Wednesday, September 24, 2008

History Lesson

The kids and I had a tea party today. And yesterday. They were both relatively calm. We used to call them Boston Tea Parties. No one drank anything, and the goal seemed to be "spill the most tea." Well yesterday's was minimal in spills and today's was even better. Aside from Cyril's motor boat noises and Cyprian asking if we wanted to hear him burp, it felt civilized.

I think Pippin thought he won the gold medal.

We had a talk about the real Boston Tea Party, which led to a lesson on the revolution, which brought up the Star Spangled Banner, which led me to sing it for the kids, which brought on fits of laughter from all corners. Why couldn't they have come up with a melody we can all sing? The range is a bit far flung for the ordinary warbler. 'And the rockets red glare' really got them rolling. Well, I decided we will work on it as a group. No chance of becoming a von Trapp family, but it will be easier for some of us to hide our contributions in a group setting. I hope.

It is such a pretty song though. And not just the difficult tune. I was getting teary-eyed just reciting the words. So I picked out our next book to read together "Betsy Ross and the Flag". It is one of the books my mom gave me. Its from the 1950s and has a big "Discard" stamp from the library it belonged to. It really is too bad. I have several others that seem to be from the series- one on George Washington, one on Florence Nightengale, and another one I can't remember. It seems sad that a lot of our nation's history is not being passed on. So I've decided we'll spend some time studying our founding. The Greeks and Romans have been fine, but I think something a little closer to home might be easier to grasp. And besides there are wars and Indians and lots of exciting things. And we can have tea parties.

This morning, Shane was home for a bit in the morning and was treated to breakfast by the kids. Kateri and Pippin made scrambled egg whites with feta and tomatoes.
Audrey showed off her espresso making skills and whipped up an Americano. And Cyril ran out to grab the paper for Papa. It was cute to see them all so eager to take care of Papa. And of course Kateri did the dishes afterwards. And then asked to wash the toilets. Again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Never Poke Your Uncle With A Fork

Never poke your uncle with a fork,
never kick your uncle in the shins,
never bop your uncle with a cork...
these are all unpardonable sins.
If you grab your uncle by the nose,
if you put potatoes on his lap,
if you drop spaghetti on his clothes,
he will make you go and take a nap.
When you're at the table, precious child,
if you start to mixbehave, and act
thoroughly undisciplined and wild,
he will gnash his teeth, and that's a fact.
If you jab your uncle with a spoon,
if you prod your uncle with a bone,
you will leave the table very soon,
and have to eat your dinner all alone.
-Jack Prelutsky

We have been working on manners, graces, and just decent behavior lately. My mom gave me a book called"Everyday Graces" filled with stories to illustrate various desireable traits. Audrey was thumbing through and came across the above poem during breakfast . She laughed, and laughed, and then read it out loud to us. Instead of having the intended reaction, she and Cyril talked about doing all the listed atrocities to Uncle Cameron. I think they have enough material to write their own poem.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Kids Go Political

We finally received our McCain/Palin sign today. We don't much in the front strip that would make a very visable placement. So I opted for Audrey's window. I had explained who McCain was and how we wanted him for president- which Audrey already knew. She thought it was great. Then all through our shopping at QFC the kids were chanting, "WE WANT MCCAIN". And Cyprian kept talking about "Mommy's getting a PRESENT for McCain"
We had a neighborhood barbecue this week-end. So of course it rained. We sat and ate in the garage, fabulous smoked and barbecued pork ribs, shoulders, and turkey. We brought chocolate dipped cream puffs and lemon drops. And another neighbor brough Nacho Libre corn. No one lost an eye and we only had to change the kids clothes a few times due to lots of bike riding in the rain. And they all slept very well that night.

Pippin spent the entire evening running up and down the driveway on his tricycle. He didn't mind the rain at all, but was happy when I changed him half way through the party.
So now we are feeling summer has officially ended. We even lit the pilot lights and have turned on the fireplaces a few evenings. I remember at the old house- it was so memorable because I got to chop the wood and build the fire-we started lighting fires the first week of October. So it is a little early this year. But it is only the mornings and evenings so we haven't turned the furnace on yet. Which reminds me, I need to have Shane set the thermostat. It requires something like "30 easy steps" and you have to set the temperature 4 times for each day. And then specially on the week-end. We had some hot nights and cold mornings a few day of the week last year. So I think I'll pass it on to Shane this year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Catch Up ll

We spent three days at Ft Worden with Shane's family. It was a blast. We had perfect weather, lots of things to explore, good food, good company, and at the end of each day-tired kids. We also had tired adults. We had planned on getting the kids to bed and playing games. But each night we were all so tired we just went to bed. Cyril and Azriel exploring the "buckers".

The view looking down the from bunker hill.

"The walls have been breached, the walls have been breached!"

Here is Officer's Row, where our house was. It was so cute.
We even did som kite flying. The wind was not perfect but Pippin got a little lift to his by running and running. He felt he was flying kite and was happy.
Hiding in an old vault.

Audrey thought this looked like the Narnain ruins of Cair Paravel. Here she is enthroned.

Cyril about to enter the tunnel.

Pippin's orc face. He was looking at sea creatures at the aquarium.

Here are the girls- Kateri, Audrey, and Avi. You could touch the starfish and other creatures.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Catch Up

Things have been busy here and I'm not sure how many posts it will take to catch up, but here goes.
This week-end we decided to finish up the playground. Shane cut big timbers and layed heavy plastic and then we hauled all the bags of rubber chips for the kids to stab and slash like they were in Braveheart. Then we raked them all evenly and let the kids fall on their heads until bedtime. But before we could do the above, we had to dig up all the grass. With a pick-axe. It was a great work out and I did that in place of an actual work out for a couple days. Shane did most of it, and for a reward his back muscles seized up in the middle of the night. I woke up to some strange sounds as he gingerly tried to settle himself. He could barely move- for future reference, don't take a cold shower after hard labor, even on a really hot day-and it might not be the best idea to clear sod the same day you already did a chest and back work out. Anyway, after some ibuprofen, a hot water bottle, and a massage, he was able to sleep. I tried to do more the next day, but he was still much more useful than I was, sore back and all.

After we finished, he took a hot shower and ibuprofen and we all went out to lunch to celebrate.
At the mall Shane suggested I get a massage at Gene Juarez. Partly because he was in no shape to offer on himself. And mostly because he's just sweet. It seemed a little odd at first, but he said it was present from him, so I did. He took the kids out to play and to Grandma's and I lay down in a warm little cocoon and had my feet and shoulders worked on. And I got some good pointers from "Sage" for working on sore muscles so I got to implement some new techniques on Shane's back that night. Which is doing much better.
And here is Kateri. She untied the chairs, without permission, because she wanted to do dishes. She had half the sink done when I came downstairs and found her. They looked good so I let her finish. Shane got a tattoo kit for the kids, supposedly they wash off in 1-3 days. Well its been almost a week of scrubbing and soaping and they are still pretty visible. But I think it is a good look for Kateri. I thought it was not such a good look for Audrey when she was getting ready for ballet class.
I finally signed her up for lessons. I found a studio just down the hill from our house and signed her up for ballet II. Then we had to find clothes and shoes, which people don't seem to carry much. She and I made a day of it and went to the mall- which did not have the shoes-and had lunch, and did some shopping, and after several passes at the jewellry store, got her ears pierced. I was a little hesitant because they only had one person so it would be one ear at a time. She held my hand, very tightly, and then we went for ice cream at Coldstone Creamery. And then we went to The Loft, where Audrey found an XS knit dress, I think it was supposed to be a long top really, with smocking across the chest and a ruffle around the hem. So she tried it on and it looked like a normal tea length dress for her. So we bought that and another pair of earrings for when she can change them.
It was fun just spending time with her. It is hard to balance "alone time" as the kids call it, for each of them. At first Kateri was sad because she wanted to come too and I thought a girl trip would still be ok, but Audrey had wanted special time. So I convinced Kateri to let us go and when I got back I would take her. We didn't get back until 6pm- we left at 11am, and she was eating chicken and announcing that in three more bites it was her turn to go. I was exhausted, but to the mall we went. Where Kateri stated she wanted to get her ears pierced too. I was a little relieved when we got there and she looked over the earring choices and then said,
"I just wanted to look at them."
So we went to the Disney store where she found light up princess shoes for $12. And a nightgown, which she insists is a dress. But I figured since she likes to wear clothes to bed it might be a nice way to get her to wear PJs. But she wears it in the daytime too. With her light up shoes.
The next morning, I came down and Shane said he was taking Kateri to get her ears pierced. Audrey offered to go too, and hold her hand. I thought it was really sweet and appreciated that they had something to bond over. Kateri is still a bit of the "younger sister" to Audrey. They went, and one at a time, Kateri got her ears pierced. Shane said she didn't make a peep. I guess I'm not too surprised. Then according to tradition, they went to Coldstone. I wondered if that was what Kateri wanted all along.
OH, I forgot to mention, Shane is now working 4x10 now. So we have a three day week-end every weekend. Which I am loving. The first week-end he went down to visit a friend at Lake Torture, as they all refer to it. I think Jeff spends all year planning what sort of pain he can inflict on his guests via a boat and various tow-behind things. But they keep going back. I think Shane has the records for staying on the longest, before getting flung at 35 mph, onto what feels like concrete. And I had a fabulous time when he came home and described the sleeping conditions with 5 men, most of which had a particular snore and all were spaced just so as to give Shane not a very good nights sleep. He used to get upset when I would kick him for snoring- with a sleeping baby between you you are sort of limited in how you can communicate, and I found a swift kick to the shin usually did the trick. But I think he understands now.
The next week-end we went to Fort Worden with his sister and parents and all the kids. I have lots of fun pictures, but that story will have to wait. I think Kateri is trying to make dinner now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wake Me Up When June Comes

September is here ,and with it came the warm weather that should have been in August. I was just starting to feel comfortable to the cool morning with hot coffee, cozy pants, and school work around the kitchen table. And then it it got warm again. So I decided we'd wait to open our books until next week. Besides, we still have a family vacation to go on. I figured that would be the end of our summer.
I did, however, sign up Audrey for a literature class. She loves to read, not as much write- unless its for fun-but I decided it was time to move on from Nancy Drew and The Black Stallion. So now she'll be reading Chesterton and doing various styles of writing. The class starts today and I am interested to see how she likes it. I'm not sure how much it will work to drive to Mercer Island every week, with all four kids, and keep them entertained for 2 hours. Or keep Pippin from falling asleep on the way home and ruining his bed time. But I guess we'll see.

I'm not a huge fan driving. Much less in traffic. Even more in downtown traffic. So Tuesday was a good day for me. Cyril had an appt with a urologist- the first guy just wanted to cut him. I said I'd like a second opinion. So I had been waiting for a particular doctor and had to schedule this appt months ago. They ended up having a cancellation and we were able to go in a month early. They sent directions to their Eastside office but when we arrived were told the doctor was at the Seattle office. I knew I wouldn't make it in 15 min but the receptionist said if I showed up in the next couple hours, they would see him.

Cyril was not happy. He asked the entire time if we could just go back to grandma's so he could play. I was tempted but really wanted to get the appt overwith so we headed to Seattle. Where there was traffic and construction all around the hospital and the entire drive Cyril begging to just go home. Then he started complaining how it was better to be a girl. As he put it,

"Girls don't have these kinds of problems. All girls do is clean messes."

Anyway, the appointment went well. The doctor did not recommend cutting him. The first thing she asked was if any ointments had been tried. I told her the first doctor said he didn't know of any such thing, when I told him my pediatrician suggested that would be the course of action the urologist would prescribe. She said there is and its very commonly used and wrote up a slip. So, everything is fine. We got the ointment. And in a month things should be fine.

And there was no discussing of anatomy at the dinner table that night. The first appointment ,the doctor gently explained what and why he would need to look at. Cyril stared at him blankly. Thinking Cyril was shy, the doctor went on to say that only a doctor or his mom or dad could do this and asked if it would be ok for him to have a look. Cyril still just sat there. Then I realized the problem. Cyril had no idea what the doctor was asking to see . I leaned over and translated for him and he was fine cooperating. That night we ate dinner with Shane's parent's house. And Cyril decided, between bites of mashed potatoes, to share his new found knowledge,

"Some people call it a nee-nee. But it's really called a penis."

I offered to clean up the dinner mess.