Happy Halloween!

From Sir Javi and Pippibella to you and yours, Happy Halloween! Let the sugar coma begin! (We'll be slaying dragons and acting impulsively on purpose rather than to drive each other crazy. How about you?)

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Getting the spirit

We didn't do much to celebrate Halloween last year except for trick-or-treating. This year, I have two children who beg to make crafts and a holiday that begs you to use your imagination. So we did.

We painted pumpkins.

And turned them into Frankenstein and Potato Longstocking.

And rather than carving anything (and probably cutting off a finger), we made Halloween-themed lanterns. Not pictured is the Frankenstein lantern  that will be finished up on Thursday (because football practice sucks up most of Javi's free time over the next two days).

Want to make the lanterns with your crafty kiddos? See my post at From the Monkey Bars for a step-by-step!

What fun crafts are you doing this week?

***This post is part of the 30-minute blog challenge.***

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I should be in bed, but...

Look at how much these kids changed in a year. I mean, I could've noticed it tomorrow, but where's the fun in that?

 And while I'm at it:

The years really do feel like minutes right now.

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Cluck of the Week: Eggtastic

We visited with some friends today who established their flock (that's chicken terms, people!) about a month before we did. They have a Black Star, an Ameracauna, and a Golden Comet -- which means their flock is much more colorful than ours.

However, they also lay a much different egg. For instance, the Ameracauna lays a blue or green egg commonly called Easter eggs. Very pretty! Our Rhode Island Reds lay your standard brown farm egg, but they find a way to make their breed stand out.

You see that ginormous egg up there? It's Fancy's. The other egg was laid by the Ameracauna. Take that you colorful show offs!

And speaking of eggs, #1) I learned you really should rinse them off, but #2) only right before you eat them and #3) only with warm water (unless they are super dirty, which is when you could use a weak bleach solution. Also, #4) chicken eggs have a protective coating that allows them to go unrefrigerated for up to 10 days. Who knew?!

In summary, yes, we are still refrigerating our eggs and, yes, we have been singing "Fancy got eggs!" to the tune of Baby Got Back. What else would we do?

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The learning life

I'm so excited to join in with some great bloggers to announce the launch of From The Monkey Bars, a blog for parents written by parents that tackles the good, the bad, and the crazy.

Each week, I'll offer tips and strategies for fun, creative learning experiences with your child whether you have a demanding and precocious toddler or a surly and inattentive grade schooler. And for kids whose ages fall outside of that bracket, I'll be sharing ideas straight from the experts, including homeschooling parents, traditional school teachers and administrators, folks who are trained to work with children who have special needs, and those whose creative genius should be shared.

And, of course, I'd love to share YOUR experiences, so let me know if you're interested in guest posting. Any ideas or experiences you have for creative learning are welcomed.

Now come on over and give us a big, hearty hello!

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When I was young...

At the ripe old age of 9, Javier has penned and illustrated his first memoir. I would be jealous of his 8-page tome, but, well ... it's only 8 pages. And he only had access to five colors for the illustrations. So there.

His autobiography is aptly titled "When I Was Young" and each page highlights a favorite memory. They aren't necessarily the ones I would've chosen for him (I mean, the first page is a huge slice of pizza), but they are pretty accurate for my creative, funny little boy.

These are my favorites:

Poor beheaded flowers. I love that yellow brick, though. Did you know we are the
brick capitalof the entire world? (Imagine huge brown eyes staring at you now.)

Only a dedicated waterbug would use his arms as "pedals." Paddles are for wimps!

I think my favorite part here is how the slide empties into nothing. I bet that landing hurt!

Who doesn't love a "recidal," especially when everyone sings the same note?

These aren't Javi's most detailed drawings, but I think they're pretty fantastic. Fittingly, I'm writing about ADHD and creativity over at {a mom's view of adhd} today. You can see I have lots of experience to share!

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QOTD: The rules (!!!)

It's official. My kids run me. But for every day full of yelling and combativeness and argumentative behavior, there are days that make me wonder where the hidden camera is. Today was one of those days where I chose to be happy without qualifiers or expectations.


Thirty minutes after picking at the delicious and nutritious meal I had prepared for lunch:
Bella: Mama, I'm still hungry.
Me: What do you want?
Bella: Um. A Twizzler. A big red one with strings all on it. You can't cut it!
Me: You aren't getting a Twizzler.
Bella: Okay, an icy pop.
Me: No
Bella: A cookie!
Me: No. If you're hungry, you can have a banana.
Bella: I'm not hungry. I'm thirsty! I'll take an icy pop!

While trying to have some special pre-school time with a new connect-the-dots workbook:
Bella: Mama, you say "Homegirl, you are really getting the hang of this!"
Me: Homegirl, you are really getting the hang of this!
Bella: Don't talk!
Me: But you told me to say it!
Bella: Okay. Now you say, "Girl, you are really getting the hang of this!"
Me: Girl, you are really getting the hang of this.
Bella: I said don't talk! (x 100)

In the first 20 minutes after Javi arrived home from school:
"My teacher makes a weird noise every time she talks. Like she can't breath. Don't you think she's taking the talking too far? I mean, she did say she loves to talk, but that's just too much!"

"Listen to this! I was just looking at my stomach, you know, with my shirt up, minding my own business, and Jasmine said, 'Javi, you have six pack!' And then Lilybeth came over and said, 'I want you to sit by me!' I was just minding my business, but obviously they weren’t!"

"Oh, yeah, mama. I forgot to show you this. [Points at left arm] Frank. [Points at right arm] Sarah. Get it? I named my muscles. This one’s Frank and this one’s Sarah. Husband and wife. And my six pack is their babies. I named all six of them Bobby."

After finally having time to watch the remake of The Karate Kid:
Me: Go ahead and put it in the envelope so we can send it back.
Javi: I need to keep it.
Me: We can't keep it, it's not ours.
Javi: I need it mama. I need the kung fu.
Me: The kung fu? What is the kung fu?
Javi: Mama. Everything is kung fu. Duh!

So tell me -- what did your kid say today that made the nasty stuff fade into the background for a while? (And for more posts on intentional happiness, check out Momalom and Bad Mommy Moments.)

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Cluck of the Week: Size matters

When we introduced Here's Your One Chance Fancy Don't Let Me Down into our flock, she was the grand dame of chickens and towered over Stella, Lulu2, and Maisy.

A few months of free range living (and daily fresh eggs later), she isn't looking so ... meaty.

We still miss Stella (and have to remind Bella every day that she's not coming home), but these little red girls are pretty cool. Word on the street is we may soon have THREE fresh eggs daily.

New source of income? I can't say for sure ... but someone I know is talking about a new round of chicks in the spring. (And it's not me.)

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Being present

I talk about it a lot: being present, living in the moment, cherishing the small moments.

Today, after my sweet girl slept until nearly 10am, I decided to put my time where my mouth was. I closed the laptop, left it in our bedroom behind a shut door, and told myself that today I'd be like the moms who devote themselves to their children.

An hour and a half later, I had unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher (with my mini-me putting away the "tay-ba-wahr" aka tableware); washed down the counter tops, stove, and table (with my mini-me drying behind me); magic erasered the doors, door frames, and walls in the kitchen and living room (with my mini-me using a baby wipe to help); put away all the mini-me's bathing suits (an entire box) until next year; gathered up a bag full of toys to give away ("I onyee wanna keep my monkeys. Okay, mama?"); and changed out both kids' sheets and pillowcases.

Coming back downstairs with my arms full of dirty linens and my girl trailing behind me in her underwear with banana smeared on her chin and her hair matted in the back, I wondered, "Why the hell can't I just chill out and be HERE with her?"

Thanks to that extremely late (and abnormal) wake-up time, there was no nap. Instead, I cleaned the kids' bathroom while Bella took a bath. But she play-acted the entire script of Toy Story 3 with her Buzz, Woody, and Jessie dolls as I scrubbed. And after, we went outside to do some Halloween decorating (as evidenced by the photo above where she's begging me to lift her up), so, technically, I found some balance. Right?

Please tell me how you manage to be "present" with your children. I can't be the only one who (apparently) needs a valium.

***This post is part of the 30-minute blog challenge.***

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This is his brain...

It's no secret that we give my son medication to manage his ADHD. Correction: The mountain man usually gives it to him because I am usually still asleep when he takes it during breakfast. Technical word: Usually.

We're pretty sure MM forgot to dole out the Vyvanse this morning. How do we know? Because it's Day 31 of school and we've received our first call from the teacher. (A new record!)

The bad news: All morning he has been extremely talkative, in and out of his seat, argumentative, disorganized, and forgetful. On a bathroom break, he and another child were kicking other boys' feet under the stalls. And then the final straw. While working in groups, the teacher looked over and saw Javier "dancing a jig" next to his desk. (Classic!)

The good news: He's been fantastic all year, his teacher said with surprise and frustration. This is a whole new side of him that she's never seen. I am more than ecstatic about that because it means we really are effectively managing his disorder. Also, it's pretty damn awesome that he was actually dancing without music (while staying next to his desk -- as though he couldn't stop the beat, but at least knew to keep it to himself).

Because we find it really hilarious, and to punish my MM for his forgetfulness, I present this video:

And, no, there will be no disciplinary action against the child for today's antics. He really can't help himself.

In similar news, I've been around the adhd/special needs neighborhood this week. If you're interested in that kind of stuff, I posted about our journey with medication on {a mom's view of adhd} yesterday. Today I posted at Living with Special Needs about bullying and labels. I'd love you to read it if you have time.

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Fairly Awesome

Weeks and weeks ago, the fair came to town. We went and rode and ate and enjoyed all the carnie goodness a Southern fair offers (including thin, twisty fries with vinegar and ketchup and banana pudding ice cream ... mmmm).

This trip also marked Bella's first time riding a roller coaster without trying to beat the ever-livin' crap out of the person beside her as she did last year. (Ah, what a great memory.)

And Javi was super proud to be the only person under 20 on the pirate ship. And, yes, he was smiling for me to take his picture. He wants it framed. ;)

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, though. Because Javi refused to ride with her, Bella kept getting paired up with other kids her age. She was not happy about it. As evidence by her facial expression here:

And how she clambered out of the car here:

And Javi spent at least $10 throwing darts at balloons but only walked away with a $1 teddy bear that he wound up dropping somewhere.

But we made memories and enjoyed a hot, should-be-fall-but-isn't-yet school night at the fair. Oh, and Bella made my mountain man ride a horse on the carousel. Man. It was classic. Can you imagine the deep discussions they're having?

***This post is part of Wordful Wednesday and Wayback When-esday***

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Catch and Release

Some days I feel lost in the hectic routine of daily life. But just when days start blurring together and I begin wondering (again) when I'll ever have time to carve out the slow-paced, even-more-purposeful life I want for myself ... something crazy magical happens.

Like finding a chickadee trapped inside your bird feeder. You almost can't believe that this is your life and you look around for the candid cameras.

But instead of a camera crew, to the rescue come your son and husband. You watch in awe as the mountain man and his mountain-man-in-training gently extricate a tiny bird without hurting it, and then you shake your head in disbelief as they pet its little head -- slender child fingers and thick man hands and easy, honest smiles.

And you realize that your days aren't passing you by and your moments are precious and your desperate grasping for meaning is what's keeping you from feeling it. So you relax your hands and let life happen. Crazy magical.

***This post is part of the 30-minute blog challenge.***

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I'm thinking pink (for the record)

For the record:
200,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer
in the US this year alone.
1 of 8 in her lifetime:
Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends ...

Following the rules won't protect you.
Doing everything "right" is not enough.
We need more research and testing
and talking and laughing and sharing.

We need to remember we are
Strong. Confident. Intelligent. Brave. Talented. Aware.
And we are never, ever alone.
For the record.


We all know someone who has fought cancer. This is the month to share our stories, their stories.

I am partnering with Bigger Picture Blogs to listen and laugh and share in stories of loss and survival and strength.

And to further show my support, I've taken the the Love/Avon Army of Women pledge to help recruit ONE MILLION WOMEN of all ages and ethnicities to sign up and participate in breast cancer research studies. Go to Army of Women to take the pledge and join the campaign. Do it for all of us.

Won't you take the pledge to Write Pink: from the Head, Heart and Feet?

Head over to Bigger Picture Blogs to start on your journey toward making a difference.

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