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.