Thursday, July 26, 2007

National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center

Many of our visitors have visitied the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor's Center with us, but somehow Brian and Janine never have. So one of the days they were here we talked about going. The girls were excited to go to "the museum" but between J & B's car's a/c getting fixed and my general laziness for getting out the door it never happened. So every day after that Lily asked to go; so we finally did last Thursday. I must say I love that place. I'll never forget the first time I took Tyra and Thomas there. Tyra was probably 3 and as we were driving through the beautiful treesy exit and she sighed out "Thank you Mommy for taking us there!" It has always been a good experience, even this February in the freezing FREEZING cold when my dad and Pam were visiting us along with Lisa and Anne and their kids.

So back to the "museum", the pictures show the first thing where you can put your donations into the beaver's lodge, and pet the beaver. Then there are displays of some stuffed animals in the lobby. They there are displays with buttons and levers to push to learn about the world and how we can protect our planet from pollution, deforestation, etc. Finally there are beautiful displays of different animals in their habitats, and a place to look through binoculars at the Patuxent wetlands reserve.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tyra's Swimming Lessons

For years now, whenever we sit down and discuss personal goals, or talents, or such things, Tyra has always said she wants to learn how to swim. Last summer in La Jolla, CA Tom started teaching Tyra in our pool, and Grandpa Lee taught her in his pool. But she still needed and wanted lessons. So this year I marked my planner for the morning the county parks and rec opened registration for their summer classes. So far, time and again I'd get around to trying in the first week or two and all the classes would be full, and being on all the waiting lists resulted in no phone call saying we were in. So I set my alarm and signed her up. Well, Tyra amazed me. She was so confident and did everything she was supposed to. When it was time for their first jump off the diving board I just prayed and yet still expected to see her inch toward the edge of the board then either refuse, or at least look terrified as she jumped. Well, she just walked, almost running, right of the edge!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"I Say It!"

I think all of you who've had a kid around this age have gone through this stage before. Elizabeth just delighted us all many months ago with her happy compliance with our request that she offer the blessing on the food. But something went haywire a little over a week ago when she started her "I say it!" stage. Whenever another person is chosen to say the prayer Beth yells out that she wants to. So often the person who was either about to start or actually did start will stop and say "ok, you can". Then EJ refuses to say anything, or even copy the parent trying to prompt her. So after a while we give up and ask the other person, only to start the cycle over. It's great fun. So one time after Lily had finished the prayer and I looked up to see how the tears were actually rolling down Beth's cheeks over this I had to film her. It's too funny. To date, the only time she has said a prayer since this stage began is when Aunt Janine prompted her

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I am already enjoying the benefit of having family a short drive away! Janine and Brian just moved out to Winston-Salem, North Carolina this month. It is so exciting to me, since it has taken many plane tickets to see family for the last 9 years! J and B have found a house to buy and decided to come visit for a few days after getting their home inspection done. They were going to come Friday morning but after their birthing class Thursday night they called and said they were coming right away and would be here after midnight. Exciting! Our first such visit, and the most exciting part, that it is just the first of many, many, many!! Well, I'm off to help them make their world-famous chicken-tortilla soup!

Old Maryland Farm

I have had such a hard time getting out to do something with my 3 girls this summer. Between Playgroup, doctor's appointments, visiting teaching, and babysitting I've hardly had a day with a free morning. So I decided Thursday we were going somewhere, no matter what. Thursday morning did not start off well at all, but luckily Jo called early and said she was going to the farm with us, and suddenly I couldn't back out, even though I was ready to. It ended up being great weather, amazingly. I'd been all ready for the heat of the previous days. Elizabeth, at age 2yrs 3 months, has never been to a farm as a spectator (she was a little lump the only other time she's been) so it was fun. The kids enjoyed looking at all the animals. Then we let them ride the carousel and then the little train. They really enjoyed it all. We ended with a picnic and playing at the big playground (a truly nerve-wracking place for a parent with 3 children in 3 different places at all times!)

I'll post pictures later, but the greatest thing about it for me was the amazing thing which was: no whining kids. I am just accustomed to having every getting-out-the-door experience being the usual rush of packing the bags, the snacks or lunch, getting the kids dressed, finding hats, putting on sunscreen, filling water bottles....PLUS needing to say the enTIRE time: "Yes you have to go with us...No, I can't leave you here...It will be fun...We'll only be there a few hours...I'm sorry but you DO have to come....It will be okay..." To a certain young man who keeps saying the ENtire time "Do I HAVE to come? I'm NOT going!! It's BORING at the _____! I'm staying HOME! I want to play on my computer! I'm staying HERE!" etc. Not to mention the same conversation filling up most of the time while we are at whatever the activity is.
Aaaahhhh, THAT'S what I was looking forward to this summer. But I will say, I sure miss my boy, and I don't think I could be without him again for another summer!

Thomas' Camp Sunshine

Thomas continues to announce that he hates camp. He also continues to say that his day was "good" when I ask him. He swims Tues and Thurs, he has learned to miniature golf, and to frisbee golf, he went to Annapolis to the Harbor Queen, He goes Ice Skating weekly and is going around on his own now. His teachers play chess with him and withhold it for motivation, as he still says "I can't" and has a hard time wanting to participate in all the activities. He taught another student, Oscar, how to play it on Friday. I personally am impressed by the dedication the staff have to helping these kids. I'm meeting with the Occupational Therapist on Monday to get some ideas (she has a big body brush that Thomas loves (I don't know much about it, as getting info from Thomas is like pulling teeth!) Anyway, I'm proud of him: just the fact that he goes and tries, and rides the bus home, etc., all with very little trouble is neat to see.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Visit to Apu's Kwik-E-Mart (from the Simpson's)

Tom and Tyra went to the 7-11 that was turned into a Simpson's Kwik-e-mart today. There are only 11 in the country. One in Burbank, I'm guessing my brothers Ben and Micah will have been there by now! So I guess that makes us lucky that the one in the DC area is just down Kenilworth. I'll definitely have to make a stop by for a Squishee while it's still going this month.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thomas' Turns 7

First thing when I woke up Thomas asked me to play 2 games of chess at once with him. Sort of like Bughouse only without partners. I ended up winning, but only because Thomas kept forgetting to put his pieces back on the board (only in Bughouse.) Then we made some Belgian waffles. Then Thomas was allowed to play around while Tyra helped us get ready. Tom spent a fun 3 hours at Home Depot while they looked for the kitchen cabinet that they had called twice this week to tell us it was in. They couldn't find it. Lucky for me he had Lily and Tyra with him, so I just kept going on the cake and stuff. Thomas chose everything about the party. He had Ellie Lambert and Dorian come and they played a long game of Trouble. Then KC and Emily came (with Emily's 2 nephews they were babysitting) with their ice cream maker and we made mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was great except for one thing. We used the peppermint oil LindaMom had given me in the place of peppermint extract. I'd been worried it wouldn't be enough as we only had about 1/2 what it called for, but boy was it EVer enough! I should have called LindaMom first to check it out, but things were so hectic at that point as everyone was here already, we just went ahead and added all we had...let's just say, that much mint oil can really wake you up and clear out your sinuses! It was still yummy, especially alongside the "Best Recipe" chocolate layer cake.
After outside play while we made the ice cream where Thomas played with his huge new frisbee and a huge soccer ball and hated the parachute we got from Costco....anyway, we went in and played K'Nex the rest of the time with Tom and Jerry playing in the background. All Thomas' favorite things. No organized party games for him!

I'm so happy that Thomas is doing so well lately. He has really matured a lot. He is really fun to be around. I always wonder how much is due to him just learning the skills he needs to cope and handle himself, how much he's just growing up, and how much is the training in first grade and all the extra helps he received from the special education department, and how much was parenting, etc. Well, it's nice to see him not get into panic mode nearly so often these days.

Well, I'm off to join the last half of Yoga With Dad.