Archive for The Tiny Shinys

San Francisco

dsc01448We have Virginia visitors here for Spring break and it is so much fun!  I can’t believe how much I’ve missed these kids and how great it is to have them here!

Today Ellie went to a friends house and the rest of us went to San Francisco.  We started out at Pier 39 for lunch and then Marc and I took Avery and Jonathan to the Bay Side Aquarium while the big kids shopped.dsc01468



After that Marc took Jonathan and Avery home for Jonathan’s lacrosse game and I took the big kids to Union Square.  I love Union Square, it is such a vibrant, happy place.  Plus Macy’s is having their annual flower show.  A whole level is full of fabulous live flower arrangements.  Which I have no pictures of.   But enjoy these:








Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: A Day in San Francisco
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Hooray for Mean Mom!


Okay friends, and especially Jan, it is time for an Ellie story.

Once upon a time two weeks ago, Ellie had a friend over for a play date.  Her friend was the truly adorable “pocket Pearl,” an itty bitty first grader with the cutest little voice who endures me calling her “the Black Pearl,” and has been overheard refering to bacon as “my favorite vegetable.”  How could we not love her?

Alas, at some point in the playdate she did something Ellie didn’t like.  I missed what it was, what I did catch was Ellie yelling at the top of her (impressively powerful) lungs, “I hate you and I never want to have a playdate with you again!”


I knew a good mom would interfere at this point, but what would said mom do?  I tried explaining to her about treating our friends nicely and apologizing. It got me all of nowhere.  So in an effort to have the punishment fit the crime and whatnot I blurted out that she would have “no more playdates for the rest of this week young lady!”

Ah, way to punish me along with her.

The next day when I picked her up from school she climbed in the van and asked, as she does everyday, “Mommy, can I have a playdate?” 

And I said, “No.” 

And she said, “Why not?”

“Because you can’t have any playdates this week because of how you treated your friend yesterday.” I explained gently or smugly.  One of them.

“WHAT?” she screamed.  Then she went on a screaming tirade about how it wasn’t FAIR, and it was the WORST day of her life, indeed!

So I tried to express sympathy and reinforce the lesson (?) at the same time by saying, “you must feel upset with yourself that this happened.”

To which she firmly replied, “I’m not mad at me, I’m mad at YOU!”

And then I helpfully explained that I was not the one who yelled “I hate you,” at my friend, and I wasn’t the one who wouldn’t apologize, so it was not MY fault that she couldn’t have a playdate.  Can I parent or what?

And then she helpfully explained that I am a “meanie bo-feanie,” and that she NEVER wanted to have a playdate again and she was going to stay in her room forever and, “I am never going to eat again and when you wake up tomorrow you will have a DEAD CHILD!”

And yes, I did laugh.

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Lani Angel

I haven’t been able to write this week because my little sister has been in the hospital.  Some of you know about my sweet sister, Lani.  She’s a beautiful red head, she is disabled, she is like a baby even though she is 31 years old.  I love her so much.

For a few days the doctors thought she wasn’t going to come home.  She has weak lungs and pneumonia was getting her.  Just yesterday though she had a turn around and we are hoping she will get better.  Seeing her in the hospital is the worst.

I wish I could write more about it but anything I say sounds melodramatic, plus I don’t like thinking about it.  I know you are about to ask how my parents are, and my parents are…I don’t even know how they keep running.  They are amazing.  They are completely wrung out.

We all know that Lani is very close to the Lord and that she will be amazing, spectacular, radiant when she meets her Heavenly Father again.  But we are so grateful that it isn’t time quite yet.

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Happy, Happy Birthday Baby!


Today is Katie’s BIRTHDAY!  She is the magnificent 14, able to attend dances at last.  I gave her a little impromptu quiz in the car this morning, so here is a taste of Kate (our favorite flavor):

Favorite food?  Cucumbers and tiramasu (not together, I hope)

Favorite movie?  “Fifty First Dates”

Favorite book?  “Twilight” (I think I’m gonna have a heart attack and die from that surprise)

Best place she’s been?  Chincateague Island

Favorite restaurant?  Macaroni Grill or Cheesecake

Beach or snow?  Beach

Best friend or lots of friends?  Lots of friends

Favorite temple?  Washington D.C. because it looks like a castle

Favorite band?  This prompted her to bounce in her seat and shout “Jonas Brothers”

Early morning or late night?  Late night

Cats or dogs?  a whole monologue ensued on how she wants to say dogs because if she didn’t it might hurt Riley’s feelings, but she loves cats too and doesn’t want to make the cats feel bad, and this question makes her feel very uncomfortable. 

Favorite store?  and I quote, “All stores are my friends”

We love you Katie!  You have been a ray of sunshine since you first entered our lives.  Your Dad and I are so proud of your hard work at school, your talents in drama, and especially your tender concern for everyone’s feelings.  Love your show, babe!

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A Love Letter for Maddie and Katie


I’ve noticed that not many of the”mommy blogs” talk about teenagers and I think I know the reason.  It is because they (teenagers) are difficult.  They are rarely cute.  And not even all that funny.

They roll their eyes and sigh.  They say “fine,” and “I said fine.”  They refuse to wear the clothes that you know would look perfect on them.  They hide food in their rooms until you are forced to do your freaked out because of a mouse mommy act.

They sit on the couch while you do the dishes.  They watch “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” even though you tell them not to.  They expect you to drive them places all the time.  And buy all their friends birthday presents.  And let them wear your favorite shoes.  They expect you to be quiet when their friends are over and tell you to “stop doing that,” even when you aren’t doing anything.

Teenagers are painful.  Their shortcomings and weaknesses are excruciatingly familiar.  Perhaps it’s just me?

And yet…

Oh my.  They are so beautiful sometimes it hurts to look at them.  The time you have left together seems to flash  forward like a dream.  They look like your beloved but they insist on being themselves.  They still smell like your babies and some days your arms ache to hold them.  Other days you can barely stand to be with them.

Your hopes for them, your dreams and expectations could fill the oceans and overflow.  It certainly isn’t fair…to either of you.

Have I said too much?  My teenagers, my darling girls, my daughters, my sisters, my best friends, I love you so.  Sometimes, you are so perfect it hurts.

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The Rappin’ Bananas – our Omers


I’m a little behind in my reporting, but I wanted to show off Jonathan’s Odyssey of the Mind group, “The Rappin’ Bananas.”  OM is a creative problem solving competition for children (got that smack off the website), that Jonathan participated in this year.  I got to be the assistant coach.

Each year there are five new “problems,” and Jonathan’s team chose the balsa wood problem.  They had to build a structure using only balsa wood and glue that couldn’t weigh more than 18 grams (about the weight of five nickles) and it had to hold as much weight as possible and withstand “shock waves,” that the kids created by dropping weights onto the structure.

I coached along with another Dad, but this is a kid driven program and the kids have to come up with their designs, tests, and presentation on their own.  Here are some pictures of Jonathan testing one of his structures.



These kids totally amazed me with their ideas and it was super cool to witness the evolution from the first structures they built that broke with 20 lbs. to the final structure that held 140 lbs. and withstood five series of shock waves.  I’ve never seen the learning process played out so vividly before.  Indulge me in an example.

On one Saturday Gavin brought a structure to test that was three sided.  Hannah had one that was four sided.  Both were well made, but the four sided one preformed better.  Jonathan wondered aloud if four was better than three, then maybe five sides would be better than four.  The kids talked about if they used more wood to make another side, they wouldn’t be able to have as many cross supports without going over their weight limit.  They decided to build a five sided structure to test, and the next Saturday they found out that it did, indeed, hold more weight.  Very Cool!

They also had to come up with a creative presentation of their solution, and include costumes made with trash materials, hence the newspaper mache banana hats. 

If you have kids who are wondering about doing OM next year, I give it a thumbs up.

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Dreamy Dinners


Lately I’ve been unmotivated to cook.  But EVERY SINGLE day, my family wants to eat. 

They’re all like, “Mom, what are you making for dinner.”

And I’m all like (but only in my head), “Blech, those selfish brats always want me to make something.”  I don’t say that though.  I say, “Um, I don’t really know right now…let me look in the fridge…wow I should have defrosted some chicken or something…no we can’t go out…how about some, um, cereal?

And then they frown.

But now I’ve got that problem all taken care of ’cause I went to dream dinners.  Tonight we had island chicken and coconut rice.  Sweet!  I do love the modern conveniences. 

P.S. It was a little different than Let’s Dish in Fairfax where I used to go, and I didn’t like it quite as much, but I’m trying to reserve judgement for awhile since I’m not sure if the little differences were actually inferior or if I just don’t like them because I hate things being different.  If I ever run for anything my slogan may well be “A VOTE for Shelley is a VOTE for Stagnation!”  Whose with me?

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