Friday Funday!

As far as I can tell we’re in for a fairly low-key weekend. The temperature is slowly rising, but there’s a lot to do around the house (boring house-keeping type stuff) so we’ll most likely stay in.  Would you believe we only just recently ventured into fort making with the kids?

Fort3

I’m not sure why we haven’t done it before, but I think we owe the kids a really spectacular fort to make up for not showing them the joys of forts sooner.

Fort2

Plus, with my need to have blankets everywhere, we should be able to build the fort of all forts with a little ingenuity.  It shall be glorious!

Fort1

Anyhoo, how about some recent fun/interesting links for your Friday?

New guidelines on how much sleep you should get.

19 frustrating things kids today will never get to experience.

I will probably never declutter my house either (even if I’d like to).

I see 34, and I definitely do not wear yellow.

And in case you’ve been living in a box.  Who wants to babysit opening weekend?

 

New Look!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I have a new banner!  I’m excited about it, and no, I did not draw it myself. I can’t draw to save my life and I think have lost every single game of Pictionary I’ve ever played.  I’m that bad at drawing. So, I have Jenny from Candy Face Creative to thank for my banner and fun schtuff!  She has a really cute Etsy shop with cards and custom portraits and other sweet print offerings.

I just felt it was time for something a little more fun that reflected me/us better since blogging has become a fun little hobby that I enjoy.  I’ve always liked journaling and since my memory is horrible right now, it’s nice to have an easy way to go back in time to remember a moment or where we went that one time.  I’ve also enjoyed connecting with new people from various places.  I’m an introvert so meeting people and actually making friends will never be an easy task for me, so it’s nice that the internet has made it very easy to find others with similar interests who in turn become acquaintances I might never have had the pleasure of coming in contact with otherwise.

Anyhoo, thanks to everyone for liking the new Facebook page as well!  I just thought it would be nice to keep the blog posts separate from my personal page… because.  I don’t expect to get hundreds and hundreds of followers, but it’s nice to separate the two so I can keep some things private and share other things more freely.

 

Currently

Because sometimes it just doesn’t fit anywhere else.

PlayroomMadness

Reading

Finally reading ‘The Princess Bride.’  I know, I know, how can I even consider myself a fan when I’m only just now reading the book.  There you have it, though. It’s a fun read so far and I’m enjoying it. I can often hear the voices as I read along and will most likely watch the movie for the 100th time as soon I finish.  I really don’t feel like either take away from each other and both can be enjoyed for their similarities and differences.

Watching

Well, I was watching Downton Abbey (of course), but now that the season has ended, I’ll probably just keep watching Gilmore Girls and movies.  Josh and I are almost done with Fringe… I feel like we’re dragging out this final season because we have no idea what we’ll watch when we’re done.  We never did finish The X Files or Star Trek TNG for that matter.  Perhaps we’ll go back to those.  As far as movies go… the last one we watched was Lucy and that was a bit of a dud.  Fairly ridiculous, although there was this one moment where we both laughed a lot. I’m not sure if we were supposed to be laughing, but it was so silly.  We also watched Gone Girl and thankfully Josh felt the same way about it as I did. Surprisingly, I liked it better than the book, though.  The ending remained a huge WTF that we both felt was absurd.

Eating/Drinking

Probably way more chocolate than I should. I’m an emotional eater, though, and have been eating so many sweets lately. Time to cut back, I think.  We’ve been roasting kale sprouts lately, though, and I really just want to have kale chips every single night.  I’m also trying to cut back on coffee and drink more tea (especially green) and more water.

Making

I’ve been trying to bake more lately, but that doesn’t always work out. I did make some yummy little blueberry almond tea cakes, but the kids weren’t huge fans, so I’ll probably make something like cookies with them this weekend.  Plus, I haven’t made a loaf of bread since before we went to California and I have that huge cookbook with different ideas for bread to make.  Although we do have frozen pizza dough that I made in the freezer, so perhaps we’ll make pizzas this week instead of ordering out!

Planning

Not much, to be honest.  With warmer weather we do plan to get out more, though.  We have our zoo membership we plan on using a lot and there’s a new space exhibit at the Science Museum that I want to check out as well.  With Phoebe getting better at walking each day I’m trying to think of more places to take her where she can stretch her legs now and then without getting lost in a crowd.  We didn’t go camping last year either, and have decided we want to give it a try with both kids this year and are going to cross our fingers it’s not a total bust due to mosquitoes (like the last time we went with Enzo).

Thinking About

The impending arrival of Spring!  The forecast says we have 50 degree weather in the near future and with the snow we received this morning, I could not be more thrilled.  We are in desperate need of warm weather here. There are so many little house and yard projects to complete this year, and the sooner we have nice weather, the sooner we can tackle those.  We’re also thinking about getting a minivan in the nearish future.  Yes, they’re horribly uncool and I don’t really want to drive a big ole boat around since I can barely parallel park as it is, but there is just so much room in a minivan! All I can think about is how much stuff we could fit in one (like everything for camping).

Eleanor and Park – Review

EleanorandPark

My reading has slowed down a tad due to various things popping up, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on ‘Eleanor and Park’ by Rainbow Rowell, which I finished reading not too long ago. You may have heard the name due its growing popularity, and honestly it’s for good reason. I typically don’t read a lot of YA fiction, but after reading many reviews I thought it might be worth the time.  I don’t have anything against YA fiction, but (and this is a huge generalization considering I haven’t read much… since I was a teen) so often the dialogue and story feel “dumbed down” for younger readers.  I think I’ve just read too many YA novels wherein the dialogue didn’t feel real and the writing itself seemed to be missing depth.  This was not the case with ‘Eleanor and Park.’

I really enjoyed Rowell’s writing style and felt the interactions and dialogue between the characters was fairly realistic.  Eleanor and Park get off to a rocky start, but end of forming an unlikely friendship, which in turn becomes an even more unlikely romance.  Both are somewhat outcasts, though Eleanor so much more. While I couldn’t necessarily relate to either character in full, there were definitely moments that transported me back to high school (unfortunately).  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I turned the first pages, but if you’re hoping for something light-hearted and happy, this isn’t really it.

I think Rowell accurately captures the awkwardness of being a teenager and the heartache of young love.  On the one hand I felt their emotions towards each other switched rather hastily (and in reality this relationship as well as others in the book would have been improbable), but the part of me that cheers for the outcasts and losers liked that these two teenagers found each other, especially Eleanor.  While at times Eleanor was so exasperating to me, I did feel bad for her character and the extremely dysfunctional background she came from. You can’t really blame her for her extreme lack of self-confidence and cynicism.

This book isn’t perfect by any means, but I did feel it captured many teenage emotions accurately as well as the fact that teenagers can be a tad frustrating and selfish at times (I was a teenager once, so I can say this). I’m not an expert in terms of racism or what Ohio was like in the mid 80’s, but I have a feeling that some portrayals of racism or the lack thereof, are somewhat inaccurate and sort of brushed over.  The ending was also somewhat anticlimactic and open-ended, which was somewhat annoying because it would have been nice to see certain storylines wrapped up.  Even with the little things I didn’t like, I couldn’t help but keep reading.  I got sucked in and that’s always a good sign.

The Highly Sensitive Person (or parent)

It was around Thursday on our trip that Enzo’s tantrums started to get extreme – some of the worst he’s ever had, and that night was not an easy one. Friday night would prove to be even worse, but we won’t get into it.  We were all tired and both kids were just ready to get home to their own beds.  This isn’t the first time we’ve encountered major mood swings with Enzo, though.

ThoughtfulPlay

When Josh used to have to travel for work, if he was gone for longer than 3 days, Enzo would start to get really cranky and start having more intense tantrums than usual.  He’s always had intense emotions, and that’s when I started looking into whether or not he’s a Highly Sensitive Child at the suggestion of a coworker. It turns out he may take after me, as I definitely have the characteristics of a Highly Sensitive Person (I scored 20/27).

“A highly sensitive child is one of the fifteen to twenty percent of children born with a nervous system that is highly aware and quick to react to everything. This makes them quick to grasp subtle changes, prefer to reflect deeply before acting (hmm… maybe not so much), and generally behave conscientiously. They are also easily overwhelmed by high levels of stimulation, sudden changes, and the emotional distress of others. Because children are a blend of a number of temperament traits, some HSCs are fairly difficultactive, emotionally intense, demanding, and persistent–while others are calm, turned inward, and almost too easy to raise except when they are expected to join a group of children they do not know. But outspoken and fussy or reserved and obedient, all HSCs are sensitive to their emotional and physical environment.” The Highly Sensitive Child

Granted, we could be completely wrong (there are some things on the checklist that are not him at all), but it seems to make some sense considering his moods get very extreme when there are major changes in his environment and he often gets very upset over seemingly small things. It’s definitely tricky because he’s also at an age where most toddlers/pre-schoolers often have tantrums over random things and can easily be set off by hunger or not enough sleep, so my biggest question is what is considered “normal” and what would be considered “extreme.”

SoSerious

I have definitely discovered a lot about myself in just the past week, though, and have come to realize that quite often Enzo and I set each other off because we both feed off each other’s emotions and are often sensitive to the same things, but react in different ways.  As an HSP, I can definitely say that the hardest part of parenting for me is the crying/screaming.  I am very sensitive to loud noises and they make me very uncomfortable.  At times, such as the past week, they are unbearable and that is when I tend to lose it and become slightly irrational and fly off the handle and I hate to say it, but basically have my own tantrums. So his tantrum sets me off, then my reaction sets him off some more.  It’s taking a long time to try and figure this all out.  Almost every day lately he has at least one bad tantrum.  I’ve been able to stay mostly calm for the past couple days, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Little Phoebe gets so upset when she sees her brother upset and it breaks my heart that he is struggling with his emotions and the world around him right now.  So…

We are starting therapy/counseling. I’m not an expert, but it does seem like something is off, and there must be a better way to parent him.  I know you should never compare your children, but when I look at the difference between Enzo’s tantrums at 15-16 months and Phoebe’s… there’s a definite difference.  I would love to be able to help teach Enzo how to calm down in the moment and not let so many things upset him, so we’re (Josh and I) going to do whatever we can to learn how to communicate better between the two of us and in turn figure out the best way to help our kiddo.

(At 16 months old)

That being said, it’s not all bad being a highly sensitive person.  I found several websites that focus on the advantages of being highly sensitive rather than the difficulties, and it’s always nicer to hear the positive than the negative, right?

  • The ability to concentrate deeply
  • Notice subtleties
  • Good at tasks requiring attention, accuracy and speed
  • Able to process material at deeper levels
  • Able to learn something new without being aware of learning it.
  • Highly conscientious
  • Highly empathetic
  • Creative/Visionary
  • Intuitive
  • Soulful/Spiritual

In reality, being highly sensitive is something I consider a strength overall.  We all have something we struggle with and have to work at, so my “curses” are just something I have to learn to deal with, and if Enzo is truly the same, we’ll have to learn how to cope and work together.  We can’t go through life avoiding everything that makes us uncomfortable or challenges us (and boy does parenting ever challenge you at times).

Links

http://introvertdear.com/2014/10/18/highly-sensitive-person-advantages/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrea-wachter/advantages-of-being-highl_b_6141146.html

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/beyondblue/2010/03/5-gifts-of-being-highly-sensit.html

http://coachingwithchristina.com/12-benefits-of-being-a-highly-sensitive-person/