Zane: Graham, candy, cake, and my family.
Katrina: My family, my blankies, our dog, and our fish.
Houston: Family, God, paper, and books.
What are four things that are favorites that everybody doesn't know about?
Zane: I like pictures because i can remember people that i know if they die before me. My favorite flower is a Venus Fly Trap, because i don't like flies! They always bother me! I like trees because they make air so we can breathe. Animals! Every animal has a really cool way to find their food.
Katrina: My favorite subject is library or art. My favorite candy bar is Butterfinger. My favorite things to draw are faces and horses. I like to read.
Houston: I like collecting bottle caps. I have about 7 decks of playing cards. I want to be an author. I really do not like reading realistic fiction or non-fiction at all.
If you had $1000, what is one thing you would buy?
Zane: Lots of candy. Or a bunch of vegetables. Because they help you live. (Me: You don't like vegetables....?) No. Fruit. Because they help you live too. Or just food.
Katrina: Josephina (one of the American Girl Dolls).
Houston: A computer? I'd use it to buy books.
Who is the smartest person you know?
Zane: Caleb and Chase. They're the best kids in my class.
Katrina: Mom and Dad.
Who is somebody you would like to meet?
Houston: Barack Obama
I was thinking, just the other day, how ironic it is that i've always declared that boys shouldn't have long hair...or, at least, i've always strongly preferred guys with short hair, and right now 2/3 of the guys in our family have long hair. Longer hair than i do! (Sigh.) With the hotter days we've had recently, Houston's hair is finally starting to bother him, and today he told me that AFTER school gets finished for the summer, he wants to get his hair cut. Not until then, though, because he doesn't want all the attention of everybody noticing and commenting on his hair.
I think Houston's responses to attention are so weird. On the one hand, he doesn't want to get his hair cut because people will notice. Nor does he every want to stand up in front of a crowd to do a report or a talent show or anything like that. But then, on the other hand, the kids had "Wacky Day" at school, and he asked me to French braid his hair. Which...really? When he came home, i asked him what people said, and he was all, "They asked me if i was a boy or a girl, and i said, 'It's Wacky Day!'" And that was that. So. Weird.
My brother-in-law got a ton of sandbags in the post-flood days, used what they needed, and then offered to give us whatever we needed. He and Juanito drove them over to our house last week and piled them in our backyard. Poor Juanito's back has been hurting ever since - he should NOT do a lot of heavy lifting, because it wrecks him for a week or two. I didn't realize quite how much sand there was going to be, or how heavy they were. On Wednesday, the kids and the neighbor kids and i filled the sandbox using about 8 bags, which means we have about 16 left over. HAHAHAHAHA! (Anyone need some sand?) As soon as the sandbox was filled, all the kids piled in and played in the sand happily for about an hour. It was awesome.
Ever since the weather turned warm enough, Katrina and Zane have been outside roller skating (Katrina) and riding their scooter (Zane) constantly. Houston joins them on his bike quite often, though he still prefers to read much of the time. Nowadays, he brings his book downstairs to sit right next to the open window, where he can enjoy the fresh air, most of the time, though. Graham has been taken for many, many walks up and down the street, which i assume he likes. He's pretty blasé about everything these days.
And on Saturday, my sisters and mom and i spent the day doing a "Girls' Day." We went to Holland for most of the day, walking around to the farmer's market and all the shops, and then we headed to my mom's house to play games until about midnight. It was extremely fun and we all laughed a lot. Yay! (Thanks, Mom!)
Listening to "Hit Me Baby One More Time." Zane: "This song is so weird. Why does she want a little kid to hit her?"
We're all video chatting with my MIL. The kids are not terrific at this. Lots of "Look at this! Look at this!"
Y'know what, hotels? I don't think i'd name "elevator" among the amenities on your website. It makes me wonder what ISN'T there.
Either the people who put recipes online are lying liars or i'm really inefficient because it always takes me 2-3 times as long as they say.
I've been helping the school librarian on Tuesdays. When i got there today she was all, "I'm SO glad you're here!" Appreciation is nice.
So in Skyfall, he chokes a guy underwater. He CHOKES a guy ... UNDERWATER. We can't be the only people who the see flaw in this scenario.
I'm really, really bad at political surveys. They're all "Pro or against?" and i'm all, "Well, i'd really need to do more research...."
After a morning full of "How long until he gets here NOW?", Zane's friend from school is here to play.
I got about 1/4 of the way through the book i'm reading before realizing that i've totally read it before. THIS is why i've started keeping track of what i read!
The sun shone for a few minutes, and i was all, "Quick! Go play outside!" If only it were warmer now....
Just watched "Swiss Family Robinson" with the kids. Ah, that movie really is dorky (and awesome) isn't it?
Why is it that Zane always has to come into the room where *I* am to start banging something as loudly as he can? I don't like banging!
I got annoyed at the sun for half a second because it was shining in my eyes and then realized that THE SUN WAS SHINING! YAY!
I asked neighbor lady why a fire truck was at her house last night. Her: "We couldn't get the timer on our oven to turn off." O....kay?
The days of dread leading up to the dentist are always worse than the actual visit to the dentist.
No. It is April 20. I insist that it stop snowing now. This insanity has gone on long enough.
One of Zane's spelling words is "Revilloosherere War." I think we need to start with making sure he knows how to actually PRONOUNCE revolutionary.
It seems like Goodreads could come up with a better system for recommendations. Like...base it on more than one book with an average score.
It's all warmish and sunny and spring-y! I have a couple of flowers that are finally blooming! This is all very happy!
Zane started throwing up in the middle of the night, which is AWESOME, because we're going to Chicago tomorrow morning.
I can tell my kid is actually sick when he spends the entire day in bed without once asking to watch a movie.
I don't know anybody who is as awesome when they're sick as Zane is. He's an utterly adorable patient.
All packed up and ready to head to Chicago! Hopefully nobody else will start puking!
Katrina, who slept and puked her way through Chicago yesterday, woke up this morning and asked "When can we go back to Chicago?" She is sad.
After a day of puking and sleeping, i now feel the need to clean and bleach my house. Or just move. Whatever.
Why do the neighborhood kids always wait until 9:00pm and then come stand in front of our house and start yelling obscenities at each other?
Our neighbors have a giant fire going on their (covered) front porch. They're totally going to burn their house down.
It's. Snowing. (May 12.)
Studying Jane Goodall with Katrina, who is enraptured. I fear that in 10 years, she'll be moving to Africa to disappear into the jungle.
Nearing the end of Harry Potter book 6. I just sent a very weepy Houston off to bed. I'm glad that he loves the books enough to care!
Watching "Mamma Mia," and i'm totally amused that Juanito knows all these songs (and is singing along).
Didn't really WANT to spend the past half hour making my dog throw up, but as a bonus, i'm now all covered with scratches. Yay.
As a double bonus, the dog is now watching me very distrustfully and suspiciously. Can't say i blame him.
Katrina's class had a field trip to a bog on Wednesday. I'd gone to this bog when Houston's class went two years ago, and both times i was struck both by how very, very hidden it was and by how we were the only people there. Katrina's teacher rode with us to the bog this time, and she said that she grew up quite close by and never even knew it was there until a couple of years ago. Since then, i've been wondering how many OTHER hidden nature-y places there are around our area, and whether i can find them out for us to explore this summer.
On Saturday night, we went over to Linda and Andrew's house to watch a movie. Andrew chose the movie (The Lady Eve) for the adults and Charlotte chose one for the kids and we ate popcorn and laughed and generally all had a very fun time. Yay!
And today was Mother's Day, so we headed over to my parents' house after church. We ordered pizza - the biggest pizzas i've ever seen - so that none of the moms would have to do any cooking and played games and watched bull riding and that ALSO was a very fun time. Yay! Juanito mostly took charge of the kids and the house and ALSO made me waffles for breakfast, which was lovely. (Of course, it snowed a wee bit this morning which is clearly unacceptable, but we're just going to ignore the fact that it is SNOWING on MAY 12, and call it a wonderful Mother's Day all the same.)
Saturday and Sunday we did a whirlwind tour of Chicago with our friends Linda and Andrew and their kids. We drove up early in the morning and spent Saturday at the Lincoln Park Zoo. I have fond memories of going there when i was little, and i still think it's a great zoo. My kids were bummed that there weren't elephants, but Zane got to see zebras, which have been his favorite animals since forever, and Houston got to see ostriches which he has suddenly started loving, and Katrina is just in love with all animals, all the time, so she loved it all. They all SAY that they liked the animals and that the weird squealing pig things were their second favorites, but REALLY, i think their second favorites were the seagulls. All of the kids were crazy for the seagulls and spent a really long time trying to tempt them to come closer to them. Weirdos.
By the time we left the zoo, all six kids were wiped out. We got hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and ice cream for dessert and i think that everyone (adults included) was asleep by 9:30. (We stayed at a Howard Johnson's, which made me feel all fancy a little bit, because when i was little and my grandparents would visit, they'd always stay at Howard Johnson's, and it was always the "really nice" hotel. Heh.)
Sunday morning we all woke up and the kids watched some cartoons in bed (exciting!), and then we ate breakfast at the hotel's free breakfast thingy and headed downtown. Almost as soon as we climbed out of the cars, Katrina told me, "I don't feel very good." When i asked what hurt, she initially just said her throat, but five minutes later it was also her stomach, and then within five minutes she was miserable. We first went to the Calder, where she was fine-ish, and then to the Picasso, where she just couldn't want to do anything at all. I took her to a bathroom at a Walgreens where she puked her guts out. Awesome. I begged some bags from the cashier, and for the rest of the day we gathered bags where we could and she steadily filled them with vomit. So while she did throw up all over Chicago, she did not actually throw up ON Chicago at all. And that's something, right? She spent the entire day being dragged or carried around Chicago with us, looking utterly miserable, collapsing in a heap on the floor whenever we stopped. Every single one of us had two thoughts: "Poor Katrina! She looks SO PATHETIC!" and "Poor us! We're all going to get sick!"
We walked approximately 5 miles all told; from the Calder and the Picasso to the Bean and the Art Museum lions and the spitting wall. (My mom and sisters and i walked around Millennium Park a few years ago, and ever since then my kids have been begging to go to the spitting wall. Sadly, it was a little too cold to play in the water and a little too bright to really see the pictures. We'll have to go again.) And then we went to Navy Pier and then to Gino's East for pizza. (Katrina put her head down and slept the ENTIRE TIME we were there.) The kids had fun drawing on everything. The pizza was delicious.
And then we finished off at Water Tower Place to visit the American Girl Store and the Lego store. Houston LOVED the Lego store. It was his very, very favorite thing in all of Chicago. He started with the wall of Lego, where he gleefully chose handfuls of random little Lego bits, and then walked around the store approximately a zillion times trying to decide just which box of Lego he should buy. Zane, on the other hand, fell in love with the little racing Lego things the staff was playing with just inside the door and practically didn't even look at anything else the entire time. (In fact, Zane bought three things in Chicago: A zebra car from the zoo, a pull-back car from Walgreens, and Lego cars. The boy knows what he likes.)
Katrina, who had been looking forward to our visit to the American Girl store for MONTHS, tried really hard to want to look at things but ultimately just flopped on the ground and kind of gazed around glassy-eyed. (She woke up on Monday morning DEVASTATED. Almost the first words out of her mouth were, "When can we go back to Chicago?")
We'd originally PLANNED to walk back to where we'd parked the car, but there was no way we were going to make Katrina walk one step further than we needed to, and Linda's family was already planning to take the El, AND we were conveniently parked about a block from the subway stop, so we hopped onto the train to go back to the car. Linda's kids were hilariously excited about it.
By Monday, Katrina felt great, and Juanito, Houston, and i all succumbed to the whatever-it-was. It was horrible. As i was tucking Zane (who had already been sick, Friday) into bed, he said, "I wonder where i got sick from?" I told him, "Oh, probably someone at school." At which point he exclaimed, in a voice that was WAY TOO CHEERFUL for my liking, "OH! Yes! Emmy threw up right next to me last week! It was REALLY GROSS!" And then he giggled. (I usually try to refrain from trying to place the blame for sickness onto any one person, because GERMS! They are everywhere! But this time? It's totally her fault and we will all blame her forever!) (Kidding.) (Mostly.)
My birthday came and went, and lo, it was very fun. I went to lunch with Beth, which was a nice break from all of the being alone while everyone was at work/school, and which was also fun because i got to hang out with Beth! All by myself! In the middle of the day! Yay! We went to Uccello's, which i'd never been to before, but which Beth suggested, and the food was amazing. AND, since it was my birthday, they brought us a GIGANTIC bowl of strawberry shortcake, which was as big as my head and could have fed four people and which we totally didn't finish, but it was delicious.
The kids came home from school and i opened my present from Karen D, which had been sitting by my desk for a week and a half, just begging to be opened. She gave me a season of Monk (LOVE that show!) and Tripoly, a game we used to play with my family all the time. I immediately broke it open and taught the kids how to play. I can already tell it's going to be a favorite around here! (I just need to get more poker chips!)
Juanito made paella for dinner, which was delicious, and Beth came over, and we all ate and talked and laughed and had fun. And then i opened more presents - Beth gave me mint M&Ms that she'd been saving since Christmas, and even though she gives them to me every year, i always forget that she does and i'm always all surprised and delighted, because they're my FAVORITE and can only be gotten in December. YAY! And also she gave me the new book by Shauna Niequist (Bread and Wine), which i'm totally looking forward to reading. And Juanito got me a new 55mm lens for my camera, which takes gorgeous pictures and is going to be awesome. And also a new red lawn chair, which i've already spent lots of time sitting in on our porch, enjoying the amazing weather we've had. And THEN we had cake (eclair dessert, actually) and Beth and the kids played a game with me.
And then today, just to extend the fun, i got to go to lunch with my mom. It's our second lunch in about as many weeks (her birthday is 5 days before mine), and it's always just so great to be able to sit and talk with her without a million other people around, when we can just concentrate on each other.
So yes! It was a really, really fun, awesome birthday. Yay for birthdays! They're my favorite!
My sister Jackie invited all us sisters (and our kids, except my boys didn't want to go, so it was just me and Katrina) and our mom over to her house for a sleepover yesterday, because Eric was off fishing for the night and we're fun. We talked and laughed and talked and laughed and kind of played a game in-between laughing and talking, and it was really, really fun. I think that throughout the years, we've all driven each other crazy in turns and had times when we couldn't bear each other, but i love it that we can all get together now and really, really enjoy each other's company. Yay!
It also happened to be my mom's birthday, so we got to eat cake. Double plus good.
This week has finally started warming up and being more sunny and spring-like. To celebrate, we spent a lot of the day doing some spring cleaning, sort of. The front porch has been driving me crazy for months - all winter, it becomes kind of a catch-all for snow toys and random stuff that the kids drag in (Like sticks. I banished about 7 sticks and loads of rocks and other random pieces of nature from the porch, each of which was very precious and couldn't just get thrown back into the woods, so there's now a little sticks and rock collection on the side of the house. Which...fine. As long as it's not INSIDE.), but then it's too cold to actually go outside for long enough to clean it properly. It is now clean and it makes me happy. And the back porch, which is really just a teensy little space between doors and doesn't serve any real purpose, honestly. The carpet in there has been getting kind of gross, so we just tore it all up and threw it away and i think we're going to use some of our left-over tiles from the bathroom to make it look a little bit cuter. Or at least cleaner.
Grand Rapids is currently experiencing the Great 100 Year Flood. Apparently the last time this happened was in 1904, at which point people were canoeing down the main streets of the city. They've fixed most of that, so now there are a few of the giant buildings right along the river whose basements are flooded, but downtown the water is mostly staying where it's supposed to. Even in the rest of the city, there's not a ton of homes that are flooding from what i understand, although anything near a river or wetland area is pretty much under water at this point. There are roads scattered about that are closed due to giant puddles of water, and there've been a few geniuses who have gotten stuck in the middle of the puddles because they're convinced they can make it. I've seen pictures of cars up to the middle of their windows.
So it's pretty wet here. It's also pretty exciting. We walked around downtown on Thursday and then again on Saturday to see how high the water was. It's kind of shockingly high. In some places, we were kind of thinking, "So...how high is the water usually?" The landmarks we're really familiar with, though, are stunning in their gone-ness. The fish ladder is completely under water. The walkway is there, but the ladder itself is gone. The walkways are so completely covered that even the railings are several feet under water at this point. The grassy knoll where we sit by the museum is basically a lake. It's so weird to look around and see everything just...gone.
It did finally stop raining, though. Yay! And today the sun came out and the temperature warmed up and the second the kids got home from school we all went for a long walk - before homework was even finished! It was necessary.
Yesterday we got to go to a "volunteer appreciation" thingy for the Salvation Army because we rang the bell at Christmastime. There was a rock wall there, and Houston and Katrina both went up approximately a zillion times. Up and down, switch to a different course. Up and down, up and down, switch, up and down. They loved it. Houston woke up this morning and groaned, "Everything hurts." Zane tried really hard, but i think he's still a little bit too nervous about the whole heights thing. Juanito, Katrina, and Zane went swimming while Houston and i played Wii Sports and fusball and bingo. A good time was had by all. The end.