Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Summer Halfway Point

We have reached the summer halfway point.  Specifically, today is the second day of the second half of The Cub’s summer break.  I lost track of blogging.  So here is an update.

The Cub finished Kindergarten with a very good report card.  The only issue noted was that he had started to act sillier as the year came to a close.  But his reading is now at an L/M level, which is beginning 3rd grade level.  Oof.  We bought two summer workbooks for him, one a 1st grade prep and one a 2nd grade prep.  We aren’t pushing him to work in them, or drilling him on anything, just trying to work pages into a couple of days a week and to continue to work math and reading into everyday life.  He’s almost done with the 1st grade prep one, so we should be working on the 2nd grade prep on for most of August.  And he’ll sit down with the book without us asking him too, at times, as something to do.  We relocated the one bookshelf and he’s made that little nook into a reading spot.

He spent the first full week of his summer break in NC at Camp NanaPa.  They ended their 4 week tour of the upper midwest at our house on the 2nd to last day of school.  We had some family gatherings that week-end, including my youngest cousin’s HS graduation party.  Then they packed up and headed for NC on Monday.  I miss him when he is gone, but it is good for him and for us.

While The Cub was in NC M’Lord and I worked for most of the week.  But we finally took a trip out to Longwood Gardens.  I’ve wanted to go their for many years, but didn’t think that The Cub would enjoy it, especially now that I have my good camera and was stopping to take multiple shots of the same flower with different settings.  He’d like the Children’s Garden and the treehouses.  We had a lovely, though hot, day wandering the gardens and the Conservatory.  I’d love to go back for the Christmas trees.

We also attended the local wedding reception of a wonderful friend who was married in FL in March.  On my niece’s birthday.  Easy to remember.  It was held at the NY Botanical Gardens.  The camera came to that venue, too.  We arrived about 1 hour early as we were concerned about rush hour traffic on a Friday evening.  So I took some time to wander and photograph the flowers, call The Cub to say goodnight, and talk with friends who had also arrived early for the same reason. The food, friends, music, and dancing were wonderful and I got to dance with the Groom.  He’s a competitive West Coast Swing dancer and also an well known DJ for dance competition week-ends.  So getting to do a WCS with him was an honor.

The following Monday, my Aunt and I drove down into VA to meet up with my parents and my mom’s cousin for lunch and to pick up the Cub from them.  I had my boy back.

4th of July was quiet.  We had s’mores and sparklers in the back yard with friends.

The Cub had Space, Infinity and Beyond science camp in the mornings for the next week.  He came home with all sorts of flying things, including a rocket.  He also began his weekly swim lesson.

The last two weeks have been some swimming at the local pool or a friend’s local pool, splashing in his own little pool in the back yard, trips to the library, lots of reading, some bike rides with his Dad, game playing, playing in general, and surviving the heat.

I am not a summer person.  So, while wishing time away is a waste of time, I am ready for October weather and clothing and baking.


There Goes Christmas

We waited until after Epiphany this year to take down the tree and decorations.  I’m going to miss lying on the couch at night, looking at the tree and its colored lights.  The Cub turned the lights on every morning before joining me on the couch for our morning cuddle.

I love Christmastime, but there comes a point when the house feels cluttered instead of decorated.  As Epiphany, or the 12th Day of Christmas, fell on a Friday this year, Saturday became the logical day for taking everything down.  I spent Friday making bread, one of which never rose, and dusting the bedrooms.  And I’m wondering if The Cub’s snotty nose and cough will go away after the tree is out of the house.  I do think that he has my seasonal allergies to many things green and leafy.

This shot, pre-ornaments, was taken through a one eye of a pair of “glasses” that we were given at The Osborne Family Lights at WDW Hollywood Studios in 2001.  I love that it turns the lights to snowflakes.

The tree is decorated in colored lights (because I put them on the tree and therefore get to choose between white and colored) and personal ornaments.

There is no color or era theme.  My family buys ornaments when we go on vacations and trips.  We buy ornaments that mean something to us or make us happy.  This year the Cub picked out an ornament at the Disney Store because he loves Mickey.  While I have many ornaments from before M’Lord and The Cub, I tend to hang up the ones that we’ve collected in the past 12 years.  I could decorate another tree with what doesn’t get hung on the tree right now.

There is the sheep from Scotland 2003.

There are the 5 ornaments from Disney World 2000. (one of which I thought I had gotten a photo of but apparently didn’t)

There are the 4 glass ornaments from Disney World 2010, each one representing one of the parks.

There are the pewter ornaments from Halifax 2005.  M’Lord has always been given tree ornaments and I love teddy bears, so the one on the right was just perfect for us.

There are the wooden ornaments from the Biltmore Estate, 2008, and Mohonk Mountain House 2007.

There is the large ball from The National Zoo 2011.

Right about waist height is the row of The Cub’s ornaments, hung by him right where he can see them.

And, because we have cats and a very energetic almost 6 year old, my favorite breakable ornaments go on an ornament tree on top of the TV cabinet.  There is a Waterford Santa that I bought at the factory in Ireland.  There are a couple of Lenox ornaments, a Goebel angel, a beautiful china disk of Mickey and Minnie from WDW, a Waterford Crystal Cross, a Belleek Shamrock, a china disk from Mohonk Mountain House 2002, etc.

Because of the cats and the small boy, the traditional red and silver glass ball ornaments on the tree are actually unbreakables.  The breakables don’t come out right now.

All are now wrapped and packed up for the next 11 months.

I’ve continued the practice of writing initials and the year on the back of our ornaments.  Because of this, I can lay out ornaments in year order from the year that I was born.  There are a couple of years missing due to disintegration, but for the most part I have all of the ornaments I’ve been given, bought, made, etc, since that first year.

I wonder what ornaments will be added next year.

A Wonderful Family

This has been sitting in my drafts for a month or so.  The area was subsequently trashed by Irene.  The road to the YMCA camp was washed out just a day after the last campers went home and the K houses all had water in the basement.  The house across the way, next to the river, became an island.  Such a terrible mess in such a wonderful area.

So here is the original post…

It had been two years since we were in the Catskills in the summer.  It’s been 18 months since being there in the winter.  The reasons for those two visits were to celebrate the lives of two wonderful people who welcomed our family in to theirs over 40 years ago, starting with my Dad.

The K property is on the side of a mountain.  There is the main house which was the original post office for the town and now houses A and her pottery shop.  There is the “parents house” which was built for Mr. and Mrs. K years ago and is now the main house for gatherings and guests.  There is also R’s Cabin – which is across the property a ways and where we hung out for most of this visit.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally were able to get up there again for a couple of days.  It’s beautiful and quiet in the Catskills.  Especially when it is raining outside.  On Monday, just after the men left for a bike ride and Mom and M left for a walk it, began to rain.  Lightly.  Then harder and harder.  Mom and M got back, very wet, after standing under a tree for a while and realizing that the rain wasn’t going to let up.  The umbrella that they had brought wasn’t much help.  Mom grabbed her keys and headed back to the hotel room to shower and dry off.  M went back out for more of a walk after the rain let up a little bit.  The men returned in smaller bunches, drenched.  I passed out towels and soon there were towels and bike clothing draped all over.  M returned with J and we all spent most of the day reading, playing Scrabble, talking, and relaxing.  The Cub had fun teaching the adults how to play the games on his Leapster.

Whenever we visit the Ks we offer to make a meal.  As usual, we were asked for a German meal of brats, wursts, salads, etc, followed by chocolate chip and Sierra Mist poundcakes for dessert.  During one of the breaks in the rain, M’Lord began to load the food into our car so that we could drive it all over to the other house for dinner cooking and assembly.  I watched him do this and asked if I could laugh if it started to rain again while he was loading the car.  A minute later it did.  Hard.  And I laughed as I watched him then climb into the back of the station wagon and pull the door shut.  He had to climb all the way to the front in order to get out again, too, as the hatch has no interior release and the back side doors have the child locks set on them.

Once the rain slowed down again we finished packing up the food and all headed for the parents house for dinner, which M’Lord and I prepared, with Mom’s string bean and potato salads, and the poundcakes for dessert.  Lots of beer and wine flowed, along with lots of talk.

On the last day we did manage to get out for a short “hike” up to an observation cabin.

Here are My Men looking out at the mountains.

And here are M’Lord and me in our usual photo pose.

Years ago, M’Lord decided that we should be photographed facing what we were there to see in at least one shot.  So we have a wall of framed photos of the backs of us at whatever place we were visiting.  This one will join them as soon as I get a frame.

As for the Ks – they are a wonderful family and we are extremely blessed to be considered a part of it.

A New Pattern

The Cub started Kindergarten four weeks ago tomorrow.  This was just after Irene and Lee visited us and my laptop died.  I have my new toy, finally, so I am getting back into blogging.

Three days after Irene came through we had an Open House and a Wishes and Dreams meeting with his teacher.  During the Open House she read a book called The Kissing Hand.  I sniffled.  How bad was I going to be on the first day?!

We spent part of the week-end getting his backpack (Cars of course), lunchpack (Cars, also), clothes, binder, folder, etc, together and ready.  On Tuesday morning we headed out.

M’Lord can go in a bit later than most, so he walked with us, too.  It’s about .4 miles to the school from our house.  It was rainy and grey out, but the walk was fine.

Once at the school we joined the line of parents taking photos of their child/ren in front of the school sign.

First The Cub.

Then me and The Cub.

Then M’Lord prompted The Cub to give me their surprise.  The Cub pulled a small pouch out of his pocket and handed it to me.

::sniffle::melt::  I sing You Are My Sunshine to him at bedtime almost every night. (This is from

I was ok until that.  So I put it on and we walked The Cub to his classroom.  He was a little sad but his teacher whisked him right in and he’s been fine ever since, going straight in after a hug and a kiss.  I’m so glad that I/we get to walk him to school and don’t have to put him on a bus yet.  M’Lord and I walked home and he headed for work.

We are finally, I think, getting into the new pattern of week-day life.  The two days off last week threw it for a small loop, but we are back again.  And I didn’t forget anything that The Cub or I needed to carry to school today.

So far I’ve forgotten to put his library book into his pack once.  And I misinterpreted one form and signed the wrong thing.  But I fixed that with a trip to the school office. Remembering all of his stuff is slightly easier with the folder that stays in his backpack.  Papers go in in the morning and come out after school.  M’Lord takes him to school on the two days that I work, but I’ve adjusted my hours so that I get home in time to pick The Cub up from school and make up the hours doing work from home during the other three days that I am home.

But it’s odd to be home alone all day.  Just remembering lunch and figuring out what to eat is odd, as I’m not working around what The Cub wants for lunch.  But I’m getting some projects done, and thinking up more, along with work from home, which are all much easier to do when there isn’t a small child asking for help, snacks, a playmate, or attention in general.

A new pattern. We are working on it.

Mommy and the Legos

Aha!  I knew that there was a shot of me and the Cub working on the Hogwarts Castle build.  Though Pa and Daddy did most of the bags/sets with him, I did do one of them.  I like playing with Legos and remember having a space rocket set, a hospital set, and various other pieces when I was a girl, along with Bristle Blocks, Lincoln Logs, wood blocks, and Tinker Toys.  That might be part of why I ended up in the construction industry, hmmm.  There are times when Liam will want to create something and all three of us end up on the floor, going through the bins looking for pieces, and creating the whatever it is together.

He has quite a collection, including Fire and Police sets.  He likes to make Wall-Es and Eves in all colors, and vehicles of all shapes and sizes.  The cocktail umbrellas are beach umbrellas for the various figures.  The existence of a Lego Store in the mall near M’Lord’s office does not help to keep the quantity down at all.  It’s a dangerous store.  Yes, it is.  My sister found 4 gallon bags of miscellaneous pieces at a yard sale for 50 cents each and sent them up to add to the collection, too.  Most of what is in the bins is a random collection of odd parts and pieces.  All the more interesting to use and create with.

About once a week we get all of the pieces that aren’t parts of some construction into their bins so that I can vacuum without sucking up any Legos.  Today was not that day. The table top on the trunk was originally for Thomas tracks.  It’s become the Lego table and is at the perfect height for The Cub to work at while playing on the floor.

Anyway, here we are finishing up whichever tower it was that we worked on together.

On to the next project/build we go.

Water Fun

The Cub, for a couple of years, didn’t like spraying water – showers, spray parks, sprinklers, etc.  So when the MOMs held playdates at the local spray park we skipped it.

This year, though, I gave it a shot again.  And The Cub loved it.  He spent the better part of 2 hours in and out of the sprays, with a couple of trips over to the playground for breaks.  These two are from my cell phone as I forgot my camera.

He stood under the dumping buckets…

And controlled the spray guns…

…and ran through all of the ground fountains.

Yesterday we went up to a friend’s house for a babysitting/play date.  Once my friend and her oldest returned home the Slip and Slide was set up on the slope in their back yard.  At the bottom they placed a partially filled inflatable round pool to create a bigger landing zone because it’s running down the hill in their back yard.  After the first slide down, through the sprinkling water that wets the slide, The Cub just kept running up the slope and sliding down.

He came down on his tush…

…his stomach…

…backwards on his stomach…

…many times around…

They even added a small child slide to the top for a little while, adding to the length and speed.  He loved that too.

My boy who disliked spraying water has become a spray water lover.  Yay!

A New Adventure for The Cub

The Cub is 5.  At 7 months M’Lord and I went away for two nights and my parents stayed with The Cub.  The following year we visited them down in NC for a week and again went away for two nights.  The Cub stayed with them.  He’s had sitters and my parents have watched him during the day and put him to bed regularly over the last 5 1/2 years.  But this week will be different.

The Cub is on his way to NC to stay with Nana and Pa for a week.  All by himself.  For a week.

Last night, when I went in to say goodnight, he was crying.  He didn’t want to go to Nana and Pa’s without me and Daddy.  ::sniffle::  So we cuddled with him for a while and told him that we’d call for bedtime and that we could do a few Skype visits during the week.  What a difference technology can make compared to when I was a kid and stayed with one of my grandmothers while my parents went away.  This morning I was awake early, so I cuddled with him in his bed for a while, then we moved to the couch to watch Little Einsteins until Pa and Nana got up to finish packing.  He was ok this morning.  He tried to give me and M’Lord quick goodbye hugs, but we gave bigger, longer ones.

Then he climbed into  the car, got settled with Nana back there with him, and they were off.  As Pa left the driveway in the wrong direction and turned around, I got to wave goodbye twice.  Then I went inside and sniffled for a little while with M’Lord.  Then I headed to work.  As we aren’t going away while The Cub is away, it’s good that I’m working for a few of the days.

I haven’t heard from them, so I’m guessing that The Cub is ok and we’ll talk to him at bedtime.

We’ll see how the Nana and Pa survive the energy of a 5 year old boy who loves to run and wrestle for a week.

And if I’ll actually sleep in or just get up and start my day at The Cub’s and my usual get up and cuddle while watching Disney Junior time.

And if I’ll leave all of his toys out or put what he left out away for the week.

And if I’ll fill the pool up so that I can soak in it or leave it deflated for the week.

This will be an adventure for all of us.