Thursday, April 26, 2012

St.George Storytime Bullies

Easter Egg Hunt "I found everything!" 
We spent the end of March and beginning of April in Saint George (with a brief stint in Vegas.) Most of the time we were with family and friends (I've posted a few of the pics in this post, although they don't have much to do with my chosen topic).

For a few days, just following Spring break, the kids and I found ourselves with the SG pad ALL to ourselves.

Poor Zoe-bug had gotten a bit of a cold (following Holden's cold we were nursing in Vegas) we had a lot of downtime. When I wasn't reading a Jude Deveraux Historical Romance Novel (I know, weird right?) or going through old clothes/boxes while the kids napped, we occupied our time with various activities.

One was to try out SG's Storytime for Pre-Schoolers with Mrs. Mann. So this isn't really story-time. it's more like 45-minutes of free preschool. Yes, the Mrs. Mann read a couple of books and even sang songs -- but she also drilled numbers (including addition and subtraction), letters, taught them sign language and worked on say-singing (or is it sing-saying?) the alphabet backwards.

This was not the free-for-all he'd experienced in Yoga; nor was it the physical exercise he adores in gymnastics.
At the Clubhouse Pool - my first attempt
at taking the kids to the pool...all by myself

This was crazy brain work -- I don't think Holden knew what hit him.

I moved to the back of the room to try and discretely nurse Zoë, but Holden seemed a little anxious. Eventually he joined me. Not far after he decided he wanted to leave.

OK, no worries. I tucked away the hooties, strapped Zoë back to me in the pack and headed out.We had almost made it to the parking lot when he decided he did in fact want to join Mrs. Mann for more storytime.

We reviewed expectations. It wasn't long until he joined me in the back of the room again. As I was packing up Z, again he wandered over to a table of older kids not participating in Mrs. Mann's storytime for the gifted and talented.

"Hey, I want to play this game with you," I heard Holden say...enthused and excited.
I started walking towards the table, tucked behind a bookshelf hoping he was at least attempting some adherence to social norms (or at least hadn't commandeered the game.)
At the St. George Arts Fest with Mama Suite -
sporting his new Man-About-Town Hat

As I turned the corner, I found my son squished in between a couple of kids looking (but not touching) their game of checkers. A little blonde headed punk replied, "We don't want to play with you. You're not fun."

I looked right at him, with what I can only attribute to the genetic sauciness of my hispanic roots, eyes glaring with unrelenting intensity. it was obvious he had not expected an adult to hear.

"That wasn't very nice." I said, directly to him...

He looked stunned. I looked around for a parent -- either to come to his rescue or tell off about what a jerk their child was being. No one came to his defense.

I took Holden's hand and making sure they knew my message was not directed at my son said firmly. "Come on Holden, let's go. These kids are NOT being nice."

I was upset...more so than Holden.

"Those were not nice boys." I said to him as we exited the library.

"Were they bad guys?" He asked. I took a deep breath and sighed. I wanted to say "Yes, they were crappy boys with whom karma will rear it's ugly head on and they'll suddenly find themselves friendless and unsupported."

Instead I squeezed Holden's hand in mine a little tighter and replied, "They just don't know how great you are."

"So they are good guys who just make bad choices?" My heart melted, and then leaped almost out of my chest with pride.

"Yes!" I exclaimed. "That's exactly what they are! Good guys who just make bad choices."

I guess we learned something at Mrs. Mann's Storytime after all... I just wasn't expecting the lesson to be for me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kicking Off the Weekly Garden

I feel like my thoughts need a word cloud because this morning's picture (see above) has a bunch of different things racing through my head - in no particular order:
  • I have never been great at taking before and after pictures with our home improvement projects. Hopefully, since this is so early in the season this will be a good measurement for how the garden's growing. 
  • The lavender (second row, planter box on your left) already smells divine. It's so low maintenance (now in it's third year) of the best investments we've made in our yard.
  • You can see Holden in the back of the garden, tending to the lettuce and radish seedlings "I watered all those villains"he just told me -- looking over my shoulder as I type.
  • I love that Danny built me these planters. To me it makes it feel like the whole family is involved in the *sacred space (I had Zoë in the Ergo pack strapped close to me tummy-2-tummy while I took this pic and we worked outside this morning)
  • The tomatoes will return to their rightful spot in the large planter in front. I've got six varieties we're planting from starts this year, including an heirloom Mr. Stripey.
  • The rhubarb already needs to be picked (all we do is harvest the stuff. My grandparents planted it years ago, and it just keeps surviving and thriving.) 
Holden's Garden
Next to the lavender (with the pea-pod tee-pee) is the spot I have officially delegated as Holden's garden this  year. It already has carrots growing -- left over seedlings in the soil from last year), I planted a couple of marigolds for pest control and the oregano plant from last year also survived the winter and is growing like gang busters. He scattered peas and we set up the tee-pee, and in a few weeks I'll let him go to town with squash and pumpkin seeds and we'll let nature take it's course.

*Grandma's Legacy
For those of you who may not recall the history of this place, this space is indeed sacred. We bought the home from my Grandparents - a couple of months after my grandma passed away. The yard, amazing in it's time housed multiple fruit trees, raspberry bushes, a grape vine, a dozen (or more) rosebushes and much more (rhubarb being another one of many delights).

Unfortunately, after my Grandfather passed away, it was just too much to keep up - and by the time we bought the place, it was in serious need of some T.L.C. We've made changes bit by bit...with little kids and a life much different than my grandparent's led, we don't have the time (or experience) to dedicate to the yard and gardens like they did. But I think the changes we make are in the spirit of making the place beautiful, being more self-sufficient and teaching our children about where food comes from with patience and a respect for the earth. (All things I think my gramdparents would appreciate).

In fact, there's a couple of spots by the planter-boxes where roses seemed to have made their way up through the soil. I like to think it's a reminder from my grandparents...perhaps even their way of sending approval for what we're trying to do. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love & Logic & Nudity

So a couple of months ago I had basically had it with myself (while on some level this happens more than I'd like to admit, it's usually just my lovehandles that I curse). While Holden has been very nurturing towards his baby-sitster, it seemed like there was some sort of shift -- a disturbance in the force if you will. I'm not sure if it was his age, the new baby, my lack of sleep, a not-so clean home, too many cinnamon rolls or most likely a combination of everything; but I was not being the kind of parent I wanted to be.

I could feel myself being frustrated. I want Holden to have boundaries; but at the same time support him in his inquisitive nature and warrior spirit. I was failing miserably.

I had tried to incorporate the Attachment Parenting principles of "gentle discipline" in our home -- but felt like I was failing miserably. We've never used corporal punishment, and "time-outs" are something I reserve for toys (although I have given Holden plenty of opportunities for "quiet time" when emotions are a bit too elevated)... but I felt like there had to be some sort of discipline/teaching tool/etc that I felt good about and help my relationship with Holden thrive...I wanted more of a how-to to try. But I felt like I just hadn't found it, or if I had, sure as hell hadn't figured out the practical application for our home. I had heard a few friends talk about the book, the concepts and my sisters were familiar with it -- some of the techniques I had seem them successfully integrate in their families - so I ordered the book and tried it out. (Because what is being a parent if not a journey of trial and error -- oh my poor little guinea pigs!

While "Love & Logic" is not technically AP, two areas that I think are working in our home are "natural consequences" and "choices."

-- "Do you want toast or pancakes for breakfast?"
-- "Would you like me to lay down with you or would you like to do it yourself?"
-- "Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?" (Usually he says "you carry it mom.")
"Do you want to bring your lovey into the grocery store and risk losing it or leave it in the car?" Maybe this last one is a bit more manipulation than choice, but I have learned if I tell Holden to leave a toy, a lovey, etc in the car, he'll do a mini freak out and insist on bringing it. If he decides, 99.8% of the time he'll opt for leaving it in the car "so the other kids won't take it."

I don't apply all of the Love & Logic principles perfectly (there is not a single parenting book/philosophy I follow to perfection)...but the other day we had an awesome "love & logic" moment:

We were all in the car on our way home from church. Somehow the entire family made it through all three meetings. We were due at Danny's parents for Sunday dinner at 4pm. Church gets out a 3... basically our meeting schedule is 3 hours right smack-dab EXACTLY lined up with both my kids naps. I knew they were exhausted and I could either let them come inside, nurse Zoe, have her fall asleep only to be woken-up (waked?) 15 minutes later to leave...or we could dash inside, grab a change of clothes and head to the grandparents early and let kids relax there before dinner. So I had the kids stay in the car.

I ran inside, changed clothes, grabbed more diaper bag supplies and dashed out to the car. Danny ran in changed clothes...
Then Holden decided he needed his lovey ...and to go potty.

I rushed him inside, sat him on the toilet and ran upstairs to grab his lovey. I ran back down the stairs, out into the car, slammed the door, turned around to hand little bits his lovey to discover he was not in his car seat, but inside...on the potty, exactly where I had left him.

When I made it back inside, I discovered that he had discovered that without an elmo-insert, if he dipped his bottom down far enough he had his own "make-shift" bidet. Gross, I know.

And since he had dipped himself so awesome-ly in the toilet, the back of his shirt got wet... which when he stood up dripped onto his pants and voila! Now every piece of clothing he had on, had to be changed... minus his socks (which is odd, because that kid hardly ever wears socks.)

So we get his clothes off (Danny and Zoe are waiting paitently in the car) and he darts into the family room. Naked. And I can feel my vital signs getting elevated.

There's a part of me that wants to say, "We're going to leave without you." But I know we won't; and of course he knows we won't. I tell him he needs to get in the car fast. I ask him to please get some clothes on. He giggles at me and runs around the room in circles... chasing himself apparently.

I take a deep breath, "Okay!" I say, sighing but with enthusiasm. "Holden, the car is leaving in five minutes to Grandmas." And walk out to the car with his clothes in my hand. I open the car door, set them on my seat and say to Danny, "I'm about to be the awesomest mom in the world."

I walk back inside and say, "It's time to go to Grandmas. You can go with clothes on or not, but it's time to go." And he stopped running, looked at me and made his way to the car -- naked.

At this point, I wasn't really sure where to go from here - but thankfully, I had a whole car ride (5 minutes maybe?) to figure out step 2 of my game plane. But one thing I did know is that my child wasn't screaming, my vitals were not elevated, and Danny and I were doing our best not to laugh at the pre-schooler in the back of our car who's seatbelt seemed to be chaffing his privates a bit.

"Oh, I know," I said, responding to his complaint. "I've found when I don't wear clothes the seatbelt can be itchy." To which Danny looked at me inquiring about how often it is that I drive in my birthday suit...

We pulled into Danny's parents driveway, with shoeless-Joe-Jackson wearing the Emperor's New Clothes apres socks and I offered Holden yet another choice.

"Holden," I said. "You can either stay in the car and be naked or put on clothes and go into Grandma's to play with toys. Your Dad or I will stay with you in the car if you don't want to get dressed, but you can't walk around outside naked because people can see your private parts. Either is fine with us," and I really was preared to sit, but you know what I was hoping. "What would you like to do?"

And with great enthusiasm (and to my relief) he declared: "Get dressed and pay wiff toys!"

Which happens to be exactly what we did. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Celebrating the Planet with Imported Bananas

So how was your Earth Day? Excepting the hiccup that Zoë scared us with a barking cough last night, our day has been pretty chill. We'll still read The Lorax (as we do every year)... Holden and Danny walked to and from church today (Zoe-bug and I stayed home), and we started out the morning with made-from-scratch banana pancakes.

Yes I recognize the bananas were not local, and the carbon-footprint of said fruit may equal heating my house for a day in the winter... (perhaps?)  All that insight is not lost on me at the store every time I purchase them, but it somehow escaped my conscience this morning. I tend to look the other way, and hope other people do too as we usually buy the organic variety...but that's not really saying much when they're shipped from Timbuktu (actually, I'm not entirely sure where they're from). But I'm sure you get my drift.

Can you say conflicted?

Anyway, if you want "Conflicted Earth Day Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes," I'm including the recipe below. I don 't do a lot of food blogging per se - but these were really a hit with my family. We didn't even butter them. And since I changeded them a little bit, it will be easier for me to find them. I may even Pin my own creation! Ha!

So -
Holden takes his with PURE maple Syrup (not that HFCS crap).
Danny takes his with a dollop of whipped cream (w/ a little vanilla and a dash of sugar beaten in).
Zoe and I take them with both (though Z has to wait a bit as of course she gets them breastmilk style).

I started with this recipe from "All Recipes" and then just tweaked the ingredients to what you see below - I've even put brands on a couple of things, just in case you were interested.

Also, please note this recipe is supposed to "serve 6"...or in our case a  very hungry family of 3-eaters with a couple of extras left over.


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon Organic evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg beaten ("local from Oakdell" is our preference here)
  • 1 cup milk (Winder 1% for us)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ripe bananas, shipped across the globe for your enjoyment and then mashed


  1. Combine flour, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, oil and bananas.
  2. Stir flour mixture into banana mixture; batter will be slightly lumpy.
  3. Heat gridle medium high heat. Pour batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until pancakes are past golden brown on both sides (since they are, after all wheat pancakes); serve hot.

To circle back - Zoë's bark is back to just  a normal safe "cough" and since she's had no fever and seems relatively happy and is just nursing a lot I am cautiously optimistic (second and third nights are usually the worst- right?). We spent a lot of time in the yard - maybe all the dirt and dust did something?

Speaking of, yesterday I was reminded again of why I love to garden. I loathe yard work... but gardening is an entirely different story. I can almost taste the tomatoes now. Too bad we can't grow B-A-N-A-N-A-S in this climate.

Happy Mother Earth Day!!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our TIme in Eden (forgive me Natalie Merchant)

Today Holden and I spent time in the garden while Zoë tok a little afternoon siesta. It was pretty much how I imagined gardening with him to be (or how I've been hoping it would be). For the past two summers he's been too young, I think. I mean there's obviously been valuable lessons and great opportunities for him to learn about the world around him... but he never seemed entirely content. I spent most of the time "entertaining" him in the garden; often getting frustrated he wasn't better at self-play in our time in Eden. 

But today he took to the soil like a champ:

"We're digging for dinosaur bones."
"Oh hello worm, my name is Holden."
"We've got snails!" (Which we don't, but he kept saying we did.)

Everything was exciting.

"This is soo fun!" He'd say, and then fall face down into the (soon-to-be) home of our tomatoes. "Oh! I'm stuck."

It was awesome. I got so much "work" done today - I'm even happy to report that I dove into our compost to spice up the ph of the planter boxes. And he just entertained himself - along side me, in the front yard and never once made an attempt to sneak into the street or out of my (liberated-but-still) watchful eye.

We found carrots already sprouting, and oregano plant that survived the winter and looks awesome! An onion start, rhubarb ready for crisp (any day now) and that the potatoes had indeed done their job as week deterrents making a nice new space for beans and such this year.

Finally, a day (or a few moments) realistic to like I purport to lead on facebook (you bliss, eco - whatnot.)

Three years old RULES.