Monday, February 28, 2011

The Good Samaritan, Revisited

A couple of years ago, I blogged about young Dane's interpretation of the Good Samaritan story that he had learned in church.

Here was the conversation with Aidan in the car after church today:

Me: Aidan, what did you learn at church today?

Aidan: Mom, I just can't remember! It's too hard for my brain to remember!!

Me: Maybe we'll just go back to church for a couple more hours until your brain can remember. ("My brain just can't remember" is a common Aidan Cop Out Answer.)

Aidan: Oh, yeah. We learned about the guy who got the boo-boos and got karate-chopped! Then the burglurs stole all his stuff. He was just laying there and the preacher walked by, and didn't help him. Then the wise man walked by, and didn't help him. Then the neighbor walked by and helped him out. And there was this 9-year old girl who said she knew a secret about Justin Beave-o. (I'm assuming this is seperate from the Good Samaratin story. I'm pretty sure they didn't teach about Bieber at church today.) She said she knew a secret about Justin Beave-o and I wasn't suppposed to hear it until I was 9. But I heard the secret. He's the worst singer in the world!

Me: (Um, how did this conversartion switch from the good samaritan to J. Biebs?) What was the secret about Justin Bieber?

Aidan: That he poops. All the time. Like, a lot. (insert uncontrollable little-boy giggles from the backseat of the van HERE).

Nine year old girls everywhere will be devastated, I'm sure.

Friday, February 25, 2011

All In the Name of Science

Dane brought home the dreaded assignment a couple of weeks ago: The Science Fair.

Well, dreaded to me, anyway. I am not cut out for tri-fold boards and writing with magic markers. Fortunately, I married a man who loves him a good creative school project, so while I worked an entire weekend, Dane and Brandon put the scientific method to work.

A first grade science project is not an open-ended invitation to blow stuff up, burn household objects, boil eggs, or add Mentos to diet coke. Dane was assigned to "measure an object using two non-traditional forms of measurement, then compare your results using a math statement". But of course. For example, does it take more q-tips or paperclips to measure the length of my shoe? Dane didn't do that problem. It would have been much too simple, not very time-consuming, and all of the participants would have fit neatly on his desktop at school without mom and dad having to pose for pictures, print pictures, and cut pictures to scale.

Dane's problem?

"Which will take more, Harpers or Geronimo Stilton books to measure my dad?"

This is why Brandon helps with these projects, not me.

Dane's hypothesis?
"I think it will take more Geronimo Stilton books than Harpers to measure my dad."

Yes, those are Brandon and Harper paper dolls.

So, in conclusion:

We're hoping that NASA can use this ground breaking scientific discovery on their next mission.

Brandon and I took the pictures, Brandon printed the pictures and made the paper dolls (he calls them "figurines", instead of paper dolls. But we all know better.), and made the special "Geronimo paper" for the display. Dane wrote the information himself, and did the measuring and the math. Brandon also helped assemble the project sometime after Dane's bedtime, and posed for this all-too important picture:

All in the name of science.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Free Draw

You're seven years old. Your art teacher has just handed you a box of crayons with instructions to draw anything you want. It's free draw, and you are only limited by your imagination.

Seven year old Mandy would have drawn rainbows. And flowers, and butterflies, and maybe an imaginary Barbie house. Seven year old Mandy's drawing would have featured every crayon in the coloring box, if not in the rainbow, than in the detailed styles of clothing my free draw characters would be wearing. A Smurf or Cabbage Patch doll may have made an appearance on my drawing.

So what did Dane draw during his "free draw" time last week?

Theoretical futuristic warfare between Mexico and Texas, complete with dive-boming rocketships and suicide bombers.

And smiling paratroopers.

The Texas side:

Please note the grenade-launching soldier in the middle.

And Mexico:

This is what happens when you have a daddy who orders the entire series of GI Joe cartoons from the 1980s.

Gotta go, the school counselor is calling.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pink-Eye Stink-Eye

The kids and I are home this morning from church, thanks to four little pink-eyes belonging to Aidan and Harper. If you haven't held down a determined five-year old and wrestled eye drops into his little goopy eyes while he screams and cries and squeezes his eyes shut just as tight as he can, then clearly you are having a better morning than I am. I know how to get classified information out of captured terrorists now--just threaten them with antibiotic eye drops.

We have had a fairly uneventful week around these parts, the weather has been perfect these past few days, and I have shoved the kids outside to play every day. We have to soak up the "perfect weather" days while they last, because by May it will feel like a sauna in our backyard that will last for about 5 months. Dane and Aidan had football and soccer games yesterday, respectively. Aidan scored a couple of goals in soccer, and Dane pulled 6 flags, threw a touchdown pass, and inadvertently tackled a kid about twice his size. You're not really supposed to do that in flag football, which is why Brandon got some ugly looks from fellow parents as he cheered wildly on the sideline.

Brandon has been super-dad lately, hanging out with the kids while I work several noon-midnight shifts at the ER. (Sidenote: Everyone here has the flu. Everyone. If you have the flu, please stay home until it is GONE, because no one else wants it. If you have already been diagnosed with the flu in your doctor's office, please don't come to the ER later that same day wanting us to do something about your flu. We can't. Thank you. Sidenote #2: Noon-midnight shift? Not my cup of tea. The ER is busy when I get there, and busy when I leave, and since this morning person rarely sleeps past 7am, I am exhausted and cranky the next day. I'm a pleasure and joy to be around, I must say.) In the last couple of weeks, Brandon has taken all four kids, by himself, to a high school talent show/fashion show, Dane's open house, soccer and football games, and out to eat Mexican food. How much are you craving queso if you are taking four small children by yourself to eat Mexican food?

This is completely off topic (topic? Was there a topic?), but Emerson woke me up this morning, climbing into the bed long after Brandon had left to go to church early. She is communicating better and better, and we can usually understand exactly what she is wanting to say to us. A lot of her sentences still consist of a mixture of English and gibberish, for example, "Mommy gibberish gibberish cereal", or "Mommy Emerson gibberish play soccer". Anyway, we have this piece of artwork above our bed that we bought in China. It's a painting, with a branch and cherry blossoms, and something written in Chinese in the corner.

Emerson pointed to the painting this morning and said "Jing-yan", which was her Chinese name. She looked at me, and pointed to herself and said "Jing-yan, Emerson." We talked about how we got the painting in China when we brought her home, and then she started pointing to the painting and saying "China, Emerson, China!" and smiling. It was sweet. We have a photo album with pictures from Gotcha day, and other pictures of our time in China, and she loves to look at the album. She clearly remembers the lady who was her primary caregiver there, and smiles and chatters when she sees the picture of the two of them together. I like that when the subject of China comes up, that she doesn't curl up in the fetal position and sob. I'm hopeful that whatever memories she has of China are happy ones, and not horribly traumatic to her. I hope that when she's older, we can take the whole family back to China for a visit.

I apologize for the total lack of cohesive thought in this post. Apparently I have forgotten how to do this blog thing.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Have We Met Before?

Hi, my name is Mandy and I have a blog. It's called "Outnumbered", because I am basically an island in a sea of small, yappy little people who call me "Mommy" and want me to feed them dinner. My husband shares the little island with me, and he helps me rinse the dishes and locate my misplaced sanity on occasion.

Sometimes I stop by here and write a little something and post a picture or two that only my parents are interested in, but since it's been ALMOST 2 WEEKS since I have posted, I thought I would take a moment to re-introduce myself.

Whew. That's out of the way.

These past few days have found me working late shifts and waking up way too early. There's no sleeping in when a little three year old girl is standing at your bed speaking (very loudly and insistently) in half-English/half-Mandarin, telling you about a very naked Harper who is standing in her crib throwing a poopy diaper across the room. Good morning, Mandy. A couple of highlights* from the last week or so that do not involve poop:

Aidan got a handmade Valentine in the mail from a girl at church who also goes to school with him. They have been pretty big friends for a couple of years now, and he was psyched to get actual mail that had been "cut into a heart". We're going to make something special and put it in the mail it to her this week. My Aidan has a certain enthusiasm for life that I wish I could bottle up and spike my coffee with in the mornings. He gets over-the-moon excited about everything from footy pajamas to handmade Valentines to rolled up sweatpants. (Sidenote: for the past few months I have been spiking my coffee with Gingerbread Latte flavored creamer, a seasonal treat that I stocked up on right after Christmas. I have several bottles left, and will soon be risking food poisoning because they all expire in March. But it makes my coffee so yummy that I think it may just be worth the potential samonella infection.)

Dane has his first ever science fair this week, and Brandon has been slaving away this past weekend using every ounce of creative energy he has on his quest for the most ridiculously elaborate display known to the first grade. Fortunately for us all, procrastination will limit him to only what he can get done on the Sunday evening before the project is due on Monday, even though we have known about this assignment for two weeks.

I worked four days in a row this past weekend and Brandon was with the kids for the whole time. I came home one night to find that Emerson and Harper had gotten ahold of a four-color pen and spent some quality time covering their feet and tummies in four colors of ink. They've had a couple of showers since then, and the artful scribbles are still there! I guess I should be glad it wasn't on their faces, and thankful that it was an ink pen and not a Sharpie marker. But Brandon should still get Dad of the Year Award for taking all of the kids to Dane's Valentine's Day party at school by himself last Friday. I don't even like to go to the grocery store if I have more than one child in tow.

Brandon was put on this earth to be a high school youth minister. Last night his job involved having Aidan pee into a 2-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper. He took the 2-liter to church today, and used it as an illustration when teaching about purity to a group of high school boys.

No high school boys were traumatized during this illustration. And one five year old boy thought it was the greatest day of his life.

Attention anyone Brandon sees this week: if he offers you Dr. Pepper, DO NOT DRINK IT.

(*I use the term "highlights" very loosely here. I realize it may not be the highlight of your week to hear of my daughters' artistic endeavors or my son's mail. Welcome to my world.)

I hope your week was just as fun, and slightly less filled with pee-contaminated Dr. Pepper bottles.

And on that note, Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter Weather Event 2011

You may not have heard, but a storm is a-sweeping across the country.

It may have been on the news once or twice.

And though our little neck of the woods was not hit with any snow or ice, it is pretty chilly for Houston. Sunny, but very chilly. And just for kicks, perhaps so we would not feel left out of the "winter storm experience", our electricity has been cutting out periodically. An entire local school district closed 3 hours after opening today because of "probability of intermittent power outages". Indoor school events have been rescheduled because it's "too cold outside". When we're rescheduling basketball games because of cold air, it's safe to say that we officially have Snow Envy. We long for the days of icy roads and snowmen, days off of school to be made up for in June, the mad rush to the WalMart to stock up on necessities before the big storm hits. You would think Hurricane Ike cured this town of its obvious desire for inclement weather. Nope.

Monday, a day before Winter-pocalypse was scheduled to arrive, I shoved the kids outside to play in the backyard for what may be the last time this week.

The kids played on the swing set,

and Harper found herself in front of the camera.

Heaven forbid they both look at the camera and smile AT THE SAME TIME.

And yes, we have re-purposed a couple of old baby bottles into dirt diggers.
This masterpiece was started last summer, and continues today.

The little contemplative artist at work...
I'm going to need to borrow someone's power washer.

But I may want to wait till next week, so I don't end up with a sheet of ice on the back of house courtesy of a frozen power washer.

P.S. Someone googled "mean Chinese old man" last week and got to my blog. 1. I don't think I was what they were looking for. 2. What were they looking for?