Tuesday, June 23, 2009

... today in the PA House of Representatives...

This afternoon I had the chance to sit in on the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with our Philly German dance group. This is what it was all about:


We got the call maybe 2 weeks ago to ask if it would be possible to pull a group together to do a performance at the capitol - I thought it sounded cool - what an opportunity to do something that not a lot of people get to do ! ...so thanks to Chris working from home in the morning and Nana and Poppop taking over for swim lessons and dealing with the boys for the afternoon I was able to go to Harrisburg.

I expected : go in ... wait in the wings for the blah blah to be done, dance a while, have lunch in a back room, go home... that didn't happen.

When we got there we were met and escorted in to the House chamber to "our seats" we were schmoozed by many passers by. What a room! What a mix of eras: the artwork in the room is beautiful as well as the fabulous mahogany desks and the stunning marble on the walls... then there are the laptops and TV cameras and the electronic voting tally boards and devises that I'm sure the architects never imagined would be in that space - with a big mural of William Penn and Ben Franklin and the influential people of the state in the front of the room. There's a "Night at the Museum" - type movie in there somewhere...

While we sat there we saw the remaining Tuskegee Airmen:


they got many standing ovations and it was great to see these real heroes ... unfortunately one of them just passed away on Sunday.

There was also a presentation lauding the dairy industry in Pennsylvania and I was ll over that - butter, butter, butter!!

Okay, so when it was our turn we were introduced and there was a list of contributions to the nation by German Americans. The contribution of wineries was lightly applauded - the breweries got a bigger round of applause... They actually managed to get our bill passed before their one hour break for lunch so we had our chance to dance during break. We were in a big atrium and people had been just walking through on the way to their lunches but once we got started some stopped and lined the area upstairs as well as down - it looked like some of the older people really appreciated us. We were treated to lunch in the cafeteria there - taco day! Posed for some photo ops on our way out - we had to go out the back of the building but the area has a really nice fountain with the dome behind us. Our escorts were great and if this opportunity comes up again it would be nice to take Josh ... if we can get him to be quiet while we're in watching the serious stuff.

This is one of those things that when we're there I can't believe we're doing it - rates right up there with dancing at the German Embassy and then on the steps of the National Capitol and the National Cathedral with the other dance group. At the embassy they were really great to us too - (more professional schmoozers) - they gave each of the girls little gift bags including key rings that I still use, and they let us into their little room downstairs that looked like a beer - drinkin' cellar in Germany. Totally, unbelievably, cool.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our days

Wow ... I think I'm busier now than when Josh was in school!

Our day today: Me ... up by 6:30... kids ... up by 7:30... (Josh let me pull his first tooth last night as it was barely hanging on so he WOULD have been up much earlier, as in as soon as he found his tooth fairy reward but he did settle back in and sleep some more after I told him to keep the news til morning )... After breakfast I helped Dima with a shadow box and the related speech that's due Thursday, ... Dima off to school, ... I supervised while Josh drove his friend's Kett car around our cul de sac - (He loves this thing! He actually said good-bye to it as we left it in our garage to go do stuff. - I've got eyes out and about at the yard sales looking for used ones.)

We got together with our friends to go to Mandarach Memorial Park - the one with the big slides. We found a cache while we were there that had kid stuff in it ( a great first caching experience for our friends). Josh got a car and his girl-friend-for-the day got lip gloss(from what I understand she's got a pretty big collection of lip stuff already)! Then, once they had their cache loot in hand it wasn't so hard to get the kids to leave this awesome park.... So, ... off to get lunch and since we were close we went to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets. My friend and I agreed to go back there some time when we're kid-free cause it's hard to look at stuff and hunt for bargains while the kids are with us. I was trying to find bunco prizes for next month when it's my turn to host but coudn't really focus on the stuff and didn't want to take the kids into Yankee Candle Co since they were both pretty wound up and excited to be together. We found a play area so the kids goofed around there to burn up some energy.

Later we came back to their house and I left Josh there to play until Dima's bus got here - gave him a snack, talked a while about his day then back to their place ... We tried to sit and relax and watch Bolt - but that's hard to do with three restless kids in the room... Back here to make and serve dinner... Kids needed baths before bed - luckily Chris took over for that and I got my own stuff done and my own bath done and I'm just now sitting down myself.... Whew!!!

Last night my dance group did not have practice but with my "free time" I went to hockey practice with the boys and took a walk with Dima to talk about his day and played bubble hockey with him while Josh had practice then got Josh back here and ready for bed - and pulled his first tooth for him before Dima's practice was wrapped up. Josh was anxious to tell Dima and Papa about the tooth so when they got back from the rink we stood on a line and I said "whoever lost a tooth today please step forward " and he bounded forward and was grinning his little Jack O lantern grin and jumping around as I was standing there thinking - losing teeth already?? where has the time gone??


Yippee!! Is what Josh said this morning after his first tooth had been lost and he found his fifty cents in his bed in lieu of the tooth. He woke early this morning and that was his first word out of his mouth he tried to wake Dima up to tell him but I told him to save the news til it was light outside and he actually fell back to sleep, miracle of miracles and got up again when 7:30 rolled around.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just wait til he's a teenager!!

One half of a double-decker egg and cheese sandwich, a Nutrigrain bar, three cups of "Smoothie" drink and three big handfuls of animal crackers. This is what Josh has eaten so far today and it's only 11:30!! He did have skating practice last night and had a long tricycle ride this morning so I guess he's burning it but holy cow his belly's bulging right now. He's also sitting on my lap sucking his thumb so I guess we'll do a nap then get ready to head to the pool when Dima gets home.

Josh and I went to the pool to buy our membership yesterday and ran into one of his lifeguard his buddies from last year who was off duty but just happened to stop in. I hadn't expected to swim so he ended up in the pool with regular shorts on and being tossed around by his friend while I sat there and caught up on what he's been doing for the winter.

It's safe to say that our hang out now will be the pool - Josh is tall enough to easily stand in the baby pool part and he's okay about asking to go to the deeper part with me when he wants to jump in there. Of course I'm with him at all times no matter which part he's in but if I want to sit out for a while he's okay with playing in the splash park or laying next to or right on top of me if I stop to I read and he's a little tired. Dima will be spending his time under the splash park I'm sure. I did tell them that if the weather's good and Dima does well in school... and if Josh isn't sassy we'll go over after school. So they were both saying to each other - " I really want to go so don't YOU blow it today". The park is near a field where hot air balloons are put up in the evenings at times so we always have to check for them on the way home - that's okay cause it gives us something to look forward to and it's easier to motivate them to leave.

It's.... Shake your Groove Thing?

Dima and I were in the car this past weekend - his behavior was exceptional so we hit the road for some quick caching - and as we rode along I didn't think he was listening to the radio when he started laughing. The song playing was "Shake your Groove Thing" the old disco song and he thought it was Shake your boobies.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Josh Havin' Fun at the Beach

A kid with exuberance as big as the ocean! This week Josh and I went to Ocean City, NJ for a few days. Once we got there Tuesday we hit the ground running. We stopped at a playground and Josh met two kids and was directing the action within minutes. Since we had been in the car for so long I thought it was good for him to DO something even before we unloaded the stuff from the car. Plus there was a near-by cache that I was looking for so we had a chance to search after he played. Unfortunately we didn’t find the cache and since we got back I see a log entry that someone else looked too and marked it as un-found also. Too bad since it was supposed to have a beetle in it! Again another cool place we wouldn't have found if not for caching!

We got out to the beach as soon as we could after we ate a quick lunch in the room as I got our stuff situated. On the beach he had a shovel that he used to throw sand out into the ocean again and again and again. He also had forms to build things and make shapes with, but Mr. Destructo - and I should have guessed this would be his thing - kept hurling the sand back into the ocean … one teeny scoopful at a time. He also liked the boardwalk and the arcades.

In the evening I let him have a little pouch to carry his coins in and he had to budget them out, when they were gone that was it. It made him stop to think about how he was using the money to know it would end when he was done. Even when his money was spent he still had a good time sitting on each of the motorcycle rides and sitting in the car ones. There was one with three screens around the driver’s seat that just fascinated him.

There were rides across the street from our hotel that weren’t running most of our trip – just as well cause I can’t imaging him trying to go to sleep with that noise and all the activity and screaming going on over there. But then yesterday morning they started up the rides as the two of us looked at each other at the same time and ran to the window wide-eyed thinking it was thunder. Once we saw it was the rides Josh was fascinated and watched from out on the beach, boardwalk and again from our room like a big TV while we ate lunch. It was kind of cool that as I watched the noon news on Philly channel 3 they showed a web cam shot of the same park.
There must have been a school group there cause they were leaving and everything shut down again at around one o’clock when we were going to say good bye to the ocean and sand. He’d already said good bye and thank you to the pool, the front desk girl and the cleaning staff.
During waking hours Josh was literally bouncing off the walls and when he tried to sit still his leg would twitch! I had to hold his hand most of the time on the boardwalk because he wasn’t paying attention to where we were or which lanes we walked in and I was afraid that he’d get run over by a bike or cause a crash by making someone swerve around him– he liked the surreys – and stared at them each time one would go by – it was like a whole new world to him as we walked he was very busy just taking in all the details.

Yesterday we were both awake by 5am! though I tried to sleep more I could tell it wasn’t gonna happen so even though I got extended check out so we could have time to do beach and boardwalk I decided to get up and out to make the most of the day. It was chilly and rainy we but we still clicked off 15,000 + steps on the pedometer for the day. I should let Josh wear the pedometer some time since he probably gets in more steps than I do, while I walk straight lines he’s exploring in every direction.
He had a great time on the whole trip, from throwing sand to screaming and running away from waves, to asking high school or college aged kids to let him play with them. He played volleyball with three girls on Tuesday afternoon and football and Frisbee with a group of guys on Wednesday - just like anywhere else he goes in like he owns the place.

Monday, June 1, 2009

a good weekend

Dima and I met my Mother in law to see the movie UP on Saturday and he did remarkably well. There were a few instances during the movie where he kind of turned and pressed his face against my arm or tried to grab my hand and at the advise of the counselors I tried ignoring that stuff and it seemed to work - he kind of gave up and didn't get himself into trouble while we watched It was a good movie and I'm sure we'll end up owning it some day - I'm looking forward to seeing it again to pick up on all the little things that I'm sure are in it. We also went out for lunch and he was getting antsy there - kind of like when Chris and I took him to the flower show and he let loose with the silly, wild stuff once we all sat down There it's harder to ignore that stuff and I feel like I'm being inconsistent if I let him start all that when we're out when I wouldn't tolerate it at home since he still doesn't regulate himself and figure out when enough is enough. I realize that it is a long time to sit down with both things so in retrospect it might have been better to trot him around somewhere in between. After we ate I took him to French Creek park to "fish" with the plastic little dredging net that Josh made in preschool we got in quite a bit of walking since he fished, we walked around the pool there and then we went and found a cache in the park. It was big enough to have trinkets in it so we left a little toy and Dima got to pick something out he decided on a little hippo with a parachute. We also ran into other geocachers along the way - what else would you be doing in the woods with a GPS?? It turned out that we had a nice day out together.

Then since we figured Chris and Josh would be tired and doing their own thing on Sunday I got Dima up and out and we drove up to Cabela's it's like a wonderland in there for Dima since he likes water and they have a mountain with waterfalls in the store. I showed him the website first to get him excited about it and he was really looking forward to it the whole drive there. He even patiently waited for me while I poked around a sidewalk sale and he actually wanted to look for caches with me - found 3 in the Cabela's parking lot it's a HUGE lot with a HUGE building and HUGE store - then we were off to Hawk Mountain. He did great on the hike - it's pretty rocky and steep too at times and he kept right up with me and said he had a good time. He was impressed with the views from the mountain and kept the clouds in his sights all along the way. There was a "raptor show" at 2 and he said he didn't really want to stay for it but we had only a half hour to wait so we poked along in the gift shop, he had an apple in the car and I was like... "lets go explore some more... well, look over there they have birds in those boxes let's go see them." He liked looking at the Red Tailed Hawk and Screech Owl and we did get rained on while the presentation was going on but he got bored once the birds were back in their boxes so I gave in an we got going.

There was a cache listed near where we stopped for a mid -afternoon meal and we decided to go try to find it. We could have driven maybe a mile down a road to it but he wanted to park and walk in so - okey dokey walk we did. We didn't find the cache - the area was too weedy - but if it hadn't been for the sport we never would have found this cool park within walking distance of a dam with a huge water fall that Dima thought was awesome.

Josh got to go to his first NASCAR race this past Saturday, May 30. 2009 a date that will definitely live on in his mind - he'll remember this for a loooong time the roar of the engines (he had ear phones on and didn't fight them) the fly over during the Star Spangled Banner and all the hubbub around that kind of thing is just made for that little kid - he's already incorporated all that into his little play world. While playing yesterday he did his own National Anthem and had Chris simulate the fly over and he's talking about it and the friends they went with constantly well, except for right this minute because he's so tired from such a busy day that he's napping. This is a good thing since I'll be taking him to Ocean City, NJ tomorrow. I decided that since he's out of school and the big kids are still in school I'd take him to the beach - I think it's another place he'll love. He likes to go to arcades, people watch and to play in sand - it's cheaper this time of year than in full season. We haven't really had a vacation for quite a while so I'm looking forward to this. The last time I took the kids to the beach it was way- off season like in January, 2008 and they liked the beach and boardwalk then and only a few things were open then - he's going to love all the stuff when it's open.