Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Way back B.K. (Before Kids), when Dan and I were looking for a good excuse to get outside and walk around, we would often go geocaching. For those of you unfamiliar, it is basically like a grown-up scavenger or treasure hunt. People (anyone who wants to) hide a cache (usually containing random small trinkets and a logbook) and post the longitude and latitude on a geocaching website. Then anyone with a GPS can search for a cache - get a latitude and longitude, and off you go!

We went a couple of times when Max was a baby, but since then, it has fallen by the wayside. This weekend was full of fabulous weather, and we thought it was a good time to start up again. Dan chose a couple of local caches, we hopped in the car, and off we went.

Max, as always, was filled with questions. What were we doing? How did it work? Why did we have to take our stuff (a sheet of stickers and container of playdough) and give it away. We did our best to answer them, but the first cache hunt did a much better job.

We got as close as it looked like we could with the car, then began walking. Dan let Max hold the GPS and direct us. It only took about 4 minutes to find - a perfect, fast result for kiddos who weren't quite sold. The cache itself wasn't particularly interesting, but it was enough for Max. He couldn't wait to do the next one.

We tried 3 caches on Saturday (found 2). Both boys loved being outside - Max loved the hunt, and Luke was happy to be along for the ride. Dan and I had a good time sharing something we've enjoyed. And better yet, both boys keep asking when we can go again.

Here's a great site to check out if you are interested in giving geocaching a shot:
Geocaching.com. With over 900,000 current caches, there's sure to be one near you!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Just a little FYI...

For Lent I am really cutting back time on the computer. I have found that it has become the area where I get sucked in and don't make the choices I want to be making for my life. So, it needs to be returned to it's rightful place. I'm limiting myself to 30 minutes a night - email, social groups, all that. Blogging, too.

I hope that I'll still find time in that to share little bits of our days - sometimes maybe just a few pictures will have to suffice. But, it's what I need right now.

Thanks - and see you more after Easter!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Preparing the Valentines...

I know that I am a couple of days late in getting these posted, but thought I would share a few pictures from our Valentine crafting extravaganza. For the first time, both boys needed Valentines to take to school - 15 and 17, respectively. And I hold it as a source of pride that in my childhood I never took store-bought Valentines to my friends and classmates. Therefore, neither should my boys, right?

I wanted something that was "abstract" and easy to reproduce multiple times that the kids could do with only a little cheerleading. I also wanted to try and use only things that I had on hand. Those requirements lead me to the old classic - potato stamps. I cut a couple of hearts, Max grabbed the paint that he wanted, and we laid the white cardstock on the kitchen floor.

I have to confess that at first I did more micro-managing than I wanted. Worrying about mess, I forgot to just let them go and enjoy it. Fortunately for all of us, I did eventually remember that paint washes and there weren't going to be any messes we couldn't clean up. I grabbed the camera, stepped back, and watched them go.

It was beautiful. Max was very serious, thinking about his friends at school and being very deliberate and intentional. He liked the pure red and orange, and found that by adding the dot paints, he was able to get the look he wanted. Luke, as is his nature, was much more free-form. Mixing paints, stamping, smearing, and even adding a paintbrush, he filled his pages in rapid fire. I was inspired, watching both of my boys working and creating (once their mama got out of their way).

The final product was a quarter sheet of their heart painted paper mounted on construction paper. Max signed each of his, and I signed Luke's. They weren't masterpieces, but they were made with love and in the spirit of the holiday. And it was way more fun than buying them at the store.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Mama, everyone can...."

He'd gone to bed, and all had been quiet for about 15 minutes. Then out came the little feet padding along the hallway. His big eyes round and sad.

"Mama, everyone can read, and I can't."

I reassured Max that no, not everyone can read yet, and that he is doing a great job with his letters and sounds.

"But, Mama, even babies can read. I saw that on a show - the baby knew 'clap' and I didn't. And at my school kids can read. More girls than boys, but I can't do it."

Oh. First of all, I hate that darn commercial. I'm sure many of you have seen it. You know, the babies and the flash cards and the "reading". As a reading teacher I just want to scream. It's not "reading" - it's decoding. Not that it is bad, but I believe it just plays on all those insecurities we have as parents. We're never doing enough to help our children reach their full potential if they aren't reading by their 2nd birthday. If only I had spent hours working on flash cards teaching my child through skill and drill rather than cuddling my child in my lap as I read to him.

As if.

But now I am even angrier that something like that has caused my son to feel bad about himself. He has NOTHING to feel bad about. He is moving along at the right speed for him. That's part of what we love about his school so much - when he wants to work on reading, he can work on reading. If he would rather work on math, or practical life skills, he can do those too. He will learn all of it in time - in HIS time. Not when some stupid guy on a commercial tells him he should.

So what do I tell this concerned little boy in my lap? First of all, that if he feels he wants to learn to read, we can work on it. Second of all, his brain and body are growing in so many ways we want to enjoy all of those things, and not worry about one. And third of all? That commercial is silly. And people on TV aren't allowed to make us feel bad.

And lastly? Go back to bed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A normal evening...

One thing I have found as a mom of two young children is that life is NEVER boring. There is always something to keep you on your toes - some adventure to be had. And silliness abounds.

The other day it was an animal safari. Max spent quite a bit of time setting up animals in mysterious locations and then sent Luke and I to search for them. When we found them we had to recite the given script: "Oh dear, there's a __________. I didn't expect to see that there." Over and over. For about 50 animals.

That was followed by an episode of "Kitchen Tools as Accessories". The whisk that is stuck into the back of the pants to function as a tail or the colander hat/drum combo are popular. But none can beat the allure of the "toms" (read:tongs). Fortunately we have two pairs so each child can have their own. They are used as headphones, stethoscopes, long-range pinchers, necklaces, and toy extractors.

From jousting with the toms, we then found ourselves needing further weapons. Well, look no further than the back of the couch. Like he was in training to star in the next Sword in the Stone, Luke reaches down between the cushions and discovers our one sword. Off they go. But you know what? When they were done, they both very deliberately came back to the couch to return the sword to it's rightful place.

The truth is that it never ends. One game to the next. It's fascinating, really, to just follow them through the evening. And exhausting. All of the above happened in about 30 minutes while I was making dinner.