Friday, June 30, 2006

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Favorite Foto Friday

Pictures from FAM JAM! Our church's vacation bible school is family style this year, so parents stay with their kids and do the games, crafts, and snack together. This illustrates the verse that the parents should be the spiritual leaders of the family, and it also strenghtens parent/child relationships. Here's Sally and Samuel eating their lion face cookie snack. All the snacks have been dessert type foods glued together with frosting - always a good idea, in my opinion.
I love how each year, there is one song that emerges during worship as THE song of VBS. This year it is a rocked up version of "I've got the joy (down in my heart)", which Samuel sings around the house - - "two free four, down in my heart! down in my heart! down in my heart!" (I told Stuart I've got to figure out how to put video on my blog, because the world should not be denied the vocal magic that is our son.)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Three Things Thursday

Since next week's theme is three things you do every morning, this week I'll share three things that I do each night.

(1) I read a little every night. If I'm really tired, I'll nod off in the middle of a sentence.

(2) I pray for my kids every night.

(3) I tell my husband I love him before I go to sleep.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lots of Things

Our internet was not working yesterday, so I wasn't able to post anything. I had time, though, because the kids slept with my parents in their motorhome. They did that two nights in a row! So I had two mornings of silence and coffee - a wonderful start to my day. (Thanks, Dad and Mom!)

We had a great week with my folks. We celebrated Samuel's birthday, played in the pool, and did all the errands on our list - a first for us, I think. We watched some shows (old episodes of "Monk" and some movies on HBO), took some naps, and laughed with the kids. Oh, and my mom and I knit. Great times.

Our church's VBS started last night, and it was so fun. We are doing family VBS, so your family stays together for the whole night. It was a blast.

Monday night, I learned that my friend's sister is friends with one of my roommates from college! For those of you who know me well, my friend Summer has a sister that is friends with Mary Beth, who now goes by Mary. We smiled from ear to ear with the wonder and joy of this discovery. I love it when things happen like that to show you that this big world can be very small at times.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Best Parenting Advice

My sister and I are eighteen months apart. I do not remember when she was born, and I really don't remember a time without her around, but it must have been a difficult transition for me. My mom likes to tell the story of when I was newly potty-trained, and I would have an "accident" every day at the same time. She figured out pretty quick that I would time these "accidents" to occur shortly after my father arrived home after work. She told my dad that I needed more time with him, so that next Saturday, he took me to the ball game. Just me and dad. My mom said that after that, I never had another "accident".

I don't remember this event, but I'll never forget the lesson it taught me as a mother. Often times, a trend of bad behavior in your child can be eliminated by spending some quality time with your child. I hesitate to use the phrase "quality time", perhaps "alone time" or "one-on-one time" would fit better. To be effective, it needs to be the child and the targeted parent, doing something together outside the house, and doing something that the child likes or something that is a special event.

My husband and I do this with our own kids. It started when Sally was about two and a half. She would "punish" my husband for working by not hugging and kissing him when he got home at night. However, her little subconscious mind would betray her in the middle of the night, when she would wander into our room, climb into bed, and cuddle up so close to him that he had less than a quarter of the bed to cling to. I told him that she was mad, and she needed some time with him alone. I don't remember where he took her - McDonalds for dinner, to the park, I forget - but she started hugging him when he got home and stayed in her bed all night.

It's a great idea to do this regularly with your kids, and to highlight it for them. When I do something with just Sally, I'll give her a little hug and say, "Oh good, it's just the girls." When it's Samuel, I'll say, "Just you and me, buddy. Are you going to be my special helper?" (He loves to help. He'll do almost anything if you tell him it'd be a real help to you.) I encourage my husband to do the same thing, running errands with one child or the other. This is the best advice I could give any parent, especially someone who has a child who is displaying a pattern of defiance or unacceptable behavior. It has been the most effective thing I've seen with my own kids. It's the best parenting advice I've learned from my own parents.

Well, that and the Dairy Queen trump card. But that story is for another time.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Samuel!

He's three today!
Thanks, Will, for the great picture!

Three Things Thursday

(1) I like the beach when it is cold.

(2) I am a little afraid of the undertow, so I'm always reluctant to swim in the ocean.

(3) In college, I once swam in the ocean, at night, with my clothes on. It was a blast. Sherry (the portrait of the artist as a young mom blogger) was there and swam with me. Remember?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Conversations with Sally

Sally: "What are you getting Samuel for his birthday?"
Me: "I'm not going to tell you! You can't keep secrets."
Sally: "I won't tell! I promise."
Me: "No."
Sally: "Please!"
Me: "No."
Sally: "I won't tell. Please?"
Me: "Ok, come here . . . . I'll whisper it to you . . . we're getting him . . . presents!"
Sally: "Tell me what kind of presents."
Me: "No."
Sally: "How rude! I'm going to write about this on my blog someday."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Knit Bit: Bun Holders

A couple of weeks ago, Sally asked me to put her hair in a bun. I love it when she wears it that way. She's just so cute. She has a bun holder - a little open weave circle that fits over the bun - and it's starting to unravel. I could make one of those, I thought to myself. A pattern started to take shape, and when I got a chance, I sat down and made two of them.

The pink one is the store bought one. I did the multi-colored one first. It's a little too small, but it's very stretchy and I blocked it with a small ball inside, so it's going to be fine. The white one is actually the perfect size for Sally's hair, and check out the beadwork! I let her pick the colors, so there is white and pink beads.

The thing I'm totally impressed about is that I cast on the stitches on an elastic hair band. I don't know if you can see it, but here's a picture of the sides. The multi-colored one has a pink band, and the white one has a white band. I feel so very clever. It took me about an hour to knit both bun holders.

Finally, that multi-colored yarn is very pretty, but my flash on my camera makes it look like some kind of day-glo craziness. Here is a picture of it without the flash. The yellow is a nice yellow, not a dark mustard color, but a bright sunshine color. Sally's great-grandma bought this yarn to make Sally a poncho, and I've been using what is left of that skein to make little things to match, like a doll's poncho and a little bag, and now this. I have to say again, I just love this! I love the way the stitches swirl around to meet in the middle. I love that I actually was able to make a ball-shaped cover. I love that it ended with pink in the middle.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Busy Weekend

With my birthday and father's day this weekend, we were very busy. Saturday was a party that my friend had - a celebration of her girlfriends tea - and then we had some friends over for dinner and swimming and talking. Sunday was church, father's day lunch, took the kids to see a movie ("Cars"), and then went to the beach for our church's beach pit. I think we did too much, but it was very fun.

We are out of milk this morning, so the kids and I are outta here. We need breakfast soon! But I'll leave you with this: I asked the kids what they liked about their dad. Here's what they had to say:

He's really nice
He cares about lots of kids
I like to play in the pool with him

He loves me
He gives me hugs and kisses

Thanks to Mary for the fun idea!

P.S. - I almost didn't post today because I wanted to keep that cake picture at the top of the page. It's just so great! Scroll down and take a look!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday. Last night, I had a few friends over to celebrate. Do I have the best friends or what? Just LOOK at the most coolest cake ever:

My friend Mary surprised me with that.
So great!
It matched my swimming suit!

And it was yummy yummy yummy :)

Thanks, ladies, for a great night!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Favorite Fotos Friday

Sally's last day of school was yesterday. Here she is on the first day of school, way back in September:

Bangs, no front teeth . . . . where did that little girl go?

Oh, here she is:

This was taken on Monday - Sally's class put on a small play production. She was the mother in the Kate and the Beanstalk number. (sniff) She's growing up so fast! (Click on the pics to see them bigger)

And just one more, to make you smile:

"Hello Kitty!"

He has a matching tattoo on the other cheek.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Three Things Thursday

(1) There are three empty laundry baskets on my washer.

(2) There are two kid's closets full of clean clothes, with no basket of clean clothes hanging around waiting to be put away, only to be used as a drawer and never put away until it's empty.

(3) There is one tired mommy, who cleaned both of her children's rooms yesterday, and who washed, folded, and put away (on the same day!!!) three loads of laundry.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

At The Pool Store

Never a dull moment around here. While we were waiting in line at the pool store, behind a man with no shirt on (cuz shirts aren't required at the pool store, I guess), Samuel picks this moment to observe, and none too quietly,

"Wook Mom! Dat man has no shirt on! Dat's yucky!"

Um, where were those pool toys? On the other side of the store? Let's go see them - quickly, quickly. And maybe I'll be swallowed by the floor on the way over there. . . . .

Famous Last Words

In a recent email to my sister, I observed that I'm so busy that I have no trouble sleeping.

Why do I say these things out loud? Will I ever learn?

Last night, I woke up because the (#$%&*) dog was barking his "I need to go potty" bark, so I got up and discovered that my husband was also up. He couldn't sleep. I let the dog out, got a glass of water, and headed back to bed. Where I did not sleep. So I got back up and watched the season finale of Lost with Stuart. It reminded me of pre-children days where we could do that kind of stuff. But now, I'm feeling every one of my years as I thankfully hug my coffee mug and tell myself off in my head. (You're old enough to know better type stuff)

I do so love Lost. That season finale, I've watched it three times now and it's still so good. If you are a fan, you should really check out LostPedia, a fan/info site that proves that I am not alone. (Also that I am not a complete loon, because I don't have time to do the kind of research that those folks do. Seriously. As long as I don't know everything that is on LostPedia, and as long as I never make a voting call or text message to American Idol, I consider myself a member of the conservative fans of the shows.) But if you like the show, and if you are a numbers/symbols type person like me, then you should read the bit about the hieroglyphs. So interesting. Also, did you know that Henry Gale is a reference to the Wizard of Oz? That's Dorothy's uncle. Random interesting stuff.

So that was my night. I'm off to the pool store and then, hopefully, Samuel and I will take a nap.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Last week of school

It's Sally's last week of school, and this week is so chock full of activities that I feel a bit stressed. No, scratch that. I'm stressed all right. I keep telling myself, but Sheila, it's all fun activites - you'll have fun! But it's still time that is all scheduled with stuff, very little down time, and then lots of visitors coming to visit us.

Maybe it's not stress. Maybe it's excitement. Yeah, that's it! It's excitement!

Because guess who is coming to my house? Just guess! OK, I'll tell you - Jaymarie. Yes, little miss my-little-circle, who never posts anything anymore, is coming out to CA for a little visit. Also, Chicken One and The Ruler Of The Roost are out for a long visit (!!!!) so that's super duper fun, too. Then my folks are coming out for a bit, and then Stu's dad is coming for a bit. June is going to be full of pictures of people and lame excuses of why I'm not posting anything of significance anymore. Oh, I'm not worried - as long as I put one of the kids in the picture, I know you'll come back for more. And speaking of the kids, have I mentioned that they are little fish? They swim like they have webs between their fingers and toes! Sally already has a great base tan, but the boy is as white as his daddy's feet.

Alrighty, off to my next event!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Conversations with Samuel

Here we go - totally random comments from Samuel.

In the kitchen:
"It's a yoyo." (he meant "oval")

In the bathroom:
"You can't see my privacy."

In the car:
"Mommy, you swallow TicTacs. Cause when you crack them open, there's no gum in dere." (pauses for effect) "No gum in dere."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Knit Bit: Confessions

I always feel the need to start a knitting post with a disclaimer: "Please skip this post if you have no interest in knitting, because it will be long and you may want to borrow my needles and injure yourself so you won't have to continue reading." Something along those lines.

I have been checking the knitting blogs, people I do not know and have never met, before my friend's blogs. I read Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book, "Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter," and now I want more. After reading it, I actually thought to myself, I need to buy some more yarn. I also learned that I am a knitter, not a Knitter. I have only used more than one color in stripes, never Fair Isle or intarsia. I did not know what Fair Isle or intarsia were, and had to look them up on the internet. Knitting lace scares me. The thought of knitting a project that needs to be steeked, which means you cut the thing you just knit to sew an arm on or other such nonsense, makes me think, No, I'll never do that. The yarn I own was all bought for a specific project, not bought just because I like the yarn. I have never knit a pair of socks.

I thought about starting a new blog, just for the knitting rants and raves, but I really feel that the intense knitting passion will wane and I'll stop posting about it. I can't start another blog. (Can I?)

I found yarn on ebay. What a sucker I've been, buying yarn at Walmart and craft stores! The internet is so much cheaper! I've currently got some bids on some lots of yarn. If I get all of them, I'll have 29 new skeins of yarn coming to me! (All for $11.22 plus shipping. The shipping will be more than the yarn, and it will still be less than half the cost of retail. How can I go wrong?) (I'm down to 10 skeins, which I got!!!)

I am justifying my recent yarn purchases by (a) knitting gifts to give to friends at Christmas, and (b) planning on knitting a sweater, a blanket, or a square for a charity, and (c) teaching Sally to knit so that it is a learning/mother-daughter-bonding-ritual.

I'll finish up with a few finished project photos. Here, I give you the phone bags. These were designed to hold the house phone and my cell phone, and to hang from the pool fence so that the phones do not get wet. I'm quite pleased with them.

And on the right is the baby blanket that I knitted for my friend's darling baby boy. He's a cutie. If I can get a copy of the picture of me snuggling with him and the blanket, I'll share it with you. It was knit with green and blue yarn - double stranded. It's quite thick and soft. I'm pretty happy with it.

Thanks for indulging me.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Favorite Fotos Friday

As promised, here is a picture of the fish bone.

We dyed it pink so you can see it better, and put a small pretzel in so you can see the size. The thick end is the end that was stuck; the other end is a bit worn from all the things we tried to get it out.

And here is our new blender.

The magic words?
"Break resistant plastic."
Thank you, Target.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Three Things Thursday

Today I give you my top three ways to save time:

(1) Learn from the FlyLady. Get a routine and stick to it. Do those housekeeping things fast. I mean fast. Time yourself and give yourself a reward for cleaning the kitchen in under ten minutes. Let your kids hold a stopwatch and see which room you can vaccum the fastest. You'd be surprised how fast you can clean.

(2) Soaking. Dirty dishes, stained clothes, stained sinks, whatever. Soaking not only delays the actual cleaning, but makes the acutal cleaning faster. Also, the art of soaking is not understood by many men, making it an ideal excuse to stop cleaning for the day.

(3) Hair. I finally have a haircut that I do not have to dry with a hairdryer, and that I can wear totally up so that I don't have to wash it every day. I have also purchased a new hat, which I think I will buy at least one new hat every summer to encourage myself that I need to wear a hat in the sun.

What are your favorite secrets for saving time? Share with me!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Fishbone

Sally got a fishbone stuck in her throat last night during dinner. Using a flashlight, I could see it. Sticking out of the fleshy part of her throat, before the uvula thingie but after the cheek. Stuck. We tried everything. Just in case this happens to you, I offer up:

Things To Try If You Have A Fishbone Stuck In Your Throat

Drink water.
Gargle with vinegar.
Eat rice - try not to chew too much.
Eat a banana - roll a chunk around in your mouth, then swallow.
Eat a piece of bread - the soft middle part - again, roll around your mouth and try to swallow it.
Drink more water.
Pray some more.

And when all else fails, and when you are faced with the fact that you are going to have to go to the #%&*@ emergency room to get that sucker out, let your wonderful daddy use a pair of tweezers and yank it out. Try to not gag.

Yes, the story ends well. No vomiting, no emergency room, no more fish bone. Of course, we took pictures. I'll try and find a good one for you.

And who is the greatest daddy in the world? Sally's daddy!

Numbers We'll Never Know

~ The number of minutes Samuel actually watched the show I turned on for him before he decided to wash the dishes.

~ The level my blood pressure rose to when I heard the shattering of glass.

~ The time it took me to get from my bathroom to the kitchen. (That one is a shockingly low number, in seconds)

~ The number of pieces the blender broke into when it fell. (As you can imagine, a shockingly high number)

~ The number of tears Samuel shed while he was in time out - the entire time it took me to clean up the mess.

~ The number of paper towels that I used to clean it up.

~ The number of glass shards still left on our floor, beneath the refridgerator, under the stove, in plain view but still escaping me.

And one number I do know:

the number of people hurt by broken glass: 1

That would be me.
I forgot to wipe down the top of the cupboards and drawers, and cut my finger pretty good on a shard of glass on the towel drawer. The blood was used for maximum guilt inducement for washing dishes without permission and without adult supervision. Sorry, ladies. I'm trying to encourage him to love to wash dishes, but I do have my limits. He's only two.

Today, I'm taking myself over to Target. I'm buying a new blender. Do they make them with thick shatterproof plastic now?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


This is the kids fishing. It was Samuel's first fishing trip. The lighting looks a little surreal, but keep in mind this is around 7:30 pm. The sunset was gorgeous. Too bad we were attacked by a swarm of little green bugs that drove us crazy. One flew in my mom's ear, one flew in my eye, and my dad swears he ate a few of them. We went home early.

It's A Dry Heat

The kids and I were in Lake Havasu City this weekend, visiting my parents. That whole, "Oh, it's hot, but it's a dry heat" thing evades me. It's hot there. It's 85 degrees at 6:00 am when my kids woke up, and it got up to 112. At 10:30 pm, right before I went to bed, it had cooled down to 95. It's crazy hotness. When we were getting ready to go fishing on the boat - night fishing - I asked my mom if we would need a sweatshirt on the water. She laughed at me. Later, on the boat, I was in a wet swimsuit and I was still hot. At sunset! It boggles my mind.

The kids had a blast. My parents found the sweetest fishing spot, so Sally caught three fish and Samuel two. That's in less than thrity minutes! They even helped Grandpa clean the fish. Then, of course, there was the puzzling (my mom is the one who got me started on the puzzles), the poker game (with my parents, my aunt, and a family friend - guess who won? just guess! yep, me), the great food, the m&m stash (my mom loves m&m's - I cannot remember a time when she did not have a bag of plain and a bag of peanut in the pantry), the discussion of Lost (dad and I are huge fans), looking at pictures, laughing, and watching the kids sleep (because they are so cute, doncha know).

Yes, it was a great weekend, but I always love coming home. Going south on the 15, just past Victorville, the elevation drops and you drive down into this valley. It is very beautiful, and you can actually feel the moisture in the air increase, you can feel your skin start to become more hydrated. Traveling is great, but I love coming home.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Favorite Fotos Friday

My kids have been waking up before my alarm. Stuart lets them watch a cartoon, or gets them breakfast, or both, until I get up. Yesterday as I was stumbling to the kitchen, looking for my coffee machine, I passed the kids in the hall and told them to get dressed and go potty. About ten minutes later, Stuart called me to Sally's room, where we watched her help her brother button his shirt. "Why are you wearing that?" I asked. "Me wook wike Daddy now!" he replied.

Stuart and I almost wept with the cuteness of it all. Enjoy.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Three Things Thursday

(1) I always carry at least $5 in change in my purse. This is my emergency change. Why, when there is an ATM at every corner, do I feel that it is necessary to carry this much change? I don't know. I don't fight it anymore. I just do it.

(2) I have a post-it note pad and several crayons in my purse. This is for the kids. I should make them carry their own stuff, but I'm not there yet.

(3) At last count, I had three different kinds of gum and two containers of tic tacs and one other kind of mint in my purse.