Showing posts from October, 2011

The Few. The Proud. The Trick-or-Treat Experts.

It's that time of year again.
The most glorious night of the year to my three daughters. The night when all their dreams come true.
It is also the favorite night of the year to dentists everywhere, but that is another topic for another day.
The one, the only, Halloween.
Halloween is a highly anticipated even around here for three main reasons: 1. the dress-up. My children are just a little obsessed with being in costume. This is evidenced by our overflowing dress-up box, the fact that they sit at the table for an ordinary dinner dressed as a princess, and at times I have even allowed them to go into public places dressed like fictional characters. 2. obviously, the candy. 3. And in a close second to the candy, the doorbells. Being able to ring strangers' doorbells everywhere?! Doorbells are like the portal to happiness to my youngest. Normally she is banned from random ringings when we take walks, but for this one, glorious night, she can push doorbell buttons to hear little he…

Gumball Gorging

I've been a single mother this week.
It stinks.
My respect for real single mothers grows exponentially every time my husband is gone on business a mere few days. Six to be exact, but whose counting? Fall is a very busy time for him at work.
And so, on "Dad's Coming Home Tomorrow Eve", I took the girls to their favorite place to celebrate that we'd all made it. Alive and somewhat sane.
This is where we wound up: Sweet CeCe's. The world's greatest self-serve yogurt place. Although tonight's visit was relatively uneventful, I will take this opportunity to tell you about the LAST time we were patrons in this lovely little shop.
Someone, who will remain unnamed, was taking great issue at the tyrannical rules of my kingdom. Specifically, my unjust requirement that all my loyal subjects must wear shoes into public places of business.
To make her protests known, she staged a standoff on the sidewalk outside the store. One of us was going to win this. It wa…

Dixie Cup Demanders

Meet the Dixie Cup.

If you have young children, you'd better get used to these. Might even want to buy them in bulk.
You're gonna wish you had.
You see, when children are being tucked into their warm, soft beds, kisses have been given, stuffed animals strategically placed all around them, night lights checked, and the ambience of a white noisemaker is turned on, something happens. It almost never fails.
You have nearly made it. The magic couple hours of adult time at night, when no one will need you to cut their food or brush their hair or argue with them over having to wear clothes. You breathe a quiet, contented sigh of relief and anticipate settling down with a favorite book you're working through.
What? It has educational value. I'm learning all sorts of new words and expanding my literary tastes. And what's more, I have LOTS to talk about with the 5th grade boy who carpools with us.
Just at the very moment you tiptoe out of their room and cast one last look…
In a previous life, I was a 5th grade teacher. As such, I got pretty good at sniffing out school projects, papers, and various assignments that were completed by parents instead of my students. At the time, I was just a newlywed and didn't know what the heck I was talking about when it came to children.
Now that I'm a parent and sit on the other side of the table, I get it.
My kindergartener came home a couple weeks ago with a big announcement: "I am supposed to make an alien out of recycled materials for school." She could not have been more excited unless we'd told her that Luke Skywalker was coming over for dinner.
This was right on the heels of the ABC book we made. I say, "we"...pretty much all she did was smile for the camera (each picture was of her with something from our nature hike that began with the diff't letters of the alphabet....acorn, bark, cactus, etc.) and then write each letter on the correct page and a Bible verse at the end…

What are you calling me?

My girls have a favorite-beyond-compare bedtime game. They LOVE it when we play hide and go seek in the dark upstairs. Of course they are too afraid to actually hide by themselves or seek by themselves, so we must play in groups. Dad on one team, Mom on the other.
Somewhere along the way, however, this game became slightly insulting.
The youngest of my crew began for some reason referring to me as "Porky". You see, my job when we are the "seeking team" is to crawl down the dark hall on my hands and knees. I'm not sure when our game evolved into this, but nevertheless, this is how it's done. The girls walk along next to me, their hands on my shoulders or back, as we make our way throughout the darkened rooms.
It's a little nerve racking, not knowing when my kind of frightening husband will jump out at us.
And okay, okay, you should probably know this tiny detail as well: as "Porky", I am supposed to make snorting sounds the entire time,…

Children's Games and Grown-Ups Who Play Them

We have entered the years where our kids enjoy playing games.
This is a super fun stage. You get to take a break from thinking up different sounding voices and accents for 37 different stuffed animals as you play pretend and instead explain the rules to games such as Memory or Uno or Go Fish.
There is one game that is especially popular with young children. It is a classic. If you're a parent of a child older than two, chances are good that you own this game. It has entertained countless kids throughout the years.
Entertained the kids. Tortured the grown ups.
I am speaking, of course, of the one and only "Candyland Game". You've heard of it. These are the playing pieces.
They look so harmless. What a fun little game. Gingerbread men traveling through different candy lands!
You soon find out these gingerbread men are conniving little demons, hell bent on making you crazy.
Basically, the game goes like this: Put your little guy at start, draw a card which …

Room Restrictions

You'll remember that we've talked about my children's obsession with tape.
The other day they discovered they could skip the tape usage altogether and use something more readily available, free, and that they don't have to remember to put back. What?
That's right. They covered Lauren's entire wall next to her bed with pictures they've drawn and kept over the years using nothing but some creativity and some spit.
Suddenly the overuse of tape isn't looking so bothersome to me anymore.
Anyway, my oldest also used spit to put her new "room restrictions" on her bedroom door. I walked by and noticed the new sign and stopped to check it out.
Since it's a little hard to see and written in 8-yr-old spelling, I'll translate for you: no princesses - there are certain family members who are quite taken with princesses and their attire. Olivia is not one of them.
no robers - I can understand this. I'm not really keen on robbers, either. …

Boat Races

It was the last day of Fall Break.

What to do? What to do? We'd already been to the dollar movie, we'd been to a safari animal show, we'd seen friends...the pressure was on to find one last memorable activity to bring our break to a fabulous end.
I know! We'll head to the Greenway and take the stupid dog and enjoy the sunshiny day. Oh a whim, I called my mom to see if she'd like to join in the fun. I was surprised to hear my dad answer the phone and remembered that he'd taken the whole week off to work around the house and finish some projects.
Nana AND Papa wanted to come with us!
If you have ever met my father, you know that sometimes he gets these ideas of ways to have fun with his kids. We love our Dad and Papa. This photo was taken around 1984 of he and my little sister. Pantyhose on the head is always good for a laugh.
Now that a few years have gone by, he now gets especially fun ideas for his grandchildren. They always sound SO fun. Once he brou…

The Scavenger Hunt You do NOT Want to Win

As a child I loved the thrill of a scavenger hunt. What special treasures were waiting just around the corner? What hints would I be given on my quest to find the treasures? I could hardly stand the excitement! Kids all around me would be running and laughing, gleeful at the thought of being the winner.
As a mother, all that has changed.
I now pretty much HATE scavenger hunts.
My husband is not a big fan of them, either. Each of us try to overlook the obvious clues we find in our home, hoping, praying, silently willing the other to find the "treasure" first.
Here are the top 10 things I do NOT like to find in my house: 1. Table place settings for four in my carpeted hallway. I know it looks all sweet and little girl cute, and it really is, but I am not fond of these impromptu tea parties because some members of our family are insistent upon using real beverages. Which would be fine, except that these same members of the family tend to spill said beverages. On my carpet.…

The Music Man

As you know, leading educators encourage parents to introduce their children to all types of music at an early age. Music can help stimulate deeper levels of cognition, develop auditory learning, and let's not forget the importance of fostering a love for the artistic arena of different genres of music.
Yadda, yadda, yadda.
We just like music around here, simple as that.
I say "we". Actually I am referring only to myself and my middle child. A typical conversation in our van goes something like this...
Child #2: "Mom, can we listen to some music?"
Child #1: "NO! NO MUSIC, MOM! PLEASE!"
Child #3: (just now realizing we're talking about music only because the DVD player is not being used at the moment) Crying, wailing because she's not watching Ariel.
Last year Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jim gave child #2 a Hello Kitty cd player/radio, scoring them pretty major cool points.
Countless mornings I have woken to the sounds of music drifting through…

Great Scotch!

I've been talking a lot about toys lately. They are fun and colorful and do neat things and make lots of noise (if they're the really good kind).
Today I'd like to discuss the single greatest toy invention of all time.
This product is by FAR the favorite among my kids. In fact, I'd venture to say kids round the world have spent countless hours of joy creating and building with and enjoying this item. It seems SO popular around here, actually, that I kinda wish I'd bought stock in it a few years back. I could've tripled my money at this point from my household alone.
So what is it?
None other than Scotch Tape. Or any tape, for that matter. Yes, folks, Scotch Tape. It is the all-time most popular thing around here. And why not? You can tape masterpieces to the walls, make all sorts of crafts, or fix broken toys (or mom's broom which you "accidentally" played with even though you weren't supposed to and broke). And the best feature? Tape…