Orange Chick Marshmallows

As the youngest child of four, I always hated the taunting games that older children sometimes play on their younger siblings. One that quickly comes to mind goes something like this: Older brother has something little sister wants so he dangles it just out of her reach and watches as she jumps and lunges and squirms and reaches and bounces and tries with all her might to get to it. Older brother laughs hysterically. Because it is funny. Unless you are the little sister...

So, one of the cool things about being the parent is that even if you didn't have younger siblings to torture, you can have the same effect on your own kids in slightly, unexpected, variations. I recently had this experience when the grocery store had a huge sale on General Mills cereal. If I bought 6 boxes, I would get $10 off, plus I had a coupon. All said and done, each box was under $2. (YAY cereal for dinner for the next 2 weeks!)

Anyway, I thought it would be kind of fun to buy a box of Lucky Charms to reward the kids at some point for good behavior, or following directions, or not annoying one another, or....hmmm, I wonder if the cereal will still be magically delicious when grandkids come along.... At any rate, Madeline saw the box this morning and got very excited as she has never seen a box of Lucky Charms (at least, not to my recollection.) 

"Mom, I can't have any of these....these....these yummy things, right?" she asked.

"You mean the Lucky Charms? No, those are for when you and Aidan and Lily are REALLY good and get a special treat," I said. 

"Oh, I'm going to be really good then," she told me.

A few hours later Madeline came in and said, "Mom, I've been really good. Can I have some of the Magic Yummies?"

"Um, you mean the Lucky Charms." I corrected, snickering. "Not yet."

An hour or so later was snack time so Madeline grabbed the box of cereal and said, "Can I have some of these Lucky Treats?"

"Lucky Charms, Madeline. And not yet," I replied, holding back my laughter.

On the way to the store, Madeline asked, "Mom, if we are really good in the store can we have some of the Lucky Farms?" 

"Hee hee, you mean Lucky Charms," I said, imagining purple horses, red cows, orange chicks and green sheep marshmallows. "And no, you have to wait."

Lunch time rolled around and Madeline asked again, "Mom, can we have Lucky Harms for lunch?"

"Nope, and it's CHARMS, Lucky Charms," I repeated. 

"Oh right, Lucky Charms....can we have some?" 

"Not yet," I said.

After getting Aidan at the bus stop and shooing him off to his friend's house I pulled the box out and said, "Hey Madeline, what are these again?" 

"Um, they're Lucky, Lucky....Lucky somethings," she said. "Can you tell me?"

"Lucky Charms," I repeated, putting the box back.

"Can I have some now?" she asked, her eyes shimmering with hope.


And now I get it....dangle dangle....


My New Favorite Shirt, tee hee

I just don't understand why no one here seems to get it, hee hee....

Click here to see my other creations! (And there is more to come....because I really don't want to do the laundry today....)


Ponies Somewhere

Pony Joke (often attributed to Ronald Reagan): Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. Trying to dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Yet instead of displaying distaste, the little boy clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to all fours, and began digging. 'What do you think you’re doing?' the psychiatrist asked. 'With all this manure,' the little boy replied, beaming, 'there must be a pony in here somewhere.'

There are very few places in the world where your garage door can freeze shut. But alas, in a temporary lapse of sanity, we moved to one of those places and then when Kurt tried to leave for work the other day, he pushed the garage door button to open it and since the door was frozen to the track, the chain ripped away from the gear rendering the thing completely inoperable. This made for one very, um, "happy" husband who by all accounts was late to work (whatever that means given that he works for himself now.)

I was given the task of fixing the garage door that blissful morning. So, I grabbed a ladder, took a look, figured out how I would do it if I were really going to try myself and then called our next door neighbor to see if he'd come fix it because well, he is handy and has lots of neat tools and years of experience trying to fix things he knows nothing about. Meanwhile, the theatrical child inside, was screaming bloody murder because: "I can't get my snow suit on!" and "I need help!" and "It's too hot to wear this inside!" and "I can't get it off!" "MOOOOOOOM, I NEED YOU!"

Papa Marv, not understanding I'd much rather talk to him than deal with the insanity inside the house, sent me inside to take care of the little ones while he got to work putting our garage door back together again. 

Inside, Liam was laughing at the scene from his highchair while Aidan and Lily played out back in the snow. And Madeline, rolling around on the floor, one leg in her snow pants, jacket half off, one shoe partly on, the other flung across the room, continued screaming....it was hard to tell what she was actually trying to accomplish and once she was fully dressed to go out, both Aidan and Lily came back in, starting the cycle over. 

But, here's to looking for the ponies...

At dinner the other night Madeline asked, "Do you know what I eated?"

"Do you know what I ate," I corrected her.

"What?!" she asked, excitedly.

"No, Madeline, I mean you need to say  'do you know what I ate,'" I responded. 

"Oh," she said, thoughtfully. After a moment she resumed her questioning. "Well, do you know what I ated?" 

Close enough.

And then there was Aidan who after deciding to throw a snow party and making all sorts of decorations (so he calls them) came in and exclaimed:

"Mom, something terrible is happening here!"

"What's that Aidan?" I asked, a little worried.

"We can't have a party without women."

"What?" I asked, now giving my full attention.

"We can't have a party without women!" he said again.

"Did you just say we can't have a party without WOMEN?" I asked, completely shocked.

"NO! I said we can't have a party without RIBBON!" he clarified.


And then there was yesterday: after listening to the kids aggravate one another in the other room as I made dinner, and after coming to that crossroads where it is easy to throw patience out the window allowing other, more demonic parenting techniques to rear their ugly heads, I called the kids into the kitchen. They dutifully came in and stood there, one crying, one whining and the other with a look of total innocence on her face. 

"You see this piece of cardboard?" I asked, holding up an empty food container. "It is my heart," I went on. "And here is what you do to it every time you treat each other so badly." I started ripping the cardboard into hundreds of tiny pieces (actually, that felt really good, you should try it sometime....) The kids stood there, eyes wide, watching as I tore my 'heart' to pieces. 

"Now, do you want to rip mommy's heart to shreds?" I asked. They all nodded no, mumbled some apologies and I sent them off to try again. 

All was quiet on the western front, for a moment, and then I heard a shriek and some whining and Lily came waltzing in. She looked up at me and said, very seriously:

"Mommy, I sorry they teared your heart to pieces. They didn't mean to do it." 

Ponies, ponies everywhere.


Too Cold To Snow

You know it is too cold to go out when:

1. Ice is growing around your windows and doors....on the INSIDE of the house.

2. You check the thermometer to see what the temp is outside and the reading says: "Gone south for the winter."

3. You take your kid to the bus stop (all of 20 feet away) and your neighbor is sitting there with their kid, in a car. (I immediately gave him a hard time for being wimpy considering he is a native midwesterner and then stuck Aidan in the car with them before sprinting back inside to find that my jeans had frozen stiff and I couldn't feel all my toes!)

4. Your bread is frozen....IN THE CUPBOARD! (Seriously, maybe a little more insulation would be helpful!) 

5. You get well-intentioned (bordering on frantic) emails from your native Floridian mother telling you to dress warmly because it is very cold in Minnesota (um, duh), and reminding you that you were not raised in that kind of cold and by the way, you are no longer in southern California....you know, because you might have missed the 100 degree difference in temperature....or perhaps you simply didn't notice the ice inside your house....

6. You open up the microwave to warm up milk for the baby and you find ICICLES HANGING INSIDE! (To quote Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen, it's "Funny, but WRONG!")

7. Your slightly-damp-from-your-morning-shower-hair freezes into crunchiness when you step outside. (Certainly enough to remind you that you no longer live in CA. See mom, I didn't need your reminder after all...hee hee)

8. You need to put on a jacket, to look out the window.

9. It's TOO cold to snow....and when you hear it is hitting zero down south you think, "Wow, zero degrees? How nice and toasty that would be!"

10. You start comparing the weather to the arctic circle. "Well, gee, this cold front isn't so bad.....for northern Alaska!"

And just for the record, at -24 (feels like -42ish) I am now completely convinced that global warming is a bunch of hogwash....in case you cared.


Snow Chickens

ptarmigan: (aka Snow Chicken) Hardy, northern ground-dwelling bird....with feathered legs and feet. The willow ptarmigan, found in bushes and heather in northern parts of North America, Europe, and Asia, grows to 38 cm/15 in and turns white in the winter.

A few days ago we had a very heavy snowfall. We had enough snow that you could no longer see any of the old footprints or animal tracks, just that beautiful blanket of white. The next morning, I glanced outside and noticed what looked like a HUGE footprint on our deck (either that or an unfortunate squirrel fell off our roof).

"I wonder what made that mark?" I said aloud.

Without hesitation Madeline replied, "I think it was a Polar Bear." Not a bad guess if you ask me....

And then the big front came in and knocked us to sub-zero temps. Now, my mom had warned me that it was coming but even so, I ended up walking Aidan to the bus stop in 3/4 length lycra-like work-out pants which missed meeting the tops of my boots by about an inch and a half. In California, that would only mean you look ridiculous. In Minnesota, it means more than just looking stupid.... 

We stood there with Aidan's friend Nile and Nile's dad. Nile had on this cool black mask covering the lower portion of his face. 

"That's a cool mask, Nile. What is it for?" I asked, because I am sometimes really dumb.

"That's for when you are standing outside in negative 16 degree weather waiting for a school bus," his father answered me. I couldn't help but notice his amused look as he glanced at me and Aidan, both of us grossly unprepared. (I don't think Aidan even got his gloves on that morning so his hands were hiding up under his coat, which fortunately, he had bothered to zip for once and he had hung his lunch-box around his neck.)

"Ahhhh, so THAT is why the exposed skin on my legs feels like it's burning off," I chuckled, kind of.

"Yeah, you'd better go back inside. I'll wait with the boys," he said.

"Gee, thanks! Bye, Aidan!" I yelled, running across the street and back inside my house where there was ice on the INSIDE of our windows (and yes mom, the heat is, in fact, on). It took over an hour for my legs to stop burning. 

I am guessing the Snow Chickens and Polar Bears don't have this problem. 


Backyard Wildlife

So, we are apparently either drawn to wildlife in our backyard or we attract it, I am not sure which.  Last week, Lily was excited to watch a HUGE rabbit running around out back. It was really amazing to watch it actually play with a squirrel, hopping around in the snow (ring-around-the-rosie perhaps?) and eat at our frozen bushes. 

Then, a few days later,  we were sitting there at lunch and Madeline yells: "Look! A Coyote!" 

Thinking she was teasing, my mother-in-law and I looked outside and sure enough, we saw this: 

Granted, it is not a coyote but a fox, and from the looks of him, he hunts well. I hope our furry rabbit friend is on the look-out because he certainly seemed like he could very well have been on a mission. And ever since my mom replied to this picture with an email about the danger of rabid foxes, I have had images of children being rushed to the ER with the fox STILL ATTACHED screaming "Swiper, no swiping! Swiper, no swiping!" 

Then later, inside our house we realized there is nothing to worry about with this super hero around: 


I'm putting my money on Lily (with a possibility of the 5-shot series of Rabies Vaccine of course....)


Chicken School

There is this wonderful little children's story (by Carol Owens) online called Chicken School. It is about this chicken, Peep, who has befriended the farmer's daughter. They play together everyday and so, when the Chicken Soup Man comes to see if there are any old hens he can take for his soup, Peep overhears the farmer tell his daughter that Peep is safe because she is a pet. The other hens, however, haven't been laying enough eggs to "pay their keep" and to top it off, they make a game of pecking at and being mean to the farmer's sons. So, Peep puts the older hens in Chicken School, teaching them how to be nice to the boys so that they too can avoid being sent to the Chicken Soup factory. Her rules for avoiding slaughter are: 1. No Pecking; 2. No running away; 3. Snuggle when hugged.  In the end, the older hens realize how much more fun it is to actually play with the boys and the farmer doesn't send them away to be made into soup. Sorry to spoil it. Just reminded me of our week, kind of....

On Monday, I arranged to have Kurt and my in-laws watch the other kids so I could take Madeline to her new school, just the two of us. I wanted to give her (and her teachers) my full attention on this first day of her new adventure. As I was standing there telling her teacher about how tough the transition has been for her; about how her recent complaints have been "It's too cold! My bummy is turning into a frozen bum popsicle! I'm going to have a bum-pop!" she came up to give me a hug and kiss. I stood back up to continue my conversation. A few minutes later she came back, gave me another hug, asked if she could go color with the other students and went skipping away. A third time, she came back over, tugged me down to her eye level, hugged and kissed me and said, "Ok, BYE, Mom!"

She had a great first day (and second day) and then after her first play-date with a neighbor, whom she now adores, she hugged me and said she was glad we moved to our new house and she now likes the snow.....phew....

Aidan was next to start his new adventure. He couldn't start school until Wednesday (because apparently they think that it is necessary to have two full school days after getting the required immunizations for them to be effective....even if there was a full 2 week break since the shots....somehow I don't think 48 hours would make a difference with the 5th immunization of the series anyway, but hey, I'm not a doctor...) He was so excited to ride the bus,  he shed himself of his "family snail" title and was ready to go half an hour early. A little uneasy about how he would get from his bus to the classroom, he asked me to draw him a map from the bus parking to his room. We then walked out into the 11 degrees and snowing weather and froze our behinds off on the corner of the sidewalk as I tried taking a picture or two. The bus pulled up and Aidan shrugged away from me so as not to hold my hand across the street and in we went where the friendly driver asked if this was her new Aidan. She told him to sit in the first row, I said good bye and off they went. I don't know if it was supposed to be one of those mushy-emotional moments but watching the bus pull away had my eyes full of tears.  Then again, there was a sudden arctic blast that hit right as I exited the bus so perhaps it was the chill of winter that had me....

Lily has been quite jealous of her siblings, asking me everyday,  "When do I get to go to my school?" I'm not too concerned about this though because as she snuggled up close the last time I embraced her in a hug and told her she doesn't get to go to school just yet, her next question was: "When do we get to see the penguins?"

At least she has the snuggle-when-hugged part down....


Not again!

You want to know what's good about the stomach bug going through the house (again) in the middle of trying to settle in to a new home and get kids started in their new schools? 


(More later...)