Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Happy Birthday- Smart son! (a little late)

addendum-- sometimes blogger does crazy things- like add a giant space in your post you can't get rid of and spontaneously delete pictures- so I have added the mini cake from smart son's real birthday (look for the 3-D rocket cake coming this weekend) I will repost this on the cake blog too http://smartmamacakes.blogspot.com)

6 years ago smart son made his earthly debut before Christmas instead of after the New year- which adds a little extra chaos and jobs to the lengthy December to do list and although I am sure the extra years tax deduction far exceeds the trouble-- it does complicate things- i probably go overboard in attempts to not cheat him- it is probably the best time to be born for that very reason. We are celebrating on his real day and then again after the holidays with the "friend" party. And in Dec. your parents never think to give you something like a bike so they break down and buy you that in the spring and you wind up racking up extra gifts. Although it is kind of a bummer to only have one new major toy influx per year. You can check out this years rocking cupcakes he's brought to kindergarten. I actually had a mom stop me in the grocery store to ask about the rocket cupcakes her son came home talking about- so i think they were a hit. i had a picture of the cake but blogger deleted it so i'll post it later.
I sure love my smart son though- he will always be remembered as my great Christmas present. We have enjoyed 6 great years together- I am lucky to be his mom- you all know how I love his creativity, his sweetness, his constantly churning little brain. I love will never regret leaving work to spend my days with him- my time with him is worth more than any paycheck and if there is any thing I hope he always knows it is how much his mom loves him!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Shelah's baby has arrived!

For those of you anxiously awaiting the arrival of Maren, (Shelah over at Hitting the Ground Running)'s baby--I am pleased to announce that she arrived today at 2:39 am weighing in at 6 lbs 1 oz and 19 inches in length! I can't wait to get more details and I am sure Shelah will blog it soon! Welcome to the World, Maren and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

war, famine, pestilence, and smart baby

rt baby
Yes as you can see smart baby has take a place as one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse-

The theme of December's blogging that is emerging- catastrophes a la smart baby. Here is smart baby mopping the flour with my bucket of bread flour (I don't know if this is better or worse than the previous mopping episode with toilet water) I had it out to make 6 loaves of homemade bread for the teachers, bus driver, etc) This occurred simply as I turned my back to stir the rice and soup for tonight's dinner casserole- yes only 2 feet behind me! He is one sneaky character.
Then 2 hrs later as I was attempting to wrest the bread from its pan to rush it out for fresh hot delivery to the bus driver- I heard the sound of the bus in front of my house- so I with knife in hand ran to open the front door- to wave that I was home so smart son wouldn't be driven back to the school and in my absence smart baby- went directly to the dining room climbed up in the middle of the table and poked 2 holes in and ate 5 fondant decorations off smart son's birthday cake (luckily i had already taken a picture in case some such scenario took place) Seriously i have exhausted every cabinet lock, and out of reach surface known to man. The family room armoire is the current "safe house" for tomorrows birthday cupcakes for school.
This evening smart baby struck again as I prepared the next round of bread dough- I turned to see something brown in his hand- he had reached up and grabbed a hunk out of one of the cooling loaves of bread-(one of the down sides of having an 18 month old who is above the 95% percentile in height - way too much is in their reach!) so much for that gift. Smart son played accomplice today --on his way out the door to music - as he madly grabbed shortbread cookies set the 5 ton glass cake tender dome on one of the other cooling loaves.
These were the major incidents of the day- in addition he enjoyed dumping a box of graham sticks, dumping out 50 cookie cutter, disassembling the carpet tiles in the dining room and 50 other things.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sink or Float- Can I get a spot on Letterman

Really my boys don't watch David Letterman (seriously smart son can't stay awake past 7:30! He will lay down where ever he is and go to sleep!) But somehow they learned to play sink or float. In fact the "sink -or- floatness" of objects is often a concern of smart sons as we are driving and he inquires as to the sink or float status of some random object or material. Smart son coaxed smart baby to be his assistant in this venture. I gave it my okay as long as it was not excessively destructive and would allow me to whip out teriyaki chicken for dinner. The downstairs bathroom sink was turned into the official sink or float test tank. I have a hard time discouraging such a great experience of the scientific process so along with my blessing when I told smart son to please get a towel from the kitchen and dry the "test objects" aka toys before returning them to playroom. Well 5 minutes later I was summoned with "Help mom- there is purple dye everywhere!It won't stop... HELP!" On my way to the bathroom I can't for the life of me figure out what sink of float test item would leak purple dye. Well I went in to find they were testing out a piece of black paper -and in following 1/2 of their mothers instructions- the "dry" part, minus the KITCHEN towel part they attempted to dry on my fluffy white "nice for company" hand towel (which is now purplish gray- despite soaking and washing) purplish dye is also covering smart baby's face and hands, dripping down the wall, covering the vanity. (not above picture is post clean-up!)

Lessons of the day-

1. black paper floats

2. black paper leaks purple dye when wet

3. black paper dye doesn't come out of white towels

4. smart baby will furtively, stealthily pilfer all 6 varieties of cookies from the 7 plates you have artfully assembled for the evenings FHE deliveries if you disappear into the laundry room in attempts to disprove #3) as you can see he has yet to internalize our family value of integrity- the little thief!

Friday, December 15, 2006

okay i am starting to get annoyed

I thought I was getting back into the saddle today- So I got ambitious, cleaned my room, cranked out 4 loads of laundry- started this painting during smart baby's nap ( This will have to count as your christmas present from me- yep this is all you're getting- a half done painting if you want a real treat you'd better head over to my talented friends lei's blog- but i have been itching to do this variation on gold leaf combining the chain garden and branch series-so here is work in progress) only to hit the wall at 1 pm when major achiness returned. Then of course everything started falling apart- smart baby tossed a bowl of dates across the kitchen, dumped a basket of folded laundry, 3 toy bins, and for the cherry on top dumped confetti in the keyboard (lest you think me negligent he is a fast one) Which means smart daddy-o will be prying off keys to remove the errant small foil stars later tonight--Speaking of smart daddy-o- he really loves me and is catering to my cranky sick wife whims and picked me up my desired entree from TGI Fridays and is currently on a run to pick me up my requested evening treat a 3 scoop sundae from friendly's complete with peanut butter and hot fudge sauce. I am coping though- see as a child life specialist I am a master
cope-r my job is helping people cope- and one of the best methods of coping is distraction or as we like to call it "alternative focus". As you can see my current alternative focus for my fluness- some good eats-yes I tried lying in bed reading the latest issue of discover magazine (yes I really am a total nerd! it was the year it review- I love it but not successful enough at distracting me), and watching this fascinating -you know how I love- PBS) special "The Mystery of Love", and episodes of shows I don't even watch at abc.com all to no avail. At this point i am using self-talk "you will get better" "The flu will pass" but I am starting to feel jipped of my holiday season- only 10 more days of till Christmas. After all I am the "Christmas queen" a label I have most comically earned amongst family and friends. And I am seriously miffed that I have wasted a week of my reign in my flu-ish state (let alone the week before with our hospital excursion! and sick boys) So send healthy thoughts or maybe anti-virals!
XO- smartmama

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I love being a teacher

Yesterday I finished up a 3-part acrylic painting class for K-3rd graders I was teaching for the PTO at smart son's school (despite my voice which is barely existent and deeper than my husbands at present). It reminded me that deep down I will always be a teacher- Few things make me happier than seeing people learn/experience/try new things. I was so excited that after 3 weeks they were already able to accurately use great artist talk with words like "technique", "composition", and "preliminary drawing" and could explain brainstorm subjects in the categories of still life, portraits, designs, and landscapes, could talk about the pros and cons of drawing from observation vs. imagination. They could title their pieces, and engage in aesthetic discussions about their own work and other's work, and best of all 33 new child masterpieces are now gracing their homes! No, I am not saying I am the great fount of all knowledge- after all I had great teachers who taught me these things--but for me the best part of knowing something is being able to pass it on to others. So smart mama's challenge for the day- Take a few minutes and teach someone something- it is a gift that always gives back!

as a whining p.s.-
this whole being sick thing is really cramping my style- Instead of counting down the days till Christmas i am counting down the minutes until smart daddy-o gets home from work so I can crash into bed, or the number of hours until my next dose of advil. dishes are piled in the sink, half done projects are everywhere- it is not festive!

Monday, December 11, 2006

the season continues...

yes it is 2:23 am and i am blogging. As much as I "respect the microbes" when you are stuck in the house with 2 sick kids and worn down, inevitably the staunchest mother gets sick- and yesterday i came down with a terrible cold. I attempted to take a warm bath only to have smart son decide to use me for water gun target practice ("but mom I filled it up with warm water for you!") and smart baby decided to toss in a few playmobil and lego people - and a an entire playmobil rescue tow truck for my bathtime pleasure. I was sudafeded up and in bed by 8:30- trouble is I know have a terrible sinus headache and can't sleep so I figured instead of lying awake in bed tossing and turning about the 50 things left on my to do list I'd blog...

I am happy to report Saturday's Ornament day was a success (one of our school PTO activities). Here are smart son's craftings from that day. I was responsible for teaching the kids how to make the ribbon candy ornaments. Despite the fact that this is the most despised of all the stations as it has a high difficulty rating involves some serious spatial skills and the use of rulers, we managed well. The rest of Saturday was spent fighting the traffic to mall to get the lego crane- where I got distracting picking bricks from the lego wall and snagging some shirts at the limited for smart daddy-o to give me for Christmas. I had a only a matter of minutes then to don biblical attire and print off my reading to get the church for dress rehearsal for out "Journey to Bethlehem" at our ward Christmas party. When smart baby pulled down the entire 7ft tall kids tree- ornaments flew all across the kitchen, bubbler lights smashed, glass pieces everywhere, the stand was bent - Smart daddy-o deduced it was due to the sudden one sided weighting of the tree with all the ornaments from ornament day. So after cleaning the broken glass and piling all the ornaments on a table. (it's current sad state- compare with previous photo- yes it is Tuesday and still not redecorated!) I went in to print my part. However what came out of the printer was not my part but smart baby's birth certificate (In a sheet protector!) yes foreign objects has been fed into the bowels of the printer and so I tried again- this time paper sucked in and never came out- and the lights started flashing to check my documentation!

I CAN report the Christmas cards have been mailed (except for those few who I know have a new/lost address which requires waiting until they send me a card so I can mail it to them). Oreo truffles have been made (thanks shelah for the recipe)

Friday, December 08, 2006

just when i thought i could resume normal blogging

life goes crazy-
smart son (5) got croup (he gets it at least once a year and we usually have to go to the ER 50% of the time- but this year was extra bad and he had to go to the ER via ambulance) So yes picture me and smart daddy-o and smart son standing at the top of the driveway waiting for the ambulance add to this picture that it is 20 degrees outside (we are trying to use the cold air to smart son breathe)- but in the dire throws of respiratory compromise there is not time for even a coat or shoes for a mom- my own demise from exposure was mediated only by the fact that i was wearing this warm but excessively ugly GAP red hooded sweatshirt (circa 1990- that I wear only in my house in times of extreme cold- never in public) and still by the light of the pale moon the policeman (while giving smart son oxygen as we await the ambulance) says, "Hey didn't your son get locked in the house a few years ago?"
Is my town really that small?that was almost 4 years ago! Must I bear that shame forever!

So of course that of course yielded a sleepless night for all filled with the excitement of the ER (happy to report thanks to 4 rounds of albuterol and some steroids smart son is doing ok) & a subsequent follow-up with the pediatrician, the pharmacy, (and I squeezed in 10 min run into Marshall's where i scored the last thing on smart baby's (18 mo) list at 50% off the normal price!) getting back to throw dinner together for one of our friends who was in town (P.S. great Christmas tip- the festive decorations and dim lights can hide a multitude of housekeeping sins).
The next few nights sleep were interrupted by smart son having terrible coughing fits lasting for hours- he couldn't go more than 30 seconds without coughing and us trying ever liquid beverage, food, cool mist vaporizer, chest percussion, positioning, distraction and relaxation techniques imaginable in our futile attempt to squelch the coughing. I also taught a painting class at smart son's school, we had swim lessons, I taught a painting class for women from church while smart daddy-o was off enjoying dinner and blue man group with his work, I was also madly trying to crank out Christmas cards, bday party invites, a dbl batch of sugar cookies, and about 500 other things. I have also endured much shrieking (yes smart baby is still in that lovely phase) and even remained sane even after having a fork and bowl of stuffing hurdled at me by my disgruntled pint sized eater!

I am also happy to report we have have secured some elusive toy items for smart son but only with much hardship and exertion!
So I am running on fumes --starting to have slurred speech- a sign i need to get into bed- but there is something so depressing in going to bed and knowing you really won't get all the sleep you want or need! knowing tomorrow i need to get through ornament day at smart son's school, get to a store 35 min away to pick up a reserved item, and i am responsible for closing "reading" at our church Christmas party- So hopefully you are busy with your own festivities, kissing under mistletoe, eating cookies, and buying gifts, & drinking hot chocolate, and reading the Christmas story and you haven't missed me. I will be back...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Christmas house tour

I love Christmas- I mean I really love Christmas- in fact as a child I made my family sing "hark the herald angels sing" every week at family night for many years straight. Christmas is the greatest holiday (I will blog more on the true meaning of Christmas another day)- I love it with all the trimmings: mistletoe (which means kissing), presents, decorations, music, holiday movies, lights, food, baking, being with friends and family, and just feeling magic in the air. So naturally I like to decorate for Christmas- in fact the tree to person ratio at our house is 6:4 (that only includes trees more than 2 feet tall) This year I scaled back a little (didn't do the banisters, mantle or put up one of the 7 foot trees) because life has been so hectic and i am seriously sleep deprived but here is a view of a few festive spots around the house-

1- The entry way with my favorite Santa (wearing a caftan) I brought back from Morocco

2- The breakfast nook tree-the Fun tree- no ornament is too homely for this tree- It is the ultimate kids tree- complete with bubbler lights!!! where I have everything from my 2nd grade Styrofoam meat tray and glitter angels, to star wars and strawberry shortcake ornaments.

3- my dining room- I love to hang things from my light fixtures- this room is all silver, glass, and white- lots of disco ball mirror ornaments

4. The breakfast nook table- I had to keep this low key/unbreakable this year as it is all within reach of smart baby

5. The family room (yes slacker mantle I know) stockings thanks to shelah

6. the family room tree- all gold and red and the classier ornaments in our collection
I'll spare you the rest of the counter vignettes, nativity sets, candy bowls, etc...
Merry Christmas- it is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Don't you wish you lived in new england too?

Living in New England is quaint (And if the winter was not so interminable, wretched, and snowy- it would be even better) Don't get me wrong, I do like snow but I don't like winter that runs from November to April. At times NE feels so Norman Rockwell charming. Our little town is a quintessential New England town. We have orchards and dairys, lots of white churches, we have a cute town center with gazebo, antique houses, a white clapboard building which houses the town hall, fire station, police, and library (yes all in one)- It's a fairly sleepy town center- no stores. The biggest intersection in our town in where a 4 lane road intersects a 2 lane road- and the number of traffic lights in our town that I know of- 1. This weekend was our town's Christmas Festival, people even come from neighboring towns to enjoy our hospitality and cutesy town charm. They have trolleys that run routes through the town stopping at all the spots around our town where you can enjoy homemade food, crafts, buy local wares, etc. They stop at the local dairy farm (the smart boys' favorite), where they give out free samples at the "Milk Bar, tastes of ciders, fudge, cheeses, pastas, dessert, free hayrides through the farm, petting zoos, and you can even glimpse santa with this team of cows, the trolley goes to the Candy makers, the go to the churches, various restaurants, local businesses, artisan shops, and the school. The PTO hosted raffles, gave out free cookies, had a gingerbread competition, kids crafts, and a dinner that evening. I was in charge of major signage for the school events and the gingerbread area (if you were an elementary ed major at BYU you too were lucky enough to take an instructional design course where they teach you how to make posters with chalk pastels) I have to laugh sometimes at some of the odd but strangely useful required classes for education majors. (this also explains lack of blogging- as my evenings have been spent inhaling permanent marker fumes- in the name of the PTO!) I spent the days leading up to it making house labels, category cards, and posters, hours friday night laminating, copying, paper cutting thousands of ballots and tickets, hours saturday afternoon donning a hairnet and apron-and under the wise tutelage of E, the cafteria lady- cutting 250 brownies, putting ice in glasses, chopping mass quantities of basil and other fun tasks and help tally the over 900 votes for gingerbread house (although there were no hanging chads to combat- you'd be amazed at how many incorrect ways people can fill our a simple ballot)
Best of all we had fun as a family and we got to help celebrate the traditions and town "family". In our world today community spirit is becoming somewhat extinct- as we live in our busy worlds, our suburban sprawl, we sometimes loose the connections to our neighbors, we watch out for our own kids, but often forget how much watching out for and helping everyone around us returns benefits 100 fold.
And if you're ever in our neighborhood on our Festival weekend- it's worth checking out as a great reminder that people coming together as a community- well to quote Martha Stewart "It's a good thing!"