Fork painting? Why not.

In my continuing effort to break up the tackling/basketball playing/running through the house screaming, that are my afternoons, last week we tried fork painting. Of course we did.

We had a random Friday off from school (not good Friday) and I went through my Activities for the Boys page on Pinterest and wrote down five things we could do. I also put Despicable Me on the list, as that was my fall back plan. My boys will watch that movie in total silence and it is heaven. But back to an activity where I have to interact.

The boys love to paint and don’t get to do it all that much, given the mess factor, so it is a real treat. Painting + a movie = mom of the year, around here. I saw this pin for tulip painting and I knew I had a giant stash of plastic forks ready to be used.

It’s a pretty straight forward exercise and I won’t break it down for you (you are welcome), but it was a hit. They both (James with some help) could press the forks in the paint and on their papers and then they just free-handed some art.

 I might have helped James with his stems…maybe…

But Zach’s apple tree was all him.

Why does someone always end up shirtless?

Seriously, it is Easter, James.

Easter. Where is your shirt??

Well, anyway, Easter was fun this year. I think I got more excited than the boys about hunting for eggs and might have set my alarm for a tad early. Did you know it is still dark at 6:00 am? Me neither. Well it is, so I just laid there until 6:30 when I could sneak out and hide the eggs. Where was Alex you ask? Passed out like a drunk person (he was not) next to me. He said he would get up, but him being “quiet” is like a moose being quiet and I was not ready to explain why I was carrying a bag full of eggs to Zachary. Wayyyyy too many questions.

When they did wake up they immediately took out the inflatable punching gloves the Easter bunny brought them.

They also received the finest toys Walgreens had to offer. A dino water gun, an Easter skateboard key chain and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle that lights up. Oh and some minion eggs the Easter bunny forgot to do and didn’t finish until midnight before Easter. That bunny really needs to work on time management.

Oh, sweet matching shirts with monograms….hidden by giant punching gloves and mohawks. Can you hear my sighing all the way over there?

 Later that morning the Sonderfan/Gallun’s came over for our annual Easter brunch. I love this tradition we started. We all bring food and the kids just play and play, which we means we can chat and chat.

I, of course, tried to get crafty and made cupcakes with green frosting, like my mom used to. I put out all sorts of toppings and let the kids decorate. All was fine, if messy, until Harper put a gum egg in her mouth. This is a photo of her doing just that.

She is so, so proud of herself.

Until Jennifer had to go digging it out making her very angry at Jennifer’s choices.

The morning culminated with the annual smash-the-confetti-eggs-on-Grandpa Bruce’s head. As the boys are getting bigger this tradition is getting a tad more rough. But still amusing.

Quiet a difference from two years ago

Well, hello mat

I saw this doormat on Pinterest the other day and knew I needed it immediately. The author even included PDF files for tracing and cutting. Truly crafty people are so great. Wouldn’t this be cute for a new home gift too?

However, her files would not work with my cutting machine. Such terrible crafting problems I have, I know. So I just popped into the virtual store associated with my machine and found a font that I loved just about as much. .75 cents later it was mine. I followed her scale for the layout and just sent the 12×12 paper through the machine.

I taped the stencil in place and using some leftover acrylic paint and my one stencil brush, I gave it a shot. Worst case I would be out .75 and the $10 I paid for the mat.

But it worked perfectly! I gave it a quick coat of polyurethane and put it in front of the door.

I am now working on not cringing when people walk over it and/or asking them if they like my mat. You know I get so excited about my crafts.

Again, I am working on it.

Pop pop painting

I received an Amazon package the other day, and instead of plastic air puff it was filled with one very long strip of brown paper. It looked a lot like those rolls you can buy for your kids to color that I never buy as I can’t figure out where I would store it. However, I had seen a link for bubble wrap stop painting which I stored on my Activities for the Boys board and thought that would be the perfect activity for this giant paper.

I taped the paper to the floor and got ready to tape bubble wrap to their feet.

 James desperately needed a haircut and pants in these photos.

I put paint into paper plates and they took turns stepping in the plates, and having me paint the bottom of their feet.

Not the cleanest of activities, but it did last a while. And Zach got to where he just did it all himself. Squirted more paint in the plates, stomped, then marched around on the paper. Since I used washable tempura, whatever did get on the floor, came up really easily with a quick mop.

James lasted a few stomps then went back to playing pirate and trying to sword Zach whenever he came close.

I have some of the paper left and we are for sure doing this again during the summer. I might let them each have their own paper and see if I can make it last a big longer. Once it dried I let Zach cut shapes out of it to tape up in his room. Trash to treasure, people.

Masking Tape Eggs – 2014

Last year I wrote the below post about masking tape eggs. Well, we tried them again this year and it worked so much better. Zach loved it and made, not only eggs, but letters as well. I wanted to re-post with the instructions in case anyone wanted to give it another go. With older children. Which I recommend.
PS look how tinyfat James was!
One of the things I miss the most about working part time is the extra time I had in the afternoons. I could go to the grocery store, the craft store, get dinner made or spend a extra time with my children. Which was technically the point. 
So now that it is light later I decided to do a quick art project with the boys after they were already in their pajamas. I saw this wet chalk craft and knew I had to do it. Partly because my boys love anything with water and also because I love peeling away tape and seeing a crisp white line. Normal.
I cut quick egg shapes out of card stock and taped them to their table. They loved wetting down the chalk. I believe the instructions said to just dip the top in but both boys preferred a full chalk dunking – you can see various pieces of chalk being submerged in this photo.

 Look how serious that baby is! And how he is not screaming at me! It was glorious.

Such fat, fat fingers. The better for pinching your legs when you do not do as he says.

Once the eggs had dried I peeled off the tape and voila! Zach’s is on the right and James’ is on the left. Isn’t my baby advanced? Doesn’t it look like a 35 year old woman who could not stand to not have it filled in, did it? I know; we are advanced applying to Harvard.

Soccer with a runner

Zach’s basketball is over at the YMCA now. Oh, did I not post about that? Because it was marginally better than soccer (at least there were no tears thanks to constant bribing) but it was still a beating. For me. Zach and Alex made out fine, but I am not ready for sports.

After basketball was over, Alex asked when soccer at the Y started and I pretended like I could not hear him. I could not do it again. The eating dinner fast to get Zach and a cranky James to practice, the aforementioned constant bribing to avoid tears and the games where spectators, who shall not be mentioned, shout the entire time “supportive” things from the sidelines.

I mean, I get it, I have boys. Most likely they are going to play sports of some kind. But they are FIVE and TWO, does it have to be now?

Is anyone surprised I am making sports all about me? You guys know me too well.

But you know who is ready? James. This guys seems to have been born running. I think it is a second kid thing, because he, of course, wants to do everything Zach is doing and ever since Zach played soccer last year, James has been very into playing here at the house.

I had heard about an organization called Soccer Shots mentioned in some of my moms group emails. I sent Alex a link to check it out and he signed both boys up right away. They don’t do games, it is just 30-45 minutes (depending on age) of fun with a soccer ball. Perfect.

And you guys, it is great. James loves it. He is super serious and pays strict attention to what his coach says. He does not scream at her or appear unimpressed. Rude.

You will notice we are not close to the players, as some parents are. Most of the kids are first kids and their parents are total hoverers. I like to sit on my stadium mat at the opposite of the field and avoid eye contact while secretly filming his every move. He could be a future soccer star for all I know! I need to have it on video. I hover from afar.

Spring Break tried to kill me

I do not know how you people do this. And by “you people” I mean people who spend an entire week with their children, voluntarily. Every other spring break I have had the luxury of daycare still being in session. So, I would take a few days off, pretend I was a stay at home mom, then send them back to school.

Then came this year. Spring Break was three weeks ago and just now can I bring myself to think about it.

By Friday I could not even look at my children. When Alex left for work that morning I asked when he would be home and when he replied “normal time” (which is stupid as he does not have a normal time), I might have shrieked at him “IT HAS BEEN A VERY LONG WEEK!!!”. He then ran down the sidewalk to his car. I can’t imagine why.

Oh the week started with the best of intentions. We went to Galveston, had a great time but were a bit sick of each other by Sunday. Please recognize that as foreshadowing.

I had signed Zach up for three half day camps Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and planned to leave James with a babysitter on Friday to spend some time with just him. I really thought I had this all under control. You know how I do.

Let me break down where it all went wrong…..

Monday – We had to go to the Rodeo. And I mean HAD to go. KK made me purchase half price carnival tickets from Uncle Chris (whom I still have not paid back, whoops) so I had 150 carnival tickets to burn. On the first day of spring break. Do you feel the anxiety in your belly too?

Well, turns out it was actually a perfect day. The weather started off bad which scared people off so no one was there. We didn’t wait for any ride, spent all our tickets and came home with about five stuffed salamanders.

First stop was to get Zach a new cowboy hat. James has taken over his old one, as it was too tight for that big Wall head.

I heart this picture so much. That is the smile I am always trying to get out of him.

The boys rode the ponies.

Saw some baby chicks being born,

And rode mini-tractors and mopeds.

We came home and our baby sitter came early so Alex and I could go to dinner.

Monday = excellent.

Tuesday, Zach had his first day of gymnastics camp so we dropped him off, along with his friend Charley. Ashley, Annie, James and I headed to the Y to exercise. We got our cars washed and ate a Carraba’s, then scooped up the big kids and headed home for naps.

I got a bit cocky after Tuesday, I admit it. Two days in and we were having a great time!

Wednesday ruined the entire week. Zach went back to gymnastics camp (which was awesome, PS and he loved it) and James and I hit the grocery, had lunch, then picked up Zach. As mentioned, I got cocky and thought we could, for sure, go downtown to meet Alex for lunch at 12:30, still getting James home in time to nap AND for Zach’s friend to come over at 2:30. I was so, so wrong.

Alex was in a meeting, that claimed he could not get out of, so he was running late. By the time we got home it was 2:00 and I had 30 minutes to try to straighten the house, make Zach rest his body a bit and put James down.

Disaster. James could hear all the commotion when the friend came over and refused to sleep. I didn’t even fight him on it. Zach’s friend from school had not done anything that day so he was wound up and ready to run while my child had been running since 9am and was done. It was our worst play date by far. So many tears. We finally took them all up to a local frozen yogurt place just to see if a change of scenery would be helpful. It was, a little.

I was now terrified. I had two more days plus the weekend with these children and I clearly did not know what I was doing.

Thursday, Zach was at Art Mix until noon, so Ashley, Annie, James and I recreated Tuesday and went to the Y. We decided to pick up the big kids and take them to Toyokohana, which is like Benihana. That was a hit. James would eat rice for every meal, and Zach liked watching them cook his chicken right in front of him.

Look how beat down I look. Terrible.

We met friends at the park after nap and that night we celebrated with chocolate ice cream, Oreos and chocolate sauce.

Only one more day!!

Oh, but the last day was Friday and Ashley and I had big plans. We had a babysitter to watch the little ones so we could take Zach and Charley roller skating. There is a skating rink in West Houston that does a Toddler Skate every Friday from 10-12 for 5 and under kids. You can bring scooters and ride on toys. Zach received skates from Santa and was super excited to try them out.

You guys, this skating rink has clearly not changed since the 70’s. It looked just like Spinning Wheels where I spent every Friday night of my 5th grade year.

The actual roller skating did not go over well. Though you would not know Charley had been crying and clutching at Ashley prior to turning on the smile in this photo.

Ugh, girls. No talk of poop or penises and they know how to smile.

Anyway, both kids gave skating a valiant effort, but ended up speeding around the rink on the scooters I brought with us.

He is only smiling because I whispered “poop sandwiches” in his ear and I am only smiling because my week is almost over.

We ended the week with ice cream at a local place near Ashley’s house where the kids ate inside (“It is too bright!”) and we stayed outside. Good luck to you ice cream shop employee.

Can you spot where I went so wrong? Was it the gazillion activities I crammed into basically four hours a day? Bingo.

I am still learning and that was a very painful lesson. I will know better next time. Don’t try to do anything with me, I will not be available.

Watch out, we will hug you

Have I ever told you the story of the time I hugged the head of the San Antonio office upon meeting him for the first time? No? It is totally normal.

Uncle Chris recently sent me this link to the 11 Rules for Hugging at Work, which brought my ugly hugging history back to the service. However, I would like to note that I only broke rule #11.

So I was a young and spry 25 back in 2003, and I was the marketing manager for the Austin and San Antonio offices for my firm. I drove down to San Antonio to meet the office managing partner and discuss his marketing plan, etc. I was stationed in a conference room when he popped in to say hello. He walked over to the desk and I stood to greet him.

Once I stood up I realized how close he was to me, so I did the natural thing I do, when someone gets too close.  I threw both arms around him in a big bear hug. I then, immediately, realized what I had just done, released him and plopped back down into my chair. We were both fairly horrified. I think he mumbled something about how he looked forward to working with me and backed slowly out of the room.

I was then stuck with the next obvious question – what happens when I leave the office? Do I hug him good-bye? Have I just set a hugging precedent? And, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Turns out he too was a hugger and while I just popped my head into his office and waved from the doorway that time, for the rest of the two years I worked with him, we hugged every time we saw each other. A big, full bear hug. Or, more likely, he was just really good boss who wanted to keep his weird employee happy.

You know who else in our family hugs inappropriately? This guy.

If he has recently met you, please expect a full leg/crotch hug when you depart. He hugged the train conductor at the Hermann Park Zoo the other day. He hugged his soccer coach (twice) after their first practice together. He may not seem impressed with you, but he would like to hug you.

I could not be more proud.