Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Further Vacation Notes (with Pictures!)

Martha's Vineyard went extremely well, although the ferry ride was bumpy ride on the way back.

Willow rode the carousel twice and really enjoyed it. I got the rings, but when Tom and I teamed up--we got 16!! But no brass rings...(darn!)

We had a great lunch--lobsters for the adults and mac n cheese. Later we had a snack of wonderful nachos--and the kids got plastic sharks!

We also got some more beach time in and the kids where great.

It is very fun to have Tom along...he gets along well with the kids and I can just see that we are all going to miss him when he goes back to Michigan, especially Willow and Michael.

Today we played a couple Mini-Golf games, one at one of our favorite places, a pirate themed place. The other one is at the Red Barn, where we had such a great pizza for lunch--we are not hungry for dinner..

Tomorrow, our last full day on the Cape, we are going to Provincetown for the day. Looking forward to a wonderful ending to a wonderful time.

Here are some of the many pictures so far:


Michael sitting on the ferry on the way to Martha's Vineyard..it was very windy and it was fun watching him looking out onto the water...





Just before boarding the Pirate Adventure a few days before.



Willow at the beach the first day.


Willow on her first ride on Martha's Vineyard.

A couple of nice photos of the two kids together.





Sunday, June 27, 2010

Enjoying the time...

Just popping on the computer to jot down some things we have done so far on vacation here on Cape Cod....

First night went to our favorite fried seafood restaurant...they changed to a more sit down place, which was fine, but it took an HOUR to get food...but, our children were wonderful and both received compliments for their wonderful behavior.

Yesterday we went to the beach for most of the day, Willow took a bit of time to get into the ocean, but she then could not be dragged out of it. Michael went right in and he and Tom went out pretty far out. Then Willow & Michael befriended a little girl who was into burying people in the sand (one of the things Michael LOVES doing)...so, my kids got buried several times. At one point, Willow took her beach chair and MOVED it over to this other families area...(love ya too, Willow...love ya too)

Today, we went on a pirate adventure, where we went on a boat and the kids were indoctrinated as pirates...they "attacked" another pirate with water cannons, found a map, found treasure and drank "grog". Willow was not quite sure what to make of it all, but loved being on a boat. Willow and I got our face painted for the adventure...she had a mustache and an anchor tattoo (I had a scar). Afterwards we had lunch out and some wonderful older local ladies complimented us again on our wonderful children. For dinner, sushi and chinese.

Tomorrow, its our first day trip--Martha's Vineyard. Looking forward to the ferry ride, the ice cream and seafood!

Photos later...I have 'em but no way to really get them onto the internet!

Oh, wait, here is a picture from my cell phone...its Willow ready for our first day!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bye Bye Elementary School

Michael's school had a fifth grade celebration to commemorate the kids leaving elementary school (next year is Middle School).


These silhouettes were along the walls...

They gave out awards, handed out "yearbooks" and danced.



Here is Willow before the ceremonies:


Michael getting one of his awards...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Perfect Moments Monday

Moment #1: We are at a BBQ and the kids have played outside lacklustery (as they are the only kids, my son wants to play the ancient Atari our friend has, and she is "scared" of the sprinkler) but outside we have come and we have played with a wiffle ball, ran around, played with Sam the cat, and my son has poked at a dead chipmunk. Yep, now my son, husband and the friend go back inside--obviously to play videogames. I go to the car to put the wiffle ball and bat back. And my daughter discovers she wants to play a new game. A game of "driving the car". So, we sit in our car, windows open. She sits in the drivers seat with her sunglasses on, moving the steering wheel, pushing buttons that are not working. I turn on the radio and we watch the cat climb unto our hood. And we hang out in the car, like we are in a movie studio where you pretend you are driving while the backgrounds are moving behind you. And while I sit there, I am perfectly and utterly happy.

Moment #2: We are at the movie theatre, watching the newest To.y St.ory. I am holding Willow, in front of me is my son. At the end of the movie is a touching scene that makes me pitifully cry, cuz I can't help but think of my children and how they are growing up--I have never cried so much at movies until after I was a mother...now it doesn't take much to get me a bit teary eyed anymore. And this is actually making me cry a bit harder than that.
He looks back at me, seeing my tear stained face, and he says "Mom--its only TOYS!" And I smile back at him, tossle his hair and squeeze my daughter a little tighter.

More Perfect Moments Here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Troubles with Names....

Waking dad up for Father's day. One of dad's presents was a collage picture, where we worked on getting Willow to pronounce the one name she has not said yet---"Michael". And later, working on "Happy Father's Day".

Thanks to dad for letting us put this video up. The kids were wonderful today and gave him a great day!


Father's Day



As I sit on the computer, Michael is up watching television, Willow has not gotten up yet. We are going to make you waffles, then per your request, we are going to a friend's BBQ. Then, to cap the day, we are all going to the new To.y St.or.y movie...

But the plans and gifts do not matter. What matters most about today--is that we can show you how much we appreciate you and all you do as a father.

You are kind and generous of your time, you read books and tell stories in funny ways. You share your love of video games and knowledge with our son; you cuddle and tickle and amuse our daughter. You handle dirty diapers, early morning wake-up calls and endless questions...you share in the duties of parenting in every way. Often times you have more patience than I have; and NO ONE can put the kids to bed as well as you can. Your love for them is written all over your face and you would do anything for them.

I could not ask for a better father for my children. Thank you.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On the Run...

Spring is entering into Summer; school is still in session for another week...but the feeling is definitely there--time for fun times and adventures a'plenty!

Next week is: 5th Grade Celebration and Good-Bye; Weird Al Concert (yay!); and next Friday--off to Cape Cod for a week!

So, what have we been doing so far?


Shown ourselves to the sun...



Wearing new clothes for summer, and wishing school was over already...



Reading OVER and OVER the Bear book....



Going to Chuck the Cheese It for Rainy Day fun! (action shot!)


Enjoying the outdoors! (action shot from long ways aways!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Perfect Moments Monday - Rainy Weekend Edition

This was not the spring/summer weekend I generally enjoy--rainy, cloudy, cool. But many moments that made this weekend perfect:

Moment #1: Lazy Saturday early evening, he has been wanting to go outside, but it is still rainy/drizzly. We decide to watch something. And we present him with a favorite of my husband and I -- "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". I DVR'd it with the hope that we could introduce him to this musical. At first, he squirms in his seat. Then, you can see him enjoying it. Of course, Act 1 finishes just as the sun comes out...and he asks to go out to play--but asks if we can watch the rest later...which we do. Later, I hear him humming the tunes in the bathtub.


Moment #2: Its just me and her on a Sunday morning (son and husband are with the karate class at a showing of the new Karate K.id movie). We go out for an errand--the pet store for cat litter and food. She immediately finds the aquariums of fish and watches them with fascination. Later she insists on "helping" push the shopping cart and loading the trunk. I have a feeling of the future and shopping trips with my daughter...and she then sees the old flip flops I had negleted to throw away from last summer...and she wears them ALL day (another feeling of "we are going to be doing a lot of this" sweeps over me). Later, despite that I am under the weather...she sees Chuck Chee.se.s and we go there--just her and me.

Moment #3: Its Sunday later in the day and its still rainy and everyone wants to just snuggle in for another movie. This time my son picks--To.y Stor.y (in anticipation of seeing the 3rd one). We all enjoy it, my husband and I remembering that the first time we saw this, it was just me and him. Another moment forward in time and here we are sitting here with our children on a rainy day. What could be more perfect than that?

Bonus Moment (me being ridiculus): Today is Field Day at my son's school, meaning the kids go outside (and inside) for various games and fun. There are races and a dunk tank, parents are encouraged to come. My husband and I take turns going--this year its my husband's turn. To be a part of it, I volunteered to make 25 water balloons. At home, on a Sunday night, my son and I made 30 water balloons...rather, I mainly did it because my son started to see how hard it was and how wet I was getting. Hey, the first 10 balloons (once I got the hang of tying them, etc.) were EASY--I only got my shirt wet! By the last balloons, the floor in the bathroom was wet, my pants,shirt, etc. were wet, my daughter had a dud balloon filled with only a little water in it, and my son was happy it was over and he was only slightly wet. Daughter played and played with that dud for over 2 hours before it finally burst on her--to her delight.


More Perfect Moments Here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bears, Babies, Monkeys and Turtles, Oh My!

Having a toddler in the house again is often times very dizzying and hectic. But most of the time it is a wonder. To see the world opening up to her and to see how she puts things together in her mind.

Our house is chaos, and while she has added immensely to this chaos, she has also brought stability and mental reflection. Nostalgically, I find myself reflecting on my son's toddler hood and comparing them--this new little person before this maturing young man before me.

Sometimes the reflections are echos from the past.

Recently we moved a lot of Michael's old books into Willow's room. Of all the books, she has discovered one of Michael's treasured books--one so treasured, I actually had put back into his room, a book in his "keep" pile. She found it sticking out of his bookshelf. And she LOVES it just as much as he did at her age. Every night, he needed the "Bear Book" read to him. Sometimes more than once. Now, in an echo from the past, she has started to request the "BEAR" book.



It is so interesting how this book brings back so many memories in me. As I read it with all the silly voices, the suspense still there every time for her...it reminds me of the many, many times I read this book and so many others to my son.

He in turn, reminds me of myself at his age, as I watch him curl up on the couch or read by booklight another Mad Magazine (some of which he is swiping from my old stash under my bed).

Meanwhile, bears and monkeys are animal obsessions that my daughter shares with my son at this age (he actually has a monkey that he made at build-a be.ar that he named "Bear"). She adds babies and turtles into the mix; she has lately been helping to feed Congo the turtle at night (see, we got him food again!--um, his aquarium still needs a good cleaning...)

Milestones are crashing down around me, sometimes I fail to even notice them until they are upon me. Potty training is on the horizon, but none of us are rushing about it (although, in many many ways I am SO looking forward to no more diapers--I know its a while off, she is just not ready).

Oh, and being a girl, I guess she is into peer pressure early...never one to have a prized possession that she needed to take with her, she is lately bringing a blanket with her to daycare. Why? Because all the other little girls bring blankets!
She plays with the blanket (shout out to Margo--it's the blanket YOU made), put's it around her body, she puts it over herself like a ghost.



And life goes on with the many bears, bugs, rocks, flowers, sand, water and world to explore...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

B.N.

Per JJ's blog, I am posting my B.N. (Before Net.fli.x) Memories of some of my favorite movies that I would rent from the video store.

During college, my future husband and I loved the quaint little "mom & pop" video stores that sprang up around our college town. And being in college---well, we were a bit experimental...so, my first pick is one that was not necessarily a favorite, but very memorable...



Begotten : Ummm..well, this is a movie from E. Elias Merhige who did Shadow of the Vampire (which is a very good movie). This movie is CREEPY and it helped to be a bit drunk seeing it...here's information on it HERE and HERE.

During my last year of school, I took an independant study course on film and thematics. I did a paper on science fiction movies and society (how they were influenced and how they influenced society).

So, we rented a few classics, like:

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Them!

The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, both the old one and the newer version.

Of course, my college years and my life as a whole were changed by two movies, that I did not rent myself, but were rented by someone else.

I saw Excalibur again on a movie night where my future husband and I sat together and watched and talked...

and the next day, he came up behind me when I was sitting in the student lounge watching The Color Purple.

So, what are your favorite or memorable movies from B.N.? Go head on over to JJ's blog and she is doing a give-away for your comments!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

Moment #1: He had to do an assignment to write a poem. I found this on our computer:

I Am From

I am from a loving, caring – mother.
I am from a smart, fun – dad.

I am from a family of one cute baby sister named Willow, one fat cat named Gabby, and one quiet turtle named Congo.

I am from watching my dad play video games.
I am from not wanting to take a nap at preschool.
I am from loving to play on the computer and Xbox.

I am from being one of the smartest kids in my classes.
I am from getting great grades in school.
I am from having incredibly nice teachers.

I am from going into space.
I am from cloning dinosaurs.
I am from becoming a doctor of both science and medicine.
I am from an adventurous and curious life.



Moment #2: She is playing with me, throwing herself on top of me and "tickling" me. At one point we get quiet, as she lays on top of my head. I can hear her heartbeat. We are still and quiet and I hear her heart beating and I recall hearing it for the first time at the OB office. She moves and I see her golden hair and feel her breath. And that heartbeat that means so much to me.

More Perfect Moments Here.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ch-Ch-Changes

"Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes" -- David Bowie


This holiday weekend, we spent some time re-arranging the kids' rooms a bit. Well, mainly Michael's room. His room has gotten disorganized in the last couple years. So, we got a bookcase and a student desk from Craigs.lis.t. Looking around at his room, I can see the transitions that he is going through...from young child to pre-teen, to soon teenager.



On his desk, he has a refurbished laptop--our first foray into letting him have privacy and (limited)unrestricted use of the internet, etc. We had the talk about being responsible and that if he respected our rules, we would let him keep the laptop out on the desk.



It's interesting to watch him slowly move towards the teen years and onto adulthood.

Of course, there still is a bit of that young child still in his room...



And above his desk...



And while I cannot hold onto all his childhood items, like we cannot hold on forever to that little child, I am letting him keep his toys, etc. as long as he wants them.

Sometimes I do not have the words to describe my son, but I do think that this passage from a letter I sent to his new school’s project team, does sum up my son best. I think this is helpful to put here, not only because this is my journal and feelings, but also to show how someone who has ADHD works:

“Michael is an intelligent child who thirsts for knowledge. When he is focused, he quickly absorbs new things and retains it. He loves science and is naturally curious. Being an only child for eight years and with his social pragmatics issues, he tends to have better relationships with adults, to the point of sometimes thinking he is on equal footing with them. This can sometimes come off as if he does not have respect for authority.

Michael’s behavior is often the most troublesome issue. He sometimes does not understand what is appropriate and inappropriate in a public setting. He means no malice or disrespect and is very contrite once he realizes the situation. He oftentimes uses his sense of humor to clown around to “fit in”. Michael’s world is black and white with very little shades of gray. When he believes something is one way, it is very hard to get him to understand that it can be another way. When he gets frustrated, he can become moody and temperamental---and it is best to let him calm down on his own.

Michael can also be very caring and considerate. He is thoughtful and quick witted and loyal.”

Soon he will be going to a Middle School orientation. A new journey begins for all of us.

Meanwhile, we moved one of Michael's bookcases to Willow's room. Her room is starting to reflect her toddlerhood versus babyhood.


(Note, Spongebob is EVERYWHERE)

And while Michael's toys are pretty much stuffed in his huge toy box, and some are stuffed in his closet, Willow's toys are pretty much overflowing...




Another transition for Willow...she is starting to want to sit in a booster seat. I think the high-chair has a short time left in our household...



Willow has recently begun to use more and more phrases. She is creatively playing, and she has opinions on everything.

I cannot wait for vacation to see both of them enjoy the beach and the pool. I am looking forward to all the adventures waiting for them!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Plan 2010: May Update

Star Date: 312580.93429731095

For convenience, here are the goals I listed at the start of the Plan, with my updates:

Physical Health

1. Lose and keep off the baby weight

Have lost 15 lbs so far; some set backs, but it seems I am the turtle* and the weight is staying off...

2. Take vitamins Big ole' CHECK

3. Become more active Big ole' CHECK

4. Maintain my morning exercise routine; expand it to working out of WiiFit at night for at least 15 mins.

I have expanded my morning routine to 40 mins., maintained for 3 weeks so far; I have done WiiFit or Cardio Work out on average 3 nights a week for approx. 15 mins. each time.

5. Brush and floss my teeth more often

Got the brushing down, working on the flossing...it feels weird after I do it...



Mental Well Being

1. Re-start our Family Meetings – try to make them bi-weekly

Did one Family Meeting; have not gotten them to be bi-weekly, but I do know that we are talking more as a family about family goals. And the goals we have set (like limits on video and television time, have actually been enforced).

2. Simplify (Throw things AWAY)

Working on this; slowly cleaning out the basement; this weekend we did a major project of updating/re-arranging the children's bedrooms; still need to go through the excess of TOYS and other stuff we have accumlated through the years, but I do think this past month has been great for this.

3. Use alone time to relax, not just to get things done

Still find this very hard; although I have read tons of books recently, I do find that most times I find something that "needs" to get done, instead of relaxing...hoping that while June is going to be busy, part of the busy is going on vacation and I am looking forward to some RELAXATION big time...

4. Take a step back from situations that frustrate me, try to use patience.

Actually, I have been very good about this. Umm...still swearing a bit more than I should...and there are times that I am really about ready to throttle _______ (insert toddler; pre-teen; and/or husband), but I am doing quite well (just don't ask them their opinion on that!)

5. Make more of an effort to connect with people Big ole' CHECK to the point of finding that I am often OVERBOOKED...


Self-Improvement

1. Save more, waste less

Working on this; kinda hard sometimes when life is going 90 miles per hour, but I have found that the Slow Cooker has helped to make it less likely that I will order take out...

2. Make an effort to spend more alone time with my husband

This is pretty much a FAIL for this past month...he has been working long hours, and when he is not, the children are around. This past month Michael has been having troubles sleeping, so he has come downstairs 80% of the time past 10 p.m.--usually about the time we were really getting ready to have some alone time. Hopefully June will be better...

3. Use our babysitter once a month; try to utilize other people for babysitting

Got our babysitter; other people are usually unavailable or too far away, but we are working on it...

4. Complain less

Who, me, complaining?!

5. Enjoy what I have; quit worrying about what I do not have

Working on it...

6. Scrapbook more

Got some good scrapbooking time, but want more!


Family

1. Re-start family gaming night/afternoon (?)

Willow is too relentless for this goal as of yet. Maybe this summer...

2. Cut back on the computer/video game ratio in the household

Big ole' CHECK, although I tend to be more slack during summer vacation

3. Involve the kids more in food preparation

Um, another fail...although if it counts that lately they are eating me out of house and home--that is a win.

* versus I am the walrus (which I more resemble)


June Goals:


Relax; have fun; keep exercising; eat better; enjoy my children and husband more; get outside as often as possible; relax; keep up with above goals.

Things I haven't done yet...

Things I haven't had the chance of doing yet or been prevented from doing: See my son's presentation on Rabies for his biology ...