Sunday, May 29, 2011

Discreet We Are Not - Letterbox 1

When Dylan was about 10 months old, I joined a local Mom's Club.  Dylan has made some friends through it.  I've made some friends through it.  Possibly the best part of it, though, are all the things I've learned from the group members.  I've found Dylan's dentist through them, (who I LOVE).  I've learned of new parks I never heard of, and kids activities I didn't know about.  One such activity is Letterboxing.  I've been wanting to do it with Dylan for a while, and we finally went Letterboxing for the first time on Saturday.

In Letterboxing, boxes containing a log book and rubber stamp are hidden in the outdoors and clues to finding them are posted on the Web.  When you find a letterbox, you take out the log book, and stamp it with your own stamp.  You can write a little note, or write where you are from, or the date you found it.  It is fun to see how many people have already found the box, and where they were from.  Then, you take the stamp in the box, and stamp your own book, to keep track of the boxes you've found.

What kid doesn't love a good hunt?  The best part is that they are getting out in nature and getting exercise, and so are you!

Here is what it says on the Letterboxing site... "After finding it, try to be DISCREET when stamping up and re-hiding it, as if you were hiding your own box for the first time... so as not to give away its location to any passerby's..."

Keep that in mind as I tell you about our first Letterboxing experience...

I found an easy one, and printed out the clues.  We went to Michael's weeks ago to pick out a stamp.  That was hard enough!  Jim wanted to stand for an hour, looking and contemplating each and every stinkin' stamp in the store.  Dylan wanted to grab the first stamp he saw - "This is good!  Let's get this one!  Can we go now?"  I wanted to beat my head with a very large stamp and ponder why I ever shop with those two - especially at the same time.

Yesterday, we went to dinner first, where Dylan ate very little but consumed two huge glasses of milk.  Then, we went to the park.  Dylan was excited, and screaming, "OKAY!  WHAT DO WE DO FIRST?!  WHAT IS THE FIRST CLUE?!"   After Jim or I read the clue, he would repeat us... at a much louder, more excited volume.  "FIND THE SIGN THAT SAYS "BRADDOCK TRAIL"!!!"
Yea... discreet, right?  There was also the fact that we were holding a paper with the clues, and I was carrying my camera and snapping pictures.

The trail was making me nervous.  Basically if Dylan were to take two steps to his right, he would fall down a cliff!  So, I was nervously keeping my eyes on the cliff and trying to keep Dylan from racing too far ahead of us in his excitement.

We found the "double tree" we were looking for, and I told both of my guys to put their back to the tree, and take 20 paces into the woods.  We were oh, so discreet, shouting "ONE!  TWO!  THREE!", as we marched into the woods.  We looked behind two trees, and didn't see anything, when I noticed that Dylan was walking funny.  "Dylan, do you have to go potty?!"  "Yea!", he said, as I looked behind another tree and said, "Look!  I found it!   I turned to see Dylan's pants half on, half off, pee running down his legs.  Yep, he peed his pants, just as I found our first letterbox.

So, we filled out the log book, and stamped our book, as Dylan stood there awkwardly in his peed in pants, just feet from the path.  Suddenly some people walked by, and Dylan shouted out, "Hi!  Hi, people!  Look!  There's some people walking by!"  Discreet.  Oh well, we'll work on that next time.  And, we'll make sure we go potty BEFORE we go.

Luckily, we had a change of clothes in the car, because we were getting ice cream to celebrate our first letterboxing adventure.  With kids, everything is an adventure, right?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Computer Dependent

Our computer went bonkers this past weekend.  Jim took it to the Mac store, which left me without a computer for the past 5 days.  I did stop at my parents to use theirs one day.  Also, Jim hooked up an old computer that I used briefly, but it would freeze up every 10 minutes or so, so I gave up.  I was completely prepared for Jim to come home one day and tell me we had to buy a new computer.  So, when he told me that they are having problems with the graphics card in all of the Macs of the particular model we have, and therefore would fix it FOR FREE I was stunned!  They did say that we needed more space, so we bought a bigger hard drive for $132.  Considering what I expected to pay for a new computer, I am thrilled!

Not having a computer for 5 days made me realize just how dependent I am on it, and I'm not even talking about blogging!  "How many ounces in a pint?  I'll just Google it!"  "What's the weather going to be like tomorrow?  I'll check Yahoo Weather!"  "That playdate tomorrow which we planned weeks ago?  I better send a reminder email!"  "How do you get to the birthday party?  I'll Mapquest it!"  "Do we have enough money in our account to cover...  I better go online and pay some bills!"  "Those people didn't show up from Freecycle yet.  I better check my emails to see when they are coming!"  These are all things I needed to do online in just the past 5 days!  I know I'm showing my age here, but I remember being in grad school, seeing a commercial for the "World Wide Web", and how it was going to change everyone's life, and going "What...Ever!"

So, I need to play catch up.  Here's what has been going on around here...

Dylan's "Moving On Ceremony"...

He has one more year of preschool, since he doesn't turn five until November, so really, he's just moving on to the next class.  He did a great job singing the songs, and my favorite part was him waving and saying "Mommy!  Daddy!  Hi!  Hi!" when he walked in.

His teachers said he needs to work on "appropriate response time for following directions", which basically just means you have to tell him to do something 5 or more times before he does it.  They also said his interaction with his peers is "awkward and clumsy".  Dylan IS very clumsy (gets it from his mommy!), but I really think he has turned a corner socially.  Since spring break, I have seen a big difference.  Just in the past 5 days, we had a birthday party and a playdate, an impromptu friend made at a playground, and 2 more at Chick Fil A yesterday.  

Way back on May 7th, he used his "big boy bike" for the first time...

Even with the training wheels, he fell over several times, but the best part was that he kept on smiling and got right back on!  We had a miserable time at Target weeks before, looking for a helmet that fit.  We ended up having to go to a bike store, to buy my kid with a ridiculously big head, a helmet that cost almost as much as his bike!

Without a computer, I seem to get stuff done.  I cleaned a lot, finally got rid of Jim's old weights (on Freecycle) that have been taking up space in our old and new garages for years, and tackled the huge pile of wood on the side of our house that was leftover from the old pool and deck.  You should have seen my covert mission to a dumpster I probably wasn't supposed to be using!

I also started something new I've decided to do this summer.  I'm committed to make one new recipe a week the entire summer.  Nothing crazy - I believe recipes should be easy - 10 or less ingredients and little work.  I've made 2 so far.  I'll post about them soon.  Let me know if you have any you think I should try!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Laugh for Your Weekend

This is the picture Dylan drew of Jim today....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When You're Having Fun

Like I said in my previous post, I really love this tree...

Dylan?  Really loves that sandbox!

I was sitting there, looking up at the pretty pink petals, trying not to think about how much sand my little sand magnet was going to bring with him into the house later.

I was snapping pictures...

He was lost in his sand nirvana...

Eventually all good things must come to an end, and it was time for dinner, so I suggested he run around the yard a few times to get all the sand off...

After I snapped a few pictures, I was looking back at them on the camera, when I gasped.  Do you ever look at a picture of your child, and see them as much older than they really are?  I am telling you, I look at this shot, and I can see him as a teenager.

Most of the time, when I look at him, I struggle to remember him like this...

Time... it does fly, doesn't it?  That day, as I watched him run barefoot through the grass, smiling and laughing, I could feel time passing in a way I don't often notice.  Usually I'm so busy, so caught up in each day's details and lists of things to get done, that I don't notice the differences.  The freckles that have appeared on his face, the hands that have lost the dimples, the legs that are longer and stronger.  I saw it and felt it like the shot on my camera.. as a blur... a blur that will speed by way too fast, if I don't take the time to notice each precious moment.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Three years ago, when we were looking for a new house, we had certain criteria.  The new house had to have a two car, side by side garage.  The new house had to have space for Jim's tools and a room for a studio.  The new house had to have at least 2 bathrooms (ours has 3).  We found a house with all those things, but when we were looking I didn't realize the importance of the kitchen.  I don't like to cook, so I wasn't very concerned with the kitchen.  Turns out, the kitchen is probably my favorite part of the house.  Okay, not the kitchen exactly, but the view from the table that I eat at 3 or 4 times a day.  I love looking out at our yard, watching the birds in Dylan's "bird restaurant", and for a few weeks in the spring... looking at this tree, with the sandbox calling our name...

We had another one in the front yard, with darker pink blooms, but we lost that one last spring.  I miss it, but there's this one on the other side...

What about you?  What is your favorite thing about your house? 
Besides the people in it!  Speaking of which, the three of us went to Bahama Breeze for our anniversary.  We figured it was appropriate, since we were married someplace tropical (Jamaica).  I had Jamaican jerk chicken, and the first sangria I've had in years.  Definitely have to change that!  YUM!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Boat is Taking On Water

Remember when I wrote a post about how mothers are the captain of the ship and make sure everything is "smooth sailing"?  Well, my ship feels like it is sinking.  My "new" job?  The one in which I was doing testing at preschools, for a research project for a college?  Well, as of tomorrow, it is in the "old" job category.  I won't go into ALL of it.  But, I will say that when I interviewed for the job, I said I needed 20 hours a week.  I was getting about 9 hours over the course of 3 days!  I was spending as much time driving around, as I was working.

So, this week and last, I've been working my new 2 day a week nanny job, AND my two week notice for the "old" job.  Plus, we had to drive to Erie last weekend, (which should be a 3 hour drive, but with the ridiculous traffic that day, took us 5 hours), to go to Jim's uncle's funeral.  Let me just say that I really don't know how you moms who work full time do it.  Seriously....HOW?!?

So, on top of all that, there was Mother's Day, my 9 year anniversary, (which is today), and Dylan's field trip at school (this morning).  Today is the only day off I have this week luckily, so I was able to go on the field trip.  To be honest, I was sort of dreading it.  We were going to tour a local pet store.  "Tour" implies a lot of talking and a lot of standing, you know... still.  Not one of Dylan's strengths.

This morning I was tired, and I was grouchy.  The grouchy might have had something to do with the fact that Jim and I had a serious communication "gap".  At some point last week, we were discussing going to dinner for our anniversary.  Jim said that his friend Rachel said she could babysit.  I assumed that meant that he arranged it with her.  He assumed that meant that I would arrange it with her.  So, last night while watching TV, I asked him "What time is Rachel coming tomorrow?", and I got one of those blank stares.  (We're losing the ability to communicate, but I still love you Jim!)

How could I stay grouchy, though, when my kid gave me this "fill in the missing word" picture this morning?

It was hard to stay grouchy as he sang, "This is the way we...", the entire way to school.  "This is the way we count the school buses... This is the way we go to the school... This is the way we sit at a red light...etc"  He did a pretty good job at the pet store, and was so excited to have me along that it made me feel great.  At one point, he even hugged me and yelled "I love you Mommy!", which elicited a round of "Awww!"s from the other moms.

For Mother's Day, my two guys brought me breakfast in bed, along with my cards, and flowers.  We went out for dinner with Jim's parents and mine, and had a nice time. (Since my ship is sinking, I didn't take a single picture on Mother's Day.  FAIL).

Jim just called, and said he made reservations for the three of us at one of our favorite restaurants for tonight.  I think I can get the water out of this boat, and by next week, it will be back to smooth sailing. (I hope!)  Anyway, the most important thing to focus on is this... I AM LOVED.  Happy Anniversary Jim!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Commercials Are Indeed Evil

Some of you are going to hate me after my next sentence.  My 4 1/2 year old is still taking naps.  I know, it is crazy.  There are days when we are out, but then he always sleeps in the car.  I do feel they are going to end soon, though.  I'm debating ending them myself.  See, before, he would wake up at 7am, nap from 2-4, and be asleep by 8:30pm.  Jim and I could talk, relax, and watch TV after 8:30.  It was "our time".  Lately - not so much.

Lately, he wants to sleep in until 8:30, nap from 2-4, and then bounce around his room, rearranging furniture (that HAS to be what he is doing to make that kind of noise) until 10pm.  Then, there is the nightly excuse for coming downstairs.  One night, I said, "WHAT?!" a little too loud, about something on TV.  "Mommy, I heard you shout "What?"  Do you need something?"  Another night, he "found" something he was certain we needed right that second.  But my personal favorite occurred a few nights ago.

We were watching TV, and for some reason had the commercials playing.  Normally, we fast forward through them ( I don't know how we lived without DVR).  Suddenly our little wanderer appeared, looking very concerned about something.  "Mommy!  Daddy!  I thought I heard commercials!  Don't watch commercials!  They make you want to buy stuff that you don't need!  Turn it off, quick!"

I know I have already made many mistakes as a parent.  I know I will make many more in the future.  But, I have managed to make my 4 1/2 year old think commercials are evil.  For now, I'm pretty much a freaking genius.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sex and Death (Oh, You Know You're Curious Now!)

So far, I've managed to successfully avoid the subject matter of S-E-X with my four year old.  There was the one time I was in the bathroom, and he asked "Why do you have fur down there?", but otherwise I've successfully evaded the whole thing.  No talk of "where do babies come from?"  No "what were you and Daddy doing?" moments.  He says "Boys have a willy - girls don't", as if that completely sums it up and there doesn't need to be further questions.

We've been dealing with death in the past couple months - first, with my grandfather, and recently with Jim's uncle, who lost his battle with cancer.  I would have liked to shield Dylan from the subject of death for just a little bit longer, but I had no choice.  I told him what I believe in simple terms.

 I was shocked recently when he suddenly said, "I can't wait to die".  "WHAT?!", I fairly squealed, hoping I had heard him wrong.  "I can't wait to die", he repeated.  "Why did you say that?", I asked, willing my heart to stop beating so fast.  "Well, then I'll know what God looks like", he answered.

Death?  God?  Heaven?  I'm beginning to think S-E-X would be an easier topic.