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    Entries in kids (12)


    hundred dollar hanukkah: the gifts

    As I said in the post that introduced my idea for a hundred dollar Hanukkah, this year we decided to set a budget of $100 and limit our gifting to one present for the whole family per night. When last I left you, I showed you how George and I made a little menorah which would be our family's first night gift. As promised, I'm back to share what's in store for the other nights (well... six of them, anyway). But not before you get in the mood with the Maccabeats. Take it away, boys!

    My favorite Maccabeat is the one that looks like Neal Schweiber, how about you? Okay, now that you're in the mood:

    First Night - DIY menorah. Candle cups (2 packs): $1.69 apiece; wood for base: $1.20 (1.99 with a 40% off coupon). Paint we had. All from Michael's. total: $4.58

    Second Night - Movie and popcorn. Where The Wild Things Are (from the somewhat puzzling discount DVD bin at Michael's): $6.99; Popcorn: free (well, paid for at some point, but in the pantry). I'm cautiously optimistic about the movie choice, as George has a love/hate relationship with Maurice Sendak as should all children have with dead geniuses. total: $6.99

    Third Night - Photobooth style family portrait. 8x24" canvas: $5 ($9.99 with a 50% off coupon from Joann); large photocopies of pictures of each member of the family: I'll be generous and say $2; Mod Podge we had. A more detailed post about this is eventually forthcoming, but it's an idea modified from this blog post found on Pinterest. total: $7 

    Fourth Night - Homemade pajama pants for everyone. Our house is kinda chilly, and nothing says holidays like a family in matching flannel pants. I have a ridiculous stash of fabric, so these were free! total: NOTHING! 

    Fifth Night - Gift certificate to Big Scoop Sundae Palace, our local goofy ice cream joint. I should've thrown in an extra dollar or two for the jukebox; oh well. total: $15

    Sixth Night - Poppa's Pizza Pile-Up game from Value Village. Balancing is a particular interest of George's, as well as things coming suddenly crashing down, and our whole family has a soft spot (on me, it's the middle section) for pizza. A respectable collection of games is something I look forward to amassing, and this is the first we've bought specifically for play with the kids.  total: $1.99

    Seventh Night - Tickets to the Seattle Aquarium. A splurge, but (I think) a smart one as outings like this go. Kids under 4 are free, and it'll be nicer to be inside the cozy aquarium than it would be trudging through the mud at the Woodland Park Zoo. George's birthday is also on the seventh night, and I wanted to make this gift something to look forward to, since he'll have plenty of new stuff to focus on. total: $40

    Eighth Night - As the sun sets on the last night of Hanukkah, we'll be finishing up George's third birthday party. I have a special outing planned for that evening, and don't want to give too much away -- even Nathan doesn't know what we're doing! -- but wanted to close the holiday with something we could all make together, to use forever... or until someone breaks it. I'll take pictures. total: $20

    GRAND TOTAL: $95.56

    This was such a fun way to celebrate what is, in actuality, not a super big Jewish holiday, but one I get a little aggro about people forgetting in a peppermint and Burl Ives-induced fog. Still to come this month: a bowling afficionado turns three, a Solstice for which I have perhaps unwisely promised a certain youngster he may stay up "all day long and all day night," a smallish Christmas and a thirty-third birthday for the hardest working, baby-slinginest papa there ever was. Oof. Remind me to never have another winter baby. 




    I'm thankful for a lot: two healthy children, a partner I saw fit to make them with, a warm home, delicious food, and enough to share. Moreover, I am grateful for the presence of mind to be thankful, for my ability -- however limited my reach often seems -- to instill gratitude in my kids, and for the fact that no Thanksgiving will pass without some discussion of the haves, the have-nots, and the used-to-haves-but-got-royally-screweds. Thanksgiving is a tricky day, with tragic and often misrepresented roots, but I wish us all a happy, delicious holiday with eyes wide open to those in need of justice. 


    on involving my kids in politics

    A photo of my son -- a photo (and a kid, obviously) of which I am very proud -- did some laps around the internet last week. On more than one occasion it, my parenting, and my motives were questioned, and that took me by surprise, as George was participating in an activity I would never think twice of. What was he doing?

    Standing on the steps of our county's courthouse, at a rally in support of Referendum 74 (WHICH PASSED THANK YOU WASHINGTON), which affords all Washingtonians their right to marry whomever they damn well please.

    I was accused of indoctrinating him, of forcing my beliefs on him, and using him for political gain. Those accusations made me sad not because they spoke to me in any real way; they were absurd. I was disappointed to read them, because they meant that people are not engaging their kids in political discourse. To the hand-wringers, a child at a rally is a prop, not a participant, and that speaks volumes of the state of our nation. 

    George wasn't plunked down on the steps of the courthouse for a photo-op, and he wasn't naive to the cause for which we were rallying support. We've talked at length this fall about the presidential candidates, the ballot measures that most concern us, and what we, as citizens, can do to make sure our voices are heard and people get a fair shake. So many people he loves -- we love -- are affected by the homophobia that plagues our country, and if anyone feels injustice to the core, it's a toddler. What better time to introduce the concept of privilege (and shedding it) than in these formative years? We are developing a habit of participation, of informing ourselves and thoughtfully considering those around us. If that's indoctrination, well, there are certainly worse dogmata.

    That brings me to the other troubling part of the complaints: the assertion that I should give my kids "all the information" and "let them decide." This is a proposition only humored by liberals, and I'm here to say: NO EFFING WAY. Civil rights are not something about which we should even be voting. Were my children to grow up racist, I wouldn't shrug my shoulders and say hey, to each his own! The devoutly religious, the homophobic: they don't (usually) suggest to one another that there might be another way, so what's with the liberal guilt around the only things that are, without question, just and true? I have no problem telling my kids, or anyone else, that some things are right and some things are wrong and my family will not participate in bigotry. For the record, I also often choose what George eats for lunch, when he goes to bed, and whether or not he can oppress his sister despite not detailing every edible thing in the house, the necessary bodily functions that occur during sleep, or what will happen when Zelda is big enough to fight back. 

    I was proud to watch the debates with my children, proud to hear what George had to say about Obama and Romney, and thrilled when he could rejoice with me in the victories we won. It's never too early to have these conversations, and never too late, either. In a country where apathy is rampant, involvement is one cure. 


    the spinning kind

    So much going on.

    Most of it good. Really good.

    I love this season. The weather. The holidays. The happenings. 

    There are lots of ways to dance and
    to spin, sometimes it just starts my
    feet first then my entire body, I am
    spinning no one can see it but it is
    happening. I am so glad to be alive,
    I am so glad to be loving and loved.
    Even if I were close to the finish, 
    even if I were at my final breath, I
    would be here to take a stand, bereft
    of such astonishments, but for them.

    If I were a Sufi for sure I would be
    one of the spinning kind. 

    - Mary Oliver, from her new collection(!), A Thousand Mornings

    Never die, Mary Oliver. I simply won't allow it.




    L'shana tova!