Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A "Germy Wormy" July

For some reason, my kids have been sick pretty much the whole month of July. Noah finished his prescription for an ear infection the first week of the month and then about a week later, Abby started up with a yucky cough. Then the low grade fever set in for a couple of days s0 last Monday, I took her to the doctor.


In July.

What's up with that?

Then Tuesday night, Noah started up. I figured he must have bronchitis too and called the doctor. They wanted us to come in on Wednesday telling me it might be Stridor.

Stridor? Never heard of it. I googled it and found it to be a worse form of Croup. ugh.

They wanted me to come back in on Friday to check on him. Yes, we went to the doctor's office THREE times in one week. Luckily, his cough didn't sound any worse, but the doctor wanted him to take a couple more doses of the steroid that had been prescribed.

Needless to say, we didn't do all that much last week between all those doctor's visits. But I wanted to send a little thank you to Margaret Back - the creator of Germy Wormy for providing my kids with a little entertainment. :) Abby and Noah asked to watch that DVD 2 or 3 times last week - they think it is so funny - and they reminded me that they needed to wear a Germy Wormy sleeve several times. Watching the DVD and wearing those sleeves have really helped them to remember to cough or sneeze into their elbow instead of their hands. Noah even remembers to do it even when he's not wearing one of the disposable sleeves - pretty impressive!

Thankfully, the coughs are getting better, and we are actually going to get out of the house today and go to the library!

Here's hoping the germs stay away for the rest of the summer. I can't believe it is almost August. This has seriously been the faster summer EVER.

Slow down a little, will ya?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ramona and Me

It is extremely rare that I go see a movie the very weekend it comes out. It's rare that I even go to the movies, but being a huge Beverly Cleary fan since my elementary school days, I could not wait to see Ramona and Beezus. Abby and I started reading Ramona the Pest a few weeks ago so when we first saw the preview for the movie, we were excited.

I had heard buzz over the years that producers had been trying to get movie rights for the books, but Mrs. Cleary wasn't quite ready for Ramona take that step. I'm not sure what changed her mind, but I'm glad that she did.

I absolutely LOVED it! The movie actually has bits and pieces of ALL of the Ramona books. Abby and I had fun pointing out the Q with cat ears and a tail on the Quimby's mailbox & Ramona's red rain boots - like in Ramona the Pest. There's the unforgettable scene when Ramona cracks the thought-to-be hard-boiled egg on her head (Ramona Quimby Age 8) or when Mr. Quimby loses his job & has an interest in art (Ramona and Her Father) or Ramona pulling one of Susan's irresistible boing-boing curls... It's amazing how these scenes come back to you - scenes that I imagined in my head as a little girl reading one Ramona book after another.

As a kid, I could see myself in Ramona. Slightly precocious, imaginative, and strong-willed - although my teachers didn't have to call home on a regular basis. Seeing Ramona's antics on the big screen brought back memories of my own childhood. Even though the movie was modernized a bit, with the exception of their names (It was a little hard to buy Josh Duhamel as Uncle Hobart), the stories are timeless. Their struggles, humor, and love for each other - the Quimbys could still be the family next door.

If you go to the World of Beverly Cleary, your kids can explore Klickitat Street and read some fun facts about Ramona, Beezus, Henry Huggins, and more . When I started reading Ramona the Pest to the kids, I showed them the site and they thought it was pretty cool.

It's also cool to be able to share this piece of my childhood with them, especially with Abby. She's at the age where she loves chapter books, and the Ramona books are so much fun to read with her.

At the dinner table tonight, she and I were both telling Noah and Dad all about the movie. I told them we should all go when it's at the dollar theater (I'd love to see it again), and I'm already counting down to its release on DVD. Luckily, in the meantime, we can finish Ramona the Pest and move on to another book in the series. I can't remember which book has the story of Aunt Bea and the locket - or maybe that was just part of the movie - but Abby loved that. I actually gave her a locket from my jewelry box when we got home from the movie so she could have one - just like Ramona.

Not that Beverly Cleary will ever read my blog, but I just want to send out a thank you to her for creating these characters and plots that everyday kids can relate to and identify with - stories that motivate kids to read and even give them the inspiration to write stories of their own. So thank you, Mrs. Cleary. As Ramona would say - you and your stories are "terrific-ul"!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Who would have thought?

The kids were watching Sesame Street a bit ago, and I happened to hear a familiar tune as I was checking email in the next room - a Sesame-version of "I'm Yours" being sung by Jason Mraz.

Even though I've probably heard it a hundred times (in the car, shopping at Target, even the American Idol finalists performed it one week on the show...I've seen Jason perform it on Regis and Kelly, Ellen, etc...), I couldn't help but go into the living room and watch with the kids.

I must admit, his Sesame Street performance is my favorite. Who would have thought that kid I used to be in show choir with (yes, show choir) would someday be singing a duet with Elmo?

It surprised the kids too when I told them that Mommy used to go to school with that guy playing the guitar on TV.

Too funny.

Just goes to show that life is FULL of possibilities...

Monday, July 19, 2010

And you SHAKE it all about...

Ice Cream and Optimism Follow Up:

Here are a few pictures of the kids in action on Ice Cream Day (taken as the battery on my camera was flashing - wouldn't ya know it.)...

They crushed up some favorite toppings -

Shook the life out of those bags - (sorry, it's a little loud.)

and VOILA - Homemade Ice Cream!

A teacher friend advised that we should use mittens - good call! Those bags were freezing! And next time I will remember to double bag everything. It was kinda messy, I have to say. The large bags got really wet, and the kids had salty fingers from holding the small one. Live and learn. Still, we had fun doing it. The ice cream melted pretty quickly so I ended up pouring what was left in their bags into cups, and we had milkshakes instead. yum!

With all the commotion, we didn't really have a chance to pause for the positive as I mentioned in my Ice Cream and Optimism post - so the next day when we were waiting in the doctor's office (poor Abby has bronchitis - in July - go figure), I asked the kids about some of their favorite things. Going to the playground & making sandcastles made their list.

Then later after lunch, we went to do one of my favorite things - get ice cream at Brusters! The ice cream in a bag was tasty - but sometimes, you just gotta have the real deal.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ice Cream & Optimism

Evidently, this Sunday, July 18th is National Ice Cream Day.

How did I miss this in years gone by?

Since having my kids, ice cream has pretty much become a saving grace for me. When we lived in VA, I could call my girlfriend - after one of those days and the kids were finally in bed - and we'd make a spur of the moment ice cream run to the Brusters about a half a mile down the road. It's amazing what a giant-sized waffle cone can do for the soul.

When we moved last summer, I couldn't believe my eyes when I drove by a Brusters Ice Cream place less than two miles down the road from our new house. Oh, those tender mercies...

It's not quite the same without my late night Bruster's buddy, but the kids and I still make daytime ice cream runs now & then before Daddy gets home from work (He's lactose intolerant) so I can get my "fix". Abby and Noah actually cheer every time we pull into the parking lot. There's no doubt that they are MY kiddos.

So this Sunday, to celebrate Ice Cream Day, I found this yummy idea over on Family Fun (where else?) to make Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag. As we are shaking our sugar & cream in our bags filled with ice and salt for five minutes, I thought I'd use the time to try this new activity from Fishful Thinking and talk about things that make us HAPPY (in addition to the ice cream!) -

Pause for the Positive: Take time to talk to your children about the good things happening in their lives. Keep your questions open-ended (rather than yes/no questions) so that you create space for your child to explore the situation and discover as much as she can about what happened, what it felt like, and what she learned.

Done any Fishful Thinking lately?
Leave a comment & share. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"Make a Stand" for Pediatric Brain Cancer

I recently read that June and July have been designated by The Cure Starts Now Foundation (Curing Cancer, One Child At A Time) as months to "make a stand" - a lemonade stand, that is, and donate the proceeds to finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer. Click here to learn more! The link lists several different ways you can get involved in helping this important cause. If you go here - https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=ee136f - there's a link to download a starter kit with some signs for the kids to color and post. That's also where you can register your stand.

Since our neighborhood is pretty small, I actually made a call to the person who runs our local Farmer's Market to see if we can put up a stand there one morning this month so we'll hopefully get some decent business and raise a good amount. Abby is pretty excited about it. She's been begging me to let her have a lemonade stand forever - and after reading about this foundation, there's definitely no time like the present!

*Follow-up to come! If you decide to do one with your kids too, I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PAR-TEE TIME - Noah turns "FORE!!!"

Last week was Noah's golf birthday PAR-TEE! He and the kids had a BLAST!

Here's Noah adding the final touch to his golf course cake - placing a teeny tiny golf ball (from Daddy's desktop golf set which Noah has never let him take to work) next to the sugar-covered green.

I modified the Family Fun recipe a little more & used a fruit roll up for the water and green "fruit slice" candy for the trees. (I couldn't find the mint gummy leaves it suggests.) I definitely made sure there were enough "trees" for each kid.

When Noah's friends arrived, we had pizza and then he wanted to open presents right away. That kid doesn't waste any time.

Then I had the kids decorate golf balls with sharpies so they'd be able to tell which one was theirs out on our front yard golf course! (There's more grass in the front than back, and Pat even mowed out some greens. The kids helped me make the flags/pins, and we used the cones as our holes.)

We even had a water hazard. :) The kids were too cute out there swinging those clubs. Of course, moms and dads were close by making sure no one got whopped upside the head.

After a bit, Noah was ready to blow out the candles and dig into that cake. I let him pick the first piece and he pointed to the ENTIRE fairway. Yeah, a little too BIG of a piece. He settled for part of the fairway, the green with his #4 flag, and a bit of the sand trap. With the sprinkles and brown sugar - that was one sugary birthday cake - even for me - and I have a sweet tooth. (If I do it again, I'd probably use crushed graham crackers.)

After the cake, we went back outside for another round of golf, and got out the little soccer net, and Noah's new tee ball set to play with too. The kids even caught a few fireflies as the sun was going down. It was really lots of fun. The kiddos also took home these goodie bags - Thanks for the artwork, Papa!

When I asked Noah later what his favorite part of his golf party, without hesitation, he said, "My golf course cake!" Cute kid. He sure loves golf...and sugar! Thank goodness for the Family Fun website because I would have never come up with that cake (or how to make our own mini golf course) on my own.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bring on the fireworks!!!

When Abby was asked to draw one of her favorite family traditions in Kindergarten this past December, she drew this picture of BIG, SPARKLING FIREWORKS for the Fourth of July. I was surprised that she didn't draw a Christmas tree or presents like all of the other kids, but something about watching those giant fireworks light up the sky stood out in her cute little five-year-old mind.

The kids can't wait for tonight. Noah keeps saying "I so cited to see FIREWORKS!" There's a park not too far from here that has a show at dusk, and Daddy will be lighting a few of our own too. Mommy isn't into lighting TNT fuses, but I can make a mean S'more with our patio firebowl whatchamacalit. Of course, I ask Pat to get the fire going, but I take care of the rest. :)

Happy 4th of July!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Last day of swimming lessons & feelin' proud!

The kids had their last swimming lesson yesterday. They thought it was pretty cool to get these certificates of participation, and since it was the last day, Abby got to jump off of the diving board TWICE! Daddy even had the day off so he got to watch too. Exciting stuff!

Noah didn't make it off the diving board this time around. The poor kid is actually getting over an ear infection so I didn't think it would be the best time to try it, but NOW he insists that he wants to do it - like Abby. We'll see if he changes his tune the next time we are at the pool.

After only five lessons, they still have a lot to learn and practice, but with those certificates in hand, they were feeling pretty proud of themselves...

Kids with a strong sense of self-efficacy are:

*To learn more about empowering kids - listen to these! (As part of the Fishful Thinking Faculty, Cecily of Photo Story Friday and yours truly got to be a part of these Blog Talk Radio episodes - such a cool experience!)
Listen to internet radio with Fishfulthinking on Blog Talk Radio