Friday, July 31, 2009

camp runamucka, we love you...

We're in Madison attending Camp Runamucka, 2009 and we're having a great time, wish you were here, and aren't homesick at all yet, even though really we're pretty much the first campers here and camp hasn't quite runamuck yet.

Madison really is a great little city. The kids and I spent the day with Becky and Ben at Goodman Pool while Boaz and Dick took the architectural tour of the city. Then as a larger group we had brats, beer, and brownies and played chess with Playmobile figures. Tonight Becky and I may sneak out of our cabin to the local bar which is apparently only 32 feet away from her front door (location, location, location).

Unfortunately my camera seems to be broken so you'll have to make do with this stock photo of Camp Runamuck, though our camp admits girls as well, obviously. (Did you know that there was a tv show in the 60s called "Camp Runamuck?" Isn't it amazing what you can learn from Google?) But I'll hijack some photos from the Princess as soon as we remember to take some.

Wish you were here...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

bye bye cable...

We've been looking to cut back a bit because recessionista chic is the thing to do these days and well, the not having a job thing is also quite a compelling reason. So the other night, I started going through our budget and redlining certain items.

First to go... The gym. It's true that just having the gym membership in my very own name makes me healthier, but I haven't stepped foot in the place for over a year, and would much rather run in the sleet or pouring rain than get on one of those tediously boring eliptical trainers. I put cancelling membership on my list of to-dos and feel good. I am a budgeting wiz.

It's easy enough to not renew my subsciptions to American Girl and Nickelodeon magazines since I'm not exactly sure why we receive them in the first place. But I'm not so willing to get rid of my pedicure of the month membership since, um, nice toes help me run so much faster. And so the budgeting gets harder.

And then I notice that the kids are watching television again. They've snuck upstairs to my room and have closed the bedroom door so that I don't hear them (because they are sooooo sneaky) and when I surprise them (booo!), they turn it off quickly (embarrassingly, I was guilty of the exact same thing at their age, but we don't need to get into that), but not before I see that they've been watching Hannah Montana, which is probably one of the lamer shows I've ever seen. I mean, how come Miley's friends at school don't REALIZE that she looks exactly like Hannah M. because she IS Hannah M.? Come on, tv execs, do you think our kids are stooopid?

"Why are you guys watching this?" I practically whine. And then it hits me. I can barely remember the last time I watched cable. Last night I tried to and couldn't find anything I wanted. This is the perfect thing to redline.

I let the kids watch the rest of the show and I watch it with them. It is slapstick, superficial, and totally age inappropriate for a six year old girl, though Miley is pretty and has cute clothes. Tali smiles when she watches her sing. It's sweet, but there are many, many years for her to watch inane tv shows and not only will nixing cable save some money, but also a lot of arguments.

"You guys, next month we're getting rid of cable. We don't really need it and school will start and then we'll be too busy to watch TV," I tell them. "Plus there is a ton of stuff we can do besides watching these shows."

"Like what?" Tali screams dramatically. She might have just seen Miley do that on her show.

"You are the worst mother EVER," Samuel says to me. He storms out of his room, flops loudly on his bed, and opens up a book.

Suddenly I have the very strong feeling that I'm doing the right thing.

viva las vegas... the pic is a little fuzzy, but then so was the trip

wordless wednesday

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a day at the museum...

As part of my crusade to pull Sam and Tali from their respective screens and to insert a hiatus to their incessant digs at each other, I dragged them to the museum yesterday. They were pained at the thought of quiet halls of ancient artifacts, even though I told them over and over that where we were actually going was to the Experience Music Project, a museum designed by Frank Gehry that houses incredible rock and roll and science fiction exhibits.

"Ewwww, exhibits," Tali whined from the backseat.

"Ugh, rock and roll," said Sam. "Let's at least go to the science museum, if we have to go to one."

"You guys," I told them cheerfully. "We're going to see the Jim Henson exhibit about the Muppets. How is that boring?"

"Ugh, Muppets," said Sam. "Old, ancient muppet exhibits."

Basically, I think the kids suffered from brief amnesia because the EMP is this huge, shiny, colorful metallic building inspired by Jimi Hendrix's guitars. It's been around for years now, but my kids are only just now old enough to potentially be interested in the place.

To get to the Muppets, we had to go through the Science Fiction exhibits exploring how images of space has evolved through popular culture. We passed by glass enclosed exhibits of all my old Star Wars figures, Alf, characters from Lost in Space, and Planet of the Apes.

The kids were mesmorized.

"This is a museum?" Sam asked incredulously. "Cool."

They had the model of the Death Star Station used in the fourth episode and we talked about how they could've used such a small piece in a film, but still have it look real. Sam stood and squinted at it from all angles, checking it out as if it were a piece of fine art.

And then we donned guided tours loaded on iPods and started the Muppet exhibit. They had napkin drawings of Jim Henson's early sketches, films, and best of all, a theater where the kids were taught how to manage muppets behind a stage using a televised screen and then they performed the muppets to a song.

Sam's fave was the Jimi muppet.
"I can't believe they put that stuff in a museum," Tali said afterwards. "How could they just put his drawings in a frame and call it famous?" She asked, referring to his framed scribbles on lined paper.
"Wasn't it cool to see how Jim Henson worked on the Muppet designs?"
She thought for a sec. "I'm going to frame my drawings, too, so that it's easier to put them up in a museum."
It was a good parenting afternoon. Maybe when they start bickering again this afternoon, I'll have them draw more Muppets.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

and i thought we were over the sleep issues...

Today while in the pediatrician's office waiting for Sam and Naomi to have their annual well-child visits, I browsed through a tired and dog-eared issue of Good Housekeeping from last year. Though I was hoping for some truly miraculous good housekeeping secret, I found an article by a mother who was talking about how she let her eight year old daughter sleep with her.

"She's only little once," she was quoted as saying and my first reaction was that this was very sweet. I looked up at my brood waiting not-so-patiently in the waiting room, fighting over the toys, and rolling around on the floor like small possessed animals. But it was a nice idea and I thought at that moment that the next time they tried to climb in bed with us in the middle of the night, I'd totally let them stay, instead of escorting them back to their beds, exhausted and muttering the mantra, "We all sleep in our own beds."

And then I read on to see that she only had one child and a king-sized bed.

And so I changed my mind.

Because even though I love cuddling with my kids more than most other activities, I'm rotten company in the middle of the night. And now that these kids are continuing to grow bigger and bigger and bigger, there just isn't enough room in our queen-sized bed for five people, and that's what usually happens when one kid ends up joining us in bed. And a Brangelina-sized bed isn't in our cards.

But hours later after reading that article, I'm wondering if I'll regret not letting them sleep with us once they're too old to want to. I mean, we have the occasional slumber party where we know nobody is going to get any sleep. And we cuddle in the morning, though that usually ends up in a wrestling match between Tali and Sam.

But I know that the time is coming quickly when they'll be embarrassed by our public affection toward them. And soon they'll be sleeping in longer than us (one can really hope, right?), and we'll have all the room in our bed that we want.

So maybe if one of them sneaks into bed tonight, I'll just pretend I don't notice. I think I may be the one with the biggest sleep issue.