Thursday, October 08, 2015


The kids have been home for intersession break this week and it's not nearly as trying as I thought it would be. It seems that a few months of kindergarten for my youngest has changed the dynamic dramatically around here. He's learned some social and negotiating skills. Some days, I just ignored the kids. The younger two play together all morning with only a few scuffles and my oldest reads  for hours at a time.

Fiona and Owen, in particular, are thick as thieves. They make up all kinds of games that I wind up refereeing. One day, Fiona and Owen both came down wailing.

Well, what happened? I asked. Fiona breathlessly and dramatically explained. 
Well, I was practicing riding a dog [Owen] because I'm going to be a cowgirl for Halloween and I'm going to ride Molly and Owen kept falling down and dogs don't fall down.

I couldn't keep my composure long enough to explain that 1.) Owen wasn't doing it on purpose and 2.) she is not riding Molly for Halloween.

The kids also did a triathlon in September. This year, even Owen participated.
So Owen, what did you do [Sunday]?
He shrugs.
What did you do at the YMCA?
Oh, his eyes lit up. I had a snack. That's what he remembers. The snack. He did two legs of a triathlon. He swam and ran, but is still not riding a two wheeled bike.

Mom, when do we get our boobs? Fiona asked before the triathlon.
Your boobs?
Yeah, you know, the thing that goes [on your shirt]?
OOOHHH. That's called a bib, sweetheart. I thought it was a little early for her to be pining for boobs.

I would like some spaghetti with butter, Owen says, batting his eyes dolefully and sticking his lip out. Fiona, eating the last bit of spaghetti, considered it thoughtfully for a moment and said You can have some next week on pasta night.
He just ran through the TV room with seashells in his hat, Jim says. The hat was on his head. Nothing surprises us anymore. 

Thunderbirds are a go for a drop. Thunderbirds are a go for a drop. 
Are you pooping, Owen? Jim asks.

And speaking of the bathroom, Owen fixed the overflowing toilet the other day.
Dad, the toilet water was coming up and up but it's okay because I closed the lid and locked the door.

Fiona has lost her two front teeth. Her father teases her.
What do Fiona and hockey players have in common?
Neither of them have front teeth.

Stop hitting the window, Owen.
I'm pretending to throw pumpkins. Of course.

It's good to be tall like Mommy so you can reach the cotton candy [atop the refrigerator], Fiona declares. Or so you can reach the secret chocolate stash.

Do you want to know the a-word? Fiona asks.
Honey, I know all the bad words. 
Well, do you know the C-word? Um, yeah, I know a couple. She's talking about "crap."

Mom, it's national candy month, Danny declares.
Oh, who told you that?
No one. I made it up. Because of Halloween. 

We have 20-some days till Halloween. It's going to be a long month.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Overheard: Beach edition

My sister's family and ours took a vacation together for the first time ever -- four adults, two dogs, and six kids ranging in age from 5 to 15. Despite rain and storms, we did managed to get out to the beach four out of the six days we were there. There were days when we headed to the beach and it started raining on the way. One day, a thunder clap sent all six kids sprinting back to the house squealing and laughing. We even got to catch the full lunar eclipse on a night that was supposed to be overcast. We certainly made the best of our time together before packing up a day early to escape the island ahead of predicted coastal flooding. The morning we left, this was happening:

And directly behind us was a lightning show and a double rainbow. Seriously.

The best part was that the kids played together all week while my sister and I read, knit, chatted, did puzzles and asked each other repeatedly where each other's husbands were. And we overheard some fantastically funny episodes from our six children. First up, here's how you play chess with a 5 year old, as told by my sister's oldest child:

"Start by calling everything what it actually looks like, not what it's actually called. Put all pieces in battle formation. It's OK to put your king and queen off the board so they can't be captured. "Guys" (pawns) can ride "horses" (knights). And the final most important rule is Owen always wins.

"Whether he had to call imaginary snipers or start throwing dynamite."

My nephew is incredibly patient and endlessly amused by my kids. 

My other nephew is known as the kid whisperer. He created a role playing game that the kids played over several days called Super Heroes and Super Villens. Fiona's character, Fishgirl, could throw sharks at people. Danny's character, Portal, just went around creating doors, basically putting holes in walls. And Owen chose to be Catman. When any of them didn't follow the rules, they were barred from the game and given options for reentry. Upon hearing four of those options, Fiona declared a fifth option: 

Fifth option: Shut up!

Despite the distraction of cousins, Owen was his usual hungry self the entire week. He marched into the kitchen one evening and announced Feed me before I eat my tongue. 

And the poor thing was devastated when we packed up the kitchen on the last day. He came to me, lower lip quivering, to tell me:

There's only one thing left in the fridge and it's for baking. 

All in all, we had a great week. The planning my sister and I did paid off ... a week's worth of menus, breakdown of costs, and lists of supplies neatly laid out in spreadsheets. Next spreadsheet is for Thanksgiving dinner!