Monday, September 8, 2014

Nappers

Napper Owl and Kitten available Tuesday Sept. 4th. at 9 pm est.




Nappers are choosey about who they will friend.  They sneak through the night and check out their choices.    "Only grown ups here!  Lets go check the next bed."


If you feel someone hopping on your bed or pulling your toes, don't worry it's just a Napper.  Napper's mostly nap they don't sleep for hours.  This way is best, so they can check on their powers and keep you safe.  



They stay charged up, with a quick little hug.  
You wouldn't believe such slight guys can be so substantial.  But one mighty punch or a quick swift kick from them will knock out all the bedroom monsters for months.
Make sure to hug them often for the very best results, and the Napper will be your protecter forever and ever.  


 




















Thursday, September 4, 2014

First Day of school!

My boys are getting big!  If you remember this day last year the little guy was crying about not being able to go to school with his over the top excited big brother.  It is finally his turn for school!

As I hyped the boys up about school at breakfast with 'homework' my little man had me in tears with his response to "when I grow up."
 Although he wanted me to change it to Ninja Turtle after hearing big brothers answer.




Yet, they did show off their Ninja moves.... 




and they were legitimately excited about starting school and gave me their best cheesey faces for proof.




The little guy is the youngest in his class, but I have a feeling he's also going to be the biggest ham.  He has his big cousin in his class to look after him as well.  
We really LOVE his school and as parents we are excited that they will be in a class with friends they already know and love.  The first day we visited this new school I left with a big hug from the director and in tears after hearing how perfectly inline their philosophies are with that of our family.  


I want my children to be taught inclusion and acceptance.  Those are the most important social skills I feel that children need to learn at this age.  I get my parenting advice from all over the place, mostly we stick with positive parenting but I like to get advice from anyone who's willing.  I ask grandparents "how did you do it?"  They've seen the most and know their own regrets.  

But what it always comes down to, when I'm grading myself it is Erik Erikson's stages of development.  It's a simple and easy checklist.  If we get this part right, he will be okay.  The stage Soren is in (2-4) is 'Autonomy vs. Shame and doubt.'
How do you navigate this stage?  Well the child wants to know "is it okay to be me?" and they need an environment that leads them to YES!

When I visited Soren's new school the director was showing us around the playroom and when she got to the dress up clothes, (noting how my sister and I had four boys) she told us how the prior year one boy ran to claim a pink dress everyday and it was the cutest thing.  It made everyones day to see him playing dress up in his favorite pink dress.  "Is it okay to be me?" was clearly a priority at this school and why I was in tears.  

Two days before school started we had a mini school day where we stayed with the boys and got to see what their daily routine would be.  Each child gets a job to do for the day and they rotate, Soren was snack helper and was so proud to hand out the napkins to all of his friends.  They had a blast and couldn't wait to go back.  

But still, I was a nervous wreck dropping him off for his first day at school by himself, the first time I've ever left him anywhere.  I expected lots of tears and screaming.  He hugged me and said, I'm scared and I'll miss you and I said it is scary and I'll miss you too, but then he ran in to class with his friends.  After school he said he cried and cried for me but he had a lot of fun at school and can't wait to go back!   (But he's just a baby!  I am really having a hard time letting him go.)




Cleary is in the 'Initiative vs. Guilt' stage according to Erikson

To me that means he needs to learn that he can lead successfully and accomplish tasks, okay....  I admit.  I've always been a little fuzzy on this stage and more nervous about growing as a parent myself than Cleary's own actual development.  (I mean, as soon as I figure out how to parent a 4 year old they are turning 5!  I don't think I actually figured out 4.)   Cleary seems to think growing up is so easy and doesn't worry about Eriksons stages.  His existential concerns are much more logical, are the Ninja Turtles actually Ninjas?  Can I be a gold Ninja or can only Power Rangers be gold?  Are Power Rangers Ninjas?  And then he meditates.  

Cleary wanted to homeschool this year, actually he was adamant that he would never ever ever ever go back to school again (due to a really bad experience last year.)   So, we are quasi-red shirting.  We will decide next year if he is ready for Kindergarten or 1st grade or continue the homeschooling.  This year he wants to have school in the woods everyday as long as we can have our snack with friends.  Sounds like a dream to me!  We walked through the woods and while I was trying to decide how to make a walk in the woods 'school' Cleary started picking up things and sounding out the letters they started with.  We talked about tree bark and moss and he drew pictures in his journal of everything we found.  He picked a spot in the woods and took out a workbook he had chosen for the day and started on the pages.  
I'm a little nervous about 'being a teacher' and I hope he will lead me through this new homeschooling journey as I figure out what I'm suppose to be doing and what 5 year olds really need to learn.


That was our week, I hope all of you had a great first week back to school.  Peace- Nikki

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sisters

“A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double.” - Toni Morrison


I have a few sisters, I love them all very much and I'm sure I'll get the chance to tell you about the other two.
But my older sister Christie and I are best friends.  We have been our entire lives.  Just 13 months apart, I can imagine my sister telling me as a newborn that she will always take care of me and she has done a pretty good job.

The first time we were separated it was for a sunday school class, my sister had moved up to the next age group.  We cried and had to be pulled apart.  My mom retells the story of how once the class was let out we ran to each other and hugged and held hands for the rest of the day.  I've moved out of state a few times for school and it's always hard being apart, but now we live just around the corner from each other.  We spend most of our days wrangling the four monsters sweet baby angels that we call our crew.

My sister will tell you that we are exactly alike.  I laugh every time she says it because we are actually like night and day.
One main difference can be summed up by nightgowns our mother bought us when we were 11 and 12.  It was Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, Christie's nightgown had Happy on it and mine had Grumpy.  I crossed my arms, scowled and stomped and I threw that Grumpy nightgown down the stairs.  I was NOT grumpy.  Her caring happy nature continued throughout her life, she puts it to practice as a nurse.  My grumpiness... well... I'll say strong-willed, but in any case I'm still much the same.  But, who can be grumpy when they get to play with dolls all day?


 (disclaimer...  old picture.  that's me on the left; Christie still looks exactly the same)


These two girls must be sisters.  One has green eyes like me and the other has blue eyes like my sister.  They spend all of their time listening to music and arguing over who gets to marry Adam Levine.


  














Peace- Nikki

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Learning to sew.

Anytime my son is faced with a new challenge he says "I can do it!"  In his four year old mind he could build a jet from scratch and fly it around the world if I would just let him try.  (This is what he tells me.)  But I'm a meany and I keep all of the jet engines packed up in the tool closet with the drill and hammers, out of reach.

This morning he brings me two pieces of fabric that we found at the thrift store.  "This is mine and I'm going to make a blanket and pillow for my baby."  He backs slowly towards my sewing room waiting to see if I will be a dream crusher or an enabler.

Well lucky for him he's talking dolls, so I'm all in!

After a little re-arranging of chairs and machines and some debating.  "I know how to do this, I did it before when I was a baby.   I don't need your help!"  We settled on Cleary pressing the foot pedal and guiding the fabric with me.   He also ironed the fabric (very exciting for him) and helped cut the pieces.  Turning the fabric was frustrating for him but stuffing the pillow was fun and made up for the aggravation of turning.  By the time we got to topstitching he had really gotten the hang of it and was very adamant that he is an expert after all.  Start to finish the project only took us about 20 mins, just the right amount of time to keep him from getting bored or distracted.

We are both feeling very proud of his accomplishment  When I asked him if I could share with you all he couldn't wait to take the photos.  He wanted to make sure you all knew you can make one too, he even said he would show you how!






*Cleary's doll is made by Sweet Seriah*


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I can give you wings.

My son spent a good part of the past year wanting wings so he could fly. We twisted daddy's shirts into wings or a super hero cape pinned the right way would do the trick in a pinch, we used cardboard or canvas. Everyday he was a bird and everyday he could fly. I was amazed. All I had to do was give him wings.

The best part about my job is giving, absolute, hands down, best part. I WISH I could give everything that I make away, but I would run out of supplies very quickly and you would get cardboard wings that only last one day.

What I can do is donate wings to help ease burdens, to raise funds for a good cause.
This design will be exclusive and only available through auction when I am able to contribute to a good cause.
The wings will come with a dress or overalls for the boys.
In this case I am donating to Wynter. You can find out more about the auction here, 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1386850831554060/ and see the set of wings and dress that I have donated being modeled by my cutie Bamboletta.  In the picture below the wings are shown on Clover, a doll I made as a birthday present for myself.  I kind of love her.

"I can give you wings."




Friday, March 21, 2014

snail pace, snail race...

First I will show off a few of these guys that have literally drug me to the slowest snail pace of doll making I have ever experienced.  How is that possible?  Must be power of suggestion, but I have finally finished a few and I will have a few more to come. 










Now I have to tell you guys about one of our favorite games! It's the
 Snails Pace Race Game if I were a proper blogger I would have a great family photo of us enjoying the game, maybe i'll see if I can snag one later.  It is really fun for all of us, my 2 year old and 4 year old both love to play.  You roll the colored dice to move the snails forward while cheering for your favorite color to win.  It is a cooperative game so no one wins or looses we all just scream with excitement as the snails cross the line.  You don't even have to buy the game, it is super easy to make your own version. Try it out, it's really fun! 

 Peace- Nikki

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Boys, Happy Mom

I take pride in my job, my number one job of mother.  How do I know i'm doing a good job?  My boys are happy.





They wake up happy, they smile at me all day long and surprise me with "Mommy, I love you!"  throughout the day.  I need that, it's my paycheck bonus.  It's my 'good job' pat on the back from my boss.  Not to mention the reassurance I get from my husband, who knows when I need to hear 'you are a good mom, we are so lucky to have you.'  I know I am blessed with this beautiful family, I know how lucky I am.

But motherhood is hard, it's strenuous, its full time plus double overtime and then some.  There are days that these smiling faces are piles of blubbering disaster and they have no explanation for why and I take on the blame, I get the screaming and crying and more recently feet stomping or pouting... all of it wrapped up with a bow and a big gift tag that says 'surprise, just for you!'

Just like in the real world when your boss screams at you without cause, or because your boss got kicked by their boss, your job as a mother is to take it, accept it, smile and say I'm sorry, let's make it better.  But I don't want to smile, I want to lay on the floor and cry, or scream, or cry and scream... or get a new job.  That isn't really an option, so I take the screaming and say tomorrow will be better.  I tell my little bosses, tomorrow will be sunshiny and remember that just 5 minutes ago they loved me to the sun and back.

Yes, parenting has it's challenges, nothing will change that.  But your choices as a parent will determine how easy your job is.  My mother recently told me about troubles at her work, and while we laugh at how stupid her boss is and talk about how she should find a new job, she also admits that she doesn't handle the altercations well.  I am proud that my mom will stand up for herself, but she knows if she just smiles and says "sorry, I'll do it your way" when her boss is throwing his temper tantrum her life would be much easier.

So where is the balance?  How do you make your job easier without pissing off your boss?  That's a tough question at work or in parenting.  But I think the answer, while hard to implement is always be kind.  Don't tell your boss or child that they are wrong, don't yell NO, NO, NO at them.  They may be wrong, but what they are feeling should be validated first, they ARE having these feelings whether you think they should be or not,  and then they need to find a way to cope or an answer to their 'I don't know why i'm crying but I can't help myself'  problem.

I was recently given a parenting article that says in order to have your children gain independence you must say no to them all the time, refuse to do things for them, make them do it for themselves.  This article called the type of parenting where you help your children 'gateway parenting' and compared this type of parenting to drug use.  Well, the article was awful in my opinion.  We ALL want our kids to be independent and we fear that our children could end up drug addicts if we fail them as parents.  Coupling these two themes made the article resonate and I was almost sucked in to the advice.

I am proud to say that my children are incredibly independent for their age, they are two and four and love to do things for themselves.  When they struggle to do something and ask for help I will advise them on how to do it for themselves, I would never say NO I will not do it for you.  The difference in these two types of parenting is that my guidance gives them trust in me and trust in themselves.  If you tell them No you won't help them, they will internalize this negativity and believe "I can't do it and my mom won't help me."

My two year old was close to tears when he couldn't get his shoes on the other day, he has gotten use to putting on boots and couldn't understand the difference.  He doesn't often ask for help because he likes to do everything for himself, so he was mounting tears of frustration.  Instead of offering to do it for him   I took off my shoe and showed him how you have to put your fingers in the back to slide it on.  He then put his shoe on happily by himself.

It might be small things all day long, the boys love to do the buckles in the car seat.  They also like to pour their own milk, and spill the milk... sigh.  Sure, it would be easier to do everything for them, but whether you stand in the cold patiently while they fumble with the carseat buckle or tell them you need to do it quickly; let them spill the milk all over the table or pour it for them won't make a difference in the long run.  If you love your children and they know they are loved you are doing a good job.  Good job Mom!

We all want our kids to be happy, Attachment Parenting and Positive Parenting philosophies have offered me lots of tricks to make my job easier, and guides on fostering the independence of my children.  My wise friend Liza has suggested that as your children face the big rocks, the medium stones, and little pebbles in their path, walk beside them as a guide, that is our job.  They will find pride at the top of the biggest rock and kisses of comfort from the inevitable scraped knee and independence right at the fork.