Tag Archive: Kids

When Trekkers procreateThis is a great photo. I wonder if I can talk the kidlets into doing something similar. One thing disturbs me though. Mom has dressed up one of her sons as an SRS*. Is she sending out a subtle hint?

*Sacrificial Red Shirt

Via: Awkward Family Photos


Happy Mother's DayI love Mother’s Day. I love seeing the expectation in my children’s eyes when they give me one of their meticulously decorated “gummy lumps” that they’ve worked so hard on at school.

Gummy lump you ask? A gummy lump is a treasure, made by childish hands. Robert Fulghum came up with the concept in his book “All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”:

What I’m talking about here is something I think of as the gummy lump. Once it was a shoebox, decorated and given to me by the oldest child. Then it became a repository of other relics of childhood given to me by the younger children. The shoebox became my treasure chest in time….

Anyhow, this shoebox isn’t looking too very good now. It’s a little shriveled and kind of moldy where the jelly beans and gumdrops have run together. It’s still sticky in places, and most of it is more beige than red and white. If you lift the lid, however, you will begin to know what makes me keep it. On folded and faded and fragile pieces of large-lined school paper, there
are words: “Hi daddi” and “Hoppy valimtime” and “I lov you”…. Glued to the bottom of the box are twenty-three X’s and O’s made out of macaroni. I’ve counted them more than once….

The treasures of King Tut are nothing in the face of this.

Have you got something around the house like a gummy lump? Evidence of love in its most uncomplicated and most trustworthy state? You may live a long, long time. You may receive gifts of great value and beauty. You may experience much love. But you will never believe in it quite as much as you believe in the gummy lump. It makes your world go round and the ride worth the trouble.

Happy Mothers DayEnjoy the weekend Moms! I hope you get pulpy orange juice, burnt toast and too sweet coffee and a slightly soggy newspaper for breakfast on Sunday.  I hope you get home-made Lightsabers, hand-drawn comic books and time to play Halo with your kiddies. I hope you get the best Mother’s Day gift of all, a lot of love.

See you on Monday!

…but this is just so much cooler!

Mouth Man Raptor HoodieI know what I’m getting Goober for his birthday! I can just see him running through the house yelling: “Nom! Nom! Nom! ROAR!”

The concept was developed by Ross Valory (of Journey! How cool is that?) and you can order your very own from the Mouth Man website. They even have adult sizes.

It’s spring and with the warmer weather there comes the request that all mom’s dread. “Mom! Can I have a freezie?!? And some for my 20 0r so friends who’ve followed me home today?”

FreeziesFirst off, freezies in my house are usually 100% juice, except DH decided he would do the shopping at the end of the summer and came home with a giant box of jumbo, artificially flavoured, synthetic liquid. They made their way down to our freezer once I rolled my eyes and reminded myself once again that DH, being male, is not capable of making healthy food choices when confronted by puppy dog eyes and tragic pleas from our two daughters.

In the grand scheme of things, freezies aren’t *that* bad. There are probably thousands of worse snacks, but given how hard it is to get my kids to eat healthy, I’d rather avoid snacks that are essentially sugar and chemicals.

But I digress.

Science for kidsAs soon as the snow was gone and the sun finally graced the GTA with its presence, the aforementioned scene took place in our front yard. The crowd of kids meant that I could get rid of the junkie freezies sooner than I thought and could soon replace them with the healthier, 100% juice versions. Imagine my surprise when these things actually served a purpose and we were able to hold an impromptu Physics class in our driveway.

Here’s what happened.

DH brought the box from the basement freezer and opened it for the first time in front of all the kids. The kids, being kids, all wanted the same flavour of freezie, prompting him to have to go digging. What he found in the middle of the box were some freezies that were still liquid despite being in the freezer for the last 8 months. When he pulled these freezies out he squeezed the contents and they immediately began to freeze, crystallizing before our eyes. Because the freezies were coloured, we were able to get a really good idea how water crystallizes whilst freezing.

Why did this happen?

Freezies - Ready for the FreezerAnyone who’s ever tried to quickly chill a can of pop or a bottle of water in the freezer and had to clean the catastrophe once they remembered where they put the container knows that water expands when it freezes. What happened in our freezies’ case was that they were so tightly packed in their box, the packages in the middle didn’t have room to expand as they froze. In essence, they were forced to stay liquid due to the surrounding outside pressure and became super-cool fluid. When the box was opened and the surrounding freezies pulled out, the pressure was released, allowing the water inside the plastic tubes to expand and the contents to freeze right in front of our eyes.

How can I do this at home?

Frozen Ice TreatsI can’t promise you that if you buy the same brand DH did that you’ll have the same results with no effort.

Your best bet is to buy a box of freezies, open it to see how much room there is around the individual packages. Stuff the spaces with plastic bags or newspaper to get them packed in there as tightly as you can. Then re-seal the box, taping the lid closed as tightly as you can. Then, put the box in the bottom of your chest freeze, wedging it in a corner. Surround the box with frozen whatever, remembering to put lots of weight on top. You don’t want to give the freezies in the middle any room to expand and solidify. Wait until the next sunny day, pull them out and quickly see what’s up with the freezies in the middle. Hopefully they will still be liquid. Give the plastic tubes a squeeze or a shake to kick start the process and watch them freeze before your eyes.

So, DH’s impulse buy wasn’t that much of a disaster after all.  It allowed us to demonstrate a major scientific concept – the phase transition of matter from liquid to solid form to the neighborhood kids.

But if he thinks that means he’s going to be able to buy those nutritionally challenged treats on a regular basis, he’s got another thing coming.

In news only slightly less shocking than finding out that Twi-hards and their moms are excited about the latest Eclipse trailer, Dreamworks has announced that the sequel to the mega-popular How to Train Your Dragon will hit theaters in 2013.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 - Coming in 2013Do you need some help picking yourself off the floor?

Given that HTTYD had grossed $375 million dollars since it’s release date on March 26th, $15 million just last weekend alone, it only makes sense for Dreamworks to build this into their latest kid friendly franchise

“2010 is off to a strong start, thanks in large part to the performance of How to Train Your Dragon, which – having grossed nearly $375 million to date in worldwide box office – has become DreamWorks Animation’s next franchise. We plan to release the sequel theatrically in 2013,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “3D continues to have a tremendous impact on the industry at large and we are now looking forward with great anticipation to bringing Shrek Forever After, the final chapter in our beloved Shrek series and the first in 3D, to audiences across the globe next month.”

The Shrek franchise netted Dreamworks roughly billions of dollars, it looks like their banking on HTTYD to be the Nightfury that laid the golden egg, and take it’s place as resident money-maker. So long as Chris Saunders & Dean DeBlois are onboard, I’m there for at least one sequel.

What do you think?

Via: Movieweb

Veronica Issue #202 - Introducing Kevin KellerThis is totally cool news…

Archie, Veronica and Betty have a new friend in Riverdale, Kevin Keller.  This isn’t exactly news, the Archie comics have been adding lots new characters over the years. The difference this time around is that the blond, blue eyed ‘hunk’ is openly gay.

The story, “Isn’t it Bromantic”, introduces Kevin to the Riverdale kids and predictably, Veronica is on the prowl for some new blood – wait, weren’t Ronnie and Archie getting married this time last year? At any rate, she has her eyes set on the newcomer, and will do anything to snag him for herself. Unfortunately for her, Jughead is the first person Kevin confides in regarding his sexuality and he is more than willing to let Veronica make a fool of herself trying to get a guy that totally resistant to her charms, probably for the first time in her life.

Writer/artist Dan Parent came up with the concept when trying to figure out what type of guy Veronica couldn’t get:

“Veronica is always chasing guys and I thought what would be the one guy Veronica can’t get? A gay guy. The story just progressed from there. What we’re trying to do is show how accepting Riverdale is.”

The New Kid in Town - Kevin KellerI think this is great news. I know a lot of kids who’s first reading materials are comic books. Both Sprout and Elfkin love reading Archie comics, and they are at an age where attitudes about gay people are coming out in school. Not so long ago I had to stomp on Sprout’s notion that two guys kissing is “gross” and wrong. And considering the problems that gay kids have been having of late, being prevented from going to prom for example, it’s nice to see homosexuality being portrayed as normal to kids.  Says Parent:

“My daughter has openly gay kids in her high school and it’s accepted,” Parent pointed out. “Obviously this isn’t the case everywhere in the country. There are struggles that gay people have. But gay kids in high schools isn’t the big deal it used to be, and we want to reflect the way being gay is accepted in today’s society.”

This really surprises me because I was always under the impression that Archie comics were pretty conservative. As a matter of fact I have an issue that comes out in favour prayer in school.

Kudos to Dan Parent and Archie Comics! You’ve done something really great for kids everywhere. You should be proud.

BTW, could you send a few copies of this issue to Itawamba County School District?

Via: Newsarama

Just the thing for encouraging your children to dabble in God’s domain: Baby’s First DNA Model!

Baby's First DNAWhether mutating the human genome or creating an apocalyptic zombie virus, your baby will get a great head start with this cute, colourful and chewable DNA model.  Fashioned using the correct right twist double-helix and sporting G-T and A-C base pairs, your little evil genius is guaranteed to have hours of scientifically accurate fun.

Designed by craft maven Kimberly Chapman, she promises on her blog that making one of these things is easy.  I’m going to hold her to it.  I’ll be attempting this after I make my Cthulhu doll.

Check out her gallery for other patterns.

It’s no big secret that I have the smartest kids in the world. Their intellects put even Einstein’s to shame.

Alright, I’m exaggerating, slightly. But my kids do come up with some great bon mots from time to time, and I love to share them. So, here are the latest, both from Goober and both from the same trip to Oshawa.

1) Truer words were never spoken

Go Train As we are nearing the Whitby Go StationGoober:  Mommy! Mommy! Look! A TRAIN!
Me: Yes sweetheart, that’s a Go Train.
Goober: But it’s not going Mommy.

2) But do they lay eggs?

Construction Crane Elfkin: Mommy, why do they call [construction] cranes cranes?
Me: Because they look like the birds, can you see the long necks and beak?
Elfkin: Yeah, I can see that!
Goober: [said very thoughtfully] But they don’t have wings.

Instructions by Neil GaimanThis is probably my favorite piece written by Neil Gaiman. I’m so glad to see it’s coming out as it’s own illustrated volume.  The water colours (I think) by Charles Vess are gorgeous.

I can’t wait to pick this up and read it to the kidlets.

It goes on sale on April 27th.

Musings and Endings

Newfoundland grave markerI’ve been struggling with some stuff over the last couple of weeks.

A beautiful, funny, glorious, much too young family member is dying of liver cancer. It developed from a case of melanoma that she thought was licked last year (note, make friends with your moles people!).  She was given two weeks to live three weeks ago. I guess you could say she’s living on borrowed time. The one kindness is that she’s able to make the most of what time she has left, having taken a trip to the tropics and to the waterpark with her grandchildren. I am in awe of her grace, dignity and strength.

Everyone in the family is struggling to cope with the news, and I’m no different.  As difficult as it is to watch all this helplessly from afar, my biggest problem right now is the kidlets. I’ve taken a bit of heat from a few sources about how I handled it.

Basically my attitude is that death is a natural part of life. It’s a sad, heart wrenching, painful, confusing, sometimes tragic inevitability that comes from being alive.  Does this make it less traumatic when it happens.  No.  It is something to be sad about, not hide from or be afraid of.

And that’s what I tried to explain to my kids before we saw her a couple of weeks ago.  Essentially I told them that the cancer is going to make her feel really tired and eventually she’ll fall asleep and not wake up.  It’s not (please) going to hurt when it happens, she’s not in pain (thanks to the pain management plan, but they don’t need to know that).  They seemed satisfied with that.  Sprout, with her eyes wise and knowing, nodded gravely and asked about funeral arrangements – that’s her, hiding her sadness with practicality.  Elfkin stuck her lip out and pouted, and wanted to know why she couldn’t help. Fighting back tears I explained that we couldn’t help her live, the doctors had done all they could, but they couldn’t fix the cancer anymore.  What we could do to help is to visit, and make her laugh and smile and give her good memories before she goes on.

Which we did.  We had dinner with most of the family and we got to talk and visit, but not say goodbye.  Our girl didn’t want tears, so I hid in the bathroom when I felt them coming on.  I held her mother while she wept, hidden away in the kitchen and tried to come up with some words of comfort that didn’t sound facile or trite.  I failed miserably. What do you say to a mother who is watching her child die? It’s going to be alright? No, it’s not. Nothing will ever be alright again.

Hopefully I conveyed with touch what I couldn’t find the words to say.

While we ate, my practical Sprout had an epiphany: “Mom, when she’s gone, who is going to take care of her dogs?” That’s my girl, always thinking of those who need help or protection. I explained that her husband and sister would most likely look after them.  If not, I was sure another member of the family would look out for them and find them good homes.  Elfkin pouted some more and announced: “It’s not fair. She’s too nice!” And she’s right, it’s not fair.  She’s so young to learn that fairness rarely plays a role in these things.

We left that night with hugs, kisses and toys for the kids.  It was a good night.

Since then I’ve been told I’ve robbed my children of their innocence and that I should have gone into detail about the miracle of life after death. The truth is, I’ve always been honest with my kids, regardless of what they’re asking about, be it sex and love or death and the afterlife, I give them as much age appropriate information as necessary to answer their questions and tell them that my door is always open should they have any more.  And I ask them if they have anything they want to talk about regarding a particular subject at random intervals.

As for the religious angle, again, I tend to define myself as agnostic with pagan tendencies so talking about Jesus doesn’t feel comfortable to me. I let my mother handle the Judeo-Christian angle, with editorial guidance from me after the fact.   I certainly have faith that we go to a better place when we die, but I don’t KNOW for certain.  And no one knows for certain what it’s going to be like – bright light, excellent hunting, harp music? No one has come back to tell us.  The whole heaven thing and going to ‘be with Jesus’ when you die, simply is not my belief although it wouldn’t surprise me if he dropped in to the Summerlands for tea from time to time.

At any rate, the kids seem fine with all of this.  They’ve had some questions and asked how she was doing, but don’t seem disturbed beyond the expected.  Normally I would just shake this off as unfair criticism, but this really rankled me.  Am I completely off base?  Have I somehow failed my children?