Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lily Ruth-isms

I know I talk a lot (alot! :-P) about how ridiculously verbal my Angel is... this post is no exception. Her vocabulary and comprehension astound me. She not only says funny things, but she says them on purpose. She still uses the occasional 'baby word' that's so cute you just want to die ('b-puter' for computer and 'hoca-pontas' for Pocahontas), but then there are the stories...


We pulled into the driveway at the same time that Daddy pulled up. Very exciting stuff.

"I need to run to Daddy!"


"Run like Tom Cruise!!!" (arms and legs pumping full speed in her carseat)

- 'run like Tom Cruise' is from an episode of Cougar Town. According to them, running like Tom Cruise is the fastest way to run. We've adopted it as our own family style of locomotion... obviously...


Recently, Lily Ruth picked up a bag, loaded it with a few essentials, grabbed her 'cell phone' and announced: "I need to go to work. I have a deposition" as she trundled off toward the front of the house.

I responded with "excuse me?" so she stopped, looked me dead in the eye and repeated slowly (and loudly): "A DEPO-SITION."

Apparently, Daddy has been doing a lot of that lately, and the word has become impressed upon her growing brain... She's brought it up several times since then!


I wasn't there, but here's how Don swears that it went down:

"Lily Ruth, what should we get Mama for Mother's Day?"
"We need to get mommy a cat."
"No, we're not going to mommy a cat. What else could we get her?"
"A dog. Named Butch."
"We already have a dog. What else could we get for Mommy?"
"A pretend dog. Named Butch."

He let the conversation trail off there.

That was a few days before Mother's Day. ON Mother's Day, they went shopping. In the car, he asked again:

"Lily Ruth, what do you think we should get for Mama?"
"The pretend dog - Butch."

"How are we going to do that?"
"You'll see."

Then they made it into the store. He swears that in less than 1 minute, she stopped, pointed and said "There's Butch. Told you."

They came home with a stuffed dog 'for me'. That lasted about 5 minutes before Lily Ruth freaked out and claimed Butch as her own.


We use Time Out as a discipline method. Usually, all I have to do is say 'time out for _____. Go.' and she goes to her room to calm down. Unless she has committed a serious infraction requiring the use of the timer, she is allowed to calm herself down and emerge when she's ready. Upon rejoining the group, she must look whoever she's apologizing to in the eye and apologize for the offense. The apology has to be specific.

In this case, she had been sent to time out for 'not being a good listener' (very common) and 'not following directions'. Here's what happened when she came out:

"You need to say sorry daddy."
"Sorry, Daddy."
"Acting like a jerk."


- um, Mommy needs to cool it on the 'J' word. :-/


She recently took my face in both hands and said: "You the perfect mama for me. I love you." I almost died. I'm keeping that one in the front of my brain to compensate for the "I not do ANYTHING for you any MORE!" moments... *sigh*

She's worth it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shoebox Float

I know that I've already mentioned Lily Ruth's shoebox float (and her unwillingness to assist in much of the process), but it was an exciting milestone for me as well, and I want to show you more.

Fiesta is an event that only happens in San Antonio, but it overtakes the entire city for as week. The Battle of Flowers parade is so big that all schools in the city are closed for the day, and most downtown businesses are closed due to traffic and pedestrian congestion. Said parade has also spawned the endless tide of shoebox floats. It is a rite of passage in our community - loved by some, dreaded by others. The process of creating a shoebox float is relatively simple: you cover a shoebox in colored paper and decorate it. That's it. There are no rules. The only guidelines are those set by individual contests - and almost every elementary school has one.

Lily Ruth's Parent's Day Out program has an annual Fiesta parade and party. The 'older' kiddos (3-5) either make a shoebox float or decorate their tricycles/bicycles. The younger kiddos (infant-2) are pushed along the route in strollers and wagons covered in paper flowers and bright ribbons. Then we all head inside and eat entirely too much food - all of it lovingly prepared by the nursery staff.

I jumped at the chance to make a float. I have fond memories of the fun and frustration of covering an entire shoebox in tiny tissue paper 'flowers' in the wee small hours of the morning (it was probably 10 pm :-P) the night before my Brownie troop parade. I was eager to share the fun with my daughter... I tend to overestimate her attention span and her interest in any process...

To be fair, I chose a design where she could help with every step. For the most part, she declined... choosing instead to wander off with each design element as it was completed, and play happily on her own.

I decided to make a garden themed float. As you well know, we're in love with our garden. The most exciting parts for Lily Ruth are using garden tools and growing a bean tee pee. It was a no-brainer to play on those things...

O.k., so, to start, we (yes, she helped with this part) covered the shoebox - and our hands - with school glue, then slapped on some green tissue paper. If your shoebox is a dark color or has a logo, you might need to paint it a solid color first or cover it in heavier paper. Our box was white with tiny green flowers (a giant 'thank you' to Ms. Kyla who gave baby Lily Ruth presents from Janie and Jack) so we got off easy:

Then I made a tiny bean tee pee. I used a cardboard circle for the base and wooden chopsticks (broken in half) for the poles. Hemp twine for the stings around the poles. Green and hot pink copper wire from my bead supplies as the vines. Green foam (formerly a bracelet kit) for the leaves. A dot of hot glue on each to attach them to the vines. I tried to interest Little Miss in helping me attach tiny leaves to the tiny tee pee. She declined. *Aside: I really want Lily Ruth to use the glue gun with me, but she burned her finger the very first time she tried it, and now she refuses to go near it.*:

The tiny watering can (to the right of the float) is made from recycled cardboard pieces - I've been saving all sorts of stuff for just such an occasion. The body and handle are made from  a toilet paper tube. The neck is a dry cleaning hanger tube. I glued a giant button to the end for the spout. Lily Ruth and I finger-painted the can pink. When it dried, we covered it in glue and shook pink glitter all over it...

it's fun to cover your hands in glitter, too!

The front piece is printer paper with stickers from our stash. The letter stickers are old and lost their stick, so they had to be individually glued :-/ At least glue-ing is something that she wanted to do!

I made squirmy worm-ies out of pipe cleaners and googly eyes. Those were immensely popular. It took a good half hour of play before she was ready to hand them over.

From there, it was just glue-ing the elements in place. Lily Ruth chose Belle, Hiccup and Ken to ride on the float. Once everybody was secured with hot glue, I cut small squares of tissue paper. Each square got wrapped around the eraser end of a pencil. Add a dab of glue, press into place and hey, presto: PINK flowers!

We lucked out: the box sat perfectly over Lily Ruth's Little People carriage - that means she had wheels for her float! You can just drag le box across the ground, but it gets beat up pretty fast. Wheels (of the pre-made variety) are the way to go.

There you have it! How To Make A Shoebox Float by Lily Ruth and her Mama :-)

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm Still Here!

I've been a bit... well, blah since Bing's death. I felt a bit like I was just plain absent.

Life continues (as it always does),

We've slept in, laughed, gone to the zoo and even started potty training (!!!). You know, stuff.

Today I feel like I'm crawling out of a hole. I finally feel like taking care of my part of the world again. Luckily for me, my in-laws visited last week. Without their arrival to plan for, my house would now resemble a swamp. Instead, it's only moderately messy - more like charmingly disheveled. I think I can handle it.

Our garden is in glorious bloom! We've (organically) battled slugs, aphids, caterpillars and survived chronic shallow over-watering (SORRY!!! I'm learning over here!). One evening, we even released 2000 Lady Bugs:

It was awesome. They stayed around for a few days laying eggs, then they made their way into the rest of the world.

After that, we had several days of wonderful, drenching rain and it shows. My baby mescalun lettuces are ready to harvest:

Our bush beans have 5 pods (3 purple, 2 green):

The edamame all have pods:

The pole beans have flowers that will soon be buds:

The real superstar is the corn. Since the rain, it has grown at least a foot, the tops seeded out, and tassels are poking off the sides!

I even managed to start trying out some of the many things that I have recently 'pinned' to Pinterest.

I made bracelets out of  old T-shirts:

Using this tutorial:

I made a bracelet for my Mama:

Using an old earring and hemp twine and this tutorial:

So, yeah. Still here. Moving forward and taking deep breaths. Rejoining the world. Maybe I'll even feel inspired to write something soon...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Goodbye, Bing

Tuesday, we had to say goodbye to Bing. He was a wonderful cat, a very sweet boy and a huge pain in the butt - yet worth every minute. His health started declining rapidly a week ago. While he was not in any pain, his quality of life was gone, and he was unaware of his surroundings. This was one of the hardest moments of my life. I know that we made the right choice, but I hated so much to let him go.


I found Bing on a cool fall evening almost 16 years ago. I was in a hurry - no, scratch that - I was in a HUGE hurry. I worked in a restaurant downtown, and we had some sort of PR gig at a hockey game. I was loading large steam table trays full of hot food into the back of my tiny car when I heard a series of pitiful 'mew's coming from a locked equipment area. I peered through the fence, and soon saw a small kitten with cartoonishly large feet. He came blinkingly out from under the fence and began to explain himself in loud tones. He was filthy, but looked to be fairly healthy and uninjured. I wasted long minutes explaining that I couldn't take him to a hockey game, but that I would be back for him later. His English was terrible, so it was hard to get my point across. He was determined to stick with me, and I was determined not to lose my job or squish him with my car.

I got back and finished up my  work night, then I went looking for the tiny kitty. He was easy to find. One word from me brought him running (and yelling). We had a talk about how my husband was not going to be a big fan of this idea. I told him that he would have to be a lap cat as my current cat was not up for that sort of thing, and it was the one thing that would possibly sway Don. He allowed (loudly) that he would give it a try. I scooped him up and dumped him in my car. He jumped out then ran back to yell at me some more. We repeated this cycle I don't even KNOW how many more times before I was able to jump in and slam the door with him on the inside. He promptly bonked his tiny head on the window so hard that he almost blacked out. He shook it off and yowled at me. We spent the 15 minute journey home discussing our current family (Rachel, Don, Missy the albino Siamese and Skippy the flying squirrel) and how he would fit in. He rode the entire way with his hind feet on my lap and his forefeet on my left arm. That was the last time that he willingly and compliantly rode in a car.


I ate my lunch alone today. Just me and a wicker basket of laundry on the couch. 

I shifted and the basket creaked. 

I turned and stretched out my hand to welcome Bing. 

I dropped my hand and my eyes filled.


As predicted, Don was not even a little bit amused that I was bringing home a kitten. "No. Take it back to where you found it." "I can't! It was living in a parking garage!"

He wore down fairly quickly. He has a good heart.

We gave the tiny kitty a bath in the sink and discovered that he was pale yellow with orange-ish 'points' like a Siamese cat. After an initial visit to the vet - the tiny kitty was a boy, approximately 6 - 7 months old and a Flame Point Siamese (a Siamese / Tabby mutt) - the kitty boy began to settle in. We named him Bing after Bing Crosby. It was the lead-up to the holiday season, after all, and Holiday Inn was already in heavy rotation on t.v.

Bing's first order of business was to sleep for several days straight. He would wake up to use the litter box and eat, then he would head back to our bed and sleep again. He had been with us for a few days before he even noticed the flying squirrel. As soon as he did, the rest of the world ceased to exist. He slept on top of Skippy's cage with his face pressed into the mesh. He sat next to the cage and pressed the top of his head into it as hard as he could - he really, really, really wanted to get in there.


Every task today is marked by his absence. He was my shadow. My annoying, constantly underfoot shadow. I'll have to learn how to do everything without watching out for him.


As was indicated by our very first encounter, Bing was a very vocal cat. He used his Siamese voice all. of. the. time. When asked what Bing says, Lily Ruth will giggle and answer 'Naw!' Lately, he had (I kid you not) mastered a new word - he would stalk down the hall very early in the morning yelling 'Hello!' It was creepy and highly funny.

He was adventurous and brave. He prowled a pretty large territory everywhere that we lived. He protested mightily every time that I decided to keep the cats indoors in order to prolong their lifespans. In the end, it was always easier just to let him do as he pleased.


We buried Bing at The Homestead. Don dug the hole then brought him out. He held him as we always had - even though he hated to be held and protested mightily almost every time. He held him with love, and respect. We told him a few more times how much we loved and will miss him. We put pretty flowers over him. Walking away was a lot harder than I thought it would be.


He was the worst lap cat ever.

He was sweet and gentle to my baby when she was tiny.

He loved to play Blanket Monster and to be scratched under his chin.

He was a mighty hunter and a dedicated sunbather.

He was my guy.

I love you, Bing. You will always be in my heart.