Posts tagged kids

How to Ruin a Surprise (or Not)

Yesterday was Brinley’s 5th birthday.  Scott and I had given her all of her presents from us at her family-and-close-friends party on Saturday and were felling a little bad that we didn’t have anything to give her on her actual birthday.  So on Tuesday, after Brinley got on the bus for school, I took Nora up to Toys R Us to get Brinley a new bike. 

{Aside: Brinley has a bike but it’s way too small for her and she stinks at riding it because her legs are too long.  She can’t build up enough momentum on it and gets frustrated.  We’d talked about getting her a bike back and forth but didn’t want to invest a lot of money so close to winter in fear that she might outgrow this one just as fast as the last.  Well, turns out that the bike she liked last time we were at Toys R Us happened to be on sale for $49 so we figured it woudln’t break the bank.  Then when I got to the store, I was informed that it was on clearance for 25% off of that.  So it only ended up costing me $35!}

So, Nora and I go in the store, I find the bike (it was the last one!) and grab it.  I also get her a cute little basket for the front because she keeps talking about putting her (already-named-but-not-yet-and-may-never-be-owned) puppy, Sprinkles, in a basket to take him for rides.  Nora and I get back in the car with the (unassembled) bike and basket and head back home for nap time.  The entire excursion was pretty uneventful and we were back home in no time.

Later that night after the girls were in bed, Scott and I assembled the bike and left it in the downstairs family room with the plan to give it to her after breakfast the next day, her actual birthday.  So morning comes, I made chocolate chip pancakes and we we ate breakfast as a family to celebrate Brinley’s birthday.  Scott mentioned to Brinley that we had a present for her and her face lit up.  Then Nora chimes in, “We got you a bike, Brinley.”  I try to change the subject with Nora and direct her toward her pancakes because I was pretty sure Brinley didn’t really hear her.  Then she says it again, “Right, mom?  We got Brinley a new bike for her birthday?  Hey Brinley we got you a new bike.  It’s for your birthday.”  Ugh.  Brinley is complete into her pancakes and I still think she may not have caught on.  But the she looks up and says, “I don’t want a bike for my birthday.” FAIL!

I figured the surprise was ruined but we all just carried on eating our pancakes and pretending like that conversation never happened.  We finished breakfast, I gave the girls baths and got them dressed.  Then Scott went down and got the bike.  When Brinley saw it, she was really excited.  It was the exact one that she had picked out and she hopped right on it and started riding it in the house!

So I guess the surprise wasn’t ruined after all. Only a two year old to could try to ruin a surprise and fail!

Walking Commercial

I’m not one of those parents who forbids their children to watch TV.  I loved watching cartoons as a kid and can’t imagine keeping that joy from my kids.  But let me be clear, we don’t have the TV on at all hours of the day so the girls can just go and stare at it and rot their brains either.  In fact, we don’t even have a TV in our living room or playroom.  We have two sets – a large one with surround sound in the family room/basement and a small one in our bedroom.  In a given day the girls probably watch one hour of TV and sometimes none at all.  (Correction: Brinley watches the TV, Nora runs around the room disturbing her.)

Anyway, up until about two moths ago we were a strictly PBS or Disney Jr watching family.  I wasn’t opposed to other shows, it’s just that the girls would always ask for George, Elmo, Mickey, Jake or Angelina.  In fact, Scott and I were the ones to try to broaden their TV watching scope to include Wonder Pets, Wild Kratts and eventually Strawberry Shortcake, Pound Puppies and My Little Pony.  Thanks to a nifty little invention called DVR we just queued up a bunch of said shows for our kids evening viewing pleasure.  Brinley loves the new shows in her repertoire.  However, after sitting down with her and watching some of these shows Scott and I make the executive decision to remove Pound Puppies from the line-up.  The show is just crap basically.  It has no real message and seems to clearly just be a “brain rot” type of show.  I don’t think Brinley has yet noticed that we’ve nixed it and hopefully she won’t.

But on to the original point of this post – PBS and Disney Jr shows do not contain commercial advertisements.  They simply air the show and when it’s over we’d turn the TV off therefore missing any commercial breaks in between shows.  Enter “The HUB”, the channel that airs My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake and the dreaded Pound Puppies.  These shows all contain commercials.  At first I thought it would be a pain having to go in and fast forward through all of them so that Brinley would stay interested but I was wrong.  The kids LOVES the commercials.  I think it’s because she’s getting to see a whole lot of (mostly crappy) products that she’d never otherwise see.

Case in point – Pajama Jeans!  Why on Earth this infomercial airs during a kids TV show is beyond me, but you can bet your money that Brinley has become their youngest spokesperson.  A few weeks ago we were shopping in a clothing store and she said to me, “Look mom, Pajama Jeans!” (They were actually jeggings, but I let it slide.)  I thought to myself, “How the heck does she know what those are?”  And she continued, “Mom, they have the look of jeans with the comfort of pajamas and they don’t leave any unsightly marks!” I couldn’t help but laugh as she proceeded to tell me that I should order a pair.

Just Keep Busy, Just Keep Busy..

So, school’s out for summer.. well preschool is anyway.  Brinley has been done with school for two weeks now.  Gone is her routine of waking up and getting ready for school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Gone are my 3 mornings a week with only one kid in tow.  Now it’s the three of us ALL.THE.TIME!  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just much more difficult to keep two kids busy all the time than it is one.  Not to mention that all of our extracurricular activities have also come to an end.  No more Tuesday dance class for Brinley or Friday gymnastics for Nora.  No more playgroup on Monday mornings.  The carefree days of summer are upon us.  In order for me to keep my sanity, I have to keep myself and the girls busy.

I’ve signed Brinley up for a few mini-sessions of gymnastics and dance but other than that our calendar is empty and it’s up to me to fill the days with fun, exciting activities.  Sure there will be play dates and visits with friends, but we need a little more spice than that in our lives.  Luckily we had some hot weather last week and the girls and I were able to hit up a local swimming hole with friends.  It took up a good chunk of our day.  Today we visited Davis Farmland with even more friends.  It’s a great little discovery farm with animals galore that the kids can feed, pet and brush.  We had a great time.

The crew with the fake milking cow

We’ve got quiet a few fun things on the calendar for the rest of the summer like our annual trip to StoryLand with our New York friends (Hi, Kel!) and some weekends out to my parents lake house but it’s the day to day monotony during the week that I need to work on filling.  I’m open to your ideas for fun things to do with the kiddos this summer.  I don’t mind spending a little bit to have a good time, but free and/or cheap events are best!

Tiny Dancer

Last weekend, Brinley danced in her very first dance recital.  Since September she has been going to dance class once a week and learning some ballet and tap moves.  She absolutely loves going and adores her teacher.  Of course wearing a leotard, tutu, tights and ballet slippers/tap shoes makes it just about one of the best things she does all week.  I’ve enjoyed it because it makes her so happy (and I can drop her off for an hour and know that she’s having a great time while Nora and I go enjoy a coffee and some munchkins).

Talk of this recital has been in the air since about December when the girls were fitted for their costumes.  Detailed emails were sent to parents on what color tights and shoes the girls were to wear as well as how their hair should be done.  The little girls had been practicing their routines like crazy.  So how come I was the one who was nervous about the recital?

I worried about getting her the right tights and about how I’d get her super silky and not very long hair to stay in a bun.  I worried about where we’d sit in the audience to get a good view of her.  I worried about who would watch Nora while Scott, myself, my mom, my mother in law and my sister (basically all of our babysitters) were in the audience watching Brinley perform.  I worried about Brinley getting stage fright and freezing on stage or running off stage or crying.  All the while Brinley seemed just fine and excited about it all.

I’m not going to get in to all of the details, but let’s just say that I was worried for nothing!  Everything went off without a hitch.  My fantastic friends Nellie and Chris offered to babysit Nora (who had an absolute blast with them!), we got awesome seats at the auditorium, Brinley had all of the right equipment and her hair was stunning (thanks to the discovery of a “bun donut” and some YouTube tutorials).

Here is a shot of Brinley and her best friend Nina dressed for their tap performance to “Petticoat Junction”.  This performance was adorable and the girls did great.  The best part is when they all threw their arms up and yelled out Petticoat Junction.  I had a huge smile on my face the entire time and Brinley looked like such a natural up there.

Here’s Brinley performing her ballet number to “Dynasty”.  She was really in her element up there.  Ballet has always been her favorite and watching her prance around on stage literally brought tears to my eyes.  I was so proud of her and she looked so adorable.  I even saw some tears welling up in Scott’s eyes (but don’t tell him I told you!).

The entire production of the recital was amazing.  It was so much more than I expected and I’m so thrilled that Brinley was a part of it.  I look forward to many more years of dance in our future.  Brinley will definitely be taking ballet and tap again in the fall and she’s also going to give Irish Step dancing a try!

Days Go By

Amazing how fast time just flies by, huh?  Sometimes I have to stop and think back a few days, weeks or months to really get a grasp on what has been happening in my life.  Would you believe that I turned thirty, yeah 3-0, back in December?  Honestly, how did I get this old?  I remember graduating high school and college and getting my first apartment.  Now here I am a happily married mother of two paying a mortgage and managing a rental property.

Oh and in January, I registered my little girl for Kindergarten.  Seriously, I feel like I just brought her home from the hospital and she’s going to be starting real school in September?  Yikes!  Sometimes I feel like her four and a half years of life have just passed me by.  My little baby has become a real little girl.  She’s reading!  She dresses herself every single day {sometimes much to my dismay} and we actually have real conversations.

And my baby?  Well, she turned two on Sunday.  She’s not a baby anymore!  She can do just about anything {or at least she’ll try to}.  Walking, talking, running, jumping, you name it – she does it.  Her language amazes me.  Full sentences is an understatement.  She speaks in paragraphs.  She knows what she wants and asks for it.  She idolizes her big sister and for the most part they get along really well.

My house is free of baby swings and bottles.  In their place are ballet slippers and soccer cleats.  Gone are the days of walks in the stroller and easily being able to entertain my kids.  Now I’m scheduling play dates and preparing for dance recitals.  My kids prefer playing with each other or their friends over playing with me.

It’s crazy how quickly time passes, how fast we change and how easily we overlook certain things.  Sometimes I wish I could relive the past 5 years of my life.  So much has happened and I want to remember it all all over again.  But as the days continue to go by I look forward to the future and to all of the great things that are yet to come.

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