Saturday, March 29, 2008

Family Fun

We're in the middle of a weekend called, "Family Fun", and it's basically a very short, activity-filled two days of family togetherness, planned and executed by moi, paid for generously by the husband.

And it's going so well! The whole thing is a secret, and we've just been going from one thing to another and the children don't know what is happening next.

The details and costs:

Friday "kidnapping" from school at
Butterfly Gardens on Bogue road.................parking, $3
Clara's restaurant (old train depot, and a train went by!)............$44 with tip
Preuss Pets (huge pet store with amazing exotic birds, fish, reptiles and...kittens)
Horton Hears A Who with popcorn and pop.........$38
The Dairy Store on Farm Lane....................$15
Driving around MSU campus playing the Airport
*the Airport Game was created and named by my brother Crydo. Basically you people-watch until you see someone with a slight resemblance to a famous person, a friend or a relative, and then you shout out, "There's __________!" Unfortunately for the husband, the children enjoyed pointing out people with bald heads, very plump bodies or people with large and poufy heads of hair and shouting, "There's Daddy!" There was no rhyme nor reason to pointing out people who looked like Daddy, it's just that he can take a joke I guess. Another popular person to find was, "There's Molly!" anytime they saw a blonde headed, pretty girl with her hair pulled back, smart jacket and backpack. There was a definite "Molly-look" to a lot of those college students.

Now today there is a lazy morning, a brand new puzzle set up on the card table ($7), and this afternoon we are visiting the Scrap Box, a recycling place where you can fill a large bag of anything from the store for $6.50. It's a big building full of cool stuff that businesses usually just throw away - but children love making arts/crafts from it. I can imagine my Aunt E would love this place!

If we have time we're visiting the U of M Law Library (hahaha). I know, sounds super-cool. But it's free. If you go in and ask for a Visitor's Pass, you can walk around the whole thing. I heard it sort of looks like Hogwarts, and there's a whole subterranean level to check out. It could be one of my famous ideas that goes over like a lead balloon....

After that we have tickets to the Ann Arbor film festival ($46), where we'll watch the Family showings of several film shorts in the Michigan Theatre.

On the way home, we'll go to Los Tres Amigos, and I have to laugh here....the children have been begging to go to this restaurant because apparently their grandparents took them and they loved it. We really never eat out as a family so this is a special treat for them. I looked up the AA location on the internet and read really good reviews for the restaurant except one that says,

"I'd rather be stabbed in the stomach than eat here ever again."

hahahaha. Always an adventure....


Family Fun Pics

Butterfly Gardens

A Train Is Coming! They waved and tooted the horn!

Preuss Pets

Dairy Store!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tooth or Consequences

And to add to the things that I am not domestically or maternally good at...
being the Tooth Fairy.

The middle child once completely gave up after a week of leaving her tooth under her pillow with no results. I think she just tossed it away in disgust.

I don't know what is wrong with me - I just cannot seem to remember. And I feel so terrible the following morning, you'd think that would spur me on, I usually don't even notice until about the third day when the poor child comes dragging down the stairs saying, "The Tooth Fairy forgot, AGAIN!"

So we developed a sort of a system where on each night that the TF doesn't show up, the amount of money due the toothless recipient is doubled.
You can make big bucks losing teeth at our house.

Several days after losing a molar, the boy twin moaned to me about how he was checking every morning and I winced. The husband spoke to me about "handling it", and miraculously I remembered, but only had one dollar in change on hand. I wrote a note, in my best left hand writing, instructing him to check under his pillow the following night for the rest of the cash.

I looked at the note and the erratic, suspicious handwriting.
It lacked something.
So I added:
"Sorry for the delay, but I have been in prison."


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is It Just Me?

Okay people.

We live in a world where we are able to type words onto a micro-thin tablet of plastic, send it through space and have it show up on another screen thousands of miles away in mere seconds.

Why can we not create a spout for the dishwashing detergent that does not cut into the quick below our fingernails when we try to open it?

Why must I jam a knife into this evil contraption in order to get it open, not just for the first time, but every single time I would like to use it?

Why. Oh Why.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

High Hopes

Sometimes the meal elicits groans, especially when I’m trying to be “creative”. Sometimes the meal elicits praise, and that’s when I’m feeling guilty because it is junk. Sometimes the meal, like this one, elicits a quiet table, because they are just eating.

This is when I feel good.

A simple salad with nothing but romaine and a few carrot “buttons”.
Tilapia with a little olive oil, lemon juice and ground pepper.
A purple mix of beautiful Lundberg Jubilee brown rice.

And now, the unveiling of the 14 meal menu.
In an effort to reduce grocery shopping and meal-planning stress, I have come up with a two week rotation of meals that my family will really eat. I’m hoping that I will no longer flutter around the kitchen nervously when someone asks me what is for supper because until that moment I hadn’t given it any thought at all. I’m hoping it will ease my guilt over incomplete, unbalanced meals that happen sometimes here because I didn’t plan ahead. I’m hoping that it will still give me room to be creative when it comes to meals…by just substituting a “regular” with my inevitable “new recipe” (cue groans).

I’m hoping that it will save money, reduce greenhouse gases, and promote world peace.

I always was an optimist.

Week #1
Macaroni and Cheese
"Chicken" Patty
Tuna Melt

Week #2
Baked Ziti or Lasagna
Grilled Cheese/Tomato Soup
"Chicken" Nuggets
Pancakes or French Toast

...subject to change...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cousin Sighting!

I was dragging the twins through Meijer, absent-minded, tired, bedraggled. Just that day I had said to someone, "I really need a hair cut." I hadn't even tried that morning. My favorite jeans were on their third day, and starting to slip down around my waist so I had to keep hiking them up. The girl twin had on her favorite pants too - the ones she kept pulling out of the Goodwill pile. Too tight, too short, and with a belt loop dangling out where it had come un-sewed. We had just survived a trip into Walmart, a place that I diligently boycott, except when the children can't see the chalkboard anymore. Then I slink in to get cheap glasses. The boy twin's glasses were not so much of the wrong prescription, they were just worn out. The doctor looked through them and said it was more from all the scratches than from failing eyesight that he needed new ones. Plus we are constantly looking at him and seeing, beyond his cheerful face, one lens up near his eyebrow, and the other down near his chin. He gets "wrestled" at school, and each day his dad sighs and tries to straighten them out. The girl twin has hair issues, and the boy twin's morning preparation had included a wet washcloth plastered against the side of his head to get a big rooster-tail to lay down.

Yeah we were lookin' fine.

So I'm in the 2nd or 3rd aisle, and suddenly there is a commotion. Girl twin says, "Mom!" and looks behind me. Boy twin clamps a hand over her mouth. Both smile at me in expectation. I don't have enough time to put it all together when BAM! I'm grabbed from behind! I scream out loud to the delight of five children - the twins, plus three more behind me, and the sneaker, my cousin, their mom. The looks on all of their faces were priceless.

I was shocked and disoriented and laughing and I have to say I pert near wet my pants. I took it all in as we were standing, chuckling, explaining (the girls saw us enter, and they searched all around the perimeter until they found us), goodbye-ing as we went our separate ways. But these are the things that passed through my mind:

First: Did I or did I not just wet my pants?
Then: Does she ever look unkempt? Is she really always this stylish?
Then: Oh my goodness, I forgot how bad I look today.
Then: Look how each of her girls have the fronts of their hair pulled straight back like that. Why don't I do something with the girl twin's hair?

And then: My cousin and her girls ran all around this huge store looking for....


I don't know, but something changed right then. I stopped nagging the children and started loving on them. I stopped feeling like something the cat dragged in at the end of a long day, and I held my head up.

Because I knew it didn't matter to my cousin. I knew I could be a bum on the side of the road with whiskers and one tooth, and she still would have...yeah I think she still would have searched for me.

Something about family is like that. It's just cool to connect with them. To touch them. I almost think it's because we all live our own busy lives, that it is miraculous to us that one of them might take a detour just to connect. A minute to sit down and write an e-mail. A card in the mail. An invitation to a wedding. A text message. A sighting at the grocery store.


On the way out, the twins shrieked with joy as we hurtled down the sidewalk towards the car. They were running, I was pushing the full cart at top speed, head down, smile wide. We passed two old men who looked up, surprised, laughing.

Thanks Cuz.