Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring Break: Day 5: Library, Coffee, Park, Soccer & Dinner

This morning actually consisted of not a dentist visit, but much more fun activities.

First we headed to the library, to return our old books and get some new ones. The boys love the library and have a great time finding weird books on dinosaurs, lizards, glowing sea creatures, graveyards, the Titanic, and a variety of other topics. We got our books, played a little in the play area (kitchen) and headed out.

Next we headed to a local coffee shop. This was their last day of operation, and since I go there at least once a week while B is in pre-school (and T in school too) they know me, and my mommy-friends, pretty well. We all stopped in to have some last coffee, muffins, and even home-made custard. The gals who run the place even had some easter treats and and egg hunt for all our kids! They are awesome, and we'll miss them, the great coffee, and the nice hang out spot!

From the coffee shop, we headed to a nearby park for more playing in the BEAUTIFUL 75 degree sun and some lunch. All the kids had a grand time playing, climbing, running, and getting sun burned! Oopsies!

Iz started out sitting on the blanket we put out for her and the other babies....
Later she moved, to somewhere more comfortable (I guess!)...

Blake preferred to dig in the wood chips under the slide, rather than play on it!!Trev is (of course) much more of a conformist...using the play area as it was meant to be used!

Lunch time...We had some lunch and eventually headed home for Izzy to take a nap. At home, the boys rode their bikes for a while and I got some gardening done (yay!). T got ready for his first soccer practice of the season. Daddy stayed home with B and Iz while T and I headed off. Arriving at practice we found out that the 5/6 year olds have been combined with the 4/5 year olds, so T is one of the oldest and tallest on the team (except for a friend from Kindergarten who makes T look tiny!). T is also one of the only boys! The coach is a different one than the fall, and from what I saw at practice he focuses on some different skills, so I think that will help T grow as a player.

I left T at practice, with Grandma there to bring him home, and I headed out for a girls night dinner with my old colleagues. It was a nice night out to catch up and to have some ME time!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break: Day 4: Splish Splash!

Today will hopefully be one of the highlights when the boys look back on this years spring break. We're not the type of family who will probably ever go to Florida or on a cruise for Spring Break, and this is not the type of place we go to on a regular basis, so hopefully, they enjoyed it.

We drove about an hour north to a local hotel water park. I tried not to tell them where we were going, but T would NOT go to sleep, so I had no choice but to tell him. They were SUPER excited the whole ride there. We met up with a few of our friends and spent 6+ hours there... definetly got our money's worth (which is my criteria for a good time)!!

T & B have definitely changed in the last year or so in regards to water parks. A few years ago they ran from big buckets that dumped tons of water, and they barely wanted to go near sprayers or water guns. Now, they seek those things out, and ADORE being soaked and pounded by the water!!
It took some arm wrestling, but eventually they stopped for a brief lunch break. They CHOWED everything in site!!

The highlight of the day was the was the water slide. The first time down one of the moms' went with two of the kids. Then the kids realized they could go down without us, and they weren't scared AT ALL!! They went up and down more times than I can count, and there were a good 60-75 stairs to the top (think of all the exercise they got!). 4 of them (3, 4 and 5 years old) went down probably 15 times or more, in various combinations. At times it looked like, Blake and his two girlfriends running up the stairs, or Trevor and his two little siblings flying down! It was just awesome that they were able and willing to do it on their own and have so much fun. They're growing up!!
Izzy was with us, and the best I can say is that I hope she isn't scarred from this trip to the water park! It wasn't a highlight of her week, that's for sure. She spent most of the day in the baby sling, holding on to me pretty tightly. Early on, she didn't have any desire to be in the water, but by the end of the day, she was willing to stand or sit in it. But any splashing was NOT tolerated! At one point, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we got doused by the big bucket. She was NOT happy to say the least!! But lunch time proved to be a highlight of her day!
At the end of the day, we had eight tired, hungry, happy kids...who wanted to know when we could come back again!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pardon the Interruption

We interrupt this program for a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Or actually, we interrupt this blog so that Mommy can rant!!!

While the park visit yesterday was mostly fun, I have to get this rant off my chest!! The park was FULL of 12-16 year old kids who were playing chase and hide-n-seek ALL over the park. This particular park is a wooden park that has lots of staircases and turrets and towers.

The big kids were running super fast, jumping over various obstacles, muscling their way over fences, and not paying ANY attention to any of the other people at the park. Oh and they were cursing enough to make me blush (and those of you who know me, know how foul my mouth can be!!). They were making me CRAZY!!!!

I guess I should be glad they were out in the fresh air getting some exercise and not sitting in a basement playing video games or smoking... BUT I was annoyed! Heck there was even a mom there that was ENCOURAGING them.

As I rounded up my boys to leave, I was explaining to them that we were leaving because of the big kids. Because I was worried that they would get hurt. Another mom heard me and came over to chat. She mentioned her son had been kicked in the head by these teens. I was SO livid and I was ready to go scream at all the teens!!!! Don't make Mama Bear mad!!!

But the boys were half way to the car, so I had to leave. Maybe it was for the best that I didn't take on a pack of 16 year old boys.....

We now conclude this test of the Mommy Rant System and return you to your regularly scheduled spring break programming! Thank you for your time!!

Spring Break: Day 3: Fire, Peanuts, and Park

Monday, the first 'true' day of spring break, we went on a 'field trip' to the Fire Station. We did a tour of the same station a few years ago, but I thought the boys would enjoy doing it again, since they don't seem to remember going the first time! Apparently (I say that a lot!) I was wrong. Trevor spent most of the time saying, "Lame!" and Blake wasn't nearly as excited as I would have expected of a little boy obsessed with trucks. Later Blake explained he likes CONSTRUCTION trucks not fire trucks or anything else!!! Oopsies!!

None the less, we saw fire trucks, pumpers, ladder trucks, and ambulances. The boys got to walk thru a couple trucks and the ambulance, and they got to see where the firemen eat, sleep, and work. Izzy seemed to like it, but the boys were a little ambivalent.

Sadly, I forgot my camera for this part, so I'm waiting for some pictures from some friends!

From the fire station, we headed off to a local restaurant for lunch. The boys call it "The Peanut Restaurant" as they have baskets of nuts on the table, and you get to throw the shells on the floor! This was probably the highlight of the day for them!! I was just happy they were happy, and that they didn't feed Izzy and nuts!! They also have a bunch of arcade games, including a "play til you win" claw machine, so the boys came home with some cheap trinkets that make them happy!!! (Trev is now sporting his first gold chain, a la "Mr T"!!!).

Finally, we wrapped up the day at the park. It was cool but sunny, so we stayed for a little bit and had some fun!!

Iz hanging out driving the wooden boat
Blake staying "safe" by not walking on the wood chips (some game he and T were playing!)
My little girl posing!
What a FUN day!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break: Day 2: New Bike

For SOOOO long, Blake REFUSED to have much to do with a bike/tricycle/big wheel. And when he did choose to get near/on one, he REFUSED to have ANYTHING to do with the pedals.

It started with his tricycle, which he would sit on and push himself around with his feet on the ground, and whine that the pedals were hitting him in the legs. But he wouldn't pedal.

So we got him a big wheel. We thought, "he CAN'T push this with his feet, it's too close to the ground". But he somehow managed too push with his feet instead of pedaling, complaining the WHOLE time that it was SOOO hard to make it go. But he wouldn't pedal!!

Last summer when Trev got his big boy bike with no training wheels, I hoped and wished that B would want to ride T's old bike with the training wheels. He did, but HE WOULDN'T PEDAL! Finally, in September, as T ditched the training wheels, B started to pedal! I was so excited!!!

After a long winter, we've been getting out to our bikes a few times on the warmer spring days, and I was SOOO worried that B would go back to his old ways....whining, not pedaling, not wanting to ride a 'big boy bike'. Thank goodness, I was wrong!

Instead, he was whining that he was TOO BIG for the little 12" bike that he was riding around on. (And honestly, he was too big for it. He's practically as tall as T!) He was begging and demanding a bigger bike, and NO training wheels!!!

That's my kid... he's not ready, until he's ready, and then he's TOTALLY ready...RIGHT NOW!!!

So Saturday, Daddy and Blake went and got a new bike (I found a $20 off deal at TRU for this weekend only!). And today they put it together and B got to ride it!

As excited as he will ever look for the camera. I'm just glad he actually looked at the camera!!

The boys helping Daddy build.
Putting the pedals on!

The Rattlesnake! The cool name was the clincher!
But he decided he did want the training wheels, at least for now.

Maybe by the end of summer we'll take them off!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Break: Day 1: Easter Egg Hunt

Spring Break has arrived, and it's even supposed to have good weather (we'll see if the weather man is a liar or not!!!). SToday was the first day of spring break and both boys are quite excited by the thought of NO SCHOOL for 10 days!! Me, not sure if I'm excited yet...ask me next Monday (the 10th day!).

Saturday was also the village easter egg hunt. It was about 40 and chilly, but no rain, no snow, and no mud for the first time in 3 years! Yay!! So here's our day in pictures:

Izzy ready to go!
Picking up her first egg!
And putting it her bucket!

She's so proud of herself!!Blake had a great time too! On your mark...

Get set....Go...

And done! He wouldn't look at me for one SINGLE picture!!
And then of course Trevor had his turn. He didn't even want us to come out there since all his classmates were there and he's "too cool" already to be around his parents! Geez! But he had a great time collecting eggs!

More spring break coming soon!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

11 months (and 1 day!)

I made it this far, always managing to find time to blog on her monthly birthday, and one month shy of perfection, I missed it! Instead, I was busy creating and updating websites last night, and didn't manage to get her 11-month update in. Bad mommy!!

As you might have heard already, she's WALKING!! It's been about 2 weeks now and she's just getting better and faster at it!! She can stand up (from sitting) on her own in the middle of the room without a table or anything to pull herself up on. She can walk towards something, change her mind and and change direction without falling over. Her biggest problem is slippery socks on the hardwood floor!!!

She's sleeping great, although she seems to be content to take only 1 nap a day already. At least it's a 3 hour one!!!

She eating like a horse, or really, more like Blake. Anything and everything including non-food items (playdoh) and foods she's not allowed to have (m&m's) are fair game if she can get her hands on them. She recently has started to fill up her mouth with EVERYTHING that gets put on her tray and then sits there with a full mouth and cheeks trying to mash and swallow it all. Not a pretty picture!! So, her newest nickname is "Chipmunk"!

She's lots of fun and likes to imitate lots of moments like shaking your head "yes" or "no" or pretending to dance by bobbing her head around. She thinks she's SOO funny and loves when she gets a reaction from me, daddy or the boys especially!!! She's give you a coy little smile as she tilts her head to the side as if to say, "Why ya lookin' at me? Oh, am I cute?? I didn't know that!"

She's learned to play ball. She'll grab a ball and throw it at you (or sometimes wing it the complete opposite direction, but still!) and wait for you to roll it back. She'll play for a good 10-15 minutes before getting bored of the game, and really likes when more than one person plays with her at once....all the balls coming at her at once make her laugh!!

And she LOVES being held upside down! In fact, when she's in your arms or on your lap, she'll throw her head and body backwards to try and get herself upside down. It can make you practically drop her if you're not expecting it!!!

This fashion statement brought to you by Kate. LOVE IT!

I'm in the planning stages of her birthday party and just ordered all the invitations, plates, and decorations. I can't believe she'll be ONE in a month!!!

Oh...and STILL NO TEETH! Not that I'm complaining, especially from a nursing perspective, but wow!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sink or Swim

Two weeks ago the boys started their annual session of swimming classes. The whole topic is a weird area for me.

Growing up, we had a pool in my backyard from when I was age 3 until I was 10 or 11 I think. By the age of 4, I was a "fish" in my mother's words. And, probably because of that, I've always ASSUMED that my boys would be swimming by now. Only recently did my mother mention to me, that my brother didn't learn to swim until he was about 6. So, that knowledge should make me feel better but it doesn't.

And while I want the boys to be able to swim, and figured they would be able to by now, I don't put a TON of effort into getting them to that point. Trevor took his first "swim" class at age 12 or 15 months or so, in a Mommy and Me setting, really to get him used to the water. I figured it was important to get him exposed and used to it, especially since we go out on the boat in the summer. So we took a session of classes about once a year.

But because we are busy experiencing so many things in life, we don't seem to take classes more often than that. In fact, taking swim classes in January-April seems to have become a tradition, since it's a crummy time of year to be outside, this gives us an activity to do! So the boys are in swim classes again. Last year they were both in the "Pike 1" level at the Y, which is basically the lowest level for kids without their parents. They don't have to have ANY ability to swim on their own, as long as they are willing to try. This was the 4th set of classes for Trevor and 3rd for Blake (after a few years of Parent/Tot). They enjoyed it and did well last year, but at the end of it, BOTH boys were recommended to stay in the same level, not advancing. The teacher wrote some comment on Trev's that he was very close to being in the next level, but she thought he would do better repeating again, just to get stronger.

January came, and the brochure arrived in the mailbox. I debated and debated what to do. The Pike 1 is for 3-5 year olds, as is the Pike 2. I read and re-read the descriptions and the teachers comments from last year. I looked at the schedule of when the Pike 1 and 2 classes were. Ultimately, I decided (with some input from DH, who usually defers to me in these types of situations) to put both boys in Pike 1 AGAIN. But, I figured I could be smart, and put them in one that occured at the same scheduled time as a Pike 2 session. Then, if T was ready for the Pike 2, they could just move him over. Easy peasy, right?!?!??!

So 2 weeks ago we went to class for the first time. I briefly talked to the instructor and gave her the summary of where T was. She said she'd watch and see what she thought during class. As I watched class, one thing was obvious to me...T was much more comfortable than the other 4 boys in his class, and he was probably at least 1.5 years older than all of them (I think Blake is older than all of them, but not by much!). After class, the teacher agreed with me that T could go into the Pike 2 and probably be fine. During class, I had also watched the 3 kids in Pike 2 and I felt the same way-T could handle that.

So I talked to the lady in charge....who basically blew me off, and gave me the run around!!! GRRRRR! I understand I registered him for Pike 1, but really!!! And I can't move him to the Pike 2 at the same time because it is FULL. There are 5 kids in it (only 3 showed day 1) and they CAN NOT have more than 5 kids!! No way, no how! She made that clear!!!

I wish that this pool had a system to test the kids on the first day of classes and then assign them that day. And if they did that, they could split up siblings (which I think would be good for the boys) and they could put like age's together!! There were some Pike 2's that Trevor could swim laps around (if he could swim at all!!!) and there were quite a few other bad fits in terms of kids in wrong classes. I think it's really hard to have parents choose a level for their kids if they haven't been in a class for a while...especially since we've been going to open swim's and "practicing" in the last month or two. Trevor's level might have changed from last April to now for LOTS of reasons!!! Anyway...

After begging and pleading (politely!), the lady in charge said she'd see what she could do and would get back to me, but it was unlikely since the Pike 2 was full. So last week we went to class. No lady in charge, no message, no information, no nothing. (But there were 5 kids in Pike 2-Damn!!) Trev was upset, as he really wanted to be in the next class. Heck, Blake was even okay with Trev not being in his class (and that is a big thing for B usually!). So T and B went to the Pike 1 class and Trev was great (and B did his best and was pretty good). At the end of class, T took off his floaty and tried to swim to the stairs all by himself, and really did a good job. Not full swimming, but pretty close!!

Today, we go in and get ready for class. As we sit on the deck waiting, here comes the lady in charge. She says to me that she can do a Pike 2 class for T, but it would be after B's class, so I'd have to sit there for 2 seperate classes (35 minutes each). While it's not that long, the classes are 25 min away from home, start at 5, so right now we're barely getting home at 6:15, eating dinner and getting all the bed time stuff in. Add another 35 minutes of class to that....yikes!! And then there's the Izzy factor-poor girl's dinner and bed time is all messed up because of this! So I thought about it, and then decided not to do it. Trev's teacher has been wonderful about helping him and pushing him to do more than the other kids in his class, so I decided that would cut it. Lady in charge gave me SUCH a dirty look!!!

So I watched them swim. And 4 of the 5 kids in their class were there. And then the 5th showed up on deck. Incidentally, this little girl is probably about 3 1/2, and she was in their swim class last year. Last year, she barely got in the water, with her mom sitting 5 inches away, and I don't think she ever got her face/head wet. Moving on.... the little girl walks out on deck (with her dad) and he takes her over to the Pike 2 class. In my head, I'm thinking, "Oh Dad, you don't know what class she belongs in". But NO ONE fixed it!!!! The Pike 2 teacher took her with the rest of her kids (now 6 total!!!) and the Pike 1 teacher didn't go over and say "hey, she belongs in my class".

So I want to know.... WTF?!?!??!?! How can she be #6 in class, when her skills don't seem to be that advanced, and you CAN'T have 6 kids in a class.. No way no how!!! GRRRR!!! At least the boys didn't notice!!! And now they get more attention since there are only 4 kids in their class!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I need a new Job Title

I should be sleeping, but instead my mind is buzzing with thoughts that I want to post, so here I am... remind me tomorrow morning why this seemed like a good idea!!!

About 10 days ago, I had an interesting conversation with a 6-year-old in Trev's Kindergarten class. I go each week and each child comes out in the hallway to read to me. When J came out, he sat down, looked me right in the eye and said, "Trevor says you don't work. What's that about?". What I can't convey online is the tone he used. There was contempt and shock and rudeness just emenating from this kid. I think the very idea of a mother not having a job outside the home SHOCKED him.

I was similarly shocked to have this question asked of me, by this person, in this tone. Don't get me wrong, I've been asked this question before, by adults (some rude some not), but not by a 6-year-old. I looked at him and said something about Trev having a younger brother and baby sister, and that my job was to take care of them. And we moved on. (or so I thought!!)

But now, this conversation has come back to me. In part this is due to a conversation friends of mine were having today about resumes and what to put on them now we've been "out of the workforce" for 3-5 years raising our kids. Along the same lines, a blog that I read had an interesting post today about the term "housewife" and what that job encompasses. And because of a book I've been reading, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr Laura Schlessinger. (Which I have to say, was not a book I EVER thought I would read, as I didn't think I was a big fan of her's, but I will admit to being wrong on occasion!).

Many times I will refer to myself as a "stay at home mom (SAHM)". But after reading the previously mentioned blog post, I'm not sure that title does myself justice. People who hear that seem to stop listening as soon as they hear "stay at home". Those that don't do the job might envision watching soap operas, eating bonbons, or sleeping in! Not things that I get to do very often!!!

My previously mentioned friends suggested terms such as "domestic engineer" which I've heard before and contemplated using. But I wonder if people really respect that term, or just think it's a bunch of "housewives" over-dramatacizing their daily responsibilities. It's a term that feels a little too politically-correct to me and like many PC terms, doesn't get the respect that it deserves.

So I might have to go with the idea of being co-owner of our "family" business. The actual FAMILY being the business. This is pretty much the idea from the aforementioned blog and it rang very true for me today. My job is to keep this family running in an efficient, effective manner. Which includes (but is not limited to): keeping the employees (all 5 of us, including my hubby) happy; helping the employees enjoy their jobs (for the kids that's both school and PLAY-an important job for kids); keeping the office sanitary, functional, updated, and useable; helping keep the business in the black, rather than the red (i.e. making sound financial decisions-with the other 'owner' of the company-hubby!); and on and on it goes.

Of course, there is that fact that my 'job' doesn't go from 9-5 from Monday to Friday. I don't often get to get away from my job and go home. I usually work my job from 6:30am-11pm, with my employees awake and demanding immediate supervison (and entertainment!) for almost all of those hours. And I am on call ALL the other hours of the day, pretty much every day of the week. On the up side, my co-owner is more than willing to give me time off when schedules allow it, so it's not as if I never get any time off!

Then of course there is the pay rate for this job. Many people will be quick to point out that SAHM's don't make any money. While that may be true, I can only imagine the amount of money that I HAVEN'T spent on daycare for 3 children for the last 5 years! (I'm gonna have to calculate that amount tomorrow!). But as co-owner of my "family business" there are the non-monetary ways in which I am paid. I can say that my son knows how to read (talk, walk, paint, etc.) because I helped him learn how. I can say that being there to witness every first for all 3 of my children is more valueable than any material item I could buy. And I should point out again that I am lucky to have a co-owner and not be running this business on my own! I'm glad to have found him!! There are invaluable ways that I have been paid doing this job.

And I think it's fair to say, that in a "real job" (lots of sarcasm there....) you get frustrated with company policies, with fellow employees, with job duties, etc. etc. I can say that with confidence since I had a "real job" for a number of years before "leaving my job to live this life of luxury as a SAHM" (more sarcasm!!). So yes, there are times when I get frustrated with parts of my job as "co-owner of the family business" and I am not so polite to the other members of the business, or that I don't enjoy my job duties (doing the dishes is my least favorite).

OH, in case you were wondering hat product does my "family business" produce?? We are proud to produce productive members of society. And it's my job to try and help all 5 of us be just that!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010