Thursday, September 25, 2008

Two Happy Campers

Jacob and David went on a Cub Scouts camping trip last weekend. Hiking in the woods, sleeping in a tent, making s'mores over a campfire, the whole nine yards. Jacob really had a great time. Here they are, getting ready to head out into the backwoods:

David might just look like a regular dad, but guess what? He's also the den leader!

That part is all my fault. On the day of the Cub Scouts organizational meeting, Jacob and David were at the pediatrician's office, and I was charged with going to the meeting and gathering the necessary information. David says that he told me ahead of time that he did not want to be a den leader, but I don't think I heard him. At the meeting, the pack master or grand poobah or whomever he was started begging for someone to volunteer to be a den leader. Well, I always start to come unglued about 15 seconds into an awkward silence, and besides that, Caroline was crying to get out of her stroller and Elizabeth was emptying out the jug of lemonade that was intended for the Cub Scouts, so the next thing I knew I was raising my hand and volunteering David, just to get the whole thing over with.

I was really thinking it could be a team effort: I could be the "behind-the-scenes" field trip organizer, bean counter, and supplies shopper, while David could be the charismatic front man. Sounds like a dream team, doesn't it? Unfortunately, I've lost so many brain cells since having three children that being a den leader seems really hard. Grand Poobah came to our house one day with notebooks full of information that must be processed and communicated to the den. There are patches that must be sewn onto uniforms (sleeves? lapels? I need charts and graphs, folks!) Then there is the whole scouting "lingo" that must be learned. I can't talk the talk, walk the walk, tie the knots or handshake the handshake. But I DID volunteer, so I feel an obligation to figure all this out so that the boys can have a meaningful Cub Scouts experience. On the other hand, I guess if the other parents were all that worried about their kid having a meaningful Cub Scouts experience, they would have volunteered themselves.

Anyway, here's Jacob in front of his tent:

And getting ready to dig in to some well-deserved pancakes:

Studying a critter of some kind:

And one more of the whole gang before Jacob and David left on their big adventure:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stop me before I buy Smucker's ice cream sundae toppings again!!!!!

I've been feeling frustrated by my refrigerator recently. It has seemed disorganized and overcrowded, particular the condiment shelves on the door. I found myself having to squeeze and rearrange things to fit my mustards and mayonaisse. Pickles were forced to live on the top shelf near the cream cheese -- the horror! -- because there was simply no room for them in the door. Then earlier tonight, when Elizabeth asked for a jelly sandwich, I could not find jelly, but I finally figured out the source of my refrigerator door woes:

For those of you keeping score at home, that's ten, yes ten, ice cream sundae toppings: three hot fudge, two hot caramel, one regular caramel, one butterscotch, one strawberry, and a jar of cherries for the top. (Don't worry, I don't really keep the Reeses' shell in the fridge -- I'm no amateur, people! - I just lined it up for the picture so that you could see the depth and breadth of the sundae-making options that I offer.)

If you've been to my house recently, you know how I loves me a good make-your-own-ice-cream sundae party. To me, nothing quite say "PARTY!!" like choosing from a row of candy, sprinkles, liquid toppings, and whipped cream. In fact, I recently purchased a serving dish specifically for my make-your-own-ice-cream-sundae parties:

My ice cream lazy susan. Isn't it gorgeous? There is just nothing I love more than a single-purpose serving dish. Deviled egg plates being the classic example.

Apparently, however, every time I throw an ice cream sundae party I forget about the toppings left over from my last raging ice cream sundae party. Shockingly, none of these sundae toppings are expired, so we had better get to work! If you're going to be in the neighborhood, give me a call or shoot me an email. Come on over!! We'll have a big time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Except she doesn't shed . . .

Have you ever noticed that having a mobile baby/toddler is a little bit like having a family dog? If we happen to leave food out and turn our backs, Caroline will find it. If I don't get to the broom fast enough after she eats, she'll start scavenging off the floor:

Saturday morning was chaotic around here. Jacob had been sent home sick from school on Friday; he was running a fever and really feeling miserable. As usual, the timing could not have been worse -- on Friday, he had to miss a field trip to the Pet Supermarket to help pick out the class hamster, and on Saturday, he had to miss the Cub Scouts organizational get together at the park and his good friend Ben's birthday party at the zoo. When he was still running a fever on Saturday morning, we decided to take him to the doctor. The division of labor: David would take him to the doctor, and I would take the girls to the Cub Scouts meeting to gather all of the needed information. Incidentally, I was sure that David had gotten the worst of the jobs in taking Jacob, who is not the world's best patient, to get a throat culture. But no, taking Elizabeth and Caroline to the Cub Scouts organizational meeting had to have been much, much worse. Anyway, I was running around trying to get the diaper bag packed and everyone dressed, and I turned around and saw that Caroline had somehow managed to get into Jacob's soggy, uneaten bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats:

Somehow I don't think that "sweetened oat clusters" are on her approved food list, not to mention sweetened oat clusters that came from a bowl that theoretically had been eaten from by a streppy boy (although I doubt he ate a thing).

I forget when it is that they lose all of this new-eater enthusiasm and begin subsisting on nothing but air and Flinstones? Around age two, maybe? But for now, anyway, we're enjoying the fact that Caroline will knock you over to get to those leftover grilled cheese crusts.

And Jacob? He's feeling incredible again, and is back to saving the world:

We were happy to find out it was strep, because we've seen how lightning fast the drugs will knock that out. Strep is much higher on the Moore Family Preferred Germ List than, say, the dreaded "fever virus," which tends to drag on and on, and always makes us worry that it's really something else. So for the time being, anyway, we're all good as new around here!

Monday, September 1, 2008

One year old pictures

If you are interested, you can click here to see Caroline's one year old pictures. These pictures provide an excellent example of why I decided long ago that I should leave the picturetaking to the pros. Caroline was in a foul mood the day I took her to have these done -- she was fighting a cold and just wasn't going to be tricked into smiling by some dumb squeaky duck falling off someone's head. In fact, I was pretty sure that she did not break a smile the entire time, but lo and behold! -- the camera was apparently faster that the speed of light. The photographer got some really sweet ones. To those of you hoping for an encore from Caroline's last round of pictures, sorry to disappoint, but she did not flip the bird this time. These will be up on Heather's website for a couple of weeks.

I'd rather be at Publix

Elizabeth's love of Publix knows no bounds. She would choose a trip to Publix over one to the playground, zoo, or pool any day of the week.

If I plan a Publix run after the kids go to bed, I have to be careful not to mention that plan out loud, or I risk major drama, tears, and heartfelt pleas to come too from Elizabeth.

She assumes that I love Publix as much as she does, as you can see from the "All About Mommy" book that she made for me at school for Mother's Day:

[NOTE: I do not own blue fancy pants.]

Elizabeth is a really fun Publix companion. Her enthusiasm about being at Publix is contagious. And while she certainly has her moments, she actually does not do a whole lot of begging for kiddie junk food while we are there. She is just thrilled to be there. I think the worst we ever came home with was Chocolate Lucky Charms. David took one look at the box when we got home and said "hey, let's not buy any more Chocolate Lucky Charms." Who can really argue with him? But other than that, we pretty much stay on-list while we are a Publix.

She does have a couple of minor Publix quirks. She wants to pick out and put the cantaloupe in the cart by herself. Just the cantaloupe. Why she had to zone in on one of the heavier fruits is beyond me. Yes, it's better than if she decided that she had to load her own watermelons, but not as good as if she had chosen apples. She invariably picks a cantaloupe at the bottom of the pile, so we've caused a couple of cantaloupe avalanches at Publix. She also wants to push the buttons on the keypad in the checkout line, but she won't just push the buttons I tell her to push. "I want to pick whichever buttons I pick," she says. I now let her pick whichever buttons she picks as long as I am not in the active process of paying for the groceries.

So cantaloupe thing and keypad thing aside, the only real problem with taking Elizabeth to Publix is that it means that I have to push around The Beast:

Or The Bench Beast:

(Jacob joined us on this particular Publix run despite the fact that he does not quite get the magic of Publix in the way that Elizabeth does.)

For those of you who do not have small kids, I know that when you see us coming with The Beast you have the same thoughts that you have when you see us in your boarding gate at the airport. And I don't blame you a bit. Because The Beast and The Bench Beast do not maneuver well. Even a simple turn requires a 10 foot turning radius, or a 5-point turn. Stopping and going is always an adventure with The Beast (Bench Beast is even worse). The chances are about 50/50 that I will graze you with The Beast if I get anywhere near you, and those odds go up even higher if I am distracted by pleas for a Diego Gogurt. If you see us coming, you should save yourself and quickly move away from us -- the cucumbers can wait. Because I can't necessarily stop The Beast just because I want to stop it, or turn The Beast just because I need to turn, or move in the direction I want to go just because I want to go there. No, I am pretty much in Publix with a shopping cart and a three year old that have minds of their own. You, on the other hand, are nimble as a ballerina with your regular, non-Beast shopping cart. You should use that to your advantage.

While it is definitely easier to go to Publix by myself, I've got to admit that taking Elizabeth with me makes it feel like more of a party. It is hard to feel annoyed about yet ANOTHER trip to the grocery store when Elizabeth, upon learning of a trip to Publix, gasps and says "JACOB, guess WHAT?????? I get to go to PUBLIX!!!!!" And I do love those BOGO specials.