Describe Yourself

In school, the boys are working on adjectives. Today, one of their assignments was to come up with 10 adjectives to describe themselves. It seemed fairly simple and indeed, Dorian flew through the work, writing out things like “smart” “shy” “happy” and other positive, fun adjectives.

Dante, however, stalled out after writing that he was shy and happy. “I don’t know what I am! This is too hard!”

The lesson dragged as I helped him look at some lists of words earlier in his book and Dorian helpfully suggested “grumpy” and “crazy.” Finally, with a good five adjectives left to write, Dante just wasn’t feeling any of the words in his book. He decide that he was nice and sometimes he’s silly, but what else could describe him?

I pulled out the whiteboard and started writing down random things that I thought he could use. Energetic. Funny. Artistic.

“Artistic?” He perked up a bit at that one. “Does that mean I’m good at art?” I told him it did and it was very apt for him. Then I told him that he is also very creative. He beamed and wrote the words down and we finished up our school day.

Later, in the afternoon, Dante came over to me and said, “Do you really think I’m artistic?” I assured him that he is VERY artistic. He smiled and ran off.

Tonight, at bedtime, he was busy working away in his room and came out with a new project, a matchbox man that he’d carefully colored. It was pretty clever and I said as much. He grinned at me and said, “That’s because I’m a creative and artistic kid!”

Isn’t it amazing how one or two simple words can bolster a child’s self-esteem and make him feel special? I don’t think of this often enough, but I suspect that using adjectives that really mean something (as opposed to “good” or “nice”) can make a big difference for a child. I know I’ll be using them more often.


Cooking Kids

When I was pregnant with our first baby, one that we lost, I wrote out a list of skills I wanted my children to master before they turned ten and by the age of fifteen. Most of these skills were meant to help them become independent. If something happened to us, I wanted my kids to be able to look after themselves.

One of the skills was cooking. To me, this is an essential skill. Not just to be able to make pasta or a sandwich, but to be able to really cook and understand the ingredients. Both of the older boys help out with cooking here and there and I’ve made a point of involving them in the kitchen. Dominic will run to push up his chair as soon as he sees me with the mixer. He likes to mix up cakes and cookies and has mastered the ability to hold the mixer upright so it doesn’t spatter.

Dante is particularly interested in baking and he loves to knead and shape bread beside me. He will do stovetop cooking, but quite frankly, he has only recently been permitted to do this type of cooking because he tends to be hyper and impulsive and is not very careful. Baking was a better choice for him until recently.

Dorian, on the other hand, has always been steady and careful, so he started to scramble his own eggs at the age of three. He’s made elegant pasta dishes, cakes, soups and assorted dishes with considerably supervision over the years and he often offers to chop veggies for me because he loves using a knife.

The other day, I was exhausted from writing and not feeling the motivation for dinner. I suggested sandwiches for supper and Dorian told me he’d really rather have soup. His brothers quickly agreed (Irving was away on a gig). I was thinking about whether or not I had the energy to make soup when Dorian piped up, “I know you’re tired, so don’t worry. I’ll make the soup, I can do this myself and you can just relax.”

And then he made soup for dinner, with carrots and zucchini and a little too much rice, plus some chicken. I did give him some pointers on how to make the broth by blending onions and garlic, but he did that part himself, too. It was awesome. And delicious. Dante, my pickiest eater, had three bowls of the soup!

Cooking kids

After dinner, we watched Master Chef Junior and Dorian said, confidently, “I could do that. I should be on this show!”

I’m starting to see a future where I don’t have to cook ever single meal . . .

Art Classes!

Dante is my little artist, though Dominic is showing a lot of interest, as well. Dorian gets bored with coloring and drawing, but he likes to sit down and turn out pages and pages of comics. I’ve been pinning tons of art projects on Pinterest for the past few months, but haven’t actually many of them.

Today we had some extra time, so after schoolwork was finished, we did a little art project. All three boys got in on it, so that was fun. I had to help Dominic a bit, but he did most of it on his own.

Halloween art

black cat Halloween art project

Halloween cat art

halloween art

halloween art cat project

The end result was pretty cool! The original inspiration for the cat on a fence can be found here.

Psst, Do Your Halloween Shopping Here!

If you celebrate Halloween, you’re probably starting to grab candy and costumes and get your decorations in order. A lot of people use Amazon for this and so, if you’re planning on ordering online this year, can I suggest using my link? You don’t pay any extra, but I get a small percentage.

Usually, I make money from my Squidoo lenses over Halloween, but since Squidoo shut down, that part of my earnings is GONE. So, if and only if you plan to use Amazon anyway, I’d really appreciate if you clicked on the image below before you do your shopping. Thanks!

By the way, any time you shop on Amazon after clicking an Amazon link on my site, it helps us out and doesn’t cost you a penny! You can always click on the link in my sidebar to get there and the cookie will last for 24 hours.


Rainbow Sky

A couple of nights ago, Dorian ran inside, shouting excitedly for us to come and see. “There’s a rainbow in the sky! A really cool rainbow!”

I figured he was just excited because he hasn’t seen many rainbows in his life. And then I stepped out the door and saw this:

rainbow sky

We were in awe. The photos do NOT do this sky justice, but you can get a little glimpse of what we saw. It was like an oil spill in the sky. I half expected an alien mothership to come bursting through the clouds at any moment.

rainbow sky

rainbow sky

The colors smeared and bled and then finally faded to golds and greens and disappeared. It lasted for a good 20 minutes, though, and we stood out there watching the whole time. What an amazing spectacle!

Update: Apparently this is called a fire rainbow cloud. You can read more here and see a much better photo of one. I need a new camera, apparently.

Hi, Spammers! Plus a Little Update

Apparently, leaving your blog without constant updates encourages spammers. Every time I pop over to check, there are more spam comments telling me I have great tips for beginner bloggers, or asking what theme I use, etc. Even my spam filter isn’t catching them all!

I guess it’s good that my blog is big enough to attract the ‘bots and spammers? :P

In other news, things are chugging along here. My uptick in work hasn’t slowed down, so I’m still writing for long hours and trying desperately to maintain some semblance of balance. It’s all moot though, we basically get school done and I’m working until late at night. But, I never expect these things to last long, so I’m just going to enjoy it while I can. At least the kids like eating the fast meals I throw together every day!

The good thing is that I happen to love each and every project I’m working on right now. My clients are all awesome, pay quickly and the projects are all things I really enjoy learning more about. It’s made for a rather pleasant change from my usual dreary tasks of writing automotive descriptions and payday loan blog posts.

Irving has been super healthy lately. His blood sugar levels are great, even when he cheats and sneaks two packets of Oreos. Ahem. We’re all eating healthier, though, of course, it’s easier when I’m not working so much that I forget people around here neat to eat!

Potty training is done. Dominic has proven himself both at home and in the street, though he has had a few small accidents. In general, though, he does very well and is great about getting to the bathroom on time, on his own. I am still stunned to have a two year old who is potty trained, except for night, but it’s pretty awesome. We’re saving tons since we only need a few diapers each month.

The older boys are also doing well. They’ve been working hard in school and trying more foods and basically just showing how grown up they’re getting. I see more responsibility in them every day. Of course, they still fight and complain, but there are definite signs of being more mature, which is much appreciated and much encouraged.

How are my readers doing?

Potty Training: The Third Time Around

Potty training is not something I feel like an expert in, despite having three kids. The older boys were hard to train, though I tried to follow advice that suggested waiting until they were ready on their own . . . which they never were. I’m convinced that if we hadn’t had our trip to Canada to motivate the big push, they would both still be in diapers!

Dominic showed interest in the toilet around 9 months, but since he couldn’t walk yet, I didn’t do much with it. In retrospect, that was a terrible idea. Later, he was completely against it and told me he only wanted diapers. I was still contemplating how to handle this when we decided to try training in segments. Every morning, we would have him pantless and use the potty. It was hit and miss and we had more accidents than success. When work was heavy, I would forget to tell him to go every 15 minutes, which didn’t help.

Last week, Irving put pants and no diaper on the kid, which has historically resulted in 0% success. He threw a tantrum and fussed about it all morning, but after one accident, he started to calm down and get more interested. The first 100% diaper free day was a long one, with a lot of laundry, but by the end of the day, he was asking me to pause his show so he could go to the bathroom.

Fast forward 5 days and we are potty trained! Virtually no reminders are necessary and he just heads to the bathroom when he needs to. It feels so strange to reach this stage of life, where diapers are only a thing we deal with at night or if we are in the car for a long time. My baby isn’t a baby anymore. It’s a little bittersweet, but I certainly don’t miss changing stinky diapers!

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 87

Dante: “I wrote this, Mama.”
Me: “It’s a little hard to read, you need to . . . ”
Dante: “I know, use more spacebars!”
Me: “Dominic, do you need to go pee?”
Dominic: “No.”
Me: “Do you need to go poo?”
Dominic: “No.”
Me: “Do you need to go rainbows?”
Dominic: laughing “YES!”
Me: talking to myself, “Hmm, why is there something hard inside this ball of yarn?”
Dorian: “I don’t know! I don’t have any life experience yet!”
Me: “Do you want to watch a show on my computer?”
Dominic: “Yes. But NO BROTHERS!”
Dorian: “You don’t want us?”
Dominic: “No! You guys . . . . not do ANYTHING!”
Me: “Good job with the potty, Dominic! You’re really a big boy now.”
Dominic: “Yes. I go up on da bunk bed now!”
Dante: “You look stoned, Mama.”
Me: “Um, excuse me?”
Dante: “You look like you’re made of stone, not moving.”
Me: “Do you speak English?”
Dominic: “Yes.”
Me: “Do you speak Spanish?”
Dominic: “Si.”
Me: “Do you speak Arabic?”
Dominic: “Arabic? No.”
Me: “Do you speak Japanese?”
Dominic: “Apanese? No.”
Dorian: “Do you speak Chinese?”
Dominic: “Yes!”
Me: “What do you say in Chinese?!”
Dominic: “Ni hao, Kai-Lan!”
Dominic: “Mama, look at the sun!”
Me: “That’s not sun. The sun goes away at night, that’s why it’s dark.”
Dominic: “LOOK! SUN!”
Me: “It’s lightning. Remember we talked about that? Lightning in the clouds?”
Dominic: “Mama, what is lightning?”
Me: “It’s electricity in the clouds.”
Dominic: “Mama, what is electricity?”
Making a cake . . .
Dominic: “Wash your hands! Wash my hands! You can’t do ANYTHING afore you wash your hands.”