Library Card for the WIN!

Today was a monumental day and will be recorded in the Holmes family history books.  It was the day Mr. Man got his first library card.  You can see his excitement here…

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This morning was a rough one for me.  After a long night of very little sleep due to a heavy, wheezing chest I was running a little slower than usual.  Getting ready for school seemed to take longer than usual.  I even contemplated keeping him home from school just because I didn’t want to venture out.  I knew better.  We finally made it to school a few minutes late and then Little Miss and I headed off to the store to buy diapers.  It was a dreary, rainy morning and all I wanted was for 11:30am to roll around on the clock faster so we could go home, get in our pajamas and watch classic Disney movies all day.  Somewhere along the morning I realized that I would have to either lay on the floor in their room all day or move their TV into our room so we could watch all the VHS tapes we wanted.  Since I didn’t really feel like doing either of those I remembered that you could check movies out at the library!

I decided to tell Mr. Man all about my plans and see what he thought.  I was hoping he would think it was cool–and he did!  I told him that he would get his own library card and he could borrow books and movies for a few days then we would have to bring them back and get some more.  I reminded him that we did the same thing with life jackets from our friends Miss “Mannie” (Annie) and Mr. Joe this summer.  We didn’t have any life jackets so we asked them if we could borrow theirs, used them on the boat up north and then gave them back when he and daddy got their hair cut a few weeks ago.  That little story didn’t help as much as I hoped because all he took from it was that he was upset that I took them back and he didn’t.  Oh how the specifics can tear at his little heart strings sometimes!

We drove to the library as he asked lots of questions about what they had, why he needed to use an indoor voice, what movie he could pick, if his picture would be on his card, etc.  After a quick diaper change for sis in the parking lot we ventured inside.  The librarian wasn’t as cordial as I had imagined her to be.  I thought it would be a joyous moment filled with lots of pictures of her handing over a card to him while they both smile and give me a thumbs up.  DID. NOT. HAPPEN.  Mom expectations!  In fact, he almost didn’t get a card.  She said that they don’t issue library cards until a child can sign their own name.  She asked if he could.  Dude, he’s 4 1/2 years old–of course he can write his own name but he would need a dinosaur sized box to do it in…not a little mousey box.  There is no spacial sense in a 4 1/2 year olds world.  Seriously, for hoping to cultivate a love in children for reading and discovery I think the library needs to make it a little more user-friendly for their smallest of book worms.

Since I learned there is no limit on books or movies you can check out at one time I decided just to get one for myself and use it as a family.  Mr. Man begged me for a card and I distractedly told him we’d see about it on the way out.  Being as it was our first time at the library I walked right up to the librarian and asked her if she had a list of book recommendations by age for the children {mommy expectation #2 for the day}.  She said they did not.  I casually mentioned that the Rochester Hills Public Library had a list on their website called 100 Books Every Child Should Experience {I heard of this list from a high school friend who has completed the list {maybe even twice now} with her children.} and then the kids and I walked away. We ventured into the unknown library by ourselves.  I was a bit overwhelmed.  I knew that I wanted my children to grow to love reading, walking through stories just by looking at pictures, take adventures and using their imagination.  I just didn’t know where to start.  I stood there thinking “Amy, you were a preschool teacher.  You know the good books.  You used to read them everyday to your class.  Think of the good books in your head and check a couple of them out.”  I just couldn’t think in that moment what MY children would like.  I didn’t really have a starting point since we already have our own little library at home and have read the “basics”.  Soon the librarian walked over to us and handed me the list of 100 books from the Rochester Hills library and said she just printed it off for me.  Score.  {and yet kind of embarrassing for them to have to use a different library’s resource instead of having their own.}

I tried to find several books on the list that I knew we didn’t have at home and I really struggled to find them.  Many were not there.  It made me wonder just how good our local library was going to be for us.  Finally, we settled on 3 books for each child and made our way over to the movies.  Again, disappointment.  I am thoroughly saddened by their lack of movies for children.  Remember I said I was in the mood for classic Disney movies?  Yeah.  Didn’t find them.  In fact, about the only “Classic Disney” I found was Peter Pan.  I also decided on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood since Mr. Man has been loving him some Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and I realized he had NO IDEA where the character originally came from or who Mister Rogers was.

After choosing those two DVD’s  we checked out.  I let Mr. Man do the process himself and he loved it since it was all digital and “express”.  We turned to say goodbye to the ladies at the front desk and he quietly pleaded again for his own library card.  I didn’t know what to do.  The ladies could sense that I had a little debacle on my hands and asked how they could help.  I told them he wanted his own card and they suggested we tried.  There is a space for your “printed name” and a space for your “signature”.  They said I could print his name and he could sign it.  They led us to a table where he could try his hand at signing it.  After a few unsuccessful strokes of the pen I realized that he needed my help holding the pen upright to even produce pen lines on his card.  He’s so used to using crayons and markers that will write no matter what angle you held them at.  He had no idea how to use this pen correctly.  I held the top of the pen and he looked at me and asked what he was supposed to do.  I told him to write his name just like he does at school and I would just guide his pen so he could see the lines.  After at least 3-4 minutes we finally finished and he “signed” his first library card!  No picture with the librarian.  No picture on it.  No thumbs up for a new adventure for him.  Nope. just a handing off of the pen, followed by a picture in the parking lot in the drizzling rain, standing in front of the library with his “loot” and official card in hand.

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Overly excited smile!

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The official look of the card.

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All of our loot.

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Sis showing me a “bug” in the book.

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Exploring our new finds.

{By the way: I really hope that after a visit to the library alone some day I can learn more about the children’s section and grow to love what they have to offer.  I’m holding out hope that there are some treasures in there somewhere, but has anyone else felt the way I do when they’ve visited this location?}

Put your Love Glasses on!

Today is a busy day for me according to my calendar. I was mapping out all my driving and time frames in my head as I slept last night. All night long I tossed and turned as I had dream after dream about my day. Babysitting, Mom2Mom meet-ups, an afternoon meeting, lunch for my children. It all played out in my dreams.

Mornings in our home can be quite frustrating with little ones who don’t want to wake up, all of a sudden can’t remember how to put clothes on or the case of the missing coat. I knew that I had too much going on today to live the day out in stress. As we walked out the door and I flashed my husband a rolled eyes look I knew my attitude had to change.

I was driving down Dixie headed to my first meet-up of the day and the sunlight was so blaring I was reaching over to my purse to find my sunglasses. As the sun hit the sweatshirt I was wearing I was doubly blinded by the sparkle and shine of the sequence sewn in the shape of a heart on it. All of a sudden I remembered the lyrics to the Beckah Shae song “Put your love glasses on”. My first meet up was awesome. The lady was really sweet and friendly. I went back on Facebook and gave a shout out to her on the Mom2Mom site. Little did I know that so many people would “like” that. A little kind word can go a long way. I was wearing my love glasses.

My second meet-up was a few minutes after that. She was so sweet as well and even brought extra clothes in case I wanted to buy those too. I had only brought the exact amount we had agreed on for the four shirts I was buying but I thought it was so sweet that she would think to do that. I gave her a shout out on that Mom2Mom page and she commented back. Again I had my love glasses on.

Now we are in the home of two sweet little girls to babysit for the morning while their momma works for a few hours. I will be encouraging the kids to have their love glasses on as they play together. Mr. Man especially needs his love glasses on toward the dogs. No fear, buddy!

Who knows how the rest of my day will play out according to my calendar. All I know is that I will approach each situation with love and a smile.

How are you going to wear your love glasses today? I would absolutely LOVE to hear some stories about how wearing your glasses changed the course of your day or situation!

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Nail Polish: Pretty AND Educational

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I never realized just how different raising girls vs. boys was.  Our Little Miss is almost a complete opposite as Mr. Man in so many ways and yet they are so similar too.  She has definitely given us a run for our money in child safety with her climbing on top of the kitchen counters to rearrange the cabinets and sippy cups, unrolling toilet paper more times than I can count, or climbing out of her crib five times in a row at 1:30am and creeping by your bedside.  She can be the sweetest, most loving little girl one minute then the cause of major frustration the next.

This morning as the hubs left to take his dad out for a cup of coffee at his favorite coffee shop (shameless plug to Great Lakes Coffee) I was enjoying a few moments of silence until I heard the pitter patter of little foot steps.  It was my girl.  Awake for the day and ready to conquer.  Last night daddy suggested that I paint her nails green and yellow for our nephew’s John Deere party this afternoon.  I decided that the quiet, rainy morning we had upon us was the perfect time to do so.

We sat on the floor in the bathroom and I got out my {very} old purple “STUFFers” box that my nail polish has been stored in for years.  Seriously, like almost 20 years I assume.  That’s crazy.  When did I get this old?  I’m also seriously wondering how much of it is good anymore or if I need to research “expiration dates” or “harmful chemicals” in them now!  YIKES.

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Anywho, I found a light green nail polish and a yellow nail polish.  Perfect!  I wasn’t sure how the green would look so I decided to use yellow on three of her nails and green on two.  Patterned of course.  The yellow was a bit older and gloppier to put on.  The green looked amazing.  She’s had her nails painted enough in her lifetime that she knows the next step: BLOW.  When I was little my Aunt Sandy would paint my nails for me and then I would turn to Uncle Randy and say “blow”.  Now my girl is doing the same thing!  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the generational legacy that little moment brings.  Little Miss isn’t the most patient one yet so it doesn’t last long but a few blows on each hand and she’s done and on to the next thing.  Then the perfectionist in me cringes in the fact that her nails will soon be smudged or missing polish.

Then, just like her momma who enjoys order she uttered, “Toes.”  So onto the toes I went.  This time I did the opposite pattern and she has three green toes and two yellow toes.  As I was painting them I noticed her admiring her nails and she said, “Pretty.”  A girl who appreciates taking care of herself!  Ahh!  After we blew on her toes {and her fingernails some more} she picked up the polishes and said, “Momma, pretty.”  So guess who has John Deere nails today too!

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Since brother was still asleep at this point I decided to let her continue what she was doing at this point–playing with the nail polishes.  It was during this time that I realized that there was no need to rush anything because I could turn this into a teaching moment.  For the next 20 minutes or so we learned color names, sorted by color, {tried to} stack polishes on top of each other, counted, etc.

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Who knew that raising girls would be different than boys?  I never thought that I could teach colors and counting and sorting by using nail polish.  In college when we learned about manipulatives I’m pretty sure that nail polish bottles were not an option.  Never stop finding new ways to teach children whether in a classroom or at home.  You don’t always have to go by the basics of flashcards, buttons or counting bears.  Look around and see what you have right at your hands.  I’m pretty sure that Mr. Man actually learned all of his alphabet and numbers from Super Why! back in the day.  Little Miss is different and needs my help.  Any day that I get to spend painting our nails and learning colors or numbers is a great day in my book!

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I think I’ll paint my nails more often now that I have a mani/pedi buddy!

{And for those of you wondering how momma handled the smudges and missing paint a few minutes later, know this: When momma was helping pick up and put the polishes back in the box my nails smudged like crazy too.  Darn that old yellow polish!  You win some, you lose some.  I’m pretty sure God is trying to teach me to see the beauty in disaster!}