Monday, September 21, 2009

After the Love is Gone...

Here is a follow up from the last blog. It's Kees' class talking about what to do when someone is not friendly. Again, they have the basics down. We should all follow their lead.

From Debbie, Kees' Teacher - "At our second circle we observed that during outside time, people had heard their friends initiating play using the tools we had talked about yesterday of making friends. So the next thing to discuss seemed to be “what do you do when someone is mean to you or doesn’t want to be a friend?”. Many of the ideas were similar and went like this"

“You can ask someone else to play with you.” Aidan
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Whatever dude. I have lots of friends."

“Walk away.” Abby
ADULT TRANSLATION - Pretend you didn't hear them in the first place.

“Ask them why they won’t play.” Catherine
ADULT TRANSLATION - "What's your problem?"

“Tell your Mom.” Elliot
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Tell your wife."

“Go play by yourself.” Emily
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Take a little time for your self. OOOOoooohhh, SPA DAY!"

“Just walk away— but if they chase me I’d RUN away!” Eva
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Seriously I want to go to the spa by myself. I'll give her the wrong address. He he he"

“If a friend is not nice, walk away or play with another friend.” Fiona
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Sorry to hear that. Ahhh, I have to go." Then secretly call another friend, "I'm free for lunch!"

“You can walk away and play with another person.” Josie

“I can play by myself.” Kees
ADULT TRANSLATION - "A good book and a nap. YES!"

“Walk away.” Luke

“Walk or run away. Say, “OK, I don’t really want to play with you.” Maia
ADULT TRANSLATION - "What's your problem?" Turn and walk away and then pretend to answer your cell phone, "Awesome! That sounds great! I just became available and that sounds better then my last offer. Ha ha ha."

“Ask them “Why?”.” Nicholas

“Sometimes people aren’t always nice. My sister’s not always nice, but she’s nice a lot.” Owen
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Gawd she's moody. Sometimes we're inseparable and other times she's totally psychotic."

“I don’t know. Nobody walks away from me. Everybody likes me. “ Sebastian
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Dawg, I am so popular I don't even know what you're talking about. Have you seen me? Everybody loves me. And boy, do I have the touch with the ladies. You know what I'm sayin'? he he he Yeeeeaahhh, bro'"

“Walk away.” Sunil

“When that happens it makes me sad. Then I walk away. I do something else.” Trinna

“Sometimes my big sister walks away when I ask her to play. So then I just play by myself.” Truman
ADULT TRANSLATION - "I swear she's deaf. Oh well, I have stuff to do."

“You can tell the teachers. You can get help with the problem.” Violet
ADULT TRANSLATION - "I don't get it. I guess I have something to talk to my shrink about this week."

So that is what the little people have to say about friendship. You may want to bookmark this page so you'll know what to do in difficult situations with friends. Or, you con consult with a 4 year old in your life. They often are able to get right to the crux of a situation. They don't mince words and because they don't have years of muck in their heads they only see what is basic and important. So take it from a bunch of 4 year olds and stick to the basics.

Smile and assume that like Sebatian, everybody likes you..... Why wouldn't they?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Making and Being Friends

This is from todays update from Kees' class. They have been talking about what friends are and how you make new friends. Their responses are so cute. Then I started thinking about them. Really, their thoughts ring so true. If we all just followed a few of these suggestions we would be better friends. And if you translate it into "grown up" it makes total sense.

“You meet new friends, you play with them and you share toys with them.” Aidan

“You can ask, “Will you be my friend?” Abby

“You ask them their name.” Catherine

“You can help them make something with you.” Elliot
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Hey, you need help building that deck?"

“You can tell them what your name is and then ask them what their name is.” Emily

“You can share with them.” Eva

“You should have a nice friendly face.” Fiona

“Your face should be smiling.” Josie

“You can sit next to them at lunch.” Kees

“Say, “Can you come to play at my house and have lunch?” Luke
ADULT TRANSLATION - "We're having a barbeque why don't you bring your family over."

“Don’t push or cut in front of people in line. That’s not nice. Sometimes you can be sad or frustrated, but you should be kind and nice.” Maia
ADULT TRANSLATION - "When you are driving you should let people in and certainly don't be overly agressive. Even when you've had a bad day, remain calm."

“Have a happy face.” Nicholas

“You make friends by meeting them when you are babies. Then you meet other people and see them again and again and you get to be friends.” Owen

“You go to someone and you can say, “Do you want to play with me?” Sebastian
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Are you new in the neighborhood? We should have coffee."

“You make friends by knowing someone a long time and liking them.” Sunil

“Someone that is nice to you is a friend. Someone that hurts your feelings is not a friend.” Trinna
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Life is too short to waste it with people that drain your energy."

“You start playing with someone and you play nicely. Then you’re friends.” Truman
ADULT TRANSLATION - "Sometimes you meet someone and know immediately that you'll be friends."

“You have to say, “Can I be your friend and can I play with you?” Violet

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Have a great day and be a great friend.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


We have been having a great few days. Sophia started school on Tuesday so the boys and I had a little time together. While school starting has been great, I have felt like I just flew in from Europe. I have been whack tired. A - I am not a morning person and B - I am not a morning person that and I have been recovering from a sinus infection. I did, however, continue moving forward.

On Wednesday Coulter wanted to go to the zoo. He had been asking to go to the zoo for about a week. I don't know why it was so important but it was so I decided to oblige him. First the boys had to do some cleaning and they were great at it. Note to self, the boys DO know how to clean. Then zoo....

We only had a couple hours so we had to make a plan. First, get tickets to ride the train, next penguins and elephants. It was important to check on the growth of the baby elephant. Yep, he was bigger. The penguins were stinky but cute. The train was the highlight for the boys, it just made me want to fall asleep. The last thing we did was check out the sea lions. They're always awesome. Then it was time to pick up Fia. We had a nice day.

Friday was Coulter's first day of kindergarten. He was pretty funny. On Thursday night Coulter announced to me that he was going to walk to school by himself in the morning. That cracked me up. I had to insist on taking him. He could not figure out why I wanted to take him, the school is across the street for goodness sakes. Geeze mom! I made him the obligitory "First Day of School" sign for picutres. He let me take only two, he needed to get in that class room. Not only were there no tears he was practically giddy with excitement. That boy is READY for kindergarten. He had a great day. I didn't get many details but he was happy.

After he and Sophia were dropped off at school, Kees and I had a his open house at ChildsWork. Kees has Debbie for a teacher. He has literally known her since birth. Sophia had Debbie when Kees was born. Coulter had Debbie last year. And to keep the universe in order, Kees has Debbie this year. Anyone who has ever had Debbie as a teacher will tell you that she is awesome. We are all excited. Kees marched into the room as if he owned it. He was in there almost every day last year when it was Coulter's, now, finally, it was his. There was not a moment of hesitation. It was as if he was going home. It was fun to be in there with him. And next week....Kees will start school 5 days a week.

Saturday was a great day. It started early because Sophia had her very first soccer game / tournament. Bob took Sophia while I stayed with the boys. I stupidly thought that we could sleep in a bit and then join up with Bob and Sophia. Yeah right! The moment they left the boys were up and pestering me. We got dressed and made it over to the soccer field (across town) to see the last game. Apparently Sophia scored a goal in the first game. That's it...she is hooked. It was really fun to watch the girls play and hang out with the other soccer parents. This was the first of what, I am sure, will be hundreds of soccer games.

Then we needed to get ready for Saturday night. First we had our block party. I made my stuffed grape leaves. While I was cooking, Bob was setting up for a movie in the back yard. We decided that a movie in the back yard was so much fun that we should get an LCD projector. So we did. We're going to do this all next summer. And I am already projecting into the future. When the kids can't figure out what do do we'll do movies in the back yard instead of having them run all over the city causing trouble. Living where we do I am sure our house will be where the kids hang out. If you can't beat 'em......

The block party was great. The food was fabulous and I met a bunch of people that I had never met before. Our neighborhood is wonderful. Oh, and Bob won the party prize. It was a bicycle fitting. I have actually wanted to do this for a long time so I am thrilled. When I looked into doing that it was $100. The funny thing was Sophia drew his name. We all got a big ha ha out of that.

When it got dark out a bunch of us went back to our house. It was great. The kids were in the back yard watching Spy Kids and the parents were in front on the deck. It was a beautiful night. The temp was about 70 so we didn't even need the heater. We all had a great time. At about 11 when the movie was over we disbanded. I was exhausted and told Bob that I was going to bed. I left him up to deal with the mess, I couldn't stay awake for one more minute.

And today, the kids are all playing, Bob cleaned out the cars (that's a first) and I am watching Wild China on the Travel Channel and blogging. This is a good day. I suppose that I'll have to do something constructive today but for now I am really happy sitting here doing this. Yes, this week and weekend have been a success.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


God gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth. That's what they say. I know that it's true that most of us speak more than we should and listen much less than we should. I am in that category. It is hard to listen to small people all day especially when they need something all the time. I do not know how many times a kid can say, "mom" before they'll give up but I know it's a LOT. And not only do they say it repeatedly, they say it often. As a matter of fact, it feels like most of their sentences (with in my ear shot) start with "mom." And then it is usually followed by a request.

"Mom, can I have some milk?" - I so look forward to when they can do that them selves.

"Mom, can I have a treat" - I get so sick of hearing that! It's NOT a treat if you get them all the time!

"Mom, can we go to the zoo, OMSI, park." - They pretty much want to be anywhere but where they are.

"Mom, I'm hungry." - Even though the last meal was 20 minutes ago and they didn't like matter what it was.

"Mom, can we watch a show?" - No TV during the week here and it's sometimes said right after watching TV on the weekend.

I am sure you get the idea. My point being that sometimes I shut down my hearing because it's just a lot of noise after a while.

This morning I was in the boys room and I asked Coulter to get dressed. No response. I asked him again. No response.

Then I yelled, "Coulter, get dressed!"

He said, "I heard you the first time mom."

I said, "Well how would I know that? You didn't respond to me."

And he drops the bomb, "You don't always answer when I say mom"

So now I am in a quandary. He has a point. My initial thought is, "I am the mom so I should get to pull the "mom card" out." Except, I am also teaching him how to respond to people when they are trying to get your attention. I don't respond every time I hear, "mom" because I feel like it would make me crazy. That and it is very often when I am on the phone, in the middle of a sentence, talking to someone or when I am in the middle of doing something that requires concentration. It's hard to step away from whatever you are doing and totally stop, move in another direction and then pick up where you left off. It's almost impossible to pick up where you left off. This means that if the kids are around it takes almost double (sometimes more) the time that it would take to do ANYTHING then if they were not interrupting. I am not trying to say it's right not to respond, it's just what happens.

Then there are times where I really listen. Usually these are the times when I have slowed down and really listened with my ears and am able to carry the related experience in my heart. Today Sophia received a tea set from her Oma Sally and Grandma Nicki. She was very excited. She asked me right then if I could have tea with her. I said, "Right now? No." I was making dinner. But then I thought about the timing and decided the chicken wasn't quite done defrosting and would take about 15 more minutes. Yes, on second thought I could stop. So I said, "Let me make some tea and we'll talk." Today was the first day of school so it really was a bit important. She was very happy.

I sat down. She poured. We both added milk and sugar and sipped from our tiny cups. She told me about her day and I just listened. She didn't have too much to say so I had to ask lots of questions. That is part of good listening, knowing what questions to ask. She filled in the blanks and I just took it in. She was so happy with her tea set and all of mom's attention.

Meanwhile in the other room the boys were playing with a board and peg set. As I listened to Sophia sweetly tell me about her day the boys were playing rough and tumble. Earlier they had built a McDonalds with a drive through, multiple levels with ramps and even a porch. They did it together and played really nicely. Coulter explained the whole structure to me and how it worked. I was very impressed with his ingenuity and ability to explain it. They were very proud of their work.

Now they were playing loudly, I could hear pegs crash together and then hit the floor. Simultaneously, the boys were in hysterics each time this happened. While this sounded like fun I thought I had better check it out. Sometimes fun turns into NO FUN in a matter of seconds. When I came around the corner they were laughing so hard that Coulter was almost falling down. They were building swords out of the pegs and then smashing them together which would then send the pegs flying all over the room.

If you don't have boys I am sure you wouldn't understand how you would allow this in your house. If you do have boys, then it's just a Tuesday. It was funny and not very dangerous. This is another thing that you have to adjust to when you have boys. You need a danger scale. Anything under a "4" that really does look like fun you decided to let go. I have been on a learning curve with this one. Yes, sometimes they get hurt but it goes with "boy" territory.

So listening is different at different times. The day to day, "mom, mom, mom" can make you nuts. When you decided to really stop and listen it so often pays off in ways you don't expect. Dinner was a little later then I had planed but that was fine. I could have worked through that time tidying up the kitchen but I didn't. I made time for my kids. Again, I learn something. Or maybe I am just reminded of what I already know in my heart, that when I take the time to stop and listen we are all better off.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

It's Been a Busy Week

It's been a busy week here. I have been sick so that has streched out time in my mind. The kids came home on Tuesday. Of course they were immediately bored. That makes me nuts! You're kids, come on, be creative, figure it out!!! Like I haven't done enough to entertain them all summer. Get real!

On Tuesday night I called my doctor. I won't get into the details but let's just say that by my "discharge" I could tell that I had a sinus infection. They said that they no longer give out antibiotics for sinus infections because they don't want to needlessly prescribe them. They can't really tell if it's viral or bacterial so they'd rather make me suffer. Well I can tell you, I've had a few of these and I needed my meds. I called my dad and an hour later I had my fix. I started to feel better within 12 hours.

Wednesday, Sophia took her daddy to lunch. A few weeks ago she won a gift certificate to the Olive Garden and she decided that she'd like some special time with daddy. I packed the kids up and delivered her to her daddy. The boys and I went to Red Robbin. They were being total terrors! I was NOT feeling good. I don't think I ate the right thing for breakfast and it was not agreeing with my antibiotics. That and my ears were plugged so my equalibrium was off. That didn't help either. By the end of lunch I was done with the boys and I just wanted to get home so I could lay down. We got in the car and I called Bob to figure out where to get Sophia. He asked how I was and I told him I was not good, that I felt sick and nauseous. He insisted on coming home to take care of the kids and therefore me. I said, "No" but he came anyway. I am so glad he did. I laid in bed for 4 hours and by dinner I was a bit better. He's a great husband. He and Sophia had a really nice lunch by the way.

On Thursday we got up and did some cleaning. You can imagine how happy the kids were about that. I told them if they did we could go to a movie. UP was playing at the Academy Theater. There was a little more buy in then. They still were fighting but they did clean up. Up was fantastic. Honestly, probably the best kid movie I have ever seen. It was really more of an art film then anything else. We will be getting that one on DVD. Then we rushed home for Sophia's soccer practice and to prepare for the kindergarten picnic. Soccer was a big hit. Horray! I have been wanting my kids to play soccer since we moved here. The picnic was a hit too. Coulter met all kinds of kids and picked out a few favorites already. He, being the social guy he is, met LOTS of people. It was fun.

Then Friday we supposed to go to the State Fair with the Wangs but my friend Mary Ann was sick as a dog. I offered to take her 8 and 4 year old to Kids Club Fun and Fitness and she thought that she could handle going to that. So we packed up 2 vans, 2 moms and 6 kids and headed to Vancouver. This place is amazing. The play structure is 3 stories tall and about 100 x 70 feet. It's huge. It's great for wearing kids out. After that we had lunch at Burgerville. When we went home I again offered to take the 8 and 4 year old. This time she let me take them. She went home to rest with the 2 year old.

While they were all playing, Coulter pealed off on his own. At first he was "working" in the office. The next think I know he's outside yelling. As I get closer I can hear, "Rockets 25 cents." He was selling paper rockets. It was about the cutest thing I have ever seen. I ran back in and got my Flip and got some video. Check it out.... "Rocket Sales" Too cute.

Next Greta came over. So me and 6 kids. Actually, once you pass 3 kids it's all about the same until you hit about 8. I made dinner for all of them. Again, it's not much different than 3 it's just more dishes. Then, why not, I invited them all for a sleep over. Cheers all around. Even Truman who is 4 and had never had a sleep over. So they all played and then got ready for bed. Putting them down took a while but eventually they were all asleep. Bob and I watched a movie and enjoyed quiet time.

Today has been pretty free form. I slept in, all the spare kids were gone by about noon and we have been pretty much hanging out. I did do one big thing....I taught Coulter how to tie his shoes. That will come in handy. Bob did some laundry and I doinked around on my computer and made a few phone calls. Bob also took the kids swimming. It is the last day of our swim pass. Man, summer has gone by quickly. We have a babysitter coming tonight and Bob and I are going to go watch the Husky Football Game with some Alums from the UW. Hopefully they'll play better than last year. They were aweful last year. It was painful to watch.

So it's been a good week. Who knows what we'll with the rest of the weekend. More to come. Have a great Labor Day!