Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Our weekend

On Friday (the 24th) we got out of town around 1 to head to Chris's Aunt's place in Gettysburg. It was nice to have a chance to go for a swim in their pool- after having been cold - 60s we all had to re-acclimate to warm temps again. They didn't have to ask us twice when they mentioned getting into the pool to cool off before dinner. The kids had a good time swimming and playing with the pool toys, they even jumped off the diving board but Josh wasn't as enthusiastic as he was last year when we visited.

The kids sat nicely at the dinner table then we drove out to see the new house that Chris's Aunt and Uncle are building - it's going to be spectacular when it's finished. Anyway, when we got there they realized that they forgot to bring the house key so the kids and I threw rocks into a pit that they're actually going to fill with the slate from the consturction site and later on fill in with dirt. By the time we got to go into the house it was pretty dark so we needed flash lights to get around. Dima seemed interested in looking into the heating conduits and looking at where the outlets and stuff like that will be Josh just went around goofing around with his flashlight. You can tell the place will be really nice and I'm betting that the things the kids will remember about it will be the flashlights and the rocks.

On Saturday we drove to Hagerstown for their annual Augustoberfest. We do this show with our old dance group and it's nice to see everyone again - as well as the people from the bands that do the event every year with us. Last year was really nice since people from our new group were there too - but they had other commitments this year. Chris settled the kids into our hotel room while I had a chance to get out with everyone and catch up. During the day it was over 100 degrees and we were lucky to have a trailer to cool off. The boys had a great time exploring the trailer and goofing around in the bed-area. Compared to Saturday, Sunday was cool at only 80 degrees!

Talk about fickle kids - Josh cried when he was out on the floor to do one of the dances on Saturday and all of a sudden Dima wants to dance ( a bribe of water ice might have swayed his decision to get in on it). I'm not sure what to expect this coming weekend with our new dance group - not sure if either will dance or both or maybe they'll both decide not to. I try not to push it so it'll be up to them and we'll see how it goes. Josh also had a great time in June playing an alphorn at one of our events and wouldn't even touch it at this one. When asked why he cried during the dance he had been talking about doing he couldn't say but repeated what he heard me say - that the music might have been too loud. The heat might have had something to do with it, or the fact that they had no nap and slept in different beds from their own the night before. Josh didn't really sleep during naptime today and was really bratty while we were out walking- pushing Dima while they were running around and being really sassy to me so I told him he's going in for an early bed time. They had an early bath and once he was in his bed at 7:15 he was asleep within minutes. He might still be catching up from such a busy weekend.

Tomorrow will be Dima's first day to ride the school bus. We'll see how this one goes since the bus driver has been lost while driving around in the mornings . A neighbor said that the middle school kids didn't get to school til 9:30 on Monday, hopefully the driver's getting the route down by now. We went to the school today for his first day in the classroom. They had only half of the kids there as they went over what's expected of them when they get there and gave out pencil boxes with supplies inside and had them sit down to draw "what I did during the summer". During the 10 minutes that we could stay Josh was playing with a little girl in the clasroom's play kitchen and within minutes he found a truck with a little wrecking ball on it. Ironic since I have called him Mr. Destructo since he's always taking stickers off things and ripping things apart.

I was up by 6am today since I woke and had lots on my mind so I just got out of bed to get things going. I walked for exercise and then got planning how the day would go. Until I get us all into a routine I'm going to be nervous about Dima missing his bus or something like that. I am glad that Josh doesn't start school til the 10th so I can get one schedule settled before we're all trying to get up get ready and get out in the mornings. The good thing will be that once Josh does start, I'll have some actual FREE TIME!! Only from 9:00-11:30, but it will still give me time to run errands with out having to coax anyone along or have to leave a store with a sassy, spitting kid. After having seen how the pick up line will be for Dima's school, I'm confident that getting from one school to the other won't be that big a deal. I told his teacher about needing to pick up Josh on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays and she said that the Moms who have done it in the past just get on the end of the pick up line and it all works out. I knew I wouldn't be the only one who'd ever had to deal with the schedules being so close and now I can see I've actually got more time to get to him with the way they work the pickups. Dima's teacher said things went well today and apparently they have a system that uses rubber bracelets that they had in their pencil boxes today - they're suppposed to start using them tomorrow andn I thinkwhat they do is wear them if they're well behaved and lose them if they're not. They also have a folder in their book bags to send any paperwork back and forth to the teacher. The teachers - there are two for kindergarten - seem organized and I've heard good things about his teacher.

Fortunately since they're both in am school we can just pick back up on the schedule we had two years ago when Dima went to preschool in the mornings. When we got home today they both went to our stairs and put their shoes on the bottom steps to be taken up after lunch and then they went into our playroom / family room while I got lunch ready. I had kind of forgotten that we used to do that every time we came home from school until they did it on their own. We'll still do our normal nap- after- lunch routine to give them both some down time during the day, especially since Dima will be going every day now as opposed to three days a week.

Josh had some toilet training success yesterday and then today said he doesn't want to go to school - and had a relapse - hopefully he'll have more good days with that stuff, but that's another whole story, I'll write more on that later. ...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mary Poppins is a loooong movie

This is a good thing for a parent to know when trying to figure out what to do with two housebound kids - one who is sniffling - on a rainy day. A good choice for breakfast on these days is something that takes a while to make so that the kids can "help" you while you make it. The breakfast that takes a while to make can take up some time to eat using up more time! This is also a good day to let them have at it with Playdoh, crayons or scissors and construction paper, you can make construction paper trees, suns, clouds and make a little play out of what's going on outside. Letting them roughhouse a little bit when they get bored is okay as long as no one gets hurt, it gives them a chance to use up some energy. It's also a good time to let the kids refill the dog's dish cause picking up the food that falls on the floor is a game in itself. Naps are always in order on these days especially since you need rest to fight off any germs that might be lingering about. Naps preceded by storytime take up even more time and help settle the kids in to relax. Listening for the trash truck to watch it drive by or just watching your street is another thing to entertain - without the TV. If you have a child who's interested in the weather just watching the storm on the radar is exciting between discussions of what's going on outside. Putting on rainboots and rain coats would be an option if one child weren't coughing and sniffling. Once the rain stops falling going outside to empty out all the rain that has collected in various trucks and containers that have been left out there creates even more fun!

Yes, today it's raining - again! and yes, most of these things are on our agenda for today. We haven't gotten to Mary Poppins yet but I'm keeping it in mind for use later on.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hershey Park

Yesterday we went to Hershey Park with friends the Schappells and their two kids, a girl who is Dima's age and a boy who is between the ages of our two. The kids all get along pretty well, in fact the Schappell kids were kind of arguing over who got to sit with Josh on rides. Of course when we get to their house my guys go berserk playing with all the new toys, they both kind of roam through the house playing and having a great time.

Our trip was planned a few weeks ago and when we woke up yesterday and the forecast said it would rain in the morning, clear up and then rain later on we thought that most of the tourists would stay home so we'd have the park to ourselves. Well we were wrong! The place was in credibly crowded! We got there around three and at least the kiddie ride lines were okay, but the rest of the place was packed - plus - the rain lasted all day - the kids didn't really notice until later in the day when they got cold. What were those people thinking?? What were we thinking? They should have been home keeping dry, warm and out of our lines for rides!!

We did the usual rounds of kiddie rides and I even got to go on two roller coasters with our friend's daughter since her Mom had to leave early for a business trip. Josh has a great time on the rides and goes on pretty much anything he wouldn't do the Frog Hopper, but he's done it before and liked it. Dima is much more cautious about going on fast or high rides. I did convince him to go on the Kissing Tower while I was watching him and our friend's son and he really liked it and by the time we got there - maybe 6ish the crowds were thinning out so we got to go right back on again. As we were leaving there were more people coming into the park I guess they must be the ones who had day-passes coming back after dinner. We considering buying season passes next year and planning more trips with our friends that live in the area.

Josh isn't feeling well today, not just tired from staying out late - we got back here at midnight - but he's also sniffly. We were supposed to meet a friend of mine with her two kids at our pool but it's only 68 degrees outside so that plan is shot. We decided to reschedule anyway cause I don't want anyone else's kid getting sick from mine. I think we'll be here doing our Playdoh and crayons today and will have a nice long nap to get recovered from such a long busy day yesterday. This is fine with me cause I can straighten up the house a bit and get some laundry done.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

through the eyes of the kids

As we waited for our food in a Longhorn Steak House the other evening Josh noticed a cow head mounted on the wall and said "aawww" like he would if he saw a cat or dog. I didn't tell him that the cow's relative is where the stuff on our dinner plates was coming from. While we waited for Papa to get finished with work that night we went to the train station and watched the trains come and go. They are into listening to a tape about a train right now so I dug out the train schedule to keep in my car for when we have a few minutes to spare while we're out and about. Ya gotta love it that these kids are so easy to entertain! They both like to walk around our neighborhood to look at flowers, cars and pears and to watch them change daily. The trash truck has given us lots of entertainment the guys who work our neighborhood usually beep the horn for us and last week when the one came to the pool to pick up the dumpster stuff they both stopped what they were doing to watch. Josh identifies the cars that pass us while we're on the road and Dima watches for gardens flowers and right now sunflowers.

Even hanging out here Josh is easily amused, I can give him a catalogue with kids furniture in it and he goes through it looking for cars and trucks and buses that are used in decorating the rooms. Dima likes to look through travel brochures for fountains waterfalls and hot air balloons. Last week we left the pool just in time in th evening to see a hot air balloon taking off - another great thing about this area, we see hot air balloons all the time and I'm using Dima's enthusiasm for it to try to teach him about time - they almost always take off around 7 o'clock so that's part of our daily picture agenda. We have pictures of breakfast, walking feet, food for lunch, a woman sleeping to indicate nap time and people blowing bubbles and a hot air balloon so they can see what's coming up through the day - it's supposed to help with Dima's anxiety issues to be able to see what's next and it's supposed to teach him that during the blank spaces in the day he can trust that I'll take care of things.

Yesterday we explored a farm near here. We went into the butterfly house but the main interest there for Dima was a fountain and pool of water and Josh found a station where kids are supposed to stamp a booklet - Josh ended up with two arms full of stamps and even one on his belly. I think I was the only one of us who actually looked for the butterflies. We found a trail that led through a field that was lined with blackberry bushes so they picked and ate for their morning snack - my favorite flavor - free!! I explained how the trail is marked with the blazes on trees and Josh did a good job of leading us through woods looking for the blazes along a creek that was a thrill for Dima - he's all about water of any sort.

Today my Mom and Dad are coming to hang out with us. Chris is golfing now and will be at a Phillies game later on so we would have been on our own all day so I asked them if they wanted to come for a visit. We'll probably do what we normally would do anyway but having someone else around is a nice change of pace for all of us. We'll be taking our daily walk soon and they're already wearing their swim trunks so we can get our baby pool out when we get back here to await the arrival of Gramma and Poppy. I've been thinking of letting the boys skip nap but Dima's already wound up at the thought of them coming so we'll see how this goes...

Tomorrow we're back to the work week so we'll probably do the pool and water park on the days that are warm enough- Our time before school is limited - I want to get out there and do Longwood Gardens one of these days too. Tuesday we're supposed to go visit my cousin, Lisa and her kids to swim in their pool. Maybe go play mini golf -we had planned to go to Longwood Gardens last week but did the pool and water park at Marsh Creek instead cause it was 90 degrees out there. The pool worked out well since the kids are all about the same level of ability in swimming and they all liked the water park too. We're due back here on Wednesday and I've been thinking of taking the boys to the shore as a spur of the moment thing one of these days. I'm not familiar with the Jersey beaches but at this point it looks like the best option since Ocean City Maryland is a three hour drive from here vs. two to Jersey. The shore would be a great thing for the kids since watching and playing in the surf is novel to them and if we find a boardwalk that's something they've never seen and we'd have lots of fun there. Juggling the kids alone could be stressful but I think it'd be worth it in the end.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fun with the kids

One of the cool things about staying home with my kids is the stuff I get to do with them. While tending the boys I get an excuse to go on jungle gyms and slides to play with them in the water park at the pool and to go to educational things too. Yesterday I saw a notice in the paper about a "wacky weather" traveling science show put on by the Franklin Institute. This kind of thing is just up Dima's alley since he and Chris are into weather stuff. Dima likes to look out the window and likes to check the radar on our kitchen laptop whenever there's anything out there that could be a storm. Since Josh was at my parent's place it was the perfect time to do something like the weather show. I quickly got Dima's breakfast on the table and we hustled out of here for a 45 minute drive to mall - I gave Dima an apple in the car on the way there since I felt bad about giving him cereal (with fresh blueberries) for breakfast. He usually eats very well and a lot!

On the way to the mall I was just as excited about the show as Dima was and thinking about how cool it is that I can do stuff like this. The show was interesting for me and for him too. Dima actually sat nicely and made a little friend among the kids that were there. He raised his hand and was participating in the demonstration. The guy doing the show made a "cloud " with boiling water and liquid nitrogen that scared Dima into coming back to sit with me. He also got scared when the guy put a hydrogen - not helium - filled balloon and put it next to a "lightning machine" and made a pretty big explosion. Some of the neat things in the show were a big balloon that two kids held over heated air that rose up to the second level of the mall, they guy also put liquid nitrogen into a beaker and waited maybe 15 minutes while he was doing other stuff and came back to show the kids how it had made snow on the outside of the beaker. The whole show was great and I'm glad that we had the time to go.

Today we're headed to the pool / water park. I've packed a lunch so we'll be back at some point this afternoon to get a nap - they need to be rested - especially since tomorrow will be a busy and late day for the boys. They're going to a Reading Phillies game that doesn't start until 7:15. I'll be out of town so the boys - big (Uncle Jon's coming to visit) and little - will be on their own.

Lisa and her kids will be here Monday afternoon to stay over so we can all go to Longwood Gardens on Tuesday morning, there's another cool thing I get to do with the kids. My kids like to look at the fountains moreso than the flower displays and I like it cause I can get in some exercise while they're entertained. This time will be hectic since the four kids tend to get excited around each other - at least there we'll be mostly outside. A few weeks ago we did mini golf and before that we were the loud family in the Long John Silver's. After that one I'll never criticize another family in that situation been there done that and it's not easy to keep four kids contained in a restaurant booth.