Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Project 365: Jan 31

Will's current obsessions include anything dog and anything with wheels. Years ago, BW*, we found ourselves overrun with everything pink and babies (the kind made of plastic & cloth), but these days it's itty bitty cars.

Even Gracie plays cars with Will. They'll go to the kitchen and when Will zooms the across the room, Gracie will run and "tase" after it. The last time they played she ended up chewing on Sally but not "Ightmeen Keen"!

*BW - Before Will

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Project 365: Jan 30

If you consider that each of my girl children has had to have a new box of colored pencils each year that she's been in school, you'll easily determine that we have had at least 16 new boxes of colored pencils come through our house in the last 9 years. That's 3 fewer than it should be because this year I refused to buy new ones - just look at this stash - not one of my girls could make a viable argument that we really needed more new pencils!

That's a lot of pencils. That's a lot of artwork. That's a lot of pencil shavings on the floor.

How's this for anal? After I took this picture I noticed that there are pink pencils mixed in with the orange ones. That just doesn't sit right.

Monday, January 29, 2007

So Far, So Good

Will has new play-doh. So far he hasn't blended the colors together. Influenced by his sisters, I'm sure, he decided he didn't want to mix the colors.

Could it be Morgan's doing? She only grabbed the white play-doh and pleaded with me (of all people), "No, not the white!"

The kids all played for about an hour with all four colors. So far, so good.

A few specks here and a few there, but no obvious tie-dye look happening yet.

Morgan can breathe again!

The (W)hole Picture

This is my flute. It used to be my mother's flute. Someday it will probably be my daughter's flute.

It's had a long life of sporadic use. My mother took private lessons and practiced daily. Then she passed it down to me when I was 10, and I managed to play it almost daily for about five years! I played pretty well and was somewhat dedicated, until I got into junior high and other things became more important! Then, faced with the prospect of being in marching band, I gave it up when I went to high school. Still, I dug it out every now and then and would play a bit here and there. Once the babies started coming though, I never had time to get it out anymore.

I had the flute repadded a year or so ago, hoping that I'd have time to teach myself how to play again. I've only recently been able to take it out and re-teach my fingers to move along the keys. I'm hoping it's like riding a bike....

Project 365: Jan 29

Enough said. xoxox

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oil and Water

One of these children is just about as sweet as a pot of honey. Always a smile on her face and always trying to be helpful to her brother. The other child is her brother. He's also sweet, to everyone but this sister. Maybe it's because he has so many sisters that he just can't be sweet to all of them at the same time. Maybe it's because she's so sweet that he feels like he has to counteract her sweetness by being crummy toward her. I don't know.

I will say things are getting better as he gets older. They have to, after all it won't be too many more years before they are the only ones left here at home. He needs to keep her on his side, which means he'd better work hard at staying on her good side!

Today, this sister showed remarkable kindness and the patience of Job as she helped her brother tend to a wound. This is not a new wound, oh father down in Nashville, so don't you worry! This is an almost completely healed wound that just needed a Curious George band-aid...and Neosporin. Three times. Three times she tended to his needs, only to have the band-aid fall off while he was playing. She would have applied a fourth had I not stepped in and convinced him that his wound needed to take a break from band-aids.

Project 365: Jan 28

What in the world?!

Hint #1: "I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning."

Hint #2: Hidden away for almost 30 years.

Hint #3: Hit its prime in the 1950s.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Project 365: Jan 27


When I was five, my family drove from Seattle, Washington to Northbrook, Illinois. I don't remember much about the drive except that I got carsick... a lot, and my Grandma and Aunt Debbie had made goodie trays for my brother and me - one for each of us for each day of the trip. Wasn't that a great idea?! We thought so.

Anyway, in one of those trays I got a Mickey. I immediately became very attached to my Mickey, only putting him down when I had to... well you know. It turns out that visiting that service station in, was it Montana?, was a big mistake because I left my Mickey on the back of the toilet.

The worst part was that I didn't remember until we were hundreds of miles away. There was no way my Dad was going to turn around so I could get my Mickey. No way.

I never forgot my Mickey, and often wondered if some other little girl driving across the country in a smelly sedan had picked him up and taken him home with her.

When I was 30, my mother gave me this Mickey. Wasn't that a nice thing to do?! I don't take him to the toilet with me. In fact, he never leaves his shelf.

Project 365: Jan 26

It's finally cold enough to build a fire in the fireplace! Even Will got into the act last night!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Project 365: Jan 25

Fish out of water?

This is the end result when you mix a baggie of goldfish, a 3 1/2-year-old, and a 1/4 mile walk. Little fishies everywhere.

Just keep swimming...

Project 365: Jan 24

It was snowing at 8 this morning. By 10, the ground looked like this. Crazy weather!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Project 365: Jan 23

I took these little guys to the track at the elementary school this afternoon while we waited for the final bell to ring. As they walked and ran their way around the loop the boys kept watching as their shadows moved and grew and disappeared and reappeared. They especially enjoyed hiding their shadows in my much larger one! They found such delight in the simplest of things - their own shadows.

With fun like that, who needs toys?!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Project 365: Jan 22

Icky milk. In Caroline's mind, all milk is icky, but this milk is ickier! Not that she even tried it.

Having purchased no fewer than 6 gallons of milk in the last week, having ignored weather reports calling for snow yesterday, and having used up all remaining drops in our very last gallon yesterday evening, we were bummin' this morning!

My kids love oatmeal* and one of them just has to have brown sugar and milk in his oatmeal. How can he make rivers through the oatmeal if there is no "water" to run through the the trenches he digs with his Thomas spoon?

Luckily for Will I had purchased this dry milk for an edible peanut butter play-doh recipe.

Morgan had her milk sprinkled on her oatmeal - dry milk sprinkled on oatmeal is something she learned to love on her canoe trip this fall. The group had no way to refrigerate any food items and had to use dry milk.

Caroline passed. No surprise there, since it's a major effort to get her to drink regular, storebought comes-in-a-plastic-jug milk!

Katherine tried the milk in her cereal and decided she didn't like it at all!

Will ate his cereal because he knows no better. Thank goodness for three-year-olds.

I used the rest to cook with and have sent David and Caroline out to get a few gallons at the grocery store! I guess I'll have to make that play-doh after all.

*majority rules here: 3 of 4 kids in our house love oatmeal, therefore I have no issues with claiming they love oatmeal. The one who doesn't, loves cream of wheat!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Project 365: Jan 21

It was so cold today.

We got our first snow of the season and knew we needed something hot in our bellies before heading outside to brave the weather. We all had soup, but we all did not brave the weather! The kids all stayed outside for HOURS with the dog while I stayed inside and enjoyed the warm quiet!

The red is tomato (the kids' favorite!) and the green is (my favorite!) split pea. Yum!!

Project 365: Jan 20

Thank goodness for under armour and ear bands. It was so cold yesterday at 4 when David and Morgan left the house to go for a run, and I worried that she'd get too cold. I needn't have worried at all.

David and Morgan have been frequenting the Rivanna Trail lately for their runs. Yesterday's run was just four miles. She probably didn't even break into a sweat! Already she's a faster runner than I am and I'm guessing it won't be long before she's pushing to enter into a local road race.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Project 365: Jan 19

Tonight David and I went to a dinner group. Before we left with the rolls Caroline asked if she could have one. No way!

We just returned and sure enough Caroline was there waiting, like a vulture watching for carrion, for any leftover rolls. This is her 3rd...and last, until tomorrow!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gracie's Gone!

It was dark outside, and cold, and the drops of freezing rain were just beginning to fall. It was at this particular moment that 2 of my children decided to quarrel about whether Gracie needed to come in or stay out just a little longer. Someone inserted a foot into the doorway and the dog disappeared into the night.

She didn't run, at first. Nope, she sniffed, just out of reach. The girls watched her and called her, but Gracie didn't come. (Gracie never comes when she's called. She hasn't decided to learn that yet.) They called some more, and when she still didn't come they brought in the big guns - first me, and then the humongous (heavy) emergency flashlight from the back of my van.

Since Gracie had gone to the right of the house, I went left and tried to cut her off before she could get to the stairs leading down into the back yard. Oh, she's sneaky. She didn't need the stairs, she ducked through the woods into the open space in the yard. I followed her out the treehouse where she was sniffing - you'd have thought the dog was on holiday rather than on the lam. Goodness, she dawdled! I can't even count the number of times I got close enough to grab her, and couldn't. She's fast! She'd dash away as fast as she could go and then stop to sniff out the deer path. I'd get close, and she'd dash again. After doing this several times, Morgan came down with the flashlight and I held it while she followed Gracie into the deep dark woods. We are so brave. Morgan followed her along the stream bed until we were behind the neighbor's house. It was just too far.

After going a little farther I called Morgan back and we headed back toward our house. Morgan decided to quickly walk down the road to the neighbor's house to try to cut Gracie off from that side. Now it was Morgan who was walking so fast that I couldn't keep up! Before I could follow I checked on the other kids and then went around back one more time to make sure Gracie wasn't any closer. Sure enough she was! She saw the light and came at me. Silly me, I thought (for a very quick instant!) that she was traumatized by the whole event and was coming to be taken inside for some TLC. HA! Nope, she yapped "psych!" as she scooted by me in to the front yard and around to the back of the house again.

I knew I'd never catch her because she's just too fast, so I had Caroline stand by the open front door hoping that Gracie might run inside on her next lap. That didn't happen. About this time I stopped hearing Morgan calling out Gracie's name and I started to worry about her getting lost in the woods - not that I was worried about Gracie having to spend the night in the woods. Nope, I was just chasing her because I had to. It's written somewhere that if you have kids and a dog and the dog gets out, as a mother you have to look for the dog with due diligence because otherwise your kids will never forgive you. That's what drove me to find this dog, in the freezing rain, in the dark, and in heeled shoes.

So then I started worrying about Morgan who had traipsed off into the unknown in search of this dog. But before I headed down the road, I decided to check the backyard one more time. I stopped walking, trying to hear the rustle that I'd heard earlier, hoping to get some idea of where she might be. No rustle, nothing. Nothing except the pitter patter of her nails on the deck above my head. Geez. Up the stairs I went, and as she came for me I grabbed her so fast and scooped her up. Took her inside, calling to Caroline to close the door (because she's such a good listener the door was still open and all the heat in our house was now in the front yard) and had Caroline put Gracie in her kennel. Then I went up the road to try to find my oldest. I called and called, and got no answer.

I walked down the road feeling very brave in the dark with my killer flashlight and humbled by the thought of my daughter running down there without one. Oh, she's the brave one. I called and called. After the 4th or 5th call, I heard her voice. Thank goodness.

It turns out that Morgan had gone the front door to ask permission to go into the backyard and the elderly gentleman had gone outside into the woods with her. Then, when she heard me, she couldn't come fast because she helping him back up the hill. I felt relief on so many levels.

Back at home we thawed ourselves and let Caroline serve us hot tea and popcorn. Even Will, who had been fairly oblivious of the excitement, joined us for "conbersation".

We never heard another peep from Gracie, who must have known she was lucky to be inside and warm. She is extremely fortunate to be living in a home with these 4 children who love her so much.

Project 365: Jan 18

Not much to say about these guys. I think they've got a few more miles in them, it's just a matter of finding the time. Like today, I wasn't needed (!?) in second grade because the entire grade is practicing for a play. So my plans changed from being at school all morning to having a good portion to do whatever I wanted. I thought to myself - I'll go home and knock out a few miles on the treadmill - 'cause it's colder than it ought to be outside! I was even headed in that direction until I saw this beast beckoning me to push its buttons and check my email. Successfully lured & running forgotten, I checked my email, and then determined that I was hungry...needless to say, the running did not happen this morning.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday Matinee

Caroline and I were treated to a wonderful puppet show this afternoon. The show was called "Found!"

It was about a missing child who was found by the handsome prince. The story is Katherine's. The lion was Will's contribution.

Will and Katherine worked well together as the puppet show team, though I think the lion got a little too rowdy for her tastes! Gracie enjoyed the ruckus and thought maybe she'd get some lion meat for dinner. No luck there, though she did get a taste!

Project 365: Jan 17

The cleanest floor in my house. I'll let you figure out the reason!

Project 365: Jan 16

It's a Saab story, really.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gracie Chews, part four

Can you guess what all of these items have in common?
You got it - Gracie!
Toys that have lasted 13 years are going down fast with Gracie in the house. David was right when he called Gracie our clutter this rate there won't be anything left for her to find. Add to this picture today's catch - a tube of Blistex and an ink pen. It was another good day for the dog.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Project 365: Jan 15

The bright side of an empty coffee mug is that it's just waiting to be filled again!

This is just so much better, don't you think?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Gracie Wants A Cracker

Look at that face. Do you think Will gave her one? It's no wonder I can't keep her off the table!

In all of our discussions about the benefits of having an inside dog, the main one being we'd have a live-in "crumb catcher," I never once imagined the dog we now have. Gracie is wired. Gracie is persistent. Gracie is just about everything our last dog wasn't. This is a good thing, I guess. It's just taking some getting used to.

A Progressive Game Night

Progressive Game Night came into being as a result of our indecision and inability to compromise...

1st game: Turtle Picnic: This is a concentration type game and was Will's choice! You get to match the colorful snacks to the colors hidden on the turtles' backs.

Then came Twister! (Morgan's choice!)

"I'm going to dominate this game." declared Caroline!

Caroline & Morgan managed to stay neck & neck and, despite David's attempts to defeat them first on the mat and later at the spinner, never did fall! We had to declare the game a draw! Will had a great time staying underfoot! On to Katherine's choice: Arthur Goes to the Library - yet another concentration type game.

After Arthur, we played Apples to Apples, which was Caroline's choice. It's a thinking man's game:

We couldn't play our newest game, Ruckus, because we hadn't written the thank you note yet, and no one would even consider playing my favorite game, Boggle.
Next on my list is Waterworks which was one of my favorites as a child.

Project 365: Jan 14

My days are numbered.

Parking is at a premium at our church. As a result, there are only a limited number of spaces available adjacent to the church for able-bodied people. So far we've been able to park in this space because we have the toddler boy, who is just too big for me to carry, and too little to trust to walk across the street without worrying that he'll bolt!

The way I figure it, we have another few weeks before I'll start feeling guilty about parking here. But then again, if my hips keep acting up, I'll fall into the first category!

Project 365: Jan 13

Even at 40-something the all-powerful, forever-binding, never-to-be-broken pinky swear is a regular and necessary part of life!!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Project 365: Jan 12

Sometimes just getting everyone out the door on time is a major accomplishment.

Coats, backpacks, lunchboxes, canned goods, clarinet, recorder, dogs for the bear hunt....

Happy Friday before a long weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Moving to Higher Ground!

These are Katherine's Christmas gifts from my brother and his wife in Nevada. Katherine's passions include Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake so she was tickled pink to open these gifts. Knowing she'd have to wait to enjoy them until after dinner and after she had written her thank you note, she had David put her gifts on the mantle so Gracie wouldn't chew on them.

So far she and Will are the only ones who have changed they way they do things as a result of Gracie's chewing tendencies!

Gracie Chews, part three

The only thing that Gracie chewed today, other than her rawhide bone, was a bright pink Care Bear ring that had entered our house months ago as decoration on a Chandler's (ooh!)cupcake and had later been lost under the chair in the living room. I really can't muster the energy to be upset about that.

Project 365: Jan 11

These are 2 of 4 buses that converge at the elementary school to trade students every afternoon at 4:20. Two come from the high school and two come from the middle school. If I pick Morgan up at the elementary school instead of at her bus stop, she has 25 extra minutes at home. Considering the chaos at our house after 5 every day, any extra time at home is helpful.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hurry, Hurry, Drive The Firetruck

Will received this firetruck puzzle as a Christmas present from the Nevada Martins. The best part is that he didn't open it until today! How cool is that!?!

First, Will had fun unwrapping his presents. He talked the whole time he unwrapped, about how heavy the package was, or how it had a boy on the front, or the pretty paper. Too funny! He got the firetruck puzzle and both a big & little doodle pro. What fun!

Lucky for me these things were shrink-wrapped because our rule is that you must write your thank you notes before you can even think about enjoying a gift. I know it's harsh, but it works.

No questions or complaints from Will. He went and got a piece of paper and wrote his "sank you note" and then asked me to open the puzzle. Once he had the puzzle complete, he asked to open the doodle pro package. These items kept him busy all afternoon. His only concern was keeping Gracie away from the pieces, because even Will knows that Gracie chews.

Project 365: Jan 10

I took this while I was driving to church this morning. The guy behind me wasn't too pleased because my slowing down caused both of us to miss the left turn light - oh well.

The building that has now been reduced to rubble used to house Papa John's, and probably lots of things before that (before my time). It was a cute building with a pretty glass's a shame that it had to go. I wonder what they'll build there now.

I also think it's a shame that I didn't have Will in the car with me. We could have driven closer and watched all morning. Of course, if he had been with me I wouldn't have been heading to church and never would have known about the demolition in the first place!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Need I Say More?

I'm thinking that this dog was sent to live with us for some reason. I haven't yet figured out what that reason could be, but I'm sure there has to be one...a really good one.

Any ideas?

Project 365: Jan 9

One of these things is not like the other.
One of these things just doesn't belong.
Can you guess which thing is not like the other,
before I finish my song?

Does anyone else out there remember that song from Sesame Street?