Spring Break and Netflix. Oh yes, you bet they go together.

 

 

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Parenting. When what you expect and what actually happens NEVER MATCH.

This also is the case for a lot of our silverware, all of our socks, and my six year old’s fashion choice today.  So, at least we’re consistent.

Last week was Spring Break. I kept thinking I would write THIS post when it WAS actually spring break, because Momsie is so relevant and timely, but good gravy. Spring break nearly broke me.

It all started with the take home math packet.

So, just so you know, I blame it all on my children’s teachers. They are out to get us.

I don’t even remember for sure which boy got the math packet. But I do know that when I spied it, all smushed in his R2-D2 backpack, that I felt a little flutter of excitement. It’s that Mom Buzz that I get every time I think I might have a Positive Learning Experience with one of my spawns. “Lo! Here is a math packet!” I crowed. “And, we shall learn all the things over break! This shall be a break from technology! We’ll take nature walks! We’ll work puzzles! I think I might try to learn another language! Besides Pig Latin, which is so big at our house right now!”

And on and on. Momsie went off the rails on the whole Fun and Educational thing.

At about two o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I decided to put a stop to all things educational and considered playing the Quiet Game for the rest of the break.

Anyhow.

What I did instead was realize, as I have so often before, this wonderful nugget of information:

TELEVISON. TELEVISION FIXES EVERYTHING.

Relax Moms. It’s not like we watched it from Tuesday on. But we reveled in the popcorn movie night (as one of Momsie’s favorite thing ever is her couch, and popcorn, and nighttime. They go together like constant fatigue and sweatpants, I tell you.)

And on those movie nights we didn’t watch movies. Nope. We watched… (drumroll)…

Somewhat Educational Stuff.

Which really means I just picked stuff that I like and told the boys it was that or a bath. So, they learned something, AND avoided personal hygiene. Winners all around. (?)

The kids and I watched two gems from the mighty Netflix.

Here’s the first one, that is NARRATED BY A BRITISH GUY AND YOU KNOW HOW I AM ABOUT BRITISH THINGS:

 

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In this series, The British Guy (Kevin McCloud) presents to us a strange breed of people who are “self-builders.” This means, they take strange old buildings, ones that aren’t really supposed to BE homes… and they make them into homes. Like, they “self-build” themselves right into an old movie theater.

Or, aherm, that’s theatre, if you’re British.

And, it’s bloody brilliant.

First of all, the builders usually have about five children and are obviously nutty as a fruitcake to even attempt this. But they DO attempt it, and they do so with that typical British cheerful oblivion to discomfort and mess that we Americans cannot even try to fathom. So, it’s like House Hunters International plus Property Brothers plus The Great British Bake-off when someone’s Victoria sponge slides off the table but no one even bats an eye and …oh you get the idea.

But wait, there’s more.

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Holy smokes, y’all. People are so smart. Did you know this?

Abstract: The Art of Design reminds you that the world is smushed full of really cool, innovative, interesting, creative people.  And you guys? I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I REALLY NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS.

We watched the episode on automative design. And then I sent the cherubs to bed and binged on the one about architecture, and graphic design, and illustration, but had to stop because the husband wasn’t home and I knew this was one of those Family Shows to Watch All Together kind of things. I showed great self-control and watched only two more.

Or three. I lost count after the one about stage design.

Look, I know Netflix is there for you for your guilty pleasure. It’s got your Grey’s Anatomy. It’s got your kids’ Ninjago.

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If you have boys, then you know.

It’s got Santa Clarita Diet which I really want to watch but am also kinda scared. I’ll keep you posted.

 

But, Netflix also has stuff that inspires and makes us dream and imagine, and just zings with creativity. These are the kinds of shows I watch and then, when I’m not watching, I’m thinking about them. They make me… percolate. As a writer, this stuff feeds my soul.

Oh, and back to my children? They’ve been drawing up plans for flying cars for ninjas all week. So, you can thank me later, automotive industry. Two semi-brilliant thinkie types are coming your way.

All because of Netflix. 🙂StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground.png

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Spring Break. And Netflix. Thank Goodness.

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So, we decided to to the Staycation at our house this spring break. For various reasons.

Reasons like:

  1. We’re broke.
  2. Also, we’re tired.
  3. And a little boring.

 

So, home, guys! HOME! It’s just LIKE the beach except no annoying sand! Or water! And I don’t have to slather you with lotion, so bonus!

One of my children informed me that HIS friend got to go to Royals Spring Training over spring break, and I informed him right back that that was impossible. Royals Spring Training is a mythical place, like where the Easter Bunny and Santa live. Also Disney. We can leave out a plate of pine tar and maybe some bubble gum, and maybe the Royals will be here with another World Series win soon.

So it’s all Staycation at Momsie’s house. It’s like we’re our own Sandals resort except… no it’s not that at all and I’m gonna stop now.

Besides, as I have told my children, when I grew up Spring Break was just about doing a lot more chores and helping dad till the garden. They both just blinked rapidly at that one and backed away.

Ok, so on our Fabulous Staycation we:

  1. The zoo. Everyone was tired. There was a lot of lolling about. The flamingos were pale. It was that kinda day.
  2. Bowling. It was dollar lanes on Tuesdays! I watched my wee sons hurl bowling balls for two hours with zero accuracy! It was awesome!
  3. Random jumping on trampolines at other people’s houses. Sometimes the houses were occupied. Other times not so much. We have not been arrested yet.
  4. Tomorrow we’re going to do some sort of golf thing that’s all neon and dark and has an arcade. I don’t know. It was my friend’s idea. I am not sure there is enough Exedrin to prepare for this, so I can’t write about it here. Shhhh. We won’t speak of it anymore. It’s the Fun Kid Thing that Cannot be Named.
  5. Another zoo on Friday cuz I get to see a friend I haven’t seen in a majillion years. Therefore, totally worth it. Maybe the animals will have figured out they’re on spring break and be up and about. Partying. Like animals.

Ok, amidst all this frivolity, we have hit mid week of Epic Spring Breakapalooza 2016 around here.

This is about when the enthusiasm wanes a bit and we all start to hate each other.

And for that I have a great remedy:

TELEVISON. TELEVISION FIXES EVERYTHING.

Don’t judge. We don’t judge here, at Momsie, right? I am just being honest and you KNOW there have been times when you too have foisted television on tired children because their brains can’t handle anymore spooning animals. At some point in the day, television, administered with the loving grace of a tired momma, is here to SAVE THE FLIPPING DAY BECAUSE PEOPLE I HAVE TO WRITE SOMETIME.

This entire BLOG is fueled by television and caffeine, my friends. So you can thank the mighty Netflixes for the Pulitzer material you have here, ok?

Our new favorite? ANYTHING Lego. We have officially been bit by the Lego bug. So, lately, the boys have been watching this:

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You know why I love this, right? It has no dialogue. Just music and an occasional siren. It’s kind of soothing, like watching a fireplace, just with good guys and bad guys and jail time.

Also: totally educational. Teaches my kids how to obey the law or they’ll end up in the slammer. Very important.

Then,there’s also this:

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Ok, I have to admit, I fought this one. You know –  Swords! Fighting! Flying dragons! Special powers! It all seemed so… NOT Curious George.*

Y’all, my boys do still watch Curious George. Occasionally I can even slip a Thomas the Train in there too. But, I have to accept that they like swords and stuff. They are five and seven years old, and yesterday they tried to make a sword out of a foam finger. Which was rather comical.

Now, you wonder: which came first? The chicken (my boys) or the egg (Ninjago)? Did I fuel this nuttiness? Or did it just come about on its own?

I don’t know. That’s why there is an entire wall of parenting books in my home. I don’t have time to read them right now, but I’ll get back to you on that.

So, I mutter the Serenity prayer, and my boys watch the good guys battle the bad guys, and good girls too – Nya rocks it:

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This is Nya.Notice the spunk. Also, cute red outfit and great hair. I kind of want to be her. But seriously, if I attempted that haircut you know I would just end up looking like:

This:

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But I digress.

So, after an episode of this Ninjago business, my boys promptly run upstairs and find their foam swords that I bought them and start whacking each other. This lasts for at least an hour.

So, also: Totally educational. They’re learning about other cultures. Also: Sword play is a great aerobic exercise, y’all. Healthy.

Oh friends. If I could keep them at Thomas the Train, I would. But since Caillou was also another of their favorites at that time, I will have to say, let’s move on from the whiny bald kid, and learn how to do a ninja tuck and roll into the kitchen when I call you for lunch. It is impressive and has lots of flair. Caillou couldn’t do that.

That is the barometer around here: Essentially, if it can kick Caillou’s bum, we are all for it.

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* Netflix ALSO has ALL the awesome PBS kids show you love: Curious George, Thomas the Train, Martha Speaks… Word Girl (LOVE her!) And yes, Caillou. He’s there too. The weirdo.

 

 

How to Have a Great Spring Break in Ten Easy Steps!

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Don’t worry. This will make sense later on. Maybe.

 

I’m a mom. (You knew that, right?) And so, therefore, I am an expert on  all children.

Really. You should trust me. Why? Because I have a delightful sense of humor and I love Jesus. What’s not to trust?

Much in the fashion of those nice people that grace our block every year wearing their earnest, short-sleeved white shirts and bad ties whilst cheerfully holding a bunch of Armageddon countdown pamphlets, Spring Break has come calling. And I answered with all the aplomb and ease of a woman who can use the word “aplomb” with … aplomb.

We’re right smack dab in the middle of our Spring Break, and I bet some of you mommies are wondering: “Well, this was all fun for about ten hours, but what in the heck do I DO with the wee darlings today? We have FIVE MORE DAYS OF ALL THIS TOGETHERNESS-WACK LEFT, PEOPLE.  I need help!”

First of all, let me just say, I totally don’t feel like that at ALL.

But for those of you who do, don’t feel guilty. Nope. It’s not a measurement of your ability to parent or your moral character. It’s just that you aren’t as wonderful at life as I am. *

So…

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Fear not mommies!  Because I have compiled a handy list of all my favorite, wholesome and engaging children’s activities just for you! It’s about to get all Pinterest-y all up in hereeeere!

I bring you:

The Spring Break List of Awesomeness:

1. Stay in bed and write blog posts while the children watch Curious George. When they watch the end part that always has the cute schoolchildren and wonderful learning activity with the actual child-centered experiments and such, hide MORE so they don’t come to you and ask to make a bunch of muddy canals in the backyard demonstrating the life cycle of water. That’s crazy talk.

2. Explore your local library! No, really, I mean really explore it. Take them to your library, set them free in the paperback Westerns, and tell them to find a book about moth balls. Offer twenty dollars to the first one who finds it. Sit in a comfy chair and cheer them on while you knit and sip coffee. But, cheer quietly, because it’s a library. **

3. Make it an educational day! Speak only in Spanish to them all day long. Include one episode of Dora the Explorer in this day to appease the crying. If you need brushing up on your Spanish, watch something with Antonio Banderas on the Netflixes.

4. Make some homemade crafts out of some quinoa and washi tape. This should go well.

5. Baking day! Start making cookies. Realize you are out of: flour, eggs, enthusiasm. Offer children chocolate chips and some baking soda for lunch. Mommy is the best!

6. Come to think of it, you know the husband has hidden Girl Scout crack cookies somewhere in this house because you are on a no-sugar thing. Despise him. Offer both children twenty dollars to find the cookies! Treasure hunt! Occasionally speak in a pirate voice to add ambiance. (Bonus points offered if pirate speaks Spanish.)

7. At one point, collapse on the floor. Tell children you’re playing charades. You’re the rug.

8.  Consider going outside. Realize this is just going to create children who, like, want to play with you outside ALL THE TIME.  Holy fresh air, that’s nutball. Go back and repeat #7.

9. Actually sit with them and play Candyland. Lose your will to live.

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10. Oh, enjoy it. Your children are only this age for so long and blah blah blah. Spring break is just as scared of you as you are of it. Take control and take the little darlings hiking or bowling or whatnot.

But do not, under any circumstances, play Candyland. There’s fun, and then there’s just rampant indulging your children in mind-sucking awful. Lets face it. Candyland is Bad Parenting. It only promotes cavities and virulent boredom. Put on PBS Kids and call it good.

 

 

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“Mamma mia, here I go again. My my, how can I resist you? Mamma mia, does it show again? My my, just how much I’ve missed you…”

 

*Seriously. We’re going a little crazy over here. An Abba dance party is about all I’m up to today.

**If you do this, understand that my local library is rather tiny and not scary. It houses not scary patrons who don’t stay there all day and mutter. Some libraries do have LARGENESS and muttering.  Substitute “Let’s explore the basement! Whoever finds my box of ABBA albums wins!” kind of activity if this is the case. And, if you don’t actually have any Abba albums? Well, bless your heart.