Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dismal I tell you!

Most of the kids' books are pretty good. Love the Boynton books. Skadi loves them too. She is particularly fond of the Dora books, Goodnight Moon (which has to be read every night before bed) and also Yertle the Turtle. She LOVES Yertle.

Leif is now into having chapter books read to him. I started off with Little House on the Prairie - which he loved. And then we moved and apparently I packed the rest of the set. Must find them. We got a few Cynthia Rylant books, a Patrick Carman book about a park in Walla Walla and then AB started reading Harry Potter. I wasn't terribly thrilled about this, but let him go with it. At first Leif kind of balked. Hearing about Harry and his cousin and the room under the staircase, wasn't terribly interesting.

So AB skipped that section and jumped straight to Hagrid and his world has since been changed. They are nearly finished with book one.

So these are the good books.

There are other really, really bad books out there.

Let's start with "A Party in the Jungle". This one is so bad that whoever wrote it left their name off. It has no author. It's just a "glitter book" and available for a penny from many sellers on Amazon. Not only does the story drive me insane - an elephant named Toby is shy, but he is invited to a party and asked to dance and miraculously overcomes his shyness. This is not how shyness is overcome, I can tell you firsthand.

Add to that neither of my kids are showing signs of shyness. I think the book should hit the trash. Don't waste your penny.

The main reason for this is one sentence in this book. I can get past the simple concept of the book. But the sentence "Everyone came including a mouse to eat, sing and dance." What exactly is the mouse's purpose? To be eaten? So so very bad.

And Skadi loves this book. Of course.

It's the glitter.


Moving on...

Tonight Leif picked out a book handed down to him from our prior neighbor boy. The Little Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Anderson. I was thrilled he picked this out. It was aimed at his age group with lots of pop up action and this is a classic author! My son was reading a classic with me!

Ok, has anyone read this story? Classics should probably just go away. I tried reading Robinson Crusoe to Leif a few months ago after remembering how much *I* loved that book. I was appalled. I put it away. Far away.

Back to the Little Tin Soldier. Great concept. A tin soldier made for a boy, gets lost, eaten by a fish, mom buys a fish at the market and cuts it open to find the lost tin soldier.

If it ended there I would have been fine. I would have remained a touch grossed out by the fact that they bought fish with guts inside, but fine.

But no, the story doesn't end there. It ends with the soldier being thrust into the fire because it was defective and the little balerina that fell in love with him jumping in after him and all that remains in the fire the next day is his head and her heart.



Enter Captain Underpants. Another book passed on by the boy down the street.

Need I say more?

Actually even Leif isn't terribly interested anymore. He thought the concept was hilarious to start, but Underpants is currently lying under a huge stack of books awaiting the repair of the cheap book shelf in Leif's room.


There is one last book of Skadi's that slays me. It is another one of those grammar violation books. Stay tuned...

(Because I am tired now and need to go to bed.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leif's room

So awhile back I declared that my July goal was to get Leif's room painted. For some reason I said that not really expecting I would get to it. Summer is always WAY too busy. Last year I took the summer mostly off from my goals.

Then we didn't know what to get Leif for his birthday. Actually I had picked something out and placed it on his wish list early. My plan was to order it after getting back from the trip to the cabin, before anyone would possibly be shopping for birthday presents for him. I got back and it was missing off the Wish List and sitting on our porch instead! Oh well - someone else thought it was a perfect gift for him and jumped on it.

Leaving us less then enthused about the remaining options. Leif is a hard kid to buy for. We did Legos - lots of them - for Christmas last year and so even though there are a number of sets he wants, we didn't really want to do Legos from us again. He has a bike. He isn't big into "toys". We have games and puzzles. AB and I went through the list and I continued to balk and say "no" everytime he mentioned a Wii. See we had agreed we would get a Wii for the family after the house sold (which it did this past weekend... another post for later). I did NOT want it to be a birthday gift for Leif.

Finally I suggested we decorate his room for his birthday in addition to getting him a few little things. AB jumped on this.

We picked out paint. That caused angst.

I had my notions on what colors we would use and then AB had to go and state that we really needed to have Leif pick the colors. I sighed and agreed... Leif could pick the colors of his new room.

This seemed like an acceptable idea until we went to Home Depot and he selected "yellow for one wall, blue for another wall, red for another wall, green for another wall and brown for the ceiling". Or something like that.

At which point I rolled my eyes WAY up in my head for AB's benefit.

Finally AB pulled out the blues and the greys in the Disney and Nickelodeon section and put them in front of Leif. He picked two.

Then for good measure we grabbed cans of high gloss red, green and black to paint lightsabers on his wall.

We got home and I slapped up samples.


The grey looked like baby blue. The blue looked like... well it looked like blue. Bright blue. But I plodded on knowing it was what "Leif wanted". Not what *I* wanted, but *I* don't have to live in the room, right?

We tested the quarts and I admitted I could deal. Until AB gave me an out - "maybe that grey is too blue'ish".

I latched onto another grey and didn't look back. And I don't think Leif is any the wiser. And the new grey is a REAL grey.

Last weekend we painted two walls blue - the bright blue - the bright blue I can live with now that I got a real grey. Two other walls are painted grey. And the ceiling will be a deep navy/black color.

Leif likes it.

Skadi is downright thrilled.

Every morning she comes to get me and leads me by the hand to Leif's room where she declares, "it's SOOOO BEEEEEEAUUUUUTIFUL!" Then she leads me by the hand to her room and says, "paint my room now".

I hadn't planned on actually painting her room until she was a little older. Leif had a "toddler" room at the other house (the elephant on the wall), but by the time he was about 4.5 years old he was ready for something else. But I think I can finagle something that might have staying power... somthing that will latch her on now and still be "neat" when she is 5. Skadi has requested "green" and so I am thinking a pretty green with flowers painted on the walls. She loves flowers. And it would look good with her Dora accent stuff. Anyways... August/September goal? That would be Skadi's room.

We still need to finish the room off... the blue needs a second coat in spots despite having primer in it. The ceiling needs to be done. (AB needs to do the paint, I am a klutz, if you wonder why there is a strip of blue paint across the carpet it's because I was a klutz.) Then we need to hang up the characters - Ahsoka Tano, Obi Wan and then grandma Charlene bought Leif Yoda as well. I need to paint the lightsabers. We need to hang his moon light and move the stars on the ceiling from the old bedroom in the other house to the new bedroom.

We should finish a good portion of this this weekend. But given that we also have a birthday party to throw, and I am dying to get a pedicure (I WILL get a pedicure) - we may not finish until the 2nd weekend in August. Pictures when it is complete!

Then we will start planning Skadi's room.

Then hopefully our house will close on August 28th and I can think about tackling a room for me... painting it the colors *I* want and actually spending money to buy stuff for said room. Hopefully it isn't just a dream!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A girl after my own heart

Yesterday when we arrived at Farmer's Market:

Skadi: "Mommy, are we at Target?"

NM: "Nope."

Skadi: "Are we at Starbucks?"

Yesterday when we arrived at Home Depot:

Skadi: "Mommy, are we at Target?"

NM: "Nope."

Skadi: "Are we at Starbucks?"

Yesterday when we left the house to go for a walk:

Skadi: "Mommy are we going to Target?"

NM: "Nope."

Skadi: "I want Starbucks."


Yesterday at home:

Skadi: "No mommy, I don't want to watch 'Doo Where Are You', I want to watch the Muppet Show 'stead!"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Skadi Speak


Pronounced "paper-nose" like it is spelled only as one word.

Used in a sentence:

"I need a papernose for the big mess!"

Synonyms: Kleenex or facial tissue.

And the big mess? That would be her nose. Ick.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Meet Bossy

Skadi gave her favorite baby doll a name a few weeks ago.


At first I asked her if she was sure that was her baby's name? She looked at me like I was an idiot. Of course that is her name. And not only that, but it has stuck. It stuck with everyone at the cabin last weekend and Bossy plays a central role in Skadi's life.

Bossy never wears clothes, she has this horrible voice thing stuck in her chest like a huge pacemaker that when pinched just the right way (thankfully Skadi isn't strong enough to pinch it "just the right way") Bossy cries "wah wah wah" or "mama mama". Skadi isn't particularly fond of her crying - thankfully.

We were driving this morning and I saw a torn up doll that looked just like Bossy on the side of the road and was fearful that at some point I had put her on the roof of my car (we tend to do this) and drove off without her (we do this too - though usually with drinks or cell phones up there).

I was happy when we got back today and Bossy was laying in the middle of the living room floor.

How we speak

When Leif was learning to talk we laughed about a few things he would say. He tended to start his sentences with "Actually," a lot. We giggled about it and ignored it.

(Now he is on to using "Additionally" properly in his sentences which is also a crack up.)

Now Skadi is hitting that age of developing her own sentences and she has picked one up...

Starting her sentences with "Actually". Like as in "Actually, no."

First child, it was a fluke.

Second child... apparently one of uses "Actually" to start sentences quite frequently.

The one my daughter did NOT inherit from me is "see my panties".

She wore panties to daycare this week and was quite proud of them. Her teacher reported back to me that she showed most everyone her panties. Including Coach Brett, who she has met a whole ONE time. She got on the Tumblebus, pulled her dress up and said, "Coach Brett, see my panties!"

Oh so very proud.

On the phone last night with grandma she asked Skadi about wearing panties.

Skadi put the phone down and started pulling her pants down.

I picked it up, "did you ask her about her panties mom?"

"Yes," she tells me.

"Ok, she is showing them to you right now!" I told her.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

4th of July Celebration

Leif, Cousin Hugh and Skadi on AB.

Sparklers are cool!

Getting ready for dusk and the big fireworks!

Skadi and Cousin Hazel

Beachcombing Part Two

Leif being goofy!

One muddy little girl.

Chasing Geoducks:

The Geoducks stick their long necks up through the sand and squirt. Oftentimes their necks are as much as 3" above the sand. They are amazingly strong. But the only one able to conquer them in our family was Skadi. She got ahold of one and yanked. Then came and handed me about an inch of Geoduck neck that had been dismembered.

See the stream of water below shooting up? That's a geoduck. We were constantly squirted as we walked by. One of the friends of the dismembered one even managed to hit Skadi square in the eye. She was none too pleased.

Beachcombing Part 1

Leif and Cousin Hugh out in the Geoduck fields.

Skadi found it very interesting that starfish eat at the center of the star. We found a few with clams stuck on them chowing away. Then she had to flip each star she found over to check to see if it was eating or not.

It's paint on her arm - not blood - nearly everyone asked that day. Nope, we were just lazy with getting the paint rinsed off. I had assumed it would come off in the sea water.

Leif and Hugh walking through the oysters. The big ones are Pacifics - not good eats this time of year. The bags are the seeded Kumomotos and Olympics, which got rave reviews.

Winny and Freya. We had a hard time keeping Freya OUT of the water when we first got there. Couldn't get her in the last few days. Winny loves everything about the cabin. The biggest surprise though was a visitor that latched onto her. She was lounging in the water and picked up a critter - a starfish. That starfish was a BEAR to get out of her hair! It took a good chunk with it.

A few of Leif's treasures - clams. Empty shells. Given their location they were probably emptied by us the night before. (Yum.)

You are swimming with the kids where?

ALL the way to the dock? Are you sure? (It was a HOT day - swimming was a great day - darn I forgot my suit.)

Winny having the time of her life. She wants to move to the cabin. She doesn't know why we ever leave there. Freya otoh... we thought she would love it. Then she spent the last two days quivering inside her kennel. Go figure.

On their way back in.

They made it!

On the way there - a stop at the Mt. Rainier viewpoint

Miss Bean. I love this picture. She had just woken up from napping, she looks like a little ragamuffin, but she loved the "pretty mountain".

Leif took a few pictures - here is the Mt. Rainier stop from his viewpoint:

A trip to the cabin

We all have been looking forward to a trip to the cabin over on Hammersly Inlet - the south end of Puget Sound - for much of the winter. We had hoped to go to the cabin earlier, but didn't dare leave our house that we are listing FSBO. Well we finally got a lockbox and an MLS number and left for the 4th of July weekend to meet AB's dad and girlfriend and the rest of the clan (huge clan) over at the family compound. I have never liked it to be called a "compound" and I kind of cringe when I mention it that way, because it reminds me of Waco... but it's not. It's just a series of 5 cabins on one lot owned by a large Norwegian family.

Oh and just for the record, wouldn't you know that within 8 hours of leaving our house, we got an offer on the other house? We so should have gone in May when we were kicking the notion around.

Anyways, back to the 4th. We decided to drive over on a Wednesday. We arrived about 5pm and made a quick stop at the grocery store for some groceries and then we headed to the cabin - about 30 minutes outside of town.

We had the cabin to ourselves for the first two nights, which was great. Then Friday and Saturday we shared with family. And Sunday it was ours again.

Of course this also meant we got the vast majority of the clean up.

Once down at the cabin we discovered within hours that Hans' second cousin was flying in from Cambridge where her husband is a post-doc. For a few years we had somewhat half heartedly tried to visit at the same time as her if only because we have children the same ages and genders. Truth be told I hadn't gotten along with her before this point and so we never pushed it too hard.

This is one of those weekends that goes to show that first impressions aren't always right. Or that people mellow after having kids.

Because seeing the cousins latch onto each other softened us both into piles of mushiness.

So many of the kids at the cabin are older - teenagers, a few tweens and a bunch of early 20's-ish kids. There are very few little kids.

Leif and his cousin Hugh spent the vast majority of the weekend together. Hazel and Skadi eyed each other and fought over toys. They ran races and gave hugs too. They will be friends. I envision cousins that will unite every year at the cabin for lots of fun.

And what was surprising and refreshing was to find out that their mom - wasn't the wacky out there mom I was expecting. We actually agree on a lot of things. Once we confirmed the kids didn't have any life threatening allergies the kids ate at each other's cabin (whichever they happened to be at when meals were served). Naptimes someone usually took the boys out to play so the girls could sleep. And we all bent the rules on the night of the 4th and didn't blink an eye (probably breathed a sigh of relief) when the other admitted that we were abandoning bedtime rules "just this once".

We and the kids had such a great time that we have actually kicked around trying to make it back to the cabin before they head back to Cambridge in August. It may work. But it probably won't. But we WILL be planning our visit for next summer to coincide with theirs.

The highlights:

-The little cousins.
-Digging clams.
-Playing with the very active Geoducks on the beach.
-Beachcombing - I love beachcombing.
-Seeing the neighborhood harbor seals up close on the dock.
-The fireworks.
-The 4th of July meal on the beach with the extended family.
-Hanging out with my FIL and getting to know his girlfriend.

Oh and the offer on the house. It was a low ball offer - frighteningly low ball. But we have countered and are waiting for their response.

Pictures next.