Tuesday, January 31, 2012

sad panda

Patrick has been on a movies/TV hiatus for a couple weeks now.  There was an increasing correlation between the amount of screen time and amount of wah-wah-woe-is-me time, so we said he no longer gets to watch movies every day.  Hey, it was a lifesaver while it lasted!  Movies and shows are now an exception, so every few days he gets an hour or so, and it's been a really nice change - he and I work on "projects" together (I scrapbook and he cuts up old photos and makes messes) or play games or read and it's our "alone time."  Still, there are times when exceptions are nice, like Sunday morning mom-and-dad-sleep-ins, and Sunday afternoon dad's-feeling-lazy-and-snuggly.  Sunday exceptions can lead to Sunday evening that look a little something like this:

Sleeping in was still definitely worth it :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

working hard, or...

...hardly working? I think not.  The Children's museum has a work area where kids can use actual tools (hand drills, saws (?!), clamps, hole punches, etc) and then provides "materials" (donated empty recycleables like egg cartons) for the kids to put together with the tools. We usually avoid it like the plague (saws?! seriously?!) but we went to the museum on a whim last week and it was PACKED!  5 school buses, zero free parking spaces, PACKED. We did whatever areas were least crowded and guess what? Teachers didn't want their elementary students using the real-life saws, either! So we tried it out, and actually had a very nice time.  While there, I discovered screws screw in nicely to upside-down egg crates, and it kept Patrick and Eli busy and entertained.  In the end, Patrick nicked his finger with the screwdriver, which is what he refers to in the video, but it was seriously mild... so I thought, "I have egg cartons, screws, and screwdrivers at home, why don't I just do this there?"  So today, we did!  Take THAT, wet and windy weather!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh, Joy

In spite of the fact that we have been doing it twice a week, every week, since September of 2011, I've never mentioned on the blog that we do Joy School.  Patrick and his friend Michael are the students for the moment, while we wait for Eli and Michael's brother Benson to catch up age-wise (probably this fall).  Anyway,it's been SUPER fun!  Fun for me the weeks I teach and Michael's mom takes the tots; fun for me to have the tots and not have to worry about a lesson when she teaches.  The lessons are great, the songs are great, the activities are great... it's been great!  Highly recommend it, find out more at valuesparenting.com. For now, though, just had a few pictures from "school" I wanted to post, from back when it was all snowy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Working on Caroline's 1-year scrapbooking page was an unusual challange because her picture is so gosh-dang pretty I wanted to do something special, but being 3rd in scrapbooking line (ok, 5th, I scrapped Joe and I a decent amount before we had kids), I often feel that "special" has already been taken.  I'm out of new ideas.  So I browsed a scrapbooking idea file (thanks, Debbie!) and came up with adding their horoscope of character traits - so fun!  She's a Saggitarius, and so are Joe and I, so I was curious how "on" the description was for us, and how "on" it might be for her.  I about fell out of my chair when I read it.  I'm not into daily horoscopes or 5-star days or anything, and I know you can make generalized statements that people from all backgrounds might attribute to themselves, but seriously - this was so awesome! Here is the description, in its entirety, and I italicized things I feel are SO RIGHT about us. 

Here goes.

Sagittarius is usually the soul of the company. The reason people are attracted to them is their inborn ability is to act in a very relaxed and honest manner. Sagittarians are tolerant and open-minded, they will never judge someone just by physical appearance and they tend to accept environment without any preconceptions.

Sagittarius trusts other people easily but he/she expects the same trust in return. When they communicate with other people Sagittarius people are usually open and forthright, so you just know that such people won’t talk behind your back (one of my HUGE pet peeves!). This quality makes them very reliable companions, beloved friends and family members. In addition, they are never selfish or proud, so their generosity is usually something to be admired.

One of the most positive qualities of Sagittarius is a great sense of humor (I think so, at least). Such people are not likely to cry alone at night because someone said something bad about them. (This is true about Joe but not about me! I'm a sensitive soul). The Archer accepts everything with a smirk upon the face and they don’t take themselves too seriously as well.

Sagittarians are natural-born optimists; they believe that nothing can bring them down. This ability not to be stressed by every little trouble allows them to go further no matter what. Their energy always saves them from misery because by the time they realize they failed, there is already a new adventure planned. (I laughed out loud, this is so true!)

Sagittarians don’t believe in deceit and they trust people dearly, they are rarely ever suspicious of anyone (almost to a fault). They also expect others to trust them in return. Such people think well of other people, as they think well of themselves too.

They have very high standards, always aiming for more than it is possible to achieve, and this quality makes them respectable in the eyes of society. All in all, Sagittarius is the most enthusiastic, positive and energetic of all Zodiac signs. (Go Saggitarius!! [See? There's that enthusiasm again]).

Negative Personality Traits of Sagittarius

Negative qualities: carelessness, impulsiveness, forgetfulness, tactlessness 

Many Sagittarians have problems with controlling their egos. They are used to thinking they have all the right answers and sometimes other people are put off by such attitude. Much like other Fire signs, Sagittarius has own set of rules and doesn’t like to be told they are wrong. *Amen*

They prefer to be always in control of the situation and people. However, no everyone likes to be controlled so there are situations where Sagittarius can be considered to be obnoxious and egoistic.

They also often expect full recognition for every accomplishment. Like a true fire sign, Sagittarius is quick to get angry and their energy can transform from positive to negative in a heartbeat. Those people can be very insulting when they don’t think before speaking their mind, which is exactly what happens to them most of the time.

In many cases Sagittarians simply don’t consider the effect their words can have on other people. Sometimes, their lack of tact and dark sense of humor goes too far and other people can be offended.

Because they are so restless and impulsive, sometimes their energy is wasted which leads to temporary cases of depression. This happens when the Archer (the Saggitatius person) doesn’t focus the stream of energy into one direction. They can also be quite irresponsible because they want to do everything at the same time. Consequently, some projects are left unfinished.

Sagittarians are quick to come up with ideas but they have no patience and concentration to complete them. Such behavior can irritate other people, especially when Sagittarius is irresponsible in the work-place. When their work doesn’t bring them enough satisfaction, they can become inconsiderate and even tensed.

Sagittarius tends to take risks without thinking it through. As a result, sometimes those risks turn out to be foolish. Their inability to handle finances is can also be considered as a flaw, especially in a marriage. Sagittarius is also a sign known for passion for adventures and risks, so many of them indulge in gambling, leading to dangerous lifestyle (thank goodness we don't gamble!).

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Party time!

 We fell down pretty hard on Eli and Caroline's birthdays, but they didn't care (or know enough to notice).   Being 4, Patrick sure knew it was party time, we we sure didn't miss Patrick's!  I had to work at noon today, so we needed to have the birthday party early in the morning, so I went with it and themed it "a PJ party for PJ."  Guests showed up in their pajamas and we had a pancake breakfast, where the kids got to decorate their breakfast with strawberries, bananas, grapes, and chocolate chips.

Alli made an awesome smiley face :)

Our neighbor friends, Chelsea (the big kid) and Andrew, had fun at the party with us!  We're so lucky to live next to such fun kids.

We played a few games, but mostly the kids were WAY too distracted by all the toys, so we gave up and let them play around until it was time for opening presents and eating cake. 

Yep, pancakes AND cake in one very early-morning party.  Kids who skimped on breakfast sure made up for it with this concoction!  Since Eli's birthday Patrick has been requesting an oddly layered birthday cake, from his own imagination: brownies, strawberries, cake, and chocolate frosting.  My big "win!" of the party was actually making this dream-cake, AND it actually looking good! Here it is, mostly consumed:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kitchen desires

All I want is THIS KITCHEN. 

And to say that I made it, like these folks did.  We have a play kitchen that gets very little play (the fridge is a hiding spot, but I'm disappointed in how little my little people cook imaginary omlettes), so if YOU need a play kitchen, check out their website http://www.younghouselove.com/2012/01/claras-christmas-kitchen/ for step-by-step spectaculation (yep, another new word from me). Then invite me over because I want to be a part of this magic!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I thought grid drawings were too advanced, but...

No help from me!  I about fell over I was so impressed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

They grow like weeds...

Patrick hates onions to his very core and specifically asks for NO ONIONS on his meals, even things that don't have onions. That being the case, my onions have recieved little attention in the last few months - even less than I thought!  Had to take a picture; it's not about the onion, it's about how Patrick hates them and I do things to keep my kids happy (even though I lurv onions).

Patrick's super into art projects right now - if it involves crayons/markers/colored pencils, paint, stickers, scissors, glue, pictures, or the word "project" he's on it!  So I hung a few of my favorites in my "gallery," which I gathered from decluttering my fridge and giving them their own places of honor (yay! decluttering win!)

Here's another decluttering win: our desk drawer.  A magnet for junk, even though I get into it multiple times a day (probably because I get into it multiple times a day!).  Since I use it so much, it's nice to have it newly tidy.

My biggest decluttering challange is... Patrick.  He want me to keep everything! My old sketches from middle school?  "But they're so beautiful!" (he actually said that - what a compliment!  And what a case of junk-itis! They were sketches of my hand). My sponge keeper by the sink that I have never actually kept a sponge it? "But it's my favorite!" (He was unaware that we owned it until that very moment).  Stuffed animals the kids don't touch, worn-out shoes they've outgrown, pants that are ripped in multiple places?  "But I love them! Let's don't give them away!"  So I have to declutter while he's asleep in bed, then hide everything in giant trash bags .  I'm up to TEN bags now! Tomorrow's the big donation day and I am seriously looking forward to getting those 5 bags out of my bedroom (and I bet Joe is, too, since I've thrust this mania upon him); the other 5 bags were pure trash (ripped pants included).  Spring cleaning has come early, despite below-freezing temps today!  I'll keep you posted as I go (I know you're dying to hear about it all - hahaha!).  

Monday, January 16, 2012


I love crafts.  I also love procrastinating. Not a good combo, it turns into procraftination!  Then craft stuff tends to pile up, exactly like Mr. Don Aslett told me NOT to do in "Clutter's Last Stand."  In the beginning of the book he introduces 101 Excuses people give for keeping their junk.  A number of them I could never understand ("I'll iron out the wrinkles from the used wrapping paper to reuse it" - excuse me? Has anyone EVER said or done that?), a couple of them made me laugh ("I'll save these empty toilet paper tubes for when I have grandchildren/want to do a kids activity"), and then a few of them.... ooof, they made me cringe because they are MY EXCUSES! I thought my excuses were REAL!  Everyone else is just kidding themselves, but I seriously will hem those pants/use those fabric scraps/knit that cute baby hat for a gift/get around to sorting through my ribbon collection. Then again, those projects have been on my "to craft" list for coming up on 2... 3.... 4 years?  Oh, CRAP.

So rather than de-junking all my craft stuff, I am CRAFTING IT. This is serious.  FIRST, of course, I have to de-junk the rest of my house, I can't get sidetracked by a couple (few dozen) projects, but I have already shown some pluck and gotten a few of the easier, more clutter-y projects done.  My most notable "I win!" is my adorable Christmas ornament ball wreath.  Much like nativities, I didn't own a single wreath, even though I love them and admire them on other people's homes. I saw a cute piece on TV about how to make one so easily, then the ornaments were on clearance at work, then came the clutter where I brought it home and let it sit around for 2 weeks... but I DID IT.  And it's WAY cute!  But I also got right on the ball and put it away with all my Christmas stuff that I reorganized (thanks, Don!), so I don't have my own personal photo.  But here's how it seriously turned out:

Nice, eh?  My storage box thinks so, and you will too, come Christmas 2012!  And by the end of the year (hopefully even by the end of this month) I'll have quite a few more projects to show off and brag about on my blog, making you feel inferior and small.  Oh, wait, that's not my style :)  Well, then, I'll tell you how I did it while holding off Caroline (crying) with one foot and letting the boys eat as much chocolate as they wanted (naked) because I was too busy to dress or feed them.  Now THAT'S my style!  Betcha can't wait for the pictures, eh?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year, new resolve

I don't typically make New Year's resolutions, but the new year happened to coincide with me wanting to clean out our house a bit AND my mom mentioning "40 bags in 40 days" AND me borrowing a book from my mom: "Clutter's Last Stand" by Don Aslett.  Super-outdated copy, he talks about organizing your RECORDS, for crying out loud, but the PRICIPLES of the book are fantastic!  So I've been reading, reading, reading, and towards the end of each chapter I get so motivated that I can't finish reading until I clean out that drawer that he's been nagging me about. Or that closet.  Or that medicine box.  Or my shoes. Or my magazines. Or my records (tee-hee-hee!). Or my garage, even though it's January.  He's that inspirational.  So I recommend it to anyone and everyone, even if you think you're totally un-cluttered. I thought I was near the top of the uncluttered scale, I DO keep a running Donation Bag that I toss things into as I find I don't want or need them.  That's what I thought.

Turns out, my drawers, closets, medicine boxes, magazines, records (tee-hee-hee!), and garage disagreed with my self analysis, and I have already gathered NINE bags of stuff.  NINE, folks! I thought it was impossible, yet I realise I'm only just getting started.   My mom did "40 bags in 40 days," which could be bags of trash, donations, selling items, giving away items, or any combination, but if you just KEEP LOOKING and digging and cleaning you will manage to come up with 40 bags... and then you can rest. I was just looking to morph that idea into "a lot of bags in a generic number of days" while I read this book, but ya know?  I think I just might hit 40.  Wish me lots of luck, and if you ever need a gift for me, I'm in need of more trash bags (about 31).

Friday, January 6, 2012

Park (?) Days

Some kids like to play at the park.  Caroline likes to play at the fridge.  She LOVES the salad dressings.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Long, strange trip

We got back to Denver from our incomparable trip to Junction - it's always the best! It kicked off my "eat more and gain weight" new year's resolution! HAHAHAHA! I kid. But we did eat a lot.  The kids wore themselves down to nubbins playing with their cousins (*insert cute picture that I didn't take*), spending special time with grandpa and his iPad (*insert second cute picture I didn't take*), watching movies galore and generally running amok (*more cute, random photos here*). Anyway.

GETTING to Junction was the trial, Caroline screamed a large percentage of the time and refused to be entertained, consoled, or knocked unconscious. We got wiser on our trip back and administered some anti-nausea medication, which promptly knocked all three kids out until Vail.  Eli then woke up screaming "Go! Pee! Go! Pee!" and Joe and I groaned big groans and sighed big sighs.... the other two kids were still passed out, but everyone knows as soon as you stop they will all wake up! Since we did NOT want a repeat of our trip down, I quickly came up with Plan B: Sippy Cup.  You might see what's about to happen. 

I gingerly climbed into the very back seat, unbuckled Eli, pulled down his pants, and held the empty sippy cup as best I could under current conditions.  I was shocked and amazed that he went along with it without complaint, and THEN shocked and amazed as the cup filled and filled and filled to almost overflowaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!! Barely made it, I almost got pee all over his pants and my hands and the car - he REALLY needed to go! Crisis averted, though, I pulled his pants back up, buckled him back in, and, with my fresh 8-oz sample, gingerly climbed back through still-sleeping Patrick and Caroline up to my seat at the front.  I still can hardly believe we pulled it off :) 

And oh year, GROSS!  The things we do as parents to keep the peace.    

Today they are still recovering and have thrown my schedule for a complete loop!  My big plans to get back into our routine, hit the gym at 8:30 and then head to the park before time for lunch and naps, were squashed. Caroline went back to bed at 8:30 and Eli passed out in the middle of the living room floor at 10:00.  Truly, falling asleep on the floor is actually weirder than him wizzing in a cup - he's soiled all kinds of things, but sleeps only in his crib or carseat... until today.  And now Caroline's up, just in time for what SHOULD be her nap.  Curiouser and Curiouser!