Monday, October 26, 2009

Does that sound like a wolf to you?

I am trying something new this week and I am super excited about it! I came across a blog called I ♥ Faces. It is a photography blog that has a contest every week based on a certain theme. The theme for this week is Halloween dressup. What could be more perfect than Hailey dolled up as Little Red Riding Hood? While I was taking her photo I was asking her questions about a wolf being in the woods and almost on cue a dog started barking. She was shocked at first (which I captured in this photo) and then thought it was hilarious.

If you get a chance, hop on over to the I ♥ Faces blog and check out all the other costumes and photos by some amazing photographers!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where the wild things are

If his current level of enthusiasm continues into the future, Evan is going to be the kid in high school that starts on a term paper the day the teacher gives the assignment. Topic sentence by tomorrow? He'll bring in the first draft of three paragraphs.

Even now, he begs me to do his letter flashcards with him. He loves to sit at the counter while I am cooking dinner and try to spell out words that I give to him. He lights up like a Christmas tree when you ask him to count to one hundred. His thirst for knowledge is unquenchable and I can only hope the trend continues.

His latest school project was to come up with an imaginary creature and present it to the class while answering a few simple questions about it. His creature was finished a week before it was due. It was agonizing for him. He could not wait for his share day so that he could take his masterpiece to school with him.

His teacher gave the students three questions to answer about their creature. Where does it live? What does it eat? and What does it do for fun? Evan had the answers to his questions down pat the first time I asked him. Once again I have to wonder how two brothers can be so different. When Spencer did the same assignment, we were scrambling a couple days before it was due for him to finish it, and to get him to finish it was a major arm twisting. And as far as his answers, they changed EVERY time we asked him.

I had to get out the video camera and have Evan hold up his creature and answer the questions while I recorded them because every time he told me his answers, I couldn't stop smiling for hours afterward. If my video camera were not almost the size of a loaf of bread, I would be able to put a clip on here and make the rest of your day. But bread it is, so you will just have to take my word for it.

Mom: Where does your creature live?

Evan: A tree

Mom: What does it eat?

Evan: Wizards and it eats them waw! (Lizards and it eats them RAW!)

Mom: What does it do for fun?

Evan: Chase swirlels. (Chase squirrels)

Oh Evan! Your creature was was as awesome as you are! In the famous words of Maurice Sendak, "I'll eat you up I love you so!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fun, freezing, family, fall festivities...

On Sunday morning, we bundled up for the way-too-close-to-freezing-for-early-October weather, and drove to a local orchard and pumpkin patch. The kids didn't seem to mind the cold too much. They definitely could have used some mittens and I was wishing from the moment that I stepped out of the van that I would have brought along a hat for myself. It was still pretty early in the day though and the sun was supposed to shine and the high temperature was expected to be near fifty degrees.

The kids had fun riding on the mini express train. They loved feeding the animals on the farm and petting them. I am not a fan of petting zoos at all. I have enough germs to worry about these days, let alone some animal germs thrown into the mix.

The boys wanted to walk through the corn maze, so we did that. It actually felt warmer in the maze because the corn stalks did a great job of blocking the wind. Spencer had extensive amounts of energy in the maze and would just take off running through the corn and then run back at us making crow noises. We were just thankful that he wasn't complaining that his bones hurt like he usually does when we walk around somewhere.

After we made our way out of the maze, the kids decided they wanted to try out the giant jumping pillow. Since we got there so early, they were the only kids on the thing.

When the kids were all jumped out, we decided it was time to climb on board the apple express and go and pick us some apples in the orchard. The ride travels the "scenic" route to the orchard, through the woods where they have created some questionably scary scenes throughout. It was a little chilly for a glorified hayride, so I was pretty happy when we finally made it to the orchard.

When we had a bag full of apples, it was pumpkin picking time! I love pumpkin patches! I had never been to an actual pumpkin patch until we had Spencer. Any pumpkins I had growing up came from the supermarket or local gas station display. They were fine pumpkins, there is just something cool about picking your own straight out of the place where it grew.

Hailey was not a happy little girl for pretty much the whole day. She was constantly wanting to be picked up and carried. If we would put her down she would just cry and scream until someone picked her up again. The only thing she enjoyed was looking at the animals. That was all she wanted to do. Further proof (in my opinion) that she is not my daughter - she was switched at birth! Ha!

I really thought the pumpkin patch would cheer her up, but no such luck. She was just having a bad day.

It was a great day in spite of the unseasonable cold and the inconsolable girl. I told Trent on the way home that if it were ten degrees warmer and Hailey could have gone five consecutive minutes without fussing - the day would have been near perfect.

She did eventually stop crying. The minute I went to sit with her in the van while the boys jumped on the pillow again, she was back to her smiley self. Maybe she would rather get her pumpkins from the gas station?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

We had Saturday morning free from soccer games, drama classes and everything and anything else that seems to take up our time. It was a brisk fall morning so we decided to pack up the kids and head up north to the annual pumpkin roll.

I don't know how or why this pumpkin roll tradition got started. This is only the second year that we have ever attended. Basically you bring a pumpkin (or buy one there for a dollar) and you pay a couple of dollars to register your pumpkin with a number. You carry your pumpkin to the top of a hill and you fling it down the hill in hopes that yours will be the first one to the bottom. They break the rolling down into age groups with the youngest children going first all the way up to adults. Each age group is also broken down into smaller groups of twenty to twenty five or so. I bet they have close to a thousand pumpkins that go barreling down that hill on the day of the roll.

It is hard to get a photo of the pumpkins actually coming down the hill because you will get hit by a pumpkin if you are in the road. And believe me...they hit HARD!
Spencer picked out a pumpkin to roll, but Evan and Hailey didn't want to roll theirs. They wanted to paint them instead. Trent and Spencer trudged up the hill to wait for their turn to roll while Hailey, Evan and I waited at the bottom to watch them come down.

About forty five minutes later, I finally spotted Spencer running down the hill looking for his pumpkin in his huge orange puffy jacket with one hand trying to keep his too big in the waist jeans from coming down. If only the boy would listen to me when I tell him to put a belt on!

For some reason I had a feeling that Spencer's pumpkin would be first in his heat to the bottom and my intuition was right on. He inherited the Dan-O luck. Of course he won! And what you ask does the winner of the pumpkin roll get? A nice blue ribbon and a free cup of hot cocoa! Whoo Hoo!

We headed back to the pumpkin painting table so my patient little co-cheerleaders could paint their non-prize winning, non-rolling pumpkins and they had already packed up the paints. They were bummed but were easily cheered up by cotton candy and caramel corn and the promise that we could paint them at home later.
All in all a good day at the pumpkin fest!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


A couple of nights ago, Spencer was out selling his Boy Scout popcorn door to door. The next day our neighbor lady told me that she thought he looked adorable in his uniform. Later that day I told Spencer what she had said. Then Daddy told Spence that he should wear his uniform to school and he would be irresistible to the girls. Spencer looked at us and said "I am concerned on many levels about what you just told me".

Daddy was doing some Sunday school work with Spencer and Evan and the question he posed to them was "How can you be a child of God?" Evan in his overtired, crazy, hyper, say anything to shock you kind of stupor replied "You could toot in his face." And then proceeded to laugh his head off. Spencer looked at him in total seriousness and said "Evan, something BAD is going to happen to you!"

The other day while Spencer was making his own bologna sandwich I hear a shout from the kitchen, "MOM! Where is that Magical Whip?".

Last month when I told the boys that Dad and I were going to be gone for the weekend. Spencer asked how many days that we would be gone. I told him two days. To which he replied "Well, that's two days of my life that I am never gonna get back".

I have no idea how he comes up with half of the stuff he says.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another issue not covered in the manual

Hailey has been doing great with potty training. She has filled up three charts with stickers and is the proud owner of a slew of Polly Pockets and Polly's rubbery wardrobe. The last couple of days something just sort of clicked. Where as before she was accident free as long as she was naked from the waist down, all of a sudden she can be clothed and still realize she has to get to her potty when she feels the urge. Now I will dress her in big girl unders and pants and she will come to me when she has to go or more often than not, she will just start stripping herself down on the way to the bathroom. The recent progress just amazes me.

Even more amazing is that the night before last she was dry through the night. I know that the leap from day dryness to night dryness is not a huge hurdle for some kids. In fact Spencer was the exact same way. When he decided he was done with diapers - he was done with them. Of course he was three and a half years old. I guess that I was just planning on having a little more of a difficult time with the night time dryness. I realize that you are probably reading this thinking "She was dry one night. That's a fluke. That doesn't mean that she is trained". To which I say- let me tell you what happened last night.

She went to bed around seven o' clock like she normally does. About an hour later we heard her wake up and then she started screaming for Daddy. She was hard to understand because she sounded really sleepy but still seemed to urgently need Daddy. Daddy went up and asked her what was wrong and she told him that she had to go pee pee. He took her to the potty, she went and then she went back to sleep. This morning at around 6:35 a.m. I heard a similar call for Mommy and also heard the word "pee pee". I ran in to get her and sat her on the potty and sure enough, she had to go. And her overnight diaper was perfectly dry.

All of which leads me to my latest parenting issue. She still sleeps in her crib at night. What are we supposed to do now? She has to be able to get out. I don't want her to hold in her urine when she has to go because she can't get out. That is just a recipe for bladder issues. The obvious solution is that she needs to go into a big girl bed. I just worry that if I do that it will be too much "new" at the same time and she will either regress with the potty progress or she will not stay in her bed at night. She hates going to bed already because she knows that everyone else is still up without her. I don't know what to do.

I was thinking this morning about what we did with the boys. Why is this the first time we are dealing with this issue? What is unique about this situation? What is unique is that for the first time I have a child who is two years old and I am not pregnant or taking care of an infant. Spencer was Hailey's age when he moved into a big bed to give up his crib for Evan, and no where close to being potty trained. Evan was even younger than her when he moved because we needed to get him set up in his room before she came along. He was daytime trained but still wore pull ups at night. In fact, he still wears pull ups at night. Maybe I underestimate her. I think that if they could transition without a problem, then she can too. But then again, all of this "transition" was not happening at the same time for the boys. See what I mean?

I think for now, I am going to see what happens over the next couple nights. If we continue to get the morning wake up scream, I think I will see if I can take a side off of her crib. That would let her out on her own but still seem pretty status quo. If the night dryness can continue and she can stay in her room, it will probably be time to go bed shopping. Which means that I will not have a crib in my house for the first time in over eight years.....

I don't know if I am ready for this!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Say yes to the dress

Hailey and I went thrift store shopping yesterday in search of some key components for Halloween costumes. A couple of weeks ago we found a nice lab coat that will be great for Spencer's mad scientist costume. The downer is that it is an adult size extra large so I will have to do some minor alterations to get it to look right on him. Yesterday we found him some perfect plaid pants that he can wear with a crazy shirt. The only things we haven't come across are a bow tie and safety glasses. Wouldn't you think that thrift stores would be full of bow ties?

We were also looking for a sweet little dress that Hailey could wear as part of her Little Red Riding Hood costume. At the first store we went to, they had nothing remotely close to what I was thinking of. I was starting to worry a little about having to sew together a fancy little pinafore. My fears were unfounded because at the next stop we found three dresses that would work out fine. I had a hard time choosing which one would work out best and since the price tags were 1.49, .49 and .49 - I figured I could splurge the two dollars and fifty cents for all three dresses. I mean seriously - I couldn't even purchase the thread, let alone the material to make the dress for that price.

Now I need some help. I posted pictures of Hailey in the three dresses and I am taking a vote. Leave your vote for which one you like best in the comments section at the bottom of the post.

Number 1 -This was the first one I spotted. I think it may not be frumpy enough. It reminds me of a baptismal gown. I actually might dress her in this one for a wedding or something.

Number 2 - I like that the smocking has some dark red that will stand out once she has the cape on. I like the long sleeves because late October in Michigan can be freezing. I don't like that it is a size 4T and still seems a little short. I most likely will have tights on her though. Also don't like the fact that there seem to be coffee or cola stains on the front. I did wash them all once before she tried them on, but didn't notice the stains then so didn't stain stick them or anything.

Number 3 - I love the front with the smocking and the apron. I feel like it is the most in the style of RRH. I am not crazy about the pink stripes. It makes me think of a candy stripper.
There are the choices! Don't forget to vote. Also wish me some luck and talent because here is what I will be doing in the next couple of weeks.