Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

Squeezing It All In

We’re down to the last few weeks of summer – school starts on Sept. 3 for Adam and Allie. As usual, I’m feeling that “we haven’t had all the fun I meant for us to have” crunch that I always feel as the beginning of the school year approaches.

Adam hasn’t been helping the matter any. He’s not happy about our childcare arrangement (the kids have been spending their days with family friends who have three little kids of their own) and has made it known that he’s bored. Of course, his suggested alternative is to stay home by himself – which would no doubt mean video games/TV all day. Not happening. (We do let him have a day to himself once a week, though.)

Anyway, the kids and I all have this week off. I *think* that this should help their “fun quotient” for the summer. šŸ˜‰

Friday/Saturday: Birthday party sleepover at Adam’s friend’s house

Sunday: Movie (Adam/Tim/my dad) and school clothes shopping (me/Allie/Jenny/my mom)

Monday: Water park with Adam and Allie’s best friends, and Jenny is at my folks’ house for two days.

Wednesday: Zoo

Thursday: Trampoline play place

Friday: Another zoo

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Weekend in my mom’s hometown for the annual “Jubilee Days” celebration

Sunday: Air Force Museum on the way home

I *think* this oughta do the trick … but who knows.

Do you get that sameĀ “we haven’t had all the fun I meant for us to have” feeling at the end of summer?

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Patience is a Virtue

Earlier this week, Tim and I took the kids to Michigan’s Adventure, a regional amusement park that we’ve visited every summer since 2004. We love it – the price is right, the park is small and easy to navigate, lines are short, etc. Even though Cedar Point is about the same distance, we’ve never seriously considered taking the kids there because the tradeoffs (trading the things listed above for bigger/better rides) just wouldn’t be worth it.

This year was great for Allie. She has just hit 48″, so she is tall enough to ride all but one ride. She told us on the way home that “This was my best Michigan Adventure day ever because I got to ride all the big roller coasters!” She’s turned into quite the a coaster fan, and I’m thrilled. I’ve always loved roller coasters, except for the especially rattly ones. (Tip: Don’t ride something called “Shivering Timbers” if you don’t like the rattly coasters.)

Our mistake this year? Taking Jenny.

We usually wait until a kid is four to take them to the amusement park. We intended to wait until next year with Jenny, but this trip was planned somewhat at the last minute and we didn’t have anyone to leave her with. Adam and Allie wanted to take her with us, and she wanted to go … so Tim and I said yes, against our better judgement. (We even turned down a night-before offer from my sister to watch Jenny – we’d been telling her for days that she was going with us, so it seemed a little cruel to change our plans at the last minute.)

Turns out we should have waited after all, and left her with Aunt Betsy. We were so excited about taking her, but it just didn’t go the way we hoped it would. Jenny had fun, but wasn’t interested in riding anything except the really little kiddie rides. So, in the interest of letting the big kids ride big kid rides, we split up almost immediately, and Tim and I pretty much spent the whole day trading off Jenny and the big kids. It worked out all right, I guess, except for the last hour, when I somehow ended up with both Adam and Jenny.

J tantrum 2

Yes, that’s my three-year-old throwing a tantrum in the middle of the sidewalk at the amusement park. For those of you who think it’s so sweet that Adam was “watching over her” – this picture was taken as he briefly looked up from holding his head in his hands, saying “Come ON, Jenny! MOM, can’t you DO something?!”

Ironically, this was the second time she threw a fit that day – in pretty much the exact same spot. I don’t recall her problem the first time, but this time she was mad because she wanted to go back to the helicopters (kiddie ride) and I had the gall to insist that we let Adam ride some big kid rides for the last 45 minutes before the park closed. (She and I had just spent about two hours in the kiddie area, and I even bought her an ice cream cone.)

So, we’ll definitely return next year, but Jenny may be visiting Aunt Betsy that day.

(She DID have some fun, as you can see in the pictures below. Adam even humored her by riding on the Winky the Whale ride once.)

kids in whales

J snoopy

J in boat

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Adam, Allie and I had a fun adventure today. A while back, I found a “Groupon” for a local athletic center that has an indoor water park – four passes for $24. So the three of us, along with one of Adam’s buddies, spent the day playing in the pool, floating down the lazy river, rushing down the spiral water slide, and frolicking in the splash pool.

We broke for a (second) bite to eat around dinnertime.Ā Since the passes were “all access,” the kids had decided that they wanted to stop swimming before this snack break and explore the rock climbing wall afterward. Adam’s friend had tried (and loved) rock climbing when they were in Boy Scouts, but it had started raining just before Adam’s turn on their big outing. So he was anxious to try it. Allie was a little trepidatious but was willing to try.

I was so proud of both my kids! They took turns for about 45 minutes, and each made about eight attempts to reach the top. Adam didn’t quite make it to the top, but certainly wore himself out trying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him work so hard at something.

Allie, on the other hand, made it to the top! (I do think it helped that she is so lightweight, the bungee cord probably gave her more of a boost than it did Adam.)

AER rock wall

Just look at her up there! I can’t wait to see what she wants to try next. (Swimming lessons, actually – and we’ve got them planned for fall.)

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The Energizer Bunny

Remember the Energizer Bunny, from the old battery commercials? You know, the one that just keeps going and going … and going …

That’s Jenny.

We had an extremely busy day today. First up was my nephew’s first birthday party, in a town 1.5 hours away. The kids all had a blast, and the girls ran around playing in the wading pool, filling water balloons, etc. Next up was a wedding reception for the young woman who was our summer nanny last year. They had a band and a dance floor set up. Jenny danced for about a half our with our friend (Allie’s best friend’s mom, who is one of my best friends.)

Adam and I figured we’d leave once our friends left, since the only other person we knew was the bride. Nope – we stayed for at least another 90 minutes, with Jenny pretty much dancing the WHOLE time (much of it with Adam, who had patiently been waiting for our friend to leave so that J would pay attention to him).

I thought she’d be exhausted by 8 – busy day, she spent the whole time outside (even the reception was outside), etc. On the contrary – she danced until 9:30! She probably would have gone longer, but the band took a break and Adam and I decided it was a good chance to make our departure.

(And even once we got home, she didn’t crash – she played on my phone for a little while, until at least 10:30.)

A & J dancing

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Taking After Her Siblings

I don’t know what it is with my kids, but they have all been fascinated with looking into the refrigerator. (Believe me, there’s never much of interest inside it – just the usual product, milk/cheese/yogurt, leftovers, etc.)

Check out this recent picture of Jenny. (I can’t quite tell whether she’s going for the Hershey’s syrup or the salad dressing. Hershey’s, probably.)

J fridge

Now, compare it to the pictures here. Tell me there’s not some kind of weird trend with my kids?

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OK, a kid of a different color. Or a shirt, really.

The day after Allie wore her “Go blue!” clothes, she got to wear her “Go green!” clothes. And so did Adam and I. More specifically, we got to go to a hockey game at my alma mater! (Which just happens to be another huge Big 10 university within easy driving distance – and oh, did I mention that it’s my employer’s archrival?)

Adam and Allie with Aunt Betsy, our benefactor for the evening.

Adam and Allie with Aunt Betsy, our benefactor for the evening.

How did that happen, you may ask? Well, it was another example of why I love Facebook so! I posted a picture of Allie in her maize and blue – and one of my college friends chided me (good naturedly), asking how I could let her wear those colors. I replied that we wear the colors of both schools, and that we’d even go to another (alma mater) hockey game if my sister Betsy could get us free tickets again. Two minutes later, I had a private message from Betsy saying that she had free tickets to the game that night, and would we like to go! Of course we would! So I got off work an hour early, raced to pick up the kids and run home to change (why oh why did I have to wear a maize and blue shirt for casual Friday?) and get to the hockey arena.

We had a blast, as expected. Our team lost (5-2, yikes) but it was fun. My friends and I had season hockey tickets all through college, and our dorm was directly across the field from the hockey arena (on top of which I had my first-and-only cigarette – just a puff, really) so it felt just like the old days.

I don't remember the band being this big when I was in college (it was usually about a third this size at hockey games).

I don’t remember the band being this big when I was in college (it was usually about a third this size at hockey games).

In fact, it really felt like the old days because of where we sat. Our ticketed seats were quite a ways from the band, and we couldn’t hear it very well. And what’s the point of going to a sporting event if you can’t do the silly chants/cheers, sing the fight song, etc.? We quickly noticed that the student section was only about a third full – because it was spring break. So after the first period, we moved to the student section, which surrounds the band. It was kind of surreal. On the one hand, I felt like I was back in college, because this is how I spent many a Friday night. On the other hand, watching Adam cheering and singing with gusto – I felt like I was getting a glimpse of my son in 7 years or so, a college kid rooting on his team. Weird. But cool.

I admit that I was a little disappointed that the student section no longer does a couple of the gags that we used to do. I mean seriously, if the other team has someone coming back in after a penalty, and you know the announcer is going to say “Western, full strength!” – why wouldn’t you shout “Hey Jerry (or whatever the announcer’s name is now), what’s that smell?” Or when the announcer is going to say “One minute left to play. One minute.” wouldn’t you shout “Hey Jerry, how much time?” Sheesh. Kids these days.

Mmmm, the traditional hockey game snack - Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich.

Mmmm, the traditional hockey game snack – Melting Moments ice cream cookie sandwich.

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Go Blue!

The local Big University’s women’s basketball team was supposed to visit the first grade classes at Allie’s school on Monday. Unfortunately, the visit was canceled that morning. Allie was disappointed, but was thrilled when she found out that the team had sent ticket vouchers to the entire class. She insisted that Tim go with her.

BB 2-28-13a




















They had great seats. Allie watched for a classmate friend that she knew would be there, and she and Tim were able to sit right next to them. The pep band was there, and so were the cheerleaders. Tim might possibly have really enjoyed that part. Allie also liked the local baton twirling school that performed at halftime.

BB 2-28-13b




















Tim caught a shirt from the shirt-shooting cannon. It’s a little big for Allie, but she’s using it as a night shirt now.

Oh, andĀ our team won, 50-55.

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Phil Was Wrong!

I never put too much stock in Groundhog Day, but it’s always fun to see what groundhog Puxatawney Phil. This year, he predicted an early spring. I don’t think so …

We got 8.6″ of snow last night – on top of 1.26″ of rain that fell earlier in the day.

Feb snow 2

It was beautiful, for sure. And Allie and Jenny had a blast playing in the snow. I may post pictures of their adorable snowman tomorrow.

Feb snow

But what a mess! t was a really, really heavy and wet snow. Tim nearly got stuck twice getting out of our subdivision (and we only live about 6 houses away from the main road). Adam and Allie were thrilled to have a snow day. And Adam might get another day off – his school was without power today, and it still hadn’t been restored earlier this evening (last time I heard an update).

Sure hope this is winter’s last hurrah.

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Waiting on Tenterhooks

IMG_137567-viAdam loves skiing. LOVES it. He has been kind of “hot and cold” about some activities with his Boy Scout troop, but is completely in love with skiing. His troop has a ski trip planned for this weekend (departing tomorrow night), and he can’t wait.

The problem? They’re planning to ski at a resort in western New York State. And there’s a blizzard headed up the East Coast this weekend. I don’t think it will hit that part of the state hard enough to force them to cancel the trip, but …

There has been no indication from the Scoutmaster that they are considering cancelling the trip (they usually keep us in the loop), but I think Adam, Tim and I will all be on tenterhooks until the kids leave at 5:30 tomorrow.

Cross your fingers for him!

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Jenny sporting her first cloth diaper.

Jenny sporting her first cloth diaper.

Tim and I have been parents for just shy of 12 (!) years. We love our kids dearly. They are great fun, and parenting them is truly a joy.

For the most part.

But parenting is also complicated and confusing. There are soooo many decisions to be made, and we are pretty much left to our own devices to figure things out. (What on earth did parents do before the internet?)

Breastfeeding or formula?
Circumcise or non-circumcised
Cloth or disposable?
How many kids to have/how far apart to space them
Vaccinate or not?
Babywearing or strollers?
Home school or traditional school? (Or something in between?)
When to start kindergarten for kids w/almost late birthdays
Make child stick with activity they claim to hate, or let them quit?
Stay-at-home parent, or both working full-time?

Tim and I have made all of these decisions, and more. (OK, I admit that I don’t think we ever considered home-schooling.) Some choices we made without even really needing to discuss them (following AAP recommendations for vaccinations). Some choices we made after much, much discussion or debate (whether to send Allie to kindergarten or “Young Fives” since she was not yet 5 when school started). Most were somewhere in between.

So far, I think I’m happy with all of the big decisions that we’ve made. Has everything gone perfectly so far? No, of course not. But the kids are happy, healthy, smart, and doing well in school. There are a few things I wish I could change (I wish I hadn’t given up on nursing Adam at six weeks, wish I had known how easy cloth diapering was with my first instead of my last, wish we had instituted “lights out at bedtime” with all three kids LOL) but overall, I think we’re doing a good job.

Of course, since Jenny is only three, we’ve still got to make some of those decisions for her. (No idea when we’re going to send her to school, but that’s a blog post in itself.) And with the teen years still ahead of us, I’m sure there will be many new things for Tim and me to discuss and decide.

But I think we’re up to the challenge.

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