Tuesday, August 31, 2010

September's New Year's Resolution Experiment

My change for August was to track all my food and write everything down. I did it! I tracked every single thing I ate (even the 600 calorie Dairy Queen Blizzard!) and owned up to the good, the bad, the ugly. Overall, I was surprised at how much I was eating and how much of it wasn't necessary. I am still in love with It really is amazing to see how many calories I have left in the day. Of course, there were many, many ugly days when I went way over my allotted calories. My weight fluctuated back and forth the same few pounds. I believe I've finally lost at least 2 lbs. I am not going to meet my goal by losing 25 lbs by Thanksgiving, but I am not going to give up either. I've come to realize I have serious issues with food and need to get the snacking under control.

My change for September is to no longer be connected all hours of the night. I am no longer going to sleep with the iTouch next to my bedside table. I will no longer check email and/or Facebook every time I turn over and glance at the monitor to see how Sam is doing.

I am hoping this change will help me realize what a nut I've become. It is not necessary to be checking email throughout the night. I really don't have anything that important that comes across my inbox during the daylight hours, let alone at 2:00am. I really need to be sleeping better. By not having the iTouch within reaching distance will help.

My mom, upon seeing how obsessed I was when she came to visit, was really hoping I'd not touch the computer for 2 days each week and really give myself a break. She thinks the constant checking email and Facebook is stressing me out. While I don't think I am ready yet to give it up 2 days a week, I can certainly try one month without being able to connect during the middle of the night. Baby steps.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

This little piggy cried all the way home

We've come far, far, far since Ian was 2 years old and Jeff would have to sit on top of him in order to cut his finger-and toenails. We'd stop all food and liquid an hour beforehand, in case he was going to throw-up from all the screaming and thrashing around. What a nightmare the experience was!

My fabulous friend Molly told me how her mother accomplished this with her son, Laine. She would wait until Laine was asleep and then trim her grandson's nails till her heart's content. I gave it a try with Ian and it has been peaceful trimming ever since.

About a week ago, I was unsuccessful getting to Ian's toenails 2 nights in a row. I managed to get one foot done and then he would squirm and bring his leg up under his body, like he was doing the yoga move "child's pose". It was getting frustrating and on Sunday morning, I asked Ian if I could just please have his other foot and finish the job. Ian, of course, said no and Jeff somehow managed to talk him into it. We gave Ian the iTouch to play and keep his mind off it. I was able to trim the 5 remaining toes without any problems. Ian was exceptional through the experience and didn't even squirm. Yay!

Sam sees me cut Ian's toenails and comes over and gives me her foot to do. It has never been problem doing Sam's toes and fingers. I do her one foot and then she gives me the other foot. I do that foot and then she hands me her hand. After the first hand is done, she gives me to the 2nd hand to do. All the while, she is sitting calmly in my lap and watching tv. When Sam is done, I tell Ian, "See how good Sam is at this. She WANTS me to cut her nails. Obviously it doesn't hurt or else she wouldn't let me do this. Can I please try your fingers now?" Ian agrees and in under 2 minutes, I have both hands done.

I credit Sam with showing her big brother a thing or two. Through her example, Ian was able to see that this is not painful. Go Sam!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The case is building

We just had a very nice visit from my mom and stepfather, Jim. The kids adore their grandparents and it was nice taking a break from Sam's screaming and temper tantrums. With Mom-Mom around, it is non-stop laughing you hear. A most welcome and appreciated change.

One of the days they were here, we decided to go to Great Country Farms (in Bluemont, VA) and go peach picking. I've heard great things about Great Country Farms and wanted to check it out. They have a petting farm, putt-putt golf, wagon ride to the orchards, and much more to keep you entertained. It does cost $8.00 a person to enter, but I figured it would be worth it if it occupied our afternoon. I packed us a picnic lunch and we drove the hour it takes to get there.

Once we got there, we decided we'd eat first and then go pick peaches. While Mom and Jim were setting up the picnic, I ventured inside to purchase our passes. I asked the lady at register how the peach picking was today, and she replied back with, "We are not picking peaches today; only jalapeno peppers." WHAT!?!?! No peaches today? It is written all over your Website that peach picking goes until late August. Oh no! The kids aren't going to do well picking peppers (jalapeno ones at that!), and I wouldn't even know what to do with them if we brought some home. Ugh!!

So I proceed back outside to where our picnic was and deliver the bad news. I ask the group if they think it is worth it to still pay the $32 and stay for the other things Great Country Farms has available. I had visions of getting inside and 10 minutes later, Ian and Sam are miserable with how hot it is and want to leave.

I was truly on the fence on leaving after lunch, or making a go of it and seeing how long we could last. I also could see us coming back in the Fall, picking apples or pumpkins and really enjoying being outside in the cooler weather. This place looked awesome!!

At one point, Ian asked me "Momma, what is your opinion on what we should do?" HUH?!?!?! Was this my son asking me what we should do?!?!? Really? And was it too good to be true that he was asking this in front my mom and stepfather? Wowee!!

We ended up deciding we would leave after lunch was over. We realized, we could still check out the pig, rabbit, and roosters that were within our reach. Plus, Jim and Ian wanted to take a walk down to the water. And of course, Mom and I wanted to check out their store. As we were tossing around different ideas, Ian then asks me, "Momma, what do you think the plan should be?" Oh my! It just keeps getting better and better.

What a nice change of pace....Ian asking me what I think we should do, rather than him telling me what to do. I could get used to this. Of course, I still have in the back of my mind that I have an "Eddie Haskell" on my hands. You know, all polite and sweet in front of adults, and then the minute he is out of their earshot, he becomes a little devil.

I laugh when I think that Ian planned this exactly the way he wanted it to go down. Because when I answered him back on what the plan should be, I included stopping for ice cream on the way home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kindergarten rant! - Annoyance #3

I've saved the biggest annoyance for the end of my rant series. The reason this is the biggest? Because it doesn't end!! Whereas the National Building Museum and the seat belt debacle will have a nice, clean finish to the story, my annoyance with Ian in kindergarten will continue for an entire year. Allow me to explain....

Fairfax County has 139 elementary schools. Of the 139 elementary schools, 101 elementary schools offer a full day kindergarten and the rest are only half day. Guess which group we fall in? Ding. Ding. Ding. Yep, you got it. In 2 weeks, Ian will be starting half day kindergarten. There was a plan to roll out all the elementary schools to a full day kindergarten, but somewhere along the way, budget cuts happened and it was this, among other cutbacks that ended up on the chopping block. Ugh! So not only will Ian's school not go to full day, it may never happen...not even in time for when Sam starts school in 3 years.

To make matters worse, all Fairfax County elementary schools offer an early dismissal on Mondays to give the teachers time for lesson plans. So, my child's half day kindergarten gets cut even shorter on Mondays. Folks, I am not making this up. I find Mondays to be a complete joke and a waste of time.

Here's Ian's schedule for the 2010-2011 school year:
Please keep in mind that I have requested the afternoon session. There is a morning session that meets and dismisses before Ian's begins.

Monday: 10:25am to 12:30pm
Tuesday thru Friday: 11:40pm to 3:00pm

Here's the real kicker -- last year, Ian went to preschool, Monday thru Friday, from 9:30am to 1:30pm. As a Pre-K student his day was longer than it will be in kindergarten. Seriously. And, Ian's 2 year old sister, going to preschool this year will be there for a longer period of time than his brother on the 2 days she attends.

I don't think I'd be so annoyed if it was uniform all across the county and every kindergartner had the same schedule. It doesn't seem fair to me that a good majority of the 5 year olds out there will have a major advantage to learn more and have double the amount of time in which to do it. The curriculum for all kindergartners are the same regardless of how much time they are in school, but the opportunity for enrichment programs (music, computers, phys-ed, etc) will all be condensed in order to fit in the core learning. It frustrates me to no end that this injustice is currently in play.

How is this fair? How can this possibly continue? Either make all the kindergartens full day or have everyone be half day. It just isn't right.

I keep hearing from everyone what a huge step kindergarten is and how its hard to believe our kids are old enough to go. But, I have to be honest with you. I feel like I am going backwards from what Ian was doing last year in Pre-K. With a 2 hour day on Mondays and 3 hours the rest of the week, I won't hardly have time to even miss him.

Monday, August 23, 2010

If only the seatbelt wasn't that necessary. - Annoyance #2

In the 8 years and over 125,000 miles I've had my car, I've always taken it to be serviced at the Honda dealership in the NoVa area. I've never had one complaint and feel like I am well taken care of. They will have my business for as long as I live in the area. This past Saturday, however, had me rethinking my strategy.

I called on a Monday to make an appointment for regularly scheduled maintenance. While getting my requested service day and time for that Saturday, I mentioned to the service rep that my driver's side seatbelt was not clicking easily. You need to slam the seatbelt in to get it to catch. It was getting frustrating every time I got in to drive somewhere and would have to deal with this easily 4 or 5 times a day.

The service guy said they would take a look at it when I brought the car in. Fast forward to Saturday at 10:00am. I pull the car up in the service lane and go to check in. I give my information for the service department to look up my record. Mr. X reads my file and says I am there for the oil change and am having seat belt problems. Without even looking at the seat belt, he instantly tells me that they will have to order the part and it will take 3 or 4 days. WHAT!?!?! I politely respond with, "If you knew I was going to need a new seat belt, why didn't you order the part when I called to make the appointment on Monday?" Mr. X had no response to this. I then asked how long will it take to install, once the part arrives. Mr. X says, "1.5 hours, because they have to take the seat out."

You've got to be kidding me. So now I am waiting 1.5 hours for the oil change (Fine. I was expecting that.), but now I need to come back and find another 1.5 hour block of time to give the car to them for the seat belt to get fixed. Completely ridiculous and very annoying.

I just wished they had the forethought to order the part when I called them on that Monday. I guess I expected more from them.

Stay tuned for annoyance #3 and the biggest one yet.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Building a better system one lego at a time. - Annoyance #1

Things, events, people are annoying me! My next 3 blog entries, starting with this one, will be dedicated to the biggest offenders. I usually can let most stuff roll off my back and move on, but not this. Enjoy these rants and if you wish, feel free to write in with your own annoyances. It is freeing getting them off your chest.

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. is having an amazing Lego exhibit. On display are large-sized replicas of famous landmarks (St. Louis Arch, Empire State Building, etc). My Toppall team and I found ourselves with a rare, free afternoon on a recent Sunday and decided to head downtown to visit the museum. I had heard from my friend Amy, who went the day before, that tickets had been sold out on that particular Saturday and they purchased tickets to return the next weekend.

I looked online at The National Building Museum's Website to see if tickets could be purchased online or through a phone call. No. The only way to get tickets was to go in person. Tickets could be purchased up to 2 weeks in advance. Jeff and I decided we would arrive before they opened and hope for the best that same-day tickets were available for those that didn't get them in advance.

Upon our arrival, which was 15 minutes before the doors opened, there was a sign posted stating that tickets for the entire day were already sold out. Ugh! So we went with our back-up plan to get tickets to return on Sunday, August 29th.

Here is my big-time frustration: In this day and age of technology, why is it not possible for them to have ticket purchase available online? Why must you go in person to museum? Why do they not state somewhere on their Website which days are already sold-out before you pack up the kids and schlep (Yiddish for: A tedious or difficult journey) down there? Furthermore, why in the world do they not keep a small reserve of tickets available for same-day purchase? This makes no sense!

I am beyond annoyed. The only good thing is that we live close enough to be able to come back and visit. I can't imagine the disappoint of tourists who are out of state and are not able to fit this in to their sightseeing because of the antiquated, ridiculous ticket system they have set-up.

I always try to look at the bright spot and focus on the good -- once we got the tickets for our return viewing of the Lego Exhibit, I had Jeff and the kids accompany me to The American Art Museum, which was only 3 blocks away. They have a Norman Rockwell exhibit that I was dying to see. I love, love, love Norman Rockwell art. Other than Sam screaming almost non-stop from the minute we got in (they said no strollers were allowed and she was very relaxed when we had to surrender the stroller) and Ian complaining about needing to eat lunch (because, you know, we starve the kids), it was a wonderful exhibit. Kudos to Jeff for realizing how important this was to me and helping to do damage control while I looked around at the paintings.

But in the true fashion of what Norman Rockwell created in his art, you can't get more every day Americana than a two-year old screaming, a five-year old complaining about being hungry, a mom doing her best to ignore the chaos that is following her from exhibit room to exhibit room and an exasperated father wishing with all his might that this turmoil would end as soon as possible. I am sure Mr. Rockwell would have had a field day recreating our outing to the museum.

Stay tuned for annoyance #2. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Minute to win it!

Now that Ian's bedtime has officially moved to 8:30pm, he has noticed a whole new world of television programming that he previously missed out on by going to bed. One evening, as his bedtime was approaching, Ian came into my room to say goodnight and give me a kiss. Jeff was getting ready to read Ian his bedtime stories. Ian noticed I was watching the game show, "Minute to Win It". Instantly Ian was captivated and loved what he was seeing.

Next thing you know, the number of bedtime stories getting read went from 3 down to 1 because it took that long to get Ian to leave my room and go to his. Ian quickly figured out that this game show is on every Wednesday at 8:00pm. Ian had Jeff set up the DVR to record each episode so that when he wakes-up the next morning he can watch the remaining 30 minutes.

A few weeks ago, Ian came to me early in the evening and asked if I'd like to watch the show with him in his bed. How cute is that!?!?! Of course, I'd be delighted. While we were watching it, this one couple effortlessly sailed through what looked like an extremely difficult challenge. When it was over, I excitedly said, "Holy crap!" Ian then replies with, "Yeah, holy crap!". Uh-oh! Guess I temporarily forgot I was watching this with a 5 year old.

When this couple got to the $500,000 challenge, the host, Guy Fieri, asked them what they planned to do with all this money should they win this level. While this cute couple is answering, Ian is also dreaming and answering the question. Ian's idea of what to do with $500,000? He would have Rocknoceros (children's band) play in his backyard and get himself a minivan. Oh, if Ian only realized how many minivans he could buy with $500,000.

Last week I was having so much fun watching "Minute to Win It" with Ian in his bed, that when 8:30pm came, I couldn't turn it off. I told Ian he could stay up to the end. I guess this is what Ian was hoping when he invited me to come to his room to watch it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letters, letters, everywhere

Here's a little snapshot of life at our house. I love how Sam is getting more vocal and able to string words together to vocalize her thoughts.

One evening, not too long ago, I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready. Sam is playing with all the magnetic letters on the refrigerator. She then decides to take each letter and throw them all over the kitchen floor. When she is done having fun making that mess, I tell Sam, "Ok, now pick them up and put them back on the refrigerator."

Sam walks to the first letter she sees, bends down to pick it up and puts it back where it belongs. She then turns around and sees all the other letters on the ground and says to me, "Help me out here."

It was really cute and an offer I couldn't refuse.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Heard and Observed XIII

Ian: Momma, I am halfway to 10. What are you halfway to?
Me: Um, 80.


Ian: Momma, I forgot to tell you, it was a little brother I wanted. Not a little sister.


Ian and I are driving in the car, listening to the radio. The announcer comes on and gives a weather report. "The low tonight will be 68 and it is currently 90 degrees right now."

Before the announcer can even finish giving the weather report for the rest of the week, Ian says "that means it will drop 22 degrees". OMG!!


Coming downstairs one evening and discovering Ian hanging out in his underwear -- something he normally never does. Apparently Ian was getting ready for a bath and got distracted with something or other.

Me: Ian, you look so cute hanging out in your underwear.
Ian: Aw Mom, you don't need to blog about this.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Shouting it from the rooftops!!

My great friend Molly finally told me about this amazing Website she had discovered some time ago and uses daily. After reading my blog about "August's New Years Resolution Experiment" and the tracking I set out to do with everything I eat, she casually mentioned it in an email to me.

This website, is UNBELIEVABLE!!! They offer a free 7 day trial and after that it is only $9.00 a month. Beyond keeping track electronically every food you eat, it analyzes it for you and gives you real-time results on the data.

Upon registration, you input your current weight, what your goal weight is and how much you would like to lose per week. As you enter your food during the day, you can find out at any point, how many calories you have left to maintain your weight, lose the amount per week you want or lose the absolute max amount of weight they feel safe for you to lose.

There is also a section for entering activity. From anything like standing still to shopping to running a marathon, you can get credit for and gain more calories to eat in your day.

Here's the part I especially love, as you enter your breakfast, snacks, lunch, whatever, you can view the details and see by color code what is considered very healthy, healthy, unhealthy and very unhealthy. So I am able to tell at a glance if I am getting enough fiber, protein, fat, carbs in my diet. Or, if I am consuming too much sodium, saturated fats, etc and that would be a bad thing. At the end of the day, I am able to see my daily totals and find out if I fell within the recommended ranges for all of the above. Such great reporting!

It is no secret that I love Weight Watchers and believe strongly in the program. But the reason I think I hit a major plateau is because I never knew how much points I should eat for all the exercise I do. I am extremely active and I was afraid to eat as many points as they'd have me. By doing My Food Diary, I take all the guesswork out of it and it becomes more black and white.

This website is changing my life. The data, reports, analysis is helping me reach my goals and become a healthier eatier. It is super easy to use and I can even access it on the go using my blackberry.

Now if only Molly told me about this website sooner. I wonder what else she is keeping from me.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

yeah sure, shipping is free

Ian wanted a watch, so I had him pick one out on Amazon. He found this really cool looking Batman watch. It was only $9.00 and I was excited about the deal we were getting. With just another $16 bought on, I'd be eligible for free shipping. Surely, it makes more sense to spend the $16 on stuff I would get anyway, then to spend $5 in shipping a $9.00 item. Right? Are you with me?

So I discovered that Jillian Michaels has a new kettlebell exercise DVD coming out on September 7th, and Amazon is taking pre-orders. Yay! Yippee! This is perfect and I would've really gotten this DVD no matter what. So I put it in my cart and realize I still need to spend another $6.00 to make it to the $25.00 limit I am trying to obtain. While on the exercise DVD page, I see one that catches me eye. It is a Jackie Warner, Total Body Circuit workout. Perfect! I add this to the cart and proceed to check out. I click on free shipping and await the confirmation in my inbox. Turns out, because I am doing free shipping and Jillian Michael's DVD isn't available until September 7th, Amazon will hold everything and ship it at the same time, set to arrive approx. the 3rd week in September. Oh no! I wanted Ian to be able to get his watch now, not in 6 weeks. So I had an idea.

Why not go into "MY ACCOUNT" section on Amazon's website and modify my order. I'll take Jillian's DVD out of the shipment and add in a different item that is available to ship now. Since I am very much into Heart Rate Training and working out more efficiently, I'll look at these books and see if there is a good guide book to get. I found the most perfect sounding one "Heart Rate Training for the Complete Idiot". So I add this to the cart and do one click checkout. Are you still with me?

Now, all I needed to do was go into the "MY ACCOUNT" section and combine the two orders. I'll take out Jillian's DVD and let that hang in my cart until September when it becomes available. Once I have the other 3 items listed and shown as all being available, I can reclick "free shipping" and get the order in the next 2 days. Yay! Simple, right?

It wasn't letting me combine the orders. Uh-oh!! So I called customer service at Amazon and told them what I was trying to do. The rep said that my first order (it was placed less than an hour before!) was too far into the fulfillment process to stop it and there was nothing I could do. She did offer to cancel my 2nd order (the heart rate training guide for the complete idiot), but I was so intrigued by this book and what it could do for me, I couldn't tell her yes to cancel the order.

So Ian's $9.00 watch, now was costing a total of $15.00 in shipping over two orders. So not what I intended. I was just hoping for free shipping.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet Summer Fun - Part 6 (a.k.a. Now, THAT was crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I take full responsibility for what I am about to report on. Really, it was all my fault. I used poor judgement and should've known better, especially when so many kids were involved. Oh my!

I have to say that I don't know when enough is enough. Jeff points it out to me many times that I should give up and throw in the towel way before I find that limit. But there is something in me that doesn't allow that to happen and of course everyone suffers in the end. Only this time I brought many innocent mothers and their kids in to my normal crazy day. Fortunately these are all good (no, make that GREAT) friends and they have a sense of humor.

Last Thursday, I planned a fun pool party for the afternoon and invited a bunch of our friends to join us. While at the pool, we'd order pizza for dinner. I even made cupcakes for us to enjoy afterwards. We had a great turn out and 6 moms and 16 kids were able to make it. This was not even including us!

The weather forecast called for a strong chance of severe thunderstorms. But when we started on our outing to the pool, the sky was crystal clear and sunny. I was at Wolf Trap the night before and saw a dark, gloomy sky above and had the good fortune that I didn't get rained on. I was hoping the luck would continue at the pool and whatever clouds appeared would continue to blow by.

We arrived at the pool at 2:40pm and the kids were having fun. At 3:15pm, the whistle was blown and the pool was shutting down. The lifeguard heard thunder and that was the sign it was time to get out of the pool. Yes, there were some dark clouds above. And, yes, I do agree, it looked like it was going to pour, but surely we'd have time to eat the cupcakes first, right? After going to the trouble to make these cupcakes from scratch, I was determined to let the kids enjoy them. Plus, did I really want to get stuck with 2 dozen cupcakes? No sirreeeee!!

So as everyone is scrambling out of the pool, I threw out my idea to gather around and have a cupcake. I've come to find out later that two of the moms thought my suggestion was completely bonkers. But I really did think we'd have enough time before.....

The rain, lightning, thunder all seemed to start in the same second. It was nuts. One second we were dry (well, actually still wet from just having been in the pool), and the next second, we were drenched and cupcakes were flying off the table from the high winds. It was out of control! The kids were mere seconds into eating their cupcakes. They got scared and we couldn't get our stuff together fast enough to high tail it out of there. We quickly made our way to the lifeguard/bathrooms/community center building and got our bearings.

Because we live so close, I walk to the pool. This time I not only had the two kids with me, but also my friend Susanne and her three kids walking too from my house. I pack a big wagon and fill it with everything but the kitchen sink. Now our close walk back to the house seemed like a continent away and getting there would require Noah's Ark.

I invited whoever wanted, to come back to the house; at the very least to dry off and get changed. My friend Carol came to our rescue and drove Ian, Sam, and me home. I left my wagon behind. My friend Dawn took Susanne and her 3 kids back to my house too. In both instances I am sure the kids were in shock getting thrown into the front seat of the car and taking off without even a thought of a car seat. (A quick reminder....I live literally around the corner...this would never be done in any other circumstance.)

Of the 6 moms in attendance, I had 3 moms and a total of 9 kids back at the house. There was a crazy number of towels being used in an attempt to get everyone dry. It was insane and the sheets of rain kept falling and falling without letting up. It was a monsoon! Once back in dry clothes, the kids quickly found themselves in our rec room playing. The four of us stayed in the living room area and hung out, sitting on the floor, recovering from the experience.

We ended up ordering pizza and making the best of the situation. Our playdate finally came to an end around 6:30pm. The kids had a fun time playing and the moms had a rare opportunity to sit and chat for a few hours without worrying if the kids were going to drown.

It didn't take long before we could look back on the situation and start laughing. Specifically when the pool has just announced it is closing and I say, "I think we have enough time for cupcakes." Yeah, right. Like I said, me and when 'enough is enough' don't usually see eye to eye on the first try.

Before the group left my house, we decided we needed to get together again next Thursday. Fortunately it appears my mommy friends don't know when enough is enough of me either. :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

How sweet it is!

My little girl has her first crush. The other night she was drawing a picture and upon completion, took the piece of paper to show Daddy. Sam then said, "Nathan...mail....Nathan...mail." She wanted to mail her picture to Nathan. How cute is that!?!?!

Nathan is the younger brother of Ethan and 3 weeks older than Sam. Because Ian and Ethan are such good friends, the two younger ones find themselves together frequently. Through out the week, they attend camp together, go to the kids club at the gym and generally get tagged along to the older two boys' activities.

One time we had pulled up at the traffic light and Jen's minivan was right next to our car. Sam loved this and recited Nathan's name all the way to Chuck E. Cheese, where we were headed. Now, whenever we are at that same intersection, Sam starts asking for Nathan.

I know this is projecting extremely far ahead into the future, but if things do work out for Sam and Nathan, I couldn't ask for a better family for her to become a part of. And to think we would have pictures of them together from the very beginning. Which in my book, gives Nathan the leg up on any competition that could come along in kindergarten. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Swimming to the top

I am convinced that Ian is going to grow up and become the head of a company or a politician. He is a born leader. He has a way of working the situation to his benefit and takes care of others along the way.

Ian has been taking swim lessons twice a week for the past month and a half. His swim teacher is one of the lifeguards at the pool we frequent. Tommy, the swim teacher/lifeguard, does not have the best conversational skills. Ian uses this weakness to his advantage and Tommy doesn't stand a chance during their 30 minutes together each lesson.

To start with, Ian talks non-stop during the lesson. Tommy can't get a word in. Ian tells Tommy what they are going to work on. "Let's start with a warm-up going once around the pool." or "How about I work on kicking now?" Tommy will try to tell Ian to swim to a certain point in the pool to him and Ian will reply with, "No, I am going to swim to there first (a destination much closer)." After Ian has accomplished that. Ian will then tell Tommy, "Ok, I'll swim to where you want me to go just once. And for doing that, I get an extra piece of candy."

Then they'll move on to the next activity and Ian will negotiate how that is going to play out. It is really something watching this in action. Ian speaks with such confidence that you can't help but believe he knows what he is doing. And taking on a 6 foot college student is quite spectacular.

Tommy's head must be spinning by the time the lesson is over. Ian pretty much runs the lesson and in the process scores 4 lollipops by the time they are through. Now here is the part I am really in awe of -- when the lesson is over each time and Ian goes to collect the candy, he turns around and hands out a piece to Sam, his friend James, and James' little sister Ashley. Plus, he still has one lollipop for himself. Got to give the kid credit. He is brilliant.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's all about time

Ian is obsessed with the time. Time of day. Time until we leave to go somewhere. Time until we head back home. Time until we will eat lunch. How long will the playdate lasts. How long is party going to be. How many minutes until we get there. It is getting out of control and borders on the obnoxious.

At first I was amazed at how well Ian could understand time and even do the calculations on various hour/minute equations. Ian would ask, "What time is the birthday party?" I would answer, "1:00pm to 2:30pm". Ian would then instantly come back with, "Oh, so it is 90 minutes long." Or, we will be driving in the car and the time on the radio would say 9:37am. Ian would tell me that we have 23 minutes to get there by 10:00am. It is pretty impressive for a kid his age to be able to have this level of comprehension, but it is also becoming tiring to answer his questions over and over again. Every time we travel somewhere new. Every time we arrive at said destination. Every time we get back home. Every time we talk about the plans for the next day. It doesn't end!

Ian has a watch, but it is a Thomas the Train design and he doesn't like to wear it. Believe me, I am going to change that and get him a watch he does like to wear. This week. In 2 days, 5 hours, 22 minutes and 13 seconds. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sweet Summer Fun - Part 5

I spoke way too soon about how fantastic he was and what a joy to be around. OMG! Somebody shoot me now!

For a few months now, my friend Kristin and I had it on the calendar to take the kids to Chesapeake Beach on Thursday, July 29th. I knew I'd be there two times earlier in the month with the whole family and could gauge how easy it would be to attempt this on my own with the kids. Both prior visits were amazing experiences and it got me very excited to return back on a random Thursday when most people are at work or on a real beach vacation elsewhere.

Taking two active, spirited kids by myself was a piece of a cake. Why, you ask? Because for the 3.5 hours we were there (10:00am to 1:30pm), Ian never got off his beach chair. He sat there and complained on and off the entire time we were there. I am not kidding. "I don't like the beach." "I hate the sand." "I am sooooooo hot." "I don't want to be here." "I don't want to go in the water." "I don't like the sun." "This is not my summer." "My day is off to a bad start." "I just want to relax."

In between the complaints, I'd also hear the following, "What time is it now?" "What time will we eat lunch?" "What time are we leaving?" And this pattern would repeat itself often enough to be ridiculously annoying.

I was ready to strangle the kid!! Although, because Ian wouldn't budge from the beach chair (positioned directly under the umbrella, mind you), I was able to devote all my time and attention to Samantha. She was having a fantastic time and her temper tantrums and screaming were at a minimum. I guess I got better at either figuring out what she wanted or could read her mind faster than she was able start communicating. The big downfall was her lunch -- potato chips, chocolate chip cookie, and chocolate ice cream. I guess I covered all the major food groups with that variety, right? But at this point, am I really going to start arguing with a 2 year old to eat her sandwich when I was already having such major issues with the 5 year old? I think not.

Looking back, I wonder if I set us up for failure. I have a feeling it would've been a very different experience for all of us, if Ian had even one of his best buddies there to play with. In the past we had gone several times with Ethan and his mom. Ian and Ethan would play for hours on end and the time flew by. You didn't even know they were there unless it was time to eat or they needed a drink.

I am now rethinking camp being only 3 days a week for Ian. It's never too late to add in Thursdays and Fridays, right? We still have 3 weeks to go before we will have 2 weeks entirely open without even camp being offered. Oy!

Chocolate ice cream before the ride home. Good for what ails you. Ian finally has a smile on his face.