Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

How Much TV Do You Watch?

TVSome of the comments on my last post made me think about how much TV we watch in my family.

We watch plenty. Not a ton – and the kids only watch on non-schooldays – and what we watch is deliberate. By deliberate, I mean that we never just turn on the TV to see what’s on. When Tim and I turn it on, it’s always to watch something in particular. And except for times when I’ve found a great new show (like now, when I’m overdosing on How I Met Your Mother), it’s not very often. We don’t actually watch anything on “real” TV now – it’s all either streaming, online, or DVDs. So, I watch maybe three hours of TV a week, plus some weeks we have a family movie night on the weekend.

The kids watch a little more – they are allowed “screen time” on the weekends, and that can be either xBox, computer, iPad or TV (i.e. Netflix on one of those devices). Adam is hooked on Monk and Malcolm in the Middle, Allie loves the various Disney Channel shows, and Jenny loves Diego right now. They watch pretty deliberately too. Maybe 6 hours a week, if you include any family movies. Not too bad, I think. (A wonderful side effect of only watching streaming TV or DVDs: no commercials! Ever! I never have to hear “I want ____” because they’ve seen it on TV.)

Just don’t ask me how much time I spend farting around on the internet …

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More Opportunities


There are plenty of great places to have a birthday party when a certain girl turns 7.


We’ve got many terrific zoos and science centers within easy driving distance.


And closer to home, there are tons of places to play. Jenny and I came across this little hidden playground on a warm day in late October, when the big boss had sent everyone home at 3:00 to enjoy the 70+ degree day. I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do than play with her.


Until, of course, it was time to pick up Allie, and then we played on the school playground for another 15 minutes. (Tim picks up Adam, or they’d have been there playing with us.)

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A Wealth of Opportunities

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how lucky my family is to live where we do. There are so many opportunities for us, especially for the kids.

For instance …

(More later when I figure out how to insert pics more easily with WordPress. They’ve changed it since my last pic-heavy post.)

Allie can take gymnastics with the parks & rec department in the morning ...

Allie can take gymnastics with the parks & rec department in the morning …

And then see an Olympic gymnast (Sam Mukalik) compete that evening. Free!

And then see an Olympic gymnast (Sam Mukalik) compete that evening. Free!

With the whole family.

With the whole family.

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Date Night!

Tim and I had a date night for the first time in …. how old is Jenny? We’ve never been much for babysitters (we’re too cheap), and the last time all three kids were at my folks’ house it was because the basement flooded and I begged my parents to take all three kids so Tim and I could take care of it.

But Adam is at my folks’ house for the week, and my friend Amy asked (not “agreed to,” not “offered” – asked!) if she could have Allie and Jenny tonight. Her son Liam is Allie’s best friend and they’ve missed each other lately, so it was good timing for them.

Tim and I met after work for dinner and a movie. We saw The Dark Knight Rises (on IMAX), and I loved it! I’d forgotten how nice it is to have an evening out with my husband. Perhaps we’ll be taking Amy up on her frequent offers to take the girls.


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An Award!

The Gal has tagged me for the the Liebsteraward! Liebster is a German word which means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Here are the rules for the award:

  1. Each person must post 11 facts about themselves.
  2. Answer 11 questions the tagger has given you and give 11 questions for the people you’ve tagged.
  3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post. Tell them you’ve tagged them.
  4. Remember, no tag backs.

However, I’m going to break the rules and answer ALL the questions (including the ones The Gal answered), and not tag anyone.

So, here are 11 things about me:

1) I’m inherently lazy. I’m a good/hard worker, my house gets taken care of, kids get fed well, etc. But if I had my druthers, I’d spend a lot of my time reading or messing around on the internet.

2) My favorite band EVER is Duran Duran. I remember hearing Hungry Like the Wolf on the radio in late 1982, and a fellow library aide got me totally hooked on them in early 1984, and they’ve been my favorite since then. I saw them in concert for the first (!!!) time last fall and am going to see them again next month – third row again! I can’t wait.

3) My cousins (on my Dad’s side) and I are still close even though we’re in our late 30s/40s. We see the local cousins regularly, and twice a year we host a “cousin party” that the cousins and any kids come to. It’s a blast! In fact, we had so much fun at the cousin party a few weeks ago that we decided next year we’re going to ditch the kids and really have a cousin party. Should be a blast!

4) I need to lose weight. A lot. But I really like snacking, and I really hate exercising, so …

5) I don’t wear jewelry (except my wedding ring), and almost never polish my nails. The last time I can remember wearing earrings was when my brother got married six years ago.

6) I have a new nephew! My brother and his wife welcomed their second son last Friday. He made his debut three weeks early and is on the little side, but he’s healthy and has no heart problems. (Big brother was the one who had open heart surgery two years ago.)

7) Tim and I (mostly Tim) have instituted a “no replacing” policy for our pets, at least for the time being. Multiple cats + three children = lots of work. We had three cats when Allie was born, but now we’re down to one, and will have none when she leaves us. I’m OK with that, for now.

8) I love Facebook.

9) I wish I were a better photographer – I have a nice camera – but I’m either too impatient, too lazy, or don’t take pictures often enough to really improve.

10) I’m the oldest of four. I didn’t mind having three younger siblings, but I always wished that I had an older brother.

11) I’m often conflicted about our decision to let Adam join Cub Scouts two years ago, and to move up to Boy Scouts this year. The program he’s joined is amazing, and I’m very proud of his participation, but that damn “no gays” policy. Grrr.

Here are the questions Kwizgiver gave The Gal (but these are my answers):

  1. What is your favorite genre to read? Mystery/thriller, young adult, biographies
  2. How often do you read for pleasure? Daily
  3. Do you ever read books in your least favorite genre? That would be poetry, and the answer is no (this was Gal’s answer but it stands for me)
  4. Do you snack when you read? Often
  5. What do you do when you’re in a reading slump? Find something new
  6. Are you easy to talk into doing something out of the ordinary? No
  7. Do you follow a daily routine? With three kids one is forced to follow a daily routine, but we don’t have a strict routine
  8. Where do you keep your keys? Several places, which is why I often can’t find them.
  9. What is your favorite song featuring a banjo? Rainbow Connection
  10. Do you drink bottled water? Rarely, and never at home or at work.
  11. How old is your blog? 5.5 years


Here are the questions The Gal gave me.

1. What’s your oldest memory? I vaguely remember being left with my (paternal) grandparents when my parents went to my (maternal) great-grandmother’s funeral. I was 3.

2. Who was your first crush? Hmm, Jason (or Jeff? which brother was it?) something, in first grade. Can’t remember exactly how I knew him – maybe he was in my class – but I distinctly remember that we were both at the bowling alley “drop off” room once or twice, and played in the teepee together. (Totally innocently – we were 6!) I seem to recall that whichever brother was my age, my sister liked the other one.

3. When was the last time you cried? Sunday, when I saw a picture of my little brother holding his tiny newborn son. 🙂

4. How often do you read the newspaper? The print newspaper? I glance at it once a week or so (it’s only printed 3x weekly, and is digital the rest of the week). However, I read newspaper articles online daily.

5. What is something you won’t scrimp on, no matter how tight your budget? Hmmm …. I can’t think of anything.

6. Do you enjoy your time in the bath or shower? Or is it merely for hygiene/grooming, like brushing your teeth? Yes, and usually. 😉 I have three kids, so I generally have a “business shower.”

7. Close your eyes and think of a song. Which one popped into your head? Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

8. What’s the biggest dollar bill in your wallet right now? (Asked because a friend of mine recently broke a $100 at dinner, and I don’t think I’ve ever carried a bill that big.) $10

9. You’re home. It’s 9:30 at night. You’re hungry. What do you snack on? Well, it’s 11:30 but I just snacked on some cheese.

10. Are you a Felix (neat freak) or an Oscar (slob)? Somewhere in between. I like things neat, but don’t have the motivation to keep them that way (see #1 of the previous section) and damn if the kids don’t keep messing everything up.

11.  When did you last send someone a card? It could be a greeting card, or a postcard. But you had to address it, put a stamp on it and mail it. E-cards or a card you simply handed a person don’t count. Wow, I have no idea. I didn’t even send out Christmas cards last year. So, I guess the last time I specifically remember sending someone a card was Christmas of 2010.

Feel free to answer these questions on your own blog – and let me know if you do.

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I’m Batman?

My mom says I have to post this picture from last week. It’s a terrible pic (taken with either my iPhone or iPad, neither really up to the task)  but you can clearly see that Jenny has gone to sleep in our Superman costume. When we put her to bed, she was wearing a pink dress. At least she went to sleep quickly after the costume change, which we didn’t even hear.

She was a little confused the next morning, though, and told me that she was Batman. When I clarified that she was actually Superman, she said “Tonight I’m going to be Batman!” I told her that the Batman costume is in the other room, and to change quickly after we put her to bed. (She hasn’t put the Batman costume on yet, though we have seen costume changes several times over the past week.)

At least she went to bed well tonight … perhaps we’re making progress!

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We’re getting ready to do a bedroom switcheroo soon. Adam and Allie have been in the big bedroom (dubbed the “blue room”) since Jenny was born. We have a three bedroom house, and didn’t want to put Allie in with Jenny while Jenny was still getting up at night. We’re definitely ready for Adam to have his room, and for the girls to share the big room.

But … I’m not so sure that Jenny is ready to move out of her crib after all. Last week, when Adam and Allie were at my parents’ house, she slept on her floor/mattress perfectly. Didn’t get up once until it was time to get up in the morning.

Tonight was the first time she slept out of the crib with both of her siblings home.

First, she came trotting out with her diaper and pajamas in her hand. Of course, we all thought that was hilarious. (And she DID need a dry diaper.)

Then she was back and forth between her room and the big kids’ room numerous times.

At 10:15, Tim found her playing dressup in the closet.

At 10:30, I found her in Adam’s bed, whispering “Adam! Adam! Wake up!”

Right now, at 10:48, she’s on her mattress with the overhead light on. I have no idea whether she’s asleep, but at least she’s in her room and is quiet.

Can’t we just keep her in the crib until she’s, like … 10?

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Sticking With It

Well, Adam has officially joined the high-adventure Boy Scout troop that I raved about a while back, and boy does he love it! Tim and I had a couple of brief periods where we thought he might say “Screw it, I can’t do this!” and want to quit, but what we’re actually hearing are comments like “That was really hard! I can’t wait to go back and do it again next week!” (That particular comment came early in the series of 7+ canoe outings.) He didn’t even waver for more than an evening when one of his best friends decided to drop out. (He’d given it a honest go, but it just wasn’t for him.)

So far, since April, they’ve had seven canoe outings (including two overnights), three parkour outings, five swim nights, four campouts, and one enormous game of capture the flag. He’s keeping busy and learning a lot!

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Who is This Big Kid?

Adam is finishing up Cub Scouts this year, and is preparing to move up to Boy Scouts. Tim and I had kind of figured that he’d lose interest after Cub Scouts. Then we learned of the Boy Scout troop that several of his schoolmates joined last year, a “high-adventure” troop.* It sounded pretty good, so Adam went to a couple of their welcome events.

Yesterday’s outing was skiing. They skied from 9-4. Seven hours! (And the troop paid for all of the fifth-graders, too.) It was hard work, and not always fun, but the boys worked hard and by the end of the day, Adam had moved on from the bunny hill. (There are a dozen boys in the troop who are actual ski instructors, and Adam had his own instructor all day.) He had a terrific time and by the end of the day, committed to joining the troop. I was a little worried that he might change his mind after waking up very, very sore today. But when I mentioned it, he said “Are you crazy?” and said something about “the best day of my life.”

The troop is amazing, and I can’t wait for Adam to join – Tim and I both think it’s going to be very, very good for him. (Heck, I’d say it already has been good for him.)

But I ask again, who IS this big kid?

Heading down the slopes with his two (!) ski instructors.

Discussing how to approach the tow rope. It took him several tries, but he finally got it.

Getting ready to head to the chair lift …

… for the bigger hill. Adam was glad to graduate to this slope.
*I would dearly love to share the troop’s impressive website with you, but that’s just too much information.


















































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New Wheels

Now that Adam is riding a bike – really riding, every minute he can – it was obviously time to get him a bike that fit. Tim and I made our first-ever purchase via Craigslist on Saturday morning, when we picked up this beauty:

It’s a Giant Frantic. Adam couldn’t be happier about it. Our plan was just to get something to tide him over until next spring, when my dad (a serious cylist – he does 100-mile rides) buys him a bike. A really, really good bike. And this red one is perfect. He’ll probably outgrow it next spring, and Allie is anxiously waiting to take ownership of it. (Of course, the annoying thing is that right now we have six bikes in our garage.)

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