Friday, August 24, 2012

Step one two

(fell asleep before posting. So this is from last night)

Ender took his very first real steps today!

He has been able to stand on his own when placed there or when he is playing with something and he doesn't realize it, but today he took two steps a few times.

He is so big!

He is also starting to say more things. When I told the other boys about how fresh air is good for you and sunlight gives you Vitamin D, he said "D! D!"

Little Bear is interested in double and triple digit numbers, particularly in the context of telling time. He does not get the concept quite yet, but the interest is there. He also wants to know how words are spelled. Reading will not be far behind.

The Boy will be starting piano lessons at the beginning of next month. I realize that many of my friends have had their kids playing cello or violin for a few years now, but I don't think that The Boy had the attention and I didn't have the type of time to devote to practicing with him. Now I think that in the new house, and with him and the other two being older, the circumstances are better and he will be more successful.

Preschool starts the day after labor day. It will be good to get into that routine and meet some new friends. The Boy will have the same teachers but a different class.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shore day 3: Bad at math

This morning I went with the two boys on a bicycle trip on the boardwalk. Bikes were rentals, helmets from home. We cycled down the boardwalk in Ventnor, stopping at the library playground because it was on sand. Then we got moving again. Everything was really awesome...until it wasn't.

The Boy was getting tired and thirsty, and uncooperative. He has been really willing to roll with things recently, so when he starts digging in his heels, something is probably wrong. Ahead of me was Little Bear, who was told to stay still while I went to help The Boy.

Yeah right.

That lasted a second or two. Then he wrecked into a stationary bicycle, knocking it over and freaking him out. I had two little boys with bikes they refused to ride, plus a bicycle in my size that almost seemed superfluous.

I could have used one more person or one fewer bicycle.

With a lot of crying and prodding and some help from strangers, we got back to the bike shop and went to Wawa for snacks.

I find it to be a positive thing that my children see me on a bicycle or doing active things. I want them to know that adults can do this stuff too.

Interestingly, the guy at the bike shop had Little Bear, age 3, on a 16 inch bike and The Boy on a 20 inch, with the seats all the way down. It worked. Quite well. They usually ride a 12 and 14 inch. Perhaps when The Boy is 6, we can get him a nice 20 inch bike that will last awhile. Any bicycle enthusiasts care to comment about sizing?

I have really been talking about the positive aspects of that outing, namely, how impressive their riding skills are!

Following that outing, we all went for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. Fun place! Good food and good options for the kids. Their meals came with the option of a banana, so they jumped on that choice. I got fajitas, and Ender shared happily.

The next activity was a tour of the James Taffy factory. Our tour guide was a college history teacher who did the tours as a summer job. We learned a bit about the process and got a few pieces of very fresh candy. Then we bought some more to take home.

In order to facilitate an easy exit, Ender and I walked briskly to retrieve the car from the lot. I love a good walk. Even a hot one.

Blessedly, naps followed.

Dinner was at a nice Italian place. Everyone ate and was happy. Highlight of that meal was when Ender swiped Little Bear's bowl and started munching on his dinner.

My mom watched the kids while my sister and I saw a show. It was an impersonator show with people playing Barry White, Cher, Adele, Jimmy Buffett, Whitney Houston and, of course, Elvis. I liked that it was a show that allowed and encouraged singing along.

We stayed at the casino (actually, we went to one a few doors down) awhile longer, after I said to my mom that I'd win her some money. She said that she thought I was supposed to be good at math.

Between the money spent at the $1 blackjack table and the money I spent on slots, I probably lost $8. Not bad for a few hours of grown-up fun.

Tomorrow we go home. Probably to the beach once more. This trip has certainly made Musical Daddy's week in Ireland go by faster!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shore Vacation Day 2

This was supposed to publish several days ago. Like, August 7.


Despite not being in bed until well after 10PM, my little loves were up between 6 and 6:15 in the morning. I slept poorly. So did Grandma. Didn't help that a previous hotel guest had set a wee-small-hours-of-the-morning alarm. Also didn't help when the snooze button got pressed. We have since ceased to care what the digital clock has to say about the time, and it remains unplugged. As does the telephone.

Sleeping six to a hotel room is not so much fun. We asked for an extra bed to be brought in, but they wouldn't. Have they changed the fire codes? They cited fire regulations as the reason for not allowing a twin bed in between the two queen beds, although I recall a few family vacations where we did exactly that--parents on a queen bed, three girls on a queen bed and big bro on the cot. So Little Bear, being the one who really likes his personal space, is on a chair and ottoman. Grandma sold the idea as "a little bed." I'm in a bed with the other two boys, and my mom and sister are in the other bed.

Now that the sleeping situation had been adequately described, it makes that much more sense that as soon as we were dressed, we were gone and left Grandma to sleep more.

Breakfast was Dunkin Donuts. Yes, we do have that back home although East Coast bread and bagels are just better. We went there to use a coupon. Although I vetoed donuts.

Next was a stop at Lucy the Elephant, a historical site in nearby Margate. The elephant shaped building was formerly a hotel. We used to visit there every summer as kids. I had several little rubber Lucy erasers as well as a collection of elephant figurines from having stopped at that gift shop. Little Bear has a Lucy T shirt that we purchased the last time we were there, when he was only 4 months old and The Boy had just been hospitalized for over 2 weeks. The Boy hadn't been on this trip before.

After Lucy, we walked on the sand a bit and found a playground. I was disappointed that I couldn't find one of the little playgrounds that I remembered that were right on the beach and had sand instead of dirt or whatever else. But this was an excellent play area.

We returned to the hotel for some chill time and then got dressed for the beach. Good idea: making sure that we had strollers or carrier for all 3 boys. Bad idea: thinking that the beach was walking distance even with those items. We spent a nice amount of time at the beach, and then I walked back to the hotel with Ender in the stroller. I also phoned the valet to get our car ahead of time (when I travel with my mom, it's always valet parking. She prefers it and dangit--she deserves it!) and was able to get right in.

I did forget to reconfigure the carseats so I ended up doing some big-time acrobatics to get myself into the back seat in order to make room for a 3rd adult in the car. Would not have been so challenging except for the giant coolers still left in the car.

Remember those, from the milk runs? Fortunately, all milk has reached its destination.

We next went to Sack O Subs for lunch. It's a sub place. It's a really good one. Pizzeria-style subs but...better. Apparently they not only deliver, they ship.

In between the beach and lunch, the two younger boys fell asleep. Which is a real problem for Little Bear, not only because it potentially screws up his nap (which it did, big-time) but because he does not appreciate waking up in the car. At all. We brought him in the restaurant and he flipped out. I had to take him outside just to sit with him. Eventually the idea of eating a nice meal and visiting a new potty got him calmed down.

Resting time was...well, it was resting time with 6 people in a hotel room. We didn't do too badly.

We puttered around some more, did some driving around, and went for dinner at a hibachi restaurant. The kids hadn't been since my 30th birthday which, if you do the math and know how old I am because I don't care enough to hide it, means that Andrew has never been. And the other boys likely do not remember. The Boy was amused and impressed by the performance of the cook. Little Bear was as well. He also really enjoyed the miso soup. As for the baby? He just packed away that food! Noodles, soup, rice, steak, chicken, and veggies. My sister and I also had some sushi rolls. Fancy and delicious dinner, thanks to Grandma (and her coupon).

Rough day overall with Little Bear. Overstimulated, under-rested, and just a bit impy are not a good combination especially when I feel the same. I yelled at him too much today. I was so at a loss because he didn't listen to anything and much of my usual strategy for that kind of general antsiness and three-ness was not as applicable. I told him how much I loved him and how proud I was of him lying down and resting in his "little bed" as I kissed him good night.

Tomorrow we start the day with bike-riding on the Boardwalk. I'm regretting not having packed theirs because I need to rent bikes here (did bring helmets though) but space was at a premium. Next time.

My kids snore.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Shore Vacation Day 1 and milk running

As a diversion while Musical Daddy tours Ireland with his chorus, Grandma and Aunt C have taken us to the beach!

Excuse me--they've taken us down the shore. You know what I'm talking about.

I took this opportunity to run some breastmilk from mama to mama. A bit of time stopping and loading and unloading, and two different babies in the state of PA will get human milk as feeding supplements (as their mothers work through supply issues) instead of a substitute. Anyone looking toget rid of a freezer stash of breastmilk or become a long-term direct donor for a mother and baby near you, go to to find out how.

The milk stops were pretty well timed for the kids in terms of their desire to run around or play, or eat or use the toilet.

They seem to travel pretty well overall, although Little Bear does not enjoy waking up in the car at ALL. Also, I went to the library for audiobooks, but they preferred a lot of the same music as usual.

Upon our arrival, my sister took the bigger boys to the pool. This was great because it allowed them to get their crazies out a little and gave me a chance to unpack. I usually like to unpack upon arrival rather than living out of the suitcase, particularly now that the two older boys dress themselves. This made it a lot easier for them to find things.

After unpacking, I spent a bit of time at the pool with them, and Ender, and it was time to go to the Boardwalk! If you've never been, it's a fun time. Brighr lights, food stands, souvenir shops, and even a little amusement area make for a constant carnival atmosphere. Dinner was pizza on the way to the rides at the pier; dessert was ice cream cones on the way back.

We didn't do much at the pier. Little Bear still has no desire to go on any rides, so The Boy went on a ride with Aunt C, and then he went on the carousel with Grandma, Ender, and me. Little Bear played a game with Aunt C and won a blue elephant.

The walking distances were a bit longer than we expected. We forget how much longer it takes to walk when we fail to see from the perspective of 3.5 foot people.

Live and learn--we have a regular stroller and an umbrella one as well which we did not take out of the car, as well as the Ergo carrier. Each child will have a "lift" or we find alternate transportation. As it was, we took a pushchair a few blocks, which The Boy thought was quite amusing.

I'm blown away by The Boy's cooperation these days. I have really been using him as an example of what happens when you develop a good relationship with your children, treat them respectfully, and set clear and reasonable expectations. I'm still very present and I don't let him have any more "freedom" then he can handle...but then, it's much more than. his brother gets at age 3. It's why yesterday, Grandpa took just The Boy on an outing. Not to punish Little Bear, but I knew that he would not be so successful on such an outing.

But that's the deal when you're the big brother--you get to do more stuff.

Tomorrow we hope to do some bicycling on the boardwalk, and from there, who knows? Tomorrow night is also supposed to be Girls' Night with my sister, assuming cooperative children and willing Grandma.