Fun Times! … ?

I found a simple test that can tell the difference between people with many children and those with few to none.

All you do is say something to the effect of, “John and I took all the kids to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for Clara’s birthday.”

Those with few to no kids say. “Oh! Nice! Was it a good time?”

Those with many children say: “Oh, Nice. Was it a good time?”

It seems to me that those with less offspring hear my statement and think. “Wow, a day trip to a big city to go to a giant aquarium to celebrate a kids birthday as a family, must have been fun.”

And those with more think. “Wow, a day trip to a big city to go to a giant aquarium to celebrate a kids birthday as a family, must have been … fun.

Hmmm… perhaps I am not explaining this well.

I think what it boils down to is that those who drag many children at a time along on fun adventures know the mix of pain and fun that is a family outing. Yes, heading to a big city is an adventure for a family from a small town but not all children will think that’s a fun adventure.

Yes, seeing all the animals in the aquarium will be super cool but no kids will want to see the same animals at the same time. Yes, at some point in the day every member of your five person family will become hangry no matter how many snacks you packed. Dinner at a new place will be delicious and enjoyable as soon as everyone is convinced to try it and wait an agonizing 45 minutes to be seated. But you will take pictures of smiles and try to hold on to the fact that everyone was happy during the dolphin show for at least five minutes straight before one became despondent over the complete lack of axolotls in the place.

Then, when you return home, and report to others what fun you chose to have over the weekend. You can smile when talking to those with few kids and return the nervous grimace of those with many when they both ask you how much fun you had.

No matter who you are talking to you will remember the good parts and remind yourself it was worth it…

… probably.

If The Shoe Fits

There is a stereotype out there about kids and how they behave compared to their birth order.

In short, the oldest is well behaved and responsible, the middle is the wild child and the youngest does whatever they like and gets away with it.

Yesterday the girls were painting. Ivy had seen an idea on Pinterest and was carefully recreating it while adding her own spin. She carefully drew and painted with heavy concentration and worried over how to improve her canvas.

Clara is into abstract art. The more paint the better. Yesterday’s creations involved putting copious amounts of paint on a canvas and then smashing the canvas into a piece of cardboard to spread the paint. Anything that didn’t turn out quite right she happily applied more gobs of paint until it was “awesome” again.

Jane sat on the other end of the table playing a computer game.

After about an hour of careful drawing, paint smashing and computer key clicking. Jane looked up, complimented one of the pieces and asked if she could have it to give to her teacher.

It’s not that I’m trying to stereotype my own children – but if the shoe fits…

Ivy’s Favorites at 14 Years Old

Ivy, what’s your favorite…

Color? – Pink and Black

Animal? – *looks around the room for inspiration* “Not sure.” (This from the girl who has been begging me for years to re-start the favorite posts. Maybe she wasn’t expecting such a tricky one…)

Farm Animal? Do you have one of those?- “Maybe, yes. Yes, I like the ducks”

Not a duck.

Bird? – Eagles or owls

Food? – Ice cream

Clothes? – Sweatpants, sweatshirt and a tank top. (No kidding… Covid has been rough on all of our wardrobes but Ivy lives in this 24/7.)

Dog? – “Goose, but don’t tell Trip.”

Cat? – Cassie

Thing to do? – Read, hang out with you or watch anime.

Thing to do inside? – Read or watch anime (delivered with a sigh, apparently this question was repetitive).

Chore? – “Laundry or washing dishes.” (Hooray! It’s true she does laundry and washes dishes!!!)

Time of day? – Morning (Weirdo.)

Place to go? – Grandma Mary’s

(Note the clothing choice.)

Song? – I have lot. It might be Dacing in the Dark. (This must be true since she walks around with one ear plugged into music dancing and lip synching along 95% of the time.)

Flower? – Tulips

Thing about school? – “In quarantine? I don’t have to change my pants and I can do school in my pajamas. In general I really like my teachers.”

Friend? – “Natalie (can I say my top three?) Hyja, and Kyla.”

Movie? – Brave

Thing to do with Clara? – “I like playing card games with her. She’s the most willing out of everyone to play.”

Thing to do with Jane? – “I like when we are both in the same room and we are both reading and it’s quiet. I also like playing in the hammocks or silks in the garage with her.” (Hmmm… that first answer speaks volumes…)

Thing to do with Dad? – “Play board and card games or hiking.”

Thing to do with Me? – “I like playing ecologies with you and I also like swimming when you are coaching.” (She likes it when I coach? Amazing! Maybe it’s because I don’t outright tell her I like to watch kids suffer like John does when he coaches?)

Sport? – Swimming

Book? – The lunar chronicles plus Heartless (That’s like 6 books btw…)

Author? – Marrisa Myer or Cassandra Claire

Meal? – Brunch

Thing to do in the car? – Read

Thing about winter? – Skiing!

Season?- “Fall” (Why?) “because swimming starts and it’s also really pretty.”

Part of living during a pandemic? – “I don’t like the pandemic… I get to play more games with you guys.”

What do you want to do when you grown up? –  “I. Don’t. Know.” (Someone has to choose her first high school classes and this question is looming it’s scary head quite often in a more real way than it ever used to.)

When you get older what kind of problems to you want to help solve? – I don’t know that either.

Anything else? – One of my favorite classes in school is Spanish and I also really like art.

Last time I asked Ivy her favorites she was only 9 years old, take a look back and see how things have changed!

Ivy’s Favorites at Nine Years Old

Happy 14th Ivy

Ivy turned 14 today!

She chose to spend her birthday skiing with a group of families where she is the oldest girl by far but Ivy loves skiing with her five year old buddy.

Then we had a family birthday party with Grandma, Grandpa, one Great Uncle and Great Granny. The festivities ended in a card game where she happily crushed her grandpa’s game and gracefully lost to her dad.

Ivy chatted with everyone from 2 to 96 today and while she has a special birthday treat planned with a friend in the future, John and I couldn’t help but glow with pride at the way our young lady handled herself today.

Happy Birthday Ivy!