Archive for March, 2014

For the birds!

March 19th, 2014

This weather is for the birds! I say that a lot lately. Unseasonably cold or wet weather for the Islands this year has been less than fun. (Though I'm sure it's good for alleviating drought.)

My Danish husband finally asked me what the origin of the saying is. Apparently, they don't say that in Denmark.

I didn't know, so I searched online and came up with this:

"Before the advent of cars, one could see and smell the emissions of horse-drawn wagons in New York. Since there was no way of controlling these emissions, they - or the undigested oats in them - served to nourish a large population of English sparrows."

If you say something is for the birds, you're politely saying it's horse droppings. Surprised, he said, "It has nothing to do with weather?"

Now I was surprised. "No. It means something is worthless." I then realized, I only use the phrase "for the birds" in conjunction with weather complaints. No wonder he thought it was related.

"I wondered about that, because birds don't like to fly in wet weather, so it was confusing," he laughed.

Next time I'll just complain about the weather by calling it fowl!

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Le journal

March 17th, 2014

Olivia is a writer and a reader. I will take credit for that, thank you.

She picked out something at the store and bought it with her own allowance money. It is a beautiful purple diary embellished with a sparkly faux-crystal flower. I'm a little covetous.

Where belly buttons come from

Where belly buttons come from

She carries it with her to school and writes in it often. This was a delightful surprise to me.

Olivia writes all her hopes, dreams, and plans in it. I didn't strongly guide her to do that, but I did suggest when she picked it out that she could write down all the things she wants to remember in it.

She has written down all the jokes she invented on it. She then tested it on us and highlighted the one that got the best response. I didn't teach her to highlight but it's conceivable that one of her teachers has, even though she has not seemed to use highlighters regularly in school.



She started planning her own birthday party with a list of guests and gifts she wants to request.

Birthday party plans

Birthday party plans

The cutest use, I think, is as a journal. At the end of the school day she writes a letter TO ME about her daily behavioral report card. It is all the things she wants to say to me.

If she got a "green light" (good behavior) she asks me for candy and treats. If she got a "red light" (or "below red" as was the case not too long ago, ugh) she asks for forgiveness.

I did not teach her to do this, but I love reading it. Here's some pages out of Olivia's playbook:

Green light letter

Green light letter

Red light letter

Red light letter

Red light letter #2

Red light letter #2

Treasure map

Treasure map




Guilty giveaways

March 12th, 2014

You know the look the dog gives you when he's done something wrong? This face, courtesy Inca:


Guilt for eating trash.

Guilt for eating trash.

Olivia did the same thing after school. The minute I picked her up from school, she said, "Sorry, Mommy, for the message the teacher left on your phone."

I had not gotten a message, but I did see the teacher in the hallway as I went to get Olivia. On our way back to the car, I went to look for Teacher.

"Did you leave me a voice mail? Because I didn't get anything on my phone," I asked her.

"No, I was calling a repairman for a house emergency during class time, and the kids were very nosy about who I was talking to. I told them to mind their own business," she answered.

This immediately told me Olivia's guilty conscience assumed Teacher was calling to complain about her. "What color light did you get today?" I asked my kid.

She gave me the same sheepish look the dog gives me when they know they've done something bad. "Red..." she muttered softly.

I gave her the same disapproving look and voice of disappointment. Thanks to my kid, I get to practice this face a lot. "Olivia. What happened now?"

She gets these at least once a week. (As I've complained about in a previous blog.) I used to get really upset and now I'm so used to it, I'm numbly disgusted.

One day, I have to tell myself. One day it'll get better. The dog figured it out. Now just waiting for the girl to catch up.

How heavy is a cloud?

March 10th, 2014

These are the kinds of questions I answer these days: "Mommy, how heavy is a cloud?"

"I don't know, but I think it's light," I guessed. "It's just a bunch of small water droplets put together."

"I think it's 100 pounds because the milk said so," said Olivia, referring to the back of the milk cartons.

We drove up to the Pali so she could touch the fog. "We are inside a cloud now," I announced. "It's hazy and chilly. What do you think about this?"

"I thought it would be like the cartoons where you could sit on it and bounce," she said with a little disappointment. I remember doing and thinking the exact same thing at the exact same place when I was her age. My mom and her parents drove me up to the Pali and said the same things to me.

More stumpers: "Mommy, how does a bee stinger work?" "Where do belly buttons come from?" "Why can birds fly?" "What do dolphin teeth look like?"

To think, I used to sit in hours-long meetings, craft long-term strategic plans, and balance the department's budget while wearing a director's title. Yet I have no idea how to answer half the questions my six year old lobs at me. Believe me, at this age, the questions come fast and furious.

Here is a question from Mommy: Why does Olivia have endless energy that can wear out both parents and how can Mommy get some of that?


March 7th, 2014

I'm officially a member of the SAHM Club - Stay At Home Mom Club. It's really nice.

I did this some four years ago but at the time, Olivia was two years old and so I still didn't have any time to myself. It's kind of amazing to have a house that is quiet, and all to myself, for six whole hours a day while she is in school.

My friend Beth Hillyer escorted me through my first day of this new life. In her characteristically sunny way, she invited me to take a long walk with the Labs.

Over I went, and the very second I came out of my car, two yellow Lab pups hurtled towards me and immediately jammed their snouts in my pants. They are one year old and males, therefore overly enthusiastic and learning boundaries. At least one of them should have bought me a drink after the welcome they gave me.

We played with dogs in mud puddles. We looked at her chicken coop and the eggs that her Americana hens are laying in an unauthorized spot, which is in the bamboo when it should be in the hen house. I was given a proper introduction to the hens: Ruby, Buttercup, Brownie, and a whole bunch more whose names I do not remember.

We had lunch, and over pizza she revealed the secret of Stay at Home Momming: "You will not get as much done as you think you should. I drop the kids off at school. I do laundry, tend the dogs, the hens, the yard, the housework, and then it's time to get the boys again. But it's wonderful," she said, of a world whose horizon I'm just starting to peer over.

When I bemoaned my lack of land, she invited me to communally farm at her house. I might have to unleash all my vegetable-growing, chicken-raising aspirations on Beth's yard.




We then parted ways because it was already time to get our kids after school. She sent me home with a basket of eggs that she harvested from the forest, much to Brownie's dismay.

Olivia got my full attention after school. We did homework. She biked outside. I cooked dinner. The husband was happy that everything was taken care of when he got home.

It was a lovely day. I can get used to this!

What's your SAHM or SAHD (Stay At Home Dad) routine?

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