Sunday, November 29, 2009

A need for higher altitude

Lydia cracks me up. That little lady is S-P-U-N-K-Y and quite the opposite of her older sister who is timid about everything new. This week we went to a mcdonalds playplace and Lydia climbed right up inside. Kiera has NEVER gone inside one because she's too chicken. But, watching Lydia's example she went a few feet into it before getting nervous and coming back out to observe Lydia from a safe distance. the same thing happened with bubble bath: Kiera was too chicken until Lydia demonstrated that it was ok.

For the past 2 weeks when I can't find my girls I'll frequently find them in the garage in the car climing around. I still haven't been able to catch it on "film" (we don't have film anymore!) but Lydia frequently will stand on the bottom of the steering wheel and hold on to the top of it and rock back and forth. It is soooo cute because she is about the same size as the wheel.
I'm frequently finding Lydia on table tops and other random places where she is not supposed to be. She knows how to get a stool and take it to where she wants to climb up. So, I can't even leave knives on the kitchen counter top. No injuries...yet.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Powerful video

Anyone who felt ungrateful has now been humbled.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kiera's birthday and visit from Gronemans

2 Cute ladies with Erica

My brother Chad and his wife Erica came to visit us this weekend. We had lots of fun doing local things like visiting the park and feeding ducks. Their little Emmy is about Lydias age so it was fun to see them interact.

We took Chad and Erica to our local VA hospital duck ponds to feed ducks. But my girls also enjoy playing on the stairs (jumping down them with daddy)

I used to bring old stale bread to feed ducks, but now I bring perfectly good bread...because it also feeds little ladies (although neither of my girls will eat plain bread UNLESS it is duck food).

Kiera's 3rd Birthday!

Here is a picture of Steve and I blowing out Kiera's candles since she REFUSED to do so. I think the anticipation and pressure of it all got to the poor little lady

But after everyone (Grandma and Grandpa, Drew and Erika, Chad and Erica) went to the other room she decided to be happy after all and eat one of the frosting flowers from her cake (yuck!)

This picture was taken the day before her birthday. She wanted to sit on the countertop all day and look at her cake and tell me about how she was going to blow on the candles. She was so excited! Oh well!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Entertaining children (long blog)

I have to put a preface on this blog: I am writing this mostly for my own benefit. I realize that there are people out there who are WAY better or more knowledgeable at this stuff than me. I'm only recently figuring it out so I'm solidifying it in my own mind by blogging it.

Background: Trying to play with my children has been, up until recently, very difficult for me. It just seemed like our toys were boring..I was bored of them and so were my girls. They had mastered things like shape sorters and puzzles, and I couldn't stand having the princesses go to the ball and dance more than 10 times a day; although if you ask Kiera what she wants to do that is exactly what she'll say.

I'm embarrassed to say that I learned how to play with my children by reading a book. There's a book called Playful parenting: a bold new way to nurture close connections, solve behavior problems, and encourage children's confidence by Lawrence J. Cohen. (by the way I highly recommend it). I'm going to list a few things that I've learned from this book. I feel like what I've learned from this book will create 100x more fun than $100 worth of the latest and greatest toys. This is geared towards the 2-3 year-old child (since that is where Kiera is at) but the book has PLENTY of good info for older children too.

1.The best way to help your child to be confidence is to lose a little dignity yourself. Pretend to not be very good at something and ask them to show you how it is done (put pants on your arms), fall off your chair multiple times and let them laugh at you. For those of you who watch Sesame Street--think Mr. Noodle.

2. Play pretend and let the child be a dominant role and you act out some of the problems they might have (they are the nurse giving the shot and you are crying and begging not to have to get it).

3. When you play the part of the bad guy or monster be a little scary and a lot incompetent (the villain who keeps tripping or who brought a bubble gun instead of a real gun).

4. Give a child a toy that can be used for multiple purposes (like a box). Princesses have a very limited purpose

5. Hours of half-hearted interaction with children are not nearly as good as short spurts of fun play. Set aside 10 minutes twice a day for "special time" and do everything you can to help your child/children laugh and have fun in that 10 minutes. Afterwords they will be much happier and less needy/clingy.

6. WRESTLE with your children (including girls--it builds confidence). By this I mean play games of power and USUALLY let them win. Examples:

*pillow fights-- "I'll bet you can hit my tummy with this pillow before I hit yours!"
*Try to hold your child and have them try to get away, "You'll never get away from me!"
*Have them try to get past you. Boast about how they'll never get by you and then act surprised when they achieve it.
*Give them clues like spread your legs far apart so that they can go under, stoop low so that they can go over you. Act astonished every time. Help them learn how to trick you "look over there-- an elephant!"
*Don't tickle them. They feel out of control and many times don't like it. Instead, just poke them and back off until they stop laughing or you can just threaten to tickle.
*Arm wrestle-- let them use one finger and win.
*after losing a wrestling match, end the game by admitting your loss. “I’m so tired you’ll have to carry me to the couch!” “oh man, I lost! I’m going to sulk all day!”

7. Boys need games of "connection":

*Play "love gun"-- while they are playing war suddenly declare that they shot you with a love gun and now you love them more than anything (and then act that out)
*Use any excuse to be emotionally close, “ouch that must hurt”
*Fall over dead on top of them,
*Hide behind them if there is an enemy nearby,
*Play a game of faithful army buddy who saves his injured friend.

8. Think of what your child is having trouble with (potty training, crying when being dropped off at nursery, fear of bees, etc) and play games related to those problems: pretend dolls have potty training accidents, act out going to nursery--only YOU are being dropped off by your child. Play the game a few times and have your reaction to nursery be different every time but the child comforts you in all situations. (This can also be played with dolls, princess or superheros for that matter)

9. Have your child pretend to be a bee and you be scared to death of being stung. Then YOU be the bee and try to get your child (be an incompetent bee: run in to walls or pretend you forgot your stinger).

And now, some game/fun ideas:

*Make silly rules: no giggling, blinking, etc.. Fuss when a rule is broken.
*For 10 mins let your child make all of the rules and punishments.
*Pretend something they are already eating is yours and pretend to be mad each time they take a bite.
*Sock game- everyone wears socks and has to crawl on the floor and try to get everyone Else's socks off.
*Thumb wars, arm wrestle, leg wrestle
*Play school. Have them teach stuffed animals things you want them to learn: teach the doll about crossing the street.
*When pushing them on the swing pretend that the swing knocks you down or they kick you. "you'd better not do that again!"
*Let your child pretend to put YOU in a time-out.

.....this blog could go on and on, but I'll stop there. The main point: The most fun to be had with your children involves no toys whatsoever. Feel free to add your own 2 cents on the subject.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fun with Grandma Groneman

Grandma Groneman (aka mom to me) came to visit from Utah for a week. She came down because my sister Breanna (aka buff) who has been living with us graduated from nursing school and will be moving up to Utah tomorrow. Congrats to Buff for getting your LVN!

Grandma took me N' the ladies to San Diego Zoo. It was a huge hit with my kidlets. Thanks Grandma!

Lastly, we went to Disneyland (of course). It is even more magical than normal at Christmas time (yes it is Christmas time in Disneyland right now).

This picture of Lydia with sleeping beauty was caught right before Lydia tried to stick the cracker down the front of sleeping beauty's dress. You can see the plan in her eyes in the picture.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Flashback Friday

This is a random flashback, but it is something that has been haunting me I figured if I blogged it, it might help:

Back in 2006 Steve and I went on a "Mission Trip" with people from his MBA program to Swaziland Africa. We were there for the dedication of a clinic that his school paid for, we had a little 2-day free healthcare clinic, and we also dropped off some stuff at orphanages. The rest of the 2 1/2 weeks we were there it was mostly vacationing in our 5-star hotel and doing tourist stuff.

On the last night that we were there the school paid for a VERY expensive dinner at a fancy hotel. I sat next to a native (but weathy) Swaziland girl who has about my age (on right)
I was doing a report on Swaziland for my Community Health Nursing class I was doing at the time so I siezed the opportunity to ask her about Swaziland. She told me lots of interesting facts about the king, cultural norms, ect.. Then I asked her what the average person's diet is like. She told me that for MOST women and children in swaziland they ate a ground up corn paste for both breakfast and lunch, and then they hoped that the male of the house brought home the money he made from the day so that they could eat something else for dinner...but most of the time male go spend it on food for themselves or alcohol. She told me this very casually like it was very normal. I almost puked up my expensive dinner I was eating.
To think that there were LOTS of people who were within a mile of where I was who were STARVING while I ate my fancy shmancy dinner made me feel like scum. And to make it worse, we left for home the next morning.
I'm not sure why, but this has been haunting me all week.