Monday, July 30, 2012

Have I Told You Lately That I Love... Our Children's Museum?

Over a year ago, I wrote about how awesome our local children's museum is.  (Go check it out. JD is a cute, little chubby thing!)  We've totally loved our membership to the Long Island Children's Museum, and we enjoyed an especially awesome day there last Friday with a couple good friends.  There is so much going on there that we hadn't taken advantage of yet!

Long Island Parent Source sent me to the LICM to review the museum's early childhood music program, and we very happily accepted the passes to see one of our favorite local musicians, Darlene Graham.  


O was shouting "UP" and "DOWN".
We left the museum after exploring the first floor exhibits to grab some lunch at the Student Center of my alma mater, Hofstra.  Our friend Sonia's daddy is an alumnus also, so the kids thought this was so cool.
Thank goodness I have 15 years before I actually have to worry about him going to college.
Then it was back to the museum for a puppet show performance of Goldilocks & the Three Bears.  One of the puppeteers is a former student of mine and my friend, Heather, and it was so fun to see him perform!

O demanded to sit behind us all by himself.

JD giggled throughout the entire show.  Best sound in the world! 
After the show, we explored the new art exhibit.

The kids stepped into some famous works.

O's favorite animal lately is PIGS!
Upstairs, we spent a lot of time in the Feasts for Beasts gallery where we saw turtles, snakes, rats, and a beehive up close & personal.

This hive had an opening through the window, so we could watch them come and go from the museum.


Maybe they'll build me a patio someday.
We finished up the day with a walk over to Nunley's Carousel- a beautiful restored wooden carousel originally built in 1912.



I definitely need to get better at checking the events calendar for the museum so we don't miss more awesome days like this!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Here's My Face #BlogHer12

I remember reading Suzanne's face post last year and wishing I was going to be seeing her in person, and now that I've met her, I CAN'T WAIT to see her again next week at BlogHer!  And speaking of BlogHer, I'm jumping on the band wagon and posting pictures of my face, so hopefully you will recognize me and say hello.  Because I'm really bad with remembering names- and especially connecting faces with names- especially when I assume nobody knows me or cares about talking to me.  Please say hi!

This is the face I hope you see.

This is my walking-the-streets-of-NYC face

This is my listening face.  (Wow- I look tired here.  I will probably look tired at BlogHer, too.)

This is my confused/lost/I think you're crazy face

This is me enjoying your picture/tweet/post instead of actually getting the nerve to talk to you in person.

Hopefully I'll make it to a workout or at least squeeze a run in at some point.

I'm trying to drink more water, so you should see me doing this quite a bit.

I will not have tiny children demanding a catch.  (woohoo!)
Please join us in posting your face.  Even if you aren't even going to BlogHer- it's fun to see what we really look like.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Birdhouse for Grandma

painting_a_birdhouse Toddlers Painting Birdhouse

painting_a_birdhouse Toddler Painting Birdhouse

painting_a_birdhouse Toddlers Painting Birdhouse Finished

painting_a_birdhouse Toddlers Painting Birdhouse Finished

*Plain birdhouses were 70% off at Michael's yesterday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Best Play Date Ever

I knew this play date was going to be a success from the moment JD stepped out of the car onto the gravel driveway and exclaimed, "They have rocks here?!  I LOVE THIS PLACE!"

A little drizzle didn't stop us from swimming, sliding, and making personal pizzas with our friends.  A great time was had by all!

best_playdate_ever Best Play Date Ever Swimming in the Rain
swimmin' in the rain, just swimmin' in the rain...

best_playdate_ever Water Slide at Play Date
Straight-out-the-hose, cold water didn't deter O.  JD wasn't as brave.

best_playdate_ever Best Play Date Pizza Making
Perfect outdoor play date lunch activity- especially when wearing swimsuits: English muffin pizza!  O did a great job all by himself! 

best_playdate_ever Best Play Date Pizza Making
Somebody loves cheese.
It is no surprise that my friend is an elementary school teacher- she was such a fun & patient host to my little guys.  And her kids are equally charming and imaginative.  I have to start thinking of fun things to do when I host them... any ideas out there?  I guess I should go look at all those things I've been pinning.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Gift for the Divorcee

Telling people you are getting a divorce isn't easy.  Hearing that a friend is getting a divorce isn't easy either.  As I have told friends about my situation, I've seen their shock, sadness, pity, and speechlessness, and I certainly don't have any answers as to what the "right" thing to say is.  But I have witnessed what the right thing to do is.  

I have been blessed with the most awesome friends and family.  They have listened and offered their support no matter what direction this takes me.  I also have a couple friends who seem to instinctively know what I need, and they have one thing in common.  They've gone through a divorce.  

It makes me feel guilty that I wasn't there for them in the same way during their rough time, but I hope they know how very much I love and appreciate them being here for me through mine.  

Recently a friend delivered a gift that simultaneously brings me to laughter and tears.  It is probably the most thoughtful gift I have ever received, and the perfect gift for anyone woman going through a divorce. 


It included a bottle of wine (notice it's already empty), 2 goblets that she painted to say "Worth It" & "Available", scissors (for some photo editing), a mirror that says "Still got it!", a back scratcher, and a couple snickers bars (because they're really satisfying, of course) (and they didn't last long enough to make it into the picture).  Best of all was the card, which read, "Life is filled with new adventures and some journeys we may not want to take, but where we end up is far better than where we were.  I'm here for you anytime and anywhere."  Who needs a husband when you have a friend like that ;)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

JD's Ball Pit 3rd Birthday Party

Ball_pit_birthday_party Ball Pit

If you have read my blog before, you know we love our local My Gym, so what better place to celebrate JD's big day?  I decided on a ball pit theme and ran with it!  

Ball_pit_birthday_party Ball Pit

The kids enjoyed pizza and juice boxes, and I enjoyed making the Ball Pit Cupcakes and Cereal Bars.

Ball_pit_birthday_party treat bars
Made just like rice krispie treats but with Trix.

Ball_pit_birthday_party treat bars
I bagged them and sealed with stickers (which didn't print exactly lined up right, but whatever).

Ball_pit_birthday_party cupcakes
After frosting the cupcakes, I dipped them in candy-covered chocolate balls in the colors of the ball pit.

Ball_pit_birthday_party cupcakes

For favors, I wrapped large playground balls in clear plastic tablecloth that I bought in a huge roll at PartyCity. (Would anybody actually put a clear plastic tablecloth on a table?)  I made circular tags and finished them off with ribbon.

Ball_pit_birthday_party favors
Cutting the circles wasn't as huge of a nightmare as I thought it was going to be because I found an adjustable circle cutter at the craft store.  I used it to make the small circles for the party hats, too.

Ball_pit_birthday_party favors
And then I made 20 of them.  (20 toddlers = the party was NOT at my home)
And of course, we PLAYED!

Ball_pit_birthday_party fun
swinging on the big hot dog

Ball_pit_birthday_party fun
riding the zip line 

Ball_pit_birthday_party fun

Ball_pit_birthday_party fun

*Balls ordered in bulk from S & S Worldwide.  Invitations were from The Stationary Studio.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Helping Toddlers Deal with Divorce

When my husband moved out 5 months ago, JD had a much stronger reaction than I was prepared for, and it terrified me.  Because his dad frequently traveled and worked a lot of nights, I naively thought JD wouldn't notice a huge change in our routine, but I quickly realized that not only did he understand that something major was going on, but he was also picking up on my own anxiety and sadness.  He started stuttering, biting his nails, and acting out (much more than usual).  I don't know if I was more devastated by my personal crisis or by watching JD go through his own.

I am relieved to share that the stuttering has completely stopped and his behavior has drastically improved.  (I will take any tips for stopping the nail biting!)  Here are a few things that I would attribute this to.
  1. Simplifying as much as possible.  At first I thought it would be best for the boys if I had their dad over for a couple meals each week, but I quickly realized that it was too confusing for them.  JD would start the next day crying and screaming because daddy wasn't still there.  Him coming and going from the house didn't make sense to them, and of course they picked up on the tension.
  2. Having a consistent schedule and pick-up & drop-off routine.  I noticed a huge change in JD's behavior after keeping drop-off & pick-up as quick as possible and right at the door.  I would like to think that I have less tension and anxiety because I know the schedule, and that impacts the boys, too.
  3. Being honest.  I have openly and positively talked with the boys about what is going on and how we are feeling.  From the beginning, they were comfortable talking about daddy's house vs. mommy's house, and they know that it's okay to be sad and miss daddy and also to be happy and excited to spend time with him.  I want them to learn that they can trust me to be honest with them- but it is important to note that that doesn't mean that I will tell them everything.  There is no reason for them to ever hear me say anything negative about their father or make them feel like they need to choose sides.
  4. Showing them similar situations- both in books and in real life.  One of my best friends is divorced and shares custody of her daughter.  JD was so excited to hear that she has a "mommy's house" and a "daddy's house", too, and my friend has been an incredible resource and support to me.  At first I was hesitant to get the boys books that used the D word, and there isn't much for toddlers anyway, but there are a lot of books that deal with separation anxiety and different kinds of families.  Our favorites are Llama Llama Misses MamaThe Family Book (We LOVE Todd Parr books.), When I Miss You, and Owl Babies.  I've had a harder time finding books about missing daddy (Anybody else notice most separation anxiety-themed books deal with missing mom?), but there are great books that depict a child spending time alone with their dad- like The Biggest BearMy Daddy and Me, and Because Your Daddy Loves You.  
This is just the start of our family's transition, and I hope to share more good news soon.
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