Eclipse

August 23rd, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Finally, this week was the big eclipse. We all saw totality photos and videos. But if you ask those people who saw it in person, there are simply no words to describe it. We live a few hours away from the path of the totality, but we had a 97% total eclipse here without driving anywhere. Our kids had school, so we stayed home. Fortunately, we checked them out after lunch, in time for the eclipse.

In a rare moment of foresight, my husband purchased certified eclipse glasses weeks before the retailers ran out. He also made a pinhole camera with a pizza box, which projected the solar eclipse on the ground for people to see without glasses. My kids had lessons in science class to prepare them for the event, and my husband gave a great bonus lecture throughout the event.

We went to our neighborhood pool and watched the eclipse with our neighbors and their kids. It was a wonderful experience for our kids, and even the adults were impressed. The temperature dropped, the shadows danced, and the sun faded to only 3% of its regular brightness. It was pretty amazing. My only regret is that we missed the “totality” only a few hours away. Our friends who made the drive were rewarded with an even more spectacular view. If we ever want to see a totality again we are going to have to drive or fly MUCH farther away.

Summer Memories

August 21st, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Last week I was thinking about some of the fun times I had as a child in the summer. I think my favorite memory of all is going out on the boat with my family.

My dad’s boat was really nice. I can’t tell you how big it was, as I am oblivious to that kind of information. But it had an interior cabin with a lot of seating, and one of the seats opened up to become a toilet! I always got a big kick out of that.

We’d get up in the morning and my mom would pack lunch and all sorts of drinks and goodies to take along. My dad was big on entertaining on the boat, so we always had another family with us. I can remember riding the boat out away from our town, into the choppy Atlantic, and feeling so adventurous. Once we dropped anchor, we put our life vests on and jumped into the ocean. It was such a fun and free time.

I don’t get to go out on boats so often as a grown-up. But when I do, I always recall those happy, warm weather memories

Have a great week!

Feelings of Frustration

August 16th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack started a new soccer season this week. I signed him up for a skills camp, like he did last year. The players have practice every night this week, and then play a mini tournament on Saturday. They learn all kinds of new skills and techniques during the week and show them off during their tourney.

Jack loves playing soccer. He has improved immensely over the last few years. My husband and I love cheering for him and his team at games. The games get intense and so does Jack. This isn’t the little Jack who used to stop kicking the ball and wave hello to his mommy anymore. With soccer come speed, aggression, and fancy footwork in his age group.

This season, Jack moved up an age group. When I watched him practice the last several nights, I can tell he is frustrated. He told me the other kids are “so much better” than he is. Jack is definitely feeling the pressure to compete with the older kids who have more experience. We discussed the importance of staying positive and practicing his heart out. Jack is the type of kid who feels defeated if he doesn’t get it right the first time. He is a competitive perfectionist who gets deflated when he isn’t. As a parent, I try to be supportive by encouraging him, and helping him realize gradual improvements through practice.

I hope Jack’s enthusiasm for soccer survives this season. I know he will do well with practice and coaching, I just hope Jack feels the same way. Competition is not easy.  Jack’s hard work today, in stifling heat and humidity, will pay off this season. I just want to see a smile back on Jack’s face sooner rather than later.

Ice Cream Madness

August 14th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I love ice cream. So it’s not wonder that my kids do, too. However, I have to tell you they take their fondness to an extreme. When they hear the ice cream truck come by, they lose their minds! Of course, it’s not just the fact that they’re getting ice cream that makes them love the truck. It’s the randomness and surprise of the truck appearing, and offering a treat that you can have at home even though you didn’t go to the store. I get it. It’s exciting. But please, stop with the screaming already.

One downside to the ice cream obsession is that I cannot resist a cone or sundae myself! So while the kids could not care less about how much the full fat dairy and sugar are affecting those little bodies, I’m always thinking about my waistline and cholesterol. I have to tell you; when I’m watching my diet, ice cream is so much harder to abstain from than other fattening foods. It’s just too cool, creamy, and delicious!

But like most things, sweet treats are fine in moderation. I think it’s good to show my kids that mommy enjoys dessert, but healthy eating and exercise—which we also get plenty of in the summer—are important, too. Hopefully some of that message syncs in between licks of the cone.

Have a great week!

Back to School

August 9th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate went back to school this week. Jack is in 5th grade and Tate is in 2nd. The boys didn’t want their summer vacation to end. However, once they saw all their friends on the first day, and met their new teachers, they were excited for the new school year to begin.

Jack and Tate were bummed they had homework on the first day, but I was happy to see them knock it out as soon as they got home from school. They each had a few “All about me” homework activities, which are a fun way to start the year off. Introducing yourself to your new class and learning about others makes it easier to make new friends.

It is always interesting to watch Jack and Tate grow. My first-born is in the top grade of his elementary school, 5th grade. Middle school is right around the corner. I can vividly remember his first day of Kindergarten like it was yesterday. The years are fleeting. Tate is already learning that 2nd grade comes with a lot more responsibility. I’m trying to teach him organizational skills with hopes it will help keep him focused. I think he is up for the challenge of a new grade.

I look forward to another school year. As much as I love spending fun summer days with the boys, it’s nice to be back on a schedule and fall into a new routine. I hope your new school year is a great one.

Trains on the Brain

August 7th, 2017

From Monday Mom  – Neetika:
Haley, blessed girl that she is, has always had a wide array of toys. I never put limits on what she could play with. She’s always had cars alongside her dolls. And balls to throw and kick next to her tea party set. Now that we are lucky enough to have her younger brother in our family, we are getting twice the use out of everything. My kids rarely meet a toy they do not like. But recently I have noticed that there’s something Hudson loves playing with that we just haven’t picked up over the years: trains.

What is it with boys and trains? He is crazy for them! At our town’s library, there’s a toy train set in the play area. However, you have to give the librarians your Driver’s License in order to borrow one! That’s how crazy kids gets for these trains. Grubby little felons are trying to make off with them!

Hudson’s face lights up when he sees a toy train, and now that he’s become a bit more articulate, he’s actually able to say: “I want you to buy me a train toy.” I haven’t made it to the store thus far, but I have a feeling he’s in for a fun purchase very soon. He’s been a good sport with the hand-me-downs thus far. It’s time for something special. Choo choo!

August Surprise

August 3rd, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I don’t know about you, but I am shocked to find that August is fully upon us! I feel like school just got out. And that it was just the fourth of July. And that camp just started. And here we are, about a month away from school starting!

The kids have been enjoying their summer. They are doing great with their summer reading. They’ve had fun play dates and trip. They are getting a ton of time in the pool and with water toys. They love when we fire up the grill many evenings.

I hate to admit it, but I am stressed out thinking about how fast the summer has gone so far, and that September is right around the corner. I know that’s the wrong attitude! I should model positivity and appreciation to my children; that every day is a blessing and we should enjoy it for what it is. Yet, I am still bracing myself for when I feel that first Fall chill in the air.

Enjoy your summery week!

Sleepovers

August 2nd, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Jack and Tate have made some great friends in our neighborhood over the last year. There are a bunch of kids on our street. They all get along and play daily. The doorbell rings constantly with kids asking to play. This is everything we wanted when picking out our neighborhood.

Jack and his friends love to have sleepovers. They pack their pajamas and pillows, and they play games, watch movies, make forts and sleep in them. The parents all take turns hosting the boys. They are great kids. My husband was even impressed at how well behaved they are.

The hard part of sleepovers is that Tate feels left out. Tate and his friends are still a little young to really feel comfortable with sleepovers. Most parents feel the same way, which we completely understand. Jack likes to have time with his friends, since they’re older, without having his little brother around constantly. Tate doesn’t like this idea and feels left out. We’re trying to explain to him that his day will come soon enough, and Jack will give him his space. We also try to do special things with Tate while Jack is gone since we get the one on one time.

Our kids are growing up, but Jack will always be three years older than Tate. I’m sure this will not be the last time that age creates conflict. As the youngest of three girls, I know how tough it can be watching older siblings participate in fun events. Tate will eventually come around. For now, I will enjoy bed time stories, hugs, and kisses from Tate every night.

Dog Days of Summer

July 26th, 2017

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Our busy summer is winding down. We enjoyed our time visiting family over the last two weeks. Now we are home, relaxing for the last few weeks of summer break before another busy school year starts. However, even when we try to relax, we still seem to be busy. I guess we all want to fit in as much fun as possible in the next couple weeks.

The summer heat has finally set in. It is 80 degrees before mid- morning and in the upper 90’s by mid-afternoon, almost every day. The heat is really putting a damper on any outdoor activities. Even early mornings at tennis camp are hard on the boys this week. Their instructor does his best to keep them excited with games, drills, and lots of water breaks.

Afternoons at the pool are a staple in our neighborhood. Unfortunately, even the pool has fallen victim to the heat. The water temperatures are warm now. Unless we get a cool night or a heavy rain the pool isn’t as refreshing as it was a month ago. Even with the warm water temps, the pool is still fun, especially for the kids and their neighborhood friends. If it’s too hot for tennis and riding bikes, the pool is still the place to be. I’m going to enjoy the last few weeks of vacation, even if its 99 degrees out.

 

“Lolli-pop!”

July 24th, 2017

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I am not proud to let you know about this, but Hudson is obsessed with lollipops. He asks for them every day. I am even less proud to admit that I do indulge him almost daily.

But here’s the thing. He only goes in for a few licks at a time. Then he forgets about it. He hands it to a grown-up to deal with, and might ask for one again six hours later.

I don’t think it’s such a big deal to indulge him and prevent a tantrum. Especially since he doesn’t get them at meal times, he only has a bit, and he still brushes pretty religiously.

I hope I’m not setting him up for a bad habit or getting him hooked on high fructose corn syrup. Truthfully, I have been slowly scaling him back. I also think he will cut down more when he starts school in the fall. These days, it’s like he walks around the kitchen, remembers that they’re there somewhere (we keep hiding them) and it occurs to him to ask for one. Hopefully a new routine will break the pattern.

Hope you have a lovely (and sweet!) week.