Monday, May 24, 2010

Keeping them busy all summer long...

As pre-K is rapidly winding down for the year, the long stretch of summer is looming. This is not as much of a shock for me as it is for many other moms with school age kids, since I am used to having O home with me everyday. Still, the idea of being home with 2 active boys for months on end (without the break of school, music class, and our other regularly scheduled activities) is both exciting and daunting. While most of the other children in C's class are heading off to full day, multi-week camps, C and O will be staying home with me. Right now I have the luxury of being home with them, so I want to enjoy it!  But that means that the boys' entertainment will be completely up to me.

To that end, we are continuing our tradition of making a "Summer Adventures" list. In late spring, the boys and I sit down and come up with a list of all the fun things we want to do during summer vacation.  Making the list is a big part of getting excited for summer. C checks on the list every few days and can't wait until we start crossing things off it. Some will happen, and some probably won't. But, here is what we'd love to accomplish this summer:
  1. Move (yikes!)
  2. Explore all of the playgrounds in our new neighborhood
  3. Take a family vacation
  4. Swimming lessons
  5. Join the library's summer reading program and read, read, read
  6. Go Strawberry Picking
  7. Go Blueberry Picking
  8. Go on a Treasure Hunt in the Woods
  9. Have a beach day
  10. Go to a minor league baseball game
  11. Go to a local racetrack and see a real car race
  12. Play Minigolf
  13. Bowling
  14. Go for a hike
  15. Visit local Children's Museum
  16. Visit local Science Museum
  17. Visit local Aquarium
  18. Go to preseason football game
  19. Visit Gramma and Grampa
  20. Visit the local farm
  21. Visit Zoo
  22. Host BBQ 
Last year, our summer adventures list helped us keep a good balance between active outings and lazy days at home. I firmly believe that the boys need both, but I do better with at least a loose weekly schedule. 

What do you and your family have planned for the summer? I'd love some more fun ideas!

Friday, May 21, 2010

We are all artists.

C's pre-K class just finished a 3 week unit on art, culminating in a trip to a local art museum. I've been hearing about this unit in little snippets after school.. It's been interesting to try to figure out what on earth they've been doing from the one line facts that C chose to provide. 

"Art is shoes."

"Picasso didn't just do paintings, he also did sculptures."

"And then there were marbles, but my marbles kept falling out, so it didn't really work."

"We made stabiles. It's like a mobile but it's a stabile." 

"Kline painted with lines."

"We got to splat! The paintbrush wasn't allowed to touch the paper. Only to splat or drip. Like my friend Jack makes art." (I later found out that they had been studying Jackson Pollack.)

"We're all artists, Mom. Even you."

I was really quite bewildered. But I could tell that he was having fun with the unit, and maybe learning a little something too.

When I asked him how the trip to the museum was, he eagerly told me how on the way there in his classmate's car they watched "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and on the way home they watched "Mickey saves Santa."

But what about the museum? "Well, we looked at some art, and then we went to the bathroom, and then we had snack, and then we looked at a little more art and then came home." With a little more prodding, he did eventually say that they looked at a Mondrian painting and then tried to copy it.

So I was really surprised by the impressive display of their creations when the class opened their own art gallery this week. Even though the information didn't always come home, it was clear that they touched on all different types of art, from pop art, to line art, to sculptures, to still lifes, and quilting. Seeing all the kids showing off their work with such pride was wonderful. They knew that they really were artists. And that's the best lesson of them all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

O's tale

The boys were taking turns telling me stories this afternoon. This was O's tale.

"Once upon a time there was a Baby Mario. And a Baby Luigi hugged him. And then they got flushed down the toilet! HA HA HA HA HA! And then there was a little, little,, a giant, giant, giant bear that scared them. The End!"

I'm not sure why I found this so funny, but I truly laughed until I had tears in my eyes!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

to all the mommies out there...

...who wouldn't trade this job for anything!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Feeling like "that mom"

I like to think that I am raising my boys to be well mannered.  On their own, they behave quite nicely, and C's teacher has no complaints about his behavior in school. But lately, when the two of them are together, it's as if their energies collide and combust, creating a whirlwind of noise and running. It's not that they are having tantrums (although they have plenty of those too), it's more of a jubilant tornado. All that happy energy and noise proves very disruptive when we are in public, and makes me feel like "that mom".

You know the one.

The one that people roll their eyes at and wonder, "How can she let them behave that way?" or "Why doesn't she control her children?" When they are chattering and singing so loudly at a restaurant during lunch that two separate parties ask to be seated elsewhere as the server leads them in our direction. Or racing around the aisles in the shoe store (reminding me why I prefer to do most of my shopping online). Or playing "bonk heads" in the double cart at Costco. (They never believe me when I tell them that this is not a good game, even though it ends in tears every time.)

To all the tired and exasperated moms that I rolled my eyes at before I had children, I apologize. I didn't know. I had no idea that sometimes the energies of a 5 and 3 year old really can not be tamed. That boys truly will be boys. That sometimes asking nicely, bribing with snacks, and doling out time outs just doesn't work. 

I know now. Because I'm "that mom" too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Water water everywhere...

Due to a major water main break, we spent the last few days without drinkable tap water. Until the "boil water" order went into effect, I had never really thought about how often I use tap water. A quick drink, wetting a paper towel to wipe a messy face after a meal, washing my hands, rinsing a toothbrush, running the dishwasher, all these things and more were off limits for 3 days. In fact, it was so automatic for the boys and I to just reach for the tap that I had to wrap a towel around the faucet handles to remind us to stop!

The novelty made it somewhat fun. As I washed and rinsed pots and pans in a basin full of previously boiled water, I felt like a pioneer woman. Yes, the paper plates, plastic utensils, and bottled water for drinking (and coffee making!) ruined the illusion a bit.

I got a glimpse of human nature in a local CVS when bottled water sold out right in front of me. Some people walked out with 16 cases just for themselves, smirking at others who got turned away. I had only wanted to pick up a couple of gallon jugs that I could use and then refill because I didn't have any pitchers to store boiled water in, but I got concerned when I saw the shortage and surrounding hysteria. Everyone was saying that this would last for a week or more. So I grabbed up a couple of cases too. I couldn't even have bought a gallon jug if I wanted to, since the shelves were completely bare.  I felt guilty buying into the "every man for himself" philosophy, but still took what I thought would be enough for us if the shortage went on for more than a week. And remained grateful that at least we could boil water. After all, the bottled water was just more convenient. It wasn't necessary. I can't even imagine what the scene would have been like if we had no water at all.

This situation certainly opened my eyes to what I have always taken for granted--having potable water whenever I want it. I also never realized just how much I use water every day! We did drink a lot of tap water before we heard about the order. Here's hoping we stay healthy! I'll raise a glass of water to that!