Sunday, January 31, 2010
Sure thing Daddy. We'll hop right to it.
After a day of anticipation, more than an hour in the car and the discovery of a king size bed in our hotel room, there was just no way these kids were going to be calm. Especially when Mommy sensed the photo opportunity of children who seemed to float in mid-air.
Let's hear it for mid-winter vacations!
Friday, January 29, 2010
For instance, Sydney was at the table eating cereal this morning. As she ate, I cleaned the kitchen. And that's when I heard:
"Mommy, I clean the milk off your phone."
"No, she couldn't possibly mean that seriously," my thoughts raced. I hadn't realized my new iPhone was anywhere close to where she was sitting. But there it was in her grubby little hands. "Maybe she just means she's playing with the fun Hershey's Syrup app that lets her mix imaginary chocolate milk," my hopeful train of thought continued.
By now I'd reached her and discovered the messy truth. Yes, she had managed to grab my phone. Yes, she had managed to spill milk on it. And yes, she was now smearing the milk all across the screen.
Thank goodness I let Jeff talk me into spending the money to buy the more expensive, supposedly indestructible case. I sighed with relief, just in time to hear Sydney explain, "It was ax-dent."
Thankfully, it wasn't an expensive ax-dent.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
From the backseat, AJ asked, "Can we go now?"
"No," I answered, "we still have another month to wait. But we are going to Silver Bay this weekend." I reminded him of his upcoming hockey tournament.
"Is Silver Bay in Florida?" he asked hopefully.
"No, Silver Bay is in Minnesota."
"That's where we are right now. It'll probably be just as cold, or maybe even colder than it is here."
Not even five years old, AJ has already mastered "the look." It's an expression that seems to ask a question, but doesn't really, because he knows there isn't really an answer, or at least not an answer he will like. I imagine in this case, the question is one I've wondered countless times myself, "why is it that we live in this seemingly god-forsaken tundra?" Or maybe he's just questioning my sanity.
We console ourselves that we put up with the frigid cold, the snow and ice because at least we don't have earthquakes and hurricanes. And that's probably a good thing. I've been late to work the last three mornings due in part to traffic jams caused by accidents on the freeway. As hardy as we like to pretend we are up here in the Northland, there are still enough idiots among us to make the going tough – even in conditions we've been through so many times before. What would we do if dealt an unfamiliar disaster?
Back to my conversation with AJ, I reminded him that at least this tournament was going to take place inside an arena; he wouldn't be playing on an outside rink.
"YEAH!" was his very enthusiastic reply. It's always nice to find a bright spot.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
"Mom, do you know Hanna's phone number?"
"Yes," I answered.
"What is it?" he asked, ready to start punching numbers.
"I'd have to look it up on my phone," I explained, "but it's too late to call her house tonight anyway." (It was after 8 p.m.)
AJ pouted for at least the next five minutes. "But I want to talk to my friend!"
At least he didn't call her his girlfriend.
Monday, January 25, 2010
In the midst of a Nerf gun battle Saturday night, Sydney ran up to Jeff, held out her gun and ordered, "Dance little girl!"
Let's just pause for a moment of stunned silence. Let it sink in.
Dance little girl? Who taught her that?
I can say with almost 100 percent certainty that she's never heard it from me. And while Jeff and I are guilty of bad Clint Eastwood impersonations during these Nerf battles (Ask yourself, do you feel lucky?), I don't recall ever hearing him say something like that either. And it's not the kind of line she'd pick up from Dora or Diego. So is her big brother teaching her these things?
Godfather/Scarface lines aside, Sydney showed her toddler side a few minutes later when Daddy jumped out and surprised her. Ahhh... the delighted giggles of a startled child. I just happened to be snapping the picture when Jeff yelled gotcha.
She's definitely not all tough guy. "Princess" still belongs in her title. On Sunday, she put a brief halt to her battle with AJ and went running into her room, emerging a few minutes later wearing her black dress shoes, which she'd attempted to put on herself.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
From a spectator's standpoint, the weather was actually pretty nice. The temperature hovered in the low 30s and there was no wind, so it wasn't bad standing outside. And the wet snow was great fun to play in, which kept Sydney busy, which allowed me to actually be a spectator.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The big highlight for AJ? He scored his first goal* during the tournament.
*I included an asterisk because had anyone been keeping score, it wouldn't have counted. One of his teammates scored a goal, and before the ref could skate over and grab the puck, AJ shot it in again.
Sydney is being a fairly patient fan. It helps that she has a crush on one of AJ's teammates who goes to Kids Korner with her. She may not have the attention span to stand outside and cheer for her brother, but she'll stay a few minutes longer to cheer for Jace. By the second game, I let her stay inside the warming house, just as long as she stayed where I could see her through the window.
Friday, January 22, 2010
On Sunday, while trying to herd the kids into the car to go to church, Sydney, of course has to stomp through the puddle in the garage, splattering her shoes and pants.
"Sydney," I said, "Don't mess up your nice shoes and clothes."
"Oh Mommy," she answered, "It's just water."
I explained that it was muddy water and was messy. Clearly part of my message sunk in, but not enough of it.
Tuesday night, making our way through the garage after AJ's hockey practice, I spotted Sydney veering over specifically to stump through the puddle again.
"Sydney!" I exclaimed.
"Borrowing a line from one of her Diego movies, she grinned and explained, "It's a muddy mud pit."
Maybe she's not such a girlie-girl after all.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The get-together at a McDonald's Playland seems to have had the opposite on the kids:
(We told the kids they could do a goofy face.) The next one was supposed to be a nice smile, but of course my son seems to have ignored that instruction. Why am I not surprised?
This group of friends has been getting together now for almost three years. It thrills me that the kids play together better now than ever, which means we moms get more time for grown up talk. Due to hectic holiday schedules, this was the first time we'd gotten together in several months, making it all the more fun.
Ironically, one of the kids' favorite parts of the night wasn't playing on the big slide. It was my tiny new phone and all the games I've loaded on it. At one point, a large group of older, rowdier kids pretty much commandeered the Playland area, so it was nice to be able to pull out the phone as a distraction to keep our kids from being trampled.
I love this photo:
My friend Jess had to take it with her camera, because mine, as you see, was rather occupied.
Playdates with friends are such a blessing. No matter your age.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
To cheer him up, I decided to let him in on a little secret.
"Hey AJ, did you know that Daddy is working on plans for us to go on vacation?"
That got his attention.
"Guess where," I said.
He grinned hopefully.
"Florida," I announced, expecting cheers to erupt from the backseat.
Instead, my not-quite-five-year-old responded with a disappointed, "But I want to go to Hawaii."
"Hawaii?" I questioned, "What do you know about Hawaii?"
"It has beaches. I want to go to the beach."
"Well, Florida has beaches too," I told him. That caught his attention. "And guess what else is in Florida?"
"Disney World and Grandpa David and Grandma Elouise!"
If he weren't strapped in, he would have hit his head on the ceiling. "I want to go to Florida!"He was bouncing up and down (as much as his seat belt permitted) and clapping his hands. "I want to go to Disney World!" Several of his friends have gone to Disney World and clearly filled his head with exciting tales of all that is there.
Sorry Mom and Dad. I'm sure he'll be thrilled to see you. But in the eyes of this wannabe knight, there's no way you can compete with his visions of the Magic Kingdom.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Or as someone else calls it, "MyPhone."
And she doesn't readily let go.
Having been exposed to the iPhones of various babysitters and teachers at her daycare, my kids know all about the fun games and features available on this little device. I've already added a few child-friendly "apps", including one that features Diego and teaches colors. Too bad there isn't an app that can teach Miss Sydney the lesson she seems to need most right now: how to share.
Instead, Sydney is having to accept that sometimes the iPhone needs to go away for awhile until she can remember to take turns with her brother. We'll just call that the Mommy app.
Admittedly, there are benefits to letting her play with it. She's figured out faster than I have how to make the phone do certain things, such as shuffling the order of the icons on the main screen. Ummm, honey? Can you show Mommy how you did that?
Monday, January 18, 2010
AJ often talks about the various restaurants he will someday own. I suspect Sponge Bob's employment as a cook at the Krusty Krab has something to do with AJ's interest in a career in this industry. "Mixers" is the name he came up with awhile ago for his first restaurant. Other restaurants have come and gone, but Mixers, with its menu of crab legs, pizza and cheeseburgers seems to have staying power.
Until last Friday, that is.
We were driving, running errands, when from the back seat AJ announced, "When I get big, I'm going to have lots of works."
"You mean you'll have a lot of jobs?" I corrected.
"First, I'm going to have a fancy restaurant," he told me.
"What makes it fancy?" I asked.
"People can dance and have hot cocoa with marshmallows," AJ explained. "But if they don't want marshmallows, they don't have to. It's going to be called Vikings Stadium."
"Vikings Stadium," I repeated the name and then questioned, "what happened to Mixers?"
"Oh, that kind of broke apart," AJ told me. "My workers wanted to go somewhere else."
Wouldn't it be ironic if someday AJ took a job in human resources?
Sunday, January 17, 2010
AJ and Sydney received an e-mail this weekend from Grandma Elouise and Grandpa David. The message included photos of my sister's family, who managed to time their Florida vacation to coincide with a horrible cold snap. Jonathon and Jessica didn't let the 60 degree temperatures deter them from swimming in the ocean. And it made for a funny contrast in clothing: while they were in swimsuits, everyone else wore coats.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Mommy and Sydney were playing downstairs, "dancing" to some Dora tunes. About the time I was asking myself, "Is there anything cuter than watching a toddler attempt the Hokey-Pokey?", Sydney proved yes, there definitely is. A toddler in a frilly dress attempting to do the Hokey-Pokey:
We'd danced and clapped our way through two or three songs, when suddenly Sydney stopped, turned and headed for the stairs. As she ran, she informed me she needed to wear her Tinkerbell dress.
But, of course! Who wants to dance in blue jeans, when they could be wearing tulle and shiny fabric with sequins? So off we headed to make the costume change.
That lasted a few more songs, until Sydney decided she need to show off for Daddy. That required us to dig out Tinkerbell's wings as well. (Don't tell her the pink wings are from a different costume. I can't find the original green ones.)
Friday, January 15, 2010
This morning... okay, it was actually pretty close to being this afternoon... I finally got in the shower. With hot water pouring over me, I did my best to block out the rest of the world for a few brief moments.
But of course, with little kids around that's just not possible. Within a minute or so, I could hear the tell-tale sound of the bathroom door sliding open and Sydney chattering away.
The noise of the shower made it impossible to understand what exactly she was saying. I could vaguely make out "Mommy... Princess and the Frog."
I assumed that meant she'd either seen a commercial for the movie, or she was announcing she'd found one of her Princess and the Frog musical instruments.
Over the sound of the shower, I tried to explain that I couldn't hear her, and to wait, that Mommy would be done in a couple minutes. She left after that, shutting the door behind her, allowing me to finish my shower in peace.
Alas, the peace didn't last long. I still had a towel wrapped around myself when Sydney slid the door open again. Peering in with a look of impatience she demanded, "Mom, I told you to get Princess and the Frog!"
Yeah. That's not going to fly.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
She has been forced to transition from being our baby, to being our dog. What's more, she's put up with years of being the object of affection of those well meaning (but sometimes down right annoying) kids who took her place at the top of our priority list.
Make no mistake, Sydney is very generous to her "Maggie dog" when it comes to doling out treats and dropping scraps from her high chair tray. But in exchange, Sydney sometimes expects Maggie to act like her doll. As I was taking this picture, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to another incident I'd photographed a few years ago, which I was reminded of recently by another of the old e-mails Jeff found.
Dated May 20, 2007, the subject line was "I AJ Doctor." I'd sent it to Jeff while he was away for three weeks at Fort McCoy, and it included the following:
If there is a place in Heaven for dogs, Maggie most certainly earned herself a spot there tonight.
While I was busy working in the kitchen, making supper, baking cookies, cleaning up, etc., AJ decided to raid the utensil drawer.
The next thing I knew, he declared himself, "I, AJ, doctor." A few seconds later, he announced, "I Maggie's doctor." He then proceeded to use the various utensils to "examine" Maggie. (Don't worry, I think I got them all and washed them.)
What a good girl!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Should Geralyn and I really be surprised that our off-spring already seem to exhibit a certain flair for the dramatic?
Sydney's play kitchen was humming, churning out pizza and cookies and all sorts of other pretend treats. Until Lily spotted the princess costumes. Suddenly the girls simply had to be transformed into Tinkerbell and Sleeping Beauty. And off they flounced to show the boys.
Geralyn and I have always enjoyed what I consider a low-maintenance friendship. We can go months without talking, but once we do, it's like no time has passed at all. Considering it's been six months since the last time the kids got together, I'm thrilled to see how quickly they warm to each other as well.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
*After his recent hockey tournament, at the conclusion of which each player received a goodie bag and small medalion:
Jeff: "AJ, do you want to wear your medal or should I put it in your room?"
AJ: "Just add it to my medal collection."
Monday, January 11, 2010
As an added bonus, a side game has also evolved from this newest family activity. It's called "find the missing darts." They seem to be showing up in the most unusual spots. Certain alliances also seem to be forming as the kids decide to which parent to give the darts they find. So far, for the most part, I think I've got 'em on my side.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
AJ played in his first hockey tournament this weekend: one game Friday night, and two on Saturday. Twice we had to yell for him to go back to the bench. With his feet feeling good, all AJ wanted to do was keep on skating.
He made remarkable strides, literally, in his skating ability this weekend. The more natural glide, I'm sure, can also be attributed to the better fitting skates. Though don't get me wrong, he's far from all-star status. His biggest contribution seems to be tripping in front of the opposing team, triggering a domino effect with their players.
For Jeff, this tournament was a bit of a trip down memory lane. It was hosted by his hockey alma mater, if you will, the Gary/Morgan Park Youth Hockey Association. He knew more parents on the opposing team than on our own.
As for me, this tournament was a cold dose of reality of what life as a hockey mom is like. A very, very cold dose. We had to delay our previously scheduled Friday night plans (surprise birthday party for my friend Geralyn's husband) for AJ's first game. And, because Jeff had Guards this weekend, I was on my own for all of the first game, and most of the second game. Jeff was able to make it by the end. Of course the temperatures were frigidly cold, the games were outdoors and I had Sydney to keep an eye on, too. And now as I sign off, it's to head out the door, with both kids because Jeff is still at Guards, to put in a mandatory 4-hour shift at our rink's concession stand. What part of this is supposed to be fun? That's right, it's the warm and fuzzy feeling of watching my pride and joy learn to skate.
At least I remembered his hockey stick.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I was reminded of this by an e-mail Jeff just forwarded to me. It was an e-mail I'd originally sent to him back in May 2007 while he was attending an Army class at Fort McCoy. AJ and I had been able to visit him for a short time, and so I sent him photos later to remind him of the fun we'd had in the pool. It included a short message from AJ.
Subject: I swimming!
Daddy back Army?
Daddy fun swimming. I go pool too!
I love you Daddy!
Friday, January 8, 2010
Typically, Jeff is the one who picks the kids up from daycare. One day earlier this week, it worked out for me to get Sydney at the end of the day.
As I walked into the toddler room, Sydney didn't see me. She and the other kids were too engrossed in a coloring project. The teacher announced, "Sydney, guess who's here."
Sydney excitedly started to respond even before she looked up, obviously assuming I was someone else, and then changed mid-word.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Last week, I was visiting the home office of a videographer I work with on various projects. The guy happens to have a son who's just a few months younger than AJ. Tanner was home that day and excitedly grabbed my hand and pulled me into their living room to show me his engineering marvel: blankets and sheets draped from the couch to chairs to the coffee table. In his mind, I do believe, it was a multi-room mansion with connecting tunnels. He'd stocked it quite well with all of his favorite toys.
That got me thinking. And draping.
Our fort started small: two blankets stretched from the couch to a dining room chair. It was the perfect hideaway for AJ and Sydney who felt quite daring venturing out, grabbing a favorite toy, and then dashing back in. Alas, Mommy's building technique did not stand up well to this constant pulling and lifting of the blankets, and soon we were dealing with wall and ceiling collapses.
So of course our solution was to make it bigger and better. Three dining room chairs and a queen size bed sheet did the trick. This was no longer just a fort. It became a movie theater! Welcome to the premiere of Fraggle Rock, a DVD we picked up a few weeks ago but had yet to watch.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
To try and make the chilling temperature a little more bearable for AJ, I picked up some foot warmers that could fit in his skates. Little did I know, I was making the real problem worse.
How can a child with the impressive verbal skills that AJ has, not be able to say, "Hey, these skates are way too small."? He's told us numerous times that his feet hurt, but he's always said it was because they were cold.
AJ toughed it out through the first period and a half. Then, just about the time his line was set to take the ice again, I noticed as the gate opened, that Jeff was coming through with AJ. And AJ was sobbing. Uncontrollably.
We brought him into the warming house where he continued crying longer and harder than I have ever seen him do before. And he continued to say it was because his feet were cold. Jeff pulled off the skates and we each peeled off a sock. One toe felt slightly cool, but other than that, his feet felt warm. The warmer inserts had done what they're supposed to do. Of course, they'd also created even more cramped conditions inside those too small skates.
It was then that I picked up the skates. The skates Jeff had bought for AJ last year. The skates Jeff had assured me at the start of the season still fit AJ just fine. And that's when I noticed the size 9 printed on the inside. That's three sizes smaller than what he currently wears.
"AJ, do your toes get crunched up inside your skates," I asked, "Is that why they hurt?"
Aha! Breakthrough at last!
We didn't make him finish the game. It was well into the third period by that point, anyway. Though he did want to put his boots on and go back outside, "I want to cheer for my team," he insisted. "I want to help them win."
As we headed out the door, several parents gave us sympathetic smiles as one commented, "Welcome to first year hockey."