Saturday, January 30, 2010

PT Barnum's Dream Girl

That would be me, the newest sucker for the circus. Steve and I took the boys to The Greatest Show on Earth today for their first time...and mine! Yes, folks, you heard right. My name is Alison. I'm 35 years old and have never been to the circus. My parents just never took us. I guess because there wasn't a block of seats big enough for all of our family. So I was super-excited to take the boys this year. (Libby stayed home with her best friend "Lella.")

We didn't tell the boys a thing about the circus for several reasons: A. It would be so fun to put them in the car, drive to the circus, and say, "Here's your surprise!" B. The forecast called for snow and ice, and we weren't sure if the show would go on. Might as well save the boys the possible disappointment. C. (Most importantly) We did not want to hear "Are we going to the circus today?" every day for a month.

Wouldn't you know we got all the snow and ice that was predicted, but we foolishly bravely headed out for the circus anyway...with two cheerful, happy, bubbling crying, whining boys who were upset about not getting to play in the snow. Keeping the circus a secret got less and less fun with each mile our car crept along. Definitely some interesting and convicting theological applications to be drawn there for another post.

BUT...the circus is a magical place (seriously, Mom and Dad, you should've taken us -- or at least foisted us off on some unsuspecting neighbor who was going). The boys quickly got over their grumbling. There was a really cool hands-on pre-show with a painting elephant and...wait, why am I telling you all this? You already know it because everyone else in the world has already been to the circus. (Abby, Jordan, Lindsay, Gwen, and Whitney -- call me. I will tell you of the many wonders we have been missing out on all these years.)

While I was fascinated by the animals, being 6 rows away from the floor where there were 12 baleful elephants being made to march around performing demeaning parlor tricks made me more than a little nervous. What, do they think that little piece of feathery string on a handle that they call a whip would stop one of those bad boys from starting a stampede? I won't lie. I spent most of the elephant act formulating a plan to save our family if 72,000+ pounds of pachyderm suddenly went postal and headed our way. It was a beautiful plan, if I do say so myself. I was relieved when the tiger act took place behind a chain-link fence. Kind of tacky but reassuring.

Next time (and there will be a next time -- I am sold on the circus), I want a few things to be different. I want Libby to be there. I would like not to have to drive 30 miles an hour through ice and snow to get there. I would prefer not to sit directly under the high wire act, which was rather unnerving because I could not come up with a plan to avoid a fast-falling unicycle, no matter how I racked my brain. And next time I'm packing a blow dart loaded for elephant. Because I know what those elephants were thinking. I'm not that big a sucker.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Visit From Poppa and Gangee

We were all so excited for Steve's parents to come for a nice long weekend. We had a great visit (all too short), made even better for my Indiana-dwelling in-laws by the Colts' win on Sunday evening. Andrew was voting for the Colts all the way...from upstairs in our bedroom, where he was watching Scooby Doo.

Another highlight of the weekend was Piggy Picnic Night. Andrew and Steve recently finished the book Babe, The Gallant Pig and were all set for movie/theme night.

The top-secret menu included -- what else? -- pigs in blankets and pig tail fries:

The boys checking out their pig food upon the great reveal:

And for the unimaginative among you, this is not chocolate pudding pie with strawberry marshmallows. It is pigs wallowing in mud.

Gangee and two happy little picnickers:

Libby didn't care so much about Piggy Picnic, so she and Poppa took their babies out grocery shopping. They circled and circled the store. It was highly satisfying.
Additionally, there were countless games of "football" involving a stuffed hedgehog and everyone losing points but Adam (the director), innumerable rounds of hide and seek, and more nonsense games and general mayhem than I could record here.

Poppa and Gangee left to go home this afternoon. I know they were sad to leave, but I have a feeling they will be sleeping well for the next couple nights. I think we may have worn them out.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


That's the number of faces in this picture looking directly at the camera. At the same time. With mostly happy, definitely acceptable expressions. In matching clothing. On a special occasion (AFC Championship Game). With out-of-town grandparents in town...and in the frame.

How did I do it?

Answer: The camera timer.

Who knew?

Oh, and Hooray, Colts!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tea for Two

Oh, Mrs. Nicholsworth, thank you for coming to tea!

You must have a cup of my delicious tea! And do try some scones.

Oh, Mrs. Nuzumbottom, I couldn't possibly eat another bite...well, if you insist...

Mrs. Nicholsworth, your lovely baby is so well-behaved!
Thank you, Mrs. Nuzumbottom. She especially enjoys having tea poured down her throat.

Oh, dear, Mrs. Nuzumbottom. I just received a most distressing phone call from the gardener. It seems he wants to cut up the Christmas tree and scatter it in the rose beds. I must leave quickly to prevent this disaster from happening. Thank you for a lovely afternoon. Ta ta!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pink Blanky, The Next Generation

Like mother, like daughter...

Alison & Her Pink Blanky 1979/1980

Libby & Her Pink Blanky 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Steve's Birthday Surprise

Ta-da! It's a light saber! Our boys are on a mission to put a light saber in the hand of every person they come into contact with. (If you ever feel your lack of a light saber, just invite one of our kids to your birthday party. I can almost guarantee they'll wrap one up for you.) Unbelievably, Steve did not have one yet. And Andrew and Adam were not going to let this birthday pass without giving their dad his own connection to The Force.

While Steve admits to being a little weirded out by this year's birthday bringing him uncomfortably close to 40, the boys and Libby were delighted by it all: the cake; the singing; and most of all, Steve's promise to "get them" with his light saber during play time tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Steve. You are the best husband and dad...even if you are planning a Jedi ambush tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Libby Got Her Hair Did

This morning Libby went for her first haircut! We had a little Carol Brady "femullet" situation going on in the back that needed some attention. It's hard to tell any real change in the before and after photos as Miss Karmen just evened up the hair in the back, but we could not let this milestone pass without pictures! Libby did great...a little solemn, but no tears.


Taking it all in

Miss Karmen cutting away the mullet

The result! (Pretty much the same as the first picture!)

How fun, how fun, how fun to go to the salon with my little girl!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This Just Kills Me

So I was watching Andrew walking Josh home after the Worm Night Sleepover this morning:

And it occurred to was just yesterday that they looked like this. Look at those little round baby faces:

When did they get big enough for sleepovers and Star Wars?


Friday, January 8, 2010

Worm Night

Look what we found out in the garden...worms in dirt!

Since Andrew and Steve finished the book How to Eat Fried Worms, tonight was Worm Night. We told Andrew and Adam that we would watch the movie and have a special wormalicious dinner. Trusty friend Josh bravely came over to join the fun. He was uncertain about eating worms for dinner but was unable to resist the lure of a sleepover. All the kids were a little unsure of what kind of worms Mom might be cooking up as the menu was top-secret until the last moment.

Ohhhh...those kinds of worms!

Doing their best worm poses

A little taken aback by worms in dirt...

Josh and Adam trying to overcome their initial fear, convinced we were really feeding them dirt. Adam was also sad the gummi worms were "dead" and not alive and moving. Hmm.

Andrew slurping worms. No worries about eating dirt there...which should worry me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bat Troll

The Diapered Knight
The Cute Crusader

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gamblers Anonymous

Steve and Andrew have been reading How to Eat Fried Worms every night at bedtime. One of the first scenes of the book involves a bet in which the main character is challenged to eat 15 worms in 15 days. At first, Andrew did not understand the concept of "betting." (He's really not savvy about the things of the world, and for the most part I like it that way.) After Steve explained what a bet was, Andrew had a self-proclaimed "great idea."

Andrew: Dad, since I vote for the Panthers (yeah, did I mention not savvy? we may need to address "voting" for sports teams), I will make you a bet. If the Panthers win tomorrow's game, you have to make my bed for a month.

Steve: What if the Panthers lose? What do I get?

Andrew: I will make your bed for a month.

I know it's shameful to side against my own child, but so is encouraging gambling. And if Steve wins, I benefit by having my bed made for a month. So I am hereby withdrawing my application for Parent of the Year and saying, "GO SAINTS!"

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Goals

Well, the family meeting didn't go exactly as I imagined it would...all of us sitting cozily around the kitchen table over mugs of hot cocoa, confiding our aspirations in one another and challenging ourselves and each another to better ourselves in the new year.

It was a rather fragmented "conversation," if it can be called that at all. The boys were enthusiastic when I presented the idea of a family meeting in which we would each set a learning and a spiritual goal for ourselves (with some parental guidance). So enthusiastic, in fact, that we had to have the "meeting" right then and the dark car on the way home from bowling. Having no actual goals for themselves (I thought that might happen), the boys agreed to let me and Steve help them choose some. And then they promptly started whining about our suggestions and coming up with their own ideas to do instead.

If it were up to Adam, 2010 would be the year he played Lego Star Wars on the Wii for 16 hours a day. (He's already dangerously close to meeting that goal this Christmas break.)

Andrew thought he might use this coming year to enhance his Lego-building and light saber skills.

Libby did not have an opinion, being asleep in a pack n play at the neighbors' house at the time.

Sadly for the children, our family is still a monarchy and not a democracy yet. While the littles are still little, King Dad and Queen Mom rule. So here are our actual goals for 2010.

Spiritual Goal: Listen to entire New Testament on CD at least once.
Learning Goal: Read 40 of the books from the list of classics he hasn't read yet.

Spiritual Goal: Follow (and complete) the "Read Through the Bible in a Year" plan.
Learning Goal: Learn to crochet. (Looking for a teacher! Let me know if it's you!)

Spiritual Goal: Learn the ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) model of prayer and memorize the Lord's Prayer.
Learning Goal: Learn to tie shoes. (You'd have thought we were boiling him in oil to hear him complain about this one. Sheesh.)

Spiritual Goal: Read Bible stories each night at bedtime and learn them.
Learning Goal: Learn all the letters of the alphabet. Learn how old he is. (That would be 4.)

Spiritual Goal: Be able to sing "Jesus Loves Me" and learn to pray at meals with the family.
Learning Goal: Learn what "obey" means.

So Decreed by Royal Order.