Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

My brain is slowing waaaay down; it's with that that I post ten randomly random thoughts this Tuesday.

1. If life is like a bowl of cherries, then for me it is a gas.

2. Score! Twins tickets! Great. Now I've got that song in my head. You know it all you Minnesotans out there: We're gonna win, Twins, we're gonna score.... (Pssst, Joe Mauer, I'm talking to you!)

3. Love the mountains. LOVE the Midwest.

4. Using regular sunscreen on my face was not such a good idea. I'll take it a step further and say using Walgreen's sunscreen, probably not a good idea on any part of my body. Lesson learned.

5. Is any water park better than one carved into the side of a mountain? I have to say not so much. I'm stickin' with our fave aqua hideaway overlooking the lake!

6. Aqua socks. I'm not wearing them next year.

7. All wraps are not created equal. My mother-in-law's spinach wrap is the bomb.

8. Speaking of bomb, my MIL takes the cake on that one, too.

9. If Abby was any more like me I would have to legally change her name to Brooke.

10. Did I mention I'm going to a Twin's game this summer?! Target Field, here I come! {Thanks, Shawnie!}

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thank You Thursday

This Thursday I would like to thank:

1. The family we have had the pleasure of spending time with in the Pacific Northwest. So far, so good. We're loving it!

2. Belly laughs. Lots of them!

3. Good food. And it's only just begun.

4. The people who are having less-than-a-good-time right now so that I can. To all of you who wear a uniform, especially those overseas in less-than-favorable conditions, I am grateful.

5. Pictures that make me smile. Especially when they involve Geoff in an '87 Twins World Series sweatshirt.... how can that not make you smile?!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten, count 'em Ten random thoughts this Tuesday....

1. Did Balloon Boy grow a mullet? If so then I'm pretty sure we crossed paths at the Minneapolis airport on Saturday.

2. I'm not a fan of prepackaged Dairy Queen treats. Since when did the stores stop making them in-house? Is it just a trend in Washington? I'm really unhappy about their new look, lack up peanuts & fudge, and new chocolate coating recipe. C'mon DQ, you're better than that. At least you were.

3. Cherries off the tree. Fresh off the tree. Delightful.

4. So I saw a guy standing on the side of the street, just hanging out by his mailbox working on his computer at 1:30 am on Sunday. Yeah, it was weird to me, too.

5. Wearing adult diapers could be fun. I said could.

6. I love special time with the girls when they're away from one another. It's really healthy for all of us!

7. When I Googled mullet to see if I'd spelled it right, it gave me this sight: http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=mullet&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=lU4gTMGpN4zanAe8vfll&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CDgQsAQwAA
While it is hard to choose a favorite, I'm going to have to nominate the family portrait on page two as my choice for Best Mullet Photo.

8. When your child asks a woman if she is a girl, it is awfully hard to snicker. (And no, this woman did not have a mullet).

9. Lauren got a Woody.... the doll. There are a bounty of quotes & endless untapped jokes. And the trip has just begun.

10. We have a collection of giant marshmallows. I'm talking HUGE. What we are going to do with them I can only imagine right now. But no doubt there will be an album on Facebook. Hahaha.

Sleeping Together

This afternoon Geoff was greeted with more questions from Abby, our curious one. Today's questions centered around the theme, sleeping together.

She first asked him, "Daddy, why do you and mommy sleep together?"

He responded, "Because mommies and daddies sleep next to one another. We are your parents and that's what we do."

She moved on, "Before you go to bed do you give each other a hug and kiss every night?"

To which he replied, "Yes we do."

And thankfully, that's where it ended. For now. We're just beginning our vacation in the Pacific Northwest. With two other couples in the house and lots of conversations fluttering through her ears, something's bound to pique her curiosity. But for now, as with Bert & Ernie, she left it at that. And right now she has time to let it all sink in, since she and her thoughts are resting peacefully, sleeping together.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thank You Thursday

So much to be thankful for this Thursday. Now to narrow it down to five. Thank you for....

1. The all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet of kisses & tickles I indulged on this morning.

2. Simplifying pretty.

3. Like-minded parents. Especially my new gymnastics mommy friend.

4. The not-so-tasty taste of some of my favorite things. Particularly the things I needn't indulge in.

5. Happy good-byes. Not happy to say good-bye, but saying it with a smile.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Once again, I enter the land of ten random thoughts on Tuesday....

1. One of the best feelings: an unexpected package in the mail.

2. Why can't I just greet my weekly cleaning with my basic weekly cleaning tasks? Last week I tacked on scrubbing and oiling my home's wood fixtures. This week, that daunting shower. Chiropractor, back me up here, I shouldn't be doing this, right?

3. I believe I've finally found the solution to clean shower doors: a lethal combination of vinegar & Bounce. That's right, the dryer sheet. Amazing. Sparkle!

4. I also recommend Bounce for cleaning grout lines. Jury's still out on the effectiveness of its power on the basin.

5. The presence of a man dramatically changes a home's cleanliness status.

6. Wouldn't Jimmy John's taste good today?

7. What I'd really like is a sub from the Head West sub shop in Springfield, IL. And then some kettle corn from our favorite little candy shop downtown. Of course the icing on the cake would be hanging out with our friends, Clint & Michelle, and snuggling with the new baby. [If I close my eyes and take a deep breath, I can almost smell that fresh baby skin over the radiating fragrance of Bounce.]

8. I'm a firm believer that the presence of pretty brightens your mood.

9. A word of advice: If you are going to erect a 62-foot statue of Jesus, consider attaching a lightning rod. If that's too weird, purchase insurance on the sucker. Because a burning Butter Jesus is much worse than burnt toast.

10. I like my girls best when they are not fighting. I'm soaking it in now, but praying it lasts all day. Fingers crossed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Music to My Ears

If this is how all Mondays begin, then sign me up for a case of the Mondays!

Geoff returned from San Diego late Saturday night and regaled in a story of a three very noisy, very disruptive little boys on his return flight. It is exactly moments like this that I set out to avoid right from the start with our girls. I knew full well that there would be times they would have to spend time in places they would probably rather not, and as a result, we have trained them to handle themselves appropriately without resorting to bribery.

Twice a week, the chiropractor has become one of those place. I have no other choice but to cart the lovelies with me, and much to my surprise they preform beautifully. This morning the girls and I were escorted back to the area where I receive my first of three daily treatments. As the tech left our room I could hear her say to the other techs and to the doc, "The little girls are here." When someone didn't quite hear her she replied, "Brooke's little girls are here. You know, those two little cuties."

If someone had offered me the choice between those words and a million dollars, it would be a hard choice to have to make. I took a deep breath, and with a smile, was thankful that others enjoy the company of these two little ladies I've been tasked with raising.... I must be doing something right.

As a reward for waiting patiently through my shock therapy, and I'm guessing because of their good manners and quest for knowledge, Abby & Lauren were treated to a lesson on the blood pressure machine (yep, that machine that Lauren had nightmares about). The girls ate it up!

If you know Abby & Lauren you are well aware that they are far from children of perfection. But this morning, the reward for their public display of model behavior was music to my ears. Thanks girls! This is one happy mama. Happy Monday.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bert & Ernie

I thought we escaped preschool relatively unscathed. Sure Abby had moments with one of the girls in her class trying to define roles and friendship boundaries. I expected that, and overall it worked out that all of the children in the class got along tremendously well, thanks in large part to the guidance of Mrs. Hart.

But Mrs. Hart cannot be in on every conversation, and I'm guessing this one slipped in under her radar. After being away from home for nearly a week, Geoff was reminded tonight, at our first family meal since his return, of something Abby had asked him before he left: "Daddy, are Bert & Ernie gay?"

Hit me on the head with a hammer.... I didn't see that one coming! Of course I know kids talk about these things, especially when they realize these topics are taboo. And of course Abby has no idea what this means, but it won't be long and she will. So tonight, as we sat around the table, I held her in my arms and asked her about the conversation she had at preschool. She asked me if Bert & Ernie live together, to which I responded, "Yes." She asked why, to which I replied, "Because they are roommates." Yikes, how far is this going to go? But that is as far as it went. Geoff inquired if she knew what being gay was; she humbly said no.

I have been very cognisant when it comes to teaching the girls about the world and the people around them. Nothing is off limits and we talk about anything and everything that comes up. Bottom line, I want them to understand that there are a lot of different people in this world, and just because someone is different than they are, that doesn't mean there is anything wrong with that. I'm trying to foster acceptance, compassion and understanding. I find myself a bit taken aback when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. On one hand I want them to comprehend what it means, on the other I didn't think we would be talking about this yet. I'd like them to hear about it from me so that they understand what being gay means without having someone else's judgement swaying their beliefs. That is certainly preferable to Hot Topics at the playground.

So I guess we'll be adding the talk about homosexuality to our To Do list this summer; somewhere between visits with the grandparents and trips to the water park. With any luck, a leisurely viewing of Sesame Street, and perhaps a "Bert & Ernie's Great Adventure" cameo will get the ball rolling while we're out in Wenatchee with Grandma Phillips. And with any luck, Grandma Phillips will put on her best teacher voice and snuggle up with the girls over a good conversation about Bert & Ernie.... whatever that means.

(No) Strings Attached

I had forgotten how much I love the illustrative style of Pinocchio until Lauren put it in this morning. As I stopped to admire the scenes, Lauren informed me, "In that house is Pinocchio. He has strings. And then he has strings out of him."

Ahhh, the mind of a child....

{Lauren, snuggled up with her other stringed buddy}

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Who's Your Mummy?

If you're an avid reader of my blog, you'll remember at the end of April Lauren was completely freaked out by an episode of Scooby-Doo featuring a mummy. Like a fool, I let her watch the cartoon a little too close to bed time and she was one disturbed little lady for the next few days. Oops!

Unsure how to overcome her fear, I decided to grab a package of the cheapest toilet paper I could get my hands on and make our own mummies. My thinking was if we wrap ourselves up like mummies she will see that not only can this be a fun activity, but that mummies aren't scary.

This is what 89¢ at Kroger bought us. Did it work? You be the judge....

{Mummy's Girl}

{Mortified Mummy}

{Mummy Malfunction}

Friday, June 11, 2010

I ♥ Crayons

Spare crayons have cluttered our buckets, so when I decided to take on this project, I was really taking on two.... I love it!

In baking molds, I highly recommend silicone, add broken crayon pieces, filling as far to the top as possible. Bake at 300° for 10-15 minutes, until crayons are melted. Allow to cool, then pop out of molds when cooled and voilà! You've got fun crayon shapes that put a twist on coloring.

{Heart Crayons}

The first time I tried this I used cookie cutters. Let's just say that unless you have super-power cookie cutters, that wax will find the gaps underneath spill out. I used my Minnesota cookie cutters and came up with some pretty cool results. The crayons are cute, but they're thin.... lesson learned, right? Like most things I do, it's given me ideas for future projects & gift ideas galore.

{The Minnesota Collection}

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thank You Thursday

What to be thankful for today....

1. friends! Friends! FRIENDS!

2. Sleeping in. Oh how I love the luxury of getting up at my convenience.

3. Doing the girls' hair. Now that I take the time to curl it each day, it gives me a few extra quality minutes to discuss random mind-ramblings.

4. Fresh fruit. Gotta love summer time for that!

5. 50¢ ice cream cones at Mickey D's. And watching the girls successfully conquering one for the first time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Breaking the Rules

I don't have rules. Okay, I guess I have rules, but not RULES. Some moms have rules about drinking; I have none. Some moms are meticulous about sweets, I am not. Well I am, I just don't live within the confines of "rules". My rules lean more toward personal habits, like my rule about clean sheets: I get into bed first on clean sheets night, and there is no farting & no monkey business. For one night I want clean sheets. But let's be honest, those sheets are only clean for the time I spend in them alone. Geoff cannot control his flatulence enough to abide by this rule.... let's just say sometimes we bend the rules. So really, they are more like guidelines. Wishes. Moments of savoring simple pleasures.

One of the rules we have in our house--no taking food upstairs. Sunday night, just for fun, we broke the rules. Geoff & Abby had gone to base to retrieve a few essentials from Geoff's office before his trip, leaving me home with one crushed little girl who didn't get to accompany her daddy. So I seized on the opportunity to break a rule & create a memory. Lauren and I popped a big bowl of popcorn, then climbed into bed with our contraband and watched cartoons. We loved every minute of it. She loved breaking the rules, and for that night I loved letting her. On Sunday night I savored a simple pleasure. And on Monday I cleaned my sheets.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Oil. I believe in its power.

2. I think a person's favorite Sesame Street character says a lot about them. Anyone with depth will go old school. Choosing Elmo is purely a cop out.

3. I love the innocence of a child's index finger pointing to items as they count aloud.

4. Few things make me feel more secure than watching snow fall.

5. Either people in Ohio have an aversion to Canadian Bacon or they just don't sell that kind of Party Pizza in these parts. Sometimes I think it is too bad, but honestly, I don't have the room in my freezer, or my pants.

6. Last Friday night on our way home from a party, the four occupants of our minivan got lost. Of course, in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, I didn't know where we were; the other three had no excuse--they're locals. The irony: we ended up on Lost Road. I think it was a sign.

7. This is my I-Should-Be-in-San Diego week. The girls and I have plenty of fun planned, I'm really not upset. If we still lived in Florida, I would be.

8. How is it that someone's in-home washing machine can get vomit out of a pillow and Stanley Steamer still leaves chunks behind?

9. I am still annoyed about my trip to Kroger today. It should have been ten minutes, tops. Just grabbing a few things the commissary neglected to have in stock on yesterday's visit. Instead Lauren had to pee and the woman's stall was occupied by a woman who took much longer than her allotted twenty minutes. Annoyed, we finally opted to use the men's. Just shy of kicking the scooter parked to block off the ladies room, I let it be known I wasn't happy. I don't know who I'm more angry with: myself for not insisting Lauren take care of business before leaving the house, Lauren for not taking care of her business at home, or the poor woman who could hardly walk and undoubtedly didn't think anyone else would need to use the restroom. No, probably me for still being annoyed about it.

10. I still gain pleasure from angering my sister, even from 735 miles away. While I feel bad sometimes, I think it's actually the grin on my face that I enjoy the most. It makes me feel like a kid again. Sorry, Aubrey. Really. I'm sorry.

P.S. In case you were wondering, my favorite is Grover.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Building Words.... Building a Reader

As kindergarten approaches, it is time for us to start thinking about reading. Abby already has a solid foundation that she has gained from preschool, story time, and watching programs like Word World. So naturally, it is time build on that and teach her how to put sounds together to create words and get her started as an independent reader.

I put together two categories of cards: beginning sounds & base words, each in separate colors so they are easy to distinguish.

Starting with the basics, we take one base word at a time, then go through the beginning sounds to form words.

Not only is this a great way to teach reading and spelling, it is also an easy way to introduce rhyming words. The activities can be as simple as putting words together, or it can be expanded to include writing the words on paper.

{Sample Words}

In a Word document I created a page with three columns typing the lists below in an easy-to-read font (I used Comic Sans MS, 72 font size). This size is perfect because it is large enough to see easily, but small enough to lay out on a single surface area. The most time-consuming part of the project was cutting out the individual pieces.

Beginning Sounds (yellow)


Base Words (red)

Short a:

Short e:

Short i:

Short o:

Short u:

Long a:

Long e:

Long i:

Long o:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Closing Time

Lauren was awaken this morning by a bad dream. When I went into her room to investigate she muttered, "I don't want to have a test at the commissary. Not Target either." The poor little thing was haunted by the blood pressure machines in her sleep. And now, unwilling to go back to sleep, she was up much, much too early for my taste.

Her earlier than usual appearance was a clear indicator that she would insist on joining Lizzie and I for our morning walk. She did. As we strolled through the morning's quiet she noticed that moon again, this time probing from a new train of thought, "Why is the moon closing?" I was actually amazed when my response about the sun only shining on part of it was enough of an answer.... She was moving on to getting her tootsies wet in the grass so she could make footprints just like Lizzie.

Oh, Lauren.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Simply Stated, by Lauren

Tonight as Lauren and I waited for Abby, we settled in for story time and I asked Lauren if she enjoyed her shower. "It was fun," she stated. "I was dirty and I was icky, and then I got it off and I was clean."

"So you had fun in the shower and you got clean. And then what?" I inquired.

"I got out."

Clipboard Minis

My latest and one of my favorite projects completed.... clipboard minis for Abby's teacher's assistant and the director of her preschool.

{Two Cute!}

Thank You Thursday

Some days are better than others. It isn't that today is a bad day, per say, but I'm certainly hanging in a slump lately. At any rate, finding things to be thankful for today is a bit more challenging in trying times.

1. I'm thankful for words that make me laugh in spite of, and especially when I'm grumpy. Moo-moo.... it gets me every time.

2. Thank you, back, for hanging in there. I have a slipped disc in my lower neck and have a spine like wet spaghetti (at least that's how I interpret my chiropractor's inference that my back does what it wants to). I put my body through the wringer some days. Thanks for holding on, my friend.

3. I love Abby's voice. Sure, she's got a sour side to her, but when she is sweet that voice sings to me like the sound of angels. I thank God for that little lady every day.

4. Thank you world for introducing me to like-minded friends. I always enjoy meeting people who are different and who have varying ideas and interests. But today I'm thankful for the like-minded people who remind me it's okay to be me.

5. I don't think I could live without Target, so thank you Dayton's for bringing Target into the world, nurturing it, and growing it into the national enterprise it is today. It is always my home away from home, and the one place I never mind doing work.... if you can count shopping at Target work. Hah!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Abby's Last Day of Preschool

We made it, Abby's last day of preschool. And I find myself almost out of breath with sadness at how fast the time has gone by. As I look back at the year my eyes fill with tears thinking about all of the new things that have filled her life. Words could never express how grateful I am for all that Mrs. Hart and the staff at Evergreen have done for her. My greatest solice is knowing that there are so many fantastic teachers, friends and so much knowledge ready to greet her as she enters the school years to come.
Each year the classes at Evergreen put on a performance to mark the end of the year. Abby's class put on a circus, and of course, Abby was one of the show's elephants.
{Mrs. Hart's Preschool Class of Characters}

{The Elephants}

{Abby's Last Day of Preschool}

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Funny Files

The girls have had a few encounters with language (which I've yet to document on this space) that lend themselves to the pure comedic melody of life with Abby & Lauren....


After returning to the house to retrieve an item I neglected to grab on my way out, Abby had this advice for me: "Everybody should organize their stuff. But your mom doesn't."

Grandma, someone is on to you!


A few weeks ago the girls were at our house for the evening with our good friend, Mindi, and her two munchkins. Collectively they decided to order pizza for supper. Mindi wondered aloud what a good place is to order from. Lauren, always willing to lend a helping hand, offered this bit of assistance: "I know!" When Mindi pressed for more, Lauren continued, "The name is on the side of the pizza man's car when he comes to our house."

Upon another visit from the Earnshaw family, Lauren confessed this: "When I talk quietly I say bad words. Like this, 'poopy'."

Did I mention that Lauren is a handful?!

Ten on Tuesday

Ten random thoughts for today....

1. Do I really have an accent? Is it really that obvious that I'm an "outsider" to these parts???

2. Lauren's blue eyes are exceptionally bright when she wears orange; not many people can truly pull off that color.

3. M&Ms: today's weakness.

4. If only I could take a nap everyday.

5. Tomorrow is Abby's last day of preschool. I suspect it will be much harder on me than on her.... it already is.

6. The world would be a much better place if the chiropractor really could solve all your ailments.

7. It's hot days like these that make me want to spend its entirety in the lake.

8. I miss a good thunderstorm. Not the weak & wimpy kind that rumble through Ohio, but the ground-shaking, make-you-jump-out-of-your-chair kind.

9. It's ashamed to waste our fun energy on just us. Really. Geoff, the girls & I are way too fun not to enjoy the company of others on a holiday weekend. But we're in Ohio.... our options are clearly limited here.

10. Berries with the Berrys. Odd, but inviting.


{About Me}

My photo
Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.