Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Feel Better Baskets

Back in 2009 when Alanna had her surgery at Gillette Children's Hospital she decided she wanted to bring baskets back for Easter to give to children who would have surgery over Easter or have to stay in the hospital rather than being at home: 2009 Random Acts of Kindness

Last year she wanted to do it again and we doubled the number of baskets.

This year, she's partnered with
Kids for a Better World and is making baskets again, but trying to make it bigger by involving the community, friends and family in her fundraising.

If you're interested in helping out, please visit her donation page here:
Feel Better Baskets

Donations are tax deductible and Give MN will email you a receipt.

If you live nearby, we're also accepting donations of supplies such as baskets, small stuffed animals and toys, jelly beans, coloring books, art supplies, puzzles, games, etc. All items must be new/store bought and please no items with latex or peanuts.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Goat!

Alanna is attending Vacation Bible School this week. Every year they raise money or collect donations for something. In the past it's been school supplies or food for the food shelf. This year, they're collection spare change to raise money to purchase livestock for a village in Africa.

Each day they are going to put their money towards a different animal. Tuesday was chicks, Wednesday - ducks, Thursday - pigs, and Friday - goats. The goal is for the kids to be able to raise enough to buy at least one of each animal as a group by the end of the week.

Alanna came home Monday and immediately asked if there were any chores around the house she could do in order to raise more money to donate. It's been raining, so I didn't have any outdoor chores, but gave her a list of some things inside she could do and promised we'd evaluate at the end of the day to determine how much the extra chores were worth. By the end of the day she had swept, done dishes, cleaned the bathroom, organized her toys and even separated out toys she no longer played with to give away.

We looked through the toys and determined that the Zhu Zhu pets could probably be sold. She immediately declared she'd like to sell them as soon as possible so she could also use that money to donate.

Mommy's awfully proud. Alanna was able to earn enough money through sale of her Zhu Zhu's and her extra chores to buy a goat all by herself!

Friday, June 11, 2010

XRay Eyes

We were discussing the new baby the other night when Alanna asked, "Mommy, when will I get my xray eyes?"

I replied, "Xray eyes?"
Alanna: "Yes, when the baby is born. When will I get my xray eyes?"
Me: "I don't understand, honey."
Alanna: "Well, YOU have xray eyes and can see EVERYTHING I do, so when I'm a big sister I thought I'd get xray eyes too and be able to see everything the baby is doing!"
Me: "Oh sweetie, only Mommies get xray eyes. You'll have to wait until you have your own baby someday to get those."

Big Sister

Alanna is going to be a big sister come next January. She's super excited now, but wasn't originally when we first started discussing it.

In January we had talked about how our family would change if we had another child and asked how she felt about becomming a big sister. She determined that she wasn't sold on it and that "I don't want you and Daddy doing ANYTHING to make me a little baby brother or sister."

After further conversations, she came around to the idea that it might be ok and that we should leave it up to God to decide if we were going to have a new baby in the family.

Now that we're definitely adding a new person to the household, we've tried to make Alanna feel as special as possible about being a Big Sister. We know that no matter how hard we try, there will be some resentment/jealousy once the baby comes and figure if we can build her up prior to that maybe it won't be so bad.

I found an adorable custom made shirt for her from togs4sprogs.com and she was able to wear it to school to share "HER" news with all of her friends. Apparently she was so excited that she yelled it out first thing when she got into her classroom.

I also ordered her a book from Amazon called "There's a Brand New Baby in the House and I'm the Big Sister". We received it the other day and she's really excited to fill it out and is already planning her answers for each of the pages. I told her it was something we'd wait to do together after the baby is born. It's actually a super cute journal book about the Big Sister when the baby is born. It talks about how old Alanna is and how big she is and then has pages for her hand print and the baby's hand print. Overall, a good purchase.

I'm trying to think of things we can do over the next months. Maybe one a month to keep her excited. I have an idea for a little room plaque, a bracelet she and I can make (just need to call the bead store and see if they have Big Sister charms or I'll need to order one), and a Big Sister tool belt. Any other ideas?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

City Mouse Country Mouse and the Black Plague

Last night was parent/teacher conferences. Alanna's doing famously and loves school which is great. I love that she loves school.

Apparently they read the City Mouse and Country Mouse story. When the teacher stopped for discussion she said that the city mouse was afraid of cats and why did the kids think that people in the city would want to own cats?

Alanna raised her hand and proceeded to tell the class about "Way back when there was a Black plague." and about how a lot of people had died and they needed cats to get rid of the rats carrying the disease.

I think the teacher was looking for a more current reason....

Proud Mama

Alanna is such a caring child that it never ceases to amaze me. We did the Disney Get a Day Give a Day program for Kids for a Better World and spent most of a Sunday with a little card assembly line in our house. We made cards for soldiers who are deployed, cards to go around the necks of teddy bears for children who have been victims of hurricane, and cards to go in with personal care items for those who are homeless. Jeb did most of the edging, I did the writing, and Alanna decorated with stickers and fancy hole punches.

Once we were done, she took them over to Ashlee Kephart's house to deliver them. Ashlee is such an amazing young woman and was actually Minnesota's only torch bearer for the Vancouver opening ceremony. There was a news crew there at the time and Alanna ended up in the segment they were doing about Ashlee. You can see it here:
Alanna on January 18 Twin Cities Live. Click the Olympic Torchbearer link on the right side of the video screen.

She's told me multiple times since that she wants to make a LOT more cards, so we're doing it again as part of our Valentine's Day Girl Scout meeting.

I love that she is such a caring little girl.

DNA and Cloning

The other night Jeb and I were sitting in the dining room while Alanna was in the bath. The dining room is very close to the bathroom so when Alanna piped up, "Mommy, something did happen at school today...", we could hear her loud and clear from where we were sitting.

A: I presented to the class today.
M: Oh really?
A: I told them about DNA and cloning.
M: Um. Oh and how did that come about?

A: We were reading a story about snowflakes and the little boy had to find two that were alike but couldn't. I explained that DNA is what makes us unique but that cloning can make two things the same.
M: Oh.
A: But Mommy.....
M: Yes?
A: I had to use Biology words like sperm and egg

M: Ok sweetie, but in the future remember we don't need to be telling our friends about sperm and eggs and that's something their parents are in charge of, Ok?
A: Yep.

Turns out she actually started in after the conversation had gone from snowflakes to how fingerprints are also unique. THEN she also talked about it in another class where they were talking about People having Baby People and Cats having Kittens, etc. She informed the teacher that cloning could have an implanted kitten coming from a human. The teacher redirected and all was well.

Jeb was disappointed that apparently something got lost in the comprehension of embryonic transfer. *SIGH*

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Almost 7

It's hard to believe that next week Alanna will be 7 and that she's already in First Grade. We've gone from having super cute moments daily where she *discovers* something new (although we still have some) to having moments where she's asking questions beyond her years but interpreting them with her own blend of 6-7 year old logic.

Some of the gems from this summer are below. Enjoy!

Grasshoppers and World Hunger
Alanna spent a couple weeks with Grandma 'Nette and Grandpa Joe this past summer and some time out at the ranch which she loved. She noticed that there were a LOT of grasshoppers at the ranch and after some encouragement from Grandma and Grandpa tried to "help" by squishing grasshoppers. Once she got home, she informed me of the following solution to help end world hunger-

A: We need to create a HUGE vaccuum cleaner to suck up all the grasshoppers on all the farms and ranches to help the farmers. In some countries people like to eat grasshoppers! So we could package them all up and ship them to other countries so those people will have food.

Pain in the Butt
Alanna is great around other children, but we learned after the visit with Grandma and Grandpa that she has a bit of trouble after about a day with no longer being the center of attention. Her little cousin spent a few days there with her and upon her return she had a new world view on wanting a little brother or sister.

We were in Kohls and I saw a mother holding a newborn baby girl. I pointed them out to Alanna and remarked, "You looked just like that when you were little, isn't she cute!"
A: Yes. But Mommy, I'm so glad you don't have a baby in your tummy.
M: Why's that?
A: Because then you'd be PREGNANT.
M: Well, yes, that's how it worked. Are you saying you don't want a little brother or sister?
A: Not so much.

She then paused a moment and looked chagrinned like she had said something that could be considered not very polite. She followed up with...
A: Well, Mommy if you had another baby you'd have to start all over!
A: And raising TWO kids would just be a pain in the butt!

I found it interesting that the logic turned on and she decided to turn it into concern for my well-being rather than admitting that she simply didn't like the idea of sharing her world.

Political Views
Overall, my husband and I have tried to be very conscientious of not bringing political views home with us within earshot of Alanna. He does however listen to a lot of NPR in the car and Alanna asks questions when she hears the commentary or when she's in my car and the news mentions something. We've tried to be impartial and answer the questions without going too far into detail. This is where the complexity of the questions don't always match up well with the logic she uses to interpret the answers.

The other day after the bus dropped her off, she looked to Jeb and asked:
A: Daddy, do you like Obama?
D: Yes.
A: Mommy doesn't.
A: Obama's health plan is going to KILL people!

Ok, Mommy never said any such thing. With all of the discussion on the news/radio about the health plan, Alanna has asked if I think the health plan is a good thing. I had told her that Mommy thinks the idea of health care for everyone is a great idea, but that I'm not sure this is the right plan. She then of course will ask why, to which I responded that I think they needed to take a little more time to think about it and make sure it will give everyone access to the care they need.

Her little logic interepreted:
People don't get care they need = People die = Obama is going to kill people = Mommy doesn't like him

This parenting thing while trying to take moments to teach and raise a child who has well-thought out ideas/opinions is not easy stuff!!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Jeb was notified on Friday that he would be laid off and his position eliminated June 30th. We'd been semi-prepared for this, but the reality of it still always seems to catch one off guard.

Over the weekend I had explained to Alanna that we were going to be just fine and tried my best to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about. I told her that Daddy was going to get to stay home with her for the summer and wouldn't that be fun! I told her that we'd need to be more careful with our money, but that she didn't need to worry about a place to live, food to eat, or clothes.

She looked up at me and said, "What about toys???"
I explained that we could still buy toys, but we probably wouldn't buy things as often and we'd really need to think about the toys we want and budget them in.

She looked panicked and asked, "What about Happy Meals!!???"
I explained that we probably wouldn't go out to eat as often, but that many times Mommy has a coupon for McDonald's and that she could still get a Happy Meal once in a while.

She looked downcast and declared, "We're POOR!!"
*sigh* No, honey we're not poor, we're just fine.

I suppose though it's all a matter of perception. When you're six, those happy meals can seem pretty important even if she's only getting one maybe 2-3 times a month. It's a treat, and she is not happy about that treat possibly going away.

Yesterday, she announced that she had packed her own lunch to help save us money. I told her that she didn't need to worry about that and that her lunches were all paid for through the school year. She declared that it was ok, she still wanted to take her lunch because "then I get to be in the front of the lunch line!!!"

Again...it's all about priorities.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thoughts about God

The other day Alanna was thinking about God and made a couple observations out of the blue.

"I think God and the angels come down and sit in empty movie seats."

"Technically there's only one boss and that's God."

Random Acts of Kindness

I just absolutely love this photo.  At first blush, it looks like she made out like a bandit with Easter baskets.  But the truth behind the photo just makes me so proud...

Alanna had another follow-up appointment scheduled for the week of Easter and the week prior to her appointment she told me that she wanted to make Easter baskets and take them with her to the Children's Hospital for children that may be having surgery over Easter or have to stay in the hospital rather than being home.  She never ceases to amaze me with her kind heart.  I told her I thought it was a wonderful idea and that we could certainly go shopping to get things for Easter baskets.  She picked out all kinds of goodies and was grinning ear to ear when they were put together.  She's wearing her Daisy Girl Scout vest because we thought it was also a great opportunity for her to earn her caring and considerate petal.

She was so excited to deliver the baskets and practically bounced in to her appointment.  

On the way home we saw a man holding a cardboard sign.  Now that Alanna is beginning to read, she saw the word "hungry" on the sign and asked me why he was holding it up.  I read the sign to her and she immediately responded with concern, "Mommy, can we give him the strawberries you bought at Costco?"  There was a container in the car from when I'd run an errand at lunch.  My heart broke as I had to explain to my caring little girl that I couldn't stop the car but that we would continue to help by giving to food shelves and helping where we could.  

She wanted to know other ways we could help so the following day we learned about Random Acts of Kindness and took chocolate bunnies to the firemen at the firestation near our home as well as handed out a plethora of bunnies at the Post Office.  The lady at the Post Office behind the counter said she never knew the Easter bunny was blonde with piggy tails!  

Afterwards, we reviewed what random acts of kindness are and I asked Alanna what her favorite part was.  Her reply?

"Seeing people smile."