Friday, May 29, 2009

My Dream Come True

So, one of the places I wanted to take my kids was the Olympic National Rainforest in Washington and thanks to some very generous grants (and a heck of a lot of patience), my mom and aunt helped turn my dream into reality. Thank-you!!! Thank-you!! Thank-you!! The three of us spent Memorial Day Weekend with the kids at Lake Quinalt, which is on the tip of this wonderful place. We got good weather, beautiful scenery, some animal sightings (including deer and slugs), and a lot of exercise. However, as usual, when you take small children out in public, you never quite know what you will get. In the middle of lunch, in a semi-crowded restaraunt, Asa announced "mommy, my butt hurts." By using his "indoor' voice, only the immediate 4 tables heard us. He also had one of his stuffed dinosaur's "leap" off a bridge into the stream below. Asa is lucky it was a little bridge, with a little creek, and mommy could get down to rescue it. Otherwise that dinosaur would be floating out to sea for a free cruise. Noah enjoyed all the hikes we took-something about watching Asa walk around made Noah giggle and laugh.
What I really liked, beyond the relaxing state of nature, is that I now have children old enough to "get it". The last few years, I have dragged Asa out into the forest, only to run myself ragged dragging him out of creeks, keeping him out of the fire, and staring him down so he doesn't eat any strange berries. This year however, I finally have a little boy who got excited to see deer, told me to stay on the trail, and was hopping up and down to go inside the big cedar tree (that was way cool!). It has made the last few years, worth it. Noah may not be as old as his brother, but he had fun as well, and I know it will only get better and better.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cheap Entertainment X

This is my tenth column on cheap entertainment. Is anybody excited? Does anybody realize what I have missed? Anyone else realize that television is the cheapest of all cheap entertainment?
Okay, stay with me. I know that many of you consider t.v. the root of a lot of evil. And I can't disagree. There is a lot of, dare I say it, crap, put out there. But if you want to talk cheap, and I do, it doesn't get much cheaper than a television set. Dollar for dollar, you will get your money back on t.v. for entertainment value. Plus, temper tantrums are done in the privacy of your own home, you don't have to contend with the weather, you don't have to pack a small suitcase to leave the house (if you have children), and there are restroom facitlities (however they are only as clean as you personally make them-which sucks if you don't have a maid).
However, you mention television and you immediately get "a look". The liberals brand you as a senseless zombie intent on de-sentizing your children to natural experiences. Conservatives hail you as a realist intent on giving your children a few hours of pleasure. Anti-Violence Activist insist you are raising the next Charles Manson and Hippies let you know your child will never be able to come up with an original thought for the rest of their natural life.
How did an INANIMATE OBJECT get so much power?!?! Because that is all it is and it all comes down to the question of do you control your t.v. or does it control you? I have seen it both ways and it is a personal question.
In my house, as I have said before, the television set does NOT have to much sex, violence, or degrading content. Why? Hello-I censor that sucker. The t.v. fulfills a few basic roles for us however and they are as follows:

1.)The Negotiator/The Punisher...Didn't pick up your toys? Hit your little brother? Good boys get to watch t.v. and bad boys don't. Did you just yell at mommy? Hey, my turn to watch "Antiques Roadshow". Yippeee!

2.)The Boob Toob...It is absolutley true that the t.v. makes you zone out and for this reason we use it to inspire naps. Nothing makes Asa unwind, relax, and fall asleep like a cartoon in the middle of the afternoon. For this reason alone, I love my television set.

3.)The Educator...Nothing, I repeat nothing, replaces human contact. At this point in both my sons lives, that would be mom and dad. However, there are some good things on t.v. and I have watched them by myself, and with my sons. The kids are a little young to watch the shows on The Plague, but I got excited. And we have language programs that we have watched, helping us learn to count in foreign languages.

4.)The New Stereo...Our cable program includes music, so I frequently turn on classical music. I don't have cd's of Mozart, Haydn, Bach, etc., lying around so this has been a nice way to expose both my kids to different music. We have also listened to Swing, Golden Oldies, and a little Rock-n-Roll.

The reality is, in my opinion, that televsion is what you make of it. It can be the focal point of a uninspired child's life, or it can be one more tool in a parent's arsenal. It is however, always, cheap, cheap, cheap.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Finally, a weekend of sunshine. Me and the grandparents took the kids camping. The mildew dried up between our toes, we smelled of campfire smoke, and I think I got a few bug bites. It was so much fun. The previous summers I have taken Asa camping, I have to admit, it has been more work than fun. It seems like it was a constant battle to keep him near me, out of water, and in one piece. But this time out, Asa was an experienced camper and we finally had the "aha" moment that makes it all worthwhile. Our first night there, after Noah had gone to bed, Asa was sitting outside with Memaw and Mommy and he noticed the moth's that were swarming the lights. Granted, I was not impressed but he thought this very cool. We also went on some hikes, roasted marshmellows, and saw lots of animals. It was a good time and we can't wait to do it again next month.
(FYI-this is not a cheap activity!! Granted it is cheaper than traveling via hotel, but by the time you reserve a camping spot, get food, and drive there, it adds up. Still, it was fun and worthy of doing again.)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

And It's Official...

Well, this flu thing seemed to drag on and on and on and get the story. So we had a field trip at the doctor's office...oh boy. I have my very first sinus infection. I feel so lucky. So the cold went into the flu, that morphed into a sinus infection. I am a mutant.
Again though, a silver lining.
I have been so congested that when my sons poop (and they do), I can't smell it. That is a nice change.
I have also lost 5 pounds. Probably not just in the last week-I haven't forsaken food that much. But it is nice to know that my efforts to lose the baby fat are slowly coming along.
The sad thing is that even with additional cost of drugs, being sick is still pretty cheap as far as entertainment goes. Although I haven't had much fun this week so maybe entertainment isn't quite the word...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cheap Entertainment Part IX

Well, I have just spent the last four days sick with the flu. I honestly don't know if it was swine, bird, or even slug, because I got lucky in that it was just a mild case. I get achy skin, I had a low-grade fever, and my nose ran like a champ agrravating my throat and ears, but I never threw up or had a high fever. I did however pass it on to the kids. Another stroke of luck-they were not as sick as I was but kids have such a low tolerance for anything when they don't freel good. Asa would look at Noah cross-eyed and the tears would start; from both of them. Ugh.
But there were a few silver linings this weekend. One, because I lost my appetite, I am pretty confident I can get into the dress I want to for a wedding reception I am going to in a few weeks. Two, I saw a few movies since I was on the couch.
Three, being sick is about the cheapest form of entertainment out there. Not only do you NOT feel like going anywhere, but laying on your bed in peace and quiet, ALL ALONE, becomes super fun. When Nick said he would watch the kids, I got giddy as I shut the bedroom door and flopped down on the bed. Not only did I not spend ANY MONEY, because of my fever I kept the heat way down despite the cool weather, I didn't do any chores so no toxic fumes (green cleaning is my next goal after gardening), I kept a lot of lights off because the glare hurt my eyes, AND I didn't shower so no water usage. Our carbon footprint was way low these past few days. Okay, no close contact with any humans either but no one wanted to be near me anyway. Hacking and having snot run down your face is soooooo unromantic.
Now, this may have been the cheapest form of entertainment I have run across, but it certainly wasn't the most fun, so I wouldn't recommend it. However, it fit the bill-it was a very inexpensive weekend at our house. Plus, the things I didn't do over the weekend, like laundry and dishes, are greeting me now so the cheap entertainment continues. I am not bored.