Sunday, September 21, 2008

A-Camping We Will Go!

I did it!!  I finally talked Daniel into going camping!  He took some much needed time off from work, the weather was perfect, and all the stars aligned and we took our first camping trip.  I think we were a little nervous about how it would go, but for me, it was one of the best memories of my life.  I have forgotten how relaxing camping is for me.  

We went to a state park only about 45 minutes away-you know, just in case everything crashed burned!! Since our first night was Thursday night, we pretty much had our pick of campsites.  We got a great spot, and Daniel built us a great campfire.  After Drew went to bed, Daniel and I roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  And, yes, Drew went right to sleep!  We were amazed.  Unfortunately, when Dan and I went to get in the tent, we woke him up.  He thought it was hilarious that we were all sleeping in the same place.  He would sleep for about an hour, and then I would feel him touching my face and laughing!  He definitely wanted us to get up and play/sing songs/give him knuckles.  It was a looooong night, but all in all I couldn't help but laugh every time he woke up. 

The next day Daniel went to shoot 9 holes of golf (camping and golf???  Genius!) and Drew and I played on the playground and I took him down to the creek for the first time.  He loved putting rocks in his bucket and throwing them in the water.  After nap time (a really abbreviated nap time!) we went back to the creek with Dan.  Drew was starting to get really adventurous.  He wanted to walk all the way across the creek.  We couldn't let him do that, but he did get to walk out onto a big rock with Dad.  

We had another great campfire, and Drew roasted his first marshmallow.  He was a little nervous about being that close to the fire, and definitely preferred a "raw" marshmallow to the roasted ones.  Which worked out for me-I ate all of his rejects!  And, after the crazy night before and very little nap, he slept like a log all night long.  Even Daniel and I got a pretty good night's sleep.

I'm already trying to plan our next trip!!

Playing with toys:

Hanging out with Dad on the log:

Roasting his first marshmallow:

Collecting Rocks in the Creek:

More playing in the creek:

Collecting Firewood:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Fine Arts

We have had a very artsy week.  I think I have mentioned before that I joined a local moms group.  One of the great benefits of this group is all the free classes we get to attend.  You might remember the "dance class incident".  You might think after that experience I would be reluctant to try another Mommy & Me class.  You would be wrong.  Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment.  Or maybe, I'm always looking for some way to keep the kids entertained!

I signed us up for a Music with Mommie class.  I was excited about the class this week, scheduled for today.  Imagine my surprise when we went to story time yesterday and it was the Music with Mommie lady!  So, now, we have had two rounds of this little music class and I must say it is a total hit!  The kids got to play drums, maracas, egg shakers, rhythm sticks (real ones-not wooden spoons from my kitchen), dance with scarves and play with a parachute.  And, the miracle is that they BOTH loved it!  Very, very fun.

Also, we did a little painting yesterday.  I mentioned before about the free easel we got from the neighbor.  Well, along with the easel we also got a bunch of paint and some little smocks.  Yesterday I set up the easel and let the kids go to town.  They had a blast painting.  I'm planning to hang their masterpiece up in the play room.

Here are a couple of pics of the action:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Confessions of a Guilty Mom

I don't know what it is about becoming a mom that  brings on all the guilt, but it happens.  I heard one person say she was pretty sure when she pushed her baby out, the doctor pushed a big package of guilt back in.  We moms feel guilty about everything that happens to our child.  Or near our child.  Or in the vicinity of our child.  And while I'm sure each generation of mothers has had many things to feel guilty about, it sure seems like these days the experts are all shouting at us moms about something we should or should not be doing.  This is especially tricky for someone like me who tries to do everything right, all the time.  I'm pretty sure that's why God gave me Drew. =)  In a matter of just a few weeks I was forced to throw out all of my plans and go to the magic land of "doing what works".  I, by the way, am a big proponent of the land of what works.  My sister and I discussed writing a book about it.  It would be very short and to the point.   So, in an effort to unite the moms, I'm going to confess all the things I do that I've been told I shouldn't.  Feel free to join in.  It'll make you feel great.  While I expected to find other moms my biggest supporters (and have within the fam) most moms in the community are wearing their Judgy Von Judgerson caps pretty regularly.  Stand up for other moms, ladies!  Give them the freedom to unleash their inner rebel.

Here goes:

1.  I have used the T.V. as a "babysitter".  
How on earth do you think I have time to write blogs, anyway?  Plus, I prefer to think of it as "keeping them company".

2. My child eats vegetables from a can.  With salt.
But, hey, he eats vegetables, right??

3. I use candy to bribe my child.
Specifically suckers.  And more specifically, Dum Dums.  Until yesterday, when I found some organic, dye-free suckers.  So, that's basically fruit, right?

4. I create "teachable moments" because I'm lazy.
"Drew, can you go get the GRAY shoes off the BLACK mat?"  See?  Teaching colors and staying on the couch all at the same time.  

5. I put sprinkles on my kid's oatmeal.
I do make him choose and say the color, so again, fabulous "teachable moment".  My hub actually started this one, but I have done nothing to fix it.  And it makes breakfast time a lot more fun.  For him, and me!

6. My house is probably filled with all kinds of bad plastics.
And I say probably because I'm not even sure which ones are bad.  This whole BPA thing came up at a time when I was pretty much exhausted from worrying about all the awful things facing my child, and after the time when I had already fed him for 9 months using bottles that were not BPA-free.  And yes, I put them in the microwave and dishwasher.  Call the BPA police.  Maybe they'll had wash all my plastics for me.

See?  Don't you feel better about yourself now?  Moms unite!  Fight the paranoia power!   

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bible Stories are not for the Faint Hearted

Guess how many times I got to listen to "Zaccheus" on the way to and from church today.  Go ahead.  Guess!!  Ok, I'll tell you. 16.  SIXTEEN.  And this is not one of my semi-famous made up numbers.  I listened to "Zaccheus was a wee little man..." and so on, sixteen times in the car today.  On the way to church it served as a great diversion for my poor anxiety ridden son who wants to talk about church all the way there.  This would be one thing if he could say more than three words about it, but after going through the whole routine 10 or so times, who wouldn't welcome a little "Zaccheus"?

And then, my Sunday School lesson was a total downer.  We are starting a new unit-Ruth.  And, like me, I'm sure you're thinking, "Oh what a sweet story.  Women helping women.  My favorite." And like me, you're skipping over that whole unfortunate part where Naomi's husband AND two sons die.  I ran into this problem when (back in my former life) I would write Children's Ministry curriculum, trying to stay true to studying a whole chapter/book.  Sometimes you can't quite come up with a way to explain certain passages in the Bible to a four year old.  In class yesterday, the staff set up a laminated tree with some sticky leaves on it.  Each leaf had a character from the story on it-think "family tree".  While telling the story, I was to point to the appropriate leaf.  You know, until the character kicked the bucket at which time I was supposed to remove them from the tree!!  I was horrified!  You should have seen the look on the faces of the kids.  I'm thinking of one little girl in particular.  She has a mass of curly hair and she literally had wide eyes with her mouth open.  This is tricky territory.  If you're too dramatic, those four year olds will be crying, no doubt.  But, you can't exactly make light of it.  Whew.  

And, then just to drive home the morbidity of the day, our "craft" project included a coloring sheet with Ruth and Naomi on it-they were faceless!!!  The "craft" was to glue their faces on.  Dead guys, headless ladies to color.  Tough day in Pre-K B.

A big shout out to Drew who had his first awesome day in class yesterday.  They did not even have to stroll him in the stroller!!  And he was smiling when I picked him up.  Shocking.  I am really so thankful for his 2nd hour teachers Christina and Dave (or dvvvv if you're Drew!).  They are my new favorite.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Curse of the Talking Toys

Ever since last Christmas, I've kind of had an attitude about "new fangled" toys.  I just really wanted Drew to have some of the simple classics of old.  You know, like the "corn popper" you push around, the balls you pop through the little table with a hammer, a jack in the box.

But, like any guilt-ridden mother, I have also given him or requested for him lots of the new kind of toy-that all make some hideous noise, usually meant to resemble children laughing.  

The "curse" I speak of started with a talking dog.  You push various parts of its' body and it responds by singing a song or saying some random phrase.  Back when the kids were tiny, we spent a lot of time playing on the floor in my room.  This dog was a big part of our activities, and so, was in the toy basket in our room each night.  It is quite disturbing to wake up to the sound of, "That tickles!" being screeched out of the dark corner in your room.  

Then, as the bulk of the toys migrated to the family room downstairs, every night was filled with the "curse".  Daniel or I would pick up the toys only to be serenaded by the sound of zoo animals, car engines, and that weird "laughing" sound.

Last week the "curse" hit a new level.  My mom was here visiting and sleeping in the playroom/guest room.  In the middle of the night the zoo puzzle I bought Drew for giving up his paci started screeching at her!!  It's a good thing she's such an understanding Grammy.  A lesser person would have brought the puzzle into our room and thrown it at us!  The puzzle problem slipped my mind as our week started.  Yesterday, horror of all horrors, I hear the puzzle screeching during nap time!!  In the playroom.  Where Lyla is sleeping.  Guh.

So today I moved the puzzle into my room, thinking about how "with it" I was to remember to move it out of the playroom before nap time.  Yeah.  "With it" until I'm in my bed tonight, home alone, and the puzzle starts screeching.  I almost set it on fire right then and there.  

Add to this the uncanny knack the kids have for setting the clock radio alarms to midnight every time they play with them, and you could say I'm a tad jittery.  I'm of a mind to dismantle all the "talking" toys and make Drew some balls and dolls out of cut up rags. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why a mom will make a great V-P

Ok. All of my beloved left-leaning libs can just calm down. This is for fun! And, I think you'll agree, being a mom is a training ground like no other.

Being a mom is quite a job. We've all heard it (or said it) before. We know moms work hard, but have you ever really stopped to think about the diverse training a mother gets on a daily basis? No? Well, here are some things moms deal with that make them well prepared to lead a nation.

Negotiating with Tyrants
Any mother of a toddler gets bossed around WAY more than she bosses anyone around.  In the course of a day the mother of a toddler negotiates her way out of many treacherous situations.  She is an expert in bribery, trickery, and distraction.  No international leader would even appear formidable to a mom after a trip to the grocery store with a grumpy kid.  At least he (or she) won't scream, kick, or lay on the floor like a limp noodle. 

Understanding Foreign Tongues
Drew and I have this issue with his bed currently.  And it is all wrapped up in the fact that I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about.  I think it has something to do with a bug.  Under his bed?  In his bed?  Not sure.  He gets really mad anytime I try to look under the bed.  And this is one of many, many situations where I have to rely on my best instincts to interrupt some very sketchy body language and half-words.  All moms have been there.  A mom VP could walk into a foreign country, carrying with her all her best mother understanding and interpret any tough political situation down to the minute details-just by watching the gestures!

Handling the Media
If you've ever watched a press conference, you know the press is especially adept at asking the same question about 157 different ways.  Moms have this one licked.  Not only do moms answer the same question many times a day (while employing all the above stated skills), they answer it in many settings, dealing with many other tasks at the same time.  Let's just say, for example, that some random mom bribed her 21 month old child with a sucker.  If he was good in the craft store, he could have a sucker.  Then, just for the sake of argument, let's just say, he didn't exactly behave in the store.  So, he was told he would not be getting a sucker.  But like those pesky reporters, he just couldn't take no for an answer.  On the way home, in the middle of rush hour traffic, he hypothetically asked about the sucker 1.1 million times.  And I (and by "I" I mean the random character I've created) handled myself in a very professional VP-like manner. Hypothetically. 

Creative budgeting
We all know the President and VP aren't really responsible for the economy (you do know that, right??) but we all also know that the general public thinks they are.  A mom knows, like no one else, how to stretch a buck.  Be it diluting the juice (because it's healthier!!), using coupons, making homemade cleaners, or driving slower to conserve gas (or so I've heard...) moms know the rules of creative spending.

So see?  Nothing qualifies you to run a gigantic country more than being a mom.  

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Can I get a re-do?

It has been one of those days. Not in the most serious sense-no major traumas, just a lot of little, annoying stuff that is threatening to push me over the edge!

The kids are feeling especially frisky today, running around like mean little elves, doing all the things they know they shouldn't be doing. So far they have climbed up drawers onto the top of my desk, pushed, pinched and hit each other, thrown water (large cups of it) out of the bathtub and onto the rug, thrown water on one another and dragged each and every pair of Big Dan's shoes out of the closet.

While I was straightening the shoes back up, a large object fell off the top shelf in the closet and clocked me in the head. And as a grand finale, while I was dumping diapers in the diaper genie, one of the kids shut the door on me, knocking me over in the process. I fell into the double stroller, hitting the steering wheel contraption, so I had a nice little theme song to pick myself up to. Woo wee. Big Dan is out of town. It's about 6.5 hours until bedtime!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Impromptu pool party

Man, we have had such a great time with Daniel home all weekend. Any time I tell Drew we are getting ready to do something, he asks if Daddy is coming along. He is going to have serious withdrawal when Dan goes back to work!!

After church yesterday we were basically just hibernating. While Drew was having dinner, my neighbor came by to ask if we wanted a picnic table and easel FOR FREE!! Ummmm, yes please! I've decided it is a definite bonus to be one of the youngest families living in a neighborhood. People are always looking to unload their little kid toys! We walked down to their house, got our loot and came back home. We had kind of tossed around the idea of taking a walk, but I was crabby and just not in the mood. Ha! It was just so hot. So, I had the idea of going to the pool. By the time we got ready it was almost 7 p.m. I wasn't sure how Drew would do that close to bedtime. He did great! We had such a total blast. It was cool, the water was a great temperature and Drew had one of his best swimming sessions yet. It was one of those great moments you can't plan for and can't re-create.

Daniel and I were goofing off seeing if we could still do a handstand in the pool (good visual, I know!) The answer to that question is a resounding no! We were definitely feeling our age. Daniel could barely get out of bed this morning because his back was hurting. We were racking our brains about why his back would be hurting and then he said, "It might be because of the handstands." Oh my gosh. I was cracking up! Of course that's why his back hurts!!!! Poor guy has spent the day on the heating pad. Next time we'll only do the geriatric exercises! =)