Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer Wrap-Up

Today is Monday was the last first day of school and, being the planner I am (and boy am I a planner!), I've been gathering gathered summer ideas for some time. Because of my work and our vacation, I have 25 days with both boys until school starts again. Update! Here's the review on how we did:

Make-It Days
Crafternoons: Nope didn't do. I'm terrified of crafts with the boys for two reasons: (1) Ollie and (2) Rhett will never let me throw away anything that he makes.
Treats: We made plenty of yummy things.
Popsicles: No popsicles, but we did make some homemade ice cream. I think that counts.
Lemonade stand: No, but am thinking of doing a "cider stand" in the fall.
Science: Nope.

Water Play
Backyard baby pool: Yep.
Water table: Yep.
Sprinkler: Maybe?
Community pool: Yep.
Splashground: Yep.
Water park: Yep.
Boating: Nope.
Creek swimming: Yep.

Big Field Trips
Smithsonians: I think we did one and then I realized those need to be saved for when tourists go home.
Washington Monument: Yep.
Aviation museum: Yep.
BounceU: Yep.
Great Falls: Yep. I think.
Roosevelt Island: Nope.
Gravelly Point: Yep, but with disastrous results.
Zoo: Yep.
Berry picking: Yep.
Beauvoir Park: Nope.
Cunningham Falls: Nope.

Little Field Trips
Libraries: Yep.
Playgrounds: Yep.
Hikes: Yep.
Picnics: Yep.
Nature centers: Nope.
Wheaton Regional Park and train: Yep.
Michael's craft days: Nope.
Regal Movies: Yep.
Fire house tour: Nope.

Night-time Activities
Rockville Town Square on Wednesdays and Fridays: Yep.
Strathmore concerts: Nope.
Bethesda Big Train baseball: Yep.

Silly holiday: Yep.
County fair: Yep.
4th of July in Frederick: Nope, but we had a better offer in D.C.
Acts of Service: Nope.
Playdates: Yep.

Things I Didn't Plan but Did
Hains Point: Yep.
Hershey: Yep.
Fort McHenry: Yep

Other Things I Wish We Did
Buy ice cream from the ice cream truck, just once
Gone camping, just once

I must be honest: I really, really enjoyed being home with both boys this summer. I was super nervous, but D.C. had incredible weather with only one day over 100 degrees and lower-than-normal humidity. I kept my early-morning running schedule, played with the boys, put Rhett into longer-than-planned quiet times because I was just too tired to entertain him, but we had a good time. And don't worry, they had plenty of down time too. There were lots of hours spent making huge messes in the playroom and basement. I think they're happy boys!

P.S. Also, Ollie is nuts. But omygosh I like him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of First Grade

Like last year and the year before that, school prep began on Sunday with the stamping of the shirt. Apparently this tickles.

Heaven forbid that Ollie be left out of something. He got to stamp his hand on a pizza box. Next year he will get his own shirt (!).

Because Maryland continues to deliver the best summer on record, we were able to eat our back-to-school dinner outside. Jell-o! Next year we need Jell-o.

Next year we do not need Chuck putting ketchup on Rhett's face.

Finally it was morning and time to go to school! Notice Ollie spying on Rhett...with backwards binoculars.

When we walked Rhett to school, Ollie insisted on carrying HIS backpack too.

Rhett seemed to have a great day. Of course, he couldn't tell us much about it, other than with whom he played at recess and about the fire drill. I guess that's a good thing!

P.S. So what if I made matching pants for the boys for back to school.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Grader Interview

So my big buddy started school today. I saw on some blog that the mom did a back-to-school interview, and so I copied the idea...with middling results.

What’s your name? Rhett, Everett (you should know this!)

How old are you? 6 (YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS!)

If you could be any age, what would you want to be? 70, because then I would get to tell you what to do because I am older than you.

What’s your favorite color? Orange

What’s your favorite book? I have two: Magic Tree House and Berenstain Bears.

Favorite food? Besides candy? You know it: Pizza.

Anything you definitely will NOT eat? Poppy seed pasta

What do you want to be when you grow up? Why? I have thousands of ideas.

How do you think first grade will be different than kindergarten? A little harder.

What advice do you have for kids that are nervous about starting kindergarten? You'll meet new friends as soon as you get there.

Anything you’re worried about in first grade? No.

What are you excited about in first grade? I am just excited to be in it..

What’s your favorite subject in school (writing, reading, math, science, social studies, etc)? Maybe science.

What’s one thing at school that you’re really good at? I don't know.

Favorite thing to play at recess? Skylanders with Genesis. Sometimes saber tooth tigers.

If you were principal of your school what changes would you make to it? I have no idea.

Do you have a best friend? If so, describe them, or describe a really good friend of yours. What do you like about them? I don't know.

What’s one thing you’ve learned to do lately that you’re proud of? Jumping into the pool.

Describe what a typical day is like for you after you come home from school. I forgot.

If you had one day to do whatever you wanted, what would you do? Just go home.

Describe something you really like about yourself that you’d never want to change. I love being able to make stuff with paper.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? I love nutcrackers. [Whoops, sorry buddy but I already revealed that to everyone.]

If you had three wishes what would they be? I wish I had a couple thousand nutcrackers. I wish pizza and hamburgers were the only meals I ever had. I wish I did not have a brother. (sorta, sometimes).

What are three words to describe your family? If it's Ollie: baby, silly, crazy.

Can you describe what your parents do for work? I don't know. Mom is a statistician, but no idea what that means.

What’s the best family trip you’ve been on? Going to Utah.

What do you like about living in Maryland? I don't know.

What don’t you like about living in Maryland? I do not like that I live far from family. And we do not get that much snow.

That's it. He's a better interview the second time around, but still a pretty funny little kid. Who is also not great at mini golf, but doesn't quite know it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Upcoming Trips

Trip 1: Camping and Dutch Wonderland in October.
Trip 2: Some adults-only trip to some undetermined place at some undetermined date. (Yes, we are going somewhere without the kids again, but this one we really earned.)
Trip 3: Run a totally awesome 10K in Cleveland, Ohio. Costume ideas are appreciated (just don't suggest a big pink bunny suit).
Trip 4: Phoenix in January to visit Chuck's parents who moved there last year.
Trip 5: Camping and the beach for Spring Break. We're liking these hybrid trips.

P.S. Next week will be an end-of-summer wrap-up and pictures of the first day of school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pinterest Success (and Everything Else Fail)

So you know it's a bad day when the only highlights were (1) your husband coming home from work, (2) your boys going down for bed, and (3) a Pinterest success story.

I really love rice krispie treats.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Latest Family Headlines

Some time ago, I read that we were going to get a Wal-Mart near our house. But sadly/happily, it's a no go. The county didn't move fast enough, so Wal-Mart pulled out.

You know how some people are fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants people and then some are not? I think we know where I am, even though sometimes I wish I was more of the other. But then I realized, no. I LOVE planning. Love. I'm happy with me. I'm also happy with our four trips in the works.

Now that Ollie is three, our thoughts are frequently turned to potty training. But diapers are just. so. easy. Therefore I'm thinking December. You know, when you're stuck in the house anyway.

Chuck was in a car accident Wednesday morning. Not the best way to start a day. Thankfully he wasn't hurt (nor was the at-fault other driver), and her insurance has already taken full responsibility. And we've got a leather-seated Camry until his car is fixed.

Swimming remains quite difficult for me. I just can't seem to get even one full lap without a lengthy rest in the middle. What to do? Rhett has progressed to holding his nose and going underwater, but won't seem to do much beyond that. But at least he does a lot of it.

Maryland's summer has been amazing. Remember 2011 when I was pregnant with Ollie and it was horrible? Well this summer has been the complete opposite. Today's high is less than 80. LESS THAN 80.

One more week until summer ends and school starts. I'm 90% happy about this. Sometimes (a lot of times!) I really like Rhett. But being with just Ollie and having real quiet times is just so flippin' nice.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Math Genie

Rhett is asked a bunch of math questions by my friend Natalie, all of which he gets correct (except "What is 11+14?" but including "What is 500+500?").
Natalie: Rhett, you're a math genius.
Rhett: A what? I thought you said math genie. Like I would pop out of a bottle and ask you math questions.
Natalie: Did your parents teach you all of this?
Rhett: No. They don't teach me anything.
It really does amaze me how early the know-it-all attitude sets in. Oh well, at least he'll be a teenager in less than a decade. At which point, he totally will know everything. For reals.

After an amazing morning filled with brotherly love and obedience, we ran errands and came across a pirate nutcracker. I bought said nutcracker for Rhett because he LOVES all things nutcracker (and it was only $2.25).
Rhett: Mom, even if I had other moms, you'd still be my favorite.
Note: This was just days before he said he was going to stop talking to me forever, lest you think we're always lovey-dovey.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Get It?

Can you decipher this card? There are hints below, should you need them. And you might. I know it's a stretch.

Hint 1: Another word for a female sheep is _____.
Hint 2: Yes, it's a strawberry, but more generally it's a _____.
Hint 3: "Goodnight nobody, goodnight _____. And goodnight to the old lady whispering 'hush.'"

P.S. Who has seen "Sharknado" and will actually admit it? I'm not ashamed. In fact, Chuck and I found it quite amusing. And by "quite amusing," I mean "absolutely hilarious with an unbeatable ending."

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Game that Chuck Built

Well, I guess I should say, "The Game that Chuck Helped Build," as he certainly didn't create the whole thing. But for the past many, many, MANY months, Chuck put in a lot of hours programming an old-school computer game, Quest for Infamy. Remember the game that the boy was playing in the first scene of "Big?" That's how I like to think of the game, even though I've never played either one, so what do I know?! Anyway, it's been on sale since the day we arrived in Utah and I'm pretty sure we'll be millionaires at the end of the year. So that's exciting. And a huge exaggeration.

With or without the riches and fame (although his name is pretty big in the credits), it's still pretty exciting for him. And pretty exciting for me because I might get my husband back at night.

Here is the screenshot of his name in big lights. Or, just his first name. Because y'all know how crazy I am about privacy.

P.S. Ugh. Want to feel old? Not only is the movie "Big" 26 years old, but remember how in the movie, Josh grows up to be an adult? Do you know how old Big Josh is in the movie? 35. That's right. I'm older than Big Josh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Birthday, Part Me

I know it sounds depressing, but I had low expectations for this birthday. I mean, c'mon. I'm turning late-30s, it fell on a day-less-than-optimal for birthdays, I already had my fill of junk from Ollie's celebrating, and I have small children. How good could it be? And sadly, I was mostly right. I did wake up to it raining air heads (thanks, Chuck), but the boys began the fighting almost immediately. With Ollie's birthday the day before, they were still fighting over his birthday gifts. I did get to eat some Oh's cereal for breakfast and then have some yummy shrimp for dinner (which no one else but me ate, so hello leftovers!). And instead of the blueberry crumb pie I wanted, we had leftover cupcakes from Ollie's birthday. Also, I got tons of candy from friends, so that's good.

It should be stated that the only thing I was really sad about was the loss of the blueberry pie. But after a day at Hershey and then Ollie's birthday, I just didn't have it in me to make yet another pan of sugar. I think I found the solution, however: Celebrate my half birthday in February instead. I think it will work.

P.S. As of this morning, we've been swimming three times since buying the membership. Monday afternoon I tried swimming one length of the pool and guess what? Swimming is HARD. Like crazy hard. I could run a half-marathon tomorrow, but swim a full out-and-back lap in the pool? Nope. Good thing my triathlon goal is years away.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Birthday, Part Ollie

Like we did when Rhett was just about to turn three, we took a trip to Hershey in honor of Ollie's birthday. And if I had thought to charge the camera, we would have pictures. But really, it was a lot the same from three years ago. And maybe, it was a little bit worse because the things that used to be free for two-year-olds are no longer free. Plus, there were a bunch of things that weren't even there any more. So we did all we could and then quickly looked for something else.

And know what we found?! Dutch Wonderland! It was close and perfect for our age of boys, even if a little expensive. But we thought we'd try. Guess what happened? After about 45 minutes, threat of rain shut down the park. Thankfully we got our money back and so we had to find something else to do.

And know what we found?! Not a lot. We took a quick drive through Lancaster County and saw a couple of Amish buggies, and we stopped at one market. Then we were bored again (poor us). So we thought, well, let's get dinner and then try Dutch Wonderland since the weather seemed to be improving. And we did. But again they closed the park after we took one ride. Money refunded again.  I guess the good news is that we got four rides for free! The bad news is that we'll have to go again and pay for Ollie (the two and unders are free). I should mention that Rhett is a HUGE scaredy cat. HUGE. But I told him that if we were going to pay their crazy costs, he was going to ride EVERY. SINGLE. RIDE. At the first (and only) "scary" ride he was in tears...until it actually started moving and then, of course, he loved it. But after being kicked out twice, we headed home.

And because we were all so tired, Saturday was a low-key kind of day. Groceries, shows, library, naps...just the usual. With a little bit of birthday partying in there. The most exciting news is that our local neighborhood pool is offering a one-month special for a super sweet deal. So right now, you're reading the blog of a woman with a pool membership. I know. I'm cool. But now that we have it, we're going to go every single day. Even if the day is overcast, in the 70s, and threatening to rain (ahem, I'm talking about YOU, last Saturday). We're going.

Happy 3rd Birthday Ollie!


Focus on his cute face and ignore my nasty hair.

Two favorite toys.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How YOU Doin'?

And by "you," I of course mean "me." I was so nervous to go on such an amazing trip and then have to return. To go from Chuck and me in a beautiful western setting doing fun, adult come back to being a mom in the humid, flat east just seemed unbearable. But to the surprise of everyone, I'm actually doing okay! And even without a therapist!

How could this be? I don't know. It's not as if I returned with a brand new outlook on motherhood or Maryland. I didn't. (However, Maryland has been very kind to me. Tuesday's high was in the 70s. In July.) It's not as if I returned to now-obedient children. I didn't. But at my first run with friends upon my return, I was chatting with a fellow westerner who said this: she was at peace with Maryland and the east coast. Sure, being in the west would be optimal. But she's at peace with her choices to live and raise a family here. And I think this is where I am. I am happy to have such a wonderful place to visit, and wonderful family there to enjoy. For the most part, I am at peace with Maryland.

P.S. I won't lie. If I had returned to a flooded basement, I'm not sure this post would be so positive. Just sayin'.

P.P.S. One last thing trip-related. We had the coolest plane flights! We flew over: the Golden Gate Bridge, the Olympic mountains, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and the Grand Canyon. How cool is that?! Almost as cool as when we flew on the 4th of July and saw tons of fireworks shows in the sky.

P.P.P.S. It's a birthday weekend over here! Hooray!

P.P.P.P.S. I needed a picture for the cover of our latest "scrapbook" so I dragged the family to a park before church on Sunday. My boys do NOT cooperate for pictures.