Monday, June 24, 2013

RIP Kermie

It is time to say good-bye to our first furbaby:  She came into our lives through Ramsey County Humane Society.  It said on her card that she was a stray, and picked up in an alley.  She was very anxious and had a large bruise on her nose from pushing against the cage.  When we got to play around with her, she continued to be anxious around us, but I felt like she was still a good fit.  We brought her home, and within a week, we adopted a second cat, this time from the Hennepin County Humane Society, and part of a litter of cats.  We decided that because we weren't going to be home a lot, having two cats to keep each other company would be best.  We decided to name them Kermie and Piggy (for my love of the Muppets) and found that their names seemed to fit them.  They were both born the early part of 1998.  Piggy gained weight fast and became larger than Kermie.  But Kermie was the responsible one.  Much more shy but still wanted attention, just not if there were a lot of guests in and around the house.

Even through babies and kids, Kermie really got it.  When the kids were of the age where they would chase after the cats and want to pull their tails, Kermie would wait until they were either up for a nap or down for the night.  You can see from the pictures above that when the kids were babies and couldn't get around fast enough to chase them, she knew she was ok.  Kermie was the one that you would find sleeping on top of your head.  Piggy was the one that was looking for any sudden movement on the bed to pounce on.  Kermie was the one that loved the laser beam lights.  Kermie was the older "sister" and like some older sisters that I know, really acted the part keeping her younger siblings in line.

When we got a third cat - a kitten - a little under two years ago, it seemed like Piggy's health was going downhill.  At the time, I thought Kermie would outlive all of them.  She lived such a relaxed life.  She would still play fight with Piggy and play around with the new kitten as well.  But she never had any problems.  Unfortunately, over the past year or so, she started losing weight.  She wasn't the heavy one to begin with, and it wasn't dramatic until the last few weeks.  Then this weekend, her whole attitude changed.  Even as recent as a few days ago, she was within what I would consider her normal behavior.  She was jumping up to get onto beds and chairs, but this weekend, that all stopped.  She spent most of the days in our bathroom waiting for the sink to drip water.  So I knew she needed to be seen.  I made an appointment on Monday morning for that afternoon.  I tried many times to make sure she was comfortable or to drink or eat something, but she just wouldn't or couldn't.  Russ decided he was going to take her to the vet.  We had the kids pet her, and while they were at the vet, I prepared the kids for the thought that she was going to be gone because she was sick.  When the blood work came back that Kermie was in severe kidney failure, we knew it was time to explain the facts.  All of us were crying, and trying to grasp the concept, particularly for Gwen.  She hasn't had to deal with any sort of significant death in her lifetime.

So, it is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to our first 15 1/2 years old.  We all love you and hope you enjoy your time following the laser light in the sky.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gwen's weeks

Ah yes...the girl of the group.  That week of the last week of school was also pretty active for Gwen.  The Saturday morning was her dance recital.  She was able to sit with me and watch the other performances so she didn't have to entertain herself in the waiting room.  Her's was the 3rd performance of the day.  I can't help but laugh that I get the "get away from me, mom" picture as well as the pretty, posed picture after the performance.  She loves her dance.  I have a feeling that we will be spending a lot more time at dance lessons in the future, once she can sign up for more than one.

Similar to previous years, her dance recital falls on the same weekend as BAA baseball tournament weekend.  She is in BAA this year, and unfortunately, her first game was too close to her recital so she couldn't play in it.  Trevor is in traveling baseball this year, so he didn't have a tournament this weekend.  Thank goodness, because I don't know how we would have been able to pull it all off.  Actually, Gwen is liking going to most of the games because there are a group of 4 girls around her age, or at least willing to play with her in most of their activities.  Anyway, this year, it still was a dance/baseball weekend, but Gwen did both and Trevor didn't have his baseball that weekend.  So below is a picture from the game that Gwen did attend.  She is getting good at watching the ball hit her bat and getting a hit most times she is up.

 Fielding is another story.  She would rather play in the dirt than watch what is going on.  Now, to give her credit, hardly any of the kids are ready at every pitch when the other team is up to bat.  So when it does get faster paced, hopefully she will be ready.  I do think she has learned a lot so far!  And she hasn't had to miss too many games.

So on Monday, was her Kindergarten graduation.  There are a few pictures here of her with some of her classmates, during the singing presentation, one with her teacher, and the picture they take when the kids are in a high-school sized cap and gown.  I still have Trevor's from when he was in Kindergarten.  I for sure am going to use it for pictures at each of their grad parties.

Gwen did not participate this year in the Talent Show.  She had quite a few people in her school that were in her dance class.  Maybe if there are still a group of them, they could get together and dance their performance.  I could see her doing that instead of a piano performance, like Trevor has done.
 Gwen had a wonderful time at the zoo as well. However, she was a lot more timid when it came to the giraffes.  I guess the size was slightly overpowering.  She also didn't care to look at the sharks in the tank, or really, any animal that would have the potential to "get" her.  I don't know why it extended to giraffes, but it did.

So as a result of being a younger sibling, Gwen got the chance to tag along to the tournament last weekend.  She loved the pool, and loved the fun she could have with the other girls that she knew from the siblings of Trevor's teammates.  I think all of the parents appreciated the break that the kids could get from their siblings during the weekend and that they always had someone to entertain them.  Hopefully we will have that as long as Trevor wants to play both baseball and hockey.  

Finally, the last two pictures, I couldn't help but take because at her game last night, Gwen was able to play her favorite position: catcher.  She played it one other time, but I was not there to see it.  She practices her throwing, back to the pitcher, and I would say that she practices her catching, but really, she practices her dodging, more than anything.  She moves to the side and sticks her glove out hoping to catch it.  It is pretty cute.  And she loves being in all that gear.  Thankfully it wasn't too hot.

She is also starting her week long camps, through the summer program here.  The first week out of school it was a VBS program, and this week it is Gymnastics.  Boy does she love her gymnastics!  I signed her up for two consecutive weeks.  She is finally able to put it all together, and is really working on her cartwheels.

So there you have it!  The month of June is more than halfway done!  It's only about 75 days until school starts again...but who's counting????!?

Trevor's weeks

Both kids had a pretty exciting and event-filled last week of school.  I wanted to get it all down a while ago, but of course, time slips away.  I'll try to do a post for each kid that primarily focuses on that last week of school.

So Trevor started off the week on Sunday going to a Twins game with Russ.  I had gotten some good seats for Russ, and it worked out to take Trevor, so off they went for the 12:10 game.  It was a kids giveaway for a Willingham jersey to the first 5,000 kids.  Trevor was lucky enough to get one.  The seats were directly to the right of the Twins dugout (looking at the field), so they could see the players going into the dugout during their at-bats.

It was a bright, sunny day, and after the last out of the first inning, Trevor was thrown a ball from Dozier.  You can see the change in Trevor's smile after he got a major league baseball!  The ball is now sitting in a case, so it will never be played with again.  There is a nice grass mark on it as well.

So because I was curious as to if either of the boys were going to be on TV, I had been recording the game.  Russ texted me about the ball Trevor caught, but it wasn't anything that you could see from the game on TV.  They cut away after the last out.  But the game went on, and the Twins had a home run hitting time.  It isn't very often that there was a game like that.  And then, at the top of the 8th inning, one of the reporters went out into the stands to do a little report on what was happening in the game.  My mom called and asked me what Trevor was wearing at the game, because she thought she saw him!  Turns out, she was right!  Although I wasn't sitting watching the game, I did a little rewind, and saw him.  So did Gwen.  He is enjoying a helmet bowl of ice cream, and no one nearby knew that they were on camera.  Now he not only got a ball, but he was also on TV.  What could be better?

So back to school he went.  Monday was nothing too big for him, but Tuesday was the talent show.  He did well enough and I enjoyed listening to him during the evening performance.  They got their annual trophy for their participation which is always the best part.  Now, on Wednesday, a different event happened for him.  Because of a drawing done from the kids who won lunch with Tony Oliva, a ride in a limo and DQ, one of the kids got to swap days with the principal.  That person was Trevor.  So the day he was able to swap was the Wednesday of this week.  I asked Trevor to dress up like the principal, which meant a collared shirt and tie.  He was somewhat against it until I told him that he may have to give a speech at some point, and he should look his best for it.  So he agreed, and went into school for the day.  He was able to help out with the arrival of students, be on the morning news, and observe some of the classrooms.  I was at school for my weekly Wednesday envelope duties, so I snapped a picture of him in his "office".

He said he was going to try to get extra recess for the school, but then learned it wasn't his job to do...yet.  Maybe some day.  The principal had to go and sit in Trevor's class for the day, and they had some school work for him to do as well.  Another memorable day for Trevor.

Last day of school, the 3rd grade had an all-3rd grade party with a Hawaiian theme.  I was able to help out, and Gwen helped me helping out since it was in the morning.  The kids are very anxious to get out and start their summer vacation, but they had a good time as well.

So we made it through that week....from Trevor's perspective, he had a lot going on.  The next weekend we didn't have a tournament, so we were able to go out and play at the zoo with his cousin Adam and a good group of the Johnson family.  The weather was forecasting rain, but it held off the entire time we were there.  We got around to see almost everything, and the kids were troopers!  One of the most unique experiences I've ever seen while there was that they opened a feeding time for the giraffes.  Anyone that wanted to was able to feed the giraffe.  Trevor was psyched and did what was expected.  He even felt how sandpapery the tongue of the giraffe was.  You had to buy the crackers for the giraffe, so it wasn't free, but I think it was well worth it.

Since the zoo, we have been doing the summer activities and baseball tournaments.  The last tournament is this weekend but previous to that, we had a tournament in Rochester.  This was the first tournament where the kids decided they were going to stay in hotel for the weekend.  They had two games early on Saturday, and had Friday off.  Trevor was really excited to get down there, but we first had to wait for Russ to come in from his business trip.  He landed around 3:30, and we picked him up and drove to Rochester.  When we got to the hotel, first thing to do was to jump in the pool.  (Kids, not really first thing for the adults).  Even though it was close enough to dinner time, the kids didn't care.  They started arriving and came to the pool to swim, even if they weren't staying in the hotel.  We decided to order pizzas and eat them in the commons area, where they usually have breakfast.  Dinner was served close to around 7:30 and the kids (and adults) had a lot.  Because of the swimming, they were not as rowdy as usual, but still pretty high energy from all the excitement.

After dinner, it was after 9:00 and they had to be at the field the next day at 8:00am.  They fell asleep rather least in my room, and woke up pretty good too.  Unfortunately, the kids had a rough bunch of games that weekend, but had more swimming both Saturday and Sunday before heading back home.

Now through this whole time, Trevor once said to me, "Mom, that was the best day of my life!"  Do you know when it was?  On Friday night before going to bed in the hotel.  Well....I know Trevor lives in the it didn't really surprise me, but after the other days that he had had prior to that, I was a little surprised that it took a swim in a pool with his teammates and some pizza at a hotel to become the best day of his life.  Here's to many more, Trevor!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The end of another school year

While these past few months have flown by, it is hard to believe that it is the end of 3rd grade for Trevor, and the end of Kindergarten for Gwen.  We got their report cards on the last day of school, and for the 3rd year in a row, they told them which teacher they were going to have to start next year.  I got the teacher I requested for Gwen, but did not for Trevor.  They changed the configuration for the Gifted and Talented program.  They had previously had two multi-age classes - 4th and 5th combined - but decided to start the year next year with one teacher for all 4th and one teacher for 5th.  So that means, that for a lot of these kids, they are going to be with generally the same kids for 4 years straight.  I guess there are pluses and minuses to both, but it is somewhat hard to see the more positive aspects of it when there are some hard personality conflicts between a few of the kids.  I was so hoping for a relief from that for next year.

Regardless, the reports for both of the kids were great.  I didn't even think it was possible to improve on Gwen's report card from midway through the year, but she did.  I think she got along and listened very well to her teacher, and loved all of her classmates.  There isn't anything I would do any differently over the course of the school year.  She has grown so much, with the help of her classmates and teacher.  I hope she will have a wonderful 1st grade in her transition to eating lunch at school.  That's really what I think is going to be the most tricky for her.  I can bet though, that she won't be the first person who will have a big adjustment to that part of school.  So I'm not really that concerned.

Trevor also either improved or stayed the same as to his report card elements.  I think responsibility-wise we have really made improvements on how he handles his school work, and hopefully can carry that in to the next year.  One thing that I hope to work with him on is his ability to realize when a problem presents itself that he doesn't know with certainty, that it is ok to ask for help.

Gwen and I were able to help out at the all 3rd grade party the last day of school.  It took place in the morning, so that's how Gwen got to come with us.  She loved feeling like a big kid, as she always does.  She even got to have a sno-cone since they had some leftovers.  Their theme was Hawaiian.  To bad the weather was more winter like than Hawaiian.  This weather has just been so crazy!

Both kids got their yearbook, and while Trevor doesn't really pay much attention to his, I think it may be interesting for him to have and look back on when he is older.  Gwen on the other hand, eats that stuff up!  She is able to tell you all the kids that she knows, and it is primarily the older kids because they help them being the bus patrol.  She also knows a bunch of kids from dance, Kids Safari (after school program) and any of the siblings that go to Trevor's sporting events.  When she got her yearbook, she spent a good hour plus paging through all the pages of her yearbook noticing who she knew from each class.  Because she is in the afternoon class, she was able to participate in the 5th grade clap-out.  The 5th graders get to walk around the school at the end of the day while the rest of the students and staff clap for them.  Gwen said she got a little sad to know that they won't be back at her school next year.  I have a strong feeling that she is going to be one of those kids that during her clap-out, she will be crying.  Maybe even Trevor's too.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  The summer vacation has started.  We still need to do a little bit more work on setting expectations for the summer.  We might have to invest in something to keep the mosquitoes out of the backyard because Trevor doesn't to be out side when they are swarming.  Next week Gwen's activities start, with Trevor's 3 times a week hockey clinics.  I'll just be happy to get the long sleeves packed away.  Maybe even the winter jackets?  Please?  Bring on the summer weather for summer vacation!