Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kids Say The Darndest Things!

Yesterday, I was trying to get something done. A feat that is always met with much opposition from my children and my pets, who always try to thwart these efforts with endless whinings, requests for all sorts of things, and all manner of ruckuses. I was getting frustrated, and showing it. Mark came in with a rose that he had picked from outside, and says, "Here's a rose for you 'cause you sure are being crabby!" --too funny! Well, I must once again try the impossible--to get things done! --ta ta!

Well, I Managed To Pull Off August 21 For One More Year!

I've gotten myself into a tradition which I now have to uphold. I'm just afraid that one of these years my ideas will run out, and I'll be forced to do something lame. For the past several years, on Trent's birthday, I've given him his present in an odd way. I always come up with some trial that he has to go through before he can get his present.

It all started one year, when I hadn't managed to make it to the store to buy him an actual present (and I had no good ideas that I could just buy real fast on the way to their house). So, I was forced to give him a lame check for money. LAME! LAME! LAME! (Wow, I've used that word a lot in this post. I think I'll say it again, just for fun! LAME, LAME, LAME, LAME, LAMEY LAMEY, LAME, LAME!) Anyway, I determined that while the gift itself might be lame --ha ha, I said it again-- the presentation would be amusing, at least. So, it unwrapped like so: The old huge box wrapped a million times, and you keep unwrapping to smaller and smaller boxes with layers of things like duct tape, toilet paper, and such. Except that eventually he came to two smaller boxes, within the many layers, in the huge box. Again, these two boxes are wrapped a thousand times on the inside. One of the boxes only has a small worthless piece of wood, a wheel off of an old toy truck, and a candle that melted in the attic till it was flattened sideways. The other box eventually held his present, the check, which was inside of two zip-lock bags rolled up, inside a soda bottle full of vegetable oil, ketchup, chunks of bread, water, and all kinds of nasty things.

The next year was this, I had reserved him a copy of latest Lord of the Rings movie, which came out on DVD a couple of weeks later. So, I made up a treasure hunt ranging all over the place, so he had to run upstairs, downstairs, outside, inside, etc. The final clue was hidden in a soda bottle, filled with rocks, in the middle of the swimming pool. This, was a letter telling him what we'd gotten him, but the letter was encoded.

The year after that, we had his birthday at our house. We'd combined it with our annual end of summer party that we have with Bruce's side of the family. So, my inlaws were there. Trent was at this time 14, and like the rest of my siblings, shy around people that he doesn't know so well. I therefore gave his present to Bruce's Aunt Sarah before he got there. When present time came, I told him that he had to go around the room and sing this song to each person, until he found the one who had his present:
"Oh I'm the happy birthday boy,
Even though I drool,
So won't you please give me my present
'Cause Carl Sagan is cool!" (he hates Carl Sagan)

Last year, I made him about a dozen little pies, in muffin tins, under each pie was a letter. When unscrambled, the letters would spell what his present was. He had to eat them all. Actually, we ended up letting the children help.

This year I made up a Harry Potter trivia page. I made it fairly difficult, but not impossible. I had a jar of money with me and I gave him a dollar for every question that he got correct. He did better than Bruce and John had done when I tested them! He got over half of them right.

Anyway, it's fun! Wonder what I'll do next year?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Triathalon Time

Well, I made it again! And I didn't end up walking (I was a little afraid that I might). I didn't have much time to get ready for this one. Too many kidlets running around to be able to get out as much as I'd have liked to. I only got to ride my bike once before the race this year. My time was 1:30:25. This is my 2nd best time, out of four years. The best time was the only year, so far, that I've done it when I hadn't either been pregnant or had a baby within the past 6 months. Here's the breakdown:

2001 1:37:51 -- pregnant with Mark
2002 1:35:08 -- gave birth 4 months earlier
2003 1:29:14 -- nothing to prohibit
2004 did not compete -- too poor, or too tight to put up the entry fee
2005 did not compete -- too pregnant
2006 1:30:25 -- gave birth 6 months earlier

I know that my times aren't all that competitive. I came in 44th of 96 women (10th of the 19 women in my age bracket). I guess that pretty much makes me exactly in the middle. But, overall I am happy with what I did. Next year I'll really do good. I'm planning to do a 10 mile run in November. I'll have to start stretching my run out a bit! Something to keep me in shape! I want to find one race to do every season, so I'll always have something to be working up to.

The triathlon is becoming something of a family tradition. This year, Bruce, his dad, all of my siblings (John, Todd, Ashley and Trent) and myself all competed. Terry (Bruce's dad), Todd, Ashley and Trent all placed in their age divisions. Of the seven of us, here's how we came in:

Todd 1:09:34
John 1:16:58
Terry 1:17:17
Trent 1:19:25
Bruce 1:23:24
Renae 1:30:25
Ashley 1:40:04

We made the front page of the local newspaper! There's a picture of Terry running away from the pool, with Lydia and McKenna Wall cheering, and Marilou taking her notes. She sits on the corner every year, with 3 stop watches on her wrist, and records our times out of the pool and for every lap around on our bikes & on foot. She keeps these forever for comparisons. She still has my times from five years ago.

I took my camera, so I could get pics of all of us together, or so someone could take pics of the race itself. However, the only pictures that I got were of Justice tasting his first pizza, at the feast afterwards. Oh well!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Laundry Woes

I can NEVER stay on top of the laundry around here! With six of us, its too much. It seems like someone wets the bed at least every other night. Last week all of my children got sick, each on separate days, which, of course, brings lots of washing blankets. I've been doing laundry non-stop for a couple of days now. Now its raining, so my children, plus Noelle (our favorite extra child) have been playing in the rain and taking our 100 lb dog with them. This is good fun for all of them, so I don't mind. But it brings wet towels all around and about a million soaked outfits for me to wash. (Especially since they've done it twice today). To top it off, Bruce has the tent set up outside, because he and the 3 older kids had sleep outs there. Fun, fun fun! However, now all of their bedding out there is probably soaked! MORE LAUNDRY! Oh well! Everyone is happy, and having fun. I have to choose which things to get stressed out about, and this is not one of them.

Here's a couple of pics of my "mountains," as I call them. The one on the table is dirty cloths and blankets, the other is my clean and needs to be folded pile. This is all before today, and in between sick kids. Its shameful, I know!

Triumph Over the TV!!!! (at least for now)

This is day three of my experiment. So far, so good! I've made a new program for TV watching around here. As is far too common, I found that my children were wasting entirely too much time in front of the TV. It was completely, and woefully out of control. This is what I did. I made stickers with all of their favorite programs and computer games on them. Some, which were more educational, had a green border around them. The others, which were pure entertainment, had a red border around them. I printed out a schedule of when each show was on, and which shows were which color. (Fortunately, we don't have anything but standard TV, no satellite, cable or anything. I've always felt that I had enough TV on my hands without all of that. So, most all that my children watch is PBS, but even with just that, it can get really out of hand). I made each child a chart. They are allotted 2 red shows (or 2 half hours), and four greens per day Mon.-Thur. Friday and Saturdays, they can have 4 half hours of reds and 4 of green. On Sundays, we only watch "Sunday movies" anyway, so that one isn't so hard to manage. This still might be too much TV, but its a vast improvement. And actually 2/3 of what they are watching M-T is educational. They still get to watch TV, but now I'm not constantly telling them to turn the thing off. They are figuring out how to regulate it themselves. Instead of turning it on first thing in the morning and just mindlessly watching whatever happens to be on, they are saying "Do I really want to waste a 'red show' on this?" I've seen the TV go on, and then straight off again. Its great! Ross did that this morning, then went and turned on a Reader Rabbit game. (Reader Rabbit, being all reading and math exercises, is free). Right now, they are in their room playing with legos. (Something, till now, completely undiscovered).

You know its funny, I've always thought that if the TV were to suddenly go away, that they would drive me crazy with being underfoot, and noisy, and in my face. But it really hasn't been that way. They've done more of playing outside, or in their room. The mess factor really hasn't changed either. They were just as messy when they were watching TV half of the day. All in all, I'm very happy with this program! Now its just a matter of making it stick, and knowing when to bend the rules (if a sitter comes over) and when not to. So far its been great!