Tuesday, June 30, 2009

calculator game

Pook has invented a New! Exciting! Fun! Calculator! Game! For! The! Car!

He started at one (1) and then added +1 pressing =,=,=,=,=,=,=,=,=.... He's been playing this for months. He was at 105,706 last I knew.

Excitement in the car, I know.

Friday, June 26, 2009

snap, crackle, and burp

Just in case you were wondering, beer and Rice Krispie treats don't really go well together. Just thought I'd let you know. It could matter some day.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

champion enjoyer

Life is good right now. I'm not finding much free time to myself this summer, as you can tell from my infrequent postings, but life is good. I like having a five and an eight year old. I realize that I have medium kids, not little kids, and I'm glad. At the pool, I can visit with friends (I could even- gasp-bring a book!) since they don't need my supervision any more. We took a friend yesterday and her twin toddlers were exhausting. They were great fun, and they loved splashing in the pool and fountains, but they'd refused any lunch, probably from excitement, and we were swimming at naptime. They were tired, hungry and, well, two.

At five, Bug is holding back his tantrums finally. He starts to lose it, gets whiny and loud, but then backs down and calms himself. I waited (not so patiently) five years for this. I consulted professionals and tried therapy. He grew up. I won't say that we're there yet, a week of staying up late and starting the swim team wore him out so that we had one night when we'd hoped to have him in bed early, and still had him flat out on the floor screaming an hour and a half later. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Pook has shown both physical and emotional growth. He placed first in his age group swimming the backstroke last Saturday and was invited to a county level meet based on his time. He halved his time swimming freestyle from last summer. (For balance so I'm not bragging too much, he still looks like a frog when he dives.)

While we were in Indy, at a museum gift shop, Bug picked out a stuffed dragon which my mother agreed to buy for him. Pook couldn't find anything he really wanted except an overpriced Lego kit. Instead he walked out with a ten dollar bill and a promise that I'd take him to the Lego outlet store near us. He waited patiently until we got there yesterday, then counted out his own $30 to put with her $10 and bought a kit off the Scratch and Dent shelf, discounted $10 for the bent box. He also counted out $5 of Bug's dimes, nickles and pennies so his brother could buy Lego too.

I had planned to take them to our science museum today. Instead I decided I wasn't up to it and asked them to wait until next week. No fits. We drove to a glass blowing studio I had wanted to visit, to order some new drinking glasses. I thought we'd get to watch the glass blower, but he wasn't working today. No fits. I decided to drive them over to Centennial Olympic Park so they could splash in the fountains, but it was already 11am. and we hadn't brought lunch. They played for a while and then we walked back to the car. No fits. No whining.

Right now they're upstairs playing. At this moment no one is hitting or yelling. I can leave them to entertain themselves, and sometimes they solve their own problems. And I think I will join them for some time on the floor playing Lego too.

A "Champion Enjoyer" eats chocolate slowly. Savors the root beer float. Enjoys life when life is good.
I'm not sure which kid coined the phrase, but it has joined the family dictionary.

mad as a hornet

I guess I know how mad one must be to be "mad as a hornet" now. The guy who shooed us all indoors, donned a bee suit and then sprayed a ten foot stream of poison at our magnolia tree- he was the target of their anger. Personally, I was happy to be indoors. I was also happy that he was more than eager to let me keep it. He told me how fragile the paper nest was, how perfect this one was, and how to spray it with shellac ("maybe tomorrow, just in case there are eggs inside that might still hatch today") . I'm planning on giving it to the science teacher at the kids' school. If I were a science teacher, I'd love it, so I'm assuming she will too. The hornets, however, are very unhappy. The branch is right across the driveway, only about six feet up, so we're going to continue to be very cautious entering and exiting for a while.There are still lots on the branch, wondering where they went wrong while following the map. The females are still blaming the males for not stopping to ask for directions.

Wanna see it? The first picture is the paper-mache bee hive which came home from camp last week, full of candy. The second picture is the real one which came full of hornets. This is how it looks laying on the ground by my front door. I don't have the courage to touch it yet. I'd rather have had one full of candy.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

guest post travelogue

Our Driving Vacation to Louisville, Indianapolis and Nashville went great. Pook had to do some summer homework, and one of the projects was a travel log. I'll add my comments in bold, but the rest is his.

June 6,
8:08am, 0 miles, 66°F
We just left. The back seat is really crowded. I was impressed with myself for the prompt departure. I put food where I could reach it and packed the kids with every toy they could need... but no electronics.

9:47am, 106 miles, 73°F
We’re in Tennessee.

9:45am (or 10:45)
We’re in a new time zone. On Nickajack Lake there was a pelican and a lot of jet skies. We took a rest stop break and ran around for a bit, but the kids still seemed to be in good shape.

1:00pm, 250 miles, 81°F
We just ate lunch. I had a sandwich and cherry 7up. We’re off to Louisville! Unfortunately we had trouble finding a place for lunch, so we ate in a grassy bit off from a gas station parking lot. They were good sports about it fortunately.

1:32pm, 284 miles, 82°F
We’re in Kentucky! Finally! Arrived at BK, MK and LK’s house. It had been so long since we'd seen our former neighbors, I wasn't sure how a visit would go. They were so happy to see us, and so generous, that the kids acted as if it had been a day and not a year. I was plied with drinks and quickly relaxed from the long drive. Their cousins live down the street and soon eight boys were running around playing hockey, catching frogs and screaming like only eight young boys can. They were outdoors until 10:30, possibly the latest my boys had been awake. When we went in, and cousins went home, Mom (Formerly) Next Door set up sleeping bags. Then, at 11pm, she asked them what movie they wanted to watch. Bug was wired and didn't go to sleep until after midnight. I pulled myself out of bed the next morning at eight, but I'd heard kids since 6:30.

June 7
2:50pm, 433 miles, 86°F
We had a good time in the pool. They live in a nice neighborhood. I figured the sun would add to the exhaustion from the lack of sleep and they'd sleep all afternoon in the car. Fortunately, I was right.

3:19, 456 miles, 88°F
We took a long bridge across the Ohio River.

4:55pm, 565 miles.
We’re in Indianapolis.

5:12pm, 575 miles.
We just got to Nana and Papa’s house. We’ll stay here until Friday.

June 8
Today we went to the zoo. We saw the dolphin show. The rhinoceroses were sleepy.

June 9
We went to Conner Prairie. Conner Prairie is a place that is made to be like the 1830’s. We went in a hot-airballoon. The hot air balloon ride was a simulation of an experiment in mail delivery. The mail was intended to go from Noblesville, IN to NY, NY. It ended up in Louisiana and took the train to NY. Our balloon took a tethered 350 foot trip up and returned right where it had started. It was just windy enough to be exciting without being scary. The rest of Conner Prairie is a pioneer village. We enjoyed seeing homes and watching women cook on open fires, spin yarn or teach us at "school". We saw the carpenter's new quarters which we'd seen him building last summer. The kids might have had the most fun chasing (and holding and feeding) a bunch of chickens in the yard of one home.

June 10
Today we went to the children’s museum. We saw the Star Wars exhibit. We looked at the gigantic Fireworks of Glass sculpture by the artist Chihuly. Then we went to a room and learned about the ocean. Then we went to the planetarium and watched a movie on the ceiling about how the universe started. The dinosaurs there look and sound really real and there is thunder sounds and a place where you can see real dinosaur fossils. My favorite was a computer program letting you design your own dinosaur. We had a group effort and made a plant eater who managed to defend itself against a T-Rex in the simulation.

June 11
We didn’t have time to finish the entire Children’s Museum so we went back on Thursday. We rode the carousel and looked at the Science room, the Power of Kids exhibit and the water clock. We also looked at the dinosaur art gallery. The Power of Children exhibit had profiles on Ryan White, Anne Frank and Ruby Bridges. I decided that I was too tired to approach either AIDS or the holocaust with my 5yo, so we went to a program on Ruby Bridges. They understood the racism issue and seemed to appreciate the significance of the program. I'm impressed that the museum has opened this very serious exhibit amid all the fun and play. The museum is a huge and fabulous place. If you're ever in Indy, spend a day (or two!) visiting it. I certainly have not yet outgrown it.

June 12
9:30 am, 638 miles, 64°F
We are leaving Indianapolis and heading to Tennessee, to Grandma and Grandad’s house in Smyrna.

11:36 am, 756 miles
Entered Kentucky.

2:30 pm, 893 miles, 83°F
We’re back to Tennessee.

2:09 pm (or 3:09) 950 miles
The time has changed. We’re at Grandma and Grandad’s house. We saw a wild turkey in somebody’s yard. We had a relaxing afternoon and evening and the kids crashed pretty early. Bug hadn't had a nap all week and was showing the effects.

June 13
10:28 am, 951 miles, 77°F
Leaving Smyrna. We had a good time. We had waffles for breakfast. It's all about the sourdough waffles. Our visit was nice, but I was so ready to get home.

11:11 am, 1000 miles.
Manchester, TN Pook likes to play with numbers and this combination of time and miles attracted his attention. I should teach him about spedometer poker.

12:39pm, 1062 miles, 87°F
We just ate lunch.

12:48 pm, 1071 miles
We’re in Georgia

2:40pm, 1176 miles
HOME! We’ve been gone a week. We had a really fun time. CD greeted our tired souls and listened to three people telling him six stories at once. We'd had phone calls but the boys usually offered two sentences and then ran off.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


That's me- wiped out. I'm catching up on mail, laundry and To-Do lists after a week away. But the mail keeps arriving, the family keeps wearing clothes (sometimes three sets a day*) and the chores keep coming. I've gotten about two loads of laundry done each day this week, and I should be caught up tomorrow. I threw out all the optional mail and kept only the ones related to finances. Lands' End did not make the cut. I've had scraps of paper- actual notepads, backs of receipts, even pieces of dried out wet wipe- all over my car and desk. If it doesn't get written down, it will not get done.

The boys have been in camp this week at the nearby Nature Center. (*The place has a creek for playing, hence the extra laundry.) I thought I'd done so great when I found a session with camps for both of them the same week on the same Creeping Critter theme. Then I got the reminder email and realized that Bug would be finishing at 12:30 each day (start time 9:30) and Pook would be ending each day at 3:30. It isn't too far, but I've got to give 30 minutes to the round trip each of those three drives.

We get home and I try to give Pook some down time, but he's got projects I want him to complete. I want them to eat a snack and rehydrate from the day outdoors. And I realize that any dinner we want to eat won't get started until after swimming (6:15ish) unless I prep it in advance. Suddenly it is time to get to the pool if they want to play before the 5 pm swim team practice. My day is gone. My chores are not.

Monday, June 15, 2009

beginning beginner

My baby just read me a book. A whole book. "Bears on Wheels" by Stan and Jan Berenstain--one of the "bright and early books for beginning beginners." Yes, he is a Beginning Beginner.

He sat by me on the bed and began, "One bear. One wheel. One bear on one wheel." He continued on with giggles as if he were pulling something over on me. "I broke the code!" he all but shouted.

I knew it was coming. I just hadn't had the time to look for just the right book to offer him. Instead he found it himself. We'd made a plan to read all the picture books and board books on his shelves this summer. They accumulated slowly when Pook was little, but they all moved onto Bug's shelf at once. Some have gotten ignored and some buried. Some deserve a new reading and then a place on a more prominent shelf. Some deserve a new reading and then a spot in my storage room or my give away box. I see no reason to hang onto a bad book even if I do teach again someday. There are just too many good ones out there. (I feel guilty passing bad ones on to children even as donated freebies.)

I gave him a nickel. This was a small prize for amazing me. He won't get paid to read regularly, although Pook was sometimes paid to read to Bug when they were 5 & 2. Mama thought the ten minute break was worth the nickel back then.

I assume he'll have a read aloud homework requirement in kindergarten, and I can't wait.

Yes, we had a great vacation, but I'm still catching up and haven't had time to write about it yet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

bribes I mean, treats

I'm driving with the boys this Saturday from Atlanta to Louisville, where we'll visit with our former neighbors Little Kid, Middle Kid and Big Kid for one night and then head to Nana and Papa's in Indianapolis. At the grocery store today I decided to buy "items which might facilitate a pleasant trip." They each picked two, with advice and suggestions. Bug chose cherry 7up and some sugar frosted colorful cereal to eat dry. Pook chose extra cheesy goldfish crackers and Slim Jims. I'll pack fruit and sandwiches. All will be shared.

On a road trip a few years ago, I got organized in advance and filled tiny containers with treats or little presents. We set the timer on CD's sports watch for an hour and when the timer went off, regardless of behavior, they got a treat. Our "hours" were somewhat flexible, since having the timer ring several minutes before stopping for lunch was less useful than having the timer ring ten minutes after having to get back into the car after lunch. But the treat, no matter how small (I remember putting five m&ms in a container!) reset the behavior, so crabby children were cheered up and the next hour started fresh. It kept us from judging behavior and having to decide whether to give the treats only for good behavior, good for most of the hour, good for all but the last two minutes.... I'm not that organized for this trip, but Pook remembered and asked for the timer. Since I'm driving alone without CD I figure it can't hurt, so I'll bring one along. Slim Jims for all at 2pm.