Monday, April 21, 2008


Alex had her first spelling bee today. She missed the word onomatopoeia neck. But she gave a valiant effort; the nerves just got the best of her. At least the whole thing went quickly; after all, there were but 5 spellers.

I remember my first (and only) spelling bee. There I stood in line at the Sherman Oaks Galleria with a few hundred of my closest spelling friends among whom I knew not a one. I finally made it up front and then proceeded to spell gesticulation with a j. In my defense, I have to say I may have been a little distracted by the rumor that was spreading like wildfire among all the spellers: Someone had spotted Ricky Schroeder in the mall! Although I was mortified to lose on my first word, I was anxious to roam the mall to see if I could catch but a glimpse of my Silver Spoons heartthrob! I didn't, but I had enough Tiger Beat posters of him plastered on my bedroom walls to make up for not seeing him in person.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Things that make you go hmmm...

Alex can read on a 5th or 6th grade level and could probably perform algebra if I asked her to, but request that she brush her hair? You'd think I was ordering her to yank it out by the roots. Hmmm...well, enough said.

Alex is my most organized child. She makes lists, enters appointments on calendars, corrects people's grammar ( I love the little Mini-Me!), but her room looks like a department store threw up. Hmmm...I think there are psychology books about this first child thing. And I think there's a reference by any First Child Blurb that says See also: only child. Plus, I seem to remember a certain only child who was a slob growing up and who is now a neat freak. So there is hope. But let's hope I don't rub off on her TOO much because the anal retentiveness of this neat freakiness can sometimes be a little debilitating.

Michael can build a whole detailed city or Star Wars Galaxy or elaborate robotic world full of fire-shooting creatures which he has created in his imagination, but you'd think I was shooting him with one of his fire bombs when I ask him to sit down for a little school.'s hoping he grows ever fonder of academics even as his obsession for Legos wanes.

Michael used to be able to tie his shoes. I discovered last night when he asked me to put on his soccer cleats that he has forgotten. Hmmm...can anyone say Get rid of the velcro shoes!?

Jacob is my loudest, craziest, wall-climber here at home, but when he's out, he doesn't utter a word. Hmmm...well, we're working on this and just accepting it as his sweet little personality.

Jacob is our most athletic child, but we can't get him to venture out on to a soccer field or basketball court. Hmmm...see the last point.

The Princess can properly identify George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Ben Franklin; she can tell you who the first president of the United States was; she can tell you the capital of Delaware. But she still can't identify all the letters of the alphabet. And it's not because we aren't working toward that end. The other facts she picks up just by sitting in with her older siblings. Hmmm...perhaps I should reteach the 3 of them the alphabet, and she'd soak it up that way.

The moment the Princess has finished her business, she inquires, "I have boppypop?" Hmmm...can anyone say conditioning?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is it Really THIS Easy?

For 8 1/2 years I've been up to my elbows in poop. There was even a brief--yet very lengthy--six months in there where we had THREE in diapers. It was like a poop assembly line every day. Seriously. Now there's this fourth little one to contend with. The Princess. I've made two short-lived, feeble attempts at potty training the little diva: The first attempt was right before the cruise; I gave up before the day ended. The second attempt occurred a couple months ago; and, well, I got a little distracted by the camera.

This time around, I'm committed. I started on Monday. Four days later...she's in big girl panties! She got a package of brand new princess (of course!) panties today, and she couldn't be more excited. She's worn at least three pairs today...not because she's had any accidents, but because she'd really like to try them all out. In fact, she's been tucked in for the night clutching her blankie, her special teddy bear...and her half-empty package of big girl panties. She was a bit put out that I had the nerve to put a diaper on her before bed, but she will doubtless fall asleep with visions of princess panties dancing through her head.

And I'm just crossing my fingers that this really is the real deal. Because, well, can it really be THIS easy?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Substitute Vacation

We're supposed to be in Chicago right a finale to our mid-western vacation which was to begin with a visit with friends in Missouri. However, Mark has been in too much pain with his back to make such a long trip by car. So...we decided to take a little mini-vacation/accompanying Mark on business to Tennessee. It's been a full couple of days. While the pictures say it all, here's a brief summary:

Yesterday we arrived early afternoon and spent a few hours at the Chattanooga Aquarium--our favorite fish place, even in comparison with the world's largest in Atlanta. We enjoyed dinner at the Big River Grille after which we splashed around in the heated indoor hotel pool. One downside of being such a large family--it's a little crowded in hotel rooms when there are no suites available. It was tight last night, but we survived.

This morning, while Mark was working, the kids and I spent a couple of hours at the Children's Museum. The kids had a great time with their favorite activity being the dinosaur dig where they had a chance to be archaeologists. They also enjoyed playing with pulleys, water, and various art and music media. The two hours until we had to head to Nashville passed quickly.

When we arrived in Nashville, Mark dropped us off at the big mall by the Opryland Hotel. We had our afternoon snack at the Aquarium Restaurant, which seats its clients around a gigantic aquarium containing sharks, eels, stingrays, and an assortment of fish. Not the Chattanooga Aquarium but great dining ambience all the same. The menu is expensive, but Paint Sharky is tradition for us, so we have to go whenever we're in Nashville. Paint Sharky is a huge rice krispy treat shaped like a shark and served on a palette with a paintbrush and 3 colors of "paint" icing. Unfortunately, they must have fired the old pastry chef and hired a new one who's not quite as fun because the "paint" this time was odd-tasting jelly. And the adult desserts left much to be desired. So much for tradition; we'll have to find a new one.

And so much for brevity in my summary. On to the pictures...

Yes, those are clipboards--it's a school day; the children must work!

Fun with pulleys...gettin' little brother to do all the work!

Sooo tired...after a late night and too much fun!

Aquarium Restaurant

Paint Sharky