Beautiful Minds

I looked out the window and saw my children all huddled around the slide on the swing set peering at it. I continued cooking supper and would steal glances every now and then. All of them stayed put in their places and every once in a while someone would throw their arms in the air and say “Yes!” or “Go, Go, Go!”

Curiosity filled me but I was intent on getting the meal ready.

Soon, my husband arrived home from work. I saw him walk across the yard and approach the children. He entered the house shortly after and announced, “Please make sure those kids wash their hands good before supper.” When I asked why, he informed me the kids were having slug races.

Slug races? What is a slug race? I had to run out and see for myself.

The kids having slug races

The kids having slug races

Apparently my 6 year old son discovered 3 slugs and everyone decided they wanted to enter them in a race to see who could get down the slide first. Surprisingly, even at a downward incline, slugs move at a very slow pace. My kids had engaged in this activity for over an hour and it probably could have entertained them much longer as the slugs had only completed half of their course when I called them in for dinner.

The racers

The racers

There are days that I lose faith that children remember how to play. As they grow older their imaginations wane as they are introduced to technology and television. The phrase of “I’m bored” is added to their daily language. The simple things they used to find enjoyment in are now babyish.

And then something like slug races comes along.

It restores my hope that they do know how to be creative. They can find pleasure in nature. They are satisfied with the simple joys that this world has to offer. They don’t always need something blinking and beeping to keep them entertained. They don’t need something that has come in a colorful box and found on a toy store shelf.

They just need their beautiful minds.

And they just need to wash their hands good before supper.

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Stop Grabbing Your Uvula

There have been scientific studies done about this.

There have been books written about this.

This is not a new revelation and yet even though I know this, it never fails to surprise me how different boys are versus girls.

Boys are gross and weird.

If you don’t agree take a look at my case and point:

The other day my 6 year old son is coughing and sputtering. I ask him if he is okay and what is going on. He replies that he is fine and is just training himself to be able to hold the dangling thing in his throat without coughing and gagging.

Insert brief moment of silence while my mind races wildly.

Next I explode with, “What? What? You are grabbing your uvula? GRABBING YOUR UVULA? UVULA?? Why would you want to condition yourself to hold your uvula without coughing or gagging? Please stop grabbing your uvula!!”

I rest my case.

Don't grab your uvula

Don’t grab your uvula

The Battle Wounds of Childhood

The nearing end of summer signifies a great change my family will soon embark upon. No, not just starting school. Something that impacts us even greater.

The battle between summer and childhood is coming to an end.

The war that breaks out each year around the days when it starts to get warm is not one necessarily of violence or animosity. The attacks are not planned and there is no general leading the fight. It is merely incidents and accidents that weave their way through little children brought on by the force known as Summer.

Summer has a cruel way of luring children outside to play. It makes them run, jump, ride their bike and roller skate. And then without warning it knocks them down and laughs in their face.

This is where I come in. As a mother to 3 children I am constantly tending to a scraped knee, elbow or bump to the head. It seems my role as infirmary nurse is never done and my supplies of band-aids, antibiotic ointment and ice packs are always in need of replacement.

It doesn’t help that my two older children have contracted a strange addiction to band-aids and require them for every little injury regardless if there is broken skin or blood. The band-aids act as a sense of security and my children apply them generously to everything that even remotely hurts from small bumps to stubbed toes.

If band-aids were an indication of a wounded soldier my children would definitely earn a purple heart.

In this war between Summer and childhood there is no white flag to wave. There is no truce to sign. You must just wait it out until the chaos subsides and we enter the autumn and winter months when there are fallen leaves and snow to soften the blows.

Until next year when Summer rears it’s ugly head in our part of the world, lures children outside to ride their bikes and then knocks them to the asphalt with a roar of laughter and the fight between the two parties starts again.

Here is a picture I took of Bency the other day. Notice the band-aids on his eye, knee and a toe!

Here is a picture I took of Bency the other day. Notice the band-aids on his eye, knee and a toe!

 

* Also, check out MomTimes4’s cartoon today that she did with the idea I submitted!

Watching Her Save the World

I’ve always admired activists; people who are so passionate about a cause. I’ve never been passionate about anything enough that would make me want to stand out in the hot sun, rain or cold all day and shout my beliefs for all to hear.

That is why it is kind of mind-boggling to me that I am raising a budding activist.

It started earlier this year when my 8 year old daughter came home from school and told me she started her own club at school called The Nature Experts. She recruited several other children to join her crusade. According to her, they met on Tuesdays and Thursdays at recess. They picked up trash around the schoolyard and talked about ways to save animals. She also made pins for all of her members.

Her passion has continued on this summer.

She made up several signs and hung them on telephone poles up and down our street.

One sign said:

Save the animals like dolphins, clownfish, and many others. Please stop littering. You could make some animals endangered. Be careful Please. (there was also a picture of a fish saying, “My home is ruined for good. I will not live. Wha-Wha.”)

Another sign said:

Try not to cut down as much trees. We need trees to live. If you cut down the trees we would not be able to breathe. With all the trees you cut down we might not be able to live. Please stop cutting down the trees. (this one included a picture of a girl saying, “I feel like I can’t breathe.”)

My daughter with her signs

My daughter with her signs

The other day she also rode her scooter up and down the sidewalk for an hour shouting, “Save the Animals!” She made her brother run behind her holding up various different stuffed animals. I wonder what the neighbors thought!

She also recently held a lemonade stand/fundraiser in our front yard.

My daughter's lemonade stand

My daughter’s lemonade stand

The kids charged 25 cents a cup and were able to raise $5.00! People were obviously very generous!

After the lemonade stand my daughter requested that we bring the money they made along with some of her own money to the local animal shelter.

Off we went across town to deliver the $9.50 to The Humane Society to help aid them in buying food and medicine for all the dogs and cats.

I love that my daughter is trying to change the world and help out. I love seeing her determination and conviction to this cause. I don’t think I am going to march up and down the street shouting, “Save the Animals” with her but I will gladly make up pitchers of lemonade and drive her across town to donate her money. I am happy to take the backseat role and watch as my little girl takes steps to save the world!

How To Raise a Well-Rounded Child (Or Not)

I’ll be the first to admit; my children are not well-rounded individuals.

My daughter is a reading maniac and can rock your socks with the amount of author knowledge she knows. My middle son gives me a run for my money when it comes to a game of chess and recently my 2 year old drew a stick person that has catapulted him into the ranks of Picasso.

This is usually how you will find my daughter

This is usually how you will find my daughter

Why can they do these things?

I can only attribute it to the fact that these are the things that I like to do. These are the things they see me do.

When it comes to sports though; that’s a whole other story.

I spent a lot of time in my youth at hospitals after my forays with sledding, tree climbing, tennis, softball and general lack of grace.

Therefore, as I entered adulthood I pretty much shied away from anything physical. My husband is really no different. He spent his short-lived baseball career as a child picking grass in the outfield. I think my children were kind of doomed from the get-go with the make-up of our DNA.

This has not stopped us from signing our children up for sporting activities. I do want them to be well-rounded. I want them to try new things. I want them to understand about sportsmanship, the importance of exercise, and the difference between a basketball and tennis ball.

Our adventures into this arena have been comical at best. It’s clear we do not have the next athletic phenom on our hands after sightings of my son scoring goals for the other team in soccer, my daughter dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld or just general wincing from all of them when a ball gets thrown their way.

Part of this is due to their young age and I’m sure their hereditary genes but a large part of it falls on me. They do not see me do anything remotely athletic.

This summer I am trying to change that. We are utilizing our pool pass to the fullest. I dusted off my old baseball glove and I have been giving lessons on jump roping without trying to injure myself in the process.

It pains me to do these things both figuratively and literally because in my head I am thinking about all the great art projects I want to do and all of the wonderful books I want to read with them as I am sweating my hiney off.

Will it pay off in the end? I don’t know but we’ll give it a shot this summer.

I do know that after this summer I am going to sit down with the 2 year old and work on his artistic skills more. A talent like his can not be wasted! Maybe Tiger Woods could make a hole-in-one in golf at the age of 3 but he could draw a stick man like this?

This is my 2 year old's picture. I drew the guy on the right and asked him if he could do that. This was his first try!

This is my 2 year old’s picture. I drew the guy on the right and asked him if he could do that. This was his first try!

Have Yourself An Angry (Bird) Little Birthday

Even though my son almost never gets to play the video game Angry Birds and you can read about why here he still absolutely loves them and requested it for the theme of his birthday party this year.

Here is how we celebrate an Angry Bird birthday over at Motherhood Is An Art.

First, I made an Angry Bird cake:

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I screwed up while making the cake but it ended up turning out okay. I absentmindedly forgot to set aside white frosting to dye yellow and white for the beak and eyes. I had to cut a marshmallow in half for the eyes and I used cereal for the beak. For the head and tail feathers I broke graham crackers into little rectangles, frosted them and stuck them into the sides of the cake.

Next, I created a few games for the party.

I made a poster of the different piggies and we used this for two games. I painted these piggies on freehand but if you’re not into drawing you could cut these out of a coloring book and paste them on as well.

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I drew and cut out three different birds from Angry Birds and we played Pin the Angry Bird on the Piggie:

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We used this same poster and laid it on the ground for Toss the Angry Bird on the Piggie. We used three plastic Angry Birds that my son already had in his room:

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Next I built a life-size Angry Bird game out of various cardboard boxes and piggies made out of balloons. You had to try to knock down the piggies with a Angry Bird stuffed toy we had. The stuff toy we used is heavier than a normal stuffed toy because it has a voice box in it. I don’t know if a regular stuffed toy would have worked as well.

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For the piggies I just cut out snouts and eyes from construction paper and used scotch tape to adhere them:

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The last game we played had nothing to do with Angry Birds but it was one that we played at my daughter’s party when she was in Kindergarten and I thought it was a good one so I thought we should do it again. I call it Puppies and Kittys. All it requires is long strips of fabric about a yard length long. One child is designated a puppy and the rest are kitties. The ones that are kitties get a piece of the fabric stuck to the back of their shirt with masking tape and this is their tail. The puppy has to chase the kitties around and try to step on their tail to remove it. Once there tail is gone the kitty becomes a puppy too and gets to help get the other children’s tails off.

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I had a fun time with the kids and I think my son really enjoyed his party!

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Here are some of my other posts related to birthday parties:

Dress Me Up Barbie

Birthday Cake Extravaganza

Birthday Decoration Head Shots

Tissue Paper Party Decorations

A Glimpse Into An 8 Year Olds Birthday Party

 

 

Duct Tape for My Heart

As you may know, my middle son, Bency is a rip tail peeler (other people use that term to describe mischievous children right…or is it just my family?).

Bency's Kindergarten picture

Bency’s Kindergarten picture

He is the epitome of what this blog is about…finding the humor in parenting or else you would probably cry.

People often talk about the amount of money it costs to raise a child. Diapering, clothes, food and college tuition are a few items that are often mentioned but I never saw anyone mention the BREAKAGE or the LOSS.

Perhaps it’s because they never parented a Bency.

For Heavens to Betsy (or in this case, Bency) I have never seen so many things broken and lost this year. He started off this Kindergarten year armed with new clothes, shoes, backpack, lunchbox etc. Guess how many of those things made it through the year. None I tell you.

Well, actually, the backpack did make it through only because I duct taped it all over after it got ripped in many places.

this back pack is all duct taped up now!

this back pack is all duct taped up now!

He broke 3 lunch boxes, put holes in every pair of pants, broke the soles off of shoes and has lost 2 water bottles. He also lost several articles of winter apparel and was reduced to wearing two different mittens at the end of March.

Also in Kindergarten you have rest time which requires a rest mat that basically consists of foam that is covered in a nylon fabric. Guess who managed to break their rest mat and have it sent home several times. I refused to go buy a new one so I just kept duct taping up all of the holes where the foam was falling out. With 3 days left to go in the school year he is basically just sleeping on one big pile of duct tape!

Yesterday I sent Bency to school with an umbrella that has only been used 3 times. It came home broken because he said he tried to chop down a tree with it.

I don't think I can fix this with duct tape

I don’t think I can fix this with duct tape

He is a bundle of energy and is always racing through the house and being loud. The other day after a particularly rambunctious episode that left me feeling weary I told him to go sit down on the chair and not make a sound.

He replied with, “Okay mama, but please don’t get mad if I breathe. Sometimes it makes sounds when you breathe and you know we all need to breathe to stay alive.”

I sighed and answered with, “Yes, Bency. You can breathe. I would never get mad at you for breathing.”

And then I walked out of the room and chuckled.

There is something about that boy that makes me want to pull my hair out and laugh all at the same time.

We are about to embark on the celebration of his birthday this weekend. I expect him to break one more thing. My heart. It breaks my heart to see that boy grow older and there is no amount of duct tape to fix that.

Do I look like a rip tail peeler?

Do I look like a rip tail peeler?

Happy 6th Birthday Bency!

I Go Out Walking After Midnight, Out in the Moonlight

Some of you may have recognized my title from the Patsy Cline song, “Walking After Midnight.” However, this story has nothing to do with Patsy Cline even though I am a huge fan of hers. It is actually about an event that took place last week at our house.

If this event had turned out differently; there is a good chance that I would still be sitting in the fetal position, rocking back and forth and muttering incoherent sentences somewhere.

I’ve mentioned before in the story You Can Sleep With Me Forever that my 5 year old son, Bency, has sneaked into my husband and I’s bed almost every night of his life. On the nights that this doesn’t happen, he sleepwalks, and we find him somewhere else other than his bed.

Most of the locations are pretty tame:

the living room floor

the living room floor

his bedroom floor

his bedroom floor

or a living room chair

or a living room chair

However, there was the time that we almost called the police. One night as my husband and I were getting ready to go to bed, I looked in Bency’s room. He was not there! We began searching the house for him everywhere. We looked in every room, every closet and under the beds. No Bency! As I was starting to come unglued I happened to look in the attic playroom and lo and behold there was Bency fast asleep.

sleeping in the attic

sleeping in the attic

We have also had a few instances where Bency has sleepwalked downstairs while my husband and I are still awake watching television. Bency has walked into the living room, pulled down his pants and has come close to peeing on a chair. Thanks to my husband and I’s quick reaction times we have been able to escort him into the bathroom, wake him up enough that he is able to use the toilet. Bency has never had any recollection of any of these occurrences happening!

Now onto my story of what happened last week. My husband and I were in the living room watching television. The kids had been in bed for a few hours. All of a sudden we heard footsteps coming down the stairs that we assumed had to be Bency. Instead of the footsteps entering the living room they went the other direction in the house and we heard the basement door open. My husband and I each shot each other a quizzical glance and quickly got up and bounded to the basement door. When we looked downstairs we saw Bency standing at the bottom of the stairs looking around in a daze.

We asked him what he was doing and he answered with, “Oh nothing, just going to go to the bathroom.”

We responded with, “No, No Buddy. You’re in the basement. There’s no bathroom down there. Come back upstairs and we’ll help you into the bathroom.”

So Bency gingerly made his way back up the stairs and my husband helped him into the bathroom.

But what happened next will explain why if we hadn’t found him right away and ushered him into the bathroom would have caused me some serious cleaning and possibly mental toil.

Bency had explosive diarrhea.

In unrelated news. I finally finished my children’s book yesterday! I sent it off to be made up and it will be shipped to me soon. If everything looks good, I will be holding a giveaway on my blog’s 1 year anniversary July 6th! Here’s a sneak peak of the cover:

the cover of my book, What's in the Bucket?

the cover of my book, What’s in the Bucket?

 

Every Moment in Time

I take an obscene amount of photos every month. I whip out my camera almost every day to capture something special, something I deem cute, something that makes my heart sing.

Cesar enjoying swinging

Cesar enjoying swinging

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Taken the other day at the park

Taken the other day at the park

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I often ask myself, “Self, is it really necessary that you take hundreds of photos every month? Do you really need to capture every moment?’

The resounding answer is always, “Yes. Yes it is important to me. For every one of these great moments there are an equal number of not so great moments. During those times I can reflect on those incredible instances. I can look at those photos. I can think about those memories. I can trust in the knowledge that this too shall pass and just over the ridge there will be another moment that will make my heart sing!

Let's face it, life has plenty of these moments too!

Let’s face it, life has plenty of these moments too!

 

 

 

Someday This Will Be a Law

Have you ever heard about some of the ridiculous laws that some states have?

Take for instance, in Alabama you may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time or play Dominoes on Sunday.

In Billings, Montana no person shall raise pet rats.

Do not try to put a coin in your ear in Hawaii because yes, you guessed it, it’s against the law!

I'm sure in some states it's against the law to play hopscotch in rain boots and no pants!

I’m sure in some states it’s against the law to play hopscotch in rain boots and no pants!

There are hundreds more equally strange laws in different cities and states across the country and I found myself thinking about them the other day when the kids and I were driving down the street.

As we were driving, my 5 year old son, Bency, asks, “Mom, is it against the law to drive backwards down the street?”

I immediately said, “Yes! Well, ummmm…..I think so. Well, I don’t know. If it isn’t a law, it should be.”

I tried looking up the answer to this burning question but have yet been able to draw a definite conclusion if this is in fact a law. However, you can bet your patootie that when Bency reaches driving age I will be constantly monitoring him because if anyone would try to drive backwards down the street, it would be Bency.

I'm sure Bency is trying to figure out how to put this car in reverse!

I’m sure Bency is trying to figure out how to put this car in reverse!

This also brings me to another burning question. How in the world do these strange laws get enacted?

I’m taking a wild stab in the dark here but if I had to guess based off the examples of weird laws I gave above; I would be willing to venture they all have a fed up mother behind them.

If I had the ability and drive to put a new law into place I certainly have a few in mind.

I have a feeling this might be against the law!

I have a feeling this might be against the law!

My most recent annoyance has been stickers. You know those big stickers that people hand out to kids at stores, doctor’s offices, fairs etc. The ones that are encouraged to be put on your child’s shirt as soon as they receive them. Yes, those little gifts of kindness that my children enjoy receiving are one of my biggest pet peeves.

Why you ask? How could a simple sticker be the bane of my existence? Well, the problem with these stickers is that we forget about them and the clothes go through the wash with these stickers still adhered. After we pull them out of the dryer the sticky substance is still there in a perfect rectangle with bits of the paper still remaining. I either have to deem these clothes as a lost cause or sit for hours trying to get it off. Just this past weekend I pulled out my favorite sweatshirt and there on the front was a sticky patch left over from one of the kids putting their sticker on me!

I’ve had enough of stickers and am ready to march down to City Hall and fight the fight. I want the production and doling out of all stickers to cease.

I want it to be a law!

Look closely at Bency's shirt...yep, it's one of those stickers!!

Look closely at Bency’s shirt…yep, it’s one of those stickers!!