Friday, July 27, 2012

Tae Kwon Do Not Mess with Her

Throughout the years, Cara has participated in various extracurricular activities.  She's taken swimming, dance, gymnastics, tball, and volleyball.  Though she has enjoyed all of those, she's never had a passion for any one particular hobby.  That is, until she started taking Tae Kwon Do.

Initially, her interest in Tae Kwon Do stemmed from her love of the cartoon "Avatar".  The show may have been the catalyst, but her determination and drive with this has gone way beyond fandom.

Now, my daughter hates deadlines.  But within weeks of getting her white belt, Cara stated with certainty, "I am going to get my red belt in two years." This was not based on a timeline from her instructor. It was a goal that she had set on her own based on how serious she was about this new sport.

Not once has my daughter asked to stay home from a class.  Cara has approached every single class day with excitement.  She practices her form regularly.  She shares her excitement by trying to teach her brother some of the steps she's learned (when he lets her).
White belt in October 2011 with her yellow belt a month later.
Orange belt in January 2012.
She got her green belt in March 2012 and just passed her purple belt test this week.
Cara has remained focused on her self-imposed goal, her commitment never wavering.  She is now two belts away with over a year left on her deadline.  

I had my doubts in the beginning that she'd even still be interested in Tae Kwon Do at this point.  After watching her these past months, I am certain that we will be posting pictures of Cara in her new red uniform with a matching red belt months before her two year mark arrives.

You know what Craig loves best about Cara taking these classes?  

Cara's learned to beat up boys.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lunch with Connor - Tadpoles

It's been a while since I posted a Lunch with Connor video.  Don't worry.  I'm still feeding him.  Sometimes.

Here, we had just finished visiting his school and were talking about the newest addition to the classroom.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Digital addict

I love my cell phone.  If you see me somewhere and I don't have a panicked, cold sweat going on, it's pretty safe to say that my phone is in my possession.  It's not so much the model of phone that I love, it's the sheer power that this little device has.

Normally, I'm navigationally-impaired.  Years ago, I was taking Cara to a play date at a friend's house that we hadn't been to before.  When we got there, the host family asked if we found the place okay.  Cara proudly declared, "Yes! And we only had to turn around ONCE!"  Now that I have my awesometastic phone, directions aren't an issue. My phone tells me where to go. Except for those spots when my nav girl says, "GPS signal lost." The scene in my car when that happens sounds a little something like this.

They call these things smart phones, but I am fairly sure that my phone is an electronic crutch.  I can still tell you my address and phone number from grade school and the phone number of the boy I had a crush on in junior high that I used to call and hang up on multiple times a week.  But I couldn't tell you the cell phone numbers of any of my friends that I talk to on at least a weekly basis.  Heck, if only their numbers appeared on my caller ID without the names attached to them, I'd probably have a hard time guessing who each call was.

I may look like a genius when I can go into a store, find something that I like, comparative shop with 4 other stores, and provide an electronic coupon to scan at the register.  But I can only imagine what an idiot I appear to be when I'm asking if I can stand on the counter at Target in an attempt to get an extra G just to get information that normal people don't actually need in order to make a $4 purchase at a store.

Don't get me wrong.  I don't intend to ditch the phone and grow my own brain.  Let's not get crazy.  I was merely making an observation on my sheer dependence on this piece of digital crack. It makes me smarter and stupider all at the same time.  And yes, stupider is a word.  My phone said so.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Paint Job

For our lazy Saturday, the kids had come up with their own agenda for the day, taking turns writing down things that they'd like to do. One of Cara's items was to play dress up. When it came her turn, Cara asked Connor what he would like to dress up as. "A dragon. A monster. Mario." When she pinned him down for just one answer, she got to working on his costume.
A few minutes later, Connor came into the living room to present his new outfit.
Connor's overalls with Cara's shirt and gloves. Cara made the hat with construction paper and tape.
Now, a couple of months ago, I sprung for a face painting kit from the craft store.  And by sprung, I mean I printed up a coupon and bought it for half the marked price.  Yeah. I'm crazy like that. This is the same brand of face paint that the face paint lady at Nickelodeon Universe used and, after we've used it quite a few times, I can't recommend it enough. It goes on easily and comes off when you need it to. Best eight dollars I've ever spent.

No Luigi costume would be complete without the mustache, so Cara and Connor went outside with the face paint and got to work.
Working on the unibrow.
The other plumber brother.
Connor had gotten a turn painting Cara's arm, but she had asked if I would paint her face with something abstract. After I painted her, she got to make me up.
Painted ladies
What a fun way to spend a lazy Saturday.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Love Bugs

Our garage plays host to a lot of box elder bugs in the summer, annoying the crap out of us year after year.  These things are very brazen in their commitment to overpopulate our back yard.  In fact, you usually see these insects "mid-commitment" more often than you find them going solo.
Censored, for your protection.
Connor and I returned home from running errands today and were greeted by a bunch of these critters.  He walks around the garage and observe the box elders.  Within a few minutes, he spots a couple of these bugs doing the deed.  Connor then says, "Look, Mom. Those bugs are dating with their butts!"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dragon Breath

This afternoon, the kids had one of their cousins over to play.  After about an hour or so, my presence was requested upstairs.  There's usually two main reasons I get summoned upstairs.  1) To play referee to some sibling squabble, or 2) To watch some presentation on something the kids came up with. Today's invitation was for the latter of the two.

When I get upstairs, this is what I see:

The girls had fashioned a dragon costume and were having a blast.  My favorite part of this outfit was the fabric they had coming out of the dragon's mouth.  When one of the girls was wearing the mask and blew out, the fabric would wave as though the dragon was breathing fire.  I was in awe of their creativity, so I stuck around to see how this would play out.

The girls were focused on navigating the living room in their getup and fine-tuning the fire-breathing. Connor tried a few different approaches to include himself in the dragon game, asking questions of the 6-legged creature to no avail.

He had finally settled on character to play when he declared, "I'm a scientist and I know about dragons and one thing I know is dragons DO NOT listen to scientists."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Love My Nerdlets

We had just finished checking out yet another huge stack of books at the library and were getting ready to leave. Connor walks by one of the non-fiction shelves and finds "just one more book". Twice.

Back in the car, there is silence coming from the back seat. This almost always means no kids are back there. This time, the lack of noise was the result of both of them with their noses in their books.

I savor the silence for a good 10 miles when, out of nowhere, Cara exclaims, "So THAT'S how Francis Bacon died!"

Living with mini nerds is awesome!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Master Debater

Connor loves to argue. In fact, one might go so far as to say that he LIVES to argue. I am pretty certain that most of the movements I felt while I was pregnant with him were the movement of his head back-and-forth, arguing in utero. This arguing is not limited to close family members, either. Oh no. We've advised friends/store clerks/passers-by on how to get out of arguments with this child. Our advice? "Go limp."

Unfortunately, both Craig and I forget our own suggestion and engage the donkey in a debate, us armed with logic and reason and him armed with stubbornness and a devilish grin that he saves for when he sees you weakening.

This last week, we experienced a quite few debates with this child. Here are three examples:

Connor found the game Cootie in his great-grandmother's basement and proceeded to put an insect together. He brought the finished bug over to me and said, "It's a co-crotch." I realized what he was trying to say and corrected him, "Do you mean cockroach?" "It's a co-crotch", he insisted, this time with that little smirk of his. "Cockroach," I maintained. I could see the gleam in his eye when he realized he could win this argument. "Cootie," he proclaimed victoriously.

While we were in the car, Connor put his face against his window and started to blow a raspberry. Me: "Don't do that." Connor: "Why?" Me: "It gets spit all over the car window. Do you clean the car windows?" Connor: "Do YOU?" Me: "Touche, little dude." Connor (wanting to know if he won this round): "Is touche good?"

During another car ride conversation, this time between my husband and son, Connor declared Craig to be "poopy". Craig, feigning hurt and surprise, said something to the effect that he hadn't been trying to hurt Connor's feelings but he sure could go down that road if that's what Connor was shooting for. Connor asked what Craig was going to say and his dad couldn't come up with something quick enough for the boy. "Let's get this over with," Connor requested.

I will say this again....One of the hardest parts of being a parent? Keeping a straight face.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Discovering Thirties

I'm not sure if this is true for everyone, but I have found my thirties to be a decade of personal discovery unlike any decade prior. Although I am sure that this is just a natural part of growing older and maturing, I have to give credit to my children for helping to accelerate this enlightenment.

For example, I didn't completely realize how bossy I was until I witnessed Cara directing her brother or her cousin in one of her many plays. On a related note: Ian, I am very sorry for putting you in my dress up clothes and barrettes and making you go door-to-door asking for money.

I also didn't fully appreciate how much I wanted to be right until I went head-to-head with a two year old about whether Long Lake was a river or a lake. We're now going on year three for calling it the "river lake".I am learning about myself even today.

Even though I am still bossy with an intense need to be right, the recognition of these traits makes them feel somehow more correctable. And just when you think you've gotten yourself figured out, new things come to light. Why, just this past week I uncovered two new fears that I was previously oblivious to.

Last week, I was up at Connor's school  during Bruce the Bug Guy's presentation. Bruce brought out caterpillars, moths, hissing cockroaches, millipedes, and Rosie the tarantula without even so much as a grimace from me. I had always thought that I was cool with all kinds of insects until out came the scorpion and my brain said, "There's your limit."

Later that same week, I became aware of my intolerance for light-your-own fireworks when we spent Independence Day in South Dakota, where the legal restrictions on fireworks are tantamount to "eh, whatever". There were kids loaded up with armfuls of blowy-up-things and armed with punks to ignite those blowy-up-things. Kids loaded with sugar and the adrenaline that comes from being given permission to LIGHT THINGS ON FIRE AND MAKE THEM EXPLODE! I spent a better part of that evening half-watching from the "safety" of my car, trying to make amends with the Big Guy Upstairs for letting my membership lapse and asking if he would please spare my family from getting blown up on this otherwise-enjoyable holiday. (All family members are present and accounted for and have the same amount of fingers, toes, eyes, and hair that they started out with.)

Though I am rapidly approaching the end of my thirties, I am fairly sure that my journey of personal discovery is far from over.  And I have a talkative drama queen and an argumentative donkey to thank for that.