Monday, April 29, 2013

Picture of the Week - April 29

She's looking for four-leaf clovers. I'm calling the optometrist to schedule an appointment today.

Friday, April 26, 2013

On Starting Kindergarten

On Tuesday, I took the triplets to their kindergarten screening.

I'm still not really sure what this "screening" was. I know they asked them some basic questions and the teachers told me that they all seem ready for kindergarten (which is good for them because I was planning on sending them regardless of the results).

I spent the time I was waiting hyperventilating about the fact that they are starting kindergarten next year. I mean, it's not like it snuck up on me ... except it kind of did. And it's not like they aren't ready to go, it's just that I can't believe it is already so close. Just a few short months and they're off.

I watched a class of 4th graders walking through the halls to lunch and they just looked so OLD. No way my kids are gonna look like that in four or five years, right? Except they will. I watched them laughing and talking in their neon skinny jeans and Chuck Taylors and just could not picture my kids being that grown up.

I think what scares me about sending my kids to school is the impending independence that will surely arise. Of course I want my kids to grow in their independence, but the result (or so we're taught to think) is that they will also grow apart from us, their parents - the ones who care about them the most.

Me? I want both. I want kids that grow in confidence and maturity while also looking to me for their values and identity. I want each of my children to learn to socialize and be a good friend and steward while also using us, their parents, as sources of information and guidance. Too often in this day and age kids are replacing parents with peers as their sources of direction. They care more about what their friends think than what their parents think, something I will vow to work against in our house. While there is definitely a place and need for healthy friendships, peers should not replace parents as the moral compass in a child's life.

This is one reason I think bullying is so prominent today. Kids put so much value into what their peers think that the soft, encouraging words of a parent do nothing to soften the blow. When the main support group that you put value in fails you, of course you are going to feel defeated and devastated. That's why the parents should be at the center of the child's life compass instead of the child's peers. If we work to keep our relationships with our children primary and sacred, I'm convinced that they will grow up feeling safe and loved, regardless of any fall outs or problems they confront with their peers. Bottom line, I never want my kids' friends to know more about my kids' lives than I do. I love them too much and care too much about their futures to let that happen.

So that's how a little trip to kindergarten assessment turned into an epiphany about what my parental goals will be over the elementary school years. I hope I can stick to my plan. I know they will test me (Lord, do I know they will test me!), but I'm pretty stubborn myself when it comes to things I care about. Lucky for them, I think they're all pretty special and there's no way I'm letting them get away from me that easily.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Picture of the Week - April 21

Training camp for Team Clifford. Need to work on the center-quarterback exchange.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


 Sam has really been into space and planets lately. His wish is to someday go up to space in a rocket ship, which I told him he could do one day if he grew up to be an astronaut. Then I realized I was lying because the United States doesn't have astronauts anymore (way to dash a 5 year old boy's dream, America). Anyway, I didn't want to spoil his hopes, so we still talk as if he will fly to the moon someday. It may be as a Japanese or Russian astronaut, but we'll just figure that out when the time comes.

So Sam is really into the planets and he wants to know all about them. How big are they? What's inside them? What are they made of? What color are they? Can we fly to them? The other day he was in the car with Matt and they had the following planetary conversation:

 Sam: "Dad, what is Mars made of?"

Matt: "I guess it's made of rocks and dirt and stuff like that."

(We're so knowledgeable about planetary matter in our house, can't you tell?)

Sam: "Yeah, ok. But you know what Dad? Saturn has gas."

Matt: "Oh, really? Have you smelt it?"

Sam (Looking confused): "No. What do you mean?"

Matt: "Nothing buddy, I'm just kidding."

Sam: "Ok. But Dad, what's in Uranus?"

Not sure how Matt was still functionally operating the car at this point ...

Matt (while holding back laughter spasms): " I'm not sure. We'll have to look it up once we get home."

Ahhh, space. It really is the final frontier when it comes to inappropriate bathroom jokes.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Picture of the Week - April 14

We feel so fortunate to live in an area where we can walk to shops, restaurants, college events, and our own creek side adventures. What a great place to grow up.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Spy ...

Blond curls bouncing,

Trees and bushes in bloom,

Two little girls collecting flowers for necklaces,

A muddy-toed boy fresh from a date with the creek,

And a mean game of ping pong on the quad ("Mom, I ping-ed it!").

Weekends should last a week at a time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Picture of the Week - April 7

On Thursday, it snowed.

I'll let that sink in for a minute. Don't forget that we do live in "the south.

I'll forgive Mother Nature just this once though, because today we did this ...

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Art Room

In our house, we have a playroom that houses all the kids (for lack of a better word) junk. They still have a few toys in their rooms, but we try and keep most of the toys in the playroom just so they aren't scattered all over the place and have a home of their own to return to at the end of each day.

Aside from toys, my kids love to use crayons, paint, chalk, scissors, tape - anything they can create with. We used to have all of their art supplies in the playroom with the rest of the toys, but that ended up not working very well. Crayons got lost under shelves and tape ended up stuck to the hair of stuffed animals. It was just too much to have in one room. Luckily, we had a little extra space in the corner of the office, which is right next to the playroom.

It has worked out great for the kids. First, it just gives them more space of their own. Second, it keeps all the art supplies in one confined place, which makes it easy for them to find. We have the table pushed against the wall to maximize the space, but we often pull it away from the wall to allow all four of them to sit down at once if they want to.

I also like that we use this space to display art. We have a stainless fridge, so we can't display art there. This provides a great alternative. We either hang it from the re-purposed curtain rod from Ikea or use the oil-pan-turned-magnet-board (which I've decided was the most copied Pinterest project from this past summer). Either way, they get a chance to display their art and it makes the space colorful and cheery for them.

We store all the art supplies for them in built-in shelves that are on the other side of the office. We leave things like crayons, scissors, and tape at their level so that they can access them whenever they want. Art supplies that need adult supervision (paint, glue, etc) we just store on higher shelves. The kids can still see the supplies, they just have to ask to use those that are out of their reach.

Overall, we love this shared art/office space. I like having the art things separate from the other toys and it gives the kids more overall space to call their own. As the kids grow this will probably also serve as a homework/study space, but thankfully we're still a little ways away from that. For now, bring on the art!