Enter to Win an RC Helicopter!

IlRmTVKuSvYyK08N5f1VqB94ah39QjdOiEb3ZVaTlvUBuying too many gifts lately? Well, I’d like to give you a chance to receive a gift instead. As a big THANK YOU to all of my followers who have motivated us to stay TV-Free (approaching 11 months now!), No Telly, No Trouble is partnering with the awesomeness that is Xenon Project to give away an RC Helicopter! This little gadget is pretty much guaranteed to make folks smile. It flies. It hovers. You can charge it in a USB port. Check it out! Use our Rafflecopter widget to enter! Apologies to my International friends, however – this giveaway is US-only.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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10 Months TV -Free: Routine Edition

Ten months without TV! How do we do it? Here is a day in the life, on days I don’t teach at night:
6:30 Little Guy starts yelling “Mom! UP!!,” which is coincidentally his favorite phrase. Little Girl is often still asleep while Little Guy gets his diaper changed, gets dressed and eats his “oatomao” (oatmeal). Then he runs around like a madman, climbing on everything he can and vrooming cars on everything else.
7:30 Little Girl gets up, goes potty and requests candy or Nutella. She is denied and settles for oatmeal or Cheerios.
8:00 Both kids start competing over my lap with books. We usually read 10-13 with several repeats.
9:00 Dishes, laundry and pickup. Little Girl feeds the dog. Weeeee.
10:00 Good weather = Playground/outside time. Bad weather = children’s museum or more books/inside play.
12:00 Lunch. Usually leftovers or something involving peanut butter.
12:30 Little Guy’s nap and Little Girl’s “rest time” which usually involves a lot of drawing and playing with her Calico Critters. Why won’t she just sleep? While she plays and he sleeps, I shower, make dinner and clean up (or make Christmas gifts, at this time of year). Lately I have also been reading chapter books to Little Girl. We just finished “The Tale of Despereaux”and are moving on to “Little House in the Big Woods.”
2:30 Little Guy wakes up. We usually go back outside in good weather. More playing ensues.
5:30 JP gets home and we eat dinner.
6:00 Music time- Little Girl practices piano with JP while Little Guy dances with me. JP and I play instruments and the kids dance.
6:30 Bathtime or playtime, depending on the day.
7:00 Little Guy starts bedtime routine with me, Little Girl gets bedtime snack and gets ready with JP.
7:30 Little Guy is asleep and Little Girl is in bed or close to it.
9:00 Both kids are asleep and I rejoice in some quiet time.

So, where would TV fit in? I feel like we are always so busy there just isn’t a point.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

It has been almost six years since I lost my first pregnancy. The grief sent me wheeling into a depression that I still feel the effects of today. Yet, there are very few people who know (until now, I suppose) what I was going through. You don’t get bereavement days at work for pregnancy loss. It doesn’t come up in normal conversation (“oh hey, glad you got your car fixed, by the way I just had a miscarriage”). Then, if it does come out, people say stupid things like, “you are so young, you’ll have more.” As if more children magically make the pain go away. They don’t.
As I lit candles tonight for the Wave of Light, I was thankful for the first time for the loss and pain. I know that it sounds weird to be thankful for loss, but I realized that without knowing the pain of losing a child, I wouldn’t be the parent I am today. When I am up in the middle of the night with my kids, when they are constantly pulling me in 18 directions at once, when they won’t give me a moment’s rest…I think about how fragile life is. How they made it through complicated pregnancies and are healthy and whole and wonderful. How I am alive to share moments with them, good and otherwise. How I am blessed beyond measure to have two little people who love me and look up to me. I think that my perspective has made me a more relaxed, thoughtful mother than I would otherwise have been. You can’t sweat the small stuff when you know what the big stuff is. My heart goes out to all the families who know all too well what I am talking about.

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9 Months TV-Free!

This is my first post from my Droid! I normally wouldn’t write a whole post on here, but JP accidentally broke my computer cord in half. Oops.

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Anyway, we have been TV free here for 9 whole months! I could have had another baby by now! (I am not). Little Girl is starting to really become literate, which is cool. She added “iskrm” to my shopping list, for example. (Ice cream, for those of you without creative spellers in the house). Little Guy is walking (running ) everywhere 24/7, which is fun but tiring. He has also increased his vocabulary exponentially, mostly to include favorite foods and beverages (apple, water) and the names of things with wheels. I want to know where the “motor fascination” gene is, and how he got it!
I was reminded of something important this morning by my lovely daughter. She went (bounced) downstairs to JP and informed him, “I am happy! Mommy smiled at me.”
At first I was taken aback – was she saying that I don’t usually smile at her? Was she sending me a message that I am surly? Then I realized that she is 3 and says exactly what she means. I smiled at her, and it made her happy. Guess who is going to be making sure to hand out plenty of smiles?
Have your kids ever unintentionally made you feel guilty or defensive?

New and Exciting!

We have carpet! Little Girl and Little Guy were running all over it, with Little Girl exclaiming, “This is FABULOUS! FANTASTIC! I love it! I love it so much! I love to roll on it! I love to run on it! It is SUPER! It is GREAT! It is AWESOME!!”

I never knew she had command of so many synonyms.

I also did end up getting my smartphone up and running. JP, my lovely blogger husband over at myfamilyfinances.net, decided that his booming blogging business needed the jump in technology a couple of months ago. My friend gave me her husband’s old phone, and the results were that switching our data plan to a shared data plan cost us slightly less than having one smartphone and one dumbphone. Weird, but true.

Finishing all that detail work upstairs so the carpet could go in has meant late, late, late nights for a couple of weeks now…so it’s an early-to-bed celebration for me! Huzzah!

 

Smartphone…?

I have been totally MIA lately, thanks to the Great Carpet Escapade of 2012. JP is upstairs at the moment doing some quality painting, because the carpet is going to be installed on Wednesday! I would join him, but I am currently chatting with a “liverperson” at Verizon about potentially getting…a smartphone. 

My friend gave me a Droid today, because she is awesome. The thing is, the switch from dumbphone to smartphone is kind of a big one and is not done easily. I’ve lived this long without a smartphone, I suppose. They just really get me with the whole camera/music player/e-reader/phone/gps/microwave/blender all-in-one thing. The siren call of advanced technology. And free…you can’t beat free. 

Do you have a smartphone? Do you think they are everything they are cracked up to be?

8 Months TV-Free: Really?

I have been scarce around the blog with the whole carpet thing – our house is turned upside-down (again) and I can’t wait to get our space back. How to Be a Dad summed up our co-sleeping with Little Guy pretty succinctly in this picture. Then Little Girl likes to join the mix as well, and it usually ends up as something like this:

How many people can you fit in a queen bed? Four people and a dog? Good thing the dog is small…

In other news, we have been TV-free for 8 months! It has flown by. I can’t believe it is September already. Four more months until we will reach our goal of one year TV-free! Now I am going to go (try) to sleep.

Extending the Family

My nuclear family moved away from all of my extended family when I was very young. While a common occurrence in this country, it was always difficult for me. I really love my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins – but I was lucky if I got to see all of them once in a year. That’s the bad part.

Little Girl and her “Buppy” at the beach.

The good part? I chose people around me to be my adopted extended family. When I was a kid, my band teacher’s parents always talked to me at all my band functions (and there were a lot of them) – instant grandparents. My two pastors and their wives. My music teachers. My dad’s best friend’s family. My friends growing up felt more like sisters and cousins, we’ve known each other so long. My friends’ parents. Several families from my church. College friends.

So?

Here’s my point: we all crave society and connections with people. If you’re lonely (or if your family isn’t quite the loving type), go out and find yourself a family. You have to take the bad with the good (you’re not always a bundle of roses yourself, you know), but there are people out there who will care about you and stand by you when you need someone – even more so if you do the same for them. I think my “adoption” of family members has been a great thing for Little Girl and Little Guy – they get to be surrounded by people who care about them and love them. Go add some love to the world.

 

 

Not Back to School…Blues?

Today was bittersweet.

I took an extra year of leave with Little Guy from my public school job. It’s a long story involving daycare, with the only important point being that I am not going back this year. I thought I was OK with it, but as a bus passed my house I was actually a little sad. “My” students have all moved on to junior high now, and there is a new crop who will have forgotten my existence. As a teacher, you work so hard to build something and make a difference in students’ lives, but it only takes being out for a little while for the tide to come in and the world to go on without you.

Then I stopped feeling sorry for myself, went to the playground with my kids, drew pictures, sang songs, spelled words, played catch, made a dress-up dinosaur tail, and played cars AND dolls simultaneously. At the end of the day, I remember that I am still a teacher and I am still making a big difference. My classroom only has two kids, but they learn from me all the time.

Back to School can wait.

Taking Care of Lead Paint…on the Floor

We’ve been going a little crazy over here, because we found out at Little Guy’s one-year checkup that his lead level was at a 5, which is slightly over the “normal” 1-4 range. After buying a bunch of tests and going over the whole built-in-1892 house, we discovered that the FLOOR was painted, of all things. (“Didn’t you notice?” You may ask. Much of the lead paint looked like a dark stain instead of paint, so no). Probably some lead dust from the aging paint got onto his toys and hands and subsequently into his mouth.

What to do? Well, we called the health department and they said that the key is to paint over the lead paint – taking care that you do not sand it, of course. Hadlock’s, our area’s best paint store, gave us the optimum product for the job. It stinks to high heaven, though, so I’ve been getting out of the house as much as possible. Once the stink finally goes away (Hadlock’s said to let it cure for 2-3 weeks), we are going to have wall-to-wall carpet installed. Our bank accounts are suffering big time, but our kids’ health is paramount.

Was your home built before 1970? If it is, you may want to buy lead test kits and test the paint. Better safe than sorry! They cost about $10 for 2 at our local hardware store. If you find lead paint, here is what the health department says to do:

1) Keep it clean with damp paper towels and dispose of them immediately. Lead dust can accumulate, and dry-dusting will spread the particles.

2) Use only a HEPA-filter vacuum on the floor if it is lead paint.

3) Paint over it – two coats are better than one. Never sand lead paint! 

4) Keep the paint in good condition. Repaint whenever it starts to look worn.

All this fuss also means that we are all back in our cozy little guest room that we used while we were remodeling the upper floor…all. four. of. us. Bllaaaaarrrrrgh. All of our bedroom furniture (except for the crib) is also in one of the bedrooms upstairs. So, with how poor of sleepers our kids are, the nights have been a game of “whack-a-mole” trying to get each waking kid to go back to sleep before waking the other one. As my mother always says, “it’s always something.”

Do you ever feel like you take one step forward and two steps back?