A Day in the Life…

Sometimes I wonder if this blog is going to get deactivated on the grounds of non-use. The problem is that my life has become so routine, that I don’t feel like there’s anything big to write about. Then it dawned on me: write about my routine! “That’s genius”, you say! Why thank you, thank you, yes it is. ūüėČ

Here’s what today mostly looked like (I forgot to get photos when we first got up, and of dinner. Trust me when I say you’re not missing much, though):

2:00 AM – My 94 year old grandmother gets up to go to the bathroom, but can’t remember where her bathroom is, so I get up, lead her to the bathroom, tuck her back in and go back to bed.

2:10 AM – I hear Gram through the monitor eating cheese doodles in her bed, I lie in my own bed staring at the wall, not able to sleep because of the crackling of the bag.

2:35(ish) AM – I finally fall back to sleep.

3:00 – Gram is up and fully dressed in the living room, thinking it’s morning. I gently try to coax her back to bed, but she says she’ll just rest in her chair, which she does for about 15 minutes, and then decides she’s more comfortable in bed. Thankfully she sleeps soundly for the rest of the night.

4:10 AM – Rowan crawls into my bed, steals my blankets, and goes back to sleep

4:30 AM-6:15 AM – Rowan repeatedly kicks me in the shins

6:15 AM – Both Rowan and I get up, I prepare coffee for myself and my grandmother, while Rowan listens to a book on CD while wrapped up in a blanket on the couch

6:30 AM – I make pancakes while Rowan plays with Legos

6:45 AM – We all eat breakfast together

7:15 AM – Gram sits in her chair doing crossword puzzles while I clean up from breakfast, and Rowan does his chores, which consist of emptying the dishwasher, taking out the recycling, feeding the hamsters, and folding the wash clothes and towels.

7:45 AM – Gram watches the news, and Rowan and I go get dressed, brush our teeth, and Rowan has a bath.

8:15 AM – Rowan plays while I prepare his lesson plans (we homeschool), and straighten up the house a little.

9:00 AM – I get Gram settled with crossword puzzles, books, and a drink. She is very content this morning, and is happy to spend some quiet time alone while Rowan and I get started with school.

9:05 AM – We pray, and start Rowan’s school day.

9:07 AM – Rowan uses the age old procrastination tactic of having to pee, needing a drink of water, and his t-shirt was too grey, so he had to change.

9:10 AM – We actually do start school.

We start the day with a calendar game that teaches him how to read a calendar, and lets him do a few simple activities such as filling in the missing day, adding any special events he wants to remember, and teaches him the months, seasons, and days of the week.

We start the day with a calendar game that teaches him how to read a calendar, and lets him do a few simple activities such as filling in the missing day, adding any special events he wants to remember, and teaches him the months, seasons, and days of the week.

Next up is language arts!

Next up is language arts!

He made a girl cutout to help him remember the "ir", "er", and "ur" sound, such as in the word "girl".

He made a girl cutout to help him remember the “ir”, “er”, and “ur” sound, such as in the word “girl”.

9:35 AM – WIGGLE BREAK! We put on a record(yes, an ACTUAL record!), and dance as silly as we can.

9:40 AM – We start his history lesson, which today consisted of drawing a map of Israel.

Locating Israel on the globe.

Locating Israel on the globe.

He really did an amazing job with this project.  I wish I had gotten an up close picture of his map.

He really did an amazing job with this project. I wish I had gotten an up close picture of his map.

10:00 AM – I read a few chapters of The Boxcar Children while we cuddle on the couch. Grandma also listens to the story.

10:30 AM – We start math, where he is learning to add double-digit numbers.

He's using unifix cubes as "counters".

He’s using unifix cubes as “counters”.

10:45 AM – We break for a snack of apples and peanut butter

10:55 AM – Gram gets picked up for lunch at the senior center, and Rowan and I go outside for some fresh air for a little more than an hour. This is what we did:

12:00 noon: Inside for lunch!

Rowan eats grilled cheese, carrots, blackberries, and milk while I read another chapter of our book to him.

Rowan eats grilled cheese, carrots, blackberries, and milk while I read another chapter of our book to him.

12:20 PM – Gram is dropped off from lunch, I get her settled, and then Rowan and I finish up his school for the day with a math game, and then I let him play a reading game on my computer.

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12:50 PM – Rowan and I drive Grandma to her friend’s house to play games for two hours, and run to the grocery store while we’re out.

1:15 PM – Rowan and I trash the kitchen making salt dough Christmas ornaments.

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2:00 PM – Rowan watches an episode of “How it’s Made” while I clean up flour that is now settled in a thin coat all over the kitchen.

2:30 PM – SNACK TIME! We got candy apples yesterday, and he deserved a treat after a completely whine-free morning.

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3:00 PM – We pick up Gram from her friend’s, and while she goes to nap, Rowan plays quietly while I work on my homework.

4:30 PM – I start dinner and a load of laundry, clean up the house a little, and loose several games of Uno to Rowan. Gram gets up, I get her a drink, and she goes out to sit on the porch with her crossword puzzles.

4:32 PM – I find this on my screen:

*sniff* I love you too, Buddy.  *sniffsniff*

*sniff* I love you too, Buddy. *sniffsniff*

5:30 PM – I get everyone dinner, and we eat outside at the table. A bird poops in the vicinity of my plate. I leave the table.

6:00 PM – I get Gram settled in her chair to watch her shows, and Rowan and I go outside to play on the rope swing. Rowan comes close to hitting his head on the tree, so he does this:

"Now I can WHAM that tree, and I won't even feel it!"

“Now I can WHAM that tree, and I won’t even feel it!”

6:30 PM – We come inside and Rowan plays with his fire station and trucks while I finish dinner clean up, and switch the laundry over. I then get roped into being the injured person in Rowan’s game, and have to pretend to cry because I got my nose chopped off in a revolving door (WHAT??!!).

7:30 PM – I wake Gram up, who fell asleep in her chair, and help her get ready for bed, tell her goodnight, and pray that she sleeps through the night (Hey, a girl can dream…).

7:45 PM – Row goes to brush his teeth, and to watch a show on PBS. I fold the laundry.

8:20 PM – Rowan crawls into his bed and reads to himself for a bit while I look over tomorrow’s lesson plans in case something needs to be prepared in advance. Thankfully we’re good to go. I read Rowan a book, we pray together, I kiss him goodnight, and he asks me to cuddle for a bit. I snuggle up next to him, and promptly fall asleep.

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8:45 PM – Wake up, kiss a sleeping Rowan, peek my head in Gram’s room, confirm that she is indeed in bed and asleep, and shuffle through the house, picking up toys and tissues, hearing aid batteries, and one muddy boot. I look at the pile of stuff in my hands, realize that I’m too tired to actually put them where they go, and instead just dump them all on the coffee table. I’m pretty sure they’ll be waiting for me tomorrow morning. I’ll put(no I won’t) them away tomorrow(sometime this weekend).

9:00 PM – Finish this post, and realize that I have a lab report due tomorrow. Panic slightly, remember that I bought organic “Oreos”, relax, and eat three.

9:10 PM – Get to work on lab report. Notice that I never put away the folded laundry. Shrug, hear both Gram and Rowan snoring. Sigh contentedly.

The Simpsons Lego House

The front of the box

The front of the box

To most, this is going to seem like a silly, purposeless post, and it really kind of is. ¬†The only reason I’m taking the time and energy to produce this is because, upon telling a friend of the recent gift I received, she told me she needed a detailed description and pictures of¬†development. ¬†The pictures are actually kind of crappy because they were taken at night in my dark-except-for-one-light bedroom with my iPad. ¬†It will give you the general idea though.

On Sunday I was given the new Lego Simpsons house. ¬†I know, I know, what kind of gift is that for a 34 year old mother? ¬†Well, I’ll tell you what kind of gift that is: IT’S AN AWESOME ONE! ¬†It’s a limited edition set, and if I had any sort of self control and kept it in the box, it would have been worth some serious coin in the future! ¬†Thankfully for you, I don’t.

The back of the box

The back of the box

 

 

There were 7 sets of bags, with 2-4 bags per set.

There were 7 sets of bags, with 2-4 bags per set

The 2,523 ¬†pieces are divided up in numbered bags, which makes it all the more enjoyable, as this set has hundreds of unique tiny pieces, and searching for that one of a kind piece needed for a particular part in this huge set would have been nearly impossible. ¬†Okay, so not impossible, but for me it would have detracted from my enjoyment of building it! ¬†Altogether this took me around six hours to build-maybe a little more. ¬†I had a lot of help from my almost six year old son, and while that may have slowed me down a little, it was a tremendously fun family activity! ¬†(I don’t allow him to watch this show, so he had no idea who the characters are, so to him they were just a funny-looking family in a cool house. ) ¬†The instruction were so long, that they are divided into 3 thick booklets, each one chronicling a section of the house.

The included characters are: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, and Ned Flanders.  I believe other characters are going to be produced at some point, which of course I will have to own.  HAVE. TO.

The first things we built were Bart, Homer, the grill, lounge chairs, and Bart’s skateboard ramp. ¬†Rowan happily amused himself with those long enough for me to put together the Simpson family car.

Bart's skateboard ramp, complete with "El Barto" graffiti.

Bart’s skateboard ramp, complete with “El Barto” graffiti.

 

The Simpson’s car was a fun one to build, and it stays true to their car on the show with the dented front end. ¬†I wish they had somehow figured out a way to make the whole set slightly bigger so they could have included a few more details, such as Maggie’s car-seat in this case. ¬†It does have some fun features, though. ¬†There’s the moving gear shift, car stereo, and trunk that opens and closes.

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Next, we tackled the garage and it’s many intricate details. ¬†It wasn’t a technically hard piece to build-none of set is, really-but still was challenging enough to keep me engaged, and my son riveted! ¬†He worked on putting cupboard doors on, and window panes in their frames while I assembled the walls. ¬†The door goes up and down, as one would expect it to do, and this pleased my son to no end, and backed that car in and out, in and out. In the garage there is a work bench with a cute little red toolbox on it that sadly does NOT open. ¬†There are about ten different tools in the garage including a paint sprayer, wrench, hammer, screwdriver, and power drill. ¬†These all fit into a container that is attached to a cupboard, with a shelf over it holding cans of paint.

This doesn't show a lot of the tools and the broom, shovel, and rake.

This doesn’t show a lot of the tools and the broom, shovel, and rake.

 

The cool thing about this set is that the house and attached garage have roofs for that finished, polished look, but they aren’t attached (just resting on the frame, but are kept from sliding off by pieces at the edge), so you can see and play inside easily. ¬†The house also opens up on hinges, and the top floor can be easily removed (it is attached to prevent slippage, but only by a few pieces).

 

 

Without the roof on....there is a door leading from the garage into the house that you can't see in this photo.

Without the roof on….there is a door leading from the garage into the house that you can’t see in this photo.

 

Completed garage with roof

Completed garage with roof

 

Next up was the bottom floor, front of the house, with the two bay windows and front door.  A cute little detail they added in was a mailbox with a couple of letters sticking out of it and functioning flag.  What amazed me about this set was how many details they managed to cram into the space allotted.  Like I said earlier, I wish they could have made it a little bigger overall, but I suppose the smaller size kept costs down.  It also makes it a little more manageable for moving around and storing on a shelf.  (I knew that I would be moving in from room to room as my son played with it, and for making our coffee table and desk more usable, so I built it on a large wooden cutting board.)

 

Front of the house, without garage attached yet

Front of the house, without garage attached yet

 

I loved building the furniture in the house and was constantly in awe of how they used so many pieces that I have seen time and time again and would have NEVER thought to use in that manner.   The rooms on the two floors are built in halves, because the house opens up on hinges.  They look so of awkward while the house is open, but if you look down on the rooms when the house is closed, it appears normal and cozy.

One half of the living room with the piano, and one bay window.  The door in this room leads out to the front yard.

One half of the living room with the piano, and one bay window. The door in this room leads out to the front yard.

 

This is one half of the kitchen, which connects to the living room.  You can see the other bay window and the front door.  There are many kitchen accessories such as cutlery, bowls, plates, and pots and pans that are not shown here.  The drawers and cabinets all open.

This is one half of the kitchen, which connects to the living room. You can see the other bay window and the front door. There are many kitchen accessories such as cutlery, bowls, plates, and pots and pans that are not shown here. The drawers and cabinets all open.

 

Half of the bottom floor of the house

Half of the bottom floor of the house

 

The next section was the second half of the living room that holds the couch, iconic painting of the sailboat above the couch, the television, and the stairs that actually lead to the second floor. ¬†The T.V. is playing “Itchy and Scratchy”, of course.

The item next to the staircase is a vacuum cleaner.

The item next to the staircase is a vacuum cleaner.

 

The second half of the kitchen with stove, sink, table and chairs, and the door that leads to the backyard.

The second half of the kitchen with stove, sink, table and chairs, and the door that leads to the backyard.

 

Here is the entirety of the second half of the bottom floor:

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We set the bottom floor aside, and started to assemble the upstairs separately. ¬†Interestingly, they have you start from the center and work your way out. ¬†The first room was the bathroom, which was super fun! ¬†My five year old got a kick out of building the toilet. ūüôā ¬†The bathroom includes said toilet, sink, toilet paper(again with the being amazed at the details: the paper is just one of the small car doors turned sideways. ¬†Those of you who are Lego builders from way back will know what I’m talking about!), and shower stall. ¬†There is also a door that leads to the hallway.

Closeup of the bathroom without the shower stall door

Closeup of the bathroom without the shower stall door

 

Completed bathroom without the house roof on.

Completed bathroom without the house roof on.

 

Next up was Marge and Homer’s room on one side of the bathroom. ¬†In the effort to save valuable space, Maggie’s crib is in their room, too.

The pink item on Marge's side of the bed is a basket of some sort.

The pink item on Marge’s side of the bed is a basket of some sort.

 

Homer and Marge's room with Maggie's crib, windows, and door leading into the hall

Homer and Marge’s room with Maggie’s crib, windows, and door leading into the hall

Lisa’s room is on the other side of the bathroom, and is divided in two, with her bed, bookshelf, and Jazz poster on one side, and camera and desk with mirror over it on the other side.

One half of Lisa's room

One half of Lisa’s room

 

Lisa's bookshelf with magnifying glass, books, a jar

Lisa’s bookshelf with magnifying glass, books, a jar

 

The second half of Lisa's room with desk and camera and backpack

The second half of Lisa’s room with desk and camera and backpack

 

The last room in the house was Bart’s bedroom, which is the only room in the house, besides the small bathroom, which is not divided in two where the house opens. ¬†A whole lot is crammed into a little room, but it works!

Bart's desk with bulletin board over it, chair, and bookshelf with books, red cap, and radio...His Krusty the Clown poster is on the wall

Bart’s desk with bulletin board over it, Radioactive Man comic book on the desk, chair, and bookshelf with books, red cap, and radio…His Krusty the Clown poster is on the wall

 

Bart's entire room, with lamp on bedside table

Bart’s entire room, with lamp on bedside table

 

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After completing the upstairs, the only things left to do were to build the roof, and attach the two floors and the garage.

Aerial view of the completed house, closed

Aerial view of the completed house, closed

 

Open on its hinges

Open on its hinges

 

One half of cross section

One half of cross section

 

Second half of cross section

Second half of cross section

 

Aerial view of house with roof on...the little while box sticking out of the side right above the garage roof is an air conditioner, with "property of Ned Flanders" on the side, naturally.

Aerial view of house with roof on…the little while box sticking out of the side right above the garage roof is an air conditioner, with “property of Ned Flanders” on the side, naturally.

 

This is the back yard with lounge chairs, and grill (also with "property of Ned Flanders" on it)

This is the back yard with lounge chairs, and grill (also with “property of Ned Flanders” on it)

 

…And the¬†pi√®ce de r√©sistance:

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Mike, this was the COOLEST surprise ever! ¬†Thanks for knowing me so well. ūüėČ

On Why I let my Son Play with Toy Guns

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I understand that this is an extremely touchy subject, and people usually take the extreme side for or against guns. I believe strongly that there is a responsible middle ground, and I ask that whatever your feelings are about this topic, that you express them kindly, without attacking anyone else. It’s okay if you disagree with me, and I certainly respect families who choose not to allow toy guns in their homes.

As a new parent, and maybe even before my son was born, I resolved to never let him play with toy guns. I kept that promise to myself, too! Well, for the first four years of his life anyway. ¬†I couldn’t understand why any parent would allow their kids to play with toy guns! ¬†I was appalled even! ¬†I was wrong to think that way. I normally consider myself to be a fairly open-minded and tolerant parent, but sometimes things like this smack me upside the head and knock me down a peg or two. I have *so* much to learn. SO MUCH! There are many times when I think I know what’s up, but I don’t. I was a victim of this particular popular idea in the United States: Toy guns turn kids into murderers.

What I didn’t realize before was how predispositioned little boys are to play with guns. They’re just hardwired that way. All one has to do is observe the little guys around them to see that. It’s probably a combination of genetics and environment, and I’m convinced boys are programmed to have a need to provide and protect. It’s in their genes. Even with this knowledge, it’s hard to simply accept that they’re that way. It’s impossible to look at all the school shootings, all the murders, and all the accidental deaths caused by children finding improperly stored handguns, and not wonder if toy guns in childhood are at least partially to blame. Violence is EVERYWHERE. Kids are bombarded with it from every source: school, neighbors, television, video games, siblings, and even music. Guarding your child’s heart and mind from as many of these is probably your best bet in helping to not normalize that type of violence. It’s the reason I homeschool, the reason I don’t allow video games without VERY close supervision, and only an hour a week. It’s the reason we don’t listen to the radio, or watch any TV shows that I haven’t seen first. It’s the reason I say no to playdates with families we don’t have a close relationship with, and it’s the reason I choose to be involved with every aspect of my five year old’s life. Call it hovering, call it helicopter parenting, call it whatever you’d like, I am charged with keeping my son’s heart and mind as pure and gentle as I possibly can, and I take that call seriously.

Of course, as many parents know, if a toy gun is not as their disposal, kids will turn ANYTHING and EVERYTHING into a gun. Any old stick will be picked up and pointed at a tree, given a “BANG BANG” sound effect, and the tree will be declared dead. Legos will be fashioned into a rifle, pistols will be cut out of construction paper, and every item that looks remotely like a gun will be used as such. My son was not immune to this phenomenon. I tried to shelter him from the whole gun thing, but we live in an area where hunting is prevalent, and guns are pretty commonplace. I HATED that about this place when we moved here a few years ago. I still don’t particularly like it, but I think I understand it more. People here still hunt for food. Without the deer they get every year, some of their freezers would be empty, and their families would go hungry. Guns are sometimes still used for violence here, as they are everywhere, but it’s rare. Kids are taught from a very early age how to handle a gun safely, and responsibly. There isn’t as much curiosity surrounding them, because they know what they are, and how they work. That makes total sense to me, as the more I tried to steer my son away from guns, the more he became obsessed with them.

Four year old Rowan, and the holster that started it all.

Four year old Rowan, and the holster that started it all.

It all started with a holster. My mom found an old holster at an antique shop, and bought it for my then four year old son. She knew my anti-weapon stance, but still pushed me to let him have one. While I wish she had respected my desire to keep guns out of my home, I understand now where she was coming from. She and my dad were both children of the 1950’s, where shows like “The Lone Ranger” and toy soldiers, and cowboy costumes all featured gun-toting heros, and gun violence outside of war was at a minimum. ¬† Parents taught their kids respect and self-control, and it wasn’t an issue. ¬†It wasn’t until the 1990’s that panic over toy guns arose with the mass school shootings. People began to fear that toy guns were desensitizing kids, and that shooting people was OK. I too, believed that myth. Yet, research has proven that most little boys(I know little girls like to play with guns too, but for the sake of this post, and due to the fact that I only have a boy, I’ll stick to what I’ve researched: boys and guns.) who play with guns as children do NOT grow up to commit violent crimes.

My theory is this: Little boys do not feel powerful, because they are, well, little. With a toy gun they feel heroic and powerful. It’s about winning and losing, fighting the monsters, the good guy vs. the bad guy, and rescuing the victim. Sometimes there is aggression, yes, and with close supervision, this can and should be stopped. When my son plays with guys, we have a rule: No shooting at real people or real animals, even if it’s a gun that doesn’t actually have a projectile (unless it’s a Nerf war, and everyone around is a willing participant. I don’t think I’ve ever seen over-aggression during our Nerf battles. He’s usually in a giggle-fit on the floor, laughing too hard to show any aggression). He can shoot at trees, imaginary bad guys, or up in the air. Every couple of days we have a discussion that goes something like this:

Mom: When is the ONLY time you can shoot a real person with a real gun?
Rowan: When they are trying to hurt someone else.
Mom: Right. Do you ever play with a real gun?
Rowan: No. If I ever find a real gun, don’t touch it, and tell someone it’s there.
Mom: Very good. Are real guns toys?
Rowan: Nope. They can hurt people if you play with them.
Mom: Right. Very good.

Rowan's Arsenal

Rowan’s Arsenal

When young boys play with toy guns, I think it’s more about imagination and fantasy, not necessarily about death and killing. I think that if playing with guns is all little boys want to do, then taking away the guns, and talking about why all they want to do is play with guns, would be a good idea. As with most things, moderation is the key. If I notice my son getting too intense in his gun play, I encourage target practice, instead of the imaginative play. If I can refocus his mind, he calms down, and enjoys trying to knock over some stacked paper cups, or hitting a bullseye. I try to steer him away from realistic looking assault weapons, and stick to the Nerf guns, or laser-type guns. I’ve found that he prefers those anyway, because of the cool sound effects, and he tends to lean more towards imaginative play, such as hunting monsters or aliens, and not trying to shoot a bad guy. He does have one rifle-type gun, but I’ve never seen him use it for any play other than hunting animals for food.

I truly believe that if he learns now that guns are not for hurting or killing people, that he will have a much healthier view of guns as an adult. He’s beginning to grasp that guns are very powerful things, and that he needs to respect them, because they could hurt him, or someone else. It’s a wonderful way to teach self-control, and that your behavior and actions have consequences.

Toy guns are not the problem. Being exposed to violence on TV, in video games, in music, in the community, and even in the home is the issue. If little boys grow up seeing people being killed by guns, of course they’re going to think it’s OK to do that! My uncles were both in Vietnam, and one of my uncles just retired from a long career in the police force. Both of them have used guns, and both of them have taught my son how to treat every weapon as if it were loaded, even toys! They’ve showed him how to hold a gun so it doesn’t accidentally shoot him, or someone else. They’ve explained how weapons should be used to defend, not aggressively hurt someone else in anger. My son is growing up with a respect and knowledge of weapons, and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t think he’ll grow up to be a mass murderer, because I’m helping him remove aggression, anger, and violence from weapon use. He will see a gun as a tool to hunt and provide. He will see a gun as way to defend himself and his family.

We don’t own any real guns, and I hope we never live in a place where we need to. I feel that no matter how fiercely I shelter my son, he will be exposed to weapons at some point in his life. If I don’t educate him, he will be thrust into a situation that he won’t know how to handle, with potentially deadly results. Of course I’d rather have my son read a book, or climb a tree than play with guns, but shaming young children for the imaginary play that they are naturally drawn to isn’t going to fix the country’s gun problem. Their play is valuable. It goes beyond mere gun play, into long, drawn out scenarios that teach them how to read social cues, self-control, nobility, helps them figure out their place in a group, and how to adjust their behavior in social settings. Children don’t see guns through the same lense as adults do. To children gun play is just that-play. Boys are boisterous players, they need the time and the space to explore their boundaries. Of course they will cross the line sometimes, but if the adult in charge closely monitors that play, it’s an amazing teachable moment. Acknowledging how and what boys want to play helps engage them, and makes them receptive to your teaching. In the safety of your own home, with your rules, little boys can explore the world of weapons. With a lot of parents I’ve talked to, and in many articles I’ve read, most little guys who are given the opportunity to freely explore their interests in guns, grow out of them by their pre-teen years. Those who didn’t grow out of them, developed a more mature hobby, such as hunting or target shooting. None of them grew up to kill anyone, or handled a gun unsafely. Studies show that boys who are not permitted to act out their imaginative play with toy guns, or shown how to handle a real one were much more likely to show a curiosity for playing with guns found at a friend’s house, to be involved with an accidental shooting, or to commit a crime using a gun.

Based on my research, and my own experiences, the odds are in favor of allowing kids to play with toy guns. That is why I will continue to allow my son to use them, under my careful watch. I won’t promote gun play, or even encourage it, but I won’t ban it. I certainly won’t ignore it. ¬†We will play together, and openly discuss the subject of guns. ¬†It’s a natural phase for children to go through, and if my son wants to play a game where he needs a gun to protect his cousin from the monster trying to eat them, I will smile, remind him not to point the gun at real people, and feel proud that my little boy is growing up to be a hero.

“One day….”

A few days ago me and my little boy (who is becoming a man right before my eyes) had one of those days where you collapse into bed physically exhausted, but so mentally stimulated it’s impossible to let the day go and sleep. ¬†We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, or spectacular. ¬†In fact, it was rather normal, really. ¬†At 8:30 that night I allowed my son to crawl into my big bed, where he curled his lanky body around mine, and started talking about every single thing. ¬†I let him go on like that for forty-five minutes. ¬†Forty-five minutes of precious time I could have used for sleep. ¬†Or homework. Or folding laundry. ¬†Forty-five minutes of precious time he could have had for an extra chapter of “The Secret Garden”, or an extra episode of “How it’s Made.” ¬†I asked him to tell me the story of his day, and it went something like this:

(I’m grateful for my obsession with documenting his life. ¬†It may drive people batty at times, but I don’t regret it…not for one second.)

(This is all dictated by Rowan, so don’t get after me for bad grammar!!)

“Once upon a time, there was a boy who didn’t want to do school, but he had to do it anyway, because Mommy said so. ¬†She says Rowan has to have a good attitude. (He’s usually pretty good about school, but lately he has perfected the exasperated sigh, and the annoyed eye roll. ¬†Heck no, boy. ¬†You don’t get to use those moves on me until you’re at least 10! ¬†We’re working on a little character training, so hopefully I can help him think of less rude way to deal with his displeasure. ¬†When he DOES have a peaceful heart, he can churn out papers like these:)

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After Rowan is done with school, he likes to play cowboy. ¬†The holster rubs on my hips, so I wear it without pants. ¬†Cowboys could run so much faster without pants on. ¬†Why didn’t they think of that?

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Then Mom says that we’re going to the doctor’s, so I have to wear clothes. ¬†She said if I went to the doctor’s naked, my buns would get chilly. ¬†So Rowan got dressed.

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Mom said Rowan could wear his cowboy gear when we went out, but he thought people might be scared that the cowboy would yell, “YEE-HAW!!!” really loudly, and I don’t think they all would bring headphones to block it out. ¬†Rowan thought he should leave his cowboy stuff at home, so he did.

Then they went to the doctors.  Rowan wore his doctor shirt so he could fool people.  They all thought he was a doctor and let him play with their equipment.  He also took all the candy and suckers they give to the good kids.  Doctors are allowed to do that, you know.

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So the doctors didn’t take as long as Mommy thought they would so she said we had time to go through the car wash. ¬†Did you know the car wash is really a secret cave filled with pink and yellow jewels? ¬†It really is!

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Okay, after the mom and the boy get their car clean, they go have lunch with Rowan’s best friend. ¬†His name is Avery, and he’s a little baby. ¬†I can hold his hand while he walks, and I can make him laugh really hard. ¬†I really love him.

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Then Avery and Rowan got in the car together and drove to the park.  Avery had never been to a park before, so Rowan had to teach him all about slides and swings.

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Avery got soooo tired from all his laughing, so he had to go home and take a nap. ¬†I was upset that he had to go home, but Mommy told me that we could play together again soon. ¬†I wasn’t so sad after I heard that.

Me and mommy went to do some Christmas shopping, and we had a snack. ¬†Then we went for a bike ride with my other best friend, Beth. ¬†Mommy and Beth can be friends too. ¬†We had to wait for Beth to come to the trail, so while we waited, Rowan showed his Mommy the trail map. ¬†She’s bad with directions (I really, really am), but I’m not.

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Beth finally came to the trail, and I rode on the bumpy trail for like, TEN MILES! (okay, it was probably a little over one, but for being such a sandy and rocky trail, I’m sure it felt like 10 miles to him.)

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At the very end the little boy got tired of pedaling, so his friend helped him push his bike to the car.

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The mom and the boy went home after that and ate a huge dinner.  The mom was exhausted, but the boy wanted to play some more!

The End.”

Woman’s Best Friend

There are certain things I get¬†really¬†passionate about. ¬†Child abuse is one of them. ¬†Adoption is another. ¬†Circumcision¬†is a HUGE one. Organic food and recycling are a couple more, but the one I’m going to rant about here is: Pets. Particularly DOGS.

If you know me at all, even a little bit, you know I’m a lover of dogs. ¬†Before I moved here I had two dogs (a Shepherd/Weimaraner mix and a Great Dane/Lab mix), that I sadly had to leave behind. ¬†They are in the best possible hands, so I’ve never worried about them, but there are times I miss them like crazy. ¬†

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This is Kaiden the day after my son was born. He always liked to be as close as possible to the newest member of his pack.

 

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My sweet Kaia and I. We like to snuggle in front of the heater on cold California mornings.

 

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Rowan used to like to (gently) play with Kaiden’s tail. He would laugh and laugh when Kaiden wagged his tail and it tickled his tummy. That dog was so stinking patient too.

When I live in a place with lots of space for a dog to safely run around and can either buy a house or have a landlord that is okay with dogs, you can bet I’ll have another one (or two)! ¬†We’ve got two cats, and two hamsters, but it’s just not the same. Hamsters are really bad at fetch. ¬†Don’t even get me started on the loyalty of a cat!

21 Reasons A Dog is the Best Investment you will Ever Make!

20 Reasons A Dog is Man’s Best Friend.

Do yourself a favor, click on those links. ¬†You won’t regret it.

So, I could go on all day about dogs, but I won’t. ¬†I’m going to leave you with one last image:

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It’s sad that this just isn’t common sense. ¬†Dogs are social creatures, they want to be a part of the family. ¬†They want love and attention and gentle physical contact. ¬†They want to cuddle and play fetch and tug-of-war. ¬†They want you to be part of their pack. ¬†They don’t want to be chained up out in the cold or in the muggy heat. ¬†I said this over on Facebook, and I’ll say it again here: getting a dog to keep it tied up outside¬†all the time¬†is wrong. ¬†You are not a good pet owner if you do this. ¬†In fact, I consider it cruelty to animals. ¬†You’re darn right I’m judging you for it too. ¬†(Don’t get me wrong, putting your dog outside while you’re gone for a few hours, or at work is one thing. As long as they have food and water, and shelter from the elements-that’s normal. Chaining them to something 24/7, 365 days a year is another thing. ¬†When you’re home, and when it’s cold or blisteringly hot, let them in.)

Dogs want to be your companion and your best friend.  Let them.