Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Little Girl With a Curl

There was a little girl that had a little curl

Right in the middle of her forehead;

When she was good, she was very, very good,

And when she was bad she was horrid.

Up until recently, 1 2 3 Magic had been working like a charm with the boys. It's a simple behavior management system that consists of us counting to 3 when the boys aren't cooperating and them turning their behavior around before we get to 3 or there is a time out. Over the past couple of days, I've gotten to three and the offender is completely ignoring me. That has never happened before, they usually jump as soon as they hear us counting. I stood there dumbfounded thinking "now what?". If 1 2 3 Magic isn't working anymore, my bag of tricks is empty. Kevin suggested in jest that maybe we should start counting to 4.

The boys just turned four and at times are already acting like moody and sassy tweens. I'm finding it's a fine line to walk with them, they are too often thinking of us as playmates rather than parents. I love the closeness we all share, the time we spend together with them reading books, puzzles and playing. However these little guys need to know their limits and to learn respect. I struggle with how to implement these values without being a constant critic of their behaviors. They have such an innocent and free spirit and the last thing I want to do is to stifle that in any way. I'm hoping like everything else in the past that this is just a phase. I'll lose sleep, obsessively think about it and in time they move on from the behavior and throw me a new loop.

To my little ones

I heard you clumsily open your door and the sound of your excited little feet. You called out "Mom, Mom, he came! We were first, he came and we were first." We gathered around the tree and you quickly claimed your pile and sweetly asked for permission to begin. Your tousled hair, sleepy eyes and morning froggy voice filled my heart.

Each gift was opened with such anticipation and was carefully examined before you moved onto the next...with the exception of your new underwear. You noticed that Santa had eaten his cookies but thankfully you didn't notice that Twink our family elf had forgotten to go back to the North Pole. I tell you almost daily that you are my Christmas morning, you bring me that inexplicable joy, that contentment that all is right in the world.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

The unfortunate drive by

I broke our camera last weekend. As in put it on the back of our car and drove off with it. Not a good time of year to break a camera. Kevin is taking his time researching the next camera we will buy so for now no pics. I can't stand having a delay on the camera, we get the boys to cooperate for a picture, then it takes the camera a few seconds to cue up and by then the boys are gone. So one of my requirements is a quick shoot camera.

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the boys and myself before break begins. It is also the boy's last day at their current preschool. Come January they will start at the Montessori program at my school. On Friday they met their new teachers. They seemed excited and interested in their new class environment. A little shell shocked to see that there were no toys, but also a little curious about the materials the teachers had out. They had some baskets filled with pine cones, nuts and bolts and other various materials. They seemed comfortable talking with them and when they left they said they had "a really fun time".

Over the weekend I attended Grant's Karate banquet. Grant received his junior black belt after four years of studying Karate. There were only four students receiving one and he was the youngest. He and the three others put on a show of sorts to showcase their skills. I was very impressed. He won several awards and my sister and brother in law, won parents of the year for the dojo. It was a great night for the McBrides.

Grant's sensei is an admirable person, he held a board breaking event at the dojo in Grant's honor and helped our JDRF team raise thousands of dollars for juvenile diabetes. After attending the banquet and seeing what a valuable experience it is for all the children that are involved, Kevin and I are going to find out about enrolling the boys in the little dragons program. The minimum age is four, so they can now participate after the new year.

I'm so excited to celebrate the holidays with the boys. I just can't wait to see those little faces on Christmas morning. I tend to get caught up with the work involved to host, bake and clean, but I'm trying really hard to stay in the moment with them. It seems like after every b-day party and some holidays too, I sit down and reflect how things went and feel like I wasn't a part of the celebration. I was too busy prepping, serving, cleaning, sorting and putting away to enjoy any of it. I HATE that. I'll never get that time back, it's gone and I lost it. In fact my New Year's resolution is to be more "present" in our everyday lives. Taking the time to enjoy the time I spend with the boys and less focused on housework and whatever else that needs to get done. I'm organized to a fault and I'm fighting my instincts tooth and nail to change that.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Time for an update on the bubbies. Just a couple short weeks until Christmas is here and we are enjoying the anticipation with the boys. The boys have really been focused on what toys they are going to get from Santa and their family, which I know is completely normal for three. Kevin and I wanted to get them thinking about the giving part as well so we had them create lists of family members that they were going to buy gifts for and tonight we took them shopping at the dollar store.

The gifts they picked out were actually thoughtful, a bit ridiculous and a whole lot of sweet. They enjoyed choosing gifts for their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and each other. They were a bit disappointed about not being able to get the gifts they bought for each other tonight. That might be an understatement. Overall though, I thought it was a good experience for them and I hope they enjoy giving their gifts to everyone on Christmas.

The new year will bring some new changes for the boys. Kevin and I have decided to enroll the boys at the preschool Montessori program at my school. They are currently in preschool 3 mornings a week at another school that is about a mile away from my school. It's been a great experience for them and they have enjoyed themselves tremendously.

There has been however, one little glitch. There is a "friend" in their class that they seem to be smitten with. Unfortunately that "friend" is the class troublemaker. This little boy has taught them potty jokes and introduced them to the concept of guns. They talk about him all the time and have learned some very unbecoming behavior from him. When they started to tell me about guns (which they didn't even know existed till this little shit told them) I had had enough. I spoke to the teacher about it and she assured me that he was on a behavior plan and she had brought his parents in to talk to them, yada yada yada. Call me overprotective, overbearing, whatever but I just can't sit by and let this "friend" undo all of our hard work. Our boys are wide eyed, life lovin, innocently happy boys. I refuse to let this little troublemaker take that away from them.

Being a teacher myself, I know that every class has some unfortunate kid like this so it's only a matter of time before they cross paths again with a bad influence but for now I have control over the situation and I'm taking the bull by the horns. I didn't tell the preschool that was one of the main factors we were moving the boys, but now I question if I should or not.

The positive side of the situation is that the boys will be at my school with me! I love the school that I work at, I've been able to get to know their teachers and spend quite a bit of time observing the Montessori program. I'd prefer that the boys only attend preschool 3 days a week at this point, but the Montessori program is 5 mornings a week. So that will be an adjustment but they truly seem to love school so I don't foresee the increase being a problem. So starting in January, the boys and I will be in school from 8:30-12 each day right down the hall from each other.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Classic Red, Green and Silver Christmas Mantel

The Lettered Cottage is hosting a holiday home linky party featuring Christmas mantels. I've been pretty excited to decorate for Christmas since this is our first Christmas in our new home. After peeking into hundreds of homes to see how other's have decorated their mantel, I became inspired to recreate ours and join the party.

I had a lot of kitchey going on previously, I think it's because of having the boys. Some of my most fondest memories of Christmas are of the kitchey Christmas decorations my Grandmother used to put out. The nutcracker that wound up and played music, the Santa that held a lantern that lit up, and her Santa mugs just to name a few. I want the boys to have those same kind of memories, when I buy Christmas decorations I always have that in the back of my mind. So I shopped the house as well as Michaels and the dollar store and came up with a more timeless and classic Christmas Mantel. We'll keep the kitchey in the kitchen.

Our fireplace is two stories high, so I really needed to get some height on the mantel. I repurposed a mirror that has been out of commission for some time because it had the height that our mantel needed. I bought the wreath at Michaels. I liked that it looked a little more rustic than the traditional Christmas wreath because our stone fireplace has more of a rustic feel to it. I had some leftover burlap from a previous project that I used to dress the mantel. It's difficult to see in the photos but there is burlap on either side of the mirror.

The candle sticks are from Pottery Barn and I embellished them with silver snowflake ornaments that I picked up from the Dollar Store. The glass vase on the mantel is also from the Dollar Store and it is filled with Dollar Store ornaments. The faux Christmas holly is from Michaels. I used a piece of burlap around the vase as well to tie it all together.

Our stockings are from Pier One. I purchased them years before we had the boys because I loved the that they were made of velvet, were patchworked and the details on them are really pretty. It's difficult to see the golden thread that embellishes them in pictures, sorry about that! Thanks for stopping by!

The Lettered Cottage