Friday, April 19, 2013

Breaking News And Memories of my Mom for Curly Girl

This blog is a diary to my Curly Girl.  Sometimes it will be to remind her of things we did, and sometimes it will be of things I remember and want to share.  Today it is the latter.

I sit here right now after the ambulance has taken away the criminal that is still remarkably alive after the attacks on Boston. Watertown is cheering and I have tears in my eyes. I am giddy.

Today I picked Curly Girl up from Grandma early because we are having a storm.  I wanted to make it home before the traffic.  The downside is that A) We couldn't go out and play ... and B) I really didn't want to go out and play because I wanted to watch the news.

She won't ever let me sit and watch TV so I planned painting and craft projects before dinner and and a long bath afterwards.  So I could watch the news....

She had none of this.  I kinda, sorta engaged but she caught on. She got irritated and yelled at me -- MOMMY!  C'mon!!! 

I had a flashback...

1973.  I was 7.  It was summer.  I had control of the TV.  Until the Watergate hearings.  But SAM seemed to be in control of everything.

I had to Google tonight to know the exact name to whom I am referring.  I just remember him as SAM. He was Sam Ervin. I hated him.

I had a clear schedule of Captain Kangaroo and Gilligan's Island.  But this, before there was a 24 hour news channel, and before there was more than one TV in the house, interrupted my whole world.  Mom said it was important, and she changed the channel against my will and sat there and watched SAM no matter how much I protested.

So, Curly Girl, a bit of history for you.  My Mom, your grandmother, really thought she might be brought up in the Watergate Hearings. It's silly to think now, but she really worried about it. Your great-uncle Jack was a Secret Service Agent, and when he flew with Nixon to Knoxville to do a huge Christian gathering with Billy Graham (another reason I didn't like Republicans from an early age -- Nixon and Billy Graham took my Daddy away for weeks so he could sing the choir and I was bitter) Uncle Jack called my Mom from Air Force 1.  My mother, from whom I apparently got most of my DNA and attitude, decided that might be a great time for her to complain about Nixon, telling Uncle Jack that she voted for Nixon for his second term because he said he would stop Vietnam, but it didn't happen and now her son (your Uncle Rob) was up for the draft.  She demanded "What is he DOING?  When is he going to STOP THIS WAR??"

Uncle Jack said, "Susie, Susie calm down!"  And suddenly another voice came on the line who said...

"Jack--  does she know she's being recorded?"

So she watched those hearings like a hawk.No matter how much I needed to have my Gilligan time she worried her name would come up.

I also remember that no matter what, when Daddy came home every day, whatever channel I had on was turned to the news at 6.  And Mom and Daddy would sit down and watch.  They might have been diverted if I had been on fire or had a bone sticking out of my skin, but other than that, they watched the news.

So, all of this came flooding back to me while Curly Girl was protesting my watching the news, but I watched the news. Some might say I'm a bad Mom.  I say it's a good example if done in moderation.  I say that watching Watergate and the news every night ended up turning me into a newsy.  Given the choice, I'm always on a news channel.  I take pride in knowing what is going on.  I go to sleep with news on and wake up with news on.  That's how I like it, and I'm proud of that.

I wish I could ask my Mom if her objective was for me to know current events.  I don't know if it was that thought out on her part, but it IS that thought out on my part.  I want Curly Girl to have working knowledge of world events that are age appropriate for her.  I want us to discuss events and get her opinion and share mine.  

So, in the end, I guess I don't hate SAM (that much) after all....

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pop Up Flowers -- A Spring Toddler Craft Idea

Our new normal these days is to bribe curly girl with a craft in order for her to sit down to dinner.  Once she eats her dinner, we have a project to work on.

This super easy and cheap craft idea made her very happy! 

What You'll Need:
Paper Cups (bigger than Dixie Cups, but smaller than Solo Cups)
Paint (we used acrylic in pink and yellow)
Construction Paper

  1. Cut a paper cup in 4 or 5 places from the top of the cup to the base.  Spread 'petals' out to form a flower.
  2. Begin painting!

    3.  While your toddler is 'Monet-ing'  cut out the stem and leaves from green construction paper and glue to a full piece of dark construction paper.  Use this time to discuss the simple flower parts (stem, leaf, petals) and discuss how mixing paint makes different colors.

    4.  Allow paint to dry and adhere the flower to the construction paper with glue.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Leesburg Animal Park -- When Mommy Gets to Ride a Camel Everybody is Happy

Curly Girl loves her animals.  So when I entered an online contest and won free passes to Leesburg Animal Park  I went to the website and began talking to her about the animals she would see.  Ponies, Llamas, Donkeys, Bunnies, Cows, Monkeys, plus a myriad of others...but she was all about the goats.  Don't know why, but she wanted to see the goats.

Leesburg Animal Park is about 30 miles west of DC.  It is easy to find, with the parking lot on a main road close to the Dulles Toll Road.

We got there shortly after it opened at 10 a.m.  A cup of animal feed is included in the admission fee for each person, in a cute little ice cream cone no less, but we ran out quickly and bought more for $5 that lasted us the rest of the visit.  We went through the petting zoo with the animals behind a fence.  Bulls, Goats, Alpacas, Sheep -- she was enthralled by it all!

But the Turkey who was hanging out in the middle really captured her attention, though he didn't seem to care about the ice cream cone she offered.

Upon leaving that area beware of the sandbox. A lot of toys and tools to dig and play with others, it is a great attraction.  But it seems to be a sand pit where toddlers are stuck for hours -- all of the parents said so, and we too, had to haul her off against her will after a while to see the other things. I would suggest hitting this on the way out, or when you just want to sit on a bench and take a break.

From there we hauled her to the Pony Ride.  Always a hit with the Curly Girl, she waited patiently for the staff to saddle the pony so she would be the first ride of the day.  Pony rides are $3.50.  The guide was very sweet with her.

A great spot is the Contact Zone where you can pet, feed and walk among animals.  Pigs, baby cows, sheep, goats, llamas and more welcome you and your cup of feed.  I could have stayed in there forever!  Watching the interaction between Curly Girl and the animals was priceless!
A 'wagon ride' is free with admission to see the larger animals.  Board the wagon and it will take you among antelope, Scottish Highland cattle, Zebra, and Donkeys.  The ride stops in the field and the animals approach the wagon for you to pet and feed them.

Next to the wagon ride is a beautiful pond.  You are encouraged to feed the ducks and fish.  I have NEVER seen fish this thick!  On special weekends you can fish there -- it is a fisherman's DREAM!

A concession stand sells hamburgers, hotdogs, BBQ sandwiches, and snacks.  Close to that are 3 different play areas to relax and picnic.  Curly Girl especially loved the Noah's Ark slide (though the slide is super fast --just look at the pic!  That was NOT a soft landing, bless her heart!) You can also find a stationary choo-choo train and a Happy Cow Bouncy House -- both of which she loved!

But the event of the day, at least in my mind, was the Camel Ride.  I have never been on a camel, though I always thought I would do it in Egypt one day (but that never happened).  So I was over the moon when I found out they had camel rides!  Normally Curly Girl's Daddy goes on rides with her, but I bumped him out immediately and took her myself!  I am so happy I have a memory of riding a camel with my little girl!!

Leesburg Animal Park is a great place to spend the day with kids of all ages.  It really isn't a 2 hour place, so you should come prepared with a picnic or prepare to buy lunch there.  There is really so much to do that takes a lot of time, as children really do get lost in time in sandboxes and play areas.  

We will definitely be back! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Toddler Crafts-- Sequin Butterfly

Curly Girl loves crafts!  So I bartered this behavior over dinner... 'If you eat your chicken and your carrots you can paint!'.. so she did. (It doesn't always work but this time it did!).  While I watched her play I realized she was working her fine motor skills!

What You Need:
Toilet Paper Cardboard Rolls
Acrylic Paint (we used purple)
Construction Paper (for wings -- we used yellow)
Sequin (we used multi-color)
Elmer's Glue
Black marker

  1. Paint a toilet paper cardboard roll  with acrylic paint-- (we used purple)
  2. Cut out Butterfly wings in construction paper and apply glue for the sequin to adhere.  Make sure you make a 1/2 inch tab on the wing to glue to the toilet paper roll. (Our tab is folded under the wing in this picture)
    3. Apply sequin to glue on butterfly wings.  This is great to promote fine motor skills.  Curly Girl   was obsessive about getting a sequin to the place she wanted it to go!

    4.  Apply Googley Eyes and make a Smiley Face with a marker

      5.  Glue wings on the toilet paper roll and let dry.