Sunday, July 31, 2011

July, You've been Alot of Fun!

fireworks & friends

honey extracting

horse rides

forging streams
front yard battles


hayride with cousins


beach days, and more beach days




So much to do, and you give us only 31 days to do them! Can we soak up enough fun & sun to see us through December? As sad as it is to say 'goodbye' to July - that can only mean one thing - August here we come, and we have a boatload of stuff we want to do.  Hey, July, do you think August will out-do you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's the magic word?

100 times a day, my kids ask for something - food, playdough, and help wedging tiny plastic swords into Playmobil Knights' c-shaped hands. I find them, generally, very polite. They may say, "Mom, can you do this for me?" and they may or may not add "the magic word". When the request is granted, I usually hear 'thank you' or some form of it. I remember when Ethan began attending preschool, his teachers often commented on how polite he was!

I never utter the phrase, "what do you say?" I do not request 'the magic word'. I do not make Seany wait with an outstretched hand for a cookie until he says 'please'.

I do say, "Sean, will you please get mommy a diaper" and thank him profusely. I do say, "Mikey, would you please take the trash out for me." I am always sure to thank him.  Use please and thank you alot, model it, mean it, and let it sink in.

And if you ask my kids what 'the magic word is?" they are most likey to say "Alohomora!"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

17 - Burn Things with a Magnifying Glass

50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do)

The boys had never tried this before. They actually thought it might just be a rumor that you could do it.

Everyone was able to do it. A tiny, black, pinhole would appear, then smoke and! This probably went on for a good hour and a half. Everyone got a real kick out of it. There is a knack to it - but once you have it you can't resist pointing the magnifying glass again and again.

Dangerous? Yeah, and very fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

96 minutes alone in the woods

No - it's not my kids newest stunt (but I think it should be).

The opportunity presented itself and I jumped at the chance. I can think of few others things I'd rather do than take a good long walk in the woods.

Although the parking lot was filled with cars, I never encountered another person during my walk. No one spoke to me, I didn't speak to anyone and my favorite parts were when the gravel path gave way to hard, cracked mud that silenced even my own footsteps. I am certain that I am transformed to another time and place with all the shade speckled light, extra oxygen and the screams for a distant, hunting hawk.

I have very little time that I am not in the presence of my children. We have designed our life purposefully that way and I enjoy it. Rarely, I find myself needing some time alone, and I find more often than not I am escaping my own voice than that of my kids. I walked and prayed for quite some time. I can think of no better place, for me personally, to connect with the Divine.

I did have to fight the thoughts, "oh, the kids would love this!" as if we haven't walked this path 10 times together before and I didn't have a camera phone with me!

Thanks, Mother Nature for the snacks, they were awesome!
The trails that I was walking are particularly well-marked and I could not resist a detour to something called 'the dance floor' on the map. It sounded so intriguing.

Yes, that's all there was, and yes, I did.
I walked intentionally thinking about what the path said about life. What's around that corner? Are those boards all safe? How much longer will this part go on?

In the woods I feel a weight lifted off my shoulders, I feel something tugging at my heart, I feel like someone is speaking to me. I think I know Who it is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What am I going to do about 'Socialization'?!?!

What if my kids can't deal with other kids...
Now that's a lunch table!
or learn to be part of a group....

or make friends....

engage easily with adults....

learn to be gentle and patient with little kids....

have only us as their teachers...

or they only want to play with kids the same age and gender?

Stratego for all.

8-16 playing a beach game of "Ninja"
Silly me. What was I thinking?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Family that plays together....

stays together! :)

Go ahead, wiggle your way into their worlds - ask them to teach you how to play Yu-Gi-Oh, have an all-out, all-family Wii battle, learn to play Super Mario Smash, watch them play LOTRO for a while (or get your own account), put on a pair of roller blades, read a long book aloud together (and then another!) We just finished this, and now we are on to this. This is next.

Get into something they love. Kids' interests are often marginalized by adults as silly. It's relationship-building to forge some common interests and participate together.

Dennis and the boys bond through hockey, scouts and online gaming.

The shared interest is genuine and makes them all excited. I need to be more deliberate, because I can get swept up in the tasks of the day. Putting on a movie for them is not the same as watching a movie with them (I can still fold laundry and watch!). We watched Ponyo the other day and it gave us lots of chances for ongoing conversation. Origami, bird watching, or hiking - it really doesn't matter - it's the "with" that counts.

Tell me what you are doing *WITH* your kids this summer. How about a project like this?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

48 - Explode a Bottle in the Freezer

The excercise called for filling a glass bottle, without air, and putting it in the freezer. The boys predicted what would happen, and the book proivded us neat information on why. We just didn't predict it would happen with such penache.

We did more than one bottle. All around, it was interesting results.

Dangerous? Surprisingly so! I had Gavin put a dish towel over the bottle in the freezer as the book warned of shards of glass. There was a great deal of popping and cracking, especially when we took it out of the freezer. Neat.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Some Beach

Those of you who know me well, know that I will drop just about anything for a beach day. I try to get there early in the season and late in the season, early in the day, and late in the day. It is the cure for all that ails you - I promise! There is nothing wrong that the ocean can't sort out for you.

See those rays out of light streaming down through the clouds - curative properties for sure. If you really can't get to the ocean, a lovely lake can suffice until you can make your way to the coastal ends of the country. I can attest to the effectiveness of that also.

I know, you think it's hard to schlep the kids on and off the beach, not to mention the organizing, packing up, and driving. But, I guarantee that it will be worth each little grain of sand that ends up in your car and other unspeakable crevices :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

19 - Climb on the Roof

The kids and I discussed how to safely do this and I trusted them all to do it. Gever Tulley is very clear in his book - and at his school, The Tinkering School, that skills are taught and that kids are given particular priviledges as long as they don't hurt themselves or others. If I had any doubt that any of the kids didn't get what was expected, they would not have been up there.

It is was exciting and they sure looked super-cute way up high!

Dangerous? Definately, but the controlled type. They loved looking at these pictures.