Monday, July 28, 2014

Catching Fireflies


It's hard to tell from the photos, but we were out after dusk.  Rare, very rare that these boys are up after the sun sets in the summer....it just takes too long for night to come in the summer months.  Anyway, after bath and pajamas the boys found their flashlight and grabbed a old pickle jar (with holes in the lid!) and we headed out to the lawn next to the playground to see if we could find some fireflies.  They were everywhere!


No surprise that Hans didn't think twice about grabbing one or two. 


Freddie took a while to get up his courage but eventually caught a few in his hand as well.  It was so cute to see the lights flickering in the grass and watch the boys quickly dart in that direction to find the source. 

Hans declared "this is the funnest night ever, Mom" as we walked through the lobby back to the elevators.  Simple summer fun...flashlights, wearing pajamas outside of the apartment, and hunting fireflies.  Yep, it was a pretty great night.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Lover


Mom, do you know what book I'll never forget?  Little House in the Big Woods.  It's a great one.

Freddie and I have been working on his reading each night after Hans is in bed and then I read some from a chapter book to him.  I look forward to that time in the chair with him when the apartment is quiet and still.  Having that time with him is really a gift.

Several months ago he picked out some Magic Schoolhouse chapter books at the public school's book fair and he loves them, but mama, not so much.  They are the perfect  first chapter books for new readers with repetitive language and short sentences, but are painful to read aloud.  When reading aloud I try to select books which are not only engaging but are above a child's reading level because often the plot and vocabulary are rich and provide lots to talk about.  Too bad for me that Freddie repeatedly asks me to stop talking and just read so he can hear what happens next.  Ha!  Teacher Erin has to let go of the probing questions and just let him enjoy the story.

Anyway, it took some convincing that we should abandon the Magic Treehouse series and try out some of the Little House books.  He was not at all on board so I pretty much had to wield my Mama powers and lay it down...we are reading Little House in the Big Woods and that's that.  I did tell him if he really, really, really didn't like it after a few chapters we could abandon it and find something else.  And wouldn't you know, he loved it.  It's a classic, and he's at just the right spot for it.

We're now reading the next in the series, Farmer Boy, and he's equally enthralled.  He doesn't say much about the "whippings" and "lashes" the kids get as punishments which I thought he'd be curious about but he definitely asks about hunting and farming based on information in the books.  We are planning to make butter after reading about it in the book, but he has decided we should make cheese.  Let's just see how we do with butter first, ok?

As part of the summer reading program at the library he has the opportunity to rate books.  So far all he's rated all of them as 5 star books, but I am sensing he is beginning to get a better feel for what makes a 5 star book for him.  Watching this all develop is so exciting!  I hope his entering school in the fall enhances his love of books and desire to read.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A night at the theater


It's so nice to have a friend in town to get me out into the city after dusk!  And what better way to spend an evening in the city than taking in one of the many awesome musicals on Broadway.


Kinky Boots was fantastic!  You know a show has got to be good if it's convinced me to start wearing high heels more often.  Getting out in the evenings and laughing with a friend was quite a treat.  Need to get the next plan in the works.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Over the Brooklyn Bridge


We had a visitor in town so in between a pot of coffee and a bottle of wine we took Jessica on an adventure to explore a area of the city the boys hadn't ever visited.



It was a beautiful day so we took the train downtown and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge.


We weren't the only ones with this ideas as the bridge was really crowded, and surprisingly there seemed to be a fair number of locals, particularly on bike, trying to trudge across the bridge as well.  It's a great view of the city and a nice way to get to DUMBO (the area "down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) and the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

  



Before exploring we stopped for lunch, walking past the LONG line at Grimaldi's.  I may never get a bite of Grimaldi's because I am just not willing to stand in that line, ever!  Thankfully directly beyond Grimaldi's is one of our favorites:  Shake Shack!


Freddie opted to lounge as he lunched separate from the rest of us.  It tickled me to see him so content by himself having his lunch on the cool bench.  

 


After a yummy lunch we just walked and walked.  






The carousel is beautiful with the city skyline behind it.  

 


You know we don't walk past a carousel without riding.














The promenade that makes up Brooklyn Bridge Park is nicely done with lots spots to take in some sunshine and the view.  It has several piers which have been redone to include basketball courts, playgrounds, swimming pools, but probably the favorite spot with the boys was the exercise stations.


We pushed them on so we could get to a playground for a bit, but they REALLY would prefered to stay on the pier using the "machines" all afternoon.




It was a great day and so much fun to visit a new part of the city with a friend and the boys.  We'll be back to explore some more and I promise to get more pictures!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Camper

No more preschool means Freddie gets to experience Summer Camp! He has been pumped for weeks about going to summer camp, and although a lot of that excitement has to do with the mystique of something new, I am fairly certain this kid is going to thoroughly enjoy summer camp each year.

I ordered him a new lunch box for the occasion.  
I searched and searched for camp opportunities but like everything else in the city they were too expensive.  $700/week for a 9-3 camp wasn't going to happen especially if I had to schlep into the city with Hans as well.  So when our neighborhood camp started registering for summer sessions at half the cost I went ahead and registered him.  Although it wasn't the "specialized" sort of experience I had been seeking out (baseball camp, lego camp, soccer camp, art camp) I figured it would be a great way for him to meet some kids from the local public school and he'll get to spend some time doing sports, crafts, swimming, and other general camp experiences.


There were a few familiar faces and he came home with a great report about the first day and on top of that that he managed to keep track of all of his things on his own, including his lunch box and accouterments and all of his swimming gear.  I thought for sure something would be lost or forgotten, but evidently he's pretty responsible.  He only ate three bites of his sandwich though, and didn't even touch the rest of his lunch including his cookie, on the first day but I imagine this will improve as he gets used to having so much wiggle room during lunch.  Camp seems to lack structure, but I think Freddie loves just that.  I am smiling just thinking about it.  It is summer after all, right?

This is definitely a big step towards independence and responsibility, and a great transition into kindergarten.  I am also glad to be putting a bit of time and space between his preschool experience and kindergarten just to help his comparing of the two.  (Probably good for Mama too!) He'll be under the care of some young (college aged) counselors who will take the group about the neighborhood and even on subway rides for field trips and mingling with kids whose families I don't know.  It's a big leap of faith and trust for me, and the first time I think I'll really have my parenting tested since he'll be making his own choices in a larger unfamiliar setting where he isn't quite so protected and connected to Mama.  But things are looking good because his camp counselor commented to me "Freddie is a great role model for the other campers.  I am really happy he's in my group."

Onward, my dear, the world awaits.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Last Day of Preschool

With Miss Latriece
So long preschool!  I can't believe his time here is done.  The day came and went with little fanfare.  He presented his teachers with a sweet card he made and a gift, and he was thrilled they made a card for him with special notes from each of the teachers in the center and signed by all of his classmates.  Since the preschool is year round (work sponsored childcare never stops and is always open!) and most of his friends and classmates will finish out the summer there before kindergarten, the end of the  year ceremony isn't until late August.  He actually has camp that day, so it will be interesting to see if he chooses camp or the end of preschool ceremony.

With Miss Jelena

I thought he'd be a little more sentimental about leaving his class, but he really didn't seem bothered even with a couple of his closest buds repeatedly asking why it was his last day and insisting he not leave.  He'll be along to drop Hans off so he still will remain somewhat connected to school.  Ultimately I think he likes the idea of moving toward something new.  I sure hope he always embraces new, change, and transitions with such a positive attitude.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Scenes from NOLA: Street Car Ride


I love the sound of the streetcar.  I used to be able to hear it from my bedroom when I was much younger and living on Prytania Street.  It's certainly one of those NOLA sounds I hope my boys recognize.



Thankfully neither one of them called it the trolley!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Scenes from NOLA: A Snowball


Cherry snowballs all around.  Mama couldn't finish hers because of brain freeze and both the boys abandoned theirs before they were even halfway done.  Shaking my head.  A crying shame.  We're out of practice and that's unacceptable.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scenes from NOLA: Bay St. Louis Beach


Their swimsuits were stained brown by the murky water draining into the gulf from the Mississippi River, but that didn't matter one bit.  It was a beach with sand and the water was so calm and shallow they could wade out for yards and yards.


Having friends to roll in the sand and water in made it even better.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Scenes From NOLA: Suburban Pleasures

We L-O-V-E Target.  And not going on a regular basis is most likely a good idea for all of us, although my boys needing to touch and examine every last item on the shelf tells me they need some more live retail shopping practice.  Oddly enough they didn't know if they asked for a new set of bakeware or a disco ball to hand from the rearview mirror they'd be met with a firm "Nope."  I wonder how many trips it'd take to break them.  



Nevertheless, time meandering the aisles at Target was enjoyable for all of us.  The boys could have rode the escalator with their cart on the cart escalator all afternoon.  It blew their minds.








Another mind blowing moment was the bouncing, harness contraption in the mall outside of Target.  Sweet Aunt Lizzie sprung for a 5 minute jump session.




We don't get this stuff in the city, but the boys do a good job lapping it up when we're home.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Scenes from NOLA: City Park Edition


One of Mama's childhood memories...


...playing in city park and visiting Storyland.


Filthy, sweaty, and oh so sweet

Always a hit.





And an improvement since I was a kid...Morning Call is now in the old Casino building.

Mr. Pink cheeks needs a old chocolate milk









Who doesn't love a beignet?




Ot I suppose the question is "who doesn't love powdered sugar?"

Busted!  Cannot leave any sugar on the plate.