I snapped this picture the other day:
Baby, Sadie the dog, and Cinderella decided to borrow each others’ clothes: Cinderella (on the right) and Sadie are both wearing new outfits that Santa brought Baby, while Baby sports Cinderella’s ball dress. The post perhaps should be titled “What Not to Wear” in poor Baby’s case–she has a soft, huggable body that happens to be plumper than Cinderella’s plastic one, so the dress never quite fits her. It also doesn’t help that the ball dress will soon look just like rags from repeated putting on and taking off. The sleeves and overskirt are a gauzy material that is not sturdy, so they could fall off any day.
Anyway, I thought it was funny.
Our new year (well, the real new year, when we all returned to real life on Monday morning) got off to a rocky start two weeks ago when I walked into the girls’ room and found they had colored all over their wall.
Who knew you could color with magnets? I certainly didn’t, although I should have suspected that anything can be a writing implement when my older daughter used a barrette to color on the same wall about a year ago.
Oh yes, and this was the wall my dad came down and painted this fall because of aforementioned barrette coloring incident. So I was not too happy. I’m actually very proud that the first thing I did was walk away.
Anyway, I luckily remembered that we had some Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (and I’m not trying to sell a product, I promise–when I went to the store to replace our used erasers, I found a Food Lion brand version, so I’ve bought both and will in the future see if there’s any difference) that I mostly used when spiffing up our old house for sale/rental. I got one out and, with the girls’ “help,” cleaned up the wall.
It seems to have worked just like it should (no paint fading in this case, although I had already decided I didn’t care–we were going to have to repaint the wall if the eraser didn’t work, anyway), and I got a good story to tell all the grandparents over the next week.
I also know that if my daughters are caught without the usual lines of communication open, they will somehow get a message through.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, but I need a short post.
When staying at home with small children, reading a book is always a good idea. I’m sure this is news to nobody, but sitting down with a book is a quick way to get everyone (relatively quiet). Also, if you need to take a time-out yourself (see Tip #4), reading a few pages from a book can be helpful for calming down. Finally, my kids are now getting old enough that I can instruct them to sit down with a book on their own for a few minutes, and it makes a nice way to enforce some time out from whatever they are doing to drive me crazy without it seeming like a punishment.
Short and sweet, but hey, it works!
Without any ado:
Possum Magic by Mem Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I’ve known about Mem Fox for a long time, and I’ve heard about Possum Magic, but we only just got it out of the library and read it ourselves. It was charming, and the pictures were adorable. I also appreciated the glossary and map at the back, so non-Australians could see what magic foods the possums ate and where they traveled to. We reread it several times.
Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We have read Harry the Dirty Dog so many times in the last 6 months, and it finally occurred to me to look for other Harry books at the library (having vaguely remembered reading more than one as a kid). We found this one and it was a hit. When I read it, the story came back to me, so I must have enjoyed this as a child, too. The pictures of Harry as a “sea monster” are really funny.
Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons by Agnes Rosenstiehl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
My graphic-novel-loving children inspire me to keep an eye out for kids’ graphic novels when we are at the library, and this is one I just happened upon. It’s very basic in terms of story…it’s really a set of vignettes about the ways that Lilly plays during each season of the year. The format is also large (usually just one or two panels per page) so it is great for introducing the graphic novel/comic strip format…or for getting kids started making their own comics.
I just liked it ok, but this is definitely a matter of not being the target audience for this book…the kids LOVED it and we reread it several times. They also enjoyed going back and looking through it on their own.
View all my reviews
I already mentioned how important that leaving the house is to maintaining my sanity as a stay at home parent. Most of the time, this involves some kind of outing with the kids. Sometimes, though, I just need to get away from the kids. There are, of course, dates, which my husband and I occasionally try to take (we took a three-day one to New Orleans this summer, so we haven’t had a regular one-afternoon one in awhile). These are very important and great, but they require finding a babysitter and all that goes along with that.
Sometimes, too, I just need time to myself. I don’t remember exactly what brought this to a head last December (right after my husband finished his semester), but my husband realized it before I did, so one evening he sent me out by myself with orders to do something I wanted and not to come back before 8:30 (when the kids should be in bed). It was fantastic. I went to the Hillsborough Yarn Shop, ate dinner at Cracker Barrel while reading my book (the restaurant choice made my husband laugh, but hey, it tasted good and wasn’t too expensive!), then sat and knit and listened to an audiobook at Starbucks until about 9.
It went so well that we did it again last spring (that time I had dinner with some library school friends), and I’m doing it again for several days this month. Our church has a women’s retreat every fall, and I’ve never gone for one reason or another. This year, though, I am going. I’m looking forward to it, and also looking forward to feeling refreshed and ready to tackle daily life anew when I get back.
Sometimes, when tempers run high, I’ve found that the best thing I can do is retreat for a few minutes. For me, counting to 10 isn’t enough–usually because I can’t calm down enough to actually do so in the heat of an argument or just when chaos is whirling all around. I have to physically remove myself from the situation. We have a one-story house, so it’s easy enough for me to go into my room, close the door or put up a baby gate (just a deterrent at this point, but one that the kids usually respect) and sit and breath until I calm down. Sometimes I pray about the situation, sometimes I try to take my mind off of it for a little bit. When I choose the latter, it helps me to read, but I’ve found that picking up a novel is not such a good idea. Once I do that, I’m liable to try to hide in my room for the rest of the afternoon, and that doesn’t actually help whatever situation is going on in the rest of the house. So I’ve got a couple of poetry collections laying around that I pick up to read one-three poems from, and then I go out and try again.
The current collection is Good Poems, edited by Garrison Keillor. We’ve had it for a long time, but I’ve just started going through it systematically in the last year. I like the fact that it’s a collection of many different poets, especially since I’m still new to reading poetry.
It’s good for me to recognize when I’ve reached my breaking point and to get out of the situation long enough to come back with better grace before figuring out what to do.
…is not very interesting if you are not actively leading it. Recently, it has included:
- Sitting in the carpool line. (This is actually a great development of kindergarten…since the girls are in their carseats, as long as I make sure they also have books, I can get 15-25 minutes of reading time in!)
- Checking a backpack each afternoon and morning for lunchbox, homework, notes to teacher, etc.
- Getting up at a reasonable hour every single school day.
- Teaching my first Sunday school class of the year.
- Getting free dinner from my husband’s amazing advisor and his extremely gracious family.
- Shopping for kids’ shoes and clothes.
- Falling onto the couch around 9 and wasting my life on sitcoms until bedtime (although I am enjoying our new discovery time-waster of Parks and Recreation.)
- Praying that the U.S. does not attack Syria.
- Dishes and laundry.
I think that’s most of the highlights. I’ve cut back from an average of 3 blog posts a week to 2 anyway (to be explained in a future blog post I have only started drafting), but as you can see, this week is not much to write home about. I’ll still have library books on Thursday, though!
Despite the lack of blog fodder, life is good, and I hope the same is true for you.