Tuesday, May 5, 2015
She would not even let Jamie help her
When Ann and I were old enough to care, we would look through old photos that were scotch-taped into those sticky clear film photo albums and look back at the adventures we had as kids. And inevitably it would come up that there were more pictures of me. Where was the picture of Mom when she was pregnant with Ann? Where was a picture of Ann riding a trike? Why weren’t there any pictures of Ann with her face smeared with dirt in the backyard in Michigan? The two pictures I recall of Ann’s childhood are one where she’s trying to guzzle from a capped beer bottle in the kitchen in Portage and another where she is holding up Aunt Judy’s pregnancy underwear when Julie was a few weeks away from entering our lives. Ann didn’t even have her own baby book. The seldom recorded statistics of her toddlerhood were scribbled in the margins of my baby book that had been filled out 2 years earlier.
It’s true. Second kids get the short end of the stick. And so it’s been with Eva. She’s starting soccer and dance class and learning to ride a bike without training wheels and rapidly turning into a “big girl” right before my eyes, but none of those things have resulted in a blog post to celebrate the event. None of these resulted in Mommy sitting down to reflect on how grateful and blessed she is to have this child and this life.
Sam invited a friend from the Y over this weekend, and when the new mom, a mom I didn’t really know yet, saw Eva she kept saying “she’s adorable. She’s adorable.” And I thought, yah, I guess she is. I’ve been so busy trying to balance the needs of two children while working full time that I rarely slow down and appreciate this adorable creature who is growing up right before my eyes. I listen to the endless mom-mom-moms every day and hear myself constantly sighing and saying “just a second” more than I ever imagined I would, and when Eva wants to talk and talk and talk in the car I often just want a few moments peace without any noise. But yesterday when I pulled up to the daycare and Eva wanted to show me how she could now ride a big girl bike without training wheels, I saw it. I stopped and saw my daughter and her incredible determination and persistence and expressive joy. And yes, she is adorable.
As was Annie. ( Even if we have very little photographic evidence of it.)
Tiny Tots Soccer
Creative Movement Dance Class
Helping Mommy Plant the Spring Garden
Fearlessly Loving Every Slide (big and small) at Great Wolf Lodge
Doing Girlie Stuff with Brooklynn
"I can do it myself!" is something she says often.
Painting Her Own Bedroom Mural
Skating with Harmony
Hanging in the Tree House in Winter
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
One night last week Sam came home from school and went right to the piles of Lego and paper and markers and tape that have recently engulfed our dining room table. He told me he was working on a project and I wasn't allowed to know what it was until he was done. He made a cone of paper and fed it through the hole in the center of his new wooden ruler, and then he balanced it on a tower of Lego and began forming little pans on either side. He later explained that he wanted to be able to measure which is heavier when he compares various sized Lego bricks so it's a balance scale. His first grade teacher said it was an interesting idea since they are currently learning about balancing both sides of an equation. Sam keeps telling me he wants to be a singer when he grows up (despite having what he calls severe stage fright), but he also tells me he's smart enough to be an engineer if he wants to. My little Renaissance man will, perhaps, be balancing his left and right brain his whole life.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Despite surviving the crowds of Magic Kingdom and a late night bedtime, I still approached day 2 with caution. I lightened the snack load in the backpack (who were we kidding the kids were going to talk me into the quick and easy ice cream treats?) and added sunscreen and some water bottles, and we headed in to our second Disney park, Animal Kingdom. From the second we entered the park the experience was different... shade and wide open space and a feeling that my children could run far ahead of me without me losing them. We were greeted by a walking tree (a woman on stilts painted in green) and wound our way through a few animal exhibits before the Tree of Life appeared before us and we entered our first show.. The Bug's Life view of life from a bug's POV. The dark, spooky theater with a 3D movie that had bees buzzing us and other insects poking us and squirming around beneath our seats got the kids excited for the adventures that were ahead of us. Nemo's musical puppet show and Simba's theater in the round and a relaxing Safari mid day in which Sammy dozed a little on my lap. Following the long day at Magic Kingdom, it was no surprise that the kids started to crash in the early afternoon, but a frozen coke and some exciting dancing in the streets and they were ready for the fun of Dinoland including arcade games and face painting. The highlight of the day was the way Eva wanted to dance for hours with the Jamaican street band. Is it any wonder she didn't make it back to the park entrance without collapsing in her stroller? We will definitely go back to Animal Kingdom.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
I'm so behind in getting pictures up, but even without the pictures I'll never forget how it felt to walk along Main Street with TT and the kids, Cinderella's castle in view and It's A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean and The Swiss Family Robinson Tree House waiting for us. The crowds were tremendous, and we had a scary moment early on when Sam got lost (and showed a shop manager the phone number I'd written on the top of his leg in sharpie), but with so much magic and wonder and excitement all around, it would be hard not to love a day at Disney with my kids. When we sat down on the It's A Small World boat for our first ride and Sam snuggled in under TT's arm and the little children's voices starting singing, I got tears in my eyes. THIS was the moment I had wanted, TT and her grandchildren and the ride that started it all for our family back nearly four decades ago. We spent a lot more money than I expected (when it's hot and crowded and you just want a break from the noise, kids can easily convince you that a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar or a $6 hot dog would be way better options than the snacks you've been lugging around in your backpack) and we stayed way beyond the time I thought we would, but we rode over 10 rides, ending with a dark and spooky Pirates of The Caribbean that the kids didn't quite understand (why are they acting silly? what is rum?). And when we returned to the park entrance at close to 9pm, Sam decided the one toy he wanted to purchase was the Mickey Mouse Wizard Hat he had picked out when we first walked in that morning.
Sam's Wizard Hat
It's a Small World
It's a Small World
It's a Small World
Flying Magic Carpet Ride
Selfie on Madhatter's Tea Party Ride
Sam studies the water lifting operation in the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House
Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse
One last look at Cinderella's Castle as we leave the Magic Kingdom
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
It is not possible to contain everything about our Florida trip in to one post, so we're going to have to do this in stages... starting with the day we headed to Nokomis Beach. Before Sam and Eva entered my life beaches used to mean hot sun and cool drinks and laying on a clean, sand-free towel for long stretches of time that were broken up with a quick dip in the water to cool off. Now beach trips are filled with running and shell collecting and lots and lots of sand. Sarah came along and helped with kid watching and kid burying, and TT walked the sand to look for shark's teeth and interesting shells while the kids ran circles in and out of the water. Eva is a master shark tooth hunter already, and sam still loves to run as far away from me as he can, and all three of us love the space and the wind in our hair and the time spent with family. We oohed and ahhed over shells and coral and feathers, and we all laughed when Eva insisted that her sand mermaid have boobies and a long tail, and we only finally trekked back to the car when we started to get hungry. Beach time has changed for sure, but it's never been so fun and magical, and as I told TT when the kids were ready to leave, I could spend all day there.