . . or maybe not.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Too close for comfort.

The third day of school, S came home and told me that she had invited a girl named Gina to our birthday party.  It mattered not to S that it was September, that her birthday isn't until February and that we don't have an official party planned. 

She told me she had given Gina directions to our house.  I asked her to recount those directions and here were her exact words,

"Turn out of the school driveway and head down toward the Blue Route.  Turn this way (motioning right) until you pass the police station.  Turn this way (motioning left) until you see our neighborhood.  Turn into our neighborhood and when you see our van in the driveway, you are here!" 

Pretty close, pretty darn close, little lady.

Friday, November 25, 2011

October Collage

* While R was away for work, the Salad and I visited Pumpkinland at Linvilla with Jeba, Dave, their 2 funny girls and the rest of Southeastern PA.  At lunch, Jeba commented on how independent the Salad was.  Seth's mom mentioned it to me the day before.  And while I love that they are independent it makes me wonder if it's a trait they have learned out of necessity.  You know, "No, M!  I'm watching S try to untangle herself from that extension cord!  You'll have to slice your own apple!"

* We had a sleep over at Aunt Jo's to pass the time while R was in Las Vegas.  Aunt Jo and Uncle Pat thought they'd surprise the Salad with a bonfire to roast marshmellows.  A and M thought it was the best thing since sliced bread, S was petrified - hiding behind patio furniture, waving her marshmellow at the fire shouting, "Turn it off!"  Also of note, they have a dog.  Their dog loves eating socks.  He proved this by sneaking into my bedroom and scarfing down S's purple sock while I was in the bathroom.  Thankfully, the Salad has tiny socks, ifyouknowhatImean.

* Ms. Amy sent this link to M, 'cause she thought he'd like to decorate his pumpkin with hardware.  The boy likes his tools.  He thought it was awesomely "cool."  His turned out a bit more like something from a horror movie, but that's OK because it is Halloween and all.
* I turned our sensory rice bin into a Halloween bin of fright, full of Mr. Potatohead body parts and rubber bugs. 

* R and I went to the Fall Festival at the Salad's preschool.  They loved showing us around the playground, saying hello to all their friends, talking to their teachers.  I loved seeing the Salad take ownership of their school.  They seemed so . . . proud.

* It was an unseasonably mild fall, so we spent a lot of time outdoors - biking with our friends, riding draft horses at the Zoo, climbing tree houses at Tyler Arboretum, and exploring Valley Forge park to find the Signal Seekers with Poppy, Grammy and Ian.

* We went to a Halloween Parade in Media.  Girl Scout troops, dance squads and firemen threw tons of candy to the Salad.  M is very observant and shouted at the Boy Scout who paused throwing for a minute to munch on a Snickers that "He's supposed to be throwing the candy, not eating the candy."  4 year olds really hold you accountable, I tell ya.

* Ms. Carol hosted playgroup's Halloween party this year, complete with glow in the dark chalk, a black light room, and magic potion to drink.  We were sent home with glow in the dark scorpions, which twice now I have stumbled upon glowing in the bottom of the Salad's closet.  Dang it if they don't get me every time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks and Giving

My sweet little family has so much to be thankful for.  We have great friends, amazing family, and a hardworking daddy who enables me to stay home to play with my cute Salad.  We have a beautiful house, a swing set in a big yard and lots of fun toys.  Many days we live an idyllic life.  And I want the Salad to know.  So in this month of November, we've been talking about how we have so much and there are other kids who don't have as much, some adults who don't have anything, some people who work hard and deserve thanks.  So we started 4 weeks of Thanks and Giving.  Each week in November, the Salad donated something to someone who was in need or deserved thanks. 

The first week, we brought our Halloween candy (not all of it!) to a local dentist who sends it to our hardworking troops.  M was beyond excited that we were sending something to "real army guys".  In exchange, the dentist gave them new toothbrushes, which they used to clean the tires of my van.  It made me thankful for my 3 person army of willing helpers. 

Week two found us sorting our toys and gathering a big bin of them to donate to our library.  We adore our super cute, super spunky librarian Ms. Julianne.  This week, when we went to story time, the Salad was amazed that we got to "visit" with our old toys.  I am grateful for a fantastic local library system that has provided hours of free enjoyment for the last 3 years.

The third week of November, we gathered a huge bag of non perishable food for a boy scout troop collecting food for a local food bank.  Even though I had explained who the food was for, I heard M say to the girls, "The boy scouts just came to pick up the food for the peoples who don't like to go to the grocery store!"  I am thankful for a husband who likes to grocery shop as a family, even though I say I'd rather do it alone.

This last week of November will find us donating our old winter coats to Greater Philadelphia Cares.  I chose that charity in honor of an old friend who passed away 3 years ago, who gave her time to this noble cause.  I am thankful for friends, new and old.    

Monday, November 21, 2011

Who is that in the hat?

I love the fall in the northeast.  The season makes the scorching summers and blizzardy winters worth living here.  I won't do it justice in words.  There's a crispness you feel when you first open the door in the morning.  I spend the days pointing out red trees that inspire me to repaint rooms in our house.  Orange trees that look perfect against the blue skies.  Yellow trees that look like they are on fire. There's a distinct smell of burning leaves most evenings.  The stars always seem more clear.

This fall the weather was particularly gorgeous, perhaps trying to make up for short changing our summer vacation with a hurricane?  I digress.

One beautiful Monday in November, Daddy stayed home from work.  We decided to hike Newlin Grist Mill.  Perfect scenery.  Sweatshirt and jeans weather. Well-behaved Salad.  Throw Daddy in the mix and it stands out as one of my most favorite days ever.
Wait!  Is that R?  In a picture?  On my blog?  See?  He exists.  And he's around quite a bit.  But he's camera shy, people.  And if I showed his face on the blog, I'd have to kill you.  Kidding.  Kidding.  Kinda.

Anyway, we hunted for frogs, tried to catch tadpoles with our bare hands, threw stuff over the waterfall to see where it would end up, watched the fish literally jump out of the water to eat the bread we were throwing to the ducks, climbed trees, skipped rocks and waded in the water. 

In what could have been a sad ending to the day, M slipped on wet rocks, fell into ice cold water and bumped his bottom on the way down.  Luckily, I foresaw just such a thing happening and had brought along a change of clothes for each of them.  Problem diverted.  Whew.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bedtime for Bozos

M has a sweet soul.  He calls me back into the room multiple times after our good night routine of books, prayers, rousing rendition of "I've been Working on the Railroad", tuck ins and kisses.  He doesn't want water.  He doesn't want to use the bathroom.  He wants "one more kiss and hug, because he just loves my kisses and hugs the best."  Usually as I am pulling the door closed after this round of kisses and hugs, he says quickly "Mommy?  Best friends forever." 
The thought that a day will come that I don't hear those sweet words makes me panicky.  That very thought gives me the same physical sensation you get when you realize you've misplaced a kid, or that cut may actually need stitches.  You know that feeling?  A little light-headed, giant lump in your throat, tightening of stomach muscles, weak knees?  You feel that too, right?  Don't you?

That last paragraph may be my cry for help.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Halloween 5.0

Every year Halloween gets a little easier.  This year, we actually made it to more than 6 houses.  Though, if I had my way we would have visited our 6 neighbors that we know and gone home to root through our loot.  But, we have new friends that have moved in up the street and we walked with them.  And they have an 8 year old who knows the finer points of trick or treating.

1. Move fast.
2. Hit as many houses as you can.

So we made it to about 20 houses.  But that wasn't the only difference.  No one complained about their costumes.  No one asked me to carry them.  No one was nervous about the dark.  Until we came upon a house with a graveyard on the lawn, smoke rising from a cauldron and a mechanical zombie writhing on the driveway.  That set us back a bit.
But they gathered up their courage and pressed on.  Big Salad.

M whispered to me before bed on Halloween that next year, he'd like to be a STOP sign. 

If I start working on it now, can I convince my girls to be YIELD and RAILROAD CROSSING signs?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tie dye edition

Several weeks ago, the weather finally cooperated and I was able to invite our playgroup over to tie dye some clothes.  I spread out cardboard on the lawn and gathered supplies before our guests arrived.  Thankfully, the families staggered in and there wasn't a mad rush on the the 13 bottles of dye. 
The lures of the swing set and dirt to dig in was strong, so as soon as my Salad was through dyeing their shirts and socks, they ran off to play with their friends.  There was an impromptu pomegranate and veggie straw party in the clubhouse and a high energy Frisbee game on the front lawn.  There were tongue tattoos and a perfectly timed street sweeper drive-by.

As we were saying our good byes, I heard this conversation between Colin and A.  Though, A was sitting on the ground, drawing hearts with Peter, seemingly not hearing what Colin was saying.

"A, I really like you.  I had fun playing with you today. Remember my name. Here. Let's have a hug, OK?"  She must have been listening though, because she dutifully stood up with outstretched arms for that hug.  But poor Peter's finger got stomped on in the throes of 4 year old passion.

 Even in the great outdoors, there's not enough room for 3 sets of triplets and a family with 3 children under 4.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Better late than never

Original Post written on September 26, 2011

It was beautiful late summer / early fall day.  Grammy called just after 8:00 AM with excellent news.  She and Poppy both had the day off!  It hardly ever happens that way, so we quickly formulated a plan to visit the Academy of Natural Sciences.  It had been a while since the Salad had visited and our love of all things Dinosaur grows stronger each day. 

I knew it was going to be a great day when we found a metered parking space right outside the front door of the museum. Score!

We spent the majority of our time in the children's section of the museum.  We were the only visitors at the time, so we got a lot of individual attention.  We got to pet the giant rabbit as many times as we wanted, the volunteer helped the Salad do a scavenger hunt, they brought the special baby centipedes out from the back for us to meet, we held the GIANT Madagascar hissing cockroach.  When I say "we" here I mean the Salad.  I choose not to hold the bugs.  I didn't let them see me squirm when they held them either.  Not even when S pointed out the teeny tiny mites on the back of the cockroach. 

When lunch time rolled around, A asked if we could eat outside.  One of the best things about the museum is it's location.  Right off Logan Circle, facing the Art Museum, the Franklin Institute, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the historic Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, next door to Moore College of Art and Design.  I couldn't ask for better scenery to teach the Salad a little about the City of Brotherly Love while we munched sandwiches and grapes by Swann Memorial Fountain.
We dipped our hands in the cool water and fed bits of PB&J to pigeons.  We threw pennies and made wishes.

The nicest thing about having Grammy and Poppy along was that there were extra hands to hold when the Salad asked if they could walk around the whole fountain on the ledge, so I didn't have to worry about one of them tumbling into the water.  Well, I didn't worry too much.

As a side note, crossing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway here is absolutely treacherous.  You wait for the light to flash to the people walking signal and then IMMEDIATELY it gives you 15 seconds to get across the street.  It doesn't care of you have 3 small children mesmerized by the fountain, or the smoke rising from the cathedral, or the lunch truck full of potato chips!

Focus, Salad!  Focus!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Birds vs. Bees

As much as I like to think R and I are raising daughters who have had ample opportunity to play with "boy" toys and even more so gender neutral toys, somewhere around the age of 3, they found pink and princesses and all things "sugar and spice" and never looked back.  Though, my girls still like to get dirty and will hold any bug they happen upon, they would choose a skirt over pants any day of the week.  I think (and I am by no means an expert) that girls tend to be a bit more outgoing and social and so make friends more easily than boys.  I have heard a conversation that goes something like this more than 5 times in the last month alone.

A or S:  "Hi!  My name is (insert name here)!
New girl:  "Hi!"
A or S:  "Do you like ballerinas/unicorns/fairies?"
New girl: "Yes!"
A or S: "Do you want to be best friends?"
New girl: "OK!" and they run off holding hands

Boys on the other hand (at least my boy) don't seem to realize that you can ask another little person something to start a conversation.  M kinda sits near another boy at school, builds blocks near him and without making eye contact may add a new building to the other kid's city. 

But occasionally, I will catch a sweet moment between M and another boy  Like at Jazzy, Melyssa and Melodee's 5th birthday party.  I saw Peter and M, heads together, feeding the giant goldfish cookie crumbs (with Miss Danette's permission) and giggling over the color of fish poop.
"Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails" indeed.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Words I heard.

A : Mommy, I banged my chin on S's bottom!

M: Mommy, I just love your hugs and kisses.  (accompanied by exaggerated puckered lips.)

S: Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight.  I wish Daddy could come home right now from his trip (to Las Vegas.  For his birthday.  With his buddies. . . OK.  I jest.  To Las Vegas.  For "work." With his "co-workers.")

M:  Mommy!  Look! I love my Captain America undies!  He's throwing a Frisbee!

A: Look!  Angry birds!  (pointing to two kids wearing Angry Birds costumes at the Halloween Parade)
Me:  A, how do you know they are angry birds? (I was confused because we are not an Apple house)
A:  'Cause they are birds.  And they have angry eyes? (In her head that was followed by "Duh, Mom".)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Playdough Playdate

This past winter, after a 5 day bout with The Stomach Virus From Hell, I brought the Salad into the bathroom for a little craft project.  Some of them still looked a bit peckish and I wanted them close to the toilet, should the need arise.  So I covered the floors in plastic bags, lined up bottles of dye and told them to have at some white shirts.  When they were through, we had some dye left over.  I lined the bottles up on the desk, next to our computer, in the preschool room.  There they have stayed for the last 8 months.  Out in the open.  Exposed to the Salad.  And yet, by some miracle, they haven't been touched.  No mysterious magenta stains have shown up.  No little hands covered in green dye.  Thanks, Salad.  You guys are the best.

Ok.  Back to my story.  Last week, I decided I was tempting fate leaving them there much longer and invited our playgroup over for a tie dye party.  The weather has been glorious and I thought we'd do it on the lawn.  But of course Wednesday rolled around and it rained, so I had to make some quick changes.  4 different types of homemade playdough.  I printed out the recipes and Grammy pre-measured the ingredients.  We plopped down at the kitchen table, put a tray of ingredients and a mixing bowl in front of a group of 3 kids and told them to go to town.  It kept them happy and occupied for 30 minutes.  But it was not pretty.  In fact, it was down right ugly.  Though it smelled amazing, as one of the recipes called for 3.5 cups of peanut butter. 
In retrospect, indoor tie dye may have been less messy.  Oh well . . . hindsight and all.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Nothing says "I love you" like a Fire.

After a crazy busy day of gymnastics, a playdate with Seth at Linvilla and a surprise Grammy visit, we relaxed by our chiminea on Friday night.  I surprised the Salad by starting the fire on our porch, giving them marshmallows to toast and hot chocolate to sip.  They must have thanked me 3 times a piece.  They had the same reaction that I would have had if someone had said, "Hey, here's $2000, just 'cause I like you!" 
They had that same reaction when I picked them up from school yesterday and said, "Salad, guess what we're gonna do now - vacuum out our van at the gas station!"  There were whoops and cheers of joys.  No lie.  S did a back flip.  Fine.  That was a lie.  But there were whoops and cheers.

As an example of my ever present fear of the future, I thought to myself "To get that same reaction from a 16 year old, you'd probably have to hand them keys and say 'Enjoy that Dodge Charger I just bought you!'"

I'm frightened.  Can you tell?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Not for the faint of heart.

Longwoods Gardens.  It's serene.  It's beautiful.  It's full of dangerous places.  I guess that last part is only true if you set 5 preschoolers and 1 toddler loose on the grounds. 

Grammy, avert your eyes.

Dropping "poop" (aka dirt plugs from an aerator) down a drain big enough to swallow the Salad whole.
Climbing the trees in the Topiary Garden.  Anyone know if this is actually allowed
Scraping snails from the side of a pond. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artsy Fartsy (as my dad would say)

I'll admit that when the Salad was born, my slight OCD tendencies turned into full blown OCD tendencies.  I needed order.  I ran this house like a military base for 19 months. 

Then, one day when the Salad was 19 months old, I spotted Halloween stickers at the Acme, threw a pack of construction paper into our cart and ran home to make art with my babies. 

Thus began our love affair with art.

At first, I tried to impress those full blown OCD tendencies onto my toddlers.  I wanted the matching cap to go on the appropriate marker.  I wanted pumpkins to be round, skies to be blue, faces to have noses.   Perhaps through shear exhaustion, those OCD tendencies began to fade.  Now, I delight in square fruit, purple suns and the many, many pictures of our loved ones, sans facial features.  So long as there is a lid on a marker, I could care less what color it is.  In fact, if we should get so lucky to find a blue marker with an orange cap I can't grab the color wheel fast enough.  Talk about teachable moments!  Complementary colors at their finest!

3 years after those first Salad-made Halloween cards were created, we make some kind of art every day. For the last 2 years they have had any craft supply they would like to use at their disposal 24 hours a day. So long as they keep it in the preschool room, they are free to create what they want, whenever they want. Most mornings, they head straight there before they even come into my room.  Yes, it makes for a crazy messy preschool room. So should you ever visit and the door to the left at the top of the steps is closed, please leave it closed. And poor R may step on beads every morning for the next few years when he enters the room. And many times I have left the house trailing a piece of scotch tape on my shoe, unbeknownst to me.  These are small prices to pay for a Salad that loves to create.

Here is a one side of a conversation that I have had 547 times in the last 3 years. 

"Oh, wow (insert Salad ingredient here)!  Tell me, who did you draw?  . . . . Uh huh.  And what is this mark right here? . . . . Oh really?  Poop, huh?  . . . . and those are what again?  Privates.  Of course.  I should have known.  What's this dot above the privates?  Right!  Right.  Well, everyone has a belly button." 

Thank God I've eased up some. 

Otherwise, their bedroom door would be just that.  A door.  Rather than the gallery it is today.
Otherwise, I'd never have stumbled into this "Robot Army" one morning not too long ago.
Otherwise, I'd never have heard S give me this description of a picture she drew "It's you and I trick or treating.  I'm a ballerina and you are a potato.  And these buttons I glued on are our candy."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

September 18th - September 25th, 2011

That week in our house:

1. M may have dropped a luggage lock into a toilet.
2. The Salad awarded me a star for Speaking Kindly on our behaviour charts.
3. We may have had to duct tape Jesus back to a cross.  A carries said "duct tape Jesus" around the house.
4. We hosted a moving away party for our friends Rithik and Vishal.
5. We went to a birthday party for "baby Thomas", who is no longer a baby.
6. S wore a green skirt, brown heart dress and blue jeggings to afore-mentioned birthday party.
7. A wore snow boots to the same party.
8. The Salad set up their first lemonade stand.  Between myself, R, Grammy, McNulty and our generous mailman, they made 6 dollars.
9. M has taken to using mousse to "make his hair spiky."
10. We took the trolley into Media, where R treated us to breakfast at the dinner.
11.  S took and failed her second hearing test.  Giant hole in eardrum to blame. 
12.  We went to a Greek Festival and ate the most delicious loukoumades.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Help a sistah out.

S:  Mommy!  Help!  I got my tiara stuck in my hair!
M:  Here, S, here.  I can get it for you. (jumping up before I could get to my feet)
A:  Let me help too, M. (crowding around S)
M:  Ok.  Ok.  Hmmm.  I think we need scissors.
A:  I'll go get them.
Me:   Noooooooo!  No.  No.  I can get it without scissors. 
M:  Ok.  Maybe you need my screwdriver?  (inching toward his tool bench)
Me:  Um.  No thanks, buddy.  I'll just get try with my hands.
S:  Nevermind.  I'll get it.  (starting to panic, ripping out her tiara and a small clump of hair.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ride or Die

M and S are daring, in life, yes.  But most glaringly when it comes to amusement rides.  Which is a dang shame for them, because R and I are decidedly not daring, preferring to ride the Merry-go-round, rather than anything that goes fast, or high, or upside down.   So when M and S asked, nay - begged, to go on the Scream Machine while on vacation, I had to suck it up, slap a smile on my face and beg God that I wouldn't stroke out.  A is like R and I.  Though not as comfortable with it, fearful that she will miss out on something. She whispered in my ear that she didn't think she would like the ride, but that "I should tell her all about it when we got off."  Unfortunately, we were the last 3 people to get on the ride, so there were 2 seats left next to each other and another down 4 spots.  I put M and S next to each other and took my place at the end, next to a girl about 6 years old.    Poor, poor girl.  The ride was like the worst, most turbulent plane ride you could imagine.  You know that horrible belly feeling you get when your plane drops 2 feet?  I had that feeling for 3 solid minutes.  And every time they would raise it up and drop the ride again, I would scream "I hate this!  God, when will it end?!"  The girl may have learned a few choice curse words too.  I'm sorry for that, but I couldn't help it.  It was an involuntary reaction.  Is there such a thing as situational Tourette's Syndrome?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oh, my aching belly!

My girls have taken to school like ducks to water.  M has had a harder time.  He seems to be suffering from separation anxiety.  Not from me, but from "his girls".  Even though they are in the same classroom, the girls seem to be a bit more open to meeting new friends.  And that Pisses.Him.Off.  I know 'cause he told me the first day of school.  Came out all smiles and half way home, he broke down and growled in a hurt/confused/angry voice that "his girls didn't play with him and he wants them to only play with him and not make any new friends!"  Though he has continued to go willingly into the classroom and comes out full of stories about rice bins and songs he's learned, he still won't make any new friends.  And then, his belly started to hurt him.  All the time.  After breakfast.  In the bath.  Many, many times during the night.  For 1 week.  I took him to the doctor, just to do my due diligence.  She felt his tummy, asked me all sorts of bowel-related questions, told him he was doing a great job of eating and growing and sent him from the room, so she could speak to me alone.  Physical manifestation of Separation Anxiety was the official diagnosis.  Like pediatric irritable bowel.  Poor boy.     

As a real time update to his stomach woes, he had a great week in and out of school and miraculously, his belly no longer hurts him.
However, I know how he felt.  On Wednesday, when the kids were in school, I stopped at the dry cleaners.  The old lady there smiled widely and said "Ahhhh, free from your kids!"  The lump took over my throat.  My eyes welled up.  I wanted to scream that I didn't want to be "free" but I couldn't speak.  I shrugged and nodded.  She noticed my reaction and asked "How many days are they in school?"  I still couldn't speak.  I held up 2 fingers, paid my bill and walked to my car.  I drove to my sister's to drop something off and along the way, I saw a dump truck.  "Look M, a dump truck!" I yelled.  I turned to see his excited reaction.  He wasn't in the car.  The water works stared again.  I popped into Target to pick up a few things.  I took the elevators, out of habit, so the Salad could press the buttons.  But there was no Salad.  While I was shopping, I heard a sweet little voice singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider."  Help.  I can't stand these constant reminders  anymore. 

I raced to the school and picked them up a half hour early.

Because my belly hurts without them.  Damn irritable bowel.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ocean City, Cliffs Notes, 1 month later

"Cool Rider"
 To Infinity and Beyond!
Girl Time with Sophia, Mommy, Grammy and Aunt Jo

Just a few things to mention about this vacation, so we don't forget.
* Hurricane Irene cut short our vacation by hitting the east coast Saturday and Sunday.

* The Salad slept in bunk beds.  They told everyone that we met for the 2 weeks before we went away "We are going on a beach vacation.  We're sleeping in a bunk bed.  Then when we get home, it will be our first day of school!"

* We took the Salad miniature golfing.  At one point, R was trying to tell S to hit the ball harder.  His exact words were "Hit the ball like you're angry at it."  So she did hit the ball like she was angry at it.  Except that it wasn't a golf ball, ifyouknowwhatImean

* Weeks before the trip, S mentioned that she wanted to "ride the tree that was cut in half, where you get wet."  So of course, we rode the log flume.

* We had family and friends in and out of the house all week. I think it was our best beach vacation yet.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Salad goes to School

The Salad started preschool Wednesday, September 7.  We had talked about it, visited the school 2 times, pretend played school more often than I can count.  Our preparation payed off, for they got up, got dressed, fed and out the door by 8:15, with excited smiles.  They bounded through the front doors of the school and practically ran into their classrooms.  M and A gave R and I big smooches and S punched it out with fireworks, then asked for permission to go play.  Clearly, I have well adjusted children. 

I bit my tongue so I could make it out of the school without crying.

Thankfully, we made it to the car before the tears came.  And they kept coming on and off for the next 4 hours.  Little things brought them on - being alone in the Target dressing room, listening to adult music in the car, having an uninterrupted conversation.  Ok.  Those things don't sound like they should bring on the waterworks.  In fact, those things were pretty awesome.  But they were painful reminders that my normal is changing.  And I didn't like it one bit. 

Much like the Me and my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad day post, the I-cried-on-my-kids-first-day-of-school post seems so tired, so passe.  But here it is nonetheless. 

We have very good friends that are homeschooling their babes.  I think they rock.  They are committed and confident that they can raise intelligent, well-adjusted, socialized children.  If I had even 10 percent of that confidence, the Salad world still be here, safe in our bubble - taking our time eating breakfast, wearing stained clothing with unbrushed hair, playing with friends who overlook such things.  Not an hour after we dropped off the Salad for their first day of school, R and I saw one of these homeschooling friends in Trader Joe's, with her brood following along.  I welled up immediately.  When she caught my eye, I gave her the "I can't talk right now, my heart - it's in my throat" look from across the store.  She nodded.  She got me. 

I bit my tongue so I could make it out of Trader Joe's without crying.

And while I admire these women, I know that homeschooling is not the right path for our family to take.  Wanting to protect your babies from boys who tell your daughter that her cheese stick is yucky, or girls who tell your son that he can't play because he's a boy is not reason enough for us.  Wanting to shield your 4 year olds from knowing who the "Transformers" are or ever seeing an episode of "Sponge Bob" is not reason enough for us.  Fearing your son will be made fun of because he still shares his room with his sisters is not reason enough for us.  Worrying that your baby daughter, who often becomes too affectionate too quickly, will be pushed away is not reason enough for us.  Dreading the day that your babies might be negatively influenced by their peers is not reason enough for us.  I feel like these lessons, which seem so big and looming at this tender age are stepping stones, to the bigger, harder lessons that are sure to come.

So I have to remember to tell my babies that people aren't always nice, but we need to be good examples.  That some people aren't blessed with siblings, so they will never understand the closeness that being born at the same time brings.  That affection may not always be returned, but when it is, there is nothing more special.  That peer influence is fine, so long as it is positive. 

My heart and mind are tired and a little heavy.

Now, I am going to bite my tongue so I can make it up to bed without crying.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can you find the Kevin Bacon reference?

M spotted a big nest that had fallen from our front tree and was laying in the street.  He begged me to take him down to see if there was anything in the nest.  Unfortunately, there was.  We saw 2 tiny squirrels, so small their eyes weren't even open.  R used a stick to move the nest away from any passing cars and I went in to call the SPCA.  Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Irene, they were closed.  M suggested making a baby squirrel stretcher and quickly set to work.  He also suggested calling the police.  Before we took such drastic measures, I researched what to do online.  Thank you, Google for giving us this site. http://www.mary.cc/squirrels/foundababy.htm

R and I were skeptical, so mostly just to humor M, we followed the instructions.

I found a low cardboard box, the Salad set to work gathering some leaves, acorns and dirt from the tree the nest fell out of and R scooped the nest up with a snow shovel and placed the whole thing in the box.  Something we learned from the site was that if the babies were hurt or cold, the mommy would reject them and that even on a hot summer day, a baby squirrel gets cold very quickly.  So, I filled up 3 latex gloves with warm water, placed them under the nest and moved the whole box to the base of the tree.  The site said if the mommy squirrel was coming back, she would do so in 3 hours.  We went inside. 

About 20 minutes later, I happened to sit down at the computer and look out the window.  The mommy squirrel was just leaving the box with a baby in her mouth, running for the next tree in our yard!  I yelled for R and the Salad to hurry quietly to the front window.  We sat and watched that mother squirrel, move not 1, not 2, but 7 babies from the nest!  She diligently would dig through our box of leaves, grab another baby in her mouth and run for the other tree.  What a blessing to watch "This Woman's Work".     

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Catchall Post

We've done so super many fun things in the last few weeks, I've been unable to keep up the blog.  I have the intention of blogging the night of each super fun thing, but I'm exhausted after most of them.  So let's quickly recap last weeks of July, first week of August. 

* Ian came over and turned our brand new swing set into a water slide. Ahhhh, the benefits of older cousins.
* R and I took the Salad into Media to walk through an Antique Car Show.  The brightly colored cars (Purple!  Pink!  Orange flames!) kept them properly interested.  Though, I suspect the promise of ice cream after the show played an important part, as well. 

* I braved taking the Salad to the movies by myself for the first time. It was, by far, our most successful movie adventure yet. I chose Winnie the Pooh, because I knew there wouldn't be anything "scary". S is particularly sensitive to "scary". We haven't made it through the first Cars movie because the night time scenes are "scary". The shark in our Little Mermaid book is "scary". Fire works and people in costumes? "Scary." Our bravado faltered a bit when the lights dimmed and the previews became loud, though we rebounded quickly, once I doled out popcorn.
* Aunt Jo had an unprecedented weekday off, and so she was finally able to join us at the pool.  The Salad and I both love bringing guests to the pool, because there is someone else besides myself to scream at . . . "Look at me!  I can swim under water!"  "Did you see me?!  I jumped in the pool!"  "Watch me!  I can float!" (though none of them can just yet).  And Aunt Jo was a semi-willing participant in many underwater piggy back rides.  Thanks for the break, Joanna!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

We hit the ice. Literally.

Ian called us from his brand new cell phone this morning to see if we'd go ice skating with him this afternoon.  I almost said no, because I wanted to take the Salad to the pool.  Gotta soak up these sunny days while we can.  But then I remembered I had told S I would take her ice skating back in February and then my colon went wonky, and I never took her.  So I told him we'd go, but that we were heading to the pool right after we were through.  I set to work, digging winter clothes from the depths of our storage bins and gathering our bathing suits.  It was a strange mix of supplies we needed for our outings - mittens and sunscreen, fleece pants and flip flops.  The Salad was confused when I handed them long sleeved shirts.

We arrived, strapped on our skates, and gingerly stepped onto the ice. 

Even with her walker, A fell immediately.  I thought for sure that was the end for her.  It would have been for me.  But she got herself right back and took off and never turned back, though she fell about 50 times in the 75 minutes we were there.  Every single time, she'd say "I'm alright, Mommy" and get back up, my heart felt proud. 
M used the walker for 2 seconds and begged me to let him try without it.  Which I did, and down he went.  He asked for his walker back immediately. 

S told me she just wanted "to go fast."  She was fast, though she ran more than skated.  She didn't understand the gliding without picking up your skates, so mostly she just looked like she was jogging behind the walker. 

Now, I know you're wondering.  No.  I did not fall.  No.  I did not use a walker.  But that's all I'm gonna say about me.

M got a blister after about 7 laps and sat with Aunt Jen in the stands, cheering us on after that.  The Zamboni machine at the end more than made up for a boo boo foot.

On our way out, we stopped at another rink to check out 2 sets of figure skaters that were having a private lesson.  The girls were amazed at the "beautiful dancers."  So was I, truth be told.   I probably trip or fall more often walking than these people do on skates.   

I wonder, did these skaters start out using walkers?

Friday, August 19, 2011

And so it begins . . .

It has rained for the last 47 days.  Ok.  I'm exaggerating.  It has probably only been 7 of the last 9 days, but it feels like 47.  So today when it hadn't stormed by noon, I hustled the Salad into their bathing suits and got our bottoms to the pool.  Summer's almost over, don't ya know?

I don't like posting without pictures, but I had to get this story written, before I forgot the exact wording. 

Conversation between M and his wing woman A.

M:  "A, see that little girl?" (pointing to a blond girl about 7 years of age)
A:  "Yes, that's Alyssa.  She's our friend." (they had played together for approximately 2 minutes)
M:  "I want to meet her.  Bring her to me." (standing on the side of the pool)
A:  "Ok." (dutifully, she gets out of the shallow pool that we were playing in, marches to the deep pool, and stands on the end, screaming "Alyssa!  Alyssa!  Alyssa, our brudder wants to meet you!"
Alyssa either doesn't hear her or doesn't answer her.
A:  "I tried, M." (shrugging her shoulders, as she re-enters the shallow pool)
M:  "Awwww.  I really wanted to meet her.  Maybe later, A?"
A:  "Yeah.  Ok, M."

I love this for So.Many.Reasons.

1.  My children LOVE meeting other kids. 
2.  M knows his sisters would do anything for him.
3.  A and S do anything for him, knowing he returns the favors.  For example, each and every time we go to the super market M asks the cashier for stickers "for my girls."  And he runs to get their respective lovely when they cry or kiss boo boos or feed them applesauce if their "hands are too tired."

I kid you not.  This is my life.  How lucky am I? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

E-A-G-L-E-S! Eagles!

For our family, the Fall means football.  Not that the Salad and I understand the sport, or even try for that matter, but that Daddy goes to the games.  It means Uncle Todd picks Daddy up VERY early in the morning and drops Daddy off at the house VERY late that night.  It means we re-learn the Eagles fight song every year.  It means tailgate talk of hoagies and hot dogs at 8:00 AM.

This year, R wanted to share that with the Salad.  So, last Thursday, he came home early and went to work setting up the finest tailgate feast a 4 year old could enjoy.  The 4 of them had made a list the night before, complete with a hand drawn football.  Hot dogs, Pringles, fruit salad (the eating kind, not the people kind), juice boxes and chocolate chip cookies.  He packed chairs for us all and the Salad made sure to bring along a football.  S was heartbroken the next morning when she realized "we forgot to bring a radio so we could dance like Daddy and Uncle Todd!"

The tailgate before the actual game was the best part.  The weather was perfect and the food hit the spot.  Our fellow tailgaters were charmed by our piggy-tailed girls in matching pink jerseys and a cute boy who insisted on "spiking his own hair."


For once, I went into the night with a laid back attitude.  I am fairly low key, but come our 7:30 PM bedtime, I can see the end in sight.  I'm tired by then, physically, mentally and emotionally.  I kinda get antsy for the quiet that comes.  But last night the game started at 7:30 PM.  I knew I would have to pull out all of my songs and dances to keep the Salad happy.  I let them take pictures of anything they wanted.  We counted all of the pictures of eagles we could find.  We fed them pretzels.  Everyone handled the late night as well as could be expected.  "As well as could be expected" meaning, every 2 minutes M asked if we could go back to the car.  3 minutes and 7 seconds into the game, A asked "when would the Eagles start playing the game?" and S held her hands over her ears the whole time, for fear they would set the fireworks off again and they were "just too loud for her."   

We got home and had a sleeping Salad by 10:00 PM.

They only way it could have been more perfect is if a late bedtime meant a late morning wake up.  But no - my early rising boy greeted R as he left for work, bright and early at 6:30 AM the next day. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Like a Good Neighbor, McNulty is there.

Our elderly neighbors, the McNulty sisters (or McNulty as the Salad calls them) love my babies.  Not Ms. McNulty, not Ms. Mary or Ms. Kathleen.  Just McNulty.  An amalgam of old lady, who get a kick out of my children. 

So they invited us into their home for lunch.  Their very clean home - full of knick knacks, glass coffee tables and white furniture.  It's a veritable landmine of accidents for a 4 year old. 

The Salad is fairly personable, and so makes polite conversation with anyone willing to sit and decipher what they are saying.  McNulty sat with rapt attention as M explained that we had had the back yard sodded on Tuesday.  They eagerly accepted A's invitation that they come play on our new swing set.  When S said that "it was her pleasure to help serve the hot dogs" McNulty roared with laughter.
We finished off our lunch, enjoyed the sundae bar McNulty provided, complete with spraying whipped cream directly from can to mouth, and walked back across the street.

During prayers that night, S ended her list of things she was thankful for with "and even McNulty".

I'm thankful for good neighbors, too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Good

Seeing the day another way . . .

It's easy to occupy 4 years olds.  Offer them complimentary doughnuts and hot chocolate and they are good for quite a long time.  2 trips to the bathroom, checking out the floor model Toyotas, a basket of used toys and PBS helped too.

The Salad was thrilled when I pulled out the clay.  S set to work making a present for our playdate on Thursday.  The kicker is that our "playdate" she's talking about is lunch with our 65 year old neighbor McNulty and her slight younger sister, McNulty.  I'm not sure how it started that we call them McNulty, but the ladies crack up ever time we see them and the Salad screams across to them, "Hi McNulty!"

We had fatty food for lunch.  I enjoyed lunch.

Grammy, Aunt Jen and Ian came bowling with us.  The kids bowled for free. 

They played 2 games and yesterday, for the first time ever, M made it through both games without getting distracted or scooching.  I felt proud of him.  My baby boy is growing up.

I'm trying to keep this post positive, but there isn't a very bright side to credit card fraud.  A very dim silver lining, I guess, would be that we are getting the $61.98 charge credited back to our account. 

The Kung Fu Panda part of my day was just what the doctor ordered.  My babies were warm and cozy.  They made me laugh.  Their movie repertoire is very limited.  They didn't understand that the movie was about believing in yourself.  They don't really get the epic good versus evil battle.  They have never even heard the word "evil" probably.  You know what A and S kept saying, as the panda and cheetah fought, breaking through walls, sending rocks and dust flying?  "Oh boy, Mommy.  That cheetah is really making a big mess!"

And now here I lay, listening to the rain, safe in bed with my hard working husband, with a beautiful Fruit Salad tucked into bed in the next room.

Today was a very good day.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Bad and the Ugly

Sometimes, when your day hands you lemons, instead of rising to the occasion and making lemonade, you just take the low road, flip on Kung Fu Panda and snuggle up with your Salad.  Secretly resenting the fact that they can enjoy a movie, complete with popcorn, while my diverticula-ridden colon would stage an uprising if I sneaked even a piece.  Sigh.

Let's recap Wednesday, shall we?

I should have known after waiting 2 hours for our van to get inspected that something was amiss.  I should have gone to ask earlier.  The man looked at me like I was crazy and said "I came out and called your name about 45 minutes ago.  Didn't you hear me?  And then I came out about 40 minutes ago and pronounced it a different way.  Were you in the Kid's Korner?  Oh, I guess you didn't hear me.  Sorry."  But I could tell he wasn't sorry.  I should have sat in the waiting room with all of the other people that had gotten there at 7:55 AM and let my children be as loud as 4 year olds can be.  Let's see who hears who then.
Since we hadn't been home for breakfast, the dishes were undone when we got home.  I like to do the dishes while the Salad eats their meals.  We sing songs.  I teach them about Emerald Ash borers.  Sometimes we listen to "Leaving on a Jet Plane."  We are learning how to count by 2s to 20.  I like to multitask.  So I quickly did the dishes and pulled out clay for them to play with at the table.  I thought I could get some banking done while they played.  But I forgot the answer to our security question, got locked out of our account, wasted 20 minutes getting it unlocked, only to find out that it wasn't the right account.

Trying to salvage the morning, I thought I would take the Salad out to lunch and then take them bowling.  Besides dropping grease on my pants and M bleeding at the bowling alley, those 2 things went pretty well.  Though, that's not saying much. 

Finally able to sit and pay those bills, I find a suspicious charge on our credit card.  1.5 hours later, we have 2 new cards coming our way.  I have suspicions about the thieves.  I think I know who charged an X box game to our Disney Card.  I'm on to you, punks.  And I learned a few things watching Kung Fu Panda.  Be afraid.

So it was one of those days.  I complained, a lot, to anyone who would listen.  I'm sorry for that, because now in the quiet, there were a bunch of great things about our day.  They deserve their own post.  Be on the look out for it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

They Can Dance If They Want To

We met our friends, Miss Sandy, Sean and Hailey at an outdoor concert a few weeks ago.  One of my children enjoyed it more than my other children.
However, they all enjoyed the McDonalds we ate for lunch afterwards.

Even more than the McDonalds, they enjoyed jumping in the pool, over and over and over and over again with their friends.
 
And then they did the limbo.
Well, it's the effort that counts.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Old Friends

My very first job out of college was at an art gallery/auction house.  It was back in the time BI (before internet) and I responded to an ad in a local paper.  By the time I had driven home from Staples, where I faxed my resume from, I had gotten a call to come interview.  I went to interview shortly after, for a job that I truly wasn't qualified for, but wholeheartedly interested in.  By the time I had driven home from the interview, I had gotten a call that I had gotten the job.  I was at the gallery for 3 months, before I moved up to the corporate headquarters.  I loved that job.  I got to meet artists, order art, design art, meet amazing people.  I was 21 years old.  I stayed there for 5 years.  I became dear friends with Jeba, the CFO of the company.  I met R.  She met her husband there.  We went on double dates to dinner in the city.  Jeba and I had many funny times, Mary Kay demos, moving friends, going dancing with the warehouse guys who dressed better than we did.  Laughter came easily to us.

And then I left that job.  And then she left that job.  And then she got married.  And then I got married.  And then she had a baby.  And then I had a bunch of babies.  And then she moved away.  And then life got in the way and we lost touch.  And she isn't on Facebook.  And how do you keep in touch with people if they aren't on Facebook?!  I'll tell you, you stalk them, dig around online, find their house number and call them on a random December day, after you haven't spoken in 4 years.

And then you catch up over the phone.  And it's not always good.  Parents die.  But sometimes it's really good.  She had another baby girl.  And as always with great friend, it's like no time has passed.

And then 6 months passes, you catch up again via email this time.

And then 1 month after that, she invites you and your brood into their home.

And as always with great friends, it's like no time has passed. 

And laughter still comes easily to us.  Conversation comes lightly.

And best of all?  14 years after we met, our husbands and all 5 of our babies played beautifully together.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

And we joined anyway.

Playgroup headed to the Delaware Museum of Natural History a few weeks ago.  Here is an excerpt from their website . . . "Kids have a wildly good time at the Delaware Museum of Natural History!"

Someone should have informed the old bitty at the admission desk, who smelled of Cheetos and spoke of "finishing up that cigarette" that kids are indeed welcome in the museum.  Instead of welcoming us, she shushed us 17 times before we'd seen the first exhibit.  The kids didn't notice, but it sure got my back up.

More from the website "The interactive Nature Nook is a place where young children can explore animal habitats while having fun. Step inside a cave, walk through a woodland, enter an eagle's nest, and lots more! Museum personnel will help facilitate interactions between children and their parents/caregivers, plus display live animals for up-close looks." 

Crap, crap and more crap.  While the Salad did enjoy petting a snake, the "museum personnel" in attendance had the personality of a wet dish rag.  We left the Nature Nook after a different museum worker, stuck her head inside the cave where 7 preschoolers, 1 baby and 1 MOTHER were reading and made some snide reminder about being "respectful.  This is still part of a museum!"
Look how engaging that "museum personnel" is!  Crap.
The atmosphere inside the museum was so stuffy, we chose to eat outside even though it was raining.   

We left shortly after lunch and the best part of our day was crawling all over, falling off and diving into a small iron fountain on the lawn.  I even let the Salad take pennies from the water.    Take that Delaware Museum of Natural History!    

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stomping Grounds

Summer rainstorms provide the best puddle stomping opportunities.  Torrential thunderstorms mean lots of rain, green grass means lots of mud and warm weather mean few clothes to dirty.  After spending the morning staring longingly outside, I told the Salad to grab their boots and find the biggest puddle to stomp.  At one point S walked by me and I heard a distinct slosh from her boot.  I asked her to take it off, turn it upside down and out came a gallon of water.  It gave them great satisfaction to get thoroughly wet and disgustingly muddy. 

It gave me great satisfaction to get awesomely fun pictures.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It IS a small world, after all.

When I was about 8 a little girl who was about 4 moved into the house next door.  On Monday, that little girl who is now in her early 30s brought her 2 year old to my house to play with my 3 - 4 year olds.

In November, I went to a concert to see Ani Difranco with that same girl and another girl that I hadn't seen since I graduated high school with her in June of 1994.

Speaking of high school, I met my best friend there.  Speaking of my best friend, I went to a concert with her in June.  We saw the Indigo Girls.  Speaking of the Indigo Girls, I saw them at the Tower Theater in 1999 with that same best friend.  Speaking of that concert in 1999, I bumped into that same girl now in her early 30s who brought her 2 year old to play with my 3 - 4 year olds on Monday.
It's all very confusing, no? 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Interior Monologue

Butter is so good.
Substitutes should never have been made for such perfection.
It's like showing this . . .















when you've been advertising this . . .













What kind of cruel joke is a wind gust on a 99 degree day?  It just blew hot air right up my frigging nose!

I wonder if we'll find parking at the Please Touch Museum today?  Along with the rest of Philadelphia.

I wonder if Peter and Lucy know that when the Salad says "Let's go to the Spinny Spinny" thing, they mean the giant human hamster wheel?

Huh. Red dye really does affect the children.













If I take a multi-vitamin with it, Peach Pie is good for dinner, right?

I like Peach Pie and I cannot lie.  "You other brothers can't deny that when a girl walks in with an itty bitty"   . . . Gosh, whatever happened to Sir Mix-a-Lot

I'm gonna Google him right now.