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Month: April 2014

a party for fools

a party for fools

Simon told me more than a month ago that he wanted an April Fools party for his birthday. “Fun,” I thought. But when I asked him what kinds of things he wanted to do, it was clear that we were not on the same page.

Something he said about trap doors and building elaborate structures tipped me off. So we had a brainstorming party, which after a couple of minutes of idea-sharing turned into a discussion of how, if we want our friends to still be our friends, we probably only want to do fun pranks, like making them think they are going to be eating dirt and worms and then having it turn out to be chocolate cookie crumbs. That kind of thing.

And once we made that distinction . . . well, I did my best to come up with some fools day fun that would be fun for everyone.

The party happened yesterday, and despite my having left the berries for the berry fools at home, it was fine. I say “fine” and not “awesome” because it was just fine. I think the kids had a good time, but they weren’t blown away or anything. *Sigh* I like to blow people away. And to be honest, even though I did all the prep work, Micah em-ceed the whole thing, so if they did have a good time, it was due to his efforts. (Also, I left the party to go find one of the kids who was on the other side of the park.)

But this is what we did: We had the kids dress up like fools. We did this first by letting them put stickers all over their faces. And then we played hot potato and whenever the music stopped, whoever had the ball got to go put on a dress up. After that, the kids danced like fools. And whoever froze in the craziest position when the music stopped got to pick a prize out of the slime bucket. And the final game was to find out who was the biggest fool by cutting into the mound of “fool’s dust” to see who would make the starburst fall.

In the end, it was Oliver’s knife who felled the starburst, but he was too overcome by emotion to fish the starburst out with his teeth, so we had a volunteer take the role. And she reveled in it.

After that we had the “fools cupcakes” (haha! we fooled them! they were actually almost healthy! made with quinoa, not flour! hahahaha!) and opened gifts. And then it started to rain, right at the scheduled departure time, so we left.

End of party.

easter happened

easter happened

Yeah, so Easter. It happened. We were there!

Actually, we were on our way to Boston. On Easter Sunday, which kind of stunk. But we stopped at a church just outside of Boston to attend their Easter program, which turned out to be a good move. Not only were we able to get these priceless Easter pics of the kids eating lunch on the curb in the parking lot just before we went into sacrament meeting, we were also able to hear an excellent musical program followed by one of the best sacrament meeting talks I’ve ever heard. For reals.

Simon agrees. He was moved nearly to tears (from laughter) by the speaker’s comments about his toddler body-slamming his inflated head so that he could be humble enough to actually write the darn talk. And then he got into the meat of the issue, which was all about being bold in Christ and very well written, reasoned, and delivered. Lots to think about there. (If only I hadn’t been shushing my giggly 7-year-old and could have taken some notes . . . .)

And although I felt bad about being on the road and prepping for the race on Easter, I think the BAA stepped in and helped us out as we completely dropped the ball on all things Easter Bunny-ish. In fact, that was the main draw for going to the pre-race dinner: the bag of chocolates and other treats from the likes of Lindt, Toblerone, Hershey’s among others.

Oh, and we also found out that Easter egg hunts happen because the word “egg” is almost in the word “Easter” and that the point of it all is for us to get a special treat. Thankfully we had several hours in the car in which to promote greater understanding of the holiday and its traditions, and I think we’re clear on the fact that Easter has something to do with Jesus and new life. We may haven even absorbed the idea that eggs represent new life, and that Easter also coincides with spring, a season of new life . . . although we’re still not really clear on what bunnies have to do with all of that.

Maybe we’ll figure that out by next year. If we’re lucky.

all about boston

all about boston

Oh Boston. If only you weren’t so very tempting. Just last week I was looking forward to taking a break from running marathons for a while, to letting Boston be Boston without me. And then I had to actually go and run it, and now I’m wishing that I really could run it every year.

Sigh.

If you want to know all about the race, head on over to MotherRunner for the nitty gritty details.

However, I will give you an exclusive peak into how I really feel as well: I think I could’ve broken 3:20 if the course weren’t so crowded. I had to slow down in places that I wouldn’t have if there weren’t so many people to run around. But that’s Boston. That’s part of the whole experience. Next time I want to chase a PR, I may just have to head to some race that nobody else wants to run.

Simon is 7

Simon is 7

Simon is 7. And what a great 7 years it has been. There are ever so many reasons I consider myself the luckiest mom ever to have him for a kid, and especially my oldest kid, but since he is 7, I’ll limit myself to sharing just that many.

1. He’s not afraid of responsibility. We often ask Simon to help out with Oliver and Elsa and he doesn’t shy away from it. He knows he is older and more capable and he is willing to step in and step up to make our lives easier — even if it makes his life a bit harder.

2. He is a solid contributor. When I went to visit his class last fall, I was surprised and pleased to see how readily he raised his hand and shared his views. I know part of my pleasure stems from the fact that I am still not comfortable doing that kind of thing, but aside from my parental pride, it is nice to see that he is engaged and feels like a member of his class and the community.

3. He thinks things through. We all know that Simon likes not just to know things, but to understand them. The other day at lunch, for example, he asked about water bubbles: how they get there, what are they made of, and especially what is the force that creates the border of the bubble. I had no idea, but I thought it might have something to do with electrons. He’d read about it in a Star Wars science book and needed clarification.

4. He’s focused. Simon has a lot of interests, and when he gets into it, he really gets into it. Chess, soccer, robots, magic, machines are a few of the interests he is and has explored in depth. And yes, he plays soccer in our apartment. I never thought I’d be grateful for the narrow hallway, but it makes a surprisingly useful soccer pitch in a pinch.

5. He likes to be silly. For such a thoughtful, intelligent, and nerdy kid, he does more than his fair share of laughing. And it makes me so happy to know that even though there are things that weigh heavily on his mind — like eternity, the nature of time, and the millennium — he doesn’t let those weighty matters weigh him down. He appreciates a good joke and a silly rhyme as much (or more) than the next kid.

6. He takes joy in his siblings. Even when Oliver and Elsa get in his way or ruin his stuff, he doesn’t let that ruin his respect and love for them. He loves that Oliver is a bit of a class clown and really appreciates his jokes, and he’s on the front lines cheering Elsa on as she jumps (again and again and again) from the couch or toy box. Even though he is pretty competitive and sometimes gets a little anxious when someone does something better than he does, I think he’s learning to not let it bother him and just be happy that someone else is good at something, too. (Let’s hope this isn’t wishful thinking on my part.)

7. He’s a handsome little kid. As exhibited below. I rest my case.

And one to grow on: He has vision. He can see things in his mind, on a large and small scale, and thinks that he can make it happen. Lately he’s been talking about being an inventor when he grows up and inventing transportation systems (mostly to get him to and from school). And he can talk (and talk and talk) about the other things he is imagining — whether it is related to games that he plays, things that he’s learning in school, or something he heard about somewhere else.

It’s that skill that is possibly the most exciting and intimidating for me. I can see that he has such great potential — but I worry, as many other parents do, that I won’t be able to give him the skills and experiences to help him reach that potential. Then again, I know he is confident, focused, responsible, joyful, sharing and so many other things that will help him on his way. So I should probably just learn to trust him to do his thing and not get in his way.

What a kid he is. What a kid.

women in the world

women in the world

I’m not really into name dropping (wink, wink), but if I were, these are the names I would drop: Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde (managing director of the International Monetary Fund), Jimmy Carter, John Stewart, Diane von Furstenberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Couric, Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, Ken Burns, Rashida Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Pussy Riot. To name a few. These are just some of the women and men who I got to be in the same room with during the Women in the World Summit the past few days.

Toyota, who was one of the sponsors of the event, invited me to come and to meet some of the more “normal” women — the ones who may not be household names (yet) but have created things that are changing the world. They were honored as “Mothers of Invention” for their contributions. One of them, Lauren Schweder Biel, co-founded DC Greens, which has created a food system for bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to the inner-city kids of DC. Two more, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, invented an inflatable, solar-powered, light that can be a game-changer in emergency situations as well as on family camping trips. And then there is Tricia Compas-Markman, whose water purification system allows people to collect and treat water on-site so that they can have 10 liters of potable water in 30 minutes — another game-changer in emergency and disaster situations.

So that was pretty awesome.

As was the rest of the summit. Over 3 days I could not tear myself away from the panels discussing issues women are facing all over the world, from chemical weapons and displacement in Syria, reconciling victims and perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda, changing the rape and honor-killing culture in India, to dealing with the “pornification of everything” and body image and beauty issues in the US.

I laughed, I cried, I was inspired and enlightened. There were panels that I wished could have gone on for days rather than the 20 or 30 minutes they were allotted. It was really an amazing opportunity. I want to talk with everybody about everything I heard. I’m hoping in the next few days I’ll be able to share more about it on MotherRunner and Babble. I’ll keep you posted . . . .

and . . . exhale

and . . . exhale

The past couple of weeks I’ve been holding my breath every time I get the mail, just in case we got the letter letting us know Oliver’s test results. Over the past couple of months the boy has really learned to read and write really well, and although all was already said and done as far as him taking the test, I started to be more hopeful that he was much more intelligent than we have been giving him credit for. Which is not to say that we haven’t thought that he is very intelligent — we just have the disadvantage of having to compare him to Simon, who, as we all know, is more interested in and focused on being the smartest kid in the room than Oliver is. (He seems more interested in being funny.)

And then on Friday I checked my e-mail and saw something from the NYC DOE. My heart immediately started pounding and I tried and tried to download the rest of the e-mail, but couldn’t because, well, I don’t know. Something about the servers serving Lincoln Center being overwhelmed by all the women tweeting about Women in the World? (More on that in another post.) After several minutes of attempting to download, I gave up and went back to the summit I was attending. Once I was all settled in and enjoying the panel discussions, I tried to download the e-mail again . . . with success!

Shock, relief, and excitement — but not disbelief — when I saw the 99 on his overall percentile ranking. And we can all breathe a little bit easier knowing that our boys will be at the same school next year, that it is a really great school, and that it may be easier for us to find an apartment to move to.

That Oliver. What a kid. He made our lives so much easier.

toothless

toothless

Well, he isn’t really toothless. He is not even necessarily less a tooth. His adult tooth started coming in before the baby tooth was out — and, in fact, was the reason the tooth came out so “early” at all. So for a week or so he had 21 teeth. He seemed to enjoy having a wiggly tooth for a bit, but he wasn’t quite as excited I was for it to actually come out, I believe. And then I totally missed it. Micah took him to a bakery after school on Friday and he taste-tested some yucca-coconut bread and he quietly declared that his tooth had just come out.

The tooth fairy came, but it seems as though we did not prepare him well and he was rather confused to find a couple of dollar bills in the envelope where his tooth had once been.

But what are you going to to do about it? Wait for the next tooth to come out and do it all over again, I suppose.