Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Slightly Different Bent

Every year around this time Jon and I modify the titles of the Oscar nominated pictures. If someone were to make a movie of our lives right now, they might choose one of these titles.

Some of this year's nominees really don't need renaming: 
The Artist (we have a preschool one in residence)
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (obviously)

Some titles need only a word change and some punctuation: 
Our Descendents?!
Please, Help!

A few require a bit more massaging: 
War House (or Star Wars House, but that may be pushing it)
Midnight in Denver - Again

More radical transformations for the rest:
Hugo? You Go! An Ode to Preschool Humour
Body Ball (this is what Isaac calls our golf balls that feature Sponge Bob Square Pants. No, we do not golf. No, we do not watch this show. But yes, I have a good reason for owning them.)

The Tree of Life was the hardest one. Jon came up with Stick of Strife to signify Isaac's frequent use of implements to threaten his sister. I looked to the movie's content (a rare and desperate move), combining a recent interest of the kiddos with what I believe the director of this film may have been saying (or not): Dinosaurs Have Feelings, Too

p.s. Does anyone else think Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs looks like Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man? It's a little wierd.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mmmm... Pizza....

I like cooking dinner. It's the perfect balance of creativity and monotony, with the added bonus of feeding my hungry people. Guilt free enjoyment. But some days I just don't feel like it, and today is one of those days. Lucky for me, we have to pick up Jon at work later on, so we'll pop into the pizza place near his office. I really prefer my homemade pizza, but I don't make it as often as I used to. I'm not sure why, really. Maybe I'm avoiding the event that pizza-making can become when there are little would-be pizza makers wanting to experiment. But I really need to add it to the rotation. Nothing beats homemade pizza.

Less lucky is the reason we're picking up Jon: his car is in the shop. It was an unfortunate week for this to happen, since there has been a lot going on. Mostly positive things, just a lot of them.

One event was Tiny Tot's Inside the Orchestra. It's an introduction to the symphony for the 6 and under crowd. We sat on the orchestra floor, with the instrumentalists all around, and they played various pieces. All the while the conductor made the music very interactive. What seemed to make the most impact on Anna was the 9 year old pianist, while Isaac enjoyed the little stuffed conductor puppet. Overall, my toddler did fairly well, but it was a good thing I brought along some coloring pages. Forty-five minutes on the floor is a long time for an active boy. It's a great program, and I highly recommend it if you're in the area.

Later that day we headed to Anna's dance class, which continues to be the bane of our existence. The class itself is fine, but getting her to attend is a chore. Usually Anna will get about half way through an extra-curricular activity before complaining about it, but her reticence began almost immediately this time. I think part of the problem is perfectionism. Perfectly normal for this age group, since kiddos are becoming aware that other people can see them. For kids like Anna, this means if they can't do something well they'd rather not do it at all (or maybe just do it at home). The other aspect may be her dislike of structure. I'm seeing this a bit when she talks about preschool, too. She would really rather do her own thing instead of following a teacher. Also perfectly normal, just a little challenging for the adults involved.
I wasn't sure how to handle this situation at first. I just made her go, sometimes sitting in on the class for awhile. Eventually she'd get into the groove. This week I decided I needed to tackle the problem directly. Of course, the easiest solution would be to just stop attending. But that didn't seem right. Instead I explained that we don't quit what we've started (particularly when "we" begged to take a dance class for a month beforehand). I also assured her that once this class is complete I will never, ever, sign her up for a dance class ever again. Boy, that made her think! And she went in with a slightly better attitude. I can't decide if I was too harsh. Guess we'll find out next week.

Around home, the kids have been enjoying the snow. We got a ton of it recently; the biggest snowstorm I've seen since we moved here. Where I grew up, it would take all winter to accumulate what we saw in a day and a half. Fifteen inches, I think? The snow piles beside the driveway are almost as tall as Anna. Jon made a great snow fort, complete with tunnel, and I got to snow shoe from our front door. This is the way winter is supposed to be! I love shoveling the drive way and playing in the drifts with the kids. Anna and Isaac are still growing into snow play, I think. They'll stay outside for only an hour or so before snow gets somewhere it shouldn't and I start hearing "It burns! It burns!"
 Isaac in the snow tunnel.

So other than wild weather, interactive music, and distressed dancers, there have been numerous dinners, many church meetings, school conferences and info sessions (still deciding on a kindergarten!), medical appointments, and now car repair -- all within a two week period. And yes, the vast majority of these are enjoyable and important activities. But no, I didn't feel like cooking today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not Quite Groundhog Day

It's been a little hectic around here lately. We've been doing a few things post-dinner the last couple of weeks (swimming, climbing wall, etc.) which makes things feel a little rushed in the evenings. I've also been taking advantage of the nice weather by taking the kids to the park, which gives me less time to do things around home. But it's hard not to be outside when the sun is shining and things feel spring like. I guess we've been to the park enough, in Anna's opinion. She flatly refused to head there now, so the kids are playing in the back yard. Playing together nicely, I might add. They've been doing that with greater frequency, which is nice.

Isaac's big news is that he recently got a big boy twin bed. The delivery guys showed up a little early (while I was still at the gym, actually) so Jon had to figure out where to put what. But it all worked out, and I'm quite happy with the bed we chose. Isaac's room is a little small, so we got a bed with drawers and also shelves for a headboard. We still need to move some things out of the room (like the change table), but the crib is gone and it looks like a little boys room now. Jon felt a little nostalgic about the crib, but I was so glad to see that thing go. We aren't going to resell it (it's a side-drop crib, likely recalled at some point in the last few years), so I guess it will hit the trash. I feel kind of bad about that - but not so bad that I'm willing to keep it in the basement.
Frankly, I'm looking forward to putting these baby things behind and moving forward. The change table will be the next big hurdle. I'll be glad to see that go too, but I'm NOT looking forward to hopping the potty train. Perhaps this is why I'm putting it off until Isaac is three.

Anna's inside the house now, and has changed into her P.J.s. Never mind that it's only 3 in the afternoon. She's turning more and more into a homebody every day, and not always for the better. It was like pulling teeth to get her to go to dance class this past week - the same class she had begged to attend. She's even grouchy during Isaac's story time at the library, and doesn't want to go to junior church. Part of her dance class hesitation comes from a tendency to avoid things she's not immediately good at. So how far do I push this? Do I make her go? Give up? I'm not sure giving up is the right answer. And it doesn't solve her general reluctance to go anywhere these days, which is completely baffling. She constantly wants to play with someone, so why not head out to these places which are rife with someones to play with? After all, I am no fun at all. I'm truly not. And while Isaac is fun, he also beats on his sister when the spirit moves him.

The silver lining here is that Anna still enjoys preschool. This bodes well for kindergarten, I think. I hope. I expect that Kindergarten will also help our relationship. I love my daughter, but I think absence makes the heart grow fonder sometimes. Or to put it another way, not being constantly together every minute of every day makes me appreciate my daughter more. And hopefully vice versa.