November 27, 2008

Question of the Day

From Connor: "So, is Santa Claus bi-polar?"

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

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November 14, 2008

Life with my children

Me: Did it ever occur to you that I know more than you do?

Lachlan (age 6): No.

Lachlan: Um, Mom, um .... um ... I forgot ... wait ... (puts his fingertips on either side of his head, scrunches up his eyes) ... wait, I have to look inside my mind ...

Connor: Oh, you have to watch out for those decimals. Decimals will kill you if you give them 0.5 of a chance.

Why we get nowhere whenever we try to revisit learning Spanish:

(If you don't know any Spanish, it's supposed to go like this:

Person one: Hola! Como te llamas? Hello, what is your name?

Person two: Me llamo (name). Como te llamas? My name is (name). What is your name?

Person one: Me llamo (name). Que tal? My name is (name). How are you?

Person two: Bien, gracias. Adios! Fine, thanks. Goodbye!)

Me: Okay, Aidan, tell Connor "hello" in Spanish.

Aidan: O, hai!

Me: No. In Spanish. Say hello and ask his name, and then ask how he's doing.

Aidan: Hola! How is your llama?

Connor: My llama is in a coma. How is your llama?

Aidan: My llama is Aidan. How tall are you?

Connor: About five foot four. And how tall is your llama?

And that's about where I give up. Actually, that's where I gave in, and started singing "Llama in a Coma," but it's the same thing.

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October 31, 2008


I apologize for the picture quality. I've mislaid the good camera, and these are cellphone pics.

Secret Service Harry Potter

Zombie Jedi Youngling

Pumpkins 1 Jack Skellington

Halo 3 Pumpkin Pi

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October 11, 2008


Overheard of my 8 year old: "Egypt people didn't think the same way Americans do. When Egypt people made a mummy, they left the heart in. If Americans made a mummy, they'd leave in the brain."

Griffin explains feudalism:

"In medieval times, people were ruled by knights. Knights were ruled by kings. And kings were ruled by God. At least, that's what the kings said."

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September 22, 2008

Not the lesson I'd hoped he'd take away from the story ...

Today I read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" to Griffin. He narrated it back to me - a beautiful narration.

Then I prompted him for the moral of the story, which he said was:

"Never tell the truth after you lie."

We always kind of pegged him to be the televangelist of the family. Maybe we should be considering politics, instead? Campaign management?

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June 17, 2008

How my kids spend their free time:

We played a game in high school history class, junior year, called "The World Game."* Did anyone else play this? We broke into teams and created countries. We earned points by creating different pieces of information for our countries, such as: climate details, history, government, constitution, national flag/anthem, educational system, etc. You can make treaties with other countries; natural disasters happen. In the end the end you don't have to go to war, but my understanding is that our teacher never had a class that didn't. Jeff and I were in the same class. His group contained the two class overachievers. Mine did not. My country had a flag, an anthem, a complete history, and a fully-described educational system. His country had a constitution, and a fully-described military. My country fared badly in the world war.

Connor has spent this evening making a country for the world game. He's drawn up the basic geographical map and climate overview. He's chosen to give everything Arabic names, and has looked them all up to make sure he has the meanings he wants. Now, I think he's off designing the military vehicles.

Aidan, on the other hand, spent his evening making an Alien nest out of clay, complete with colonists in different states of being ... used ... by the Aliens.

*Yep, that was junior year history at my school. American history.

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June 3, 2008


I have finally figured out who Connor reminds me of:


I gave the child his clean laundry tonight. He immediately began struggling with it, and called out to me: "I'll hold them off! You make a break for it!"

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May 20, 2008

Meanwhile, the younger children ...

... are teaching themselves to read via playing Munchkin.

It will be interesting to see the differences between them, and the children who learned via Calvin and Hobbes.

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If you want your children to do any schoolwork ...

Don't hand them Orson Scott Card novels. I don't think I've seen my older children since Sunday, when I handed them "Speaker for the Dead" and "Ender's Shadow."

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April 29, 2008

Is There Something You Want to Tell Me?

Lachlan (6): "Daddy that big freezer can hold ice cream."

Jeff: "Yes, yes it can."

Lachlan: "And a dead bunny."


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April 6, 2008

My Kids Crack Me Up

As we pulled into the parking lot of the Palace of Auburn Hills today, we passed the handicapped parking section. At the Palace, however, they call it "disabled" parking.

In a mock sad voice, Connor called out "Oh, noes!* Someone disabled the parking!"

Maybe you had to be there. It made us laugh.

We were at the Palace to see the Harlem Globetrotters. There's four hours of my life I will never get back.

* For effect, my children speak in LOLspeak. It's a phase. That's what I tell myself. Every day.

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February 18, 2008



This is what Six looks like.

He's cute, isn't he? Look at that. My BABY is six.

Two weeks after my oldest child turned six, I had my fourth child. How very odd to have a six year old with no younger siblings.

He wanted a "soldier" birthday, as you can see. A soldier birthday, with a Death Star cake. So here you go:


But I assure you that this is NOT as cool as the first cake was. This was a last-minute job, and does not include the additional "blackness of space" cake. But still, it looked great on fire:


(I apologize for the quality. I was using my camera phone.)

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February 12, 2008

A Whole New Meaning ...

Connor lay on the ground, twitching and jerking.

Aidan: Brutus! He's having a Caesar!

Connor: No, I'm not. I'm playing House!

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February 7, 2008

Nothing To See Here

Our computer had a glitch. The casualty? The pictures from the birthday party. All of them. No other pictures - just those.

(If you listen closely, you can hear me screaming.)

I made a Death Star cake, for crying out loud! It was cool! The Alderaan pinata was completely awesome! Argh!

Let me describe the cake: I made a one-layer, rectangular cake, and frosted it black. It was space. We put metallic sprinkles on it, and gold and silver star candles.

Rising up out of the blackness of space was a sphere of grey-frosted chocolate cake. From a dish near the top of the sphere, six green birthday candles angled into each other to form a single point - which was really cool when they were all lit.

It was a Seriously. Cool. Cake.

And the pinata was amazing. It looked like a real planet. It was especially amazing considering that I didn't touch the thing. The kids did it all (and Jeff did the spray paint base).

It figures.

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January 30, 2008

Party Update

It was a blast (ha ha ha). Due to a little teeny tiny technical glitch, I don't have the pictures yet. But the cake was fairly awesome, and Alderaan was fantastic. No, the candy hadn't melted (although Alderaan had a giant rift crater courtesy of the fire).

Pictures as soon as my computer cooperates.

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December 19, 2007

What My Kids Are Playing Tonight

Tonight, my kids are playing a game of President and Secret Service agents, in which the football keeps getting stolen.

Don't ask me. I have no idea.

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December 5, 2007

Overheard at my house ...

Me: Griffin ... are you writing with your left hand?

Griffin: Well, Mom, it's one of my favorite hands!

Lachlan: (near to tears) Mom! Nearly all of my favorite dinosaurs are extinct!

Griffin: I have a soul!

Aidan: Whose?

I was trying to creatively inspire the younger children to do their chores:

Me: Even the Jedi had to do chores. Who do you think cleaned up Anakin's room at the Jedi temple?

Griffin: Anakin didn't live at the temple, Mom.

Me: Well fine, who do you think cleaned his room, where he lived?

Griffin: Padme.

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September 13, 2007

Some Kids Say "Yes, Ma'am"

My kids say either: "Yes, Lord Vader!" (to which all the other kids yell out, "Lady Vader!")

Or: "Yes, Scary Mommy Bird!"

Actually, barking out an order and hearing the response "Yes, Lord Vader!" is not bad. Not at all.

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August 24, 2007

We've Created a Monster

More than one, likely.

Tonight we watched the first two episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." We've never watched this series, but at this point I'm willing to watch anything Joss Whedon has done. Heck, I'm willing to watch dramatizations of the notes Joss Whedon passed in junior high. We were not disappointed. I am told the series gets way better than the first season would have us believe, but we enjoyed these first two episodes. Our two oldest kids watched with us. I suppose that in many homes "Buffy" is not standard fare for the under-12 set, but, well, it is here.

The thing is, see, that several months ago we introduced our kids to Mystery Science Theater 3000. And they loved it. Which means that anything they watch is now instantly ... what's the verb here? I'm going to go with "MST3Ked." If you've never seen MST3K, it's basically a human and a couple of robot characters who watch really bad movies and make funny/sarcastic comments throughout said movie. So now every time we watch anything, Connor does a running commentary. Which would be annoying, except that I think he has a gift. He's good at this! He's funny! What have we unleashed on the unsuspecting world?

Posted by lynx at 9:43 PM | Comments (6)

June 6, 2007

One Day, They Want to Direct the Military

I took an afternoon trip to Animal Control yesterday (will explain in another post). I knew I would be back too late to get dinner started, but I also knew that I had at least three capable teen/pre-teen types in my home.

So I called said capable children, and gave directions to the one who answered the phone: "I want you to get out five potatoes. Not the sweet potatoes, the regular ones. Wash them. Chop them up into big pieces. Put them in a pot, with just enough water to cover them up. Then put them on the stove to cook.

Also, go to the freezer, and get out a pound of ground beef. I'll make Shepherd's Pie."

Simple, right?

I called back 15 minutes later, to see how preparations were coming along. "How's it going, son?"

"Oh, fine, Mom! The poatoes are on the stove, heating up."

"Great! How did the chopping go? Did anyone lose a finger?"

"Uh ... we were supposed to chop them?"

So I reiterated the instructions. "Yes, chop them," and "Did you find the ground beef?"

He assured me that everything else was fine.

Fifteen minutes later, I was home. And in the kitchen I found, cooking away on the stove, a HUGE pot full of ... can you guess? Chopped sweet potatoes. And a pound of whitefish. Which was even labeled with a picture of a fish, for those not quite literate.

We didn't exactly have Shepherd's Pie.

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April 20, 2007

Shameless Brag

I just want you all to know that it's 8:30 am, and my two oldest (9 and 11) boys are awake. They are dressed. They are eating breakfast. They have already done their morning chores, which they did on their own, without any reminding or prompting from me.

This happens nearly every morning.


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April 12, 2007

From the "Thank Heavens He Has No Idea What He's Saying" Department

We spent last weekend travelling. At one point we stopped for a meal at Cracker Barrel, where the kids love to play with the toys while we wait for our table. Apparently one of the toys is a rubber chicken, which my six year old loves.

As we pulled into the parking lot, he became excited. "Yay!" he exclaimed. "I want to go play with the toys! Now I can choke the chicken while we wait for our table!"

It was ten minutes before we could get out of the car with anything approaching a straight face.

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February 20, 2007

Clean up, quick! Zeus is coming!

I just walked in on my 5 and 6 year olds chanting "All hail Zeus!" so I decided I ought to see just what kind of a game they were playing. They had most of the pieces of a Star Wars chess set lined up on a box. This, they explained to me, was the war.

A few other chess pieces were on a white cushion. This, apparently, was Heaven. Sometimes the spirits of the people in the war drifted upwards and came to Heaven. In Heaven they apparently had a big party ... but they cleaned up quickly before Zeus came back. If Zeus found Heaven a mess, he'd shock them all with his thunderbolts.

I don't know whether to be proud or worried, but you can't say they're not creative.

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February 7, 2007

The Breakfast Cereal of Sociopaths

Mighty Bites Cereal

This is my kids' favorite cereal. Look at it.

That's right, it's shaped like people.

What was Kashi thinking, do you think? What is the thought process involved in deciding that you're going to make your new kids' cereal in the shape of human beings?

Does no one on their research team have boys? Do you realize what boys do with this cereal? Breakfast isn't just breakfast any more. No, it's a massacre every morning, complete with little screams as the little people get devoured.

"What do you want for breakfast this morning?"

"I want to eat the little people! Can you hear them? AIEEEEEEEEEE! Don't eat me!"

Betcha the Kashi people had some beautiful ideas about health and world peace when they made this cereal. The Kashi people have never met my children. Obviously.

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January 10, 2007

I don't think this is what Mufasa had in mind.

Connor: "But Mom, I have to annoy my brothers. It's a circle of life thing."

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December 13, 2006

The Gingerbread Man - Gone Wrong

I've never tried to link to a YouTube video, so here goes nothing. If it works, this is the video that Connor, Aidan and their partner made in their clay animation class. They used the Digital Blue Digital Movie Creator.

Not bad, eh?

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December 9, 2006

The Benefits of a Classical Education

This morning I asked Aidan to tell me what was happening the last time he read in "Black Ships Before Troy."

"Well," began Aidan, "Paris got killed ...."

"Yay!" Connor interrupted. "Paris was destroyed!"

And then they both got a light in their eyes, and yelled, in perfect unison: "Paris delenda est!"

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November 15, 2006

These Are My Feet


... in Connor's shoes.

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October 26, 2006


I missed posting about Griffin's birthday. He had one, though, and now he's six.

Here's the cake he requested. They wouldn't let me decorate it this year, though - they did this all themselves. Yes, it's being attacked by Captain Jack.

Pirate Ship Cake

Yep, he's six, and he astounds us every day with how big he is. It still catches us by surprise. I think we have a tendency to treat him as a younger kid. He won't stand for that much longer, though. He's a big kid. He takes karate. He's learning arithmetic.

Griffin in the Pumpkin Patch

He seems to have decided that his position in the family is that of class clown. I truly think this was a considered decision on his part. And he works at it. He wants, more than anything, to be funny. To make people laugh, as only the third child can.

Upside-Down Griffin

And he's a sweet, sweet boy.

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October 21, 2006

Things My Kids Will Never Forgive

I didn't realize, until just now, what I have done. I imagine Aidan will remember this for the rest of his life, and never forgive me.

Aidan is getting braces. I scheduled the appointment for ...

do you believe this? ...

Oct. 30.

Do I break it to him now? Or wait for him to figure it out?

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October 20, 2006

Overheard In My Car

Connor: I am NOT a Trekkie.

Me: Yes you are.

Connor: No, Aidan's a Trekkie. I am not a TrekkIE, I'm a TrekkER.

I'm doomed.

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October 18, 2006

How To Be Moral

At a den meeting this week, the leader asked the boys what it means to be "morally straight."

My 10 year old's response: "It means not running around being like Hitler."

There you have it, folks. Moral = not Hitler.

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October 1, 2006

Weird People/Embarrassing Kids

Another strange thing about Michigan: People say things to my kids when we're in the store. Things that my kids just do not get.

Today Lachlan was sulking in the cereal aisle, as the permitted-cereal negotiations were not going as he had hoped. A man walking in the same aisle stopped to stoop near Lachlan's ear, and told him: "Hey, I just saw Santa Claus over on the next aisle!"

It took me several seconds to understand what he meant. We do have Santa visit us at Christmas, but do not use him as a bribe for good behavior. Lachlan just assumed the man was insane and resumed his pout.

But soon, a cereal was agreed upon, and the rest of the family joined us in that fateful aisle. All of the children simultaneously opened negotiations for cookies, but I was feeling unilateral and smacked that idea down.

"Please can we have cookies?" begged Griffin.


I swear that as I said "no," talked ceased in the aisle. I'm quite certain they all paused for a moment of silence so that they could hear my child's next words clearly. Would he yell? Would he throw a fit? Would he say "That's okay, Mom, I'm sure you have excellent reasons for not allowing us to load up on sugar right now?"

Not my kid. No, my kid, my new six-year-old giggled at me, and then, as the store held its breath, yelled out: "Awww, you bastard!"

I may never be able to shop there again. What do you think Santa thought of that?

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September 22, 2006

Overheard at My House

Me: "Aidan, go get your Latin book."

Aidan: "Computer, end program! End program!"

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September 16, 2006

Conversations with the Older Children

The older kids are supposed to be going to bed. Instead, they keep coming down with questions. Tonight, I'm not sure I want to know where these questions are coming from:

"What are narcotics?"

"Mom, what is a mortgage interest deduction?"

Are they doing drugs, or trying to buy a house? Both? Maybe looking into selling drugs to finance the house? Should I be worried?

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September 14, 2006

More Conversations With the Four-Year-Old

"Lachlan, what are you doing?"


"Lachlan, what are you doing?"

"I don't have any knives."


"Mommy, Griffin's not smart."

"What do you mean? Griffin is smart."

"Mommy, am I smart?"


"Is Griffin smart?"


"Oh. Well, that explains it."


And don't miss Mary Had a Little Egg.

Posted by lynx at 10:10 PM | Comments (4)

June 16, 2006

The Bird Who Lived

Yes, we got another bird. We actually brought it home a scant 24 hours after the first one died. I was afraid to mention it earlier, though, in case, you know, it died too.

It has survived nearly a month. Jeff wanted to name it Canary Potter, the Bird Who Lived. But Connor chose Dread Pirate Birdie. (My son, though gifted in many areas, has never been one for creative naming. For evidence I offer you his stuffed raccoon, which he named "Raccoony.")

We just call him Birdie. It seems to fit him more than "Pirate."

We even took the bird to the vet, which is ... well, look, we don't even take the cats to the vet. We took the bird to the bird vet. We brought the bird vet little samples of bird poop, to see if it looked good. The bird seems fine, and we are not, apparently, serial bird killers. Yet.

They never tell you, when you become a parent, just how much of the rest of your life will revolve around poop. Kid poop, cat poop, bird poop. Everyone poops, indeed.

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May 13, 2006

I've been given the bird!

I hesitate to say this, but ... we got a replacement budgie.

As of a couple of hours ago, it has survived slightly longer in our house than birdie #1 did. Hopefully this is a positive sign. It may help that half the boys are at Scout camp this weekend. Yes, they brought home a new bird and left it here. With me. Me, the one who found the last bird dead in its cage. No anxiety here, nosiree.

Birdie #1 was active and curious. It would sit on anyone's finger and climb all over them. It wanted to explore. It was downright gregarious.

The new birdie wants nothing to do with us. It does not want anything to do with anyone's finger. It has, at times, turned its back to us on its little perch. It's still alive, though. (Maybe I should go upstairs and check?) It sits on one particular place on one perch and that is it. I can tell that it's been elsewhere in its cage, but it has never let us see it off its perch. Except that earlier today, when I was talking to it in what I hope was a soothing way, it suddenly climbed off its perch and walked all around its cage. Then it leapt onto the cage walls and clawed its way around the bars. It chirped several times.

Then it got back on its perch.

I'm hoping the sudden trek around the cage is a good sign?

The boys are having a blast at camp. Tonight they made marshmallow blow guns out of PVC pipe. You have never seen happier boys.

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May 11, 2006

All right, now I'm really pissed.

We figured that just in case this bird had an undiagnosed illness, we'd better take it to a vet and see if we can determine whyit died. If it had an undiagnosed illness, then the birds back at the store may be ill.

I made the appointment with the vet first. Then I called the store to let them know we'd lost the bird. Since the bird died within 48 hours of leaving their care, I thought they'd like to know.

The owner answered the phone. She was all about her liability. She assured me the bird almost certainly died of stress, and that if we want to she'll give us half off another. And we need to tell her our decision by tomorrow, because she can't hold the offer open past then.

Screw that, I don't want to give her any more of my money.

I want my son to feel better. I want to know why the bird died. If it did die of stress, I want to know how we can do better next time. I was actually worried about disease spreading to the rest of their stock. Yes, it would be nice to be offered a refund, or something, but that is not why I called.

How far it goes to be kind and sympathetic to people. It doesn't take much. Instead, I get told that it was likely our fault and receive a grudging offer off another bird? Bite me.

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May 10, 2006

Damn, damn, damn!

The bird is dead.

Lachlan came to get me this evening. "Mom, you gotta come upstairs and see what the parakeet is doing!"

So I went. When I walked into the room and didn't see the parakeet in its cage right away, I didn't want to look more closely. It's my constant fear as a mother, that when I look in the cage/bed/tank/jar, whatever it is will be dead.

The poor thing was lying on its side on the bottom of the cage.

Connor is devastated, but he's handling it far better than I thought he would. I am so sad for him. Griffin is taking it very hard too. Griffin's feelings run deep, and he thinks a great deal about death, anyway. He doesn't understand it, and he doesn't like it.

We'll take it to the vet tomorrow. Since it had a 72-hour health guarantee from the store, we have to get it a birdie autopsy. I hope it had some kind of illness, and that it wasn't anything we did.


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May 8, 2006

Bird Brain

I may have lost my mind.

A few weeks ago our oldest son began lobbying for a parakeet. He's wanted one before, but this time the boy was serious. And he had the allowance money to prove it.

I told him he'd better read up on parakeet care first. So he did. He read every book on parakeets he could find at the library. And he begged. And begged. And begged.

Out of the blue one day, and email landed in my inbox that mentioned the existence of a bird store which sells hand-raised parakeets, just a couple of blocks away from the doctor's office. Aidan had another appointment today, so I thought we'd just see what they had ...

The Parakeet

Meet our new parakeet. He doesn't have a name yet. Actually, we don't know if it's a he or a she, yet. I know nothing about birds, except what cats do to them.

It seems like a sweet little birdie. Please tell me these are very easy pets and we'll have no trouble keeping it alive. Please?

Connor, on the other hand, we might have to beat. He won't allow us to make any loud noises, in fear of startling the parakeet. I was not allowed to take the picture with a flash. We're not to turn on any lights in his room after dark, for fear of waking the bird. He has a strict cleaning, socialization, and training regimen planned out. Me, I have cats, and "benign neglect" is one of my favorite phrases.

Next year, Aidan is determined to get a hamster. We convinced him that it's best to wait until we move again. Then we're doomed. The cats will either be irritated and frustrated that we're housing birds and rodents, or they'll see it as a challenge ...

Posted by lynx at 8:07 PM | Comments (11)

May 4, 2006

More Songs of the Four-Year-Old

P-I-J-O-O and Plasmo was his name-o."

Don't ask me. I have no idea.

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Better News

Aidan's sonogram was fine. They found no problems with his kidneys. Which is great! On the other hand, it means that I don't think they have any idea why he's suddenly running fevers and vomiting consistently every evening. Just in the evenings. And he complains of back pain. He's fine during the daytime. When I had those symptoms, I had a kidney infection.

Hopefully we'll know more on Monday. But at least his kidneys are fine.

Posted by lynx at 9:16 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 1, 2006


I never realized, when I was younger, just how little my Mother could actually do for me when I was sick.

Aidan's purpura is flaring up again, and evey evening he is sick. He hobbles around, because his feet hurt and are swollen. He's nauseous. Sometimes he vomits. Sometimes he has a fever.

And all I can really do is to tell him that I'm sorry, and get him some ice water, and help him to lie down comfortably.

It's the most frustrating thing in the world, knowing that there is really nothing I can do.

We're taking him for a sonogram of his kidneys on Thursday, because the doc was not quite happy with what he found at our follow-up appointment today. Think happy kidney thoughts for us.

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April 23, 2006

When Four-Year-Olds Sing

"No more monkeys jumping on the bed
No more monkeys jumping on the bed
No more monkeys jumping on the bed
That is what the German said."
Those Germans are just no fun.

"Rock, Paper, Scissors, Juice!" Um ... who would ever lose to juice?
(The older boys say "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Choose!")

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February 26, 2006

More Joy of Children

Four Year Old: (Poking at my stomach) Mommy, your tummy's squishy. Why is your tummy squishy?

Mommy: Because I had four babies, and when a baby is in there, it stretches my tummy all out. Then when the baby comes out, my tummy is squishy.

Four Year Old: And your butt?

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February 8, 2006

Overheard at Our House

... the following conversation between the 5 year old and the 3 year old:

"Okay, now he comes back alive."

"Now he has three heads!"

"Eight thousand! Twelveteen!"

"He can make a nest for his babies. He's a good guy snake now."



"I said he's a good guy snake now!"


"Oh. Then let's play something else."

Posted by lynx at 10:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 6, 2006

The Real Joy

... of shopping with a four-year-old, is when you pass the display of bras and he yells out excitedly:

"Look! They sell breasts!"

Posted by lynx at 10:48 PM | Comments (8)

February 5, 2006

The Party is Over

The party is over. And it was a success!

I hate putting together birthday parties. This year I held it at our rec center, in a room off the pool. Good idea. The boys (and girls!) ate cake and then splashed around, some for hours. What was left of the party migrated to our house, and finally broke up around 10 pm.

That's a party.

Not only that, but everyone who was invited came, except for one family who I knew was having a very busy weekend. I think we had ... 11 guests, plus our four (for a joint Connor/Aidan party). For a socially-challenged and party-phobic mom, that is not bad at all.

I'm so glad it's over.

Most importantly, the boys were happy. More than happy. They beamed the entire day. Success!

Lachlan is getting a quiet cake at our house for his birthday (gulp) in ten days. Thank goodness that a cake will thrill him to pieces.

We packed 22 boxes today. I had forgotten what a tiring, dreary pain it is to pack. Twenty-two down ... 500 to go?

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January 31, 2006

My baby ... my baby is 10 years old today.

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January 23, 2006

Gaul is for the Birds

Aidan had to translate a sentence in Latin today. The sentence was this:

Galli navigant.

He melted down into a little puddle of frustration because, he insisted, it made no sense!

I calmed him down, and asked him to tell me why it made no sense. He finally managed to explain that it made no sense to say that birds sail. You know, galli, gulls?

"Galli navigant" means "the Gauls sail."

I'm afraid that all this time he's been thinking that Caesar conquered a bunch of seagulls.

Poor kid. Just wait until we get to the Angles.

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January 19, 2006

Sunday at Our House

Child: Oh, it's Martin Luther King's birthday.

Me: That's right. Do you know who that is?

Child: Yes.

Me: Who was he?

Child: He's the guy who started Protestantism.

(Did I mention that I prefer teaching ancient and medieval history to modern?)

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January 15, 2006

Bionicle Monopoly Instructions

Here is the original post on the Well-Trained Mind board.

We worked out a system of property improvements. We have little plastic discs in four colors, red, green, blue and yellow. Once you own a monopoly, you can start buying "elements" in a set order (earth, air, fire, water, each one corresponding to a different colored chip). Rents are higher based on which element is on the monopoly.


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January 14, 2006

The Birthday Present

There's a mom who goes by Peek-A-Boo on the various homeschooling boards, and she's a genius. All I had to do was to copy her work and creativity, and voila! My kid got a very cool birthday present.

I give you ... are you ready for the coolness? ... the homemade Bionicle Monopoly game:

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And the very happy birthday boy:

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See how cool this is? See? See? Peek gave me her original idea, plus her layout of the squares and properties. Jeff designed a template for the properties and cards, which we'd gladly share if anyone wants them. We used a Create Your Own Game kit; you could just as easily use a create-your-own Monopoly kit, or draw a board from scratch onto posterboard.

There were some awkward moments, as we're not very Bionicle-literate. I wanted to draw a "Kohlii staff" on the square marked "Kohlii Arena." So ... er ... yeah. A Kohlii staff. I flipped through the guidebook and picked a likely staff-like picture, rendered it in black Sharpie and prayed. But the next morning they spied the square and cried "Cool Kohlii staff, mom!"


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January 9, 2006

Eight Years Ago

Eight years ago I was not yet having any contractions nor any other sign of labor, in spite of the fact that my baby would be born in five hours.

Aidan's birth story is the fun one. It has everything: The calm midwife assuring everyone it would be hours, and telling me to take a bath to relax. The warm bath speeding labor along. The frantic call back to the midwife informing her that no matter how calm she was, we were on our way. The breakneck drive down the Dallas North Tollway and through downtown Dallas at 4 am. He was born ten minutes after we pulled up to the door of the birth center, just before the sun rose on his Daddy's 29th birthday.

And now he's eight.

(Pause to contemplate the marvel of how quickly the time goes.)

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January 1, 2006

A Couple of Solstice Pictures

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All the boys ... and geese

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December 27, 2005

We tried to get a nice Christmas picture ...

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This is as good as it gets ;-)

I'll post Solstice pictures later. Photobucket assures me it has resized my pictures, but it hasn't.

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November 2, 2005

The Crew

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And an extra shot of that darned cute, fully-clothed, Sheriff.

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October 15, 2005

Creative Phys Ed

Whyever was I worried about the boys getting enough exercise? It struck me today that in reality, they probably walk several miles a day.

You see, most of the toys live in bins in the garage. We simply don't have room to keep them in the house.

Part of the older boys' day always includes cleaning a room. Which takes a remarkably. Long. Time. It takes a remarkably. Long. Time. because they employ the most labor-intensive practices known to man.

They pick up a toy.

They take it, across the entire house, to the garage.

They return, across the house, to the room.

They pick up a toy.


All. Day. Long.

I figure they're logging a couple of miles a day. What do you think?

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Paging Uncle Brian

Said by the youngest one tonight, with a very sad face:

"I have a grandma, and a grandpa, and a Brian. But he goned away."

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October 10, 2005

It's Sort Of Fall

Thanks, all of you, for your fantastic comments. I'm printing them out to address them properly. And that should happen tomorrow, when the blinding headache subsides.

Nice day today. Fall is here, which means that daytime highs are only in the 80s. Still, that's mild enough to go outdoors while the sun is out.

The big boys had their first Boy Scout camp over the weekend, and loved it. Meanwhile I stayed home with the little boys, and realized how much more attention they need. Poor guys, they get lost in the shuffle. Of course I don't mean that to happen, but it does. So this afternoon I took them out for a walk, just the three of us. We wandered around the neighborhood, and ended up, of course, at the park. We hunt dinosaurs while we walk. Did you know that Texas is crawling with dinosaurs? It's true. Mostly T-rexes and allosaurs. Be careful where you walk.

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October 3, 2005

The Cake

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You may applaud now.

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September 30, 2005

Changing the Sig Line

'Cause I don't have a four-year-old any more. My only PM baby, Griffin officially turned five 14 minutes ago.

We celebrated by letting him pick dinner (pizza) and activities (videos). Tomorrow we'll have his pirate party, complete with a pirate ship cake. It's half decorated, waiting in the freezer for sails, treasure, and pirates.

Tell me, how would you go about making a pirate ship cake? Would you read the directions carefully, mark of the dimensions on the cake and measure before you cut? Or would you ... ah ... look at the picture on the internet and hack away confidently? Did you know that if you end up with four pieces of cake at different heights, you can, eventually, make them look all the same if you use enough frosting?

There's going to be some kids on sugar highs here tomorrow, yes siree.

(Conversation heard earlier at our house: "No, Griffin, you don't want to make a cake entirely out of frosting. It would taste good, but after you ate a little bit of it you'd feel sick. Trust me, I know what that's like.")

Stay tuned to see how ambitious I get with the sails and rigging.

Griffin was my earliest baby (just barely 37 weeks) and my smallest baby (8 pounds, 7 ounces). We had planned a homebirth with him but my body (or his body) had other ideas. My blood pressure got dangerously high so we nipped into the hospital for an induction. We were lucky enough to have a great OB who not only gave us excellent medical care without unnecessary interventions, but treated us with respect and listened to what we had to say. In fact, Griffin's birth restored my faith in OBs. (That faith was originally shattered when I had Connor.)

Today he's a big, sweet, stubborn, dinosaur-loving boy, who uses his brain to figure out the world around him in the most amazing ways. ("Mom, is our Earth in space, inside a big giant brain?")

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September 9, 2005


Leslie, I don't know if you read my blog, but I just saw this post you made last month on the Well-Trained Mind board. Thank you. I wish I had stumbled upon it yesterday.

These boys ... Connor, at age 9, is an alien being to me. He is like his father, who is also an alien being. I don't understand how their brains work. I don't relate to how their brains work. I don't grok their thought processes. Connor is calm. He's easygoing. He doesn't show much emotion, until it suddenly erupts in a small explosion of absolutely stubborn unreasonableness. I don't see it coming. I don't know how it got there. I'm blindsided. And I know that what he says he's upset about is not what he's really upset about. I want to figure it out and get to the bottom of this. And he can't. Poor boy. He builds up emotions, erupts and then wants to just go quietly away. But Mom's rug has been pulled out and she wants answers.

Leslie's advice, in this wise post of hers, is to let it go. Treat the outburst like a storm. Take cover. Let it rage. Remember that they get overwhelmed, and often don't even know why. And then, later, talk. Yes, that's the advice I need. Let it go. Let it pass. Try to refrain from jumping in and grappling with both hands, beating and pounding until the storm looks like something familiar.


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September 8, 2005

Must ... have ... sugar ...

Yesterday, I bought jelly.

A little while ago I walked into the kitchen. The jar of jelly was on the counter, open.

It was half empty.

And there was a straw sticking out of it.

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May 30, 2005

Oh, the Technology!

So I have a cassette I'd like to listen to. However, there is no cassette player in our stereo. Nor is there one in my car. I had to buy a cheap walkman from Radio Shack.

My two younger kids just found it. They both exclaimed in wonder: "Mom, is this your new iPod? Can I play on it?"

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