Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Boy Grows The Church

Last week, I was driving through our large suburb with our son Jonah, aged five.  He noticed a large vacant lot.

"Mom," he said.  "That would be a good place for a church."

It would be actually, but I was curious to know why he thought so.

"Because it has lot of room for parking," he said.  Then, after some thought, he continued, "I'm going to build a church there, with a parking lot, and a big building.  Do you know where I am going to put the door, Mom?"

"Uh, no, honey.  Where?"

"In the front of course."  Of course.  "It will be two big doors that open in front.  And then I will put a big inflatable Jesus on top, so people can see it from the freeway, like the Gorilla on the car place."

What can you say about a boy with a heart for the Lord and an eye for marketing?  I love him to pieces.  My life with him is never dull.  I just pray he doesn't grow up to be a sleazy televangelist.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October Is The New December

 Well, as October comes to a close, I must say...It is about stinking time.  This has been the busiest month of my life.  Yes, I know.  I am prone to hyperbole.  But, I mean it this time.  People talk about how busy the holidays are.  This year, at least as far as I know, they have nothing on October.

We had nine trips to the doctor, two to the dentist, and three to the pharmacy.  Two Fall Festivals, two class parties, and one Trunk-or-Treat event.  Four occasions for which the children were expected to be in costume, and that is not counting Halloween on Sunday.  Two separate cookie dough fund raisers, and two different picture days, for two different schools.  Two food drives, two raffles, and two parties for which donations were given (and willing, too, but they added to the chaos). Two field trips, one I chaperoned.  Two days as class mom.  Two parent teacher conferences; one for good, one for evil.  One letter from the Washington State Bar Examiners (he passed!!).  One date night.  One Church Fellowship Dessert.  And, one Wild Thing named Etsio, (that's him in the picture) hand made by Jonah.

So, to you, Holiday Season, I say, "Bring it!"  You don't scare me.  I lived through October.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me

This is it.  My first anniversary as a blogger.  One year, 202 posts, 5,500 visitors. Yay, me!

I feel like I have been at this long enough now to say, I hate the word "blogger."  It is an ugly word, a silly word, a frivolous word, that undermines who we are and the work that we do.  Well, the work that some people do.  My work, is, in fact, quite frivolous, by design.  That, in no way, changes the fact that I hate the word "blogger."  I think I will devote the next year to coming up with a better one.  Please e-mail me any and all suggestions.

I will also buy myself a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style.  I will exercises the proper use of the ellipses, which may not be easy for a girl who had to structure this sentence in such a way as to avoid the the plural of the word "ellipses," because she could not figure out how to spell it.  I will abandon creative punctuation, and stop flipping a coin to choose between a colon and a semi-colon.  Or using a comma, simply as a pause for breath.  I may still start a new paragraph whenever I feel like the one I am writing is just too long to look at. It's an aesthetic thing.

For now though, I thought I would celebrate this milestone, by looking back at some of my favorite posts, in no particular order.  No, really, the drum roll will not be necessary.

A Proposal Story

An Agatha Tracey Mystery

Toast O. E. and the Toddler Menace

Twilight Schmilight

The Saga of the Uppity Bath Towel

Of Marriage and Breakfast

(Not New) Delhi and My Date with a Pregnant Woman

What I Cherish

Ancient History, Bag Boy Style

The True Meaning of Christmas?

The World is Run By Stupid People

These are the ones I had the most fun writing.  But, the best and most important thing I have ever written, did not originate as a blog post.  It is the Eulogy I wrote for my grandmother.  I posted it here last November in honor of the anniversary of her death.

I have really enjoyed writing about our little life here.  And, you, my readers, have all been so kind.

THANK YOU ALL for coming this last year!
And please keep coming!  Please!
(Does that sound too needy?)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Week in Kids, The Pictures

Last week, when I posted The Week in Kids, I did not have the pictures of them all dressed up in their costumes for the Fall Festival.  Better late than never, I've heard folks say, so, here they are.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The View From My Kitchen Sink

The view from my kitchen sink is in constant motion.

Well, folks I did it.  Two hundred posts in one year.  I did not set out to write that many, but once I realized it was possible, I sprinted toward the goal.  Join me on Tuesday, October 26 for a special post in honor of my one year blog anniversary.  (That is if I am not too burnt out to write it.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Week in Kids

This week...

Sam put on a few (i.e. all) of the things from the dress up box.

And then enjoyed looking at the pictures of himself.

Also this week...

I called Jonah and Sam "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" from Dr. Suess.  The next day, to alert me to some trouble Cate was getting into, Jonah hollered out, "Mom, Thing 3 is playing with the blinds!"

Also this week...

Cate turned two.  Not chronologically two.  She does that next month.  But terribly two.  My evidence is this: 

She was hanging on the refrigerator door asking for an apple.  But, she already had an apple, which I had given her about twenty minutes earlier.  It sat abandoned on the counter.  I offered it to her.  "No!" she said, and went back the the refrigerator.  This time, I said, "No."

At this, she threw herself face down on the ground and burst into tears, looking up surreptitiously to make sure I was paying attention.  I wasn't.  Not really.  She's my third kid.  Wailing is nothing to get excited about.

Cate, however, is not a quitter.  She flopped over on her back, bucking a little, like a fish out of water, still wailing.  Over and over she flopped.  Louder and louder she wailed.  Her brothers and I just went about our business, stepping over her as needed. 

I don't know what they were thinking, but I was thinking, "She'll stop soon enough."  Five minutes she did this.  Five minutes!!!  This does not sound like a long time, but, trust me, five minutes of wailing, for a first tantrum, to which no attention was paid, is a LONG time.

It is a good thing I am an "experienced" parent.  If she were my first child, she may have gotten a rise out of  me.  And a girl this committed to getting her own way would become an unstoppable terror once indulged.

Also this week...

Cate practiced her maternal skills.  After she talked to her Daddy on the phone, she insisted on putting her Baby on the phone too. "Baby, hi, daddy," she said.  My heart about burst wide open.

Also this week...

Jonah made his true feeling about his school snack known. 

I had been sending him with fruit and crackers, or other finger foods.  It not lunch after all, just snack.  But this week, I sent him with a peanut butter sandwich.  "Thank you so much for sending me with a sandwich like everyone else," he said. 

Golly.  I didn't know it mattered so much.  I didn't want to ruin the kid's playground cred with some raisins.  So, the next day I packed him a cheese sandwich.  I'm a mom who cares.  He came home, dropped his back pack on the floor, and announced, "I don't like cheese sandwiches, unless they have lettuce, and turkey."

Duly noted.

Also this week...

Cate joined me early one dark morning to make the coffee.  This is note-worthy, because until this week, she had no way of getting out of her crib unassisted.  I guess those days are over.  Pray for us.

Also this week...

We went to the Fall Festival at Jonah's school.  The kids went dressed up in their Halloween costumes; a knight, Super Mario, and a ballerina.  There are dozens and dozens of pictures.  But not on my camera.  Maybe next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mint Flavored Ice Cream with Chocolate Flavored Chips

The world since facebook is a funny thing.  Three years ago, I had never heard of it.  Now, not a day goes by that I don't hear of it.  Though, ironically, it does not show up in the spell check dictionary.  Not even on facebook!  But, I digress.  (Can one digress before one has actually begun?  I think one can, and this one has.)

I'm not really here to talk about the pervasiveness of the word facebook, or the social networking site, except to mention that I use facebook, and on Wednesday, not one, but two people I know, used the term Mint 'N Chip to refer to ice cream I have always called Mint Chip.  I have to admit, this threw my already wobbly world just a bit off kilter.  Have I been saying it wrong all these years.  Is it really Mint 'N Chip?

I had to know for sure.  Research was needed.  I did not want to rely on the internet.  Any crazy wacko with a laptop and an ice cream spade to grind can post stuff on the internet.  I had to go to the labels themselves.  This meant field work.

I entered the grocery store, as if I belonged there, and casually walked the frozen food isle, as if this were something I do every other day or so.  I have a lot of practice, as this is something I do every other day or so.  I found the ice cream section, predictably, where it had been last week.  Ice cream, it turns out, is grouped first by type (premium, low fat, low sugar, etc.), then by brand, and then by flavor.  The Mint Chip, or Mint N' Chip, was to be found in several locations along the isle.  I had my work cut out for me.

I have to admit, I was a little nervous.  I was worried an under-appreciated employee or an over eager assistant manager would come by and scold me for staring so long at their ice cream.  I had a back up plan, in case I was caught, and had to escape quickly.  I would simply have to buy one of every type and brand, so that I could read the labels at my leisure, preferably over a bowl of ice cream.  Sadly, it did not come to this.  I was able to gather all of the information I needed in the field.  My findings will shock you.  (Mostly because I went to the trouble to find them.)

I started with the biggest national brand, Dreyer's, also known as Edy's east of the Rockies, or the Mississippi, or some such.  The same places they put Hellman's instead of Best Food's on their sandwiches and drink MelloYellow instead of Mountain Dew.  I could find no Dreyer's mint flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored chips among the premium ice creams.  I did find Mint Brownie.  I noted that it was not Mint 'N Brownie.  Further down, Dreyer's light and no sugar varieties were called Mint Chocolate Chip.

Breyer's was the second national brand I surveyed.  This was tougher than I thought.  For one thing, Breyer's has a mint leaf on every box of their ice cream, regardless of the flavor.  And their Mint Chocolate Chip, once I found it, was white, not green.  Better for you, but harder to find.

Next was Sunnyside.  This is a generic brand, I think.  It may be a local generic, specific to the grocery chain whose store I was patronizing, but I think it is available in several states.  Since I am too lazy to look this up, and so are you, I am just going to assure you, they have enough market share to influence the ice cream naming culture in this country.  Sunnyside carries Mint Chocolate Chip, Mint Moose Tracks, and Mint Chocolate Flake.  Not Mint 'N Chip, Mint 'N Moose Tracks, or Mint 'N Flake.

At this point I was feeling just a wee bit smug.  Mint 'N Chip?  What crazy talk!  There is no such thing.

Then, there, at the end of the isle, before ice cream ends, and other frozen desserts begin, I found it.  A five quart plastic tub of Bayview Ice Cream, calling itself Mint 'N Chip.  The kind of giant ice cream trough you buy for a child's birthday party, or a particularly heinous bout of PMS.  I've had the stuff. (Only because we needed the tub to make homemade babywipes, I swear.)  It's horrible.  And, the only one, of all the varieties and brands, to not actually mention the word chocolate.

In conclusion, I can only suggest to you my dear readers, that if you want mint flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored chips, you buy Mint Chip.  If you want large quantities of cheap, sweet, green goo, by all mean, stick with the Mint 'N Chip.

Now, if you will excuse me.  I have a petite helping of Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie to eat.  A small price to pay for my science.

UPDATE:  Based on the first few comments, I would like to amend my post.  What do you call mint flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored chips where you live?  Or, if you are more ambitious, can you help me flesh out my research by letting me know what some other brands call it?  Be careful in the field dear readers.  Don't get frost bite.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Geography, Kindergarten Style

Last week, I had the privilege of working in Jonah's kindergarten class for the day.  He was very excited about this.  So, was I, if truth be told.  It was nice to be involved in that part of his life.

He tried to be with me as much as he could, which was sweet.  But, at recess, he abandoned me for his first love, running around.  I spent recess talking to a very nice young lady named Emma.  She had sandy blond hair, hazel eyes, and affected an under bite when thinking.  She reminded me very much of our Cate.  And that is how I saw her.  Cate in four years.

"My Nana is coming to visit today," she said.  "My Nana lives far away, where there are a lot of cornfields.  Do you know that place?"

"Iowa?" I asked.  Corn as high as an elephants eye.  That's Iowa right?  Or is it Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain?

"No.  That's not it," Emma said.

"Kansas?" I tried again.  Was Kansas a better guess than Oklahoma?  It would help if my knowledge of the plains states extended beyond Rodger and Hammerstein musicals, and John Wayne movies.

"No," she said, and then offered another hint.  "Do you know that place where Disney World is?"


"Yes," she said excitedly.

"Your Nana lives in Florida?"

"No," she said.  "In a straight line from there.  What is the state next door?"

"Alabama?"  I knew it was Alabama or Mississippi.  I totally guessed.

"No.  The next one?"

Was this some kind of test?


"Keep going."

"Louisiana?"  This one I knew.

"No, no.  Keep going straight across."

The kid was killing me!  But we were getting closer to home.  I was pretty sure I knew these.

"Texas, New Mexico, Arizona."

"Yeah," she said, with a very mature sigh.  "I have no idea where she lives." 

Then she ran off to play.

It was definitely a test.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The View From My Kitchen Sink

If I stand on my tip toes, and lean over the edge of the counter, with my camera held over my head, I can see this...

Jonah reading Cate a story, Sunday morning before church.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Week in Kids

This week...

We went to the pumpkin patch.


Another candy apple.  Of course.
"Look, Ma.  I'm just hanging here.  But it's okay, 'cuz Daddy catches me every time."

A hay-bouncer.
Our boys were king of the hay mountain.  I wish I had taken the picture from farther away so that you could see how high it is.
I was amused by this sign in the parking lot.
Also this week... 

Catie was helpful...

...with the laundry, even if she wouldn't take the snack out of her mouth to do it.

...with Elmo, getting him buckled into his car seat.

I love the look on Elmo's face in this one.  "Elmo does not know if Elmo likes what Catie is doing."
...with building the train track, because Nana really needed the help.


In exchange, Nana got the hair out of Cate's eyes for her.

Then taught her how to do a fist bump.

Thanks, Nana.

Also this week...

Jonah learned to fly (for 1.7685 seconds).

Cate learned to swing (with a dirty face).

And, Samuel learned the art of defensive sliding.  (Or would this be offensive?  It is hard to know around here.)

See you next week!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Breakfast Interuptus

Audrey Hepburn having breakfast at Tiffany's.  Things are a little less glamorous around here.
We make a point of sitting down to dinner as a family.  Breakfast is a different matter.  Hubband doesn't usually eat breakfast on weekdays, and by the time I get the chance to sit down with the children, they are already done and on to the next thing.

So it happened, that the other morning, I sat down at the table to eat my breakfast, with only Catherine still there.  As soon as I took my first bite, she reached at me with one grubby little hand and said, "naaaa," with an inflection that I know means, "napkin."  What a tidy girl.  I got up, and got her a napkin, and watched as she wiped her hands and face.

As soon as I took my second bite, Cate pushed her plate over to me and said, "More, please."  What a polite girl.  I got up and got her more.

A few bites later, I was summoned to mediate a disagreement of some sort, by a bellowed call of, "Mom, make him stop.  He's trying to stick his toes up my butt!"  Neither tidy or polite.  I got up and separated them.  The children.  The toes and butt had worked themselves out before I got there. 

A few bites later, I was again summoned, this time by loud shrieks of pain.  I was informed that an injury had been suffered and death was imminent.  A little anti-bacterial ointment and one Buzz Lightyear band-aid later, my patient was as good as new.

But, breakfast was over.  It was time to get everyone out the door for the morning school run.  All I wanted was to eat one lousy bowl of cold cereal.  Is that so much to ask?

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Reading Labels Again

I bought this picture frame on clearance at Khol's.  It cost me $4.25, down from the original $24.99.  Yeah me!

I liked it, not just because it was cheap, but because it had this pretty detail carved into the wood

I did not buy it because it was "made with renewable resources."

In fact, I didn't even notice this bit of marketing until I got home.  But when I did, it got me thinking, "What renewable resources?  Wood?"

Why as a matter of fact, yes!

Uh, I think all wood is technically renewable.  I mean, doesn't the stuff practically grow on trees?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The View From My Kitchen Sink

We rearranged the furniture a few weeks ago, to open up the room for a family dinner.  We liked it so much, we kept it that way (with a few tweaks for daily living).  Now, I can see everything from my kitchen sink.

Jonah and Cate, sharing a bowl of grapes on the living room floor.  Look at those striped Elmo socks fly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Week in Kids (that is really just one day)

This week...

We went to Apple Hill, a co-op of apple growers, wineries, and one brewery, in and around Camino, California.

I went almost every year as a kid, and we have kept up the tradition.

There was a hay maze.

Turns out, hay and eczema don't really mix.

There were pumpkins.

"Okay, boys.  We can do this easy, or we can do this hard, but one of you is coming home with me."

There were caramel apples.

There were apple donuts, though Grandpa thought they were his secret.

"Look! A plain white bag full of apple donuts.  Hand 'em over old man."
There were things to climb on.

And wide open spaces in which to run.

And, if that weren't enough, after our Apple Hill adventure,we went to Nana's house.

Where Jonah played bear-slayer.

Samuel played trains.

And, Catherine played with a ball peen hammer.

You think that would be enough to exhaust any three children, but Samuel, as he was being tucked into bed, still had enough energy to bellow at his Daddy, "Good night, Poopy Butt!"

It was a good day.

Also this week...

Well, there really wasn't much else of note.  Sorry.  I'll try harder next week.  Speaking of...

Next week...

Our schedules are changing.  I usually write when Jonah and Sam are at school and Cate is napping (like now, if you can call that thumping sound, which I recognize as a little girl bouncing in her crib, "napping").  Next week, Sam will be home before Cate's nap, and there goes anything I had resembling mommy-time.  I don't know what this means for my goal of 200 posts before my anniversary on October 26, or the quality of those posts if I actually reach my goal.  I guess what I am saying is, Read at Your Own Risk.

See you next week!!!