Monthly Archives: August 2013

Weekend ramblings…

boat day!

Me and Roo

anchor up!

We’ll get to these pictures in a minute…

Over the weekend, as I got distracted while doing laundry (or distracted myself since I didn’t want to fold the baskets and baskets conspicuously waiting around the house), I meandered to my craft drawers. They are a disorganized mess (despite my last cleaning project) and as I began shuffling through them, organizing bits and pieces, odds and ends, winding ribbon spools, sorting, organizing and re-discovering, I began to think of all of the fun projects I should be working on, and the lovely little beauties that could be spun from my idle hands….especially when they are not busy folding laundry. And then I really got to thinking. I have plenty of plans to craft more, especially as I begin to think about Christmas gifts, and as the warm weather begins to fade to fall. So, stay tuned because I fully intend to step up this B (for blog of course, though it’s also my nickname for another bit of slang, and since my blog is a she, I’ll let you figure it out for yourselves).

HOWEVER…

Since yesterday was a gorgeous day and the last free weekend of truly free summer fun before school starts, I had to abandon the craft ship and board our real vessel. Boat day! Roo’s first time out did not disappoint!! As I snuggled him, he simply looked around, taking everything in, bundled in his life jacket which tends to creep up to his chin. Red and Mike were busy crabbing and fishing and guiding us on an adventurous journey up the river. The sun was high in the sky and it was warm, but not unbearably hot. I was happy to get my pale, Irish skin some color, even if it was red and resulted in more freckles. I love my freckles by the way. I love any freckles, and Red has earned a few more scattered over his nose this summer, which I think is just the cutest thing ever.

chillin'

crab pickin'

This would be Mike, pretending to have the crab pick his nose. Classy. Don’t worry, this crab was not harmed during the making of this photo, other than having a little less dignity when he swam back to his friends.

Jelly!!

Can you spy the jellyfish??

crabs

Too short.

It was a welcome outdoorsy day, since Saturday was a day dedicated to Red’s haircut and back-to-school shopping at the mall. The sole mission was to find him his sneakers. As I mentioned in this post, he had his heart set on “light-up sneakers.” Well, that was totally fine, until I tried finding them. You would think in a place that has no less than 7 shoe stores, we would have been successful…

I only had one requirement. They had to have laces, no Velcro. The last pair he had were Velcro, and that dang material begins to unstick after a while… Oh, and they had to not be ugly…ok, so two requirements. Um, have you laid eyes on some of the light up sneakers out there? Many have super-hero’s on them, like Iron Man or Spiderman, which a. he has no concept of who these characters are because he is far too young to watch the movies they star in, and b. it is my opinion that the damn marketing license for such characters drives the price up on an otherwise cheap pair of sneakers by about $10! I wasn’t paying $45-$50 on ugly sneakers that would unstick and he would probably ditch once he saw what other kids were wearing anyway.

So, after a day of schlepping the mall (both boys were actually very well behaved, and thank God for my mom’s help because Red insisted on riding the “electric stairs” {escalator} just for the sheer thrilling fun of it), we left with a buy-one-get-one pack of socks and two t-shirts from Gap Kids. And just to explain about the socks – I completely SPACED and let Red wear his Crocs that day, which if any of you are familiar, if these shoes are worn barefoot (because why would you wear socks with Crocs?) by boys who like to run around in dirt and have sweaty feet, the end result when said shoes are removed isn’t pretty. We’re talking feet caked in grime. Needless to say, we probably gave the poor teenager helping us at Foot Locker quite a disgraceful shock. I apologetically and immediately took him up on his “bogo” sock offer, which we needed anyway. Oh well, I love my bud, stinky, dirty feet and all…which by the way, we finally found really good sneakers for today! They don’t light up, but they are cool looking and functional and were in my price range. Score!

Oh, and today, we had a Mommy-Red date day!!! It began on a high note with the sneaker purchase. He was so excited-he wore them out of the store (obviously) and proceeded to run to every store we visited throughout the outdoor outlets that we were shopping at, because he said, they made him extra fast. We came home for lunch, and then went to the movies to see Disney’s Planes. It was a glorious, be-still-my-heart afternoon in that theatre. To have him so overjoyed with excitement for the movie, to see his reaction to all the previews, to have him randomly turn to me in the dark during the movie for a kiss, to hear him tell me he loves me…I wish I could have those moments every day…I’ll be re-living them in my memory for a while.

One more day off together…we meet his teacher tomorrow which will bring its own excitements, and then Wednesday is the BIG K DAY! New adventures await.

 

So now…
…until then
….. Ramble on!

hangin'

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Toddling & Grooving, With a Side of Giggles, & Kisses.

Reading Eyes

Car

Don't Bother Me I'm Busy

Daddy and Roo

I have just been enjoying Roo so much lately. I think this age, 16 months, is one of the best stages of baby – or “toddler” as Red always corrects me. And toddle he does. He is so sure of his steps. Sure of himself.

He loves, LOVES music. Music is usually on while we make dinner. He will run into the kitchen – stop – find the rhythm and begin to groove, legs bouncing, head nodding. Any music will do. Jazz, Pop, new, old, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin… I knew he was a mama’s boy.

He doesn’t say much. He has only a handful of words he knows. One of which is “Da-DDY.” One of which is NOT Mama (much to my chagrin and constant “Ma-Ma” and “Mo-MMY” noises that I make at him daily).

Kisses

He is so much fun to just watch. He is even more fun to engage. His sweet smile when he is learning something new. His big, belly laugh when we (or, more likely RED) is being especially funny. Red sometimes complains in the morning as I am getting ready that Roo hit him, or threw a toy at him…to which I explain that he just wants his attention…that he looks up to him and wants to play.  Red will usually cave to the request, I think secretly liking his big bro status.  I love watching them together – goofing, playing, teasing…a love and friendship in its earliest stages.

Over the weekend, Sunday morning actually, when Mike and I were barely awake after bringing Roo to our bed – out of nowhere and unprompted, he grabbed my face and came at me with his mouth open to plant a sloppy, wet kiss on my lips. So of course I encourage “Kisses!” any time I can..and he cheerfully obliges to both of our delight.
He will also blink flirtatiously when asked where is eyes are…batting his lashes, making me giggle and my heart melt every time.

Surfer Boy

One of our favorite past times is to race cars and monster trucks down the hallway. I’ll say “READY!?” and I’ll zoom it as fast and hard as I can as he watches, and then, chunky little legs run after it, and like a puppy, he retrieves it to do it again..and again..and again. And I never get tired or bored…I could do it all darn day.

Toes

Oh, and he loves trying on shoes.

At night, after we play, I turn down the lights and he knows..and he reaches for me, and assumes his position for a book on my lap. He listens intently and helps turn pages. Then the lights go off and the night light on. It’s our time together at night that I absolutely cherish. He’ll nurse… stop to babble something sweet to me, and then goes back to doing his thing. When done, I kiss him about a million times, smelling his soft, baby fine hair the entire time, before I lay him in his crib.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…and again…and again. I wish I could freeze time. It goes by much too quickly for my liking. But I am thankful every day for every month, and every stage, and phase that I get to witness and take part in. And I am soaking it all in. 16 months (<sigh> Almost 17 months actually…) and so much more to look forward to. 

Feet

“I’ll follow the rules tomorrow…”

I had originally written this last month as a guest post on Call Her Happy, a blog by Jenna, sweet mama of two who graciouslly allowed me to write for her site.

As we continue to prepare for kindergarten, and work on reigning in the social skills of our busy boy, Red, I thought it would be a good time to share how the rule-following goes in our parts… (or would that be rule-“bending”, with a sharp lean toward “breaking?”) 

*****************************************************************************************

Rules.  Who likes them? Certainly not the fiery little 5 year old living in my house.
He’s not a bad kid – he just has a little trouble focusing. What preschooler doesn’t? I think boys especially?
Recently, after running off to climb a tree without telling us at a festival on our town green (where we couldn’t find him and my heart was in my throat for the longest minute of my life), he later simply stated, “I was having so much fun that I forgot the rules.”

Touché little man. Well played.

Red Train Tracks

How can I argue with that? It’s not as if I haven’t conveniently forgotten a few rules myself in the past… (Early twenties? I am looking at you).
But since kindergarten is around the corner, we have been trying to work on the listening, and the focusing, and the good manners, and the following directions….and if that list doesn’t sound exhausting, just try enforcing it all on a kid who constantly comes up with reasons why he forgot to not do such things.
He is my love, my heart and my first born…so we are both learning the routines of what works and what doesn’t.

WavesI have learned to be more patient. Just because he doesn’t jump at my request as soon as I say it, doesn’t mean that given a couple of seconds, he isn’t working his way towards doing it (sluggishly, feet dragging, but still, he is moving…).

I have learned to let him talk when he has something to say, even if it is in the middle of my asking him to do something. I feel terrible when he gets frustrated to the point where he yells, “You won’t let me talk!” so I stop and ask what he has to say, and it’s usually something completely off topic – probably a distraction technique, but I am not to be played that way.
He has, however, learned that looking at me with puppy dog eyes and asking “Do you still love me?” will reduce me to gooey mush and I will begin my lenghthy explanation of how I will always love him no matter what.

Red

He has also learned from my many times of saying that I am unhappy with his choices, to respond with “You’re not mad? Just disappointed?” as if that somehow lessens the lesson I am trying to teach.  Another time, when I used the word “unacceptable” to describe something particularly unpleasing, he asked, “What does unskeptical mean?” Oh dear, sweet boy how you make me laugh…but skeptical is exactly how your actions make make me feel!

Roar

He is full of funny strategies. My mom has told me that 5 is the age of storytelling and little fibs. Oh my yes it is….and she probably got all of her wise knowledge raising yours truly. I was a spunky kid, what can I say?

Harmless, humorous and huggable, he is so full of life. He is constantly thinking. Always coming up with answers. Always asking questions. These are qualities that I want him to keep and cultivate. I want the curiosity only to keep growing. And it will, of that I am confident. He loves to learn, and he challenges us, as parents, to search for more information on whatever subject is currently spinning around in his head. Thank you Google, YouTube and numerous websites for helping us with the never-ending question of “Why?” May it never stop.

Red

He is so innocent. Though some believe that rules are meant for breaking, (I am pleading the 5th on this one) he is not there…yet. I have said on numerous occasions, that I will take little kid problems over big kid (read: teenage) problems any day.
He’ll catch on. Eventually. And then I’ll be sad that his little innocent stories are gone, and his funny excuses will no longer be made…they will be replaced with different “big kid” issues that I’d rather not think about right now…
We’ll keep trying to find a way to strengthen the rulebook, as long as he keeps finding ways to work around it. “I’ll follow the rules tomorrow Mommy, ok?”

Sigh. Ok little man…ok.

me and finn

Teacher Gifts – “Lined Paper” Canvas Bags

teacher bags

I found the idea for our end of the preschool year teacher gifts from, where else? 

 Pinterest.

Have I mentioned my obsession with that site?

Here is the original source, found on the SunScholars blog – becaused I like to give credit where credit is due, and I am very inspired and thankful for the shared creativity of other mama’s!

tote bag

I thought these bags were adorable, and more importantly, easy for Red to create. I love personalizing gifts for people. More time, thought and meaning goes into making something unique and personal. I also like functionality – something that a person can actually use.

These canvas bags fit the bill.

Canvas Teacher Bags

While the original pin showed a cute hand drawn portrait of the teacher, Red was not into drawing stick figures for each bag. So we simply wrote each teacher’s name, and I had him sign at the bottom and draw a heart to show his love. I think they came out very sweet, if I do say so myself.  It was sad to say goodbye, but the bags were very much appreciated, just as we are appreciative of the last two years of teaching that Red experienced in pre-K.Making Gifts

Happy Friday!

Kindergarten…The Next Chapter

Oh, You

I said goodbye last week to Red’s pre-school teacher who has been an amazing force behind his transformation from a 3 ½ year old little boy, to kindergarten-ready five year old.
It was such a sweet and sad-ish moment, which is exactly how I feel about the impending first day of kindergarten.

1st Day of Preschool

This was his first day of preschool 2 years ago – what seems like just yesterday. Look at that baby face!

Some people don’t understand that sending my first born off to kindergarten is a pretty big deal. It’s a day full of emotion, and butterflies, and happiness, mixed with a twinge of heartache on my part, as I prepare for officially leaving the baby years behind. I mentioned today that he is growing up too fast, and a well-meaning (childless) colleague said, well, you have another one that is still little. Yes, I do, and of course I enjoy watching the little one grow, and experience all of the fun phases that he will develop over time…but it’s the memories of how Red did it in his own unique little way, that make me reminiscent.

Baby Red

Red at 2
I welcome the “school-age” phase and all that it has to offer, and I greet it with lots of smiles and excitement for his sake. I am looking forward to watching him blossom in a new environment, and make new friends, some of which I hope will be lifelong. That’s the beauty of this part of his life. It is the beginning of a new social realm where he will come into his own. We will begin to really see his originality grow, and we’ll get to share all of his greatness with new people who will mold him, and cheer him on, and help him excel at the things he does best, while strengthening his shortcomings so he can flourish.
Red is so enthusiastic. Recently, he has been requesting (every night) that we read the book It’s Hard to Be Five, by Jaime Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell. (Big thanks Grammy and Poppy – we really love this book!!!)

It is written from a five year old boy’s perspective who says:

“School seems so scary. School seems so strange. I’m only five. My whole world’s going to change.”

I asked Red if he was excited or nervous about starting kindergarten as we laid in his bed reading, all snuggly before lights out. It is supposed to be quiet time. When he answered my question, he grabbed my face looked right in my eyes, and in his crazy, silly way, he started shaking me and said

“I’mExcitedI’mExcitedI’mExcited!!!!!”
He’s excited. That’s Red.

Silly

I’m glad he isn’t nervous or afraid. He is sometimes shy with grown-ups, but with kids? No way! If he was feeling even a little apprehensive, it would be so much harder for ME.

The bus is one of the hardest parts of this whole progression. Unlike kindergarten, where there is an orientation, and we meet the principle, and the teachers, and the nurse, and are slowly transitioned into what he will experience and who he will be surrounded by day-to-day, on the bus, we are basically handing him off to a total stranger who will be responsible for transporting him to school every day.

He won’t be driven around by only me or Mike anymore.

He won’t be under our thumb.

HE WON’T BE WEARING A SEATBELT!

Why do they LOVE this part of it so much??? I’ll tell you why – for all of the reasons above.

Red can be very influential – and LOVES to make people laugh. Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing, because he is a very cute and funny kid! But, sometimes he is influenced. He gets “the sillies” at inappropriate times, and gets in trouble for it at school.

Who will his friends be? Who will he gravitate toward? He is a boisterous one, no doubt about that, and extremely endearing, and a charmer, and I love him for all of these traits…

And whoever he picks out of the crowd to play with, I hope they are nice to him.

And I hope he is accepted.

I hope his sense of humor is appreciated.

Aren’t these things we all wish for our children?

What about the fresh kids? We all know they exist. The bad influences…they are out there. May he steer clear, and never BE one of them!!! They are the instigators, the blamers, the bullies, the swearers (YES, cursing – I’m talking BAD swears that no kid should even know!!!) We’ve seen and heard it for ourselves within our own neighborhood.

I know Red is harmless, but again, we are now entering the NEW. And who knows what others might think… However, I am vowing right here and now, that when it comes to judgments by others, I will take most of it with a grain of salt. Only Mike and I know who Red is in his heart, as well as who we are as parents. I hope he keeps his outgoing, fearless, confidence. He doesn’t seem to care (or notice) what others might be thinking about him, good or bad. I hope he is brave enough to challenge the status quo, and march to the beat of his own drum. But for now it doesn’t matter, because he has already told me that he wants “the same light-up sneakers that ‘Jason’ has.” So, until it changes…we’ll watch him blend. And that’s ok too.

Forever, for both of my boys, I will always be their biggest fan. I will always be their advocate. I will always show my brave face when they are feeling anxious. And I will always love them no matter what. But that doesn’t mean my maternal worry won’t creep in as they inevitably grow up and face new chapters that will continue to shape their sweet personalities.
Because Red is my first, I get lumpy-throated just thinking about his first day which is around the corner. But I know that what comes with it are fun, vibrant, cheerful, colorful, happy experiences that he is about to create and enjoy and share with us, along with all of the other fun-loving five year olds. I can’t wait for new pieces of art to adorn our kitchen walls, which make it the happiest place in our home. I can’t wait to witness the creative thinking he will master, and the enthusiasm that he gets when he is learning something brand new, and how his eyes light up and sparkle when he explains all the stuff he knows…These are the things that reassure me that all of his growing-up just brings more of the good stuff that I get to be a part of as his mom.

Me and Red

There are amazing new roads ahead, and of course there will be some obstacles, which are all part of the journey. I just want to be sure we give him solid footing to navigate the path that suits him best. And if it takes “light-up sneakers” (…just like Jason’s) to light the way…by all means, kid. They are yours.

Just because…

So, my bestie over at Kate’s Full Plate inspired me with her most recent post (above), and because I believe in this idea wholeheartedly, I wanted to share it.
It is my hope that it will prompt people to take the time to connect in a more intimate way (not thru social media) with the friends and loved ones that may have lost touch, and give the relationships that mean the most a little TLC in a sort of “Pay it Forward” kind of way…

I already have my special person in mind. Who will yours be?

katesfullplate

I’ve been reminded this week that it truly is a blessing to wake up each day.  I keep thinking about the fact that if today were my last day, I’d have a mountain of regrets. At first I considered all the things I never would’ve crossed off my bucket list – the places I hoped to visit or adventures I’d be proud to say I braved. But in the end, it doesn’t matter how many planes you’ve jumped out of or the number of countries you’ve travelled. Our lives are really summed up by the people we touch. Those that we leave behind are the only way to keep our memory alive.

Keeping in touch with people has never been my strong suit. I’m not good about calling just to say hi or reaching out to get together with friends. I have taken many relationships for granted and not tended to them like I should. I have…

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Dunking the Boat

Waiting

Waiting…

…and Waiting

Get me on the water already before I snag you with this harpoon!!

Get me on the water already before I snag you with this harpoon!!

We own a small 16’ Carolina Skiff that has been in our “family” since before the kids were born.  We used to rent a quaint little cottage which was located on the mouth of a river that opens up into Long Island Sound.  It was a piece of paradise that we enjoyed from the time we met (I was 23, he was 30) until just three years ago.  There is an Association that managed the small private beach and docks that members enjoyed.  We could come and go on the boat any time we pleased.  We were very spoiled.  We rarely even went away when we had time off since we lived in a place that had everything we loved – salt water, ocean breezes, and a vessel to get us out into the deep.  Taking a day to go out on the boat was nothing out of the ordinary, and something we appreciated every moment we could.

We both have our recreational lobster licenses.  Mike used to bait and fish 20 lobster pots at a time.  Our area is known for the Thimble Islands, which as the name suggests, consist of small island clusters, some with homes on them, some just very large rocks, but because lobsters like rocks, our catch would sometimes be extremely rewarding.  It was a lot of work, but really fun, and delicious! 

And what great memories.

Now days, even though we live up the street from a little marina, the boat is trailered in our yard.  The town boat launch is a short drive away – only about 5 minutes – but getting out on the boat is not as easy as it used to be.

Roo is too small to go out for an extended period of time, and was feeling a little under the weather on Sunday, but Mike and Red have been itching to dunk the boat, especially to fish.  Red got a new “real” fishing pole for his birthday in April, and was able to retire the “little kid” Lightening McQueen one he had been using.  It had treated him well though, because last summer, he and Mike would walk to the marina and catch snappers off of the docks, and Red would get VERY excited. 

The trip was such a treat for both of them.  It was an EVENT.  They took a ride to the bait store and bought the necessary sand worms that Red loves to play with and watch squirm on the hook.  Then they hitched up – trailer to truck, and off they went.  It was a gorgeous day with perfect warm weather and no humidity.  The sky was BLUE with huge puffy white clouds and there was a beautiful light breeze.  Mike said the water was flat calm which allowed them to go out pretty far without any choppy waves.

Bait

Once anchored, they cast their lines and waited.  Red searched through the tackle box, checking out all the cool lures and bobbers.  They had a picnic lunch of turkey and cheese and PB&J sandwiches.  Mike caught a few small blue fish.  They moved around a bit.  Red napped in Mike’s lap at one point, tired from the excitement and sun.  He got to swim in a pretty area that we call “back bay” because it is enclosed on one side in a semi-circular shape of marsh and beyond that residential homes.  Mike caught some snappers.  Red didn’t have any luck, but he also doesn’t really have the attention span or desire to just sit and watch a fishing line for any pull either.  

Fishing

More fishing

What he did have patience for, and took very seriously, is his ability to drive the boat.  At five, he is a pro already!

Serious steering

So, while we no longer live in the little community of “Association Beach Rights” and convenient docks, and amazing views of sailboats coming in and out of the river, and fresh, free, lobster dinners, what we do have is a boat, a trailer, and the ability to take that package wherever we want.  And we are a family of adventurers, ready for fun on the high seas.  (Well, maybe not HIGH seas…I really don’t like overly-rolly waves)  Hopefully next time Roo and I will join.  I’m thinking a sunset cruise up the river is in order.

Or maybe just a day for Mike and I, like the old days when we would simply anchor and rock in the glisten-y water until my skin was freckled and red.  Tunes on the radio.  Beers in the cooler.  Secluded little beaches that we shared only with the seagulls.  These are the moments that I am determined to renew before summer’s end.  Since there are only a few weeks left (already???) we better get on it!

Mike – that last line is directed at YOU.  xo

The cure for anything is salt water -- sweat, tears, or the sea.