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Wordless Wednesday: Grilling time!

19 May
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Wordless Wednesday: Rebel without a Cause

12 May

Tell me Thursday: Growing like a weed

6 May
My daughter, A, has been growing like a weed!  I look at this picture and cannot believe how much she has grown.  When she falls asleep on the couch — she now takes up the whole thing!  When did that happen? 
She’s still only a Kindergartner (soon to be done with that!), but I now have “real” conversations with her.  Wow.  How time flies.

When she was about two and a half, my husband became convinced he would have a tall daughter.  I figured she would not “out-grow” us.  We have a standing bet around 5′ 6″ (my husband’s height — though he says he’s 5′ 7″).  I’m not sure what the winner gets, but at this rate, I might be the loser!

parenting BY dummies

Wordless Wednesday

5 May

Tuesday Tip Jar: 5 ways to let your Kindergartner get themselves ready in the morning.

4 May

Here’s my first try at a Tuesday Tip Jar.  Let me know if this is helpful! 

I hear parents complain that they have a hard time getting their kids out the door in the morning — dragging them out of bed, tangled hair, “where’s my socks?” and “I’m HUNGRY!”  Well, in my house, my 6-year-old Kindergartner gets herself ready. In fact, sometimes she’s ready before I’m out of bed!  Often, she’s the one nagging daddy, “are we going to be late for the bus???” (he is in charge of getting her to the bus stop).

Now, I’ll admit my daughter is pretty responsible for a 6-year-old, but we did a lot of “prep” to have her be this independent in the morning.  Here’s my tips for helping your Kindergartner be independent in the morning:

  1. Pick out clothes at bedtime.  This is a no-brainer, right?  Ok, I admit I’ve forgotten lots of times, if you do it enough your child will remind you! 
  2. Put an alarm clock in their bedroom and set it.  They don’t even have to be able to read time yet — just have to know how to turn it off!  We have one that has “sounds” (birds, rainforest, waves) in addition to the radio and BEEP BEEP, so that seemed more appropriate for waking her up.
  3. Show your child how to do her/his own hair. And don’t criticize her when it’s less then perfect!  It’s OK if your kid’s hair is a little bit moppish.  They will gain confidence, and gain their own sense of style.  They play on the playground everday — it’s going to get messy anyway!
  4. Have breakfast food that they can access.  We have fruit bars, bananas, fruit cups, and cereal.  The key is to have things that do not require YOU (the parent) to be present in order for them to get started with breakfast.  My kids know what are acceptable choices for breakfast from the pantry, and can get them out themselves in the morning. 
  5. Have school supplies ready to go.  Make sure lunches, backpacks, and anything else that is needed for the day is already packed and waiting at the door.  I usually go through my daughter’s backpack after she gets home from school, and repack after she goes to bed.

That’s it. Oh, I also have one more tip for those who like a little peace in the morning:  show your child how to turn on and off the TV! I don’t mind if my daughter watches a cartoon in the morning — after she’s done with everything else.  It motivates her to get ready.

Fill-in Friday

30 Apr

1. I was enjoying one-on-one time with my daughter last night playing “Walk the dogs”.
2. I went to bed last night and I left my book The Art of Happiness on the steps — it will not be finished yet!
3. Why would you sell your customers a product that you are betting will fail? Is it too much to expect large American financial companies to act ethically?
4. The gulf coast was in my thoughts today.
5. One of my father’s favorite sayings is He who dies with the most toys wins!
6. “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” – E. B. White — I know that feeling!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to Date Night with my hubby, tomorrow my plans include getting the dog groomed and Sunday, I want to enjoy spending time with my daughter at the Girl Scout mother/daughter tea party!

Tell me Thursday: It’s a good thing they are cute.

29 Apr

My family has 2 cats, one dog, and 2 kids (plus one hubby and me).  It’s the all-American suburban demographic, including a nice sized two-story home with 3 bedrooms.  With all that space, you’d think I could sit somewhere — anywhere — without having a warm body touching me at all times.

No, it is not possible.

Somehow I have become the pet/kid whisperer, and if I decide to rest my tired feet in any location for more than — say, 30 seconds — I will have a furry critter or small child invading my personal space.

And I LIKE my personal space. 

I’m sure some mothers might see me as “unattached” or unmotherly for this, but I am my OWN person.  I need my OWN space.  I like — no love — to snuggle with my kids and pets.  But I sometimes feel like I’m being stalked in my own home!

If I rest on the couch?  Kids and dogs are clammering for the spot next to me.  The dog will even sit at my feet waiting for a kid to get up, then jump up on the couch — usurping the spot.

If I work on the computer?  One kid next to me asking “can I see pictures?”, while a cat wiggles her way in behind my back.

If I’m in the bathroom?  While I have learned to lock the door, a cat usually sneaks in first.  Meanwhile, I listen to knocking and “Momma?  Momma?” for the entire duration.

If I want to sit at the kitchen table and try to have an adult conversation with friends?  Peek under the table — you’ll see an interesting “game” of “block the kid from mom’s lap.”  He usually squirms his way on anyway.

After my children go to bed, the animals reign supreme. They dictate my bedtime.  If I do not go to bed on-time, a cat will meow at my feet until I head up the stairs. 

It’s a good think they are cute.

Virtuosos at Granny’s

26 Apr

Three virtuosos giving a concert today at Granny’s house.

What do cowboys, vampires, zombies, and frat boys have in common?

17 Apr

You can find them all at the Double JJ Ranch!  Or, at least we did on our recent trip.  For the kid’s spring break, we decided to spend our money locally, and head to Rothbury, Michigan to the Double JJ Ranch (Yes, I know that makes four JJ’s — that’s still what they call it!).  With an indoor waterpark, old west town, highly rated golf course, and more, a good family vacation was assured.  Plus, we were able to bring along our dog by staying in the cabins (rather than the hotel). So, now you know where the cowboys fit into our puzzle.

Vampires.  My daughter A is *obsessed* with arcades.  When she found out there was an arcade at the resort, she wanted to live there.  She had brought all her tooth fairy money, as well as all the change she has scarfed up our change bowls, and was ready to blow it all.  And what did she buy her hundreds of tickets she won?  Bouncy balls, little stuff animals, candy, and VAMPIRE TEETH.

These teeth became her favorite new toy. A and R invented a new game in the cabin called “Vampire house” — A was the vampire, and R was her guardian.  Or maybe her butler.  I’m not sure which. 

In honor of full disclosure: I have a bit of a vampire obsession myself, and I wondered — as my 6-year-old daughter was announcing “I’m a VAMPIRE!” — how much my obsession had influenced her.

Zombies. We spend one of the warmer days walking around the old west town (named the “Back Forty”), and once my son R spotted the photo-op coffin, he was instantly transformed into a zombie!  
And, of course, once there is one zombie in the midst — the virus quickly spreads. Soon the old west town was infested with zombies. 

I’m so glad my kids have good imaginations.  πŸ™‚

Frat boys.  These were not a figment of my kids imagination, but they did make a big impression.  After 2 peaceful nights in our cabin, a large group of college students arrived, taking over several of the cabins nearby. 

While I am one to allow respectful people to have a good time as much as they want — these kids were NOT that.  They blasted music at all hours of the day, despite the resort staff coming by numerous times asking them to turn it down. 
After one night of feeling like I was living in a dorm, plus an afternoon of my son NOT getting his nap, I — along with every other family in a cabin nearby — requested to be moved.  We had our last night in a large, nice condo.
My kindergartner, upon returning to school on Monday, was asked to write about her spring break.  Did she write about the water slides?  Arcade?  Vampire teeth?  Nope.  “We got to sleep at the top of the cabin. There were campers.” Her detailed picture shows the “campers” — our frat boys, their loud music, their bonfire, and their red beer cups scattered on the ground.

Wordless Wednesday

14 Apr