January 30, 2010

January 24, 2010

a parent has to do what a parent has to do.

I'll set the scene for you:  It's Friday night at the Acklin abode, and on the menu is homemade pizza and crockpot pumpkin custard (which Kevin is making fun of relentlessly because it has been, in fact, prepared in a crockpot).  We are finishing up dinner and playing our second round of Memory when suddenly Teddy is getting a little, well, we'll lovingly label it as "challenging". 

Kevin and I are patiently exploring all efforts to remedy, refocus, address, circumvent and otherwise thwart the issues related to said "challenge".  Desperately, and after a decent amount of time with all attempts to reinstate civilization now exhausted, Kevin pulls out the motherlode of parental influence.

You know what I'm talking about here.  The story about how if your child can't behave appropriately, a scary pirate will be immediately called who will then come to the house and take the child away on a two week journey on the wild and open seas to man him up, so to speak.  Then you place a fake phone call, and at the end of the conversation you politely ask the pirate if he wouldn't mind emailing a quick picture of himself to show to the child in preparation for the journey.  The email arrives and in dramatic fashion Mother screams and Father shows the child the above image of a drunken hillbilly waiting for first dibs on a camo sale in a Wal-Mart parking lot (what this has to do with the pirate is unclear.) 

Now back to the Acklin abode.  The  convincing phone call has been placed, and revealing photograph shared and we now have one totally hysterical child (with an older brother looking on and mighty confused), begging to be affored one more opportunity to become a loving and considerate member of the family.  We're talking all out Niagra Falls tears.  We're talking moderate to severe shaking and twitching.  We're talking flailing appendages on the floor.  We're also hearing the standard outbursts: "I don't want to go!"  "Save me!"  "But daddy I'll need more than a little bag with a change of clothes and two pairs of socks!"  Teddy now willingly offers an emotional apology to all parties involved, and as every parent knows, all oustanding issues are now unquestionably resolved.  So mean . . . so, so mean.

January 22, 2010

cake wreckers.

When Professional Cakes Go Horribly, Hilariously Wrong
(For when you have time to kill . . . I mean, ALOT of time to kill . . .)
~ cakewrecks.blogspot.com

January 21, 2010

look for the helpers.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers -- so many caring people in this world."
-- Fred Rogers

January 20, 2010


The boys and I, along with two friends - T. and M. - and their children, visit an Alzheimers unit at a local nursing home in Pittsburgh once a month.  It's funny looking back on how our relationship developed.  We wanted to visit a nursing home on Halloween one year to walk around in our costumes and hand out candy.  I called this particular location and spoke with the activities director, G., who was more than excited to host us.  After our successful visit G. said to me, "This was really great.  We will see you again next month?"  It was one of those questions to which you can't say no, and that was two and half years ago!  We always look forward to spending an hour with our "grandmas and grandpas", and long ago discovered that when it comes to volunteer work it's ironic how it is the volunteer who receives as much as they give.  We enjoy coming up with an activity for each month, and this month we made snowmen snacks out of marshmallows and other treats.  It was probably better in theory, but we had fun!

The kids and my friend M. singing songs to the residents.  Regardless of the season, the favorite is "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

G. and a resident working on a marshmallow snowman.

Teddy working on his sugar-saturated creation.

Our youngest volunteer, Miss F., looking on as a resident works on their snowman.  The resident holding F. was thrilled to have a little one in her arms.  It was very heartwarming to witness.  And Miss F. loved it too!

a prodigy, obviously.

I found this stuffed in a folder in George's backpack this week:

The next Pablo Picasso, perhaps?

Femme au Chapeau a Fleurs, Woman with Flowery Hat, 1964

January 17, 2010

keeping my fingers crossed.

I can't stop checking the blog, That's Church, (click to go to the site) to read updates on the two Pittsburgh women - sisters, actually - who operate an orphanage in Haiti called BRESMA.  I understand their situation is serious as well as delicate as there has been quite a bit of misreporting that could harm their chances for rescue.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  Imagine having dozens and dozens of babies dependent on you, all of which are in the process of being adopted by American families, and in an instant every trace of paperwork has vanished, not to mention the orphanage is in ruins.  One of the girls said to a CNN reporter that without the paperwork for these children it's as though they no longer exist.  I am so appreciative that "Pitt Girl" is keeping the world updated via her blog (she has a relationship with the girls and their family), and I'm hopeful for a happy ending to this story.

UPDATE 1-19-10:
The sisters and their kids are HOME!  Yea!

January 14, 2010

they wanna rock.

The boys can rock air guitars like no one else.  Let me tell you, it's a sight.  Whenever they hear a good song they ask, "Daddy, does this song have air guitar in it?"  Then with little fluttering fingers, closed eyes and heads bopping those two kids jaaaaam.  I have realized, however, there seems to be some confusion with what the term "air guitar" really means.  George came home from school the other day and told me that his music teacher played a new instrument - an air guitar.  I said, "Oh, you mean a guitar?"  He said, "No mom, it's called air guitar."  I can just imagine the scene in front of a dozen or so sets of little pre-schoolers' eyes . . . Jesus loves me, this I know . . .

logically speaking.

George asked me today from where in this animal,

could this possibly come from?

January 13, 2010

i do not like clowns.

But my sister always knows how to make me laugh.
(And scare the crap out of me.)

January 12, 2010

day at the museum.

We watched the Ben Stiller movie Night at the Museum recently, and the locale of the film was very reminiscent of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  The film also reminded me that we had not been there in awhile.  So we visited this week, and after checking out some real archeaologists at work, we walked into the large hall with the dinosaurs on display and Teddy asked, "Mom, are they real?  Will they eat me?  Are they looking at me?"  Darn movie.  Thankfully, he soon became convinced that the bones would not magically come back to life, and in fact, Teddy later attempted to dig up some of his own.

Examining tools, and observing real scientists at work in the lab.

Convinced that a dinosaur would not threaten to swallow him whole, Teddy became distracted and called out to me, "Mom, do cowboys walk like this?"  Just look at his little legs . . . how do they come up with this stuff?

My little paleontologists hard at work discovering dinosaur bones.

January 10, 2010

stop to smell the roses.

Or in George's case, taste the snowflakes.

January 9, 2010

ooooooh, who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

Kevin and I were in Lowes last night with boys.  On our way out of the store George stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing the above item and said, "Oh, I didn't know they sold Spongebob doorbells here!"  It took us a second to understand before bursting out in laughter.

January 4, 2010

welcome to the new blog.

I like change, and after two years of blogging it was time for a new site.  I thought the new year was the perfect time to start.  Please enjoy as I upload all of our earth-shattering family happenings onto this new space.  Your comments are always appreciated . . . or otherwise deleted.

January 3, 2010

christmas 2009 - new year's day 2010.

The kids still believe, appreciate small things, are becoming aware of our Christmas traditions, and are just so darn cute and fun.  We might have a couple more years left of all of this, right?  Here are a few pictures of Christmas preparations, Christmas Day and our post-holiday annual trip to South Carolina.

Shockingly, ME in a picture with the boys and our tree.

Flemings Tree Farm, Indiana County, Pennsylvania -
the Christmas tree capital of the world!

Gingerbread House/Military Compound

The night before Christmas and all through the house . . .

 . . . Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Milk and cookies for St. Nick and oatmeal for the reindeer.

Santa remembered the quad!

And Teddy's digger!

Kevin's famous Christmas sweater.

Hartwood Acres
* * *
Isle of Palms, South Carolina - New Year's Day 2010

Hundreds of star fish washed ashore after a storm.  Kevin and the boys heroically saved what George called “thousands of Patricks” from imminent death by gently tossing them back out to sea.  Oh, Spongebob.  You have made quite an impression on this generation.  Meanwhile, I played the role as paparazzi with my (new!) camera.