Saturday, June 27, 2009

You might be a redneck if.....

...you let your 3 year old daughter pee on the lawn instead of in the house.
Here's the story: As Devin was climbing down the pool ladder, she was yelling, "IhavetopeeIhavetopeeIhavetopee" . She tends to hold it until the very last minute, so when she says she's gotta go, I believe her. Her 3 sisters were still in the pool and I don't leave them in there unattended. So it was a safety issue. It had nothing to do with the fact that we had a new carpet installed in the living room just a few months ago and I didn't want Devin's drippy little body ruining it. Devin chose her spot carefully. She didn't want to go on any flowers because "pee is bad for flowers." She waddled over to the hose and power washed herself (ouch!) before jumping back into the pool.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What can you do with $1.88?

Well, you can buy a can of shaving foam, empty its contents on to a table, and let your daughters and their friend have at it. When they're done covering themselves and each other, hose 'em down!






Devin was having a blast until Tori painted her. BUT...

Devin got her revenge...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Goodness on a stick

Sometimes when I get writer's block, I jump around the blogging universe and read what others have written about. I recently came upon this wonderful blog. This lady has some of the best ideas I've ever seen. Check out her painted counter tops. Don't worry, Todd, this is one project I won't take on when you go away for a weekend. Anyway, I saw these marshmallows on a stick and thought they'd be perfect for my mother-in-law's retirement dinner. The girls and I went to Stop & Shop for the chocolate chips, marshmallows, and graham crackers, then to Michael's for the lollipop sticks. Sprinkles are a staple in our pantry. These were simple and fun to make and oh so yummy!!!

Step 1. Insert sticks into marshmallows

Step 2. Eat a marshmallow..or 4



Step 3. Swirl marshmallows into melted chocolate chips




Step 5. Roll gooey marshmallow into desired toppings (graham cracker crumbs and sprinkles this time) and place them on parchment paper.

Step 6. Put the tray in the fridge for a bit to harden. No pic - the fridge is quite boring.



Step 7. Arrange the pops in something pretty. I put them in a vase with crumpled tissue paper in the bottom to stabilize them (thanks for the idea, Gwenny!).





I plan on making these for lots of school parties and using different colored chocolate and toppings. White chocolate and orange sprinkles for Halloween, etc. You should make them, too. Thank you, Martha!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Unplugged











No one can deny that the many technological advances we enjoy have made our lives easier. Weather reports, soccer schedules, movie times, and even complete family histories are just a few clicks away. However, there comes a time when families need to reboot and reconnect, to unplug and walk away from it all. Last weekend, Todd and I took the girls to the cottage in NH for a weekend with Grandpa Jack, Auntie Gwen, and Uncle Matt (Todd's dad, sister, and brother). No TV. No computer. No alarm clocks. Our wake up call was the call of the loon on the still water. The view of Mt. Sunapee provided all the viewing pleasure we could ask for. The sky was cloaked in clouds for much of the time, but the girls didn't seem to mind. In fact, they were thrilled that I wasn't interrupting their fun to slather sunscreen on them. They spent hours catching tadpoles and frogs, swimming, and canoeing around the pond. When they weren't rock hopping, they were reading and playing games - card games and board games. We anticipated that Mother Nature wouldn't be very cooperative, so we packed plenty of them. The girls weren't the only ones playing games. When they were in bed Friday night, Todd's dad and I challenged Todd and Matt to a game of Trivial Pursuit, the 90s edition. Saturday night, Todd and I teamed up against Matt and Gwen for a hilarious game of Taboo.

Todd is the parent that always takes the girls to NH, so Bryn had to fill me in on the rules. I learned the most important one on Saturday morning when I asked her to brush her teeth after breakfast. She looked perplexed and said, "we don't brush our teeth in the morning in NH." I didn't force the issue, and surprisingly I was OK. I left the "are you washed and brushed?" soundtrack back in MA.

On Saturday, Todd, Gwen, and Matt took Jacey and Bryn to the fireworks store to purchase the evening's entertainment. Lighting fireworks is probably the highlight of the NH weekends because they are illegal in Massachusetts, but not in Live Free or Die New Hampshire. While they were gone, Tori, Devin, and I ate trail mix on the porch overlooking the water. While we ate, we discussed our favorite flavor combinations. Tori was a fan of the sunflower seed/chocolate chip combo., while Devin was partial to the pairing of sunflower seeds and Craisins. As for me, scooping a huge, random handful and stuffing as much as I can into my mouth seems to work just fine.
As Devin and I were lounging on the bed earlier in the day, she caught a glimpse of a spider in the window - the outside of the window. The spiders in NH are bigger and badder than those in MA, and this one was no exception. As we were watching it, a fly flew into its web. Down came the spider to wrap the fly and drag it to the top of the web where it proceeded to have some lunch. Devin was both appalled and mesmerized and sprinted out of the room to tell her story to anyone who would listen.

In a world where a 15 year old can win $50,000 for being the fastest texter in the country, I'm grateful to have a getaway such as the NH cottage. As barbaric as it may seem to some of today's tech savvy kids, walking away from the constant hum of modernity is good for the soul, and fabulous for the family. But as I lugged bag after bag of dirty clothes, wet towels, and tangled bed sheets upstairs to the laundry room, I was the thinking about the convenience of modern life that I'm most grateful for - the washing machine.

Here's a short video of Todd and my 3 stooges transferring a frog from their net to a bucket. Note the squeals of excitement & panic....

Another short clip of Bryn running down the dock and jumping into the water...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hedwig's Theme

Jacey participated in her first piano recital last week. She chose to play Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter. Her teacher thought it was an ambitious piece for a first year student, but Jacey loves HP, so she worked very hard to learn it. Todd and I were so nervous for her, but she was completely calm and played beautifully! She began taking lessons in March of '08, but she didn't play in last year's recital since she had only been playing for a few months. The quality of the video isn't great, but you get the idea. Bravo, Jacey!


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"It's like I'm your maid"

That is what Devin said to me a couple of weeks ago as she reached her pudgy arm into a bucket of soapy water to help me wash my car. We were talking about all the ways she helps out around the house. I said, "you help put the silverware away when I empty the dishwasher, you help move clothes from the washer to the dryer, you put your laundry away, and you help set the table". She proudly agreed with me and said, "Yeah! It's like I'm your maid"! Of course, I felt a rush of parental guilt as I thought back to Jacey's earliest years. When we lived in England, we had a few friends, but we were mostly on our own - and we didn't have 4 kids. Therefore, Jacey was enrolled in gymnastics and music classes. We spent days strolling in the mall, not to buy anything, just to kill time. We people-watched, sang songs, and just played. Fast forward a bunch of years. Devin and I spend lots of time together while her sisters are in school, but we do very different things than I did with Jacey. Keeping a family of 6 running smoothly takes a lot more time and energy than our little family of 3. Our shopping trips are faster, and almost always involve the grocery store. She holds the scanner and lets me know what's on sale. When I'm folding the laundry, Devin sits on the bed and sorts the socks for me. Devin's favorite job is that of chef. No matter how simple the food is, Devin is always eager to help cook. Scooping flour, measuring oil, cracking eggs - she likes to do it all. When we were picking fresh herbs to put into pasta salad last week, I asked her what tool we should use to chop them. She immediately replied, "the mezzaluna!" I sometimes can't fight the urge to help steady her hand, especially when she uses the sharp tools, but she pushes me away and tells me that she can do it herself. When Mommy guilt shows itself, I have to remind myself that though Devin isn't learning back flips and she only knows the first verse of You are My Sunshine, she knows what a mazzaluna is, she can crack an egg into a bowl with (almost) no shells falling in, and she knows that she and Mommy are together. Hopefully those are the things that she'll rememebr when she's older.


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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer means....











...swimming...






...reading a good book while the sun warms chilly limbs...





...cooling off with popsicles....

...searching for , and even catching a few butterflies...




...and ribs grilled to perfection.




































































































Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The trophy incident

In March, the girls' dance teacher handed out order forms for participation trophies, which were to be handed out at the rehearsal. I ordered one for Devin to commemorate her first year of dance. I did not order one for each of the other girls. Todd and I share the same views about "participation" trophies. We don't like them. We don't believe that kids should receive trophies simply for showing up to something they have committed to, such as dance class or soccer practice. I told the older girls they would not be getting one and explained my reasoning. They understood and didn't complain.
Fast forward 2 months to the rehearsal. All 150 dancers were on the stage after practicing the finale. Then the presentation began. I knew each girl would be receiving a certificate, so I wasn't surprised to hear my girls' names called. Along with their certificates, they were also handed a trophy. They were confused and hesitated, but after some words from the teacher, they took the trophies. I approached one of the teachers and whispered to her that I did not buy trophies, so if they were short, they should take them from my kids. She replied, "You were the only parent who didn't order her kids a trophy, so we are giving them one anyway." I was a bit stunned and I knew I had a decision to make. My head was demanding that I stand on my principles and take the trophies away from the girls. Then my heart convinced me to glance at the them. They were radiating joy as they examined the trophies with their fellow dancers. Guess who won? Needless to say, there are now four plastic trophies collecting dust on various upstairs shelves.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Memorial Day Parade



This is a little out of date, but these were too cute to pass up. Todd was away, so the girls and I dressed in our red, white, and blue and headed to Gwen's. We parked in her driveway and walked to the perfect parade viewing spot. To accommodate every one's temperature needs, we chose a location that was half in the shade and half in the sun. The parade was very short and sadly, not very well attended. We had fun waving our flags and clapping for our veterans. Plus, being with Gwenny makes everything fun.