Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"It Goes That Long?!?"

Ethan is into asking everyone he meets how old he or she is.  He knows the exact ages of lots of people in our lives.  One of those people is our babysitter, Amber, who is 25-years-old.  The other day, she and Ethan were chatting in my presence, and Amber made a reference to getting something done for school.  Ethan stopped short.  He looked incredulously at her and said, "You go to school?"  Then he turned his incredulous look to me and blurted out "It goes THAT LONG?!?"  Ethan, unlike his brother, is not school's biggest fan, and he was flabbergasted to learn that school continues for many well into their third decade.  He was so discouraged by this news of interminable education that I didn't have the heart to tell him that his dad just finished "school" last year :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge

For our first little adventure of 2013, we had made plans to join our college friends, Alli and Damon Herren, for a weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio.  Unfortunately, Marcus ended up having to stay home and cover call at the hospital, so Nanna extended her visit and stood in for him so the kids wouldn't lose their much-anticipated trip.  It took us about six hours to drive up to Mason, and the trip there went smoothly.  When we arrived in the huge, three-story lobby of the lodge, Caleb looked all around and said in awe, "Ohio is AWESOME."  

I can't speak for all of Ohio, but Great Wolf Lodge is pretty amazing.  There is an entire water park inside the lodge, just a short walk from our spacious room.  The kids had so much fun enjoying every part of the water park and playing with the magic wand that opened treasure chests all over the lodge.  And I had so much fun catching up with my college bestie and her husband, also a good friend from the semester we all three studied abroad in Athens, Greece.  Alli has two little ones, Kyla (age 3) and Lana (age 1).  Lydia enjoyed the little girls, and Ethan and Kyla really hit it off as well.  One night, they got to have a late-night play date from 9:00 to 10:00 while Kyla's parents did the big-kid water slides (all the other kids were asleep).  Kyla and Ethan sat on the couch and made up silly stories together about Kyla's favorite stuffed animal, a llama.  I'm afraid Ethan may have interjected a little violence into the stories (llama was being very naughty and killing other imaginary animals), but they sure enjoyed each other!  Alli's girls are precious and I'm so glad I had a chance to get to know them at these ages. 

Caleb was tall enough to ride everything in the park (just barely) and he ended up getting on all but two of the water slides.  (The only reason he didn't get to those two was because Nanna and Ethan weren't feeling well the last day, so we didn't spend as much time in the water as we'd planned.)  Most of the time, Nanna hung out in the toddler area with Lydia, while I followed the boys around to where they wanted to go, snatching a minute to chat with Alli as often as I could.  Lydia enjoyed the smaller water slides and wading in the water with Nanna, though she did get cold much faster than the boys, so we either warmed her up in towels or in the hot tub.  She also tired out faster and spent more time in the room with Nanna than the boys did.  Though the boys had much more stamina than Lydia, when they got too cold in the lazy river or the wave pool or in one of the long water-slide lines, they took their turn resting in the huge hot tub (more of a hot pool) as well.  It couldn't quite be a great vacation without our very own Super Dad, but it was as good as it could be in the circumstances, and I am ever-so-grateful to Nanna for making it possible!


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nanna Is Here

Nanna is here for a visit and it so wonderful to have her!  The kids are all getting spoiled :)  Lydia gets rocked all the way to sleep every night, Ethan has an adult who always says yes when he wants to play a board game, and Caleb has another ear to listen to him read.  She even sits upstairs with the boys when they play Wii and cheers on their every move.  I love it!


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Jiu Jitsu

Since soccer ended in November, the boys have been taking weekly martial arts classes at the Jiu Jitsu Academy here in town.  They call it fighting class, and for good reason.  Class starts with running circles around the mat (presumably to burn off the excess energy the kids arrive with).  Then they line up on the wall and do drills across the mat.  All the drills are named after an animal and involve some unique way of getting from one side of the mat to the other.  Bear Crawl is sort of a loping on all four limbs.  Ostrich is a two-legged sprint.  Cheetah is a bounding two limbs at a time.  Alligator is an army crawl.  There are two or three others, but that's all I can remember.  

Next, they circle up and play Simon Says to practice being still and listening.  Ethan is usually one of the first ones out :)  After that, they line up in a straight line and the instructors show them which fighting move they are going to work on next.  After the demonstrations, the instructors call the students up one at a time and practice the move one-on-one.  The catch is that the student has to be sitting criss-cross apple sauce, perfectly still and at attention in order to be called.  This was not easy for Ethan, but he still managed to enjoy the class.  

At the end is the kids favorite part: dodge ball, instructors vs. students.  Caleb is extremely good at this dodge ball game, and he has won the class-wide game more than a dozen times.  He shadows the most accurate instructor (staying out of sight) and plays a waiting game until most of the kids are out.  Then he puts himself into it physically 100%, running, dodging and ducking.  He wins so much that they all target him, and it is amazing that he is still pulling off regular wins.  One time, it was down to Caleb and two other guys and the instructors were targeting Caleb.  Ethan started chanting, "Go Ca-leb! Go Ca-leb!"  He tapped a few other kids around him and soon had the whole crew chanting "Go Ca-leb! Go Ca-leb!"  Caleb won that night, but I was even more proud of Ethan for supporting his brother like that.


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Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentine's Day

About a week ago, I was laying in bed with Caleb just before bed, chatting about his day.  I asked him what kind of Valentine cards he wanted me to buy for him to pass out to his friends at school.  I suggested Legos, or Star Wars, or Batman, all of which were greeted with silence.  Then, in a voice that revealed he'd given the matter some deep thought and reached a non-negotiable decision, Caleb said: "I want to make my valentines.  I don't want to buy them at a store.  I want to put stickers on them and write a note to each of my friends."  I inwardly groaned.  But, not wanting to discourage his giving heart, I ordered some very basic supplies and we went to work.  With 20 pieces of card stock & envelopes, my Creative Memories software, a Lego sticker book, a roll of heart stickers, some M&M fun packs, and a lot of time, we created personalized Valentine's for each of Caleb's friends.  It is very sweet how much he loves each of his classmates, and the little notes he dictated really gave me some insight to his relationships with each one.  So the project was almost worth the devotion of every single second that Caleb and I had together for three days :).  And when I factor in his huge smile when I dropped him off at school yesterday, then it was totally worth it.


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Computer!!!

I think we can attribute a large amount of my current blogging fervor to the new computer that Marcus bought for me last week.  I had been using the same Dell computer since we were newlyweds in 2003, and it was a constant source of frustration.  It froze all the time, it had no available memory, it couldn't read DVDs, it couldn't handle updates without crashing, and every day I wondered if today would be the day it didn't come on at all.  But all that is over now!  Marcus picked out and ordered me a super-awesome Asus computer with tons of memory and hard drive space and Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010.  Did I mention all the hard drive space?  It is so fast!  And I can have several programs open at once without freezing it up!  At the moment, I can't remember ever getting a gift that I've enjoyed more than this one.  Thanks, babe!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Reading, Reading, Reading

My six-year-old is addicted to reading.  Anytime he is allowed to sit undisturbed (in the car, downtime at home, waiting at the doctor's office, etc.) he has his nose buried in a chapter book.  He has read six chapter books in the past two weeks (4 from the Magic Treehouse series, Little House in the Big Woods and another one I can't remember from his school library).  Today was the clincher.  Caleb, a media junkie who savors every minute of the rationed media-time he gets each day, was riding home from school while a movie played on our minivan's entertainment system.  While Ethan was engrossed in Swiss Family Robinson, Caleb tuned it all out and kept his face buried in his latest Magic Treehouse book, never even glancing up at the movie.  This was an unprecedented event.  Until today, I don't know that I've ever seen Caleb in the same room with a flickering screen without also seeing him staring at it.  Yesterday, I took his book away for the evening as a consequence for being grumpy and mildly disrespectful at dinner.  I don't think he has been that devastated since we withdrew his Peter Pan-pretending privileges when he was three.  Who is this child?


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Funny Kids

The kids have been full of funny stuff lately.  Here are the stories/conversations that I can remember:

#1  Nanna is here for a visit, and the other day, she and Caleb were playing chess.  Ethan was watching (and contributing his ideas to the game).  At one point, Caleb and Ethan were discussing the possible results of a move that Caleb was considering, when Nanna looked back and forth between the two sides of the board and said, "Wait a second, I'm confused."  Ethan didn't miss a beat.  He broke off from his conversation with Caleb, turned towards Nanna, and said, "That's because you're sixty-one."

#2  Caleb walked up to Nanna and watched her mending one of Ethan's superhero costumes.  He was impressed with her skill and told her that he and Ethan had never seen me sewing.  Caleb didn't give her very long to enjoy her burst of superiority, though.  His very next sentence was, "Maybe she will start sewing when she's old."

#3  This story doesn't really have a punch line, but it is still cute.  Lydia has her very own unique sense of humor.  She frequently cracks herself up with some joke that she initiates.  This week, she is fake-whining for about two seconds, and then cracking up saying "I whined!  I whined!"  The whole sequence is hilarious and even makes Caleb and Ethan laugh.

#4  Nanna, Ethan and I were in the van together.  Ethan was talking about a tooth that he thought was loose.  I told him that he probably didn't have a loose tooth, since he is only four and most kids don't start losing their teeth until they are in 1st grade.  He was quiet for a moment and then said thoughtfully, "But Mommy, I'm not very much like most kids."  Nanna and I burst out laughing, assuring him that he had an excellent point.