Thursday, March 31, 2011

Crazy or Sick

Sunday morning Phineas and Isabella had a spat. This was a more dramatic spat than the normal play fighting they do. It left Phineas growling and with the hair raised on his back for a good 30 minutes. It was unusual but not so dramatic I was concerned. We left for church.

We returned home several hours later to find Phineas on the counter in the kitchen growling. When I touched him, his underside was covered in urine. Immediately, I knew something was wrong. I suspected a UTI or a blockage of some sort.

Luckily, our vet has Sunday hours. I called and they said we could bring him in. Then the fun really started. After spending an hour with the cat screaming, and I do mean screaming, growling, hissing and lashing out with claws bared we finally cornered him under a bed and coaxed him out. I promise you, we were much more psychologically scarred by this event than the cat was. In fact, I might have nightmares for years to come. Who knew a ten pound cat could be so terrifying.

When we got to the vet Phineas was acting fine. He would let me pet him, pick him up, etc. The vet kept him overnight and said she found nothing wrong. Our instructions have been to watch him and see what happens. Her three likely diagnoses: urinary blockage that he passed on his own, constipation, or Isabella traumatized him.

When we brought him home he took one look at Isabella, growled, hissed and hid under our bed. He has stayed in our room for the last 48 hours. Anytime Isabella comes in he hisses and growls. I've bought a second litter box and feeding dish so she can stay out of our room. When Isabella isn't around he purrs and is very affectionate and lovable.

Isabella just came in our bedroom. They had a ten minute standoff the ended with much drama from Phineas. Lots of growling and hissing and he is back under the bed hiding and she is once again banished from the bedroom. Who knows how long it will be before he'll decide to emerge.

I have no clue what to do at this point. They've always been inseparable. Guess I'll have to call the vet and find out how to get them to work out their problems.

This was taken Saturday, a mere 24 hours before all the drama. This used to be the norm. I wonder if we will ever get back to this.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ruby's World

I gave Ruby a compliment while tucking her into bed tonight. Her response, "thank you, thank you very much! But I'm not going to bow because I'm laying in bed."

She is such a character and you just never know what she'll say next.

At the ball field Ruby attempted a handstand. It consisted of her launching herself face first into the dirt without any effort to catch herself. It was horrifying and hilarious all at the same time.

There's never a dull moment with Ruby around.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Please tell me I'm not alone

Please tell me that your kids' rooms look like this at least some of the time. Two of my kids' rooms look like this more than the other two but they all look bad. It doesn't seem to matter what I do or what I take away, this seems to continue. I'm not willing to do all the cleaning and bed making myself. I'm open to suggestions. What do you do to combat kid messiness?

Just keeping it real...
Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Neighbors?

Something has moved into the compost bin. I cleaned out the the flower beds this weekend and trimmed the bushes. We added all of that to the compost and now someone has taken up residence.

I wonder who our new neighbors are. I sure hope they aren't trouble makers. Maybe they'll keep the snake that I spotted there a few months ago out of the compost so I wont scream like a girl again. But who knows, the new neighbors may be even more scary than the snake.

Hole Number One - both holes are four inches or so in diameter.

Hole Number Two

Re-working the compost bin is on the Michael and Rehm's to-do list. This one was built ten years ago - on the weekend prior to Rehm's birth. we used all leftover supplies to build it. The builder was nice enough to leave a few fence posts when the house was built and the siding was leftover from building the dog house.

I won't be helping with the new compost bin as long as there are neighbors in residence.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Custom T-shirt Recommendations Needed

We are going to Disney World later in the year.  When we go somewhere crowded I like my kids to wear matching shirts so that they are easier to spot in crowds.  We will use shirts we already have for most of the days (Aggie, Tarheel, VBS, Rangers), but I would like to get a fun custom shirt for each child as well. 

I have used the iron-on computer printer paper to make a few shirts in the past.  They are great as long as I'm putting it on a white shirt but not so great for colors. And great as long as I can design in Publisher - mostly color, words and simple graphics.  I know Vista Print will print shirts if you upload your design but I'm Photoshop illiterate (note to self:  Learn Photoshop next year when all the kids are finally in school) and not sure how to do something that would end up looking good. 

Rehm's Shirt is one I made when the twins were born.  
Charlotte's Shirt I made when the Twins were born

I'm not looking for Disney themed shirts.  My plan is to do something around the Maniac theme, since that is our family nickname.   I'm thinking something with either a theme park setting with a cartoon family of six and the words "Maniacs in the Park."  Or "Maniac 1 of 4, Maniac 2 of 4, etc." or "I'm a Maniac!"  or "Life is an adventure when you're a MANIAC!" with some kind of graphic and fun fonts.

So if you have good suggestions for places to design a produce the shirts or you have a good design slogan idea for me I would LOVE to hear from you!

Jenn - Mom of the Maniacs  - I think I know what my shirt will be...

Monday, March 21, 2011


Ruby was showing Eliza Claire her thumb that got smashed in the car door last week.

Ruby: Grandma says my fingernail might fall off.

Eliza Claire: Then you'll have leprosy!

Me: No sweetheart, she won't have leprosy, she'll just get a new nail.

Eliza Claire: Well, they have medicine for leprosy now.

My goodness, she is a stubborn girl. She isn't arguing over the leprosy anymore but she thinks I'm totally wrong.

Edited to add: my girls know what leprosy is simply because they attend Sunday school.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Theology According to Eliza Claire

Mom? God is in charge of Jesus, right?

That's OK, they are both boys.

God and Jesus are in charge of all of us.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ruby and the Hunger Strike

On the way to the movies today both Ruby and Eliza Claire asked for raisins. I had one baggie of raisins and told Eliza Claire I would put some from the bag in a container for her . Ruby was not happy! She started pitching a major fit. Then she said, "If you give some of my raisins to Eliza Claire then I won't eat any raisins!" followed by, "I'm not going to eat anything you give me! Ever!"

Don't you just love preschooler logic? She wanted raisins. She had raisins. She would not eat any raisins because some of the raisins were shared with her sister. How is that better? What part of none of what you want is better than some of what you want?

She quickly forgot about her hunger strike when we got to the theater and I handed her a bag of popcorn.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Goodies

I came across a couple of recipes that I wanted to try for St. Patrick's Day treats for the Maniacs. Both were hits.

I actually followed this recipe almost exactly. My only change was to add more Tabasco (1 tsp). I baked some today but have enough dough in the fridge to make two more batches. They are great still warm from the oven and really good room temperature.  I do like that I didn't have to make all of them at once. 

I intended to follow this recipe but Ruby was grocery shopping with me and insisted she would not eat chocolate cake. So I made yellow cake whoopie pies with green food coloring and plain vanilla frosting (recipe below). My cakes came out brown around the edges and firm but sticky on the outside - when you pick them up a layer of cake sticks to your fingers. Not sure what I did wrong. But, they taste really yummy.

Butter Cream Frosting
recipe is from my friend Ashley

2 sticks butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 tsp. Vanilla
2-4 tbsp. Milk if needed

Cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar a cup at a time blending well. Add vanilla. If needed, add milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Somebody's Sleepy

I just love pictures of my kids sleeping. She fell asleep on the way home from the movies. I think she didn't get enough rest at the sleepover with her sisters last night.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Poor Maniacs

Everyone was so excited. We were going to the movies this afternoon. We had picked our movie and knew when and where it was playing. Mid morning I told the kids to turn off the TV that we would have no more screens (TV, computer, video games, etc.) until we went to the movies. I didn't want them to be on screen overload before we ever got there. About an hour later, I came downstairs to find one of the Maniacs watching Toy Story 3 on their iPod. I promptly told the maniac in question that they would not be going to the movies but would be calling Grandma to see if she was available to babysit while the rest of us went to the movies. Then it came out that the other three Maniacs had also been watching the movie. Bummer! No movie for anyone today.

The most frustrating part of this incident was that three of the Maniacs took responsibility for their part in watching the movie when they weren't supposed to and accepted the consequences, while the other Maniac kept explaining how it was not their fault but the fault of all others involved. But it was the Maniac in question's iPod and room they were all in. Said Maniac was the main culprit but completely unable to own up to their part. This is an ongoing battle with this child that drives me crazy and concerns me about their future. At some point this child has to learn that they make choices that have consequences, period, end of story, regardless of who else was involved or the circumstances. You have to own your choices and the fall out from said choices. I have yet to convince this child of this fact, but I have not and will not stop trying.

I have to say, I'm not really sad that we missed the movie today. We were planning to see Gnomeo and Juliet. The very first time I saw the preview I swore I would not be seeing it as it looked really dumb. However, it seems to be the only thing out right now that won't terrify at least one of the Maniacs. They think they want to see Mars Needs Moms but I have a feeling at least one of the girls would get too scared in it which means we can't see it when only one parent is going.

Maybe we will try again tomorrow. Maybe they will be better listeners then.


Be Careful, Eliza Claire

In the last 24 hours Rehm was hit in the face by a baseball, Ruby had her thumb smashed in a car door, and Charlotte got hit in the face by a softball. I think I need to wrap Eliza Claire in bubble wrap before she becomes the next injured party.

Rehm was at practice and was playing second base. He was catching a throw from the outfield. He misjudged and caught the ball with his eyebrow and the bridge of his nose. It was red and puffy last night but surprisingly did not bruise.

Ruby was trying to reach in the car to give her dad a hug when he got home from work. Charlotte wasn't paying attention and closed the car door. Her thumb is bruised and the knuckle swollen but doesn't appear to be broken. Jury is out on if she will lose the nail. I guess only time will tell.

Charlotte got hit at softball practice. Same kind of scenario as Rehm. Ball was being thrown to her. The ball caught her on the jaw. She got a cut on her gum and bled enough to come home with blood in her hair and on her shirt. Poor girl, didn't have a parent there when it happened. Her dad had left the practice field to take her sisters to the restroom. Luckily one of the moms from the team took care of her until he got back.

Hopefully, Eliza Claire will manage to miss this injury outbreak. I really don't need any more excitement in the house. Guess this is another spring break of injuries. I hope this isn't becoming a tradition.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Do

I finally got around to getting a much needed hair cut last week. My stylist did a fabulous job. So glad to have a regular stylist I love again.


Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Have you noticed?

I've been doing a lot more blogging from my phone. I finally found an app that was affordable, allowed me to easily add several pictures, could add tags and future post times, and let me easily edit previous posts or save a draft to come back to. This has been great as I can now blog quick stuff easily on the go. And if the pictures I want to use are on my phone I don't have to email or upload them to my computer! The app I'm using is BlogPress. It cost about $3. It has been totally worth it.

Another new app I love is Camera+. It was $0.99. It allows you to take pictures in bursts - one after another like a DSLR. It also allows you to do basic editing of the photos as well.

Both of these have been well worth the money and have made blogging much more fun.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This is why...

I am in no hurry to replace my pitiful, worn out, exposed-carpet-tack carpet (only at the front door and because we had a re-stretch issue when we installed tile in an adjoining room). Yeah, I know, more info than you needed. Anyway...

This is not the only place there is marker on the carpet. I really need to "misplace" them for a while. The markers, not the kids.

The carpet really does need to go but the geriatric dog, four messy kids and three other pets cause me not to be in a hurry to get it done. And, you know, I'd have to figure out what to replace it with...

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dinner at the ballpark

This is a typical dinner for us between March and May. Tonight we had breakfast tacos, with chips, salsa and fruit.

I love these three section Ziploc containers. I have only been able to find them at Walmart. They are under $3 for two. I have at least 10 of them and use them all the time. They make packing and eating a meal so much easier than multiple containers or baggies. In fact Ruby and Eliza Claire ate two meals packed in these containers today.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh My Goodness, I Love this Recipe!

I adapted this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Her recipe sounded really good but called for multiple oils I don't usually keep on hand. Necessity being the mother of invention, I changed it up to work with the ingredients I do keep on hand and, oh my, is it yummy.

Sesame Noodles
16 oz of linguine - any long thin noodle will work
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rice or rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup hot water from cooking the pasta
1/2 teaspoon rooster sauce or Tabasco, or 1/4-1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced

Cook pasta according to package directions. Toast sesame seeds in a dry saute pan over medium high heat, tossing or stirring frequently for about 2 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove sesame seeds and add olive oil to pan and heat. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Place all ingredients except green onions in a bowl and stir until well blended. Drain pasta and pour sauce over noodles. Toss to coat and then let sit for 5 minutes before serving to let the noodles absorb the sauce. I usually add the rooster sauce (or Tabasco or red pepper) after serving the girls so they don't complain about it being too spicy. Sprinkle with green onions before serving.

I make this pasta to go with leftover roast. The first time I mentioned using leftover roast in stir fry Michael thought I was crazy. He is now a convert. I make a double batch of the sesame sauce above to use as my marinade/sauce for the meat and veggies. Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for a few days as you may or may not use it all depending on how much meat and veggies you have.

Slice the roast very thinly and saute it in sesame sauce to taste. Add whatever fresh veggies sound good with some more of the sesame sauce and stir fry until desired tenderness in achieved. Serve beef and veggies over noodles.


Off to Join the Circus

This week the girls were studying the circus at school. Today Ruby's class was asked to dress like a circus performer. Eliza Claire decided she wanted to dress up too.

Ruby insisted that her hair had to be "crazy." This was the best crazy hairstyle we could agree on.

They got their faces painted at school to complete the look.

And don't you just love this lion Eliza Claire made during art time. This is going in a frame. I think it is just adorable.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Another Laundry Update

After the initial reading of the memo and the initial round of questions, all four children decided to sign the memo to show that they understood the changes.  I don't know why they decided to do this, I did not ask them to.  I do know it was Charlotte's idea.

That first night when preparing clothing to go in the laundry I got several questions on how to turn things right-side-out (from the twins) and asked to check that they had done it correctly.  Rehm came up and said, "you don't mean socks, right?"  I responded, "if you want me to wash them I do!" 

Eliza Claire had an accident in the middle of the night.  She came in our room crying, not because she had an accident but because she couldn't get her wet pajama pants turned right-side-out for the laundry! 

From all their reactions to these new laundry rules you would think I had yelled, screamed, burned laundry in the front yard, or done something else spectacular to get their attention.  It is amazing what a simple direct note can do.

I do have a small pile of rejected laundry in the laundry room but for the most part they are doing a great job complying with the new rules. 


Sunday, March 06, 2011

Fun Braided Hair

I've been trying to persuade at least one girl to let me try this do for a couple weeks. Charlotte finally agreed this morning. It took about 10 minutes to do. Either I'm out of practice or it was more time consuming than I thought. I got the idea here.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Friday, March 04, 2011

Memo Update

Rehm's response: Mom are you serious or is this a joke?

Eliza Claire's response: But I don't know how to do laundry!

Original Post

This should be fun for a week or two.
Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

In an Effort to Avoid Hypocrisy

When the kids were babies and pre-verbal they would change their schedule or needs in some major way with no warning leading to a difficult period while I tried to figure out the changes. During these times I always longed for my working days when major changes in my job responsibilities or working conditions would be, at a minimum, preceded by a memo explaining the coming change. I always lamented that "I wished I had received the memo" during these times with the the kids.

Today while doing laundry I realized change was in order. In an effort to not spring something on the children without warning or without my expectations clearly stated I created this memo today.

And I placed it in a spot they can't miss it when they come home from school.

Why don't I think they'll appreciate my efforts for full disclosure?
Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

PS.  I've added a new door mat to my shopping list.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Attack of the Giant Furball

Barbie seems to be behind on her payments for her Dream House. I think Phineas is staking his claim.

Yes, I've spent too many days cooped up from this sinus infection/upper respiratory mess.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Part of the fun of these cute little guys

is all fun random places you find them around your house.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Cub Scout Blue and Gold: TRON Style

This year's theme for the Blue and Gold was TRON. I had never seen the original movie. I borrowed it from a friend so Rehm and I could watch it. Then upon realizing none of Rehm's den had seen it we borrowed it a second time and had movie night with the den. It was so much fun to have everyone over! And I think the boys liked the movie after they quit scoffing at the 80s graphics.

The organizers of the Blue and Gold did and awesome job on sets, costumes and script. It was great. And luckily it made sense to our den since they had actually seen the movie.

Here are the table decorations our den made. I thought they turned out great!

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone