Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Things I LOVE having in the house

This will be a short one, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off getting ready for a PTA event so I am going to keep it short and sweet. What things do you want, need, love in your house with kids bumping around the house.

LOVE, WANT NEEDS for my Kid friendly house

Paper - I have a huge sheet of butcher block paper that can always be used for bored people any age

Art/Craft Supplies - You have to have something to do with the paper and a pile of nasty crayons, markers, washable paint, glue and glitter are always good. As the kids have gotten older these supplies have been put in an accessible cabinet and can be used for school or fun. I try to keep a few cleaned out boxes, cartons, and toilet paper rolls around for crafts too, then the good stuff won't be destroyed for creativity.

Bins/Organizational Supplies - I have bins for everything, they keep me sane. The shoes have a bin, homework has a bin. All the coats get hung in the same place every day, back packs too. For me all this stuff though maybe a bit cluttery give me a consistent place to put things.

Books - I keep a huge variety of books in the house; picture, reading, reference. All these books give the kids the chance to explore on their own and lets me move on to something new when Chicken used to want to read 'Is Your Mama a Llama' for the 100th time. I am a total book fiend and love being able to watch the kids love of books grow.

Throw blankets - When it's cold blankets work for their given purpose to keep us warm, ALL over our house. In the heat they are used as inside picnic blankets, fort material, a carrying device and anything else we can think of

Juice boxes/Individual prepackaged snacks/Fresh Fruit - There are times when I don't want to or can't get over to go get a snack for someone, having the individual servings makes it easier. Yes there are juice boxes in the oddest places, but sometimes the easy route it worth the weird old juice smell in my car.

Cereal - I know this sounds crazy, but it functions as a quick snack or meal, can be turned into a fun dessert with marshmallows and functions as great bread crumbs in a pinch.

Netflix Instant Streaming - I have no idea how the changes to netflix will change this, but I am sure we will all know eventually.  There are days when if I have to listen to iCarley or there is nothing on but Zack and Cody I may lose my mind. This is stodgy me coming out, but there isn't a lot of TV I really like right now, besides a handful of shows.  Netflix instant download lets me just throw on something that will last more than a half hour and I know the content of before hand, though Angry Beavers is getting a trying.

LOCATION - we are located in a court and have a good size back yard, along with only having one not too busy street to pass to get to the park.  This gives us the chance to encourage outside play and Independence.  It also gives us a chance to clean the house in between kid tears through it.

Doors - There have been moments where I just needed to go into my own space and shut the door, before the kids needed therapy for life and I regret too much what I say.

Google - I come off way smarter than I am because I can look up just about anything.

What are you wants and needs to survive in your house of kids??

PS I am trying a new layout, what do you think?  I am a little bummed I can't add in all the linking I had in before, but I sort of like the layout. Your feedback will decide what I do.

Monday, September 26, 2011

'Shopping is a girls favorite thing to do!!`

While the Hubs was napping yesterday morning I took the kids and ran a few errands, knowing that us being gone means more peaceful sleep I asked if there was anywhere the kids wanted to go to kill some time.  Bean ripped out with 'Lets go to the mall, shopping is a girls favorite thing to do!!' with hand pumps in the air.  At this point my mind reeled and if I wasn't more alert would have driven us off the road. Who is this child sitting in the back seat and where did she learn that??

As Bean popped out with shopping is a girls favorite thing to do, my first thought was I had failed her. Somewhere in the universe a feminist was loosing her wings, I should just put her in a I am too pretty to do homework tee shirt and be done with it. This isn't the case though and obviously I slightly over reacted in my mind before, thankfully my mouth decided to respond. The mall didn't sound like a horrid idea and we could continue our chat as we wandered the mall. As we walked the mall we talked about what Bean thought the mall and shopping would make it the favorite thing for a girl. We started with is it your favorite thing, her response was sometimes when you buy me stuff, with that sweet smile that said buy me stuff.  There was nothing in our conversation that could point me to where this idea came from, besides TV and friends. Eventually I shrugged my shoulders reminded her of all the other great things she likes doing and we started talking about what things she liked at the mall.

There were some benefits to our mall wander that I found interesting.  Bean has a really fun and funky style and hanging at the mall with her for an hour really helped me get a better idea of her likes and dislikes. She doesn't like much and was really particular about the style of this or that and how should would wear it.  The thing that kind of bothered me the most was her over interest in one particular store and that everything in that store was, the best, except one dress. I swear she had looked at other similar clothes in other stores and didn't like the clothes, but it was in THE STORE.  We started talking about how similar the clothes looked and that if she only had x amount of dollars and could buy something similar to what she wanted in this store, but cheaper somewhere else would she do it?  This caused a lot of thought and Bean said she would get back to me. Eventually she agreed that the cheaper store would be better, I had a little sign of relief smart shopping can never be learned too early.

Also with us on this mall walk about was Chicken and he is defiantly already living up to the boys don't want to shop stereotype, unless it was Boise State gear, Star Wars or Angry birds. As we wandered  from store to store he showed interest but you could tell he was not as particular and didn't want to look so much as buy and leave.  The great thing about him on this walk was the endless chatting, thought at times if makes me want to sell him, letting him prattle gives me a real chance to know where he is at in the world.

I don't think I am done talking to Bean about shopping and girls favorite things to do, but I do have a better idea of where she and Chicken are at.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sports Kids and Broken Bones

For those of you tortured with me in real life or Facebook, which I assume most of you, this story will be a rehash of sorts, sorry.  About two weeks ago Chicken broke is arm at football practice horsing around.

Practice was over, the boys were suppose to be out getting the cones and there he goes head over tea kettle over two other kids. The Hubs was there and said Chicken immediately came up to him crying that he had broken his arm.  We knew we were headed to the ER, but I told the Hubs to come by the house and I would take Chicken. The ER was interesting to say the least, there were 5 to 6 other football players with injuries in the ER, one with what seemed to be a really bad concussion.  Seeing all these other young men injured in the ER made me wonder, is this just the beginning of the injury train and will his current love of football lead to real physical hurt down the road? How do I feel about letting him pursue a love that may really hurt him? 

Injuries happen, kids get hurt, boys will be boys, it is part of playing the game; I think I have heard everyone of these sayings come out of parents and coaches mouths at some point.  My thoughts on these comments, but that is my boy!!!  As a athlete I thought the bruises were pretty cool, as a mom I am not so sure. I know that injuries happen and there is always a chance, but I also know there are ways to mitigate it too. My larger concern with all these things are what the influence Chickens coaches will have. Will they look out for possible injuries to make sure worse ones won't happen, will they even know what to look for? Will they encourage him to 'play hurt'?  Will I be able to have a voice when I think something is wrong at practice? I know it is way to early for these questions, by that kid in the ER was way to early for a concussion like that. This will not stop me from letting Chicken play, everyone needs that thing and there is a chance this is his. I may just have to grin and bear it until he decides he doesn't like it or is old enough and self confident enough to tell a coach something is wrong.  That isn't the best answer, but it is the answer I have come too.  I will be involved, try to get to know the other parents and coaches and do the best to make sure he is in as safe a circumstance as possible, but things happen and that is just part of being a kid.

Ok I am done with my ranting momminess now and back to the arm. In the ER I jumped audibly when he got his arm straightened for his x-rays.  Told him horror stories of my broken arm and helped keep him still while they wrapped it. He was home for two days while we waited for the swelling to go down and to get in with the orthopedist. When we finally got into the ortho he asked if we wanted to cast it so he can finish the football season, I politely declined saying I think we were good with him not playing while it heels. He is out for the season and no TaeKwonDo for four weeks.  The worst part of this whole thing so far is that Chicken is getting in trouble in class a little more, he is a little too antsy since he isn't getting his usual exercise.  We go back mid October where they will hopefully take the cast off, and they will give him a brace for 2 to 6 weeks.  The ortho said with the type of break and crack it is a brace is usually recommended.  Hopefully we will all survive the next 4 weeks with a Chicken without activities.

Overall, I learned as a parent I am willing to go let my kid be a kid, even if I am totally worried for them; and that Chicken needs a lot of daily exercise 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mom Down

There is nothing worse than getting sick, and there is nothing worse than being sick as a mom. That is what happened to me this weekend. Thankfully I have a husband who forced me to bed to rest and took on Sunday on his own.

Sunday is one of the more high impact days for the mom role in our house. Why is this? Sunday is the get ready for the week day. We organize and plan, get lunches made, cook ahead and generally put our ducks in a row. On a normal Sunday I make lunches, get homework done, figure out what needs to get done, and maybe do a little cooking. The hubs takes care of kid amusement, cleaning and may do a little cooking. With me down yesterday it all fell to him, and he did a great job.

So why am I rambling here. Somehow when I am sick on a weekend I end up feeling like I have to play catch up all week. I am off my game and just out of the loop. Right now all I want to do is go home and crawl into bed, but I am here at work instead. Tonight when we all get home it will be disorganized and most likely I will be impatient because I feel like crap and am not yet into the grove of the week. I have no idea how other people roll with being sick, but on top of feeling like garbage I feel guilty because someone else has to take my load or part of it and I never think of that as fair. Oddly though when the hubs is sick I don’t even think twice about picking up that extra load, it is just part of our cycle; sometimes I need help and sometimes he needs help, that is how it works. Somehow being sick brings out all crazies in me. So week, here I am beat me up as you need too…

How do you handle being sick, what do you do to get through it and what days are bad days to get sick, besides all of them?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Giving You the Best of School

I know this late week post is usually light with pictures of fun to be had, but today I have a different purpose. I read A Call to Moms! We Make Schools Better blog earlier in the week and felt a need to act. The blog is assisting the Mom Congress and in raising awareness about parent involvement in our schools. They are asking mom bloggers to write and open letter to their kids telling them what they will be doing to help them get the best education possible.

Dear Bean and Chicken;

There is so much out there to learn and experience; and school is a huge part of that beginning process. School is where you will develop the foundations of learning that hopefully will take you to wherever you want to go.  School is where you spend a huge portion of your day, and will for years to come.  School should be a place of adventure and curiosity, a place where there is always enough paste to go around and enough adult attention to get your questions answered. 
Right now you may not know that your school is lacking, and I want to keep it that way. I want you to know that even though our state may not be making an investment in you, we are. The parents and teachers at your school are committed to you and your future. I will again make our families annual tax deductible donation to the PTA, and though it may not be as special as lunch with you it is important in it's own way. It buys the supplies that are lacking in the art room, the books that are needed in the library. The money donated and raised helps, maybe not in a way you can see, but hopefully in a way your teachers see and need. 
There are nights that I leave you with Dad to run to a PTA Meeting or set up an event, I do that because of you. No matter how busy my schedule I will make the time to volunteer in some capacity at your school. Your school is where one of the first sense of community will come from, where not everyone will think the same.  It is important to me that you have the chance to experience that community and sense of self there.
I want your teachers and principal to know me, and if they think of me as 'that mom', sorry I love you too much to not be.  I commit to being at all the parent teacher meetings, to raise my concerns and ensure your education is what you deserve and need.  This doesn't mean I won't have to email your teachers a million times to figure out the class homework, or forget the paper you are suppose to take back, I will.   When my nerves are frazzled from too many spelling words I will remember my commitments to you and strive to get through one more spelling assignment.  You are my light and my smile and to me there is nothing more important than ensuring I am helping to give you the best education possible.
First Day of School 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Counselor Follow Up

In my tutoring recap a few weeks ago I didn't address the counselors feedback and concerns.  There were a few reasons for this, I didn't like the feedback she gave me, I didn't think they dealt with what I thought was important, and lastly I just wanted to chew on it a little.  Realizing that you won't break your newborn infant is a step in our development as parents, accepting that you are making a heady decision and your kid most likely won't need therapy for it later is another development. I am still on the fence about whether I will be paying a therapy bill later for all this, this blog included; but I keep reminding myself we are doing the best we can with the information we have today.

Lets chat about what the counselor actually talked about first, this one is the easy part. I had said specifically I wanted the counselor to talk to Bean about her learning issues, to help her identify when she is stuck because of a learning problem and when she just doesnt' want to do the work. Motivation vs learning problem seems like a really tough nut to crack. Bean is almost 9 and for her the difference between my brain isn't doing what I want and I just don't want to do it is really difficult to sort out.  My hope was that with some conversations with a counselor there would be a greater understanding of self and hence a more honest assessment of, this is junk I don't want to do it and my brain is jammed up. This did not happen. Instead of a conversation of self the counselor decided Bean was too inward focused, so her focus became learning how to make friends and be social the expected way. On top of this she felt like some of her answers were 'unexpected' and that she needed more normative responses to people, normative is my word.  Every time I followed up during the summer with what was being talked about it seemed they were talking about her anxiety or concerns so I was ok with it. At the end of the summer when I went into the final meeting, I got quite a surprise. I was informed that further counseling was warranted because there were socialization concerns. I stopped her there, 'Is there concern Bean is on the spectrum?', no just that she is a little too inwardly focused. At this point though I kept my cool, I think my head exploded but no one saw it. Apparently there was no conversation what so ever about learning issues and Bean ALL SUMMER, it was all about how to be socially accepted and make friends. THUD....

After listen for about 10 minutes to what was discussed that summer, the final wrap up was bound to be interesting.  The counselor went on to explain that because Bean liked South Korea and 'violent' (wrong word for sure) music there were enough social quirks that continued counseling would be good. She likes South Korea because she loves TaeKwonDo and the music isn't violent, it just isn't music everyone listens too and someone probably told her that it was violent. There are a few kids at daycare that can be a little dramatic about anything that isn't kids bop squeaky clean.  This is my first hint, the counselor go her answers asked no follow up and made incorrect assumptions.  The conversation continues, and I continue to ask questions. The final wrap up from the counselor is that there is a concern that because Bean said she doesn't care what her friends think of her or things she likes or dislikes, that there is something wrong with her. At this point I was in total shock and did not have a good response, it was silence and to sign Nan up for more counseling.  I later cancelled the counseling. Her tutor responded when we got back into her room that one of the great things about Bean is her quirkiness, and she is totally right. Bean is quirky and unique and I don't want anyone stepping on that or trying to make it more 'normal'.

Next steps then? What to do knowing that your kid is a bit quirky and you want to make sure they get it, but aren't told they are wrong for being them?  Let me start with what I love about Bean, she doesn't care what people think. I like that peer pressure won't be an issue most likely, she will put herself out there, take chances and be who she wants, hopefully. I do think she needs to know what is expected and what the norms are, not that she needs to follow them. We are going to put her in etiquette classes, this way she will learn the norms, but will be able to choose when she wants to use them. We will continue to explain things to her in a detailed manner and we will continue to encourage her to nurture the friendships she has. I'll let you know how big the therapy bill will be when she's 30.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My latest addiction....

Candy Flavored Vodkas :)A few weeks ago I got an account on pintrest, and the beginning of the end occurred.  I have spent most of my free Internet time wandering the pins on pintrest. I may be the last person in the world who found this site and finally gave it a wander, but man am I enjoying it.

I think what I like about it, is it gives me the chance to squirrel away ideas for later. There are lots of craft, kid and food ideas. This time of year I start digging around for homemade gift ideas and I am finding pintrest an absolute giggle for this, anything I have ever considered or wanted to try has a picture with a web link to detailed instructions.  I am all about detailed instructions. The other thing I like about the site is it gives me the ability to build up a wish list of crafts to try and products I want. I feel a real ability to express my interests and who I am through this.

So have fun and get lost...who wants to try this one...
Beyond Yummy! Nutella hot cocoa = )

Monday, September 5, 2011


I have been informed by Thing One, that she has never been Thing One, is not Thing One now, and will never be Thing One. This has been a long standing issue that I am about to totally give up one. Thing One has been Bean for years, this was the Hubs nickname as a kid and we started calling her Sweet Bean forever ago.

At some point I became that whack job mom that wanted to dress her kids up in matching Halloween outfits and Thing One and Thing Two were the obvious choice. Once Bean got a brother there were many Thing One and Thing Two moments and this seemed a give in Halloween costume, but it was not to be. Bean hates the Muppet's, like at some point in her life will need therapy for it, and somehow Thing One and Thing Two are associated with the Muppet's. I am not saying I haven't succeeded in matching costumer, they were Minnie and Micky Mouse one year, too cute. I never succeeded with Thing One and Two though and seeing as Bean will be 9 in days it seems only right to give this one up. 

In giving up the desire for Thing One and Two matching Halloween outfits, I am going to give up those monikers here also.  Why you ask? I started out with Thing One and Two to hide their anonymity when they got older, having pictures didn't really help that though. This blog also isn't so widely read that I have any big concerns about some freaked out Internet perv hunting them down.  I will continue to not use their true names, though 90% of you know them, but will use their nicknames. Bean obviously is a pretty widely used one and something I don't see her keeping into adulthood.  What about Thing Two you ask? I assume anyone who knows us well knows what Thing Twos long standing nickname has been shortened too recently and it is appropriately short enough to use here, Chicken.  Chicken gets nicknames like some kids get pets, he acquires them from everyone, everywhere.  Chicken has become my nickname for him, a shortened version of the nickname he has had since he was three. I find Bean and Chicken to be hysterical names to nickname your kids, but both seem to fit really well and if we are going to let it all hang out, those nicknames should as well.

So the next post you will see from me will not reference Thing One and Two, but Bean and Chicken; two kids who seem at the moment pretty ok with me over sharing all our lives.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Bay Area Trip -- Take Two

It is a week of seconds, second time talking about food and second installment on the Bay Area California adventure.  This installment will be about our wild and wacky day in San Francisco.

As a kid I always got excited when we had family in town because it always meant a tourist trip to San Francisco.  I always loved the city; the Cable Cars, Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39 and china town were always favorites, and I hoped to be able show the kids around at least a little.

Time was an issue on this trip and though we didn't want to rush we wanted to give the kids a really good feel of the city.  We went over the Golden Gate and though the it was foggy it didn't seem to matter.  There was still lots of looking around and Alcatraz garnered a lot of questions, we will have to hit there next time.  The one thing I thought the kids would love was the Cable Car, though it was interesting, and there were a lot of questions, I forgot one thing. When you are four feet tall and sitting on the side of the Cable Car, there isn't a lot to see except the streets you're passing between the legs of the people standing in front of you. We were the last few seats on the outside and though the ride was interesting, and looking at how steep the streets were was cool, I think they would have been more into it if they could have seen more than the french family standing in front of them.  Next we hit the Wharf and Pier 39, for the seafood loving Thing One this was heaven.  She dug checking out all the sea life available for eating, but she really only ever wanted on thing, clam chowder in a bowl and she loved it when we finally got it. The Sea Lions were a treat to watch and Thing Two gave a narration of what they were saying that was too cute.  We zoomed through Chinatown which Thing One was really interested in, all the things hanging in window and her adventurous stomach would have had a great time. Overall SF delivered and was a good time to be had by all. Hopefully we will get the chance to go back soon and do more exploring, I would love to hit Golden Gate Park and Haight Ashbury; or catch a Giants game and ride BART.

Even though a lot has changed about San Francisco as a tourist it still feels very familiar and I have to say it was really nice to feel not too out of touch, even though it has been awhile.