Friday, October 31, 2008

Reasons You Know Your Kids are Growing Up #312

Reason #312 that I know Avery is growing up - he doesn't need my help peeling a banana anymore.

Soapbox of the Week - Halloween

Guess what? I take my kids trick or treating every year! I know, I know - it's the "devil's holiday". It's a Wiccan playground, etcetera etcetera. Well, our family is a Christian family, but we still celebrate Halloween.


Why not, really? After all, my kids do like candy, and so do Daniel and I. My kids like to dress up. My kids love riding around the neighborhood in a wagon, huddled together under a big blanket. We love meeting all our neighbors. We love the family time involved. So what's the big deal?

There has been a lot of debate over the origin of nearly every holiday we celebrate in this country. Halloween may have been a Druid holiday, but now it has just become a corporate-created marketing strategy. Just like Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter. Can't we just be good Americans and celebrate the holiday innocently and with good intentions?

Another thing - if Christians really do think that Halloween is evil, doesn't that just offer one more reason why we should be out there to be a beam of light to those dwelling in the darkness of an "evil celebration"? We are not of this world, but we certainly are in this world. I'm not saying that everyone should be handing out Christian tracts instead of candy, but what does it hurt to give out candy and a smile?

There are so many stories out there about people who bought coffee for the person in line behind them at Starbucks, and it really changed the person's life. Starbucks isn't a Christian company - but this form of giving is okay. Really, who are we to say that we shouldn't give to those who celebrate Halloween? If you don't want to dress up and go out trick or treating, that's fine. But don't look down on those who do. There's also no reason why you can't give out candy at your house.

Seriously, Halloween has become a commercially-driven holiday for kids. Can't we just let them enjoy an excuse to stay up late eating candy in a Cinderella dress?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let's Talk About Hair.

As you can see, Abby has curly hair. I also had curly hair as a child, but more of the frizzy variety than the ringlet variety that Abby has. Now, if any of you reading this has curly hair, you know that it is just not the same hair that everyone else has. Those shampoos for thick/thin/volumizing/frizz control/oil are not for curly hair. Actually, those curl taming shampoos aren't even for curly hair. And why is it, that we need to "tame", "smooth", or "control" curly hair?

As for getting a haircut, you can't even just go to any stylish you chose if you have curly hair. There are those stylists who like to wet your hair, cut it, and then blow dry it into an afro. Don't let them touch your hair, unless that's the look you're going for. There are those stylish who like to cut your hair in layers - or worse yet - use one of those straight-edge razor thingies on your hair. Never, ever let them cut your hair. The truth is, curly hair can only be managed by other people with curly hair.

Even brushing curly hair takes talent and know-how. You can't just run the brush through the hair, unless you want a static-y, frizzy mess. You have to be skilled in the brush and smooth technique, which to my knowledge, has never been understood by those who have straight hair. I hope you have good hand to hand coordination for this one.

So, if you have curly hair, don't despair. Get ready for some curl prejudice, envy, and protection. Throw away your round brush. It will get tangled in your hair, and you will have to cut off half of it. Forget specialized shampoo. Never buy a hairdryer. And scope out the hairstylists in your town until you find one with curly hair. That is not frizzy.

Good luck, curlies!

P.S. If you've recently found yourself blessed with a curly headed child, Johnson's Baby Lotion does wonders for "taming" and defining curls. It doesn't make curly hair greasy, and it smells wonderful. Give it a try.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pumpkin Time, Again.

Yup, it's pumpkin patch time again. Here are some pictures of this past weekend's excursion:

Too bad it was so cold that the kids had to have hoods on that obscured their faces... But Ethan loved pulling a wagon around, and managed to find the perfect pumpkin to make the wagon useful.

Avery is just not into smiling for pictures anymore. They all end up with a funny face, so this is the best I could get.

Of course I wasn't trying to get a three-kid picture again... But don't they look like they're enjoying it?

And I call this "Amish Boy Wannabe".

My Pumpkin surrounded by pumpkins.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How Sad

You know, I think there's a point in every kid's life when they realize what about them is different from other people. Like when a girl realizes that she is unusually tall compared to other girls she knows, or realizes that her mother works and her father stays home even though no one else seems to do that. As anyone who has ever worked in an office or attended a college class knows, "It's these differences that make us each special." We should "celebrate these differences." Whatever. Try telling that to a ten year old girl who is already a B cup, has braces, and just started her period two days ago. (It's probably the milk!)

The truth is, I want my kids to be special and be their own person, but I also don't want them to be the weird kids. One of my goals as a parent - and stop me if I've said this 2 million times - is to make sure my kids are normal. That doesn't mean they have to conform to what everyone else is doing. That doesn't mean they can't excel in anything. That doesn't even mean that they can't be activists or conservatives, or whatever label you want to use. I simply mean that I want them to be kids while they are kids. I want my daughter to be a little girl before she's a preteen/teen/adult. I want my baby boys to be babies before they are men.

As for fashion, I don't know where I'll stand when this becomes an issue in my home. I was always the one who wore the "odd" clothing in my group. Of course, in the early nineties that just meant wearing gaudy rings on each finger, vintage shirts, and and Converse One-Stars. I'm sort of for dressing how you like, but really, do I want my little Ethan to one day be a goth wearing a hundred safety pins in his pants? No, not really. Clothing is still a grey area for me. Ask me again when I have teenagers.

Anyway, back to my original point. At some time their lives, kids realize that they are different in certain ways. I just always thought that was closer to puberty.

Today I asked Avery why he had an accident, and he responded, "I'm just different. I have yellow hair and no one else does."

My response? "What??"

Then he explained. "Ethan looks a little bit 'Cadun'."

I'm guessing he meant "Cajun," but who the heck told him this? Daniel is from Louisiana, so the term Cajun is not foreign to my kids, but I know I didn't tell him this. In fact, I always thought it was neat that Avery has blonde hair and no one else in our house does. I don't think I like for him to feel different because of it. I've dealt with the mailman jokes and questions about which kids were really "ours" for 3 years now, but this is new.

So now I'm reconsidering my stance on kids being different. Is it good or bad? Is it always just one or the other? If not, then when is it okay to be different?

Since my little Avery is so wise today, I think I'll just sit back and let him decide for now. But when he needs my opinion on combat boots and safety pin pants, I'm ready.

Monday, October 20, 2008

You Know You Should Cook at Home More Often When...

Your 2 year old can name the fast food restaurants by their signs. Of course, now that Avery is 3, he's developed a whole new name for each of the restaurants. There's "Burger Wing," "Tim Hor-Hee's" (Tim Horton's), and "Barbie's" (you might think it's Arby's, but really that's what Avery calls the redhead on the Wendy's sign).

Abby, on the other hand, learned the stores first by their signs. That's my little shopper. She knew Target and Meijer at age 2, but for some reason she has called Kroger "Jo-Ann's" for the past year. Avery's favorite store is "Load's". You know, the place with all the lumber and home-improvement stuff?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Soapbox For the Week - Milk

Lately I've decided to buy only hormone-free milk, otherwise known as rBST-free milk. Daniel "snickered" at me (in a manly way) when I told him, but I do it anyway. Why? Because of pus and puberty.

First, the pus issue. As Beth over at The Natural Mommy so graciously pointed out, milk from cows who were given hormones causes them to produce pus, which is then introduced into their milk supply. That's right. You drink pus. You can read the whole article here, but I'll tell it to you in a nutshell, because I believe every word.

You see, some cows are given a hormone called Posilac, which causes them to produce milk for a longer time than normal. Cows normally only lactate while pregnant or nursing their newborn calves, but this hormone forces them to lactate indefinitely. If you ever breastfed your own kids, you can probably imagine how this practise would cause problems such as mastitis. Well, along with mastitis comes pus. That pus is pumped out of the cows along with the milk, and ends up in the white plastic jugs in the grocery store's dairy case. Yum.

Another problem has to do with puberty rates increasing among girls. Apparently, girls are starting to grow breasts, pubic hair, and start menstruation a lot earlier than they should, and a lot earlier than girls did in the past. Studies have even found that 8 year old girls have started menstruating, and 3 year old girls have grown breasts or pubic hair. Now the numbers of such cases are still quite small, but really, do you want to risk that for your daughter? The article is here - I highly suggest reading it. You can also check out books such as The Body Project, by Joan Jacobs Brumberg, or My Year of Meats, by Ruth Ozeki .

So, what can you really do about hormone-filled milk? For starters, stop buying it. If you have a Meijer's nearby, check out their milk labels. They sell only hormone-free milk. For the past month or so, this is the only place I've bought milk, regardless of price. Today I heard that Kroger also sells only hormone-free milk (not confirmed), and Walmart does too (as of September). Since Walmart has signed on, you should be able to get a gallon of hormone-free milk in practically any city in the US. It's also more possible to comparison shop, without worrying about who has hormones and who doesn't - as long as you comparison shop among Meijer, Kroger, and Walmart.

Another option is to buy only organic milk. I haven't yet felt the push to switch to entirely organic, or even mostly organic foods in our home, but it is an option. Certified organic milk must be hormone-free, so you know as long as the label says "certified organic," it will be safer for your family.

Now, I'll step off my soapbox for this week, but come back next week for my stand against dirty fruit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Avery, Again - Sleeping Angel

I'm reposting this picture of Avery asleep on the arm of our sofa, in an attempt to win a free bedroom set for Abby. Makes no sense, I'm sure, but here it is:

Now doesn't that just scream, "give my sister a new bedroom set, so I can get a good night's sleep!"?

Here's a picture of what I'm hoping to win:

It's the Lilly Rose bedroom set, from Home & Bedroom Furniture. The Sleeping Angel contest is being hosted by 5 Minutes For Mom. Now tell me he doesn't look like a sleeping angel in this picture.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Wonder Toy

Ahh, Pixos.... If you don't know what that is, let me explain. They are this great new toy that is the modern version of those little pain-in-the-neck beads that you probably had as a kid. You know, the kind you place on little peg boards in shapes, cover with a piece of waxed paper, and iron together? Well, now kids have Pixos, which require no iron - just water - to hold them together.

The toy is really fun to my kids, even though it breaks my back to bend over the things too long, and it is very tedious to me. The toy is fun! And safe! And easy to do! (those are all words from the manufacterer's website) And perfect for sticking up a child's nose! (that one is my own)

Yes, we spent the entire morning yesterday trying to get a Pixos bead out of Avery's nose. And, to top it all off, our pediatrician's office was having phone troubles, so I couldn't call them for advice. I called my mom, my mother-in-law, and the pharmacist for advice, but nothing seemed to be working. For future reference, CVS is a great place to get free toothpaste and KY Jelly, but NOT a good place to call when there is a slowly disolving Pixos bead stuck in your 3 year old's nose.

So, here is a short list of what does not work when trying to remove Pixos beads from your child's nose:

1. Plugging up one nostril and the child's mouth, and having them blow through their nose. They will actually smell, instead.

2. Tweezers. Nose hairs - enough said.

3. Toilet paper. Those little nostrils are way too small for anything like that.

4. Pepper. After our pediatrician finally got their phone lines in order, they suggested that I place a bunch of pepper in my hand, make Avery smell it, thus sneezing out the bead. He did sneeze 3 times, but nothing came out.

And, the list of things I didn't try include suction, nasal rinse, and Avery's finger. Turns out that last one works. We were in the van, on our way to the doctor's office, when Avery told me, "I got out that ball, because it was bothering me." I pulled over, and sure enough, there was the green Pixos that used to be in his nose.

I guess sometimes it is okay to pick your nose...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No Comment

Overheard on a car trip:

Abby: I'm going to have two girls and two boys when I'm a b-dult (adult)... No, two boys and three girls.... You know, I might just have as many as I want, like 3 boys and 3 girls...

Avery: I'm going to have a boy and a girl.

Abby: I'll name them Sydney, cause that's what my friend was named in preschool, Emily, and Ethan. Those are my favorite names. (After some suggestions, she also decided on Carter and Luke for boys).

Avery: I'm going to have Eli, cause he's my friend, and Kiley. That's my cousin.

Abby: You know, Mommy, if you have another baby girl, you can name her Rose. That is a very pretty name, and I'm going to name my last baby Rose.

Avery: I'm going to marry Abby.

Abby: You can't marry me, I'm marrying someone else. You have to find yourself a girl to marry.

Avery: I'm gonna marry Kiley.

Abby: You can't! She's going to be your kid!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Uh Oh!

Today Abby took cupcakes to school. When her teacher saw me, she realized that she had forgotten the cupcake container that I had sent with Abby. So Abby was sent back to the classroom to get it. With Richie. When they came back out, he was carrying the cupcake container for Abby. No big deal, right?

Well, the other night Daniel asked Abby what her friends at schooled are named. She mentioned a few girls, like Emma, Elisabeth, Julie, etc. But then she started acting silly, and whispered in Daniel's ear, "And Richie." Then she giggled, just like a teenager. Wait a minute. She's had lots of boys before that she called friends, but none that she had to whisper or giggle when she said their name.

I never, ever ask her about boyfriends - I never even mention them for adults. I'm also very careful about people asking her about boyfriends. I don't like it, not at all. She's only 5 (as of yesterday) - way too young to mess with boyfriend/girlfriend junk.

Now I wonder where she got this giggling and whispering of boy's names. This is the very reason I did not want her to start Kindergarten! The kids are influencing her, and making her grow out of babyhood. Today its boys - who knows what it will be tomorrow?? I wonder if its too late to put her back in preschool??

The Princess is 5!

And doesn't she look just so old???

It's hard to believe that I was a brand new mom with no clue just 5 years ago, and she was a tiny little princess with no patience. The nurse in the delivery room was quoted as saying, "What a princess!" several times. She certainly hit the nail on the head with that one.

Happy Birthday, my sweet little princess. We'll get that pea out from between the mattresses one day...

(If you don't know the story, read it)

Friday, October 3, 2008

October 1

Hmm... October has only been here 3 days so far, and it seems to have definitely brought autumn with it! On October 1, I took the kids to the zoo. Seriously, if you have small kids, October 1 is the perfect day to take them to the zoo. At least this year. And at least at our zoo.

Want to see pictures? I tried all day to get a nice picture of all three kids at once. I did get several of those, but none of them are necessarily "frame worthy"... What do you think?

Round 1:

October 1, Round 2

Round 2:

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