Monday, September 26

Chef School 201

Rule #1 - No licking the spoon until we're done stirring!
I've noticed something. My kids seem to misbehave most when I'm busy trying to do my own work. You know how it goes. It's late afternoon and I'm scrambling to pick up the house, get dinner on the table, and keep 3 grumpy kids from killing each other. After dinner, the saga continues.

Play outside. ("Been there.")
       Play inside. ("Done that.")
             Clean your room. ("Over it.")
                    Find something to do. ("But I'm b-o-r-e-d!")
                           Leave your sister alone. ("She started it!")

I needed a change from the "Now you all play nice while Mommy cooks" routine, or at least one of us wasn't going to make it. New plan: My older girls, who are 4 and 6, rotate in helping me prepare dinner, expanding Chef School to include daily responsibilities in the kitchen. They help me mash and stir, heat and butter, set the table...and they love it. The other daughter helps me clean up from dinner that night... and they love it. I love it too.

~ I get one-on-one time with my kids, talking and laughing, and we're getting a chore done!

~ Miraculously, having only 2 children playing together really cuts down on the bickering, and the older girls each enjoy alone time with our toddler.

~ They are learning tons of valuable life skills, which I intend to let them "practice" more and more at my house! (hello, day off!)

But the best compliment I could get came this afternoon, when Linsey and her friend were making "soup" in my kitchen. As they were cleaning up, I asked her friend, "Do you help your mom wash dishes at home?"

Immediately Linsey interrupted, "Oh, no. She doesn't get to do chores like us at her house! She has to play in her room while her mom does the dishes." Lol, I know it will change eventually, but I'm really hoping that attitude of "getting to do chores" will stick around for a few more years!

How do you involve your kids in the kitchen?


Thursday, September 22

Friendship Lessons

On a recent vacation to the Grand Canyon, we had the chance to visit a local deer farm. It was incredible (and slightly overwhelming at times!) to be so close to so many deer at once! Along the way, the girls picked up some important lessons about friendship as well:

1. Apparently, a kiss on the hand is not a universal sign of affection.

2. Sharing food is a sure way to win friends...

and more friends...but

3. You can definitely have too much of a good thing!

4. Always look new acquaintances in the eye, for safety reasons.

5. A good friend will respect your personal space,

while others are just downright nosy.

6. It's ok to be different, you won't (and shouldn't) always blend in.

7. If your real friends aren't working out so well,

then find some imaginary ones.

8. And finally, to test a friend's loyalty...

 grab their tail and give it a good tug!
(Go ahead, I DARE you!!)

Monday, September 12

Monday Morning News

  Good morning, my name is Liz and I'm filling in for Phil today, Monday, September 12, 2011. 

~The top HEADLINE for today:

Homeschoolers across America report that they have seen an increase in family unity and togetherness by schooling at home, as well as creative learning by even the youngest of students. "They love learning," says one mom in southern California, "to the point that it gets all over them, you know? It just kind of...spills out." Indeed ma'am, a picture is worth 1,000 words.

~"I've been on a diet two weeks, and all I lost is 14 days," moans a local housewife who chooses remain anonymous. She is thinking of suing her Internet company for their slow service. "It takes me so long to load Facebook each morning, I simply don't have time to excercise. This is an outrage, it just doesn't add up." It may not, but those pounds sure do...

~ This Just In: Local father caught on camera being absolutely adorable with his daughter. Investigators wonder if this behavior is normal, or if he was perhaps...FRAMED. :)

~ In other news, Hannah, the second of three girls in her family, has been spotted riding through the neighborhood without her training wheels. She seems to be unalarmed, but local parents are terrified this will become an epidemic and are hesitant to RIDE this out. Any information leading to the whereabouts of the missing training wheels would be appreciated.

~ Finally, aspiring singer/songwriter known as "Linsey" has given up on her promising career in music and has instead turned to cosmetology. After a recent benefit concert in the Front Yard, a popular youth hangout, she gave pedicures to local underprivileged children. If you are interested in booking her for either a manicure or a vocal concert, her agent's contact information is listed on the right-hand side of your screen.

Thank you, again this is Liz, filling in for Phil for your Monday morning report.

Lowercase Letters

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Saturday, September 10

Tumbling Over

Family Update: My older two girls recently started tumbling class, and they absolutely love it! It's great for me too, we do one sport a season, and they were going to be on different soccer teams this year. That meant someone would have practice every night, plus 2 games on Saturday. They are in the same tumbling class, and it's one night a week! Plus, it's super easy to practice at home too.

The class was adorable, all the girls in their gymnastics clothes trying to stretch and act like professionals already.

Both our girls could use a little help in the coordination department (my genes, unfortunately), so this is really good for them. By the time I was Hannah's age, I had broken my arm and gotten stitches in my lip!

Their teacher was super nice, professional, and has oodles of patience, she's amazing! 

Hannah asks every day if it's time for class again, and they practice all the time. Lots of fun for my energetic girlies!!

Monday, September 5

Why I Love Being a Mom: #4 Firsts

(Click here or here for other posts in this topic)

One of my favorite parts of parenting is getting to experience all of the "firsts" of life with my kids: you know, first teeth, first steps, first time watching a 3D movie...

Those firsts.

Big firsts, like the ominous first trip to the dentist.

Disastrous firsts, like the time Linsey tried to cut her own hair.

Unforgettable firsts, like when Hannah realized she was a big sister.

Adorable firsts, like the first time Nattie tried to drink from a water fountain.

I got to be there. For each one. Because I'm their mom. There's nothing quite like the first time my kids finally mastered a two wheeler, or started their first day of school. And with my oldest being only 6, I know I've barely scratched the surface of "firsts" that will happen. I love them. I dread them. I fear them. But no matter how I feel about my kids growing up, I am determined to treasure each new "first" that comes along, because they are a special gift indeed.

What "first" memories do you especially cherish?

Saturday, September 3

Light at the End of the Tunnel

While my daughters were swimming at a relative's pool on vacation, our youngest slipped out of her floating ring and began to go under.  I quickly tossed my phone on the grass and jumped in to rescue her, fully clothed. No drama there - she was fine, just a little scared, so she wanted to get out of the pool. Cue drama: As soon as I helped her out, she ran over to where my iPhone was lying (safely) in the grass and picked it up to return to me. "Here you go Mama, pho-one!"

The scene to follow unfolded in slow motion. "No no, sweetie, Mama doesn't want her phone in the water!" (That's why I threw it out before saving you!) I could hear the wheels turning in her two-year old mind. She looked at me briefly, smiled, and threw the phone like a skipping rock. Only it didn't skip, it sunk. "No-o-o-o-o-o!" I cried, diving under to grab the phone before it touched the bottom of the pool.

After sitting a couple days in a bag of rice, I'm happy to say that my phone still works. As long as it doesn't get too hot and I don't try to turn it off. And the camera flash is permanently on, so it's bright and the battery drains quickly. After watching Pollyanna with my girls the other day, I was inspired to come up with a list of reasons I'm glad my phone has some new tweaks:

1. Before my phone glowed in the dark, I would constantly lose it in my purse. Now I can always find it in under 3 seconds.

2. On vacation, we discovered that the light on the back of my phone is so bright, it glows right through my back pocket. So now my husband intentionally walks behind me, lets out a whistle, and calls me his glowbug. Now tell me...what other phone offers that much sex appeal?

3. "Mom, I want to read but it's too dark in the car!" "Honey, I know it's dark, but could you find a tissue?" "No problem, guys, thanks to Natalie, my phone is also a FLASHLIGHT!!" Even when the battery's dead. It's that good.

4. I used to be afraid that someone would take my phone when I wasn't looking. But the chances of that have gone w-a-a-a-y down now. It's cracked down the front, the flash never goes off... not prime real estate, ya know? And if it ever IS stolen, we live in a small community, so all I have to do to get it back is to find the person whose pocket glows in the dark. :)

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