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29 November 2007 @ 02:38 pm
Planning for the Holidays...  
Is not going well so far! I took another look at the calendar, and the idea of going up to Oregon the weekend before Xmas and driving back on the 23rd (because of when my sister has custody of the kids) fell flat when I realized the Xmas is on Tuesday this year and not Wednesday, and we'd be going up Friday, staying Saturday, and going back Sunday.

That is not going to work out. The trip is eight hours minimum if no weather problems happen. :(

My parents keep hoping we'll be there Xmas day again at some point, but we're still in the "believing in Santa" phase and also have my M-I-L staying overnight Xmas Eve now because she can't drive anymore and wouldn't be there Xmas morning otherwise.

I've emailed the one sister with alternate suggestions...

I'm trying to do online gift-research, and the older my kids get the harder this is! I think it's because older kids' toys suck, as opposed to Fisher Price and V-Tech stuff from the past. My daughter is borderline on the Littlest Pet Shop stuff-- i.e., dolls are almost dead to her but she likes those. Can't give her endless gift cards! My son is more flexible, except that toys for boys his age are awful: cars, boring action figures, cars, Transformers that become cars, etc. Might be time to consider Pirate Island LEGOs while I can, now that he's no longer ditzy enough to mix alllll the different kinds of LEGOs together (yes, on a playdate with a friend they dumped about 10 Bionicles into a single container. So much for those).

I looked at hedgehog toys on a whim (his weakness), and discovered that the lamest part of his collection might not be a dog toy but a Beanie Baby instead. It's not even fuzzy. :0 Someday I'll post pics of his hedgehog family. ;)

Running: THIS year I'm running 4 miles, as opposed to last year when I was just starting to run again after 1 1/2 years of being sidelined by plantar fasciitis. I love running in the cold, and really love running at night during Xmas light season-- which has started! \o/ Also hit my fastest time last night-- 36:40 for 4 miles. Three weeks ago, I was verklempt over a 40:40 run over that same distance. Big improvement!
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Princess Robot Bubblegum!: dear diaryastrothsknot on November 29th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, older kids toys suck if you don't like cars, GI Joe or dolls. My Mum's good at finding decent toys and Stewart's always been crafty.

What do the kids actually like? One Xmas Stewart got a shitload of hiking gear and was over the moon.

My brother thought we were all batshit, Stewart was happy
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 12:53 am (UTC)
What do the kids actually like?
Christopher likes everything, so it's more a matter of me wanting variety in his toys. However sports are irresistible to him. When he was younger, he loved Thomas The Tank Engine, and we'd buy accessory buildings and engines/freight cars and generic track that would make him happy as a clam. I did find a matchbox blimp (!) for him.

Lauren likes crafts, and I'm considering a knitting kit with instructions and both the crochet/knit options. Toys 'R Us online crafts has-- the horror!-- Thomas Kincaid items such as Paint By Numbers and trademarked easels and the like. Lo, how I hate that man's output. :0
eponin10 on November 29th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
Considering I've realized I really need to start exercising again, any suggestions on how one starts running and does it safely to build up endurance and lung capacity? I do yoga, but that's not quite the same thing, and I'd like to supplement it with something that's outside.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 01:39 am (UTC)
Lucky you, you're in the South where you won't get sidelined for snow in the winter!

The first step is to build up your feet/ankles/stamina by walking longish distances, as in 3-4 miles. After about 2 weeks of that, you start running parts of it at a slow pace, trying to increase the distance that you run over time (some people run a block, walk a block, working up to running two blocks, walking one block, etc. Some just aim for continuous running). Eventually (maybe 4-6 weeks later after this) you should be able to run the whole distance (3 miles is a better target for running than 4). Shoot for every other day, at least on the running part. Walking can happen more often because it doesn't lead to overuse injuries.

If you do something else, like go for extended bike rides on the off days, you'll build your heart/lung capacity doing something other than the running, and that's good too!
eponin10 on November 30th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
Cool. Thank you!

And I plan to focus on yoga on the off days. Its great for building flexibility and honestly... done right it's a good moving meditation and stress reliever.
eponin10 on November 29th, 2007 11:20 pm (UTC)
Also... we're getting Roo a kid-safe (Fisher Price brand!) digital camera. She loves using ours, so we thought we'd get her something that could develop into a hobby, rather than just more stuff. Her room's crowded enough as it is and my FIL is very much a stuff-giving person. He tends to go way over the top. *laugh*

We just did a massive purge in her room... with her help! Took 5 bags of outgrown or not played with toys and 2 bags of outgrown clothes to goodwill last week.

But if the kids have a hobby, something that feeds into that?

I'm begging for beading/jewelry making supplies this year. *g*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 01:41 am (UTC)
But if the kids have a hobby, something that feeds into that?
Lauren's hobby is baking desserts as often as she can get away with (to the detriment of the grownups) and art. Christopher's is practically every hobby, which he will love passionately and then totally burn out on in about 3 weeks and never look back. ;)

Age four has so many good toys! Oh, I remember the days. And age 1 and 2 have excellent toys nowadays. :D
eponin10 on November 30th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
Christopher's is practically every hobby, which he will love passionately and then totally burn out on in about 3 weeks and never look back.

*laugh* I'm familiar with this.

Lauren sounds like my husband, without the art part. *g* He's been all about cooking for the last year or so. And let me tell you, I'm lucky! He's a good cook and does most of the cooking, which I hate.
Princess Robot Bubblegum!astrothsknot on November 29th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
But mixing up all the Lego bricks is the best part! All the different stuff that gets built! Cities and palaces and places for the weird ass Bionicles you're going to get! All that imagination!

I've plateau because I can only manage to walk five k in a day, on the way back from work. It'll be better when the dark nights have gone and I can step up stuff in the night
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 01:43 am (UTC)
Cities and palaces and places for the weird ass Bionicles you're going to get! All that imagination!

You would hope-- and we do get some creative results! But mostly, I'd like for him to have been able to replicate the Bionicles first before trashing the entire bunch that his older cousin had lovingly preserved for so many years....

It'll be better when the dark nights have gone and I can step up stuff in the night.
The darkness where you are is really limiting-- 4pm I think wenchpixie said, and the further north the worse it would be. Our darkness falls just after 5pm, which gives a little more leeway. Most of my exercising is during the lunch hour at work though-- don't know if you even have that option.
aeroport_artaeroport_art on November 29th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
You can run four miles in a row? In 36:40? This is my impressed face: o_o
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)
Hee! That's a much nicer way of looking at it! My fastest caps out at about 8:30/mile, because I'm not a fast runner at all.

I hear tell of 13-14 year olds these days who can run 4-minute miles. :0 Back in the 50s, that was thought to be unachievable before Jim Bannister (I think it was) broke the 4-minute mile). Now kids are doing it!!!
Gretagretazreta on November 29th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
I'm having difficulty shopping for my 18month old nephew. There's lots of cool baby toys, but they seem a bit babyish. And everything else seems to be for over-threes. It's not such a big deal because he won't remember it, probably, but nonetheless. Big gap there.

And it has to be shipped from NZ to the UK. So any big box of anything becomes a bit prohibitive. Oh well, next Christmas we'll be roses.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: weechestershalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
Oh, I remember the great 1-year-old and 3-ish toys, but as you say, there's kind of a gap.

One thing our kids loved was electronic toys. We got one that would do a ton of various tunes depending on what button you pushed, "find the letter," and that kind of thing. I think that was for my daughter's 3rd-year birthday, but my son (age 1 then) would not part with it!

Shipping makes it all so much harder. :( That's when cloth animals start to become really appealing-- anything lightweight and not too bulky.
PamalaX: Snickeralexpamalax on November 30th, 2007 12:50 am (UTC)
Can't give her endless gift cards!

Not yet but just you wait.

Me: Em, what do you want for Xmas
Em: An ipod.
Me: I know that... what else besides an ipod?
Em: Gift cards.
Me: I need something more than just gift cards!
Em: NO you don't. You'll buy me stuff I don't like and won't wear. JUST GIFT CARDS

Proceeds to wander away but STOPS outside her room to offer the last sad tidbit of shopping advice

Em: Just get me one mall gift card or a MasterCard gift card so I can use it where I want.

* sigh *

Edited at 2007-11-30 12:51 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 30th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
Not yet but just you wait.
At some point, she'll just want money. But at age 10, she would be sorely disappointed if we didn't try to understand her secret wants and needs with actual gifts. It's a minefield.

Em: Just get me one mall gift card or a MasterCard gift card so I can use it where I want.
I can see that one in my future already. It's simple, but also... so joyless for the shopper.