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Mom Camp

on the top of the Empire State Building. How can I top this?

on the top of the Empire State Building. How can I top this?

I have been a little terrified about this summer. We are went away for the first week and now we are home. We will just be here. Hot and grumpy all summer long. I want them to do camp, but not every week or even every other week. It’s too expensive for one and I want them to have a break from getting up and having to go somewhere every day. So I’ve been pinning all kinds of ideas on pinterest and I’ve come up with what will hopefully be a fun and productive summer!

I used the Power of Moms blog post as a guide. First, I gave the boys a plan for every day of the week.
“Make it Monday” – We will make something that day. I’ve pinned tons of crafts like rocket ships, jet packs, stepping stones, etc.. Last week, we made hand prints in clay. (check out my pinterest page for ideas)
Travel Tuesday – We will visit some place like the Children’s Museum or grandmas.
Wet Wednesday – Pool, splash pad, water park (if I can find one).
Thinking Thursdays – We will go to a library or museum and research something based on our weekly theme.
Fun Fridays –  Whatever they want!

2. Weekly themes. We  chose a theme to focus on each week. Then every day after lunch we will do an activity around each theme. We have Outer Space week, Art Week, Theater Week, USA week (4th of July). For example, on Outer Space week,  we will make a rocket ship (found it here) and watch a video of rockets launching. Maybe will make a mobile of the planets too, if we have time. We will also go to the Natural History museum and learn about the planets on “Thinking Thursday”. The other days don’t have to fit into our theme, but it’s fine if they do.

Other Weekly Themes:
Art Week – we will visit the High Museum of Art, make a self portrait, work with Water colors, make stepping stones for outside out of cement
Trains Week – we will ride the subway, visit the Train Museum in Duluth, play trains 🙂 and read a book about trains.
Theater Week – we will go see a puppet show or a children’s play, write our own little play, do a puppet show and play some improv games.

3. A schedule. I remember my summers of just lazing the days away watching copious amounts of TV and eating lots of Doritos and bean dip. While I enjoyed that sloth life, I don’t think it was necessarily a good thing for me. So we have to keep a bit of a schedule. We’ve already talked about it. We get up whenever we wake up (so 7 for them, sigh). Eat breakfast and then do our chores and daily activities.
4. Daily Chores are 1. make bed 2. put clothes away 3. get dressed/brush teeth 4. Feed Lucy. After chores we get to do one of our daily activies “activity”.
Weekly Chores
Each day we will complete one of our weekly household chores.
Monday is sweep the porch. Tuesday is tend the garden. Wednesday is dusting. Thursday is give the dog a bath day. And Friday is laundry day. I seriously doubt we will do these every week (especially bathe the dog), but every other would be a good thing.

Goals – I have set some tentative goals for the boys as well.
Writing: Carter (5) is always reluctant to write. I don’t want him to spend the whole summer not working on it, so 5 minutes of writing time a day. Henry (3) loves to write so that will be fun for him to draw or write too.
Reading: Carter(5)will read one Bob book (these are excellent learning to read books) a day and I will read a story to both at least once a day.
Bike: Carter’s goal for the end of the summer is riding his bike without training wheels. For Henry, it was riding his tricycle. We will also spend some morning time practicing a sport – soccer, baseball, tennis, frisbee whatever they want. They can also use this time to play a board game if they like

Carter is so into this. He loves a schedule. It was getting late on Monday and he said, “we haven’t made anything yet and it’s a make it Monday”! We went swimming on a Thursday and he said, “but it’s not a wet Wednesday”. It gives them something to look forward to and makes them feel secure to have a plan, I think. It’s great for me to not be struggling to come up with an activity every day or to be asked every day if we can go to the pool. Hope this helps y’all!  Have a great summer!!!!

A minivan is just a roomier hearse. Your life is over now that you have kids. Drive a car that reflects that.


Potty Training – My Personal Vietnam

Some time soon, I have to potty train Henry.  Oh geez – I am scared.  It was HORRIBLE and AWFUL with Carter.  I would also described it as MADDENING, SCARY, TRAGIC, MISERABLE, A NIGHTMARE, HORROR SHOW, CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, SOME OF THE WORST TIMES OF MY LIFE.  Oh, I’ve heard of the folks who say, “One day she just said, ‘I have to go potty.’ Sat on the potty, went and never had an accident.”  To those people I say, ‘good for you’.  Congratulations on living a charmed life.  I’m just going to count myself lucky that potty training was my Vietnam and not actually having a real Vietnam.  Only in that light can I feel “lucky”.

Henry is not ready, which I’m kind of glad about. My friend’s child who is just a few weeks older than Henry insists that she put underpants over his diapers. That child is ready. Henry doesn’t even want us to change his poops. He is so laid back. He would happily just sit around in a soiled diaper, smelling to high heaven rather than be inconvenienced with a diaper change. That child is not about to actually leave the room and sit on a cold toilet to empty his bladder.

I remember the first time Carter pooped on the potty. He was about 19 months old. We were all in our bathroom getting ready for the bath. Carter had a little potty in the corner that he would pee in. I was standing at my vanity and in an accusatory voice, Craig walked over and said, “did you do that?”. He sounded mad. I was like, “do what?”. He pointed to a very large poop in the little Fisher Price potty.  A potty that sang a song for you once something substantial hit the bowl.  And this was substantial, very substantial.  I looked at him like he was crazy and said, “Yeah. I did that. I decided that the larger, adult toilet was just too comfortable. I hunkered myself down on that little plastic potty and left that gift for you.” Then he looked at Carter and said with shock, “Did you do that?” Of course, Carter didn’t know what to say because it seemed like he did something wrong.  Totally not the text book way to celebrate your toddler’s first independent poop, we realized. So we immediately started dancing and singing Carter’s praises. In Craig’s defense, it did look like it came from a grown man, not a toddler.  But what kind of a monster does he think I am?  He thought I would do that and then leave it there?  Would he still love me if I had? Read more…

I heart my Minivan/Get with the uncool

minivan loveMost of my friends with kids don’t drive a minivan and all of my friends without kids don’t. Minivans are patently uncool, I get that. But I LOVE my minivan!  Do I look cool driving it? Not at all. Do I care? Not one bit. Who do I have to impress? My life is over. I am a mom now.  If I look halfway decent on any given day, then I must have a funeral to attend or a parent/teacher conference.  I just want every day to be less of a struggle.  Maybe I’m weird, but I like solving problems.  Like when it’s cold out, I like to turn on the heat and when I’m hungry, I like to eat food.  I’ve got real issues now, looking cool does not even cross my mind.  In a minivan, everyone has enough space. We can seat like 17 people in there. Lots of cup holders, video player and a trunk with storage like a clown car. I’m not still painting on my jeans and looking for a man.  I’ve snagged him.

Many people I know refuse to drive a minivan because it is so very lame.  So, my question to you parents who defiantly refuse to do yourself a favor is, who are you trying to impress?  Your life is over too.  You are off the market.  Nobody wants to hit that and if they do, stay far away.  Is it because you are too ashamed to drive it at carpool?  Puhlease.  You afraid your single friends won’t think you’re cool.  News Flash: you’re not.  You are a mom/dad – also patently uncool.  Embrace your status, don’t fight it.  Nothing worse than seeing an old lady in a tube top – unwilling to accept that she is no longer hot. (although some old ladies can still rock a tube top: Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren.)

I am comfortable in my uncool status.  Now, don’t get crazy.  I’m not about to start wearing acid washed mom jeans or anything. But yeah, I’ll ride in a reasonably priced family wagon with a rear row that can face backwards so we can tailgate. Not that we have ever used this, but when we do, I will burst with pride.

Under normal circumstances, when I was way into something that nobody else liked, I would say, “Good. More for me.” If it were a Kit Kat or something, then that would work.  But since it’s an automobile, that doesn’t really make sense. I’m not trying to convince anyone of the superiority of the minivan for personal gain.  I’m doing this for your sakes, out of the kindness of my own heart. WWJD – and all of that. I want to help you, parents, help yourselves. For the love of God, buy a minivan. Make a check list of everything you NEED in a car, but eliminate the “looks cool” and minivan has it in spades.

To those of you cool kids, still hanging onto a shred of hope that you won’t fall off the socially relevant wagon, I admire your stamina. But like wrinkles and belly fat, uncool is inevitable. Why torture yourselves with an expensive SUV that your children have to climb into like they are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Come over to the wide side with lots of floor space.

When you are out of your minivan, you can still fool people. Dress in the latest threads and smoke your Virginia Slims. But when you are touring the city dropping off kids – it’s all business. Mom & Dad business. Obviously, have a second “cool car”. Not necessarily a Maserati. We have a Prius – cool and sensible. Do yourselves a favor and get the minivan now before your child pukes so many times in that SUV that its resell value is zip.

You’re welcome.

This is how you do a lazy sunday

I love my bed. Really, I love any bed, but mine especially. I just really love to lie down. Today is the first day in a long time when we didn’t have to get up and get going somewhere. So we are all lying in bed and I couldn’t be happier. This is how you do a lazy Sunday.

Lazy Sunday

All My Monkeys!

First, you send your tired husband out to fetch breakfast. Cause you know I’m not cooking (snap, snap).

breakfast getter

breakfast getter

Read more…

Carter is in Montessori school

they wash & dry their plates.

they wash & dry their plates.

The first year in Montessori, Carter polished the ducks for weeks before he worked up to polishing silver.  His ultimate goal was to polish shoes and when he finally reached it, it was very satisfying, as you can imagine.  Montessori is so sweet.  They are so gentle.  I am very glad that he is at a school that is “better” than me.  Meaning they only eat whole grains and veggies, never processed food or sweets.  I have always wanted to be more anal retentive.  I am a slob by nature, but really abuse myself for being so.  I only clean up when it reaches crisis, not every day, like Craig does.  Montessori is super anal, which is the opposite of what most people think.  Since they allow for “choice”, people assume it is a free for all.  OH man – BIG misconception.  It’s actually very rigid.  You can “choose” between which non-toy activity you like, for example, the red rods or the pink tower.  When you pull out the rods, you’ve got to use them appropriately and put them back in the correct order or run the risk of being booted back to duck polishing.  It’s hard core, but gentle.  They gently guide him to self reliance and relentlessly enforce hand washing post nose picking practices.  They are all about peace, love and understanding.  That is what I love about Montessori. Read more…

Every Morning. 30 Minutes.