Me and my kiddo

Me and my kiddo

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cute Antics Update

It's been awhile since I've updated with cute antics here!  So, here goes and I'll add some pictures too :)

Cute antics:

• playing history taboo, he got a wee bit excited when he figured it out and yelled, "The Decapitation of Prague!"  (That would be "defenestration", but he got it after I started laughing.)
• when promising to do his writing work as soon as we got home, "I swear upon my honor is that good enough!"
• with imaginary pistol and lots of vigor… chasing sea gulls.
• asking, "Can you read some Star Wars or are you trashed for bed?" (After we laughed and explained how trashed is usually used, he continued…) "So that got enough energy into you to do it please?"
• overhearing me say to Andrew something about a playful, teasing compliment being perhaps in a depreciating tone, Cameron called over, "If you're being sarcastic with Mom, JUST TELL HER!"

• responding to his dad's teasing about all the spicy foods we could include in dinners with a dead pan, "You're fired as a dad."  He added after the laughs,  "Not really."
• Sprinting to the stairs yelling "Frisbee for action!" and then explaining how he was going to defend me from a burglar by throwing a foam frisbee at him.
• asking "Could you write me any skip the dinner for free cards?"  (Perhaps a wee bit too much fun in iPad Monopoly?)
• looking at his bowl of soup that didn't seem to be getting smaller and commenting, "This soup is having a reincarnation problem."  (Um, no that would be he was tinkering with legos and not eating, but it was an amusing use of the word I'd just explained that morning during his myth class!)
• expertly  putting together the multiple pieces of a word problem and then declaring, "So now we have our interaction party!" (And then verbally acted out of the various steps with drama.)
• setting serial timers for himself to monitor his iPad playing
• stating "I'll collapse when I'm done." and proceeding to run 80 laps around my parents house before bed time... ya, just a little energy.
• after I'd mentioned hearing the stomping for several minutes told me he hadn't been sitting and focusing while brushing his teeth, he grinned and told me, "No, I was marching around my room and thinking about the French Revolution."  (Is it any wonder he looses focus on doing a thorough job!  He literally marches to the beat of a different drummer... challenging and delightful :) )

• "Of course every concoction needs chocolate chips!" (Responding to an incredulous look when describing his latest meal concoction of tomato soup, cream, dolhma insides, and... chocolate chips.)
• after a teasing guilt trip from my dad, Cameron responded with this elaborate compliment and then proceeded to tell us through his laughter that he wanted to keep up the "drama".
• playing clue, "I suggest Grandpa did it with his compassionate candle stick!"
• responding to the query if his philosophy of life was "eat drink and be merry" with, "No, video games, Calvin and Hobbes, and staying home."
• playful teasing, he grabbed my bra and kept meowing like a cat.  When I responded "Let go of my Bra, Azriel", he replied, "All right gargoyle!"  (Um, he hasn't watched Smurfs in awhile, so his take on "Gargamel" was a bit off.)
• getting hungry while the hippos were snoring in his Dance Mat Typing computer program, he spent all week referring to the feeling of hunger as the "hippos' curse"
• pondering after he'd thrown a pencil in frustration, "I need a better way of expressing my last straw."  (It's awesome that he can contain this kind of thing at school.  We're working on those better expressions at home where he feels more comfortable.  This was the first time I heard him pondering on his own and it was cute that he added part of an idiom :) )
• dictating a fun thank you to my parents :)
Thank you for inviting us to your house.  One of my favorite parts was being on the scooter.  I liked the speed and being able to go around the neighborhood.  Particular hills that were very steep and just places to go were great. I liked playing UNO the most with Grandpa.  I like how dramatic Grandpa is when it comes to UNO Attack, like patting the machine when it doesn't give you cards and when it does just scowling at it.  I also liked the Clue game because you're really good at it and I really had to think about it.  You said your suggestions with such intensity like the person had done a real murder and you were upset about it; that drama was particularly fun.  You might not have seen it, but I was pooped after those a hundred laps and when I got home, no, I did not do 111 laps, I only did 30.  But, I don't think I wanted to do 111 laps after how exhausted I was.  Rooney was a good dog and I like him.  I mean "Is a good dog"; it's not like he's dead already.  I like that he's nice and good to pet.  Thanks again!

• these two history smiles:
We've had a double dose of history delights!  First, the Dawes Plan? Where America basically sent money to Germany so Germany could send it to Britain and France so Britain and France could send it back to America... well, my kiddo was listening to me read The Great Brain last night. The Great Brain rigs this plan where the allowance money is going in a circle so that he gets all his money back and doesn't have to do the chores. My kiddo declared that The Great Brain was like Germany and this was the Dawes Plan of Adenville, Utah! How's that for learning from history! Yay for History at Our house
Then, we did long division! Oh, what a morning of giggles! He decided to make it more interesting by describing attacks of numbers early on in the division as pyrrhic victories as he continued down the seven digit number!  Enjoy the video and smiles of a kid who really loves to show off his knowledge :)
This is the video description I posted: We've been integrating all my eight year old's math knowledge by having him do everything from fractions with finding a common denominator to exponents (we just started talking in more depth about decimals throughout arithmetic, so that's a newer skill) and then, the goal was proper ordering of the results from lowest to highest (including negative numbers).  Here he chooses to make long division more exciting by turning it into a battle!
• and dictating this letter to his prior teacher / classmates in Washgington:
Dear Mrs. Kier and her scholars,
Thank you for the letters book!  I like how it was so organized and it was beautiful, even in black and white form!  To answer some of your questions, I don't have a pet yet, but I'm going to get twenty pet ants and then I'll have lots of pets.  I'm getting twenty ants for an ant farm and to watch it on the kitchen counter.  I'm living on Laurel Road in the Santa Cruz mountains in California.  No, I don't like hamsters, but I've never met one so I don't like them, but I don't necessarily hate them.  No, I don't have a lap top, but I do have an iPad that I bought from my dad!  I'm not used to having the iPad yet, I'm not used to it being mine, so I usually try to do good time with it. There are lots of games I like on there.  I'm trying to use it not too much and not too little.  My school is Vine Hill Elementary and I like it.  Now, I'm doing "Mommy School".  Mommy School is just school at home.  For math I do, decimals, parentheses, multiplication, division, exponents, fractions, percentages and negative numbers.  For writing, I'm telling my mom how to make certain things out of legos… writing down all the steps.  You remember Dance Mat at school?  I've gotten up to the Yak level in typing.  The Yak level is the first animal in level three.  I'm also listening to this guy called Rufus Fears who's really an expert at talking about myths and he's a country famous history teacher.  We watch a video for thirty minutes of him doing his thing.  I also listen to a history class on European history.  My favorite part so far is the Hapsburg sandwich.  I think it's not Hamburg because there's a city in Germany called Hamburg.  Sometimes, I run around and play on the deck which is big.  I usually pretend something, make up this game where it's basically one player and I make up the other players.  In a real game with real people it would take four people with four weapons and each person would play separately. I like Calvin and Hobbes a lot.  Sometimes, I spend over an hour reading Calvin and Hobbes on Dad's bed!  
This summer, I finished lego camp a few days ago.  It was basically practicing making a basic lego car, windmill, and golf putter through one whole week of stuff.  There was one whole part about how to program the legos to do what you want.  There were lots and lots of sensors.  There was even a lego brick that's like you're arm.  I liked the motors; that's what moved them.  Soon, I'm going to have a chess camp and fencing, somewhere in the summer at least.
Oh my, there are a lot of banana slugs around here.  A lot of weeks ago, I found a lot of slave ants running everywhere and I found one banana slug and the ants were getting stuck in the banana slug slime.  A banana slug is just basically a slug that is pale yellow and can be really short or really long in banana slug form (but long is more likely).  Putting their slime on your fingers is like putting super glue on your fingers and then trying to get it off.  It sticks really well!  You have to wash it off with a dish rag with water on it and it takes awhile!
Thank you again!

Climbing on a eucalyptus log at the beach

Reveling in the fact that I was nervous and he wasn't

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Romantic "Extras": The Fun Work of Keeping a Romantic Relationship Vibrant

This is a topic near and dear to my heart!  I just love the sparkly moments that make your heart sing with love for your partner.  What could be more cool than focusing on how to make those moments happen?!?!  Most couples know that it's delightful to share loving "extras" with their partner.  The key conclusion of my ATLOSCon talk was, in fact, making those efforts to do something special isn't really "extra", it's part of the essential joy of a vibrant romantic relationship!  

Wanting to share loving actions with a partner isn't the challenge for most people though, it's figuring out how to make that happen effectively over the life of a relationship.  
It's fun!  
It's work!  
It's worth it!  
Happy couples know it's fun to share these moments and they also know that it doesn't just happen, it takes work to make them happen.  Finally, it's worth it.  This person is the one you have chosen to cherish.  If you want the best possible joy in the partnership, it's worth the investment in romantic "extras".  In the talk I shared three tips which I'd like to share here too.  I'm even going to be talking this Wednesday on the Philosophy in Action podcast about this cool topic!
Find Out What Makes Your Partner Feel Loved
Always Be Collecting
Find out what makes your partner feel loved.   Of course, if you've been with a partner for awhile, you know some of the things that they like, but that's not what I'm talking about.  It takes a serious conversation to find out what really makes them feel that overwhelming, joyous I-love-you feeling.  This is different for different people.  For example, I love anticipation.  My husband will buy me a gift and give me riddle hints for a week and I just revel in that glorious anticipation of some kind of fun... what could be more grand than knowing there's an especially cool something selected for you by your love and you're getting closer and closer to enjoying it?!?!  My husband finds anticipation to be a horrible, upsetting, anxiety-producing experience.  If I want him to feel loved, I can get him a surprise, but I need to just present it.  In this context, I would not be communicating love if I did the same things that make me feel loved; I'd be torturing him!  Finding out, having the conversation, is so important to gaining that most in-sync level of joy in a loving relationship.  It may require some time and introspection for you or your partner if you haven't really thought about what feels most loving, but it is time well spent.  Also, preferences can change!  You may find flowers the sweetest gift and then attend a surprise funeral and find flowers no longer feel as loving because of the sad association.  My husband feels most loved when I save him time by buying socks or putting together dinner, but if he suddenly found himself with lots of unscheduled time, that could change.  The point is that what makes someone feel most loved must be discovered and given due attention to successfully communicate powerful caring.  
Once you've figured out what kinds of actions are perceived as loving, it's time to keep your eyes and ears open i.e. always be collecting.  The variety of particulars that your are able to share communicates attention and caring.  If you find out that your partner loves roses and then you get them a rose every couple weeks and that's it... you'll miss the vibrance and instead have anything from a pleasant routine to a chore.  Again, the variety of ways you can communicate loving shows that you're investing thought, that making your partner feel loved is of great value to you.  This is where a trusted organizational system like Getting Things Done can come in really handy, but whatever tool you use, you want to have a place where you collect ideas.  Did they express interest in a particular vacation spot, restaurant, activity, or item?  For example, my husband knew that I had loved horseback riding and set up horseback riding lessons for us to try together (over the years we've learned multiple new skills together including playing the flute, voice lessons, and ballroom dancing).  You can put a gift certificate to the clothing store they mentioned in their lunch box or have a flower they love delivered to work.  These passing comments can be golden opportunities for showing you're listening and you care.  Then, when you move on the next step, you have a treasure chest of delightful ideas that you know will make your partner feel especially cherished.  
So, now that you've figured out what makes your partner feel loved and you've gathered this wealth of ideas, it's time to schedule.   Stressors and the business of life happen and it is very easy to let weeks or months go by without doing anything "extra" for your partner.  This is the person you have chosen above all others, the person whom you cherish most.  This person belongs on your calendar.  They deserve more than a birthday and anniversary appointment if they are a top value in your life.  It's not less spontaneous if you make sure to remember and invest in your romantic relationship.  So, set yourself a reminder in your trusted system that you'd like to do something.  When that reminder comes up, delve into that treasure chest of ideas and do something special that says I-love-you.  Those actions aren't really extra; they're essential to fuel your relationship.  As for frequency, I like to do something small weekly and bigger things more rarely depending on how big is big.  The largest things we've done for each other are pre-planned trips where the partner has everything scheduled... location, driving music, activities, dinner reservations, everything!   The spouse just knows they're being sent off for a certain time period and then they follow the clues for their custom-designed vacation.  This is a picture of the ideas that the class I taught came up with:

The left has ways that people felt loved and the right shows particular ideas that they had used for making a partner feel loved.  (Again, it's important to do step one and find out what your partner feels as loving because they may hate some of these things.  I do not enjoy clothes shopping and my husband isn't into public displays; it's important to know if you want to communicate effectively.)  Again, regarding magnitude, you're obviously not going to get a new car surprise on a regular basis, but you can slip a note in the underwear drawer or a flower on the pillow much more often.  All those little moments of loving actions add up to a big message of I-love-you passionately, vibrantly, actively.  It keeps the joyous feeling as feeling sparkly with fresh edges and no complacency.
It’s worth it!   Nourishing your relationship with romantic "extras" is worth the investment.   I get a bit enthusiastic on this topic because I have so much fun with these extras!  A relationship nourished by these extras sparkles and gives you the full delight of a romance that is fueled for your enjoyment of each other.  If that is the kind of relationship you want, romantic "extras" are not really extra.  I'd love to hear more ideas of what you've done in the comments, like I said, I love this topic!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Objectivist Round Up

As we near the end, I want to send my thanks to Jenn and all the contributors to the Objectivist Round Up!  This has been a fun way to get a news digest from blogs of interest and I'm glad to have participated.  I've been saving this quote which I love for it's empowering message.  

"Man may be justly proud of his natural endowments (if they are there objectively, i.e., rationally), such as physical beauty, physical strength, a great mind, good health. But all of these are merely his material or his tools; his self-respect must be based, not on these attributes, but on what he does with them. His self-respect must be based on his actions -- on that which proceeds from him. ...

If a man says: "But I realize that my natural endowments are mediocre -- shall I then suffer, be ashamed, have an inferiority complex?" The answer is: "In the basic, crucial sphere, the sphere of morality and action, it is not your endowments that matter, but what you do with them." It is here that all men are free and equal, regardless of natural gifts. You can be, in your own modest sphere, as good morally as the genius is in his -- if you live by the same rules.

Find your goal within yourself, in whatever work you are honestly capable of performing. Never make others your prime goal. Demand nothing from others as an unearned gift and grant them nothing unearned. Live by your own rational judgments. Be independent in whatever judgments you hold or actions you undertake, and do not venture beyond your own capacity, into spheres where you'll have to become a parasite and a second-hander. You'll be surprised how decent and wonderful a human being you'll become, and how much honest, legitimate human affection and appreciation you'll get from others."

The Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 291.

This week's edition of the Objectivist Round Up:

Paul Hsieh of We Stand FIRM presents "Forbes OpEd: Is President Obama's Prostate Gland More Important Than Yours?" saying, "My latest Forbes piece discusses, "Medical freedom for me, but not for thee."

Rational Jenn presents "The Naming of Houses is a Difficult Matter . . ." saying, "I'm thrilled to announce that I've thought of a name for our new home that suits exactly!"

Darius Cooper of Practice Good Theory presents "Long term Stock-Market Returns, saying " I look at some interesting charts from Crestmont Research."

Nicholas Provenzo of The Rule of Reason presents "The Supreme Court's ‘Declaratory Act’" saying,  "In his Obamacare opinion, Chief Justice Roberts, however, "rewrote" the punitive feature of the individual health insurance mandate and called it a "tax," arguing that such a tax is not outside the bounds of Congressional power. In that single act, Chief Justice Roberts, in an act of evasion and moral cowardice, conferred upon Congress the power and authority to tax every human action and commodity."

John Drake of Try Reason! presents "Central Purpose in Life - Another Look", saying " What is a central purpose in life and do you need one?  In this post, I take another look at how a central purpose can guide and enhance your life."

Earl Parson of Creatures of Prometheus presents "Death of a Crockpot" saying, "I eulogize my trusty old Crock Pot, which has bit the dust, with a silent prayer of "Thank Capitalism" in my heart."

Thank you for your entries in this week's Objectivist Round Up.  To enter the final Objectivist Round Up, please email Jenn with your post.