Thursday, March 29, 2012

Definitely his Father's Son

Today the fifth graders are having a Read In/Game In as a reward for finishing state testing.

My son left the house this morning with the following items: Trivial Pursuit, The Hobbit, the current issue of National Review, and a Charles Schwab investing magazine.

He's definitely not my kid.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Operation Surprise the Boy on his Birthday

Since he dubbed today "The Best Birthday, EVER!" I'll say we were successful.

A few weeks ago Rehm announced that he wanted to open his junior brokerage account on his birthday!  He thought that would be "the coolest thing ever!"  Of course, his birthday was a school day, so he assumed that it wasn't going to be an option.  Michael told him that if Rehm helped fill out the forms, Michael would take them in on his birthday and open the account for him.  Rehm was completely fine with that.
Rehm filling out his brokerage account forms
After breakfast, Rehm opened gifts from the family.  His sisters had all made him gifts.  They had basically found things in their rooms they thought he would like and wrapped them up and made him cards.  He did such a great job of appreciating their gifts.  I was very proud of him.  His sisters did a great job of picking things that followed Rehm's interests.  They also game him a Chuy's T-shirt that had a Hunger Games theme.  He decided, at my suggestion, to change shirts so he could wear it to school.

He went on to open his gift from Michael and I as we didn't know of any other time that day the whole family would be in the same place.  It was the Skylander starter kit for the Wii. He was very pleased.

We sent him off to school thinking he was going to just have a normal day at school and that I would bring goodies for his class toward the end of the day.  What Rehm didn't know, was that we had a better idea.  Due to coincidence it happened that Rehm was going to be having a mostly review day at school on his actual birthday.  Michael and I decided he could miss part of the day.

We even had to pretend to pack his lunch.  His lunch box contained an empty ziploc container, a juice box and a note from us, just in case he actually opened his lunch box.

I arrived at school at 9:30 to pick him up.  He walked in the office saw me and asked, "So what did I do?" in a resigned voice.  I told him I was picking him up for an appointment.  He looked really confused and asked if it was to go get his hearing checked.  I explained that he had a 10:00 appointment to set up his brokerage account.  He was stunned.  It was too cute.  I told the office staff we would be back after lunch.

In the car he called Cici so she could wish him a  happy birthday.  He wanted to know what time he would be back at school because his teacher had told the class they could work on the 5th grade school iPads  after lunch if they behaved themselves for the morning.  I assured him he would not be upset if he ended up missing the iPad time.

We set up the brokerage account.  Our account manager was great with him.  He made a point to talk to Rehm, ask him questions and explain some things about investing to him.  It was great and made Rehm feel very grown up.The account manager wanted to know what else Rehm was going to do to celebrate his birthday?  I spoke up and said, "What Rehm doesn't know yet is that when we leave here we are taking him to see The Hunger Games."  I thought Rehm was going to fall out of his chair he was so shocked.  He never in a million years expected his parents to let him miss school to go to a movie! And, he wasn't sure we were going to let him see this movie.

Waiting for the movie to start
He enjoyed the movie and thought they movie makers did a great job staying true to the book.  After the movie I took him back to school for the last hour of the school day. 

After school he came home and played Skylanders for a while - he really likes it but would like more Skylander characters.  Then we had a quick dinner and sent him off to scouts.

We did not have cake or cupcakes on his birthday simply because he wants Gigi's cupcakes and thinks their Friday menu sounds the best.  We will finish celebrating on Friday.  Which is a good thing as I realized last night while trying to fall asleep that we never sang Happy Birthday to him.
I think he is also planning to invite a couple of friends over in a couple of weeks for a sleepover.  I guess we need to get that planned...

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, March 24, 2012

First Boy Scout Campout

Rehm is currently on his first boy scout campout. Michael went with him at Rehm's request. I think he was a bit nervous about this first campout.

Given that boy scouts is much more scout driven than parent driven I was a bit put out that Michael was basically getting a weekend off, in the name of camping with Rehm, while I ran the three girls to all of their activities. Yeah, I know it was a bit selfish of me.

It turns out it was a good thing Michael went along. Rehm ended up at minor emergency getting stitches this afternoon.

From what Rehm tells me, the fell going down a steep creek embankment and split his lip on something, probably a rock. There was blood everywhere. The scouts did a good job handling the situation and getting him back to the adult in charge of medical needs.

Post stitches he sounded good and was looking forward to getting back out to the campsite. Hopefully the rest of the weekend will be less eventful.

Here is the text conversation between Michael and I while they were at minor emergency and I had the three girls and two cats at the vet for the cats' long overdue yearly check-up.

Here are bigger versions of the pictures.

Did you notice I'm a wimp? I could look at the before picture just fine after I had seen the after and knew he was OK. Otherwise I would have had a really hard time seeing it.

Oh, I asked about his hands being in his pockets because Michael is constantly reminding him that it is unsafe to walk with your hands in your pockets due to the potential for injuries if you fall. I'll have to remember to ask Rehm about it since Michael didn't have an answer.

I have to say everything I hear about the incident gives me more peace of mind about sending him off camping again. It sounds like the scout handled it all very well.

Jenn - sent from my iPhone.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I've Qualified for an Honorary AARP Membership

I am so over cordless phones in the house! Every time someone actually calls the home line one of three things happens:

1. The phone battery is dead

2. The phone is completely MIA

3. The phone can be heard and is obviously nearby but can't be located in time to answer it.

Then there is the fact that every time I buy a phone set at least one of the phones quits working in six months or less.

I'm fed up and just plain over cordless phones.

I've decided I'd really like a corded phone with an answering machine attached and be done. I wasn't sure you could even find such a dinosaur but I looked online and they are readily available.

I told Michael I had located a phone that met my requirements. His only comment was, "Does it have really big buttons?"

Yes, it does. As we laughed, Rehm was dumbfounded as to what was so amusing.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another Big Kid

Sniff, sniff.

Eliza Claire lost her first tooth tonight. She has three more that are wiggly. Two of those are probably due to knocking them loose multiple times by falling on her face.

She was very brave and let me pull it. She was very nervous but really proud when it came out.

Overall, Ruby is handling this well. Poor girl is nowhere near losing a tooth. I'm afraid she is going to take after her mother and not lose a tooth until 2nd grade.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, March 16, 2012


Phineas has been acting a bit psychotic today. It is very reminiscent of his Psychotic Break of 2011. Did I blog about that? I don't remember.
Basically for PB2011, which started on Rehm's 10th birthday, he and Isabella had a fight. He ended up soaked in urine. I assumed he was having bladder problems and attempted to rush him to the vet. He was having no part in it. It took me an hour to wrestle him into the carrier. I'm still emotionally scarred from the process. The vet agreed it was probably bladder related. They kept him overnight. They found nothing wrong and sent him home. For six weeks he refused to come out of our bedroom and refused to have Isabella in the room. He would growl if she even got too close to the door. Then magically he was his normal happy self.
Today, my house smells like cat urine, lovely, I know. My cat is hiding, growling and hissing at the other animals but will purr and let me pet him. I caught him peeing on the carpet, but could tell it wasn't a pleasant process for him. He definitely has some kind of bladder issues. I'm not looking forward to getting him to the vet in the morning.
Part of me is very relieved to know that he does not become psychotic every March. The other part is annoyed that he is prone to bladder problems.
Unfortunately, or maybe it is fortunately, I know what caused the bladder problems both years. He got accidentally locked in a closet, several days before each episode, both years. Last year for approximately 48 hours. This year it was only 24.
I guess we will have to be more cautious about where he is when we leave home. You would think he would stop sneaking into the closet...
Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Ruby's fit at the park

I made her sit in time out because she started pitching a fit. She's still yelling.

I hate you!

You are mean!

I don't like you!

You are the meanest mommy in the whole world!

I hate that you were born!

You are meaner than Mrs. Johnson!

I feel like I want to kick and punch you at the same time!

She doesn't like that I keep telling her "thank you."
Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Teaching through Allowances

A month or so ago I noticed the back of my van was a disaster.  There was trash, toys, shoes, and just a whole bunch of junk in the floor and seats.  It drives me crazy to drive a car that is messy.  I repeatedly asked the kids to pick up their stuff and throw the trash away.  What especially annoyed me was the trash laying in the seat directly under the trash can on the back seat of the van.

After asking them several times to clean it up and prohibiting them from taking food or toys in the van until it was cleaned up I decided more drastic measures were in order.

One day while they were at school I cleaned out all their junk.  Then I took the van to the full service car wash and had it cleaned inside and out.

When I paid that month's allowance I gave them all half their normal amount.  When I handed Rehm his, he said, "Um, Mom, this isn't right.  I get $20 not $10." I agreed with him and kept handing out other kids' money.  "But, Mom! You didn't give me all my allowance."

That is when I thanked them all for using half of their allowance to clean my car.  Rehm's jaw dropped.  Ruby and Eliza Claire looked confused.  Charlotte's eyes lit up and she said, "Oh, this is because you kept asking us to clean out the van and we didn't do it!" Bingo! Somebody got it.  Rehm's response, "Mom, you're really messing up my budget."

I would love to say this completely solved the problem.  It didn't.  The van is messy agian but not nearly as bad.  I told them yesterday I am not paying March allowance until all of their stuff is off the floor of the toy closet (this is where they keep their backpacks and coats) and the van is picked up.  If we reach the end of the month before they do these things I will be keeping their allowance this month.

I try not to tie allowance to chores.  But when they are completely ignoring any tidiness I draw the line.

We'll see how it goes.


Friday, March 09, 2012

Crossing Over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts

My boy is growing up.  This is such a big year for him.  Crossing over to Boy Scouts is just the first step in many things to come. 

All the pictures below are from the Arrow of Light Ceremony. It is a very neat ceremony.  The Arrow of Light award and their religious award are the only things they earned as Cub Scouts that they can wear on their Boy Scout uniforms. 

They cut their ties to the cub scouts (cut the rope they are carrying). I had to laugh at this point Ruby looks at them walking up holding the rope and says, "They look like they are in preschool!"  Michael and I both cracked up.  It was just what we needed and she was right, it did look similar to a group of preschoolers practicing walking in line with their rope to hold on to.
They said the Boy Scout Pledge
They were judged to see if they were worthy.  If so they were presented their arrow of light.  The arrow is something the parents prepare.  It has colored thread the entire length of the shaft that chronicles their entire Cub Scout experience.  It was a huge pain to make.  But it was worth it to see his face when he received it.

I officially have a Boy Scout!  Wow.  And I have to take this opportunity to say I was not gung hoe about scouting when we started.  It seemed like just another busy activity.  I was wrong.  It has been a great experience for Rehm.  He learns so much with scouting and has gained many useful skills.  I am excited about him continuing into Boy Scouts and continuing to grow and learn. 


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Pinewood Derby: Angry Birds

Apparently I never got around to posting pictures of Rehm's Pinewood Derby car for this year.  He went with an Angry Birds theme this year.  I always love the ideas he comes up with for his cars each year.  I can't believe this was our last Pinewood Derby.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with the Pinewood Derby.  It always seemed like there was some new tool we had to purchase to make the car or something.  It just always seemed to be a commotion.

I do have to say this was by far the easiest and cheapest car he has done. And I think stylistically it is my all time favorite.

Surprisingly it won third fastest car in the pack.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


Staring at the ceiling in the chiropractor's office while getting treatment on my neck. I'm bored and thought blogging might make the time go quicker.

Hmm, but what to write about. I'm going to go look at photos and see if anything sparks a topic.

Oh, this does. Do you know how thrilled it makes me to see Charlotte enjoying reading a chapter book independently? It is so huge for any child to find books that make them want to read. But I'm really overjoyed for Charlotte. She has worked really hard to get here. Her favorite chapter books right now are the Rainbow Fairies and Cam Jansen.

Laundry update. This is a typical view of Charlotte's clean laundry. Yes it drives me crazy. I'm learning to just close her door and not look.

This picture is from last week, I think. Poor Eliza Claire took quite a tumble on her scooter. Her poor loo was huge and ugly. Her gums were bruised and she had scrapes on her forehead, elbow and hip. She is all recovered now.

Table just turned off guess that means I should quit writing.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Laundry Confession

I've been drowning in laundry for the last, oh, I really don't know, three years?  Anyway, it has been a long time.  I can't seem to stay caught up.  Until about two weeks ago, laundry and grocery shopping were the things I dreaded most.  Then I became a bad mother, homemaker, stay at home mom. 

There were actually two problems.  Problem One:  Six people's laundry and one person washing, drying, folding and hanging all that laundry.  Problem Two:  Every time I open any of the kids' drawers or closets all I found was a big wadded up mess of clothing.  Nothing was folded or hung, ever!  

Problem Two drives me crazy.  I mean really a bit looney.  I can't stand it.  It didn't matter how many times I re-folded and re-hung it didn't change.  And of course Problem Two gives me absolutely now incentive to actually do the laundry.

So about two weeks ago, I went to Walmart and bought enough laundry baskets to have a couple for doing laundry and one to belong to each child. I still wash and dry everyone's laundry.  However, when the laundry comes out of the dryer I now sort it unfolded directly into the kids' baskets what they do with it after that is their business. 

When I explained this new system to the kids they were horrified.  They all wanted to know if they straighten their drawers and closets how long it would be before I would fold their laundry again.  I explained that no matter what, from this point forward, if they wanted folded laundry they would have to fold it themselves.  I would not be taking the chore back. 

Ruby and Eliza Claire told me they didn't know how to fold laundry.  I assured them I would be happy to teach them anytime they asked.  They haven't.  Ruby wanted to know why I was still folding Daddy's laundry if I wasn't folding hers.  I explained that Daddy went to work everyday for me so I would happily continue to fold his laundry.  Rehm and Charlotte were equally befuddled by this change.

Guess what, two weeks later, my laundry is caught up.  It is easy.  It isn't time consuming.  I don't mind it so much anymore.  All four of my children have a full laundry basket in their room of unfolded laundry.  Once, maybe twice has a child actually folded their laundry and brought me an empty laundry basket.  Part of me still feels like a horrible mother.  The other part realizes their clothes are no more wrinkled when they leave the house now than they were when I was wasting my time folding their laundry.  I delude myself into believing that eventually the will not want to wear wrinkled clothing and will learn the art of actually folding their clothing.  I pray this actually happens because another part of me lays awake at night thinking I have scarred them for life and they will be disheveled slobs from this point forward and it will all be my fault!


Monday, March 05, 2012

Shoe shopping

Rehm and Charlotte both needed new sneakers.  Both were still wearing the pair purchased at the beginning of the school year.  They were looking really ratty and Rehm's were getting too small to boot.

Michael was out of town this weekend for work.  So after three ball games (two basketball and one soccer) and an end of season party, I thought it would be a great idea to take all four kids to Academy to pick up undershirts for softball and shoes for the older two.  I thought it would take us an hour tops and then we could come home and have a bit of free time.

The shirt shopping went great.  Found the right colors and sizes with no problems.  Charlotte quickly narrowed her shoe choices down to two. 

And then rather quickly chose the bottom pair.  Is it bad that when she got to the final two pair I told her that if she really loved them equally to please pick the black ones because they were $15 cheaper?  I did go on to say that if she really loved the blue/orange pair that I was completely fine with getting them.

In fact, I'm kind of sad she didn't pick the blue/orange pair.  I liked them better.  I think I'm just getting tired of the sketchers look.  That is all the girls have seemed to wear for over a year now.  I think I got excited over the prospect of seeing something a bit different.

Then I went to help Rehm.  Who I had sent off to the men's department with a size and a budget when Charlotte and I started looking for shoes.  He had found a shoe he loved.

But they didn't have it in his size (9).  They had the exact shoe but different color scheme in his size but not the blue and yellow ones.  I had them call other stores.  No one had it.  I looked online.  I couldn't find his size.  We looked at every shoe below $85 in the store.  None were as comfortable as the one he loved.  We found a slightly different shoe, right color combo, right sole, right brand but he didn't like the design on the side of the shoe as much.

 Finally after being in Academy for over two hours I told him he had to pick one of these...

Or if we left with nothing he and his dad would be going shoe shopping after his dad got back in town.  I was not taking him back.  He chose the red/black that were the same model, just wrong color scheme.  We left.  He was fighting back tears.  He really wanted the other color scheme. 

By this point it was 5:15.  I asked what the kids wanted for dinner because at this point I wasn't cooking.  The consensus was Sonic.  While sitting at Sonic waiting for food, I told Rehm we could go to the other Academy and make sure they really didn't have The Shoes.

We get to the other store.  They have them in a 9.5 but not 9.  He tries on the one they had - the second shoe was the display and attached to the shelf.  It fit.  Before finding a person to get the display loose, I handed him the 10 and asked him to try them on just to see if they would work.  He tried them on.  They had plenty of growing room but fit fine.  He ran a lap around the shoe department.  They felt good.  So we exchanged the red/black ones for these.

And then I found this picture from the first shoe store from about 2:45 that afternoon.  Yep, the first Academy had a size 10 in the shoe he loved all along.  But for some reason at that store he refused to even try it on because he knew it would be too big!

On the way home completely without prompting he said, "Mom, thank you so much for helping me find my shoes!  I really love them."  And that made the 4.5 hours of shoe shopping and tears all worth while.  I did take that opportunity to tell him he also needed to thank his sisters because they had been really understanding and well-behaved through the entire shoe shopping ordeal.

If you see my son in his new shoes, please compliment him on his awesome shoes.

While trying to get him to pick a pair of shoes I spotted these.  I need some new sneakers.  What do you think?

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, March 04, 2012


I got the crazy idea to personalize everyone's softball or baseball bag this season.  We've been playing baseball for seven years now.  I don't know why this season I felt the need for personalization.  It's not like we were losing bags left and right or anything.  In fact Ruby and Eliza Claire both got hand me down bags and the big kids got new bags.  Maybe that is what led to the idea.  I don't know. 
Ruby's bag
Charlotte's bag
Regardless, I got the idea to personalize each of the bags.  Off to Hobby Lobby I went.  I found stick/iron on lettering I liked for everyone.  Only problem was I knew I couldn't actually iron it on the fabrics I had as I knew it would melt.  Not to mention the fact that I like ironing about as much as I like sewing.  I'm horrible at ironing and never iron something without giving myself at least one awful, leaves a scar, burn.

 I was hoping that the stickiness would really be enough to hold it.  It wasn't.  So today I got out the trusty old mending box to sew the stupid things on.

Three stitches in to my first letter I had jabbed a needle all the way to the bone of my thumb and broken a needle!  That is when I remembered why I gave up sewing.  It's not that I don't know how to sew it is just that I don't do it enough to be good and proficient at it.  I grew up in a family with a mother and grandmother who were both great seamstresses.  My mother is currently shaking her head and disagreeing with my assessment of her talent, but she is underestimating herself.  I've never had to do my own sewing.  I don't enjoy it - I think because I always injure myself, or don't have what I need to do a job, or just don't do it frequently enough to have a good routine and work space.

I did not give up today.  I finished Ruby and Eliza Claire's bag.  And watch an episode of season one of Downton Abbey in the process.  I do have to admit that I kept thinking it would have made more sense to take them and have them embroidered but I guess there is some satisfaction in actually completing a project.  I guess...

I have not attached Rehm and Charlotte's lettering, yet.  I'm thinking I will take a Facebook friend's advice and give the old hot glue gun a try.  I can guarantee it will be much quicker.  And, burns are much better than puncture wounds. 

Here are some pictures from one of the treasures from my sewing box.  Yes, I'm sewing with needles from 1965.  Don't be jealous ladies, I also found a spool of thread that had a wooden spool - I'm sure it was even older than the needles.

I didn't make pictures of everyone's bags.  The twins will both be getting their monogram on their bags as I know they will be keeping the bags until the bags are trash.  The big kids are both getting their last initial with stars on either side.  That way when they outgrow the bags they can still be passed down to the little girls without anyone complaining about using a bag with someone else's name on it.  Yeah, I'm cheap and everything gets passed down.  God was even nice enough to give me two lefties and two righties so gloves and all get passed down.

Jenn- Posted from my iPhone