Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Squeezing It All In

We’re down to the last few weeks of summer – school starts on Sept. 3 for Adam and Allie. As usual, I’m feeling that “we haven’t had all the fun I meant for us to have” crunch that I always feel as the beginning of the school year approaches.

Adam hasn’t been helping the matter any. He’s not happy about our childcare arrangement (the kids have been spending their days with family friends who have three little kids of their own) and has made it known that he’s bored. Of course, his suggested alternative is to stay home by himself – which would no doubt mean video games/TV all day. Not happening. (We do let him have a day to himself once a week, though.)

Anyway, the kids and I all have this week off. I *think* that this should help their “fun quotient” for the summer. 😉

Friday/Saturday: Birthday party sleepover at Adam’s friend’s house

Sunday: Movie (Adam/Tim/my dad) and school clothes shopping (me/Allie/Jenny/my mom)

Monday: Water park with Adam and Allie’s best friends, and Jenny is at my folks’ house for two days.

Wednesday: Zoo

Thursday: Trampoline play place

Friday: Another zoo

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Weekend in my mom’s hometown for the annual “Jubilee Days” celebration

Sunday: Air Force Museum on the way home

I *think* this oughta do the trick … but who knows.

Do you get that same “we haven’t had all the fun I meant for us to have” feeling at the end of summer?

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Adam, Allie and I had a fun adventure today. A while back, I found a “Groupon” for a local athletic center that has an indoor water park – four passes for $24. So the three of us, along with one of Adam’s buddies, spent the day playing in the pool, floating down the lazy river, rushing down the spiral water slide, and frolicking in the splash pool.

We broke for a (second) bite to eat around dinnertime. Since the passes were “all access,” the kids had decided that they wanted to stop swimming before this snack break and explore the rock climbing wall afterward. Adam’s friend had tried (and loved) rock climbing when they were in Boy Scouts, but it had started raining just before Adam’s turn on their big outing. So he was anxious to try it. Allie was a little trepidatious but was willing to try.

I was so proud of both my kids! They took turns for about 45 minutes, and each made about eight attempts to reach the top. Adam didn’t quite make it to the top, but certainly wore himself out trying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him work so hard at something.

Allie, on the other hand, made it to the top! (I do think it helped that she is so lightweight, the bungee cord probably gave her more of a boost than it did Adam.)

AER rock wall

Just look at her up there! I can’t wait to see what she wants to try next. (Swimming lessons, actually – and we’ve got them planned for fall.)

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Taking After Her Siblings

I don’t know what it is with my kids, but they have all been fascinated with looking into the refrigerator. (Believe me, there’s never much of interest inside it – just the usual product, milk/cheese/yogurt, leftovers, etc.)

Check out this recent picture of Jenny. (I can’t quite tell whether she’s going for the Hershey’s syrup or the salad dressing. Hershey’s, probably.)

J fridge

Now, compare it to the pictures here. Tell me there’s not some kind of weird trend with my kids?

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Jenny sporting her first cloth diaper.

Jenny sporting her first cloth diaper.

Tim and I have been parents for just shy of 12 (!) years. We love our kids dearly. They are great fun, and parenting them is truly a joy.

For the most part.

But parenting is also complicated and confusing. There are soooo many decisions to be made, and we are pretty much left to our own devices to figure things out. (What on earth did parents do before the internet?)

Breastfeeding or formula?
Circumcise or non-circumcised
Cloth or disposable?
How many kids to have/how far apart to space them
Vaccinate or not?
Babywearing or strollers?
Home school or traditional school? (Or something in between?)
When to start kindergarten for kids w/almost late birthdays
Make child stick with activity they claim to hate, or let them quit?
Stay-at-home parent, or both working full-time?

Tim and I have made all of these decisions, and more. (OK, I admit that I don’t think we ever considered home-schooling.) Some choices we made without even really needing to discuss them (following AAP recommendations for vaccinations). Some choices we made after much, much discussion or debate (whether to send Allie to kindergarten or “Young Fives” since she was not yet 5 when school started). Most were somewhere in between.

So far, I think I’m happy with all of the big decisions that we’ve made. Has everything gone perfectly so far? No, of course not. But the kids are happy, healthy, smart, and doing well in school. There are a few things I wish I could change (I wish I hadn’t given up on nursing Adam at six weeks, wish I had known how easy cloth diapering was with my first instead of my last, wish we had instituted “lights out at bedtime” with all three kids LOL) but overall, I think we’re doing a good job.

Of course, since Jenny is only three, we’ve still got to make some of those decisions for her. (No idea when we’re going to send her to school, but that’s a blog post in itself.) And with the teen years still ahead of us, I’m sure there will be many new things for Tim and me to discuss and decide.

But I think we’re up to the challenge.

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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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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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Bye Bye Baby

Allie is no longer my little girl. At least, she’s no long my little just-barely-past-preschooler little girl.

Her little girl smile has been replaced – at least temporarily – with a most adorable toothless grin. I can’t get enough of it! (And I’m making sure to take pictures now and then so that I can remember this cute smile years from now.) It’ll be fun to see how she looks once her adult teeth grow in.

(These pictures were taken one minute apart.)

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When Jenny and I picked the big kids up today, Allie was holding a bag of cheese rice cakes that Tim had packed her for snack. She didn’t seem to be eating them, and when I asked her for the bag, she handed it over happily.

We went out to the car, got all three kids in and buckled, etc. We had already planned to go to the library, so I knew we weren’t going right home, and I was a little hungry. Remembering how crunchy and tasty the rice cakes had been a couple nights earlier, I decided I’d just finish Allie’s rice cakes for a quick little snack.

I was surprised at how stale they tasted, and how decidedly not-cheesy they were. I commented to her that they must have gone stale very quickly and it was no wonder that she didn’t like them today.

“That’s cause I licked the cheese off them.”



(In her defense, she said she hadn’t told me because she didn’t know I was going to eat them. Guess next time I’ll slow down and ask before finishing a kid’s leftovers or rejects.)

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Cross Your Fingers

Well, tomorrow is our first day with a summer nanny. I’m trying hard not to leave her a long list of rules. (Seriously, we don’t have that many rules in our family, but it is important that she knows things like the big kids’ bedroom must be shut at all times so that Jenny can’t get the Legos, etc.) I’m thinking it will go well, but who knows. I’m also hoping that the kids go easy on her. Adam and Allie adore each other, but they can really fight sometimes, too – they run sooo hot and cold! I just hope they don’t try her patience too much.

(And Gawd I hope that Jenny takes a nap! She’s been a total pill lately at naptime and bedtime, though of course the ladies at her day care tell me that she goes down for naptime perfectly for them.)

I’m sure I’ll be back tomorrow evening with a full report.

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I should know better by now.  I’ve been a parent for 10 years, and a parent of two or more kids for 5.5 years. I should know that even when I’m in charge, I’m not really in charge.

We’re having a smallish (11 people total) cookout at our house tomorrow. I need to go to the grocery store before then, so I decided that I’d pick Adam and Allie up from day camp at 4:30 (a little earlier than our day is usually done) and go right to the grocery store. We’d probably be home by 6:30.

Instead, I got home from the grocery store at 10:30 p.m.

How did that happen, you ask? Well …

My original plan was pickup, then store, then home by 6:30.

But I decided we needed to go to the Aunt Millie’s bread outlet for buns and our weekly bread, bagels, etc. That puts us at about 6:50. No big deal.

Then I realized the kids would be hungry, and cranky if they didn’t eat, So, add a quick fast food stop. Home by 7:15.

Adam complained that we chose McD’s over Wendy’s. As we pulled into the shopping center parking lot, I impulsively asked the kids if they’d rather go to IHOP instead. They said yes, of course. Definitely not fast food, though – home by 7:45.

But then Allie took two bites of her food and declared that she had a stomachache. I wasn’t 100% convinced, but she insisted. I don’t care to have kids puke at the grocery store, so Adam and I planned to take her home and then go to the grocery store. Home by 8:15.

When we got to the house, Jenny was fussy and wanted to nurse. A lot. (As always.) So, it only made sense for me to stay until bedtime.

Suddenly, instead of getting home from the grocery store at 6:30, I was leaving for the grocery store at 7:45. Home at 10:30. (We live 20 minutes from the grocery store, and I might have lingered in the sporting goods section to find the kids some baseball supplies.)

So when do I get to be in charge of myself again? (Let’s see, Jenny’s 1.5, so about 17 years, maybe … )

Anyone else have this problem? How do you handle it when time just gets away from you like this?

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