Monday, April 30, 2012

AMERICA'S (BUT NOT MAGS') FAVORITE PAST TIME

MAGS: "Mama, I'm not a big fan of these baseball game things."

She isn't a fan, that is, until you hand her popcorn, hot dog and a pink lemonade. We had a fun weekend with the kids. In our area, they do something called "Keys for Reading" for the students. They give a free ticket to the amateur league baseball team's game. All you have to do is read three books. Tuck was all over it. Home run for him! He also scored a free personal pan pizza for reading. This kid is earning his keep, I tell ya! 

Mags was not happy to be at the game. She thought for sure it was football and it turned into another If You Take A Mags to the Movies experience. If you have not read that post yet, take a look. I was encouraged by my friend, Michele, who writes the blog ODNT, to post about the embarrassing events that took place at the movies last week. I then paid my friend back by 'encouraging' her to write a HILARIOUS post about a mortifying experience she had standing in a line at Disney with her son who was 5 at the time. Click here to read it. Ahhh, motherhood.

Tuck, however, had a blast. He is at the age where he is really starting to understand what is going on in the game. In fact, he's already planning his next trip to the ballpark. I hope he takes us! 

Here's our adventure from yesterday in a nutshell and pictures: 

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME


TAKE ME OUT WITH THE CROWD


BUY ME SOME PEANUTS, (A HOT DOG, HOLD THE BUN) 
AND CRACKER JACK


I DON'T CARE IF I NEVER GET BACK
 (WELL, KINDA)


LET ME ROOT, ROOT, ROOT
 (BY SHAKING KEYS)


FOR THE HOME TEAM 
(THE FREDERICK KEYS...HENCE SHAKING THE KEYS TO CHEER)


IF THEY DON'T WIN IT'S A SHAME 
(ESPECIALLY AFTER 3 HOURS OF SITTING THERE WITH MAGS)


FOR IT'S ONE, 
(I WAS IN THE BATHROOM WITH MAGS FOR THIS ONE)


TWO,
(I WAS PAYING TOO MUCH FOR HOT DOGS FOR THIS ONE)


THREE STRIKES YOU'RE OUT,
(I WAS IN THE BATHROOM WITH TUCK FOR THIS ONE)


AT THE OLD BALL GAME!
(BRING IT HOME KIDS...LITERALLY)


THANKS FOR THE GREAT TIME, FREDERICK KEYS!
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

TRIFEXTRA: READY, AIM, FIRE

This post is in response to Trifecta's Trifextra Weekend Challnege. Here is what they had to say:

This weekend, we return to the 33-word prompt, but this time, a 33-word prompt with a twist. Your task, should you choose to accept, is to take a scene that involves (or affects) at least three people. You should then write this scene from the point of view of three of the characters, using 33 words for each character.


READY, AIM, FIRE

Today is the day. I can feel it. 
“Go, Partner, go! This is it. Just point and shoot.”
Why does he look so perplexed? He’s seen me do this a hundred times.

“That’s my big boy. Just pull these down. OK? Now, we are going to stand right out here in the hallway. Go ahead. I know you can do it! This is SO exciting!”

Why are they cheering? Seriously, guys. Is there something going on in the hallway? You want me to do WHAT in here? I guess I should stop dipping your toothbrushes in it then.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS

"Mama! Look what I made in art class! Guess what it is."

These words terrify me. I know this game and I am NOT good at it. It's the "Guess What I Drew" game. I always give it a good 'ole college try despite my fears, but it usually ends badly...for me. 

Yesterday was no different. It was like the art teacher had cleared out her "Tuck" folder of saved pieces of art. Most were easy to recognize and very creative. He has never been excited about drawing until this year. So, I always make sure I try my hardest to figure out the picture he is asking me to guess. I don't want to squash the little bit of artistic confidence he's gained. Did I mention I am not good at this? Anyways, Tuck walked over and handed me his impressive creation. Let the games begin!



Me: "Wow, Tuck. This is so colorful! Did you use watercolors?" (My attempt at distracting him from my confused look.)
Tuck: "Yep, I did." (Not giving an ounce of help!)
Me: "Ooh! I see the watercolors have sparkles in them." (I'm feeling my heart racing, desperately trying to see what it is.)
Tuck: "Yes, there were sparkles...and you're holding it the wrong way." 
Me: "Of course. I was just do distracted by the cool watercolors with sparkles." (Throw you mom a bone, kid. I'm looking for a few more SPECIFIC details...like what it is. So, I turn it.)



Me:"That's better. (Not really) "This is just so colorful!" (I know I said that already) "Did you read a book before you painted this masterpiece?" (Great question, Mel.)
Tuck: "We read a story about an elephant. See his tusks?"
Me: (Breathing, the picture coming into focus. Wrinkly legs, ears, tail, and feet) "I totally see the elephant. Did he fall?" (I just might get it this time!)
Tuck: "No, he didn't fall. You're still holding it the wrong way."
Me: (Insert deflated balloon sound) "Here, Tuck, you hold it and show me. Describe to me what you drew. I want to hear all about it." (Much better plan. After 6 years of being a parent, I am finally catching on.)


Tuck: "Well, here's the elephant. He is galloping. See his two legs up front stretched out? Then his two legs in the back. There's his head, tusks, ear and his trunk at the very tip top."
Me: "And, he is running through the grass and trees, right?" (Gotta go with what you know.)
Tuck: "Exactly, Mama. You got it."
Me: "Well, this is a great galloping elephant. You know what we should do with him?" (Tape in hand.)
Tuck: "Hang him up!" 
Me: "Yes, Sir! And I know the perfect spot on the door."  (Looking back at Tuck  to make sure I put the elephant up the RIGHT WAY.)
Tuck: "He looks great up there!"
Me: "He sure does." (So relieved I taped him right side up.)




I think he fits in PERFECTLY, don't you? 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Trifecta: Finding What Has Been Lost

This post is in response to Trifecta's weekly challenge. 

It’s Monday again and that means we’re on for another single word prompt, usual rules apply: 33 to 333 words using the THIRD definition of the word. 

Authors note: We often see hikers this time of year on the Appalachian Trail (AT). Many of these hikers are called 'through hikers'. That means that they hike the complete trail, which is 2,180 miles from Georgia to Maine passing through 14 states. It's an impressive accomplishment. While driving past one of the entrances to the AT yesterday, I saw an older gentlemen with a pack on his back. It got me thinking of his story and why he would take on this journey. So, I made up my own story about him in my head. Enjoy.



Finding What Has Been Lost
The fallen branches and twigs snapped under his worn hiking boots. The years glared through his deeply carved wrinkles and thinning, snow white, wisps of hair. A grizzly beard framed his jaw that had not expressed anything in years except regret.  His ragged clothes were exhausted and thread-bare. Each night they became less of a support and sense of warmth, threatening to let go of their hold on him. The pack, worn high and tight on his back, held shadows of his past. This was his way of “working through it”.

The only company he kept was the trail. It kept all his deepest, darkest secrets in the strictest confidence. He could always count on the birds to chirp a cover for him as he murmured his confessions to the earth below his feet. Every curve revealed a new discovery. He acquired glimpses of upcoming challenges in his guide book. He had learned that sometimes the book did not always fit him. Some of the more difficult areas of the trail were no match for his years of experience, whereas, what would seem more simple stretches, became an arduous task.

He had been walking from dawn to dusk for months now, determined to repair all that was damaged. He ended his day of hiking the same as always. He sat, released the confines of the pack from his back, and unzipped it. The fragrance from her silk scarf that was folded neatly at the bottom, though scarce, was still apparent. It always intoxicated his being. Forty-five years of her by his side was not long enough. He’d reach her on this trail. He’d connect with her tenderness. This was his pilgrimage. He knew, however, the trail held the biggest lesson yet to come. He had to learn to go on without her.




100 WORD SONG: The Unexpected

This post is in response to Lance's 100 Word Song on My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. The rules are that you listen to the song given on his blog and then write EXACTLY 100 words that were inspired by the tune.This week’s choice was by my friend, ODNT. She chose the song "Waiting On A Friend" by The Rolling Stones. It was fun to listen to and the 100 words came quickly. Enjoy!

The Unexpected

He was never going to be one of those men.  He didn’t need to be tied down. His freedom was his sanity. Emotions and attachment were unnecessary. The wall he surrounded himself with was built on a foundation of arrogance. Twelve hours was his limit of needing someone. Until her. Her smile tamed him. Her laughter infected him. A wrecking ball of a woman. His wall demolished in a matter of days. The need to be near her was so overwhelming it hurt. He was never going to be that man he remembered, as he knelt down on one knee.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MORE MAC AND CHEESE, PLEASE!

"Mama, this plain elbow shaped Mac and Cheese tastes different than the Cars shaped Mac and Cheese." 

This was my dinner conversation last night with the kids. As we sat there eating our delicacy of Kraft Mac and Cheese with a side of carrots, they argued this point back and forth with me. Tuck was getting serious. 

"Mama! Listen! The Cars don't taste as good."

I told him maybe it was because of all the exhaust fumes. He appeased me with a half-hearted chuckle. Mags jumped in to support her brother.

"Mama. We mean it!"

OK, little Miss Mighty. Got it. No need to get all worked up. So, I went over the list of smile-inducing shapes they've eaten. 

"What about the Halloween shapes? Christmas shapes? Phineas and Ferb shapes? Princess shapes? What you're saying is elbow Mac and Cheese is the best. Right?"

"Yes, Mama. They are the best. Oh, and the ones that look like a swirly slide (spiral shapes) are pretty good too."

So, I put it out on Twitter, not expecting too much response from such a silly tweet. Turns out I was wrong! People have strong opinions on this. I'm so glad I shared because I learned my children's palettes were spot on. Here's the tweet:

"The kids insist that Kraft Mac & Cheese plain macaroni shape tastes different than Cars shaped Mac & Cheese. Ummm.... #sillykids"

Thanks to my friends Michele and Beckyalong with a few other followers, who were quick to straighten me out. So feel free to join in on the fun in the comments below! I'd love to hear your opinion on this thought-provoking topic.


And, of course, my kids were delighted to say to me,
"See, I told you so, Mama!"  

Monday, April 23, 2012

IF YOU TAKE A MAGS TO THE MOVIES

Chris said to me as he was walking out the door to go on a business trip:

"Hey, Honey, that movie 'Chimpanzee' just came out in the theaters. You could take the kids to see that today if you wanted."

What a great thought, my darling husband. Stellar idea. Let's just review how this went, shall we? (I borrowed this 'form' of writing from 'If You Take a Mouse to the Movies'. Thanks to Laura Numeroff for her clever writing.) Also, thanks to my encouraging friend, Michele at ODNT, for giving me the idea and confidence to post this.

Here we go:

If you take a Mags to the movies, she’ll ask you for some popcorn. When you give her the popcorn, she’ll spill it all over herself and the sticky floor. Then she’ll want to pick it up and eat it. You’ll have to distract her with candy from her Easter bunny basket you smuggled in. While eating the candy, she’ll complain about how there are no bunnies in the movie. She’ll ask you why there are no bunnies in the movie in a very loud whisper. When you tell her it’s because it’s a movie about a baby Chimpanzee, she’ll get all excited and start to watch. She’ll see the Chimpanzee snuggled up with his mama. She’ll comment enthusiastically about how sweet that is and she’ll want to sit in your lap. Once she’s settled in and you’re completely uncomfortable, she’ll see  the baby Chimpanzee drink something. Then she’ll ask you for a drink. You’ll have to reach over her and get the juice box you stowed away in your huge, purple purse. She’ll tell you that she can do the straw herself. She’ll fumble with it and end up asking you to do it. You’ll put the straw in just as she grabs the box and squirts juice down the front of your shirt. She’ll say she’s sorry. You’ll distract her by pointing out that the baby chimp is sticking his tongue out. She’ll start to watch the movie again and notice that the baby chimp is exposed. She’ll shout out very loudly in a very quiet theater of people,

“MAMA, I CAN SEE THE BABY CHIMP’S PENIS! DO YOU SEE IT?”

You’ll be stunned by her observation and not answer quickly enough. She’ll point to the screen, forcefully grab your face, and say,

“SEE?”

You’ll snap out of your shock and answer her to keep her from saying it again. Everyone will be laughing around you. You’ll lean over and grab a pile of popcorn from the floor and offer it to her in hopes she won't talk with a full mouth. When you give her the popcorn from the sticky floor, she’ll tell you how much she loves the movies. Chances are she’ll ask you to take her to the movies again and you’ll say to her,

“Ask Daddy.”


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW TO VIEW THE 
FLIP BOOK VERSION OF THIS POST.





Sunday, April 22, 2012

TRIFEXTRA: Goldi's Lock Up

This post is in response to Trifecta's Trifextra Weekend Challenge. This is what they had to say about it:

"Now for the weekend challenge: we want you to give us a re-telling of the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears story.  You can change the setting, the characters, and whatever details you wish, but the story should still be recognizable to us.  Keep the spirit of the original work, but make it your own.  And for once?  You have no word limit."


GOLDI'S LOCK UP

“Everybody rise. Court is now in session. The honorable Judge Grimm is now presiding.”

The defendant was noticeably twitchy. She watched intently as the judge sat himself in the chair, looked the papers handed to him by the clerk, and spun to face the courtroom. He looked back and forth between the words on the white, flimsy paper and her. As he read, low growls of disgust were emitted from his mouth. He sighed, put the paper down, and stared down the young girl.

“Young Lady, it says here that you are being charged with not only breaking and entering, but also destruction of property and stealing. Stealing food from a baby, in fact! Would you care to comment on these charges?”

She gulped audibly.


“Ye-Ye-Yes your honor” she stated as she stumbled over her words. “To be fair, the door was open to the cottage when I got there. I had been wandering through the woods for days, Sir. I was hungry, cold, tired, and upset. You see, I had a really bad fight with my mother. She said I was lazy, didn’t have a job, and needed to either live by her rules or not live in her house at all.”  

Uncontrollable sobs overtook her. She had been locked in a holding cell with a grumpy, old troll who insisted he was innocent and had every right to defend his bridge for a few days now.

“Is your mother here in this courtroom with us today?” The judge asked a bit more tenderly.

“No, Sir. She won’t answer her phone. I really am very sorry. I didn't mean to cause them any harm.”

“I know you didn’t think you were doing any harm, but there is a Mama Bear instinct in the plaintiff I’m not sure you can understand just yet. You invaded their space and stole food from their cub. You know what the punishment is for that type of crime in nature? Let's just say if I put you in a cell with them, well, they’d eat you alive.”

The girl shivered and cried. 


“Oh, Sir, please!  I promise if you give me a chance I will go fix the chair I broke, remake the beds, and cook them a fresh batch of porridge. To be honest, theirs was a little bland and I have this wonderful recipe that includes brown sugar and walnuts. You can even make it in the crockpot. It's quite nice.”

The judge caught himself as he began to yawn, shook his head, and sat up straight.


“As it seems, you did not have malicious intent. I have two curious children of my own who have got themselves into some hot water from time to time. I am assigning you 50 hours of community service in the park across from the courthouse. Some billy goats have eaten all the grass on the other side of the bridge, so it could use some replanting."

The judge continued on as he pointed down at the young girl.


“I certainly  hope I do not see you back in my courtroom again. Do we have an understanding?”

She nodded her head vigorously. 


“Yes, Your Honor. I promise. This experience has really taught me a valuable lesson.”

“Oh, really? What’s that?”


“Well, Your Honor, the moral of this story is to always be respectful to your mother.”

The judge smiled.

"Well said. Now go on, get out of here, and live happily ever after."



Friday, April 20, 2012

PICTURE THIS

Mags: "Tuck, what if there's a real troll under this bridge?"

Tuck: "There isn't! It's just Daddy, see? You better go first though, just in case."

This is the fourteenth installment of "Picture This"
You can read all about why I started this by clicking on the link.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I DON'T QUINOA

Mags: "Mama, you make the best dinners ever. This is so delicious, except for the potatoes. They are gross."

I can heat up chicken nuggets and fry a grilled cheese like nobody's business. I can make sides of fruit and raw vegetables in two seconds flat. Every night is the same battle in my head, though. What to make for dinner? I am not a 'cook' that thinks out of the box. Heck, I'm not a cook at all. I don't try to get creative with spices and exotic ingredients. Mostly because I end up wandering up and down aisles in the grocery store looking for them and then end up completely frustrated. Let's take this recipe for example:  Ginger Pot Roast with Quinoa Salad and Ginger Pineapple Compote. 

I immediately see this and get out my iPhone to ask Siri what 'Quinoa' is. She sends me a link. Thanks, Siri, you are so helpful.  The website tells me this particular food came from the ancient Incas and how it's shaped like small, oval, white beads that cook like rice. However, these suckers plump up to four times their original size. Awesome. The kids will love it if it looks like some sort of pasta. Never mind this website calls it the "super grain of the future". SCORE! Oh, and it has a similar taste to couscous. Even better. 

From this description, I know exactly where to find it. I strut down the rice aisle, being all sophisticated-like, looking for Quinoa. I pass by the Minute Rice and Uncle Ben's. Nothing. I must have missed it. I go back to the middle of the aisle and start down again. I scan the bottom shelves, top shelves, and all the shelves in between. Nope. Still nothing. I walk back out of the aisle and see a smiling lady stocking shelves full of Lucky Charms.

"Can I help you find something, Honey?"

I explain I am looking for Quinoa. What is this helpful lady's response? 

"What the heck is that?" 

Great. The lady who WORKS at the grocery store doesn't even know. She tells me since it is such a fancy name (I kid you not), I should look in the "exotic food" aisle. This is what this lady called it. In reality it just one aisle of sticky rice and taco making kits. However, on the bottom shelf, there it was! Quinoa. Woohoo! 

I got so excited. Pathetic, I know. I grabbed a bag and checked out with the rest of my weekly groceries. By the time I got home, I was full of myself because I was being so adventurous (for me). I pulled out my ingredients and started to get them in order. That's when I realized that I forgot something. The Ginger Root. AAAAH! Since it's in the name of the recipe...TWICE...I guess it is a necessity for success.

My new found cooking ego deflated like a balloon. Sigh. Then I looked closer at the recipe and saw the cooking time was almost three hours. Oh, heck no! I'll save this one for some Sunday when I'm 65, have time on my hands, and my grandchildren are coming over to visit. After all, they did say that Quinoa is the super grain of the future! 


So, who wants some chicken nuggets?



100 WORD SONG: Choose Wisely

This post is in response to Lance's 100 Word Song on My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. I've been intrigued by this writing community for weeks. I took the plunge this week to one of the weirdest songs I've ever heard. The rules are you listen to the song give and then write in EXACTLY 100 words that were inspired by the tune. This was a challenge for me and it pulled me out of my comfort zone. It's good to stretch every once in a while, though. Thanks, Lance! This is what flowed from my brain after hearing 'Lillies & Remains' by Bauhaus. 


Choose Wisely

The process is daunting. The task at hand is unnerving. Facing what you have turned from. What has made you. The choices that brought you here, to this valley of silence, is what you were longing for. Why question it? Just let it be. Life had become too loud and the blocks you were building with were swaying, threatening to topple at any moment. There was no other way than to let them collapse around you. Do take care in your selection of the placement of the pieces this time. To regain and rebuild is your goal. It’s your savior.



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge: You Throw Like a Girl

This post is in response to Trifecta's weekly challenge. The challenge asks you to write a story 33-333 words long using the third definition of the given word. This week's word came from the blogger ODNT and is: 

ob·serve verb \əb-ˈzərv\
1: to conform one's action or practice to (as a law, rite, or condition) : comply with
2: to inspect or take note of as an augury, omen, or presage



When I  saw this week's word, this is the first memory that popped into my head. I went to Catholic School for 13 years. I had the honor of being taught by many inspiring teachers in that time. However, there were a few teachers that were burned out and just needed to retire to the convent. My piece is based on a true story. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent. :)

You Throw Like a Girl

“Who can tell me why November 1st  is considered a Holy Day of Obligation? Miss Connolly?”

Meg snapped out of her trance and looked into the stern eyes of Sr. Henrietta. The seventh grader instinctively smoothed out her tartan plaid, pleated, uniform skirt and gave one quick tug to each of her green, wool knee socks. Her back straightened stiff like a flag pole as she took a deep breath in.

“I’m sorry, Sister, could you please repeat the question?”

Insulted, the nun slammed the blue book marked “Religious Studies” down on her desk . It startled the class and all the students jumped in unison as if rehearsed. Meg looked down at her desk shamefully.

“No. I cannot. If you cannot be bothered to listen when I speak, then I cannot be bothered to waste my time repeating my question to you. Now, Class, who would like to tell me why we observe November 1st as a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church?”

Meg could feel her face becoming flushed with anger. She felt an overwhelming urge to speak up for herself. She knew she’d be sent to the principal’s office again. At least there she’d get a break. Before she knew it she was standing next to her desk tall and strong. She belted out, 
“All Saints Day is a day where we...”  
Her words were cut short by  the whir of pages inches away from her ear. It was the thump that made her realize the blue book lay on the floor behind her. Sr. Henrietta’s arm was still  outstretched.

Stunned, Meg quietly collected her backpack and made her way to the office. Sitting across from the principal they smiled at one another. Meg broke the silence.

“I’m sorry for being disrespectful. I guess I should be thankful the book missed me.”


“It sounds as if there was disrespect on both ends, my child. In fact, Sr. Henrietta’s the one who should be thankful. Thankful for such poor aim.”


THE TRUTH BEHIND CRAMPS

Tuck, our six-year-old, was complaining about cramps in his stomach last night. He had drank a bottle of water on our drive to gymnastics class and then was running, bouncing, and flipping all over the place. He kept coming out to me to complain about the cramps in his belly and show off the sloshing sound in his stomach. He made it through the class, but continued to fuss about the uncomfortable feeling most of the ride home. Since he didn't feel like I was getting the idea about how bad it felt, he gave me this description:

"Mama, It feels like I swallowed a bunch of gnomes and they are all poking me with their pointy hats." 


After that I couldn't stop imagining little yard gnomes grinning as they jabbed my son's insides. I did some breathing exercises with him to help with the cramps and explained how gulping the bottle of water before class probably was not the best idea. Once we got home, the pain had alleviated a bit. However, as soon as we walked up the stairs and he had a brand new audience (our four-year-old), those gnomes started poking full force. 

 Here is the conversation that occurred between my kids as a result:

Tuck: "Mags, don't hug me too hard, I feel like I ate a bunch of gnomes and their hats are poking my belly."Mags: "YOU ATE GNOMES?"
Tuck: "NO! I just FELT like I did. My belly hurts."
Mags: "Well, you shouldn't eat gnomes. Then your belly would feel better. I'm telling Mama you ate them."
Tuck: "Mama knows. I already told her."
Mags: "Mama knows you ate gnomes?"
Tuck: "Mags, LISTEN! I told Mama my BELLY hurt."
Mags: "Did you tell her you ate gnomes?" 
Tuck: " I didn't really eat them, Mags. I was just saying I FELT like I ate gnomes with pointy hats. That's how my belly feels. Like someone is poking me."
Mags: "Oooooh! So it feels like this? *pokes his belly hard*
Tuck: "Ouch! Why did you poke me? You know my belly hurts!" 
Mags: "Because you shouldn't eat gnomes. That's rude."

The moral of this story is you should listen to your mother and not gulp a bottle of water before gymnastics class. You should also not begin a story by telling your four-year-old sister that you feel like you ate gnomes. She will only hear the words "you ate gnomes". Lessons learned. POKE!

Monday, April 16, 2012

IT'S JUST LIKE RIDING A BIKE...

Tuck: "Can you believe I just did that all by myself? That was awesome!"

Our six-year-old learned to ride his two wheeler this weekend...again. We started working it at the end of last summer when he asked to take his training wheels off. He was able to do it. We practiced and practiced on his bike. Then fall and winter came and now here we are. Warmer weather and two inches taller.

Here's the thing, Tuck outgrew the bike he was riding. His first bike was lower to the ground and less intimidating when he fell off. His new bike is bigger, obviously, and offers more height. The saying 'it's just like riding a bike, you never forget' didn't apply here. He forgot. 

If you think about it, there are lots of things you have to do simultaneously when riding a bike for it to work. You have to pedal to keep up speed, steer the handle bars to stay on course, and know how to properly use your brakes without flipping over the handle bars.

When we got to the trail, I took Mags on her tricycle to get reacquainted with pedaling. I noticed that Tuck was not the only one who had grown out of his bike over the winter. She was content though, pedaling, steering, and watching the boys.



Tuck and Chris headed down the path with his new, bigger bike. They started with the basics. Tuck's cautionary personality set in pretty quick.

"What if I fall, Daddy?"

Chris explained that he could just ride into the grass on either side of the paved trail. That way he wouldn't hurt himself. Then off they went. Chris held the back of the seat for a big, then let go. Tuck would remember to pedal, but forget to steer. KABOOM!


Chris would run over and give him some instruction and a reminder about steering. Tuck would nod, agree, pull his bike up, and they would start again. The next time, Tuck would steer really well, but forget to pedal, lose momentum, and tip over. Chris would swoop in, help him pick up his bike, and offer more suggestions and instruction. This went on for an hour. Tuck was exhausted by the end, but he had made significant progress. He had ridden by himself for lengths of the trail. He was really getting the hang of it.

We woke up the next day and decided to go try again. This time, we decided I  would take Tuck and Chris would hang with Mags on her trike. Tuck walked the bike to a little decline in the path and he climbed on. He remembered to bring the pedals forward, steady his handle bars, and push off with one foot. When I went to steady him from the back of the seat I was surprised to hear him say,

"No, Mama. I can do this. Let me try."

I took my cue to back off and told him I was going to run ahead so I could snap some pictures of him. He waited until I was positioned and watching him. Then, you know what? HE DID IT! ALL BY HIMSELF! He got on, pushed the pedals, steered...a little shaky at first...but then he was off like a shot! 



We watched him go back and forth on the trail. He had a few falls here and there, but overall rode around like he'd been doing it his whole life.



What Chris and I realized was that backing off gave him room to breathe and figure it out himself. Chris' instinct was to run over and talk his ear off about what he did right, what he forgot to do, and how to correct it for next time. In the end, Tuck knew what he needed. He needed us to SHUT UP! He needed to process all the steps on his own and figure it out. Sure enough, he did. The smile on his face and the pride that was beaming from his whole body was a moment I'll remember as a parent and will be a story I can tell all his future girlfriends. 


He wasn't the only one who had a big day with bikes, though. Mags, who was riding her tricycle, decided she was ready to move up to Tuck's old bike. Same process, different kid, different needs.


Luckily we now have an in-house expert to 
remind us when it's time to let her go. 






*Linked up with Memories Captured

Saturday, April 14, 2012

TRIFEXTRA: The Apology


This post is in response to the Trifecta Trifextra Weekend Challenge. Here is prompt:

For this week's challenge, you have to write a letter of apology in exactly 33 words. Addresses, salutations, closings, etc. (should you wish to include them) do not count in the 33 words. 


THE APOLOGY


Dear Nineteen-Year-Old Me,

I’m sorry I didn’t shine through brighter. My lack of being there was devastating. I didn’t see how desperately you needed me. I won’t make that mistake again. Forever onward, I’m with you.

Sincerely,
Your Self-Confidence



Friday, April 13, 2012

SAFETY FIRST

Mags: "Poor Papa has a crack in his leg. Don't touch his leg. The crack will get bigger if you do. That will make a big mess."

The playground is such a fun place with swings, slides, and monkey bars. My kids start to beg  to walk down to the park with Papa (my dad) the second they get to my parents' house. They always come back exhausted and out of breath...all three of them. 

So, when we woke up yesterday morning and my dad said to the kids at 7:45AM, 

"Get dressed, let's go to the park.", it was completely normal. 

By 8:15AM they were out the door racing each other down the street and around the corner to their playground destination. My mom and I settled in with our coffee to enjoy some time together. After 45 minutes my mom decided she should get in the shower before they got home. I was finishing up some work on the computer when I heard the door open. The kids ran in yelling about how much fun they had and how they needed some water. I noticed my dad limping as he walked in behind them, mouthing to me, 

"I need to go to the hospital." 

I didn't get it at first. I knew he was trying to be discreet. I knew he was hurt. My dad has a crazy pain tolerance. He always just shakes injuries off. He wasn't shaking this one off. I ran upstairs and got my mom. I gave her the lowdown and then headed back to check on him. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, he was emerging from his bathroom with gauze and Band Aids in hand. 

The kids were in their TV coma watching a show at this point, so my dad sat down at the dining room table and lifted his pant leg.  That is when I noticed the blood and the HUGE cut. I did what any good daughter would do. I ran away. That way I wouldn't pass out on him and hurt his leg more. My mom came down, assessed the situation, and agreed he needed stitches with the words,

"Oh, yeah, that's a doozie." 

From afar I asked him how he did it. He explained that he was chasing the kids around. Mags was at the top of the slide taunting him with a "neener, neener". He went to climb up the METAL slide to chase her, but his shoes had sand on the bottom of them and they slipped. His shin caught the corner edge of the slide. It was painful to imagine.

After my parents left to go to the hospital and the kids came out of their trance from the show, they asked where Papa was. I told them that he had hurt himself at the park and got a big cut. Both of them sat there and argued with me. 

"No he didn't. He would have told us."  

No, he wouldn't have. Papa just suffered quietly while walking the quarter of a mile back to the house with his leg sliced wide open. The kids never knew. Tuck's response was he had to make him a card. Mags' response was crossing her arms and shaking her head saying,

"It's not safe to run up slides!"  She's so helpful after the fact. 

Ten stitches later, my dad is on the mend. Today is our last day before we leave to go back home. We decided we are going to grab some lobstahs and steamahs and take a walk along the beach. It's a nice, relaxed way to end the trip.

  Plus, there are no slides on the beach. 
Thank goodness! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

HERE FISHY FISHY FISHY FISHY

Mags: "You know what Mama? I'm gonna hug and kiss my new fish every single day. Yep. I sure am. And I'm gonna bring him for walks in my baby carriage."


Oh goodness. That poor fish. Tuck quickly straightened Mags out with his detailed explanation of how fish have gills, need water, will die if they are in a baby carriage, no hugging, no kissing, that's gross, and so on. 


We bought new fish over the weekend. Usually our fish have a tank life of four to six months. The kids were so excited. Chris promised them he would set up the tanks when he got home from work. Since we are in Boston visiting family right now, he sent us some pictures of the set up. Great job, Chris! 




Of course, you can't really see the fish in the picture. Tuck noticed that right away and told me to text Daddy to ask him to send a picture of his fish, Tractor Beam III. I did, but never got a picture back. I chalked it up to him being busy at work and forgetting when he got home. To be fair, I had forgot all about it, too.


That is until last night, while we were doing FaceTime on the iPhone. Tuck remembered right away and asked Chris to show him his fish tank. We looked at it and our boy commented again how he couldn't see his fish. Chris started moving the camera on the phone around the tank so we could find the fish. Nope, that little bugger must have been hiding. Mags' old fish did that. They are really good at 'hide and seek', unlike someone else we know. CoughReadThisPostCough


We told Tuck the fish was probably just behind the big Nemo and reminded him how they like to squeeze into small spaces. We said good night and the kids bounded down the stairs to go watch a movie with my mom and dad. I lingered upstairs and tidied up a bit.


The phone rang again. I looked at it and noticed it was Chris. He must have forgotten to tell me something. I picked it up and he asked if the kids were around because he had to talk to me privately. My heart sank.


"Who died?" was the first thing out of my mouth. 


Since we were on FaceTime, he pointed the camera on the phone down and revealed the fish in one of Tuck's socks. The darn thing had jumped through a small hole in the top of the lid on the tank. He landed on a sock that was on Tuck's floor. 


Good thing for those seven day dead fish guarantees at the pet store. RIP Tractor Beam III, hello Tractor Beam IV. Shhhh, don't tell Tuck we are doing the buy a new fish trick while he's gone. Shhhh, don't tell the new fish what Mags said about hugging, kissing and taking them for walks.


Who knows? 
Maybe the fish heard her and couldn't handle the pressure.