It’s Spring Fever Here

Not that kind of spring fever. I wish! (They were predicting snow today.)The kind of spring fever our household (ok, just me and hubby) get when we’ve decided we’re ready for a new house. Every year somewhere between February and May we get a move itch. The only thing I can guess is that it has something to do with us never living in ANY place longer than two years. We have now, officially, been in this house two and a half years. Why the desire to move, you might ask?

Don’t get me wrong. I love our neighborhood. Townhouse living can be hard if you’ve just spent several years in a single family home, but we love the neighbors, the great pool and wonderful playgrounds. We can walk to the store and even to the kids’ elementary school. But the house is small and we’re lacking a yard. We’d like a dog and . . . maybe another child. That just doesn’t add up in our small house. The kitchen is by far the smallest kitchen you’ll ever see. Did I mention my husband's nightmarish commute. I digress.

So it’s the end of February and the beginning of the home sale season thus the beginning of our spring fever. What has kept us here for the past few years is the high home prices. The DC area wasn’t affected by the dropping housing prices until just recently. This is good news for us since it means we may be able to afford the home we want, in the area we want. But those who know us well, know we do this every spring. We hit the open houses, take a bunch tours, do some number crunching and end up staying put.

I have no idea what is in store for us this spring. As much as I hate the idea of selling (because it’s A LOT of work to sell a home with kids in it), I think our whole family is ready for a change. We’re a bit of a nomadic family. In nine years of marriage, we’ve had six addresses. My only way to prune junk is by moving. And we’ve apparently hit our limit on what we can store here. I literally have bikes and wagons in my dining room.


No Glass of Wine?

I was sad to read the news in this morning's paper saying there is no safe amount of wine for women to drink. Do I believe it? (I ask as I sip my Merlot.) What's a mom to think? Are there more factors to consider?

I exercise regularly (about 5 times a week) and eat healthy (no preservatives, here). But I am probably at high risk for cancer because of my mom, my dad and my grandfather. I don't smoke or have any other vices other than this one guilty little pleasure in the evening. So what am I to think of this news? Next thing you know they'll be saying coffee is bad for me too. That is when my world will really end!

The Cast Came Off

It was a long three weeks with the cast. I learned a lot about Alex during this time. His self disclipline is a amazing. We had only one incident of the cast getting a bit wet. He, for the most part, kept it out of the sand and mulch and followed the "rules" of the cast. He learned to ride his scooter with one hand + 2 fingers. He learned to cope and deal the best he could with nary a complaint about his temporary "disability."

And when he woke up yesterday morning, even before the cast came off, he was a completely different boy. He confessed that he hadn't been sleeping very well. Which in turn was probably accounting for the massive change in behavior the past three weeks. Funny how I hadn't put two and two together.

He was a brave little boy as they sawed off the cast. He explained to Anna it would be really noisy but it wouldn't hurt. How did he know? But he was fantastic. I do have to give major props to Commonwealth Orthopaedics for their attention to children's special needs. The X-ray lady was ready this time with a basket of lollipops.

The first thing we did when we got home was take a very long bath. So now he's free from the nasty smelling cast and we're off to celebrate with a party this afternoon. He wanted balloons with casts on them, but I drew the line at that one.


Them Against Me

Check out my kids' latest doings over at Baby Bunching. They are slowly learning to form some kind of allied force against me--smart kids. I'm pretty sure that's why I have siblings and we go on to give our children siblings.


Baby Bunching Makes the News

It has been a very good week for Baby Bunching. But last night I received an email from a friend telling me my Washington Parent article ran on the afternoon news (NBC affiliate)--with promos leading up to it. I'm still working to get the footage because this is HUGE for us. If anyone saw it or can send it to me, please do! I am so excited.


Baby Bunching: Juggling Two Under Two

My second article was published in Washington Parent magazine this month. Yes, of course, it's about Baby Bunching. Check me out. Oh, and they just asked me to write another article for them. Woo hoo!


It's Too Much School

On my mind this week has been the topic of school. My son starts kindergarten in the fall. We are fortunate that our neighborhood school is a pretty good one. It offers full-day kindergarten at a school with both a magnet and G/T program. Since we never looked at the schools when we purchased our house five years ago, we feel blessed that we do not have to scramble for a move or private school.

However, both my husband and I are having some reservations about a few things. The first started after reading Raising Cain—a parenting book about raising boys. I am a bit concerned about Alex getting lost in the shuffle of public school. He’s a smart boy who is very much “boy.” I know as his parent it may take a special teacher to reach him. And I am worried in a class of 20 something kids, a teacher doesn’t have the time to make the effort to reach out to kids, especially boys, who are acting their age.

I am even more concerned about the tiny amount recess they give to five-year olds during a full day of school. It’s even worse when I know what it takes to make my child perform well and that I’ve now lost control of providing him that environment.

The big news here in our area is the changing of school times. Lots of research has been done lately saying high school kids aren’t getting the sleep they need and that school starts too early. Yeah, our high school begins at 7: 20! That’s insane. And I am so in favor of this change. However, the change in high school start times somehow changes the start times and end times for the elementary schools. My closest guess is it’s something to do with the buses. So our school which was 8:30 to 3:10 will now go 9:20 to 4 p.m. Wow! Talk about a long day. At least with 3:10, my son still had a chance to come home, unwind a play a bit outside with friends. But a 4 p.m. end time doesn’t even give us much time for homework, let along playing. And from my standpoint, my kids are up before 7 a.m. anyway, send ‘em on to school, I say.

My dream would be to find a school where I could send my kids from 8:30 to 1:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. Somehow I’m having trouble finding schools to meet MY needs. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do at this point except wait and see. In the meantime, I am looking into a few other options. Who knew this could so stressful?


I Do NOT Heart Valentine’s Day

Part of this is my own fault and perhaps I will learn my lesson for next year since every year we go through this. Preschoolers and “mandatory” class Valentines do NOT mix.

Every year we make our Valentines. I think it’s because I have good memories of doing this as a child with the pink and red paper and the little white lacy paper hearts that only come out in February.

As I browsed the Target aisles this year, I made a decision that THIS year we just buy our Valentines, sign them all and be done. It's not worth all the trouble for lacy paper. But because I must be some sort of masochist, I shook my head and thought: No, I’m not giving in to the commercialization of Valentine’s Day. We will make them again.

I bought a few extra stickers, some stamps and decided to use up my scrapbook paper I never use anymore. We started two weeks early to allow for margin of error or loss of interest.

Day 1: (Note--We have not done them every day.) The plan was to make all the class Valentine’s first THEN move on to everyone else. And that didn’t work because we made them for everyone except the people in their class.

Day 2: Focused a bit more on the class list. I made the suggestion that we come up with an idea and make them all the same. No one is creative enough (or has the energy to make) 14 different Valentines. Am I right? But no, Alex wanted to make one for each kid on his own.

Day 3: Anna is halfway done with hers. I gave her the list. She decorated them, wrote everyone’s name and signed her own. Alex has finished 2. Each one took about 15 minutes to complete. But they look good.

Day 4: Alex has completed 2 more (each one took 30 minutes) with lots of getting up and running around in between. Anna is almost done.

Day 5 & 6: Anna is done and moving on to other friends. Alex has completed 2 more (these took 30 minutes). There were tears, I yelled. It was super fun. He says to me: Mommy, it makes me mad when you yell at me about doing Valentines. So I agreed that he could just put one superhero sticker on each, write his name and call it good.

Day 7: Alex still has eight left before his party tomorrow. It’s going to be a very long night. He did finally agree that we should have designed one and made them all the same. Perhaps next year I will learn.


Camp is not all Kumbaya

I know what you're thinking? Is this woman mad? Camp, now. And if you're anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line you're probably laughing even harder. Or maybe not since it's ONLY those of us north of the of it who are thinking about summer when there's still snow on the ground.

But yes, I registered my kids for camp this week. Not just any camp,

We don't actually live in the proper restrictive area to get into this camp so I have to register a week after everyone else who is. And most sessions were already full by the time I arrived to register. So thinking I was so super clever, I decided to drop in on my way to take my kids to school on Monday when the office opened at 8:30 a.m. instead of registering online. STUPID! I must not have been that stupid because when I arrived there were already eight people in front of me. One man had been there since 7 a.m.

So I waited and waited and waited. Meanwhile, I called my friend who was at home registering on her computer in her jammies (bygones) and begged her to help me out. So she did. Yep, as I waited on line, I gave her my username and password and my credit card and before my name was called, I was registered.

As I left, I thought to myself why did I just do this?

Because it's summer camp! Don't get me wrong. I love summer--the pool, the zoo, the playgrounds, hanging with the summer buds, the beach, visiting new places. I love the change in routine. But I love it in June and July. And about halfway into July when all our friends are vacationing and my kids have grown tired of each other, the pool, and me, I crave camp. Camp is this wonderful place to send my kids where they can run around and be with new faces. And someone else can let them get dirty and tell them to stop throwing rocks. Ahhhhhhhhh... . .

Ok, so maybe there is some Kumbaya to camp after all.


Shoes Found!

I'm not sure if the "shoe stealer" mom read my blog post from Monday. Wouldn't that be nice to think I had that kind of power. Wa ha ha! (evil laugh) But nevertheless, the shoes did appear yesterday. I stopped by the gym just to see. The mom apparently felt about about mixing them up with her daughter's shoes and returned them on Monday.

Anna was ecstatic about her purple shoes. Thank you to whomever returned them. I no longer shall refer to you as the "shoe stealer."


His Broken Bone, My Broken Spirit

My husband has always believed that broken bones are a reflection of one’s own parenting. I’ve always disagreed with this theory thinking it’s not so ‘black and white.’ Accidents happen all the time and sometimes when you’re not even with your child. Perhaps on some subconscious level kids might get hurt as a cry for attention, but I’m certain this is not always the case.

I find it hard to believe that in almost 5 years as mom to a rambunctious boy—with two previous ER visits—one of them hasn’t resulted in a broken bone. Today’s call from preschool surprised me. Fell at school? Running around with his friends? C’mon! The kid climbs trees and swings from monkey bars way too high. He’s a crazy daredevil and yet he’s hurt from running and falling with friends? What a pain!

So, as luck would have it, my babysitter was with Anna this morning when I got the call. I was able to call the doctor on the way to school and make an appointment for 10 minutes later. The doctor was pretty sure his finger was badly hurt. They made us an appointment with an orthopedic guy down the street to fix him up.

Never a tear was shed during this process. They took x-rays, and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. Mainly because he got to wear a smock like at school. When they put the x-rays up on the screen, Alex was stoked about seeing his skeleton. But when the doctor mentioned the cast and my face dropped, Alex quickly picked up on this not being a good thing. I tried to make is sound fun and cool (because really all the cool kids in school always had the casts), but he wasn’t buying it. The casting man let him pick out the color for the cast: blue—big surprise there. Then he went to work wrapping up his arm. Alex was way past done on all of this by now. Six hours after the incident, and he was ready to go home.

The surprising thing through all of this was his self control. I asked him if hurt. “Yes, it hurts, but only if I move it. So I’m not moving it!” And sure enough he hadn’t moved it at all except when someone asked him to try and move it.

So I’ve been trying to spin the whole incident into something fun. He got to pick where to go afterwards—Dairy Queen for the biggest ice cream ever. I suggested he was like a pirate since he had one good hand one hand kind of like a hook. He seemed to perk up with that thought. But the ultimate was the idea of having a “cast party” after the cast comes off in three weeks. He’s already planned the whole thing.

My real disappointment was for school. No follow up phone call from someone to check on him, and never an apology about the situation. Disappointing, I think.

As I went to bed last night and peeked in on him, with his arm lying across his chest, I felt terrible for the little guy. What a pain.


Shoe Stealer

Dear Person Who Took My Daughter's Shoes,

On Friday when I picked up my daughter at the gym after my all-time favorite cardio class, I found someone had taken her shoes. We were in a hurry to get to ballet, and I was most thoroughly annoyed by this inconvenience. I was most annoyed because right before after I dropped her off, I made sure to put her shoes with her coat AND my coat. The cubbies were very full, and I want to ensure I could find them quickly during our sprint to ballet class. So, instead, I spent an extra 10 minutes looking for shoes with the staff.

Oh, by the way crazy shoe stealer person . . . it was 30 degrees that day and I didn't have extra shoes hanging around in the car.

I'm sure you know you took her good shoes. Yeah, that's right. She has tons of $10 Target shoes. But these were the GOOD shoes. The ones that I buy every fall before school to get her through the yucky weather--the waterproof ones that are perfect for every scenario. The ones that cost more than some of my OWN shoes.

So, now after two trips to find similar shoes for the rest of the bad weather season, I have come up empty.

Really? Who takes the shoes of a three year old? If you did it unknowingly, then I forgive you. Perhaps your own three-year old put them in your bag as a joke. If you actually took them, then I'm horrified. Who steals shoes from a gym? Please bring them back. She loves her purple shoes.


Long Live the Fairy Tales

We took the kids today to see Hansel and Gretel at a local theater: Elden Street Players. Since our last visit to children's theater--where we saw Harold and the Purple Crayon--had been such a success, I have been looking for other nearby venues for the performing arts. My kids love this stuff.

Now I know fairy tales are a bit controversial these days. Stories like Rapunzel, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood have started becoming "B-list" stories. Or probably more like "C-list." Yes, they are dark. There is a lot of good and evil discussed in these stories. Many touch on death, jealousy and greed--all topics we probably wish our kids never had to know about until they are old enough to drive. But my kids are addicted to them. Last year we started reading them. Then we moved on to reading Greek myths and then reading Bible stories. You know what? They all talk about death, jealousy and greed as well. So what's the difference between today's children's stories and the ones that have been retold for generations. Today's fairy tales gloss over "good and bad." Things used to be very black and white in stories--witches, evil sorcerer, stepmothers. You can always find the good guy and the bad guy. Today's stories are a bit more ambiguous and there's a whole bunch of gray. Is that bad? I'm not sure what the answer is.

So I actually was a bit surprised with the production we saw today. Hansel and Gretel is a true-to-form Grimm's fairy tale and one that often raises eyebrows. But the production was great. They added in a few things to modernize it and liven it up a bit for the kiddies, but generally the meat was there. I was glad to still see the evil stepmother and the witch, who came off as the star of the production. And the audience cheered when she was finally pushed into the oven at the end.

If you live in outskirts of Northern Virginia and are looking for a great local production, this is one! Because it's children's theater it's completely kid friendly. (It's only a one-hour production.) One mom sat nursing her youngest in the front row with nary a glance from any other audience member.

The play runs for only a few more weekends and space is limited so order your tickets now.