Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the things that keep us up at night.

"Mom, what's spontaneous combustion?"

"It's when something explodes suddenly."


Then, "Do people spontaneously combust?"

"No. Now go to sleep."


"Are you SURE?"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Settling in.

Phwew. The dog. He changed. When he got here, he was all submissive and quiet and laid down every time you petted him.

Don't get me wrong. He's still sweet. He's still adorable. And he's helping me to keep my house clean. And he's breaking us of our "drop our socks on the floor wherever we are" habit. Ahem.

Because he eats things on the floor. Whatever they may be. And he can climb on top of the patio table. And he does. And when he's supposed to go in his crate at night, he'll roll over on his back and make it impossible to pick him up and put him in his crate. But once he's there, he just lays down and goes to sleep.

And in the morning, there's not getting up and lounging around. No way. One must play ball to get all the dog's wiggles out. Because otherwise you will find a dog jumping like a jumping bean in your kitchen. And I'm not getting any time to sit around any other time of the day, because he demands to be played with and petted when it looks like I'm not doing anything productive.

And Maggie? The old dog? She's coming around. She might actually like him, except for the annoying little brother aspect of him. They've come around enough where they follow each other around most of the time. Until he starts licking her ears and trying to get her to play with him by nipping at her. Which usually she throws her nose up in the air and walks the other way. Sometimes she'll play. Sometimes she'll tell him to go AWAY. But I think, in the end, they're friends. She certainly came around WAY faster than I thought she would. Thank goodness.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And then there were seven.

The newest member of our family. His name is Oakley.

Because I'm a complete idiot and a glutton for punishment. That, and I didn't have anything else to keep me busy. Ahem.

My old dog doesn't like other dogs, so it's all about the fun around here. She's only drawn blood one time. Fortunately he's smart enough to stay out of her way. Most of the time.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The youngest child cried tonight. He cried as he said that he was "just so dumb." And then I cried, too.

I told him that he shouldn't lie to mommy like that and tell things that aren't true. And then I went downstairs and we all discussed the impact of name calling. Because he had started to believe the names that they call each other. And that's not okay with me.

It's a habit that they get into now and again, and sometimes it gets to be just too much. And this time? Too much.

Some of their favorite TV shows involve a fair amount of name calling (Spongebob, I'm looking at YOU). And so, the TV shows are no longer allowed until they can get a handle on the name calling. And other consequenses.

But, oh, woe is ME that the electronic babysitter will not be so entertaining. And oh, woe that I will have to listen to all the tattling that will inevitably come out of this. But there is no woe that is worth my baby thinking that he isn't a smart boy.

Hiking in Texas

Honestly, we spent about twelve minutes in Oklahoma today. Well, more than that, but we were driving and driving and driving, because I'd promised the kids Oklahoma ice cream after our long hike. Because, you know, it's different from Texas ice cream. Whatever works, I tell you.

But yes, we spent the day in Texas, looking across the lake to Oklahoma. And my kids did great. I can't wait to make them do it again soon.

All they will remember is that they got Oklahoma ice cream (from a little freezer in a little convenience store on the side of the road - not actually different, for the record) and the middle one is sure to remember that she fell four times. She will not remember that she failed to bleed each time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Finding culture

This week is spring break here, in the land of spring break before spring actually starts.

So we are taking this week and doing fun stuff around town. You know, that thing that all the newscasts are talking about but the word is so unbelieveably annoying. You know what I'm talking about. That thing we were doing even when all the other people had plenty of money to go on real vacations and we were sticking around town, doing what fun stuff was close to home.

We went into the big city on Saturday and again on Sunday. We went to a giant quilt show on Saturday and to a museum with a big event on Sunday. And my kids? They loved the quilt show and the event at the museum. We wandered around a little, taking our time to get to the car each time. We stopped at the farmer's market and bought tomato plants. I made them stop reading (gasp!) and look out their windows.

I'm thinking that we should stay in the sterilized suburbs, though, because on Monday morning, my kids got busy while I was on the treadmill. They walked in to my room, dressed in funny hats, using a baseball bat and a giant candy cane as canes, scarves and carrying mugs. And begging for money. That I should put in their mugs.

So the city. Culture. Opened their eyes to new things. Just not quite the things I had intended. It's okay, though, because we're heading to Oklahoma tomorrow. I can't wait to see what they come home with from there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Assorted Randomness

The youngest one has been having a recurring nightmare lately. He describes the creature and all I want to do is start giggling, because he's describing the creature to the left, almost to the letter. Points to who knows what movie it's from and what it's called. And if my sisters don't get this one, I'll freak out, because we watched this movie hundreds of times as teenagers. It keeps him up at night, but makes me want to laugh. Is that bad?
And I think it might have to do with the rabbit/mouse that I saw running through our front shrubbery that's got him worried. Remember, he's the one who's been afraid of the bunny rabbit who was living in my vegetable garden.
Speaking of which, that rabbit better watch out, I'm not going to be as nice this year as I was last. Take note, rabbit.
And I invited my oldest child to punch me in the stomach tonight (because I have rock hard abs, duh). After he obliges, he states, "You know, Mom, that's how Harry Houdini died. He asked someone to punch him in the stomach, but didn't have a chance to tighten up first." I didn't bother looking it up. I'm sure he's right. That's just the kind of thing he remembers. I hope it serves him well one day, and not just for playing Trivial Pursuit with my cousins.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Boys and Duct Tape: Nature or Nurture?

I have spent a good portion of the last few months with a small group of boys between the ages of eight and ten. We've been involved with a program called Destination Imagination. I lovingly call it competitive problem solving.

The kids are given a choice of challenges, for which they are to do all of the work, from the idea stage through the implementation stage. The challenges are extraordinarily open ended, and there is no right or wrong answers, only points for creativity.

So once the kids had decided what their challenge was going to be, I purchased and assembled a large assortment of products that I thought they might use. They had drawn a prototype of what they wanted, so I was able to purchase things that were in line with their imaginations. This challenge involved building two machines that had to travel, so wheels, wood, screws, nuts, bolts, hooks, eyes, magnets, sticks, paint, glue and at the last minute, I threw in some duct tape.

We drilled, we screwed, we assembled, we painted, we glued, we velcroed. No matter what, when one of the other methods of assembly failed, these boys went straight for the duct tape. Sometimes the staple gun, sometimes both, but usually the duct tape.

The props didn't stand up? Duct tape 'em. The magnets won't stay on? Duct tape 'em. The wheels fell off? Duct tape 'em. The axle broke on one of the vehicles? Duct tape.

Their go-to item in the large tub they were given, as well as my garage full of stuff, was always the duct tape. Which begs the question, was it born into them? Is this the way that boys are wired? Or should I just not have put the duct tape in the tub in the first place? I suppose we'll never know, but I do know that I'm creating a new generation of people who think that duct tape can solve anything.

And, for the record? Duct taping the axle on a car designed to hold two boys doesn't work. Neither did the velcro work for anything involving that many preteen boys. And power tools make all boys smile, no matter the age.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Craziest thing EVER.

Got out of the house tonight. Watched a girly movie with a bunch of girls. Didn't hear even one person whine. Laughed a lot. No butts to wipe. No baths given. All was quiet when I walked in the house. Weird.