Saturday, July 29, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I'm going to be busy for the next few days.

Things to do, people to see. So blogging will be even more erratic than normal.

But that should only be an issue for the handful of regulars around here.

So go outside, keep cool and have fun. And don’t come whining to me if your sibling hits you.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

They Want a Picture of What!?

Tomorrow I get to go out very early sans children (Hooray!) and have my yearly visit with mo OB/GYN. I really like her, she is quite funny and a good Dr. to boot.

Anyhoo, I’ll be get chastised for not getting my mammogram this past year. I actually do want to get one, but I have a problem. It’s my entourage. It is not easy to find a place to park your kids for a few hours during the day when:
1) They aren’t in preschool/daycare.
2) Grandma and Nana are far, far away.
3) Daddy has a full time job that is not four year old friendly, especially when there are two of them.
4) Your good friend (whom your children adore) in town had the audacity to actually get a job.
Tonight I was talking to Meryl about my problem we came up with following reasons why it is not a good idea to take four year olds with you to get a mammogram.

As Meryl pointed out they will tell everyone “Mommy had someone take pictures of her boobs today.”

I added that they will also note that I had to undress, put on funny clothes and then go to another room that they (the twins) were not allowed to go in. And then I throw away the funny outfit after I’m done, because it’s disposable and not my style.

Oh yeah, that sounds good, reeeaaalll good.

And better yet, if I’m sore from all the squishing and mashing I’ll have to explain that mommy is sore because her breasts got squished. That should freak them out.

So the whole mammogram thing has been on hold.

But, starting September they will be going to preschool two days a week.

And how will I celebrate?

Why go to the dentist, get a mammogram, strip the wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom and paint the aforementioned bathroom.

Wahoo! Do I know how to live or what!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Artist of the Week: Tunnel

Digging is a common theme in my life. My dogs dig and so do my children. In fact one of our dogs has even been featured as an AOTW for his digging prowess. So it is only fair that I feature my children as well. As a result my three sons (warning audio file) are the artists of the week.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As I have mentioned before we have an on going project of mulching the front planting bed. The children (well at least the boys) have been extremely helpful. I have been able to concentrate on weed removal while the wagon gets filled with mulch. On Sunday Nate discovered that you could tunnel into the mulch. This was viewed as a very cool project by the other two boys and the tunneling commenced in earnest. In the end they were able to construct a tunnel through the mulch pile. Jake accurately judged where to dig on the opposite side and they were able to connect the two tunnels. The end product was just the right size for a small animal to crawl through.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

When Meryl stopped by on Sunday she at first assumed it was the dog’s handy work and thought it was impressive. She was amazed when I told that in fact the boys had made it.

I thought it was a fairly nifty feat of seat of the pants engineering.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pool Time

Today was a grey sort of day and yet the kids still wanted to go to the pool. Normally I go in with them, but it was only 81 and the pool’s temp was 87. Not exactly my kind of combination. So instead I sat in a chaise, called Meryl and then took pictures.

Rebecca had fun playing with another girl.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Meanwhile Max did his own thing.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Jake was having fun playing with the other kids at the pool.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

And so was Nate.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Here is one more that I couldn’t resist, because it’s so cute.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Rebecca stretched out beside the pool chatting with Max.

They all had a good time today. However we did have one little oddity when it was time to go. Normally I have to pry Nate and Max out of the pool, but today Nate was first to ask to go. Max then quickly seconded the motion. Jake and Rebecca meanwhile kept asking to stay just a bit longer. It was quite a switch in behavior.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes

A couple of things overheard this weekend.

Larry was on the couch with kids watching some sort of kid friendly show. At one point a one female character turns to another girl and announces that a particular boy is cute. Rebecca’s immediate reaction was “No! Boys can’t be cute!” Larry responds “You’re right.”

I had on a streaming video on the computer that at one point featured some scantily clad pretty young things dancing. The first reaction from Rebecca was that they were “nakey.”  I pointed out that they were not naked, but wearing bikinis. Then they wanted to know why and I explained that this was filmed in the desert and it is very hot (which I admit is only a partial explanation.)  After a bit Nate announced that he did not want to watch the “hot girls” dancing. He did not like it and wanted nothing to do with the aforementioned “hot girls.” Rebecca meanwhile was enjoying the music and had no problems with the girls.

We’ll see how long those opinions last.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Series of Tubes

Remember a little while ago when Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens made his now infamous remarks about the internet?

I loved what Meryl did and I thought that was that.

Fast forward to last week, while I was reading those fine folks over at The Llama Butchers I followed a link on over to Agent Bedhead where I ended up following a completely different link to The RCP Blog. (Yes I meander all over the place and click on all sorts of links).

And here is what I saw:

It’s brillant. As we used to say “I’ll give it an 85. It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.”

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Plateful of Summer

I thought I would end this week with a nice plate of tomatoes.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

As I mentioned before, I like to slice them up, drizzle some balsamic vinegar, add freshly chopped basil, a dash of salt, and a bit of ground black pepper. I then let the whole thing sit for at least an hour.

Mmmm, now that is summer.

I have a mixture of traditional red tomatoes and yellow tomatoes. I love the visual effect of the two varieties together. The differences in taste are also heightened when you get to try them side by side.

I’m looking forward to dinner.

Oh and have good thoughts for Meryl. She is stuck in the hospital today and is itching to get out.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Child Labor

Sometimes it’s a good thing.

Today we did a little mulching of the front planting bed. The boys were having a very good time loading up Nate’s wagon with mulch.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Rebecca was a little less enthusiastic and spent the first 15 minutes claiming she was tired and needed to lie down. But after I had a brief discussion with her about money and how if she doesn’t work she doesn’t earn anything, she came around.

We worked for little over an hour, which seems to be the limit for my work crew. They really did try their best and we had only one argument. It was over who got to use the pitchfork. I decided that they would take turns. After each wagon load they would switch off on the tools.

While the wagon was being loaded I pulled weeds from the driveway. Rebecca joined me and found her job. She would collect the pulled weeds in her bucket and dump them in a predetermined location. Max and Jake would pull weeds and load mulch, while Nate concentrated on the mulch. Everybody would join in when the mulch was spread.

It is a slow process with all my helpers, but they are learning about earning wages. Max already has his eye on a toy tank and is almost halfway there.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Artist of the Week: Rainbows

Yesterday I was griping to Meryl how it was too hot and I had a bunch of over amped children running amuck through the house. She helpfully suggested that I throw them all outside. I replied that it was too hot. They last about 5 minutes and come back in all crabby and overheated. Then Meryl suggested the sprinklers.

Oh yeah, we’ve got a sprinkler system.

Once I was off the phone I announced it was sprinkler time. Then there was a mad dash for bathing suits and bug spray while I turned on the sprinklers.

They had a great time.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Well at least the boys did. Rebecca only lasted about 10 minutes.

Anyway, Nate noticed that the spray from the sprinklers was making rainbows.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

He spent a good 15 minutes playing with the sprinkler’s stream to make even bigger rainbows. So Nate gets tapped as the Artist of the Week for his efforts in water refraction.

Sorry about the original lack of pictures. Blogger and Flickr were not on speaking terms earlier and I had somewhere to go.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dog Days

It’s too hot.

When I let the dogs out this morning at 7:30 am it was already nasty outside. It’s hot and humid and it is only going to get worse as the day drags on.

John and Nate have the right idea.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Just stretch out and take a nap in air-conditioned comfort.

Maybe we’ll go to Costco, but we will definitely not be doing any mulching.

It’s too hot.

Monday, July 17, 2006


Our big event today was to head on over to Krispy Kreme and have some doughnuts fresh off the conveyer belt.

The hot light was still on when we arrived and we spent a good hour eating doughnuts, drinking milk and watching the donuts go by.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The high point of our visit was when one of the doughnuts got stuck in the conveyer belt.

It got trapped between two levels and was ultimately sheared in half by the pressure of the oncoming doughnuts. I wasn’t able to capture what happened next. The bottom half dropped into the tub of glaze below and the top half continued on with the rest of the doughnuts. The funniest part was that chunks of the fallen doughnut were sucked up by the glaze pump and we got to watch them rain down in the glaze “waterfall.”

It’s just nonstop entertainment here.

Meryl says I need to get out more with other adults.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


My brother, when he was a child, used to sleepwalk. It was an uncanny thing. He would walk about with his eyes wide open, carry on conversations, go back to bed and in the morning be completely oblivious to his evening adventures. He, fortunately, never went outside, but would navigate staircases with ease.

Generally it wasn’t a problem unless we were visiting a particular relative’s house. My Aunt was very safety conscious and had an elaborate alarm system that had monitors on all the doors, windows and hallways. It was a huge pile of a house in an isolated location. When we stayed over she had to disable the internal alarm system or my brother would set it off during his night time wanderings. Mind you he didn’t wander every night, but it was a consideration when we stayed over.

Last night Jake paid us a little visit in the middle of the night.

We heard an anguished cry and then Jake shortly appeared in our room. Larry got up to console Jake and asked him what was wrong.

“Dad I couldn’t find you, I thought you should be by the shield generators.”

Larry: “What?”

“I thought you were by the shield generators.”

At that point I broke in. “Larry, he’s asleep. Jake is sleepwalking.”

As I led Jake back to bed I explained to Larry that my brother was a sleepwalker. Jake may look and act awake, but the Star Wars influenced statement was clearly from someone asleep.

When I tucked Jake in bed he quickly snuggled in and a small smile briefly played across his features before he settled into a more restful state of sleep. That confirmed he was sleepwalking. Whenever Jake is upset enough to cry out, it takes a very long time to calm down.

This morning he had no memory of his night time visit.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Friday, July 14, 2006

In the Garden

Today I did some work in the front planting bed. It has been neglected and is need of some attention.

I admit I’m not the most ambitious of gardeners. I have a naturalistic approach with a Darwinian edge (if it dies it probably wasn’t meant to be there). I don’t like sculpted hedges and believe pruning should only be done to remove deadwood and maintain pathways. However I should still weed out the bed and throw down some mulch.

The main reason that I have been lax has been Rebecca. Previously, whenever I have worked out front, Rebecca would go on walk about. At first she would help out, but after a brief while she would hot foot it to the stream aka the glorified drainage ditch along our property. I would have to stop and drag her away. The water is usually not very deep, but it only takes a few inches. There is also an enormous culvert beneath the roadway for the stream and she loves to stand on the top and look down. This is what really scares me. It is a good five foot drop down to some very slimy concrete and jagged rocks.

Anyway, at four and a half she is finally old enough not to go wandering off.

So after dropping off Nate at tennis we came back home to do some weeding. Jake quickly understood the task at hand and was a good worker, but the wee ones needed a little more direction. For ¾ of an hour I got to listen to “Is this a weed mamma?” every five minutes. At first it was just Rebecca. Max was uninterested in helping out until I pointed out that this was an opportunity to earn some money. Then Max decided that he could indeed do some weeding.

We made some good progress even with Rebecca fading out after half an hour. She doesn’t handle the heat at all and I understand. Both Jake and Max were very helpful. We should be able to get the planting bed straightened in short order. Then we can do the fun part of spreading the mulch. Nate is looking forward to this and pled with me that we would not start doing it without him.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It’s Broccoli, Dear.

Nate is a really fun little guy.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Look at that dimple.

He loves going to the beach; running around, digging in the sand and frolicking in the waves. He hasn’t encountered a sport yet that he is not game to try. The folks at Peak love his enthusiasm. His baseball coach calls him sparkplug.

Fruits and vegetables, however, are another thing entirely.

He refuses to eat anything green. He grudgingly eats a couple of raw peeled baby carrots at dinner. Corn is one of the few veggies that he actually enjoys. He likes French fries and potato chips, but all other forms of the spud are no good. This includes *gasp* latkes.

With fruits we have a few more options. Clementines, apples and melons are acceptable. Sometimes grapes are all right. The rest of all the yummy fruits out there are suspect unless they are in jam form and safely tucked into a peanut butter sandwich.

Tomatoes (It’s a fruit! It’s a vegetable!) can only be eaten in sauce form, i.e. pasta or ketchup.

The tomato thing I can understand, I refused to eat raw tomatoes until about 10 years ago. I then finally got over the texture and learned to appreciate the taste of a fresh ripe tomato. Mushrooms, on the other hand, are still vegetable non grata.

Anyway, I wish I could get him to eat more fruits and vegetables. Jake was a very picky eater for years, but just recently he has started to broaden his food horizons. Maybe it’s an age thing and Nate will ultimately out grow it. For now I guess we’ll keep giving him vitamins and keep on offering him a variety of foods.

But until then, I keep thinking of this cartoon whenever I serve him vegetables.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Artist of the Week: Post-it Art

This week’s artist is Rebecca.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

This picture was taken at Nate’s baseball picnic. She was having a grand time playing with a girl just her age on the playground equipment next to the field.

Anyway, the piece in question was a little drawing she made a few months ago on a post-it note.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

According to Rebecca “It is of a happy dog. His mouth is open because he is licking and is happy.”

When I pressed her for more details she that was enough. It is a licking dog.

I think it is a charming little picture. It almost looks like the dog has on a little hat. Most of her drawings feature a large creature/person with a small pet, usually a dog, at its feet. This is one of her very few pictures of a stand alone dog and one of my favorites.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How Does Our Garden Grow

The green beans and the cucumbers are really taking off. We even had a tiny little harvest of a handful of green beans last Friday.

I like our little garden out on the deck. You get to really see the plants grow and produce.

It is remarkable how you go from theses lovely yellow blooms

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

to this funny little baby cucumber:

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

The green beans have one of the prettiest blossoms

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

and I love the beans they produce.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

They all look so fresh and tasty with the raindrops clinging to the leaves.

The tomatoes are not fairing as well. I blame the weather. We had a week of nearly 90 degree weather in early spring followed by a cold snap. The constant rain has also been a trial for my tomato plants. One looks stunted, but the other is struggling on. I give the stunted one another week or so and then I replace it with something a bit more robust.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What Kind of Princess are You?

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork

The Noble PrincessYou are just and fair, a perfectionist with a strong sense of proper decorum. You are very attracted to chivalry, ceremony and dignity. For the most part you are rather sensible, but you are also very idealistic.Role Models: Guinevere, Princess Fiona (of Shrek)You are most likely to: Get kidnapped by a stray dragon.
Take this quiz!

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Well, I don't know about a strong sense of proper decorum and being attracted to dignity. I am a mother of three boys and girl with possibly the world's worst table manners. If you don't beleive me, go ask Meryl. The worst seat at meal times is directly accross from Rebecca. She regularly horrifies her 7 year old brother. That and I lost all dignity when I had twins. However I do like Princess Fiona from Shrek and I have a soft spot for dragons.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Anniversary Getaway

This weekend Larry and I went on our deferred anniversary trip.  Grandma and Grandpa graciously came down from Connecticut to watch our brood while we were gone.

Jake had spent the last week up at my in-laws and his trip was planned to end when they came down. Friday was interesting. Jake was suffering from a major case of what I call post-Grandma let down. He just spent a delightful week as an only child under the care of very loving Grandparents. He spent a fair amount of time on the bench that Friday afternoon. It was not outright rebellion on his part, he just needed to be reminded what his proper place was and what behavior was expected. By Saturday morning he was back in the groove. Then it was Larry’s mine turn to run away.

We didn’t go too far, just over to Charlottesville. We stayed at a very nice hotel that was at the end of the pedestrian mall in downtown Charlottesville.  This was not our first visit to Charlottesville. Five years ago we had spent a night at a very fancy B&B nearby and spent a few hours on the mall. I was hugely pregnant with Max and Rebecca so my walking abilities were somewhat limited. I was happy to just sit while Larry puttered about. I remember it being quite hot, but that may have been just me.

This time the weather was perfect, sunny with a light breeze and temperatures in the mid eighties. We had a lovely time strolling up and down the mall and eating outside at the outdoor cafes. Saturday night we even caught a bit of a concert being held at the Charlottesville Pavilion.  It was late when we reached the pavilion, so we only lingered for a short while. Our time was spent eating, napping, strolling and lazing about the hotel room. It was a very peaceful and relaxing way to celebrate 14 years of marriage.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Swedish Chef

I was perusing my referrer logs last night when I saw that somebody from Sweden had stopped by.  And what were they looking for?

Why my Swedish Sugar Cake with Ligonberries!

I thought it was absolutely hilarious that I am the number one website for Sweden Sugar Cake on what appears to be a Swedish search engine.

I out Swede the Swedish!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rainy Summer Day

Today was a cool and rainy sort of day. When I awoke I heard the pounding of the rain on the skylight and realized that there would be no tennis today. We had signed up Nate for tennis lessons this summer and after two lessons he was hooked. So instead of tennis we messed around the house. Our only other commitment was to meet Aunt Meryl for lunch at our local IHOP. Meryl was initially concerned that Jake would be disappointed since he would not be with us. He has spent the past week at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I pointed out that he was at his Grandparents. In Connecticut. Without his parents or any of his siblings. She conceded that I had a point.

Lunch was a very loooong affair. The food and company were good, but it took forever for the food to reach our table. Glacial is not an exaggeration. Rebecca and Nate had a snack before we left the house and were only a bit rambunctious. Poor Max, however was hungry. He kept twisting around and asking where was his food. Of course his plate was one of the last one s out. We won’t be patronizing that particular IHOP again.

As we were sitting there Meryl and I discussed what she might do with the boys this weekend. The subject of Cars came up when it suddenly hit me, Jake has probably seen it. After a quick call to the in-laws I found out they had indeed just seen the movie last night. Since the rest of the crew wanted to see it I figured now would be the time. The theater was nearby and we could just pop over after lunch.

Max wanted Meryl to join us and tried to convince to ask her boss for time off to go see a movie. He is a very perceptive little guy and the whole thing was very cute. Sadly she couldn’t and we parted ways. Meryl back to work and the rest of us finishing up lunch and figuring out when was the next show time for Cars.

I had just found out that we had eleven minutes to get to the theater when my phone rang. It was Meryl to tell us the next show time was at two. I told her we were already on it and that the theater was only two minutes away. We got in just as the trailers began. It was a bit tricky, but I found 4 good seats together in the darkened theater.

Rebecca wasn’t in the mood for it; she was jonesing for popcorn the whole time. The rest of us, however, had a very good time. It is a very cute movie, it works for both kids and their parents with good dialog and gorgeous visuals. I loved seeing the Tappet brothers in car form. The plot was straight out of Doc Hollywood, but that is not a bad thing. We will probably end up getting it on DVD at some point.

Oh and the best thing about seeing a movie on a rainy day, all three passed out in the car during the drive home.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Artist of the week: Duplo/Mega Blok Star Wars

This week’s artist is Max.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Anyone who has spent any length of time with Max knows he is very keen on the whole Star Wars thing. He loves talking about the movies and building star ships inspired by the movies.

This is one of his latest creations.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is a Star Wars fighter ship.

Duplo blocks and the compatible Mega Bloks are a larger, little kid friendly version of Legos. The Duplo play sets available are generally limited to trains, farms and rescue vehicles. Mega Bloks are a bit more adventurous and we have a Spiderman and Friends set from them.

This limitation on official play sets does not deter Max. He watches his brothers cannibalize their Lego sets to create something new all the time. Thus inspired, he creates and builds his own designs.

As much as I dislike the mess created by the myriad of building blocks we have in the house and the pain from stepping on them, I do appreciate the creativity they inspire.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July!

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

"The things that the flag stands for were created by the experiences of a great people. Everything that it stands for was written by their lives. The flag is the embodiment, not of sentiment, but of history." -- Woodrow Wilson

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Long may she wave.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Pony League Meets Minor League

Yesterday Nate’s baseball team got to go out on the field with the Richmond Braves. It is a neat little program that has the team go out with the R Braves during the National Anthem with the kids standing with the corresponding R Braves player at their position. They also got to meet a couple of players and get autographs.

Jake got to do it two years ago with his Little League team. His coach organized it and it was a huge hit with the kids. Larry thought it would be fun for Nate’s team and took it upon himself to organize it. There is a minimum purchase requirement of fifty tickets and I admit that I expressed doubt that we could get that many people together.

Boy was I wrong.

We ended up getting 84 tickets for the event. All but one team player was able to go.

The plan was that we would meet at the front of the stadium. While we milled about waiting for the team to be ushered on to the field Max, Nate and Rebecca climbed the stairs for this cute little photo op.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Then it was finally show time. The team and the coaches, all in uniform, were escorted to the field. The rest of the group was instructed to go into the stadium by the section near the home team dugout.

The first order of business was a team photo.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

And yes, there are five coaches in the photo. There are actually six for the team, but that was the one family that couldn’t come.

After a longish wait the players started to emerge from the dugout. Tony Pena was first out and one kid rushed up, at his father’s urging, clutching a ball. Tony was gracious enough to stop and sign, but he and the rest of the team that followed were first going to go warm up on the field. With a little wave he then jogged off.

Then it was autograph time. Some of the other families were a bit more prepared than us and their kids had balls for the players to sign, others used their gloves and hats. We realized our goof before our team was taken to the field and Larry had the excellent idea to buy a program. Larry would open up the page to the player’s bio and the player would sign there.

Tony then came back and had a true autograph session with the kids.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Then it was James Jurries turn to stop and sign his autograph.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Even Rebecca got in on the fun and had Diamond Duck autograph her thunder sticks.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

At this point Nate was really starting to feel the heat and humidity. Normally he doesn’t notice such things, but he was still a bit under the weather from his tonsillectomy. He rested against the wall while the team waited for the National Anthem.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

At one point he even sat on the ground. Larry picked him up and held him while I went to fetch something for him to drink.

He is a tough little guy and he was able to run out with the team and stand with Martin Prado.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

Nate is on the left and is slightly obscured by Martin.

Meanwhile Max was crabbing all along wondering when he was going to be fed. He couldn’t care less about what was going on the field. He wanted food and he wanted it now.

Then the team ran off the field and we were rejoined in our assigned section.

I didn’t get to see much of the game. All I know is that the R Braves got trounced by the Charlotte Knights. The bulk of my time was spent getting food and ferrying children to the bathroom. But that’s alright; the kids had a great time. It was thunder stick night and they too watched precious little of the game. It was much more fun to whale on each other than to pay attention to what was happening on the field.

As the night wore on Nate perked up as the temperature dropped. That and the combination of a hamburger and Dipping Dots made him feel much better.