Still Catching Up...

I wish I could devote more time to blogging these days, but the best I can do is to post when I can.

Stay tuned...

Monday, June 28, 2010


Today we were off to Davis Farmland with our MOMS Club friends. My big debate as we were getting ready to go was if I should bring the stroller or let the Dandelion walk. I decided to leave the stroller in the car and it went just fine!

Unlike the last time we went we barely saw the animals. I felt a little bad skipping them initially, but the kids were having so much fun at the water park and on the playground it didn't make sense to pull them away.

The Dandelion's favorite attraction was definitely the "Goat Carts", where he was content to pedal around the track over & over for a good hour & a half (divided into three separate visits). He also loved the water park and "painting" one of the playground houses with water.

The Tumbleweed probably would have been content to stay in the waterpark all day (it was really hot!), especially the new bubble area! She also enjoyed the playground and couldn't wait to paint her own face on her way out.

I am looking forward to taking them back again soon!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Note to Self: Turning Three

The Dandelion turned 3 today and from the moment he woke up he was ready to celebrate. And after a crazy whirlwind day, here are a few things I learned today.

1- If you aren't having a party, don't tell a three-year-old that it is his birthday.
As I would for anyone else, I said "Happy Birthday" to the Dandelion when he woke up. Whoops. His response "It's my party day? I get presents!" I had planned to celebrate his birthday with a party over 4th of July, so needless to say I wasn't exactly prepared for him to understand "birthday = party = presents".

2- When you are scrambling to throw together birthday festivities for a three-year-old, remember that they probably just want to eat the frosting anyway.
After pulling together green Jell-o cupcakes and decorating them like the aliens from Toy Story 3, I was a little disappointed that the birthday boy just wanted to eat the Cool Whip frosting. All that work making sure I had peanut free candies to decorate with, and he didn't even eat them! Well, I thought they were good ;)

3- When your husband asks if he can get the child a gift, it is probably as much for himself as it is for the kid.
The Eagle really wanted to get the Dandelion a drum for his birthday. The bongos were a big hit with the Dandelion, and the Eagle.

So, what I had planned to be a "regular day" with a favorite dinner turned into a balloons, presents, and cupcakes "party". Next year I have to remember that if I am planning something on a different day, it should be before the actual birthday.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mission: Organization - Phase 1

Out with the Old

Once again we are attempting to create more order in our house. It seems as though, despite my ability to create minute by minute spreadsheets for trips to Disney World, I have a mental block when it comes to organizing the things that come into the house on a daily basis. With mail and duffel bags from a weekend trip and school art projects, our basement is being taken over and turned into "The Drop Zone" (perhaps this is the reason Target puts bullseyes on their bags?).

Since we have spent four years in this house and never managed to figure out this issue, we have decided to bring in a professional. Over the weekend we had our first visit and it was pretty much like I had expected (fortunately I have had much experience watching organizational shows on TV).

Just like the "initial sort" from a television show, we held up item after item and decided its fate - keep, donate, or trash/recycling. All the way, laughing at the ridiculous things we had kept for no reason or jumping for joy when unearthing a forgotten treasure. In between there was, of course, an analysis of our daily habits and discussion of ways to reconfigure the furniture.

By the end of the night we had 5 boxes of paper recycling, 3 huge trash bags, and about 7 small trash bags of things to donate. Pretty good for one night. We also were left with several options for ways to rearrange the spaces to mull over. And then there is homework. We certainly have a lot to get done in the next three weeks! But having a deadline is good motivation for both of us and we are already making good progress on our own. Three weeks & counting until our next session...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Swim

With the Tumbleweed out of school early and some conflicts in our scheduling for July & August, the kids did their swimming lessons in June. We opted for "swim weeks" this year (instead of the one-a-week lessons) and I think it worked out pretty well. The kids went every day for a week to their lessons and really seemed to build on their skills a bit quicker than usual. Or perhaps that was because they hadn't had lessons for many months. Either way, I think it worked out well.

The Tumbleweed had a new-found confidence with her pink goggles. On the second day she hopped back in the water at the end of the lesson and showed me the elementary back stroke (aka "chicken-airplane-soldier") all by herself. Swimming on her back was a major hurdle for her, and she certainly made a lot of progress in that area! At the end of the week the instructor moved her up to "Ray".

The Dandelion got to take his first solo lessons and he couldn't have been more thrilled. He smiled through almost every minute of class with "Miss Caramel" (aka Miss Caroline). It was quite the opposite of the Tumbleweed's first solo lesson. Only on the last day did he decide that he didn't want to jump off the platform. I think this was after he had taken some pretty daredevil flying leaps off it and gone under a little more than he had realized he would (see picture below). He didn't put up a big stink about it and the teacher just held his hands as he happily jumped off the side. Aside from that, he loved swimming and was disappointed to be done on the last day.

All things considered, both kids had wonderful swimming experiences and are eagerly looking forward to swimming this summer!

It's Shiny, It's Sparkly...

It's GONE!

After yet another solo craft project the Tumbleweed has lost the privilege of using glitter in this house. I don't know why I didn't do it after the last time she took it out of the craft cabinet and made a giant mess (which resulted in permanent purple speckles on my craft table). But after spending 30 minutes on the phone today, mostly on hold, I have yet another glue & glitter mess all over the table, chairs & floor.

So, if there is any glitter left in the bottles, it is all going in the trash tonight. It is clear to me that the person who invented glitter did not have children.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's Showtime!

The end of the school year means it is Gymnastics Show time! Each of the kids had a chance to perform the things they learned this year.

The Tumbleweed was first. She and her Level 1 team were well practiced and started on beam, where they used the medium beams and did their basic beam complex before doing lever handstands and a round off dismount with a little spot from the teacher. Next they did bars, performing their strength combinations first. Then each girl got a chance to take solo turns, first showing a pullover, 3 casts to a back-hip-circle, forward roll dismount. The Tumbleweed was so proud to be able to do hers by herself! She had just gotten her back hip circle the previous week. For their final turn, Miss Jen helped each of them do cast handstands! Their final rotation was floor. They showed a variety of tumbling skills, including rolls, cartwheels, round-offs, one arm cartwheels and were spotted on back-bend, kick-overs. It was a great year!

The grand finale - a handstand on the bar!

Miss Jen & the Level 1 Team

The Dandelion had his show the following day. He has been in a Parent & Tot class since January, so I did the show "with" him. His group started on floor, where he (and all the grown ups) was glad to get the blue star. This was the only star he ever wanted and in previous weeks he had refused to do floor when he didn't get blue. After a series of kangaroo jumps, bear walks and forward rolls each child took a solo turn at backward rolls down a wedge and "cartwheels" (I think he is going to be a lefty, but we'll see). Then they did beam, where he had a few moments where he didn't want to cooperate by surprised us all by doing the forward roll on the low beam (with mats built up) completely straight and all by himself. Too bad he won't need that later! They finished up on parallel bars before lining up for their medals. He did very well, but I think my favorite part was later when he took off his medal and said, "Good Job Mommy. You were the star of the show." and put his medal around my neck. He is so sweet :)

Tuck hold on the P-bars

Miss Deb gives him his medal

The summer session will start in July. The Tumbleweed moving up to Level 2 with Miss Heather and the Dandelion will be able to take a Parent & Tot class at the same time as one of the Tumbleweed's practices. One less day to sit around the lobby! Hooray!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer Learning: Butterflies

As I mentioned previously, the Tumbleweed has a whole book of summer learning activities this summer. And while we don't spend all of our time "working", she is enjoying finding things to do in her "orange book". She doesn't necessarily work in order or on one particular topic, rather on whatever she is interested in at the time. She has tried at least one thing in almost every topic, and just finished the requirements for her first patch!

Here she is modeling her new explorer hat with her first patch sewn on:


Topic: Butterflies
Patch: Fuschia

Handwriting- practice writing the following words: Monarch, Mariposa, Moth, Larva, Caterpillar

Math- learn about symmetry and create a symmetrical butterfly

Vocabulary- learn the meanings of these words: crysalis, nectar

Reading- read two books about butterflies

Writing- keep a daily journal about our caterpillars as they turn into butterflies

Craft- use sidewalk chalk to draw butterflies on the driveway

Puzzle- put together the butterfly jigsaw puzzle

Collecting- plant a flower in the garden that will attract butterflies (we planted a Hollyhock at the recommendation of a butterfly garden worker)

Field Trip- visit a butterfly garden (we went to Perrault Nurseries in Grafton, it's FREE!)

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm Hungry

It's been 24 hours since the Dandelion was diagnosed with a peanut allergy, and we are going through a bit of withdrawal. I am still reading the labels of the things in our house and researching some of our usual foods, so the phrase of the day has been "I'm Hungry". Four days ago I didn't think twice about getting a cookie at the grocery store bakery and two days ago gave him a granola bar, yet today I am hiding foods and every time he coughs I panic.

Amazing. And exhausting.

I have spent hours at the computer searching for information. Most of the things I had been finding were "forbidden" foods and warnings about eating out, etc. So discouraging. It took a while, but I finally found something useful, both for our appetites and my sanity - a list of "okay" foods. I know, this list could be outdated and always check the labels, but it made me feel a lot better that there was such a long list of foods that were "okay" when previously everything I had been finding was so negative.

You can find the pdf list here: Peanut Free Snack List


Monday, June 7, 2010

Garden Update: Pests & Strawberries

Something is eating my lupines :( First it was just the leaves, but then right as three stalks were beginning to bloom, the other 4 buds were eaten - two completely and two partially. I am so sad. This plant looked so fabulous a few weeks ago.

There have been a couple other casualties, including the foxglove which usually looks awesome this time of year. On one of the plants I have seen lots of little ants, but I haven't seen them on the other one and none of the buds are blossoming :( The slugs have been eating the daisies, but I think they are faring better than last year so far. Some tiny white slugs(?) ate every leaf off the pea plants that I had just planted on Sunday. So much for that experiment :(

On the bright side, the lilies have survived the Red Lily Beetles and two are blooming. The strawberry patch (!) is turning out about 8-10 berries every other day right now. A few are compromised by the ants/slugs but so far we have gotten to eat at least 20 of our own berries which is much better than last year. Hopefully the blueberries will survive until harvest.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Put on a Happy Face

The Tumbleweed completed a year of Kinderdance by strutting her stuff at her recital. Her class performed two routines: ballet to "Ease On Down the Road" and tap to "Red, Red Robin". Both routines were cute. I am not sure that she really knew the routines very well, but she sure put on her best smile up on stage and enjoyed herself.

For the last couple of months of dance class she hasn't seemed too interested in practicing. She does seem to love being on stage though! Currently I am leaning away from signing her up for dance again next year, due to other time commitments and her lack of interest in going to class recently, but who knows...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Just Kickin' Around

The Tumbleweed's spring soccer season is coming to a close. She has enjoyed playing on the Pink Team again this season with several of her friends.

The league made some changes this season and started a U4 level. There were some changes in the game play at the U6 level. It was still 4-on-4, but there was no "little kids/big kids rotation", all the teams play with a defender and they started switching goals at halftime. The changes are good changes, but have taken some adjusting to. In the previous seasons, the Tumbleweed was one of the "little kids" and played primarily against the "little kids". She is still one of the youngest on the team, but she is not necessarily playing against the other team's youngest kids. I think she found this a little discouraging at first, saying that she "didn't think soccer was her thing anymore" because she wasn't scoring goals very often. But a couple games in, she finally "accepted" that she was going to have to work a little harder and has really come on strong since then.

The Dandelion is eagerly awaiting his turn to play soccer (which will start with camp this summer). He always tries to get in on drills at practice, and seems to have learned the "no hands" rule (by dribbling around the field with a Lightning McQueens in each hand). Unfortunately, with the league re-structuring they will no longer be on the same team next year. Looks like we will be sitting around the soccer fields alot next year.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bag Lady: A Confession

When did I become a bag lady?

I probably should have seen it sooner, but the recycled bag craze has gotten out of hand. I think we have at least 20, probably more. Every time I turn around there are new styles, pretty colors, & free giveaways. Compound that with my inability to unpack in a timely fashion and it seems as though all of my possessions are "in a bag somewhere". With all of the bags already full of stuff, what do I do if I go to the store? I buy a new bag of course!

Here is a snapshot of the bags I collected from the living room & kitchen this evening. (Keep in mind that I also have numerous bags elsewhere)

After putting them together, I decided to do a little self analysis of the contents to try to get some perspective on the problem...

Back Row:

Yellow Bicycle
- remnants of things I took with me on 5/8, including a ribbon, card, the Dandelion's socks.
Backpack - my clothes from an overnight last weekend
Blue - papers & a book from the Tumbleweed's school field day on 5/17

Middle Row:

Paisley - the Tumbleweed's dress-up clothes, toys & trinkets that she packed on 5/9 but we did not allow her to take with her
Pink Vera - clothes & supplies I took to my sister's wedding shower on 5/2
Green Target - paper, markers & ribbon from 5/22
polka dot - paperwork from Kindergarten Screening on 5/26
brown Vera - kids clothes from overnight last weekend
Toy Story - birthday presents for Dandelion purchased today at the Disney Store

Front Row:

Pink Elephant - kids gear play date & zoo trip on 5/22
Target Plastic - birthday paper products & goodies from 5/25
Dance Bag - the Tumbleweed's tap & ballet shoes
Home Depot Plastic - Off! Clip-on, key chains from 5/31
Horton - 4 library books from 6/1

From that I concluded...

1- I need to unpack clothes after a trip or the next time I want to take a trip I will have to wear dirty clothes.

2- I don't need any more birthday presents for the Dandelion

But the main message is that I suffer from "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" syndrome. And knowing is half the battle. Change is the other, more difficult, half.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Scared of Everything?

Lately I feel like the Dandelion is afraid of everything. It started with spiders, but I am not sure why. From "There's a spider in my bed!" and "It's making a web on me", he has been calling false alarms at an alarming rate for about a month.

From there he extended his range to include all bugs. Then after that "There's a robot in the hallway and it is trying to eat me!" Sometimes he even says he is scared of whatever we are having for dinner.

And most recently, "I'm scared of brainstorms!" LOL --- he meant 'rainstorms' (the thunder & lightning kind), but he very clearly said brainstorms and it was hard not to laugh.

Somewhere in the there is a bit of a fear of the dark too and to be honest it is getting a little old. Sometimes I can tell he is really scared, but other times I think he could just be looking for attention. He can't really be scared of green beans, right? So I am working hard to handle each situation carefully and trying not to increase the list of things he is scared of (either for real or for attention)

Third Place!

The Tumbleweed recently won third place, K-6th grade division, in the library photo contest! The theme was water this year, and her photo of the Dandelion's color-changing Lightning McQueen under the water in the bathroom sink was pretty awesome.

She was pretty excited when she found out, and didn't hesitate to point out that I didn't get a ribbon for my entries :(