Saturday, May 26, 2012

Being Crafty: Rainbow Snow Globe

Having Auntie Megan here has been such a huge blessing! She's been keeping our house from turning into a pigsty, which it definitely would be if I kept up at the pace I've been going (i.e. turtle slooooowww...). But besides the cleaning and the company, she brought a new creative brain into the house! One of the first days she was here, she told me that we needed to pick up cheap crayons for a project she had in mind. Once we had the crayons and an empty glass jar with a lid, we began the project: Rainbow Snow Globes!

Step 1: Peel the paper off of a pile of crayons. This was Lucian's favorite part of the craft, as it gave him permission to do what he always wants to do with the church Mass Bag crayons!

Step 2: Scrape the crayons to make a pile of wax shavings. After trying finger nails, a butter knife, a potato peeler and a dime, we ended up with a pretty hefty pile of shavings. We're still undecided as to which method worked best. Actually, for Megan it was her fingernails, for me it was the dime, for Max it was the butter knife, and for Lucian it was the potato peeler. So if you try this craft, I have no good advice!

Step 3: Using a piece of paper as a funnel, pour the crayon shavings into a glass jar. Fill the jar to the brim with water. The closer you get to the top, the smaller the air bubble you'll have, and the better your shavings will float around.

Step 4: Put the lid back on and shake, shake, shake! We originally used this humongous applesauce jar, but Max could barely lift it! So we eventually transferred our shavings into a jelly jar, and now it is a hit around this house. The shavings hover at the top of the jar (like a reverse snow globe) until you shake it up. Then you have a cool swirl of colors until the water stops spinning. And what's more, when the water is still, the jar can double as a pretty cool magnifying glass! (This alternate use brought to you by our resident explorer, Captain Max Salty).

Thus was our first rainy morning with Auntie Megan made bright and cheerful! Happy crafting!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lucianese, the answers

So you thought you could translate my language, did you? Haha!

Well, thanks to the brave few who were willing to make their attempts public! It was a valiant effort- and, in fact, I was surprised at how many right answers there were. For the win, there was a tie between Grandma R and Auntie Monica- way to go!

Here is the full list of answers, I hope you enjoy!

1. "Mo, Gacky!" = No, Macky!
   One of the most commonly heard phrases in this household, it still baffles me. Why does he choose to pronounce his brother's name with a 'G' while the word 'no' is pronounced with an 'M'? We know you can say your 'M' sound, Louie, just pick the right word!

2. "Yay-Yay, a-yelf." = Louie, by myself
   Mr. Independent whips this phrase out at least a handful of times each day. From buckling himself into his own carseast to crawling into his crib, there's nothing he won't try to do 'a-yelf'. But if he's unsuccessful, he's quick to ask for 'Elp, peas!'

3. "Uh-rul" = Cereal
   No morning is complete without a bowl of 'uh-rul' and 'goke'. I am careful to keep the pantry well stocked, because it's not a pretty morning if we're out of cheerios!

4. "Goke, peas" = Milk, please
  Another staple that causes chaos if we run out, milk is Lucian's beverage of choice. I have been known to make many runs to Jim's Market up the street for nothing but a gallon of milk.

5. "Uh Yum go?" = Where did Liam go?
  The name is interchangeable..."Uh Papa go?" is another favorite. But I just love how he says his uncle's name. Yum! It's perfect.

6. "Mee-mee!" = Excuse me!
   This phrase is most commonly heard when the boys are getting into the van. Lucian likes to climb in after his brother and politely say, "Mee-mee, Gax!" as he pushes past to his own carseat.

7. "Yuk-a-tah" = Liquor store
   So this is not actually a common phrase, but I couldn't resist adding it to the list! When we were out running errands one day, we stopped by the liquor store so Paul could run in and grab a bottle of wine. When we explained where Daddy was, Lucian picked up on it and started telling us about the "yuk-a-tah".

8. "Buss beef" = Brush teeth
   Lucian is obsessed with brushing his teeth. Any time he is in the bathroom, he asks to "buss" his "beef"; I think he'd do it ten times a day if I let him!

9. "You-yoff" = Shoes off
   Also commonly heard is the opposite, "you-yon". I really need to get him some Crocs so I can stop bending over to help him with his shoes. That's getting harder every day!

10. "Cookie"
   One of his first fully recognizable words. He's a little obsessed with cookies!

So there you have it, folks, a peek into the language of Lucian. I'm getting pretty good at understanding him myself, but there are still at least a handful of times each day that I stare at him blankly as he tries in vain to tell me something. Poor kid, but I'm doing my best!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lucianese, part 2 (The Quiz)

Louie has been learning more words every day, but most people other than myself have no idea what he's saying most of the time! I thought it might be fun to put together a little quiz to see if you can guess what some of his commonly used words or phrases actually mean. I'll do my best to type them as he pronounces them. You can respond in the comments or email me, and I'll post the answers in a few days.

Good luck to you, you'll need it!

1. "Mo, Gacky!"

2. "Yay-Yay, a-yelf."

3. "Uh-rul"

4. "Goke, peas"

5. "Uh Yum go?"

6. "Mee-mee!"

7. "Yuk-a-tah"

8. "Buss beef"

9. "You-yoff"

10. "Cookie"

Ok, so that last one doesn't count-  but it's not too surprising that it would be one of the few words Lucian can say completely clearly! It's funny, I'm getting so used to his goofy pronunciations that it throws me off when he actually pronounces a word perfectly. Part of me will be a little sad when he outgrows this phase.

Happy guessing!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Morning Coffee

Oh what an improvement this was from Saturday morning! Instead of our eldest barging in at 6:00am, we didn't hear a peep from the kids until 8:30. And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing. But almost as beautiful were the first words out of Max's mouth this morning. After climbing into bed with me and snuggling for a few minutes, he told me, "I'm going to make you your morning cup of coffee, Mom."

"Oh, ok sweetie," I said. "Come on up and get me when it's done!" So he jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. Paul and I laughed to ourselves and wondered what we had in store for us. A few minutes passed as we listened to the padding of little feet downstairs. Then we heard Max pound up the stairs, and seconds later he burst in saying, "Your morning cup of coffee is ready, Mommy, just like I promised!" I climbed out of bed and followed him downstairs, not quite sure what to expect. He brought me to the table and I saw a green plastic cup filled with "coffee" (water) waiting for me at the head of the table. "Here's your coffee!" he exclaimed proudly.

I looked around to figure out where the water had come from and discovered that he had pulled one of the dining room chairs into the kitchen and up to the stove. Our teapot had apparently been full of days-old water that he had used to fill my "coffee cup", only spilling a small amount onto the stovetop. There was even a pile of paper towels that had been used to try to clean up the spill. (Who is this kid and what did he do with Max?) I enjoyed my coffee under Max's watchful eye, sneaking away to pour it out a little at a time into the sink, until my cup was empty and he was satisfied.

I don't know what got into him, but I felt like it was Mother's Day all over again! The kid has a heart of gold.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Over the River and Through the Woods

Paul's sister Megan graduated from college last weekend! I can NOT believe she is done already. Paul was able to join the rest of his family in North Carolina for the celebration, but alas, I am too pregnant to fly... so the boys and I hunkered down at my parents' house for the weekend. I sure missed being there for the graduation festivities, but it ended up being a fun and relaxing weekend with Grandma and Grandpa.

We dropped Daddy off at the airport on Thursday evening after dinner and then drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house to begin our long weekend away from home. The boys stayed up long enough to read some stories with Grandpa, but the real fun began the next morning with... you guessed it... pirate pancakes! It's become so much of a tradition when the boys sleep over that during bedtime prayers that night Max said he was thankful for "the pirate pancakes Grandpa is going to make tomorrow!" (As if there was any doubt.)

Friday, Max helped Grandma plant some flowers, we went to a few garage sales on a hunt for little girl clothes (success!) and we went on a walk around the neighborhood... cut short by the imminent rain and my inability to walk more than two-tenths of a mile without nearly falling over.

We were greeted Saturday morning by doughnuts from Grandpa, and then Max literally spent the entire day playing in the back yard. For dinner, we grilled hot dogs and cooked marshmallows over the fire pit, then Grandma and Grandpa put the boys to bed so I could have a "sibling date" with Ben. Yeah, believe it or not (I barely do), I was out in downtown Minneapolis on a Saturday night! Crazy, right?

Sunday (Mother's Day) we had a lazy morning, with more pirate pancakes. We went to Mass at 11:00, then in a repeat performance of the day before, Max explored Grandma's beautiful backyard for the entire afternoon. Come evening, my mom and I met up with Ben for dinner and a show, leaving my dad with the boys, some buckets and a hose. Oh my, did they ever have a good time. The show was great, things went smoothly at home, and Grandpa and the boys picked up Daddy from the airport at 8:45. We all met back at our house around 9:00, when I walked in the door to find Max and Lucian with plastic daggers clenched in their teeth! Auntie Kelley had decided to deck out her nephews with pirate goodies, and they were wired!

We said goodbye to my parents, settled the boys down and got ready for bed. It was a great weekend, but it's sure nice to have my husband home. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking such good care of us!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dear Mom

I spy a wonderful Grandma!

I have finally learned that Mother's Day is not just about breakfast in bed, flowers, and nice cards, although those things are all wonderful. It's not just an excuse for moms to take a day off, although that's nice too. I realized that it is a day to think back on all of the amazing things my mother has done for me over the years and to thank her. This year, I want my mom to know what exactly it is I am thanking her for. So here are just a few of the many, many things that come to mind.


Thank you for getting up at night with me when I was a baby. For holding me while I cried. For many nights with too few hours of sleep.

Thank you for giving me a childhood of which I have nearly all good memories. I know there were imperfect moments, but the joy of my childhood outweighs them so heavily that I honestly don't remember them.

Thank you for allowing me, but never pressuring me, to try new things. For supporting me in the activities that I loved. For being there in the audience night after night after night, even when I had only a small chorus role.

Thank you for letting me make wrong decisions, and for being a shoulder to cry on when I realized my mistakes. For celebrating with me in the many joys of life: graduations, marriage, children!

Thank you for being there for me as I raise my own kids.  I often wonder how other moms survive without having Grandma just a short drive away... I can't even picture it! The boys are so blessed to have you in their lives, as am I.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thumbs up for Grandma!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


My boys are polar opposites when it comes to getting their photos taken. If Lucian even notices the camera is in the room, he starts posing like a GapKids model. If I dare to try putting the camera away, he points and yells, "YEEEZZ! YEEEZ!" (cheese!) until I snap one last picture. He loves it! He'd stand there all day.

But Max? Oh Max... it's as if there is something repelling him from looking at the camera lens and smiling simultaneously! The only time I have ever caught a genuine smile on film was when I took him completely off-guard. But as soon as he notices Mom trying to snap a picture, he puts on a series of ridiculous expressions... really anything but a real smile! Over the course of about a minute, I snapped this series of pictures in an unsuccessful attempt to capture a smile.

"Yesssss, masterrrrr..."
"What did I do?"
"To be or not to be..."
"Seriously, Mom? Still at it?"
"Fine. Just to make you stop, here's a decent one."
I must say, he's got quite the repertoire of expressions already. With Louie, I will never want for happy, smiley photos to chronicle his childhood. But Max definitely adds a new dimension to every picture that he is in! He's a testament to the fact that mothering is imperfect and messy... and we really can't make our children do anything. I am reminded of that each time I reach for my camera.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Walking the Plank

What are you lookin' at?

Hang on to your hats, we now have bunk beds.

With baby #3 on the way, we knew we would need more sleeping space, so we used the Easter full house as an opportunity to set up bunk beds in the boys' room. By the time Baby Girl is old enough to need Louie's crib, Max will be more than ready for a top bunk, but the novelty of the new furniture addition has already caused me some major headaches!

Take last week, for instance. I was folding laundry in the guest room upstairs while the boys were playing loudly in their bedroom. In general, loud equals safe in our household; if I can hear them, I know they're not getting into trouble. Apparently, this is no longer the case when the top bunk is in play! I found out later that the bunk beds had been transformed into a pirate ship- the top bunk was the deck and the bottom bunk was the hold.

On a whim, I peeked into the room to see what they were doing and, to my horror, witnessed Max standing inches from the edge of the top bunk, Lucian directly behind him. Max yelled, "I'm walking the plank!" as Lucian gave him a nice piratey shove on the back. As I promptly died of a heart attack, Max managed to fall backward onto the safety of the mattress.

Several strong words and new rules later, both kids were safely on the floor. We've now gone about a week without incident (I think I may have put some healthy fear into their hearts) but I know it's only a matter of time until the first major injury. I would appreciate any advice from bunk-bed-owning families about how to keep your children alive once this treacherous item of furniture has entered the picture! Is there anything I can do, or am I staring at the inevitability of a broken arm?

I think I'm going to put the ER on speed dial...

**As my husband reminded me in the comments, I did unintentionally leave out the crowning jewel of this story. How could I have forgotten to mention Max's response to being taken down from his ship? Those words... I must have put them out of my head. I didn't think I'd hear them for at least another eight years! When he realized his cavorting on the deck was finished, at least for the day, he turned to me and whined (in his very best teenager voice) "Ahh! You ruined my pirate life!!" **

Friday, May 4, 2012

May Day!

We decided to kick off the beautiful month of May by delivering May Baskets to some of our friends and family. Max got to pick out the color scheme for our baskets... chosen because of the resemblance to pirate treasure, of course. (Gold and jewels!) He and Lucian decorated the cups with stickers and buttons, punched holes for the ribbon handles, and helped me make tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers. It was a fun project, but the highlight for both boys was definitely the delivery!

On Tuesday morning, we packed all of our baskets into a box, put them in the car and started our deliveries. Most people weren't home when we delivered their flowers, so Max go the joy of running away from each house without getting caught... which would have been nearly impossible had anyone actually been home, seeing as we had to buckle into a carseat before driving away!

Special Delivery!
Gotta get away...
Whew! Made it.
Lucian's turn to ring the doorbell
We did get caught at Grandma and Grandpa's house! After ringing the doorbell and running around the corner to hide, Max got caught by Grandma, which he was not a bit upset about. We even got to take a lunch break before hitting the rest of the houses on our list! It was a fun way to spend a day and usher in the season of Spring.

Caught by Grandma!