Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Today I had an appointment at 1:00 to get the car serviced. And to check that pesky tire that keeps going flat. Since Brandon told me yesterday, don't worry you have AAA; I decided it was time to fix the tire instead of keeping our fingers crossed that I won't get a flat while out and about.

When I checked in for the appointment the service man asked if I would like a rental car.  I didn't even know that was possible. No thanks, I replied. He looked at me for a second and then asked if I planned to wait for the full 2 hours.  As I nodded, he pointed to the client lounge and told me to help myself to books, magazines, and free Wi-Fi.


So here I sit with my iced mocha, Adele on Pandora, my laptop open and no kids. It is almost like a mini-vacation.  Mr. Service Man, I realize that turning down a car to sit in your lobby for 2 hours seems C-R-A-Z-Y, but you have no idea what I left at home.

This is the best part of my day.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Like a Fish

Today marked the ended of our summer swim lessons. Last week was the perfect week for outdoor swimming: ridiculously hot and sunny.  This week the weather turned much colder, 30 degrees colder to be exact. I actually felt bad making the kids go into the pool The allure of the hot tub was enough motivation for Micah and Finn to last 25 minutes, Jack could have swam all night.

Micah is super confident as long as he has a life jacket on.

Jack and his swim teacher, Frances. And yes, I checked, it really is Frances.

The Pre-1 Train, look close and you can see the swim teacher's legs.

The only shot of Micah going off the diving board.

The only shot of Jack! He was too fast!

Until next year boys!

Friday, August 17, 2012

It Started With a Text

Last night I sent a text to Brandon that said:

I have a crazy idea.

To which he replied:

I LOVE crazy ideas. What is it?

Which is one of the reasons I love him. We are a bit impulsive in our crazy ideas. Drive to California in 1 day - sure! Trade in our mini-van for a
wagon - yep! Buy a complete fixer-upper because we like the staircase - why not?! Just mention that you have a slightly wild idea and both of us jump at the chance.

It was 5:15 and 95 degrees. I was sitting at an outdoor pool watching swimming lessons. What was my idea? Stay for open swim at 6:30 and have Brandon join us. He, of course, was on board. I grabbed teriyaki and cash for the entrance fee. He stopped at the house and got swimsuits and extra towels.

The boys and I were back at the pool having a picnic dinner by 5:30. It was shaping up to be an awesome night! But then I made a quick phone call to my mom and realized I lost the boys. I found all 3 of them in the port-a-potty. Jack was using it, Micah was opening and closing the door, and Finn was trying to see in the hole. I marched them out, told them to sit on the ground, and wrapped up my phone call.

Finn immediately stood up and took off. Jack stayed sitting on the ground but started scooting down the hill. Micah began to climb a tree. Brandon walked up and I said "they are all supposed to be sitting here".

Things deteriorated quickly after that and we ended up leaving the pool. No night swim for us. Lots of crying ensued.

This would have been a better teachable moment if we had just gone home. Instead we went to the beach. Why? Because it was too hot and I couldn't bear to go home yet.

So, what did the boys learn? Disobey and we won't let you go swimming but we will take you to an awesome beach!

Write that down. It's my parenting tip of the day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Day

I thought I would take pictures throughout the day and have a little "Day in Pictures" kind of post, but I kept forgetting.  Instead of awesome Hipstamatic photos, you just get words. Sorry.

8:15 - Children's Autism Clinic for an initial evaluation
10:00 - Children's Hospital for Jack's second (and final) blood draw

Jack's prize for finishing his 2nd blood draw
2:00 - Playdate with new mom's from the boys' new school

Micah surveying the awesomeness that was this house
4:45 - Swim lessons where Finn opts to not go in the water for the second day
6:00 - Dinner date with hubby
8:00 - Jack White concert
11:50 - Finally home, exhausted and ready for bed

I can't wait for tomorrow, with no plans except a low key playdate at our house and swim lessons.  Oh, and take dinner to a family I don't really know.  But I did introduce myself to them on Sunday so they won't be totally confused as to why a stranger is showing up on their doorstep handing them food.

How was your day?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Just Keep Scrolling

Random, but this is what has been stuck in my mind, except instead of "just keep swimming" it's "just keep scrolling". Why? Because this post has a lot of pictures, so when you feel like quitting because your finger hurts from using the mouse so much just tell yourself: "Just keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling".

Back to the topic at hand. As promised, here is a more detailed wrap-up of our week long camping adventure! With lots of picture, of course.

We started our week with Cousin Day. So it wasn't just "let's be packed for camping and get to the campsite by 3:00" it was "let's have everything in the car and be out of the house by 9:30". We were pretty close, I think we were actually all buckled in at 10:00 and pulling out. Not too bad, I still beat my family to the beach. Cousin Day is when all of my female cousins, along with all of our kids, head to my aunt's house for the day. She lives near a nice little beach and after a quick bathroom break at her house, we set up camp for as long as we can stand it.  This is one of our traditions that the boys are always asking for.

This is how Finn felt about Cousin Day
After a quick stop through a Starbucks drive-thru for an iced mocha and a 12 pack of Via, we were off.  Not a bad drive to our campsite, less then an hour and besides lots of, "are we there yet"questions, nothing really to report. My mom and dad came out to help set up camp, which was a huge help as she brought a canopy, coffee pot, fire pit, extra table, clothes line and a lantern. Seriously, I'm not sure how I would have made it without these things!

Our campsite
Part of the reason I went to camp was because the boys would go to class twice a day, once in the morning for almost 3 hours, and then again in the evening for an hour and half. I was really looking forward to those moments to be alone!

Alone Time!
The week wasn't without it's challenges. I am apparently not very good at starting a fire. This deeply wounds my pride as I truly feel that in the past I have been amazing at starting fires.  But not this time. It got to the point where Micah was trying to offer suggestions or just simply critiques. I heard several times: "You're not very good at staring fires", "Dad is better at starting fires", "Too bad you don't have some of dad's boy scout fluid to start the fire with". It didn't help that I had no kindling, no axe, and no fire starters. So aside from some newspaper I scavenged and our used paper plates, I was pretty much trying to start a fire with a log and sticks we scavenged from the forest.  Luckily the second night, when the boys wanted hot dogs, my brother-in-law came out for dinner and took over fire duties. He was much better then me!

I also lost both Jack and Micah several times, but the worst was when I lost Micah the first night, in the dark, and didn't even know he was gone. It's a long complicated story but the simple version is: Micah is determined and independent, I was playing mini-golf, it was dark, and no one knew he was missing.  Until I walked into the campsite at the same time a strange women was asking, "Is this your boy, I found him walking on the road crying."  Oh man.  Jack and I miscommunicated one night and he rode his bike off to class, but to the site where his morning class I was. I walked slowly behind and went to where his evening class was, only to find Jack was nowhere in site.  Some fast speed walking to check the obvious locations, then calling Brandon to tell him I lost another son, and then slight running to the campsite. I found him doing laps between the classroom and the campsite, not worried, but not quite sure where everyone was.

We also made a short trip to see my nephew at the neighboring county park. He is a Jr. Park Ranger, or something like that, and we wanted to see both him and where he worked. It also was on the water and since it was super hot, seemed like a good idea to relax by the water and let the kids swim. Except we are not really swimmers and the beach drops off. Besides picking an unsafe swimming location next to the boat loading zone, the boys found that floating on drift wood was fun. Until the drift wood floated too far out. At the same moment my ever-watchful niece said, "Aunt Amy, Jack's out far". I yelled, "Jack TOO Far!" Jack turned, went to come back, lost his footing and went under. I started to go into the water (really didn't even touch the water but I was on my way) when Jack popped up and said, "I"m okay!" He made it back to shore without further incident but still refers to that incidents as: "the time I almost drowned".

Too Far Jack!
The last night we were camping it was hot, as in too hot to have a fire-hot, and I was cooking tofu stir-fry. Doesn't sound appetizing, but my niece is a vegetarian and I felt that tofu would be easier to cook then meat.  It would have been okay, but just as I was going to cook the corn, I ran out of propane. After a conversation with Brandon that went like this:
"I ran out of propane"
"You ran out of propane?"
"Yes, and I am in the middle of cooking dinner"
"Are you sure you ran out of propane?"
"How could you run out of propane?"
"I don't understand you ran out of propane?"
That continued until I hung up on him. Not very mature, but it was hot, I was out of propane, my dinner looked very unappetizing, and I was ready to cry.  Instead I sent a quick SOS text out to a couple of friends, and then drove into the nearest town for more propane. And another Starbucks latte, and a twix bar.  I felt much better after I returned. Not sure if it was the time alone, the caffeine or the chocolate, but it all worked and crisis averted.

Until I found the third can of propane in the car the next morning. Apparently, there was a reason Brandon was so confused as to why I had run out of propane. I had three cans, not two.  Good to know.
Ready to ride
But we also had some great "firsts" during this time. Micah learned to ride his bike, Jack took off and realized riding was much faster then walking, Finn could touch the bottom of the pool without drowning, and mom can take her boys camping by herself (with some help!). The best part of this trip was watching Jack thrive. The first night as we walked to class, Jack held my hand and cried. He didn't want to go, he wanted to stay at the campsite, he was NOT going to go into his class. That was fine, I told him, but let's just go and take a peek at what his class is doing. Even finding a familiar face did not help him. He was still determined to leave with me. But as we talked to the one friend we knew, two other boys came up to Jack and said, "do you want to play tag?". The next thing I knew Jack was running around the room and did not even notice I had left. By the end of the week he was coming up to me to ask: "Can I go ride bikes with so&so?", "So&so is going swimming, he invited me to go, can I?" Jack surprised me this trip with all that he was willing to do and try: wall climbing, riding his bike everywhere, swimming with his class, being the mystery camper.  He was a rock star and I couldn't have been more proud.  Micah, who has been absolutely terrified since his bike crash last year, finally got back on a bike. After bribing him with $5 I even convinced him that he would be okay if I let go.  He was never fully confident on his bike while we were at camp, but as soon as we went to our next camping trip he climbed on his bike, took off, and never looked back. I still owe him that $5.

Trying to get the courage to ride

Jack proving he has no fear of heights
We had fun with our visitors to camp, our field trip to a new park, and of course just being outside.  And yes, we are already signed up for next year!

Setting up camp

Playing at the park

All done


Finally, Brandon is here! Just in time to take down camp

All done, until next year that is!
One more camping trip this year and then I can pack the tent away for good. 10 nights total, 11 if you count the one night in our backyard. I think I have to call it, I have officially transferred to being a tent camper. Anyone want to buy a slightly used tent trailer?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

And We're Back

The kids are running wild, only one car is unpacked, Finn is in underwear,  and I have an extra kid coming in 2 hours to babysit (who we love!), no time to write in detail about the adventures of our week. Instead here is a breakdown of our camping trip in numbers.

Number of:

Nights sleeping in a tent: 6
Kids who woke up crying: 3
Hot dogs eaten: 12
Dinners eaten out: 1
Starbucks lattes consumed: 4
Via coffee packets used: 12
Times I nearly cried: 1
Naps I took: 2
Times I lost a kid: 3
Showers I took: 2
Near drowning experiences: 1
Times I ran out of propane while cooking: 1
Loads of laundry to do: 10
SOS Texts to friends: 1
Friends the boys made: 5
New bike riders in the family: 2

Times the boys said, "Can we please stay another night?!": 100