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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Oh, Ella

Ella continued giving bizarre responses at VBS today. In my station, Bible Bayou, we learned about Moses parting the Red Sea. Ella said the Israelites should have used their tents as surfboards and surfed across the sea. Only she included so many details it took her about five minutes to say that.

In crafts, they made little stuffed turtles to send to kids who are victims of disasters. The kids all wrote notes to put inside the turtles. This is what Ella wrote, with the help of her crew leader: "I hope you survive. Tie a rope to a tree and pull yourself out of the mud."

Oh, Ella.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Reunited and it feels so good...

If you know Ella, you also know blankie. Here are some pictures of Ella and blankie throughout the years.



(I'd forgotten how long her hair used to be. It kind of makes me sad that she cut it all off...herself.)

Anyway, when Ella was about one, she started stealing Madeline's blankie, so we decided she needed her own. We bought some pink satin and zebra fake fur, and blankie was born. (By the way, six years ago, zebra and pink was not the hot combo it is today. I'm such a trendsetter.) When we realized blankie was a hit, we bought more fabric and eventually wound up with five blankies. For a long time, we kept the fact that there were multiples a secret; Ella thought there was only one blankie. Now she knows better.

After almost six years, we're down to just two blankies. This allows us to alternate washings so that while they generally smell disgusting, they're not downright putrid. Usually.

(Emilia loves Ella's blankies despite the smell. When Ella suggested making Emilia her own blankie, I asked if we should use the same fabric or different. Ella said the same. I asked how we would tell her blankies apart from Emilia's. She replied, "By the smell.")

On the last day of school, Ella spent the afternoon at Julie's. She went home at lunch to get blankie since we don't let her take blankie to school. As we left Julie's, she had blankie in her hand. When we got home, blankie was missing. I've been searching for that lost blankie for a week now. (And the remaining blankie has gotten increasingly smelly.)

Today Julie brought the missing blankie to VBS. Ron had found it...in their yard...up in a tree.

When Julie told Ella where Ron found it, Ella said, "I guess it must have blown off my porch and into your tree." (Julie lives about two blocks from us.)

Julie said, "Or you climbed the tree and left it there." (Ella is a devoted tree climber just like Bekah.)

"Oh, yeah," said Ella. "I forgot."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

This week is VBS. Since our VBS runs Tuesday through Saturday, I've been confused all week; today seems like Wednesday instead of Thursday.

Emilia's separation anxiety has reached all new heights. She absolutely refuses to stay in the nursery. She finally decided that she likes Stacey King, so Stacey's been carting her around all week while I teach the Bible lesson and Ryan helps with crafts. Emilia is working on her fifth tooth.

I've learned that Ella is that kid who always wants to participate and throws out completely odd-ball answers. I've really had to get creative to validate and tie in her responses sometimes. Ella lost her third tooth this week.

VBS hasn't been quite as much fun as usual this year. I'm not entirely sure why. I think part of it is that my part (Bible Bayou) hasn't been as activity-based this year. I think Saturday will be more fun. The kids will part the Red Sea, and we'll get to spray water on them. The kids always like that.

Ella went swimming with Alex and Ava today. I got in the water briefly--it's still really cold. I can't wait for it to warm up enough for water aerobics.

It doesn't really feel like summer break yet. I think once VBS is over, then it will sink in.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Road tripping

It took us six hours today to get home from Derby, a trip that usually takes less than four hours. This was our trip:

We leave Brandi's house at 10 a.m. As we pull out of the driveway, Ella (who had already had breakfast) announces she's starving. We stop at McDonald's on the way out of Derby.

As we're on 235, I realize I have to pee. As we approach Kellogg, I realize I really really have to pee. We stop at Babies R Us so I could go to the bathroom and look at jogging strollers. Luckily, I was able to find a jogging stoller--maybe this will actually motivate me to get some exercise.

We leave Wichita. As we get to Kingman (30 minutes later), Emilia starts crying and Ella starts whining that she's starving. So we stop to eat at Subway.

We leave Kingman. The baby is quiet for a few minutes but soon starts screaming. We stop in Cunningham (15 minutes later) to change the world's poopiest diaper. We talking poop all over the car, all over her dress, poop all over my shorts, poop all over the changing pad poopy. Always fun to deal with poop when travelling.

We drive another 15 miles to Pratt. We stop at Walmart in a fruitless search for VBS supplies.

Finally Emilia falls asleep. We drive to Ensign to change drivers. Emilia wakes up. We stop at Montezuma so I can feed her.

Emilia cries all the way to Copeland (10 miles away). We stop so I can change her diaper. Ryan climbs in the back between the two carseats to entertain Emilia the remaining 20 miles.

We finally arrive home at 4 p.m., six hours after we started, just in time to decorate for VBS.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Last day of school

Today was Ella's last day of Kindergarten. She was upset this afternoon because she says school is fun. She is very concerned about being ready for first grade, so she's been doing math problems every night.

Here's a picture of her on the first day of school, back in August.

And here she is today, on the last day of school.


After school she decided to draw a hopscotch to 101. She thought it would entertain her for a while.

Is this a problem?


Apparently this is a problem. I took Emilia to the doctor yesterday because she was tugging at her ears. Turns out she has another ear infection, and the doctor thinks she's allergic to Lily. The nurse practitioner thinks we should make Lily an outside cat; Dr. R thinks it's okay for Lily to be inside as long as she stays away from Emilia (and Emilia's stuff). I'm not sure what we're going to do. Unless we train ourselves to keep doors shut constantly, I don't think we can keep the cat away from the baby.

Anyone want a free cat?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Our little writer

Ella brought home her journals from Kindergarten. She draws a picture at the top and then writes at the bottom. Here is some of what she wrote throughout the year, invented spellings and all. The spelling doesn't bother me, but I have to admit a desire to correct her grammar.

(Sicily and Rosalia are girls in her class.)

Me and my bunnee are in the rain.

I have a sistr. We can dans.

I do not like tornadows.

I like cats. Ella likes cats. Me and Sicily like cats.

I like my glasses.

Me and Sicily are at the big hill with are moms.

I like the little hows.

I like the bus. I do not like Rosalia. My mom is osum.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A very special announcement

Brent and Leanne Howie welcome home with love the latest addition to their family.


After months of anticipation, the triplets (Margie, Rita, and 'Quila) arrived a day earlier than expected. Family and friends celebrated with lime margaritas, raspberry margaritas, Italian margaritas, strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas, amaretto coladas, and snow cones. (It is almost the end of the school year, you know.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Facebook Feminism

One of my Facebook friends posted a link to this article, which argues that women who post pictures of their children on the Facebook profiles (instead of pictures of themselves) are subverting their own personal identities. I'm fairly new to Facebook, but as someone who has posted pictures of children as my profile picture, and as a self-proclaimed feminist, I do have some thoughts on the subject.

First, I think it's a matter of sheer practicality that many women have pictures of their children as their profiles pictures. In my family (and I would guess that this is pretty common), I am the chief photographer. Hence, there are many, many pictures of the children, very few of me. I do currently have a picture of myself on Facebook, but I had to crop Ella out of it. (If you look carefully, you can see her arm.)

Second, I've noticed several of my male Facebook friends have pictures of the children in their profile pictures, so at least in my corner of the world, this is not a uniquely female phenomenon.

The article also maintains that mothers' conversations tend to revolve around children far more than men's, and I suspect that in many cases this is true. But I also think that the conversations between men that I overhear are pretty boring and stupid. I'd rather talk about kids than golf.

Even so, I do think there is still a cultural expectation that mothers will be more involved in their children's lives than fathers. When Ryan is alone with the girls, he gets lots of compliments about being such a good daddy; if I'm alone with the girls, no one says anything about me being a good mommy.

Among my circle of friends, most of the daddies are pretty involved with their kids, but I think this is pretty rare. And uninvolved fathers don't get nearly as much criticism as uninvolved mothers do.

Biology can be pretty difficult to overcome, and biologically, mothers tend to have a more intense connection to children, especially infants. Furthermore, feminists who don't accept the important role of motherhood are missing the boat. One of the ways women can have the most influence in the world is through motherhood, and it's dangerous for us to undermine or downplay the importance of motherhood. For me, feminism is all about choices. We should accept women who are powerful in the workplace, but we should also accept the fact that for many women (myself included), motherhood is an important part of our identity. And at least for me, becoming a mother so completely changed my life, it's no wonder it's a big part of my identity.

If I put my children's pictures on Facebook, it doesn't mean that I've lost any sense of my own identity; it just means that my children are a part of my identity.

Or it could just mean that my children are far cuter than I am.

Overheard

A snippet from our dinner conversation at IHOP last night.

Ryan: Ella, when we're at restaurants, we don't sit under the table and eat bacon.

Me: Bet you never thought you'd say that before you had kids.

Ryan: Are you going to blog about it?

Me: Probably.

Ella, emerging from under the table: Mommy, if you blog about this, I'm going to spill grape juice all over you.

I guess I'm taking my chances. If you see me with a mysterious purple stain, you'll know what happened.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Electrically speaking

We had a bad week with things that plug in.

My CD player at school stopped working.

My iPod speakers refuse to turn on.

The smoke detector in our room has started going off whenever we take a shower. It went off at 2:30 a.m. on Friday until we turned the humidifier off. And since all our smoke detectors are hard wired together, we got to hear beeping all over the house.

I bought a new surge protector. It doesn't work. At all. At least I kept the receipt.

Setting up the new wireless router took two phone calls to our Internet provider and a long conversation with LinkSys tech support. Finally I paid $10 for tech support to somehow connect to my computer and set everything up for me. I don't really understand--when I installed our first router, I had absolutely no problems. But this router seems to hate me.

Hopefully everything that could break already has and our string of bad electrical luck will be over soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

If she's like this now...


Ella has always had some disturbingly teenager-like qualities--changing clothes five times a day, throwing fits when she can't figure out what to wear, wanting different shoes for each outfit. And she's been a little drama queen since birth. But lately she's been taking things a little to far (and spending a lot of time in time-out as a consequence).

Quotes from Ella this week:

After I asked her what she was doing, "Something that's none of your business."

When I went to get her out of time-out, "But Mommy, it wasn't any of your business."

When I suggested she practice walking to school before doing it on her own, "If you trust me to walk home from Julie's, you should trust me to walk to school, too."

Later on that same evening, "If you're going to treat me like this, you don't deserve to have me. I'm leaving this house and never coming back." Ten seconds later. "And I'm taking blankie with me."

I had to hide my face so she couldn't see my laughter on the last one. At least it kept me from losing my temper. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day

Ella made me a book for Mother's Day. Here's the cover:


She doesn't believe in leaving any white space.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Roly Poly

Perhaps you didn't believe me when I said my baby is fat. Well, here's proof. Look at those rolls!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Satanta Day

This year's Satanta Day theme was "How Green Can We Be?" Ella was the Queen of Green on the YO Club float.
I'm not posting the picture of me with a green wig.

I'm not sure what the story is on this parade entry.


Here's a picture of Emilia from today. Look at that sweet smile.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Frugal Friday: Lessons from the Howies


Today's Lesson: Entertaining at Home

(or How to Turn Your House Into a Bar)




Going out for drinks gets expensive fast. Luckily, Brent and Leanne Howie have perfected the art of entertaining and imbibing at home. Follow these simple steps and soon you will be wastin' away in Margaritaville from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Step 1: Get yourself a Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker. It shaves the ice and blends your drink at the touch of a button. It's like a vacation in a small kitchen appliance. It's a bartender you don't have to tip. It's a little bit of heaven right there on your counter top. Leanne has this one right now, but she's saving up (and accepting donations) for the brand new Premium Trio Margaritaville.

Now this initial investment might seem decidedly unfrugal, but believe me, it's worth it. (I can say this--I didn't pay for it.)

Step 2: Find yourself some good drink recipes. I've included a couple at the bottom of this post, and the Williams Sonoma mixes are pretty good, but the real fun is in coming up with your own creations. We've never made something that was so bad we couldn't drink it. You can also use your Margaritaville to make non-alcoholic kids' drinks and smoothies.

Step 3: String Christmas lights in your garage.

Step 4: Load your iPod with your hair band favorites.

Step 5: Hook the lights to your iPod so they're synchronized with the music. (By the way, this is also a great technique for soothing a crying baby.)

Step 6: Clear your garage, borrow tables from your parents, and your party room is good to go. Leave it set up indefinitely in case of inpromptu gatherings.

(Now another option, the way of the Burrows family, is not to actually follow any of these steps yourself, but rather to make friends with someone who does. Thanks Brent and Leanne!)

Recipes:

Frozen Margarita (serves one)

3 spoonfuls frozen limeade concentrate (not diluted)
3 spoonfuls powdered sugar
1 ounce tequila
1/2 ounce triple sec
Squirt (to taste)
Ice (to taste)

Blend ingredients and serve in a salt-rimmed margarita glass.

For an Italian Margarita, substitue amaretto (Disaranno is best) for the tequila. Also try substituting amaretto for the rum in a Pina Colada--blend pineapple juice, cream, cream of coconut, Squirt, Disaranno, and ice. It's not diet friendly, but it's good.

Now, if don't have a Margaritaville (or a blender), here's a recipe for you.

Margarita on the Rocks

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1/2 ouce Cointreau
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces Squirt

Shake all the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker (or in a pinch, a sippy cup) for at least one minute. Strain into an ice-filled, salt-rimmed margarita glass.

You can substitute 1 ounce Triple Sec for the Cointreau and Grand Marnier.

To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cool.

While margaritas are, in my humble opinion, the secret to happiness, Brent disagrees. For an even simpler party solution, you can always make do with a nice, cold beer.





Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You never know what they'll like



Emilia didn't want to sit in any of her chairs or bouncers, but she was perfectly happy sitting in a laundry basket.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Is this a problem?


We can't keep Lily out of Emilia's crib, but they don't seem to mind sharing. Sometimes Lily steals the covers, though.

The other night Emilia started crying. I looked over to see Ryan holding the cat saying "It's all right, baby. Don't cry." Middle of the night confusion?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ella and her projects

Ella is always coming up with a project.

She used chalk to draw a bridge....


all the way across the street.


I'm not sure what she was doing in the yard here.



I redirected her.


We'll see if we can grow marigolds.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Emilia drinking water

video

Emilia likes to drink water from a straw. For some reason, the video isn't showing the best part--when she flicks water in my face.