The latest funny conversations at our house:
Josiah: Mom, did you know Connor M. is really good at piano? He played it at music class today.
Me: Oh really? that's very cool. He probably takes lessons.
Jack: Yeah, he probably has a black belt in piano.
Josiah: Mom, are you a chatterbox?
Me: I don't know, what is a chatterbox?
Josiah: Somebody who who talks a lot and kinda fast.
Jack: Well, she definitely talks a lot.
I bust out laughing.
Jack to Lucy: Lucy! I think your potty training is going fantastic!
Lucy: Thanks jackie!
Tell us your kid funnies in the comments and don't forget about this:
This year PBS Supersisters are lending a hand on Earth Day and inviting you to join our kids in submitting art to the Annual Kids' Day Earth Auction and bidding on your favorite finds. This year all the proceeds go to The Nature Conservancy and in honor of the auction we'll be giving away a book a day from the delightful Barefoot Book series. All you have to do is follow us on Twitter (pbssupersisters) and help spread the word about the auction. We'll select a new winner from our Twitter followers everyday for the next eight days.
More information available here about being part of this great cause.
Earth Day is just around the corner and here are some ideas for teaching your kids about being better stewards of our planet. Don't miss our great giveaway at the bottom of the post.
1. Plant a garden. Everyone's doing it. Even the First Lady was out with elementary kids planting a new garden at the White House with herbs and vegetables a few weeks ago. If you live in an apartment, your kids can start a herb garden by a window. We have even grown tomatoes inside. My kids? Their father had them out in the rain the other evening because the seed potatoes had arrived and they just had to be put in the ground. Thirty minutes later everyone came back into the house, muddy but happy.
2. Start a compost bucket. No reason to fill up the trash can with items that can be "recycled." In our house we have an easy-to-open bucket that is easy-to-seal as well (important because you don't want your house to smell). Every morning the boys add the coffee grinds and egg shells to the bucket all by themselves. When it fills up, it gets dumped in the compost pile in the back (full of grass clippings and leaves}. After proper seasoning (determined by the expert, my husband), the compost gets turned into the ground in our garden.
3. Fly a kite. Funny idea, right? There is a method to my madness. Derek took the boys kite flying and used it as an opportunity to get some of their energy out and to explain alternative energy sources such as wind turbines. He also has an idea for connecting a small motor to a bicycle to have the boys generate power for some of our house but that's still in the works. I'll let you know when it happens.
4. Buy local. There is nothing that tastes better than a tomato that has just been picked from a vine. Not all of us have a green thumb (or space for a big garden), so heading out to your local farmer's market on the weekend is a great way to get super-fresh vegetables AND support the people who farm in your area.
5. Have your kids draw a picture or make a painting and contribute it to the Annual Kids' Day Earth Auction. This year PBS Supersisters are lending a hand on Earth Day and inviting you to join our kids in submitting art to the Annual Kids' Day Earth Auction and bidding on your favorite finds. This year all the proceeds go to The Nature Conservancy and in honor of the auction we'll be giving away a book a day from the delightful Barefoot Book series. All you have to do is follow us on Twitter (pbssupersisters) and help spread the word about the auction. We'll select a new winner from our Twitter followers everyday for the next nine days.
More information available here about being part of this great cause.
Last year five and a half year old Declan decided he wanted to have an art sale in his backyard. He and his friends would make the art, hang it up on the clothesline and then invite all the parents to come over and buy their art. For how much? one parent asked. Just a quarter. Or a penny. Declan the tenderhearted capitalist replied--because he likes to drive a hard bargain like that.
This postmodern twist on the traditional lemon stand caught on in the neighborhood, and then some kind mother suggested they turn the art sale into an online auction AND donate the proceeds to charity. Charity? Why not? Declan and his mom, Aimee Greeble, decided to donate all their proceeds to help the environment and the Annual Kids' Earth Day Auction was born. Declan got to have his art sale and become a tenderhearted capitalist and a kid-philanthropist all on the same day.
This year PBS Supersisters are lending a hand and inviting you to join our kids in submitting art to the auction and bidding on your favorite finds. This year all the proceeds go to The Nature Conservancy and in honor of the auction we'll be giving away a book a day from the delightful Barefoot Book series. All you have to do is follow us on Twitter and help spread the word about the auction. We'll select a new winner everyday for the next nine days.
More information available here.
Spring break is over and I am now counting the days to summer. I look forward to days of lounging without the chaos of having to be somewhere. The kind of days when you wake up and wonder what fun thing can happen because anything is possible.
I've done way too much internet roaming while my kids watch television lately so I decided I would try to dial in a little more during our vacation. I'm always amazed at what happens when I do anything the slightest bit intentional with my kids.
"I think I'm an artist mom." Josiah said. I listened as he listed all the things he wanted to create and try. We spent the week setting up a flickr account to keep a portfolio of his work. He made instructional lego movies with the flip video to upload to youtube. Hours were spent creating a new lego line of art (like the one above)
He carried his journal everywhere we went to work on sketches. We laid in bed and talked about what things to work on next and what classes he should take. We woke up every morning and checked to see if anyone commented online about his work. He couldn't have been happier.
I realized he needs this all the time. A constant flow and materials at his finger tips, the encouragment and documentation of his work and passion. It all fuels the fire of the creative mind.
Do you have any budding artists at home? What do you do to encourage them?
She put the sticker on to the long pink strip. I held my arm out, without thinking.
"I see you know the drill," as she placed the bracelet bearing my son's name on my arm. "Welcome back, Miss Hammond," she said with a sigh.
We were back in the emergency room, this time with a gash in his face where Ethan met the wrong end of a rather large stick. Come to think of it, is there really a right side of a stick? It was a complicated story involving a slide and boys being boys. Some said I jinxed myself earlier in the day when I yelled out the front door, "KNOCK IT OFF I DON'T WANT TO GO TO THE ER TODAY!!!"
I don't believe in jinxing but I do believe that you either have an ER child or you don't. This child of mine? He's practically a regular. So much so that the same doctor was on call that was on the last time he got stitches for the knife incident when he cut his pinky while making this elaborate pulley system with a box, a dog leash and a hook on the wall. When she walked into the exam room, he was jumping up and down on the bed because he had sent a paper airplane through the "uprights" represented by the bendy light that hangs from the ceiling.
"I see how you end up here. Could you please sit down on the bed?" He looked at her, heaved a big sigh and sat down on the bed. With amazing technique and what can only be described as an Easter miracle, the doctor gave him 9 stitches which only resulted in minimal crying. With that, he bound up and was asking for his popsicle. You know, the result of a bad day at the emergency room.
In the old days we would have dwelt on what could have been: punctured eyes or ears or something equally horrific. Now we just take it all in stride: thankful that the emergencies are little and that everyone is only slightly worse for the wear at the end of the day. But I'll have to admit that raising this boy is a full-time and rather tiring job without time off. Zzzzz.
Pancakes, syrup overflowing, a chance to be together. Last Saturday I said "whatever" to a hundred deadlines and swooped my kids off for a morning at our local diner. Here's what Madeleine saw through the lens when I passed the camera across the table. Pretty sweet, right?
Here's hoping your Saturday morning is packed full with a lot of fun and not too many responsibilities. It's the weekend after all, and everyone needs a little time with the ones they love.
Would you be up for having 5 kids? Do you get tired of people (like me) asking you how you manage with 4? I have two and still can't figure it out!
People ask me all the time if I think we'll have more children. I don't mind at all, although my answer usually reflects the kind of day I'm having. I think when you go past 3, people start to think you might be on your way to getting your own television show.
I had a light bulb moment about life the other day while heading to pick Lucy up from preschool. I looked at Lyra and thought, "Four times really isn't that many." Four times to have a newborn nuzzle your neck, or an infant be mesmerized by the ceiling fan, or a toddler construct funny 3 word sentences, or have a preschooler gift you a macaroni brooch. The time of being little is so short with each stage holding its own magic.
It also means long nights and tired days, more people who need part or sometimes all of you. Many days I feel stretched very thin in a way I haven't before. I wonder what it will be like when we have four teenagers, four college tuitions, four individuals finding their way to adulthood. While I think we could have more children, I imagine we will have to make a clear intentional decision to stop here.
I am soaking in all the "last" times of babyhood. Here is the game I play with Lyra (sometimes for 30 minutes straight) that I never want to forget:
If you are finished having kids, how did you know you were done? If you aren't finished, how many children do you plan on having?
I know it's developmentally appropriate for a two-year-old to enjoy pouring things and sorting things, but frankly, I'm over it. Wherever he goes, Nathan is pouring. Pouring water from sink to sink. Pouring powdered sports drink mix into his cheerios and then back into the drink mix container. Pouring chocolate chips into the popcorn (which is actually inspiring, yet highly inappropriate for a 7:30 a.m. breakfast). Pouring water over the side of the bathtub.
My mother was here last week and she let him do the dishes in the sink as I slept on the couch. Or should I say, I was totally and completely passed out on the couch from sheer exhaustion. Apparently he poured water from one sink to the other for an hour and twenty minutes. I'm not sure but I think that is equivalent to about a million years in the world of two-year-olds. He was delirious. That's the great thing about grandmothers: they don't mind cleaning up the huge puddles on the floor or changing the outfit three times because the boy was just too wet for his own comfort.
Marmie is gone now and I have resorted to removing all the chairs from the first floor of my house. No chair in front of the computer. No stools in the kitchen. No chairs around the dining room table. It sounds extreme, right? I'll put it in perspective for you. Today I found Nathan trying to reach the counter. He had found a box of pasta and was using it to get just a little bit more height. Now my removal of the chairs doesn't seem so ridiculous, right? He was desperate to get to the sink but I had just spent an hour cleaning the kitchen. I decided to give in and take the kids outside.
One hour, two shovels and a pile of dirt. It wasn't the same as pouring water onto the floor but it will have to do. I think he was happy.
See that boy, the one with the shining eyes?
He's smiling because he has his whole family, his grown-up friends Nick and Jess, his grandparent neighbors Mark and Meryl and those eggs are hatching. All fifty to two hundred of them. His dad woke up to find them, and then climbed the stairs to find him. "Call everyone!" he told his mother, and so she did.
No praying mantis ate another in the grand exodus from the egg case. Not a single one (that we can determine) died in the passage. All the horrible things that could have happened never did, and for all our flaws, all our broken, cracked places, we are all together.
"So what you are saying is you don't WANT my money?" Jack said as he worked me over with his mad negotiating skills.
"All I'm saying is I am not ready to negotiate yet." I replied with a smile.
"Well, you might wanna think about it because it looks like you need the money to me." he said.
It was all I could do to not totally start laughing during our spreak break never ending game of Monopoly. Jack and I both lost to Josiah who was quietly stacking houses and hotels on every property he owned. It's a low budget kind of spring break around here and board games rock our socks.
I gathered my kids together and told them it would be an "at home" vacation this week. We made a list of the things we could do together and surprisingly most of the items were relatively cheap ideas. I don't know what the cash flow is at your house but judging from the economy this might be a good time to trade fun and cheap ideas for a low budget spring break.
Here's what we have so far:
Play a board game from your childhood with your kids
Check out a new park (well new to us) in the next town over
Take a photo walk- buy disposable cameras for the kids and head out to walk the streets in our city
Go for a picnic
Go fishing at a local lake
Have a video game tournament- parents included
Make Lego and Bionicle videos
Make cookies together
Share the wealth, add your ideas to the list in the comments!