Archive for July, 2016

The Promise of Our Children

Friday, July 29th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, what your beliefs are, and what you believe the fundamental purpose of government ought to be, I have a theory regarding how each and every one of those beliefs shifts to some degree when you become a parent.  You stop thinking about how your choices in the polling booth will impact you, individually, and pivot to wondering how those choices will impact your children and your children’s children.

Having spent the last two weeks with my eyes glued to both parties’ national conventions, weighing our options, and listening to the inspiring words of the first lady discussing the promise this country holds for our children, I have found myself wondering how exactly I will handle explaining the concept of democracy to our children from an educational perspective.  As one who has an admittedly nerdy affinity for our founding fathers and a love of the American experiment that would rival that of Alexis de Tocqueville, I take for granted that my children will simply have to adore and admire our republican democracy in the same manner that I do.

Teaching children the privilege of having a voice, of having opportunity, of living in a country where one’s potential is limited only by the breadth of our dreams and our willingness to put strong foundations under them is, to me, a parent’s greatest civic duty.  As this election cycle pushes into high gear and the political noise increases from a steady din to an overwhelming roar, I find myself wondering how, precisely, to introduce these concepts to the two young minds fast asleep upstairs as I craft this post.

Rory and Charlotte are still too young to understand it.  And, frankly, there are parts of the partisan rancor of late that I would prefer that they never have to see. But, by the same token, as they grow up, I look forward to sharing with them my love of country and service.  I hope to not only teach them, but show them, the importance of giving back to our communities.  I hope to raise children who recognize the value of asking not “what’s in it for me,” but, instead, “how can I help.”  And I hope to be able to teach them by not only words, but by example.

This election cycle, I’ll take a slightly more subtle tack and start by vowing to teach them, slowly and incrementally, the importance of compromise, the strength of collective action in sight of a common goal, and the great privilege of the very freedoms that make this nation so great.  To show them the importance of giving back in your community, of serving others, and striving– whatever the context– to leave every place you reside a little bit better than it was when you arrived.

Nervous Nellie

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Moving to a new town is exciting and overwhelming at the same time. My goal for the summer is to make sure the boys meet lots of other kids and hopefully make some new friends. So far, they both found a couple friends they feel comfortable around while swimming or playing together. School is approaching quickly, and I’m nervous about how well the boys will transition to their new school.

I contacted the school and requested a tour in order to calm our nerves. Last week, we all walked through the building and familiarized ourselves with the layout of the school. We met a few teachers and asked lots of questions. We left feeling more at ease.

The boys feel more confident starting at their new school than they did a week ago. They have a few friends to help show them around and at least know where to report on the first day upon arrival. Their confidence makes me confident they’ll do just fine. I think I’m naturally more nervous than they are, but I look forward to hearing all about their first day.



Monday, July 25th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Haley is taking swim lessons this summer and despite a rocky start, it’s going great. She actually looks forward to class, so I’m glad she’s not just learning but having fun too. She’s getting better and better at floating on her back, breathing out through her nose and mouth instead of holding her breath under water, and is way more confident in general. I think knowing how to swim is such an important skill, and it makes me so proud to see her excel at it.

Hudson, too, has been a little fish lately. The local pool has a great kiddie pool. As soon as I release him from his stroller, he runs right into it. It’s been a great way for us to beat the heat.

I’m also looking forward to the Summer Olympics this year. It’s always good for Haley to see “professionals” participate in her extra-curriculars. It makes her enjoy and appreciate those activities so much more. She’s old enough to understand that we’re cheering for Team USA this time. I hope she gets into it. And perhaps she’ll be motivated to swim a bit faster herself.

Home Improvements

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
There are many items we’d like to update/change in our new house. The to-do list is growing longer and longer. Many projects are minor, but some are larger projects that we’ve never tackled before.

The first project I’m working on is removing wallpaper. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was nice enough to show me the proper steps of removal while she was visiting last week. I really appreciated her help. The process, though tedious, turned out to be easier than I expected.

Jack and Tate are big helpers when they want to be. They seemed interested in the project. I asked if they would like to help me finish a section of a wall and, sure enough, they were up to the task. Cleaning the paste off the wall is the hardest part. The boys had fun soaking the walls with a solution so I could remove the wallpaper paste. It was a messy job, but boys love a mess. They thought it was hilarious to spray the walls.

Jack and Tate’s helping hands lasted longer than I expected. I think they loved doing something they normally wouldn’t dare do. Getting the boys involved is a win-win situation. They’re helping me save time, and learning something new. I also didn’t hear the words “I’m bored” for several hours in a row. I’m making a mental note of including the boys help in other home projects, especially if it’s a messy one.

Summer Memories

Monday, July 18th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Planning warm-weather activities for Haley and Hudson has gotten me thinking about some of the really fun things I did with my family as a child. Interestingly, I don’t have many recollections from when I was under six, aside from hazy memories of ice cream and sprinklers and fireflies. Our days weren’t extravagant, but they were fun. I can more easily remember being a bit older, enjoying traditions that were unique to our family.

We loved getting curled up in my parents’ bed to watch old James Bond movies, especially those starring Sean Connery. He was James Bond, and to say anything else was considered sacrilege!

We always went to a local professional tennis tournament, a satellite to the US Open. We sat really close and always got to see the top players. It was thrilling! And it was the only time my mom and dad allowed us to get those expensive Haagen-Dazs ice cream bars.

Speaking of ice cream, homemade summer meals were often topped off by my mom’s signature summer treat, mango milkshakes. They’re just fresh mangoes, vanilla ice cream (always Breyer’s), some ice, milk and a dash of sugar, blended. Somehow it’s still the very best thing in the world.

It’s so nice to look back on your childhood and figure out what experiences you want to introduce to your own kids. I’m realizing that we have a lot of summers to go, and I have plenty of time to get it all in (though I may not feel that way in a few years!).

I hope everyone is having as much fun as we are getting tan, blowing bubbles and just being silly with our loved ones.

Beyond Her Years

Saturday, July 16th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Despite admitting that she feels badly drawing comparison’s, Charlotte’s new teacher (and Rory’s former one), cannot help but advise us on just how very different she is when compared to her brother at this age.  Both Rory and Charlotte moved up to the younger toddler classroom at daycare at eighteen months old, making them on the younger side of the age-range for that room.  With Rory, we wondered if he was ready, if he would stand up for him self, if he would be lost, and if he would be comfortable.  He was fine, of course, but we were fretful nonetheless. With Charlotte, we knew there was no holding her back.  She had aged out of her prior classroom months ago, and was thirsting for new and more challenging environs and discoveries.

And she is thriving.

Her teachers claim that she is wise beyond her years in just about everything she does:  the way she stands firmly in her wants and desires (to the point of being bullish and unmoving in her demands), the way she teases her classmates and teachers, her sense of humor, her independence, her manipulation of the little boys in her class, and the way she stands up for herself with fierce tenacity (despite coming in around the 25th percentile on height. . .).  In each instance, people who spend any amount of time around her consistently remark on how much personality is packed into her spunky little self.

Her teacher’s reflections on the topic this week were how surprising it is for her to see when compared to her brother’s far more measured and reserved personality.  As she explained it, Rory would have been in full blown tears in some of the circumstances Charlotte puts herself into.  She, on the other hand, just barrels right on through. And it is fascinating to see.  And we find it interesting to listen to the commentary as she settles in to her new environs. It’s fun to see things through another set of eyes as her teachers share their thoughts and perspectives on her “spunk.”

Sure, it makes life a bit more difficult at bedtime or breakfast when she’s not getting her way. But other times it is amazing to let her take the lead and see just how self sufficient she can be. I hope upon hope that she never loses that tenacity and vision.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.


Weekend Away

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Last weekend, my husband and I went to Boston for a friend’s wedding. We were looking forward to spending time together. Although the weather was cold and grey for this time of year, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We also got tickets to a Red Sox baseball game. I’m a long time Sox fan, so attending a home game at Fenway was a real experience. We had excellent seats only a few rows behind home plate. It wasn’t cheap, but seeing “Papi” Ortiz hit a home run made it worth the money.

Time away from our kids is always a refreshing break. Maybe our kids feel the same way. I’m very thankful for our parents/grandparents who are willing to watch our kids, especially when there are challenging moment(s) involved. I am excited to start the week with my boys, feeling revived after some “me” time and extra sleep.


First Things First

Monday, July 11th, 2016

From Monday Mom – Neeitka:
Haley and Hudson share a bedroom. Often, when they wake up in the morning, Haley will climb into Hudson’s crib. She calls him all of his favorite pet names, sings songs and recites nursery rhymes to help him ease into a fully awake state. Luckily, she usually waits to do this until he starts to rouse on this own. I watch all of this on my baby monitor. I appreciate being able to ease into wakefulness myself, and I love seeing them start their play bright and early. Soon, I’m up and I’m fetching Hudson his morning milk and Haley is telling a million stories and a new day has officially begun.

It’s great seeing their relationship develop over time. Each period in their lives is so unique not only because of their ages but also because of the time of year. Not only is it great that they’re on the precipice of true bonding, but it’s summertime and Haley’s not in a camp this year, so there’s no rushing around or the pressure of a routine to put a damper on it. I’m keenly aware that that won’t always be the case.

Our goodnight ritual is a bit more chaotic than our good morning one, but I’m grateful we still have our daily moment of calm and serenity. I have a feeling that once they are teenagers, it’s something I’ll pine for.

Time to Pretend

Friday, July 8th, 2016

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Rory has started pretending much more frequently.  And it’s great fun to play along.

This past weekend, Rory and I pretended to be bears roaming the playground while we were visiting his grandparents’ house.  We ran around in the mulch, roaring and giggling together.  We hid in “caves”; we ate “bear snacks”; we played “Mommy Bear” and “Daddy Bear”; and Charlotte even joined us briefly as “Baby Bear.”  Clearly he enjoyed it, because he started roaring the next day at a couple little girls he met on the same playground.  They loved it almost as much, letting him chase them round and round through tunnels and down slides, roaring and shrieking in turn.

Earlier this week, I helped him go on a Monster Hunt in the playroom.  After all, there were big, big monster shadows that we needed to hunt down and get rid of.  So what does any good mom confronted with monster shadows do?   Why go on a Monster Hunt, of course!

I’m happy to be able to help indulge Rory’s creativity as he creates new narratives in his mind.  I love watching him stretch his creative juices, and I cannot help but giggle some times at the elaborate stories he concocts and shares.  I cannot wait until he’s able to start writing some of it all down.  All in good time, I am sure.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am pretty sure I see a monster shadow I must tend to.


Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate’s sixth birthday was yesterday, and even while we celebrated, I couldn’t believe that my baby was turning six! I’m feeling sentimental, and I miss the sweet baby he once was. The days of him snoozing in my arms and all things babyhood are long gone. Thank goodness for cameras and all the moments we captured.

It’s sad to think about how quickly Tate is growing up. However, I look forward to the years ahead and watching him continue to develop into the little man he is meant to be. He is truly our little firecracker. He is full of fire, lots of surprises, and shines so brightly. It’s so fitting he was born the day after America’s birthday.

Since we moved a few weeks ago, we did not make any big party plans for Tate’s birthday. Instead, we enjoyed a fun, low-key day complete with dinner out, cake, and a visit from Tate’s grandmother. I’d say that is a pretty special day.

Cheers to the birthday boy!