Archive for September, 2008

Sep 30 2008

Tonka Truck

Published by under kids,photos

tonka truck

tonka truck

tonka truck opened up

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Sep 29 2008

Strawberry Shortcake House

Published by under amy's head

strawberry shortcake house

strawberry shortcake house

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Sep 28 2008

a-garage sale-ing we went!

Published by under amy's head,daily,house,kids,photography

This saturday was our community yard sale. Basically, everyone puts out their stuff if they feel like it and there’s a communal sharing of junk. It’s a GREAT time for the kids to take their money jars and go out scouting for a new toy or two. They both totally scored.

I saw this one, and if Jocelyn hadn’t wanted it, well, let’s just say it was coming home one way or another. SO CUTE!!

strawberry shortcake house

strawberry shortcake house

I love this, I love this, I LOVE THIS! I remember being super jealous of my best friend neighbor Heidi, who had just about every strawberry shortcake doll that was out at the time. I LOVE that they’ve started putting these dolls out again. Jocelyn has a Strawberry (with a scooter, and the kitty, Custard) and a Blueberry, both of whom have lost their clothes and whose hair is all tangley. Strawberry was MIA, but Blueberry has been having a fine, naked time in her new house. I must say, best $2 every spent!

Our $2 new acquisition did however, cost us more money than that, because by Sunday, I had decided we needed, nay MUST HAVE AT THIS MOMENT, more strawberry shortcake dolls in the house. I got a Crepes Suzette doll for Jocelyn, and a Lemon Meringue doll for me. I have just 2 things to say: These little gals certainly are pricey, at $8.99 each. Secondly, I love that they are actually GIRLS. Not women with inhuman measurements, not girls trying to look like women, not… (dare I say it? I probably shouldn’t say it, oh hell I’ll just say it) dolls who look more like WHORES dressed like they are trying to make a buck or two on a Saturday night. I am happy to spend some money on Strawberry Shortcake and try to direct any obsessions in the making in that direction rather than Princess Disney, Bratz, Barbie, or whatever other skanky ho doll comes around. (And yes, she has already barbies, disney princesses, and bratz, and I also had barbies galore.. they’re not banned in this household, I am just more than happy to point my innocent 4 year old in a more girl-like direction.)

Ethan also lucked out, I just am not as effervescent about his purchases, because they don’t hold childhood nostalgia for me. He picked up a pretty nifty helicopter, which has a hook on the bottom, and a cool propeller that spins, as well as a firetruck that does a variety of things that I can’t quite follow, despite his showing me time after time.

James came home with a borrowed Canon 70-200 f4 IS L lens (which for the non-photography knowledgeable, DROOOOOOOOL! We’re talking over a grand on this baby.) So, the kids and I set up a little photo shoot. I need to build a light box!

The lens was very nice, but I’m still quite happy with our lens, the Sigma 50-150 f2.8. No image stabilizer, but it’s a bit faster which should even out. I think the Canon is a hair nicer with the IS and the longer zoom then ours, but I feel no need to lament our choice. The Sigma was a little more than half the cost of the Canon, it’s a great lens, especially to our very amateur eyes!

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Sep 22 2008

Ethan on his bike

Published by under amy's head

This is old news now, but better late than never! Labor day weekend, with much trepidation all around, we took the training wheels off of Ethan’s bike. It looked like he wasn’t getting it, when all of a sudden, it clicked. He got it.

And I filmed it! Here is Ethan riding his bike sans training wheels. As you can see, he’s was still working on the whole braking aspect. (This video has no sound, do not adjust your set.)

The part where he came up and is talking and grinning, he’s basically saying, “Gee, I need to work on how to use the brakes! Brakes, Ethan, Brakes! Doy-eee!”

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Sep 11 2008

Dishes, Light Sabres and Pink Hair, OH MY!

Published by under amy's head,daily,house,kids,likes & irks

James and I met with Ethan’s teacher, and also one of a school counselor, and I feel a lot better. I think we are seeing a lot of improvement, and the day in question was just a tough day. He has gotten greens all week (since then) and yesterday he even went through the entire day w/out getting his panther taken away (yay!)

Jocelyn wasn’t feeling well yesterday morning. I took her temperature which was normal, and was coughing it up to a case of the grumpies, when she threw up. I was not in the room and I have a feeling it was more like a “spit up” situation than throw up, but I couldn’t in good conscious send her in after that, so she stayed home and I tried to work anyway.

Ethan was very grumpy at having to go to school when his sister got to stay home, so I promised I’d pick him up at school (instead of going to daycare afterward). Jocelyn and I brought their money jars, which had several weeks allowances socked away in them, and after we picked him up from school, we went to target – me, to forward my obsession with finding the perfect new dishes to buy, and them, to while away the time pointing to something that costs $80, and asking me, “Do I have enough money for that?” before settling on something they actually can afford.

I have NO IDEA why (ok maybe a little idea why), or even HOW Jocelyn spotted this, but she choose a fake hair extension. A bright PINK hair extension.

jocelyn in pink hair

I had no idea how this fake hair is supposed to be applied, but I treated it like a very awkward pony tail elastic and muddled through anyway.

jocelyn with pink hair

Ethan chose a light saber.

ethan with red light sabre

It does not have any batteries, and so doesn’t make any sounds, but that just means he gets to make the sounds himself.

ethan with red light sabre

He choose red, despite my pointing out that that’s the bad guys color, but he insisted (red being his favorite color).

Yes, these are taken still at Target, because Ethan had his toy open the SECOND the cashier rang it up and handed it to him, and Jocelyn insisted on getting her pink hair on.

ethan and jocelyn
And yes. I let her wear a tutu to target. I don’t usually allow dress up clothes outside the house, but for some reason I let her. Maybe because she’s getting to big to get away with this much longer.. might as well let her do it now while she can! (I’d like to go to Target in a tutu! Am I too big?)

After they picked out their toys, I made the mistake of walking them through the halloween section, where they decided to be NEW characters for halloween instead of the same characters as last year. DOH! Jocelyn decided she wants to be a witch (though this actually would be easy to do at home, and actually, I think I may have turned her towards COWGIRL, which I would love to make for her again) and Ethan wants to be Darth Vader. (“I already have the light sabre for it!”)

Of course, there was much moaning and groaning when I dragged them through housewares. The dishes were a bust. Although I really like this pattern, but I don’t like the shape of the dishes at all. Too traditional.

carousel dishes at target
These are made by Corelle. I like a -lot- of the Corelle patterns, but finally ruled the brand out completely. No matter the pattern, the bowls only have a colored stripe around the rim. I want my bowls to look pretty too! So no Corelle.

These ones I liked too, but were on clearance and didn’t have everything available.

dishes at target

I especially like how I could buy them all separately, because we don’t use mugs, and invariably when we purches the 16 piece place settings for 4.. we have shelves of mugs we never use. And if we’re REALLY unlucky… saucers too. Blech.

All this culminated in a huge internet dish-hunt last night (interrupted by Jocelyn REPEATEDLY getting out of bed, long past her bedtime grrr) which if you’re curious, you can see on flickr. However, I just have to say that I LOVE THESE DISHES SO MUCH:

target melamine zak pazio

And look! No mugs! Sadly, they break all my rules of what my new dishes must entail (no melamine being the first rule, I’m sorry melamine, but we NEED to be able to microwave our dishes, and you don’t let us! At least, not w/out experiencing 3rd degree burns.1), but if they ever show up in target stores, they may find their way home ANYWAY.)

Here is my #1 favorite right now, and they’re on sale, so I could get 12 place settings for cheap! However, since they’re on sale …. there are no serving dishes available in this pattern. Doh. So now I’m wondering if I should go with some other pattern that I can also get platters and serving bowls in? Our kitchen is always kind of woefully unequipped when it comes to serving dishes (even serving utensils) so I’m thinking yes, I should – especially when the “runners up” so to speak are also super awesome.

My #1 favorite: Mikasa Autumn Frost
mikasa autumn frost

Runner up: Mikasa Red Berries

I love the red berries, but I would prefer a squarish plate. This might be a deal breaker for me. This pattern however, has a CRAZY amount of serving dish choices, so I have to consider it:

mikasa red berries

Another runner up: Mikasa Wispy Floral

mikasa wispy floral

Isn’t it pretty?? I really do like this one a lot. Some serving dishes, but not many. This is probably my #2 choice after Autumn Frost.

I have found it amusing how my aesthetic runs from super simple, minimal design and clean lines (all these mikasa patterns for example) and the crazy psychodelic patterns with super saturated colors (the choices above from Target). I’m not going to think about what that says about me as a person. Something we don’t need to pick at, right?

I’m definitely not going to rush this, as even if these choices go away… well, there’s sure to be some more awesome patterns out soon.

– amy spent the night dreaming of dishes, and getting clawed by a kitty

  1. Melamine material heats up much faster than normal, so if you put something on a melamine plate and nuke it, your food may still be cold, but the plate will burn you when you go to pull it out! It’s too bad, because I love melamine.

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Sep 08 2008

Ethan Update – 1st Grade Edition

Published by under amy's head

Last week was the first week of actual public school elementary school for Ethan, and wow was I nervous. Probably way more nervous than he was. SO RELIEVED was I, when I picked him up and he nearly SHOUTED, “I HAD A GREAT DAY! I LOVE FIRST GRADE!!! I’M FINALLY A FIRST GRADER!!”

He seems to have done OK behavior-wise as well. The school has a color system of behavior – green if you’ve had a good day, white if you haven’t had a good day, purple if you’ve had an EXCELLENT day. In his classroom, they have laminated paper panthers on their desks, and if you’re misbehaving, you get the panther taken away, but if you shape up, then you get it back and can end the day on a green.

Last week he had greens all week, but on closer interrogations, we learned that he did have his panther taken away each day. We were happy with him turning it around though, since that can be a problem for him. Sometimes once he loses his cool, he can’t get that control back. It’s like he MUST act on every impulse he has.

He missed school on Friday, a decision James and I were pretty sketchy about, but we had a memorial service for James’ grandparents in upstate New York, and since we hardly EVER see James’ side of the family, we decided it was important enough for him to miss a day in his first week. (Last year, I think Ethan missed 3 days, TOTAL out of the entire school year, so it’s not like this isn’t going to be a habit.)

Well, today, Ethan had a pretty rough day. I guess I’m not surprised, it being the Monday after a 3 day weekend with most of it spent cooped up in the car. There was an assembly with the whole school, and he couldn’t control himself, after being reminded/told multiple times. We got a note from his teacher detailing what had happened, and even when James picked him and Jocelyn up at daycare, he had gotten into trouble there as well.

Ethan and Jocelyn had t-ball practice, and James let Ethan know EXACTLY what was expected of him, and what would happen if he did not meet those expectations (pay attention, no playing in the dirt, listen and obey, etc.) and I have to say, when I got to practice, Ethan was playing better than I’d ever seen him! He was watching when kids were up to bat, following the ball with his eyes, staying on top of things — he is usually kind of off in his own world, fidding around with the dirt/grass, clowning around, and not following what the action was. He had a few spots here and there, but overall, he did well.

I think there are a few factors going on in his behavior. I had detailed my thoughts on this before but I think there’s more to it. I’ve noticed that he doesn’t hang around the kids at the bus stop except for the neighbors he’s good friends with. There’s even another boy that is in his class that has tried to make friends with Ethan, but he hid behind me, or otherwise wouldn’t talk to him.

During the kindergarten year, he complained about the “work” they had to do in kindergarten, but was never totally resistant to it. But over the summer, when we had to do his summer reading assignment (read 5 books, draw a picture from each one, and write a sentence about what the picture is) he was COMPLETELY resistant. It was like pulling teeth to get this done. He didn’t mind the reading, he didn’t mind the drawing (although he complained plenty) it was the writing he didn’t want to do. You’d think we were asking him to gouge out his eyeballs with a shrimp fork, I swear. Once he finally would sit down and do it, he was fine.

In both of these cases, I think his self esteem is injured. About a year ago, he started playing with some of the older neighborhood boys. He is not shy, and he probably just jumped straight in w/out really knowing what they were playing or what the rules of their game were (it was something with water guns, I think) I was inside, just checking on him out the window now and then, when the he came storming in, saying they were mean and he wasn’t playing with them anymore. A minute later the doorbell rang and one of the boys was there to tattle on something Ethan had done. Ethan immediately totally lost his shit and started bawling — now remember, this was a kindergartener being tattled on by a 1st or 2nd grader.

I wish I could have redone that moment. I said soemthing to make the kid go away, and then tried to comfort/get the full story from Ethan. But he was inconsolable, only saying he would never play with those boys again. I let it go, thinking it would all be forgotten in a week or so, but I think that that incident is still with Ethan today. I think he is unsure of himself in terms of making new friends, and I think that something may have happened to make him think he is bad at writing, which makes him not want to try, not be excited about it.

What should I have done? Taken Ethan out and tried to get them to get past whatever it was Ethan had done to upset them. Showed Ethan how to approach someone else’s game with some respect, instead of jumping right in and changing the rules around. Helped the older kids to give him a bit of allowance, since he was younger than them. Helped them both talk to each other with friendliness. Not sure that would have worked, but I wish I had tried.

James and I are meeting with Ethan’s teacher tomorrow, and I would like to talk to one of the school’s counselor’s as well to see if they have any ideas. I’ve also ordered some kid books from Amazon on making friends.

Mostly, I am worried about Ethan’s self esteem and psyche. It’s hard not to harp on the bad behavior when you want so desperately for him to shape up but that is only going to damage his self esteem more. Obviously we’re not going to ignore it, either. We’re going to stick with our sticker chart and maybe start doing some more immediate rewards for good days (maybe a few pokemon cards) to emphasize the good behavior.

I said to James, “I’ve decided being a mommy is too hard. I’d like to have my heart back inside my body please. It’s getting pummeled out there.”

It is hard, but I was kidding of course. It’s worth it. It just sucks not quite knowing what to do to help your child be productive.


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Sep 07 2008

Oh No You Didn’t! (Mercenaries 2 Ad OBSESSION)

Published by under amy's head

I have no idea why, but the first time I saw the Mercenaries 2 ad on TV, I was just so tickled. Guy taking names and kicking ass while this happy go lucky song with bouncy piano accompaniament narrates in the background. It’s a skippy happy joy joy song! Except it’s about blowing shit the hell up! Something about the juxtaposition of the music and the violence of the ad just kills me. I’m obsessing over it to the point of writing down all the lyrics downloading the song to my computer/ipod/iphone so I can play it over and over and watch/sing along to my heart’s content. The part that totally gets me? The high note that the male singer goes into falsetto to hit at the end of every verse. I just LOVE IT!

Am I crazy? You be the judge!

Here is the ad as it plays on the TV:

And here is a behind the scenes, “making of” video which uses the full version of the song:

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see if I can plunk this piano accompaniament out on the piano.


Lyrics (transcribed by yours truly)(after the break):
Continue Reading »

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Sep 02 2008

Back to School Cake 2008!

Published by under cooking,crafty,daily,kids,photos

It was a great 3 day weekend, that was filled to the brim with fun things, so I’m going to work my way backward starting with yesterday – Monday, Labor day.

I’ve always thought this was a fun idea – a cake to celebrate the beginning of the new school year. It originally was a cake a friend of mine made because she was so relieved to have the kids out of the house for a large portion of the day again, but I think it still works for us.

I put a twist on it though, we made it a KID-ONLY cake. Meaning, only KIDS are allowed to make it! I told them what to do, I held the bowl when they scraped it into the pan, and I put it into the oven, but other than that, this cake was made by KIDS ONLY! They were SO PROUD!

View all the photos in this here fancy photo-scrollin’-seein’ thingee below:

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