Saturday, September 17, 2011

What are they 'into'

Seren, age 5 years and 4 months:
*sleeping without her bedrail (we took it down in August of this year)
*eating tons
*growing tons
*dolls- all of the time playing with dolls. Her favorite is Rosie. Her grandmom gave her an outfit with a matching doll outfit! Hysterical! She and Rosie wore the outfits to school on Friday for Show and Tell
*Bossing her brother around. We are trying to cut down on this. She is constantly correcting him. Telling him he is wrong. I worry about his self esteem! Geez, girlfriend, LAY OFF!
*Singing- loudly and sweetly
*Gymnastics- we started this summer and just signed her up for 14 more lessons. She seems to really, really enjoy it. When she can focus.
*Tennis- we signed her up for only 5 lessons. We shall see. It is a completely foreign experience for her.
*Less drama now. Still the tears come but only when really exhausted.
*Being in Kindergarten and learning all of the new schedules. 'We have gym today. Library tomorrow, etc."

Wyeth: 2 years and 9 months
*Dolls and purses- still loves them both. Less with the dolls and more into the purses. And still loves rocking the high heels. He wore a purse to the local high school football game.
*Cars- matchbox cars rock Wyeth's world. I hate matchbox cars and can really only enjoy them for a max of 5 minutes.
*Trains- still into trains. Any kind of training. He has his wooden train table in his room and between the cars and trains? He is one happy boy.
* NOT potty training. As in, nope, no thanks, NOT doing it.
* Eating is slightly better. But only slightly. We added apples. Ta da!
* Still going to bed late. His naps are still at the 2hour mark which means he doesn't really settle down until 9 pm on most nights.
* Still in his crib- WE have no interest in moving him. Just sounds like a total and utter nightmare about to happen.
* Riding his tricycle
* Candy. Wyeth would eat candy all day if we let him. After a over indulgence in July, we have not had candy in our house. It is a diaster. Talk about sweet tooth! In August, at the mean mention of the word, Wyeth lost his stuff. It wasn't pretty. My best friend, Andy, can attest.

We started watching TV on a daily basis in February of this year. I had to go to work earlier and Daddy needed to shower. It was a good run while we were at it. They now watch 30-45 minutes a day when Dad gets ready. That works for all of us. Curious George is a favorite.

That's the snap shot for tonight!

What a Week!


We are still adjusting to life on a 5 day a week schedule. Kindergarten continues to go well-ish.

Last Saturday I flew to Denver Colorad to spend some time with friends and family before attending a professional conference. What a total blast! My brother picked me up at the airport! SO good to see him. We then drove about an hour into Boulder to meet up with dear friends for dinner.

Sunday it was sunny. Again! Amazing!! After 11 inches of rain, I needed to see that sun! My host, Whitney, made a breakfast that was out of this world! Man! It was delicious! Then we went hiking. I can't tell you how good this felt! And sleeping without monitors was heaven! I crashed so hard. So good to feel so comfortable with old friends. It is an experience you don't take for granted!

Then my brother picked me up and we headed two hours towards Vail. I was there Sunday through Wednesday. It was beautiful! What a great week! A good conference, great food, good wine and just amazing mountains! I also presented a paper which was a first for me! I just had a blast. It was such a different week!

I got home at 9:30 pm on Wednesday. WHich was a long time away from teh kids- esp since I didn't have much of a weekend with them. THen, at 6:50 am on Thursday, Sam left to hang out with his parents. His mom and Dad are moving homes so he went home to load the truck. So the kids went from Dad being in charge and solo parenting to my mom and dad parenting while I was at work to me parenting in the evenings and today. I can't believe all of that was in one week.

We saw an amazing rainbow on Thursday night! Just one of those rainbows that takes your breath away!

In other news, Wyeth can only get a word in edgewise when Seren isn't around. Sam said he frequently talks all of the way home. Non stop from kindergarten drop off. Tonight, after I put Seren down, he gave me an oral dissertation on lightbulbs and how some need to be replaced. But not all of them. The child is a trip!

It was a full week! Sam returns tomorrow. Vail was amazing. Nothing like seeing my brother and my 'Boulder family' to make me smile wide. All four of them made me laugh so hard! What a total treat!

Next up is Rochestr NY and Arizona! Whew!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Falling from Grace: Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear

In my 'other' life I was a born again Christian. Kinda. I was super religious. Church weekly. Bible studies weekly. And then I was a progressive Christian. Super invovled. This time in stead of reading "Lady in Waiting" which was a good about saving yourself for God, I was marching with my church in a gay pride parade in San Fran.

And then kids happened. And then church tried to happen. We church shopped for over two years. A full on committment to it. Every week a new place. We couldn't find home. Then Wyeth happened. The morning naps screwed up going to church in the morning.

And then nothing happened. It has been a long, long time since we have gone to church. And this is fodder for another post. A meaningful one in which I really express what a lack of a spiritual home means to me. I miss the community. I miss the sense of purpose. I miss the songs. I sometimes watch my old church's services on a live feed stream and cry. I miss it a ton.

But I note my past now as context.

We have fallen from grace. Far, far away from any religious training.

Seren figured out how to read the song "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear". You know it.

Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Touch the ground.
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Turn around.
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Show your shoe.
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
That will do.
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Run upstairs.
Teddy bear, Teddy bear,
Say your prayers.

Seren and Wyeth act out each phrase. So they touch the ground, turn around, show their shoe, run upstairs, etc. They sit at the piano and sing this song to each other. When they got to the phrase "Say your prayers", Seren had nothing. No gesture. She sat there and said 'hmm'. She was trying to figure out a gesture for that line.

That was sad enough to me as it was. No folded hands. No head bowed. She doesn't have that as context because we haven't taught it.

Then she pulled down her pants at the waist line and pointed to her underwear.


I then figured out her mental process. "Pairs of underwear. Pairs. Pairs sounds like prayers. That MUST be it!"

She now does this consistently when she and Wyeth sing the song. He pulls on his diaper.

Did I mention we haven't been to church recently?


While we had a fabulous long weekend of fun, beach days, trips to the orchard, time with friends, time with my parents, this 'short' week has felt incredibly long.

I feel totally unsettled these days. Some of it has to do with the weather. The earthquake, the hurricane, the possible tornado warnings and now more and more rain which has led to massive flooding has left me feeling a bit down. Combine that with home renovation, the anniversary of 9/11, the fact that there is a new terriosist 'threat' and the start of kindergarten, and I just feel like nothing is really 'the way it is supposed to be'. A bit of the 'unsure' feeling that no one likes.

Did I mentioned it has rain like 10 inches of rain in Philly in the last week? Not an exaggeration!

Kindergarten continues to go 'ok'. I had low expectations. And I guess it is living up to them. I feel a sense of not providing for her in the best way I can. It is hard when I see amazing pictures of stimulating classrooms. And I know that there is better out there. MUCH better. Loving teachers. Classrooms full of books and animals. Where a kids' mind can just EXPLODE with excitement. Her preschool was like that. That is why we chose it. And now we just aren't seeing that. At least not yet.

I have to remain open minded. But I am not a fan. The kindergarten teacher, during orientation, stood in front of a huge group of excited, nervous, adorable 5 year olds and didn't address them. Seriously? I would have said "HELLO KINDERGARTENERS! WELCOME! DO WE HAVE A YEAR FOR YOU!" Nothing. Not so much as a nodd to the kids! I know the meeting was for us but she seemed burnt out and exhausted at the START of the year.

And there is no communication what so ever. No weekly bulletins. No daily check ins at pick up. Nothing. We can't figure out if the lame coloring picture in her folder is 'homework' or not? And we were told to buy 3 folders for the year only to have them returned to us. Does she need them? When you have to rely on a 5 year olds 'take' on everything, we are left with a lot of question marks. Seren insists that they will never have recess. And with a short day, that could be true. But who knows? We have no sense of the schedule either. Are we to wear gym shoes every day? When do we pack the art smock? Ya know? These are stupid frustrations but for parents like us who WANT to know how everything is going, we feel a total and utter void.

I hope that the classroom preparation has improved because when I visited nothing was up. Not thier names on thier cubbies. Nothing. I saw about 15 books. I have spent over two years in kindergarten and first grade classrooms for my work. I have a pretty good idea what a classroom should contain and I have to say that it is bare bare bones.

BUT! She loves it! I mean, she is excited about everything! MOM! We have gym here! MOM! We get to have show and tell just like at Breezy Point! Mom! There are five boys. Two boys sit at my table. And I made two new friends! Mom! I learned a song. SO...she is happy.

She loves it. We are TRYING to love it and be open to an amazing year. But see?

Unsettled. I'll shut up. We are privleged to have a school to attend. We are lucky that WE care so much about this. And Seren loves it. Which is really all that matters. We have to let go. This is all about loosing control of things. And I need to be ok with that. It is all a process. It will evenutally stop raining. The house will one day be put back together. And for goodness sakes, we are an amazing family.

It is just that sense of 'blahs' that are haunting me.

The exciting news is that I leave to spend time with great friends and an amazing brother. I leave tomorrow. I'm so lucky to have amazing people in my life. Really? What do I have to complain about.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Riding his Tricycle!

Finally! Wyeth's legs can properly reach the pedals of his little tricyle! It is amazing! He LOVES the freedom! He is a man on a mission with his bike. I love to see his determination. I went for a walk this week with both of them on thier bikes and realized for the first time, that I was actually WALKING while they were riding! It was amazing!

Pretty much every day after dinner, I hang with the kids. And during the summer, that means we play outside. We play basketball. Or do the stomp rocket. Or do hoola- hoop. We talk to neighbors and the neighborhood dogs. And they usually want to go around the block. I encourage this but inevitable, Wyeth decides, about 5 houses down, that he wants to switch his vehicle. And we have to go back. Or Seren decides that the hill is too steep. Or she wants her scooter and not her bike. Or I just get grumpy becasue going around the block takes a good 30-40 minutes and I usually end up covered in sweat as I push Seren, pull Wyeth, push Wyeth and pull Seren.


But I continue to do it! And this week? AWESOMENESS on the bike front! Seren is totally confident in her new bike helmet and better adjusted bike. Off! And Wyeth's legs have grown! He just needs a new helmet and he is set to go! As for me, I could forseeable drink a glass of wine while I follow behind. :) Ok, maybe not yet but you get my point!

Summer rocked!

Winter in Summer!

In the winter when it was snowing, my kids got out all of the summer stuff and had a beach day.

When it was 95 degrees in August, my kids decided it would be awesome to play 'winter' after dinner.

So they bundled up. They have done this several times this summer! Ridiculous! And funny!

The difference with this time is that they wanted to then go on a bike ride. Remember, it was 95 degrees out! My neighbor can attest to the fact that Wyeth refused to take his coat off. Seren realized pretty quickly that this winter in summer thing was for the birds. But Wyeth? He was GAME ON! He was SOAKED with sweat by the time we came home.

What goofballs!

Sign up your daughters (or sons) now!

I like to think we are a progressive family with our politics. We try at least. So I'm very pleased when Wyeth decides to just help out around the house and do the dishes. It is SUCH a help!

Just about every night, he just pitches in!

See what I mean?

On a related note, this is what I came home to one night. Three happy faces. Three aprons. I'm a lucky working mom!

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Bon Appetit!


After we got back from Cape Cod, I worked a few days and we had a fun playdate with friends. I then went to Iowa for a week! Iowa rocked! It was calm. Relaxing. Friendly. And I was there for the huge Iowa State fair! So I got to hear all about 'butter on a stick' which sounds disgusting! Anyway, it was a fun and busy week 'on the road'.

We came home and packed up the kids to head to Brooklyn, NY to spend some time with Sam's good friend Mitch and his partner Kenton. They are just amazing! Mitch is a super chef! And Kenton couldn't be much sweeter if he tried.

When we usually visit, we make it a day trip. Brooklyn is about 90 minutes away so it isn't so bad. But this time thier friends had a free apartment available. They were trying to sell it but it hadn't sold it so they allowed us to 'camp' in thier empty apartment. Score!

We had grand plans for our weekend. We'd take them to Times Square! Ride the subway! Etc, etc. In the end, it POURED RAIN all of Sunday and by the time we got there on Saturday, we had to deal with tired kids. So we didn't do any of that! But we spent time with good friends and visited thier garden plot.

I'm always amazed how children enjoy simple pleasures. Sam and I are trying to raise kids to truly find mystery and wonder in all of things around them. I am most proud when they get a big 'kick' out of simple things. From thier perspective, Brooklyn delivered on amazing treats. First of all, the concept of an apartment blew Seren's mind.

"Wait! There are families behind every single one of these doors? Are there animals in there too? Like cats? Do people in apartments have cats!"

And then there was the old fashion elevator inside the building.

"Wow! They have thier own elevator! We get to ride it? They ride it every day!??"

They also loved that we stayed in our own apartment. It was one of the worst nights we have had a long time. "The city that never sleeps" was certainly true for us! My god! The noise of the road was loud. And then add in a huge thunder storm and lightening. Wyeth was up for over 2 hours. We were wondering at 2 am if we should just pack up and head home! But we all went back to sleep and the night was salvaged.

Did I mention it poured?

And we all had an amazing breakfast on Sunday. It was a huge treat to be with such kind, loving friends! Thanks so much Mitch and Kenton!

August 3, 2011

On August 3rd, Sam and I celebrated 9 years of marriage! 9! We celebrated a few days earlier when we were up at the Cape. Mom and Dad watched the kids in the afternoon and Sam and I went on a terrific hike! (Thanks Mom and Dad!) It was gorgeous and went all the way to the beach. Just amazing!

We then changed in the car. Something we used to do all of the time on our day long marathon dates in California and went out to a very nice dinner. It was just so peaceful. No yelling. No crying. Just a very lovely dinner.

9 years have come and gone pretty darn quick. I'm a lucky woman to have found someone amazing to share my days and nights with.

Happy Anniversary, Sam!