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...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Some of my favorite kid moments are the silly things they say. From mispronouncing words to using them in the wrong context, kids are full of funny things to say. I am reminded of this daily by both kids. And as much as I think what they said was so funny that I will never forget, I often can't remember the story when I go to relay it to someone else. Before I forget, here are a couple of recent quotable kid moments...


As a three-year-old, the Dandelion is learning lots of new words all the time. His pronunciation is pretty good, but he does tend to switch around some letters. My current favorites are "vathing suit" [bathing suit] and "bacation" [vacation]. I am not sure quite why these particular words got mixed up, but that is how he says them every time. Most other words he mixes up on purpose, either by changing the first letter to create rhymes or switching the first letters of two words like they do in the Shel Silverstein book "Runny Babbit". Hopefully is passion for "wixed up mords" won't hurt him too much in school.

Otherwise, he is pretty good at absorbing "big words" and using them when you least expect them ("Neat-o Mosquito!"). However every once in a while he does remind us that he is only three, like he did today... After I put him back in bed for the tenth or fifteenth time tonight, I told him "This is unacceptable. You can not keep getting out of bed" in my best SuperNanny voice, as I have numerous other times in his little life. But today, perhaps to stall or perhaps truthfully, he said, "What does un-accept-amle" mean?" Argh. Cuteness? Stalling? SuperNanny would say I can't answer him either way. I guess we will have to discuss it in the morning.


With very few exceptions, the Tumbleweed only mixes up her pronunciation on purpose (she too likes Runny Babbit and considers it a game to switch the words around). However, occasionally she gets caught up by words with two meanings. The latest example was this afternoon... She was looking at some of the piles we have been sorting in the basement and found a bag of records (LPs). Having not seen them before she asks, "What are these?" Giving the short, but true, answer I said, "Daddy's records" without giving it much thought. To that she replied, "How many records did he break? He must have been really fast to have so many!" I couldn't stop laughing to explain it to her so for now she thinks Daddy has lots of "record books with all of his broken records in them". Too funny.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Indoor Fishing?

For each of their birthdays, the kids received fishing poles from Nana & Papa. During a recent visit to my grandma's house on the lake, the kids tested them out.

However, they didn't catch anything. Because as my dad always says, "there are no fish in Canandaigua Lake". Or perhaps they needed to work on their technique. We decided to make a trip to the Bass Pro Shop this weekend and they were able to do just that.

The Bass Pro Shop was a pretty cool place, with live fish and turtles in various aquariums. This particular day they were also running their "Family Summer Camp", which meant there was a craft, a presentation to learn more about fishing and a boat to practice casting. And it was all free! The kids really enjoyed it.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mission: Organization - Phase 2, cont.

The Good Stuff

We had our second visit from our professional organizer this week. We had done lots of homework, including sorting through numerous piles, donating unused items, and moving furniture. We had come a long way since the first visit, if I do say so myself. We are making our way down the path to an organized life, but we are not there yet.

During this visit we discussed some of the redefined spaces and elaborated on how we would use them on a daily basis. Would the items need to be in the reach of the kids, or out of their reach? Would we be using them daily or occasionally? How many items do we have space for?

In the organizing process, that last question is the big one. How many items do we have space for? Quite often it lead to more purging. For example, my shopping bag collection has out grown the reasonable amount of space to store them. Sure, all the bags were useful. They weren't broken, they were varied in size and they save then environment from plastic bags. But, we don't have room for all of them. In the end, we selected 7 grocery bags and about 7 "shopping" bags (of varying sizes) to keep. That left about a dozen in the donate pile.

That is a simple illustration of the latest part of the process. Getting to "The Good Stuff". Our initial sorting had gotten us close, but once we had redefined the spaces we could see that some of the things that had seemed good the first time around might not really be worthy of a piece of real estate in our new plan. With each new system we set up there is a finite amount of space and we have to choose the things that are most important to us to keep in that space. That's "The Good Stuff".

Sure we still have more work to do (much of it mundane filing), but even as I look around now I am starting to see "The Good Stuff" where there were once piles and misplaced items. We are starting to see the real benefits of all of our hard work, which makes it easier to keep moving towards the finish line.

The kids play with Play-Doh in our new "Messy Craft Area" (formerly where the Eagle's music desk lived)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

She's Got Mail!

A month earlier than expected, the Tumbleweed got her letter from the school with the information for the fall and a letter from her first grade teacher today. She was so excited!

When I was a kid, it was written on the bottom of our report cards on the last day of school. Everyone would compare on the bus ride home, hoping to find friends in their class. The Tumbleweed's school mails the letters home during the summer, but these days that's no big deal. We have Facebook! By the time we opened our letter, I had already seen a Facebook comment that one of the Tumbleweed's gymnastics teammates had that same teacher. Knowing that, she is even more excited for school to start. Hopefully we won't be starting the year with "talks too much in class" notes coming home!

After the initial excitement, it didn't take long for her to ask to go school supply shopping. The apple didn't fall far ;)

Three-year-olds are like Elephants

They never forget.

The Dandelion remembers the strangest and smallest details. He can tell you exactly where he got "Yellow Bath McQueen" (Walmart) and "Blue Bath McQueen" (Target). He noticed that I tried switching desk chairs with the Eagle, and switched them back right away. He announces his friends' house every time we drive past it.

I am working on getting him to use his skills for good (like, putting toys away or finding something that is lost), but it seems like his innate ability is for remembering things we'd rather he didn't. He is particularly good reminding me when I have said, "maybe later" to change the topic. He always asks later.

Some other Dandelion-isms at three:

~He likes to sing. Sometimes making up a tune and singing the words he would normally just speak. Sometimes singing songs he knows, our favorites are the theme from Cars ("I am a highway, I wanna rah-way, oh-ha-ho"), theme from the TV show Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks ("Meaty-dam-your and monster truck jam"), and the Toy Story theme ("You've got a friend in me, I got a friend in me")

~He is interested in rocketships and space. He noticed that the globe was moved to the mantle (part of the re-organization movement), and asked "Why do we have that planet up there? Are there aliens on it?" A couple days later, he came to me and said, "Mommy, wouldn't be cool if we had our very own rocketship and we could blast off into the sky?" Plus he is always flying Buzz Lightyear, "To infinity and beyond..."

~He likes to mimic grown-up behaviors, like 'typing' e-mails and making calls on his cell phone. He also mimics some "big sister" sayings, like "wouldn't it be cool", "what ever" and "little brothers" (what the Tumbleweed says when he knocks something over or falls down. Now he says it when someone else, including the Tumbleweed, does those things - LOL).

~He talks in a squeaky voice. Sometimes he is making his toys talk, sometimes he is being shy. Most of the time when he does this it is really cute, but occasionally I wish he would just talk normally.

He certainly like the role of making people smile.

Note: Above photo was taken by the Tumbleweed of the Dandelion and his friends at the zoo.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mission: Organization - Phase 2

Redefined Spaces

Part of our "organizing homework" was to make some decisions about what functions we wanted our spaces to have. Over time spaces that we had originally assigned a certain function to had taken on one or more other functions. For instance, our basement "guest room" had our pull out sofa and pillows as we had intended, but had more recently taken on the additional role of the Eagle's home office. On the other hand, my computer was in our living room with a single chair (our time-out chair) and basically nothing else. It took our organizer pointing out that it made more sense to have our computers in an "office" downstairs where we could share resources and the infrequently used sofa bed in the living room so people could actually sit down.

Hmmmm... why didn't we think of that? Well, I guess that is because when you see it every day it doesn't occur to you to change it. So after two weeks of contemplating and measuring, we started moving things around. We called in reinforcements to move the couch (which I think will only be moved again by movers) up to the living room. And after a week of adjusting to that, the Eagle assembled a new desk for my computer in the basement.

I think it is going to take a little adjusting to not having the computer in the living room where I pass by it every two minutes, but it is nice working in the basement where it is much cooler in the summertime.

Our visions for the rest of the basement are somewhat clearer than they were now that we have cleared out the spaces more, but for all of the work we have done I still feel like there is so much more to do! We only have a couple days left to get the rest of our homework done, which is no small task. We are plugging away, but it really does take time to do it right!

Back to work...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Water, Water & More Water

The first week of July was much anticipated at our house. The Dandelion had been eagerly waiting until he could go to camp and play soccer. He was so excited he even got himself dressed in his "soccer clothes" - a very nice LONG sleeve shirt for a day that would end up being in the high 90s by noon. But there was no changing his mind - he was wearing his soccer shirt to soccer camp!

Day one went was a little rough, with both kids coming off the field for extra water breaks and not listening to instructions well. The Tumbleweed got into the swing of things by day two, with the coaches remarking at the end of practice that she had done really well with her passing during the scrimmages (something most kids her age haven't learned yet). However, the Dandelion struggled in the heat. He was pretty content to watch his friends from his chair on the sidelines, but then was sad when he got home that soccer was over. Too bad three-years-olds don't understand the concept of time very well :(

Day three was the much anticipated "England Day" at camp. This is the day that the kids bring "something English" to camp. The Tumbleweed had just received a new "Beefeater" bear from Papa a couple weeks ago and was eager to take it to camp. When it was her turn, she showed the bear and then sang "London Bridge" while making the bear dance. She and her Pinkalicious soccer teammate won top honors! The coaches said it was the song that put it over the top ;)

Days four and five went better for both kids. With a few incentives (a new water bottle, spray bottles with fans and a Talking Buzz Lightyear) and some pep talks, the Dandelion finally got out and played for most of the time. He really seemed to enjoy himself while he was playing, but every time he caught sight of someone or something on the sidelines he would come right back over. He didn't really listen long enough to understand most of the games, but he did like dribbling the ball across the field and kicking it into the goal!

By the end of the week I was completely exhausted from the early mornings, water bottle filling, cleat tying, 3-year-old chasing, picture taking and just generally being in the heat. We all worked hard, but it was worth it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Wall Comes Down

The last major child proofing barrier in our house has been the gate at the top of the stairs. We've had it there for about 3 years now, and I think that there are still only a handful of people who know how to open it. The kids never figured out how to open it, but have learned how to go over it (although they only did that 2-3 times). Lately we have only been using it occasionally, generally when the adult in the house needs to do something that takes their attention away from the kids temporarily and we need to know where they are (like taking a shower).

But this week the tide has turned and we have truly shifted away from "baby mode". We took the gate down. Actually it came down because we were moving the couch up from the basement (part of our organization homework), but for now we have decided to leave it down since the Dandelion handles himself just fine on the stairs these days.

So far so good. We actually used the basement a lot this week, due to the sweltering heat on the main floor of the house. The kids were able to go up and down whenever they needed to and I didn't have to check to see if the gate was open if they wanted to go up and down.

Now the only thing we need to work on is not going out the front door with out a grown up, as both kids have shown the ability to unlock the deadbolt on the front door. This is extra aggravating because back in the winter the lock was so sticky it took 5-10 minutes of wiggling to let in a guest. Is it possible to un-WD40 something?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our First Plant

No this isn't a garden update. It's actually a letterboxing update.

While visiting my parents the kids and I planted our first letterbox for others to find. It was a little more challenging that I would have liked to find a place to put the box and I am not entire convinced that it won't be found by a "muggle" (non-letterboxer). Perhaps when we go back I will move it some.

This box (Rochester Junction) has my first hand-carved stamp. I was debating about sharing the stamp image, because I am proud of how it came out, but it seems as though that is frowned upon in letterboxing so I guess if you want to see it you will have to find it ;)

Edit: Someone has already found it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Garden Update: Blueberries

This year everything in our area is about two weeks ahead of schedule, due to warm weather and good growing conditions. And, with that, I am pleased to report that we have grown our first blueberries! I found the first ripe one this morning. I'll wait a few days to try to pick a few more than one, but there won't really be that many. I think we might get about a dozen - LOL. I am still pleased that the bush is bearing fruit at all this year, since it did not produce any after I planted it last spring.

Other garden notes:
- The Lupine has bounced back with one more final stalk.
- The Foxglove plants have each grown about 3-4 smaller stalks all of which have bloomed, after the original stalks failed to bloom.
- The strawberries are done, with a total harvest of about 4 dozen berries over about 3 weeks.
- The lilies have all bloomed nicely - first the Stargazers, then the red lilies and finally the white lilies.