Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sporty Girl

Choking...Not Breathing*

Ok, so maybe I should spend a little less time blogging and more time watching my children. Yes, that is the phone cord wrapped around her body 3 times. I'm only brave enough to show this picture because I know that my Grandma does not know how to use a computer.

*as quoted by Timon in Lion King 1 1/2 (and my children every time we hug)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Comments from Brian

Brian has wanted to comment on many of my blogs for quite some time now but he did not have a Google account. He created a Google account but has now forgotten his password. So here is a list of the comments he would be making if he could.

My Funny Valentine: The first picture was not of Lee Merriwether as Cat Woman it was of the original Bat Girl.

I'm With Stupid: My typing is not nearly that slow. It is more like click, click, click,, click, click,click. The answers to the questions are A, E, C and C. And I don't care if she watches Spanish television as long as I don't have to.

The C-O-E-I-N: Cainan now also likes to spell N-I-N-O-N or sometimes N-I-O-N-G for "bath".

The Scientific Explanation: I told her to stay back and I apologized for her injuries and the subsequent hole in the bottom of the trash can that occurred from the improper disposal of the chemical waste.

General: I don't like that picture of her in the profile, it is too serious. She says it is the only decent one she can find so I keep taking new pictures of her that she could use but she doesn't like any of them either. I'll keep trying.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Is There Really a Santa Claus?

Four or five years ago we made the conscious decision to let Ryker (and any other children we may have) believe in Santa. I didn't really care one way or another, not having been a believer as a child myself. My only reservation was the fear of the time when we would be caught and have to reveal all of our trickery. But Brian was excited about it and all into talking about it and making him seem real, so we did it. Every year Santa brings them one special present and fills their stockings. We make him cookies and milk and leave them, along with the carrots for the reindeer, on the mantle on Christmas Eve. The kids are really into and have a lot of fun with it.

This year Santa brought them a ZooToob. It is a tube full of small plastic animals. They come from an education store and they are scale models really of actual animals so they are totally realistic looking, although they are only 3 or 4 inches long. They had a set of sharks that they like to play with in the bath tub so Santa brought them a set of whales and dolphins to add to the collection. Unfortunately they don't come with anything that identifies the species. So we research on the internet to try to discover which type of whale "Big Whitey" is, etc. But a couple of nights ago Ryker made a discovery. The name of the animal is on the underside. We hadn't noticed it because it isn't colored or anything it is just raised lettering on the belly of the shark. All of the sharks were labeled on their bellies. So Brian naturally turned over the whales to see what they said but couldn't find anything. He told the kids that the whales and dolphins didn't have names on them. Ryker decided that is was probably because they were from Santa and not from a store. Brian agreed and they continued playing. Then Ryker turned over a whale to see for himself and exclaimed, "Made in China! I thought they were made in the North Pole?" Brian was at a total loss for an explanation. The time had come when we would just have to fess up to the truth. But Ryker's next sentence was not, "Is there really a Santa Claus?", instead it was, "He probably puts that on them so that they'll be like all of the other toys." Crisis averted...for now.


Last night the kids had their Valentine parties at church (a week late since church was cancelled last week due to the snow). They both came home with gift bags full of goodies and wishes of love. I told them they could eat one treat before bed and Cainan started digging around for the perfect bedtime snack. He pulled out a small flat rectangular piece of candy in a red wrapper. He looked at it for awhile and seemed to be contemplating whether or not to eat it. I asked if he needed help opening it and when he handed it to me he said, very solemnly, "Will it blow up me?" Then I noticed the name of the candy...Air Heads. There is a commercial on TV where kids eat Air Heads and their heads blow up like balloons and they float away. Wow! Marketing works. This kid can't even read and he not only knows the name of the candy but remembers the commercial. Of course that particular ad also made him afraid to eat the candy so maybe it wasn't the best idea.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Funny Valentine

We had a great Valentine's Day. It was another snow day so Brian and Ryker got to stay home with us all day. Unfortunately Ryker was sick all day on the couch, but the rest of us really enjoyed the day. I made the traditional Grove Valentine Breakfast (heart shaped pancakes with chocolate chip smiles and scrambled eggs) and we gave the kids their gifts and I passed out the cards I had made. We spent the day just hanging out together, watching TV, reading, and playing in the snow (Cainan and Brian only). Then that evening Brian and I exchanged our gifts. Ironically we both got each other CD's. Anyway, all that is just the setting for the real story. Brian disappeared into the office for at least an hour and said he was making my card. When he finally delivered it I realized it was time well spent. It was the funniest Valentine I have ever received, and one of the sweetest too. I won't give you all the details but...

He downloaded and printed pictures of women that he...likes, admires, enjoys watching on TV, etc...and wrote a poem about how they don't even compare to me. He had pictures of Cat Woman (Lee Merriwether), Cat Woman (Michelle Pfifer), Ashley Judd, Melina Kanakaredes, Xena Warrior Princess, Princess Leia (you can guess from which scene), and the creme de la creme, Nicole Kidman. The last page of the booklet/card said that I was the one he would choose over all of the others (that's a paraphase), then he closed with this picture of me, supposedly the only one he could find.

Now you see why I was laughing.

Seven Year Old Philosophy

Apparently Ryker, at only 7, is quite the philosopher. We didn't realize it because he doesn't give us any of his theories, he tries them out on Cainan instead. This is a smart move on his part because Cainan already blindly follows everything Ryker tells him. So it should come as no surprise that we learned of Ryker's latest theories about good and evil through Cainan.

One day just before nap Cainan got in big trouble. I don't remember what he did but I got on to him big time and sent him straight to bed. Two hours later when he got up I had forgotten all about it but as soon as he came down stairs he said, "You shouldn't have been bossy to me before my nap." I explained that he had misbehaved and why he had gotten trouble, etc. etc. "But that is a heart going out," was his reply. What??? I had no idea what he was talking about. After a very convoluted discussion with Cainan, I found out that Ryker had been teaching him that when you do good things that Jesus likes it means your heart is going in and when you do bad things that Jesus doesn't like it means your heart is going out.

When Ryker got home I questioned him about the hearts and their positions. He was very embarrassed and didn't want to talk about it. He said, "I don't even think it's right. I just kind of thought of it by myself." I assured him that he was on the right track and any type of illustrations he could give that would help Cainan down the path to obedience would be greatly appreciated. So now we get lectured on the hearts going in and out pretty often...mostly from Cainan.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

I'm With Stupid

A couple of months ago I took pity on my husband and his overwhelming work load. I volunteered to type his Advanced Placement Biology semester exam for him. It isn't as selfless as it sounds, trust me. Watching him hunt and peck his way around the keyboard and hearing the,, click of his typing drives me crazy. (How he made it through high school, college, and graduate school without knowing how to type is beyond me.) So it goes a lot faster if I just do it. As I was zooming along through the questions and multiple choice answers I started to realize that not only did I not have a guess as to what the answers should be, I didn't even know what some of the questions were asking. For example.....

What best explains the observation of substrate specificity?
A. There is a precise compatibility between an enzyme’s active site and the substrate molecule.
B. Specificity refers to the action of the enzyme, such as hydrolysis, and relatively few molecules can be hydrolyzed.
C. Reaction-specific enzymes, such as hydrolases, assume a fit by folding around the most numerous substrate molecules.
D. Molecules and active sites vary in size; only properly sized molecules can fit.
E. Polarity compatibilities; active sites contain electronegative atoms while substrates tend to carry slight positive charges.

Which of the following is a difference between active transport (AT) and facilitated diffusion (FD)?
A. AT involves transport proteins, and FD does not.
B. FD can move solutes against a concentration gradient, and AT cannot.
C. FD requires energy from ATP, and AT does not
D. FD involves transport proteins, and AT does not.
E. AT requires energy from ATP, and FD does not.

Am I really that stupid? I was an A student all through high school and college. There are 16 year olds out there that are smarter than I am? Then I came across a couple of questions that I did know the answers to. For example....

Which of the following would not be capable of performing photosynthesis?
A. bacterium
B. pine tree
C. mushroom
D. seaweed
E. algae

Energy is observed in two basic forms: potential and kinetic. Which of the following is an example of potential energy?
A. waves crashing against the shoreline
B. a hot cup of coffee
C. a bowling ball placed on the top shelf of a closet
D. the mercury rising within a thermometer
E. a car rolling down hill

I also realized that it has been 14 years since I had a biology class, and it wasn't AP Biology, and it has been 12 years since I have had any kind of science instruction at all. (Even then it was Fun with Physics or something really tough and demanding like that.) So I cut myself a little slack. Plus, science isn't really my thing anyway. I"m more of a languages person. I know that I ended the sentence in italics above with a preposition and I'd like to see a 16 year old at Greenville High School read a Spanish novel like I can. But, can I still read a Spanish novel? After all, I haven't used Spanish on a daily basis for 6 years now. I had to know. Unable to find one of my Spanish novels, I started reading a research paper on El Cid that I had written, in Spanish of couse, 11 years ago. I couldn't even read it all! There were words that I didn't recognize! These were words that in college I not only knew the definitions of but how to correctly conjugate them and use them in a sentence. I am stupid!

Apparently all the recent years of reality TV, cartoons (the title of this blog even comes from an episode of Spongebob Squarepants), and mystery novels have taken their toll on my brain cells. I've got to get back in to the swing of things mentally if I am ever going to re-enter the work force and not get fired. How far downhill have I gone? Could I pass high school now if I tried? Will I be able to reverse the damage? I know it sounds dramatic, but I was very concerned. Then something happened that made me feel a little bit better. Brian's students challenged him to do a Sudoku puzzle. He didn't have time so he gave it to me to do. He explained the rules to me. All the vertical columns have to contain the numbers 1-9 with no repeats and no omissions and the horizontal columns must do the same. So I started to work. It took me three hours to do the first puzzle. When I got done I started looking at it and realized that all of the 9 square squares also had only the numbers 1-9 in them. Yes, Brian forgot to tell me that rule. So I did the puzzle on the reverse side in about 5 mins. When Brian told his students what had happened they said, "Wow, that must have been really hard." Yeah, no kidding! But I did it! And I am not a math person at all. I'm probably even worse at math than I am at science. So I started thinking that if I can do a Sudoku puzzle without knowing all of the rules then I must not be too stupid.

But, obviously I have some work to do. I need to start reading some really intellectual writing (I'm getting ready to start War and Peace) and watching Spanish television. (Of course, most Spanish television is soap operas so it won't be particularily stimulating but at least I'll be practicing my Spanish.) Brian is greatly opposed to the latter but he has to realize that it is for my own good. I haven't given up Lost! or Survivor though. After all trying to figure out what is going to happen exercises the brain, doesn't it? Maybe at the end of the semester I'll volunteer to type the Spanish teacher's exam and see how I do.

P.S. If you would like to know the answers to the above questions see the next blog. I'll have to ask Brian and get back to you later.

The C-O-E-I-N

As of the beginning of second semester Ryker has had a spelling test every Friday. So we practice his spelling words with him througout the week. Cainan of course likes to do everything that Ryker does so he has started spelling things too. His favorite combination of letters is c-o-e-i-n. I think he is confusing it with c-a-i-n-a-n which we have been trying to get him to remember. In the beginning c-o-e-i-n could mean just about anything but before long it took on a very specific meaning...potty. He now announces several times a day, "Mommy, I need to go to the c-o-e-i-n." A couple of days ago he was playing Body Boggle (Twister with letters) with his cousin Claire. He was jumping on all of the letters he knows and saying the words that start with those letters. We heard, "Look T for trains. K for Kinley. G for grapes and here's C for potty!"

I guess we need to teach him the correct spelling of potty, and his name for that matter, eventually but it is just so cute. It is the same reason why we all call cupcakes "pupcakes" and say that things are "inchesting" instead of interesting. We even still let Ryker use "verse", as in Notre Dame vs. Michigan, as a verb. For example, "Daddy I want to verse you in PacMan and the winner can verse Mommy." or "I versed Blake in baseball and I won." It just makes us laugh. They grow up too fast anyway. We'll let them be little for a little longer, what will it hurt?

What I Know

I haven't had much time to blog lately and I don't really have time today but the floors can stay covered in crumbs for a few more minutes at least. In my absence from the cyber world I have discovered a few things.

1. Even on a playground with no swings, handswings, or merry-go-rounds a 7 year old boy can still blow out the toes of two different pair of shoes in just five months.

2. Infant rice cereal is as effective as super glue and at least as hard to remove from the hair of a squirming baby.

3. You can witness the power of lightning right in your own home if you just wear a wool sweater, scoot off of your couch and reach for the power button the TV.

4. A TV can be turned off without touching it, or the remote, if you follow the steps outlined in #3.

5. Indoor homemade lightning is blue.

6. Static electricity is stronger than the force of gravity. Just try dropping an 18 inch piece of blond hair into a trash can.

7. Seven year old boys cannot play the piano softly no matter how strongly you emphasize the dynamics of a piece.

8. Three year old boys can only play ffff, and no less than 6 notes at a time.

9. Our smoke detectors work. (Don't ask.)

10. Border Collie puppies can and will eat, toy car wheels, ribbons, tree bark, diapers, pencils, stuffed animals and legos, but not cooked carrots.