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What Healthy Lunches?

Aaaand it's stopped.

Alyssa no longer eats the healthy part of her lunch - just the yummy carbs (oh and the cheese string, which I suppose I can't totally complain about). Should I skip the carbs so she'll be forced to eat the fruit and veggies? I suppose I could, but she's pretty darn lean. I don't need and "feedback" about her being underfed.

Instead I've stuck with carbs (along with the fruits, veggies, grains, and dairy), but with a twist: I'm back to making homemade treats with extra nutrients snuck in them. Jam filled bars with bran, flax and oats; chocolate chip cookies made with wheat germ, almonds and quinoa (which is high in protein, having all essential amino acids - did you know that? I just found this out recently). She gobbles down her "treats" with gusto, and reaps the nutritional benefits.

I still packed apple slices and carrots for her this morning though, because hey, you never know...
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Video Game Addiction In Kids

I was at (love that website :) and came across this post and video...

...where three moms discuss their boys' video games habits. I myself also know several moms who have sons who can't get enough of this electronic entertainment, and who are fixated on it to the point where nothing else matters to them.

I worried about lil' J for awhile because he adores the computer (which is good in many ways) and Wii. Every day it was: computer, Wii, computer, Wii.

He started in on it all fairly young (3 1/2 yrs) when he didn't really have a busy schedule. Because of this, I let him indulge in gaming, in the back of my mind thinking I'd have to start setting limits when he starts Kindergarten (which he did this year). I wondered how difficult this would be, and often thought that I should start cutting him back gradually, and getting him used to limits. However the early computer skills that he was acquiring appealed to me and so I just let it continue.

Then one day he he didn't play as much, and then the next even less, and before I knew it he was chasing a soccer ball around in the back yard.

I am convinced that because I let him immerse himself in gaming, he's had his fill, and played to the point of boredom.

Whereas if I had set limits, say with a timer each day or something similar to that, he would have been stopped before he was ready, and possibly left wanting more?

If you were given a slice of chocolate cake and while you were eating it someone intercepted the fork on its way to your mouth and took away the plate with half the slice still on it, wouldn't you be thinking about cake for the rest of the day? (I know I would!!) On the other hand, if you were allowed to finish the piece, and then were given as much more as you could eat, wouldn't you eventually feel tired enough of it to maybe not want cake for a few days? There might be a parallel here.

In any case, it's worked for us (so far :)

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So far so good!! Lil' J is loving Kindergarten and A is happy in Grade 2. Meanwhile I am happy for another reason:

I have no idea why, but Alyssa is eating all of the healthy food I've been putting in her lunches. Who is this child? What have they done with my daughter? They look the same, but...

I've struggled with her from day one of her school career to eat healthy food at lunch. No matter what I did, the carrots, grapes, and anything else remotely beneficial would always come back untouched. She'd beg me for cookies and crap like "ALL the other kids get, Mommy!" (which I somehow doubt, but anyway...), and I'd finally give in, and include a small sweet something, which of course would get eaten.

That was before this year. The subject of treats in her lunch has yet to come up, and yesterday she even ate her apple slices that had turned slightly brown.

(Now I just have to hope that blogging about it hasn't jinxed it ;)
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Omega 3 Problem Solved!

...thanks to "Ironkids Gummies". They're like little ju-jubes, each one containing 50mg of Omega 3 fatty acids. My daughter LOVES them. I don't blame her - every time I open the bottle and smell them I want to devour a handful myself. They're like little tropical flavoured chewy candies. (Fyi - I found them at Superstore).

I'm a little skeptical because at least with the Smart Squirts (which my son still likes) you could taste the fish oil under the orange flavouring, whereas the Ironkids Gummies just taste like candy. Mind you, a friend of mine gives her daughter the gummies and notices a big difference in her behaviour (she's more focused, listens better, etc.) so I'm sure they deliver the Omega 3's that they claim.
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Bedtime Takes An Hour

At LEAST an hour, by the time we do snacks, teeth brushing and flossing, stories, pyjamas, and on and on. Is it me, or is that nuts?

It helps to know the time, though. I've been trying to move back their bedtimes in preparation for the impending arrival of the return to school (yes, I'm proactive about these things ;) and am mystified every time when I miss my mark. However when I think in terms of a full hour, it works. It seems odd to bring the kids in the house a full 60 minutes before head-on-pillow time, but that's just what it takes in our house.

What about you? How long is your kids' bedtime routine?

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Awwww... He Tried, At Least!!

Summer = time outside = dirty kid feet. My two have spent a lot of time lately on the bathroom counter with their feet in the sink, cleaning up a bit before they come inside to play.

Today they were outside riding their bikes, which meant they had shoes on. Shortly after we came inside, I noticed Lil' J walking around with bare feet, the bottom of his pant legs soaking wet (yes, he put long pants on. don't ask 'cause I have no answer for that one).

Me: "Buddy, why are your pant legs wet?"

J: "It's from da water."

Me: "Um... what water?"

J: "From when I washed my feet."

Aw, what a big boy he is. (Too bad his feet were in shoes and didn't need to be washed ;)

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DHA And Mom's Persistence

Ahhh!! The "monkey see monkey do" phenomenom worked for me today with the DHA and Lil' J.

I was taking a gel cap myself, and he wanted it. He wanted the adult sized, must swallow whole if you don't want to chew on fish oil, capsule. He insisted he could swallow it. He begged me for one! Hmmm. I actually briefly contemplated letting him have it but reconsidered, since it's been awhile since my husband and I took that parents' first aid course that covered, among other things, choking rescue.

Must take refresher course.

Anyway, I remembered the orange flavoured Smart Squirts that I had in the cupboard, and opened the bottle to take a look. Hmmm. NOPE, you're not swallowing that either.

"Here, Bud, chew on it, ok? It's yummy!"

He did it. I mean he actually chewed the whole thing and swallowed it, and asked for another one! (The first time he tried them he didn't like them AT ALL).

I promised him another one after dinner. Fingers crossed that he keeps liking them...
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Magic Age

THIS is why you have more than one child. Right now, I'm finally seeing it.

I had this (and other reasons too) in mind back when we were trying for our second pregnancy, but now it's coming to fruition. Finally (just when I thought it was never gonna happen!!!), my two kids play nicely together more often than they fight with each other.

They have fun together, help each other, co-operate, you name it - all those things I've dreamt of but never really seen until now!!! Yippee!! (See? It wasn't all just wishful thinking!). My readers with younger kids who haven't reached this blissful time can take heart in knowing that it is, in fact, coming!

As I conclude this post, they are yet again giggling together, this time because one of them made a "play do booger!!". Hey, as long as no one eats it, we're good...
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I Guess I Don't Think Like A Kid

I'm always looking for goodie bag ideas, so any time my kids come home with one, I'm eager to see the contents. Candies, toys, hair ties, pencils, gum, lip gloss - you name it, it's been there.

My daughter brought home a goodie bag today from a party, so as usual I peered over her shoulder as she inspected the contents. There were things you could eat, wear, write with, and so on.

And then there was... what is that thing? A rubber worm? Good grief. What would you do with something like that anyway? Sheesh. I would SO not have bought those to put in any goodie bag I made - what could you use it for?

It was her favourite item, even ranking over the Dubble Bubble gum.

Hmmm... maybe next time I need to make goodie bags, she can help me shop ;)

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My DHA Triumph

Back to the fish oil, and my thus far failed attempts to get it in my kids. Neither one of them are fond of Smart Squirts - the chewable orange flavoured gel caps made especially for kids. Nope, not my kids.

I came up with somewhat of a solution yesterday, if you can live with the idea of orange flavoured powdered Gatorade. My husband buys it for drinks for his lunches at work. I had said no to a trip to 7 Eleven for a Slurpee, and he suggested I make homemade Slurpees with "that Gatorade powder and some ice".


Um, OR... (here's a thought) I could use real orange juice!!! (But where's the fun in that?) Sure enough, my two started jumping up and down, excitedly chanting "Gatorade! Gatorade!". Oh for Pete's sake. I'm stuck now, or I'm the Mom who ALWAYS SAYS NO.

But wait... The Smart Squirts!!! I could add some of those. They'll either drink up the DHA with the Gatorade, or they'll think Gatorade tastes fishy and won't ask for it anymore.

(heh heh)

So I whipped out the Magic Bullet and went to work. Some Gatorade powder, fish oil, water, real orange juice, frozen cranberries, mango, and ice later, I had an orange flavoured slushy concoction that I could live with.

Guess what...

They drank it!!

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Learning To Ride A Bike

A and J have new bikes. I'm shaking my head wondering where they'll ride them, since we live close to some very busy roads, neither my husband and I have bikes of our own at the moment, and they're too young to use the bikes on their own as transportation.

Still, it's a life skill - gotta learn how to ride! Once you do, you never forget. Right now they're both very dependent on training wheels and parental assistance, so that means the only time they can take them out is when my husband is off work (one parent per kid).

We did this yesterday, with much success! We took the bikes to a nearby park with a big enough paved area (walkways and parking lot) so that they could ride continuously on a level surface (unlike on our hilly driveway, or the teeny patio in our back yard). The park was the ticket! We spent about an hour there, and although A still needs her training wheels, by the time we left she was braking and turning (and enjoying the speed bumps :) with much greater ease than when we arrived. J, on the other hand, spent most of the hour running beside his bike pushing it. Hey, that's ok - it was another form of exercise, and he clearly loves his new bike.

We're going to try and do this at least once a week. When the kids have enough solid skill, I'll then be able to take them out without my husband, and jog while they ride. This is still a bit far off, though, because the area we live in has too many hills and too much traffic for my liking. I'll have to see how it goes, I guess.

Meanwhile, so far so good :)

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The Dog Got The DHA

He finished the kids` toast this morning, which I had sneakily spiked with fish oil. Now before you get visions of gutted salmon hanging in my kitchen, let me explain further...

I bought some fish oil softgel caps to increase our Omega 3 & DHA intake. The adult variety cost about $6 for 120 caps containing 1000 MG each. According to the dosage recommendations on the label, this is enough for one adult for one month. Six dollars - not too bad.

The Smart Squirts, however, cost twice that amount for 30 x 211 MG caps. According to their label, this is enough for 2 weeks per child. So I would need to spend... $48 per month.


Why the price difference... I`m assuming it has to do with the orange flavouring in the Smart Squirts. They taste bearable, and are therefor feedable to kids. Not the like adult variety, which is meant to be swallowed without being tasted. Ugh.

So why not, you say, slice open the gel caps and spike food with the adult (cheaper ;) oil! This is precisely what I`ve been trying, with limited success.

This morning, I dripped about three drops each on the kids` toast (they have peanut butter and jam). You could still taste it. My daughter, surprisingly, ate half of hers. My son took one bite and then passed on the rest. The dog got the leftovers, hence the title of this post.

Last night I tried putting some in spaghetti sauce. I managed to hide the flavour, but that was because I only put one adult capsule in an entire pot of sauce. Sigh.

I`ve also tried adding some to my daughter`s OJ in her lunch kit, but it clumps. You guessed it - she won`t drink it.

I`m trying to come up with other ideas, and will keep you posted on my progess. Meanwhile, if anyone has any suggestions, I`d love to hear them!

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DON'T Take This Test

I'm referring to the kid's IQ test on this page:

My 6 year old is into tests and games (it's her Mommy nerd DNA - I'm so proud!!) and we had some fun with it. It takes about an hour, depending on the age of your child and the number of interruptions, etc.

Luckily I didn't say anything to her about "results", because they don't tell you (until you've spent an hour doing it with your child) that it costs $12.95 to get your child's IQ (or their version of it).


I don't mind paying for testing (Mensa tests aren't free), but don't trick or bullshit me. Needless to say I didn't pay (and I don't need a test to know my girl's smart :)

Just thought I'd share, and save you the trouble...
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Ahhh... One Of The Things I've Been Waiting For :)

At the moment, my six year old is reading to my five year old. My son's relentless queries of "What does that spell? What does that spell?" are being answered by his sister, while I sit in (relative ;) peace and type this.

They're even laughing together! Reading and laughing, and having fun. (Is there a full moon?). Oh my goodness... A just told J to go get another book to read!

w00000000t !!!! (happy mommy dance).

Off to start dinner... post ya later :)
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My Denial

What happened to Grade One?

Seriously! Didn't it just begin? What do you mean there's only four weeks left? That can't be right!! What about... Christmas and Valentine's Day and Easter and Mother's Day, and... (oh). OMG.

Hang on, though... my son was JUST BORN. What do you mean he starts Kindergarten in 102 DAYS???!!!

(And yet... I'm not getting any older ;) Heh heh
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Hannah Montana And YouTube

... or should I say my daughter, Hannah Montana, and YouTube. At the moment, I'm being assulted by a strange and unpalatable blend of "Best of Both Worlds" (Alyssa) and the Wii Fit tightrope music (Joseph). Ahhhh. (sigh)

We've spent a lot of time outdoors lately, so that's good at least. As the spring and then summer establish themselves and the weather gets better and better, hopefully Alyssa will be distracted enough from her latest kick: "Mommy, can you tape me singing and then put it on YouTube?"

Um, NO. (Are you kidding me? I don't even put pictures of you on my blog - you think I'm going to put vids on YouTube??).

I admit I may be a little more privacy oriented than some, but she's SIX, and she doesn't comprehend the far reaches of the internet. When she's TWENTY six, if she still wants to video tape herself singing and broadcast it for the world to see, she'll have my full support (although it won't be nearly at cute then ;)

Meanwhile I get to listen as she belts out Hannah Montana songs along with the video. Over and over and over and... oh wait. I used to do the same thing. As my Mom would say, it's payback time ;)
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Sunny Movie Afternoon

Can you believe that we've had so much sun lately that my six year old, when I picked her up from school today, informed me that she didn't feel like having a playdate - all she wanted to do was "watch Wall*E, and can you make popcorn? And spread out a blanket on the floor so we can have a picnic? With pillows?"

At the moment it's actually cooler in our house than it is outside, and since the kids have been outdoor dust monsters for almost a week, I agreed.

Right now it's her younger brother who's watching the movie, though, while she wanders the house in search of the cat. The cat who, exactly one minute before we had to leave for school this morning, finally jumped up on her lap without being called or captured.

Now the search for the elusive cat has led Alyssa on to the balcony, where she is sitting in the sun. Back in the sun - she couldn't resist it's appeal for long after all :)

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Bad Mommy

Aw, lookit that Gerber Graduates commercial mom playing dragon slayer with her little boy!!!

I suck.

OK I'm not that bad, but I'm definitely not the FUN parent. No Barbies or Hot Wheels for me. If it doesn't have some kind of educational component to it, then I'm not interested. Hmmph. So there.

Whaaat? I feed you, don't I? I teach you stuff, read to you, hug you ALL the time, clothe and bath you, find your bedroom floors when you cannot, would give life and limb for you, wipe your snot and poop, tickle you, brush your hair, floss and brush your teeth, among half a million other things. MUST I play with you too?

Of COURSE I love you, but I honestly don't feel the same way about Polly Pocket. And no, brushing Rainbow Dash's mane is NOT fun for me.

(Nor is playing Wii tanks for the 10,000th time - are you listening too, lil' bro?)

But... Huh.

Hmmm... last night we played Disney Princess Bingo, and tonight we played Trouble!! And I did Wii Table Tilt so you could watch.

I DO play after all!! I'M OK!!!

(Guess I didn't need to write this post ;)

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Keeping Them Safe

This morning I was thinking about Victoria Stafford, the eight year old Ontario girl who went missing after she left school on Wednesday, last seen walking with an unidentified woman.

Who is this woman? What was Victoria doing walking with her? This got me thinking about my 6 year old girl, who's finally gotten over the paralyzing shyness that was the signature of her toddler years. I decided to talk to her about it.

Me: "Hey... listen. What would you do if a grownup you'd never met before came to talk to you after school, and she was really nice, and she said that I told her to come pick you up?"

Alyssa: (shrugs) "I'd go with her?"


What followed was a lengthy, and a bit repetitive, discussion about how you NEVER EVER EVER go ANYWHERE with a grown up you don't know, NO MATTER HOW NICE THEY ARE.

Both my kids know about "bad strangers". The only problem is, is that I don't think they understand the concept of "bad strangers" playing nice to try and trick people.

I just pray to God that she got it. We may have to talk about this again (and again, and again).

Scary stuff.
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My 4 year old: "What did you say punk?" (accompanied by giggles and smiles, with his world famous cutest ever dimples).

Me: "Where on earth did you hear that?"

DS: "Spongebob!!"

I suppose it could be worse. He was saying the F word a few weeks ago. That wasn't cool.

But this "punk" thing... is it wrong of me to think it's cute? I swear I have a wound on the inside of my cheek from biting it, trying my best not to smile or laugh. Oh my FREAKIN' GOODNESS he's just the cutest thing that ever existed.

Should I stop him from saying it? Is "punk" a bad word for a four year old to say? (Is it any worse than him wanting to play "real" boxing after playing it on Wii? Oops ;)

Am I the only mother who is lost some times? And why on earth don't kids come with manuals, anyway!! Sheesh...
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Prep For The Big K

I know it's only April, but I'm a big believer in being proactive when it comes to my kids' education.

Big sister A is happy and thriving in French Immersion, and Lil' J is signed up to start in September. In an effort to get him prepped and keep up with the English side of things at home, I'm creating simple puzzles and exercises for him to do.

These days there are so many wonderful published resources out there (work books - we have a whole shelf full :) and web sites galore, but once in awhile there's a gap that a parent can fill with a home made tool.

Word searches are a big hit with Alyssa, but for J, I can't find any that are simple enough. Any easy solution is to simply make my own.

Below is the first one I created (in jpeg format, so if you like it you can "right click save as" to your computer). My goal with this one was to have a small number of simple words, all left to right, horizontally, like they would be if they were read in a book. I added the "name" line at the top because J likes to write his name. We'll work at this level until he's comfortable finding them all, and then we'll move on to diagonal and vertical words...

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How Do You Answer That?

Here are three that stumped me, as asked by my daughter. There are some things that a six year old just doesn't need to know!!

How would you have answered?

"Mommy are (army) tanks real? What do they do?"

"Mommy, I understand why bums are private 'cause poop is yucky, but why are boobs private?"

"But Mommy, how does the sperm get to the egg to make the baby?"

For the tanks question I clumsily stammered some inappropriate response about shooting something or other and then quickly changed the subject, and for the boobs and babies question I told her she wasn't old enough to know. What would you have said?
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When our little girl, a.k.a. The Hair Diva, announced that she wanted bangs "like everyone else in the family", DH and I were skeptical but agreed that at age 6 she could certainly decide something like that for herself. I made an appointment, and we chopped about 4 inches off the back (it was down past her waist, and yes it's been cut before! Hence the nickname), and cut bangs.

She has a beautiful forehead (no Mommy bias there ;) and looked exquisite without bangs, so I held my breath as the hairdressers scissors did their stuff.

OH MY. I thought she was cute before, but now, stand back, world!! Bangs really work for her. Even DH had to admit that it was a great idea.

(Sorry, no pictures... you'll just have to take my word for it ;) I wished now that I had taken a pic of the hair clippings pile on the floor, but I didn't think of it at the time. Such is life. Next time.

Next comes the bang trims. I almost put this post in my Saving Money blog, because my mind was engaged in the conflict between $$$ and vanity... Hmmm, longer bangs look cuter, but have to be trimmed more often. Shorter bangs are harder to pull off (although some lil' girls look adorable in them) but are lest costly to maintain.

We went with long. They come down juuuust past her eyebrows. AND ohhhh... her hazel eyes just JUMP right out. SO CUTE. (Btw, she has auburn hair, and the prettiest little nose, covered with a sprinkle of freckles :) No bias.

We got home, I showed her my scrabbooking scissors (very very very sharp), and explained to her the concept of Bang Trims by Mommy, while she leans over the bathroom sink.

Hmmm. We'll see. I'll let you know how that goes!
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Why do I watch these shows about obese children? Why? I know what my reaction will be before the show even starts.

In this case it's the Oprah episode featuring the "Half Ton Teen" Billy and his Mom, who enabled his obesity by over spoiling him with unhealthy food. Now I understand that she lost her first son at a very young age, but wouldn't that make a mom more concerned about the health of her next son?

What really spiked my blood pressure is when she said (I paraphrase, but you get the idea):

"As a mom, you just give it to them when they ask. You just love them, so that's what you do."

I don't know about you, but to me part of loving your child is being able to say NO! This seems painfully obvious, and yet we see again and again kids who suffer because parents are unable to set boundaries.

I am not perfect, believe me. But when (for example) I was making my daughter her whole grain toast this morning at breakfast and she asked for white bread, I said:

"No! Of course not. White bread is not good for you."

She has learned from experience (and many many tireless attempts to argue with me) that I won't change my mind, so she just shrugged and walked away, and sure enough, ate the whole grains.

Rocket science? Hardly. Backbone? There ya go.
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Introducing A Four-Year-Old To French Immersion

My daughter is thriving in Grade 1 French Immersion, so it's only fair, I think, to give her brother the same opportunity. I recently purchased a board book, "Mon Petit Livre Bilingue" with this in mind. Basically it's one of those little kid books with pictures of common items and their names, only this book has the names in English and French.(Hey! Helpful for me, too ;)

The first time I read it, his reaction was, um, not exactly what I was looking for:

"Mama why are you weading da Fwench? Stop weading da Fwench!"

Oh great. He's adverse to it already. Pffft. (sigh)

Ah, but Maternal creativity prevailed, as it usually does (Go Moms!). Every time I encountered a word that was spelled the same in both languages (like "table"), I'd say:

"HEY!!! That's an ENGLISH word!!! Wassup wid dat!!! Gee wizakers!!!!" which point he would dissolve into massive giggles and beg me to read more. (Ah ha ;)

Here's a list of some of the words we laughed over:


By the end of the book, he was near hysterics, and I had him convinced that they're almost the same language ;) He'll learn the differences later, obviously, but at the moment he thinks French is fun.

Good enough for now!

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Sleeping In A Car Seat

I'm shaking my head after having just watched a segment on Canada AM about a Health Canada warning, urging parents to not let their infants sleep in car seats. Tragically a couple of babies have died this way.

I shake my head because while they refer to sleeping on their backs in cribs as being the safest, on the news segment they showed a sleeping infant with a head band on (strangulation) in a crib lined with thick soft bumper pads (suffocation).


While I agree that babies should not be unattended for any length of time in a car seat, in my opinion letting baby sleep in a car seat that's sitting at your feet while you have coffee with friends (so you can watch baby as you visit), is safer than putting an infant to bed for the night with a hair band on.

C'mon now.

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Report Cards And Their Influence On Parenting

I never got bad grades so I never feared report card days, but I can see where it would cause stress for some kids. I say this because even with Alyssa's near perfect report card (on Friday the 13th ;) I still felt myself transform from Calm Mommy (ahhhhhh) to Type A Mommy.

Now in my own defense, I don't think it's a bad thing to examine your child's area of weakness (in her case "oral", as in: speaking French in class), and try to help her improve. However if it weren't for the report card, I more than likely would have left it alone and given her a chance to grow into more confidence.

Here's the dilemma: kids are individuals, with their own rates of progress in various subjects. There is a certain amount of benefit in catering to that, and letting a child grow into areas of aptitude (as in, they'll learn when they're ready). If they're ready on their own terms, learning is faster, more likely to stick, and a lot less stressful.

On the other hand, real life just isn't like that! There is equal value in gently nudging (shove! ;) a child out of his/her comfort zone and stretching their learning boundaries, so that they're better equipped to deal with the demands of reality once they leave the safety of the nest.

(Sigh! Reality at the age of 6? Sheesh)

In the end, I did the "shove" thing with Alyssa and her oral shortcomings. I pressured her and forced her (specifically: we did some reading out loud). I struggled with the question of am I helping her, or creating a bad experience? After her initial resistance, she gushed with excitement about how easy it is once you try, and how much better she felt.


What about you - how do you handle a teacher's critique of your child? This is such an open ended question because every scenario is slightly different, and no single response is appropriate all the time. It's a case by case judgement call, and as parents we simply do the best we can.
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Friday The 13th

I'm not superstitious... well ok, maybe just a bit, but more in fun that anything (it is fun to be wary of a calendar date, right? just checking ;)

The amusing thing about this particular Friday the 13th is that my daughter brings home her report card today....
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Cutting Myself Some Slack

I try not to judge other parents too harshly (like I did before I had kids, lol) but sometimes you see something that makes you feel a bit better about your own parenting.

I'm certainly flawed myself. I don't think I spend enough time playing with my kids, and I go through phases where I kind of give up fighting to get veggies in them (although the "give up" phases usually don't last too long, thank goodness). I raise my voice too often, and I don't listen enough. (This could be a post about parenting New Year's resolutions, ha ha.)

I was at a house party recently with a lot of kids. The average age I'd say was 7 or 8, but they ranged anywhere from 10 right down to little Angie (fake name, btw, to protect privacy), who was a year and a half. Her mom is a sweet lady - easy to talk to and lots of fun. She loves both her kids dearly (she has an older daughter as well who is 6). This goes without saying of course but I had to throw that in there in her defense.

At the party she wasn't watching Angie all that closely, and Angie was by far the youngest and smallest kid there. I have been called over protective many times (I'm a helicopter mom - I can admit it ;) but I think many moms would agree that letting an 18 month old crawl around underfoot with a bunch of rambunctious, running, falling and dog-piling big kids is a potentially risky situation.

Nothing happened of course, and Angie left safely in her mom's arms. Still, it made me realize that none of us are perfect parents, and close supervision in a busy social situation isn't something Angie's mom is good at, just like sitting on the floor doing a puzzle for the tenth time isn't something I'm good at.

So there! I hereby, if only for today, officially cut myself some slack :)
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Learning About The F Word Part Two

More Wii, and shouting. This time the offender is Alyssa, but instead of the Big F Nasty, she is saying "darn" (or should I say shouting it with enough force to shatter our relatively new windows).

Lil J, not wanting anything his sister does to be swept under the rug, defiantly says:

"Maw-mee!!! Lyssa said the F word!!!!"

He hasn't said the word since his time out yesterday, and clearly he remembers our conversation about it. I'm just not sure if he remembers which word we were talking about...
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Learning About The F Word

With Alyssa, it only happened once. As an innocent 3 year old she blurted out the F word in front of her Dad, Grandparents and me. My stunned response was:

"WHAT did you just say??!!", at the top of my lungs. I succeeded in embarrassing her beyond belief, and she hasn't said it since.

Lil' J is in time-out at the moment, for his second infraction. He said it a few moments ago while he and A were playing Wii, and I spoke to him about it. I told him that was his last warning, and if he ever said it again he'd end up in time-out.

Sure enough...

(And how do you explain it to them without actually using the word? If you call it "The F Word", how on earth do they know what word you're talking about?) Ah, such a fine line.

Hearing DH and I occasionally slip and use it is an easy one: "It's a grown up's word. Kids are NOT allowed to use it, but grown ups may." Period. No explanation necessary. Alyssa gets this, but J is a bit of um, a boundary pusher (risk taker, pot stirrer, sh*t disturber - that's my boy!).

We'll see if time-outs work. I might have to get the soap out ;)
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Room Cleaning Chaos

I just cleaned my 6 year old's room, and am still recovering (never mind a "thanks, Mom!" - I deserve a two week vacation in the Bahamas for that).

There were some things I was able to get rid of, and some things I was able to move downstairs, but for the most part, I did a lot of rearranging. She has the larger of the two kids' rooms, and by FAR the most stuff.

I bought 2x2 cube organizers (see pic below) - one for each room. I got mine at Superstore and they came in colours - I used blue and green for Joseph's and red and yellow for Alyssa. The four cube space (plus the top, which is like another shelf) made a tremendous difference in J's room, but in A's? It just cleared enough floor space to get to her dresser.

Hey at least she can get to her pajamas now without complaining ;)

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Gum In The Carpet

This is a drawback to vacuuming - you find these things. This one could have been much worse. At least it was white gum (on a grey carpet). I can even pretend I didn't see it for a day or two ;)

I know you "anti-gum" parents (and the pro-carpet ones, too ;) are probably shaking your heads at me. That's ok, I don't mind. I have a clear conscience because it wasn't me who started the whole gum thing - it was their Grandfather. What can I do? Now before you say "get him to clean your carpet", allow me to point out that he already cuts our grass and paints our house, to name a couple of the many many many ways he helps out. What's a little gum between grass cuttings.

Besides, it's sugarless, and it stops them from bugging me for sugary snacks. They get their flavour fix without spoiling dinner. (Fyi their last dental check ups were perfect - no cavities). Lil J has not repeated the gum in the hair episode, so I think we're safe there.

All I have to do now is get it out of the carpet...
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Ear Piercing Advice?

Alyssa wants her ears pierced. She's asked several times now, and other than the fact that it's a teeny peek ahead to her young adulthood when she'll leave me (sob), I'm pretty much OK with it.

Now that this subject is on my mind, I'm curious as to what your experience is/was? Do you have a child with pierced ears, and if so, how old was she (or he :) and where did you get it done? Do you have any advice that might be of use?

I've created a poll (on the right) for ear piercing age, and any other info you might have to share could be left as a comment to this post? (Hint hint ;)

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Sea Monkeys Friendship Locket

OMG look!!! Alyssa would FLIP. The things I find when I browse on Amazon, lol.

It says in the description that the locket will hold two Sea Monkeys for up to 12 hours. I'm assuming that this is because it's air-tight - it would have to be sealable to be wearable. Sea Monkeys need oxygenated water, so if there's no fresh air they'll die eventually. The tanks that come with the initial purchase have removable lids with air holes in them, which she can't really carry places without risking major spillage. But the locket? OMG she could probably wear it to school (not sure what the teachers would say).

Hmmmm. (hee hee). To show her, or not to show her? That is the question!
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Don't Ya Just Love It When...

So I'm singing "Deck The Halls" (yes I know it's February 24Th) and Alyssa says to me:

"Hey, how do you know that song!!"

Aw, aren't you the cutest thing.

Just like the time you came home from school and told me about Remembrance Day, like it was something brand new from this year. Never before heard of, must tell Mommy. Or the time you informed me what the school library was for (just in case I didn't know).

It kind of reminds me of that moment in my childhood when it dawned on me that my parents had lives before I was born ("woah!!! holy cow..."), that I was indeed not the entire universe, and the things that I was learning about weren't brand new to everyone else as well.

Now I get to relive those moments through my kids :)

Gotta love it!

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How I Frightened An Entire Field Hockey Team

Teenage boys, coming off the Field. My four year old son and I, walking home.

We had the stroller with us. Why the bleep not. It's good up to 60 lbs (50 for child and 10 in the basket), and J is about 40 1/2 pounds. Most of the time he walks anyway, which is what I want, but I am ALLERGIC to carrying crap, and this way I can toss his back pack in the stroller basket. On the odd occasion when he isn't in the mood to walk, I don't have to deal with a cranky kid. Hop in, and Mommy'll push ya.

Today I had the canopy covering the seat and the rain cover over the stroller because it had rained a bit earlier. J was up to his favourite activity of pushing it, head down, and fighting the impulse to run.

"Easy Buddy - watch where you're going. Slow down! Keep the stroller on the path."

Curved brick wall, right in his path. Running slowly, not enough to really damage the stroller, but enough to stop him and it suddenly in his tracks.

"Wall!!! Wall!!! Wall!!!" (shouts from the Field Hockey players) "Looook oooouuut!!!"

It occurred to me after the fact, after J and his pushing toy went BOUNCE off the wall, that the teenage boys had no idea that the stroller was empty....

(oops ;)
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My Son Is A Click-a-holic

Husband: "Hey, can he (4 yr old) play at the computer while you're in the shower? I have to leave for work."

Me: "Um, NO!! He clicks on stuff he's not supposed to!!"

Husband: (laughing) "Whatever. Computers are bullet proof these days."

You can see why I drink wine.


He (the 4 yr old, not the 44 yr old), cannot be trusted unsupervised with a mouse (computer, not rodent). Take today, for example: he started off at the kid safe site and somehow, in a mere 14.2 seconds, ended up about to click "play" on a YouTube video of a man eating scorpions (and right before lunch, no less ;)


He has printed stuff he's not supposed to, Googled 30+ random character "words", come really close to e-mailing gibberish to people, deleted stuff, CRANKED up the PC volume... you get the idea. I could go on, but I won't.

What? Parental controls? Hmm. Hey, you know what? Maybe I should look into that.

(now I get it)
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Movin' On Up

'K, done. The computer has been moved upstairs. We went shopping last night for a desk and here's what we ended up buying:

I LOVE it, although it was a little more than what I was hoping to pay (we bought ours at Staples for $199 CDN). The reason I went with this particular one was because it is more decorative than "office functional", which is important because it's sitting in a corner of our living room.

As I type this, the kids are both in front of the computer and I can see their screen (plus hear the repetitive drone of "we need to catch up to the Sillysaurus!!" courtesy of Nick Jr... oh my aching head). If they need help I can simply walk across the room, rather than hollering "JUST A SECOND!!" down to the bowels of the basement, where they were up to goodness only knows what.

Ah yes, this is much better, Sillysaurus and all ;)
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Wow! A Blog Post ;)

(The "change Mii" music drones on in the background as I sit here. For the uninitiated, a "Mii" is your player on Wii, which you can customize. My four year old thinks this is as amusing as any of the games, and spends a lot of time changing his Mii. Hence the music. I hear it in my sleep these days.)

Tomorrow the cable guy is coming to move one of our outlets, so that we can move our computer from the basement office into the living room. This doesn't apply to my laptop, of course, which is connected to the internet via a wireless router, but rather our desktop PC, which is the one the kids are allowed to use. This is for two reasons:

a) it is in keeping with my policy that kids shouldn't have access to the internet behind closed doors (i.e. no internet in their bedroom. EVER.)

b) it will allow Lil' J to finally start to use the computer.
Up until now he's only been allowed to watch his sister while she played in my office, on Webkinz, or whatever shortcut I had set up for her. Now he'll be able to have his own turns without watching her.

The only glitch in my plan so far is that we haven't had a chance to get a computer desk for the living room (the one that's in my office is too big, and uh, too ugly).

Hmmm. Either they come in the morning to move the outlet and we get a desk in the afternoon, or they come in the afternoon and we set the computer up on the floor (or I could get off this computer and find a spare end table somewhere just in case).

Maybe that's what I'll do. Blog ya later ;)
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Maybe They Can Learn From Each Other

The occasion: a friend's birthday party. The competition: musical chairs. Let the child personality analysis begin!

Lil' J got knocked out about half way through, and obediently sat out for the rest of the game, along with the other early departees. His mellow response in the face of rejection was in keeping with his "whatever, it's just a game" temperament. Live and let live. Peace, man. Have a great day. Z z z z z.

Alyssa, on the other hand, was NOT happy with coming in second. Second!! HMMPH!! "I HATE that game! I'm GLAD it's over!" Seething words, that luckily were spoken under her breath and only loud enough for me to hear, or she would have been sent away for the longest time-out in the history of all things child related.

There's an upside to the Diva dramatics - she's very achievement oriented, and barely bats an eyelash at working her butt off to attain mastery or success at something. The downside is that she's, uh, a little tightly wound.

Lil' Bro, on the other hand, will try something for awhile, and if it's too hard will make peace with the idea of NOT doing it, and move on to something else. "Mama, I'm all done wid dat." Z z z z z. He's super fun at parties though, and will never embarrass his mother. TERrific.

I've tried helping them both with varying degrees of no success. I'm not going to say I've thrown in the towel completely, but let's just say I have embraced a new strategy: hoping they can learn from each other!
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TV? What TV?

Ah, Spongebob!! How I love thee!!! Thanks to you, I can vacuum, do dishes, do laundry, take out garbage, clean bathrooms (wait, hang on. Maybe I don't like Spongebob after all ;)

Whaaaat??? I don't use the TV as a babysitter ALL the time. Just enough so that I can get through a day with my sanity intact. And I have been know to turn it off, under much protest, and drag my children against their will into the back yard. This usually ends well (as in, they end up happy), because kids and the outdoors go hand in hand.

Today I sat with my four year old and did some "pre-K" work book stuff, as well as some activities in his Thomas The Tank Engine magazines. He lasted almost :45 before getting restless, which was a tremendous relief to me (not that I have TV guilt), because apparently by Kindergarten, kids are only expected to be able to focus for about :20.


When determining whether or not your child has an attention span issue, a handy rule of thumb is that they should be able to remain engaged for :03 - :05 per year of life. (Or so says a few pages that I read on the internet. I'll take it, 'cause it makes my lil' :45 dude seem like a genius ;) Wahoo, internet!!

As I type this, both kids are watching Spongebob, and although the maternal guilt reflex is trying to kick in, deep down I'm not too worried about it.
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Why I Have No Photos Of My Kids On This Blog

It's certainly not because they're camera shy!! lol

I'm kind of protective of their privacy. I carefully ponder each topic before I post about it, and I leave out many things that I think might embarrass them if they were old enough to care that people they don't know are reading.

It's a personal choice. So many bloggers out there have lots of gorgeous pics of their kids on their blogs, and reveal many personal details about their lives. I respect every blogger's choice to publish what they're comfortable with, and in general try to never judge (about most things) until I've walked a mile in someone else's shoes.

I'm not even really sure why I'm writing this post, other than the fact that kid blogs with no kid pics on them are few and far between.

So there you are :) Happy reading!
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My Dinner Compromise

Me: "What do you guys want for dinner?"

A: "Kraft Dinner!!!"

(should I have even typed that? revealing the fact that my kids even know what Kraft Dinner is?)


Here's what we did, which I could live with (kinda ;)

I took one pouch of Easy Mac (ooh!!! revealed that we have THAT in our house... gonna have to stop blogging soon) and divided it into 3 portions (one for me - 80 cals each, btw). For those of you who have ever made a pouch of Easy Mac, you know that they're not very flippin' big eaten alone, never mind divided by three.


I used their "compartment" plates (love love LOVE those things) and put the (cough cough) Easy Mac in one spot, cut up raw carrot in another, yogurt & blueberries in another, and included a Cheese String on the side.

Presto - compromise, and they're eating it.
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Yet Again, Sea Monkeys And My Camera

Gettin' big!!! They squirm and zoom away when they bump into each other now. Some of them are distinctly faster swimmers. I'd say they're just over 2 mm in length (some are still smaller).

Alyssa started a list of names for the ones in her tank. I'm not sure how she can tell them apart, but who am I to argue...

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The Joys Of The Flu

I was awoken this morning at about 4:30 by my son.

"Mama look what's on my pillow!"

He's prone to nightmares, night terrors, sleep walking (to the toilet and then back to bed, thank goodness ;) and any and all assortments of sleep disruptions imaginable. He has even had night terrors about things on his pillow (poor lil' dude).

So when he referred to said pillow, I was reluctant to get out from under the warm covers. Been there done that. I called out to him in a voice that was hopefully loud enough for him to hear down the hall but not loud enough to wake my husband sleeping next to me.

Ya right.


Ok, ok, ok, I'm up. (sigh)

There was indeed something on his pillow - vomit! Awww... poor little guy. (And EW BLECH). I changed his sheets, changed his jammies, gave him some hugs, and tucked him back in again. Ahhh!! Back to my warm cozy bed.

Not for long - round two happened about ten minutes later. So far that's been all, but now I'm faced with that scenario where the younger child is too sick to accompany the older child to school. Of course big sister is at the age where a) she LOVES school and will be mad to miss it, and b) is too young to walk the three blocks herself (some parents might allow this, but um, not this parent).

As I'm typing this, my "get the kids up" timer is ringing. What to do??

a) I could just let them both sleep, and tell her the truth when she eventually wakes up.

PROS: it's the truth.
CONS: ooh-eee she be MAAAD at me, and her brother ("But Mommy I WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL!!")

b) I could go into her room and take her temperature, and tell her she has a fever.

PROS: She'd roll back over and go to sleep.
CONS: It's lying (which I'm not keen on, except for fun stuff like Santa & the Tooth Fairy)

Hmmm. But then again, she might really, actually and truly have a fever (ohhh, wouldn't that be handy ;)

Parenting is weird sometimes.

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'Nuther Sea Monkeys Pic

Awwww, they have... three eyes?? (Oh my!) I was going to say "how cute" but I'm not sure we're there yet. (Fyi - still under 2mm in length).

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More Sneaking Nutrients Into Kids' Food

Here's a quick and easy way to get some wheat germ and flax into little tummies if they want toast, instead of a cereal type of breakfast (such as porridge).

I make cinnamon toast, which they find irresistible. I toast whole grain bread, then add butter. I sprinkle each slice with about 1/2 tsp of brown sugar (you don't need much, surprisingly), and before I add the wonderful, flavourful and fragrant cinnamon, I also sprinkle a bit of wheat germ and ground flax. I use a knife to spread it all together, cut into pieces and serve.

Mmmm... yummy!
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Clean Up Time!!

How are such little people capable of making such big messes??? Yikes. I find it quite interesting, actually, how their little brains seem to just tune out the craziness. Or do they really? Maybe the mess is their secret revenge for all the times we say "no"!! Hmmm. Brats ;-)

Gina at Kids And Kiddos wrote a great post about getting her kids to clean up their toys. She has some tried and true strategies for motivating them to make order out of chaos. At the end of her post she asks readers to share what works for them, and her question is what inspired this post for me.

What I do is simple. I require that my kids clean up the activity that they're finished with before they can move on to the next.

This works in two ways:

1) The desire to move on to a new activity is their inspiration to clean up.
2) This strategy keeps the overall mess down to a "dull roar" - at the end of the day when everyone is tired, there are only a few things to pick up.

They're not always happy about it though: "Aw, Mommy!! Do I have to do ALL of this?"

(uh... yup. You dumped the puzzle pieces on the floor ALL by yourself, so you can put them back in the box too!)

Here's another strategy that a friend of mine uses with success:

1) Any toys that her kids leave out, get packed up and stored in the basement for awhile. Her kids know that if they want to play with the toys tomorrow, instead of in a month, they need to tidy up and put them away.

There's no perfect solution, and what works for some kids might not work for others. At least there's a variety of different things to try!
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Sea Monkeys - A Slightly Better Pic

Hey!!! You can kinda see something now. They're about 1.5 mm in length, and some of them have long stringy tails. They also appear to have three eyes (three black dots on the front of their heads) although you can't see that in this pic.

They swim like mad, and they're still quite small, which makes them difficult to photograph, but I'll keep trying...

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Sea Monkey Mystery

For the uninitiated, when you get a Sea Monkeys kit, you first purify the water for 24 hours before adding the eggs. Packet 1 is water purifier, Packet 2 is eggs, and Packet 3 is food.

Both kids got a kit for Christmas, and I dutifully followed the instructions and purified the water. Then I put the two little tanks up out of harm's reach, or so I thought.

Lil' J: "Mommy look!'
Me: "What is it, bud?"
Lil' J: "Mommy I washed my nut!" (he meant the kind that you crack open and then eat, before any of you start to wonder).
Me: "Where?"
Lil' J: "In dat. In da monkey tank"

He had washed his hazelnut in his still-being-purified Sea Monkey water, but thankfully hadn't spilled too much on the counter.

Now here's the mystery (hence the post title): I put his eggs in his water maybe an hour before Alyssa's, and yet today, almost two weeks later, his are double the size of hers. His are monster monkeys!!! Hers are wee little girlie things, still barely visible, but his are big enough that you can see their tails wiggling behind them as they swim.

Hmmm. Hazelnut shells for Sea Monkey food? Or little boy finger grime? We may never know ;-)

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Kindergarten Readiness

Ok, Lil' J - you're up next!

Hmm. Is my giggly, silly, march to the beat of his own drummer son really ready for The Big K this fall? His father was expressing doubt last night, which started me thinking about the whole thing.

It's difficult for me to really tell, because at the age that he is now (4 1/2), his sister was reading and writing simple (4-6 word) sentences. I know that's a little ahead of the curve as far as early language skills (btw, to compensate she was behind socially - she had much anxiety and shyness, which thankfully she's outgrown). It leaves me with the inability to judge J's preparedness, because he's not quite as advanced as his sister, so acck! He must not be ready, right?

Wrong!! (yippee).

Here are a couple of handy checklists I found, to which I was able to answer "yes, yes, yes," repeatedly for J. I guess he won't have to repeat preschool after all ;-)

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Kindergarten Registration

(Reminder to me: pick up French Immersion application from school today for Lil' J.)

Kindergarten registration is in mid February, and the deadline for submitting our F.E. applications is about a week earlier. I know it's only January 5th today, but I have notes all over the house reminding myself to get the little man signed up.

Ah, laugh at me if you will, but check this out: I heard this story of this family with four kids... well known in their school and community, actively involved in their F.E. program at school. The first three kids were in the program, so of course #4 would be as well. Until... they forgot to register him!! Too funny. They took their inclusion so for granted that they forgot about the formality of the application and registration.

I never did hear the outcome, but I'm assuming the Principal squeezed him in, seeing as how he would have been "priority #1" (in catchment with siblings already attending).

Too funny. (or not). I am neurotic enough to worry about forgetting my second child, so.... notes everywhere!!!

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Back To School!!!

Alyssa said to me last night: "Mommy tomorrow I'm going to get up super early and get dressed right away!!!"

I think she might be excited ;-)

Lil J doesn't seem to care one way or the other, but I know once we get to his preschool he'll be happy. My biggest challenge today is getting them there in this, um, weather.

Speaking of which, my timer is ringing - time to wake them up.

Have a great day, everyone!
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A Picture Of Sea Monkeys

Disclaimer: at less than two weeks old, they're barely big enough to be seen by my nasty pocket point & shoot wanna be a camera when it grows up one day.

Anyhoo, here's a corner of J's tank (his are bigger than A's - not sure why). They're about 1 mm long, and swim like mad!!! You can see them from 3 or 4 feet away now - you don't have to press your nose up against the plastic tank and hold your breath anymore ;-)

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Unique (Sounds Better Than Nuts)

Lil' J is about to climb on the Smart Cycle (have I mentioned how much I love that thing?)

"Mommy, why are dere handles and a seat dere?"

(really??? you're 4 1/2)

Me: "Um, well, the handles are for your hands and the seat is where you sit."
Lil J: "Oh. What are the pedals for?"
Me (biting the inside of my cheek): "That's where your feet go."
Lil J: "Oh. Fanks!!!"

Climbs aboard, starts pedalling.

Now, I'm pretty sure he was either a) asking me something else altogether that he doesn't yet have the means to express, b) asking just to see what I'd say, or c) playing around.

I may never know, but in the meantime being around to hear the nuggets that come out of his mouth is one of the biggest perks of being a stay at home Mom :-)
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Still Nuts

Lucky for him he's cute (my son, for those who haven't read the previous post). He just came and asked for a cookie, to which I replied "after dinner, maybe".

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: "So Bud, waddya want for dinner?"
Lil' J: "A cookie!!"
Me: "Uh, nope. Pick something healthy."
Lil' J, grinning deviously: "A nut!"

And yes, he cracked himself one, ate it, and came back asking for the cookie.
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