Thursday, May 29, 2014

Party in the USA

Summer is (almost) here!

Summer, the end of school!  Hooray?  Maggie graduated preschool and next year will get to be a big Kindergartner!  She had to dress up as something she wanted to be when she grew up.  I told her she could be anything she wanted to be, but I wasn't going to buy a costume ("I want to be Elsa when I grow up!") so she settled on being a teacher.  Good choice.
 She performed her part in the program beautifully and was enthusiastic during all the songs.
 Here she is getting her diploma from her 2 great teachers.
 It was so much fun to watch!

Next up it was Jake's birthday--the big 8.  It's great to be eight!  He had an awesome party.  Lots of kids and presents.
 After looking at Pinterest boys birthday party ideas and realizing that I don't have 3 months and $800 to throw a party (or even close to the level of craftiness I would need), I took the easy way out and copy catted Tyler's birthday from a couple years ago--late night backyard movie night!  The only planning I had to do was reserve the screen and equipment and prepare popcorn/treat bags.  The guy came, set up, stayed and packed it up at the end of the night.  Sweet.  

 It was totally awesome--everyone had a blast, I wasn't stressed out, and I am now totally inspired to buy one of these things!  It was so much fun.

We then had a family party on his actual birthday.  Cake for the normal people, and snickerdoodles for Jake because he hates cake (whaaaa?).
Eric spent some quality time with the boys--he took them horseriding...
and fishing too.  It would have been great for me if Joey weren't around!  Ahhhh, someday. 

I have mentioned in the previous post about how all the social media these days makes you feel like an inadequate parent.  If you aren't constantly making elaborate crafts, doing educational activities or playing homemade games with your kids then you are one of the worst mothers out there.  Or at least an extreme underachiever.  I fall into that category.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not lazy, it's just that I have tried all these things and 99.99% of them are "fails."  Ever made a house/rocket/fort out of a huge cardboard box?  Done--ripped apart into 1,000 pieces after 30 minutes.  Ever done sock rainbow bubbles?  Done--choking child and ruined after 30 seconds (see previous post).  Ever filled your kids room with balloons on their birthday?  Done--millions of tiny rubber scraps you try to pick up before the dog eats them.  I could go on and on--you get the point.  I am only saying this because I recently found an article, written by a mom, who I would think I would be BESTIES with if I ever met her in real life.  Please read and enjoy...

I imagine when my mother was raising a family back in the '80s, in a world sans Pinterest and mommy blogs, she didn't know what other moms did with their kids during the summer if they didn't live on our block. But I'm parenting in an entirely different era where I'm bombarded on a daily basis with messages via social networks about what I should and shouldn't be doing with my kids.
When I was a new parent, I bought into everything, hook, line and sinker. But after seven years of being a circus monkey in order to make summers magical for my children, I've thrown in the towel. While you may hear other mothers announce their excitement to have the kids home all day, every day — I'm keeping it real.
I'm scared. Really scared. So I'm taking the pressure off myself. I had a bucket list compiled from ideas found on mommy blogs around the Internet, written by women who probably make their own toothpaste and never feed their family processed foods, and I'm doing a rewrite. My new goal for summer break? Survive.
Make ice cream in a baggie.
1. Buy ice cream.
Watch the sunrise and bring a picnic breakfast!
2. Feed the kids breakfast as often as possible. We've already witnessed the sunrise every morning for the first few years of their lives.
Sleep outside on the trampoline together!
3. Let the kids sleep outside on the trampoline ... without me.
Got an old chair lying around? Give the kids a permanent marker and let them go to town on it!
4. Draw with them ... on paper.
Make a fruit pizza! Let kids help you with the toppings like strawberries and blueberries!
5. Order pizza.
Have a yard sale and let the kids help!
6. Have a yard sale when the kids aren't there, because most of what we sell is their old junk that they would never willingly part with.
Play games, like hide-and-seek!
7. Play hide-and-seek, and find a really good hiding spot to enjoy some peace and quiet for as long as possible. Bring a good book and a Diet Coke into said hiding spot.
Host a themed play date, like a Pirate Play Date, and provide inexpensive eye patches, pirate hats out of newspaper, and Goldfish Crackers as "sea food."
8. Invite some kids over to play. Have Goldfish Crackers as a snack.
Make a carwash for the kids' bicycles using PVC pipe, pool noodles and your imagination!
9. Let the kids play with the hose.
Write sight words on diving sticks and call out a word. See who can dive into the pool and find that word first!
10. Take the kids swimming. 
Now that the pressure is off, bring on the summer!

Whoever you are, I love you!  This will be my bucket list for summer.  Bring it on!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Frustrations in Parenting

Sometimes being a mom is hard.  Who am I kidding, it's hard all the time.  You are constantly busy doing things that are never done (i.e. cleaning pee off toilets, sweeping, laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.).  Then you start to feel guilty about not spending enough quality time with the kids.  So you try to do something FUN with the kids after school--let's say, just for example's sake, you try to make the above pictures sock bubble snakes...just hypothetically.  So you leave the dishes in the sink, ignore the crumbs all over the floor and take a few minutes to prepare what you imagine will be an absolute hit with the kids.  You fantasize that the 5 of you (hypothetically again) will play in the yard with your amazing rainbow bubbles and laugh and have an afternoon filled with the joys of childhood.  So you take it outside, and start blowing, catching the kids' attention.  The first kid runs over, we will call him Jake, and begs to try.  You happily hand over the bottle and within 3 seconds he is coughing, gagging, dry heaving, choking.  He inhaled accidentally.  He looks like he is going to be sick so you send Jake (or, you know, whoever) inside to wash out his mouth.  While you were helping [Jake], your youngest kid, this one we will call Joey, runs over, dumps out the bubble stuff and completely crushes the bottle.   So your attempt at a magical hour with the kids is dashed in about 1 and a half minutes.  So you go inside and do the dishes and sweep the floor.

Sometimes all Pinterest (where I got the idea) does is make me feel like I am under-achieving.  Are all you other mothers out there really doing all the things you are pinning????  Or on the occasion you actually do them do they ever turn out like my (hypothetical) experience?  I hope I'm not the only one.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Family on Fire

Last November we closed on a land lot of 5.26 acres.  Crazy, huh?  Who would've thought I'd be a farmer's wife?  Just kidding.  It is a great piece of land, great location, really beautiful, and we are very excited and hope to start building on it soon.  But before we could do that we (and by "we" of course I mean "Eric") had to clear out some brush from under a group of scrub oak trees.  Eric spent a lot of time over there piling it all up, then we got a burn permit and had a big burn party!  

 The pictures don't do it justice.  The flames were HUGE and HOT!  We couldn't even get within 15 feet of the fire it was so hot it would burn your face.  The kids had a blast playing.
 Tyler and Jake helped stack up some firewood Eric was cutting.  Here is Tyler probably getting a lecture about working hard and not goofing off.

 We invited family down and roasted Peeps leftover from Easter.  You can see the fire was so hot we actually had to pull a stick out of the fire to roast the Peeps over.  They were actually VERY tasty--and I don't even like Peeps!
 The other hightight lately is that Tyler eared his Arrow of Light for Scouts!

He worked hard to earn it and we are very proud of him.  

Things continue to move along with the land.  We FINALLY finished the well--the first one they kept having problems (broken drill bits, cracked casings, etc.) so the guy actually just gave up on that one and drilled a new one about 3 feet away and finished it in a week.  We've got lots of water so that's good!  I have a few pictures of the well being dug.  It's definitely a crazy idea for me to think of living on a huge plot of land, drinking well water.  Guess I'm a country girl now!