Friday, June 22, 2012



1 oz. Kahlua
1 oz. Bailey's
1 oz. Amaretto
2 oz. heavy cream

Shake over ice.  Serve with chocolate syrup.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Start Date Looms

I know it's not even the end of June - and if we're being particularly specific, summer just began - but our 2012-2013 school year begins in two weeks.  July 9, to be precise.  I'll be updating the curriculum link shortly, but I have to say that I'll be ready to get back to school when the time rolls around.

It's not so much that I'm all done with summer; it's more that I'm ready to get back into a school-ish routine.  M1 has still been getting up with the birds, and M2 is up shortly after.  Without something to do, M1 is the full-on embodiment of the old adage, "Idle hands are the devil's playground."  (Poor kid... he's hexed with the curse of his mother.  I don't know how many times my own grandmother applied that particular epithet to me in a vain attempt to get me to leave my sister alone.)  M2 has lost all semblance of ambition and hasn't properly practiced her violin in weeks.  Both of them think the perfect afternoon means lounging on the couch and either bickering or begging me to turn on the television.

Clearly it's time to regain a sense of purpose.

With that in mind, I've whipped the homeschool cabinet into shape and created a new 'art closet' out of our coat closet in the living room since I had to take all the art supplies out of the cabinet in order to fit all the curriculum for both kids in there.

I love newly-organized cabinets.

And I really, really want a school room.  But for now, let the countdown begin.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The First Swim Meet

M1 participated in his very first competitive swim meet last night.  I'm so very proud of him; more importantly, the last thing he said to me last night as he drifted off to sleep (the minute his head hit the pillow) was, "I'm proud of myself."

No matter how badly the meet had gone (and we did have some blunders), that made it all worth it.

I've never been a parent of a competitive child.  I was never in sports as a child, either (other than a couple seasons of soccer when I was M2's age), so one thing I wasn't prepared for was all the waiting.

There was lots of waiting.  Waiting on the side, watching teammates swim...

... plus waiting for M1's event to come up, and all the other 'waiting' that comes along with sports where not everyone competes at once.

M2 got bored, so in between M1's events, Oz and I took her outside to escape the stifling heat and humidity of the pool deck.

She was so patient with all the hoopla surrounding her brother.  I'm proud of her, too.

We did eventually get to see M1 swim, though.

His first event, freestyle, went well.  I felt bad for him; his goggles slipped down to his chin when he dove into the water.  He kept going, though, and finished his heat.  Woohoo!

His second event was the backstroke.  He got a little flustered and nearly did freestyle out of habit but realized his mistake and flipped over pretty quickly.  And again, he finished.  He didn't wig out.  He didn't cry or get angry or embarrassed.  He knew this was his first meet and there would be lots of subsequent chances to work out the kinks.  The fact that he didn't melt at any point in time is cause for celebration for me, regardless of anything else.

Finally, he had his breaststroke event...

... and came second in his heat.  Second out of three or four... but still, he actually beat people to the wall!

He had fun.  He learned how meets work.  And I'm sure when he goes for his next one, he'll have that much more confidence.  Congratulations, M1!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's Father's Day (Again)

My kids have been excited about Father's Day for a couple weeks.  We don't do much for Mother's or Father's Day around here, but there are always cards and usually special meals.  This year Oz indulged himself in some Aussie candy, and the kids got up early this morning (well, M2 got up early... M1 just got up at his usual time) so they could fix Daddy breakfast.  They didn't know what to fix, though, so I told them to fix some biscuits and I whipped up some eggs and bacon.  They liked that.  After we ate, M2 started begging Oz to tell her what he wanted to do all day.  Mostly this meant she wanted to do something, but she knew it was his special day, so she pestered him constantly until he told her that he just wanted to have a lazy day watching NASCAR.

M2 didn't quite understand that mentality, but since that's what Daddy wanted, she went along with it.

She insisted on being right next to him for a good chunk of the day.  And because my kids love their Daddy...

M1 allowed me to photograph him next to Oz as well.

As for Oz himself?  Well, he's never really liked the camera.

Happy Father's Day, dear!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sibling Rivalry... or, The Big Green Monster

My children, for the most part, don't fight much.  I mean, they do have their spats.  The other day they fell to blows over the 'possession' of a cat that had been dozing peacefully on the sofa.  M2 hopped on one end of the couch to pet the cat.  M1 plopped on the other end and pulled the oft-maligned, bleary-eyed cat into his lap.  M2 squalled and reached for the cat; M1 grabbed her wrist.  M2 hollered and tried to kick him; M1 countered with his own Sasquatch-sized feet.

The cat escaped, shaking her head at the insanity of it all (and probably at being awakened so suddenly).

Most of the time it just takes a word or two to stop these sorts of encounters.  They aren't nearly as frequent as they used to be, thankfully; they seem to come in fits and spurts.  Largely they are about matters of perceived possession and involve lots of jealousy.  M2 is a very jealous little critter and loves to scream about the unfairness of her life when compared to that of her older brother.  Tonight was a prime example.  The kids were getting ready to go to bed.  Oz was going to tuck them in, so they were told to come give me good-night hugs.  M2 raced to get to me first.  She got her hug and kiss and then dumped herself on the floor so she could crawl to her room.  Then M1 sat on my lap (which isn't easy, given his size, but he does it... he gets jealous, too, but about weird things).  I rocked him and quoted the book I'll Love You Forever - you moms have probably heard this one - "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."  Then I gave him a squudge (that looks weird written out, doesn't it?  But I love the word.  I picked it up from the movie "Hook") and sent him off to his room.  As soon as my lap was vacant, a smallish green monster girl appeared. "Do that to me," she demanded.

"Do what?" I asked.

"The rocking and I love you thing.  I didn't get that."  And with that, she plopped on my lap, little face set in determination.

So I rocked her, and I said the words, and then I sat back to let her go... but she didn't move.  "Squeeze," she said, still green with jealousy.  "He got a squeezey hug."

I gave her a squeeze.  And off she skipped - literally - as chipper as ever.

Green monsters.  They're powerful little things, aren't they?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Morning People

My son is a morning person.  I'd say I'm not quite sure how this happened, but that would be a lie.  I knew there was a good chance he would be - my dad is a morning person, and my mom's brother woke up every morning at 6 or 6:30 a.m. (I can't remember which) without an alarm clock every day of his adult life.  So the fact that M1 wakes up at 6 a.m. every. single. day. isn't entirely a surprise.

For years his early-rising habit has been a problem for our household.  He would raid the kitchen for candy, wake his sister up, sneak out the back door, and otherwise get up to all sorts of shenanigans.  I'd have to get up with him (and as a night owl, 6 a.m. is an hour I don't want to see unless I'm coming from the other end of it) and there would be yelling and consequences and just general negativity.  But since we put him back on the Intuniv a few months ago (and we convinced him that he could, in fact, choose to control his actions, since the Intuniv doesn't do that for him like the Vyvanse did), he's coming to realize that mornings don't always have to end badly.  In fact, his morning productivity has actually gotten so predictable and amazing that I can almost wake up leisurely!  I will come into the kitchen to find breakfast plates on the counter, table wiped, coffee made, cats fed, chickens checked and eggs collected, and the boy back in his room - dressed and with bed made - reading.  He will have brushed his teeth, taken his medication, and possibly even helped his sister with whatever she needs, if she wakes up early.

To me, all this is nothing short of miraculous.

I still ask about everything and double-check it all because I still don't entirely believe that this is going to be a consistent, long-lasting thing.

And of course there's a catch.

With the early-morning productivity comes mid-afternoon narcolepsy.  Any time between 2 and 4:30 p.m., if he's left to his own devices - reading in his room, lounging on the couch, even sitting in the car - he'll fall asleep.  And when he falls asleep, he falls asleep hard.  I joke and call him my little European, since he wants to be up early and take a siesta after lunch... well, that and he doesn't like ice in his drinks, but that's a different matter entirely.  Even with a nap, though, he's ready for bed by 8 or 8:30 in the evening at the latest.  The last couple of days, since I haven't let him doze, he's been ready for bed by 7.

Today when he climbed into bed, he asked if we could talk about something.  "Of course!" I said.  "What's up?"

Very seriously, he looked at me and said, "I can't stop myself waking up early, but if you don't let me have naps, I'm going to need to go to bed earlier and earlier and soon I'll need an early dinner and early bedtime, and then I'll miss chapter!" ('Chapter' is our read-aloud time before bed.  We're working through the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series right now.)

I told him that no, he wouldn't get early dinner.  He would just go to bed at bedtime and his wake-up time would adjust itself accordingly, not the other way around.  He doesn't seem convinced, but then I told him that especially during the school year, his early morning could be when he does some of his school work... some of the little stuff he doesn't need me for.  He seemed to like that idea.

And I like it, too.  I don't mind him getting up early if he's going to be good about it; I just don't want to have to get up with him!

We're All Alike

As of last week...

... every single one of us has glasses.  M2 was the last holdout.  I've been wearing mine since I was about 14.  DH has had his for about 10 years now.  M1 got his last summer (though his are only for reading; he's the only one who doesn't have to wear them full-time).  Now M2 has hers.

I have to say, she wears them well.  My lil' smarty-pants cutie.  Love her to death.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why Pretend?

I've never been good at pretending.  I have an incredibly active imagination, but I've never really understood the idea of faking something when you can do the real thing.  M2 is okay with playing pretend, but M1 has always been (overly?) practical like me.  I've tried to cater to that.  The kids have learned to clean, cook, make things, etc. by using the real deal.  This isn't to say we don't have play food or pretend vacuum cleaners in the house - in fact, fake food was one of M1's favorite toys for years - but whenever they want to understand these concepts, I'm happy to introduce them.

We picked up M1's EpiPen (no more EpiPen Jr. for us... that boy is big enough for the real thing there, too) from the pharmacy, and it came with a 'trainer injector.'  M2 was delighted.  She adores playing doctor, picking up books about various body parts or systems from the nonfiction section of the library and trying to learn as much as possible; I wouldn't be surprised if she enters the medical field when she gets older.  She talked M1 into playing with her...

She knows she's not stabbing him in the correct spot, but she wanted the pictures to be worth her while.  She's also a ham for the camera.

M1 got in the kitchen last week.  He hadn't gotten to do any real cooking in a while, and he begged to be allowed to make chocolate chip cookies.  I wanted to take photos of the entire process but was banished from the kitchen until he wanted me to demonstrate the proper size to make the cookies.  Then I was banished again.

He cleaned up the kitchen, too.  

I love the fact that my kids are capable of understanding these concepts.  I couldn't make cookies like this until I was much, much older, and I certainly didn't know how to use an EpiPen at their age... hadn't even heard of one, to be honest.  This sort of independence is what I've always hoped to foster in them, and I'm thrilled to see it already!

Yay summer!