Friday, June 26, 2009

Sandy splishing and splashing

Not sure there was a better return on investment to be found in terms of entertainment value than my $3 bag of water balloons, my eyes were opened.

Yes, for the mere $7 which it costs a Buckeye SUV to enter Brookville, Indiana's Mounds State Recreational Area we reaped hours of sand and water play. Digging, dumping, shoveling, packing, splashing.

Sand could be dumped into the water. The water could be hauled by the buckets and slopped into the sand. All with reckless abandon. A huge sandbox and wading pool combination that didn't need to be kept separate. Just delightful for messy, messy play.

They loved it. Absolutely loved it. For kids that haven't seen anything outside of the Indiana/Ohio/Northern Kentucky area, this lakeside beach was really something.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our songs

Presenting a video anthology of Alena and her back-up singers with their renditions of four Taylor Swift hits. Each is sung a cappella without the "help" of a CD or radio playing to lead her along.

To her credit, she does a pretty good job maintaining the melodies, singing her version of the lyrics and parading around.

For those familiar with Taylor Swift's music, let's have some fun and see which Taylor songs done Alena's way you can recognize.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Queen of hearts

Alysse may not know a triangle, but the little peanut can pick out a heart shape anytime there's one to be spotted. It's her signature shape, if you will.

And, appropriately so. Her heart is huge. Full of compassion, full of life and full of love.

I love every ounce of her. I love every inch of her. I "heart" my baby.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Multi-tasking done right

Four kids will teach you the art of multi-tasking. Sort of.

This little video captures a skilled example of keeping children happy, wet and screaming outside instead of inside; making your husband think you thoughtfully remembered to water the lawn (or at least a portion of it); and scoring a coffee break for yourself (albeit, the coffee was going on a two-hour, sit-in-the-mug state of cold).

I don't, however, have any evidence of the lost-all-semblance-of-control scene earlier in the day during a try-to-clean-the-bathroom; call-DirecTv-customer-service; and listen-to-two-kids-squawk (all at the same time) episode. Yeah, that got ugly.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Watch me mom"

Shots* from today's trip to Liberty Township's Ft. Liberty Playland. A behemoth play set that kept the kids running, climbing and sliding for over an hour and a half.

*Photos of Alena weren't to be had due to her gazelle-like play and high-brow playground socializing.

What $3 will get ya

Let's preface this with, yes, I am the mom who hates latex balloons. I maintain my stance, but curiosity got the better of me. And, when all the fun was had, we scoured the yard picking up the remnants.

The three dollar bag of water balloons at Target just jumped into my hands. I swear I didn't pick them up.

I also didn't spend 45 minutes filling and tying a quarter of them during naptime when I could have easily folded two loads of laundry, washed windows and unloaded the dishwasher. Only, I did.

Then, I waited to see what would happen.

And it was so worth it. A whole new take on fun, with four water balloon novices. There was even a moment of "what exactly am I supposed to do with this?"

Oh, but they figured it out. A little too quickly, asking if we could make more after the bucket was empty in a fraction of the time it took to fill it.

There will be a next time ... with about 150 left in my stash.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fluttering beauty

That Alivia would love Krohn Conservatory's Butterfly Show was a pretty safe bet, but how much she would love it was a pleasant surprise.

She quickly found a winged friend who seemed content to hang out in her hand. She became attached and wanted to take the butterfly home with her. It took some convincing to get her to accept that we weren't permitted to remove any of the exhibit's stars upon our exit.

When it was time to go, she willingly shared her friend with another little girl in awe of the butterfly spectacle. She made sure, though, that we had photos of her with the butterfly for future admiration.

The show's two attendees not pictured with butterflies were content looking at the beautiful creatures, but wanted nothing to do with actually being touched by them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Free to be

One of the very best, most special things about our kids at these early ages is that they are untainted by the rest of the world.

While influences outside of our house have begun making their way into the kids' lives (Alivia refers to Wal-Mart as "Save money. Live better. Wal-Mart."), for the most part they are void of the hang-ups, prejudices and psychological baggage the rest of us have.

They see the world through innocent eyes, hear words for simply their meaning and interact with others from the heart. If they are angry, they yell or (ahem) hit. If they are sad, tears flow freely. If they are happy, hugs and snuggles abound. There aren't missed signals, hidden agendas or alternative interpretations surrounding them.

They are what they are. They do what they do. That's the beauty.

There's no way to keep the outside world and its interferences at bay, eventually our mucked up ways will tarnish their sterling souls and pulverize their rose-colored glasses. They will learn things we wish they hadn't and see things we would have liked to have shielded their eyes from.

But, for now, they are free to be who they are. Unstained, unbroken and unjudged.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

35 years + two days

In my teens I wanted a boat instead of children in my adult life. In my twenties I wanted a Harley by the time I hit the big 3-0. Thirty came and went without the Harley. Three months later I got a baby.

Friday, upon turning 35, I was reminded that someone knew better than I what it was I truly needed. And as the years mount up in number, I'm even more aware of the surprises to be found and the lessons to be learned.

My patience, a continual work in progress, is far greater now than it was two decades ago. My appreciation of the simple things around me has grown beyond what it was ten years ago. My ability to identify what is real has been dramatically honed in the last five years.

I'm convinced neither a boat, nor a motorcycle could have helped me learn these things. And closing in on forty, there's nothing on my wish list. I've got everything I want.