Friday, April 29, 2011

And Then Came The Ducks

On Tuesday my mom decided to take the kids to the hardware store. They were going to check out the baby chicks and maybe pick up a few more plants for the garden. Apparently somewhere between the chickens and the vegetables they got a little distracted. And then we had what I'm going to call "a grandma moment". You know the kind. It's when your adorable grandchildren think something is cute or awesome, so you buy it without really thinking through the repercussions of the purchase.

And that is how we got ducks.

I was sitting on the porch reading when Chris ran through the door with a box. At first I was sure they had bought chickens. My mom has been talking about getting chickens for awhile now, so a chicken purchase made sense, sort of. I mean she still had no where to put them, but a chicken coop could be built. But instead, he opened the box to reveal two fluffy little ducks. Yes, ducks. There was also no where to put the ducks, and a pond is not so easily built. As my mind is reeling with, "Oh my word, why in the world are there baby ducks in the kitchen", the kids had moved on to playing with the ducks in the kitchen. And my, they were really cute.

So we played with ducks all week. And, with the exception of having to blow-dry one back to life as it's body temperature had plummeted from being put in icy water, it was a fun experience raising ducks for a week. (Yes, I used a blow dryer on a duck. Like I said, this purchase was not really thought through so we didn't have a heating lamp. So I improvised with a blow dryer.) The kids named them Fluffy and Puffy, which I thought was so Beatrice Potter and that of course made me love the ducks even more. The ducks actually became fond of the kids and began jumping from their "pond" into the kid's waiting laps. And luckily for the ducks, a friend with a real pond offered to take them when we left.

All in all, a happy ending. We got to play with ducks and the ducks got a new home. The end.

*A note to the grandma's: Seriously, The End. Thanks for the Beatrice Potter experience. I can now write beautiful children's books about a girl and her duck, a tractor driving duck, and a boat captain duck. But we will only be accepting stuffed ducks of the plush variety in the future.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mr. Owl!?

"Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop!?
A good question. Let's find out.
A One... A two-HOO... A th
a-three..(crunch sound effect)
A Three!

How many licks does it take to get to
the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?
The world may never know."
-1970 Tootsie Pop commercial

Mr. Owl, how many snaps does it take to get a good picture of four kids!? More than three, that's for sure. Try ten or so, plus another person using another camera taking ten or so more at the same time. Then if your lucky you might get one, one I tell you, where they are all looking at the camera, and, if the sun is really shining down on you, they might all be smiling. But we'll call "all looking at the camera" good enough. Because if you stand there too long you have a full blown child mutiny on your hands and they'll threaten to throw both of your cameras in the shark tank. After all, they're already wearing matching outfits for you and sitting calmly on a bench pretending to really like each other, when what they really want to do is spill chocolate ice cream (or pureed carrots) right down the front of those beautiful matching outfits. So good enough is, well, good enough. Luckily, good enough is pretty cute.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And On Friday, The Aquarium

I love aquariums. The darkness and the water. The amazing and unusual creatures. The calm and the excitement of it. The colors are so vivid. I could sit in an aquarium for hours. However, children don't sit anywhere for hours. For them, the most exciting thing in the whole place lies in the next tank. Luckily we had enough slow walking adults to balance out the running kids so that we kept a somewhat leisurely pace and all was seen and enjoyed.

("Yes, yes the jelly fish are cool, but seriously check out my shoes!")

So maybe fast paced excitement is for older children. I guess we all enjoyed the aquarium in our own special way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More Easter Fun and A Backwards Trip

We have just returned from a week away. It was spring break here, so the four of us loaded up the van, said goodbye to the cat, and headed to Tennessee to visit family and spend some time barefoot on a country road. I think I'll tell you about that trip backwards. The week was full of good stories, waiting to be heard. And backwards seems to be the way my mind wants to tell them. So I'll start with the last thing we did before we piled back into the van and headed home.

I think I want to start here because I'm still in an Easter frame of mind and so it makes since to start with what happened right before Easter, which of course was the egg dying. One of my favorite of all holiday traditions. I love the bright colors and the anticipation of the hunt. As my children have gotten older it has become even more fun. We don't just dip the white eggs in dye anymore, though that's beautiful. Now we tie-dye them, and draw on them, and mix colors to create more colors. It's an artful sort of holiday tradition. And I have to say, I believe this was the loveliest set of Easter eggs we've ever created. It was especially wonderful because we got to do it with a lots of family gathered around to help, including a new cousin who was celebrating her first Easter. And that's what Easter's about. New life, new creation, new loves.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Fun

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Our Easter day came after a long week out of town. (More on that later.) So our Sunday was spent doing a lot of sitting and unwinding and settling back into the rhythm of home. Of course, it also involved some chocolate, some egg hunts, and a wonderful church service that thoroughly centered my soul. All in all, it was a lovely day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pure Mischief

See that face. That is the face of pure mischief. Those eyes, that sparkle. It's a mischievous sparkle. That sparkle tells me she will most likely be the one I'm bailing out of jail one day. Because she's the kind of kid who looks at something and say, "I wonder what would happen if I...?"

She had one of those moments last night.

Let me set the scene for you. Yogi Bear finally came to the dollar cinema. So we had a movie night out last night. It's the dollar cinema so I got to treat them to Icee's and popcorn. The movie was good and we had so much fun. We retold our favorite parts and laughed the whole way home. When we got home the girls still had some Icee left so they were sitting at the table finishing them before bed. Sicily was playing with hers more than drinking it because she's just recently learned that if you suck liquid up into a straw and hold your finger over the top it stays in the straw. I told her to quit playing and finish up so that we could get in bed. Then I made the mistake of leaving them alone in the kitchen.

Two minutes later I hear Analiese let out a shrill scream that I'm positive the whole neighborhood heard. In the time it took me to get back to the kitchen, Analiese had body slammed Sicily to the ground and started kicking. Chris got to them first and pulled Analiese off of Sicily and had to use all of his strength to keep Analiese from jumping back on her. Meanwhile she's still screaming at the top of her lungs and Sicily is crying. It was complete chaos. I finally got them to settle down enough to get the story.

Apparently Sicily, who had been sucking up Icee into her straw and holding it there, had looked up and had her "I wonder what would happen if I.." moment. She sucked up a straw full of Icee and then released it...

...right into Analiese's ear!

That's when she found out that if you release a straw full of Icee into your normally passive sister's ear she will become irate and try to beat the life out of you. Question answered.

This is that face in time out, a place she knows very well...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feisty Sprite

Sicily started playing soccer this spring.

Sicily learned that she does not like soccer this spring.

Sicily is overly aggressive. The kind of person who will walk up to you and punch you in the arm just to say hello. Not because she's mean, she's just feisty. She hits you with a smile and expects that you'll shove her right back. She's like a lion cub.

She's also highly competitive. She has to win at board games. The words "graceful loser" don't register at all with her. She once told me that she should have been the first child but the other two pushed her out of the way so that they could come first. And she's been shoving them back ever since, trying to win back her rightful place. (There's a life lesson there. I'm sure of it.)

Given that naturally aggressive, competitive nature, Sicily should have loved organized sports. But here's the thing about a strong-willed, feisty sprite: she only wants to fight on her terms, not because she's told to.

And so, she would rather not run around in a mob after a silly ball, thank you very much. She's strong and has a naturally good kick, so her coach is constantly prompting her to act. Which she does, kind of. She runs after the mob for a minute, gets herself to the middle, and gives the ball a good solid kick. Then she stops and lets the rest of the team chase after the ball she just kicked. Meanwhile she stands around waiting until they come back her way. Then she gives the ball another good kick and sends the other kids flying after the ball again. It's more like swatting flies than playing soccer. While she's waiting, she checks out her nails or digs holes in the field with her cleats. Then when the game is over she lines up the ball and kicks a perfect goal, just because she can and because no one expected her too. Oh, my feisty little sprite.

So maybe soccer's not for her. But the girl needs some kind of aggression outlet. The rest of us don't have the personality of a lion cub and we're all tired of the bruises. Maybe karate is more her thing. Or maybe I'll just get her a punching bag for her room.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Life of a Politician

It's been a big week for Analiese. On Wednesday she was elected as one of our town commissioners by her peers!

"Aren't you a little young to be a town commissioner? Why yes, yes I am."*

She was thrilled at first. I mean look at that stage and the big leather chair. The life of a politician seemed grand. Until, that is, she sat through her first town meeting. She realized that some people have really silly ideas about the way a town should be run. And people don't like it if you want to spend all of their tax dollars on ice cream parties. She constantly threw up her hands in exasperation.

Luckily, her term only spanned thirty minutes after which she retired to the town green with a Popsicle and started her autobiography on the struggles of being a politician.

She then settled into retirement by taking a walking tour of historic downtown Matthews. Without the weight of public demand on her shoulders she was able to find an appreciation for early 20th century architecture. And she even found time to stop and smell the roses, literally.

With politics behind her, her latest project is trying to convince her mom that raising chickens in the back yard is not only a good idea, but a great one. She's realized that this job may be harder than running a town ever was, as her mom is not budging on her firm "no". Although her mom has agreed to let her visit the chicks at the hardware store whenever she likes. Being seven, she'll take what she can get.

*Phineas and Ferb joke. We love that show.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Broken Glass

I have spent the last three days cleaning up glass. Millions of tiny shards of glass.

At 3am on Tuesday morning I woke with a start as a gush of wind that the weather man tells me was around 95 mph shook the entire house. Thunder clashed and lightening flashed. Then the wind hit again. That's when I heard the glass. It wasn't the crisp glass breaking sound of a baseball flying through a window. It was more like the crunching sound of a windshield of a car that's been in a wreck. It sounded like the glass was folding in on itself. Then the wind hit again and all of those tiny broken shards started swirling around hitting the windows and walls. All three kids came running down the stairs. The girls were screaming. Chris thought we were in a tornado and I have to admit I did too. I turned on the TV hoping the weatherman would tell me what was going on. The four of us and the cat sat huddled at the foot of my bed for an hour, jumping out of our skin each time another gust hit the house. I thought there was a good chance we were about to lose the roof. Around 5am the rain came and ushered out the storm. The wind calmed and it was just soft rain falling all around us. We all finally drifted off into an exhausted sleep.

When we opened the door the next morning glass came with it. Our entire storm door had shattered. Glass was everywhere, including lodged into the walls of the house. So were tree limbs and soccer balls and trash. It was a mess. I'm actually grateful though. Friends had it much worse. Huge oak trees uprooted and fell on houses and cars. Fallen power lines and debris laid across the roads for hours, blocking travel until most people just turned around and went back home. Some people are still without power. I just have a little (well a lot) of broken glass.

Although, we'll all be alright with not going through another night like that for a very long time.