This Page

has been moved to new address

Fairly Odd Mother

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
body { background:#fff url("") 50% 0; margin:0; padding:0 10px; text-align:center; font:x-small Verdana,Arial,Sans-serif; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } /* Page Structure ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { background:url("") no-repeat 250px 50px; width:700px; margin:0 auto; padding:50px 0; text-align:left; } #main { width:450px; float:right; padding:50px 0 20px; font-size:85%; } #main2 { background:url("") -100px -100px; padding:20px 10px 15px; } #sidebar { width:200px; float:left; font-size:85%; padding-bottom:20px; } #sidebar2 { background:url("") 150px -50px; padding:5px 10px 15px; width:200px; width/* */:/**/180px; width: /**/180px; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar2 { width:100%; } } html>body #main, html>body #sidebar { /* We only give this fade from white to nothing to browsers that can handle 24-bit transparent PNGs */ background/* */:/**/url("") repeat-x left bottom; } /* Title & Description ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #blog-title { margin:0 0 .5em; font:250%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#353; } #blog-title a { color:#353; text-decoration:none; } #description { margin:0 0 1.75em; color:#996; } #blog-mobile-title { display:none; } #description-mobile { display:none; } } @media handheld { #blog-title { display:none; } #description { display:none; } #blog-mobile-title { display:block; margin:0 0 .5em; font:250%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#353; } #blog-mobile-title a { color:#353; text-decoration:none; } #description-mobile { display:block; margin:0 0 1.75em; color:#996; } } /* Links ----------------------------------------------- */ a:link { color:#488; } a:visited { color:#885; } a:hover { color:#000; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ .date-header { margin:0 0 .75em; padding-bottom:.35em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font:95%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.3em; color:#663; } .post { margin:0 0 2.5em; line-height:1.6em; } .post-title { margin:.25em 0; font:bold 130%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#333; } .post-title a, .post-title strong { background:url("") no-repeat 0 .25em; display:block; color:#333; text-decoration:none; padding:0 0 1px 45px; } .post-title a:hover { color:#000; } .post p { margin:0 0 .75em; } { margin:0; text-align:right; } em { display:block; float:left; text-align:left; font-style:normal; color:#996; } a.comment-link { /* IE5.0/Win doesn't apply padding to inline elements, so we hide these two declarations from it */ background/* */:/**/url("") no-repeat 0 .25em; padding-left:15px; } html>body a.comment-link { /* Respecified, for IE5/Mac's benefit */ background:url("") no-repeat 0 .25em; padding-left:15px; } .post img { margin:0 0 5px 0; padding:4px; border:1px solid #cca; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments { margin:0; } #comments h4 { margin:0 0 10px; border-top:1px dotted #9b9; padding-top:.5em; font:bold 110%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; color:#333; } #comments-block { line-height:1.6em; } .comment-poster { background:url("") no-repeat 2px .35em; margin:.5em 0 0; padding:0 0 0 20px; font-weight:bold; } .comment-body { margin:0; padding:0 0 0 20px; } .comment-body p { margin:0 0 .5em; } .comment-timestamp { margin:0 0 .5em; padding:0 0 .75em 20px; color:#996; } .comment-timestamp a:link { color:#996; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* More Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ .sidebar-title { margin:2em 0 .75em; padding-bottom:.35em; border-bottom:1px dotted #9b9; font:95%/1.4em Georgia,Serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.3em; color:#663; } #sidebar p { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } #sidebar ul { margin:.5em 0 1em; padding:0 0px; list-style:none; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar ul li { background:url("") no-repeat 3px .45em; margin:0; padding:0 0 5px 15px; } #sidebar p { margin:0 0 .6em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ .profile-datablock { margin:0 0 1em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; margin:0 8px 5px 0; border:4px solid #cc9; } .profile-data { margin:0; line-height:1.5em; } .profile-data strong { display:block; } .profile-textblock { clear:left; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { clear:both; padding:15px 0 0; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { padding-left: 20px }

Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fun (and history) with Peeps

After seeing the Peeps dioramas in the Washington Post, the kids were dying to make their own crafty-sweet versions. I agreed to let them go wild, under one condition: They had to make a scene depicting something we'd covered so far this year in history. And we got their two friends who do history with them involved too. 

I think what they came up with is pretty great. . .

Columbus sailing to the New World by my son, age 7:


Here are the native people waiting for his arrival:


Poor Verrazano meeting an unfortunate end with a bunch of hungry cannibals, by my friend's son, age 8 (I love him in the pot over the fire!):


Pocahontas saving John Smith, by my friend's daughter, age 11:


Pilgrims working hard on their new land, by Jilly, age 9:


And, finally, the Salem Witch Trials, by Belly, age 11:


(look at the poor googly-eyed "witch"!)

And, yes, many Peeps were harmed in the making of these scenes. (burp)

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What are your internet rules?

Though I think the internet is about 85% great and 15% gak-awful-horror, my ratios change quite a bit when I think about my kids being on it. 

I mean, have you ever read the comments on a YouTube video? Even an adorable :10 film of a puppy chasing a kitten will have someone saying, "Your a f*cker and suc* donkey b*lls". Doesn't anyone remember that "you're" needs an apostrophe? Makes me weep for humanity.

In our home, we have parental controls on everything from the laptops to my iPhone. The kids know that YouTube is verboten unless I am with them. And only my 11 year old has an email account, and no way/no how are they getting on Facebook anytime soon.

But, they are now old enough to leave the house on their own, those darned growing-up kids. And, I no longer accompany them on every play date. They even have friends with their own devices: iPod Touches,  iPads, and access to their home computers.

So now what? If I find them huddled around a device in my presence, I tell them to shut it off and go outside to play. But, when I'm not there? Now what? 

I've thought about approaching parents and asking, "Do you have parental controls on your kids' devices?" But then I think I'll go from being That Weird Homeschooling Parent, to That Weird Overprotective, Nosy, Pushy Homeschooling Parent (who doesn't let her kids read The Hunger Games).

My husband has asked a friend for a copy of the Internet Contract he's had his kids sign. I like this idea though I think any memory of a "contract" probably goes out the window as soon as a friend says, "You've GOT to see this!"

How do you mamas of older kids handle this? Do you tell your kids' friends to put away the devices in your home? Host every play date so they are always under your roof? Lock them in their room until they are 18? (Oh I could never do that. I read Flowers in the Attic.)

But, seriously, I'd really appreciate your input on this one. When my oldest expressed frustration at me when I was talking this over with her, I said, "Listen, this is new territory. There WAS NO INTERNET when I was a child.

"Wait? Not even email?"

Sigh. These kids don't really understand.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Better than a funhouse mirror

Just a sampling of the lovely images I found yesterday when I downloaded the photos off my iPhone:




Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What happens when you don't interfere

The girls participated in their first-ever Destination Imagination tournament this weekend, and I---as one of Jilly's Team Managers---came along for the ride. 

I've already written a bit about DI and how one of the major tenets is that no one can "interfere" with a team. This means that NO ONE----not family members, friends, other teams' members, siblings, and most definitely managers---can influence or help a team with their challenge. 

This is hard.

Every. Single. Time. my team would practice, the words, "Great Job!" would be out of my mouth before I could stop them. And four pairs of eyes would shoot quickly in my direction while my daughter cried, "MOM! No interference!"

This meant I couldn't balk when they decided to use cardboard (trash) boxes for 99% of their set and props. I couldn't tell them to wear better costumes. I couldn't insist that they repaint a prop, or change their script, or rethink a solution they had come up with as a team.


This was all about the four of these goofballs, ages 7-9, getting up in front of a room of people and five appraisers, and doing their thing while I sat on my hands, teeth clenched together.

And, this little crew who had never done this before? With their "trash" props and backdrop and their spare costumes? But with their own kick-ass idea, awesome poem, and amazing balsa-wood structure? Came in fourth in their regional competition, just a wee bit behind the third-place team. 

My oldest daughter, whose performance I had never even seen---who has never, ever done a lick of theater---stood on stage in total character and, at least for me, stole the show. (I can say that as a mama, right?) Her group of giggly, smart, and fabulous 10-12 year old girls tied for fifth place out of 19 teams. 

I am so proud of them. And proud of us parents who were able to keep our big mouths shut (most of the time) and keep our hands out of their work. 

Turns out, when you don't interfere, these kids do pretty well on their own.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The kids are ruining my appetite for The Hunger Games

I came to The Hunger Games late. It was while I was reading Suzanne Collins' juvenile series Gregor out loud to my children that I heard that she had also written a Young Adult series. The Hunger Games name rang a bell, so I decided to read it. In a weekend. Followed quickly by Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

The books left me breathless, sickened, upset, and gave me so much food for thought, it often took me a while to fall asleep at night if I was reading in bed.

In the meantime, I finished book 2 of the Gregor series and my oldest daughter asked me to please stop reading them out loud. While they are much (MUCH) less violent than The Hunger Games, this series has  enough suspense, death and suffering that my then-ten-year old was having trouble going to sleep at the end of a chapter. I ended up reading the remaining three books in that series alone. 

So it is interesting that this same daughter is now asking to read The Hunger Games. Why? Because "all the kids are reading it" according to some of her friends. And, yes, as soon as I heard that quote coming from the lips of a tween, my eyes rolled back in my head.

At first, I thought "eh, ignore it. Make a big deal about it and they'll be dying to read it." But, I have a big mouth and can't ignore anything, so I've been telling them why they can't read it. Whey they shouldn't read it. And now they think I'm the big, bad mama who doesn't let her kids read the most-hyped book since Harry Potter.

Hell, even my seven year old says he wants to read it despite the fact that he's still working his way through Easy Readers. 

Here's my gripe: The Hunger Games is not a Juvenile book. It is not even Tween. It's Young Adult. It's insanely violent and the violence is almost always against children. It's bloody and scary. It is NOT the next great novel for kids who have finished the Harry Potter series.

Listen, I get it. The kids want to be "in" on the next big thing. I'm pretty sure kids have read Twilight though I think that is also a YA title. And I snuck Forever out of the library at 16 so I could read about Ralph. (heh)

But, man, when I hear that nine year olds are reading The Hunger Games, it bums me out. 

And if I see them grabbing popcorn and settling into watching the movie with me, my eyes are going to roll. I won't be able to help it.

If you are on the fence for your kids, check out Snarky Amber's excellent suggestions in today's MamaPop article called Is "The Hunger Games" Too Violent For Your Kids?"

Labels: , ,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I think there is a reason it reads as "die"

We are one week from my Elementary-Level Destination Imagination team's regional competition. Otherwise known as DI.

I am so tired.

Our team is doing a challenge that includes both a skit and a balsa-wood structure that must hold weight and collect golf balls. Somehow these two must be related.

The competition is March 17. Yet, my little four-person team does not yet have a structure, a complete script, finalized set, or finished props. 

Did I saw I was tired?

Ever try to motivate four distracted 8-9 year olds who aren't really sure they want to do this anymore? And, if you know DI, you know there is only so much "motivating" I can do before I step into the sticky mess of "interference", a dirty word in DI circles. 

(You know why the dads build 99% of those pine wood derby cars in Cub Scouts? Because without "interference", you age about 25 years.)

But, I guess it's good that we have the interference clause because it's kept me from wringing my daughter's neck when, instead of painting her ONE prop, she decides to run outside and play with her friends.

Hands off, hands off, hands off. My new mantra. 

I hope I survive this.

And, yes, I already have a pedicure scheduled for the 18th. May have to throw a massage and facial on top of that.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

On the cusp

Every night at bedtime, my daughter tries to break my neck.

Now, this may sound like an odd start to an annual Happy Birthday message to my middle daughter, but bear with me.

You see, when I lean over to give her a goodnight kiss at bedtime, she throws her arms around my neck and hugs---as hard as she can---while I say, "ow, ow, ow, not so hard, okay, that's enough, I love you too". . .

But, that's her. She loves, and lives, with that same fierce determination every day. 

She hugs everyone. Teachers, neighbors, even kids she's met only once before. When she sees our next-door babysitter, she will run at breakneck speed screaming "Miiiiiichaaaaaaaelaaaaa!" which gives this poor girl time to turn and open her arms to the child about to leap into them. 

She hangs on like a baby monkey.

She's loud and wiggly, and so wound up at night, she's often the last one to fall asleep---even after me. 


When she was young, we mistakenly took her to be a wrecking machine and total klutz because she was always falling, knocking things over, and tripping. I guess that's what happens when you are determined to walk at nine months old. She's so anxious to get on to the next big thing, she sometimes forgets to watch out for what's in her way.

But, then she took ballet and we saw the flip side: Total grace and a look of weightlessness that I couldn't achieve if I practiced for 100 years.

She is up for everything: rock climbing, soccer, dance, art, chess, track, knitting, swimming---yes! yes! yes! There aren't enough hours, nor is there enough money, to do everything she wants to do. 

But when she doesn't want to do something, woe to the person who has to talk her into finishing her commitment. 

I know, because that person is usually me.

Oh, little girl, you can't wait to grow up and do more, more, more. I saw it in your eyes in Sephora as you walked around big-eyed, gazing at the makeup as if it held the key to your next step at growing up. 


I see it in your eyes as you watch the bigger girls at coop, or as you play with your older sister and her friends. 

And then, in the next minute, you'll be with your dolls, or playing LEGO with our brother, or dragging out the dress-up clothes, giving me time to catch my breath and remember that you are still just a little girl. 

On the cusp.

So, Jilly, on your ninth birthday, forgive me if I hug you just as tightly as you hug me. I know that in about a minute, you'll squirm out of my grasp. 

Happy Birthday, my sweet.

Labels: ,

Friday, March 02, 2012

Oh, the places they'll go. . .*

If your kids could go anywhere in the world, where would they go? In a couple of years, we will find out.

When my oldest was about five, my husband and I had an idea that we thought could tie into their homeschooling education: At the age of 13, each child will be given a budget, some guidelines, and then given free reign to plan our family vacation for that year.

Planning will include picking the country or area of the world, researching things to do, learning about local customs, and even comparing transportation costs. Oh, and learning a bit of the language so we can ask "Where is the public bathroom?" wherever we are.

We picked the age of thirteen because it means that my oldest will be 17 and still home when our youngest son is planning his trip. 

Are we crazy? I'm actually really looking forward to this, especially since we are now--gulp--only two years away from my oldest hitting thirteen. 

She is excited too and has talked about this for years. If she had to pick right now, she'd choose an island (hey, it's cold in New England right now), though other years, she has brought up France, Italy and even South Dakota to visit Laura Ingalls' homestead.

Now, just to clear up: We are not rolling in extra money, nor do we plan to mortgage the house to do this. But, if the comments I read to my "five-dollar savings plan" post are true, I believe that almost anyone can save a significant amount of money with some planning and discipline. 

And there are plenty of ways to do this on a smaller scale, which is something we may have to consider if, for instance, my husband's work situation changes. We could tell the kids they have to pick a place in the contiguous U.S., for instance. Or, nothing that requires an airline flight or a passport. Or just give them a budget to plan a few day-trips during a regular family vacation.

And, not to be a snob, but I do have some rules: No Disney or theme park trips, no cruises or all-inclusive resorts where you don't go anywhere, and no city-to-city-following-Justin-Bieber's-concert-tour.

My husband and I will also be in charge of all credit-card reservations and have the right to review and change any plans if we deem necessary. And if our kids want to go to a country that is in the midst of political upheaval, we'll tell them to make another choice. 

But, whatever they pick, I can't wait to see where we go. Yes, that is one more rule: They have to bring their parents.

*Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Labels: , ,