Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Gross Stuff Kids Do

Kids do gross stuff. I've come to terms with that. I actually expect it and mostly, don't bat an eye to it anymore. I kindly give reminders like "we don't share toothbrushes," or "we should spit in each other's mouths," and "let's not lick the (insert arbitrary household object here)." Once you're a parent you become accustomed to lines like this, but that doesn't necessarily make them any less gross. And it still doesn't make it any less surprising when I witness it.

Take for example, the other night. We had gotten done at a trick or treating event and we stopped by a restaurant for take out black bean burgers. As we waited for our food, the minis got to have one piece of candy from their loot. Elizabeth chose a caramel apple sucker. One of those that the sucker is green apple flavor and there's caramel around it to eat first (I loved them as a kid, but they kinda make me gag at the sight of them now). The only issue is that she doesn't like the caramel on the sucker.

She told me she didn't like it, but opened up the sucker anyway and popped it in her mouth. I didn't pay much attention after that as the minis were excitedly recapping their night and Hubs and I were in a conversation of our own. It wasn't until, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the middle mini with TWO suckers in his hand, taking turns sucking on both of them.

As I turned to question him on the whole two sucker situation, the youngest mini spoke, "uh, Harrison, hurry up. Just bite all of the caramel off and give it back to me. I'm trying to wait nicely."

I instantly picked up on what was happening. The youngest had given the middle mini her sucker to eat off the part she didn't like, then was going to pop that sucker in her own mouth and finish eating it. I wanted to gag a little as I once again preached about spreading germs, etc. The best part was the onlookers who heard the whole debacle and actually giggled about the incident. I suspect they were relieved not to be in our shoes, but we get that a lot from people who see our circus train moving along.

To cap the night off, I had to tell the same two children not to dip their toothbrushes in the dirty spit water sitting in the sink after the oldest brushed his teeth (and left the water running longer than needed). I'm grossed out and slightly impressed that kids are still alive after all of the gross stuff they touch, put their mouth on, and share.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our 9 Favorite Shows To Watch As a Family

Photo by ABC Studios

As a parent who limits screen time, I find it difficult to find appropriate shows for us to watch together as a family. Believe me, I am not the perfect parent in this area. My children have caught episodes of Bones and New Girl as I binged watched them on Netflix earlier this year (seriously, my five year old have a favorite episode of New Girl that goes over her head completely--thank god). However, typically I'm pretty strict on what my three can and can't watch. Luckily, they're close in age and have similar interests, so choosing something for all of us isn't too difficult.

Between DVD's of old shows, Netflix, and Hulu, we've found our go-to's to watch (when we have the free time):

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Sweet Spot

I have mixed feelings about my three minis aging. Some days I struggle with it (as was the case yesterday), while other days I enjoy all of the benefits that come with older kids. There are moments where I miss them needing me, needing me to show them the world. Other days I love that they can navigate through the world (somewhat) themselves. Then there are the days that I get to witness the things I have taught them being put to use.

I got to experience the latter this morning. Sunday's are my favorite day of the week. I'm particularly fond of our Sunday Family Fun Days but this was not one of those Sunday's. We had stayed home most of the day yesterday due to the constant rainfall. Plus, the minis told me they didn't want to do anything this weekend. I threw out a couple of ideas, but they were all shot down. So, I set myself up for a me Sunday morning. Hubs was working on a house project, I made myself a me breakfast (read: a vegan breakfast), ate it in bed, while catching up on reading. I had magazine articles saved from last spring that hadn't been studied and books that I've been meaning to read all summer but hadn't gotten around to. I lazily laid in bed and read all morning.

At noon I made my way downstairs to order pizza for everyone for lunch. I was greeted with three happily playing children. For the past three hours they had painted, practiced piano, eaten a snack (of fruit nonetheless), did a few science experiments, played hide n seek, made necklaces, and cleaned it all up.

"Wow, looks like you guys have had a fun morning," I said, contented that they had managed to play together for three hours and no one was missing an eye.

"Yeah, I've just been running daycare for the morning," replied my oldest, as he finished wiping up the table from the fresh paint that was spilled while painting pictures. It was then that realized what I was actually seeing.

They were old enough and more than capable to do things themselves. They had witnessed me doing these things a thousand times, every day for nearly seven years. When left to their own devices, they simply followed a routine that I have followed Monday - Friday. Instead of watching three hours of Netflix, they did what I do with them (and other kids) every day. I was given a chance to see what I had unwittingly been teaching them over the years.

After a tough Saturday, where I was saddened by my grown children, I was pleased with this sweet spot we are in. This sweet spot where my kids are still young enough to need me, though not in the tiring capacity as they did when they were in the toddler/preschool years. This sweet spot where they're old enough to do things for themselves (until you've said the words, "make the sandwich yourself" you won't understand the freeing feeling you get), entertain themselves, and actually be of help around the house. 

The Sweet Spot isn't without it's difficulties. They are also old enough to have opinions, very vociferous opinions and ideas that you can no longer talk them out of as you can when they are younger. The Sweet Spot is also a bittersweet spot, as it means they're growing up. Our oldest is nearing the end of the sweet spot and heading into the preteen years. I know soon he'll no longer get excited by our Mom and Minis Days and I'm fully anticipating the eye roll when we declare it Sunday Family Fun Day. The Sweet Spot is a transitional phase that doesn't last long (not nearly long enough for me). 

For now, I'll relish in this sweet spot. I'll relish in the fact that I'm teaching them valuable skills and lessons. Most importantly, I'll relish in the fact that I got time to myself without interruptions AND my house got picked up by someone other than me. The Sweet Spot indeed.

The oldest helping the youngest with her glitter (that I'll be finding throughout my house for the next year).

Their paintings, that they neatly laid out to dry.

Science experiments. I did help get the glass dish down from the highest shelf in the cupboard.

The biggest disaster was when a medicine cup full of beads and sequins was spilled in the bathroom. I didn't ask why they were in a medicine cup because, truth be told, I didn't want to know.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Another Weekend, Another Pumpkin Patch (and Other Stuff)

I love a good, full weekend. I also like some down time. I made sure we had a bit of both AND had time to run some important errands. We started our weekend with a dance party, Mexican food, and a (much needed) trip to Toys R Us for daycare toys and birthday presents for little friends.

We've hit the stage where the minis make fun of us. The video below is a re-enactment (not a very good one either), but Hubs sweetly stole a peck on my cheek, which led to the boys going "ewww, you guys were like this...." and showed us an over the top kiss. It cracked me up (and really bothered them that we weren't fazed by their teasing) that I made everyone do the re-enactment.

Saturday was a perfectly lazy, rainy day. 

We got home from our (rather expensive) Target run just as the rain moved back in. We took the rest of the day to watch a movie, do a few projects around the house, and get some good reading time in.

I'm really enjoying this phase of my mini's life. They're old enough to help out with things (such as wrapping birthday presents), but still young enough that they enjoy our family fun days.

I told Harrison to write his name small. This kid has a habit of taking up half of a birthday card with his name. So, he wrote it as small as he possibly could.

We got home Saturday night just in time to see fireworks from our front yard. The fireworks in our area got rained out on the 4th of July, so they rescheduled. We completely forgot about it until we pulled in our driveway and were greeted with the sight of fireworks just over the tree tops.

Sunday morning we let the temperature warm up a bit, then we went to another pumpkin patch, the Science Center, and home in time for family dinner. I made pork bbq sandwiches for Hubs and the kids, while I tried jackfruit bbq sandwiches for the first time. Using this recipe, it's definitely something I will be making again! The minis even tried it too and liked it.

I took the opportunity to wear my new Halloween shirt. 

We needed a few more pumpkins, gourds, and hay bales and corn stalks for daycare play. Our favorite place to get all of this in one stop is Geisler Farms. We discovered this patch on our Tour of Pumpkin Patches two years ago and now it's a must every year. Not only do they have a wonderful variety of pumpkins and gourds, they have wonderful prices for everything, and just enough to keep the kids busy. Quite honestly, the only reason we went into the Fun Yard is because they have the minis favorite giant slide.

I highly recommend this patch to anyone with young children and/or anyone looking for pumpkins. It's always great and has grown every year we've gone!

The hamster wheel provided plenty of laughs.

The beloved big slide.

The middle mini did flips and cartwheels on the jumping pillow.

Races around the track.

We ran out of room in the van for the cornstalk.

While it would have been the perfect afternoon for a hike, the minis begged us to go to the Science Center to see the new dinosaur exhibit. It was really cool! Even Hubs and I learned a new thing or two!

The screens and CGI dinosaurs were a hit with every child in the exhibit! Luckily we have a member pass so we'll be going back again soon.

Walking past these, Hubs and I got excited to see toys (and a VHS) that we had when we were little. Do you remember which restaurant had these plastic The Land Before Time puppets??? Hint: they also had Beauty and the Beast. I wish I still had some of these toys to show my kids!

The joys of a green screen.

The minis and I worked hard to get the pretend corner "pumpkin patch" all set up before bed Sunday evening!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fun With A Halloween Book

Daycare kids absolutely LOVE the book Room on the Broom. It's a favorite this time of year and is read multiple times a day. Today we made an entire day out of it! We started by reading the book, then making our own broom sticks, followed by a showing of the cartoon on Netflix (don't have Netflix? Find the DVD here), and rounding out the morning by re-enacting the book.

I attempted to get them to "fly" on their broom sticks but they preferred sweeping the carpet with them instead.

Sticks from the yard (we had plenty to choose from), brown construction paper cut into strips, and masking tape to keep it on the stick made for a simply made art and craft.

Broom ready to go by the door. You know, for easy fly away.