Conversations with the Peanut Gallery


It's been a busy week.  Doug and I are finally coming down with the cold that the kids had and are feeling a bit under the weather.  It was another crazy 7 days in class, but after 2 discussion posts and replies, 6 supplemental media quizzes, a lab activity quiz,  two tests, and a midterm, I'm only one paper away from being done for the week...just in time to start again next week.  In my spare time, I've been working on a Queen Elizabeth I dress for Anna.  Her class is doing book reports on famous people and she's read 3 books about Queen Elizabeth.  The students are supposed to dress like their character and present their book reports as if they were that person.  I still have a few weeks to get the dress done so I'm keeping my fingers crossed I can get it finished and that it will fit.  I'm still new to the whole sewing thing.  I decided it was probably about time for another CWTPG.  The wee ones are coming up with new stuff all the time.  I need to put aside one notebook just for their "funnyisms" because I tend to write their sayings down wherever I have a piece of paper and then have to search around when it's time for a new post.  Here's the latest.

While watching the Super Bowl:
Lauren:  What's the Super Bowl?
Anna:  I don't know but if you win you get to go to the World Series.
Lauren:  C'mon Pack, go!  I want you to go to the Super Bowl.
Mommy:  Jacob, say "Go, Pack Go!"
Jacob: Balls.
Mommy:  Jacob, say "Go, Pack Go!"
Jacob:  Doe, Dat, Doe!
Tyler to Doug:  Did you hear that one of the guys in the group that has never missed a Super Bowl is in the hospital and can't go?
Anna:  What happened?  Did he get hit in the head with a football?

Eating dinner and playing the 20 questions game:
Anna:  Okay, it's a person.
Me:  Is it a girl?
Anna:  Yes.
Lauren:  Is it a boy?
Moment of silence.
Anna:  No, it's a girl.  Here are some more hints.  She is Jewish and she's from Amsterdam.
Me:  Is it Anne Frank?
Anna:  No.  She's also Indian.
Me:  Huh?
Anna:  And she helped Lewis and his buddy find their way across the United States.
Me:  Do you mean Sacagawea?
Anna:  Yes!!!  You got it.

Trying to get Jacob to the table for lunch:
Me:  Jacob, it's time to eat.  Do you want to eat?
Jacob:  Outside to bounce.  (He loves the trampoline.)
Me:  No, honey, we need to eat first.
Jacob:  Shush!  Outside to bounce.
Me:  Do you want spinach pizza or grilled chicken?
Jacob:  Bock.  Bock.

I showed the girls a picture my stepmom had sent of my dad with a deer he killed during hunting season.  This is the conversation that ensued:
Anna: Awww, is that PawPaw?
Me: Yes.
Anna: Awww, is that a baby deer?
Me: No, it's an adult. Look at how big his antlers are.  It's an 8-point.
Lauren: Let me see! Man! PawPaw killed that deer...with a gun.
Anna: Yeah, that's an elephant gun.
Lauren: No, it's a BB gun, right?
Anna: No, BB guns are smaller.

Me to Jacob:  Say Granny.
Jacob:  Granny.
Me:  Say PawPaw.
Jacob:  PawPaw.
Me:  Say Nana.
Jacob:  Nana.
Me:  Say Poppy.
Jacob:  Woof.  Woof.

Overheard from the family room:
Lauren:  Help!!  He's eating my project!!!!
I walked in to find Lauren in tears and Jacob eating the marshmallows and pretzels off of her snowman picture she'd made in her kindergarten class.

Tyler came out in January to spend 3 months with us.  The night before his arrival, the girls were busy making welcome signs and presents for him.  He came in around lunchtime the next day.  When Anna got home from school and got to see him for the first time, she gave him a huge hug and said, "Tyler, I have a present for you."  I assumed she meant one of the pictures she had been working on.  Instead, she took Tyler by the hand and led him over to her backpack where she had 8 french fries wrapped up in a greasy napkin .  She said, "Tyler,  I saved my french fries from lunch for you.  C'mon, let's heat them up, so you can eat them."

Looking at baby pictures of Lauren:
Anna:  Look at how cute Lauren was.  Now she's all grown up and has stinky feet.

After the girls' Starstruck Showcase perfomance at school:
Anna:  Lauren, I saw your dance and I was clapping for you very rapidly!

Anna's song at the dinner table inspired by her readings about Queen Elizabeth:
Anna:  I'm a princess.  Tyler's a prince and Jacob's a prince.  Alaina is a princess and Lauren is a princess.
Lauren.  Eww.  I want to be a prince.
Anna:  Daddy is the King and Mommy is the Queen.  Tyler and Jacob are princes.  I am a princess and so is Alaina.  Lauren is a slave.  La, la, la, la.

Overheard from the family room:
Lauren:  Anna, have you seen those pajama jeans they've been talking about on TV?  I'm going to get Mommy a pair of those for Christmas next year!!


The many faces of Jacob


Or at least these are the faces he made when I said each of those words.  He's a character!


The tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds...

Tyler graduated from the University of Georgia this past December.  In January, he came out to California to spend some time with the family and work on his private pilot's license.  The weather has been cooperating and he's been busy flying or snowboarding most days.  On Sunday he completed his initial solo.  We were so excited for him.  He did an amazing job!  I really think he's just a natural.

Ty had his solo in the T-41, 24 years after Doug. 

The girls couldn't wait to get out to the plane and immediately hopped in.  Lauren has been working on flight sim quite a bit lately.  Could she be the next pilot in the family to follow her dad and now Tyler?
Maybe it will be this one.
The kids love their big brother...a lot.

Congrats, Tyler!


All You Need Is...

Or is it?  It seems it takes a lot more than just that to get through the week.  It also requires patience...lots of patience, humility and compassion, peace and understanding, hope and prayer and belief,  laughter and encouragement, friendship and support, and the ability to step back and appreciate where you are, who you are, and the blessings in your life.

I've been feeling a bit beat up from this past week.  It just seemed like such a crazy, hectic 7 days.  I started taking two online classes a couple of weeks ago and this week was over the top-4 chapters of reading, 2 discussions with 4 responses each, a writing assignment, an objective writing assignment, a lab quiz, and two tests.  In addition, I received a nasty response from one of the other students regarding a post I made in support of her discussion response.  I guess she didn't realize I was agreeing with what she said and she lashed out.  I learned an old friend from my time in the Air Force is in the last few days of his life. That same day, I received a call from our clinic saying some test results came back abnormal.  All three kids have been sick and just fighting about anything and everything.  Life with kids, as you know, is rewarding all the time, but there are days when it's also hard as hell.  Two of my favorite facebook status posts from friends so far this year have been:

1)Brennan might be shipped off to military school before his 3rd bday as he told Rory, "Stick it up your stinky butt, Daddy".  I need a vacation.
2)School's cancelled again tomorrow (Snow Day 3). Does the liquor store deliver?!

I just have to laugh.  It's good to have friends that are right in the middle of it with you.  So, by Friday, I was just ready to put the week away.  I sat down and started to count my blessings and you know, life really is good.  Even when it seems a bit bumpy, it's still a wonderful ride.  Plus, it's hard to stay blue long when you have the King and Queen of Hearts, and Cupid living with you. 

Happy Valentine's Day!  Hope yours is filled with lots of love, flowers, and chocolates!


Galileo and Gumballs

These are the two designs I came up with for the kids' t-shirts but didn't get to use.  If anyone is interested, you're welcome to take them and use them.  Please link back to me if you do!  I found a few great tutorials to learn how to make these in photoshop.  Here are the links:
Creating a custom shape and  Fitting text to your shape 
I had always wanted to learn how to make round text.  Turns out it was much easier than I thought.  Here's another great tutorial.  The words surrounding the earth are from Jane Yolen's Earth Day poem.


I Love You to the Stars!

We had a joint Earth and Stars birthday party for Lauren and Jacob last Saturday.  Lauren told everyone that she had to share her party with Jacob because he doesn't have any friends of his own.  It made me so sad.  I think perhaps I need to join a "MOPs" group right away!  Anyway, we had a great afternoon with all our friends.  The kids were so much fun.  They were also very busy and very loud exuberant.

My neighbor Hiedi and I put together this star mobile.  Even though the party is over, I don't want to take it down.  When the air comes on in the house, the mobile spins and flutters and twirls.  The kids and I all get a big kick out of it.  Our friend Amanda helped me make the constellation sign in the back.  The lights are actually in constellation form although you may not be able to tell.  Again, I don't want to take it down either.  It's fun watching TV at night by "star"light. 
Inspired by Miniature Rhino, I made gift bags for all of the kids and embroidered the constellations on the front.  We had Orion, Taurus, Andromeda, Perseus, Cygnus, Canis Major, Ursa Major, Hercules, and Pegasus.  I found some vintage constellation illustrations from the book "Urania's Mirror" and attached those to the drawstring.  We placed a personalized stargazing chart inside each bag along with some hot cocoa and marshmallows to keep them warm while they're checking out the heavens.  I found some giant roasting marshmallows and my friend Courtney used a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut a star out of the center of each.  My kids had fun with this as they kept sneaking the star leftovers.

Each of the wee ones also received another little gift in their bag; glittered star bobby pins for the girls...
And gloves for the guys with stars stenciled on the palms.


I made a little picture for the front door using wood, chalkboard paint, wooden stars, and craft rings.

For crafts, the kids painted the stars on small canvases.

They also painted Earth balls.

While half of the kids were inside painting, my brave friend Courtney was busy outside making terrariums with the rest.

I had planned to make t-shirts for everyone and had put together two designs: an Earth for the boys and a star for the girls.  Unfortunately, my printer couldn't get them done and so at the last minute (literally at 3:30, the party started at 4:00) I printed out two pictures of Einstein and stitched them to Jacob's and Lauren's shirts.  Definitely not the best sewing job ever but I was standing up to do it as my chair was already downstairs at the craft table!  Hahaha.   Do you see the gash on Jake's nose?  The day before we were almost positive he had broken his nose.  He was spinning in the living room and fell into the ledge around the fireplace.  It began to bleed and immediately bruised and swelled up, puffier on the left.  The next morning we woke up and he looked like this.  Babies are amazingly resilient!  I'm so happy he's okay!

Miss Caroline was shimmering in her dress.  She told her mom she needed to wear stars to the party.  So cute!

Lauren and her best buddy, Maycee.

We headed in for some astronomy inspired history and food.  We had Kepler Kebabs, Fizeau Fries, Newton Nuggets, and Copernicus Cheese-n- Macs.

We also had Ptolemy Pizza Bites and Halley's Fruit Comets.

Some Hubble Ham and Galileo Granary Bread...

A little Albert's Apple Juice to wash things down...

And some veggie big dippers to finish it off.

I never knew you could fit so many kids around one table. The table is made for four but we managed to squeeze in ten!
These guys were cracking me....and themselves up.  Jacob may have been the baby of the group but he did or tried to do everything they did.

It was apparently a pretty funny afternoon!

Jacob was chowing on the fruit skewers.  I was surprised at how well the kids ate them!

I was just waiting for the juice to come out of their noses.

And this one....don't get me started on this little star.  I just want to run away with him.  Hiedi's legs are longer than mine though and I don't think I could get very far before she caught me.

Our sweet friend and my babysitting lifesaver Amanda.

It was finally cake time.  This one was chocolate with a raspberry filling. I made the toppers with wooden stars, skewers and sequins on a string.

Our babies.  It's hard to believe they're now 6 and 2.  It's also hard to believe that the little one on the far left will be 8 come May.  It's going by too quickly.

After the cake we headed outside to do a little stargazing.  The weather had been a little foggy lately so I was surprised that we managed to see at least one star.  In case of fog, I had ordered some sky lanterns so we would be assured of some twinkling night lights.

I love, love, love the idea of sky lanterns but I was very worried about starting a fire.  I googled it and although they're not illegal in CA, you can still spend up to a year in jail for reckless burning.  Plus it wouldn't be very neighborly to burn down a friend's house or field.  So, I lit them and tied them off.  I think it would be amazing to see hundreds released somewhere.  As it was we only lit two before the rain started and we were done for the evening.

It is tied off here.  I just photoshopped it so you couldn't see the string going through Lauren's hair (shhh!).

Happy, Happy Birthday to our two little ones! (These were the pictures on the invitations.)


I just have to say how much I appreciate my husband and dear friends.  Doug has told me I have a tendency to pull everyone around me into my party mania.  He may be right.  I'm so thankful to be surrounded by so many wonderful people; people who string 1,000s of lights in the trees out back, people who come over and help me make and hang a mobile while 6 kids run screaming through the house; people who help me make a constellation sign; people who hang the sign and help me replace strands of lights, people who help make the food; people who organize craft tables, set up food and create terrariums.  Thank you, sweet friends and amazing husband.  I love you, guys.  To me, you are the true stars!

UPDATE:  Goodness!  My little star mobile has been pinned several times and I know some of you are wondering just how it was made.  I used a star punch and scrapbook paper to make the stars.  Then I used my sewing machine and just sewed the stars  together in strings and tied them onto metal craft rings,  like this one here: Metal craft ring.  I purchased my rings at Jo-Ann's.  I don't remember the exact sizes but one was larger than the other.  It was super easy!  Here is a different shot of the mobile so you can see the top.   I used fishing line on the top ring  and then attached it to the ceiling with small white nails.  Hope this helps!

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