Monday, March 30, 2009

...Oh, NO, she didn't!!

For the past few months I have been "collecting" sayings, phrases, and questions that my preschooler has either repeated, or come up with on her own. Once again, I would like to send out a very immature "I told you so" to people who criticized me for teaching Liesl ASL as a baby, fearing that her prowess with sign language would inhibit her speech. Yeah, we're beyond that. Oops...I mean, "YES, we're beyond that." (Explanation of that in a moment.)

DISCLAIMER! Those of you who know me well know that, on occasion, I am prone to exaggeration for dramatic purposes. I promise you, each and every one of these incidents is 100% true.

Read on...

* Liesl took her children's Bible into the grocery store with us. While we were checking out, she told the cashier--who was obviously Jewish--the following story: "This is my Bible. Baby Jesus was born in this Bible. Then He turned into a hippo."

* Mommy: "Liesl, you are not allowed to go downstairs by yourself right now."
Liesl (in a defiant tone): "Well, Mommy, ACTUALLY, I am."

* With our Pastor in our church, after seeing Liesl wearing an MSU sweatshirt:
Pastor: "Yeah, Liesl!"
Liesl: "We say 'YES,' not 'YEAH,' Pastor."

* In the car, after I roused her early from her nap to take her to my teaching job:
Liesl: "I'm tired."
Mommy: "I'm sorry, is it because I woke you early?"
Liesl: "Yes. You're starting to annoy me a little bit."

* At the same teaching gig, a roomful of conservative Christian moms who homeschool their children:
Another Kid (pointing at Ava): "Ooooo...look at the BABY!"
Liesl: "I have a baby in my tummy."

* After a particularly good violin practice session:
Mommy: "You're my little violinist!"
Liesl: "...No, I'm LIESL."

* With our friends Kelly and her children Emma and Jack, at dinner:
Kelly, Emma, and Jack, being Catholic, crossed themselves at prayer time.
Liesl (shouting joyously): "Happy Hanukkah!"

* When her Uncle Robert and future Aunt Karen, both University of Illinois fans:
Robert and Karen: "Liesl, say 'Go Illini'"
Mommy: "No, Liesl, say 'Go State!'"
Robert and Karen: "Go Illini!"
Liesl: "This is making me a little bit upset."

* When Ava was trying to take a toy out of Liesl's hands:
Liesl: "I would say 'no' to you, but I'm not your parent."

* After accidentally knocking a pile of books off of a table:
Liesl: "That was totally my fault."

* When I came home from a particularly good violin lesson:
Mommy: "Liesl, Mommy started learning vibrato today!"
Liesl: "Rock on, Mommy."

* When Ava tore a page out of my favorite cookbook:
Liesl: "You are so busted."

* After accepting a cracker that I offered to her:
Liesl: "Thank you for this delightful cracker."

* Random conversation with me:
Liesl: "After I’m 4, I’ll be big enough."
Mommy: "Big enough for what?"
Liesl: "Big enough to be 4."

* While I was preparing lunch, after sweeping up a mess of delightful cracker crumbs off of the floor, Liesl picked up the broom and proceeded to "help" me finish the sweeping job by scattering the delightful cracker crumbs across the floor:
Mommy: "Liesl, please move out of the way, I'm trying to prepare lunch."
Liesl: "Well, I'm trying to finish my work, but you keep stepping in it."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Music is What Moves Us...

...ALL of us.

This music is from a local world fusion/jazz group called Musique Noire. I "know" the lead violinst, Michelle Ann May, through a very bizzare set of circumstances. She's a neat lady.

The CD is called "Good Hair" and the song Ava is getting all funky with is "Heretic." I really like it.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


by Martin Buxbaum

You can use most any measure
When you're speaking of success.
You can measure it in fancy home,
Expensive car or dress.

But the measure of your real success
Is the one you cannot spend.
It's the way your kids describe you
When they're talking to a friend.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kids on a Plane

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by McMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I give up on "Not Me Monday." I have many things I'd like to post for "Not Me Monday," but my Mondays are usually totally swamped with getting back to "normal" after a weekend. Our weekends seem to fill up quickly with family activities, and it's almost a relief to have things back to "normal" on Monday, the day that most people seem to dread. They have normal jobs. I do not.

So I'm just doing a "Not Me" post--any day. Since I had such interesting (I think so, anyway) and funny incidents on our Florida trip, I want to post them now, even though it's already Wednesday...and we went on our trip more than two weeks ago. (Oh, yeah...I'll try to post more pics about our Florida trip soon, hopefully before the girls graduate from college.)

This is not the first time I've flown with a child...but it's the first time I've flown with children (plurality being the key point here) and it was much, much different. First of all, Liesl was 9 months old when we flew to El Paso for my nephews' baptisms. And while it was not a direct flight, it was still immensely simple to fly with one child, and a small one who was taking two naps a day at that (she napped during the majority of ALL FOUR FLIGHTS when we did our El Paso trip. I actually read my book during each of those flights. Dear Lord, I did not know how good I had it.) And while I did not kid myself into thinking that traveling with two children on direct flights (no connections, woo-hoo) would be in any way easy, and while I spent oodles of time preparing activities and diversions in order to avoid getting my entire family's seating arrangements downgraded to the wingtips (read: outside the plane) in mid-flight; I sort of thought we had it handled.

Boy, was I dumb.

So here goes, my "Not Me" incidents:

Between strollers, laptop computers, violins, diaper bags, and other paraphernalia, we did not have seven pieces of carry-on luggage (or eight, if you count Ava) when we approached the TSA checkpoint. And when we got there, I did not jostle my violin case, which had our metronome in the outside storage pocket. And as a result, the metronome did not start to "tick….tick….tick….tick…." as we approached the security lines. Upon raised eyebrows of the TSA officer, I did not fumble nervously with the zipper of the case, jostle the metronome dial in the process, and cause it to speed up: "Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick…" And when I started to get REALLY nervous, I did not hit the dial all the way to the right, thus speeding it up still more: "TICK!TICK!TICK!TICK!TICK!" And the TSA agent closest to us did not reach for his gun.

My husband did not threaten to abandon me due to the above embarrassment.

On the way home, at the Fort Meyers airport, I did not cause the security alarms to go off at the TSA checkpoint due to too many hairpins stuck in my fabulously fashionable (ha) messy bun. I did not subject my baby to being meticulously patted down by a kind, but quite thorough, female TSA agent because I just happened to be carrying her when I walked through the metal detector. My father, who had taken us to the airport and escorted us as far as he could, did not stick around to watch me (and Ava) get frisked in order to find immense humor in this situation.

TSA did not put me on their "most wanted" list after the metronome/hairpin episodes.

Upon arriving to our gate for our return flight, my children were not 2 out of the 25+ very small children--half of whom were screaming--waiting to board the same flight. Noticing the *horrified* looks of all the childless people waiting at the same gate, I did not find their obvious dismay upon discovering who their flightmates were--and how loud they were--VASTLY amusing.

My children were not amongst the whiniest, most obnoxious children on the flight. And if they had been--which they weren't--they did not alternate their strident outbursts with each other to make sure that Tom and I (and, indeed, all other passengers within a 7-row radius) never had a moment's peace during the 2-1/2-hour flight.

The (obviously childless) crotchety old fart elderly gentleman in the row in front of us did not oh-so-subtly (!!!) refer to me as a "Moo" when our LOVELY, DARLING, ANGELIC <*cough* *cough*> children got slightly (!!!!!) out of hand. As a result, I did not even consider encouraging Liesl to kick the back of his uptight wife's seat repeatedly for half an hour, all the while singing, "Helloooooooooooo, everybody, so glad to see you...hellooooooo, everybody, so glad to see yoooooou," a few decibels higher than was really necessary. No way, not me.

Don't get me wrong: The trip was great fun. Florida was wonderful. The flights were, all things considered, handleable (is that even a word?). I mean, nothing's easy with two tiny children, and I have fewer tiny children than many of my friends do. But think of the last flight you had, by yourself or with companions who are chronologically-mature adults: You got to watch out the window undisturbed, if you happened to have a window seat. Nobody was kicking your tray table from the underside, thus launching your Diet Pepsi into the laps of everybody in your row. (You probably weren't tempted to ask the flight attendant for a shot of vodka in said Diet Pepsi.) You didn't have to stand up and make all the passengers in your row stand up too so you could(awkwardly) change a diaper in mid-flight on your seats, because the changing table in the plane's restroom is a joke. Nobody looked at you in disgust when that diaper turned out to be of the very fragrant poopie variety. (Hey, people, suck it up and deal with it: Kids have to poop too, you know.) You actually got to READ the book you packed, and had a rational discussion with your companion--or you chose NOT to have a discussion of any kind--without having topics such as poopies, pretzels inserted in facial orifices, or barf bag puppets come up. (Yes, I realize having "barf bag" and "come up" in the same sentence is a pun. Totally unintended.) You didn't have to quell your flight companion's urgent desire to shriek "HAPPY LANDING!" four hundred and twenty-seven times when the plane touches down. I mean, really.

Now, again: I have fewer children than most of my friends. My friend Colleen flew with her THREE children to LEBANON, for Pete's sake, and loved it and can't wait to go back. Nobody arrested her for cursing in public and she still seems quite calm and sane. Really! I saw her yesterday and her hair--and her kids--are all intact. So why were we so flippin' exhausted from our flights alone? It was chaos, I tell you.

Plane ride humor aside (and it is VERY funny to think, we had a terrific time in Florida. I will post photos shortly, I hope. I would love to go back--preferably when the girls are old enough to haul their own gear (and their own butts) around the airport themselves, but we did have a truly wonderful time.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday...but not Wordless

I like to post pictures on Wednesdays without cluttering the post with words...but these pictures I took yesterday simply scream for captions.

Since we missed Liesl's regular lesson last week due to our trip to Florida, I took her in to our teacher on Monday morning for a makeup lesson. Of course, I brought Ava along, so Miss Sharon spent a few minutes with Ava as well, playing games on the piano, and playing a few versions of "Twinkle" on the violin for Ava to dance to. (I am loathe to admit that I forgot my camera on Monday.)

I keep a few recent magazines and catalogs on the family room coffee table and thumb through them when I have a (ha!) spare minute or two. Ava decided to follow suit. So she picked up a copy of the most recent catalog from Shar Music, a stringed instrument catalog from a large company that just happens to be local. Given the fact that Ava has had her first "lesson" at the age of 16 months, and sees her sister and her mother practice the violin several times a day--and her father picking up his violin several times a week as well--it's only right to assume she is studying the catalog with plans of future purchases.

"The sky's the limit, right, Mom? After all, you want me to have a good, quality instrument in order to fully develop my musical potential."

"ELECTRIC violins? Um...I don't think that's what Miss Sharon has in mind."
(Never mind that the catalog is upside down.)

"Ah, here we go: page 13, the Guarneri del Gesu Kreisler. Only $4,400.
Yes, that should do it. Order this one for me, will you?"

(That doesn't include a bow, by the way...I guess Mommy and Daddy better get a paper route...or 2, or 3, or 12....)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

To Miss Sharon, from Liesl

Dear Miss Sharon,

Greetings from sunny Florida!

We are so glad you convinced us to purchase a "roll-up piano" for occasions such as these! Liesl has been working hard on her piano scales, as well as her violin study. We are finding violin practice to be even more enjoyable on vacation. With fewer pressures and responsibilities on our shoulders, we've been able to devote plenty of positive energy to our music studies.

So we have prepared a little video for you below:

If you think this is good, wait until you see--and hear--the progress she has made on her violin so far this week, too. We are so glad we toted our violins and other musical gear with us.

For Miss Sharon, and anyone else who would like a good laugh: Stay tuned to our blog for stories of approaching the TSA checkpoint station with our violin cases in tow, when our metronome, packed in the outside pocket of Becky's violin case, was jostled, turned on, and suddenly started ticking very loudly...we had a bit of explaining to do. :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009