Thursday, March 26, 2009

American Pastime

So our first baseball season has begun. I am stressed on many levels.

First off, I worry about my special guy on a team with his typical peers. Baseball is highly competitive and places so much pressure on the individual. How will he fit in? How will the other kids treat him? How will the coaches treat him? What about the other parents? They scare me worst of all...
Secondly, I'm stressed about logistics. Emily is not one to be left out and so she's playing her first season of softball. Sitting down with the team schedules, my calendar and two different colored pens to make sense of it all...I've quickly realized that the majority of their games and practices are at the exact same time. On two different fields. Of course.

Thirdly, I have anxiety about dinner time, bedtime, baths and homework. Baseball is so much more time-intensive than soccer or basketball. So many games/practices on school nights! I like my children in bed early. I like myself in bed early. How am I going to squeeze it all in? Without losing my niceness?

I know this is old news for many of you and I want advice. All you baseball moms out there...HELP!

Please write in and share your wisdom. Where can I find affordable cleats? What should I fix for dinner? How do you entertain younger sibs hour after hour at the baseball field? How can I cheer for two players at the same time? When my husband's outta town? How much SPF should I be wearing?

I know you've got the answers...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Nineteen years ago today I got my first, last and most favorite engagement ring. I was nineteen years old at the time. For some reason this seems poignant and significant to me. It gives new meaning to that old "Better Half" expression.
This, my former fiance's 20 year old college ID card, took me only two minutes to locate. It is in his top desk drawer along with his Porsche Club of America membership card, his Kmart and Kroger namebadges and about 50 random loose keys. The guy is nothing if not prepared. It is one of the many things I love about him.
Life with my parents was Part One. They did their best with the terrible twos, chicken pox and puberty. Brad got Part Two and has seen me through PMS, fertility drugs and mommyrage. (I'll bet he can't wait for Part Three--teenagers! And menopause!)
Here are nineteen words for my better half:




















Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seven Questions--The British Edition

One of my greatest life experiences was spending a year in England. I came away with a taste for Yorkie bars, lifelong friendships and a whole bunch of priceless memories. But, what is life like for an English rose who finds herself permanently transplanted to US soil? The wonderful Christie introduced me to native Brit Emily. Here are her thoughts on the American life with a British accent.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where were you born andraised? What brought you to the US? How long have you been here? Do you think you will stay?
I was born in Roehampton in south-west London. I lived there for my entire childhood and my family home was a stone's throw from the River Thames in Surbiton, Surrey. I have fond memories of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, walks by the river ending in Hampton Court Park, and Saturdays spent in London browsing for goodies in Camden Market.

I moved to Birmingham in the Midlands for College where I studied to be an Elementary School teacher working with the creative arts.

I met my husband, Darran, at College where he was a science major and we married in 1993. Darran finally finished school in 1998, with baby number 2 two months away, and he got his first job offer from Brown University. We boarded the plane with all our worldly possessions stuffed into five suitcases, three year old daughter Robyn, and a seven month along bump which would later be Fay and took flight for Boston. Ten years and four children later we are still here - Darran has changed jobs two more times - and we are now living in West Virginia. We have four girls (Robyn, Fay, Victoria and Alexandra) and one boy (James). West Virginia is a big change from New England, and an even bigger one from England but we love it and have no plans to cross the pond again.

2. What were your perceptions of America and Americans when you were growing up in England? Do you think they were accurate? Did you ever thinkyou would live here?
There was a US High School in Cobham, a few miles from my house and so there we quite a lot of American members in my church growing up. Most of these families were executives working in London and were living in quite elaborate homes so, naturally, my perception was that all Americans were well dressed, intelligent, and amazingly rich, and of course had perfect teeth. I used to think that I would attend BYU and marry an American but instead a married an Englishman and moved to the USA anyway.

3. After arriving in the States, what adjustments did you have to make? Did you experience culture shock? What were the biggest surprises?
The biggest adjustments were:

(1) Needing a car to get to the store even if it was close enough to walk since there were no sidewalks to walk on.
(2) Learning to speak American.
(3) Remembering not to drive on the left.
(4) Being able to afford to buy beef but not being able to afford to buy lamb.
(5) Trying to do anything in life without a Social Security Number, bank account and a US drivers license - talk about Catch 22.

The biggest surprises were:

(1) How cheap gas was and still is. It is at least $8 per gallon in England.
(2) How bad skunks smell - we don't have them in England.
(3) How hot the summers are and how cold and looooong winters are - a good excuse to buy a new wardrobe.

4. Is your husband American? Does it create any cultural differences inyour marriage? What changes have you made to accommodate one another?
No. He is English but he is from the North of England so that causes some cultures clashes all of their own.

5. How are you raising your children to stay connected to their British heritage? Do you have any special family traditions or celebrations?
We buy English food when we can. We were lucky in Boston to live five minutes from a British store and 25 minutes from an English Meat Pie shop. Those days are gone, but we can get England's traditional dish - Curry - from the local supermarket.

All of our children like to eat curry and trifle (although not together).
Our eldest went to visit grandparents in the summer last year and we are continuing this year.

6. What are the things you miss most about living in the UK? Are there any foods or other products that you have to import from home? (And wherecan WE find them, too?!)
A lot of them are in supermarkets now but we do shop at British and British Pantry . Some favorites for our family are Milky Bars, Curly Wurly, Ginger Beer, Jaffa Cakes and Custard Creams.

7. Finally, do you ever find yourself internally divided across the Atlantic? How do you stay in touch with friends and family back home without getting too homesick? How do you create new memories and friendships to enjoy this new part of your life? How do you take the bestof both countries and make them part of your life now?
In the last few years technology has really improved and makes a big difference. With Vonage we get free calls to England. Skype and Facebook help us keep in touch. It is not the same as being around the corner from family though. We are often torn by being so far away from grandparents but if we went to visit regularly we couldn't all fit in anybody's house.

The US has been great to our family and our children are American which would make it difficult to move back. We do try to anglicize things a little though and one way that we have taken the worst of both cultures is through watching Simon Cowell on the British TV show - X-Factor. The children love it! Thanks, Emily! (Mr. Cowell was unavailable for comment.)

Emily blogs at Cairnsliving. From the UK to's very multicultural!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ode to a Traveling Husband

i need you to come home and put the punctuation back into my life
because i find that without you capitalizing my mornings
dotting that final period at the end of the night
my days just run together on and on and on and on and on and on
like a run-on sentence
i miss the exclamation points of laughter
inverted commas for our private inside jokes
i even miss the question marks regarding the checkbook and scratches on the car
and what is the point of using real glasses and silverware
wearing perfume
tossing a salad
without someone to notice or ask for seconds
i need you to come home and pitch the baseballs
check the long multiplication
and be the bad cop so i can go back to being the good one
try not to worry
i really can do life on my own
but like an unpunctuated page
it just loses a whole lot of meaning without you
hurry home
exclamation point

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Love Ireland...Do U2?

Irish eyes are smilin'...this kid bleeds green...our own family leprechaun!
My St. Paddy's day suggestions:
Make these cookies, shape and decorate into shimmering shamrocks. Munch them as you recline with a new book by a favorite Irish author and don't forget some Irish tunes**.
**St Pat's trivia questions for my relatives...
--With which member of U2 did Opa share a plane?
--Which U2 song did Grampa Jiggs sing at one of our last family sing-alongs?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

When I Grow Up...

This week Em had Career Day. Here she is in her schoolteacher ensemble...isn't she the cutest? Teaching is a perfect career for Ms. E. She loves giving assignments and watching others work. Furthermore, she enjoys eating apples, writing with chalk and reads with expression.

Professional skiing might be in Jake's future. He went for the first time yesterday and according to the instructor, "He's a natural."
Said ski instructor just might be invited to Jake's next IEP.

Dr. Luke has a future in veterinary medicine.

(Parenting tip: Next time you are tempted to buy a cheap plastic toy for your kids at the drugstore, wander over to the bandage section instead. Stock up on wraps and bandaids. Then, next Sunday, when you want to take a nap...tell the kids to play animal hospital with their stuffed toys. You will get at least 75 uninterrupted quiet minutes and a whole menagerie of animal mummies to boot!)

Sam is clearly destined for a future in fashion.
Camouflage is spring's newest neutral. It goes with everything.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

At Least I Didn't Have to Wear a Paper Gown

Yesterday was Jake's IEP meeting at school.

IEP's always take me back mentally to my years of infertility appointments. Dreading the date on the calendar. Hoping for good news, but also preparing for the worst. Being brave during the pain. Crying all the way home.

Invasive. Uncomfortable. Making me feel completely helpless and totally guilty all at once. (So, my tubes are completely scarred, damaged and useless? So, he's still struggling with social clues? Ahhh, where did I go wrong!!?)

Yesterday I psyched myself up Big Time to meet with the 4th grade/special ed team. I put on a power jacket and heels. I had my manilla folder (and pen!) at the ready. I arrived early and fragrant with Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. And, you know what?

It didn't hurt a bit!

The teachers were delightful. We laughed. We assessed. We discussed. We solved. At one point, the mainstreaming teacher said, "You know, I'm seeing a little bit of silliness..." And, I did not get defensive or feel guilty. I simply smiled and said, "Welcome to Jake! He must finally feel comfortable in your classroom."

I left with a spring in my step and I didn't cry a bit.

It could be that I'm learning from past experience. (I am.) It could be that Jake really HAS come a long way. (He has.) It could be that we are blessed with a fantastic school district and exceptional teachers. (We are.) Probably a little of all three.

I have always believed that things happen to us for a reason. So, my only question is this: If all those doctor's appointments were preparing me for all these IEP's, then what are all these IEP's preparing me for?

Don't answer that.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I'm a pretty good penpal.

Believe it or not, I still keep in touch with my very first best friend. Her name is Lydia and we were introduced at birth by our parents who lived in the same married student trailer court. (...I know, but it was cool in the seventies, right?)

Although we were separated by 40 miles, Lydia and I wrote letters all through elementary, junior and high school. We'd meet up every few years, which was fun. But the real excitement of our friendship was found in the writing, folding, licking and stamping. I can still remember her childhood address...541 N. Pleasant Circle. I must have printed it a million times.

We've grown up and live on opposite sides of the country now. But we still have plenty in common. Both of us graduated from the same university and became schoolteachers. (Not bad for trailer trash, huh?) We both love to read. We both have twins. We're both too busy to write letters anymore. But I do look forward to our annual Christmas card exchange.

Lydia wasn't my only penpal. I've always been a letter writer. My wise parents encouraged this hobby and kept me happily supplied with pens, stamps, paper and envelopes. One of my all time favorite birthday gifts was my first set of personalized stationery. I've been a notecard collector ever since.

These days blogging is my letter-writing. And when I think of it as correspondence, I feel a lot better about it. All those Jane Austen ladies spent hours composing witty messages at their little desks. Just because I'm not dipping a feather into an inkwell, doesn't mean my writings are frivolous.

Today I finished the most wonderful book of letters. (Not the New Testament...Paul is totally the patron saint of penpals, but I can only absorb a few pages at a time.)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is everything I love in a novel--historical, romantic, funny, educational and surprising. Check out the following preview, then check out the book, share it with a friend, or send it to your penpal!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Matter of Homeland Security

Dear President Obama,

Do we really need to do this whole time change thingie?
You may think the Republicans are stubborn, but just try convincing two four-year-olds to climb under the covers in broad daylight. (Tax break for room darkening shades perhaps?) And, just so you know, it's gonna take a whole new kind of stimulus to get me outta bed at 5:00 AM this week.
Fighting my own personal war against terror(s),
A Concerned Citizen

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seven Questions--Smart Momma

Can a mother of young children have an intelligent existence? Are the words smart and momma mutually exclusive?

One of my favorite things about blogging has been meeting so many articulate, well-educated and creative women who are using their brains to bless their families. Today's questions are for Ilene. She's blonde...but don't let that fool you. Here are her thoughts on thoughtful motherhood.

1. First of all, give us a little behind-the-scenes info. What was your life like before joining Club Mom? Tell us about your education and work background. What were your intellectual pursuits?
I grew up in Diamond Bar, California (a suburb in L.A. County) and I attended Brigham Young University from 1996 to 2000. I majored in Humanities and minored in Art History. For those who don’t know, Humanities is the study of history through the arts (literature, art, philosophy, music, and dance). Humanities and Art History are, in my opinion, very rewarding and fascinating fields of study.

I think the question I heard most during my years at college was, “Humanities? What are you going to do with that?” My less serious answer to this question was, “Marry a rich man and travel the world.” However, my more serious answer was and still is, “What can’t I do with this degree?” My education taught me to appreciate, interpret and think critically about the world around me.

After graduating from BYU, I only worked for two employers before I quit working outside the home to be a full-time mom. The first was at a big law firm in Portland, OR doing administrative work. While in Portland, I met my husband and we ended up moving to Eugene so that he could complete his bachelor’s degree at the University of Oregon. In Eugene, I worked at the university’s Political Science Department for about five years as the Undergraduate Student Coordinator and later as the Graduate Student Coordinator.

Since moving to the stay-at-home mom position (aka Superwoman), I have become the CEO/ Slave to Jackson (4 years), Thomas (2 years), and Laura (4 mos). Oh, of course there is still the husband (Dan) in the mix. We can label him as the financial backer of this little enterprise.
2. Was the transition into motherhood a smooth one for you? What adjustments did you have to make? How did becoming a mom change your outside interests?
No, it was not smooth. Is becoming a mom a smooth transition for anyone? I am a bit of a control freak and all sense of control is thrown out the window when an infant enters your life. Upon becoming a mom, my agenda and schedule was blown to bits as this new little baby demanded I devote my life to serve him.
I think the only books I read during Jackson’s first year of life were Baby Wise and Caring for Your Baby and Young Child : Birth to Age 5 by the American Academy Of Pediatrics. That first child really rocks your world. Things with my second and third child have been a lot easier.
I am learning how to balance the care of my children while still claiming a corner of my life for me. Most importantly, I am learning to let some control issues go; there is no winning an argument with a two year old and although I always tell my kids to eat crackers in the kitchen, I shouldn’t be surprised to find crumbs on the stairs. Nowadays I take advantage of infant couch time to read novels; for better or for worse, I don’t think I have cracked the Caring for Your Baby book since Jackson was two.

I still have the same outside interests I had prior to becoming a mom, but now my interests have expanded to include child-related topics and activities. I still want to learn how to speak Italian but now I also want to learn how to get my four-year-old to eat his dinner. As with all facets of life, the trick is keeping a healthy balance.

3. Many women claim their IQ shrinks with each baby. How do you feel about this? Is an intelligent stay-at-home mom an oxymoron?
I often joke that my IQ has been sucked dry by my babies but I don’t really believe that to be the case. Having children simply requires your mind to shift “knowledge priorities.” Upon becoming a stay-at-home mom, my knowledge of how to conjugate a Latin verb instantly took a backseat to the intelligence needed to run a household. However, the discipline and dedication that was necessary in my roles as a student and working professional have definitely come into play in my role as a stay-at-home mom.

I switched to a 20-hour work week for the first two years of Jackson’s life. I didn’t have to work for monetary reasons but I was good at my job. It was a position where I had empirical evidence that I was actually accomplishing a task and I received verbal expressions of appreciation on a regular basis. As many of us stay-at-home moms know, there are days when oblivious spouses and whiny children make us want to run for the hills. I was afraid that if I stayed home full-time I would lose the sense of individual validation that I received at my job.

In January 2006 I had a miscarriage that caused me to reevaluate my rationale for working outside the home. After a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to quit my job and stay at home. In some ways I was a bit hesitant to share my decision with some of the female Political Science professors with whom I worked. I feared that I might receive some pitying or disapproving looks. However I had one professor take me aside and tell me how lucky I was and how she wished she could have the opportunity to be at home with her daughters. I never thought that my circumstances would be envied by the likes of her.
Having worked both outside and inside the home I can say that my “job” as a stay-at-home mom has by far been the most demanding, monotonous, exciting, exasperating, creative, and rewarding. Keeping the children, husband, household, and myself in a state of relative happiness has required a level of savviness that demands every ounce of my intelligence. I have ceased to underestimate a stay-at-home mom’s position of importance amidst the world of working women.

4. What are some of the things you do to stay interesting, informed and articulate? And how do you fit them in to the unpredictable schedule of a young family?
Blogging is my primary method for keeping somewhat current with the outside world and where I attempt to articulate thoughts and experiences. Blogging has challenged and exercised my mind in ways I never anticipated. There are many intellectual skills involved in taking a blog post from conception to reality. You have to pick a topic, figure out how you want to present it, and then attempt to write the post in a semi-interesting and coherent fashion (some days are better than others). I also enjoy how blogging has made me more aware of the everyday occurrences in my life. Thoughts, observations, or ideas that I would have just let flit through my mind without a second thought are now jotted down to explore and share on my blog.

Initially I started reading blogs to keep in touch with friends but it has become so much more than that. I have found time and time again that my plights, joys, and experiences as a mom, wife, and woman are shared with so many others. Despite everyone’s differing circumstances, at the heart of it all, I find that we are all striving to find and bring joy into our lives. I find this common ground both reassuring and inspiring.

I do a few other things to stay informed like read countless novels (sometimes I throw some non-fiction in there for kicks), skim through the newspaper on my way to the crossword puzzle, watch ESPN with my husband, and occasionally catch E! News (you know, to stay up on current events). With three small children, I don’t have a specific schedule for these activities. I try to fit most of them in during their sleeping time but I admit that I can be found catching up on blogs while giving the baby a bottle and ignoring a whiny two-year-old. Motherhood is all about multi-tasking, right?

5. I know you are a big reader. Will you tell us five of your all-time favorite titles and why you love them so much?
This question was too difficult to answer. So I narrowed it down to five of authors who I can always turn to for a well-told story. I am not a literary elitist. I don’t care if the book is labeled as a classic or low brow. I love a frivolous Confessions of a Shopaholic novel along with the ever reputable Jane Eyre.

one--Jane Austen- really, need I say more? Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion are my favorites. I love Jane Austen because many of her heroines are the sort of women with whom we can identify and her heroes, much to the chagrin of men everywhere, are the sort of men with whom we all fall in love. Plus her writing- in addition to being brilliant- is simply hilarious.

two-- Orson Scott Card- he is hands down one of the best story tellers that I have ever read. He is most well-known for his Ender’s Game series. If boys in space really isn’t something that sounds interesting (which I thought it wasn’t until I read it), try Enchantment or his Women of Genesis series (Sarah, Rachel, Rebekah and Leah). He seamlessly weaves human emotions, philosophy, folklore, and politics into his stories. I always feel smarter after reading something written by Orson Scott Card.

three-- Shannon Hale- she primarily writes Young Adult fiction. Her stories are beautiful renditions fairy tales with strong female characters. Hale’s stories are lyrical and have an almost melodic flow to them. She also wrote a novel for adults entitled Austenland which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a fun chick-lit read without all the raunchy sex.

four-- Chaim Potok- As Celia says, a lot of us Mormons are obsessed with Judiasm. I like Potok’s stories about Judaism’s intellectual side. His stories are interesting and the conflicts presented are thought provoking. Perhaps many of us Mormons like Potok so much is because we can identify with how a lot of his characters’ everyday actions are shaped by their religious convictions.

five-- Wild Swans by Jung Chang- Okay, this one is a single book. But it is a favorite of mine and, unbelievably, it is not a novel. However, it reads like a novel as Jung Chang writes about three generations of women in her family in China; her grandmother, mother, and herself. I can’t say enough about this book. Read it. If you ever wondered about the rise of communism in China and its effects on its citizens, this book will answer your questions.

6. How do you include your young children in your quest for life-long learning? What are some of the lessons you have learned from your kids?
Children have such incredible observation skills. There are so many times when I am out driving with my kids and one of them points out an animal on a random billboard or spots a “Lightning McQueen” car driving in the opposite direction. Last week, Jackson and I were looking through his Star Wars encyclopedia and we looked at this movie poster of young Anakin Skywalker. Jackson immediately interprets the image and explains to me that Anakin’s shadow looks like Darth Vader because that is who he eventually becomes. I honestly didn’t even think Jackson would notice the shadow and was preparing to kindly explain the meaning to him only to have him explain it to me. I have found that my challenge as a mom involves exposing my children to opportunities in which they can exercise their amazing capability for learning. Since they are so young and I am too much of a coward to take them out among society on a regular basis, I try to create these opportunities at home. Because I love art, I think it is important to introduce different artists to my kids. I have various prints hanging around our home and the playroom has prints by Mark Rothko, Vincent Van Gogh, Franz Marc framed alongside pictures that my kids have drawn. I hope by exposing art to them now will help them be open to learning about and appreciating art as they grow older. The same goes for music, theater and literature. It’s basically a Field of Dreams sort of mentality, “If you build it, they will come.”

7. Who are some of the women you most admire? Why? How do they inspire you become a stronger woman and a better mother?
Ah, since having a daughter, I have pondered this question many times. What women do I want my daughter to look to for inspiration? Actresses? Musicians? Politicians? Writers? Artists? Church leaders? While some women within these categories are worthwhile role models, I rather hope that my daughter discovers, as I have, that she need not look much farther than her family for countless examples of inspiring women.

My mom of course is the woman who I admire most. My dad once said that he knew he needed to marry a strong woman who could stand up to him because he was afraid that his personality would roll over a timid woman. I am indebted to my dad for recognizing that fact because my mother is one of the strongest women I know- and definitely does not allow my dad to get away with much. In addition to being ultra creative and smart, my mom is the ultimate do-it-yourselfer. A couple of years ago I had a conversation with some friends about painting rooms in our homes. They were saying how they had their husbands do the painting and I thought, “What? Husbands can paint?” My mom never waits for my dad to do the painting around her house. She gets the ladder and paintbrush out and does it herself and now travels out to my house to help me paint (because I’m not waiting on my husband’s help either; I am my mother’s daughter after all).

My mom doesn’t wait for opportunity to knock on her door; she goes out and makes her own opportunities. If she didn’t choose to be a stay-at-home mom, I have no doubt that she would have had a thriving business career. I can sing her praises all day but one of the traits I really admire in my mother is how she expects success out of herself and her children. Her belief in my capacity to succeed eventually translated into me demanding a higher standard from myself. It has meant a lot to have a mom who believes that I have the ability to succeed in all of my pursuits.
When I think about the women who inspire me the most, I always come back to women in my family; mother, sister, grandmothers, aunts, great-grandmothers, etc. Seeing and hearing about the talents of women within my family helps me realize my own potential as well as my essential role as a link between these women and my daughter. For example, I remember being a young girl when my father told me about my great-grandmother who attended Brigham Young Academy back when people felt that educating a woman seemed as useful as educating a female cat. That single story motivated me to do well in school so I could continue her legacy.
While there are so many worthy examples of inspiring and strong females in the world (such as the women reading this!), I personally internalize the examples of women in my family best. I know that I have the capacity to be like them because they are me; without these women I simply would not exist or have the faith and life that I have today.
Thanks, Ilene. I know you are making those women proud!
Greenbean Ruminations is Ilene's witty and wonderful blog. In this post she gives Hollywood a piece of her (awesome) mind...loved it!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Is there anything scarier than watching your child fight for breath? If there is, I don't want to know about it.

Last night I was reminded again how helpless a parent can be. Since asthma is dominant on both family trees, I panicked when Sam struggled for air last night. Thankfully, Brad had flown in only an hour earlier and was able to bless him, calm me, and make a midnight visit to the ER. It wasn't an asthma attack, only a really bad case of croup.

One nebulizer treatment, one dose of steroid, and--most importantly--one official hospital bracelet later, Sam is home and breathing easy.

Thank Goodness.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Chrysalis Project

March is going to be my chrysalis month, I've decided.

Historically, I have not much enjoyed March. Chilly weather, a traveling husband and nothing but basketball on TV. Blah.

This year will be different. I'm going to use the next four weeks to my advantage. Instead of hibernating and wallowing, I plan to be busy inside my cocoon.

Without a husband to cook for, I can heat Campbell's soup for the kids and treat myself to something light and healthy. I won't drown my loneliness in oatmeal cookie dough, I'll try a homemade oatmeal facial instead. Maybe I'll try a Pilates class or visit my old water aerobics buddies. Plan a trip to the MAC counter. Skip the snack counter.

I know this little third-month makeover will be practically invisible to the naked eye. My After photo will doubtless bear a pretty strong resemblance to Before...

Still. If all that emerges from my chrysalis is a lighter attitude and a bounce in my step, I'll consider March a success.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Snow Day Recommendations

Tonight the kids all put spoons under their pillows in hopes they'll awaken to two feet of powder and the day off school. I could've told them that no spoons are necessary. We'll definitely be snowbound. Brad flew off to Florida today which always guarantees a brutal winter storm, a clogged toilet and/or a disgusting gastrointestinal virus.

But it's ok...we are set. Here are a few wintertime discoveries guaranteed to cure Cabin Fever for at least a few hours.

Mom's pick:

Holly at Marathon Bird recommended the Amelia Peabody series and I have devoured the first few. Discovering a good book is a treat, but discovering an 18-book collection is a feast! The books are clean, witty, historical and adventurous. Spending a few hours in Egypt is the perfect antidote to a grey winter afternoon.

Jake's pick:

My Shakey loves animals and he loves to draw. This website combines his two passions. He's filled a whole binder with cartoons, but even better, he's filled quite a few long winter hours doing something creative.

Luke's pick:My hyper kids love Hyper Dash! A really simple obstacle course-type game that gets 'em thinking and a constructive way. It's easy enough for the twins to play themselves, but the older kids can adjust to their level and still have fun. There's a single-player option too. Plus no itty-bitty parts to get lost between sofa cushions.

Sam's Pick:

Speaking of itty-bitty parts...the Quadrilla marble track was recommended by Amy at still life and it has been hugely popular. It's the kind of toy that adults don't mind playing. Warning: It is a bit pricey and you will find roll-away marbles in all kinds of nooks and crannies. But it is so much better than plastic marble toys, plus I'm pretty sure it has raised my IQ.

Em's pick:

The kind of story Mom starts reading aloud, but which is finished under covers as kids can't resist reading just one more chapter. Spooky and suspenseful. Read with a big bowl of peppermints nearby.

And now the school's robocalling service has just phoned to say that, yes indeed, all schools will be closed tomorrow. I guess the spoons (not to mention our Florida-bound daddy) did the trick! Good thing we're ready...
What's your cure for Cabin Fever?
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