Friday, March 26, 2010

It's all about interpretation...

At dinner tonight, Ethan would occasionally look at Eric and look very surprised to see him there. It was very random and a little bit weird. It happened so much that Eric finally said, "It's really me, buddy. I'm not a figment of your imagination."

Shortly after that, Ethan appeared surprised to see Emory sitting across from him. To which she clucked her tongue and knowingly said, "It's me too, bud. I didn't just go on vacation."

10 housekeeping tips...

1.) I will do a minimum of 12 loads of laundry each week.

2.) You don't really get more laid back with each kid, you just can't keep up with the housework any more. Something has to be let go, and it can't be caring for the beings that require oxygen and have a soul.

3.) No matter how many undershirts I buy the man, Eric will always run out of clean ones long before I have the chance to do a load of whites.

4.) The soap scum created by weeks of neglecting to clean the bathroom is necessary for my children's safety. It provides the traction they need to keep from falling in the tub.

5.) Any time we all really enjoy a meal, there are just not enough leftovers. Anytime I cook something that will not be added to the rotation, we are left eating it for a week.

6.) The addition of a dishwasher and a laundry room really have made my life so much easier.

7.) It is not uncommon to sweep around the spoon that somehow made it's way back to Ethan's room. I swept yesterday and the spoon is still there.

8.) I will find dirty socks in the most random of places. The most recent discovery was in Ethan's burp cloth basket. The one with clean burp cloths.

9.) Whenver I hazard to sweep the floors, it will rain and everyone will track in wet leaves, Emory will pretend to be the cookie monster and spread the love in the living room, or Gabby will begin to lose her winter coat.

10.) I prefer to look at the splatter mark (from when Emory fell holding an open smoothie cup) on the wall rather than bend down to wipe it up and discover that the baseboards need to be cleaned.

10 truths....

1.) Cartoons are my best friend. They enable me to get a shower, put the finishing touches on supper, or clean the kitchen without listening to any whining - from either kid.

2.) Emory's brain has really seemed to take off! This past week she almost seems like a different kid. We're communicating differently (better), she finished an art project with minimal instruction, and she's not taking the word "No" quite as personally.

3.) Forget the cream filled kind, these Cadbury eggs are the best!


4.) I had forgotten how much I love to run. I've recently hit the sweet spot. The number of miles that I consider my "base" for a run. Once I have reached this spot, I can run for literally forever and get faster with each mile above my base.

5.) It has been far too long since I've been out with my husband. Without the children.

6.) If the family is sick for a week, it takes a week to get back to normal.

7.) Mama's lap is magical. Neither kid is content to be beside me on the floor when we play. Oh no, as long as they are directly in front of me, my legs can even be on either side of them, they are content.

8.) With each pregnancy, my taste buds have shifted a bit. Currently, I am choking my family with the amount of pepper I add when I cook, and I am on a serious hunt for a good chocolate cherry ice cream. Blue Bell stopped making theirs. My pregnancy with Emory addicted me to ice cream, and Ethan is to blame for changing my allegiance from Diet Coke to Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper. Do you see a trend?

9.) Emory will do anything I ask as long as I tell her that we are playing Cinderella and I am the wicked stepmother. Evil, I know.

10.) I've found that if I am playing music in the home, we are all a lot more cheerful, patient, and considerate of each other.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

just a few photos...

of the most darlin' kiddos you've ever laid eyes on!


This is the best G-rated picture of the kids in the tub together we could get. Emory is looking at me nervously because I had just fussed at her for having a bad attitude about getting her picture made. I imagine she's thinking, "How's this Mom? Now am I good enough to please you?" I'm sure this will be included in her dossier for therapy one day.


Why she chooses to play in the Bumbo, I'll never know, but notice how much room she has for growth in there. Ethan has to be pried out with a crowbar.


The boy loves to jump!


Those eyes melt my heart! Never mind the rash on his face that is probably related to some food I'm feeding him. I have no idea what, since I've never abided by the "4 day wait" rule.



This is what we call Ethan's "toy massacre". He will empty this basket, not really playing with anything, and then proceed to show tha basket who's boss. He throws it around like a basketball.


Emory's new favorite past-time: washing dishes after a meal. She rinses everything while I clear the table and load the rinsed dishes in the dishawasher. She's really very, very good. I've even come out of Ethan's room from laying him down for a nap to see her finished with everything but loading the dishes and happily drawing at her art table. I'm liking this!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

my response to the whole Obama healthcare thing...

And, yes, you are about to get a healthy dose of my personal opinion. But, hey! This is MY online journal, so stop reading if you're scared. Here it is, my response to Obama's healthcare plan: Put up or shut up. I'm going to quote a friend now and I'm not going to tell you who she is or she'll stop saying wise things around me because she doesn't to have attention drawn to her. She's silly like that. Here it is: "i have been thinking that this could be God's answer to the church's lack of charity to widows, orphans and the poor and to the lavish and wasteful lifestyles that americans live. if the church were doing its job, there would be no need for the entitlement programs like welfare, medicare, medicade, healthcare reform, etc. though socalism through the government is a really bad idea, the concept is somewhat biblical, if you think about the fact that we should be giving generously to the church. "

So, yes, although I think this plan is foolish and it's going to cost my family a lot, and I'm scared at the way it looks like our nation is headed toward socialism... I certainly think that if every believer were even tithing faithfully (the WHOLE 10% that is required!) that this "plan" of Obama's to fix everything wouldn't be necessary. And something is necessary. We are required, as believers of God, as partakers in the inheritance of grace, as those promised eternal life - to take care of those who can not take care of themselves. The church is the institution that should be carrying out any "programs" that might be necessary to facilitate this. And if the church doesn't have the funds it needs, it can't help those in need.

So, put up or shut up. If you are not even puttin' your monthly check in the plate when it is passed, then hush. When you have started doing what is required of you that could be a viable solution to the problem, then we can start talking about how foolish Obama and his cronies are. Until then, get smart, get wise, and start obeying.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

from the mouth of Emory...

"When I grow up I am going to marry Wilson.... because.... he's a different sort of boy."

(driving through Homewood on the way to the zoo) "I wonder who lives in that blue house right there. Probably just some neighbors, I guess."

"Mom, do elephants jump?"

life...

As we live it seems pretty dull, I'm sure, to an outsider. But to the Skocelai, it is hoppin'! We've had the flu. The REAL flu. Emory started with a high fever last Friday, I fell prey on Monday, and Ethan took his turn starting Thursday. The kids had it far worse than I did, thankfully, since we all know Momma's don't get sick days. I even cooked dinner on the day I was the worst. It wasn't so bad. But I will say, we've been enjoying the BBQ Boston butt, mac/cheese, and coleslaw for days now. Dearest even went as far to say that it was as good as something we could have picked up. I'm not sure about that, he's known for being nice, but I'm glad he liked it. It was a stupid easy meal to prepare. Rub the butt down with some seasoning salt and garlic, throw it in the crock pot, add a little water, and let it go all day 'til it falls off the bone. The secret is in the sauce (from none other than Memphis, of course!). Coleslaw was the same. Secret was in the Marzetti's original slaw sauce. Mac/cheese from the freezer and we had one awesome meal.

Tonight I'm gonna use my girly powers to talk my Beloved into grillin' us some wicked sirloin burgers. It's warm outside, so we might even haul out the card table and chairs, drag the high chair outside, and enjoy a meal with nature. We've had George Goes Camping from the library for the last week, and it's planted ideas in the girl's head. So, we'll be off to Publix soon to pick up some Marshmallow's to roast on the grill. She is completely stoked about picking out a stick to use. What fun we'll have!

Yesterday, amid alternating doses of Tylenol, Tamiflu, and Motrin, we took the sick boy outside for some vitamin D and set him up with a blanket and my keys while Emory and I raced prickly gumballs down our driveway, climbed crepe myrtles, and drew with sidewalk chalk. I'm thinking the Easter bunny needs to bring some bubbles when he comes. That's all that was missing on a perfect spring day. And it's about time we had one! Talk about a pathetic spring break week. Between everyone being sick and the weather being cold and rainy, this week has stunk. Almost as bad as the spring break week Eric and I were engaged and I had walking pnuemonia. I didn't even have cable then so I watched School of Rock, that I'd had on loan from Netflix for like 6 months, over and over again.

Emory and I indulged in some crafty time while Ethan was napping yesterday morning. When our daddy came home for lunch he was greeted with a cheerfully decorated front door. We cut egg shapes out of contact paper, attached colorful scraps of tissue paper, shredded some green tissue for grass, and stuck everything to the glass front door. I'm still debating whether or not to go to the trouble of cutting out letters to include a "Happy Easter" message. I might leave that up to Emory.

Since Ethan seemed to feeling better yesterday afternoon, we even headed off to our neighborhood park for playtime with Emory's BFF from preschool who also lives in our neighnorhood. Currently, Emory is wearing a spring dress whose previous owner was Emory's BFF from church. Life is good sometimes! As soon as the boy wakes up we're headed to the zoo. Big girl has asked that we picnic there, and I am all too happy to comply with that request.

Daddy is working, but he'll be home sometime between noon and one, so I'll get some much needed gym time. Woo hoo! I might even run an extra 10 minutes so I can indulge in a brewsky with dinner tonight. YUM!

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

toofers!

Ethan has teeth! Just like his big sister, he waited until the ripe old age of 7 months before pulling a couple in. And, fortunately for me, just like his sister he doesn't seem to be bothered much by the whole process. Looking back, it makes sense. There was one night that he was up for over an hour, but he was playing happily in his bed so we chalked it up to time change voo-doo. And he hasn't taken his bottles with as much gusto as he normally exhibits. It probably hurts to suck, but I remember reading somewhere that if you feed them sitting up it helps. Seems to work. I love the way he works his tounge back and forth over those new thangs in his mouth. He gets a quizzical look on his face and then makes this great fishy face with his tounge sticking out. Boy is that kid cute!

And the big girl?! Well, we are all about books, book, and more books. I'm pleased as punch that she enjoys reading so much. We've recently discovered books on CD at the library. It has actually bought us an extra hour of sleep in the morning. We've been able to make it to story time at the library more and more since January and the advent of a predictable baby sleep/eat schedule. Don't even get me started on how much we love Miss Laura our librarian. She knows my kids by name and even heard us the other day and came over to say hi. How's that for personal service? She's awesome at her job, and I'm so glad she is our librarian friend. I want Emory to have happy memories of being engrossed in other worlds that Miss Laura introduces us to.

In an effort to one-day introduce Emory to good literature, I've decided to reaquaint myself with some childhood classics. Anne of Green Gables is currently on my bedside table. It is like dessert to me. I work hard all day so that I can settle in for a good read with something warm to drink at the end of the day.

Gotta run - I've got a big girl waiting patiently in her bed for her goodnight songs and kisses.

Monday, March 15, 2010

here comes Peter Cottontail...

Hippity Hoppity, Easter's on it's way! And, boy, are we ever ready. There are matching Easter bunny outfits for the kids - each sporting a real cotton tail! - and the goods for the baskets have been purchased. Last night I decorated the kids' doors with dye-cut Easter eggs for them to discover this morning. Gabby already seems to approve, as I rescued one from her at 2am. (She has a wierd paper fetish.) Ethan doesn't yet have his egg hunt basket, but he will as soon as I get to shop at Kid's Market. I'm hoping for a frog or a duck. Emory has a ladybug, so I think a frog for Ethan would be most fitting. But, as with any consignment sale, I am happy to get whatever I can since I'm not paying full price for it!

Eric has already signed the kids up for an egg hunt, and I'm busy researching to find another one we can do as a family. Plans for lunch are underway, and I'm excited to whoop it up and celebrate this "season" as hard as we do Christmas. After all, what good is the birth of Christ without His death and resurrection? If He'd come, but never sacrificed Himself, we'd still be lost and without hope. So, whoop it up! This holiday is just as big as the one we get the tree out of the attic for!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

out of 'da loop, man....

So, it's not a little known fact that we here at the Skocelai household are slow to warm up to most technological advances. We didn't have internet until 2008. Eric only recently got a cell phone last summer because I was pregnant with his second child and nervous that I would need him to help me with our first child if I went into labor unexpectedly. We only have cable because we are getting it for free. Something Charter offered us to make peace with a woman who had had a baby 4 days prior to them royally messing up an order we had placed for new phone service. And, we only get it free for a year. Since Ethan was 7 months old yesterday, that year is coming to close shortly.

So, you can imagine my confusion when I was trying to offer directions to my house to a friend recently and she stopped me short with, "That's okay, I have a Garmin." Since I was sure that Gremlins weren't supposed to be exposed to sunlight, I failed to see how hers was going to help her get to my house mid-day Friday. Seriously, I'm just now getting good with Mapquest here. We get excited that we can now download webpages faster than we used to be able to, but I still can't talk on the phone and be on the internet at the same time. Well gotta run. I've got an Emory.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

fairy tale overload...

Emory just asked me if everyone who goes to the Hoover library lives in the same village. Sheesh.

wordless wednesday...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the house cat...

Of course, we have animals. Three to be exact: Briefs and Tori (a father/daughter Boxer dynamic duo) and Gabrielle a.k.a. Gabby (the black panther). Gabby was mine from my single days. I actually got her from this cute guy's vet practice as a way to get to know him a little better. I did want a cat. I was living alone and there is just something comforting about having another being that requires oxygen living with you. And, it was a safe way to get to know that great guy I mentioned before.

Let it be known that she is from a litter of nine kittens that was literally left on the doorstep of the vet clinic. People really do that kind of thing. Tacky. Let it also be known that she is the only kitten from that litter that is still living. All her littermates have either met tragic ends through random situations, or Dr. Eric has had to put them down because they were insane. Seriously.

No one likes our cat, not even us. We love her, but we do not like her. She follows Emory around to hiss at her and swat at her butt. Wierd. When I get up to feed Ethan at night she immediately claims my spot in bed and then growls at me when I return. Every night. Of course, she doesn't bother me, I just pick her up and chunk her down the hallway. One day she'll decide to stop trying to claim my spot as Alpha Female, but for now, I can't sleep well at night unless I've tossed the cat.

Ethan loves the cat. Emory never really paid her much mind, but the boy can't wait to get his hands on her. Gabby is in for a world of torture, I'm afraid, whenever he gets mobile. He gets so excited when she comes into his line of sight that he literally goes rigid (not sure why, that's just his physiological response when he's excited) and emits an ear piercing squeal. His breathing gets very fast and he starts to swing his arms in an attempt to grab the furry black thing. She's so in for it.

Of course, the dogs LOVE her. Although they could swallow her whole without trying, she constantly taunts them by walking in front of the laundry room door. She knows that they are not allowed out of that room. However, every now and then the dogs throw all caution to the wind, adopt a come what may attitude, brace themselves for the beating that will inevitably follow the disobedience, and chase the cat for a lick. There is always, always much commotion and noise leading us to believe the house is indeed following down around our shoulders.

Briefs is a mite nuerotic and if anything in his world changes, he will refuse to come inside. When we got married he didn't eat for a week, because he wouldn't come inside to get his food. The new presence in the house was too much for him. Or maybe it was the fact that he'd not been invited on the honeymoon. It was the time Eric went on a trip without him. About a year after we had married, added a baby to the mix, and I had quit working to stay home. Briefs went through another period where he refused to come inside. Heck, as a new mom I sometimes envied him. I wouldn't have minded a night or two in the doghouse.

One night, driven to desperate measures by a new baby who wouldn't sleep, a post-partum wife who couldn't stop crying, and a dog who wouldn't come in for the night, Eric had a stroke of genius. He nabbed the cat, whistled for Briefs, and then held Gabby high up in the air to tempt the dumb dog to return inside. It worked. And ever since, Briefs has never refused to come inside again.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

cast of characters...

As mentioned before, we are frequently re-enacting Princess stories around here. During a recent visit, Emory's Gigi generously bestowed upon Emory the gift of Snow White. This happens to be Emory's favorite movie. Some of the more recent characters that various family members have been assigned are:

Ethan - the hag's crow, a dwarf, Prince Charming
Daddy - Prince Charming
Mommy - usually the hag or queen, but sometimes I am allowed to be Snow White
Emory - one guess!

And we are always to start at the point in which the hag knocks on the dwarfs' cottage to bring Snow White the poisoned apple. When Emory is cast as the hag, she'll extend her hand to me and say, "Here, I've brought you a poisoned apple." We've tried and tried to explain the notion of the hag's trickery and that she doesn't let on that the apple is poisoned, but our words continue to fall on deaf ears. Oh well!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

wisdom, Emory style...

Tonight Emory summed up the lesson from our family worship quite well:

"Jesus is always not late."

Get it?

Monday, March 1, 2010

remember to bless your kids...

... I've been reading a book entitled Creative Correction which I can't recommend highly enough. One of the idea themes in the book is to randomly reinforce good behavior rather than always nailing poor behavior. Catching your kids being good, so to speak. One of the author's ideas that we've implemented in the Skocelai household is the "Privilege Jar". In it are 10 scraps of paper with special things Emory is never allowed to do. Some of them include:

- dessert before supper
- a movie (a full-length one!)
- sleep in mom and dad's room
- juice box
- piece of candy from the candy bowl
- trip for an icee

Right now she is happily coloring at the table using one of momma's special pens. It's really just a Sharpie, and she never gets to touch it, but asks for it all the time. She feels blessed. What did she do to earn a privilege? Ethan had a major spit up which resulted in my receiving a handful of yuck. I was sitting down and had him in one hand and you-know-what in the other. I didn't want to create more mess by spilling the liquid I was holding. I was a little handicapped. Emory just happened to be nearby. All I did was utter a little panicky, "Uh, Emory?!", and she looked up, took in the situation, and immediately ran to get me a burp cloth... without my ever having to ask. If you know her at all, this is HUGE!

I know that a lot of people think children should just obey for the sake of obedience. And, they should. But, shouldn't you? However, God does give us blessings for our obedience. Not every time, and Emory doesn't to get to dip into the jar every time she does what I ask. It really averages about once a week.

I am convinced that if we are to emulate the God who lovingly gives us good tasty things to eat, warm climate-controlled homes to live in, colors in His world to enjoy, and the free gift of His grace, that we are to bless our kids with an unexpected icee once in a while.