For My #1 Fan in New Jersey

I got a lovely note from one of my friends in New Jersey today. She wanted a few questions answered that have long gone unanswered. Thanks for inspiring/encouraging me to post again! So here are the burning questions and the answers for which she has been so patient:

Q:  Is Binki still afraid of birds?

A: Binki would like to go on the record and state that she was never ‘afraid’ of the birds; she just wanted to exercise an abundance of caution around the rascals. She believes that dogs and birds can be friends and co-exist peacefully in the world, as long as birds realize that dogs are superior beings and learn their place – which is a good 10 feet above the ground.

Q: Have there been anymore attacks?

A: Binki would also like to go on the record and state, that no, in fact, there have been no further mockingbird attacks. She would like to credit this to the superb scouting and defensive techniques she learned while just a wee stray pup in Oklahoma. She is awesome and there are no birds that should dare to challenge her. Last summer’s attack was an anomoly and will not be repeated because the offending birds have been taken care of – if you know what she means.

Q: Has Matthew caused you to growl in Walgreens?

A: Absolutely. I am practicing my menacing look to go along with this growl so I can short-circuit his pleas for toys. I have started doing a pre-emptive growl in the van before we go in stores, just so he knows that I am watching him. Kind of like  Robert DeNiro in “Meet the Parents.”  

Me before entering a store with my children.

Me before entering a store with my children.

I am sure that the casual observer may wonder what kind of mother this woman is, but trust me, growling is much better than what I really want to say to him when he’s all whiny.

Q: Has he found any more yarn and run it around the house?

A: No. The death threat worked.

Q: Has Brandon become a master nerf gun killer?

A: Yes. In fact, when I got home one day last week, Brandon was sitting at the dining room table with a screwdriver and a nerf gun, which was in many pieces. I asked him what he was doing and he stated, “Modifying my nerf gun so it fires silently.” Sometimes the kid scares me.

Q: And have you beat your family at Wii yet?

A:  I am still the Wii Fit champion, except in boxing. Brandon is much better/faster than I am with the boxing moves. But I am still awesome when it comes to the balance games and yoga, of course. And I’ll probably stay that way until the kids get through awkward puberty stage, and then I’ll be old and they will gleefully beat my score at hula hoop and warrior pose. But until then, I will rub it in their face that they have no sense of balance.


All They Want For Christmas Is A Roll Of Bubble Wrap

Packages have been arriving at our house now since before Thanksgiving – all of our family live hundreds of miles away – so Christmas gifts are being shipped in. And the kids are getting so excited every time a box is sitting on our porch. They immediately want to rip it open to see what packaging material lurks within.

So why am I spending tenshundreds of dollars on Christmas presents for the boys when what really excites them is a cardboard box and some bubble wrap? I mean, really, for about $3.97 I could provide them with hours of bubble-popping fun and fore go the strain on my bank account. Of course, I would buy premium bubble wrap – not the cheap stuff where every other bubble is a dud.

I think bubble wrap is the answer; it’s sounding more and more feasible. For variety, I could also give the boys those plastic pockets of air that Amazon likes to use in their shipping. Those things make LOUD noise when jumped on by a 5 year old. Maybe not – I don’t think my nerves could stand the repeated pops of the air pockets.

Sometimes I wonder why I have to make things so hard: I should just go for the bubble wrap. Even decorating would be a breeze: bubble wrap everything. Bubble wrapped tree. Bubble wrapped stockings. Bubble wrapped Santa Claus and reindeer. No more red, green and gold; we could go for the nice sterile clarity of bubble wrap. I could use some clarity. Major clarity.  And maybe some eggnog without the ‘egg’ and heavy on the ‘nog.’

More Beach Pictures

Well, I’m completely out of stuff to blog about, so I’ll bore you with more beach pictures.Here are a few of my favorites:

Matt finds out why it’s NOT a good idea to let your cousins and brother bury you in the sand: Sand in the ear.

And what’s the deal with kids and tongues?


My Nephew, Grant

My Nephew, Grant

Good try, Matt, but I think Grant wins the weirdest tongue trick. Better luck next year. Yep – Grant definitely has talent:

This one is one of my favorites. The kids were all supposed to jump at the same time. Notice the big kids get off the ground first:

Brandon, James, Anna, Matt and Luke

Brandon, James, Anna, Matt and Luke

Then the big kids land and the little kids try to jump:

I’m not sure Anna, Matt and Luke actually left the ground but they tried. I came back with 5 CDs full of pictures, so I can keep this up for a long time, people! Hopefully I’ll be back in a posting mood soon.

Confession Time

In the comments of the previous post, my (younger) sister Leslie apologized for making me clean up our room when we were younger. But what she doesn’t remember (I think) is me making her clean up the room under the guise of playing games. So maybe I’m the one who owes her an apology! In order to cleanse my soul, I’ll share with everyone the games I tricked her into ‘playing.’

Red Light, Green Light: Basically, tell the kid to pick up as many toys as he/she can after you say ‘green light’ and before you say ‘red light.’ Pretty straightforward and you don’t even have to be paying much attention unless the kid is cleaning up something hazardous. Then again, you may want to rethink that or furnish some personal protection equipment. My boys are too old for this one now – they’ve got this trick figured out. And they’ve outgrown their haz-mat uniforms.

Pick up everything that’s purple (or pirates or cars or dinosaurs. . . you get the idea). This one still works for Matthew, and it kind of breaks the overwhelming task of cleaning down into a more manageable task. I use this one on myself to clean the house – say, every room that has a sink or just the upstairs or just the downstairs. Then I reward myself with some chocolate and forbid the children from entering the clean area of the house. This lasts approximately 30 seconds – long enough for Matthew to decide the clean area would make an excellent pirate-dinosaur battleground and then suddenly, there are skeletons and dinosaurs and pirate ships everywhere.

Anyway, I feel better now. Glad I got that off my chest! Sorry Leslie, for tricking you into cleaning the room, but after all, what are older siblings for?

P.S.: If anyone feels the need to share some of their games/ideas/tricks to get their kids to clean up — comments are open!

Why Our Easter Eggs Are Brown

Tonight we dyed eggs in the traditional Easter fashion. I bought one of the various egg dyeing kits – the one with the little color tablets and the wire egg-retriever – and we dyed about a dozen eggs in colors of red, purple, blue, green, yellow and orange. They are really pretty.

I actually boiled 17 eggs because I like odd numbers (not really, I was going to do 18, but one cracked). After the first 12, we had five more to do and Brandon decided to get creative – what if we dyed one green, then red? What if we started pouring other colors into the yellow? So we have 12 traditional-colored eggs and 5 random, weird colored eggs, that aren’t really brown, they’re more purple-brown, if that’s a color you can imagine.

I put the eggs in the refrigerator because I’m all about food safety, and Matthew got upset: we’re supposed to put the eggs out for the Easter bunny, he told me. “The Easter bunny will be sad if we don’t put the eggs out.” I assured him the Easter bunny did not want to eat our eggs, but wanted to bestow lots of chocolate and candy on good little boys who went to sleep when they are told.

And here’s a confession: I wanted to be on-the-ball with Easter, because I kind of dropped the ball on Valentine’s Day and didn’t really do anything for the kids, so I bought their candy two weeks ago and I DIDN’T EAT IT ALREADY! Yea, me! So I’ve got all their candy, and I’m thinking that I’ll just grab their baskets today, because I’ve seen them out in the garage in storage and I’ll just run out there and get them, right? I searched everywhere for those baskets and can’t find them. I know they are somewhere around here. Anyway, the kids had to put something out for the Easter bunny before they went to bed and the winner of Easter basket stand-in: Halloween pumpkins. Yes, my kids are getting their Easter treats in their Halloween pumpkins. It should make for interesting Easter morning pictures.

Easter Finery

So Sunday is Easter and since I have two rambunctious boys, I only this past weekend broached the subject of Sunday morning Easter outfits. Not having a girl kind of makes this easy, since the boys are not really interested in getting new Easter outfits and I don’t have to plan weeks in advance for dresses, shoes, hair accessories and jewelry. Yea boys! Woo hoo!

Brandon refuses to wear any shirt that has buttons and any pants that aren’t denim. Also shoes that aren’t Skechers. Last Sunday, I had to tell him twice to change before we left for church because he was wearing a t-shirt with holes in it. He really doesn’t care what he wears (remember the trashbag incident?) as long as he’s comfortable. I don’t blame him, really, but I do trace this problem back to a series of unfortunate events: namely, his duties as ringbearer in multiple weddings at a tender age. At my sister’s wedding, he went down the aisle in his socks because he refused to wear the dress shoes – they hurt his feet. Luckily, my sister didn’t really care and it makes for a cute story. I believe the tuxedos scarred him for life and he will never dress up again. I envision prom pictures of him in a sportsjacket, jeans and a tuxedo t-shirt. (Because a tuxedo t-shirt says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party. Right?)

Anyway, I carted the kids to The Childrens Place (because I love their clothes), we held our breath and ran through the racks of pink stuff at the front of the store and dove into the boys’ section. The boys found themselves buttondown shirts and I actually got Brandon to agree to wear a pair of navy pants. With his Skechers. But pants nonetheless. Five minutes later, we were out of there. Again, woo hoo! I do love to shop, but when the kids are with me, the quicker the better.

P.S.: Actually, I asked Matthew what he wanted to wear for Easter and he stated a white fur suit with rabbit ears. Ha ha!

Bedtime Threats

Sometimes I have to come up with inventive ways of getting the boys’ attention: 

Me: Okay, boys, time to put on your pj’s, brush your teeth and get in the bed.

Boys: (Generally not listening and causing chaos.)

Me: (Practicing my yoga breathing.) Guys. Really. Time for bed. Go downstairs. Brush your teeth. Now.

Boys: (Again with the not listening and the chaos.)

Me: Alright. Go downstairs now, put on pj’s, brush your teeth and then I’ll come staple you in your beds.

Boys: What?

Me: You heard me – now go.

Boys: Woo hoo! She’s going to staple us to the bed! (Scurries off down the stairs.)