Friday, June 29, 2007

SPF - Kid art

Kristine wants to see our favorite piece of art from our children. Since I homeschool, I get to see all my kids' art projects, good and bad. And I also get to see the thought process behind them. And what can I say? My kids are weird. Case in point:
I can't remember the exact assignment, but I know he was supposed to paint rocks and flowers under a tree, creating a sort of triangular focus of interest. My goofball son "misunderstood" and painted rocks and flowers under a tea. Iced tea. Complete with a straw and a wedge of lemon.
Where do my kids get this weird sense of humor?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So it goes

The bird died, of course. It was just too small and weak. But I think it was a good learning experience for the boys. They buried it out in the back yard and went about their lives. The seven-year-old, in particular, was very upset about it, but I pointed out that he helped give that little bird a very nice, if short, life. Maybe it would have been more humane to drown it, like the neighbor was going to do, but I don't think so.

So, the weekend is coming. It's not exactly a holiday, but we in the US are coming up on one next week. Hubby gets only next Wednesday off, so it's pretty much pointless to go anywhere. Even a day trip would be too crowded and annoying, I think. Instead, we're going to hit the free family movie at the local theater, then probably spend the day working around the house. How about you? Any big plans for the 4th?

And my seven-year-old will turn 8 next week. How weird. How could he be 8 already? Sigh. They grow up too fast.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

WCW - The letter H

This week's close-your-eyes-and-poke-a-random-letter-on-the-keyboard letter of the week is "H", brought to you by TKW.

Last evening I had just settled in to watch "America's Talentless Hordes" or whatever that show is called, when my five-year-old came running in to announced that the neighbor had found a baby bird in their barn. She didn't want it, but wanted to know if we did. So we got up and went next door. I have never seen such a tiny bird that wasn't in a nest. We decided to try and take care of it, so we built it a little nest in a flower pot and then started digging for worms.

This morning, I fully expected it to be dead. It's so tiny and frail, and I don't know how often you have to feed a baby bird, but we didn't feed it during the night. And yet, it's still alive and kicking! We mashed up some worms and fed him breakfast and now he's sleeping. So with no further ado, may I present our hatchling!It's only about an inch and a half long. It must have just come out of its egg yesterday. But the good news is he's healthy so far, as evidenced by the bird poop behind him. As I learned with babies, if they're pooping, they're probably okay. I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

At least I got two hours of peace

Last night I went to a Pampered Chef party. I had never been to one before. They have lots of cool stuff! Next to bookstores, kitchen gadget stores are my favorite. Which is why I rarely go into them - I would come out with $100 worth of stuff I don't really need, but which I was convinced at the time was essential to my ever cooking again. Anyway, fear not, I only bought a set of measuring cups, which is something I have been needing for months. And then I got to sample some really yummy food. We all know that any food eaten at a party has no calories or fat, right?

Naturally while I was gone there was an injury at home. The five year old banged his head on the ceramic-and-cement basement floor. He's fine, but there's quite a knot on the back of his head. Poor boy - two head injuries in less than two weeks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

And now I'd like a 200 word essay. Yeah, right.

Summertime, and the livin's easy. Any day without the frustration of trying to force the boys to do schoolwork is easy. Of course, the last two days, they've been typing away on the computer, writing little comedies about their favorite Bionicle characters. Rest assured that if I'd required them to do this, they would have fought me tooth and nail. But since it was their idea, I can't drag them away from it!

They got the idea from a Bionicle fan site called BZ Power. There's a whole section of their bulletin boards devoted to these comedies. My oldest son has spent many hours laughing hysterically at them. So it was just a matter of time before he wanted to write his own.

Speaking of fan fiction, someone came to my blog from googling "Simon & Simon meets Little House on the Prairie fan fiction." Um, okay, exactly how would that go? Who would even think to combine those two shows? My brain hurts just thinking about it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

SPF - Air freshener

Kristine's assignment this week is our air freshener. I tried to think creatively, but I'm just not feeling creative this morning.
This is my favorite air freshener. First, I love the slogan under the name, "The process of elimination." Very cute. Second, I love the citrusy scent. Citrus is such a nice, clean scent. And third, I love its versatility. I can spray it in the air, I can spray it on the couch, and I always spray it on the air filter of my floor cleaner and into the basin of my vacuum. Then the air blows through and fills the whole room with a wonderful scent. Finally, this stuff lasts forever. I use it literally every day and I think I've had this bottle two years. Good stuff.

Happy Friday, everyone!

EDIT: Here's a link to buy it!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sleep and staples

My poor Hubby! He went to work Tuesday morning around 8 a.m. He didn't come home until Wednesday morning at 6 a.m.! Then he took a shower and went back to work. He got home at 5:45 last night and then we had to go work in the nursery at church. Luckily there was another couple there, so Hubby went to nap in the car.

Right now (10:47) he's still sleeping, which is as it should be. He signed off on the big project yesterday, so I'm hoping that's the end of the really late nights (he's been getting home after 8 most nights, and even worked a couple of weekends).

I'm in the middle of cleaning up a bit. I invited a friend (my soccer mom friend) and her three kids over for the afternoon. And while the house looks fine, I always like to clean the floors before company comes. There's nothing ickier than a white tile floor with stuff all over it.

Then later, I have to take the five year old in to get the staples removed from his head. Yes, staples. He was getting a ride in my wheeled desk chair and slammed his head into a corner of the entertainment center. It was just enough of a nasty cut that I took him to the hospital (this was last Thursday). They said the staples could come out in a week. He was really good about it. I knew he'd be fine when the first thing he said to the triage nurse was, "Do I get a prize?"

So that's my fun day. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

WCW - June 20, 2007

Today, for TKW's game, I have the ultimate "W" picture. Today is my fifteenth wedding anniversary!
As you can see, we got married outside, on Pier 5 at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and we had a gorgeous ceremony. We had waited so long for that day. You can see how happy we are as we walk back down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. And I can honestly say we are just as thrilled to be together now as we were then.

Happy Anniversary, Honey! I love you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Scary stories

The other night, I was watching the movie When a Stranger Calls, which is just a variation on that old campfire story about the girl who keeps getting phone calls while she's alone babysitting, and when the police trace the call, "The call is coming from inside the house!" I actually really liked the movie, because it didn't have any blood and guts. When you see the two dead people, they're just dead. Most of the movie is the fun kind of jump-when-the-music-swells suspense. I like that.

Anyway, this movie got me thinking about all those scary tales we used to tell each other at slumber parties. You know, when you'd hold a flashlight under your chin and tell tales guaranteed to make your friends jump and squeal? Many of them have become urban legends ("..and when he got out to open her car door, there was a hook hanging from the door handle!!"), others have become movies.

My favorite one ends with the line "Humans can lick hands, too." Brr! Gives me the cold shivers, just like a good scary story should. (If you don't know the story, email me). What's your favorite scary story?

Spying 101

I've been a big fan of USA Network's original series since Monk first aired. After that was Dead Zone, and then Psych. Now, USA is premiering a new original series next Thursday. USA Network's Burn Notice is about a CIA agent who's been "burned," basically the spy equivalent of being fired. The problem is, he has no idea why, and he has to try to figure it out while at the same time hiding his identity.

Now, I'm no spy, but I've watched enough private detective shows and spy films to have learned a few tricks. The first thing I'd do if I were a spy is keep a well-stocked secret identity kit. I'd have different color and length wigs, temporary tattoos, some colored contact lenses, fake scars, and stuff like that. Next, I'd need fake fingerprints, or some way to hide my real fingerprints. Maybe a supply of medical gloves. I'd also get one of those cool voice changers for talking to people on the phone. Even my best friend wouldn't recognize my voice.

To go along with my undercover identity, I'd need all the proper accessories: a laptop, naturally, to keep track of all the clues I've found; a gun, a small one that's easily hidden; sunglasses, which tend to make everyone look alike; and something I could use to get information out of people who are being uncooperative. And then there's my secret weapon: business cards. I learned this one from Face on the A-Team. I pick up business cards wherever I go. Then, if I need to pretend to be, say, an interior designer, I just sort through my stack until I find one, and then I hand it to someone as I introduce myself. No one questions the business card. One caveat - make sure the cards you pick up have the right gender name on them.

Having just left the CIA, I'm sure I'd have a least one friend who'd be filled with righteous anger at my having been burned. So I'd call him or her and get an ally on the inside, someone who could warn me if I were about to be found out, or give me information I couldn't get otherwise.

Finally, I'd stick to places where people didn't know me. The first place my enemies would look are the places I usually frequent. I'd go to new stores, visit new restaurants, even pick a new park bench to hang out on. Nothing would be the same.

I bet you Michael Westen, the spy on this new show, will use some of my tricks. These tv spies tend to be pretty smart. I'm looking forward to seeing how he figures out who burned him and why!

Monday, June 18, 2007

On vacation - NOT!

Well, Thursday night it began to be questionable as to whether or not we were actually going anywhere. And when Hubby still hadn't finished the work he needed to by Friday evening, the trip definitely got called off. See, there's a big project he's been working on, and there's a guy here from France who's been helping, and this guy really wants to go home (he's been here over a month). So before he can go anywhere, Hubby's got to get this project done.

Hubby worked most of Saturday. He worked from noon until 2 a.m. yesterday. He left for work at 6:30 this morning. Poor guy. But the up side of this is that his boss is giving him some comp time for all some a tiny portion of the overtime he's been working (he's salaried, so normally he gets no kind of overtime comp at all). So we can actually make our vacation a few days longer, we just won't be going until mid-July.

Now I can spend the week working on oldest son's portfolio to turn in to the school board. That's always the opposite of fun. I could try to set up our "easy set" pool by myself. You can imagine how well that goes. Maybe I'll just catch up on some of the movies I've been recording.

Friday, June 15, 2007

SPF - Back

Kristine's assignment this week is to show our back. To be interpreted however we wish.

So, I give you my back. The top picture is me one year ago, right after I donated my hair to Locks of Love. The bottom one is me this morning. Not only can you see a year's worth of hair growth, you can see a year's worth of weight loss. I'm almost 50 pounds lighter now. Cool.

So, did you play?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Vacation is coming!

What I like most about vacation:
  • No house cleaning. If there's a mess, it's generally contained to the one hotel room.
  • Not as much cooking/food preparation. We will sometimes get a room with a kitchen, or bring sandwich materials along for lunch, but mostly I get a break.
  • Less fighting among the boys. Too many new and exciting things to do to fight with your brothers.
  • Lots of new and exciting things to see. My favorite vacations are when I get to go places I've never been before. But just exciting is good too, like amusement parks.

What I like least about vacation:

  • Packing. This is number one on my list. I hate everything associated with packing, from dragging out the suitcases to that incessant feeling that I've forgotten something.
  • Followed closely by unpacking. I often leave stuff in the suitcases for weeks after a trip.
  • The trip itself. Whether flying or driving, the travel part, with small children, is sheer torture.
  • Coming home again. It always has to end, doesn't it?

Okay, I'm gonna go start packing. Ugh.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wild Card Wednesday, or why I have to clean my floor six times a day

The other day we had company, and my floors were spotless. This is mainly because I threatened to hurt anyone who came into the room while the floor was still wet, even Hubby. See, my Hoover Floormate is supposed to sqeegee the floor dry, but that only works on level floors. Whoever installed the tiles in our basement was either seriously drunk or just decided, "Level, shmevel - I'm eyeballing it." Either way, the end result is that you have to wait a little for the floor to dry before walking on it, or you leave dirty footprints.

So my floors were still clean Monday morning. Then the children woke up. I cannot count how many times things have been spilled since then, but it numbers in the teens at least. Which brings me to my picture for TKW's game.

My youngest is sitting here behind me dipping things in his lemonade. Every now and then, he says, "Mommy, wet!" So there's my W word. Of course, when I tried to get a video he stopped saying it.

And if you think all that lemonade stayed neatly on the table, you are sadly mistaken, my friends. I know, I know, why doesn't he have a sippy cup? Last night he was drinking very neatly from an open cup with a straw, with nary a morsel being dipped in for fun. Pretty stupid of me to think that trend would continue.

So, did you play?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Wii workout

Sunday, we brought home a Nintendo Wii. Hubby had heard about it from some guys at work and thought it sounded like a fun family thing. And let me tell you, it is!

It came with Wii Sports, which has tennis, bowling, boxing, baseball and golf. My oldest son started whining right away, "I don't like sports games." Well, guess who has been asking to play it the most? It is so much fun! If you haven't seen the ads, the remote is wireless and is used like a tennis racket, or like a baseball bat or golf club. You actually swing the remote and the player on-screen does what you do! It's really cool. Here's a video where you can see some people playing sports, among other things.

Yesterday I played boxing. Let me tell you, forget workout videos, this thing gives you a real aerobic workout! You have to keep punching to win (you punch while holding the remote in one hand and the nunchuk, an attachment, in the other). So you're actually punching to get your player to punch. It's a lot of work!

We also picked up the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End game, where your Wii remote becomes your sword. Awesome! We're all stuck at the same place in the game right now, but it's still an awful lot of fun! And again, lots of real-life action swinging that remote around!

Today I am sore! My legs and my arms all feel like I've been playing actual sports instead of a video game! This is going to be really good for my oldest who isn't really into sports in real life. It gets us all up off the couch.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Weekend happenings

We went to a wedding on Saturday, one of Hubby's cousins had a daughter getting married. It was nice - we actually got to sit through the entire ceremony without having to take a child out. The boys were quiet, if not completely well-behaved.

Now, I've been to a lot of weddings. My dad was a wedding photographer for years, and when I got old enough, I'd go with him to be his assistant sometimes. I asked Dad, and he agreed with me that he'd never heard of the priest grilling the couple about his homily! Seriously. He gave his message about God ordaining marriage, etcetera, and then he turned to the couple and asked which one of them was going to come up and summarize his homily. Of course, they had no idea what he was talking about. He kept insisting that one of them had to go first, and he wouldn't marry them if they didn't do it! If it had been me, I would have been in tears! Finally, he gave up the joke and went on with the ceremony.

I'd also never been to a reception with a gun turret. It was held at a National Guard armory and there was a big old gun turret right in the middle of the room, the size of a tank! Other than that, it was a pretty normal reception, and everyone had fun. Plus the back of the building was open to the outside, so the kids could go run whenever they wanted to without bothering anyone.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. And then yesterday, we had my dear friend Cindy and her family over for dinner. What fun! I only get to see her a couple of times a year, if that, even though she only lives an hour from here. Her four kids and our four kids played, my hubby and her hubby went for a walk down the road, and she and I actually got to sit and visit for an hour, uninterrupted! Moms of toddlers, you know how rare that is!

So, how was your weekend?

Friday, June 08, 2007

SPF - Bounce

Kristine wants us to show our bounce.
This is the guy who helps me bounce back when I'm depressed, who I can bounce ideas off of, who makes me bounce up and down with happiness just by walking through the door when he gets home. The big 15th anniversary is coming up soon!

Incidentally, my son took this picture, which is why we're looking down. I don't really have a double chin. Not anymore.

Did you play?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Soccer mom

Tonight is the seven-year-old's last soccer practice until fall. He has mostly enjoyed soccer; only a couple of times has he sat in the car crying when he was supposed to be getting out for practice. Compared to his older brother, that was nothing.

So, the coach has announced that tonight will be a "fun" night - the parents are playing soccer with the kids. This is just Hubby's kind of thing. In fact, on the nights when he got home early enough for soccer practice, he often took the other boys to an empty field to play while practice was going on. But of course, tonight, the one night he would be able to play a game with other adults VS. a bunch of kids, he has to go to a work dinner.

What does this mean? It means that I, the mom, will be playing soccer tonight. Can I just tell you how little I want to do this? And who's going to watch the other three kids while I'm running around a soccer field? What do you want to bet they'll be running out on the field, too.

At least I don't have to run on the treadmill today. I think tonight's workout will cover it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

WCW - the letter K

This week's Wild Card picture, per TKW, must begin with "K". So, here we have my kids:
This was taken Saturday on the shores of the Nanticoke River, as we waited for the replica of John Smith's shallop to dock. You can see it directly above the post next to my oldest son. The boys had so much fun, and I am still enjoying reading through the website and finding out all about Smith and his journeys.

So, did you play?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Going west

Hubby has a business trip to go on soon, and since it's the week of our wedding anniversary, I decided that I would rather go with him than stay home with the boys. We are going to drive from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin one weekend, and back the next. I'm really looking forward to it - it's been ages since we've gone anywhere but amusement parks for vacay. Not that I don't love amusement parks, but there's so much more to see in our beautiful country.

Now, perhaps I am crazy for wanting to take such a trip with four kids in the car, one of whom is two and makes a lot of noise, but I do have a laptop that plays DVDs and an almost endless supply of Thomas the Tank Engine videos, so I think we're set.

So, if any of you, my blog friends, live somewhere along my route, let me know. I might drop in for coffee. Or to "accidentally" leave one of my kids with you for the week. Hehe.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Living history

We had a fabulous weekend! We went to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, to the town where my mom grew up, to see the John Smith boat come to shore. If you haven't heard about this, it's really amazing. A group of twelve people is retracing the route Captain Smith took when he explored the Chesapeake Bay almost 400 years ago. They are doing it in the same type of boat he would have used, called a shallop. If you'd like to read more about the project, go here.

Here's the shallop as it came upriver.

Here it is at the dock:
This shallop was built in Maryland specifically for this voyage. They left Jamestown on May 12 and will be returning on September 8. As one of the team members explained to me, this is not a reenactment, but a retracing. The route traveled by Captain Smith and his crew is the first National Historic Trail that is entirely on water. They are traveling that trail, and recording their observations along the way. One goal of the voyage is to record the differences between what Smith and his crew saw and what can be seen today.

Another reason I am so fascinated by this is that one of the original crew who traveled with John Smith is an ancestor of mine. This isn't just the country's history, it's part of my personal history, and that of my kids. I've known this for years, but seeing it acted out just made it so real to me, seeing the difficulty of their task, traveling into the unknown not once but twice, and coming back to tell the tale. I loved that.

If you live anywhere near the Chesapeake, you should definitely check out the website to see when and where you might be able to catch up with the shallop and its crew. They bring a traveling display with them that presents the history of the voyage, so it makes a great field trip.

Friday, June 01, 2007

SPF - My brush

Kristine's assignment this week is your brush. This is mine:
It's a Goody "ouchless" hairbrush and it's the best hairbrush I've ever owned. I have really thick hair and it's very prone to tangles. This brush will go through it, no problem, and doesn't make me scream in pain.

Since I featured this hairbrush on my Favorite Things blog, I have had several comments asking where to get one. I got mine at WalMart. If you can't find them in your area, drop me a line and I'll pick one up for you. I accept PayPal, money orders, and large amounts of chocolate.

So, did you play? Have a great weekend!