Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dinner Time


“Fork you Mommy.” “Fork you sister.” “Fork you Daddy.”

Sounds like any kid anywhere in America anywhere in the world helping set the table for dinner.

Only thing. With this kid, the “o” comes out with more of a “uh.” And well. The “r” isn’t said at all. So, the annunciation ends up rhyming with duck. Only starting with an F.

Yeah.

If he is sitting with a plate food of food and he doesn’t have a fork, he just yells for one. Over and over again. “Fork. Fork. Fork.”

Big Girl has no idea what the word that he is saying means anything other than fork. It’s not a word that we use.

When it started we were constantly trying not to laugh. That was a few weeks ago.

It had almost slipped my mind. When he would talk about his cutlery I would just hear fork. In my head it was just fork.

Then, we were with some extended family, and he asked for a, “fork please?” And the flood gates opened. Opened. For the rest of the meal people couldn’t stop asking about the tool he was using to stab his food.

Over the next few days it continued. My quick witted brother-in-law tried to teach him the phrase. “Give a Fork.”

He didn’t latch on to it. He wouldn’t even repeat it once. Even though it would have been funny, I was pretty happy he didn’t repeat it. That happiness was shattered Saturday morning. Out of nowhere. At church. As he was eating pretzels before the Easter egg hunt, it came back.

“Give a FORK!”

In the middle of the room. Middle school volunteers helping with the Easter Egg hunt were all over the place. He needed a fork to eat pretzles.

I wanted the little space between the linoleum tiles to open and swallow me up.

Thanks Uncle Ben. Seriously. Fork you. Thanks. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Half Written Posts

Writing can be really tough for some people. For me, admittedly, it usually comes pretty easy. However, every once in a while I get stuck.

I usually save the post. In case I get inspired later. I recently spent some time cleaning out my draft file (okay, looking for something cool to finish because I was lacking inspiration), and found some fun half written posts.

At Home (drafted 3/22/12)
When I'm at work I want to be at home. There. I said it. Does it make me a bad employee? A good mom? An exceptional wife? Probably yes to all three.

When I am at home I'm playing with the kids, cooking dinner, kissing boo boo's, being crafty and generally loving life. If something makes you happy, then its where you should be.

Right?

Well, maybe that is the dream version of the reality.

It probably more like playing with the kids, cleaning, holding a baby, filling a sippy cup with milk every few hours and

Teething Toddler (drafted 7/9/12)
A teething toddler is different than a teething baby. Those dang incisors or whatever they are called are b*#@&$. For Real.

The Best Thing About Vacation (drafted 7/3/12)
Every vacation has its ups and downs. Moments that you adore and those that you wish didn't happen. Roll them all together and its truly about the memories.

Mommy Problems (drafted 9/26/12)

Mommies have different problems than any other group out there.


It starts even before your first child enters the world with the pregnancy balance and hormones. Once your child arrives its leaking boobs and more hormones.


As they get older the problems don't go away. Very few people look at Daddies and say, "Can you bake brownies for the teacher luncheon tomorrow?" the same day that they have a big deadline at the office - or - when a toddler is sick. If they did most Dad's would say something like, "I'll check with my wife," or "Does Whole Foods count as home made?," or "The baby is sick sorry."


But Moms don't say those things. At least not in my world. Instead, they say, "Is one pan enough?" or "I may have to drop them off early so I can take care of something at work."


Pushing Buttons (drafted 10/10/11)
Everyone has things that set them off. For some its a tone of voice or bad habit in others. For some people its a certain person or even a way of doing things.

For Big Girl its talking to her in a "little kid" voice. For husband, well, I'm not going to go there. For me, its a combination of a tone of voice, bossiness and a lack of sentiment for other's feelings.

This Place Smells (drafted 2/23/13)
You know the funk that all thrift stores share? A combination of moth balls, old lady and mildew?

Don't lie you do.

Maybe you only go in them to make donations, maybe they are your everyday shopping stop. Maybe you're like me and go through phases of being in them all the time looking for just the right something  then don't step through the double doors of barginess again for months.

At any rate, you know the smell.

My sister and I used to call it the smell of affordablee. Like Targee for Target.

Big girl now knows the smell too... She identified it for herself as we went around town looking for a new desk for the office.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm "That" Mom

I feel so bad, but I know we are doing the right thing.

Ok.

Let me back up.

You know on The Middle when Frankie and Mike threaten take Brick's books away? Wait. That may be every episode. But even the threat makes him completely dev-as-ta-ted. Devastated.

Right up there with when he couldn't get new books at the library.


That is what it was like at our house.

Not really. I'm being dramatic.

But, we really did take the books away. For three days.

I know. Kids need books. The need to read for fun. For most kids its a challenge. They have a ton of things going on and never get around to reading. Big Girl has activities. We've been trying out different sports. But, she hasn't really found one that is "it."

But, what she has found is books. She can read a 150 page book at a third or fourth or something grade level in a day. The books that some of the kids in her class are reading can be finished in an hour or two.

We love that she loves to read. But, its time to read a little less. So, we are taking the books away for a few days.

...You can read for school, but no more Baby Sitter's Club, no more Geranamo Stiltson, no more Flower Fairies... It may be a long three days. But here is the thing. She will finally do other things. Spend time outside, practice tennis or basketball, use some of the million art supplies, use the Easy Bake Oven. Plus there are the toys in her room.

Its tough to figure out a balance. Even tougher to help your kids get a balance. But, maybe. Just maybe. This will help broaden the horizons.

It is going to be quite the experiment. Wish us luck.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mo Deer

Its apparently deer season. I don't know about hunters, or anything, but in our neighborhood, its deer season. We've been feeding them off and on most of the winter.

As it would turn out, the North Raleigh variety didn't care for the fancy salt lick that was recommended by hunters on Amazon.com. I thought deer were deer. If deer in Kansas like a salt lick, I thought it was totally feasible that deer in North Carolina would like it too.

Is it possible that city deer and country deer don't have the same tastes?... Kind of like the Country mouse and city mouse from the Mother Goose book. (If you missed this treasured childhood story, Wikipedia can fill you in here.) I don't know. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Anyway, back to the actual deer. They stop by at least once on most days. We've gone from usually having 3 or 4 to an average of 6 or 7.


We aren't feeding them as often, but they still stop by. Its warming up the last week or so, so I'm wondering if they're out because there is tasty spring vegetation, or because they know there is corn under the swing on our swing set. 

No matter the reason, I'm glad they are here, because they provide quite the entertainment and counting lessons.

But. I am puzzled. What should we feed them. Is there some shrubbery that they would like? Should we stick to corn? Plus why are they out right now? Help a girl out.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

What happened to Wordless Wednesday? For a while there every blog I read was putting up pictures at least once a month for Wordless Wednesday.

This week I have one. Its fantastic.


No Mom. I wasn't using my phone while driving. Traffic was terrible. I put the car in park.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Coordination and Sports

I'm a klutz. There is no way around it. I lack coordination. I've been known to walk into walls and fall over my own feet. In middle school I broke my ankle on a pencil. A pencil. I was doing a cartwheel, and random pencil on the basketball court landed me in the emergency room and earned me an air cast that put a quick end to my cheer leading career. Seriously. A pencil.

From the beginning of each of my pregnancies I prayed that my children would not inherit my coordination.

Problem is, I think my daughter may have.

Fortunately she's more outgoing than I was, so she is better at trying new things than I was. But personality doesn't make an athlete.

So far we've tried soccer, ballet, swimming, basketball.

Last week she started tennis. She asked about gymnastics, but I was worried she may seriously hurt herself - plus its the wrong time of year - so we are going with tennis.

Tennis. A sport that requires you to pay attention to a ball. To put your bond in line with said ball, and hit it with a (relatively small racquet).

I know. Its just tennis. But if it was me out there, I'd probably come home with another broken ankle.

Cross your fingers. Cross your heart. Say a prayer. Knock on wood.

Whatever it is that you do when you need things to go your way, send a little of it our way, that BG's coordination will be better than mine and she will survive tennis.




Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flashback Friday

Its Friday!!! And here in Raleigh it has been thinking about spring. Thinking about spring makes me think about summer. Thinking about summer makes me think about vacation. 'Da Beach. Flip-flops.

I wanna go now. I know my kids Big Girl want to go too. Her brother does not like the sand.

If I close my eyes and daydream just a bit my desk chair feels a bit like the sand and those horrible florescent office lights are warm and if I just kick off my shoes and stretch out my legs.... for sure someone will come in.

For sure y'all.

.... Yawn....

Makes me think about before Little Man was born. We could all go out on the beach at once back then. It would be nice. Simple. I could just sit there. Or lay there. Big Girl would be doing her independent thing in the sand or edge of the water.

One kids days were simpler days.

I love a good from the back picture.
Flash back.

Flash forward. The weekend is gonna be cray cray. Gotta stop and take it in. Or moments like these will be gone.


10 Things: Girly Edition

The other day I wrote about 10 random things that Little Man knows how to do or is fascinated by right now. I actually started writing the below post about Big Girl first, but decided to publish it second... I think you'll see why.

So, without further ado, here are 10 Things about Big Girl - in no particular order.

1. Reader. She is such the reader these days. She's gone through about 40 chapter books in the last month. More than one day. Since she was little, she's always enjoyed books. A few months back she got glasses and things have taken off. We have to take books away from her so she will go to bed some nights.

2. Serious Swimmer. I've written about her swimming adventures before, but let me tell you again. She is awesome in the pool. She's practicing three times a week lately putting in about a mile a practice. Seriously. How many kids her age can do that? I couldn't swim a mile if I had to.

3. Southern. We're in Raleigh. (Some people say that isn't in the south. They say you need to be in South Carolina, not North Carolina to be southern. I beg to differ.) She says Ma'am and Y'all and all sort of other southern things. If you missed this post from about a year ago, she also spells southern. She wore pearl earrings for a long time, saying they go with everything (without any input from me). She's said she wants another pair.

4. Baker. Now that she is seven, she can read a recipe and operate the Kitchenaid mixer. She can usually follow a recipe too. She's helped make every one of her birthday cakes, and loves doing it.



5. Awesome Sister. She loves helping her brother. Teaching him things. Putting his shoes on the wrong feet for him. Reading to him. Helping motivate him (a.k.a. shoving him into the bathroom to go pee when he hasn't gone in two hours so she can get Menchie's). Fantastic.

6. Speaks Spanish. Better than me. Better than most people I know. I take that back. Better than anyone I know that from anywhere other than her school. Its amazing. She's going to have such a leg up on life. I with I could speak Spanish like her. To top it off, her teachers say she has a beautiful accent. Almost native. Thanks teachers from Colombia and everywhere else in South America.

7. Loves to try new things. Poor kid got her athletic abilities from me. But, she has a great attitude and will try just about any activity. There have actually been a few we steered her clear of because we weren't sure they would work out. So far she's taken on soccer (for about two years), swimming, basketball and this week we are starting tennis.

8. Thinks that every shade of the same color go together. Super cute, but not the most flattering thing on this list. However, its one that makes me chuckle out loud just thinking of it. Just before Christmas she came downstairs one morning with an aqua twirly summer skirt, a pair of navy leggings for school, a light blue t-shirt and an aqua hoody. She's been known to snuggle up and watch What Not to Wear with me and is working on developing her own style. She's got a little further to go.

9. Loves Church. It makes me so happy to say this. She is a normal kid, and every once in a while will say she wants to stay in bed longer, or snuggle in on the couch on a Sunday morning. But most weekends she is excited to go  to church. Begs to go to Sunday school.

10.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Electricity

One of the things that I do at my job (that thing that I have to do takes up way too much of time away from my kids and all of y'all!) is help make sure the community is prepared for emergencies.

I'm no expert, but I know a little bit about ... what to have in an emergency kit, how to reduce the spread of diseases, how our local power plant works, how different emergency workers talk to each other.... lots of different things. I'm no expert at any of them.

The work that I do is honestly pretty interesting, and I have used many work projects as opportunities to explain things to Big Girl over the years. You know, things like, how vaccines work, why its safe to have a playground next to the old landfill, how much better it is to adopt a shelter pet.

Sometimes okay, pretty regularly hubby will roll his eyes at the things I explain to her, and the way that I explain them, but to me they are typical preschool and elementary school topics.

Last week the whole power plant thing came up again because of a work assignment. Big girl asked about it, so I tried to explain. I know. We live in Raleigh. We have a nuclear power plant. Not the simplest thing to explain. So, it basically went like this.

Me: There are all kinds of power plants, some use water, some use the sun, some use coal, others use chemicals to make energy.

BG: Like the chemicals you use to clean with?

Me: Similar, but they're not really safe to touch.

BG: But they make the lights turn on, and they charge my ipod right?

Me: Yes.

That was one morning last week. As I was rushing out the door to work.

Tonight electricity came up again. BG has been learning about saving energy at school. She was pretty proud of remembering how I had explained that power was made and deemed herself the Lights Police.

This job includes running through the house and making sure all the lights are off when we aren't in a room. My first thought was - fantastic. I knew the lights were still on downstairs. It was the perfect excuse to be a little lazy.

I sat on the couch. Put my feet up. Contemplated what to blog about.

The way I saw it, on the first day of Light Police the job should have been done perfectly.

Should have been.

When hubby went downstairs a while later, the bathroom light and garage lights were both on. So much for the Light Police. So much for saving energy.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bribery Works

There I said it. One of the truths about parenting that most of us just don't want to admit.

As more and more of our friends have entered the potty training phase of life, more and more of them have admitted to using bribery. Up until this point, every  many  those parents who want you to think they have it all figured out, would never admit that they have bribed their kids.

But when it comes to potty training, everyone comes clean.

One of my best friends, who is like a sister to me, used M&M's. Pee in the potty got one. Poop got two. for years she carried a bag of candy in her purse. Even when the kids were way past needing "a little positive reinforcement," they would ask for treats from time to time.

With Big Girl, it started with stickers. Go potty, get a sticker. Any potty earned a sticker. She learned to poop in the potty first, because she didn't like having it on her. It was honestly not that bad.

After she got better at using the toilet, we switch to an "Eyes on the Prize" method. We picked out something new and cool at the store. (I specifically remember Elmo panties, sunglasses, glitter shoes and purple jammies with pink hearts on them. We sat the prize on the towel bar in the bathroom, so every time she went potty she could see the prize. When she'd stayed drive for a week she got the prize.

Big Girl earned rockin' pink sunglasses for going potty. 
from www.peacetimesonline.com

Now its Little Man's turn. He wants nothing to do with Pull Ups. Its not that he minds going to the bathroom so much. He just likes diapers....At any rate, we've been trying and trying to get him motivated to go potty.

Finally this weekend we hit on something.

Menchie's. For the kid that doesn't like things that are mushy or cold. Frozen Yogurt.

Well. Not actually frozen yogurt. He likes the topping buffet. "Yummy bears," animal cookies, M&M's. A bowl full of sugar.

So, Friday night we made a deal. Potty all day, go to Menchie's.

Saturday was so close. I went to the grocery store at 4:30 p.m. and came home to hear that he was a crying mess because he'd gone potty in his diaper. Sunday went better. He was just a tiny bit wet after his nap, and made it through dinner.

While the table was getting cleared, he went to the bathroom one more time. Then. Ran around all crazy. "I go potty!" "I go potty!" and off to Menchie's we went.

It was awesome. I Instagrammed the whole thing. (If you don't follow us on Instagram, see the pics in the Instagram box to the right on the front page of Raised in Raleigh.)

Anyone who says bribery doesn't work hasn't tried it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

10 Things: Little Man Edition

Every one has fascinations. Those things that they just can't get enough of. Kit- Kat and Mtn. Dew anyone? Little Man is no exception. Here are 10 random things that he is fascinated by and/or knows how to do. In no particular order.

1. Flip pancakes. He has spent more time watching real life cooking than the average two year-old. His hours of sitting on the counter next to the stove have taught him several things. "No play knives," being a good one. He has also picked up the skillz of how to work a skillet like a pro. So far he only demonstrates in the plan kitchen, but just wait, we're going to have him serving up some real food in a few years.

2. Paw. This kid is seriously obsessed with his grandfather. If we even mention his name the kid is running through the house screaming for his Paw and waiting at the door. Poor thing. Doesn't have a concept of time yet, so tomorrow is both in two minutes and an eternity away.

3. Southern Boy. We're in Raleigh. Its far from the deep south. We say y'all, but I don't think that we have accent's. Not like deep southerners. You know, people from Alabama or rural South Carolina. But there are some things that come out with a drawl. Little Man's accent doesn't come out very often. One of the words when you can really hear it is, "Ben." When he talks about his uncle is really, "Be-ee-n."

4. Blow His Nose. Many kids will make a noise when you put a tissue up to their nose. This guy really blows his nose. Actual bugger chunks come out. It makes my Mommy heart happy.

5. Sorts Laundry. Big Girl knew how to do this at his age too, but I don't think that other kids do this. Lights. Darks. Towels. Towels are the hardest one. Yellow towels, navy towels. They aren't easy to sort, but he is good at sorting them.

6. Oven Mits/Gloves/Socks. This kid likes to have stuff on his hands. When he is in the play kitchen he is always looking for his "mits." When he's in our bedroom, he's snagging hubby's running gloves. He likes to take off his shoes and his socks. His sitter taught him to put his socks on his hands. (I think it was so we won't loose as many of them in the car, or that she could find them easier when it was time to put his shoes and socks back on in the car.) It goes right along with his gloves/mitten fascination, and having his hands covered.

7. Knows His Sports. With just a quick glance at the TV he can tell all the sports apart. Football, hockey, basketball, golf. With the seasons changing he's getting to know baseball too. Real man knowledge folks. You try to mess with him and tell him differently from what he knows and he gets mad. Totally knows his stuff.

8. Can unlock the doors. I kinda taught him this, but it was with the intention of keeping him occupied. Last summer I would stand him on a stool at the front door with a key chain and say, "have fun." His inquisitive little mind loved it. Now he can look at the keys and tell you which ones go to what. He's successfully put the key in the engine of the car and unlocked the house. Doors. Its all good though, because he can't work the child proof knobs to actually open the doors.

9. Flirt. He may only be two, but this man is a flirt. At story time he smiles at the girls and they smile back. Not a normal smile, but a big 'ol look at me, I'm a pretty cool dude (a.k.a. I'm almost potty trained!) smile.

10. Use Tools. I know. I know. This list is pretty much a brag on my son. But, lets be for real, the whole blog is pretty much a brag. At 2, LM can use a screw driver, he is starting to grasp the concept of a measuring tape, and for sure he follows along with Bob the Builder.

So, what are you best at? What are your kids learning to do, love to hear back about all the unusual out of the ordinary.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Good Eating

Its a new month, and that is reason enough to celebrate. On of the things that I love about March (besides the magic of my niece getting older without a birthday - she's a leap year girl!) is the weather. Here in Raleigh, March usually starts off cool, but by the end of the month we are starting to have coat free days. Its also the time of year when we get our garden in the ground.

The last few years we've had so many gardening experiments. Some have gone well - so you remember all the tomatoes last summer? While other's, like the cantaloupes that kept getting attacked, haven't been so great. (If you haven't read about the cantaloupe squirrel attack or the pollination lesson you should. They were both pee your pants funny.)

Part of the fun of having a garden is spending time outside with the family. Another really important part of any garden is nutrition. Living where we do, and having enough room for a garden makes it easy to introduce our kids to fresh produce.

As I got to thinking about our garden - what are we going to grow? when are we going to put stuff in the ground? can or should we expand this year? - I (again) heard about National Nutrition Month.

We've been to special story time events at libraries in the past (and made an appearance in a video!).


During the story times they read books about trying new foods and helping in a garden. There was also a really cool build your own produce sculpture project with strawberries, blueberries, carrots and potatoes - YUM!

For people in the Raleigh/Wake County area, these activities will be back again this year.


In addition to story times, which are clearly "mash potatoes!" our favorite. The local health department is hosting a food drive.

The National Nutrition Month education and information campaign is happening in communities across the country. The focus is on helping people learn that nutrition is more than cutting out certain foods for healthier eating habits. It’s also about feeding the body the best vitamins and nutrients a body naturally needs for optimum health. The theme for March 2013 is "Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day."

There are tons of materials online both from the national folks and the local health department here in Raleigh. Even if you aren't here locally, stop over and check out the yummy healthy snack ideas and information about drinks..... I'm seriously looking at that juice in our fridge differently right now than I did an hour ago.

PS - The mash potatoes thing is a story time joke. At our neighborhood library they sing the mashed potatoes song almost every week and my son is now singing it about every hour. If you're kids don't know it,  here is the video he sings along to.