Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Me Name Xander

"Me hide crackers in my hand" says Alexander after I tell him no crackers. And just now he brought me a spoon and a jar of jelly. I guess since we eat Peanut Butter Spoons (thanks Aunt Cristina) he thought we could have Jelly Spoons too.

He is the only child in the entire preschool who gets rewarded with candy for using the potty. And occasionally if he is having a rough day he gets an extra hug from Miss Vicky, a teacher who is several doors down.

At baseball practice the men stand around the field joking with me and saying that the scout is coming today to check out his arm. He walks around with his glove and hat giving people his baseball and asking them to throw it. The most amazing part is that people will play catch with him. Complete strangers will include him.

Just the other day in the car when he was invariably being naughty he replied "Me so cute" with that smile that is so hard to resist.

Little Alexander. The one who knows he is cute and uses it to his advantage. That one will be trouble, just wait and see.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Now I know Why I had Kids

Field Trips!

In the last month I have been on more field trips than I can remember. First the Tiger Scouts went to KPCC, a local independent radio station that I happen to listen to. I was very excited to see the initial presentation of how recording devices have changed over the last 200 years. The presenter even had an old-fashioned tube recorder, not sure of the official name of it. Then he showed the children a record and the kids thought it was a giant CD. We got to tour all the studios and the kids even had a chance to speak into the microphone while the guide played with special effects to make the kids sound like chipmunks.

Next was a trip to Descanso Gardens. I don't think I have been there since I was a child. It was a field trip with Lainy Ann's 3rd grade class and the teacher has expressed concern in me bringing along Eleanor in a stroller. Well, she was right to be concerned. Our docent was a spry old lady who kept us on our toes. I was running along the paths and going up and down hills and stairs carved into hillside, just bouncing Eleanor along the whole time. The next day I was so incredibly sore. But I learned a ton about our native foliage and the natural uses for is like sunscreen and soap.

JPL was by far my favorite trip. I am a huge space-nut. I was thrilled to death to visit the Kennedy Space Center and see a shuttle launch last year and I still follow all space related news. I don't know how I have never been to JPL considering it is just down the street. After the stroller incident from the previous field trip I carried Eleanor around in the Ergo. We spent 3 hours looking at the mini-museum, mission control where the engineers talk to the space craft like Voyager I and II. We even had a chance to see the newest Mars Rover, Curiosity, which will be launching later this year. We walked along the catwalks and looked into the clean room to see the men working on the rover. But the best part of the whole trip is when I found out that JPL has family tours. I already have a tour scheduled for this summer so the rest of the family can benefit from a tour.

Over spring break we took the big kids to the Biltmore Estates in Asheville, North Carolina. What a fun trip! I truly felt like we were in a castle as we toured a single estate that was larger than our little town. I would love to visit the Biltmore Estates again and go on an extended tour of the servants quarters.

We have tons of adventures planned for this summer too; horseback riding, Adventure Park and a series of museums and farms. I'm not sure who is more excited; me or the kids.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sisters Rule

Road Trip Time! We are road tripping from Woodstock, GA to Asheville, NC: Mom (Marylou), Tom, Allyson, Connor, Lainy Ann, Eleanor and I. While it is a beautiful drive, it is also a 4 hour drive. So we entertained ourselves by playing the ABC car game. I don't know if that is the official title of the game. Its the one where you look for a word on a sign that starts with 'A', then 'B', then 'C' and so on. Allyson (riding shotgun) and I (driving) thought it was a great idea and found A, B, C, and D right away while the kids and papa in back were still deciding whether or not to play. So somehow we were racing to the letter Z. Oh, and we were navigating highways and red lights through southern North Carolina.

The kids were getting so frustrated so they started finding hard letters; Q, Y, and Z and 'saving' them. Allyson and I just laughed and high-fived all the way down the road. On one sign alone we found 4 letters. Then as the hard letters came along we found words like Xceterra, Zone, and Unique.

Tonight sis and I have a sleep over and share a bed. Just like old times. Except tonight I will be getting up and nursing my baby while my 2 oldest sleep in the next room. I didn't realize how much I have missed my sister.

"Me Need Mommy"

When we first had our children Caskey and I vowed to vacation once a year. We did a pretty good job the first few years. Then we fell off the wagon. William was born in the summer and things just got too busy. We decided we would rather spend our vacation money doing things with the kids. So its been about 4 years since we have really vacationed without the children. We still go out every once in a while. The kids spend the night with grandma, but I have never been away from the kids for more than 24 hours, excluding the 2 times I have been in the hospital having a new baby.

But my mother convinced me to vacation in Atlanta, GA with Lainy Ann, Connor and Eleanor for one week. And by some miracle my husband agreed to work from home for the week and take care of William and Alexander. So for the first time our family is separated for an entire week. For the most part we do everything together; tball practice, scout outings, vacations, everything. There are always tag alongs (except for actual in class/school activities). Even when Caskey took the big kids camping for the weekend he was only gone for two nights.

Its been a great trip so far and even though I still have 3 kids with me, its a bit of a break since the kids that are with me can feed, bathe and dress themselves. I get a little more grown up conversation and a little more space, fewer messes to clean up and extra adults to help with baby Ellie.

I have been able to video conference with my littlest boys who were left home. It makes me feel better, but I think it upsets them more. Little Alexander was really happy to see me, but the first thing out of his mouth was "Me need mommy" Followed by a quivering lower lip and a few sniffles. Why is my 2 year old trying not to cry? Even worse, why did I leave and make him cry? Ugh! Mommy Guilt.