Thursday, June 30, 2011


Lately, I've gotten to the end of the week and thought, "Wow, what a great week we had. ... Uh, wait, what exactly happened this week?" It's nice to just be left with a general sense that all is well instead of a weekly accounting of horrors and inconveniences. Maybe it has to do with my age. See, I turned 37 this week. I'm officially on the downward slide to 40. My memory isn't what it used to be. Or maybe it's just that I've finally grown up and let go of a lot of what used to annoy me.

Boy, that was a long childhood.

Speaking of which, the older kids have taken an interest in the rules suddenly. My bossy first born has decided that he is the enforcer. 

Stop wasting water, Fi Fi. You turn that water off, Danny instructs his sister.

And Fiona has taken to reciting various rules that she tends to break.

No screaming in the house, she informs in the kitchen. 

No screaming. No. No. No screaming, she mutters loudly while playing with trains. She's giving herself subliminal messages perhaps?

No hitting people, Fi Fi tells me.

No feet on the table, she tells me at the table.

Owen, keep your hands to yourself, Fi Fi says.

No screaming. Again. I wonder if she's talking to me?

I'm so glad that she's finally figuring out the rules. Come to think of it, she's hasn't screamed, put her feet on the table or hit anyone much lately.

Wipe it on your dress. Getting a napkin would have required mommy to get up.
I can't do it, she cries. Finally. A child with some standards. If you'll recall, my son has wiped his nose on my carpets, his underwear (yes, while he was wearing them) and his sleeve.

Fi Fi to the time out chair. You did that with malice and forethought, Jim tells her after she took a swing at Danny's train tracks.

Reason 226 why I'd never make it as a waiter, Jim says as he approaches with a dust buster. Excuse me, sir, are you done? he asks Owen. He then proceeds to vacuum up the rice around the baby's plate.

Guess what I got for my birthday? I ask my sister in Japan over the phone. 
A math book? No, that would be the worst birthday present ever.

You can squirt walls and then squirt us, Danny says of the squirt bottle he picked out as my birthday present. I did recently want a squirt bottle for something; I just can't remember now.

Stop saying stuff, Fiona, Danny says. Can you at least be specific?

Diaper, Owen tells my friend. He had walked up to her and handed her a diaper.  Translation: I require a new diaper now, please, and any old mommy will do.

Your soap car is not an essential bedtime item. Please return to your bedroom, I tell Danny. (For those not fully immersed in the dialect 'round here, soap car is a car that was once filled with bubble bath. Manly bubble bath, that is.)

I'm a big girl to go pee pee in the potty, Fiona says. She's so proud of herself.

That's a barber shop, I told Danny.  It's where people get their hair cut. We were doing a puzzle with a barber shop. He asked what it was.
He thought for a second.
Our house is a barber shop. (His father has always cut his hair. He's never been anywhere else.)

And [God] will take great, great care of you, Jim reads from the Noah's Ark story one night. But you've got to do the work, he adds.
Yeah, I've got a desk, Danny replies.

Shortly after that ...
I'm thirsty, Danny says.
And God said, 'Get a drink,' Jim tells him.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toad food for dinner

I really want to like tofu or, as my son called it, toad food. I want my kids to like it, too. It's cheap, healthy and easy to fix.

The problem?

So far, I have only one recipe that seems promising. And here it is:

1 pound firm tofu
1/4 to 1/2 cup of corn starch
1/4 to 1/2 cup of oil (I used canola)

Cut the tofu into cubes and roll it in the corn starch. Fry it in oil over medium-high heat until golden brown on all sides. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Wipe the wok clean and add more oil. Add cut vegetables. I used 2 small heads of broccoli and a handful of baby carrots, sliced on a diagonal. 

1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice (You can find this in the Asian section.)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon corn starch

Stir until blended. Add to the vegetables and fold in the tofu. The sauce should thicken almost immediately. Serve over rice.

Voila. Dinner. I was certain the kids would have none of it. I was certain the husband would bring a box of crackers to the table -- his not-so-subtle hint that my dinner creation just wasn't enough.

I was wrong.

The baby was shoveling broccoli and tofu into his mouth.  I finally just gave him the entire pan and he was happy. My son cleaned his plate and sucked and licked the sauce-coated broccoli like it was an ice cream cone. My daughter and husband also cleaned their plates. No leftovers. (Darn.)

I offered the man a turkey sub that was still in the fridge from Sunday if he needed any meat. He declined.

And he cleaned the kitchen right away.

The sure sign of a keeper recipe -- clean plates and a husband-cleaned kitchen.

(Oh, and if anyone has any good tofu recipes, please point me to them. Thanks!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I had an interview this week for the first time in literally years. I got to wear nice clothes, the kids didn't wipe their faces on me and I got to talk to an actual adult about the adult things I did in the workplace years ago. Um, wait, that just didn't sound right. I was not doing those kind of adult things in the workplace. You know what I mean, hopefully. The upshot is that it was a good networking and confidence building exercise but not the right job for me. My son was a bit confused by the whole thing.

What's that? Danny asks, pointing to my necklace.
It's a necklace.
You could choke with that around your neck. He's never really seen me dressed up before.

Danny didn't want me to leave. Mostly because I promised they could go in the pool when I returned. He figured that if I just didn't leave, then he could get in the pool sooner. So he came up with this solution ...

You can talk to him on the computer, mom, Danny says. Smart kid.

And speaking of swimming, all three of the kids have taken to the water like fish.  Fiona gets around with her wings quite well and even climbs aboard all manners of floats all by herself. Danny was introduced to the cannonball by his father and now routinely jumps high off the side of the pool, screaming "CANNONBALL." He even puts his head under water. He calls it his "strategy" to get away from PopPop's water gun. Owen is still a bit tentative, but has learned to kick his feet and even chants "Kick, kick, kick" along with me in the water.

Bargain of the century
In other news, Danny got a new bedroom set last Friday. We got it at the thrift shop for $200. It's a loft with a dresser, bookshelf, ladder and desk. He loves it.

I'm sleeping in the clouds, he says.

Is that turkey, mom? Danny asks while we're watching a cooking show. The man was grilling a beautiful piece of beef.
No, it's cow.
He must have beat up that cow. Oh, if he only knew ...

I did a pee fart, Danny says, giggling. He farted while peeing. Even my husband laughed at this. And then the baby started laughing and making fart noises.

I'm making a penis, mommy, a half-naked Fiona tells me as she struts through the kitchen. I'll leave it to your imagination just how she was doing it.

And next thing I know, she's doing this ...

I'm giving baby Dennis boobyjuice, mommy, Fiona tells me as she puts her stuffed monkey to her chest. She's so confused.

Mom, come quick. I want to show you my poop, Danny says. I've been (finally and gratefully) out of the poop loop with him for quite some time now. I just gotta know: why am I the designated poop inspector around here?  Even my husband will randomly tell me how many times a day he's pooped -- like I care. 

I want to see Owen's poop, says Fiona, my little poop inspector in training. She even wants to see the dog's poop when I scoop it up. Ew.

Here, Owen, you can sit here. Now we can have a conversation, Danny says. You know that he can't talk yet, right Danny?

I love you, Danny, Fiona chants over and over and over again to her sleepy brother. Grumpy boy was having none of it.

Fudgesicles are my favorite, I tell the kids. Really, what's not to love? It's chocolate ice cream on a stick. No dishes to clean!
Does it have Diet Coke in it? Danny asks. (Mommy has a bit of a Diet Coke problem.)

The flies are  all over me, Jim says. It must be all the showers I take. (The man showers once a day. That's just obscene.)
Yeah, they don't bother me. I don't get that many showers. 
They probably just think you're a moving tree. Yep, that's my scent: Eau de oak tree. 

Oh, go ahead, if it'll keep you from screaming, Jim says as Owen starts chewing his plate. Anything to keep him quiet.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Free U: Visual Math

It was way past Danny's bedtime after a particularly irritating day with him. I was sitting in the kitchen with my laptop trying to get some work done. All the while, I heard bumps and thumps and waited expectantly for that voice at the top of the stairs. I was waiting for the bedtime extender du jour.

Danny is at the top of the stairs, telling his father to come and look at his car line.

"Come see my car line. It's different. It has a corner."

So up daddy goes. He comes back to down to report that Danny has indeed made a car line. He gave his father the run down:

"See, all the purple cars are here, and the orange and the blue ones. And the red cars. The green one is out of order. There was only one of those."

For years, he has been lining up his cars in various places around the house. But never like this; it was quite a meticulous line of cars to behold.

Of course, his mother had to take a picture.

So up I went to see this marvel. It really didn't matter to me that it was about an hour and a half past his bedtime and that I was in the midst of doing some editing work. I really needed at least one more positive interaction with him at the end of this particularly annoying day. And I got it.

Earlier in the day, while eating an afternoon snack, he began making patterns with the three different types of pretzels we had on hand -- sticks, twists and squares. It was his idea. Seems like patterns were on his mind that day. Maybe that's why he couldn't "hear" me to save his life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Dare I even breathe a word about it? Should I know better the second time around? I suspect the universe turns little parenting victories celebrated too soon into major setbacks.

My daughter potty trained herself the month before she turned 2, but then got a stomach virus and lost her confidence. For like four and a half months. I just quietly put her back in diapers and asked from time to time: Underwear or diapers?

And she's said underwear three days in a row now. She wants to go potty "like Danny doos." Well, all right then. I've been getting up to six consecutive hours of sleep a night lately. I think I can handle this now. I won't lose my mind this time. I won't lose my cool. I'll keep a poker face. It won't turn into a battle of wills. There will be no bribes. I won't cry, puke or bang my head against a wall. I promise. 


I've been monitoring her in the bathroom and trying to keep Owen from eating toilet paper and putting toys in the potty all the while thinking, didn't I just do this a year or so ago and wasn't it Fiona who was then hell bent on sticking her hands in the toilet? (I've had my hands in the toilet more times this week than I care to think about. Shudder.) She's doing very well, though. And she wants her privacy in the bathroom.

Go away, mommy. I hear this a half dozen times a day. It's like a preview of her teen years.
Meanwhile ...

Danny, did you forget why you went up there? Jim asks when Danny appeared wearing the same shorts he'd just peed in. (Seriously. Four and a half years old and he peed his pants.)
That's pretty likely, Jim, since he just forgot to use the toilet.

My penis is jumping with me, Danny says as he jumps naked on our little trampoline in the TV room

I want my door open. Get out of my room, Fiona says. Okay, this is just getting obnoxious.

What are we doing, mommy? Fiona asks.

What do you have, mommy? Her verbal and observation skills scare the crap out of me.

I want what you have, she tells Jim, who was trying to sneak some candy.
It's a fig newton.
It's not a fig newton. She's way too smart.

Who is this? Fiona asks. I'm talking on the phone, she tell us. Turns out, she had redialed Jim's boss and was actually talking to her.

What happened, mommy? Fiona asks as I'm laughing at something on the radio in the van. She monitors my every move, this one. I feel like I'm being stalked.

Am I five yet? Danny popped his head into the kitchen and asked after breakfast one morning.
Nope, not until December. Sadly, this answer won't stop him from asking every single day until then.

One more outburst and I'm sending you two outside. 
Not a minute later ... 
MOM, Fiona just had a burst out. It's interesting what he hears versus what I say. This explains a lot, actually. 

You guys need baths tonight. 
No, no, I can lick myself. See? Gross. Apparently, Danny thinks he's a cat.

You can't come with us, Danny tells me. We were about to go out in search of a basketball hoop.
Oh, I can't?
No, you girls stay here and clean the house. (Jerk.)

Play with me, Danny demands at 8:00 at night while we're outside catching fireflies. I had the nerve to sit down and talk to my husband.
I played with you all day. 
Play with me some more, he said in his best robot voice.

I've got go let [the fireflies] go, Danny told me. They need to be with their family.  (He's so sweet.)

Sit down. It's not that kind of place, honey, Jim tells Fiona who was standing on her chair in the restaurant.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, June 13, 2011

AiS: Meatless Monday (sort of )

Years ago, I worked in public relations for the meat industry. Their nemesis, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had a campaign that asked people to go meatless on Mondays. I thought it was pretty cool, actually, not because I don't like meat. I do. Passionately. Beef, especially. I also am in a minority in my belief that meat is actually a healthy food. However, I don't believe that all meals need to revolve around meat.

So that's why on Mondays I try to have a meatless dinner. It's cheaper and adds a little variety. We've tried things we wouldn't normally try, such as kohlrabi quiche (years ago when I was getting a weekly CSA box), squash and goat cheese burritos, black bean lasagna and Swiss chard with chick peas in a marinara sauce over rice. (And if anyone wants these recipes, feel free to email me. Click on my profile to the left and you should find my email address.)

For tonight's meatless offering, I chose a recipe from the Kraft foods web site. And adapted it, because there was no way I was going to buy their overly processed, onion and chive flavored cream cheese. Although, anytime I can put an entire block of cream cheese, albeit fat free, in my dinner, I am a happy woman. The rest of the ingredients were simple and fresh and I had them all on hand.

Linguine with mushroom sauce 

1 lb linguine
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon or so of onion powder (I eyeballed this)
1/4 (?) cup of parmesan cheese (yup, eyeballed again)
4 cups baby spinach leaves

Cook pasta. (Duh. I know.)

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook and stir for 8 minutes or so. Soften cream cheese in the microwave. Mix the onion powder, parmesan cheese and broth into the cream cheese and add it to the mushrooms. Add spinach and cook until just wilted.

Add bacon bits. Even if it is meatless Monday. Really. It's so worth it. (I couldn't resist. I had a bag of bacon bits that jumped into my cart at Sam's Club a few weeks ago. Oops.)

Spoon it over the pasta. Top with cracked black pepper.

Loved it. The baby ate every bit. Even the spinach and mushrooms. (He really did.  The high chair and the floor were both clean.) And my husband got up right after dinner and started cleaning up dinner dishes. This is how I know a recipe is good, people. Not that he doesn't usually clean the kitchen. He does and I am a very lucky woman. But when he does it right away, well, I know that I've found a keeper recipe.

The other two? Not so much. Fiona didn't eat it right away, but eventually ate most of it. Danny took one bite and told me he didn't like it. (WHY?? How could you not like something with cream cheese and bacon??)

Anyhow, try it. And if you don't like it, well, there is something wrong with you because like I said ... cream cheese AND bacon, people.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If I had it to do over again

No need to grab a box of tissues. This one will not end with "I wish I'd held my babies more," because, seriously you guys, I hold my children from dawn to dusk. It's physically impossible to  hold them anymore than I do.

Regret isn't really my style. I see everything as a learning experience. You do it the hard way or the way some expert tells you and then you figure out that it didn't need to be that hard. By the third kid, you have a whole lot of AHA moments. And, then, if you're really a twisted perfectionist like me, you think, "Heck, let's have more now that I figured out this whole kid thing." Sometimes I have to rein in my desire to do it "right" the next time. In fact, I'm starting to see a bit of myself in my son who lately has taken to crying, "We've got to start over" if we skip a step or forget to do something. Like eat the animal crackers at the park. Not good enough to eat them at home. No, no, no. We brought them to the park and, by God, we were supposed to eat them there. Tears and body hurling over this, people. Really.

Ahem. Anyhow. As you can see, there's a little apple/tree thing going on here. Only I'm a bit more rational.

So what do I wish I'd done differently sooner?

A few things, like:

Ditch the bibs and make all meals clothing optional. My kids always yanked their bibs off. Now I have a dozen or so lasagna-stained onesies and tees that no amount of bleach will ever get out. I'm currently brainstorming ways to keep them out of a landfill (as if I don't have enough on my mind already). Pillow stuffing, anyone?

Ditch the fabric high chair cover. On our high chair, at least, you can attach the seat belt directly to the chair. Plastic is so much easier to clean than fabric. And our fabric cover is now moldy, to boot, from  mingling with the dirty kitchen towels in the hamper.

Make mornings alone at home clothing optional, summer or winter, to save on laundry. Underwear or diapers required, of course. Kids' bodies are a lot easier and cheaper to clean than clothing I've found.

Use my blender to make baby food. After years of making baby food in a $10 mini chopper and being dissatisfied with the resulting consistency, I found the blender gave me large batches of Gerber-consistency baby food much cheaper and fresher than the store-bought variety. Owen's favorites: prunes/apples and baked chicken/mixed vegetables/rice cereal.

Be less stressed about which foods to feed when. With Danny, I had a chart with what foods were appropriate for what age. With Fiona, I followed the chart, but gave her milk when she was 10 months old. With Owen, I didn't even wait until a year to feed peanut butter or strawberries. He stuck his fingers in my peanut butter toast when he was 11 months old (and didn't die) and strawberries came into season the month before he turned one. And he was NOT about to be left out of the strawberry feast, people.

Introduce finger foods sooner. Battling for possession of the spoon and getting more food on the child's face, hands and clothing than in his mouth while my own food got cold was just too stressful. For both of us, clearly. They're so much happier when they can feed themselves.

Ditch the kid-sized plastic utensils. All my kids hated them. They all wanted to eat off my plate with my fork.  Plastic kid stuff is apparently insulting to them. Which is probably why they raid the utensil draw and scatter these nonfunctional pieces of crap all over the house.

Ditch the kid dinnerware, bowls, etc. and just save applesauce cups. They're cheap, fit the amount of food that my children actually eat and are completely disposable, which comes in handy when toddlers discover the trash can. They even come with food already in them. It's like a two-for-one deal. I'm convinced that no kid has ever eaten anywhere near the amount that fits in these plastic kid bowls.

Serve all meals on or with a stick. My kids eat more when it's on a skewer or they can pick it up with a toothpick. They even string Cheerios on a toothpick. They are so weird.

Put a hamper on the screen porch. My kids get so dirty that it's easier to just strip them down outside, contain the filthy clothes like hazardous waste and whisk them up for bath time.

Showers. For all of them. Even my 1 year old now takes showers. This is so much easier than baths. And they're not afraid of the water, at all. The downside to this, of course, is that I rarely shower alone anymore. They wander by and suddenly decide they want a shower.

Keep the nail clippers in the car. The experts tell you to clip your children's nails while they are sleeping. But since my children were/are all horrible sleepers their first 18 months, I prefer to let sleeping babies lie. So I recently figured out that having them strapped into their car seats for this is the way to go. They can squawk all they want, they just can't go anywhere. BWAHAHAHAHAH!

Breakfast picnic. A few weeks ago, when our A/C crapped out on us, it was 10 degrees warmer inside that out first thing in the morning. So I took the kids to the airport park with a cooler full of hard boiled eggs, ham and cream cheese burritos and cantaloupe. Wouldn't you know it, the little boogers cleaned me out. They NEVER eat that way at home. The weather was glorious, the kids were happy and I wasn't begging anyone to eat or sweeping up after them. Why didn't I think of this sooner?

I'm sure that I could add more to this list if I wasn't so darn tired. Ironically, the one thing I am certain that I got right? Nursing each child through the night for as long as they needed. Sure, I've bitched and moaned about sleep deprivation for about four years now. But, somehow I knew, despite all expert opinion to the contrary, responding to their needs overnight was the right thing to do. It might have been inconvenient and difficult, but no one ever said having kids would be convenient or easy.

That's why I do what's easiest in the daily grind -- basically, to save my energy for the important stuff.

Friday, June 10, 2011


With Danny and Fiona, we had a good idea before they even turned a year old what we'd be in for during the toddler years.

With Owen, we had no idea. He really was the happiest, snuggliest, sweetest baby. And now? I actually can't remember when he was that cute. He chases me around in a perpetual whine. He screams when someone so much as looks at a toy he's playing with. He headbutted Jim's legs this week when Jim tried to block him from the street. He runs away laughing when he's caught with contraband. He randomly grabs at and tackles his confused siblings. He chews his food and spits it out. He throws his plate, fork, cups and food on the floor. We call this the barnyard phase. As I recall, it doesn't last too long. Eventually, they get hungry enough to eat.

And the child will not stop grabbing boobs. We call him Mr. Groper now. He even gropes his Nana:

What the heck are you doing, child? she asked one night as he copped a feel.
Oh, you're not special, Judith. And he's not going to buy you breakfast.

I'm about to go out and buy him a blow up doll. Seriously. We hope he outgrows this soon.

And Fiona is just plain loud this week. I literally can't hear myself think. Whenever I open my mouth, she opens hers wider and louder. But at least we've had only one pantry massacre this week. It involved her favorite food ever, of course.

I need a wipe, she told me, wide-eyed and apparently stunned that she couldn't hide the evidence of her marshmallow caper. She got into the marshmallow fluff.
Um, no. You need a bath. It coated her hands, arms, one leg and was in her hair.

You're doing a good job, mommy, Fiona said as I washed marshmallow fluff out of her hair. It was her second bath in an hour. Yes, I was doing a good job of staying calm, actually.

What do you want for lunch?
Peanut butter and butt. That would be peanut butter and fluff.

I left my butt at Nana's house, Fiona wailed from the back seat. She had left the toothbrush she was using there. The adults snickered at her dilemma.

We need to go to the store and get a big pool. Both of his Nana's have pools in their backyards.
Oh yeah? 
Yeah. Wake up my father. His father was sleeping in the van on our trip back from Maryland.

Attention, attention, Who wants to play tag? Danny shouted at the adults gathered in the front yard.

You didn't stop last time, Danny tells his father.
It was an optional one. It was a stoptional sign. And he will not be teaching our son to drive.

It was quite edible, Jim says about dinner one night. Um, thanks?

Hold [the popsicle] by the stick, genius, Danny told baby Owen. Ok, so maybe he does get sarcasm.

I want my moo moo, mommy, Fiona tells me as I'm folding laundry. That's what Jim calls her nightgowns.

Have a good weekend. 

Thursday, June 02, 2011


My new favorite photo ...
So my worst nightmare that I didn't even know was my worst nightmare happened this week. The air conditioner blew out in the middle of a 90 plus degree week. The kids went to bed in only undergarments and woke up sweaty and miserable several times. I took them on a breakfast picnic to the Observation Park at the airport first thing in the morning because it was 10 degrees cooler outside than in our house. No joke. The good news is that we only had to sweat it out for one night (wonder if I lost any weight in the process?? i mean, i was sweating and sleeping, people. isn't that some kind of super weight loss combination?). The AC repair man came earlier than expected, replaced an under warranty part and left a bill for only a service call on the door step. It's the best service I've gotten outside my in-house repair service (the husband) in a long time ... mostly because we haven't had to call any outsiders in a long time. If you want the guy's number, e-mail me. And the best part of all? The kids and I enjoyed a lovely, relaxing breakfast outdoors. They actually ate more breakfast there than they do at home and I didn't have to sweep the floor.

Enjoy ...

That lady squeaks when she talks, mom, Danny said about a woman that he exchanged pleasantries with at the store. Thank God I didn't understand him the first two times he said it, so maybe she didn't hear it either.

Mommy loves you, I tell Fiona as I kiss her good night.
Get out. Ouch.

I want a hug, Fiona informs me one day. Who is this child?

You stink, Fiona, Jim tells her while we're at the park. 
I got a big poop. Oh, thanks for sharing.

Finish your hot dog. Then you can have some watermelon. Wait, what? Did I just tell my daughter to finish her highly processed meat product before she can have a piece of fresh fruit?

We can put for really fish in Nana's pool and go fishing, Danny tells me. Sure we can, right Nana?

Hey, Fiona, what's wrong with your hair?
Fiona put her pony hair in the pool, Danny says. I put Fiona's hair in a pony tail for the first time this week.

Choo Choo, Danny says as he pulls the strings on Fiona's dress. Fiona was not pleased. At all. And so begins our son's lifelong misunderstanding of women's clothing and hair.

Uni means one. A unicorn has one horn, I tell Danny while we were discussing various prefixes -- uni, bi, tri. (This all stemmed from a discussion about the dinosaur, triceratops.)
Unicorns scream, he says.
Um, no, unicorns don't like screaming. 
They never come. 
Yeah, screaming kills unicorns. So they stay away.

The stubbornness is strong in this one, Jim says one night during a particularly loud and contentious dinner. Owen kept putting his foot on the table. He screamed indignantly when we placed his foot back under the table and told him no. He kept putting his foot back up.

It's an ice cream cone, Fiona informs me after she snatched a large mushroom from Nana's fridge.

I'm doing work. I'm doing a good job, mommy, Fiona tells me. She was using the dust pan. She's actually pretty well coordinated, getting most of it up and even getting it into the trash can one handed with out spilling a speck of it. The reason she's good at cleaning up? She makes most of the messes around here.

I swear, child, if you make one more mess today, I'll hang you up on the clothesline. She was going for the pool bag that I had just packed. And she just stared at me. Utterly unflappable, this one.

Have a great weekend!