Friday, June 25, 2010

The Pool

There is SOMEONE in my life who cannot admit when he is wrong. Hey, I don't LIKE admitting it, myself, but I do it.

See this kid with his daddy on Father's Day? He looks like a relatively calm child, doesn't he? Well, sometimes he can be, but sometimes... whooo boy!

A few weeks ago, while Dylan and I were enjoying a beautiful day outside in the yard, Jim decided to spend what seemed like several hours getting the little pool set up for Dylan. I admit, I was annoyed, and I didn't keep it a secret either. I MIGHT have said, "We spent the whole summer last year trying to get rid of a pool!!". I MIGHT have said, "You spent the whole time getting the stupid pool ready, instead of spending quality time with your family!" I MIGHT have said other things. I just can't seem to remember.

Yesterday morning, (before I was even fully awake), Jim was harping on me again about "When are you going to let Dylan use his pool?!" This has been going on for a few weeks, so I MIGHT have gotten a little annoyed. (I hate people telling me what to do). "We will go in the pool today!! Okay?! Even if it rains!! Even if it's cold!" Why didn't I take him in the pool before? Because somehow I just knew he was going to be WILD. Somehow, I just knew it was going to be EXHAUSTING. And, he was... And it was...

But, it was also ridiculously FUN! Dylan was beside himself with excitement - running, jumping, splashing, dancing, laughing, giggling and basically being a wild maniac/goofball/nutjob. I took so many fantastic pictures I had trouble deciding what to post, so I made a slideshow. WHY did I deny him this kind of happiness for several weeks?!

Jim, I was wrong, and I am sorry.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Paint With Me - Self Portraits (and Smear)

I have this problem with Paint With Me Thursdays. I went to college for four years to get a degree in Art. I feel that if I'm going to paint/draw something, it should be GOOD. And, there is the problem - I don't have time to be GOOD. I have a really hard time carving out an hour or two of uninterrupted, child free creative time. So, what do I do? Nothing.

Did you ever see the Friends episode where Monica's credit card is stolen, and the woman who steals it is charging all these amazing, fun things that Monica has always wanted to do? She decides to go to one of the classes to confront the woman, and ends up taking the class herself. At the end of the episode, the teacher of the class yells at her, "Monica! You're doing it all wrong!" She answers, "Yea, but at least I'm doing it!" At the time, that really struck a chord with me. I think I need to get on board with that concept. So, this week, I didn't do anything GOOD for Paint With Me Thursday. But... I did it.

Actually I did it last week also, but then didn't get time to post it. Last week's theme was "Smear". I immediately thought of the fact that my glasses are smeared constantly.
First, I took a picture of my glasses.
Then, I quickly sketched them with a marker. Then, the phone rang, and when I got back, Dylan had added a few "smears" of his own with a pencil. At that point, I decided, if you can't beat them join them, so he helped me make another thing that is always smeared around here - his hands.

Now, on to this week's theme - Self Portraits.  I forced myself to just do a quick cartoon with markers, so I didn't over think it, or obsess.(My hair is a hot mess lately)

This one is from college. This represents the things that make me feel alive... Sunny days, the ocean, creativity and art, following my own path, and love and friendship. The words at the top say, "I want to see the world as if seeing it through a child's eyes... with curiosity, with hope, with honesty, and with love".

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Third Week Of Summer

Remember how I said that I have the tendency to go a bit crazy, planning summer activities?  Well, I might have tried to pack a little too much into this week.   Monday and Tuesday I worked.  There was a hot glue gun "incident" on Tuesday, which was so stressful, I felt a bit like a whole week had passed already.

Wednesday, I took Dylan to story time at the bookstore again, where he heard books about dads, and made a Father's Day craft.  He must have really wanted Jim to like it, because he was the last one still working on his.  The nice lady told me to just bring the supplies over to her when he finished.

Wednesday evening Jim and I had a date, while our amazing friend Rachel, came to babysit.  (Any friend who calls YOU and asks if she can babysit, is amazing, wonderful, and possibly deserving of sainthood in my book).  We went to dinner and saw Iron Man 2, and I actually stayed up past 11pm for the first time in a long time.  Unfortunately, Dylan missed the memo where this meant he was supposed to let me sleep in the next day.

Yesterday morning, when I told Dylan that we were going to meet "daddy" at Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and to make a tool box, he was super excited.  When I told him we were going to the library to return books and get new ones in the morning, and that he should go get dressed, he came down the stairs like this...
(Those are his shorts, if you're wondering).
When we over schedule children's lives they let us know.  We just have to pick up on their subtle hints.
We quickly returned the books, then came home and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon relaxing.

Last night I got to watch my 3 1/2 year old and his daddy build something with wood for the first time.  When we were eating, I remarked to Jim, "That sounds an awful lot like REAL hammers they are using over there".  I had this image of Dylan swinging the hammer around, people running for cover, and a trip to the ER, but he did it!  No one was hurt, and he actually hammered a few nails in successfully.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Helping Hand

We lead our children by example.  Much to our surprise, (and horror), we hear them repeating the things we've said.  We see them doing the things we do.  They watch us when we are rude to that salesclerk, when we flip off the guy who cut us off, when we say rude things to our spouse, when we complain about... everything.

Let's teach something else.  Let's teach them about generosity.  Let's teach them about lending a helping hand, no matter how small.  Let's teach them that little acts of kindness are a big deal to those who receive them.  Let's teach them that one person CAN make a difference.

Want an idea to get started?

Go HERE to learn more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunshine & Rainbows

I haven't been ranting much lately.  Have you noticed?  It's not because everything in my life is perfect.  It's not.  Part of it is that there are things I can't write about on my blog.  Part of it is that I really do try to focus on the positive, as much as possible, especially when it comes to being a mother.

I love being a mom, and I love spending time with Dylan, but I think you should know, things aren't always sunshine and rainbows.  Take Sunday, for example.  Jim was putting Dylan's new sandbox together while Dylan and I played outside in the yard.  Sometimes I wonder what my neighbors are thinking, as I hear myself yelling, "Don't throw that toy! It will break!... Don't dump water on my shoes!...Don't touch the hose!... Keep the birdseed in the birdhouse!..."

I really didn't want to spend the morning yelling.  I wanted to have fun, so I suggested a game of keep away after we played in the water table.  We chased each other around the yard, both of us giggling.  After a while, though, it was time for nap.  When I told him in 5 more minutes it would be nap time, he said nothing.  When the 5 minutes were up, I said,

"Okay, it's time to go in".
Dylan:  "No!  I'm not!"
Me: "Yes, you are Dylan!  It's time for nap.  When you wake up, you, me and Daddy will go somewhere".
D:  "NO!"
Me:  "Come inside... right NOW!"
D: "NO, I'm NOT!"
Me:  (Thinking).. Oh boy... I am hot and tired... I don't have the energy for this... Maybe I could build the sandbox?  (Looking over at Jim, who is trying to get the mismatched holes to line up)... Maybe not...
"Dylan, if you don't come in now, I'm going to carry you in LIKE A BABY, and you'll sit in time out!"
D:  "NO!"
(I grab him and try to wrestle a ridiculously strong 38lb squirming wet noodle into the house).
Me:  Great.  Now I am wet, dirty, and sweaty.  I'm going to need a second shower.  "Take your wet clothes off and then sit in time out".
D:  "WAH!"
Me:  Did he just say "WAH"?  He's mocking me?  At 3 1/2?  "DYLAN!  TAKE YOUR CLOTHES OFF!"
D: "WAH!"
Me:  Oh no, he didn't!  "You just lost books before nap!"
D:  "What?"
Me:  "I'm not reading you books before nap now".
(He took off his wet clothes, and threw them at my face!)
Me:  "DYLAN!  THAT WAS NOT NICE!  Now go sit in time out!"  Yes, a naked time out.  What would Super Nanny say?
(He sat in time out, and apologized.  Then, I told him we needed to go upstairs for nap).
D:  "NO!  I'm not!"
Me:  Are you kidding me with this? "If you don't come upstairs by the time I count to five you are losing treat after dinner!  One...Two...Three...Four...Oh crap... FIVE!  NO TREAT!"
(At that point, he scurried up the stairs and as I was putting on a diaper for nap, he asked...
D:  "Mommy?"
Me:  "WHAT?!"  Oh geez, I need to calm down.  "Yes, Dylan?"
D:  "What would be next?"
Me:  "What do you mean?  Oh!  What would you lose next?"
D:  "Yea."
Me:  "Do you really want to find out?"  Please don't find out.  Please don't find out.  I want to go to dinner.  I need to go to dinner.
D:  (Hopping into bed)  "No, that's okay".
Me:  (As I walked down the stairs)  "Sunshine and rainbows... Sunshine and rainbows"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Second Week of Summer

The second week of summer was fun.  We went to the bookstore for story time, went to the playground, got new books at the library, ran in the sprinklers, and had two little girls over for a play date.

Yesterday, we went to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, a yearly tradition.  It is held the first two weeks of June, every year, and every year, you could bet your life savings that it will rain those two weekends.  No kidding!  Sure enough, this year was no exception.  Luckily, it was so hot and muggy that the off and on rain felt pretty good.

(Since the fountain at The Point wasn't on, we needed to find another fountain to complete the tradition!)

(If you are going to be downtown, you must make time to chase a few pigeons).

Last year, Dylan was still in a stroller.  This year he was on foot, which meant that we looked at a lot less art.  Maneuvering a 3 1/2 year old boy who likes to touch everything through a huge crowd, and in and out of art booths without having to buy something is no small feat!  I did manage to see an artist whose style I loved.  She takes photographs and digitally alters them with Photoshop and she also manually alters Polaroids while they are developing to get a really cool effect.  I think I'm going to have to play around with Photoshop to see if I can figure out how she does it.

(We got to see Miss Rosa, from PBS Kids, who told the kids a story about going on a safari.  Dylan has been recreating it all day today).

My favorite part of the day was when we went to an African Rhythm and Dance workshop.  Three lovely ladies and a guy taught the adults and children a traditional African welcome song, and a dance.  Okay, it was mostly just the kids who were brave enough to go up front and dance.  Do you want to guess if my attention loving kid was front and center?

(The three ladies in black shirts were leading the workshop.  Look closely.  Do you see Dylan?)
I don't know if he will always dance so free and uninhibited, but for now, he dances with pure joy and abandonment, and I LOVE it.  At one point, the ladies starting leading the kids around the tent in a conga line.  Dylan had his back to the crowd, facing the drummer, in his own happy world of dance and didn't notice.  He was the only one up there dancing for a while!

Watching the little kids dancing, I thought "How awesome it must be to have no inhibitions!  To simply do what makes you happy, not caring how you look, or who is watching".  I wonder why we lose that, as we get older?  When, and why does that happen, and how can we stop it from happening?  I really hope Dylan keeps dancing.  He makes it look like so much fun, who knows?  I just might join in.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have made, and lost, many friends in my life.  It is the losing part that bothers me.  I wonder why the friendship faded, why we lost touch, what went wrong.  As an only child, friendships have always been very important to me.  As an only child, friendships will probably be very important to Dylan.

I have tried to help Dylan cultivate friendships.  I plan play dates as frequently as I can.  Some of them go well.  Some of them do not.  Years ago, I invited one of the moms in the Mom's Club over with her son and daughter.  My boy, who has never been especially affectionate, spent the majority of the play date doing this...

I was dumbfounded!

  (Later, he tried to impress her by eating his shoe).

Quite a while after that, I had them over to my new house.  That play date did not go as well.  There were a lot of these looks being exchanged...

When her mom told her to say goodbye, she said, "GOOD-BYE!  I'm leaving!", with a great deal of attitude, whipping her hair around in the process.  I'm not sure if he is pouting, or acting indifferent?)

No hugs were exchanged that day.  The other mom and I lost touch, and we didn't see them again until this year, when we passed in the hall at Dylan's preschool.  The two of them didn't even seem to remember each other.

But, I guess that is the way it is with friendship.  People come into our lives, some for years, others for months, some just a day, but each leave an impression.  Each serve a purpose.

Some are in our lives to share a hobby, some to share complaints with, some to lend a listening ear, some to make us laugh.  Some come at a time when we just... need to hug someone.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mommy Books

The past few weeks, I've been getting books from the library, for me to read to Dylan.  I don't spend a lot of time looking for books to check out.  I don't have a lot of time, with Mr. Impatient at my side.  Usually something will just catch my eye - a title, the cover picture, an author - that will make me grab the book.  I very rarely read them before bringing them home, which is nice, because Dylan and I get to experience the book together for the first time.  I've been checking out 7 books a week.  Some are duds, and are only read once.  Some are okay.  This week's pile brought two complete gems that I have to tell you about.

The first, which I read to him on Sunday, is "Mama Says", by Rob D. Walker.  On the book itself, it says "A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons", and that is exactly what it is.  If you have a son, you need this book.  I also think it would be perfect as a gift from a grown man to his mom.  Because I couldn't say it any better, this is how the website describes it...

"In this elegant expression of wisdom and love, mothers around the world share lifes simplest yet important lessons with their sons. With Leo and Diane Dillons magnificent paintings, these moments of sharing are profound, engrossing, and a tender display of hope and trust, strength and support. Each verse presents a different family and is translated into a language related to their culture. Whether Cherokee or Korean or American, true love between parent and child transcends our differences and unites us all."

Before I talk about the second book, I should tell you I don't LOVE my job.  I do what I do, (being a part time nanny), because it allows me to make enough money to stay home with Dylan Wednesday through Friday.  I cherish the time that I am getting to spend with him while he is young.  I try to make that time extra special because I know how fast that time will go.  So, when it is sunny and beautiful on Monday and Tuesday, and cold and rainy on Wednesday, I get a bit grumpy.  Today I decided to hell with the rain, we would enjoy the day anyway.  We went to Barnes & Nobles for story time and to play with the train.  When we got home, we snuggled under a blanket to read "Let's Go On A Mommy Date", by Karen Kingsbury, and I cried while reading it.  By the end, my voice was an octave higher,  the tears were streaming down my cheek, and I had to explain to Dylan that sometimes people cry when they are happy.

"See, time will take you far from here; you're growing way too fast.
All I want is Mommy time to make the moments last.
Something we'll remember so that come some far-off day,
you'll know how much I loved you 'cause we took the time to play."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Week of Summer

Yesterday, my parents took Dylan to their place from 10:30am-8pm.  What did Jim and I do with all that free time?  Jim planted three more trees and built one of the new dressers we got from Ikea.  I did two loads of laundry, and cleaned the living room, family room, hallway, Dylan's bedroom, Dylan's bathroom, and the master bathroom.  We really know how to let loose, and have a wild and crazy time, don't we?  (Sigh)  It did feel good to get some things done, though, and we were able to go out for dinner, which is always nice.

Every year around this time, the planning begins.  I love summer, and I feel the need to pack as much fun into the 12 weeks of summer as possible.  This first week of summer was a bit of a bust, due to all the rain, and the fact that Dylan has had a cold.  We did manage to play in the water table a bit, got new books at the library, got Dylan a much needed haircut, and went to Target to buy what will probably be the best $3 I will spend this summer.  Three dollars for hours of this...

...equals a good start to summer!  

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Coffee Can Craft Tutorial

Okay, so I didn't participate in Paint With Me Thursday this week.  I just haven't been feeling very creative.  I've had a serious case of the Blah's.  Dylan would say, "Why, Mommy?  Why do you have the Blah's?  BUT WHY?  WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY...?"  He has entered into that magical stage, and I am finding myself praying for patience.  Lots of patience.  I do love curiosity, and I believe in asking questions, but pretty soon his only question is going to be "Mommy, WHY are you beating your head against the wall?"

I figured just because I'm not feeling creative, doesn't mean he is feeling the same way, so I asked if he'd like to do a craft today.  I considered it a success already when he didn't ask "WHY?", but simply answered, "YES!!"

So often, when doing crafts with children, we want them to do something WE would like.  Something charming, and precious, to hang on our refrigerator.  I'm warning you now, YOU might not enjoy this craft.  YOU might think I am slightly daft for even suggesting it.  Why?  Because it is slightly messy, and very noisy!  Which, of course, means that your kids will love it!

This is what you'll need...(An old coffee can, white paper, scissors, a pencil or pen, washable paint, something to put the paint in, and marbles). Cleaning off all the crap already on your kitchen table? Completely optional).
*Important Tip - If you are making this with a group of kids, or with a very impatient 3 year old boy, for goodness sakes, set everything up BEFORE you ask them if they want to do a craft.  There he was, sitting at the table, completely excited, and I realized I was going to have to run upstairs and get paper.  I asked him, "Do you think it is at all possible for you to just sit here and not touch anything while I go upstairs and get paper?!"  His answer?  "No, I don't think so".  At least he knows his own limitations.

First put the can on the paper, and trace some circles.  Make a bunch - trust me.  If your kids can cut, let them start cutting them out.  You'll have to cut the circles a little smaller for them to fit inside the can.

Put one circle in the bottom of the can.  Then, let your child dip each marble into a different color of paint and drop it into the can.  Once they've done that with each marble, put on the lid. (Make sure it is completely on!!)

Then comes the best part - the part you'll love me for - the shaking.

After accosting your ear drums sufficiently, they can take off the lid and see their masterpiece!

I like to recycle (I used paper he already colored on, but "messed up" on) so when they are done, let them use up the paint by painting a picture.

Remember, it's not really important if YOU love the craft. What is important is that they will have fun. Messy and noisy! Why ask Why, right?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

What we did this weekend...

(Went to a picnic/birthday party, and watched Dylan play with his second cousins).

(Spent some time enjoying nature, and throwing rocks in the stream).

(Ran through the sprinkler.  Or, in Dylan's case, tiptoed AROUND the sprinkler, not wanting to get his face wet).

(Jim and my dad planted 12 more of those trees in the background.  Then, we all went to Dylan's favorite restaurant - Eat N Park)

(Finally got the water table set up in the yard, and ordered a sandbox, which should be arriving any day now!)

(Spent some time reading.  No, it's not one of the ones I bought at the library.  I found out the Mom's Club I belong to is going to discuss it at the next book club meeting, and decided to see if the library had it.  I walked up to the librarian and asked her "Do you have a soft place to land?"  Yep, I did.  What was I thinking?  You should have seen the look she gave me!  After I clarified, "Uh, the book?", we both started cracking up.  I should finish it today).

The weekend went by way too fast, even with the extra day.  What did you do?  Hope you enjoyed it!