Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Laundry Solution

It came to me today while I was hanging clothes on the line and warding off frostbite from numb fingers (cold wet clothes and a wind chill don't mix) that I needed gloves. This was an obvious solution, but most gloves are too thick to be able to dexterously hang clothes on a little wire with clothespins.

But as I was finally bringing up our bins with winter coats, hats and mittens, I discovered my son's stretch gloves. You know the ones that cost like a buck or two? They're tiny, but stretch enough to cover my hands. And they're thin enough to let me get the job done while keeping me warm. Problem solved.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I've been trying for literally months to get my substitute teaching license issued and get into some of the local schools to work. It's been quite the process. I've done subbing before in between other jobs I've had as needed. I've been in smaller school districts before where I call and let the school office know that I have my license and ask if I can get on their subbing list. Then they'll call me when needed.

Most of the schools don't work that way in the metropolitan area. Some of them actually use a temp agency. All of them have a big application process with background checks and other hoops to jump through. I totally get the need to be safe, but most of the checks are ones had to do to get my license.

Anyway, things have gotten processed and I'm getting some calls. Subbing is not the easiest job in the world. But it's what makes sense right now. I don't have to work on days when the boys don't have school. And most schools are done before the boys are out of school, so we don't have to worry about having additional child care.

Though my degree is in secondary education, I really prefer subbing for elementary grades. Even if its just subbing for a paraprofessional position that pays less, I enjoy it more. The students still love to learn and respect adults.

But after parenting, teaching is probably one of the hardest jobs out there. Make sure you encourage and thank your kids' teachers once they're off to school. And thank you for all the work you with your kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I've shared before about some of our bedtime battles with our youngest (who just turned 5 a couple days ago). We've always had a pretty good bedtime routine, but after he's been in bed he would frequently sneak down with some need masking his ploy for attention. It may be a bad thought (we told him he couldn't have had bad dreams if he hadn't been asleep yet) or an itch or "thirsting to his death."

Upon the advice from Dr. Kevin Leman's book Have a New Kid by Friday we began ignoring him. We would inform him at the end of his bedtime routine that we were done with bed, that mom and dad had work to do and needed time together. So when he got out of bed and came down, we would ignore him. This was supposed to get him to go back to bed. It wasn't working the best.

But recently we began shutting the door completely when we finished the bedtime routine. We had been keeping it open just a little so it wasn't completely dark in their room. But now we've been shutting it and turning on a night light. And this seems to be working--we've had several nights of him staying in bed now. And for this, we're thankful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


When we lived in an apartment, one of my regular activities was to wrestle on the bed with the boys. We didn't have space for running around and expending energy in the apartment, so the boys would crawl up on our bed and wrestle me. The bed provided the extra bounce--along with the thrill of the danger of potentially falling off the bed. Wrestling basically involved the boys jumping on me and me trying to ward them off--or possibly putting them on my feet and holding them up in the air.

I've forgotten to do this after moving into our house. But I remembered last night (I've remembered before, but not very often). The boys love it. And it's good time together. The only draw back is that it gets them a little too wound up before bed. But a good story with the lights off will cure that.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Superhero Birthday Party

Nils turns five this coming week. We did his party with school friends today...his first birthday with school friends to invite. 
The superhero next to the superhero
that they had to tape the emblem on
We went with a superhero theme (in part because Beth got some Iron Man invitations and a table cloth in the clearance bin at Target a while ago--but Nils is also into superheroes).

We started with having the kids design a superhero emblem. I cut some out. They colored. Then we played pin (or tape) the emblem on the hero.

Next it was time to decorate capes. My wife had cut out some capes from a bed sheet we had been given. Each little superhero got their own to color and design.
Little superheroes designing their capes

Dressing up as a mild-mannered photographer
for the relay.
The capes were important because they were needed for the next activity: the superhero obstacle course. At one point the kids had to dress up in their alter-ego clothes and then take them off and put on their capes. 

This was followed by some lunch, some present opening and a wonderfully-decorated super hero birthday cake (thanks, Sweetie). 

A simple, fairly stress-free day--just how we like them (except for a few melt-downs but those were likely caused from a lack of sleep from having a sleepover last night). All-in-all I think four little superheroes enjoyed the day and had lots of fun together.
Superhero cake break