Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Kindergarten! WHAT??

My oldest started Kindergarten this week. I have no idea why they start while it's still so hot here and we could be swimming from dawn till dusk. My friends in New England are wearing jeans and long sleeves and school would be a perfectly comfortable place to be but they don't start until after Labor Day. Anyway...

We did a practice run on Monday. I've never had to get her out of the house so early and she's never in her life been allowed to get out of bed before seven, so we had much to practice! It went flawlessly. She didn't love having to get up, eat and get dressed in quick succession but we made it to the bus before it took the older kids for their first day. Then we came home and had a fun filled day of desert making. Why not? It's still too hot to be outside!

Yesterday was the real deal. We adjusted wake up a bit so we both had time to defog a bit before major decisions had to be made and it went better. I managed to hold myself together as I sent my baby off into the great unknown by herself without a single drop of vodka (for me, not for her). Her dad did too. Until that bus pulled off you'd think we were made of stone. I hope she thought so, at least. I wouldn't want to rain on that glorious, exciting parade. There was no hint of nerves or shyness as she kissed us goodbye ran to the bus and, after one last kiss of daddy's hand, sat down without a glance back. Yes, that's why we practiced!

I fretted all day. We live in the number one school district in the state, her teacher seems wonderful and has years of experience, and it's a school with only K and 1st grades. They know how to manage the little ones, but I worried. Would she be scared? Had she eaten enough breakfast? Would she make it back on the bus after school? Man, I nearly dragged my younger kid over to the school half a dozen times before it was time to back to the bus stop and get her. One might think she was off to boarding school for a year, the way I was acting. In reality, the school is 3 miles from our house, and at 350 in the afternoon, a very happy, very tired 5yo came bounding off the bus into my arms. She chattered about a day that sounded exhausting to me, as she bounded down the street. Where does she get the energy? It's a good thing, I guess. She also started CCD last night, so it was a very big day for her but that's another post.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ivory Soap Project

Ivory Soap Disaster Project 

You’ve heard of this right? Well, I guess if you’re not on Pinterest, you might not have. Trust me when I say… Skip it.

There are bunches of fun, super mom blog posts about this little gem of a science project and I have pinned them all. I was so excited to do this with my kids while hanging at Nana’s for the summer and when we finally had a warm~ish day, we went for it! I had no idea what we were in for.  

Here’s a link to the blog we used, but the steps are the same across the board… That's her pic. I was too covered in soap to even think of touching my camera for most of this adventure.

Have you ever smelled Ivory soap? Have you ever noticed how you can smell it a mile away on someone who bathed with it yesterday? I have. Why did I think that would be less when you COOK IT? At first it was awesome. The Things, my dad, and I were spellbound watching the bar of soap grow out of itself into this amorphous blob, right up to the point where it hit the sides and door of the microwave! I stopped the cooking and opened the door, at which point we all nearly fell over from the smell! Sneezing, runny noses and watery eyes abound! 

I am way too easy, apparently, so we gathered up the blob, some bowls and food coloring and ran outside. The Things commenced to squishing up the blob. Cooked ivory soap turns into super fine powder when squished up (think stinky confectioner’s sugar). The air on the deck was cloudy, the sneezing and watery eyes continued, and the Things were undeterred. When I couldn’t stand the thought of them breathing in the soap dust or the sound of the sneezing anymore, we decided to put in water and food coloring. Really? 

Before the Green Child.... sorry, I don't have an After.
It was crazy messy. We were trying to make little colored soaps but I put too much water in to make it moldable. It was more like soap soup: brightly colored, smelly, Ivory soap soup, which the kids used to play ‘cake maker’ and pour back and forth between the bowls, plates and the table. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking I can’t adequately describe how awful this was! I am not a neat freak, not by a long shot, but I do try to avoid making huge messes on purpose. I would avoid this particular mess at all costs in the future. My mom’s house still reeks of Ivory soap, the microwave may never be the same and it took an hour or so to rinse all the soap out of the patio rugs. 

I wish I could say these shots capture the ‘aftermath’ of this project. I also wish it hadn’t taken nearly an hour to get to this point...
The only bright spots are that the kids had an absolute blast, and my dad had a remarkably good humor about the whole thing! 

UPDATE: 4 year old Thing 2 just came to me after his nap saying "Mommy, can we please blow up soap in the microwave again someday??"  Oh dear....

Some nice chalk time after the disaster project.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Odyssey 2012

This has been a long and stressful week. We shipped my Marine husband off for a few weeks and then the Things and I traveled from Baton Rouge to Pennsylvania in our van, picking up their pop pop along the way.

The trip was nothing I imagined it to be. The kids didn't squall and fuss the whole time, they hardly even fought. They didn't play with most of the toys we brought or use the neck pillows they were so excited about. They did spend hours using their Crayola Color Wonder markers, which must be handed down from God himself!

We hardly ate at McDonald's the whole trip! I knew I didn't WANT to eat there every day (two or three times) but had no idea how that would work out. I packed TONS of food and sandwich stuff and we stopped at national parks or nice rest areas, so instead of feasting on Mickey D's, we ate wholesome, homemade food and got real exercise along the way! I think we ate under the golden arches just once in the whole 5 days, which is pretty much our average for a non travel week (don't judge me)!

One major stop was at the Georgia Aquarium before picking up my dad in Atlanta. That part went as expected, actually. I didn't enjoy it. We've been there twice now and I can't shake the impression that it's the Mall of America of aquariums. It's too much flash and not enough fish. That feeling is worse after seeing their dolphin show. My kids liked it well enough, but it was so much about the special effects, you barely noticed the dolphins. I should move on now, because I could go on for a whole post about the serious lack of dolphin in their uber fancy dolphin exhibition.

beluga whale tail

Fetching my dad from the Atlanta airport was harder than anticipated (he would say "SEE!?"), but we soon found him and got on our way. It was really fantastic of my dad to fly down so I would have company and help for the rest of the trip, but I had no idea how it would work (again). We didn't bicker or grouse, neither complained about the others' driving, and whoever was in the passenger seat kept track of directions and entertained the kids. Amazing.

The one part of the trip that I didn't expect trouble or find any was in North Carolina. We spent a day with some family, which was a wonderful break from the road and chance to see a much missed part of our lives! Love you, NC!

Then on to Pittsburgh for a night before our final destination Monday. It could not have gone smoother! It may have been an invasion of the body snatchers because things never go that well for me! Other than Thing 2 letting go of me just as I got on an escalator and staying at the bottom as I was carried ever upward, the drama we saw was on the periphery and gave the kids much to discuss along the way. (Thanks SO much to that family at the bottom of the Dolphin stairs who took my 3yo by the hand and safely planted him on the escalator!)

Now to settle in and see if the adventure of living with Nana and Pop for six weeks goes the way I expect! 


Monday, May 7, 2012

G violence vs. PG cute.

So what is the deal with kids movie ratings? How is a movie who's characters spend the entire film plotting to, talking about, and attempting to kill each other G rated? Because, apparently it's OK to do violence to characters that aren't shaped like people. But guess what? My kids don't know the difference. Not really.

The hubs and I finally previewed Cars 2 last night because the Things (aka our children) have been begging us to see it. We had avoided it this long because I had preconceived notions related to the story line. I despise the big-oil/big business is bad meme that I knew existed in this picture, but figured it might be a teachable moment. No. Such. Luck. It was funny, we adults were genuinely entertained for most of it, but there is no way in hell my 4 and 5 year olds will be watching this. It's violent! With a capital V, Violent. Cars are killed, shot at, blown up, and plotted against throughout, but apparently, since they're only cars, it's OK for a G audience. I don't get it. It's OK to do violence to characters that have all the attributes of people except for the physical ones?

Admittedly, I have no idea how movies are rated or who does it, but in my opinion, they fail miserably.  My brain keeps going back to Tangled. A crazy cute, funny movie with some violence that earns it a PG rating. I think PG is a little much, but I accept it because kids really shouldn't hit people with frying pans and the old lady does knife the hero at the end. Fine, but if Tangled gets a PG shouldn't Cars 2 get an R? What the hell?

My kids adore Lightening McQueen. They would be distraught at the thought of other cars trying to destroy him, every bit as distraught as when Rapunzel or Flynn Ryder find themselves in danger. They don't know the difference. They don't see skin color or size, they barely see the sex of the characters, and they certainly don't register on any meaningful level that McQueen isn't as real as Rapunzel. As much as we talk about cartoons and pretending, they don't yet understand.

The short version of this story is that the movie rating system is not helpful at all. For anything.  My children will not be seeing this movie. It is way too violent.


On a totally unrelated note, here is my Supermoon shot from this year. Yeah, it stinks. The moon doesn't get high enough to see until it's too dark to get a good pic. I may edit some shots together, but for now it is what it is.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Identity crisis

My very first blog post. Ever... In my life. I have about a million things going on lately, and can't quite decide which direction to charge. And now I'm adding a blog? Awesome sauce.

About a year ago I started sewing for money. I sew accessories: handbags, kids clothes, gadget covers etc. Then I got into photography. Well, then I got MORE into photography. I learned how to use my Canon DSLR outside of auto (Yay me!) and figured out that I'm pretty good at getting great pictures. Now I'm obsessed with learning everything photography.

Here are some images from a recent shoot with my own little princess:

So, now what?

I still love the sewing. I love creating something that wasn't there before. I love making a product that my clients love, buy again, and buy for their friends. It may be that I'm a bit too much like my grandfather who, so I'm told, was into every 'get rich quick' idea that came his way and they frequently overlapped. While I have no delusions about getting rich with either of these endeavors, I definitely tend to move on to a new project leaving the old one unfinished or even forgotten. It is a bit like a dog and squirrels. SQUIRREL!! Wait... what was I talking about?

On top of these creative and business endeavors, I have a burning passion for politics and, in case you hadn't noticed, campaign season is in high gear and keeping up with my candidates is exhausting.  Did I mention I also have two children? Well, you might not know by this blog, but they come first. At least I hope they do.

The one thing that's clear? I need to prioritize and organize. I am not someone who does either of those things... at least not on an extended basis. Also, I am a procrastinator. My name is the root of that word (really, it's right there in the middle) and while I do work best under pressure, there is no need to take it to such extremes that the dishes don't get done or I don't feed my family!

For now, I think I'm going to focus on the photography. (??) And sew on the side when there is time. The sewing was making me actual money, but whatever! Oh, and the politics, and traveling while the Marine is away and...