Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkins and Lies

Last night Seth picked the one surviving pumpkin from our garden and scooped out the insides so that Ethan could draw a face on it and Seth could help cut it out. This was Ethan's first year to do this! Every year we mean to, but something else comes up and then we never do. Last year we were going to, but the poor little pumpkin (from our neighbors) sat outside at the edge of our flower bed all season, and then through the next two seasons... Well, you get the picture. It was never carved, just left there all neglected. (Not like I wasn't busy with a newborn and two other - very active - kids... in my defense!) :)
In early Summer, I noticed that a new pumpkin plant was sprouting in my flower bed! I transplanted it to our garden area in the backyard and it produced two pumpkins. One was way too small to carve, really, but the other one now looks like this:

It's not the prettiest jack-o-lantern, but it's Ethan's first! Don't be surprised if it shows up, glowing, in some more pics tonight after trick-or-treating. :)

On to the other subject... Lies.


Last night Seth saw that Ethan was playing with 2 small magnets. He asked where Ethan got them. Ethan told us that his teacher gave them to him to "practice math" with. Something about the way he said it made me question him. I asked him more about it, and he replied some more about it, and then I said, "I'm going to email your teacher and ask her." Ethan shrugged and said, "Go ahead, Mom, but she already knows all about it." However... he looked a teeny bit apprehensive when I looked him straight in the eye. I figured something was up. So I wrote the email. And this morning I got the reply I didn't want. His teacher did NOT send them home for him to practice with.


Let me just say that starting this school year, Ethan has picked up (no pun intended) this bad habit of pocketing small items that he finds interesting. Usually this is just rocks, or pieces of leather or concrete or junk that he finds on the playground or sidewalk. Annoying, yes. Bad for my washing machine, yes. Morally wrong? Well, no...

However, this is at least the third time that he has brought home objects that are NOT rocks, are NOT from outside, and are certainly NOT his. Beyond annoying? YES!!

So we are going to have another serious discussion tonight when he arrives home from school. Which will be so much fun, since his cousin, aunt, and grandma and grandpa will all be here, AND it's Halloween...

There are days when I wonder where my sweet little boy went, and if I'll ever get him back! :(

But then, he still is a sweetie. Here's proof. :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Love Thursdays

Thursdays are sort of my Friday. I work overnights, from Sunday night until Wednesday night. That means I have every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night off! I love the feeling of walking into the house Thursday morning and knowing I do not have to be leaving it again at 9:45 (ok, who am I kidding, I am always late and leave at 9:55!) that night to head off to work. Also, some Thursdays I have MOPS, and Survivor is on at 7:00 Thursday night! (Not that I have watched it lately, but I can always catch up online!)

Today, I am going to clean house, eat leftover chili for lunch, make some spinach artichoke dip, cornbread and... perhaps a cherry crisp. I am looking forward to my family coming tomorrow from Wisconsin to celebrate Ruby's birthday. I am also looking forward to going to the Good Food Store / co-op with my sister while she is here! :) Plus, we are having Bilotti's pizza... MMM.

I'm also in the mood to try some new foods and new recipes. I get this way every season, and Fall is my favorite time of year. I can start baking again (not that I can't do this year-round, but Summer is just too hot to do much baking), and I love the smell of food simmering in my crock pot all day, or fresh bread baking in the bread machine. Mmm. And lately I have been craving all things pumpkin. Guess it's that time of year!

Some of you know I've been following MckMama's blog for a bit now, and she has some great, healthy concoctions posted there that have piqued my interest. :) So, last night I picked up a few things at the grocery store and... well, if I didn't have a huge bowl of leftover chili from last night's dinner in my fridge, I'd actually have room to make some of this stuff!

I meant to post much more today, but writing about all this food is making my stomach growl... Maybe I should go start on that bowl of chili!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ruby's First Birthday!

My little sweetie! A year ago she came into our lives, this tiny little thing. Today, she is still a tiny little thing, but full of hugs and giggles. She is learning to talk and blow kisses. She loves to give hugs, to climb on the furniture, to carry around her Care Bears (when her sister lets her).
Hard to believe it's been a whole year since this

adorable little girl was born! :)

That was the pre-cake picture.

Here is the DURING cake picture.

and here is the "about finished with cake" picture:

Hard to tell it was a cake, huh? :)

But it was a nice little cake. See?

We actually remembered to charge the camcorder, so we did get video of her opening her present (a doll) and more video of her eating her cake. Oh, and of Ethan blowing out the candle for her. :) He never even gave her a chance! Oh well. She didn't mind.
In all, it was a nice, peaceful birthday.
The party is next weekend. It probably won't be quite as peaceful, but it will be fun. And there will be more cake!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

She calls them WHAT?

*Ok, so I wrote this yesterday but forgot to publish it!
My kids are always surprising me with the words that come out of their mouths. Last night Ethan and Kibby were playing tug-o-war with some toy and Kibby was crying and shrieking and suddenly screamed, "Give it to her! Give it to her!!!" (Hm, where has she heard that?) This shouldn't surprise me. It really shouldn't. That's Kibby. She loves to be a little echo!

Which can be a really bad thing sometimes!

A funny story: Well, it wasn't so funny when it happened, but it's something we laugh about now! We were grocery shopping and Kibby was riding in the cart. I put a container of prunes in the cart, out of her reach, because she loves them. She saw them, and started reaching for them, yelling, "I WANT SOME POOP, Mommy!!"

Yes, she calls them "poop" instead of prunes. Seth has told her that eating the prunes will help her poop, and somewhere in her 2-year-old brain, she has the words mixed up.

So she is screaming this in the store, and of course I just want to hide! People were looking. Maybe staring. I don't know, I avoided all eye contact.

It probably didn't sound any better when I told her, "Yes, just wait 'til we get home!"

I will continue posting these stories from time to time. It's "movie night" tonight so I need to help find the movie and get the kids' jammies on, etc.

Tomorrow is Ruby's First Birthday! Check back for pictures!


Friday, October 24, 2008

An Update on Kibby

A few posts back I wrote about Kibby and her communication delay. Well, it seems that whenever I get ready to haul her in to be evaluated, something happens that makes me stop and say, "Hm. Maybe we should wait."

Lately, Kibby has started answering me when I ask her a question. (However, she still will very very rarely say "yes". I think she loves saying the word "no" - which I see as part of normal 2-year-old talk!) This had been the most frustrating for me, but I am seeing improvement. She is now beginning to look at me more when talking to me, too.

So I am going to try a couple of things. The first one is to "wean" her from her thumb!! She has that thumb in her mouth all day long. She takes it out to eat (barely). The skin looks terrible. When I tell her to take her thumb out of her mouth, she does, immediately. But within 30 seconds, she forgets and it's right back in there. I remember when Ethan was her age we tried some of that nasty flavored stuff to get him to stop sucking on his fingers. I don't think it helped. We used to put socks on his hands, because his fingers would get so raw. I don't really want to do that again! Ethan used to take the socks off, so we had to use tape to keep them on! (No, we did NOT tape them to his skin!!! We taped around the sock on his wrist so he couldn't slide the sock off, and then folded the sock down over it so he wouldn't pick at the tape.) But knowing Kibby - she would just scream and scream... until she got the sock off.

Ok, so that's one thing.

The other is to read to her more. Up until recently, she wouldn't let you read to her. Well, not in the traditional sense at least. You couldn't hold her on your lap and show her the book for longer than 5 seconds before she would tear it away and jump down to look at it on her own. And we usually just let her. At least she was looking at the book. Now, I can read to her somewhat. She doesn't listen as well as Ethan used to (but then Ethan always loved reading, and was reading at age 3) but she is getting better with sitting on my lap or next to me and pointing out things on the pages.

At my MOPS group yesterday one of the ladies shared an idea for encouraging reading at home. They draw a tree on posterboard and then make leaves for it out of construction paper. Whenever someone either reads a book themselves or reads a book to someone else, that person gets a leaf (cut out ahead of time) and writes the title of the book and their name on it, and attaches it to the tree.

I mentioned this idea to Seth last night and I think we are going to give it a try. I am hoping that it will encourage my kids to read more and to want to have stories read to them. Ethan is all for it! He read a book last night and asked if he could put a leaf on our tree. (We each received a styrofoam cut-out tree at MOPS, and then for our craft time we traced, cut out and laminated some leaves that we can attach to our tree with velcro. The idea was to use dry-erase markers on the leaves and be able to use them over and over!) Well Ethan was all set to start last night!

I am hoping that these things help her learn to communicate better. It certainly can't hurt. If anyone has any other ideas for us to encourage Kibby's speech, or to encourage any communication with her, please leave me a comment! Thanks!

I would also love to hear some ideas for helping her quit the thumb-sucking!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

and some more...

See? She LOVES having her picture taken! (Can we say "NAP TIME"?)

Seth had just woken up from a nap and the kids all jumped on him. :)

Combing her hair!

She loves to put things on her head (blankets, hats, whatever) and then try to walk around like a little ghost. :) At least she could see this time!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ok, so here's some more...

I was trying to get a nice picture of the girls wearing their matching outfits... As you can see, it didn't work so well.

It's a "Ruby-in-the-Box"!

This girl would try to live on popsicles if we let her!

Moody girl. She refused to have her picture taken with her brother and sister.

This was taken this Summer at a local park. It's one of my favorite pictures of Ethan at this age!


For those of you waiting for me to post some pics of the kiddos, today is the day. :)

Ruby being her happy self.

Kaliyan (Kibby) loves pink!

Kibby REFUSED to be in this picture!

My "Helper".

Who needs fancy toys? All 3 of them are sitting in drawers. They dump the toys out, put blankets in, and sit in them. Here they are reading Care Bear books. Well, Ethan is reading to the girls. What fun!

More coming soon...


Friday, October 17, 2008

Our Kibby

Our middle child, Kaliyan (affectionately nicknamed "Kibby" by her big brother when she was about 2 weeks old) has always been slower when it comes to speaking. I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but there seems to be something "off" with her communication skills. She will be 3 in about three months.

About a year ago, we were trying to decide whether to take her in to see her pediatrician as a first consult in assessing her and her (lack of) communication. But then, in October, shortly before Ruby was born, she began speaking, and we decided to sit tight and see how she progressed until her 2 year appointment in late January. In January, she turned two, and was speaking many words and some phrases. We mentioned our (at that point slight) concern to the doctor, but she didn't think there was any need for alarm at that point, since she was talking, and progressing, but we'd "keep an eye on it".

I should mention that she knew some sign language and DID use some signs, but as she began speaking more, she used the signs less and less. Currently she does not use them at all, but understands if we sign something to her. (If I sign to her, "Daddy's home, she will brighten and run to the gate by the stairs.)

Now she talks quite a bit at times when she isn't sucking her thumb, but there are a few little (red?) flags, that have me wondering more and more each month if we should get her evaluated. Soon.

Such as:

She rarely initiates conversation - unless she needs something. For instance, "I hungwy, Mommy!" "I poopy Mommy!" "I wannit Mommy!"

She does not seem very interested in playing with other kids yet, although she does like her brother and sister to "chase" her around the house. Many times I will see her sitting and playing independently outside, even when there are other girls her age to play with. When we have other children over, she will not share her toys, but screams "MINE!!!" and cries and cries. (We are trying to work on this, but it is much harder than it was when we taught Ethan this!)

She doesn't answer questions. (This is the hardest one for me to deal with right now, as we are TRYING to potty train!!)

She is repetitive. In itself, this wouldn't make me wonder. However, when we are watching a movie that she is familiar with, she will say the exact same thing at certain parts of the movie with the same emotion from day to day. Never a "new" comment or observation. For example, at the beginning of Veggie Tales, when they show the little girl walking with her little jumper and hat on, and display the words, "Why we do what we do..." Kibby will ALWAYS say (in the same mournful tone), "Aw, lookit little baby, Mommy!" (This one is hard to describe unless you can observe it for yourself.) Or when Piglet's book of memories fall in the river in "Piglet's Big Movie", she said, "Oh, book fall in wadder, Mommy!" (This one probably worries me the least, especially since as I write it, it doesn't look all that strange written here, but it still seems a little odd to me, when I see her do it.)

She is starting to be better about eye contact, unless you are scolding or lecturing her for something. Then she hides behind her hands and will not speak at all. (She also does this if a stranger tries to talk to her; she can be very shy.)

The part that probably worries me the most is that I cannot have a normal back-and-forth conversation with her. She either will not or cannot. So then I wonder if it's due to some parenting "negligence" on our part, or if she has some disorder... We just don't know.

We are considering getting her evaluated again. Especially since the earlier we find answers, the better things will be for her. Since she does not have health insurance right now, I will probably not be taking her to her pediatrician first, but searching for community resources for testing or assessment.

Any thoughts or ideas for us are welcome...


Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Little Entertainer

Lately Ethan has taken a renewed interest in his guitar. He has never had any lessons, but I do think he would enjoy them. I mentioned the other day that I recorded him while he danced, played guitar, and tried to lip sync to the Selah song Esengo. He likes the beat and also that its in another language. :) If I can figure out how to do it, I'll post the video here. (You'll want to scroll to the bottom of the page first and pause the music so you can hear what he is strumming along to.) You'll see the girls wandering through from time to time, too. They all love this song, and when it was over (one of the many times it was played the other day) Ruby, my almost 12 month old, said, 'UH OH!" :) I think you can see her and Kaliyan dancing in this video, too.

This afternoon he was sitting on the couch prior to the girls' naptime, strumming away and quietly singing a "lullaby" to them. He only went so far before he stopped and said, "That's all I should do because I don't want them to fall asleep out here!" Both girls were mesmerized!

Then tonight, we were making dinner and Ethan is dancing around in the kitchen with his guitar and singing, "Jeeeeeeesus is always wiiiiiiiith you! Jesus is alwaaaaays with yoooooooooou...!"

At lunch, this was our conversation:

Ethan: "You know in Piglet's Big Movie, Piglet is a missionary, Mom."

Me: "Oh? A missionary? Why do you say that?"

Ethan: "Because he's a HERO!"

That had me grinning. I didn't disagree. :)

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for my Ethan!
Until next time,


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I thought I'd take a minute to explain the name of my blog, for those of you who don't know me. My husband grew up in Cambodia, and our last name means "mango" in the Khmer language. :) So... we are the 5 mangoes. :)

It is my intent to write about daily happenings in our household, post pictures and short videos of the kiddos, and ramble on with my own thoughts on life. Hm, was there anything post-worthy that happened today?

I spent about 2 hours reading through a fellow blogger's comments section, and spent some time in prayer for families that have lost babies.

I recorded a video of my kids dancing to a congolese song (Esengo, by Selah). My 6 year old was dancing and pretending to play his guitar. He was even attempting to lip sync, which I found humorous because he is not very familiar with the words. Since they are not English words!

Which reminds me.

Ethan wants to learn another language. He talks about it all the time. I personally have admiration for people who can speak more than one language fluently, so I guess I can see his interest! My husband is bilingual, but he has not taught very many words to our children. I know a bit of Spanish, but certainly not enough to teach Ethan very much. He is proud that he can (for the most part) count to 10 in spanish, though. :) He always forgets "siete" but he is getting there.

I think my 2 year old just fell in the toilet. Sigh. I sure hope not, but I guess this ends my blogging for the day!




Today, October 15th, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Stop by the official website here:

My prayers are with the many families that are grieving the loss of their children.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Hello everyone!

Well, since some of you know me and some of you don't, to start this off I feel it's important to tell a little about myself and my family. Hopefully none of you are too weirded out to not visit again! :)

My name is Susan, and I'm fairly new to the blogosphere. I enjoy reading others' blogs but this is my first attempt at writing one. I'm a little bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, so we'll see how this goes!

My life these days consists of waking up at 6:20 at work... Yes, you read that right, I get paid to sleep. :) After I get home around 7:20, I get the kids up, get my oldest on the bus, get breakfast for the rest of us (I have 2 daughters at home), and then I usually hop online. Between the diaper changes and the coloring and Signing Time DVDs, I read blogs, visit Facebook and chat with my sister in WI (who has a regular day job. Sniff, poor her.) I don't usually get much time online until after lunch, when the girls are napping. And then I feel guilty about not doing housework. (But not too guilty!)

My intentions for this blog are to share with family and friends about our life, and to hopefully meet fellow bloggers and moms... so if you have found your way here, welcome!

More to come... stay tuned.