If you can catch one…

February 11th, 2013


When I sat down at my computer this morning, this was on the screen:


Yesterday, she asked me to help her count up her money ($17.35 — not bad!).  Then, on an unrelated topic, I’m sure, she asked me how much a parakeet costs.  I told her I didn’t know, but that it was irrelevant, because she would not be allowed to get a parakeet.  (We just got a cat!  Come on!)  She pouted a little about this, and I gave in with this loophole: if she can catch a wild parakeet, we will keep it.

It is a testament to my belief in her abilities that I later searched for “Where do parakeets live?”  They live in Australia.  If I see her building a boat in the back yard, I’m going to start worrying.

“I figured it out by thinking!”

March 10th, 2012

A couple of nights ago, Kaeta wanted to read a book called The Grapes of Math.  It’s full of little counting puzzles for kids, including one where you are supposed to quickly count the number of humps on a bunch of camels.  Some of the camels have one hump and some have two, so Kaeta figured out that you could group them into two two-humped camels and one one-humped camel, and then count by fives.

The next morning, she was sitting on the counter while I made her breakfast, and she started talking about the camels.  She said, “Two plus two plus one equals five, because five is a number that has a middle.”  I looked at her, and she was holding her five fingers up and pointing to the middle.

“Three has a middle, too,” she told me.

“That’s right!  Can you think of any other numbers that have a middle?”

“Seven.”  After a moment, she explained: “If you start at three and count by twos, those numbers have a middle.”

I was so proud of her for figuring out that rule!  I said, “That’s right, Kaeta!  Did you figure that out yourself?”

“Yes!” she said.  ”I figured it out by thinking!

Later, while we were eating, I asked her, “If there were two numbers that both had a middle, and you added them together, would that new number have a middle?”

“No,” she said immediately.

“What if you add one number with a middle to a number that doesn’t have a middle.  Does the new number have a middle?”


It’s really exciting to see her building an intuition for things like that!

Kaeta’s Cake Recipe

January 3rd, 2012

The left side of this picture is a cake recipe Kaeta came up with.  (The right side is a picture of a castle, which she tells me is unrelated to the recipe.)  Can you read it?

She had to interpret it for me:

Kaeta’s Cake Recipe

Requires: mushed carrots, apple sauce, flour, 2 eggs, 1 stick butter.


  • 2 cups apple sauce
  • 1 cup mushed carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick butter

Bake for 3.  (minutes?)

Step 4: Decorate your cake!

Let us know if you try this recipe!  It might be a good low-sugar option!

Can you find Sleepy Bear?

November 23rd, 2011


Every now and then Daniel’s Sleepy Bear (whom Daniel cannot live without. If you know Daniel, you no doubt are acquainted with Sleepy Bear.) gets misplaced. And when that happens, no one in our family can rest until Daniel and Sleepy Bear are reunited. Fortunately, I saw Kaeta hide him in the bookcase, otherwise we might have had big problems come bedtime.

Mommy Confessions: Some Days are About Just Keeping Our Heads Above Water (or, why sleeping in can have disastrous consequences)

November 22nd, 2011

Some days are all about survival. I have never kept a log of my day, so I’m not sure why I decided to today. But it turned out to be strangely therapeutic. And may very well have prevented an impending mental breakdown. In any case, reading this will most certainly make you feel better about yourself.

6:30-7:30 — Sleeping in. Invite kids to come snuggle in bed with me while I try to squeeze in as much sleep as possible before it becomes absolutely necessary to get up. The morning after bookclub I allow myself this luxury. Lazy, I know, but usually I am up before the kids.

8:30-9:00 — Kids are waking up and getting restless and hungry. I groggily ask, who wants to watch PBS Kids? to try to buy just a few more minutes… (I admit, the morning after bookclub is more about sleep than good parenting) Kids scamper upstairs to the gameroom. I’ll get breakfast in just a minute, I promise. Baby has been perfectly happy playing in his crib, but I can tell it won’t last. Dog barks once at the back door. This is way later than we usually let him out.

9:05ish — Jolted out of bed by the tell-tale sound of coughing/gagging/splattering that lets me know that Jonah is, unfortunately, NOT over his stomach bug. Run to get a towel and clean him up, spray the carpet with 409, take the laundry to the washing machine. Dog barks a couple more times at the door, no doubt wondering why isn’t she coming….

9:10 — Wash hands with soap. Dry. Wash hands again with soap, dry with different towel. I do not mess around with stomach bug germs. Either that or I am at the beginning stages of battling OCD. Perhaps both. Dog barks again. Okay, I’ll be there in a minute.

9:15-9:30 — Reluctantly admit to myself that this day has started whether I like it or not, so I may as well get dressed. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Put on shoes. Okay, now the day can start. But first some coffee. Head for the kitchen.

9:30 — Diverted. The kids have started the day without me. Kaeta is attempting to rescue Daniel from the bonds of his crib. I hear a little struggling, a few baby whimpers and grunts, and then the grinning baby toddles out to greet me at the top of the stairs. Wow, I am winning all kinds of great mothering awards today, aren’t I? Off to change a diaper.

9:35 — Talk to Jonah about his tummy. Think you’re up for some breakfast? How about some candy? No. How about some toast. Okay. Toast and Sprite. We’ll try that. Okay. Leave the kids upstairs to watch Backyardigans (poor kid is still sick) and head downstairs to try to feed these children. Dog is standing at the back door, more like dancing, pleading to go out. Oh, the dog! As I let the dog out, I see that it’s rained. Yay! Rain! Oh. Muddy dog feet. Great. Okay, we’ll deal with that later. Snap the baby into his seat. Shlishe! What? Oh, you want an apple slice. Okay.

9:40 — Sigh. Call mom. I already don’t see how I’m going to get through this day, let alone this holiday week. Poor Jonah is still sick. I was hoping he’d be better by now, and that whoever else was going to get sick would be sick so we could get this infestation over with already. What does this mean that he’s still sick? And what does this mean for our Thanksgiving when the rest of us inevitably fall prey to the ruthless stomach bug? And when am I going to go to the grocery store? Mom is the best. She’ll pick up my groceries for me, she’s going anyway. Slice up an apple while the bread is toasting. Dog wants in already. Sorry, can’t wipe your feet yet.

10:00 — Walk upstairs to tell the kids the toast is ready, wondering why on earth it took 30 minutes to make toast. Are you feeling up to coming downstairs to eat? I’m so glad.

10:02-10:20 — Feed the kids toast and apples. Wonder how the kid’s tummy will respond. He’s off to wash his hands and he takes his sprite and heads back upstairs for more Backyardigans. Do you have red bowl just in case? Yup. Good.

10:20something — Dog is barking. Go to let him in but oh! I still need to clean the mess on the carpet! Grab the sponge (which from here on out is designated to carpet mess clean-up duty ONLY for the short remainder of its life) and start dabbing. Oh, the joys of motherhood. Baby calls Mommee! Mommee! He’s still in his chair. Be right there! Dog barks again.

10:25 — Rinse the sponge that is officially exiled from counter use and wash hands. Twice.

10:30 — Okay, Baby, what else can I get you? Nana! I would be glad to get you a banana. Baby cries as I peel the banana and cut off the brown spots. Why are you crying? I’m getting your banana, don’t you see? Patience is at a premium. Dog barks at the back door. I cannot deal with you yet. You are a dog. Baby cries. Can you KIT (Keep It Together)? No. Me either. Wash banana hands.

10:35 — Dog has not given up. Okay, here is a towel, let’s wipe your feet. Alright, now go to your crate to dry. I know you’re hungry, I’ll bring your breakfast. Baby calls Mommee! Okay, let’s wash your hands. Now we feed the dog. Wash hands again.

10:40 — I have a headache and I’m hungry. I’ve had neither coffee nor breakfast. Sigh. Glance at the clock. Is it even still a.m.? Okay, baby goes to play upstairs. I can have a quick slice of toast. Nutella to the rescue! And a cup of chai. Ah, not so bad. Dog barks from the other room. I ignore him. I read that a facebook friend mopped her kitchen floor before 7am this morning. I close my eyes and try to imagine a life where having the floor mopped before 7am is even possible. I cannot. Guess I better start on my grocery list.

11:00 — A call from upstairs. Mom, Daniel has poopies! Oh good. I was hoping I’d have another mess to clean up soon. At least this one is contained. Let’s hope. Dog barks from somewhere.

11:15-12:15 — Boys are fussing at each other upstairs. Sounds like kid is feeling better. Lots of running and jumping. What a relief. Baby is fussy. How soon can I put you down for a nap? How about right after lunch. How soon can I give you lunch after that late breakfast? Good grief! Is it after NOON already? Okay, it’s lunch time. Where is that dog and WHY is he still barking? Still haven’t gotten the grocery list done.

1:00pm — I am in a timewarp. Baby is in his seat and I give him turkey and cheese. Kid is ready for lunch. More toast, sprite, and a mug of broth. Things are looking up for him. Girl wants pbj. This I can do. But if you’re going to play battle, go in the other room while I get lunch ready. Just go out of the kitchen! Mom, have you not had your coffee yet? Sigh. Not so much. Well drink your coffee already! She’s got my number, that one. Okay, come sit down and eat.

1:40 — How could it be nearly 2:00 already? Dog barks again, crying, pleading, and it dawns on me. Poor dog! You’re still in the crate! I let him out. He wants to go outside again. Oh brother. No, you can wait. Okay, instead how about I bark at the wind from the front window? Whatever. Baby has barely bumped his head and cries, but fusses and resists me when I pick him up. He knows where we’re going. Upstairs. Nap time. He protests while getting his diaper changed but his thumb is in his mouth already. No use pretending. He is tired. I forget the words to the hymn I sing to him every day so I hum a few bars. He smiles and signs thank you as I tuck him in. I love you Baby.

1:50 — Okay Kids, a few more minutes before Quiet Rest Time. They are playing happily in boy’s room. A sight I haven’t seen in a couple days. I give them a little longer.

2:15 — Story time. Kids snuggle up with me on the futon. Please, just one more chapter? Alright. Girl is off to her room with a book, boy wants me to snuggle with him on his elmo bed. Absolutely. This day is shaping up after all.

3:15 — Wake up, leaving sweet boy to nap on his own. Now, to write that grocery list. Okay, dog, come on up here. I owe you some snuggles too. Poor dog. Poor, long-suffering dog. Tummy grumbles. I never ate lunch, did I?

Horrible Logo

September 15th, 2010

I read about a website called HorribleLogos.com, where you pay a guy $5 to make a horrible logo for your website. So I thought, what the hey, and I ordered one for thekurths.com. Here is the result:

That is really awful!  Not his best (worst?) work.  Certainly utterly unusable, which is what I paid for, I guess!

I do like the “give me $5 and I’ll draw you something” business idea a lot.  By my rough estimatation, he’s doing about 10 of these a day, and he’s at least 2-3 days behind schedule, so even if if peters out soon, he’ll make at least $1000 drawing crappy logos.

Fifty Nifty United States

September 13th, 2010

A couple of months ago, I recorded my mom singing the names of the 50 states. I’ve played that recording for the kids a few times, and their sponge-like brains absorbed it really well! So here’s Kaeta, singing the 50 states:

Kaeta sings the States Song MP3

And here’s Jonah (you have to kind of speak Jonah-ese to understand it, but hey, he’s 2):

Jonah sings the States Song MP3

VideoDisc from 1970

August 19th, 2010

Today I noticed a link on Google Books to this issue of Popular Science from October, 1970. It was fascinating to flip through a few pages.  The first thing that struck me was the advertisements: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, guns, razors, and, of course, correspondence schools.

Anyway, this short article about a VideoDisc kind of blew my mind.  It stored video at 25 fps on a record with a very fine groove.  This is in 1970 — 7 years before VHS was first launched.

Googling a bit, I learned that it wasn’t truly brought to market until 1975, and a single disk would hold only 10 minutes to black-and-white video.  TelDec eventually released a 12-disc changer, and even a 50 disc “jukebox” (in 1980).

The Mudbrick Gateway at Ashkelon

August 12th, 2010

Curt sent me this today.

Baby Blue Eyes

August 2nd, 2010

Hanging out with Daniel inspired me to write this song about him.  The sound quality is pretty bad, but that just makes it more indie, right?

Download the MP3

Blogs only a mother could love:
Other bricks in the wall:

Christian stuff:

Software related: