Monday, March 31, 2008

The Baltimore Children's Museum

We did Spring Break. There's no possible way that the kids could say that they were bored. If they did, they lied.

As you may have figured out, we took the kids to Baltimore. One of the must do's was the Baltimore Children's Museum.

They have an awesome water area for the kids to play in. Shane was busy building things with the water pipes which reenforces the mechanical things that he is building in class.

And they had an exhibit on sink/float which Owen's teacher has been teaching them in school. Ms. Sheehan and Ms. King, you'll be glad to know that he correctly guessed every item!

Ken met us about 1:00 and the boys wanted him to go up into the play area with them. He obliged. I'm not quite sure how he crammed his adult sized body through the 2 foot slates to climb higher, but he did.

The funny part is that the museum encourages parents to go in with their kids and in fact say that they have to if the kid is small. Sure, make the space between 2 feet wide. Every adult can get through that easily.

Well, I decided to take a break and get some water. Leaving Ken to climb through this monstrous jungle gym with the kids by himself.

{Enter ominious foreshadow music.}

I get over to the cafeteria part and get a bottle of water. My phone rings and it's Ken telling me to go to the purple slide because Owen and Shane split up and Owen went down the slide.

Did I mention that there were thousands of people here? It was Spring Break after all. Add those people to the field trips and you get a whole lot of people.

Anywho, I go back to the gym area and look for a purple slide. I see a black slide but not a purple slide. I wait for a few minutes and then call Ken and ask him 1) where's the purple slide and 2) how long has it been since Owen went down the slide.

First we debate the color of the slide.

I win because I hear Shane in the background telling Ken that it was in fact black and not purple.


But it wasn't important who won the color battle. We needed to find Owen. After all, this is the most important issue. Not who won the color of the slide. Did I mention that I was right?

Well, we come to the conclusion that Owen is, in fact, lost. In the children's museum. During Spring Break.

Are you kidding me?

He says "well, they split up. Whatelse was I suppose to do?" I can imagine that he's trying to look all cute and innocent by shrugging his shoulders and putting his hands up in the air.


We'll talk about that later. First, I have to find my five year old. In the children's museum. During spring break.

I immediately go to the front and tell them that he's missing. I sweetly tell that that my husband lost my son.

I felt a little better because they do have matching wrist bands for kids and their parents so no one else can take him. If the guy is actually checking. But, I see a few kids slip past him. This isn't making me feel any better.

Five minutes go by and another lady comes to help. She has radioed the staff with his name and description.

Then I get a call from Ken saying that he found him.

I tell the lady to cancel the Adam alert but that she still needed to call an ambulance for my husband. Because when I find him, I'm going to do him serious harm.


I'm sorry for blogging that part of the trip, honey, but it's too funny not to. Especially since we found him and all. Just don't let them split in two directions again, m'kay? Thanks.

They had a huge chess board which Shane and Ken played with an assist by Owen. My job was to run defense and get the pieces back on the board that the other kids would run up and move or steal. Those big chess pieces were just too much for most kids to resist.

They had a great art room too. I want that art room. It's fantastic. The boys both drew maps.

Do you think that Owen's lips help the artist concentrate more? LOLOLOL.

And, lastly, to be fair to Ken, here's a shot of my big behind trying to climb through the jungle gym. It was pretty let me tell you. LOL.

I would definitely recommend the Baltimore Children's Museum. However, if you go, I highly recommend keeping your kids together!

Spring Has Sprung!

As you may have figured out, I love to take pictures. Mostly of my kids. Sometimes of my hubby. Never of myself. And most definitely of nature.

Here are a few pictures that will make you want to pack a picnic and go outside and play. :)

After taking these pictures, I realized that I need a new macro lens. I'll put that one the list to get. ;)

So Uncooperative

You'd think that these children wouldn't even notice the camera anymore. Well, not so much. Sometimes they're just plain uncooperative about getting their picture taken.

And, sometimes, they're just uncooperative and grumpy period. So, what's a mom to do? Well, of course. Pick up the camera and continue shooting pictures. Those are some of the best photos! You know - the ones to show their future girlfriends. I don't just shoot nice, smiling pictures of happy children. No siree. I get the ones that they are crying, fussing, throwing a temper tantrum and being real. Those are pure gold.

Let's take a look, shall we?

"Mooooommmmmmmm, don't. It's not funny anymore......"

"Yeah, this new stadium is great and I know that you paid a lot of money to bring us and I know that the game is about to start. But, didn't you hear me say that I was hungry? I want a $12.00 hotdog now."

This is Owen at his most Oweney. I just wanted to see the first pitch. That was it. Well, Ken saw the first pitch and I took them to get hotdogs. I'm a sucker. He was hungry after all and if you know Owen, you know that you don't come between him and his food. It was only going to get uglier. He's 40 pounds of lean mean eating machine. :)

"Mooooommmmmmmmmmm, stop. You just wait until I get a hold of that camera............"

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Baltimore Aquarium

Wow. We made the most of every moment in the kids Spring Break.

A few shots from the Baltimore Aquarium.

This one is a little out of focus but I love it anyway.

Man, there were a lot of kids at the aqarium with the spring breakers and class field trips. It was crazy. I had to laugh at myself though because some little boy named Jonathan (I know this because the counselor kept speaking to him) with the YMCA group kept turning around and giving my kids weird looks and he wouldn't eat his sandwich.

So, I gave him the evil mom look and motioned to him to turn around in his seat and eat. If you're a teacher (or a mom), you've done the move too. Lift your right hand and make a circle motion with your index finger and then point to where you want someone to go. Jonathan never turned back around again.

I guess I should have realized that we were sitting in the middle of a school because it was one of the few tables available. I guess every one else was smart enough to sit somewhere else. :)

I also realized that if Shane gets freaked out at 3-D movies, a 4-D movie isn't going to be any better. Yeah, he really didn't dig getting sprayed with water or things poking him in the back or getting "grabbed at" by the shooting air under the seats. He really wasn't digging the rats coming towards him either ( either!) We had to leave the theater within 3 minutes of the film starting.

Oh well. At least I got my picture. I guess that the look on his face says it all, huh?

Note to Self: Don't take him to 3-D or 4-D movies. Ever. Again.

But, definitely take them back to the Baltimore aquarium. It was awesome!

What's Their Story?

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

As I was snapping pictures at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, I noticed an older couple. She was walking with a cane and he was using a walker. She was attempting to take a picture of him while he was sitting on the bench. It took him a while to get to the bench without the aid of his walker. Meanwhile, a lady came by and asked if she could take their picture for them (probably thinking (as I did) that they wanted a picture together.) But, the lady said no and proceeded to take his picture once he got settled.

Meanwhile, they finally take the picture and proceed to walk down the pier. I couldn't help but snap their picture. I'm not sure why I was drawn to taking this picture but it just spoke to me.

Notice his walker and her cane. They are walking so closely together. She has her hand on his walker. Maybe to steady herself. Maybe to help guide him.

His shoes are worn on the bottom. Obviously well loved. Maybe it is his only pair of shoes. Maybe he refuses to get a new pair and his wife insists that he does and he absolutely refuses to.

Maybe this lady isn't even his wife.

Notice his pants are well loved too. They are hemmed on the bottom and there is a stain on the right pocket. Maybe they're his only pants. Or, maybe they're just his favorites. Don't we all have a favorite pair of pants that we love to wear?

Notice his jacket. Do you think that he worked for Precision Tune for years and years? Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe he pulls for a NASCAR driver sponsored by Precision Tune. Or, maybe he just got the jacket from somewhere he doesn't even remember and just put it on because she insisted that he wear a jacket. And, he was just tired of listening to her. Hum.

I wonder what their story is. I guess I'll never know.

The only thing that I do know is that I had to take this picture. I didn't have a choice. The camera practically picked itself up and took the picture. This is why I like to take pictures. I am an observer.

So, what do you think the story is with the couple?

Sights of Baltimore

We took the kids to Baltimore this week during their spring break. As you may have figured out, I love taking pictures. Here are a few of my favorites that I shot during the trip.

Been to an Orioles game? If you have, then you know this tower well.

As luck would have it, we saw several robins. They kept flying away (probably because Owen kept running towards them!) which made it hard to get a picture. I do like this one though.

Near every water, there must be a life ring.

And, near every water, there must be a ship.

And, just in case you wanted to know how far you are from, oh say the Carribean or somewhere like that, check out the signs that point you in the right direction.

And, most famous, of course, is the Aquarium and Dominion Sugar signs at night.

And, of course, if you hang out at the Inner Harbor, you're bound to see a dad hanging out with his sons. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Does He Need A Bath?

Owen "said" no. (Read: argued like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.)

I said yes.

You be the judge.

You absolutely MUST click on the picture to enlarge it to get the full effect.

Now, the story.

He went to jump on a neighbor's trampoline. Apparently, he took off his shoes and walked through the mud to get there.

He came back home for dinner. I took one look at him and sat him on the kitchen rug with strict instructions not to walk anywhere or touch anything (his hands and face were just as bad).

I continued to fix my dinner and sat down to eat. I knew that my dinner would be cold by the time I got the ten pounds of dirt off of him.

Following my directions not to walk anywhere, he scooted over to the edge of the kitchen and living room to watch toonies. Note that he stayed on the kitchen towel that I gave to him. He's such a good boy.

Well, those feet were too good not to photograph.

So, instead of being a good mom and washing his feet, I grabbed my camera and started snapping pictures.

He looked at me and said "Mooooommmm...don't put those on your email."

I said not to worry. I wouldn't.

And, I didn't.

I'll just post them to my blog.

Because they're too funny not to.

And, I didn't break my word. I didn't put them on my email.


PS - I sent Shane upstairs to get Ken to help. Ken came downstairs and sat down. He spoke to Owen. Ten minutes later, I asked him if he noticed Owen's feet and hands. He looked at him and said "ewwwww." He hadn't even noticed before I said something. Boys are boys.

Piles and Piles and More Piles

Do you know what this is?

Well, of course it's a pile of stuff.

I always have a pile (okay, piles) of stuff. And, I'm betting that I'm not alone on this.

A pile of bills to pay.

A pile of papers to return to the kids' school. (I promise I'm sending Owen's signed report card back after spring break, Mrs. King!)

A pile of files for my clients work.

A pile of Ken's stuff that has been sitting on the counter for weeks on end.

A pile of stuff for the kids.

These piles are taking over my life. I get tired of them, go through them (throwing out stuff that should have been handled months ago - and CHECKING it off of my list) and then redistribute the piles to new improved piles of stuff.

The stuff in the pile in the kitchen (which was a looming 10 foot pile on my kitchen counter) has now been stacked into more manageable piles.

And inevitably the piles of stuff just move from location to location.

And eventually they make their way over to the staircase to go upstairs.

It's gotten so bad that when I tell the boys (which includes Ken) to take their stuff upstairs, they go and pile it on the stairs.

And, that's where it will sit for the next decade or until I carry it upstairs.

The boys will purposefully step over the piles to get up the stairs.

I know because I have blocked the stairs (two and three steps at a time) to see if they will carry the stuff up.

But, they step over it and go about their business.

I have caught them scaling the bannister rail like Spiderman to get over the piles. And, that was just Ken. :)

I tried to do a science experiment and see how long the stuff would sit on the stairs before it made its way upstairs.

It made it about a week until I couldn't stand it anymore. Plus, we were having people over and I was thoroughly embarrassed.

Note that Owen put his shoes right in the middle of the stair case for me to trip over. And, then he complained that they were in the way when he was carrying down the laundry. LOL.

Also, note I ended up using the vacuum twice again on the middle floor before it ever made it upstairs again. Yes, I am guilty too. ;)

And, I promised pictures of undies. Lots of pictures. These never even made it to the stairs. They sat in that same spot for four days. FOUR DAYS.

If you have stairs in your house, I'm betting that you're giggling to yourself right now. ;)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sweet Potato Fries That Don't Hurt

Want to stop severing your fingers cutting sweet potatoes for fries?

If the answer to this question is yes, then (mom) take yourself over to the local grocery store and pick yourself up some sweet potato fries by Alexia.

They're yummy.

To me.

Of course, the kids didn't like them.

And, Ken covered them in ketchup.

But, whatever. They're yummy to me and I'm the one cooking dinner.

They're at local stores in Anderson. I assume if they're in Anderson, they're everywhere.

Go to the frozen foods isle where the french fries are. But, resist the urge to pick up some oh-so-tasty but bad-for-you shoe string fries. Instead, grab the sweet potato ones by Alexia.

Or, if you prefer the "old skoll" way of cutting the potatoes and severing your limbs in the process, then by all means, please continue to cut your sweet potatoes for fries.

I'll be downstairs spreading pre-cut sweet potato fries on the cookie sheet for our dinner. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Yes, Susan, Owen Was....

as busy as Mary Mayken.

I was reminded of this as I was going through pictures for Owen's kindergarten teacher. He was star of the week. :)

Let's take a look back, shall we?

Here's Owen at about 16 months.

My scrapbooking table was moved downstairs shortly after that.

And, then there was the time that I left him for a minute eating his breakfast and came back to this:

And, then one day, I found him trying to take a bath in the bathroom sink.

And, one day, I happened to have my camera out and caught his technique.

1. grab the stool.

2. position the stool in strategic location.

3. stand on the stool to get what he wanted. (Note the stool in the bathroom picture.) What he wanted in this picture was the candy on top of the fridge. He has since then figured out to stand on the counter. But, he still uses the same technique.

We soon moved the stool to the counter. He then slid the chairs across my wooden floor to get to stuff. Floors by Carlson Homes. Scratches by Owen.

And, we call this his up-and-over technique. His crib was dismanteled shortly after this picture was taken. What's the point? He was just 2.

And, the stairs were his favorite playground. We call this his "up-and-over-and-bowl-through-it-or-move-it-or-go-around-it technique. Or, hike-one-hike-two. Note the stuff in the background that we had put in front of the stairs to keep him off of it. He probably crawled out of the pack and play to get over the gate.

And, least we forget what I had to do when he was just under 2.

That's right. You're not seeing wrong. I moved the lock to the outside of his door. It was for my sanity. I never knew that I was a handyman until I had to figure out how to do this. :)

So, yes. There's absolutely nothing that MM can do to me that Owen hasn't already done. Bring it on, Mary Mayken. I'm ready for ya!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Essentials Of Life

Every night, it's the same routine. If you have children, you know the drill. If you don't, would you like mine for the evening just once? Please.

Me: Go upstairs and brush your teeth, go potty and get into bed. I'll come upstairs and will tuck you into bed. Do you understand?

"Them": Yes, mommy.

Me: Good. Now, we're not going to have a major battle upstairs, are we?

"Them": No, mommy.

Me: Good. If I have to come up there and referee, you've lost your video games tomorrow.

"Them": Okay, mommy.

Me: Good. Repeat what's going to happen if I have to come up there.

"Them": "If you have to come upstairs because we're being loud or fighting, we lose our video games."

Me: Good. You understand. Now, go.

Of course, they start fighting as soon as they hit the stairs. Two feet away. These children have the memory of a man. Already. Two minutes later, I hear what sounds like the ceiling crashing in, usually followed by a shreiking "stop it, Shane" or "Stop it,'s coming up here."

Then I take a deep breath knowing what's coming. It would be easier to ignore it. But, yet, I am a glutton for punishment.

I sneak upstairs hoping to catch them while they're doing whatever it is that they're doing.

Because if I don't catch them, they'll deny, deny, deny that it was them. Oh, my pardon. It must have been the other 10 children that live in this house. Because these two perfect angels could not have possibly have made all that racket.

So, then the tears start (and that's just me!) and they do one of three things.

1) they throw themselves on the mercy of the court (not usually); or
2) start selling each other out and blaming each other; or
3) they (um...usually Owen) argue like they graduated from Harvard Law School. This is the usual scenario just so you have the full picture.

Another 45 minutes of tears and arguments go by and I finally get them into bed.

Inevitably, one or both come back out at least once. Usually twice. Maybe three or four times.

Well, tonight, it was Owen's turn to try the second manuver to get his video games back since the first, more direct one didn't work.

Defense argument #2 tonight was "I don't care. Video games don't matter."

Here's his defense.

Owen: I don't need video games.

Me: Okay.

Owen: Nope. The only things that I need to survive in life are:

1) to breath air;
2) to have food to eat;
3) to have water to drink;
4) to have shelter;
5) to have clothes on my back.

With his lip quivering and big tears in his eyes, he sums up his closing argument.

Owen: Yep. That's it, mom. That's all I need for survival. I don't need video games.

Yep. I'm pretty sure that he used the terms "essential things to survive."

Anyway, I agree with him that those are the essentials to survival. Kiss him and send him on his sad little way.

Believe it or not, I didn't laugh. Not one time.

God, I love that kid. Is he really just 5?

So, Mrs. King...if you're still reading this, you'll be glad to know that your lessons on the essentials of life did sink in. At least for one child. If you haven't gotten to it yet, just follow Owen's lesson plan above. And, be sure to call on him. Apparently he has it all figured out.

And don't forget to ask him where video games fall in that list. I'd like to see if they still aren't essential. I'm betting that they are back on the list. I'm sure that he's come to his senses. :)

By the way, "them" is my mother's revenge. Although, I am sure that I did not fight with my sister. Ever.

The Morning Routine

Every morning, it's the same deal with Owen.

Every morning, he comes into our bedroom about 5:30-6:00 and gets in bed with us.

Every morning, I tell him to go back to sleep and I get up to read my paper and drink my coffee. In peace.

Every morning, Ken tells him to go back to sleep and then tries to put the super-sleeper-snuggle hold on him. You know....snuggle him back to sleep. :o) It never works by the way.

Every morning, Ken comes downstairs about 6:45 carrying Owen who is slung over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

Every morning, I ask him if he's tired. He says no and I tell him he can go back to bed.

Every morning, he says no way and pushes away my newspaper and snuggles beside me for about five minutes.

Every morning, I get up to fix Ken's lunch and leave Owen sitting there wrapped in the blanket.

Every morning, he'll watch a toonie until I fix his breakfast.

Except this morning, Ken told me to take a look at "Mr. I'm not tired."

This is what I found.

Every morning, he is afraid that he'll miss something and wants to tell Ken good-bye.

Just this morning, he couldn't quite stay awake.

God I love that kid.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been
the foresight to know where you're going
and the insight to know when you're going too far.