End Of Year Fun

June 26th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
For some reason, Haley’s school did not have a “Moving Up” ceremony for Kindergarten, nor did her class have any sort of celebration. It was more like, “Good job, kid! Have fun in first grade.” I’m not a huge fan of unnecessary pomp and circumstance, but Haley’s end-of-year was anticlimactic, even for me.

Luckily, some of the moms from school decided that we needed to celebrate and so we did. After one of Haley’s last days of school, we went to the park with her playmates and their siblings and ordered pizza. The kids were so excited that school was over (in the middle of the day!), they got to have a big play date in the park, and to have the treat of not only eating lunch together, outside, but to have pizza for lunch! This is a big deal for the elementary school set.

Haley is headed to a community camp this summer, but I’m happy that she has a few weeks off beforehand. I look forward to doing pretty much nothing. In this over-scheduled world, sometimes a kid just needs to be a kid.

Happy Summer!

Home Improvements

June 21st, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Over the last year, we made some minor improvements to our home…basic things like painting and replacing a few fixtures. We decided to splurge this year and install some wood floors and stain the existing ones to match. It is a large task, especially while living in the home.

We scheduled this project to coincide with our vacation, since the strong oil smell requires you to be out of your home. Well, with a moisture issue, and longer drying times than expected, and it’s delayed the process several days.

Our gracious neighbors offered their basement to us until it’s safe to get back in our house. We couldn’t be more thankful for their generosity. They have four girls of their own, so Jack and Tate are happy to be around friends.

I’m feeling a little impatient with this whole project, because all I want is to relax in my home after being gone for over a week. I feel badly about living with our friends for more time than I’d like. I know this isn’t the end of the world, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to update our house. Jack and Tate, however, are handling the situation wonderfully. They have instant play dates and love the sleepover-like atmosphere. It sure does make my life easier when they’re content.

We hope to return to the house mid-week and carry on with our lives. I want the project to be done right, so I’m willing to uproot our lives for a few days. My hope is this will teach Jack and Tate a lesson that life has many hiccups, and you have to be flexible with the situation. I’m looking forward to new shiny floors and my own bed.

Bag Tips

June 19th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Janelle:
I pretty much defy you—especially if your little one is not yet potty trained—to leave the house, even for a quick trip, without a bag full of “stuf.f” The Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” certainly applies to parenthood. You never know what you might need when you’re away from the safety of home. As nice as it would be to slip your phone into your back pocket and grab your keys, if your kids are coming with you, so are supplies.

There are certain items that I absolutely must have when I’m out with Hudson. Obviously, diapers and wipes are at the top of this list. I’ve learned that even if I go out with just Haley, it’s smart to keep those wipes in there because you never know what a kid of any age will get into. Heck, they’re great for adults, too!

Even if Hudson has had a nice meal and a cup of milk before our outing, I always grab a bottle of water and a snack, such as a granola bar. Hunger and thirst are major culprits when it comes to toddler breakdowns, so you have to be prepared. I keep a few fun toys in there for the same reason.

And I may get a few judgmental stares, but there have absolutely have been times that I’ve fired up a video on my phone or a tablet and shoved it in front of my kids. Sometimes, you need to speak with another adult or take care of something important, and you just have to stop a screaming, interfering child. I’m here to tell you: do what you need to do!

What are your must-have diaper bag items?

Beach Break

June 14th, 2017

This week, we met my parents, my sisters, and their families at the beach. It is rare that all fourteen of us are together, spending time together. Our schools, sports, jobs, and distance make it almost impossible for us to be with each other as a large family. Needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a long time.

The word of the week is relaxation; even with fourteen people under one roof. We are all escaping our personal hectic schedules. It is nice to relax with loved ones and ignore the stressors of day-to-day life. 

Our hilarious nephews/cousins are great together, despite their generational differences. Even if they are loud and crazy, their love is worth the volume. Ranging from a rising high school senior to a second grader, there are only a few times they will all be young together, and this week is one of them. 

Jack and Tate are newfound beach bums. They both have boogie boards and surf skills. Even with a few wipeouts, nothing is stopping them. Tate is on the lookout for sharks, and Jack promised he would scare them away. We’re taking advantage of the beautiful scenery on the bike trails. We even saw a few alligators on our ride. 

I’m glad to be with my fam in such a warm and fun environment. Beach week is a vacation for every generation, and I am happy we get the opportunity to spend it together.

The Overtired Phenomenon

June 12th, 2017

There are days when our young children wake up early, run around like crazy, skip their naps, and simply crash after dinner, just before you can get them in the tub. This time of year, they’re snoring, utterly done with the day, when it’s still bright light out. This is what I call the jackpot. It’s sort of a reward for being up since the crack of dawn and going strong for hours. Sometimes it seems like there’s not enough caffeine in the world. But we manage. And when they succumb to their sleepiness, it feels like a major victory.

But for every time bedtime goes down easily, there are nights when they refuse to give up the good fight. When you look at the clock and look and them and think, “how?” How is this possible? How are they not passed out? It’s not something that people without children easily understand but it’s so true: sometimes children are too tired to go to sleep. When they are infants, you know how cranky they can be if you miss their “sleepy windows.” But the pattern persists well into the toddler years.

I do think the light evening hours exacerbate the issue. Often when I’m trying to get Hudson down he will stare at the window and say, “it’s not night.” Very hard to try to convince a two year old to ignore daylight savings time and get some rest!

Fortunately, all kids eventually go to sleep. Hopefully there’s even a small window within which all of your children are sleeping at the same time and you can relax enough to sleep, too!

Have a restful week, everyone!

The Butter Bandit

June 12th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
My son is hardly the first kid in history who is obsessed with butter. I was raised hearing the Hindu myth of Lord Krishna stealing butter from his mother as a chubby toddler. So apparently this obsession has been around for a long time! I’ve heard of other little kids who can’t resist the creamy goodness. Hudson would eat sticks of the stuff if we gave him the chance. Whenever I take the butter out for cooking, or toast, or whatever, two seconds later there is a little person at my feet, imploring, “I wan but-ter”.

I do indulge Hudson in a pat here and there. But as we all know, butter isn’t good for you in large amounts. Babies need full fat dairy for brain development, but we’re way past that! Now we’ve got to start considering cholesterol, not to mention simply forming bad food habits.

Obesity in general is a considerable problem, and we tend to attribute processed food and added high fructose corn syrup as the main culprit. It is true, our brains and tastes are influenced by being fed these things our whole lives, and it is not healthy. But when I look for Hudson reaching for the butter, I know that it is human nature to crave that kind of fat. Of course, you can be overweight on a whole foods diet, too. Making healthy choices involves paying attention to various factors—processing, packaging, portion control, sugar content, preservatives, additives—and unfortunately, cutting down on the saturated fat.

Have a healthy week!

Swim Team

June 7th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This spring I teamed up with two other moms who are friends of mine to coordinate our neighborhood swim team. Two of us had kids on the team last year, and I knew it would be very involved. My other friend came into this job completely blind. We all volunteered for this position to make sure the kids even had a team this year. We worked hard to get everything ready for the start of swim season. We didn’t get any formal training, but we managed to pull off our first away swim meet without any major dilemmas.

This week, we’re hosting our first home swim meet. We’re happy to host at our own pool, but it also makes things even more complicated. We need more volunteers, parking assistance, concession, and logistical support. Asking for help is no easy task. I appreciate all the other parents who bend over backwards to donate their time and energy into something fun for the neighborhood kids. I hope the stars align so that we are ready for the meet Thursday.

Despite my personal stress from coordinating the swim team, Jack and Tate are having a blast. That’s what keeps me working hard to make this season fun. They performed well at their first meet, and they are hoping to better their times this week. I’m not sure if they like the ribbons more or the doughnuts more at Friday morning practice. Either way, they are both very motivated. As long as everyone is having fun, I’m committed to the whole process. I hope our meet goes smoothly this week and everybody has fun.

Hit the Showers

June 2nd, 2017

From Neetika:
Some days, Haley is not feeling bath time. I led her slide sometimes. However, there are moments when she simply needs to get clean, whether she’s feeling it or not. Examples include her recent field trip to the farm, outings to the pool or beach, or just a hot day with lots of outdoor activity. One strategy I often employ in these situations is to let Haley know that she can always take a shower, which is what big girls do.

Haley takes a shower in a different bathroom from the one she usually bathes in. Right there, that’s a thrill. It has all different soaps and shampoos, most of which are Mommy’s. Haley loves using Mommy’s beauty stuff. And there’s something about standing under a stream of hot water that’s so novel to her and makes her feel grown up.

I still like to be present to give Haley’s hair a good wash. And I think she generally needs supervision when washing. But I can imagine her doing it all on her own pretty soon. A small but significant way my little girl is becoming a big kid.

Double Digits

May 31st, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Today is Jack’s tenth birthday. I can’t fathom how that is possible. He is extremely excited to be double digits, a whole decade, and a rising fifth grader.

I think ten is a magical age. Jack’s no longer a little boy, but not yet a teenager. Although he is concerned about his hairstyle looking perfect, and he prefers to walk into school by himself, he still likes his mommy to tuck him in at night. That makes my heart happy. Jack has experienced a lot in his 10 years of life. More than I did for sure. He inspires us daily with his kind heart and his silly sense of humor.

We plan to celebrate the day with some pool fun, cake, and a movie. Jack gets to pick where we go to dinner, and I made him a cake. I’m looking forward to the next decade of Jack’s life. He has already made us so very proud.

 

 

Hello, Summer!

May 24th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Another school year is in the books. Jack and Tate finish 4th and 1st grade on Friday. Yet again, I can’t believe how quickly the time passed. I remember being a nervous wreck anticipating the transition to a new school. Thankfully, the boys settled in nicely and ended up having their best year yet.

As the artwork, projects, papers, notebooks and the remains of random desk trash come home, there is always a sense of heartache as I throw away or file away Jack and Tate’s work. It’s sad to know they will never be this little again. Having older nephews keeps me aware just how quickly college will come. But, I will focus on a fun summer we have planned ahead.

We are looking forward to lots of excitement this summer. Swim season starts next week and a trip to the beach shortly after. I’m looking forward to these carefree days and the memories we make this summer. Cheers to a successful school year!