Thursday, April 29, 2010

The wonder that is... field trips!

Remember looking forward to field trips? Field trips, anywhere? Just the opportunity to escape school and spend time somewhere else.

My favorite ever field trip was to Fort Laramie when I was in 4th grade. It was the "big" field trip of grade school - the one that since we were in 2nd grade we heard about and looked forward to. For us it was a full day trip - we left at 7am, boarded a bus and rode it for two whole hours!

I remember nearly every detail of the place, the jail, the houses, the center courtyard, how children who stepped out of line were punished, the stories of "Indians" (because we called them Indians back then). Even as a kid I was always impressed by stories of another time and place. I loved stories of the west - still do - and I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember that Dusty had money to buy a mouth harp and my mom balked because he would ruin his teeth with it and SHE of all people knew how much those braces cost!

We got back that evening at about 5pm. It was a day I will never forget and I would love at some point to go back... though I always worry that my impression of the place would be forever changed viewing it as an adult.

I had a few less than stellar field trips too.

Every year each grade at my school would do a trip to the planetarium (stellar) and a trip to the fish hatchery. One year Phillip fell into the fish hatchery trench.

Yep, into it. Funny, I think it was also 4th grade since I remember the same teacher packing us all up early (before we had eaten lunch) putting us back on the bus and bellowing the entire 30 minute trip back to the school.

One year I was in Girl Scouts and the parent leaders enjoyed organizing field trips. I remember them packing us in their cars - seat belts? Well they don't have seat belts in the back of hatch backs. I remember my back being squished against the back window of a Pinto hatch back while the parent driving smoked and screamed that if anyone touched and ruined her defroster lines on that back window we would be paying for the repair.

We went to the post office once.


We went to the blood bank another time. This one gave me a stomachache literally and figuratively. We hadn't been told about the field trip, the leaders just packed us up and took us. My mom had no idea where I was and this gave me a stomachache. I was never to go anywhere without her knowing. She knew I had Girl Scouts, but none of us knew of the field trip to the blood bank and there weren't cell phones back then to make phone calls.

I remember seeing the stacks of bags of blood and feeling light headed. Then watching the blood sloshing back and forth coming out of the people's arms and I could barely get myself to the restroom.

When I got home I was waiting to be yelled at, but my mom simply said, "I was wondering why you were late, but I knew you were at Girl Scouts". I don't think my mom knew until then - which was about the same time I quit, how inappropriate the leaders probably were.

Leif had a field trip today. Definitely not his first.

The teachers gave the kids opportunities to earn pennies. Then when "everyone" got to 100 pennies, they got to go to McDonalds. McDonalds is a treat to my kids. We don't go often and tend to reserve McDonalds for traveling. The main reason is because I find the Play Area kind of... well just not exactly the place I want to hang out with my kids for more than one reason which I don't need to go into now!

Leif prided himself on being one of the first to hit 100. Actually he hit 126 before the teachers counted them up and told he and his close boy friends that they had to stop. I found it odd that it was a few of the girls who had a hard time hitting their 100 - and really came down to the wire with at least two not hitting the mark.

The McDonald's trip was today and all week Leif looked forward to it. I wish he had the interest and drive to get to school on time everyday. Every few minutes he asked if we were still on time? Yes, I told him. We will make it there by 9am. We normally aim for 8:30am and occasionally make that. I didn't tell him that it is rare that we don't get there by 9am, I just enjoyed the morning of him hurrying around and prompting his sister to hurry as well.

This morning he told me that he had ordered (pre-ordered) two brownies. I told him how I loved brownies and I knew that he did too.

He was quiet for a minute, then he looked at me and said, "I am going to bring home one brownie for you, okay?"

I reitterated to him how sweet that was, really, but that no, he earned his brownies and he should eat them there at McDonald's with his friends.

I have the sweetest boy ever!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Leif's prayers this evening

Dear God,

Please help grandma not be sick anymore. Help us all not to get sick. Please help us not to make inappropriate rules.


(I am thinking someone thinks losing his Wii privileges for the entire week might be "inappropriate"...)

Parents behaving badly

There seem to be some general types of parents on the sidelines at kids' sporting events. We have so far been on both sides as parents and AB was a coach this winter for Indoor Soccer. Leif's baseball team so far seems to have the most widely varying and very stereotypical parents we have seen so far.

Here are the types:

A: Yeah, I call them A for a reason. Type A parents are the ones whose kids are the best and most talented and they let everyone know it. (In their eyes.) "Have you noticed that little Johnny can hit that ball everytime? Look at him! See he hit it again. And on top of that he can throw a perfect curve ball. Hey Johnny, come show her your curve ball. Come on son. Show it!"

B: Then there are the opposite. "Look at Billy, how ridiculous. He can't do anything right. Son, what are you doing out there? What are you thinking? Can you at least try to hit the ball?"

C: The chatter moms. "And what did you think the teacher said then? Well of course you know. And those are really cute shoes! Where did you get those shoes? Did you hear we are getting a new restaurant in our part of town!?"

D: The haggered mom with four kids, one of whom is playing. "Tammy I told you not to bother her, no you can't go play on the playground, you guys need to sit right here and watch your sister. No, I don't have any more food, you ate it all. You have your sippy cups. Jamie, aren't you watching your sister? I told you to watch your sister! No, I don't know where the bathroom is. STAY RIGHT THERE."

E: The where did she go mom. "Ok Scotty, if you need anything yell, I will be over with your sister at the playground. I will be watching you if you need something."

F: The varsity dad. "Yeah, I know your coach said to do it this way, but in my experience the best way to hit the ball is like this. Just how we practiced 18 times this weekend. Yeah, I will come out and help you." (Then he never leaves the field and takes over for the coach.)

Seriously we have like all those on my son's team of 12 kids.

I am part C and E depending on the sport. C given the right friends to surround me - which in baseball there are none I am close with. So in baseball, I am mostly E. I refuse to confine my daughter to the sidelines, so we walk the 100 feet to the playground and watch while I keep glancing over my shoulder. When AB shows up we divide and conquer - one of us watches and encourages our son, while the other works hard to wear our daughter out on the playground.

I don't really mind most of the other parent types. Save for one.

Parent type B.

This woman drives me insane. She drags her folding lawn chair with tiny umbrella to her spot and she opens it and doesn't move a muscle but her mouth the entire time.

"Emily, didn't you see that ball? It went right past you!"

"Emily, step on the base. On the base. DID YOU HEAR ME, I SAID STEP ON THE BASE! Go back and step on the base. Yes, that one, third base. What you don't even know what third base is? Sheesh girl."

(Looking at all the other parents.) "I love her I guess, but wow she makes me nuts."

(Who says they "guess" they love their child?)

"Emily, get your tongue in your mouth. TONGUE in mouth! You are going to bite it off and then you won't be able to talk!"

"Hit the ball. You are supposed to actually HIT the ball."


She makes me nuts. She makes us all nuts. She makes the coach nuts.

It's YMCA soccer. In the packet we get a list of 100 ways to praise your child.

Poor child has probably never heard a single one.


I just enrolled Leif in the local more competitive soccer league starting this fall. Yes, registration started March 1st for fall soccer. I am only guessing it is going to get 10x worse in that league.

(Ok, I am done now.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ready for the weekend!

Oh wait. You mean it is over?

I would like to order another day please.

This is one of those days where if I had loads of vacation time - I would be staying home tomorrow to recover.

It has just been one of those weekends. It started with two minor household chores that each turned major in their own right.

Part of the February-March goal was to get and install a pull out spice rack. After much deliberation and measuring the cabinet - at least four hundred fifteen times - I placed the order. If you ever want to put pull-outs into existing cabinets I have to recommend you look at Rev-A-Shelf. Really nice quality. And you don't have to replace the entire cabinet like Home Depot started out telling me we had to do.

All you need to do is yank the door off, remove the shelves and hardware, attach your door to the front of the unit, then screw it into place in the cabinet!

Sounds easy right?

We had thought about everything - like even that the knob on the adjacent corner cabinet would have to be moved. And that it would be the only cabinet in the kitchen with a funky placed knob - but we could deal with that when we were talking about the bigger picture - a fancy pull out spice cabinet!

A little wood putty will fix that...

Remember when I said we thought about everything?

Yeah, I was wrong.

We did NOT think about the hood.

Ah well. Lessons learned I guess.

That little shelf in there just houses those little used spices (black sesame seeds anyone? fennel seeds?).

We still love the pull out, though a little disappointed at neglecting that one detail. But if we had it to do over I am not sure we would have changed and done anything different.


The next task this weekend was to replace the coveted instant hot water tap. I never had one of these before moving into this house, but I have become freakishly dependent on the silly thing.

Perfect French Press Coffee in 4 minutes flat. Top Ramen for the kids in 3 minutes. Starbucks Via in as fast as you can dump the packet in the cup and fill the mug with water. Tea? Your steeping time is all. Instant oatmeal for the kids? Only as long as it takes the oatmeal to cool to edible temp.

Yes. I fell hard.

So when it cracked and emptied itself all over the bottom cabinet a few weeks ago it was a no brainer that as long as it was under $300, it was getting replaced.

I found one for $130 and pounced.

If you don't already have one, it would be a pain to install as you need the hole in your countertop. But replacing one? Also a no brainer.


Famous last words.

I took Leif to a birthday party and came back to find the heater sitting still in the middle of the kitchen floor. Turned out that the one I bought was ever so slightly bigger than the one we pulled out. Making installation in the same position impossible thanks to the placement of the garbage disposal.

We went to work debating the next move.

AB's plan was to cut a hole in the cabinet and mount it halfway in the pie shaped empty area between the cabinet and the neighboring drawers.

I cringed at that and pushed for mounting it in a different under the sink spot that would only require a copper tube extension.

Easy peasy, I told AB.

This is my thing, I reminded him. See you just need connector compression fittings and a length of copper tubing.

And I added on that it would take me seconds to do in my lab and I had all the equipment there. Though that was just anecdote to boost my method because no way was I driving all they way out to work to do use the tools in my lab OR to "borrow" the necessary fittings. Dang lab rules.

Instead Skadi and I ran to Ace to grab copper tubing and fittings. And then we bought a tube cutter too... since the Ace dude had NO idea how to cut tubing and I knew the edges would need to be cleaned up before installing ferrules.

$33 later...

Hooked it up and it worked!

Then I walked upstairs all full of myself to change laundry around, pulled open the dryer and saw my wet clothes sitting there.

Wet clothes.

As in not dry.

I pushed the button.


Once AB confirmed that I was not being a dork with the dryer and that it was not the breaker, I pulled the clothes out and hung them on the banisters.

Then I pulled the clothes out of the waher and hung those on the banister.

Then I pulled AB's work cell phone out of the bottom of the washer.

Yeah, one of those weekends.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weird things my daughter says...

To her teacher today at daycare:

"Actually I want my pee to stay inside my bladder."

(Both my kids start sentences with "actually" and "probably" to a ridiculous extent.)


To me this evening:

NM: "Skadi what did you draw?"

Skadi: "It says humback whales are not allowed to draw on the door."


In the car this morning:

Skadi: "I am going to punch you in the face!"

NM: "SKADI! We do NOT say that we are going to punch people in the face. We NEVER punch people in the face."

Skadi: "I know. We can only punch elephants in the face."

It's all about the hangers!

It was an innocent enough action. Last time I went to Target I grabbed a pack of pink child’s hangers. Skadi was in need of more hangers. No big deal, right?

Except that the majority of the other hangers in her closet are white.

It would have never been noticed that there existed a realm of pink hangers had I just stuck with the white ones.

But now every article of clothing on a WHITE hanger has been deemed offensive.

Every white hanger needs to be banished to the depths.

This morning the dress that Skadi REALLY wanted to wear was found to be on the despised white hanger.

She took it out. Took the dress off the white hanger. THREW the hanger in the trash. (I retrieved the hanger and put it in Leif’s closet.) Pulled down a pink hanger. Rehung the dress on a pink hanger. Hung the dress up. Then stated:

“Oh I think I will wear this beautiful dress on the pretty pink hanger!”

Guess who will be loading up on freaking pink hangers the next time I go to Target?!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pictures of the cherry blossoms...

Say what you mean or mean what you say?

I think Skadi got a bit of my grandmother in how she speaks. Skadi very easily makes up words and mispronounces words. It's always been a bit of a joke with my grandmother. About 10 years ago she got out of back surgery and they weren't going to release her from the hospital because she was mixing up her words - someone finally convinced the therapists that was just how she spoke. And it's been that way since I was a kid.

Word: "Tamrow"
Usage: "Is it going to be tamrow?"
First thoughts: Tamara? A name? We were starting to think it was an imaginary friend.
Reality: "Tomorrow". Only took us a few months to figure that one out and I beat daycare to figuring it out.

Word: "Holy-popper"
Usage: "Look through the holy-popper."
Reality: Well this one is obvious since she is holding her set of kids binoculars when she says it.

Word: "Holy-scoper"
Usage: "Look through the holy-scoper."
Reality: Yeah, not much difference than the above. In this case it is in reference to the telescope on the Little Tykes playset. She got the "scope" part.


Leif: "Can I have more tuna fish casserole?"

AB and I were perplexed.

NM: "We haven't had any tuna fish casserole, plus I thought you didn't like it?"

Leif: "No, the good tuna fish casserole!"

AB: "We don't know what you mean Leif."

Leif: (walks over to the cooling lefse) "THIS tuna fish casserole, can I have more of this tuna fish casserole?"(pointing to the lefse)

This happened twice. And yes, I am still perplexed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Skadi's Party

We finally got around to holding Skadi's third birthday party.

She had repeatedly requested a Coach Brett birthday party. And I entertained the notion a bit. But then we opted to vacation to Silver Mountain for our anniversary with the kids and Skadi's party got the shaft. Ok, yes, I could have done the big party and I know she would have liked it. But I just had trouble bringing myself to forking out that dough for a 3 year old party. It was different when Leif was three and we did a joint party there for he and Cate. Next year Skadi.

We did a princess dress up party for her and five of her closest friends from school. I wanted to keep it small and it worked well for her. Leif had two older siblings over to play and they pretty much did their own thing.

Skadi enjoyed hosting her friends:



Best friend, Lexi
as well as Maddie and Sophia (pictured below).

We started with dress up in the play room.

Then we went outside and released butterflies.

Remember those days when it was cool to wear the same clothes as your best buddy?

Then the bubble machine came out.

Finally snacks and cake.
This pictures scared me a bit... Skadi and Maddie were bickering a bit about something, I am pretty sure it was the cake. And Skadi was looking a touch possessive about the cake. And all I could think about was the story my mom used to tell me about how she got a bit possessive of her cake at age 2 or 3 towards her cousin and put her dress over it. I was a bit worried...

But nothing like that happened!

And last presents.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Shrimp anyone?

Skadi had her well child visit the other day. It was actually last week. I normally post stats and such quickly and do a comparison.

Comparing didn't require me going to my blog this time. I know who is bigger/heavier.

Not my daughter.

I am not terribly tall, but I am not short either. Just a touch under average at 5'5". AB is just over average at just over 6' tall. So one would reason that our children should fall in there somewhere.

Leif at three was pretty normal to slightly tall: 32 lbs and 55th percentile, 39.25" and 85th percentile. Makes sense.

Skadi started out big... but if you project her adult height based off her current 3yo well child stats she should hit about 5'3".

It caused a bit of pause from her doctor. 30.25 lbs (gained 2.25 lbs since age 2) and 36.25" (grew 1.25"). She is just under 50th percentile for weight and hitting in at 29th percentile for height.

Not that big of a deal - she could be between spurts... she could be leveling out on the charts and being where she should be and will thus just not be a tall girl (the short genes do run on my side with my mom and grandma).

We have noted that she is the smallest among her peers. AB is the one who recently started commenting on it prior to the doctor's appointment. I keep buying size 3T for summer clothes and occasionally 4T for next fall. But her 2T's fit her best still. And the size 9 Keens I bought on clearance at a great price in pink for this summer? They should fit her next summer I expect...

The bigger concerns lie with her constant complaining of back aches. I have taken her to the doctor before with no path forward and a feeling she is just latching onto something to complain about. This time I pushed it because she cries, "mommy, my back hurts" and bends over or grasps her back. It just seems real.

And sure enough when her doctor pushed on her back - at her kidneys, Skadi jumped and said "oww!"

That earned her a quick referral for an ultrasound this week.

Not a great well child visit for age three.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The resurrection according to a 5 year old

Explaining Easter to a five year old isn't so easy. There are a lot of misconceptions.

Leif: "The Easter bunny is just a man dressed up in a bunny suit who comes to your house, not a real bunny."

(Ok, that one is just plain creepy.)

Leif: "I can't wait to get a Wii game for Easter."

(There were no Wii games. We do itty bitty toys in baskets, no presents.)

Leif: "The bunny has to be a tall man in a bunny suit and not a rabbit, otherwise how else would the eggs get as high as they did this morning?"

AB: "Bunnies do jump."

Leif: "Not *that* tall dad."

The resurrection is a touchy subject for kids. And it's sermons like todays whereby I am glad our church has Sunday school. Easier to let the Sunday school teachers give their rosey version.

Here is what Leif conveyed to me:

"Jesus was brave and the bad people killed him on a cross. Then they put him in a tomb and God put a huge stone in front to block him from getting out after he was dead. Then he stayed in there for three days and three weeks and God was mad and so there was a storm or earthquake or something and the stone moved and Jesus left his clothes there, but he was alive again so he left without clothes on and so that was good! But I don't know where the bunnies came from, he must have gone to see the bunnies after he was alive again."

Pretty good for a first exposure to the origins of the holiday!

Skadi's song

(She thinks I am just typing here, ignoring her, but I am actually transcribing her song... that she is singing and singing and singing...)

When I was a little fairy,

And I wear my Easter dress,

And I have owies on my knees,

Jolly, la la la, jolly, la la la,

My dog Freya

When I am all far away I need my dog,

I see the flowers and I go far away, I need my dog,

Right there when I sleep through the night (ha ha ha)

When I waked up I got my dog out with clothes on and

When I want to just run to Freya,

When I run to the stairs and run up the stairs and go see Prince Ramon in the stone tower,

When I was a little brown nose (???) and I was Nemo,

And mom was a dad and I was Nemo.

And we barked too!

When I am a little jolly, I feel to do this.

And when mommy was a little jolly with me.

And we throwed in the garbage what was broken.

Run to the window, run to the fish.

And I dance, and I dance, and I dance,

And I was a princess who cried "boo hoo boo hoo"

And when I go to bed I should sleep (lays down)

When I waked up, when I was sleepy on the ground or on the sidewalk (???)

Well a butterflies should do a fly and then I go to bed on the ground or on the sidewalk.

And I have bigger toes.

When me has a baby, throw the baby and that was silly!

This was silly!