Saturday, February 21, 2009

Christmas in February!

Yesterday morning, my husband took down the Christmas tree -- yes, that's right, on February 20th! My mom came to town this past Sunday and on Monday we were finally able to celebrate Christmas with her. She lives in Florida now, and she did not have a tree this year, so I had mentioned to my husband the idea of keeping one of our (artificial) trees up until Nana came up. He scoffed at the idea at first (he works in retail and feels they start the holiday season WAY too early, so he's ready to pack it up around Jan 1st), but on one of his days off after Christmas, he took the tree in the dining room down and left the one in the living room up! Nana was very surprised and touched when she saw the tree upon her arrival on Sunday.

Monday I put a roast in the crock-pot before heading off to work, and when I got home, I quickly put together shrimp cocktail and sides of mashed potatoes and asparagus and we were ready for our holiday dinner. We sat in the dining room and used the good china (just like we did on Christmas) and when I put some holiday cd's on the stereo and my husband heard the strains of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" he looked at me and said, "Really?" Yes, really! We had a nice dinner together and the kids (and Nana) got a kick out of hearing their favorite Christmas carols again.

After dinner we opened the presents we had been saving for each other, and for dessert we had homemade brownie sundaes -- it was quite festive for a Monday night in February! It's fun to be a little crazy sometimes and do the unexpected, especially if it will brighten someone else's day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dance Dilemma

The summer that I was pregnant with my second daughter, my husband and I decided to sign our older daughter up for some activities so that she would have something special to do that was just all about her, and not her soon-to-be sibling. One of the activities we signed her up for was a summer dance camp – her first dance class. We thought this would be right up her alley, as she is always flitting about the house, dancing around, and dressing up in costume. That was 3 years ago, and she has attended a dance class during the school year and the summer, ever since. Most of the time she seems to enjoy it – her first 2 years, right before the dance recital, she would decide that she wanted to quit because she was tired of practicing, wanted more “play time.” We’ve impressed upon her the importance of sticking with it, telling her that her teacher and her class were counting on her for the recital; it’s not fair to them to drop out a few weeks before the recital. And I was pleasantly surprised and quite proud at the first year’s recital, that she truly loved being on stage, wasn’t afraid of dancing in front of all of those people in the audience – unlike how her mother would have felt!

Well this year, we booked a trip to Florida for this May, and it turns out for the first time in 3 years the dance recital will – of course – not be in June, but in May while we are in Florida! I was SO disappointed for my girl (and for myself!) that she would miss the recital – we had been so concerned about not booking the trip during her First Communion – never thought that the recital would switch months! Anyway, my girl was really great about it, “That’s ok, Mommy! I’ll go to class again next year and have a recital next year!” Bless her heart! She even wanted to stick it out and continue going to class, in spite of the fact that she would miss the recital that they are preparing for. Initially, the dance teacher tried to talk me into switching our plane tickets (in front of all of the kids and parents, no less…) but my girl wasn’t upset about it, and there are all sorts of fees involved, and it takes a lot to get my husband’s vacation approved through work, so I did not succumb to the pressure.

A couple of weeks went by and my girl told us last week that she didn’t want to go to dance class any more this year. She said that she’s on the last “tape” (mark on the floor) so that she doesn’t interfere with what the other dancers are doing, and she feels as though she’s doing all of this work for no reason, since she will miss the recital. My husband and I talked it over and decided that it’s different than dropping out and leaving them hanging for the recital, and there’s no sense forcing her to go if she’s going to be unhappy for the next 3 months. And she said that she wants to sign up again next year. I called the dance teacher and let her know that we were going to take a break for the rest of the year – she actually understood because she had thought my girl seemed to be detached and not having much fun at class the last week or so. Then she went on to say that I should have my girl come in to say goodbye and explain to everyone why she wasn’t coming back. I said, “Oh, well, I can see if that’s something that she wants to do” and the teacher said, “Well, I think that you should force the issue, because this is a good life lesson – that you have to quit things in person. It will be good for closure.” Uh huh. I told her that we really weren’t looking at it as “goodbye” because she’ll be back in the summer, but the teacher was insistent that we bring her in for closure. I did ask my girl, on the off chance that this was something she’d really want to do, but as I suspected – no desire! We have not pushed her to go back to the class to say goodbye. I personally think that my husband and I are pretty good at assessing when it’s appropriate for our girl(s) to learn “life lessons”, and I don’t know that the “quitting things in person” life lesson needs to be taught at the age of 8.

But that’s just me - how do you feel about this? What would you do in this situation?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Keeping Track of Your Kid's Quotes

Somewhere around the house I have a notebook of funny things that my older daughter has said – it’s so fun to look back and laugh with her about them! For a long time, when I would remember something she said, or if she said something when I didn’t have the notebook handy, I would write the quote down on a scrap of paper – some of those I taped into the book, and some are waiting to go into her baby book. Another idea for keeping track of those precious little jewels, is to have a calendar at home that you can quickly jot one of your children’s quotes on. This is great too, because you can look back and see how old your child and how their personality developed as they aged. This is a great help for keeping track of things for your children’s baby books!

This blog has turned into another “scrapbook” of sorts because now I put some of those funny quotes in here to share! Here’s one that gave us a chuckle -- the other night, my little one was playing with her Fisher Price Little People, and she had them lined up and was telling us their names, “Mommy, Baby, Grandma, Boy with Glasses and Suitcase…” My older daughter reminded me about when my nephew started school and my sister-in-law asked him if he’d met any nice friends at school. He said, “Yes, I met Red Shirt and Blue Shirt, and Boy Who Cried For His Mommy!” That was a classic! I would imagine that boy has outgrown that name by now…

Speaking of funny names, my 8-year-old took one of her favorite baby dolls, “Smelly Baby” to school with her today! If I haven’t mentioned this before, Smelly Baby was her first baby doll – a Christmas present many years ago. The baby smells like baby powder and so she aptly name the doll “Smelly Baby” (my girl was 2 at the time, I believe). The following year, she wanted another baby doll, and she got one that looked (and smelled) very similarly to Smelly Baby. She told us that the new doll was Smelly’s sister, and she named her “Erika.” Can you imagine having two children and naming one “Smelly” and the other “Erika” – I’m sure there would be some complaints of favoritism in that household!

My littlest girlie has a favorite stuffed giraffe that she sleeps with, and for some reason she named the giraffe “Puppy.” Her older sister recently said with disdain, “Are we ALWAYS going to have to call that giraffe, PUPPY?” So I took that opportunity to gently remind her about Smelly Baby, and she said, “Oh, right. Nevermind!”

Do you have any tips for preserving those precious memories of your little ones? I’d love to hear about them!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Daddy’s “Emergency” Take-Out Kid’s Meal

So, they say that “necessity is the mother of invention” but I have to give credit to my husband for this one! The other night we decided to get take-out from a local hot dog/burger joint. My husband was going out to pick up dinner and I told him what I would like and our 8-year-old requested a toasted cheese kids meal. Our littlest girlie rarely ever eats anything other than french fries from this place, so we decided that we would make her a hot dog at home and share our with her. Great plan… Daddy got home with dinner and we sat down at the table to eat.

She took one look at her big sister’s kid’s meal box and got very upset, cried and said over and over, “I want my box!” There was no consoling her! My husband disappeared for a couple of minutes, and he reappeared in the kitchen with a gift box from my gift-wrap stash. I took the bottom of the box and I cut it so that it would bend in half like the one from the restaurant. I put a paper towel in the box as a liner, and I put her home-cooked hot dog on that. I also took one of the french fry containers from the restaurant and I put some fries in there for her and added that to the box. We carried that out and set it on her high chair tray – it was almost perfect, except that her sister’s box had a 2-pack of Oreo cookies! We had no Oreo’s in the house, so I suggested that they share and each get 1. Both girls agreed, and her kid’s meal was complete! With peace once again restored to the “kingdom”, we were all able to sit and enjoy our dinner!

It helps to be able to think outside of the box (pardon the pun) when you are a parent – your kids will definitely keep you on your toes!