Friday, October 11, 2013

How to stay warm without turning on the heat

When you're too _________ (insert appropriate adjective: Dutch, cheap, stubborn, poor, etc.) to turn on the heat yet but it's only 65 degrees inside, here are some ways to get warm:
  1. Vacuum - it won't make the house warmer but YOU will be warmer. And your house will be clean(er).
  2. Move furniture - exerts a lot of energy and now your family room will be in position to use the baseboard heater.
  3. Bake something - when you're finished, turn off the oven and leave the oven door open. Why waste that heat? You've already paid for it! Plus you'll have something yummy to eat and your house will smell great!
  4. Chase your 2-year-old around the house - she'll think it's fun and you'll get all sweaty.
  5. Make another cup of coffee. Oh yes, I did. 
  6. Snuggle your kids while you watch a movie.
It's raining for the second day in a row and I've already done 1 through 5. Tonight is movie night so that means #6 is on the docket.

Stay warm, my friends.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 6 update: sick kid AGAIN

Grr. Luke complained at bedtime that he wasn't feeling well. I'm assuming he just overdid it today and got really dehydrated. He said he had a headache so I gave him some Tylenol but I took his temperature and it was normal. He started crying when I told him he didn't have a fever. "Whenever I don't feel good and DON'T have a fever I throw up!" I put a small trash can up on his bunk just in case; I DID NOT want a repeat of 2 weeks ago when he didn't make it down in time.

Sure enough, he came down around 10:30. "Mom, I threw up." Poor kid emptied his stomach, but thankfully it all made it into the trash can. He said he felt better. I'm hoping it's just exhaustion. This happened last summer and I assumed it was heat stroke. I don't think it is this time since he didn't have a fever, but I think we'll have to be more careful about staying hydrated in the future.

I have to teach the children's class during worship tomorrow so if he's not better Alec will have to stay home this time. Joy. Germs don't stop for holidays.

Day 6: outside, FINALLY!

Finally. It was warm today and felt like spring! After breakfast I took the kids to Bladensburg Waterfront Park. We'd been there a few years ago on a bike ride with some friends, but the kids didn't really remember it. Again, the playground wasn't terrific but it was different and there were enough other things to do while we were there.

We played on the playground first. There were some older kids monopolizing the bigger structure - sitting on the top while they fooled around with their iPhone cameras, oblivious that smaller children wanted to play - so we only stayed a few minutes.

We watched a big train go by with hoppers full of coal.

Then we went for a walk. We crossed the bridge and walked along the bike trail for a while. Luke wanted to run down the hill and play in the grass so of course I had to let Caroline out of the stroller and go down too. It was kind of gross - full of goose poo - so we only stayed down there for a few minutes. The trail is up there on the top (see the stroller?) and the river is behind where I was standing while taking the picture. When I walk along this trail I always like to imagine I'm in the Netherlands walking along a dike.

Here's a little 30-second video. Not very exciting but it lets you see how well Caroline gets around. Someone commented to me while we there that she walks very well. I never really think about it since she's been walking for nearly 8 months already! I guess since she's so small people are surprised to see how coordinated she is.


There is an old caboose at this park since Hyattsville used to be a stop along the B&O railroad. I didn't get to read the whole sign in front of it since Caroline is so fast and started climbing the steps to go up, but we went inside and looked around.

It was pretty neat. Luke climbed up to look out the top windows. You could see where the trainmen would have slept - there were places for 4 little beds, complete with hinges where I imagine they could have kept their things (they didn't open up - we tried).

There was a little table where we sat and ate our granola bars.

As we sat and ate, wouldn't you know? A train went by right outside! So here's a picture of Caroline watching a train while she's in a caboose! Neat, huh?

We walked back to the playground then. Luke and Erin couldn't resist going up by the cannon at the Battle of Bladensburg Visitor Center. I didn't have time to read the sign, but apparently Bladensburg was the site of an American defeat in the War of 1812 which allowed the British to capture and burn public buildings in DC. Don't we live in a neat area? Historic railroads and battlegrounds at the same park!

We also got to see the park police ride their horses over the bridge as we walked back to the playground. Erin was thrilled. Not a terrific picture but they're almost to the end of the bridge.

When we got home, Alec was in the front yard trying to rake up all the Sweet Gum sticky balls that make our grass look brown (or brown"er" than usual). I gave Caroline some lunch and put her to bed but the big kids wanted to stay outside. I baked some special bread for breakfast tomorrow - it smells so good I want some right now.

We ended up going to the playground down the street when Caroline woke up from her nap. It was so nice and Luke was so excited to be able to ride his bike again. The playground was pretty crowded but we saw some friends we hadn't seen for a while - everybody comes out again when the sun shines.

After chicken curry for supper, which everyone ate lots of (well, everyone except Erin but what else is new?) we watched Rise of the Guardians for movie night. Pretty good movie, just a little heavy on the whole "believe" mantra that revolves around Santa and the Easter Bunny. I'm glad my kids know the truth, which is what really makes this whole week special.

Tomorrow: Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 5: a slow-down and rest kind of day

Not a super exciting day but a needed day of rest, especially after yesterday's no-napper. We slept in, stayed in our jammies for a while, got out the crayons and basically just relaxed. Caroline is at the age where she's starting to be interested in coloring but she has to be supervised or everything ends up on the floor or in her mouth.

Mostly today Caroline just wanted to open and close the container and Erin got tired of that pretty quickly.

We had a late lunch since we had a late breakfast (these kinds of days tend to snowball, don't they?) and then Caroline went down for a nap a little after 1. She didn't sleep well last night so of course I didn't either and Luke and Erin were OK with quiet rest time. Luke stayed in his room and played with Legos the whole time and Erin came in bed with me. She slept while I read, which is resting for me. Amazingly, Caroline slept until after 4 so we were all pretty refreshed. Since it's Friday I made pizza for supper but we'll postpone movie night until tomorrow since Luke and Alec went to church.

Erin, Caroline and I watched a few Sesame Street videos on YouTube before I put Caroline to bed and by that time Alec and Luke were home already.  Not such an exciting finish to a slow day, but it felt like a good day anyway.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 4: fluffy stuff! and bubbles! and twisty slides!

Today's breakfast was an uninteresting but yummy oatmeal. You can't have syrup every day, even on vacation.

Today's fun thing was "Fluffy Stuff," another fun idea from Pinterest that I've been saving for a while. After I put Caroline down for a nap this morning I got out 2 boxes of cornstarch and a bottle of shaving cream. Erin had my big mixing bowl and Luke had a plastic bin that usually holds baking and cooking toys. They each emptied a whole box of cornstarch and then I started shooting shaving cream into their bowls. At first it was sort of sticky but once it got mixed together it was pretty awesome. It looks like white sand, but you can pack it together and it won't fall apart. They used the cooking toys from Luke's bin and played with it for over an hour and a half while I did dishes, 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, took a shower and talked to my friend Aimie for a while on the phone (something I rarely do) - pretty good trade-off for the mess it made, and I had planned on vacuuming later anyway. The only thing that I didn't like was the smell, which was overpowering. Is there such a thing as fragrance-free shaving cream because I will definitely be looking for that if we do this again. It was too cold to open the window so I baked a cake and lit a candle.

Unfortunately I just realized that the pictures I took of them playing with this were also deleted when I updated my iPhone. Stupid.

After Caroline woke up we had lunch and then (finally) took a walk to a park we hadn't been to before. We had to cross the bridge over the train tracks, which was fun since we usually just go to the middle, wait for a train and then go back. The playground was probably about 2 miles from our house. Luke rode his bike, Caroline rode in the stroller and Erin walk/ran the whole way. That girl is going to run cross country some day - and she's fast, too.

The park wasn't really spectacular, but it was different for us and the kids had fun. Here are finally some pictures I DIDN'T erase:

Luke and Erin really liked this slide since it was almost vertical - they pretended they were cannon balls.

Caroline LOVES slides. I like the twisty kind because they're a little safer in terms of not falling over the side.


Snack time.

I love it when they do things together.

It was pretty cold so we didn't stay long. Also, since it is Maundy Thursday we have church tonight. Alec and I decided that this year I would go on Thursday and he will go to the Tenebrae service tomorrow night. Erin and Luke wanted to go along and we agreed that Erin would go with me tonight (I lobbied for that since it is communion and she's never seen communion before - she usually goes out to the children's class before the sermon) and Luke will go tomorrow with Alec.

Erin and Caroline got in the tub as soon as we got home - Luke played with them and the bubble blowers for a few minutes. You probably can't tell in any of these pictures but Erin wanted me to curl her hair today. It is SO straight and really doesn't hold much curl, but after I was finished it was so pretty that I blow-dried it and curled it again after her bath.

After leftovers for supper, Erin and I went to church. I'd forgotten to prepare her for what would happen during the service and she was a little bit noisy with her questions, but I convinced her to keep quiet and we would talk about it on the way home. Mostly they were of the "why can't I have that?" variety when the bread was passed around. She was a little put out that we passed the bread in front of her, but I think she understood a little bit about why she couldn't have it yet. She definitely knew what it symbolized and I'm glad she came with me, even though it was pretty late when we got home.