Category Archives: Kids Life

Wordless Wednesday: Faker Sharker

This is what happens when a child listens to Frere Jacque on Poisson Rouge and tries to figure out the words himself. Obviously we don’t sing together enough here.


Catching up and a story: Code Adam.

We are still unpacking and getting settled into our house but it’s already feeling like home. It helps to know that, barring unforeseen circumstances, we should never have to move again.

Today I wanted to take a break from unpacking to share something experienced by my husband and JD (5) while they were out shopping yesterday.

As you can probably imagine after moving, it seems like we are at Lowes or Home Depot daily, and that was where my husband and JD were when the ‘incident’ as I like to call it, happened. The shopping was done and the boys were checking out. The cashier convinced Mr. Hamp to sign up for a Home Depot credit card because she could give him the $30 shower sprayer he was buying for free, and 10% off the rest of his order. Awesome! Unfortunately that is where things became chaotic to say the least.

JD who had insisted on sitting in the shopping cart, decided he wanted to get out and move around. In the confusion of trying to answer the cashier’s questions for the credit, my husband lost sight of JD and casually mentioned to the cashier that he had lost track of his kid. Now, he wasn’t asking for help. He was NOT reporting a missing child. I assume he only mentioned it so the cashier would understand when he walked away for a moment. I would have done exactly the same thing.

His cashier, who happened to be the shift-manager, must have heard something different because she immediately went into action. She called a Code Adam. All employees shift into gear to find the missing child, the store is in lock-down. The shift manager answers another customer’s innocent question with “I CAN’T HELP YOU NOW, CAN’T YOU SEE WE’VE GOT A CODE ADAM” (or something like that). Seriously, to hear Mr. Hamp tell the story, it was pandemonium.

My husband is flustered, taken aback by the over-reaction which seemed more “OMG, A CHILD HAS BEEN STOLEN,” instead of, “Oops my active 5 year old got curious and decided to check out the rock salt just around the corner where I can’t see him.” Bewildered, JD who didn’t know he had done anything wrong, was quickly located and a stranger led him by the arm back to dad.

I know if it had been me, I would have been mortified. I understand that stores need to have procedures in place for particular situations. But a little common sense should be used before putting the procedure into action. My husband wasn’t given even a few minutes to look for JD before the alarm was called. My kids have the run of our small neighborhood, go to public restrooms by themselves, and even sometimes are trusted to {gasp!} go out of sight in the grocery store to grab something I forgot from an earlier aisle! In short, they know how to handle themselves when out of mommy and daddy’s sight. My husband wasn’t panicked, why was the employee? Could it be that the media has drilled into our collective psyche that children are in danger every second of the day (even though it’s not true)? Perhaps it was simply inexperience that caused the manager to over-react. I really don’t know. I’m not saying Code Adam shouldn’t exist. I’m just saying that it should be rarely used, because it is extremely rare for children to be abducted by strangers in public. Isn’t there something that can be done BEFORE all out panic ensues scaring everyone for no good reason?

Most people do not need to experience code Adam. My husband and child should not have experienced code Adam. It’s not a big deal in the long run, it just makes me wonder where we are going if we are afraid all the time.

Is that you blog?

I hear you calling me every now and then and yet I haven’t returned your siren call. Yes, I’m still here but my brain has not had time to think about writing much. Stuff happening, life, new house, blood, rain.

Today it is rainy and cold, just as it has been for the three previous days and just as it’s supposed to be for the next several days. My children are going bonkers being inside. JD is quite the instigator and I’ve had to put out a restraining order on him for poor EJ who is at the butt of JD’s antics.

Seriously though what has been going on here lately?


Battle Wounds

Well, poor JD was hit in the face with a metal baseball bat on May 6th. He’s doing fine now, healing well but it was quite an ordeal for all of us. We haven’t been doing much school, instead getting ready for the move and taking a long break until we gear up for summer learning. This is most likely contributing to the kids being bonkers as I mentioned above. We have painters and floor guys in and out of the new house, it’s starting to look really amazing, we can hardly wait to move.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an introvert. I often say things like “I’m not a high energy person,” or “I don’t DO busy well.”  But I always feel that these sound like cop-outs to most people. See it turns out that it’s not all in my head, there are some actual brain chemistry differences between extroverts and introverts. Seriously, this explains a lot and I think I am on the fairly extreme end of introverted. Too bad introversion is listed in the psych DSM as a disorder. I had a blog post planned, but right now it’s lost in the beautiful mess of our life. Hopefully I’ll get back to it later.

I started working on a project I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I have approximately 4,500 photos on my hard drive, mostly from when the kids were babies, that I want to go through. Edit and delete, upload to Flickr and save to my external hard-drive. I love looking at those early photos, and I’m always struck by how alike they look. Different yes, but no one would ever mistake them for anything but brothers.


Taking time off from school.

Of course homeschoolers need time off from school just like schooled kids. Although I’m a fan of the notion that the “learning never stops,” kids of all ages need big blocks of free time in which they learn in their own way through play and socialization.

When we started homeschooling I assumed that we would be able to take time off whenever we wanted. We would schedule our own vacation time and not be limited to when schools are closed. And this is true, but at the same time, sometimes there is pressure for me to allow time off when PS kids are out of school. I manage to buck that trend a bit. Snow days are school days for us; at least until it stops snowing and the sledding can began. We ignore minor holidays and teacher development days. This year we extended winter break to a full two weeks. But when it comes down to it, unless we have specific travel plans, we are here during school vacation weeks and it is nearly impossible to continue to do our lessons. Certainly we could do it, but I would constantly be faced with EJ pushing back, longing to play, ringing doorbells and phone calls from his friends inviting him to play. The work we miss just isn’t worth fretting over when compared to what they get from spending more time with their friends.

Homeschooled kids as a group are just as well socialized as kids that go to school, but that doesn’t mean that its easy to meet friends to just hang out with and socialize. We moved here last August knowing not a soul, and as new homeschoolers to boot. I had no idea how the kids were going to find friends. We dutifully joined a homeschool group, but except for one family, that hasn’t clicked at all for us. Besides, nothing beats having neighborhood friends—no arranging play dates, dropping them off, picking them up—instead, they want to play, they make the arrangements and then walk or bike down the street. We are very fortunate to have rented a place that just happened to be in a great neighborhood and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. But it means that my kids are almost hyper-aware of what time the other kids get home from school. When they have piano, or Chinese, or soccer. And, when they have vacation.

In the end though, I think taking time off when school is out will work for us. It forces me to remember to take a week off periodically, which I might otherwise not schedule in, and the kids are extending the friendships they’ve formed here in the neighborhood. We haven’t taken any family vacations this year for various reasons but I suspect there will come a time when our family vacations will be in addition to time off when the schools are closed.

Drawing: Robots VS. Zombies

I posted a while back about signing up for 3 years of access to Mark Kistler’s online drawing lessons. I didn’t realize until recently that if you do the School of Imagination the lessons progress through a series of techniques for making your drawings look more 3-dimensional. So far I’ve been just letting the boys pick which drawing lesson to do based on their interest. I think for future lessons we’ll try the progression to see how it works.

The boys recently drew Mark’s Robot Throwbot and had such a fun time with it that they wanted to do it again and expand their drawing a bit more.  Because they’ve been playing Plants Vs. Zombies on my iPhone, they naturally wanted to hit this theme. Actually, they are sort of obsessed, even as I sit here writing this they are talking about zombies. I play too so I can hardly complain.

Throwbots vs. Zombies

Here’s JD shortly after starting, you can see his throwbot is completed. Typical for my foodie, there is a slice of pizza at the throwbot’s feet.

And here is his completed drawing. I’m pretty sure the zombies won that round. I absolutely love that large zombie front and center. Such attention detail with that mouth and hair (at least I think it’s hair). Can’t you just feel the evil?
Throwbot VS Giant Zombie

Here’s EJ just shortly after starting his drawing. One throwbot down, two more to go.

And his completed drawing. I feel confident that the Throwbots are winning this round, thankfully no brains will be eaten today. Those are peas that the throwbots are throwing at the zombies, why they have faces I’m not sure. I’ve never served vegetables with faces before 🙂
Throwbots versus Zombies

The boys still don’t draw much on their own but that’s okay. I’m glad that we’ve found something that they can do to find new ways of being creative.

Wordless Wednesday—Breakfast for Mom!

If you saw this on FB yesterday I apologize for the repeat. It was too awesome to NOT post to my blog too. But then, you might like the whole story below.

My Breakfast

Yet again I can’t manage to post an actual “wordless” Wordless Wednesday. Too bad.

Yesterday morning I could hear from my room on the first floor that the kids were up to something conspiratorial. JD would come to the door, peek in and then holler “Oh good, she’s still asleep!”  I was laying in bed cracking up listening to them while pretending to be asleep.

“Let’s make fruit salad. What should we put it in it?” From my food experimenter JD “Onion! We have onion!” and later “lettuce, we can put lettuce in it!” and finally “sour cream, mom loves sour cream!”

Thankfully a more cautious EJ was there to temper JD’s exuberance and their fruit salad contained orange slices (with peel), apple slices, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts (a bit weird in fruit salad).

They made my morning Chai Latte. Couldn’t decide what kind of toast I would want so made one slice of wheat, one white. Couldn’t decide on the topping: butter, peanut butter, nutella, and finally decided on gobs and gobs of grape jelly. All rounded out with a YoKids Strawberry-Vanilla yogurt. They even went outside to fetch the newspaper!

It was the best breakfast I’ve ever had!

5 years ago today

This is what I was doing:

Happy 5th Birthday JD!