3/31/11

Dare I hope?

Tonight my Sweetpea and I were out running errands. One of the jobs we aimed to do was drop off a book at a friends' house. By the time I was ready to make my way to her house, it was too close to when she had to take her daughter to gymnastics. My Little One surprised me by saying she wanted to see her friend take her class. I decided to take the opportunity to let her watch a class in a nonthreatening way. You see, we have tried to get my daughter to try gymnastics and she refuses. We tried dance classes. I think we made it to 3 classes, all of which she cried through and refused to participate. That was the end of dance. 

I DO NOT want to be one of those moms who push their kiddos into one activity or another. So here is the tricky part. She would love gymnastics. She already loves to forward roll, climb, walk the balance beam and swing from any type of bar she can find.  What she does not like is trying new things. 

One time, we stopped by this very same gymnastics center and watched for a few minutes.  She was intrigued but still didn't want to try it.  Eventually she said she would try but before we could even go once, she made it very clear she wasn't going to participate.  So, we moved on.

I realize she is four and there is no law requiring that children participate in any activity outside of the home.  I didn't and I think I turned out OK.  My son is crazy about sports which makes it very easy to get him involved in an outside activity that also provides some exercise.  Maybe we should wait and ask her again when she is older?  My fear at that approach is based on a few memories of my own.  Once, I took a tumbling class for a session.  I have no idea how old I was but I do remember I was older than everyone else.  It was a strange feeling.  I didn't care for it.  Then later, much later, I took piano lessons.  That lasted two years.  And while my lack of practice led to me giving up this instrument, a big part of me was so embarrassed to be in high school playing songs about a bug in a rug.  All of that to say, if we wait too long to get her to try, she may miss "the boat" because she will be older than the other beginners. 

Not only do my husband and I feel she would love gymnastics, but I personally believe this is a way she will gain self confidence.  One of the biggest concerns her preschool teacher and I have talked about is that she is plenty ready to enter the world of "big kid school", she just really needs to have confidence in herself.  This is why I think gymnastics may be a good fit.  I am not thinking long term, as in for the next 15 years of her life.  Just one class, if she likes it, one session.  If she likes it another...you get it.  This is not a team sport.  Eventually if she wants to stick with it, there would be competition but by then I hope she will have more faith in herself. 

On our way home, she said she wanted to try the class and see if she likes it.  I don't want to make too big a deal about this.  I don't want her to feel pressured or that she is doing it for me.  I did ask her if I took her, would she actually participate.  She said yes.  Then she said if she likes it, she could sign up for the class.  Then she asked if she needed to get a special suit to wear.  I think these are all good signs.  I will call tomorrow and see if I can arrange for her take the class next week with her friend.  It's always nice to have a friendly face around when trying something you are unsure of.  Then I guess we will see how it goes. 

Anyone have any good advice to share?  Leave a comment and let me know what ideas you may have.  Thanks!

3/30/11

Even a child can do it

I love my iPhone. I waited 2 long years for this phone and I don't remember what life was like before I had such technology in my hands. I believe the iPhone is so user friendly, even a child can use it. In fact, probably millions of kids are using it.

I am ok with my kiddos having a few games or cartoons on my phone. This comes in handy any time you are in a waiting room. Although, the downside is that it is just one more game device I have to monitor to be sure my kiddos don't spend too much time in front of "screens".

I am very possessive of my phone. This is mine and not intended for my children, so I do really limit what they can and do use. My four yr old daughter has become more and more familiar with the technology (thanks to several physical therapy appointments each week) and has recently figured out how to use many other features on this phone.

I will be busy doing something when all of the sudden I hear, "click". That sound makes me crazy. I don't want lots of pics on my phone and transferred to my computer that I did not want. (I told you I was possessive). The other discovery she has made is, how to make a phone call. I will look over and she has already placed a call and it's on speaker. She is anxiously waiting to talk to whomever picks up. I have talked to her repeatedly about this. If she wants to talk to someone, let me know. I will call and she can talk to them. No biggie. I have also received some funny replys to emails. My friends are very good natured and think it's great that sent them a message. they can tell it came from my little one because it look something like this...aldekaldyeuwpsjdirh. You get the idea. while I can smile and think what a trip, it needs to stop.

My solution to fight this simple technology is to fight back with technology. I have set a passcode. Now she won't be able to get "into" my phone without my approval.

Does anyone else have any funny stories to share? Let me know.

3/28/11

Still angry.

Ok first I will admit it was my responsibility to check before we went and I did not. With that admission out of the way, I'm going to vent. Yesterday afternoon, we were having a nice family day and I thought, let's go see a movie with the Mini's. So I did a quick search for what and when movies were playing at the theater that is minutes from our house. The only animated film was Rango. I had seen lots of commercials on the TV channels my kiddos watch and it started in about 40 mins, so we had a plan. Off we went.

The movie started. There was some funny parts. But the language was awful. I am going to spell it out but know that these are words and phrases not used in our home. These animated animals, bugs and lizards repeatedly said, "what the hell?!" "go to hell!" and "damn!". The first time or two, I raised my brow at my husband as we looked over our four yr old's head. But these phrases were shouted at least a dozen times. That is twelve times too many to me.

You may disagree with me and think that these words are not THAT bad. Or come on, it's 2011, lighten up. My personal opinion is that there is no reason for that kind of language in a movie, especially one marketed to children. As I stated in the beginning, I did not do my homework. This movie is rated PG. I made an incorrect assumption that it would be kid safe.
To those that may argue that it would be fine for an older child, I would respond with the questions, "Why? What does the use of those phrases add to the story line?".

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the matter. Thanks!

3/25/11

Friday...what's the big deal?

We spend most of the week looking forward to Friday. Being a stay at home mom, I still look forward to Fridays just like every one else. There are so many reasons to happily greet this morning each week. My favorite reason has been taking place for the past few months.

Fridays are Pancakes for Lunch Day at our house. We love this day. I make different pancakes each week although the kiddos do have a favorite(chocolate chip...can you blame them?). With my son in kindergarden five mornings a week and my daughter at preschool three days a week, we don't get to each lunch together very often. Fridays are one of the two days each week.

Recently, our Daddy has started to come home for lunch on Fridays to enjoy our Pancakes for Lunch Day with us. The kiddos really look forward to this special meal with Daddy. It makes us feel special to share this meal with each other during the day.

Next year my son will be in full day school so I've already decided that we will just have to switch it up a bit to make it work. I think we will be having Pancakes for Breakfast Fridays. Of course, there is always the dinner meal too. I guess it doesn't really matter as long as we keep up the tradition. I am hoping that this is one of those things that my kiddos will look back and remember when they are grown. I desire for this weekly meal to make their hearts smile as they think of the many times we sat around the table and enjoyed our pancakes as well as each others company.

3/24/11

They're back....

It is that time of year again. The time of year that is almost Easter and every where you look, there is a church selling handmade chocolate covered peanut butter eggs. They make other varieties but the only flavor that is a problem for me is the chocolate peanut butter eggs. Luckily for me, my church does not participate in this yearly event.
In case you haven't figured out my problem with these treats, I'll spell it out for you. I LOVE peanut butter eggs. And I love the handmade version because they are HUGE! In this world of bigger is better, I get really excited and I'm sure my eyes get enormous as I begin to search through my purse looking for the right change.

I thought I was doing great because the business that gets me every year, is the Vets office. Looking at my calendar I thought I was going to be spared the temptation because there aren't any appointments in the near future. So I'm going through my week, minding my own business. Doing what needs done. I take my daughter to get her hair cut and as soon as we walk through the door, guess what I see...a beautiful arrangement of chocolate eggs!

I'm not sure what the profits of the eggs go towards and sure it is something very good. At least the chocolate egg season has started so it is that much closer to being over. I am much better avoiding these all together. This is one treat that once I have a taste for it, I can't stop. So, I hope you get to enjoy the egg that you enjoy the most. Maybe you can eat one for me ;)

3/22/11

Lights, Camera, Action!

Guess what I did this morning...I was an extra on the taping of an episode of a show for the Food Network.  I know, how cool is that?  It was a lot of fun.  Something I will probably never do again.  Knowing this was a one time thing, I went out of my way to be able to make this opportunity happen.  That means I had to shuffle my kiddos around to some pretty great friends.  The "Mini's" got to their prearranged destinations so they could catch the rides to school they needed.  Then I was on my way! 

First I got there and had to fill out a release form.  Gotta love the paperwork!  Then I stood outside for a long time.  If you have spent much time with me, you will know I hardly ever wear a coat.  I hate lugging a big bulky coat around. I was not expecting to wait outside while they did various background taping of the resturant and the owners. 

Finally, we got inside.  My friend and I were sat at a table.  This was not a place I would have eaten on an average day.  In fact, I've driven past many times and never once thought about going in.  We were given several menus and where told to order from the lunch or dinner menu.   I settled on Chicken Cordon Bleu  with a loaded baked potato and a side salad.  The salad was good.  My biggest pet peeve at a resturant is when they place a salad in front of me that is all iceberg lettuce.  There is no nutritional value in iceberg, so I don't want to be bothered with eating iceberg.  Today this was not the case so we were off to a good start. 

Then my dinner (I ate for lunch) came.  Right away, I knew I didn't want it.  The menu said it had a mushroom sauce.  The chicken on my plate was smoothered with gravy.  I HATE gravy.  And then the baked potato I was so excited to eat turned out to not be a baked potato.  It was like a twice baked potato.  Yuk and Yuk! 

The good news in all of this, is that we were being taped for the "before" part of the episode.  Tomorrow night they will be taping for the "after".  AFTER they make LOTS of changes in the decor and as well as to the menu. Our server was really great.  She was very nice and attentive.  I was very disappointed in the food but I didn't have to pay for my meal so there was nothing lost.  

I had a great time with a  friend, I got to see how a TV show is taped, and I was even interviewed on my experience.  I am anxious to see if I make the cut.  I'm not sure.  I few times I looked at the camera which is a no-no.  Oh well, sometime this summer I will get to see the episode on TV with everyone else.  Not a great dining experience for me but a fun way to spend my Tuesday morning. 


3/20/11

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Books and animals. Two topics I love to talk about. I cannot count the number of times I have wished my four legged "babies" could talk. It would be so much easier to help them when they are sick or scared, right? I talk to them all the time anyway, so it would be great if they could carry their side of the conversation. I know it is silly but I would love to know what my furry friends are thinking.
I just finished the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain. This was a quick read that I enjoyed very much. This story was a story about a man and his dog told through the dog's perspective. The dog was sharing the experiences he shared with his human. It was very interesting to me how this dog understood so much of our lives but of course was limited by his species. The only way he could communicate a response was through gestures. I realize this was just a story but I did enjoy the bond between the animal and humans. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes animals.
I had to smile the other day when my son expressed to me that he wished our dog could talk. I have never shared that secret wish of my own so this was something he had thought of by himself. I have a feeling we are not the only ones to have this thought cross our minds.

3/19/11

Veggies, no bugs please.

I was raised in the suburbs. No real yard to speak of which meant no yard work, ever. We were close to every kind of store imaginable. I have no complaints about the way I grew up. We did not live in the city and we did not live in the country. It was just right. Of course, it was all I knew.
Fast forward many years, I'm married, have one, then two children, a dog and a home with a yard. What a shock to realize how time consuming being a homeowner can be. Mow the grass, pick up after the dog, plant flower beds, maintain flower beds, spread mulch and so on. Then you get to do it all over again.
So what is the point of all this rambling? Well, along with the upkeep of our home, my husband has invested a lot of time in planting a garden. At first, I found this to be a burden that took over our weekends. Afterall, it was completely unnecessary. You just pick up your veggies at the grocery store. Last year, I was a little more understanding and I enjoyed making dinner with the foods from his garden. This year, I am so excited for him to get started. I cannot wait to use the veggies he grows as I prepare foods for my family! What a sense of satisfaction there will be as I make healthy, all natural foods for our family that my hubby had a hand in growing. The kids like to go and help too which I think is a great experience for them. I was sharing my anticipation with my hubby this morning and he asked if I was going to help this year. I laughed and said "no". I may be excited about home grown veggies but there will still be bugs and this girl from the suburbs is not quite ready to take on the bugs.

3/18/11

Who is more dependent, the kids or the parents?

I know parents have travelled with children throughout the ages, I'm just not sure how they did it before the age of DVD players and dsi. I remember long car rides to my grandparents' house. The closer trip (4hrs) I don't recall any special activities. The farther trip (7hrs), I remember stopping at places like Shoney's to stretch our legs. I also remember those activity books that came with the special marker. Somehow, my sister and I survived the boredom. Somehow our parents survived OUR boredom. I'm just not sure how they did it. We are currently at the Cleveland Clinic waiting to visit with my mother in law in rotation. This was a five hour trip. That means my kiddos watched two movies and part of a third. My son had some time with his dsi. I have to admit, they were very good the whole trip but I also have to admit, I don't know how I would have made it in a pleasant mood if they didn't have the distraction of modern technology.

3/17/11

My new favorite ingredient...

My husband says I'm going to turn into a horse. My horse crazy daughter would love for that to happen. He says this because I cannot get enough oats these days. Recently, I've been on a mission to take high fructose corn syrup out of our diets. This has led me to find as many recipes that I can find to make for breakfast for the family. I now feel guilty just pouring cereal into a bowl and placing it in front of my kiddos. The good news is that there are so many great foods out there that are healthy, yummy and surprisingly quick to make. I have been experimenting with lots of new foods served at all meal times of the day. But I find it amazing, how many recipes call for oats. And I love them! I've been making homemade granola, protein bars, smoothies and of course the obvious, several varieties of oatmeal. It makes a filling breakfast, a healthy snack and freezes great for on the go foods. I am having so much fun in the kitchen. I love cooking for my family food that tastes great and knowing that what I am feeding them is healthy.

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