Monday, December 28, 2009

Ornamental Tour

As I said previously, we did finally find our ornaments. The tree wasn't as naked as we had first feared. It's still not crazy-full, but I like it that way. None of that overbearing tinsel here.

I chose a few special ornaments to show you, and I hope you'll excuse the at times extremely inadequate photography. I yam who I yam.

This is one of the very first ornaments I ever received. Her only value to me is her age and her association with my parents and my innocent, blissful childhood. As you can see, she is herself. Her paintbrush is long gone, she needs a good comb, and she hasn't quite figured out the whole rouge thing.

These are the two manliest ornaments on the tree. The Klingon Bird of Prey I purchased last year when one of those fancy-schmancy little Hallmark type gift stores went out of business. It plugs into one of the little light sockets and threatens the arborial cosmos with little blinking lasers. I love it!

The second ornament is a star that Art made for me when we were engaged lo, these many years ago. He fashioned it from stainless steel, and sharpened the points so much that it could easily be a home defense weapon if we were burglarized at Christmas time. I'm not kidding; you could do some real damage with that thing!

This ornament almost always makes me cry. It was given to me by my father's mother, Grandma C when I was very young. (My cousins and I called her Nonnie) It used to have the most wonderful gingerbread smell, and I associated that smell with Christmas for many, many years. It's made of wax, and is actually very soft. Apparently I carved my initials in it at some point in the past. The reason it makes me sad is that my Grandma C died suddenly when I was only four years old. My mother was expecting my sister at the time, so Nonnie never even got to meet Claye, or my brother Elijah, let alone Art and my own children. This gingerbread man always makes me think of how the world can change forever, and quickly.

On a lighter note, this ornament, which I bought at the same little shop as the Klingon ship above, is my dream house. Well, OK, one of them. I would love a little country farmhouse with a wraparound porch. This one is even metal with a metal roof. We would love for my father-in-law to build us a metal barn house someday, and I'm still trying to talk him into making it two story, which he thinks is just crazy-womantalk. When I bought this ornament I took it straight to him as an example of how cute it could be. He wasn't convinced.

Here is the first ornament Art and I received as a young married couple. It's a little sappy, but that's alright, because I'm female and sappiness is permitted every now and then. I like it because the little couple are young and poor but happy together, which was pretty much our situation at the time. Life wasn't hard, don't get me wrong, but we are constantly amazed when we look back at how easy and carefree it seemed at the time. I hope I never have to live in a trailer that size again, but if I do, at least I'll have Art with me. (And a boat-load of junk. Hmmm. I'm not sure we could fit into that trailer, now that I think about it.)

Well, that's it. The Christmas tree tour is officially over. I promised myself I wouldn't write a ton about each one, but oh well.

Someday soon I'll be introducing you to a few of the things that made up our super-geeky Christmas this year. We had a blast with gifts this year, and my kids loved it!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

There's joy in abundance. Fill up on it!

From our family to yours

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Go Get it Yourself

Monday night was the Annual Ladies' Christmas party for Grandma Lilibeth's church. Even though we don't attend this church, my father is the pastor, so we are involved and loved anyway. It's very nice. My mother and sister and I have attended the Christmas festivities for years now, but this was the first year I brought Mim with me. She took the following picture.

Grandma fared well at Mim's hand, but mommy looks a little cockeyed. Not her fault, I suppose.

Aunt Claye did a little better. Mim and I are decked out in our party duds.

The ladies tried a new place this year, as they are in a constant search for the perfect Christmas party location. This year they reserved a room and catered meal at "Ms G's Girly Store"*. We completely filled the lovely room set aside for us, but there were a few...unpleasant surprises.

The first was that there appeared to be a staff of two. One man was cooking in the kitchen, and one rather harassed woman was trying to wait all the tables, which were filled with the 30+ women from the church as well as the customers in the tables at the front that were left over. She was...cranky. I mean cranky enough that I was scared to ask for extra napkins, or other things she had promised she would bring. And we were very nice. Really. The youth director even helped clear tables and serve drinks. (In response to our having been told, "Go get it yourself," when we asked if we could have a drink.)

I don't understand why someone who doesn't enjoy serving would choose the food industry. Just because you know how to cook and decorate does not mean that you should start yourself a little restaurant. (And yes, I've worked in a restaurant before. I know what it's like.)

Also, making a good, or recognizable, cup of coffee appears to be much more difficult than I had previously thought. Below is a picture of my mother's cups of coffee and cider. Can you guess which is which?

The fuller cup is coffee. Yes, you heard that right. Does that look like coffee to you, or maybe a very weak herbal tea?

Yeah. That's what we thought too.

Every year there's a gift exchange. All of the ladies from the church have had "secret sisters" throughout the year, and the Christmas party is when they give the last gift and the official revelation of last year's secret sister. It's always a lot of fun to watch everyone get their gifts, and those of us who are just visiting exchange grab bag gifts. I knew Mim would be unlikely to enjoy the typical adult woman's grab bag gift, so I brought her one of her Christmas gifts from home.

I think she liked it.

Altogether the evening was fun. Even the frustrating moments were fun, because they were shared by all, and will give us a lot of good "you remember that lady who..." memories at next year's party. I'm looking forward to it, even if I have to get my drink myself.

*Name changed to protect the guilty.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where, oh Where?

I seem to have mislaid my ornaments. I am missing at least one, and maybe two, boxes of ornaments. I know exactly what they look like, but they don't seem to be in any of my storage spaces.

The current theory is that Art packed them away inside of a large plastic tub somewhere. That's my theory, of course. Art's is that I put them somewhere "safe" and we will find them someday. Regardless, they are not on the tree. That much I do know.

Mim keeps telling me, "Mommy, our tree isn't really very pretty, is it?" And, well, no it's not, unless you're into the minimalist style of decorating. (Which Art is, actually, so he may have misplaced the ornaments on purpose. Hmmm.)

I bought a few candy canes, and used some big white ribbons from the kids' Christmas pajamas. At least we found the lights.

In an effort to cheer the little ones up, I bought some plaster ornaments from the Wal-mart craft section, and they've been painting this afternoon. At least we'll have a little color on the tree this year.

Update: We found the ornaments tonight! Art was sorting through his tool room and found the missing plastic tub. Yea!!

Yes, Deer

Art shot a deer this year, so we had a little meat-processing party last weekend. The result was two large bags of jerky, several pounds of ground, and a few steaks.

Art was the official touch-the-bloody-meat guy, and I just shuffled around and prepared the jerky flavorings. I did end up touching the meat when I put it into the marinade containers and when I hung it all. Yes, that right, I am just that tough.

As usual, we had an efficient assembly line approach to our tiny little slaughter house.

When it was over, I scrubbed and scrubbed anywhere they may have contacted deer blood. Blech.

And here we have what looks like a diorama of a fantastical butcher's shop, but is really the paper clip method of jerky drying that Art learned from the ever-wise "some guy at work". I don't know what we'd do without the combined manly knowledge of Art's coworkers. It makes me wonder what they learn from him and take home to their wives as Gospel-fact.

Anyway, I finally finished hanging and drying and smelling all the jerky, so we are officially done. I have encouraged Art to call that good for the year. I think we've got enough venison to get through the winter anyway, despite his misgivings. (It's not like we eat much meat anyway, but maybe he's just hoping.)

It's in the Genes

Here's a little conversation I overheard yesterday after school.

Mim: Zaya, we are going to have a new bathroom plan. OK?

Zaya: OK

Mim: Here's the plan. When you come in here and go pee-pee, then you put down this lid when you're done. That's the plan. Alright? Did you get it?

Zaya: Yeah. OK.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Avante on your Garde

Today has been art day. Every now and then the kids talk me into pulling down the art junk. Today's inspiration came when I bought a few National Geographic magazines this morning at the local thrift store where I volunteer to sort books. (I am my grandmother-in-law's apprentice.)

Someone brought in two paper bags full of them and quite a few had separate maps.(Those are usually long gone by the time I see them.) I love maps! I now have about twenty (that counts as "a few" right?) that feature such varied locations as the former Soviet Union, ancient Mayan civilization sites, the Holy Land, Columbus's trip to the West Indies and Mount Everest. What to do with all those magazines, though? They are becoming/will become collages. (Art and I have these fun little games where I buy junk for the kids, it sits around the house for a while, and then he throws it out. Hysterical! I'm currently up by a point. Or 20.)

But anyway, back to the art. Zaya made this collage, which turned into a very strange sea world of sorts. There are Praya Dubia, Giganto Cypruses (Cypri?) and Jellyfish galore. Oh, and a huge man made of a chopped up submarine.

Mim's collage is...well...lets just say interesting. She cut out this large picture of a woman - some sort of model, I think - and it takes up most of the page. She's wearing something between a dress and a swimsuit. I'm not positive which. There's also picture of a woman serving Mickey and Minnie mouse dinner (from a Disneyworld ad?) and a small brilliantly lit building. I'm not going to show you that one. Just because.

However, I will show you a picture she drew of Baby Jesus in a rocket ship surrounded by swirling blue and red planets...and one star. Don't ask; I have no answers.

Then we have the hurricanes. There was some dispute about the proper way to paint a hurricane, but I gave them a lecture about artistic freedom and interpretation, and the battle abated. Temporarily.

In the midst of this we have also pretended to be snails (three different types), hermit crabs, and I don't remember what else. And that's just since lunch.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Musical Madness

Zaya and Mim have started piano lessons again. We have a very sweet family friend who has agreed to give them, even though she doesn't typically teach piano. She is one of the organists at our church, and related through marriage, like just about everyone else in town. (I tell Art it's a good thing I moved into the community. It needed some fresh blood.)

Anyway, with the lessons has come a renewed interest in playing the piano, and Zaya continues to enjoy playing anything that isn't actually part of his lesson. Today he decided he wanted to play chords and eighth notes, so we had to skip ahead in his Primer Christmas book a bit. He regaled us with a very halting version of Jingle Bells for a while, then suddenly began inventing new characters. You knew it was coming, right?

Nitty is an eighth note. Tito is a chord. (Possibly schizophrenic?) Throwbon is a rest. He showed us all of them on the piano. And yes, watching someone introduce you to an anthropomorphic rest on the piano by, well, not playing it, is an entirely new experience for me.

Then there's Bluebonnet, the fermata. If bluebonnet captures you, he holds you. "Usually for about six beats," according to his creator. He also takes dots that he sees and sticks them into his dot. When Zaya is pretending to be Bluebonnet, he runs around like a very bow-legged cowboy. He grabs us and holds us for six counts, then we can go.

The character clan continues to grow, so that I can no longer keep track of all them. The Twilight Zone had nothing on the Teeson home.

In the picture are various characters drawn by Zaya and Art. It also includes Art's to do list. And yes, he was mocked for putting an apostrophe in the word chores, because he certainly knows better. In his defense, he was also writing the kids' chore lists and drinking coffee. (Mommy had already been gone for several hours, but that's another post.)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh, the Drama

Thanksgiving break is upon us, just in time for my daughter to re-adjust to staying home with Mommy all day again. Next week is going to be torture.

The last two days of school she cried all day and it was quite ridiculous. (I was even with her most of the day Friday because I was a parent helper in the afternoon.) She has been perfectly fine, only occasionally whiny, until the last few weeks. It's getting worse and worse. Her teacher told me, "I can stand it if you can. Just keep sending her." She says if I give in now, she'll think that staying home with Mommy will always be an option, and won't learn to adapt and enjoy her surroundings. Which I know is true.

It's hard to convince myself of that, though, when I know that Pre-K is not necessary or required, and she would be perfectly fine in Kindergarten without it. (Except for the whining, of course, which is the reason she's staying.)

Regardless, it's stressful for all concerned, and the sooner she grows out of this "Mommy, Mommy" phase the better. I know that personalities are different, but this is getting a little ridiculous.

(This picture is Mim in happier times at Ms. Maria's jewelry party a few weeks ago.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Both kids are now well, and life is returning to whatever bits of normal it was before Strep throat derailed it.

Mim was a much more...demanding...patient than Zaya, but I think she felt a lot worse. She does not like to admit that she's tired. Ever. But I have photographic proof.

Now we're struggling to get back into the school mode. Mim missed six days of school in a row, because I kept her home when Zaya was sick as well. She is not happy about going to school in the mornings, and I certainly hope this is just temporary. I do not want to be battling with this for the next 13 years. Ugh.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Ha-ha, It Is To Laugh!

Here are two jokes that Zaya invented this last week -

1.) What kind of karate do soybean's do?

2.) What kind of note stores white blood cells?

Answers are below the picture.

A1) To-FU!

A2) Lymph notes!

We are finally beginning to approach jokes with an actual punchline! This is a momentous occasion in the life of any child (and/or parent who is forced to listen to hundreds of silly, pointless jokes.)

We needed a little extra humor. Zaya had strep throat last week, and now that he is fever-free, Mim woke up with a temperature! One more doctor's trip today, and maybe we'll be done for a while.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Writing Santa, Digital Style

I finally thought of a way to help all my relatives who will be calling in the next month or so about Christmas presents. My kids now have wish lists at and for your shopping or idea convenience. (Actually the thinkgeek list is for the whole family.) Art and I also have a wish list at Amazon. (Ok, it's mostly mine. I'm still trying to talk Art into adding some specific things.)

I was going to include the links so that you just had to click to get to them, but then I realized that you could see all our family information when you went to the lists, which is not really what I'd like to make available to the entire internet. Therefore...if you're interested in seeing these lists, please just tell me so and I'll send you the links in an e-mail. Unless you're some creepy stranger, then you're out of luck.

Now, I'm not saying anyone has to buy my family anything, or that we wouldn't love something that isn't on these lists. I'm just saying here are some ideas. If you find something similar at Walmart, that's fine too. Again, these are just ideas. I can never think of anything when someone asks me, so now you have somewhere to turn.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Mommy, I'm so tired.

We have our first fever of the season. Zaya has his annual case of bizarre strep throat. It's bizarre because he doesn't have a sore throat. In fact, he never has, and he's had strep every year now for the last three years. He just gets a fever. His throat is red, but it doesn't hurt him. This morning he broke out with hives suddenly on his back, but a little Benadryl knocked those puppies out. (I have a picture. I'm glad I took it, because the Benadryl made them disappear by the time we got to the doctor's office, and they always believe you so much more when you have photographic proof.)(And yes, I'm one of those moms. Get over it.)

He spent the day playing Endless Ocean on the Wii, which is a beautifully peaceful little game where you explore the ocean and discover new types of sea-life. He loves it, which is nice, because I much prefer it to the other games in his digital arsenal. After Daddy got home we had a nice supper, and now they're playing Mancala while Mim takes her bath. Then it's to bed, and praying for a good feverfree night.

Oh, and in other news, we are now the proud owners of a small chest freezer. It fits in the little place beside the door in our den as if it were made for it. Art plans to get a deer this year, so this'll be it's resting place.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Budding tastes

Here are two different ways that Mim has described food or drink that did not meet her taste standards recently.

"It tastes like an alien crawled into my mouth."


"It tastes like a pool with bugs in it."

Leading me to ask, of course, "How on earth could you possibly know?"

She has a cold, which is presumably why things don't taste quite the way they're supposed to.

The picture below is how my two children write the word Popeye. The left is Mim and the right is Zaya. (Zaya had a little help with the last two letters.)

In case it's hard to tell, Mim drew an eyeball after the word Pop. Then she made the pupil an M, because she likes to autograph her work.

This was all done in Grandma Lilibeth's classroom, which we try to visit once or twice a week after school is over. The seniors are currently selling those big round lollipops, so the kids usually leave school with blue, red, purple, pink or white tongues. And lips. And faces. And hands. Thank you, Grandma.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pomegranate Goodness

My mom directed me to this video. You have to watch the whole thing. Don't just give up and decide it's another boring commercial.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Run Away! Run Away!

Yesterday we were driving to visit Grandma Lilibeth when Mim surprised me with a question.

We had been traveling quietly for awhile, the children reading, or so I thought. Apparently Zaya was reading, but Mim was contemplating unimaginable brutality with typical nonchalance.

"Mommy," she spoke into the silence.

"Yes, sweetheart?"

"Mommy, do they make bunny slippers from real bunnies?"

"Umm. No. No they don't. They make them from fabric, just like clothes. They just look like bunnies," I said while trying not to imagine someone ripping the insides out of a bunny and sticking their foot in said mammal. "They are not real bunnies."

"Oh, ok."

For the rest of the day I had the Monty Python bunny stuck in my head. (The picture above is of the Monty Python Killer Rabbit slippers from; a fantastic place to shop for all the geeks in your life, by the by. The Teeson family may just have a wish list there, in fact, in case you were, you know, curious.)

Oh, and on a related note, my father said that Monty Python was one of the things that his generation had done to my generation that required apologies.

The man speaks truth.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Be Kind

I have this crazy idea for a column I might try to present to the editor of our local paper. Actually, the idea of writing a column for our local paper is also crazy, so that makes this loco on several different levels.


If I were to name a specific strength I have, or expertise, if you will, (besides my excessive use of commas) it would be that I love learning about new/different things, and I'm a quick reader and researcher. And I can write a bit, too. (I'm not talking about grammar. I hate grammar.)

What do you, my supportive and uplifting family and friends, think about a column that is just a small explanation of various things in our world? Each week would have a different topic, like an encyclopedia, but more friendly and fun. Sound thrilling? If you were an editor would you pay, oh, anything, for that?

Here are some examples of just how random I'm thinking: What makes up the earth's atmosphere? What exactly is a Ponzi scheme? How do your white blood cells work together? Who invented the pop can? How much sleep do children need? What are the best strategies for solving sudoku puzzles? What might you see if visiting Budapest? etc....

So here is my question/idea for you -

What are some random things you would sit down to read a little column about? (A well researched column, I promise, but little nonetheless.) (And no, I wouldn't just be going to Wikipedia.) Or, alternatively, do you think this would be at all interesting?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life and Raindrops

It has rained a lot in the last couple weeks. I like rain. I even like foggy, cloudy days, but it was nice to have a few days of sunshine when we did. Now the rain is back, and so the children and I are cooped up inside again.

I've also had a cold for about three weeks. It affects various parts of my respiratory system, but only one part at a time. There was about a week of bad earaches, a week of nose issues, and now a week of that dry, itchy throat cough. Ugh.

I realize that you don't care about that, I'm just letting the world in general know. It's made me even more apathetic than normal about important things in my life, like cleaning, cooking and, oh, anything else that requires motivation and self-discipline.

The kids, however, are fine. They're just as crazy as ever. Sometimes more so.

Mim has decided that school is not as much fun as she thought it was, and she'd rather stay home with Mommy. Every morning she has the mysterious tummy ache and says she doesn't want to go to school. Every morning she goes anyway and is perfectly fine once she gets there. Fun stuff.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Coming from a family with several accordion players (although I'm not one myself) I can tell you that this is extremely difficult!

I need someone to make sure my brother Elijah sees it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

They're On To Me.

There's nothing more frustrating than having your parenting flaws pointed out to you by your own children.

Alright, there are probably some things that are more frustrating, but not many.

This afternoon I picked up lunch at the Braum's drive-thru. The kids wanted ice cream, so I ordered them each a small scoop of mint-chocolate-chip in a bowl. (For some reason that's their favorite kind. Don't blame me.) After they ate 'most' of their cheeseburgers I let them have their ice cream. When we got home Mim had only eaten about half of hers. Again.

"Mim, I'm not going to get you ice cream next time because you never finish it."

She looked at me with not the slightest speck of remorse on her face and said, "You'll forget, Mom." Then she continued with her activities.

"What do you mean 'I'll forget' child?"

"You won't remember that you told me that next time and you'll buy me ice cream again. You always do."

Which is true, actually, bless her pointed little ears. What she doesn't know, though, is that there was no better way to ensure that I most certainly would not forget next time than to be smug and annoying about it. Ha. That'll teach her.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Beat Goes On

Here are a few of the strange things a fly on the wall might have experienced in the last few days here.

These are my two little warriors. They were playing outside this way, and both seemed perfectly happy with their choice of weapon. Luckily, they weren't actually going after each other. That sword was one that Art made when he was but a wee lad.

This is Mim pretending to be the Sphinx. At first she called it, "The Statue of Liberty, you know, the one in Egypt." She did that in the middle of devotions one night and cracked us up.

Then Zaya came up with this one in the hall after he'd brushed his teeth. He said, "Look. I'm a statue of DNA. It's all twisty." You'd have to see him standing there in nothing but his little white shorts to get the full effect, but let me just tell you it's hilarious. I don't think he understood why Mommy and Daddy were laughing so much, but he was proud of the result anyway.

I don't have a good picture of it, but we had to play "Cell Wars!" this afternoon. First, we were white blood cells. Zaya was a lymphocyte, and Mim and I were Macrophages. Then I wanted to be a neutrophil, but Zaya said, "Mom, can you pick one that doesn't self-destruct please?" He knows I'll use that to make the game shorter. "Oops, I ate the bacteria and now I'm dead. You two carry on."

Then he decided it would be more fun to be bacteria. He wanted to be cholera, so I was gangrene. After that we were viruses. Zaya was smallpox, Mim was the flu and I was hepatitis. And you have to play these games just right, too. I daren't go attacking cells that I wouldn't naturally be a part of. If you're cholera, you attack the intestines, hepatitis the liver, etc.

Needless to say, I'm discovering that motherhood can be as mentally exhausting as it is emotionally and physically.

Oh, and one more thing. Last week the Spanish teacher asked the kids to come up with things that were verde (green). Apparently Zaya yelled out "shigella bacteria!" Then she had to draw it on the board and he was trying to explain what it looked like.

I have a lot of interesting discussions with their teachers....

Friday, October 02, 2009

Guess What!

Zaya has invented a new kind of cloud. It's called a Cumulo-Mumbus. It is big and fluffy like a cumulus cloud, but very dark. It produces very strong storms and tornados like a cumulo-nimbus, but more frequently. He is very, very excited about it.

I just thought the world should be aware and, thus, prepared.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Pet Update

All of the pets are doing well. We even found Luva. I set a couple live mouse traps and woke up the next morning to one very irritated hamster in a little gray box. The cages have been cleaned, but Mim's room continues to smell like hamster pee. I'm at a loss, really. Luva has also turned almost completely white. (She's supposed to.) (I think.)

Two new pets have been added to the total. Both children decided to keep a caterpiller, so Mim has a green one (Now in its pupa stage) and Zaya has a fuzzy orange one, still crawling around in its jar and pooping like nobody's business.

Zaya has also lost a bit of his interest in his hermit crabs because of their complete inability to be even remotely interesting. They crawl around. We have proof because we see their tracks in the morning, but if it were just a matter of personal observation you wouldn't even know they were alive. Not very exciting for a five year old. He has now decided that he wants a ferret. I have told him that the answer is "no" in no uncertain terms, but I think he continues to hope.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Indiana Jones Move Over

We've had two adventures today. The first occurred this morning before six o'clock. I had heard strange scurrying noises in the night, but tried to ignore them. This morning when I was getting my shoes on to go walk, I saw a suspiciously familiar looking dwarf hamster running around in our den. It was Goki. I grabbed her and carried her, protesting, back to her cage. Later when it was light enough and Mim was awake, we inspected the cage and found this.

The little twits had chewed away at the rubber ring until they were able to push the porthole out. We still haven't found Luva. I've got some live mouse traps set up, and we'll just hope against hope.

The second adventure was planned. Art decided that this was the weekend to cave in the old cellar in our backyard. This was made at the same time as the houses on this street. (The neighborhood is of the ticky-tacky variety.) It has been useless for the same amount of time. The problem is that it fills with water. I mean several feet of water, depending on the year. Now it will be full of dirt. Art's brother and father came to help this afternoon. (That's his father in the picture.)

I had almost, I mean this close, convinced Art to hire a company from a nearby town to build a pre-cast concrete cellar and come install it themselves. He had figured it up and it would've been cheaper than he and his brother welding one, which was his original plan. However, while the men were working today his father told him he could just build up a wall on one side of the stairs and use the old stairwell as a tiny little 'fraidy hole. (That's what cellars are called here.) Thanks Pops! So now it appears that we will have a cellar consisting of...stairs...hmm. OK, so he saved us a couple thousand dollars...still. It would have been the very first thing that Art had hired done instead of doing himself in our remodeling. (Except the roof, and since that was he and his family, it doesn't count, even though we paid them.) Not that I'm complaining, of course. I love how resourceful and handy Art is, I'm just sayin'. Sometimes it would be nice if he could let someone else do it and go eat pizza with us instead. He'd be as likely to do that as I would be to let someone write a blog post for me, though, so I suppose I can understand. Sort of.

Update: When I went out again they had torn the stairs up too. Apparently the destructive tendencies of the Y Chromosome overrode their genetic tendency to squeeze the last possible use out of something. (I love you, honey!) Pizza party time!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Whole New World

I think when most adults take a bath, our intelligence and creativity enter a sort of water-logged limbo and we feel a blissful sense of blankness, at least for a moment.

That is most definitely not the experience of my children. They come up with some of their craziest ideas while bathing. And if you've been following this blog for any length of time you know that even their normal, run-of-the-mill ideas could easily be classified as 'crazy'.

For example, the other night Art heard a bit of a cafuffle going on in the bathroom, and when he walked into the bathroom, both children were pulling on the sides of a little plastic cup and saying, "Fight! Fight for the glorious cup!" Eh? Where did that come from? I don't know.

Zaya's new characters often spring, ex nihilo, fully formed, from his imagination while he is bathing. I'll walk into the bathroom to bring someone a drink or get towels ready, and be greeted by something like this.

"Mommy, I've invented three new characters that live in my imagination land. There's Tronic the black swallower, Nucleus the macrophage and Beethoven the vampire bat."

Those were the characters last night. All I could think was, what a crazy team! And if you asked him for details he could supply them. And he will remember them and they'll reappear now from time to time. It's like they were waiting in the nether world of the bathtub for a receptive imagination.

The bathroom is also typically the site of science experiments. I walked in the other day and Mim has two plastic bowls. "Look Mom! If I fill this bowl up with water it sinks right to the edge of the water, but not all the way down, but this one is empty, so it floats on top! Why is that?" And then the next night, with glass bowls, "Mom, the empty one floats, but the full sinks all the way to the bottom really fast! Why is that?"

So we get the great humor of Mommy trying to explain physics. Again. Art really enjoys that, so I try not to if he's in the room. "Ask your father, that's his realm." But I'll give it a shot if I'm cornered and alone. I really hate it when adults make up explanations for children or tell them things are 'magic' or 'just because'.

Maybe they'll be fantasy/sci-fi writers or scientists some day, but I'm not sure their spouses are going to be pleased with the amount of their working day that they have to be in the bathtub. Meetings could get awkward.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


This is something I just heard coming from my son's room.

"Mim, don't you know this is the bathypelagic zone? You're a Manta Ray, and they can't survive in the bathypelagic zone because the pressure is too high. You have to live the mesopelagic zone of the ocean."

"Oh, OK"

I didn't imagine in my wildest dreams that motherhood would be!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Smooth Move

While using my mother-in-law's gun on Saturday, I accidentally stuck the magazine in backwards, and poor Art spent four hours that evening getting it out.

How? Why? It's really a long story. Let's just say I was flustered during the firing portion of our concealed carry class last Saturday.

In any case, it all came down to trying to push back a little clip that was keeping the gun from releasing another little clip that would allow Art to pull apart the gun. He tried an incredible variety of tools and household items to get it, and ended by using the shaft of an aluminum arrow. In the above picture he's using a DumDum sucker stick. He's holding it the only way he could see down the shaft.

Art is my engineering hero. I would've had to sent it in to the dealer to get it fixed if he hadn't been such a handyman.

Here are all the tools and paraphernalia it took to fix my little mishap, and you can see the gun with no magazine in it in the top right corner.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Don't Lay That Trash on Oklahoma

I may have inadvertently started my son on a life of crime.

On the way home from school, Zaya found an old, half-full bottle of water in the backseat and he asked me to roll down the window so he could dump it out. I looked back to make sure he was holding on to it, and as he started to bring it back into the car I closed the window. Apparently he decided there were still a few drops that could be cast to the wind, because as I rolled it up, his hand was back out the window holding the bottle. When the window started to come up he let go of the bottle and brought his hand back inside.

He had littered.

He gave me a look that said, "What have I done?" His eyes were big and he looked worried and thrilled at the same time. "Oh no, Mommy! Oh, no!"

"Uh-oh, we accidentally littered, didn't we." I tried to keep a straight face, but I'm not sure if I succeeded. "Well, don't worry. I think it will be OK because it was just an accident, and just one water bottle."

He was quiet for about 3 more miles, then piped up from the back seat. "Well, I guess the police probably can't find us now."

"Um, probably not."

He murmured for a while about the law, and then said, "We live in a small town. Policemen are only in big cities, right?"

I tried to explain that we were really alright, and not in danger of being dragged off to Sing Sing or anything, but I'm not sure if he ever believed me.

It's not really a surprise that two legalists are raising two legalist children, but it does make for some great conversations. I just hope Zaya doesn't succumb to his first exhilarating taste for walking on the dark side of the law.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Trouble in Camelot

Well, Goki the first has already been banished from the happy little pink and purple kingdom. (The above picture is Goki in time-out.) He (or she) just wouldn't stop attacking Luva. Granted, Luva is a complete whiny pushover, so it didn't take much, but still...I don't really want my four year old daughter to be witness to bloody murder.

I went back this morning to Ye Olde Pet Shoppe and returned Goki the first. Goki the second came home with us today. She looks much more like Luva in size and coloring. When she first came over to sniff Luva, the little cry-baby rolled over on her back and squeaked even though she hadn't even been touched. Either she's already become a life-long victim, and there's no hope, or the two will get along. I know this, though. If they start fighting viciously it'll be Luva I'll take back this time. Some people are just asking for it, you know? And maybe some hamsters are too.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What Have I Done!

Well, we've done it. Mim and Zaya have officially earned their first pets. They've been working on these all summer, and today was the day. In fact, when Zaya woke up today he said, "Hey! It's Hermit Crab day!"

So, as you can guess, Zaya chose hermit crabs. Two of them, actually, because contrary to their names, hermit crabs are very social animals and get lonely. His two are named Pincers and Stalks. He's had them named for a month or so now. In the picture they are the two little red football helmets. Someone at the pet shop decided it would be funny to glue little plastic football helmets over the shells of these poor defenseless creatures. Zaya asked the lady if she had any with pretty shells and not any dumb characters on them, but they didn't, so we're hoping they'll move into new pretty shells soon.

Mim chose hamsters. (And, as you can see, an excessively feminine castle/cage) Actually, first she wanted a bunny. We said, "no". Then she wanted a tarantula. We said, "Absolutely not!" Then it was mice, which would have been fine with me, but the mice aren't tame, so you can't hold them. We moved on to hamsters and have never looked back. Mim says they're both female. Only they really know for sure, but because she thinks they're both female, their names are Goki and Luva. (Pronounced love-uh) If one of them had been a boy, it would have been named Bobo.

We chose these two particular hamsters because they were curled up so sweetly together in a cup at the pet store, so we assumed they'd get along. However, Goki has been picking on Luva ever since we got them into the castle. They must have had a falling out in their little cardboard box on the way home. They say best friends shouldn't room together. It must be true.

This is Luva. She's in her wheel.

This is Goki trying to be Steve McQueen.

So far all the animals are enjoying their new homes, and the kids are enjoying their pets. The hamsters are very active and went exploring as soon as we put them into the cage. Luva appears to be more interested in exercise, while Goki has been trying to tunnel out and pick fights with her castle-mate. I hope they're both alive come morning. And so far, Pincers and Stalks are alive. We weren't sure for at first, but after I turned Zaya's light off and left them alone for a while they came out of their shells and started exploring. They're probably just emotionally scarred from having large plastic OU helmets glued to them. I would be anyway. Especially since that's the wrong school for this family. They might at least have had the decency to put a few orange OSU crabs into the tank.