Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House, Mouse, Louse, Spouse

At dinner last night we were talking about school. I was asking Rehm how his math test went, when his first spelling test was going to be, when he would bring home his spelling words, etc. His math test went well, it was review. His first spelling test is next week. He already has the list but his teacher hasn't told them to bring it home.

Me: So what are some of the words on the list?

Rehm: Well, one of them is "house."

Me: Is "mouse" also on the list? (I asked based on the fact that the spelling words seem to have a phonetic theme )

Rehm: No.

Michael: What about "louse?"

Rehm: No.

Michael: What about "spouse?"

Rehm: Noooo!

Michael: Do you know what a louse is?

Rehm: No.

Michael: It is the singular of lice. Just like mouse is the singular of mice.

We talked for a minute about how House and spouse do not follow this rule nor do dice or rice. Then Michael pipes up with, "if spouse followed this rule then its plural would would be spice!" And then he decided he should not expound on that observation any further.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

That is not my brand!

One morning this week Ruby could not find any big girl pants (underwear) to wear. I was busy doing something, I don't know what. I told her that she had to have BGPS and suggested a couple of places to look for them. Each time she came back and told me she could not find any. I do not know if she was truly out or not. I didn't go look as I was doing something else. And it is completely plausible that she was out as laundry is always a work in progress in our house.

Somehow the idea of borrowing a pair of BGPs from Eliza Claire came up as a solution. At this point I don't remember if I offered this solution or if Eliza Claire did. For all of you that are thinking "yuck!" I'm sorry. I have four kids. I have laundry coming out of my ears. It is more important to me that they leave the house with underwear on, and hopefully clean to boot, than ownership of said underwear. It has only been in the last three months that they had separate rooms and dressers. Before that sharing BGPs was a common occurrence.

Ruby likes Elmo BGPs and Eliza Claire is partial to Dora and Mickey Mouse. They have some generic ones that are usually the community pairs. Here is the gist of the conversation that followed

Me: Maybe you could wear a pair of Eliza Claire's BGPs

Eliza Claire: Ruby, You wear Elmos. I don't got no Elmos. I only got Doras and Mickeys

Ruby: I never weared any Doras!

Eliza Claire: You want to try dem?


And off they run to Eliza Claire's room to find Ruby some BGPs. Ruby actually tried a pair of Mickeys, so she still doesn't know if she likes Doras or not.

I thought this was the funniest exchange ever. I think the funniest part is it reminded me of being a kid and hearing the adults around me discuss why they smoked the brand cigarettes they smoked. Each person had a very specific reason and for the most part never varied from their brand. My kids are just as loyal to the character on their BGPs as I remember the adults being with their smokes.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

Six years ago today, I welcomed my first daughter into this world. She has been full of surprises ever since. I hope she has a wonderful birthday today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

School Days

I apparently did not take first day of school pictures prior to 2006. I guess with the graduated schedule that took several weeks before they made it a whole day at school made me forget there really was a first day.

Remember you can click on the pictures to make them larger.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

A True Lady

A dear friend of our family passed away yesterday. She bravely fought cancer for over a year.

Her name was Claudell, but I knew her as Lady. She and her family lived across the street from Michael's family. They have been neighbors for 35+ years. Lady and my mother in law share the exact same birth date, down to the year. When Michael was little I guess he had a hard time pronouncing her name because he started referring to her as Lady and it stuck. And she always referred to him as Michael George or just George. I honestly don't recall where George originated.

Lady was the kind of lady I aspire to be. She was who she was and made no pretenses about it. What you saw was truly what you got. She was down to earth and spoke her mind. She was sure of herself and kind. She was very funny and had a heart of gold. She made family a priority. She was a great Lady. And from what I can see she lived a great life, full of love and family and friends.

She will be sorely missed.

Her family is in our thoughts and prayers.

I truly feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity to know such a fine Lady.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I can smell it, but I can't find it. When I came out of my bedroom this morning I instantly smelled cat pee. The cat has been dead for over a year! No other cats have been in our house. But the unmistakable smell of cat pee is permeating through the house.

I have pin pointed the smell to the family room. I have walked back and forth sniffing and feeling for wet spots and can not find any evidence of where it is coming from.

Of course this is the room where the dogs sleep now that Howdy can't make it upstairs. So I assume that dog pee must smell a lot like cat pee. But. I. Still. Can. Not. Find. It! It is driving me crazy!

It is funny, it almost makes me miss Zach, just a little bit as there would definitely be times he had been peeing somewhere and we could not locate the spot. It drove me just as crazy then as it is now.

OK, off to find the source so I can eliminate it. (Yes, the pun was most certainly intended.)

Edited to add: I found it! Apparently pee on an area rug on top of tile seeps through the rug so that the rug feels dry. I finally moved the furniture and crawled around on my hands and knees until I sniffed it out. Yes, I know, embarrassing, but it had to be done. Now the enzyme cleaner is doing its work. After cleaning some other things I'll come back and run the carpet cleaner over the rug and we should be good to go.

PS. Nature's Miracle is the BEST enzyme cleaner for pet odors. I buy it 1.5 gallons at a time. Well, I used to when I had a really persnickety cat. But, I do always keep it on hand and it works great when cleaning up potty training accidents, too. Most Pet stores carry it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

First Day of School, Part Two

Yesterday, Ruby and Eliza Claire finally had their first official day of school for this year. They are in separate classes this year and our school has moved into a new building (yeah!). They only went for an hour and 45 minutes yesterday. They were supposed to go back today for another hour and 45 minutes but Eliza Claire has the stomach bug Charlotte and I have already had. I didn't see the point in putting her in the car and risking a stomach bug catastrophe in the car to take Ruby for such as short day. Next Tuesday will be their first full day (four hours) of preschool. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Cooker

This morning I made Ruby cheese toast with a "banana like a monkey." When she finished breakfast she proceeded to rave over what a great breakfast she had. Her exact words were, "Mommy, you make a yummy breakfast! You are a good cooker in the whole world!" That was followed by, "you make a really yummy banana!"

Thanks, sweetie. I worked really hard on that banana. I mean cutting off the top and peeling it halfway was really hard work.

Then for dinner tonight I made ramon noodle soup with grilled cheese. Halfway through dinner Ruby pipes up with "Thank you, Mommy, for a very yummy dinner. This is the best dinner ever!"

Who knew I was just trying too hard and all I had to do to win my daughter's cooking esteem was to serve her my favorite college fare.


I feel the need to clarify that today's menu has be dictated by the fact that Eliza Claire and I are still recovering from a stomach bug.

Another Unusual Birthday Party

This past Labor Day we held our annual birthday party for Sam at the cemetery. Like every year, it seems crazy to be inviting people to come to the cemetery to eat cake, sing happy birthday and release balloons. Like every year, it is always a very blessed hour for me and my family.

This year we had cookie cake. That sounded good to the kids when we went to pick out a cake. Rehm originally suggested Krispy Kreme donuts. I'm not sure why donuts didn't win. But somehow we got everyone to agree to cookie cake.

The children decided that Sam would like Star Wars now, so we bought action figures to decorate his stone. We also picked up a Aggie gnome as the family is sure that Sam would be an Aggie fan. Rehm mentioned something about the "garden ganoma" at some point during the week. It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about but ever since that is how I've been referring to the gnome as well. For some reason it just cracks me up every time.

As always, I left Sam's party feeling very loved by my family and friends and as always glad that I was chosen to be Sam's Mom.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

NC Vacation: Mommy went to college, too

Outside the Dean Dome

Inside the Dean Dome - if you enlarge this you will notice that none of the children seem duly impressed with their current location. I guess I can't really blame them since there was nothing going on. To them it was just a big empty building.

In the Pit. We stopped here to have a snack. I have no clue what Rehm and Charlotte were looking for/at.

Eliza Claire and Ruby sitting in the classroom where I took Psyc 101. It was purely accident we took a picture in this class. This just happened to be the closest open building when they needed a potty break. The rest of the family was exploring the arboretum.

The Old Well

There was a brief shower, typical of a Chapel Hill summer afternoon. The kids enjoyed splashing in the puddles by the bell tower and annoying their mother who wanted a good picture of them in front of her favorite UNC landmark.

Living 2 hours away from Michael's alma mater means the kids are very familiar with the fact that Daddy went to college. We manage a trip or two a year to A&M to see some sporting event and walk around the university.

Living 1300 miles away from my alma mater means they are not so familiar with the fact that I went to college or anything about the school. On our trip to NC I decided it was time to change that. We took a day and visited UNC-CH. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We showed the kids the Dean Smith Center, my dorm, the football stadium, the the bell tower (my favorite spot on campus), the Old Well, the math building, the operations research building, the econ building, the pit, the student stores, Franklin Street (including a stop in Ben and Jerry's for some yummy ice cream) and ended our trip with a meal at the Armadillo Grill.

It was a fun day, and hopefully now the children can at least tell you that their mom went to college.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Trip to the Dentist

Wednesday was Ruby's first visit to the dentist and Eliza Claire's second. In case you are wondering, Eliza Claire had to go have her teeth checked out last year after her very traumatic fall/injury.

Ruby asked for strawberry flavored polish. Eliza Claire asked for vanilla.

Ruby asked for extra shiny teeth. Eliza Claire asked for normal shiny.

That, dear friends, sums up the difference between Ruby and Eliza Claire!

Outside the dentist office. Aren't their dresses Grandma made them adorable? Thanks Linda for passing on the fabric. The only drawback is I think I had to retie them about 100 times today, each!

Notice that the sunglasses are upside down? This is the way she always puts sunglasses on.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Other Side of the Cross

Sunday afternoon I decided to take a few minutes to walk in the sanctuary to see the flowers we had placed there in memory of Sam. By the time I got over there the building was dark and deserted. I sat down for a minute in the same spot where I sat for his memorial service and stared at the stained glass. It took me back to that day, ten years ago, sitting in the service thinking “he is on the other side of the cross. He is on the other side of the cross. He is on the other side of the cross!” Because he actually is on the other side of the cross and on the other side of the cross.

The cemetery where Sam is buried is literally on the other side of the stained glass window. This is where my thought process started that day. But then it occurred to me that he truly is on the other side of the cross because I believe I will see him one day in Heaven because Jesus Christ made it possible through the cross.


Friday, September 04, 2009

Harsh or Important Life Lesson?

This morning I walked Rehm and Charlotte to school. As we were about to enter the building I asked Rehm where his box was. He had to decorate a shoe box and fill it with items that were important to him. He immediately panicked because he did not have the box with him. He had left it at home. The first thing out of his mouth was, "you need to go home and get it for me."

Me: So what are you going to do?

Rehm: You need to go home and get it for me

Me: No, it isn't my homework. What are you going to do?

Rehm falls apart and starts crying

Me: You have two choices. You can go to class now and explain to Mr. C. why you don't have your box or you can run home and get it. You might be tardy but if you hurry you'll get back before the announcements finish.

Rehm: You go get it I can't! I'll be late for math!

Me: I have to walk Charlotte to her class. You decide what you are going to do. I'll be happy to hold your backpack and I'll come meet you and walk back with you if you want.

I walked off at this point. He is still visibly upset. I took Charlotte to her class and told her to have a great day. Not knowing what Rehm chose to do, I stuck my head in his class to see if he was there. He was not. I explained the situation to Mr. C. and told him that Rehm would probably be tardy and upset when he arrived. He thanked me for letting him know and I left.

When I got outside I didn't immediately see Rehm so I thought he had started home to get the box. I was wrong. He was still standing there stressing out and upsetting himself thinking about how horrible it was going to be to be late instead of taking action and going to get the blasted box.

Me: So what are you going to do? Are you going to class now or home to get the box?

Rehm: I can't go without it! Mr. C. told us we would get a zero if we didn't turn it in! But I'll be late to math if I go get it. Mom, you need to go get it for me!

We start walking back to our house

Me: Is it my homework?

Rehm: No

Me: Is it my grade?

Rehm: No

Me: Then why should I go get it?

Rehm has no intelligible answer.

Me: Rehm, I am not doing this to be mean or to upset you. But sometimes as your Mom it is my job to help you take responsibility for your actions.

Rehm: You didn't have to walk Charlotte to her class! She can get there by herself!

Me: It was not Charlotte's fault that you forgot your homework. I had promised Charlotte I would walk her in this morning. It would not have been fair to her if I didn't walk her in because you forgot it. That was not her problem.

We finish walking home, get the box and head back to school. Rehm is still stressed, crying, miserable and mad at me. Of course we live close enough to the school that we can hear the bells ring and the announcements. When we left the house to head back to school it was quiet. He got really upset as he thought the announcements were over and he was officially tardy. Lucky for him, it was only the Moment of Silence.

In the end he got to class before the end of announcements and was not tardy. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by this. I really wanted him to have to go get his tardy slip and explain that he had to go home and get his forgotten homework. I would have gone with him for moral support.

My goal this morning was not to make my son hate me, but to make him take responsibility for his actions and not expect someone else to fix it for him. I felt like this was a good opportunity for an important life lesson.

Of course there was a small part of me that felt sorry for him and a little harsh. But given the fact that he had already forgotten to bring homework home from school twice this week, I knew I could not fix this one for him.

So, if it were your child what would you have done?

PS. The two times he forgot to bring homework home, I did not go get it for him or let him go get it. The first time he had to go to school early the next morning to do it and the second time he had worked ahead and already had it done.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Tasty Surprise

Ruby and Eliza Claire have a book called You Can Do it, Sam that was a favorite a few months ago. It is a darling book about a bear named Sam that bakes cakes with his mom and the delivers them to all of their friends. He takes them to each door all by himself.

I decided to do our own version of this book since I had devised a recipe for Moravian Sugar Cake using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day's Brioche bread dough recipe. I wanted to try it out but did not want to have a whole jelly roll pan of sugar cake sitting around my house as I knew what would happen if I did - I would eat way too much sugar cake.

Sunday night I made the dough. Monday morning we got up and I got the dough in the pans. I measured out all the topping ingredients and then put each girl on a stool with her set of ingredients and let her make sugar cake.

First they had to mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together. Then they had to use their index fingers to make indentations in the dough. Then they had to sprinkle on the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture and last but not least they had to drizzle on the butter.

While the cake baked the girls made cards to go on the cakes. They said "A tasty surprise! Love, Ruby and Eliza Claire." When the cakes were done we cut them into squares and wrapped them in wax paper.

Now it was time to deliver them. When we got in the van, a warning light came on. It was not one I was familiar with so I looked it up in the owners manual. The manual told me to turn the van off and restart it (sounds like any electronic troubleshooting device - always start with rebooting, oops tangent - back on subject now). Restarting it made the warning go away so we headed out to deliver our tasty surprises.

Our first delivery was to Grandma and Grandpa and then to one of their neighbors. At each house one girl would "ding, the ding bell" and the other girl would deliver the tasty surprise. Then at the next house they would switch tasks. When we got in the van to go to the next delivery, the car didn't want to start. It took a couple of tries and then started but the warning light was back. Not wanting to completely derail our tasty surprise fun we made three more deliveries and just made a point to leave the van running, knowing that when were finished those we would go to the car dealership in that neighborhood and have the van looked at.

Our friends at our last delivery invited us in. I explained that we couldn't come play for a bit as I couldn't turn the van off. My dear friend was nice enough to offer to watch the girls while I took the van to the dealership. I took her up on it! Michael ended up meeting me at the dealership and waiting for the van. I picked the girls up and we finished our deliveries.

It is funny. I realized Monday morning that we have become a society that never drops in on people. It was kind of daunting to embark on a day where I knew I was going to drop in on eight or nine households, completely unannounced. At each door, the person answering the door looked confused. Grandpa even asked if they had been supposed to watch the girls that morning. Luckily, while everyone was a bit disconcerted to find us unexpectedly at their door they were happy to be receiving a tasty surprise.

It was a fun day. One I hope the girls will remember. One I hope to repeat at least occasionally. Maybe next time we will drop in at your house with a tasty surprise.

Oh, and the sugar cake tasted just like Dewey's , though looking at the picture ours was not that thick and had more topping on it. I think next time I'll do everything but drizzle the butter and let it rise in the fridge overnight before baking...


PS There is at least one other book about Sam and his Mama called Where's My Hug?