Thursday, September 27, 2012

We Rode in a Combine!!!

You can't live in the midwest and not have words like: Combine, harvest, bail, tractor, elevator, and big-rig creep into your vocabulary during the autumn months.  The farmers are out in full force these past few weeks/ days and C & I have spotted many a tractor on our little commute to and from daycare.  We talk about corn and beans and tractors and combines.  And with my very limited farm knowledge (despite living in Iowa my entire life), I try to explain the harvest process to him.  It became clear to me that I had miscommunicated something when he pointed to a (combine-less) bean field and said, "There some combines!"  When I tried to explain that a combine is a type of tractor, the idea was totally lost on him.

But the other night, we had the opportunity to go for a real life combine ride!  I can't even remember the last time I rode in a combine-- maybe when I was ten?  C was super excited and the ride definitely met his expectations.

5 things I learned during my combine ride:
* The combine we rode in cost about $250,000
* Although there is a steering wheel in the combine, it drives itself with the use of a little joystick that has GPS navigating the field.  Every little stream and hill is on that gps.
* The width of the combine head is 40 feet across!
(and did you know a semi truck trailer is usually 53'?)
* The beans are cut and funneled through the center of the combine and up into a bin (called a hopper) behind the cab.  (We saw grasshoppers mixed in with the beans!)
* The grain bin (hopper) holds 400 bushels of beans and when the bin is 3/4 full, it beeps.  (Then another tractor with a wagon comes to empty it--while this one is still combining.  Very efficient!)

And an extra little tidbit:
* Toddlers don't like all the "bean dust" that flies around when getting in/ out of the combine.
("It hurt mine eyes.")

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Can You Feel the Love?

There they are, my little cherubs and their teachers, last fall.  We all lined up on the hill for one big school photo (Thank you Katie!!) while they all had their "Character Counts" colors on.

I know the names of every single person in this picture.  I'm fairly confident that I could tell you something personal about each person too (although I might struggle with the kindergartners because I haven't known them as long).

Doesn't everyone look happy?  Aren't they all cute?  Isn't the sky blue?  Everything is perfect.

But really, everything is not.  Some of them have deployed parents.  Some have ill family members.  Some are grieving the loss of a pet.  Some are in a fight with their best friend.  Some are grounded.  Some just found out their parents are getting divorced.  Some cannot focus.  Some cannot read.  Some just sent their older siblings off to college.  Some have nobody at home until way after supper.  Some are happy, and some are sad.

I remember writing a post last spring-- when I was so frustrated at school and really feeling like I was at a low point at work.  Sometimes, when you work with kids for years on certain things without seeing much progress, it leaves you feeling like you haven't done a single thing to help.  And being a "helping professional", this is hard to swallow.  I kept thinking, "Those poor tax payers (myself included) are not getting their money's worth by paying my salary."

But then, I'm tossed a few little gems.  Like today, when I sat with a student who didn't handle his anger very well, and discussed possible alternative behavior in the future.  (Yes, we've had this discussion before and we probably will again.) And though he knew he and the principal would soon figure out a consequence, he smiled at me when I told him I was excited to see him in Guidance class-- that I always look forward to seeing his face when I head to his classroom--because his smile is contagious.  I asked him for a high five-- he slapped my hand-- and then  (here's the gem), he held on to my hand and gave it a little squeeze.   My heart ooozed a little as he left my room.

Or another little guy who sometimes could be classified as "difficult to love" has twice made a point to say, "Good Morning Mrs. Spahn" when I greet him in the hallway.  THIS is huge.  Another heart ooze.

Or my little gal, who has been going through some separation anxiety lately, but had no tears this morning.  When she saw me at recess, she ran up to me, threw her arms around me and said, "I didn't even cry this morning!!" (yay!!)

Mornings like today remind me why I chose this profession.
(And not to be picky, but I just wish I had way more of these days to look forward to.)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Those Alligators

A couple weeks ago, C woke up fairly early (before I was dressed=early in my book) and was pretty upset.  I snuggled up to him in his "big boy bed" (toddler mattress on the floor) and asked him what was wrong.  Here's our conversation:

C: There was an alligator in here.

Me: An alligator?  In your room?

C: Uh-huh.  He coming close to me.  He open his mouth.  He try to get me inside and eat me up all gone.

Me: Oh no, I wouldn't want an alligator in my room.  Was it scary?

C: Uh-huh.  I scared.  I not like alligators.

I then proceeded to use my counseling skills as a mom!  (yay!)  We talked about how our brain makes up stories when we're sleeping and we call them dreams.  Sometimes they are kind of real-- like they have mommy or daddy in them and sometimes they are pretend-- like they have alligators.  And even though alligators are real animals, they don't come in people's houses because they live in swamps.  (And then we had an ecology lesson about what a swamp is because C's curiosity could not let that question go unanswered.) I silently sent out a "thank you" to the universe for not being planted in Florida-- where alligators might actually end up in backyards.

So where did this come from?  I'm pretty sure C's inspiration for this dream came from this book:

In my defense, it looked like a cute book with a do-able amount of words on each page.  I didn't think much of it when I grabbed it at the library.  But as C & I read it a few nights ago, I found myself thinking "oh $hit.  this alligator is chasing the children around the house.  perhaps not so appropriate".  And I tried to sugar-coat the book a bit but when C looked up at me and said, "But it just pretend, right?" I knew that maybe it was a bit scary.  However, I also feel like we can't shelter C from all scary things in this life--- even fictional alligator books-- so I continued reading the book.  And C ended up reading that book quite a bit last week--- always with the statement "It just a pretend alligator".  So note to self: Start previewing books you idiot!  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Now Where Did I Put my Summer?

While many people mark Labor Day as the official "end of summer",  I always associate "end of summer" with the Clay County Fair.  Most county fairs occur during the dog days of summer but Clay county (my hometown) always hosts its fair in the middle of September.  It actually comes after the state fair, which is pretty unusual.

Anyway, the CCF wound down this past weekend and now I can reflect a bit about our summer.

This summer I continued to take C to daycare in the mornings for a few hours.  I struggled with this decision for the majority of the summer.  I felt guilty about taking him to someone else when I was going to be home.  I felt guilty pulling weeds, exercising, painting, cleaning, re-organizing, etc. because it was time I could be with my kid and was choosing not to.  Sooooo many people have told me to enjoy every second of tiny toddler time because it's gone so quickly.  Soooo many people have told me, "Long days, Short years!  Enjoy them!"  Sooooo many people have told me that once he can ride a bike, he'll never want to be around and I'll miss him.  But few people have ever said "Take some time to really clean your house.  Take some time to work in your yard.  Take some time to actually get back in shape."  And really, those things help me feel like "ME".  [And I know a LOT of mothers (and fathers) who "love having their kids around" but really don't spend much time with them-- as the parents are busy getting things accomplished while their children entertain themselves elsewhere in the house.]  But honestly, being away for C for a few hours each day made the minutes I spent with him that much sweeter in the afternoon.
So what did we do? Well.....

June: Cousin's B-day party, 3 days in St. Louis area, Maddy got stitches, I went to a counselor conference in Mnpls for 3 days, Maddy got a cone on her head, I completed a sprint triathlon, C & I were in a parade.

July: M went to our cottage for a guy's fishing trip, C & I went to DM for a weekend & Icubs game, C & I met Sister & cousin in Ia City for a weekend, the 3 of us hung out at a friends' lake & C had his first boat ride, the 3 of us went to an art festival, C & I went to W'loo Children's museum, C & I went to Spencer & Arnold's Park, C & I were in a parade.

August: Mom & Dad visited, went to a W'loo baseball game, the three of us went to our cottage in Wisc, and school started.

Sept: M & I went up to Mnpls, C went to Spencer, C was in another (final) parade, C & I started Kindermusik, the 3 of us went to a baby b-day party, I completed another sprint tri, the 3 of us headed up to Spencer for a family photo and some CCF time!  This week I'm scrapbooking with friends on Friday night, we have Kindergym on Saturday, I have my High School Speech Association Judge renewal class next Wednesday, and the family ISU tailgate is on the 29th.

And randomly throughout the summer we: had picnics, went to the pool, went on walks, played on the swing set, made cookies, made pancakes, ate ice cream cones, rode a balance bike, rode a tricycle, went for bike rides, played basketball, played baseball, ran on the tennis courts, slid down slides, went barefoot (a lot!), read tons of books, painted rocks, painted toe nails, did crafts, visited 3 different libraries, went out to eat, and took naps.  Lots of naps.

So even though C spent time with his friends almost every morning this summer, we have definitely had plenty of time to capture memories together and finally, I'm getting over the guilt.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Battle of the Bathtub: Part 2

Although I'd like to say that my little sticker chart worked wonders and my little cherub has been a gem at every bath since the beginning of the chart..... I can't.  His affection for the chart wanes like my affection for running.  (And lately, I'm not feeling the running love like my kid isn't feeling the bath love)

And while this little bathtime temper tantrum thing really annoys me to no end, I'm trying to handle it without breaking a sweat.  I'm trying to act like C's shrill screaming isn't bothering me in the least and that afterall, I am the one in charge.  (I've been reading this book-- I'll try to write more about it later because I have found a few gems in it that might be helpful for my one friend who reads this blog)

Our school is currently using "Love & Logic" for our professional development and I think that the majority of us are really enjoying it.  It's a little different verbage than what we're used to, and a little different way of thinking for most of us, but I think we're starting to get the hang of it.  So, when I found this book, I thought it would serve a double purpose-- help me get better with Love & Logic at school, and maybe find a gem or two to use at home.  (I promise I'll post my review on here eventually)

Anyway, one of the suggestions in the book was to encourage a tantrum.  (Explain to your child that they can probably do it louder and more dramatically than they are currently doing.  Maybe even suggest they practice in the kitchen before to get better at performing for you.)  Initially, I wasn't keen on this idea (one of the few I didn't really agree with in the book).  I thought it sounded a bit sarcastic (and I'm trying sooooo hard to be less sarcastic at work/ home!!--seriously, for real!) and I knew that my kid would never buy into reverse psychology.  

Enter bath time tonight.  I had just eaten a Dove Chocolate.  C was interested.  (Wouldn't you be?)  Our conversation: 

C: What this? 
Me: It's a wrapper. 
C: What was in it?
Me.  Oh, just some really delicious chocolate.  You probably wouldn't like it.  
C: I would like it!
Me:  Well, I'm kind of sad.  Because only big boys and mommies can have it.  And people who don't cry in the bathtub.  
C: Oh.  

And that was that.  It was like he was thinking: "Well, I'm gonna scream in the tub so whatever.  Chocolate/ Schmocolate." 

But read on about what actually happened! 

I told C that I was going to run the bath water at 7:45 (which I did).  Then, I came out and told him: 

Me: Well Charlie, it's time to start crying!  Tonight I want you to scream louder than you ever have before. I want to see if you can cry super hard and then when I wash your hair, I want to see if you can cry louder than any other babies in the whole world.  

And..... he giggled.  

C:  I not a baby!!  I a big boy! 

Me:  Well, you're a big boy all day, but when you take a bath you cry and so I want you to cry super loud like a big baby.  

C: (more giggling)  No!  I a big boy!  I not cry!  

Me:  Well, if you don't cry, then I'll have to give you that really yummy candy.  And I don't think you will like that! 

C:  (laughing now) I DO like yummy candy!  I a BIG HUGE boy!  

By this point, he was in the tub and I had him halfway washed.  The bath proceeded to go well right up until the time the last drop of water had drained.  I am by no means stating that we have won this battle, but I do think that we chalked one up on the Mom/ Dad side of the score board tonight and I would be lying if I said that I didn't feel a tiny bit victorious.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Buried Treasures

This is not exactly what I wanted to post as the first "show & tell" photo of my new craft room ...But at least it is being used!  (I will post a pic when/if it ever gets tidied up.  In the meantime, I'll just keep crafting away!)

So what exactly is going on here?  Basically, I'm trying to organize some photos that have been in random albums, binders, folders, and rubbermaid containers for the past....a'hem.... few  years.  And while I thought I could tackle this project in an afternoon, it has turned into quite the drawn out process.  I couldn't understand why it was taking me so long-- most of the photos I had were from high school through today. I don't even have very many childhood photos.  And then it dawned on me:  I have TWENTY YEARS worth of photos in these piles.  I was a freshman in High School TWENTY YEARS ago.  Whaaaaat?!  People talk about how quickly babies grow up, well, how did I grow up so quickly?  And am I really grown up?

But instead of debating that on the internet, I thought I'd share a few of the treasures I've uncovered.  (Sorry, can't share many college photos because I vowed to my friends that I would keep them OFF the internet--as we all want to keep our families and jobs in tact.)

But here are a two of my favorites that happen to include my grandfathers:

I don't have many photos of me with my Grandpa Arv, who died when I was only 14, so I treasure the ones I do have. I also love knowing I was about C's age when this photo was taken.

Oooh, I just LOVE this picture.  After spending so much of my childhood in that house, I can practically feel that couch and smell the Patchouli in the room.

So what started out as a tiny project to just organize my photos turned out to uncover some little gems.  Maybe I should get organized more often. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nice Tri

Remember how that friend of mine talked me into doing a sprint triathlon back in June?  And even though I thought I was going to die, I ended up having a blast!  So shortly after completing that triathlon, I signed up for another triathlon to be held on September 9th.

I had good intentions of really training for this event but am a little embarrassed to admit that I probably didn't train as much as I should have.  I did several bike rides and swam quite a bit (even practiced in the open water which helped a bunch!) but I never ran.  (bad move) I knew the adrenaline would carry me a little bit. 

So yesterday was my big day.  Since the race didn't start until 10:00, we had time to head down that morning.  M & C ended up coming with me, but asking a two year old to hang out in one spot for an undeterminable amount of time was a little too much.  So, while they saw me at the start and at the first transition, they didn't see me until after the finish. :(  I felt terrible!  But M swears that they had fun and enjoyed the gorgeous day.   

M was right, the weather was gorgeous-- one of those crystal clear blue sky days without a trace of clouds.  (When I worked at camp, we called those types of days "Top Ten Days" because there can't be more than ten of them a year)  But at 56 degrees, fall was definitely in the air and the water looked.... chilly  freezing! 

Setting up at transition

C was excited to "beep my horn!" ---all his idea. 
I'm so thankful I brought my wetsuit-- which I had never swam in before.  I went back & forth about wearing it, but finally decided I might as well give it a try!  And holy frijoles, I'm so glad I had it on because that-water-was-COLD.  When we began swimming, it took a moment for me to catch my breath and find my rhythm.  Not to mention that wearing a wetsuit makes you much more buoyant and I felt like I just bobbed along.  (It was kind of awesome actually) Of course, I happened to have a stupid goggle problem and ended up breast stroking the entire thing (dammit!) but whatever.  I still swam pretty quick and am really happy with it.  

Nothing says sexy like a skin tight wet suit!
Better check those goggles again girl!

I'm even happier that I was able to get my wetsuit off!  (That was actually my only reason for hesitating to wear it in the first place) The bike ride was described as "flat with rolling hills" which actually, was pretty accurate.  One of the things I love most about the bike ride is taking a look at the Iowa landscape through a much slower and closer lens than your car.  It suddenly turns from boring into actually beautiful.  I also love the atmosphere on the bike ride-- I rode with one girl for awhile and then leap-frogged around an older gentleman for awhile.  (They mark your age on your left calf so you can tell how old someone is when you're riding/ running behind them.  I like this!) This man with a big black "73" on his left calf cruised right past me on a hill.  We started joking around when I passed him going down the hill-- and he again passed me going back up another one.  I'm telling ya, you will meet great people doing this sort of thing!  

I finished the 15.5 mile bike ride in about 57 minutes and hit the street for the run.  I was sad to miss M & C, especially since I saw the stroller with their stuff and knew they were really close!  (In the bathroom-- dang potty training!) But they booked it over to the finish when they heard my name being announced.  

LOVE them

Although they didn't get to see me cross the finish line, knowing they were there made me so happy.  It's one thing to come cheer one someone at a race like this, it's a completely different challenge to bring a toddler with you!  And while I know C wasn't too thrilled with the whole experience, I hope he gets to witness more events like this in the future-- and maybe peak his interest in doing it someday.  Perhaps a little kid triathlon is in Spahnville's future?   

Can you read C's body language?
Like, "Who are you? Crazy stinky sweaty lady?" 

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Got You Babe

On September 1st, 2007, I said "I Do" to the man of my dreams.  :)  Here's a glimpse of that day:

Dad walked me "down the aisle" in Paradise
3 amazing ladies-- all pre-kids.  Now, each of these ladies is a mama!

One of my favorite wedding photos-- I really don't think I've ever been so happy as I was on that day!

Can't you just feel the energy!?  Our guests were awesome-- we are so fortunate!  

It's crazy to think that we've been married for five years.  In some ways it's crazy because it feels like we were married yesterday and in many more ways it feels like we've been together our entire lives.  (Kind of like having a kid, right?) 

And although we have celebrated our anniversary before, we've never gone away to celebrate.  So this year, we accepted my parent's offer to babysit and we headed up to the cities.  Although I don't get up there much anymore, I used to be pretty familiar with the area-- as it was the closest shopping area when we were growing up.  I was excited to do a little shopping (or a lot of shopping as it turns out) and M was excited to do a little relaxing.  He's not really a shopper-- at all, so the experience can be frustrating for both of us.  Fortunately, we both were okay with a little alone time on our anniversary trip.  This meant I got to hang out at IKEA for a couple hours and M got to watch football on a couch without a two year old begging him to play. 

After I returned from my IKEA shopping spree, we got dolled up (well, not really but wearing lipstick these days feels pretty 'dolled up') and headed downtown and ate at a great seafood restaurant on Nicolette Ave. 
Isn't he the CUTEST?!

After our dinner, we had a few totties and then headed back to our hotel.  Remember, at our ages we turn into pumpkins around 10:00 so being out on the town until close to 11:00 almost did us in!

The next morning, we headed over to the Mall of America for some browsing.  
Here's the real reason I wanted to go to MOA.   Cinnabon!
M was a gem --eagerly agreeing to belly up to a bar and watch golf for a couple hours while I shopped.  I met him for a quick lunch and then gave myself another 45 minutes before hitting the road.  When we finally drove out of the parking lot, it was close to 3:00 but we had both enjoyed the day.  It was strange being in our house without our little one but we managed to relax on the couch and watch more tv in one night than we've watched in the past two years.  The next morning, we went for a long bike ride before trying to do something semi-productive.  (Like adding up the receipt totals and vowing to not spend a dime for the next two months.) 

When we picked up C later that afternoon, he threw a fairly mild tantrum over leaving his grandparents and we knew our little vacation was over.  While a screaming child is hardly a friendly homecoming, it was a welcome one as I missed our little guy when we were away for those two days.

Before having C, I really didn't understand how couples could forget to take time for themselves.  Afterall, how hard could it be to get a babysitter and go out for some drinks?  But like so many other things, it was a lesson I had to learn by going through it.  Now I understand how easy it is to slip into the daily life dol-drums without even realizing it.  It's so easy to let this little 7 pound, 17 pound, 27 pound, 37 pound person totally dictate your every decision-- even though you swore it would never be that way.  And because if this, I think it's so important to take a little time away.  It was great to just hang out with M without any of the "daily life" stresses.  And while it was just a weekend, it felt nice to reconnect and charge our batteries a little bit.  Perhaps we should get something on the calendar before another five years pass by.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Battle of the Bathtub

So my little cherub adores the water-- as long as it's in a cup, a bowl, a sink, a street, a baby pool, a swimming pool or falling from the sky.  He does not prefer it in a bathtub.  In fact, lately, he has voiced his displeasure of bathing with a vengeance.  In some ways, I'm honestly impressed with his lung capacity and sheer vocal strength.  (This will also be good for lead roles on Broadway!--Free tix for Mom! Yay!) In other ways, it makes his long fits of crying as an infant make a little more sense.  And in other ways, it just makes zero sense at all.  I mean, he LOVES taking baths when he is at anyone else's house-- especially when visiting his Spencer grands-- this is just totally maddening.

And while we don't have a full fledged, two-parent tag-team effort to get our kid clean every single night, this is mostly because we don't force him to take a bath every single night.  (We do force him to take a sponge bath--especially when other people might notice his filth--fingernails, ears, between his toes-- you get the picture.  The nights where we utter the words, "bath in the bathtub" usually ends with crying (and it's not only Charlie-- however, a glass of wine perched on the side of the tub is helping mama).

Okay, so this has been going on for quite a few weeks.  Not super long, but long enough to be annoying and "more than a phase".   And in typical counselor style, I thought it was time for .... an intervention.  (Don't you love it when you bring work home?)

So tonight, I told C about this awesome new thing in our bathroom.  (I had a little time to create something as he continued playing in the living room-- he was clearly not coming into the bathroom when the tub was filling up.  He's smart enough to know that is a trap.) When I was finished with my little plan, I brought it out to him.

"Look at THIS!"  I said excitedly, showing him the clipboard.
(I know, I'm totally resorting to bribing/ external motivation/ token economy/ bla bla bla! 
I know I'm bad bad bad!)

As he wandered around the house, I followed him and explained that every time he takes a bath without screaming, he gets to put a sticker in one of the boxes. When all the boxes have stickers, he gets to pick a prize from a TREASURE CHEST!  He instantly stopped wandering around and looked at me.

"What I get?" he asked me with a huge grin creeping across his little face. 

"Oh, I can't tell you" I teased.  (Mostly because I got nothin' for ya kid! But I will..... I promise) "Maybe it's a little toy or something?"

"Or maybe a real turtle?" he asked.  (Um, no.  No reptiles yet.) 

"Well, probably not a real turtle.  But let's get in the bathtub so we can get that sticker!"

And after a good five minutes of dawdling, he was in the tub with no tears. (I should mention that I asked him if he would like to wash his own hair-- the source of most of his trauma-- and he eagerly agreed.  He especially loved it when I brought a mirror in so he could see his bubbly head.  Maybe I didn't need the stickers....) 

When it was finally time to get out of the tub, I started to pat him dry when he tore off the towel and grabbed the clipboard.  I praised him for earning a sticker and helped him peel it off.

"Wow, you were such a big boy with no crying.  And look, when you get two more stickers after two more baths, you will get your prize!" 

And then the little shyster looked up at me with his huge crystal clear blue eyes and said, 

"Can I take another bath now?"  

Oh my.  I'm in trouble.  

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Renaissance or Cyber-kid?

Today, our "fall schedule" begins.  We have been in school for three full weeks but none of our activities really started until after Labor Day.  (Remind me again why we had to go back to school so early? Sigh.)

Anyway, one of the things I love most about being planted in this tiny town is it's proximity to a larger college town.  It's 30 minutes away and it's where I was destined to live some day.  I love being able to take advantage of programs and events that are not available in small towns-- yet in a "city" with a very small town atmosphere.

Today was our first session of  Kindermusik.  Last fall, C took Kindermusik and loved it but   unfortunately, we weren't able to take the class spring semester due to scheduling conflicts (mainly, eating supper was more important).  This year, it's going to be a bit tricky and I think we'll be dining on some PB& J in the van on the ride home, but I'm hoping C handles it okay.

We are also planning to attend "Kindergym" which is a 6 week class on Saturday mornings for kids between the ages of 2 & 4.  From what I understand, it's a bunch of gross motor activities like running, jumping, crawling, swinging, skipping, and hopping in a giant gym.  We haven't taken it, but one of C's two speeds is "RUN" (the other is "Sleep") so I'm hoping he'll enjoy it.

I thought about signing up for "Paddling Panthers" which is little kid swimming lessons, but then I thought, "Holy Frijoles, your two year old has a busier calendar than you!" And then it hit me:  Am I starting to over-schedule?  Am I on the path to being "that parent"?  I always swore that I would never never never have my kid in more than one or two activities at any given time and here he is, two years old, and I'm signing him up for stuff like he needs resume builders.

This cartoon seems so true!  

So now I'm experiencing this weird conundrum.  What is the difference between providing opportunities though different experiences and setting your kid up for failure due to an over-scheduled crazy hyper-cyber lifestyle?  Omg, I don't know!

I do know that I want C to participate in music stuff. I want him to attend theater events. I want him to play basketball ("shoot it in the net"), soccer ("kick it in the net"),  track ("ready, set, go") and baseball if he loves them.  I want him to swim ("reach & pull")-- no, I take that back, he WILL swim.  I want him to love books, I want him to enjoy painting & crafting, I want him to play outside, I want him to use his imagination, I want him to try new things, I want him to have the world at his feet, and I want him to be happy.

And those last two things-- I think that's probably where things start to unravel.  I mean, who doesn't want their kid to have the world at their feet?  Who doesn't want them to experience all this world has to offer?  And is there anything sadder for a parent than seeing your child sad?

But honestly, nobody can experience all this world has to offer.  Nobody can try everything there is to try or visit everywhere there is to visit.  (Except maybe Matt Lauer since he gets to play "Where in the world is "Matt Lauer" every year.)

So I guess it comes down to some decision making.  I want to give C opportunities.  I want him to be well rounded (just like his perfectly well rounded toddler tummy).  I want him to find academics, the arts, and athletics all meaningful.  In the words of my father, I want him to be a "Renaissance Man".  But I also want him to be able to entertain himself. I want him to explore.  I want him to be okay hanging out with his family-- either at Spahnville or on a little adventure.  I want him to be able to unwind, relax, and be still.  I want him to be able to just be-- without his mother carting him around from one 'enriching activity' to another.  So I guess I have some deciding to do.

But while I decide, here's what we have on the horizon.  Does it look too busy to you?

Paddling Panthers  (Mama will teach private lessons)
Story Hour (during daycare)
Clay County Fair- Spencer (September)
Cheering for Mama's Triathlon (September)
Tailgate-ISU (September)
Cheering for Mama's Color Run (October)
Tailgate- UNI Homecoming (October)
Pumpkin Patch-NIU  (Maybe?)
Train Ride-Boone?
Gallagher-Bluedorn Theater event (maybe next year)
UNI Football Game
UNI Volleyball Game
LORAS Soccer Game
Santa Train--NIU (December)