Friday, August 21, 2009


Eli makes toast. Yep, it's his latest greatest talent! He generally prepares it with cream cheese and jam, but has been know to put other toppings to the test (it's all over, I reckon, as soon as he discovers nutella). He's super psyched about his up and coming ability to make his own food, but since it's still is a little limited in scope, pretty much lives on toast. Well, that and ice water, which he also loves to get on his own and, for some reason, thinks is a gift straight from the heavens. (Could be the 95-and-up weather we've had for most of the last few months...)

Anyhoo, last night, we overheard him chattering away as he concocted his greatest yet culinary masterpiece (a toasted english muffin with cream cheese and jam): "This cream cheese is so hard to spread!" and then a minute or so later: "OOPS! That's was too much jam... oh well!" He then took the finished product to the table, where he proceeded to dig in. That's when we heard this: "Oh. My. God." and then this: "Yum! This is so good." and then: "Sarah, you have got to try it!" I happily accepted, of course, but was in the middle of solving an exceptionally difficult kenken, so after a good bit of negotiation, convinced him to deliver it straight to my lap. He walked on over, with the painstaking caution of someone carrying a box of fine china. It was then that I got my first proper view of the "toast," which elicited my very own: "Oh. My. God."

On his plate was one toasted intact english muffin (whole, not cut in half as is traditional) topped with 3 large blobs of cream cheese (arranged in a surprisingly perfect triangle!) and swimming in a soup of blackberry jam. After recovering from hysterical laughter, I did try a bite and you know what? Pretty darn tasty!

I'm always charmed by the imperfect creations that children come up with when they're given the opportunity to do so (without the critical eye of a grown-up advising them exactly how things ought to be done). I love it, for example, when kids dress themselves. I mean, really, is there anything more adorable than a 5-year-old in a too-tight batman shirt, long red cape, shorts on backwards and mismatched socks? I think not! Welllll... except maybe a 2-year-old riding his trike, naked except for a grossly oversized pair of shoes and his mom's hot pink raglan shirt wrapped like a turban around his head.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A *GIANT BIG* Update in Two Parts

Part 1: The Chiddlywinkles

As most of you know, my kids are a wee bit inclined towards the obsessive. When they get excited about something they get *really* excited about it, want to do it repeatedly, study it deeply, know everything there is to know about it, etc, etc. Well, last week Eli acquired a shiny new one (obsession that is): going to the movies! The whole thang was spurred, at least in part, by the heatwave. Yep, *that* heatwave, the crazyass one that made it pretty much unbearable to be outdoors for more than a few minutes at a time. I am not, BTW, a wuss when it comes to summer weather. 95 degrees and sunny as hell? Bring it on. But last week was ridiculous -- the temps topped 105 most days and got up to 109 (or some such craziness) on two separate occasions. Yeah. It was brutal. So in a desperate attempt to keep the kids unbored while stuck indoors, the air-conditioned theater offered sweet refuge, a home away from home. For both the chiddlers, but especially for Eli, this made quite an impression... to say the least. It's now the first thing he asks about upon waking ("Are we going to the theater today?!?") and as he dozes off late at night ("Any new movies coming out tomorrow?"). Unfortunately, it's been a bit trying for me to indulge this particular obsession. Turns out I'm not the type to see the same kids movie more than twice in one week, guinea pig spy thriller included, unfortunately for Eli. You see, Eli thinks G-Force is a gift straight from the heavens and would happily watch it 6 trillion times in a row. He's keen to sort out, understand and memorize the subtle plot nuances (something he does with pretty much all his fave movies and books) and apparently seeing it twice wasn't quite enough. Remember were talking guinea pig espionage. Pretty heady stuff. Anywho, I'm pretty sure that, by societal standards, he's not old enough to be dropped off at the theater by himself (though, admittedly, I'm tempted) and I'm *very* sure that I'm not seeing G-Force a third time. Sooooo. Anyone wanna take my kid to the movies? No seriously. Please help a mama out here.

The ol' guinea pig flick definitely wooed and wowed little Micah as well. Mostly, I reckon, cuz it was his first ever trip to the theater (though the microwave-turned-robot didn't hurt either). We got to the theater a few minutes into the previews and, as he caught his first glimpse of a full size movie screen, he shrieked: "Look Sarah, a *GIANT BIG* movie!!!" Fellow theater goers were, fortunately, amused and not annoyed :) And now, whenever he and Eli discuss the movie (often), he refers to it as the *GIANT BIG* movie... "Hey Eli, what was your favorite part of the *GIANT BIG* movie?" or "*My* favorite part of the *GIANT BIG* movie was the guinea pig in the microwave that turned into a robot!" And so on :)

He's a cutie that one. And to prove it: one more charming Micah story. But first a little backstory (to catch you up on how things roll here at the Rancheroo). I'm big into allowing my kids food independence, meaning that I let them eat whatever they want whenever they want it (Yeah. I know. It's crazy radical in a culture where it's generally assumed that parents control their child's every move). The way this plays out in our home is that they basically graze all day long. David's cool with this, except that family mealtime is super important to him, so we've come to the compromise that they can graze as much as they like, until about 4pm, at which point I put all the food away, in hopes that they'll be hungie for din-din and join us at least for a few minutes at the dinner table.

Okay, so this is really cute. A few nights back, Micah and I spent the better part of the pre-dinner hour hanging out in the garden and he was way *way* stoked that the tomatoes had finally turned red. He immediately went to stripping the vines and horking out like a crazyperson. Somehow, I just couldn't find it in me to stop him, to say: "No Micah, don't eat those mouthwateringly scrumptidilyumptious tomatoes; you're gonna spoil your appetite!" So I let him go for it and he went on to devour every ripe tomato (there were half a dozen or more biguns), all the while waxing poetic about his new favorite veggie. By dinnertime, he was covered head to toe in tomato juice, dancing around, singing about his new found love. Check him out:

See! What a cutie!

On that note, I'll leave you with a few adorable random chiddler quotes...

Eli, after watching me get my ass kicked at Age of War: "How come David always wins at videos games and you always lose?"

Micah, acting out his favorite scene from Toy Story 2, to David: "I AM YOUR FATHER!"

Eli, defending the plight of the misunderstood: "People think that zombies are bad cuz they eat people's brains. But they're not! Brains are just what they need to eat!"

And last but not least, one that's likely to melt your heart into a *GIANT BIG* puddle o' goo...

Eli: "Hey Sarah, I'm hungry. Could you run up to the garden and pick me some vegetables?"

Okay, that last one was a lead in to Part 2 of the update. Coming soon. Until then, a picture of my purdy house as viewed from the garden. Just cuz.