Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Belly Button Parade

I suppose I should not be surprised...

That the little sister of two big brothers...

Came downstairs "ready for bed"...

Like this:


So she could join "The Belly Button Parade"...

Of course.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Night at the Races

Time for another movie night! Andrew finished reading The Black Stallion last night, so this morning we decided to do an impromptu viewing of the movie tonight. Let me tell you, I was seriously sweating the theme dinner for this one. The only racetrack foods I know of are bourbon and cigars. And I am fresh out of those. Thank goodness for the creativity of my cousin Molly, who came to the rescue with the idea for the entire dinner while we were talking on the phone this morning.

Let me say up front: I know. Almost all of our theme dinners feature hot dogs wrapped in dough. It's just so versatile!

Tonight's masterpiece, thanks to Molly: saddlebacked horses, split-rail fence, and grass.

The kids (with trusty friend Josh, of course!) figuring out dinner. For some reason they got the grass and the horses right away. The fence took them a little while.

An irresistible homage to "A Christmas Story": Show Mommy how a horsie eats!

It's been years since I've seen "The Black Stallion." I had forgotten how fantastic it was! The kids (well, not so much Libby, who was overtired and acting like an overtired two-year-old) were enthralled. And the movie has lots of great themes...which we will discuss later because it is way past bedtime at the Nichols Corral.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why My Kids Get A's in Sunday School

Me: Libby, how do you spell your name?

Libby: Um, Jesus?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rite of Passage

When I was little (I think maybe three years old?), there was a commercial on TV for Silkience shampoo. It featured several different women with long, flowing, Farrah Fawcett-type hair. One of the models was a beautiful Asian woman whose hair swooped dramatically over one eye. I thought the whole 30-second spot was the height of glamour, and that particular hairstyle hiding one eye was the epitome of sophistication.

At the time, I was trying to grow my hair long enough to wear pigtails...also a sophisticated look; but the Silkience hair gave me a new vision.

I knew that I, a three-year-old Midwestern girl with stick-straight mouse-brown hair not quite long enough for pigtails, could look exactly like the Asian model...if only I could get my hair to swoop down over one eye like hers did. A brush didn't work. Neither did bobby pins. I was frustrated, but a flash of genius showed me the way: scissors! I could cut my hair into that gorgeous swoop!

Needless to say, the scissors in my little paws did not yield the anticipated results. My mom got a big surprise when she saw me. And the only help for the whole situation was a Herself-the-Elf haircut for me. Let me just say that no one commented on my sophisticated appearance that year.

I think every little girl gives herself a little home haircut at some point or another. So I should not have been quite so surprised when I turned around from the stove tonight while making dinner to hear Libby saying, "I cut my hair!" And hair was everywhere on the floor.

Truly, I did not see this coming. The only thing I can possibly think of that may have given Libby the idea to do this was this morning's Sesame Street episode: Baby Bear needed a haircut, and the show's segments were all about hair and haircuts.

Whatever the reason, here is the result. The other side of her head is much the same.

Please. Let me invite you to pause for a moment and take it all in: The home haircut. The bruise under one eye. The polyester Tinkerbell nightgown with reindeer pajama pants (worn all day long...we never quite got dressed today).


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Priests and Robbers

Last year Adam came home from preschool and told me that for snack they had crackers and wine. Obviously I knew that couldn't be right. I had to get to the bottom of it. Were they playing "communion" at the Presbyterian preschool? Our church (also Presbyterian) uses grape juice. They don't even give wine to adults. So why would they give it to preschoolers? And what kind of wine tastes "a little like lemonade," anyway? It took a few minutes, but once I put my Mommy Translator to work and figured in Adam's squeaky little speech quirks, I figured out they'd had lime drink for snack.

So I should have been more on the ball last week when Adam told me about a cool new game they were playing at preschool. "It's called Pwiests and Wobbers," he told me. Priests and Robbers? That sounded a little odd, but he was so enthusiastic. Eyes sparkling, he told me how the priests chased the robbers around the gym and chuckled with glee as he said that he got to be a "wobber." (Heaven help us.)

Again I was left wondering about what goes on at this preschool. In my mind I pictured the kids getting into the costume box and donning 1940's priests' cassocks and black-and-white striped prison outfits with black masks, a la the Hamburglar, and chasing each other around the gym with rosaries and giant fake-jeweled crosses.

I guess with all that's been going on with our injured reserve list around here, I was content just to think, "Strange...but whatever" about Priests and Robbers for a few days. But yesterday it came to mind again, and the light bulb finally went on: This can't be right. What if I applied the Mommy Translator? It only took a couple minutes.


Oh. Police and Robbers.

That makes so much more sense.

But still, Priests and Robbers might be kind of cool.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why I Dare Not Take All 3 to the Pediatrician

It's been some kind of week. Our injury rate is now one significant injury per child, per day.

On Wednesday, Adam was riding his bike. He had been playing on his new skateboard right before he hopped on his bike, and he was wearing every protective device we own: helmet, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads. Unfortunately the wrist guards made it impossible for him to use the handle brakes on his bike, and he crashed. Of course he landed on the one area that wasn't armored: his face.

Last night, I went to a meeting. When I came home, Steve told me Libby had fallen off a kitchen chair and landed on the tile floor...on her face. She was in bed when I came home, but I got a good look at her sad, bruised little cheekbone this morning.

So it was pretty fun to walk these two into preschool this morning looking like they had been tossed into a tiger's cage wearing meat helmets and try to explain in a credible fashion that coincidentally they both managed to scrape up their faces significantly within a day of each other.

Meanwhile, Andrew had been home from school for two days with a high fever. Miserable, but at least he didn't look battered. Until...

Today I asked the kids to go wash their hands before lunch, and somehow Andrew's finger got closed in the bathroom door. (Ewwwwwwwww.) The fingernail turned black almost immediately (ewwwwwww), and Andrew was in a lot of pain. So I knew we had to take him to the doctor right away.

But then I looked around at my brood.

Individually, they are pitiful. Pathetic. Bless their hearts.

Together, they scream, "Someone call Children's Services!"

Thankfully Steve was able to meet me at the pediatrician's to take the littles home while I took Andrew and his finger in because there is no way I could have taken them all in looking like that and not been escorted out by the police.

** Stop reading here if you have a weak stomach. **

So the doctor had to burn a hole in Andrew's fingernail to relieve the pressure and hopefully save the nail.


** You may resume reading. **

And we were done.

Until Andrew's leg "just started hurting" (???) upon leaving the exam room.

Now he is walking with a limp. It goes nicely with his tear-streaked face and the huge wad of gauze on his middle finger.

I give up.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Buckeye Brothers

I was so excited to find Ohio State Buckeye shirts on sale here in North Carolina! So I bought two and brought them home for the boys. I could hardly wait to show Andrew his new shirt. Unfortunately his reaction made clear that I -- born in the very heart of the heartland at the Ohio State University hospital, the child of an OSU graduate, and a lifelong Ohio State fan -- have failed in my duties as a Buckeye and a mother. As Andrew examined his new shirt, a confused expression crossed his face. "Mom? I thought we voted for the Colts." So I explained to him the difference between college football and the NFL and that we root for the Buckeyes on Saturdays. His response? "But, Mom, what about Carolina?"

I don't know how this happened. I have been singing "What's Round on the Ends and High in the Middle" and "I Wanna Go Back to Ohio State" to my kids from their babyhood, despite my reservations about encouraging children to "buy a keg of booze and drink to old Ohio till they wobble in their shoes." And Andrew has known the answer to "What's Round on the Ends and High in the Middle" and why since he was three. So it's not like this "Buckeye fan" thing came out of the blue.

Now, I am all about "When in Rome..." and learning to say "y'all" and drinking sweet tea, but this...this is clearly unacceptable.

Oh, and my children won't eat a potato (the Official All-Purpose Vegetable of the Midwest)...they just want rice.

Transplanted Midwestern Mommy FAIL.