September 29, 2008

Scene and Haired

I recently bought DD a new hair brush - nothing fancy, but a new one. She's been totally excited about this new brush; probably because she's learning to brush her own hair.

DD: Mommy, I'm brushing everything (as she brushes the wall).
Me: No, honey. This is a hair brush and it's only to brush hair.
DD: Okay.

A couple seconds later...she's brushing my leg:-

Me: What are you doing?
DD: I'm brushing your hair!!!!

Is she trying to tell me something:)

September 26, 2008

Scene and Heard: Bon Appetit

Scene: In the kitchen. Preparing to make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

Me: "I have a surprise for you for dessert!"
Hubby: "Oooo...How tall is she?"

Dinner tomorrow night might be a knuckle sandwich.

September 23, 2008

Painting the Town Red

I have no idea how it happened, but last week this mama went out on the town, sans kids, THREE times!! On Tuesday night, some friends and I went to Shecky's Girls Night Out for an evening of shopping, free cocktails, and a fly goodie bag. Can't beat that. It was really fun. It was nice to get dressed up and hang out with other women my age in a hip and relaxed atmosphere. Even though I could only manage one cocktail (because I'm a lightweight and because I'm nursing), it was a great outing. I even got myself a fabulous watch. When it was time to go, the rest of the gals went to a late night happy hour, but I headed home -- exhausted, but content.

On Friday hubby and I went out on a "date" to a trendy restaurant and then bar hopping! The meal was delish and we were both rejuvenated by hanging out downtown on a Friday evening, which is something we never do. It made us vow to resume our monthly date nights again. It was nice to dress up for each other - I had my hair done, wore stilettos, and everything. The only drag was rushing back home to make it in time for to relieve the babysitter. This is where overnights for the kids at Grandma's would come in handy.

Saturday night I went out with friends to see my all-time favorite artist, Mary J. Blige. By then I was feeling downright neglectful as a mom, but really and truly the kids were all pretty asleep each time I went out, but you know how the mommy guilt goes. The concert was great as usual (I've seen Mary at least 5 times before) and she looks better than ever. Robin Thicke was the opening act, and he was alright. I sung my heart out and enjoyed every minute of the show. I didn't get home until *gasp* after midnight, but hey, it's not like I sleep at night anyway. The baby makes sure of that.

I have to say that all of those outings made me feel like me again. I am officially out of the baby phase and it's time to steal some time for myself again. This Friday is Moms Night Out with my moms group. I almost want to skip it since I was out so much last week.


The Inbox: An email from Oldest's Teacher

To: Justice Jonesie:
From: Teacher:
Re: Test Packets

"Dear Oldest's Mom:
Just a gentle reminder that I need for you to sign and return the past two weeks test packets.
Thank you for your help, Teacher."

To: Teacher
CC: Hubby
From: Justice Jonesie
Re: Test Packets

"Dear Teacher:
I'm so sorry, I don't know where the test packets are. I asked Oldest about it but he didn't know. I will double check and make sure that we didn't overlook it. I'll be sure to get back to you soon."

To: Hubby
From: Justice Jonesie
Fwd: Test Packets
"Have you seen the test packets??? I looked for them but didn't see them. I thought maybe she didn't send them."

To: Justice Jonesie
From: Hubby
Re: Fwd: Test Packets
"I did, sorry."

Me: Where are they?
Hubby: I threw them away.
Me: What do you mean you threw them away?
Hubby: They are in the trash. I threw them away. I don't think I threw last week's away, but I know I threw yesterday's away. I didn't know she needed them.
Me: Did you even read it?! Did you see the section that says "Please sign and return tomorrow. Do you even know how he did on his tests?!"
Hubby: I saw some 100s.

September 19, 2008

I'm Going to See My Man Tomorrow

September 18, 2008

Summer Review: LeapFrog Click Start!

The folks at LeapFrog were kind enough to send Daughter a LeapFrog ClickStart computer with a BackYardigan game to review on MamaLaw. The Click Start computer is one of LeapFrog's newest gaming systems that introduces your preschooler to not just using a computer, but also to games that are fun and, of course, educational. It's almost like the preschool version of a Nintendo.

The ClickStart comes with a base for game cartridges and a big bright wireless keyboard (shown right). The keyboard has an attached mouse that adjusts for righties or lefties. One of the greatest things about the ClickStart is that I was able to set it up in less than a few minutes, without even reading the directions. I plugged the base right into the TV and Daugther put the cartridge right in the base. "Voila!," she was playing. There's nothing worse than a toy that requirs extensive set up.

Using the ClickStart was just as easy. It is suitable for children ages 3-6 so Daughter began playing with no difficulty. During the first game, I heard Oldest trying to give her directions but she insisted she didn't need any help. The ClickStart comes with four to five games pre-installed in the system. Some of the games installed include a neat matching game, games that help with those fine motor skills (practice using the mouse), and games that introduce letter and number recognition. They are very basic, yet perfectly suitable for any three year old. You can also select the leve of difficulty so a more advanced preschooler can enjoy it as well. Youngest gave it a shot but he was totally lost, poor thing. He's not yet three so we still have a ways to go. He didn't realize he wasn't playing, so I guess that's good. One thing I thought was really neat was that the child "wins" at every game. Every few minutes, the game rewards the child with something and yells, "You win five dog bones!" or something like that. Great rienforcment. You can tell Daughter was just so proud of herself. Even Oldest, Mr. Seven Year Old, wanted to get in on the excitement and played several games. What he didn't like was that graphics of the game seemed "babyish." I think what he meant was that they were not as "sophisticated" as he is used to. He has a Nintendo DS and the LeapFrog Didj (the subject of my next review!) so he is used to high-tech, high-graphic games. I think when you consider the audience, though, it's just fine. On that same note, the game requires batteries. Since the ClickStart will run you about $60.00, I think it should come with a rechargeable battery. It does, however, have the ability to use an AC adapter, but that's sold separately.
Overall, I think it's a great game for kids; it introduces the computer in a way that's understandable to kids, but more importantly, the games are educational and fun. It is sure to keep your little one entertained for at least 30 minutes at a time. That's hours in mommy time. But the best thing I love about the ClickStart, is that it reinforces exactly what Daughter is learning in preschool in a very user-friendly, age appropriate kind of way. I can't think of another type of gaming system like it.
Thanks LeapFrog! The ClickStart computer get's 5/5 gavels from Justice Jonesie.

September 11, 2008

My Kid's Too Smart and I'm Complaining

School is in session and we are in first grade this year. Six weeks into the new school year, I'm stressing. I don't think Oldest's teacher is challenging him enough. It's to the point that I woke up the other night at 4 am and tossed and turned about the situation until six am. Hubby said that one night while sleeping I started yelling out, "Who are you picking up from school!!!" He thought I was nuts but after I evaluated the situation, I believe my yelling is related to his teacher. I'm no dream analyzer but it made sense to me.

My anxiety really began about three weeks ago when I sent Oldest's teacher a very friendly email "inquiring" about suggestions for homework. For three weeks we were doing "silly work," as Oldest put it. At first I thought the teacher was still trying asses each child's strengths and weaknesses so I tried to be patient. But after three weeks of Oldest completing homework that resembled what he was doing the first week of the previous year, I was concerned. We are at the same school so I can't figure this all out.

For example, the goal of the math homework is to practice questions so that the student can complete 30 problems in three minutes by Thursday. He does all 30 on Monday in about 45 seconds. One time he was done in 32 seconds, no joke. The reading instructions are to first read the book to the child, second day, read every other page to the child, see if child can read the other pages, and Wednesday and Thursday the child should try to read the book alone with most words correct. He's reading the book from start to finish on Monday. I don't even bother to read the book past Monday because it's silly. Last year, his teacher had the children reading a series of books and each child moved on to the next book at his or her own pace. Oldest was done with the series for the entire year by March so his teacher moved him on to another series suitable for second graders. We were so proud. He didn't finish the series by the end of the year so the remaining books were on our summer reading list. We worked our booty's off to ensure that we finished the entire series by the end of the summer. This year, the entire class reads the same books. So now I've resorted to reading our own books at home.

Back to the email I sent the teacher, when I told her our situation and asked for tips on what to do, she said that she doesn't give separate homework to the children, but recommended some websites to do for "fun" and to read our own books that would challenge him more. Okay, I understand she doesn't want to custom fit homework for 20 children, however, how about she work on one program that allows the teacher to select different levels of work for various students? Why can't she by like last year's teacher?

So now what? I have no idea. But my kid better start coming home with homework he finds too difficult or else I'm going to have to send another email and I can't figure out how to make it sound nice.

September 08, 2008

Oh My Aching Back

This last pregnancy really did a number on me. The first time? Cake. No aches or pains. I breezed through 9 months with virtually no complaints. Then the second time it was a teensy bit rough towards the end, mainly because of my pelvis issue. This time? Man, I feel like I was run over by a truck. I'm 9 weeks postpartum and everything hurts! I've even been going to physical therapy sessions. The worst part of it all is that I can't get started on my weight-loss program because it hurts to do anything more than walk -- and I can't even do that for long periods of time.

Today I tried a yoga class. It was called "Yoga for a Healthy Lower Back." The class was good, but it was pretty much me and a bunch of senior citizens named "Mort" and "Millicent" (I'm not kidding). I'm hoping the aches and pains will subside in the next several weeks, but until then, I'm a wreck!!
The funny thing is that the physical therapist strongly advises against any sudden movement, or deep bending or heavy lifting. Umm, hello? I have THREE KIDS.
Wish me luck.

September 05, 2008

Baby Love

There's nothing like having a baby in the house.

The sweet smell. The chubby limbs. Seeing the wonder and amazement in their eyes.

You can't beat it.

Product Review: Jooners

I've found it! The cure to "Mommy Brain." Well, maybe not the cure, but a definite way to help.

Jooners, an online organizational tool, was founded by a mother of two who wanted to help moms stay on top of all of the scheduling and coordination that comes with having kids. How does it work? The website offers a host of ready-made "people planners" for anything from Carpool to Snack Duty to Organizing Volunteers. If you're like me and often on the coordinating end of these types of tasks, Jooners will be a lifesaver. All you need to do is click on the planner you want to use, fill in any missing details if necessary, and send it to your list of contacts with a personal note. Jooners will even import your contacts for you from your address book and let you organize them in a Group. The request will show your group who is doing what, and...what still needs to be done. Once they sign up, the task is auto-calendered and the website sends auto-reminders so no one will forget what they signed up for.

There are tons of planners to choose from. You can browse them by category (i.e. Fundraisers or Sports) or you can browse by role (i.e. Room Parent or Teacher). I found out about Jooners just in time! Hubby and I are organizing the parents at Chatterbox and Giggles' new school to form an unofficial PTA (it's a small school) and the School Committee Chair Sign-Up Planner will come in very handy. Wanna know more? Check out the video tour.

They also have many more planners in the works, like Family Packing Lists (which I will totally use) and Home Improvements. And there is a Family Calendar function that allows you to color code each family member's schedule and allows them to access the calendar so that everyone is on the same page (literally!)

Oh and did I mention that it's FREE?

So if you're a parent that needs to coordinate volunteers for the events in their children's lives at school and after it, or if you just need to organize your own family, you should give Jooners a try. Your Mommy Brain will thank you.
*By the way - product reviews are entirely unpaid (but for the free samples) and voluntary. Just want to make that clear!*

September 04, 2008

What Is Your Six Word Memoir?

UPDATED: Thanks for submitting your memoirs, these are really good!

If you had to tell someone who you were, or summarize experiences of what has shaped your life, your personality, or you in general could you do that? Better yet, could you do it only six words? A friend of mine introduced me to a book entitled, Not Quite What I was Planning: Six Word Memoirs from Writers Famous and Obscure. The concept is really neat, and once you learn about it, you'll want to write your own six word memoir and also ask others around what theirs would be.

Your six word memo must be just that, a six word story. Some of my favorite six word memoirs listed on the Editor's website include:

"Trying Not To Repeat Stupid Mistakes."
"Not quite what I was planning."
"For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
“I like big butts, can’t lie.”
"Searched for Gold. Returned with Diamonds."

Here is my six word memoir:

"Someone will find this story funny."

What is yours?

September 02, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Congrats to Selfish Mom, lucky number 11, and winner of the Leapfrog TAG Touch Reading System!

Happy Reading!

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