Tuesday, February 28, 2017

One Fish...Two Fish

It's been awhile since Ben's school has celebrated a "theme" day.  Usually there is a week in the fall to observe a big community service week in town and you can donate money to the cause.  He's only in school two days a week instead of three so there haven't been as many days.  Usually there is a pajama day in the mix and a crazy hat or hair day.  Who could forget my very impressive "Emmet from the Lego Movie" costume for favorite character day last year?

Well, this week is Dr. Seuss's birthday week so there are theme days happening.  The whole center has a Dr. Seuss theme going on in the decor so they celebrate it.  We received the email over the weekend that today is...wait for it...dress as your favorite Dr. Seuss character day. Waattttt?  Oh man...what the heck.  We have a few Dr. Seuss books but not many and we don't have any clothing or costumes with that theme either.  So I consulted my favorite friends Pinterest and the Google for ideas.  Of course, everything involved the Cat in the Hat (with a huge red striped hat being the key accessory) or Thing 1 and Thing 2 with crazy wigs.  So...many...wigs and hats!  I don't have the materials for wigs and hats!  The favorite books we have are "Wocket in my Pocket", "Mr. Brown Can Moo" and "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish".  I thought about printing out a coloring sheet of the Wocket so Ben could put it in his pocket but I thought an accessory to hold wouldn't work very well for preschool.  Everything required at least construction paper which we don't happen to have right now either. ARgggghh!  Finally I thought about the huge containers of fabric I have in the basement and threw together this lovely shirt:

We don't have any solid colored shirts in the house besides grey and black so I turned a yellow shirt inside out and I used safety pins to hold the fish on.  This is not my best work. 

I did try to draw the facial expressions on the fish though.  Mr. Red Fish there has some swirls because he's from the Heirloom Calico quilting collection at Jo-Ann Fabrics. 

So, I pulled this one off but barely.  I usually love a good theme day and always have.  I know I have posted about my enjoyment of the old homecoming festivities at my school when I was growing up.  (Wacky Day, anyone?)  This was a tough one though.  I think I find it a little bit less of a hassle than the new elementary school trend I have been seeing all over social media of kids dressing up as "old people" for the 100th day of school.  Get it, because they look 100 years old?  I feel like it's kind of mean to make jokes about the elderly.  But whatever...I saw it all over the place so I must be the only one who thinks so. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Baby M's Latest Phase

Since he was a baby going everywhere with me in his car seat carrier, everyone has commented on how agreeable, happy, relaxed and of course cute Milo is.  I heard so often from other moms that if they knew it would be like him, they would love to have another baby.  People couldn't resist asking to hold him and, seeing as he is my third baby, I let them get their fix. Last year as I was sitting at the pool window watching Ben's swimming lessons, a dad even couldn't resist asking to hold him, saying it had been years since he held a baby. 

Well, he's still generally happy and friendly and agreeable...BUT he's also learned how to be naughty.  Those 1.5 year olds man...they are pieces of work.  The house is now scattered with oddly placed chairs because...

He learned to climb on the table and walks around on there throwing napkins and whatever else he can find around.  Last night I even caught him on the dining room table messing around with Legos.  Yes, after Christmas that table has slowly been repopulated with Legos.  It's a losing battle. 

The weather has been nice this week and last week so we have played out side without all the winter gear and Milo has had his first real playing outside sessions as a walker.  Oh, does he love it.  On Tuesday I mentioned that we could go outside and I found him trying to put his shoes on. I remember Ben doing that too.  I believe there is a post back in my archives featuring his DIY sandal Velcro strapping. 

This week I was stocking up at my favorite neighborhood Walmart (sarcasm) and I got sucked in to a Lucky Charms display.  They were on sale for once and I fell for it, remembering from my own childhood how the marshmallows are the only good part.  Ben actually did what I told him and ate the cereal part too.  But not this guy...

He is SO on to the whole Lucky Charms thing.  They are such a waste of money.  But, I admit I tried a shamrock marshmallow, and they are as good as I remember. 

Oh, what else...last night he came into the living room wearing Justin's shirt with his head through a sleeve.  It looked like a poncho. 

He also pulls pillows off the couch immediately after I replace them.  They are just always on the floor.  I've given up.  Also in the "always on the floor" category are the dish towels I hang on the oven handle and Tessa's laundry basket. It sits on a bench in her room and it is always tipped over.  He loves to go in the bathtub and pull down all the shampoo bottles.  I am babysitting a neighbor's cat this week and two nights ago we were over there getting instructions and he snuck into her bathroom and dove into the bathtub (empty, of course) and was playing with the bottles in there. 

Just when I thought this house couldn't get any crazier...now the only real safe zones are the countertops and the mantle above the fireplace.  It's not a pretty sight, I tell you what.  That Marie Kondo lady would be crying if she saw this place. 

Back to the subject of nice weather, I can't believe how much the snow has melted.  Like, I really can't believe I am seeing grass again.  It felt like the snow was insurmountable and it was going to be a spring like 1997 in Eastern ND when the radio station I listened to had a snow drift contest in May where it was 80 degrees and people were reporting snow drifts that still hadn't melted completely yet. If you can recall, the snow drift behind our house was halfway up the living room window and the grill was completely buried 

Now you can see it again.  There has been some major melting.  It rained earlier this week so that melted a lot snow.  It felt so much like spring.

You can see the reflector sticks again.  The nice weather has been such a relief.  Last week there was a day when the neighbor's grandkids were over and all the kids played outside without jackets.  I know it won't last but still...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017

Here I sit, with Valentine's debris scattered everywhere.  There are heart covered gift bags, red and pink envelopes, $1 and $5 bills from grandparents and great grandparents, candy wrappers and various Ninja Turtle and Paw Patrol cards strewn all around.  Ben had school on Tuesday so of course they had a party.  He picked out Paw Patrol valentines for his class (same as last year) and this year he sat down and signed his name without any help on all twenty cards. 

What I am quite amazed by is he sat with the list of his classmates' names (we didn't address to individual kids because sorting is a lot of work with preschool kids) and he could read the names.  He even "sounds out" certain letters and figures out who's name it is.  I'm not exactly saying he can read but the foundation is definitely there.  I can't believe it. 

The Valentine box displays were all over on social media.  They are getting more elaborate now that almost all schools have the kids make them at home instead of having everyone bring a box to school and then dumping a pile of paper doilies and construction paper on a table and letting kids have at it on their own.  Lucky for us, we saved the green lego box from last year and it was still intact!  One ring on the top was missing and one needed to be re-attached but we still have that wrapping paper so it was an easy fix. 

Will the lego make it to Kindergarten?  Time will tell...

Tessa made a Valentine headband at the Y drop in daycare.  Milo is obsessed with it and has pulled off all the metallic accents she picked.  I am waiting for the opportune moment to sneak it into the recycle bin. 

We had a lovely family dinner out at our go-to always almost empty Burrito restaurant.  Even that place was pretty busy and we had to wait in line.  When we got home I tried to take a picture of the kids in their red clothes to send to family members but it was a bust.

Milo bit Ben right before this was taken.  He really can chomp.

Can you see they are terrified of him?


Here are my pretty roses.  They sure are a vivid red. 

Justin bought roulette of chocolate boxes...the kind that doesn't tell you what each piece is.  I'm waiting to bit into one of those nasty orange cream ones.  The kids' boxes have gummies in them.  Now that's an idea...

Monday, February 13, 2017

An Unusual Shopping Trip

After being unable to leave town for quite awhile due to Justin's surgery, events for the kids and just taking a break from traveling since Christmas, we decided to hit the road this weekend.  Justin took Ben fishing and I took the two younger kids to visit my sister.  After being gone constantly for months I was happy to not have to pack and travel for a while but I was starting to get bored and wanted to go somewhere.  Our weekend adventures used to involve shopping, hair salons, more shopping, drinking, bars and then coffee and more shopping but she has two kids now and lives on a farm and...well...I have been wanting to drink a bottle of wine in my fridge since new years but I can't find my corkscrew and I can't go shopping without a double stroller so...

She did have a plan for us, however.  In a nearby town there is a closed school.  In this closed school is what is called a "furniture outlet".  I would describe it more as a massive thrift store/antique store/flea market spread throughout the cavernous rooms of an old brick school building which I know I've described my fascination with and love for on here before.  She likes to refinish and refurbish furniture and I like the IDEA of doing it but I haven't actually learned to do much yet besides painting. So she was looking for furniture and I was just looking for whatever.  Of course, I always keep my eyes out for globes, maps, fiestaware, items with a cat motif and Coca-Cola or other vintage soda and beverage related things.  We left the two older kids with my sister's mother-in-law and took our younger babies with us in strollers.

I got excited when we approached the building.   

When I see a building like this I just want to explore.  Part of the interest comes from the fact that I attended school in a building like this which was built in 1908 and it still stands and is being used today, along with several additions.  Ours was bigger than this one and more ornate.  It had (or I should say still has) fancier woodwork, an extra "basement garden" level and an attic with a window where classes were held in the packed baby boom days.  It even has a stained glass arch over the main door which I always thought was so beautiful to have in a school.  Once I was given access to the attic with a class I was in because we were carrying old shop tables downstairs for a short term shop class (students probably wouldn't be allowed to help with a task like that anymore) and I could have hung out up in that huge creepy room all day rifling through old school stuff.

The entrance was at a newer one story addition and the owners were hanging out in what must have been the front office.  There were murals painted on the walls and it makes me sad to think that people cared about this place before.  My sister told me the "new" part was heated but not the big old part but it wasn't a freezing cold day so we weren't too worried. 

You can see the sign saying 3rd/4th grade on the door.  That means they shared a teacher. 

A sampling of the displays.  You can see the chalk board behind the pictures. 

A cool old cabinet.

Every cupboard was filled with merchandise!

After walking around downstairs we hauled our strollers up into the old "cold" building.  AT the top of the steps there was a table piled with sewing patterns and fabric and other sewing stuff. 

Here is the "chair" room.  It was quite a sight to see. 

I was tempted to buy that dark colored chair up on the table by the wall because it was very solid and not at all rickety.  If there had been a full set I probably would have but there were only two.  If you haven't been to my house lately, you don't know that Milo's high chair is on a folding chair so we might need to get a new set in the future! 

I just loved details like transoms.  Those actually are very useful during the hot days of September in old non-air conditioned places like this.  That closet there was full of bed frames because they had many headboards for sale.

I like these old coat rooms.  Most of the rooms in the old building where I went to school were for high school classes but sixth grade was in there instead of in the new elementary wing downstairs so I hung my coat in a room like this once.  I would through quite a maze to get to that room by the mid 90's but I can imagine how good it felt to get into that warm room with a hot radiator in the old days when students walked right up to the main front door.

There was a very large classroom devoted to Christmas decorations.  Oh my word was it ever excessive...I looked for my coveted tabletop ceramic light up Christmas tree that I always am hunting for but I didn't find one.  I was also hoping to find some of those cool "Shiny Brite"  ornaments but I didn't see any of those either.  People are on to those being special...

What I picture here is just the beginning of what was in this building.  The whole place was packed.  There was a room filled with books with so many tall shelves I couldn't navigate my stroller through them.  There was a room of upholstered furniture, a room of toys, and a corridor filled with tools and hardware.  There were shelves of sheet music which I would have loved to dig through for an hour (come on, Milo, it wouldn't have been that bad!) and a room full of end tables and desks.  There were headboards stacked along a whole length of wall in plywood stall type things and so many dishes...I feel like no one should ever buy a coffee mug again based on how many are floating around out there.  We saw a trash can full of freebie coffee mugs that they probably just had to toss to make room. 

On the way out we asked the owner how they obtained all the merchandise and she said most of it comes from estates that they buy as a lot if the people don't want to deal with an auction. 

So...what did we leave with?  My sister bought a cool old high chair with a missing tray and I bought this:

It was hanging on the wall with some paintings.  It has a ball of string behind it.  I think it is for people who knit or crochet so they can hang it by their chair and the yarn feeds out of its mouth.  Or maybe it is for a place where someone would use twine a lot?   I don't know but it's weird and it's a cat so I couldn't leave it behind.  There was only one globe but it was nothing special and the only Fiestaware I saw was cream which doesn't match mine because I have white mixed in with mine. 

So that was my weekend adventure.  Being in the school made me sad because abandoned schools have such a feeling of loneliness.  At least this one is being used for something interesting.  This is not the typical way these building end up though.  They usually end up with caved in roofs and boarded up windows. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Superbowl LI

Ahhh...the Superbowl.  This year might be one I might actually remember.  I'm still not over Deflate-Gate but the Patriots really pulled it off.  We watched at home so it was like any other night of watching the clock and waiting until bedtime.  There was excessive screen usage, a new CDVD playing in bedrooms and lots of ignoring of children and between those tactics and DVR I managed to see most of the night's programming.  The laid back Superbowl parties of my youth have ALMOST faded into oblivion.  I try not to think about them.  I did have a few drinks throughout the evening.  The first beer I dug out of the back of the fridge had a "best by" date of May 2015.  Ugh.  What has become of us?

So, I do enjoy the NFL and football action but I, of course, am always interested in the commercials too.  This year there seemed to be a lot of previews for TV shows, movies and video games which are kind of lame.  There was a funny commercial about people being stuck and needing help where a cat had it's head stuck in a Kleenex box that made me laugh.  I don't remember what it was advertising so it must not have made the impact it wanted.  My favorite of the night was the Budweiser commercial that told the story of how Adolphus Busch made his arduous journey to St. Louis as a German immigrant 140 years ago.  I love stories of immigrants from those days.  My own family is filled with records of river boat journeys through the chain of the Great Lakes, tales of babies born on ships and new surnames chosen to make them stand out in America.  But, what do you know...people are boycotting Budweiser over this add because they think it is anti-Trump and pro-immigration.  Whatever people...I don't know how any white person in the U.S. can be offended by this because pretty much ALL people with European descent came to the U.S. with a similar story.  Everyone.  It's still my favorite commercial of the night. 

Image result for Anheuser Busch Commercials Super Bowl

I liked Lady Gaga's performance.  I don't choose to listen to her music if I am the one making the decision but I acknowledge that she is a very talented entertainer.  She writes her songs herself and designs all the craziness that comes along with her performances and she also plays instruments.  You could tell she was really singing as she ran all over the stage and performed some pretty physically demanding dances which always brings to mind the lame pop singers of my youth (ahem, Britney Spears) who defended their lip synching by saying they couldn't possibly dance and sing at the same time.  Well, someone can...someone besides Bruce Springsteen...
Image result for lady gaga midriff superbowl

And, while her performance was widely praised of course some A-holes had to find something bad to say so people out there in fabulous Internet land are bashing her "flabby" stomach.  Because of that little tiny roll over the top of those hot pant things she's wearing.  Every woman knows that even the slimmest, fittest person has a bit of softness in that area.  I doubt she cares what everyone thinks.  I'm annoyed though.  It's like a girl can't ever be good enough. 

Now, the most important part of the night...my old NFL crush and former St. Louis Ram is now playing for the Patriots.  Chris Long! 

See the score in the corner there?  This was around the time I started zoning out during the game and fastforwarding to get to the commercials.  I love sports.  They are a reminder that anything can happen, even things that seem completely outlandish! 

At the end they had some footage of Chris and Howie...and Howie's wife...and Chris's wife...and their kid...sigh...Chris has changed over the years.  He is now covered with tattoos and with the eye black all over his face in these pictures he looks like a cast member of the show "Vikings" which I guess I'm OK with. 

Update:  My mom just texted me that the commercial with the cat and the Kleenex box was a Ford commercial.  If you know me you are Face-palming right now.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Movie Day

I've been missing this last week...and that is because we haven't done anything interesting!  Nothing!  Justin is still recovering and eating only soft foods although he's ventured out of the house a few times.  But this weekend...oh, has it been wild.  We went to McDonald's on Friday night to break up the monotony.  It was packed with people and they accidentally deleted our order so it took 20 minutes to get our food.  That was fun.  But...the night was salvaged when we stopped at the grocery store (not Wal-Mart...a real grocery store!  Eeeeeh!) to restock some necessities and as I was walking out the door I saw this...

Two heaping baskets of rejected Christmas candy canes!  I turned back to the teenaged cashier and asked if it was for real and he assured me it was. 

Justin was rolling his eyes big time when opened the car door and dumped six boxes of candy canes onto the seat but I already crushed up one box and baked some white chocolate chip peppermint cookies so it was so worth it!

On Saturday I left Milo at home with Justin and took the older two kids to the movie theater.  It was Tessa's first movie so I was kind of nervous.  We saw the newest Disney movie "Moana" which was really good.  Those Disney movies rarely disappoint.  It's been out since Thanksgiving so the theater wasn't very full which was good.  I saw posters for this movie all around the theater and we also saw the trailer before Moana...

That baby looks a lot like Milo!  I'm kind of excited to see it! 

I enjoyed Moana a lot even though the songs weren't as instantly catchy like some of the other show tunes in Disney movies.  I'm talking about you, Lion King! Moana takes place in some "old days" time period in Polynesia on a fictional island.  A few years ago I read the book "Hawaii" by James Michener which contains a fictional but historically based account of how Polynesian explorers discovered and inhabited Hawaii by exploring the ocean with only the stars and the currents to guide them and a lot of aspects of Moana are similar to what happened in "Hawaii" the book.  I would recommend "Hawaii" by the way.  It spans the long history of Hawaii from the Polynesians to the missionaries and Chinese and Japanese people that settled there and how different crops were brought to the island all the way up to Pearl Harbor. 

Image result for moana

Of course no Disney movie is complete without animal sidekicks!  These particular ones didn't talk.  The ocean was so beautiful in the movie it made me long for a beach!  That won't be happening for awhile!  Not the ocean anyway!

This was taken before the movie started.  Tessa is so small she could barely keep the seat of her chair weighed down but she seemed comfortable enough.  In the last half hour they both were asking how much was left but they sat and watched until the end and it was a bit over two hours long so I was happy about that. 

The Superbowl is tonight of course, and we aren't doing anything.  I will be happy if I get to focus on any of it with out trying to drown out yelling, fighting or incessant demands for my attention.  At least I've got some delicious candy cane cookies to eat.