Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Well, all three of the girls said something hilariously cute today, and I, thinking that I could remember it (it must've been REALLLLLY cute) did not write it down. Hence, this worthless post.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Liners

Josie in the bathtub with her new snorkel set: "Oh, man. My gargles are fogging up."

Sadie, after serenading me with Bringing in the Sheaves: "Hey! Howdaya like that? I sounded like an opera singer!"

Adelaide sang this song in the car: "Oh, you are a bad mom... you are a bad, bad mom, la la la, you are a bad one oh yes." Me: "Are you talking to me? That's not very nice." Adelaide: "No, not you. I'm talking to a different bad mom."

Sadie: I am just never appreciated!

Josie, when she was covered with HIVES because of Off Skintastic bug spray: "Oh, Mommy. I just hate the way I look!"

Adelaide, after family game night: "We played Crazy Eggs (Crazy 8s) and Goggle (Boggle)!

After sneezing on her brother, Adelaide said, "Ooops. I bless you'd on he's head."

After tooting on my leg at the doctor's office and laughing, I said, "What do you say? (meaning excuse me)" She answered, "Um... I tooted on your leg?"

And, Adelaide's four stories in one, read to her baby brother from her little white bible: "Once upon a time there was on old lady who was whispering hush the naked bear will get thee. Amen."

More lies!

Adelaide, when I came in to find Jed crying and on the floor: "I did not sit on Jed's back and he's head! I didn't!"

Adelaide to her dad, after walking around spraying PetHead orange dog cologne all over the house that he had to clean off: "I did not spray that, Daddy. Oh, you don't need to wipe this one. Or that one. Or that table. Or that chair."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Synchronized Burping and Tiaras

After only two months, I finally managed to write my column about Josie's birthday!

There are few things that strike fear into the hearts of little girls’ moms like the dreaded words “tea party sleepover.”

When Josie mentioned that what she really wanted for her sixth birthday was a sleepover/tea party with all of her friends, I tried to look on the bright side. There would be no visit to Chuck E. Cheese, no pool party with biting mosquitoes, no lugging food over to Grandma’s house (the family’s designated “party central.")

The bad side? Ten overly dramatic, nail-polishing, loud-squealing, ballet-dancing, giggling goofballs at my house for 18 hours.

As the greatly anticipated night approached, we (and by we, I mean I) prepared a tea party fit for a (birthday) queen. Of course, everything had to be tiny so it could be consumed from the end of tiny red, yellow and green sword-shaped toothpicks.

Everyone who is anyone knows that tea party food must be small enough to be consumed from toothpicks.

At last, all 10 girls arrived and deposited their pink-wrapped parcels on the gift table. After some minimal twirling and knock-knock joke-telling, they began to adorn themselves with various tea party fineries. Crowns, gloves, clip-on earrings, a long blond wig, fairy wings, plastic high heels and various hats and hair bows sparkled from every giggly, wiggly body.

Once they finally settled in at the lace-covered table, they reached for their toothpicks and skewered little hotdogs, baby carrots, sugar-snap peas, petite pickles, popcorn, marshmallows, strawberries and oranges.

They TRIED to use toothpicks to eat the following: croissants with jam, cupcakes with pastel frosting, and cucumber sandwiches topped with edible flowers. There was also an attempt at spearing a peanut, but for future reference, peanuts do not cooperate with toothpicks.

If you’ve ever been around a group of little girls playing tea party, you know that for some reason, they magically act more ladylike when they are passing the sugar and pouring the tea. It’s hard to maintain that demeanor for any great length of time, though, as these quotes from the party (listed in descending order along with their manners) attest:

Do you like my fancy shoes?

Could you pass that tiny spoon?

I would like the vegetables, please.

Sugahhh, please.

I think we need more creamer.

I know how to do fondue.

A piece of popcorn fell in the marshmallows – rescue it!

Can you go cross-eyed?

I’m gonna dance for you.

You need to act ladylike!

What about the birthday crown? Where is the birthday crown?

Happy birthday to myself!

*Burp!* (laughter all around)

Hey, who did that?

That was not very ladylike.

Ugh, get that burp away from me!

Wait, hold on! We are the burp musketeers!

Synchronized burping, everyone! Ready? And… go!

After eavesdropping while playing maid to the “ladies at tea,” I must admit that I was having a pretty good time myself. This was not an exchange of words that you hear every day.

Yes, getting everyone to sleep was impossible (I gave up around 1:30 a.m.) Yes, there was some drama (a fight over a pair of slippers shaped like chicken feet, of all things.) Yes, by the time morning rolled around I was ready for the Mom Cavalry to roll in and commence the pick-ups.

Josie’s birthday idea didn’t end up being quite as scary as I thought it would, though.

Anything that includes tiaras and synchronized burping can’t be all bad!

-from my 9/25/11 article for

Thursday, September 22, 2011

3 year old sermon

Tonight as I was tucking Adelaide in, she asked me to read her a story. Since I had just READ her a story, I said no. Then she held up her little white Bible with the gold letters on the front and said, "I just want you to read me ONE story. ONE verse!" So of course, I had to. I read about faith being able to move mountains and how God will give us what we need if we ask. Then she said she wanted to read a verse to me. As we sat there on her toddler bed, complete with Dora blanket, she took her Bible in her chubby little hands and leaned over it, pointing to the words like she was indeed reading it. She read in her little voice, "And God is right here wif us. And angels too. And if you fall down, God will pick you up. And if you get a boo-boo, God will help you. The end."

Monday, September 19, 2011

4 in a row

Adelaide, reading her little white bible to her baby brother (notice the 4 different books going on here): "Once upon a time, there was an old lady whispering hush the naked bear will get thee. Amen."

2)Goodnight Moon
3)Hiawatha's Childhood
4)The Bible

Poor Josie

Josie, pathetically: "Will you kiss my knee, Mommy? Well... I guess you don't really HAVE to. I only just scraped off the top layer of my skin."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back to (Home)school

This week we had our first official day of "school." Since we homeschool, we were able to postpone our start date to coincide with the end of our summer travels.

Because I greatly enjoyed the hedonistic free-for-all that was our summer has been, I was a bit apprehensive about making the transition from Mommy to Teacher. I honestly did not expect the day to go well.

The girls were actually excited about going back to (home)school, a drastic change from last year’s online school that stressed us all out.

After breakfast and chores were over, Adelaide rang our little brass school bell and we commenced. We sang the good morning song and wrote the date on the whiteboard in the classroom.

Then the girls made up our class rules to post on the wall. With no coaxing from me, they made this list. I couldn’t have done better myself!

1 - No B.A. (bad attitudes)
2 - Obey
3 - Focus
4 - Be kind
5 - Have fun!

Sadie and Josie then grabbed their math notebooks, Jed played on the floor and Adelaide busied herself with Play-doh. After math, they took a break to run around outside and then we did our reading/spelling/language.

They loved the math. The curriculum we chose included lots of little teeny blocks in a rainbow of colors, and they raced through the first 10 pages in their books without ever slowing down.

Amazingly, I didn't hear any complaints about the writing parts either. Sadie even made a joke: one of her spelling words was "Duck." She had to read it twice, once in block print and once in cursive. So of course after she read, "Duck, duck” she added in “goose." We couldn’t stop giggling about that for a long time.

Next we headed to the kitchen where they chose from the new "What's for Lunch?" board on the fridge (a ready-made menu of what they can have, so I don’t have to play Twenty Questions three different times. I guess that would make it Sixty Questions.)

Sadie made her favorite chili beans and Josie (insisting on wearing a plastic hair-covering “like the lady at Sam’s Club”) and Adelaide made themselves bean and cheese burritos. While we ate, we talked about goals for the year.

In addition to getting through our math, reading and other subjects for the year, Josie wants to focus on swimming, karate, learning to read and memorizing the poem Hiawatha's Childhood.

Sadie wants to learn more ballet, memorize the names of lots of animal groups (did you know a group of flamingos is called a flamboyance?), learn proper swimming techniques and take horseback riding lessons.

Adelaide wants to learn her ABCs, her shapes and how to swim.

After lunch, we headed outside to a blanket under our big tree. Josie practiced Hiawatha while making up tribal dances on the driveway. Every time she starts reciting she announces, “Hiawatha, by Henry B. Swap.”

Henry B. Swap was a character in a book we read last year. He was the very first Henry she ever “met,” so now she can’t seem to switch over from “B. Swap” to “Wadsworth Longfellow.” It cracks me up every time.

Later we had blueberry popsicles, ran through the sprinkler, read stories and blew bubbles.

When I checked over their work that night, I saw that one of the questions on Sadie’s language worksheet was “What is your teacher’s name?” She had filled in, very carefully, “Mom.”

Not bad for a first day. Not bad at all.

from my 9/18/11 article for

Monday, September 12, 2011

Say What?

Tonight we were in the car headed out for dinner. The kids discussed amongst themselves where they wanted to go and unanimously came up with Chipotle. I hate Chipotle these days, so I said, "Well, I don't want to go there and since I'm the mom my vote counts 10 times. So there." Adelaide, who is THREE, mind you, shot right back, "Well, if you don't like Chipotle, why don't you just stay home, then?"

THEN, as if that weren't bad enough, when we got home and Jesse was getting ready to read her Goodnight Moon, he told her they could go sit in the rocking chair in Jed's room (for old times' sake :). She said, "You can't fit in the rocking chair." He said, "Look, I'm IN the rocking chair." She said, "Get up! You're going to break it in half!" He said, "What? Am I too big and fat to sit in the chair?" She said, "Yes."

This child pulls no punches.

On a lighter note, she was chasing her two older sisters around and around the yard with Josie's new "spear" from Tweetsie. When I asked what she was doing, she said, "I am trying to catch those two cantaloupe!"

First day of (home)school

Today was our first official day of "school," as far as doing it the new way (ie: MY way instead of the online school) goes. We started out differently right from the start: I got up early and got Jedidiah fed and some chores done before anyone else even woke up. Big plus on my part! Then I had set the clock for Sadie and Josie last night, so they got up right at 8:30, did their morning chores, and came down for their new WEEK LONG chore packs. Everyone read off their chore cards out loud so everybody would know who is doing what for the week. Then we had breakfast while I did our Bible reading. They had a few minutes of free time while I finished feeding and cleaning Jed up. Then Adelaide rang the school bell and we commenced. First things first, we sang the good morning song and wrote today's date on the white board. Then we made our class rules (actually, THEY made up the rules and I couldn't have done better myself!).

1 - No B.A. (bad attitudes)
2 - Obey
3 - Focus
4 - Be kind
5 - Have fun!

S and J grabbed their math notebooks out of their crates, Jed played on the floor, and Adelaide busied herself with Play-doh at the little white table. We did Math, took a break, then did our reading/phonics/language. They LOVED the math, and I didn't hear any complaints about the reading either. Sadie even made a joke... one of her words was "Duck." She had to read it twice, once in block print and once in cursive. So of course she read, "Duck, duck... goose." I got a big kick out of that! After we finished, we headed to the kitchen where they got to choose from the new "What's for Lunch?" board. Sadie made herself some chili beans and Josie and Adelaide made themselves bean and cheese burritos. Then we talked about our goals for the year.... Josie wants to focus on swimming, karate, learning to read, and memorizing Hiawatha's childhood. Sadie wants to do dancing, learn the names of animal groups, learn proper swimming techniques, and take horseback lessons. Adelaide wants to learn her ABCs, how to swim, and the 12 tribes of Israel (okay, I helped her with that one :).

After lunch, we headed outside to a blanket in the shade under our big tree where we read "The Rag Coat," one of our FIAR books. It made me cry! Then we practed Hiawatha while doing Indian dances on the driveway. What a great first day! I'm almost scared that it was so good.... when will the other boot drop?!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mount Laundry

Sometimes I forget that there are other rooms in my house.

Most days, I feel like I live in the laundry room. With two adults, three active little girls and one very messy baby boy contributing to the “to-be-washed” pile, I might as well just pull a cot in there and call it a night.

There’s no room for an extra bed there, though. Extra things go in there. I don’t mean for them to go there – they just do. They gravitate there.

The nice long countertop is never available for folding purposes. It’s always full of tote bags, swimsuits, birthday presents, wrapping paper, cleaning supplies, umbrellas, crates full of Play-doh, an Easy Bake Oven, a plastic kite and umpteen other things that don’t have a real “home” in my home.

Sure, I clean it out now and then, but somehow the laundry room remains a magnet for all things random.

Even when you don’t have much space, or even a designated laundry room, there are still many ways to do laundry. Some people do a load or two every day. Some have a designated “laundry day,” when they lug everything into the laundry room. Some leave it going all the time, choosing to live in laundry limbo, with clothes piled in bins or hanging on various racks all over the place.

I, for one, have a system.

Five baskets: one for each child, one for grown-ups. This is my sorting mantra: “Sadie, Adelaide, Josie, grown-up, baby, grown-up, Josie, Sadie, grown-up, Adelaide, baby, grown-up.” (I’ve been known to wake myself up from a sound sleep while muttering this strange incantation.)

My children know that there is always laundry to do. I usually have one load in the washer, one in the dryer and one in the laundry room sink (basically a holding cell for all the dirty clothes I can’t stuff into the washer). Sometimes the kids help while standing on a little blue step-stool (Josie especially loves to put in detergent; Adelaide likes to help move wet loads from the washer to the dryer.)

They seem to want to help me conquer the summit of Mount Laundry. I am suspicious though. I think they just hang around until they see me pulling the warm clean stuff out of the dryer. They immediately confiscate the toasty sheets so they can wrap themselves up like mummies and relax in the laundry basket.

They do help fold and put away, though. I’ve labeled all their dresser drawers so they can remember what goes where. Sadie brings the upstairs hamper down every morning as one of her regular chores. Adelaide and Josie argue over who gets to fold the towels – kitchen towels are a hot commodity in the laundry business. Even with help, though, the summit seems unreachable.

So I say to myself, “Self, how do I down-size this mountain?” Then I answer myself with increasingly ridiculous ideas.

Maybe I should set my standards a little bit lower: It doesn’t matter if there’s ketchup on that pink T-shirt. Red and pink are in the same color family! Wear it one more time.

Maybe I should try to develop a higher dirt tolerance: It doesn’t matter if there is mud on the knees of those jeans. Brown is in this season. Wear it one more time.

Maybe I should worry less about comfort: It doesn’t matter if your socks feel crunchy. They look fine. Wear them one more time.

Or smell: I can’t smell you from over here. Oh, wait. Stand downwind. That’s better. Yeah, we can get one more day out of that.

I have a system. I didn’t say that it worked – just that I have one. I guess it will be a while before we plant the victorious laundry flag on the top of this particular mountain.

-from my article for on 9/11/11

Friday, September 09, 2011

PAY it forward

Last week Adelaide and Jedidiah and I were at the library. I had a fine (as usual) but didn't have any cash on me to pay it (also as usual). As we were picking out other books, the librarian walked over to give me a receipt - and told me that an anonymous patron had just paid our fines! What a nice thing to do!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Moses is Wild

Adelaide insists that we played two games tonight: Goggler (Boggle) and Crazy Eggs (Crazy 8s). Sadie is getting to be pretty good at Boggle (introduced to us by Josh on our last trip to NC), even though she cheats and tries to use letters twice. I'm just happy that she's learning to spell and she thinks it's fun! Josie kicked my butt 3 times in a row on Crazy 8s, or BIBLE 8s, as this particular version is called. Moses is wild. (That's not something you hear every day :).

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Southern Cookin"

Since I was born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, our family “migrates to the South” fairly often. Consequently, my children have learned to love pinto beans, cornbread, livermush, country ham, gravy, biscuits and a whole slew of other stuff that is terrible for their little arteries (well, except for the pinto beans.) When we are at their Great Grandma’s house, healthy food options are pretty much thrown out the window. We subsist on sweet tea, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and dumplings in white sauce.

When we’re home in Ohio, I make an effort. They eat broccoli, green beans, carrots and organic chili. We eat turkey bacon, whole wheat bread, pears off the tree in our yard and dozens of apples. We eat grapes, eggs, fish, celery, bananas, salad and low-fat string cheese.

In Ohio, Josie loves spinach.

Sadie loves beets.

Adelaide will eat an entire cucumber (even though she hates all dip – no ketchup, no mustard, no ranch, nothing.)

In the South, however, resistance is futile. I try to fight it for a few days. I try to give them Great Grandma’s limp, butter-covered green beans, but then she swoops in behind me, doling out cookies, peppermints, fruit punch and chocolate gravy.

In the South, Josie trades in her salad with Thousand Island dressing for some Wonder bread smothered in strawberry preserves.

Sadie eats blueberry biscuits covered in icing until she turns blue.

When I say, “You have to eat a vegetable. Which one do you want?” Adelaide answers, “Waffles.”

Before I had kids, I never really worried about eating enough “colors.” Southern food is basically one color: brown and crispy. I really didn’t care much about protein, or good carbs, or even making sure I ate “something green” every day. Now, I have somehow found myself to be in charge of the nutrition of all these little people! It’s a daunting task for someone like me who wasn’t raised (obviously) to be a health nut. Although it’s in major contrast to my familial genes, most of the time, I do at least TRY to feed them a well-balanced diet.

I have to remind the southerner in me that Krispy Kreme donuts do not a healthy breakfast make. Fried okra does not count as a vegetable. Contrary to popular opinion, Hi-C Fruit Punch does not run though our veins.

My girls and I love our southern roots. We love Great Grandma. And, unfortunately, we really love good (bad) southern cookin’!

I guess it’s a good thing we moved.

-from my article on 9/4/11