Friday, January 20, 2012

that again!?

Bedtime was swiftly approaching and Hobie's diapers were still cycling through the dryer. After quite the week with serious school struggles between myself and a certain Ibis, and a Monday holiday and Tuesday spent mostly away from home, I was running a little behind on the laundry. So Hobie was running around in the nude (like you've never had nude toddlers in your house) and I was enjoying a few minutes with facebook, reading all the happy success stories of my friends' kids doing happy successful things in their potties. I turned around and there was Hobie, standing over a suspicious brown lump on the rug, completely mortified. Of course he had no clue that said brown lump had been deposited there by he himself. Ten minutes later the initial spot on the rug, the other spot on the rug that occurred as he plopped down [ahem] still a mess to play while I was doing my best impression of a panicked octopus (the 8 legs part, not the ink part), Hobie, the changing table, and I were once again cleaned up and ready for take two. No pun intended.

let's pretend these are his Thomas jammies

His special night time diapers were finally dry and available for application. I ran the little streaker down and enticed him with the Thomas the Train pajamas that we bought several months ago, before he'd ever heard of trains. "Choo choo?" he asked tentatively. "Yep, choo choos!" Once wrangled on, he was again on the move. "Choo choo! Choo choo! CHOO CHOO!" Pointing right at the tv. No doubts on what he wanted. Thanks to Ibis and Coral he now knew that this amazing miraculous choo choo lived in the tv. Thank goodness it happened to be the ten minutes allotted on Sprout for Thomas. This is his first-ever request to watch tv; it was cute for about two seconds because I know this is only the beginning.

I am so not ready for another Thomas lover. Really I'm not.

Alexei, circa 2005
The best part of the night? Hobie was sitting on the couch fully absorbed in the tv when Ibis came out of her room, wanting to know what all the fuss was about. He looked right at her and yelled, "Iba! Bed!"

I guess Thomas is best watched solo.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

where are you Christmas?

If you've spent 5 seconds with Coral, then you know all about her fondness for the Grinch. It began innocently enough in December of 2010 at the age of three, when she caught sight of Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas on tv. She watched it quietly, soaking it all in. The movie was stored in our DVR as we enjoyed a myriad of other shows leading up to the big day. Then Santa came, Christmas was packed away, and the rest of us moved along with the new year.

But not Coral. Oh, no. Some certain quality of this particular movie caught her attention, and it became her goal in life to soak up the wisdoms it had to offer.

First she wanted her hair up in braids like a Who.

Then in February, she turned four. In keeping with her stubborn, funny, spunky born-at-thirty-weeks-with-two-holes-in-her-heart-because-she-couldn't-be-just-anybody birth day way, she didn't want a Strawberry Shortcake party. She didn't want the previous year's Pooh Bear party. Not Barbie, not Sesame Street, not anything that could be had easily. Nope, she wanted a Grinch party. So we dragged the Christmas decorations back out of the garage; I drew a paper Grinch for pin-the-heart-on-the-Grinch and baked a (hideously ugly) Mt. Crumpit cake. She dressed in Cindy Lou Who fashion with her hair up and the house strewn with kooky musical toys. We even played Grinch the Donut because it seemed like something the Whos would do.

The months rolled by and the interest continued. By June we'd all watched the movie a hundred times. She had learned every song by heart, sworn she was growing her hair long so it could be styled like Cindy's, and let everyone within earshot know the true meaning of Christmas was love. She not only memorized practically every word from the movie, but she studied all of the behind the scenes footage, storing it away for her future career as a Who. And her Grinch collection started growing.

The beloved stuffed Grinchy, for whom I had to purchase a Santa suit (thank you craigslist):

the Cindy Lou Who necklace to match her Christmas bow and "candy cane" dress (in August):

a Grinch backpack from an Old Biddy at a yard sale (perhaps not one of *the* Old Biddies but maybe!):

and even a Cindy Lou Christmas cape, which she styled at co-op:

Whos go to school too, you know.

Early on she knew what she wanted to be for Halloween: Cindy Lou Who. The dress underneath was as close as we could get to looking like a Who dress without contacting Hollywood. As an added bonus, I discovered Etsy.

Unlike typical four-year-olds, she never once changed her mind. I was even roped into making a Max the dog costume for her little brother. She oversaw every minute detail from the eggnog hat to the fuzzy black shoes.

Soon the Fizz pheasant....err, I mean turkey leftovers were making their rounds, and Christmas merriment was here once again. Her grandparents brought her a tabletop Christmas tree for her room, and we found Grinch-themed ornaments for it. We surrounded the tree and held hands while singing Fahoo fores, Dahoo dores like the Whos. I'm not sure if anyone's heart grew three sizes that day.

She also represented our 4-H club in the Christmas parade. Bet you'll never guess what she wore!

A small problem arose: all she wanted from Santa was the real, live Cindy Lou Who. Unlike the other kids, she would glance at toy catalogs and smile and tell us, "No, nothing!" when we asked if she saw anything she wanted. We had several long discussions on how Cindy would miss her family terribly (her countering: bring them along too!) and she finally, finally agreed that it just wasn't practical to invite Lou, Betty Lou, Drew, Stu, and Cindy into a house already crammed with the six of us. So she set her heart on the Whoville snowflake instead. That was a seriously tall order for Central Florida.

Christmas morning came and Coral was beyond excited. Not only did we get her two Grinch play sets, but there was a very special copy of the How the Grinch Stole Christmas book from not just Santa but the Grinch, too! We'd scarcely finished opening gifts when she curled up happily with her book.

I don't know everything that will happen in 2012, but I'm pretty sure Coral's love of all things Grinch will continue. Her room still contains a Christmas tree, and a Cindy Lou stocking, and she sleeps with two Grinches, a Cindy Lou doll, a stuffed Max, and her real dog she named Max all cuddled together under her Christmas blanket. Cindy Lou is still her idol and she plans to move to California when she's grown up because she heard the Grinch lives there. I'm hoping he moves to Florida before she's eighteen.

Where are you Christmas? Right here in Coral's heart.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

photos from a new perspective

I came to the conclusion recently that I have a bit of an obsession with taking photos of the kids looking up. Not just any photo pose, mind you, but one where I am underneath and taking a shot straight up the nostrils.

It's probably not a "proper" pose, but it intrigues me. There's something about little kids and their fascination with anything up high: trees, planes, clouds. They look up all the time! Call me weird but I love it. I probably have three dozen photos just like these.

It's okay, I know I'm weird. Now when you see me worming around on the ground with a camera, at least you'll know why I'm down there!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

play-doh redeems itself

If you're like me and have ever thought you loved Play-Doh and then experienced the joys of a child smearing Play-Doh all over the carpet and it never coming off again, you're probably already suspicious. We were in Target last weekend looking for something.... now I can't even remember what. You know how that memory just melts away with each kid you have, and I've got four. Anyhow, of course we wound up in the toy section and of course a bunch of stuff was on clearance and of course the kids all had money left over after Christmas because they were smart and spent *our* money on gifts and saved theirs. Because they really needed new toys a week after getting like a zillion of them. Two years later they'd finally picked out the toys they were going to buy, when I spotted something that gave me pause.

Yes, it was the dreaded Play-Doh. Play-Doh like I have cleaned up a million times and swore we were finished with. But this Play-Doh came with letter stampers! This elevated it out of toy status and into the realms of school necessity. Plus it was on clearance at 50% off and you know what a cheapskate...err, bargain hunter I am. The Play-Doh came home with us under strict admonishments that it would live in the school closet and only be used by Coral for letter practice. I figured we had about a 10% chance of abiding by those rules for more than a day.

School was back in session on Tuesday and after forging through the kids' PE classes and other bookwork, we finally got to open the Play-Doh and try it out. I figured it would be best utilized for spelling out key sight words in Coral's kindergarten readers. The set is actually called Cookie Monster's Letter Lunch, and I envisioned her stamping out the letters to create the words, and then feeding them to Cookie Monster. The added bonus that he "poops" them out the back of his body would leave her in sheer delight; what is a four-year-old's obsession with poop, anyway?

I was right, she loves it. Every day this week she made "school soup" or "I have soup" to go along with her readers, and every day she was in hysterics feeding the words to Cookie Monster and watching them tumble out the other end. She's practicing letter recognition, sight reading, and spelling along with developing her fine motor skills. I may have new respect for Play-Doh.

Now if it winds up ground into the rug we can call it art.

Friday, January 6, 2012

out with the old, in with the new (sort of)

The blog header is new, although Hurricane Ranch has been around for 12 years. You know, back when I still had 3 seconds to draw stuff. The kids aren't new, although they seem to keep multiplying as the years go by.

They also keep getting bigger in spite of my protests. I keep swearing we're going to stop buying groceries because all they do is eat them. Hard to believe Ibis is actually two years younger than Alexei; pretty soon those two will be taller than me.

Now that I think about it, that may come in handy. Here's to a new year full of adventures!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

baby it's cold outside!

Notice how I always perk up and come blog when it's cold out? Well, it's cold out. Hasn't been cold in a good....[checking blog list and seeing when I was last active] 10 months or so. This is cold for real, people! Like the new little dog was shivering. Inside. In our house where we're living. In it! Shivering from the cold! Granted it's half chihuahua and Mexico isn't known for its snow, but come on! The dog is now wearing a sweater. I can't decide if he looks hilarious or ridiculous, but more importantly I'm wondering why I don't own a sweater.

Wow Mommy, this is awesome!

It was back to the old school grindstone this morning, complicated by the blustery cold and the fact that not only had we not worn jackets in the past 10 months, but that a couple of kids had grown so much in the past 10 months that said jackets, procured through a fifteen-minute search laced with colorful muttered-under-the-breath words, no longer fit. I was feeling rather resourceful and smug when I finally found a jacket (wait, or is it coat? Am I qualified to know the difference?) left over from the days of Alexei's toddlerhood years ago. I'm pretty sure he wore it exactly never because he, too, lived in Florida at the time and it was one of those ten months out of the year where we sweat to death instead of blog about how cold we are.

Tuesdays mean Creative Corner (aka toddler and preschool P.E.) at 10am, a mad dash home to squeeze in an hour of school and a quick lunch, and another sprint back to catch homeschool P.E. at 1pm. In other words, sheer mayhem. This was the first time this school year that the madness was encumbered by cold. Do you have any idea how long it takes to wrangle a two and four-year-old into warm clothes? Or how much Florida-bred grade schoolers whine and complain at the thought of donning long sleeves and socks? Apparently neither do I. I am chronically early to everything we do, but not today! We were *almost* late.

Anyway, back to the special jacket I had lovingly, caringly saved for years so Hobie could be warm and snug on this momentous day. We forged on to the Creative Corner class in the morning and I got the kids all unraveled and settled in the gym for playtime. Hobie ran off to play with blocks before I had a chance to remove his jacket, but came back in time for the class to begin. I nabbed a sleeve and pulled and off came the jacket, along with a hailstorm of black vinyl. It would seem that years of baking in the garage during Florida summers had turned the jacket's innards to flakes. We only managed to shed a few handfuls on the gym floor right there in front of everybody. I think I had a flashback to being laughed at in 7th grade in my brother's old worn out leather jacket. Alas, the jacket had to be reapplied after class and we made the trudge of shame back to the car, a trail of vinyl confetti following in our wake.

Wait, is this a hand-me-down??

Fast forward past Creative Corner, past school and lunch and almost being late for homeschool PE with Hobie now sporting last year's fleece pullover. We're finally home and in for the day and I get the brilliant idea to throw the jacket in the washing machine to see if the vinyl liner won't just come right off. I'm an awesome, frugal mom and this hand-me-down won't get the best of me. As a matter of fact, it worked like a charm! Might need a new washing machine now, and for a few minutes I thought the hubby might stop speaking to me, but the jacket's inside was stripped completely clean.

So stripped, in fact, that getting the now-vinyl-less jacket on and off would be physically impossible on a two-year-old. Guess who's getting a new jacket tomorrow!