Monday, December 16, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Cara: "You do not get the most vegetables. You get the least!"
Connor: "Well, why? Don't mom and dad want me to grow big and strong?"
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Again, for those of you not in the Doctor Who loop, there have been eleven different men playing the role of the Doctor throughout the show's fifty years, each with their own distinct look. My kids have only really been introduced to the last three, so the choice of which Doctor wasn't so difficult.
Connor opted to be the most recent (and youngest) Doctor and, after we ordered and received the sonic screwdriver (a non-weapon the Doctor uses which also varies from Doctor to Doctor) for the eleventh Doctor, it was easy to see why. We all took turns playing with this part of his costume, pressing the buttons to activate the sound and light.
Unlike Cara's intricate Tardis costume, Connor's costume was relatively easy. I found a blazer at a used clothing store and sewed brown felt patches onto the elbows. I had fabric leftover from when I made the bow ties for Cara's shoes and I made a bow tie for Connor (and watched a YouTube video to show me how to actually tie it). A button-down shirt, skinny tan pants, and brown boot-like pointy shoes and he was all set.
|The Doctor and his Tardis|
Connor selected Dr. Seuss as his hero this year. Originally, he had been very reluctant to the idea of dressing up as this man, so I didn't worry too much about a costume. We had a sport coat and tie in our dress up stash that he could use and I popped the lenses out of some tortoise shell sunglasses to look like the glasses Dr. Seuss wore. It must have been during the course of researching and writing that Connor changed his mind about dressing up. The night before Halloween hero day (or Halloween hero eve, as I'm going to call it) when I had laid out what I had pulled together for a costume, Connor insisted that he have a Dr. Seuss beard. So, what do you do when a donkey who usually doesn't want to participate actually is excited about doing so? You make a beard out of felt, elastic, and yarn, of course!
|The beard. A few choice words were uttered during the making of this beard. Mostly directed at the spiderweb of glue and fingers and yarn and felt fuzz.|
|When asked why Dr. Seuss, he replied, "He's the only famous person I know."|
|Women's rights activist, Elizabeth Cady Stanton|
Two steps forward, one step back.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Thursday, October 31, 2013
|So much more than just a time and space travel box. It's bigger on the inside.|
|Cara (age 6) in the dress that would be her costume six years later.|
|No more butt bow.|
|Much more 12-year old appropriate.|
I had to break down and buy white fabric paint but a good friend of mine (whose craft room is one I whole-heartedly covet) had some black satin that we were able to use to make a sash. I used letter stencils that I made to paint the sash and three coats of paint. Once this was done, it really felt like the costume was coming together.
|Fabric paint ($1) on black satin fabric (free - thanks, Katherine) that I sewed into a sash.|
|Brown flats that I painted to look like the Doctor (from the neck down, at least). Flats from the thrift store ($4), red fabric $2 (the rest of which was used for Connor's costume), and buttons from my giant button stash.|
|LED light with a switch that Craig designed and built. From scratch. With tools. It was glorious.|
|Head lamp fully assembled with fascinator attached.|
|Cara in full costume with trick-or-treat bag.|
|Cara "being the box" with her friends dressed as a Dalek (evil robot from the DW series) and the 10th Doctor.|
Saturday, October 26, 2013
During a visit from my mother when Cara was 6 months old (and excuse me if I've told this story before), Craig and I had my mom watch our daughter for a few hours. When we came back to get her, my mother said that Cara had been great but added, "She really needs you to watch her." I stifled a "Well, duh, she's only 6 months old. Of course you need to watch her." My mother must have seen that expression on my face because she went on to explain, "No, she actually WANTS you to watch her."
Looking back on that statement now, my mother had summed up my daughter in one short sentence.
So, here are some pictures of us watching her over the past twelve years:
|This was Cara's "get excited" face. It was one of our favorite baby tricks. One which we asked her to do repeatedly. And she would happily oblige each time.|
|This is a peek into her room-keeping skills. Though the books have been replaced with clothes, the results are fairly similar.|
|I stupidly used the "I think I hear Santa" to try to get her up to bed. This only managed to get her more worked up. She called out through the railing in a long, dramatic voice (the hands are to help her voice project), "SAAAAN-TAAAAA!"|
|We usually were instructed to announce her before she'd come out and put on a performance. "Presenting, Cara the dancer/singer/magician/musician/gymnast" or whatever she happened to be at that moment.|
|A true Minnesota girl. She actually spends more time outside at home when there's snow than any other time of year. Snow has become her construction paper.|
|The ease in which she slips from serious to goofy is something I greatly admire. As she nears adolescence, it doesn't seem to be diminishing. Thank heavens. She's a dork off the old blocks.|
|I love that Cara will go with me to events like this. When other pre-teens would groan about "old people's music", my daughter would take Beastie Boys over Bieber any day.|
Happy birthday, Schmoo! We promise to never stop watching you.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Connor was very excited about a recent purchase of kids' foam soap, which he likes to refer to as shaving cream. I explained that shaving cream is used by men for their face and women on their legs before they shaved.
After a moment of reflection, my son adds, "Yeah. Girls sometimes have spikeys on their legs. They do that for protection."
Thursday, October 17, 2013
While visiting family in Colorado, we decided to take the kids along on a road trip up into the mountains. We made sure to leave the screens at home so that they could actually enjoy the incredible view out their windows.
It was about midway through the trip when Connor asked, "Are we done with this adventure yet?"
Please. No one teach him air quotes.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Don't get me wrong. I love my children's school and the well-rounded education they are getting. But I'm not yet ready for them to intellectually put me in my place.
This evening, I got schooled by both kids at once.
Connor: "I didn't take a shower yesternight."
Me: "Yesternight isn't a word."
Cara: "Yes it is. It's Shakespeare."
Monday, September 30, 2013
Meow - I'm cool with you
Hiss - Get out of my territory
Meowmeowmeow - I'm leaving
Meow Long - Where are you / I'm here
Meow cough - I'm hurt. Get over here
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
You would have thought that Cara's first day back was Christmas. Ever since summer began, she had been waiting for this day. She's had her backpack ready for two weeks now. Her clothes for the first
And this year, Connor will be going to the same school as his sister, which added a whole other level of excitement for Cara. She kept talking with Connor about how much fun the school is and describing all of the things that he might get to do while there.
Anyone who knows this blog or, better yet, knows my children, should know what's coming next.
The Donkey Factor.
With all of the energy and excitement my daughter was putting into talking up the school experience to her brother, he was using the same amount to dig his heels in about not wanting to go. He groused and grumbled about not wanting teachers to tell him what to do. When Cara would build the school up, he would try to hypothesize loopholes into her story. He even resorted to suggesting that he might just be "too sick to go to school" the night before. (Heaven help us when he learns to fake illness for longer than his normal attention span will allow.)
Tuesday morning came and both of the children were up and ready to go a lot quicker than I had expected.
Connor announced that his throat hurt. Sometimes, this is code for "I'm gonna hurl". This time, I chalked it up to the cough he had from allergies. Until he spelled it out for us. "I feel like I have to throw up," he insisted. Craig suggested that the whole waiting game was allowing Connor's nerves to get the best of him. So, rebels that we are, we let the kids out of the car at 8:18 and watched them head off to school.
I waited most of the day, thinking that I might get a call from the school to come pick up my cookie-tossing son, but no such call came. And as I tend to do after a summer of thinking "I can't wait until they're back in school", I missed those two tremendously and counted down the time until I got to pick them up.
Pickup time came and my kids came towards my car. Cara had a huge smile plastered on her face and her
Sunday, September 1, 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Yesterday, Connor had an hour long orientation at his new school. I was talking with him later that evening about this experience, when I started questioning him about his teachers.
"What did you think of Julieanne?" I asked.
"She was nice."
"And did you like your other teacher?"
"Yeah. She was kind of shy. I guess that's why she's named Heidi."
Monday, August 26, 2013
Cara and Connor were playing with Legos in Connor's room. After a short time, they both came out of his room to proudly show us what they had made.
"It's the Tardis," Cara proudly declared.
I asked Connor, "What did you build?"
Since he's got a Master's in Little Brother, of course his answer was "A Tardis Destroyer."
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
As the summer ends and we approach the start of this new school year, I've been wondering how well things will go. My worry is centered around whether Connor will have a hard time adjusting.
Before I attended the spring parent/teacher conference at Connor's old school, I asked my son what his teacher might say about him. His thoughtful reply was, "My teacher thinks I'm challenging but actually, I'm the master."
I'm pretty sure my concerns should focus more on the well-being of his teacher.
Monday, August 19, 2013
I should mention that Cara was in the midst of talking about her father's current preoccupation with classic cars when I blurted those two words out. She stopped talking and looked at me quizzically. Assuming that she just didn't hear me, I repeated myself.
"Headless Loon." An equally perplexed look from my daughter followed. Again, I persisted, "Headless Loon."
"Okaaaaay," she finally responded and continued her discussion about the antique automobiles.
"Do you even know what I was talking about?" I asked.
"Not really. When you say things like that, I just assume that it's old people slang that I just don't understand. I thought Headless Loon was code for convertible or something."
Saturday, August 17, 2013
My son was not potty-trained until he was 4 years old. I must confess, I blamed myself for his delay. Arguing with a child about excrement and cleaning up accidents during the learning curve did not sound as easy as changing a diaper. And I do like easy. But we honestly tried to get him out of diapers and into underwear earlier than he did. Connor just wasn't going to budge until he was ready. Once we made peace with that fact and stopped forcing, things went fairly smooth. When he was ready, the transition to using the toilet was remarkably quick.
The transition to using the toilet all by himself, however, has taken a bit longer.
This is a boy who gags at the smell of his own pee. Because of his smell-sensitivity, he became an expert on one-handed toileting. One hand was used for the unsnapping/unzipping/flushing/etc and the other hand? Firmly holding his nose shut. And when you only have one hand available to you, you often require additional assistance.
Enter Mom, aka, the Butt-Wiper.
I've had this task since the day of his birth. I've become an expert. But just because someone is good at something, doesn't mean they want it as a lifelong career.
Connor and I have had quite a few dialogues about him taking this job over for me. I've discussed the benefits and he's fairly happy with keeping the status quo. When I have dug in and refused, I've gotten very creative responses designed to sway my stance.
He's tried: "When you wipe my butt, it makes me better at it." (Sounds like Craig telling his mom that the sandwiches taste better when she makes them.)
Another time, he started listing off all the times he wiped his own butt. In his whole life. "Once at school, two times at my friend's house, a couple times at home."
Then there was the comedic approach. He sing-songed, "Will you please wipe my buuuuuuut........of the tiger." (That Survivor song will never again be associated with "Rocky" in my home)
He's also tried guilting me into it. "I'm just going to sit here forever," he explained. "Then there's going to be a skeleton on the toilet!"
Connor has finally gotten to the stage where my assistance is rarely needed, though he would prefer that I be reinstated at my previous level of employment. And every now and again I can hear his plugged-nose voice calling "Mooooooom! Could you please wipe my buuuuut?"
Friday, August 9, 2013
|The lesser-known Inca God, Flame Boy!|
Friday, August 2, 2013
|He may have gone in the cage a scavenger, but he'll leave the cage a hunter.|
|It takes a staff of many to relocate a squirrel.|
Monday, June 10, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
After Crazy Hair Day last year, we got a wonderful suggestion from my mother for what Cara could do the following year. Yes, we were planning one year in advance for an event that no one really participates in at her school any longer. So?
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Now, you'd think that, since we did a Mario birthday party last year, having the same theme again would be a piece of cake. Um, hello. I'd like to introduce myself to you. I'm the one that likes to make things complicated.
First step, the invitations. Since I don't have a color printer (and I REALLY like to cut), I set out to make Mario faces out of card stock. A quick template made from a Google images search, a download of a free Mario font, and I had these guys made up in no time.
If someone would have asked me, "What's a party without a pinata?", I would have breezed past the fact that it was probably a rhetorical question and answered "A safe party!" But then I saw those pinatas that you pull on strings to open instead of swinging a bat and my brain stopped thinking of checking our homeowner's policy and instead started trying to come up with a creative pinata-esque solution.
We ended up taking a wine box (thanks, Costco) with dividers, large pieces of yellow cardstock, tissue paper, and a computer printout of the Mario question marks.
|? Block Pinata|
|He tried to break a cookie so he could eat the "accident".|
|Our pile of gold coins|
|All filled up and ready to punch!|
The next thing I went to work on was the fire/ice ball toss game. I cut out some Goombas, Koopas, and a Piranha Plant with card stock (much like with the invitations) and glued them to some old water bottles that I had filled partially with dried rice. For the fire and ice balls, just come craft felt and more dried rice after consulting my friend, Google images, for a fireball pattern.
|Bad guys ready to be taken down.|
And a party wouldn't be complete without
|The favors on display.|
|Connor fills the treat bags.|
|Banner reused from last year.|
|It's Mario Party O'clock!|
|Each kid had an M to try and get on Mario's hat.|
|Fire & ice ball toss.|
|Punch the ? block pinata.|
We did end up heading to the nearby park to burn some additional time (and energy) and we still had time for cake and ice cream, presents, and treat bags.
|Star Power cake.|
|Another successful Mario birthday party!|