Friday, July 30, 2010

After the vacation

The vacation was very fun & Roman especially handled things very well. Only 2 small meltdowns, both easily calmed & controlled. This week has been VBS at church, which is more of a challenge. Charlie has fun, but he does not like being away from us for 3.5 hours a day while Ro and I participate in classes. And as much as I like older kids, I'm thinking of doing 3rd grade next year!

Roman finished his baseball season last night. His coaches did the best they could, but it certainly wasn't the learning experience we had hoped he'd have. Not sure what we'll do next year. Football starts in August. We got ourselves into an interesting situation with that. It's Roman's first time with flag, and apparently we signed up for the wrong league for an introductory season! The one we signed up with has practice 3x a week for 2.5 hours. Seriously. For 7-year-olds. We didn't discover this until we had paid the fee. The more we think about it (plus games on Sundays!) we are not ready to commit to this during the school year. So we are thinking of defecting to another league in the area, one that does practice 1x a week plus games. I can handle that. Just an expensive lesson learned.

Myself, I'm getting pretty tired of arranging doctor appointments. Roman and I are both on medication where we have to check in with a doctor at regular intervals. It's getting quite tiresome, because for family convenience we schedule in the afternoon - and Charlie naps from 1-3pm most days. so I end up hiring babysitters to cover almost every time I'm gone. I feel like I've spent the summer coordinating things - playdates, doctors, errands, babysitters. Looking forward to a respite in August, I hope.

Otherwise, we keep plugging along. I usually start thinking about school around this time, but this summer - not at all. I think being on a cart for yet another year, plus 3 of my 5 classes are electives, I'm feeling a bit... not excited. It's easy to blow it off if it doesn't really "count" you know? Ah well, another week or two and I'll start updating my parent letters anyway.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kentucky Friday

I'm sure you're not surprised to learn we went swimming this morning as soon as the pool opened at 9. Yeah. After that and an early lunch, the 3 oldest went to a kids' program. Charlie fell asleep in my lap at 11:30am after eating some mac & cheese. Really cute. When he awoke, Doug and I and C. went into Grand Rivers one more time to poke around. The 2 brothers & their wives went golfing, and parents-in-law also poked around here and there. We all met back up at the dock where the boys were feeding the turtles at the end of their program. We had a dinner of hamburgers and leftovers here at the condo, and ice cream to top off the week. Since we & the South Dakotans are heading out tomorrow morning for our homes, we went our separate ways to pack & organize, or in my case, track down the kids' stuff in two different condos & the car.

Tomorrow we load and it's a leisurely drive to Dayton, as Charlie can't do much longer in the car. And then home Sunday. As always at the end of a vacation, I wish we didn't have to go, but I look forward to getting home.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kentucky Thursday

Today was an interesting day. Doug went golfing with his 2 brothers & Serena, and Kathy offered to take the 3 older boys to a movie since it was a really hot day (no mini-golfing). Charlie & I went on our own adventure to the Nature Station. It was really fun, like a "Kentucky backyard" and we saw 4 different kinds of owls, bald eagles, vultures, a groundhog, deer, a bobcat, turkey, and the coolest - 2 red wolves (a very endangered species). Inside the Nature Station they had tanks with turtles, snakes, and flying squirrels, along with a kids' play area where you could examine animal skulls, skin, etc. and about 6 different pelts to touch. Charlie loved it.

We got back and after lunch, C. took a nap. And then the grumpies arrived. He woke up once yelling for me, but fell back to sleep. The second time he awoke he was just pissy. Crying at everything, changing his mind, whining, the worst. I took him for a golf cart ride and we went to look at the turtles by the restaurant, but he didn't want to leave when it was time so the crying and screaming started all over again. When everyone returned around 3pm from their varied pursuits, we all went swimming. C. was finally in a better mood. Roman is like a fish in the pool and loves doing tricks and practicing pushing off and doing jumps & "dives." Charlie has graduated to moving his arms and legs while we hold him under his armpits, and calling "I'm swimming!"

We went to Patti's 1880s Settlement for dinner. Very down-home country cooking but delicious. Another funny thing, this restaurant also allowed us to bring our own wine in but the waitstaff wasn't allowed to touch it. We had to bring our own opener and pay a dollar per wine glass. Anyway, it was a 2 hour meal but the kids were CHAMPS, seriously. Probably could've gotten a rousing game of cards going tonight but we are all tired from playing & digesting. I think we're all going to bed (9:20 local time!).

Tomorrow, our last full day here. The older boys are going to do a kids' program in the afternoon & I'm hoping to check out a couple antiques (crap?) stores in the area. Swimming of course, & dinner here in the condo to use up a lot of our food. Ice cream is planned in the town as a final sendoff.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kentucky Wednesday

Today began with a quick trip to Paducah to the Wal-Mart. I don't think we could get any more Kentucky-ish. We had a few things to pick up that the local IGA didn't carry. Roman did not go because Aunt Kathy offered to take the 3 older boys downtown on the golf cart & to check out the shops. Roman came back with a stuffed turtle named Mario, a smaller one for Charlie named Luigi, and Alek named his Yoshi (all names from Mario games). Not sure what Ian's turtle is named. All the boys are thrilled with them. I love boys who don't mind showing a little love for stuffed animals.

When we got back from W-M, I went with C & R to go swim with their cousins while Doug did some work. When we finished up and headed back for lunch, Scott & Serena had arrived from Atlanta. They went swimming with the boys AGAIN, while I decided to nap with Charlie for a couple hours. The afternoon brought... you guessed it... more swimming, then dinner out at the Yacht Club here on resort property. It was cool because even though it's a dry county, you can bring your own alcohol in and they will serve it. So we brought a couple bottles of red wine in. The food was great, I had shrimp. Yummy!

At the end of the meal, the waitress asked the boys if they'd like to feed turtles. Of course they would, so she brought out some stale rolls from the day before and led us out onto a little walkway by the kitchen. Below us in the bay were probably 75 to 100 turtles swimming around. It was so neat! By the end of this excitement, it was time for Charlie to hit the hay so we all headed back. I am now in our condo with the two boys while the rest of the adults party next door. I don't mind though, I make Doug do a lot of the kid stuff during the day while I chat. :)

Golf is on the agenda for tomorrow, 18 holes for 4 of them, mini-golfing for the rest. You bet I'm mini-golfing! As for weather, we haven't had any of the storms that appear to be passing by on the weather maps. It's been partly sunny or overcast, and humid every day. I start sweating just walking next door!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kentucky Tuesday

We decided to go adventuring today. We started at the north end of Land Between the Lakes National Park. As I was looking at the local brochure-map, something I had overlooked seemed to jump out at me - Fort Donelson National Battlefield! A Civil War battle site, just 40 minutes away! So we decided to head down there and work our way back up the LBL area. We did swing through the Elk & Bison Preserve, and we saw a herd of buffalo by a pond and 4 female elk. On our way out, just as hope was almost lost, we caught sight of a male elk with big, big antlers. Very cool!

We had packed a lunch and so we had a picnic before we headed into Fort Donelson. By the end of the first 3 stops, it was so blazin' hot that we decided to head back to the condo & swim, maybe stopping at the Nature Station on the way. Charlie, Roman, and myself all fell asleep so clearly there was no other stop! Once we got back to the condo, Roman went off to the beach with his cousins & we took Charlie to the indoor pool. Charlie is a fish! He is now jumping off the side into our arms, crab-crawling along the side back to the stairs, and actually was telling Doug to move so he could jump in without being caught. Not yet, mister!

Roman & cousins (and aunt & uncle) arrived at the pool, soon followed by Grandma, and I had a chance to read (gasp!) for a little. Happy Hour commenced around 4:30, followed by bbq chicken! Boys ask every night to be put to bed, they're so exhausted. I gave Roman a 15-minute warning for bed & his reply was, "I don't mind if we go now." Funny boys! Tomorrow will probably be a quick trip to Wal-Mart in Paducah (doesn't that sound very Kentucky-ish?) and then swimming all day again. The other aunt & uncle arrive tomorrow afternoon - more excitement!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Kentucky

Our place in Land Between the Lakes is very nice. It's a "loft condo" and our bedroom is in the loft area, which Roman loves. The deck is on stilts and overlooks the bay, which is cool. We watched turtles swimming around by the banks last night as burgers cooked on the grill. Very nice. But because we're on central time, Charlie woke up at 5:30 Central Time. Not cool.

The closest pool has a slide and is really really warm, not sure if that's condo or weather related. It's supposed to be high humidity and mid-90s through Wednesday. The boy cousins have begun playing like they just saw each other last week, not last Christmas. Although Charlie can't keep up with the older ones, and we all feel kind of bad for him.

In the Land Between the Lakes there is cool stuff like an 1850s settlement with costumed interpreters, a Nature Station, and a bison and elk preserve where they're trying to restore it to original landscape. Obviously need to check all that out. Today is just a matter of swim, explore, swim, hang out, and do not get in the car! Enough driving for a few days.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Charlie update

Charlie has been following Roman around all summer. He imitates Roman doing everything. His speech is coming along really fast now, with sentences being the norm now (although often leaving some words out). The connections he makes are pretty amazing. He is Opposite Boy when it comes to food & activities, liking everything Roman did not (& vice versa). One thing he did insist on, however, was a temporary tattoo. Roman has a sheet of them that he occasionally uses. He let Charlie have a tiger on his left forearm. When Charlie went to bed that night, he was crying & babbling. I went in and finally figured out – he wanted 2 more tattoos, one on his right hand and one on his right forearm. I had to promise he’d get one in the morning for him to finally calm down!

He had his first playdate this past Wednesday with Allie, the little sister of Roman’s friend. He was SO excited to play in their playroom & on the playscape in their yard. He also likes when Roman’s friends come over, as he thinks he gets to play with them too. Sometimes the friends will find him amusing, sometimes not.

While I had wanted to do a class or something with Charlie, I just couldn’t find the right one at the right time. I’ve tried to take him places that he could learn from then, like Domino’s Farms. We did a lot of swimming at my cousin’s over the 4th of July too. As he is Opposite Boy, he loves being outside in the sandbox, in the kiddy pool, blowing bubbles, even just wandering around and looking at bugs. Aside from the temper tantrums & limit-pushing, the boy is at a great age.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Roman update

Roman has had a busy & fun summer, according to him. He got to stay at his grandparents’ in SJ for a few days with me & Charlie, and he is also in Lego Camp this week in the mornings which he loves. Baseball continues every Thursday until the end of July, and while no real skills are being learned Roman still likes the sport and has definitely improved over last year. He has had lots of playdates with different friends & done errands with me with little complaining. Also, we got the game Lego Harry Potter for the Wii, so with any extra time he beats it downstairs to do a level.

On the internal side, Roman is struggling with an increase in anxiety. He has always struggled with separation, continuing to have nightmares about being “stolen” & asking lots of questions about what would happen if there was a tornado, if I had an allergy attack at a barn we visited, things of that nature. This anxiety has now extended to outside, where he basically refuses to play unless he’s on a bike. He will not go in the backyard because of bees & will not go to the park unless everything is inspected first – for bees, of course. Because this is interfering with daily life, we spoke with dr. who prescribes his meds & we started a new one. Hopefully it will work and in my words, be a “pill that will make him go in the backyard.”

He has much more to look forward to this summer – vacation next week where he sees his cousins from South Dakota, VBS, another few days with his cousin Eli at grandparents’ house, a trip to a fair, & another week-long camp locally. All that plus preparing, at some point, to start second grade! He has already picked out the backpack he wants.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

A letter from the American flag.

Some people call me Old Glory, others call me the Star-Spangled Banner, but whatever they call me, I am your flag; the flag of the United States of America.

I remember some time ago people lined up on both sides of the street to watch the parade, and naturally, I was always there, proudly waving in the breeze.

When your daddy saw me coming, he immediately removed his hat and placed it over his heart. Remember? And you, I remember you standing there straight as a soldier. You didn’t have a hat, but you were giving the right salute.

Remember your little sister? Not to be outdone, she was saluting the same as you, with her hand over her heart. Remember?

What happened? I’m still the same old flag. Oh, I have added a few more stars since your grandparents were children, and a lot more blood has been shed since those parades of long ago. But I don’t feel as proud as I used to. When I come down your street, you just stand there with your hands in your pockets. I may get a small glance, but then you look away.

I see children running around and shouting. They don’t seem to know who I am. I saw one man take off his hat and look around. He didn’t see anybody else with his hat off, so he quickly put his back on. Is it a sin to be patriotic? Have you forgotten what I stand for and where I’ve been? Omaha Beach, Guadalcanal, Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf.

Take a look at the memorial honor rolls sometime. Look at the names of those who never came back in order to keep this republic free. One nation under God. When you salute me, you are actually saluting them.

Well, it won’t be long until I’ll be coming down your street again. So, when you see me, stand straight and place your right hand over your heart. I’ll salute you by waving back. And I’ll know that you remembered.