Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obsessed with TV

My 3 year old has 2 obsessions... TV shows, specifically. These shows have become our bribe... er, reward... er, goal for a good bedtime routine/going to sleep and for having a good day at Lisa's house (daycare). Sid the Science Kid Let's start with Sid. This is a really cool show!! PBS has swung us away from the cable shows and back to public television. It's a Henson production and the quality is excellent. It was even touted as being the Seinfeld of kids' TV. The music is fun, the kids are cute, the ideas are solid, the family isn't all white-bread. I must confess that my baby boy, my little not-quite-one-year-old, also adores Sid. He doesn't sit and watch it. But he definitely pauses his playtime when Gerald, one of Sid's friends, pops on the screen. Zach dances to the theme music and to the playground music. I'll have to see if I can get video of it. Lots of cool ideas for activities on this show, too. I am making plans to freeze fruit in a block of ice for snack one day (that's reversible change, just so you know). Imagination Movers And Teagan also frequently asks to watch "Movers." It's a fun show that has more of a message than I had thought. I like the focus on teamwork and coming up with ideas and brainstorming. And the music isn't sappy and silly- it's fun and singable. The Imagination Movers are a band from New Orleans and have been around for several years prior to getting linked up with Disney (you may have heard them on XM Kids Radio or Sirius Kids Stuff). And they're kinda cute in a nerdy-ish sort of way. Care to join in our obsessions? We could beat anyone in a round of identifying reversible vs irreversible change! Or a Use Your Senses challenge? Or maybe come up with an idea on how to get the Robo-Bee back down? Anyone? And because you are here, reading my thoughts, I'm gonna tell you what I think about TV and kids (well, not all kids- my kids). We can tell when Teagan has been watching too much and it is out of control. The beauty of our TV as the goal system is that it also limits how much she watches while she feels like she's achieved her goal. We succeeded on our final potty training goal because of her desire to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Stay dry all day at Lisa's house, come home and watch Mickey Mouse!" And it worked and had minimal meltdowns. It isn't working quite as famously for daytime behavior. But there may be a specific reason behind that and there could be changes coming next week that will fix that other issue. We'll see. So we have a short list of shows we like and we have 2 shows that are obsessions that she will do anything for. We found her currency and intend to use it for all its worth!

Monday, September 29, 2008

You Never Have To Say It

We are sitting in the living room, watching TV. We hear a quiet noise in the hallway and look up to see Teagan. She woke up, quietly came out to the living room because she needed to potty. My big girl. After the potty trip, I carried her back to bed. I got her snuggled back in and offered to stay with her for a minute. She nodded. I stroked her hair and quietly told her "I love you." She opened her eyes and glanced at me. I could see that she wanted to say it but hesitated. She wanted to go to sleep. And I wanted to tell her... You never have to say it to me. In our lives together, you never have to tell me that you love me. There will be days that you love me and I will love you. Days that you hate me and I will love you. Days you like me and I will love you. Days you need me and I will love you. Days you are embarassed by me and I will love you. You don't need to say that you love me. Because I will always love you. My love is broad enough, deep enough, thorough enough, lasting enough... that it will cover the ebb and flow, the forgotten moments, the selfishness, the drama and trauma, the highs and lows. Perhaps that is one of the many gifts of motherhood. Perhaps it is a deepening of this new level of love. But no matter what it is... I don't need you to say it. I know it. And I've got it covered.

FREE Day at Conner Prairie

Thanks to an online mommy friend, we received notice that the Smithsonian does an annual Free Museum Day. There were a couple of local museums participating. Conner Prairie, a living history museum, is right down the street from our neighborhood so that was our choice!
I was hesitant about taking a 3 1/2 year old to Conner Prairie. I'd been before with just adults and with older kids (school age). It had been several years since I'd gone. So I just wasn't sure what they would have to keep her entertained. I never should have doubted this institution.
The first stop was an indoor play area for younger kids. Well, for any kids, really. There was a pretend train station and train, a train table, a market/general store, a prairie kitchen (complete with butter churn), a garden, a play tractor and old fashioned car, animal costumes, and a cow to milk. There was a craft room with puppet theatre but we didn't get to it.

We also ate inside at The Eatery. We had 2 kids' meals- hot dog with chips and a drink that was served in a very cute satchel style souvenir bag and a turkey sandwich with chips and milk. I had a BLT with cole slaw and a drink and Jeff had a burger, chips, drink. The food was less expensive than I expected. Prices were similar to, say, McAllister's. But the quality wasn't McAllister's! Food wasn't bad but I'm not dying to get back. I will say that the amount of bacon on my sandwich was impressive and that Jeff's burger looked really good and that Zach ate all of the turkey and loved his milk. Teagan had no opinion on the hot dog aside from being happy that she had something upon which to place her ketchup.
Then we headed outside. First stop was the animal encounter barn. We met a one week old cow (adorable black and white fella), a sheep and lamb, some ducks and chicks, a couple of goats, and a donkey. Zach loved looking around at everything. Teagan loved encountering everything. She even got to hold a baby chick (with a little help from the fantastic volunteer).
Let me say a quick word about the people who volunteer and work at Conner Prairie. These people are fantastic. Truly. These young people in the barn were so patient and so knowledgable about the animals they were showing. The adults and young people who were in costume were so accomodating while staying in character. While the activites are fun, it's really the people who set the tone of this fantastic place.
Back to our adventure!

After the barn, we headed to the Lanape Indian Village. We saw a hut made of bark which was really cool. And it was in this area that Teagan figured out that she could run around and go into the houses and play with things and really explore. We started into Prairietown- the setting is, I think 1836? Liberty Corner is 1886 but we will get to that in a moment.

Prairietown... we hit the General Store, the blacksmith, the doctor's home (where she tried on these gorgeous hats), the school house, the blacksmith, the potter. Teagan played checkers, played with a ring and stick outside (where you push the ring with the stick and try to keep it moving), learned about baking a cake in a fireplace, saw kids measuring nails in the store, got a piece of soapstone, played with a potter's wheel. See? So much to do!!

Liberty Corner- she was nearing the end of her attention span and rope. But we walked across the covered bridge and she ran around near the baseball diamond. We did go into the Zimmerman's home and she had a fantastic time exploring that house with Christy. She then showed me the bedroom with the toys. Old blocks, a small cast iron play kitchen, a doll's crib, some old books.

Speaking of books, the store in Prairietown had a couple of books that were written to help a woman understand her role as wife and as mother. I was only able to read/scan a couple of pages of the mothering book but found it fascinating to read the ideas about discipline. It basically said to give the child 4 chances and if the bad behavior got to that 4th time, you have to punish them. You are giving warnings, removing from the situation, distracting up until this point. I was certain the punishment would be spanking or lashing. Instead, it was torture chamber time out! The advice for punishment was to tie the child to a chair!! And advised against locking the child in a closet because that would frighten them. Next time we go, I want more time with that book!
Teagan and Christy went on to explore the basement of the home. Then Teagan went outside and it was watering time! She got to pump water from the outside water pump and carry her watering can to the flowers and do some watering. Then it was finally time to head home.
The only problem with a close by attraction like this is that there isn't time for a worn out kid to fall asleep in the car!
We had a fantastic time and I anticipate that Connor Prairie will be our next membership choice when the Zoo membership runs out next year.

The Cast of Characters

It's time for you to meet my family. The people I will be writing about the most. The people that will partake in the myriad of activities that we will share here with you!
The first thing to note is that it is almost impossible to have a picture of all 4 of us together. So take what you get!
This is me and the kids. Teagan is my daughter and she is 3. She turns 4 in March. Zach will be 1 in October. My age is unimportant, right? Oh fine. I'm 34. And I actually like my age just fine. And my birthday is in August and I am very hurt that you didn't send me gifts.
And here is a fun shot of my husband, Jeff. His age will remain private because he gets pretty sensitive about it. But his birthday is in January. So the sensitive time of adding yet another year is coming up soon! He doesn't always walk around on stilts. This was a special occasion. Here is another picture, just to prove the lack of stilts. Well, shoot. This one makes it look like he's grumpy all the time. Guess we need to work on his photogenic skills.

The final member of our household is our pooch. Sassy. She's a toy poodle. She's 10 years old. She had a best friend, Ginger. But we lost Ginger back in December. And we still miss her a lot.

So, that's us. We're pretty normal looking, right? I've worked hard to get my life as normal as possible. And we try to focus on fun as much as we can (you saw the stilts picture, right?).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back to the Corners

Naptime for baby and Dance Class for preschooler so we are back to the Debate!! They are still talking about the economy. Lehrer asked a good question- what are you willing to cut from your current plans if this $700 billion bailout goes through? The answers started in the last post- where they both seemed to just prioritize their plans. No one really directly answers what will get cut. Obama did say that, for example, alternate energy is a large idea and there would be pieces of it that would have to be reviewed and cut. McCain is talking about fighting excessive spending. I agree with the idea. And I do like Obama calling him out on being connected to Bush and McCain voting FOR Bush's budgets. That is a VERY important point. You want to cut spending but you've been approving the budgets of the spendiest president in history. McCain points to his long record of being a maverick. And bringing up his maverick partner (and then he blinked really weirdly a few times). Huh. Lemme pause the DVR. On this topic of government spending. I think our government spends oodles and oodles of money they don't have. I think that there are definite areas where spending can be cut dramatically. I have no clue what those areas are since I've never reviewed the federal budget. But I still firmly believe that I will forever be taxed. And that my tax dollars will continue to fund these federal budgets. The important thing, to me, is who is making decisions about where the money goes. Until there is radical change (like, say, The Fair Tax), I will always have part of my income taken from me and spent in ways that I didn't directly approve. My state representative certainly hasn't called to ask if it's ok to spend my money on war. So the money is always going to be taken from me. MY preference is that my money be used to help people who need it. Social programs. Building infrastructure. Improving education. Making higher education more attainable. Job opportunities. Back to the debate. "We did not use our military wisely in Iraq." I AGREE. I also agree with McCain. He said that the next President will have to decide how we leave and when we leave. However, this is the same guy who says he can see us in Iraq for the next 100 years? I doubt his Presidency, if it ever happens, would last that long. Might feel like it. YES! The surge was a TACTIC to fix the previous mess. I soooo agree. Anyone else notice that Obama is willing to talk directly to McCain and looks at him but McCain doesn't seem to ever look at Bush or talk directly to him? Tactic vs Strategy. Tactic, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a device for accomplishing an end. Strategy, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the art of devising or employing plans towards a goal. Huh. McCain seems to think there is a huge difference between these 2 things. I have to admit to being a little tired of rehashing the past. Mistakes were made with the Iraq War. We shouldn't have gone in for the reasons we were led to believe. I think it is important to recognize that mistakes were made and to admit that we have to fix it and get out. I would have a lot more respect for McCain if he would admit mistakes were made instead of only trying to look forward. Afghanistan. All I have to say is- I loved the pointed look at McCain when Obama said "strategic." Anyone else catch it?? Alright. Enough politics for my blog for now. One of these entries may actually introduce my readers (of which I currently have 3, I think) to me and my family and my life!

Friday, September 26, 2008

In This Corner...

I'm watching the Presidential Debate. Are you? If you aren't, you should be. If you are, follow along with me! First of all, I know it is called "playing to the camera," but I love how Barack can make eye contact with me through my TV. He's done it twice now. I swear. First thought. Obama pointed out that they had not yet read the proposal for this economic plan so he can't say whether he supports it or not. McCain stated he'll vote for it. Without reading it? McCain says he will veto any spending bill... but there are programs that need funding. Like that war he supports in Iraq. Jim Lehrer seems to be struggling. Huh. Energy. Health Care. Education, Science, Technology, Affordable College. Infrastructure- including broadband to rural areas. Eliminate programs that don't work. Eliminate ethanol subsidies. Fixed cost contracts. Defense spending under control. Clean out the bad apples from government agencies. And now I pause for the evening. As much as I would like to be a political afficionado... I am a mom first. And my daughter needs me. So off I go and I will watch more of the debate on the DVR over the weekend!

Free Thinking Friday

I'm just going to take this end of the workday Friday moment to share random thoughts. Of no particular order or consequence. Listening to NPR makes me feel smarter. There is a white envelope on my desk with an invoice in it that I need to get processed. I want to make those Carmelita Bars this weekend. I got the mix at Costco and have yet to crack it open. Oats, chocolate, caramel. Yum. We're going to Conner Prairie tomorrow. I hope my kids find it fun and it isn't completely over their heads. The admission is free so it is a good chance to test it out. Dance class is really fun and I wish it wasn't just for 3 and 4 year olds. I love watching them run and jump and stretch but I have this huge desire to be in there with those little girls... I have no idea what this blog thing may or may not become. Just a place for my thoughts? A place that people may turn to for advice? Who knows! Earth Festival is this weekend. I have no idea why it's called "Earth" Festival because it is just a small town taken over with tents and tents of crafters, artists, yard salers, and food vendors. It's fun to walk around but I really don't get the whole "Earth" connection. It's not that easy being green. I never made popcorn today. Maybe I'll pop some up for the debate tonight. Maybe I'll blog during the debate. Not that anyone will be clinging to my every word here... I think it is time to go home.

What a Rush!

I AM HERE! I am claiming my tiny little corner of the online globe! My mission statement... I am here to share ideas that I find or come up with in regards to parenting, babies, work, home, friendships, marriage, and anything else I feel like sharing. I like to test ideas. I like to test products. I like to test food and restaurants. I like to take and share pictures. Maybe my first commentors can be some of the people who have provided the encouragement to get out here and blog. They seem to be very excited about this option for me... so maybe they can share what it is they want me to share with a mystery audience!