Monday, April 28, 2014

In Every Job That Must Be Done There Is An Element of Fun. You Find the Fun and SNAP! The Job's a Game

I love being a mom. I just love. it's my favorite thing I have ever done.

Sometimes I have a breakthrough where I think to myself "I nailed that. Man, I'm good." They are few and far between, but they happen.

Ash was having a hard time doing chores. I'm not talking about breaking rocks in the summer heat or scrubbing the floors with a toothbrush. I'm talking about basic morning chores everyone needs to do: Eat breakfast, clear the table, brush hair, brush teeth, get dressed, make bed.

Ash is very capable of doing all these things. She seemed to be lacking motivation. I tried a chore chart. I tried a chore card. I tried bribes. I tried threatening. Ash is one of those children who is given a chore that should take five minutes and somehow turns it into a three hour chore and in the end it's still not done. She has mastered the opposite of efficient.

Here come the part where I brag:

I turned her morning chores into a playlist. Every morning I play the same six songs. Each song corresponds with a chore. For instance, when she is supposed to be getting dressed, the song that plays is You're never Fully Dressed Without A Smile from Annie. When she is supposed to brush her teeth, the song is Elmo's Brush Teeth Song Which, if you haven't heard it, just might be Sesame Street's best Pop song ever. She must finish that chore during the song. There is no pausing. Once the playlist is over, all her chores need to be done.

The first few days I was right there with her, keeping her on track. Then she did it by herself. it's been a few months and now she's figured out actual time management tricks: If she grabs her toothbrush and hairbrush at the same time, she only has to make one trip. If she gets dressed first thing in the morning, before we eat breakfast, when that song comes on she can dance along. It's also adorable to see a four year old singing her heart out to Annie.

And just like that, she is self sufficient in the morning, I don't have to nag, and I've taught her time management and efficiency. Man, I'm good.

Here is the list. If you have other song suggestions I'd love to hear them!

Finish breakfast and green smoothie
Clear the table
Get dressed
Brush hair
Brush Teeth
Make bed

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I've Hidden It. Somewhere You'll Never Find It. It's In That Pot, Isn't It?

The bad news is I have lost my wallet. The last time I saw it was ten days ago. Usually when I lose my phone or my wallet it's only missing for one or two days. Over a week means it's really, really lost.

The good news is that my house has never been so clean and organized. I have spent hour after hour looking for my wallet. I've thoroughly cleaned the playroom, the laundry room, the front closet, my closet, my bedroom, and the front room. I've moved furniture and vacuumed underneath, I've decluttered and donated two giant boxes to Goodwill. My house looks amazing.

The more good news is that I've found everything I have ever lost over the last three years, except my wallet. I put a baby carrier into storage a few years ago. After Alexa was born I went looking for it, never found it, and assumed I had given it away. Nope! I found it!  I got a book as a present and a few days later it went missing. I thought it had been taken to the Library by mistake. NOPE! Found it! The filters to the Nosafrida disappeared. I was about to order some new ones. No need! Found them! Ash's missing puzzle piece? Found! A missing generic die? Found! Alexa's spare teething toy? It was under the dresser!

I have learned several lessons form this excitement:

-Ash likes to hide things between the back of the couch and the cushions.
-Ash likes to hide things between her bed and wall
-Ash likes to hide thing UNDER drawers
-Apparently Ash likes to hide things. I think I need to keep a closer eye on her.
-I have way to much. I need to get rid of EVERYTHING
-I need a tracking device on my keys (which I have, thanks to Drek!) AND my wallet (which I will have, as soon as I find it and/or get a new one)

When I asked Ash if she knew where to find my wallet, she answered "It's with your phone." I showed her that I had my phone but not my wallet. "Then you need to lose your phone and when you find it, it will be with your wallet!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Would You Waste an Egg Like That?

Look! Easter Eggs! 

This year Ash thought it would be fun to dye eggs, then put the dyed egg into the egg carton and spoon more dye over the egg. This resulted in a cool rainbowing effect: 

 Drek did two tricks this year. This one he put oil into the dye to create a cool marble pattern:

And this one he dipped a toothbrush in the undiluted food coloring and flicked the paint onto the egg: 

I cut tape into the shapes I wanted and applied to to the egg. After I dyed the egg, I pulled the tape off:

On this one I then dyed the again: 

For my last egg I added Googly eyes, 

which Ash liked so much she decided to copy: 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

You Are Perhaps the Most Resourceful Individual I Have Ever Known

Over the weekend we enjoyed a small camping trip. Our church arranged it, chose the spot and time and sent out reminders that the they would provide breakfast but each family was in charge of their own dinner. There was also a note that the festivities would start at four in the afternoon, and that a giant propane grill and a fire in a fire pit would be provided for the families to cook their dinner. 

Drek has passed on his love of camping to Ash, who was so excited about our adventure and decided she needed to dictate what we would have for dinner: Hot dogs. Drek was thrilled. He bought fancy hot dogs for them and I bought a package of Vegan Smart dogs for me. 

We arrived at the campground at three fifteen, found ourselves to be the first arrivals and promptly chose the best spot to set up our tent. After arranging our temporary abode, a few rounds of horseshoes and a romp on the playground (it was a nice camping spot!) the next family finally showed up. That was about five. Another family arrived at five fifteen and it was a steady trickle after that. 

At six, the family in charge of propane arrived. Drek set up the giant grill, hooked up the propane and tried to cook our hot dogs. 

After a lot of troubleshooting and wondering why our hotdogs were only mildly less-cold, it was decided that the propane tank was nearly empty. No other tanks had been brought, so of course someone was sent back into town to get a propane tank for breakfast. Propane for dinner, however, that was now off the table. Also there would be no campfire. And starting your own fire is not allowed. 

Not to be discouraged, Drek and Ash went out with the unquenchable camping spirit: Be resourceful! Be creative! Cook hot dogs! 

A few minutes later they returned to camp with deliciously cooked hot dogs.  Drek had borrowed the camp master's microwave. The resourcefulness! The creativity! The cooked hot dogs! 

After a delicious dinner we curled into our sleeping bags and slept as best you can on a camping trip with fifty other families all close together. Sleeping becomes more difficult when one of those families has a child that cries. All. Night. Long. Ah, camping. 

But the next morning we had an amazing and plentiful breakfast, an Easter egg hunt,  and lots of rides on the zipline! Ziplines make the best camping trips. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

You Know, You Wreck Everything You Touch. Why Not Try and Make Something for a Change?

My Sophomore year in High School I took a ceramics class with my two best friends. I really disliked the teacher and the set-up was a little pathetic: thirty kids in the class but only four pottery wheels. Still, the class became one of my favorite classes in the entire four years.  I attribute most of that to the fact that we were largely unsupervised in the class and, like I said, I had my two best friends with me, but we took other classes together and I didn't enjoy them as much as ceramics. I think there was something so therapeutic about molding, sculpting and just playing with the clay that really resonated with me. 

As a fifteen year old I had grand visions of becoming an amazing potter as an adult. I would dig my own clay out of the earth, spend hours in my pottery studio, fire my amazing creations in the kiln I made myself in my backyard and sell the finished products for thousands of dollars.   Sadly, the class was only one year and since it had fulfilled the art requirement I needed to graduate, there was no reason to take another class. I never really thought about it again. 

A few months ago a friend of mine emailed me about a Groupon deal for a two-session pottery class. I jumped at the chance. 

A while later the two of us found ourselves at the class, armed with clay and sitting at a potter's wheel. Once the wheel started spinning and I felt the clay under my hands, all my grand visions of backyard kilns and thousand dollar creations came flooding back to me. 

The teacher had a simpler vision: we could create two pots. And here they are:  

It took three hours. Three hours with no kids, no laundry, no cooking. Three hours to hang out with my friend. Three hours to mold, sculpt and play with clay. It was wonderful. 

We left our pots there to be fired in the kiln. Several weeks later we went back to glaze our pots (something I have never done before).  I made them look like this: 

A few days later our pots were all done and I went and picked mine up: 

I loved it. I want to take more classes! I want to join the pottery club and spend my evenings and weekends creating things out of clay!  But money. And time. Sigh.

Still, I'm not going to wait another ten plus years to get my hands dirty again!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

And the Children Aren't Puppies, They're People. And Sooner or Later, Nana, People Have to Grow Up.

Today my baby Alexa turned one year old. That means a party! 

The food was served in baby food jars. We had fruit salad and veggies: 

Goldfish, raisins and cheerios:

even the strawberry cake was served inside baby food jars!

Alexa seemed to enjoy it. She is only one, and since ine-year-olds aren't fans of large crowds, the guest list was..well, very short. Me. Ash. Daddy. Amy. And Princess Alexa, of course. But I think she'll appreciate the pictures once she's a little older.