Sunday, March 30, 2008

What's Next?

It seems as if weekly Josh is giving me even more cause for concern for our future as his parents. If you'll recall, he's only just turned 13 months old but already he:

-- Began walking steadily at 10 months of age and now almost runs

-- Communicates his basic wants and needs clearly (nonverbally)

-- Climbs a variety of objects including the huge rock at Woodland Park Zoo

-- Climbing the back of sofa so he can turn the lights on and off

-- Climbing the back of the sofa so he can try to unlock and open the front door

-- Can climb the stairs, both up and down, without assistance

-- Uses the dog as a step stool to our taller couch

-- Understands that GameCube controllers don't work if not plugged in

-- Eats just about everything and anything

-- Dunks his cookie in milk (after all, he did see me do it...once)

-- Presses just about every button he sees and figured out how to open the DVD players (both the tv one and the laptop one)

-- Climbs down off our bed

So, we have a few new tricks he's added to his reportoire lately. They include...

-- Carrying the step stool around the house and using it to try to reach things

-- Bringing us a diaper after he's had a bowel movement

-- Requesting tylinol (nonverbally, of course) for his aching teeth

-- Clapping at appropriate moments during a play (live theater)

-- Getting kleenix and wiping his own nose

-- Bringing us his coat when he wants to wear it

-- Colors with crayons, pencils, and pens on paper (and my coffee table)

If he's like this now, what can we expect when he is two and three years old?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

He's da Man!

We went to a free children's concert up in Seattle today. It turned out to be "underwhelming and unimpressive" to use my husband's words. On the drive home, I was having trouble keeping awake. When we arrived home, Josh was asleep so I headed upstairs with him to get him back to sleep and promptly passed out with him.

Well, while I snoozed (during a time I should have been cleaning up, washing dishes, and cooking dinner) my husband took care of things. He bought and replaced my right blinker for me (it was out) and he headed to the store for diapers (we were down to 3) and frozen lasagna (yum) for dinner.

It's he just wonderful?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Morning in the Life of...

Just a few happenings in our house this morning (before 9am):

Yesterday, we woke up to a sunny, spring day. By evening it was cloudy, cold, and snowing. Huh? This morning we woke up to snow on the ground. Huh? It's spring! We barely get any snow during the winter much less during the spring. This doesn't look like global warming to me, more like global cooling. The kids got dressed early and headed out to play in the snow before it melted entirely. Strange, strange weather.

I caught the two boys sitting together on the couch. This is a very rare occasion because Josh is usually bullying his older brother. So, I handed the camera to Mika and asked her to snap a photo. It's it cute how they both happen to be holding their chins the same way?

After he tired of hanging out with Sammy, Josh resumed his favorite activity...trying to break his neck. The kid is only 13 months old (tomorrow) but he thinks he is 2 already. One of his new favorite activities is to climb onto the couch (something he's known how to do for a while now) and then climb up the corner where the arm and back meet so he can reach the light switch, doorknob, and deadbolt key.

On a similar topic, we've quit gating the stairs. He climbs them so well, we aren't even worried about him falling any more. He gets to the top and then complains until we come get him down. He does know how to climb down the stairs as well...he just doesn't want to.

And the paw print on the couch? That was put there years ago. All I'll say is DON'T leave latex wall paint uncovered when you own kittens and you need to nurse your child down for a nap in another room.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Movie Review: Mr. Nice Guy

The acting is horrible.
The story line is absurd.
The scenes are pretty insane.

But it's hilarious.

Diana, a television reporter, is in possession of a video showing a cocaine deal gone wrong and the bad guys are after her. As she frantic flees, tape in hand, she bumps into Jackie Chan who is playing a famous Chinese cook named Jackie. Being the nice guy that he is, he helps her out. Without knowing what's happening, Jackie finds himself in the middle of a battle between an Italian mob and a street gang known as the Demons. Neither group will give up until they have that tape, providing plenty of opportunities for Jackie's amazing martial arts and acrobatic skills to be put to use for our enjoyment in his characteristically humorous way.

In this house, we love a good Jackie Chan movie. As with any of his other movies, you'll have plenty of opportunities to see his comical looks of confusion as he jumps, spins, climbs, falls, and fights his way through unexpected situations. His humor is evident through out the movie and his martial arts and acrobatic skills are well-used. If you enjoy this type of movie, you'll enjoy Mr. Nice Guy.

The movie is rated PG-13. The rating is necessary due to violence (fighting, guns, and explosions) and some foul language. However, the comical nature of Jackie Chan's movies really tones it down for me and I feel I'm watching a comedy more than a violent, action film.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Family Game Night

The kids requested a family game night Thursday but it wasn't a good time so I promised we'd do it Friday and do it special. And so we did.

First, we had a fun dinner that we do on rare occasions. It's not healthy but we enjoy it. We had a variety of finger foods: dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, seasoned curly fries, pizza rolls, taquitos, and jalepeno poppers. I didn't do as much variety as I usually do but it was enough. In addition to that, I let each child have a full can of soda to enjoy while we played games. Normally, when they get soda, they have to share a can.

Once we got the food out of the way, we pulled out a game of their choice. They chose Hungry Hippos first.

Josh wanted to get in on the action so I sat him in front of me and helped him work our hippo. He thought it was lots of fun.

It didn't take him long to figure it out and be able to it all on his own. In fact, he refused to share his hippo with me once he got it down.

Sometimes he'd quit feeding his hippo. The older kids, however, weren't quitting for anything. See how intent they are?

Here's everyone, even Josh, in the midst of an intense game. Meanwhile, I was snapping photos and baking a carrot cake. We sampled the recipe recently featured on Pioneer Woman Cooks. My daughter thinks her recipes are awesome, especially her mashed potatoes.

After we tired of Hungry Hippos, we had some cake and played a mean game of Sorry. Mika won. I came in second. Then Sam and Scott spent forever pacing their last piece back and forth, up and down the final home stretch. They'd go up 2, up 1, back 4, up five, back 1, up 1, back 4, up 2, up 3, back 1 and so on and so on and so on until Sammy finally made it home. Scott kept drawing cards. I'm happy to say that he finally, many cards later, drew a series that got him home.

It was a great night. Lots of fun and laughter and not too many issues with poor sportsmanship and tears.

Do you have family game nights? What are your favorite games to play?

Not Totally Lost

I've been more and more absent from this blog. The truth is that homeschooling is so ingrained to the way we live that most of my posts end up on my homeschooling blog. So, I've basically decided to focus most of my efforts on that blog. For the time being, I'm still keeping this blog live because every now and then I want to post something not related to homeschooling...and I'm trying really hard to keep that one on topic.

So, I'll be around. I probably have a post coming this weekend but it's after 1am and I need to get to bed. My baby will be walking me up in just under 6 hours.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blessed Warmth

Scott was correct; it was our thermostat that was broken. Our local hardware store, the tiny family-owned one, had exactly the right thermostat that we needed. Scott came home with it, hooked it up, turned the furnace back on, and we had heat again. Yea!

It's COLD in here!

Yesterday evening while cooking dinner, I felt cold so I went to check the heat. Our thermostat is a turn dial that easily gets bumped and turned down (or way up) by accident. When I reached the thermostat, I saw that it was already turned up to our preferred temperature of 70 degrees but the house was only at 62 degrees. I turned it way up and the heat didn't click on. It was then that I realized I had been checking the heat all day and the temperature had been going down all day.

I asked my husband to check it out. He played it it for a while and then went down into our cellar and played with the furnace for a while. Then he got online and researched it for a while. Back and forth he went: computer, thermostat, computer, furnace, computer. He finally concluded that he thought it was either a specific part on the furnace or the thermostat itself. Off to Home Depot he went. He arrived home with two parts.

First, he installed the furnace part; it was the cheapest fix. It didn't do it. So, he started to install the thermostat only to find it wouldn't work. The thermostat requires a three-wire set up and ours only has a two-wire set up. Back to Home Depot he went only to return at 9pm with news that Home Depot didn't carry any two-wire thermostats. We'd just have to bundle up for the night.

Fortunately for us, our bedrooms upstairs have their own cadet heaters and don't use the forced air heat from the furnace. We were nice and warm in our rooms last night but when we came downstairs it was only 57 degrees in our house. Today's high is 48 so I'm expected it to continue to get colder in our house. You see, we have 17 single-pane windows on the first floor of our house letting in all that cold air.

We are hoping the little, local, family-owned hardware store will have a thermostat that will work. They often carry parts for older homes (ours is 88 years old) that the big stores don't carry. In the meantime, send some warmth our way, will ya?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

She did it!

I kind of got fed up with Mika's fear of water touching her face Tuesday and that started a change reaction of things that got her over the hump with her fear. After her teacher commenting, yet again, about getting her goggles I finally took her to Target to buy some. I explained to Mika that I didn't want to buy her goggles because I didn't think she would use them. I expected her to hate how they feel on her face and not want to wear them. I also suspected that she would still refuse to put her face in the water even with the goggles protecting her eyes. She promised me that she would use them so I spent the money on bought them.

The very next class, she refused to put her face in the water, to even see if the goggles would work. Well, I was NOT happy about that. So, I threatened to pull her out of class if she wasn't going to learn and to make her work off the cost of the goggles. She was NOT happy about that. Scott talked to her and she promised him she would do a bob to her eyebrows. Today was the day she had to do that.

This morning before leaving for class, I looked up and called another pool that does swimming instruction and talked to them about how they would handle her fear. They work with the kids to get them through the fears quickly. They said they'd have her swimming, face in water, within a month at the longest. I explained to Mika what they told me about how they do it and she wasn't thrilled about that.

So, we went to the Y. She did her required 1 bob. After class, they have free swim. During free swim I told her I would pay her a quarter for every bob she did. Guess what? She did 7 more bobs, some of them were very good with her entire head under water. She now knows that she can do it and is looking forward to showing her teacher (she was absent today) next week.

Her teacher and a couple of the lifeguards and I all agree, she would be able to actually swim if she'd just get over the whole face in the water thing. She's got the kick and arm strokes down good. We explained that to her; that she CAN swim IF she wanted to. Hopefully, she'll move along and progress quickly now that she knows she can get her face wet.

On a side note, Sammy found out today he can swim underwater. He doesn't get far or go fast but he does swim. Oh, and he loves putting his face underwater with his goggles.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy March 7th Day

Recently my husband, Scott, informed us that he will no longer be having birthdays. So, I'm here to tell you all that today, March 7th, is NOT my husband's birthday. We will NOT be baking him a birthday cake today and we will NOT be taking him out to Red Robin for our traditional birthday dinner out. I am also NOT suggesting you visit his blog and wish him a happy birthday. His blog is NOT A Place Where You Can Wish Him a Happy Birthday.

Maybe we CAN wish him a Happy March 7th Day instead!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Josh's New Shoes

Look who's wearing shoes! I thought I would post a follow up to yesterday's Works For Me Wednesday -Backwards Edition post. I followed a couple of your suggestions and look what happened. Whoo hoo!

I moved on the ideas I got faster than expected because we were outside playing today and I found small pieces of broken glass spread over a 25 foot length of our sidewalk. Who's knows how many pieces are in the grass. After sweeping up what I could find, I decided to try Target again. They were actually well stocked and we had 4 choices of designs in his size for the Robeez knockoffs. We chose a brown shoe with a giraffe.

Here's how it went down. First I tried on a pair of 18-24 months. It was quite an ordeal as he began screaming the second I started putting the first one on him. It's hard to get shoes, of any kind, on a violently kicking foot! They were obviously too big and would trip him up. I was shocked because his 18-24 month sized socks are too small for him and slip down his feet. So, I got a pair of 12-18 month size and tried them on him. Once again, the screaming, shaking, fit began the second I started trying them on him. But I persisted and got them on him. We were sitting on the floor, in the middle of the aisle. I just held him and told him it would be ok as he screamed, then cried, then sobbed, then whined. It took about 10 minutes for the hysterics to calm down but I just held him. Finally, he looked as if he'd survived the ordeal. An employee walked by and helped me cut the plastic thingy holding the two shoes together and we tossed the bag they came in into the cart. I had to carry him for several more minutes while we walked around the store. When we got the swim/pool area, I put him down on the ground because I had to help my other children with trying on swim goggles. Several times he noticed he was wearing shoes and would starting crying/whining again. Then he stood up and started walking. He whines a few more times but has been ok since then.

I wonder what will happen when I try to put them on him tomorrow. Will he scream or whine or will he be ok? We'll see tomorrow.

Oh, and if looks out of it, he is. He was up a lot last night with a really stuffed up nose and wasn't his normal self today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WFMW - Toddler and Shoes

I'm so glad it is a backwards edition for Works for Me Wednesday because I have a problem. See this little guy?

That's Josh. He turned 1 just last Friday. He walks. He walks a lot. He can walk 1/4 mile. He also climbs...stairs, couches, tables, and large rocks at Woodland Park Zoo.
This photo was taken at Woodland Park Zoo. He walked most of the day there. I picked him up to lift up high enough to see animals and when he decided he'd rather go somewhere other than where I was going. What do you see on his feet? Are there any shoes protecting those feet walking on that concrete? No! There aren't! Why is that you ask. It's because he won't wear them. Oh I've tried putting shoes on his feet. He screams loud enough for the entire store to here him while violently shaking his feet trying to get them off. Apparently, he also cannot stand or walk with those awful things on his feet. I've tried getting him to stand with them on; he just fell as if I was trying to make a newborn stand straight out of the womb and continued screaming and shaking his feet. I also tried getting him the really soft infant shoes but I can't find anybody that carries them in his size...size 5.
I've had a couple of people suggest Robeez. Anyone use those? How would they stand up to a toddler that walks and climbs as much as Josh does? The only place local that I can find that sells the larger sizes is Nordstroms; I want to know how they'll hold up before I spend $40 on a pair of infant/toddler shoes that will only last a couple of months before he outgrows them.
Also, do you have any other ideas for this problem of mine? If you've experienced this problem, what did you do? If you haven't, what would you try?
Find links to other questions and their answers at Rocks in My Dryer.

100 Things About Me

I've been avoiding posting even though I've had many reasons to post. Why? Because this is my 100th post and I had to find time to write it before I could post the other things. Since today is Backwards Works for Me, and I have a question I need to ask, I'm left with needing to find time NOW! So here it goes...
  1. I've been thinking this post to death, like I usually do, trying to figure out what to say.
  2. I'm going to just go with the flow, like I usually do when I'm done thinking something to death.
  3. I'm very indecisive; I can't even choose something on a restaurant menu so I resort to eeny, meeny, miney, mo.
  4. That has led to some interesting dinners at our house.
  5. I am so picky that I fear other people's cooking because I've offended a host more than once by not liking the food.
  6. I threw up someone's cooking once because I didn't like it that much; it was stuffed grape leaves. I won't touch grape leaves now.
  7. Being picky makes weight loss tricky because I cannot follow meal plans.
  8. I'm about 50 pounds overweight but most people don't believe me because I carry it well (in person not in photos).
  9. Despite being overweight (and old-feeling), I'm pretty athletic when I want to be.
  10. I take taekwondo classes 3 times a week with my son.
  11. I love that I'm learning to defend myself.
  12. I can't wait to get to black belt and to learn a more painful martial art--like hapkido or aikido.
  13. My fantasy is to be a female Steven Seagal...those who'd do my kids or me out!
  14. I quit taking my kids on hikes or nature walks because I'm afraid of running into a bad person where there's no help around.
  15. I quit letterboxing for the same reason.
  16. Now I create letterboxes and plant them temporarily at the retreat center for retreats I go on twice a year.
  17. I'm easily distracted.
  18. I forget things often.
  19. I lose my keys constantly; once I lost them for 2 1/2 months.
  20. I never worry when I lose my keys because I know they are in the house somewhere.
  21. I just use my spare set until I find them.
  22. I thought about getting a spare set for my spare set in case I lose those too.
  23. I once had to have the car dealership make me a new key for my car and bring it to me because I lost my only one.
  24. I can't eat cilantro; it tastes strongly like soap.
  25. My husband didn't believe me that I could taste it in anything so he told me the green stuff on my plate was parsley; my first bite resulted in a contorted face of disgust. He believes me now.
  26. I'm a cat person; I've had 12 cats in my life (Midnight, Charlie, Sandy, Stubbles, Kitty, Tigger, Pandro, Abby, Ally, Angie, Smokey, Gracie).
  27. Kitty was and will always be my favorite.
  28. I love the way Tigger smells; I smell the scruff of her neck all the time.
  29. I'm not a dog person.
  30. I caught 7 stray dogs one year.
  31. I found the owners for 6 of them.
  32. Now I have two large dogs of my own.
  33. I often wish I didn't have dogs; but I'm glad I have their protection.
  34. I like gardens and flowerbeds; I hate gardening.
  35. I love clean and tidy homes.
  36. My home is cluttered and messy.
  37. I want my home to be clean and tidy but I tend to put things wherever rather than away.
  38. I often I can't find things because I sometimes choose unusual homes for things.
  39. When I finally find the item, I'm confused as to why I would have put it there.
  40. It's especially hard to find things when I put them somewhere where they'll be safe and won't get lost.
  41. Cleaning a home is especially difficult when you are easily distracted; I may never finish a task I started but I do start 10 other tasks that I also don't finish.
  42. I named this blog after my husband teasing me about being distracted by shiny things; "Ooh, Shiny!" he teased.
  43. I actually get distracted by anything, not just shiny things.
  44. This post is distracting me f
  45. I got un-distracted on #44 and finished what I should have been doing.
  46. That's the way my life is every day...moving from one distraction to another.
  47. Having a schedule/routine has alluded me my whole life.
  48. I took birth control pills for 6 years; I missed 3-5 pills every month of those 6 years.
  49. I love the sunshine.
  50. I have a split personality: my winter self and my summer self.
  51. I love my summer self because I'm happy, full of energy, and get a lot done.
  52. My winter self is low on energy, somewhat down, and gets little done.
  53. I used to suffer from chronic depression that was sometimes severe.
  54. I've been depression and medication free for about 3 1/2 years now.
  55. I love playing fun music loudly.
  56. Especially 80's music.
  57. And dancing around silly with my kids.
  58. We haven't done that in a long time; I think we will today.
  59. Sometimes, especially in the car, I can't stand having the radio on.
  60. I usually prefer to drive in silence (my husband probably won't believe that one).
  61. My favorite color is plum (a specific type of purple for you guys out there).
  62. I do not care for other types of purple though.
  63. My favorite decorating scheme is called "romantic" according to a website I found once.
  64. My ideal room is sage with white trim and pink, floral accents or sage with white trim and plum accents.
  65. I'm not fashionable; I usually start liking a fashion after it has gone out of style.
  66. I prefer to just wear jeans, tennis shoes, and a comfortable cotton shirt.
  67. I like how I look with my hair done and makeup but a rarely take the time to do it; its just not that important to me.
  68. If I'm having a bad day, the best way to fix that is to do my hair, pluck my eyebrows, put makeup on, and change into nicer casual clothes.
  69. I love cold cereal.
  70. I love baked goods: cake, cookies, donuts, muffins, brownies, cheesecake, etc.
  71. I like to slightly overcook my cookies so they'll soak up the milk when I dunk them.
  72. I love oreos.
  73. The Olive Garden is my favorite restaurant; the salad, the bread sticks, the chicken parmesan, the lasagna, the fettuccine alfredo, the manicotti, the desserts...
  74. I make my favorite lasagna...from scratch with double the cheese called for in the original recipe I started with.
  75. I love cheese, but only certain kinds: cheddar, mozzarella, string, Monterey jack, cream cheese.
  76. I can't stand the fancy cheeses or anything with mold in it.
  77. I enjoy simple food.
  78. I do not generally like gourmet meals.
  79. I love crafts; I scrapbook, knit, crochet, create DVD slide shows, designed my blogs, made wreaths, and tried many other things including basket weaving.
  80. I can usually figure out how to do almost anything with a book, the Internet, or just thinking about it.
  81. I love learning new things; this makes homeschooling lots of fun for me, at least.
  82. I love going on day trips; homeschooling gives me a convenient excuse to go lots of places.
  83. I do not like going places overnight; I get homesick.
  84. I'm ok on overnight trips if I'm having fun every minute of the time I'm gone like at Disneyland or my retreats.
  85. I love roller coasters and thrill rides.
  86. I love white water rafting, the wilder the better; I want to raft a class 5 rapid some day. (this hardest passable rapid)
  87. I love downhill skiing. When I first started, I was terrified now I love it. I'd love to get to the point I can ski expert level runs some day.
  88. I haven't skied since before I got married. It's been 11 years.
  89. Now I have a bad knee and I'm afraid I'll never be able to ski again.
  90. I hurt my knee taking ice skating lessons with my daughter; overweight mothers shouldn't forget to remove their blade guards before stepping on the ice.
  91. I used to play volleyball every weekend at the beach. I was pretty good. I have only played volleyball once since I moved to Washington in 1992; there just aren't many beach volleyball games in Tacoma.
  92. I love the piano. I started teaching myself to play a couple of years ago and am starting up teaching myself again.
  93. I love "chick flicks."
  94. My favorite genre of books are science fiction and romance.
  95. My kids amaze me; they are all so smart.
  96. I like taking my kids with me most places; they are so well-behaved it is easy to have them along.
  97. I look forward to park days and summer reading club activities (puppet shows, music shows, etc.) just as much as my kids.
  98. I don't read very much even though I love it; I tend to get lost in the book and everything is neglected until I finish the book.
  99. I'm very extroverted. My energy stores are filled by being around other people and I lose energy by being alone too long.
  100. I worry too much about what other people think...maybe you'll think my list is silly.

I'm glad that is done!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kennel Up Josh!

Ok, this was humorous. This evening we were eating dinner at the "little table," otherwise known as the coffee table. The dogs were doing their usual thing; crowding under the table hoping for someone to drop a morsel of food. They were in the way and quite annoying, as usual. So I ordered them out and told them to kennel. What do you think happened?

Zach, our older dog, immediately headed for the kennel and laid down. Sybil started for the kennel but turned back hoping we'd forget we sent her away. And Josh, my darling 1 year old baby, turned and headed for the kennel. By the time we got Sybil to go to the kennel is was a bit too crowded with Zach and Josh hanging out together.

I've never taught Josh to kennel up! Honest!