Thursday, December 31, 2009
There is an interesting debate. My friends who stay home and whose kids go to preschool a couple of mornings a week, complain that full day kindergarten is too long and it's too hard on the kids. My friends who work think half-day kindergarten is a joke because by the time they get to school, get settled, do an activity and have a snack, it's time to go home -- in many ways a far less academic setting then our kids have been receiving at full-day daycare/preschool. Also, it's a pain in the neck for working parents because you don't find out until August before school starts in the first of September if you will have morning or afternoon kindergarten and you have to make arrangements.
If you support keeping full-day kindergarten, please sign the petition - http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Save-Full-Day-Kindergarten.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
* I am bitter at Toys R Us in Fair Lakes. I returned Andy's defective Razor Carvr scooter. They were out and not only refused to sell me the store model, but wouldn't call other stores to see if they had it in stock. "You can order it online," isn't a fair response for a Christmas present for a four year old.
* Bjorn found it at the one in Manassas.
* The kids and I trucked out to find it, for $20 less than what I'd returned. That that Toys R Us.
* Mark is home from college and isn't going back.
* This house has gotten very crowded, very fast. We've gone from four people to six people in two months, including four adults.
* The non-BCS bowl games are a joke. Who cares about the EagleBank bowl with Temple and UCLA? It's just an exhibition game really.
* We are three months away from March Madness. By then, hopefully the adults in my house have some kind of plan.
* Seriously, Blogger? No spell check in the new editor?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
He also convinced me that he wants to sleep without a pull-up tonight, which I allowed, mostly because I was trying not to laugh after he put on a pair of his sister's Christmas pajamas that are probably 3T. He's showing his belly and the legs are mid-calf.
In other milestones, he's *this* much closer to be able to reliable wipe his own butt after going to the bathroom. Parenthood really does make you cheer for some strange things.
Naming all her subsequent dolls after guns was a really fun inside joke for the family. So we now have:
Callie (short for calibre)
Remy (short for Remington)
Winnie (for Winchester)
Spider (well, that's not a weapon, Andy was just fascinated by spiders around Halloween and it stuck)
And now that she's amassing quite a collection of dolls, I've run out of ideas for names. We've thought about Glock, but that just seems to obvious (and frankly not that fun to say), Bullet, 30-06, Rifle, Bolt -- but really, nothing clever is coming to mind. I need help! Suggest your favorite weapon-related baby doll name. (Come on, it's not that subversive.)
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The nice thing about baking with kids is I can play off my own baking imperfections on them. "Isn't the messy icing and sprinkles a hoot! Meg helped!" I find I do that with other things, too, like if we get out somewhere and I realize an outfit is totally the wrong colors or the pants are on backwards, "Isn't that cute? He dressed himself!" Certainly there are plenty of times when they do insist on wearing shorts over sweatpants, but when it's my fault, I'm more than happy to blame them. If that's not stellar parenting, I'm not sure what is.
Friday, December 25, 2009
It was great this year having all four kids in the same house over Christmas -- no waiting for someone to drive over, no competition for another Christmas. Just us at our house. I really love it. Course, I'm not sure how it would be with all six of us living here permanently, but for a few weeks it's pretty great.
Edited to add: Sorry the pictures are all out order. This new Blogger photo editor is a lot more flexible, but it's so flexible it was moving pictures around in a way I wasn't sure how to get them back without deleting them all.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
And to guarantee we've seen our last snow of the season, today I went to the supremely awesome Unique Thrift Store and bought an Oshkosh snowsuit for Meg for less than $10.
I have also now gone to the updated Blogger format which mysteriously has taken away my spell check feature. Sure, it's easier to insert bullets, as if I'd need that, but spell check? That's for sissies.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The adults are all snippy, passive aggressive and oversensitive. The little kids are whiney and refusing to do any of their regularly scheduled activities, like eating without throwing huge fits or napping/resting at their regularly appointed schedules. I am cranky and irritated. And to think that starting Thursday we have a whole 10 days of break together! No school, no work, just six people in a house together with two feet of snow on all the ground! Yay! For some reason, Little Women is no my mind. Weren't they stuck in the house for months? Back in the day with no television or Internet? Clearly they were better people.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
That means both Bjorn and I should have our offices closed. The kids' schools will also likely be closed. Fairfax County even announced it's shutting down tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday and closing now for winter break. This is all pretty remarkable. The feds close like once every third year. I've never heard of Fairfax County closing for three days in a row in advance with no more precipitation expected. Even more remarkable, we've done a good job eating through the food in the house.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not like we're going to starve or anything crazy, but we've gone through the staples like spaghetti, bagels, cheese, bananas and frozen pizza. There is still macaroni and cheese and some frozen assorted chicken nuggets and fish sticks, but in general, we're working through the cupboard. I suppose that's what happens with four adults, including a college-aged boy, and two pre-schoolers in the house. I do hope to finally get out of the neighborhood tomorrow.
I have really, really loved the snow event and loved the family time, but after three straight days of making three meals a day plus snacks for six, doing dishes, sweeping the floor, digging with the snow shovel and wiping up melted snow off the kitchen floor, it would be nice for a change of scenery. Fortunately, the kids are at such an age where the little ones can play together a little. It's sure nice to be the only source of entertainment for them. Well, me and Noggin.
This is from yesterday afternoon at the height of the storm. Check out how bad the visibility is. Good thing all the airports were closed.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Andy with his shovel that my dad got him last time he was here. Turns out it was a perfect purchase. Thanks, Dad! Note, Andy is wearing his Cowboys hat.
I was ready for a snow day with crafts. I had the kids (including Jennifer) painting Christmas ornaments. Meg was much more interested in dipping the paint brushes into water and then smearing Jennifer's ornaments.
Here are Jennifer's artwork. Meg decided Santa looked better looking like he got in a knife fight in prison. We were thinking maybe Santa and Mr. Gingerbread Man got into an argument.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Andy was sort of weird about the whole thing, mostly because he doesn't like Sesame Street. So while he liked the idea of going on the field trip, he really wasn't psyched about the show.
We showed up today and it was great. He was proud to show off his little sister and we hung out for an hour or so before leaving to catch the bus for the mile drive from his school to the venue. I followed along in my car since I was illegally parked. Andy wasn't thrilled about that, but he was fine once I met up with him.
Once we got to our seats, Andy started whining that he was hungry. The teachers made it really clear that they don't like the chaperons getting food for just one kid so I said no. He whined some more. He then proceeded to whine about being hungry or thirsty for the entire hour and a hour show (including 15 minute intermission). It was pretty miserable, probably for both of us. Afterwards, he was going to ride back with his class and I was going to leave. Then the real whining and crying started. His teachers (including the adorable college coeds that help out in during field trips) tried to distract him and console him, but he was mad. He wanted to leave with me, he wanted a hot dog, he wanted me to stay. I left and prompted called my older sister asking her to remind me never to do this again.
His teachers told Bjorn in the afternoon that he recovered eventually and had a good day, but that it took him a while, longer than usual. I thought about it and I think Andy is one of those kids that is fine if his parents aren't there or are in the sidelines, but as soon as we're on the field, he freaks. It's like when I coached his soccer team. He was totally hanging on me and whining when I was on the field, but if I wasn't part of the action, he could forget about me and was fine.
In other news, they're calling for 16-20 inches of snow here today. That's extremely unusual for Washington and even more unusual for December. It might be a white Christmas after all.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Down at the ranch, Dad, Andy and I were down by the Colorado River throwing rocks and such into the water. On our way back, Andy was clearly tired and slow moving. It didn't help that he stepped into a pile of fire ants and we had to spend time picking them off his clothes and socks. Dad picked him up and started carrying him on his shoulders as we walked back to the house.
"Ow, ow! My penis hurts!" Andy shouted.
"What's wrong? It is stuck?" I asked calmly, figuring that his pants had ridden up. Bjorn taught him that it's stuck when he pants given him a wedgie.
"No! Ants! It hurts!" he said. By now my dad has put him on the ground.
"It's okay. We'll fix it," I said. "Let's pull your pants down and readjust."
"No! It hurts! It's biting me!"
So we quickly pull his pants down. Sure enough, there on the tip of his penis is a huge carpenter ant. I must say, that ant did look pretty darn enormous next to the boy parts of a four year old.
He was fairly traumatized by the whole thing, as Bjorn and my dad understood. We did call and get a ride back to the house rather than trying to walk. Fortunately, it was a carpenter ant so it was a bite vs. a real sting. I must say I am proud of the adults for not falling over laughing at the whole thing.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
We got four inches of wet snow today. It was wet, but it snowed all day off and on. The kids loved it.
Mary and Emma sitting in the boat. Yes, it's broken and yes, it's out of the water, but it's a nice place to rest down by the take-in spot on the river.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
It was so fantastic seeing my parents, my sisters and my adorable five and 2 1/2-year-old nieces. Andy and Margaret had the times of their lives. I loved watching that. It all made me wistful that we don't live closer. It is always hard traveling for the holidays and then trying to be a good house guest when my kids insist on smearing yogurt on the kitchen floor and then while I'm trying to triage that situation, the other one starts eating her yogurt with a knife. Oh, and let's not forget Meg forgot how to sleep while we were there. No fool, she sensed our weakness and inability to let her cry and ended up in bed with us probably every night at least for a bit before waking up before six FOR THE DAY. Of course, today -- our last morning -- Mom had to wake her up in order to leave for the airport to catch a flight that was then delayed nearly three hours. Fortunately both kids were angels on the plane, once Andy got down throwing a 30 minute fit that his new favorite cat Meowey was in our checked luggage. This after I asked the kid before I checked it if he was okay with that. Poor kid is practically luggage himself after so much excitement the past week. I, too, and worn out.
I also look forward to the years to come with the kids are easier to travel with and easier to send out of the room to play games with each other while we catch up and play bridge.
There are lots of great pictures to share, but right now I'm just too damn tired. I am planning to watch a little Tivo BY MYSELF IN MY OWN ROOM and then go to bed. I am crazy like that.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
It was a full house -- five Egans, two Miller babies, the four of us plus Mark Bennett (Jennifer stayed home this trip) and my Uncle Bobby. Pretty close quarters for a four bedroom, but we managed and didn't fight over the bathroom. Too much anyway. At night, I got both my sisters to drive around with me with the big spotlight looking for animals. The first night we took the big kids, but they quickly got bored. I loved it though. We even managed to get in a few bridge games before we all sacked out. No stars, sadly. It was cloudy both evenings. At least the weather was fantastic -- mostly sunny and highs in the 60s. It was a good trade.
In fact, this trip made me love Texas again. I'd never really not loved it per se, but I have lots of fantastic memories of summers down at my dad's place in Kerrville and at the Y.O. Ranch Adventure Camp and it was really great to get out of the city. We weren't roughing it by any stretch, but I did enjoy it. I am sure my parents are exhausted from hosting, but it really has been a marvelous time.
Picture above is Meg with her Pop. The rest of the pictures will come later from my camera. This I managed to upload from my iPhone to Mom's Macintosh. Cool!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We're off to Dallas in 36 hours. Andy wanted to start packing yesterday. Fortunately we're going to be down at the ranch so I'll really just needs lots of casual clothes. Well, that presumes I have formal clothes.
Meg is *just* on the cusp of talking. She says things sometimes that are so clear and crisp I think they must be from Andy and then they're not. I'm hoping time with the family, especially her cousins, will help her pick up a few new phrases. I hope they're clean phrases at least.
Andy and I have been talking a lot about the stars so I'm excited to him out of the city where we can look at the stars and see the Milky Way and Orion. When I got back from Chicago, I put some glow in the dark stars on his wall in the shape of the Big Dipper and Orion (Orion was much more complicated than I remember). It will be fun to get away from the city lights and see the sky. We've also been doing lots of "hikes" around the neighborhood. I have a nice backpack for Meg and then the three of us start tromping. I love that they like it half as much as I do. I find Andy's not so whiny on a mission. I'm not sure how we're all going to fit at the ranch house. It should be an adventure for everyone.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
The kids had a great time. Andy even cried when he saw us because he was having so much fun and didn't want it to end. To pay Jennifer back for her hospitality, Andy snuck into bed with her this morning about 4 a.m. complaining of a bad dream. She thought it was really cute, I mean, the kid did walk past our bedroom, past Mark in his bedroom who was home for the weekend, past Meg's room and down two flights of stairs to the dark basement to find her. Jennifer wasn't quite prepared for the kicking and fidgeting from the almost five year old though. Later she woke up at 7 a.m. to start getting ready for work and he laid there sprawled all over his bed until nearly 8:30 a.m. I took a picture with my cell phone that I need to upload.
It was a great anniversary. We trekked out to Strasburg, Virginia, a place we used to visit in our younger, less encumbered days. The best was this place called the Strasburg Theater with the best performers at an open mic night that I've ever seen. We had planned to tour some antique/junk stores, but ran out of time. Next time, but hopefully it won't take us 11 years to get back.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
During the parent teacher conference at Andy's school last week, his teacher told me Andy can count to 41, which is pretty good for his age. That night I asked him how high he could count in the bath and he counted to 59. At 60, apparently, the numbers start over at 20.
It's amazing to see how different he is in a very similar situation just three years ago.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Stupid Kodak EasyShare is impossible so use these days which is part of the reason I haven't uploaded pictures recently. I just started using the Windows picture import thing which is better in that it works, but something about it just not intuitive to me. Anyway, I did manage to get some pictures and videos uploaded. I forget how much Andy delights in seeing himself. After we got these up, we went back and watched some of his earlier videos on here. I have personally watched him age every day and yet I'm still amazed at how far he's come.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
I was worried about the socialization part. He's new to this school, well, a few months now, and when I ask him about who he played with, he won't tell me much. But his teacher said he's got a core group of buddies -- Leonard mostly, followed by Elliot and sometimes Matthew. That was good to hear.
Things have been chaotic here otherwise. I was out of town for a week for work, which was both good and exhausting. I'm always glad when it's over as I don't have to do it again for a year, but I've been working toward this for at least six months so it's always nice to see the fruits of my labors.
Jennifer also moved in last weekend. Right now the house is still brimming with too much stuff so we're still sorting out what furniture to keep, what to put in the attic and what to get rid of all together. She's taking over the basement and it's been interesting to see all her stuff mixed with ours and trying to find the best way to give her privacy and space while keeping the TV and Wii station and access to the laundry room. Right now I am bumping into furniture in the wrong places still, but we're slowly getting it all situated. The bonus? She makes coffee every morning and occasionally folds laundry and does the dishes. I can get used to that.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
We both rushed to her and she was naturally screaming crying. And bleeding. She'd landed on her face just right and busted her lip. It was heartbreaking to see her so upset and awful to think this could have been prevented.
We attended to her quickly. We assessed that she didn't have a brain injury -- she was responsive, crying and all that. But I did worry a little about stitches inside her mouth. It was early enough on Sunday that we could just make doctor's office walk-in hours. I was glad I did. Dr. Murphy looked in her eyes and ears. He said with a real brain injury, she'd have bleeding inside the ears. That was good to hear. The nurse also taught me a trick to assess pupils -- turn off and on the light quickly and see if they dilate. That's the kind of test I can do.
He looked in her mouth and surprisingly, she wasn't that pissed off about it. There was some blood inside her mouth and all over her teeth, which was icky. He diagnosed her with a busted frendulum, which is that thing connecting the gums to the lip. No stitches necessary, which was good. He said to give her salt drops for her minor nose bleed and not to worry about cleaning her mouth -- the saliva would do that. Good thing, she'd be pissed to have me fishing around in there. I was really glad I took her to the doctor's. I think I would have stressed that she was really hurt and I didn't take her. Plus he swabbed her sore throat for strep. Bonus!
She came home and took a nap while the lovely Jennifer came to take Andy to the Halloween party at the lake. He was a champ while we were at the doctor's so it was nice he could get some special time with "Gemminer" rather than waiting for Meg to wake up. Once she did, we hiked down to the park and met up with a bunch of neighbors.
It was nice seeing friendly faces after a rough morning. Especially nice because as I showed off my girlie with her busted lip, they all expressed sympathy and had a similar story of their own to share. I love other honest parents. This parenting thing is quite an adventure that can get pretty competitive. I love finding other folks who are happy to share a bottle of wine, pat you on the shoulder, laugh and move on.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
New tiles in our bathroom pre-grout. Also pretty! We had them put them in diagonally, which is very nice. And far nicer than we could have done ourselves.
The kids' bathroom floor before. They have already taken off the border tiles and covered it with something to help get the tiles up. Note, this pattern isn't a tile, rather it's lots of little bitty tiles that make up the pattern and thus, lots of grout lines to get dirty.