Monday, February 26, 2007

Pillow Fight!!!

Some days are just good days for a pillow fight!

If You Give A Nick Blue Ice-Cream

If you give a Nick blue ice-cream,
he will certainly stick both hands in it, and spread it on the table.

He will ask you for a napkin.

He will use the napkin to spread the ice-cream onto the floor and his shirt. He will then ask you for a new spoon.

When he uses the new spoon, he will manage to drip ice-cream everywhere that was previously clean.

When you are done wiping him and every other surface up, he will notice the blue spots on his shirt.
And when he notices the blue spots on his shirt, he will ask you for his blue ice-cream again!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Boys Will Eat Anything

I am a food separatist. I don't like my food to mix or touch. Everything should be eaten separately.

My 2 year old son is the exact opposite. We laughed as we watched him put the shredded cheese from his tortilla the other night into his pear applesauce, and eat it to the last bite.

Today it was pears dipped in ketchup. I am pretty sure that he would eat anything dipped in ketchup. For him it is a food group.

While some of the things he eats makes me gag, I am getting used to having this little boy and his strange eating habits. He continues to amaze me each day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Snow!!

We were supposed to get around an inch to maybe 3 inches of snow on Saturday. Instead, it snowed all day, and we got another 4 inches to add to the 6 or so we got before and then the ice that was on top of that, and the second does of 2 or 3 inches on top of that and the inch of ice on top of that.

So Saturday while Daddy was at work, I went out once more to shovel the snow off the driveway so he could get his car up into the garage when he got home. I would never admit it to him, but I actually like going out to shovel the snow. There is something about it that brings me back to childhood. I like pushing the shovel from one side to the other and throwing the snow into a big heap. I like seeing the driveway relatively clean, except for the ice left from before, and the big mounds of snow on either side of the driveway. I laugh at the fact that we can no longer see our bushes in front, and that our mailbox is slowly being buried alive. I like coming in with a chilly body and getting warm inside our house.

And while Katie begged to go out, Nicholas refused to even think about stepping foot outside. Two year olds do have some common sense. So when the neighbor came over to see if Katie could go out and play, I bundled her up and sent her out. From the comfort of indoors, I watched as she sledded down the hill the neighbors had made off their deck. And later after dinner, she and I went out and collected icicles. She found them absolutely amazing!

And we even had our own science experiment. We all chose times as to when our Monster Icicle that we brought in would melt. I chose 9:30, Mike chose 8:30, Katie chose 10, and Nick chose 2. Nick won!!

The snow has been lots of fun, but the weather is supposed to turn warmer and rain is expected. I am looking forward to getting rid of the remaining ice, but I still like the snow!

Valentine gifts

The kids were very lucky to receive Valentine cards with gifts of money from both their grandparents. So after staying inside for 3 days of ice and snow, we ventured out to ballet on Friday, and then went to Target to pick out their presents.

Katie had no options, a doll was all she wanted. So she picked out a Barbie with a bed, and now Barbie sleeps in her very own bed on top of Katie's bed.
Nicholas is harder to shop for. At 2, he doesn't understand the concept, but he quickly decided on a package of playdoh with something like 24 colors and a whole set of tools to use with it. Best of all was the pair of playdoh scissors. He desperately loves scissors, and while his sister gets to use them all the time, he gets in trouble when he tries them out. So now he has his very own scissors that he uses with pride.
Mommy didn't get to pick out anything at the store, but she received this lovely bouquet of red roses that are absolutely beautiful for Valentine's Day.

The Twins

We are very excited to welcome our two newest members of the family. Bookcase Number 1 and Bookcase Number 2.
As we watched the previous bookcases begin to sag, we decided it was time to upgrade to some real furniture before the shelves broke and books hit the floor. These two lovely friends came from the Home Decorators Outlet, which is a subsidiary of Home Depot. While we did have to put them together, and that was a chore and a half, they are solid wood, and look gorgeous.
Here's to many happy books residing on their shelves!

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Ice is still here, but some is melting where the sun hits.

Driveway is 2/3 covered with snow and ice, Daddy has a semi-cleared route into the garage. No thanks to the snowplow that dumped huge chunks of snow and ice back at the bottom after I had just dug us out.

Mailbox was frozen shut yesterday, but I finally got it open. It looks picturesque with about an inch of ice covering it and large snow piles all around it.

Still huddled indoors. Kids in the neighborhood have a snow day for Day 3.

Running out of bread.

Plenty of ingredients for after-Valentine's day cookies. Maybe we will call them President's Day cookies.

Kids going slowly stir crazy.

Living room painted lovely sage green color, and looks gorgeous.

Twin bookcases to arrive later today. Good luck delivery guys getting them in our icy house.

Nick has cold, and for the first time no ear infection after 72 hours. YIPPEE!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Link to Autism Site

For whatever reason, blogger took off my link to Ali Edwards, so here is the link to her site.
Ali Edwards


This picture comes from one of my favorite scrapbookers sites. I get Creating Keepsakes magazine and Ali Edwards is one of the writers for the magazine. Her son, unknown to me until recently, was diagnosed with autism.

Autism has gotten a lot of press lately, but for me it has been a special passion since graduate school.

When contemplating what I wanted to do after getting my B.S. in psychology, I wanted to go into clinical child psychology, always saying I never wanted to work with kids with autism or anything that severe. Luckily for me, I fell into a program for counseling psychology at the University of Houston. Why, luckily? Because I had one of the best experiences in my life working at Texas Children's Hospital's Learning Support Center. There, I helped to do group behavioral interventions and evaluations for children with many diagnoses, but primarily PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) better known as the lower end of the autism spectrum. I loved these kids. They were each different and had different abilities and personalities. But what I loved most was seeing them make real progress. They could learn to speak, use sign language, communicate and socialize, if only we worked with them intensively and playfully.

We followed a wonderful model by Stanley Greenspan, and for anyone who has children, not just autistic children, I highly recommend his book The Child With Special Needs. I hope that in the future I can make a lasting contribution to helping families and children diagnosed with autism. Until then, I hope that you will consider helping Ali in her effort to raise money for Autism Speaks.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

To all of you, from all of us!

(And yes, if you look closely, she is wearing Christmas pants and a Christmas shirt. But the shirt did have 2 candy canes in the shape of a heart and did say SWEET HEART on it.)

(Also, to all clothing manufacturers: the majority of us live in cold weather in February. It would be nice if you made Valentine clothes in long sleeves and long pants.)

What We Are Left With

A layer of ice, a layer of snow, a layer of ice, a layer of snow...

And this is what we are left with this morning. A stunningly beautiful, sunny day, where the trees are glistening with ice covered branches. The snow covered ground has a swirled pattern ingrained due to the layers of ice, and it truly is beautiful to look at.

Luckily for me, I still have power to my house, aka heat, and I don't have to go anywhere.

Hopefully everyone else will make it safely through what is left of this storm on the East Coast, and everyone traveling today, including Daddy, who went to work, will arrive home safely.

Of course, arriving home safely will be an adventure for our Daddy. Where we live, Cincinnati is full of hills. Beautiful, large, rolling hills in the summer. Treacherous, hard to drive on hills in winter. And for those of you who have seen our house, you know this means Daddy somehow has to try to get his car up our very steeply inclined driveway.

We were out last night at 9 P.M. trying in vain to de-ice the driveway. With ice a half inch thick, it proved to be impossible. We shoveled off what loose ice was on top, and applied our driveway heat, but it was useless. It was fun to listen to and skate on though. In the quiet of night, with no traffic going by, the driveway heat crackles like rice krispies, and Mike the ever comedian pretended for a moment to be a hockey goalie with his shovel in hand, skating at the bottom of the driveway. Katie of course, wants to know where we can get a pair of ice skates. She is desperate to try ice skating.

I will try one more time while Nicholas naps today, and see if I can find our driveway for him once more...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Schooling woes

When did schooling become so complicated?

I never had choices about where I went to school until high school, and then it was a matter of the public high school or the Catholic one. Having gone to Catholic school all my life, that is what I chose.

Now I look toward my daughter beginning her first year of official school. Yes, this year I chose to work on a kindergarten curriculum at home with her. She was too young to begin official kindergarten, missing the cutoff by 2 months. But she was ready to learn, and learn she has.

She reads slowly but patiently and is using many of the skills she has gained from Alpha-Phonics to try words she hasn't seen before. I am astonished when she reads things I know that she hasn't seen before.

She is mastering many math skills, except for that pesky counting by 5's things, and can use a number line to add with ease. She also has mastered adding 0 and 1 to any number up to 100.

She has learned about dinosaurs, Ohio, plants, senses, communities, and most recently penguins.

But the most important thing is that she has had fun! And so have I! When people ask her where she goes to school or if she is in school, she proudly answers, "My mommy teaches me."

Now we must decide where she goes from here. Do I homeschool her another year and see how it plays out? Do we send her to public school kindergarten, which is only for 2 and a half hours, and still school her at home? Do we send her to Catholic school kindergarten for a full day? Do I try to have her tested into first grade at either school?

The options are many, but what I feel called to is primarily to continue teaching her at home. I feel that it has been a wonderful experience thus far, and that I would like to be a part of her learning longer. I already have planned to go to the Cincinnati Homeschool Convention in March. And have also looked at the Dayton Catholic homeschool convention, which I believe is in May. I figure I will gather more information, plan a first grade curriculum for next year, and plan to continue to teach her. At the same time, I would like to let her "test the waters" so to speak in kindergarten at our public school. For such a short period each day, she could see what it is like and so could I.

Nothing is ever written in stone in life. Just because I start her in kindergarten in a public school, doesn't mean she has to stay there if it isn't working. And the opposite is true as well. If homeschooling stops working at some point, or becomes too difficult, the public school will always be there.

It is hard being a parent. I find this out more and more each day. And yet it is so rewarding.

As my husband says, "God knew what He was doing. Kids are so cute because otherwise we would eat them."

Winter Weather Preparations

When waiting for cold weather to go away, and preparing for a WINTER STORM!! take the following preparations:

1. Go to Walmart and stock up on the necessities.

- diapers

- drinks

- ingredients to make chicken fajitas, tacos, chili, baked ziti, stuffed peppers, and several cans of soup

2. Make Hawaiian chicken with rice and pineapple and dream of a tropical island while listening to weather reports of 3 to 8 inches of snow.

3. Bake delicious funfetti cupcakes and frost with strawberry and chocolate frosting and valentine sprinkles.

4. Dig in - you aren't going anywhere!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Housekeeping Meme

From Michele:

Nope. Don't have one, and probably wouldn't use it, even if I did.

Love to bake anything and everything! I prefer the easy cookies vs. anything requiring pre-refrigeration, but anything else is fine by me.

Banned by the home owners association. YEP, can you believe it?

DONUTS: Have you ever made them?
Forget it. Never tried making them, never intend to. I would rather trek to the local Dunkin Donuts.

EVERY DAY: One homemaking thing you do every day.
Dishes, dishes and more dishes! And I despise doing them.

FREEZER: Do you have a separate deep freeze?
Nope. Couldn't even imagine what to do with one. I like freshly made food.

YEP, but ours has been known to eat occasional silverware as well as food.

HANDBOOK: What is your favorite homemaking resource?
Friends and family are the best sources for recipes and information.

IRONING: Love it or hate it?
Neither. I don't mind it, but I also don't do it that often. I love the smell of ironing though and the nice clean look it leaves. Usually, I only iron a few shirts and material for quilting or sewing projects.

JUNK DRAWER: Y/N? Where is it?
Not anymore. We used to have 2 of them in our old house in the kitchen. Since we moved, I have managed not to have one. I bought little organizers for the drawers for scissors, paper clips, etc., and everything has a home.

KITCHEN: Design and decorating?
Right now it is brown and dark with a weird Deep brown fruit border at the top. I love my cabinets which are a golden oak, and intend to get hardwood floors installed this year sometime. I would also like a backsplash, and someday better counters. Still have to figure out how to redo the walls though. Brown is not my color.

LOVE: What is your favorite part of homemaking?
Hmmm. Redecorating, and baking.

Not as often as I should. Lots of times, my hubby does this one. Another dreaded chore along with dishes. Seems I don't like water related jobs.

NYLONS: Wash by hand or in the washing machine?
Neither if possible. I rarely wear them, and if I do, I tend to rip them easily and just buy new ones. If I do have to wash them, they are hand done.

OVEN: Do you use the window or open the door to check?
The door. Who can see through those windows??

PIZZA: What do you put on yours?
I love Veggie Pizza!! The rest of the family are strictly cheese people. So I tend to make cheese pizza, no sauce for Katie, and always with some garlic. YUM!

QUIET: What do you during the day when you get a quiet moment?
Nap! I love to sleep and never seem to get enough. I also like to read.

Nope. Recipe books. Recipes on computer. And some cards that are all with the recipe books.

Traditional, whatever that means. In a state of flux inside. Some rooms have been decorated in our style and some are still in the style of the previous owners. So we have drab browns and rusty oranges, mixed with dusky blues and sage green, and of course pink for my girl.

Only on special holidays, if I have a holiday tablecloth. Napkins are paper towels or paper napkins.

UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK: Organized or toxic wasteland?
Another much improved area since moving. Organized with only a trash can, dishwasher detergent and dish washing soap, trash bags, and a dust pan. I even vacuum it out every couple of weeks to get those unsightly crumbs and bits that miss the trash.

VACUUM: How many times per week?
Daily. But not every room. I do the downstairs rooms 3 or 4 times a week, and the kitchen floor almost daily. The bedrooms get done once a week. The stair are currently out of luck. Houdini took off with my vacuum attachments and I haven't been able to locate them.

WASH: How many loads of laundry do you do a week?
It varies by season. In winter, I do about 6. In summer it is more like 4. Bulky clothes take up a lot of room.

X'S: Do you keep a daily list of things to do and cross them off?

YARD: Who does what?
Mike does all the lawn work. I do the gardening and flowers.

Zzzz: What is your last housekeeping task for the day?
You just never know. Most days, cleaning all the odds and ends of toys and other things off the floor.

I tag Melissa.

Did Someone Say Snow???

I know I mentioned it was cold outside with no snow, but this is just a bit ridiculous.

7 or 8 inches managed to come down yesterday afternoon in only 6 hours. Luckily for us, we have wonderful neighbors who cleaned our driveway for us twice. They were rewarded this morning with chocolate chips cookies fresh from the oven!

Katie loves playing in the snow, while Nick was content (post-surgery) to hang out in the house with Daddy and watch Wonder Pets. He got to see this cute little show on Monday while he was recuperating and has since requested it several times.

Daddy went in late to work, which was a nice way to start our morning. He needed the break - his normal half hour commute took him 2 hours last night with windshield wipers that refused to work. I had to drive his car into the garage, since with our steep slope of a driveway, he couldn't get it past halfway. This morning his car was coated in ice chunks, and had some 3 inch icicles hanging off the bottom. I imagine the bright sunny sky will help melt it off.

And last of all, our beloved snowdog.

He did not appreciate sinking into the snow, and tried to leap over the snow covered step, back into the house. Instead he slid on the kitchen floor and landed in a heap.

Poor Hodge!

Lego Tower

Quite an impressive feat for someone only 3 feet tall!

Monday, February 05, 2007


I know I said I wanted to come back to cold weather, but this is just a bit ridiculous, isn't it. When the temperature is below 0, and you are cold inside even when the heat is on, and there is no snow on the ground, there is something wrong with the picture.

There is one bonus though.


We put it on the bed this weekend, and have been luxuriating in its warmth ever since. Turn it on 5 minutes before bed, while you get ready, and hop in a nice, toasty bed. No more waiting 20 minutes to warm up.

Thanks Mom and Dad! The best Christmas present ever!!


Nicholas' surgery is over!!

This morning we headed for the Cincinnati Children's Outpatient Center in Mason. We checked in and were quickly seen by nurses and discussed his surgery. He then was supposed to change into a child size hospital shirt, socks and pants, but promptly rejected that idea. Instead he opted for the diapered bottom, no socks, no shirt look. He happily returned to the play/ waiting area (giant buckets of toys and blocks and a TV), sporting his new look in 0 degree weather. He eventually put the shirt on after realizing it was a bit chilly.

After a few minutes of playtime, we accompanied him back to the anesthesia room, and played with him as they put him to sleep. It was definately a sad and somewhat scary experience, but the doctors and nurses were great and kept him entertained as he drifted off.

Literally 5 minutes later, the ENT told us the tubes were done, and another 20 minutes later the urologist had finished.

We met him in recovery, where he was still asleep, and out of all the kids, I think ours was the only one not to cry hysterically. He fought the bandages and monitors which the nurse quickly removed, and then slept off and on in my arms for a while, as we waited for the doctor to come see us.

After daddy heated the car for us and pulled up, we came home and along the way we got requests for McDonald's, pudding, water, apple juice, etc... He quickly devoured a pudding, and happily started playing playdoh. He's been running around and creating general mischief ever since. With just occasional complaints of something hurting when the Tylenol wears off, he is our same old Nicko!

Still bulldozing objects with the toy stroller, still throwing assorted toys, and still fighting with his sister, who has been relatively kind to him all day.