The end of summer is upon us. School has started, and college football starts next weekend. So we enjoyed the last bits of summer this past weekend. Here are some of my favorite highlights.
Simple Summer Pleasures August 26, 2009
I often struggle to keep the kids entertained during the 6-7 o’clock hour. We usually try to eat dinner as soon as we get home (hoping that will change this fall), and then it’s just the dead hour until we start settling down for the nighttime routine.
Since our park has been reopened, we have been able to get that in a couple of nights a week. (Funny story – Yesterday Cooper found his drumstick that has been missing for a couple of weeks. He then would not let go of his drum and drumstick. Making up for lost time, I guess. So we went to the park with our very own marching band. As we walked down the street, he pounded on his drum. When we were at the park, he would not let go, even while in the swing. It was quite a site. Unfortunately I had no camera with me, but I’m sure you can imagine the image of me, Mason, and Cooper walking along with a “boom, boom, boom.”)
But sometimes, I’m not in the mood for the park. So what else is there besides more puzzles, more “fix-it” game, more hair salon game, more coloring? The answer? Chalk on the sidewalk! How did I not think of this before?
Another Baking First August 24, 2009
I baked my first homemade cake last week. Despite my love of baking, I have never made a cake from scratch. Why would I need to when Duncan Hines gives me the key ingredients to great cakes? But it was a challenge I had to face.
After much searching, I went with the Perfect Party Cake. For my mom’s birthday, I figured it sounded just right. It had a hint of lemon in the cake and the icing. Light and fluffy for a summer birthday.
All in all, I think it turned out well. I was not a big fan of the buttercream icing (I like the thicker, heavier versions with confectioners sugar), but everyone else seemed to enjoy the lightness of it all. Call me crazy.
I have a renewed faith in OxiClean today. Thank you, OxiClean! Another stain crisis averted!
To make a long story short… Scratch that… You would not be able to understand how much I needed this one good thing today without the longer version.
Mason is holding onto her “three-ness” as long as she can. With her birthday only seven and half weeks away, she is getting in every last bit of attitude she has in that three-year-old body of hers. (Yes, I know October 14th will not be the magical day she becomes a little angel, but a mother can dream, right?) With this attitude comes a lot of demands, a lot of back talk, a lot of tantrums, and a lot of crying. You would think she would learn that it’s no fun to showcase this attitude considering all the time-outs, favorite things being taken away, etc. But yet she pushes on.
This morning was no different. Due to a minuscule hangnail on her big toe, she did not want to take a shower. Screaming and crying ensued, and finally a clean, but still crying, girl came out of the bathroom. The struggle had cut into a lot of our morning routine, and we were running behind schedule. So when Mason came asking for a pen to draw with, I told her that we did not have time and that maybe we would have had more time if her shower had not taken so long.
I went on with my routine not thinking any more about it. But while drying my hair, Mason nonchalantly walked into the bathroom and said, “Mommy, come see what Cooper did.” Sitting on her bed, Cooper was holding an orange marker (and no, it was not a Crayola Washables marker) and had “doodled” all over her bedspread with it. I quickly pulled him off the bed, saying “No, No.” Cooper started crying. When I asked Mason how he got the marker, she started crying, “I didn’t give it to him, Mommy!” I tried to stay as calm as I could and quickly tore the duvet off the bed and rushed it downstairs to get its OxiClean treatment. I got it in the wash and just had to hold my breath until my lunch break when I could run home and see if the marker had come out.
Lo and behold… OxiClean works wonders again! Thankfully her bedspread is saved… for now. And at least I know that Cooper’s shorts (which I discovered, as we walked into school, also had orange marker all over them) have a chance of recovery as well.
A New Toy August 17, 2009
Everyone loves to get new toys, right? It gives you something new to focus on, play with, and enjoy when all your older toys have lost their appeal. Mason and Cooper don’t get too many new toys except for birthdays and holidays. They often get new books (something I need to get serious about cutting; libraries are there for a reason), but new toys are for very special occasions.
Considering that my own kids get new toys so rarely, I’m sure you are not surprised that Jeremy and I almost never get new toys. Aside from our new car last July, the “family” Wii at Christmas, and Jeremy’s iPhone that he got around the new year, we haven’t had many excuses lately to get a new toy. (Looking back at that list, it seems we had a temporary lapse in our “toy” budget.)
Well, I found just what I needed last week, and I’ve been playing with it and enjoying all the fun it has to offer.
No, it’s not a new kitchen gadget like the Premium Margaritaville Trio Frozen Concoction Maker (not sure why anyone needs to have 3 pitchers of margaritas made at the same time – but if they did, I’d be there drinking with them!).
No, it’s not a new Digital SLR Camera (although that would be really nice).
Yes, it’s true. I’m in love with my new toy.
It might not seem like a toy to you, but like I said, I have to take what I can get when it comes to fun new things for myself.
I read a lot of blogs online. A lot. So most days, I go through my list of bookmarks looking for new posts. But on Google Reader, I can subscribe to all of the blogs I read, and it will show me when there is something new to read. One stop shop! It’s amazing, and I’m addicted. I’m still learning about all the cool features, but overall, I’m happy with my new, completely free toy.
Carrying the Banner August 12, 2009
I tried to introduce Mason to a new musical last week. While she did not take to it as I had hoped she would, I was still reminded of why I love musicals, especially Newsies.
The music is great. The storyline is interesting and about 70% historically correct. But, in truth, it is the star of the movie that carries it. It is Christian Bale’s second successful movie (after Empire of the Sun), and it’s no wonder why he became a star. It was also the director, Kenny Ortega’s musical debut. (of HSM fame) With these two, how could you go wrong?
Ok, ok… So it’s a bunch of boys singing and dancing. I get why Mason was not drawn to it yet. But give her time. “Cowboy” is no Mary Poppins or Maria or even Gabriella. But I think she’ll see the light one of these days. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the soundtrack (Thanks, A.R.!) I just hope I don’t get caught singing along and dancing in my seat at work!
Side note: Over the summer after 7th grade, I attended Lyceum Drama Camp at Simpson Middle in Leesburg… Our project? Putting on a few scenes from Newsies. I’ve loved it ever since.
Singing, Dancing, and More August 6, 2009
I have gotten a lot of feedback from the video of Mason singing, so I thought I would upload a few more videos to show her range of music interest along with her brother’s keen sense of good things.
As a bonus, there is a video of Mason and Cooper playing. It is from Day 2 of our “Daddy-less” week, and it truly made my day. After watching the short video, know that they continued to do that for a good 30 minutes! If only every night was that easy.