On being boys and brothers

Being BrothersBrothers. My sister and I discuss constantly the ins and outs of having boys. After a colossal meltdown from A the other day (over…paint sticks? nap time? it’s hard for me to always keep up), I spent an hour and a half on the phone with my aunt (who has three grown boys), saying things like “do you think this is normal?”, “what about this?”. She gave me great advice, stories, and a new book to read.

I grew up with a sister, I have four aunts, six girl cousins (and six boy cousins), and my friends growing up were exclusively girls. I dove in to the water of boys with zip experiences on how or why little boys act the way they do. And a lot of it is weird. The pretending to fight ninjas, bad guys, and other enemies on a daily basis, the limitless energy, the LOUDNESS, the figuring out that burping is funny when you are TWO (seriously).

And the fighting. Little boys wrestle. A lot. And not always because they are fighting. But sometimes because they are fighting. And you have to figure out what is fighting and what is not. What is safe wrestling and what is not. When to say, “STOP! That’s enough!” and when to just let them be. And it is almost never clear cut or straight forward.

And the boys have a lot of arguments over toys and other items. I hear “that’s mine, I was there first, it’s not fair for him to have a turn!” at least 100 times a day. J actually has a tendency to grab things from A and then tear through the house and then chuck them as far as he can. And then of course A comes running after him…and then I’m running after both of them to break up the fight….so yeah.

I’ve also learned (and believe it or not, I was telling a student this the other day, who was discussing parenthood), that you shouldn’t operate under the premise that any part of parenting (or childhood) gets “easier”. Every part is just different. Parts of it are more difficult than others. My favorite advice my aunt gave me? “Keep your humor”. It reminded me of one night when A was getting in trouble at the table and he said something like “I pity the fool, who doesn’t eat dessert”. And I just lost it. I started laughing and B started laughing and then both boys were laughing.

But whenever they fight (and I’m sure they will continue to do so), I always think about this moment:

Big hugs / Cupcakes and commentaryWhen A said “look how much he loves me, Mommy!” And I remind A of that. And I will remind J of that when he gets annoyed with A. There may be a lot of squabbles, but hopefully there will also be a lot of love. Happy Thursday, friends.

Boys and Brothers

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Five Minute Craft: Washi Tape Mirror

Since I live in a house of boys, I work to carve little bits of spaces of my own. The space above my desk in our study, my side of the closet, and my nightstand area are all spaces that I am constantly adding more feminine touches, to make my own.

I found a mirror in our attic that I had used as a planning piece for our wedding decorations, and have wanted to put it by my nightstand. The other day I had a yearning to do some crafting that wouldn’t take up too much time:

I had the mirror, washi tape, and some picture hanging command strips (because yes, I keep all of those things on hand apparently).

Washi Tape MirrorA little time later (about five to ten minutes worth of a Sesame Street J and I were watching):IMG_5396And then when I was hanging it up I had the help of a lovely assistant:IMG_5398And only a few minutes after that:IMG_5407All done! Doesn’t it look fun? And so easy to change if I get bored with the tape pattern on it.

And finally here are a few things on my Mother’s Day request list that I’m hoping to get to finish up my nightstand:

Mother's Day Request[1][2][3][4][5][6]

1. A really likes to buy me jewelry, but I’ve been trying to direct him out of the plastic section of Target…so this is a good upgrade and a place that B could take him to.

2. This book has been on my list since it came out. I love looking through fashion inspiration books, and I love Rachel Zoe.

3. This little giraffe trinket dish has also been on my list for awhile, and I think I could safely store it on my jewelry box.

4. I always love new spring nail colors, and this pistachio colored Essie polish looks great.

5. I just ran out of my fresh lip balm, so I’m in desperate need of more….I’m a bit addicted to it!

6. And, I love the Lavanila line of rollerball fragrances, especially for layering scents. This coconut-vanilla one sounds like a great summer exchange for my go to lemon-vanilla scent.

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Art with Kids: Rothko

Rothko IMG_5367Rothko is one of my favorites for his use of color blocking. In addition, he has a terrific painting that uses only black and gray shading, which I thought would be a perfect project for A because he loves black and gray (“they show up the best,” he says).

I loved his picture so much, I added it to our bedroom gallery wall:

RothkoIt’s amazing the amount of depth it has. I told him to think about adding texture (there is a great Sesame Street episode that the boys love that discusses texture, as well) and creating dimension through it (in kid terms).

And while A was painting, J painted at the easel with watercolors:

RothkoAnd later I found this:

RothkoCan you see the heart he made in his painting?? I’m sure it was pure artistic genius.

And here are our facts about Rothko:

Born in 1903

American

Abstract Expressionism, Color Field

Painter

Untitled (Black and Gray)

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Ready, set, go!

This was pretty much our theme for Easter Sunday.

As the boys ran to find eggs….

Easter IMG_5453 IMG_5462

As we ran to church…and managed to not get a single picture of the four of us. Our church was beyond packed, J barely made it ten minutes in the nursery, and we ended up sitting in the chairs outside the sanctuary, watching the service on the televisions. But you know what? I got a cup of coffee, I found a comfortable lounge chair, and J sat with me and ate a snack while we watched. I think Jesus would give us props for that. :)

As the boys ran down the hill to find Easter eggs. The boys had their first (of what I’m sure will be many, many years) Easter Egg hunt at my parent’s new house. And boy did they love it:

IMG_5470

IMG_5471 IMG_5479 IMG_5483 IMG_5486 IMG_5492

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Friday Favorites

Friday FavoritesJ likes to help me unload the dishwasher. So, if you are ever at our house for dinner, yes J’s face has been in the measuring cup. And yes, he sang “Darth Vader’s Anthem” while carrying it about.

I have been saying I need a way to take off toe nail polish without ruining my nails for like…ever. Genius.

When in doubt, bake cookies is a slogan I can get behind.

Highly creative people take naps (amongst other things). Definitely my mantra in graduate school.

Lemon almond bread sounds like a great switch-up from our usual weekend blueberry muffins.

This is where Walter White should have escaped to, instead of that snowy shack.

A craft book that combines kids crafts and decor projects. I love it!

Combining baseball and handwriting in one great weekend worksheet.

One of A’s favorite things to do during the summer is picnics. I am planning a moon watching picnic for him in June, since after five years the first thing he asks me when I come home from work is still, “Did you see the moon tonight, Mommy?”

B has been having a great time learning to cook Chinese food, so I’m thinking of adding this cookbook to his Father’s Day surprises.

The jelly bean has had a long and complex history…..of deliciousness.

I made pork chops with raspberry sauce this week after getting the recipe from a great friend. They were excellent! I’ll be making them again soon.

Travel to the moon, sir?

And just in case you need a few more last minute Easter craft and decoration ideas.

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An Easter Special!

Friday FavoritesA is VERY into art lately. Drawing and coloring are his main jam, and I have found him up at 6:00 coloring some mornings. While we were waiting on a cousin playdate today I did two really quick crafts with the boys that you could do this weekend, without even leaving the house for supplies!

First up, A’s Easter Egg Art:

Easter Egg ArtI printed out a free Easter Egg template and A colored it, cut it out, and taped it on a piece of purple cardstock. I then put it in the IKEA frame on my hutch.

Second, Easter Bunny Plate:

Bunny PlateJ got bored with the Easter Egg coloring pretty quickly, so I knew I needed another craft, and quick! Hence the bunny plate. I just used the back of a paper plate, cotton balls, googly eyes, two ears cut out of paper, a pom pom, and a pipe cleaner. J loves using glue sticks so he had a great time putting it together. He ran out of the glue stick midway through and so I switched to handing him pieces of rolled tape. This was fun….even if it only lasted for about ten minutes because he ran off with it and tore it apart. That kid.

Bunny Craft

And don’t worry….Friday Favorites are coming up soon! :)

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Lounging

LoungingJ’s current favorite activity when I am getting ready is to lay on the bathroom rug by our tub and twirl my necklaces. Silly boy!

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Easter Baskets

Easter BasketsMy plan for the boys’ Easter baskets was:

Toy/Stuffed Animal

A is getting a Battleshell Michelangelo that he has asked for FOREVER (in his words).

J is getting a Jellycat Caffuffle Pony. I really can’t stop getting him stuffed animals because he loves them so much.

Book

A is getting Shark in the Park by Phil Roxbee Cox

J is getting Sherlock Holmes in the Hound of Baskervilles by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver (Have you gotten any of these board books series? J and I have checked out every one from the library. His second favorite is Wuthering Heights).

Snack

Goldfish carton

Candy Item

Mini M&Ms

Outdoor Item

48 Crayola Chalk box

2 pack water soakers (you can find them at Target).

For their egg hunt I am planning to do a mix of wrapped candy and some little plastic dinosaurs because the boys fight over the ones they have!

And in case you need more ideas:

Here are the boys’ Easter baskets from last year.

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Art with Kids: Raphael

A REALLY wanted to learn about Raphael, but I had a hard time finding paintings that were a different way to do an art study. Then I came upon St. George and the Dragon. After that I knew what we would do.

First, we wrote down our facts:

Facts about RaphaelThen, I talked to A about creating a storyboard for the painting. I drew six squares and had him tell me the story in six parts (what happened first, second, third, etc.):

Storyboard a Painting Art with KidsAfter I wrote down the story I had A go back and draw pictures that coordinated with each part.

Last, we collected their dragons and dragon puppets and the boys acted out the story (which was really just a lot of dragon puppet throwing and yelling):

IMG_5340 IMG_5332However, I think they got the idea. It was a fun way to mix up the lesson a bit. Happy art learning!

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Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites“Saw cheesey, MaMa!” He said.

I tried drinking coconut water this week. It was gross. And I’ve had coconut water from a coconut before….but this. I don’t know. However, this article is about the benefits of coconut oil. Which you don’t drink. So I really am making no suitable connection with this discussion. Carrying on….

I really am drawing to houses that are bright and colorful. I need to start actually incorporating it in my own house!

A bunny birthday party. We love bunnies around here.

Some good to note tips on styling your home.

A beauty uniform discussion that is absolutely lovely.

Rose gold make-up + NARS = LOVE.

You know what else doesn’t mean what you think it means? Irregardless.

Once again, science proves what Moms already know. Thanks science :). HA!

COLOR! Pink, red, orange, yellow. This is what I need to incorporate into my all navy wardrobe.

I’m Reading: Agatha Christie’s “They Came to Baghdad”

B’s Reading: George R.R. Martin’s “A Dance with Dragons”

A’s Current Favorite Story: Jane Yolen’s “Waking Dragons”

And lastly, the book J insisted on checking out from the library and pretended to read the whole way home: Stephanie Calmenson’s “Dinner at the Panda Palace”

And that’s it! Have a great weekend!

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