Everything is Going Green.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! For the past two years, my family and I have ventured downtown to watch the big St. Patrick’s Day parade, and we have always enjoyed it. Yet this year, we somehow were not feeling up to the journey. We live over an hour away from the nearest city that would host such a celebration. When we considered the hour-plus drive, rising gas prices, and the fact that I’m pregnant somewhat lazy, we decided to spend St. Patrick’s Day in the comfort of our home. But we still managed to have some “green” in our day!

The weather here has been gorgeous all week, and this morning was no exception. From the warmth of the sun all week and the occasional rainstorms, the grass is growing and turning from dead and brown to a lush green, and our fruit trees are sprouting their colorful little buds. The birds have been singing and chasing each other nonstop, like they are all “twitterpated” (any Disney fans? That’s what they call it in Bambi!). Spring is here, indeed! And I love what spring means for my family, as mentioned in a previous post.

So we spent our St. Patrick’s Day morning playing outside right alongside Spring and its natural green. It took a bit of coaxing for our five-year-old. He was more inclined to watch Saturday morning cartoons in his bedroom, but we were not about to let him miss a morning full of outdoor play like today! So he gathered up some trucks and G.I. Joes and took them out for some sun and fresh air, while my hubby and I sat reading on the porch. It was lunchtime before we knew it.

After lunch, our son wanted to have some T-Ball practice, although truth be told, our five-year-old prefers us to pitch to him, so there was no “T” involved. He is admittedly quite good at it! This will be his second season of T-Ball, and I’m hoping his knowledgep and experience of the game will bring out the natural leader that he likes to be once he gets over his initial shyness, so that he can be helpful to some of the younger players on his team this year. Our family loves this sport, and we are all excited for it to start!

And then the rain began. We had to take a break from practice, because while none of us are bothered by a little rain, holding a metal bat with lightning flashing in the distance just didn’t seem like a good idea. So we ventured indoors to the TV to flip back and forth between NASCAR and Spring Training MLB. Whether it was the flipping of channels, the exercise, or the fresh air, our son soon fell asleep for an afternoon nap. We took advantage of the opportunity, and turned it into a nap for the whole family, which is a very rare event in this household! I highly recommend it, should you ever be so lucky as to fit one into your own family’s busy schedule!

By the time we all woke up, the rain had ceased, and our stomachs were on empty. The perfect time for grilling. After we ate a delicious combination of Alfredo pasta topped with grilled chicken and a side of green beans, we moved onto our next green adventure: starting a garden! This will be our first garden as a family, and although it’s going to be a lot of work, we are all excited and invested in it. We started tonight by planting our seeds that need to begin growing indoors: broccoli, green peppers, jalapeño peppers, and onions. Our son really liked helping us, and we talked about the next steps to come of watering, planting, weeding, harvesting, and eating. He’s very interested in the parts that involve getting dirty, and somewhat unsure about the eating of some of the vegetables, but we can worry about that once we see some progress in the plants. I feel my thumbs turning green already!

While this St. Patrick’s Day didn’t feel particularly special or much like a holiday, it was a great day for my family. We enjoyed our own version of “being green” today very much! Maybe next year we will venture back out into the city’s celebrations… Or maybe we will choose again to stay close to home.

I hope you enjoyed the day with your loved ones as well!

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Driving with Children

My son and I spend forty-five minutes together every day in a car. We live in a country home that we love, which happens to be forty-five minutes away from the preschool where I work and my son learns and plays. Every morning, my son sleeps the entire way, and who can blame him? The sun isn’t even awake when we leave in the morning! But in the late afternoon when we leave, he’s wide-awake and usually full of a whole day’s worth of activities, games, friends, or fights to talk about. When I leave work, it’s sometimes hard to switch over so quickly from teacher mode to mom mode. If it’s been a particularly difficult day (as Mondays often are… The babies miss the lovely weekend time they had with their mommies and daddies!)  I envy my husband most days, who comes home from work to a quiet home, lets the dog outside, feeds the dog and cat, and then gets anywhere between half an hour to two hours of peace to himself before his serenity is bombarded by our five-year-old and myself coming through the door, yelling, “Daddy! We’re home!”

Don’t get me wrong, I do get plenty of “me” time. And if I ever need more of it, all I have to do is ask, and my husband obliges and will take our son outside to play while I watch the latest episode of Top Chef or Project Runway on our DVR. That being said, it’s nice when parents have the time to mentally make that switch, leaving all work-related stresses behind. But it isn’t always a possibility. And at the same time, how I spend those first forty-five minutes with my child can set the tone for the rest of the evening, so it’s important that I make the most of that time. Sometimes he has a lot that he wants to tell me, and I welcome that. There is nothing I love more than my son feeling free and able to open himself up to me and tell me all about his day, simply for the fact that I fear there may eventually come a time when he won’t want to tell me anything. Sometimes he asks a lot of questions. “What are we having for supper?” “Can we pick up McDonald’s?” “Do we need to go to the store?” “Is tonight a video game night?” “Can we play outside when we get home?” (Almost always a “Yes!” because a five-year-old boy really needs time to let his energy out!) Sometimes he wants to play a game. Our current favorite car games are coming up with rhyming words and “I Spy.” Both tend to pass the time pretty quickly. Sometimes he wants to play a game on my iPhone. Sometimes, if he didn’t take a nap in particular, he doesn’t want to talk, or play games, or ask questions. He wants to look quietly out the window, and he will eventually fall asleep. And that is okay with me. I try to respect the fact that, like adults, sometimes children have a hard day too, and they would rather not talk about it (yet. When he has a rare day like this, I always make it a point to bring it up sometime after we get home, usually during supper). Today, he was in a very talkative mood, and despite my less-than-chipper mood at first, we ended up talking the entire way home, about a game he wanted us to play together (and we did) when we got home that involved throwing his stuffed animals to see who could throw it the farthest. Then, we had a very interesting conversation that started with Beyblades and ended up in a discussion about a pegasus and a dragon, and Greek gods, and what a myth or a mythological creature is, and then a conversation about God and why we believe in Him as our Creator.

There are many ways you can spend the drive home with your young children, and I don’t think any of them are right or wrong, as long as we let them know that no matter what kind of day we have had at work, that we are happy to see them, and happy to be going home together.

What are some fun things that you like to do with your children in the car?


Oh, The Places You’ll Go! (Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!)

We celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday at our preschool today. The children made “Cat in the Hat” hats and had a parade around the school while getting their pictures taken by our director. They sang “Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss,” and they ate green eggs and ham for lunch! (My son apparently would not, could not try the green eggs, because they “smelled gross.” Oh well!) They all looked so cute! My classroom of infants was sleeping through the festivities… Still a cute sight. At home, we celebrated by watching Horton Hears a Who for a family movie night. The last time we all watched that movie together was when we first bought our house a year and a half ago, and we all slept in the dining room on an inflatable mattress with a portable DVD player. It definitely brought back memories and made me think of how far we’ve come as a family since then… and how grateful I am for real furniture!

My favorite book from Dr. Seuss is without a doubt Oh, the Places You’ll Go! That book is filled with Seuss’s imagination in the words and illustrations on every page, and it has such a heart-warming message to send to little ones. I received the book as a high school graduation gift from my mom’s best friend, and I get a little teary-eyed every time I read it to my son. It sums up the expectations I have for him in life: that he will have freedom and success, but not without frustrations, setbacks, and mistakes.

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

“And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!”

I love this book so much that we have decided that this is going to be the theme of our baby’s nursery! The nursery is actually a loft at the top of our staircase, and once he is sleeping through the night, the boys will share the upstairs bedroom, and the loft will become a playroom. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” will be a great theme for both functions of the room! Here are some of my inspirations for the space:

 

Crib and Bedding

I need to find a great pastel-colored map to frame like this!

For baby's name to hang above the crib.

I can’t wait to get started! Have a happy weekend!