Monster has had some hard life lessons lately. Today, he learned another. Some people are just mean for no reason. Some people are bullies. Some people like to make others feel bad to make themselves feel better. It's not like Monster has never done anything mean. However, he doesn't do mean things to people just to be mean. He hits his sister because she tried to take a book. He throws a ball at someone's head because he wants their attention. He's never hurt someone just to laugh at them.
He also learned an even more important lesson today, though. Even after someone is cruel to you, you'll survive. You'll be OK. You can't let one mean person ruin everything for you. This is a tough lesson, even as adults. It's important to remember that bullies do what they do because they are not happy with themselves. As long as you always remember that you can get through alright, things will be alright. I hate watching my kids learn hard life lessons, but I love when they take positives away from it.
I am that parent who does not send plastic baggies in my child's lunch. I am that parent who has 100 tupperware containers and my poor kid has to take keep track of them. Monster got to have the unique experience of eating lunch at preschool, which is quite uncommon in this area. Over the past three years, Monster has gotten better at keeping his stuff together. When he attended Goddard when he was 3, the rule was you immediately go put your stuff in your cubby when you're finished with it. The containers almost always made it to the cubby, but not in the lunch box, but he was 3. When he was 4, he went to a different preschool. They had to keep all their stuff together until the end of lunch. The first month was tough getting stuff home, then he got the hang of it. Camp Invention this summer, he only lost a lid. Not bad considering the boy eats like a horse so he literally always has about 5 containers in his lunch. Still, I thought there has to be an easier way that is still eco-friendly.
One day, the kids were watching an episode of Curiosity Quest Goes Green. The episode was all about cutting down waste in schools. In this episode, they had these awesome lunch boxes. I knew I had to get Monster one. It was just what I was looking for! Go Green lunch boxes are one piece boxes with separate leak proof containers. One of the coolest parts about this lunch box is that it can be used for many years. The soft cover/case can be bought separately when the old one is worn out. If a gasket starts to go bad, you can order new ones. And, it's dishwasher safe! Another great thing about this lunch box is that I was able to support an Ohio company. I ordered it online from Natural Kidz, which is based out of Toledo. The negative? The initial cost. It's about 3 times as expensive as a lunch box from Target. If you look at it as an investment though, it makes it worth it. You won't be buying baggies, containers or even lunch boxes for several years.
Monster can not wait to use his new lunch box. We went to a environmental magic show on Monday, and he tried to tell the magician all about the lunch box, but the magician had never heard of it. I'm hoping that kids seeing Monster's cool lunch box gets the word out and these kind of lunch boxes become more of the norm. Bento boxes are another good choice, but then you still have the problem of kids keeping track of all the pieces. We'll probably move into Bento boxes for middle school because they definitely look "cooler" and more mature. My biggest issue now is that Sunshine wants a Go Green lunch box, too! She's not going to a preschool where she takes her lunch, so she's out of luck until first grade.
I have a lot of projects that I do with the kids, but I've also been doing projects for the kids. I'm all about organization. Lately, the kids' paper has been getting out of control. I saw this on Pinterest, but there were no directions, just an idea.
For Monster's room, I decided to make him a picture bulletin board. He's got so many pictures and wants them all in his room. I got all prepared, even called a friend who I know has made one of the ribbon bulletin boards, and then Monster changed it up. he wanted to see the frame. I got to then measure and cut instead of just pull and staple and glue. Turned out cute though.
Tooth Fairy bag is done. I would like to take credit, but I can only take credit for the idea, not the sewing. I really was going to sew it, but my friend has a sewing machine and she's much faster at it. I gave her my idea, the material Monster picked out, and she got it done in about 10 seconds. His name is one the back. He originally wanted it to say "Tooth Fairy" on the one side, but we couldn't find letters small enough. He settled for a picture of the Tooth Fairy instead.
Sometimes I things just for me. I found a pin that suggested using hole reinforcements to do French tips. Didn't get around to it until just recently. I had my nails turquoise. The tips were chipping so I decided to try the reinforcements. The didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. In fact, I did my right had free handed and I think it turned out better than the left with the reinforcements. Practice makes perfect though, so I'll keep working at it.
Another tip that I've been using and doing daily is using baking soda as facial scrub. It is leaving my skin super soft and almost flake free (I have very dry skin).
I tried a pan cleaner thing I found on Pinterest. It failed miserably. Maybe my pan is too far gone, but this did not work at all for me.
With school starting back up in two week for Monster and 4 weeks for Sunshine, I'm hoping to get to more experiments. We shall see.
I am not a small town girl. I like getting lost in a crowd. I don't want to go where everybody knows my name. At least not all the time. Yet, here I am, in a small town. I can take it a step further. It's not just a small town, but a small county. It's rare that I take a trip to Target and don't see someone I know. Husband is from the small town one town over. I refused to move there when we moved up here. I didn't want to live where he was raised. However, he worked there and I did, too. In the past 12 years of living here, it's become more and more evident how small this area really is. My dentist is a friend of someone I taught with and knows a lot of the same people I know because, even though her practice is in the "city", she lives 3 blocks from me. All of Monster's teachers have had a connection to either Husband or myself in one way or another. His teacher when he was 3 graduated with Husband and her father was his gym teacher. His four year teacher is the cousin of the wife of Husband's best man from our wedding, plus, her husband grew up literally down the road from Husband. His teacher this past year's mother in law is the babysitter of one of my very close friend's kids and she is also the aunt of a girl I taught not only one year, but two years. What really made these crazy connections come together was today at soccer camp. The main coach introduced all the other coaches. One of the girls graduated from the district in which I taught. I didn't know her, or so I thought then. At the end of camp, I ask his coach, who happened to be this girl, how he was. We chatted a bit. Then I told her I probably taught kids she graduated with. Turns out I most definitely did. She wasn't one of my students, but she was in my building my first two years of teaching. She knew me by my maiden name. I don't think I will ever get used to living in small town Ohio. It is a great place to raise my family though.
It was one of those weekends. The kids were at each other's throats. Husband and I were frustrated with how poorly they were getting along. Husband and I were snapping at each other. Tasks from the week seemed to have piled up without us knowing. It seems at though nothing was accomplished. Last night, I was so frustrated and tired that I went to bed without cleaning up the kitchen. So, I woke up to a kitchen full of dirty dishes and recyclables. Looking around the kitchen, I actually had to laugh because, well, it's that bad. I started to get frustrated, but then I took a breath. A messy kitchen is not the end of the world. We'll all live through the kitchen being a disaster for a while. After I take Monster to soccer camp, I'll have 2 1/2 hours to clean and do whatever else needs to be done. I will only have Sunshine, so the kids will get a break from each other. It will be a better week than weekend. I know it will, because I will remember to breathe.
It is no secret that I hate running. I find it to be a form of self torture. Yet, for the past 3 months, I've been training to run the Race for the Cure. Why? Because I believe in it. No matter how much I hate running, I hate cancer more. So, I'm running. I'm running for my mom. I'm running for my two aunts. I'm running for my mother-in-law. I'm running for a friend's good friend, Megan. I'm running with the belief that more lives will be saved than lost. I'm running for hope. If you are interested in supporting the cause, please check out my sponsor page at http://neohio.info-komen.org/site/TR/RacefortheCure/CLE_NortheastOhioAffiliate?px=13251749&pg=personal&fr_id=2549
I had a darn near picture perfect childhood. I remember summers vividly. I remember waking up to the smell of laundry being hung outside (yes, there is a very distinct, wonderful smell for that which I miss terribly). I remember the feel of the dewy grass in the mornings. I remember my mom making lemonade and then sitting on the porch during dusk and drinking it. I remember large bowls of fruit salad. I remember my dad cooking over the charcoal grill. I remember running through the sprinkler. I remember taking endless walks with friends. I remember hiking through the woods with my dad. I remember baseball games at the old Cleveland Stadium. I remember driving through Cleveland with my parents pointing out places they used to live and work. I remember going to my grandma's house and putting on "concerts" in her front yard with my friends. I remember walking up to the local DQ to get ice cream. I remember fireworks. I remember summer days that were laid back and completely lazy. I could read all day if I wanted. I could play all day if I wanted. I could go to my Grandma's if I wanted. I could go shopping all day if I wanted. I could even sleep all day if I chose to do that (but as a kid, you never choose to do that!).
I envisioned my kids' lives to be like mine was. Times have changed though. Parenting has changed. I'm lucky because when it comes right down to it, my kids are capable of entertaining themselves, but they don't like to. I always have activities planned, crafts to do, lessons to learn. Then there is that pressure for outside activities. A friend of mine and I just had to make the decision about ballet for our girls. I opted out first. I just couldn't make that commitment at age 3. Committing to ten months of dance at age 3 seems over the top to me, especially for Sunshine. She loves EVERYTHING she does, so I don't doubt she'd love it, but she wouldn't get to do anything else. That she doesn't love. She wants to do it all. Already at the age of 3, she's in swimming and soccer. She would have been in T-ball, but Husband and I couldn't handle two late nights of games with T-ball and baseball. In the fall, she has school 3 days a week, swimming 2 days a week, soccer on Saturdays, Sunday school, and playgroup. That literally leaves one day of the week where she has "nothing" to do. Looking at it, it is completely insane! Then there's all Monster's stuff. He wants to swim, so I'm lucky that way since he can only do lessons on Saturdays because of his level. But, he's got to come with me for swim lessons for Sunshine. That means three days of swimming for him because he will get in and play/practice. Then there's handwriting therapy. That schedule hasn't been worked out yet. This is taking the place of art class, so that's kind of an even exchange. This summer though, we learned that Monster likes and excels in activities that are non-competitive, yet team oriented, so we're going to put him in Cub Scouts.
I feel like all of a sudden, Monster is starting full day school and he never had time to just be a kid. I know that's not true, but it feels that way. I always envision how days are going to go and very rarely do they go the way I plan. Yesterday was prime example. Started out normal. Kids had breakfast and played for a while. Then, they both got in trouble. Funny thing about this is that when they get in trouble, they both stick together and comfort one another. Sunshine went into Monster's room and he read her stories. Then, they both sat in his room reading books for 30 minutes! They were perfect! They probably would have done it longer, but we needed to start our whirlwind day. I needed to go to the jeweller's to get my rings cleaned. They actually love going there because there is a very cool play area. After that, we went to two "health food" stores. Now that's a big deal because our small town doesn't have any natural/organic/health food stores, so we have to drive to the "big" city to get it. My kids love it. Problem is, when I take the kids, they find all sorts of things they want to eat. Since it's all natural, local, and organic, I always give in. "Can we get that granola, please?" How often to most parents hear that? Or, "I'd really like the artichoke hummus." Then there's the best, "Can we get the green juice?" So my grocery bills are huge, but my heart is happy knowing my kids are making healthy choices. After that, the plan was to meet friends for lunch at First Watch. I've been to a First Watch once before and it's awesome. Again, my kids made awesome, healthy choices in what to eat. So far, the day has been perfect. When we left is where I made a bad judgement call and it all went downhill.
I pushed just a little too far with things to do. When we left, it was after 1:30. The drive home is 20-30 minutes. I didn't want to put Sunshine down for a nap that late, so I made the decision to forgo naptime. Sunshine was thrilled with that decision. I told them that I had stuff I had to do so we were going to just get it all done. We came home so I could put the groceries away. They didn't even get out of the car. Then we headed to Target. I knew this was going to be a big trip because I was loading up on school snacks. Here's where I made another bad choice. Since they had made such good, healthy decisions, I let them each pick out a box of fruit snacks (which we all know really have no fruit, they're just sugar). Sunshine picked out Brave and Monster picked out Cars. No problem, until Monster wanted to read the Brave box. From there it was screaming and uncontrollable crying by an overly tired Sunshine. I just needed to get through the rest of Target though, so we trudged on. The longer we were in there, the worse it got. Monster was so bored after being on the go all morning, he actually sat down in an aisle and pouted when I wouldn't let him look at Legos. This is not my child. Sunshine, yes. Monster, no. We finally made it out of there. I decided to try to turn things around and "reward" them for such an awesome morning. I pulled into the local grocery store, which sells ice cream for 75 cents a scoop (OK, really, I just wanted ice cream, but rewarding the kids sounds so much better). The whining and complaining the moment we turned into the parking lot almost made me pull right back out. "I thought we were going home." "Why can't we just go home and play?" I told them to trust me. The grumbling continued, but, I wanted ice cream and I wanted to prove a point that, sometimes, they just need to trust I'm going to do something fun that they'll be happy with. They were pretty happy we got ice cream. By the time we got home, it was 4:45. They had literally been gone all day. They were tired and crabby. I was tired and crabby. Then I realized, this is what we do almost every day. It's non-stop from morning to night. The activities are different, more "kid-friendly", but when you get down to it, it's still a lot of stuff. We are all tired and just need time to veg. Problem is that we have a full schedule until school starts. It's my fault. I want to cram everything in. I've got way too much nervous energy. I hope I learn from this summer and apply what I've learned to the school year and then again next summer to capture summers from my childhood. The change needs to start with me.