Sunday, June 19, 2011

Weekend Top Five: Father's Day Edition

I haven't done a top five in ages but it has been awhile since I came off of a weekend feeling that we made the most of it and actually enjoyed it. This was a good one though.

5. First Boating Trip
We decided that since we had gone mini golfing for Mother's Day (our usual Father's Day activity) that we would do something different for Father's Day this year. We discovered that the little beach by our house has now added boat rentals to their offerings. So after church, we headed out for our first family boat adventure. It took us awhile to get the hang of it and the boys both had a turn at the oars. It was a fun adventure that we followed with swimming and playing in the adjacent a splash pad. Noah has asked if we can do kayaks next time and I think it's a great idea.

4. Aaron's First Tooth Fairy Visit
Aaron has watched two of his younger cousins and countless younger friends lose teeth all year and now he finally got his chance. His tooth had been loose for ages and with a little help from his brother (accidentally, I think) it became super loose while we were getting ready for our boating adventure. That night when we got home, we were teasing Aaron about pulling it out with a string and he vacillated between excitement of pulling it out with a string and whining about being scared to lose a tooth. However, while I was gone for the dog's walk, apparently they worked it out because as I was walking in the door I was greeted by a very excited six year old who had a hole in his mouth and tooth in his hand. For some reason, Aaron with a tooth hole looks very strange to me. Maybe it's because he's my baby and it's the last piece of babyhood left in the Wheelz Home :(

3. Harry Potter Round Three
I started reading the Harry Potter books right when they first came out and bought each one as they came out. Steve started sometime following. Noah has been asking for quite awhile now to read them and has been told all about them from the kids at school. I had been fighting it thinking that the plots are too mature and that they would scare him. But he has been reading the American Chillers and Michigan Chillers books for awhile and really enjoying them so this weekend I finally gave in and decided to get him the first one (our old copies have long since fallen apart due to over reading). Just like his father and me and millions of other readers, he was hooked. He actually forgot to play his allotted half hour of DS one day this weekend because he was so wrapped up in the story. When I took the boys to the park on Friday, the book went with us and while Aaron was doing his usual craziness at the splash pad, Noah settled himself at the end of some play equipment on the playground and read. Yes, he did stop to play on the equipment a little too.
2. Tree Climbing
Steve usually comes home from work Saturday around noon in a pretty grumpy mood and needed a break from us all. So I packed the kids up and we headed out to yet another park. This one has a large wooden castle structure and the kids had been asking all week to go. They played for a very long time while I settled at a table to read and then the next thing I heard was, "Mom, look at me". Noah had found some great climbing trees and scaled very high into one. A little piece of me was tempted to call him out of it, but I figured that this is what boys are meant to do during summer vacations and let him climb to his heart's content. I still can't believe how high he went. We followed the tree climbing with a quick walk through the woods (which I will be posting on later because I need plant identification help) but we turned around when I realized we were getting deep and didn't have bug spray. We have plans to return when we are better prepared.

1. Father's Day Gift Prep
We have made a tee shirt for Steve for Father's Day most years. This year was no different. The boys and I headed out for supplies and later to paint a shirt for Daddy. Of course, Aaron has always been a terrible secret keeper so luckily Daddy was good sport among Aaron's hourly comments of "Daddy, don't go downstairs" where the shirt was drying. He was very happy to put on his newest addition to his wardrobe this morning though.

Notice the smile on Aaron's face since it was taken about five minutes after the tooth came out :)

So it was a nice weekend and we all needed it. We're so very tired with the new summer routine and this week will prove to be a test in all of our patience and stamina. In addition to the regular tiring weekly schedule, the boys will be attending our church's HUGE VBS every night this week and not getting into bed until after 9 every night. Combine that with getting up early since I have to work and an additional activity since I will be teaching two hours of piano lessons an extra morning and we're going to desperately need next weekend to recuperate.

Let the Crazy Week Begin :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Memorial Weekend 2011

Memorial Weekend was several weeks ago now but I never posted on it and I wanted to have a record for the future. As silly as it seems, I find myself often looking back through this blog to find out what we did at different times through the years and I like having the record to refer to.

My birthday always falls right around the holiday weekend and it fell exactly on Memorial Day this year, which meant we had the whole day together as a family. Not that we did anything much, but that really didn't matter. Any day that the four of us have to just be together feels like a holiday, and to have temps in the mid 80's just added to the fun.

About a week before my birthday the birthday emails started pouring in for restaurant freebies, which we took full advantage during the holiday weekend. The funniest was Old Country Buffet. Because that restaurant has gotten quite expensive (or maybe it always was and we just didn't pinch pennies enough way back when), we had not been since Noah was in baby food. But when the coupon for a free dinner came in, we decided that it was time to go. The boys were HILARIOUS! They had never been to a buffet of any kind before and their heads were spinning from the time we walked in. They could not believe that they could actually take anything they saw to eat. Especially when it came time for dessert! They are still talking about the buffet :)

Saturday morning my parents came for our traditional birthday breakfast at Arnie's, followed by a birthday trip to the flower store. These trips are the reason that I have any landscaping in our yard whatsoever. I spent some time that afternoon planting and loved the look. Unfortunately in the two weeks since, several big wind storms have come through and the look hasn't survived as well as I would have liked :(

Memorial Day dawned sunny and warm from the beginning and Aaron, our water obsessed boy begged to set up the little pool we had last year. I had remembered that it was popped on the bottom ring but figured the other two would at least bring a little entertainment. Steve was not so thrilled when he took it out of the garage to find it was filthy and need to be cleaned. When I mentioned to Aaron that we couldn't have it going unless they helped clean it, they hemmed and hawed at first, but when I told them to don their bathing suits and gave them sponges for their feet, they went to work without too much delay. Using a ton of dish soap made suds at least a few inches deep and they boys had just as much fun with the soap as they did later with the actual pool.

It is amazing how boys don't notice FREEZING cold water as long as they can play and be crazy in it. Which they did all afternoon. Aaron even devised a Wipeout (based on the TV show) course complete with Steve throwing balls and other obstacles at them while they ran through into the pool. Silly boy!

Later that afternoon, we broke into the yummy birthday cake that my parents had gotten me from Arnie's on Saturday. It was yummy but huge so we took it over to the neighbor's to share and we had a nice time vi sting while indulging.

It was a nice holiday weekend. Now that school is out, we are settling into a summer routine.

And looking ahead to the next holiday weekend...Fourth Of July which is also a birthday for a member of the Wheelz Home.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Last Day of School

I sit here with a second and fourth grader in the house. When did THAT happen?

It was such a great year for both boys. I usually always take a picture of each of them on the front step on the first and last day of school and compare. While I was looking at pictures last night, I discovered that through the big mess on the first day of school this year, I cannot find the pictures I took of each individual boy that day. I do have the one of them together though on the first day.

As I sent them off to school, Noah in particular was pretty sad. He misses his friends in summer, but I think he misses the structure of school as well, even though I know he'd never admit it.

As I was getting ready to go into work this morning, I realized that I wouldn't have a chance to talk to their teachers after school in the rush of things so I sat down and wrote them each a very heartfelt email about how amazing I think they are. I found myself crying each time as I am overwhelmed by the excellent year that both boys had, completely due to their two incredible teachers.

I ran to the mall to get each of the teachers a gift card to put in their cards and then headed up to school for the end of year assembly. It is always a very long event but it is fun to be there and see which award each of the kids in the classes gets since we have come to know all of the kids in all the grades well, being such a small school.

For class awards, there were certainly no surprises. The boys got exactly what I thought they would. Aaron got the Best Reader award in academics and Most Enthusiastic in character. Noah got Author/ Illustrator award. His teacher said the sweetest thing when she presented it. She said that all year while she was reading his stories she had to keep reminding herself that they were written by a third grader. So sweet.

Aaron also received a special award from the Art Teacher as Most Improved. This was special I think because he was SO far behind in fine motor at the beginning of the year that we weren't sure if he would even be able to catch up. To have been recognized for that hard work was something very special.

The boys also both got awards for participating in the presidential fitness program and charms for mileage club. Noah ended up with 11 charms on his necklace this year. But then the PE teachers kept going for Noah. He received several Best in Class awards for different PE activities, which he receives every year. But this year he got another one. School records start in 3rd grade and he got the SCHOOL record for 3/4th grade pushups. 33! He said he could have done more but he was bored :) I guess he'll just have to break it next year.

I then sat down after the boys were in bed to some light reading, perusing some of the writing that Noah did this year in school, wondering why his teacher was so amazed by it. It was the most wonderful hour! Weaved in among his many writings about Mario for Ds were some amazing pieces of writing. It definitely gave me even more insight into that little boy's mind and Steve and I sat there stunned at some of these writings. So cool.

So begins summer vacation. I will be working a couple of days a week at Gymboree and teaching piano one morning a week. That still leaves us two days a week to just play, which is what I intend to do. We've all worked hard and earned it.

So let the fun begin!