What I Learned from Kung Fu Panda

So even after a VERY long morning of setting up for the neighborhood yard sale, I somehow mustered up the energy to drive into DC for a DC Metro Moms event to promote the new movie Kung Fu Panda. Now let me preface this by saying, I probably never would have gone to this had Andrew been in town. No WAY would he have agreed to this. But since we were on our own and I was beat from the yard sale, I thought this would be an easy activity. Also note, that when I RSVPed I thought they would actually be showing the movie.

There were two goals with this outing 1) to meet up with some of my DC Metro Moms blogger friends 2) give us something 'different' to do. So, I guess since those two goals were achieved the outing was a success.

However, the event was not really my bag--driving 45 minutes (both ways) and paying $16 to park for some free food, silly goody bags and video games is kind of a waste for me.

But some good things came from it and I learned a few lessons about me and my kids from Kung Fu Panda. Thanks Panda!

1. I'm learning to navigate the DC roads much better. I don't need entire silence in the car when I'm driving the silly one-way streets.

2. My kids are so easily amused by anything that I don't need to drive 45 minutes for activities. While they had great crafts and games at the event, all my kids were interested in was the TV and the food. We have both of those at home. Ok, they did enjoy the face painter, too.

3. My kids learned how to play "I spy" on the way home.

4. The kids enjoy outside more than inside. We stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt Island part on the way home and let them throw rocks in the water.

5. My kids use the potty as an attention ploy. The minute I would start talking to a DC Metro Mom, someone had to go to the bathroom. How can you push them off when they have to potty? The minute one didn't get their way at Roosevelt Island, they had to go potty. We had to pee by the tree. And the minute Alex did something Anna didn't want to do, she had to poo. We had to go home.

6. My kids will not be seeing this movie until they are older. Even though the lady there told me it was meant for little kids, I'm not so sure they need to see a movie about Kung Fu fighting. They already fight too much.

Despite everything, it was fun to catch up in person with the moms and 'do something different,' as Alex says.

Questions from Alex

I've been reading this new book Writing Motherhood, which I LOVE by the way. It's basically a great instruction guide for people like me who love to write and love even more writing about their kids. She offers up unique ideas, suggestions, topics and strategies for keeping yourself writing. One of the things she mentions is keeping track of the questions your kids ask.

Here are the questions from Alex (age 4) in about a 10-minute period in the car yesterday. (Yes, I wrote them down at the stop lights.)

Are we on the toll road now?
How long until we get home?
When does daddy get home?
I see an airplane, is daddy on that airplane?
Is today Tuesday?
When is Tuesday?
Is Daddy your husband?
Can Abby be my wife?
Is Max excited about me coming to his house today?
When do we go to his house?
Are we going to his playground?
Why not?
How old is Cameron?
Is he in Anna's class?
When will be in Anna's class?
Is 18 months older than 2 years?
What time does Elizabeth get off the bus?
When is 3:30?
Does she sleep at school?
Where does she sleep?
Can I have peanut butter and jelly when I get home?
Do I have to take a nap today?
How come you didn't slow down at the yellow light?
What happens if you slow down at the yellow light?

There was discussion in between some of these, but yes, this is the thought flow. When I look at these clustered togethered I realized how interested he is in other people. Funny guy.


First Giveaway: Mommy Needs a Cocktail

As I was standing at the playground on Monday, I looked over and saw a mom wearing a shirt that says "Mommy Needs a Cocktail." I smile and tell her I have the same shirt. We talked for a bit on how the shirts were hysterical and great quality. Turns out, the day before, I met the woman who makes these shirts. Woo hoo, I felt famous for a brief moment. I must admit to already "knowing her" from DC Metro Moms. Yes, she's another fellow mommy blogger.

So here's the scoop on these shirts. Every mom should own one. Even if you don't like cocktails she has some that include Mommy Needs a Beer, Mommy Needs a Latte, Mommy Needs a Glass of Wine, Mommy Needs a Vacation, Mommy Needs Some Chocolate. So you really have all your bases covered. And if that's not enough, you must see the baby/kid shirts with sayings like "So, when do I get the pony?" or "My Mom Doesn't Want Your Advice."

Kristen of Baby Brewing actually makes these shirts herself. That's right ladies read her bio on her Website and she has managed a screen printing machine into her basement. I give her props right there!

Here's how the giveaway works. Leave a comment on the site before Saturday, May 31, with your best 'Mommy Needs a Cocktail' story. (See mine below.) We have all 'em every day. It's one of those moments when you just need really need drink in hand to ease the moment, but know you can't because it will just slow you down and make things worse. If you don't have a story, then just leave a post saying 'hi' and tell me how great the shirts are. Please make sure you include your email somehow when you reply or I can't get in touch with you if you win. I will randomly pick a winner on Sunday for a free shirt, courtsey of Baby Brewing.

My Mommy Needs a Cocktails story: Today, I'm trying to make a dinner for a neighbor who had surgery. The kids want to be outside, but I need to cook. I just got yet another book rejection. I believe we're up to about 10 now. No one wants to buy our book because we're no-name moms who apparently don't know about having kids less than two years apart. I have a neighborhood yard sale I'm planning and need to finish gathering items AND pricing them all. I'm hosting a playdate this afternoon in my rather messy house and right before nap both my kids managed to assault the neighbor's son--with a bite (Anna) and a swat from a stick (Alex). Oh, and my husband's out of the country with no phone access. I need a cocktail.

Observing Kids

We've had a rough day in our house today. For the most part, I've felt like a parent who really can't parent. We've had unusual hitting, pushing and random acts of destruction. It's a bit disturbing. I can't ever tell what brings it on or figure out where it comes from--fatigue, clash of personalities, disappointment?

I was glad to have had the chance to 'observe' my kids this morning. I really wish for more two-way mirrors, especially at school. Our gym is fortunate enough to have its Kids Gym area on the basketball court, which can be seen from the actual gym. So I have the luxury of watching my kids play without them knowing it--unless they look up and catch me in the act.

Not really wanting to work out today, I decided to take the time to see how they interact with other kids. Alex runs immediately into the group and scopes out who looks like the cool kids to play with. He hovers, as if checking them out. Hovers enough so they notice him lurking. Sure enough, one kid goes over and talks to him and they are immediate friends. When he tires of them, he heads for the game/puzzle table.

Anna immediately heads to the craft table to color. After doing a drawing or five, she tries to find some girls to play with. I see her following some older girls who don't notice her, and Anna gives up and runs to some boys to play with. I guess it's her rough n' tough attitude. She seems to teeter between playing with boys or coloring. Perhaps she's just trying to find her place in a world where she wants to be a girl, but her role model is a very tough four-year old. The good news is neither child is shy, but with their assertive personalities, I'm afraid they may have trouble keeping friends.

Oh, parenting is hard!

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens; NoVA's Hidden Treasure

I'm sure Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is one of the overlooked tourist attractions of the area. On a beautiful day, you'll find people downtown on the Mall, the National Zoo, Frying Pan Park or Great Falls park. But one of my favorite little hidden treasures is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens right off the Toll Road in Vienna. Surprised, huh? I love this off-the-beaten path place. It's quiet and serene--even with my kids there.

We made several visits during the spring, summer and fall last year. But took our second trip there on Tuesday. Once again, it was wonderful. If you haven't been at all or this year, here are a few reasons to check it out:

1. It's cheap. Kids under six are free and adults are only $5. My parents ended up buying us a season pass which will get all our guests in for free.

2. It's big. That's right, even with the gardens, there is enough space for kids to just run while parents enjoy the beauty. There are even trails back in the woods for some "hiking."

3. Kids area. They have moved the interactive tea party garden now, and it includes a sandbox and a few other "games" in the area. My kids really just loved the sandbox.

4. Fish food. When you pay admission to the garden, as for fish food. There is a nice collection of turtles and catfish in the large pond to feed.

5. Something's always in season. Our first trip there this spring found us at the end of the cherry blossoms (which were beautiful) and the fields of tulips. Our trip this week was filled with flowering trees and peonies.

This is a great place to take kids of any age. Babies will enjoy the walk or sitting on a blanket with a snack. You'll have to sneak in a snack and clean up after yourself. No food is allowed in the gardens, but no one has ever stopped us from our mini PB&Js up on the Adirondack chairs. Toddlers and preschoolers will love the opportunity to just run.


Welcome Summer

I laughed yesterday when I thought of people hitting the pool this weekend. The weather hasn't been exactly. . . .warm. I ate my words today and caved. The heat in the high 80s (ahahahahah) had me wanting pool and I was in luck. Even with hubby out of town, I put on my new swimsuit, piled the kids in the wagon, filled up my new Scout beach bag (fabulous bag!) and we were off to the pool.

The water was cold but my kids were in heaven. I sat nearby and realized this will be 'the summer of the pool.' I thought it was great last summer, but my kids are comfortable in the water and as long as snack is provided--what is it about snack and the pool?--then I think we're good for the next three months. Bring on the heat! The best thing about the pool....it makes everyone tired.

The Magic of Star Wars

I remember the first Star Wars movie I saw at the theater. It was Return of the Jedi. I was eight. Does that date me? I had previously seen the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes back. My brother, three years younger, had too. So when I do the math, he probably began the Star Wars trilogy around the age of five. Hmmmmmm.....

I hadn't given it much thought until a few nights ago when my neighbor's kid, also five, came out with a giant light saber--complete with noise and lights. Next thing I know all the kids are running around playing Star Wars and assigning roles. Anna declares herself Darth Vader and stands with her best mean face and hands on hips. The boys argue over who's going to be Luke Skywalker. And soon, they're all running around making up a Star Wars world of good vs. evil.

Where do they get this? My kids wouldn't know Star Wars if they saw it. I don't think they've even seen a picture from it. But even I remember as a kid, being fascinated by it all and begging to be Princess Leia. What is it about Star Wars that fascinates us all? Why are even young kids drawn to this?

Then I started thinking when would I actually let my kids see this? The older ones are pretty basic. But there are still topics in there I'm not ready to address. Five seems so young, but when I think about Alex...I know he'd love it. Beyond the messages in the movie, Star Wars opens up a whole new grown-up science fiction world to him. Am I ready to leave behind Dora, Thomas and Backyardigans? I've only just gotten use to Spiderman. I think I want to wait a little longer and let Star Wars be something in his imagination. Maybe next year.


The Last Day of School

So many asked what I ended up doing on the kids' last day of school.

1. Dropped off kids at 9:15
2. Drove to Herndon Farmer's Market and bought strawberries, snap peas, spinach, apples and basil plant.
3. Talk to my mother on the cell phone.
4. Went to a new nearby cafe (So Addictive Dessert Lounge) with free Wifi and worked for an hour. Great place, by the way.
5. Stopped off at Trader Joe's to pick up a few things.
6. Drove home and dropped off groceries.
7. Checked email again. :-)
8. Quickly made a picnic for the kids and myself.
9. Raced back to school 11:35 for Anna's good-bye cupcake party. Made there 5 minutes late and they were already sending them home 10 minutes early!!!!! Seriously.

That was it. Afterwards, we stopped at a park on the way home and had a celebratory end-of-school picnic. I managed to pass down my love for eating outside to my kids, even if my husband doesn't.

We spent the entire afternoon outside playing and the celebrating went into Friday when Anna's class met up for another playground picnic. Gotta love summer! Maybe this no-school thing won't be so bad after all. I may not be singing this tune next week.


Last Day of School; What to Do?

Tomorrow is my kids' last day of preschool before the summer vacation. Luckily we have lots of activities planned for the 13 weeks of summer. Yes, I have counted them.

While this time last year, I was in total panic mode about weeks upon weeks of no structured activities, this year I am relatively calm about it all. The kids are older and more fun. We have five weeks of half-day camps and a few classes including swim lessons and gymnastics. I have a feeling most of the summer will be about the pool, which is fine for me.

But still, I have one day left. Tomorrow. What should I do with my last day of school?


After Eight Years, I Still Love Him

Eight years ago today, my husband and I were married. I don't know if ever thought much about what our life would be like eight years into marriage or 38 years into marriage. But I'm happy to report, we still pretty much follow our same daily pattern, even after having two kids. Some might call it boring, but for me, it's perfect!

You can still find him reading on the couch or outside with his gin and tonic. You still find me writing and playing computer or trying to squeeze in a bath. We both still make it to the gym, although much less often then we used to. We both still enjoy going out to dinner and still can't ever agree on the type of place. He still picks at me about picking up my clothes. I still make fun of him for having the hiccups all the time. We both love to travel, but for very different reasons.

Eight years later we've seen quite a bit. We've managed to make it through four major moves, three of those international ones. We've survived several job changes for him. We've adjusted to our two most wonderful children. We've endured the loss of one pregnancy. We've struggled through seperation, though not as badly as others have. I know we have a lot more ahead of us, but so far it's been a wonderful ride. As he said, "Here's to another 88 years together."

Summer . . . Yikes

I'm over at DC Metro Moms today blogging about summer, which for us, starts next week.


What Are the Play Dynamics?

As you know, we've been living outside these days. It's been fun to see the neighbors' kids who have all grown over the winter months. Everyone is taller and stronger and very verbal.

It's fun to watch the dynamics between different groups. My kids get along with some better than others. I don't know why that is other than having a clash of some very strong personalities. Our neighborhood boasts a pretty diverse age range. My kids play with other kids as young as two and as old as 10. You might think that would be strange. It's been fun to watch it all play out.

My parenting style tends to be very lax. I am a believer in letting kids work things out on their own. I don't like to get in there too much unless, clearly, someone might be on the road to injury or I know another parent is a more hands-on parent. That's not to say that I send my almost-three and four-year old out on their own to wander the streets, but I do think it's good for them to learn to work things out for themselves sometimes.

After some conversations with a few other moms this weekend, I gave more thought to this subject. With some kids, perhaps intervening earlier is appropriate based on your child and their abilities or the dynamics at hand. Playing with much younger kids or much older kids requires a bit more "presence" from a parent. A child who tends to be more physical--like my kids--perhaps needs a better tending to around certain situations.

But what interests me lately is how children of other lax parents do well in situations where they are left to figure it all out. Our little backyard group of ten or so kids gets along rather well. It may take the kids a few minutes to adjust to everyone and remember the hierarchy or 'chain of command' so to speak. But within a few minutes, everyone it playing nicely knowing his/her 'place' without too much supervision. Except for the occasional "stop that", "don't go over there", or "don't climb that tree so high." It's like Lord of the Flies...supervised.

Ahhh....a little reassurance that it's OK to step back sometimes and let your kids really play and figure out life on their own.


We Came, We Read, We Conquered the Library

The library is like this looming building. One reason is because my kids tend to leave a trail of books behind them. Second, usually at least one computer is messed up afterwards, and we've usually pissed off a few library goers in the meantime.

Today....we conquered the library!

I am still in disbelief and unsure of how we finally, after four years, mastered this feat. After this morning's yoga class, when I felt at peace with the world momentarily, I decided because of the rainy drizzle we'd stop off and pick up a few books. The rules for the kids were: "No running. No screaming. No touching the computers."

We walked in with an agenda and this time, I had a list of books. Alex wanted a kids book on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pippi Longstocking and book on flags. We managed to pick up a few others on the solar system, Madeline and Lyle the Crocodile. I was able to browse the books in both the children and the Junior Reference section, which my kids...get this...sat at the tables and read! There was no running, no screaming and no playing computers.

Our only issue was I found Anna in the stacks giggling with three older boys (about age 6). What does that say about her? I asked what she was doing. Her response, "I'm playing with they boys." I told her not to tell her daddy about it.


How to Have a Conversation

I'm blogging over at DC Metro Moms today about learning to converse on topics other than parenting issues. I'm not doing so well in this area.

Pit Stop

This was a first for us. On the way home from school, Alex announces he has to go pee pee right now and cannot wait. I pull over into the parking lot of a business park. He pees by a tree--out in the open. Just as he finished up a man comes out for a smoke break. We've done the peeing at the park. This pulling over for an emergency pit stop was a first for me. After we were done, Alex asked if he got a treat since he was able to hold it and not go in the car. Treat? I don't think so!

Reliving Pippi Longstocking

A few months back, I called Barnes and Noble to try and pick up a Pippi Longstocking book to read to at my son's school. "How do you spell Pippi?" The lady ask. You have to be kidding??!! Pippi Longstocking was easily one of the most recognizable little girls in children's literature. I laughed at the salesman on the phone and said, "Are you serious? You don't know Pippi?" She didn't even know the author--and she worked in the children's section. Shameful, really.

After our brief stint in Sweden, where Pippi lives as a hero to children. Before the age of three, any good Swedish child can name every character in the books and tell you about them. They have a museum dedicated to Pippi and Astrid Lindgren (the author). You'll find Pippi clothes, books, back packs, dolls, games, puzzles. You name it, they have it.

This past weekend, the Swedish embassy in DC hosted a Pippi Day. Me needing a little bit of Sweden, made the very long trek into town. It was cute and very Swedish. Alex asked all kinds of questions about why Pippi lived alone and why she has a monkey and a horse. We have read a few of the storied, but I went to get one of the Pippi movies on Sunday since it rained all day. (Not the same ones I saw as a child.) Both kids just instantly fell in love with her. She's fun and mischievous. Pippi stories, like many Swedish stories, touch on topics which are a bit taboo here like bullying, grief divorce, and death. You mix that in with a bit of imagination and even a bit of magic and you get something very unique.

The past few days it's been fun to have Pippi back into our lives. She gives us a touch of Sweden and a bit of fun. I hope she'll stick around for a while.


Vaccines and Autism

I found this interview with the former director of NIH to be interesting. I wanted to share. My interest with vaccines started right after the birth of my first son, right around when the discussion of vaccines and autism hit an all-time high. It was very important for us to space out our children's vaccines during their babyhood. Now I feel good that we did. I wish doctors would be more open to this since it certainly couldn't hurt. Especially since most admit to knowing little about vaccines other than what the AAP tells them.


We Are the Empathetic Ones

You can say all you want about equality, but women really are different from men.

Recently I've been thinking about women as a community. What is it about tragedy and sadness that brings people together. In the past year, I have become part of an amazing community of moms. Every time someone has a new baby, moms volunteer their precious time to make meals for her. And they are not just frozen meals. Some of them are several-course meals full of nutrious yummies and even gifts for the kids. I have made countless meals for my mom's group always with the thought, "If this saves someone one night from cooking and more time to spend with a child, take a shower, enjoy a bath, or sleep then I would do this."

We've even moved on to helping a mom in need while her husband is sick and another who's battling breast cancer with a baby undergoing surgery. While these are all amazing feats to deal with while taking care of a family, I find it comforting that community comes from nowhere sometimes. People we hardly know step up to help out and we find within ourselves a reason to step up and help out. Many times, we ourselves, don't have the time, but we feel a part of us calling to help those in need.

Most recently, I was touched by my best friend's community in Atlanta. Her dear friend Amanda said goodbye to her three-week old baby last weekend. I have been following this heartwrenching story (God, I wish it was a only a story) for the past many weeks. Baby Gavin was born early (but not too early) and with brain hemorrhaging, which had been going on in utero, unbeknownst to anyone. I think what touched me as much as Amanda's strength through it all, was her friend's unyielding support to babysit her other two boys, bring her food, help with household chores, even sit in the NICU with Gavin while the parents spent time with the other two boys. In his little life, he was never ever left alone.

Cara told me her friends helped pick out the funeral music and take photographs of the family. They were by her side through the whole thing. Even now, the help still keeps coming in with babysitting and meals.

Call it maternal instinct, call it empathy, call it whatever you like, but women really can be amazing. Thanks to all who give from their hearts.


I Love My Kids . . .

. . . because they are absolutely hysterical. Right now as I type I hear them on the monitor talking about how one is older than the other and that she should listen to him because of it. I love when age trumps everything.

. . . because they know just the right things to say. Like at dinner Alex told me this was by far the best dish ever and could I make it again and could he have a piece of chocolate.

. . . because they know when they misbehave what the consequence is. Alex will even send himself to his room sometimes.

. . . because they are SO good about bedtime! Enough said.

. . . because they're so lovable and cuddly when I ask nicely for 'huggles and cuddles.'

. . . because they are so smart and can outsmart me.

. . . because they continue to teach me so much everyday about love, life and even myself.

It's not until you experience motherhood that I think you really learn to appreciate your own mom. I love you mom! Happy Mother's Day to everyone.

Dinner Party Success

So the party was a success. The weather managed to clear up just in time. The food was amazing. The winners for the evening were the chicken, the pesto/tomato torta, and the truffles. I have to thank Andrea for her help with the menu because I actually had everything ready to go right as the first guest arrived and really didn't have to do anything other than refill my serving platters. Lots of people showed up. I had time to sit and talk and chat . . . here was the only problem.

In the past few years of having babies, not entertaining and working from home, I seemed to have lost all ability to talk about things besides kids. I stand their shyly in a small group, laughing and contributing now and then to the banter, but somehow I feel my kids may have taken away my ability to integrate into normal society. I read the paper every day and keep up with the events in the world. But somehow launching into a conversation about a child's sleep patterns or preschool woes is easier than talking about the election, global warming or national security. And I have opinions on all of this! But somehow it's harder to share than my kids' potty habits. Why is that?

Anyway, party success on most fronts. Not sure I'm ready for another one anytime soon. I took me all day to recover from this one.


Planning a Dinner Party With Kids, Tiny Kitchen

Back before children, my husband and I loved to entertain. We'd spend time working on a menu and be super meticulous about the food. We had fun shopping together and he had fun making the drinks. We anticipated it and then loved to talk about it later. The last party we had before kids, I was six months pregnant. It was madness. I couldn't drink. I stood up doing so much preparations and didn't even enjoy myself. It was three years before we ever attempted a no kid party again.

This weekend will be our fourth dinner party in this house. Most of the time it is a mix of my husband's work colleagues, which is fun because they love to talk all the no-no topics of politics and religion. That's what happens when you invite people from The Hill. But as of late, dinner parties have become less fun in the preparation phase due to a few things:

1. The size/layout of our house
2. The size/layout of our kitchen
3. The kids
4. Did I mention my kitchen?

The past three parties, I have made my standard fare. The problem is anything which needs an oven heats means our entire main level of the house is painfully hot. Our kitchen only comfortably fits one maybe two people.

What I needed for this party is a complete menu that could be prepared ahead of time and in the final hours before the party, I could just plate things without using an oven and without being in the kitchen. It's no fun to be at the party if you're in the kitchen and no one can fit in there with you. Yes, it's seriously that small!

I was at a loss for a menu of tastefully done hearty appetizers to feed my 15 or guests. We're hopeful that the weather will hold out so that will help push everyone outside onto the deck.

I am super grateful to my fellow DC Metro Mom blogger Andrea of Andrea's Recipes who managed to arrange an entire menu for me free of oven! She is truly the small home dweller's dinner-party dream. I'm sure you're all curious of the menu, right? Well, I won't give you her entire list, but this is what I've chosen to serve in case anyone really cares.

So here is the menu for the small-house-no-oven-make-ahead-kids-in-the-way-spring-dinner-soire.

Fruit + Cheese
Fruit skewers (mix 2 or 3 types--strawberries, melon, grapes, apples, Swiss cheese, ham pieces, cocktail shrimp; cut the fruit 1 day before, prepare skewers the morning of and cover tightly in plastic so they don't dry out)

Chevre coated in minced parsley and finely chopped pistachios (chop the parsley and nuts and roll the log in it)

Wheel of brie, top removed for those who don't like the skin (I might wrap phyllo around it, but that would involve the oven.)

Dips and Toppings (all served with bread, crackers, pita, etc.)
Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade (I'm cheating and using the Trader Joe's one)

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

Hummus (Cheating and using Whole Food's Garlic Hummus--the BEST store-bought hummus by far.)

Pesto & Sun-Dried Tomato Torta

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese minus the chicken for my vegetarian guests

Thai Grilled Chicken with Cilantro Dipping Sauce (Cook the chicken and make the dipping sauce the day before and chill, then rewarm slightly and cut into chunks before serving. Garnish with fresh cilantro at the last minute.)

Sushi (get at Wegman's made fresh and arrange on platter)

Beef and Gorgonzola Toasts with Herb-Garlic Cream

Florentines Turns out Trader Joe's also has almond meal already so looks like I won't have to process the almonds! Bonus.

Oreo truffle balls Of course no Oreos since they have partially hydrogenated oils...I had to get the ones from Trader Joe's.

So there's the menu. I can't wait. Now for the kids. I finally decided to use my babysitting co-op to get a few hours of prep on Friday, and then I got smart this time and arranged for the babysitter on Saturday night to come early this time. We may be well on our way to learning to entertain with kids. We'll just have to see how it all plays out. Now I'm on to preparations in my teeny tiny kitchen. That's a whole other issue!


Good Old Fashioned Play

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. We've been outside almost all day everyday. I am loving the fabulous weather lately--warmer temps blooming trees and flowers. It's making afternoons fun and easy for everyone. No need to try to find things for us to do. I open up the door and we're out until at least dinner. Our townhouse neighborhood is completely set up for this as the kids are able to roam from yard to yard and then play in the common areas with everyone's toys. Neighorbors are generous about watching kids while someone sprints inside or grabs some snacks or drinks.

My kids come home every evening completely filthy and legs covered in scrapes from climbing trees or going on "adventures" with their friends. It's the good old fashioned play I remember as a kid when we played outside everyday after school. Who wants to be inside when you can enjoy spring in Virginia?


What I Would Do Differently the Next Time

Catch me over at DC Metro Moms blogging about what I'd do differently the next time around....with babies. No, I'm not pregnant. But it sparked an interesting discussion among some members in our mom's group.

Margarita Mama: Mocktails for Moms-to-Be

When I first received this book in the mail for me to review, I must admit I laughed. Someone came up with a book just for 'mommy- to-be' safe drinks? Seriously!

But I was pleasantly surprised at how clever Margarita Mama turned out to be. To be honest, I used to make my own mocktails (aka the Mama-rita) during my first prengancy. A few of them are actually in here like the Sparkling Cosmopolitan, Pregnant Punch and Hot Mama. Do you see how cute this is? By my second pregnancy, I was mixing sparkling water with a bit of real wine (no, not everyday!) for my own sanity of having to deal with being pregnant and having a not-yet-one-year old.

This is a great little gift book for a new mom-to-be. Not only do the drink names include things like Car Seat, Baby Shower Shake, Cranberry Crib, but each drink comes with a little humor before about being pregnant. Some even come with tips, like when to install the car seat or why blueberries are so good for you.


Today is: No Yelling Day

Last night before the kids went to bed, Alex said to me "Mommy, I don't like it when you yell. It makes you mean." (Knife in heart.) So he and I made a promise that our house would have no yelling today. We declared it "No Yelling Day."

I asked him what I should do instead of yelling. Here was his response (he's so mature): Mommy, when I do something bad. Please just say to me, "Alex, no, don't do that." And I will just stop doing it.

My response: "Hmmmm.....Really, you'll just stop doing it. And what about when I ask you 20 times to put on your shoes? You'll do it without me yelling."

He smiled and said he would be good if I wouldn't yell. It's 1:30 p.m. and so far, we've managed a very, very nice morning of playing outside, hitting the farmer's market, running two difficult errands and so far, we've had no yelling. Even from the kids.

As Alex got into the car after our final errand he says to me, "I love no yelling day. Could we make this everyday?"