Honest Chickens

There is a blogger I read sometimes whose intent is to embrace a fully honest, mindful and self-sufficient lifestyle for herself and her family. This includes keeping their own chickens for eggs and meat. One of her last posts was about the day they slaughtered their first chicken after "chickening" out for six weeks past the normal market weight. When asked how it tasted she replied: "Honest."

We were making pancakes the morning of Liam's Birthday Party. Lily was helping (which meant she was holding the bag of chocolate chips in hopes I would put some in at the end).

"Mom, if I fill up my sticker chart in school I can pick out a prize from the box to give to Liam for his birthday," Lily told me.

"That sounds good. How many stickers do you need?" I asked.

"About six, I think," she said.

"Have other kids already gotten to take a prize from the box this year?" I asked, curiously.

"Yeah, my friend Haley did, and a lot of others," she said, looking a little less excited.

"Well, why haven't you?" I asked.

"Well, Mo-om, that would mean I have to be good," she said.

Now THAT'S what I call an honest chicken. (But we have no plans to eat her just yet.)


Beating a Dead Horse (AKA: Yippee! Someone Left the Lock Open!)

Seriously, I don't mean to belabor the point but here is a short photo and video segment explaining why I can't turn my back for even a minute.....

"Gee Mom, it's so much more fun to Snap! Crackle! and Pop! WITHOUT the bowl and milk!"

Ever notice how it is never the day BEFORE the floors are mopped that kids manage to dump the entire box of cereal out? 

Have a lovely week! 


In the Wake of Solomon

In case you hadn't gotten the memo, it is currently Solomonsoon season in our household. The winds have shifted, dramatically, and around every corner, destruction awaits. While I can't show you proof of the day I heard the shattering glass in the kitchen only to find Solomon happily sitting IN THE MIDDLE OF IT (hey, even I have limits on how much picture taking can happen with danger looming), I can share some of his other less than favorable recent activities.

It was all fun and cleaning until he came walking out with the plunger.....which was slightly wet and I can only imagine how it got that way, ick..... 
Then there was the tape....

....that he used as a yo-yo.....

Then, there was the diaper cabinet demolition.....look, ten minutes of fun with the baby-wipes.....not sure why he had to pull the pillows off the couch too but hey whatever.....

He's now getting stronger than the rubber bands......best part is, most of the food was already on the floor far before the tray made it there, like usual and as soon as I start sweeping it up, he comes waddling back to eat from the pile (yes, I do stop him....usually.)

Oh look, what's this picture doing here of my neat and tidy music shelf? Oh wait, where are all the labels on the music organizers? Hmmm......

Oh, right, he pulled them all out, ate some of them, spit others out, and yes, that is the severed end of some earplugs he found in the piano bench.....
And finally, you may recall his love of the dishwasher rack....well, apparently he has moved on to better things:

Before pulling him on out I asked him why he didn't just play with the bottom rack like he used to....he told me that was SO yesterday. Duh. 

And yes dear reader, I realize he is likely to break the dishwasher by crawling on the door and pulling on the, um, whatever that thingamajig is but this is so much cleaner than where I found him only moments earlier (pulling the toilet paper off the roll, dousing it with toilet water AND EATING IT!) that I think I'll take my chances. (You know the other kids don't always flush, right? BLECH!)

Can't imagine how this might end.....

Hey look Mom,  I'm dancing.....on a stool.....
.....on only one leg!

There he is in a quiet moment.....just looking for trouble.....(give him that mirror will ya!)


I'm Thinking of An Animal

The following is our first real attempt at keeping the kids focused on a verbal game, in order to keep them quiet, so that we refrain from duct taping their mouths shut. It went something like this:

Me: Ok, I'm thinking of an animal.
Lily: Is it a bunny?
Me: What? No! Just wait, Lily. We'll go in age order. Aidan you're first.
Aidan: Is it a reptile?
Me: No. Madeline, your turn.
Madeline: Is it a bunny?
Me: No.
Kurt: Girls, you need to ask categorical questions first; questions about size and where it lives and....
Lily: How big is it?
Me: It has to be a yes or no question.
Lily: Is it a fish?
Me: No.
Liam: Does it live in a tree? Is it an EEEEEGUANA?
Me: No and no.
Aidan: Does it live on land?
Me: Hmmm, mostly.
Aidan: Oh, I know, is it a, a.....
Lily: Is it a Polar Bear?
Me: It's not your turn, Lily.
Madeline: Is it a Polar Bear?
Me: No.
Lily: Is it a Honey Bee?
Me: No.
Liam: Is it an EEEguana?
Me: Uh, no.
Aidan: Does it have fur?
Me: Yes.
Madeline: Is it a Penguin?
Me: Madeline, penguins don't have fur.
Madeline: Yes, they do.
Me: No, they are birds, they don't.
Madeline: But Penguins are mostly on land and sometimes in the water.
Aidan: Oh I KNOW! Is it....
Kurt and Me: Wait your turn!
Lily: (laughing) Is it a dog?
Me: No.
Liam: Is it an Iguana?
Me: Still no.
Aidan: IS IT A TURTLE?!!!
Me: No. Good idea though.
Aidan: Ooooh man! Oh, wait, I know, it's from that movie, you know, the one I read all the books for....(he runs out of the room then back again) The Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe.
Madeline: Is it a lion?
Me: No.
Lily: (Laughing again) Is it a wardrobe?
Liam: Is it an Iguana?
Me: No and no.
Aidan: Is it a BEAVER!?
Me: Yes! Good Job, Aidan!

This went on a few rounds, guessing at fruit and bugs and planets before Liam wanted his turn.

Liam: I have an animal.
Madeline: Is it an Iguana?
Liam: (With fists excitedly waving up and down into the air like that old guy who loved Raymond on Everyone Loves Raymond) YYYYYEEEES! GOOOOOD JOB! YAAAAY! You GOT IT!

You know, because THAT was a tough one. Gotta love him!

Have a great day!


21 Days of Bliss

It has been twenty-one days: twenty-one days of the New Year and seventeen since the last Graceful Chicken post. And even that post had been brewing in my head for over two weeks. What is happening to time? January is on its way out, the Solomonater turned one TWO WEEKS ago, and Liam is about to hit the fourth anniversary of his birth. It's insane how fast certain seasons pass us by!

As I was finishing up my 16 mile run today....on the treadmill....I started contemplating why I hadn't written anything recently. Usually I try to stay very present and take in as much as I can so that something pops out at me and forces me to write. Why wasn't I focused? What was draining my energy? (Uh, duh....perhaps reaching the 150th minute of that run??) Wasn't it just last week that we had enjoyed the most exciting Christmas ever? Wasn't it just yesterday that we entered 2012 with a bang of good tidings and hopeful endeavors? Wasn't I still coming off the thrill of having run my New Years Day 10k race (the beginning of that 5 race series I so enthusiastically signed myself up for last October, remember? I have to admit, the enthusiasm had all but puttered out by the time I was dragging myself out of bed and into that 20 degree weather to run on ice and sludge New Years morning.) I ran far faster than I had anticipated, eager to get back home to make our traditional Black-Eyed Peas and Rice, and when checking my time (45:09) on the computer, I realized I hadn't just met my goal of finishing within the top 100 female runners like I had hoped for, I had placed 6th, and 1st in my age category. Kurt made such a big deal out of it, I started to pray continuously for humility, to keep my head on straight and remain aware that it wasn't that big of a deal and that I owe it all to Him who created me. And Humility (yes, with a capital H) did I get. After a week of pseudo-recovery running, I had to take time off due to an over-use injury. And take up swimming again (ick). And then seek out a Physical Therapist. Such is the way with running.

And then, Aidan won the art contest for the neighborhood's phone directory. Not a huge deal but the thrill on the kids' faces was priceless when they received their participation rewards ($10 EACH in Target Gift cards....next year Liam and Solomon are SO entering!) and their own personal copy of the directory, complete with their artwork on it.

And then, winter finally showed up, with only one foot in the door but at least it is beginning to look like it feels outside. We have long awaited its arrival here in MN. Seriously. It's just not right to live in the arctic tundra and to be "dreaming of a white Christmas" instead of actually having one. And I am positive my kids were tired of me repeating "brown....it's the new white." (It's when they started botching it up repeatedly that I realized the joke was long past its prime. It takes me a while sometimes.) And only yesterday did winter seem to tease us with a little snow (yay for the kids....really) and today, already, they are driving us bonkers!

I knew it was getting bad when Kurt looked up at me during breakfast today, nodded toward the kids and asked, "Why did we do this again?"

Yeah, just pass the espresso.

All that to say, I hope you have made the most of the New Year so far. Perhaps you made some resolutions, set some goals, are slowly making your way toward that new and improved you. Maybe you have some exciting things creeping up on the horizon. Maybe you are just happy to still be here and breathing; that's okay, too.

I'll try to stay more present and get some posts in. You just stay on top of that breathing!


The Solomonster

Having neglected the blog a bit too long, I thought maybe I would start this New Year out with a little update on the Solomonster. After all, he is set to turn ONE on Saturday, assuming he doesn't take his identity too far and get himself into a peck of trouble.

Why the nickname Solomonster you ask? Oh, I was hoping you'd want to know. 

You see, like many babies, he is into everything. For instance, there's the time I found him pulling out everything from the kids' cabinet in the art room:

No big deal right? 

Then he moved his reign of terror into the kitchen:

Notice, there is even a lock on this cabinet.....he apparently has a radar that senses when they are left unlocked and ready for his investigation....it's especially fun when he empties the cereal boxes. And the cleaning supplies. And the....
Then, he makes his way to our Bible stand.....and while one might think he is simply showing his extremely wise and spiritual nature, obviously living up to his name.....

They'd be a little off for really he is just trying to see how much he can pull down (and then tear apart).

So, since I have stuff to do and can't always be protecting the entire house from his mayhem, he goes into Solomon-tary confinement and immediately he flexes his muscles:

It's all fun and games until the entire changer comes crashing down on him, at which point, he simply crawls out of the rubble and claims his victory.
And then there is the battle at meal times. Look here: Solomonster peacefully eating his breakfast. Notice the rubber bands we have holding his tray onto the high chair.  

Now, watch what happens the instant we remove him from bondage and "unlock" the tray. 

First, he feels around to find the latch.

He looks up at us, knowing he has it.

He pushes the tray up, looking around to see if anyone is watching.

And finally, the look of innocence. "Whoa! How'd that happen?" (Again....) 

Here's the instant replay:

We're currently stocking up on thick, strong rubber bands......

So, Madeline got this cute Mini Lop bunny for Christmas (yes, we know we bring on our own misery and suffering): 
Meet Oreo
And Solomonster, what does he do? Well when he isn't sticking his fingers in the hutch trying to poke at Oreo's eyes and grab Oreo's ears, he likes to chase it:

None of these things are abnormal mind you.....matter of fact, other than Kurt and I actually getting the pet rabbit for Madeline's Christmas present, these things are all actually perfectly in line with typical behavior. 

But then the other day, as I was doing the dishes, I went to put the dirty plates in the dishwasher and discovered the bottom rack was missing.....at that same moment, I heard a noise that sounded vaguely like a raccoon getting his back legs run over by a tank while trying to escape the grip of an alligator around its waist, and I went running around the corner to find a very frustrated Solomonster.....upset that he wasn't able to get the dishwasher rack around the dining room table.....

 The kid is a monster. But at least I know where to look next time I can't find MY DISHWASHER PARTS!

Where will he strike next?
Round and round the house he goes, where he'll stop, nobody knows. But rest assured, I almost always know which little monster did it!