Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You'll just have to forgive the lack of blog posts in March. We've been outside. ALL MONTH. This has been the craziest winter/spring ever. We didn't even have to head to Florida for a beautiful spring break. In fact, our Phoenix family was envious of OUR spring break weather. (Sorry, guys. Not to rub it in, but we must enjoy the one and only time this will ever happen!)

Today's local newspapers all had stories about this being the warmest March in the history of record keeping for this area--about 15 degrees above normal on average. (The previous record for a warm March was 12 degrees above normal in 1910, so it really is a spring like no one can remember.) Our crocuses are long gone, daffodils in bloom, tulips soon to follow. Magnolias have already bloomed and are dropping their beautiful pink (blush/bashful) flowers with flowering crabs about to burst any day. In previous years, this rhododendron at our front door has bloomed in late April or even May.

So all this brings me around to an activity that usually takes place just as the weather turns warm (or in the case of last year, just before it turns warm.) Our annual March for Babies. Usually we're walking beneath these beautiful fragrant trees on a chilly morning that promises warmth later in the day. We hold in our hearts our precious Will as we cherish the energy and enthusiasm in Edward and Daniel. We're hopeful that this will be the year that energy is sustained for the whole walk, rather than evaporating at the mid-point, which happens to be the downtown library and playground. We shall see.

In any case, we're only two-and-a-half weeks out from the walk and still quite a ways to go to meet our fundraising goals. We so appreciate all who have already contributed and those who have pledged to walk with us. There's still plenty of time to sign up to walk with us in Iowa City or in your own town. We're also grateful for any additional donations to this important cause: a healthy start for all babies!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

These little leprechauns are no strangers to mischief, but we wouldn't trade them for a pot of gold.

Just before I snapped this picture, Edward said, "Mom, are  you going to make me take a picture like this every year until I'm 12?" Well, every year until you stop letting me. Check out this retrospective:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

In the last two weeks, the kids have had seven total school days. They were not sick. Our district for some reason schedules two long weekends in a row during the shortest month of the year. Presidents Day (Feb. 20) was a teacher in-service day; Feb. 27 would have been a make-up day if we'd had any snow days; Feb. 28 was parent-teacher conferences. With the help of all four grandparents, I think we managed to juggle all the schedules in everyone's favor.

My parents visited on Presidents Day weekend and the boys wore them out with hotel swimming pool and never-ending reading requests. At breakfast the day after they left, Daniel asked excitedly, "What time are Gram and PopPop coming today?!" It was quite a disappointment to explain that they'd returned home and that he was headed back to school. "I wish they could live with us," he sighed.

The day of parent-teacher conferences, John dropped the boys at his parents' house on his way to work and picked them up again on his way home. That meant I got to work my regular schedule, attend conferences for both boys, and still have enough time for an (outdoor) run and a bit of Downton Abbey indulgence (I was late to the party on that one--watched Season 1 on Netflix and now am catching Season 2 on and DVDs from the library.) The boys returned full of tales of their day-long adventure, which included building boats, "but we didn't float them because they were made of cardboard and they would have sunk to the bottom.)

As for that other no-school day, we took the opportunity for a short get-away to Des Moines, by way of Chariton to visit John's grandparents. Great-Grandpa was recuperating from an injury/illness and not at all enjoying the food in the nursing center. We planned to bring lunch, and John asked if he had any special requests. Not usually a man to ask for anything for himself, he took John a bit by surprise when he asked for a pecan-cluster blizzard from DQ. Done! We even managed to transport it packed in a cooler full of ice the 25 miles from the nearest DQ without too much melting. When we arrived, he thrilled the boys by suggesting that they should all eat their ice cream before lunch so it wouldn't melt any more. They'll be talking about that for a long time: "We ate our dessert BEFORE our lunch!!"

After a nice visit, it was on to Des Moines, where we had told the boys they could swim in the hotel pool. What we had not told them in advance was that the hotel had an indoor waterpark with a pirate theme. ARRGH!
I was at the check-in desk when they discovered it, but John reports a moment of stunned disbelief followed by pure glee. Edward's quote was, "This is gonna be the best place EVER!" It did not disappoint. There were three separate pools and the one with the pirate ship waterslides was only a foot deep, so they could splash and climb unaided. The larger waterslides ended in a pool that Ed could stand in, but Daniel couldn't, so one of us had to wait at the bottom to catch him each time. I was surprised they weren't more into the big slides, but the pirate ship was just too great a draw, I guess. Not much argument from the parental perspective. Later in the evening, we found a spot where we could see the entire pool from a chair and just enjoy the merriment.

In between our two pool excursions, we left the hotel to join our good friends for dinner. We don't get to see each other often enough, but when we do, we truly relish the time to chat, catch up and just enjoy each other's company. Their two girls are just as Lego- and Star Wars-obsessed as our boys, so the kids were pretty much self entertaining. This has been a parenting revelation over the last few months--the ability to meet up with other families and actually have adult conversation while the kids are out of sight and busy creating their own adventures.

When we got back to the hotel it was nearly 8 p.m., which is past our regular bedtime. Daniel was sort of resigned to heading for bed, but Edward meekly suggested another dip in the pool, clearly expecting to be turned down. When we said yes (what the heck, it's "vacation" and we all have to go to bed at the same time so it might as well be a little later) they were both out of their clothes and into swimsuits in two minutes flat. (Shout out to my mom for teaching me to pack two swim suits to avoid the cold discomfort of putting on a wet suit for a second dip.)

We had no worries about the boys being too giggly to share a bed that night. They were exhausted and out like lights within minutes of hitting the pillows. But despite going to bed two hours later than usual, they were up and at 'em at 7 a.m. as usual. The pool didn't open until 9, so we took our time getting breakfast. But they were still hanging on the gate waiting for the clock to hit 9.

After a final pool romp, we got changed and gathered up our stuff to check out. Before heading home though. we stopped at the Science Center of Iowa, which has a special exhibit on Egypt for the next few months. The boys loved climbing on the camel and building a pyramid out of blocks. Viewing the actual artifacts held a little less appeal, but they were fascinated by the mummy. They also had a chance to use a stencil to write their names in hieroglyphics.


We stayed to play in the museum's permanent exhibits for a while, but by then we were all getting a bit hungry and well past tired on the way to exhausted, so we decided to head home. I thought we had hearty enough snack food to forgo an official lunch stop, but that turned out to be a mistake. I also thought that Daniel at least would sleep most of the way home. Wrong again. So the drive home was not terribly pleasant, but at least I'd planned ahead to have a quick dinner ready to prep once we got home. After we'd eaten, everyone was in better spirits.

I'll end with a totally unrelated nugget, but one that probably would get lost between posts if I save it for later. Last night we all ventured out to a local bank to see Edward's artwork on display as part of a city-wide elementary art show. My sister rightly commented "Must be the Kenyon genes" as we Geraghtys are not know for fine arts prowess. But he was thrilled to see his work on the wall with a purple ribbon. (Full disclosure: it is quite likely that his work was selected because I answered the art teacher's call for help mounting the works and filling out the ribbons. But he doesn't need to know that!)