Family O' Fames

ames + her family

Funny Things August 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ames @ 3:16 pm



“Mom, we went to the library today!  The librarian’s name is Mrs. Gooding and she picks good books!”

“Good thing her name is not Mrs. Baddy or she would pick bad books!”


“There’s a new librarian?”  Oh yeah…the old librarian overtired.”



“We learned about caterpillars and butterflies in Science today.  Do you know what a swallowtail is?”


“A bird?”


“No, a butterfly that travels all the way from Mexico to here!  It hy-brates!”

(A combination of hibernates and migrates, I guess!)


Oh man, I am such a moron August 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ames @ 5:17 pm

My two oldest boys have birthdays one week apart.  In years past, I have spent that week baking and decorating a ridiculous amount of cake.  Two years ago, I made a cake for Son #2 and then a cake for Son #1 a week later, plus I made about a zillion cupcakes for Son #1 to have with his class at school.  Plus, both of these cakes were rather involved – I am no professional cake decorator but I can Google and copy with the best of ’em.  I felt like I spent the entire week in the kitchen making the same yellow cake recipe and the same buttercream icing recipe over and over.  That’s my family’s favorite – yellow cake with white icing.

Last year, I gave myself a break from the actual birthday cakes and ordered cakes from the grocery store since I threw a joint birthday bash for the boys.  But I still made cupcakes for Son #1’s class.

This year.

Found  a Bowser cake on someone’s site that I think I can make.  Decide to make it for Son #2, whose birthday is first.  Decide (in my head) that I will copy make a Hogwart’s castle cake for Son #1 a week later.

The night before Son #2’s birthday: bake two round cakes, spend too much time trying to dip ice cream cones into melted white chocolate and have it look decent.  Fail miserably, but whatever.  Too late to back out now.  Make a huge batch of the family’s favorite white icing and divide it into different containers to dye various colors in preparation for decorating tomorrow.  Realize that there is not enough icing and try to whip together a second batch, except that there is no butter softened, so put butter in microwave and then attempt to make icing with half-melted stick of butter.  Icing looks disgusting.  Dump in more powdered sugar to try to salvage icing.  Doesn’t help.  Just put it in fridge and decide to deal with it in the morning.

Day of birthday: forget to take icing out of the fridge earlier in the day to soften, so when it is time to decorate the cake, icing is hard and un-spreadable.  Nice.  Enlist husband to make other sections of the cake out of rice krispies treats.  Finally have soft enough icing to decorate cake.  Assemble the various parts and think – I might have pulled this off!

The kids don’t know who it is and even when we tell them it is Bowser, they are unimpressed.

Son #2 says that he wanted a Harry Potter cake, not a Bowser cake.

We sing Happy Birthday and serve the cake.  None of the kids likes the cake.

I had thought that they would want the white chocolate dipped ice cream cones so badly that they would fight over them.  No one wants them.

Over the next few days, my husband eats most of the cake and the kids eat popsicles for dessert or even go without dessert rather than eat any of the cake.

I decide that we do not need to have an entire Hogwart’s castle cake that no one wants to eat and mention to Son #1 that if he wants to, we can have make-your-own sundaes instead of cake for his birthday.  Both Son #1 and Son #2 are so excited that they jump around screaming like little maniacs.  I smile to myself at how easy it will be to buy ice cream toppings and not spend 86 hours in the kitchen baking and making frosting and trying to cover toilet paper tubes with icing and then cursing when they don’t stand up properly on the castle cake.  Pat myself on the back for all the work I have saved myself.

Have ice cream sundaes on Son #1’s birthday.  Son #2 tells us six billion times that he wants to have make-your-own sundaes on his birthday next year.  Does not seem to be fazed that his birthday is not for another 358 days (I had to use a calculator to do 365-7).

Night before I have promised Son #1 that I will bring cupcakes to his class (luckily school started a few days after Son #2’s birthday and he does not think to ask whether he can have cupcakes at school anyway): I clean up from dinner and decide that while all kids except baby are asleep and husband is home to take care of baby, I will make all the cupcakes!  So smart!  Then all I will have to do before school in the morning is make the frosting and ice them.  So easy!  Even if baby is crying and two-year old monster is wreaking havoc, I will have barely anything to do.  Decide to make a triple batch of family’s favorite yellow cake recipe.  Before I start my baking, my husband comes down to tell me that Son #1 would like me to go up and tuck him in and tell him what kind of cupcakes I am bring to his class (as if there is another option here).  I tell him that it is yellow cake with white icing, his favorite, like we have every year.  He is very pleased and then asks,

“There are no nuts in the cupcakes, right?  Because we can’t have nuts in our classroom.”

I look at him like he is so silly!  Nuts?  In yellow cake with white icing?  Did I say peanut butter cupcakes?  Of course there are no nuts!

I go down and continue feeling so pleased with myself as I correctly triple all the ingredients and make a huge batch of yellow cake batter.  I fill up my muffin tins (including the one with crayon residue on it, but am using liners so it is FINE) with the cupcake liners and am quickly cleaning up some of the baking mess before I start filling them with batter when I crush the milk container to put it in the recycling bin.  Uh-oh.  Big, big uh-oh.

I made the triple batch of yellow cake with almond milk.  Yes, almond milk.  As in, milk made from nuts.  Nuts that are not allowed in my son’s classroom.

Oh man, I am such a moron.

Husband is actually excited when I tell him about the mistake.

“All that cake is for us!!!!!”

I bake all the batter in two 9×13 pans and two 8-inch square pans.  I have no more eggs, and no cow’s milk anyway, so I can’t make another batch of cupcakes tonight that will be acceptable.

Husband is sympathetic and offers to go to the store in the morning before he leaves for work to buy eggs and cow’s milk so that I don’t have to drag baby, two-year old monster and Son #2 (goes to half-day afternoon Kindergarten) to the store.

Morning of the day that cupcakes are going to school: put 3 of the 4 cakes baked the night before in the freezer because husband says he has a horrible stomach ache from eating so much of the first one the night before and to please, please, please hide the other cakes from him.  Start over with the triple batch of family’s favorite yellow cake, using cow’s milk.  Listen to baby scream from the family room because he is mad that he is in there by himself.  Stop every 2 seconds to deal with two-year old monster and his demands (Bee-nana!!!  Mommy, bee-nana!!!!, whiny noise, Mommy, pweease milk!!!  whiny noise, Milk!!!!, I lick it?  Mommy?  Pweease????? I wick it now? and on and on and on).  Finally manage to bake all the cupcakes in time to turn off the oven before I take Son #2 to school.  I made 50 cupcakes because I don’t know how many I will need.

Only a few more hours until cupcakes need to be at school.  Come home and make a triple batch of family’s favorite white icing.  Don’t think I will need such a huge amount but am not taking any chances due to the disgusting melted butter icing incident of the week before.  Finally get all cupcakes frosted and into containers to bring to school.  Get a text from husband that he won’t be home in time to watch the baby and the two-year old monster while I take the cupcakes to school.  Like a bad movie, it was literally right at that second that I heard the thunder rumbling and the sky turned gray.  Rush to get the kids ready, find my camera, throw the baby in the stroller and run to the school.  It is already drizzling, but we make it before we get soaked.

Son #1 is so happy to have cupcakes with his class.

Of the 50 cupcakes I made, I only got rid of 20.  Including the one that two-year old monster ate and one that I gave to the little brother of one of Son #1’s friends who I saw at dismissal time.

Husband surprised us by making it to the school in time to help me carry the (extra 30) cupcakes home with all four kids.

Now I have 3 1/2 yellow cakes, about 5 pounds of extra white icing and 30 cupcakes.  Plus all the ingredients to make your own sundae, which was a huge hit BTW.

That about sums up the birthday week 2010.  Lather, rinse, repeat next year.

At least my younger two don’t have their birthdays exactly a week apart.  Oh wait, they actually share the same exact birthdate.

I can’t wait for them to be old enough to want cupcakes at school.


Why I curse crayons August 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — ames @ 5:47 pm
Tags: , ,

And it is not what you think.  No one wrote on the walls or on any furniture.  At least not in the past few weeks.  Nor did I forget about a stray crayon that was in a pocket and put it in the dryer.  Not the usual crayon-hating post here.

Son #2 (who says his secret code name is Racer) has a newfound passion.  Coloring.  He LOVES to draw pictures.  He discovered this passion this summer and now that summer is over I have about 1,000 new drawings to recycle sort through to find the best ones to display proudly.

My two-year old monster too has become obsessed with the crayons.  But not in the usual way.  Yes, he likes to draw for a little while.  If by draw you mean scribble scrabble and then point at each scribble and name it something that only two-year olds with older siblings would know about.  For example:

“Wook Mommy, this Harry Potter.”

“Mommy, this Percy Dragon.”

You know Percy Dragon, right?

All two-year olds have seen this movie, right?

But, back to drawing, or not drawing, as the case may be.  After a few minutes of drawing characters that he should not know even exist, two-year old monster gets bored and switches to his new favorite activity in the whole wide world.  I’ll give you a hint:

What is that?  Need a closer look?

Why yes, they are crayon wrappers!

Everyday I clean up many, many piles of wrappers like this one.  Every.  Day.  Multiple times a day.  At least he is strengthening those tiny muscles in his hands, you know the ones that help with – those often elusive in little boys – fine motor skills.  Now, most kids would use the crayons to draw in order to improve their fine motor skills.  But why draw with crayons when you can make a huge mess, or even better – several huge messes – every single day???

Since this seems to be such an odd passion for a two-year old, it begs the question: how did he even come up with this idea in the first place?  I mean, some messes that two-year olds make are just obvious.  A whole roll of toilet paper unrolled – well, duh.  Shampoo bottles emptied all over the bathroom.  Squeezing a bottle and squirting goop everywhere=fun plain and simple for the under three set.  But sitting at the dining room table, painstakingly peeling shreds of wrapper of crayons?  How did it even occur to him?


That might have been my fault.

Let’s go back to the middle of the summer.  The hot hot hot long long long days in the middle of the summer.  Somewhere in the maze of websites and blogs I saw a project that we had all the supplies for!  Right now!  No day before preparation needed!  No trip to the craft supplies store or the grocery store or the home improvement warehouse needed!  And best of all it would use up those broken crayons that no one wanted to use anyway!

Maybe you know which project to which I am referring?

Melt your broken crayons in a muffin tin and make NEW! BETTER! AWESOME! CIRCLE! crayons?

I’m not going to link to the page where I found this project 1) because I don’t remember where I saw the exact page that inspired me to get up and do this project immediately and 2) this project is everywhere.  It is as old as crayons and muffin tins.  So, I don’t feel bad about giving proper credit because I am sure that Mr. Crayola is long gone and whoever invented the muffin tin?  Probably rolling over in his/her grave due to all the crazy things people think up to do with the simple muffin tin.

Back to our project.

It should have been a simple project.  Ttwo-year old monster, with the typical two-year old attention span, should have lost interest while we were sorting the crayons into two piles: still good or broken.  He really, really should have wandered away when we sorted the broken crayons into piles by color.  And the next step should have gone quickly.  He should not have even noticed me removing the wrappers from the broken crayons.  That’s how fast I expected this next step to be.  However.  Said crayons were old.  Very old.  And had endured many hours of sweaty toddler hand coloring.  Sweaty toddler hand apparently generates enough heat to very slightly melt these crayons.  Melt them just enough so that the wrapper adheres very firmly to ALL of the crayons.  Ok, I am exaggerating.  Approximately 2 of the crayons had wrappers that peeled right off.  The way they should.  The way I remember them peeling off when I was a kid.  So I stood there at the kitchen counter for basically the entire day scraping tiny shreds of wrapper of each piece of broken crayon.  Son #1 (who says his secret code name is either Speed or Ranger) helped me peel about 2 crayons.  One easy one and then one of the eleven million left that were not easy.  He asked if I thought there were anymore easy ones.  I said no.  He left.  He came back later and suggested I use a knife.  He came back hours and hours later and asked again,

“Mom?  Don’t you think a knife would help?”

I gave in.  By the end of the pile, all 10 of my fingernails had crayon embedded so deep under them that the crayon reached my cuticles.  And I finished the rest with a knife.

You know the rest.  Melt into fabulous new crayons!!

My kids hate the new crayons.

No one wants to draw with them.

My knife, cutting board and muffin tin all still have crayon residue on them.

And two-year old monster now spends his days making piles of shredded crayon wrappers under the table.


Two-Year Old Monster’s Downstairs Activities August 19, 2010

Filed under: Miles — ames @ 10:02 am
Tags: , ,

When I am upstairs, two-year old monster finds plenty to do to entertain himself.


Me: “Two-year old monster! Were you eating the rice krispies treats?”

TYOM: “Goo Norning Mommy.”

Me: “Good Morning TYOM. Don’t touch Mommy’s things, ok?”

TYOM: “Like it, that cake.”

A couple of days ago:

You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what is going on while no one is looking!

But, if you do need  a second clue…

All pictures are from my phone, so not awesome quality.


First Day of School August 18, 2010

Filed under: school — ames @ 10:18 pm

And first post on my blog!

I want to remember what happened.  These kids are hilarious!

Jeremy started 2nd grade.  He keeps asking how his teacher knew his name before she met him.  He can’t understand how she had notebooks and all kinds of other stuff ready with his name on it before school even started!

Tonight at dinner:

“We learned about time casseroles today.”

“Time casseroles?”

“You know, you put something in it, like a hair clip, and then you bury it and then in a long time they dig it up and see how it looks.”

“A time capsule?”

{huge sigh}{eye roll} “YES!”

Axel started Kindergarten.  He was so excited and so ready to go.  He was running ahead of me the whole way there.  He could not wait!!

The best part of Axel’s day:

“Mom!  I made a new friend!!  He has the same backpack as me, only his is smaller.  His name is Cole.  He was next to me or behind me for everything we did the entire day, except when we were in the bathroom!”

I saw the kid and the backpack.  The kid is smaller than Axel, the backpack looked identical, except that Cole’s mom had written his name on his backpack.  I put a notecard inside Axel’s backpack with his name and his teacher’s name in case it got lost.  Sometime this afternoon I found Axel’s backpack unzipped and on the floor with no notecard in the pocket. And then even later, Axel came over to me holding the notecard and asked,

“What’s this for?”

“I put in in your backpack in case you lost it.”

“I don’t need this!  I already know my name is Axel!!”

I think Axel’s backpack is going to get the same treatment as Cole’s with a Sharpie right on the fabric.

Miles was super cute this morning.  He was awake when Jeremy left for school at the crack of dawn and he stood at the door saying:

“Goo-bye Jem-me, goo-bye.”

So sweet.

He was very happy to take Axel to Kindergarten this afternoon too.  He found a bulletin board that was exactly his height and had much fun with the thumbtacks before we had to leave.

The cutest was when we went to pick up both boys in the afternoon.  He remembered going to pick up Jeremy last year, and he kept saying:

“Go pick up Assel at Jem-me’s school?”

Even though I kept telling him that it was Axel’s school now too, I guess it will always be Jeremy’s school to Miles.

And how did Ryder like the first day of school?  Well, he was exhausted tonight at bedtime!

Jeremy this morning before school

Here is Jeremy before school this morning.  He was in a goofy mood!

And, of course, Miles had to be part of the photo shoot too.

Another kid who thinks that “smile!” means “make some kind of crazy face and some kind of claws with your hands!”

Miles again joined the photo shoot and had to copy every little gesture that Axel made….

Running ahead of me because he could not wait to finally start Kindergarten!!!!!!!

This is Axel with our neighbor and now his classmate, Breck.  Breck and Axel apparently made big plans to play at our house after school.  Axel didn’t remember anything about this but Breck sure did!  I guess Axel was too busy being amazed that another five year old boy in his class had the same ($9.99 from Target) Transformers backpack as him!  But Breck had her grandma call me immediately upon their arrival home to set up the playtime.  So she and her little sister came over to play for a few hours.  I said that now Axel and Breck are BFF, but Jeremy corrected me and said that they are BF because BF=best friends and why did I say BFF?  I guess I am old and don’t know how the kids say it these days…