Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Imagination Library

This past spring while at the library I came upon some information on Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Dolly Parton started the program because she wanted children in her home county to have access to age appropriate books that would foster in them a love of reading. The program was such a success, she asked others to help her make the program available to more children. It is now available in three countries! My children already loved reading, but I thought that the program would expose them to some books that we maybe would not have purchased ourselves and that they would enjoy receiving their own mail. I immediately filled out the application (there is no charge for the program, the local United Way funds the program in our community) and we anxiously awaited our first books. Within 2 weeks each of the kids had received the first book, "The Little Engine that Could". Every 4-6 weeks after that the kids have received a book appropriate for their age. Aidan usually receives board books while Reese gets longer paperback story books. Whenever we go to get the mail, Reese asks if she will be receiving a book that day. If she has received a book, she makes me open it so she can read it in the car on the way home from the post office. Here is a picture of the books we have received so far:

That is 16 new books since April! Our favorites so far have been, "Pouch" and "LLama, Llama Mad at Mama".The kids qualify for the program until they are 5 years of age. I'm not sure if the boks change year to year, or if Aidan will receive some of the same books that Reese has gotten. Even if he does, we could donate the duplicates to my sisters kids, who unfortunately do not have a program where they live. We love Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and wish that it could be available to each and every child! Make sure to check to see if the Imagination Library is available in your area.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rough transition

I am having a hard time adjusting to being back to work full time. I feel that I am not doing a good job of being there for my kids and that I am also not doing the best job that I can at my job. I broke down crying tonight in front of the kids after a stressful bathtime experience. Reese sweetly asked me what hurt so she could kiss it to make it better! So sweet I only cried more! How do you explain to a 3 year old that sometimes you just need a good cry?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reese gets the gimme's

Reese is at that age where she sees things on tv or in the store and says, "I want that!" We try not to watch too much tv and when we do, it is generally Nick Jr. or IPTV so that there are minimal commercial interruptions. Occassionally, though, we do watch other channels. Recently, while watching tv, a commercial for Pillow Pets came on. Now seriously what kid could resist a pillow that is also a pet! Reese was screaming at me, "Mommy! I want that!" and singing along. Thankfully, once the show comes back on, the wonderful Pillow Pet is forgotten.

A few times this summer when it has been rainy and we are sick of being stuck in the house, we have gone shopping and spent some time in the toy aisles at different stores. Reese generally points out things that she would like, but I tell her, "Not today," and she puts it back on the shelf without a fuss! We will continue to do this so that the kids are conditioned to leave without things and I can get ideas for Christmas and birthdays! The same thing happens once we reach the checkout. Reese will play with any toys in the aisle or look at the candy, but rarely asks for anything and has never thrown a fit when we say it is time to leave without said candy or toys!
You could say that we are really tough parents, as our children rarely ever go out to eat and get an actual kids meal with toys. We have found that it is often cheaper to split an adult meal between the two of them, rather than to order 2 kids meals just so that they can each have a toy.
This weekend marks the first time that I have caved and bought something that Reese wanted and, suprisingly, it was something I was going to buy anyway! We were near the produce and Reese got all excited that they had Princess Grapes. I notice a display of boxes covered in pictures of the Disney Princesses and find packages of grapes inside. I was planning to buy fruit anyway, so I gladly threw a package in.


While riding home from grammy's today, I gave the kids a few leftovers grapes to munch on from my lunch. Aidan kept saying, "Bubbles!" and Reese and I assumed he was talking about my shirt, which featured large blue circles. When we got home I got out some more grapes as Reese did not share very well with Aidan. I had already changed clothes and Aidan reached across the table where I had the grapes sitting and said, "Bubbles!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fashion Dilemma

I have been searching high and low for a pair of nice girls dress shoes in chocolate brown for Reese to wear with her dress as a flower girl in my little brother's upcoming wedding. Since Randy was out of town tonight, I decided to take the kids to town and do some browsing for a pair of shoes. We went to the mall and looked through 4 different stores. I was unable to find anything at any of the stores, so we started walking back to our car. Reese started grumbling and yelled, "I'm so frustrated that I can't find a pair of shoes! Ugh!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toothbrush Fiend

Lately, if I don't keep the bathroom door closed, Aidan gets into the toothbrushes and runs around with them in his mouth. I am glad that he is so into keeping his mouth clean, I just do not want to be running to the ER because he fell and shoved a toothbrush through his skull!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daytrip- Henry Villas Park Zoo

We have been planning a family trip to the Henry Villas Park Zoo in Madison, WI for the past two weeks and were all very excited. When Reese woke up on Sunday I asked her which animal she was most excited to see. Her response: "Grandma Potter!" I guess I should have been more specific!
Randy, the resident weatherman, was not so excited. He checked the weather forecast in Madison and found that there were supposed to be pretty severe storms throughout the day. Despite the forecast, we packed up the kids and car and headed for Dubuque to meet up with my family. When we arrived in Dubuque the skies were black and it was pouring down rain. We waited for a break in the rain and ran into the HyVee to meet up with the rest of my family. We discussed the weather, but decided to forge on with our plans. After they finished their breakfast, we took all the kids to the bathroom and loaded into our cars. When Brandon finally arrived, we lined up and headed our caravan out of town. We took the lead as we had GPS and could direct everyone else to the zoo. About 20 minutes into the trip we stopped to take another bathroom trip. Fearing that an 80 minute drive was going to take about 160 minutes, Randy became a little irritated. Fortunately, we made it the rest of the way without another stop.
When we arrived, everything looked pretty wet, like it had recently rained, but the skies were bright and blue! We unloaded all of the kids and had a picnic lunch outside the zoo. After taking our picnic baskets back to the cars, we finally headed in. It was a bit hectic when we first entered the zoo as we had to stop for another potty break and the kids were so excited to get going. Finally, we made our way to the gorilla and monkey display. Randy, the kids and I kind of took off in advance while everyone else fed babies and decided how to handle strollers, as they were not allowed into the building. Though I didn't get much time to chat with my family, because we were always ahead of them, it was easier spreading out than trying to keep our large group together (we had 7 adults and 9 kids under the age of 6 in our group).
After the monkeys, came the lions and a tiger. Randy took Aidan over to see the tiger, while we were looking around for the giraffes. He said that when they approached the surround, the tiger came up very close to the fence and stared at Aidan, while Aidan tried to get closer (thank goodness I wasn't there!). According to a sign inside the giraffes pen, they had been separated into different cages because they had been fighting. When we found them inside another building, 2 that looked like adults were in one cage, while a smaller one was in his own cage. All I could think was that animals must not be that much different from humans. The smaller giraffe had to have been the baby of the two giraffes in the other cage. My guess is that the baby giraffe was going through his terrible 2's or else was going through the equivalent of puberty!
After checking out the ostrich, emu and flamingos we came upon a treehouse play area where the kids played for about 45 minutes! They were all completely drenched with sweat and parched, so we took a break to get something to drink before continuing on. I took a quick look through the herpetarium, snakes and bats and bugs, and left in favor of looking at the fish, ducks, giant turtle and alligator. Next we looked at the buffalo, prairie dogs and llamas. There was a building that contained many tropical animals and an actual rainforest. Finally, we got to see the black bears, otters and capybara. Unfortunately the polar bear and penguins were in hiding, can't imagine why!
Upon reaching the point where we started, we took another bathroom break. The babies needed to eat again, so the older kids played in the park while the adults fed the babies. Finally we packed everyone back into their cars and started the caravan back home. Our kids were asleep before we even left the zoo grounds. Because we planned on driving while the kids were asleep and had longer to drive to get home, Randy led everyone back to the highway that would lead them back to Dubuque and then picked up speed. By the time we reached Dubuque, the kids were awake and we decided to stop for dinner. One really nice couple came up to us as they were leaving and told up what nice children we had and how well behaved they were. Though their good behaviour was probably attributed to sheer exhaustion, it was still nice to hear! We finished up our dinner and drove the rest of the way home.
The zoo was a perfect choice for our group because it was affordable. Though there is no charge for admission into the zoo, donations are greatly appreciated to help keep the zoo operating. The only costs for the day were our gas for the ride there and back and also for our picnic lunch. Also, all of the children in our group, 9 under the age of 6, were entertained for the four hours were spent at the zoo. It can be difficult to do things with this group because there are such different levels of ability (newborn, toddlers and school agers) and interests, but there really was something for everyone!
Though the day had been hectic at times, it was definitely worth it! We will be planning another trip back to the zoo next summer and hopefully every summer after that!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Busy Week

It is my last week of summer vacation and we are making the most of it and cramming as much in as we can! Even though Randy was out of town Tuesday and Wednesday, the kids and I went to the Mississippi Valley Fair with their grammy and grampy Winslow. We left Tuesday around 4. After arriving at the fairgrounds, the kids and I took a walk around to check out the animal barns and rides. We returned to the car around 6pm, with 2 hours to go until the start of the concert. The kids were really good entertaining themselves with some toys that I had brought and just climbing around the van. Once we finally got to the concert, they continued to entertain themselves well by playing with toys, running around and playing with some kids nearby, dancing and chasing bubbles. When the concert ended around 10pm we headed out the gates. The kids were being pretty good considering how late it was, but we all decided it would be best to head home in order to be rested up for the next night. There was a huge thunderstorm during the night that woke Reese and I up for about an hour and then Reese was up at 6am. We kept busy all morning and all laid down for naps after lunch. After a short nap, we packed up and headed back to grammy and grampy's to follow them to the fair. We got there a little bit earlier and therefore had more time to waste. Again the kids and I walked through the animal barns and rides. We stopped and took in a puppet show and also went through the petting zoo. An hour and a half later we returned to our car to eat a little dinner. Again the kids played in and around the car for about 2 hours before we headed into the concert. Though the kids played well during the concert, by the end Reese was tired and whining that she wanted to go home. When we got to the car she was so delirious that she said knock, knock jokes and laughed histerically the whole way home! She stayed up until daddy got home around 11pm so that she could say goodnight.
Reese slept in pretty late the following morning and we spent some time outside that morning. After lunch, the kids took their usual naps. When daddy got home from work, we began preparing to go to the fair. Thankfully, we went out the latest we had all week, it was well past 6 before we even parked. We walked around the barns looking at the pigs and before we knew it, it was time for the concert to begin. We decided to get a little closer to the stage and settled in a sandy are to the right of the stage. It was great because the kids were entertained by playing in the sand throughout the whole concert. I was a little upset when Reese laid down and started making sand angels, but thankfully we got her cleaned up without too much trouble. Soon after the crowds had cleared out of the stands at the end of the concert, we headed back to our car. Though we had waited awhile, traffic was still pretty bad and it took us awhile to get home.
Friday we planned on taking the kids to Randy's grandparents while we attended the concert alone. We dropped the kids off around 5pm and almost didn't know how to act at the fair without 2 children in tow. After a coupld of beverages, I got my favorite fair treat, fried pickles. Though I was looking forward to enjoying my treat by myself, I did end up sharing! After the concert we hung around in the farmers tent for awhile. Finally, we went to Village Inn for something to eat before going home and collapsing into bed.
I was up by 6:30, why can I not sleep in when I actually have the opportunity to do so? I waited and finally went to pick up the kids around 8am. I couldn't believe it when I walked into the house and both kids were still sleeping! About 20 minutes later they started stirring and got up. We packed up all of their stuff and thanked Gene and Shirley before heading home. After lunch and naps, we went into town to do some tax free shopping. We got enough summer clothes for both of the kids to wear to Jamaica and Florida this upcoming spring. We also finished off most of their needs for fall, including new shoes. After dinner at Red Robin, we went to Sam's for our groceries. The kids played outside while we put away groceries at home. Then we took baths and got ready for bed. After such a busy couple of days, I could sleep for days, but we are going to spend Sunday at the zoo! Oh well! I can sleep when I am dead, I am loving making all of these memories with my kids!