Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bean Counters

If there's one thing I can't stand it is whining. Well, whining and disrespect...but whining IS disrespect is it not?

I am constantly making the kids ask me for things over and over until they can do it in a kind voice. Like....'Moooooo-oooomm, but I WANTED THAT!!!' not going to cut it. And they are asked to try it again with kind words.

But that does get tiresome. Especially with Tessa who is becoming more independent and knows hows she wants things to go. That's fine. But don't whine about it or Mommy's head might explode. I told Jeremy it seems our house had a problem....too much whining during the day and too much wine-ing at night after the kids go to bed.

So at the suggestion of my friend who I will call Supermom (because she has five kids remains one of the more positive people I know), we started some 'Happy Heart Jars' to keep things in check. So far the kids are REALLY responding to this idea. Thank you Jesus, cause I was starting to run out of creative ways to tell a kid to put a sock in it.

So the idea here is simple. We have little jars and we have lima beans. If the kids obey what they are told and do what they are asked to do without whining or complaining, they get a bean! If they whine, complain or fight, they lose a bean.

When the bean jars are full they get to pick their own special event or treat. Charley wants to go to the movie theater, Tessa (who changes her mind everyday) want some of the new girly legos...or a fish...or a trip to the zoo....or Disneyworld. Ahem, you're going to need a bigger jar sister.

You can see we started with big jars, then I quickly figured out that it would take them each 3 years to fill it and I  wanted to make the goal more achievable.

Charley has lost a couple of beans for whining, or for times like this morning when he refused to eat what we gave him for breakfast. And losing a bean makes him flip his gourd. He just cried and cried. And even though he was screaming his face off, my heart warmed a bit.

Ah, the sounds of effective discipline.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Making Birdfeeders Take Two--lessons learned

Lessons learned from our second year of making bird feeders.

1) Even though you've explained it to them 6 times AND they've done it before, model one...or they will just start pouring bird seeds down the middle of the ice cream cones and dumping them on the floor.

2) The three year old HATES to be messy so he will not like this project very much (after this picture was taken he was crying cause there was peanut butter on his hands). The obvious licking approach escaped him.

3) After one cone the four year old will declare the peanut butter spreading part too hard and declare that she only wants to do the seed rolling part.

4) They will beam with pride over their creations because you tell them they cannot  have a treat until you get a good picture.

5) When you have two extra cones and no ice cream, peanut butter and marshmallows make a good substitute. Until the three year old gets peanut butter on his fingers again. Then all hell breaks loose.

6) Because last year when we hung them on a string the birds had nowhere to perch, so we decided to set them on things. Like the fence posts.

7) It's spring so there is an abundance of worms and bugs for the birds to eat. So when you put them out on the fence posts, don't be surprised if the bird don't give a crap.

8) This project is better for winter (like we did last year!) when the birds are desperate for food. Otherwise your feeders will sit there for days and eventually turn to mush after a heavy rain.

9) I often question the point of these silly kid projects.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekend Getaway

(Absolutely every picture is copied from Facebook. Mom and I kept posting pics to keep each other in the loop. So these may be old to you if you're on FB!)

This past weekend was our 9th anniversary. Since we never really do anything to celebrate anniversaries and adult birthdays (well except big ones!), I decided we needed to. I let Mom know that the kids were coming her way and picked the right weekend.

Since Jeremy travels so much for work, he gets Marriott reward points. Most of the time we use the points to get free electronics like our Wii and Camcorder. But this time we used it for two night stay  in the JW Marriott in Downtown

See the view behind us? This is from our room window...the state museum, zoo, white river garden and canal. Beautiful!

So we did this kind of thing...

While the kids did this kind of thing with Mamaw and Papaw....

And on Sunday we were all united and promptly fell asleep in the car. Thanks Mom and Dad!!!

Walk it Off

On Wednesday mornings there is an 8:30am Zumba class that I like to get to. But sometimes we just don't get there. Especially since Mondays and Tuesdays are the 'busy days' for the kids and they can be hard to pry out of bed on Wednesday mornings. So can I sometimes.

So this morning we walked instead. My foot keeps getting stronger and stronger with these walks. Especially when pushing 80 lbs in a double stroller...

They usually sit without complaint. Usually, but not always. I typically don't bring toys or electronic games or anything with us. Sometimes snacks. But I think it's a good skill for them to be able to ride along and just look at the scenery without needing extra stimulation. I feel the same way about the car. I think alot of kids today 'need' something to entertain them all the time.

Okay I'm off my soapbox.

I actually do have a box of soap upstairs. Anyway.

When we get back to our street, they are allowed to run free!

Hey that's our house. We like it. 

After 25 minutes of walking while pushing 80lbs  in 80 degree weather I look like this.

So since I was sweaty we stayed out and pulled weeds. They are EVERYWHERE. So are ants. Guess it's summer already! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Seedlings Planting Seedlings

Friday I took Tessa to Meijer and told her she could pick out three seed packets to be her garden. She's really excited about this idea and has been telling everyone she is going to have her own garden. She also says she's going to be a farmer when she grows up and raise chickens that we can eat. That sounds like a good plan to me, as long as she has a little house on her farm for us to grow old in.

I told her she could pick anything with the exception of squash, cause we had those squash borer things in our zukes last year and apparently you have to wait a couple of years for them to die (hence my plan to do baby pumpkins in a big pot on the patio).

She chose mini sunflowers, zinnias and baby carrots. A nice mix of flora and fauna. Actually...I'm not sure what constitutes the word fauna. Carrots?

Since it looks like we won't have much more hard frost this year, we went ahead and planted the seeds even though it's a little early. I figure if they don't take, we'll plant more seeds later. Plus it's hard to keep a 4 year old patiently waiting for frost date. But I think they'll be fine.

She said she wants to measure them as they get bigger and keep a chart all summer, an idea she came up with on her own. Looks like I better get a little piece of poster board!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Ode To Chick Fila

We love Chick Fila and let me list the reasons why, in no particular order:

--It is the cleanest fast food joint on the planet

--Eventhough it's fast food,  the servers bring your food to your table, refill you drinks and offer you mints. Sweet sweet melty after dinner mints. 

--Chick Fila has delicious fried chicken but also many great healthy choices that make me feel less guilty. I mean check out the fresh beauty of Charley's fruit cup....

--If we are lucky enough to score prime real estate right in a table next to the playland, I can take hours to eat my lunch while the kids play and play. It's not that I like cold chicken strips, I just like idea of them....taking my sweet time. Last week I took a magazine. Oh yes I did. 

--The playland is exceptionally clean and appropriately safe for little kids. Nobody is going to fall from the top of the slide and break and arm while Mom is reading her magazine. 

--Chicken tortilla soup

--They will gladly sub in coleslaw instead of fries for your kid's meal, but always double the little girl wants coleslaw? Yes, yes she does....
 --They are closed on Sundays so that their staff can go to church. It's a Christian run company so they also support alot of local churches with coupons and such, and sometimes have Veggie Tales loot in the kids meals. 

-- They serve Diet Dr. Pepper. A restaurant rarity. 

-- And most awesome of all. If the toy in the kids meal is some cheap thing that the kids could care less about, they can turn it in for a free generously portioned ice cream with sprinkles. Or if like today, they meals include can keep one book to read and turn in one book for ice cream. IF you are willing to share nicely in the car. 

(not sharing nicely may have resulted in me slamming on the brakes and dumping the ice cream. Just sayin'...)

--And if you spend long enough in the Chick Fila playland and eat enough ice cream,  you might just slip into a car coma....

We also seems to almost always run into someone we know there as well. Today we ran into some friends from church and ended up staying like 2.5 hours. Tessa also ran into a girl from her preschool class who joined the fray and played a while too. 

Speaking of community, Chick Fila was also setting up what looked like a castle and moat for one of their Friday night events. I'm just guessing, it was probably like prince and princess night tonight or something. So that's one more thing...they do cool stuff.

Oh and Chick Fila sauce is the bomb. Okay I'm done, I swear.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Fancy Footwear

Since I approaching the 6 month anniversary of my foot surgery (surge-versary?), I thought it was time to buy some new shoes.

I was cleared to walk in shoes in mid-December and have since been living in my tennis shoes, a pair of $14 knock off ugg boots, and a pair of orthopedic crocs that my Mom lent me (aka the world's ugliest shoes).

Nothing else from my shoe collection fits my left foot, not even my precious cowboy boots. My foot is bigger for sure, but mostly in a thickness kinda way rather than wideness. Meaning those titanium screws are taking up too much room, especially in shoes that are tight across the top.

So we headed to the Walking Company at the mall only to discover that that store has closed. Von Maur was a good second choice. The lady measured my robo-foot a full size bigger than what I already own, which is not a surprise. I also discovered that anything that fit snuggly across the middle of the foot just won't work. Like the fabulous sandals I tried on. All the other fabulous sandals go in between your toes and that simply won't work either. Alot of the nerves down there are still super sensitive. There are a couple of toes I still just can't touch.

A summer without fabulous sandals. Sigh. I love sandals. I am the sandal queen of Greenwood. I wear them any time there is not snow on the ground.

Luckily I found several style of Keen sandals that close around the ankle, which may have to be my sandal style of choice. They are the ones on the left.

You can see I also settled on a funky pattern of athletic style slip ons, and a semi-fancy (aka fancy enough for my world) black Mary Janes. My friend Erin used to say I'm addicted to Mary Janes. Luckily with these pairs I still can be. Shew. I though I was losing my shoe-dentity.

In my realm of reality, the money I spent on these three pairs of shoes is borderline certifiable. I don't believe in spending more than $40 on a pair of shoes.

My wedding shoes were $30.

And  yet here I am. An old lady with back problems and a titanium filled foot. What choice do I have?

Now it's time to bag up my 30+ pairs of other shoes that will never fit again, and dole them out to some family members who wear the same size. There's no point in them collecting dust around here.

Simplifying. Upgrading. Walking Comfortably. 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Cloth Diapers (by my favorite blogger)

We have been a cloth diapering house faithfully for almost 5 years. Charley still wears them to bed so I wash at least 7 diapers a week, which really seems like a breeze.

As usual, "Crappy Mom", the illustrator and author of my favorite humorous parenting blog, summed it up perfectly. I couldn't have written this better myself. Neither one of our kids could ever undo the fuzzibunz snaps, and her description of the diaper sprayer is the exact reason we never bought one. We prefer the scrape and swish method...use your imagination.

But in truth, we kept doing them because I really do love cloth diapering. And we saved enough money to be able to send the kids to private school. 


Cloth Diapers, the Good Things and the Crappy Things

Cloth diapers are diapers made of cloth. You put them on a baby and the baby poops and pees on them. And then you wash them. And then you put them back on the baby. And then the baby poops and pees on them. And then you wash them again. And then you keep doing this. 

Over the five years that I've kept doing this, I've come to know the good things and the crappy things.
And this is what they are...

The Good Things About Cloth Diapers
Now you might think I'm about to get on my grass-fed, sustainably raised, antibiotic-free high horse about environmental stuff but I don't really like riding horses. Especially high ones. 

Nah. Let's be real here.

I cloth diaper because they look cool and come in pretty colors.

I can't even tell you how excited I am when the mail carrier brings me a box of colorful diapers.
They are pretty! And soft! And come in fruity colors and patterns!

And my baby will poop on them and be so happy!

I'm lazy.

Slap a diaper on him and he is all dressed:
Insta-outfit. Minimalist. 

A similar outfit in a disposable diaper would never work on him.

Because of this:
They come off too easily.
Snaps on cloth diapers are awesome. Like tiny padlocks that keep the poop locked up. 

But cloth diapers aren't just good at poop containment!

They are also good at making friends.
I can use cloth diapers in the same way that a single guy uses a puppy. To get noticed:
I can't tell you how many times I've been hit on by other moms because of diapers. <--That is a very creepy sentence if taken out of context. 

But they aren't just a homing beacon to like-minded mamas, they also protect my baby.

I'm serious.
Cloth diapers are like little padded helmets for his butt:
His big smooshy butt is pretty cute too. 

And after my baby outgrows them:

I sell them. Cloth diapers retain their resale value better than cars do.
Buying a car? Skip it. Buy cloth diapers.
And did I mention they come in fruity colors? 

The Crappy Things About Cloth Diapers
It goes without saying that the worst part about cloth diapering is that it means more laundry. I hate laundry. Laundry can go and die. 

But diaper laundry doesn't bother me any more than regular laundry does. 

No, what bothers me is something else

It is that putting the diapers in the washing machine causes him to poop:
This means that I'm stuck with a poopy diaper and no wet bag to put it in. It sits on my bathroom counter on top of a plastic bag. This makes for some bad potpourri.

After the laundry is done? This diaper goes in the clean bag, festering at the bottom until I do the wash again. 


And you know how I mentioned those fruity colors?

Yeah. He likes those too.
But only orange. 

This is yet another example of my own parenting tricks backfiring on me. I used to convince him to let me change his diaper by saying, "Come on! You can pick the color!" Bad idea.

But perhaps the worst part about cloth diapering is dealing with poopy diapers.

We have a diaper sprayer attached to our toilet.
I love this thing because you simply spray the poop off into the toilet. 

But actually I hate this thing. 

I hate it because sometimes I turn the valve just a teeny tiny bit too high.

Which transforms it into a water laser:
The water laser blasts the poop into a million miniscule pieces, carried by water droplets all over the toilet, floor and my barefeet.

And that is the crappiest thing about cloth diapers.