Back on the grid (with links)

I'm back, and had a great trip.

My older son had such a great time at camp. He came back speaking far more Norwegian than I thought he would in only five days. I highly, highly recommend the Concordia Language Villages for anyone who wants to give their kids a total immersion language experience in a safe and fun camp experience. I went to the same camp as a kid, and was surprised at how much Norwegian came back to me just during the process of checking him in to the camp!

While my older son was at camp, my younger son and I had the whole week alone, driving across Minnesota seeing relatives. My son got to play on a farm with his third cousins, and we saw every one of my aunts and uncles that are currently in the United States. My son charmed my aunt's dog who was afraid of children (not anymore), played at the best playground in the country (Hyland Park Play Area in Bloomington, MN), and caught caterpillars with my friend Amy's son.

Speaking of my friend Amy, you should all follow her blog. She's a friend of mine from culinary school, and she worked in some of the best kitchens in NYC, and then moved back to Minnesota. When I got to her house she'd just turned in the manuscript for what looks like the msot fantastic book on Midwestern cuisine (yes, cuisine) I've seen. She writes about enjoying food and the process of creating delicious things, and I cannot wait until her book is out.

We went to Winona to visit my 96-year-old grandmother, and had fun just doing nothing. I ran around the lake every day, and my son chilled out and did puzzles. I also went to a lovely yarn store in downtown Winona called Yarnology that had a "give and take" basket that I think is brilliant. You can bring skeins from your stash that you don't want and leave them, and take whatever you want. Genius. (I bought some yarn for a project for someone who sometimes reads this, so I don't want to talk about it, but this is the pattern. And the owner of the store may have convinced me to actually log in to my Ravelry account. Maybe.)

In eight days I drove 2700 miles, and am ready to stay home for a bit, but am definitely in for the camp thing next year. Who else wants to send their kids?

Now back to normal, whatever normal is. What happened to you last week?

35 thoughts on “Back on the grid (with links)”

  1. Gorgeous pattern, and I love the give and take yarn basket idea! I have so many odd skeins left over from projects. What a fun way to try out a yarn and see if you like it. I just started a triangular shawl in a pretty variegated silk/wool blend that I found at the Maine Fiber Frolic a few weeks ago. The pattern comes from Living Crafts magazine, but doesn’t seem to be on their blog for sharing, but it’s available as a back issue (Fall 2011). It’s really turning out to be great pattern that I think I’ll use again. Very forgiving about gauge, so you could do it with most any yarn. Good luck with your shawl!I’m curious, why have you not been logging into your Ravelry account? I ask because I haven’t been logging into mine either…

  2. I signed up for one when they were originally releasing the accounts, but it took months for me to get mine, and by then I was too busy to knit for awhile, and just never logged in!

  3. Wow, the language villages sound amazing! Mouse really enjoyed her first week of sleepaway camp too (circus oriented traditional camp in the woods), and I dropped her off for a different one (tent camping up and down the coast) this morning. YAY. You’re inspiring me to get back to work on the fisherman’s sweater I agreed to knit her and didn’t finish, this winter. In a lovely damson-colored washable worsted, that must be knitted on 6s, kill me now – but it’s really pretty.I was just thinking about camp and how grown-up my 8-year-old is seeming. She’s just recently allowed to go to the corner store by herself (across two streets with stopsigns) and she’s enamored of the new freedom and responsibility – she keeps saying “mommy, if you forgot anything, if you need anything, I’m happy to go get it”. And she handled camp, and ate all the meals, even some she didn’t like, and made new friends. I guess I’m having a moment – just appreciating how happy and growing she is right at this time. 🙂

  4. I was also on holidays last week. I took off for a few nights to a resort in Fairmont, British Columbia. By myself. Alone. I read and knit and slept and watched tv and movies. I sat in the Hot Springs and made a gel glitter candle with shells and sand in it at the Recreation Centre. It was much needed and highly recommended. But dammit, now its over and I’m back at work!

  5. Oh my. I read this blog entry and realized at least part of the reason that from day one of discovering askmoxie, I’ve felt a connection to this total stranger who writes this blog. I grew up (and now, again) live in MN and went to Concordia’s Swedish camp three years in a row. “Minnesota Nice” and everything that surrounds it doesn’t create a person, but it certainly influences them, I think. And it can create a feeling of kinship across the pixels of a webpage, even when you don’t necessarily know that it is what is creating that connection.

  6. @MomPlusKid – I did a “Mama Weekend Away” back in January and it was delightful. Which reminds me, I should do that again before Baby2 shows up in October :DThe language camp sounds so cool. I want a grown up one where I can learn Spanish 😀

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  8. Went to Hampton Court Palace with the family. It was so cool. The kids traipsed thru Henry VIII’s apartments dressed in velvet robes while I actually got to listen to the audio guide and enjoy the surroundings myself, and no one manged to get lost or seperated in the maze.3 weeks left of school. Can not believe the kids have completed a whole year of British schooling. Noah still asks how many days until we move back. Love it here but do miss our old life back home.

  9. Can I launch a small threadjack? I am the mom of a darling, strong-willed 2 year old girl, and our morning and evening routines are making me absolutely lose my mind. Mornings are the worst — she just absolutely refuses to comply with requests to eat her breakfast, get dressed, change her diaper, put her shoes on. It doesn’t happen every morning, but it was particularly awful this morning. Is this just part of being two? What strategies do you all recommend?I’ve tried 1) walking her through the routine so she knows what’s coming; 2) sticking to a routine (better at night than in the morning, but I’ve tried both); and 3) “count to three and then time out,” which doesn’t work because it just helps her avoid getting dressed.
    What I’d really like to do is to figure out a way to make her responsible for some of these tasks herself, and then experience natural consequences. But is she old enough to do that? What’s the best way to help her do that? And most importantly, how do I do that and still get her out the door on time in the morning or in bed on time at night? I work full-time in a very demanding job and I desperately need her to be cooperative in the mornings.

  10. @ Sadie- how old exactly is she? My son isn’t 2 yet but sometimes he absolutely freaks out when we try to change his diaper. It’s terrible. I have to hold him down and/or try to distract him by singing the ABC’s or giving him something to play with, or putting Elmo on the TV! SOOO I can give you advice about what might work but can’t say that they are the best/healthiest options :)1. Can she be distracted, like having the TV on her favorite program in the mornings while you get her dressed, change diaper, etc.? As for eating breakfast… does she not have breakfast at daycare? Maybe she’s not hungry in the morning or something… I dunno, need more info on that one.
    2. Maybe she feels she needs more time with you that isn’t about doing something during the week (getting dressed, bath, going to bed, etc.) I know it sucks but maybe try getting up earlier and spending a little time together that doesn’t have a task involved… (not that I’m good at practicing what I preach!)
    3. LOL I’ve totally noticed that my son can tell when I want him to do something really badly, and those are often the times when he’s like, sorry Mom, not gonna do it. AGGGHHHHH makes you feel like screaming, no? I don’t know how to do this because I have a hard time with it myself, but you could try to figure out ways to help yourself feel less stressed out in the mornings and evenings. Maybe more flexibility with routine- or a planned fun activity in the midst of the not so fun aspects of bedtime… or something you enjoy doing that maybe she does too
    4. Personally I’m not a fan of the natural consequences thing at that age, I think it’s too young. I think in our culture we expect children to grow up too fast. Have you tried asking her why she doesn’t want to get ready in the morning? Her answers may surprise you. I highly recommend the book How to Talk so Kids will Listen and How to Listen so Kids will Talk. It’s AMAZING.

  11. @Kelly: She’s 2 years, 3 mos. I’m actually less worried about breakfast per se — she’s a good eater, and if she doesn’t eat breakfast with me, she eats with her sitter. The getting dressed part is more of the problem.I think that you’re correctly assessing that she wants more time with me, and more unstructured playtime. It’s a very busy and stressful time right now (work is awful, I’m moving across the country in a few months, and I’m studying for a major licensing exam that I have to take in July), and you’re probably right that she’s reacting to all of this by demanding more time with me. I just don’t know how to meet her needs and also meet my need to stay employed and functional.
    I will read the book you suggested — I have seen it recommended before, and am glad for the reminder.

  12. @Sadie – I didn’t get my kid dressed when he absolutely refused. I sent him to day care in pajamas (I mean, they were clothes so it’s not like he was naked). As for shoes…a lot of times I will carry him to the car, buckle him in and then put the shoes on while he’s contained (or once we get somewhere and he’s calmed down. I’ve also fed the kids a baggie of cereal and a bottle of water (sport top) in the car. Some of this was me learning that control issues are not fights I can win. And I only try to make them do things that are totally necessary (sunscreen, car seats, teeth brushing).

  13. @sadie,I don’t know about others but the Y+3 months has awful been the most difficult age for my two kids. When I have noticed particularly uncooperative behaviour I do a quick count and hey presto, I am at 4+ 3, 5+3, 7+3 etc.
    What you are doing sounds pretty good to me. You may not see any immediate improvement (I never did with my strong-willed DD, my DS was more compliant and so was easier to ‘manipulate’. ). However now at 5.5 & 7.5 they have got it all down pat, albeit with lots of prodding on my behalf.
    Sometimes it takes a while, but they do eventually get it.

  14. UGH I’m sorry for all the stress in your life. Sounds like you have a ton going on, and you’re juggling it all… I forgot to write YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB! Sorry about that… got caught up in the advice giving mode. HAHA I love what SarcastiCarrie wrote. I’m fortunate right now because I get up and go to work unfettered while my hub and son sleep in, then dad gets him ready for the day, it’s cool cuz they don’t really have to rush usually. BUT 6 nights a week I’m a single parent so it balances out (hub is exec chef at seasonal restaurant).P.S. Hooray for Elmo’s World, seriously, so cute and my son loves it.

  15. OK I know many will think this is irrelevant/nonsense but I’m going to say one other thing- if she’s 2 years and 3 months, that means she’s an Aries (right?)- the child of all children. We are the babies/toddlers of the zodiac. Curious, stubborn, impulsive, bossy, strong-willed. I’m sure these adjectives describe many toddlers but I think Aries toddlers in particular truly exemplify them. That makes me double suggest the asking her what’s up thing. If she feels even slightly like she has some say/control, it could work wonders. I feel so bad for my dad (I’m an Aries) because I know I *tortured* him about getting up in the morning. I still HATE it, though it definitely got easier once I had a choice (i.e. went to college… etc.) LOL good luck to you 🙂

  16. Concordia Language Villages are the best! I worked there years ago during college summers. So fun and so much learning. I will absolutely be sending my kids when they are old enough (assuming we aren’t globe-trotting already, which is the plan). I could not recommend it more highly. Wish my folks had known about when I was camper-aged.

  17. I’d try to figure out the imperatives in the morning and stick to those. For me, that would be a diaper change, some time together and that’s it. So if she resists getting dressed, give her a backpack and ask her to put in some clothes for when she gets tired of her PJs. Ditto breakfast. You’re not hungry now? Okay, shall we add an apple or a thing of yogurt to your pack for when you do feel like eating? No shoes? Ooh, you might change your mind later, why don’t you make sure to put your sneakers in the pack.If you can offload some of those types of things, there will be more time to talk and listen or read books or play blocks or whatever. Just figure out what really matters and stick with that. If she’s craving attention, value connection more and tasks less while you’re together.
    Hang in there!

  18. I remember at the time thinking my 2-year-olds should/could/would be more independent, but now I can’t even imagine it. I think if I had another 2-year-old (especially one coming up into the Disequilibrium stage) I’d either a) outsource the whole experience to my mom (Toddler Sleepaway Camp!) or b) just put the kid in clothes the night before and haul them to the car screeching in the morning.Here is something to know: All the hard work you’re putting in now may not seem like it’s going anywhere, but in 3-4 years all this groundwork you’re laying will mean that you can make a rule for mornings and your child will follow it. Something like “You can watch tv before we leave if you have all your clothes on including shoes, your backpack is packed, and you’ve eaten breakfast and brushed your teeth.” And your kid will do all that without being prompted because she wants to catch a few minutes of tv and knows the rule.

  19. Ah, Concordia Language Villages – I so wish I could have had that amazing opportunity as a child! Thanks for the reminder that this is something I’d like to be able to do for my own kids when they’re older. 😉

  20. Oh my goodness. I went to Skogfjorden when I was young! Now I’m freaking out that maybe we were there at the same time, Moxie! It’s weird because, of course, there were girls there with your real name as their camp name but now I can’t remember if they had chosen their real names as camp names. Anyway, I’m glad your son had a good time. CLV runs a preschool in the Twin Cities, and both my boys went to the parent and child class, but the separating class didn’t work for our schedules. We are going to Norway in August, so I may need to do some language lessons this month.

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  23. Awwweeee or should I say Aarff Aarrf!! LOL. I don’t dress my dog alhoguth I do think I’ll be getting a halloween outfit for her this year so she can go trick or treating with all the other dogs in the neighborhood (seems that they all dressed up this year and we didn’t get the memo). Have a wonderful day!

  24. Hi Erin,I sent you an email yesterday but wasn’t sure if you reeeivcd it. I just had a baby last week and would be interested in coming in if you are still needing newborns. He is 7 days old today.Thank you so much,Danielle

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