All Grown Up

Yesterday, I registered my son, Charlie, for kindergarten. Yes, he’s really that old already. I’m not a sentimental person, but after purchasing his school supplies last week and going through registration, I’m just reeling over the fact that he’s really starting kindergarten. He’s so excited to start and talks about going to school all the time.

Charlie will be starting kindergarten in a brand new, project based learning (PBL) charter school for K-2. I’m so excited that he’ll be learning in this environment. He’s such a hands-on kid and loves to learn about things more in-depth. I’m nervous about him starting in a PBL school, but not any more than I would be for him to start in a traditional classroom.

Charlie is excited to be learning more about how things work and he desperately wants to learn how to read. He’s excited to use his lunchbox and bring home cool stuff for me to see. I can’t wait to watch him learn and grow in school.

But, really? School already?

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Food Pantry

We have an abundance of cucumbers this year. Last year, I had two plants that barely survived and didn’t have enough cucumbers to make pickles for the year or to eat every day. This year, cucumbers are everywhere! Charlie helped me plant them and we ended up with six plants. Knowing what I did from last year, I figured that we’d have enough with a few extras to give to others. Nope. Yesterday, after not picking for two days, I ended up bringing a bushel basket full of cucumbers home. This doesn’t include the ones I already had at home or the ones that I will have to pick tomorrow.

I’ve been trying to give them away. Although, apparently cucumbers are pretty expensive. At the grocery store yesterday, they were .50/cucumber. Anyway, I hate to see food go to waste so I took orders from my friends and family, but that didn’t even make a dent or take into consideration what I’d be getting again in a few days. So, we decided to take the entire basket to our local food pantry after confirming that they would take fresh produce.

It was my first time in the food pantry and I’m ashamed that it’s taken me that long. I always donate through the grocery store, but have never physically step foot there. The volunteers working were incredibly gracious for the donation of fresh produce and were unbelievably pleasant with my children. I even met the father of one of Steve’s high school friends. You have to love small town life!

The experience was a pretty powerful one for me. Even though we were only there for about ten minutes, I could see what it might be like for a family to have to rely on the pantry for their groceries and the minimal selection that is present. I will definitely be taking my extra veggies there again so these families have some fresh produce to choose from. I will also make sure that I’m purchasing/donating more healthier food options when I donate from other places. Volunteering there would be an amazing experience I think for the boys and I, but I need to look into if they can come with. Otherwise, it will have to wait until they are older, as the pantry is only open for a few hours during the day.

Weekend Love

Super busy to a laid back kind of Sunday is exactly what we needed in this house over the weekend. Friday was my day to run errands with the boys after having been gone from Sunday through Thursday morning. The boys were not thrilled with doing this and their behavior showed it. It is what it is and had to be done.

Target was a big trip for us on Friday. We bought all of Charlie’s school supplies for Kindergarten. I still cannot believe that we were shopping for him and that I have to take him to registration this week. We still need to shop for shoes and some clothes, but that will be a trip for just the two of us. I also have to make his art smock. I wasn’t ready to pull out the sewing machine, but I guess if I mess up his smock, it’s not a big deal. I mean, it is an art smock for a five year old.

Saturday was spent taking care of a few things around the house and then heading to the wedding of a good friend of mine at High Cliff Restaurant in Sherwood. Congratulations to the wonderful couple! And a big thank you for the wonderful food and of course, the Mike & Ike’s. Steve and I definitely needed a break from the kiddos for a bit and this was our respite. It’s the first date we’ve had since the first weekend in June. Much too long too wait for a night out with my husband, but that’s life with kids I guess. After leaving the wedding, we stopped at a bar in Ripon and had a few drinks before heading home. We were still home at 9:30 p.m. though knowing our babysitter had plans for early Sunday. AND, found out some of our really great friends got engaged as well. Saturday really was all about the love.

Sunday was great! I can’t think of the last time we all just relaxed for the entire day. We were able to spend some time with my grandparents as they drove over for lunch with us and then the rest of the day, we did nothing. The boys all cuddled up and watched two Star Wars movies and I knitted 1/3 of a baby blanket and caught up on The Real World Season 28.

The boys and I are going to be a bit busy this week, but are trying to keep everything pretty laid back as I feel like this is really the last week we have together. Next week is iffy, but I’m pretty sure that I will probably not see my children the last week of August as our school construction will *hopefully* be done enough for us to move everything in to our school.

Parenting Choices

My boys are complimented on a very consistent basis on how well behaved they are (an asked if they are twins!). I am able to take them with me to any type of appointment and they sit and entertain each other with things that I have brought for them to do. The grocery store is a breeze as they say hello to others and help me pick out the food for the family. The two of them use their manners the majority of the time without reminders from myself or Steve. I have even dragged them to my governance board meetings for work where they sat in complete silence for an hour and introduced themselves properly to adults. Truly, they are amazing boys and I feel like Steve and I are doing a great job parenting.

However, yesterday was rough. Really rough for us. We had to make a tough parenting decision. Yesterday, the boys were at our daycare provider’s during the day and had a blast. I picked them up and that’s when all hell broke loose. I live about six houses down from our sitter. In the course of the walk home, both boys threw tantrums. I’m talking “throw myself on the ground, make you look like the most awful mom in the world, screaming like a banshee” tantrum. Why? I asked Charlie to walk close to me and tell me about his day. After his tantrum was finished, I told Adam not to turn the corner without us. We got home and Charlie threw himself, kicking and flailing like a toddler onto the couch because I told him if his tantrums and disrespectful attitude continued that, no, we would not be taking the boys to the tractor pull in Green Lake that evening. I sent Charlie to his room and sat down with him trying to determine the underlying cause of his tantrums. After five minutes of refusing to speak to me, he started to talk: “I hate our house and want to move”, ” I wanted to run home”, “I hate when you let Adam beat me.” Overarching theme, as he’s snuggled in my arms, breathing deeply….I have an overtired child who is filled with love, but cannot express the emotion of needing a break.

See, Charlie is an introverted child. He thrives on having some time alone frequently to just sit and gain his energy back. He’s not a napper, but just needs to ten minutes of peace. I let him know that he snuggling up in his bed for a bit was okay with me and something he should do. He strolled out quietly, with an aura of shyness surrounding him and walked over to me, plopped in my lap, looked me in the eye and apologized for throwing a tantrum and being hurtful to Adam and me. Awesome. I thought we were moving on with our night.

Not so much. The boys headed outside to play in the sandbox. The boys started dumping buckets of sand on each other – our one rule for the sandbox is no throwing sand on each other. After two reminders, I was done with this and removed the boys from the sandbox. No issues as they know the consequence for their action. Next, they head to their newly built picnic table and jump off of the top. Reminders about it not being safe ensued and they were asked to find a different activity. Again, the boys headed to the sandbox where they proceeded to resume the sand throwing. Immediately, they were brought into the house. I separated them into different rooms and asked them to think about their actions. I reminded them that they had the tractor pull that evening on the line.

Steve got home then. I explained the boys behaviors and the tantrums that had ensued as both children were screaming in their respective rooms. We went in to talk to Charlie together only for him to tell us that we had to take him to the tractor pull and we weren’t being fair. Oh dear child. If you only knew that you will never get anything from me with that attitude. Ever.

We knew that we had to get our point across as Charlie has started a bit of a self-entitlement phase. We let the boys know that due to the tantrums, not using their listening ears, and disrespectful words that they would not be going to the tractor pull and would not be attending one until they proved they could do those things. And then, all hell broke loose. There was lots of kicking and yelling from my children. “That’s not fair”, “You hate me”, “You have to take me!” all came spewing from the two children’s mouths. And that’s when Steve and I looked at each other and knew we had made the right decision as parents. Yes, we felt bad. Really bad because the boys had been looking forward to this activity for weeks. But, it’s a privilege, not a given right. And, it’s not a once in a lifetime thing. C’mon…we live in Wisconsin. There are tractor pulls every weekend, all over the state during the summer.

We stuck to our beliefs that we are raising good people. We put the boys to bed early (like 6:30 early and they were asleep within ten minutes). We breathed easier when they fell asleep with soft, curling smiles on their faces. We reflected on our choice and how we could have changed the situation. We know they were tired as evident by the ease and earliness of bed time. We talked about having even less for them and really making them earn everything they have by helping more around the house. We discussed again if we made the correct decision and second guessed ourselves for quite some time.

Then, this morning happened. Both boys woke up with smiles on their faces and hugs to give. They both apologized for their behaviors the night before without prompting from us. The hugs and apologies were one of the most wonderful things a mother could hear. To know that yes, we are teaching them values and how to reflect on their choices is amazing.

 

Sewing For 20% Of My Time

I am getting ready to dive into the world of sewing…i.e. pure and utter torture for me. Learn more about why I’m sewing for 20% of my time here.

Thanks to Pinterest, I have enough project ideas to last me the school year. Also, I’m hoping that I have enough tutorials as well. I know that I have many friends and family members that will gladly teach me and there is the Bungalow Quit Shop downtown that also has classes, but I really like to learn thing on my own. Foolish pride for sure.

My mom was awesome and stocked me up with sewing supplies at Christmas time: a new sewing machine, a cart on wheels, tape measures, pin cushions, seam rippers, thread, elastic, scissors, some fabric, and other things. I’ve been pretty excited about the fabric that I’ve been buying as well…you know during that just in case moment that I “might” want to sew. “Might” means I’ve gone insane and think that sewing is going to be fun.

Alright, enough complaining. I’m doing this. Publicly. Which means, I have to continue. As I said before, I’ve been finding lots of cool projects on Pinterest. You can check out my Sewing Projects Board here.

Here’s my project list (may not be in this order though):

  1. Cloth Napkins
  2. Kitchen Towels Refurbished
  3. Pillowcases
  4. Infinity Scarves
  5. Bowl Covers
  6. Envelope Pillows
  7. Bread Bags
  8. Lego Bag (this is one of the most amazing things in the world to me)
  9. Super Hero Capes (every little boy needs one of these)
  10. Dinosaur Tails (again, who can resist?)
  11. Kids Apron (I have big plans to go along with this for Christmas)
  12. Tree Skirt
  13. Curtains
  14. Shower Curtain
  15. Adult Apron
  16. Grocery Bag Holder
  17. Dino Sweatshirt (so cute!)
  18. Bookcase for Car
  19. Re-useable snack bag
  20. Car Storage
  21. Car Trash Bag (I will guarantee that even with all these cool car sewing projects, it will still look awful in there!)
  22. PJ pants for kids and adults
  23. Milk Crate Liners
  24. Seat Belt Pillow
  25. Superhero Apron (because every mom of boys needs one or several of these!)
  26. Pot Holders
  27. Floor Pillows
  28. 4 pillow floor bed for boys
  29. Headbands
  30. Wine Bottle Case
  31. Bags
  32. Maxi Dress
  33. Skirts
  34. Shirts

Injuries Happen

I had super big plans for my weekend. Time with friends with no children, a few fun easy knitting projects, a trip to the library to find some books about sewing, and of course, time to play with the boys and in the garden. Well, none of those things got accomplished. And I’m a post behind.

First, the weather screwed up my plans for the weekend. So instead of tubing and grilling out, we were mulling over what to do next and took too long and lost our sitter. It happens. Then an old wrist injury started acting up. A lot. To the point that I couldn’t flip the pancakes Saturday morning. I ended up at urgent care and now this morning have an appointment with the orthopedic doctor. My fingers are moveable and don’t bother me. My wrist kills me any time I rotate it. There is a large bump on the inside of my wrist that my other hand does not have. I’d be shocked if it were broken, but my thinking is probably tendonitis or something to that extent. In turn, I have a ginormous, uncomfortable splint on.

Due to the splint, I cannot work in the garden, knit, or do a whole lot of fun stuff with the boys. I forgot to mention, splint is on the right hand, and I am right handed. My left hand does next to nothing. I’m hoping the ortho can figure out what’s going on quickly today and help me get back normal soon. I have an itch to be crafty and have some other fun things for the  boys to do, but I need two hands to put them together.

Wish me luck!

Breakfast Love

Pancakes on the griddle, the stickiness of maple syrup on the boys and the table, the smell of bacon hanging in the air is a pretty typical thing for our house on weekend mornings and many weeknights during a month as well.

The boys love everything about pancakes and the fluffier, the better. I feel very lucky that my boys are happy with just plain pancakes, nothing fancy is necessary. Sometimes, we’ll break out our zoo animal mold. Butter, real maple syrup, fresh fruit are always available for toppings, but many times, the boys just eat them plain. We’ve started using pancakes as bread for sandwiches and placing bacon, cream cheese & fruit or jam in the middle. Pancakes are a great snack to just have in the fridge as the boys will pull them out and eat them cold with nothing as well.

However, my boys love pancakes so much that I was pretty sure that buying Bisquick would break my budget in the future. And, then there’s that whole thing of not liking to buy boxed goods and the pancakes just never taste fantastic. A little over a year ago, I had found this Fluffy Pancake Recipe from allrecipes.com. It’s become a staple in our house. In a few extra minutes, we can have fluffy, delicious, homemade pancakes without all the junk in them.

The recipe is always doubled in my house. Always. There is no way around it. The boys will generally eat 3-4 adult size pancakes on their own. And I’ll remind you that they are three and five. As teenagers, I’m going to have to multiply my recipe by five! I always tell my husband it’s a good thing that I’d rather have an egg since there are never pancakes left for me.

Last night for dinner, the boys requested breakfast. It’s so easy and inexpensive and I know they’ll eat well then. I had finished up the last of the all-purpose white flour in my cabinet last week and was nervous about making the pancakes with whole wheat flour for the first time. I thought for sure the boys wouldn’t eat them and think they were gross. As I was flipping pancakes though, I remembered that they polished off a loaf of 12 grain bread last week on their own and loved it. With a stack of pancakes and a small amount of syrup on the side of the plates, I called the boys to dinner. I was already contemplating what I could whip up next if they refused to eat. I’m not sure what I was worried about! They devoured the batch of pancakes that I had made for them, told me they were delicious and never made a mention that they didn’t taste like normal. Phew! I’m sold on the wheat flour and introducing it to more foods for the boys. Next step….get a waffle iron.