Category Archives: My Life

Karma lesson

My bank recently put in two drive-thru ATM machines on one wall.

It’s actually pretty genius, since most people seem to just pull up for some quick cash and keep going.

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the car on a blistering hot day finishing the last of some afternoon errands.

Wonder Boy was jammin’ along to Inside Riot with me when we pulled into my ever-lucky left side teller machines. Both cars started to move at the same time and cheered inside with my luck, since all of the vents in the car point back on the boys and  was feeling sweaty.

However, the SUV in front of my pulled up to the first and stopped.

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I honked. I yelled something to her through the closed windows of my car and made dagger eyes as hard as I could.

The woman inside of it got out, looked at me, and then took the one step over to the teller window and proceeded to do a month’s worth of banking.Over her frizzy hair, I could see the sad lonely machine waiting for someone to come use it.

I was livid.

I took a deep breath, and looked back at Wonder Boy.

“Hey buddy,” I said. “I am SO frustrated. She should have pulled up to the first machine so we both could use it. She is being selfish.”

“I’m frustrated too,” he said. He wanted to be home, with  a snack, and better air conditioning.

I have not been handling my stress well lately. I snap easily, I am always tired, and I cry out of frustration more than my son should see. But I try to hold one though close to my heart, even though I am no Buddhist.

“Have I told you about karma, buddy?”

He shook his head.

“Well, we could be mad, and yell, and say bad things because we are frustrated she isn’t using the teller right and now we have to wait. But, instead, lets think good thoughts. See, buddy, when you think good things and do good things, good energy will be around you. If you’re bad and mean, you will have bad things around you.”

I looked over at his sleeping baby brother, cheeks pinkish with the heat of the day, snoring peacefully.

“See? He can take a nice long nap. We can listen to Uncle David’s new CD some more and you can rock out in the back seat with your air guitar some more. We can sit and talk together and spend time together.”

“Yay!” he cheered.

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As hard as it is some days, I try to point out the positive. Yesterday I had a hard day, feeling left out, defeated and failing. The dollars are definitely flying out faster than they are in.

Yesterday I also signed up for a course in college.

It’s hard, really hard, to focus on the positives some days, to hear beyond what my own head is screaming in my ears.

Living with grace in moments where you can do nothing about it, or when you feel you are swimming upstream, is SO hard. But worth it.

And starting my own kids down the road of focusing on the positive in moments when your frustration bubbles over like rice in a pot, is something else i can put on my imaginary shelf of accomplishments, to dust off and admire when I need most.

 

Rio 2 flies in!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the DVD  as part of my involvement with FHE Insiders. No other compensation was given, all options are my own.

 

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The cast of the animated hit comedy Rio returns — along with a new flock of all-star voice talent, including Bruno Mars, Kristin Chenoweth, Andy Garcia and more — in this high-flying sequel for the whole family. The party continues when Blu (Oscar® nominee Jesse Eisenberg1), Jewel (Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway2) and their three kids take a walk on the wild side and embark on a colorful, comical, music-filled journey through the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit into his new surroundings, he goes beak-to-beak with the villainous Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law!

This DVD is full of extras, including several sing-a-long AND dance-along clips for the whole family to enjoy!

Learn about Brazilian music, see animal auditions and more!

Make movie night even more Rio-themed fun by chopping up some bananas and other fruit, and passing out lemonades before showtime.

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And after the movie, keep the conversation going by doing an activity sheet- my favorite choice is the family tree, since Wonder Boy is really into understanding the relationships between him and other members of our family. He loves to point out who is my mom and dad and Mr. Wonder’s moms and dad, and understands Nana is my dad’s mom.

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This movie has such amazing songs in it, ones I turn up the music and jam like no one’s in the backseat (well, as long as there is no one in the backseat). What’s your favorite?

Peoples is peoples

Some of the wisest words ever spoken on film is also some crazy mixed-up and broken English.

Pete from Muppets Take Manhattan is the wise restaurant owner with a soft heart and a rat problem.

His sage advice about New York city as a place full of people, rather than the city as a separate entity all of its own, is meant to encourage Kermit, who instead mumbles “Thanks” as he ponders what the heck Pete just said.

I got it, Pete.

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Ever heard this speech? What did you think of it?

And what is your ‘potatoes’?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early adopters

Wonder Boy started on an iPad at 18 months.
lil’ Wonder is still too young, grabbing the screen and swiping from Toca Boca’s tea party app to Netflix in an instant.

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With Wonder Boy it felt a little more wierd. He was a novelty- people watched him swipe and drag and tap away with amazement as they struggled with their own smartphones.
But now, he is ever more the norm- and a reality that has definite pros and cons.
Can he be entertained anywhere? Yes, just pull out the tablet or phone and he’s tapping away at whatever game is available.
Did he learn? Heck yes. He learned letters from Elmo before preschool, and he learned problem solving skills, geometry, and cause and effect from games like The Amazing Alex and Angry Birds.
The hardest thing with an early adopter is making sure he gets enough time doing other things. I refuse to let me active son get too much screen time, otherwise he’s crazy by dinner. Luckily, he loves to run, scooter, dig in the dirt and crash together his Hot Wheel cars.

Lil’ Wonder is on the verge of getting to start some of Wonder Boy’s favorite little apps, and I’m looking forward to seeing him step up to the one-finger dexterity challenge and work on motor skills while learning at what is the norm for his generation.
He will be attending school and beyond with an amazing amount of technology available to him – the closest we got was a half hour of computer lab each week with the LOGOS turtle or the first edition of The Oregon Trail.

While I think it’s lovely so many parents want their children unplugged, homeschooled or unschooled, or just out learning in the real world, I think it’ important to speak technology early on for our little ones, and I embrace it fully and support it as much as pssible. I’ve taken Wonder Boy to go try out tablets at Verizon to kill a few minutes time, watching him navigate different user systems. We went to a local business’ open house to let him play on a touch-screen map that was as big as a dinner table.

And then I come home and toss him outside with a bucket of water to play with.
How do you navigate the balance between the virtual and real worlds with your children?

Flying at Camp Snoopy

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them. I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

I admit, i was a bit trepidatious about the trip to Camp Snoopy. Wonder Boy had grown up only riding a couple rides there, being a little timid of rides, and they had taken away two of his favorites to make room for bigger Peanuts-themed rides.

It’s been a lot of work, some days, going to theme parks with Wonder Boy. He loves to look at rides, but anything new brings out the fear, and we recently only spent 20 minutes at Disneyland because he refused to go into a new place. (And my lesson learned- threatening to go home over it means you will have to leave. It sucked.)

I partnered up with the ever-awesome Desiree at Camp Snoopy hoping her children would bond with mine into some kind of superhero actually going on rides group.

It worked.

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Yes, that is Wonder Boy, the one who refused to get on much but the semi trucks at Knotts and cried over going on the big train, happily swinging away.

He happily swung away a couple of times, begging to go on again but being dragged off for another new adventure.

Every new ride he tried, he said it was his new favorite.

 

He blew my mind all day, including when we went back to again ride the swings and he decided to take on the scariest-looking one, with me beside him.

He rode it three times.

And yes, that is him saying “whoooAAAAAaaaa”….

Wonder Boy, while being fearless in some things, is definitely not when it comes to loud noises, rides and fireworks.

Checking out a new and improved (in Wonder Boy’s eyes) Camp Snoopy was a definite adventure. Here’s some tips for the summer if you plan on going down.

  • Sunscreen! not all of the ride lines have shade to stand in, and lines for rides like for the hot air balloon ride move slow because of the ride capacity.
  • Water! Because. Knotts also has souvenir cups you can buy and keep refilling all season long.
  • Height Guidelines! Check them before you get in line and read the signs. I saw several kids turned away after standing in line with siblings. They will be checked. The new rides are all for taller children, my son is 43″ and just made it for a couple of them. The schoolbus and big rigs are still pretty universal.
  • Patience! My son was determined NEVER to ride the Linus Launcher, aka his new favorite ride ever. Is they balk, watch it go a round or two or come back later. A few hours into the day and my son was a more adventurous kid.
  • Make sure you get a chance to ride the Grand Sierra Railroad, which has some cute Peanuts vignettes.

Let me know if you decide to go flying at Camp Snoopy!