Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Kitten story

Baby T was just demanding a story with kittens from me.  I ventured a prose retelling of the three little kittens who lost their mittens, but it wasn't good enough.  Baby T wanted a different story--but I don't have any other kitten stories.

D helpfully suggested a retelling of the three little pigs with kittens.  He substituted a Minecraft creeper for the wolf, and Minecraft materials for the original materials and it worked really well.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


The zipline is up!

Christmas Day

Here's some of what's happening:

  • For Christmas Eve dinner last night, we had baked salmon, curried potatoes and garbanzo beans (thanks Tasty Bite!), mushroom soup with fried mushrooms and mushroom tortellini, fried mushrooms by themselves, and veggies.  (There may be something else I'm forgetting.)
  • Some highlights from the gifts:  homemade 3D printed Pokemon cookie/Play Doh cutters, a stuffed Pikachu, a stuffed Minecraft ocelot, a zipline, a Star Trek board game, calendars for the big kids, a Hello Kitty watch for Baby T, books for Baby T and D, German chocolates, a complete set of the Avatar:  The Last Airbender DVDs and a kitty keyboard for Baby T.
  • We made it to 9:30 AM Mass.  We did a playground visit, had salmon sandwiches for lunch, and now my husband and D are working on installing the zipline.  

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

We're just about ready for Christmas Eve.  Here's what has been happening:

  • My husband took all three children grocery shopping last night at Aldi's and HEB for essential Christmas Eve/Christmas supplies.
  • The big kids have been doing more and more each year for Christmas prep, but this year they did SO much.  C and D did a lot of the tree decorating and wrapped a lot of gifts.  Even Baby T wrapped a gift.
  • Baby T has been in Christmas mode for probably literally months now and has spent hours appropriating my aluminum foil and wrapping up random office supplies and small toys.  There's quite a pile of her items under the Christmas tree.  
  • I just gave her the left-over scraps of wrapping paper and bows and she has been wrapping furiously.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Almost done

Here's some of what's going on:

  • D had a playdate with a classmate.  They had a Nerf gun war (teaming up against D's daddy) and some Minecraft and other games
  • We have a growing gift stash in the closet.  One of the items is the long-awaited zipline.  Our backyard has little kid stuff (a slide, a wagon, a sand and water table, etc.) but there really isn't any big kid fun there (aside from D's climbing rope).  The zipline is going to change that!
  • Baby T is done with PDO for the next two weeks.
  • The big kids are just about to get out of school.  They're going to get about three weeks of break.
  • C has exams this week--the last three days are half-days with two exams every day.
  • There isn't the slightest hint of C studying for these exams, but as C's grades currently range from 96 to 99 (which I suspect I didn't have as a high school freshman), she seems to know what she's doing.  
  • I think we're going to have a Christmas tree today!
  • We're supposed to have a playdate on the last day of school with a classmate of C's and we are all going to make cookie houses.
  • Baby T loves roaming with her camera.
  • We did our yearly photobook and have sent it out.  I was pretty happy with how the Walgreen's print job worked out--in previous years, the color has been kind of harsh or washed out.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

End of school year

Here's some of what's happening:

  • I got the most be-you-tiful ukulele Christmas tree ornament from Amazon.  It's really realistic and cute!
  • Baby T is still potty training hard.  She's currently earning Paw Patrol loot.
  • D's rock climbing is coming along.  He and his daddy climb at least once a week together when the wall is open.
  • C is getting close to the end of her Lute to Uke book--three songs left.  Then we move on to 20 Spanish Baroque Pieces by Gaspar Sanz.
  • C and a few instrumental music classmates played Now Is the Month of Maying during a dance scene in a school Shakespeare play.  They sounded very good!
  • I'm not totally sure how we get Christmas stuff done in time, but I'll try!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas shopping

We just roughed out our Christmas shopping plan.  Some strong emerging themes are:

  • Paw Patrol
  • Pokemon (Baby T is probably the biggest fan)
  • Star Trek
Honorable mention goes to:
  • Nerf guns and ammo
  • Minecraft
  • Skylanders

Saturday, December 3, 2016


D has spontaneously started baking on his own initiative.  So far, he has done the bulk of the work on the following projects:  pumpkin muffins, corn muffins and (tonight) snickerdoodles.  His snickerdoodles have whole wheat and are really, really good.

I was finishing decluttering and reorganizing C's room with her today.  So tired!

Friday, December 2, 2016


Here's some of what's happening:

  • We wound up making a day trip to Austin the Saturday after Thanksgiving and getting the baroq-ulele (the lute-shaped ukulele) at Fiddler's Green, the Irish/folk music store.  I had initially planned to get the concert-sized version, but it looked so dinky in the store and sounded so quiet that we went for the baritone, which is much louder.  We also got C a leather strap.  We have never owned a baritone before (and still don't own a tenor), but the nice lady at the store was able to restring it in standard ukulele tuning for C, so C can just use her existing skills.  (The deal is that soprano, concert and tenor ukuleles are typically tuned GCEA while baritone ukuleles are typically tuned DGBE.  Nope, I don't actually know what that means.)   
  • After Fiddler's Green, the girls and I went to the Thinkery and the nearby playground, while my husband and D went to Crux Climbing Center in Austin.    
  • Fun fact--I have only been to Austin three times, and each time was ukulele-centered and in roughly the last year. 
  • C played A LOT on her new baroq-ulele for the rest of the weekend.  
  • She is finding some of the chords a real stretch on the larger instrument.  
  • C says she prefers the tone of her concert-sized Snail ukulele to the new baritone.  I think I do, too (and her private teacher loves the Snail), but the baroq-ulele has amazing visual appeal.  Her class is going to be providing a song for a Shakespeare performance at school, and C is planning to use the baroq-ulele for that.    
  • We had Ukulele Club at school this week.  As planned, the kids and I baked gingerbread cookies for a special holiday season meeting and Baby T got to do a lot.  (Awful fact--the ukulele cutter does not work in the real world--the necks break off.  But the stubbier cookie cutters work fine.  We had a very nice rhinoceros and the kangaroo came out surprisingly well.)  I did a double batch and we kind of fizzled after the first batch of cut-out cookies.  However, I was prepared for that eventuality.  I have a huge Wilton gingerbread man mold, and I just patted down the rest of the dough into the pan.  I baked it 12 minutes (which was probably slightly too long--I was guesstimating) and took it to the club meeting in the pan, hoping it would come out.  After some security failures, we wound up with a very modest box of the small gingerbread cookies, but we also had the monster gingerbread man.  
  •  I had to take Baby Girl to the Ukulele Club meeting.  It was not ideal (there was a lot of squeaking about needing a bandaid and her dropped gingerbread cookie), but it was OK--especially with the cookies.  There were five girls at the meeting including C.  The monster gingerbread man came out of the pan perfectly and he and the cookies were well-received.  The gingerbread man had a nice cake-like texture, not crispy like the small cut-outs from the same dough.  
  • C's godfather is in town!
  • The school year is wrapping up--slightly less than three weeks now.  The big kids are doing very well.
  • Baby T's potty-training is a work in progress.  I'd say she's about 2/3 of the way there.  I'm not panicking (yet) because she's made a lot of progress in the last 3.5 months and she has an older sibling who took several months longer to train.  But she also has a sibling who had been potty trained a couple of months at this point...No panic!