Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Second Grade Swooning

Ever heard of Silly Bandz?  They're really thin, rubber bracelets that come in various shapes (hearts, castles, animals, etc) and they are the newest craze among the elementary school crowd.  Actually, they're not new, they're just new to Sydney since I've avoided them like the plague after hearing about them several months ago.

Kids collect them and trade them.  Heck, I've seen adults collect them and trade them.  They're like baseball cards, except they're completely worthless.  And probably germ-ridden.

Anyway, someone gave Sydney a few of them a month or so ago and after seeing her classmates wear them to school the first day, she insisted on wearing hers yesterday and today.  She informed me that one of the boys who sits at her table claims that he's going to buy a whole bag of them just for her.

And then I watched my seven year old girl swoon.  I almost threw up on the spot.

I can certainly understand why many schools have banned them after watching my usually sensible daughter go gaga over strings of rubber and a boy who's promised them to her.   I'm wishing her school would do the same.

Seven years old and swooning over a boy.  Seven years old.  Where did my baby go?

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School!

Today was Sydney's first day of second grade:


She was a bit apprehensive about her class assignment and sad that none of her friends were in her class, but she had a good first day.

The boys were a bit lost without her, but I broke out the alphabet cookie cutters and we kept ourselves busy:



I hope everyone else had a great first day back, too!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fun Fact Friday

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on the Big Bed Swap.  I think we'll try having the boys in the same room (with no toys, just books) and see how it works out.  Who knows....if it works, maybe we'll wind up with an extra bedroom!  Oh, and to answer your question, Tien, Evan is now a master at climbing in and out of his crib - we never know where we're going to find him in the morning!


It's been a while since I did the whole "Fun Fact Friday" thing and seeing as I don't have enough about any particular subject to write an entire post, I thought I'd just put them all in one spot.

* We met Sydney's 2nd grade teacher this morning.  All Sydney knew about her was that she's the lady who "squeezes kids' arms too hard when they're crying."  This does not bode well for my sweet, sensitive daughter who cries about everything.  The teacher seemed nice and I am really trying to keep an open mind about her.  We shall see, I suppose.

* For fun, the kids and I rode Houston's light rail train from end to end one day this week.  We got off a few times to look at some interesting things and then walked a couple of blocks to meet Ryan for lunch.  The boys loved riding the train and they all did a good job of not gawking too much at the homeless people (although Liam did comment on the man sitting near us that had no arms - boy was that was a fun conversation). I think we're going to make it an annual event it was so much fun.

* Since I loved P & P so much, I decided that in addition to my book club books, I'm going to read all of Austen's books this year.  I've finished Persuasion and am hoping to check out Sense and Sensibility (or as Ryan calls it - Dense and Densibility) the next time we're at the library.  I think I'm turning into a book snob.

* Sydney is loving the Netflix streaming thing.  Her favorite thing to watch is Scooby Doo and she's asked if we can make some Scooby Snacks.  Ummm......I don't think so.

* My parents have officially moved to The Land of Fruit.  It is awesome having them just ten minutes away.  I am predicting that Ryan and I are going to get to have a lot more date nights in the future!

* My niece is starting high school next week.  High school!  How did she grow up so fast?

* And on a related note, when did I get so freaking old?!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bed Hopping

Anyone out there have kids who share a room?  Does it work?  Do they keep each other awake?

Our little mischief-maker and stereotypical middle child, Liam, does not like to sleep alone.  At least four nights out of every seven, he sneaks into our room and crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night.  One of us immediately takes him back to his own bed, but we usually find him in Sydney's bed or Evan's crib in the morning.  Sometimes we find Evan in Liam's bed.  It's a real game of musical beds around here.

We're thinking about letting the boys share a room for a while.  Once we get our new bed and do our bed swap-a-roo thing, we might just put the boys' beds in the same room.  They're 18 months apart and spend all day fighting playing together and we thought they'd want separate rooms, but they seem to really enjoy sleeping together, too.

We're just worried that it will take them way too long to fall asleep or our early riser (Liam) will wake up our deep sleeper (Evan) way too early and cause some major grumpiness.


Monday, August 9, 2010

A Little Reality TV Isn't Such a Bad Thing

During the day, I generally let the kids have control over what we watch on TV (within reason, of course).  We don't watch a lot of it (remind me to tell you about our new TV time rules sometime), but since I get to watch what I want after they go to bed, I don't mind watching what they want during the day.  While channel surfing one evening last week in between bath time and bed time, I stumbled upon an old episode of Super Nanny and informed them that I wanted them to watch it.

I don't usually watch shows like Super Nanny because I'm not really into the whole reality show thing, but the preview for it showed a little boy having one heck of a temper tantrum over snack time and I thought the show could provide me with a teachable moment or two.

Boy, howdy.

The five year old boy on the show threw temper tantrums about everything.  He didn't get waffles for his snack.  Tantrum.  Mom had to leave to go to work.  Tantrum.  Mom wouldn't buy him a toy at the toy store (which was apparently something she would do 2-3 times a week!).  Tantrum.

And not just a whining, annoying kind of tantrum.  A screaming, thrashing, throwing himself on the floor kind of tantrum.

After the third or fourth one, Liam had his mouth open out of shock and Sydney turned to me and asked, "What's wrong with that boy?"

I paused the show (hurray for DVRs) and we talked about how the boy was acting, why he was acting that way and ways that he could improve his behavior.

At one point, Jo, the Super Nanny, knelt down in front of the crying boy and said, "That's enough.  Stop crying.  Mummy said no toys today.  That means no toys.  The end."

Sydney looked up and said, "You say that kind of thing to us all of the time."

Yep.  I sure do.  It makes me feel like I'm doing something right.  And I'm glad my kids saw other kids getting disciplined in a similar fashion.

I don't really like reality shows, but I might have to start recording that one.  I think it's good for the kids and if nothing else, it makes me feel like I'm doing an OK job as a parent.  I think every parent needs that kind of reassurance from time to time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Book Review - Pride & Prejudice

It's official.  Jane Austen has ruined all other books for me.  I finished Pride & Prejudice and wanted to cry because I didn't want it to end.  It was seriously that wonderful.  Like most of Shakespeare's works, it took me about a third of the book to get into the groove of the language, but once it clicked, that was it; I could hardly put it down (despite already knowing how the story ends).  I absolutely adore the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, and I'm almost sorry that Evan turned out to be a boy because had he been a girl his name would have been Elizabeth and then I could have said that wonderful name out loud all day long.  And Mr. Darcy!  Oh, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.  I can just imagine the young ladies of Austen's time swooning over him like today's teenagers do over Twilight's  Edward Cullen.  He's tall, handsome, rich, compassionate and completely and utterly in love with Elizabeth.  The writing, though difficult to understand at first, is prose at its absolute best and while the "woe is me for no one has asked me to marry him" whining grew a bit old, I had to remind myself that for the women of Austen's class and time, making a "proper match" meant the difference between a life of prosperity and one of poverty.  If you're looking for a period romance novel, this one is for you.  Run - don't walk - to the library to get it!  *****


As a reward for finishing the above book, I watched the A&E version of the movie, or as I refer to it, the Colin Firth version.  Let me tell you, there is nothing better than Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy.  Granted, I have a slight obsession with the man (Colin Firth, that is), but the movie is even better than I remembered.  It follows the book better than most movies do and it made me sorry that I hadn't read the book earlier (so that I could reward myself with the movie).

The Keira Knightley version is good, too, but it leaves quite a bit out of the original story.  I will say that the cinematography and musical soundtrack are better in this version and I quite like both Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but they just don't live up to Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in the other version.

And if you're as obsessed with Pride & Prejudice as I'm appearing to be (really, I do like other books and movies!), you have to watch Lost in Austen.  I'm serious - go find it right now.  In this charming movie, a Miss Amanda Price of present-day London switches places with the fictional Elizabeth Bennet and bumbles her way through the story, changing the outcomes of several of the plot lines.  New details concerning the character's histories are revealed and you will find yourself cheering for some of the unlikeliest characters.  You will even come to adore Elizabeth's mother, Mrs. Bennet, who in the original story is quite overbearing and annoying.  This movie is now one of my all-time favorites.  And I can watch it any time I want through the Wii thanks to Netflix - yay!

OK, I promise that's it on Pride & Prejudice.  If you've made it this far without being bored to tears, then I applaud you.  And if you're still willing to talk to me after a post full of swooning over fictional people, then you are true friend.  :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Letter to my Children

My Dearest Children,

Your father and I have such dreams for you and your futures.  As your parents, we worry about you and we worry about the choices we're making on your behalf.

Our job as parents is not to make you happy all of the time.  Our job is to turn you into responsible and productive adults.  With that in mind, please take note of the following:

* This household is not a democracy.  It is a benevolent dual-dictatorship, the dictators being your father and myself.  We welcome your opinions on various matters and we will take them into account, but we will make the final decisions regarding pretty much everything.

* Whining is not attractive.  If you don't like what I cook for dinner, then don't eat it, but don't ask for something else, either.  You've heard the phrase, "Beggars can't be choosers", right?  Well, your lack of income means you are perpetual beggars and therefore do not have the right to be picky about the food we serve you.

* When you are old enough, you will learn how to do most of the household chores.  Scrubbing toilets, washing and folding clothes, mopping the kitchen floor and mowing the lawn are not beneath you.  When you become adults and have households of your own, you can choose to spend your money on housekeepers or yard crews, but for now, you'll learn to do it yourselves.

* You will learn to pick up after yourselves.  If you spill your drink, you will grab a towel and clean it up.  If you drop food on the floor, you will throw it in the trash and wipe up the floor.  I am not your own personal maid and will not do things that I know you are capable of doing yourself.  Also, I may ask you to help pick up a mess someone else made.  I know it's not fair, but y'know, this is a family and sometimes we have to do that kind of stuff.

* The world does not owe you anything and you shouldn't expect it to.  Honesty, hard work and perseverance will get you the things you want.  You might not get them when you want, but they will come.  Delayed gratification is a lost art in this country, but trust me, you will appreciate things more if you earned them yourself.

* You are no better than anyone else.  Your gender, skin color, religion, social class and level of education do not make you to superior to people who are different from you.  And if I hear about you saying or doing anything to the contrary, you better watch out.

* On a similar note, no one is better than you, either.  You are perfect just the way God made you and if your so-called friends begin to treat you with disrespect or as if you're not as good as them, it's time to make some new friends.

* Please marry whoever you think will make you happiest.  Your father and I don't care about their race, social background or gender.  If they treat you with respect, can support you when times are rough and make you happy, go for it.  We will love whoever you love.  (One exception: a convicted serial killer.  I don't know that we'll be that open and accepting.)

* Lastly, we will love you no matter what.  We may not agree with some of the decisions you make, but as long as we know you made those decisions for yourself, we will love you.

Love Always,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pillow Talk

Ironically, we decided to buy a bigger bed the day before Ryan's big accident.  Evan climbed out of his crib for the first time the night before which tells us it's about time for a real bed for him.  We're short on beds so we decided to do a big bed shuffle:

* Evan will get the trundle bed that Liam currently uses (it's about 6 inches off the floor).
* Liam will get the twin bed that Sydney currently uses (it usually has the trundle bed stored beneath it).
* Sydney will get our double bed.  It's an antique that I inherited from my grandmother and I am thrilled to have a daughter to pass it on to.
* And this leaves us with......well, nothing.  I guess we could sleep on our camping air mattresses, but I don't know how long that would last.

We've decided to get a queen-sized bed since our bedroom is not large enough to hold a king-sized bed, the infamous computer desk and the vanity and chest of drawers that match the antique double bed.

So now we have to decide what kind of mattress we want to purchase.  There are just too many choices!  Do we sell one of our children spend a fortune and buy one of those fancy Tempur-pedic thingies or do we take advantage of the sale a local mattress place is having on it's plain-ole vanilla Sealy/Simmons mattresses?  Then there are the "get one big mattress with two different firmness settings so you're both comfortable" mattresses that I keep seeing on TV.

See?  Too many choices.

Anyone have a mattress that they just love?  Or, if love is too strong of a word to describe how you feel about a mattress, one you really like?