Monday, March 23, 2009

Cheese Man

Today as we were eating our morning snack of string cheese, Marshall made an observation....and anyone who knows Marshall knows these can be doozies.

He and Clancey were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying their shiny tubular cheese, when Clancey took a big bite off the top. As any fans of string cheese know, there are two ways to approach this interesting dairy product. One can carefully pull the "strings" down the side of the cheese, or one can bite a hunk off the top. I, myself, have always been a "stringer". My dear husband, a "hunker." Apparently my oldest offspring takes after me as he too carefully shreds bite by bite. Now we realize the littlest VanOort is a hunker.

Marshall, watching his brother devour his cheese says "Mommy, I guess that's just the kind of man he's going to be."

Bless my little thinker. :-)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Cake Auction, Why Must Thou Forsaketh Me?

The North Cedar Post Prom Committee had their annual cake auction last week....the cursed cake auction, as it's now known in our house. This exact week LAST year Marshall ended up in the hospital with pneumonia, therefore ending my efforts to produce a cake for the cake auction. THIS year, exact same week, Clancey ended up in the hospital, but not until AFTER I quickly produced these two little beauties. I've thought about my cake for next year, but I really don't think Levi wants to be next on the list of admissions.

Below are a few of my past cake auction contributions....these did not require hospital stays.

The famous "Hostess treats" Cake. This was a BLAST to make.The very first cake contribution....sort of a Maypole meets flowery circus tent theme. ;-) And yes, the pole is leaning....just couldn't be helped.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flavor Day

Cotton ears make for a funny day. Both mini VanOorts were diagnosed with ear infections today. Spring IS coming, right? After visiting our favorite MD we headed off to do some grocery shopping. Marsh is awesome help at the store and picks up whatever I need and puts it in the cart. We got to the PB and I said "get a blue peanut butter Marsh". (blue=crunchy). He picked up TWO and approached the cart....I said "no Marsh, just one will be fine". He keeps approaching "no Marsh, one will be fine", now lifting them upward to get them over the edge of the cart...."no Marsh, one will be fine". Now they're in the cart. "okay, that will be fine, thanks bud." The doc had warned me that Marsh had so much fluid in his ears that it was like stuffing cotton in there and then expecting him to hear he said to go easy on him if he acts like he's not listening...because frankly he can't hear a darn word. The rest of the grocery trip involved a lot of "What?"s. Then onto the trip home. Marsh asked me to list all the I started in January, naming all that I could think of. We got to the end of summer and I said "Labor Day". Marsh replied "Flavor Day? That sounds great, let's do that one." This was after he had informed me that Presidents' Day was for grownups. ;-) So come on down to the VanOort homestead Monday, September 7th and we'll whoop it up on Flavor Day.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

PTO Dinner Gala...You missed it? Stinks to be you.

Imagine yourself, at home, spiffing up for an elegant evening out. You feel your best because you're in a snazzy outfit. You get in your car, drive a few blocks to where a friendly gentleman greets you with an umbrella (its drizzling in this fantasy) and parks your car after escorting you dryly inside. Upon entering the building the coat check frees you of your overgarments. As you emerge into the fancy soiree, styled with twinkling lights and the warm glow of candles, you are greeted by friends and offered delicious hors d'oeuvres and cocktails (mocktails actually...all the better, no hangover). You mingle with the other gala guests and enjoy the musical stylings of a very talented jazz band. As the dinner hour approaches you find your table, which is beautifully decorated and reminds you of a very elegant bistro, where you find a delicious salad awaiting you. Flaky, soft, warm bread arrives moments later. Then the main course, which cannot be described in words just how delicious the food is...the quality of food that makes you ooh and aah after every bite and turn to your fellow guests and ask if they have tried this or that yet because it is SOOO good. As you feel you are approaching the point you simply cannot muster another bite the dessert cart rolls up. Oh...there is a little more room in your tummy for these delectable, sweet, decadent morsels. As you finish this masterpiece of a meal you are now entertained by possibly the most talented singer since Johnny Cash himself....a low, resonant baritone that impresses all who are wondering when this fabulous event will be held again. Oh what a melodic way to end a scrumptious evening.

Yay me, this is what I got to do last night! The North Cedar PTO held it's first ever "Night to Remember" Dinner Gala Fundraiser and oh was it ever a night to remember.

A Springtime Miracle

This little guy knows spring is coming! I'm going to keep dead chives every I'll know exactly when spring is coming. This poor little plant had withered away to nothing, but I felt terrible throwing it out as the planter full of herbs had come from my dear brother and sister-in-law's wedding. (sorry guys, I couldn't keep it alive) THEN A MIRACLE OCCURRED. Last week it started sprouting....and now it's REALLY sprouting!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ode to the Nutrition Gods

Would it be okay if you got me out some salad for dessert?

This is what Marsh just said to me after starting his lunch of carrots, corn, grapes and lasagna. :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Giant Sponges--Revised

My kids are giant sponges. The kind that you wash the car with...those REALLY big fluffy ones. At supper Levi convinced Marshall that he would need to know Calculus and Physics to start kindergarten. Marsh said that since he didnt know that yet he'd better get to work. As I type Marsh and his father are sitting at the dining room table with a physics book and learning some new concepts including multiplication.....he's five. Clancey is here in the kitchen putting things away from the dishwasher, then when we had emptied it he went to the cupboard, got out the dishsoap and was ready to put that in as well...he's sixteen months. Wow...what kids must learn from observation (and diligent engineer fathers ;-). I thank God everyday for my beautiful, intelligent children and my education-loving husband.

Addendum: As I was doing the dishes, listening to Levi work with Marshall on these advanced principles I started thinking hmmmm....people who read this might think my hubbie is some kind of nut standing over our child drilling him on multiplication tables. Please rest assured they are having a ball. Marshall loves to learn and Levi loves to teach. To give him some props, Levi was one of the most sought after calculus tutors at Iowa State and one of the most popular Computer Sciene teaching assistants. He has a gift. A very special gift...for making complex subjects fun and easy to learn. Marshall and Clancey are two lucky little boys.

Inside Outsider

Clarence is a weird town. We bought our house in the winter, which the "experts" always say is a bad idea...then you don't get the true feel of a community because everyone is tucked away in their houses. We LOVE our house. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And in the five years we've lived here we've done so much to it that the only real alternative would be hiring a house moving company and taking it with us. We love it that much. Since the community blowup last summer regarding the upcoming sesquicentennial, which pitted the "I was born here and you don't know anythings" against "the people who have chosen Clarence as their home but have no family ties" I have been approached by person after person, couple after couple, family after family, who have said "we've lived here XYZ years and still feel like outsiders". Literally dozens of people have said that to me. My reply is always, if EVERYONE feels like an outsider, who is on the inside? After experiencing it firsthand it's more like a pervasive attitude that floats around the town like smog. I'm not sure if I could name more than a handful of people who PHYSICALLY make me feel like an outsider, but this attitude just contaminates experience after experience.

There are great people here. Frankly there are people who were born here...people whose parents were born here that say they are outsiders. The joke from one of them is "We're third generation outsiders". Sad. I feel like I'm approaching a soapbox platforms are laying on the ground, starting to be assembled....the heightened soapbox position may come soon. This is something that is unacceptable to me. I realize I've lived here only 5 years and in many "native" people's minds I should keep my yap shut...I've been told as much. I want to live in a community that welcomes newcomers with open arms, assists those newcomers with finding their niche to get involved, and celebrates life's simple joys TOGETHER. There shouldn't be an outside or inside. There should just be a community of people. The territoriality needs to end. What is there to be so territorial about here? We have a downtown that has declined to the point of being nearly empty, volunteer groups that have all but disbanded due to the "smog" I previously described and people who are sad.

I won't stop striving to make this a welcoming place. I think it's important and when things are important I just can't give up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Can Do Attitude For All

Clancey + Fork + Mommy letting him do it himself = PROUD BABY!!
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