Tuesday, July 24, 2012

dailybuzz moms 9x9: out & about!

i am so excited to have been selected by DailyBuzz Moms for their july 9x9 challenge. this month's challenge and theme features ideas by 9 different bloggers on getting your kids "out and about". you can read the other blogger's ideas on july 26th at dailybuzz moms!

oh, summer. we have a love/hate relationship going, her and i. at the beginning of the season i just love our lazy and care-free days, but by the end? not going to lie here folks, i loathe them. i mean, we have just exhausted every. single. thing. we could ever possibly do on the dailies. the pool? check. the library and summer reading program? check. going to the movies? chhhhheeeeeck. we've got art supplies coming out of our ears (for the four-year-old,  sometimes quite literally) and art masterpieces lining every wall. and now we're all bored to death. i should preface here that we're in the middle of the worst heat wave and drought since the 1930s out here in the midwest so playing outside lasts about 5 minutes. (but we've been doing that, too!)

so what to do?!

i decided to recruit my mom and take these boys into the city for some culture. not a kid's fun land. and not a kid's museum. we took them to our historical district on the riverfront to our local art/science/history museum. the kind adults go to.
ready to go!
now, i am a realist. i have four sons and i know their limitations. for example: you will NEVER see me in the mall simultaneously with these guys. but, triston is 8 now and jackson is 6, and they are getting in to history a little bit. they can definitely appreciate historical stories and as i mentioned, they all love to paint/draw/color/ect, so i thought we'd give this a go. as for the littles, i packed a gazillion snacks and worse-case scenario, we would just leave asap if we had to.

visitor's center
aren't they sweet?!

well, we didn't have to leave. it turned out to be a pretty fun day. we started out at our city's visitor's center. it's a really neat building with a few historical mementos and has a stunning view of our riverfront. our river has been instrumental during several wars. and what do you know?! my boys thought that was so cool! even 4 year old bryce, who asked a ton of questions. glad to see those little minds working!

billy koch's steamboat steering wheel
chatting about the indiana/kentucky line that is marked by buoys in the water

historical marker right outside the visitor's center

checking out a replica

next, we walked over to the art museum. three floors of artifacts, replicas of life in the early 1800s, beautiful paintings, and interesting sculptures.

the first floor is mostly just these replicas of life in the 1800s. a log home, a general store, doctor's office, copper shop, toy store, and a dentist's office. it is set up like a little city and the kiddos had fun running around and looking at each set-up. if you are wondering, of course we didn't get to walk around to each exhibit and talk about the importance of it and blah blah blah...but they got it. they recognized the differences of how things were in the past and how things are today. for example: dentist's offices are always scary, even today. but in the 1800s? suuupppeeeer scary. i would have let my teeth rot out. the kiddos agreed.
a home in the early 19th century

who knew we had a medical college at one time?! the closest one now is IU.

the dentist's office. eeeee.
 next up was the town hall. now, i am a self-described political junkie and it has rubbed off on my kids. they know about past and present presidents and governors, elections are dinner table discussions in our house. and they were the cutest little helpers in their dad's own county election just a few years ago:

don't judge my dirty children. 100 degree weather at the county fair. ugh.

so we know politics. and how exciting that our museum has a whole room dedicated to all of the presidents that have visited our city! it was fun to show the kids pictures of past presidents (and current ones - president obama visited our city twice during his 2008 campaign) and to see some really old lapel pins (okay, maybe not so interesting...) and lots of neat information and tidbits.

next up: the science center, that was just around the corner. lots of hands on projects and neat experiments. 

little nash getting in on the action

next, we traveled upstairs to the museum of natural history. this is a small museum, there are no dinosaur fossils or any super spectacular things kids are really that interested in. but that is where i come in: moms can make anything interesting, right?! not really. but, my mom and i tried our hardest to get the kids excited about what they were looking at. and it worked! there is just something about seeing an actual artifact that someone else from hundreds or thousands of years ago actually used or wore, or held in their own hands. it connects us all in some way. anyway, the kids thought some of the artifacts were really cool. 

an african game.

the favorite of the day: a mummified cat.

and finally, to the art gallery. i wanted so desperately for my kids to love this part of the museum. but, sigh. they just didn't. it was toward the end of the trip, they were starting to get hungry, and if you have any experience with boys then you will know what they do when they get bored in a wide open space:  they run. and wrestle. and mess with each other. and yell to make a echo-y sound. even though we got some looks, it was fine. we looked at what we could look at and moved on. the least favorite gallery was the medieval art. i mean, it was the dark ages after all...it's pretty gloomy. but the favorite was the gallery of robert c. jackson. everyone loved it! triston especially, and he has even drawn a few of his own versions since. and that was the whole reason for going to a place like this to begin with. for them to be inspired by other's ideas and lives, past and present.

robert c. jackson
isn't this painting so fun?!

and this was my favorite of the day

sculptures of ann weber. these are made out of strips of cardboard!!
seriously?! if only i had a smidgen of her talent...
the third and final floor is home to a really great domed planetarium. but after our last experience with planetariums, we opted out. actually the boys all shouted, "NO!" and ran to the elevator. ba ha aha, i don't blame them.

we finished up the day with lunch and ice cream. this may not have been the most "fun" outing for  them that we've ever had, but we did have a good time and most importantly: my boys got out of the house (and out of any normal "thing" we've done this summer) to experience something new; something different. and that makes this mom one happy girl.

here's a few more snapshots from the day:

and to top it off, my mom came back to our house to have movie night with the boys so my mr. and i could have our own little "out and about" on the town later that night...thanks mom!

...but our date is another post for another time...

so, tell me, what kinds of things are you doing with your kids to get them out of the house this summer?!

and is anyone else ready for school to start? i'm such a bad mom.

Monday, July 23, 2012

things i learned over the weekend.

of course, like everyone else, i also learned about the colorado shootings.  how absolutely scary and so horrible. the people in that theater that survived will be changed forever. actually thousands of people are probably changed forever: survivors, theater employees, first responders, police, family, friends, neighbors, doctors, hospital workers, and a whole community. not to mention all of us who have watched and cried and prayed about a situation that is hundreds of miles away. god speed.
my 15 monther is really smart. he stacked just-bought tp and paper towel packages and then tried to stand on them to get to something out of his reach. after the bazillionth try, he realized it wouldn't work so he then scooted the tp pack over to our ottoman and used it for a chair. what a smartie.

rage against the machine is really good running music. its about the only use i have for rage. ugh...that screechy singer. my husband hates that about me. and while we're talking about running, here's a revelation: my dog is lazy. she tried to lay down in the street .

going  out with your love after a looooonnnnngggg two weeks is fabulous. and going out with another couple that will make you laugh the whole time is even better. so glad we have some fun friends.

when bowling, i curve my wrist resulting in gutter balls. but if i focus on not doing it, i'm a pretty dang good bowler. or, just not horrible, like i thought i was.

the justice system does work. travis got the murder charge he was seeking on a father who abused his 4 month old son to the point of death. 4. months. old.

max and erma's is not good. okay, the little salad i had for lunch was pretty good, but overpriced and everything else was highly questionable.

boxes of crayola crayons are .50 cents this year! i got them for .25 cents last year before school started. and i heard on the news that the cost will go up because of the bad corn crop this year. i had no clue that crayons we're made with corn products.

i bought a ninja blender system and i freaking love it. easy and awesome.

trying to get my four kiddos together for a photo-shoot is ridiculous. after 300+ pictures, we got a handful of shots that are usable. most of them look like this:

but my mom managed to get this one:

and i am just in love with it. love those boys. even though, as we speak, they are terrorizing my home. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

another notch on my parenting belt.

i have said this before and i will say it again: our library is the coolest. we have super cool programs and activities and super cool librarians that seem to enjoy what they are doing. our summer reading program is always fun with lots of planned activities throughout the summer. one of these activities happened yesterday.

it was a planetarium. the kind we all went to in elementary school. i was really excited about this because i remember loving planetarium day at school. a break from class, a dark tunnel to crawl through, laying back watching the "night sky" and learning the greek fables behind the constellations, which i still enjoy reading about. (light bulb: i am a total nerd.) i thought my boys would enjoy this, too, so i signed us all up.

we got there right at 5:30 and had to wait a few minutes for the program to start. this gave jackson just enough time to start climbing the walls and nearby pull-up bars (it was in a local school gym) and swing himself upside down. it looked a lot like this:

except it was inside with lots of adults watching and NO OTHER KIDS doing anything like that. but the program started and it was our turn to go into the dome.  i chose to take the "short-cut" which was the conductor just lifting up the side of the dome and letting people walk under it. i had a baby to hold, afterall.

wait. a baby! that didn't even cross my mind. i never once even thought about how nash would react once inside until that very moment. and omg, he had been pretty fussy through-out the day. but, it was too late, the boys were excited and we were walking in!

nash and i took our seats and waited for the boys to come in through what jackson called "the arm". once everyone was inside, the conductor re-filled the air in the dome that was let out by us all taking the short-cut and the program started.

it started off with a silhouette of a yard: trees, a house, buildings in the distance, and the light of the sun. the conductor started talking about the sun and the whole top of the planetarium turned into a giant picture of the sun. while he was talking about it, bryce looks over and says, "that sun is making me really hot." he was right. for whatever reason, the school gym had their air off. probably because school isn't in session, but he gym was crazy hot inside. the planetarium? rivaled hades. by the time bryce said anything, we all had sweat dripping down our faces. nash's face was flushed, his hair was curling up and he was pretty much soaked. it didn't take long for bryce to start leaning on me in an act of boredom. that leaning turned to laying on me and then banging his head on my shoulder, putting his legs up in the air and finally his feet resting on my head and then on my face. my actual face. and he kept tapping them on me. i was sweating myself and silently panic-ing because nash was getting comfortable enough to want to get away from me and explore on his own which included walking around and falling on people and making loud screeching noises and then laughing about it.
i tried not flipping out on bryce, but his feet were touching my face and my baby was about unleash his 1-year-old personality in an enclosed area with no escape. i grabbed bryce's arm hard and asked him to kindly stop, to which he screamed loudly, "oooowwww" and then ended up laying on me even more while he pouted.

jackson was starting to feel the heat and get bored with the stories, too, so he starts asking pretty loudly, "mom, can we just leave?", which the conductor absolutely heard. i tried being positive and whispered, "this is so fun, it's going to be done soon"...but a quick check on my phone showed that we had only been at it for 15 minutes. 30 to go.

meanwhile, triston had found a friend from school and they had resigned themselves to making loud fart noises every time the conductor asked a question. i was fiercely pissed over this - but i had to choose where to direct my attention, and that was absolutely nash who was now getting close to the projector, which i was envisioning he knocking over, and trying to run from me and LOUDLY screeching when i got up to get him.

there were no less than 50 times that bryce or jackson asked if we could leave or if it was over yet. i was hating myself for even taking them and longed for the end of the program so we could get the f out of there. but then something interesting happened. the projector stopped on its own, much to the dismay of the conductor, who i think was embarrassed and couldn't figure out what happened. he reset the projector, which turned the regular lights on, and said we had to wait for 2 minutes. at this time, a large women stood up and breathlessly said, we've got to go. she proceeded to raise up the side of the dome so her child and her could get out. this started a domino effect: half of our group decided to leave as well and my kids were like, "YES!" but i hate hurting people's feelings (the conductor) so i said, "NO."  which, of course was met with opposition. and i was a little nervous because after all those people left the dome started losing air and it was deflating. were we going to get stuck in it?! i had no clue...all i knew is we had to get out asap.

the projector re-started and we were on our way to the end. but the projector failed again. and more people left. my kid's eyes were drilling holes in me silently asking why we weren't leaving, too. and the answer was because the lights were on and we were sitting right in front of the conductor and i just couldn't leave. but i couldn't explain that to my kiddos at the moment. and when the conductor said he was going to have to start the whole program over again to get to where we stopped at, my heart dropped. seriously?!?! the lights dimmed again and he started going through all the projections and since he couldn't directly see us anymore i told the kids to get to the tunnel and we could leave.

they hopped up and went to the completely pitch black tunnel. i didn't come in that way, so i didn't know what to expect. i went from walking to dipping down (holding nash) to crawling ( with nash and my huge bag). i asked triston who was already up ahead to keep the flaps held open for me and nash so we could get through, but all of a sudden this kid emerges from no where and crashes into my face. my glasses fly off and as i push nash out the opening i am trying to feel for them in the dark. GOT THEM!! and then i hauled a to get through the rest of the tunnel and out of that mother-effer forever. 

on the way out the kids asked why i made them go to that. everyone hated it. i didn't admit it to them, but I HATED IT MOST OF ALL. i hope i didn't ruin their curiosity? for space and astronomy. maybe they won't equate the two. and maybe when i take them to the art/science/and history museum with a real planetarium that we have plans for tomorrow, they won't remember?

sigh. glad i got that out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

blogger's block.

i could blog about all the cool stuff we've been doing and all the fun we've been having this summer, but it is just not translating into blog talk very well for some reason. i can tell you this, though.

  • this summer is going by so fast. i never have enough time! when will 28-hour days start happening?!
  • a sure-fire way to lose weight: body by vi and eating TONS of melon. cantaloupe and watermelon. you can even add it to the shakes. yum. working out helps, too.  i wore a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans today. they were tight, but they were buttoned and i wore them all day. score.
  • i backed out of my garage in our new (ish) van and bashed the mirror on the side of our garage and busted it out. i thought of trying to come up with a better story, but my kids would have given me away. darn kids. a $200.00 repair! 
  • my kids keep fighting with each other and it just makes me so sad. and pretty pissed, too. when does school start?! (isn't that so sad? but i get why some moms want to work full-time. i get it.)
  • wth is up with peeps in florida getting all naked and trying to bite people? another case from the sunshine state. scary.
  • the discovery channel has been freaking me out lately. all i have to say is, "snake-head". google it.

i just had to take a picture of this carney. he was in every way EXACTLY how you would imagine a carney. if you were describing a carney to someone who had never seen one, he would be exactly how you would descibe one. his look, his froggy voice, his whisps of hair floating around on top of his head, his glasses that kept falling down on his nose, and his sweaty shirt. it was bizarre. and i just wanted so badly to ask how he got involved with the carnival. and if drug use was involved in his missing teeth. sounds judgemental, maybe, but i was legitimately interested. we all have a story, yes? his is bound to be way more interesting than mine....

and omg, these!

ps. if you are the praying type, say one for my mr. he has a difficult trial this week that involves a baby that died. it's a hard one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

business sense

we had to have a tire changed while we were in a small town in florida early last week. the store's hours were posted on the window. i don't know how they make it in this economy, but it is admirable. i hope the bush tax cuts will get extended (for all of us) so this business can stay afloat.

Monday, July 9, 2012

things i did right today.

i was reading a book this evening (dinner: a love story) and the author was sharing her experiences as a working mother. she wrote about the guilt of not being there for every little detail of her daughters' lives and more specifically cooking dinner for them or rather, not cooking dinner for them. she finally found solace after a mentor challenged her to start focusing on what she felt she did right for her daughters in a day's time and less on what she didn't do or couldn't do. i like that.

today was one of those days. i hung in limbo for nearly the whole day. things got done, but not all the way. the kids were taken care of mentally and physically, but i could have done more or could have done better.

but. here is what i did do right. and i will focus on that.

i worked out.
i made the kids do their summer workbooks.
i made breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
i took the kids to the library and helped bryce paint a picture after story time.
i picked out several kid's books and read them ALL.
i did two loads of laundry and ironed 2 of travis' shirts.
i made everyone take a nap. and they did it.
i jumped on the trampoline when i didn't want to.
i made the boys go back outside and helped them pick up their toys and put them away exactly where they go in the garage when it would have just been easier to do it myself.
i chatted with a good friend who i haven't talked to in awhile.
i cleaned my bathroom.
i didn't get annoyed when my husband's phone kept ringing off the hook during dinner while he was trying to tell me a story.
i made bryce eat asparagus.

okay, so maybe that isn't a great list, but i feel like my "didn't do right" list is much longer. so i will take it. besides, tomorrow is a new day with a new list. tomorrow will be just fine.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

melissa & doug travel games

hands down the coolest travel games i have ever seen are these guys. it's possible i am just a loser and everyone else already knows about these games, but i was super-pumped.

hangman was the favorite. each wooden letter and "body part" is connected  to the board by a bungie-like cord and easily flips over. (the back side is just blank) and the bottom is dry erase.

so our hangman games went sort of like this: i would pick a category and then draw the number of spaces for each word. all the letters were right-side up and the hang man was flipped over. i thought i would be cool and try and educate with my word choices, but i kept picking words like "sacagawea" and my kids were all like, "wwwwwhhhhhaaaa?" and then they didn't care about the historical aspect of my choices. so i ended up picking words like "popsicle" "gas station" and "dog" (for the little one) and then they would pick words like "butt" and "toot" and "smell" (smell?). what is it with boys and gross stuff?

either way,  it kept their attention for a loooonnnngg time and on a 10-hour road trip any amount of time that your kids are occupied is like manna from heaven.

the best part? i got to use these games for free. freebies! our local library puts together travel bags that you can check out if you are going on a trip. i just put down what kind of books they like and they fill the backpack with fun travel games and books. our library, for a small town, is the coolest.

hangman was super-fun, even for little bryce. the license plate game was fun, too, even though some of the plates in the game are a little outdated. but the kids really got into looking at the passing cars and trying to match up the pictures of the plates or just reading the state where the car was from and then flipping it over. they got 22! we didn't end up playing memory and bingo didn't hold their attention as much because you are supposed to find the pictures while on the road (like a billboard or an ambulance) so it was taking awhile to find and they lost interest.

final word: must-have car games.

in other news: i am going to bed right now so i can go on vacation detox tomorrow. which means getting my A out of bed early tomorrow morning and working out and focusing on what i'm putting in to my (and my little family's) body. we've gotten carried away this summer. i got to hold a two day old baby yesterday and i can't stop thinking about him. i want a baby.

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