Monday, August 31, 2009

The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives.

Leah did great this morning! I warned her that I was going to want to take a lot of photos, and she cooperated wonderfully. She insisted on having her photo taken by the flowers despite the fact that the sprinklers were on and Mommy's back got slightly damp. The things we do for our kids.

At the front doors of the school. Ben was also so well behaved the whole morning - I didn't have to worry about him at all.

Leah and her teacher Mrs. D. It is so great to hear a teacher who's been in the classroom for 20 years say that they have first day butterflies.

Putting her supplies away. Her backpack, by the way, was a stroke of luck. I got it at a garage sale last summer. Of course it was stashed away until a couple of weeks ago. After talking it up, "Ooh, I have a back pack for YOU!" I pulled it out and showed it to Leah. Thankfully, she loved it immediately.

I guess she loves school, because she asked if in First Grade she could stay all day. That may have something to do with the fact that the half-day kindergarten kids don't get recess.

It was a lovely day.

Just Do It

I posted recently about my efforts at clearing the counters in my house. There are significant amounts of clutter left, but in a more hard-to-reach location: my head.

You know that junk - the stuff that you've been meaning to get around to, but haven't found the time? That pile of to-do's? Projects you've been procrastinating starting? C'mon, I can't be the only one.

I finally had enough a couple weeks ago. After writing down a list of 8 or so tasks, I started working on it. Instead of staring at the computer screen, I DID stuff. A LOT of stuff. So much that I'm on my second list. It feels great to get that stuff out of my head and DONE! Here's some of the things that got crossed off:

- frame the cross-stitch my grandma made for Adam
- renew magazine subscriptions
- put up smaller framed items around the house
- packed up stuff for Boys Ranch and dropped it off (this job took about 10 min...and has been waiting for a year. Yeah.)
- put away some piles that had taken up permanent residence on the counter
- cleared out more stuff from the back room/entry to outdoors

None of these jobs have been that time-intensive. Which makes it all the more annoying that I've been putting them off for so long. Speaking of putting things off:

Aaron and I were in the van the other day, and since he was driving and the kids were fine, I started going through my purse - there's always garbage in there to get rid of. I found my wallet, and started checking out it's contents. Behind my driver's license I keep my insurance cards and vehicle proof of insurance cards. As I was looking at them, I realized that the company on the insurance cards is no longer the one we do business with. THEN I looked at the actual make & model of the cars. Yeah, we haven't owned either of them for at least 3 years. Looks like I should have scratched THAT cleaning job off the list a few years ago.

Friday, August 28, 2009


One of the reasons I'm glad Leah is going to kindergarten is that she will be around the same kids every day. Right now, although she has several friends, she sees them at the most 3 times a week. That's infrequent enough for them to deal with the bossing, and for Leah to deal with the lack of obedience. But every day playmates means that they will have to work something out. I'm guessing that after the first couple of days, Leah will have some kind of breakdown. Maybe even that first afternoon when she gets home...something along the lines of, "They won't play what I want to play! They keep running around!" I'm glad the teacher, God bless her, will have to deal with that instead of me, at least immediately.

Hopefully Leah will learn to be as flexible as she was the other day with Ben. Here's how it went down:

L: Ben, let's play store!
B: No, me no want to. Let's play house. You be mommy, me be little boy. (what a stretch, huh?:)
L: Okay...Alright, son, let's go to the store!

Pretty stinking clever, huh? I would love it if it's THOSE kinds of smarts she develops this year at school.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Short, Glorious Life of a Diaper Bag.

While I was pregnant with Adam, I started to do some thinking. A baby means diapers, wipes, a burp cloth, extra blanket and a change of outfits to haul around. Also, I usually have snacks, a water bottle, wipes and diaper for Ben (!!!!) with me anyway. All this plus my own junk meant either a diaper bag AND a purse, OR a really cute diaper bag that I could easily put everything into, and matching smaller bag to go inside of it for my stuff.
I spent lots of time (too much) surfing the Internet looking for That Perfect Bag. (It should go on the record here that I am a bag lady. Literally. I love bags and purses and totes. Always have. My mom proved this when she brought back from our family farm about 5 bags that I played with as a kid. I may not have shelves and shelves of shoes, but purses, yes. Fortunately for Aaron, I have cheap tastes and most of them cost under $20 - many under $10. )

I looked at designer diaper bags, like Petunia Pickle-Bottom (isn't that fun?!). But even on Ebay they were going for $70 plus, and my conscience just couldn't do it. I mean, a diaper bag is going to get shoved around and probably stepped on by the older two - I didn't want to go crazy protecting it.

Another consideration was the design. Not only did it have to be cute, but it couldn't be pink. I mean, with a baby boy, I couldn't be pulling his diapers out of something too girlie. I do consider a diaper bag to be a MOM's accessory, but still.

Finally I found THE one. The brand was Kalencom. I did some research, and similar bags from that company were available online from Target, running about $70. Which means that the "buy now" one on Ebay for $20 was a steal! And in boy-acceptable colors, but still mom-cute!

I got it. And lo, it was well loved. I used it every day after Adam was born. It fit everything required, plus sunscreen, bug spray, a hat & socks, and a nursing cover. Perfect.

THEN we went to Medora. And ate at the Pitchfork Fondue. The picnic tables there are too big for a kid like Ben to eat at without falling between the seat and table, which we've had enough of this summer, thankyouverymuch. So Aaron improvised, and had Ben sit on my lovely diaper bag and use the picnic bench as his table. Every was fine (oh, except for the fact that neither of the kids ate their hotdogs, and Ben didn't really eat anything...) until we went to van to change into jeans.

I opened the diaper bag. And smelled sunscreen. And felt something wet.

After pulling every out, including 3 or 4 ruined diapers and a couple handfuls of snacks, I found the culprit. Not my water bottle leaking, as I had initially thought. No, it was much more devastating than that. I found an EMPTY sunscreen bottle. You know, the new-fangled spray type? This was an almost-full, new bottle, which had emptied itself in my diaper bag when Ben sat on it, pressing the button down.

For the rest of my trip, I was so thankful that I'd brought along a separate purse which was on the large size. The diaper bag was taken to the drycleaners when we got home, in hopes that a miracle would be worked.

No such luck. I got it back yesterday, and it still looked like this (sorry about the necessary head tilt):

I would probably be tempted to keep using it, since the stain is on the back of the bag, but when I showed it to Aaron, he made a face and said it looked like poop. Which is obviously NOT a good impression to give the general public, that you are walking around carrying a bag covered in feces.

Now I need to figure out a new strategy. Use one of my other diaper bags, neither of which is nowhere nearly as cute as this one? Carry a very large purse? Do the two-bag system again? (This may be good, since Adam is getting to be the age where I can leave him in the nursery...)

If all else fails, I'll have to buy myself a new diaper bag. Darn.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No pressure, kids.

The other day as I was picking up the same toys for the hundredth time that day, I started questioning the meaning of life.

Specifically, MY life.

When I was teaching, I had 30 lives every hour to try to effect. So many opportunities to make a difference! 150 students per year, not to mention the kids not in my classes that befriended me. At that same time, we were working with the youth at our church. Wow! How could I NOT feel like a productive member of society?!

These days, it seems like all I do is clean up messes that will be made again the next day (or hour, or in 10 minutes), wash clothes that will be dirtied again, and prepare food for people who will be hungry again in a few hours. What's the point of it all? Am I just totally wasting my life? Who, exactly, is all my labor benefiting?

Then I took a deep breath.

First of all, God designed me, and He doesn't waste HIS time.

Second, I know I AM doing more than just maintaining the norm. Sometimes it's pretty subtle, but it's there. I'll take the opportunities given to me - like helping a new mom realize that there are very few breastfeeding "rules". If she wants to nurse that baby on just one side per feeding, so be it! Okay, it's a little thing, but it made me very happy. Thanks, CC, for making me feel useful!

And if those two items are too fleeting for me to remember in the future, there's always the clincher: I am taking care of my kids, trying to help them grow into the best people they can be. Maybe THEY will majorly benefit society. That means that being a MOM may truly be the most important way of benefiting society after all.

Friday, August 21, 2009

On the other hand, he's not materialistic.

Ben is still stubbornly refusing to be potty trained. Here are the signs that he's ready:

1. Can be "dry" for extended periods of, overnight.
2. After we discover a dry diaper and put him on the potty, he goes like a champ.
3. Will hide when he has to poop.
4. Then comes and asks for us to change his diaper.
5. And will bring us the new diaper and wipes.
6. AND will put the dirty diaper in the diaper pail (only wets...#2's go in the garage.)

Here are the reasons why he's not potty trained yet:

1. He refuses to wear underwear.
2. He won't tell us when HE has to use the potty. It's always us suggesting it.

Last night, he almost left the house to poop in his pants. Aaron offered the following, "Don't you want a new car or truck? If you go in the potty, you'll get a new toy!"

Ben said, "Me have enough toys!"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Maybe the kids will get my good looks instead.

The other night I was visiting with Crystal in her sexy new kitchen (trust me, if a kitchen can be sexy, this one is it.) We were looking at Avon catalogs and making lists - because we are party animals- and I was trying to use the pen she had given me. It seemed like the kind where you twist the "cap" to make the tip come out the other end. I was having no luck, so I asked her, "How do you get this pen to work?" And she replies, perfectly straight, "You, uh, just take the cap off." Regular 'ole capped pen. I give her huge props for not laughing at me first.


Today my pal Tara came over and helped me figure out where to hang our smaller framed photos and such. Up until today, we've had exactly 7 pieces on the walls, and if you check here, you'll see why that number is so high. Anyway. It was fun, and I feel like I got a lot accomplished.

Since I'd been talking about Leah's Back-to-School-Night that was supposed to start at 4:30pm, she headed home around 3:30. The rest of my household relaxed a bit, and as I was getting the kids a snack and Aaron changed Adam's diaper, I decided to double-check the schedule for the evening. It was supposed to start at 4pm! And it was now 3:50! So we hurried it up and got us all there shortly after 4pm.

Aaron in the parking lot: "There sure aren't many cars here..."

We walked into the church (private school, folks!) and there was no one in the lobby. I'm hushing the kids, sure that we are super late and everyone is already in the assembly. I opened the door to the "Family Center" one. The sinking feeling hit my belly about that time.

I triple-checked the schedule...and Back-to-School-Night is NEXT Thursday evening.

Hmm. This makes no sense to me as the first day of school is next Tuesday...

So I double-checked THAT when we got home. And of course, Leah's first day of kindergarten is the 31st, not the 25th. What kind of mom am I, trying to shuttle my baby off to school a week early?!!

On the other hand, I found a whole extra week of summer! It's better than finding cash in your jeans pocket!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

If you haven't had a kid, this may be too gross for you.

I had to place a very specific order with Quixar/Amway the other day. Wanna guess what it was for? A pre-treating laundry stain remover. I have it from a good friend that this stuff will take out oil stains even AFTER they have been through the dryer.

This is very important, because that is usually the only time I discover a stain - after it's been baked in for posterity. I ruined two shirts while on vacation, one of them which I was wearing for the first time. Good thing it was $5 at Walmart! Aaand, that is why I cannot see spending more than $10 on a T-shirt.

Anyway. We also have this other dynamic happening at our house right now. It is mainly Adam who is afflicted with what I affectionately call, "the gurgle butt". When the child poops, it sounds like a babbling brook, and his expression doesn't change. In fact, that's a big sign - no cooing or smiling, just a straight stare. Then you'd better get that diaper off as soon as possible, 'cause it's very likely that that bright orange poo went straight up the back of his diaper and is making it's escape through his clothes. This is the primary reason that he seems to need 2 sets of clothes every day.

Aaron and I were talking about baby poo last night. It's a weird thing, but each kid seems to have their own specialty. Leah, at about this age, would only poop every 10 days. We know it was exactly 10 because we marked it on the calendar. You know, in case things turned sour and we needed to know when the last time was? She'd be all fine and dandy days 1-9 - no fussiness or anything, but on that 10th day, watch out. You'd better have extra wipes and another outfit handy.

Ben was pretty normal as a baby with his number 2's. Of course, as a preschooler (!!!) he seems to be adamant about putting them in a diaper, not the toilet, horror of horrors.

Adam now seems to be following his sister's lead - not the waiting 10 days part, though. The "storing it all up" part. All of his diapers will be full all day - not with poopy, though.

As each poo-less diaper gets changed, the dread builds...and so does my hearing, waiting for that tell-tale gurgle...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In Summary...

We have finally finished unpacking from our vacation to the Ranch (Aaron's parents' house). Now to unpack our fun!

The first couple of days were cool and perfect for being lazy. After that, the kids were bored, having explored the house thoroughly and investigated any potential toys, including Grandpa's collection of semi trucks. Ben was permitted to play with ONE of them.

Here are some other things we did, in no particular order:

*Aaron took the kids to the driving range. Leah came back telling us that she was "really good" at golf. But not so much the putting part, according to Aaron.

*Speaking of golf, Aaron played a total of 45 holes. And then another 9 on Sunday after we got back.

*The kids went swimming 4 afternoons - 3 at the Wild West Water Park in Watford City and once at our hotel pool in Dickinson, where we stayed before...

*The Medora Musical. Kids made it through all right (even Adam stayed awake for 3/4 of the show!), but it nearly killed the adults the next day. We didn't get to bed until 12:30 our time, and the kids were up by 7 the next morning. Ouch.

*Had lunch with Aaron's cousins the L's. They have two kids, son D (almost 8) and daughter B (almost 7). Luckily we had the side of the restaurant to ourselves.

* Picnicked one evening in the north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is a mere 15 or so miles from the Ranch. We traveled there in the family motorhome, all 6 adults and 3 kids. Many laws were broken, but we won't go into on the Internet.

*Hung out with JJ & EJ, who came out on Tuesday evening with little princess MVJ. Six months old and 16 pounds...

...and looks soo much like my super-sized 2 month old.

*Sweated it out in one of our few tastes of 90 degree temperatures...without air conditioning.
It was THIS hot. Since we usually visit the Ranch in August, it always seems to be the hottest week of the year. In almost all my photos of Ben during our visit when he was this age, he's only wearing a diaper. And we all envied him.

*Climbed Battleship Butte. Well, Aaron, JJ, Leah and Ben did. That was the same day we went to the Musical, with swimming in between. I'm shocked still that the kids didn't fall right over.

* EJ and I got in some quality scrapbooking time, our tradition at the Ranch, thanks to lots of space and big tables.

*Oh, and Aaron and I spent a LOT of time on Facebook. Kind of an embarrassing amount, really.

On Thursday we headed back, staying overnight in Dickinson after our annual trip to Medora and the Musical (which included ice cream and watching taffy-making!). Friday we visited Grandpa Henry on the home turf of Hebron. He finally got to hold his namesake great-grandchild!
I love this photo of them. It was so cute to see Grandpa, all 88 years of him, cooing and making faces to baby Adam Henry.

Bismarck was our final destination for the day. We had dinner with our sister-in-law T and niece C (who is 2 months younger than Leah and shares my birthday!) The kids had fun running off some energy before we headed to ANOTHER visit.

Every supermodel has her moments.

Friends the K's hosted us at their hobby farm for the evening. Along with goats, Irish cattle, a large white Pyrenees dog, and lots of veggies, they are raising 4 adorable boys, ages 6,5, 3 and 10 months. The kids reminded me slightly of Wendy and the Lost Boys, especially once the boys started jumping out the windows of the house and climbing up the door jambs. That night we had one of the best night's sleep in a long time. Cause here's a synopsis of one night I had at the Ranch...
After scrapbooking and visiting with cousin Beth (which wound me up quite a bit anyway)...
- found a text from my cousin K that she was going to have her baby soon!
- texted her back congrats!
- got another text that there was no baby yet!
- remembered I needed to call Grandpa and warn him that we were going to visit the next day...and then while still on the phone realized that I had jumped ahead a day...
- Just as I was dozing off, a moth hit the bug zapper not far from our open window, nearly giving me heart palpitations
- and then as I was dozing off AGAIN, my phone rang. It was my dad, calling to tell me there was a meteor shower going on. I was less than receptive.
- Before finally falling asleep, I also planned what Christmas presents I would make for the kids this year.
Aaron of course attributes my restlessness to the soda I had too late in the evening. Whatever.

Anyway. Saturday we finally made it home after...ANOTHER stop in Jamestown for lunch and a visit to the Buffalo. Which would have been much more relaxing had it not been for the karaoke (!!!!). Our general opinion is that some of the "singers" were trying to imitate a buffalo, possibly a dying one.
All in all, we had a great time, got to do lots of fun stuff, relaxed, and were glad to see our own home again. Which means we had the PERFECT vacation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finally, he's turning into a real baby!

Adam is two months old, and just as predicted by a doctor friend, he is becoming an easier baby. Just in the last week or so, he is happier on his own, which means that no longer is he sleeping, eating, or being held...sometimes he just lays on the floor completely alone, and NO WHINING! This makes being his mother soo much easier.

Oh, and he is smiling! And cooing, and even chuckling a bit. This makes being his mother FUN! His sleeping is also becoming more predictable - to bed around 8 - 8:30pm, up around 2am, up again 3 hours later, and then again about 2 hours later- with that being when he "wakes up" for the morning. I'm hoping that in the next month we can eliminate one of those wake ups.

Oh, but babies still cry, don't they? Adam likes to bounce. This is the number one trick for making him happy again, because usually he needs to burp. (Uncle Peter got the brunt of this episode.)

Or he's tired, and then he LOVES to cuddle. (Here with Grandma Bobbie, Aaron's mom)

But the smiling! I love it. He's got a couple of small dimples in his smile lines that just make it even more delicious. His eyes are still blue, and although there is lots of speculation about them staying that way, I kind of doubt they will. There are blue eyes in my family, but NONE of the 9 kids in Aaron's have baby blues. I'm betting that Adam's turn brown in the next few months.

All our kids have had baths in the special sink at Grandma & Grandpa's. They love being able to watch themselves and Mom & Dad in the mirror. Makes for good photos, too!
Okay, so let's talk about that belly now, since it appears to be floating out of the water. This kid is TWO months old. As in, 60 days. And he weighs...wait for it... FOURTEEN pounds. This is why he is wearing mostly 3-6 month clothes. Yes, I know other people (many of them good friends!) have had similarly chubby babies. But I never have! Leah and Ben looked like this more around 6 months, not 2. Yes, I know chubby is cute. Of course he's cute! Yes, I know he'll probably lose it all as soon as he starts walking...but until then I have to carry him! If I thought my arms were toned from the other kids, this one is going to turn me into Popeye! And YES, I have enough milk for him. I mean, it would appear that I do. Someone actually asked me that, although it wasn't someone from my own generation.
Adam's weight is in the 98th percentile for babies his age. Neither Leah or Ben has ever broken the 75th percentile. And while we're talking numbers (let's get it all over at once, shall we?) we weighed and measured the older kids when we took Adam in. You wouldn't believe it from seeing them with their friends, but apparently they are both of average height! I know. I am totally doubting science at this point.

I'm a little concerned that if Adam's eyes stay blue and his size continues to be exceptional, he may have identity issues as an adolescence. Hopefully we can find the family member whom he takes after before then. 'Cause he's a keeper!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

On Being Open-Minded

You've heard of this actor James McAvoy, right? He's been in a few movies lately, and people have been kind of making a big deal about him. Until recently, I hadn't seen of those films, and truthfully was a little distrustful of all the praises.

I mean, really. He was the romantic male lead in Atonement (an Oscar-nominated movie, but one that I won't be seeing, thankyouverymuch) - and he looks like this:

He is exactly what Aaron and I refer to as a "weasel". But if he's been in movies like Wanted with Angelina Jolie, Miss Alpha Female herself, he must have some Alpha Male appeal, right?

Well, whatever that appeal was, I missed it...until I saw Penelope. And then recently (finally! Can you believe it took me this long?) Becoming Jane. Which, by the way, I liked, but think that the scriptwriter maybe filled out the details of Austen's romance a little - I'm pretty sure her love interest was never named...Nevermind. Apparently Wikipedia knows better, but still, the movie does a bit of imagining...

Anyway, in Becoming Jane McAvoy looks like this:

Hmm, maybe he stills looks a little weasel-ish. But all this proves what a great actor he must be! Because I am now convinced that he is, in fact, a stud. And I'm not alone, since he was named the 6th sexiest man in the world. Now THAT's something to put on your resume! I know this list is credible because it's accurate: Johnny Depp is The Sexiest. (Damaging the list's cred a bit is a group I've never heard of - British- is listed at #13 - tell me, how can 4 men share one spot?)

Also, consider that Wanted was a serious action movie (oxymoron? quite possibly.) and that even in the period drama of Becoming Jane, clearly a chick flick, he has TWO WHOLE SCENES of bare-knuckle fist-fighting. One of them shirtless, which may explain its inclusion.

Anyway. My point here (yes, I have one after all this rambling and link-ing) is that although I may have strong opinions, I am willing to change them if evidence and/or experience proves it necessary. And in this case, change my mind I must:

James McAvoy IS leading-man material, and I will probably consider watching any movie he is in. It's official and on-the-record.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Upon the Eve of a Vacation

We are heading West tomorrow, to Aaron's family's Ranch. It's not really a ranch. There are no animals except the kitties and the brave deer who even come into the yard. But when your house was home to 12 people at one point, it starts to feel like a Ranch.

This trip has been made many times, so we are getting to be pros at packing for it. So much so that by now I know exactly what bags to pack and generally what needs to go into them. However, the last time we left overnight A.A. (After Adam) I forgot diapers AND wipes. I'm leaving nothing to chance now.

Aaron takes care of things like mowing the lawn one last time (which he's doing now) and any other last chores, and I am in charge of packing everything but his clothes. (I have done that in the past, but always managed to leave out some necessary item, like a belt! or white T-shirts! so I gave up. I have started to keep a toothbrush and deodorant for Aaron in MY toiletries bag, though - those have been left several times.)

Being in charge of basically all of our supplies for the vacation stresses me out. And when I'm stressed, I'm crabby. For the sake of the entire family, I make lots of lists for each trip - maybe I should just make a master copy and laminate it. Or write a blog post about it! There's an idea...

First up, food and snacks. In a reusable shopping bag behind my seat: Crackers, granola bars, fruit strips, something sweet for a treat. In a small cooler: Baby carrots, water bottles, and for this trip, leeks and carrots for soup I'm going to make the family. You'd think we are heading into the barren desert berit of grocery stores. Or that we don't eat meals at restaurants on the way - McDonald's or something like it is part of the kids' expectations of vacation. Gotta make sure I have socks for them in the diaper bag!

Next, time-passers. This has changed a bit since Leah now sits out of my reach in the back of the van. She has her own basket back there for the following item: headphones, coloring/activity books, crayons, iShuffle, Leapster, books, a stuffed animal or two and her blankie for naps. I have a lot of this same stuff up front for Ben (except the iShuffle). Also in my bag o' tricks are always a couple of new items - stickers, small toys, something. The extra Leapster cartridges are included, as well as a book on CD (kid-friendly), regular books, the portable DVD player and a CD case with music and movies. Movies are a last resort, and usually only come out during the last few hours back home. Considering that this is a 6 hour drive ONE WAY, I consider that a big 'ol WIN for the parents.

We do pack suitcases, too. I know, I know, the kids really should be able to run naked at the grandparent's house, but every once in awhile we like to go into public. Since we can (and will!) do laundry at the Ranch, I've packed 5 outfits plus some extras (swimsuits, jeans & sweatshirt, socks, etc.) for each of the kids - except for Adam. He has about 15 outfits, and I'm not even kidding. I figured he needs 3 outfits each for different weather - pants & onesies, one pieces with sleeves, one pieces tanks. Probably excessive, but he's got his own bag, so I might as well fill it, right? He also needs blankets, burp cloths and a teeny washcloth for baths.

Other baby equipment going along: his bed, a bouncy seat, and the Baby Bjorn carrier. And a stroller. Thank goodness we have a car-seat carrier, and it's fairly compact.

Now the van is full and the kids are ready to go, but there are a few things that need to be done yet, because I'm Type A and like to come home to a house that isn't a big stinky mess. Before leaving for a trip, whether it's for a weekend or a week, I try my best to make sure the counters are wiped clean (what isn't covered by clutter, anyways - the actual food prep surfaces), dishes washed, dishwasher running, and the kitchen garbage taken out. I'm so thankful that today was garbage day, so all Ben's pooey diapers exited the garage. I also make the kids pick up their messes, but I've been second-guessing this today. There have been a rash of residential robberies here in town, and I don't want the house to look TOO abandoned...a little toy mess will make it looked lived in, right? And maybe the robber will step on a Hot Wheels and think again.

Speaking of robbers...if you guys don't mind, drive by every once in awhile to make sure everything's okay, would you? Much appreciated. We'll be miles away, trying to wedge ourselves back into our vehicle and preparing for the kids to nap for a couple hours on the return! Hopefully at the same time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Sweet Life

Facebook seems to be taking over my time online, so I'm trying to redeem things by posting tonight. And hey, if you are reading this on Facebook, jaunt on over to my blog and help up my visitors! Thanks for checking in!

American Baby recently had an article about junk food and how to include it in your family's diet without going completely nutso. 'Cause lets face it, we all know it's bad for us. Right? Right.

#1 Introduce treats as a regular part of your child's diet early on.
Check. Of course, this wasn't completely my doing. Apparently I'm a little Type A (ha!) so many of my family members, mostly the male ones, like to torment me by trying to give my babies cookies and cake before they've gotten past the pureed baby food. Ice cream seems to be made for those little guys. And what kiddo doesn't love an Oreo!

In our house, desserts are few and far between, simply because I do not enjoy cooking OR baking all that much, and although the meal is required and necessary, dessert is not. This summer we've been doing a bit more, just because there are so many yummy fruits available - fruit smoothies, bananas with chocolate pudding or ice cream, or mango with vanilla ice cream...

When the kids get candy from a holiday or birthday, they get to eat some, then I confiscate the rest to a bowl on the countertop. I let them have a piece now and then if they ask - usually after a meal, not before! Or randomly in the afternoon. I feel that if they know they can have ONE piece now and then, candy loses the appeal that would make them overindulge. So far, the only thing they've snitched to eat behind the couch is trail mix - but of course they were eating the M & M's out of it. I would be too.

#2 Keep it small and sweet.
The recommendation is to watch portion sizes and limit treats to after dinner. We're good with the after dinner thing - chips don't even get suggested until the sandwiches are almost gone - but the portions could use some improvement! If the bag of tortilla chips comes out, it's hard for me to stop. But come on - tortilla chips are on the low end on the scale of evil snacks.

#3 Don't attach emotional baggage to food.
As in, don't use treats as a reward or punishment for behavior. It is sooo tempting to do this! I've had to really focus on a reward chart for Leah instead of saying, "no dessert!". Of course, this does come in at dinner time, but that's a different matter. And we have used little things for potty training motivation. But seeing as Ben still prefers to poop in his pants, I don't think he has any "emotional baggage" from those gumdrops.

#4 Take care to preserve those pearly whites.
I LOVE this! What I took from this part is that chocolate is better for me than crackers! Mostly because the chocolate dissolves away from your teeth while crackers and chips get stuck in them. So I made sure to tell the kids to drink some water after they eat their fishy crackers, and then of course had to explain all the science behind cavities, etc. However, I guess we have to face the fact that the fortified flour in the crackers is better for your BODY than chocolate...oh well. For a while there, I was excited.

#5 Limit sticky food to an occasional treat.
Here's the shocker: fruit snacks are sticky. I know! I was bummed too. It's the same principal as the crackers. The article recommends brushing your child's teeth after they eat something sticky. Okay, usually I really hate the phrase "I didn't (sit in a carseat, go to the doctor, drink milk, etc.) , and I'm okay!" but I'll use it in this case. It's hard enough to remember to brush Ben's teeth twice a day, much less after every sticky food...not that he eats that many. But he'd eat a lot less if I "stuck" to this rule!

#6 Be a healthy role model.
We sure try. I save most of my treats for after kids are in bed, and even then I don't completely overindulge. Aaron and I are careful to limit our sodas to a max of one a day, and discuss that fact. But I did realize the other day that I was complaining about the size of my thighs. And really, as long as my pants size is in the single digits, should I be whining about that in the earshot of my 5 year old daughter? Probably not.

Overall, the perfect parenting article for me: one that made me feel good about myself, but also pointed out some non-threatening or not-too-drastic ways of improving things. We can all use some constructive criticism once in awhile, right? Now I'll get back to finishing my popsicle.