Monday, January 30, 2012

Cultural Events for Kids

A good friend of mind (I’ll call her Jen, because that is her name) resolved for 2012 to take her kids to more cultural events.  So she researched options for the preschool set, organized it by date, formatted it, and sent it to a few of us her loved her idea.  It is so well done that I wanted to share with other parents who might also benefit from Jen’s organization and research.  One of Piper’s birthday gifts is to see Fancy Nancy on February 19th, but sssshhh, she doesn’t know about it yet.  I’m also going to take the girls to see the Frog Prince this weekend, but it will be years before Kyla will be able to sit through the wicked witch in Sleeping Beauty.



· Monkey Magic (Chinese folk tales) @ Studio East

Feb 10-12

· Frog Prince (interactive musical) @ Storybook Theater

Feb 12

· Fancy Nancy (ballet) – Evergreen City Ballet @ Meydenbauer Center

Feb 18-19

· The Dancing Princess (play) @ SecondStory Rep

March 9-25

· Seattle Young Artists Music Festival

March 24, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

University of Washington School of Music (Brechemin Auditorium)

· Snow White (ballet) @ PNB

March 25

· A Little Mermaid (play) @ Storybook Theater

May 5, 6, 12, 13

· Beauty & The Beast (play)

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· My Son, Pinocchio @ Studio East

May 25-June 17

· Tiny Tots


Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Orange Cream Princess

We had M & S over Friday to Saturday, so Dwayne and I took all five kids to the children’s museum.  I dressed them all in orange*, and I’m proud to say I had enough shirts for all of them. 

Kyla wanted to wear her angel dress, but very willing put her t-shirt and orange tutu over the flowing white dress.

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*I don’t have many great parenting ideas, but orange shirts for the kids when we are out in crowded places is one of my better ones.  The other is layering a crib with three sheets, separated by waterproof pads.  That has saved me inconvenient sheet changes.  And that’s really about the end of my good ideas.  Marrying Dwayne ranks near the top, but it’s not really replicable for anyone else.   

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stuck Inside and Clearly Warped

Warped because I finally got out the paints and let all three kids go to town.  This was Wesley’s first time being able to paint to his heart’s content.  Stripped to his (still stainable) diaper, he enjoyed painting with fingers and brushes.  Towards the end, I think he was mostly painting with his tummy.  Clearly I was so fascinated by his colorfulness that I didn’t even take any pictures of his sisters, who were approximately a foot and a half away from him (mostly out of the splatter zone). 

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Not being particularly sentimental, I threw away all of their artwork as soon as they went to bed.  They will make more.


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Wesley attempts to climb down from his chair and remove his diaper simultaneously.






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If you are wearing socks, are you truly naked? 


And if you cover with paint the only item of clothing still it’s original color, what hue will your mother’s hair turn? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Look Who’s Two!

IMG_3986Terrible Two. 

Terrific Two. 

Just because they are contrary doesn’t mean both aren’t true.












He is a joy who is so darn capable.  We moved him into a big kid bed this weekend after a week of him not napping because he was having too much fun crawling out of his crib, turning on his light, opening his door, and cheerfully announcing, “Mom, all done sleeping!” 

Piper reads to Wes in his new bed.

(Though truthfully, it was more “Mom, ah duhn sweepen.”  And when did he start calling me Mom?)

And as a few months ago, I’m only his favorite if Daddy (and sometimes Piper) is not around.  Boy, that boy thinks his daddy is so much fun.  And he is.  I would be, too, if I didn’t yell so much.  Sigh.

Yesterday, after not taking his afternoon nap (and was appropriately cranky), I let the kids watch a Zamoomafoo video.  Next time I looked at Wesley, he was sound asleep, having collapsed on Piper’s lap.  I grabbed my camera.  Then woke him up.  Because it was 5:30pm. 




Wesley opens his birthday present.



Wesley likes the idea of going outside to play in the snow, but not the reality of it.  I love that he is wearing Daddy’s gloves.  It makes him look like a trained seal. 



Because it is a special day (his birthday, as well as another snowed-in day, and Daddy was home!), I let them do play-do.  Because play-do is not fun for Mama.



Happy, happy birthday, my boy!  It’s the last birthday we can get away with not celebrating—at least until it’s convenient for us, and the snow let’s us out.  But here’s a cake you can spit all over.

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Punky Brewster

Do you remember that 80’s show of a spunky girl who wore, um, creative outfits?


Denim jumper.  (No shirt underneath.) “Velvet” wrap from Easter dress.  Plaid skort under jumper.  Pink leggings.  One pink sock. One purple sock.  One pigtail left after yesterday’s hairdo (I didn’t comb hair today).  Strange, but I think she looks great!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Winter Wonderland

We all got outside today in the freshly fallen two-inches of snow that fell today while we were in church. 

I love this shot of Dwayne with the kids.

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Then Piper throws a snowball at me! 

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Kyla was very excited to do a really big snowdaddy, with Daddy’s help, of course. Winter 075


Oh, Kyla, you melt my heart, even in this cold weather!

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Can you see the goatee and mohawk in profile? 

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Speaking of melting hearts…mine puddled when I saw how this come out.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

We’ll Call It Snow

Most of the white stuff on the ground was hail, but who’s going to quibble with a 5- and 3- (and almost 2-) year old? 

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What the kids looked like after rolling around in the snow.

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Okay, just kidding.  But this is their version of Daddy a la snow.  It’s not very flattering, but they were at least thinking of him.  Their poor mother who soaked her gloves right away making snowballs for her offspring to pelt her with didn’t even get a snowmom.  However, my kids have terrible aim, even from three feet away, and wearing their mittens didn’t help them any.  And fine. I admit.  I had fun, too.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Big Night at the Museum

“Our” children’s museum just opened a new exhibit and we got to be a few of the first to see it.  The Lodge is an open space with several thousand of these blocks.  Kyla got her picture taken for the Everett Herald while she was constructing a short-lived masterpiece.  (Wesley tore down everything she built—that’s foreshadowing, folks.)

Kyla Need, 5, of Woodinville, concentrates on building a tower out of blocks in "the Lodge," the new addition to Everett's Imagine Children's Museum, on Thursday evening. In addition to showing different exhibits - the first of which is "Tops 'n Blocks - A Balancing Act" - the new room will also be used to host special events.


This tower had been up since before Christmas (this was the first time kids have been in the new exhibit).  Take a close look at it because it no longer exists. Wesley knocked it down.  In front of God and everyone else.

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What did I do?  I picked him up and lifted him as high as I could, and let everyone see the Kid Who Knocked Over the Tower.

We soon went to the other exhibits where we couldn’t so do much damage.

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Luckily, many of the exhibits have balls in them.

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Kyla and Piper entertained themselves for almost two hours, when I dragged them away.

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What Else to Do on a Cold, Sunny Day?


Climb a post.

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Cross a stream.  Climb a tree. 

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Climb a ladder.

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Hang upside down.

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And smile. 

How to Talk to Little Girls

Hey, did you know that I’m anti-princess, anti-gender stereotypes, anti-ToysRUs with its pink aisles and blue sections?

Okay, so you did know all that, because you know me at least a little bit, probably in person. So when Heidi sent me this article, I cheered! Lisa Bloom writes about how talk to little girls without focusing on their cuteness. Here it is in its entirety, taken from this blog.

How to Talk to Little Girls

Lisa Bloom
Posted: 6/22/11
I went to a dinner party at a friend's home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, "Maya, you're so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!"

But I didn't. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What's wrong with that? It's our culture's standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn't it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America's Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they'd rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What's missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.

That's why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

"Maya," I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, "very nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too," she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

"Hey, what are you reading?" I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I'm nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

"I LOVE books," I said. "Do you?"

Most kids do.

"YES," she said. "And I can read them all by myself now!"

"Wow, amazing!" I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.

"What's your favorite book?" I asked.

"I'll go get it! Can I read it to you?"

Purplicious was Maya's pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.

Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It's surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I'm stubborn.

I told her that I'd just written a book, and that I hoped she'd write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we'd read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.

So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya's perspective for at least that evening.

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she's reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You're just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.

And let me know the response you get at!/lisabloom and Facebook.

Here's to changing the world, one little girl at a time.

For many more tips on how keep yourself and your daughter smart, check out my new book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World,

* * * * *

Please ask my kids what books they like best right now!  And the girls would love to show off how much they can read (think BOB books, not classical literature).  They’d also show and tell you all about the animals they are learning about during video time and at the zoo. Piper is especially excited that H2O is water—something she learned at preschool, and Kyla will tell you what to do in an earthquake, another preschool lesson.  Wesley will just want to snatch what you have in your hands and declare it “mine” but he’d be happy to play puppy, duck, or dinosaur with you.  
Just changing the world, one cute kid at a time….

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Boy and His Balls

I mean this in the single-entendre sense.  The picture says it all.Janaury 006

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No Reptiles!

Finally we made it to a Creature Feature at the zoo that didn’t involve a reptile.  (You’re welcome, Sharla.)

What could it be?  It has a cage and some toys.  Its name is Lucy.

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It’s a…..

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Yep, one of those stinky creatures that Dwayne used to own…when he was single.  But they are cute.  Piper would now rather have a ferret than a dog.  Um, thanks, Zoomazium.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Flavia is Back!

I’ve written earlier about Flavia de Luce before when I discovered129850152 Alan Bradley’s first mystery starring this, er, unconventional 9-year old chemist.  She is eleven years old in the fourth book in the series and still as readable as ever.  My friend, Sheryl, and I love a lot of the same books so when she told me she had just finished the fourth book and had it in her car, I immediately borrowed in and read it in less than 24 hours.  Sheryl, I’ll be calling soon, so we can talk discuss it!