Money makes you crazy

Welcom too are Shop of food and clour

The girls have become financial tycoons. 

Every single day they and their gaggle of friends come up with some way to try to get money out of us.  It's mostly been shops, though this weekend it was a combo of dance performance and concession stand.  Not too surprising when you consider what we do for a living, I suppose.  And their performances are always top notch, complete with twirling, banging on a keyboard, curtsies and yes, even blown kisses to the applauding crowd (read, Me and the Mister).  The concession stand, while adorable, does make me grumble a bit.  See, I've already paid for the cheese and crackers for which you're attempting to collect, kid. 

Mark, who is clearly the much nicer parent of us two, went and found some coins and dropped them into Lily's eager hand.  This lead to Anya throwing a wee fit at Lily about the fact that nobody ever gives her money.  So Lily divided the coins and paid her performer off.  Anya, seeing the effectiveness of such a fit, repeated it to her father who also paid her. 

I'll give you one guess as to the result.

It took all of thirty seconds for both girls to be yelling at each other about their money and another thirty seconds before the kicking started.  

Money makes you crazy, indeed.

When it was pointed out to Lily that she never actually spends her money, her impassioned reply was, "But I like just having it!"  Me too, kid.  It does make me feel safe to know there are piles of coins in a special place, just in case.  But at five and seven, I'm afraid of what this means.

How do we teach kids about the value of money without teaching them to overvalue money, to the point they end up kicking their sister and collapsing into tears?  Does rational thought come with age?  Considering the State of the Stock Market, that doesn't seem a safe bet.

How do you or would you handle financial education?  I'm in desperate need for some tips, yo.

Good Morning Messages

A while back I started writing "Good Morning" messages to my kids on the white board they keep in their room.  I had been writing them notes on paper, but they just contributed to the mess that is their room (and I hate using up a resource if I don't have to).  So the white board was the solution.  Very quickly, Lily started requesting that I write and so it became a nightly routine.

Yes  Lily. A note *wood* be lovly.

I can't tell you how useful these have been.  With these notes I can get them thinking about what they might like to have in their lunches for school (an issue that was greatly stalling our morning routine):

Good Morning Message for 9/28/10

I can tell them what to expect from the day, which cuts down on some of the anxiety they often feel when they don't know what comes next:

Good Morning Message: 9/30/2010

I can threaten them not to wake us up too early on the weekend:

Good Morning Message: 10/02/10

OR I can address a wildly funny thing that happened without giggling, since, to my kid, it's not so wildly funny:

GMM: 10/4/10

I've even started collecting these in a flickr set which serves as a mini journal for our lives.  Helpful, considering I don't seem to have the time or energy to write this one anymore.

Curious as to if other parents have a similar habit?

7 days: 5 - Anya and her loot

7 days: 5 - Anya and her loot

We went to a friend's birthday party today, complete with a swimming pool, bounce house and a piñata to whack the crap out of.  The girls had a blast though Anya stayed stuck to me the whole time.  Lily noticed later that there weren't as many photos of her, which could have to do with the fact that she was off having a good time and wanted nothing to do with me.  Honestly, she's grown so much this year and is so much more confident and strong and happy.  I love to watch her just BE out in the world.

But anyway, Anya is one happy bug in this shot.  She got candy, something her mean Mama rarely lets her have. 

Road trip wounds


Yesterday Mark and I were up at 3am, getting the kids out of bed and on the road for a trip North to visit the family. The Mister's mom is having a significant birthday this week and with Lily on Spring Break, we figured it was perfect timing.

After about three hours on the road we pulled off for breakfast in a small town, hoping to jump back on the road and keep North as quickly as possible. As Anya and I returned from the the bathroom after our meal she tripped, went down hard and smashed her face into the corner of the booth seat. I expected to find a bump and rapidly swelling bruise but instead pulled her hands from her face to discover a gush of blood streaking down her face. “I need some help!” I called to Mark, who had already started moving when he heard the smack. Anya was screaming, Lily had burst into tears at the sight of blood on her sisters face and the waitress came running. We got her iced, cleaned up and Mark got the first aid kit from the car. Unfortunately, it had no butterfly closures and we could see this was not something that would heal nicely on it's own.




Luckily the waitress happened to be a mother of six, five of which were boys. She gave us our options, “You can drive 40 minutes to Bakersfield and go to the ER there or, in about 45 minutes, the community clinic will open up.” She assured me we could get stitches there, she'd had them do stitches on her kids before and so we decided to stay local and drove an exit up the freeway to find the clinic. We had to wait in the parking lot, Anya snuggled on my lap and calm by then, her thumb stuck firmly in her mouth.


sad little boo


The first through the door, we were seen right away and with excellent care. The nurses were fantastic, explaining to Anya what was going to happen, how they were going to put her owie to sleep so they could sew it up, how it would hurt but Mama would be right there. Mark took Lily out to walk the dog while they numbed Anya up, which really was the worst part of the whole thing. They had four staff members there to hold her down if needed but she held perfectly still, crying out and gripping my hands ferociously. They'd never seen a four-year-old behave so well during pain, but we had told her what was happening, why it was happening and given her permission to scream her fool head off. She was amazing.


The minute that owie went to sleep, Anya perked right up and was herself again. Lily and Mark came back in to see the stitches going in, which was a little uncomfortable for Lil until she realized her sister was giggling and talking under the drape. We were back on the road an hour later with three neat and carefully placed stitches covered over by a band-aid. I only wish the clinic had pediatric medical superglue on hand, something we could have gotten in Bakersfield I suspect. But I also suspect we would have had to wait a whole lot longer, been in less of a relaxed atmosphere and wouldn't have received the individualized attention we received at the clinic. It was just about the best experience you could hope for when your child has to get stitches.


all done


Back on the road I asked Anya to let me know when her owie woke back up so we could pull over for a painkiller if she was hurting.  An hour or so later she happily announced, “Mama, my owie is waking back up!”

“How does it feel?” I asked her.

“Just like my old skin!”


Yep. Just fine. Today she's totally unconcerned but we'll make a trip over to the health food store to pick up some supplies to minimize the scar on her face. She's truly been the most amazing wounded child I have ever seen and I couldn't be more proud of her.


day after


ETA: photos added later in the day, so if you were here earlier all you saw was the one crappy cell photo photo. 

7 days: 2 - Breakfast out on a Sunday Morning

7 days: 2 - Breakfast out on a Sunday Morning

Since I've been working full time it's been hard to find time for us simply be together.  Sunday morning breakfast has become something of a default for our little family as we all enjoy stacks of pancakes, french toast and runny eggs.  The girls always manage to find or bring along something to color or draw while they wait and Lily has been eating so much I wonder how we're ever going to keep up with her.  At this breakfast, she ate her own plate of French Toast, Eggs & Bacon and then sat their eye-balling everyone elses food.  When Mark paused in his eating to tell a story (something he does a lot of) she quickly asked, "Daddy, are you going to eat that?"  Ultimately, she ended up finishing her sisters pancakes and was still hungry when we got home.

Growing much?

making a note of it

Dear Lily & Anya,

I started this blog years ago on a suggestion from your Auntie Allyn.  She talked about how amazing it was to be given a glimpse of her own mother during her first year of motherhood through the journal she kept (and later shared with her daughter).  Seeing that transition somehow made her mother more human in her eyes and she learned so much about her mom, herself and what it means to go through such a life altering change.  I thought I needed to maybe buy myself some insurance.  After all, you two could think me a total idiot of a mom some day and it would be so nice to show you how I can so easily blame it all on you.

New kind of religion?

The girls spent the night at Grandma's house last night which meant they attended church with my mom and step-dad in the morning.  Usually, Mom is singing in the choir, so she just drops them off in the little daycare room and they don't actually get much "church" exposure.  Today, however, Mom wasn't singing (which I'm sure has a juicy story attached) so she brought them in with her until the Children's Sermon, after which they went to hang out in the nursery.

At dinner I decided to ask them about the children's sermon, "What did they talk about?"

the white door with the white heart

so happy

There's a discussion going on in the back of my car about bad dreams.  Anya is describing her dream, which involved a big white door with a white heart on it that breaks into people's homes and steals all their stuff.  "It's got lots of patterns on it," she tells me.
"Can you draw it for me?" I ask.
"Yes.  It's a beautiful door, but it's very mean."
"Yeah, I'd like to be on the look out for it, so would love to have your drawing."
Lily speaks up then about her own bad dream involving a little dog, a beach and a crab.

the deep, dark crazy place & my amazing kid

A little over a week ago, I stopped taking the long list of supplements that keep me from being totally insane.  I wasn't intending to stop, really.  We were heading out on a camping trip and I didn't want to mess with them and so I figured I could totally skip a couple days without a problem. 

The camping trip was fun, but uber cold.  I spent all night freezing myself silly until, somewhere around 3am, I got up, put on a whole nother layer of clothing and made it through to 5am when all the kids started waking up and hooting like maniac bonobos.  My lower back felt wrong and by mid-day, I had a feeling I was in trouble.  I took Lily on a walk but when it came time for me to head home, I was kinda screwed.  I had to work the next morning, so left with a serious pain ripping through me, hoping that a night in my warm bed would take care of the problem.

wee warrior, Ani


Last time we were at the library, I stumbled across a flyer for free kids yoga.  They had a class for 2-3 year olds and another for 4-5's so Anya and I decided to check out the class for big kids, seeing how she just turned four.  I had posted the info to my playgroup and was delighted to see a couple friends there, although they had come for the younger class and only one stuck around when it was our turn.  It was still good for Anya to see friendly faces and, despite my expectation that she'd sit on my lap the whole time, she was totally into trying the poses.  She even welcomed my gentle correction, allowing me to pull her leg into position or guide her poses into the proper stance.

and now she is 4

Last night I stayed up late making the best cupcakes on the planet.

Anya's birthday cupcakes

Iris, who's a member of my most favorite playgroup EVER, posted a strawberry cake recipe for her daughter's birthday and since Anya had requested strawberry cupcakes for her special day, I totally lifted the idea. Instead of your basic butter cream frosting (which I don't care for), I made cream cheese frosting with a touch of extra strawberry juice added in for flavor and color. You can see the recipe for the frosting (sans strawberry addition) here or jump straight to the cake recipe here, if you are so inclined.

Princess Rock

Anya and I made a stop for Jamba Juice today, since we had a little time to kill before I dropped her off at a friends house.  We got our juice and started walking around the strip mall, just enjoying the sunshine and chatting about random stuff.  Towards the end of our stroll we heard live music and I asked Anya where she thought it was coming from.

"A store?"
"Maybe, but it sounds like it's outside."
"That car." She pointed at one pulling out of a spot.
"To me, it sounds like live music, not the radio.  Let's go around this corner and see."

So we turned the corner and I caught a brief look at a rock band jamming away out in front of the grocery store.  Anya stopped dead in her tracks.  "Let's get closer." I suggested.
"No?  Why not?"
She made a frightened face and I dropped down to face her, placing my hands on her protectively. "What are you afraid of, my love?"
"It's too loud." She ducked her face into my neck and curled an arm around me tightly. 
"Let's go this way, then."  I led her out into the parking lot and we circled wide, coming to stand out in the lot, but directly in front of them.  This seemed acceptable to Anya so we stood for a couple minutes listening and watching the small crowd react.

"Can we go now?"  She asked.  I nodded yes and we circled away, heading back towards our car.  She walked in silence for awhile and then started muttering about the music being too loud again.  "It was just too loud, Mama.  And you know what?"
"What?" I asked.
"They didn't play a SINGLE princess song!"
"You're right!  Not a single one!" I indignantly replied, doing my damnedest not to laugh out loud.  "Maybe they just didn't know any princess songs?" I suggested.  She blew out an exasperated sigh, as though the very idea that they wouldn't know at least ONE princess song was preposterous.  "And we didn't stay very long.  Maybe they were going to sing one next."
She gave me a doubtful look and then demanded I take her to P's house.  "She knows princess songs."

And of course, a fellow preschooler would totally get it.

I'm thinking though, that we ought to start a whole new genre of rock: Princess Rock.  The costumes alone would make it worth it. 

Who's in?


Interview with Anya, age 3 (almost 4!)

1. What is something mommy always says to you?
[shrug] I don't know.

2. What makes mommy happy?
[holding up a doll I just dressed for her] Mommy, these were supposed to go on the boobies!

3. What makes mommy sad?
Doing something wrong.

4. How does your mommy make you laugh?
From funny.

5. What did your mommy like to do when she was a child?
Play in snow.

6. How old is your mommy ?
I don't know.

7. How tall is your mommy ?
I don't know, but I can measure you! And then I'll know how tall you are. Mom, I'll be right back, OK?

8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?
Lily, tell me. [Lily whispers in Anya's ear] Star Wars!

9. What does your mommy do when you're not around?

10. If your mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
I don't know.

11. What is your mommy really good at?
Making dinner.

12. What is your mommy not very good at?
What Daddy does.

13. What does your mommy do for her job?

14. What is your mommy 's favorite food?
Raviolis [this is actually Lily's favorite food].

15. What makes you proud of your mommy?

16. If your mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
I can't guess. [Lily whispers some more in her ear] A Princess!!!

17. What do you and your mommy do together?
Work and go to Costco.

18. How are you and your mommy the same?
We both have curly hair.

19. How are you and your mommy different?
We're not the same big.

20. How do you know your mommy loves you?

21. What does your mommy like most about your daddy?
Because he does the stuff that you can't do.

22. Where is your mommy 's favorite place to go?
Costco! [Can you tell we went to Costco today?]

Sponge it is, then

Anya: I look like Cinderella because I have a sponge.
Me: [blink, blink] Um... what?
A sponge.  You know, on my head.
Me: Do you mean a bun?
Um... what?
The little ball of hair we make on top of your head, that's called a bun.
But sponge is so much more pretty.
Not really.
Yes it is.  Please, Mommy, can I call it a sponge?
You wash dishes with a sponge.  That thing on your head is a bun.
A bun is your butt.
Um... true.
So can I call it a sponge?
: I see no reason why not.