Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Wheels on the Bus Won't Come Off This Toy

A toy website called ebeanstalk has a group of child experts that help select great learning toys and toys for kids of all ages, from baby toys, toys for 1 year olds, toys for 2 year olds, etc. I recently received the Activity Bus from Plan Toys who makes green developmental toys.

Cute, huh?

Elizabeth likes buses. We have two Little People ones and a big plastic one we bought in Arkansas one year that used to live in the garage sale pile, but was rescued by my sweet Libby to add to her collection. She has also commandeered all of the Matchbox/Hot Wheels/cheap dollar store knock off buses as well. Sometimes, I might get lucky and hear her singing The Wheels on the Bus song while she's playing with them. She loves her buses.

So when I opened the package amidst my salivating children and saw a bus, I thought, DANG, a bus? We already have buses! I guess I'll have to run a giveaway on this here bus.

But don't think you might get a chance at this cute little bus. There's no way in the world Elizabeth is parting with this bus. You might be able to negotiate a deal with one of the others, but not this one. No sir.

I like this bus too. It's just....cute. It's constructed entirely of wood so it's pretty sturdy and it opens up allowing for easy access to the four removable seats, chalkboard, and two children. Sometimes the children ride in the bus, sometimes they sit in the pretend classroom outside of the bus and sometimes I step on them and it really, really hurts, but that would be the only downside I see to this toy.

Now I'm going to look to see if there is a school to go with the bus. Christmas is coming you know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I'm Wearing Black Today To Mourn the Loss of Summer

Who the hell thought it was a good idea to start school before Labor Day?

I don't get that. I don't like that. I'm entitled to three more weeks of summer.

It's 100 degrees out. I should be sleeping late. Not fair.

And my kid's not happy about it either.

It was really nice to have the break from the bullies this summer. Jacob was mostly pleasant these past two months. No doubt because he wasn't being scared on a daily basis. The past few days, though, have been a little stressful. There were a few tears. The uncertainty of all that would be third grade took it's toll.

We spent the last day of summer at the arcade and the cinema and, of course, Waffle House. We were rebels and skipping the open house. NO WAY were we spending the LAST DAY at SCHOOL! But then the lightning came as we were crossing the street to the pool and we didn't have anything better to do right then so we went. Begrudgingly we went. Dang. We weren't rebels after all.

I am glad we went.

Finding out he was in class with last year's best bud, first grade's best bud, and many of his kindergarten buds really eased his mind. That and seeing that two of his bullies are in different classes and the other doesn't even go to school there any longer made his day.

And the teacher seems really nice.

She looks nice. Right?

I feel a little better about it, too. A little.

I didn't want to take him to school today. I feel worse about it this year than I ever have. I know how bad it was. I know how bad it can still get. Also, I just like having my kid home with me all day. I liked knowing him during the day. In my heart I'm starting to feel like a homeschooling parent. I'm just a homeschooling parent who isn't allowed to home school her kids. This makes me sad.

I want those three weeks.

So my baby started third grade today.

I taught third grade. Those kids were big. I have a baby. How can this be?

When I started blogging he was in preschool. Adam starts preschool after Labor Day as it should be. My kids. They are growing up too fast.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Do You Need Ear Plugs?

I can't believe summer is almost over. School starts on Tuesday. Big. Fat. Bummer.

Where did the summer go? I had big plans. We were going to museums and the beach and I was going to SEW! And I was going to teach my kid to SEW! Ummm.....yeah. Well, we did go to the beach. Once.

What did we do all summer?

We swam. That's what we did all summer.

Every day that it didn't rain (only 3 days of rain) or we weren't out of town (about a week) we were at the pool. The pool right across the street. Man, I love having that pool across the street.

I was really good at keeping the kids and I slathered with sunscreen. We never had a sunburn. But it never dawned on me that I should probably keep their ears dry until I got a message from the people at EarBandIt. I hadn't even thought of ear plugs for my own kids, but when I was nine or ten, I remember having the WORST case of swimmer's ear EVER. I got it in early July that year and couldn't swim the rest of the summer because my ears hurt SO. FRICKING. BAD. The next summer I tried ear plugs, but they'd always fall out to the bottom of the pool and I could never find them and eventually my mom quit buying them.

So when EarBandIt offered to send ear plugs with head bands to keep them in place, I took them up on it because I figured better late than never.

Cute, No?

And they even sent the right colors.

I really thought I'd get a fight from Jacob, he hates tags in shirts and his hair getting long so I thought something in his ears and over his head would send him over the edge. I was wrong, though. Jacob thinks the band makes him look cool and I think the ear plugs actually help his ADD by blocking out excess noise. He loves them.

Elizabeth kept hers in for a while, but eventually pulled the plugs out. Play-doh she told me. I never can keep the plugs in because all she wants to do is play with them. She does love the head band and I figure that keeps a little water out of her ears.

I gave Adam's plugs to my friend whose son has ear tubes and is required to wear them every time he's in the pool. He seemed okay with them that first day, but never would use them again. My friend's son, the one who has used plugs all his life, uses them without complaint. His mom really likes that they don't fall to the bottom of the pool and she doesn't have to buy anymore.

If your kid needs ear plugs to swim, these are a good product. They keep the plugs in the ears and the band even helps keep the sun off their ears, one place I always forget to slather.

I can't believe I have only two more days with my ear-banded, coconut-smelling boy. It's 100 degrees out. Who thought starting school in August was a good idea?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And I Was Really Hoping They'd Be Artistic

Remember when I got the duvet cover? The 75% off duvet cover that I'd been coveting for months? Two and a half years later and I still love that duvet cover, which will now be known as the comforter because, well, because I hate the words: duvet cover.

I like my comforter. I don't want a different one. I matched my bathroom to it. I've looked at other comforters, you know, maybe since we've moved I might want a new one, but no. I only like this one.

I love that comforter.

I also love Adam.

But I was very close to selling Adam on Craig's List yesterday afternoon after I saw this. Anyone in need of an in-house artist? He also does wall murals. Typically in the nude.

As if I haven't had enough of that damn Spongebob this summer, now I can keep him forever enshrined in my bedroom lest they ever cancel that wretched show and I should happen to *gasp* forget about him.

Because no. It won't come out.

For the record, I adore Spongebob like this:

On my linens, not so much.

When I attempt to clean or cook, things like this happen. For my birthday, I want a maid. Or *sigh* a new comforter. And maybe an art tutor for my obviously artistic, creative, seemingly paper-deprived children.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And the Winner is.....


I do realize it's Tuesday. I tried all day to find a name picker doo-dad-a-mathing to choose the winner on Monday. Well, all day when I wasn't scrubbing my bathroom walls after my middle child covered every inch with very greasy, hard-to-remove bath crayons. The boys now have a pink toilet. Sweet justice, I think.

I didn't get any pictures of that. I was too stunned to use the camera.

I was too lazy to get the camera to catch Bethy choosing the winner also. In fact, we are all still lazing in the big bed enjoying seeing Diego again. We've missed him. That dang Spongebob. But I assure you, she was completely fair. And now if I don't get up and make that baby some breakfast she will eat all your names. Hmmm....that might've been a good way to pick the winner.

Amie: Send me your email again and I'll forward it to Jennifer at Jump Start and she'll get you all set up.

If you didn't win and still want to check it out....Go here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sometimes Silence Isn't Golden.....It's Red

Where are you, Elizabeth? What are you doing?

Where did you get that? How did you sneak into the bathroom? Didn't I lock up everything dangerous/poisonous/colorful/fun?


Fingernail painting is a an acquired skill, Goose. This is why you should get a good education and a decent job so you'll be able to afford to have someone else do that for you.

Ahem. This is NOT what I meant by "pose". We'll discuss this one further in the future.

Oh, you think you're really cute don't you, Lib?

You're lucky I think so too.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Need Something to Keep Your Kids Busy?

Before I was a mom, I was a teacher.

For sevenish years I shaped and molded a variety of elementary school children in three states. I enjoyed it. I was good at it. Some days I really miss it.

I was kind of forced to become a stay-at-home mom because my oldest was born eight weeks early arriving home just in time for my very short maternity leave to end. How could I leave my tiny premature, RSV prone baby at a day care less than 24 hours after his homecoming? Answer: I couldn't. I called to extend my substitute the next day. And the next day. Eventually I was fired. Although I could, and probably still can, teach the pants off half the teachers in the state of Texas, I am no longer welcome to do so. So what. I am grateful for my dismissal almost every day.

But I still miss teaching. Especially this time of year. I love the smell of new crayons and paper and feel the yearn for a brand new lesson plan book. Right now, I'd really like to homeschool all my kids forever and ever and hang art projects from the ceiling and serve lunch on melanine trays just like the old days. My husband, eh, he's not that keen on the idea. So for the summer, I play school two days a week with my kids. Where before I'd have sixteen kids of the same age, now I have three of various ages so it's hard to keep everyone interested every single minute.

A few weeks ago Jennifer with the Jump Start company contacted me about reviewing a new product. I don't usually jump at all the offers presented to me, but this one intrigued me. When I was teaching those Gifted kids in West Virginia, the only room they had to stick put us was one half of the computer lab. Well, it was that or the hallway. The teachers didn't like having to be forced from it during prime morning hours, but it worked. Sometimes when the kids finished their work and I had nothing else for them because they were so fricking smart they cruised through everything I had and I couldn't keep up, I'd let them use the computers. Being 1997 and, knowing almost nothing about computers, I'd just give them a Jump Start CD and let them go. The kids LOVED it. I was even known to spend a few too many of my lunch hours cruising through the fourth grade disc because I was addicted because I wanted to be sure the kids were learning.

I liked the program so much I bought the toddler, preschool, and kindergarten programs for Jacob. All before he was eighteen months old. And he loved them too.

So now Jump Start has a virtual web world where kids can make their own avatars and cruise through the city playing games and earning coins. I jumped at the chance to check it out and thought it might be a good educational way to keep my big kid occupied while I attempted to teach the younger two ABCs and 123s and all that stuff that's sooo boring to almost third graders.

Jacob loves using this program. There are different places in the world to stop where he can play games and they each have some sort of skill to teach or practice. Yesterday he was sequencing sounds on instruments ala 1980s Simon which actually does help my ADD kid learn to stop and listen.

Here's what he has to say about it:

Jump Start is cool. You can jump. You can play cool things. Also you can go through waterfalls and you can collect jewels and money so you can buy things like new clothes. It's fun.

Think you'd like to try it too?

Well, ONE of you can. I'm giving away a three month membership to the Jump Start Virtual World so you can check it out for yourself. If you're interested, drop me a comment a let me know your kid's favorite computer game and you'll be entered in my drawing. If you really want it, post a link to your blog and I'll give you two more entries. I'm going to let Monkey-Girl choose the winner next Monday morning so sign up before then.