Friday, May 31, 2013

The Fun Park

The beach trip is a little easier and a little different each year as the kids get older and taller.  This year they were all tall enough to ride the fun rides and the boys were even tall enough to ride the go-carts.

First the fun rides:
Sweet Pea rode most of the rides sitting with Little Man.  This was both for her comfort and my own.  I have a desperate fear of carnival type fun rides, they just don't seem sturdy or safe to me.  But I couldn't let that keep the kids from having fun so I held my breath and closed my eyes.  They rode on the helicopters where we had to yell to Peanut to move the controller so that he could go up and down and when he finally figured it out the smile on his face was so brilliant that it made my heart skip a beat.  You would have thought he had landed on the moon, not made a carnival helicopter fly.  Sweet Pea and Little Man were squealing with joy and when they went on it a second time she was brave enough to go it alone but didn't have the strength to move the controller so that it would raise the ride.

Then they went on the little race cars.  Sweet Pea again rode with Little Man which was great because at each turn the cars would whip around the bend and it would almost throw Sweet Pea out of the car.  Little Man helped her stay in and they laughed the entire time.  I thought for sure she would think it was scary, but my girl is a little too daring if you ask me!

The Go-Carts:
First, I didn't want to watch.  Second, I didn't want to watch.  Third, I am glad I watched because apparently Peanut wasn't watching.

The boys both pulled out the wrong way and were going around the track backwards but since they were the only ones on it, it didn't seem to matter to the attendants.  Only my kids would go the wrong way on a one way race course together.  Little Man took it very seriously and stayed the course perfectly.  Peanut loved it but as always is easily distracted.  At one point the two attendants were goofing off and Peanut was watching them instead of where he was going.  Papa Bear and I had to shout his name repeatedly and luckily he heard us before he crashed into a wall.  It was close though.  We may never let him get his license.  Ever.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How To Torture a Sailor

The first step in torturing a sailor is to repeatedly ask him if he is a pirate.  When he kindly responds that he isn't a pirate, but that to be a pirate you must first know how to sail and he is a sailor - insist that he is a pirate again.  When he again says that he is a sailor, ask him to say "argh" and if he knows Captain Hook.  When he says that he doesn't know Captain Hook, shake your head sadly and tell him that he isn't a very good pirate if he doesn't know Captain Hook.

Yes, that is exactly the conversation that occurred between Peanut and the guy in this picture.
 He was an actor that stays in character on the Queen Elizabeth II on Roanoke Island and our kids tested his ability to stay in character, especially Peanut who was just adamant that he had to be a pirate and not just a sailor.  

We got to explore the ship, Little Man learned to tie two different kinds of knots (which reminded us that we should probably teach him how to tie his shoes).  We all got to drop the anchor (or was it pull it up) and learn how to shoot the canon.  Although it wasn't a canon, it was a long gun - which the sailor kindly explained to us just to have Peanut fervently disagree with him yet again and insist it was a canon.  He also insisted that the long boat wasn't a long boat but was indeed a dingy.  The poor sailor actually tried to win the argument until Peanut informed him that Captain Hook had a dingy so that was a dingy to which the sailor replied that he didn't know Captain Hook and Peanut again, sadly shook his head and told him that was because he wasn't a very good pirate.

The entire morning was spent on Roanoke Island at the museum that had Native American displays, places where the kids could try on real suits of armor and pirate costumes, a gravel/shell pit where we could find fossils and shark teeth (Papa Bear found 3 shark teeth for us!)  Everything was a lot of fun, but my personal favorite...was listening to Peanut torture the sailor and Little Man pelt him with question after question.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Whales and Dolphins and Unicorns... Oh My

Our 2013 Annual OBX beach trip was a complete dream come true.  The weather was perfect, the beach was sublime, the kids were in heaven, the dolphins were plentiful and we even got to see finback whales two days in a row feeding about 100 yards from shore. 

I have referred to Unicorn sightings in my previous blog posts - Unicorn sightings are those magical moments that the noise and the chaos and the mess subside and the moment is so perfect that you almost expect unicorns to come prancing by sprinkling rainbows and sunshine.  Please note that unicorn sightings are most often followed by  chaos and fighting but the magic of the unicorn sightings make all of that less important or upsetting somehow.  We seem to have most of our unicorn sightings while on vacation at the beach.

This year so many unicorns pranced by us:

like when each evening before bed, Little Man and I would lay outside in the hammock reading Tale of Despereaux together.  We read so much that in just one week, we almost finished the book.

or when Sweet Pea decided that she was brave and could swim (with her floaty) all by herself

or watching the boys play forever together in just a sandpit (who knew a big hole in the sand would be more entertaining than any toy we could have purchased)

or chasing a kite that was spontaneously released by a certain two year old who lost interest

or watching whales jump out of the water and being led by schools of dolphins 

or watching Peanut torture the sand crabs and stick his whole arm down every crab hole that he can find

or playing sharks and minnows with the kids in the pool while they squealed and swam from the mama shark    

or eating crabs and shrimp with Papa Bear in peace while the kids watched a movie and we got to have a mini-date right there on the porch in perfect weather

or jumping the waves together and watching Little Man learn how to boogie board

Unicorns were plentiful this plentiful that we may take a long weekend and go again because those unicorn are addicting creatures.   

Monday, May 20, 2013

Nicknames and other such things

Little Man and I were driving to his last winter swim team practice when he announces that he wants me to call him by his nickname from now on.  I was a bit surprised but I usually call him by his nickname anyway.  I asked him why he wanted to switch to only his nickname and he informed me that 1.  It is shorter to write on all of his papers at school  2.  It sounds more grownup and 3.  It's just cooler, mom (said in a very grown up, how do you not understand this kind of tone).  So his nickname it is, for now.  Who am I to hold my kid back from being cooler and more grown up.

Speaking of that, Little Man put his foot down on his car seat situation.  I admit, that I have been very lax about switching him from his car seat to his booster seat.  Yes, I know.  He can switch when he is 4 and 40 pounds which was about 2 years ago but the seat we use for the 5 point harness is the exact same seat that we will use for the booster seat with seatbelt so I just didn't see the point in switching.  I felt like it was safer as the 5 point harness and he didn't really know the difference plus that meant any of the 3 kids could sit in that seat and switching around was easy.  But Little Man kept asking when he could have a booster seat and then he learned from his friends that he could have had it for the last 2 years and he explained to me that he was 6 and it was embarrassing to still be in a carseat.  So we made the switch this weekend and when he realized that it was still the exact same seat just a different strap system he was less impressed.  But on the way to swim team, I asked him if he was happy with his new seat and he informed me that it made him feel bigger and so he was very satisfied with the result.  His words. 

I groaned and said that I needed him to stay my little boy forever and he replied that no matter how big he gets, he will always be my little boy.  I melted at his sweet words until he clarified.  "Mama, you will keep getting bigger and I will keep getting bigger so I will always be littler than you"  Well, it is the thought that counts.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Family Pictures

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure/pain of taking family photos.  I agonized for weeks over the perfect combination of clothes so that we weren't matching, but were coordinated in colors that everyone looked good in.  We had the session and I didn't know what to expect of the pictures because I had no idea what the kids were doing while Papa Bear and I were smiling for the camera.  I wish we had caught the perfect family picture with everyone smiling and looking but alas, that picture is still elusive for our clan.  But we were able to get a few good family pics.  I think this one is going to go over the fire place.

Photo credit: BelaJuli Photography

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unicorns sometimes look like Puppet Shows

Parenting is HARD.  There I have said it.  Parenting at 4:45pm while dinner is in the oven, three kids are hungry and cranky, you just found out your husband is coming home late and you have a work call that you have to take in 15 minutes is REALLY REALLY hard.  But sometimes, instead of yelling at the kids to stop whining about being bored and hungry, instead of pointing out that they have thousands of dollars of toys to play with and eat more in a day than entire villages do in a week, you suggest that they put on a puppet show and you feel like a genius.  Then in-between putting the topping on the chicken and stirring the rice,  you help them locate a few puppets, set up the learning tower with a blanket, make the dinner booster seats the "puppet show" seats want let the magic happen.  Unicorns, baby, I am telling you that I saw unicorns.

Little Man and Peanut took turns (without fighting or being told, did I mention Unicorns?) putting on puppet shows for almost 30 minutes.  I kept my phone call on mute unless I was asked a question or needed to respond, made dinner and listened in as much as possible to the adorable stories about a pirate that went to space and got lost and then rescued by George the space monkey, a baby and a fox.

Unicorns can appear in the craziest places, even in the kitchen, during witching hour, on a one-sock kind of day in the form of a puppet show.

A One Sock Kind of Day

I was trying to think of how to describe the day we have been having and I looked down and realized that I only had on one sock, I looked over at Sweet Pea and she had two VERY different socks on and I looked at Peanut and realized he had on one of his own socks and one of my socks.  So yup, we are having a one sock kind of day.

It started with everyone sleeping in.  I know this sounds like a good thing but it is teacher appreciation week at Little Man's school and we had baskets to get ready, lunches to pack, backpacks to prep, breakfasts to make and eat etc... you get the point and we had an hour less to do all of that than we normally do.  So the rush was on, Papa Bear and I flying around the house doing our thing until I finally kicked him off to work and kept going. 

By the skin of our teeth we made it out the door to drive Little Man to school with teacher appreciation stuff.  I had the little ones in the car and an entire rainy day ahead of me.  I hadn't showered.  I had no snacks in the car.  I had no plan.  But I had two kids who needed to get out some steam so I headed over to the soft playroom.  The only thing we needed to play was socks. I knew Peanut had socks on but Sweet Pea had taken her socks off in the chaos to get out of the house.  Spying some random socks on the floor of the van, I decided to still go for it.  When we got into the soft playroom I put the random two socks on Sweet Pea only to discover that Peanut only had on one sock.  Then I remembered that in the morning chaos I had told him to put his own shoes on and when I checked on him he had on one sneaker and one croc and so we had a little discussion about how proud I was that he listened and put on his own shoes but that he needed to switch to two of the SAME shoes.  He must have taken off one sock to put the croc on and never put it back on.  So I gave him one of my own socks and put my shoes back on instead of following them out to the play area.  I explained that I couldn't come play because I didn't have socks (nor had I showered) so they had to have excellent behavior or we would leave.  They did great and when our time was up we returned home.  We took off our shoes, took a deep breath and since the clock only said 10:45am and I felt like it should be 5pm, I laughed, fed my one socked monsters, dug around to find us all our own socks in the pile of laundry that is clean but not folded or put away because that is just how we roll in our one sock kind of days.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Just Breathe

Sweet Pea and Peanut have both been having some difficulty breathing, we aren't sure if it is from seasonal allergies or if there is a virus attacking their respiratory system. 

Last night Sweet Pea was retracting (using her neck muscles to help her breathe) which is a sign that she is not breathing well and may not be getting enough oxygen.  At 1:30 in the morning, my mom gut screaming at me, I loaded her in the car and took her to the hospital.  I am so glad that I did.  She wasn't getting enough oxygen and they moved very quickly to get her oxygen, steroids and breathing treatments.  We were only there for a few hours but when we got home just before 4am her breathing was so much better and she could sleep, I could sleep, Papa Bear could sleep.... well at least until 6:30 when the boys got up. 

I knew it was going to be one of THOSE days.  I had only managed to get about 2 hours of sleep all night and had to find a way to function.  It turns out that coffee, favors and a few tears (mine and Sweet Pea's) and we managed through.  When I started Sweet Pea's first breathing treatment of the morning, holding the mask to her face and trying to distract her from the fact that she had a mask on her face, Peanut needed to poop. Of course he did.  Not 5 minutes before or 7 minutes after. Nope, right then.  So I solicited Little Man's help in holding the mask for Sweet Pea and he sang her a song to distract her while I went to help Peanut.  I am fairly certain I stepped in pee but I didn't stop to check.  Bus stop, preschool drop off, work conference calls....

But a friend offered to take Peanut for the afternoon and another friend offered to pick up Little Man from karate and bring him home for me so that I could actually sleep while Sweet Pea slept.  I didn't count on my next door neighbor using a chainsaw and wood chipper literally outside my bedroom but I got a few minutes of sleep, even more minutes of quiet and the ability to rock Sweet Pea back to bed when she woke up mid-nap which I couldn't have done with the other kids here.  So while it could have been one of THOSE days, it turned out to be not quite as bad as I thought it would be.

I think I might be able to get a few more minutes of sleep now....shhhhh!