Monday, April 16, 2012

A Strangers Kindness

This weekend we took in the fun of the local Boise State Football spring game. Chicken has claimed he would play there since he was four, and the last few years he has been looking up to Bronco Shea McClelin, also nicknamed Chicken Dinner.  Shea just graduated and is headed off to the NFL Draft. I assume Chicken will follow whatever team gets the luck of picking up Shea.

Before the scrimage the first Optomist sign ups for the year occur also. Chicken has been pretty jazzed at getting to start Optomist flag football next year so we decided to do his weigh in and sign up at the kick off.  When we finished sorting him out for sign ups we were told the kids could go out and play through drill with some of the Boise State Football players on the field.  As we headed out towards the field Chicken got noticably quiter.  As we hit the edge of the field, where parents were allowed he froze, suddenly my crazy loud outgoing boy was so shy he was on the verge of crying. This isn't the first time that the excitement of the moment has brough Chicken to this frozen shy fear.  Sometimes I can get him to snap out of this frozen state and have a great time, we knew if he would only go out there he would love it.  Thankfully another mom stepped in.

While Chicken sat on my knee and I tried everything I could to get him out on the field a mom right next to us looked over and told us her son used to be just like that.  Her and I chatted a bit and her ten year old came back from running around on the field. At that moment she broke off chatting and talked with her son quietly for a few moments. Next thing I knew her son was in front of Chicken asking if he would go out on the field with him, all it took was a few words and Chicken was in. Relief washed over me as he headed off to the field and had a wonderful time. I could not be more thankful for this mother reaching out and asking he son to help us. Hopefully in a few years we can return the favor to another boy in need of someone to head out on the field. 

Both boys had fun and I thanked the other boy and mother again profusely for the time they took to help out Chicken.  As a parent I experience these moments of other parents helping out. Has a total parent stranger giving you a hand, have you ever done something like this?

This is when I know all parents are superheros, they see anothers pain and help relieve it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Chatty

Honestly I am totally out of ideas to type today, but I did take note that both kids are in great moods and neither one will hush long enough for me to think of something to write.

Don't laugh by the way, I realize the irony that I am crazy chatty and hence have two chatty kids. The issue is happy chatty kids in this house, don't seem to talk to people, they talk to the universe about separate topics, at the same time.

Bean is currently chatting at us, or the cat or who knows about how Os are easy in cursive.  When I am really trying to focus or concentrate I may hum or sing, which annoys people to no end, and I am wondering if her 'chatting' does the same thing for her.  As the person who has to listen to this 'chatting' and is trying to do something else, man is it annoying. Sorry to all the people I have annoyed over the years, I am sure it has happened a lot.  So as Bean chats away the play by play of her cursive home work and everything else going on in the house and I keep reminding her to finish her work, someone will eventually achieve something.

Chicken is also talking at the same time Bean is and not talking about Bean's cursive homework. The humming noise of both kids talking at once is sometimes a nice white noise, but right now is making me crazy because I for some strange reason am actually trying to listen to both kids talk at once. While Bean happily chatters about her homework Chicken has words running from his mouth at a faster rate than I can form the response to all the questions he is asking, apparently all in one long run on sentence. Again, I get the irony, get over it, I'm sorry.  Finally I reach over, and touch Chicken's nose. He stops and for 15 seconds and I can hear Bean and start answering Chickens answer.

If you see someone running from my neighborhood early evening assume it is me and I just need a break.

Do you have happy chatters what do you do to deal with them?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Encouraging Independence

Last weekend Bean wanted to go on an adventure.  She occasionally likes to wander the neighborhood on what she calls neighborhood adventures.  Last weekend though she wanted to go on a big adventure, to walk to school and back.  Last year I read a book about Free Range parenting and this adventure to school was just what they were talking about.

As I sent Bean and Chicken out the door with a cell phone in Beans pocket, the mom fear was there, but I knew it was important to let them go.  As a parent sometimes the hardest thing is opening up the door to adventure and possibly failure for your kids.  The kids made it to the school, played some basketball and came home.  They were very proud of themselves, and after the fact I realized how silly I was to be worried at all, there are no major streets to cross and I had walked the route with the kids a few times.  The fears that I have are some times irrational, fed by media sensationalism, and sometimes legitimate.  The thing that is tough is being able to balance what the kids need in regards to encouraging independence with making sure they have all the tools they need for said independence.

You may ask what I mean by ensuring they have the skills to succeed.  Walking to and from school doesn't require tons of prep, do they know where they are going do, they know not to completely lose the plot when they got lost.  Bean can lose the plot pretty easy which is part of the reason we have slowly worked towards more independence, but without attempts like a walk to school she will never learn she has the skills to handle getting lost. There are other types of independence though, and some of those require a lot of skills training.  Knowing how to sew, cook and do laundry are key skills needed for independence and somehow we need to teach them all these skills without the house burning down, me loosing my mind, and the kids being able to get what they need.

So where are we with learning all these great skills?  The kids can use a cell phone mostly, they haven't burned the house down but can't cook too much, and Chicken is petrified of needles. We'll get there eventually, but knowing when to push the skills and the independence is all about the kid and what they need and can handle at the that time.

What are you doing to teach independence and get your kiddos the skills they need? How do you manage your mom fears when it comes to independence?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Being at the end of the alphabet sucks

The kids headed back to school this week and it came with the coming dread of Beans science experiment.  At  Meet the Teacher night this year the teachers said for each students, Star Student Week, they would be asked to show off a science experiment.  Initially we were really excited by this, then we found out that Star Student was in alphabetically order.  We have spent the last few weeks pouring through the internet looking for something that hasn't been done yet, that will be ok to do in a classroom.  These are the conclusions from Bean, everything cool has been done and explaining (insert thing here) is way too tough for me.

Seeing that I married into this Z based last name I never considered how much alphabetical order is a pain when you are at the bottom of the ABC food chain.  There are advantages to being at the end of the alphabet, every year we know what the kids student class number will be, the highest number in the class. This science experiment though is really making it tough.  We are now looking beyond Mythbusters, since everything that a 9 year old could do has been done and have moved on to Penn and Teller. Bean is talking about doing the balancing the beer bottle.  I can't quite remember what this one is, but the internet shall provide, like always.  The thing I wonder about though is what other impacts and creativity will we have to come up with in the next few years since we are the end of the alphabet.  Sitting in either the last seat or front seat are a give in of alphabetically order, but what about the picnic game.  How do you play the picnic game with the letter Z, I am going on a picnic and I am going to bring a Zebra?  For tests will they have to go last and watch everyone crash and burn around them, for presentations will everyone be drooling asleep on their desks when they finally stand up.  Honestly I am not sure if that last thing is really a negative, I could have used more uninterested people when I gave class presentations.

I am sure we will find an experiment and it will be cool, but man this going last thing bites. Maybe next time she will get to go first.

A Pinterest Easter

This is not my first post concerning Pinterest and my love of the site.  I spend way to much time pinning tons of fun activities and attempting to do them.  This Easter I built a board just for the holiday and pinned away all the super cool funky fun activities that I was interested in trying out.  Did I try all of them all, heck no.  I picked a few key things that looked easy, cheap and pretty quick and off we went.

The first things we tried were with peeps.  We love peeps, but no one in the house actually eats them, except Bean and she gets sick two peeps in.  I was looking for color in our decorations this year and the peeps seemed like a great idea. we did the peep vase and the wreath.  The vase went really well, we did a vase in a vase so that one held the jelly beans and peeps and the other one the flowers.  The vase is beautiful, adds a great bit of color and looks good. The wreath is another story.  We used a picture frame and we should have gone round.  We also used jelly beans to fill in the holes and I wasn't really impressed by the final outcome.  The other problem we have found is that the peeps color fades quickly in the sun. Overall it isn't bad, and I want to think of more to do with peeps.The latest sewing project were the cute little bunny sacks you see here.  Bean is learning to sew and I thought these would be a great, challenging project for her.  First thing was that I should have made the pattern for these bigger.  Due to their small size the bunnies were difficult to get right side out and sewing the ears was more of a challenge than it should have been.  Also those little ears were a pain for me to stuff with batting.  Overall though this was the cutest project I have done in some time and we really liked it. I have a number of more bunnies cut out, but forgot how to get the thread on the small spool so we are waiting for mema and popi to come back and will finish the project and their house this weekend. They were a gift for them anyways. Our final Pinterest adventure centered around egg decorations.  We tried three separate ideas with this run and most turned out in some way shape or form.  The main attempt was to decorate the eggs using Kool Aid.  I liked this idea on a couple levels, it was cheap and smelled good and the colors washed off clothes pretty easy.  The big issue with this adventure was that because we didn't use vinegar and we kept trying to do different things the dye kept coming off with our fingers.  Another fun thing we tried was doing rubber band art around the coloring.  The rubber banding should have created a stripped pattern of varied colors, this did not turn our quite as expected. The rubber bands turned out to be difficult to get to stay on the wet eggs and our fingers kept taking the dye off.  The last thing we tried was a few storm trooper eggs.  These were tough to keep still and Chicken wanted to color the eggs with the Kool Aid way more than try to frustratingly draw on them.  Overall the eggs were hit and miss, but it was sure fun trying it out.We are all ready for Easter and had a great time trying out lots of new things, thanks to Pinterest.  Some worked and some didn't but I find that the interesting part of trying new things, sorting out how to make it work for us.  I have not included links to any of the things I found because I want you all to head out and find your own. Good luck..Do you have any Pinterest loves?  My username is beepnz if you want to follow me.