Saturday, December 25, 2010

How do you know...

The pumpkinhead has gone to daycare/preschool basically her whole life. She has learned a lot in those five years, some completely awesome, and some not so awesome.

Things that I may not have taught her otherwise, like....

Basic colors and numbers in Chinese and French.

How to paint the soles of your bare feet and make a Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece from footprints.

What constitutes a "bad word" - like "hate", "stupid", "butt", and more often than not, some made-up nonsense word that only she knows.**

Or things I probably wouldn't have even chosen to expose her to, like...

Hannah Montana. 

Moxie Girlz. (I'm not sure exactly what to think about these dolls, but I do like hearing Simone say "moxie"!)

Saying "sweeeeeeet" when she really likes something. (Not really bad, but just annoying when you hear it from adults all day, and then from a five-year-old all night. Luckily, she forgot about this word quickly!)

So when she spouts some new-found knowledge with me that was obviously learned elsewhere, I ask her what she knows about it, and who taught her/told her about that. This has become a futile process, because I've apparently grilled her enough times that now she doesn't want to share this information with me, and tells me that Choppy taught her whatever she's been talking about.

The pumpkinhead and I were waiting in line to check out at a store this week, and she stuck her head into one of the refrigerated drink displays. I heard her say "OH! They have Big Blue!", and pulled out a bottle of blue liquid. Sure enough, it had "Big Blue" written on the label. So the standard line of questioning ensued...

Me: Have you had this drink before?

Pumpkinhead: No.

Me: How do you know about Big Blue?

Pumpkinhead: Because I just saw it in this refrigerator.

Me: Then how do you know what it's called?

Pumpkinhead: Because it says right here, B-I-G B-L-U-E. I read it. (said while looking at me like I'm bad word #2).

Oh yeah! She has also started reading during those five years (more specifically, the last five months)! So guess what we bought, and is now sitting in our refrigerator with exactly four sips taken from the bottle (one mine, three hers)???

** - I'm trying to teach her at home that words themselves are not bad, but we need to be careful how we use them. At school, or at least with other kids, there are words that are apparently "bad".

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's been occupying my time lately...

So I've not posted much on here the last few months. I've been doing something...really. But first a story...

Several months ago, the pumpkinhead became obsessed with a movie called My Neighbor Totoro. It's a Miyazaki anime, and it is my favorite kids' movie ever. Yes, mine. Even though Simone wanted to watch it several times per day for several weeks on end, I never minded. It is beautiful and sweet makes us both feel happy. I understand that Totoro is to Japan what Mickey Mouse is to the U.S. Simone and I both love Totoro, and every time we see a picture of him or hear his name, we both smile.

Totoro toys are not readily available in U.S. stores, and the toys I found online or on Ebay just didn't seem very special (especially for the price!). While I was searching, I kept running across pictures of Totoros that someone had crocheted. Now, those were special!  Some were available in a couple of Etsy shops, but it still felt not-so-special to have a stranger make a toy by hand for my kid. And a little creepy, given how much personal attention is involved in making something like that.

Because my last attempt at crocheting resulted in half of an oddly-shaped, very heavy* afghan that is still wadded up in a paper bag in a closet somewhere around here, I considered taking crocheting classes. That didn't happen though, because it would have taken up several Saturday mornings -- yuck! I looked up a few crocheting websites and checked out some books from the library and taught myself how to crochet again. I practiced making various stitches and crocheting in different styles for a couple of weeks, then I started on this pattern for the small white Totoro. After a week or so, I had several little cone-shaped ears lying around (that we were using as gloveless fingers -- as opposed to fingerless gloves), and was finally brave enough to continue with the Chibi-Totoro body. The whole thing only took a few days to finish at lunchtime and after Simone went to bed. Then I started on the pattern for the medium-sized blue guy, Chuu-Totoro. That took a little longer, because he was bigger and had more parts, of course, but also because Simone found one of my learn-to-crochet-toys books and wanted me to make some toys for her. So I interrupted my Totoro-making to crochet two small bears and an ice cream cone.

I finished both the small and meduim Totoros about a month or so ago, and have had them hidden in the top of the closet so Simone will be surprised when she opens them at Christmas. A pattern for the big grey one, Oh-Totoro (our favorite), does not seem to exist, and I'm experimenting with modifying the pattern for the blue one but not getting very far. It's difficult because the grey Totoro is so much larger than the other two, and I wan them to be at least a bit proportional in size. So she'll have to live with just the two smaller ones for a while.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the Totoros I made. Just don't tell Simone yet because Christmas is still a week away! I think the blue one's ears need to be repositioned closer to the top of his head, but I'll have to take care of that later.

Oh, and I'm also making some soot sprites. Mine aren't anything especially creative, just black pom-poms with googly eyes glued on. There are crochet patterns for the soot sprites, but I think these will work for now -- until the cat pulls the eyes off, anyway!

* - It seems that I remembered only how to make a slipstitch, and was using a LOT of yarn in my afghan-making efforts and getting nowhere very s-l-o-w-l-y. With my new-found crocheting skills, I may unravel that thing that has been sitting in the closet for eight years and try again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our New Family Member...

Her name is Aurora Sweetie-Pie Cutie Patootie. Oh, I think I got a cavity just writing that name.

Simone has wanted a cat for a while now. I've been putting it off because of logistics with Biscuit. Some of those logistics have worked themselves out, and I really didn't have a reason for not getting her a cat except the "mean lazy mommy" reason.

We went down to PetSmart today with the intention of looking at cats. This is nothing out of the ordinary for us. We frequently spend an hour or two there looking at all the animals. It's usually cheaper and less walking than a trip to the zoo. In the adoption area of the store, we petted a few cats who didn't really care whether we were there or not, then we were introduced to Minnie and her sister, Aurora. Upon hearing the name "Aurora" (Sleeping Beauty's "real" name for those who are not up on your Disney princesses), the pumpkinhead's ears pricked up. She sat down and Aurora jumped into her lap. Just like that, we had a new cat! The cat rode home on Simone's lap (in a carrier), and on the way was bestowed with a middle (Sweetie Pie) and last (Cutie Patootie) name.

Simone and Aurora are now sleeping quite peacefully on Simone's bed. Merry early Christmas, Pumpkinhead!

Friday, October 22, 2010

pumpkinhead or jack-o-lantern?

That Nanny McPhee-looking tooth is hanging by a thread. She may be on an oatmeal and chocolate pudding diet for a while!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's all in the details

I picked these up at a dollar store recently to surprise Simone while she was elsewhere.

When I gave them to her, she was pretty excited about the little group, and played with them for about 15 minutes or so. Then she put them down and told me that these aren't real Toy Story toys.

What do you mean, "they're not real"? They were made in China with actual plastic by a company that purchased a license from Disney/Pixar! Of course they're real.

Then she explained her reasoning to me. Something was missing. I totally understood.

I fixed the problem with a Sharpie, and now hopefully Buzz, Woody and Jessie (and that company that undoubtedly overpaid for the license to make them) will get the respect they deserve.


What's better than rats, but not quite as good as Daddy?

Let's take a look at Simone's latest homework project for the answer to this one:

Tin Can Stilts, Pumpkinhead Style

We were inspired to make these after reading "Ramona and Her Father":

We found some large coffee cans at a garage sale and decided to decorate them to suit our tastes. First, we had to prime the cans. Yes, we used latex Kilz and watercolor brushes. That's the only primer I had, and we were doing this Simone's way. She wanted to use her blue sparkly brush (it's ruined now).

While the primer dried, we went to the store for some colorful permanent markers. Then we each decorated a can. (She is not getting grey hair from Kindergarten stress -- that's paint!)

I attached some cord and we went to test them on the porch. Success! Only one minor spill that required reshaping the can. On my turn, one of the cords snapped (see the frayed part on the inside of the left stilt below), and she banned me from using her stilts, claiming that I am too big for these stilts. Thanks.
You may notice that she apparently did not care for my drawings. She re-created my pictures on her own can, then crossed out mine. She even drew sad faces next to a couple. Quite the art critic, huh?

Friday, August 27, 2010


We watched Kiki's Delivery Service tonight. It's a sweet, sweet movie about a 13-year-old witch who leaves home to live on her own during her one-year witch-in-training period. Because, ya know -- that's what witches do (I guess). 

Simone asked a LOT of questions during the scenes showing Kiki preparing to leave and saying goodbye to her family and friends. "Why is she leaving her Mommy and Daddy? Where is she going? Is she going to come back home?" These questions made me feel good -- like she still needs me, even though she's a big Kindergartner now.

The very next scene shows Kiki happily flying away on her mom's broom to become an independent young witch. Simone stood on the couch on her imaginary broom and said "Mommy, I want to try THAT!" I smiled, thinking she wanted to fly around on a broom (because wouldn't that be a blast?).

But no. All of my pumpkinhead's angst about Kiki's departure from all that is familiar had disappeared.  


She continued her thought: "I want to leave my home when I'm 13 and learn how to be a witch!"

I tried to appeal to her earlier fears about Kiki leaving home. I told her that I would miss her, and reminded her that she is not, in fact, a witch in need of training. She looked at me with pity and said "Don't worry, Mommy. I'll come back home when I'm finished."


I'm not really liking this growing up business.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kindergarten Quotes

A few things I've heard Simone say since starting Kindergarten:

While reviewing numbers with her stuffed dog: "Choppy,  that's right! You're awesome at numbers! You earned a check mark!" 

Again, while reviewing numbers with Choppy:  "You're very good at this. The rest of the class is not as good at this as you." (Surely she made this one up herself and didn't hear this at school?!?)

While explaining to me why she doesn't want to stay for after-school care:  "The octopus always tags me. I don't want to be tagged." When I suggested that it might be her turn to be the octopus soon, she informed me that that does not interest her, since the octopus has to stay in its circle. Whatever.

While drawing with Choppy: "Choppy, don't laugh at my picture. I'm doing the best I can! It's not nice to laugh when someone is doing the best they can!" 

To no one in particular: "It's my opinion that boys should not talk in the hall." (Haha! I have a similar opinion about boys!)

Tonight she asked me if she could draw me a picture on the back of a worksheet she'd brought home. Well, of course you can draw me a picture, pumpkinhead! She drew a beautiful picture of herself, Angie, and me, then labeled each figure with our ages (!). Later, while stalling before bedtime, she told me that she wants to take the picture to her teacher tomorrow.

It appears that I may have a new arch nemesis. It's ON, Ms. F! I'm putting cookies in her lunchbox tomorrow!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I knocked out my kid's tooth!

Don't worry - it was nothing that requires a call to the authorities. The tooth was very loose and threatening to come out on its own anyway.

Last night I was brushing Simone's teeth before bed, and forgot about the loose tooth. I may have brushed a little too vigorously, trying to hurry since she was whining that I was taking too long and she didn't need to have her teeth brushed anyway. On the final swipe of her bottom front teeth, I noticed some blood mixed with the toothpaste dribbling down her chin, and she was screaming rather than just whining. The blood and screaming scared me and I thought that I'd really injured my little pumpkinhead! I finally got the bleeding and screaming under control, both achieved by stuffing a washcloth in her mouth, (again, totally innocuous and there is no need to contact the authorities!). I asked her why she was so upset; she's lost two other teeth, and hasn't freaked out about it this much. She wailed, "My tooooooth went doooown the draaaaain!"


I looked around the area for a stray tooth, and even shined a flashlight down the drain. No tooth. I must have washed it completely down while trying to stop the bleeding.


I told her that we could write a note to the tooth fairy to let her know that the tooth went down the drain, and Simone was OK with that. I got pen and paper and asked her what she wanted to tell the tooth fairy. Despite all her nonstop chatter throughout the day, she is a girl of few words when it comes to notes.

As we were putting out the note and the little box we use for the tooth fairy, I peeked into my wallet. Ya know, just checking out my cash situation. I had a five and a ten. No ones, which is the standard tooth fairy payment around here.


I thought about raiding the pumpkinhead's piggy bank, but that just seemed wrong, especially since I'd just caused her so much trauma. I dug around in the bottom of my purse and came up with four quarters. When she told her dad about the tooth today, she started with "Daddy, my mommy made my tooth come out." I had to take the phone and explain. I let her have the phone again, and he asked whether the tooth fairy brought her a dollar. She answered, "No, she didn't bring a dollar, just four quarters."

I guess we need to cover currency values before the next tooth is lost!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Simone started Kindergarten on Wednesday.

For all the build-up over the past six months or so, it was pretty anti-climactic. She just hasn't been excited about Kindergarten lately. I think it started when she realized that her friends who were in Kindergarten last year would not still be in Kindergarten this year and she would not be joining them in the Kindergarten fun, but would be more or less on her own with this whole Kindergarten thing. We've tried lots of things to get her to start looking forward to school.

Reading Ramona the Pest (in which Ramona goes to Kindergarten) didn't do much for her.

Shopping for school uniforms did not get her pumped.

Shopping for school supplies did not do anything for her either.

"Meet the Teacher" day did not work.

Getting new socks and underwear (Toy Story panties!) was pretty cool and made her smile, but still none of the Kindergarten excitement from this spring.

Wednesday morning came, and she put on her new uniform, ate her special oatmeal (with princess sprinkles), got a donut from Daddy, hugged Biscuit and Choppy goodbye, and pouted through the mandatory picture-taking session...

She even got straight gangsta on me...

Things got a little better when we got to school and she saw all the other kids, including some little girls wearing the same jumper she was wearing. We got her to pose for more shots in the middle of the parking lot (yeah, we're responsible parents)...

Wednesday night, she didn't want to talk about school at all. She didn't want to tell me the names of any kids in her class, what she did during the day, whether she played on the playground -- nothing.

After a couple of days, she seems to be warming up to it all. Tonight she sang me a song about her school that she learned in music class, and told me about a game they played in Spanish class. I think she's going to end up liking Kindergarten after all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Pumpkinhead's Toy Story

If you know Simone, you also know Choppy. However, you may not know the story of Choppy.

When Simone was about a year old, she was obsessed with dogs. In fact,"dog" was one of her first few words. For Christmas that year, I gave her a stuffed dog. I remember standing in front of the stuffed animal bins at Toys R Us picking through all the stuffed dogs. I didn't really care what breed it was, and Simone wouldn't have cared either. I just wanted one with "fur" that wouldn't come out too easily, and that had a cute puppy dog face.  I chose a Bernese Mountain dog, and it was love at first sight.
The dog slept in her crib with her and a host of other stuffed dogs, but this one always got the prime snuggle spot next to Simone...

...most of the time, anyway...
The dog had to suffer a few indignities in order to be the favorite toy. When the pumpkinhead's pacifier was taken away by a mean mommy and daddy, the dog's snout became the substitute. Yuck. When that novelty went away, she began digging her index finger into his nose, eventually making first a large indentation in his snout, then a hole that needed repair. He ended up with no nostrils, only a white snout with some stitch marks where his nose used to be. He was still loved, regardless of his Michael Jackson-esque nose job.

The dog never had a real name; he was just called "dog" or "doggie" or "puppy". He became our constant companion and went everywhere with us. When Simone moved into the toddler room at day care and no longer napped in a crib, her teacher told me that it was very hard to get her to lie down for naptime. I suggested that the dog might help her relax and stay on her nap mat. Thus began the dog's daily trips to and from school, and Simone's reputation as a "good napper". Everyone at the school soon became familiar with Simone's dog. On the rare occasions when we forgot the dog, I could see the mild panic in the teachers' eyes. Sometimes if the meltdown (Simone's, not the teachers') was particularly bad and I could see that substituting some random toy from the back seat of my car was not going to work, I would even take an hour or so off work to go back home to get the dog. He was that important!

About a year later, Simone's teacher told me one afternoon that the dog had been lost at school. The dog was supposed to stay in her cubby and be used only for nap time, but let's be real -- a special dog in a room of two-year-olds is not going to stay in one place for long, no matter what Mommy says. I made a trip to the toy store and luckily found a bin full of the special dogs. I had doubts that "the dog" could be replaced, but I bought two and hid one away in a closet, just in case. The replacement dog worked, and was dubbed "new dog".

A few days later, the original dog reappeared. Great! Now Simone had two dogs, and she was ecstatic to have "dog" and "new dog" to play with and snuggle. When the original dog disappeared at school again about a month later (under suspicious circumstances, I might add), it was no big deal because "new dog" was right there, ready to step up to the challenge of being the lone favorite toy. He did not escape any of the indignities that came with his new title, though. By this time, Simone had discovered baby clothes and hair bows. Her dog had to be dressed to the nines at all times. Sometimes it was a simple lilac satin frock with lace; sometimes it was a tiger-striped lacy number that any exotic dance would be jealous of; sometimes he went au naturel with only a bright pony tail holder on his ear or tail.

Everything went along smoothly for about another year or so with the new dog. Then Simone and I took a short trip out of town. New dog wore a pink grass skirt all weekend -- and was stunning, I might add. During the confusion of packing up at the hotel and getting everything into the car, the dog somehow disappeared. His absence was noticed after we'd been driving for about an hour, and repeated calls to the hotel asking about a small dog wearing a pink grass skirt resulted in nothing. Nada. New dog and his skirt had apparently vanished into thin air. Needless to say, it was a looong drive home.

Remember my brilliance in purchasing two dogs when the first disappearance occurred? When we got home, I broke out the third dog, and all was well in la casa de calabazas. This dog was called simply "doggie" for a few months, then Simone made up a way to describe her love for the dog: she would hold him around the neck and shake him, saying "Doggie chops. Doggie chops.", then hug and kiss him. A bit disturbing to think that she was effectively strangling the thing she loved most, but it was a loving strangle hold, so I didn't worry too much. Eventually, "Doggie chops" evolved into "Choppy", and this became his name. Choppy is subjected to certain humiliations, just like his predecessors. He gets left behind more often than the other two dogs did, and once was left out on the playground at school overnight. But Choppy prevails. He's a survivor. Sometimes it makes me sad that Simone does not seem adversely affected when Choppy gets left at home or overnight at school...then I snap myself back to the reality of daily life with a preschooler, and am grateful that she is so well-adjusted that she can cope for a day or night without a toy. I think I love Choppy as much as she does. I may have even cried a little when the original dog was lost!

I can't tell the difference between the three dogs in pictures; I have to reference the date and try to remember the approximate dates of each disappearance to figure out which is which. Somehow, Simone can tell the difference. Once, I showed her a picture of the second dog, and called it "Choppy". She corrected me, saying "No, Mommy. That's not Choppy. That was my new dog that got lost at the hotel in Austin. He's Choppy's sister and his name was Chippy." Oh. OK.  You may notice that Choppy and Chippy are female dogs, but we use masculine personal pronouns when talking about them. I'm not sure why. That's just the way it is.

Despite the fact that Choppy is only about a year old, he has quite a past. Simone tells me daily stories of their adventures and travels.  Apparently, she, Choppy and Choppy's sisters (about nine of them) live together in a house in Alaska, and frequently go on vacation to the beach, China, Fort Worth, New Hamster (New Hampshire to you and me), Colorado, and outer space. Not a bad gig being the favorite toy, huh? I might even wear a pink grass skirt if I had a chance to go to outer space!

Tomorrow, the pumpkinhead will start Kindergarten. We have been reminding her over the last few months that Choppy cannot go to Kindergarten. She understands this, but seems to have stepped up her imaginary travels with Choppy and his sisters. I guess she's giving herself a good dose of Choppy to last throughout the long Kindergarten day. I told her I would put a picture of Choppy in her backpack that she could look at if she missed him too much at school. I think I'll put a copy of the picture in my purse as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Keeping up with the Joneses...

A friend is pet-sitting a small zoo this week. In her care are two dogs, two cats, three snakes, and a tankful of fish. Simone and I went over to take a look at the snakes tonight. She was quite surprised to find that the house where the animal menagerie is located also has a pool. My friend instantly rose to rock star status in Simone's mind, because she was allowed to pet all the animals AND swim in the pool. One snake hung out on the fence while she swam, and one dog even swam with her.

After swimming for a while, I announced that it was almost time to go home.  My pumpkinhead ignored me and asked her new BFF for a tour of the house! She even offered to help gather up the animals to bring them inside. So of course, we went into the home of people we don't even know. The house and its grounds are beautiful, and I was quite impressed with the landscaping and decor. If I lived there, I would not want to leave my house for anything.

Apparently, Simone felt the same way.

On the way home, she told me "Mommy, I want us to have a house like that." I immediately knew that I must have been a little too impressed in front of her and now she was comparing our lives to others'. YIKES! I was trying to think of something wise to say, when she continued, "Yes, I want our house to have two cats and two dogs and a SNAKE!"

Whew! She's only jealous of their animals (and maybe the pool a little - but that's OK. I am too!).

Birthday Blast!!!

The pumpkinhead had a birthday party over the weekend. It was quite the affair. Take a look...

There were special guests. Simone has been eagerly awaiting Angie's arrival...since the last time we saw her in April. Both girls were in full makeup exactly 10 minutes after they saw each other.

There was a whale slide...

There was sliding...

And more sliding...

and cake... I named her "Princess Diana of Whales", and her dress was delicious.

and candles... I think there were seven candles, although she is only five years old. What are you going to do? She's just that special!


and then there was more sliding until almost dark...

Needless to say, everyone had a great time, and I think everyone went home completely exhausted. In fact, the pumpkinhead and I are STILL exhausted!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I'm stuck in the middle and she's stuck with me...

I used to sympathize with Jan Brady. I think it was a middle child thing, just trying to figure out where I fit in. Also the freckles. We had that in common, too.

I haven't thought about Jan Brady for a long time now.

Until tonight.

The pumpkinhead was looking me over while trying to distract my attention from the fact that she wasn't eating her dinner. She asked me why I have so many freckles "all over yourself" -- said with with a wrinkled nose and a disgusted sound in her voice. As if that were not bad enough, she went on to say "I want a new mommy. One who doesn't have so many freckles."


If anyone needs me, I'll be soaking in a vat of lemon juice.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


The pumpkinhead loves maps. She studies the atlas like she’s preparing for a geography test. We use imaginary maps to guide us around the block when we walk the dog. She has a large U.S. map in her playroom marked with all the places she's been. When I’m driving, she draws maps for me on her sketch pad or consults her laminated map of the U.S. (in reality, this is a placemat) that she keeps stashed in the back seat. She saw an Etch-a-Sketch at the toy store recently and sat right down in the aisle and drew “maps” for 20 minutes. She's a little map freak.

Before her obsession with maps started, she would constantly ask me if we were lost. Walking the dog – “Mommy, are we lost?” Going to the store – “Mommy, are we lost?” Going to her school along the same route we take every day - “Mommy, are we lost?” I don’t get lost a lot, and I certainly don’t freak out when I do get lost, so I’m not sure what had her so worried about being lost. Now that I think about it, maybe she wanted to be lost so she could whip out a map and save the day.

A few months ago, we went to a bridal shower in a rural area where I had not been in several years. Despite my pre-planning and googled addresses and hand-drawn maps, we got a little lost. My sister-in-law and niece were in the car with us, so there was some discussion about which way to turn and which road we were supposed to be on. Ya know – talk about being lost. Simone had been to a bridal shower before, and really enjoyed it (she was one of only a few kids there, and she got to wear a little tiara and help open gifts). So she was eager to get to get to this one, and being lost was not sitting well with her. We finally found our destination and a great time was had by all at the much-anticipated shower. We even made it back home without getting lost again.

A couple of weeks later, it was time for the wedding of the recently-showered bride (haha). We were to meet the rest of our family at my aunt’s house, which is in the same area where I had not been in several years, save for the little foray mentioned above. Encouraged by my recent re-acquaintance with the area and armed with the cute little map that came with the invitation, we set off. Because I’d told everyone I knew where to go, I had my two brothers and their families following me. A little parade through the country. The country with spotty cell service.

My, how time has changed the landscape out there. Roads were paved, trees had grown, houses were built, barns were removed, blah, blah, blah… This time, we were more than a little lost. It was so bad, my brothers stopped following me. Really. They just stopped their trucks on the side of the road. Little did they know my cousin was giving me directions through a series of dropped calls. They reluctantly agreed to follow me after they found out I had outside help. AAAARRRUUUGGGHHH, brothers! At some point during the parade through the changed countryside, Simone asked me for the cute little map from the invitation. I felt that I was done with it, so I handed it over. Maybe she could make some sense of it.

Eventually, we made it to our aunt’s house and followed someone else from there to the wedding. On the way to the church, the pumpkinhead informed me that she couldn’t find the cute little map. That was fine with me. It only served as a reminder of my dismal navigating skills that afternoon. The wedding (Simone’s first) was beautiful and we all had a great time once again.

After the festivities, Simone and I got in the car to head home (without our entourage this time). She immediately began asking whether we were lost. Ummm, no. I’d gotten explicit directions to the highway, and may have been following one of those brothers who so recently had lost confidence in me (did you ever have any, really?). Anyway, as I was concentrating on getting back to familiar territory, it was very quiet in the back seat. After we were well on our way and I knew where we were going, my little pumpkinhead announced that she had drawn us a new map so we wouldn’t get lost again. Great. Thanks for the support.

Here is Simone’s map, and next is the cute little map from the wedding invitation*, that I found under the driver’s seat the next day. Not bad, eh?

* - all identifying marks have been removed. This is for your own protection, in case you are tempted to cruise out there to see for yourself how lost I really was. I don't want you to get lost too. My cousin may not be available to give you directions out of there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's a keeper...

I'm pretty much disgusted with everyone's "summer reading lists". I've seen and heard them everywhere during the month of June. I don't care about your lists. I have exactly the same amount of time to read in the summertime as I do in every other season. So, waaah. I know. I'm a whiner.

However, our library and a number of stores have some good incentives for getting kids to read during the summer. Half-Price Books has a summer reading program where kids earn gift cards for keeping track of their reading time. Our library's program lets kids earn a free ticket to a Rangers game and some other swag for reading a certain number of books. With Borders' Double Dog Dare program, kids get to choose a free book for every 10 books they read. This is easy enough for us, since I read to Simone every day, winter or summer.

The pumpkinhead loves books that "we get to keep" (rather than taking them back to the library in a few weeks), so I printed out a few forms and have been writing down names of books we read and how long we read for a few weeks now. This weekend, we took our lists to Half-Price Books and turned them in for some gift cards. We perused the kids' section for a while, then found one of our favorites -- Fantastic Mr. Fox.  We read it twice over the weekend. I guess I'll add it to the list of books we've read and take that list to Borders next weekend for another book that "we get to keep".

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Coming Soon...

I read an article today about upcoming movie releases, and found some interesting ones for both Simone and me...

Ramona and Beezus   Yay!!! I'm really excited about this movie. The Ramona books are some of our favorites right now. We have the Ramona and Her Father audio book in the car now.

Tangled   It's Rapunzel! Simone loves the book Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox, which is a funny twist on the traditional Rapunzel story. She also loves Waking Beauty by the same author.

Yogi Bear   Hey, Boo-Boo! Simone may be smarter than your average pumpkinhead, but she knows nothing about Yogi Bear yet. We'll see. Did you know that there is a Jellystone Park franchise of camping sites?

Gulliver's Travels  I don't think this will interest the pumpkinhead very much, but it looks like fun for older kids.

Grease is the word. A re-release of the original. And in a totally unrelated bit of trivia, Stockard Channing (Rizzo) reads the Ramona books on our audio books.

The King's Speech  Colin Firth AND Guy Pearce. 'Nuff said.

Another movie that we are looking forward to seeing in the future is Punk Farm.There is no release date yet, but we'll be there when it finally opens! We have worn out our library's copies of Punk Farm and Punk Farm on Tour, and we have the music videos saved in our YouTube favorites. Peace out, Colorado!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Who's on first?... And don't call me Shirley!

My conversation with the Pumpkinhead while playing veterinarian this afternoon...

The scene: The patient, Choppy, has a splinter in his paw and has limped into the offices of Dr. Mommy (played by yours truly) and her competent assistant, Dr. Peggy Nurse, who is a nurse (played by Simone). The team gave Choppy a complete physical before taking a look at his splinter, then Dr. Mommy was abruptly called out of the room by something on the stove. Dr. Peggy Nurse enters with good news.

Pumpkinhead:  Dr. Mommy! Luckily, I got the splinter out of Choppy's paw!

Me:  Oh! Luckily, you got it out?!?

PH: No, I got it out. ME. I'm Dr. Peggy Nurse. You're Luckily.

Me: Oh! So you got the splinter out, Dr. Peggy Nurse?

PH: Yes!

Me: Good job. Finally, you got that splinter out.

PH: Who's Finally?

I don't know who's been showing my kid Abbott and Costello skits, but THANK YOU! But if you could hold off on showing her Airplane, I would appreciate it!


The Pumpkinhead recently expressed her desire to "go out of Fort the zoo." So we did that today. We made the trek all the way to FW to the zoo. We actually go to the zoo fairly often, and this is almost always one of the highlights...

Something caught our attention in an area we usually stroll right past without stopping. This hyacinth macaw was hanging upside down and posing for the cameras. He clearly knew what was going on and would look into the lens and turn slightly so the paparazzi could get shots from different angles...

The zoo has some new penguins that are very cool. These two guys look like they're about to go at it, but they actually got along very well. In the right corner is a rockhopper penguin, hailing from Antarctica; in the left corner is an African blackfooted penguin, hailing from...Africa, of course.

After the zoo, we went a little further "out of town" to Everman, which is home to a large population of wild parrots. The story is that a divorcing couple couldn't decide who would get "custody" of their parrots, so they just let them go (excellent choice, people - I hope they didn't have children!). The parrots made their new home on top of an electric pole and began their own little Eden. Now the city is said to have between 100-200 parrots living in huge nests atop electric poles around town. We saw a lot of nests, and a few parrots, but I think we heard every one of those 100-200 birds. They're LOUD!

If you look closely and use your imagination, you can see a parrot looking out his window in the "penthouse" apartment along the left edge of the nest, and several other parrots looking out their windows along the lower levels of the nest...