Monday, December 22, 2008

Earning His Keep

All I have to say is this:

If Simba had an outfit like this, my floor would be spotless ALL THE TIME. This is hilarious!

Supers In the Family

A random funny conversation I heard today between Ariel and Snow White:

Ariel: Do you know about Batman?
SW: Yes!
Ariel: Why? Batman is for boys.
me: Well, you know about him because you have a brother- SW has a brother too, so she knows about it also.
SW: Yeah! My brother does Batman!

Ariel: Your brother is Batman? Whoa.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Let Me Sum Up...

Okay, it's been a really long time since I posted! I keep thinking I should go back and do it all in order. I have cute things with Simba and Aurora as they get older, pictures of our Thanksgiving feast, other random funny conversations with the big kids... and then I get overwhelmed and I don't post at all. I may try to post some of that, or I may not get around to it.

So I'll just jump in where we are today- we're making Christmas presents for the parents. I've taken pictures of different steps of the process, and also gotten each kid to dictate the steps in the process, and so theoretically next week you should get the finished items, pictures of making it, and a hilarious "recipe" book that I suggest you don't follow exactly.

The recipes vary widely in degrees of correctness and specificity. Snow White's mom was telling me the other day that every time she asks her what she did at school today, SW tells her "I don't know." I suppose that's the early precursor to the "nothing, it was boring" answer she'll likely give in elementary school. It cracks me up though, because that was a large chunk of her recipe.

I don't know!

Honey, we just made it. You helped! Do you remember what part you worked on?


Okay good! What's in it?

I don't know...

Ariel's was very number specific and mostly correct for what she remembered, and Duchess's had more to do with what I've told them is coming up next in the process instead of what they've actually done so far. It's really fun to see how differently their minds work with the same task.

Since they may tell you "I don't know" when you ask, I don't want to put up pictures and totally spoil the surprise. Of course, they may run home and blab every detail. There's just no telling.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Prep

Tomorrow we're hosting a feast. Belle will be here, since kindergarten is off for the week, and I think Tinkerbell may pop in also. All the parents are invited for lunch and we're working hard to get things ready. The mashed potatoes are done and tucked safely into the fridge, and everybody has pronounced them tasty. I stuck a bite in Ariel's mouth when she wasn't paying attention and she went, "EEEWW I don't like... hey this is yummy!" See, you gotta try things.

Everyone old enough to help did some measuring and mashing. They all had great fun.

Aurora acting as Quality Control Manager in Supervisory Capacity:

Next we're baking cornbread for dressing and chocolate cake for cakeballs. YUM.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nature Walk

It's pretty windy out today, but warm in the sunshine, so we all went for a walk this morning. They all have their favorite things to look for. Simba loves the wind and makes faces at it and opens his mouth to feel it on his tongue. O'Malley is obsessed with rabbits and squirrels and most especially dogs barking. Sebastian likes to look for airplanes. Duchess wants to walk up a certain street and see if Rex the cat is outside. Snow White picks every dandelion she sees along the way. Ariel does all those things, and then usually throws in a little something every time that adds depth to the conversation.

She had gotten tired of running in front of the stroller and was walking with me and "helping" me push it, chattering nonstop. She noticed that the moon is visible today and so we talked about that for a little while. I'm really going to need to brush up on all my scientific facts to talk to these kids. They're asking some good questions these days! She wanted to know why it was there during the day. Then she noticed that it's a half moon right now and that freaked her right out.

"The moon! What happened? The moon! It break'd!"

Um, I was an English and history major. Skimmed through science. I told her the whole moon is always really there, but sometimes we can't see parts of it because it's in the shadow of the earth. I hope that's right, or at least close enough for a four year old. So then we talked about how the moon spins around the earth and the earth spins around the sun, but we can't feel it, and when you see the clouds moving, they're not- we are. But there aren't any clouds today and she wanted to know where they went. Beats me.

I need to rent a Magic School Bus video or something. Not for them- for ME. Duchess is always telling me things I didn't remember from science class that Ms. Frizzle teaches her.

The duct tape leaf belt is way more my speed. I think we'll do that on our next walk and avoid all this heavy discussion. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Niceties

We're starting to get ready for our second annual Thanksgiving dinner. We do it on Tuesday before Thanksgiving and we invite all the families who can get their lunch hour off to come over. Last year it was really fun. This year they're already excited about it again. We have just over a week to plan and we're going to make some practice recipes this week, since I'm not sure about some of the gluten free adjustments I'll have to make.

They also are very serious about the decorating. Duchess wants a "koopia". Badly. And what is that? You know! That horn thing that HAS to go on the table for Thanksgiving. Buy one please. Go to Walmart. Can we go tonight?

I've never bought a cornucopia before, and I'm not sure why she's decided it's a necessity this year. As long as they don't cost the earth though, it looks like we may be the proud owners of one before too long. I suppose we could use a lesson in centerpieces and dressing the table nicely.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Just for the heck of it, I asked everybody to count to 100. I don't really expect them to be able to, except for Duchess, since it's in her kindergarten curriculum and she's been working a lot on it lately. It's a good thing for them all to know though, for sure. :) Maybe I'll post every now and then with updates to see how we're all coming along.

Duchess: She skipped #20, but then got everything else, and actually counted up to 109 for good measure.

Ariel: She skipped #17 and #20, counted up to 39, and then said 100.

Snow White: She counted up to 15, got to 20 with a little prompting, and then started giggling and saying 51! 32! what? I don't know what comes next!

Sebastian: He can count to 20, skipping #16 this time. He usually skips a different teen number every time.

O'Malley: Wow. He can't count. :) He's mine, so I can say that. I started trying to count his fingers and said ONE.... and he looked at me blankly and giggled and screamed NO and ran away. Some work could definitely be done in that area.

We have lots of fun sorting and counting activities, and they've been focusing tons on art and dressup lately. I think I'll direct them toward some math-type stuff in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pumpkin Pie

I think it has been established (although, actually I think it was on my previous blog, not this one, so I'll see if I can find pictures of the last time...) that I enjoy stripping babies and taking undignified pictures of them in large melon-type containers. :) They are just too cute, even if they get mad about it! There's such a small window of time where they fit into fruits and vegetables that I just have to go for it whenever I get the chance.

Last spring I put O'Malley and Eeyore into watermelons. Oh look, I found the pictures! Eeyore was okay with it.

O'Malley not so much.

But now it's fall!!

My sister brought her baby Peanut over today and asked me what I was going to do with my big pumpkin now that it's November. I said I should probably get rid of it, so she cut leg holes in it and scooped all the gunk out. She had that boy down to a diaper and wearing that pumpkin in less than fifteen minutes.

He was a little uneasy about it at first, but then he settled in and decided it was okay.

I love that one with the lid on his head like a hat. It only stayed on for about four seconds at a time so we had to work together to get that picture.

Yum, first taste of pumpkin. I'm pretty sure it's better cooked!

Then Aurora woke up. She's younger and I wasn't sure if it would make her really mad, but I figured it was probably a once-in-a-lifetime event, because Peanut barely fit in there. She'd definitely be too big next time watermelons are in season. So I stuck her in there too.

It was kind of heavy and I didn't want to get pumpkin guts in her hair so I just held it on there.

I love this one, she looks so serious hanging on the side like that.

She only got mad when I took her out. Maybe it felt a little slimy on her back or something? This is a great face though- it's like she's just now realizing the indignities perpetrated upon her. :) Sorry Aurora and Peanut, but this is too much fun to pass up!

If One Is Good, Then Eight Is Better!

I went to Costco over the weekend and stocked up on fruit and veggies. Silly me, I left the pears on the floor while I figured out where to put all this stuff. O'Malley went to town, and I'm told by several unreliable sources that Snow White helped, but she denies any participation.

We've been eating pears for snacks like crazy the last day or two- I'm cutting off the bite marks and trying to foist these off on the family. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Picture Day

Earlier this week a photographer came to the house to take pictures of the kids. It was quite the interesting experience. He set up a huge backdrop in the living room and we took some group shots and then individual and sibling shots of most of the kids. The girls did much better than the boys- Sebastian refused to smile but they did manage to get a few cute "tough serious guy" poses. O'Malley pretty much got nothing good. He screamed a lot and then demanded that I take his sweater off, so he was running around with no shirt on and the best looking picture they got of his face has a nekkid chest attached. :) Oh well. Authenticity.

Personally I was hoping for more candid shots and interesting poses and making silly faces. I think they did a good job and we got some nice pictures- I just had something more informal in mind.

Here's a teaser:

The girls wanted to dress up- Snow White brought her new pink dress, and we raided the dressup box for Ariel and Duchess. There were plenty other princess dresses- I have no idea what made Duchess decide to wear the flight suit. I think that's the first time she's ever put it on.

We got lots of really cute shots of Ariel.

I love this one of Simba- the look on his face is so cute.

I think a group shot with seven children looking pleasant is a miraculous thing. I was pretty impressed. And this was the best we got of O'Malley all day.

Snow White- she's the one I wish most had gotten to jump around and be candid- her personality is so vivid that I feel like you don't get a good vision of her when you make her sit still. :) That's not to say it isn't a good picture- she pretty much doesn't take bad ones. It just doesn't capture her spirit the way I would have personally liked to see.

Sebastian. He smiled for about thirty seconds, so they got a couple good shots off.

He didn't want to take any pictures with his sister either.

Then he was done. Very done. I tend to like the serious ones better than the cheesy smiles though, and they got a series of these that I think are adorable. He looks kind of beat down and annoyed, but also like a tough guy who's just too cool for these dumb pictures.

O'Malley, after fleeing the scene and shedding his good clothes. He's watching Dora the Explorer and that's my old blue couch he's sitting on. The photographer used the zoom lens from across the room because the poor boy would scream every time the camera got close.

His sister, who posed much more nicely.

The one lone shot of both of them. At least he isn't crying, although I don't think you could say he looks happy.

Hail to the Princess Aurora!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gluten Free Daycare...

O'Malley and I have both just been diagnosed with celiac disease. This means we have a gluten intolerance and can't eat wheat, rye, oats, or barley. I'm going to have to make some changes in the way I feed the kids, and I'd like some parental help-

Please don't send your kids with food. I've got plenty of stuff here for them to eat, so please make them keep their crackers in the car. I'll be glad to start making gluten-free cakes for birthdays so we don't have to worry about making a mess. It's just much easier all the way around if we stay gf. O'Malley is too little to understand a mixed kitchen.

I'll be doing way more cooking from scratch, and things will be a little different while I experiment with recipes. There are still lots of things we can eat though.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Channeling Bon Qui Qui

The big kids crack me up. I wish I could just follow them around with a tape recorder all day to catch the weird conversations they have with each other. I'm sure I don't hear half the things they say. I caught some stuff yesterday that has made me laugh again every time I think of it. Bon Qui Qui's customer service has nothing on these girls!

Our play kitchen is missing the plastic sheet that goes across the back of the refrigerator, so sometimes when you put food away it slides out the other side. They have discovered that if somebody stands on one side and somebody goes to the other, they can open the freezer and use it like a drive-through window. There is usually a line of kids on one side waiting for "food" and then a chef in the kitchen creating meals and handing stuff across. It's funny.

Ariel goes up and asks for "a taco shell with butter on it. BUTTER! Don't forget the butter, Snow White, I like it with butter!"

Snow's busy back there for a minute, hunting through our stash of plastic food for something resembling a taco shell, and finding nothing she passes empty air back- "Here you go Ariel, your taco with butter..." said in this voice that indicates such a thing is disgusting, but you're the customer so whatever.....

"This does NOT have butter! I said to put butter!" while inspecting the empty air and passing it back through disdainfully.

"Yes it does, see! Butter! it's right there!"

Ariel wanted to argue about it some more and Snow White was brilliant-

"Yook. I gotta yotta customers. I give you da food. You go away now. It's Sebastian's turn."

At least she didn't say she was going to cut her. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday- Best Friends For Frances

Today was supposed to be the Halloween theme, but I totally forgot it was Muffin Tin Monday at all until Duchess reminded me when I had already started making lunch. Nothing Halloween-ish was coming to mind, and besides the kids are creatures of habit. After one week they already expect that I will read them a story and we will eat story food. Period, the end.

So I read them Best Friends for Frances. We all love Frances and they do talk about a lot of food in those books. In this one they go on a picnic and eat lots of fun finger foods. I forgot to take pictures of the muffin tins this time, but they had

  • hard-boiled eggs
  • coleslaw
  • pickles (which Marie licked and nobody else would even touch)
  • steamed potatoes (which I told them was like potato salad, since I'd already been making potatoes before I remembered about the muffin tins)
  • celery sticks
  • cream cheese and jelly sandwiches ( I forgot that I really like these! I don't think I've eaten one in at least twenty years.)
So there you have it. Good stuff. Maybe I'll try to branch out from Frances next week if I remember soon enough to put something together. I'm thinking maybe we'll read Stone Soup and have each ingredient in there, plus some of the finished soup. Not sure.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Influence of the Backyardigans?

The girls have been doing lots of really interesting imaginative play lately. I was in the kitchen cutting up nectarines and listening to them chatter. I couldn't figure out what was going on until I looked in on them-

Snow White was lying on her stomach on the floor screaming, "Huww-y! Da cwocodiwes ah going to EEEET MMMMEEEEEEE!" and holding onto Duchess's ankles.

Duchess was inching forward on her belly with Snow White hanging on her, while in turn grabbing hold of the toy vacuum and yelling at Ariel.

Ariel, the tiniest one, was in the front of the rescue line, pulling on the vacuum with all her might and trying to remove both her friends from the gaping maw of the "cwocodiwes." All we needed was a cliff and a raging river, and they'd be Indiana Jones and his team. Or Uniqua, Pablo, and friends...

I love this job.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Muffin Tin Monday- Bread and Jam for Frances

I'm starting Muffin Tin Monday this week- the grand and lofty goal is to do it every week, though I might not always play along with the correct theme. I think it's such a cool idea, and a novel way to hook kids into eating something they might not otherwise. (Ariel's eating tomato soup! Holy Cow!)

This week I wanted to use a children's book as our theme, so we read Bread and Jam For Frances this morning and made a big list of all the foods they talked about in the book. We found:
  • eggs
  • bread and jam
  • veal cutlet
  • baked potatoes
  • orange juice
  • toast
  • cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches
  • pickle
  • milk
  • grapes
  • tangerine
  • spaghetti and meatballs
  • tomato soup
  • celery
  • carrots
  • black olives
  • plums
  • cherries
  • vanilla pudding
Quite a good list to work from. The idea is not to have to do anything crazy- just stuff you already have.

With six kids around the table, I took three muffin tins and filled six cups each. It works out well to have the oldest and youngest share, then the next, then the two middle kids. They can help each other, and it also happens to be a picky eater and a good eater in each team.

Duchess and O'Malley shared a tin,

Snow White and Sebastian shared another,

and Marie and Ariel shared another.

We ate tomato soup, black grapes, tangerines, bread and jam, green beans, and cheddar cheese since I didn't have any eggs and we needed some protein.

Everyone had a great time and actually ate something. Next week is supposed to be a Halloween theme, and I may do something original if I can think of it. If not, I'll go through the muffin tin archives and borrow a good idea. :)

We all need a reason to look forward to Monday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And They Called Her Aurora...

after the dawn, because she filled their lives with sunshine.....

I love Sleeping Beauty. And I love that quote, and there is no Disney name more suited to this squishy bundle of fabulous girl than Aurora. She started Monday and oh my goodness I have been loving the snuggles. It's been awhile since we had one so tiny around here. Delicious.

Attitude Adjustment

This morning with the big kids has been .... I hate to use the word "abysmal", but that's what springs to mind. There has been snarling, crying, snot, rolling around on the floor yelling, toy grabbing, and a few other lovely things. I remember days like this when I was teaching middle school and I am SO grateful to be where I am. Then, all I could do was assign them more work that they would likely refuse to do, all the while giving me dirty looks, and tomorrow when they walked in they would still be holding a grudge.

It's really wonderful to be able to say, "Honey, I need a hug. Would you come and hug me?" Because they all do, and most of the time it cuts off whatever yucky behavior is getting started. Then I say something like "You look like you feel grumpy. What can I do to make you feel happier?" For Sebastian, it was a Kleenex. Although he's still really annoyed that today is not his birthday, and he will cry if anybody mentions it, he's coming out of the funk. :)

Then I decided October 1 is plenty early enough for Christmas music. I pulled out my Target Sounds of the Season and a big handful of jingle bells, and we're grooving to Sleigh Ride as sung by the Spice Girls.

And just like that, my day is a little better already. In half an hour they won't remember, and tomorrow is still a whole day away. No grudges, no dirty looks. Way more snot, but that's a small price to pay.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Snow White One-Liners That Make Me Smile

My dad came in the other day and Snow White ran up to him yelling about her new tattoo and how he should look at it. He said, "Cool! Is it of your mother?"

I laughed and laughed and she looked extremely perplexed. NO! It's Diego!

This huge dragonfly sat on my porch wall for over an hour. I should have put something else in the picture to show the scale- it was almost as big as my hand. Everyone kept staring at it and talking about it and after awhile Snow came to talk to me, all worried. I love the way she sometimes talks in questions, and then other times she takes things that ought to be questions and phrases them as statements. It makes her really fun to listen to.

"That bug? That one on the wall? He is taking a nap? Or else he is dead!"

I opened the door to check and he flew off. She was pleased to know he wasn't dead and yet simultaneously highly annoyed at me for scaring him away.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Swirly Crayons

Last week we made swirly crayons. All the girls are really into basic art supplies right now- we're way behind on our "curriculum" because what they want to do is cut, glue, and color. Want to do a Mother Goose Time craft? NO! Can we have some white paper? Usually I don't stress out about that- it works their fine motor skills and creativity and they're having a good time and so we sit around the table and cut and color. Of course, you can't send home a project that ends up looking like this:

Process, not product.... Process, not product..... :)

They were working hard on this task, yet again, and I decided to sort through our enormous bucket of colors and pull out all the broken ones. They never want to peel the paper and don't like to use the broken ones and since they keep asking me to open new boxes, our crayon situation was getting a little out of control. I googled the basic recipe for melting and remaking crayons, and then I started peeling paper and putting broken pieces in my muffin tin.

And oh my, the girls were intrigued. They got busy helping and we sat at the table for a whole HOUR while we all talked and peeled paper. It was really fun. Makes me think I should get a bunch of corn on the cob or purple hull peas or something. Make 'em earn their keep!

We baked them at 350 until they melted, and then put them straight into the freezer for about 45 minutes, and then they popped right out of the tin. Everyone had a great time making rainbows and swirly drawings.

I keep meaning to send each of them home with a muffin top crayon and I keep forgetting. They turned out really well!

And then that afternoon O'Malley flushed a ball down the toilet so we got to watch the plumber unbolt the toilet from the floor and carry it into the yard. Such a very interesting day. Art class? Free. Plumber? Not so much...

Friday, September 19, 2008


Earlier this week I was in the mood to fix hair. I brushed Snow White's and put it up in pigtails while the other girls were resting. When they saw her, they immediately demanded that I do theirs as well. I'm not the best at it, but hey, at least I got a lot of practice in one day!

Ariel, Snow White, Duchess, and Tinkerbell- rocking the pigtails!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This Does Not Bode Well

Snow White: I smell poop.
Duchess: That's not poop. It's our lunch.
Snow White. NO! What is she cooking? It's poop! Not lunch!
Duchess: (coming over to see in the pan) It's not poop, right Mom? It's lunch?
Me: Yes. I'm making quesadillas. You're smelling tortillas and butter. NOT poop.
Duchess: Well, it smells like poop if you BURN it.
Me: Shut up. I did not burn lunch.
Duchess: You shouldn't tell me to shut up.
Me: You're right. But I'm not burning lunch. And you like quesadillas.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mr. Potato Squid

Snow White was so excited to show me her creation.

"YOOK!  YOOK, I make a SQUID!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh. My. Goodness.

Well, I'm not sure if I feel better or worse about it, but I do believe I have discovered the identity of that small critter we saw in the backyard a few weeks ago. It did die, by the way. I kept an eye on it during the day and the last time I went out I had to get my shovel and dispose of it properly. And wash my hands twelve more times.

My sister had jokingly sent me an email saying that it perhaps was this creature:
Which it is not. But that jerboa thing? Weird. Never heard of one of those before.

So today during naptime I was working hard blog-surfing and catching up on the Pioneer Woman and I found pictures that look identical to my critter. It's not a mouse. Oh My Word. It was a


I think I'm really grossed out.

And yet strangely intrigued.

I called all the kids over to verify and they said YES!! That's our mouse!!

Then I showed them what it would grow up to look like and they were a bit alarmed. Duchess said, "Um, but it died, right? That thing is not in the yard, right?"


Friday, August 22, 2008

How Time Flies!

Belle and Duchess will start kindergarten on Monday. They've been together as long as they can remember, but I think they're both excited about their new adventure. I'm feeling all nostalgic and was looking through old pictures of them. We've come so far!

When I was doing daycare with my mom, we bought coordinating shirts for the kids and had a photographer come in for a group shoot as a Christmas surprise for all the parents. Duchess is the little one in the red sitting in my lap and Belle is doing the supermodel pose across the front. All the rest of those kids are long gone, off to first or second grade at this point...

The girls took dance class together on Saturdays when they were two.

No day is complete without some princess dressup time.

Last month at Duchess' birthday party.

Silly? Us? We're never silly!

After our farm field trip last fall.

One of the earliest ones of them together I could still find- we were still at my mom's so they had to be less than two.

The first summer in my playroom.

They thought it was so funny to all climb into bed with Haylie when she was here.

More Princess fun at Halloween 2005.

One of our many birthday celebrations.

It's so exciting and strange to think of them in kindergarten. Keep in touch girls! We love you!