Friday, October 28, 2011

She's here!

Aunt Betsy's here, and we couldn't be happier.
 She had only one request for her entire stay in Europe, and that was to go down to the Grande Place and have a hot Belgian waffle.

So we did just that.
 She's been on the ground here less than 24 hours, so jet lag is working on her. Arleigh has been helping to cure that trouble, by smooching her every chance he gets. He say s"Aunt Bets, I have someding for ya. Come here" She leans in close and whammo! He lays one on her. I think it's working the jet lag right off.
Little do most travelers know that repeated 100 times a day, this apparently diminishes any form of jet lag.
Bets and Arleigh were enjoying their waffles when a crowd of Italian folks came upon Arleigh and thought he was just so darn adroarable with Nutella dripping from his chin, that they couldn't return to Italy without a photo. A real Belgian souvenier, the American kid with chocolate smeared on his face.
I wish I'd have set up an account for everytime someone asked to take a photo of my kids. It'd have paid for their college funding by now.
 They just snapped away....
 Since Guam, I've wondered how many photo albums those kids really wound up in?  Who actually saved the Hill photos from their own vacation? It's, as their mom, slightly unsettling, but admittedly, amsuing.
 They just kept snapping photos while Aunt Betsy stood by, amused as well...
and more photos...some folks even rushed across the street for this- as if the kid is a rock star?!
 and they went on and on....
Man I should have set out a tip jar. What was I thinking? It would have at least paid for the waffle.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trick or Treat!

  For Halloween this year, the kids were in charge of picking their own costumes from the "dress up bin". We ended up getting together with some Belgian friends and their dress up bin as well, so costumes were shared all around this year. So quick and easy, I almost feel quilty.

 Addie chose to be a witch. She ALWAYS chooses to be a witch. She's fascinated with this role. Meanwhile I'm just glad we're not chasing her around on a broomstick!
 Arleigh chose to be a "bear with a red necklace". The necklace part is quite important folks. Not just any ol bear. Not Yogi Bear, or a Berenstein bear, or black bear, but the bear with a red necklace. Got it?
 Emory- Batman. From previous posts you might have guessed that when he found this costume in his friend's dress up basket, he thought he'd died and went to heaven (or fast forwarded to his birthday :)
This child will rid your town of all evildoers- so stand by.
 Stella-bo bella. Ironically, chose to be a little bit of a devil. Something not so costume about that, as she's quite the mischevious kid, costume or not.
 The best part of Halloween this year though is not the candy, not the costumes, but being able to spend it with Aunt Betsy. That's a real treat!

Pssst, Guess What?

We have a secret!

Aunt Betsy is coming for a 2 week visit!
Whooo-hoooo!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Roomba Review

When I begged and pleaded for a Roomba for Mother's Day and was turned down, a Roomba became the priority for a Father's Day gift. For a refresher and the back story, you can click here click here and here
Anyway after 4 months of gainful employment in our home, it's time for a fair product review.
We cast off a lot of dirt. 6 people, (4 of whom are short and sticky), 2 furry dog friends, and stuff clamoring all around makes for a lotta clean up in our little home. Roomba can't be every vac of course. It is good for a mid week run over the rugs, but doesn't do a heavy duty job. The brushes need to be cleaned often. Happliy it will park itself in the middle of the floor and annouce "clean roomba brushes". Nice. Now, instead of cleaning the carpets, I'm cleaning the vac. Let's say this thing would be better suited at grandma's where there is less traffic and work to be done, but it gives a good college try. No, I wouldn't buy another one.

That said, it makes for a great babysitter, as the kids have decided that their new favorite game is jumping the Roomba while it's on the move.
Since its movement is unpredictable, so is our next trip to the hospital.



The Sous-Chef


Who wouldn't want a sous-chef like this in the kitchen?
Fabulous at 'clean up'!
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Little Glory

Do you rememeber the blog post last year about how we worked for a day as movie extras for a film called "The Tamed Ones"?
(If not, you can click here for a refresher...)
Guess what? Here's an official trailer! The film name was changed to "Little Glory" and we aren't sure if we actually made any of the scenes yet, (but we hope so)! In any event, we want to be sure to see the movie and are quite excited that the production has continued to this point. Stay tuned!

For Keep Sake

Emory's birthday is approaching and I asked what he might like to receive for a gift.
Instead of rattling off a list, he drew one. It says so much about him right now....
From top left around to the bottom right here they are-
;

1) "Laetnen" (aka Lightening, as in Lightening McQueen) He's trying to say he'd like the Cars 2 movie
2)a dinosaur and/ or pirate ship
3) Batman costume (yes, ahem, that's what he drew there- it's Batman people).
4) Back to the far left again, a laptop. What 5 year old has a laptop? I think he wants to be like daddy. Not gonna happen this year buddy. Sorry.
5)BatMan costume...(again) Apparently this is high priority for the 6th birthday. Got it. Batman costume. (Notice his strikethrough "Bartman Costyorm")
6) that striped thing that resembles an Easter egg is a "bouncy ball".
7) Under the bouncy ball is the next request- a "woch" aka, watch. The fact that he can't quite tell time very well yet makes this request quite amusing. For if you wear a watch, you must be able to tell time right?
8)Camera...like mommy? No DSLR for this year buddy. Sorry. Strike 3.
9) A "remot" aka remote control helicopter.

May all your birthday wishes come true buddy.
(Well, maybe the just the bouncy ball or batman costume.)


And he gave mom and dad each one of these cards....

Do you think he's buttering up? Cause that sorta thing doesn't work here. Nevertheless, I'll keep this card tucked safely away, because it's so sappy cute.
 Love that little guy (just not so much that he gets a laptop or DSLR for his birthday :)

Lotta Hope in Quarters


Right now, we're putting a lotta hope in this jar of quarters.
Let me explain.
It started with a toy zebra, which somehow, found its way to the floor of my shower.
I wondered, how long it would take for someone in my family to actually pick up the toy zebra and put it away.
I scrubbed and cleaned around the zebra. I stared at the zebra every time I was in the bathroom.
I hated that toy zebra for what it represented.
Day after day, no one would put him away without being asked. No one seemed to have the self motivation to do what was right.
Surely the toy zebra would still be laying on the shower stall floor if I hadn't picked him up last week.

I hated that the zebra, was like the rest of the stuff laying around the house, waiting for me to put it away.
Last time I checked, I did not own a "Molly Maid" uniform and I decided that this behavoir had to stop.
When we'd ask a child to put something away, they'd say "not mine!" or "I'll do it later" (but later never came).
So, I devised a plan, which, right now, I'm holding a lot of hope in.
Here's the breakdown-
The jar of quarters holds 160 quarters, $10.00 worth for each child, $40.00 total.
This represents family money fund; the potential amount available each week for a family outing, perhaps to eat out, to go to a movie (we've never actually done that), to go to a museum, etc.
The reality is, that money won't be available at the end of the week, I'm positive.
Because, you see, each time I have to pick up someone's stuff, or turn off a light they left on,
a quarter goes away from the family's fund jar.
It doesn't matter who the item belongs to, or who forgot to turn off the light, what matters now, is that the family fund is protected in order to have a little reward. If the item lays on the ground, the family loses out. If a light has to be turned off, the family loses out.
The quarter will go away (to a holding place until next week) while the item is also put away until the end of the week, when it will be put away or donated to charity, whichever the child decides.
Whatever is left at the end of each week will be the amount left for the family to "play" with.
Certainly, in the early stages, there will be little to no money left. That's ok too, because hopefully, it will inspire the kids to get resourceful, and realize that they don't need money to have family time. (They know this, but we want it to be thier idea.)
We also hope that this will stir some motivation so that next time, the zebra doesn't lay on that shower floor for another 2 months.
Who knows, but right now, we're holding a lotta hope in that jar of quarters.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Here's a Shameless Plug

Visit Stella's Blog for lot 2 of her paintings. She has more ideas that she'd like to paint, and lots of plans, but no time with school, swimming lessons, violin, homework, and of course, birthday parties, sleepovers, and time to just be a 7 year old kid. Her next 2 paintings are planned, just not executed. In the meantime, you can check out the latest (slightly rushed, but nevertheless completed) work on her website...
http://simply-stella.blogspot.com/
Enjoy

Three


So this is it. Arleigh turns 3 today.
He woke up this morning and when we wished him a 'happy birthday' he asked,
"Today is my bwfrday?"
"Why yes Arleigh! What do you think about that?"
"So it's no longer Addie's bwrfday?"
"No Arleigh, you are 3 today! How about that!?"
"Oh. So I can be 3 now. When can we put fire on da cake?"
A few very kind friends dropped by to bring little gifts to mark the big occasion and we did, eventually set fire to his 'rocket' cake. Meanwhile he's practicing how to make a "3" with his fingers and quite enjoying his special day. The next 18 years will, no doubt, be uphill with this kid, who is currenlty sporting a black eye, among other injuries.

Arleigh, we wish you 200 more birthdays, all very happy and healthy chap.