Saturday, February 23, 2013

I've lost my heart to this cutie.

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Featuring the Damonator

I have a confession. I absolutely love this kid's huge feet. His little piggies hooked into the chair for balance? Priceless.

He loves musical instruments of all types and ranges. Here he's borrowed one of Dada's guitars and was happily plucking, plinking, and dropping picks into the hole.

He's using his right hand most of the time now (probably because he still prefers to suck his left thumb), but when he sat down to draw this time he started off lefty.

Then he got a sneaky, great idea: why not use both!? Look how pleased he is. I am partial to all the chinny chin chins and cheeks.
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PaPa's visit brought us...

One belated Valentine's Day cake, two photos of his parents, and millions of hugs and kisses for Things One, Two, and Three!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

February frizzle

Is it just me, or is anyone else surprised that it's still February? People look at me like I'm crazy, but I swear it is the. longest. month. of. the. year. And another week to go, yippie!

Tomorrow is the big fourth grade science fair. Miss Carrie spent last Saturday outside (it was freezing), shaking cans of pop and measuring how high they'd fizz when opened. She presented her facts and findings and decorated her tri-fold cardboard background, today gave her talk to her own class, and gets to have the school and parents wander around her classroom tomorrow while the kids all explain their projects.  Her only homework tonight was to go to bed early.

She proceeded to pickle herself in the bathtub and take her usual sweet old time picking up after herself and then was mad at me when she didn't have any time leftover for screen time. She'd wanted to play one round of a video game on my phone. I sent her to bed 7 minutes before bedtime. She mumbled from the top bunk, "well. I'm not going to sleep. No screen time, no sleep."

I refrained from kicking her to the moon. I even made some parental comment like, "well, then it's your choice to be tired and crabby when you know how long of a day you'll have tomorrow." I left it at that and left the room.

Miss Wormwood, can I borrow your bottle of Maalox for a few sips a large chug? Thanks.


And a special thanks to PaPa for coming to keep us company this week. It was great to run errands all by my lonesome, in the snow, while Damon got to play with his PaPa. The big kids were delighted to see him Tuesday, especially since I hadn't told them he was coming. Thanks for the visit! We all loved it. Glad you made it home safe. xoxoxo

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Isn't "normal" an odd word when you think about it? I was loading the dishwasher the other day when, once again, the Dratted Kitchen Fairy failed to report for duty. I noticed that our "normal wash" button on the dishwasher had deteriorated to the point where the little disc within it has shifted out of its spot. All the other cycles like "light wash", "heavy wash", and "pots and pans" are just fine. Normal, even.

It got me thinking, what IS a "normal wash"? Normal for our family means the top rack is full of sippy cups and Ikea plasticware and Mason jars. The bottom rack is full of coffee and hot cocoa mugs, silverware (mostly spoons), ceramic cereal and ice cream bowls, and medium sized plates as well as the kids' Ikea plastic plates.

But what would be normal for someone who REALLY likes to cook? Lots of those cute little ramekin/measuring bowls that their ingredients had been pre-measured into before they attempt their recipe? Casserole dishes because their families don't mind and *gasp!* even enjoy food that touches other kinds of food? Wine glasses? Water glasses? Dishes coated in salad dressing, au jus, and Alfredo sauce instead of only peanut butter and jelly blobs and red spaghetti sauce and leftover cereal milk?

What would Martha Stewart's "normal wash" be like? Or Rachael Ray's? And how about those guys with the grilling shows? Would any of their stuff even FIT into a dishwasher?

What about you? What's your "normal wash" like?

And does "normal wash" carry over into laundry? We probably do two loads of kid clothes a week which somehow ends up being huge piles of jammies, colorful skivvies, lots of Care Bear's plain white kneesocks, many shirts of varying sleeve lengths and fewer pants. For our guys, that's normal. I imagine if we had anyone remotely girly in our family that I'd be trying to figure out how to wash sequins and lace, and can tutus go through the wash on delicate or do I stick to Woolite in the sink?

Sheets get washed on Mondays and bath towels, sad to say, get washed whenever I remember. I figure, you're clean when you get out of the tub so how dirty can you towel get, right? Kitchen and bathroom hand towels are a different story. My mother is thanking her lucky stars for that sentence.

The big people laundry gets done when Dada gets home from whatever trip he's on, because there's no point in me washing whatever's in the hamper and then him arriving to dump out his suitcase and have it wait until I have enough to wash again.

Anyway, that's what "normal" looks like around here. I won't get into descriptions of the actual house occupants, because "normal" goes totally out the window in that case. While we might not qualify as "normal", we are probably pretty average. Or perhaps not! Case in point, my parents mailed a box to the kids which contained valentines, stickers, a dollar bill each, a new and colorful washcloth each and a colorful, sparkly comb each. The kids' reaction? "YAY! COMBS!" The combs were the favorite things in the box.


Does that count as normal?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Because blogging feels more constructive than cleaning

Probably because cleaning feels never-ending. As soon as the dishwasher is emptied, indeed before it is emptied, there is a stack of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded into it. Ditto for laundry, except that goes into the washer and not the dishwasher.

Anyway, since I'm wasting time productively updating the blog for your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures that made me smile and I thought you'd like them too.

Here's Damon at Maumee Bay.

Here's Damon trying to play a harmonica. He's much more efficient now.

Here's Tiny Traveling Tino phoning home. This phone booth was at Hotel Conneaut.

Here's Liam on Theresa. I belive this was a First Friday downtown... September, perhaps?

This is why Care Bear SO does not need a cell phone with a camera:

This is Damon wearing his first Hostess Cupcake.

And look what they stock at Target! Who knew?!

Okay, time to go take down the stragglers of Christmas decorations. It is February, after all, so I suppose it's time.
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A dose of vitamin D

Sometimes often in the winter I need a taste of summer and warmth. And ice cream. Oh wait, I mean... hehe! I found some pictures from my phone that hadn't made it to the blog. Here is Dada enjoying Hank's frozen custard in Conneaut Lake, PA on our trip to see Velveeta, the 80's cover band I've loved since college.

And here is a super cute pirate!

Here's the big kids at Old Main in State College, PA. We wandered all over campus one day on our way to the Outer Banks. We ate at the Diner and sadly didn't have room or time for the Creamery. Sacrilege, I know! I'm ashamed of myself.

The rest of the shots are from the Outer Banks in August 2012. Smell that ocean air? Take a big whiff. Feel that sand, even in places you don't want to feel sand?

And sleep well. One more month until spring starts.
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Dance party

I don't remember if I've mentioned this before or not, but Dada bought a bag of percussion instruments at an estate sale or an auction or something. It has lots of little shake-y objects, including a tambourine, that the kids gravitate to naturally. As the following pictures show, sometimes you gotta just grab an instrument and get up and dance!


I wish I could remember what song was playing, but it was pretty funny to see all 4 of them jiggling around. Poor Triskal had to escape from her usual spot so that she didn't get dance partied on. ;)
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You know it's cold when your garden gnome complains. Poor Virgil Eugene asked for another hat. Liam pointed out that he was already wearing one, but Virgil Eugene claimed he needed another one. Now he looks comfy.

Yesterday we had a beautiful sunny day. It was only 27 degrees, but the sun hit the roof just right and snow would WHUMP down and scare me half to death. The driveway and sidewalk dried out nicely.

Did I mention we're to get "wintry mix" again tonight after midnight? Mother Nature is incredibly fickle.

And check out the water drops in my eyebrows and eyelashes. I took this when I came in from shoveling. It HAD been ICE!
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Because the first time wasn't fun enough (AKA the gift that keeps on giving)

No, I'm not talking about stomach flu, thankfully. However, Care Bear will be staying home from school today because she's on her second round of pink eye. Did you hear my sigh from wherever you are? This is the fourth case in our house. She had it at the same time Damon had it. Then Liam got it. Now she is down for the count again. Alas, it hasn't affected her mouth, which is firing questions about Harry Potter and the basilisk at me. And this is all pre-coffee. 

Will I get to blog about anything other than cold and germs ever again?

If my life were a song, it'd undoubtedly be Jimmy Buffett's "Boat Drinks" where he talks about shooting holes in his freezer because of cabin fever and has to go somewhere warm!

It's allllllllllllllmost the weekend...

Monday, February 04, 2013


Let's get this out of the way first. I know we're made in God's image. Got it. That said, we don't use the sense He gave a stump.

After the latest school shooting, there was a spike in talking about how we need to talk about mental illness and not just guns. I get that. I don't think they should be mutually exclusive. Both are incredibly important.

From there, I got to thinking about Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. I thought I'd look it up, and I found this link by Googling it:

Looking at the symptoms, such as increased appetite and increased sleep and social withdrawal and irritability, got me thinking. Isn't that everything that hibernating animals display? They eat and pack on the pounds, find a cozy spot to curl up away from other disturbances (like politics or football or those noisy squirrel neighbors, or the noisy squirrel neighbors who play football while discussing politics, perhaps) and sleep. For months!

Now why, I ask you, can we "intelligent" human beings not follow suit? Why in the world shouldn't those of us who have the misfortune to live in these cold climates use our noggins, grow out our hair, feast all fall, and do our long winter's nap instead of shoveling and snow blowing and delaying school and getting sick and all the other ... oh, just insert your own word here- I'm too irritable to be creative... that we deal with from November through the middle of April? This is ridiculous! I don't know anyone who LIKES wearing two pairs of pants just to stay warm in the house, much less outside. Or standing at the bus stop when the snow is coming at you sideways. Or trying to get down a slippery slope while remaining upright, though Dooce has a hilarious post about just that. See it here:  just make sure you have your tissues ready because you'll be laughing hard enough to cry.

Look at all the eating we do at Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then a week later, at New Year's, we resolve to lose weight? When we have three more MONTHS of winter and cold ahead of us and need that extra insulation to stay warm? We really must be nuts. Senseless.

Come to think of it, why do I have a Y membership through the winter when I get more than enough cardio from shoveling?

It's snowing again. Can you tell?

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Phil is full of baloney

Happy Groundhog Day, everyone. In case you hadn't heard, I just checked on good old Punxsutawney Phil and he did not see his shadow. This means that he's predicting an early spring.

Did he LOOK outside!? I don't know about all y'all, but my first thought when I looked outside this morning was, "why the $#(% is it snowing!?" Hmm. I guess it IS February. We have a few inches out there and I almost got bowled over by the wind when I went out to fill up our three bird feeders.

I'm betting they couldn't even FIND Phil, much less haul that poor beast out into the lights to watch his bright, beady little eyes frantically finding a spot he can hop safely down to. Let the poor guy sleep. He's smarter than us.

In other news, we've now had a full round of pinkeye. Liam succumbed yesterday, thankfully after the school week was finished. Damon and Carrie on on their next-to-last day of meds and he started his last night. I didn't have plans for this weekend anyway, but now it REALLY looks like we'll be staying in. Dada has contracted a cold, probably from Damon sneezing directly into his face on more than one occasion, and faces a week in Canada where it's going to be "brrrchillycold!" Poor thing. I am trying really hard to stay hydrated and stay out of sneezing range, but I fear the entire house is a big zone of germs. Welcome to February, my most hated month. Thank goodness for only 28 days of it this time around.

The school year is halfway over already, which seems unbelievable and "thank goodness" already. The big kids were up at 5:30- oh five freaking thirty!- this morning, which is Saturday, but it is absolutely all they can do to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth and use the bathroom starting at 7 AM on weekdays. Grandmama and I joke about Carrie having to sleep in her school clothes once middle school starts. There is just no way.

Dooty calls. Must go change a diaper I can smell clear over here. Today will not be the day I can drink a cup of coffee uninterrupted. And I have plans for those big kids, *insert mental image of me rubbing my hands together like an evil villain here*, plans that involve lots and lots of cleaning since we're housebound! The early bird may not be able to find the worm because of the snow, but they know exactly where the vacuum, Windex, and paper towels are. Muahahahahahahahaha!