“A Book With No Pictures?? NO WAY!”

“NO WAY! That’s BORING!!!”

That is the response I got when I showed Mahlie the new book I got her, “The Book With No Pictures” by B.J. Novak.

She loves, loves, LOVES books. We read together EVERY and I will find her asleep next to a pile of books in her bed in the morning.

She also sees ME reading every day. Not on my iPhone, not on the computer, not on a kindle or nook, but real books, the ones you hold in your hands and turn the pages.

One evening she asked me, “Doesn’t reading books with no pictures make your brain tired?”

While reading at night does often result with me falling asleep with a book open on my lap, that is more the result of kids running me ragged all day.

So when I got out this book with no pictures, she was skeptical.

But then I started to read it, and the response from her was gut-busting laughter.

Not believing your kid will like a book with no pictures? Watch below:

B.J. Novak is brilliant. And this book is FANTASTIC. I urge anyone with younger kids to run out and get this book or order it by clicking on the picture below.

The Book with No Pictures

 

Enjoy every last one of the 1,000,000 times your kid will make you read this.

Have a great crazy weekend!

Proud Of My Baby Bump

Oh, the news was a-swirlin’ that Jennifer Garner, actress and wife to Ben Afflect, mom to 3 kids, was pregnant again because of her very apparent “baby bump”.

On the Ellen show, she did, indeed, confirm that she has a baby bump. The audience cheered, but then she clarified that her baby bump was not because she was pregnant but because she has had 3 children and that “baby bump” was here to stay.

Best answer ever.

I get asked, almost 2 years after my youngest was born, if I am pregnant more often than I would like. It makes me look down at my belly and think “do I really look pregnant? Does my belly look that bad?”

And the answer is no. The answer is that people are rude to EV-AH comment on anyone’s body shape unless they are giving them a high-5 and the compliment “you look great, girl!”

I need to employ Ms. Garner’s answer as my own and PROUDLY answer, “why yes, it is a baby bump and my babies are 5 and almost 2!” We need more women to confidently and proudly state that their post baby bodies are beautiful. We need less people to ask stupid questions to women that don’t have “flat stomachs” as if the only explanation to that “bump” is that they are pregnant.

In a society that draws way too much attention to a woman’s physique and sets up unrealistic expectations for how one should “look”, I want to change that outlook for my daughters.

The other day my oldest was in my room as I was changing and looked at my belly, laughed, and said, “you have a fat belly, mommy!”

My first instinct was to say, “that’s not a nice thing to say”, I instead had her come closer.

“Put your hand on my belly”

She puts her hand on my belly and giggles.

“It’s feels pretty comfy, right? That belly was your home, and your sisters home, for a long time. And to be your home it had to grow to give you enough room. And when you were born my belly got smaller since you didn’t live there anymore. But it will always be a bit bigger and look like it was a baby’s home. And I love that.”

Having had struggles with eating disorders in my teens and early adolescence, this was a pretty big deal for me. In years past, the comment that my belly looked fat would send me into a spiral of bingeing and purging. Now, I have accepted myself. I have a healthy relationship with food, a much better body image, which I hope to pass on to my girls. I know all too well the challenges my girls face with self-esteem, body image, and trying to live up to society’s unrealistic expectations of what they should look like.

I plan on giving them the best start I can, and that comes with letting them know I find MYSELF beautiful, baby bump and all.

Have a great crazy day!

Fearless

Nothing will get a momma going more than when her child’s safety is at risk. We have been trained to think “safety first!” since they popped out of our bodies.

We’ve been told to watch the soft spot and hold their head. Could there be anything more frightening than thinking of what could happened if you don’t watch that soft spot and aren’t careful of their head when you hold them? The thoughts are terrifying!

And then they start moving and even though they are more in control of their head, they are now in danger of bonking it on just about every hard surface and sharp corner you haven’t baby proofed.

With Mahlie that was the fireplace. It met her head and then she met with ER doctors. She’s got a scar she is pretty proud of. Other than that, she’s been pretty bump and bruise free. Oh wait, I take that back. She fell smack dab into the wrought iron fence around a kids playground, which resulted in 2 huge knots on her forehead. That was on my husband’s watch though, so I’m not counting it.

But Sarah? That girl, she is fearless and her forehead is taking the brunt of it.

Since the beginning she was trouble. At a well visit I was told by her doctor that I might want to get her head checked because she thought her soft spot was closing too soon. Then she handed me a script that said SKULL X-RAY STAT!

That led to some anxiety, but all was fine in the end. Except her noggin was a bit flat in the back. You know, she was the second child and I’d put her down and kind of forget about her. So we were counseled to take her to see about a helmet to make sure her head formed correctly, but in the end decided to wait a bit longer and then things turned out pretty fine. I mean, it still isn’t perfectly rounded, but her hair covers it up.

In hindsight, we should have taken the helmet. Not for her head formation, but for protection. That girl is FEARLESS. She runs with abandon, not looking where she is going. She follows her sister in climbing and jumping, without  consideration to her abilities and the possible consequences.

The girls forehead has met with more walls, door frames, table corners and cement floors than one would consider possible. I don’t think she’s ever transitioned anywhere without falling into something. It’s nothing to do with balance or physical ability- it is her complete disregard for her surroundings. She’s too busy having fun at life to pay attention to the things in her way.

While it is anxiety producing for me, she is having a blast. Like this past weekend- she was introduced to a trampoline for the first time. When Mahlie first went on a trampoline I had to be with her and she didn’t like it when other people were jumping and she’s cry and want to get off. She likes to know how to do everything correctly right off the bat, which makes learning new things a challenge at times. But once she gets it, there is no holding her back.

But Sarah,  Sarah is FEARLESS. She was jumping, falling, bouncing right from the get go…and didn’t want me there with her.

While Mahlie is our cautious one, our rule follower, Sarah is likely to “throw caution to the wind”.  I watched her with a sense of pride, and a sense of dread, thinking of what the future holds for us. What I do know is that just like jumping on the trampoline, we’re in for a lot of ups and downs, falls and triumphs, while having fun along the way.

But I might buy a couple helmets just to be safe.

How To Drive Someone Crazy

I am a pretty laid-back, easy going person. I let things roll off my back, turn the other cheek, always have a smile on my face…I’m pretty even keel.

But right now? Right now I am about to lose my shit because beep.

By “beep” I mean a constant “beep…..beep…..beep….beep….beep” of an alarmed door that clearly has it in for me.

I’ve posted on Facebook how the alarmed door near my office was on the fritz last week and the intermittent “beep” was about to send me off the deep end.

It’s still going. Doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

How do I feel? You know that guy from “The Shining”?

I feel sorta like that.

You know what I feel like doing to this wacked out door?

Ever watched Office Space? Where they take the copier out to a field and give it what for?

Or that time in Modern Family when they can’t find where the beep is coming from?

Ty Burrell made it funny. This is not so funny. Even less funny is the fact that yesterday that scene actually played itself out at my house. A smoke detector had a low battery but instead of fixing it, my husband put it in the garage so he couldn’t hear it.

WTF??

Then he was out running errands and I was tearing my hair out trying to find the damn beep. I just can’t get away from it. All beeps and no silence makes Christie a cranky momma.

Please someone, send help. With a crowbar and a baseball bat.

Have a great crazy day!

 

Adventures with Mom and the Harley Riders

Originally posted on My Special Kind of Crazy:

My mom and I are close. We are go out to lunch and gossip close, call each other 5 times a day close, finish each others sentences close. We are take-vacations-together close.

We are drive-cross-country-and-back-yes-that-is-7,800 miles- close.

I kid you not. One of my favorite vacations EV.AH was when I drove cross-country with my mom. I had just bought a new car- like BRAND SPANKING new, not already has 45,000 miles on it new. And one evening, late, after Christmas Eve dinner and possibly a couple bottles glasses of wine, I told mom we should TOTALLY drive cross-country together.

She was totally on board.

We spent the next several months planning our Northern-route there and Southern-route back. We would be stopping in Manhattan Beach, CA visiting my brother and his wife. My dad would fly out and meet us there. This was like a family bonanza vacation.

Doing a little bit of…

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How I Am Preparing For My Kids To Make A Beautiful Mess.

One of the best parts of being a kid is how awesome everything is. You’ve never tried most of the things you are doing and when you do…walk for the first time, eat your first piece of cake, ride a bike, jump in a pool, draw your first masterpiece, WOW! How much fun is all that!?

And when you draw a “masterpiece” your mom hangs it up! So everyone can see how awesome it is!

Of course ALL of your kids art is worthy of being called a masterpiece by….your kids. They want every single thing they have ever drawn to be up on the refrigerator and displayed for all time.

One time my daughter was putting a can in the recycling bin and I heard her gasp and she goes, “someone accidentally put my beautiful drawings in the recycling!” Out they came, and back up on the wall they went.

I’ve never been the best artist. I think there is one particular piece my parents hung on to, though I do not think they kept it because it was a work of art. It was a wonderful rendition of a dog taking a poop. I was obsessed with that for a while, I think there may have been a whole series.

Anyways, even though I am no artist, I definitely want to tap into my kids creative side, beyond coloring in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle coloring book pages (when I balked at hanging up those particular “pieces of art” Mahlie stated that they were scary pictures to scare away the mosquitoes, and now we have them hanging up all over our outside patio).

These day, fortunately, there is a wide and wonderful variety of art supplies for kids to explore and experience and track all over your new carpets. From craft kits that include pom-poms your youngest will eat and glitter you will find in every crevice of your house to craft tables that give the presidential desk a run for it’s money.

Fortunately you don’t need to break the bank to give your kids space for art. I mean, really, all you need is some water and paint and you’re good to go. Just be warned, you need to celebrate the mess.

Art Mess

I always wanted to give my girls their own space for art, and now that we’ve moved I am trying to make that happen. I’ve consulted tons of kids art sites and books, but my absolute favorite is The Artful Parent by Jean Van’t Hul.

I have her book and follow her website and love all her ideas. This weekend I prepared to get my girls’ art space together.

The first thing I needed to do was set up a space. While all you need is a kid size table, and you can find them anywhere really, I looked for one that also gave me space to store supplies.

It also fits in nicely with the other furnishings in the family room, without any of those bright plastic primary colored pieces. The bin underneath for supplies is a nice addition.

While I have a slew of art supplies already on hand, Discount School Supply has loads of art supplies at a great price. I’ve stocked up on tempura paints because I really enjoy cleaning and doing extra loads of laundry.

While I have a slew of supplies, I have been pretty low on the organization of said supplies and Mahlie tends to just spill everything out onto the table, which most likely end up on the floor and in Sarah’s mouth.

In order to curtail the amount of art carnage before she even start’s, I ordered these:

Art trays are great for containing supplies and can be portable, so when your kid wants to bring their masterpiece over to show you, the dripping paint and glitter will wreck minimal damage to your floors. It can also help in defining their “art space”. I have often found that when you just spread things out on the table young kids have a hard time organizing themselves.

Well, now that I have these awesome trays and some supplies, I need the ideas. That is when I hit up Pinterest! And found these awesome “art prompts”. Amy, you are just going to be so proud of me!

Montessori Art Activities for 2 Years

Over at How We Montessori they give tips and ideas on how to provide “art prompts”. One of the problems I have had is that even though she has TONS of options for art activities, she needs a little “push” to be able to engage in an art activity on her own. Otherwise I hear, “but I don’t know how!” or “I don’t know what to do!” of “you draw it for me!”

That defeats the whole point of drawing out a kids creativity. These prompts are simple and awesome.

Now that we’ve got them all set up with space, supplies, ideas…what will we do with all that art work?? There is only so much fridge space to be had!

I have started taking pictures of Mahlie’s art work and saving them in an album on Shutterfly, and most other online photo sites have similar options, to be made into photo books. I also found MixBook which shows a variety of kids art books.

This way we’ll be able to appreciate them all the way up until her wedding day, when I can only hope that there is a picture of a dog taking a poop to show everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

Say What?! Conversations With My Daughter

conversations with my daughter2
It’s the beginning of the school year and there have been a lot of articles on how to get your kid to talk to you about their day. They give you strategies on how to ask them about their day because the question, “How was your day?” doesn’t cut it if you want to find out how their day was.

I’ve tried all the strategies they have given, such as “tell me one thing you learned today” and “what is the name of a friend you ate lunch with”, etc. I still get responses such as, “nothing” and “no one” or “we did a butt-butt dance” and “no, seriously, her name is doo-doo head”.

Really I’m not too concerned with how her day went because if she comes home without a call from the school saying she needs stitches or she took all her clothes off in the middle of morning circle then I am assuming it went pretty well.

What I need is strategies on how to respond to out of the blue questions at unpredictable times.

Those questions that are asked that are completely unrelated to anything you are discussing and have nothing to do with where you are or what you are doing. Or just questions that have you opening and closing your mouth like a puffer fish because you aren’t quite sure what to say.

Here is an example of some of my recent conversations with my daughter:

#1 In the vet office

Mahlie: “Mommy, is Mira going to be okay?”

Me: “Yes, she just needs some medicine”

Mahlie: “Oh, good. Did it hurt when I came out of your belly?”

#2 Middle of the night

I walk by the bathroom and the door is open, and Mahlie is on the potty. She looks up at me, all sleepy eyed and flyaway hair:

Mahlie: “So, does everyone have a daughter?”

Me, half asleep myself: “What? Um, no- some people have sons. Or no children at all.”

Mahlie: “Why do they have a son?”

Me: “Because sometimes babies are girls, and sometimes they are boys.”

Mahlie: “So does the penis decide that?”

Me: “I’m going back to bed….”

#3 During Nighttime Cuddle

Mahlie: “So Mommy, tell me about God.”

[note: we have not introduced religion to our daughters and have not discussed God. well, until now]

Me: “Well, many believe that he created Earth and everything on it. He wants everyone to be kind and generous and follow the rules so that everyone has a good life.”

Mahlie: “Oh, so he’s like the law guy?”

#4 While having snack

Pi: “oh, by the way Sarah has a bit of diaper rash; it is bleeding in a spot.”

Mahlie: “Uh-oh! Better put a tampon in her butt so she doesn’t have a baby!”

Me and Pi: stare at each other, waiting for the other one to say something….

Have you had any interesting conversations with your kids lately?

 

Have a great crazy day!