Monday, September 28, 2009

swan boats, ducklings, playgrounds, graveyards, and hip hop

A blistering hot day in the middle of August. Humidity at 1000% and temps near 100. Sounds like a great day to take the train into Boston for some fun around town! Well, in our defense we chose the day in advance, without knowing what the weather was possibly going to be. And even though we were melting into human puddles at times, we had an amazing visit to Boston.

The iconic Swan boats of Boston. They are pedal powered and you cruise around the small pond with all the other ducks and swans.

Getting a closer it was shady under the bridge, so I let them look as long as they wanted, in order to take advantage of the blessed relief from the sun.

If you visit the Boston Public Garden, you have to go find the Make Way for Ducklings statues. Mrs. Mallard and all her rhyming babies can be found marching along one of the pathways. My kids were not at all happy I forced them into standing with the statues for a picture. I really wanted them to sit on the statues or pose in an adorable way. However, the heat of the day caused those metal quackers to be as hot as the blazes. The best I could do was to get them to stand next to them.

On the Boston Common we stopped at the Tadpole Playground, next to Frog Pond, for a play break. The kids had fun sliding and climbing. I loved all the artsy details I found all over the playground.

As we walked towards Faneuil Hall we passed a graveyard. The gravestones were so cool, with skeletons and the angel of death.

Faneuil Hall is well known for the street performers that stage impromptu performances. We watched a group of hip hop dancers. The moves were unbelievable, especially when you consider their stage is concrete. One wrong move and OUCH!

We collapsed beneath a HUGE tree on the Boston Commons with our fresh squeezed lemonades and even though I had no desire to move, the kids got up after a few minutes and played tag.

It's funny how the smallest things are the biggest deal and have such a big impact on them. My kids could not get over the buses, the really wide sidewalks, the streetlights (they fought viciously over who would push the button), and the cobblestone sidewalks. They continually push me to see what I think of as mundane, from a new perspective. Considering the kids were asking when we can go back on the train ride home, I'd say our trip was a huge success.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

more summer fun moments promised

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My kids can play in the water longer than they can play in the sand. They come out of the ocean, pond or pool with pruney hands and feet and seaweed in their bathing suits and happy smiles all over their faces. They got their first boogey boards this summer and used them so much they nearly wore them out. They even used the silly things in our little pool! This year is the first year the kids have been brave enough to body surf on their own and let me tell you, it sure made their Mumma nervous. They, however, loved every minute of it. We braved the wild waves in Rhode Island and made a trip to Old Orchard Beach in Maine too. I literally had to drag the kids away from the water when it was time to go.

I remember hitting the beach in Rhode Island when I was a kid. We'd run and dive straight into the waves. Oftentimes, the undertow would catch us and tumble us around a bit before spitting us back out onto the rocky beach. We'd do this over and over and come out of the water breathless and bruised. And we loved every minute of it. Now that my kids are more daring and venturing out into the waves, I wage an inner battle with myself to just let them go. I have to force myself to let my kids enjoy the water on their own terms. Did I mention that my parents didn't necessarily come down to the beach with us? Maybe they had the right idea. They didn't witness the carnage so they were blissfully unaware. Not to worry, I won't be dropping my kiddos off at the beach anytime soon. Even though I watch them like a hawk and am ready to jump up and do a Baywatch style rescue should the need arise, it still gives me so much joy to see them laughing and dancing in the water. If this summer is any indication, I have many years ahead of long waterlogged days at the beach.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Summer Favorites

I've been avoiding responding to a tag by Liz who writes over at These are the Days. Not because I don't want to respond, but because thinking back on my wonderful summer is making me sad that it's not summer anymore. Boo! Hoo! It's a good thing Fall is such a wonderful season, and my favorite by a slim margin, or I just might refuse to move along and stay stuck back in summer forever.

So while our thoughts are moving forward to flannel pj's and warm cups of tea....lets take a little jaunt back to those lazy days of summer.

Favorite Summer Movie: I don't really watch movies. Except with my kids (when they force me to) so this is a tough one for me. I'm going to go with Field of Dreams as my favorite summer movie. I mean really, how can you go wrong with baseball, a little bit of mystery, realizing your dreams and Kevin Costner in his prime. And the guy that played Shoeless Joe...he was some cute little eye candy too.

Favorite Summer Cocktail: a big glass of white sangria...nix that, a big PITCHER of white sangria!

Favorite Summer Song: Every single song on "On Every Street" by Dire Straits...I could listen to this album all year long but for some reason it just resonates summer to me.

Favorite Summer Meal: simply seasoned meat (Chicken, pork, or beef) cooked on the grill with grilled vegies and sweet corn on the cob.....YUMMMM!!!

Favorite Summer Outfit: my summer uniform is usually a light top with a pair of shorts but this summer I have found some cute summer dresses that I just LOVE!

Favorite Summer Reading: This summer I read a lot more than the past several. My kids are finally old enough that I can sit for more than a few minutes with a book. I'm not interrupted constantly or have to keep my eyes on the kids every single second. I still didn't read as much as I would have liked though. The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood...Julie and Julia...Katherine of Aragon are three that I enjoyed this summer. I cannot wait to go see the Julie and Julia movie now!

Favorite Summer Moment: It is so hard to choose just one moment as favorite. I have many favorites for so many different reasons. But since I have to choose just one, I think it would have to be my morning walks on the beach while we were on vacation. Technically, that's not one moment, since I took a walk every morning, but I refuse to narrow it down any further. There is nothing quite like tiptoeing out of the house, cup of tea in hand early in the morning. Most days this year, I didn't get out by myself but I really didn't mind. Some days it was Teresa and I and other days it was all three kids. One morning Teresa and I headed out and came home to find Sam awake and we headed back for a second walk. On our way home Joe and Kate were coming to meet us so we headed back for a third walk. It's a quiet contemplative time before the full heat of the day hits. These morning walks have the schizophrenic ability to give me time to myself and yet still be with those I love the most.

So there you have it. I still haven't finished posting my pictorial summer moments for you either. So even though summer has faded, I will be wallowing in summer memories a wee bit longer. Indulge me. That being said...bring on FALL!

Monday, September 21, 2009

c is for...

circles? triangles?? shapes??? no, nope, unh ah.

Wait for it...wait for it.........


Are these not the sweetest sleeping cats EVER??? I cannot claim credit for this idea. I found it years ago in some teaching book or magazine and dug it out for a letter "C" activity. It's another easy one but it does require a little bit of prep work ahead of time.

You'll need a large paper plate and a small paper plate for each cat. You will also need construction paper, paint, glue and a black marker. I trimmed the plates down a bit by cutting off most of the outside edge of the bigger plate and all of the edge of the little plate. I cut out circles for the feet, triangles for the ears and a bitty triangle for the nose. You will need to cut out a big C for the tail too. I asked each of the kids what color cat they wanted to make the day before so I knew what colors paper and paint we needed.

This project requires two drying periods so it would take most of the day but the actual working time is pretty short. First the kids should paint both plates. I've found a great way to keep paint off the table w/o using newspaper. We have a ton of laminated placemats and I just use a couple of those under the projects. I can then move them right on the placemat to a safe place to dry too. Once the plates are dry they can glue the ears on the smaller plate and then glue the smaller plate on the bigger plate. Next apply glue to the top of the C and add that to the cat. They can glue on the feet and the nose and then set it to dry once again. When the paint and glue are dry enough, use a black marker to trace around the head and have your child add eyes, mouth and whiskers. And there you have it.

After writing the title of this post I now have the song "C is for Cookie" running through my head...argghhh! Except I'm saying "kitty" instead of cookie and that isn't even correct. Lord help me, I think I've finally lost it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

itsy bitsy spider

Now if this cute little crawly had sat down beside Miss Muffett, I don't think she would have been frightened at all. The goggley eyes and eight chubby little legs make this little fellow undeniably friendly.

He couldn't be easier to make too. All you need is black and white paint, a couple of paintbrushes and your child's helping hand. The preschoolers painted their hand and fingers (not their thumbs!!!) themselves and pressed it onto their papers. I did the painting for the little ones. Oh, I wish I got a picture of the baby's miniature was one of the cutest things ever! After making the first handprint, turn the paper so only one hand needs to be painted. You want to make sure the palm of the second print overlaps the first. Make sure to have a wet cloth to wipe the hand down after you've made both prints. Then paint the tip of the pointer finger with white paint and dot it on your spider to make it's eyes. Once it's dried the kids can color in some eyeballs. We made these to go along with our Nursery Rhyme theme but they'd be perfect as a Halloween project too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

may I take your order?

We are a family that loves to go out to eat. One of our favorite ways to treat ourselves is to eat out at a restaurant. We've been taking the kids out to eat since they were each infants and as a result they know how to behave in a restaurant which makes the outing enjoyable for us all. Granted, there was a time when our choice of venue was limited to Friendly's and Brighams but now that the kids are older we take them everywhere.

All this dining out has made playing "restaurant" one of my kids absolute favorite games. They play it inside at their play kitchen. They play it outside at the small table set under the trees. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. They play the parts of the chef, the server and the customers. They write up signs, create menus and even give us mints at the end of our meals. Most of the time, Joe and I get to play the role of customer. It never fails to crack me up when Katie saunters over to the table with a small notepad and pencil and says "Hi...I'm Katie and I'll be taking care of you today. What do you want to eat?"

When we do go out to eat (in a real restaurant that serves food made out playdough or dirt) I always tease Joe about his choice of entree because he is very predictable and depending on where we are I could order for him with my eyes shut and one hand tied behind my back. Me...I'm more adventurous, and am always looking to try something new and different. But it seems my kids find me just as predictable as I do Joe. The other day I decided to try out a new restaurant that just happened to open in my backyard. I was greeted and taken to my table. My server Katie came over and pulled out her pad of paper and pencil and said "Oh, it's and cannoli?"!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

i ♥ faces back to school challenge

Last week my two oldest marched across the front yard and up the stairs of the big yellow bus. They had been running around the yard full of excitement and enthusiasm while waiting for the bus. A few minutes before the bus arrived, Teresa sidled up to me and put her hand in mine. She asked me if I thought her teacher would like her and if I thought her teacher would be fun. My answers did not quite erase the slightly anxious look on her face. But when the bus stopped, she pulled her hand out of mine and boarded the bus. I asked her to stop and pose for just one more picture. She tried to eek out a smile but was not very successful. Her nervousness trumped any attempt at a smile.

Rest assured though, she bounded off the bus in the afternoon and reported her teacher was the world's greatest...she played games AND she made them popcorn!

Head on over to i ♥ faces and check out some of the other entries.

Friday, September 4, 2009

in her words

Teresa has the soul of a poet. She has long carried on a love affair with words. She soaks up new words and uses them as soon as she can; even if they don't quite fit. She especially relishes what she calls "amazing" words. Why use a worn out word when you can use one that is polysyllabic and unique? She often surprises me with some of the things she says. When she was a toddler she would often tell me "you make my heart happy." She still says this today and it never fails to cause me to melt into an ooey gooey pile of mush. The other day while we were cooking together and chatting about nothing in particular, she wrapped her dimpled arms around my waist, snuggled her face into my belly and said "Mumma, you fill my joy with delight." On the surface this doesn't really even make sense, but to my ears, it says everything.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

how did this happen???

We were doing rhyming games today when it happened. I asked Katie to rhyme the word "car."

She paused for a minute and then hollered "CAH!...STRAW!"

I always thought my friends were exaggerating when they tell me my Boston accent is "wicked" strong. I guess not.

that time of year again

Every year this day holds a mix of emotions for me. Pride, sadness, glee, and excitement.
Happy first day of school!

scrubbed and shiny and ready for a brand new year

Even though Kate still has a couple of years before her first day of school, she insists on getting in on the photo op

And there goes Teresa again...always wants to strike a pose

Nerves began to set in as they got on the bus...but they came home with smiles on their faces. We're off to a great start!