Thursday, June 30

Pack it up, pack it in. Let camp begin.

The Boy is at camp for a few days.

It's the same camp I attended for one week (and sometimes two) every summer for thirteen years. And when I was too old to be a camper? I became a counselor for a summer.

After hours upon hours of getting myself ready for various summer camps and fall/spring youth retreats (once my mother delegated the task to me) and all manner of road trips, I have become a truly excellent packer.
I may wait until the very last possible minute to do it, but once I'm in the bag-packing groove, I totally zone out. And when I'm done? And standing in front of a well-packed suitcase? It's a very strange, and very satisfying high.

I've learned a few things, though, about packing a boy for a trip. The Boy went to camp last year, and I over did it.
Last year I packed him several shorts and several t-shirts. For the three-day-two-night camp, I sent six shirts. All but two of them came home folded exactly the way I had sent them. The big toiletry bag I stuffed with shampoo, conditioner, bar of soap, lotion, powder, sunscreen, chapstick, toothpaste and a toothbrush? Un.touched.
Boys are gross.

So this year I packed lightly.

  • Three sets of shorts/shirt combos, rolled together
  • One pair of pajamas
  • Hotel bottles of shampoo and body wash (wishful thinking, I know)
  • Toothbrush
  • One pair of swim trunks
  • One towel
  • Some socks (that may or may not have been matched)
  • Six pairs of underwear (two tighty-whities, two boxer briefs, two boxers)
  • Bible
  • Flashlight
  • His pal Lucy.

The Boy and Lucy, circa fall 2007

The underwear was overkill, I know. But I'm hoping the excessive choices will lend to actually wearing the drawers. (Because he has a habit of going commando. And has since he was four.)

The thing I'm probably most proud of for remembering to pack? A fitted sheet for the bunk bed. 
When I was a camper, we had three-hundred-year old bunk rolls. That may be an exaggeration, but only barely. They were grody. And I'd get hot, sleeping in my sleeping bag. And I'd stay awake for hours to make sure that no part of my body made direct contact with the bed. It was excruciating.

My summer as a counselor was full of egg-carton mattress pads and sheets and comforters. I had learned by then, trial-by-disgusting-bedding.

So as not to deprive my son of the real camping experience (In the now-geothermal heated and cooled cabins. Not the screened-in business I slept in two decades ago), I sent a sleeping bag, but I made sure to send that fitted sheet to go under it.

He probably won't even use it.

Because we've established: Boys are gross. 

The Boy, post camp, 2010


Monday, June 27

Elsewhere on the Internets

So, Type-A was fantastic. And I have so many words bouncing around in my head about it.

But for now there's laundry and unpacking and kid-cuddling, I'm excited to share this link:

I'm one of the Top 9 today on DailyBuzz Moms!

DailyBuzz is a great site full of great posts. Today's Top 9 are about Homeschooling Tips and Experiences. One of my my favorite posts made it to the front page.
My little blog is growing up, y'all.


Monday, June 20

The Only Good Thing Dora Ever Did

I hate Dora. 

(I know. What a great opener, huh?)

She makes me crazy. She's too yelly, she asks obvious questions, she rarely blinks, she's pretty helpless... and what kind of parents let their pre-schooler run around in the jungle with only a bug-eyed monkey for a babysitter? Irresponsible.

I managed to avoid Dora entirely with the first two Bees. The Boy was a big fan of Elmo, and dinosaurs, and really, we rarely watched TV. The Girl fell fast and hard for Abby Cadabby, and that was alright with me. But for some unknown reason, The Baby loves Dora. I mean, loooooves her.

But she's not so great at opening bedroom doors. 
(Awesome segue, me. I'm really on fire with the doing of the writing today.)

So, a few days ago when The Baby shut herself in her brother's room, she stared shouting. 
Ayúdame, Ayúdame! 
She has a tendency to yell incoherent words and phrases, loudly and often, so I wasn't certain I heard her correctly. 

Until she did it again.

Ayúdame! Help me! I am in! this! roooom!

So, I think I can start telling people that The Baby is bilingual, right? Because having a bilingual child is just so much better than having a kid who zombs out in front of the television when cartoons are on. 


Friday, June 17

The Baby Reads the Classics

When The Boy was small, under 18 months old, he could spell his name. He could recognize exotic animals by sight. He could distinguish an octagon from a hexagon.

My husband has a cousin who, at two years old, could tell you the square root of several numbers.
The pastor who married us? His daughter could point out body parts like clavicle, sternum, and philtrum when she was a toddler.

None of these kids were Mensa members. They weren't exceptionally gifted (ok, well, The Boy was kind of astounding in his sponge-like approach to academia), it's just that they were taught these things the way other kids were taught lips, nose, and eyes... circle, square, and triangle... one, two, and three.

Kids learn what you teach them.
They learn what you intentionally teach them, and they learn when you don't even realizing they're learning.
the sweetest pile of reading Bees

For as long as I've been reading to The Bees, which is to say- since they developed hearing in utero, I've added the author and illustrator names when I announce the title of the book I'm about to read.

"Here is Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by Bruce Degan."
"Next up: Quick as a Cricket, by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood."
"Ok, this is the last time, I'm serious. Pajama Time, written and illustrated by The Fabulous Sandra Boynton"

It's become a habit, to introduce the books like this when we read together.

So it made my heart extra happy-fluttery when I heard The Baby reading to herself the other day, alone in the reading corner of the living room.

"Da Berry Hun-gy Catapilla, by Eric Cahl."
I love the image Google used!

She knows every word by heart, even the long bit about the cocoon and the caterpillar's staying inside "fa more than TWO WEEKS, MOMMY!"

And the ending? When he turns into a beautiful butterfly? Has got to be the most emotionally and visually satisfying book ending ever. For a two-and-a-half year old. And maybe even for me.

What classic kiddo books do/did your kids love? 
What learning habits do you try to instill in them?


Tuesday, June 14

One Year Away from The Itch

Happy anniversary, love.

The past six years have been fast and full and wild and wonderful.

Here's to sixty more.

June 14, 2005

Our song... because after months of me secretly loving it, he came home one day and declared it ours.


Friday, June 10

Improper Foundation Garments, or, How I Prevented My Own Heat Stroke

It's hot, y'all.

I vacillate daily between wanting to whine about how hot it is, to wanting to punch the people who whine about how hot it is. - I've been waiting all winter to start complaining about the summer heat
Oh, look, a highly appropriate ecard. 

I don't remember summers being this hot when I was younger. I mean, I also don't remember why on earth I would ever eat bologna and mayo sandwiches when I was younger, but still.
It may be global warming, or it may be the extra __ pounds I've put on in the last 6 years (have I mentioned our 6th anniversary is next week? There is no mystery there. Happy = Chubby), but either way, I'm burning up.
So much so that I am thisclose to eschewing all modesty and/or propriety and am about to start running around in tube tops and hotpants. Like a deranged Hollywood starlet, minus the cocaine and Uggs.

Ok, fine. No, I probably won't go that far. But it's true I can't remember the last time I wore a spaghetti-strapped shirt or dress without a tank or tee underneath. And lets be honest- that is a combination of about 30% true modesty, and 70% I'm uncomfortable baring arms. (My arms, not actual weaponry.)

Last week, however, we hit 90something degrees in central Arkansas, which might as well have been 237°. I pulled out my favorite light-weight tunic dress and decided to forego the bottom layer.

Which is when I realized: I don't own a single strapless bra.
Not one.

I do have two new heavy-duty numbers that I just love. (Lift! Separation!) I also have several ratty comfortable nursing bras that I can't part with, because I am just that nuts. But no strapless ones.

And so, I did this:

(That is neither my actual bra or my actual hand using actual scissors. It's a graphic representation of my dramatic act, found on the grand ol' google.)

Yes. I cut off the straps off one of my bras. Not one of the new ones, one of the ratty previously more useful nursing bras. 

And you know what? It felt good to have the cool car A/C blowing on my bare shoulders again. I was hyper-aware of my heavy artillery (My arms, not my bazoombas) on display for all of Chick-Fil-A to see, but for just a little while, I didn't care. 

Now, I doubt I'll be running around in tube tops and hot pants any time soon. Or strappy sundresses. And yes, maybe I need to actually purchase a proper strapless bra instead of my mutilated home-made version. 

But at least I'm one step closer to self-confidence away from passing out on a fainting couch/punching someone in the face.


Tuesday, June 7

Marriage Advice: Make Helpful Diagrams... Alternatively Titled: A Letter to My Husband

Dear Sweet Helpful Husband,
I really appreciate all that you do for our family. You work tirelessly at your paying gig, and just as tirelessly at all the other non-financially profitable gigs. That you volunteer to do. Because you are a fantastic person.
You are an incredible father, and the best husband I've ever had. Easy on the eyes, too.
It makes me crazy when you do the laundry.
I know, I know, if I would only do the laundry when I say I will, you wouldn't have to passive-aggressively wash the girls' bathing suits and my bras in the same load as your yard-work shorts and dog-pee clean up towels.
You are a naturally helpful, organized, clean person, and I am a natural slob free spirit.
It's just...
I can't stand it when you put away our daughters' clothes. I will be the first to admit: I am a freak-and-a-half when it comes to proper putting away of clothes. (If only I was so crazy about doing the dishes, am I right?)
There is a system, honey.
It's been in place for years.
I've never changed it.
But since you haven't mastered the system yet, I drew a Helpful Diagram:

It's easy. Systematic. Logical. 

So, when I find The Girl's Easter dress wadded up in what is clearly her baby sister's jammy drawer, I get a little tense. And when a 24 month zip-up onesie sneaks its way into the bottom drawer- the one filled with 5T t-shirts and denim cut-offs, I seethe, just a little bit. When there are little girl panties on hangers in the closet? I lose. my. mind.

So, I'm hoping that this Helpful Diagram will help. Because it takes away valuable housekeeping time (I could be mopping!!) when I have to dump the contents of five separate dresser drawers onto the floor and start from scratch. 

I love you.
You look handsome today.
And thanks for letting me eat the last of your white chocolate vanilla bean cheesecake.

Did I mention how much I love you?

Thursday, June 2

What's Your At-Bat Song?

A few weeks ago, I went to an Arkansas Travelers baseball game with Audreya and a few other fine folks. I've been to several baseball games in my life. As opposed to everything but football other sports, I really love live baseball. But baseball on tv? Not unless I'm couch-napping.

I must be older and crotchety-er than I had previously thought. There was a whole group of people sitting with us on the berm at the Travs game, and I couldn't hear a word any of them were saying. It was just. so. loud. When I complained about being an old lady and the poor selection of jock jams that seemed to be on an endless 15-second repeating loop, I learned a little something.

Baseball players get to pick their at-bat songs.
Oh, hey Chipper. 

This was a revelation to me. My sweet friend Sarah Leer was shocked, shocked! that I didn't know this tradition. She said that one of the first things she asks people, to assess their awesomeness and calculate likelihood of future friendship, is what their at-bat song would be.

I was floored. I've had this recurring daydream for about 20 years now: I'm a rockstar, I'm standing in the backstage area of a mega-arena filled with my adoring fans, and they're all cheering- ready for me to make my grand entrance. (Pathetic? Maybe. But it's my happy place. You have your beach, I have my limelight.) I imagine this is how ball players feel when they step up to the plate, energized and totally psyched up by the song of their choosing.

Your at-bat song is no light matter. I thought about what mine would be for weeks before it dawned on me.

There is one song that has stuck with me since the first time I heard it about nine years ago. It's like a Pavlovian booty-shaking response when I hear it. It makes my happy and it makes me dance. I have applied various lyrics to various stages of my life. It gives the listener no choice but to love it more.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give to you.....

My at-bat song.

Turn it up loud.

Isn't it fantastic?

So give your at-bat song some serious thought (or maybe you've had it picked out for years? Wild Thing? Pour Some Sugar on Me? Bo Diddley?) and let me know!!