Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fear Factor

I have never much cared for the television show "Fear Factor".
It doesn't really bother me too much when they jump off of things, or do other crazy stunts, however, I can't stand it when they eat disgusting things. Nothing grosses me out more than watching someone try to eat rotting, maggot infested cow brains.
I'm just weird that way.
Now, I need to mention that my kids LOVE spinach. They eat it fresh, straight from the bag. They have caused many a grocery store cashier to raise an eyebrow at them fighting over who would get to carry the bag of fresh spinach to the car, where they would rip it open and eat it straight from the bag.
That being said, It's amazing how dinnertime at our house will sometimes turn into an episode of Fear Factor.
Several years ago, we were shopping at Costco, and they were giving out samples of spinach raviolis. The kids tried the sample, and all agreed that we should buy the spinach raviolis because they were SO delicious.
We bought them and several days later, I fixed them for dinner.
I thought they were good.
Hubby thought they were good.
Brielle and Aaron thought they were great!
CJ was repulsed by them. He didn't even try them, he just looked at them and gagged.
This is the same child who only days before was begging me to buy them.
We have a rule at our house that everyone must try at least one bite of a certain food before declaring whether or not they like it.

Just one bite.

That's all I ask.

Apparently, one bite was too much. Yes, we did force him to eat a spinach ravioli. (what can I say, we're bad parents)
He fought.
He gagged.
He gagged again.
He ran to the bathroom, and lost the ravioli.

It was just like watching an episode of Fear Factor.
Apparently, spinach is O.K. until it is cooked. Then it is inedible.

Fast forward to today. I found a really yummy looking recipe for spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.
I was in the mood for an adventure, besides, I'm getting really sick of cooking the same old boring meals every night.
I was ready for something new and exciting.
I assumed that since the spinach would still be raw, that the kids would love it.
Seriously, what's not to love?
It had real bacon in it!

Brielle took one look at it, and wrinkled up her nose.
"EWW, this smells yucky. Why can't we just have plain spinach?"
ME: Because we're trying something new. Just try one bite, I think you'll like it"
Brielle: "What did you put in it? It's gross!"
Me: "You only need to try one bite."
Brielle barely touches her fork in the salad dressing, then licks the fork.
"That's yucky! I don't like it!"
Me: "You need to try one leaf of spinach"
Brielle: "I can't"

This went on for several minutes, until under threat of no dessert, Brielle finally picked out the smallest leaf of spinach and put it in her mouth.

Oh the drama.

The tears!

Fear factor all over again.

Brielle: "I'm going to spit it out! I can still taste it!"
Me: "Take a drink of water and wash it down."
ME: "Take a drink of water and wash it down!"

I am happy to report that she swallowed it, and it stayed down.
And she seems to be fine.

My kids all love broccoli. I'm planning on fixing it for dinner tomorrow night.
Any suggestions on what I can do to this fine vegetable to make my kids hate it??

I need to thank Christina at My 5 little monkeys ( for giving me an award!
(Sorry, I have trouble linking. I am technologically challenged. I will work on it)
Thanks Christina!!
As soon as I figure out how to put it on my blog I will pass it along.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I'm sorry. So very, very sorry.

For some reason, today I was reminded of the Sunday School class I attended when I was 12.
(It may or may not of had something to do with the darling class of three year olds that I was teaching today. There are seven of them, and ONE of them was happy to be there. The rest really missed their mommies. At least none of them kicked me today :0)
Back to my 12 year old self. There were 14 kids in our Sunday school class. 12 girls and 2 boys. Our teacher's name was Stanley Bates.*
*Name may or may not have been changed to protect the embarrassed.
We probably should have referred to him as "Brother Bates" but we all called him Stan.
Stan was a young twenty something guy with a lovely wife and infant daughter. He was very patient with us even though I'm sure we drove him absolutely crazy!

The first thing I would like to say to Stan is "I'm sorry. So very, very sorry."

I apologize for the times we would sneak out the back door of the church to go to Tammy's house to eat cookies instead of attending your class.
I'm sorry.
(but seriously, if you had brought cookies more often, we probably would have stayed)

I apologize for the time we toilet papered your house. You really should admit, however, that we did a fantabulous job. The trees, and the porch were very artistically decorated with the two ply Charmin. The best part, however, was how we tore the toilet paper into a million squares and evenly distributed them in pretty patterns all over your lawn. It was beautiful.

A true work of art.

If we had known that it would rain that night, we would have saved the toilet papering for another time............


I will never forget driving past your house the next day to see you out in your front lawn with a rake trying to scoop up the disintigrating toilet paper.

Like I said, I'm so very sorry.

Then there was the time when we somehow roped Stan into having all of us over to his house for a party. What a good sport. He only got moderately mad when three girls were doing back handsprings in his living room. (I do need to mention that I was NOT one of them. I am gymnastically challenged)
I really don't remember much else about the party, it's the ride home that sticks out in my mind.
When Stan had finally decided that the party was over (he'd had enough), he very graciously offered to drive us home (jumped at the opportunity to get rid of us)
He packed about 9 of us in his tiny car and drove away return us to our parents. (this was WAY before seatbelt laws)
Just before we got to the first house, I may or may not have suggested that we have a chinese fire drill when he stopped the car.
When he stopped at the first girl's house, we all got out and ran around the car three times, yelling, and making all sorts of noise, then all piled back in the car.
We did this for the next three houses, each time Stan's face got redder and redder. For some reason he looked frustrated. He started shaking, kept looking at his watch, and rolling his eyes.
Next, it was my turn to be dropped off. When we got to my street, I pointed to a house and told him to stop there. We got out and had our Chinese fire drill, and then we all got back in the car.
"Sorry Stan" I said "that's not where I live."
I then had him stop at two more houses before finally stopping at my own. At each stop we got out of the car and ran around it three times.
Poor Stan.
As I was running into my house (finally) I realized that a girl in my class lived directly behind me, so I ran out my back door, through the yard, and around her house to get there just as Stan was dropping Annie off at her house.
I got there just in time for the Chinese fire drill.
As I ran around the car, Stan stuck his head out the window and said "I THOUGHT I GOT RID OF YOU!"
Poor, poor Stan.
I think he may have been close to tears.
Again, Stan, I am So very.......very.......very ......sorry.

About two years later Stan and his family moved away.
Quite a few years later, I ran into Stan and his wife at the wedding of one of the girls that had been in his Sunday school class.
We chatted for a while, then he said to me,
"You know, I'm really impressed with how you all turned out. I honestly believed that none of you would ever amount to anything."

"Thanks Stan."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Imagine that!

One thing I enjoy about toddlers is their ability to imagine things. I love it when pretending becomes a part of their play.
Last week, Max acquired an imaginary key. He puts it in his pocket, then takes it out and gives it to someone, and they put it in their pocket, then they give it back to Max who puts it in his pocket. Max loves it when everyone plays along, and it keeps him happily entertained for quite a while.
Each of my children has had imaginary friends. CJ would pretend to have several of the characters from Sesame Street over to play, and Brielle would get daily visits from at least one of the Disney princesses.
Aaron was more creative with his imaginary buddy. He created in his mind a friend he called "Gumba" This guy was taller than Daddy, and he was yellow. He wore yellow clothes, and had yellow hair and yellow eyes. He sounded kind of scary to me, but he was Aaron's best friend for quite a while. He was quite mischevious too. Any time anything was lost, broken, flooded or flushed, Aaron made sure to tell us that Gumba was responsible.
My favorite "imagination story" happened when CJ was 5 and Brielle was 3.
Brielle walked into the room and pretended to put something on her head.
"Look, I have a Barbie birthday party hat"
"So what" said CJ.
"Well, I have a Barbie birthday party hat, and you don't"
CJ pretends to grab the hat off of her head and puts it on his head.
"Now I have the Barbie birthday party hat" he taunted, "and you can't have it back!"
Brielle begins screaming, and jumping up to grab the (imaginary) hat off of his head.
CJ kept knocking her away saying "NO, it's mine now, you can't have it!"
Brielle screams louder.
I look at CJ and say "Come on, don't tease her" to which he sings "Look, I have the hat! Look I have the hat!"
Brielle has now been reduced to tears, so I have this great idea, I PRETEND to hand Brielle a new hat "Look honey, here's another Barbie birthday party hat"
She screams "NO, I WANT THAT ONE!!" pointing to her brother's head.
I pretend to grab the stupid imaginary hat off of CJ's head and hand it to Brielle, and CJ says "You didn't get it mom, I still have it!"
More tears from Brielle.
Then I realized that they had sucked me into this whole ridiculous mess, and I was now trying to referee a fight over something that didn't exist.
Has anyone else ever had their children fight over an imaginary object?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Apple obsessed

I was walking past Max's room and heard him talking on the new toy cell phone that Santa brought him for Christmas. The conversation went something like this;
"Hi Deef Dobbs, How you Deef Dobbs? What doin' Deef Dobbs? New phone Deef Dobbs. Like I phone Deef Dobbs? O.K. Deef Dobbs. See ya Deef Dobbs. Bye bye Deef Dobbs."
"Hey Max" I said "Who are you talking to?"
"Deef Dobbs" he says.
Then it dawns on me, he is talking to Steve Jobs, as in Apple computer Steve Jobs.
I had no idea they knew each other. Max has several conversations a day with Mr. Jobs.
You may wonder why my two year old knows Steve Jobs. I'm pretty sure they were introduced by his 12 year old, Apple obsessed, computer geek, brother.
CJ will sit down at the computer with Max and they will watch videos on you tube of anything related to Apple computers.
We go into the Apple store, and Max will get really excited over the iMac and iPhone. He even knows the difference between the iPod nano and iPod shuffle. I think most two year olds would just try to eat them.
CJ is very technologically gifted. He has been using the computer since before he was 2. He would discover programs on my computer (that I had no idea were there), and figure out how to use them. I am always so amazed at his understanding of technical things. He reads software tutorial manuals for fun. Seriously.
When CJ was 10, we were at a family party, and someone asked him if he had a girlfriend to which he replied "There are more interesting things than girls, like technology" (He will NEVER live down that comment)
We recently got the new operating system for my computer.
CJ was overjoyed. He could hardly contain his excitement!
I will admit there are parts of it that are really cool, but I've been discovering a few things that have been a problem, like it dumped my really old operating system which I was using to open my even older version of Photoshop. It also did something weird to my e mail, I'll need to have CJ fix it for me.
The desktop of my computer is really cluttered with different documents and files. It kind of bugs me to have it like this, but I do have a general idea of where everything is, and I have no plans of changing it.
Yesterday, CJ comes into my office and said "Mom, you really need to clean up your desktop, it's not very Leopard-like"
O.K. CJ how about your room? It's not very Leopard-like either.
CJ's room is subject worth an entire post of it's own. Maybe later.

Friday, January 4, 2008

My brother the Loan Shark

Today when I was bringing the kids home from school, we somehow got on the subject of school pranks.
I was explaining to them that they were never, ever to pull a prank at school.
However, if you could think up a really good prank, and get someone else to do it for you, that's a totally different story ;0)
In Jr High, I was very quiet and shy. I would usually sit somewhere in the middle of the class, not too close to the back with the rowdy kids, or too close to the front where I might have the chance of getting called on more often. Right in the middle where I could blend in and not be noticed. There was not a teacher in the school that would believe that I would have ever been involved with a prank, and that's just the way I liked it.
One day in my algebra class, we had a substitute teacher, and I was more bored than usual. I got to thinking about how funny it would be if the whole class got up and did something at the same time. I leaned over to the kid next to me and whispered, "What do you think would happen if you passed around a note that told everyone go get up at exactly 10:13 and sharpen their pencil?"
He thought for a moment, then scribbled out the note on a piece of paper and handed it to the kid next to him.
At exactly 10:13 everyone got up and stood in line by the pencil sharpener. Even the kids writing with pens came too.
The teacher was confused, and told everyone to quit goofing off and go sit down. We got a good chuckle out of it. (For some reason that sort of thing is hilarious to a 13 year old)
Another time in the same classroom (no sub this time) our teacher left the room to deliver something to the office, and I quietly suggested to my accomplice that we turn all the desks around to face the other direction.
When the teacher returned, he walked in, thought he was in the wrong classroom, then walked out again.
Another time when he left the room, someone locked him out. This time it was not my idea, but it was funny. I'll never forget the faces he pulled at us through the little window in the door.
"Come on guys, pleeeeaaaase let me in!"
He was a good sport about the whole thing. He even pulled a few pranks on us, like the time when he didn't come back after Christmas vacation because he quit his job.
We had a new teacher who looked like Grizzly Adams who spent the entire first class teaching us that "There is no such thing as a free lunch". I'm still not sure exactly what that had to do with Algebra.
No Jr high school discussion would be complete without mentioning my brother. He was a very enterprising young man. He always had some sort of plan to make money.
When JR was in 7th grade he asked my mom to teach him how to make homemade suckers. He made a batch of suckers and took them to school the next day and sold them for .25 cents each. He sold out the first day, and used the proceeds to buy more ingredients and sticks to make more suckers.
JR kept this up for several weeks, and I was amazed at how much money he had. It always seemed that he had more money than he could have possibly made from his sucker making business.
One day the doorbell rang, and there was a little seventh grader standing there.
"Can you give this to your brother please?" he said as he handed me $2.25.
I took the money in and handed it to JR. "How many suckers did he buy?" I asked.
"Just one."
One? For $2.25?"
"Yes" he said "When someone wants to buy a sucker, but doesn't have the money, I tell them they can have the sucker today, but tomorrow, they need to pay me .50 cents. If they forget the next day, then its .75 cents, the next day, a dollar."
Basically, he was charging 100% interest daily, and the stupid kids were paying him!
My brother the Loan Shark.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dental Dollars

Tonight, Aaron lost a tooth. He is now missing his two top front teeth, which have been missing for quite a while, and the one on the bottom that he lost tonight. He is now awaiting the arrival of the tooth fairy, and dreaming of the different ways that he can spend his dollar.
This made me think back to a few years ago when Brielle lost her first tooth. She had just turned 5 and was SO excited to have a loose tooth. She wiggled that thing for weeks, until she finally had Daddy pull it out for her. She was so cute, she went back and forth between crying from the pain, and giggling from the excitement of loosing her first tooth. She carefully washed the tooth, and placed it under her pillow, ready for the tooth fairy to come.
The next morning when I woke up, I heard CJ (who was 7 at the time) yell "Hey Brielle, what did the tooth fairy bring you?"
I froze. I had been up VERY late working, and I was positive that the Tooth Fairy had not made an appearance.
I was frantically thinking up excuses for the Tooth Fairy. Maybe she got stuck in someone else's window. Maybe Brielle hadn't fallen asleep soon enough. Maybe the Tooth Fairy had an ear infection and wasn't allowed to fly last night.
I was bracing myself for my daughter's tears of dissapointment.
Instead, Brielle came running into my room waving a dollar.
"Mom, look what the Tooth Fairy left me! A whole dollar!!"
"Wow, Honey, that's great!" I told her as she ran out of the room.
I was stunned.
I knew for a fact that the Tooth Fairy had not come.
CJ came quietly into my room and whispered " Mom, I looked under Brielle's pillow this morning, and saw that the Tooth Fairy hadn't come, and so I took a dollar out of my bank and put it there so she wouldn't feel bad.

WOW! What a great kid!

I told him that the Tooth Fairy was probably really booked up last night, and didn't make it to our house, but I was sure that she would come tonight, and replace his dollar.
The next morning, it was CJ who came into my room excitedly waving a dollar from the Tooth Fairy ;0)

Oh, I'm sorry, were you talking?

The kids went back to school today after being out for 4 1/2 weeks. This change is as hard on me as it is on them, because;
1. I now need to set my alarm and get up in the morning. No longer will I be able to sleep until my body decides that it has had enough rest.
B. We now re-enter the world of homework, keeping up with the reading charts, remembering to send lunch money, e mailing the teacher frequently to see if my darling children are actually turning in their homework, and trying to understand why a child would not bother to tell me about the huge school project that is due the next day.
Too much stress.
At least now they can't fight. They seem to like each other more if they don't spend any time together at all.
I have a strange thing happening in my house. It has something to do with the kids hearing. I say something, and they hear something completely different. For example;
I say "Time to wake up" .........They hear ...........(nothing)
I say "Come on guys please wake up" ..............They hear "Go back to sleep"
I say "Seriously guys, we need to leave in ten minutes, or you will be late for school!!" ... They hear "get up when you feel like it"
I say "Get ready for school"........ They hear "Fight with your brother"
I say "Eat something for breakfast"........ They hear "Eat a candy cane"
I say "Brush your teeth" .........They hear "Go make faces at yourself in the mirror"
I say "Get your coat on".......... They hear "It's not really that cold, you don't need a coat"
I say "Get in the car" ............. They hear "Turn on the TV"
I say "Get in the car"........... They hear "Pour yourself a glass of milk"
I Say "GET IN THE CAR!!!!"..... .. They stare at me blankly, and ask me why I am yelling.
Does anyone else have this problem? Is it the frequency of my voice? Do I need to talk in a lower pitch? Higher maybe? Louder doesn't seem to be doing much good.
My favorite part is when we leave home too late to get them to school on time, and they say "Mom, you should have had us wake up sooner"
To make things worse, I forgot that there is road construction on the street going to the school.
Is there such a thing as being "fashionably late" for school?