Mini-golf and Ice Cream

We had a super fun outing this afternoon. On Monday, when it was nice and warm, we came up with a fun plan to invite a friend out for mini-golf and ice cream. Unfortunately by the time we made it happen, today, it was no longer sunny and warm! We had a great time anyway! I am pretty bad at mini-golf, but playing with these three goofballs was hysterical. And they made me look good! We had to stop (well, chose to stop) several times to let speedier parties play through. Each time the kids were happy to check out the fish or climb on the rocks or just goof off.

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When we got done we were all chilly, but determined for ice cream nonetheless!

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Lex and I decided to eat our ice cream in the car, while the other two crazies decide the frigid (well, 48 and windy) air was better. After ice cream we (they!) ran around on the playground, rolled down the hills, yelled from the hilltops (echo! echo!) and generally had fun until I said it was time to go home.

We stopped to drop our friend off and ended up running around at his house for another hour while the parents chatted. Needless to say the children feel asleep easily tonight! :)

When I took the pictures off the camera tonight I found I haven’t taken them off all month! Geez, we’re half way through the month already! I think this blog needs a new header too. We went on a great safari earlier this week and I have lots of pictures I’ll post soon. I’ve spent all of my “free” time this week working on a big project for school. I finally got it done tonight and submitted it to my teachers, at 11:24pm!, so now I am free to blog. Or start on the next school/work task to be done. :) But for now, it’s bedtime!

Growing up

We spent the morning at the science museum today. We don’t go often anymore, but sometimes when we do I’m caught up in memories of the past. We have been going there since Lex was a baby and we always have fun. Actually, we’ve been going there since I was a kid! My kids have grown up there and when we go back it is a startling reminder of just how grown they are. The place today was filled with toddlers and moms with babies in carriers on their bellies. I remember going there when Lex was a 1yr old and Eve was still inside. One day he just wanted to go up and down the stairs. He was indecisive about where he wanted to be and I was “out to here” pregnant with Eve. I was exhausted by the end of that visit! We used to meet friends there on a regular basis. The kids would invariably want to play as far away from each other as possible and my friends and I would look longingly at one another from across the crowded room, but the kids weren’t big enough to be on their own yet. Sometimes the kids would cooperate though and stay in the little kid area for awhile, allowing my friends and I to sit and chat. Those were nice days.

Now they are big kids and they run all over the place, barely needing my attention, and I wish I had my friends around. Now we could all stand together and chat while the big kids roamed free. Sadly our schedules don’t coordinate as easily as they did in the baby days. So instead I hang out, check out the gift shop, explore the exhibits, and keep half an eye on the kids. Sometimes they want to play with me and other times they’re off doing their own things. All grown up.

This afternoon we went grocery shopping and the kids were super helpful. I can send them on “missions” (within a reasonable distance from me) to find items we need to buy. They can read labels and reach the middle shelves, though they still need help with the high shelves. :) When we got home they unloaded all the bags from the car, working together to get the extra heavy ones in.

Then we went to Grandpa’s for dinner. I no longer need to pack special food, booster seats, diaper bags, etc. I told the kids to pack an activity bag and they did, all on their own. I guess I should have packed extra clothes though since they were playing outside and fell in a puddle. Oh well. I was thinking about this blog post on the way over and about just how big they are getting, but then they both ended up crying at Grandpa’s house tonight, Lex ate no dinner (but quickly recovered in time for dessert!), and Eve nearly fell asleep in the car on the way home. She asked to be carried in and snuggled to sleep… so I guess they aren’t TOO grown up yet!

Seven and eight seem so grown up, but when I think about the grand scheme of things they are only just beginning. I have to remind myself of that sometimes! Enjoy the littleness of them while I can because it’s all so fleeting. And, I guess, enjoy the bigness of them too!

Eve’s 7yr Checkup

Another year, another trip to the doctor’s office. Fortunately another easy-peasy trip for us. The biggest inconvenience was a cranky Lex. Eve was happy and healthy, of course. She’s now 57lbs (77th percentile) and 50″ (83rd percentile). Growing right up! I didn’t get a picture at the doctor’s office because doctor visits just aren’t that cute any more. Shhh, don’t tell.

I asked the doctor about the lump on her ear. I think I posted about it a few years ago, but I can’t find it for a link now so you’ll just have to trust me. :) The doctor said it doesn’t look dangerous at all. She said sometimes “growing and changing” bumps on children are just growing and changing because the child is doing the same. She said growing and changes things on grown-ups are more concerning. She agreed that a visit to a dermatologist would be prudent anyway though, even if just to put my mind at ease. She gave us a referral and maybe I’ll hear back from a specialist before 2015! Fortunately it’s no emergency.

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She certainly has no trouble with her ego!

The one thing the doctor stressed, again, like she always does, is healthy eating. I always feel guilty when my kids list all of zero things in response to her question about healthy eating. She asks, “What vegetables do you like?” and they says “Umm….” Silence. She then asks if we’ve seen the MyPlate.gov thing and then proceeds to tell them about the importance of healthy foods. I say “Yes, I’ve said it all before. They know. They just chose not to.”

Tonight Eve chose to. Yay! I was having edamame for dinner and she asked to try some. She decided it was ok, not amazing, but not awful (rave review!) and then asked for some more. Eventually she asked me to take a picture to show daddy. :) Maybe it was proof that she once ate something green. I have a guilt complex about their diets (and my own too!) so it always makes me happy when they are willing to try something new! Yay Eve! Here’s to a new year of healthy eating! (or at least one meal)

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Edamame is yummy!

 

Crumbling

One more day until we get a week of vacation! I’ll be at a literacy conference tomorrow though, so vacation kind of starts tonight. Unless you consider the fact that I have to leave the house at 6:30am tomorrow morning and won’t be home until 5:30pm…. so maybe vacation starts tomorrow night.

Anyway, prepare for a rambling post. I am SO ready for vacation. Things seem to be falling apart around here. Coming apart at the seams. We are all pretty ready for a break. Unfortunately I have a Vaca To-Do list that’s quite extensive. Sigh.

I’ve applied for several jobs this week. I REALLY would like to get one of them, though I’m barely prepared for interviewing. One of my top vaca to-do list items is to prepare for interviews, on the assumption that I will indeed get one. Positive thinking, right?!

Eve is doing well, as far as I can tell, except I think she has two cavaties. We have a dentist appointment in June so we’ll know for sure then. Lex, however, isn’t doing as well and I’m hearing troubling reports in all areas regarding his behavior. We are working with him and trying to figure out what’s going on. Reports of anger, aggression, and just plain meanness. Not his typical personality! The guilty mommy in me thinks it must be because our schedule is a bit chaotic this year, I’m not as available as I have been in the past, we have long days, frequent daycare, and he’s on a bus every day. But the realist in me is trying to prevail and hold strong to the idea that maybe it’s not all my fault. :) Maybe there are other things going on, developmental changes, social structures forming, etc. We’re working with him. It hurts my heart though to hear reports of him being aggressive and mean to peers.

And I’m just so tired. I keep thinking, “It’s just for this year,” and Alan keeps saying, “We just need to get through this year,” but in the back of my head I know that if I get a job (which would be a good thing!) then next year will be even harder. Teaching all day every day. Being responsible for 18 little minds for an entire year without anyone else to fall back on. That’s a lot of responsiblity! And I just taught a disaster math lesson today, in front of my supervisor. She was nice and pointed out the good parts, but we both know it was a disaster. Ugh.

And I’m just so tired. So. Tired. Always.

On that note, it is after 9pm and I have to be up early (as usual) so I’m going to stop bitching on the blog and go drink a(nother) glass of wine, fold some laundry, chill with my hubby and Colbert, then go to bed. Tomorrow is another day.

Karate

The kids took a special Foam Weapons Sparring class last weekend. They had a blast. Alan took them and I made him swear he’d take a few pictures for me. :) He did. His phone also makes cool videos automatically from the pictures, so here are a few pics and a video montage his phone made. Apparently they learned about the weapons and how to use them, then play “Ninja versus Samurai” where the samurais had to defend the castle (blue foam mats) and the ninjas had to attack and try to sneak in (space between the mats). They had a blast. I kind of wish I was there, but instead I was home doing homework. That was good too… in a different way.

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I have a few minutes…

Eve asked for ten more minutes before bedtime and since we had a really good start to our evening I decided to give it to her. So now I have a few minutes of time. I could go wash the dishes or sweep the floor, but instead I’ll ramble here for a bit. I haven’t checked the camera lately so I’ll have to rely on my memory!

Top on my mind is the job hunting process. One of my least favorite things ever. I’ve been fairly spoiled in the past and gotten many jobs quite quickly. I’m hoping the same applies here. I applied for two jobs already and didn’t get selected for an interview on either. One was a total long-shot though, so I’m not too disappointed. I just applied for another one today and I hear another is coming up soon. Either of these would be awesome to get. I really just want to get hired and be done, then I can focus on my school work again and start planning for the next step. I’m not a very patient person, you know. For now I’ll continue to tweak my cover letter and write my application essays and thank my mother daily for her advice and editing support. :)

The weather is starting to warm up and that makes me immensely happy. Any day that I don’t need a jacket and gloves, or sunscreen, is a good day! (Yes, I know I should be wearing sunscreen every day and blocking all those wonderful rays, but really that just will never happen.) The kids got out their bikes and scooters this weekend. Eve even tried riding her bike again. I’m hoping this is the year she’s back at it and we can take those family bike rides we were hoping for last summer. Unfortunately she is a very nervous rider and fell, scraping up her cold, bare knee. Not bad, but enough to make her even more hesitant to ride. Sigh. Lex, on the other hand, was flying! I think we are going to invest in new bikes this summer. Bikes that fit them properly and aren’t covered in rust and duct tape. When I mentioned it to the kids they both seemed uncertain of the idea. “But I like my red one,” said Lex about his too-small bike, and Eve asked why she couldn’t just ride her pink one, the one we got for free that’s covered in rust but has a basket on the front. I thought to myself, “Shiny new bikes, kids, why are you not salivating at this idea?!?!?!” but instead just said, “Ok, we’ll see.”

The kids’ school is doing a Artist in Residence program where they have a local famous artist come do a big project with a select group of kids. The project is going to be a big mural for the school and Lex is one of the selected kids. He’s pretty happy about it. The just got started last week but I’m eager to hear the details as they go along. They sent home a really nice letter listing the criteria for selection, which included creative, motivated, team player, etc. All nice things to hear about your kid.

That’s all for now. If you need to read a little more check out the adorable birthday party little Kate had this weekend. Wish we were there. :)

Off to put my own little birthday girl to bed. G’night all.

Happy Birthday Eve!!

Birthday season is upon us again and suddenly baby Eve is a big seven year old!

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While most kids are chomping at the bit to be older, Eve carefully reminded us throughout her birthday weekend that she was not seven yet. Even this morning when we were having a little 6:00am celebration, she said, “Well, really I’m not seven yet!” Last night she tried to convince me that you don’t turn the new age until the very end of the day, overnight while you’re asleep the night after your birthday, I think maybe she liked being six. :)

We had a very fun, very busy weekend. On Saturday she had a bunch of friends over for a penguin party. The weather cooperated and we were able to get outside and play after cake. A good time was had by all.

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We had a lovely spread. Penguin cake in the middle, veggies on one side, Goldfish and candy on the other, and blue Jello “water” in the middle. I bet you can guess where the kiddos spent most of their snacking time!

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This year, on a whim, I ordered a cake from an awesome lady. I’ve known her since high school and she now does cakes professionally. It turned out beautiful (and delicious)!

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The kids started the party by making penguin picture frames. Then I took pictures of each of them with Eve, printed them, and put them in the frames.

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Lex’s picture frame

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The boys finished the rolled-up-newspaper-igloo project that I started with the kids a few days ago and ran out of time to finish.

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Aren’t they cute?

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Here’s the completed igloo. We were going to put welcome signs on them (this one and the table one on the other side of the room) but we ran out of time for that too.

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Eve made a sign directing the children to the “igools” downstairs. :)

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My friend wanted to take a picture of me and Alan. She thought Eve shouldn’t be the only one celebrating today. :) (It’s not a very flattering angle, but I’ll post it anyway.)

Since all the kids were playing in the basement we brought the presents down to open there. I don’t have any great pics though, so you’ll just have to use your imagination. :)

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Everyone was VERY excited for cake!

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This is me cracking up because Eve blew out the candles before we even finished the first word of the Happy Birthday song. I relit them quickly while we finished singing. :)

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We were all pretty silly by this point.

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Just for fun (and to terrify a room full of small children), Alan jumped in with the sawzall running on high when it was time to cut the cake. Grandpa Tom got a video of it that I’ll try to post. It was hysterical and a little scary.

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One final picture of the awesome igloo cake before we dug in!

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It didn’t last long!

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After cake I sent them all outside!

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Eve was really happy that the snow stuck around for her birthday this year. She really wanted to play penguins with her friends.

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Penguins love to slide on their bellies!

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Happy little birthday penguins!

After we said goodbye to all our friends the kids took to their corners for a wee bit of downtime. An hour later we packed up and headed to Grandpa’s for a pizza dinner and round two of cake!

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Do they make non-reflective glasses? I might invest in those next time around!

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Mema made a dinner birthday cake. It’s not often you get two cakes in one day!

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Eve got a stable and lots of animals to play with.

We got home late and went right to bed. Everyone was beat! Sunday was spent relaxing with family and trying to restore some sense of order to the house. I also spent Sunday baking and decorating cupcakes (more cake!) for school on Monday.

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For her actual birthday I left two small presents that were beautifully surrounded by flowers from others. She is a lucky little girl.

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Lex woke first and eagerly waited for the grand opening.

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I think she likes her card. :)

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I got her a Lego book. Basically a comic version of the Lego Movie. Everyone loves it.

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I also got her some sparkly red shoes because how could I not?!

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Pancakes for breakfasts. Let’s keep the sugar-fest rolling!

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One more round of cake. These cuties went to school today. They should each have a penguin on top, but I quickly discovered that the toothpicks don’t fit in the cupcake carrier, so I put a few in for pictures, then took them out and put them all into a baggie. Eve put the penguins on top at school before serving them. We also made a few mini cupcakes and brought them to karate this afternoon.

This afternoon we went to karate and then out to dinner at Panera Bread. Eve’s choice. No surprise there! :) I think she had a pretty awesome 7th birthday weekend. Now let the post-party lull and sugar detox begin!

A winter safari

The kids spent the morning packing for a safari. I’m not sure what prompted the idea, but they were quite busy and diligent at it for a long time. They had a book that had come with Lex’s safari vest and they were following the guidelines in it. They even packed emergency medical supplies (bandaids and neosporin), batteries, a map of the neigbhorhood, and snacks. They decided to look for birds and rocks, so they packed the binoculars and containers of various sizes to collect rocks.

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When they were all packed up they decided that spring weather was too far away and the safari should take place today! Fortunately it really was spring weather around here and the day was sunny and nearly 40°. They asked for permission to explore the neighborhood and we agreed together on the areas they could explore on their own. I offered to go with them (please, pretty please) but they said they were fine on their own.

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Once I got past the humor and cuteness of it all, and once they had actually left, I was a nervous wreck! They started next door to invite Parrish along, then went to the cul-de-sac behind the house to invite a few other friends. They ended up as a party of five on safari. I told them they could explore our cul-de-sac or the one right behind our house (that I can see from the kitchen window!) and they had to stay on the road, no woods. Boring mommy, I know. The snowbanks were so high that I could see the tops of their heads when they were walking but as soon as they sat down I lost them.

I also forgot to tell them another safety rule and was nervous about that too. They went to invite one friend and ended up going in for a few minutes while she got her snow clothes on. I’ve met this girl only once or twice and her grandparents as often. I knew the kids were there because I saw them go down the driveway, but then I lost them behind the snowbank and didn’t know if they went in or not. I was kicking myself for forgetting to tell them that rule!

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All went just fine, of course, and everyone had fun. The kids anyway. I spent the entire time puttering around the kitchen and looking out the window. Good thing there were plenty of kitchen chores to be done. Somehow I was raised by laid-back hippies and ended up a total nervous wreck! This is the first time they’ve gone exploring on their own, so maybe the nerves were somewhat justified. I also barely know two of the houses they went to, not like they were our best friends or trusted neighbors.

Anyway, all is good and the kids loved it! I’m ready for warm weather so I can open the windows and see without snowbanks blocking the view. I’ll be much more relaxed then! :)

He said, she said

Lex just said to Eve, “You don’t like peas? I’ll eat them for you!”. Maybe there is hope for him after all.  :-)

I, on the other hand, just said, “There’s not much in your Friday folder this week.” To which he replied, “Mom, it’s Thursday.” Sigh.