Monday, June 29, 2015

Monoprinting

http://artfulparent.com/2009/05/monoprinting-take-ii-success.html

The above link has the complete directions for Monoprinting with Kids.

What we used: Pyrex dishes, Tempera paint, Paint brushes, construction paper, Q-tips.
(I had to tweak the project materials because of what was available in my house,)

The girls painted a layer of paint inside the Pyrex dish. They then created a design with the Q-tips. The girls then laid a sheet of construction paper (cut to size) over the paint. You gently push down and smooth out the paper....lift up and you created a monoprint!


This activity was a HUGE success. The girls loved it and were occupied for about an hour. The clean up was not too bad. The paint washes right off the glass Pyrex dish.

** E1 and I discussed mirror images and how once transferred the design was reversed. She had fun writing her name backwards and then printing it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

CRAZY Traveling Mom

My family is traveling this week. For the next few days I will be all sorts of crazy. I need to pack my kids, myself, and the carry-on luggage.
(I do not pack my husband. He travels frequently for work so he can pack himself. Plus I am not his mother.)

Anyhoo- The carry on luggage - omg, I am CONVINCED this is the MOST important piece of luggage. Our (mine and girls) carry on luggage has every "disaster" scenario remedy packed in it. If we ever lost our carry on luggage I am almost positive I would have a huge breakdown in the middle of the damn airport.

The carry on luggage contains ALL medicine that I think in my crazy head is necessary for traveling with children. It does not matter how many CVS stores are within the vicinity of where I am staying, I will always pack medicine. I pack medicine that I have never ever even given my kids...I mean hell, what if this vacation is the one time they need that random decongestant, cough, all natural, will put you to sleep, I make tantrums go away, medicine?? What if? It could happen. Really.

I pack (get ready) band-aids, Neosporin, Benadryl, Motrin, Tylenol, Cough medicine, Vicks Vapo Rub, Children's Pepto, and Pedia-Lax and of course about 300 Wet Ones. Yes, I pack all of this for EVERY trip. Yes, I am CRAZY.
Side note: I have not needed to use any medicine on any trip- thank goodness!!

When we went on our cruise, my pediatrician gave the girls "just in case" antibiotics because I am convinced foreign countries don't compare. YES, I AM CRAZY. I have admitted this and that is half the battle. My girls did not need the antibiotics, but I felt better just packing them.

The next time items in the carry on luggage are the bed toys. You better not fucking pack bed toys. If your luggage gets lost and your bed toys are lost your kids won't sleep on vacation...they may never sleep again. The morning of the trip bunny, teddy, dog, pillow, Debbie's blanket (E1 named her blanket - is that weird?), unicorn, and the rest of the menagerie get packed/shoved in the carry-on. Please be careful to not let the bed toys OUT of the carry on while flying....the airplane germs could get them and then they would need to be washed upon landing...Have I mentioned I am crazy?

The last items to enter the carry-on are the electronics, toys, and snacks. The sanity items. Flights are LONG. Flights with crying children are REALLY LONG. I have been blessed with two great flyers, honest. Before we take off the girls can color, eat their snacks, look out the window, play with the tray attached to the seat, play I spy, play with the few Barbies (or other small dolls), and/or use the bathroom.  I do not turn on the electronics before we take off because again I am crazy and have a fear the battery, which I made sure 1000x was fully charged, will run out. After we take off, E1 plugs her headphones into the iPad and watches movies and play games. We do not hear one word from her until we land. E2 plugs her headphones in the portable DVD player and watches DVDs. We do not hear from her until we land. BLISSFUL flying.

If you ever see my family boarding your flight, don't worry. My kids are terrific travelers in spite of their crazy mom.


Smoothies

My girls love to make different types of foods and smoothies are no exception. We throw in all types of fruit, milk, ice, and sugar. Sometimes we will substitute apple juice for the sugar. Ever since I was gifted my awesome Ninja blender smoothie making is even more awesome. Those commercials did not lie. The ninja blender is UH-MA-ZING.

I always make too much - it is an issue with all foods. If I host a family dinner we have leftovers until the dawn of time, a birthday party gives us extra food for a few months, like I said - I have issues.

Too much smoothie equals popsicles and bite size treats. These are extremely helpful when E2 has decided she "doesn't like the smoothie anymore."  For some reason, E2 will eat the frozen version of the smoothie more often than the drink version. E1 drinks and eats it all.

(My Amazing Ninja)

 (Silicon Ice Trays work best)

(You can use a paper cup and craft stick if you do not have popsicle containers)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Mom?

E1 is at a level of swimming that allows me to say, "She won't drown." That's about it. She doesn't have the greatest stroke technique or breathing technique, but E1 has no desire to really swim well. She just wants to have fun in the water and not drown. We take swim lessons every summer, but E1 forgets most of what she learns by the time the next summer rolls around.

E2 - she will drown. Period. This is the first summer she will even get in the pool with a floating device.

I am terrified of my kids drowning. Every article I read about drowning being silent gives me anxiety. The articles about dry drowning have me so freaked out I don't even know if I will bathe my kids after I read one of those stories. Terrible.

My mom has been hocking me to get the girls in lessons and I have been rolling my eyes at her for awhile now. E1 was "fine enough" and E2, well that would be a waste of damn money considering she won't even blow bubbles in the water.

Cue more mom nagging....and more and more and more - Then simultaneously my friend found a great swim instructor and he gives lessons at the neighborhood pool by my house or I could use my friend's pool in her backyard. (Yeah, my friend is awesome)

We have had two lessons so far and E1 has remembered her previous skills and is now perfecting side breathing when swimming freestyle and learning the backstroke! Amazing.
E2 actually got off the step sans floating device and went with the instructor in the pool!! E2 is always surprising me. When she is ready, she is ready- If I try to push her into something, forget it. When it is on her terms, she succeeds. E2 is blowing bubbles, learning to float, and learning to kick.

Swim lesson success!

Hey mom, are you happy now?


Celebrate!

We celebrate all sorts of firsts in this house.

We celebrate the first time sleeping through night (the best first IMO), first time in a bed, first time in underwear, first solid food, first time riding a tricycle, first lost tooth, first time riding a two wheel bike, first time tying shoes...we (I) celebrate everything! I am not sure why, but I tend to make a REALLY big deal out of milestones.

Today I celebrate the day E1 took E2 to the bathroom in the grocery store....just the two of them! E1 has been using restrooms alone, but this was something new. She took her sister!! I was in the check out line, they both had to go and I couldn't take E2. E1 was all too excited to help and take her sister. I checked, double checked, and triple checked that E1 felt secure enough to take herself and her sister to the bathroom.

Off they went.

I checked out of the grocery store in peace. No one asked for a last minute bag of candy, gum, sticker, anything my little mini-me-impulse buyers see....IT WAS FANTASTIC. The bags were loaded back into the cart, I paid, and then my girls came out of the restroom. Perfect timing.

Both of them used the restroom and washed their hands! E1 is so responsible and E2 loves to listen to her sister - two peas in a pod.

Today, we (I) celebrate bathroom independence for both girls! Hallelujah. Now when we are at a restaurant I might eat my meal without getting up from the table multiple times.



Thursday, June 25, 2015

Keep It Simple

Kids love boxes. When my girls were younger (under age 3) we would glue pom poms, beads, paper, etc to the boxes. Then one day we graduated to painting boxes. Now we create things with the boxes. I have been saving boxes when they are salvageable and storing them in a corner in our study. I have collected an Amazon box, juice box, cereal box, wipes box, etc.

Today after E1's tennis lesson, playing at the park, and swimming at the pool these crazies still had energy BUT were starting to whine....time to pull out the boxes and paint!
The paint containers and brushes are from Lakeshore Learning. http://www.lakeshorelearning.com The paint is Powdered Tempera Paint that I ordered from Amazon. I like purchasing this type of paint because it lasts forever. You mix the powder and water together and voila, paint. I ordered about 12 powdered paints two years ago and will most likely reorder (for the first time) some colors at the end of summer.


The girls decided to create a rocket ship. This project lasted well over an hour and ended with a shower to wash off all the paint.




The girls loved pretending to fly in their rocket ship. E2 loved it so much she did not want to share. Poor E2, sharing sucks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Real Family

This is what adoption looks like:


Adoption is not the lifetime movie you have seen. It is not some horrific experience. It is not the unwanted children, It is not the fucked up children. It is not the poor children. Adoption is a brave choice made by people who love an unborn child enough to make the hardest decision of their lives.

I am grateful for both my girls' birth mothers. They are both incredible women who made me a mom. A mom. I get to be a mom because of someone else's actions.

Families created by adoption are no different than your family. Sure, I didn't gain 30 lbs during pregnancy, but I gained 30 lbs in the years of waiting for a child. The first time I held my babies is no different than the first time you held your babies.  My sleepless nights were the same, potty training was the same, tantrums are the same...get the idea? All the same.

My husband and I are not "saints" for adopting. Please do not think we are extra special for this. We wanted to be a mom and dad and adoption was how we created our family. When you call us special, it makes us feel weird because spending tens of thousands of dollars to become parents does not feel special. It is a long journey with a happy ending, but until you hold your baby there is nothing special about the process.

Please do not tell my girls how lucky they are to be our kids. First, it belittles their birth mother and second, they were just in 'time out' so they sure think you are wrong. They do not get it. Yes, they know they are adopted. Yes they know they grew in another woman's tummy, but they don't really get it. When they have questions, we answer them. I would prefer to not answer questions created by you.

My kids are from the USA. Please do not ask "Where are they from?" It is odd.
My kids are not "crack babies." Please do not ask "Was their mom on drugs?"

My kids are my kids. Please do not ask what is their real mom up to these days. Please do not ask anything about their real mom unless you are talking about me. Again, I AM THEIR REAL MOM. Plus, do you really care??? Probably not. You are being nosy and fishing for details. If you want those details, become my friend and we can discuss these things during a girls night out.

Please do not say things like "Does she speak Spanish?" Um, just because my kid is Hispanic does not mean she speaks Spanish. Are you that stupid?
Please do not say "But.....she is so smart." When you find out she is adopted. Last I checked, adopted kids are not automatically dumb and you're an ass for saying that.
Please do not say "But...she is so pretty" when you find out she is adopted. Adopted kids are not automatically ugly and you're an ass for saying that.
Please do not ask me if I think my girls will want to know their real family.
THEY KNOW THEIR REAL FAMILY. (and I do not need that anxiety)

One last thing...please do not ask us how long we tried and how many rounds of IVF we completed. If you are one of the unlucky bastards that asked me that you got my honest and bitchy answer of "We are not infertile. I had cancer which they found because I was pregnant, then my son was still born and the chemo prevents me from being pregnant.. Aren't you glad you asked."
People choose adoption for numerous reasons - not just infertility.

The next time you see a family you think was created by adoption just remember we do not feel any different than you. We are parents. We get frustrated, we love, we scream, we cry, we smile. We are parents.

You can however ask for a play date or whether I prefer a glass of red or white.




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Ice Ravines

Materials: ice, salt, a bucket, droppers, water with food coloring

I froze water in different containers overnight. I then put them in a big green Tupperware. The girls then mixed the food coloring with the water. After that the girls shook, sprinkled, and poured salt on the ice shapes. Guess what? Salts melts ice.

E1 and E2 then used the droppers to put the colored water on the ice and watch the ravines made by the salt. (Using droppers is also great fine motor practice.) They enjoyed watching the colors run and the activity actually lasted longer than I had expected. Both girls were intrigued for about 30 minutes. E2 would have kept playing, but E1 asked her if she wanted to watch TV with her....is there a child out there that says no to the TV?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Night Poop

Well this was a first.

E2 went to bed around 7 pm and began waking up around 9:30 pm. In the beginning it was a few whines then the "Mommy" calls began. Up and down the stairs I went as she called for me "Mommy!" E2 said her tummy hurt and in my 1970s parenting handbook (things I learned from my mom) I told her to sit on the potty. FOUR TIMES we danced this dance.
10:30 pm - E2 still has a stomach ache, still is whining, and still is calling "Mommy."

*A little side note, after the sun goes down E2 will not go near the hubs. If you want to see what defcon 1 looks like, send him into her room in the middle of the night.

Up the stairs I go again and in a stern voice tell her "You're going to poop. Period. Just Do It." For some reason that Nike slogan works on my kids...always. "Just Do It." It works for putting on shoes, eating vegetables, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and now pooping. Maybe Nike should redo their commercials.

So here I sit in the dark via nightlight so E2 could take a shit. Another tidbit, E2 does not like to poop alone. Lucky me.


10 minutes later, poop success and she is fully asleep.

THIS SHIT is REAL PARENTHOOD. Pun intended.


My Kids Are Dumb


E1 & E2 are playing DOG. That's right, DOG. E1 bosses E2 around while E2 happily crawls on the floor wearing a leash made from our cruise lanyards. UM.......Seriously? How dumb is E2? She willingly lets her sister say things like "NO NO. DOGS DON'T TALK. BE QUIET" or "GO FETCH" and then throws the balloon and/or kicks the balloon away from her. All the while, E2 smiles and "ruffs." WTF?!?
Is it wrong to say, "Hey E2, your sister is being a bitch and making you her bitch."

As I am contemplating educational testing for E2 (after all who willingly does something this stupid), E1 proves to be dumber than her sister. E1 decides it is a GREAT IDEA to TIE the lanyards to our plasma car and drive the car which will PULL THE DOG. (Remember, E2 is dog)

THANK G-D they did not get very far before an minor injury happened versus gee, I don't know - CHOKING!
HOLY HELL. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH MY OLDEST KID??? IDIOT.

After I explain the HAZARD in playing PLASMA CAR PULLS THE DOG, E1 acts like I ruined her life.

SORRY GIRLS, I WASN'T IN THE MOOD FOR AN EMERGENCY.
My kids are dumb. ALL KIDS ARE DUMB.

Maybe they can play let's drown each other in the bath tonight.




Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Mornings

My favorite activity of summer? E1's desire to get E2 out of bed in the mornings. Now, between 7 and 7:30 am, E2 asks for E1.

E1 and E2 play games, talk, laugh, and hang out for about 10 - 15 minutes. I can hear and watch it all on E2's video monitor. It is the SWEETEST moment of the day.

It is a moment when I can feel the sisterly bond between the girls. It is a moment when E1 is the big sister taking care of E2. It is a moment when the belly laughs are so full. It is a moment when the discussions they have help me understand they are best friends. It is a moment of pure joy. It is a moment of security. It is a moment of love. It is a moment of no tattling, no crying, no antagonizing.

It is a moment in a long day that fills my heart and makes me smile.


Silence Is Golden

Let's go to the movies. The hubs and I decided for date night to have a quick dinner and see Jurassic World in 3D at 9 pm.

As the previews are rolling, the theater fills up with numerous children. I understand fully that my children having a bedtime during summer is not the norm. I understand and appreciate that parents enjoy taking their family to the movies. (We took the girls to Inside Out - we all enjoyed it.)

If you and your children enjoy seeing the movies together at 9 pm, please make sure they can be quiet. I expect children talking during kid movies or movie showings during the day. I do NOT expect the ridiculousness we experienced on a Saturday night at 9 pm.

The toddlers were crying, the young kids were afraid, the babies were screaming, and the hubs and I personal favorite: the three different iPads glowing in the theater showing Elmo and/or Dora.
WHAT THE FUCK?!?

If your kid cannot be quiet at 9 pm in a PG-13 movie - KEEP THEM HOME.

I do not care if you take your three year old kid to Jurassic World.
I do not care if your kids are up til almost midnight.
I do not care about any parenting decision you make because these are your kids and not mine.

But, I DO CARE when you bringing your kids to the movie ruins it for so many people that there was a line at guest services afterward complaining. Yes, A LINE OF PEOPLE COMPLAINING.

Date night with the dinosaurs in 3D was annoying but not because of the movie. It was annoying because of the asshole parents that brought their children, too young to behave, to the movies.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Rainbow Eruption

Materials: Glasses, Food Coloring, Baking Soda, Vinegar (and a bucket if you want a bigger explosion)

E1 & E2 LOVED our science experiment today. We discussed whether or not it mattered if the baking soda went in the glass first vs the vinegar. We watched the level of explosion change based on the amount of baking soda and vinegar. We used tablespoons and measuring cups. The only reason we stopped was because we ran out of baking soda! They really enjoyed it. 












Accidentally - On Purpose

I HATE LYING. PERIOD.

We have a rule in our house that states if you tell the truth, you will get in far less trouble than if you lie. For awhile the truth would just flow out of their mouths, then it required a reminder, now the truth requires the eye glare which I inherited from my aunt. One cannot help but tell the truth when those eyes are glaring at them. Hell, my aunt can still make me cry by just looking at me. Seriously. They are that scary.

I recognize that all kids lie. In the heat of the moment, it is easy to forget the house rule and try to avoid getting trouble. Unfortunately for children, moms always know the truth. E1 will learn this when she becomes a mother and not a moment sooner.

We have also discussed the difference between things happening on accident vs things happening on purpose. Fortunately for us, E1 carefully explains how they can be one in the same:

I accidentally - on purpose took E2's toy.

I accidentally - on purpose used my shampoo as crayons in the shower.

I accidentally - on purpose did not brush my teeth.

I accidentally - on purpose threw sand at E2.

I accidentally - on purpose recorded a movie on pay per view.

I accidentally - on purpose put on your make-up.

I accidentally - on purpose told the babysitter we could have a snack.

I accidentally - on purpose put stickers all over the inside of the car.

I accidentally - on purpose hid the legos from E2.

I accidentally - on purpose helped E2 jump off the table.

I accidentally - on purpose helped E2 fill the tea set with real water and accidentally um on purpose spilled it all over the carpet.

I accidentally - on purpose drew on myself and E2 with markers. They are washable, right?

I accidentally - on purpose drew on the dog.




Thursday, June 18, 2015

May I Borrow Your SIL?

E2 has had food issues for as long as she has been alive.

We started with the un-diagnosed milk allergy that created the most hellish 4 months I have ever lived through. After that issue was cleared up we dealt with SSB (suck swallow breathe) problems. By the time she was a year old, we had been weighing her weekly to avoid 'failure to thrive.'  At her year appointment, our pediatrician high fived me, hugged me, and said "You made it." I cried.

From 12 months to 22 months, E2 continued to struggle with food but we were so busy noticing her lack of speech that it never dawned on us she only ate nine foods. When she started speech at 22 months I remember telling the speech pathologist during our evaluation that E2 was a good eater - wtf? DENIAL.

THANK THE LORD FOR MY SISTER IN LAW, THE SPEECH PATHOLOGIST

At some point, it is honestly all a blur, my SIL explained E2 had food issues and the speech pathologist she was seeing would help and I needed to make her aware of the NINE foods she ate and the gazillion foods she did not eat. I remember crying to the speech pathologist asking when would E2 be "normal." The speech pathologist hugged me. Twice a week E2 went for speech and food therapy.

During this time, we bribed with M&Ms, popsicles, ipad, computer, fruit snacks, juice, singing songs, sitting on my lap, other foods she liked, etc for her to take A SINGLE bite of something new. Hell, she got rewarded for kissing a green bean. In between bribes and meals, E1 complained that it was not fair for E2 to be rewarded and not her.

We traveled WITH food. If we stayed with family, we sent a list for the grocery store. NO DEVIATION, not even the brand.

I do not remember when E2 became "normal." I do not remember when she went from barely speaking to not shutting up. I do not remember when we stopped traveling with food. All I know is with the help of an amazing speech pathologist, Ms. Lisa,  it stopped.

(A moment of praise for Ms. Lisa. I am no picnic of a mother and she has been dealing with E2 (me) for two years now and is one of the best people I have encountered. Ms. Lisa is awesome)

E2 is not "normal." There is no such thing as "normal." E2 is happy, funny, live life to the fullest, determined, and yes, a picky eater. Some days, weeks, even months there is not a single moment of food struggles, not even for broccoli.

And then there was tonight....We were eating scrambled eggs (a favorite for dinner) and unless I fed her while simultaneously playing maroon 5's 'Sugar' on my phone, she was going to cry and refuse to eat.

What I have learned from all this?

EARLY INTERVENTION WORKS and most of all, trust your sister in law.
If you don't have a sister in law, I'll let you borrow mine....but only for a minute. My girls and I need her.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Guinea Pig Guilt

Today was another rainy day, but in the words of E1 we had "cabin fever" and decided to leave the house. The girls and I ate lunch at one of our favorite places and then headed back home. On our way home we drive pass a PetCo and I have heard they do free tours for kids and figured we could do that on this rainy day.  E1 LOVES animals. She wants to be a veterinarian - the only acceptable reason for her to become an Aggie. E2 enjoys animals as well, so this activity would be a win win.

We enter PetCo and there is no need for a tour as my girls are already pointing and talking loudly "Look mom, a lizard!" "A mouse" "A bearded dragon!"  "CAN WE GET THE BEARDED DRAGON???"

HELL NO.

I nicely say, "We are not buying anything today." My girls then discover the fish, the rats, the hamsters, the turtles, the tortoises, and finally the guinea pigs. Oh the damn guinea pigs. The kind manager who has noticed my inquisitive girls lets them know that the Pinkie and Brownie were surrendered by another family that could no longer take care of them and were up for adoption for $10 - total. (FUCK.)

E1 knows she has $10 in her piggy bank. E1 LOVES animals. E1 BEGS for the guinea pigs. I ask the manager to explain all the ins and outs of these animals. E1 is more intrigued. E2 just keeps jumping up and down saying "Please."

Pinkie and Brownie come out to meet us. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. (Shit)


$140.00 later, Pinkie and Brownie come home to our house. They have a brand new cage, water bottle, chew sticks, food, a cute bowl, probiotic hay (wtf?), and two girls that LOVE them.

Guess who doesn't love them? THE DOG. THE DAMN DOG. THE 53 POUND BOXER NAMED APOLLO. Wow. Apollo was not happy. We put them on the desk upstairs. That did not work. Apollo jumped on the desk and clawed at the cage. I am sorry but I did not purchase a guinea pig defibrillator and I am pretty sure these rodents just had a damn heart attack.

In the next couple hours, we watched Brownie and Pinkie hide in a corner while Apollo tried to clear TWO baby gates and he came pretty damn close. Apollo was smart enough to use the couch as leverage to try and clear the banister of the stairs. All the while he is foaming at the mouth and whining and barking. This was (is) a damn disaster. More jumping, clawing, and the girls yelling at the dog that he is a "bad boy." Poor poor Apollo.


Brownie and Pinkie have been returned to PetCo. E1 cried the entire 10 minute drive back to the pet store and E2 said over and over "Sorry Brownie and Pinkie. Apollo scared you. Apollo eat you. Sorry." At the pet store, I had to beg and plead for a full credit - I did not need a store credit. The money was returned to the credit card and E1 cried and said goodbye. E2 said goodbye. I shamed myself in my head for even doing this to them. What the hell was I thinking? Why did I not think of the dog? Where was my brain? UGH.

WORST MOM EVER GUILT. GUINEA PIG GUILT.

When we got home E1 told me cake would help cheer her up and since I am not in the business of teaching my daughters how to eat their emotions, she settled for drawing a picture to remember the day we owned guinea pigs.

Our only consolation? Apollo is 5.5 years old and statistically speaking he will be dead in about 5 years. So, I will add guinea pigs to my "Dead Dog Plans" which also include all white bedding and hardwood floors.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Longest. Day. Ever.

We had a rain day today due to a tropical storm that never arrived......

Arts & crafts, watched TV, baked a cake, played balloon bam (see previous post), made chocolate fridge cake, played Candy Land, played Memory, had a dance party, watched TV, blew bubbles in the rain, played upstairs, did laundry, cleaned out a closet, watched TV, more playing, ran around the house, bucket o' beads, sister time......

LONGEST. DAY. EVER.

Our meteorologists SUCK! There was no flood, no downpour, no thunderstorm. We did have some sprinkles of rain here and there. My favorite part of today is the media is predicting we will have the flood and downpour tomorrow.

Below is a picture of the girls gluing random things down on paper. An egg platter makes for an excellent arts & crafts tray. I put the glue in the middle and then put beads, feathers, etc around. You can spread the glue with craft sticks.


Below is a picture and recipe of the Chocolate Fridge Cake which I tweaked from the Mommy & Me Cookbook

Ingredients: 1 cup graham crackers, 2/3 cup milk chocolate, 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chopped nuts (we used almonds)

Line a square pan with plastic wrap. Break up the graham crackers or use graham cracker crumbs. Melt the butter, chocolate, and syrup in a bowl. Add the graham crackers, raisins, nuts and mix all the ingredients together. Put the mixture into the square pan and spread evenly. Put pan in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Use the plastic wrap to pull out the cake from the pan and then cut into squares. YUM.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Balloon Bam!

E2 is in occupational therapy (OT). She has motor planning issues which has caused some delays in her fine and gross motor skills. Thank goodness E2 is determined to learn because with the help of a fabulous occupational therapist she has made great strides and is progressing beautifully. OT is really fun (for the most part) for kids.  E2 loves going and today while I was talking with the therapist, E1 started to play on the equipment with E2 and there were tons of laughs.

In an effort to help E2 cross the midline (you can google that to read why children need to have this skill), our OT will assign us homework. Sometimes we draw rainbows, other times we draw circles, today we were asked to hit a ball on a string with a racket of some sort. As the OT and I were discussing my lack of balls on strings, she suggested a balloon and then I asked if we could use a pool noodle vs a racket.

BRILLIANT! Balloon Bam! was formed.

I hung balloons from a streamer with blue painter's tape around my house and cut one pool noodle in half. E2 held the noodle with both hands (a must for crossing the midline) and hit the balloons left, right, up, down, and all around. E1 wanted to have fun as well so the sisters hit the balloons back and forth to one another. Both girls were thrilled to play this game.

I am going to leave these hanging for a few days.....seems like this could entertain them during tomorrow's rain storm.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ballet Recitals

Ballet recitals are not for the lazy mom. There is the usual weekly class which is no big deal, but then there is the costume fee, recital fee, pictures, dress rehearsals (more than one), and the actual recital day.  We participated in it ALL for E1. She was 3.5 years old and we did not miss a beat. We (I) were fools. It was unnecessary, stressful, and crazy. The recital, itself, is a great experience but the all mumbo-jumbo leading up to it - insanity.

Three years later, it was E2's turn. We took ballet class all semester. Every Tuesday, E2 danced her ballet with her little friends. We paid for the costume and for the recital fee. We did not pay for pictures, we did not even show up on picture day. We did not go to either dress rehearsal. They were not at convenient times and frankly, I did not even attempt to go. I didn't give a rat's ass about it. E2 is three and half and this is not Julliard.

Today was recital day. E2 was excited, self confident, and proud. I put her hair in a bun, put some make-up on her face (it was requested we did this - heaven forbid the three years olds look washed out on stage), and all four of us drove to the theater where she was performing. E2, without complaints, put on her costume, took some pictures and went back stage.

When it was her turn to take the stage, she walked out with her class, danced (and sang).
E2 DID AN AMAZING JOB.  After the performance, more pictures and more smiles. E2 and our entire family beamed with pride.

Recital day was a success without all the headache beforehand.  I am so happy to have learned how to survive ballet for three year olds.




Friday, June 12, 2015

Independence

2015 is a terrible time to be a parent. The world wide web has opened so many doors to help moms and dads everywhere freak out over every little decision. Do we let our child cry it out? Do we vaccinate? Do we swaddle? Do sound machines cause hearing loss? Is it anxiety? Is my child gifted? Is that poop normal? Don't ever leave your child unattended. The world is not safe. More kids are being kidnapped, more kids are doing drugs, more kids get lost.....

I have recently seen articles about parents in different parts of the country being questioned by CPS because their child walked to the park alone. I have had numerous discussions with friends and family because I let my child (E1) go to the bathroom in restaurants by herself. She has even gone to the bathroom alone at the zoo. E1 has even left the check out line at Target to walk the aisles alone to exchange something for me while I am waiting for my turn to pay.  (GASP!)

Today, E2 and I were upstairs building a castle. http://magnatiles.com/



This activity did not interest E1, so she asked to ride her bike. E1 rode her bike, outside, unattended. 

When she came back from riding her bike she told me about how fast she rode down the driveway, what sharp turns she made on her bike, how she saw a neighbor and since she knew her, she waved and guess what - the neighbor waved back, she saw a butterfly, she went really really fast, and went up and down new driveways. E1 stayed within the boundaries we set and had a great time.....alone. 

Alone, where she can take risks without the weight of someone seeing her fail. 

When no one was watching, E1 learned to go across the monkey bars.
When no one was watching, E1 learned to shampoo and condition her own hair.
When no one was watching, E1 learned to ride her bike so quickly she had to take a sharp turn.
When no one was watching, E1 learned how to take risks.
When no one was watching, E1 gained independence.
When no one was watching, E1 gained self confidence and maturity.





Thursday, June 11, 2015

I am sorry I almost broke your dog

I can't even. I just can't.

This morning E1, E2, and I went swimming at a friend's house. This wasn't just any friend, this was a brand new, we have never met, you graciously invited us over to swim and eat pizza because our daughters are going to be in the same school and E1 is brand new to the school next year and you are helping her meet new people, friend.

E1, meet your new friend. Moms meet. E2 just wants to swim. All's well - kids swimming, getting along, moms discussing the new school, life, etc.

Pizza arrives, E1 and new friend are eating, moms are eating, E2 is eating. Everyone is finished. The big kids get down from the stools to swim again, E2 needs to get down from the stool, but needs help. As I am helping her.....CRASH, BARK, WHINE, CRY, OMG- my kid?!? Nope, she is ok, she held on the stool with her leg while I got her off which caused the stool to come crashing down on a ceramic bowl and the DOG. THE DOG .THE DOG!!!!!!

FUCK.

In case you are wondering, there is not a chapter in Emily Post of how to end a play date after you break someone's dog! I apologize profusely, feel terrible, take my kids and leave - after all, they have to go to the vet because WE BROKE THEIR DOG. I send a text apologizing again. I just cant.

FUCK. FUCK. FUCK.

I tell E1 we are going to try and find a way to fix this. Do dogs like flowers? Should I send a cookie bouquet? Let's go home and make cards for the dog? I call my husband....he laughs. He says "only you."

Cell phone buzzes "He is fine! It's no big deal! Nothing is broken."
(The text goes on inviting us again for another play date?!? )

I LOVE THIS NEW MOM AND HER DAUGHTER.  THANK YOU NEW FRIENDS for being understanding about the first time we met and almost broke your dog.

Is it too early to have a glass of wine?



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

"Camp Aunt"

My sister has coined my day with her kids and mine as "Camp Aunt." The girls LOVE to spend the day with their cousins and I love having my niece and nephew for the day. For the most part the kids get along....always a hiccup here and there but a great day is typical for these four kids and me.

Today we went to see crocs, alligators, and tortoises. Um.....the kids were amazing. I was having heart failure . As you feed gators, they THRASH and BITE and look SCARY. No joke. Heart attack. After the kids fed tortoises, the gators, held snakes ( kill me now), held a bearded dragon (kill me now except I am already dead from the damn snakes) we headed to lunch. Burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, soda, - yeah...does anyone's aunt make them order the veggies??

After lunch we completed the Ivory soap experiment (see other blog). WHAT A DAMN MESS. HOLY HELL. SOAP EVERY WHERE. Sure the instructions suggest a minute, a minute in the half in the microwave, but we wanted to know what happened when you microwaved for two minutes. We wanted to know what happened when you added 1/4 of a cup, 3/4 of a cup, an entire bottle of water. I'll tell you what happens...MESS. MESS. MESS. Sure we laughed and everything was all fun and games until I had to clean that bubbly goopy ivory soapy shit up. MESS. FUN MESS, but MESS

Sponge bombs were next....kids are wet, sponges flying everywhere, kids laughing, and BAM, bomb in the ear, BAM bomb in the face, BAM bomb in the stomach.... "Kids, play nicely," I yell through the closed back door...there's no time for injuries, I am still cleaning ivory soap.

4 injuries later. I put on a movie. Do you know how long it takes for four kids ranging from 3 to 8 to agree on a fucking movie??? TOO LONG. You think they were trying to solve the middle east conflict. Come on kids, it is a movie!!! Hell, I cannot even tell you what they ended up choosing but I can tell you they had apple juice, ruffles, pretzels, and sea salt pita chips that caused a whine fest of "not fair I didnt get enough."

Even with the whining, the injuries, loading four kids in and out of the car, the tattling, the mess, the playroom looking like a category 5 hurricane went through, the whining, the tattling, the mess....I would not trade one minute of these special days with my niece and nephew and my girls. It is extremely special to have a FULL day with these kids, to foster their love for one another, to watch their eyes glow with excitement in everything we do, and to see the love in every hug. These four kids are phenomenal. Camp Aunt is always a great day.

And the mess....between the dog and myself, it'll get cleaned up.....one day.

Ivory Soap Experiment

Want something fun? Want something to put every sense into sensory overload? Do the Ivory soap experiment. We decided to have fun and make a HUGE mess this afternoon with our cousins.
http://happyhooligans.ca/ivory-soap-microwave-experiment/

WARNING: if you allow the children to experiment fully and add water to change the consistency etc be prepared for a wonderful experience that creates a mess you have never experienced before.
Maybe you have experienced a mess of epic proportions, but I have never had so much water, soap bits, bubbles, on my counters, floors, and cabinets - there are no pictures because electronics and water don't mix!!  Yes, it was that messy...But OH THE SMILES AND LAUGHS


My love/hate relationship with my name

I have a love/hate relationship with my name.....Mommy.

I love it when it is said with a hug and a smile.

I hate it when it is said with whining and tears.

I love it when it is said in the carpool line after school.

I hate it when it is said by someone nervous to go to school.

I love it when it is said after my first cup of coffee.

I hate it when it is said at 1:30 in the morning.

I love it when it is said during their television show in a request to turn off the TV.

I hate it when it is said while I am watching anything on BRAVO.

I love it when it is said for the very first time.

I hate it when it is said over and over and over and over.

I think it is totally normal to roll your eyes and sigh quietly when your kids say your name and you are not in the mood to be "Mommy."  Some days I do not want to hear my name at all (those days come every 28 days).  When I am frustrated and find myself cringing at hearing my name, I try to send the girls outside to play, upstairs to their playroom, or when all else fails the TV seems to make my kids quiet.

It is OK to not play when asked, it is OK to sit on the couch and enjoy the fact that your children are old enough to entertain themselves, it is OK to want to be alone.

I waited a LONG time to be a Mommy and I love everything about it, but it doesn't mean I have to love hearing my name at 4:50 pm when one sister is antagonizing the other and they are starving for dinner.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Park, Pizza, and Pictures

Today was a busy day. We had family pictures scheduled tonight and I needed the girls to be exhausted so they would nap and be cooperative for the photographer. The best laid plans....

At 8:30 this morning we were at the park, meeting some friends. I love meeting another family at the park - the kids play and the moms talk. It is a SAHM play date under the facade of something fun for the children. Mom friend and I had a wonderful discussion and the girls played until they were tired, hot, and sweaty.


After the park, we headed to the grocery store for a few remaining items we needed for making our own pizzas. E2 does not eat pizza, but wanted to make one for Daddy. After asking random people the location of yeast and learning there is a difference between flour and bread flour, we were set to go.

I did not think this project through. After you make the dough, it has to rise. DAMN IT. We were supposed to eat the pizzas for lunch, then nap, then get ready for pics....my OCD was not happy. E1 and and I made the dough while she paused Dora. E2 didn't want to touch the dough and was pissed Dora was paused. (Btw, E1 can read and records TV shows she likes. I HATE DORA. SHE IS ANNOYING. SHE WILL ACCIDENTALLY GET DELETED WHILE E1 & E2 SLEEP) Now, as my dough is rising - thank you to my friend that explained where to place my bowl of dough - the girls are eating!!! E1 is having an apple and E2 is eating PB&J and peaches....I guess we aren't having pizza for lunch.

The dough has risen! E2 is now excited to participate. Both girls had so much fun rolling out the dough, adding sauce, cheese, toppings, etc. E1 thought this was the "best pizza" she has ever had.  The pizza was a late lunch/early snack.




Nap time!! E1 falls asleep - she is my sleeper, always has been. E2 laid in bed singing, talking, counting, crawling, rolling, whistling, playing for TWO hours. This is very typical.  We got ready, ate a small dinner, and headed out for pics. The girls were great and the photographer was amazing. We had froyo afterward and then headed home....for bed!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Thumb Sucking - SUCKS

UGH!!!! E2 is awake. She is tired, beyond tired, we have now reached over tired which means it will take even longer to fall asleep.

Earlier this evening, E2 was bathing in my tub and accidentally touched my razor. She nicked her thumb and needed a band-aid.  I honestly didn't give it much thought. The only thought I had was "Shit, this is what happens when the mom isn't looking for what...a second??"

Fast forward to now....unable to suck the thumb due to the "BIG BOO-BOO," I have removed the band-aid, given Motrin because "it still hurts," and laid down with her (which I NEVER do). Nothing is working so I will now leave her as she talks and talks and talks and refuses to suck her thumb because "it is not better, not yet, maybe in the morning."

What have I learned from this? I am removing all razors from my house and growing out my armpit hair and leg hair.

She will eventually fall asleep......

Balance

The thing I find most difficult about blogging is finding balance between all day real and periodic real. How do you write about your kids acting like assholes without everyone thinking they are. How do you complain about being a stay at a home without everyone thinking you're the asshole.

I have a select group of friends that know all the dirt because I have found over the last (almost) 7 years that some friends will then pigeon hole your child into "that kid." The kid that hates balloons, the kid that doesn't eat, the kid that hates transitions, the kid that cries too much, etc.

The truth is ALL our children are "that kid" at some point in their lives. Most children outgrow these quirks, behaviors, age appropriate tantrums. Yes, there are children with real disabilities and I am not discounting that - I only hope to not have my children labeled as something they are not by sharing too much.

E1 is an amazing spirit with the most generous heart. She is smart, funny, and most importantly kind. E1 also experiences self doubt, poor self esteem, anger, frustration, sibling rivalry, and this could all be in one day. Clearly (almost) 7 is closer to teenage years than I realize. Her passion is great in everything she does and her compassion for others is to be envied.

E2 is a joy. Period. There is not a minute in her day that is not experienced with a smile. E2 loves to be loved, enjoys her friends, school, and extra-curricular classes. E2 puts 110% into everything she does. Her work ethic is beyond inspiring. Sure she has meltdowns, sure she has tantrums but they are for a good reason (at least in her mind.)

Please as you read my blog understand that my children are amazing (in my opinion) and any "complaining story" is just a rough, real, moment that passes as quickly as it comes.

First Swim of 2015

This morning started out rough - tears and attitude from E1 but by 8 am, everyone was smiling - sort of.

E2 had speech and OT this morning so E1 and I went to the 99 cent store to buy more arts & crafts supplies and then finished up the list of supplies at Target.

This afternoon we were invited over to our friend's home that has a pool! (They just moved in and the house is amazing) The four kids swam and jumped and played for a couple of hours. I was very impressed with E2. Last summer she would barely get in and this year she is in a puddle jumper, excited for the beach, and the pool. Today she jumped off a step and kept insisting I let her swim alone. E2 is determined to be a "big kid."

E1's swimming technique needs some refining, but for the most part she is ok. She had a ton of fun with her friends and doing "cannonballs."

They are now both exhausted from the heat and swimming which equals tears and whining. E1 has tumbling practice tonight, but E2 will be in bed by 6:15 pm - no joke.


As I am closing out this post, E1 just asked for some "Pepto Gizmo" because her stomach hurts.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stained Glass Pasta

http://babbledabbledo.com/pasta-crafts-stained-glass-pasta/

This project took longer to set up than to complete. However, we have enough pasta to make more or create something new. Both girls enjoyed it and I have new window decor. Win-win.



Free Play

I am a HUGE fan of letting the girls "just play."

During the play time, I do not engage with them. We call it "sister time" and they must play with each other and without me.  My general rule of thumb is "If no one is bleeding or dying, work it out on your own." Before E2 was verbal enough, I would intervene and help but she is now a mighty force not to be reckoned with.  To control tattling  (let's get real here, I have TWO girls) my saying is "Are your words helpful or hurtful?" I literally say this over & over until they stop, give up, and go back upstairs. Most times they stomp off with attitude and mumble to their sister "Mom isn't listening."

I AM A-O-K with this being an example of me "not listening."  Below is a picture of my pirates going on a treasure hunt.


First post

I have been asked to blog but in all honesty I feel like a tech loser - all the blogging sites are confusing the hell out of me. Anyway, at the advice of my cousin, I'll be using this site and am determined to figure it out.

I have two girls - they turn 7 and 4 this summer (2015). I am a SAHM, former educator.
I am outspoken, loud, sarcastic, and in general have the mouth of a sailor BUT I love hanging out with my daughters when they are not being whiny or annoying. We go on "field trips," bake, do art projects, and play. (Yes, they also watch TV, play on the computer and the iPad.) Some of our ideas take 5 seconds and end in tantrums, others are huge successes. I promise to share whatever we do because every child is different and our terrible idea may be a winner in your home.  I may also share random stories or conversations we may have.

This blog is dedicated to E1 & E2 - their smiles light up my heart.

I guess blogging is similar to a really long Facebook status?????

Sponge Bombs

I will give credit when the idea is not originally mine. Today we did this:
http://innerchildfun.com/2011/07/sponge-bomb-bucket-toss.html

IT WAS AWESOME.

My girls did not throw them in buckets, but at each other - LOL.
After a few minutes, Daddy went outside to join in the fun. E1 and Daddy had a full out water war while E2 played in the water table and laughed. Every now and then E2 joined in the fun. After some sponge bombs were thrown, the water hose was turned on and they all got soaked. A fun Sunday afternoon.

**Sponge bombs did "break" if thrown to hard. Good thing they are easy to put back together!