Family Frenzy

Recently, Cortney and I participated in a marriage retreat of sorts through our church. One of the topics we talked about was family. We were asked to reflect on our family traditions growing up and whether or not we were super affectionate or close. Cortney and I had some great conversations and it did shred light on what we both bring to the marriage in terms of sharing and hugging whatnot.

While Cort and I were brought up in similar families–both middle class, Christian, three kids (one girl, two boys), and we are both the oldest–there were enough differences in traditions that we were able to blend them a bit for our own family.

I was trying to decide what family on TV we were most like, but honestly we have bits of many families. Let me see if I can break it down.

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I guess it’s not a shock to say I am an over-sharer. But what is interesting is that is not what my family was like growing up at all. In fact, I routinely made my mother blush and my father sputter with what I would say. Cortney is the exact opposite. After more than twenty years of knowing him, I am still finding out new things because he doesn’t bring stories or topics up until he feels like they apply with what is going on or what we are talking about. I am more of the “if I think it, I blurt it out” type.

I guess that would make our family part Bluth.

 

My Eddie also shares whatever he is thinking, but it’s usually more naive. I mean, he is only seven, after all. But he is just so sweet and trusting. He wants people to be happy and he truly believes the world is a good place. This would make our family a little Kimmy Schmidt too.

As I said before, Cortney is the strong silent type. But he knows how to get down and loves good music. He is also very handsome in a suit and totally smooth. So he brings a little Justin Timberlake to the family.

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My two Littles: Charlie and Alice love to shake their groove things. Ok, let’s be real: we all love to do that. We all love the Beatles. We all help each other out, and we all love a cute story line, so that makes us a little Beat Bugs too.

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Other shows you don’t want to miss: Paddington is now available and a totally cute family favorite. And of course, unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life is available. According to Facebook, quite a few of you binged over Thanksgiving weekend. Good for you!

So what TV or movie family do you most identify with? Or is it a mix like us?

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Netflix provides my family with streaming service and a device to watch it on in exchange for posts about what we watch. All opinions are our own.

Can I Say?

I pick Eddie up from school every single day. A couple days a week he stays late and goes to the after school program so I can can stay late in my classroom. The other three days I brave the dumb school parking lot and get him right after school. Every day I ask him how his day was. Every day we end up chatting during the short, three-mile drive home. His booster seat is in the middle in the back seat with Charlie’s carseat directly behind the driver and Alice’s carseat behind the passenger side. During our chats, I can glance up and see his little face full on in my rear view mirror.

Our conversations range from the mundane to the exceptional. We have talked about both math and God on these drives. But it’s one of our most recent conversation about language that I wanted to share today.

Eddie: Mom today I learned about swear words.
Me: Come again? What?
Eddie: I learned that “shitty” is a swear word. It is, right?
Me: Um. Yeah. It is. May I ask how you learned this?
Eddie: Well. We were in our groups and we were doing word cards and I said the word “city” with and “sh” on the front.
Me: Why?
Eddie: Because I got mixed up and thought “ci” sounds like “sh”. But later Mrs. D told me that “city” with an “sh” on the front is actually a swear word and I should probably not say it. So is it? Is “shitty” a swear word?
Me: Uh. Yes. Yes it is.
Eddie: but “shit” is not, right?
Me: Well, yeah. That is a swear word too.
Eddie: Oh. Ok.

We ride along in silence for a couple seconds and then…

Eddie: Mom?
Me: Yeah?
Eddie: Who says swear words anyway? I mean, I know we’re not supposed to say them because they are bad, but they are words, so someone must say them, right?
Me:  Usually adults. When they are angry.
Eddie: Do you say swear words?
Me: I have. Yes.
Eddie: But they are for adults to say? Because they are bad?
Me: Yeah. They are just not nice. They are pretty ugly and you only say them when your feelings are ugly.
Eddie: Like when your classes don’t listen and you have a bad day?
Me: No….even uglier and angrier and sadder.
Eddie: Like when someone dies? Yeah, I would think death would be shitty.
Me: Yes. Yes it is.
Eddie: Ok mom. I promise not to say it. Not until I am an adult.

The very next day, on the way home.

Eddie: Mom?
Me: Yes, Bud?
Eddie: Did you know I am the only kid in first grade who can’t say “fart?”
Me: I doubt that.
Eddie: Well, all of my friends say it. And they laugh when I call it a “toot”.
Me: Why are you guys even talking about that anyway? Bathroom talk is not for school.
Eddie. Mom.
Me: What?
Eddie: We talk about it at recess. Not in class. (and I actually looked up in time here to see the massive eye roll you are probably imagining.)
Me: Well what should we do?
Eddie: I should be allowed to say “fart”
Me: But daddy and I don’t think that little kids sound very nice when they use that language.
Eddie: Well I am not a little kid. I’m almost seven AND almost a 2nd grader.
Me: But you have a little brother and sister who are little kids. If you start talking like that, they will do what you do.
Eddie: Do you and dad say the word “fart”?
Me: Yes. But not in front of you guys.
Eddie: Ok. How about I am allowed to use the word “fart” with my friends, but not at home because it’s a “friends word only”.
Me: Huh. Ok. I guess that would be Ok.

When we get home from school, Eddie is allowed to watch Netflix for an hour. Just this week he asked me if he could watch a “not cartoon show”. It’s called Mighty Med.

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The show is about these two comic book fans who find this secret entrance into a hospital for superheros. They end up getting jobs there and hilarity ensues. The thing is, the kids are all high school-aged which means they use words like “fart” and “butt” and other things that are not bad (I mean, it’s Disney, after all), but it’s not something I want to hear my four-year-old saying. So since Eddie and I had discussed “fart” as being a “friends only” word, we also talked about how this show is for after school when his younger siblings are not around.

Eddie then asked if this is why he and Charlie and Alice had different profiles on Netflix–to keep their shows separate. And I said, yes. That is exactly why.

I know he feels pretty special being the oldest and having the privilege of using “friends only” words and watching shows that The Littles are not allowed to watch. I feel pretty awesome knowing he feels comfortable enough to talk these things over with me.

Hopefully our lines of communication will always be this open, although I am going to guess he will use the word “shitty” before he’s an adult.

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The Bedtime Battle

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I have a love/hate relationship with my children’s bedtime routines.

I know all kids are different, but it always astounds me how we can do the same thing with all three kids and get three vastly different outcomes.

As a baby, Eddie just couldn’t fall asleep on his own. We tried. Oh boy did we try. But I just couldn’t leave him to cry in his crib, so at a very young age, he was held until he fell asleep. Then he was read to and rocked to sleep. Then he was read to and laid by until he fell asleep…well, Ok that is the routine even now.

We tried putting him to bed without laying next to him. It resulted in some interesting “getting out of bed excuses” and even a couple times where he appeared completely naked requesting “a little help.” In fact, I wrote about all the ridiculous things he would say.

Charlie was so easy. We would feed him his last bottle of the night,  put him in bed completely awake, and walk away. He would sleep all night. Eventually we added books and rocking, but even then after he felt he’d had enough rocking, he would point to the crib and go to bed.

That was until he realized he could escape the crib.  Then bedtime became an all-out, throw-down battle with that child. Put him to bed, he gets out, put him back, he cries, gets quiet, gets out, put him back, ad naseam.

That is when the bunk beds came. My dad built the boys their beds, and since Eddie was the oldest, we gave him the pick of top or bottom. He picked bottom, and quite awesomely, Charlie got the top…and couldn’t get out by himself! 

Now our main battle is about getting jammies on and getting teeth brushed and which shows we will watch before and which books we will read.

Alice…well…she is a good sleeper. Such a good sleeper that lately she has been falling asleep on the living room floor. (If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen this phenomena). She wakes up just long enough to have her last bottle, then promptly falls back to sleep in our arms, and unless her teeth bug her, she’s out for the rest of the night.

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As the kids get older, they get slower about the nightly routine. Charlie somehow spends at least part of his “show time” in his underwear because apparently it takes him a full 20 minutes to put on pajamas, and just the other night Eddie told me he “forgot” to brush his teeth in the 30 minutes he had to do so.

I know we have not had the weirdest bedtime battles, nor have we had the worst. But sometimes, at the end of a long day, all you want is for the kids to go to bed…so you can go to bed.

Or eat chocolate and watch Netflix or DVR-ed SNL Jimmy Fallon episodes.

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I am part of the Netflix StreamTeam, so I share some things I love or write to a prompt once a month. In return, Netflix provides me with their service as well as devices to watch it on. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Netflix and His New Obsession

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I blame Netflix for this.

Which means I suppose I have to blame myself since we have Netflix because of me. Plus I am the one who encouraged him to break free from Curious George and find some other shows to fill his “quiet time” while Charlie and Alice nap.

I honestly didn’t know it was still a think. I remember kids my youngest brother’s age going all wonky for it when we were kids, but I guess I didn’t realize little kids are still into it.

And now it’s invaded my home.

Pokemon.

Eddie loves it. LOVES. IT. WITH. A. CAPITAL. L. LOVES.

It’s his number one choice show during “TV Time” (rainy days, siblings’s nap time, and right before bed). When he’s not watching it, he is asking me to print coloring pages of Pokemon characters off the Internet. Or he is showing me the six cards a friend gave him and explaining powers and evolving to me.

The other day he was standing next to me while I was working giving me the low down on a bunch of stuff I didn’t really care about, and it brought back the memory of friends with older kids assuring me my two-year old would indeed talk so much one day I would wish for the days of no words back.

That time still hasn’t come, but I will admit the Pokemon stuff is boring and uninteresting to me. BUT…it’s so SO interesting to him. I really don’t care about battles, but watching him explain it to me with such fervor is amazing.

He watches those Netflix episodes over and over and studies those six cards like it is his job, asking me occasionally about words on them. He draws Pokemon on everything.

His birthday was this week and we gave him a pile of presents including Lego, craft stuff, and yes, a pack of Pokemon cards. Of all the things he got from his family (including a fishing pole and a marble maze) that tiny pack of Pokemon cards is his favorite. He even told me he was going to use any of the money he got to buy a book to keep his cards in.

Listen. There are worse things that he could be watching.

I’ll take the Pokemon phase.

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I am part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. This is not a sponsored post. I was provided with Netflix and a device to watch it on, but the opinions and stories I write are all mine, yo.

Binge Watching with Netflix

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I’ve watched hours of a show before. When I stumble upon a marathon of a sitcom or show I love on television, I have been known to lose that day (and night) to the TV. But just this past week I learned the true meaning of what “binge watching is.”

I just finished the first season of Orange is the New Black.

YOU GUYS. IT IS SO GOOD.

Ok, for over a year now you have all been raving about this show. Last year I had the opportunity to meet Piper Kerman (the author of the book the series is based on), so I quick read the book. It is phenomenal.

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Almost everyone at the event had already watched the two seasons that Netflix had released. I may have been the only one who had ONLY read the book. I was excited to watch the series, but it was hard with two little boys at home to find time to watch something alone. Since I was pregnant with Alice, I was just too dang tired at night after the boys went to bed.

So I put it at the top of my maternity leave watch list, after Friends of course (I know, I know…I had already seen all of those episodes a million times. Don’t judge). Last week I finally started season one. And holy cow! I don’t think I have ever been so into a show in all of my life.

Alice and I hunkered down every afternoon on the couch. At first I tried to do work while I watched, like I did when I watched Friends. I quickly learned that no, I was not going to accomplish anything while it was on.

The show is nothing and everything like the book. A lot of the characters from the book are represented (some more fully than others) in the show, and a few of the stories that Kerman tells in the book have also clearly inspired certain episodes. The show also does a good job of showing the corruption and problems with the penitentiary system in the United States that Kerman strives to show in her memoir.

That is where the similarities end. The series has WAY more sex, way more drama, and the characters are way more exaggerated. And it’s awesome!

Don’t get me wrong, I adore the memoir. In fact, I want to re-read it, but the show is amazing in a different way. Just like when I am entrenched in a book and think about it when I’m not reading it, I get caught up in the show’s plot lines. I love that the series also follows some of the inmates’ stories of how they ended up in prison. I love that it’s not just about Piper.

In fact, I haven’t started season 2 yet because I actually have work to do and I simply can do nothing but watch when it’s on.

So as soon as I meet some deadlines (ahem, this is one of them), I am going to plow through season 2 because, HELLO, season 3 will be available in in June!!!  Just in time for my kids to be home, which means I will have to figure out how to watch in the evenings or on the weekends.

I’m going to guess most of you have watched the show; have you also read the book?

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This is not a sponsored post. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, so I receive a year-long subscription to Netflix and a device to view it on, but I am not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.

Merry Netflix Christmas

This year I have been a bit of a slacker in the way of decorating for the holidays. Part of it is out of practicality. Charlie is two-and-a-half and while Eddie could go ahead and NOT TOUCH all the things at that age, Charlie is more of a destroyer of all the things. So. Many things that would go on display are simply not because Charlie.

There is also the fact that I can’t find my wreath for the door and it snowed so early around here that we never got the lights on the house.

And then there is just the “I’m pregnant and don’t want to” factor.

I don’t think my boys have noticed much though. We have a tree and the nativity scene and their stockings. We have made some cookies and they have both brought home countless Christmas crafts from school.

The boys have also been totally into all the Christmas episodes/movies of their favorite shows/characters.

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Of course Charlie has watched the Curious George Christmas movie somewhere around a zillion times. To be totally honest, this has been in rotation since they found it on Netflix this summer.

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Eddie has watched The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About Christmas, The Power Rangers Christmas episode (dude, what?), all of the Mickey Mouse Christmas specials, and the Veggie Tales St. Nicholas episode. And because he is sick and stuck on the couch, he is surfing for MORE Christmas stuff as I type this.

It’s pretty great to have these at our finger tips instead of having to scour TV show times (which are almost always past the boys bedtimes anyway).

Netflix also had a little hand in my holiday giving this year. As a Stream Team member, I was given two gift cards for one free year of Netflix each to give away. My immediate thought was teachers.

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As many of you know, this is my first year teaching at the Junior High rather than the High School. The transition could have been very difficult, but I was blessed with two classes where I team teach. The two special education teachers I teach with are some of the most talented, patient (with the students AND with me and my newbie status), kind people. I really hit the jackpot.

Special Ed teachers work harder than any of the rest of us since most of them have different classes every hour–some teaming with other teachers (across multiple curricula), some of their own in their own classrooms. On top of that they have more paperwork than anyone else in education. From medicare forms and IEPs and 504’s, to documenting accommodations and making parent meetings happen.

So when I was able to gift two people a free year of Netflix? They were who I thought of first.

Netflix has been a way for our family to sit together and watch great family programming, and I was happy to share that with them.

Happy Holidays!!

Disclaimer: This post was not compensated in any way. I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam and receive Netflix free of charge as well as a device to stream it on. Thought and opinions are all my own.

 

Netflix and Milestones

We are sort of in the middle of the Milestone Age of Parenting here in Sluiter Nation. With a kindergartener and a 2-year old, it seems like we have a new milestone around here all the time.

Eddie has started to read and write.

Charlie is saying all new things and having first experiences.

Even being pregnant means lots of milestones. Today, for instance, I am 20 weeks…halfway!  That is a BIG milestone!

You can blame the pregnancy, but I seem to get all teary-eyed over each of the milestones and firsts my kids reach. When Eddie wrote, “I go to the bat cave” perfectly yesterday I giggled, but I also got weepy. My little man can write!  When Charlie first put his pants on himself I cheered. And then I wondered where my baby went. And when I started feeling Alice’s little flutter kicks in my tummy, I smiled. Then I cried because it was the last time I would first feel a baby kick me from the inside.

A cool thing about Netflix is that they are stocked with shows and movies that address milestones. Charlie enjoys Super Why which has episodes devoted to things like losing your first tooth. Both boys love Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which just recently showed episodes where Daniel gained a baby sister.

This week Eddie and I stayed home from school because we were sick. We watched The Croods, which is about a family moving from their cave for the first time despite being very very afraid. We have been talking about maybe moving in the next year or so, and Eddie brought that up while we watched the movie.  He claims he’s not scared though because in a new house, he might not have to share a room with Charlie.

Right.

Speaking of the milestone of moving, you can watch House Hunters on Netflix too. Of course, those aren’t exactly in our price range. Sigh.

Anyway, I’m a big pile of mush when it comes to remembering and celebrating these “firsts”. Each of my kids has their own box that I put milestone-type stuff in.  For example, I kept the first golden blonde curl that was cut off each boy’s head. Sentimental or weirdo, you decide.

What do you do to celebrate or remember milestones? Do you keep memory boxes? Do you scrapbook?

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Netflix set us up with a year’s subscription and an ipad mini to enjoy streaming shows and movies, but what we choose to watch and what we think about what we view is all ours.

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