COVID19 on the inside

It has been a minute since I last posted.  Life as a child care provider during COVID has been a wild … adventure?  Since March 2020 there have been at least seven rule changes to date.  Those changes were anything small from two page documents, to one document being 62 pages.  Life in early March consisted of large group circle time, laughter, singing, dress ups, sand tables and then moving into Centers where children would play cooperatively.  Since COVID hit?  We lost the ability to use sand or sensory play.  Dress ups went out the window.  Anything soft had to be removed.  Every surface had to be covered with a sneeze shield or be fully cleanable.

In the begining everyone stayed home and we had one to two children daily.  That was a large change from 31!  As families trickled back into care, rules seem to change daily.  At first if anyone in the family was sick, everyone had to stay out for 14 days (parent/child)!  Then it changed to 10 days if the child had any form of sickness symptoms.  Now it seems to be changing again to if you have two sickness symptoms, then you are out for 10 days.  However if you just have one symptom, you need to be symptom and medication free for 24 hours.

Sanitizing and disinfecting has become an out of this world chore.  I’ll just say it now is a full time job for multiple people throughout the day.  Certain toys must be put away and just can’t be played with.  Toys can not be brought into school.  Books have to be sanitized… BOOKS!  The newest rule… children are NOT allowed to share.  Ok, as an Early Childhood Professional, sharing is one of the basic building blocks for Social Emotional Development.  How to you PREVENT sharing?…  Inquiring minds want to know.  Children are also suppose to social distance.  Have you ever tried to socially distance young children?  It is similar to bathing cats.  Some love it and others, not so much.

In April/May, groups were split up.  Friends who would see each other daily prior to the pandemic, were now separated and not allowed contact.  Group sizes were shut down to a, “stable group of 5 – 10.”  Kids could not switch between groups or hang out with their friends, only half of them.  Watching students grieve and ask why they can’t see their friend any more, knowing they are in the class on the other side of the wall or downstairs was hard.

We are a little frustrated about the 62 pages of rules with many pieces of fine print costing money, time and giving up many of our personal freedoms.  Yet we love our jobs.  So we press on and pray for this storm to pass and for things to return to normal.  One thing we are grateful for in the new massive rule that begins on September 1, 2020, going back to group sizes.  For our center this would be a max class of 20, for our homes max of 16.  Friends will be reunited and so happy to see each other!

For those of you who supported us during this time, thank you.  For those of you who supported your provider in your State or City, THANK YOU!  Child care has been damaged in this pandemic.   The financial losses from requirements from the state were large.  Shutting down programs only allowing one group was also financially hard.  A program that once had four groups, now had to financially sink, there was no other choice -no funding supports when our legs were knocked out.  Developmentally appropriate practices have been thrown out.  Teachers must cover their faces and wear, “Hazmat suit,” material if you are feeding an infant a bottle (and a mask).  Can you imagine what infants are going through?  How terrifying this must be for them.

It is my sincere hope that our nation can return back to some form of normalcy where Developmentally Appropriate practices are again embraced and providers are allowed to again practice the art of Early Childhood Education.  Until then, Preschool and Child Care is just a shadow of what it was prior to COVID.  Until then teachers and program directors need your support and encouragement.

Affordable Preschool Family Fun Vacations

It can be challenging moving into a new area, or having your first child.  What is there to do for kids in our area?  Here is part 1 of the three part series.  where to take your family on adventures or vacations.

Local Fun
High Desert Museum:  Here is a day full of as many fun adventures as you could dream of.  From life on the ranch, feeding chickens, pumping water, to zoo animals -there are many child friendly activities here.  Twice a year you can check in here on a FREE day!  Check their website for details. Click Here for website.

Camping in a Yurt:  Unknown-3  In Oregon there are these cool things called Yurts!  They are set up with beds inside at a camp ground.  My favorite are along the Oregon Coast and they are SUPER affordable.  You literally pack your suitcase, a sleeping bag and food, then stay camping style without the cost.  Yurt costs vary but they are a cheap option.  You can select your date through Reserve America, prepay and you are ready to go.  Hint -book ahead…. like WAYYYY ahead.  These are a gem and locals know it!

Mount Bachelor -FREE Skiing:  You heard it here, Mount Bachelor has my vote over any other mountain in the US!  They have a lift called Carosel where you and your child can LEARN to ski though experience for FREE.  Let me repeat that… FREE.  I know… pick your jaw up off the floor.  Bend is really heaven.  You need your own gear or are wonderful places to save some money when getting equipped.

Wanoga Snow Park -tubing and sledding:  It is a whole $5 (for the parking pass)!  Bring your own gear.  Occasionally there are food trucks there.  Make sure to pack snacks.  My clan is always starved after our adventure.

Bouncing off the Wall: Is the weather less than outdoor weather today?  Need something to run off some energy?  Look no further!  This is a great place to get out the wiggles.

Mountain Air:  Indoor trampoline park is fun for all ages, adults and kids alike!  You can jump for 30 minutes or two hours.  There is dodgeball, a small kids area, foam pit even basketball.  This is a hoot with a large group or for birthday parties.  It is little more on the spendyside, but a fun memory.

Bend Rock Gym:  Children who are old enough to walk can enjoy BRG.  With auto belay technology, you can climb along side your preschooler or your spouse.  No previous rock climbing experience needed.  We usually go for an hour and rent shoes while there.  It is along the spender actives and well worth it.

Juniper Swim:  In the winter there is great swimming at Juniper.  The price is very affordable and it is a great way to tire out your active kids.  In the summer, the outdoor swim and water play area is open.  No additional fee’s are charged and you can bask out in the sun while enjoying the pool with your littles.

Cascade Indoor sports:  I LOVE roller skating and I’m hoping it will come back strong like it was in the 80’s!  Cascade Indoor Sports has roller skating.  Great music, games, reverse skate… the only thing missing is couples skate.  Considering these are our kids and we aren’t the kids… couples skate can be left out.  Affordable and fun.  Skate times are listed on their website and usually there are additional hours on non school days.

Bend Lava Cave:  This link is to trip advisor for this special monument of amazement.  We took our boys when they were infants here.  Wonderful memories and it is breath taking.  We went in the summer time as the natural AC was just what we needed.


The Snow Pacalypse 2016

IMG_7183 IMG_7190Wow there was a lot of snow the last 48 hours.  We recorded 26″ here at Bend Preschool!  That might possibly be a record of some sort.  The snow pacalypse of 2016, has passed, sidewalks have been blown off, parking made available and we are all set for Friday.  Drive safe on your way to school and see you tomorrow!


Click Here for Snow Pacalypse 2016 Video

Laundry and preschool

Is the monster in your house?

Is the monster in your house?

“NO, I can’t leave MOM!  I can’t find my socks!  And my pants don’t fit any more!”  screamed my 6 year old daughter as we were late for school the 5th time this week.  That was it.  I’m going to have to get another late slip in the office.

My mind wandered back to the days of each of my five kids, being infants.  The long nights of multiple messy diapers, the “poo-caso paintings” they sometimes created middle of the night and the ever stained clothing… these just seem to be a stage we have been stuck in for 17 years!  You like me, wondered how these heaps of dirty laundry, unmatched socks, clothes under the bed, under the sink, under the sheets come to life.  How do people get to nicely organized drawers and kids who were happily going to the car each morning for school?
As I sat folding socks about 4 weeks ago, an idea came to me.  From this idea our house became a house of happy mornings with matched socks and “magical drawers.” Let me share with you a few simple tricks to conquer this laundry monster.


1)  Set the week up:  Pick out 7 outfits that will work for the week.  Example: One shirt, one pair of pants, socks and undies = 1 outfit

2)  Limit the options:  We have nice clothes, play clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes, too small clothes, too big clothes -TOO MANY CLOTHES!  Yet it is impossible to part with anything (am I the only hoarder here?)…  Lock the other options up

3) Donate:  Get those 0-3 month clothes out to someone who needs more laundry.  Pay it Forward group on facebook or Goodwill, so many people are in need.

4) Wash on short cycle:  You know that cycle that takes 1.5 hours to wash, then the clothes get left in there and need rewashed and the laundry just stacks up another week while the clothes get stinky?  Then the things from the dryer end up on the floor unfolded for the week?  End that.  Now.  Use the 30 or 45 minute cycle.  Now you can remember to flip, fold and put away before midnight strikes.

Know that if you are in the middle of laundry he!! that you too can break free.  This simple strategy has led to more peace, less laundry and less fighting in our family.

I’m sure everyone out there in the world has already conquered the looming laundry beast.  Just in-case he is still lurking in your home, now you know our secret to keeping him a small pet.

Books, How to invest in Reading

Reading.  It is the single most talked about thing in current culture.

“Can your infant read?”  “When will my preschooler read?”  “Why can’t my second grader read?”  “My friend has a child with dyslexia and she can’t read more than a sentence without a headache.”

Each day, reading seems to be more of a focus.  It is amazing how much we learn from reading.  It is how all learning is set up in the 21st century.  On line classes, story problems for first graders and on it goes.  A love of reading develops at an early age.  Here are some quick tips for developing a love of reading in your family.

Turn off the tube–  Hard as it might be, that babysitter is creating an antithesis of reading (the opposite).  It is stealing the time, attention and imagination away from your child.  Create limited TV time and more time for books.  How about that time just before dinner.  When your little(s) are cranky and all you want is to make your dinner without totally freaking out!!  I hear ya!  Go to step 2….

Have books around– That’s right, just laying around.  Maybe a small basket in the kitchen while you are cooking dinner.  Maybe have two baskets.  One with fun pictures, textures, wheels to turn and nobs to push, poop books (kids love gross stuff) and one with beautiful pictures where they can make up the stories.  Your little Moe or Mia can sit and play with texture books, or your preschooler can show you all the tractors in the farm book.  While this may be a change of pace for your family, the creativity and memories they have with you and books will spark the love of books needed for success.

Make reading fun– After dinner clean up is done, have Moe or Mia pick out their favorite story book.  Then read it.  Just one.  Use crazy voices, loud, soft, grandma, baritone and mousy.  When your children laugh they are reducing stress and bonding with you.  Did I mention this is a great way to create lasting memories?

Let book time be a benefit–  Book time at our house is a, “I got to stay up later than my bedtime,” privileged.  When we loose book time, there are tears and great sadness.  Loosing book time is the end all and worst way to go to sleep in the Crawmer home.  Why?  When bedtime is 7:45 and you can stay up until 8:15 reading books, as a child you feel in control.  Each book you get to read, “past bedtime,” is another notch in your belt.  Then mom or dad comes in and will read your favorite story of the night.  This does lead to an 8:30/:45 bedtime in our house and we now have all of our children reading.

Bring them everywhere–  Road trip?  Bring books.  Airplane ride?  Bring books.  Going to lunch with friends and your child?  Bring books.  The Dentist?  Bring books.  Reading takes us to new places.  Books have a way of changing our perspective on life.  Let the iphone and tablets take a rest and let the books come out of their nest.

Children read when their skills are ready.  Children speak when they are ready.  These things can not be forced.  Introduce your child to a world of reading and be excited about new books coming into your life.  Let reading with your children become a lifestyle choice that leads your family to a road of success… the success of reading.

Little Hearts

photo box

Every year, around this time of year my heart feels.  It feels more than I like.  Don’t know about you, but I love to feel happy.  The warm feeling of falling in love with a new baby, a first love, new puppy, finding a soul mate -I love these feelings.

The feeling a mother feels for her children, I love that feeling too.  The warmth, snuggles, the soft whispers -they just make every day beautiful.  That part I find hard about love is vulnerability.  Our hearts are open to others and it feels so wonderful.

On December 9th, 2009 my heart felt the deepest sadness a parent can feel.  The death of my daughter.  Just before a parent meeting for our Crawmer’s Critterz toddler class, I had gone in for my 20 week prenatal check on Mimi -our daughter.  Just the week prior we had found out she was a girl.  Wiggling, bumping, sucking her thumb, she was just everything we could hope and dream of.  How was it that I would be giving birth to her on December 9th, before her time?  How was it she didn’t make it into my arms?  What did I do wrong?  Did I not sleep enough?  Not love her enough?  Was it that night I slept on my tummy?  It is moments like these that leave our hearts breaking for the little hearts that have stopped beating before their time.

I went into St Charles, December 9th.  A place of laughter, new life and little cries was now a place I would remember as a place of heart break, tragedy and broken dreams.  I remember our nurse.  She told me the greatest gift I was still left to be given -birth.  Tears, full body sobs…. that was the only form of communication that was produced from my greif stricken body.  How does this make a happy ending?  How is this, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purposes?”  My heart was feeling… more than I cared to feel.  Doubt and despair filled my being.

Our prayer team at Westside Church prayed peace over me.  Holding Mimi, I’ll never forget her face.  So soft and quiet.  Her little body lay in my hands.  She never got to meet her brothers and sisters.  I never got to hear her new born cry, her laughter, or change her first diaper.  She was gone in a flash.  My hello, was also her goodbye.  The peace I felt in the moments following her birth… words just can’t explain.those.moments.

Leaving the hospital was probably the hardest part.  Her body was left with Baird’s Funeral home.  Her remains cremated so we could keep her with us for as long as we live.  How do you give birth and know you never can see or hold your baby again?  That their life is over?  The sweet moments and kicks are gone with nothing left?  How do you explain to all of your friends that you will not be having a baby?  What do you tell your children?  So many unanswered questions as Russ and I walked down this sorrow-filled road.  No one to talk to.  No books to read.  No answers in sight.  Just broken hearts.

Milly was born to us October 7, 2010.  The entire pregnancy was filled with fear, bleeding and complications.  There wasn’t a night I slept until she was born and could cry.  No ultrasound could give me hope.  Yet, her little heart wouldn’t have made it into my world without Mimi’s sacrifice.  Mimi gave up her spot in our family for Milly.  Talk about the ultimate sacrifice.  Every day, I spend my life valuing and loving the little hearts and lives of our precious chidlren here at Crawmer’s.  I know, deeply and personally, how valuable life is.  Our hearts as parents are tied to our children.  They are not replaceable and our love is unending.

So today, December 9, 2014, I remember my daughter Mimi.  The urn that contains what is left of my baby, is held a little tighter.  Her little heart will forever bring a twinge of sorrow in my life.  Yet that sorrow is also joy; joy for my gain of Milly -into my heart and our family.  One would never wish to feel such despair and brokenness, but I am thankful for the lesson of just how precious our children are.  I am thankful to be able to share my story.  That others may know -it is OK to feel pain, sorrow and weakness -these are not the pretty feelings we flaunt on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Yet it is what helps us to know the depths of this life.  My heart feels, and I am all the better for it.


Maggie -A Child’s Best Friend

Meet Maggie; she is our loving and snugly puppy friend at Crawmer’s.  Maggie is going through Canine good citizen classes.  Our students are learning in class what it means to care for a puppy.

Today when Maggie entered our family, she was greeted with open arms.  Children were in awe at her loving and cuddly personality.  Maggie joyfully went over and engaged with each student, letting them hug and cuddle her.  At recess, she romped on the playground with the children and at nap time…. she napped.  The talk at the lunch table was how much fun it is to have a pet at the school.  Our non verbal students were drawn into Maggie as if she was a yummy applesauce and chocolate chip muffin.  Hearts were melted and joy filled their faces.

How do you put into words the love a child has for a sweet puppy?  How can you measure the way a puppy can cheer a child up who doesn’t yet know her teachers?  Warm, gentle cuddles, soft wet kisses -these are the languages of children and puppies.  Their hearts are one and nothing else matters.  The fun part of being a child is getting to explore your world.  This is so similar to being a young puppy.  Everything is new and exciting.  Each smell, the shiny tinsel on the tree, the feeling of walking over rocks vs grass -children and animals have some many things in common.

Maggie has a sister, Haddie.  Tomorrow we will post about Haddie’s adventures at our Eastside location.

Learning, is all about experiencing.  To be a child, to experience the unconditional love of a dog, how to treat others, using gentle voices, how to care for someone outside of yourself.  PRICELESS.  Precious.  Love unleashed.Maggy Love