Archive for May, 2010

order, order!

Every time they do this, it causes me acute physical pain:

Which is why, I firmly believe, that they insist on doing this.  Instead of four distinct colors in lovely shades of springtime newness, we end up with four tubs of swirly nothingness.  The bigger person would just sigh and recognize that it’s the kids’ play dough, but I just can’t.  I cringe and recoil and mutter things about keeping the shades separate.  But, the dough’s not mine because if it were mine, things would be different.  Very different.  The red would stay red, the yellow would be pure yellow and never the twain shall meet and create an off-putting orange hue.

And yes, I am just that law abiding when it comes to the little things.  I observe the “No Right Turn on Red” sign that my husband always ignores.  I toss the milk on the expiration date regardless of smell.  And this aspect of my personality has never been as satisfied as it was when I lived in Vienna surrounded by people who never crossed the street against the light and waiters in cafes that carefully brought you out your coffee in the same meticulous set up each time.

Now, my life is clogged with Lego airplanes hanging out on the edge of the tub, wooden play food in my shoes, and red double-decker buses parked in the refrigerator.  A little orderliness cannot possibly be too much to ask.

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strong hit from the money machine

I’m not really what it says about me or our culture when my child presents me with a money machine (aka ATM) that he has built out of Lego.  A very big part of me is impressed that he sat down and so quickly whipped out a structure that looks so much like its real-life equivalent.  I mean, when the kids ask me to make a boat out of Lego what they are presented with resembles a matchbox much more than anything slightly nautical.

Another part of me, however, is left wondering why an ATM.  I usually go to ours when the kids aren’t with me largely because they love pressing the buttons so much, mugging for the security camera, and yanking the bills out and refusing to surrender them to me.  Their antics are pretty funny to me but not so much to the ever present line of grumpy looking patrons waiting in line behind us late on a Friday afternoon.

ATMs are convenient, ubiquitous and very useful, but they seem to represent the worst about us as a culture–cash on demand, true lack of understanding where money comes from, electronics replacing human interaction. Maybe soon little w. will go back to creating his bizarre animal/machine morph creations.  Much better??

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what the kids are listening to these days

Today I pulled out the old cd catalog and let the kids choose what to listen to.  So far our playlist has included selections brought to you by the first two letters of the alphabet:

  • Beck–Odelay AND Guera
  • Ben Folds Five
  • Beastie Boys
  • Big Band Legends
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Blind Boys of Alabama

And just to set the record straight, we were just listening to the cd with “Way Down in the Hole” on it.  I wasn’t sitting around eating snack cakes and watching “The Wire” while the kids played lego in the other room.  Honest.

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i’ll fly away

I am the first person to admit that our sunporch can get a bit messy from time to time.  Post-birthday party, it was especially in a state of, uh, disorder as chairs had been moved to the side and unclaimed drink coolers abounded. Because of a recent crafting night, our Christmas branch had finally been moved out to the sunporch with its attendant red bird decoration perched delicately on an upper branch.

Puttering around in the kitchen, a fleeting movement through the window in the sunporch caught my eye.  I peeked through the window and was just in time to see a tiny little bird hopping through a one inch opening in the storm door to the back deck. We have a tenant!

A couple of hours later I heard a startlingly loud and bright chirping concert taking place in our sunporch. Apparently someone is wooing Redbird!  I scared off one of the birds but managed to spy on the bolder friend as he took over the penthouse apartment on the top of the kids’ easel.

I particularly like in this picture how the branches create a bird shape right next to Redbird–no wonder why the new tenant felt like he could make himself at home here!  Sorry, friend, but the janitor of this building said that birds as tenants were not allowed due to insufficient cleaning funds.  Perhaps we’ll erect some new housing for you outside soon??

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penguin + yelling + rocket = love

We’ve gone through quite a few penguin related books over here in the past few months (A Penguin Story, Sergio Saves the Game, Eve of the Emperor Penguin to name a few).  I’m not sure if it’s the waddle or the connection to Antarctica–my son’s favorite continent–that has made penguins so darn interesting, but many days at the downtown library, I find myself searching the stacks for more and more penguin stories.  So, color me excited when I stumbled on a penguin story that we hadn’t read before–Penguin by Polly Dunbar.

Penguin instantly became a hit in our household largely due to Penguin’s obstinacy and stubbornness.  Penguin’s refusal to speak to Ben, the little boy who had received the penguin as a gift, was instantly mimicked as was the threat of feeding each other to a lion for being too loud.

The sign of a good book, however, is when the kids eagerly retell the story to their patient grandmother on the telephone.  In the case of Penguin, the kids refused to go to sleep until their father drew a scene from the story to their exacting satisfaction:

Sweet dreams!

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have a berry good time

Due largely to the picking of 23 lbs. of strawberries, little e’s birthday party this year was (loosely) berry themed–a berry covered cake:

Berries to snack on, strawberry wafer cookies, and strawberry Twizzlers to use as straws to suck down berry lemonade:

Due to my inherent laziness and lack of ability to plan ahead, the decorations were minimal.

Party hats that my mom and I constructed:

“Strawberry” balloons:

A Happy Birthday banner that I lovingly constructed out of cardstock and felt.  Unfortunately, the wind kept whipping it all over the place:

As she doesn’t really have any friends of her own, save her cousin and one other sweet little family friend, her brother’s friends that she always plays with filled in the void.  So, a sweet strawberry party quickly became a raucous affair.  Maybe by next year little girl will have a few more friends of her own so that her birthday party will be an event of her own.

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farm to table eating

Last Friday found us heading out to Whitted Bowers Farm in Cedar Grove to pick a peck of organic strawberries. According to their website, the berries were at their peak and the plants would be loaded.  45 minutes and 23 lbs. (yes, you sadly read that correctly), I have to agree.  It was a good picking day.

OK, so the kids weren’t exactly doing a lot of picking…

So, 23 lbs. of strawberries became a topping for a birthday strawberry shortcake:

and 168 ounces of jam:

Strawberry ice cream:

Hopefully all of this strawberry bounty will tide us over until blueberry season begins.

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