And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

They're Trying to Kill Me

I'm visiting my parents with the kids in Chicago for a few days, and it goes without saying that a one-hour time change + the excitement of seeing Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle John + various levels of snottiness/coughing + sleeping in different beds = very interrupted sleep patterns. I keep bragging about how, after the hell of not-sleeping endured during the first two years with each child, they finally have a regular bedtime, sleep through the night, and get up not earlier than 7 a.m. HA! They are out to prove me wrong.

The first night, they went to bed at about 10:00, and they were up at 5:30. The next, they went to bed at an almost-normal time (8:30), and Ian was up coughing at 4:50, and never went back to sleep. (Of course, I'd stayed up until 12:30 with my brother -- silly me.) Last night, Ian woke up at 3:30 and he and Katie (they're in the same room) spent the next hour alternately yelling at each other and coughing and making me get back out of bed to get them to GO BACK TO SLEEP!!!

This experience has led me to develop a new mantra: If you want to ingratiate yourself with me enough so that I'll, I don't know, continue to feed you, do not stand outside my bedroom door at 3:56 a.m. and whine, "Mommy, I'm bored!"

They. Are. Trying. To. Kill. Me.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Domestic, but in a Weird Way

That sums me up in a nutshell, sometimes. Right this very moment, cooling on the stove, is a large batch of yummy homemade . . . um . . . pepper jelly. It smells slightly acidic and vinegary in here. I'm not even sure I really like pepper jelly, nor do I know anyone who does, as far as I know, so why don't I just go ahead and make 9 cups' worth? But Family Fun or Parenting or something had this recipe under "Gifts Kids Can Make" (Who, me? Reading a pre-holiday magazine in February? Why, of course not!), and it looked so intriguing that I bought the jalapenos, green and red peppers, and liquid pectin when I was at the grocery store. I mean, who can resist a recipe that says, "Put the seeded jalapenos and 1 cup of sugar in the food processor and process until jalapenos are finely ground. Sugar will be green." How cool is green sugar?

(Naturally, as with any recipe, I didn't have all the ingredients on hand that I thought I did, but instead of substituting this time, I sent Dave out for apple cider vinegar and more sugar.)

Anyway, I'll taste this in about half an hour, and if it's halfway decent, I'll hand it out to unsuspecting neighbors and relatives next week. I'll make my mom and dad eat it when we arrive in Chicago tomorrow night. Hope you've got cream cheese, Mom!

Katie had her third horseback riding lesson today, riding Bob, the pony. (Oddly enough, it didn't occur to me that little kids take lessons on little horses. I expected her to be riding regular-sized horses, but she's out there on this little pony.) She was fairly bouncy at the beginning, but by the end she was finally getting the rhythm of posting. It doesn't seem like she's that blissful while she's out in the ring, but she literally glows after the lesson. I'm glad we get to do this for her, even if she can be a bit ungrateful at times. It's fun to watch, too, although I wonder how long we have to go for lessons before we start to fit in with the horsey crowd -- so far, we're very much the outsiders at the stables.

Our contractor was supposed to start on putting walls in our basement today, but it rained. You'd think that wouldn't delay an inside job, but apparently they won't deliver lumber in the rain. So all that scrambling around last night trying the make the basement as empty/neat as possible so the workers can do the framing was a bit of a waste. At least it's done, so they'll be able to build as soon as they get all the materials. Although I do wonder how all those piles of boxes and stuff, which take up most of the volume of the proposed rooms, is actually going to fit in the confines of the rooms when they're finally finished. Ah well, best to be all Scarlett about that and think about it tomorrow. After all, we don't even have walls yet.

Wish me luck on my 5-day adventure with two kids all by myself. At least the flights are nonstop, and short, and I think I've mustered enough surprises/goodies to keep Katie and Ian occupied. Can't wait to get home and give my dad a great big hug -- and then scold him for giving me such a scare. Off to do the packing before the kids go to bed.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fine Motor Skills, Still Under Development

Ian (now three years old -- remind me sometime to regale you with tales of the dinosaur birthday party) is working on his fine motor skills. He likes to sit and draw . . . asteroids. And sometimes shooting stars (I'm not the only geek in the family). Mostly, I think it's because he tries to draw circles, and they come out slightly lumpy, so he dubs them asteroids. The alternate interpretation to his drawings (i.e., his response to the question, "What is this a picture of, Ian?") is that it's "some kind of a fingy-ma-jigger." But mostly he goes with asteroids.

At church the other day, during the Time for All Ages, when they invite the kids to the front of the service for a story or some kid-targeted activity before releasing them to Religious Education, the four kids that were present were asked to draw on a flipchart. The lay minister asked Katie to draw a picture of herself, which she dutifully did. Then Ian pipes up from his position on the floor, "Well, I can only dwaw astewoids, so I'm going to have to dwaw an astewoid." And draw an asteroid he did. This cracked the congregation up -- he's now a star at church.

Then a couple of days ago, he found a Blue's Clues notebook, and decided to play Blue's Clues around the house. He walked up to Dave.

"We're going to pway Bwue's Cwues. Our first cwue is . . . ice!" Pause. "How do you draw ice?"

Dave explained it to him, and Ian concentrated on his notebook, tongue sticking out, as he tried to follow the instructions and draw a picture of ice. Apparently, it wasn't as successful as he wanted it to be, as his next remark was, "Actually, our first cwue is an astewoid."

So maybe I don't have to worry about my perfectionist genes showing up in this one. He seems to roll with the punches.

True Confessions

This is how much of a geek I am. Every day, I go to three Sudoku sites and fill them in. If I get in the top 25%, I feel pretty proud of myself; if I'm in the top 10%, I'm really, really pleased. One time I ranked 1 out of 101, and it was the highlight of my day. And if that weren't geeky enough, I've now set up a spreadsheet to track my rankings and percentages, charted by day and by difficulty.

Oh, and somebody should figure out how to block Kewlbox from me, the master procrastinor. Santa Balls, Topsy, Pengapop -- they've all got me hooked.

I really need help.