Tuesday, December 20, 2016

{hope & happiness} from the carlsons

Happy Holidays!
2016 was a good year for us, and hope it was for you as well ~
Below is a quick summary of our most memorable notes of the year (in no particular order):
  • Had some great travel time in San Diego and St. Louis - highly recommend both! 

  • Shipped the kids to the Grandparents (in Iowa) to get their little hands dirty on the farm. Then Mom and Dad HIT THE TOWN. And slept. A lot.

  • Kevin became a magician after graduating from Magic University (lesser known competitor to Hogwarts). He volunteers regularly at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital (Comer), bringing home inspiring and sweet stories with each experience.

  • Tracy planned to pick up tennis again -- purchased a membership, gathered gear, and made court reservations. Then fell down some stairs, twisted her knee, landing her in physical therapy. Trying again in 2017!

  • Chase loves Kindergarten, has become a confident reader/writer, and recently started making his own dinners (always with a "touch" of salami). Related note: parents have had more cleanup to do in the kitchen area.

  • Kiefer has yet to meet a car, train, or truck he doesn't want to play with and will do nearly anything for a skittle. Quite possibly the sweetest and kindest friend we have ever witnessed. 

  • After a full year and not a little cash, our kids have grown leaps and bounds as swimmers. Previously it felt like forcing cats into a bath; now their heads are under water and some independent swimming is happening! 
All the best to you this holiday season ~

Kevin, Tracy, Chase (6 years) & Kiefer (4 years)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Homework for Adults

The other day we took the boys to see Zootopia, an undeniably fantastic movie.

Which you already know, so that won't be dissected today.

But here's the thing.  I went to this movie like all other films I watch -- with as little preparation as possible. Loving the surprise factor, my best-case scenario is knowing nothing pre-show.

Yet early into this movie, it became clear my tactic may not be ideal when it came to kids' films.

The movie had many themes expertly woven throughout and laid a fantastic foundation to have discussions around stereotypes, teamwork, and grit.

And I wasn't prepared.

By walking blindly into the movie, this dumb bunny missed an opportunity to have those questions and conversation starters ready to go as the credits rolled.

You may be thinking this has never been a problem for you.  Well, I am happy for you.  Sort of.

While many parents can quickly convert what they see and hear into appropriate dialog for their children on the spot, I cannot. My brain requires more absorption time. And a little internet research.

I say these values are important to me, yet why on earth am I not doing my part to prepare?

Wish I could say Zootopia was the first time this weak methodology came into play. A few months ago, we excitedly cracked open a new book and midway through I realized this wasn't a basic "learn to share" book, this was philosophical.  Not only did I need to figure out what the message was (I honestly hadn't grasped it yet), but also how to explain it best for a 3 year old and 5 year old to understand.

In case you are wondering how well I did with the book scenario above, it was an epic fail.

Luckily I don't have to be too hard on myself as there is often a second chance extended.  And third. Because in our house, when our kids ask a question once, they ask it dozen times.

In retrospect, maybe it's because they know I need some time to do my homework.

If you would like to do a little pre-movie research, I have found common sense media is a great resource for movies, TV shows, books, games, and Apps.

Speaking of Apps, they also have an easy to use app: Kids Media.