Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Last night of T-Ball

Tonight is the last night of T-Ball for the 3-5yr olds. It has made our lives SUPER busy this month, but it has been a TON of fun.

We've also learned that we need to start teaching some baseball fundamentals instead of just hit the ball and catch the ball.
A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

mmmm.... hush puppies.....

One random event leads to another in life, right? Well Milo got sick and I got to have my first hush puppy in @ 20 years.
Sunday evening Milo got sick, literally, a few times in the night. That meant no school for him on Monday and lots of laundry for Mom.
Well, we also agreed to take one of Milo's school friends to T-Ball Monday night so we picked up Roxie and his friend and all went to T-Ball together. Milo was laying down on the gym floor by the end of it all so we decided we should get a quick/easy dinner on the way home.
We've lived in the CD/Madison Valley area for a few years now and I've always had Catfish Corner on my list of places to try, especially after a co-worker told me about their Hush Puppies! Well - we finally tried it.
A pound of catfish, hush puppies, fried okra, collard greens and yams that have been sitting in a brown sugar & cinnamon syrup for 4 months later... we're fat, happy, and officially have a new place to grab takeout. Even found some ladies lovely enough to offer Milo & Roxie a catfish to play with while we waited for our food.
Who knew upchuck could lead to hush puppies.
until next time...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Where did summer go?

Well August is just about over and I'm really wondering where on earth our summer went. It's been blistering hot in most of the country all summer, and then it started flooding in the midwest. We have had an incredibly cool and mild summer, which I really haven't minded so much since I haven't had a chance to get out and enjoy it very much. The wonder of living in Seattle.
The funny thing is, we've had 2 weddings this summer. That may not sound that strange, but considering the last wedding I went to was probably 5 years ago, 2 in one summer was actually pretty extreme for us. We went to our last wedding last weekend and it was SO beautiful. It was a "destination wedding" out on the Washington Coast so we turned it into our mini-summer family vacation. Mom, Dad, Great Lil, and the four of us all spent 4 days in 2 cabins at Kalaloch Lodge.
Absolutely beautiful. We were totally off the grid all four days - we had no tv, cell, or computer service and it was perfect that way. All we had to worry about was running out of clothes because they were all wet/full of sand.
It was about as close to camping as we get as a family and it was great. They had a little Mercantile to buy the essentials for us, and a gift shop to buy the "essentials" for the kids.
It once again renewed our wish to live on the coast, but also reminded us that we were city kids and may not take to living out there full time too well. We'll have to see how that goes.
We also got some exciting news last week. Milo ended up being accepted into the private school we had applied to at the beginning of the year. There weren't any new spots opening up until just a few days ago in Pre-K - it's amazing it didn't happen until now. The crushing part, however, is that we realized we couldn't afford it after all. That's an appropriate word to describe how I felt about that - CRUSHED. To be working full-time and still not be able to send him to the school we absolutely fell in love with really hits a sore spot for me. SMate has talked me off the ledge, though, reminding me that there are, indeed, good schools that he might be able to get into and we'll just have to start working on more family "experiences" instead of things - and maybe we'll get another shot at the school later.
I'll likely do a seperate post tomorrow about schools. I'm actually really not a fan of private schools at all. I'm a huge proponent of public school and actually seen the diversity of the world around us BEFORE you enter college (or in some cases - get a job after college). We just have some particularly difficult issues where we live and this particular private school has a motto that speaks right to my heart, my gut, and more importantly, my mind... "Giddens School provides an academically excellent curriculum enriched with a commitment to critical thinking and social responsibility. Staff and families create a community that nourishes diversity, sense of self, and love of learning."
We need to win the lottery....

Happy Monday - enjoy summer while you still can....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

T-Ball 2: The Missing Mitt

I messed up. Yesterday was officially a Monday. I dropped off the kids and realized that I'd forgotten the Baseball Mitts (one for Milo and the other for his friend, who is borrowing). I drove back home to search the house up and down (all three floors!) to find them and only came out of the house with 1 of 2. I had Milo's but was missing the one for his buddy.
I got totally caught up with work by the time I got there, but I finally called SM to see if he knew where the other glove was. He did - it was in his car - on the "East Side" and he has a meeting 'til 5pm. (If you've ever been to Seattle and tried to drive to or from the East Side of Lake Washington during rush hour, you'd understand that he might as well have been in Alaska.) So I remind SM that he was supposed to get home early for me so I could attend a work dinner and we're at a stale mate.
He works out his schedule so he can pick up the kids (woo hoo!) but then I still have Milo's glove in my car (boo!) so I have to leave early anyway.
Then I get stuck at work and end up being a half-hour late for T-Ball and as I finally fly into the gym I see Milo standing against the blue mat crying because he doesn't want to go into the outfield without his mitt.
Being a working Mom is tough. Constantly being pulled in opposite directions is generally bad for morale and psyche. You know how you can sit down and make those "Pro vs Con" lists for something you're having questions about? They're useless when it comes to this, it feels like the choice is money vs child(ren). Obviously it gets much deeper than that, but when you walk in late for a T-Ball game to find your son crying because he needed his Mom to bring his glove and his Mom was too busy trying to fix a slideshow...
It just doesn't add up.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My first review for MotherTalk

Maximum Ride 3This is my first Book Review for MotherTalk and I'm so happy to do it. I had no idea James Patterson was writing for young adults, but now I know, and now I'm hooked and I bet there are many more young readers out there that are too.

Maximum Ride is just as the title promises... an absolute Maximum Ride. Of course, Patterson had lots of reasons for using those words in the title. It's the 3rd in a series of the same name, so that was an easy one. Maximum is also the name of the lead character, Max for short. And the Ride - oh the Ride Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel take us on. This book moves as fast as these bird-kids can fly. It was nearly impossible to put down, but necessary if only to be able to take a moment to catch my breath. This group of strong, vulnerable, smart, and always brave feathered fighters truly take the readers along for the ride of (and for) their lives - not to mention saving the world in the process.

This series should easily fall in line with young readers who have been inspired to read by the amazing imagination of J.K. Rowling. Personally I think this might be even better for those readers because the books are more accessible (read: not over 700 pages) and a bit more "realistic". Patterson even has Max mention Harry Potter in the book - which at once tells the reader this is happening in real time, to real kids, in the world we live in. Fang's blog is the best touch of all. In the time of bloggers (of which I am still new) it was fantastic to be able to read along with his blog and know that so many other kids are doing the same. It's a brilliant touch and another way to keep fans interested, in-touch and reading.

My favorite theme of the book is having a strong female lead in Maximum. She's the reason I'm a big fan of this book - and now the series. Max is confident, strong, hates being beaten by a boy, but like any other teenage girl, has a soft spot for her boy - Fang. She demonstrates perfectly the push/pull involved when you're a girl on a mission to save the world, but just got your heart broken by your best friend.

This is targetted perfectly at young adults and it really speaks to that audience. It's all about teen angst, but for a great and noble cause. Patterson does quite a bit of grownup bashing to accomplish his teen focus, but he does a decent job of balancing that with displaying the kids' need and desire to find parents who love them AND are good people. This reminds me a bit of the Lemony Snickett series where the grownups are generally inept or evil, but when the three siblings work together, they're able to get through anything. In the Maximum series, the adults are generally evil or un-trustworthy, but when the kids stick together, they're able to overcome all odds. They might even be able to save the world together. They've certainly made a believer out of me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

T-Ball Begins!

What a treat. Yesterday was Milo's first T-Ball practice, and what a hoot!
Garfield Community Center has what they call "Busy Bee T-Ball" this month (August) two days a week. It happens to be the same nights as Pilates, so Mondays and Wednesdays will be awfully busy but it's going to be SO worth it. They play in the Gym at the Community Center and it is just great. The coach is so patient with all the kids, she's amazing. They practiced running the bases, "catching" grounders - yelling "I GOT IT!" whenever they managed to stop the ball, and then took turns hitting inside-the-park home runs off the Tee. Most of the time they were running around throwing their mits in the air and then following the coach out for water breaks. Roxie wanted in on the action, of course, so I can't wait to sign her up.
Watching 3-5 year-olds play T-Ball might possibly be the best way to allow the stress of the day completely melt away.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What to do about family...

My in-laws came to stay with us for a couple of days, along with my sister-in-law and nephew who is a few months older than my son. While they were here, an idea came up that has come up before and now we're really starting to consider it.
Do you send your child to the opposite side of the country to stay with family - even if you hardly know them?
Obviously, since it is SM's family, his first reaction is "sure!". I know all of his family, of course, but we've lived on the West Coast/West of the Mississippi for almost 15 years and they all live on the East Coast, which means there's a chance I could count on two hands the number of times I've seen them in my life.
We live differently, we believe in different things, we parent (very) differently, we care about different things. Isn't there a saying - "You can pick your friends but you can't pick your family"?
We moved across the country from both our families (mine followed us later) and have created this bubble of friends who basically all have the same ideals and beliefs as we do. We all became parents together and have been developing our parenting styles together. So considering all these things, I feel like I'd be much more comfortable with Milo spending a week with friends rather than family.
That, of course, sounds terrible.
SM immediately stuck up for his family, as he absolutely should, and said "I totally trust them! I trust my Mom!". There's no question of that. I completely trust them, they're family, I trust them 100%. I certainly trust them with my child and making sure he (or she) is safe and well cared for and loved unequivocally and unconditionally.
But that's not my point.
Moms? Dads? Is this a generational thing? Is this a class thing? Is this a West Coast vs East Coast thing? Is it just that we're so caught up reading "How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child" and "Positive Discipline" and eating organic foods and living in our little "perfect" bubble that we can't just let our kids hang out with family and friends that are outside that bubble?
I just don't know.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Quick Kiddo Plug

You know - I'm probably not supposed to do this. Since I'm now writing a public blog, I'm probably not supposed to plastic pics of the kiddos all over the place. But I just can't help it. They're an AWFUL lot of fun and killing me with cuteness. Plus, this is the place I'll be talking about them the most, and eventually sharing the birth stories, since they are both so different and worth writing about, in my opinion, of course.
The in-laws arrive tomorrow and SeaFair weekend is about to begin. For those who don't know about SeaFair, it's a summer-long celebration that culminates in a weekend of Blue Angels and Hydro Races. We'll be on Grandma & Grandads boat with the whole family tomorrow. It should be a fantastic day all around and I'll be sure to write about it for you.
In the meantime... enjoy!