Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Pet Butterfly

A couple years ago, my mom got Sonya a Butterfly Garden like this one for her birthday.  Basically, it's a place to house caterpillars who have gone into their chrysalis and are about to turn into butterflies.  You order the caterpillars from the same place you get the Butterfly Garden.  When you get the caterpillars, they are in a little cup with a lid.  They are so tiny when they arrive that you can barely find them, but they all become "the very hungry caterpillar", and in a week they are ginormous.  Then they climb to the top of the cup and form a chrysalis around themselves.  At this point you open the cup and move them to the Butterfly Garden, where you wait for them to come out as beautiful butterflies.  This is something we've done at least 3 or 4 times, since my mom got this for us.  I just order new caterpillars when the weather starts getting warmer so we can watch it all over again.  It's inexpensive, and educational for the girls and they LOVE it.  In all the times we've been doing it, we have have always ended up with five perfect butterflies.  That is, until this time.

I thought things were going fine, until I noticed three of the five caterpillars had formed their chrysalis on the bottom of the cup.  I've never seen this happen before.  They always hang upside down from the top, so already I was a bit weary of how these guys were going to turn out.  Then about a week ago, they started to come out of their pupal stage.  The first one I found was perfect and flying around.  The second one came out and he appeared to have his wings folded down, but I figured when they dried out a little more he'd be okay.  Then over the next day the other three opened up and also seemed perfectly fine.  I did notice however, that the one who had the folded down wings, did NOT get better.  He stayed on the bottom of the garden and would open his folded wings every now and then, but it was clear he was not in good shape.

This spawned a discussion about how the butterfly had something wrong with him.  I told the girls he was born handicapped.  He was just as important as the other butterflies, but he was not going to be able to do as much, like fly for example.  I was worried about what was going to happen when we released him, but unfortunately(or perhaps fortunately), he died before he got that far.

The other four butterflies were anxious to leave and get out into the world to party with their other butterfly friends, so on Saturday we released them.  The first couple took off as soon as we opened up the garden. Sonya wanted to hold the other ones before we let them go, so I allowed her.  She gently took out one placed it on her hand, and he quickly flew away.  Then she took the last one, who I noticed, had one wing that looked a little funky.  She put him on her hand, but when he tried to fly away he quickly fell to the ground.  Turns out he was a bit handicapped too.  I told the girls to carefully pick him up and place him on some flowers in our backyard.  It was at this point that they decided he was theirs to keep.

The rest of the day the butterfly was walked around the yard on Sonya's hand, with Lana and Georgia getting a turn every now and then.  He would flutter his wings, but he couldn't go anywhere.  Sonya was walking around yelling,

"This butterfly REALLY likes me! He just keeps sitting on my hand! He's not even trying to go anywhere!"

I didn't have the heart to tell her, that if he tried to fly away he would nose dive into the grass, so for survival sake, he was staying put on her hand.   By the end of the day the girls had named him, "Butterscotch".  Great, now we HAD to keep him.  They put him back in the flowers for the night, where I was sure he would meet his demise.

The next day, the first thing the girls did when they got up was go outside to look for Butterscotch.  Damned if that butterfly wasn't still there.  Again, he was carried around all day by Sonya, and at one point they made a table full of flowers as a sort of buffet for him, and let him sit on top.  They would put him back in the flower bed from time to time and then check on him again, carrying him around the yard.  When night came, he went back to the same spot.

Then yesterday morning, they ran outside again to check on good ol' Butterscotch.  This time, unfortunately, he was nowhere to be found.  We have cats that wander our neighborhood at night as well as the occasional rat and opossum so who knows what creature found Butterscotch that night, but there was no sign of him.  The girls were upset and walking around the yard calling his name.


I'm not kidding.  This went on for at least thirty minutes.  At one point, another butterfly flew by the area where Butterscotch had been living and Lana decided that was probably him.  He could probably just fly now.  Sure, that sounds good.  Better than the thought of him being eaten by a rat.  Although, I can assure you, there was no way he could all of a sudden fly.  But my girls are still young, and  I see no reason to crush their hope of Butterscotch flying around. Perhaps he's hanging out with his butterfly friends now, instead of being digested in some critter.  They have plenty of time to find out that life can be more sucky and less hopeful like that.  No reason to make them jaded now.  Besides, I guess there is that hopeful piece of me that wonders if maybe, just maybe he didn't magically get better and fly away.  Unfortunately, the logical side knows that isn't possible, and life IS just sucky like that. 

R.I.P. Butterscotch

PS-I had to add this.  As I was finishing up this post, the girls were outside having a snack.  Then I heard Lana yell,

"Look!  A butterfly!"

Sonya said, "Awww, it must be Butterscotch, because he's not flying very well."

Life really is better when you're young and naive.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

School's Out for the (Spring)Summer!

Today was Sonya's last day of first grade.  Yes, it was today.  I just heard all of you yell "but it's May!" You have to remember though, she went back to school in the middle of August.  Still, I can't believe a whole school year has gone by already.  And I can't believe my first baby is now out of first grade.

I know I say it a lot on here, how I feel like time is just going way too fast, but it really is.  It makes me sad when I think about it too much.  At least I still have two who haven't even started school yet, but in the blink of an eye they will be right there with Sonya.  So, I had to fight back tears this morning as she left for her last day of school, because I am sad she is growing up.  Also, because now I have ten weeks with her at home.  All day. Every day.  I know, I'm conflicted.

As it turns out my daughter is just as sensitive as I am, if not more.  Most kids are thrilled with the last day of school.  They usually count down the days until it comes.  When I went to pick Sonya up from school today, I watched as all the kids ran out of the school with big smiles on their faces.  They were ready to face the next six weeks of no school and no homework, with happiness and excitement.  Then I saw Sonya.  She walked down the steps of the school in tears.

"What happened girlie?" I asked as I put my arm around her shoulders.

"I'm going to miss Mrs. Mckenna!!!" she wailed between sobs.

Sonya gets just a tad bit attached to people.  So far she's loved every teacher she's had since preschool and has cried leaving every one of them.  I told her to calm down, and if she stopped crying we would take a picture with her and her teacher.  We took the picture and said our goodbyes.  Then the girls ran around outside with the other school kids for about 20 minutes.  Sonya forgot about being sad and leaving her beloved teacher.  Then we started walking to the car, and she started to get upset again.  She cried in the car the entire way to In-N-Out.  She's a sensitive soul, that one.

Luckily cheeseburgers, french fries and lemonade, make everything better.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Messy Art 2

Today I took Georgia to the second round of messy art class.  It's also the last one we are going to.  There is one on Thursday, but I have set that day aside as my grocery shopping day since I just have Georgia in the mornings.  Not so sure when the hell I'm going to grocery shop once Sonya and Lana are out of school, which is next week, but we'll deal with it then.  I just wanted to share with you a couple more cool ideas for art to do with or give to your kids during the summer.

Now, as I said in the last post about this, I think it best if you do these projects outside.  Sure you can do them in your house, but who wants to clean up that mess?  This way the mess is outside where you can't see it and where the hose or rain can clean it up for you!  Win win!  Or maybe just winning.  I'll check with Mr. Sheen on that one.  Anyway, today we did a good deal of painting, which doesn't seem all that different, but it's what the kids painted with that made it fun.  Instead of the same ol' paintbrush technique, they had trays of paint (one color per tray), with different things to use to put the color on the paper.  Things like little toy cars that you roll in the paint and then roll across he paper, loofahs, hairbrushes, kitchen utensils, plastic squeaky toys,  and just about anything else you can think of.  The kids love using something other than paintbrushes, and the pictures come out with a more textured look.  Plus it's a good way to put all those old Happy Meal toys to good use! 

Another painting project involved using salad spinners.  Get an old salad spinner, or perhaps just the one you don't use at home, like I have.  Then get some paper plates and paint.  Place the paper plate inside the salad spinner and drip different color paint onto the plate.  Then put the lid on the spinner and spin away!  The result is a "spin art" picture.  

The last thing I will share with you is probably my favorite one we did.  We made our own silly putty!  This one is super easy, but keep in mind also a bit messy.  You need, 1/4 cup white Elmer's glue, 1/4 cup liquid starch and paper or plastic cups.  Mix the glue and starch in the cup together.  Stir it until it starts to form a more solid consistency.  Then take it out and squish together with your hands.  It will eventually become a putty like substance that the kids can play with and reuse.  I believe it's best to put it in an air tight container when they are done playing with it.  You may also be able to add some food coloring to this one so it's not just boring white, but not I'm not positive about that, so do it at your own risk. 

Well, this concludes Kristi's Messy Art for Summer.  If I run across any other good ideas, I will certainly send then along.  In the meantime I hope this help all of you, as well as myself, to keep some sanity this summer!  Good luck! 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vying For Attention

This week has been crazy for me.  First Sonya had a fever last weekend, and all this week Georgia has had it.  My kids love to get high fevers for long periods of time.  It makes going places and doing things so much more enjoyable.  Not to mention that since it's the end of the school year, we've had every kind of assembly, pot luck or meeting to attend.  As a result, Lana has been a bit neglected.  The attention hasn't been on her, and she showed it by attracting negative attention ALL DAY on Thursday.

I think it was around time out number five that I realized maybe that was why she was acting out.  Still, it's hard to give attention to the non-sick kid when the sick one needs you constantly.  It culminated to Mommy getting a tiny bit angry and yelling just a bit on Thursday night. It was directed at her and Sonya, who had developed quite a 13 year old attitude since getting over her fever.  Not sure what THAT is all about.

After I took a shot of vodka deep breath and calmed down, I talked to each of the girls about their behavior and how we could all better handle ourselves the next day.  At the end of my chat with Lana she asked if we could paint her fingernails the next day.  I told her that of course we could, figuring it would be perfect one on one time with her, and something fun and easy to do.  She was excited for her mani/pedi, and I told her the sooner she went to sleep the sooner we could wake up and do it.  

Thursday night was a terrible nights sleep for me, like the past few nights had been. Since the girls have been sick it's like I have a newborn again.  I've been up every two hours or so to calm feverish children or put them in the bathtub for a bit when it got to high.  Needless to say, it's been a bit hard to get up in the morning.  Thankfully, I didn't have anything pressing to do Friday morning besides getting Sonya and Andy out of the house.   I decided not to get up to work out that morning and sleep in a bit.  Around 7:15 I heard footsteps heading toward my room.  Then I felt someone climb onto the bed and on top of me.  I opened my eyes to Lana staring me in the face.

"Good morning mommy!" She said all smiles.  At least she was in a good mood.

"Good morning, Lana," I answered yawning.

"Can we go paint my nails now?"

Really?  Right now? I'm in bed, still half asleep, and not moving and she really thinks I'm going to get up and paint her nails? Even though I did say the next day, I didn't really mean the moment she got out of bed.  Next time I will have to be more specific.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Cure For the Summer Doldrums

Yesterday I took Georgia to a class in the morning called "messy art".  Oh and it was!

When I first walked into the class and saw the table with whatever that was on it, my first instinct was to keep her away from that particular art project.  Of course her first instinct was to go to that table first. Turned out that was the same instinct every three year old had walking in there.  I mean it looked like fun, but it also looked like a total mess.  I eventually let her instinct win because the clothes she was wearing were already ruined clothes and hell, I didn't have to clean up the mess afterward, so why not?  She had a ton of fun with it, as you can see.  

I'm sure you are wondering just what it is that is all over her.  Well, that is the point of this post today.  As she was playing with it and I was thinking I would NEVER do this at home, I  then thought to myself, wait why not?  That mess that you see is shaving cream mixed with a liquid food coloring that doesn't stain.  Now while I would not do this INSIDE my house, there is no reason I can't set up this fun little project outside on the girls plastic picnic table.  Afterward, I can hose down the table and the girls.   I'm pretty sure they would play with this for at least an hour outside.  This is a perfect thing to give them to do this summer when I'm ready to ship them off to another continent.  They get out of the house to play, and I get a little peace inside to clean, write or even poop.  

I just wanted to share this with all of you so you too can give this to your kids to do.  Get the cheapest cans of shaving cream you can find and liquid food coloring.  I think you can find that at an art supply store like Michael's.  I believe it says on the outside of the bottle that it won't stain most clothing.  

The other art room we went to  had a different sensory project that was also easy and just as fun.  Something else to put outside on the picnic table!  They filled containers with corn starch, water and food coloring.  The corn starch and water make this kind of quicksand type substance.  It feels solid and liquidy all at the same time.  It's really fun to squish through your fingers too.  I could have played with that for hours!

So there you are my friends.  A couple very simple although very messy things for your kids to play with to help out with the "I'm bored" whines this summer.  I would suggest putting them in messy clothes, and for sure doing these outside.  Otherwise it defeats the purpose of making your life easier.  

We have another class we are going to next Tuesday, so if they have any more good, fun easy ideas I will pass them along!  Here's to hoping we all make it through the summer alive.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dinnertime Fun

We don't get to have dinner together as a family every night, like most families do.  Unfortunately, Andy's work schedule means he gets home right before or right after the girls go to bed, so dinner is long since over.  Therefore on the weekends, we try to sit down and have as many meals as possible together  as a family.  The dinners have become more pleasant as the girls have gotten older and less of a pain to feed.  They have also become more entertaining because Andy likes to joke around a lot, and they love it.  We end up having a pretty good time most meals.  It makes me sad that we don't get to do it all the time, but I guess I'll be grateful for what we do have.  

This past weekend, on Saturday night, we were sitting around the dinner table, toward the end of our meal. Andy was joking with the girls and we were all laughing.  He got up to refill his drink, and Georgia decided to continue the antics.  She turned around in her seat, her back facing me.  Then I heard her say,

"I can't bweath!"

I got nervous for a minute thinking she was having a hard time breathing for some reason.  I thought maybe it was the way she was turned and perhaps she was pushed up too close to the table.  

"Georgia, baby, turn around and relax for a minute."  Then I pushed her back from the table a bit to help her get her breath back.  When she turned around toward me I saw the reason she could't breath and she said to me again,

"I can't bweath!" She said  as she was holding her nose closed with her fingers.  

Huh. Perhaps we don't need a college savings account for that one.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Preparing To Be Scared

Yesterday I had to take all three girls to the dermatologist for various different reasons.  Nothing serious, but they just all had some kind of skin rash here or itchy scalp there.  Our pediatrician had given me a referral to a dermatologist to get a more specified opinion on what was going on with their skin. 

When we got to the office,  I was given paperwork to fill out on ALL THREE girls.  We were new to this particular office so they needed all the information you usually fill out when you go to a doctor for the first time.  Times three.  Yeah, that took a while.  

The girls were actually behaving fairly well, thankfully. Then I noticed why. I looked up to see a TV mounted on the wall and playing on it was Pirates of the Caribbean.  Don't ask me which one, because I think I've only seen the first two, and those only once.  Not to mention the part of the movie they were watching there was nothing but fighting going on.  Wait-isn't that pretty much the whole movie?  Whatever. 

 The girls had their eyes glued to the screen.  Having watched not much more than Mickey Mouse and Sesame Street at this point in their lives, they were intrigued.  They have seen Star Wars, but even that is not as shoot 'em up as Pirates.  I looked over at Georgia and she was obviously a little uncomfortable.  I asked if she was scared and she told me yes.  I asked Lana if she was scared and she said she was fine.  I reminded them all that this was pretend and these were just actors telling a story.  Nobody was really getting shot or dying.  Then I looked at Sonya who was going back and forth between trying to concentrate on her coloring and being captured by what was going on in the movie.  She is the one who was afraid of watching movies for so long.  She is the one who will probably never watch a scary movie in her life, at least not on purpose.  So I said to her,

"Sonya, you okay?  Are you scared?"

She looked over at me and said, "No, I'm fine."

 Then after a pause she said very matter of fact, "I'll just have nightmares tonight."

Oh, well as long as you're not scared NOW.  

Monday, May 9, 2011

To Do List

Last Wednesday turned out to be a very busy day for the girls and me.   After I picked Sonya up from school, we had to go home so she could get her homework done right away, as well as some of her chores.  The reason was because by 5pm we had to be at T-ball practice.  Only we couldn't stay at T-ball the whole time because I had to get Lana to something she had to do by 6:30.  I told Sonya all this when we got home, and before she started her homework she made this list:

I was okay with everything up until "be draged out early." So this is what she thinks of me.  That I "drag" her away from things.  Oh well, just something else she can work out in therapy when she's 25.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Getting To Know Mommy

 One of the fun things about the preschool Lana goes to is the Mother's Day Tea they have every year.  A couple years ago when Sonya attended the school, I went to it for the first time and found myself fighting back tears, because it was so cute. They have a place set up for the moms with iced tea and strawberry shortcake.  Then we each get a gift that our child made during school.  The kids come in and sing us songs they have learned about how much they love their mothers.  Then we also receive a folder decorated by our child.  Inside there is a picture they drew of their mom and questions they answered about "my mom".  This is by far my favorite part.  

Before we get to the questions Lana answered, I give you her portrait of me:

How cute am I?!  I would like you to note that she drew my dimples.  What attention to detail!
Next is the list of questions.  Go ahead and take a minute to read it, then I will address each one:

Okay-first of all the funniest I do is smile at her?  I'm not sure what to make of this one.  Does this mean I don't do or say anything funny ever?  The only thing she finds funny is when I smile?  Maybe she thinks I'm boring or mean all the time, but when I smile she thinks "Ah there it is!  She IS kinda funny!" Or perhaps she thinks I have a goofy looking smile.  Again not sure, but I think I better start asking Andy for some material on how to be more funny with the girls.  The problem with that is it might get in the way of all the yelling.  Oh well, I'll figure it out.  

Then there is my age.  When Sonya did this two years ago, she said I was 25.  This pleased me to no end, because who doesn't want people to think they are 25?  Five, however, may be a little young.  I mean according to Lana I wasn't even born yet when Sonya arrived into this world.  That would be a little tricky.  I guess she just figured I was older than her and since she is four, older than her is five, so I must be five.  It does sorta make sense.  

The next one is about how we have fun together.  Okay, see this one, this one makes sense to me.  First of all, she's saying we have fun when we go to the mall, and for girls that is a no brainer.  Of course we all have fun at the mall!  It's the MALL!!  Just ask my friend Melissa.  The reason this is fun for her right now is not the shopping, however.  It's because when I take them to the mall to do something I need to do, I let them have fun afterward.  They ride the little train that is there and maybe one of those stupid little rides that used to cost a quarter when I was a kid, but they are now FOUR quarters.  Afterward we usually all share a Wetzels Pretzel and then I let them play at the mall playground for a bit.  So yeah, they have a good time there.  Sometimes we do the little photo booth together.  We've gotten some fun pictures out of that!

As far as my favorite TV show being commercials, well, she obviously had no idea how to answer this one.  Especially since, thanks to the invention of the DVR, I haven't watched a commercial in about nine years.  I suppose I like to catch the ones on during the Super Bowl, but that's about it.  I don't know if SHE knows what a commercial is considering she watches nothing but PBS and Disney shows.  They don't really have commercials on those channels.  So this one also confuses me.  I'm thinking maybe it's all she could think of because she never really sees me watching TV, since I wait until they go to bed to watch anything.

What I look like is pretty straight forward, short hair and blue eyes.  I don't think I'd consider my hair short, but I guess in comparison to her sister's, it is.  She is right about my eye color which is pretty good. I don't even know if my husband would be able to answer that question correctly.  

Then there is this one-my favorite food.  I think this is the best answer of them all.  Salad.  Here's the thing-I do eat salad quite often, but not because I love them.  I suppose I don't mind them, or perhaps I've just gotten used to eating them, but favorite-um no. I eat salads because I have to.  It's a good way to get your veggies in for the day, and to keep me from eating too much of my REAL favorite foods.  If I had to choose three things to eat for the rest of my life, salad would be pretty far down on the list.  It would be something more like, cheeseburgers, pizza and chocolate.  Well as long as I get an option of wine as a beverage.  Otherwise I might have to replace one of those foods with wine.  However...I am pretty proud of the fact that she THINKS salad is my favorite food.  At least I'm sending out a good message about healthy things to eat to my kids.  That's the part I like about this answer.  Well, plus it is funny thinking salad is my favorite food.  Salad.  Ha!

Friends.   Perhaps I would choose a different color NOW, but nine years ago, Andy and I liked it.  Anyway, yeah purple is my favorite color, so she nailed that one.

These are the kind of keepsakes I will have forever.  The kind of things I will pull out in about 20 Mother's Days from now and reminisce about how cute and little my girls used to be.  Afterward I will think about how big and grown up they are and probably cry.  Then, as long as none of my favorite commercials are on TV, I will call each of them and see if they want to go to the mall and share a pretzel with me.  Or perhaps a salad. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Taking a Break

This past weekend I got an early Mother's Day present.  Saturday afternoon, I drove down to my friend BethAnnDoddKoehn's house.  Turns out she lives about ten minutes from quite a few wineries and about 20 minutes from a fantastic hot springs/spa.  That together with a discounted Marriott (thanks Dad!) in the same area, and we had ourselves a girls weekend!

We took our time going to a couple of the wineries and tasting  a few good wines.  Then in the late afternoon, we decided to drive down memory lane.  We were only about 25 minutes away from where Beth and I met and went to high school.  We drove to the beach that we used to hang out at during the summers and on weekend nights.  It was our hang out place in high school since we were to young to frequent bars or clubs.   A place we had dubbed "the singing spot", because we used to park down there and sing songs.  Loudly.  Mostly from the movie Grease.  Yes, we are dorks.  

We grabbed a bite to eat and then drove around some more, going past our old high school, the house I lived in for two years and the house Beth lived in for longer.  We passed the spot where I got my first speeding ticket--good times!  It was fun reminiscing about our younger years when all we worried about was how our hair looked, and if the boy we liked was going to like us. Much simpler than worrying about money or how much we  are screwing up as parents. 

 I know some of you may drive by your old high school every day, but I don't see the places where I grew up to often, because of moving around my whole life.  When I do go to places from my childhood, it's always a sentimental experience for me.  It reminds me of how fast life is and how much I appreciate what I have now.  

That night we stayed at a Marriott near the spa we were going to the next day.  We stayed up way to late talking about everything and nothing.  The spa was awesome.  We got massages and sat in the sun as a mud mask dried on our bodies.  It was incredibly relaxing.  Too soon it was time for me to get back in my car for the hour and a half drive back to reality.  Funny enough, the drive was one of my favorite parts.  It was nice to sit in the car alone, listening to what I wanted to,  and just letting my mind wander.  

When I got home I found the girls and Andy in the backyard playing.  They were excited to see me, and the relaxing weekend helped me to recharge and be just as excited to see them, even if the house needed a little tending to.  Andy did a great job taking care of the girls and keeping them happy.  There weren't any tears about me being gone, which is kind of sad for me, but I suppose it is a good thing.  

These little trips I take from time to time help me to be a better mom and wife.  I recommend it to any moms out there who feel frazzled and worn out.  Even if it's just one night away to a hotel with friends and a bottle of wine.  Go relax, enjoy and keep in mind how fast life goes by and how much you love your family.  Sometimes in the craziness of our daily routines we forget to appreciate everything around us. 

 I feel incredibly fortunate that I have a husband, who not only allows me to dump the girls on him alone for over 24 hours, but encourages it.  I feel blessed that I have three great girls who understand that sometimes mommy needs time away, but they still know how much I love them.  I also feel lucky that I have friends like BethAnnDoddKoehn, who I can take a relaxing trip down memory lane with and have an incredible time.  Thanks for suggesting it friend!  

To all you moms out there, treat yourself this upcoming weekend!  No cooking, no cleaning.  You deserve it!