Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mini Flynn

Today we got Charley's costume for the spring dance recital. The tap section is Dora The Explorer and Charley will be Diego. The ballet portion of the recital is Rapunzel and can you guess who Charley is going to be a mini version of?

Flynn Rider!

I can't wait to see this cuteness. Charley, ballerino and recital stud. Now if only he would stop picking his nose and pay attention in class.


There it is, Tessa's bundle of papers need to apply for full day Kindergarten at Greenwood Christian Academy, ready to be turned in on Feb 1st...which is tomorrow. When did my baby grow up?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Super Party Guests

I can't take credit for this idea. It came from a very creative friend who also knows alot about superheros. The laser toasted chex mix was her idea too.

But how cute is this? We already had a Charley size and Jeremy size "S" shirt, so we just one that was a medium kid size. That plus a couple of dress shirts and some goofy Clark Kent glasses. Voila, great party keepsake!

Not every party guest was into the idea, but hey that's their loss right?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Great B-day, Another Great Video

Charley had a great time celebrating his 3rd birthday today. I will surely post many pictures soon, but for now I leave you with these tidbits.

And also, another one of Jeremy's awesome video homages to the past year. Make sure you sound is on, and look for a subtle nod to the Thomas the Train of death at around 5:35. Jeremy thinks he's funny.

CHARLEY THIRD BIRTHDAY from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Party Prep

Any guesses what the theme of our upcoming 3rd birthday is? 

By the way, in case you didn't know, (almost) 3 year old boys are NOT good helpers when it comes to assembling gifts bags and keeping a count of your materials. There will be confusion and possibly crying...by the Mom.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tessa Singing The Newsboys

Because why wouldn't she? The Newsboys rock! Can you tell that she really only knows the chorus?

My Cookie Project Recipe #22- An Unexpected Family Favorite

I wasn't even going to mention the cookies I made the other day, but Jeremy has designated them my second best recipe, right be hind the dark chocolate onyx cookies. Really? I guess I thought they were pretty unremarkable until I noticed Charley starting to regularly beg for them ten times a day as well.

Well, it started when I saw these on clearance sale at Target....

So I simply followed a chocolate chip cookie recipe and subbed in the these dark chocolate and mint chips. That's it.

I asked Jeremy if we wanted me to go back to Target and clear them out. I could freeze bags of chips by the pile. He said no, that while he liked them it was dangerous for his waistline. But it's good to know what recipes everyone likes the most. You know in case I have some apologizing or brown nosing to do.

I happen to disagree with him and think that Grammie's Lemon Poppy Seed cookies were the best recipe. I need to make those again someday, just to remind him of how heavenly they were. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Fun- Snow vs. Bouncers

Yesterday we finally had real snow on the ground for the first time all winter. I don't know what's going on with this crazy warm weather. Global warming?

Anyway, the kids and I had nothing planned so I had hopes of playing for hours outside. I bought new sleds at Miejer earlier in the week (historically we have used the tops of rubbermaid tubs or cardboard), and I had the snow gear all out and ready to go for morning.

"Preparing to go outside in the wintertime in Indiana is like preparing for extended deep sea diving." Name that movie!

Anyway, we got outside and Charley wasn't into at all. After like two minutes we was screaming and crying. He wanted to go inside and watch tv. Being the meanie I am I told him no, he must stay outside and play.

Tessa played and sledded down the driveway to deliver mail to the box. She was content for probably 30 minutes before she declared herself to be cold

Charley just stood in the garage and cried. Then we went inside, where he drank two big mugs of hot chocolate and went back to playing with his helicopter. Sigh.

Then today, Jeremy and I took the kids to a local place called "Bounce Spot". It used to be called Bouncer Town, which I think rolls of the tongue a little easier, so I'm just going to call it that.

Bouncer Town is an old store that's been coverted into an arcade that's also filled with giant bouncy houses of all shapes and sizes. The kids were in heaven. Jeremy was in germ purgatory.

Since Charley is so young it was only $7.50 for all of us to get in for unlimited play. I think that's a pretty good deal. Sadly for us, you can't jump if you're over 5ft.

They jumped for almost 2 hours. When we left it was mid afternoon and starting to get super duper crowded. Like a kid might get trampled kind of crowded. I think I'll take the kids there on a week day sometime when we have cabin fever, in hopes of beating some crowds.

We played arcade games a little too. I told Jeremy he might not realize how freakishly good I am a ski ball. Then I turned around and saw this....
He said...you didn't know how freakisly good I am at physics.

So Tessa got a new toy fish from our arcade winnings, and Charley got a pack of M&Ms (we offered him a toy dinosaur but it's obvious where his priorities are).

In the end, it seems bouncing in a crowded warm arcade won out over sledding in the freezing cold snow. Wimps.

Real Life Angry Birds

We just discovered Angry Birds when Jessie was here over Christmas. I know...the rest of the world knew about it long ago. That's kind of the way we work. We latch onto trends and shows once everyone else is over it.

Angry Birds is so much fun! And I like that the kids can play it too. For the first year or more that I had my iPad they were not allowed to touch it at all, but I think now they are to an age where I can trust them (although Charley has deleted apps because it's pretty easy to do). Charley knows how to find the game, choose a level and shoot the birds.

His other favorite thing to do with the iPad is watch the e-book "A Monster at the End of This Book". You know, the one by Grover? It's super cute cause it's interactive and he pretty much has the story memorized.

Anyway, when we saw some Angry Birds toys at Target today, I couldn't help but have a live reenactment. I mean the pigs were all stacked up, just waiting to be knocked down! We did this for like 20 min. Luckily nobody kicked us out or anything.

And no, we didn't buy any. They were $20 each! Instead we'll just do this every time we go to Target.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Out Cold

On days they have preschool, the kids usually nap when they get home. Today they were so energetic about the snow and playing together so well that I decided to forgo naptime. I figured that only means an earlier bedtime so I can spend time with Jeremy, who I haven't seen all week. Pretty sweet deal....they were in bed by 7:10.

But shortly before dinner they were chilling out and watching a little TV, when we found this guy on the floor and had to rouse him to eat....

Even lifting up his eyelids couldn't wake this kid.

We finally woke him and after a little coaxing got him to the dinner table where he proceeded to lose his ever loving mind and not eat anything. And THIS is why (almost) 3 year olds need to nap.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Just Another Friday Night

If you're wondering why we're ignoring Charley's cries for help, it's because he's sitting in time out in the dining room after an attempt to beat us all up and steal our instruments. Carry on...

Don't Carpe Diem

I often get cool articles and anicdotes on parenting handed to me via email or FB. I saw this one yesterday and really liked it. It hit home because I was just recently thinking about Tessa is inching up on 5 and that seems impossible. 

But there's some old saying that the days go by SO slow, and the years seems to FLY by. Totally true, especially since I am always with the the kids. Some days are so tedious and slow, but they are gone so fast. In the article below the author does a great job of relating that feeling to Chronos time and Kairos time. I love it. 

To be clear, I didn't write this. I wish I had. Here is the original link to the blog where it can be found.

Every time I’m out with my kids – this seems to happen:

An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, “Oh- Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast.”

Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.

I know that this message is right and good. But as 2011 closes, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong.

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I’ve heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.

And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers – “ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU’LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN’T!” TRUST US!! IT’LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!” - those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain.
Now. I’m not suggesting that the sweet old ladies who tell me to ENJOY MYSELF be thrown from a mountain. These are wonderful ladies. Monkees, probably. But last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: “Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast.”

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feather stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn’t find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, “Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you.”

That’s not exactly what I wanted to say, though.

There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied, “No. but I love having written.” What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, “Are you sure? Are you sure you don’t mean you love having parented?” 

I love having written. And I love having parented. My favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to sleep (to bed) and Craig and I sink into the couch to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least.

Every time I write a post like this, I get emails suggesting that I’m being negative. I have received this particular message four or five times – G, if you can’t handle the three you have, why do you want a fourth?

That one always stings, and I don’t think it’s quite fair. Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right…in her own way…and she happens to be honest.
Craig is a software salesman. It’s a hard job in this economy. And he comes home each day and talks a little bit about how hard it is. And I don’t ever feel the need to suggest that he’s not doing it right, or that he’s negative for noticing that it’s hard, or that maybe he shouldn’t even consider taking on more responsibility. And I doubt anybody comes by his office to make sure he’s ENJOYING HIMSELF. I doubt his boss peeks in his office and says: “This career stuff…it goes by so fast…ARE YOU ENJOYING EVERY MOMENT IN THERE, CRAIG???? CARPE DIEM, CRAIG!”

My point is this. I used to worry that not only was I failing to do a good enough job at parenting, but that I wasn’t enjoying it enough. Double failure. I felt guilty because I wasn’t in parental ecstasy every hour of every day and I wasn’t MAKING THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT like the mamas in the parenting magazines seemed to be doing. I felt guilty because honestly, I was tired and cranky and ready for the day to be over quite often. And because I knew that one day, I’d wake up and the kids would be gone, and I’d be the old lady in the grocery store with my hand over my heart. Would I be able to say I enjoyed every moment? No.

But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

“It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.” And hopefully, every once in a while, I’ll add- “Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up- I’ll have them bring your groceries out.”

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn’t work for me. I can’t even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.

Here’s what does work for me:

There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.

Then there’s Kairos time. Kairos is God’s time. It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. It’s those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day. And I cherish them.

Like when I actually stop what I’m doing and really look at Tish. I notice how perfectly smooth and brownish her skin is. I notice the perfect curves of her teeny elf mouth and her asianish brown eyes, and I breathe in her soft Tishy smell. In these moments, I see that her mouth is moving but I can’t hear her because all I can think is – This is the first time I’ve really seen Tish all day, and my God – she is so beautiful. Kairos.

Like when I’m stuck in chronos time in the grocery line and I’m haggard and annoyed and angry at the slow check-out clerk. And then I look at my cart and I’m transported out of chronos. And suddenly I notice the piles and piles of healthy food I’ll feed my children to grow their bodies and minds and I remember that most of the world’s mamas would kill for this opportunity. This chance to stand in a grocery line with enough money to pay. And I just stare at my cart. At the abundance. The bounty. Thank you, God. Kairos.

Or when I curl up in my cozy bed with Theo asleep at my feet and Craig asleep by my side and I listen to them both breathing. And for a moment, I think- how did a girl like me get so lucky? To go to bed each night surrounded by this breath, this love, this peace, this warmth? Kairos.

These kairos moments leave as fast as they come- but I mark them. I say the word kairos in my head each time I leave chronos. And at the end of the day, I don’t remember exactly what my kairos moments were, but I remember I had them. And that makes the pain of the daily parenting climb worth it.

If I had a couple Kairos moments during the day, I call it a success.

Carpe a couple of Kairoses a day.

Good enough for me.

Coach Charley

This afternoon was unseasonably warm for January in Indiana. Upper 50's...what?! So I took the kids for a walk around our neighborhood. Yes I can walk around the neighborhood!

As soon as we got outside Charley announced that he was in charge and we were to follow him. Then we walked and for at least 15 minutes of the walk he bossed and coached like a drill sergeant. It sounded something like...

"We walking NOW, wet's go. Walk walk, wet's walk. C'mon! I Chardey. I in charge. Now, MARCH. March NOW! Wet's go, walk walk. To the twee! C'mon c'mon. Stop talking, c'mon! Foldow ME! I in charge. MARCH!".

I'm telling ya this kid is getting bossier every day.

Playmobil Scatter Patterns

For Christmas Tessa got a big Playmobile airplane from Mom-mom and Pop. She also got a helicopter from us. Apparently her dolls needed an air fleet.

Ever since we got it, Jeremy's favorite new past time is flying the plane.

....And then crashing it. Since it's playmobil, which is meant to be taken apart ala Legos, it's okay if it breaks up upon impact. But I guess the crash scenes have been a little too realistic for Jer since last night he said to me 'Does that airplane ever freak you out? You know because the carnage is so realistic?' Uh, no....

Jeremy's obsession with plane crashes and listening to black box recordings is one of his stranger hobbies, especially given his extensive travel schedule. Apparently knowing the ins and outs of plane travels and his odds of survival are important to him. Personally, I'd rather be oblivious and watch the in-flight entertainment. 

The real question is...why is a little Japanese girl heading up the rescue effort?

And WHY is this lady STILL smiling?!

Jeremy wanted me to show a picture of this crash site as well, because it has a more realistic scatter pattern. Yup, very realistic...especially the big green talking dinosaur and tractor nearby.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cranking Noodles

This was Jeremy's Christmas present, a pasta crank. He has been making our pasta by hand but using a rolling pin and pizza cutter. Enter innovation, the hand crank!

Tessa is an excellent  helper for this job. 

The pasta drying racks were part of the present. Looks like an Italian restaurant in here huh? 

On a side note, my Christmas present was new cookie sheets with Silpat pads. I love them! No more need for aluminum foil and Pam spray when I bake. 

We know how to celebrate Christmas, man!  

Monday, January 02, 2012

Bowling In The New Year

Every NYE, my parents go bowling. We used to do it when I was a kid, and now they take all the grandkids. I'm not really sure why, as none of us (with the exception of possibly my brother and his boys) ever go bowling. Only on New Years Eve. Perhaps it's some sort of good luck superstition like eating black eyed peas?

Either way, we went and had a great time. I am hands down the world's worst bowler. Six year old Bob got a better score than me. I'm not sure, maybe Charley did too. But given that I only gave up my air cast a couple of weeks ago, I'm just happy I could do it!

Check out the tiny bowling shoes, size 7. 

Charley needed a bowling mentor so he chose Bob. Together they made a pretty good team. 

Like her Mom, Tessa has her own style as well. She flops the ball then drops to her knees and prays it makes it. Also note her cheerleading costume, complete with accompanying pom poms. She insisted on wearing them to cheer everyone one. 

Tessa's favorite part was the grape soda the bowling alley, while Charley gave everyone New Years hugs.