Children, Family


IMG_4314.JPGI recently played a game of Hangman with four-year-old Baby Girl. Now before you faint from her ability as a four-year-old to not only think of a word, but spell it out mentally and provide the corresponding tick marks where each letter goes please know that this is not how this game works for her.

I love her dearly and think she’s a smart little cookie but she cannot spell. Well, that’s not true…she can spell her family’s names and her own name. Outside of that…don’t bet on it.

So, we played Hangman on the back of a paper kids menu while waiting for our dinner at a restaurant.

I went into this game the way I go into a hearty game of checkers with Baby Girl…there are no rules, but try to keep the game “looking” somewhat like it’s supposed to. She’s good with that. And also, when you play these games with her…really play them. She can spot a phony opponent a mile away.

So here we are…playing Hangman. Her rules are basically this:

She draws the Hangman noose apparatus thing? Then she draws out a bunch of tick marks where the letters go. She’s a fan of big words (read: a lot of tick marks). Sometimes it looks like I’m guessing the letters that make up a sentence. Now we are ready for the game to begin… well, a few snide remarks from Girl and/ or Boy Child about her inability to spell words followed by a quick admonishment from a parent and now we are ready to begin.

Occasionally, I do something outside of the rules and boy, she calls me on it…the little stickler! But, rules are rules so what are ya gonna do?! I say “oops, I forgot!” and we keep moving along.

Her sparkly eyes, her impish smile and her little elbows on the table…one hand holding up her head, the other hand playing impatiently with the crayon she has methodically chosen…

“Pick a letter, Mommy!” she says.

So I do…I pick a letter she loves to write. Lately, it’s the letter ‘R’. And without fail, that was a correct letter. Imagine that!

We go through this process many times and I pick the letters she loves to write…K, X, S, R, L, M (she knows this is Mommy’s favorite letter because, well, “MOMMY! That’s your letter!”)

Every once in a while, for the letters that aren’t in her current favorites list, she’ll say, “nope!” and start to draw the cutest hangman in the hanging thingy. And she’s giddy with delight!

Now for those of you who are sticklers to rules and playing by them, this game will kill you. Literally. Because what you have at the end of this fun game of Hangman is a bunch of letters that don’t spell anything. Although Baby Girl will tell you what it says…something like “Mommy is my best buddy” or “I love to eat yogurt”.

If you ever get the chance to play a game like this with a little one, put your OCD away for a bit and watch the magic unfold! It’s a beautiful thing to watch a little mind work.

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Children, Family

Cleared for take-off

13880276_10210554468605916_4196458609370190689_nThis boy.

I’m amazed at where his brain takes him…what adventures he creates. So the day he got an airplane was a big day indeed.

Now to you, this is a dollar store toy. A cheap, styrofoam toy…a tad bit big and bothersome in terms of clutter in the house. Because this toy is going to be all over the house for the next few days. On the kitchen table, in the bathroom, possibly hanging from the hallway light (you read that right), in the middle of the floor of the family room, stuck in a bush in the yard…

But to boy child, this is a complex adventure.

First there is, of course, the test flight. This is the first flight of the airplane once boy child has leapt out of the car, ripped open the plastic covering, slipped the wings through the center slot and inserted the rudder in the back. This flight is a bit wonky…obviously there is a nuance to flying such an aircraft that has yet to be learned, but it’ll come with time.

13924929_10210554468205906_5785743377515524949_nDuring this test flight sequence, boy child decides that the airplane is missing something…but what? Ah yes, it needs color. So the next step is the design of the airplane paint scheme, if you will. Though it may look like scribbling, a lot of time is going into how the color is applied and what colors are being used.

This decision does not come lightly.

Once the paint is applied, flight can resume. Of course, this is if playtime outside hasn’t ended. You know what, come to think of it, it doesn’t matter. Airplanes fly inside just as good as they do outside! Hence the airplane’s many locations indoors over the next few days.

13934577_10210554468485913_1108394360469103248_nThough boy child is perfectly willing to risk consequences of flying his airplane indoors, it is outside where his adventure really takes flight. His airplane gets a flight plan, gets cleared for take-off and soars to it’s next location…

Someplace exotic like the Bradford pear tree in the side yard.




Children, Family

It’s OK if they’re bored…

I keep telling myself…”it’s OK if they’re bored”.

fullsizerender-jpgAnd then, I want to fix it for them. And that annoys me. About me. No one fixed my boredom as a kid and because of that I can think of solutions on my own, I have a sense of the laws of physics, I can imagine and daydream, and I can create things out of other things…

For some reason, parents now feel the need to entertain our children? And I’m completely guilty here. Why in the name of Mike do my kids need a schedule of fun things to do on a Saturday afternoon?? Seriously.

So I tried something this past weekend and I’m not gonna lie…it nearly killed me. I told the kids to play in the backyard and I had this plan. [Side bar: I am a fixer, I am a solution maker, I am a smidgen OCD and I like things to be in order…clean, neat, etc.] I nearly died from biting my tongue, but here’s what I did:


Just take a moment and let that sink in…I. did. nothing.

At all.

Well, I did do something…I took my little crochet project outside and sat my tail down on the deck and worked on it. Oh, yes I did.

So…queue the bickering and whining…

“I’m bored!”

“Mommy!!!! She won’t let me have the {insert object here}!!!”

For your reference, I’ve prepared a table of questions/ concerns from the children and my response so as to provide a clear and concise method to my Saturday afternoon childcare methodology and it is as follows:


And let me tell you what happened…they built a see-saw out of a piece of landscaping edging we had stacked in the backyard. They had a game of rock em’ sock em’ with each other (blow-up shirts they put on so they can bang into each other without hurting each other). Then they helped each other climb a “tree” (bush). They collected “rare” gems (random rocks) and sorted them by their preciousness. And they identified bugs and made beautiful homes for them. They even chased the dog…when was the last time you saw kids chasing a dog?

And let me tell you what also happened: Mommy got to crochet on the back deck for a little while. I wasn’t serving my kids.

And even though I got to do something just for me for a little bit, what I was most proud of is the fact that for about two hours I didn’t try to solve my kids’ problems while they were playing outside. They worked it out, figured it out, played it out, rearranged the rules, adjusted the games, added steps…whatever it took to keep “play” moving.

And at the end of two hours, I had three children who had a great dose of fresh air in their lungs, dirt under their nails, exercised imaginations, blossomed creativity and maybe even a little bit of learning. It’s OK if they’re bored.

Best part…all free.

And it’s available in the backyard.


Children, Printables!

A Gift for You!

Here’s our newest word game you can play with your little kid that’s sure to bring a laugh or two! This free printable is great for emerging readers because you can work together to pick the words you want to use from the choices, write them in and let your little reader read the funny story you’ve created.

Just copy and paste the pic below into MS Word (or similar program) and print it out to use.

Enjoy and please let me know what you think! 🙂

Our New Puppy!


Children, Printables!

A gift for you!

You guys, your little kids are gonna love this! It’s a great way to have some giggles together with a really short story they can make very unique. So, the instructions are pretty simple…

Grown up: Copy the story below, “A Day at the Farm!” and then paste it into a MS Word document (or similar program). Print it out so you can write in the blanks. You’ll see there are several groups of words under the spaces…ask your little kid to pick a choice from the words and then write in what his or her choice is. Once all the words have been picked, read the funny story to the child. Or, if your child has started learning to read, let him or her try to read it aloud to you.

Guaranteed laughter…we tested it! Enjoy and let me know what you think! 😊


A Day at the Farm! copy

Children, Family

Ride the wave that comes your way

Recently we took our children to an indoor waterpark to celebrate our older daughter’s birthday.IMG_8404.JPG

She was born in one of the coldest months of the year so we try to do fun things to make up for the general bleakness of January weather-wise. After a road trip including a jaunt through the smoky mountains and a peek at some unexpected snow dusting, we arrived at our destination.

First let me say, we had a great time together. This really was a lot of fun overall.

There’s something completely unnatural about wearing a swimsuit when you know it’s 8 degrees F outside. The kids were beside themselves with excitement once they saw the beauty of the waterpark in all it’s glory laid out before them. There we all were…two grown ups and three small children about to embark on swimming heaven. And it kind of hit us…this is a lot of ground in which to manage three kids. There’s a lot going on all at once.

We decided that one parent would manage baby girl (3) while the other would watch girl child (7) and boy child (5). We headed off to the big pool…and then a loud buzzer sounded.

You know what that buzzer is, right? That’s the announcement that the waves would begin in the wave pool. That’s just super. Now we are managing a 3 year-old with water wings and two older (but still young) children each headed off in their own direction with large inner tubes as they eye epic fun headed toward them in rhythmic fashion. Mind you, I still haven’t acclimated to the water- the cold water- and here come waves to wet parts of me not ready to be submerged! I see that boy child has underestimated his ability to stay above water and hold on to the inner tube so I lumber toward him and rescue him from his own fun gone bad.

Once he’s back up on the tube, I look for girl child who has found her way to the back end of the pool where the waves are tall and rolling. She looks stable for now so I stay near boy child who is now perfecting his sea legs. I look back at my husband who is managing the 3 year-old to find they are at the head of the pool where you would think the wave would be small. Not the case here. The waves are crashing hard and while baby girl is enjoying her near drowning experience (she really is having fun here), Dad is holding on to her as best as possible while the waves knock them around and she tries to “swim” around the waves.

Just as quickly as the onset of waves, the pool returns to its calm state. All is well and we assess our legs for scrapes from being tossed about the bottom of the fiberglass pool.

This is fun. And it’s only the first fifteen minutes of a two-day adventure. And we haven’t even tried the playground or water slides. Good grief, I need a nap!


Relax in the sprinkler

There’s something about children.

They see the best in people.IMG_8446
They laugh loudly.
They play hard.
They run full speed.
They sleep hard.
They tell it like it is.
They feel things intensely.
They absorb everything around them.
They enjoy companionship.
They sing at the top of their lungs.
They are fascinated with bugs and animals.
They see the beauty in the flower of a weed.
They care about a crying child they see but don’t know.
They find humor in everything around them.
They are tickled by any kind of bathroom talk.
They love vastly.

I used to be like this. I don’t know when all of that stopped. I’m kind of sad it stopped.