Thursday, February 28, 2008

Outing day

I took the children to the Tech in San Jose today. We had been there once before to see Body Worlds.

There was a hands-on experiment that the boys got to participate in to clean "dirty" water. They used alum to precipitate the "dirt" out of the water. Then they made a water filtration system using two sizes of sand and small rocks held in by a coffee filter. The water came out looking murky, but much cleaner than when it went in.

After our experiment, we spent about an hour exploring the computer exhibits before going to see the Tiger movie at the dome theatre.

The screen was more of a dome which created an artificial feeling of movement because as you're looking straight ahead, the screen fills up your peripheral vision as well. Hunter is a very physical person and so the feeling of movement while sitting in his seat was unnerving for him. Elle, on the other hand felt like she was going to fall because the seating was very steep. She sat on my lap during the movie and held on with a death grip the whole movie. Ethan thought it was fun.

We stayed until about 3 o'clock exploring all the different exhibits. Unfortunately they were remodeling the younger children's areas, which were the favorites the last time we visited.

The parking garage that did validation with the Tech had a broken down elevator. We, of course, parked on the top level and since I had the stroller, we had to walk through the garage all the way down...and then back up at the end of the day.

After we got home Elle went into the yard and started picking wildflowers out of the front yard to give to everyone. It was so picturesque I couldn't help myself.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The cleanest room in the house

I think that if a mom expects her house to be clean constantly, she's either fooling herself or has hired a full time staff dedicated to maintenance. For every other mom, it's a delicate balance. I do believe there is an operational standard, a guest standard (which usually involves cleaning the visible areas). However, there is a threshold point of mess that every mom has at which point a room MUST be cleaned....and cleaned thoroughly.

The office has been a hot spot in our house for messes. Papers congregate there, the box of recycled paper that the children use to color on or cut up in iiiity bitty pieces usually end up spread throughout the room. The office has also become a stopping point for socks, Hunter's shirts, toys, random pieces of sets.

As I child I can remember wanting to contribute to the state of things whatever they may be. In kindergarten we were transitioning from one activity to another and it was quite noisy. I decided to contribute by stomping my feet along the way and banging two books together. I had no idea it was a problem until my teacher scolded me for making so much noise. Hey, I was just contributing....

I think that's true for most children today. They want to contribute.

I reached my threshold point for the state of the office today. I got out big garbage bags and started throwing things away. Laundry baskets were used to gather toys, another for clothes. Papers that had been sitting out were filled appropriately and the boxes of curriculum stuff were organized and packed away. What a transformation! I wish I had a before and after shot just to bask in the productivity.

The vacuum was still upstairs when I put the kids to bed, so after they were all tucked in I picked up their room and then vacuumed up all the little bitty stuff all over the floor. My mom used to vacuum the upstairs every night after we had gone to bed. I never understood why she made so much noise when we were supposed to be sleeping, but for whatever reason the sound of the vacuum cleaner made me sleepy. For years after whenever I would hear the vacuum running I would inevitably yawn. Well, LO AND children zonked right out after vacuuming their room. There was no two hour game of grab fanny. It was GREAT!!!!

Having discovered this little gem, I think that we'll be vacuuming their room every night from now on. It may not need it on a daily basis, but I don't mind that they children's room is the cleanest room in the house so long as I can get some down time at the end of the day. Phew!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday Ice Cream with Grandma

Baskin-Robbins used to have $1 night every Tuesday. Grandma thought it was a great opportunity to spoil her grandchildren and take them out. Unfortunately they canceled it recently, so Grandma, not to be foiled bought cones and a 1/2 gallon of ice cream and brought her goodies down to the house last night. Grandma is making herself a favorite around these parts, not only with her ice cream, but weekly one on one trips to story-time.

I told Elle that she was going to story time today and she promptly began jumping up and down shouting "YEA! Gra-ma! Stoe-time!" Grandma calls it her Snoopy Dance.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Please don't take food in the living room

I've asked the kids to not take food into the living room. The inevitable spills are SO much harder to clean up out of the carpet, couch, pillows...etc. Our first disastrous spill came when Ethan was still under two. He took the pancake syrup bottle into the living room and made a big puddle. I rented a carpet cleaner after that, but the spot remained mashed for years. You can't see it now, so I suspect it crystallized to the point ants could come carry off what I couldn't get up. I never did see any ants congregating around that that's purely conjecture.

Pretzels get smashed in the carpet on a regular basis. Fortunately they vacuum up fairly easily long as they're not soggy.

Elle takes her sippy-cup of milk into the living room. Contrary to popular belief they do leak...especially when there is a temperature gradient. In other words when cold milk is left out, it warms up and the air inside the container expands creating pressure which then pushes the milk out when the bottle is sitting on it's side.

sidetrack: Here's a fun experiment for you to try... dip the milk cap in your glass of milk, then turn it upside down on the mouth of the milk jug. You will create a milk seal. Within less than a minute the lid will pop up to release the pressure of the warming air inside the jug. Yes, milk really does warm up that fast when left out. Try it! I dare you!

Popcorn has been the one exception and we fully expect it to wind up all over the room. It's a fun treat for the children when we have movie night.

So, recently Hunter took a can of V8 juice into the living room. Yes, my children are weird. They like V8 juice. Ethan liked it so much when he first started eating real food that he would drink it to the point of throwing up. When I was younger, my brothers and I would drink it on a dare.
But I digress....
Hunter set his can on the arm of the couch. This couch is very old and that particular arm is quite saggy. Well, the can tipped over and made a puddle of V8 juice in the arm of the couch. Michael didn't notice it for a while, so of course it had plenty of time to seep down into the padding and elsewhere. Oh, great. I can just hear it now. "I don't want to go to their house. It smells like rotten vegetables." Fantastic.

We slit the arm open and pulled out all of the stuffing. Michael was surprised that the main support structure was cardboard instead of wood. Well, I guess you'd never know otherwise. I let it go for a while, just slit and flapping open. (don't we look trashy? ...ugh!)

The damage on the walls from the baby gate I can't fix. You know the old saying, "The shoemakers wife goes barefoot"? Well, the same could be said of the contractors wife. Don't get me started.

In Michael's defense he did cut me a piece of wood to go into the arm for a new support and screwed it down so the kids wouldn't put their foot through the repair job and get impaled on one of the furniture staples. That particular spot is a favorite jumping point for the living room swing. (Yes, yes... I know, I can't complain that the kids are swinging from the ceiling when I'm the one who hung the swing in the first place.) I found a sacrificial piece of fleece to act as padding and sewed the slit back up. It's not invisible, but it is fixed and a lot more cushy. I don't mind having a home that is a little patched and threadbare in places, so long as at the end of the day it is clean.

Now kids, PLEASE don't take food into the living room.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

First Haircut

Elle got her first official haircut. By official, I mean, I'm not counting the two times that her brothers made holes in her hair. She has beautiful curly blond hair, but it usually looks pretty wild these days. I've tried to put it into piggy tales, but she hates it and pulls them out, which always leaves her looking like Bozo the clown. Michael insisted on my taking her to someone who knew how to work with her type of hair. At first I took her to Supercuts. They insisted that they knew how and had plenty of experience cutting super curly hair. Michael called while I was waiting. He asked where I was...hesitation...I told him. "OH H*** NO! You get her out of there right now." I got up and excused myself while still on the phone. Today I took her to a barbershop in Vallejo where a sweet grandma was there cutting hair. She evened it out all over and got rid of that rut where her baby bald spot grew out. Her hair is quite a bit shorter now. I think it will take a bit of getting used to. At least now she wont look like such a wild child.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Puttin' on some miles

I wanted to take the kids to a museum we haven't been to before, so I found one in Davis that looked fun. However, when I checked the hours it didn't open until 2pm. WHAT!!? So, instead we drove all the way down to Stockton to the one Grandma took Elle to a few weeks ago. It was quite the drive. Meanwhile, Michael drove all the way up to Yuba to get some plans for a bid and talk to a city engineer. Our whole family were driving all over Northern California.

Elle's favorite part was the little play house in the babies area where she could pretend to make dinner. She wanted me to sit at the table so she could serve me dinner. Hunter wanted to play too, but she'd get mad if he'd take something that wasn't specifically given to him.

Hunter's favorite part was the police motercycle. It didn't make any lights or noise, but he liked to climb up and pretend to ride it.

Something that I really liked, but the kids only explored briefly was an area completely dedicated to the medical field. They had an X-ray area, Doctor's waiting room, Emergency room and Ambulance backed in. I thought it was a great idea! The kids weren't really interested so they moved on and didn't take much time to pretend other than trying out the gurney in the ambulance.

Another huge hit was the pretend grocery store complete with beeping checkout counter. Much of the bar coded merchandise was damaged and donated by Food 4 Less. There was a produce aisle, a bakery section, a meat cooler (all of the food was very high quality pretend...very realistic, too)

The kids would make rounds putting things in their baskets. Elle liked the pastry section the best, probably because it was the easiest to reach. After they would check out I would take the carts back around and put everything back were it came from.

There was also a news studio where the kids got to see themselves on TV. Ethan wanted to know if he would see himself later on the news, but I explaned that it was closed circuit system and we were the only ones watching.

Before we went home we stopped by the Arts and Crafts room. Of all the children's museums with such a thing, this was by far the best, most well stocked crafts room. Each of the children made a Valentine to give to Daddy. Ethan was highly critical of his work and kept starting over. Elle was most interested in pouring out as much glue as possible upon which I would sprinkle cut paper. Hunter made the most detailed Valentine, but what what most sweet is that he wanted me to write a message to Daddy that went, "For Daddy, I love him". I made a Valentine, too. My working on a project seemed to help keep the kids focused on completing a project, but Ethan just got more frustrated because his didn't look like he wanted it to.

We finished off the day at the paint wall, which was ....extreme. I'm not sure I like the look of layered paint. Even if it was done by kids. My favorite paint wall to date was the one in San Jose.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lil' bit of culture

Some friends of ours who had season tickets to the San Fransisco Ballet moved to Florida and gave us three tickets for one night. I had originally planed on going with Michael and Ethan, but neither one was feeling well, so I went with Grandma and Hunter. The seats were in the balcony and right up front on the rail. They were AWESOME seats. The performance was three different smaller performances that didn't really have anything to do with one another, but showed the range of the ballet company. Hunter loved the first part the best since it was more of a story without words. His favorite part was when the robber came out. During the second intermission I took Hunter out to get a cookie. He was quite the novelty for the other patrons and got lots of attention, especially dressed in his handsome little suit. He did fairly well considering the performance started at his normal bed time. I brought a pair of binoculars and that seemed to hold his interest.

Friday, February 1, 2008

get dressed. Get Dressed. GET DRESSED!

I know now why when their children are grown mothers are crazy. You all know what I'm talking about. We love our mothers but by the time we're all out of the house they've fallen off the edge of sanity.

Perhaps it's the constant repetition of simple requests that fall upon (seemingly) deaf ears.

Perhaps it's that they go where you are not so as to make their desired messes. "Mom's here! Switch rooms!"

Perhaps it's that whenever you are cooking dinner, it's a battle to cook dinner and shoo the children away from the fridge so as to protect the apatites, avoid the obstacle course being laid out by the littlest one or even that after the table is ready they don't want to eat all of a sudden only to come back at bed time saying they're starving to death.

Perhaps it's that when I give them different things for lunch they don't want what's been prepared for them. They both want what the other one has, but when the meals are switched before anybody has gotten their cooties on the food they whine that the want their original dish after all.

Maybe it's that after a full day of running around with the little darlings, bed time begins a two hour game of get out of bed which leaves mom without any time to wind down.

I could go on.

So I had an appointment with Hunter to be seen about the rash on his face that hasn't been getting any better. I told him a half hour in advance to get dressed. Crunch time arrived and he was still running around in pajamas and had no time to eat breakfast. I got him dressed myself and then after a successful shoe hunt... we had to go.

Trying not to be completely heartless, I made him a chocolate protein shake that he could drink in the car on the way in lieu of the breakfast he didn't have time for. However, much to my chagrin he liked it so much that his stomach got overfull and he had one of those bile-burps. Hunter has a very weak stomach. Anything could set him off. This did.

We're going down the freeway and Hunter starts throwing up all over himself. Which grosses him out more and more barfing ensues. I can't do a thing. I have no barf bucket (mental note) I have no change of clothes (another mental note). My one happy fact is that Hunter is wearing a zipped up raincoat which deflects the barf off of his shirt. His pants are a mess.

So we walked into Kaiser with Hunter covered from top to bottom in chocolate barf. It smelled more like barf than chocolate.

We got up to the window to get registered and the receptionist told me that our appointment was at 8:30 not 9:30.

No, no....She said that the 8:30 was gone and gave us 9:30.

"I'm sorry Ma'm. You're appointment was at 8:30. "

(Did I mention that I'm starting to develop an eye tick?)

"...I'll see if the doctor can fit you in."

We did see the doctor. Hunter's rash is highly contagious (oh fabulous) but we were given antibiotics for it.

It's not over yet....

I left the window down to air the stink out of the car, because the last thing I need is for Hunter to get in the car, get a good whiff and have a repeat performance.

It rained.

I forgot about the driver side window being down.

Being a trooper, the next time I had to go out I got a towel and a puddle pad and dealt with it. I couldn't really blame the children for this one. Not directly anyway.

I know now why mothers are nuts.