Kindergarten Pickup and Carpooling

All summer, I had been dreading the start of the school year, because this meant I had to participate in the awful thing called kindergarten pickup.  The idea of driving to school, sitting in my car with 2 little ones for an undetermined amount of time, and then driving home, sounded simply awful.

In Luke’s case, he got AM kindergarten, so the bus picks him up in the morning, and then I pick him up just before lunchtime.  Ben is in preschool, so he needs to be dropped off and picked up in the AM.

We’re about a month into school, and it is honestly going GREAT.  I am in complete shock.  I haven’t had a mental breakdown, I’m not double-picking up kids and Meghan is not sitting in a car all day.  We are in 2 carpools in order to avoid the whole double-pick up thing, and the other moms are the biggest blessings in the world.

I do occasionally have 5 car seats completely filled with young kids in my car at the same time, so the van looks pretty crazy but all the kids love it.

The real surprise is the kindergarten pick-up line.  Ben LOVES it.  What in the world?  I have been reading The 5 Love Languages for Children, and it seems that Ben’s love language is Quality Time.  Yes, we can go ahead and file “sitting in a stopped car with family members” under Quality Time.  Meghan does not see eye-to-eye with Ben on that one, but maybe she’ll come around.  In the meantime, she is learning patience.

I let Meg get out of her car seat while we wait in line.  I read them a few books and they get a snack.  The snack is dear to Ben’s heart because I rarely give the boys morning snacks.  They have a small busy box filled with play items.

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We drive 10 min to Luke’s school, sit in the car for about 15 min, pick up Luke and a friend and drive home.  Meghan does have her cranky moments, but it’s usually because she thinks she should be supplied unlimited tic-tacs, and I only give her 2.

This will probably become a real drag in the winter but so far everyone is thriving on our new schedule.

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Garden Update: Harvest Time

Well, we’ve done pretty good this year.  After a slow start, the garden produced a surprising amount of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes.

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We made refrigerator pickles out of the cucumbers.  They were the wrong kind of cucumber to pickle, but they still turned out well.

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We’ve only got two ears of corn growing, but we’re excited to have any corn at all.  We’ll see how big they get.  I’m not really sure when we’re supposed to pick them, but I keep telling the kids we’ll know.

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Two cantaloupes were harvested before an early frost killed out my cantaloupe plants, as well as my cucumber and heirloom tomato plants.  Darn raised deck.  That has never happened to me before.  We’ll keep it the same way next year because of the deer and rabbits, but putting the garden in the ground with chicken wire around it is looking more enticing.

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The kids really liked the cantaloupe but it was definitely low on the flavorful scale.

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Meghan has turned into an avid gardener based on cherry tomatoes alone.  She is reaping all the boys’ hard work in handfuls of red, round treats that she is reluctant to share.  She gets up on the deck and starts squeaking “Ready! Ready!” until we hand her a tomato that is “ready”.

We’re preserving herbs and hoping it stays hot through September.  Maybe our corn will be “ready” soon.  We are all loving the mini-harvest.

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The Justice League

We get these awesome cardboard tubes from my mother-in-law.  We’ve made all sorts of things with the tubes, and I really, really wanted to make a chair with our last batch.

I made the mistake of involving the kids in the research process.  Luke came across a cardboard tube Superman, and it was over.  Ben wanted a cardboard Batman, so we decided to make the Justice League.

I traced the different parts on construction paper and the boys cut them out while I hot glued them into place.  They all look really good.  I was going to wait to blog about them I until we had more cardboard tubes to finish the Justice League, but the superheros took a real beating under Ben’s creativity.  Flash came down with a bad case of the “alphabet sticker bumps”.

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We’ve since finished Martian Manhunter (the green tube with a red X on him) and now we have a fresh set of tubes to finish Wonder Woman and Hawk Girl.

My cardboard furniture will have to wait.

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Nine Years Later

On our wedding day, we took this picture on a bridge on Westerville, Ohio.  It was by far my favorite wedding picture.  I love bridges and the umbrellas were a last-minute “shoot it’s raining, does anyone have an umbrella because Zach left ours in the hotel room” type of thing.

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Photo credit: Hurt Photography

Nine years later, we were back in the area for a wedding.  We went back to the bridge.  It was still raining.  I wanted a really beautiful, natural picture of Zach and I walking across the bridge with 3 trailing children.  However, Meghan threw a complete wrench into that setup by refusing to learn to walk at 16 months.  Okay.  2 trailing kids and 1 carried baby.

I also wanted the kids to hold umbrellas.  As it turns out, when you give two little boys adult-sized umbrellas, they turn into navy-colored mushrooms.  All you could see was their navy pants and then the navy umbrella bopping along, completely obscuring their heads.  Fine.  Umbrellas for me and Zach only.  Kids, enjoy getting wet.

Finally, I was hoping for some sort of leisurely stroll across the bridge as we promenaded slowly enough for the photographer to get a few snaps.  The kids would either stand still or practically run.  Apparently the “stroll” setting doesn’t kick in for a while.  Could no one please fall into the water.

It honestly felt like a complete disaster.  Taking family photos is stressful.  Everyone tried really hard but I was worried that it was all for naught.

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Photo credit: Captured by an Angel Photography

Amazingly, my friend Angel got some really lovely shots.  I’d love to do the recreation again now that Meg is actually walking at 17 months…maybe we’d have a better change at pulling off that magical stroll over the bridge.  But I don’t think we’ll get a retake anytime soon.  The bridge is actually off-limits for photos because apparently years after we took our bridge picture, someone got beaned pretty badly with a golf ball while posing on the bridge.  The manager graciously allowed us to use the bridge for the retake pictures when I called him on the phone with my idea, but it felt like a one-time deal.

So lesson learned…we can’t go back, but going forward looks pretty darn good.

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Photo credit: Captured by an Angel Photography

Also, you can dress up the boys to the nines, but they will still get muddy.  But that’s a lesson I already knew.

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Photo credit: Captured by an Angel Photography

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Photo credit: Captured by an Angel Photography

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Photo credit: Captured by an Angel Photography

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Photo credit: Captured by an Angel Photography

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The Garden Update: A Cantaloupe Sighting!

The garden is finally growing.  It has been so rainy and cool lately, not much has been happening but we finally had a few truly hot days, and our garden is suddenly huge (in a small sort of way) and creeping everywhere.

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The most exciting thing to happen thus far:  Luke spotted a cantaloupe!

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It’s roughly the size of a kiwi, but it’s slowly getting bigger!

And our 2 stalks of corn are doing quite well.  You can see them peeking out from under 2 sunflower plants, also doing well but no actual yellow sunflowers yet.  We’re still hoping for ears of corn by the end of the summer.

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That’s about it.  Everything else is behaving normally.  But a cantaloupe!  The anticipation is killing me.  I have to check it every day and have urges to talk to it.  Coax it to live and not die out like most of our tiny pumpkins last year.

Hopefully July continues to be a good growing month!

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The Easiest Homemade Lightsaber and Jedi Costume

We went to the Mars New Years festival…and obviously what better way to celebrate the Mars new year than putting the kids in Jedi costumes??

This was ridiculously easy.  I saw some DIY Jedi costumes on the Pottery Barn Kids website that were beyond simple.  You take brown material (fleece or felt), and I cut a 14″ strip for the 5-year-old, 12″ strip for the 3-year-old and a 8″ strip for the baby.  All the strips were the length of the fabric.  I cut a slit half way up the middle, and then draped it over their shoulders and trimmed the bottom front and back sections so that it fell their knees.  I tied their midsection with a 2″ strip of white fabric – I also used a strip of cotton bandage for one of their friends and that worked perfectly too.   I couldn’t find a large piece of felt so I used fleece instead, and each child’s costume cost about $2 to make.

They wore whatever white/khaki clothes they had available, under the Jedi robes.

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Can I have your lightsaber?

I also rummaged around the house and came up with the easiest homemade lightsabers EVER.  Silver flashlight duct taped to an empty bubble wand container.  Done.  It even lights up.  I added some washi tape to the handle to spice it up.

DSCN2027Meghan’s lightsaber was a little lame, and she knew it.  It was just a sharpie with cardstock wrapped around it to make the handle, and some duct tape to hold it together.

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Please let me have YOUR lightsaber.

I cannot live with a sharpie for a lightsaber.

I cannot live with a sharpie for a lightsaber. (See dinky lightsaber to the left of Ben’s socked foot).

I am continually surprised at how aware she is of what the boys get, and what she does not get.  She was mad and threw a little fit.  We calmed her down.  I rummaged around a little more and came up with a smaller silver flashlight and a Playdoh roller.  She was quite happy.

Thank goodness I have a real lightsaber.

Thank goodness I have a real lightsaber.

The festival was fun and everyone complimented their Jedi costumes.

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Protecting NASA’s shuttle.

The world is a safer place.

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Meghan Eats a Robin’s Egg

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There’s really nothing more to be said.  We did manage to retrieve the robin’s egg after she bit into it.

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No baby chick but there was yolk everywhere.  Luke wanted me to fry up the tiny egg but I refused.  It’s been a week and Meghan hasn’t come down with the bird flu or any weird disease so I think she is in the clear.

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