Monday, October 31, 2011

Dora-ish. Halloween Part I.

This weekend we headed over to Detroit to hang out at Henry Ford museum on Saturday night for a spooky walk through their historical village with friends and family.  The history teacher in me loves this place--not to rave and rant about how amazing it is while I'm there (even though I might one day) but to absorb it and think about how cool it is that I'm standing next to Noah Webster's house, Thomas Edison's lab, court houses from the 18th century, and the list goes on (please don't judge me.....even though I know you are).  We'd never been for Halloween before--having a kid makes getting there easier, more fun, and more of a priority.  They decorate the whole place with paths of jack o'lanterns of all sorts--they seriously had nearly 1,000 jack o'lanterns; it was astounding, actors wearing historical costumes, creepy music, smoke machines, and ghouls and goblins of the Ichabod Crane variety and they even have a headless horseman at the end of the tour. All this and they still manage to make it fun for little kids and not too scary.

As I presumed--the Dora wig was a huge...........failure.  It really was an asinine purchase and Georgia wore it for an all of two minutes in the parking lot before we went in.  Therefore, she looked Dora-ish for the rest of the night; pink pants, a backpack with a map, and a monkey do not a full fledged Dora make.  Oh well.  Oh well.  I had to let it go--at least for Saturday night.

We made a stop to Miller's Bar before trick-or-treating to fill up on hamburgers, french fries, and pickles.

The wig going on.........

And we're at one minute with it kid of on........'s gone.  It wasn't even fun while it lasted. 

But now we're happy--and we're a French beret wearing Dora. 

Georgia getting her fortune told by the gypsy lady......"she'll soon be taking a new path in life" a new costume for trick or treating tonight, right?

This guy was real.  He came to life to scare the kids.  I told Georgia he was fake because I really thought he was.  She informed me I was wrong as he jumped off his bale of hay and yelled "Boo."  Mom of the year award coming my way.

A spooky pirate boat on the pond.....

Good old Lik-a-Maid.......

It was a great time and we'll be back..........but for tonight.........I can't promise that I didn't go out and buy some wings last night to pair with Georgia's tutu so she could be a "fairy."  Lesson learned about costumes.   Lesson learned.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Freak Flag.

And just to prove to you all what a freak I am....I wouldn't post this before today because I needed to be "through" the weekend and "relaxed" before I put this out into space for criticism, judgement......and maybe.....a little mama sympathy?????  Please????

I flew to Atlanta on Friday to attend a conference with one of my Mom Colored Glasses partners, Rachel.  The conference was great......but the real point of this post is to let you in on my crazy.  About a week before we left I started having my typical panicky moments and regrets about going away and leaving Chris and Georgia--the same little fits I have every time the three of us aren't together.  But this was worse--because I was going on an airplane.  (Cue impending doom music.)

Sidebar:  I don't like being away from each other as a family.....ever......and Chris and I are pretty much on the same page as far as this is concerned.  Georgia doesn't leave us for over nighters unless we absolutely need to be somewhere ourselves over-night or a work situation arises--but otherwise.........she's ours......all ours.  We did go to Arizona right after she turned one and we've gone away on other little one or two night trips here and there,  and that was great--but doesn't need to be a habit.  And I know.....perhaps I sound like an over-protective helicopter mom (and dad--it's both of us I promise you) but............I just don't care.  It's the beauty of being a parent--you get to make the decisions.  And with the amount of time that Chris spends on business trips it's important that we're together as a family when we can be.    

So with the above weighing heavily on me combined with an airplane ride (which I never worry about when Chris jets across the pond) I was certifiable.  In the midst of a disgusting cry session a week ago about how maybe I shouldn't go, airplanes are dangerous, make sure Georgia knows I love her, blah, blah, blah Chris came over and gave me a big hug.  "You're a really ugly crier," he said lovingly.

That's how we roll folks--love and sunshine and unicorns just overflow from us.

I laughed--because Chris is really good at making me laugh when I'm being ridiculous.  And I was being ridiculous.  Not ridiculous because I don't like leaving my family (that's normal--at least I think it should be) but because I let worry paralyze me.  Worry about things I have absolutely no control over.  And this debilitating worry has been a theme I've allowed in my life for quite some time--I've allowed it to rob the joy out of things and that's just plain crazy.  No one has ever told me I should worry or that worry is worth it, I never saw my parents or sister worry about things to the level I know I do so it's not that I learned by example--it's just this genetic make-up that I have a hard time shaking but need to.

When people have bad tempers we don't tolerate it.  We say, "Hey--crazy red-faced guy who's flying off the handle about someone not going fast enough after the light turns green---it's time to get that temper in check."  When people are impulsive and make rash decisions with no thought to the ramifications we say, "It's time to talk about developing some self-control."  Why don't we treat worry more serious.  Why don't we view it as a problem like other things.

I need to start looking at it as a problem.  I should probably start worrying about it.  I should probably start reprimanding myself for it and asking others to hold me accountable for it because it's just not worth the mental energy.  And I'm not talking about the normal worry that everyone feels on occasion.  I'm talking about the gut wrenching sobs, sleepless nights, and excitement sucking worry that I succumb to on a regular basis.'s Monday.  It's new day, a new week, and I'm going to work everyday on building up a wall against worry.  I want to look forward to things like I used to instead of dreading them and only allowing myself to have a good time once I'm "there." Anticipation is a great thing--it's what keeps us plugging along and working hard.  Worry just makes you stop dead in your tracks in the hopes that something that should happen and that will be good, doesn't happen.  And just plain insane and a waste of good old fashioned excitement.

Georgia had no problems with worry this weekend......she had a great time up at Great Grandma and Grandpa's farm hanging out with daddy!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"I'm licking it clean."

Sometimes when I'm in the middle of something I'm doing, I think, "I don't know why I decide to do the things I do." But then......after the fact, I know why I do the things I do.

On Saturday, in a moment of wanting to fully embrace the whole hunkering down at home, it's fall and I want to do homey things, and let's celebrate a cozy day, I decided to make cut out sugar cookies and decorate them with icing and sprinkles.....................with Georgia as my side-kick.  Now........the former is not the crazy part--it's the latter.  I had these notions of showing Georgia how to delicately sprinkle black sugar on glossy orange pumpkins, and silver sprinkles on spooky black cats, and even that I could show her to spread icing with a little knife--you know--it wouldn't be perfect by any means, heck it'd be messy--but we could get it done.

Oh......and we did.

Georgia knew we were going to decorate these cookies.  I'd made the mistake of telling her the night before when I was sitting in her rocking chair with her before bed.  The morning went something like this.

8:30 a.m.  I enter Georgia's room to get her up.  "Is it time to decorate cookies.  You said after my nap we could (she calls night-time sleeping her nap--something has to count as a nap with this girl.)"

9:00 a.m.  "Now is it time."

9:10 a.m.  "Daddy and I will go and get a doughnut and when we come home it will be time."

10:15 a.m.  "We're home.  I will get the sprinkles out."

10:30 a.m.  "Are the cookies ready to decorate.  You said when they were cool we could decorate them."

10:40 a.m. "I think the cookies are ready now."

11:00 a.m.  "I think Sparrow wants to help us decorate the cookies now."

11:10 a.m.  "I am in my seat ready to decorate cookies."

For the love.  Finally at 11:30 we were ready to roll.

I spread everything out on the table in my 'type A' way; the icing was made and flavored, the tops were all off the bottles of sprinkles, I had tin-foil and baking racks covering everything to avoid more messes, and Georgia was topless--a necessity for projects like this.

And then we started.  Georgia did pretty good in initial spreading icing attempts; really good as a matter of fact.  Enter the sprinkles and it was all pretty much down hill from there.  If ever there was a vigorous sprinkler, Georgia is it.  She sprinkles like it's her job.  And the thing about being a crazy sprinkler is that the frosting gets all over the bottle of sprinkles, all over your hands, and on and on.  But no worries, because when that happens you can just lick the top of the bottle of sprinkles, and the knife you used to spread the icing, and your fingers.  And when your mom tells you to stop you can reassure her and say, "Don't worry Mama.  I'm just licking it clean."

I felt myself slipping into anal mom mode and then just decided, who cares?  We're not sharing these cookies with anyone, I can replace $1.69 bottles of sprinkles and sugar, Georgia is having fun, and I'm not going to cast a shadow on a good time decorating cookies by enforcing rules about cookie decorating.

And plus--my silverware was getting licked clean so I wouldn't even have to do any dishes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Am I a gymnastics 'Dance Mom'?

We (and I mean Georgia and I) have been going to a parent participation class at a local gymnastics facility since last March.  It's truthfully one of the most frustrating hours of my week.  Georgia cries when she is asked to do anything other than jump on the trampolines or stand by the gym I-Pod and listen to music, screaming out to anyone who will listen to her, "I think this is the Mickey song. I think we should listen to Ice Ice Baby.  Do you have any songs about Jesus (but really it sounds like Cheez-its)? I think a Dora song is coming on next. I want it louder."

It's a super good time.

All the other two and three year olds are rolling down huge wedges, letting the instructors demonstrate backwards somersaults with them, hanging on bars, attempting cart-wheels, doing round-offs, and riding the pommel horse (okay....not really on the last two...maybe soon).  Not Georgia.  She's crying, or whimpering, or clinging to my leg like a vice, or running away yelling no.  So why haven't we quit......and saved the money and my Monday morning sanity?

I think it's good for her.  That's why.  She's timid in new situations, and not normal timid.....typical first child, type A, just like your mother was, we need to get you out of your comfort zone timid.  But it's been really hard for me.  I wonder if I'm being unreasonable, mean, forcing her to do something she hates and will never love, a veritable Dance Mom if you will (what in the world with that show BTW?)

But......I think about things my parents made me do because I needed to do them.  I remember a time at McDonald's and I needed some more ketchup, I think I was like ten.  My mom told me to go on up to the counter and ask for some. I wouldn't.  That idea terrified me.  "Well then I guess you don't really need it that bad," was her response to me.  I think I was really shocked that she wouldn't just do it for me and in the end I don't think I ever ended up getting ketchup.  And looking back--it's a good thing.

I needed to be taught how to get out of my comfort zone.  How to suck it up and foster some confidence and for heaven's sake how to ask for my own a 5th grader! And Georgia......she needs to learn how to follow directions in a fun environment before she'll do well at in a more serious one, she needs to learn that trying new things with mommy right by her side is making her brave and confident for times I'm not right there, she needs to learn that working hard at things that feel uncomfortable to us often have huge pay-outs, and she absolutely needs to learn that we don't just quit stuff we don't like.

So after all these months of teeth gritting conversations about following Ms. Shannon's directions, arm squeezing, threats that we can't get a drink out of the drinking fountain if there are tears, and almost dialed phone calls to drop gymnastics...........this past Monday was the pay-out I'd been hoping for.

Georgia ran onto the floor for warm-ups, did everything--even jumping on one foot, ran the right direction on the trampolines without having to be reminded, only requested one song on the I Pod, gave Ms. Shannon a huge hug and told her she loved her, let Ms. Shannon use her to demonstrate a somersault on the balance beam and a backwards somersault on the bars and wedges, and yelled at the end of class, "Nastics is fun.  And I didn't even cry today because I followed the rections."

It was truly amazing and all of my resolve to make October our last month at gymnastics started to dissolve and I began to think that all of this gymnastics stress might just be worth it; the lesson I was hoping Georgia would learn might actually be sinking in.........and the lesson I was teaching myself about not quitting the "parenting" in this situation when the "parenting" was really frustrating was sinking in for me too.

I hope I can be so steeled later on down the road when the issue is much bigger, much more serious, much more crucial, and much much harder to stay firm on.  But, it's these little things that we do along the way, liking sticking with a miserable gymnastics class,  that build up that self-confidence to do it better and bigger later on.......for me and my daughter.

I think I've learned how important it is to ask for my own ketchup..........and to do a somersault on the balance beam when that's what the rest of the class is doing.

Here's hoping for a repeat next Monday!

And.........these pictures have nothing to do with gymnastics......just a few from a walk we took in the woods a few days ago to collect leaves for a project.  It's fall......we had fun.......and pictures always make a post better.

We always take exercise bands on walks in the woods......what?  You don't?

Georgia found some moss and told me that's where fairies live.  Gaga built her a fairy garden this year covered in moss and now it's gospel......and it's these kinds of finds that make me want to just eat this girl up.  

Looking for corn-ac's.  You get it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art Prize

It was a fabulously beautiful weekend here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  The kind of weekend that magnifies everything that is right and wonderful and perfect about fall......and the kind of weekend that makes me cringe at the thought of ever having to leave the Midwest......we're not.........for now.

It was sunny, the leaves were on fire, it was pleasantly warm, the house was pretty clean (shocking for the end of the week), we'd all had enough sleep and were in good moods, and we were ready to tackle the weekend.  There were a lot of little outdoor projects that we needed to get done but decided to forget about all of those and enjoy the last weekend of Art Prize in downtown Grand Rapids.  I, apparently, hadn't had enough of Art Prize having worked at it the last two weekends manning a booth for kids to make artist trading cards on behalf of Mom Colored Glasses and a few other area blogs, so down we went again!

Art Prize is one of those events that can make you fall in love with a city if you're not there yet...............

"Rusty" was in the top ten of all the Art Prize entries and I was pretty cynical about it until I saw him in person.  He's pretty cool and very creative.  Loved his tree trunk legs!

Monkey's on the bridge.  By far the best "blue bridge" installation in Art Prize's three years.  I think you can even buy these guys.  Georgia told me they were saying, "Hee Hee Who Who."  That's what monkeys say I guess.  

We're in a sunglasses phase.  They never come off: even when upside down.  Two weeks ago she wore them to church......and they didn't come off said her teachers........she's a rock star.  

This is "Glitter Girl."  My favorite entry this year.  And this artist was the victim of highway robbery in my opinion that they didn't make it into the top ten.  It's truly fabulousness.  All these individual sequins nailed to this board that you can touch and feel and it's an amazing photograph on top of it all.  Robbery.....pure and simple.  

I called these "little Darth Vader's" since I'm such an amazing art critic......but you could put your face into them and hear a different song playing in each of them; there were probably about twenty of them total hanging from the ceiling.  Pretty cool actually and if I was cultured I'd remember what they were actually called. 

Seeing that I spent a lot of time at the Children's Museum during Art Prize I saw a lot of kids loving these little statues.....I think there were about 100 of these.  Kids could climb all through them, investigate the different ways they were painted and decorated and touch the art work........Georgia had a favorite.  I agreed with her. 

In Monument Park listening to the Kevin Kameraad puppet show........again. 
And....a few more favorites from the day. 

It was a great Saturday and we even managed to get all the outside stuff around the house done today.  Here's to beautiful fall weekends, the Midwest, and art!

You Might Also Like....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...