Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Such a big kid

Today's the "real deal".  The day when my baby boy turns 9.  He has been excited to get another year older, but he also knows it isn't exactly a new thing anymore.  We had his family birthday celebration on Sunday, and he was correcting everyone so that they knew he wasn't 9 yet.  He has school on his birthday, so that allows him to bring cookies for his birthday to share with his class.  He usually gets about 2 per 6 or 7 years and starting next year, he's going to have a stretch of a few that he doesn't get to school for.  Regardless, it's always a special day when you get to celebrate your birthday at school.  Or at least that's what I've been told ;-)

He has decided that he wants to have a sleepover party this year, but he also wants to be able to play nintendo, so I explained that he can't have more that 4 people and that's what he's doing.  Hopefully they will be able to get to sleep at some point and everyone will have a good time.  Then we can full out decorate for Christmas.

He has his doctor appointment in a few weeks to get his measurements...I'm pretty sure he's on the tall end of the spectrum.  And he's proud of that.  He's catching up to a lot of his relatives...at least he's within a head of a few of them now.  Part of the getting bigger means more responsibilities.  He can stay home by himself for short periods of time, which Gwen is not all that impressed with.  Thank goodness we have the idea of babysitters almost being someone to play with, rather than someone to watch over you.  He's never put up a fight to have someone watch him.

He's also having a lot of activities that he enjoys.  Baseball, hockey, swimming, golf, chess, religion class, and piano.  With school this year, he just starting hitting some subjects where it doesn't automatically come to him without thinking.  To which he said last night, "I think they gave me 5th grade homework or something.  I don't know how to do this yet."  Granted, he has been learning a lot in his other subjects, but I don't know that he has understood that there are different things and rules to learn with new topics in math.  I guess I'll have to sit down with him again to help him through the new stuff.

While he does love his video games and computer time, I'm SO happy to say that he enjoys his time away from the screens just as much.  He spends hours outside throwing the ball around during baseball season.  He still gets out his diecast cars and plays around with them.  He writes in his journals and reads a few different books for extended periods of time.  And I LOVE to have heart to heart conversations with him.  I know he has already stopped believing in Santa, so I'm prepared to have that conversation with him but he has never been ready to give it all up.  Which for me, is very nice.

I hope to continue these wonderful memories the next 9 years.  It's time to celebrate today!  I love you, my 9 year old!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner

Well, we made it through another event of this part of the year.  We are a little over halfway done with the busiest four months...at least from my perspective.  I decided to not go out into the Black Friday abyss because there wasn't anything on anyone's list that we had to have, so it made the day a little less stressful.  Since stores are now opening Thursday evening, there seems to be a little pressure to get everyone home to get back out the door to the stores.

I am off topic, yet again.  The kids only had school Monday and Tuesday this week.  Gwen had her usual dance lesson, and both kids had their swimming lessons on Wednesday evening, but no chess or religion.  Plus, Russ was home all week so it didn't seem so unmanageable, but as always, time flies by.  As sort of a treat for the kids, since we didn't have to rush out of swimming lessons, I let them play in the leisure pool area for a while after their lessons.  Both kids were really looking forward to that.  Gwen passed her shallow water swim test, so I didn't even have to be in the water with her.  She was THRILLED!  She is to the point now where she can float on her own and swim about 5 yards unassisted both on her front and back and loves to be in the water.  I don't know if she will need her swim vest in Florida...although I'm guessing she will want it for confidence-sake.

The school also had its family breakfast, bright and early on Tuesday morning.  Gwen got a taste of eating a meal at the cafeteria, which I think she is really looking forward to doing next year.  I don't know what of the lunch meals she actually will feel like eating, but she knows its an advantage of being in 1st grade or older.

So Thursday comes....with the help of my mom, the house is reasonably organized and clean.  I only had to go to the grocery store 3 times that week.  And one more this weekend because of Trevor's birthday gathering.  Apparently, the turkey I got could have been larger, due to the fact my daughter decided she was going to eat practically all the dark meat off of the bird by herself.  "More Butterball Turkey, please!" she said more than twice.  Trevor ate a bunch of mashed potatoes, which I have never seen him eat and I believe he also ate a slice of banana cream pie?

We all fit at the large table....a little snug, but at least we didn't have a kids table this year.  Perhaps next year, as Trevor's birthday falls on the day before Thanksgiving, so for the next two years we are going to have to have his party on Thanksgiving.  Just something to think about for next year, family ;-)  But it was a good time.  I was thinking back....I believe that was my 11th turkey I had made.  Would have been 12 but I had a little surprise turkey of my own that foiled those plans.  But I must say, it has finally become easier and I have a certain level of confidence about it.  I know how to make the stuffing, and know about how long it will take to cook the turkey and clean it....I don't think I will ruin it anymore.  Yes, a disaster could happen, but my nervousness has decreased over the years.

So thank you to everyone who was able to come and join us this year.  We are blessed with so much health and happiness and have a great time.  There are two more celebrations - one as a big gathering, one as a small family for a certain birthday kid.  More to come on that.  Bottom line....I'm not willing to admit he has now hit the age where he is halfway to being an adult....*sigh*  Doesn't help that both kids have been breaking out the old photo albums and remarking how young everyone looked.  Well yeah....now that it's been 8-9 years since those pictures were taken.....

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Man she would have fit right in to the 80s....

Ah Gwen....how you have really shown your true colors and how interesting it is for me to watch.  SO many things you like have to do with what was "cool" in my childhood.  Also interesting enough, when there haven't been things that I have kept, or able to pass down, they are back in style so I can go out and get them for her.  Part of it does have to do with her wanting to be older than she is...for example when we went to the pumpkin patch a few weeks ago, I broke out my heeled boots, and Gwen whined: "When can I get high heels?"  The kids ones, sandal-like with about a half inch are not good enough.  High heels are the one guilty pleasure I allow myself.  I know I wasn't even kind of interested in them until I was in high school though..so yeah, she's ahead of the curve on that one.  She also just asked me the other day to teach her how to braid her hair.  She knows she isn't quite strong enough to do what she wants to her hair, but she is doing everything she can to become as independent as possible.  She picks out her clothes, brushes her hair and teeth at night and puts her pjs on.  

That goes to one of the things that remind me of the 80s....she was invited and went to a Halloween party a few weekends ago.  In her gift bag, she got a Halloween hair scrunchie.  Once she remembered she got it, she wore it every day.  Hair pulled back into a ponytail, with the scrunchie.  Since we are past the time of Halloween, and rather than wear that all year, I found a pack at Target.  Man was she in heaven!  They didn't have bright colors, but I at least found a purple one...so now that is the scrunchie of choice.  Her "style" of clothing also is typical 80s....leggings, ruffle skirts...I'm tempted to do her hair in big bangs, but thankfully her bangs have finally grown out.

Toys....she has seemed to pass by her princesses in order to play with my old Barbies....yeah...I kind of forgot about those.  I knew they were going to be kept around because my grandma made a TON of clothes for the dolls.  I never really got into them.  When I had friends over, sometimes they would play with them.  I think I had more fun organizing the collection than actually playing with the dolls.  But lo-and-behold we have a winner with Gwen.  And yes, the high heeled shoes are probably the biggest hit.  I'm guessing we'll have to get a Ken doll with a tuxedo since I have two barbies with two different wedding dresses.  She's right now using her Aladdin doll, but he isn't in his wedding garb.  She has been talking about cabbage patch kids...she got one on one of her first birthdays and I have one that I can give her as well.  So I'm guessing those will make a comeback.  She has been hearing a lot about American Girl Dolls, so I went to borrow a book from the Library (I have a few of them in my old book box) but it is a little too old for her.  We are still reading one-sitting books.  I think next year is when the teacher starts reading chapter books, so I bet she might be more receptive next year....

Back to her style choice....she was wearing a long sleeved shirt today, and I don't know what possessed her to change, but she put a t-shirt over her long sleeved shirt.  Now all of Trevor's "winter" shirts are like this.  He can't wear sweatshirts without getting so hot, he wants to take it off.  So he has long sleeved shirts that look like a t-shirt over a long sleeved shirt.  I don't know if she is noticing other people with the same style or not.  But she so knows her styles.....

What a little girl she is.  And how fast she is becoming a little young lady.  Maybe if she gets all of her style choices now, I won't have to fight with her later???  Something tells me her teenage years are going to be very interesting......

The election

No...this will not be a stance on my political views...only an interesting night as seen from a mom's perspective.  I like to listen to what the kids are saying, and try to see if there is a teaching moment.  So Tuesday evening came, and while the elementary school had their student council elections, I had thought that  by 3rd grade they would at least talk about the electoral college.  Not so, I found out.  I told the kids we were going to watch the returns to see who would be the president.  I printed out the electoral college map and explained it to Trevor as best I could.  Trevor really didn't understand why we were watching it.  Bottom line, I explained that it was only something that they reported on every 4 years.  The next time he would get to experience it, was when he is in 7th grade.  YIKES!!!  I remember the last election and Trevor being in preschool.  Yep...seems like yesterday.

Anyway, the returns started coming in, and Gwen was completely uninterested.  Not really something I would expect a 5 year old to grasp.  I became entranced, the way I do when I see numbers rolling across the screen.  And numbers adding to other numbers?  Whoa....WAY too much excitement for me.  Trevor was hoping for an Obama win, so when Romney came out with an early lead, he got scared.  I tried to explain that states like California were yet to come, and he seemed to settle down.  I could tell he was also getting entranced by the numbers and the news kept up to date on countdowns to pole closings and such.  He started to color the states each candidate won and noticed trends like how Obama won the entire east coast and Romney had most of the south and central regions.  I let him stay up later than normal, and he had to give up his reading time, but like I explained...it only comes every 4 years.

He finally went up to bed at 9:30 with the promise that I would color in the states as far as I stayed up.  The race was called shortly after, but I was still entranced by the amendment voting that was taking place in our state.  Again, watching those numbers count upward was so mesmerizing!  Two nights after the Madonna concert, where I stayed up to 1:30 on a school night, I stayed up past 11:30 on election night.  As I figured, Trevor woke up at 6:30 and needed to know right away who won.  He completed his map, and brought it to school to explain to everyone what he learned that night.

I think it was a pretty educational night!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fun times

Coming back from our Disneyland trip, the fun for the kids just doesn't seem to have slowed down at all.  Because of Halloween, and the part that the school does not do a costume party during school hours, that left for a lot of "parties".  Trevor got to wear his costume at the school's Costume Party that took place the Friday before Halloween.  I was with Gwen during the party where she met up with two classmates and spent most of her time dancing at the dance party.  They also had a photo booth set up to take pictures, so now she has a photograph to remember the event by.  I have to say, it really made me want the time to slow down because it really was very easy to see her just a few years older going to a middle school dance.  She behaved exactly like those kids do...giggling and running around, dancing to the music.  I don't even know if they have dances like we did in Jr. High.  I do remember how much fun it was though.  After the party, Gwen was excited that she became good friends with one of the classmates she doesn't usually see.

Then last weekend, Trevor had his hockey tryouts.  This is his last year of mites, and he is hoping to make the advanced mite team.  Last year he was in intermediate.  He made the callback scrimmage on Sunday, and we found out on Tuesday, he made one of two advanced teams.  He was overjoyed.  So was I.  I knew it meant a lot to him to be able to progress every year.  The team already has 4 practices this weekend...so let the hockey begin!  Also on Saturday, we headed to an Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch with Derek, Kyrsten and Adam.  It was a little chilly, but we got our warm cider, apple doughnuts, pumpkins, pictures and a hay ride.  Harvest time complete!  I couldn't believe what a well-behaved kids Adam was!  It was so nice of him to let us play around while he enjoyed snuggling in his warm clothes.

Gwen was invited to a classmates Halloween party last Sunday.  She was REALLY excited to go, because she had yet to have any actual playdates since school has started.  We know the girl from both school and she is in her dance class for the past two years.  It was a two hour party and when I picked her up, she didn't want to leave.  So we'll have to have the girl back over to our house sometime in the coming weekends.  Unfortunately, her parents work during the day, so she attends a daycare place when she is not at school.  Weekends are the only time.  So Gwen was able to get out her costume again for that party, and she got out her Jasmine costume again for her dance class costume party.  It was nice to be able to use that one again and I know it was much easier to move around in, than in her Merida dress.

Then, last Tuesday was the All-Star lunch.  I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my previous posts or not.  This lunch was set up by the school as a prize for selling their goal amount of fundraiser product in September.  The school's top 2 sellers were to be at the lunch and 5 more were drawn from the entire school.  At the lunch, would be Tony Oliva, who is a former Minnesota Twins baseball player.  The lunch was catered by TGIFridays and they had candles, flowers, a nice tablecloth, plates and made it all fancy for the kids.  After the lunch, the kids got to ride in a limo to Dairy Queen for a blizzard and back to school.  I made it a point to order all the product from family and friends through Trevor's name because I wanted him to have as many chances as possible to go to this lunch.  I did buy one ticket for Gwen so she could be in on her class drawings for treats.  So the drawing happened, and Trevor was one drawn!  I was so excited and so was he.  Shortly after, Gwen was drawn.  I was shocked....well, not really since I know she has a wild good luck streak.  Her odds were something like 1 in 400 or so.  I was just so glad that Trevor was already going, or I'm pretty sure there would have been a quick Hunger Games situation:  "I, her brother, nominate myself in her place to go to the lunch!".

I made sure to lay out the expectations for both kids, in order to behave at their "fancy restaurant" and had Trevor think of some questions he wanted to ask Tony.  He did, and I also said he probably would want to get his autograph.  Because both kids were at the lunch, I asked if I could go to take pictures and really to observe Trevor and his awe.  The other 3 kids that were drawn were two second grade girls and one first grade boy.  The two top sellers were two 3rd graders that Trevor has had in class before.  Yes, Trevor was in his element.  He sat across the table from Tony and chatted his ear off as much as he could.  He asked him if he remembered him from when he met him at the Metrodome.  I guess he did a meet and greet there when Trevor was...4???  Tony politely said no.  Trevor asked him what it was like to play for the Twins.  He said that he was very lucky.  He came from Cuba and didn't really know what it meant to play professional baseball.  He just knew he liked to play it, and loved the people he was with.  Although Tony has retired from playing baseball, he has had a lot of different roles with the Twins.  I believe he was a batting coach during one of the times the Twins won the World Series, so he had a World Series ring on.  He passed it around so the kids could take a look at it.  Trevor's eyes lit up.  Then he started rattling off all the baseball facts about the world series that he could remember:  How many times the Twins won...how the Twins weren't always the Twins....then started veering off into history lessons...why WWI started....my eyes started rolling at this point, but Tony was a good sport.  He found out that he was my son, and he told me that I must have raised him right because he really knows his baseball stuff.  He would love to sit down with him more to chat about it.  Trevor was giddy at this point.

Tony had brought some pictures that he signed for the kids, and on the picture had some of his stats.  It stated that he has had 220 career home runs.  Trevor was again, in awe.  I felt bad that I didn't have him study up on Tony Oliva before we got there.  But all was good....the lunch ended, we got some pictures in front of the limo, and the kids were off to have their ice cream.  I knew Gwen enjoyed that part the best.  Limos are cool!  The principal was riding along with them, which was good since the kids were contained.

The kids got back to school at 1:00, and Gwen headed right to class.  We carved more traditional pumpkins than we had in many years.  And then the next day she got another treat:  Another kid from her class asked if we would like to have a standing playdate on Wednesdays where every week they would go to each other's houses - trading off.  That week it was her friends house.  And it was Halloween...so the day was extra special.  I was able to get my windshield replaced on my car and have it back before the kids were done with school.  I made sure everything was set, and we headed out for the night.  It was chilly so I rode in a car while the kids walked.  We were able to hit a lot of different neighborhoods and get plenty of candy.  I was glad when that day was over.

Too much fun!  It should be illegal.  It sure is tiring on a mom.  It is now November:  another birthday month, and party month.  Less than 8 weeks until Christmas...I guess I should be starting to organize the Christmas stuff as well.  Happy Holidays everyone!