Saturday, September 27, 2008

The caterpillar

I've been hanging on to these pictures because I thought I'd have a whole series. Caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly. But I'm thinking we're not making it that far.
Caterpillars became a big thing in our neighborhood this fall. My kids were finding them left and right, so we got out a bottle, put some leaves in and caught a couple. We had a bright fuzzy green one and a fuzzy black and orange one.

Matt looked them up and they're actually moths, not butterflies, but the kids were loving it anyway. The caterpillars followed set paths for almost a whole day. The green one circled round and round the bottom of the jar while the orange and black one climbed to the top and back down over and over.

Joanna would take them for "walks" and even give them the occasional ride on the skateboard.

The kids were fascinated but I started to get concerned when we never saw them eating the leaves. We tried different kinds but no dice. Finally the green one looked like it was building a cocoon, however it stopped before it had made more than a lacy netting around itself, and we could still see it inside. The other one finally stopped it's travels and clung to the underside of the lid. It hasn't moved for quite a while, it's hair has fallen off and it looks kind of bloated. Joanna insists that they are both sleeping. I'll keep up the hope for a little while longer that she's right.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ethan just wrapped up another skating session. We started him over the summer with learn-to-skate lessons and an intro to hockey class. I was really impressed with how much he improved from the first day to the last. In the beginning, none of the kids could stand on the ice let alone skate, so they gave them walkers to help them get used to the ice.

They took Ethan's away after the first few minutes. He would get himself going as fast as he could and then crash. He complained a lot about not being able to use the walker like the other kids, but he was better for it in the end. The last day of class he was skating circles around the other kids, some of whom never graduated from the walker. He certainly had more spills (he even got a bloody nose from a face plant) but he got his skating legs really fast.
The last day of every session is test day. They have the kids go through all the skills and if they pass they move on to the next level. At first his teacher said he was ready to go on to the next snow plow level. Then after watching him for a little while longer she said "nope, forget about snowplow, put him in hockey".

He did the hockey 101 class and seemed to enjoy it, although the part he liked the most was when he would lay down on the ice and hold onto his teachers stick so the teacher could slide him across the ice.
He had his own cheering section at every practice.

He just wrapped up the level 1 hockey skating session. He learned to do dips and hockey stops and to skate backwards. I'm pretty proud of the kid.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Where have all the Howards gone?

Sorry for the silence lately. Our internet is sketchy and I've been busy with change of the seasons cleaning and organizing. The fall clothes came out which I'm very excited for. Fall clothes are my favorite! The big task now is convincing Joanna to wear them instead of her lime green shorts and orange shirt which she prefers over everthing else. Anyway, I have a few posts in mind to write up over the next few days, but until they appear here's a new picture of Ginny on her playmat to ooh and aww at:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Out of Gas

Our Rodeo is a pretty good car. We've had it since Ethan was a babe and we haven't had any major repairs on it (knock on wood). It does however have a broken fuel level sensor. The sensor is inside the fuel pump which means we would have to replace a perfectly good fuel pump (around $600) in order to fix the fuel sensor. So we have to go by our mileage to estimate how much gas we have. Every once in a while, we estimate wrong. And so we send our brave Matt out to walk to the nearest gas station. It's a toss up which is more unpleasant. The embarrassing walk along the side of the road with that bright red gas can that signals to everyone who passes that yes, we ran out of gas. Or the long wait in the car with the kids.
Ethan is the only one who is aware enough to know that something is not right. His first reaction is confusion,
Followed by boredom.
And so it is up to me to entertain somehow.
Luckily the times we've run out of gas have usually been around naptime, so the girls obligingly snooze.
Then, finally, our hero arrives.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A couple of Jo stories

Our rule for watching tv in the morning is that you must first eat breakfast, brush your teeth and get dressed. The other day I was changing Ginny when Joanna asked to 'atch show. I told her she had to be dressed first and I would help her as soon as I was done with Ginny. Not wanting to wait for me, she got dressed herself. This was the result. I conceded it was a good effort and she got her show.

Labor day weekend we went down to Ogden to visit the families. Sunday evening we had these awesome lemon meringue tartlets for dessert. I went downstairs to feed Ginny and Ethan very sweetly brought me a slice of pie. Joanna followed soon after. She pointed out the window and said "ook momma, twee!" and I looked. As I was looking I hear her little voice say "my cake". I turn around to see her exiting the room carrying my dessert. The little stinker bums learn so early.

Friday, September 5, 2008


"You need sleep to be healthy. If you guys don't go to sleep I'm gonna kick your butts."
That lovely quote was not from me or Matt. It came from Ethan. He's big on threats lately.
"If you don't let me play video games I'll call you stupid"
"If you be mad at me I'll hit you with my blankey"
He tends to pick whatever it is we're on his case about that day to use as a threat, hence the no-no words butt and stupid, and the hitting with the blankey. It has also brought us to this level: "If you guys don't let me have a candy I'll threaten you."
My favorite: "Right now I'm feisty. If anyone touches me I'll tackle them." That one came out of the blue at Grandma's house with no provocation.
So what do you do with a boy who throws out threats left and right? The first step is to realize he's just following the examples in his life. "If you don't stop kicking your sister you will go on time out." "If you don't stay in bed you will be grounded tomorrow." He hears a lot of threats directed at him, it's no wonder he's started tossing them back at us. But how do you teach about good behavior and consequences without an if-then statement? I don't think you can. I've tried to reword my sentences so that they don't sound so threat like, but they end up so convoluted and confusing that Ethan and I both walk away wondering "what was that?"
I hope like every other struggle we've had with Ethan that it will eventually wear itself out and that positive reinforcement will help to move it along. Because he's scared of the "beginning of the night dark" Ethan usually wants one of us to stay in his room while he tries to fall asleep. The other night, instead of his usual "stay in my room or I'll *insert threat*" he called out "Mom, will you stay in here with me since you're so pretty?" Hopefully he'll learn he will definitely catch more flies with honey like that.