Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Video Game Obsessed

My husband likes to brag about beating video games since he was the age of, well, nearly a fetus.  It is his favorite recreational activity... well, one of them.  Some guys play golf, some guys play music, some guys camp, Spencer plays video games.

When we were dating we'd often hang out either playing video games together or I would watch him play (some are indeed fun to watch for a while, I genuinely enjoyed it back then).

Fast forward to these last several weeks and I'm thinking...

Why did I agree to have three children with an obsessive enthusiastic gamer!?

My kids, particularly my younger two, are obsessed with video games!!

Babydoll, who is barely five year olds is kicking butt on Zelda Twilight Princess on the wii.  Also most recently she has become obsessed with watching Spencer play the new Batman game.  He's not even all the way in the door after work and she asks, "Can we play Batman now!?"   They actually beat the game yesterday, but now they are playing it again on the harder level.  That's right, she sat through the entire game with him!

Sweet Pea, who is nine years old, has had a long-lasting love affair with Viva Pinata.  She wakes up in the morning and heads down to the basement to play, and plays again after her homework is done in the afternoon.  Not as often really as her younger brother and sister, but she is currently on another viva pinata kick.

Notice how the nine-year-old is playing a game for ages 3+, and the five-year-old is playing a game intended for ages 12+.  

And they aren't the only ones.  The most video game crazed child in my life is currently Little Man.  I have to force him to stop and play with real toys and eat meals or he would just keep on playing his computer games.

He's been playing two games, but his current favorite is a Tonka Construction game.

Tonka Construction

In this game he is using construction equipment to build skyscrapers, castles, parks, clean up a ski resort after a blizzard or avalanche or something, and something involving a quarry that I've never caught the beginning of to know what it's about.

He and I have both been learning about excavators, front loaders, graders, and other equipment.  I particularly enjoy hearing him say, "front loader" and "scoop"... pretty damn cute!

He's a wiz with those computer games, knowing how to navigate all over several of them.

What does it all mean?  When I want some peace and quiet, they can play their games and I can catch my breath.  When I want to spend time doing other things with them.... I'm in trouble.

Yes they have limits, and yes they must wait to play until after school/preschool activities are completed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Random and I Make Up Words

Get ready for the random vomiting of info you didn't know you needed to know and really don't need to know.


1.  Little Man was up surprisingly late last night just talking to himself and anyone who'd listen in his bed.  Spence and I were watching season six of How I Met Your Mother on dvd when the phone rang at about 8:50, and we immediately hear LM call out in his most cheerful and helpfullest voice, "Phone ringing!!", which of course caused us to laugh our butts off for a good 10 minutes.  

Fast forward to this morning and he's just not quite himself.  By mid morning he was crying and telling me in his most saddest and desperatest voice, "My ear hurts!"  I gave him a dose of Tylanol and but it didn't help, he was in too much pain for the meds we had on hand and it would be a while before one of us could get him to the clinic.  After a few hours Spence was able to get home and got him checked out... double ear infection.

Between emotional pain and physical pain, I have to say one of the hardest parts about being a parent is when you can't take the pain away.  But hopefully by morning, once he's had a few doses of antibiotics, he'll be feeling better.

2.  I feel like I might possibly be falling apart.  Between recurring back pain, a weird puffy-eyed allergy thing, and my achy knees, one of which is worse than the other, I may be falling apart.  I've had on and off knee problems since I fell in the garage almost a year ago, and right now it's behaving strangely.  It doesn't hurt to squat or bend down, it doesn't hurt to kneel, it mostly just hurts to lift my knee up in front of me.

I'm pretty sure that it all does NOT mean that I need to, oh I don't know... exercise more or something.  What I'm pretty sure it DOES mean is that I need to take naps and eat more cookies.  Which is fabulous timing since it is almost cookie season Christmas time.  

3.  This year for Thanksgiving we split it up so that we celebrated with Spencer's family a couple weekends before and with my family on Thanksgiving day.  It was fantastic only having one place to go that day!  It's just so much easier to enjoy family time when you're not watching a clock so you don't show up at the next place too late.  It. Was. Wonderful.  I wish Christmas could be the same way, but we have a lot more people to try to see during that holiday so I can't even imagine a time in the nearish future where we only have one place to go to on each day (Christmas eve and Christmas day). 

4.  We're pretty hooked on How I Met Your Mother and have been waiting a long time to watch season 6 on dvd because during the actual season 6 we were watching seasons 1-5 on dvd.  We like to try to figure out who of our friends are each character on the show.  I wonder if every group of friends can think of someone who kinda sorta closely resembles each of those characters.  

5.  If this random post is extra random and the run-on sentences drove you nuts, I apologize.  I typed it all while watching Parenthood (the nbc tv show) which is pretty much an awesome show.  The only thing that really bugs me is that all the characters seem to have the same "voice".  Not sure if that's an acting issue or a writing issue, but I still love the show.

Now if you'll excuse me, we need to go finish the last disc of HIMYM Season 6.  And it will most certainly be Legon....wait for it.... Dary!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homework - Asking for Advice

When Sweet Pea started Kindergarten she only had a tiny bit of homework every week.  She had to read or be read to for 5-10 minutes every night and had a worksheet to do once a week.  That worksheet always came on the same day so it was easy to remember that that was homework night.

As she's gotten older she's had more and more homework, and now that she's in 3rd grade, it seems to have bumped up considerably.  It's also random throughout the week based on what she wasn't able to finish in class.  She also has chores to keep up on at home, which aren't too time consuming but add up.  And we like to hang out with her as well, and she likes to go to friends' houses.

Homework is getting harder to keep up on.... and I know it's only going to get worse.

Until now we have agreed that after a full day of school, the kids deserve a break away from school stuff to relax at home for a little while before jumping back into it.  The problem arises when that break goes too long and nobody remembers that there is homework to be done.  We thought that after dinner would be a good time to remember to get it done, but it isn't working because fun things tend to come up after dinner causing her to either rush through it or forget all about it.  By the end of the day we're exhausted too and it can be hard to remember to get her on her homework.

So in order for her to get her homework done and out of the way so she can do other fun things that may come up later in the evening, she's going to have to get her homework done first thing after school.  I'm not happy about it, because I think she needs a break, but doing at other times doesn't seem to work right now.  Maybe as she matures and becomes more responsible and can focus on her work better?

My Question to all parents with school-agers, especially if they are older and you've been through this stuff before:  How do you handle homework?  I need some advice on homework policies and what works for other people.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Never Know

We've all seen it.

You're at the store, just trying to get a little shopping done, and there is a woman with her kids nearby.  And the kids are acting like little boogers.  Maybe they're crying, maybe screaming, maybe demanding one thing or another, but they are just being boogers.

You've probably seen this scene and thought to yourself why can't she get a handle on her kids? These kids must have no discipline at all!  What little snots, just get them out of the store and ground them already!
Don't even try to tell me that thoughts like that haven't passed through your brain, because we're human and we can't help but judge once in a while.

The thing is, and you'll know this if you are a parent (especially the parent who does most of the child-rearing)...

You just never know what happened earlier that day. or week. or hour.

Maybe those kids are normally very well behaved.  They could be at home right now sitting quietly doing calculus while dreaming up ways to better the world, but at that moment they were tired/hungry/teething/going through something rough.  Kids have bad days just like you.  Only we are adults and have (hopefully) learned how to control our emotions and moodiness a little better over the years.  And honestly?  Have you never lost it and acted like a fool because you had hit your breaking point?

Perhaps you're reading this and not blaming the kids for acting like the boogers they were being, but are blaming that mom who seems to not care.

Chances are, she cares a lot.  You don't know what happened before that moment.  Perhaps the kids have been cranky and unbearable all day, should that stop her from picking up something she needed?  I'm SURE she wouldn't have chosen to go to the store with cranky children if there was a way to leave them home.

You have no idea what her life is like, you have no idea what the kids' life is like, you have no idea because you are not the one walking in her shoes.  What may seem like obliviously ignoring a child's tantrum in public, may actually be her straw breaking the camel's back and it's all she can do to not scream bloody murder herself right there in the store.

My kids are generally pretty great in public, but there was a trip to a local thrift store semi-recently in which Little Man lost his ever-lovin-mind and turned into a child I did NOT know.  He was screaming, crawling/rolling on the floor, and crying.  I was so not used to that that I really didn't know what to do!  There was no talking him off that ledge, he really just needed to GO, but I needed to make my purchase before I could get the hell out of there.  I tried to look like I was doing something about it, tried to calm him down, but the only thing I really could do was check out as quick as possible and run for it.  I probably looked calm... I usually do... but inside I was dieing.  People around me were probably thinking some of the things from that third paragraph up there, but they weren't in my head, they aren't in my house, they are not me.

So instead of jumping to harsh judgement when you see the next public outburst of naughty child behavior and seemingly oblivious parenting, stop.  Think about what might possibly be going on in that families life that day, and instead of a look of horror, give her a look of  "I feel for ya" sympathy, or better yet - pretend it's not happening so she can get on with what she needs to do and get those kids home to bed!

Support each other, don't judge each other.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sweet Pea's Hair Feather Alternative

This past summer, hair feathers were big!

When Sweet Pea asked for some of her own, and I told her no, she got creative.

 All on her own she came up with her own version of hair feathers using colorful yarn and little barrettes.  She also made some using bobby pins instead of barrettes so she could give them away to friends!
Just clip in and go!  She made me the pink and black one. :o)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Blog Name - The Reason

Like I mentioned recently I wanted to change the name of the blog, so I did!

What do you think?

It's common knowledge to any woman who's birthed children, and I imagine any mother who adopted as well, that babies and young children suck the brains right out of your head.  They aren't even nice enough to wait until they are born either, they suck it from you in utero.

When you have children there is just SO MUCH to think about at all times and so many distractions (just now Little Man is whacking me on the arm to get my attention because he wants more candy) that it's hard to remember little things like where did I put my keys?  Or When is that meeting again?  Or What's my name?

My brain is so jam packed with child-related information that it is literally bursting at the seams.  Well, not literally... that would be a pretty gross mess, a mess that I most likely would have to clean up myself.

Once upon a time I was a smart person, with a great memory, straight A's, you get the picture.  Then I became a Mom and had to fill my brain with things like which ointments/creams work on what kinds of rashes, safe fever temperatures and other illness related cures, discipline strategies, sleep and eating schedules, sports and girl scouts schedules, who needs what items of clothing, who wants what for birthdays and Christmas, and all the other stuff that piles up in a mom's brain throughout the years.  If you're a mom, you know that I haven't even covered the tip of the brain-crushing iceberg in this paragraph.

So there you have it, the reason for the new blog name...

I used to have a brain.  Now I have small children, and although I miss my brain and hope to hear from it again some day, I love it!

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