Friday, August 31, 2012

Way to Start a Weekend

Today marks the end of my first full week of school. I still really like my students. This year is just...different. It's not that I haven't liked other students this much at the beginning of a year; it's just that all groups of students are different and this group really stands out so far as being just some nice kids.

The transition of Mommy going back to work was a little rough on my own kiddos, who were used to having both of us home for the summer. I think they both got used to getting one parent to themselves, which meant they could do whatever they wanted to do. Now, they have to share Daddy while Mommy is away. One Ordinary Dad and I talked through a few things, mainly about how to give each kid one-on-one time during the day, and the week got progressively better on the home-front. B is teething like a madman, so our sleep earlier this week was awful. Thankfully, he's pretty well sleep-trained and the worst of it seems to be over. When teething has woken him up the last two nights, he's talked himself back to sleep. Unfortunately, I just lay awake listening to his cute babbles and his repetition of all the words he knows and then find myself in major need of coffee in the morning.

So this three-day weekend is all about being together, resting, and restoring. The kids and Daddy started off the weekend by finding this snake at the park right before lunch. C was equally fascinated and frightened. One Ordinary Dad had to hold B back-- lil' man wanted to pick it up and take him home.
I kicked off the weekend with a yoga class. It's taught by my regular Sunday restorative class teacher, but only the last half hour was restorative. The rest of the class was pretty active as we moved through poses at a faster pace. It was nice for a change (my Sunday class is cancelled due to the holiday). After yoga, it was off to the Catholic parish festival up the street. These festivals are big in our neck of the woods-- you can find one just about every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day. B loved the sandbox!
 Doesn't he look so big? I feel like he's gone from baby to toddler to little boy over the course of a few weeks.

C played a bunch of the kids' games and of course had to bring home the most annoying toy known to parents-- a recorder. But it makes her happy and she loves to make music.
 They rode the helicopters together. C waved to the people from up in the air, while B sat smiling with his hands at 10 and 2 as the ride spun around. I'm glad he's big enough to enjoy things like this.
 It's supposed to rain the rest of the weekend (thank you, Isaac). So we're planning to stay indoors for most of the next few days. Miss C is growing in her reading abilities by leaps and bounds. She has quite a few sight words, thanks to repeated readings of her favorite books, and can sound out simple words. She also has several books memorized. As a result she reads to B and to us on a daily basis. I'm hoping to soak up a lot of that this weekend.
 May you all have a wonderful weekend too!

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Soundtrack to Our Saturday-- Brought to You By Instagram

 Last Saturday, we kept One Ordinary Dad's record player spinning through most of the day. My handsome hubby has amassed quite a collection of vinyl since I got him a record player for his birthday 3 years ago (or was it 4?). If you follow me on Instagram (I'm booknerdmama), these pictures might look familiar. We started off with Glen Hansard's newest.
 Then we got down to my bluegrass roots with Steve Martin's bluegrass album, The Crow.
 Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were up next. Full disclosure: I kind of have a girl crush on Grace Potter. Not gonna lie.
 One Ordinary Dad LOVES James Taylor, so we had to include him.
 Over the Rhine is a local band named for a neighborhood in our city that is making quite a comeback (OTR used to be the scary place you didn't want to go and now it's one of THE places to be in our city).
 Since we recently saw them in concert, we had to give Mumford and Sons a spin.
 And no Saturday would be complete without some Saturday Looks Good to Me.
 This Saturday has been equally laid back and relaxed. We made pancakes this morning, C read B some books, we went to our favorite toy store to get C a new, more challenging (more pieces) puzzle since her 48 piece puzzles aren't cutting it anymore and are too easy, and now we're off to pillage my in-law's garden since they're out of town and don't want anything that is ripe to go to waste.
 I went back to school this week. I seem to have a good (read, well-behaved) but slightly quirky group of students. I'll take the quirks over behavior issues any day though. One Ordinary Dad is back to his superhero role taking care of our kiddos while I teach. I do love my job and feel blessed to have a job that (most days) makes getting up to do it worthwhile. It makes me appreciate these smiles all the more when I get home and get to see them in person.

Happy Saturday! What's on your soundtrack this weekend?

~One Ordinary Mom

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dino Dig

Okay, we didn't really go digging for dinosaurs, but we did go looking for some trilobites, brachiopods, crinoids, and bryozoans at a local fossil park last week. I've heard great things about the park from several friends and we decided to give it a go. Last Tuesday was a bit overcast and it threatened to rain all day, which meant that there weren't very many people when we got there. We had been told to bring buckets and shovels for the kids, though you don't really dig, at least not deep-- using a shovel to kind of scrape around is okay.
 I wasn't sure how B would do since he caught a little of the bug C had at my parents' house a couple of weeks ago. He is also teething. So he is quite the hot mess. He was surprisingly into it despite his runny nose, cough, and blistering gums. I guess if you give a boy some rocks...
 The park is located on a hillside on ten acres of donated land. C called it a mountain as we worked our way to the top.
 A lot of the fossils are just lying on the ground. Some are imbedded in larger rocks. We didn't bring any big rocks home, but C has quite the collection of small bryozoans and brachiopods. We didn't have success finding trilobites or crinoids. B just picked up a bunch of random rocks for his bucket-- most didn't have any fossils, but he sure had fun.
 The view from the top was pretty amazing! Even on a cloudy day we could see quite far.
We headed to the library after our visit to the fossil park and I found a couple of good kids' books that explained fossils a little more in depth to C. Now she wants to know when we can go to a fossil park that has bones and dinosaurs.

~One Ordinary Mom

Saturday, August 11, 2012


When I was training to run a marathon (this time six years ago I was just beginning), tapering was what you did as race day drew closer. Basically, you backed off. Your workouts became a little shorter because your body had already done the hard part (in my case, a 20 mile training run) and it was time to coast and take it a little bit easier until it was time to gather at the starting line.

I feel like the last several days have been a sort of tapering for our family.

C completed her swim lessons and we're not making daily treks to the pool.
 The ice cream truck is not coming around nightly.

My reading is becoming slightly more professional in nature, though I'm still enjoying some time for the fun stuff (like my current novel).

We spent a night with my parents before we headed to the wedding last weekend and we took it slow. Normally our trips are hurried and busy. Friday night we enjoyed a steel drum concert on the new green at First and Main. We enjoyed pizza and later ice cream in celebration of Daddy's 30th (which was last Sunday). We basically took it slow.
One Ordinary Dad headed back to our house after the wedding while I stayed with my parents for a few more days. C, B, and I continued the slow pace. We mostly lounged around, enjoying the blessing of some cooler temperatures. We took a few bike rides, visited the local book store and toy store, and watched some more of the Olympics (taking full advantage of my parents' cable, a luxury we don't have at our house). One afternoon, we went to feed the geese at a park near the high school I attended.
The geese loved Miss C and were ready to follow her home if it meant more crackers.
We played at the park a little more and then went home for naps.
C had a mild cold while we visited, so even she was "down" with the whole nap thing each day. A preschooler with a scratchy, hoarse voice is equal parts pathetic and entertaining. She finally decided that her voice "went to Disney World and was on vacation." That girl and her imagination!

I headed back into my classroom yesterday and got more work done than anticipated. So at this point I'm not going back in until I have to be there. I was planning to head in on Monday and possibly Tuesday, but I think I'd rather use those days to relax.

Yes, we are in full on tapering mode here. We maxed out our energy this summer and are slowing down. Our bodies are ready to take on the work and fun of the school year ahead. We're spending our mornings lingering in our pajamas instead of hurriedly dressing to head out on a fun summer adventure; we're spending more afternoons lying around the patio instead of at the pool or the zoo or the museum (though One Ordinary Dad will be taking C and B to the zoo and museum a lot this fall, I'm sure); we're spending more evenings just chilling at the park instead of downtown on the square or out somewhere else. The cooler temperatures we've had lately are a blessing after a hot summer-- even our AC is thankful for the chance to taper, to slow down. We are thankful for all that the summer brought us and are happily beginning to look forward to autumn.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Empire State

One of the advantages to our current situation (me, teaching, with summers off, and One Ordinary Dad free-lancing and picking up worship-leading jobs when he can), means we can pretty much pick up and take off whenever we want to. We don't have to get vacation time approved. We don't have to pick and choose between what reunions, celebrations, and trips we want to take. We can just, well, go to all of them (if we want). This summer we traveled to Disney World, traveled to my hometown for the 4th of July, hung out in Hazard, Kentucky for a family reunion, and most recently, we traveled to Long Island for the wedding of a friend.

We loaded up the Big Blue Compromise-- our minivan-- on Friday and headed to my parents' house. C and B stayed with them, while One Ordinary Dad and I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to drive to Long Island. We made a slight detour in Pittsburgh so I could soak in all of the cuteness that is one of my best friend's five-week-old daughter. After that, it was New York or bust.

A wrong turn out of the Lincoln Tunnel meant a detour through Manhattan. Gee darn, we had to enjoy this view:
We finally made it, only slightly late, checked into our hotel, and headed to the rehearsal dinner. One Ordinary Dad has known J since high school, so it was fun for him to see another high school friend and to catch up with the parents of his friends as well. It was nice to go to bed that night without the sound of C's and B's snoring coming through the monitor.

The wedding was an all-day affair on Sunday. Mimosas and coffee before the ceremony, an outdoor ceremony (with Beatles music played on strings), a cocktail hour following the ceremony, and then a feast of a dinner. We stuffed ourselves silly, danced some of it off, and goofed off in the photo booth.
While it would have been cool to have stayed another night or two and to have spent some time in the city, my parents both had to work on Monday, so we needed to get back. We had left our van with the kids' carseats with my parents and had my dad's convertible for the trip. As we left, we put the top down and enjoyed the views.
The approach to the Throgs Neck Bridge gave us great views of the water...
...and the bridge itself was pretty cool too.
We had to put the top up before we even got out of New York though as a thunderstorm was approaching. Other than the rain, we didn't have any other delays on the way home and pulled into my parents' driveway at midnight.

One Ordinary Dad headed back to our house with my dad so that he could do some touch-up housepainting that's been on our to-do list for awhile now. I stayed here with the kids. We've had fun biking downtown, taking walks to the park, and just being lazy. The daily grind of the school year will be starting soon. Tomorrow we head southwest and back to our home and Daddy. J and her husband said we're welcome to come back and visit and stay with them anytime. One Ordinary Dad and I are thinking it might be fun to leave B with my parents one weekend and take Miss C into the city for a couple of days. She'd love it!

~One Ordinary Mom

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It's Not Just a Haircut

It's a sign that B is turning into a little boy. It's another step away from babyhood. But we had to do it. He was sporting quite the Jimmy Buffet-ish mullet (rat-tail when wet). So off we went to the barbershop last Friday.
 He hated every minute of it! We went to our local barbershop up the street. They've been a staple of our community for decades. Luckily, his barber was patient. I can see B and One Ordinary Dad walking up to get haircuts here for decades to come. And then probably heading to the comic and card shop afterward to get comic books and baseball cards.
 We did actually go buy B his first pack of baseball cards after his haircut. I know he has no idea what to do with them, but it seemed another appropriate little transition into boyhood. Do boys even collect baseball cards still?
 He looks so grown up! My mama-heart can't take it anymore. Really, it wasn't just a haircut. It was another sign that there is no longer a baby in this house. And to be honest, we're okay with that. We aren't totally sure that our family is complete, but for now we sure are having fun as a family of four.
And let's face it-- whether we decide our family is complete with B or not, he'll always be my baby.

~One Ordinary Mom :-)