Archive for October, 2016

Happy Diwali!

Monday, October 31st, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
As we fill our bowls with candy, get our kids dressed up and lace up our comfortable Trick-or-Treating shoes for today’s festivities, I would like to take a moment wish a Happy Diwali to those who celebrate. Over the weekend, our family enjoyed the annual festival of lights, celebrated by people of various faiths who originate from the Indian subcontinent.

We celebrate Diwali by hanging up lights and lighting candles, cooking up delicious foods, getting our house clean, exchanging small gifts and sweets, and participating in a short prayer service. Now that Haley is getting a bit older, it’s fun to explain to her what these rituals are all about. There’s even a fun app I downloaded on the iPad which explains the Diwali origin story—gotta love modern technology!

The parable of Diwali is about the triumph of good over evil—a pretty universal theme. I like to think of it as a reminder to spread positivity, love and light to the people you care about and everyone you encounter. Haley seems a bit incredulous about this ideology, saying: “I don’t love all people because I don’t like their clothes.” I’m still hoping something sticks. I like to think she’s getting something out of these annual rituals even if she doesn’t realize it.

I’m wishing all of you a year of good health and happiness. And let’s not forget the holiday that kids can universally get behind; have a safe and happy Halloween!

Lending a Hand

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate’s teacher asked for parent volunteers to lend a helping hand if and when they were available. I’m always happy to help, especially now that Jack and Tate are in school full time. I volunteer once a week or a few times a month. I love being in the classroom with my kids watching them learn, even if it can be chaotic. Plus, when my kids know I’m helping at school on a particular day, our morning routine goes MUCH more smoothly.

Last week, I volunteered an hour of my time to help with reading, writing, and spelling. The class was split into groups, and they rotated through learning stations. At my station, I gave them a word and they had to write the word, spell the word and read a sentence with the word in it. I didn’t get to work with every student in the class, but the ones I did work with made great progress. The kids also loved to talk about whatever was on their minds; what they did the night before, how long it took to get a hair cut, and if Tate was really my son.  They were all too funny and kept me laughing.

This week, I’m helping with a pumpkin dissection. The teacher has a fun lesson planned and even prepared me with instructions and tools/supplies to bring along. I love Tate’s teacher’s hands-on style with the students. It’s a fun atmosphere and usually the kids stay interested. I can’t wait to see what kind of mess a room full of 1st graders can make dissecting pumpkins. Although it’s messy, I’m glad to witness all the fun.

In Full Swing

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
The lazy days of summer are certainly far behind us now. Between school, extra-curricular activities for both kids, appointments, family obligations and play dates, our family has been “go-go-go” all month long. We have another busy week ahead, culminating with two holidays very important to us for different reasons—Diwali and Halloween.

It’s hard to believe October is nearly over and soon we’ll be staring down the barrel of Thanksgiving. But it’s a good thing. Children are busy creatures, and they need activity. They need structure and something interesting to focus on, or they will find trouble! At times, there’s so much for everyone to do, you feel like it will never get done. Once it does, you’ll be thrilled to have a moment to breathe, only to hear “I’m bored!” from pitiful little faces. Busyness ebbs and flows in a family, but never where you want it.

You may have heard the saying about parenthood: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Ain’t that the truth! I know this school year will torpedo ahead. I’ll continue to be busy, and one day I’ll look up and it will be Spring. And then the next school year will start, and the next, and the next, until before I know it I’ll have full-blown teenagers on my hands. I don’t wish it to go slower or faster. I only hope that I will fully appreciate every day of growth and wonder.


Friday, October 21st, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Charlotte met an alpaca during our annual pumpkin patch trip.  I don’t know which thing she actually liked more– the actual animal or getting to say the word itself (over and over and over).  That was almost two weeks ago.

Despite that fact, she has remained one-hundred percent infatuated with the furry quadrupeds.  We found a YouTube video of them, and each morning and evening she insists on watching her alpacas.  We have also broken out the Llama Llama board book series, in hopes of assuaging her obsessive desires.

It is fun to watch her newfound obsession.  For our sanity, I hope it fades, but for now, we are all happy to indulge.

Report Cards

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last week, Jack and Tate’s first marking period of school ended. It’s been a busy nine weeks of homework, projects, tests, fun, and more tests. It came and went so fast. It’s hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner.

The boys’ transition to a new school this year kept me a little on edge. I was concerned, not only with staying on track academically, but with making new friends and getting used to the new normal. They both persevered beautifully, and their teacher conferences went very well.

Jack’s homework load is about half of what he had in the past. At first, I thought he was forgetting to bring assignments home, because we used to do an hour of homework every night, at a minimum. I assume he is doing more work in class than last year. Now he does a few minutes of work on the computer, a worksheet here and there, and test reviews. He is ecstatic about doing less homework, as he should be.

There are more tests this year and Jack is a perfectionist. If he doesn’t get it right the first time, he gets very frustrated with himself. So, lots of testing put a little more stress on both of us. I’m a fan of less homework, but I wondered if he got enough review. It seemed there was a test or quiz several times a week, and as a worrisome mother, I hoped he retained everything.

According to Jack and Tate’s report cards, they were both successful in their first quarter marks. I am happy to see they’re right where they need to be, and all their hard work over the last nine weeks paid off. We had a few bumps in the road, but that is half the battle. I hope the next three marking periods go just as smoothly if not better.


Monday, October 17th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
A few days ago, my sweet, beloved angel boy Hudson bit me. Hard. Drawing blood. The spot on my arm was even swollen for a few hours. It hurt. Like heck.

He wasn’t even mad or frustrated for any reason prior to his attack. I think he did it just for the fun of it. I admonished him sternly immediately after. He then fake-cried, communicating some weak remorse, before laughing again as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

I know that Hudson is doing what two year olds do. He is testing his limits. He’s testing his teeth! He’s testing how to deal with people socially. It’s my job to show him right and wrong, calmly, but it’s hard to keep your cool when someone’s inflicted pain upon you for his own enjoyment! But I try my best. There’s nothing really more to say to a child than, “We don’t bite.” Such a simple statement, yet so true.

I hope that Hudson’s biting days are soon behind him, but being that he doesn’t have his two year molars yet, I’m not holding my breath. I may, however, invest in some chew toys.

Hello, Fall!

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Our family made our annual trip to the pumpkin patch last weekend. We are new to the area, so we had to find a new farm location. Several friends recommended a place that was an hour away. 
It was a little further than we wanted to drive, but we are glad we trusted the advice of our friends. 
Jack and Tate said it was the “best pumpkin patch ever.” It is nice that they’re old enough to participate in everything the patch offers. The corn maze was one of their favorites. They did a good job navigating through the paths and assuring me it was the right direction. Sure enough, they managed to find the exit. They also enjoyed the hayride, buggy ride, petting zoo, jumpy pillow, and apple cannon shooting. I loved watching them run around excitedly.
I’m looking forward to the rest of October. Our neighborhood hosts lots of social activities we’ve heard are a great time not only for the kids, but also the adults.  The chill in the air is finally crisp and allowing me to sort out comfortable sweatshirts in our fall wardrobe. Although I love summer time, I’m ready for fall and the all the fun it brings.


Monday, October 10th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I love the way having children has forced me to enjoy all holidays. Before, I might have had all the best intentions of cooking, decorating and celebrating to the extreme, but I’d rarely carry them out. Although I may not always achieve holiday magic perfection, I now try my best to give my kids a fun experience each time.

The local nurseries here hold fall festivals in October, and at Haley’s insistence, we’ve been to the one nearest us twice so far. She loves the haunted house, the petting zoo, and the pumpkin patch. It was truly adorable to see Haley guiding her little brother, making sure he didn’t miss a thing.

We brought home a pumpkin from the patch and the kids were so excited about carving it. We dug out all the pumpkin “goop”, but it got too late to carve so we decided to wait until the next day. By then, the entire inside of the pumpkin was covered in mold! Oh well. Best laid plans. This just gives Haley an excuse to visit the nursery yet again.

Obviously, parenting is very hard at times, but it’s fun, too! We want to give our children the best life, but we should also appreciate the life they give us.

Book Worms

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
There are many things I wish I had done differently raising my children, but one thing I’m proud of is that my children love books. From the first day we brought Jack home from the hospital until present day, my husband and I make it a point to read to our children daily. We do it for learning, but also for the snuggles that come with it. No matter how tired my children are, they refuse to go to bed without reading a book.

Tonight our family went to the school book fair. Jack and Tate had both been looking forward to this all week. They each perused the selection of books with their classmates and made their own wish list. They presented their wish lists to me complete with full explanations about each book and where it was located at the fair. They put in some serious effort. I know they love books, so I was happy to listen and encourage their excitement.

Jack is a great reader. He’s currently reading the Harry Potter series at bedtime. He’s so consumed with the stories that I find him late at night, hiding under his covers, reading via book light and enjoying his books. Tate’s reading started off wonderfully a couple years ago. Then he got into a rut and only wanted to be read to, which is okay. This year, school has helped him to read on his own again and he’s back on the reading wagon. He still loves to be read to at bedtime, but will pick up books on his own too.

I hope my kids continue to enjoy reading as they grow up. It’s great seeing them get so excited over books the same way they are with toys. I also hope that, in the future, reading textbooks comes as naturally. Watching my kids read is one of the best feelings I’ve had as a mother.

Bath Time

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Sometimes my kids fuss when it’s time to get in the tub. Once in they’re in there, though, they often refuse to get out. Isn’t that the way with kids? They can’t make it easy when they can make it interesting.

Bath time has become a very teachable moment within my parenting. After a long day, I’m tired, I want to get my own stuff done, and I fret about the kids falling asleep early enough to feel well rested the next day. But the last thing kids want—or need—is someone chirping about how late it’s getting them or telling them to tone it down when all they want to do is splash and have some relaxation time with their toys.

So I try to chill out and go with it. I get the soap and scrub part over with, refresh with clean, warm water, and let them hang for a while. At least they’re getting clean—I call that a win. There’s something satisfying about sending them off to bed with freshly scented hair and newly laundered pajamas. No matter what happened that day, we go into the night with a literal clean slate, open to and excited for what the next day may bring.