Tooth One and Tooth Two

"I will open his mouth.

You will see something new.

Two things. And I call them

Tooth One and Tooth Two.

These Teeth are for biting.

And they popped out of his gum.

Yes, there in his mouth

I saw Tooth Two and Tooth One!"

Modified from The Cat In The Hat
Copyright 1957 by Dr. Seuss/Houghton Mifflin.


Blog Playlist?

I used to have music on my blog. It wasn't a crazy-long playlist, but I liked it. A few months ago, I took the playlist down because I know I have a few friends (like three...) who read my blog at work, and the music clues everyone else in to the fact that they aren't in fact working is - ahem - distracting.

The thing is, I really miss it. Listening to music makes me happy. So, I've put it back up for now, but I'm really interested in your thoughts. Apparently, having music on your blog is breaking a cardinal blogging rule or something. Whatever.

I've disabled the auto-play feature, so it will only play if you want to hear it. I get that not everyone shares my (incredibly awesome) taste in music. Is that a good compromise? I seriously want to know what you think, particularly if you read my blog before I took the playlist down. Doesn't have to be earth-shatteringly insightful, just a "yes" or "no" is fine, maybe with a "why."

Oh, and if you like it, I could really use some great new song suggestions.

Thanks! Happy Friday!


The Darnedest Things

It's true. Kids really do say the darnedest things. And as a mommy of three boys, I surely don't write them down often enough. My blogging friend Carrie (Hi, Carrie! Can I link to your blog?) has a running sidebar on her blog of the funny things her kids say. It reminds me I need to write more of these things down so I'll remember them (and yes, so I can poke fun at them later...) After all, having all these babies so close together has sucked the brain cells right out of me.

I have a couple other posts about things my kids have said. You can read them here if you want.

The latest incident isn't hilariously funny (as some have been), but I thought maybe it'd at least be worth a chuckle. Last night at the dinner table, Kayden wanted to pray. He often does, and we encourage him to say his own prayer. Here's a (roughly accurate) transcript:

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for today,

And thank you for our doors and windows,

And our walls and our ceiling,

[long pause - Grammy fills in]

And thank you for Mommy and Callan coming home from their trip safely,

And are those paper napkins?!?!

And thank you for the food that Daddy fixed.



Would You Rather?

Okay, this one isn't tough for me. I'd rather have the monkey tail, hands down. This probably has something to do with the fact that I'm a dog person. See, not only am I a dog person, but I actually dislike cats. (Well, I guess I can't speak for all cats, but the one I see on a regular basis these days isn't on my list of favorite felines. I'm pretty sure I could dress up like a giant tuna fish and she wouldn't even notice.)

Besides, who wouldn't want a tail? Just think of all the cool things you could do! Swing from trees, balance on tree limbs and logs a gajillion feet in the air, string your kids upside down by their shoelaces when they're being smart alecky (alright, so maybe not really...) Aaaaaannd, monkey tails come in all kinds of different patterns. Black, brown, white, striped. I'm with you Shana (see comments), what an accessory! So...there you have it.

Okay! Here's we go again! 
Taking a break from the serious, this week's question is.... 


Would you rather have a tail like a monkey or whiskers like a kitten?

Just scroll to the bottom of this post to comment.
I admit, I'm a total slacker. I haven't posted my responses for the past two questions. (For what it's worth, I'd rather be a nail and ninety-seven cents. No promises to elaborate.)
Even though I neglect answering my own questions, I really do enjoy reading your comments. They're enlightening, and funny, and insightful, and goofy and thought-provoking, and ridiculous, and all that good stuff. So go ahead and post away, however light or serious!
If you have no idea what's going on, click HERE for the original post plus comments and join in the fun this week!


What's on your plate?

I guess there really is something to be said for presentation. Must be why professional chefs put so much time and energy into plating the dishes they create. Not only is it fun and looks great, but (apparently) we are more likely to eat what they fix if the presentation is appealing.

And I've learned that this applies to my children, as well. Remember when I posted about making a concerted effort to be creative and fun with the presentation of their food? (Here's the post and pictures.) Well, nine times out of ten, it works. (Don't roll your eyes just yet. I most definitely do not manufacture a creative presentation nine out of ten meals. Ha!) But when I do, it's pretty much guaranteed that I can convince them to at least try everything. It's amazing.

So here's the latest creation. For those of you who have difficulty interpreting - ahem - fine art, it's a puppy. With eyebrows, freckles, and a headband, apparently. Sliced hot dog and string cheese, banana, raisins, and spinach leaves.

They even ate the spinach, no joke! My oldest (just turned four) is especially convinced by knowing "what it's good for," (i.e. which vitamins it has and what they do). I can get him to each spinach by telling him it has calcium and iron and makes his teeth and bones strong. Works. Every. Time. Who needs Popeye?! Ha!

Not sure how long this will last, but for now, it's worth the extra effort and I'm enjoying the ride!


"Not Me!" Monday


Welcome! Are you feeling guilty for eating your weight in ice cream this week? Wondering if anyone noticed you bribing your kids with snacks so they'd be quiet during church? Perhaps you just gave in and let your kids stay up an hour and a half past their bedtime. No worries! "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you. It frees me up to admit my many imperfections and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!


Before we get started, please keep in mind that it it's not me who had so many "Not Me!" entries this week that I had to start keeping track of them on my phone's notepad. 
Also, I learn from past mistakes. Every. Time. So it wasn't me who, first rattle out of the box, slept through four alarms again on Monday. It takes me roughly 40 minutes to get to school, which starts at 7:30am, so I left at 6:45am, not 7:00am. And I surely didn't get in the car and discover three miles down the road that I was totally out of gas. And upon such discovery, I also did not realize that I had left my driver's license and money in my jeans pocket - the jeans I had changed out of when I was painting at our house that weekend and had left on the floor of our master bedroom (remember, we're living with our in-laws until our house is fixed). Nope

But no worries, I keep a little cash in my car just in the event of something like this. I opened the little compartment where I keep it, retrieved it, skipped on over to the cheapest gas station in town, got some gas and was on my way.

I did not open the compartment to discover it empty, remembering that I had told my husband to go ahead and use it when we were at the ice cream shop last weekend. I would not use "emergency cash" in such a foolhardy manner. Not me!

I did not have to stop at our house to get said driver's license, money, and purse, and then drive to the nearest (read: most expensive) gas station to fill up, call and report to our school secretary that I was going to be late because of my own stupidity, and roll into the school parking lot at 7:45am. Not me!

Oh, and when I ran into our house to retrieve the above, I certainly did not also discover a bottle of milk I had pumped for Callan sitting in my purse. Gross.

Earlier this week when I left for work, it was raining pretty good, and I couldn't find my umbrella. But I did not steal the umbrella right out of my husband's car and take it to work with me. Nope.

I also did not put one of my husband's XXL shirts on our son at bedtime this week because I couldn't find anything else clean for him to wear.

And I certainly did not get into my car the other day and nearly keel over from the rank smell emanating from the inside. I did not run through a list of possible disgusting things my husband could have done to/left in my car before I discovered the diaper under the seat. Nope. And it definitely wasn't me who had changed the baby in the car and left it there. Not me!

Thursday mornings are a little crazy at school, since these are the days we take the students out for the therapeutic riding I've blogged about before. But still, I manage to keep everything under wraps. I do not do things like leave my Medela steam bag full of breast pump parts in the staff lounge microwave and then hop on the bus for horseback riding, only to return at 12:30pm and realize that it had been removed to the top of the microwave, where it kept the entire staff company as they rotated through and ate their lunches that day. Nope. Not me!

It so was not me who single-handedly demolished an enormous bag of around 40 Twizzlers in a mere three days this week. No way, no how.

And finally, it wasn't me who had such a "Not Me!" week that I finished blogging this last Thursday and flat out stopped adding things. Not me!


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun blogging carnival started by MckMama. In a nutshell, it's where we all can be open about the ridiculous things that happen in our everyday lives. Head on over to her blog, where you can read heaps of other great "Not Me!" stories. Or, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!


Days Like This

Mama said there'd be days like this...
Oh boy. It has been a week. You know the kind: long, draining, exhausting. I'll admit, I have allowed it to be completely overwhelming. The lack of sleep is finally catching up with me. It is ridiculously hard to change our family's sleep schedule by even 30 minutes, and I'm trying to shift mine three hours. I'm one of those people who needs 8 hours of sleep every night. I think maybe I'm averaging around five. So...yawn...I'm beginning to get that glazed over look in my eyes. Just a tough week. Multiple substitutes, multiple student meltdowns. Heaps of glitches in my planning. No time to do anything because I spend every free second pumping so I can continue nursing Callan. Add to that my perfectionistic tendencies, and it isn't too difficult to allow myself to just lie back and be defeated by it all.
As you can tell, it's affecting my attitude. I want to be joyful. I know I need to be joyful. Heck, I got every reminder I needed the month before I started teaching, when our church did an entire series on work. I've had Colossians 3:23 posted in on our bathroom mirror for a few weeks as an everyday reminder that I work (no matter what I do) for a higher purpose. Boy, have I needed that reminder this week.
And then I remembered that I had just the little pep talk I needed, sitting right here on my blog. I wrote it about six months ago when we were still in the very raw phase of Callan's as yet untreated reflux. So just as much for myself, I'm reposting it, and rededicating myself to making joy an every day discipline. Hope you enjoy the read (or reread...)!

Original Post (find it here):

Each summer as a child, I attended a week long "Vacation Bible School" with hundreds of other children from several churches in my hometown. It should come as no surprise that my favorite part of each day was the music. I remember singing this song a lot. Do you know it?

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Down in my heart to stay!

It has many verses, but I'm quite sure my favorite (and many other kids' fave, no doubt) is this one:

And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack.
Sit on a tack!
Sit on a tack!
And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack.
Sit on a tack today!

Oh my.  I just love the ridiculousness of that verse. Good stuff.

We've started a new message series at church, based on the book of James. I love the way that he (James) blends both encouragement and conviction into his words for the Church. There is so much good stuff there! So much I need to work on, too. Right off the bat, I'm reminded to check my attitude with the first four verses:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance.
4Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)


I do not have it all together. Far from it! Truth be told, I've altogether been having a rough time of it lately. There's just so much going on in our lives, and having a newborn is just plain hard, no matter how you shake it. Errr...perhaps I should clarify. The "shaking it" was referring to life in general, not my infant. Just so we're clear. In case, you know, you were wondering. Which you probably weren't.  


I've decided to be more joyful. And I picked a heck of a time to start, too. Seriously, I'll have plenty of opportunities to practice! Without going into detail, suffice it to say circumstances are not making life a cake walk presently.

In the midst of it all, it's easy to focus on why I can't be joyful. But why should I let my circumstances define who I am? By allowing them to define how I go about my day, I am doing just that. Instead of choosing how to act in spite of those circumstances, I am simply reacting to them. 

You know those people who are joyful whenever you see them, all the time? The ones who just have a bright outlook and contagious positive attitude? They're attractive, aren't they? Not in a physical sense. Attractive as in, you simply want to be around them. So does everyone else. Don't misunderstand me; it's not a fake-y, happy-go-lucky-and-smiling-no-matter-the-circumstances sort of attitude. That wouldn't be attractive, because I doubt anyone could pull that off and still seem authentic. Not for long, anyway. The attitude I speak of isn't always happy, but it is continually joyful.

That joy springs out of a choice, not a personality. It's a discipline. And if you practice being joyful long enough, it becomes part of your personality. Our disciplines guide the decisions we make and how we respond to the circumstances we face. Eventually, if practiced long enough, they help shape who we are.

And so do tough circumstances and trials of many sizes: 

17For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4 (NIV)

These "momentary troubles" give us the opportunity to practice joy. And joy gives us strength to face our circumstances:

Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 
Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

See? It's circular. We respond to our troubles with joy, and that joy gives us the strength to respond to our troubles. "Ah-ha!" you say. It's really not all as crazy and nonsensical as it sounds.

So! I'm redoubling my efforts to make joy a discipline in my life. And you can help by keeping me accountable, please. I want to be more joyful!

And if the Devil doesn't like it (and I'm quite sure he doesn't)...

He can sit on a tack.


"Not Me!" Monday


Welcome! Are you feeling guilty for eating your weight in ice cream this week? Wondering if anyone noticed you bribing your kids with snacks so they'd be quiet during church? Perhaps you just gave in and let your kids stay up an hour and a half past their bedtime. No worries! "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you. It frees me up to admit my many imperfections and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!

It's not me who slept through four alarms, two days in a row this week. Think my body is trying to tell me something?? Nah.

And I certainly didn't sleep through another alarm on Sunday. Well actually, I'm kinda proud of this. I didn't wake up until 6:30am, and still managed to nurse the baby, throw some clothes on, and make it to worship team rehearsal by 7:03am. And I didn't look half-bad, either. That's skill, I tell you.

Callan has finally adjusted (I think) to taking a bottle while I am away at work. The first two weeks were a little squirrely. He still isn't always waking for a morning feeding before I leave, which can make things difficult, as a teacher can't just drop everything and pump when she gets to work. Even so, it definitely was not me who pumped on the way to work. Nope.

Did my wardrobe's midsection look a little funny to you one day last week? Rest assured, I was not wearing maternity pants. Nope. Even if there was not a single stitch of clean clothing in my closet, not even if I only own about three pairs of pants that sort of almost kinda fit (read: either darn nearly cut off my circulation or require suspenders...) No. Not even in those circumstances would I throw those things on. Not me!

We have friends who have a son who grew so attached to socks as a baby, they actually became his "lovey," or comfort object. Wherever they went, they had to make sure there were (preferably clean) socks so the little one would sleep. In fact, socks became such a fixture hanging out of his mouth, it was totally fitting when they dressed him as a puppy one Halloween. Knowing all of this, it surely wasn't me who let Callan chew on a sock so he'd stop screaming. And no, it wasn't very likely straight off of his brother's foot. Ugh! That's revolting, and I...ahem...certainly make sure each and every item that touches my babe's sweet lips has been properly sanitized.

Speaking of play toys, it is not my infant who I regularly distract with a plain old plastic hanger, and I definitely haven't turned a blind eye when my normally bouncing-off-the-walls two-year-old is mesmerized by a few breast pump parts that he discovered lying around. Nope. Not me!

It was not me who opened my blog to find this staring back at me:

Nice, eh? Well, it soooo wasn't me who felt insulted by my very own blog. Seriously! Does it not look like that lovely little graphic goes right with the "About Me" and "View My Profile" link above it? Well, it certainly wasn't yours truly who briefly thought, "What the heck?!" before I realized that actually...ahem...it's an ad...

Duh. Duped by my own blog.
Not me!!!


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun blogging carnival started by MckMama. In a nutshell, it's where we all can be open about the ridiculous things that happen in our everyday lives. Head on over to her blog, where you can read heaps of other great "Not Me!" stories. Or, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!


Happy Birthday, Love!

Kyler is...

an extraordinary grill-master,

exceptional youth pastor,

and avid hunter.

He's pretty darn tall,

ridiculously nerdy,

and willing to do just about anything for a good laugh.

He's also the incredible father of Kayden, 

and Cameron,

and Callan.

And he's forever a lover of Cape Cod,

good  conversation,

and lucky me. 

Tomorrow, he's also the birthday boy.

31 years old.

Happy Birthday, Love!


better than expected

Just in case you missed it, (although I think I've mentioned it about 324957829 times, so I'm not sure how you could have...) I went back to work on May 3rd. I've made it through two weeks now, and I know a few folks (okay, mostly my mom and dad) have been wondering how it's been going. All in all, I can say it's gone much better than I expected.

I'm a long-term sub for the teacher of the Autism program, which is a population I've never worked with before. Well, never in the self-contained classroom; I've had several autistic students included in my general education classrooms. I'll admit, I called into question my ability to serve these students well. Not that the students themselves are cause for fear, that's not what I'm saying at all. (Quite the contrary, actually, in only two weeks I have really come to love them!) It was an anxiety borne out of my own insecurity about (practically immediately) understanding each of their needs and providing a seamless transition and continued support, particularly for the non-verbal and limited verbal students. I know from experience with other students how long it can sometimes take to develop trust and repoire in order for progress to be made. And actually, that has all gone much better than expected.

As you know, I have young children, including an eight-month-old. It's pretty much a given that when you submerse yourself back into school after a time away, it takes awhile to build immunity back up to prevent illness. And one of my students had recently developed an obsession with spitting and playing with it, so basically out of fear for my baby, I became a germophobe for about an hour. After that, I remembered to just pray about it and wash my hands like it was going out of style. And I learned some pretty quick moves when the little man moves to spit on my shoes, hands, or in my hair. It's all good now. And no one at home has gotten sick. And actually, we've implemented a few tricks that are cutting down on the "saliva manipulation." Indeed, that has gone better than expected.

In two weeks, I haven't forgotten I was teaching. Yep, every day, I have remembered to get up and go to work. I know, kudos to me! The near three-hour shift in our daily schedule is really kicking my butt, and I've slept through four alarms two days in a row, but all in all, better than expected.

Callan was not consistently taking a bottle before I began working. This really concerned me. But actually, it eventually worked itself out. He only took 4-6 ounces the entire time I was gone for the first three days, and then he'd eat like a fiend as soon as I returned. Now he's taking at least twice that and seems to be acclimating just fine. Like I said, better than expected.

The last few times I have returned to a long-term subbing position, and (before I had Callan) when I was even just gone for the day, Cameron would refuse to speak to me when I returned. Seriously, my stubborn middle son would ignore me for roughly an hour when I got home, answering me with grunts and refusals to make eye contact. Talk about a terrible guilt trip! Thankfully, he's been all smiles and lots of love this time around. SO much better than I expected.

One of the most daunting aspects of this job was the planning. I've never had a teaching job where I've made completely separate lesson plans for students, much less eight of them on four different grade levels. Modified and differentiated plans? Absolutely. Tiered lessons and guided learning groups? Yep. But eight, completely separate, daily plans for students K-3? No. The administrative aspect of teaching is not my forte. I was anxious. As it turns out, two of my students are mainstreamed into the regular education classroom, and two others, while they have separate behavioral and communication goals, are in roughly the same place academically. And I've managed to stay on top of it for two weeks. You guessed it, better than expected.

Some days, I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this job. Last Thursday, we went horseback riding. Well, I didn't actually get to ride, but I got to leave school for three hours, sit out in the beautiful sunshine, and run around chasing after seven little boys as each of them took a turn riding. And catch this...I get to do this weekly though a collaborative program for therapeutic riding in the county I'm teaching. It's incredible to see the interaction between the students and the horses, and how much they love being around them. And the benefits are tangible: social, emotional, behavioral, intellectual, communicative. What a treat, and not one I expected. Better.  

Of course, the first day we returned from horseback riding, I was accosted (not really) by a parent volunteer hunting each staff member down and taking pictures for Teacher Appreciation Week. After we'd been running around outdoors for three hours. Lovely. But considering this, the picture was, you know, better than expected.

Three times a week, my students have an adapted PE class where they work on targeted fine and gross motor skill development. Last Friday, I got to spend part of my day playing Wii games. Really, I did. Again I thought, "I get paid for this?!" Better than expected.

I mentioned the difficulties of completely shifting my daily routine by about three hours. It's craziness. And unfortunately, Callan is not catching on. He's still be-boppin around until midnight, crying, eating, writhing, and doing the reflux thing. So...I'm not getting much sleep. He goes to bed at midnight or later, wakes to eat around 4:30am, and my alarm goes off at 5am. I'm an eight-hours-a-night sort of person, and that hasn't happened for two weeks. I think my cumulative sleep debt for those two weeks is around 30 hours. Frankly, I'm surprised I'm still functioning coherently. But you know what? I am. And that, my friends, is very much better than expected.

Through it all, I've managed to (sort of) keep blogging. I know I haven't done any of the deeply introspective, personal revelation, or fun story-and-pictures kind of writing, but I'll get there. Promise. You just keep reading, kay? I've got a few things up my sleeve that will hopefully materialize into some interesting, thought provoking, and perhaps even inspirational reads. Hopefully. Who knows? Maybe they'll even be better than expected.


Tortilla Soup


If you haven't gotten dinner planned yet, no worries. I've got you covered. All you need is a few basic staples (well, they're staples in our house, anyway) and a great big pot (or a crock pot).

Tortilla soup is one of my favorite meals, ever. Definitely a comfort food in our house. It's my cold/rainy/icky-weather go-to, my I'm-homesick-for-Texas go-to, my I-don't-feel-so-hot go-to, and my I-so-don't-feel-like-putting-any-kind-of-effort-into-dinner-tonight go-to. See? SO versatile.

My roommates and I used to throw this together all the time in college, and I've tweaked it a little here and there over the years. And now I'm sharing it with you, because I'm nice like that.

Go ahead and get your counter space and your can opener ready. You'll need:

chicken broth (how much depends on how soup-y you like your soup. I use a couple of quarts, I think)
diced tomatoes (I like the kind with green chilies in them, or I use regular diced tomatoes and then also throw in a can of Rotel. Or I use 1 can of regular and 1 with green chilies. Just remember the longer you let your soup simmer, the more it will bring out the pepper flavor.)
beans (I use 1 can of black and 1 can of pinto)
white hominy (1 can)
whole kernel corn (1 can)
tortilla chips
shredded cheese
ground turkey (or shredded chicken, or...)

How much of each thing you include is really personal preference. One can, two cans, whatever. This soup is different every time I fix it. That said:

Drain the beans, hominy, and corn in a colander and rinse with water.
Occasionally, we have it with ground turkey or shredded chicken. Fully cook the meat first.
Throw everything together in a big stock pot or crock pot.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour...or all day.
Top with tortilla chips, the shredded cheese of your choice (my husband likes the four-cheese Mexican blend. I like mozzarella. Whatever.) and cilantro. I love cilantro.

And you're good to go. Dinner! Yum.


Yittle Taw

Momma....I yant FIVE songs tonight.

Okay, babe. What do you want to sing?

No. I yant to sing it by my-elf.

Oh, okay. Go ahead then.

tinkle, tinkle, yittle taw

how I yunder yut you awww

up above da yold so high,

up above da yold so high,

up above da yold so high,

tinkle, tinkle....

oh! was that kayden??

are you going to keep singing?

is he talkin'?

no babe. do you still want to sing?


okay then. go ahead...

up above da yold so high,

up above da yold so high...

...the lion says, "ROOOAAARRR!!!"

Would You Rather?

Weeeellll, here's the thing. I think this is Kyler's influence speaking here, because I'd rather be the ninety-seven cents. Just think of all the options it offers! A myriad of coin combinations, ease-of-use at vending machines, much simpler to deposit and remove from piggy banks, and great for practice with money skills and making change with the little ones. Also, thinking of the little ones, dimes fit much better up your nose than a dollar bill would. Ha!

Although, come to think of it, $1 is enough to provide clean drinking water for 1 African for 1 year. Just like our worship team did with our CD project this fall (read about and listen to it here!). 

Sigh. I don't know...


Okay! Here's we go again! This week's question is.... 


Would you rather be a dollar bill or ninety-seven cents?

Just scroll to the bottom of this post to comment. *I* just realized that I neglected to respond last week. Oops. Guess I'll have two to post up tonight or tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, however light or serious!
If you have no idea what's going on, read the original post below (or click HERE for the original post plus comments) and join in the fun this week!


Are there any Dr. Seuss fans out there reading this? I love Dr. Seuss. Really, who doesn't love him? I also wonder why I can't think of some hair-brained idea like writing books about complete nonsense and selling millions of copies so I can stay home with my children for as long as I want and never have to worry about money to feed them with, thankyouverymuch.

Sigh. Until then, how about a little game?? I love games. And...in another attempt to get some audience participation going on this blog, I've decided we'll play it here. Well, I will. You can play too, if you want. You know, if you're fun.

My kids have a Dr. Seuss book titled, Would You Rather Be A Bullfrog? It's definitely one of my favorites. Here's an excerpt:

Tell me!
Would you rather be a Dog...or be a Cat?
It's time for you to think about important things like that.
Would you rather be a Bullfrog...or be a Butterfly?
Which one would you rather be? 
Come on, now.
Tell me why.
(c) 1975 Dr. Seuss & Random House Books 

I love how many messages can be found in any one book, and for people of all ages, too. I've read this one to my toddlers, and used it with older elementary school children as a morning "Brainwarmer" to get them thinking and writing. The book is basically a compilation of "would you rather?" questions, and I would just pose them to my students and challenge them to justify their answers in journals. See? Higher-level thinking questions first rattle out of the box. Brilliant teaching, I know.

Now it's your turn. I'll pose the question, and you answer it. And by the way, this works best if you, you know, answer. Just to be fair, I'll give my answer too...but not until you do (and tell me why!). Here goes nothing! We'll start easy.


Would you rather be a dog, or be a cat?



Mom and K

Pics of my kids smiling at the camera are few and far between these days. Pics with the latter and me in them as well are virtually non-existent. So I decided to share this one, just to prove that every once in awhile, I actually do come out from behind the camera.


"Not Me!" Monday


Welcome! Are you feeling guilty for having a drop-down, drag-out fight with your spouse right before church? Wondering if you're ever going to arrive on time to anything ever again? Perhaps you just gave in and let your children eat granola bars for dinner. No worries! "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you. It frees me up to admit my many imperfections and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!


This week, I did not have so much going on at dinnertime that I directed my two-year-old to feed his eight-month-old brother. Not me! Such carelessness would result in vegetables everywhere, and we do not have messy mealtimes around here, ever. Nope.
My middle child is an angel. There isn't a stubborn bone in his body, and he certainly isn't one to push the envelope or break the rules. Shoot, he follows rules I haven't even made up yet. Ahem. He never requires punishments, whether they be time outs, loss of a treasured items, or even spankings. And when said punishment is carried out, for whatever reason, it is always effective, he never disobeys or mouths off, and the behavior never occurs again. After all, he is only two, and everyone knows, the twos are a breeze. Ahem. So, when he made a major infraction this week and his father punished him with a spanking, he most certainly did not turn right around, brush off his bottom, stare down his father and reply, "I wiped your spanking off, Daddy." No way. Not my son.

It was not this very same child who later hauled off and peed all over his mother in the middle of a diaper change. Nope. Not this child, who is very nearly potty trained, has not done this in quite possibly an entire year, and has enough control that he stopped mid-stream. Uh-uh. I'm telling you, it was not my kid.  

As many of you know, I started working as a long-term substitute again this past week. And working means pumping, because I'm committed to continue nursing Callan until he is ready to wean. So because the classroom I am in is constantly being used, I head out to my car twice a day to pump. The peace and quiet is actually a nice respite from the busyness of the school building. Except last week, the fifth grade DARE graduation ceremony was also going on, so the parking lot was packed. Now, I park a good deal out in the parking lot, where there are normally no other cars, and my car faces a bunch of shrubs. But on this day, of course, there were cars and cars on both sides of mine. And as I sat there in my car with the air conditioner running and the radio on, I was grateful that whatever assembly was going on wasn't going to let out any time soon. Oh, but it did. I must have been in a hurry when I got out to my car, because I left my Nalgene water bottle on the top of my car. Wait. How do I know this, you ask? Well. It's certainly not because a wonderfully nice parent went out of her way to walk over to my car and knock on my driver's side window to let me know. And no, it's not me who was so mortified that I smiled sheepishly and dismissed her, mouthing the words, "It's okay, really, it is..." as she turned away. And again, it's not me who did this without even considering that not allowing her to retrieve my water bottle would only cause more wonderfully nice parents to approach the lady pumping milk in her car to warn her not to drive off without retrieving the water bottle on her roof. Oh, but they did.....

It is not my son who, along with his partner in crime cousin of the same age, decided a makeover was in order this Mother's Day.  Nope. We didn't discover the two of them "sharing" diaper rash cream, painting each other's faces, hair, clothing, and other places I'll refrain from mentioning on this blog. 

No way. 
They had not emptied nearly two entire tubes of the stuff, and it wasn't the super-sticky overnight kind, either.

And no, those aren't his dress clothes he's still wearing, either.

I'm not sure what it is with this kid and painting his feet.

Remember this post from a few months ago??
(If you don't, just click the picture to refresh your memory...) 


Nope. Not me, not my kids!!


"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun blogging carnival started by MckMama. In a nutshell, it's where we all can be open about the ridiculous things that happen in our everyday lives. Head on over to her blog, where you can read heaps of other great "Not Me!" stories. Or, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!


The Post About Brains

This post is about brains.

I guess I should clarify. More specifically, it's about brain development. Brain development and all its little nuances is so intriguing to me. As I've begun working again (post on that forthcoming this week) the students I am working with in the Autism program have brought this fascination back to the forefront of my mind, probably because of the more obvious and puzzling differences in brain development that I am faced with on a now daily basis.

Children fascinate me. Maybe this is why I'm a teacher by trade. Discovering the learning styles that hinge on differences in brain dominance is like a puzzle, and I love puzzles. My own children, of course, are no exception to this brain development fascination. As my boys have grown, their personalities have naturally revealed themselves, but their learning styles and brain dominance have also begun to emerge. It's fun to see how they play out in everyday situations.

The other day in the bathtub, I got out a tub of foam animals for the boys to play with. They immediately began sticking the animals to the bathtub walls, but each arranged theirs in a completely different way. Kayden lumped his all together in a pyramid of sorts. There was really no rhyme or reason to how they were arranged. As he picked each up and played with it, he just slapped them on up there on the wall. See for yourself:

Cam, on the other hand, had a very different system in mind. He was meticulous about placing each of his animals, one by one, into neat rows:

Am I the only one who thinks this is really cool?? Don't answer that. Seriously though, to get glimpses of how their little brains are working while they are still so young is just really neat to me. And it gives me insight into how I can raise them up as they learn and grow so that it speaks to their individual learning styles and brain dominance. I think this is really exciting! And maybe I'm kidding myself, but I'm betting maybe just a couple of you do too. So...I'm planning on coming up with a couple more posts on how I/we can cater to our individual children's learning styles as we raise them and teach them. Look for those in the next week or two.

I'm off to gather up my children from a gardening adventure out in the yard with their grandparents. Check back tomorrow for "Not Me!" Monday. As usual, its got a couple doozies!


It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood...

...and I think we'll be spending most of it outdoors!


The Arch

I realized today that I have about a bazillion posts to catch up on. As in, I've started them, but never finished them up and posted. Like pics from *one* of the blizzards this winter. And the jillions of pictures I've meant to share from our road trip to Texas and back.
So, here's another catch up post. On the way back from Texas at the end of March, we drove through St. Louis and took a break to walk around the Gateway Arch. It was about half an hour before sunset when we stopped, and completely dark when we left. I could have taken pictures there all day, I think. (And I did take a ton. And I probably posted way too many. It's okay, you'll deal.) Something about the beautifully perfect symmetry and reflection off the metal surface. I know, there's probably therapy and counseling for people like me.

Anyway....here they are. Enjoy!!

The Gateway Arch has a reflection pool. I did not know this. 
There was even a guy set up with a canvas and paints. 

Straight on it looks a bit like the Washington Monument, don't you think?

And...here are the heaps of pics I took from a myriad of angles. Sorry, I'm too lazy to compile them onto neat little "canvases" together. I don't have Photoshop (I wish!!) and that process involves multiple applications and is way too long and complicated for right now. Sorry, it's just not happening.

Walking through to the West...

Remember, it was March. It was cold. And windy.
And I had been in a car with three children for three days. Be kind.

Really, you can never have too many pictures of all of this adorableness. Well, I can't.

Yep, that's me and the boys.