Friday, March 28, 2008

She's Done It Again

It's another Mackenna story. Am I getting annoying? I can't help but to share this one, though. It's too good.

Tuesday night after dinner, Michael announced that it was time to get ready for bed. Mackenna scampered up the steps, followed by Teensy. Then we heard Teensy cry, "Mackenna just peed in the tub!" With raised eyebrows, Michael and I exchanged glances and then he went up to investigate. A couple of minutes later, he came back down to the kitchen to relay the conversation he'd just had with our two and a half year-old.

Michael: What did you do?

Kenna: (standing in the empty tub without a stitch of clothing on her body) I peed in the tub.

Michael: You're not supposed to pee in the tub. You're supposed to pee in the potty. Not in the tub. Not on the floor. Not in your panties.

Kenna: Well, I peed in the bathroom!

Michael: Well, that's not good enough. You are supposed to pee in the potty and you didn't do that.

Kenna: Touche

That's when Michael exited the bathroom and came to ask me when in the world our two year-old learned to use the word "touche" in context. I confess that I have no idea.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's Only Hair

Most of you who see me on a regular basis have already seen my new 'do. This is for those dear friends and devoted readers who live far away, or who have just been out of town for the past week. I got my hair cut. I didn't realize what a big deal it would be. Some people at church on Sunday didn't even recognize me. Crazy!

I've been thinking about this for quite some time. My hair just kept getting longer and longer because I didn't have time to keep going to hair appointments. I was actually doing my hair less and less and, as a result, feeling less and less cute. I told my fabulous hairdresser, Tatyana, "Cut it all off so that I have to do it!" And she did. The ponytail she cut off the back measured eleven inches. Who knew all that hair was back there? Anyway, you know what they say--short hair is easier to do and long hair is easier not to do. It's so true! I can get out of the shower and have my hair completely done in eight minutes (you know I timed it)!

My Michael was quite shocked when I returned from my hair appointment. He loves it but he didn't know what I'd been planning. A bob is actually his favorite haircut. He has a picture of a model taped inside one of his old journals, she was his "ideal woman" and she is a brunette with a bob. I like to tease him that now he is married to his favorite model.

So, there you have the lowdown on my haircut and some photos to go with it. I tried to take a couple myself and then had Teensy give it a go. I think she did a pretty good job!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Weekend 2008

The first Easter-y thing we did this weekend was to go to an egg hunt our our friends, the W's house. There was a brunch followed by a hunt at a nearby park (I somehow got the time wrong and was an hour late for the brunch--so unlike me on many counts!) Anyway, the kids had a great time getting their eggs, pigging out and then playing on the playground with their little friends.

Here's Maia and Liza going through their stash of chocolate and goodies!

Mackenna didn't want to put her basket down to climb and play at the park. She didn't want her candy to get away from her.

On Saturday afternoon, our little family of six painted eggs together. We missed the traditional egg painting festivities with my family on Palm Sunday, so we were on our own. You've probably never heard of it, but we use Doc Hinckle's egg dye. Call me a genuine Pennsylvania Dutch girl, but I've never used something like Paas and don't intend to start now. With Doc Hinkle's, you don't dip the eggs; you actually paint them with a cotton swab. That way you make your eggs look like anything you'd like--polka dotted, striped, flowered, whatever! It's very fun and creative. I had to stop myself from boiling a few eggs one afternoon this week and having a solo painting session while the little girls were napping. It's quite relaxing!

Here we are painting our eggs!

See the bright, fun colors and the different designs?

Sunday morning, the kids made quick work of finding the eggs and raiding their baskets before eating a quick chocolate-filled breakfast and then getting ready for church.
Here's Teensy with her new Barbie toothbrush. Thank goodness the Easter Bunny gives a new toothbrush to help wash off all the sugar from his other treats!

I must say that my children looked utterly adorable in their Easter finery. I get such a rush seeing my kids looking so coordinated and coiffed. Just look how handsome my Mason is in his very first suit! He loved it and was hilarious when we were shopping for it. You should have seen him dancing in the dressing room!

It's ridiculously hard to get them all looking and smiling at the same time. Here are some individual shots so you get an idea of how beautiful/utterly silly each one of them is:

Anyway, after church we drove into Baltimore to grab Michael's dad and take him with us up to my parents' house. The kids thought it was a great, fun idea to take one grandpa to another grandpa's house! We enjoyed a fabulous Easter feast with Michael's dad, my parents, my grandma, my sister Amy and her family, my brother Adam and his family, my sister Amber and two of her most fun and crazy friends and another family of close friends. I think there were about thirty people. After lunch, the kids had a big egg/treasure hunt in the backyard.

Teensy simply adores Aunt Amber's friends, Sal and Chappy. She was in heaven that they were both visiting on the same day. She didn't know who to play with first. I think the only way she could have been happier was if Quita had made an appearance.

The day after Easter was the White House Egg Roll. This is something we have attended for years and everyone really loves it. This year we got to see the Jonas Brothers again. Marlee was thrilled and claims that she is going to marry all of them. Maia and Mason were also excited to see this act. The great thing about the Egg Roll is that you get to be pretty close to the stage to see the performances and it's free!

Here's the thing about these Jonas Brothers: you can't take them seriously. Michael and I almost burst out laughing when they starting singing one of their songs. It was so breathy and ...I don't know, just teeny-bopper-y, you know? Which is fine. I was bouncing Teensy up and down and having fun anyway. Then, two nights later I saw them on
Dancing with the Stars where they did a cover of "Take On Me" by A-Ha. It was awful and just wrong. Please, Jonas Brothers, please don't take yourselves seriously and please, for the love, do not cover/ruin any songs I remember fondly from my youth. Thank you very much. It feels good to get that off my chest.

This is Kenna snuggling Daddy while she listens to the Jonas Brothers!

Back to the Egg Roll...we saw Barbara Bush, got faces painted, played with yo-yo's and saw countless friends and family all over the lawn. The weather was the most beautiful it has ever been for Easter Monday since we've lived here. First of all, it wasn't raining like it almost always does and after a little while, we didn't even need coats! It was great (temper tantrums from a certain two year-old aside).

The girls died at this fairy princess magician, Princess Twinkletoes. She was here from Australia.

The whole gang right before we stripped off our coats! Easter is a busy weekend each year, but always lots of fun!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Flashback Friday!

How fun is this little flashback gem? This is a photo of the four eldest kids in my family: my sisters Amy and Amber, my brother Joel, and me! I chose this photo today because this was us on Easter in all our finery.

I'm not entirely sure what I am doing in the photo. Was I eating a ribbon off my dress or just feeling a little shy? Who knows. Even though you can't actually see my darling chubbier-than-Jabba visage I still love this photo. When you look at Joel's suit, how could you not?

This photo was taken in my grandparents' front yard. Ah, the Easters we spent hunting eggs and all sorts of treasures in that landscape. It was always magical how, after dinner, we kids had to stay in the basement and play and when we were finally allowed back up...the Easter Bunny had come! The sheer joy!

Look up the hill from Amber's left shoulder at the giant tree. It's a chestnut tree. It's quite humongous now and just this past winter my dad gave me some yummy nuts from it. I think of that tree and that yard with a heart full of love as I remember the idyllic parts of my childhood that grew there between the hills and bushes.

Happy Easter to you, dear friend and devoted reader.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Mackenna wanted to walk outside today and I made her wear her coat. The wind was blowing at like forty miles an hour or something equally ridiculous and I didn't want her to be too cold. She didn't want the coat, but I insisted. After about two minutes of said coat-wearing she said, "Mom, say, 'Absolutely.'" I didn't get it. "Absolutely?" I asked. "Yeah," she replied. "Say absolutely I can take my coat off now and go outside!" I don't know why this struck me as so funny, but it just did. Was she trying to trick me into giving her permission to take the coat off? Or did she just think that if it sounded so positive that I was sure to do it? Either way, the kid is funny. She absolutely is.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Morning at the Zoo

Michael was able to take today off work to have a little spring break fun with the rest of us. The weather report said that it was going to be mid-sixties with p.m. showers so we decided to go to the zoo first thing in the morning and tire the kids out looking at all the animals before the rain hit. Happily, that's pretty much how things went down.

We met Michael's brother and his family at the zoo and had a fabulous morning. I enjoyed walking hand-in-hand with my nephew, Ethan, who reported to me that he "was the goodest boy ever" in the car on the way to the zoo because his dad "didn't even have to stop the car once" to discipline him. He cracked me up.

Among my kids' favorite creatures spotted today were the stingrays, snakes, pandas, orangutans, lions, tigers, turtles and tortoises. My little girls are especially fond of turtles and tortoises. Mackenna sat on my lap on a stool in the reptile house for like twenty minutes watching the giant tortoises move ever so slowly around their enclosure.

Maia was happy to roam the zoo with her cousin, Nina, and her friend, Liza, who'd been staying with us for the last couple of days. She died at how cute the baby turtles were (and they were pretty adorable).

While we were in the kids' play area, we caught Buddy taking time out to meditate on a large black olive! This rejuvenated Mason's spirit enough that the rest of the morning he ran and jumped over the little fences as if he were at a track event and not a zoo. He liked watching the ring-tailed lemurs hop up their rock wall thingie. Maybe he thinks he's a lemur...that would explain a lot, actually.

Sweet Teense liked looking at the animals for the first couple of hours but then she was done. She loved her time in the kids' play area but refused to even enter the Great Ape House due to its horrific stench. Truth be told, I was happy to sit that one out with her. That smell is fierce, I tell you!

I was just happy to have a day of play together as a family. It was nice to have Michael's help in watching
the two little girls and the two directions in which they inevitably run. I think the kids really enjoyed having some fun time with their dad, as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tales of a Fourth Grade Wanna-be-Nothing

Dear friend and devoted reader, let me tell you a little bit about my fourth-grade self. Before school started that year, my family moved from a small town in rural PA to a suburb outside of Chicago, IL. I quickly made a new best friend, Jennifer Manos, and played with her constantly. When school started, I was the new girl. This suited me. I got lots of attention from both kids and teachers and excelled greatly in my new school. (I did well in school at home, but the new school was a bit behind so I did even better there--even scoring a 100% on the placement test they administered to determine which math class to put me in.)

Anyway, I ended up being one of two fourth-graders chosen to join this environmental group, C.A.R.E., which meant I got to go to little conventions and even a week-long camp. I was cast as the lead in the school luau's play; I was the only fourth grader to win the Presidents Physical Fitness patch; I was my teacher's favorite, etc. etc. I even turned some boys' heads at that point in my life. I'll never forget James Anastasiados (I'm sure I'm spelling that wrong; you get the point, he was Greek) and the costume jewelry he would wrap up in love notes to me. I was on top of the world and I reveled in it.

Those are the memories I have of fourth grade. Contrast that to my sweet fourth grader, Maia. She wants nothing more than to be invisible right now. I just don't get it. She wants so badly not to be noticed that she goes to ridiculously noticeable lengths in trying to achieve her goal.

For example, her ophthalmologist told her that she doesn't need to wear her glasses all the time anymore. She only has to wear them while she is at school. I thought she'd be thrilled--she'd asked for LASIK just two months ago. She took her glasses off the first couple of days but now is more vigilant than ever about wearing them 24/7. She says she doesn't want people to look at her and notice that something is different and then talk about her or ask her where her glasses are. The first Sunday at church, she actually walked around with a hood on her head and her hands over her face so people wouldn't notice anything. So people wouldn't notice anything? On the girl wearing a windbreaker like a freakin' Dementor? The one also covering her face with her splayed hands? Yeah, right. That's totally inconspicuous.

She's also starting enjoying dressing like a hobo. Seriously. A year ago we went shopping and she picked out this pretty green and blue empire waist silky top that I'd love to own. She was so tickled about it. Do you think she'll touch that thing now? Not a chance. It's too pretty. It's too nice. Just mud-stained clothes for her, please, and holey ones if you've got them. A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to the home of one of Michael's co-workers and I wanted her to change her shirt before we left. You know, so she'd at least match when we met these new people? She threw a ridiculous fit about "why do I always have to look so fancy?" Michael and I just started laughing. She was wearing stretch pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt! Call social services on us, why don't you? We wanted our daughter to wear a non-stained, well-fitting t-shirt to match her "fancy" stretch pants. Can you believe the conditions under which we make her live? Deplorable! I was just glad Michael was here to see it since he misses the day-to-day dressing process before school. I'm going on and on I know, so I'll cut to the point: she doesn't want to look like she's trying to impress anyone. She says it over and over again and we assure her that, no worries, no one is going to look at her bum-crack hanging out, mud-stained, holes in the knees jeans and ridiculously large hand-me-down night shirt and accuse her of trying to dress too fancy or trying too hard to impress anybody.

When I look at my darling Maia, who seems to live in fear that someone is actually going to notice her or talk about her, I don't even see a shadow of the fourth-grader I was. Maybe being the fourth of eight children gave me more of a thirst for attention than being the eldest of four gives her. I don't know. In the meantime, if you see my sweet girl, please don't tell her that you notice her glasses or her hair or her anything. Oh, and pass all your stained hand-me-downs this way; I know a little girl who'd love them...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Teensy's Nightmare

Last night, our sweet Teense came into our room sobbing at about 3:00 a.m. She'd had a nightmare. I picked her up and took her back to bed, where I wrapped her favorite blanket snuggly around her and rubbed her arm while whispering words of comfort. "'s okay...Mommy's here...what happened?"

Through her little hiccups she was able to relate to me the events of her terrible dream. (Sob, sob) "I was...not obedient to you... (hiccup, sob) and you...cut off all my hair!"

In light of this event, I have decided that she can now have her scissor privileges returned to her. (Remember why said priviledges were suspended in the first place?) I guess I no longer need to remind her what will happen if she cuts her own hair again every time she even looks at a pair of scissors. Lesson learned. Maybe even a little too well...

Friday, March 7, 2008

In Six Words

Okay, I've been stressing about this six word memoir tag thing for way too long. That's my nature. How do I find six words to define my life right now? It's hard. I think that since both Tracy and Corinne tagged me I should be allowed to use twelve words, but I think that might not go over big in the blog-o-sphere. Anyway, just six goes...

Incessantly tidying, increasingly exhausted, but content.

I kept thinking of all these gerunds like "scrubbing," "teaching," and "juggling" but since I am in the throws of spring cleaning in my house right now, I went with tidying.
Frankly, I feel like I am always doing that even when I am not in spring cleaning mode. I always say that when I die someone will say, "She was always cleaning her house." And someone else will respond, "Oh, was her house very clean, then?" to which the first person will reply, "Oh, no....but she was always cleaning it."

To know me is to know that I am always tired. When my flex account starts over this spring, I just might go in for a sleep study. I swear I have sleep apnea. I have a dream of not feeling tire all the time...

Yet even with all the cleaning and the chronic tiredness, I am very content with my existence. I have a fabulous little family, great extended family on both sides and fun friends. Who needs cleanliness and sleep?

I tag Quita (since she still hasn't done the last thing I tagged her for), Amber, Wendy, Sally and Jenni.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Husband Survey

My dear Stacey tagged me for this a while ago and I almost forgot!

What is his name?
Michael Sheldon (I know, I know...I've seen When Harry Met Sally)
How long have you been married?
10 years
How long did you date?
8 months until we got engaged
How old is he?
Who eats more?
My Michael
Who said "I love you" first?
He did!!
Who gave the 1st kiss?
He did. I was turned away from him and looking down--doing all I could to give the signal NOT to kiss me. To this day I refer to the incident as "lip rape."
Who sings better?
That would be me.
Who is smarter?
I'm sure here is where he would start reminding me about his giant brain and how he knows billions of things...But seriously, he is really smart, but I'm not stupid. We both have our smarts.
Whose temper is worse?
Now, this one I'll give entirely to him.
Who does the laundry?
See, now this one is all me--that's what it's about, right? The give-and-take? Wait...
Who does the dishes?
I do them probably over 90% of the time.

Who pays the bills?
Who mows the lawn?
Look, I have never mowed a lawn in my life and I don't plan on starting.
Who cooks dinner?
This one, again, goes to me. When we were newlyweds and I was the breadwinner he was the cook, but now we've switched. Sometimes I declare Saturday his dinner night and he goes along with it.
Who drives when you are together?
That depends, but it's usually him.
Who is more stubborn?
That would be the love 'o my life.
Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?
Me. I don't even care if I don't think I was wrong. I don't like to fight; I want the argument over and done.
Whose parents do we see the most?
We see mine a little more, but in recent months we've seen his mom monthly as well. His dad just moved to Maryland so we will see him more now, hopefully.
Who has more friends?
I guess I do because I care more about having friends.
Who proposed?
My Michael
Who has more siblings?
We are both from families of eight children.
Who wears the pants?
I guess he lets me wear them most of the time; he's more comfortable when he's pants-less :)

I will tag Chica and Quita for this one.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I Spy, Teensy Style

Lately, Teensy and I have been doing some cuddling on the couch and playing that age-old classic, "I Spy." Some of our games have cracked me up. Here are the highlights:

We were facing the living room window
Teensy: I spy with my little eye...something green.
Me: Oh, wow, this is a tough one...
Teensy: I'll give you a clue, Mom. They're green and long and go down the walls on both sides of the window.
Me: The curtains?
Teensy: (thrilled) Yes! You got it!

See what a genius I am? But wait, things got even trickier...

Teensy: I spy with my little eye...something orange.
Me: (initially, genuinely stumped as there is a shortage of orange in my living room) Wow, let me see...
Teensy: Okay, okay, I'll give you a clue. It's orange and tall and a light and has a circle on it.
Me: The light?
Teensy: You got it, Mom! Good job!

Wow--with a clue like "a light" how did I ever guess that it was, in fact, a light? Call Mensa. Teensy, herself, is quite the guesser and doesn't require nearly as many clues as her dear old mom.

Me: I spy with my little eye...something beautiful.
Teensy: ME! (elated giggling)

Anyway, it's apparently her new favorite game. I guess I don't need to act like her things are too hard to guess. She's just as happy when I correctly guess as when I act like she's stumped me.

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill