Wednesday, June 30

Rapunzel no more


This sweet girl is getting her hair cut today!








She's had almost four years of fun hair:




I have never cut her hair, and today she's going to the grown-up girls' salon to get a brand new summer 'do! We are donating her almost-to-her-bottom ponytail to Locks of Love. She is excited for now, but I'm anxious to see how she does in the stylist's chair.






On second thought, she'll probably do great. She's got more Girly in her pink painted pinkie than I have in my whole body.




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Monday, June 28

He shined.

His little hands clenched and released; dirt under his fingernails, a surprisingly nonfatal splinter wound almost healed on his palm. He looked around the room in an uncharacteristically quiet way. He glanced up at me for confirmation that this was going to be okay. I nodded my head, put on the best and biggest smile I could manage, and told him he would be spectacular. He looked to me to find his courage; the same way -just over six years ago- I looked at him and found mine.


Both of us had been looking forward to his short week at summer camp since February. He is a legacy at that camp; he follows in my storied footsteps. I was a camper there, one week each summer, for 12 years. When I could no longer be a camper, I became a counselor. Some of the kids I had as campers are now counselors, and that makes me very very old. I told him stories, I told him secrets, I gave him insider information to ease him into this new experience.

He has never been a timid soul. He has chameleon skin, he thrives in New. He is so much like me; he is so different from me. He is an adventurer, an explorer, a child-sized pioneer.

But.

There was a moment of uncertainty. There was a second of hesitation. We leaned into each other, and knew we would follow through.


He is so grown up, so big, so sure of himself. Yet he is so small, still my baby, still my firstborn.

The campers circled in around him, the counselors used their “Welcome to camp this is gonna be great!” voices to introduce him. He hung back, and then he joined in. He walked behind, and then he caught up. He told everyone he already knew the names of the four mountains surrounding the camp. He said he’d share the story of the legendary catfish that still swims in the murky lake.



He rounded a corner and found that we’d beaten him to the cabin. As his daddy dropped off his sleeping bag, his suitcase, his pillow, his puppy, he gave me one last hug. Any hesitation he felt just minutes before had evaporated. He did a let-me-go-already dance and kissed my cheeks. His daddy told him to remember who he was; I told him to shine his light.






He shimmered. He shined.











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Thursday, June 24

Things I Love Thursday: All they wanna do is dance

Some days,
there is nothing left,
but to dance.




*please ignore the threadbare carpet
and the beach towel covering the window
and the patio table umbrella in the corner
and the fact that The Baby is only wearing a diaper
and The Girl's mismatched did-it-herself outfit
and the laundry basket on the floor
and the toys that are surely suffering Shaken Babydoll Syndrome

But. The girls sure can let it all out. Even my niece got in on the action, though she's not normally a mover and/or shaker.
And my Ladybug knows how to end with a flourish.

Their jam is "Do You Believe in Love" by NewWorldSon



Some days, you just have to dance it out.



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Wednesday, June 23

How not to beat your children

*note* Beating your children is never ok, and is never funny. Except when you're talking to your girlfriends about how badly your children need beating. But, never remark on how badly their children need beating, even if their children are way badder than yours.

Several months ago I wrote a tweet that went something like this:
"Do they still have schoolkids write sentences as a punishment?"
I got varied responses, but it was kind of a moot point. My kids don't write. (Well, The Boy does, but his penmanship is deplorable. We're working on it. Kindergarten wasn't much use except to get him out of my hair for 8 hours a day.)

What I wanted to know was what other forms of discipline were available to me.
The first link after Googling "alternative discipline for children" boasts this headline: "Alternative discipline: How to avoid smacking your child"

Well.
I have never, not once, smacked my child. Any of them. What I have done, and will continue to do until I see reason not to, is to spank them.

Oh law, she's bringing out the S word.
Yep. We spank our Bees.
We do it when they have deliberately disobeyed.
We do it when they knowingly break our (pre-set and talked-to-death) rules.
We do it when they lie.
There are some other caveats, but those are the big 3. Both of the elder Bees know when they are in for it. They know why we do it. They know it will always be done with a whippin' spoon, and never with our hands (unless it's a for real dire situation). They know -or at least, have been told- that we do it out of love, and that neither the cause or effect lessens our love for them. We do it, and then it's done. Until the next time.

But we also know our children. We know what works for them, and what doesn't. For The Girl, one swift swat to one chubby buttcheek does the trick. She is mortified, she is heartbroken, and she is on the straight-and-narrow for a good 6 days after that. The Boy is different; we could spank him 14 times in a 2 hour period (this may or may not have happened once), and he would still be defiant; still do it his own way. We are not yet sure about The Baby. For now she responds well to a "Huh-uh, no ma'am!" or calling her name in a stern voice.

We don't smack our children.

However, not every offense warrants a spanking. Sometimes we take away a tangible privilege. Sometimes we reward the one who was doing the right thing at that time. We've even resorted to the ever popular "time out," but use it more as a calming down period for an overwrought, overtired, or overly emotional kid (um, and mom).


I'd still like a few more options in our disciplinary repertoire. But, there are some that I know won't work for our kids, or that I won't employ based on my own crazy notions.

1) Yelling. Yelling as a form of punishment is never effective. Kids block it out, and your point is lost in the loud oblivion.

2) The "nose in the corner" standby. I had a biology teacher do this to me. In high school. It was humiliating, and I think that was his point. I am not willing to humiliate my kids, and since they still have such a relatively low concept of time, it is pointless to leave them sniffing cobwebs for very long. The hubs tried this once with Pooter, and he just stood- nosedeep- and danced. It didn't quite work out the way my husband planned.

3) I'm opposed to the sentence-writing thing, also. I love words. I love reading them and I love writing them. I want to, and am working to, instill in my kids a love of words. If I turn the words against my kids, use them as a weapon, I'm afraid they'll lose a bit of their magic. (This comes again from my own experience. My 5th grade teacher hated my guts and I spent almost every recess writing sentences over and over and over and freaking over.)

4) Running laps, doing push-ups, other hardcore feats of athleticism are out. I've heard stories from the hubs about how he was made to do all of the above and it only fueled his pre-teen rebellion. Now, he was a rebel anyway, but it falls along the same lines as #3. I want my kids to love playing outside. I want them to be healthy; I don't want to use exercise as a stand-in for punishment. (That is not to say, though, that I don't send my kids out for a few minutes of running around time in the backyard when they are driving myself and each other batty. I totally do that.)

5) Washing out of the mouth with a bar o' Ivory. I'm just not gonna do it. It's gross. It's mean. It's Miss Hannigan-ish.

6) I'm sure there are plenty more.... no smoking a whole pack of cigarettes after being caught smoking one (I thought this was only in the movies, but I had a friend whose father actually made him do this.) ...no humiliation, no retaliation.

I'm sure some of our disciplinary and punishment-al (yes. I can make up words. It's my blog.) will change as the Bees get older.
I'm sure we'll ground them and take away their phones and refuse to let their friends drink at our house (oh wait, that's another post) and we'll be totally the worst most oppressive freakin' lame parents who ever lived, man.
We'll adapt as they do. I might even do one of the aformentioned never-gonna-do's. But not the mouth-washing. Ick.


In the mean time, I'd like to know some gentle-yet-effective, creative but not cheesy/hippy/tool-ish parenting tactics.






Not that my kids need ever a beating, or anything.










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Monday, June 21

It's Thirsties Diaper Giveaway Time!

We have a winner!!


Comment #17 belongs to Bethany at The Joyful Life!
Congrats, Bethany! I'll email you all the info soon!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and don't forget to check out Thirsties Duos and all the other great products!


...................................................................
This little bloggy momma is taking a 76-hour sabbatical from the real world. I'm heading to a cabin in the woods to rest, relax and write, so I figured I'd leave you with some fun while I'm gone.

The official review post will come later, but suffice it to say, we LOVE the Thirsties Duo Diaper. The insert that came with it has double layer hemp and microfiber and is incredibly soft and absorbant.

Here's a little bit about Thirsties:

Thirsties® is a small (but growing!) cloth diaper company committed to greener parenting and Eco Friendly solutions, not to mention 100% USA Made quality! Erin, founder of Thirsties, started this business with an old sewing machine and $100 5 years ago. Through her hard work and diligence, the company is now one of the leaders in the cloth diaper industry. Our diapers are now made by work at home mothers, and very close to our warehouse, reducing our carbon output.
I requested a catalog (find the request form here) and it came a few days before the diaper showed up. The catalog itself is a great resource for cloth diapering info and Thirsties products.
 
You can find out more on their website http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/ or check out their Facebook page.
 
And now the fun part!!
 
Go to the Thirsties' website and check out their Duo Diaper. (There are lots of other diapering options, but the giveaway is for the Duo.) 
All you have to do is leave a comment telling me which size and color you want to win! 
 
That's. It. 
 
You don't have to tweet it or put it on your own blog or do a thousand other things for more entries. Though, if you want to pass along the giveaway info to other friends and family, you are more than welcome! 
 
 
 
Good luck to you! I'll let http://www.random.org/ choose a comment number and notify the winner next Monday!
 
 

*not my actual baby.
**though I will post pictures of my actual baby along with the review
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Sunday, June 20

It's Father's Day.

All over my internets today, people are singing the praises of their fathers. Facebook is bogged down with “If ur Daddy was the best Daddy in the Universe, Re-Post this so every1 knows!” status updates. Twitter is even on paternal overload.

But what do I say if my father wasn’t the best in the universe? It hardly seems that today would be the best time to fill my lungs and shout, “MY DAD WAS REALLY PRETTY CRAPPY!” from the top of my blog-mountain, but the truth is the truth, no matter the national holiday.

So, I did what I do, I let it out in 140 characters or less:

And that, my friends, is also the truth. I would take my father’s hurtful, neglectful, pin-in-my-balloon words and deeds over and over again if it meant my daughters didn’t have to ever feel that way; didn’t ever have to hear those things from their own Daddy.

I know that life isn’t set up on a give-and-take, punishment-and-reward scale. I know my kids have a wonderful father, not because I suffered a non-wonderful father, but because that is simply the way it should be. I believe in the Sovereignty of the Lord, I believe that all things work together for the good (though not necessarily the easy, or the fun) of those who love that Lord. I believe I was made stronger by simply having come out of the other side of my childhood intact and not 100% crazytown. I believe my husband was shaped by his (extra-wonderful) father, who allowed his own heart to be molded by the Heavenly Father.

So today is weird for me. I am thankful for the brief shining happy moments I shared with my Daddy. I mourn the loss of our relationship, one that crumbled years before the loss of his life. But I am thankful for him too. He left in me a love of Razorback football, a stubborn spirit (yes, that can sometimes be a good thing), and the blue-eyed gene I passed on to my own babies. I am thankful that I was painted a very clear picture of what not to look for in a husband. I am thankful he taught me how to till a garden, how to drive a car, how to cast a fishing pole. I am thankful that my children’s father is nothing like my own.

Today? Is weird for me.



 
 
 
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Friday, June 11

I'll be there for you...

.cause you're there for me too.
(lyrics from the Friends theme song.)

I love my friends. My life is a Venn diagram of Important People. Actually, my life looks more like the Olympics symbol, overlapping and full of Amazing Important People.

Each ring symbolizes different "circles" I run in. My church friends, my school friends, my life-long friends, my Twitter/bloggy friends, my family friends, even my acquaintance friends. They are all so important to me.

I love my friends, and I like to give presents to my friends. I would deliver or send presents annonymously, but I like for people to know who loves them.

My very best friend lives just six miles away, but I can't remember the last time I've seen her beautiful face. Sometimes I like to leave a small present at her front door- a smell good lotion, a pair of soft socks, some Reese's peanut butter cups she won't buy for herself. (Once, on a hot summer day I filled up a small cooler with ice so the Reese's wouldn't melt. I'm smart like that.)

I have a friend who, when she bravely went away to college by herself, I sent her a few boxes of happiness filled with smell good candles, brownie mix and pedicure paraphernalia.

During the (very brief) time my husband and I were dating and living an hour and a half away from each other, I sent him cards- store bought, home made, glittery, simple- all kinds of cards so that he knew I was thinking of him.

When one of my Twitter-friends was sick this spring, I sent her a small box of pretties for her and some fun things for her little boy.

Eons ago, when we would take family vacations together, I drove my parents crazy buying souveniers for my friends. I had very detailed lists of which friends I wanted to buy gifts for, and what they most needed and what I desperately wanted to give them. (Because every good friend brought back sea shell picture frames, dolphin t-shirts, braided sea-kelp bracelets and Mason jars full of sand for her pals.)


All this to say, I love giving gifts. It may be one of my spiritual, well,  gifts.

I am not good with giving my time, I am not good about returning calls, I am not even good at doling out advice (but oh, how I try sometimes), but I pride myself in knowing my friends, and showing them that somebody gets them, and that somebody loves them.

My friends support me in so many ways. My friends are forgiving, funny, and fiercely loyal. I will never be able to repay many the wonderful people in my life, but I will never stop trying.

So if you recieve some small token, some odd knick-knack, some random item from me someday, please know it is my way of saying,
"I love you. Thanks for loving me, too."







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Wednesday, June 9

maybe tomorrow

So, remember that enigmatic (though totally not on purpose) blog post a few days ago? Here's one of the Really Cool Things:


I'm going to do my first ever bloggy giveaway with Thirsties diapers! They are an incredible cloth diapering company, doing incredibly green things, and creating jobs and materials here in the good ol' U S of A.



I recieved one of their Duo Diapers for my Bunny to try and for me to review, and I get to give away one too!


Except, not today.

Today I have sick kids.

  • The Boy has a confirmed case of strep, a mean fever, and a nasty strep-rash (have YOU ever heard of strep rash? Scarlatina. Scarlet fever/strep rash. I had never heard of such.)

  • I got notice from my mother-in-law (who was keeping the girls while I was at the doctor with The Boy) that The Girl was running a fever too. By the time I got all of the kids home, she was inconsolable, her fever had spiked at 102.6 and she puked on the bathroom floor.

  • The Baby, who was fine this morning after knocking the back of her precious skull on metal bleachers last night, also has a fever and is refusing to be out of my arms.
So.
No fun blogging today. Just a pitiful bunch of Bees.

While you wait for the giveaway contest with bated breath, go check out http://www.thirstiesbaby.com/  They have a wide selection of cloth diapers and diaper covers. You can even order diaper laundry supplies, too.

Or, request a catalog (I got mine in the mail a few days before the diaper arrived, and it is beautiful and informative!)






*disclaimer* I reread this post, and it seems awfully pitchy. Here's how it happened: I contacted a few cloth diaper manufacturers with a query for diapers. We're making the switch from sucky Pampers to cloth, and I wanted to try out different brands before we spent a big chunk of cash. I (amaturely) asked for 1 diaper to try and review, and 1 to giveaway. I had several no thanks, it's against policy, we're too big, we get too many requests, we're too small, we're flat out uninterested --type responses.
But I got two surprisingly enthusiastic responses, and one was from Thirsties. They agreed to send me a diaper to review on the blog, and they agreed to ship another diaper for the contest winner. I haven't used the diaper yet for The Baby, but everything I've learned about the company so far makes me love them, what they do for parents, what they do for babies, and what they do for the earth.
If I don't like the results of the diaper try-out, I'll post such. If I love it, I'll post that, too. They didn't send me a PR/Marketing email, I contacted them. Thirsties is a small-but-growing company, and they've been professional and wonderful thus far.

I'm not doing a giveaway in order to grow my blog readers. My goal for blogging is not to have MORE but to have BETTER. Not more posts, but better ones. Not more "fans" but better friends. And, I like giving my friends presents.
So, if you have a kid in diapers, if you know a kid in diapers, or if you might have a kid that might wear diapers someday, come on back around in a few days. You might already be a winner. :)





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Monday, June 7

last day / first day


Friday was The Boy's last day of kindergarten.

(Thursday was the Kindergarten Awards and musical program. My Boy got an award for Best Reader. He also played a solo on the rhythm sticks. No mother has ever been more proud of such feats of genius.)(Also, that's his BFF Shelby with him. She won a PE award and Most Helpful. They're Future Leaders of America, for sure.)(Also, I did not dress him. The heavy knit vest was of his own accord. I did, however, remove it from his person after the awards ceremony.)

This was The Boy on his first day of school:


And here, on the last day:



His first year of school has been full of ups and downs and smiles and tears... and germs.
Among the many microbes he brought home were strep throat, H1N1, mono and about a dozen mystery fevers. It became somewhat of a running joke on facebook when I'd post a status that he was sick. Again.


So it is fitting that today, on our his first day of sweet freedom, he is sick.

Fever, swollen lymph nodes, general malaise.



Happy summer, y'all.






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Friday, June 4

House Party!

No, not this one:

This one:


I friggin' love it.

A friend of mine signed up, and then yanked me up onto the bandwagon.
The premise of the site is very basic: fill out a questionaire and when a product suits your family/job/tastes, they'll send you an application. Fill out the application and if you get accepted, they send you a bunch of awesome stuff, and you have a ....house party. (You invite a bunch of friends, give them the free product, coupons, bonus items. You are encouraged but not required to blog/tweet/facebook about the stuff.)

My first houseparty party was for some kind of bread. I got coupons to buy the bread, and coupons to give other folks, but the coolest thing was that I got 15 eco-friendly reusable grocery bags to give out.

Free.

Did I mention the whole shebang is free? Like, they don't even ask for a credit card number, free. Like, you don't pay for shipping, free.

I've applied to host other parties, but got a big REJECTED notice. I was really hoping to host a HASBRO game night. We love our family games.

I wanted to host a DiGiorno's pizza party a few months ago, but got denied on that one too. But, and this is so cool, just this week I got a mailer with a $4 coupon as a "consolation prize" because I didn't get to host that party. Tonight I bought a DiGiorno's pizza for $0.98 because it was on sale and I had a big fat coupon!

The most recent party I hosted was a McDonald's and Shrek the Fourth McNugget party. (I even posted some pictures of kids and nuggs!)
We got a completely insane amount of swag for that party.
Shrek invitations cups, napkins, and paper plates from Hallmark
A Shrek movie poster (which, admittedly, went into the circular file)
16 Shrek character watches
15 Happy Meal toys
Shrek the Third on dvd
a cd w/party music
boxes for the kids' meals
tickets with special online codes
15 coupons for free Minute Maid juice box
15 coupons for free ice cream
a friggin' $75 Arch Card to buy a bazillion nuggets
and 2 Shrek collectible glasses

yep. Those glasses. The cadmium-tainted, non-toxic-but-just-in-case-we're-recalling-them glasses. 

What I found so awesome (besides the $75 gift card!) was that mere hours after I first heard about the recall (via twitter, natch), I got an email from houseparty.com and McDonalds.

For those who received the glassware as part of the Party Pack, please dispose of the glassware as you deem appropriate. As a token of our appreciation for your understanding and this inconvenience, we will be sending all McDonald’s McNuggets and Shrek Forever After House Party hosts a $10 McDonald’s Arch Card. Hosts should receive them in the next 2-3 weeks. For those of you who purchased additional glassware at our restaurants, please visit www.mcdonalds.com/glasses beginning early next week for instructions on returning glassware and requesting a refund.


How cool is that?
Yes, McDonald's is a fast-food joint, one that we hit up less than once a week, one that is not as healthy a place as they'd like to think they are, but I thought it was fantastic of this company to do a preemptive recall, and to let us know about it almost immediately.



So anyway, back to the free.

It's free. And it's fun. And they didn't pay me to write this post (except in awesome swag. Did I mention the swag?), I'm just really impressed with the platform they're using to get new/improved/rebranded products to the consumer in a neat way.

Also, I kind of love filling out surveys or forms or bubbling in letters. (Have I told you I outscored my valedictorian BFFs on the ACT because I'm a killer test taker?)

Try it out, yo. HouseParty.com Host some fun of your own.


And?
Swag.




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Wednesday, June 2

line 'em up

Some days are really hard. Some days my patience is worn paper-thin. Some days are 3 Dr. Pepper days.

But then.
Some days are really good, really easy, and really awesome in general.

In the words of the illustrious Ice Cube, "today was a good day."



In fact, it's been a pretty good week.



I know it's all teaser-y of me, but I'm not going to post about all the good stuff... yet. I'm going to save it up for a few days, savor it on my own. Not like a secret, but more like Christmas anticipation. Waiting on the good to be revealed.



Do stick around, y'all. There might be some good things coming your way too.





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