Friday, April 29, 2011

Some may recall the rather dramatic entry Lego made to our home at Christmas. I'm pleased to say that it did not take long to get from the wailing "But I didn't WANT Lego!!" to this:

"Mom, nothing is better than Lego. Lego is the coolest!"

We think perhaps Santa may have passed info to the Easter Bunny, who brought a Lego fire truck along with this year's stash of jelly beans. (The police helicopter has been around since Christmas.)

Edward received his first "Lego Club" magazine in the mail yesterday and is even more enthralled, which we would hardly have believed was possible. It includes a few sets of directions for smaller items as well as pictures of kids with their own creations. Edward is eager to get building, but reluctant to take apart any of his current items (some put together according to instructions, others self-invented.) I guess we need more pieces. My mission for the summer is to find out what happens to Lego when kids outgrow it. What do people do with the tubs full of little pieces? I've seen some selling it by the pound on eBay. I'm curious to find out if the same is true at area garage sales (saving the shipping.)

Edward's teacher also thinks that the time spent manipulating the small pieces has strengthened his hand muscles enough to improve his writing and drawing. He has much better control in the last few months and has begun to draw recognizable figures (a wrecking ball, a castle, Thomas the Tank Engine.) We're not talking Rembrandt here, but more than just a few squiggled lines on a page, which was about the extent of the "art" he had been bringing home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm totally guilty of erratic blogging, with four posts in one week after quite a long silence. I will try to do better.

This one just deserved its own entry rather than being tucked away at the end of our March for Babies post below.

This morning on the way to Palm Sunday Mass, I was attempting to explain Holy Week to the boys. Edward remembered the palms from last year's service. At our church, they have all the children gather at the back of the church to form a palm-waving procession after the "entry to Jerusalem" Gospel is read. Edward is also more than a little bit interested in the idea of the Crucifixion--Why would anyone want to kill Jesus? I've simplified it by saying that some people were afraid of Jesus and the things he was teaching.

So we moved on to Holy Thursday and the Last Supper, Good Friday (why is it "good" if it's the day Jesus died?") and finally Easter Sunday and the Resurrection, leading to the inevitable question, "How can someone come back from being dead."

"Well," I said, "that's pretty hard to understand, isn't it. Even grow-ups don't really understand it. It's just something we believe even though we can't see it for ourselves. That's called 'faith'--when you believe even though you can't see it."

Then a moment of quiet in the back seat until Daniel started singing, "Grandma got run over by a reindeer..." Which seemed like quite the non-sequitur until he got to "You can say there's no such thing as Santa, but as for me and Grandpa, we believe."

So there you have it. Theology according to a three-year-old.

Oh, and Edward came back from the children's liturgy with the answer to the question about Good Friday: "It's 'good' because when Jesus died he opened Heaven for all of us. Before he died none of us could go to heaven."

I guess that's why I keep taking them back week after week, even when it seems like the only thing they're paying attention to is their fruit snacks.
Except for two years in Washington, D.C. after college, I've lived in the Midwest my entire life. I know that spring is more a state of mind than an actual season. I have memories of snow as late as my sister's birthday on May 1. Yet I was still not fully prepared to wake up yesterday morning to a snow-globe view from my kitchen window. Yesterday. The day we would March for Babies.

Having known all week that the weather would be less than ideal (forecast was for rain and low 40s) I'd been in touch with all Team Kenyon members to assure them that we were tremendously grateful for their support and would not dream of dragging them out on a Saturday morning to take a walk in the freezing rain.

Most of them listened, but a few intrepid souls still made their way to the park and hiked the four-mile route with us. And by "us" I mean John and me. For although we got the boys outfitted in boots, snowpants and winter coats before pulling their over-sized March for Babies t-shirts over the top, we had no intention of pushing an 80-lb stroller through the wet streets. I do wonder when they'll be strong enough to walk the route with us, but this was certainly not the year! My wonderful parents were in town, and when the walk started, they took the boys back to our house to wait in warmth.

In the end, I have to say, I think the snow was actually less unpleasant than rain. We've walked in the rain before and found the snow to be a less soggy experience. We were dressed for it--in the layers we usually don for winter sledding. We even resorted to winter shoes/boots, which aren't the most comfortable for distance walking, but kept our feet dry.

So we filed it under my dad's famous "this is what memories are made of!" category as well as "it's nothing compared to what Will endured" and called it a day. To date Team Kenyon has raised more than $3,000 and donations are still coming in! We can't say Thank You enough to our wonderful family and friends who have been with us every step of the way on this journey. You fill our hearts!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I call this "exhaustion defeats determination."

Daniel has been fighting naps for weeks now. I try not to engage in the battle, but insist that he must at least have quiet time in his room from about 1:30 to 3ish. And I remind him that no nap means he'll have to go to bed at 7 while Edward stays up later. Usually by about 2:15 he's calling me to rub his back until he falls asleep. Yesterday, he never napped and almost crawled to bed at 7--didn't even ask for me to read to him after John got done with his book.

Today he told me, "It's OK, I'll go to bed at 7," so I left him to play by himself. I heard him take a trip to the bathroom and then noticed it was much quieter, so I went up to peek. He was sitting in this chair, head nodding, but said, "Mom, what are you doing?" I told him I was getting my book and asked if he wanted me to rub his back. "No, I'm just waiting in my room until quiet time is over." Two minutes later I went back and snapped this picture. Hope he won't be too stiff when he wakes up!

Side note: even approaching four months after his 5th birthday, Edward still reliably naps five or six days a week. Usually once over the weekend and sometimes once during the week, he'll forgo sleep and just read or play with his Lego in his room. But he never fights about it or refuses to go. I realize this is unusual, and may be an issue come late August. He's even given me sort of a "raised eyebrow" look when I tell him that his kindergarten school day will go until 3 p.m. But they do have a rest time. We'll just see what happens through the summer and hope for the best.

In other exciting news that I forgot to share yesterday, the spring temperatures have also prompted a transportation change for us. I've thought for a long time that we should be taking the city bus to daycare/work since it does not add time to the commute (route is exactly the same as our driving route) and would cut our parking and gas expenses significantly. (Well, parking more than gas since it's only 2.5 miles, but with prices climbing toward $4/gallon, even 5 miles a day is not insignificant!)

So when the weather turned, I bit the bullet and signed up for a monthly bus pass, which the university subsidizes as an inducement to keep people out of the parking lots. For $10/month we can have unlimited rides on all city routes. I don't think it will come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog through the years that the boys LOVE this turn of events. They positively dash out the door in the morning with barely a "Bye, Dad" over the shoulder as they race around the corner to the bus stop (three blocks away.) We have instituted a "stop at least one sidewalk square away from the corner" policy so that I have time to catch up.

We have had to negotiate days of the week for each boy to be in charge of pulling the cord to signal the driver to stop, but we've pretty much worked that out. Edward also has to be reminded to stay in his seat. The morning route is quite crowded as we get closer to downtown so he's seen other riders standing. On our way home (much less crowded at mid-day) he thinks he's quite the daredevil attempting to ride standing up.

So I'd say it's working well. You won't see us standing out in the rain waiting for a bus, but when the timing and the weather are in sync, we'll be there, doing our part for the environment and the family budget.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Take a good look at these signs of spring because we're plunging back into winter this weekend.
Just in time for our March for Babies--rainy and low 40s. Sounds like a great time to be outside! We're trying to gently let our friends off the hook, but it's kind of tricky to say, "It's OK if you don't come" without making it sound like, "We'd rather you didn't come," which isn't our intent at all! I just feel bad dragging our friends out in the cold for our cause. I suppose I should just trust that they're adults and they wouldn't do something they didn't want to do. On a positive note, Team Kenyon has already surpassed last year's fundraising efforts, closing in on $2,500, and there's still time for additional contributions to roll in. Woo hoo! And THANK YOU to everyone who has supported our efforts!

While they last, we're enjoying these warm sunny days with walks to the park, backyard sports and al fresco dining.
Perhaps we're having a bit too much fun, judging from Daniel's shins:
The soccer pics above show a bit more enthusiasm than was generated for the actual Saturday morning soccer program the boys tried out this spring. It wasn't a very well run class, but all the same, Daniel could not sustain attention for more than the first 10 minutes or so, partly because he knew that just outside the gym was a delightful new-to-him playground to be explored. So, John and Ed stayed for the soccer and Daniel and I headed out to climb. No big deal--it was a low-key (low-cost) class, that I mainly signed them up for as a way to ensure some running around burning off energy time in the last weeks of winter.

Now I'm trying to decide whether to sign Edward up for summer t-ball. I suppose if nothing else, it gets us out to the park with other people twice a week, and if he decides he doesn't actually want to play ball, we can just hit the playground. There's definitely a fine line between helping your kids develop enough skill to make playing the game fun and pushing them into something they're not interested in.