Archive for November, 2016

Full STEAM Ahead

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Tate was selected for the S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) club at his school. It is open to K-3rd graders who demonstrate good academics, behavior, and can follow the rules. I was glad Tate got an opportunity for extra learning and fun after school.

The club meets once a month for an hour after school. After only two sessions, Tate already raves about the program and asks daily when the next class meets. Last month, he made and shot off pneumatic “turkey rockets.” On the ride home he recalled the entire lesson and assured us no turkeys were harmed.

As the S.TE.A.M name implies, the curriculum has an emphasis on the sciences. My husband calls it Mythbusters Junior, because Tate loves the show as much as the class. We don’t know what next month’s lesson is, but anything that keeps Tate excited about science and technology is money and time well spent.






Monday, November 28th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I love to read. From the time I was a young child, I loved curling up with a book and being transported to a different time and place and getting into the mentality of another person. My favorite part, however, was when I put the book down and just got to think about the story. I believe a love of literature has made me a more interesting, empathic, and creative person. As an adult, a love for storytelling has become a passion for writing. Using just the right words to express oneself is a bit of an art, and a bit of a science. So hard to do well, but when it’s works, it’s a magical feeling.

I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to see Haley and Hudson devour their books. Haley is finally getting into chapter books and deeper themes. Hudson is learning everything from his books—numbers, shapes, and colors. And he’s even starting to understand their humor! His favorite comedian is Elmo. As far as Hudson is concerned, there’s no one funnier in the world.

Isn’t it funny, though, that as kids today grow up, most of their reading will probably be through e-readers? I enjoy reading physical books, but I don’t enjoy the space they take up or the fact that I have nowhere to store them. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve donated just after thinking “this would be a great addition to that grand library in the mansion I don’t live in.” I wonder how receiving books electronically will change our children’s perceptions of books. Will they appreciate them less? Go through them faster? Be less willing to dive in because they can always get to it later? (I sure hope not!) Maybe like television, there will be more sources of content, and there will be more quality content available.

No matter the source or the format, I don’t think books are going anywhere. Thank goodness. Happy reading!


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Life is busy. Some days are harder than others, but they are consistently filled with the daily routines that keep my family fed and happy.

I admit that I can get bogged down with the unexpected events that life throws at me. Things break, kids get sick, and life happens, sometimes all at once. When I’m tired and my kids are stressing me out, I let trivial stuff really throw me off center.

Despite the momentary bouts with life’s challenges, I try to adjust my world view over the holidays. I have a wonderful husband, two healthy kids, and extended loving family. My husband and his parents will be able to join us this Thanksgiving. We are lucky my husband doesn’t have to work, because so many people are flying this week.

I have friends with less stable family life, sick children, and a spouse who is deployed and/or working this Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my situation. Sure, it is crazy being married to a pilot, but he is here with us this week. Being together as a family, makes this Thursday a real holiday to celebrate.

Happy Thanksgiving

Mom Fashion

Monday, November 21st, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Mothers, particularly housewives, take a lot of heat for the way they dress. I think this is ridiculous. If we can concede that doing all of the things that mothers do each day to take care of their families is a demanding, strenuous task, they should at least be comfortable doing so. Taking them out of their hoodies and yoga pants is–dare I say it—a little sexist? The message I hear is: no matter what you’re doing, you need to look good doing it. Nope! I reject that notion all day long.

I have some mom friends who always dress smartly and wear make-up. You won’t see them with a messy bun or without a statement necklace any time soon. Honestly I think that’s great too. A nice outfit can go along way in improving one’s mood. I always dress a little nicer when I’m under the weather. It’s mind over matter.

I’m firmly in the leggings-and-comfy-top camp, but I also try to exercise most days, so it’s a matter of necessity as well. I think it mostly comes down to what you have time to do. The other day, I went to a networking event and dusted off my “work clothes.” I had make-up on, jewelry, even put on a little perfume. So many people commented on how nice I look! It made me laugh about how I usually must look—yikes!

Wearing a “proper outfit” was nice, but when it comes down to it, it’s not a priority for me. Like most moms, I have a million things going on at a time. I often hear from friends that return to work after kids, how nice it is to have an excuse to dress up. It’s not that working moms have less to worry about—dare I say, they have more—but basketball shorts are frowned upon in corporate settings, so you gotta do what you gotta do.

Appearances have little to do with what’s going on with someone on the inside. So let’s try to put off judgment and assume we’re all doing what works for us. What’s your parent-dressing philosophy?

Soccer Stats

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last weekend, the boys played their final soccer games of the season. When we started the season, it was late summer and extremely hot. Our kids would drink copious amounts of ice water and still overheat from playing in the sun. The season ended on a cloudy, cool and windy day. The players were shivering and their lips turned blue from the cold.

Jack had his best season yet. His game-play was better because of improvements in footwork, endurance, and understanding the rules of the game. Jack was fortunate to have a very knowledgeable coach this year. The coach is a former player himself, and his son plays on the high school soccer team. The coach’s son would help at practice and Jack loved playing with such an elite player. Jack’s team only lost one game all season, and we are proud of Jack and his teammates.

Tate’s season started out well, but quickly went downhill. Tate wasn’t putting forth as much effort as the season went on. I tried to be positive, but watching the games was painful. After a few pep talks about teamwork and doing your best, Tate had some good games and even scored a couple goals. However, by the end of the season, Tate announced that soccer wasn’t his thing. We accepted the fact that soccer isn’t his favorite. He let us know how he felt, and I’m proud he spoke his true feelings. We agreed that he should finish the season he started and not quit. Thankfully, Tate supported his team until the end of the season.

As busy as sport schedules are, I love watching my kids play. They are learning more and more each season and they always impress me with one of their new moves. I can’t wait for years of sports to come.


Monday, November 14th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
We spent the last few days visiting family and the trip involved several flights, layovers, and long car rides. The kids managed fairly well, though we experienced our fair share of meltdowns and temper tantrums. These days, airline travel is pretty fraught anyway (who knows when you’re going to get kicked off a flight for a crying baby) so children just add another level of tension to the mix. But I’m glad to say we survived.

I’m a bit worried about how Haley will fare at school today. We changed time zones, and she wasn’t yet fully adjusted to the time change before that anyway. It may be a rough go of it this week, but we’ll just need to plow ahead and hope she gets the rest she needs over the weekend.

Hudson, in typical toddler style, followed an unpredictable nap and eating schedule the last few days, so I really don’t know what to expect from him. In my experience, two year olds don’t bounce back as quickly from changes. It can take days or even weeks of tweaking to get them back to a semi-normal place. They don’t call them the ‘terrible two’s’ for nothing.

I’m sure someday soon we’ll have a good time looking at all the pictures from the trip and talking about how much fun we had. But for now, I think we’ll use any free time we have to nap!

Have a great week.

Still Fighting

Friday, November 11th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Okay, I promise this will be the last week I write about bedtime.

But I am losing the battle.  Completely.  Rory is currently asleep on the couch for the fourth night in a row.  I know.  That’s dangerous precedent.  We’re undoing good habits.  But he’s literally crawling out of bed over, and over, and over, and over again each evening.  After an hour or so of fighting, I’ve given in, needing to get back to work or handle chores around the house, I have been resorting to the silent treatment, waiting for him to curl up on the couch, covering him up, and carrying him to bed much later in the night.

It has to stop.

This evening I’ve been researching techniques on limit setting and how to re-train a pre-schooler who is challenging the bedtime norm.  I’ve read most of it before and know that we have to be consistent, persistent, and ready to deal with an hour or more of walking him back to bed, again, again, and again.  But I just wish he’d managed to hit this impasse at a time when we both had a little more time to do it.  I know how harsh and unsympathetic that sounds.  As though I am a parent that doesn’t have time for my child.  As though it’s my fault that he is acting out.

Trust me, that’s probably why we’ve been so bad at nipping this in the bud sooner.  But starting tomorrow, this is it.  No snuggling on the couch, no “one more goodnight;” just bedtime. And that’s that.

Puppy Sitters

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
In the last few months, Jack and Tate have been around dogs a lot more. The boys enjoy playing with their friends’ dogs, but Jack shows a special love for dogs each time he interacts with one. Dogs like Jack too, and each time he receives a sloppy dog kiss, he lets me know how much he’d love to have a dog of his own.

One early morning last week, our next-door neighbor frantically texted me, asking if Jack and Tate would be interested in caring for her four-month-old lab puppy, Wilbur, for the weekend. I asked the boys if they would like to help out. Almost immediately, they both shouted, “YES!” Our neighbor was relieved to have our help. We were the fifth person she asked for help. The puppy doesn’t have all her shots to stay at a kennel yet, so her options were limited for her last minute need to leave town.

Our neighbor typed up some simple instructions for the boys to follow and we made sure they understood everything. The puppy lived right next door so she could play in our yard, too.

Jack and Tate loved caring for Wilbur. Although she was a little too “jumpy” for Tate, he still liked playing with her. Jack handled most of the responsibility of feeding her, walking her on her leash and taking her outside for potty breaks. Jack wrestled with her and ended up with a bunch of wet kisses planted on his face. He followed the instructions and used the owner’s guidance for training the dog and words to calm her down.

This was a good test run for the boys. If someday we do decide to add a canine member to our family, the boys know what kind of responsibility it is. Jack admitted it was more work than he realized, but his caring personality really shone throughout the weekend.

Drama Queens

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Haley played with a friend the other day, a girl from school she usually gets along with great. The afternoon started off fine, but a couple of hours into it, the girls starting bickering. The other mom and I heard constant whining and complaints of “cheating” and “lying.” We implored the girls to work things out on their own, with mixed results. By the end of the day, the moms had had enough.

It’s weird and tough as a parent when you have to keep a neutral stance on kids’ disagreements. To be completely honest, I thought the other girl was in the wrong quite a bit. She made up games and designed the rules in her own favor. When Haley suggested they play something simple like “I Spy”, her friend said that was a baby game and that Haley was a baby. Haley later told me, babies don’t even talk so how can that be a baby game? A great point, I think! In no way am I saying that Haley is perfect. But she always wants things to be fair and she recognizes that hurting other people’s feelings is not nice. I realize how I sound here, but it’s true! And I’m proud of her.

I hope that Haley and her friend will make up at school today and things will go back to normal between them. Kids have short memories when it comes to drama. Usually it’s their own levels of hunger or sleepiness that affect their interactions more than anything. With some time and distance, surely they will remember how much they like each other.

The Battle Continues

Friday, November 4th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
It took me 2 hours to get Rory to bed last night.  His daddy had dinner plans, and so we waived bye bye around 7:45, and then began the slow, draining saga of five good nights followed by a slew of excuses, trips downstairs, quiet time on the couch, etc, etc, etc.

I survive with my crazy schedule by signing back in by 8 and working another couple of hours.  Eventually last night I told Rory that he would simply need to watch me do that.  I felt like a bad parent, but the best way to shut down his toddler antics was to deprive him of the attention and reaction he appeared to be seeking.

Things have been beyond busy around our house lately.  It is no fun, and I know the kids can sense it.  But I also know that he is pulling levers and pressing buttons to see what he can get away with.  We’re going to need to curb that a bit more moving forward.  The question is how. Guess we have the topic for post-bedtime discussion for the next few days.  At least we get an extra hour to sleep off the bad bedtime. . .