Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend - 2011

We had a great weekend, visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and brand new baby nephew, on the other side of the state.  With having a new baby ourselves last summer, it had been about a year and a half since we went camping, so we decided this would be a good opportunity to break out the camping gear and give it a go.  We stayed at a sweet little campground about 15 minutes away from my sister.

It's a bit like rolling dice to just pull a campground off the internet and reserve a site for the weekend.  We've done that before and been very surprised by what we saw when we got there (and not in a good way).  So we were a little nervous, but it ended up being just perfect.  On Friday night they showed Gnomeo and Juliet with free popcorn, under their pavillion at dusk.  Saturday morning the kids could tie-dye t-shirts for a small fee.  Then Saturday evening it was free root beer floats.  

I had requested a site next to the playground, but really, you never know what you're going to get.  We've stayed at one where they had 2 broken down swings and a sorry looking teeter totter and claimed it was a playground.  This one was awesome.  It had tons of equipment which was all freshly painted, and they were laying new mulch down under the climbers as we set up our tent.  There was even an old-school merry-go-round, which you never see anymore at parks.  Well, there's a reason you never see them, they're treacherous!  I lost count of how many times a child got hurt, came crying, and was banned from the merry-go-round by Mr. Smith (only to use puppy dog eyes and promises of safe playing to earn the privilege back within the hour).  It was by far their favorite thing there.  I predicted stitches for at least one of them, but there were no major injuries in the end.

On Saturday we took a day trip to a state park.  It had a hiking path to sand dunes and a beautiful, quiet beach.  I couldn't live without my Ergo for things like that.  The weather was supposed to be terrible (in fact, that almost stopped us from going), but it turned out to be perfect.  A little chilly, but nothing that would stop these boys from going into the water even in their clothes.

 Isaac had a run-in with the water...

 which led to this...

and eventually this, big brother's flannel.

Would you believe I didn't get one single picture of the new baby?!  What was I thinking?!  I guess I was too busy cuddling and staring to bother with a camera.

We cleaned up and headed home (after having dinner with the babymooners) on Sunday evening.  There were storms moving in and we didn't want to have nothing but a tent to hunker down in.  We're brave, but not that brave.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Today we made Oobleck!

It had been a few years since we did this last, so most of the kids didn't really remember it.  They all had so much fun playing with it and handling it different ways for different effects.

It kept them busy for the better part of 2 hours...

...and anytime one of my children uses a term like "non-Newtonian liquid" and actually understands what it means...I'd say that's time well spent. 

It really is such cool stuff.  Every time I put my hands into it I had a hard time walking away.  Brings out the kid in everyone, I'm sure.

Worth noting:  Contrary to how these photos probably appear, clean up was not bad at all.  The dry stuff flakes off and sweeps easily, and a wet rag does the rest.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Fullness of Life

It's been a long week.  I am tired in a way I haven't been for awhile.

Today should be kind of like the finale though, and I'm looking forward to the end of this show.

Mr. Smith is at work this morning.  Six day work weeks are hard.  Families need the weekend to recover and reconnect, and cutting into the first half of it really takes away from that.

Once the kids are up, we'll be go, go, go until this evening.  A track meet, two soccer games, baseball practice for two, a birthday party....speaking of the birthday party, it's my 5-year-old who is going, his friend from soccer is turning five.  It's a couple of hours at an indoor play place.  Simple and fun enough, right up his alley.  Except that the Mr. and I have to be at a gazillion different places during that time.  No way to even go drop him off.  The mom offered to take him with her, and since the boys have a soccer game together shortly after, she's going to keep him right up til game time and bring him up there for us.

Quite helpful, seemingly, on this crazy day of destinations.  So why am I nervous?

Well, for starters, he's never been away from me for that long.  It should be about 5 hours total.  I understand there's probably some snickering going on right now, after that line.  He's not an infant, and even if he was, the average kid is away from his mom for that long by the time he's a month old.  That's not how we operate.  Also, Oliver has severe food allergies.  They'll be eating pizza, cake, and ice cream at the party.  He can't have any of those things.  Period.  Not a single bite.  I'm packing him a lunch, with a sandwich and chips, and oreo cookies for dessert.  Not exactly the same thing.  I'm hoping he handles it well, since this will be the first time I'm not there to cushion the blow of being on the outside of things.

Do I trust the parents?  Absolutely.  They're sweet, level-headed, doting, Christian parents.  A doctor and a nurse to boot.  Yeah, he'll be in good hands.  Still shooting extra prayers toward his guardian angel though.

The track meet today is the last one for the year.  Truthfully, this sport has been fun, rewarding, and a definite growth experience for Blake, but it's been the most taxing on our family life.  Weeknight dinners have been compromised, and Saturdays have been swallowed up whole with meets.  I'm proud of his accomplishments.  I'm also glad it ends today.

My mother-in-law has been in town all week.  That's made for extra outings, more activity, and more cleaning for company (although, admittedly, not nearly enough of the cleaning).  She heads home today.  Another step toward normalcy.

We have a new niece!  My sister-in-law went into labor early in the day on Thursday, and we waited anxiously by our phones all day for news.  She was born late that evening, and I got to go see her yesterday.  Oh, the blessing of a precious.  One down, one to go - my sister is due in eight days now.

Mr. Smith has suggested that we order some pizza tonight, when all is said and done, and sit down and chill out, and... chill out.  I couldn't agree more.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

A few of my gifts:
  • a baby who woke up babbling "mama", for the first time, and kept it up all day
  • sweet, handmade cards from my boys
  • a note on my cupboard door (the one where the coffee is, my first stop in the morning), from my almost-12-year-old, who's still not too old to leave me a little surprise
  • a new (to us) van in the driveway.  one with doors that all open, air conditioning that works, and a radio!
  • dinner at my mom's, which I didn't have to cook
  • time with every one of my nieces
  • a beautiful Mass
  • a God-given husband
  • a blessed life
Mother's Day blessings to all!