Friday, May 30, 2008

WOW! They were WAAAYYYY cuter when they were just eggs

I mean seriously? If baby humans came out looking like this, Canon, Nikon and Shutterfly would go out of business!

Sort of takes the whole "You lucky bitch, all you had to do was sit on the egg and your baby came out..." and puts it into perspective. Incidentally a few days later I walked out to find that one of them was out of the nest and in a basket that I had out on the porch with Christmas lights in it. I suited up in rubber gloves and put it back in the nest without further incident...but I couldn't help wonder, did you jump cause you're fugly little bird or do you truly have a face that not even your mother can love?

Monday, May 26, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Green...But It's Worth It

I have been reading alot lately about the damage that we are doing to our childrens' planet and frankly it makes me sad. Sad because it is so selfish. Sad because it is so ugly. And sad because the odds of everyone doing their part to make a difference are so slim as to be nearly non-existent.

Having said that, I personally am going to try to do my part. Slowly but surely we will get our family there, if not the world.

A couple of weeks ago I made my first move in this direction by getting a bunch of reusable tote bags to use for shopping. I am proud to say that, in the last month I have only introduced 2 plastic bags into the house. I try to remember to bring at least one of my reusable totes with me anywhere I go, but as with all new behaviors, sometimes I forget.

The next item I tackled was to reduce the amount of garbage going out by eliminating paper plates and napkins from our daily lives. I have had cloth napkins since long before I even met my husband. And when we were first together, we used them. Then we had children, and as any parent knows a small child requires multiple napkins for a meal. Our children were no different...although perhaps our son was a bit extreme - that boy wiped his face and tongue after every.single.bite. and he couldn't stand to have anything saucy or sticky or even wet on his he would go through literally a dozen napkins in a sitting. Paper quickly became a more practical or at least convenient alternative. Fast forward 6 years, and our children are big enough to use a napkin properly and aside from the occasional spill, only require 1 to get through a meal tidily. So I pulled out all of the old cloth napkins and we haven't looked back since. We now use washable plates for each meal as well. While we have to run the dishwasher a bit more frequently, we are throwing away much less. And in response to the increased usage of the dishwasher we are no longer using the heat dry cycle.

Something about doing the right thing is sort of addictive, because my next target was the excess packaging that I was bringing into the house weekly in the name of portion control for my children. They love those little jello and pudding cups. As I was putting them away one day it occurred to me that I had a bunch of small tupperware containers with lids that were about that size. So I traded in the $3.00 6-packs for $.59 boxes of jello and pudding mix and now make my own. As an added bonus the kids love the expanded selection that they get and enjoy being able to help make their own snacks.

The kids and I also got together and planted a pretty ambitious vegetable garden this year. Last year was the first time that I had ever had a garden and I was delighted with how easy it was and how big our bounty was. We had potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, peppers and green beans. Lots of them. We gave most of it away, and froze what we could, but it felt good and was so yummy to eat foods that we had grown ourselves. The kids loved being able to harvest food and learned alot about the growth cycle of plants. This year we dropped the potatoes and added corn, peas, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, carrots and broccoli. So far everything is sprouting and, if we can just find a way to keep the bunnies at bay, we should be able to get a good way through the summer and fall months without having to buy any veggies.

My next goal is to start using less gas for in town travels. We live literally a quarter mile from our grocery store and 1 mile from my daughter's preschool. We all have bicycles. We are all healthy people. So why are we always piling into our car to go a distance that doesn't even allow for a single song to play out on the cd player? I have one of those kid trailers for the bike and the more I think about it, the more it seems like I should just use it to bring my daughter to and from school. And while I am at it, I could probably stop at the grocery store and put the groceries in it on the way home. I say probably to all of this because I haven't tackled this one yet, but I plan to. Soon.

Baby steps, they are each small and won't be enough to swing the fate of our planet on their own, but they certainly can't hurt. So what things has your family done to reduce the refuse? I'd love to hear some more ideas.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm Still Not Convinced

So I have made exactly ZERO headway on my campaign to get Sabrina into Kindergarten in the fall. It is roadblock after roadblock, deaf ear after deaf ear. There are NO exceptions. After months of trying to find someone who would listen I finally started to think that maybe another year at home wouldn't be so bad for her...maybe she could use some more time to get ready...

Then the other day, at Giant, she started reading the signs in the deli case. She asked me what the big Boar's Head sign said, and after I had read it to her, she went through, picked out all of the words that she new and started sounding out the others. The deli counter worker looked over as she was sounding out "ff"-"iiii" - "lll" - "lll" - "eeehhh" - "rrrrr" - "sssss". "FILLERS!!!! Mama, it says fillers!" The deli worker said "Wow, did you stay home from school today?" Sabrina said "No, I go to preschool." The deli worker looked at me and said "Wow." Sigh...

At the library today I was chatting with one of the other moms - all hail the mighty bangs, bringer of female companionship and conversation - about Sabrina and her readiness for Kindergarten. This mom's boy, who we shall call Eldon for the sake of anonymity, is going to be headed off to Kindergarten in the fall. He's ready she says, though he is still a bit shy. Ummm, the child has spent every one of the last 12 weeks of story time HIDING behind her legs. The poor thing is going to stroke out when he has to get on the bus and go to school with no legs to hide behind. When I told her that Sabrina misses the cut off she just gawked and said "Well what are you going to do with her next year?" I lamely said "Ummm...well...I guess send her to preschool again."

There has got to be a better answer than that. I really need to find a decent homeschool curriculum. Something. I can't just let her stagnate for a year. But then if I do push her some more, what happens in fall of 2009 when she *is* allowed to go to Kindergarten? Will she be bored to tears? Or do I have her tested for 1st grade and have her miss out on the whole Kindergarten experience? Argh, argh, argh.

Anyone have a magic eightball with the answers that they would like to share?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Can People Get Moldy?

Goodness but it has been rainy lately. We have had to reschedule rescheduled soccer games because our rain date got rained out. We are on super high alert for any water entering our basement. Raincoats and umbrellas have become our uniform. And "When is it going to warm up and be spring?" has become my husband's mantra. Also, all of this liquid sunshine is totally derailing my attempts at becoming more physically fit as well. I am committed, but not so committed as to be willing to walk the dogs in the rain. In the rain I figure it is better if they go in the back yard and walk themselves.

Mother's Day was nice. Kind of rainy, but nice. I had the whole day off and fully took advantage of it. Every time the kids said "I'm hungry" I said "I'm off, talk to daddy about it." And then started cackling maniacally. The hubbers gave me a wonderful new camera that is so fancy schmancy that I feel like I should be selling the images. Or at least I should if I ever find someone that really has a burning desire to buy pictures of my plants, dogs and children.

Say it with me now....





I can totally feel a future for me as a sports photo journalist for the pee wee leagues:

Seriously though, not too much else going on here. I just wish it would stop raining. What's new in your world?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Did You Know That They Make Showgirl's in Pint Size?

So, last week was National Dance Week. Did you know? Were you all a twitter with excitement? Did you even know that such a week existed? Yeah, me neither...

In honor of the highly anticipated, week long homage to the art of visual music, our tiny dancer took to the stage of our local mall and wowed the crowd with her relative lack of rhythm, coordination and timing. She comes by this naturally. As a small child, taking ballet, I was awful. So awful that my mother has often recounted to me the tale of watching my recital and having the parent next to her point me out and say "Well, at least my kid is better than that one." To which she of course had no choice but to say something to the effect of "Yes, at least you can hold on to that...course when she's not dancing, my kid is waaay cuter than yours."..Ok, she probably didn't say that, but I am sure she wanted soon as she got done hiding under a rock and exercising her right to the plausible deniability that her blond hair and blue eyes lent her in regards to her green eyed, raven haired progeny. Honestly though, what she lacked in coordination she more than made up for in enthusiasm. And cuteness. Seriously, doesn't this level of cuteness just sort of give you a tooth ache?

As for the showgirl costume, we parents were given no say so in these sassy little, one shouldered numbers...all we were given was the bill. Had I know that my $69 wasn't even buying me two shoulders, I probably would have insisted on a discount. Of course, they did throw in the feathers for free. And after the recital is over we can send her off to Vegas to recoup the cost. I hear the market for pint sized chorus line rejects is hot.

I Lose...

This must be part of that whole survival of the fittest thing that Darwin was so keen on...apparently if stubbornness and persistence were the only deciding factors in evolution the Robin would be driving a Lexus and I would be extinct.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The New Hair-do

A few months back I posted about my apparent lack of attractiveness to other mommy types in the area. This phenomenon has continued to plague me and has in fact become a source of humor and endless jokes around the house, and with the one friend that I had successfully managed to not frighten away. It appears however that, at long last, I have discovered the key...unlocked the door...crossed some sort of bridge...and all it took was a haircut. Who knew?

For years I have toyed with the idea of cutting bangs to my long, mainly one length hair...and for years, I have chickened out. The excuses were many...I have a small forehead...they might curl up like the wicked witch's feet after the ruby slippers were removed...I'll look'll be too much upkeep...blah, blah and more blah.

Finally, last night I succumbed to temptation and had my hair wizard - and really, she *is* a wizard at the very least - add a frontal fringe to my look. And then, since I was being so "Devil-may-care", I told her to go ahead and style it wavy, rather than torturing her with another marathon, hours long straightening session. Because I am charitable that way. It's just the kind of girl I am.

The resulting look is a huge change from 24 hours ago. And apparently has worked some sort of magic trick.

We had story time at the library today...and one of the other mothers actually started a conversation with me. Willingly. Then, in the craft room, another mother smiled at me. Wow. I checked to make sure that there was no one behind me - all there was were books. Then, at ballet tonight 2 separate moms struck up conversations with me...fairly long conversations...and during one of them, another mom even jumped in and joined in the fun. It was amazing...people actually talking to me. Tomorrow I think I may try hang gliding.

I jest...but truly this is something of a milestone...a miracle...a turning point I daresay. And apparently all it took was bangs. Who knew?

I guess any fool could have told me that this:

Is way scarier than this:

Monday, May 5, 2008

Take No Prisoners

Recently my mom and step-dad visited for the weekend. We had a perfectly pleasant time and it was nice visiting...and of course, their visit also brought some funny along with it:

One night, my step-dad was wearing a Sweatshirt that said "Proud to be a veteran". After working long and hard to sound the words out, the kids looked at me and asked "What's a veteran?". Since I am always quick to pass the buck on explaining things I offered "Why don't you ask Nanny?" To which Nanny deftly explained what a veteran is and illustrated the point by saying "Nanny is a veteran because she was in the Navy and Poppy is a veteran because he was in the Army." Sabrina seemed satisfied with this answer....Sebastian on the other hand immediately looked concerned and said "Poppy, did you survive??"

Umm...I swear he's bright, really.