Friday, January 31, 2020

Snowshoeing Weekend

Sure I ended up being sick most of the weekend, but I did get to scratch off two things on my Must Do List on Sunday (even while I was sick). Let's start with Friday. Friday was crazy in general: a busy daycare day followed by running a tad stressful event. The night ended with a few of us at a bar, with me in my pajamas (the event was a Family PJ Party....I clearly didn't worry about changing clothes). Saturday I was not feeling well, which I assumed was the effects of my Friday night fun, but it was really me being sick. Actually sick. Luckily, I have a pretty cool partner who took the minis to birthday parties and Game Day in Merle Hay Mall. I pulled it together to make dinner and then go back to bed.

Sunday was the real thriller. I tried a cherry white chocolate mocha from Twisted Bean, a coffee shop I've been meaning to try for months! From there we went snowshoeing for the very first time. The minis were less than thrilled about it, as they would have rather stayed home and played in the snow, but they wound up having a great time. After that adventure I was done for. I made a date with my bed from Sunday afternoon until Monday afternoon. You could say I went with the theory, "sleep your illness away."

After being indoors on Saturday for their fun, the minis begged to go play outside. They spent nearly three hours sledding at the elementary school, having snowball fights, and building a fort. I love how 35 degrees is warm in January! Of course, when they got home, their winter gear exploded all over their bathroom....and I didn't feel good enough to clean it all up. I have no idea how they managed to use the toilet, shower, and brush their teeth, but they did it. Without picking up their things. I'm not sure if this is a head smack or a talent.

Before snowshoeing, the minis spent their morning sledding on the hills near our house. They came in for a bit to get ready to go. The above picture captures the weirdness of our home. The youngest is arguing with me about changing into dry clothes, the oldest is changing in front of everyone as he offers his opinions on everything, and the middle one is eating the leftover scrambled eggs right out of the pot while he ignores the rest of us. Nothing about this picture surprises me, but I do find it entertaining!

The folks at Jester Park Outdoor Recreation building are extremely helpful! They got all five of us into the snowshoes with ease and on our way quickly. We did the short pond trail near the nature center. That alone took us about an hour. We'd easily need an entire day to do our favorite longer trail (which was initially our goal). A real highlight for the minis was walking on the frozen pond in their snowshoes.

It took them a bit to figure out how to walk in their snowshoes without stepping on them and falling over!

The kids thought it was all fun and games throwing snowballs until Dad threw back.

We stumbled upon this cool fort and let the kids play for a bit.

The looks of middle school anguish. He was mad we weren't doing what he wanted to do on this Sunday afternoon and legit cried about it. He also gave me permission to post these photos because after his little 'tude was done, he was able to laugh at these pictures. At least he doesn't always take himself too seriously.

Monday afternoon: soup and no talking because my throat hurt too much. 

It was my goal to fit in snowshoeing this busy winter and I'm so glad we got to try it out! I definitely think snowshoes will be going on next year's Christmas list so we can go whenever we'd like rather than have to rent them. Next year I'd like for us to give cross country skiing a try!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

A Night I Want To Remember Forever

Most nights are just regular nights: dinner, showers on shower nights, picking up the house, laying out clothes for the next day, reading, brushing teeth, taking out recycling, unloading the dishwasher, tears about going to bed, actually going to bed. It can get repetitive. Some nights it's nice to have things not be so rushed....and in complete honesty, I bribed them into getting their chores done with a fun dinner of nachos and watching part of an episode of NCIS (because it's been deemed appropriate network television by one of the minis and I don't have the energy to argue about that. Plus, it's really not the worst thing they/we could be watching).

 But this particular night was fun. There were jokes, so many WTF??!!? moments, and seconds that I want to keep in my memory. I'm a tad proud of their one liners and unique personalities that I can't help but smile at their nonesense while also thinking that we're so screwed in the teenage years with these three:

Elizabeth comes out of her room after putting pajamas on as the rest of us have already sat down at the table to eat our veggie nachos (we were waiting on her): "okay guys, since it's taco Tuesday and we're almost eating taco-like food, I'm wearing my taco nightgown!" 
**taco nightgown pictured above

Me, explaining a part on NCIS to Elizabeth that she missed because of a bathroom break: "so they're saying she shot her boyfriend. I guess sometimes they just make you made enough that you have to shoot them." (I was joking about that last part; my children typically pick up on sarcasm)
Elizabeth: "Oh that's true, especially when they do something stupid. Wait, was dad ever your boyfriend or did you just marry him?"
Me: "He was my friend first, then my boyfriend. We knew each other awhile before we got married."
Elizabeth: "Hmmm....I don't know how I feel about that."

Hubs: "Harrison, why are you touching your butt?"
Harrison: "I'm actually not touching my butt.....I'm pinching it. See? I squeeze my butt and then pinch it to see if it's big or not."
Hubs: "Go. Wash. Your. Hands. Scrub. With soap."
Harrison: "But a finger didn't go in...."
Hubs, interrupting him: "GO!"

Elizabeth (as she sprawls herself over the edge of our couch for added effect): "Ugh, why don't I have a nightgown?!!?"
Me: "You're wearing one."
Elizabeth: "No, like a little one. One that has spaghetti straps and comes down to a V and is short."
Me: brings up a slip on my phone, that just happens to be a bright pink Victoria's Secret slip, and shows it to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: YES! That's just the one I was talking about.
** so, my seven year old just asked me to buy her lingerie

Me, attempting to look up lingerie for my daughter: "How do you spell lingerie again?"
Max quips: "Muffuletta." 
** inside family joke, but after spending a weekend in NOLA last February, my husband and I constantly laughed at the word muffuletta because, well, it just sounds dirty. Apparently our children have overheard our inside jokes enough to properly inside joke it with us. I'm a little proud.

Harrison (while eating the Valentine's Day candies Cherry Sours): "Ch-ch-ch-ch cherry balls!" (said to the tune of ACDC's Big Balls).

Me: "I just spent over $100 to get a King Cake from Rouses and beignets from Cafe De Monde delivered for Mardi Gras for daycare."
Max: "It wouldn't cost much more for us to just go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras instead."

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Friday is for Fun

If you want something simple that kids love and keeps them entertained for a nice long time do a mural painting. I was honestly shocked at how much kids loved this activity. Part of the great thing about being on the Board of Directors for the Des Moines Children's Museum is that I can bring my ideas to life on a larger scale, for more people/kids to enjoy. On this particular Friday, daycare closed early so that I could run one of our events, a Family Pajama Dance Party. Of course, I did a run through of the party's activities with daycare beforehand.

Everyone wore their jammies, we painted (I skipped the shaving cream paint for daycare since I wasn't confident it wouldn't get eaten), had a "hot" chocolate party, danced to Disney music, and did a snowman craft. Yes, Friday was exhausting as I went from daycare to the Museum and worked 14 hours straight. Yes, it's likely the reason I ended up sick later on in the weekend. But it was still a great day all around!

The kids took this painting very seriously. I don't know if it was because the paper was up on the wall when they're used to painting with the paper being flat on a table, but they really loved painting this way. 

The "hot" chocolate party included chocolate almond milk (cold because nearly every child I've ever met doesn't actually drink their hot chocolate hot, they wait until it's cooled off), graham crackers, and marshmallows to put into the "hot" chocolate. Most of the kids just ate their marshmallows and didn't put them into their hot chocolate. It's always a highlight when the kids get to use "the breakable little cups" (also known as our espresso cups).

Foam snowmen shapes, glue, and beads with the instructions being "first, don't eat the beads. Second, glue them onto the snowman to make your snowman."

Being the littest at daycare has its benefits. Such as doing your own painting while others rest.

We had such a busy morning that everyone crashed for naps.

I had to find time to be mom too in between daycaring and Museum-ing. I was thrilled when the youngest brought home her science project. She fought hard for it too...beating out her two other science group members for keeping rights. 

At the Museum, our Family Pajama Dance Party included dancing with bubbles, an experiment (that I didn't do at daycare, we chose to do the craft instead), "hot" chocolate bar, and a shaving cream glue paint mural. The mural was a favorite, with many kids spending the entire three hours of the event painting.

It's always interesting to me what interests kids. Painting and art in general is usually at the top of the list, but I really was surprised how much all kids seemed to enjoy the mural painting. I'd like to try the mural painting/making with other mediums other than paints: Dot Markers, oil pastels, etc. and see what kids think of that. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Just Because Kids Get Older Doesn't Mean You Stop Telling Them The Same Damn Things

I giggled at the email I had received. It was from the middle school Language Arts teacher, who informed parents that hoodies were a problem. The kids can't stop playing with them during classtime and they will begin getting them taken away. It wasn't so much what the teacher had said that made me giggle, but rather the image that ran through my head. I was picturing a room full of pre-teens and young teenagers flipping their hoods up and down during classtime. I giggled because it seems like the same damn thing I would have to tell a four year old.

Then I really started thinking hard about it and I realized, I still have to tell older kids things I thought they would realize on their own. Like, shut the bathroom door, don't flip your hair in someone's face, you're stepping/sitting on someone, say excuse me rather than trample your way through. It's a known fact that toddlers and preschoolers are developing spatial awareness. Apparently this rings true for 90% of kids older than 7 that I 've met. 

Before I was a parent to a middle schooler, I would have guessed I wouldn't be worrying if hoodies would cause problems, that necklaces and bracelets would still be pulled on, rings wouldn't be lost and/or swallowed (apparently 12 year olds have done this, according to a social studies teacher who has banned jewelry in the classroom). When I heard about the twelve year old who swalled her ring, I was reminded of when my oldest was ten and accidently swallowed a Lego because he bit on it to get it apart. I was shocked then and I'm still shocked now.

Kids make it their mission to keep parents on their toes. Apparently their entire lives. I spend many moments these days wondering what the hell is wrong with my eleven year old. Is he supposed to be this way? Is this really how middle schoolers are? Am I doing something wrong? After a particularly rough day with him this week, receiving that email was the best thing. Not only did it make me laugh, it reassured me that I was not alone. Everyone's kids are doing stupid things. Not just mine.

For now I'm assured that I'm not the only parent telling my older kids the same damn things I had to tell them when they were toddlers. It doesn't fill me with hope, but it does make me feel less alone. And I ask again, why isn't this shit in the parenting books??!!? 

** I do want to note, because my posts lately concerning my middler schooler has been about the stupidity that seems to hit this age group. Yes, there's a lot of stupidity, a lot of learning going on, but also a lot of growth. It's pretty cool to see everything we've taught him and everything he's learned come out in his personality. Sometimes that's just overshadowed by swallowing Lego's, forgetting phones, and shoving past people instead of waiting their turn.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Multi-Day Weekend

The minis had a five day weekend (Thursday - Monday), BUT our super exciting plans were put on hold due to the weather. Initially when the school calendar was released, I had thoughts of taking the minis to Memphis on this long weekend. That nine hour drive would seem like nothin' these days. However, in between last whenever-that-was and now, I've booked a few vacays and couldn't afford to take the time off and take another vacation. It worked out well though that Hubs had Thursday off, I took Friday off, we were all off together for the weekend, and they got to hang out with friends for their Monday (sure it was a working day for me, but whatever, they were happy). 

Thursday they got to go exploring with Dad at the historical musuem and Friday we made the most of our homebound during the snowstorm day (which was supposed to be our surprise day trip day). Saturday we ventured out for brunch at Americana and to the Art Center, but came home after instead of sledding in the wind and cold. Movies were calling my name and the middle mini had a very important cake to bake and decorate. Sunday we celebrated Grandpa Sheaffer's birthday and cheered on the football teams (we're not Chiefs fans but I'm super excited for them to be in the Superbowl). I am trying really hard to enjoy and appreciate these winter weekends, but I'm waiting to get in an adventure or two soon!

There were arguments about it, but it had been a year or two since our last visit to the Iowa Historical Museum. The minis really enjoyed seeing Iowa tied to places we've visited, such as this rifle and Harper's Ferry. I love hearing what they pick up during our travels and how it impacts their lives.

Friday was our snow and baking day. The minis played outside in the afternoon and went night sledding around the neighborhood after dark.

I have issues. If I stay home on my days off I wind up just looking for more adventures for us. Nothing booked. Yet. 

I love that I didn't have to go out to get the trash from the curb as the snow came down.

We finally saw Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. It was pretty good. Also good was the popcorn and M&M's.

Saturday we got a late start for brunch at Americana, followed by a visit to the Art Center. We had hopes for going sledding, but the wind and cold temps kept us inside. It worked well because Harrison got a start on Grandpa Sheaffer's birthday cake and I, well I, took advantage and lounged around watching Netflix. Sex Education season 2 was so worth it!

Harrison and Elizabeth loved Americana's Fruity Pebble pancakes so much that we made our own Monday morning!

This moment got me. All five of us went to the buffet lines, but Max separated and went to the grilled cheese station. We've been to Americana enough that we knew where everything was, so we had no real concerns. As Hubs and I helped the younger two get their food, we looked around and didn't see Max. When we got back to the table we found him sitting down, eating a plate of mac and cheese brisket happily. He went from seeming so old to young again when we took a look at his grilled cheese order. 'Max S' just like at school.

We were surrounded by bridal parties and younger people celebrating. Harrison and Elizabeth gossiped over brunch about everyone's clothes, what they were drinking, etc. I had to tell them to stop numerous times.

We had hopes to walk around the Sculpture Park but the wind was too much. We snapped a quick picture in the "letter person," as Harrison calls it, and then booked it to the car.

My mom made homemade Mexican bread and brought some over. It was delish!

Sunday brought the usual: cleaning, daycare toy rotation. lazy morning, coffee, CBS Sunday morning. Sunday also brought the unusual: an impromptu "cool" quiz from Elizabeth (she quizzed me on what's hot and what's not at the moment. I didn't do well), cake decorating, a surprise birthday party for Grandpa Sheaffer, and a Chiefs win.