Still Catching Up...

I wish I could devote more time to blogging these days, but the best I can do is to post when I can.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Tale of Two Drives

Last weekend the kids & I took a bit of a road trip to the scrapbook store on the way to Nana & Papa's house. The morning went something like this...

8:45 am - 15 minutes until intended departure. Still trying to get stuff packed for the day, and get both kids & myself out the door.

9:00 am - Dandilion is in the car, Tumbleweed is going potty, and I am trying to think if we forgot anything.

9:10 am - I have diapers, wipes, drink cups... am I forgetting anything? Why isn't the Tumbleweed done yet?

9:15 am - Tumbleweed stomps down the stairs after being told she can't continue to wash her hands indefinitely.

9:20 am - Run back in one last time for my purse.

9:25 am - Finally pull out of the driveway. Only 25 minutes late.

9:30 am - Tumbleweed: "Mommy, I'm hungry". Mommy: "But you just had breakfast." Tumbleweed "I am still hungry. Hungry, hungry, hungry" Dandilion: "Hungry"

9:31 am - Didnlt pack food. Detour from planned route to stop at Dunkin Donuts Drive-thru to avoid "Hungry" for two hours.

9:45 am - Everyone appears happy with donuts in hand.

9:55 am - getting on 495. Dandilion: "movie" Mommy: "Sorry Buddy, the movie is broken" (it really was) Dandilion: "Movie, movie, mooooveeeee (crying).

9:56 am - turn up Backyardigans CD to distract from the lack of movie. Seems to be working.

10:15 am - Dandilion & Tumbleweed sing "To the Top of Dragon Mountain"

10:20 am - Backyardigans CD ends, and it switches to the next CD. Simultaneously, Dandilion: "digans (crying)" and Tumbleweed: "Momm--eeeee (in a very whiney tone). Mommy switches the CD back, kids are quiet.

10:30 am - Tumbleweed: "Are we there yet?" Mommy: "No. not yet" Tumbleweed: "I wish we could just get there already"

10:40 am - Dandilion: "Mommy, dink pees?" Mommy hands out drink cups.

10:42 am - Dandilion: "Mommy, ah ha mo dink peeees?" Mommy: "Sorry Buddy, no more" Dandilion throws drink cup on the floor.

11:00 am - getting off 495 & notice the Tumbleweed wiggling in her seat. Mommy: "Do you have to go potty?" Tumbleweed: "No!"

11:10 am - Tumbleweed: (wiggling) "Mommy are we almost there I really have to go potty." Mommy: "Do you want me to stop so you can go potty?" Tumbleweed: "No! Just get there right now!"

11:10-11:20 am - we hit every stoplight possible. Mommy wishes she packed extra clothes.

11:20 am - arrival at the scrapbook store. Not a minute too soon. Rush in so the Tumbleweed can use the bathroom.


Now, compare that to this morning, when I headed back to the same scrapbook store for an event without the kids...

8:15 am - 15 minutes from intended departure. Packing lunch, loading the car.

8:30 am - say "Goodbye" and leave.

8:35 am - stop for gas & drinks.

8:45 am - get on the pike. Notice that I am singing "Worman Polka" and change CD.

9:00 am - off 90 onto 495. Thinking it is strangely quiet. Enjoying the time to think clearly & listen to different music.

10:00 am - arrive at the scrapbook store. Sit in the car for a minute and think how nice it is to drive undistracted and arrive on time.


It sure is nice to have some peace & quiet in the car from time to time. Since things change so gradually over time, I hardly noticed how different my time in the car is these days. Before kids, I would get in, put a drink in the cupholder, purse on the seat, pick a CD and start to drive. Now I have to spend time making sure we have the appropriate "gear", buckling the kids in, entertaining them, feeding them and trying to meet their needs before they start to fuss. My car is never quiet --- except on days like today.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My 21st Century Mistake

I have been debating for months about the "right time" to let the Tumbleweed start using the computer. More specifically, my computer.

I have friends who let their kids play games on the computer, the school has computers for the kids to use, and even HP advertises with a 4 1/2 year old who uses the computer. So I am sure she could do it.

But do I want her at my desk? No. Do I want her "clicking away" and messing something up on my computer? No. Do I want to share my computer? No. Selfish, I know.

So, this morning I decided to put aside my selfishness, and let her try the computer. She had come running in asking to go to the "Special Agent Oso" website, spouting all of the different things you could do there. I pulled up the show webpage and got her started.

It didn't take long for her to get the hang of completing "Pop-Up Assignments" to trade in for "Digi-Medals". She was moving right along on her own so I let her play and enjoyed time to myself. It was great.

Until it was time to stop. After playing long enough to earn about 20 "Pop-up Points", the Eagle asked her if she wanted to go out & play in the yard. He had been mowing the lawn, but was finished and wanted to take her out while he washed the deck furniture. She didn't want to go, despite begging to go out earlier. In fact, she made such a big stink about getting up from the computer that she ended up in time out.

She has now had computer play taken away for the rest of the day, the rest of the week and for who knows how long after that. While there are numerous educational computer games out there, she proved with her behavior today that she is not ready to play them. Maybe we will revisit it when the weather gets cold again, but she certainly doesn't need to be sitting at the computer on such a beautiful day!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Fish

With the warm weather returning and summer approaching, the kids are back in swimming lessons. The Tumbleweed is a "Pike" and I take the Dandilion to Parent & Child class at the same time. Both kids are a bit "hot & cold" about swimming - one week is great and the next is not, and they rarely both have "good weeks" at the same time.

After a good first lesson, the Tumbleweed went back to not wanting to jump in and get her face wet. And when I was just about to give up and pull her out of class if she didn't want to swim, she had a good week last week and decided to be brave & jump in. She continued her progress this week, jumping with no help off the blocks and even trying a "sit dive". At the end of class she jumped in with out her flotation bubbles and swam back to the wall. Maybe there is hope...

The Dandilion's success depends more on his general mood than the water. If he is tired, there is not much that can be done - he is going to be miserable. If he is well rested, he is more than happy to sing songs ("Wheels on the Bus" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider"), make "scoopers" and get dunked in the water. He still hasn't quite gotten the hang of jumping in off the side by himself, but he has stopped running away when I stand him up on the edge.

I have been trying to get pictures of the kids at the pool since the first class, but with the Dandilion always heading straight for the water, I can barely keep him from falling in nevermind get usable photos. Today the Eagle was able to come with us to watch swimming lessons. The kids & I were thrilled that he was able to be there and he captured several great videos of both kids and got some pictures for me to scrapbook. Yay!

Who knew I would like a picture of me in a bathing suit...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Photo Shoot

Happy Memorial Day!

Just as I do for most major holidays, I dressed the kids in appropriate colors this morning and attempted to get a cute picture of the two of them. After the disaster of Easter (3 separate attempts which each yielded about 25 bad shots of at least one kid crying and not one good photo), I am not sure what makes me continue to try. But I did, and today went remarkably well.

I took the kids outside, which is still a bit of a risk as the Dandilion likes to take advantage of the freedom. But it worked out okay today. After two failed locations, we ended up on the steps to the deck where I was able to get the Dandilion to sit for several pictures. The Tumbleweed put on her best "cheesy grin", but still it worked. I only took 10 pictures to get one good one! After that I surprised them with fruit snacks --- happy mommy!

Among the failed sibling shots, I also got this beautiful one of the Tumbleweed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I am at War

It is me against the Red Lily Beetle. And they are multiplying into an army.

I have to admit that without the internet, I would have not had a clue that I had a problem. But, I saw a little red beetle on my lily plants and decided to look it up. [I saw them last year and didn't pay them much attention]. Apparently these little buggers are a big problem. They can eat lilies all the way down to the ground. And they can last all summer and will overwinter and come back next year! I knew last year my plants had holey leaves, but I didn't realize that by not killing them then would help them takeover this year.

After a little research about how to get rid of them, I went out and knocked the beetles into a cup and then smushed them. I think I got about 10-12 beetles, several of them while mating. Phew - I was feeling pretty good about that. Some people reported killing them by the hundreds.

But, the window was still open on my computer later and I read another site that my google search had found. The larvae are the big eaters. I hadn't killed the larvae. Nor had I looked for eggs.

The eggs I found without much difficulty. They are bright orange and layed in rows on the underside of the leaves. I found 5-6 leaves with groups of eggs and crushed them. That just left the larvae.

Now the larvae are the hardest because they disguise themselves. As best I can tell, they look like little black specks all over the leaves. Holy cow - I had a lot of little black specs!!!! Oh-no! That can't be good.

The advice I found was to wipe down the leaves with a soapy cloth. This took a while (I have about 12 lily plants), and I am sure I didn't get them all. Maybe the soap will kill them? Well, here's to hoping. I am going to keep a close eye on them for the next few weeks.

The last thing left to try is sprinkling black pepper on the leaves & soil below. I only found this in one place, but I have pepper, so why not give it a try.

Hopefully, with all of this work I will end up with some nice lilies this year.

Garden Update

Here is an update one month after my "Plant or Weed?" post.

Plant or weed?
#1 - Plant: Gooseneck - I planted this, but it spreads! I think I am going to have to thin it so it doesn't take over the garden.
#2 - Not sure yet - It definitely spreads like a weed, but is still possibly something pretty.
#3 - Plant: Hollyhock, I think. Still looks relatively the same, with bigger leaves.
#4 - Plant: Foxglove Three plants almost ready to bloom :)
#5 - Weed - at least I think so. I keep pulling and it keeps growing back.
#6 - Plant: Daisies They are a lot bigger than before but not much different.

#7- Clover ... still letting it grow, but might pull it.
#8 - NEW - can't tell what this is. Any ideas? (Tiger lilies are growing behind)


A few other gardening notes...

The strawberries & tomatoes are looking good. As seen here:

My thumb may be turning slightly green after all. We'll know when the green fruits turn a nice ripe red.

I have bought & planted lots of new perennials throughout the yard, some will be flowering soon. The seeds I started inside and transferred to the garden a few weeks back didn't make it. Oh well. Two weeks ago I put down "Butterfly Garden" wildflower seeds along the remainder of the walk. I have yet to see any plants (other than grass) coming up. Today I am going to try using some some plant food and see if I can get something to grow!

Feel free to comment if you know what the unidentified plants are! Or even if you don't :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I am a fan of The Cosby Show. The plots are timeless and still relate to the comedy in our everyday lives. I was reminded of a particular episode this morning as we rode to school...

The Tumbleweed was drawing on her magna doodle, keeping fairly quiet. Soon I hear, "Mommy, look. Read this." I wait until we get to the traffic light and turn to see what she is talking about and I see "MANMC" written on her magna doodle. Puzzled, I pronounce it back to her as I would sound it out "man-m-k".

"NOOOO. It says "M an M s.," she tells me.

LOL - she really put some thought into it! Here I thought she was just picking random letters. Still I don't think I would have gotten it even if she had gotten the "S". I was excited to see her taking an interest in spelling/reading. She is starting to move past the "memorize the story so I can pretend to read a book" phase and actually trying to sound out the words on the the page.

So can you guess which Cosby Show episode it reminded me of? The one where Rudy (about 4 or 5) is trying to spell words as Vanessa studies for a spelling test.

Rudy: "What does ZRBTT spell?"
Cliff: "zuh-rrr-buh-tuh. zur-bit"
Rudy: "What's a zurbit?"
Cliff: [blows raspberries on her cheek]

We still call that a "zurbit" at our house. A totally made up word, but we use it all the time. Did I mention I love the Cosby Show?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What's that on the Horizon?

Is it the Terrible Twos I see? Yes, I think so.

For the past few weeks, I have been seeing signs of the things to come. On the upside, the Dandilion is talking more, and even listening a little more. He is able to help out with tasks like "Please take this wrapper to the trash" and "Go find your cup". He calls everyone for "Dinnertime". And sometimes he even says "Mommy, I wa mo milk peese." All wonderful developments.

However, with his new found ability to communicate has come the anger & tantrums from not getting what he wants. A couple of our biggest sticking points...

1. Walking holding hands in a parking lot - he REALLY wants to walk (I can tell this because when I take him out of the carseat he always says "walking? I wa to walk") yet even when it is firmly explained that he needs to hold hands to walk, as soon as I set him down and take his hand he goes into "death drop mode" and is hanging with all his weight on the hand I am holding. And then I pick him up to carry him with him screaming "walk, walk, walk" at the top of his lungs.

2. "Snacks", "Bars" and "Candy" (and other foods not being given at that time) - having a big sister means that the Dandilion knows about treats. He is aware of where they are kept in the house and shouts for them in the grocery store ("tracks" = character shaped fruit snacks, "bars" = granola or breakfast bars, and candy is pretty obvious). Unfortunately once he sets his mind on something he can't let it go. So we will be getting ready for lunch (he is plenty hungry) and all he can do is scream & yell that he wants snacks. He won't eat anything else and he'll throw all other suggestions on the floor while screaming "tracks".

So needless to say, he has been spending some time in "Time Out." I think he is starting to understand the concept of sitting in the chair. He does say "sorry", but I don't think he always remembers why he is sitting there by the time he gets up. I also think he is starting to know that he doesn't want to sit in "Time Out" because when I give him a warning he will say "No Time Out"... although it doesn't always seem to prevent him from repeating his offense and getting sent to "Time Out"

Fasten your seatbelts and hold on for a wild ride...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Parking Karma?

Apparently the universe wanted to reward me for my parallel parking efforts yesterday, because today I landed the first space in the parking lot in front of ALL THREE stores I was stopping at --- including Target!!! I never get a spot that close, and certainly not at three stores in the same day. Wild.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Parallel Parking

Despite my determination to never need to, I parallel parked today. I haven't since my driver's test. I got it on the first try too. I should have had someone take a picture of the momentous occasion.

Go me :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dinner Stand-off

The Scene: The dinner table
The Players: The Eagle & the Dandilion
The Conflict: Uneaten Grilled Chicken

Tonight the Eagle layed down the law at dinner. This was one of the nights that the Dandilion decided he didn't want to eat, even though he had been asking for "dinnertime" for a good half hour. We put him in his chair, he took one look at his plate (same food he had devoured a week ago) and pushed his plate away. In the time it took the rest of us to eat, he played with his fork, repeatedly asked to "go play" and said "no" every time he was asked to eat.

So there he sat.

Dinner came & went. He was not excused from the table. He complained. He cried. He asked for drinks. He watched the table get cleared and the dishes get washed. Eventually he was alone in the kitchen, as the rest of us passed in & out of the room.

And nearly 1 hour later - just before we were about to put him to bed - he ate his dinner. All but one bite of chicken. [Picture two completely stunned parents]. When I went to get him out I asked for a high five, which he gave me, and said "Now that you ate your dinner, you can go play" His answer: "Great!" And off he went.


To be honest, neither of us thought he would eat his dinner tonight. But we decided that we needed to put an end to these occasional power struggles before they get out of hand. He seems to do something like this at dinner about once or twice a week, and then eats very well the rest of the time. We hoped that not giving him extra milk or letting him get down without eating tonight would help us in the future. Not sure if it will, but we are hopeful that the fact that he did finally eat tonight is a sign of good things to come.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Best Inventions?

Today I am very thankful for tissues & washing machines.

I can't even imagine what it would have been like to live before these inventions. We are now in the midst of allergy season - and I am on week 3 of agony. Medicine helps, but I can't go far without my box of tissues. And when I forget the medicine like I did this weekend... forget it. It is going to take me a week to recover. It is a really good thing I don't have to wash handkerchiefs.

Speaking of washing, I am soooooo glad we have a washing machine. And that it is in our house. In some of the past places we have lived we had to use public washers, and lots of quarters. In NJ, I remember getting two rolls of quarters every week when I deposited my paycheck; one for laundry & one for parking meters. (I have to write these things down now, before I forget)

Anyway. Not having a washing machine would have been quite a pain this weekend as the Dandilion was lucky enough to have the stomach flu. Once again - I can not imagine what I would have done if I had to go somewhere else to wash every towel we own and all of the crib sheets plus crib bedding and stuffed toys. And if I had to hand wash everything - oh my! How did they do it?!?

Thank you to everyone who has invented the things that make my life easier... especially when life is particularly difficult.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Baby Noah

When the Tumbleweed was little she watched several different Baby Einstein videos on a fairly regular basis. She learned shapes from Baby Newton, animals from Baby Noah, and body parts from Baby DaVinci. As she has gotten older, we have gotten away from the Baby Einstein movies a bit. We moved on to the Little Einsteins, the Backyardigans & Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Both kids enjoy these shows, so we hadn't really missed our Baby Einstein videos until we started remembering that the Tumbleweed was able to name more body parts, shapes, colors & animals at 18 months than the Dandilion could. So I started making a point to put "his movies" in more often.

Today the Dandilion and I had some quiet time to ourselves so we sat down & watched Baby Noah. He was totally into the movie, and the experience frequently adjusting the "banket" and leaning over & saying "I do kisses" and giving me a kiss.

Here are some of my favorite animals - "bago", "pahda", "zebrook", "elepant" and "peng-gin". In case you don't speak toddler, that's - flamingo, panda, zebra, elephant and penguin. He also is pretty good at identifying tigers, lions, hippos and fish. Actually, everything in the water was a "fish" --- dolphins, whales, hippos and of course, fish.

He was really cute this afternoon :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Forksticks & Dinner

Tonight it was the Dandilion's first time using chopsticks (or 'forksticks' as the Tumbleweed named them years ago). Fortunately I bought two sets of "training" chopsticks, just in case. The Dandilion has seen the Tumbleweed using them in the past, but never asked for some until tonight... "tha, tha, thaaaaaa" (that's toddler speak for "I want that").

So here he is fascinated by his new utensil...

If it doesn't work, use your hands...

...or get Daddy's help...

And I realized when I looked back through my pictures to find this shot of the Tumbleweed's first time using chopsticks (before I found training chopsticks)...

We were eating almost the same dinner... Stir Fry Chicken with Iron Chef General Tso's sauce and rice.

Tonight we had mixed veggies in the stir fry. I recently found that Price Chopper makes up containers of "stir fry vegetables" which make for a nice variety without having to buy and cut up 6-7 kinds of vegetables. For under $3 you can get a mix of broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, peppers, onions, squash, zucchini, carrots & tomatoes, which is perfect for tossing into a stir fry. This is one of our "go to" dinners and it comes together really easily - and we all like it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Out of the mouth of a 4-year-old...

Snip-its from daily life...

A few weeks ago while we were at the Y, we stopped to watch one of the Tumbleweed's friends in her swimming lesson. I wanted her to see the "cool things" older kids can do when they learn to put their faces in the water and jump off the side of the pool, two things that she was not a big fan of the last time she took lessons. Her comment afterward... "I really liked her bathing suit".

Fast forward two weeks. We are shopping at Target and go past the rack of bathing suits in the Girls section. I hear "Mommy wait! When can I get bathing suit underwear?" I turn to see her pointing at a bikini, like the one her friend had. "Not today" was all I could manage without laughing...


Tumblweed: "Mommy, I want to send this picture to Nana & Papa."
Me: "Okay, honey. Would you like an envelope?"
Tumbleweed: "Yes. And a special mail sticker too."

We have had to have discussions in the past that postage stamps are not for art projects. Apparently this is a difficult concept, because rubber stamps are for art projects and stickers are for art projects and a postage stamp looks a lot like a sticker but is too special for art projects.

We finally got it all clarified after "Post Office Week" at school. I let the school borrow my stamp collection and the kids used magnifying glasses to study the stamps, and the Tumbleweed came home talking about how stamps have funny edges. Now she knows how to tell which ones are "mail stickers".


The Tumbleweed approaches Mommy, who is sitting at the computer looking at pictures of the kids...

The Tumbleweed: "Mommy, when will I be 4 and a half?"
Mommy: "In September, honey. Why?"
The Tumbleweed: "How long is it 'til September?"
Mommy: "Several months. Why?"
The Tumbleweed: "But I want to use your computer now not in September.
Mommy: (puzzled) "Why will you use my computer in September?"
The Tumbleweed: "Because when you are 4 and a half you can use a computer and click pictures. I know 'cuz I saw it on TV"

And then it made sense. She saw the "I am 4 and a half and I'm a PC" commercial.

She has asked several times about when she can have a camera... and now it's a computer... next week she'll want an Ipod!


I learned something today. You know that little square in new clothes that says "remove before washing or wearing" but is sewn in so you would actually have a pair of sharp scissors handy? Well, it will set the alarm off at CVS.

I know because I set their alarm off 6 times today.

The first time (we went in for water before walking group) the lady asked, "Are you wearing something from Old Navy?"... "Why, yes, I am."... "You probably still have the security tag on then". Sure enough, I set it off again when I left.

Unfortunately, I had to go back two more times before I could go home to cut the tag out! (I was printing pictures for a big weekend of scrapbooking.) Fortunately they didn't give me a hard time about it.

I guess I should cut the tag out now... but I am still wearing my pants. What are the chances that I will remember tonight?