Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Candy (Cheerios) Necklaces (Leis)

On this last day of March I thought I'd share something fun with you all and pray that Spring will arrive soon. Even though it feels like we are still in the dead of winter, especially with snow falling in parts of the upper East Coast. Can we say Global Warming? Anyway, here you go. It might be something to do while you are cooped up inside with the kids.

I did this craft with my son for St. Patrick's Day, but really you can do this craft any day. It doesn't even have to be a holiday. It was inspired by a solutions tip in the February Parents magazine, from a mom in Hawaii who makes cereal leis for her child to snack on in the car. I thought this was a great idea, especially for my daughter, since she never keeps the snack container clipped to her car seat. So I gathered up the supplies I needed and picked up a few items I didn't on my next grocery run.
You'll need the following supplies to create one for yourself:
- string or shoelace
-any kind of cereal. I used Cheerios and Apple Jacks.
-straw, cut into small pieces

After pouring the cereal into two separate bowls, I took the string and measured it around my son's neck to get the right length. I then took the straw I cut into small pieces and tied one piece to an end of the string. This is so that the cereal doesn't fall off while stringing it on.

Next, I decided on a pattern and began stringing them on the necklace. Once complete, I removed the straw and tied the two ends together.
My son especially loved this craft. So much, he wanted to make another one after almost immediately devouring his first. It was pretty easy for a four year old to follow. He needed a little help with me holding the string while he put the cereal on, but other than that he did his all himself. The one pictured above I put together for my daughter.

In hindsight I think using a string that didn't unravel would have been better as it caused a problem, especially for my son, until I painted the tips with clear nail polish. And as if the world was answering my question, last week, while walking my son into school, I was admiring the artwork from all the classes posted in the halls when I spotted cereal necklaces hanging on one bulletin board. After a chuckle, I noted what they had done differently and thought to myself, using shoelaces probably would have been a better idea.

So there you have it. A yummy, simple little craft you can do even with small children. It doesn't even have to be a necklace. You could make bracelets or garland for your Christmas tree, even decorations for a birthday party. What I like best about this, is that you most likely have all the supplies already in your house.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just a typical day

Fred is always the cool parent, throwing the kids up in the air, rough housing, kicking the ball outside, etc. Mason loved to be thrown in the air as a baby, still does. Now we try to see if he can touch the ceiling. Never thought to try it with Sophie, but, as with everything else, she wants to do what big brother is doing. So, naturally, she loves being thrown in the air.

This morning during one of these air throwing sessions I suddenly hear Fred yell. "Ahh," he comes running into the kitchen headed straight for the sink, "she's poopy! She's poopy! Ugh, my finger!" Laughing hysterically, because I find the fact that Fred is totally grossed out and over reacts about poop totally funny, I settle Sophie down to change her diaper.

Now, Mason loves to be a part of the action in the house, so as Fred is standing at the sink, scrubbing his finger with disinfectant soap and yelling, "I'm hit! I'm hit!" Mason starts to laugh along with me and says, "Sometimes that happens, Dad." Which causes me to erupt in more fits of laughter before abandoning my diaper changing duties to record the whole thing for our future enjoyment.

I seriously LOVE this family.
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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Everything is going to be alright...

in the end.

In light of all that has happened in the last eight days, I haven't had a moment to just take it all in and breathe.

Thursday afternoon, feeling a bit rundown, I needed to just veg on the couch while the kids played. Mason had me coloring some Cars coloring pages that he was then hanging up on his wall of art in our family room. In the process of it all it somehow he slipped, or lost his balance, or as he tells it-got dizzy, and fell off the stool. I didn't really see it. I just saw him disappear out of the corner of my eye and heard a really loud sickening bang, like his tiny head smacking something really hard.

He lay there on the floor between the train table and wall, not moving, not making a sound. In the time it took me to jump off the couch and run over (a matter of seconds) he was having some sort of an episode that I can only describe and assume was a Vasovagal syncope. Something I thought he had outgrown due to it having been almost two years since his last episode. But I saw him on the ground, eyes freakishly wide, tense and almost convulsing as he was emitting a groan like he was struggling. I got down to his level, touched his face and tried to get him to respond. Nothing. I tried so hard not to panic, screamed for Fred, and tried to get to him better but the train table was in the way. I struggled to move it, screamed for Fred again, sat back down at his head and called his name over and over till he finally came to. I asked him simple questions I knew he could answer to gage his mental state and if there was any damage. I could tell he was scared and in pain, full out crying at this point. I screamed for Fred one more time as I rushed to the other side of the train table and yanked with all my might. Mason tried to get up but I made him lay down for a little longer till Fred finally came upstairs and picked him up. At this point Mason was fine, saying his head hurt but no visible bruise and even making jokes. We gave him some ice cream to get his blood sugar up. Being a Vasovagal sufferer my whole life, I know that you need something like a cookie or juice after an episode and then you are perfectly fine.

As he sat at the table eating his ice cream, I slipped away to sit on the stairs, take a breather and cry. I cried and cried because I was scared, because I was tired, because I thought I was a failure, because I felt sick to my stomach. I heard Fred suggest Mason come over and give me a hug. Here was this little boy, only four years old, reassuring his mother that he was OK and me, a grown 31 year old woman, crying on my little boys shoulder, holding him so tight, unwilling to let go. I needed to release a little of my worry and my guilt. Mason kept telling me it was enough hugging, you know how boys are, and then as I tried to get my crying under control I hear him say, very matter of factly, "don't get any tears on my BumbleBee shirt, momma."

I had to laugh. He always knows just what to say. I bought him two Transformer t-shirts yesterday and he was super excited to wear them to school as soon as possible. He had already been very upset when I picked him up. Having gotten orange paint all over his other BumbleBee shirt while painting shirts for Spring Sing, and his teacher told him the paint wasn't washable. But, he didn't take into account my super mom powers which of course got the job done. So it was no surprise that he was focused on not getting this one ruined either.

Seriously, I must learn to focus on the truly important things in life, not that other frivolous stuff . Well, according to a four year old anyway.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011


I got the chance to experience something wonderful. Reading books to 13 four year olds.

For the month of March, we parents, get to chose a day to come in, coordinated with the teacher, and read to the class. I was greeted with smiles and enthusiasm and then given the floor. Silly, but I was a bit nervous. Four year olds can be a bit intimidating.

I started off with Another Monster at the end of the Book, which was a hit. The kids were engaged, blurting out, "no! Don't turn the page!" So I read book after book and the kids loved it. So much that the kid in the class who never talks and has social anxiety was the most talkative. After the last book, Where the Wild Thing Are, was finished they begged for more. But I had been reading for 20 minutes already and they had other things to do as school was almost over. So Ms. Regehr said that I could come back and read to them again another day.

Awesome! I felt so euphoric that 13 four year olds thought I was so cool and entertaining. What better way to spend a rainy morning.
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Monday, March 21, 2011

it's in his genes

Deep down we always knew this day would come.
Still, it's scary, because you are never quite prepared for that moment. When you are walking in the parking lot, holding your son's hand, suppressing the panic and fear as you make your way to the doctors office, and his little voice, gasping for air, pleads for you to slow down even though you are already walking slow.

I've only known asthma as an outsider, observing those in my life who suffer from the disease. So when I reached down and picked up my son, carrying him into the building as fast as I could, I bit my lip hard, in order to fight back the tears. Step after step, I listened to the horrible wheezing and short, shallow breaths and thanked the lord that Fred was home to recognize the symptoms and know to call the doctor. Thankful that our pediatrician made time to see Mason.

This was yet another one of those most painful moments I've had to face over the last four years on this adventure called motherhood. Sitting in Walgreens, waiting for the albuterol, prednisolone and to become the owner of our very own nebulizer, I wondered how different his life would be from this day forward. Would I be paranoid every time he goes to school or my moms or anywhere I am not? Would I sit up all night listening to him breathe when he gets a simple cold? Will I worry about putting him in sports? Then I am reminded that Fred developed asthma around the age of 5 and he played soccer well into his adulthood. Now, I can't remember the last time he had an attack or I really worried about his breathing, thanks to Advair. This and the many, many friends who have children who are on nebulizers and they are living extremely active lives, playing t-ball and other sports.

Mason, having suffered through sitting still for the nebulizer treatments was non-stop at Taco Night. Running, jumping in the bounce house for hours, only sitting down long enough to eat some mac n cheese and cake before he was off again. You would have had no idea he was rushed to the doctors 24 hours before and almost passed out during the treatment because of the adult dose he needed.

I must remind myself that he is going to be fine. At this point, it is believed to be allergy related and since being on the prednisolone and claritin he hasn't needed to use the nebulizer in days. Which should make Sophie happy. She is terrified of the whole thing. The noise, the mask on Mason's face, she's concerned about her brother, which I find so endearing. We'll see how he does once off the steroid, come Wednesday. If he has another one, then we put him on preventative medicine. Seeing as Fred has asthma, as do his brothers, and that Mason had eczema as a baby and suffers from allergies it almost seems inevitable.

He will be able to live a normal life. I must keep repeating that to myself. Still I can't help but see him through different eyes. Life just feels totally different somehow. But as always in true Mason style, you'd never suspect a thing.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Growing Pains

Sophie decided she wanted to be a Zebra today.

I walked Mason in for drop off and as soon as we saw the front doors to the school Sophie squirmed out of my arms. "Down. Walk," she demanded. And leading the two of us, she paraded down the halls of Mason's preschool. All the way into his class room and right up to the teacher. I made small chit chat as I always do with Mason's teachers as he hangs up his backpack, signs in and acclimates himself. One teacher is expecting so we chatted about ultrasounds, due dates and the difference between boys and girls while Sophie explored the dramatic play area. Having showed up later than usual, by the end of our conversation it was time for school to start.

Ms. Regehr turned on the music while the zebras (Mason's class) cleaned up their free centers and one by one sat down for the morning meeting. This was just fine with miss Sophia. She walked right over and joined them for circle time, choosing sit upon after sit upon until settling on one sandwiched between her big brother, Mason, and his classmate, Caprice. She looked over at each child, a satisfied look on her face, then turned to Ms. Regehr and pointed, nodding her head as if to say OK, I'm ready. You may start class now. This amused not only the teachers but the students as well. "Oh jeez." I heard a few say. "I think we have a new student," Mrs. Aviles said to Ms. Regehr. To which she replied, "Sophie, are you joining our class today?" And my little girl, 21 months old, nodded her head. "Yeah," she said, "sit." Observing this whole scene and smiling, the only thing I could think was, where is my camera? Why did I leave it in the car this morning? Of all mornings!

Honestly, I was not prepared for this. For the sudden desire to be a big girl. With her independence growing each day; her persistence to sleep in Mason's toddler bed, her I do it attitude when it comes to brushing teeth and walking down stairs, and climbing onto Mason's chair for meal/snack time. I was caught off guard. Maybe it was because he didn't know there was anything better because there was no one to look up to, but Mason was content in his booster chair, crib and holding mommy's hand. She isn't even two yet and my little girl already wants to cut the strings. She sees her big brother doing it and that's it, it's all over, she HAS to do it too.

Though I really have enjoyed seeing her come into her own these last few months. Working so hard to say words we understand; milk, cookie, itchy, car, Thomas (as in choo-choo). And attempt phrases; there you go, I did it, thank you. But even if I'm not quite ready for her to fly solo I can check one worry off my list. When it comes to preschool, not only is it clear she is ready, but I think she'll do just fine.
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Right Now

Right now my daughter is dusting the floor in the time out corner. Working and concentrating hard. Now she has moved onto the end tables and couch. Mommy's little helper.

Before that we, had some more fun with photo booth; one of my absolute favorite features on a mac.

I think we are hoping the butterfly wings will hastly bring Spring.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

St. Patty's Day Crafts

So I'm not really one to be into all the various holidays throughout the year (federally mandated or not) but seeing as I am a mommy of two small kids, I jump at the chance to create something for and with the kids.

March, which as undoubtedly come in like a lion, has left us with more indoor time that we'd prefer so boredom is a big issue; with me and Mason. I tried to remember what holiday, if any, came in this month and hallelujah St. Patrick's Day with its green, shamrocks and pots of gold lit up on my iCal.

I really wanted to make something with supplies I had on hand, rather than go out and buy more crap to fill up the house or my craft room and possibly never be touched, because I just either never got around to it or it just didn't work out with what I had intended to use it. So I searched shamrock/clover templates online. I remember last year having downloaded one in which Mason and I created a shamrock face on a popsicle stick. He loved that. While I thought we could do that again, lets do something new as well. The thought of making shamrocks on a stick for decoration in the house quickly came to mind. I had bought these cheap green and yellow buckets from the dollar bins at Target, intended for Sophie's birthday party (and yes I do realize that is it 3 months away but you can never prepare too early for these things), and thought about making a shamrock centerpiece of sorts with it.

My idea was to use popsicle sticks as the stem and construction paper to cut out the shamrocks. But then I thought, cutting out 10-20 shamrocks would take forever to trace and then cut and it was fast becoming a bad idea. Then I remembered a valentine that Mason got from one of his classmates. She had used hearts as the leaves and petals for a lollipop flower which I thought was super creative. I wonder if I can make a shamrock using heart shapes? A few clicks of the mouse and sure enough it is possible. So down to my craft room to get my heart punch, two sizes, and away I punched. Now having done a few crafts with my son, and each time never being quite prepared for the task and it always ending in frustration and/or boredom, I got wise and decided that while Mason was at school I'd punch all the hearts ahead of time. So after lunch, I'd lay out the punched hearts and popsicle sticks and we'd glue away with our craft. Well of course, now that I was prepared, Mason had little interest in this craft. Yeah, he glued one or two hearts on the sticks, but he was way more fascinated by my heart punches and went on to punch about a million hearts out of all the scraps of paper in his craft cubby doth producing an overflowing display of what he calls his bucket of hearts. We proudly displayed it next to all the other decorations on the mantle until he decided he wanted to get it down, though he was too short to reach and all the hearts came tumbling out and littering my family room carpet. It now resides on the countertop and has been promptly forgotten by said four year old.

Anyway, it was a super easy craft and I had fun putting it together even if Mason showed now interest. So here is my final result.
All I did was use the Marvy Uchida heart punch to punch out hearts from green paper. Then used a hot glue gun to attach to the popsicle sticks. For the frame, I just added scrapbook paper from a calendar pack. Super easy. Super simple.

On the mantel I took spring florals in a vase and sort of made the bucket like a garden of small shamrocks. I used the martha stewart heart punch and smaller popsicle sticks and adhered the hearts to the sticks with a glue stick. A little more kid friendly (you could use a glue stick for the bigger ones too). Here is a close of up my sproutlets.
I just took some beans from my local grocery store in the bucket and stuck each popsicle stick in. Again, super easy. Super cheap and super simple.

And here is our pot of gold, filled with chocolate coins and placed next to frames filled with scrapbook paper from the march section of same calendar pad.

So if you are feeling bored this weekend make some shamrocks with hearts and popsicle sticks with your little ones. I have another craft in mind that I hope will spark a little more interest, and since it involves food I have a feeling I will get success.
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