Thursday, January 31, 2013

I (REALLY) Heart Chemistry

You may have seen the Instagram photo of my new BeEr glasses.  They were a present from Santa this year.  He apparently gets my dorky side and also understands my love of beer.  With these glasses I can fulfill both my need to look like a geek as well as my need for beer.

If you are new to the blog, you can see my favorite song about the science of beer here
Or you can check out my creative science nerdiness here and here.

This brings me to yesterday when I was sitting with a group of med students, one named Timothy and one named Coy.  I remarked that you could spell both of their names using the periodic table of elements.  Timothy is Ti (Titanium) Mo (Molybdenum) Th (Thorium) and Y (Yttrium).  Coy is spelled quite simply using Carbon, Oxygen and Yttrium.  They said that that had never dawned on them.  I said that it was because I taught Chemistry that my mind immediately can think of all those symbols and makes the connections to names when I meet people.  Coy looked at me and said, "I have taught Chemistry for the last 6 years and it has never once occurred to me that I could spell my name with those three elements."

Maybe I am the only one...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Just a few questions before bed

At 7:55 tonight as I was tucking Lucy into bed, she started with the questions.

Mommy, will you always be my mommy?


Will you be my mommy when I am all grown up?


Will you be my mommy when I have babies?


Will you be my mommy when I'm married?


Will we all live together when I am married and have babies?

No.  Goodnight.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lucy's First Word

A few days ago, Lucy asked me what her first word was.  I laughed out loud because there is some discrepancy as to what her first word actually was...

When she was about 7 months old, Emma Jane came running into the bedroom yelling, "Mom! Mom!  Lucy said her first word!"  I was dubious that an 7 month old would be speaking yet but I said, "Really? what was it?"  Emma Jane said, "She said 'two' in french!  She said 'deux.'"  Now that sounds an awful lot like baby babble to you and me, but Emma Jane was taking French lessons at the time and she was positive that Lucy was speaking French.  I asked her if she was holding up two fingers or something.  Emma Jane said "No, but there were only two of us in the room."  I said, "So does this mean she can count too?"

Emma Jane replied, "Oh mom!  She's gifted!"

Addendum:  Her first word was actually "Dada" spoken around 11 months old.


Last night while we were reading Corduroy Lucy said, "now in real life, bears can't book is a fiction book."  Love that 4 year old mind.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why does the sun set?

Another great family story (sorry Mike) is the time Emma Jane asked why the sun sets.

Emma Jane was almost 4 years old and we were driving down a busy Tulsa street and the sun was setting in front of us.  I was on the phone (shocker) and Mike was driving through rush hour traffic. 

Emma:  Daddy, why does the sun set?
Mike:  It just does.
Emma:  But why?
Mike:  (who is worrying about lane closures, rush hour traffic and the setting sun in his eyes) Because.  It just does.  Every day it sets.  It just does.

(Mommy hangs up the phone.)
Emma: Mommy, why does the sun set?
Me:  Well, that is a good question.  The sun doesn't actually go anywhere.  It is a fixed ball of gas in space but the earth is spinning and our side of the earth is spinning away from the sun so it looks like it is setting but we are really just turning away from the sun.  And tomorrow morning we will spin around and face the sun again and it will seem like the sun is rising but it is really just our side of the earth spinning back around to face the sun again.
Emma:  Oh.  Could you tell daddy that, because he doesn't know.

Mike looks over at me and mouths the word "thanks".

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Pop-Up Flash Bounce

I found a little item I cannot live without.  I am one of the many people I know who hate the way the flash on my digital SLR looks.  I can't stand the pop up flash and whenever possible I don't use it.  However, sometimes you have to have the light.

That's where this little number comes in.

The Pop-up Flash Bounce at the Photojojo Store!

Here is a photo of my two girls using the pop up flash on my camera.  This room was nearly dark and the settings were set to auto.

The next photo was taken with the same settings using the flash bouncer.

Here is a photo of my girls playing with their dearest companion and friend and mentor and playmate and idol.

With flash...

With the flash bouncer...

I love this little tool and you will too!

Look what Charlie did today!

That is stuffing, by the way, not what you first think it is...

Look what I did today!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Time Machine

Tonight we were in a program at Mayo.  The 4th and 5th graders are called Armstrongs and the Armstrongs put on a program tonight for the parents.  Lucy and I got to participate along with other parents and little brothers and sisters. 

The students discovered a time machine.  Emma Jane went in as a 4th grader and there was smoke and then she emerged as a preschooler (Lucy).  Then she went back into the time machine and went into the future (Emily).  Then they returned to 2013. 

Here we are as the past, present and future Emma Jane...

Candy Houses

Right before Christmas we were invited to yet another epic event put on by Mr. John Gee and his momma "Nan".  They are the ones responsible for the amazing Greek party I blogged about here.

Much like the Greek party, the candy house party was for the children.  But I must confess that the adults enjoyed this as much as the kids.  We were told to bring boxes for the base and told that "less was more" in this case.  These were not going to be edible houses, merely decorated houses.  Nan was busy making the plaster when we arrived.

Soon she enlisted help from Uncle Danny.

The rest of us started to assemble our boxes onto cardboard bases.  I found out quickly that I had broken several rules by bringing box tape, a box tape dispenser and a box knife.  I was chastised publicly and was just starting to feel like a cheater, when THIS walks in...

Wait just a doggone minute...that is a pre-fab!  You can't bring in a pre-fab candy house to a candy house making party.  You have to start from scratch!  He walked in with a double-wide-4-bedroom-3-bath ranch style pre-fab with a wrap around porch and an outdoor kitchen!  And I got in trouble for bringing box tape??????

Anyway, I channeled my outrage inward and had a beer and started taking pictures.  I did not decorate.  My job was to document the construction process.

There was lots of candy.

So there was quite a bit of sneaky snacking while the decorating went down.

The parents and children were covered in powdered sugar.

These little cereal square (above) were Lucy's favorite.  John if you have any left over bags we'll take 'em off your hands...

He is working on his pre-fab...  Just wait until next year.  I am going to roll in with one so close to being finished all it will need is licorice molding and a caramel mail box.

This was such a great night.  The parents were just as into this as the kids.  I discovered so many new uses for Oreos.  Little Bug sampled a few.

Lucy had some ideas about what her daddy should do to "her" house based on what the neighbors were doing. 

"Oh sweet daddy, see that outdoor kitchen over there that they have?  Could you build that for me on my house...?"

My sweet artist/architect at work.

Now for the houses...

I love the picket fence and the front awning on Emma's house.

There was no covenant in this neighborhood...anything goes.

The house pictured above was Lucy's (read Mike's) that she completed almost completely on her own.

Below is our host, John, whose house was covered in powered sugar cement when we left.  The gal with him holding the red solo cup is my sister from another mother, Amy.  She and I are convinced we must be related in some way.  (Sorry Amy but the other photo, in which I told you to put down your red solo cup, is just not as good as this me sista)

And below is the picture of most of the crew...I had a little bit of trouble getting them all in the photo.

Thank you John and Carol for another memorable event that my kids will be talking about until next year.

Gallery Wall

Lately I have been on a home improvement tear.  I have been tackling projects that have been on my to do list for years but I just couldn't make the time to do it.  One of those projects was to create a gallery wall in my house.  I have been seeing gallery walls appear on Pinterest and blogs all over the place lately.  We all know I have no shortage of pictures but I need to take the time (and money) to frame them and hang them.  I also wanted to frame Lucy's and Emma Jane's art.  I had a stack of art pieces I wanted to have professionally framed until I found out how much it would cost.  Then I decided to buy stock frames and cut the mats to fit.  This proved to be much less expensive and also allowed me to get the entire wall done in about 4 evenings.

If you are considering doing this yourself, I highly recommend you buy this.

This little tool made all the difference in the world.  I can not live with out it.  I bought mine at Michael's with a 40% off coupon.  Soooooo worth every penny, even if I had paid full price.  Keep in mind that you can't use it when you get as close to the ceiling as my pictures are.  You have to eyeball it when you get that close to the top.

I love how my gallery wall turned out.  I just sit and stare at it while I sip coffee in the morning.  I also look at it while drinking a beer in the evening.  It is a multi-beverage viewing wall...

Come on over and have a beverage with me and enjoy my gallery wall.  Emma Jane said she feels like a real artist now.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Christmases Past

I came across this photo this weekend while cleaning out a basket.  This is the Utica Square Santa to whom Emma Jane requested that he bring her things back from last Christmas.  See blog post here.

She doesn't look like she trusts him.  He looks a little confused, too...

Crafting resolutions

In addition to writing/blogging more, I am resolving to spend more time in the craft room.  I have a very nice space to craft in but never seem to have the time to craft anymore.

I specifically want to do more sewing.  And I would really like to sew with Emma.  She has shown an  interest in sewing and I want to nurture that interest.  She is old enough now to learn a few skills and take off on her own.  She recently sewed a pouch filled with rice which she calls an "ouchy pouchy".  You can put it in the freezer or the microwave and put it on what aches.  Lucy asks for one every time she gets hurt.  They are really useful and she used scrap fabric to sew them so the cost was negligible.

My hope is that if I write this resolution down for all to see, I will keep it.  And thereby have something crafty to blog about.  I think our first project should be aprons because I think learning to ruffle fabric is a very important lesson.

Will someone out there in blog land pester me until I do this???

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas 2005 (Emma Jane may not read this)

For Emma Jane's third birthday in December of 2005, she received a lot of toys.  A lot.  So three weeks later when Christmas Eve arrived and we were up late at night building a new play kitchen we realized it would not fit.  She had asked Santa for a washer/dryer and a refrigerator and a kitchen.  We lived in a one thousand square foot house.  There was no possible way that the new toys would fit into our living room or her bedroom.

So I did what any parent would do, I culled the toys by flashlight.  I took away big things.  There was a huge plastic changing table that went out to the garage and was covered with a tarp.  There were other large items, like a baby bassinet and some very large stuffed animals.  In total, I got rid of enough stuff that the new big toys would have a place.  I took only things that she had lost interest in.  I covered them with a tarp and waited to see if she asked about anything.

Christmas morning came and 3 year old Emma Jane came into the living room and saw the kitchen and washer/dryer that Santa had brought and was beside herself with joy.  We had a great Christmas.

I waited a solid month.  On January 25th I loaded up all the toys in the garage while Emma Jane was in daycare.  She had not asked about a single thing that was missing.  So I donated it.  All of it.  Goodwill is a wonderful thing.  The very next day, three year old Emma walks into the kitchen and says "Momma, where is my baby changing table?"  Oh crap.  Um, well, um...  "You know the night Santa came and brought all the new toys for Christmas?  Well he had to take some of your gently used toys to kids who needed them more than you."  She stares at me for a beat, looks at her dad and says "Okay" and leaves the kitchen.  Just okay.  That was all.  Mike looks at me and smiles and said "well that went well."

I was so relieved.  That was about the best possible scenario I could have hoped for.  We went about our daily life without any mention of the toys that had disappeared.  Then one day, I could not find my keys.  I was late for work and running around the house desperately looking for my keys.  I yelled from the kitchen to Mike across the house to see if he had seen my keys.  Little three year old miss puts her hand on her toddler hip and says "maybe Santa came last night and gave your car to someone who needed it more than you."

That entire year whenever anything turned up missing, she was positive Santa had been there.  When we couldn't find her life jacket that summer, Santa had given it to someone who needed it more than her.  When she could not find one of her tennis shoes, she was sure Santa had been there and given it to someone with only one foot.  The next winter I opened up a hall coat closet and discovered it full of Emma's toys.  I asked her why all her toys were in the coat closet.  She said "that is the stuff I don't want Santa to take this year."

When we went to see the Santa at Utica Square, he asked her what she wanted for Christmas.  She said "I want all my stuff back from last year."  And one day when picking her up from daycare that December the teacher said she was telling all the kids in her daycare class "hide your best stuff, Santa is coming!"

Happy New Year!

I am not much of a resolution maker.  In the past I have made resolutions only so I would have something to say when people asked me.  And I resolved to do some pretty quirky things.  For instance, in 1998, my new year's resolution was to learn to make balloon animals.  I learned to make a stick and a dog with uneven legs.  In 2003 my new year's resolution was to learn to juggle (I never achieved anything remotely close to juggling).  I am starting to sense an underlying circus theme. 

I am going to make a resolution that is more practical this year.  My new year's resolution is to write more.  Emma Jane has a writing teacher that forces her to write these detailed essays each week.  And most of the time she does not want to.  But her writing teacher says it is about building discipline.  Sitting down to make yourself do it is half the battle.  The other half is coming up with the creative juices to write something you are happy with.  I am making a resolution to do the first half...sit down and write.  I may not always be happy with the creativity portion but I am committed to writing down my thoughts and stories anyway.  Whether they be carefully crafted or hastily jotted, I am going to start blogging about our lives again.

One of my brother's told me in an email that he loves checking in on my blog at night, and he hopes I never stop.  Another relative from Malaysia told me she feels connected to my kids through my stories.  Whether I feel like it is important or not, it will be important to my family one day.  I will also be setting an example for Emma Jane that sitting down to write is important. 

New year, new me.