Thursday, February 23, 2012

At Home with Honey Bear

David got his turn to take home the class bear: Honey Bear. He was SO excited, you would have thought it was a real pet or something. And you know the drill - he was supposed to take pictures and "journal" about all that he did with the bear while he was at our house, and then bring it back to school to report. He was just so stinking cute about the whole thing. He kept saying, "Mom! Take my picture NOW while I do THIS with Honey Bear."

Introducing Honey Bear to the world of McD's

OBviously the bear was going to play with some cars.

Riding bikes to the park - hurrying to get back before it's dark.
HB comes with his own pillow. Convenient for sharing a bed so he doesn't hog yours.

Dancing with HB to Jim Gill.

Feeding breakfast to Honey Bear on his last morning with us. That bear got some special treatment!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days - 1 down

In the blogging circles where I run, there's been a lot of talk about decluttering in the past year or so. It has made me think and I believe a few things to be true. The more we have, the more we want to get. And the more we collect, the more we have to clean up, and the more stress we experience maintaining all the stuff. I have a desire to simplify and overall reduce the amount of stuff in this house. And I think a good decluttering would be a good annual habit to make.

I've been reading over at Clover Lane lately, and every year during Lent she does a 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering project. The focus is to let go of our attachment to things for what's more important. So I decided to join her this year. She recommends starting with a list of the areas of the house that you want to attack and plan goal dates. I decided to list 30 areas because I know I'll end up using weekends to catch up on the areas I didn't complete during the week.

The boys cooperated today and took good naps. When that doesn't happen, I'm not sure how I'll get it done. But I tackled the pantry to get an easy start. I tossed one bag of trash and started a pile of donations and...maybe a garage sale pile?

I'm not going to bore you with pictures of all 40 bags, but I thought if I shared my plan, I'd be more motivated to follow through.  I took before and after pictures of the pantry, but it didn't look that much different. Most of the clutter was hiding in the back corners. But in the name of least I know what's in here now!

But wow, if I got 2 bags of stuff out of this little cabinet - we're in for a busy 40 days.  Please let me know if you have any decluttering tips.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tidbits: 2 weeks of winter edition

We've finally had a couple of weeks of winter-ish weather (but not even really), but it feels so tolerable because March is already in sight! Amazing! My brain only seems to be working in bullet points these days.

Begging to play in the snow despite 15 degrees

*After my most recent once-a-month cooking session, I discovered that my meals in the basement fridgetop freezer were not freezing. So the excitement of the week was buying a new (small) upright freezer. For once we didn't research the heck out of it or search craigslist for weeks, I just saw what I wanted at Sears and bought it. My entrees! Must be frozen!

*While I was looking at this freezer at Sears with my friend Stephanie and her girls - our two 3 year olds decided to hide from us (the 5 year olds had suggested the game to them). It was FIVE MINUTES of panic, paging the manager, screaming at the top of our lungs type of situation. When I found them, they were SO FAR AWAY - oh, I can't express to you how inappropriately far away they were. It makes my heart race every time I think about it. They came bouncing out, like, "what's all the screaming about?"

*Katy and David both had Valentine's Day parties this week at school, which they greatly anticipate. Katy picked Animal Planet cards (with animal facts, she's been really into animal facts lately), and David picked Hot Wheels. Both with suckers. I tried to convince them toward pencils or tattoos, but who am I kidding?

I wrote little dots for him to trace his name. He might be able to write it on his own once, but not 15 times.
*Grammy and Papa John sent a Valentine's Day package with fun little goodies for us all. I laughed out loud when I saw this:

If you don't listen to country music (or watch Glee), nevermind...

*We seem to have our first round of illness for the winter this week. I can't complain so far, though, it's just been drops for pink eye and some coughing. The worst part is waking up in the wee hours of the morning wheezing - so I'm wondering if it's croup? Keeping an eye on it...

*I had my first parent-teacher conference for David. There are a few skills that he is still learning, but I'm not worried about that at all, he will get those. My biggest concern that I discussed with the teachers is that he is so impressionable. They said that he is only rowdy when other kids are rowdy, and he's only distracted when others are distracted, etc. The great news is that he is very easily redirected and he's respectful and sweet and kind and the teachers love him. He plays well with the other kids and is always happy at school. What else could I ask for, really, at preschool? That is the biggest part of the battle.

*We went to visit my grandparents last weekend and it was so great to see them moving about. 2011 was a rough year for them medically, but they seem to be back into the swing of things. Oh, and their chair lift makes for perfect entertainment for great-grandchildren.

We had to give the chair a break to let the battery re-charge at one point.

*I can't end the post without mentioning Luke. He's as feisty as ever. I don't think I have ever truly experienced a tantrum with my first two. I realize that now that I've had Luke. The other day he was upset that Brian left for work in the morning, and he cried and screamed for 22 minutes, clinging to the door, shoes in his hand. He LOVES to go places and play outside. He rode his push bike half a mile this afternoon. He has lots and lots of energy.

Can you see why it's tough to get a picture of him? He's either on my hip or I'm keeping him from injury!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Tidbits: Random photo/Disney-on-Ice edition

An attempt at domestication: melting the broken crayon pieces into muffin tins. (Luke loves to play with my old cell phone)

Domestic all over the place, right down to the piles of laundry on the couch.

A week's worth of paper snowflakes hanging in the kitchen.

David took his first fieldtrip without mom or dad - on the bus! He was so excited, they went to the firestation and he talked about it for days afterward.

If a child doesn't weigh 40 pounds, parents are responsible for installing a 5 pt. harness car seat on the bus. Which I'm happy to do, because I want him to be safe and he LOVES riding the bus. But it makes for some interesting shuffling as moms are passing babies back and forth outside the bus while we take turns installing.

We went to Disney on Ice again this year, more on this below. David was so thrilled to be Woody. And after school on the day of the show, Katy said that a friend from her class was going tonight, too, and said Katy could borrow a Belle dress. So then I was the phone trying to quickly coordinate getting this outfit in the middle of dinner before we left for the show. But she was so excited about the dress, it was worth it.

Another fun aspect of the trip is that we rode downtown with friends (Benji and Avery) who also attended the show. Isn't it funny how kids love to ride in someone else's car? (Also, can you see why people constantly ask me if Katy and David are twins?)

You might remember our adventure last year attending Disney on Ice. The short version is that Katy was terrified (oh, and there was a snow storm). So when I heard about another opportunity for free tickets this year, I wasn't sure. But I thought David would love it and pitched the idea of taking him to Brian. Brian thought she would be ok this year and that the show looked less scary in theme this year (it was). We asked her, she thought about it intensely, and decided she wanted to go.

She was completely excited all the way up until the lights went down. We made it through Mickey and the gang, Aladdin and the 50 Genies (very cool, actually), until Beauty and the Beast. Before I knew it, she was sobbing, curled up in a ball in my lap, begging me to leave. I really hesitated because I felt badly for David, dragging him out too. But we went out to the lobby and calmed down. David said that he was scared of the Beast, too, and didn't like that part. We talked about how they are just people in costumes putting on a show, and that there is nothing they can do to hurt you.

An usher came out and offered to seat us in the back. We could hear Toy Story starting up and the kids wanted to see that, so we went back in. We managed to sit there until intermission, as I coached Katy through every single character on the ice. She never took her hands off of her ears or stopped worrying the entire show.

We got treats at intermission and I managed to coerce them back to the back row and watch the 2nd half, which was less scary for sure. But it was minute by minute, barely making it, the whole time.

I debated through that entire 2 hours about what to do. I completely GET fear and anxiety. Katy comes by it honestly, as I suffer immensely from it. But one of the things that I've learned recently is that if I fear something, especially something irrational, and then I keep avoiding it altogether, my mind becomes convinced that it is a legitimate fear and I end up missing out. That's how some people, in extreme cases, end up locking themselves in their houses for 20 years. So I am always certain to comfort her, assure her that everything is ok, but I don't know how much to let her avoid. We couldn't have left the show and driven home - we had ridden with another family. And truly - nothing about a Disney on Ice show is dangerous (for the crowd). But when she was hysterical, of course I took her out.

And I will never go back, that is for sure. No point in pushing that. Dear Emily of 2013 - IT IS NOT WORTH IT. Step AWAY from the free tickets! But when you are there, at the show, in the moment - do you retreat altogether? Or try to see if you can handle some small doses and challenge the fear? I really don't know the right answer.

The very next morning after the show, we were at church for my mom's group and Katy was in her church classroom. They had to come and get me because Katy was hysterical in fear of - a Veggie Tales video. Veggie Tales. If you've seen them, they are pretty darn tame. Meant for preschoolers. I immediately went downstairs and comforted her and brought her up with me for the rest of my meeting. There was no benefit to pushing that one, and I knew she was already sensitive. She had slept in my bed half that night because of the bad dreams from the ice show.

So my hope would be that I could help my daughter so that she isn't as limited by anxiety as I am. But I don't know the best course of action. Do you?