Saturday, May 31, 2008

Announcement From Leena

Leena to the 11 people at dinner tonight: Tomorrow is the first of June!!!

The grown ups: Yes, that's right.

Leena: On the first of June, I am going to put on my Japanese dress and hula on the beach!!!!

The grown ups: Really?!?

The kids: Hooray!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Choclo!

3? Can you really be 3, my truck loving boy?

The Emperor had found a ton of fire engine themed stuff, but the biggest hit was the fire hydrants.

On our frequent walks around our neighborhood, we stop at every hydrant (further proof, LT, that I do not need a dog). Choclo hops out of the stroller and says, "Hi ya, Sparky!" He then examines the hydrant carefully, checking the valves, chains, and all important switch on top. Then he says, "OK, Sparky! See ya later!", climbs back into the stroller and off we go.

Needless to say, finding a little wax Sparky on his cake and two stand up cardboard Sparkys was thrilling!

And, yes, Choclo's cake was chocolate with chocolate frosting!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Guest Post by Klenda

Sock Puppets..... of LOVE!!!!!
I know,i know,it`s crazy,but true!
They're.....SOCK PUPPETS......OF LUVEEEE!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hand Painting

No, not finger painting! We mean using face paint to paint your hand like this. I painted a horse on Klenda but you could do any 4 legged animal like that. You could also do an octopus (pentapus, or paint the extra legs going up the hand! Hey, how about a squid!!!) or a person if you folded up one finger and used your thumb and pinky as arms.

Klenda painted an alligator on me. As you can see in this photo, it is lying in wait for the horse.

Don't worry, the alligator didn't get the horse; in fact the horse kicked the alligator and danced on its head.

This would be a good Fun Jar activity! One caution: you do want face paint here. Tempra would flake off of flexible hands. You can find recipes to make your own here.

We did go on to paint our faces because, well, we couldn't resist! Thanks for the face paint kit, Mumpy!

Guest Blog by Mxyl

Introducing: Roboquad!
This amazing mechanical machine was actually my pet on Zoom.
I don't know how the idea came to Earth, but Roboquad was more then excited to find more of his "kind".

This cute little creature is only ONE of my pets!
Here, let me show you...

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Leena would like you to know: the Queen of the Squirrels has a Baby Squirrel that she likes to push around in her Squirrel Box.

Also, we have determined that Oob's full name must be Ooby Carry-Toss. (If the pun escapes you, either count your blessings or click here).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Planet Pox

Jupiter is breaking out in spots! It seems we aren't the only planet with climate change woes. More info here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Monkeying Around With the Blog

I have been having fun trying stuff out. I put up a poll at the top of the sidebar and a map at the bottom of the sidebar.

The map has been there a week or two and it shows (in the most general terms possible) where people are when they visit Zoom Times. Hokey Smokes!! International readership!! This is pretty exciting to me because I've always wanted to travel. My Dad traveled all over the world when I was growing up and I always wanted to meet new people from new places. And here you are! Welcome to Zoom!!

The poll is new and just for fun. Actually, most of this blog is "just for fun!" What I mean is , I'm not planning to do polls on weighty issues. If you want to comment on the poll or add an answer not on the list (eclectic home school: we're all about options!) you can comment on this post.

Crazy Bug Hats

I had forgotten about these! We used to do them all the time when the three oldest Zoomlians were little and they had forgotten all about them!

Here's how to make your own: I used my Big Roll of Paper, but you can use any paper big enough to make newspaper hats.

1. Take a largish sheet of paper and center it over a kid's head.
2. Tape it around their head with a band of packing tape. At this point it looks like the kid is wearing a paper ghost costume without eyes.
3. Take it off the kid and roll up the paper edges to make a brim. Roll it just a little and it looks like a sombrero (depending on if you started with a square or rectangle). To make a smaller brim roll and crumple more!

You could stop here for a plain strange hat or you could decorate the hat with feathers, bells, foil, scarves, or whatever you have on hand to make hats for tea parties, cowboy round ups, space excursions, etc.

4. Decorate to make a crazy bug (or whatever you like). We tuck pipe cleaner antennae into the tape band and put on large crazed eyes. Strange proboscises are optional. Pipe cleaner or folded paper legs are also good. I bet you could even make it educational (look, your crazy bug hat has 6 legs, just like a real bug)!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy! This would be a good Fun Jar activity.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Founding of the Zoomlian Empire

18 years ago today! Who knew?

People asked us how many kids we wanted. We said 5.
5? Just wait til you have some and then we'll see if you want 5!
How right they were!

How much we've seen and done and yet it seems just a few days.
I think that is one of the many mysteries of love, how it is always now.
that I love the most.
that I say "I do."
that is the happiest day.
Now: a foretaste of eternity seen in the eyes of the Beloved.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Overheard While Drawing Robots on the Driveway

Mxyl: I just adore your lovely nose... If you even have a nose!

Me: What?

Mxyl: I was talking to the worm.

What is the Collective Noun for Roses?

A bunch? A bouquet? How about an extravagance of roses?

I always wanted to live in a house covered with roses, but I figured our north facing house was a lost cause. My house is now covered with 4 Zephrine Drouhin roses (you are only seeing 1 1/2 of them in this picture). They will bloom on the shady north side, they grow to about 15 feet, they are reasonably disease resistant, they are thornless and they bloom like this in the May and late September with a few blossoms the rest of the summer. Did I mention they have a fabulous rose and raspberry fragrance?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quirks From Zoom

Do Zoomlian's have quirks? Zoomlians are quirks! The only trick is to skip the spectacular.

So, 6 unspectacular quirks, requested by the Queen of Carrots.

1. 1 out of 6 Zoomlians would eat a fuzzy caterpillar if we let him.

2. 2 out of 6 Zoomlians would prefer to eat all their food (and drink) at room temperature. Hey! I just realized that caterpillars are always at room temperature!

3. 3 out of 6 Zoomlians would rather scoot (on a scooter) than walk anywhere. This includes going from the living room to the dining room. (They aren't actually allowed to scoot in the house. Anymore.)

4. 4 out of 6 Zoomlians love to use the dictionary and then get lost in it looking up new and interesting words.

5. 5 out of 6 Zoomlians like to eat squid.

6. 6 out of 6 Zoomlians enjoy learning about ratios and percents when demonstrated with chocolate.

I'll tag Kate in NJ, Jennifer from Et Tu, and Margaret in Minnesota.
You are supposed to tag 6, but you are the three I'm most curious about!

Also, feel free to reply in the comments if I didn't link to your blog!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Getting Ready for Pentecost

This year I am focusing on the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Over the past few days, I made a poster of a large dove and seven flames with a gift written on each flame. Since they are gifts, I will be wrapping up representations of each gift in a fancy box along with an explanation, and I hope to have the kids open one a day over the next week. Here is what I have:

Wisdom: This gift helps us to tell the difference between what is really valuable (from God) and what just looks valuable! (a gold bracelet and a crumpled up tissue spray painted gold)

Understanding: This gift shows us everything in the light of truth! (flashlight)

Counsel: This gift is like a key that shows us the best way to please God and get to heaven! (key)

Fortitude: This gift gives us courage to do what God wants us to do and let nothing stop us! (stuffed lion)

Knowledge: This gift lets us get to know God and our selves! (Bible and mirror)

Piety: This gift makes praying and doing things for God sweet! (Rosary and candy)

Fear of the Lord: This gift makes us love God so much that we fear to offend Him. (fragile knick knack - we aren't afraid of it, we're afraid to break it).

There are a lot of different ways you could do this. My selections were based on what I could fit in the box and could find in the house (I had a tough time finding something fragile!). I am reusing my one very fancy gold gift box, but separate boxes or a gift bag would work well too.

Sorry about the odd fonts, I pasted from Word and am in need of more, well, knowledge.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Feeling Fruity

With the return of the nice weather, we've been outside a lot lately and doing quite a bit of gardening. I know that I blogged about our wheat field, but I don't know if I mentioned what we did with left over field. I still didn't want to mow that hill, especially after all the work tilling it into arable land, so we turned it into an orchard. 6 fruit trees hedged with raspberries and underplanted with all manner of small fruits

We now have little green fruit on 4 of the 6 trees, with more fruit forming on the strawberries, raspberries, currants, aronia, and figs! And the bush cherries, but even the kids won't eat those!

There is something so miraculous about planting a stick and getting fruit from it! Kind of like planting a pebble or a bit of dust and seeing something green come from it. If I ever get too busy to wonder at it, I have the Zoomlians to remind me: it really is a miracle every time, don't get too used to it and forget to enjoy it!

At the Grocery Store

Cashier: Are they all yours or are you baby sitting?

Me: Oh, definitely all mine. You think I'm crazy enough to babysit this many kids?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thank You "Old Timer"

You left a great comment on the circus post - the Zoomlians loved it! I kept meaning to go back and comment on your comment, but I figured it was too far buried at this point.

Gimmy That Old Time Religion

It's never been my favorite song. I have fond memories of my Dad singing it to us in the car, but I liked it better when he sang There's a Church in the Valley by the Wildwood.

At any rate, when the kids started singing it in the back of the van, I started listening to the words.

"It was good for the prophet Daniel,
It was good for the prophet Daniel,
It was good for the prophet Daniel,
It's good enough for me!"

Hmm. Was that what bothered me? I do believe that Jesus fulfilled Judaism, but doesn't that verse imply that the "Old Time Religion" that's good enough for us is actually Judaism? Just about the time I was concluding that it really doesn't pay to think about the lyrics to kid songs too much, the kid's started making up verses.

"It was good for Benedicto (Benedict XVI),
It was good for Benedicto,
It was good for Benedicto,
It's good enough for me!"

Well, all right then!

They went on with quite a few verses featuring people it was good enough for: Donald (our bishop (seems rude, but that's how he's referred to in the Mass), Fr. Mark, Daddy, Mommy, and then each of the Zoomlians in turn using their Earth and then their Zoomlian names. It was a long song, but at the end of the day, it was definitively decided: That Old Time Religion is good enough for us!

In case you've never heard Give Me That Old Time Religion, you can hear it with the non-Zoomlian lyrics here. Come to think of it, I think it's Protestant in origin. Wouldn't their Old Time Religion be Catholicism? Maybe it really doesn't pay to think about the lyrics to kid songs too much!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Oob!! Part 2

Here we are on his actual birthday. Note that Oob no longer fears the flaming cake, indeed, he would like to eat the candle. He has learned (bright boy!) that flaming cakes are followed by lots and lots of messy, squishy, sugary goodness.

He has been enjoying the very best first birthday gift possible: a large sturdy cardboard box! He had pretty well worn out his Oob house after he figured out that he could peel off a layer of cardboard to expose an interesting bumpy texture.

Oh, yeah, his parents were inexplicably excited about gifts of clothing. Why do they keep putting that stuff on him, anyway? This is the fourth outfit today. Just when it gets good and muddy, or wet, or cakey, they want to change it.

Oh well, Happy Birthday, Oob!

Happy Birthday, Oob!! Part 1

As I write this, one year ago today at this time we were making the decision at the hospital to go ahead with labor instead of sending me home. He was 2 1/2 weeks early, but if the contractions turned into full labor at home,it was going to be a home birth (Choclo took 1 1/4 hours.)

It turned out to be the right call. Oob was facing backwards, had the cord around his neck several times, and then aspirated random goop (not meconium) and was in the NICU for more than a week. It would not have gone well at home.

And here we are a year later (how could it possibly have been a year?), thanking God for this year of delicious babyness. Thanking God for our beautiful Oob!

And celebrating of course! We started with a party on Saturday and Oob's first (authorized) choclolate. Choclo (appropriately enough) helped frost the cake.

Oob was a little alarmed that his cake was on fire, but enjoyed it very much !

The Day That Wasn't

Plan A: May 1st was the feast of St. Joseph , Ascension Thursday, and the first day of Mary's month, so we'd celebrate with Mass, and then taking the Azalea Walk at the Arboretum. Beautiful weather. Azaleas at their peak. Perfect!

This is a picture from last year.

I don't have a picture from this year because they closed the Arboretum to spray for gypsy moth caterpillars. But we did get to watch the helicopter spraying!

Plan B: Let's go to the state park near our house and do their playgrounds.

Nope. Closed.

Plan C: Let's drop by the playground close to our house that we're kind of bored with.
Surprise! We had a fabulous time!

Oob enjoyed swinging in the breeze in true baby style, note the wind fluffed hair.

The older Zoomlians worked on their tree camouflage skills. Can you spot three?

All in all, it was a lovely day, even if it wasn't the day I planned. Sometime after plan B failed, I realized that just a few years ago, I would have given up, gone home and had a pity party that my plans hadn't worked. What was that? Anger that it hadn't gone my way? Hurt pride that my perfect plan hadn't worked? Yes and yes and one thing more: a lack of trust that God has a plan for me.

The thing that I have learned most from DJM (Disciples of Jesus and Mary see side bar link) is to trust in God's love for me and to look for the gifts He surrounds me with.

I was one of the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Jesus was with me the whole time explaining it all for me, but I didn't recognize Him. They didn't recognize Him because they thought He couldn't possibly be really alive. I didn't recognize Him because I (unconsciously) thought He couldn't possibly love me enough to be wasting His time walking with me.

So I would have wasted the gift of the day that wasn't.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Noah Kidding

Here's a joke from my second Mom:

As Noah and his family were disembarking from the ark, they paused on a ridge to look back at the ark

“We should have done something, Noah,” said his wife.

“That old hulk of an ark will sit there and be an eyesore on the landscape for years to come.”

“Everything’s taken care of,” Noah assured her. “I left the two termites aboard.”

Thanks, Aunt Nicki!