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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Taking the plunge


I'm going dark for a little while as my blog goes through a magical transformation known as a "redesign". 

Hopefully, when it's done, I'll be on Wordpress, with a header that fits across the middle, and all my links, your witty comments and my award-winning photos will still be intact. 

And then I'll get to learn how to publish to Wordpress. Hold me.

In the meantime, enjoy your April and hope to see you on your sites, Facebook, or even in real life! -Christina

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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: visiting the Easter Bunny, 1969


still gives me chills---look at those scary eyes!

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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)

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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.

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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:




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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.

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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?"

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