Monday, December 31, 2007

Fountains are for greedy people...

We recently spent a few days in California visiting Disneyland. The fourth day we were there we went shopping in Downtown Disney. There were a lot of fountains there. #3 loves water, and he loves looking at fountains and ponds...anything having to do with water. Heck, he even likes puddles.
Downtown Disney had a lot of fountains. He stopped at every one of them. They all had money in them from people tossing in loose change. Who knew every fountain was actually a wishing well? Seeing all the money in the fountains as well as a previous discussion about the high prices of things like water and snacks in Disneyland led #3 to comment that Disneyland has so many fountains because they are greedy and want everyone to give them all their money.
Hmm...who can argue with logic like that?

Friday, December 28, 2007

A 5-yr-old's Worries @ Disneyland

Today was day two of our kids' first-ever trip to Disneyland. That gave them one day of experience under their belt to see the nature of a wide variety of rides and the anticipation, anxiety, fun, fear, and surprises they bring. Learning quickly the unpredictability of some rides, #4 (age 5) was trying to prepare himself to deal with his fear of the unknown as we waited in line for the new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

After fifteen minutes of curiously watching submarine after submarine 'swim' past us through the colorful, bubbling water...and realizing that riders sit below the water level, he finally asked with sincere, honest concern in his voice, "Will they open the windows?!"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Germs are cool...

A conversation from today...

#5: I wish I was a germ.

Me: Why?

#5: So I could see inside my underwear.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

PDA...again.

As D was about to leave for work after lunch we were standing in the kitchen talking. I guess I was standing too close to him or something because #4 came in, looked at us and said, "Are you doing the looooove thing?"
I said, "What do you mean? This?" and I kissed D on the cheek. #4 said "Yes!" then ran into the living room which is divided from the kitchen by a blanket that we hung there to keep all the heat from escaping the living room. We heard him yell to the other boys that we were doing the loooove thing...which of course caused the other boys to shout out their disgust. Then, interestingly enough one by one they started to peek around the blanket into the kitchen. I think they secretly like knowing that we looooooove each other.
As I walked D to the door I kissed him goodbye and since #1 was standing there I made sure to kiss D loudly. #1 screamed. Then as I walked back through the kitchen #4 came in and said, "I heard #1 scream, I know you were smooching."
That's right Bub, get used to it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Battlefront: Church

Sunday is our sabbath-day. The sabbath day is supposed to be a Holy, spiritual day of rest...and for the most part it is except for the weekly four-hour-war: Church and getting ready for church.

I imagine everyone understands the challenge of getting young balls of kinetic energy motivated enough to get dressed in uncomfortable clothes in anticipation of sitting through long meetings of people talking about abstract things that are hard to understand. For that matter, maybe that's exactly how you feel getting up every morning to go to work or school.

Unfortunately my wife has to fight that battle alone because I'm at church early preparing for the next battle.The next battle, for me, starts out calm and sweet and peaceful as I see five bright, shiny boys in white shirts, smiling wide as they open the glass doors of the Church to greet me. This is part of their strategy...start off disguised as sweet and reverent so the gullible parents will be thrown off guard later. (As a parent, I sadly confess, it works every time--'surely they will behave this time.')

As a precaution, we usually start out in one of the sound-wired side rooms apart from the main chapel to minimize disruption. With difficulty, they maintain their reverent disguise through the sacrament ordinance/ceremony, but once the talks start, they unleash their attack.

Its not so much an attack against us as parents, but against each other and the social laws of public places. My two oldest usually start touching each other for no apparent reason and start giggling louder and louder until one of us parents fires a counter attack, "Shhhhh!," to quiet them down. Meanwhile, another trooper quietly starts doing loops around the rows of chairs until another one starts pressing keys on the piano. This technique successfully lures at least one of us parents away from the front lines so two more kids can fight over which crayons or books to use. The kids are brilliant, there's a new battle strategy, planned or unplanned, each week.

The well-trained sniper among them is my seven year-old, middle son. Today, my wife ran into one of our friends coming out of the men's bathroom with a mop. He explained there was a river of hand soap streaming across the floor of the bathroom. My wife wondered to herself who would do such a thing, only to realize the answer before she finished the question: #3! Fortunately, our boys are generally very honest. When ask about it, #3 was stunned and speechless that such detailed knowledge came from one who wasn't there and wasn't told. The wide eyes of shock and the guilty complexion revealed the truth and #3 succumbed to the only logical response--he confessed to the crime.

So we engaged in a unique father-son activity of cleaning the bathroom during the chapel meeting...or was it playing in the water, I'm confused about which event it was.After the main chapel meeting, the boys have the opportunity to go to a class designed for their age level. Most of the troopers behave relatively well during this part of church...I'm not sure if they tired themselves out from the first hour's battle or if they have adapted to the culture of sitting through their classes and trying to follow along. In any case, I'm hopeful that they get something out of their classes and, on a more serious note, their teachers do a great job working with them.

However, our little church sniper stays active during this time. Usually, he just does his covert wiggly nervous body technique sliding back and forth across empty chairs in his row, or crawling on the floor underneath the chairs. Today, after a 15 minute attempt to get him to go to class, I saw him scoot backwards on his bum across the bench until he bumped into his class mate, then playfully pretended to bop him on the head repeatedly. This action triggered a teacher to come sit by him to minimize the damage.

He remained calm for the next half-hour or so, until the last ten minutes of church when he executed his last strategy for the Sabbath Day War. He got impatient and fled the building. You always know there is something up when a teacher from the children's classes pulls you out of your class. I've learned to expect it--I even know who its about most of the time. As I quietly walked out of my class, the teacher explained to me that #3 ran outside. I walked down the hall to see another adult staring out the glass doors, quickly glancing my direction and said somewhat passively, 'He's long gone.'

Unsurprised, I walked outside watching and listening for any signs of him. I've learned that chasing him, makes him run away faster, so my strategy is to take advantage of his tendency not wander too far from places he knows are safe. Knowing he likes to check back to verify someone is watching out for him, I applied some stealth of my own cloaking myself from his vision.

In the end we walked back to the church together and he sat the last few minutes with me in my class.

"How long 'till it's over?" he asked.

"About thirty seconds." I responded.

A few seconds later, and frustrated that the instructor was still talking, "I counted to thirty!"

"Keep counting," I said.

"Its been a minute!..."

The instructor ended, and in the middle of the closing prayer: [frustratingly] "It's been two and a half minutes!"

I quietly hold my composure while battling the urge to laugh.

"Amen."

Wheew! The war is over...

...for now

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Challenge



Three Targets!

10 seconds!

The Challenge: Hit each target in sequence as many times as possible within the time limit!

The Prize: The pride of knowing you did it!

--------------------

The Downside: The principal has your dad bring you back after school to clean the three bathroom urinals and the walls in between them.

The Determination: #3 (age 7) says next time he will do it without hitting the walls. Oy Vey!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shrinky Dink Ornaments

I was doing this post for my other blog as part of Scribbit's Winter Bazaar. When I got finished I realized I had published it in the wrong blog, but decided not to delete it since it was such a fun activity for our family. Its not our usual Daily Dose fare, but here you go anyhow.
Do you remember shrinky dinks? Those fun plastic sheets you could color on and shrink in the oven? This last summer, my older sister told me a method for making your own shrinky dinks at home without having to spend a lot of money. Its also a great way to recycle...

First you will need a plastic take-out food box. The key is to get one that has a number 6 in the recycling symbol. Many restaurants give these boxes out for leftover food. You can wash it, dry it, and reuse it for making shrinky dinks. We have gotten boxes like this at Shari's restaurants and they also use them at many grocery stores for salads and etc. After my sister told me about this method of making shrinky dinks I went to our local United Grocers/Cash and Carry and found a set of 100 (large size) of those takeout boxes for $20.00. Since you can use the top and the bottom of each box for shrinky dinks that gave me 200 shrinky dink sheets. It comes out to about ten cents each, whereas when I priced shrinky dinks online, even giving a generous two projects from each 8x10 sheet, it would be at least 25 cents for each project.

Now, down to business. A couple of weeks ago our family spent an evening making Shrinky Dink Christmas ornaments. Here is a list of supplies you will need for this project.
#6 recycle plastic
sand paper
permanent markers
colored pencils
tape
scissors
an oven (preheat to around 350...if your oven bakes hot set it a little lower)
a hole punch
coloring pages to trace (optional...you can draw designs by hand if you are so inclined)

First you need to sand the plastic. We sanded it in all directions (only on one side) so as to minimize the appearance of scratches in the surface. You don't have to sand your plastic if you are only using permanent markers to color your project. Since we have young kids we had them use colored pencils, and you will have to sand if you want to use them as they won't color smoothly on unsanded plastic. For some of our ornaments we cut the plastic into the shape of a circle using a bowl to trace around. You have to make sure to get your plastic to the shape you want before you bake it.

We searched the internet for good Christmas coloring pages and printed them out to a size that would fit the size of our plastic sheets. I recommend taping your plastic to the paper with a couple of pieces of scotch tape so that tracing the pattern will be easier. We used sharpie markers to outline our coloring pages and then colored them in with colored pencils. Higher quality colored pencils are supposed to work better, but the crayola ones we used did fine.


After you are done coloring your image, remove the tape and use a hole punch to punch a hole at the top. (Because there is a significant amount of shrinkage, make sure not to punch your hole too close to the edge or it will break easily after baking.)

Now its time to bake your project. You can set your ornaments to bake on a foil lined pan. As they bake the plastic will become very distorted and will crinkle up. The first time I did this I thought it wasn't working and took my project out of the oven. It looked like a bowl. However, I later returned it to the oven and it finished flattening out as it baked. So don't be alarmed if your projects become misshapen. If the corners roll over too much you can use a chopstick to help flatten them somewhat. I you take it out of the oven it will harden within a few seconds. Once the projects flatten out give them about ten more seconds in the oven, and remove them.

This is a blurry picture, but will give you an idea of the amount of shrinkage that goes on.

Some of the boys' ornaments

A finished ornament on the tree

D decided to do one using only sharpie markers to color it, and without sanding. It turned out so beautifully that I am using it for my Wordless Wednesday post. I hope you enjoy trying this project with your family! Our kids loved it and have asked many times about doing it again.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A new contributor...

Since I have another blog aside from this one, and this blog is dedicated to the escapades of our five boys and the future escapades of #6 (we don't know if its a boy or a girl) who is due to make an appearance in June, I thought I would add my wonderful husband as a contributor to this blog. He also has a blog of his own, and has had many experiences with the mischief of our boys. I hope you will give my husband dmo a warm welcome!

I am sorry we haven't had a post up in about a week. We were hit by some big storms and were without power for a few days. We are all doing well and getting back to normal everyday life. The boys enjoyed a week off from school, and today was their first day back to their usual routine.