Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whole week at once!

Man, it's easy to fall off the blogging wagon if I skip a day. Hah. Let's get caught up.

As I think I mentioned before, something we're doing as a family this summer is keeping daily journals. Tom and I both have little notebooks, and the kids each have a big notebook, with space for a sentence and a drawing on each page. We haven't set any requirements beyond "do an entry every day" - kids can write about something they did, can make up a story, whatever. Eleri really took this flexibility to heart with her entry yesterday.

"this is A volcAno."

Most of the time, though, their entries have been variations on a theme.

Tae kwon do: our daily activity since school let out. They have really, really enjoyed it. And I'm not kidding; 11 of the last 13 journal entries have been about going to tae kwon do, with accompanying pictures of kicks, punches, jumping jacks, et cetera. We'll probably try to pick it back up in the fall, join up for real and let the kids start working their way toward belts and things. (At this particular studio, they can start doing actual belt testing at age 8, but before then, they earn striped belts based on attendance.) Anyway. It's great exercise and good reinforcement of self-control and discipline and all of that. I'm definitely on board with pursuing it further.

But back to the recap. The reason I mentioned the overwhelming presence of TKD in the kids' journal entries is that one of the two non-TKD entries came as a result of our Monday and Tuesday evening activity. I bought tickets for a special 2-night screening thing. Monday night, Soren and I went to watch the Doctor Who episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel."

D! on the left is for "Doctor" and C! on the right is for "Cyberman"

The little dude was so excited. Doctor Who on the big screen! Date night with Mommy! It was super loud and kind of too intense in places as a result, but he loved it. All week afterward, he's been telling anyone who will listen all about it. Hehe.

Oh yes, and I guess the US won their soccer game that night, too. ;)

Tuesday night it was El's turn. The second night they were showing a nature documentary called "Wings 3D" (narrated by David Tennant, who played the Tenth Doctor, so there's your tie-in, fishbulb).

"I went to the Wings movie."

El's drawing requires a bit more explanation. The documentary followed a bunch of different migratory birds. It was all shot in 3D, and some of the footage was even captured from cameras strapped to the birds themselves. It was quite pretty and really neat overall, but there was one scene wherein we were watching African Cranes get a free dinner. Basically, they hung out by a bunch of seals, and when the seal pups ventured away from shore out into Great White Shark-infested waters, the birds would follow the pups out know...pick up whatever the sharks left behind. It was gory. I mean, that's nature, I get it, but the scene went on a bit too long and really, apparently, stuck in Eleri's mind. She's drawn herself in the theater on the left and a shark with its big teeth on the screen on the right. Poor kiddo. Overall though, she had a good time, too. She was wiggly for the first third or so of the movie (fortunately there were only about 8 of us in the whole theater), but after that I pulled her up on my lap and we snuggled for the rest of it.

Wednesday morning we went to the indoor trampoline park with some friends. Both kids discovered the dodgeball courts and had a grand time bouncing and throwing balls around. Wednesday night we had a crazy intense thunderstorm in the middle of the night. Woke Tom & me from a dead sleep at midnight, rained so hard we couldn't see across the street, huge crashes of thunder and super-bright flashes of lightning. Lots of wind, too (I think Tom said they registered 78 mph at the airport). There were a lot of branches down in the morning, and one of our tomato plants got snapped clean in half. Bummer.

Thursday we went back to the barn, though I left my iPod in the car, so I didn't get any photos this time. Soren got to hold the reins this time though and practice steering. He thought this was super awesome.

Friday we hit the coffee shop in the morning, then came home to do some cleaning in preparation for my mom's visit!

Yesterday was a crazy busy day. TKD class in the morning, followed immediately by grocery shopping and Chipotle pickup. When we got home, I had time to eat just a little bit of food before I had to get ready to go out again. It was the Alexandria Food & Wine Festival, and every year for the past 3, the studio where I take zumba classes has done a zumba demo at the festival, so I said I'd come participate. The first two years it was really, really, unpleasantly hot! But yesterday was an unseasonably cool, overcast, kind of drizzly (if still rather humid) day. Perfect! It was a ton of fun. There was a Latin band playing before it was our turn, and they were actually covering some of the songs we do in class, so a bunch of us were dancing in front of the stage before the demo had actually even begun. The demo itself went really well, too. :)

When I got home, Tom and the kids had done a bunch of cleaning. I had the rest of my lunch and a shower, then helped finish up the last couple of rooms. As stressful as cleaning for guests can be, it really does feel awfully nice afterward when the house looks better than it has in weeks. ;) Hehe. Mom's flight was supposed to get in at 7pm, but delays in Chicago meant she didn't actually get here til almost 9:00. Soren was super duper unhappy about not getting to come with me to the airport to get her (even more upset due to the fact that he was completely exhausted), but both kids dozed for a bit and then woke up again after we got home, so they got to have some welcome snuggles after all.

Remember Eleri's journal entry from yesterday? The volcano? No idea what that was about. Here's Soren's.

Today, Mom got to come see the kids' last TKD class in the morning. The three of them have been playing extraordinarily quiet games all day long. It's been kind of glorious. Delicious BGR for lunch, and we've got a pork roast marinating for dinner. More soccer is on tap tonight (USA! USA! USA!). And! It's stayed cooler than usual today. All in all, a pretty excellent week. The next one promises to be pretty freaking awesome as well. :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day, Dad! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you guys. :)

Happy Father's Day, Tom! You are awesome and wonderful, and I hope you enjoyed your day full of soccer and delicious lunchtime burger and more soccer. ;) The weather was pretty mild today, which was nice. I gave Tom a bit of quiet this morning by taking the kiddos to TKD. They've gone 7 days in a row! (and are set to go 7 more) I'm glad they're still enjoying it, though Soren was a little ambivalent about getting out the door this morning.

In the evening, S&E played for a good long while with the kids next door. I'm really glad they get along so well. It's always nice to have buddies in the neighborhood.

I may not get a chance to update here tomorrow evening, because Soren and I will be going to see a special showing of some Doctor Who episodes in the theater! He's very excited, and...I'm not gonna am I. We're meeting up with a friend of mine, and I think it'll be a lot of fun. :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sorry, it's a two-fer tonight

I didn't get around to posting yesterday, and today's would have been like 2 lines long, so I'm combining them.

Friday, during the school year, is typically Coffee Shop Day. I've got a small group of moms I tend to hang with once a week at Grounded, and while it's a bit less calm and relaxing with all of the kids in tow, it's still nice to get together. So we did that, yesterday morning. We went over to the rec center afterward to let the kids run around. It was a muggy day, and they were pretty quickly sweaty, but it wasn't too bad in the shade. We came home, had lunch, did language time, and generally laid low til TKD time, though there was a huge (but brief) thunderstorm in the middle of the afternoon. I ran outside for less than a minute to pull a couple of plants under cover and came back into the house soaked. My shoes didn't dry until the next morning! Crazy.

Today there was TKD in the morning, so Tom got to come along. The kids were pretty excited to show off for him. The rest of the day was spent mostly lazing and watching World Cup soccer, though I did do a major clean-and-organize of our bathroom upstairs. (It had been bugging me for a while.) Delicious carne asada tacos for dinner and more soccer rounded out our evening. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Barn day!

Since the Thursday TKD class starts at the same time that I'm usually heading out to the barn, we made today a pony rides kind of day. The kiddos helped me groom Vanya and fed him tons of carrots. Then I exercised him on the longe line, and then they each got to take a turn riding at the walk.

Vanya is such a good sport, and it was pretty clear he enjoyed all of the attention (and snacks). The kids were mostly well-behaved. Sometimes it's hard to keep the enthusiasm under control, but they were good about taking it down a notch when reminded.

It started raining hard while we were driving home, so our timing was pretty good! But it also nixed our original plan to go to the pool in the afternoon. Oh well. There will be many more opportunities I'm sure.

Evening TKD was good. Both kids have of course already made friends. Soren and his buddy of the day were separated for talking too much (my shocked face, let me show you it), and Eleri was holding hands with her new friend by the end of class (again, shocking). I'm glad they're enjoying it, though. :)

This week's new park: Clemyjontri

One of my goals for the summer is to check out one new park or playground per week. I think some weeks we may fudge this rule a bit to include parks we've been to before, but not for quite a while. This week though was a brand new one, and one I've been meaning to go visit for about 3 years now - Clemyjontri Park.

It's kind of magnificent-looking, nu?

Anyway, we met up with some friends there yesterday morning. The kids all ran around in a little pack of four most of the time, climbing on all of the little things there were to climb on. It was pretty adorable.

With friends at Clemyjontri Park

With friends at Clemyjontri Park

With friends at Clemyjontri Park

It had been storming off and on earlier that morning, so the park (which is quite popular and often extremely crowded) was not too busy. And with a bit of a breeze early on, it wasn't terribly unpleasant out, even though it was muggy. A couple of hours later, though, it was rather a bit warmer, so everyone was ready to pack it in and call it a day.

Tire swingin'

But not before lunch and a trip on the carousel, of course. ;)

Carousel girl

The verdict? I really wish I'd gotten my act together and come out to this park a year or two ago. It was cool, but the majority of the play structures and things seemed geared toward younger kids. There's also not a ton of shade, and once the sun comes out in full force, that rubberized play surface heats up like a mofo and just radiates the warmth back up. So it was neat, and the kids had a good time, but it's also a good 25-minute trek (without traffic), so not likely to be a place we return to often.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Last Slow Morning

"Slow morning" is actually kind of a misnomer. Today was the last day this week we didn't have anything planned for the morning. Nowhere to be. You'd think this would be a great thing. Or, I mean, I would.


Yeah, there's more initial work involved in getting everyone ready and out the door in the morning, but most of the time you (we) end up with less of the manic bouncing-off-the-walls that tends to happen when we stick around the house. It's not as though I don't know this, but somehow I always seem to lull myself into the false sense of "but it'll be so much easier if we don't have to rush anywhere." Sigh.

But! We made some more bracelets on the little rubber band loom thing I bought them, and once lunch time rolled around, I got my act together and got us out of the house. A rare lunch out (they've been begging for lunch at Noodles & Co for months now), and then some erranding. Home again, and an early dinner prep because tae kwon do was at 6pm tonight. I'm surprised it took this long for the people there to be all, "Soooooo, you planning on continuing here once your free two weeks are up?" I told them that we're already pretty booked for the rest of the summer, between classes and camps and stuff, but that we'd maybe be interested in coming back once school starts up again, provided the kids keep enjoying these two trial weeks. It seems like they have a pretty solid, well-rounded program there, and I can see a lot of benefit from kids doing martial arts type stuff, what with the constant reinforcement of respect and discipline and such. Anyway, we'll see. If they want to pursue it, I think it definitely could be worth the investment.

And oh yes, for my own future reference: dinner tonight was this marinated pork tenderloin recipe over an arugula salad (featuring beets, goat cheese, and green beans from our own garden!) Super tasty. A++ will make again.

Monday, June 09, 2014


So, here we were. First Monday of summer break. I had stuff planned, but not too early, sort of easing us into things. As a result, the kiddos were a little bit manic in the morning. We had breakfast and tried to figure out the little rubber band loom thing I bought. The kids played cards and built with Legos while I did some writing. I've instituted a "foreign language every day" policy for the summer, so they're allowed to choose a Spanish, French, German, Italian, Chinese or ASL program to watch during lunch. Soren is stubbornly opposed to this plan, so Eleri got to pick today, since he was being a pill. (She picked Spanish.)

We won some tae kwon do passes in the raffle of the fun fair at the kids' school this spring, so we're using those for TKD classes every day for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, I pulled a major mom fail and misread the schedule, so instead of being 10 minutes early today, we were actually 20 minutes late. To a 40-minute class. Whoops.

Luckily, the people there were super nice and let the kids join in anyway. Soren & El both had a really good time. It's going to take a little bit of prep and planning tomake everything work (twice a week the classes start right around dinner time) but I think it'll be worth it.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Car repair!

The air conditioner in our car has been broken for a bit less than a year. It went out toward the end of last summer, but the repair was going to be kind of expensive (and we were already paying to have a bunch of other stuff done), and we were heading into fall/winter, so we put it off. However, as we are now ramping up to the start of the sweltering time of year, it seemed prudent to get that handled.

So, I called around, got a few quotes, but it turned out that the dealer actually had the lowest repair cost by far. Go figure. I drove over there this morning, and three hours later, I was driving away with a freshly-fixed air conditioner. Huzzah!

While I was gone, Tom took the kids to the playground, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

What we did are doing on our summer vacation

Hello again, ye olde blog! Today is the official start of the summer break, and I am bound and determined to document our goings-on.

Yesterday was the end-of-the-school-year celebration and Soren's kindergarten "graduation." Holy whoa, the kid's going to be a first grader in the fall. I can hardly believe it. He was super jazzed to wear his suit and tie (and to go to work with Tom for the afternoon), and Eleri picked out a fancy, sparkly headband to go with her dress.

Kindergarten "graduate"
Fancy attire

Soren also got a haircut while he was at the office with Tom, so he was freshly shorn when I took the beginning of school/end of school comparison photos this afternoon.

Beginning of the year / end of the year
A bit better

El's face has changed a lot over the course of the year! Soren's less so. But he's definitely growing up.

We kicked off the summer with a birthday party for one of the boys in Soren's class. Eleri & Tom hung out and took her scooter over to the neighborhood basketball court to ride around. It's been a lovely, not-too-hot, not-too-humid day. :)