Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No More Tinsel Teeth

I took Evie to the orthodontist this morning to get her braces off. After a year of trying to floss with braces, I wasn't sure who was more excited about the appointment. Then Evie came out, brace-free, with a bag of Bubble Gum, caramels, Laffy Taffy and Mars Bars and a huge white smile... and I realized she wasn't even thinking about the whole flossing issue. She still might need braces again when she's a teenager, but for now, we're just celebrating her beautiful smile.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Year, Less Stuff

My new year began with a burning bowl ceremony in a yoga studio in Weaverville, North Carolina. (Well, technically I guess 2011 began on a dance floor in Asheville at 12:01 am, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it). The instructor handed us each a sheet of paper and asked us what we’d like to release in 2011. Our answers were burned together in a bowl and sent out to the universe. And so, as the universe already knows, this year I am releasing stuff.

By stuff, I mean junk, crap, clutter, what I see when I walk into the girls' room and look at the floor and what is surrounding my computer on my desk right now. In Kingston's book Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui, she explains that "any kind of clutter creates an obstacle to the smooth flow of energy around a space. This in turn creates stuckness and/or confusion in the lives of the occupants". With three growing girls, we have a lot of energy around our space. Keeping it flowing smoothly seems like a good idea to me.

To add to my desire to get rid of clutter, we are moving into a not-so-big house in May (fortunately just down the street this time). So now, along with seeing every pile of clutter on the floor as blocking our energy, I also am starting to see it as something I'm going to have to physically move. It's amazing how quickly that detaches you from objects.

I have to say, as far as resolutions go, I am off to a good start this year. Last week, I took three garbage bags full of clothing to Goodwill and I already have two more in the car. Today we sold a television and two car seats on Craig’s List. And is energy flowing smoothly around the house? It is! I can actually walk into the girls' room and feel peaceful.

But I recognize that this is January. It's Resolution Month. The month when optimistic exercisers burn calories on every machine at the gym and packs full of cigarettes are tossed hopefully into the trash. The challenge is to keep this up all year and beyond. I am determined to do it. I have visions of more trips to Goodwill, more books checked out and then returned to the library, fewer purchases of things we don't actually need. And I am finally going to sort through that junk room in the basement.

The only thing that has me a little worried is that as I was writing this, I started to think that I might have written about having too much stuff at some point before. Sure enough, two and a half years ago I made this same announcement. And two and a half years and two moves later, we definitely do have less stuff than we did then, but it's starting to creep up on us again and I can't say that I've held firm in my less stuff commitment.

But then again, I didn't release my intention into the universe in a burning bowl ceremony either. And so, 2011, with the universe behind me, I now pronounce you the year of less stuff.

And if any of you are find yourself in Weaverville, North Carolina anytime soon, I know of a great little yoga studio.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How to Teach Your Three-Year-Old to Ski

You will need:

- Two skis
- Two ski boots
- One helmet
- One princess helmet cover. This is not actually necessary for teaching skiing, but will make your daughter feel like a rock star when people she doesn’t know ask to take her picture. Also, once she learns to ski, it’ll be easier to find her in the crowd. If your child isn't into wearing a princess helmet cover, there are lots of different options. (click here) If you really want to stand out in the crowd, you might want to check out the matching family raccoon helmets they show on there...especially if you want your child to learn to ski away from you really quickly.
-One harness
- One Edgie-Wedgie
- 300 chocolate chips and gummy bears

On the first day of skiing, you might think that holding your child between your legs while you ski down the mountain seems like a good idea. Unless you want to support your local chiropractor, investing in a harness is a smart move. It’s a great way to allow your child to balance on her own without breaking your own back. Once she gets the hang of this, you can just enjoy that your child can get down the mountain and that she enjoys the feeling of skiing. And you can enjoy some new ski-related conversations, like how the “magic carpet” at the ski area differs from the magic carpet that Jasmine rides on in Aladdin.

Of course, when you take the harness off your child, you’ll realize that while she may have learned to ski, she didn’t actually learn to stop. Which is kind of important. Here’s where the Edgie-Wedgie comes in handy. The next step is to take your child off the harness and attach the Edgie-Wedgie to her skis. If you consider yourself the type of parent who is above bribing her child, you might just attempt skiing backwards in front of your child yelling “Make a pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” She’ll look at you like you’re crazy, with her skis in perfect parallel lines, before crash-stopping into you and telling you she wants to get some lunch. And pizza will sound kind of good to you too.

At this point, you might as well just give in and accept that bribery can be really effective at times. Then you can fill your pockets with gummy bears and chocolate chips and attempt the backwards skiing pizza drill again, handing out a piece of candy every time she makes a snowplow. And this time? It works. Your child may gain her weight in gummy bears before she learns to ski, but there’s nothing quite like watching her go down the mountain with a huge smile on her face, yelling “I’m skiing!” Of course, it’s not a perfect system. On the last run of the day yesterday, I told Noni to “make a pizza” and she asked, “Why? You’re out of chocolate chips.”