The Night Before School

School starts tomorrow
And no one can sleep.
There’s tossing and turning
As I watch the time creep.

Your backpack is filled
With supplies from the store,
And your shoes are lined up
Right in front of the door.

There’s part of me singing
And dancing a jig,
While inside I’m wondering
When you got so big.

You’re taller, you’re smarter,
You’re ready to grow,
But part of me just
Doesn’t want to let go.

The summer is over,
But no need to be sad.
We will never forget
All the good times we had.

We laughed and we played,
Had adventures and fun.
The days went by quickly,
But I cherish each one.

Tomorrow you’ll start
Your next year at school,
And I’ll hug you and kiss you
Even if it’s not cool!

You’re nervous, excited,
A little bit scared,
And all I can hope is that
You feel prepared.

I remember those feelings
When I was your age.
So, a little advice
From your Mama, the sage:

Be kind and be caring.
Say, “How do you do?”
All the kids in your class
Are new at this too!

Be yourself — you’re unique—
Be one of a kind.
Most important of all —
Please open your mind.

Listen and share,
Raise your hand, wait your turn.
Have a question? Just ask!
There is so much to learn.

Get some sleep now, my love.
Morning comes all too soon.
Just one hundred and eighty
More days until June.

Camping in the Living Room

We were supposed to go camping today.  It was just going to be for one night.  Monkey was excited – not only did it mean sleeping outside, it meant time with his cousin (and favorite person on this planet).  But Bear got sick.  She had some kind of stomach bug and could barely keep anything down.  Although she showed signs of improvement and would most likely have been on the mend by the time we went, being relatively far from civilization with a sick toddler didn’t seem like the best idea… especially with the amount of clothes and sheets we would have had to pack just to get through the night (if the previous nights were any indication of things to come).

Monkey was disappointed, especially because, as expected, Bear no longer showed any signs of being sick (thank goodness, the rest of us seem to have escaped this bug).  All the same, it was the right decision to stay home.

But, how do you make up for missing out on a camping trip?  Set up a tent in the living room, of course!

I brought Monkey upstairs to get ready for bed, and while we were getting his pajamas, Papa brought his tent, lantern, and sleeping bag up from the basement.  Not wanting to deal with a real fire in the fireplace tonight, he set up several candles inside – it was enough to simulate a campfire.  Monkey went downstairs and was thrilled, especially when he got to help his Papa assemble the tent.

They shared a snack, played a card game, told some stories, and cuddled up in their sleeping bags.

2013-07-27 Camping 1 - edI kissed them goodnight and told them I’d be on the lookout for bears (but that they were on their own if any skunks came by).  The candles were blown out, the lantern turned off, and the tent zipped up.  I can hear gentle snores in the living room down the hall and I know that my boys went to sleep happy.

2013-07-27 Camping 2 - ed


A Visit to the Eye Doctor

I took Monkey to the eye doctor yesterday.  There was no indication of anything being wrong, but I figured with him starting school in the fall, it couldn’t hurt to check.

He was great… a little nervous at first, but I assured him that unless there was a problem, they would not be putting any medicine in his eyes (yes, I called and asked before I made that promise).  The receptionist took to him immediately and the chatted about their favorite superheroes as she set him up for his pre-doctor screening.

Upon entering the examination room, he was fascinated by the mirror that reflected the TV screen behind him – in the mirror, the letters on the screen were correct; on the TV itself, they were backwards.  He checked this several times, just to be sure.

2013-07-10 Glasses edThe doctor joined us and gave him a pair of magic glasses.  She held out a page of images I couldn’t see and Monkey quickly ran through the list of objects he discovered through his magic glasses: Triangle, circle, square, etc.  Then he paused and pointed to the square on the bottom right.  “Wait a minute!  This spot doesn’t have anything in it!”  He thought she was trying to pull a fast one on him.  She was impressed with his accuracy and skepticism.

We made a group decision to use pictures for the eye exam instead of letters.  Even though Monkey is pretty good about identifying his letters, I thought using images would take some of the stress away (from me, that is).  He correctly identified most of the pictures: A hand, a bird, a house, a car, a cake.

childrensEyeChartThe horse he had trouble with and I can’t blame him.  Having not seen it big, it was difficult to make out, mostly because of the fact that the horse had a man riding on its back.

childrensEyeChart - horseHe leaned over to me and whispered, “Mama, what is that?  I can see it – I just don’t know what it is!”  The doctor, realizing by now that his eyesight was fine, told him he could skip that one and she quickly passed by it each time it reappeared.

The image I was most concerned with was the telephone.

childrensEyeChart - phone

Nowhere in my house, his grandparents’ houses, or the house of anyone I know is there a rotary type phone.  Cell phones and perhaps one or two cordless phones are the only ones Monkey has ever come in contact with.  He answered correctly right away, but I think they might want to consider changing that soon.

And speaking of modern technology, my favorite response to an unknown image came when Monkey was presented with this picture:

childrensEyeChart - treeThis image of several curved lines that increase in size looked familiar to him, but was not identifiable.  He hemmed and he hawed.  He looked to me for an answer.  I told him to try his best and take a guess.  He examined it closely and said in an uncertain voice, “Is that the Internet?”

The doctor and I both turned and looked at the image before us and there it was… Wi-Fi.



Photo credits:

The Children’s Eye Chart image was retrieved from

The Wi-Fi image was retrieved from

But, Oh, Oh, Those Summer Nights

I hate the winter.  Sure, I love the holiday season and the twinkling of Christmas lights (which, by the way, I feel should be required to stay up until at least Presidents’ Day), but the whole getting dark at 4 o’clock thing really sucks.  The day seems to be over so quickly, I want to be in my pajamas before I’ve even had dinner, and I feel as if I should be asleep by 6 pm.  I hate the short winter days and long winter nights.  Well, I did.  Then I had children.

Oh, how I used to long for these summer nights.  The sun setting after 9 pm, having dinner and drinks outside on a patio, going for walks, and basking in the glow of firefly lights.  But now that I have kids, I am finding it harder to enjoy these summer nights.  Our days are great – we’re playing, we’re learning, we’re enjoying our time together.  Our nights, however, are much more challenging.  At 7 pm, bathed and fed, my children want nothing more than to go back outside to play and get dirty in the garden or go for yet another bike ride.  With the sun still shining so bright, it is hard to convince them that it is actually nearing bedtime.

Keeping the lights in the house low does nothing.  Blackout curtains do nothing (the light still seems to find its way in).  Using “The Force” to try and make the sun go down earlier does nothing.  It has become next to impossible to get my kids to bed before 9 o’clock.  Of course, this also does not mean that they sleep in the next morning.  Oh, no.  When the light peeks in through the “blackout” (yeah, right) curtains, they start tossing and turning.  They may doze on and off for a while longer, but every stir reawakens me.

2013-06-21 Summer Nights edAt 5:01 am, I lay there and pray that they will fall back asleep.  At 5:38 am, I wonder why Bear needs to nurse again when she just did for the past half hour.  At 5:59 am, I think that no one should have to be up this early.  At 6:02 am, I debate whether or not I should get up and go to the bathroom, knowing that if I move an inch, I will wake someone under the age of five.   At 6:42 am, I am thankful that Bear fell back asleep for almost another hour (and so did I, for part of it at least).  At 6:58 am, knowing that both kids will be up for the day soon, I think how nice it would be if they each had a snooze button on their forehead.  At 7:15 am, I try to ignore the fact that I am getting jumped on by one or two tiny creatures.  At 7:16 am, someone lands on my bladder, making me rethink my 6:02 am decision.  At 7:30 am, everyone is awake and I wish I hadn’t gone to bed at 2:00 am… again.

My point is, I guess, that I still love the summer – ice cream, beaches, carnivals, fresh fruits and veggies from our garden, and much more.  But, I could really do without the daily bedtime battle.  So, summer solstice, can you do me a favor and stay away for the next 10 years or so?  Because if you keep this up much longer, I’m going to turn into a crazy lady who starts boarding up her windows come March.  Much mahalos.

Dandelion Wishes

An essential part of being a kid is picking yellow dandelions and giving them to everyone you know.  As a parent and former teacher, I have received my fair share of dandelion bouquets, worn dandelions in my hair, and even put dandelions in a vase full of water.

But the quintessential part of being a kid is picking the whitest, fluffiest dandelions you can find, making a wish, and blowing off every last possible seed (stomping on them is super fun too).

05-05-2013 DandelionsAs a grownup, I now know the effects of making those wishes, as more and more dandelions sprout up all over our lawn.  But, I still know the magic that lies within and don’t feel that I have the right to stand in the way of anyone’s wishes.

And so, my children pick their dandelions, both yellow and white.  And so, I do my best to appreciate every bouquet, hair decoration, and centerpiece I am given.  And so, I watch both in horror and in wonder as hundreds of new dandelion seeds take their journey in my backyard and beyond.

My neighbors must hate me.

Mommy Fail: Misadventures with Tomato Sauce

I’ve been a mom now for four years now.  You would think that will all of this experience I would have learned one of the most basic rules of parenting: Never ever give your children spaghetti AFTER they have had their bath.

When you do, this is what happens:

spaghetti 1

And then this:

spaghetti 2



For more of Amy’s misadventures with tomato sauce, click here: sauce 1 ed

Mama Foofed!

My daughter, Bear, had quite a vocabulary by 17 months of age.  At 17 1/2 months, she was trying to put two words together, but they were often separated by a very large pause as she tried to connect the two ideas in her head.

One evening a few weeks ago, I took Bear upstairs to put her to bed.  I decided that it would be best to go to the bathroom before getting stuck under a baby for the next hour or so.  I happened to, well, um, pass some gas, which my family has given the endearing term “foofing.”  It wasn’t a remarkable foof (rhymes with hoof) or anything – just your average, every day, run of the mill foof.

Bear giggled.  “Foof!” she exclaimed.  And she laughed some more.  “Mama!”

“Yes, honey, Mama foofed.  Excuse me.”

“Foof… … … Mama… … … Mama… … … Foof… … … Foof… … … Mama… … … Foof.”

“Yes, Bear, Mama foofed.”

“Mama… Foof.  Foof.  Foof.  Mama… Foof.”

“I know, love.  Mama foofed.”

“Mama foof!”

Her first true sentence.

“Mama foof!  Mama foof!  Mama foof!”

“Yeah, I know.  Mama foofed.  That’s enough now.  Time for bed.”

2013-03-17 Mama foofI brought her into the bedroom and began nursing her down for the night.  She got drowsy and I thought that she was nearing sleep.  All of a sudden, she popped off, sat up, and yelled, “MAMA FOOF!”

She was so proud.


Note: Since that day, Bear has made sure to report everyone’s foofs – mine, her Papa’s, Monkey’s, and even her own.  No one can escape.  And it is now impossible to blame your foof on the baby.  Perhaps we should reconsider getting a dog


1,461 Days (A Letter To My Son on His Fourth Birthday)

My Dear Son,

For 1,461 days I have held your hand, carried you close, and stroked your hair.

For 1,461 days I have wiped away your tears, kissed your boo boos, wrestled with you, and tickled you until your belly ached.

For 1,461 days I have nursed you, nourished you, protected you, and bonded with you.

For 1,461 days I have watched you grow, learn, and develop your own unique personality.

For 1,461 days I have laughed with you, cried with you, and worried sick about you.

For 1,461 days I have cheered you on when you won and comforted you when you lost.

For 1,461 days I have watched you become more confident, develop a sense of humor, learn how to share and play well with others, and grow your imagination.

2013-02-18 Collage

Photo on left: One minute old, February 18, 2009 / Photo on right: 4 years old, February 18, 2013

For 1,461 days I have pushed you to explore the world and have offered a warm lap and open arms when it was too much. For 1,461 days I have rocked you, walked with you, and driven you in circles just so you could get the rest you needed.

For 1,461 days I have cooked for you and re-cooked for you when you weren’t happy with the first selection.

For 1,461 days I have watched you crawl, walk, run, jump, hop, and ride a bicycle.

For 1,461 days I have slept by your side, listened to you breathe, and rested my hand on your beating heart.

For 1,461 days I have read to you, played with you, given you opportunities to investigate and make your own discoveries, and tried to empower you with knowledge.

For 1,461 days I have sung to you, made up stories for you, and listened to your every word.

For 1,461 days I have wished for you, prayed for you, and dreamed big dreams for you.

For 1,461 days I have loved you more and more.

For 1,461 days you have made my world… this world… a better place.

Happy fourth birthday, my darling boy.




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Peeing in the Tub

I always make Monkey go potty before he gets into the bathtub.  Usually, he complies.  Sometimes, he goes and then once he sits in the water, he looks suspicious – as if he hadn’t completely finished emptying his bladder yet.

Monkey and Bear often bathe together (at what point does that become weird?).  I have asked Monkey repeatedly to not pee in the tub, especially if his sister is in there with him.  Now, of course, I can guarantee that his sister pees in the tub almost every time, but he doesn’t need to know that.

After a very messy finger and toe painting experience, I plunked both of them in the bath.  He promised me that he didn’t need to pee.  I made sure that I asked him before I put the drain cap on.  We got all the paint off with the shower sprayer first and then I filled up the tub.

peeing in the tub ed

The kids had fun playing in the bath, as usual.  Suddenly, he gave me the look.  I gave him the “Don’t you dare do it” look that all moms eventually perfect.  He went back to playing and presumably holding it in.  A few minutes later, Bear decided she was done with her bath.  “Mama?  Now that she’s out, can I pee in the bath?”  Then, this is what happened.

Me: Why don’t you hop out and pee in the potty.

Monkey: I don’t think I can do that.

Me: Did you already go?

Monkey: A little… can I?

Me: If you must.

Monkey: I must.

I turned away to get Bear all wrapped up in her towel, so I wasn’t concentrating on what Monkey was doing.  Suddenly, he began to shout, “Mama!  Quick!  I need a towel!”

Me: What’s wrong?  Did you splash water on your face again?

Monkey: No!  I just peed in my eye!

Me: WHAT?  You peed in your eye?

Monkey: I peed in my eye!  Give me a towel!

Me (unwrapping Bear from her towel and tossing it over): How in the world did you pee in your eye?

Monkey: I don’t know, but it kind of hurt.  Let’s just let the water go down and I’ll just pee down the drain instead.


Told you peeing in the bath wasn’t a good idea.


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