Our People

Herr Husband and I had date night tonight, and as we so often do, we found ourselves among white sexagenarian Cantabrigians. Not sure what this says about us or our sense of fun.

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And of course, Paula Poundstone was hilarious.

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Snowpocalypse?

Is that what we’re supposed to call it?  Snowmageddon? Snopocalypse? Snopacshakur?

Anyway, I’m excited. This is my confession (to be sung to the tune of that Usher song, which is what Herr Husband and I do when we’re admitting something embarrassing):

I actually like snow days with my kids because I feel like we can be lazy,

and don’t have to get anything accomplished.

Here are some possible activities, all of which might be thrown over in order to focus on items 1, 6, 7, and 8.

Children in the snow. Like tomorrow, only with less snow.

Children in the snow. Like tomorrow, only with less snow.

1. Fire in the fireplace.

2. Homemade playdough (using the mixer is a big thing for our kids, thanks to George and Martha and Curious George and the Birthday Surprise), which leads to Strega Nona re-enactments and making Sad Owl.

3. Mouse Paint, inspired by the book, Mouse Paint, whereby my kids strip and paint with their bodies on paper that’s been taped to the floor. This leads to a bath, perhaps with a shaving cream fight.

4. Lots of book reading. Elephant and Piggie (we own like twelve of them) are figuring prominently these days because Das Big Boy can read many of the words in them himself!

5. Freeze jump (like freeze dance, but with jumping) in Little Liebchen’s crib.

6. Hot chocolate drinking.

7. Red wine drinking (21+ only).

8. Watching of George and Martha and Thomas, undoubtedly.

She finds this snowman very funny. Let's see how she feels about all the snow tomorrow.

She finds this snowman very funny. Let’s see how she feels about all the snow tomorrow.

9. Playing in the ball pit.

10. Playing tea party.

11. Chasing the children with an oven mitt, Beejer, and/or a toss pillow.

12. Junk food eating.

13. Puzzles.

14. Puppet making.

15. Crow playing.

16. Thomas coloring book coloring.

17. Pillow fort building.

Herr Husband won’t be going to work, obviously, and we’re stocked up on real food, junk food, kid essentials, wine, etc. The devices are fully charged. I think it promises to be cozy and exciting. We’ll check in tomorrow to see if I was right.


Jam Time!

Wheeeeee!

Wheeeeee!

She is very proud of herself.

She is very proud of herself.

Do you live locally? If not, skip this post. If yes, keep reading. Do you have kids? If not, skip this post. If so, keep reading. Have we discussed Jam Time already? If yes, you too can skip this post. But if not, hold onto your hats! I’m about to drop some useful parenting info on that ass. (I wonder if that phrase has ever been uttered/written before? Google says no.)

Go to Jam Time in Natick (or in Maynard, but I’ve never been to that one). Before you go, you and your children can shout Jam Time in a silly voice and amuse yourselves endlessly. And then once you’re there, you can alternate between playing with your children and practicing benign neglect as they work on their independence and you gab with your friends (today, Rocky and her pals).

Jam Time is clean, quieter than other indoor play spaces (it’s the carpet), and friendly. It’s small enough that you can let your kids wander and then find them with ease. The people are friendly and they have organic junk food for sale (they understand their client demographic well). There’s a bounce house, a ball pit, a train table, a pretend fire station, a lot of ride on toys, costumes, and climbing stuff/slides. Everyone leaves happy, and my kids fall asleep on time. Win.


Hootenanny

Every year, one of Herr Husband’s colleagues has an amazing house concert featuring a Nova Scotian folk duo called Naming the Twins. They play a healthy mix of their own beautiful material and sing-along folk standards.

We went tonight and it was luminous. It was a foot stomping, Irish shanty, Bob Dylan, ballad, and country good time. A mandolin, violin, guitar and vocal harmony good time. Fun fun.

They’ll be coming to you if you live in places like Georgia, or NYC, or Rhode Island. Check them out. You’ll thank me.


Family Playdates

Shown here is Hipster Hausfrau hurling foam blocks at her gleeful children in the foam pit.

Shown here is Hipster Hausfrau hurling foam blocks at her gleeful children in the foam pit.

I’m a big believer in family playdates. That is, playdates at which whole families get together so kids can frolic and parents can alternate between playing with children and chatting with adults while drinking wine. It’s a gift to find people you love whose family dynamics fit with yours. I feel lucky that we have several local families with whom we enjoy getting together en masse. I loved growing up with family friends, and I love that I have that for myself and my kids as an adult. It’s nice for Herr Husband, too, because sometimes it feels like because I’m the stay-at-home-parent, I get all of the friends in our community, so I’m glad when he gets in on the fun.

Today it was the Rocky Landlord Tribe and the Husband Hausfraus. We started at Launch, a superfun trampoline park (oddly owned by Ty Law, who can apparently show up there and hang out with you at any time, according to the website. I wish HH had worn his Ty Law jersey, because then maybe Ty would have come to say hello). Then we (just us and the Rocky Landlords;  Ty Law did not join us) came to our house for pizza, wine, and general merriment. And by general merriment I mean me breaking a wine glass and Herr Husband throwing the entirety of Rocky and the Landlord’s pizza on the floor. And they didn’t care at all because a) they’re awesome, and b) they pretty much know what to expect from me. Which also includes an untidy home.

I can tell the rest of you are now eager to become my family friends, too.


Regression

Love. Of each other. But also of Thomas and the Christmas Engines, which, frankly, I'm over.

Love. Of each other. But also of Thomas and the Christmas Engines, which, frankly, I’m over.

Nope. Not one of the kids. They’re plugging along. Being adorable. Like this.

But Herr Husband and I have rediscovered an old obsession. Some of you may have joined us in at one time or another.

That’s right.

Karaoke Revolution for PS2.

We dug it out of the basement on Sunday night and played for three hours. And we’re about to fire up the rickety old game system and our rickety old voices again. It’s amazing that after five years of not having played it, we remember a lot of the tricks to the songs, and still consistently have our strengths (me on “Careless Whisper,” or anything by Cyndi Lauper/Britney/Madonna; Herr Husband on anything lilting and earnest from the late 90s/early oughts, like “Kiss Me,” “Every Morning,” or “The First Cut is the Deepest,” as well as all R&B and soul songs. Basically, I dominate the eighties and Britney, he owns everything else.)

robots vs gothsWe like to play as Robots vs. Goths. (Wouldn’t you?). At the moment we can’t find a memory card, meaning the proper robot has yet to be unlocked, leaving poor Herr Husband to play as a lady robot instead of his usual boxier, more masculine avatar. He’s cool with it.

If I’m being honest, Robots usually win.

But Goths are ready to go kick some ass. Wish me luck.


Words (from other folks…)

I thought I’d recommend some children’s books tonight. These are some of our favorites with which you might not be familiar. Do me a favor and share some of yours/your kids’, too. As always, I recommend you support your local bookseller (or mine, Wellesley Books!).

1) Dinosaur Rescue, by Penny Daledinosaur rescue

Ok, so high literature this one is not. It’s essentially pandering to the interests of preschoolers: dinosaurs, crashes, railroad crossings (what, your kids don’t demand you drive them past certain crossing gates multiple times a day?), trains, emergency vehicles, and easily-resolved crises. You pretty much can’t go wrong with this combo. Repetitive, readable prose and brightly colored, highly detailed illustrations make this one the whole package. And it’s led to some fun play schemes in our house, too.

2) Who Will Comfort Toffle? and The Book About Moomin, Mymble, and Little My, by Tove Jansson

toffleThese charming books are translated from the Finnish. Written in whimsical, rhyming couplets, they’re quirky and heartfelt. Toffle is about a lonely soul who finally finds his match, and Mymble is about a quest to find a lost sister. Both take place in the same mystical world. Mymble has spectacular cut-outs on every page, and both use vivid drawings of their invented beings. They’re on the long side (especially Toffle), but they hold my kids’ attention.

3) Stop Snoring Bernard, by Zachariah Ohorabernard.

Bernard is an otter with a snoring problem. His pals kick him out of the otter exhibit, and he tries to find a new spot in the zoo. Don’t worry, it ends happily. The heavy line drawings look like woodcuts, and the simple prose, animal characters, and opportunity to make loud snoring sounds will amuse toddlers and preschoolers.

4) I Must Have Bobo! by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal

boboWilly’s lovey is his sock monkey, Bobo. But Earl the cat loves Bobo, too. So they battle over him. The line drawings use pops of primary colors, and the words take over the pages at some point. Simple enough that little ones can start “reading” along with you. A favorite of each of my kids between eighteen months and two (but DBB still enjoys it at four).

5) Listen, Listen,listen by Phillis Geshator and Alison Jay

Another rhyming book with highly detailed illustrations: cute little animals, lovely landscapes, and frolicking folks. The book goes through the seasons, describing the changes in nature and the different activities people can enjoy. It highlights the sounds of each season with lots of opportunities for kids to make sound effects. Charming and beautiful, it’s a great book for games of I spy.

So what are your family’s favorites? Share in the comments! We’re always on the hunt for new books and love getting favorites from friends. We were just introduced (via gift) to the wonderful Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen. Circus animals survive a wreck at sea and become valued members of a Maine community! And a Facebook post taught us about Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen’s Mercy Watson, the toast-loving, problem-solving, trouble-making porcine wonder!