Friday, August 19, 2011

It's back!

"Eek! Its back!" I exclaimed while driving home tonight. Last week I complained to Gary that they had taken it down before I got a picture of it. Gary said, "Get out your camera," and drove up to the intersection and made a u-turn and then into the rink lot so I could get a good shot on his phone. It is outside of a roller rink. I get such a great laugh out of it every time I pass. Talk about taking a biased survey. But at least they appropriately reported their survey audience.

It might be dumb, but Gary has learned over the years that though I take amusement in simple silly things, it's best to humor me in it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer's end: Catch up

I'm totally sure it didn't pass anyone up that I sluffed on Friday and didn't post. Whatever. :)

Here's why: at 10 am the baby was fed and down for a nap and the kids were watching a Lego movie peaceably on the DVR. I saw a nap opportunity and seized it sleeping without interruption for the next 1 hour and 45 minutes. After lunch the kids were supposed to clean their rooms so I could vacuum... That idea consumed most of the day... And then the power went out and they were too distracted with panic that they didn't clean. Power was out for 4 hours and since I was busy cleaning up stuff and the AC wasn't going 79+ degrees in a humid stuffy house was getting down right miserable. I ended up re-upholstering a chair that I had taken apart to clean by coleman lantern light. By then Gary was home and the power was on so we had glorious leftovers at 8:30 pm.
I took a nap! It was awesome! Moving on...

Today we took an outing. We piled a lot of stuff in one trip and the kids did very well it probably helped that they got to participate in a lot of it. Bread store where Olea timed me. Then we visited the Sculpture that is on the way to the library. Nev always points at it and screeches something unintelligible as we drive by. I have always wanted to go look and see if it had any artist credits. So we did that today. It is funky weird and the kids had a great time using words like triangle crotch and round butt to describe what they saw. Olea, who said it was stupid when I said we were going to get out and look at it, really took advantage of her verbal freedom while describing what was different or interesting about the sculpture.

It's name is FLAMP.
Then library, no pictures, I am spread too thin trying to help with books without a shelf being emptied.

Then post office (the big one this time) where they got to help work one of the postage machines.

Those are Nev and Zurich helping work the touch screen, Olea's photography story telling is lacking on these ones. Then Zurich hung on the lever with all his weight and Olea picked Nev up to put the letters in the drop box.

While there we were subject to an embarrassing display between a child and his parents. I mean loud and uncomfortable. The parents were way over reacting and in their attempt to keep their kid in line, made quite the display themselves. When we got in the van Olea made some observations: we had four kids they just had 1, there were three adults to the one child, and we were being pretty good, and daddy wasn't here with us, they were really loud and scary. Olea said, "I am glad that when we make sad choices in a big place like that that you talk to us quiet and if we are bad you just take us away and not be mean and noisy." (I am feeling happy about this observation.) So we got to talk about being good kids and parents so we don't embarrass ourselves or our families. Then we stopped off at a doctors office to get a refund... Which we won't be going to again, it's been a horrible hassle and they still owe me $. Then to the bank.

The kids had some money that they needed to put in the bank. Olea helped me fill out the deposit slips.

And they got to each give their money to the teller. We ended up with almost all the tellers at our attention because they were oohing and ahhing over my adorable babies, their names and their pretty eyes. One said, "she's a beautiful baby!" to my dressed in blue Giddy. The other teller corrected her, "it's a boy." "are you sure? She's so beautiful!" One asked if Nev and Zurich were twins. We get that fairly often here with them. "they all yours?!" and "you've got your hands full!" were other comments. After getting our transactions squared away the kids picked out a sucker and sat peaceably in the lounge chairs waiting for me. What a pleasure it is to have good kids. For the record they are kids, running around screeching and whatnot but they kept it all within tolerances.

Since the kids think it's great (because we rarely do it) and because they had coupons from the reading program we went to McDonalds for happy meals.

I feel awesome. We survived, the kids were so good and Giddy smiled through it all but when we got home he sure was hungry and tired.

We cleaned the house so we could have some friends over for pool play and dinner. No pictures. The End.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer's end: Floral Pens

Tuesday night while shopping with Olea she saw a pot of flower pens and said she liked them and wanted to make some so we picked up a roll of floral tape.

I already had everything else I figured we needed. So today I invited everyone out to do our outside jobs so we could do our project. Olea chose to ignore me. I figured I would let the consequences speak for themselves. As I directed the two younger kids I had to repeat myself several times, And so I figured I would open up the opportunity for Olea to listen and added some clarifying paths, "Get your shoes so we can do our jobs and then do our project." "Ok, lets hurry with our jobs so we can make flower pens." etc.

We went out back and picked up the pot from the Mother's day plant that I managed to kill (every year) and filled a barrel with leaves and then went inside.

We washed out the pot. I let the kids pick out flowers from my stash from our old house where they had hung in bunches like so: (top left of the picture of the epic battle between Olea and Zurich) I'm just not feeling it in this house, so we are going to re-purpose them.

Zurich liked the black ones and wanted them "big and tall." Nev had a hard time deciding. We wrapped the flower and pen together with the floral tape. They each did two... and had to make sure the pens still worked after being decorated.

Then Zurich poured a bag of dry beans into the pot and they arranged their flowers.

And helped decide where to put our pretty pot.

Olea never joined us. I was genuinely disappointed because this was the project she wanted to do and much more her skill level than theirs.

When I tried to talk to her and invite her to do her jobs so she could make some she plugged her ears, screamed and put herself in time out. :( Hopefully tomorrow she will get to make a pen.

There is one problem with this project. I now know how I want to decorate my kitchen... but I am so not in a position to do it. And we found an outlet under the island tonight. That could be quite useful.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer's end: read-a-thon

Yesterday, included in our shopping trip was a trip to the library. Olea got her very own library card. She has been asking for one since we moved. Super exciting stuff. I tried to direct her to books that she could read easier and faster to get her excitement back up. She is known to boast about being able to read chapter books but I have yet to see her actually finish one that she picks out.

Yesterday we also purchased more candy than one should ever have available in their home at any given time ever.

Today I had the kids get their pillows and blankets and pick a sucker. Olea and I took turns reading books to the younger ones. I was proud of her, she does read well. She also likes to pan the book for all the audience to see the pictures. Zurich and Nev kept trading suckers.

We read through a pretty good stack of books. Calling it a read-a-thon also upped the coolness.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer's end: Trip

Today was another bad Tuesday. The kids were constantly going at each other and I couldn't figure out anything to get them to chill out. Jobs weren't done. And repetitive interruption of my jobs meant they didn't get done either. I was very frustrated to say the least.
We were going to go to the library, and go pick out candy for the candy jars we unpacked and well... We'll save that for when we do it.

We needed an intervention. I called Gary at work and he told the kids to go gather sticks. Zurich went out for ten minutes but came in when Olea went out. She was so worried about trying to get him to do his job she wasn't doing hers. So I assigned him an inside job to keep them separated.

Then the incessant doorbell ringing started.... And ditching....
I was not my best mother today.

An experience last week opened up some of the things Olea is feeling. It can pretty much be summed up in two things: 1) the move has been hard, 2) she misses the way things were when she was three. That is the way she says: I wish Mommy liked me, had time for me, I wish there weren't other babies.

Apparently, I need to figure out her love language.

There are things I can't and won't change. For instance her siblings will not become orphans. So to make things better for my baby girl I'm doing the best I can to help us both enjoy where we are, to enjoy each other, improve our relationship, be grateful for what there is, what we have, where we are. I don't know what to do. I have no idea. But I'm trying, and that's got to be worth something. That is the major reason I started this summer's end project. Tonight with the spirit of trying, especially after a worthless day, I told Gary that Olea and I would go do the shopping after he got home.

I didn't take a picture. I was too busy back tracking and re-directing. So when we got back and Gary asked me if I had a good time, I was honest. "I hope she did, I hope it meant something to her, because I am exhausted."

I realized something though, I don't know if I remember the last time just her and I did something, just boring old stuff, together, with no one else. We need to.

I need to keep searching. Parenting is the hardest, most cryptic job ever.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer's end: Baking

Today was math/ baking.
I've had a hankering for peanut butter cookies. The last time I made them we didn't have any crisco. (Canola oil is not the right substitute.) We had crisco this time... But no eggs or milk. We had dried eggs and powdered milk. It's not quite the same and I didnt have time to go to the store....But there are a number of baking problems I have had since moving: I don't know where to get the yeast I am used to, I have no idea how to adjust for proofing and flour usage due to elevation and humidity changes, my ovens cook hot and uneven. But even with all that, today was a baking project.

The kids love to help in the kitchen. I suppose you could say that I am not that confident or talented in the kitchen. I cook from scratch, I cook from cans or boxes, whatever fits the day and the need. I do not love it. It is not a hobby. It is a necessary task. So it is hard for me to let the kids help because that always draws a project out and I'm just trying to get the job over with.

However, Olea has been very impressed with a friend of hers who can bake stuff all by herself. So feeding off of her interest I had her read the recipe and gather the ingredients and the appropriate measuring utensils. She mixed up the dry egg and got things ready I helped keep her focused as I made dinner. We were to have the missionaries over tonight.

When everything was gathered we called Nev and Zurich down to help. They each took turns measuring and putting in the ingredients. As I have mentioned before, gathering all the ingredients is a big help and a major stress reducer.
They love to scream when the mixer is on.
I do not love it.
But I can't stop them so I let them have at it.
They had a good time and the mess was minimal. Success!
The cookies were pretty good too. But I need to make them again when I have all the right ingredients... And milk.

(As a side note, dinner managed to turn out pretty delicious too. But now that I have been in the kitchen for pretty much the last 7-8 hours, I'm done.)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Son, you will be great.

I just asked Zurich what he wanted to do when he grew up. The conversation follows.

Work. -z
What do you want to do at work? -c
Do something great. -z
What does daddy do when he goes to work? -c
Sometimes he works and works so much. -z (Amen, son)
What are you going to do when you work? -c
I want to get motorcycles! Oh! And a race car! Oh! That would be so cool. I want to drive a race car. And go really fast. I dont want to push the slow button it will make me too slow. I want to be the best race car driver ever in the whole world. I want to get dad a race car, Nev and Olea and Giddy and you too Mom. I will put fast gas in it so it will be so noisy so people will say, 'oh my gosh, that is so fast a race car!'

Now he's all fired up and can't sleep. Even if my little guy doesn't still want to race cars when he grows up I am certain he will be great and do something great.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer's end: Bleach T-Shirts

Today's project took a lot of prep work but the results were flipping awesome!

Olea was the photographer for most of the pictures, not that you'll notice a difference but.... :)

Yesterday I had the kids pick a design from the Disney Cricut cartridges I have. (thanks Mom) Then I cut some out on vinyl and some on card-stock. There were reasons for the different materials but I won't go into it just yet.

I put some scrap board in each of the shirts to create stiffness and prevent bleed through.

Zurich's design was just the regular base (Cricut people, you know what I am talking about right?) so I got out my scalpel and started connecting cuts and adding more. That took a fair amount of time. Then I transferred the vinyl to the T-shirt, which would have been easier with transfer paper, but alas, I have none.

I used card stock on the words for Olea's shirt just to try it. Cut it, use spray adhesive and place it. I thought this would be the best method for the back of Zurich's shirt since he had floating letters. I was right. Much easier. I put the whole thing down to spray it with adhesive (all pieces like a puzzle) and then transferred it to the back of his shirt and peeled away the parts I didn't want. Last night I laid out all the shirts with their stencils on them.

Today I put 50/50 bleach and water in a spray bottle. Put out some scrap paper on the lawn and got out some gloves (again, thanks Mom). I brought their shirts out and them after a quick discussion on how dangerous bleach is and the importance of being obedient so this could be fun.

I helped the kids spray their shirts and ooh and ahhh. Did one side blotted it with a paper towel and then flipped it over and bleached the designs on the back. I might have been a little too cautious about over bleaching. I thought it would continue to process so I didn't want to leave it on to long and we let them dry in the sun a bit and then threw them in the washing machine. I washed it without soap and then a quick wash with soap and dryer it. The kids were pretty psyched about them.

Knowing what I do now I might have sprayed it a few more times for the kids designs. But honestly I like the distinct lines but subtle contrast. I'd totally wear one. I'm a tad jealous. I got the kids' shirts at the dollar store a few months ago and they only had smalls. When Gary got home he was totally impressed with them.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer's end: Journal-ish

When I started this I said I wanted the kids to journal every week. All things need flexibility in my home. With that idea we played with stamps today. The kids love stamps and ink pads, they are always to hard or too many hands and it is a rather stressful event for me. However, it wasn't so bad today. Though when Olea couldn't finish at the same times as everyone else and I HAD to leave the room to attend to the baby and the phone and lunch.... Nev dumped the entire bottle of embossing glitter. I was able to salvage most of it.

I let them each pick a neon piece of paper and then stamp, color or sticker their papers. These were to be their journal cover pages. The end results are nothing fancy to look at but the kids had fun and that, my friends, is the beginning and end point of all this. Nev mostly used stamps and two sheets of stickers sometimes layering the stickers. Zurich used stamps and black colored pencils. Olea was all about the curly letter, floral stamps and gold.

Zurich started talking about the fun things we have done so I wrote down on the back of his paper the things he said. I asked him about the activities he didn't mention so he has little journal entries on the back side of his paper.

Olea was very interested in the glitter gold ink pad I have. She also liked the glitter I wasn't able to hurry and dump back in the jar and tried to glue it onto her page. Her paper doesn't even have her name on it which was the only directive (besides don't smush the ink pad so hard) I gave them.

When they were done, we put them in plastic sleeves in a binder.

We did a bunch of side projects today too. Olea typed letters to some of her cousins and friends. And off and on I prepped for tomorrow's project with off and on help.

The kids were so excited to get letters in the mail today. They LOVED the stickers. It's funny to see their different techniques to get the envelope open. Zurich: letter opener
Olea: carefully so as not to damage the sticker seal
Nev: obliterate the envelope somehow leaving the contents intact

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer's End: Oobleck

I had played with today's science experiment at some point in my childhood and thought it would be a simple and fun activity with the kids. When I went to look up the recipie for it last week I saw this Dr. Suess book mentioned: Bartholomew and the Oobleck
I don't know that I have ever read this one and Olea loves the Dr. So I figured it was necessary to add some literature to today's science. Our local library had two very old but intact copies. I snagged one while I was there last.

Jobs had to be done first today... I'm mean like that.
Then we mixed up the oobleck.
Lucky me I had just enough corn starch...

I let the kids each choose their color. Nev was napping but due to wake soon so when Olea picked pink and Zurich picked blue it was perfect. We did have to let it rest in the fridge for a bit while we read the story, that helped it firm up a bit to the right consistency.

They played a bit and then Nev woke up so we poured some pink and blue oobleck into a bowl for Nev. She did not dive in to the dirty as quickly as the others. She poked at it with a finger tentatively, she giggled over it but didn't dive in till I gave her a spoon. Now that I think of it, I never told her not to eat it and she never tried. Surprising. Olea liked the idea of mixing colors more so she started stealing spoonfuls from Zurich's bowl. She suddenly desperately wanted purple oobleck. The kids really enjoyed it and Olea suddenly remembered that she had read the book and played with green oobleck at "my old school." (She sounds like DA from the Magic School Bus).