Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer skating

Today I crossed #1 on my list of "101 things to do in 1001 days".

1. Take my kids to the roller rink.

I don't know why this was the first thing I thought of when I created my list, except that I always loved going to the skating rink as a kid. Even as a young teen-ager, I loved going to the skating rink with my friends, dancing to the music, hair whipping behind me as I leaned into the curve.

I wanted to show my kids how much fun it is.

And......I might have had a secret desire to be discovered for a roller derby team. I had this vision that a coach would see me at the rink, skating effortlessly around fallen children and lost skates, spinning with ease and he would say "Her! I want her on my roller derby team! She is the one!" And the rest would be roller derby history.

It's been said I have an over-active imagination.

I forgot that while I used to be an athlete, and quite flexible and limber, I am now in my mid-thirties (yikes!) and don't bend like Beckham anymore. I still would love to be a Derby girl. I need to come up with a cool name.

I called a friend who used to coach and skate competitively to come join us for the day, and has older kids my kids adore, and another friend came along with her kids, whom my kids also love. The more the merrier!

Apparently, everyone in town had the same idea because when we pulled up, there were no less than FIVE school buses already parked with kids inside.

Both Bjorn and Peanut were super excited to try skating, and even more excited when they saw their friends there. Peanut attached herself to Big Peanut (one of the older girls, who has the same nickname) and pretty much stuck by her side for the next two hours, except for when she crawled up into my lap, lay her head down and promptly fell asleep. In the middle of the loud roller rink.

I envy that girls sleeping habits.

Peanut did make it exactly one time around the rink, holding tight to Big Peanut and her mom's hands before deciding that she did not want to go back out there.  Good thing her admission and skate rental were free.

Bjorn made it 3/4 of the way around the rink two separate times.  He swore he loved skating, and wants to come back very soon, but the expression on his face told a different story. He couldn't quite get his footing, but it being his first time, he did just fine. I kept reassuring him that everyone falls, and it is okay to fall. He is a perfectionist, though, and likes to be able to do things right, and all the way, the first time.

Skaters!

It was a fun day, a great day to stay inside during 115 degree heat. Also, both kids took a nap. That makes roller skating a win in my book!


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eating like a man

"Bjorn eats like a MAN!" said the babysitter last week.

I laughed. "What do you mean?"

"He's on his third piece of pizza! And he ate some chicken bites." she said, astonished. Her little brother is in the same class as Bjorn, and he "only eats three BITES of pizza."

Her brother is also 1/2 foot taller than Bjorn.

Which makes me think Bjorn is going to be hitting a huge growth spurt soon.

We flew to Texas last week over dinner time and usually on the plane both kids want a lunchable (a special treat!), a few airplane snacks and a drink. This time, Bjorn decided he wanted a cheeseburger from the airport, but not a kids cheeseburger, no way! He wanted a real MAN cheeseburger. (Yes, those are his words.)

I ordered him one, sure that The Hubs would be eating 3/4 of it.

Bjorn ate the entire thing, two of my cheese stuffed raviolis, his lunchable, a bag of chips and a drink.

Whoa.

The next day at a restaurant he ordered a grilled chicken platter off the kids menu, devouring it and half the appetizers.

Not to be outdone by her big brother, Peanut ate EIGHT dinosaur nuggets at dinner two nights ago, and last night finished 1/2 a steak, a few bites of chicken and some veggies.

I fully expect them both to wake up next week three inches taller, shirts at belly buttons, pants high-waters, needing an entire new wardrobe.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

PTA Family Reading Challenge


Since my kids were babies, we have been reading to them every day, every night, any book they wanted.  Even when he wanted to read the same book over and over and over again (I'm talking to you, Toddlersaurus!) and I wanted him to just PICK A NEW BOOK ALREADY, we read what he chose. For almost six straight months we read nightly from the Animal Atlas, a science directory and dictionary of animals throughout the world. He loves dinosaurs and presidents, history and science. 

Now that Bjorn can read himself, he has discovered a love of the written word in his daily life. He reads street signs and restaurant menus, airplane safety information cards and newspaper and magazine headlines. At times I hear the sounds of silence - an ominous sound for any parent- and peek into his room only to find him sprawled out on his floor, books scattered around him. He reads stories to his sister aloud; each time I hear him, I'm impressed and awed by his developing skills. 

A few days ago I finally convinced Bjorn and Peanut to let me choose the nighttime story. Instead of reaching for old favorites, There's a Wocket in your pocket or If I ran the dog show, I grabbed a book of mine from when I was a child. Stuart Little. 

They protested at first. "This has no pictures!"

I told them I would read only one chapter, and if they didn't like it, they could pick another book. After chapter one, they were begging me to keep reading. My heart swelled as they discovered that words could make an impact even without the pictures alongside them. Words had the power to make you feel and imagine. 

On my bookshelf sits all the books of my childhood, saved for me by my mom- the secret garden, sideways stories from wayside school, the bfg, the hardy boys and more. My childhood, my loves, just waiting for my son and daughter to read and love them as well. I can't wait. 

So when I was asked to write a post on the PTA family reading challenge, I didn't hesitate to say yes. Books, the written word, language - these are my first loves, after my family. This initiative on behalf of the National PTA encourages parents to continue to read and explore books through out the summer. They also have tips and information for parents on reading practices. 


I know we tend to get so busy during the summer, with swim lessons, camping, visits to Bjorn's favorite science museum or Peanut's gymnastics class that learning can be an after thought. So The Hubs and I have decided to reward the kids this summer after they complete a reading log. The longer the log (I.e. The more books read, or read to), the bigger the reward. 

Find out how you can join the National PTA Family Reading Challenge at www.ptareadingchallenge.org. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Quizzing my kids

If you have friends that have kids, you have probably seen that questionnaire the kids are supposed to take about their parents.  I have to admit, after the twenty-second time seeing it posted on social media, I couldn't resist trying it myself. I have to admit, my kids know me pretty well! 

The first answer on each is from Bjorn, and the second is from Peanut. 

1. What is something mom always says to you? "Good luck." "Good laugh."
2. What makes mom happy? Flowers (Bjorn). Smiles. (Peanut.)
3. What makes mom sad? Being Bad. Yelling.
4. How does your mom make you laugh? Knock Knock jokes. Silly faces.
5. What was your mom like as a child? Little (Bjorn. He's so literal.) Pile (from Peanut. What does that even mean?!)
6. How old is your mom? 33. (from both.)
7. How tall is your mom? 40 inches. (Bjorn.) 60 pounds (Peanut).
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Board games. (Bjorn. Oh, sweet child of mine, I do love board games but I only play them with you in the hopes that you will soon play ADULT board games like Scrabble and Cards Against Humanity that are actually fun. No, I do NOT like candyland.) Knock knock jokes and writing. (Peanut).
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Go to Work. (Bjorn). Play on the computer. (Peanut).
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Being an awesome flight attendant. Looking beautiful. 
11. What is your mom really good at? Baseball. (Bjorn. Love this kid.) Writing.(Peanut).
12. What is your mom not very good at? Plumbing. Scuba-diving. (They both nailed it!)
13. What does your mom do for a job? Airplane work. (Bjorn.) Computer. (Peanut. This is hilarious, because every time I sit at the computer to read or pay bills or write, she immediately wants to play on the computer so I have to tell her not now, I'm working on adult stuff.)
14.What is your mom's favorite food? Sushi. Salad.
15.What makes you proud of your mom? Making breakfast. Cleaning my room.
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Pinocchio (Bjorn.) Cinderella. (You got that right, Peanut!)
17. What do you and your mom do together? Play board games and take out the trash. Clean my room and play barbies.
18. How are you and your mom the same? We both have butts and armpits. (Such a boy!) We wear bracelets and necklaces. (Such a girl!)
19. How are you and your mom different? I'm a boy and you're a girl. You're not good at drawing.
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because you have a heart and I have a heart. Because we have friends.
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? He has a beard and lots of money. You love him. 
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Airport. (Bjorn.) San Diego. (Peanut)

If you haven't done this quiz, I urge you to do it. Peanut and Bjorn loved to think of all the answers, and it made me realize just how much the airport and airplane is a part of their thinking when it comes to me!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Peanut's Observations

Bjorn has hit that stage where he hears EVERYTHING. When The Hubs and I talk, he interrupts to ask what a "budget" is and why we have to stick to one. When I hang up after a long phone conversation with my best friend, he asks me what she had to say about all the things we talked about. He sings along with hit songs on the radio and, more often than me, gets the words right (thank Goodness, because I'm talking to you, UPTOWN FUNK).

Peanut, sweet little thing that she is, thinks that she can process things in her 3 year old mind the same way Bjorn does. She tries so hard to keep up with him. The results are hilarious.

Yesterday, driving in the car to dinner, we were listening to boring, adult News Radio, when they began talking about a legal battle between the city and a company.

"What's a legal battle?" Bjorn asked.

The Hubs started to answer, but was quickly interrupted by an excited high pitched voice.

"I know what it is!" Peanut said. "It's when there are lots of bald eagles. And the bald eagles are flying around with guns and they all fight each other. Like this, POW POW!"

Yup, that's pretty much it.


------------------------------------------------

On the long drive to camp last week, we started playing the word game. This is a game Bjorn made up, where he picks a letter, and we each have to name two words that start with that letter until we can't think of anymore words.

He first picked the letter "M".

"Magical Mushroom." I said.
The Hubs went next. "Marshmallow Marinade."
"My Little Pony Maker."
"Monkey Mash."
"Master Man."
"Meat Map."

And round and round we went, until the kids had exhausted all the "M" words they knew, so I was helping them along with hints.

"Ummm....," Bjorn said," Machine......ummm."

I gave him a hint, pointing at The Hubs' facial hair.

"What does Daddy have above his mouth and below his nose?"

From the backseat Peanut piped in. "A booger!"

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Girl's Super Hero

I took Peanut and Bjorn to what they call ""The Playhouse Store" and what I call "God's gift to Moms everywhere" this afternoon. It is actually our neighborhood grocery store, around the corner from our house. But it has FREE DAYCARE. And tons of toys. Toys we don't have. (Although I was tempted once to buy some of their toys, as they love them so much, but then what would they have to look forward to at the store?)

At the end of the visit, they each received a toy from the store toy chest for being good. Bjorn chose a Batman bouncy ball, so Peanut, in the spirit of a little sister who idolizes her big brother, also chose a superhero bouncy ball, a Wonder Woman one.

On the car ride home, she was playing with her Wonder Woman bouncy ball, when she saw something she hadn't noticed before.

Peanut: Mommy! Wonder Woman wears UNDERWEAR when she rescues people!

Me: Well...it's not really underwear....it's....

Peanut: Yes! It really is! She wears underwear in PUBLIC!

Me: It's not underwear, it's more like....it's like a swimsuit. Like Mommy's swimsuit.

Peanut: She wears a swimsuit to rescue people?!

Me: It's not REALLY a swimsuit. It just kind of looks like one. But it's NOT underwear, because she wouldn't wear underwear in public.

Peanut: Well, she should really wear pants when she rescues people.

Seriously, she really should.

Can someone please give my girl a superhero that doesn't show cleavage or wear underwear during a rescue?!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

How Many Meanings? A new kids game


We've been playing a new game in the car lately.

Anything to get them to stop requesting "The kids songs, like the head bones connected to the neck bone", or, as I call it, the 5th circle to Hell.

I call our new game "How many meanings?".

We come up with a word, and try to name all the different meanings the words have. Even if they are spelled differently, we use this word game in how they are spoken, not spelled. (Neither kid knows how to spell anyways. Most adults, either, to be fair. I blame spell check.)  It's amazing to me how difficult the English language can be when you really think about it.

Last week, I chose the word "read". 

"Well," Bjorn said," There is the red like the color, and read like 'I read a book'."

"Right!," I said. "Now it's your turn!"

"Hmmmmm.....how about tie?"

"Ok, how many meanings are there?"

"Three." he answered. "The tie that I wear around my neck at church, the tie like you do to your shoelaces and the tie when I don't win and I don't lose."

I was pretty impressed. I had only remembered two of those myself.

We've become pretty expansive at this game, covering words from "orange " (Two meanings: orange the color and orange the fruit) to "paint" (two: you can paint -the verb - with paint - the noun) to "pop" (two meanings: what some people call coke, and what you can do to a balloon).

And it stops them from requesting the kids songs they love to hear in the car. Mostly, it's Peanut requesting. ("Please can I listen to 'John Brown's baby?'" she asks.) Bjorn likes his Rock'n'Roll. Hopefully, this game can wean her from the songs and into mainstream radio....and maybe teach them a thing or two while I'm at it.