Saturday, April 28, 2012

Aww!

This was way back in February, but is too sweet not to share. They were fussing over who was going to look at the book (a photo book from the Christmas before Sylvie was born) so I suggested they read it together. Amazingly they complied, and I snuck some photos of them. I was in the kitchen and didn't want to walk in and disturb them since they were being so sweet. Elliot was telling Sylvie what was happening in the pictures. IMG_0128 IMG_0132 IMG_0133

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Little artists.

This no television thing seems to be working out alright. More reading, more playing with toys, more outdoor time, and more art time. And even storytelling! I've told them a story at nap time the past two days, after they were in their beds, and while Sylvie only half listens, Elliot is a fan. Wednesday's was a made up story about little Knight Elliot, and today's was Sylvielocks and the 3 bears. Elliot has requested something about "two little turtles walking down a road and something scares them" for tomorrow's story time. It's good brain exercise for my jelly-lump of a noodle. They spent some time painting one day last week. I really need to start coming up with some variations besides just using kid's tempera or watercolors. There are some amazing blogs out there that provide me with inspiration overload about kid art that I've yet to put into practice. IMG_0785 IMG_0789 IMG_0788 IMG_0791 IMG_0787 IMG_0792 They have the sweetest little sweetie faces ever! They both painted a wooden dinosaur thing from the dollar store, and Elliot painted on a canvas for the first time.

Brother vs. Sister

Sibling rivalry makes me tired. Sweet as pie to each other one minute, brawling the next. It makes me feel sad, angry, hurt, and helpless. I know sibling rivalry is perfectly normal. My brother and I most definitely had our fair share of it when we were little. But seeing my children react so violently to each other still doesn't sit well with me. Worst of all, I see myself so reflected in their actions. I'm much too quick to raise my voice, administer a pop, often a spanking, and almost always out of anger. At times I don't even feel fit to be a parent. Elliot is echoing my ways so closely, and it's painful to realize how my faults have programmed him. I wish I could take back all the times I've reacted so harshly to misbehavior, and see if it would make a difference in his personality. Would he be slower to anger, less quick to smack Sylvie, less defiant? Would a change in the way I discipline make a difference now? I don't even have a clue how to handle him. Sylvie's temper tantrums are pretty predictable. Either she's tired, hungry, or she didn't get her way about something. Elliot's tantrums stem from the same things, but I'm starting to think he has a bit of a mean streak in there, too. Like he's just wanting to pick a fight. If the rivalry present in our home would chill out a bit, parenting would be SO much easier.
IMG_0725 Sitting in close proximity, and actually getting along. For a few moments anyway.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kids say...

"Did you know that some chickens are called Raspberry chickens? They like to eat poop, and sometimes they eat raspberries and blackberries, too. Did you know that?"
- Elliot, while getting ready for bed this evening

While driving on the way to Wal-Mart this evening I somehow started explaining to Elliot how the Sun is a star that is really, really close to Earth, and that it's on fire (simplifying of course) which is why it feels warm when the sun is shining on us. He said it was hot like lava, then asked about what lava was, which led to a discussion of molten rock under the surface of the earth, and how it sometimes erupts out of volcanoes. Which led to me trying to explain (multiple times and involving a mini argument from him that rocks can't melt) how when lava cools it turns back into rock. The discussion ended with this observation from Elliot. "A volcano has yucky stuff in it. Like old yucky, sticky gummy stuff. A volcano is like a trash can."

Where does he get this stuff from?!

Also, the blackbirds that like to hang out in our backyard are now officially Blackberry birds. He refuses to acknowledge that they really aren't called Blackberry birds or that they eat anything besides blackberries. Never mind that blackberries aren't ready yet. I think Blackberry birds are a better name anyway.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lockdown.

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This is currently on our tv cabinet.

Two days down with zero tv so far.

I don't watch tv at all except for the occasional show or movie on Netflix. Now I did have a brief Downton Abbey obsession that lasted until I watched every episode of season 1 and 2, haha! Randy watches older episodes of a few shows on Netflix, and the occasional movie. Sylvie could care less about the tv. Ten minutes into a show, and she's done.

Elliot is absolutely obsessed with watching tv. His current love is Mighty Machines. We cancelled our satellite service a couple months ago, and just use Netflix. But Netflix still has nearly unlimited amounts of kid tv. Elliot whines to watch tv first thing in the morning, begs to have a snack on the sofa instead of breakfast at the table, has a tantrum when I turn off the tv and refuse to let him eat on the sofa, and whines to watch tv many, many times throughout the day, often having meltdowns when I don't let him. Every time he's watching something, and the show starts to go off, he starts whining to watch something else. I've used the tv as a crutch often, and it's gotten totally out of hand. We have more battles throughout the day over the television than almost anything else. It's beginning to take a toll on his desire to go play outside, and that really bothers me. I became totally fed up earlier this week, and turned the thing off for good. Or at least until he's "detoxed" from it, then I have no problem letting him watch a half hour of tv each day and a family movie night once in a while. I was so annoyed with the repeated whining for tv later that day that I angrily drew up the NO TV sign with a frowny face and stuck it on the tv cabinet. Elliot became really angry with the sign, saying he didn't like the sad face, and threatened to tear it down. Randy sneakily turned the frown into a tongue, and drew the rest of the silly face for the kids while I wasn't in the room. Now it's not quite as despised, and best of all I've only heard minor whining about the tv today. Elliot didn't even ask to watch the dvd player in the car today. We've already started reading more, which was something that had begun to fall to the wayside over the past 6 months or so. I even took them to the library today (first time ever for them and probably the first time since high school for me) and we checked out a bunch of books. I'm looking forward to seeing major improvement over the next few weeks.

Now if only someone could make me detox from the computer!

Screen-Free Week is coming up April 30th-May 6th, and I'll definitely be participating again this year!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kids say...

My cousin Chad and his family live overseas in Qatar, and will be coming home this weekend to stay for several months. Elliot somewhat understands that Qatar is on the other side of the world, all the way across the ocean, and they have to fly on a big airplane to get there. Plastic Easter eggs are apparently pretty hard to find in the Middle East, so our little cousins Sara and Sawyer missed out on hunting eggs at Easter. We're having an egg hunt this weekend to make up for it! We were talking about this at supper, and Randy asked Elliot if he thought the Easter bunny didn't know how to get to Qatar. Elliot answered with an incredulous, "Yes he does! He can swim across the ocean with a dinosaur float!!"

I went grocery shopping this evening, and unloaded groceries from the car in the rain. I was changing out of my wet shirt, and Elliot told me he liked my muscles. LOL!! Embarrassingly he was referring to the oh so lovely chub rolls present on my body, haha! I told him that it most definitely wasn't muscles, and had to explain how you get chubby (I try not to use the word fat in reference to myself) because of eating too much or unhealthily and not exercising enough. Randy isn't quite as delicate with using the word fat, so if you ask Elliot why his Daddy's tummy is fat, he'll answer you with, "Because he ate too many donuts!"

A Strawberry Friday.

We were up bright and early on the Friday before Easter.

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The front yard at a little before 8 am. Morning is the prettiest time of day. I want to be a morning person.

Randy had the day off, and strawberries were ready at our local u-pick farm, so we headed that way. It was chilly, overcast, and a bit drizzly, but so very nice out.

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Sylvie wanted her picture with the pretty Amaryllis that they had planted everywhere.

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The lady that weighed and rung up our strawberries gave the kids a bag of fish food to feed the fish with. The brim were already ready and waiting when we got to the edge of the pond, and after a few moments bunches of HUGE catfish join the crowd. They really make the water churn, and I love seeing those whiskers and big wide white catfish mouths break the surface. Even a couple turtles swam near in hopes of getting some food. The fish follow you as you walk around the pond. Spoiled fishes! (I'm so hungry, and now have a craving for some fried catfish fillets and hushpuppies!)

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Lots of honeysuckle.

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We taught the kids the art of pulling the stamen backwards out of the honeysuckle flower, collecting the nectar into a big drop to taste. They loved "drinking" the "flower juice" just like bees and butterflies! Sylvie didn't quite get the hang of just touching the tip of her tongue to
the flower, and would chomp it like a little shark. :)

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Elliot was very interested, and kept at it by himself long after Sylvie had moved on to exploring other things.

I'd like to be able to show you some photos of the strawberries put up in the freezer, and strawberry jam, and a strawberry pie, but in reality we ate some, fed some to the chicks, and the rest sat in the fridge until they were kinda moldy. They are now stored in the compost pile.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pooped.

Sure, you weren't tired, little girl. Not at all. Nope, you didn't need a nap. I believe you.

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It's so very rare for either of the kids to fall asleep anywhere except their beds that it has to be documented.

Kids say...

Randy and I sing a lot around the house. Bits and pieces of lots of random songs and made up little tunes. Lately, whenever we start singing something Elliot is unfamiliar with he'll ask, "Is that an old, old song about an old, old man who died?" I have no idea where this idea came from, but he seems to be sticking to it!

Kids say...

"It rains because a cloud is sad."
-Elliot, age 3 3/4

Sweet Lily.

Our other big dog, Elba, passed away this past November and sweet Lily is now by herself out in the yard. She was already affectionate, but now has turned into a certified lap dog whenever Randy or I sit down while outside. 50 lbs. of stinky, gnat attracting doggie is a little much to have on one's lap, and whenever we're not actively petting her she will paw at us with a very scratchy big paw. It's a bit hard to ignore. She is amazing with the children, and seems to have really bonded to them since her big sissy died. A wiggly black dog doesn't photograph well, so I was very happy with these snapshots of her!

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Can you see the slight expression change in between the first and second photo? In the second photo Sylvie reached out and was petting Lily. Lily is looking towards Sylvie with lovey eyes, and has a bigger "smile"!

Borrowed roses.

The house next door (our only immediate neighbor) is vacant and up for sale so the kids and I helped ourselves to some of the sweet smelling roses growing in the yard. I mixed them with some honeysuckle from our yard.

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Another critter encounter.

One day last month Sylvie came running back in the house from the front porch yelling something about a turtle. That little girl has some seriously good eyes. She can spot the tiniest of airplanes forever away in the sky, and a dull green turtle in the grass way far away from the house. We spent a lot of time with our new friend, but he was too shy to peek out of his shell while we were near.

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Elliot claimed the turtle as his buddy, and named him (her?) Buddy.

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This tiny caterpillar was hanging out in front of the turtle, and the kids were fascinated!

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Elliot made a salad for his new buddies!

Around the yard that same day -

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Critter encounter.

Rob Frog from Edie Steinmann on Vimeo.


Toads hold a whole lotta pee. Vast amounts. That they like to release when being held. The kids were impressed with "Rob Frog" and the beetle eating abilities he/she displayed after being returned to the wilds of our carport. They were also impressed with his ability to pee a lot, haha! Btw, Randy is a bit squeamish of toads/frogs. I think I did finally annoy him into giving Rob a little pat on his toady head.

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Rob should learn how to use a napkin. Notice the little buggy bits left on his froggy lips?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rap master AJP

Rap master AJP from Edie Steinmann on Vimeo.


My brother-in-law and his kids were over Sunday before last, and my nephew Austin (8) graced us with a performance of a rap he made up while taking a shower. He was very proud of it, haha! A.J.P. are his initials, btw.

I'm looking forward to Elliot at age 8!