Thursday, July 28, 2011

Polite as a Princess: The Sequel *New with Captions*

One of Libby's favorite new books (and mine!) is a little picture book called Polite as a Princess. It features various Disney princesses in little scenes showcasing good manners: "Snow White always waits patiently for her turn...Cinderella always covers her mouth if she coughs or sneezes...etc., etc." It is so cute and well done. Libby totally takes it to heart, so it is really helpful to talk about being "polite as a princess" in daily situations.

However, the author of the book left out a few key lessons about manners. So I humbly submit Polite as a Princess: The Sequel for little girls everywhere:

Page 1
Jasmine never refers to her rear end in public. She would never shout "I'm shaking my booty like a chicken!" in Target the bazaar.

Page 2
Nor would she loudly whisper it when her mommy told her that wasn't very polite and begged her to stop.

Page 3
Snow White patiently waits while her mommy is on the phone. She would never interrupt a phone call to a doctor/therapist/business associate of her daddy's/*name any professional* unless one of the dwarfs was bleeding or on fire.

Page 4
Cinderella *always* at least tries to go to the potty before leaving the house. Cinderella knows that public potties are filthy and disgusting and that they completely skeeve her mommy almost to the point of panic attacks.

Page 5
Ariel believes her mommy the first time when her mommy tells her she has no idea who that strange man riding a lawnmower by the side of the highway is. No, Ariel, Mommy doesn't know why he's riding a lawnmower. Sorry, Ariel, Mommy really doesn't know his name. Ariel, Mommy is trying to drive here. No, Ariel, Mommy can't look! We don't want to get into an accident! FINE, ARIEL, THE MAN'S NAME IS BOB! BOB, OK?


Page 6
Sleeping Beauty loves bedtime and goes immediately to sleep when her mommy and daddy turn out her light. After asking for and receiving one cup of water once she's in bed (which Sleeping Beauty and her parents all know she's not really thirsty for in the first place and is just using as a stall tactic), she would never dream of asking for another. Or another. Or another after that. Sleeping Beauty is intuitively aware that she is overtired and her mommy and daddy are D-O-N-E by about 7:30 every evening and is careful not to press her family's buttons once she's been put to bed for the night.

I think this book has the potential to do really well in the marketplace.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

50 Years

Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary to Steve's grandparents, Bill and Charmaine! The whole Nichols clan traveled to London, Kentucky to celebrate with Pop and Granny and many of their friends and extended family.
On Friday when we pulled into the hotel, I was beyond excited to see a Frisch's Big Boy restaurant in our parking lot. I haven't seen a Big Boy in years, and I realized when saw the grinning checkered Big Boy statue that my children have never eaten at a Big Boy. (Another Midwestern Mommy fail.) So Steve, his brother, and his brother's wife, and I all took the kids there to eat dinner. Before we knew it, the rest of the extended family trickled in little by little until our original party of eight became a party of sixteen. We kept apologizing to the waitress, but she took our crazy family in good stride. And now my children can move on with their lives, having finally experienced a Big Boy restaurant.

Friday night was spent gathered together in a couple of our rooms playing games (the kids) and making jewelry (the women). Libby made a bracelet with Aunt Carol, and it was the pride of her weekend. I made a bracelet with Aunt Carol, and it was the pride of my weekend!
The next morning we went to a nearby state park with the kids. While we were there, we saw these awkward fowl. Were they turkeys? Ducks? Chickens? Turduckens? They had webbed feet like ducks, that gross red skin all over their faces like turkeys, and feathers and spurs on their legs like chickens. Steve's brother googled "turkey duck" and found out that they were Muscovy Ducks. Creepy looking, aren't they?

Sadly, I took more pictures of those ducks than anything all weekend. Why? Because mutant ducks will pose for pictures with less hassle than my children. Plus there was a professional photographer at the anniversary party. I figured she could stress over who was sneaking a finger up a nose or making bunny ears in the family pics while I enjoyed myself!
Uncle Jon, Aunt Annie, and Cousin Oliver

The boys -- Adam, Cousin Logan, and Andrew


Unbelievable -- my boys looking at the camera and smiling NORMALLY! Hallelujah!

The Nichols grandkids -- the best we could do!
You may also notice that the subjects of my pictures are randomly dotted with little specks here and there. No, our family members aren't just messy eaters. (Well, OK, some of them are...but that's not the problem here.) Libby spent the weekend plastering everyone in Strawberry Shortcake stickers. I think probably half the adults didn't even realize that they were wearing Strawberry and her gal pals everywhere they went.
Later that afternoon we attended the anniversary party for Pop and Granny. The details at this party were much planning went into it! Watching the slide show and seeing Bill and Charmaine's courtship, marriage, and family through the years was so touching. I kept thinking how blessed I am...through the covenants of adoption and marriage I get to call this very special family and their legacy of faith my own. That feeling continued through the evening as we all stayed up late reminiscing and laughing together. (Seriously, I haven't laughed so much in a long time!)
Steve and his grandfather

50 years together -- Bill and Charmaine (Pop and Granny)
Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come. Psalm 71:17-18

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Puzzle Mania

This is officially the Summer of the Puzzle for Miss L. We have been hard pressed lately to keep this girl in puzzles!

A while back, I purchased a 6-pack of lenticular puzzles to use as birthday present add-ons for Adam and Libby's little friends. I blithely gifted them left and right, thinking what great presents puzzles make. Then I opened one for Libby. Holy smokes. I didn't realize what "lenticular" means that the puzzle (and every piece in it!) shows a different picture when it is tilted or when you move your head. They are terrible! I can barely do them...what an awful thing to hand to a three-year-old. "Happy Birthday! Here's a visual nightmare marketed as a puzzle that will bring you (and your mom) to tears!" So apologies to all the kids who received really horrible puzzles from us. Please throw them away if you haven't already. We'll make it up to you next year.

And now the thing is, I have been out in the stores trying to find new puzzles for Libby...and darn if they aren't just about all lenticular! Apparently mommies everywhere need to rise up and revolt. We'll get my friend Jen to lead the cause. I bet she'll write a really scathing letter to the puzzle makers.

However, I did manage to find this two-in-one princess puzzle. Libby is obsessed with putting together the two puzzles and sitting inside the "'ring":

Just like the girl on the box! (No, had better be just like the girl on the box, or I will face L's wrath.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Moo, Take 2

Chick Fil A Cow Appreciation Day has come and gone. I know that this is yet another picture of my kids in the same costumes as last year, the only thing remarkable about it being that I had to do a double take to figure out which cow was Andrew and which was Adam.

I wasn't even going to post about this year's Cow Day since I was so lazy and recycled costumes. (I had grand plans for a cow tutu for Miss L but never quite got around to it.) But tonight I had a flash of insight: One of these years one of the kids will decide he is too cool to dress up like a cow and break up our funny little bovine trio.

So now, of course, I must document every year's cow photo in our little family journal. Let's see how many years we can keep this going!

Still happy to dress up like cows in 2011...ages 3, 5, & 7

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Capital 4th

Andrew and I had the opportunity to spend the Fourth of July in our nation's capital this year. More importantly, we got to meet the newest member of the sister Abby's newest little one, Baby Cate!

Aunt Alison loves a little newborn. Just look at this sweet, sweet baby. We bonded. It was like being four years old and holding my new baby sister Abby all over again (except this time I wasn't ragingly jealous of the attention this new little critter was stealing from my parents, whom I had previously had all to myself). So...much better!

Here we are with new big sister Mary Caroline!

Anyhoo, my primary reason for the trip was to go meet my new niece and hang out with MC, but somewhere along the way we decided it might be fun for Andrew to come along as he is old enough to be helpful to a sleep-deprived new mom by entertaining her active two-year-old. And as my dad (whose secret ambition is to be a DC tour guide) would be in town as well, we figured Andrew could visit a few monuments and museums with him.

Andrew took his trip to DC very seriously. We got books and videos from the library in the weeks leading up to the trip so he could study up on his monuments, history, and what have you. He is a nerd child after my own heart.

Poppa Keith and Andrew toured the Air & Space Museum together one day and then headed in with the whole clan (except for me and Baby Cate) to see the "dice-o-saurs" (MC talk) at the Natural History Museum the next day. Unfortunately the only picture they came home with was one of Andrew eating ice cream next to some flowers. ??? It could have been taken anywhere in in our front yard. Clearly I was going to have to take the boy into DC myself to get some pictures that would prove he'd actually been there.

Andrew at the Lincoln Memorial.

We also made sure to visit the World War II Memorial. Two of Andrew's great-grandfathers and a great-great uncle served in WWII. We were able to look up their names in the register there. Here is Andrew at the Ohio pillar in honor of his Great Grandfather Arthur.

Washington Monument. We were not about to climb up that thing in 90-degree heat.
The White House. Andrew kind of thought we might see President Obama. Not so much.

Uncle Adam made quite the impression on Andrew. Andrew "invented" a racecar in the backyard, which, according to him, took three people to run. Hmmm, I only see one person running this car...

Uncle Adam also dragged out MC's bouncy house for the kids. Good times!

Sadly, we have no photographic evidence of Uncle Adam's most fabulous accomplishment: the Fu-Manchu mustache he grew to impress Andrew. Take my was awesome.

On the Fourth of July, Andrew had a special treat: the opportunity to see the fireworks in DC from a coveted spot on the roof of Aunt Cara's work building. What follows is a series of extremely tiny pictures from the night.

Andrew and Uncle Jordan in the Metro

Andrew with Aunt Cara

Andrew and I were so sad to leave MC and Cate, but we had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend that we will not soon forget.