Thursday, May 29, 2008

new blogs

I just wanted to introduce the new blogs I've added to my list.

Courtney-Clark is actually a personal life-makeover consultant. I'm sure I, my wardrobe, and my pantry would be a great project but right now I just like getting ideas from her posts and little decorating-fashion-and everything else hints. I wonder if there's anything for puffy eyes because....

I was just reading some posts on Sand in the Gears, which I came across in the WSJ this morning. I was interested because it is written by a dad of four boys. That in itself is enough to clue you in that there will be lots of funny stories. Oh, and they homeschool. I was not disapointed and had some good laughs. Tirzah, if you read the post "And Jesus Wept" be warned. And prepared. I wasn't. But the kids were playing outside so no one was worried. I have not read them all but I read, empathized, and laughed enough to recommend it.

Hearing Aid

Kateri's hearing aid is here. She and I were guessing what color it might be the other day, "bebe weddow, bebe wed, bebe pink. " I was drying her hair with a purple hair dryer and she offered maybe purple?. I thought that was probably hte least likely so I was very surprised when she came home with a pink and purple swirled hearing aid.

Shane came and took her and while he was checking e-mail, she went over everything in the bag and what it was for and how to use it. She said

"And you put this in the mircrowave for 3 minutes andyou use this for..." and she picks up a little poky thing and starts pushing on a spot on the hearing aid. I told her to wait for papa to explain it and he came up and repeated everything Kateri had just said. The little poker was for opening the battey cover. She even told me which part could get wet and which couldn't. Shane was amazed because the doctor explained and showed him everything and Kateri hadn't seemed like she was paying attention but she got it all. Makes me wonder if she really needs an aid at all.

She is already quite proficient at taking it out and turning it off and on by herself. Putting it in is still a little awkward- even for me. I'msure wiht her little fingers she'll be better in no time. But she asks to put it on and then wants to go outside to see if she can hear bugs. I was trying to get her excited about wearing it and was telling her she might be able to hear all kinds of things and I did throw in "like a bug walking".

I'm not sure how much it adds for her and how much she thinks it does. She came up with an inflated balloon and scraped her fingers across it and exclaimed excitedly, "Mom, I can hear this". I'm pretty sure she could have before.

The doctor said to ease into wearing and just try it for a little bit each day until she is used to it but she seems to like it ok and even asked to wear it yesterday. It was in an out all day and I had to keep reminding her not to press on it while its in her ear. It makes these little chirpping sounds when you do, which she likes. We get to borrow the aid for 6 mos to see if makes a difference for her, after which we pay for our own and possible a replacement for this one. Depending on if its still able to be located. It is so small and she is so capable and confident in her skills of using and caring for it I am afraid it will be hurt by someone. She is not to take it out without help but I think if I had everything set up for her in a special place she could do it all herself and it would be fine. But what she can reach, so can Pippin.

One drawback is they fixed the volume so it cannot be adjusted, which is good so she doesn't do it and I don't forget. But we were instructed to take it out if she is in an area where there is a lot of noise. I'm wondering if that includes the breakfast table.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How to Trap an Uncle......

First, you stuff his pillow with plastic dinosaur bones, shark teeth, and rocks. Then you mix tooth paste and water and sprinkle liberally over the entire bed and pillow. Place the largest plastic toys you can find under the mattress for good lumbar support or to cause excessive discomfort.
For a good night's rest offer a night cap made of freshly squeezed moldy oranges, hand crushed coffee beans, a pinch of salt and I don't even know what else. To make sure he suspects nothing, leave a note from his sister- using your best handwriting- saying its a gift. And call it an orange latte with peppe chocolate.


Actually, the kids were very disappointed this morning when they learned Cameron did not come last night. I consoled them with the thougth that maybe he had come but we were all sleeping and had locked the door so he couldn't get in. They thought that was ok.

Also, I was not aware and did not approve of the mattress trap in any way. Its amazing what they can do in the time it takes me to load the dishwasher. I do appreciate their creativity and collaboration. Now I'll just need to get them to do the same when it comes to cleaning. Which they now have a lot of.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Overnight Guest/Victim

Shane's brother is in town for a few days and decided to crash at our house last night, which thrilled the kids. I am not sure what about him inspires them to such evil thoughts, but they are always plotting different ways to "get" Uncle Cameron. I have video of Audrey and Cyril when they were 4 and two having a tea party at a little table with cake and flowered dishes. All of a sudden Audrey busts out with,

"So, how do you think we should kill Cameron?"

Cyril thought up tying him to a tree and lettin a bear eat him, or something like that and Audrey thought they could drop a big rock on him. They had some other gruesome ideas I can't remember but were much too advanced for their ages.

Well, things have not changed over the years. They knew he would be coming after they were in bed and had planned some "surprises" for him. I went in to get Cyril's bed ready and found the pillow to be very lumpy. I looked inside to find it stuffed with towels from after the kids' bath. I chaned it for a regular one and put some blankets on the bed thinking Cameron would now get a good nights sleep.

This morning around 6:45 , very early for my kids, I hear running and rustling out in the hall. Then I heard a scared and high pitched scream. I jumped up and went running to the kids room where Audrey and Cyril were huddled under the covers giggling.

"What's all this noise?" I asked, " And who screamed?"

"Cameron did" Cyril laughed.

"You guys, Cameron is trying to sleep. What did you do to him?"

"Not much" Cyril answered," We just dropped a pen on his neck and he went like this" he sat up quickly with a startled look and screamed.

"You should have seen his face, mom. It was so funny."

"Yeah, " Audrey concurred laughing hysterically.

"And then I hit him on the back with a spoon and poured water on him" Cyril confessed.

I had a hard time not laughing. More so when I told the story to Shane.

I asked Cameron later why he had not thought to lock his bedroom door. He said he hadn't though they would ambush him so early in the morning. (He's been in college for what?) Not to mention it was one of our kids who threw a metal airplane and broke on of Cameron's teeth. ( She was only 2 at the time) He said after the initial attack he did but Cyril popped the lock easily.

I was just glad the kids were up early, in good moods, and cooperating. I woke up Kateri, who had slept through it all in our room, and told her Uncle Cameron was here and to go get him.
She rolled over and smiled and basically communicated, "Yes, my first victim. Today is going to be good."

It was so nice to have something to get them all up and going- they are usually very sluggish in the mornings- and hopefully it will work towards an easy bed time tonight. I did tell them that being a good sport, or a glutton for punishment, he is coming back tonight so that will give them something to plot about today. And if Cyril's knot tying book arrives today, it could be really bad/good. I was thinking of setting up a camera so we could watch. And see Cameron's funny face.

Oh, and Gavin put up more stories and pictures on the Best Odyssey blog. The shark ones are good.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tahiti Pictures- Haraiki Atoll Barbecue

Shane recorded most of everything in his journal and he got a written menu from Hannah- on of the chefs. The pictures of the meals are very nice but her descriptions were amazing too. I couldn't find the picture for this one- he has one- but for dessert one night she recorded:

"crepes with cognac flambeau, bananas in a Kahlua caramel sauce with fried bananas"

Dinner on the boat was pretty fancy. One log reports:

Roast leg of lamb with steamed broccoli and roast potatoes, onion-white wine sauce with mustard and capers

Dessert- pannacotta with freshly made guava sorbet and passionfruit-pineapple-blackberry sorbet.

And that was just one night. I think I made waffles for dinner that night. They were pretty good. Not the home made kind just the toaster kind. But if you get the crispiness just right and use hot syrup to melt the butter they are quite tasty.

This was just lunch.
One night they decided to have a barbecue on Haraiki a little triangular shaped atoll, whose channel was extremely tricky and Gavin had the guys in the water watching the reef as they went through. Shane said there were some very close calls, sometimes with just barely enough distance for the two hulls to clear the reef. A picnic on a deserted atoll sounds incredible. Shane thought this tree was neat and as he got nearer to it he heard rustling sounds like a large animal. As he investigated he found tons of hermit crabs underneath all making their way to the beach. Like a wildebeast migration. Only hermit crabs. So not nearly as fast.

For dinner they took banana leaves and nestled snapper, corral trout, parrot fish, flat fish, with coconut rice inside. Then wrapped them up in tin foil and put them in the fire to bake. For drinks they skinned coconuts which of course they had just picked, and poured rum in them. And then drank it. I think they had a good time.
Shane's friend was introduced to the game "spoons". You play against a person and take turns being blindfolded while the other one hits you with a metal spoon. I'm not sure what genious thought up this one. You go back and forth until one person quits. The hard part is you have to hold the spoon in your teeth when you hit the other person. Craig was really in pain and the thuds of the spoon on his skull were painful to hear- and watch. And his ineffectual hits hurt his teeth as he tried to use more force. They got it all on video. When they got back to the boat they showed Craig the video which reavealed the other player using his hand to hold the spoon and delivering a resounding whack on Craig's head every time. Welcome to the Odyssey Craig!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Welcome Home Papa

After 10 beautiful sunny and hot days snorkeling, kiting, and sailing through the atolls and lagoons of French Polynesian, Shane returned to rainy and cold Seattle. We, at least were glad to have him home and in one piece. He's actually very glad to be home too and missed everyone terribly. He had lots of good stories and pictures of his adventures. Probably the most fascinating being the swims with sharks. Swims. Because once was not enough. And of course going in the daylight was not aderenaline pumping enough so they went at night too. In the channel where they come to feed. He said there were several "exciting" moments and hurried jumps back into the dinghy. I think one of the guys had to kick a shark. Sounds fun, huh?

There are a ton of pictures but I thought this one was cute and the background very evocative the places they got to go. He did get a little sunburned and learned that Banana Boat has cheap ingredients and anyone on the boat who used it got burned. I think Coastal was the name of the one that worked, although a little more pricey. But skins worth it.

They go to visit a pearl farm and tons of deserted beaches and hard to get to reefs and islands. I'll put up more pictures in another post after I sort through them all. I still haven't seen the ones of the sharks. Shane said there were black tip and white tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and what someone described to be a lemon shark. All of which don't got too agressive unless you bother them. But some of them seemed to be bothered and were doing the classic agitated shark behavior as they circled closer anc closer to Shane. Cyril was thrilled with the stories, of course. Luckily, I didn't get to hear about these adventures until he was home. The sattelite was down so there was no communication with the boat. ON his Panama trip he could send e-mail but this time we just had to wait until he got back to L.A., which was a little hard. One of the things that struck Shane the most was the the Tahitian sense of fashion, obviously the French influence. He said just walking down the street you saw and felt that people cared how they looked and paid attention to their attire. He said the women were very feminine in their dress and mostly wore dresses. Pretty ones.No risque in your face outfits. Just nice. Then he got to home and saw everyone in their sweats and t-shirts and was struck by the huge difference. He found a dress he wanted to get me but had no idea what size- it was European sizing too-so he passed on it. Everything there is horribly expensive.

We are so glad to have him home and luckily we'll have a three day week-end to enjoy before he works a full week. Unfortuantely, he does have to work today and tomorrow but at least we'll have the week-end.

For more pictures and details about the trip you can check out the boats website and read the captain's log. Some of the pictures Shane actually took, although they are attributed to his friend Craig. Shane eventually broke his camera by diving too deep. He thought the 3 meter limit was just a suggestion. Boys.

The kids and I colored this very colorful sign. It helped pass some time Tuesday as were getting anxious for his arrival the next day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This Just In...

I was sitting in the library and looked out the window to Cyril sitting on the fence, wearing a life jacket, and holding a rope. Not being able to imagine what he was up to I ran out to ask. He explained the life jacket was connected to the rope so he could slide down it. I thought maybe he wanted to try "fence climbing" and was debating whether or not I should let him try or make him climb down. I figured he's a boy and needs some creatinve outlets for his energy so I told him go a head. But he had to wait until I got the camera. Here he was getting into position and I realized he wanted it to be like those long cables you whiz down. I can't remember what its called but you know that thing you do on the obstacle course in 6th grade camp.
Unfortunately, the rope was a little slack and after awkwardly climbing to the ground he ended up walking across the yard to the big tree where he had tied the other end.
Luckily, we have a bit of slope at that end of the yard so he could finally hang from the rope. He lay there ginnning and calling

"Audrey, come see me. I'm flying."
I guess it was not quite the success he was hoping for because he told me it would work better in the woods. I told him to wait until Papa gets home and they could talk about it.

Our Week-end

We had some very nice weather thur and fri so we took advantage of school still being in session, and had some relaxing trips to the beach. Its hard to chase Pippin, chasing birds, in crowds of people and then we don't have so much competition for the crabs, although, the four kids had competition enough amongst themselves and somebody always came up a crab short. So at least they had something to fight over. Pippin engaged in one of his favorite pasttimes of throwing rocks. Speaking of which, this is a clip on the subject. Boys!

Kateri and Pippin did not care about riding home in wet clothes. I took them off before we drove home and their shoes dried in time for our trip back the next day.
Pippins other favorite activit- chasing birds. He's very fast and hard to keep up with on the rocks. The bird was too quick for him and after three sprints he settled for yelling at it.


I was surprised that after such a day they still did not settle down for bed until 10:00. Amazingly, Pippin is taking a nap right now, which he doesn't normally do but I am so grateful for. He was pretty much begging for one when he got up. At least his whining was. Poor boy. He is coming down with the lovely summer cold the girls and I are suffering through. I love having a head cold when its sunny and 80 degrees out. Today is cloudy so its ok now. We'll just have a relaxed, Benadryl kind of day. And maybe some tea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Guess Who Likes Photography?

Yes, Kateri does. I was downloading pictures and it said I had 52 of them. I was surprised until I started looking at them. I thought the pink dress gave it away and she readily admitted to climbing on the cupboard to get the camera. I guess I'll have to hide it in a new spot. Apparently Pippin was not shy about being her model. She did take some fun ones and then some of the wall. the clock. a bucket. Even her nose. the first three are compliments of Kateri.

I took this one. Last week we had some sun and Tirzah and the boys came over. Everyone played well and a lot and Pippin started to fall asleep at the table so I quickly ran him a bath in the kitchen sink. He ate an entire plate of noodles and a chicken leg while he bathed. Then wehn I took him out he spied Kateri's abandoned dinner and nabbed her chicken too. I asked if he was done and he screamed , "Noooooo". He finished it. And later he went to bed in bed and slept well.

Cyril found the earphones to the ipod and Audrey figured out a way to share it. Each of the boys took an earphone and listened to "Frog and Toad" stories while she played game. I was impressed and it worked well until Pippin pulled on his and ripped the wire. I knew it was too good to last.
Yesterday they were much more themselves and fought over who ws going to pull which weed. The weather was not great but I really wanted to start working on the yard. I got them each a little plastic claw to help and of course two of them were already lost so we got to argue about those too. Finally the weeding was so no fun or productive I made them all go up to watch Scooby Doo while I worked out. Which was a first. Usually Shane is prodding me to exercise but I did not know what else to do with my grumpy self. It worked for as long as the show lasted but I'm not sure I wanted to do more anyway. Have you tried prison push-ups? But it helped and got some endorphins going and the only mis-hap after that was when I took the flashlight from Cyril- who was sleeping on the floor next to our bed -while I was trying to get Pippin to hold still and listen to my rendetion of The Three Pigs. I had no place to put it so I dropped it off the side of the bed and it came apart. OK I dropped it sort of forcefully- as they had been chattering and poking eachother for the las 20 min and it was disturbing Pippin who really was tired and just needed to hold still and not be distracted for 3 min and I was a little frustrated. I guess the work out wasn't long enough. It wasn't broken but the kids were shocked nonetheless.
This morning I heard Pippin sobbing upstairs. I ran to see what happened and he cried "Tiri won't let me have the dress"
apparently they were going to play dress up and he wanted the dress she was going to wear. It has a white skirt and a fushia bow and I could see why he wanted it. I finally convinced him to try the lion costume and he was placated until they decided to draw pictures instead.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dr visit with Papa

Kateri had her appt to get fitted for a hearing aid- she'll actually get in on the 28th-and Shane offered to take her to Children's for her visit. He called on the way home and suggested I bring the kids and meet him at the mall for lunch. So we packed up and waited outside the Nordstrom's Bistro for awhile. Finally, they came up the escalator carrying shopping bags. Shane can't help buying her outifits. She looks so cute in anything, it is very satisfying to dress her up. This time he got her a little brown top and two pair of leggins, a pretty pink dress, and a pair of shoes- not pictured. i haven't washed them yet but of course she wanted to show them all off. I think I should take him shopping for me. I tend to have trouble getting anything for myself.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bones, Bones, We Dig For Bones.......

Cyril has decided he wants to turn his room into a museum. This was after he bought a t-rex skeleton. He currently has that, lots of shark teeth, some rocks, and some little fossils in his collection. He and Audrey are sure there are dinosaur bones in the woods and convinced Shane to take them on an expedtition to search for them. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day, but scientists have to get dirty and Cyril pakced some crackers in his back pack and off they went. It was ver brave of Shane to take them all, especially since he knew it would be muddy and slippery and he would end up carrying at least two of them. Which he did. Cyril was very well preapared and when they came to a steep part had a rope in his pack to tie to a tree so one by one Shane could take them down.
They all came back soaking we but had had a really good time.
Cyril was especially thrilled with the trek. He was soaking from head to foot and smeared with mud and even though they did not find any raptor claws this time, he was sure they were getting closer. He asked if I could call some palentologists to come and help them dig. I said if they found one we could call a museum and see what they would suggest. He was pretty excited about that prospect.
On a much sunnier day, Kateri and Pippin, had their own dig under a fallen tree. I gave them little brushes to sweep the dirt with so as to not damage the bones. Kateri is showing her "dinosaur bone" to Pippin. I should also mention this is the outifit she picked for Liturgy that morning. She likes the sound of the white shoes when she walks but could only find one. And it was too cold to wear just a dress so she Layered it with pants that are too short and a shirt. She got lots of smiles as she walked in. I'm ok wiht letting my kids express themsleves with their clothing. And besides it saves me time.
Audrey explains it was just a peice of rotten wood and Kateri insists its a bone. We'll not be adding it to the "Museum of Natural History" as Cyril had me label his room.

Its been a great outdoor activity for all the kids and I enjoy all their "findings" and they pour over Cyril's dinosaur books so as to be able to recognize the things they find.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kateri Is Going To Be A Great Mom

So, later today Kateri was feeling down so I reminded her we had some dishes to do. She perked up and helped load them all in. She put soap in the dispenser, closed the door, and turned the dishwasher on. Then she turned around and said,

"WEll, what should we make for dinner?"

I mentioned hashbrowns in the lineup and she went to into the pantry then popped her head out and asked,

"Should we do one, or two potatoes?"

She hauled out two about the size of Idaho, went and got the peeler, which she handed off to me because her arms get tired, and went off to procure the grater and a spatula.

I can't wait until she is 5. Then she can drive, and she can do the Costco shopping.

Kateri Doesn't Take No...

YOu can pretty much insert any word or phrase you want there...for an answer, prisoners, Period, etc. They would all be true.

This morning, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, Kateri asked if she could do the dishes. I had to remind her she is not tall enough- and maybe never will be at the rate she "grows". She asked if she could load them so I rinsed and she loaded. When I started stacking up plates for her on the cupboard she got excited and giggle "thanks". When we were done she wanted to make sure she was not missing anything and insisted I show her the empty sink. I told her there would be more after lunch and she was satisfied.

Then she found the vacuum cleaner at the top of the stairs and declared,

"There are still some dirties on the stairs. Can I vacuum, mom?"

I told her in a minute as I was on the phone and it might be loud so she decided to run a test and turned it on. It wasn't too loud if I went in the other room so she happily vacuumed for 20 min then asked if I could help her carry it down stairs so she could get the rest of the carpets.

I brought it down and she finished the rugs and then asked for the hose so she could get the hardwood floors. It was pretty cute watching her assembling the different hoses and attachments and if she got too far from the outlet she'd stop, un-plug it, and use a closer outlet. she did this several times before she decided she was tired and had had enough for now. I honestly thought she'd never quit. She definitely has sticktoitiveness. Which can be really frustrating if its about which seat she gets to sit in but when it comes to cleaning it can be quite helpful. Luckily she is old enough that it's not just playing with the sink or vacuum cleaner. She actually gets things cleaner.

I took a few deep breaths and decided not to go to the mall today. I did have a valid reason to go back as I need to exchange something but thought it might be better to have a day at home. The weather in nice- meaning its not currently raining- so I told the kids we'd ride bikes out front for awhile. And I think the errand trips are catching up and I feel tired and homey today so here we are. Besides we have dental appts tomorrow morning and next week Kateri is getting fitted for a hearing aid so I thought we should save our resources. We didn't get kicked out of anywhere this week so it seemed a good time to take a break and end on a good note,