Mama, go space?

April 22, 2009

All week, Little Bear has been asking, “Mama, go space?”  If I ask him a follow up question, or don’t respond immediately (because, say, I’m already in the middle of a sentence), he follows up with, “Mama, Goddard?”

Cracks. me. up.

My two year old is asking to go to the Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor’s Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  It’s a great little place, with lots to investigate for the older kids and a dress up area and space capsule for the younger kids.  We often go there with our playgroup, and have lunch in the rocket park afterwards.

Being able to go to so many museums, and get out of it what we need to for that day, is one of the wonderful things about living in D.C.  We are taking advantage of every minute of it.

Edited to add: You have GOT to go see Stimey’s post about the day.  She is freakin’ hilarious, and she recaps the day for all of us … and Commander Blue Bear.  The 6 moms and 8 kids (including Heather) had a fantabulous day, and the sky was just as blue as it appears in the pictures.  Truly, truly, these are the good days.

Jessica’s got a great line up of Earth Day activities today, if you’re local to the Washington, D.C. area … there’s also a special Sid the Science Kid on today, and lots of other things to do to celebrate the Earth.  What will we be doing?  Getting out into the garden again, preparing the soil, and planting our vegetables for the summer.  Mmmmm.  I’ve been looking forward to planting in the garden with both my children for more years than I’d like to say.  Oh, okay.  Forever.

Ooph! And they’re gone.

August 27, 2008

I woke up rested, having not gotten up with baby in the middle of the night, or been shoved by a certain preschooler as he crawled into bed with us around midnight (having been still in the ER at midnight), and also having slept in the comfiest bed in the place (much better than either the ER stretcher OR the couch that WonderDaddy graced). The doc walked in, briefed me on what was going to happen, and had me sign a consent form for this procedure AND for a full hysterectomy if things looked wonky once he got in there and took a look around (this, despite sounding scary, was a GOOD THING).

The nurse took my vitals, the doctor wished me well, and the transport dude wheeled me down to the pre-op room.

The pre-op room was nothing like I expected.  Quiet.  Silent, even, with the ripples of nothingness broken only by my doc walking in and briefing the resident.  The anesthesiologist was friendly and calm, telling me what to expect and where to sign.  WonderDaddy and I were joking around a bit, having done this just a few months ago, for a much more serious surgery.

There were scary parts, but those parts are my own, and I’m not going to discuss them here.

The anesthesiologist put the amnesia drug in my veins, and the next thing I remember …

… was waking up, groggy, in the same room I had slept in.  My belly was distended and tender, with three patches of bandage, and my throat was sore from the tube.  But I was alive.


And no longer in the achy pain that I had been suffering with since July, or the gut-wrenching pain that had consumed me over the weekend.

The rest we could work out.  The recovery would be quick, since the oopherectomy was done laproscopically instead of with a full cut across my abdomen.  We could go home that night, in a few hours, even.  I could finish the weekend’s work from bed perhaps.  Reschedule scrap night with the girls.  Pick a new date for Widget’s birthday party.

And remember the promises I made to myself in the E.R.  No more wasting time.

Time with each other is all we have.

Launch Fest!

August 14, 2008

I love living here in D.C.

When my preschooler woke up this morning, he toddled into our room and said sleepily, “Mommy, I want to go to Goddard Space Center.” Because we live where we do, the way that we do, I was able to say, “Okay, honey, let’s go!” We packed a snack, called a friend, and took off for a fun morning of adventure at the Goddard Space Flight Center Visitor Center.

The kids had a blast. After donning flight suits and helmets, they played in the space capsule, flipping switches and hitting “nav buttons” to their hearts’ content. They watched videos, explored exhibits, and gawked at the science on a sphere. They were excited, happy, and most of all interested in so many exhibits and even a little learning. When we needed a break, we popped outside for some rocket time and raucous joy.

We topped it off with lunch at 5 Guys (burgers and fries).

Really, free summer days don’t get any better than this.

Oh, wait. There’s a day this Fall that might be better, if you’re also a space buff like me and my kids. I just found out about LAUNCH FEST 08, a special event at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. For more information, read on or visit the Launch Fest website! Twitter-friends Geokitten and Igmom assure me that it’s totally appropriate for even the littlest of little ones. I am SO excited. Here’s the blurb from GSFC’s website:

Explore the Universe in Your Own Backyard!

Mark your calendar! NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center invites all to enter our gates on September 13, 2008! Come and learn about the Goddard Space Flight Center as we prepare for an unprecedented year of 15 major science launches! This FREE event will feature interactive demonstrations, entertainment, a variety of local food vendors and fun for the whole family.

Go Outside and Play!

April 29, 2007

Parent Bloggers NetworkParent Blogger Network Review:  The Dangerous Book for Boys

Today’s post is a brief break from our special Solar System Week here at Toddler Planet.  I was asked a few weeks ago by the Parent Bloggers Network to review The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden, and I’m up first on the review list! 

First, let me say, I love this book.  The Dangerous Book for Boys is full of fascinating and fun mini-chapters on everything from tying knots to buiding a treehouse, with lots of fun excursions like great battles in history along the way.  After taking a look at the promotional web site, I was excited right off the bat, and I had a great time thumbing through the book the day it arrived.  Since then, I’ve had a chance to read through almost all of the sections, and, while that’s certainly not necessary, it sure was fun.  I was reminded of tons of great activites for kids, from developing codes and secret inks to building a go-cart out of an old baby buggy.  The book is full of things that the neighborhood kids and I used to do on weekends or long summer days when I was a child, and it was delightful to be reminded of those adventures.

Of course, as the authors state in the introduction, “I didn’t have this book when I was a” kid.  We just went outside and mucked around.  Remember just mucking around?  Mom would shoo us out of the house, saying, “Go outside and play!” while she started on dinner or stripped all the bed linens for laundry day.  We would troop out of the house, go find some friends, and take something apart or put something together.  Or ride bikes down the hill (without helmets), or tramp through the foundation of the new house that they’re building over in the field.  Yes, the one with nails scattered all over, fresh concrete, and a random assortment of building materials and lunch wrappers left where they’d been dropped during the day’s work.

Good times.

While those days may be gone for those of us too old to sell girl scout cookies, they’re just beginning for our children.  This book is also a great sourcebook for activities for kids today, and encouragement for  just getting outdoors in the fresh air, catching lightening bugs, fishing, comparing insect carcasses, skipping stones, and watching the clouds go by.

There are good sections highlighting simple experiments such as building a battery, making an electromagnet, and fireproofing cloth; identification sections for elements from bugs to stars; good questions to ask about the rotation of the earth and why the sky is blue; and so much more.  More, meaning diverse topics such as the finer points of basic grammar, table football, making a paper hat or an airplane that will win contests, learning naval flag codes, navajo talk, or pirate symbols … the list goes on and on. 

I loved nearly everything about this book, but I was put off by two things, both of which I think could have been remedied if the authors had written the book more explicitly for a wider audience of today.  The first issue has to do with materials.  Too many projects called for archaic bits and pieces that hardly anyone has lying around anymore.  Like a Prince Albert tobacco tin (remember those?).  Or old-fashioned baby carriage wheels, with a working axle.  Although some Grandpas may have these things way in the back of their Narnian workshops/garages, many kids who will pick up this book won’t have such materials close at hand.  I hope they can figure out how to improvise.  Like we did.  I bet they will.  The other issue hit me smack in the face the moment I reached for my copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys.  Boys.  While I still loved the book and will encourage my kids with it, I wish it didn’t have to say “for boys.”  Couldn’t they just have named it something more gender-neutral and still have it sound adventurous?  Luckily, the title doesn’t affect the writing inside, except for one small chapter, titled, “Girls.”

In sum, this book is a fantastic read as a book of memories, a book of suggestions, or even just a book to leave out when your kids or their visiting cousins are looking for a way to fill a long summer afternoon.  From crafts to cards to first aid, they’re sure to find something to do, and learn even more along the way. 

The book reaches American bookstores on May 1.  Grab your copy when it comes out tomorrow … and get outside and play!

As a special bonus, Parent Blogger Network is giving away a two-man tent (there the nomenclature is again — why isn’t it a two-person tent?) to one lucky reader/commenter on their launch post.   You can find more reviews of this book there, and more of my reviews at my new review blog, Review Planet.