Monday, April 30, 2012

The View from the "Throne"

used to be pretty BOR-ing.


Ever since I saw THIS (apparently, then, from last summer), I've thought it was brilliant.

I mean, really, that wall space is prime real estate for a captive audience.

I've been searching for a bulletin or memo board to hang on the wall across from the seat of necessity, but last week I found this gem for a sweet clearance price at Target.  (It works perfectly with my no-tacks-with-kids philosophy.)


Anyway, this week we're talking about numbers and measurements, stuff like that, so it looks like this:


Let the bathroom brain-time begin!  (Ha. Ha.) ;)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Funnies: A Matching Pair of Shoes Please

Pair of Shoes

Yesterday we were hurrying to the soccer game and we asked T to put on a pair of shoes.

He went to his room and came back holding two shoes.  A right and a left--each belonging to a different pair.

"T!  Go find the match for at least one of those!"

He went downstairs and reported that he still could only find two different shoes.  He came meandering back upstairs empty-handed.

So I grumbled something about putting shoes away so that we can find them and I went to the basement to see if they were hiding there.

In the meantime, J realized that T had left one pair of mismatched shoes in his room and it's equivalent in the kitchen.

When T had found the kitchen "pair" it had apparently escaped his mind that it would fix all of his problems if he had brought it to the "pair" in his room.  Dude!

He had been wearing this "pair" outside on Friday. 
(A pose for posterity. ;)

One-Liner

M has been practicing drawing pictures using just one line--not picking up the pen (Like the intro to this.).  She was showing us her pictures and we were saying how cool it was that she figured out how to draw a person without picking up her pen.  T, overhearing this, picked up a pencil and in all seriousness said, "Look, I can do it without picking up a pencil!"

He was picking up a pencil and dropping it.  The falling part was the "not picking up the pencil" bit. 

She said she had been really thinking about how to draw eyes without picking up the pen.  Then she realized that she could "attach" the eyelashes to the glasses.  Clever girl. :)

Weird Whistle

And then today T also came up with this "whistle."  We've spent the better part of the day trying to imitate it.  I almost have it! :)


Happy New Week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

When Acorns Spell Trouble

(Fair warning--this post is graphic.  Feel free to turn away now.)

There are some "creatures" in our backyard that are causing quite a problem.  Ticks.  Vile, vile arachnids.

Creepy, horrible, teeny-tiny, armor-plated, deep-burrowing, Lyme-disease carrying nightmares.

Apparently 2 years ago there was a bumper crop of acorns.  This resulted in a proliferation of white-footed mice--the ticks preferred host.  And thus the tick conundrum of 2012.

On a sunny day this March we were sitting in the yard for less than an hour and a friend had one crawling on her pants and Beza had one running in circles on her shoulder under her shirt.

Three weeks ago we removed one from M's leg.

Two weeks ago, after playing outside, I took off my sweatshirt to start making dinner.  A few minutes later I felt one crawling on my arm.  We crushed its armor-coated shell and washed it down the drain.  Fifteen minutes later I sat down to feed Beza and felt another one on my arm.

Now I stare at the grass in fear. 

Instead of just letting them play outside I have to calculate if we'll have time to do a thorough tick-check when they come inside.  Oh, and then there's also the fear that those little buggers will jump off their clothes and hang out on the carpeting or couch for some unsuspecting victim to walk by--in. the. house.

Forget even getting close to the woods.

Last year this creep was burrowed into T's head.


A few weeks later it happened again.


And who can forget last Mother's Day?  The next day I was at our Mom's Bible Study/Book Club and I ran my hands through my hair.  I felt a curl.  I don't have curls.  Ahhh!  I may have thrown an adult-tantrum--stomping my feet and pumping my fists at the violation.  Seriously, a tick in my hair meant that it had somehow survived through my bedtime shower and had been there all. night. long.  Eating my head.  Gross.

And the worse part is that you can't just brush them off.  You have to pull them out with tweezers.  Pulling hard.  And you have to try to get their whole head out.  Ugh... 

My friends got it out.  While I tested negative for Lyme's, three weeks later I (and no one else) had flu symptoms and took antibiotics.

We can spray our lawn and that might take care of the ticks currently there.  Oh, plus also, you know, put lovely chemicals in the grass that we want to play in.  Or we could spray our clothes--with poison. Poison or ticks?  Ticks or poison?  Argh!  

I'm beginning to think we are destined for a summer on the pavement. 

The Neighbors Out Back

We spent last week learning about backyard friends.

We watched this:

We do not have beavers in our backyard.  But I suppose it's possible for someone to?

And we watched this because it actually is in our "backyard."

We also see a lot of these:

And M found this little creature:
An Eastern Painted Turtle.  So small!  We kept it for a day and then, amidst tears (hers, NOT mine), let it go. 

But there is one backyard dweller we would rather not see...

(Coming soon, the post I tried to avoid, but it's our life...)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

We've Joined the Ranks

Of soccer families everywhere. :)

First night of practice 2 weeks ago.  Gotta love the pinny.

 Getting ready for her first game this past Saturday.  And, hark, who is that in the background?  Why, as of this week, it's the newest assistant coach.  Game on.

In action.  Bez and I missed the first game because poor littlest girl was at the doctor's for an ear infection.

This is the little dude with the broken soccer heart.  At her first practice he was sitting in the back of the van with tears silently slipping down his cheeks because he so desperately wants to be old enough to be on the team.  He'll be playing in the fall and every day he asks if it's "the fall." 

And so the wide, wide world of sports begins. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I Went to Yale

A few weeks ago Global Girlfriend sent out a public invitation to attend a symposium about human trafficking at Yale--a drivable distance from here (also known as hours of car quiet without children :).  So last Thursday I spent the evening sitting in a room full of professionals hearing a panel of experts who are passionately fighting to prevent and abolish human slavery today.  If I were a cheerleader I would have wanted to do a little cheer for them.

I also got to see an advance screening of Trade of Innocents--a new movie coming out sometime later this year.  Watch for it coming soon.

Last week, J and I also finally watched Amazing Grace--the story of William Wilberforce's fight to bring an end to slavery in the British Empire in the early 1800's.  What a long fight to do the right thing.  The story reminds me of a quote one of our high school teachers used to say (sometimes while standing on a desk), "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it." (George Santayana)


"You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know." 
~William Wilberforce.

On a final note, if you haven't checked out Global Girlfriend yet, take a peek at their awesome women-made, eco-friendly, fair-trade wares.  In particular, their products from Freeset, Sacred Mark, and Destiny Reflection all directly benefit women rescued from the slave trade.  

How cute is this tote?
Find it here.


Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Treasure (Or Monstrosity) In the Basement

Late last week I spent a bit of time tucking away the off-season and too-small clothes of the little crew.  It's a big job.  

I try to keep it under control.  There is just one box of clothes per age range. Currently there are clothes up to age 6-7 for both girls and boys.  That, my friends, is a A LOT of clothes.

Want to see it?  Brace yourself.


All folded and sorted.  The solid bins are seasonal decorations, college binders (you never know when you might need them?) and skiing gear.


For now I am the keeper of these clothes until one of my sisters is ready for them.  Won't that be a happy day?  ;)


As I was sorting through some of M's 3T-4T bins I was struck again by how quickly time is flying.  Ugh... I was sorting through some of her sweet outfits from her first days of preschool.  Hurt my heart.  Wasn't that just yesterday?

First Day of Preschool 2010. 

Needless to say, while the bins are a monstrosity, years of memories are tucked inside.  I'm so thankful that we'll get to use them again in a few years with Beza. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Funnies: Apparently I'm the Helper

Yesterday was mulch day here.  We got a truck-load dumped on our driveway and spent the afternoon spreading it all around.  I always LOVE the finished product.

As it turns out, M, too, loves mulching.  She pulled out the small (even too small for her) wheelbarrow and hauled her own loads all over.  She repeatedly thanked me for my help.  

This morning as we were heading off to church, she said to J, "Didn't Mommy do a great job of helping me spread the mulch?"

Apparently she's the one running that show and I'm just the helper. :)

Taking a break.  Okay, and can I just say that Beza's hair was in CRAZY form?  Whew!  We just started using coconut oil and I think that it breaks down and pops her hair elastics (ponytails)--the result is crazy-stuck-up-straight-in-the-air hair.

Blog note to self: This is one of the quickest ways to bring down the spirit of a conversation--when one of your children mentions that you could go to Hershey Park when you're 9 or even when you're 70, say out loud, "Hmm....interesting....when you're 70, I'll be gone."  I wouldn't recommend doing that again. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Forgot To Tell You

About 2 months ago, we finally got this!


It's perfect. :)

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm a Fan of Shoes

(Obligatory barefoot photo. ;)

Yesterday was Tom's One Day Without Shoes to bring awareness to the millions of children who go without shoes every day.

Why one day without shoes?  Because the curiosity can lead to a conversation that can lead to action that ultimately leads to change.

And so after dinner our lovely little family took off our nice warm socks and shoes and took a stroll around the neighborhood.  (Beza enjoyed a cruise in her pushed-by-us car.)  It was a very quiet night in the neighborhood, but there was that one oh-man-we-really-are-just-plain-crazy moment as we gingerly hobbled along while being watched by a new family checking out one of the houses for sale.  Yep, just out for our daily evening walk on a brisk night all without shoes.  Really, this is a very normal neighborhood...  Doesn't everyone do this?

Anyway, our target audience was our small crew and ourselves.  We talked a lot about what it would be like to walk for miles without shoes in places with hookworms or landfills or while carrying heavy jugs of water.  Unimaginably tough.

"What do you think about kids who live like this?"
T: "Not good.  But they don't have any shoes.  I wish I could buy some for them."

Yeah, that's a great idea...

A few ways to get involved:  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

This Week's List

I just finished reading this:
(Still free for Kindle.)

Heavy, heavy stuff.  But love Chan's heart and humility and courage to dig deep.


J and I literally shared a headphone on the 4 hour trip to and from PA for Easter listening to this. (Romantic, huh?  Maybe sans the constant chatter from the back seat. ;)

Insightful and thought-provoking for sure.  Good stuff.


And last night we watched this--which at first glance seems totally unrelated--and yet, upon further reflection, it totally is. :)


And finally, I leave you with this song--on repeat ad nauseam today. :)


Happy Tuesday! :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

My Encourager


This girl spends her afternoons crafting all kinds of sweet notes and fun games for us.

A few of my favorites:

"I like you.  I like all you do.  Be mine."

"I love an(d) like what you always do.  Like cleaning my room.  Love, M."

A whole book of mazes.  Get the caterpillar to the leaf.

Help the bird find the tree.

A whole book of word finds.

And even a find-the-hidden-pictures page.

And T-man has a style all his own.

Speaking of art-work, last week T got such a cool note from his sponsor-child's mom.  And his little buddy drew this sweet picture of T and him together.  What fun mail from Columbia!

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Somewhere Along The Way...


She became an awesome napper...



Happy Easter Weekend!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Coming To My Mailbox

I can not imagine being scared for my life or J's, M's, T's or Beza's because of a mosquito bite.   A tragic reality for too many.  Crazy.  

But, here's an awesome opportunity to learn more and to do more to help fight and prevent malaria.


For this week only, you can go to Sevenly.org to learn more or to order a shirt to support the cause and raise awareness.

This one is coming to my mailbox soon. :)

(And you can check Sevenly's website every Monday at 1pm to see the new cause for that week.  Becca and I might race to see who calls the other person first to decide what color to get.  And, yes, we have shown up in the same place wearing the same shirts. ;)

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

April Fools

On Sunday morning my crew woke up to me fake yelping and jumping out of bed in what I would call a convincing show of fear.  The night before I had tucked some toy snakes under my pillow in the hopes of an April Fool's joke.  T looked down, picked up the snake and matter-of-factly said, "Mommy, it's just a toy snake from the basement."  Yeah, that one pretty much didn't work... 

Later we asked them to put their shoes on.  I had stuffed some tissues into the toes of all of their shoes.  M's shoes were new from the day before so she just thought we forgot to take the paper out.  Fail, again.  But, T--oh, poor T.  He was gone for a long while and I found him sitting on his bedroom floor totally frustrated that he couldn't get his foot in his shoe (is it wrong that I'm laughing while I'm writing this?  :)  He kept trying and trying.  Once I showed him that it was a trick his eyes twinkled and he tried on every pair of his shoes just for fun.  :)

For breakfast I switched the contents of the cereal boxes.  M and T thought it was great fun, but Beza's reaction was the best.  When I tipped over the Cheerios box her not-so-favorite Kix came out.  She looked at the Kix and back at the box and back and forth again.  Perceptive girl.

That was all fun and games, but the very best trick happened in the van.  

We hurried and scurried them out of the house like we were going to church, but we were actually heading out for a two-night trip to Philadelphia.  While they were sleeping, I packed their bags and we loaded the van LATE at night.   That morning M noticed that she was missing some jeans and she thought that J had hidden them for fun.  We told her that some things were best discovered at the right time. :)  

So, when they caught on that we weren't driving towards church, J told M that he knew where her jeans were--they were packed in her suitcase--because we were on our way to a hotel (cover-your-ears scream from the backseat) with a pool (cover your ears again).  LOVE, love, love their excitement over hotels--cracks us up! :) 

 Packed up to go to "church."

The Garden State Discovery Museum

Please Touch Museum

M thought mornings in Philadelphia were the most beautiful mornings ever.  I'll give her this, they were sunny. :)

Philadelphia Zoo

Lunch for the adults at Rybread Cafe.   I had the Napa with strawberry-mango iced tea.  Yum.

The ride home today.  Bez was totally into holding M and Gordy's hands.  So funny... :)


(Keeping it real: Love hanging out with the whole gang, but there are definitely some challenges.  First nights away always require a really long wind down time with lots of intervention. :)  Lots of walking around museums and zoos requires a lot of hand-holding under duress. :)  None of them ate the lunches they asked for on Sunday--after that we stuck with peanut butter and jelly--thankfully almost always a win. :)  Oh, and that menu board--that's the photo J texted me while I waited in the van with the crew handing out fruitbars and picking up dumped goldfish and stuffed animals and figuring out how to turn on a movie--the whole movie thing is never as easy as it would seem. ;)

But in the end, very fun days away. :)