Posts Tagged ‘summer’

A Summer of Firsts, or It’s Good to be 5

Much has happened in the last 8+ weeks, including several first-time experiences for our growing kid. As my mom has said in response to Wesley’s reports, “it’s pretty good to be five.”

First (Minor) Celebrity Encounter
27797142723_96e0d03001_kWe participated in the summer reading program at our local library, and one of the prizes Wesley earned was a voucher for tickets to an Indianapolis Indians game. Library Night happened to be held on his actual birthday, and we scored some front-row free seats right behind the bullpen for the opposing team.

The pitcher sitting directly in front of Wes was Elvis Araujo (Lehigh Valley IronPigs / Phillies). He kept glancing back and winking at our fidgety son. It might have been the “I’m 5 Today” sticker badge that looked very worn from the day’s activities, or it might have just been because he’s a nice guy: Mr. Araujo turned around, smiled, and gave Wes the baseball he was practicing with. Wes lit up.

Wes ended up getting too unruly and fidgety for our cool seats, so we packed up our Monday Night Dollar Menu hotdogs, popcorn and cracker jack and headed to the lawn seats to stretch out.

Instead of watching the game, Wes ran around and threw his new baseball, and eventually Steven joined in. Their game of catch was so wild that they lost the baseball to the fenced in area around the scoreboard – which eventually featured Wes in lights for his birthday!

It took some coaxing via social media to get a staff member to help us retrieve the baseball and turn Wesley’s frown into an exhausted birthday smile.

First Chewing Gum
My sister started a tradition with my niece and nephews: once they turned five, they had access to big-kid perks – bubble gum and soda. Why not ride on the band wagon? We aren’t big soda/coke/pop drinkers in this house, and Wes wasn’t impressed with sparkling water. But THIS:


First Booster Seat
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His Diono car seat is built to last up to 100 lbs, and it’s solid. Supposedly you can remove the 5-point harness straps by following the manual diagram, but I ended up having to CUT it off because it was so sturdy. Whoops. Guess it’s a good thing we’re not backtracking!

It’s a small change, but he does feel big. I mean, look at the size of him!

First Time Off Training Wheels
He and Steven practiced off and on for a week. It started with, “I think I want to take off the training wheels,” and accelerated from there. We can now take our evening walks with the bike (although it does require a little more time because of the occasional fall).

We finally invested in knee and elbow pads to address some of those battle wounds.

First Bad Haircut
Two failed attempts to get an appointment at our typical kids’ haircut place resulted in a last-minute rush to a cheap salon near our house that doesn’t specialize in kids’ cuts. I figured they’d know what I meant by “all-around trim” when glancing at Wesley’s moppy hair. While he was hamming it up with the stylist (I was pretty entertained by overhearing his offbeat humor and engaging conversation), I waited in the designated area. Truthfully, when combed and wet, it looked fine. We paid and left for home.

At dinner, his hair started to dry and looked…moppy. Steven said, “Did ya get a haircut? Because it looks the same.” At first I thought he was joking that we should go back to fix it. Being the apologist, I tried to find an excuse for the stylist but was unsuccessful. Steven went outside to finish yard work, and Wes and I went back to the salon 30 minutes before it closed.

They were surprised to see us. I asked them to trim it shorter, and they did. A LOT shorter. Wes continued to be snarky with the stylist, but there was a slight panicky tone in his voice: “What are you doing?” “What does my hair look like?!”

In what seemed like ages, he hopped down from the chair. He had the 5-year-old decency to wait until we were in the parking lot to announce “that was the worst haircut ever.” I thought he was still on his joke-kick, but nope. He really hated it.

I started to chuckle about the last few hours. “It’s only hair; it will grow back, Bud.” I couldn’t stop giggling. Once home, Steven got in on the fun-tease, and while still slightly annoyed, Wes started to laugh back. He had so many hair snippings all over him that a shower before bedtime was necessary. Bubbles everywhere; family laughter; short, short hair.

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First Tennis Lesson
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When t-ball lessons ended, we asked Wes if he wanted to try a new sport this fall. “Maybe tennis!”

His answer thrilled Steven, so I found an opening with the area National Junior Tennis League. I mentioned the affordable cost to our Reynolds friends, and they signed up Beatrice! They had their first lesson last weekend, and it was pretty adorable.

Wes now wants to play tennis with Steven nearly every evening on the street in front of our house.

First Goodbye, Hello, New School
IMG_4342Because his Prep-K class at a different school doesn’t start until the end of August, we are in a weird limbo period. At his current preschool/daycare, the kids transitioned classrooms, so he had to say goodbye to his favorite teacher, Miss Kelly, and join a temporary class (Sunflowers!) for a couple weeks.

Earlier this year, Steven and I made the decision to wait for Kindergarten. He’s probably very ready for Kindergarten based on his daily experience in the classroom, but we felt like it was a unanimous hesitation, and why push it? He’s our only kid!

The same private school I attended as a kid offers a Prep-K class for those in his age bracket – in fact, the age cut off for Kindergarten is 5 by June 30 (his bday is in July). This means he won’t be the only 5-year-old in his class! We’re excited to experience a “real” school environment this year – complete with breaks, after school care and lunchboxes.

He attended a practice Round Up Day earlier this week to visit classrooms, the library and meet teachers. Another few orientations are down the pipe line (is it normal to receive emails nearly every other day from schools as a new family?!), and then class officially starts in 2 weeks. He can’t wait.

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With all these other “firsts,” I’m kinda glad I don’t have to adjust to Kindergarten Mom just yet.

Posted: August 10th, 2016
Categories: Leah
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(500) Seconds* of Summer

*8.3333 minutes

I’d love to say that we spent a fantastic summer visiting the beach or picking up new hobbies. But truthfully, it’s been a hot mess. That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed family time, birthdays, anniversaries or our home adjustment. I just feel like I blinked (or sweat) it all away.

Here’s the last 6 weeks in a nutshell.

Wesley’s birthday:
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T-Ball practices:
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Yardwork:
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Painting the Dining Room, Entry and Stairwell:
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See those frames in the dining room? To remember our first home, I pressed and framed a few clippings from our former garden.

Multiple trips to home improvement stores:

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Indiana State Fair:
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Visiting family:
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Lots of grandparents and cousins and Grandma’s new condo pool.

8th Wedding Anniversary (on the same day we sold/closed on the old house):
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Fondue takes forever to eat, especially after a long and draining day of house closing.

Family time:
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Wes made mac n’ cheese! He learned chess! (Look at that crazy wall in the background before it was painted!) Jake loves sitting at the dinner table, and that might be my favorite photo of the summer! Ice cream for ages!

Lounging, in between everything else:
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Summer Projects:
List old house on the market
Stage old house for showings

Old house upkeep and maintenance
Repair rear fence (TABLED: Maybe it’s a spring project…)
Remove wallpaper: Entry/Stairwell

Remove wallpaper: Family Room
Remove wallpaper: Dining Room – in progress
Remove wallpaper: 1/2 Bath (TABLED: Steven has hinted enough that he actually likes the wallpaper!)
Remove wallpaper: 3rd Bedroom – in progress
Weeding & landscaping – in progress
Paint grout in entry
Paint: Master + Bath, Entry/Stairwell, Dining Room, Family Room
Buy dehumidifier for basement
Additional runner for upstairs hallway
Sofa slipcover in Living Room (TABLED: I’ve had enough people tell me it’s endearing to see Grandma’s old sleeper sofa in all its 1995 patterned glory. It will stay for now.)
Replace entry light fixture
Replace toilet seat in Master Bath
Remove bee nests on front porch
Poison ivy removal
Recover kitchen banquettes

Here’s what I’ve learned this summer:
1) I wore my hair in a ponytail every day.
2) I am spoiled to think that a vacation=summer. Look what fun we did have!
3) I miss painting canvases. A few times I was able to tear myself away from “being productive” and have started a different sort of anniversary collage painting.
4) I underestimated our ability to pack up and move on so smoothly. No, not that it wasn’t hard to physically move and get settled, but we haven’t been sappy or remorseful over our decisions.

And now, look at this giant boy who started PreK-4! Trudging onward.
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Posted: August 28th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Mobbies

photo (21)Yesterday our fall intern started her semester with us at the Alzheimer’s Association. My coworker and I took her out to lunch, and because of the lengthy orientation dullness from that morning, we just talked “stuff” to get to know each other better. She asked me, “so, what are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?”

It’s a typical icebreaker question, right? I mean, I ask it all the time when conducting volunteer interviews and orientations. Usually I hear back things like gardening, running, some sport, etc etc. When I was asked the same question, it took me a minute to be able to answer.

I used to paint a lot. It was (and still is, when I find the time) a wonderful stress-reliever. I love to read, but it’s getting harder to do in one sitting these days. I’ve dabbled in a variety of things over the years – some weird: pilates, Dance Dance Revolution (I was GOOD), model rocketry, knitting, mountain biking, guitar. But it seems like I don’t really have a consistent personal hobby anymore. Almost everything I do is with Wes or Steven, or both. Something more like a mom-hobby, a “mobby.”

This summer has been so splendid that I haven’t stopped to capture it at all on this blog. We’ve been outside an awful lot doing silly things. In fact, a different coworker who hadn’t seen me in a while remarked how tan I was the other day! Wanna know some of my new mobbies?

Gardening
I’m not much of a green thumb, but I’ve enjoyed spending countless evenings in the front yard pruning, deadheading, weeding and trying to battle pests (grasshoppers, slugs, and my favorite – ‘shrooms) while Wes drives his Little Tykes car all over the driveway and sidewalk. Steven mows the yard while I water our petunias. Wes mows alongside him while I try to figure out how to revive my fungusified dead plants. I’m sure we look like a picture perfect family to neighbors walking by – until they see my hot mess of a garden.

photo (22)Fortmaking
There is an art to making a fort. We haven’t found it yet, but my cool-mom skills are improving. It really doesn’t matter what the fort looks like. In fact, it can just be a blanket over your head. BOOM. Insta-fort. But seriously, for a fun time – watch a Netflix movie under a blanket with a giggling 3-year-old and a couple of nosy dogs. Oh, and add some vanilla wafers slathered with strawberry icing.

Walking
I suppose our family has walked about 20 miles or so in the last couple weeks. It’s best done with another mom friend and her child so that you can vent about mobbies. Or, for a great workout, take two cabin feverish dogs with you. You’ll get yanked along pretty well. And you might discover a new Hawaiian ice food truck that brilliantly stuffs ice cream at the bottom of the bowl, dumps the flavored ice over it, and THEN puts condensed milk all over the top. Whew. It’s like a heavenly creamsicle.

Boating
This is the second summer of my parents’ pontoon, or best known as “Grandpa’s Boat.” Wes is fascinated with all things that go vroom and zoom, so the boat’s motor is the highlight of every trip to the lake. When we’re not taking a cruise around the small 100 acre lake, we’re sitting in the docked boat. Steven has been known to take naps on the back bench. Wes is usually in the drivers’ seat, turning the wheel to “take us to the library.” And I’m usually just sitting, soaking it all in. There’s also an art to docking the boat itself, which I’m still figuring out. Please don’t trust me to throw or secure the rope to bring the boat in. You’ll likely float away.

Swimming
Wes and I took mommy & me swim classes again this summer. He was the oldest kid in the class, which should have alerted me, but I had successfully dragged a few mom friends and their babies into the class, so I didn’t want to back out. I learned which swimsuits to avoid due to rather large splashes and clingy arms and legs. I think I dunked my head under water once the whole season. By the end of the summer, Wes was a little daredevil.

photo (23)Family dating
It’s a real mobbie! We’ve had so much fun visiting museums, experiencing parks & ballgames, testing out new toys and games, vacationing and relaxing as a family. I’m pretty sure that’s when we’re at our best. I feel whole and complete with I’m actively participating with both of my boys. We’ve also done well at getting together with family, neighbors and friends. Relationships matter to me more than ever, and I’m grateful for wonderful people in my life.

Reading
Okay, so it’s not the same thing as getting lost in a big, thick beach book, but I do enjoy my book time with Wes. Bedtime is usually my favorite part of each day because Wes looks forward to it. He gets special one-on-one time with Steven and I at different times. With me, we get ready for bed, read a handful of books, sing a few songs and pray together. He typically gets stuck in a similar book rotation, but over the summer months, he’s been excited for library books with new-to-him characters and storylines. (His favorites right now are Pete the Cat and His Brand New White Shoes, The Daddy Book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and, as always, Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel.) With Steven, I’m not exactly sure what happens, but I hear an awful lot of giggles before lights out.

Summer evenings may be ending sooner, but they’ve been good to us. I feel refreshed and ready for busy fall season to begin.

Posted: August 21st, 2014
Categories: Leah
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Summer Solstice

The evenings of the two longest days of the year have been the epitome of what I believe summer is all about. Last night we had dinner outside on the grill. It sprinkled, and Wes found it amusing. The dogs lounged in the dead, prickly grass while we laughed with a happy, clapping baby.

 

Tonight Wes was in such a good mood that we decided to break out the bikes. I recently got a WeeRide, and we took the inaugural test drive. Success!

Minimal experiences make parenting pretty great.

Posted: June 22nd, 2012
Categories: Leah
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