Life with Kids

Happy Graduation!

And happy greetings not just to our high school and college grads, but all our Pre-schoolers and Kinders who get to don the gown and take a step up to the next part of their little lives.

Elizabeth’s graduation song is now on YouTube.

Veggie Wars: A New Beginning

web-eliza-happy.jpgSo, when we last visited the front line of the veggie wars, Mom was losing, big time. We’d discovered Elizabeth was hiding her veggies under a side table (and not thinking to go back and throw them out later.)

I didn’t blog about the veggie wars for a while because I was, well, despondent. Failing.

But I regrouped, and with some luck in the form of Luby’s veggie plates, we went through vegetable after vegetable to find something, anything, this child would eat.

Our next breakthrough was sweet potatoes, a favorite of Elizabeth’s when she was little, but somewhere around age 3, she lost her way. Around then, actually, we lost everything that wasn’t yellow–mac and cheese, bananas, apple sauce, and chicken nuggets were our only friends.

The trick to the sweet potatoes was to let her make them. We boiled the fresh sweet potatoes, peeled them, mashed them up, then added a little bit of butter and just a touch of brown sugar (literally a teaspoon per potato), and topped them with just a few marshmallows. Bake it for about 15 minutes, and yep, she’d eat it. With relish.

We’ve added french fries and mashed potatoes to our veggies as well, even though fries aren’t my favorite. She’ll also eat some whole kernel corn. We no longer offer carrots after discovering the stash of dried ones. Too easy to hide.

Elizabeth is six now and I never thought we’d be fighting this hard, this long. Emily is an excellent eater, adding a new food to her diet every few weeks. But we keep plugging at it, enduring the dinner time tears when necessary, breaking out the dessert bribes without guilt, and wishing Deceptively Delicious was just a tad more deceptive, as it hasn’t worked once on this little princess who may not be able to feel a pea under a mattress, but can spot a veggie at 20 paces.

A Smashing Party

Spring is a busy time, and certainly no less so with the parties of both my daughters with birthdays in April and May.

Elizabeth’s Libby Lu fete was quite the bash. My little diva took the fact they were out of “Rock Star” make overs in stride and went the princess route. It took over an hour to turn nine six-year-olds into royalty, but the girls knew exactly how to party down while they waited for their up dos.

webgirlscheer.jpgEmily’s bowling party was also great fun. Highland Lane has a great set up and it’s easy on everyone.

Now I just have three weeks until summer and full-time mom-ness again! Ack!

The Veggie Wars: Ultimate Failure


My quest to get Elizabeth to eat vegetables could not have gone any worse than today.

We sat around the table, arranging a board game for our Friday game night. As we’re doling out the cards for Hands Down, I notice something in the corner under a low table. Flower petals? Strips of paper?

I go over to investigate, feeling mildly alarmed.

What I saw made my stomach turn over.

A pile of dried baby carrots.

Elizabeth has not been eating her vegetables effortlessly and without complaint.

She has been HIDING THEM.

I turned to my five-year-old angel, whose eyes were large and dark. “Go to your room this instant,” I said.

She did not whine or cry. Just set down her cards and walked calmly away, as though she’d already imagined this moment many times over.

The rest of us played the game, and she occasionally called out to ask when she could come out.

About ten minutes later, I went to her room. I asked her if she knew what she had done.

“Didn’t eat my vegetables,” she said.

“But what else?”

She lay there in the half-dark. “I didn’t tell you.”

Like many moms, the bigger problem was the dishonesty, not so much the original mistake. I asked her if she wanted to play any games.

She nodded.

“Then you have to eat five carrots.”

She shook her head.

“No?” I asked. “You’d rather lie in bed than eat your carrots and play games?”

She nodded again.

And she did. I sometimes heard her singing to her stuffed dog. I checked on her once or twice, and she asked if she could turn on the light or come watch. I said no. She simply accepted her punishment.

What a long hard fall this has been.

Veggie Wars: Month Two

web-eatveggies4.jpgI admit it, I’ve been slacking. Emily, my eight-year-old, frequently reminds me, “Elizabeth hasn’t eaten a veggie today!”

Or we trade eggs for a veggie. Or fruit. Some days are better than others.

I’m teaching them flexibility, right?

We have two winners: baby carrots and mashed potatoes. The green things are still tough. But I’m taking my winnings and running with it.

It hasn’t helped that we’ve had the run of illnesses lately. If they won’t even eat Girl Scout cookies, then green beans don’t stand a chance.

Thanks to Wendy for sending me this image of her little veggie eater! Keep them coming!


The Veggie Wars: Day 19

web-eliza-eating-veggies-2.jpgMy New Year’s Resolution to ensure my 5-year-old eats one veggie every day is going…well, it’s still going. So far we’ve had a variety of green beans, peas, raw carrots, mashed potatoes, and whole kernel corn. I’ve had success with two things I hoped would happen:

1. Elizabeth would find a vegetable she liked more than the others and would start “trading” for it and eat it easily. The winner has been raw carrots. At this point, she will trade eating twice as many carrots as the other vegetable I am already serving.

2. Elizabeth would be upset about a vegetable at first, but when she wasn’t thinking about it, would eat it painlessly. This has started happening with mashed potatoes.

One thing I have tried but failed: mixing veggies in with other items. She can spot a veggie at 20 paces.

Pictured here: a spoonful of corn. I might eventually be able to start a photo blog called “kids eating veggies.” If you have images to share, email them to me!

Overheard at the Kids’ Christmas Pageant

web04eliza-play.jpgThe line of angels bunched and buckled as the row of wing-bedecked elementary-aged choristers snaked around the nativity set and into the foyer. Someone stopped abruptly, and a secondary angel crashed into the head honcho, the holy host with full gold regalia and the critical lines of the play. Be not afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy.

The angel turned. “Do not be pushing The Angel of the Lord!”

The littler angels tittered.

“Hush children.” The woman in charge of the play painstakingly arranged the children in the order they would process into the church, hastily reassigning some speaking roles for kids who were out sick.

“Does anyone have any questions regarding their lines?” she asked.

A sheep raised her hand, the wool paw waving a sheet of paper near her white fuzzy head. “I do! These words from the Bible don’t make any sense!”


The woman hesitated a moment. “Well, sometimes the Bible can seem that way.” She hesitated a moment more, then thought better of adding anything to the statement. “Anyone else?”

The procession squirmed as they waited for their cue to enter the hushed sanctuary, where the last young instrumentalist tapped out a melody-only version of Jingle Bells on the baby grand. A crash broke the quiet. The gold box of myrrh had hit the floor. “Shhh!” several angels said.

A boy in a crown and a purple robe stooped to pick it up, but dropped the lid again.web04-emily-play.jpg

“You’re pretty stupid for a wise man,” said another one of the wise guys.

Shepherds quaked as they held in silent laughter.


Finally the music began, and the cast paraded down the aisle to the smiles of parents and the clicks of video cameras set to record.

Despite their cracks at each other, the pushing, the impatience, only a few lines into “Silent Night,” the tone of the evening changed, the room dimmed so that the lights haloed their faces, and Christmas Eve truly began.

For born unto us this day in the city of David is a Savior, who is Christ our Lord.

Elizabeth was an angel in this year’s play. Emily was the banner carrier (she and the other banner bearer are seated at the front of the group picture.)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Have a wonderful holiday full of family and love.

A Kids-Eye Tour of Austin

So, do you have family coming into Austin for Thanksgiving? Not sure what to do with them?

The girls and I like to spend one day each summer visiting the highlights of our home town. For one of the years, I made an elaborate web page with a map of Austin and all the places we were able to visit in just one day–using a red wagon.

Click on the map below to access the page and the sight-seeing guide to Austin, Texas. It can be a fun day for all of you!

map of austin

Crazy Tales and November Folly

In the last few years, Halloween has taken on a significance unknown in my previous thirty-um, thirty-some-odd years. No longer a holiday marked mainly by passing out candy or possibly going to some grown up party, it’s a big day for my children to demonstrate their personalities through their costumes, and at midnight, it’s the kickoff to National Novel Writing Month.

The costume search this year was harder than ever. Elizabeth, as usual, wanted to be some form of web-girls-as-princess-buttercup.jpgdecadent feminine explosion in tulle and roses. Emily, though, really is more male-oriented in her interests (math, architecture, heroes.) But those costumes are too boy for her. Or, transversely, too girly (one look at Wonder Woman and she shouted, “No!”)

We searched on the Internet, viewing over 250 costumes via and other online outlets. When we went through two complete sites with no luck, I turned to her and said, “Figure it out or you’re stuck being Hermione again.”

Both girls shouted, “No!” This upset me a little, as I had hand sewn under duress, a costume for Elizabeth that exactly matched Emily’s so that they might go to the Harry Potter Book 7 release parties as Gryffindor. I’d done it with the deal that Elizabeth would use it again at Halloween.

No dice.

After a lengthy discussion of movies they liked and characters they might portray, both simultaneously chose Buttercup from The Princess Bride.

An argument ensued, mainly composed of “I’m Buttercup! No, I’m Buttercup!”

I never dreamed Emily would pick a princess! And a useless one at that, falling in fear in the battle of the Rodents of Unusual Size when she should have clubbed the buggers with a stick. But that’s beside the point. I now had the opposite problem.

Eventually we came to an agreement: Emily would be the red-robed casual Buttercup; Elizabeth the resplendant white-gowned bride.

web-nano-midnight-write-dragons-lair1.jpgHalloween was not quite the same as last year: the usual crowd but less booze as we parents gabbed in driveways while the kids lumbered up to doorways. When the candy bags were too heavy to manage, we took them home and then as is tradition, I joined friends on Sixth Street for a walk-about before heading to Dragon’s Lair for the midnight kick off of NaNoWriMo.

I wrote 1200 words the first night from midnight until about 1 a.m. I’m about 3500 words in now, but more on the book later. I’m off to the Texas Renaissance Festival! (I just finished MY costume an hour ago!)