Friday, September 28, 2007

A is for Apples

We've all heard the saying "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade". But what do you do when life* hands you 20 plus pounds of apples?

The girls and I went apple picking Wednesday afternoon at a local orchard. It was 90+ degrees and we were wearing shorts and tee shirts. There was sweat rolling down their little faces. It wasn't typical autumn in New England. Apple picking is supposed to be done in sweaters and jeans, while breathing the fresh, cool air. Sampling the crisp, cool apples as you walk from tree to tree, trying to find just the right apples to pick. Our foray was anything but that.

So back to my question, just what do you do with 20+ pounds of apples?
Wednesday night I made some homemade applesauce.
There's the obvious apple crisp, apple butter and apple pie.
But I think I am going to attempt to make apple cookies, apple brownies and apple crisp pizza. Maybe some baked stuffed apples.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Now if the heat would just go away so I felt like baking....

* And by life, I mean Einey, Meenie and Moe

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I LOVE Daughter's school

This morning, for some reason, Einey wasn't keen on the idea of going to school.

"We're not supposed to bother Daddy when he's busy right?" Yeah that's right. "And I know your sick, so you don't have to bring me to school. It's okay, I'll just go downstairs". After reassuring her that I could bring her to school even though I didn't feel good, she said she just didn't want to go. She said it was because she needs more practice coloring in the lines (which is coming from the junior artist and I know her teacher would never criticize her work - she's much to positive with the kids).

So I told the teacher that she may be a bit moody and why.

Then a half hour after school started this morning, I got a phone call from the school. The office called to tell me that the teacher said she was in a happy mood and having fun.

I can't tell you how impressed I was that they took the time to let me know she was doing fine. I didn't expect nor need it, but it definitely makes me feel better.

It's just the little things they do that make me really happy we sent her there. It's like a second home for us.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Upside Down Cake

Last night we were celebrating Moe's birthday as a family. I had made her a strawberry cake earlier in the day that Husband used the new dye-pens for cakes to draw her a walrus on an ice berg and stars. Meenie was so excited when we finished dinner that she ran inside. A few minutes later, she returned carrying the cake sideways - when Husband shouted"What are you doing?" she got startled and dropped the cake. Moe was right behind her with the ice cream. Unfortunately, I hadn't taken pictures yet so no one beside Husband and I had seen it. Oh well, the cake still tasted good....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago I was scared. And tired. And hungry. But mostly scared. I didn't know how we'd do it - me, you, your dad, and your sisters - then 15 m and 33 m. All three of you under three years old. Neither of your sisters were potty trained so that meant diapers x3. We let you sleep in our room - we had an old cradle in there but you preferred to sleep in my arms instead.

Little by little, we made it. We figured out what worked for us and stuck with it. In no time at all, I was able to get all of you out of the house. I kept a backpack with all essentials in the car - diapers, extra clothes, ect - and a box of snacks under the seat. That meant it was less I had to grab on our way out of the door. People asked how I did it or if you were all mine. They commented on how relaxed I looked and how carefree your sisters were. And also how well behaved you all seemed (even if I thought differently).

You were so different from your sisters and still are - that's part of what I love about you - your uniqueness.

This past year has been one of ups and downs for both of us. You had (and still have) some aggression issues. I had some anxiety issues. Both are improving, but we take it one day at a time. I would love to be able to tell you that it's not okay to use your body to hurt other people (and I do) but it's taken more than that. Now you can play on some days without incident. Others not so good. You try to reason with me when something happens "but I didn't hurt the baby, I was nice to the baby" (the older sibling, not so nice). The other day I wrote about a new you. Two days later you hit your friend with a shovel.

Now that your sisters are both in school (at least part time,
a few days a week), I am able to spend time with you and only you. And I can't tell you how much I've missed that. You are a different child when you aren't trying to compete for my attention. Your happy, your a chatterbox and above all we can "talk" without interruptions. I feel that I've missed things (with you and your sisters) by not having that one on one time. But to see the bond you guys have, makes all my guilt disappear.

To read more about Moe, click here or at the tag that says Moe below the post.

And be sure to read the post below about our "Rules for Three".

The Rules of Three....

It's no secret that two has been a trying time for us. Moe has been very aggressive for most of it - often targeting kids for no reason. She knows what she's doing and that it's not okay (we talk about it) but it doesn't stop her. It's not an issue with acting out because she doesn't have words to explain it - she's fairly verbal (not so articulate - but enough so I can understand her).

SO this morning when she woke up, we snuggled in my bed for a bit and discussed the new rules she needs to abide by now that she's three.

1) We need to be nice to our friends. No hitting, no pushing, no fighting.
2) We need to be nice to animals. No pulling tails, no pushing, no sitting on.
3) We need to be nice to our sisters (they threw this one in)
4) We clear our own dinner plates (which she usually already does)
5) We use our words when we have a problem instead of getting too upset
6) We pick up our toys when we are done playing.

I'm not sure if this will work, but it's worth a shot. She seemed to really like getting some "rules" that make her a big girl. Violation of the rules will make her two again and she doesn't like that.

Here's to crossing my fingers and hoping it works!

Happy Birthday Moe!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Peace Today

Today is Peace Day. Below is our commitment.


Click on the image for more information!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Beginnings

I have a new child. Or more precise, an old child with a new attitude.

It all started when Einey and Meenie started school. The first two weeks, Husband was on vacation, so I didn't notice much of a difference as we were busy hanging sheet rock. Then, last Wednesday, I met a friend and her little girl at a local coffee shop. And while both girls were very well behaved, given their ages and the location, Moe was exceptional. She stayed seated, didn't reach across the table and was really quiet. After coffee, we went back to said friends house so they could run around a bit as both were getting a little restless. And the two of them played together great! No hitting, no fighting, nothing. We've started taking walks in the morning while her sisters are in school and those have been enjoyable as well.

Today, we took a little drive and then met some friends for a morning hike. Moe stayed near us for the most part, or took her little friend's hand and walked carefully down the trail. We looked over the lake and inspected the caterpillars - so far we've seen a giant green (Luna moth?) one, three woolly bears and a fuzzy/spiky white one. We took our time and had a really pleasant morning. In the car, she was a non-stop chatterer. We stopped at the pet store for crickets, but they were all out. She looks at the owner with sad look and says "but my wizard is hungy". She was very upset that her lizard would starve even though I tried to tell her they were getting more lizards later today and so we'll just stop by tonight.

Above all, she has been a very enjoyable child to be around. I don't know if it's her getting older or if it's just the one-on-one attention, but I really, really enjoy being around her now!

Avast, Me Hearties....

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so here the kids have their pirate slang going at full speed. I advise all you land lubbers to go check it out Smartly.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's Raining, It's Pouring, But you Still Have to go to Soccer....

Taken last week when it was sunny, hot and 90+ degrees.

This morning, it was pouring so I took my time getting the kids up. At 8:35 I went into the kitchen to make pancakes when I suddenly realized A) It's 8:35 and still raining B) neither soccer coach called to cancel soccer and C) I was due at the field 5 minutes ago for team pictures.

Throwing the pancake batter to the side, tossing on some jogging pants and a clean t-shirt and throwing sweatpants, their jerseys, socks and cleats on them, I got them dressed and out the door as fast I could. I threw a handful of snacks and juice boxes in the bag with their shin pads, and after I switched vehicles, we were on our way. The field is not to far away, so we made it there at 8:55, just in time to catch Meenie's team right before they took the team photo. I quickly brushed her hair and sent her to the photographer. I managed to get both girls photos taken with their team's and individual and then handed them some rice crispy treats and cheese-its for breakfast.

I sent Meenie with her coach for the game because her first 1/2 is with a trainer and figured I would watch 1/2 of Einey's and then switch fields. I watched a bit and then switched over the Meenies, only to find out they were going to have a full hour with the trainer as the other team didn't show up (WIMPS!). Since it was essentially a practice, I left her with the coach and went to watch Einey's game. It was fun and wet to watch. 1/2 way through, I noticed she was shivering because in my haste, I forgot to grab jackets (and I was silently hoping they would cancel the game) I found one of Moe's long sleeve shirts in my bag and put it on under her jersey (thank god she's small!). Meenie's practice ended and she came over to me. I figured Einey's game would be over soon as well since they are only supposed to last an hour. A few more minutes and we could head home and have breakfast. Wrong!

Apparently because the trainers were paid and there anyway (and most of the micro's cancelled their games) , they asked if they could train with Einey's team after the game. So we stayed. Two and a half hours later, wet and cold, we left to go home, dry off and have pancakes for lunch.

Did I mention it was only 58 degrees?

The Real Purpose in Life.

This week, I found out the real purpose of this tie. I have caught Einey flipping it up and using it as a napkin to wipe her mouth. It's a good thing I brought an extra (I mean, really, under regular circumstance, how dirty can they get?) because she needs it. I've caught her a few times doing it now.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Photot Hunt Saturday - Plastic

Last week, while grilling some steaks out on the back deck, we looked up and saw that. While checking Wikipedia for hot air balloons, I noticed it was made of nylon, thus making it fit into this weeks theme of plastic.

For more plastic, click here.

Round and Round we Go...

I've tried the gym thing. And for awhile it worked. I'd drop them off at a baby sitter's (read grandmother) house and go to the gym for a at least a half hour. But then something happened and I'd try to bring the girls with me. They'd sit for 5 seconds and then try to use the equipment (the blocks, movies and books were no match). SO there I was, paying a monthly gym fee and not going. I was to worried my little angles were disrupting the other gym goers - some of them other moms using the time to be away from their own brood - exercising in quiet.

SO then I got the idea of walking the track after dropping the oldest off at school. And would you believe, this actually worked? Id' strap Moe into the carriage and Meenie would walk beside me. We'd make up silly things to do when we reached the 1/16 of a mile mark (1/4 mile track). Each time we passed a marker, we'd hop, skip, walk backwards, tumble (not I), twirl or what ever silly thing we could think of. This came about when Meenie needed physical therapy as a way to improve her muscle mass and has continued ever since. Can you believe that my three year old can walk/run a faster mile than I can? It's true.

I took the summer off as with the three of them, I just couldn't FIT it in. Someone was always whining - it's to hot, I'm too tired - it wasn't worth the hassle. But now that school has started, I've started up again - and you know what? I feel great on the days I walk. I drop one (or two) of them off at school (depending on the day) and drive to a local track. Sometimes I ask a friend to join me, and other days I do it with just the girls. I shoot for at least a mile, but if I can get them to cooperate for longer, I go as much as I can.

Of course, with all that walking, you tend to need new shoes. Shoes like these Ryka's that they are giving away for free. Five pairs of them to the lucky winners of today's Parent Blogger Blast.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Chocolate and school-ism:
I'd like everyone to meet Chocolate. No he's not an addition to our home, but merely a guest for the past weekend. Chocolate is the first grade class pet and we had the pleasure of hosting him for the weekend. Let me just tell you, when you walk into the room the morning after you bring a classpet home and he's belly up, your heart stops. Luckily, this is just the way he apparently sleep.s He looks completely like the male he was, sprawled out on his back with one leg up.

Other points to note, when said class pet comes home with a ball to roll around in, do not, and I repeat, do not let him roll around with a two year old in the room. Said two year old will proceed to try and bounce, spin and kick the ball as often as she can. Of course, it could be because said two year old is just evil....

In other news, the girls came home with school fund raising packets. They are selling Yankee Candle items. "Hey look ,your kids came back to school - time to send home a fund raiser. When this one ends, we'll give you another one..." Really though, I just need to say no, we're not going to do this one. So far, my family has been good sports, but one of these days, they're going to figure out just ho much they are funding my kids to go to school.

Meenie absolutely loves school. She goes three 1/2 days a week and has already told me "she's not learning enough and needs to stay all day. She also needs to go everyday". Which is why I was scratching my head as to why she didn't want me to leave this morning.

Einey also loves school. She is over her fears that first grade will be too hard. I'm sure it will be challenging, but her teacher is always there with encouragement. She shocked her teacher on the first day with how well she reads, so I guess thats a good thing! As she says "Tomorrow is going to be more fun than today."

Driving, driving, driving...
Yesterday, we decided to do something we haven't done in a long, long time. We woke up early, grabbed some snacks, the camera and hoped in the car. With no destination in sight, we just drove. After driving by a cement manufacturing plant, Husband and I heard from the back "what the HELL are those guys doing?" A quick "what" and repeated of said statement proved our ears were not playing tricks on us. Just don't go repeating that in school please! Now if you've read any other posts in this blog, you'll know the girls are fascinated with death and cemeteries. We happened to pass an old cemetery when the girls started asking can we stop? They love wandering through cemeteries looking at the stones and trying to find the oldest one (I know odd hobby). So since we were right near the big one where their Great-Meme was buried, we decided to stop. The girls hoped out and immediately found the one with their name on it (well last name, but you get the picture). Now this is the only person they know who has died, so we talked a bit. I have to say, they are starting to forget things about her. We pulled some grass back that was growing over hers and their great-pepe's stones as well as took their picture next to the stone. It also dawned on us that it was Grandparent's Day (when exactly did this become a holiday?) so it holds special meaning to us. We continued on our drive and I have to say, we didn't really see anything too interesting. I was a little bummed, but the kids were great in the van for 1/2 the day. It give me hope for when we decide to drive to Virginia (or gulp, Disney). We did end our trip at a small river (stream?) which we definitely want to go back and explore. Einey caught a frog (of course). It looks like a great place to take them fishing! A great place to relax, if only we could keep them still for more than 3 seconds!

We were driving through Springfield later that day and some Mass-hole cut us off. Husband yells "jacka$" out the window which was immediately asked "why did you yell checkers at that car Daddy?" Umm... they were playing checkers, thats why.

In other news, the child that could be found standing around mid field, watching the others run byy, well that would be mine. Einey would run a little bit, but if the pack got to far ahead, she would stop and watch them, waiting for them to kick the ball past her again. Then since the others were running towards the ball, she'd stand and watch them run to it. I think running is not for her. We spent 3 1/2 hours at the soccer field, because their games were scheduled for 9 and 11 am. This week - they are both at 9 am so I need to figure out how to split myself in half as Husband is working this weekend.

And lastly, how to keep your kids occupied:
This last week has been an eye opener of keeping my kids occupied. As the ysat and quietly watched the tree guys trimming some branches off the oak out front for FOUR hours, it dawned on me. Contractors are the best thing in the world. The kids aren't fighting or watching TV. They are however, sitting engrossed in front of a window, watching the work go on outside. As a bonus, after the tree guys let, the neighbor's house painters showed up! Now if I could just afford to hire more contractors...

And who needs toys? Moe has been loving the set of bottle caps she found. Those, along with a tin dish provide hours of fun. Pog is a great game -why did kids stop playing it? Oh yeah, because new toys come with batteries.... Grab a bottle cap and toss, grab and toss. Now all we need is some more cardboard boxes, because we all know how kids would rather play with those instead of the toys that come inside....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

If the Shoe Fits.....

Last week at soccer practice, I could not figure out why Meenie was just shuffling her feet as she ran. She is always full of energy and just plain moves! I finally realized that it must be the shoes. A trip to the sports store for new cleats and yup - I was squeezing her feet into shoes a size and a half too small. Einey needed bigger shoes as well.

It only made sense that if I brought new (bigger) sneakers that they would need bigger cleats.

So now in addition to the two pairs of barely used black tap shoes size 10, I have 2 pairs of cleats, worn one season. At least Moe can wear one of the pairs when she gets bigger.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Summer Rituals

Summer and Autumn in New England usually mean ending the night with a fire pit or bon fire. Most BBQ's end with roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. My family is no exception.

The other night, my friends had their worst nightmare come true. The night started out as a relaxing evening of pool, play and fun.

As they wound down the evening to get the kids ready for bed (it was a school night) their nightmare happened....Their bubbly dancing princess (age 3) twirled around and to their shock, lost her balance and stumbled right into the fire. As her husband grabbed her daughter out of the fire and put her in the pool my friends world started to spin.

After a very long night at the ER their princess proved how resilient children are, believe it or not she never cried!!! They visited her Pedi. today and it looks like she has 1st & 2nd degree burns on both arms and her upper thigh and some on her upper back but she will be just fine. Her wounds should start to heal soon, but the memory of what happened and what could have turned out much worse, will be in their minds forever.

They ask that their friends pass on this message: Enclose all outdoor fires!!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Always Labor Day Weekend.....

For as long as I've been around (and quite a long time before) Labor Day weekend always meant a trip to the local Agricultural Fair. It's been about 3 years since we last went, but we took the girls today. Here are some picture's (and comments) from our trip.

Moe: I know I ordered a hot dog, but their chicken tastes so good.

Einey: (excitedly) Are the Ox going to battle? (Dejectedly when we told her they were waiting to pull some bricks) Ok let's go then.

Meenie: Why are the sheep wearing jackets?

Ok Meenie, let's look at some more cows. "Please give the lady back her cow." She started to walk away still holding the lead....

The joke about the reason the grills were outside the cow barn? That's where the cows go when they are bad. It went right over the girls heads.....

Meenie to Me: I'll trade you some cotton candy for some snow cone.

We gave them the option of snow cones or cotton candy. Einey and Moe picked snow cones and Meenie picked cotton candy. No sooner had we left the booth and they were already negotiating between themselves a way to split the snacks between themselves. There was no fighting and they all got some of both! Husband an I just sat back and watched as they worked it out themselves. We were very impressed and proud of them!

Moe: Mazes are easy! Get stuck and you just hop over the bale....

Moe: I'm a little tired....

Einey: This pumpkin is 891 pounds! Wow!

Anyway, we all had a great time and can't wait to go back. The girls were great - no whining, fighting and they had fun! They even made their own decisions when offered rides or ice cream (2 chose ice cream and one chose a ride) and realized they probably wanted the other option. Overall it was a great day. We just didn't eat enough fair food!

Oh and Einey found $10 on the ground and tried to give it back to the booth owner all by herself.

Photo Hunt Saturday - Dirty

This week's photo hunt is dirty. Now I have tons of pictures from when the girls were young of them eating. I also have the raspberry picking pictures from the summer where they decided to paint themselves. In fact, I seem to have enough dirty pictures to last a lifetime. We've seem to have come to the conclusion that you are not having fun if your not dirty! The picture I chose is from a birthday party last week. I happened to look down and see Einey's hand like this and had to take a picture of it.

Click here to find other dirty pictures.