Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Drum Major

When I was little I loved to watch parades on TV. I cared only for the floats and the ladies in pretty dresses who waved so funny. We always watched the marching bands though because we had cousins who marched. If the band was in red we had to pay attention and see if it was the Uintah band and if it was we tried our best to pick out our relations.  That's hard to do when they're in uniform, marching and on a tiny TV screen. We did it though.

 One time I remember my Dad watching with us. He pointed out the drum majors. "But where are their drums?" we all wanted to know. So my dad explained how they're called drum majors but their actual job is to lead the band and he showed us how they marched with their batons.

 Then I grew bigger and stopped watching parades because teenagers need their sleep and didn't think about drum majors again until I met this fellow (tall one on the right)

We got married and we had us a little drum major of our own.

His daddy tried to teach him to march but he was only in it for the hat.(which he wore all night long without complaint) He would have been interested in the baton if he had one but Mr didn't march with a baton so neither did Duke.

 It occurs to me that Moo has heretofore left out of the Halloween posting. I think I did mention that she wanted to be a purple butterfly. I asked her if she wanted a fancy dress with the wings but she said "no," just the wings would be fine.

I had a good time making her wings and I think they're lovely. Sadly the wire I used is too weak so they collapse as she wears them but I really actually like them that way. They don't look like wings then, they look more like slightly crumpled petals. Really pretty crumpled petals. It doesn't make sense as to why a sweet little girl child is wearing the petals on her back but you can't have everything.

I chose this next picture for the facial expressions.  Moo has entered that stage where she can't figure out how to smile for a picture.  It's either a glower, a grimace, or whatever it is you call the look on her face here.  It's especially nice with Duke's pout.

Here they are all four together. Again, I chose the photo for the expressions on the faces that can be seen. What you may not realize is that Zizza and Enzo are actually in the previous photo as well. They're just that good at the whole ninja thing.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The ninjas

After the "literary parade" Friday and then trunk or treating Saturday I've found myself thinking of Halloween 2012 in the past tense. For the past 2 days I've been fighting the urge to tear down the false cobwebs (I dutifully ignore the real ones) and pack up the jack-o-lanterns. Alas, it will have to be put off a bit longer.

 As for today. Well, today I'll show you my Ninjas.

The way Zizza convinced Enzo to match with her was by imagining what fun it would be if people couldn't tell them apart. Can you tell who is who? (I never got around to Tabi boots so they opted to go barefoot in the photos so their shoes wouldn't give them away)

 We sort of forgot about Ninja weapons. I had bigger things on my mind. Things I'll post about tomorrow. (I'm trying to build some suspense here. is it working?)

 Today the 2 ninjas were soliciting for swords to wield while trick-or-or treating. The poor dears haven't realized Halloween is already over...

 Darn it.

I did it again didn't I?

 I was half way up the step stool going after those polyester cobwebs. "Halloween is tomorrow, Halloween is tomorrow," I'm just going to keep repeating that to myself until I go to bed.

 The cobwebs are coming down the minute my trick-or-treaters come home.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A cautionary tale about jalepenos

Saturday was the church Trunk-or-Treat and annual chili cook off.  This means that costumes have been worn.  I will discuss this more in the coming days.  Today I'll be on a culinary, cautionary topic.

Generally speaking I don't pay much attention to the chili cook off.  I've never spent much time or bother working on my chili technique.  I don't know any secrets.  I leave it to others and bring plenty of corn bread.  I gave in a tried last year and my chili was a dismal failure.  Seriously it was bad. 

This year The Mr built a smoker.  A few weeks ago he smoked a few chickens and the bones of said chickens produced some good smoky chicken broth.  I thought to myself "This would be an excellent base upon which to build redeeming chili,"  Thus it was decided that I would enter the cook off.

Saturday we were going about our business doing what needed to be done.  I put the beans on to cook and they were smelling good and smoky.  Before I knew it, the time had passed to begin the final compiling steps of the chili. The heat was on and I was rushing.  

I put a pan on to heat while I diced jalapenos and onion. I was dicing as fast as I could.  My haste dictated that I ignore certain jalapeno precautions as I chopped.  I didn't remove the seeds and membranes with my bare hands or anything but I was on the sloppy side. I wasn't fast enough.

The oil in my pan burnt.  I yelled "CRAP!" a bunch of times, yanked that pan off the heat and got out a fresh one.  Dealing with the over hot pan and burnt oil could wait.  

Meanwhile The Mr came to my rescue following my instructions while I finished prep work.  At this point I decided to taste the beans.  I plucked a bean off the end of the spoon and popped it in my mouth.  It was pretty good. So I licked my fingers to get a sampling of the juice...then I started screaming.  My fingers were thoroughly jalapenoed and now so was my mouth.

I dashed to the fridge grabbed the milk and drank from the jug. Drinking from the jug is entirely overrated. I don't understand why anybody in a situation less dire than mine would do it.  Drips collect on the outside edge of milk jugs and dry there.  Now my lips and tongue were not only burning, they were also dotted with crusty milk bits.  Very unpleasant. 

Once I recovered, I left the compiling to the Mr and went off to dress the children in their costumes.  We went to the party and had a good time.  When the chili was judged (I didn't win) the trunks were treated, and the games were played we packed up and came home.  

2.5 hours had passed since my contact with the jalapeno.  My middle finger was beginning to prickle. As time went by the prickle turned to a burn and spread to cover my three middle fingers.  I stuffed my hand in a plastic cup full of milk and continued on ushering children into and out of the shower. 

By the time I was singing lullabies I felt like I'd high fived a frying pan.  

With my good hand I googled "soothe jalapeno burn." Lime juice, butter, aloe vera, vaselene were all on the list of possible antidotes. I tried each in turn waiting as long as I could stand between them trying to give each a chance to kick in.  Nothing helped.

By the time I was going to bed 5 hours after the chopping had occurred the sensation was headed back into the prickling stage, and by the time I woke up it was gone.

I'll never be so lax with a pepper again.

I think though, that I was dealing with some kind of super mutant jalapeno.  I've been that careless with them in the past and never felt anything like that.  Also, as I was washing dishes between failed remedies I washed the discarded seeds of the foul little beast down the disposal and soon found myself choking and gasping as my throat burned from having apparently inhaled  the pepper tainted disposal mist.  

It was intense (like camping) and I don't think entirely normal.

So, that's the story.  

In other news; today I took seven plus minutes of video of Duke feeding himself yogurt.  If you are interested in viewing this captivating footage please let me know.

Over and out.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pant's on Fire

Oh friends, The blog thing just didn't happen yesterday. You know what did happen? The Halloween costume thing. It happened yesterday and then it happened again today.

 Remember last week when I was all "most of my sewing is done neener neener" Yeah, having three out of four kids costumes basically squared away may have gone to my head and caused me to procrastinate on number four which happens to be the most detail oriented of them all.

 Yes that's right, the kid who is unaware of Halloween and therefore has no costume demands or expectations of any kind is the one who's taking the most time and energy. This of course is because as his mother I stepped in and provided the demands and expectations on his behalf and I guess I'm more demanding and expectant than my other three kids. At least in the realm of costumes.

 Tomorrow is the "Literature Parade" at school. They call it that because they don't want to offend those among us who are anti-Halloween.

 I think it's it's ridiculous.

Honestly if you had moral issues with Halloween and the surrounding traditions would you be cool with sending your kid to school to participate in a costume parade during the final week of October? Cause I wouldn't.

Calling it "Literature Day" instead of Halloween is a big fat lie and it drives me crazy.

 Oh, and they follow up the parade with "Harvest Parties" in the classrooms. If anyone took the time to notice what's going on in the fields round about they'd see that folks here in Arizona are actually planting right now. Not so much "harvesting," Also the parties usually involve skeletons and ghosts and other various non-harvest themed stuff.

I signed up to plan the party in Enzo's class this year.  I started out thinking that I'd just call it what it was and throw the "H" word (the "H" word is Halloween, just so we're clear) around as much as possible.  I will not be cowed into joining the lie.

I used the Halloween word in a note to  the teacher and she went out of her way to correct me.  "Is that so?" I thought.  "FINE." so I took my approach in the opposite direction.  If it's a harvest party, then it will be a harvest party.  So help me, there will not be so much as a jack-o-lantern at that party.  We also decided to have the party next Friday so it won't be on the same day as the parade.  It won't even be in the month of October. SO THERE!

Next time I choose a school for my kids I'll be looking into how holidays are handled.    

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

really really great

Eight is a rite of passage. For the baby and the mama. She is eight and I have a child who is eight. She's just steps away from being a big kid. The time is coming when I won't have to hire babysitters anymore because I'll have one of my own. 

She was a little bit surprised by her birth-minute photo. She'd been practicing for about two minutes when all of a sudden I came at her with the camera. She was like "What? it's time already?" and I was thinking "I know just what you mean little girl,"
I sat there for a bit trying to get a candid of her concentrating practice face (it's awesome) but remember how good she is at candids"? Every time I'd lift the camera she'd turn to me and try to play and smile at the same time.(spoiler-she can't do it)   Finally she said "why don't we just do this?" and posed. Her posing skills have come a long way in the last four years.

I thought it would be a good idea to have a picture of the two of us together (see above) so I gave it a try but self portraits with the big camera are rough. By the time I got one with myself actually in the frame the strap on my camera had snagged a few bow hairs and Ziz was like "Mom. Really?" I was planning to try it again with my phone but I got distracted and it never happened.

My gift wrap selections were a big hit. Enzo said that when his birthday comes he want's his presents to look just like that. I still have that roll of faux bois paper and another set of woodland creature tags so I told him it's on.
For the reccord: Ziz really liked the wrapping too. She's all about the woodland creatures. I bought that wrapping paper from the dollar spot in Target a few weeks ago just because I liked it. I thought I'd use it for baby showers or one of those kind of things where you actually wrap something to be pretty rather than just so the kid will have something to tear on their big day. Well, Zizza saw it and asked me to use it for her birthday. Done.

 Hopefully she was as happy with what was inside the presents. I'm pretty sure she was happy this evening when she opened them because she is not so big yet that she's learned to be gracious such that we wouldn't notice if she were disappointed. Still, there were a few things I know she was hoping for that she didn't get (namely a bike basket. We couldn't find one that would fit her bike) I hope she's not retroactively disappointed next time she rides her bike.

 We decided to split the cake from the ice cream for this birthday. Actually she's not even having cake, she's having monkey bread with cream cheese glaze on the side for dipping. That's going to happen when she celebrates with friends on Friday. We ate the ice cream tonight. Even without cake we felt like we needed at least one candle to mark the day.

Happiest of Birthday's to my angel baby girl. I count my lucky stars I get to be her mama.

Monday, October 22, 2012


You'll never guess. We did yet another Halloween craft.

 We used this tutorial and made mummies. I actually had a package of that very gardening wire she used sitting around in my stash waiting to be needed.

 The kids all tried wrapping their own mummies but I ended up doing all but the middle of Zizza's. Even she had trouble with hands feet and head.

 Today I decided to hold a mummy Yoga class because what else are you supposed to do with a group of pose-able mummies?

Tree pose 


Down Dog

Warrior II

Warrior I (my favorite pose)
Duke's mummy, as you can imagine, is the littlest. He loved it on that first day. He carried it in his tight little fist and became rather distressed when, after going about his business mummy in hand, the little linen fellow (ok fine it's actually a cotton poly blend from an old bed sheet) got so bent out of shape as not to be recognizable.

Reluctantly, Duke surrendered his little friend to me for re-forming and once it was done he'd be happy again. We went through this process quite a few times before the mummy got to be old news and was left to practice his downward facing dog pose in peace.

Now, in closing I'd like to say this: Make mummies guys! It's lot's of fun and really any old wire will do if you haven't got the fancy plastic coated stuff.  The End

Friday, October 19, 2012


Enzo comes down stairs. "Hey Zizza guess what the thing where the water comes for the hose is called...a spigot! Spigot spigot spigot!"

"You turned on the spigot when we were working on the fire pit and mama wasn't looking."  Zizza answered him this time with a  "wha?"

 "The spigot," said Enz

"Spicket?" Zizza wonders.

"Where the water for the hose comes from.  Spigot." He tells her

"Oh," said Zizza. "OK," 

"Spigot!" shouts Enzo.  "Let's go look at the spigot!" and out he runs to the back yard to admire the lovely spigot.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


We set out on Fall break thinking maybe we'd go somewhere.  Then we thought maybe just spend a night in a local hotel because obviously that's fun.

What it cam down to was "Super Fun day!" and today was it.  We went to the park (and not the neighborhood park either) we went out to lunch, we saw "Hotel Transylvania" and we did a craft.

I'm tired.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Guess what guys.  I met my sewing goal today.

Moo's costume sewing it totally done all that's left is to buy her a pair of black leggings and a long sleeved black t-shirt.  I also may fashion a pair of antennae if I have the time. (She's a purple butterfly. Wings are a go)

I showed Enzo the rendering I did of the rainbow and gold ninja a while back.  He LOVED it.  Luckily Zizza's powers of costume indecision persuasion were still at work and by the time I made it to the fabric store she'd talked him into being twinners with her so they're both black ninjas with gold belts.  I still have the masks and belts to do there.  Also, maybe tabi boots but those'll have to wait until after I take care of the Duke who's costume will remain a surprise for the time being.  Just know this:  It will be Awesome. (yes, with the capitol A even)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Parking spaces

What'd y'all do over the weekend? We cleaned the garage. Swept out a whole summer's worth of dust, trash, flattened geckos and dead bugs. It was a good time.

 Since I started running in the mornings about a year ago part of the routine has been to move the trash cans and dismantle the pile of bicycles that inevitably build up in front of my stroller between uses in order that I may exit. I usually have at least one false start where I think I'm good to go but then realize half way out that It's no good and I'm either going to have to drive my stroller over a tricycle or launch another attack on the bike pile. Well friends, no more! The struggle has ended for I have instituted assigned parking.

After I parceled out the available space in the garage The young ones moved bicycles aside and  labeled their spaces. The side walk chalk was pulling it's weight on Saturday morning.

After playing out side with friends yesterday Zizza told me she'd had to lay down the law with the neighbor kids about parking spaces and what goes where. It's good she's keeping on top of things in the garage because I left through the front door today and I'm pretty sure I saw actual teeth marks in the candy corn on my wreath. If kids are climbing up outside my front door to gnaw on my seasonal decor entirely without my knowledge I don't know how I could hope to keep the monstrous bike pile at bay without the help of Sheriff Ziz.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Snape Snape

Zizza's been enjoying this video during her computer time.  She shared it with Enz and he enjoyed it as well.

Today Ziz found her set of fairy tale hand puppets.  She has a prince, princess, Wizard, dragon and frog.  When the puppets were found they were all assigned parts immediately.  I'm pretty sure the prince played Snape which on one hand is all kinds of wrong and on another geekier hand is all kinds of right.  The wizard puppet was Dumbledore (obvs) Ron was the frog.  Hermione was the princess. And Harry was played by Enzo's stuffed puppy "Golden Ear" (The naming algorithm has apparently come to an end.)

With their cast selected the two of them set out to re-create.  Zizza voiced Snape, Enzo Dumbledore and I was Ron.  We did pretty ok, I was impressed with us.  I think I might make it a family goal to someday carry off the whole thing.  It's going to take time though, Duke has a developmental milestone or two to meet before he'll be ready to contribute.   

Friday, October 12, 2012


Fall has finally reached Arizona.

That is, I hope so.

Today was cool and lovely but every time my hopes got high I had to remind myself that it still might be a false start. Tomorrow could be hot again. One never really can trust the cool until at least November.

Last night the Mr and I talked about starting a project in the yard.  I told him I thought it would feel really good to make a plan for a project that could be started and finished all in one weekend and then see it through.  He agreed with me and we discussed building a fire pit in the back yard. It would be nice, we agreed to put in a patio around it but the digging leveling tamping and etc would be too much for the quick start and finish project we were after.

This morning after my run when it was so beautiful out and I was already a sweaty mess I decided I'd just clear the rock out of the way to give us a good start on that fire pit.  Two hours later I had the bulk of the rock scooped off whole imagined patio area.  So much for planning ahead and taking a weekend's worth at a time.

Duke was napping but the other three manned shovels by my side.  Zizza went through various tools scraping for a minute with  hoe, rake, or shovel and then moving on.  I assigned Moo a little hand spade so as to avoid being whacked in the head by the over long handle of any other tool she may have wielded.  Enzo took up shovel duty and matched me bite for bite out of the rocky expanse.  "This is fun," he said, sounding just like his father "working in the yard with my family "

"I'd be working too if there were another shovel to use." Ziz informed me every time she happened over.  For awhile she and moo were scooping rock onto Enzo's shovel with their spades but by this time they'd tired of it and moved on to other amusements.  This increased Enzo's productivity a good deal.

Before I hung up my tools for the morning and went in to fix lunch I traded my shovel for a rake to round up that stubborn bottom layer where the crushed granite has partially embedded in the dirt below.  Ziz came over and started her statement.  "I'd be helping too if there were a shov..." She noticed I wasn't holding a shovel. "If there were another shovel like that one I could use," she recovered and pointed to the shovel Enzo was now using. That's right girlfriend, you just sit and relax until it's your turn with the best shovel.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Death of the samlich

There's a down side to having your kid learn to read.  

Words they've adorably mispronounced for years get a second chance once they're experienced on paper.  

All three of my talkers had a different take of breakfast.  Ziz ate "brecfix" Enz enjoyed "breadix" and Moo likes to have "brekstist" in the mornings.  

Enzo has eaten samliches with a gusto for years now.  He had three of them for lunch today.  The second and third of which he compiled himself.  They might have been his last.  There was discussion of the word "sandwich" at the dinner table and I'm afraid it sunk in.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guess who did a seasonal craft

Yes, that's right it was me. I also hung a wreath on my door for the first time in ever.

I thought about creating a tutorial but I figured you wouldn't need my help working out how to hot glue candy corn to a Styrofoam wreath form.

I also used my crafty skills to buy the trick or treat smell my feet sign form the dollar section at Target and then cut it in half because they had it stuck together on a single piece of cardboard and I thought that was lame.  If you looked any closer you'd see the jagged edges me and my utility knife left when we did that job. Another touch of class is the sticky hook I hung it on clearly visible there in the middle of the door.  Yes, we're all about the details around here.


Ziz came in today to tattle tell me that neighbor kids had been picking candy corn off and eating them so I guess my crafty genius is being appreciated.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Behold the bounteous harvest of our pumpkin plant.  We made the mistake of planting all our squash and melons next to each other.  We got some genuine cantaloupe and one good butternut but the watermelon were choked out and the pumpkins cross pollinated with something or other resulting in the cute little mutant you see here.

Our children subscribe to a proven method in naming things. Take the noun generally assigned to the object as your starting point.  You may chose to use the whole word or you may parse it down if you're feeling brief. In our example we mixed things up a bit and shaved "pumpkin" down to "punk"

 Next you consider the gender of the item, or really since generally the items being named don't have gender (ie: a pumpkin) we assign one.  Now if the thing you're naming is a girl you may chose between the suffixes "a" or "y." If you're dealing with a male object you have the choice between the suffixes "o" or "er"

Continuing with our pumpkin friend as an example we could have wound up with "Punka" or "Punky" had that particular vegetable been a girl.  Since he was established as a boy the choice was between "Punker" and the winner, "Punko." That's a good thing too because we wouldn't have had enough spare bandannas on hand to accommodate a "Punky."

Zizza and Enzo actually went back and forth for quite a while on this one. Enz dubbed it "Punko" the minute he saw it but Ziz made cases for "Pumky" "Punka" and I believe, "Pumpkina" before she admitted defeat and accepted "Punko" as the final word.

Punko was harvested from our back yard months ago and is a bit on the squishy side now that his season of glory as decor is in full swing.  Enzo has been looking sadly at Punko all week and sighing that he wishes our little friend had been big enough to carve. Maybe next year our gardening skills will be up to the task of producing carveable pumpkins.  But if we get a real harvest, what will we name them all?      

Monday, October 8, 2012


Sunday was a sick day for me.  The Mr single parented while I lay there trying and failing to sleep.  Every once in a while I'd realize the futility of the sleeping, drag myself out of bed and preform a token parenting task.  Then I'd realize I was not fit to be upright and heave myself back to my room.

The night was one of those long drawn out types where every few hours you wake up and realize you're still aching. I finally found comfort an hour before it was time to get up.

This morning I felt better.  Well enough to face the messy kitchen, cook breakfast and take the kids to the park. Normally I'd be going there to run on a Monday morning but I didn't think I'd be up to that so we just went.

Ziz and Enz are on fall break this week.  Yesterday Zizza prayed "please bless mama that she'll be better tomorrow so she can go running"  what she meant was "So we can go to the park" After the park we had to go to Joann to gather costume supplies.  Today was the last day my coupons were valid.  By that time I was back to feeling like a mushy banana.  So basically perfect conditions for taking four children to a fabric store.

Moo started things off right by surrying around the end of the isle and hiding until I came after her then running away.  We went half a store's length by the time I caught her.  She had to ride in the cart after that which meant I had to carry Duke.  Sounds like fun. No?

Zizza wanted desperately to be helpful. "Do you want me to carry the fabric mama?" "No. It's in the cart it doesn't need to be carried."  I noticed that every time I'd sigh or groan she would take it personally. "sorry, mama," I think I need to be more careful with that girl.  She shouldn't be taking responsibility for my grumbling.

We made it home.  Moo spent the drive screeching "I wanna go one more place," at regular intervals while I took corresponding centering breaths.

Once lunch was fed and quiet time was established I went to sleep. This sleep was the kind you hope for.  The kind where your body feels like a sack of warm sand, heavy and comfortable.  I'm hoping against hope there's more of that sleep waiting for me at the end of this post.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Morning woes

One of the sad things in motherhood is opening the nursery door in the morning to find your angel plastered in dried throw up.  Oh dear!  How long do you think he slept in that?  And you!  You peacefully dreamed through his distress cozy in your own bed.  It's despicable.

You might check the baby monitor just to make sure it's turned on and functioning properly.  Since it is you can take a little breath of relief that he apparently wasn't too upset by his gastrointestinal midnight showing for surely you would have woken had he cried out.

Once your baby is clean and acting normal, if a tad extra snugly, you can get on with your day.  You'd like to sit and huggabug that baby but soon enough the others will be home and hungry and what do you have to feed them?  Nothing. So snugly baby will have to do his snuggling at the grocery store.

When you're browsing among the moisturizers and he hands you his bink you're relieved to know he's feeling well enough to be without that comfort.  Then with no other warning you find his breakfast down your collective fronts and you think "well no wonder I slept through the last time."

It takes some doing to attract the attention of a store worker in that deserted isle but eventually maintenance is  notified and someone brings you a paper towel and a handful of wet wipes so you can be on your way to grab that milk you've had the rain check for burning a hole in your pocket all week and hie home to care for the wee one stinking in your stinky arms.

If the bagger in the checkout lane puts only a few token items in your reusable bags and sends you home with six, (SIX!) plastic ones holding one item apiece (a bag for the bananas, a bag for the contoloupe,  anOTHER bag for the grapes) you're going to have to overlook it because that sick little lovey isn't smelling any sweeter as time goes by.

When all of those bags are safely in the house it's time to see to the stinking situation.  The best approach in this case is to put yourself and that baby in the sower at the same time.  When he sees you getting the shower ready baby darling will help by attending to his own diaper as best he can.  The good news is the diaper was still clean so his pulling it off is no problem.

The two of you are washed up in short order and that's a good thing because the BANGS require a dry environment in which to thrive and any more shower spray will necessitate an additional round with the blow dryer.  But that sweet love bug baby.  He reaches toward the shower head and says "baff, eeez!" He's pairing up bits of his vocabulary!  So the water comes back on and the bangs die.

 Baby love giggles while the water beats softly on the top of his head and when he's had his fill you dry him again, feel your wet bangs on your forehead and tuck him cozy in his bed for his morning nap.  A nap that he'll hopefully complete sans throw up while you remove each of your grocery items from their individual plastic bags and finally put them away. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Oh dear

My Enz suffers from severe indecision where Halloween is concerned. We've had back and forth from one costume idea to another to something entirely different every year since he started giving input of his costume.

This year we started out planing for a robot, then he swayed over to ninja so as to match with Ziz. Then we were back on robot for a while.  Then he was talking about bats of varying colors, gold being prominent among them.

 Yesterday I sat him down and made Zizza zip it because she tends to fan the flame of his indecision. I asked him for the final word on his Halloween costume. I have the shopping list written out for all the other costumes so it's time for him to commit to something so I can get a move on.

 His choice was to be a Ninja. A Gold Ninja. No, wait a Ninja with gold pants a gold belt a green mask, one blue sleeve, one black sleeve and the rest of the shirt rainbow. Oh, but instead of a blue sleeve make it yellow.

Now, I am not a great at rendering but I can generally get the idea of a design across. I drew up his wishes and pulled out the trusty crayon box to make a full color picture of what he was asking for so he could see the idea somewhere outside of his head. Here it is.

My hope is that he'll hate the picture and scrap the idea so I can steer him back in the direction of a robot because that was going to be awesome.

I guess I could just say "no" to the technicolor ninja. I have no problem telling my kids "no" in practical everyday things but Halloween is about creativity. It's his chance to imagine something cool and have his creativity affirmed and reinforced by me, his mama. I'm supposed to be his biggest fan, if I tell him his idea is lame and I don't want to make it I'll be teaching him to give up his own ideas and leave the creativity to other more qualified people, like me. See, now I've just about convinced myself that piecing together a rainbow kimono top is worth the trouble.

Anyway, Enz and I are going to have another costume discussion after school today. We'll see what we end up with.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And another

Enzo's first parent night at school. He glowed the whole time.  First showing off his desk and turning each page of the books he's made in class so far.  Then he and his classmates lined up to recite and sing.  He was smiling so hard he could only just hold in the laughter and he recited:

I am not a crocodile
I am not a bee
I am not a monkey
I am ME!

His arms snapped like jaws at the "crocodile." He was the first kid to start buzzing after the bee line. His monkey hoots rang loud and clear.  Then I decided I should take a picture and messing with my phone kept me from paying as much attention to the other selections.

That always seems to be the trade off. I can give the performance the attention it deserves or I can try to preserve it in photographs.  I usually chose the former.  Pictures of these sorts of things aren't ever any good anyway. My judgement was clouded this evening.  Here's the best of my photos.

The only reason he's not smiling as I described in this photo is because he was singing when I took it. The picture is so much less than the memory.  If I'd thought to take a picture before the program started I would have caught his barley contained smile and then I would have been able to pay better attention to the songs.  Lesson learned.  If I don't get the photo before the things starts then I don't get a photo.

I feel so lucky to have kids who love school after having been a kid who didn't.  Thank heaven for the Mr's genes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Troodon Project

When I was in elementary school we had parent night once a year or less.  I actually only remember attending parent nights in the third and fourth grades.  In fourth our teacher had us each lie down on a piece of butcher paper, she traced around our bodies and then we colored our "selves."  I was wearing a shorts and button down set made of white material that appeared to have been sponge painted in pastel shades of blue pink and purple.  I went to great lengths to recreate the look on my paper clone, but that's not what this post is about.

At the school my children attend they have parent nights each and every quarter. We were at Zizza's tonight and we'll go to Enzo's tomorrow.  Imagine what this will be like when Moo starts school.

Zizza's class studied dinosaurs this quarter as you know from my talk about Troodon.  In addition to her report she was assigned a Troodon themed project.  She could chose from either building a paper mache dinosaur, constructing a diorama or planting a terrarium.  We chose the terrarium project.

We planted it in the plastic container from a rotisserie chicken because we're all about class. We did some research and found that the plants common in Troodon's habitat were conifers(I hate that word), ferns and a few of the first flowering plants.

Everything in the garden center at Walmart was much too tall for the chicken box so we went to pets mart and found some littler guys.  They were meant for aquariums.  It wasn't until later that I realized that meant they were semi aquatic.  In other words, I couldn't just plant them in some dirt from the back yard.

The due date for the project kind of snuck up on me. Thursday evening found me in the back yard ashamed of myself for doing Zizza's homework but doing it just the same because Dude, it was due the next day and she was tired and we needed to fit a whole bunch of dirt and stuff into that little box and tired seven year olds aren't known for their patience. For that matter, neither are the tired mothers of tired seven year olds.

I started by filling the container with dirt and realizing that the dirt was full of squirmy bugs.  Then I walked down the street and clipped some branches off the only nearby evergreen (I don't think it's actually a conifer but I'm cool with that)  I stuck those in the dirt and then I pulled the semi aquatic plants out of their protective plastic tubes.  Their roots were in little plastic cups full of water retaining gel.  I buried the little cups in the dirt and hoped for the best.  Then, to flesh things out a little I shopped my yard for little weeds to transplant. I pulled three before I got one with a good root. That's usually disappointing for totally different reasons. While I was doing that I kicked myself for not having thought of it before I made that trip to Pets Mart. Now I'll know for the future.  Weeds are where it's at.

I left the whole thing on the back patio while I fed the kids dinner, then I sent Ziz out to see what I'd done.  Sadly, half an hour in the arid heat of an Arizona September are all it takes to finish off a small semi aquatic leafy green.  Zizza was sad about that but she liked my work with the weeds so we were cool.  She placed the plastic dinosaur (It was a velociraptor but I won't tell if you won't) in it's new home and put the lid on.  Her doing that much was enough to appease us both on the issue of my doing her project.

It went to school on Friday morning.  I'd watered it well enough that the plastic dome was thoroughly misted and I flattered myself that the semi aquatics might recover a bit under those conditions.  When Ziz came home I asked her how it went and she said "Good, I took the lid off when I got it to school because it was so misty nobody could see inside" I guess I forgot to explain to her the concept of a terrarium and how the mist meant it was working.

Tonight all the projects were displayed on the desks.  The lights in the classroom were turned off and visitors were equipped with flashlights.  The concept was based on "Night at the Museum"  I was disappointed that none of the exhibits actually came to life but otherwise it was great.  I'm happy to say that our little terrarium (dead plants, transplanted weeds, squirmy bugs an all) didn't look half bad in those conditions.  Let's hear it for dramatic lighting!