House of Wishing Tree
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Tuesday nights are always fun because it's Game Night. In case you didn't know Game Night is free for members and only $10 for non-members.
It's a nice break during the week for parents to catch a movie or have adult conversation over dinner. For us, it's great to have several kids regularly break bread (pizza) together and build friendships.
The last few weeks have been especially fun because game night is gradually morphing into theater night. The kids love acting out their own versions of their favorite stories or movies. Tonight was a remake of Smurfs and Stars Wars.
I'm thankful for not-so-quiet moments when a child has his or her idea heard and their friends agree that it's the best idea ever. I'm also thankful for the reminders that the world is an awesome place where Smurfette and Darth Vader effortlessly interact with each other.
This week flew by! Here we are at the final day of spring break camp which happens to be Pokemon Day.
My favorite part of the day by far was seeing the kids present their very own pokemon creations.
I'm thankful for the creativity the children bring! A kind of creativity that is magical, familiar and strange at the same time. The kind that sparks your own forgotten imagination. I hope their creativity never fades and that I can provide a space for it to shine and grow.
Today was another amazing day, but with Legos sprinkled throughout!
This lesson has been repeated throughout all eight years of my parenting experience and still hasn't taken hold. Kids want so much less than what we think!
Wishing Tree has varying types of building bricks. We have duplos, giant bricks, small bricks, and even magnatiles (if you want to include that). We even have a board game that involves legos! It's called Brick Party and I personally love it.
For today's craft we gave each child about 50 small bricks to make a small picture frame with a mini-polaroid to fit inside.
Let's just say that the frames didn't go home in their original arrangement. The children found so much joy in rearranging the bricks and playing with them as toys.
I'm thankful for the reminder that all of our best laid plans are just that...plans, thoughts, ideas from our imagination of how the world might work. I'm also thankful for the reminder that children aren't here to carry out our plans, but to honor their unique path.
It's day three of spring break camp and all of the campers are familiar with the daily schedule. This knowledge brings a level of comfort that allows random stories to flow, heartier laughs, and that sparkle that all of their eyes hold.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to hold doors open as children run inside from the rain, to hold small hands when the movie gets just a little too scary, to see the capes catching the wind.
Today was another amazing day with so much to be thankful for and I'm especially thankful for our maze cube! If you've never seen a maze cube, just imagine the old ball-in-a-maze puzzles. Wikipedia just informed me of this very official name, but here's a picture for your viewing pleasure below.
Turns out that these are dexterity puzzles! All of this time I thought they were mind-controlling toys that refused to let you blink or put the toy down until you made it to the finish or missed the finish enough times to question your purpose in life. Go figure.
Now, imagine a six-year old boy who has now discovered this magical maze box. After several solid tries, he now comes to you for help. You show him that you are just as good at starting over as he is! Alas, he would like for you to get to the finish instead. After several solid tries you begin to hear comments from him such as, "Why did you let it fall there? Is that part hard? Have you done this before?" For the record, I'd only reached the finish once before.
Then, the questions get closer to your face as his eyes try to merge with yours as he also refuses to blink. All four eyes follow the steel ball moving from section to section. Then, you realize you stopped breathing five minutes ago. You take a deep breath. Then, a small nagging voice begins to grow inside of you. You ask yourself, "Self, are you really getting bothered by this? What is this moment trying to teach you?" You then decide that this little boy is really asking, "Can you show me how to stay calm when my many honest attempts result in failure after failure?"
Figuring out this question calms me immediately and brings a renewed focus. I decide to blink, but only once! Then, drum roll...please...I reach the finish.
I then hand it back to him and after many restarts he eventually makes it to the end on his own! It makes my heart beam just reliving this memory and typing it for the world to see. I'm thankful for the questions children make us ask ourselves. The answers have never failed to remind me of how we're always growing.
Each day of our spring break camp has a different theme and today was all about dinosaurs! It brought many moments for which I'm thankful.
First, the weather was spectacular! We had the opportunity to explore Central Park in the morning and went back out for a second round in the plaza in the afternoon.
We couldn't have asked for a more playful and bright-eyed bunch. They played both indoor and outdoor games as if they'd already known each other for ages.
Finally, macaroni! I'm also thankful for macaroni and the simple joy it brings. The joy starts from the second you spot the simple shapes and moves to your fingers as you feel the different textures. Finally, they somehow morph into something from pre-historic times. It's right up there with mindful coloring.
Today was so amazing that I can already feel it pouring into tomorrow.
Today was a day off for many schools nearby and that meant that we had the chance to see the school-aged kids during the morning. In addition to the school-aged kids, we also had a mix a familiar and brand new faces.
I'm not sure who suggested it, but there were several of kids lined up to play hopscotch. It was so sweet to see the older ones helping out the younger ones. They encouraged the little ones as if they were remembering what it was like when they tried hopscotch for the first time.
We just have a basic board taped on our floors, but the kids enjoyed it just the same! I originally thought the older kids would think the game is boring compared to the devices they have access to today. How wrong I was. I'm thankful for the reminder that games are so much more than sounds and lights. They're a way to practice encouragement and empathy both on and off the screen. I'm grateful for the glimpses of care that children show each other everyday.
Breathe in... So, this post is really about impulse buys! I love books and am excited about Barnes and Noble opening a few feet away. <insert squeals of joy>
One day I'm perusing a completely finished and fully-functioning Barnes and Noble when I see not one, not two, but three children's books on yoga.
Now, stop! Do we really need three different yoga books on top of the totally awesome yoga cards that we already use with success at the store? Of course we do! One has a yoga bunny on the cover!! How can anyone turn down a yoga bunny?! The other two are sister books for mornings and evenings, so would fit perfectly into our morning and evening routines that I rarely follow.
This purchase was made almost two months ago, so decided to pull one down tonight. I'm extremely grateful that every prior yoga session at the store has been led by the daughter of a gifted yoga teacher. We even sell her cards, so check them out in person.
Of course I lead with Yoga Bunny by Brian Russo. The bunny's graceful ears and non-existent fingers only made him more zen-like. We follow the story and attempt each pose as they unfold.
However, tonight's children (two of which are my own) were not impressed by Yoga Bunny nor his band of yoga-disliking friends. I could feel the stirrings of chaos as the "I already know how to do this" and "let's just try to find the cat on each page" began to flow from the lips of my own children.
I decided to stick with it and follow the bunny's advice, taking deep breaths, and continuing each pose. One by one the children joined in and even enjoyed it by the end.
Today, I'm thankful for all of the reminders to not take things personally and to really feel each moment. I'm also thankful for the reminder that our children are reflections of ourselves. They are always asking us for ways to be one with the world and with themselves. The asking may come in the form of resistance or crying, but I hope that I can stay mindful and open long enough to offer a peaceful response that they can mirror until they truly know peace for themselves.
Now, if I can only fine tune this before Barnes and Noble opens and I spend every extra dollar there. Breathe out...