Friday, August 29, 2014

Dear Children on a Saturday Morning

Dear Children on a Saturday Morning,

I love you. I do truly love you with all of my heart. Just not at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I love my sleep then. You see, I'm rather ticked off at you. All week long I've had to wake you up to go to school, listened to your whining and complaining as I've forced you to get ready and eat your breakfast, and hugged you through your "I'm sleepy!" wailing. Yet, on Saturday morning, you greet me too bright and too early, exclaiming "where are we going today?" "I'm hungry RIGHT NOW!" "Can we go to school today!!??!" You've got to be f*cking with me. I may or may not have said this to you in my zombie-like state.

Unless we have some place to be (which is rare because I am not a morning person. You may or may not have figured this out yet little children), I do what I do every other Saturday morning. I groggily make you oatmeal or cereal, turn on Netflix Kids, and sprawl out on the sofa with my blanket and pillow to watch a movie with you. By watch a movie with you, I mean sleeping with drool hanging out the side of my mouth. This, I know, you have figured out because eventually you wake me up by using my ass as trampoline or deciding to begin WW3 because one of you knocked the blanket fort down. I've spent so many Saturday mornings snuggled on this sofa cuddling with you and supervising your play (again, supervising with drool and snoring), that our sofa curls around my body as soon as I lay down. This is one of the many reasons I refuse to replace our stained, worn in sofa.

So dearest children of mine, I must ask you: do you have some kind of built in radar that beeps the minute it's the weekend that makes you want to do the things you don't want to do the other five days of the week? Why in the hell do you insist on sleeping in whenever we have something going on or somewhere we need to be? The only time you feel the need to sleep past 7:30 a.m. is when I have to be up hours before then and must wake you up.

I never thought 7:30 a.m. would feel like sleeping in, but it feels like Christmas 1988 (I received a puppy that year) all over again when I get that chance a few times a year. You might even get a breakfast feast instead of a box of Fruit Loops thrown at you if you slept just a little longer Saturday mornings. Even better, we may be able to skip that mid-morning meltdown we have (yes, I say we because I have a meltdown right along with you) and yawns starting at 11 a.m. I mean, wouldn't that just be amazing???

I'm saying this with all the love in the world...or as much love as I can muster up at 6:09 on a Saturday morning. I also say with love, dear children, go the f*ck back to sleep. It's too early.

I'm stupidly holding out hope for next Saturday.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dr. Seuss Day

The daycare enjoyed a Dr. Seuss Day this week, complete with Dr. Seuss books, toys, puzzles, games, crafts and colorings, and green eggs and ham for lunch! Their favorite part of the day was eating their green eggs and ham while I read the book to them. I was surprised that almost all of the kids loved their green eggs (I don't think I would have touched those as a toddler!). Once again, we had an hour long storytime; reading all of the Dr. Seuss books in the house.

We started our day with blue (although it looks green in the picture, I promise it's blue) and red pancake muffins dipped in syrup. My oldest decided the pancakes should be "blue and red...because those are definitely Dr. Seuss colors."

The kids colored Cat in the Hat hats (drawn by your truly).

Just a few of the books we read during lunch and before naps.

The kids got a treat of Swedish Fish after we read "One Fish Two Fish" and got to watch "The Cat In The Hat" cartoon on PBS.
We also played number and color games after reading "One Fish Two Fish." It was a great color review for kids, we went over the numbers on each fish, and they played a matching game: first with numbers and then with the colors. The kids did great with these games and attempted to recite the book while we played.
Dr. Seuss stickers (found at Michael's). The older kids had a great time trying to spell out words with the Dr. Seuss letter stickers.

I have yet to decided what our next theme day will be, but I've gotten many requests for another book theme day. Looks like I'll be spending some time in the children's book store checking out new book series!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Real Hell: Vacationing With Kids

As much as I love vacations and getaways with the minis, there's soooo much work in preparing, the drive to places takes double the time, and making sure where you're staying has the appropriate accommodations is hell. Really, the entire process is hell. I love road trips, as does my husband, even with screaming kids in the car, there's something about hitting road and seeing the land up close, with the ability to get out and explore. This is something we have passed along to our children, however vacations are no longer the carefree, joyous trips I remember as a kid.

I recall vacations going something like this: mom and dad announcing to my sister and I we were going somewhere, this was met with excited and sleepless nights from the excitement, pack bags with clean clothes, leave for vacation and enjoy special vacation treats, stay in a hotel (where we endured our parent's snoring--the worst part of any vacation as a kid), eat out, and have fun.

Now that I'm a mom, vacations sure have changed. We do endless hours of research on hotels. Is there an indoor pool or an outdoor pool or both? What does the suite have? Is there at least a mini fridge in the room to store bottles/milk/fruits/veggies? How close is the nearest Target or convenience store? What kid friendly restaurants are nearby or better yet, in the hotel? How close is the hotel to our activities (aka-how much extra driving are we going to have to do?)? We deal with kids who are already tired from pre-vacation excitement. Do loads upon loads of laundry to ensure everyone has enough clean clothing for the vacation. Look over packed bags.....and repack them accordingly. Always pack extra of everything--going away for two days? Pack five days worth of clothes, underwear, socks, and pajamas. Go grocery shopping for car and hotel snacks. Make sure the car is up to date on oil changes, cleaned out, and ready to go. Leave for vacation....two hours behind schedule.

Our destination is four hours away, which really means six hours with the countless potty breaks, breaking up fights about what DVD should be watched, someone touched someone else's car seat, another one is hungry.....and none of the snacks I packed are good enough, or someone needs to "see what's in that cornfield at the rest area." When we finally arrive to our hotel, we immediately child proof the room(s). At night, we endure our children's countless grunts, snores, middle of the night "I have to pee" that wakes up everyone, and of course the "I miss my bed!" Eating out for every meal is exhausting, which inevitably leaves us with fast food, which means tummy issues for days. Oh, and the have fun part of the vacation....I can't believe how much that costs!!???!!? Seriously, the cost!

To put it mildly, vacationing with kids isn't a vacation at all. It's work. Work from the moment it's planned to the time we come home....which leaves me with even more work because we have days of dirty clothes in our suitcases. But it's work away from home, away from the usual work. Despite my bitching, we'll continue to go on "vacations." I'll continue to go through the hell of vacationing with my'll just have to listen to me bitch about it.

Weekend: Let's Celebrate!

This weekend we took some time to celebrate the hub's 33rd birthday. He actually turns 33 next Saturday, but we'll be out of town (hooray for a last minute end of summer vacation!) so we celebrated with family this weekend.

Hub's had to work Saturday, so the mini's and I "relaxed" at home. Looks like everyone is excited about our upcoming getaway because the minis played "going on vacation" all weekend long.
This was their car.
Laundry was my activity for the day.
After Matt was done working, we were in birthday celebration mode with Confluence beer, homemade tacos, and pies. The minis had fun showing off for family, taking puppy Jack on a walk, and playing the piano.

I spent the rest of my Saturday night working on my children's book. I refuse to send it in until I'm completely happy with all of my revisions. The writing portion of the book was a cinch compared to the revising process.

It's also been extremely hot and muggy-we've been spoiled this summer so the heat and humidity is somewhat shocking when we've been enjoying 80's all summer long. All of the public pools closed last weekend, so we took the kids to Ashby Wading Pool at Ashby Park on Sunday. The kids had a blast cooling off, I sweated my ass off from the sidelines watching my kids, and Max saw a friend from school there and was busy showing off his newly acquired swimming skills.

I stayed up a tad too late on Saturday working on my book, so while I lounged on the couch after breakfast (doing more writing of course), the minis played vacation.

They sure know how to pack for a road trip: an empty princess costume box, stuffed animals, 13 blankets, random shoes (none of which matched), pillows, a shovel, and one comforter.
We finally made it to the wading pool where the boys found the deepest water they could and attempted to do their swimming strokes they learned at lessons this summer. Max was happy to show off his moves for his classmate who we ran into.

Elizabeth practiced dunking her face and holding her breath.
They played a game called shark chase.
It took her all summer, but she was finally brave enough to sit in the water and dunk her head! She'll be all ready for the Dells next summer!

Elizabeth needed dad's help and encouragement the first time through but did it all herself after that!
She even tried (unsuccessfully) to swim like her brother's. Please note the depth of water she's in! I tried not to laugh as she so proudly showed off her swimming skills.
After the pool, we celebrated Matt's birthday at home. We made one of his faves: grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes, and snap peas and extra chocolately brownies topped with raspberries and chocolate syrup.

I can hardly wait for next weekend to get here: a 3 day weekend away to Minneapolis, MN. I haven't been to Minnesota in years and quite looking forward to going to the places I remember going as a kid. I'm anxious to see how this trip goes, as this will affect where we decided to spend spring break and next summer's vacation!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Week In Review: August 18 - August 22

We had a great week at daycare! This week the kids wanted very little to do with the activities I had planned or any guided play/activities. So we set them aside for another week and instead the kids simply played. They emptied out bins and buckets of toys. They built Lego cities and block castles. They played "bad guys" with flashlights and claws (courtesy of a McDonald's Happy Meal). The best part of all of this is that the kids got along and played wonderfully together. It was by far one of the easiest weeks in months....a few days I even got a bit antsy from just sitting and watching them play!
I loved seeing what the kids came up with. Here's a look at our days:

We started our week with a Daniel Tiger Day. The kids have been looking forward to "Daniel Tiger's New Baby Week" since July. We devoted an entire day to the kid's favorite show. Read more here:

One of many block castles and cities built throughout the week.

Building with clay. The goal was to have the kids make shapes or something, but instead they had me build cars, trucks, balls, and snakes for them......I had a lot of fun though!

We had Max's back to school night before school started. We made it a family affair so Max could show off his school to his brother and sister. Elizabeth had fun playing in Max's locker, Harrison laughed at her, Max rolled his eyes, all while Matt and I tried talking to the school staff about their summer's. We're all really excited about Max's first grade school year and we love his teacher.

Back to school night requires a trip to Snookies. Not only were the treats delish (as usual), but we ran into sooooo many friends that our quick visit for ice cream became a few hours long! After chatting and catching up with folks we don't see nearly enough (and the kids played on Snookies patio), we went for a (very) late dinner to El Rodeo....where we ran into even more friends!
It was one of those nights that left us feeling full: full of yummy food and full of happiness from spending time with friends.
Playing "Batman in Gotham City."

Kool Aid painting. First the kids painted paper plates to make into party hats for their lunch pizza party, then they painted the patio.

Our backyard has been extra muddy this summer, so I got out bowls and utensils for them to make mud pies. I was surprised no one got extremely muddy.

Dad and boys watching another new episode of "Daniel's Tiger Neighborhood."

I heard the words "be careful!" and rushed into Elizabeth's room to find my three minis like this. I'm pleased to report there were no injuries.

Building a train station. 

"Bye! We're going shopping!" was what I was told as they proceeded to put as many toys as they could into the little shopping cart.

Painting with shaped pool noodles. The kids made some pretty cool designs with these. It was also a great color review for the kids.

Max's first day of first grade! We celebrated with Scratch cupcakes when he got home.

As if my days weren't busy enough, I found myself in a craft store Wednesday evening preparing to write an article for a company on DIY invites. It was quite a task, but turned out great and I was able to involve the kids too.

A race track and concession stand. I am amazed at what they came up with this week!

Stylin' in her shades on a sunny day.

We ended the week with a Berenstain Bears Day because the kids have loved reading books this week. All of our story times have been at least a half hour, most days longer. Read more about their day here:

This is what I get when I tell him to pick out his own clothes. We even went to Target with him dressed like this......he was quite proud of himself.

Next week we'll get out the sprinkler (after school has started is when we hit our 90 degree days of course), experiment with veggie and fruit painting, try out some new slime recipes, read new books (the best part of back to school time: Scholastic book orders!), have a Dr. Seuss Day, and play the instruments outside....that is if the kids want to do these things!