Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
We’ve got ten minutes left on this drive before we pull into Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I read our book club book to the kids for the first hour and a half. Then we had a little quiet while some people snoozed. A couple Starburst and fruit snacks then a potty break and snack for Ashlyn in Beaver.
Now it’s the last stretch we found some Disney tunes for the littles to enjoy. We picked up an audio cord to plug my phone into the stereo and it was a great buy to keep everyone happy on the long drives. Here we are just miles from the end and they’ve all latched onto a rock ‘n’ roll version of “It’s A Small World.” They are jamming back there and it sounds so completely and indescribably terrible. Three kids all singing. Confident. Loud. With heart but the notes and volume levels are jumping ALL over the map. But it’s sure being sung with gusto! Road trips are something we’re definitely missing out on in Singapore. You can cross the entire country in less than an hour. (Ashlyn wasn’t singing – I have her the starburst wrapper to entertain her on the drive.)
Maddie’s teacher Ms. Kiran asked us to each write down a few things about our Super Star kids so they could be spotlighted a few weeks before the end of the year. Here’s what I came up with. I’m no poet, but I got a silly bug and decided to try to make it a little more special and fun for my cute Maddie Mae.
My Maddie Mae
My Maddie is a SUPERSTAR,
Of that there is no doubt.
She makes me laugh and smile,
Every time that we go out.
She wants to be an artist
And that’s just what she’ll be.
If you come to my house
Her art is what you’ll see.
Our walls are full of color
Creations high and low.
With all her work and practice
It’s fun to see her grow.
She loves to use her markers
And check the color chart.
Creating new treats for my eyes
She makes amazing art.
Tape and glue and staples.
Essential to her soul.
Recycle bins and other scraps.
Treasures found on every stroll.
Painting is her favorite.
With a brush she will create
Cards with hearts and flowers.
She makes everything look great!
When it comes to baking cookies
Maddie’s my first mate.
She measures, dumps and mixes
Bakes the best you ever ate.
I like to hear her read me books
Every day at least one story.
She loves to hear all my praise
And smiling basks in glory.
When Maddie is excited
There are sparkles in her eyes.
She loves to hug and snuggle.
It’s my very favorite prize.
She loves to get all dressed up,
Wear jewels and ribbons too.
A dress that spins out really big,
Pink nails and a tattoo!
Her happy face is precious
Her smile from ear to ear.
The reason that we love her
Is always very clear.
Giving, giving, giving
All of the day through.
Making others smile
Is what she tries to do.
You cannot help but love her
She’ll always love you back.
From the first light in the morning
Until the sky’s pitch black.
I love you, my Maddie Mae!!
I found this post from 2009 on my hard drive while I cleaned up files on our drive to Cedar City.
It isn't like I didn't make a cake for Maddie's birthday. It's just that her birthday was on the first day of Joy School. And I taught. And it was a lot of work to get all the supplies ready for the entire year and organized. And I was still figuring out how to juggle kindergarten bus stop pickups and infant nap time. I made the cake. The day before in fact. I just didn't get it frosted. Or decorated. I suppose my desire to be a cake decorator has lead to high expectations of myself. I wanted to try a new medium. Fondant. She wanted a princess castle. Perfect match. Maddie's low expectations - Simple design - My zero skills with fondant.
Turns out the box of fondant scared me. In fact it's still sitting on the counter today all the way in November. Long past the day I had to throw out the original birthday cake because it was covered in mold in the giant cake Tupperware that had to be decontaminated for bio hazard reasons. Long past the time I made a second cake, frosted it in plain white and shook a plastic container of colored sugar sprinkles across the top and drew a little "3" with black icing. She had been asking and mentioned twice that she didn't get a cake for her birthday. Yeah, she's old enough I can't fudge stuff anymore.
So a mere five weeks late, she asked at a time I didn't have anything completely pressing that needed attention or the world would end. When she asked why she didn't get a cake for the third time I dropped everything and said, "Let's make your birthday cake together right now!" The smile stretched from ear to ear and maybe even a little farther. She didn't care that it wasn't her birthday. She didn't care that I was no longer under the delusion of making a gorgeous princess castle sculpted with fondant. She just knew that I did love her enough to make her a cake. She lasted all of thirty seconds in her helping, but we had cake that night. She felt like a million bucks.
Just to set the record straight before I start getting hate mail, we did celebrate her birthday. We had a party at preschool that day. I made cupcakes to her exacting demands on decorations. We sang and had fun together. Brian came home from work a little early so I we could go to Chuck E. Cheese and live it up. She had a blast and by the time we got back to the house it was all I could do to crawl into bed with the flu. You know you feel bad when you are standing at Chuck E. Cheese and want to lay down on the greasy bench and sleep as tears start to slip down your face from the body aches. I couldn't have eaten cake that day anyway. So we did celebrate. I gave it all I had. She just really, really needed a cake. And a cake she got...five weeks late.
Friday, July 13, 2012
First find a clean stall. He says he needs to sit down potty instead of stand up. Dang. Avoid the one with foot prints on the toilet seat from the people that think they MUST squat even if there is a seat. Why they can’t lift the seat and squat on the ceramic bowl I cannot explain.
Finally he’s done. We wipe. Wash and go pick up Jake’s adjusted glasses from the shops and walk home.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
When my order arrived she told me she was Richard's wife because Richard was sick today.
Richard is my friendly grocery provisioner. He calls every other day and delivers groceries to the house he makes life so much better for me and the kids have noticed our routine apparently. One thing I live about Maddie is her active imagination and how she likes to put our real life into her play. She's always making me laugh.
Monday, July 9, 2012
We got off the plane in Salt Lake City and the kids needed to use the toilet. I fed Ashlyn while they went. When they returned Brian burped Ashlyn and I went to the toilet. (We don’t go to the bathroom in Singapore, we go to the toilet.)
I entered the toilet and there was one lady in line. I assessed the layout. Ten stalls lining the wall ahead to the right. A bank of sinks on left wall. The lady ahead in line went into a stall as someone came out and I noticed two stalls sort of behind me as well. One door was open.
The lady ahead of me hadn’t used it so I approached slowly to assess. I poked my head around the door to check. Nope. It wasn’t a squatter. I went in. Just then it hit me like ton of bricks and I laughed out loud to myself. No Angie. It was never going to be a squatter. You’re not in Singapore.
Squatters are usually the end stalls or in the odd corner location and Americans are willing to wait longer in line for a sitter instead of use a squatter. That white woman in front of me had waited for a stall ahead instead of use the open door so it made sense to me what she was doing – waiting instead of squatting.
I’m not in Singapore anymore. It may take a few weeks to adjust myself.
Maddie pointing at the mountains on the Wasatch Front: “I think I just found Mount Everest!!”
Ben “What time is it? In America I mean.”
Maddie when mom pointed out Bingham Copper Mine across the valley: “Maybe it’s a dog just digging for his bone.” This copper mine is the largest open pit in the world last I heard. Must be Clifford the big red dog’s older brother digging.
Maddie talking to Grandma Robinson: “You don’t look like a grandma yet. Just a grownup.” Later we had her assess Grandpa. He has enough gray and white hair he qualifies as a real grandpa.
Brian told the kids to look for the big letter ‘G’ on the mountain and told them it was for a high school. Maddie says: “Maybe it’s for the Japanese High School because G makes the ‘juh’ sound.” Cute she thinks Provo would have an international school. I wonder if there is any international school in Utah at all.
Ben: “Is Hollywood somewhere?” Brian replies, “It’s in California where Uncle Jason lives.” “I think I saw it from the airplane.” Interesting. I doubt he could see it from 30,000 feet in the air, plus we flew over Anchorage and past Seattle landing in San Francisco. Didn’t even get close to Los Angeles.
Ben along I-15 in Provo area: “In the desert there is a rock that’s an upside down U shape. I think I just saw it.” At fuirst I wanted to laugh – he thinks he saw the Arches National Park famous arch in Provo. Turns out it was a mini golf type thing – you Utahns would know but I’ve never seen it before. Must be new, and by new I mean less than ten years old when we moved away.
Ben was asked to find the “Y” on the mountain. Then we asked what college it was for and he replied, “Brother Young.” Close. Really close. Brigham Young.
Leaving my parents house I declared that all Nintendo DS things must be turned off. I suggested we play the alphabet game. Maddie was quickly intimidated by Ben’s quick eyes and declared she would play the flag game instead. I didn’t realize how many American flags were EVERYWHERE! It was kind of fun to see all the ginormous flags from the freeway. It’s been a long time.
Another weird thing? Kids driving cars. Yep. You crazy people let 16 year olds drive. You have to be 21 in Singapore – and stinking rich to afford a car so you never see young people drive.
Maddie: “Are we staying here for winter?”
Billboard sign in Spanish Fork for a monthly/yearly type membership in a club for botox treatments. Really people??? Also of note are tons of plastic surgery signs. I take that as a really bad sign for the pressures on women there.
Ben: “We’re passing a farm! I even see a cow.”
Ben was told to take a shower this morning. He dutifully went off but quickly returned, “How do I turn the hot water on?” He couldn’t find the red switch outside the bathroom to on the water heater.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
One of the things I love lost about Maddie is that if that girl has paper, pencil and scissors she will just draw any toy she is lacking and be totally fine with playing with a paper version of the real thing. She has a wondeful and active imagination and is so pleasant when she plays something with Jacob that requires totally suspension of reality and they immerse themselves in their own detailed imaginary world.
"Sorry buddy. It's not teriyaki. It's sukiyaki."
"Yeah mom. It's just 'super yucky'." Shrugging his shoulders he walked off to get the eggs while I pulled the granny trolley and laughed behind him.
Here's the new plan. Don't parents always have a new and great plan to make their kiddos? We'll see how it goes… We're hoping she can get her fancy sparkly hearts into the "I have a kind heart" jar and not in the "God is still working on my heart" jar. A girlfriend from MOPS had this in her house and I've copied it. We bought the hearts on a Maddie and Mommy only date. She kept saying over and over, "I can't believe how much we are talking!" I guess she's feeling overlooked somehow.
The kids were so excited about our return home and all of the treasures we bought that they wanted to help unload everything. We gave them random items and instructed them where they were to be put away.
Jacob was handed the peeler and instructed that it was to go in the bottom drawer in the kitchen. We only have one set of drawers so it should e super easy. Yet the next day I tried to to use it and couldn't find it. I searched and searched. How frustrating! After all these years it was finally purchased and now missing before its inaugural run. For weeks we looked all over the kitchen in all the dish drawers and shelves. Eventually I gave up. Assuming it had been delivered to the trash can instead of the drawer I put it on the USA shopping list again so we could go get another one.
Today I happened upon it. It was in under the sink mixed among the dish scrubbers and dishwasher soap and bottle washing thinga a ma jiggies. It's neon green. Why we didn't see it weeks ago I guess we can chalk up to the fact that Gina prefers to hand wash all the dishes so she doesn't ever use the dish washer soap and didn't know what we were missing anyway. Good thing I ran the dishwasher this weekend or we may have never found it!
Lately we have been burning through the rolls of toilet paper around here though. I've asked them to stop wasting. I remind them - their forgetfulness in flushing reminds me often to remind them. Despite my efforts and patient, kind prodding I still seem to be changing a roll about every 1.5 days anyway. Sadly that's not an exaggeration.
This week the deal breaker finally happened. They clogged the toilet. I happened to use the toilet after Jacob and nothing would go down. My first sense was that Jacob had put a toy down it. He's been trouble lately to say the least. He digs through drawers and finds things and moves them, hides them or throws them away at his pleasure with no regard to its purposes or necessity. It's driving me mad. Of course he was my prime suspect plus he was the last one in there.
I softly probed and tried to get a confession from him by simply going straight at WHICH toy or object he had put in and flushed. No luck. Brian even came over and he couldn't persuade him to confess. He said Maddie did it. So I asked. Nope.
Then it occurred to me there was quite a bit of toilet paper. Maybe it was beyond a little bit floating in the bowl and it was jammed. The roll was low and I had put yet another full one on the roll just the day before. It didn't take long to figure out once we asked her, though she denied breaking the toilet - because toilet paper can't break stuff can it? Did you use three squares? No. Did you use lots. Kind of. Finally Brian went for it. Did you just roll and roll and roll it right into the toilet for a long time. Yep.
With our culprit discovered it was time to manage the mess of unclogging the thing. I retrieved the plunger from the storage out back and saw instantly we had a problem. My plunger is round. The toilet hole isn't. It has a rectangular hole that has about a 2-3 inch drop before it turns into a round hole at the very bottom.
How do you get a round plunger to work effectively on a rectangular hole?it didn't work fantastically but I did get it to squash down in and eventually force the mess to clear. But then I was terribly curious - what kind of toilet plungers do they sell here?
So I found one at the store on Friday while I was looking for a replacement squirt bottle. Jacob took the one poor Gina uses for ironing clothes and unscrewed the cap a week or two ago and apparently she's been doing her best with a rotten one. That Jacob is a stinker!
Anyway, it turns out they sell round plungers just like the one we already have. They don't exactly fit the toilet hole but I guess in a pinch they do eventually work.