Monday, September 22, 2014

Goodbye Summer



Our last day of summer was spent at the soccer field, eating crabs, drinking beer, and watching football.  Rather low key, but weekends here will be pretty tame for a while as we get into our new routine.


Thankfully the boys were not too interested in actually eating crabs because picking crabs for two little birds would have been rough.  They liked the bibs and mallets, though.

photo by Freddie

The crabs were yummy, although rather skinny and expensive.  I'm tempted to order another dozen before they're all gone for the season because eating blue crabs made me very, very happy.  Yes, even with Old Bay all over the outside.




Drinking beer made me happy too.  Especially since it was accompanied by football viewing. Saints football viewing.



We're ready for fall.  The pumpkin brews are in the fridge.  The sweaters and boots are tucked into the closet.  Football, pumpkins, apple picking, soup....  goodbye, summer!

Friday, September 19, 2014

This Guy....


Freddie's transition to kindergarten has been hardest on Hans.  There has been a lot of build up and attention given to kindergarten, but the crux of the problem really lies elsewhere.  Freddie is now talking about people and places Hans has no reference of. He asks Freddie "are those guys my friends?" when hearing about new people Freddie spends his days with.  He asks Freddie "Will you play with me on the playground?" and has a really long, sad face when Freddie ditches him on the playground for some big kids.

I've worked hard to give Hans his own thing and help him be his own guy, but he really just wants his brother, his buddy, his partner in crime.

His imaginary friend has been getting a lot of play time lately.  Javie (you know, short for Javier) was supposed to be at the pool tonight and Freddie exclaimed "Finally!  I get to see Javie!"  Hans has let Freddie know on more than one occasion that Javie is "my friend, not your friend, Freddie."

It's hard for me to see him hurting.  It's really hard to see him hurting because of his brother.  It hurts. That heart of mine walking around outside of my body is hurting.

This too shall pass.  But it won't be the last.  Being a mama isn't easy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Treasures

His haul walking from Home Depot to the car

One man's trash is another man's treasure.


His pockets are quickly loaded with all sorts of things from the city streets and sidewalks.  The overflow usually ends up in my pockets and purse.  I am certain I will one day be sad to not find rocks and screws mixed in with my eyeliners and spare change.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hans' First Day of Preschool


He did a little dance rather than pose for a photo.  Do what works for ya,  Hansie.


Both Charlie and Freddie were envious of Hans' duds.  Everyone needs a tuxedo shirt, right?


Does he look excited?


This was Freddie's preschool class so Hans is very familiar with the teachers, classroom, and routine. When we would drop Freddie off last year Hans would always put Freddie's things away for him and then "sign in" at the bottom of the sign in sheet, making a space for his name below everyone else's.  This morning he got to find HIS NAME and sign in, asking me to do "hand over hand" to help him, and then he attempted to trace it on his own.  He is quite motivated to write.

He has been visiting for small spurts over the past couple weeks, so his teachers have gotten to know him beyond being "Freddie's brother."  They've let me know he "knows what he doesn't want to do" giving them a definitive "Nope" when they ask him if he wants to try a certain activity.  Not as easily persuaded as Freddie.  His teacher also told me this morning that at circle time he raises his hand wanting to answer every single question even if he doesn't know the answer... he just wants to talk.  Smile.  He's more reserved without his big brother in the classroom, but I know this will pass.

Enjoy it baby boy.  I am proud of you for being so brave and so independent.  I love you, big as the world.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Soccer!


Hans' hair!  He has since had a cut...sniff.



Fall soccer is underway.  The boys are playing again on Sunday mornings.  They participated in the program in the Spring and both really wanted to do it this fall, although I would have preferred to not have anything to do on Sunday.  Soccer started as "Hans' activity" but now he's able to do swimming (and soon gymnastics again) so it doesn't seem as "necessary" in the activities line up.  But. both boys enjoy it and get a good workout.  

Hans in the middle in a hat

The program is small and structured and works more on skill development.  It is not a competitive league, but the kids do have short "scrimmages" during the second half of each session.

Freddie in the middle in a hat
There is also a neighborhood league which is on Saturday mornings.  It's free, and has about 75 five and six year olds kids enrolled, only one organizer, and a few reluctant volunteers so I'm sure you get an idea of what that field looks like by 10am.  Freddie was totally pumped about his uniform and seeing everyone from school, so we headed out to the field to join the crew.  I think Freddie had fun, and wants to go "for a little while" next Saturday but I think that's mostly because he doesn't want to be out of the loop with the gang from school.  We may let this one slide off our schedule.


Our routine is quickly coming together and our days and evenings are pretty busy.  Birthday party invitations are rolling in, gymnastics gets added to the mix this week, and school events will be gearing up as well.  I am still not sure how this has become my life, but right now it's fun (and tiring)!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lovin'




  • The last days of summer
  • Mama and Hansie days
  • The red homework folder
  • Spotting Freddie on the schoolyard before he spots me
  • Kindergarten tales each afternoon
  • Sleepy boys
  • Routine
  • Imaginary friends
  • Two swim bags packed for swim team
  • Little corduroy pants
  • Big boy sneaks
  • Fall brews
  • Charlie's smile on Sundays (Thank you, NFL Sunday Ticket!)


Friday, September 12, 2014

Vaccinated



Even Mama got her flu shot today.  My fingers are crossed that we all stay healthy this year.  I'm a bit worried since Freddie is in big school that he'll be bringing home some big germs, but maybe this will give us a little protection.  No tears. And man, oh man, getting an after school doctor appointment is tough!

Swim!


The swim season got started this week.  And guess who made the cut....Hansie!  He has been going to the pool three days a week for 1.5 years sitting in the bleachers and watching his brother, but not any more.  He took the swim test for the beginners'  group and the teachers decided they'd keep him.  He's the youngest and smallest, but he listens well and works hard.  He is thrilled to be included.

Freddie passed his swim test and has moved on to the next group.  I had no idea he could swim as well as he did for that test.  He's not one to push himself physically, but evidently this swim test was important to him because he gave it everything he had.  He was so pleased with himself, which I love.  The next level group is a huge leap in physical intensity.  He is the youngest and by far the smallest but he pushes through each session.  A few of the other kids seem to "cut corners" by switching strokes or grabbing the wall for a quick rest when they  begin to get tired, and although I can tell when Freddie is running out of steam when he's halfway down the lane he ALWAYS finishes the exercise as instructed.  Persistent.  Determined.  It will take him farther than being the biggest or the strongest.

I am curious to see how long Freddie sticks with swimming now that he is being challenged.  I used to always think he swam because it was social hour for him, all of his buds were goofing off on the wall as they waited their turn to swim a lap, but now he's left his friends behind.  While he's pretty proud to have moved on I also think he misses his friends and goofing off.  He still doesn't miss an opportunity to gab with his instructor though. This swim season will definitely reveal if Freddie loves swimming, but I've already gotten a peek at what he's made of.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Beach Day


As much as we try to hold on to summer, our beach trips for the year are definitely coming to an end. It's cooler along the coast, and I had to wear my fleece for a good part of the day.




Spending the day in the sand, listening to the boys and the sound of the ocean, is one of my favorite summer pastimes.  




We finally found some cheap body boards on a recent trip to Target.  While most of those with their boards were happy for the really rough day with some sizable waves, it wasn't exactly the best day for the boys to get started learning how to use the boards.



They definitely got pummeled by some waves, but they kept at it.  Freddie was pretty impressed with himself for getting taken down by a wave and thrown around and around.




Next trip I'll have to bring my big camera to capture some of their stunts.






Hoping to squeeze in at least one more trip with my beach babes before welcoming fall and cooler temps.





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Midweek Report


So far, so good....


  • Parents have to kiss their babies goodbye at the door now and send them in on their own.  Freddie just seems to get swallowed up by the pack of kids pushing into the front doors of school, but he's definitely one of the pack, holding his own, chatting with everyone around him.  
  • Everything that has gone to school has come home:  lunch box, thermos, containers, fleece, water bottle, snack container, and his homework folder.  He's very insistent that I heck his homework folder every day.
  • He's quite motivated to be a good listener and earn a star.  10 stars = a trip to the treasure chest.
  • There's a daily report from him concerning who wasn't a good listener, but his name is never ever included in his list.  
  • Routines and procedures like raising your hand to use the bathroom are old hat.  He's gone out to the bathroom a few times, and it sounds like he likes that he does this all by himself.  (Most of the kindergarten classrooms have an attached bathroom, but his classroom is on the 1st grade hall so he uses the bathroom down the hall.)
  • He really, really likes recess.  He makes plans to meet his new friend James who's in another class at the slide after lunch.  Such cuteness.
  • Thankfully he wasn't one of the two who fell asleep during library story time....he was pretty tickled to report that two classmates were asleep on the floor one afternoon.
  • He's happy.  He's confident.  I couldn't be prouder.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Governor's Island




One of my favorite summertime spots in the city is Governors Island.  It's a huge green space free of cars just a short ferry ride from downtown.  It makes for the perfect escape from the city.



It's the perfect spot to bring your bike and have a picnic, or in our case rent a surrey and patronize the food trucks.





The kids were tickled to be ridden around in the front seat, while Charlie and I bickered about how fast to go and which way to turn.


He says I'm a chicken.  Probably so, but we passed on the insurance on that thing and last thing I wanted was a trip to the ER for broken bones and having to pay for repairs on a toppled over surrey.  





The island was hosting a "Punch Buggy Fest" that weekend and the boys have not ever seen a beetle. Part of my childhood was definitely exchanging slugs in the shoulder with my brother any time we passed a punch buggy (A VW Beetle for those not in the know) on the road.  We're not on the road much with these guys, and there really aren't many VW bugs to be seen anymore anyway.

This guy was so very nice and offered to let the boys have a seat
in his very well restored VW dune buggy.



Freddie definitely got a kick out of the idea of a punch buggy and he's been on the look out for some in the city.  Not sure if we'll ever see one again.




The boys loved the vans, and the idea of taking off in one for a little camping trip.  Perhaps there is a VW Eurovan and a long road trip somewhere in our future.










We wandered the island and explored some of their new playgrounds.  The boys discovering new playgrounds.





The tongue!

I loved seeing Freddie challenged and determined to climb the structures.







They playgrounds and green space makes it more than a worthwhile trip, but the presence of a Wafels and Dignes truck elevates the entire experience.




Yep, the boys had Belgium waffles with ice cream, nutella. and whipped cream for lunch.  Freddie would do just about anything for one of these waffles.  Charlie and I stopped at the taco truck but sadly no pictures, but they were yummy!


We wandered and played and relaxed and had more ice-cream.




The boys have been requesting that I take their photo lately. This was one such request.
I love when they ask, but still don't get why they won't look at the
camera when I want to take a photo!
Yes, more ice cream...



...before the ferry ride home.  It was fun to watch the VW's drive off the boat since I have explained to the boys about some ferries being for passengers and cars and even trains but they've never had the opportunity to actually see a ferry transport vehicles.  




A great summer day.  And in the interest of "keeping it real, I will share how the day started just so you don't forget that what I share here and try to remember are the highlights, because really we don't let these sorts of moments keep us down and hold us back, but they are for sure a part of the day to day grind with kids!
I didn't even know Charlie had taken this picture so it was pretty funny when I
opened his email the next day and saw the attachment.


Hans was pretty much melting down because THE ESCALATOR in the subway station was not working.  Yes folks that just ruined his entire freaking morning.  I get it.  That's big time sadness for someone of age 3.  But when he can't recover within a few minutes I have to force the show along sometimes, which usually doesn't help but does get us on the next train in time to make the ferry.  That's life.