Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lord of the Rings Week--July 2012

Lord of the Rings Week

Like the Hobbits we are, we holed ourselves up at home and gorged ourselves in a week-long family-fest. My beautiful niece, Sarah, was here to help us kick off the week and improve the overall aesthetic value of our photos.
For any of the recipes, go to our Recipe Blog HERE.

Tie-Dyed Eye of Sauron Shirts

(I won't post directions here, but if you want me to give you the instructions we figured out, please e-mail me at

Out Darn Spot!
I had eight pairs of gloves, thinking that this would be plenty until Marie insisted on wearing some (looking like Minnie Mouse in the process--see photo #1). I sacrificed my clean hands (but hopefully not my pure heart) and let her have mine, thinking that it wouldn't really matter if my hands got inky since they seem to be perpetually covered in the ingredients of whatever project I'm working on anyway.

As we were outside dying the shirts, we noticed all of our neighbors walking to the Church across the street. I wondered what they were up to until I remembered that the Bishop's daughter's wedding reception was that night. I looked down at my hands and discovered a distinct rainbow of vivid color that wouldn't come off after five frantic minutes of soapy scrubbing. You can imagine the smiling looks of horror on the faces of the white-clad bride and her family as I hugged them!

Crafty Conjunctivitis
Holden was hoping to create a bold, manly red, white and black shirt. When we had the big reveal of our shirts after letting them sit for 24 hours, his face went the same rosy shade as his shirt when he saw how it had turned out. We all assured him that pink really is a masculine color. The kids dubbed his creation the "Pink Eye of Sauron."

Stenciled T-shirts
(I've posted detailed directions on our Harry Potter Week post from last year if you'd like to do your own. They are addictively fun and astonishingly easy!)

We even got some of our little Sargeant-y friends involved in the celebration!

Making Shields for The Battle at Helm's Deep

The Battle at Helm's Deep
While the battle raged, Eric and I snuck in the house and fetched a secret stash of water balloons and a water balloon launcher we had acquired for the occasion. We even had a hidden video camera to capture the kids' reaction. They were perplexed at first, but then started shouting, "Hit me! Hit me!" and trying to place themselves in each balloon's trajectory.

If you watch the video, you'll notice Marie getting dumped on by a shower of water and subsequently screaming for the duration of the clip. The balloon launcher also sent Charlie into a squawling frenzy, so the end of the clip is peppered with high-pitched wails. It was a battle, though, so I suppose the sounds are fitting.

Lord of the Rings FOOD!
We are Hobbity in lots of ways, but especially in our propensity to adore culinary quality. . . several times a day. If I even mention the memory of some of these Middle-Earth Meals, the kids sigh and their eyes sort of roll back in their heads. Wow. We are such foodies!

For any of the recipes, please go to our our Recipe Blog HERE

Shelob Spider Cookies

Smaug Cake

Mount Doom Burgers and One Onion Ring to Rule Them All
(Eve and Marie are here and when they saw the photo, they both uttered loud, contented, hungry sighs. These were everyone's FAVORITE! If you haven't tried a variation on the Jucy Lucy hamburger, you've been missing out! If you're only going to try one of these recipes, try this one!)

Orc Tenderloin with Roasted Po-TAY-toes
(This is one of our favorite Sunday dinners. The cream sauce is amazing and just thinking about it is making my stomach gurgle like the lava on Mount Doom)

Samwise's Strawberry Tarts

Fried Precious Golden Rings (aka Doughnuts)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Volume VIII, issue vi, June 2012

The Graduate
In the past two years, Peter has gone from a strong (tempered) but silent loudly-non-verbal type to a kid who uses words like "invincible" and "actually" and "Gandalf" with regularity. We attribute this personality growth-spurt in part to his time at preschool with Mrs Doggett. His tantrums, while not non-existent, have decreased in both volume and frequency and he is becoming a charming, funny wonder-boy with a hearty, delicious laugh and a sparkling wit.

I went on a speed-walk with Eric the other night and when I returned, Peter planted a super-smooch on my cheek. He made a face and said, "Sometimes you taste sour, Mom."

 Swing Low Sweet Cello

Holden and Ethan's cello recital was enough to send me to the musical moon and back. They both played with confidence and precision and genuinely seemed to enjoy the moment.

Holden had been greedily eying Bach's Prelude in C for months since we saw it performed by Steven Sharp Nelson (who always sounds like a feminist to me because of the use of two last names in his title. . . or maybe an 80's child star. . . but I digress). His teacher gave him the green light and he dug in to the broken chords with gusto.

The night of the recital, Holden was repetitively rehearsing the shifts and chords in the final measures and said sadly, "If I play everything else perfectly, but mess up that last chord, that's all they'll remember!"  I found myself praying for him and that final chord as he began his performance.

As he wove through the chord progressions he started to lean in to the sound and gave himself up to the music; he even closed his eyes and swayed just a bit. I nervously watched him through my camera lens as he approached the final line and waited until the end to snap the picture.

What follows is the satisfaction of a boy who has just NAILED his musical dismount.

Check out both his position on the cello and the lift of his bow! Seriously! That photo is the visual manifestation of what it feels like to reach the point that playing music becomes its own reward. I was in tears as I sniffled all the way home and thought, "Now he's one of US!"

Princess Ballet Boot Camp

Marie has been begging for dance lessons since I was pregnant with Charlie, but it's been more than we could manage. When I saw the flyer for a one week crash-course in all things princess-y and ballet-related, I knew it was just the thing for our over-programmed crew.  Marie went to dance class for one hour each day for five days and then had a recital on Saturday. Can someone say "Genuis?" Included in the forty dollar fee was a tutu AND a tiara, so what was not to love? Eric read my mind and said, "It's perfect. We get all of the cute pictures without having to take her to months of lessons."

She practically floated to class each day and to make sure that it was extra adorable, Eve came with us each day. I admit that I cried a little during each class when they came to the part of the song that said, "Once you believe you are ready to shine, the princess inside you will show. You are the glow."   I told Eric that he needed to feel the explosive cuteness involved in observing a dance class, and he absolved me of my shame from my overloaded pathos when he whispered, "Watching that actually made me cry!" 

When Marie dragged herself out of bed on the morning of the performance we were greeted with a cute little face full of anticipation and ink. 

She had somehow made herself into a human canvas between the time I kissed her goodnight and when she woke up in the morning. 

        Luckily I was able to scrub off her artwork before the performance and we gussied her up to be a tulle-bedecked, pink-covered, curly-haired angel. (Only we knew that the "angel" part was just mostly true.)


Just in case you weren't convinced about Marie's true Disney princess alter-ego, let me tell you just one more royal tale. Marie was fawning over a stuffed kitten when Eric asked her, "Marie, what is your cat's name?"
She responded with her sweet, true-eto voice, "Uhhh. . . Sparkles Beauty."

(That response actually plays second fiddle to the time when Marie's cousin and princess doppelganger, Devi, gave my Mom a hug and pronounced excitedly, "Gramma! You smell like TURKEY!" She beamed up at my Mom as if she had just given her some sort of olfactory award.)

Up Chuck

Charlie up and decided that being stationery in a house full of bipeds wasn't working to his complete advantage, so he attempted to crawl. At first he mostly wormed himself in a foward direction, but after about a week, he started to try his hand (and knees) at a more traditional approach. Now he motors around like he means business.

The other day when the kids and Eric were playing outside, Charlie crawled up to the window and started pounding on it to get their attention. He squealed with joy every time he waved and they all waved back.

I swear I'm not trying to block up the blog with videos, but when the game with Charlie escalated to the shoe-throwing point, I had to share.

Tiny Charlie has been taking baths in our master bathroom sink like the little Charlie Thumb that he is. A couple of weeks ago I decided to try letting him join the tub-time with Peter and Marie. He resisted with screams of protest until he got used to the big tub and settled in like it was a hot-tub for three. Then he shot me a big blue-eyed look that said, "I told you I'd love it, Mom."


This month we had one of those trembly, rubber-gloved, sick-kidded days where you scrub, wash, clean, sanitize, sanitize, sanitize, smile broadly, and coo words of comfort, then quietly tip-toe to your corner and sit . . . rocking. . . waiting. . . because, despite the harried, repetitive antibacterial ritual, you know you've just willingly tied yourself to the tracks of the oncoming germ train.

On Saturday morning while I was make my grocery-related rounds, Marie approached Eric with a concerned look and said in her sugary tones, "Dad. . . I'm not feeling like myself."

Eric gently led Marie to the bathroom where he pulled back her hair and held it with one hand while patting her back with the other, waiting for the worst to come. And come it did. Out the other end. In droves. The multiple eruptions that ensued caused that moment to live on in infamy as "Poopaggedon" . . . as in (I'm aggedon out of here!). (Thanks to Holden for the name.)

When I returned from the store, Eric had a silent, wild-eyed look of one who has survived not just one traumatic event, but several in a row, and just can't find the words to express the utter horror. He had given Marie not one, but two baths, and said quietly, "You go take care of her. . . She's on the floor in the bathroom."

 I found her bare-bottomed and horizontal on the cool tiles of our bathroom, moaning. I asked her if she was okay and she replied, "I don't know. " 

Eric picked up some pink pedialyte and called it "Girl Juice" to encourage Marie to drink it. A few hours later she had perked up and said, "Mom I'm feeling like myself again! It was the Girl Juice that made me feel better."

Peter became so suddenly afflicted at the park that he and Eric sprinted to the bathroom. I heard Peter wailing from where I was sitting, but later Eric told me that it was because about ten feet from the bathroom, Peter grabbed his hind end and shrieked, "I've got poop gas!" 

(Hopefully that wasn't too much.)

Poor Caleb also suffered a five day string of flu-filled days and looked like the bags under his eyes had bags under their eyes. 

(You can thank me later for the deliberate absence of photos with this post.)

Oh So Eve

Eve's brothers were teasing her (as they do so well and so often) at dinner and Ethan insulted her.  She gave him her best bored expression and said, "Seriously? That's the best you got?"

* * * 
Eve was carefully preparing her hamburger at the park by decorating it with ketchup in the shape of a smiley face. Eric said to her, "That's something your Mom would do." Eve responded, "Yeah. . ." and then she grabbed the top bun, smushed it on top of the hamburger with relish (hah) and said, "And THIS is what happens when the bus came by!" 

I guess she has some of BOTH of her parents in her. 

PS She is pictured above in her "mid-evil" outfit for her school play. (See May's edition of The Review if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

On a whim, the school-aged kids and I planned a jail-breakout-themed end-o'-school bash. Each of the older kids got to invite two friends for a late-night. Who doesn't love an excuse to plan a party, specially when you end up with fifteen kids and twelve gallons of popcorn on your basement floor?

Blog Archive