I Think It’s Interesting!

I went to the library yesterday and grabbed a bunch of stories by one of our new favorite children’s authors, Robert Munsch.


We just discovered this prolific author. His stories are cute, funny, and often feature clever protagonists. Some of our favorites are “The Paper Bag Princess,” “Mud Puddle,” and “We Share Everything!”

We read a new one yesterday called “Stephanie’s Ponytail.” It’s a witty tale of a little girl who wears a ponytail in different ways and gets copied by others in her class at school. The moral of the story is “don’t blindly follow people.” It’s a good book, and we all enjoyed it and laughed at her funny ponytails.


Today, Miss said she wanted one ponytail “coming right out the back” and two more on the sides. I gently suggested that perhaps she would like to have either a ponytail in the back or two on the sides. Her response?

“But Mo-om! I think it’s interesting!”


Well. Yes it is.



I love her independence.

Food, Lies, and Church

I have some rules about food and meals and eating in our house. Though I try not to go overboard with crazy rules, I think these are important as they serve to try to ensure my kids eat in a healthful way, to minimize battles over food and eating, and to make mealtime a non-negotiable period of time set aside for family.

Here are the food rules at our house:

We have set meal and snack times. My kids do not eat or drink (except water) all throughout the day. Except for special occasion “picnics” on a blanket in the family room while watching a movie and the occasional snack eaten on the road somewhere, they eat at the table. When they get down from the table, they’re done eating until the next meal or snack.

I do not make special food for my kids separate from what I make for my husband and myself. We all eat the same meal. I often include options like cottage cheese or applesauce for my kids to go along with the meal, but I never make them something else.

No one ever has to clean her plate. My kids eat what they want of what is served. When they say they’re done, they ask to be excused and get down from the table.

Along these lines, I don’t ever require my kids to eat anything at meal time if they say they aren’t hungry. BUT, everyone has to at least come to the table and sit with the family (just for meals, not snacks). This preserves the family meal time and also prevents hungry meltdowns after meals if they really are hungry but just say they aren’t because of being absorbed in playing. And I find that, even if they complain about coming to the table saying, “I’m not hungry!!!” they almost always eat once they’re there.


However, if there is some sort of “treat” being served with or after a meal, they must eat a certain amount of their meal in order to be allowed to have dessert. For example, sometimes we have sweet potato chips or nuts (cashews, pecans, etc.) or fruit along with a meal. These things aren’t considered “dessert,” but I also try not to let my kids just fill up on these alone, so if we have these items at the table, they are required to eat a few bites of their meal, then have a bit of one of these side items, then a few more bites of meal, then some more side, etc.

These rules really work well for our family. We rarely have battles at meal times over how much or what they’re going to eat. We all gather together for dinner, which is important to me. My kids learn to listen to the signals from their bodies to control how much they eat. The girls know the rules, so if they try to do something different, we just recite the applicable rule and they generally comply. It’s part of our family routine.


Yesterday, some of these rules got tested a bit. We had meat and cheese for lunch (lunch meat and sliced cheese without bread is common here). Miss was complaining that she didn’t like this food (though she eats it happily often enough). She stated that she only wanted cheese to eat, which was fine. While the girls were eating, I finished putting groceries away. Miss saw some pecans and asked to have some. I told her she could have some, but she needed to eat her cheese and some meat first. She complained and complained. She said her cheese was “sour,” though again she had eaten some of the same cheese happily the day before. I told her, as I always do, that she didn’t have to eat her cheese if she didn’t want to, but she would not be allowed to have pecans if she didn’t. It was her choice. So she kept eating, and kept complaining. After a bit she said, “Okay, I ate it all.” I started to get the pecans for her, but noticed that she had not in fact eaten all of her cheese. She had eaten most of it, and then hidden what was left under some meat on her plate.

Oh man. Busted.

I told her that hiding her cheese under her meat and saying she was done was a lie. I told her she would not be getting pecans. I was pissed and I raised my voice, telling her that she is not to lie to me ever.


Then I stopped and reminded myself that lying is a pretty normal thing for a kid her age. That she is still in the process of trying to figure out what lying really means (she often will say to her sister while playing, “no, you’re lying,” when Lass isn’t lying but simply says something Miss doesn’t like). I reminded myself that she already felt bad after I confronted her on her lie and told her that she would not be allowed to have pecans. I dropped the issue for a bit and we proceeded to get ready for nap time. I put Sis down for her nap, read books with Miss and Lass, and put Lass down for her nap.

Then Miss and I came back downstairs to have our special time (15 minutes of time set aside every day for us to do whatever she wants while her sisters nap). Before we started, I pulled her up on my lap and told her I wanted to talk to her. I told her that when she intentionally says something that is not true that means she is telling a lie. I told her that sometimes telling a lie might get her what she wants, if she doesn’t get caught, but that it’s never worth it. I told her that lying hurts relationships and makes people not trust her. I told her I was sorry for yelling at her. I told her that I felt angry and hurt and disappointed when she lied to me. I told her that I will always, always love her no matter what, but that if she lies to me, I will not trust her. She listened to all of this very intently and nodded her head. Then she gave me a hug and we moved on to our special time. I think this was a good learning experience for both of us.


And speaking of learning experiences, tomorrow we are going to church as a family.


Is it weird that I’m super nervous about this?

I can’t really pinpoint why. I’ve been in church many times over the past several years, though all of those times have been for a wedding or funeral. Maybe it’s because the last time I went to a church just for the purpose of going to church, no one talked to me, not even a “hello” or a smile, which made it feel very weird and unwelcoming. Maybe it’s because going to church will lead my kids to ask questions that I’m not sure I’ll know how to answer. Maybe it’s because going to church will push me further to work on answering my own questions.

It’s probably a little bit of all of these things. I’ve never been one to shy away from pushing myself though. And I’ve made the decision, with a little help from my husband and some other thoughtful people, that I want my girls to be exposed to the experience of religion and worship and faith and all that. I have some to the realization that I’m grateful for having had that experience to some degree myself as a kid. Because even though I moved away from it for many years, when I needed to draw on that history, I was able to do so. I was able to say a prayer and find some comfort in that. I want my girls to have that foundation, whether they maintain faith and/or religion throughout their lives or not.


And if I had had any doubts left, the other day Miss heard me singing “Amazing Grace” and asked me about the “house” where we had heard that song before. I didn’t know what she was talking about and kept asking her “what house?” while trying to figure out what she meant. She said something about the “big house” where she and her sister had been coloring while people were singing. Then I realized she meant church. She was talking about my husband’s grandmother’s funeral. I think she just confused “Amazing Grace” with either the “Hallelujah” song or “Ave Maria,” both of which were sung at that funeral (though I don’t think “Amazing Grace” was).

Anyway, after I realized what she meant and we clarified that she was talking about church, she said, “Can we go there again someday, Mama?”


Yes. Yes we can.

Taking that leap of faith tomorrow.

Snow White Birthday Party on the Cheap

You might remember, about a year and a half ago I wrote a post about my “Princess Issue.” I used to have a little bit of an anti-princess attitude. However, I’ve really lightened up on this, and over the past year, the princesses have really been a popular toy/play theme in our house. We even had lunch with the princesses at Disney for Miss’s birthday. My girls love playing with, reading about, and dressing up as all the Disney Princess gals. Snow White is typically the favorite, though recently they’ve really been into Ariel, and Cinderella and Rapunzel are always popular here too.

But I must admit, as much as I’ve lightened up on my anti-princess campaign and have come to enjoy, perhaps even embrace, the princesses these days, I still sometimes tend towards encouraging other toys, games, and books over the princess stuff. I guess I just want to make sure they’re getting variety.

So when it came time to start planning Miss’s birthday party, and I asked her what type of party she would like, I gave some non-princess examples.

Me: “You could have a cowgirl party, or an archery party (sounds odd, but this would be right up her alley, remember this?), or a fairy party…”

Her: “I want a princess party.”

Me: “Okay. Well. Any particular princess or just all the princesses in general?”

Her: “A particular princess.”

Me: “Which one?”

Her: “Snow White.”

Indecision is not a problem with this girl.

From that point, the challenge was on for me to come up with Snow-White-themed birthday decor that wasn’t cheesy, canned, or mass-produced by Disney. I knew I could give her a Snow White party, but I couldn’t make myself go to the princess aisle at the local Party Bomb store and buy up a bunch of their Disney Princess stuff. First of all, it’s ridiculous how much they charge for it. Secondly, they always sell it with several of the princesses together, and often Snow White is not even included. Third, well, I just didn’t want to. So I tried to get creative.

Where did I start? Why, Pinterest of course. From there I had to take the ideas and turn them into something I could do considering our particular situation.

I knew that we would be traveling for Miss’s birthday, and I wouldn’t be able to do a ton because we’d be having the party at my sister-in-law’s house. I wanted to do things that I thought Miss would enjoy that wouldn’t cost a lot of money. Also, I didn’t want to be too over the top with the princess-y stuff because the majority of the kid guests at the party would be Miss’s older and male cousins.

So I decided to go with the blue, yellow, and red color scheme (from her dress) and focus a little bit more on the Evil Queen and the poisoned apples. I really wanted to use some of the ideas from this post like the seven dwarfs ring toss, wishing well, and pass the poisoned apple game, but with the party being squeezed between sessions of the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament, I knew we wouldn’t have time for games. Plus most of the kids coming to the party were a bit old for these anyway. So I kept things more simple.

Anyway, focusing on poisoned apples and magic mirrors and keeping things cheap, I went to the dollar section at Target and the Dollar Tree store to see what I could find.

I found these packs of 10 (5 red and 5 green) apples at Target for $1. I didn’t immediately know what I would do with them, but knew I could use them for something.


I never did come up with anything really clever, but I decided to make a few little signs. I wasn’t going to purchase a special font, so I just used the Blackmoor LET font in Word, on the largest size available, to make them. I thought they looked close enough.



At the Dollar Tree I found this silver-colored platter.


I knew I wanted to make the Evil Queen’s mirror, and though it obviously wasn’t a mirror, it was the right size and shape and it was reflective. And oh yeah, it was $1.


Referring to a picture I found online of the queen’s mirror, I used craft foam to frame it (package of foam crown shapes also from the Dollar Tree, I had to cut one down to size).




I found some gold acrylic paint in my crafting stash in the basement,


some glitter glue, a few big rhinestones (the most expensive part of the whole project because I had to buy a whole big package, but I’m sure they will get used around here), some Elmer’s glue to fasten it to the platter, and voila! A Magic Mirror.


I took a Command Adhesive Strip with me so I could hang it on my sister-in-law’s banister.


Miss and Lass got a kick out of it, and so did some of our littler guests.


* Note – the glue didn’t hold very well after traveling with it. I had to re-glue it and add some tape to get it to stay. It still worked well enough though.

We had poisoned apple cupcakes.



I had seen a small stand-up doll Cinderella cake at our local grocery store bakery (like the kind my aunt used to make for my and my cousins’ birthdays!) and asked them if they could do Snow White. They said yes, so I ordered one. I didn’t want the whole party to seem more about the Evil Queen than Snow White, and I thought Miss would really like the doll cake. Unfortunately they called me three days before the party (one day before we left for Iowa!) and told me that they did not, in fact, have Snow White. After a bit of a scramble to try to find someone in Iowa who could do one at the last minute with no luck, I hurriedly photocopied a couple pictures from the girl’s Snow White book and laminated them to set on the table to add a little bit of actual Snow White to the scene. A little cheesy, but it worked in a pinch and it was free.

DSC_0351 DSC_0353 DSC_0402I did take one party idea from the blog post mentioned above, and that was to have some little bird whistles available as party favors. The ones used at the party in that post got reviews on Amazon that said they were very hard for kids to blow and actually make them whistle, so I got these instead (bonus: they were cheaper).


They were mostly a hit with the Under-18-Months Crowd.

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So there you have it. Some homemade apple signs, laminated copies of book pages, a homemade Magic Mirror from a $1 platter, poisoned apple cupcakes, and some bird whistles. It wasn’t fancy, and not nearly as elaborate as most of the parties I saw in my Pinteresting. But it worked well considering we had to take the party on the road and were hosting it at someone else’s home. And it was CHEAP. All the decor (not counting food, cups, plate, etc.) was under $20.

Most importantly, Miss enjoyed it.



Accidental Anatomy Lesson

I tend to pick the worst days to go grocery shopping.


Somehow I didn’t know we had a snow storm coming our way today.

I would have postponed our shopping trip, but we were out of many essentials and nearly out of many more, like bread, oatmeal, half and half, milk, etc. In fact, I mixed the last of the half and half with the last of the milk this morning for my girls to have something to drink with their breakfast.

Anyway. We were out of lots of stuff. I had to go to the grocery store. Because of the crazy weather, it took me much longer than it normally does. Okay, truth is it was the weather plus the fact that I didn’t make a list so I had to double back to the same aisle at least three times because of forgetting something.

My point? We had little time for school this morning.

We did our calendar, sang our groundhog song (Groundhog Day is February 2!), read our groundhog books. And that was all we had time for.

I was kind of bummed, but it happens and we roll with it. I have three days left to do the rest of our letter G and Groundhog Day activities.

When Miss came down from her “rest time” (she no longer takes naps), she saw one of my husband’s professional books lying on the chair next to me. The book is titled “Atlas of Vascular Anatomy.” She wanted to look at it, her sisters were still sleeping, and I saw a golden opportunity. So we dove in. She was naturally more interested in the color illustrations in the book than the more frequently occurring black and white angiogram photos. She stopped on each and every page that had one of these color pictures, pointed at the things she saw, and asked me what they were.

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Now, obviously this book is totally over my head in its detail. However, I was able to tell her what each of the pictures were in basic terms (heart, spine, brain, lungs, arteries, veins, etc.). When I wasn’t sure about some of the specifics, I just looked at the captions. I pointed to the different parts of her body where the organs we were looking at are located. We got into some basic physiology too, like what the heart and lungs and brain do, the difference between arteries and veins, and so forth.

She was so interested, so I just kept talking. She asked tons of questions. I was able to answer almost all of them.

Incidentally, this was a lesson that lent itself to lots of tickling. We had so much fun!

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When the girls get older, my husband will definitely be able to give them much better anatomy and physiology (any type of science for that matter) lessons than I can. But for now, I can handle anatomy on a preschool level.

Back to groundhogs tomorrow!

Our First Homeschool Field Trip

One thing I was nervous about when trying to make the decision about whether to homeschool our girls was finding a local group of homeschoolers with whom we would fit. It took a while, but I eventually did find a group and was really excited to start going to functions and meeting other homeschooling families. Then I realized most things the group was planning were geared toward older kids or took place during nap time. So I’ve been stalking the group’s FB page, waiting and hoping for an activity that I could get to with Miss, if not all three of the girls. Today, we made it to our first field trip.

We went to the fire station.

The trip occurred during nap time, but I got a babysitter for the two younger girls and told Miss she could skip her nap today. While we were driving to the fire station, Miss asked me why Lass and Sis couldn’t come with us. I told her that they were too young to skip their naps. I said how excited I was to have some time to spend just with her. Know what she said? “Yeah. But I wish my sisters were with me.” Love this girl.

She got a big kick out of the firefighter in his “robot” suit.

After our lesson on fire safety, we got to take a tour of the fire station and look at all the trucks.

I loved this. It reminded me of many, many visits to the fire station to see my Dad when I was a girl. I talked to Miss about how her Grandpa was and her uncle is firefighter as we walked around the station. I told her that Grandpa’s fire station had a pole that the firefighters slid down when the fire alarm rang, and that I used to slide down it (okay, just halfway) when I was little.

She got to check out the engine.

It was a good afternoon with my oldest girl.

I must admit I was very nervous going to this field trip. I felt like the new kid in school. I really wanted to meet some other families we could connect with on our homeschool journey. Unfortunately, the situation was not really conducive to lots of visiting with other moms. I did meet one other mom briefly, but there was no chance for chatting or bonding. I had fun anyway, and I can see us doing this regularly. Except for the nap skipping thing. That didn’t work out so well come bedtime tonight.

After our field trip, Miss and I rounded out our special afternoon together by getting some ice cream. This girl takes after her mama. She loves some ice cream.

And this ice cream was good.

I loved sitting with my girl and chatting over ice cream. She’s funny, my girl is. She was singing and laughing and making up silly stories.

She was eager to go next door to the book store and check things out. She is her mama’s daughter. This one loves books. Books and ice cream. Yep.

It was a great afternoon.


How Do You Talk About Death With a Three Year Old?

Today my big girl asked me some heavy questions.

She always knows how to keep me on my toes.  She challenges me, this one does.  She likes to think and figure things out. She asks lots of questions.

Today her questions were about death. Gulp.

We’ve had some discussion about death before. One of our dogs died last June and we talked about it then. My husband’s grandmother passed away this past June, and we talked about it more.

Today for some reason she got really curious about death and asked some very difficult questions for a mother of a three year old to answer.

Questions like, “Mama, are you gonna die some day?”

My heart broke a little bit as I made a split second decision to be honest instead of glossing over or not really answering her question (she doesn’t fall for it when I do that anyway). So I answered her calmly (as my heart was pounding and my brain was silently screaming at me, “Don’t screw this up!”), “Yes, Honey, someday. Everyone dies someday, and that’s okay.  It’s just part of life.”

And then her little lip started to quiver. Tears formed in her eyes. I started to feel panicky. How could I answer her questions so she wouldn’t be fearful? How could I be honest and yet let her know that she didn’t have to worry about death? How did I get into this conversation?

Her next question was like a sledgehammer to my chest. With shaky voice, “But Mama, if you die, who will be my mommy?”

I tried to explain very calmly that I would always be her mommy and that hopefully I would not die for a very, very long time, and that she didn’t need to worry about me dying.

She was still worried. The next question?

“Mama, am I gonna die some day?”

Oh no. Well, I was going for honesty. So I told her that yes she would, someday. But not for a long, long time. She was upset and said that if she died she would be sad to not be able to play with her toys. I don’t know how I managed to keep from dissolving into tears at this point, but I didn’t.

Through all of this, I was so worried that I was screwing it all up and that she was going to have nightmares and be fearful from now on that everyone around her was going to die any moment. She asked me if her Grandma would die, and our remaining dog (who is quite ill), and my Grandpa (who is 94 and on her mind because we just sent him a care package).

I think she was trying to figure out people’s level of oldness with all these questions. See, to this point we have discussed death as something that happens when people or pets get very old.  When our dog died, she was very old but she also had cancer. I didn’t want Miss to be worried every time she got sick, so I explained that our dog died because she was old. Same for my husband’s grandmother, who was 92 when she passed away. I’m not ready to get into the subjects of sicknesses and accidents that can cause death before old age. I don’t think she’s ready for that either. So today I stuck with death happens when you’re old.

Not completely honest, but enough for a three year old on a topic like this.

Honestly, I don’t know if I handled this conversation correctly. I tried to answer her matter-of-factly and give lots of hugs and tell her she does not need to worry about dying right now. During the entire conversation I was trying to change the diaper of a squirmy baby and navigate errant dance moves and ninja kicks from Lass, so I might not have been as focused and eloquent as I would have liked to be for a conversation of this magnitude.

But I think it turned out okay. After asking lots of questions, my precious, spunky, oldest daughter abruptly picked up on something her sister was pretending regarding being Rapunzel and did an about-face to start pretending to be Mother Gothel (I was Flynn Rider). I was a bit shocked and had a brief urge to ask, “Is that it? Are we done with all that death talk for now? You’re not scarred for life or anything, right?”

Instead I jumped into character and began playing Flynn Rider with gusto. My girl seems fine. Phew.

Preschool Couture

One of my favorite times of the day is when Miss chooses the clothes she is going to wear.  It is so fun to see what she picks, and to hear her describe why she has made her choices.  Today was the first day of school, and she excitedly picked out her “school tights, skirt, and topping” last night before bed.  She really couldn’t wait to wear these tights.

As an aside, I really need to get over my compulsion to buy things one size up so that they will last her longer. These tights look ridiculous they’re so big. Note to self: I have three girls. The clothes will get worn plenty. Stop being a cheapskate.

It has been fairly recently that she has gotten into choosing her own outfits, and I have really enjoyed some of the other ensembles she has put together.  She is developing her own sense of style.  I love letting her run with it and be creative.

The one below was one of my favorites.  She pulled out the shorts and then said she needed to find a shirt that also had flowers on it so they would match.  Then she chose a leopard-print bow for her hair.

I laugh at myself sometimes, because though I know it is probably very obvious, I still feel the need to tell people that she picked out her own clothes when she is dressed this way.  Partly because I don’t want anyone to think I dress my adorable child in mismatched clothes, but mostly because I feel proud of her independence and style and like to draw attention to how she expresses herself.

And I love to see how she is working on learning how to match clothes.  For the outfit below, she first picked out the skirt and then had initially chosen a light blue and green top to wear with it.  She held them up together and said, “No, these don’t match.  I need a brown shirt to go with this skirt.”  And she found one. ( The goggles were part of a game she and Lass were playing where they were “hunting trees.”  As in the trees that pulled at Snow White’s dress as she was running through the forest after being told by the huntsman that the queen wanted to kill her.  I think).

I love this stuff.  My girl has definite ideas about how she wants to express herself through her clothing.  She wants to wear skirts and dresses and still loves her tights.  It can be difficult in the few instances where I really need her to wear something particular.  Like when we went to the visitation before my husband’s grandmother’s funeral and I had to purchase all new clothing for myself and the three girls in a hurry (we were out of town and had no nice clothes to wear).  I bought Miss a blue outfit I thought she would love, with a flow-y, ruffly shirt and capri leggings, in blue, her favorite color.  She put on the shirt and was so excited, until she realized it didn’t quite cover her rear end.  She pulled on it and danced around trying to get it to cover her tush.  She said, “It’s not long enough, Momma.”  She thought it was a dress.  Then I told her excitedly that it was a shirt with some beautiful blue pants that went with it.  She didn’t fall for that.  She wanted nothing to do with pants.  She kind of threw a fit about the pants.  We had no other option.  She wore the pants.

Sometimes the definite ideas of my preschooler can be tricky.  But most of the time, they make me proud and they make me smile.  Sometimes they make me laugh and sometimes nearly scream.  Almost always they make me excited to see where they will lead.  How this strong little personality will evolve.  I love that part.


A (Long Overdue?) First Hair Cut

Miss is three and a half years old, and before today, she had never had a haircut.

I’ve been toying with the idea of having her hair cut for the last six months or so.  I just haven’t been able to get myself to do it.  I know she has been needing at least a trim, but I so loved her long hair.

And somehow, it seemed like getting her hair cut was such a big girl thing to do.  Like it would be the for real end of her babyhood.  Yes, I know she’s three and a half.  Her babyhood is past.  But it seems like just yesterday I was putting in her first pigtails.

I’ve never been much of a hair stylist.  Pigtails and ponytails or a barrette on the side about round out my hairstyle repertoire.  Even with my own hair, that’s about the best I can do.

I was quite proud of myself for styling this adorable bun when she was a flower girl last summer.

Fortunately for me, she went through a several-month-long ponytail period in the winter and spring.

Lately, she hasn’t wanted to let me do anything with her hair.  She almost never allows me to put her hair in pigtails or a pony anymore, and it’s been a bit difficult to even get her to let me put in a barrette.

So, I’ve been thinking for a little while I really ought to go ahead and have her hair cut.  But I was still a bit hesitant to do it.  Good thing my girl knows what she wants.  She told me a few weeks ago that she wanted her hair cut.  I waited just a bit before actually scheduling an appointment, to make sure she really wanted to do it.  When she mentioned it again last week, I went ahead and made an appointment.  She was so excited.

She did a great job sitting still for the stylist.

She didn’t like the clips in her hair, but she was okay with them when I told her they were only temporary.  This is the part where I almost cried.  And yes, we saved the first cutting of hair.

I love her little shy smile.

I was very relieved that she loves it.

I love it too.  She looks so grown up.

Out in the World

Sometimes I wish I could just keep my little girls sheltered and safe in our little house, protected from all potentially dangerous or otherwise undesirable things out there.  I mean, do I really have to let them see odd people, walk near swimming pools, and observe annoying behaviors in others that I’d rather they not learn?  Helicopter anyone?  No?

Miss started real swimming lessons this summer.  I know I can’t always keep her perfectly safe, but at least I can make sure that she learns to swim so she can be safer around water.  Last summer we did one short session of a swimming class that I did with her.  She learned waaay more this time.

She didn’t like it at first.  She would cry at the start of her classes, and hated getting her face wet.   

Once she got warmed up in class, she was cool as long as she didn’t have to go under the water.  She got real nervous when she knew they were at the part of class where she had to jump in and go underwater.

But she did it.  Every time.

She did it on her own and she was so proud as she gained confidence and began to realize it really wasn’t a big deal.

I love how confident and strong she looks in the photo below.  She’s about to dive in and she isn’t afraid at all.

She’s learning to swim.

As much as I sometimes wish I could shelter her from everything, I know that I can’t and I shouldn’t.  It’s so special for her to have these experiences of competence and achievement.  She hasn’t graduated to the next class yet, but after six weeks of swimming lessons twice a week, she has improved so much and gained so much confidence.  She doesn’t cry when her class starts anymore.  She barely flinches when she has to go under water.  She’s getting it and I get to watch and smile and feel my momma heart swell (and ache just a tiny bit because she’s growing up).

And speaking of growing up, my big girl and I had a date yesterday to a movie.  It was her first experience in the movie theater.  At first she was bummed that her sisters couldn’t come with us, until I told her that the movie theater is just for big girls.  Then her face lit up and she said, “Like me!”

It was fun to watch her experience something so new and slightly overwhelming.  She held my hand tightly in the lobby where all the people were milling about getting popcorn.  She covered her eyes and cowered toward me when one of the trailers was slightly scary.  Mostly, I think she enjoyed feeling like a special big girl.  I got her popcorn and she shared it with me.  She was awed by the size of the “TV” and how loud it was.

I found myself loving the experience with her and also cringing at some of the content of the movie.  It was Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.  Not an offensive movie in any big way.  It wasn’t scary at all.  But I’m pretty picky when it comes to movies for my kids.  Most of the Disney movies are okay, but even those almost always have some pretty scary parts and sometimes less than desirable content.  I hate it every time I hear Grumpy tell Doc to “Awww, shut up!”  I also don’t love the way most of the princesses are portrayed as pretty helpless.  And I don’t love the drunk scene in Dumbo either. I could go on.  This Chipmunk movie wasn’t too bad, but it had a few parts that bothered me.  I didn’t like all the references to Theodore (and Eleanor of “The Chipettes”) as “The chubby one” and the oddly suggestive dance moves of the female chipmunks.  Perhaps (probably) I’m a big prude.  Maybe I’m overly sensitive.  I just wish there were kids movies that didn’t have objectionable content.

But when I get too uptight thinking about how I exposed my child to such movie content, I just try to remind myself that my girls will see a lot worse in the world around them as they grow.  And the fact is that I do monitor what they are exposed to right now, so when the occasional unpleasant content comes up, I can look at it as an opportunity to teach my girls about being appropriate, kind, strong, etc.  I have to think of it that way, because otherwise we would never get out and experience life in this big world.  I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to go to a movie with my girl because of fear that there might be something undesirable in the movie.  I do my best to make good selections for them now, knowing that I can’t protect them from everything.  I just have to do my best to protect them from the big things, prepare them for the unexpected, and teach them to make good choices in all the other stuff.

P.S. How do you like the new blog??  It’s still a bit of a work in progress, but it’s getting there!

The Preschooler

I’m playing catch-up a bit tonight.  We are at the Farm, and due to traveling and then visiting with family, I have not had a chance to post about Miss’s preschool graduation party until tonight.  Of course, she didn’t graduate from preschool, but a three or four of the other kids in her school did, so there was a little party last Thursday to celebrate the end of the school year and say farewell to those kids heading off to Kindergarten next year.  I love that her school is a mixed age school and that it is so small, so that she sees her older classmates taking this step to Kindergarten and yet doesn’t lose too many of her friends from the past year.
The party was lots of fun.  Miss spent almost the entire time intently focused on making a necklace for herself.

Once she finished it (you can see how long it is in the photos below!!) she went over to the face painting area.  She was a little unsure about the face painting at first.  She is my cautious girl, and she wanted to think this one over a bit.

She eventually sat down and allowed one of her teachers to paint a flower on her cheek.  A blue flower of course.  I love that her teacher knew that blue is her favorite color and commented on it to her (Miss wears a blue shirt to school almost every day).

Though she didn’t graduate from preschool to Kindergarten, she did get a certificate for completing her first year of school.  I am so proud of how far she has come in this past year.  She has learned so much and really gained in confidence.  My girl who used to cry every time I dropped her off at school now doesn’t want to leave when I come to pick her up.  Every day she says, “Mama, I had so much fun at school today.”

When we got home Miss proudly showed off her necklace and face paint (which took three days to wash off, by the way).

Then we had our own little party with some treasures from the Target dollar aisle (have I mentioned how much I love the Target dollar aisle?) and some new sunglasses purchased for our trip to the Farm.

I have so many great photos already from the past weekend of the girls with their cousins at the Farm.  I will post them very soon.  ‘Night.