Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Little Halloween Preview

Now, that is one cute Gator.
Excuse me, Chicken.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Nice Little Quote

"She was not just resisting the status quo - she was living without it entirely"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unsinkable Unplugged

I'm unplugging the computer for the week. No internets, no emails, no facebooks. No apps, no tweets, no nada.

I'll be back next Monday, most likely with an extra dose of crazy :)

UK Out.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tot Speak

After having a very rough morning, in which my kids went insane, I dropped everything I touched, my house was a mess, Tot wouldn't stop talking and poking at the Gator and running around like a lunatic - I finally lost it.

UK: Tot!!! Knock it off!! What in the world has gotten into you this morning??


T: Hmmm. I think I'm acting like this because of mind control.

UK: Doubtful.

T: Yep, that's it. Mind Control. Something has slid over my brain and is making me do this.

UK: (Sigh.) Get in your room.

T: I'm telling you. Mind Control.

Is it any wonder I'm going nuts today with such a little snot? :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Favorites: My Favorite Fall Things

Tuesday Favorites? What is this, 2008?

I know!

I'm bringing it back, at least for this week, because I do love me some fall weather and all it's accompanying loveliness. I'm sure everyone has things that just make the season for them, and I am no different. So for Tuesday Favorites, here is what I recommend for your Fall enjoyment.

1. Yankee Candles - I will state right out of the box that I am a Yankee Candle Snob. I love these candles so much, that I pretty much ignore every other candle - no matter how well priced it is. There are just SO many scents, so much to choose from, and they make your house smell just plain delightful. My friend, April, shares this joy with me, and often shares the scoop on good deals and coupons she finds - a true friend. I burn them all year round, but I find that my Yankee Candle Love burns brightest in the Fall and Winter. I am currently burning "Autumn Leaves" and next up is "Home Sweet Home". I am also a fan of "Good Morning" (yum.) and anything with a pumpkin or cinnamon stick on it. I highly recommend them for your candle burning enjoyment, and I garauntee people will walk in your house and say "Mmmmm" (or, like Cheryl did the other day, walk in, sniff, and be reminded of some place that you can't put a name to and it will drive you nuts the duration of the playdate).

2. Handmade Coffee Mug - I've never been a huge coffee drinker (I prefer the DDP, as we all know) but there is just something truly wonderful about drinking hot coffee out of a well made mug. It sits so nice and heavy in your hand, it's well insulated, and you know it was crafted, not just stamped out. Now, I'm not one who buys handmade everything, I do see a place for just going to Wal-Mart and buying whatever is cheapest - there is a place for that. But my coffee mug is not that place. Nope. I am currently between coffee mugs, but not for long. Mine broke a few weeks ago, and I will be going right back to the place I bought it this weekend to get it's replacement. I got it at this lovely Mennonite farm near Waco, and it is a thing to behold. When you fill it up with hot coffee and special peppermint creamer, your morning no longer is just something to get through. It's a moment of peace to be savored. After all, if we have to deal with early mornings (and, sweet fancy I do), then we might as well make them pretty, right?

3. Rain Boots - Is there anything more Fall-ish than rain boots? And are these boots not socuteyoucouldjustdie? I know! The argyle! The buckle! The total awesomeness of dry feet! I have yet to buy a pair of these because while I know I would adore them, I have to face the facts, and the facts are these: 1) I live in Texas. 2) It doesn't rain much here. It's rather silly to purchase a pair of boots dedicated solely to rainy weather when it is such a rare occurrence. So why am I so obsessed by rain boots? It may have something to do with our being in the 8th day of consecutive rain fall. If I can't have sunny weather, then I may as well be super stylin' when it rains, no matter how often.

4. Aprons - This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or has read
this blog but at all, because friends, I love love love aprons. I love to bake in them, cook in them, do housework in them, play on the computer in them. I own quite a few and wear them all. Each one has it's own specific use and right now I'm rockin' a cute fall - themed apron my friend, Joanna, got me for my birthday last year. I do believe that you should get yourself to Target, World Market, Etsy, any antique store, or your grandmother's, and strap on an apron. Just imagine yourself all swaddled in some cute little thing, looking all home-makery, pulling some Pumpkin bread out of the oven. See? Aren't you cute! And dude, that bread smells good.

5. Quilts - Ah, quilts. Doesn't a good quilt just croon "Fall" to your over-summered
soul? I have a favorite quilt that I've had for probably over ten years. My mom's friend, Judy, made it for me when I graduated highschool and it has been worn to a delightful softness. It's yellow and gold and white and has beautiful stitching. It even has "Jesus Loves Kristen Grile" on one of the edges, in tiny stitches. Yes, Grile is my maiden name. It's "Grile, rhymes with Smile" a phrase my Dad always said that I thought was embarrassing at the time, but is highly effective at getting people to stop pronouncing it "Grill", which was more embarrassing. So, Dad was spot on. Anyways, I love this quilt. I love throwing the windows open and wrapping myself up and feeling the cold breeze blow through the house. I've lately discovered that you can throw a quilt into the dryer (when it's not wet! amazing!) and then wrap yourself up in hot quiltiness. Now that is awesome. I assume that it would work with any quilt (or any fabric, really, since getting fabrics hot and dry is what a dryer is for) and I plan on slowly acquiring a house full of quilts so that I can dive through them on cold days like Scrooge McDuck dives through gold. I suggest you do the same.

And there you have it. The Official Unsinkable Recommendations For A Cozy Time To Be Had By All.

Now you tell me, what are your Favorite Fall Things?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Replace "fractions" with the numbers 15 - 19 and you will have an accurate picture of Math Time.

Tot can recognize, name, and write all the other numbers from 1 - 100, but she can. not. reliably recognize the numbers 15 - 19.

Mindy, I feel your pain.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Unsinkable Updates

(I don't know why blogger is doing this spacing thing. Sorry!)

With the Children: Last month we were working on a few very specific things, and this month we are keeping up with that. Little David has been doing marginally better at obeying the first time, and while he hasn't quit whining he is now aware of when he's doing it - so those are good steps. Tot is also getting marginally better at looking at us when we're talking to her, and in turn, we are getting better at realizing when she is acting out vs. tired. When Tot was littler, her response to being tired was to amp up and go crazy. She would just run/spin/play faster and faster until there was a total and complete crash. She seems to have moved past that now, and we are noticing that now when she gets tired her response is to be a little grumpy and a little more sensitive. I like this much better. Little David, however, is still in the twirl-till-crash stage. Allie is definitely becoming more and more person-like - she's smiling, coo-ing, snuggling, and she even rolled over! The kids still love her to pieces, although Little David told me the other day that he didn't want any more brothers or sisters because that would be "too too many people". He said he likes having just two sisters. Tot would be fine if we decided to have a dozen more, on the condition that I let her play with them and dress them up.

With our Marriage: We have made great progress in getting more Pal Time! Laura Beth has been Super Aunt, and Dave's parents actually watched all three kids while we went to a company dinner, and my Mom & Tim are going to take the eldest children next weekend leaving Dave and I with only the Gator and lots of time to get things done around the house. We are so very blessed to have family that helps, even when they have busy lives of their own. We've also made a point to have a little catch up time as soon as Dave gets home. I have Tot & Little David say a quick Hi to Dave, and then they go and pick up their rooms while Dave and I get a little time to see how eachother's day went and to discuss the evenings agenda. Between those things, and our always enjoyable At Home Date Night with The Biggest Loser, we've been a much more relaxed Dave & Kristen.

In the Kitchen: Green Smoothies. Nom nom nom. I do love me a green smoothie, and they have helped me knock down another couple of pounds. As of Wednesday, I only have 5 pounds of baby weight left! Slow and steady. I made some freakishly delicious Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies yesterday which has probably changed Wednesdays number, but oh well. They were SOOO good. I made them with pumpkin puree I made myself and it really makes them better - thanks for the recipe, April!

Around the House: You know, I've been at home full time for over five years now. You would think that after awhile laundry, dishes, cleaning and the running of things would get boring. Like it would be doing the exact same thing over and over again. For some reason, this hasn't been the case with me. It's not always the most challenging of things to do, and sometimes my brain gets a little mushy feeling, but there is always something to try to improve. Since it's never done, and your family and life stage is always changing, there is always something to tweak. This week, I tweaked the laundry - to see if doing it all at once (except the diapers) would be better than one load a day. So far, I love it. But the beauty of this job, is that if I do it once and don't like it - I will always have a "do over". I'm in a season of "do over's" right now. I'm looking at all my routines (some I've had a long time, some that can barely be called routines at all), and seeing what I can do better to make my home a happier place to be.

In the School Room: Ah, school. You know, doing Kindergarten at home is really a fluid thing. Dave calls this "The Beautiful Year" - it's the year where Tot isn't technically old enough to be in Public School (she misses the cut off date by two weeks) but mentally she's old enough to learn all the material. So, there isn't a lot of real pressure put on us by anyone but ourselves. Obviously, our plan is to teach Tot at a PS Kindergarten level, and at the end of the year have her be at the level she would need to be to start PS 1st Grade and continue homeschooling from there on out. However, I can kindof relax, because there aren't any eyes on us. According to the State of Texas, and everyone else, everything I'm doing right now is over achieving pre-school. We don't need to "prove" anything. It will be next year that more people will be watching. When we will be ignoring the letters sent by the school district for public enrollment. When our "official" status will be Home School. It will be then, that there will be general standards we must meet, and certain standards I must plan for. But this year, I can sit back, relax and not worry about all that. I can teach just the way I want to, knowing that I'm doing the best for all three of my children. I can do that anyways, no matter what year Tot is "supposed" to be in, but this year - no one is watching. And that is rather pleasant.

What I'm Reading: Still working on my George Washington biography, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading by Jessie Wise, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, What Your Kindergartner Needs To Know by John Holdren, Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks.

How We're Rolling: Pretty good, I'd say. We're finding our sea legs, and it's not too shabby for The Chapman's!

What Everyone Really Wants To See:

My Fall Extravaganza decorations :)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

For Tot's birthday, my Dad and Tamara got Tot the BEST present. They got her Butterflies! Well, technically, they got her larvae :).

Let me explain.

About two weeks before Tot's birthday we got a box in the mail. It had a pop-up butterfly net house and a coupon for 5 butterfly larvae - caterpillars! We redeemed the coupon online and a few short days later, our caterpillars arrived in the mail. Dad called and said he thought it was a weird gift, but that Tamara had assured him a five year old girl would love larvae. She was SO right.

Oh. My. Gosh.

You can not imagine the insanity that followed their arrival. Tot LOVED the caterpillars and went to look at them every five minutes for two solid weeks. We read about butterflies, drew pictures, and watched their every move waiting to see when they would inch their way to the top of the container and make their chrysalides. We made "hypotheses" (Tot's new favorite word and activity) and waited.

Tot taking her picture with the caterpillars.

And sure enough, the morning of her birthday party they all made their way to the top and by the time we got back all five were firmly encased. It was nuts how fast it happened! We made the transfer from caterpillar container to butterfly house and tossed in a few leaves to make it feel more welcoming.

Then we drew up a diagram of the chrysalides and named them, so we would know who had hatched first. Tot named them Pappaw, Tamara, Cheryl, Paul & Angelina. I know where she got Pappaw & Tamara. I know where she got Cheryl. I know where she got Angeline (Ballerina). I have no clue how she came up with Paul. Her normal made up names are repeated syllables like "CaCa" (seriously) or "TooKaToo". So for her to make up a real name was kindof weird.

The habitat.
(And the decaying apple we are observing. Yuck.)

The diagram :)

The chrysalides.

Anyways. Having transfered them, we waited. And watched. And drew more pictures and read more books and looked at more butterfly videos online. It was the best science project I could have asked for.

And then it happened.

We went to see a movie two Saturdays later and when we came back, we had butterflies. Contrary to all of our hypotheses, they all hatched on the same day, within the same three hour block. It was SO COOL. The whole family stopped what we were doing and gathered around the house and watched them slowly move around and slowly test out moving their wings. Oh, and for the record, when butterflies hatch it looks BLOODY. It's just their meconium (the first poop, just like babies, but red instead of tar colored), but I was not prepared for how it would look like they had literally battled out. Way cool.

So, we kept them for a week, watching them learn to fly and eating and sleeping. Tot LOVED them and even made a special "Do Not Touch" sign for them - LOL. She was very concerned that she would forget and try to move them.

After a week of watching, we decided it was time to let them go in the wild. They only have a two to four week adult life span, and I really didn't want to wake up to five dead butterflies one morning. So, last Saturday we all went out into the backyard for a release party.

We weren't exactly prepared for how slow they would fly, and so while it did offer opportunities for the butterflies to land on the kid's hands, it also allowed our dog Annie to catch two, and actually eat one. Sigh. Great visual lesson in the circle of life. You should have seen us all run after the dog frantically trying to distract her. Dave and I were laughing in total shock and the kids were screaming "Bad Annie! No Annie! Let the butterflies GO ANNIE" while trying to remove them from her mouth. Alas, one of the butterflies was no more.

The kids running after Annie the Bad.
They forgave her when we explained that everybody has to eat something.

After that, we put up Annie and enjoyed the remaining butterflies.

Thanks Pappaw & Tamara! You guys are the greatest!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

UK Gets Ranty

You know, I was reading an essay the other day that I felt like I had read a billion times before. It was about a mom who stays at home with her kids and was questioning her choice. She used to have a job she loved, now she freelances, and she wonders what was lost in the translation.

I am tired of hearing about this.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm tired of it because I'm a third time mom who isn't in that phase of life anymore. My choice has been made, I'm not changing it, and I don't doubt it. And since we homeschool, it won't be something I really have to think about for a long time. So reading article after article about the "Stay At Home Mom vs. Work At Home Mom vs. Working Mom" has almost no relevance or appeal to me.

But I feel this way about most "hot button" issues. I've made my choices, I don't doubt them, and I'm not changing them. And if you have made different choices, fine. I see no need to persuade you differently. If you ask, I'll tell you why I cloth diaper, but if you choose disposables, that has zero effect on my day to day life. I don't spend my spare time bemoaning your decision to buy jarred food instead of hand making it or deciding to go back to work.

So why, WHY, do I have to read about this in every. single. magazine? Is there nothing left to talk about besides the things that for some unearthly reason polarize moms?

Which brings me to my ultimate point: I am tired of hearing about Mommy Wars. What Mommy Wars? Who are these people "warring"? Why on earth does anyone feel the need to argue about this over and over? And why do magazine editors insist on publishing articles about it in every. single. issue? Sweet Fancy Moses. If you are reading anything related to parenting you just can not escape these topics. Surely there is more to parenting than picking a side on a few hot button topics and defending your choice to the death.

I'm sure that if people only knew my choices, I would look like a rabid hippy. Stay at Home mom, Breastfeeding, Baby Wearing, Co-Sleeping, Cloth Diapering, Delayed Vaccinating, Homeschooling, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. However, not one of these choices define me. They are simply choices, not the center of my being. It is impossible to know my character or motivations simply by assigning me to a "side" of a debate. So why do we feel the need to endlessly moan and groan about making these choices? It's not like once you put a cloth diaper on your baby you are an irrevocably "Natural" mother and will never be able put a disposable on them or that once you choose to stay at home you can never work again. It's not all or nothing.


I do know that just because I choose not to participate in any sort of "war" doesn't mean that there aren't people who do. Maybe that is even the majority of people, I don't know. There will always be those handful of loud people that equate bottle feeding to child abuse or insist that stay at home moms have lost their identity, but so what? Ignore them and move on. Don't keep giving them a chance to see who can yell their point louder. And for goodness sakes, quit arguing back. Telling a mom who loves her public school and is actively involved in it how much better homeschooling is for her kids won't change her mind. It'll just irritate her. If it's that important to you, then mention the positive attributes and then quit talking and let her see how happy your choice has made you.

The only thing worth pushing about is Salvation, and last time I checked, no battle in the Mommy Wars was centered around that.

Anyways, I'll step down off of my very randomly put up Soap Box and get back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. But for real friends, I'm going to have a pretty gnarly facial tic if I see one more article about this. My eyes are already starting to cross whenever I flip the page and see the acronym "SAHM".

Or maybe I should just take my own advice and flip the page to the next article. I do love reading a recipe for a good mock-tail. :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

JBF Round Up

I went to my bi-annual consignment sale last night and it was Ca-Razy! It felt twice as large as years before and there was so very much stuff to dig through. I had the Gator in a sling and my trusty stroller with me to help, though. Here are the highlights of the night:

11 pairs of superhero underpants for Little David - $2

1 Halo Sleep Sack for The Gator - $2
(We used this last night and now I am wondering why I never had it with the other kids)

1 Hot Pink Exhiliration Robe for The Tot - $4

1 pair of Brand New With Tags Old Navy Khakis for Little David - $3

2 Books (Ramona The Brave, Ramona Quimby Age 8) - $1

2 Disney Talking Stuffed "Cars" (Lightening & Tomater) - $2

It was a pretty great night! I'll be going back on Saturday for my volunteer hours, and I'll probably pick up a few more things at the half price sale. I'm hoping to find a robe and slippers for Little David as well because I'm tired of him stealing mine. Yes, he steals my robe.

And what was Little David's favorite thing? The "Cars" toys? No. The pop up dinosaur book ($1)? No. The puzzles ($1)? No.

It was the underwear. He immediately put on his favorite of the bunch and then carried the rest of them around all morning.


Thursday, October 01, 2009

An Extravaganza To Rule Them All: 101 Things in 1001 Days

Oh you know I'm doing it. My friend, Diana, called me the other day detailing an Extravaganza that she just knew I would be all over. As she told me about it, my heart went pitter patter. We all know how I like lists, like challenges, and LOVE extravaganzas, right? Well, this is like all of them rolled together in to one freakishly awesome, long term, totally rad EXTRAVAGANZA. It really needs to be in all caps for the weight of it to translate to type.

Starting today, October 1st 2009, I will be working to accomplish 101 things in 1001 days.

I know! Isn't that perfect?? I've looked through tons of people's lists and I've stolen things, tweeked things, created things, and stitched it together to make my very own list. My end date is June 28, 2012. Doesn't that seem forever away? By then, Dave and I will have been married for 10 years, Tot will be almost 8, Little David will be 6, and Allie will be almost 3. Wow.

So here is the list, grouped together as well as I could. For the record, it's relatively hard to come up with this many things and even harder to group them together without losing your place. So that's why I have a catch all at the bottom :)

And away we go!


The Stats, Yo:

Start Date - October 1, 2009
End Date - June 28, 2012
Completed tasks will be in BOLD
In Progress tasks will be in italics

Family Fun:

001. Go camping with the kids 3x a year
002. Visit 3 National Parks (0/3)
003. Get an annual membership to the Fort Worth Nature Reserve for Christmas
004. Turn the TV off for a whole week
005. Buy 5 more board games (4/5)
006. Go apple/peach picking
007. Cut our own Christmas Tree
008. Enroll the kids in Soccer
009. Do a Family Night once a month
010. Get 4 more insects to watch grow
011. Go to the Fort Worth Farmer's Market
012. Ride a train
013. Get a Goldfish
014. Go to Animal World & Snake Farm
015. Visit The Alamo
016. Attend three local festivals (0/3)
017. Go to the Feast of the Hunter's Moon
018. Teach Tot to ride her bike with no training wheels
019. Teach Little David to ride with no training wheels
020. Go tubing on the Brazos
021. Go on a canoe trip
022. Be Vegetarians for a whole week

Dave & I:
023. Find a Dodgeball Tournament for The Ocho
024. Eat Huevos Rancheros on Neuves
025. Go on a really cool Diezes, Baby! Trip
026. Go to a Robert Earl Keen concert
027. Decide on Baby #4
028. Go to a Marriage Conference, laugh, then skip the last day. Just like old times. :)
029. Get 2 more pairs of matching shoes (0/2)
030. Go to 6 Flags
031. See 9 movies alone (3/9)
032. Go to a Cowboys game
033. Go to a Rangers game
034. Go to a Stars game

035. Paint my kitchen/living area/office yellow
036. Paint David's bedroom
037. Decide if I want to paint my room or not
038. Make a raised vegetable bed
039. Hang a clothesline
040. Buy a houseplant
041. Keep houseplant alive for a year
042. Paint outside of house
042. Make flower bed in front yard.

Only Unsinkable Things:
043. Read the biographies of the first 20 presidents (0/20)
044. Attend monthly book club meetings
045. Take a class with Mom at Homestead Farms
046. Attend a Bible Class faithfully for an entire session
047. Learn to crochet
048. Do two 30 Day Green Challenges
049. Make Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls
050. Get a pedicure
051. Run (actually run, not walk) a 5k
052. Teach a kids Bible class
053. Give blood
054. Get a new tattoo
056. Make Scones from scratch
057. Make homemade bread once a month
058. Try a new recipe twice a month
059. Join a food Co-Op
060. Make all of Allie's babyfood from scratch
061. Switch to all natural cleaners permanently
062. Go on a Girls Trip (going to Arizona in March!)
063. Do NaBloPoMo again
064. Visit 5 new restaurants
065. Write our sponsor child once a month
066. Write an encouraging email/note one a week
067. Make Mammaw's Peanut Butter Fudge
068. Make homemade Chicken & Noodles
069. Make Ham Salad
070. Make Forfar Bridies
071. Go play Bingo 3 times (1/3)
072. Organize the kid's outgrown clothes into boxes by gender/size
073. Organize Attic
074. Help David organize the Garage
075. Submit 5 articles for publication (0/5)
076. Get published
077. Use my passport
078. Subscribe to two magazines - Real Simple and Woman's Day
079. Compost
080. Get CPR Certified
081. Get a manicure
082. Continue Homeschooling
083. Change my own oil
084. Go to a wine tasting
085. Go offline for a week
086. Change my own tire
087. Visit 5 State Parks (0/5)
088. Travel to 4 States I've never been to (0/4)
089. Try a Supreme Pizza
090. Paint a piece of furniture

Things That Fit Under Other Categories But I Already Started Numbering:

091. Potty Train Allie
092. Get Allie in Big Girl Bed
092. Teach Little David to read
093. Go on a family vacation to see my Dad and Tamara
094. Go on a family vacation with Dave's family
095. Go on a family vacation with Mom & Tim
096. Get new patio furniture
097. Hang our Hammock chairs
098. Go to a Flea Market
099. Go back to Gruene with Dave
100. Cut fresh lavendar
101. Read through the Bible in a year.

So that's my list! What do you think? I may go back and organize this a little better later, but for now this is how it stays.

Frankly, the next almost-three years sound pretty rock star, don't they??