Saturday, February 27, 2010

Embracing Abundance

Dear readers, you might not know that it was my lovely husband who was the start of NilsenLife - way back in 2005. He is my most faithful editor, and an incredible sounding board for my crazy ideas.  Today I invited him to guest-post, on a topic that is near & dear to both of us.  I give you... The Dad of NilsenLife!

Yesterday I spotted this simple Facebook update: givers never lack.

I'm quite certain that there is no such thing as an unwitting conspiracy (which was my immediate facebook response to that update), and upon reflection what happened will need to be chalked up as synchronicity.
This gets a little complicated, so bear with me in piecing it all together, but on Thursday I listened to an interview with William Hurt. The particular thought that stayed with me was a tangent off the main theme but the quote I loved was that his mother's grandfather 'had a reputation for poverty and for hospitality.'

Last summer a sermon opened my mind to a radically simple insight on the Bible's miracle of the loaves and fishes: The real miracle is a changed perspective. The miracle was introduced through Parker J. Palmer's quote: “in a universe of abundance, acts of generosity and community become not only possible but fruitful as well.”

Embracing abundance is central to Nilsen Life -albeit something we struggle with- but really, once you start looking, encouragement is found everywhere:
In January, the world was entirely absorbed by the earthquake in Haiti.  Give it a couple of weeks - the cynic in me speculated - and this will all blow over. People will start thinking about all the other worthy causes of charity that are missing out because the Haitians are 'taking the limelight.'

Two weeks later, with my cynical prediction about to come true, I heard this incredible story about the Port-au-Prince restaurant co-owner Gilbert Bailly's response to the disaster and the fact that his upscale restaurant was sitting on a big inventory of foodstuffs: instead of losing the food, we said let's cook the food and give it away to people that need it. And then two days after, we were running out of diesel, running out of gas, running out of food. We had people that had businesses who started to bring food to us. And we are doing that since.
I mentioned this story to Kirsten as I arrived home that night, but in all the excitement, and children, and supper, and bed time, the information all-to-predictably slipped through the cracks...

So it's with some amazement I hear Kirsten return home last week telling me about an inspiring near identical story from another radio program, where the other co-owner of the same restaurant, Muncheez, elaborated on how the food is made available: Well, you know, something funny, every other day when we think we’re going to run out of food, somebody comes by and drop a couple bags of rice.  Somebody would come by and drop a couple cases of spaghetti.  It just happens like that.

After thinking all this through at the end of a tough week, I meant to publish this last night. But I lacked the "relevance angle", and I wasn't able to wrap it up before falling asleep.
Waking up this morning to the news of a massive earthquake in Chile coming in over the wire, I am reminded yet again of the imperative to live with a sense of abundance - of an ability to share and to give - not a sense of scarcity and its consequent fear.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Oh Lookee Thar, she's posted


Guess you're super glad you signed up to follow me during my Lenten Facebook absence.  'Cause there's just been some crazy mad blog-posting around here, right?


oooh, was that a Bugs Bunny-esque tumbleweed I just saw?


Suffering some pretty major blog-istential angst over here at the Yellow House.  And yeah, for those blogs in the world without a 'theme', per se, that means minutes/hours/days pass with incredibly unhelpful inner dialogues like this one:

oooh, I know, Self.  You could post about this!  This would be a great post! 
Yeah.  But.... no.  The Bloggess already posted about that.  And it might be a little irreverent.
[10 minutes later]
oooh, I know, Self! [cue even perkier, more enthusiastic tone] What if you finished up that great pulling-in-history but reflecting-on-future post that you were noodling over last week?
ooh yeah! Oh. No.  It's a little ... self indulgent, isn't it?  I mean, who wants to hear just about me me me all the time? I guess Mommy Bloggers are really more the 'thing' nowadays. I'm not so good at that. Hmm, but not that good at any theme, come to that.
[heavy sigh] Right. Well.  Didn't you JUST post on how you've gotten too serious?  Can't you just do a silly funny post?   What about your kids?  Haven't they done ANYTHING funny in the last week?
Yeah. Well.  I think it isn't very nice to read a bragging-disguised-as-funny post.  I mean, that's just so bourgeois.  I want to be, you know,  real.

At this point, Perky Encouraging Self gets completely hacked off with Negative Angsty Self and huffs away, leaving NAS to its own (non-productive and self-defeating) devices.

This is all way before we get into the late-night questions of What To Call Blog Should I Ever Post Again, and Why Am I Taking This Non-Paying Gig So Seriously? (Especially when there is a big huge OTHER non-paying gig called Mothering that started, oh, an hour ago and finishes in, like, NEVER.)

I woke myself up last night with these ridiculous questions, and laid in bed trying to think of a post, ANY POST, that would get me over the hump of Amateur Writers Block without sounding completely whiny and self-absorbed. I ended up putting myself back to sleep thinking of synonyms for Self Absorbed. [FYI: egoistic, narcissistic, ooh, and my favorite:  vainglorious.]

Hmph.  So I'm headed off to my first blog conference in just over a week, and I will be turning up to network with 100 other women about a blog that 1) has no recent posts and 2) needs a good name-change/reason for being. Hmph.  Sounds like a totally productive social media event, dontcha think?

Of my many personalities, you get to meet Sourpuss Kirsten this evening.  So, that was worth doing, right?  Just check with Torbjorn, he'll be full of jolly examples to back up this particularly joyful aspect of Life With Me.

And just because I love to spread rays of sunshine wherever I go, I will leave you with that.

[ok, so the only Official Sourpuss photo of me I could track down was from Junior year. But believe me, I'm pissed off waaaaay more often. Just no pictures. Really.]

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Special Kind of Kindness, revisited

Today, as part of Bridget Chumbley's One Word at a Time Blog Carnival,  I'm reposting my story about a -ahem- unique path of Kindness that I found myself pursuing last December in the first of Baltimore's many snowstorms.  Darling son has been in a few snowball fights since then, and typically comes out on the losing end.  Still doesn't make this story right...


So I've been focusing on kindness in recent months - not just the idea of kindness, but really the practice of kindness.  In fact, I went as far as to make it my specific goal for this Christmas season - to find ways to extend kindness at a time when people are so, well, unkind.  (Imagine the parking lot at the mall, and you get the picture.)

This was my Facebook update yesterday afternoon: "who can explain to me why kindness is such a hard concept for people to embrace?"

Not three minutes after I posted this query, my four year old came banging in the front door.  His cheeks were bright pink, and he blurted out Mommy, the reason I had to come inside is that there are bullies - two big boys - outside throwing snowballs, an' one hit me in my face! 

A half-second later I was out on my front porch scanning the street for suspects.  I saw two pre-teen boys ambling up the path next to our house, and I demanded if those were the boys.  When Lars confirmed that yes, 'dose are the guys',  I tore down my front steps and out to the street without taking the time to change out of slippers.

HEY!  I shouted.  Are you the guys throwing snowballs at four year olds? [cue vague grunts & mumbling denials.]  I SAID, are you the guys who were down the hill there throwing snowballs at little kids?  Because I want to know IN WHAT WORLD is it ok for kids as old as you to throw snowballs in preschoolers' faces?  How OLD are you anyway? [uh, 13.]  AND HOW ABOUT YOU? [uh, I'm 11.]  SO REALLY?  YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE COOL TO THROW ICY SNOWBALLS IN MY  KIDS FACE?!?!?!  

At this point they tried to argue it wasn't them throwing the snowballs.  They tried - weakly - to suggest that my kid had thrown snowballs at them.  Both tacks, whilst perhaps inspired defenses in the 'tween mind, served only to fuel my indignation and wrath.

So I dropped my voice down low (an old cheerleading trick, much handier in parenting than it ever was on the sidelines.)  And here is what I said:

Listen - and listen good:  If I EVER see you NEAR my child, or my home, or if I EVER even HEAR about either one of you coming near my child, I will PERSONALLY make sure that you are VERY VERY SORRY.   Do you get that?  Get away from my house, and get away from the kids in this neighborhood. NOW.

Now, not only have I been 'choosing' kindness this year, not only have I been pursuing ways to be gentler with those around me, I also fancy myself as a bit of a cool customer when it comes to parenting.  I do my best not to freak out when there are injuries (real or imagined), I work hard at accepting all the outrageous things kids do without judging them, and I certainly never planned on screaming at preteen boys in my fake fur slippers.

If you'd asked me, maybe presented the above scene as a 'theoretical' to me, in the days before I became a parent, I would say maybe that the kids needed to figure it out.  I would say that maybe the four year old instigated it.  I would say that overreacting would only make the incident worse. 

Oh, but the white-hot fury.  The absolute primal reaction of a parent protecting a child - of wanting anyone, be they thirteen or ninety,  to know just how wrong hurting little people is?  Well I took myself by surprise. 

Seems I'm not quite as evolved as I'd imagined.  But with 24 hours to look back at the scenario, I still have the same reaction.  I will be as kind as I am able - just don't touch my cubs.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday

Hey people!  Today I posted my Connections story over at Mylestones, as part of her Flashback Friday series.  Love me some flashback stories.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Best Season

You know me, I just love a juicy instance of synchronicity.  I came across this quote yesterday:

Ten thousand flowers in spring
Radiant brilliance in crisp autumn air
Warm caresses from the summer sun
Winter's deep stillness on moonlit snow

If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things,
This is the best season of your life.

Looking forward to enjoying the best season of my life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making more room

Franciscans use the term 'detachment': the less that 'stuff' preoccupies your life, the more room there is for God, as well as for yourself and for other people.

As if I needed any confirmation that I needed to make more space in my life for God, myself, and my family, I came across Layla Grace's blog tonight: about a family losing their two year old to Stage 4 Neuroblastom.  They will lose her soon.

I go upstairs and I watch my two year old's sweet cheeks squish around her eyes, just like mine do when I sleep.  I smooth the growing-out bangs away from my big girl's face (an outrage she'd never let me perpetrate in daylight hours).  I lift Lars from his perpendicular position on his bed, and re-cover him with his favorite blanket-that-was-Daddy's-once. 

How is it possible that I have ignored their growing moments?  What would I change if I knew there wouldn't be endless days of sibling battles, lunch preparation, and carpools?

Here's what I would change:  I would be more present.  I wouldn't turn away from their bubble-blowing triumphs, their Lego creations, their requests for WeedWe? [translated:  Please Mommy will you read this to me?]

With this in mind, tonight's post is to say that I want to live with some more intent.  With more awareness. With more....... focus.  Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, and what I'll be doing is offering some intentionality to my household:  I'm giving up Facebook.

Woo hoo, the crowds say.  Big deal, FACEBOOK.  For the casual check-in-every-three-days-or-so Facebooker, this will make no sense.  Surely, surely it must be trickier to give up dessert. Chocolate, at least.

But for me, Facebook is the thing that diminishes my focus, distracts me from my daily rhythms (to the point of being my daily rhythm!), and yes, sometimes even keeps me from writing a blog.

So in exchange for the absence of scintillating hourly updates from the Yellow House, what I can offer you is blog posts for Lent.  Hopefully, they will be posts with some intentionality, some awareness, some focus.  (They may, however, just be posts begging to know what's happened on Facebook.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines, Yellow House Style

I've mentioned before how much fun we have here at the Yellow House marking the seasons, and taking time to celebrate the small joys and bright spots of our days. Valentine's Day is certainly one of those chances: we've had a table full of felt, googly eyes, ribbon and construction paper for weeks, as we each worked on projects for friends, far away family, and for each other.

(Doesn't mean that kept me from staying up until 1.30 the night before glueing together the kids' Valentine's cards, or from resorting the the card aisle at Target for Torbjorn's. Sigh.)

I limit it to a box, one storage container. All things hearts cupids and luuuurrve that can fit into the 32 gallon container make up our Valentines Box, and it's heralded with great joy each February 1st.

We repurpose a few old Christmas lanterns still hanging about, and make dinner time special with candlelight.

This year, we had a fancy Valentine's Tea Party with five of Cecilie's friends. Our guests were asked to bring valentines for each other, and to wear pretty dresses. They crafted sparkly butterflies, they curled their pinkies around their tea cups, and swirled colored sugar into their peppermint tea. It was all very grown-up, and very sweet indeed.

Happy Heart Day

I heard a lot of harrumphy noise out there on the internets this week, about the crass commercialism of Valentine's Day: how it is a "Hallmark Holiday," how silly it is to have a day to celebrate love when its something we should do every day.

Ahem. I take issue. Internets, I TAKE ISSUE!

Since when have we spent enough time telling the people around us that we love them? Whether or not there was a Red Hot Lover in your life this Valentines Day, it is a very poor life indeed when you look around and find no one who needs to know you love them.

The smartypants answer is that the problem lies with the limitation of the English word, love. The ancient Greeks, of course, had four words for love (heck - any Greek scholars out there to let me know if they still use all four?): agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. Without boring you excessively on their meanings, these words cover all the different ways we love one another - as friends, as family, as community, and yes, with passion. (Rawr.)

I'm certainly not trying to convince you that loving the way the grocery guy bagged your bananas is the same as having a wildly romantic date in Paris. All I'm saying is that this horribly commercial, crass and over-sentimentalized holiday does have its redemption, and the redemption is in the discovery that love, actually, is all around us. (Why is it I'm hearing Hugh Grant's voice? What? Oh....)

You get what I'm saying. Go, get on the phone, or that crazy Skype thing, or even right there on your Gmail account, and let someone know you love 'em. Maybe even make a run down to your supermarket and tell that kid you like his way with bananas.

As for me, I spent my Heart Day with my peeps: chocolate boxes at our breakfast plates, cards for each other, and heart-shaped cinnamon toast. I kissed them, I told them I loved them, and I reminded myself that I need to keep it up, every day of the year. (Just click right here, ladies and gentlemen, to get photographic evidence of our luurve. )

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Snowy Day

Someone commented to me on Facebook this week: Now admit it -- aren't you just in awe of your sense of timing? Two major snowstorms smack in the middle of "No TV month?"

True confession: the very first thought in my head on Tuesday morning - in the midst of the second blizzard - was 'what's a graceful way around the no TV rule, so I can let them watch all morning?'

My innate obstinance got the better of me, and I refused to crack. I just kept telling myself that we'd gotten this far, and surely it was foolhardy to back down now. But still, the long cold blustery winter days stretched long and dark ahead of me, and I will absolutely cop to feeling many wavering moments. As all of us know, however, you have to hide this ambiguity, because if the children sniff out your doubt, they will surely pounce with great force and furious whining.

So. This is what a snow day without TV looks like in 2010.

Morning spent in Valentines crafting activities :  above, our results. Below, our process.

Tea with extra sugar

Shoveling with Dad

Working out with mom

Reading without mom. (Without mom!!!!!!! tear...sniff...)

Nighttime party with neighbors

Jedi with light saber

the house is a wreck, the sink piled high with dishes. But happy tired kids, a dusty television, and a resolution intact. I'll put that in the success column.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Patience, My Patient

At first it was a stretch: I just couldn't quite see the connection between dry heaves and patience.

But I knew that somewhere, deep in the miasma of this hideous stomach bug that made my entire body ache and my throat burn and my head feel that it was about to pop off my neck and go spinning into the atmosphere....somewhere, there had to be a story in this.

It's one of a mom's worst nightmares, to be completely incapacitated by sickness. Most moms I know operate on the assumption that the entire circus, of which we are each ringmasters, would grind to a halt completely should we become so sick that we wouldn't/couldn't be directing the next Act.

Yet incapacitated I was.  Flat out on the couch.  The slightest movement brought on waves of nausea, and I didn't want a single thing except to lie very very still and be covered by forty two blankets. 

I suppose I was lucky:  I was laid out on a weekend, better yet on a weekend day with forty inches of snow on the ground that meant 1) lots of outdoor distraction with Daddy and 2) school was definitely canceled, so I wasn't facing a clean clothes/lunch packed/the BUS, MOM!!! kind of deadline. 

I laid on the couch, vaguely listening to the hum of activity around me:  breakfast served, cleaned up, snow clothes on and off,  lunch served, cleaned up, a grocery store run to get ginger ale and bananas, the usual sibling battles. 

But I also began to register newer, unfamiliar noises: my four year old periodically stopped to kiss my cheek, and whisper I love you Mommy into my ear.   My two year old brought over a hairbrush and did her best to make me 'pitty'.  My eldest wouldn't come within three feet of me, for fear of catching germs, but she never took her eyes off me, and spent the day asking if she could get me anything, and caring for her siblings if her own life depended on it.  I'd sort of assumed hell might freeze over before I witnessed a seven year old take her baby sister to the potty, read books to her the whole time, and then help her climb in bed for a nap - but happen it did. 

The thought began to whisper itself quietly in my feverish brain:  Patience.  Patience.  Patience.  (It might have been flu-induced delirium, but I like to think it was that still small voice, the one that shows us wisdom in the face of life's absurdities.)

I began to see that, unlikely as the circumstances might be, we were all learning patience.  I was forced to be patient with my body while it healed.  Patient with my family as they muddled along (quite successfully) without me.   They were patient with each other:  allowing for misunderstanding, imperfection, tantrums, and messes.  Most miraculously, they were patient with me:  there were no demands for shoes to be tied, noses to be wiped, lunches to be made, fights to be resolved.  They offered the patient their patience. 

(But lest you worry about this perfectly patient family of mine?  Mom is back to 90% health at least, and the kids are back to normal - I'll just go pull them off each other's throats now.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010


M'kay, so remember a while back I was going on about how connected we all are??  Some of you Facebookers may remember when I posted "does anyone ever think about how connected we all are?"

Well do you?

Do you think about how connected we are, I mean?

I got a little story for you tonight.

Long ago, waaaaay back in 1986, I was yanked out of my small-town Junior High School and my family moved into the city.  Instead of transitioning to a huge new public school, I was transferred into a teensy-tinsy private school:  one so small that my seventh-grade class had exactly 4 girls and 5 boys. Yes indeed.

Our newly-built house in our new-ish suburban neighborhood was still characterless, and I missed my friends from Virginia.  I missed my life from Virginia:  summer days at the pool, winter days on the abandoned farm behind my house.  In the new neighborhood there was a pool, though, and to ease the transition my mom decided my younger brother and I would join the swim team.

Now I didn't know a soul at this pool - imagine the sheer joy of a thirteen year old in the midst of a traumatic growth spurt (seven inches! in six months!), asked to go & make friends whilst wearing a really unflattering swimsuit.  I did make a few friends, I hung out a little at the pool that summer, and made it through all the meets with a measure of success.  (Being the tallest 13 year old in the county did have its advantages when it came to a 50m sprint.  Just sayin'.)

I remember the day of the swim team photo:  my mom wouldn't spring for the team suit because I'd made so much noise about hating to go.  She wasn't sure I was in it for the long haul.  So I had to wear the team suit from the year before.  No biggie, right?  I'll let you be the judge of that:

SO?  Can you spot me?? Um, yes.  That would be me, the Amazon in the back row WITH THE BRIGHT KELLY GREEN SUIT. [Just double click the photo if you want to get the full effect.]

Now.  Fast forward twenty three years (twenty three years!!!!!) and you'll find me sitting like a nice suburban mom in my nice suburban church, just barely hanging onto my sanity and my three small kids. I meet another nice suburban family, also with three kids, and in chatting with them find out that this nice couple grew up in my neck of the woods.  "Oh yeah? Silver Spring, huh?  Small world." And we leave it at that.  Because Silver Spring is a pretty big suburb of a kinda-big Washington DC.

But my husband has this niggling feeling he's met the husband before somewhere.  Weird.  Then one day I chat for two seconds longer, and find out that not only is the husband - Eric - from Silver Spring, he's from Colesville (the sub-suburb).  Oh yeah? Where?  Such & such road.  Oh, that's where I went to junior high! [name check teensy tinsy private school.]  No way, he says. Do you know Hollie McDowell?

And with that, my brain matter starts liquifying.  Haven't heard Hollie's name since high school - haven't seen her for much longer than that.  She was two grades behind me in the teensy tinsy private school, and she ended up marrying the Senior I had my locker next to as a high school freshman. And then this guy in Catonsville Presbyterian Church just asked me if I knew her?!?  (Turns out Hollie went from small private school to large public high school, and was BFFs with Eric & his wife there.)

I do know Hollie.  And I do know her husband.  Her husband who plays poker with this guy in church. And my husband played poker one time with the husband-that-I-had-a-locker-near-in-high-school and Eric-that-we're-chatting-with-in-church.

And then, just to bring it all freakin' FULL CIRCLE, once we all get together for a summer supper and a glass of wine or two, Eric and I start chatting about the good old days. The summer days in Colesville.  The ones we spent swimming: at Robin Hood Swim Club.

Yep.  That's Eric - the sweet kid on the far left of the third row, behind the ladder railing.  That's his brother standing right behind me. His sister & his other brother are in there somewhere.

Just don't forget people.  We're all connected.  Somehow, somewhere - we're all connected.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stuff stuff stuffity stuff

Did something radical this morning.  School started 2 hours late, which meant that there wasn't much time in my morning before I'd be back for pickup at preschool.

So: 90 minutes free, a minivan full of gas, and just one kid in the car??  Most suburban moms I know would think the same as me:  TARGET.

Then I stopped for a minute. (Stupid red light.)

I remembered the kitchen floor strewn with baby doll clothes.  I remembered the dirty dishes left on the table, on the counter, and in the sink.  I thought about the piles of laundry that lurked in all four corners of the laundry room.

Full disclosure here folks:  I would like to pretend that the background mess is atypical.

And I turned the steering wheel towards home.  Crazy, I know. I came back to the Yellow House to spend some quality time with my mess. Messes.

It's so much STUFF:  stuff for putting away, stuff for cleaning up, stuff to keep track of.  And the solution to the stuff is to run away, into the safe welcoming arms of my Target and buy....... yep: more stuff.

I don't have a big house, I don't buy super-fancy things.  I don't often spend on big-ticket items, I don't spend hours shopping online.  And yet the stuff creeps in. 

I set out to keep it simple.  Straightforward: easy to find, easy to use.   But here's this little hole punch that will help me make homemade valentines with the kids, and then 4 boxes of store-bought Valentines I got on clearance last year.  There's this 'green' cleaning product I can use to cut back on toxic chemicals, but also a bottle of cleaning product that is perfectly good so I'd better keep it to use up before I switch to the green stuff.   There is the baby doll which cost too much, but that had a sweet face, and then there's the baby that looks like a sex toy [sorry, it does] but was a gift from a really well-meaning family friend. There are the beautifully handmade doll clothes, and the doll clothes that are hideous but trendy. (Guess which ones the American Girls end up in?) Oh wait, and here is the small plastic green safe that came with the Lincoln Log Bank Set - you know, the safe that was forgotten the day the box was first opened, but that you've kept in a special drawer because its Just So Wrong!! to break up a set?

What this is, is psychic filth.

If it were actual hunks of dirt hanging around this house, I would have hauled the wet mop out ages ago, and given the place a good scrub-down.  (Yep, even me, the Worlds Worst Housekeeper.)  But somehow the sentiment creeps in, and the small pieces, the useless bits, the sheer excess just hangs around, waiting for someone to decide its fate.  Or, more likely, waiting for someone to forget about it, so that it can claim its place in the Pantheon Of Junk.

So who knows the trick for me?  Who can tell me what to do with my sentimental, pseudo-organized psychic filth?    Answers on a postcard please.  Oops, no - make it an email so I don't have 3x5 cards floating around the house.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

S'wonderful, s'marvelous.. It's Classic Play!

Do you remember your first love?  That kid who sat next to you for circle time at preschool? I sure do.  It's that time of year, where we start thinking about luuuuuuuuuurve and all the sweet things associated with it.

The astoundingly creative minds over at Classic Play are celebrating the release of The Love Issue by launching a bright shiny new blog to showcase it.

The writing is beautiful, the photography stunning and clearly, so much thought has gone into the design of the entire site.  Run run run and check it out right now!  While you're there, you'll find a few words from yours truly about my First Love, along with great craft projects, Valentines to print out, and lots of other cracking articles.

Here's a little sample of the Family Date Night photo spread: 

Sweet girls, a sweet idea, and a wonderful site to bring it all to us.  Hip hip hurray for Classic Play!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Experiment

My kids are addicts.

TV addicts, that is.

We don't have cable - on purpose - in a misguided attempt to avoid the electronic babysitter.  There is not a wide variety of shows they watch:  the Nilsen kids suffer from deep seated fear of conflict and scary-sounding music, and as such shows like Scooby Doo, Bugs Bunny, and even the feature-length Clifford movie are out.  So there's a steady diet of Max & Ruby, Martha Speaks, Curious George, and a smattering of Pingu or Pink Panther when we're feeling saucy.

The rotation of shows did get a bit heavy during the Christmas break, I will admit.  And I tried to rationalize it away - it is stress management [mine], they need their downtime [coma time?], it's PBS - that's educational, right?  

But when I started getting extra kisses from my 4 year old to sweeten me up, before springing a request for TV on me, I started to get mad.  When the baby started to associate her potty time with TV watching, I started to get self-conscious.  And when an episode of Pink Panther came on and my 1st grader said "oh Mommy, you have GOT to watch this, this episode is hysterical!" I knew that change was a'coming.

Those winds of change turned into a mighty gale:  we're turning off the TV for a month. 

Hey, I'm not shy.  I'll turn my kids into a social experiment at the drop of a hat.

So if you can't beat 'em, join em: I sold it to them as an episode from Sid the Science KidHey guys!  Haven't you ever wondered what Mommy & Daddy did when we were kids and there was no TV and no computers and no cell phones?  Well, we're going to try it!  We're going to investigate what it was like to live with no TV!

We made a chart for our investigations:

Exceptions are noted:  Olympics, Parties and Friends Houses

Whilst I don't think the 'experiment' angle is fooling anyone, I think they are cautiously curious.  I think they are wondering just now nuts they'll have to get before Mommy cracks and turns on Maryland Public Television at top volume while she curls up on the floor, a weeping mess.

I'll keep you posted, readers.  If my post begins 'I am typing in the fetal position on the floor' you'll know The Experiment isn't going as well as planned.
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