Check out item #4!! Available in boy or girl version for your little rocker!
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Thanks to all of you who visited us at the Pace Fall Fair last Saturday. It was a fabulous day! The weather was perfect and we had a lot of fun. People loved seeing our “bananas” running around and the kids really enjoyed making their own plates.
The art contest was a huge success and congratulations to Sebastian for submitting the winning drawing. We think this cow (or is it a cat??) is awesome with his big head and spotted body. We made this drawing into a plate so Sebastian can use it again and again.
We received rave reviews on our new platters and Catharine was the lucky winner in that giveaway. Congratulations Catharine!
Thanks again to everyone who visited! We hope to see you all again next year!
Was it Shakespeare who penned, “April is the cruelest month.”? If so, the man was a prophet – at least in regard to April 2009 at Camp Crary! All three of the little campers were down with viral flu, which can last, of course, a MONTH. Around camp the sound of nebulizers humming in the background had become our new Camp song, complete with masks and white smoke for a rockin’ effect! Not to mention steroids, which seemed to elevate the frentic energy of the guys to new heights. And when well-meaning folks asked me what we did over Spring Break, I hesitated to answer. Who really wants to hear about fever up to 104 degrees – not the sun on a lovely island – no, that would have been my children’s body temperatures!!
Actually, between work at the church, drug store runs, laundry, cooking, occasionally talking to my husband in passing, time to think beyond the next minute has been a luxury lately. And writing? Well, let’s just say I already owed V.B. a blog last month, and it never happened. Honestly, I have felt sort-of-half-human – who am I? In the midst of trying to pull off a “Director of Communications” role in my job (one day I will be found out!), concerned mother who sits wearily through another doctor’s appointment really thinking about that fact that if I can just get through the screaming during the throat culture, I can go through Starbuck’s drive-thru and get a latte, occasional volunteer at my older boys’ elementary school where I constantly feel like I need to go back to elementary school, and being the parent who is only able to show up on Fridays to pick up her youngest son from an Early Invention school in Atlanta, I have to ask myself, where has the feeling gone? The feeling I remember embracing with unbridled enthusiasm: “I am Mother, Hear Me Roar!”
As May graces us with its sunny disposition, I am relieved to report the peewee campers have returned to their usual routines and are enjoying soccer games and school with friends. And I am praying to gain new inspiration as we approach Mother’s Day. Maybe I will be reminded of the rites of rebirth and renewal Spring brings, and that as a mother I have not lost my way entirely though my “roar” is a little weaker. Maybe I have just been waiting for the chance to become strong again – pushing my way up through all the dirt and announcing myself with the rising sun like the first May flowers.
J.E. Crary -mother of 3 boys
We try to celebrate boy-ness at our house. I say “try” because it’s not always easy. I remember when there were only four of us in this family. Mom, Dad, James and Catherine. Two boys, two girls. It was too easy, too symmetrical, too sane. So we added some spice – his name is Charles. In one week of vacation last summer, he single-handedly convinced my sister and her husband (and maybe many others) that their family was complete with just TWO children.
We are blessed with two boys (and a girl in between -– the rose between the thorns). The gap between the boys is large enough to drive a Mack truck through. You know, the same Mack truck that hits us as our “alarm” goes off on dark, early mornings. Our “alarm” is a three-year-old named Charles. The alarm goes something like this… “MOM!! I can’t sleep by myself!”
Some days, this “Charles alarm” goes off earlier than ever and he comes to “sleep” between us in our big bed. I can count the number of times on one hand that Charles actually fell back to sleep once he got snuggled down between us under our comforter. Usually, he talks to his lovies (soft slips of pale blue fabric with elephant heads). Or he’ll talk to us. He’ll ask if the sun is awake yet. He’ll ask when it will be time to have “brek-stas” because he is hungry. He will ask this incessantly.
I know this particular phase won’t last for long. We’ve been through plenty of phases with three children – the bottle phase, the pacifier phase, the sippy cup phase, and now the “I can’t sleep past 5 am alone” phase. Will I miss his little toenails digging into the small of my back at the crack of dawn? Doubtful. Will I miss his mop of white-blond silky hair pressing against my face and the pudgy soft fingers feeling for my nose in the dark to go “honk?” Probably.
Talking about “celebrating boy,” reminds me of how much energy is packed into that little sturdy body. Let’s just say our youngest is a climber. Charles never met a chair or table that he didn’t want to dominate. He takes the descriptive term “ladder-back chair” literally. Miraculously, he hasn’t sustained a serious injury -– yet. I feel it is only a matter of time before I am careening across eight lanes of Atlanta traffic to get to Children’s Hospital for stitches or worse. I keep the driving directions to the emergency room in my glove compartment.
The energy of a three-year old boy is astounding. He can run laps around a busy parking lot, but refuses to walk a step toward his room for a nap. We call naps “quiet time” at our house, which is hysterical since the quiet time consists of Charles screaming and crying for me for the better part of an hour. Sometimes I skip “quiet time” and let him watch TV – it is much more restful for me.
One interesting thing about having a “caboose” -– a child who brings up the rear with a noticeable five or more year gap between him and his siblings, is that the “caboose” is oddly way ahead of his time. He knows things other kids won’t experience for a good four or five more years. For example, Charles likes rock music. He likes to play air guitar to U2’s Beautiful Day. It is a precious thing to see your three-year-old swaying his hips and rocking out. Charles has seen movies that I didn’t let James see until he was getting braces. The movies didn’t bother him -– no nightmares, no crying. Just a little bit more realistic swordplay and “I’m going to kill you” talk. We just went back to watching Caillou and Noddy for awhile. (If these don’t sound familiar, just count your blessings.)
His sister has had an effect on Charles, too. For example, every time Catherine tries to talk to me, Charles starts to fuss and whine. Hmmmm. He definitely knows who the competition is. But those moments when they are squished together in the family room chair, both eating a handful of gorp that dad made for the Cub Scout campout tomorrow, wiping their hands on their pant legs, while Catherine reads Froggy Plays Soccer out loud to Charles…well, those moments are beautiful, if rare.
Remember the gap in ages that I mentioned? That definitely adds some interest and challenge to our daily family life. Many times I have found myself “bridging” between wiping out the little potty that Charles uses, and helping James get his thumb drive into his laptop so he can research dragons on the internet. And, I will always remember one day when I got a chance to really show my ability to adapt quickly. I had just spent a lovely morning at the High Museum. I gave a tour of two new exhibits to a group of girlfriends from church. We had lunch afterwards in the café and felt “oh-so-urban” and sophisticated. Later, I reluctantly headed home. The second I walked in the kitchen door, the babysitter said, “I’m so glad you’re back. Charles has had two accidents – one is on the floor in his room, and the other is in this bag.” Great. I spent the next part of my day cleaning carpet and underwear.
Last April, we felt bad that Charles was the youngest so we got a puppy. Okay, that’s not really true. We got a puppy because I promised the older kids that we could get one when James was 10 and Charles wasn’t a baby anymore. I made that promise in a moment of weakness three years ago. Lo and behold, a 10-year-old birthday actually came, and Charles “sleeps” (I use that term loosely) in a big-boy bed now. So, Abby joined our family. She is just as energetic as Charles, but weighs twice as much. Charles is determined to dominate her. He wants to be the alpha child, alpha dog, and alpha everything. Abby actually listens to him better than she listens to me. He has perfected the deep voice and commanding tone when he says, “Abby, no.” “Abby, sit.” “Abby, back.” He basically can boss her around and all that happens to him is some eager sniffing for stray oatmeal on his pants or a wet lick in the eye.
So, while we try to celebrate all the boy-ness, all the enthusiasm and all the spice that Charles adds to our days, I’ve noticed that he is busy enjoying himself, too. He is the self-proclaimed “Man of the House” when his dad and older brother go camping. He shouts, “I’m the King of the World” when he climbs on top of the big rock at the playground. No self-esteem issues here. We cherish that energy, confidence and independence that pours out of our youngest child. Believe me, we know Charles is a blessing. It’s just that sometimes he is a blessing in disguise — in this case, a blessing wearing a muscled Spiderman suit wielding a pair of ninja swords.
By V. Bratton: 11/17/07
Wow! We can’t believe our site has been up for almost 6 months. We have been overwhelmed with the response about our plates and we are so thrilled you seem to love them as much as we do. We have gotten a number of great ideas for new designs from many of you ~ please keep them coming! We also love the creative ways people are giving our plates as gifts. Who knew these personalized melamine plates could be so great for so many occasions and so many different ages?
Since we started My Clean Plate Club, we have donated our plates to many wonderful organizations – The Atlanta Speech School Guild (GA), St. Luke Catholic Church (Indianapolis, IN), The Cathedral Preschool (Atlanta, GA), Beth-El Zedeck Early Childhood Center (Indianapolis, IN), Prospect Park Alliance (Brooklyn, NY), and The Deaconess Classic for Women’s Health (Evansville, IN). We look forward to donating to many more worthy causes and organizations in the future.
We have added a number of new holiday plates – check out our Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas plates. Buy a great gift for someone on your list and make them smile with a new personalized plate from My Clean Plate Club!
Megan and Vicky