29 February 2008

Because I Always Come Home and Open the Oven

It is widely known that I am the Parent Most Likely to Curse In Front of the Children. Despite the fact that a defining moment in our early history revolves around a missed volleyball and my very loud and sailorish comment shouted in a yard full of Mormons, Chris schedules activities likely to cause cursing, like breaking the glass on our oven door, for times when I am not at home.

Chris and the boys had a guys' night last night, while I worked late in the city. They made 'Daddy Mac' (homemade baked macaroni & cheese), which bubbled over in the oven. Later, they had a few errands to run and Chris set the oven to clean as they left, thinking it would make a nice surprise for me to find when I got home. He thought I'd come home and head straight for the oven and when I found it clean (!), I'd be all, 'You cleaned the oven!' and he'd be all, 'Yes, I did!' and the evening would be marvy.

When they got back from their errands, Chris was dismayed to find the ashy post-cleaning residue all over the inside of the oven. His visions of homemaker triumph fading fast, he warned the kids that the oven was Still Very Hot, then spritzed the inside of the oven with kitchen spray cleaner to deal with the white residue. He'd turned around to grab a cloth to wipe up with when he heard a mighty crack, which reminded him that combining very hot glass with very cold cleaner is a very bad idea.

Were I the hero at this point in the story, I'd be teaching the children a few Very Bad Words. Chris narrowly avoided the use of profanity by announcing,
"THE OVEN IS STILL VERY HOT," and I'm given to believe that we'll see a note (and possibly a social worker) if either of the kids mimics his inflection while they are at school.

What happened next? My wonderful husband, who cleaned the oven for me (squee!), simply closed the oven door - cold spray cleaner, ashy residue and all. By the time I got home, the whole incident had been forgotten and it wasn't remembered until tonight, as I was putting together a french toast casserole for tomorrow's post hockey breakfast. Anyone know if you can bake with three or four big cracks in the oven door glass?

27 February 2008

Other Kids Want a Wii

Lars is home sick today. In between trips to the bathroom, he and approximately 37 stuffed friends are installed in the living room, watching TV while I work in the den. "Mama? I want the R-O-S-E-T-T-A Stone," he calls.

"You want the Rosetta Stone? Why?"

"Because I want to learn new languages!"

"Which ones?"

"All of them." He'll be a handy guy in hockey locker rooms.

25 February 2008

Confessions of a Third Grade Boy

Sometimes, when your friend calls you to come over and play X-Box, you don't want to go. You know, like when your yard is full of fresh snow and dragons.

22 February 2008

Too Late; or, Curse You Again, Fraukow!

9:33pm, e-mail from my sister: "...I just got home from the grocery store with cheddar jack Cheez-Its. ...because reading your blog made me want to try them!"

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I lunge for the phone, sending the cat flying off my lap and causing my husband to look up with grave concern. The call rings and rings on her end and I get agitated, wondering if she's ignoring the call because our house phone comes up as 'unlisted'. When her voicemail picks up, I slam down that phone and grab my cell, praying the dying battery will hold out for one more call. It rings and rings again but she answers and relief washes over me. "DON'T OPEN THE BOX," I shout down the line. Chris looks really worried.

"What? Whaaat," she answers, clearly startled.

"The Cheddar Jack Cheeez-Its! Don't open them," I say with urgency. Understanding washes over Chris' face and he looks a bit strained as he realizes what's going on.

"Oh," she says brightly, "I just had my first one!"

"I'm too late," I wail, and slump in my chair. Chris looks stricken.

"I've been reading about them in your blog and I went to the store hungry (which was a mistake but, you know...) and I had to look really hard for them! Did you know there are a LOT of different kinds of Cheez-Its now?"

"Well, there goes your new salary," I say.

A pause, "WHAT?" She sounds shocked.

"You'll be spending more on Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its than you know. Any money you have left will be for buying new pants - I swear I'm wearing at least three pounds of CJ Cheez-Its these days." She laughs. She thinks I'm kidding! How cute. I roll my eyes and Chris pours another bowl of Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its.

Sister K and I chat a while and, as we're wrapping up, I tease that I'll leave her alone to eat her box of Cheez-Its. "They are REALLY good," she says. "I mean, I thought how different could they really be, but these are REALLY GOOD! I snuck one while we were talking - I sort of sucked on it so I wouldn't crunch in your ear." Only two CJCI baked snack crackers in and already, she's hiding her use. The need for a CJCI 12-step program just nudged ahead of the need for a Webkinz program.

Leaky Freckles

Lars is standing next to me, peering hopefully at the computer in case I might be doing Webkinz. Unfortunately for him, I'm working - also seven letters and starts with W but not nearly as much fun to watch. Looking over at him, I notice a freckle just behind his ear. "Did you know you have a little freckle back here," I ask, touching it gently with a little tickle. "I think you should move it out here on your nose, where it belongs," I say with a little poke to the tip of his nose.

He looks at me with a grin, "Mama! I want my freckle back there. I moved it from up here (indicates forehead, near top of nose) last week."

"Well, what did you do THAT for? If you'd left the freckle there, gravity would've had it down on your nose properly in just a few years! See my nose? All MY freckles are right there, where they belong."

Another grin. "No....you have a LOT of freckles on your ear! So many they are spillin' out your ear!"

"Oh! Is THAT what I clean up with Q-tips every morning? Leaky freckles?"

A solemn nod, "Yes. It's true! Leaky freckles."

How Do You Spell, 'Cheez-It'?

Ross had to be collected from school today for assorted stomach related disaster reasons. Lars observed the collection from the playground and managed to develop a "large sore throat" that had the school nurse ringing Chris by the time he'd made it back to the house with Ross. Thankfully, a little gargle to soothe the throat enabled Lars to finish out the day, collect his own and Ross' homework, and get the bus home.

The first grade is learning units of measure and the assignment today was for Lars to find four small objects, measure them and draw them on his homework paper, showing the units he measured. You may recall we're having a bit of an affair with Cheddar Jack Cheez-Its? (Oh, who are we kidding? Sunline Brands is practically sending us birthday presents - even our CAT is crazy for them!) Lars is no fool! Set to the task of finding small things to measure and draw, he turned first to his snack. He sketched the Cheez-It with excruciating detail, measured, recorded, and then called out, "Daddy? How do you spell Cheez-It?" Chris assures me that three other items were selected to complete the assignment but he is unable to recall a single one of them. Here's hoping CPS takes a pass on the chance to call on us regarding our blissfully unhealthy choice of snack foods. Failing that, here's hoping Lars can also diagram a celery stalk, if it comes to that.

19 February 2008

Letters to My Fellow Commuters

Dear iPod Earphones Guy: Your music (ahem) was loud enough that you couldn't hear your singing - the rest of us on the train were not so lucky. Please give up singing for Lent.

Dear Woman Who Was Too Late to do Her Makeup at Home: waving the air after spraying your perfume did not dissipate the smell. Also? I really did not need to see you pluck your nosehair. Some grooming habits really should be kept private until after the wedding.

Dear Woman Who Carries a Perfume Spritzer in Her Purse: Spraying your scent in the direction of Ms. TLtdHMaH did not improve the situation, but thank you for not deciding to pluck anything.

Dear Very Loud Cellphone Guy: We are in the same industry. I've tried carrying my company bag logo-out so you'll notice but you're always on a call and looking at your hair in the window reflection. That job you were so worried about today? It's gone to your competition, who also rides our train. You might consider making important business strategy calls from a more private location.

German Days of the Week

We've been working on basic German, in preparation for a trip to the Vaterland this summer. Lars has almost got the days of the week:


When asked what happened to Thursday, he replied with great solemnity, "They don't have Thurstag."

18 February 2008


If two people are proximal, engaging each other's eyes and speaking alternately, are they having a conversation? I've been pondering this since dinner a few nights ago, when the following exchange took place:

Lars (in sickly groaning voice): My stomach, you know, here (indicates left armpit) hurts, so I can't cut my noodles.

Ross: My report card came home today.

Lars (normal voice): My teacher is MORE than 18. She's past the teens, she's a TEACHER.

Mouths full, they gazed at each other, nodding slightly in that way you do when conversations at meals pause for chewing. Both seemed satisfied and neither was grumpy the way they get when "nobody is listening to my important speaking," and I was left to wonder if I'd tippled more of the wine for the sauce than I'd thought.

16 February 2008

Lars: Party Report

"I got a GLOWSTICK! And another one, to take home!"

"We had hotdogs for dinner. Pizza is more fun but we had hotdogs so I ate those. And, I said 'thank you,' I didn't say, 'but I wanted pizza,' Mama, you were SO proud."

"It was me and Dylan and Nicholas with Evan and we slept in a TENT! In the house! We really did."

"These are my bugs from the Bug Hunt. I used my torch to find them in all the dark places. They are toy bugs, though, Mama, so I didn't have to squish them for you."
[Ed. note: Since the age of 18mos, Lars has been chief bug squisher at home. He'll do in any bug, barefooted, without a second thought. I appreciate his ability and willingness...but eeeew.]

"Evan opened his presents right in front of us!"

"We watched a movie and then we went to bed and do you know what? We went to sleep ....PAST MY USUAL BEDTIME. We really did!"

All in all, I'd say the first sleepover was a hit.

15 February 2008

Departing Partier

Lars is going to his first sleepover party tonight - a much anticipated gathering that will have a camping theme. He has been alternately so excited that you can't understand his speech and so apprehensive that you'd think we were sending him to sleep among strangers under a bridge. Luckily, at the time of departure, he was on an excited upswing. I gave him nighttime kisses in the living room which he returned joyfully, without seeming the least bit disturbed. The host family are good friends of ours who live only a few blocks away and the party is for a small group of close friends. There will be pizza and glee for all, I'm sure! Well, ok, maybe not all. The poor parents who have invited four seven-year-old boys into a home with three boys in it already might not be exactly gleeful until tomorrow morning, when all the extra kids go home...

14 February 2008

Valentine Haiku

Who Doesn't Love Glitter Glue?

Our homemade Valentines were a hit in both classrooms today! The boys were happy to have something they made to give their friends and I am happy that the nearly full bottle of dark blue glitter glue I shattered on the dining room floor cleaned up pretty well. The floor has only a tiny hint of glitter left between the boards, which I'm choosing to think of as added character.

11 February 2008

Keeping A Promise to Myself

When I was young, I promised myself that I would have as much cake batter as I wanted before actually baking the cake. Lunch today? Sandwich with a cupcake sized portion of batter for dessert. It's good to be a grown-up sometimes!

(For those of you about to phone county health, I don't add the eggs until after I've had my unbaked share)

09 February 2008

Underneath the Usual Layer of Grime

Chris and the boys celebrating a baptism with cousins last weekend. They clean up well!

06 February 2008

When Kids Clean

Enthusiastic boy stands beside frothy bucket, cleaning tools in hand. "Tell me what to do and I'll PLUNGE my way through! I'm MOPPER DUDE!!!" Energetic mopping ensues. Three, perhaps four mop strokes in, the boy pauses with a look of revelation in his eyes. "Hey, look! I'm almost as tall as this mop!"

05 February 2008

Eavesdropping On Our Side



Who is this?

Oh! Evan! Hi. Just one second –

MAMA – It’s for me! You don’t have to worry.

Hi, Evan. I just had to tell Mama she didn’t need to answer the phone.


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