Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I'm Gonna Marry Mommy

T has a crush on me. He's always been a mama's boy, but lately he's absolutely in love with me. He loves to snuggle with me, making a comfy place on the floor with multiple blankets and pillows. He loves to give me "too many kisses" over and over. His latest gig is telling M that "I'm going to marry mommy". M will tell him, "hey, she's my girl!" T will just laugh and laugh and say that he's going to "unmarry" us and he'll be my husband. T says that M has to find "another pretty lady" to be his wife. It's darling! It started with T telling me that he loves me so much that he's going to marry me. Now, he usually does it just to tease M. He loves it when M tells him that "I'm going to give you a knuckle sandwich if you marry my wife!" T gives this little smile and then gets a look of determination and says "I'm really going to do it. I'm going to marry mommy." Lots of times, R gets involved, telling T that boys can't marry thier moms (he is the authority on most things right now.) The funny thing is that a couple of times recently, T has told me that he's really not going to marry me, but he likes to pretend that he is. Oh, the love between mothers and can't be beat :>

Off of Buckets

R has had four hockey skating classes so far. Tonight, he got "off the buckets". In his class, the new skaters push around a few 5-gallon buckets stacked on top of each other. It's a great way for new skaters to have their independence and learn to rely on themselves for balance. At the last class on Saturday, R was on buckets for about half of the class and was skating without them for the rest of the class. He was able to skate by himself across the width of the ring three times without falling -- it wasn't that pretty, but he didn't fall! He was so proud of himself that day! Class is usually one hour long, but his class was given an extra 20 minutes of ice time that day. R looked really tired, so I went down and asked him if he wanted to go and get some hot chocolate or if he wanted to keep skating. He was too tired to actually answer me, but he pushed his mouth guard back into his mouth and took off across the ice. Crazy boy! When he finally got off of the rink, he had the brightest pink cheeks and the sweatiest head ever, but he was happy and proud!

I wasn't there tonight, but M told me that R was only on buckets for only about 5 minutes and skated on his own the rest of the time. That means, that it's time for him to get a hockey stick...which I'm sure he'll love! How can kids grow up so fast?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Housebreaking Blues

Mackinaw is about three months old now and we're ready for her to be housebroken. She is a Golden Retriever puppy that we got in November. We started out taking her outside every two hours to do her thing, including in the middle of the night. It was just like having a newborn baby in the house again! We have her to the point where she'll pee on the newspaper in the kitchen if she pees in the house. Each morning she's pretty good at peeing and pooping outside right when she gets up. The thing we don't have down is her giving us any indication that she needs to go outside to go potty. If we're right in the kitchen with her and she has to go poop, she'll give a soft little whine by the opposite door that we go out of. If we happen to hear that soft whine that lasts only two seconds, we'll take her outside and she'll go poop there. If, for some reason (like we're talking or the TV's on) and we miss that little whimper, we lose and she poops in the kitchen.

In the evening, we let her into the living room to be with the family. We've caught on to her little trick of sneaking into the dining room to go poop. After we made the dining room off limits, she decided that the upstairs landing was a good place to do her thing. Now she's always on a leash in the living room if she hasn't done her evening deed.

All of the books say being between three and four months of age, she's right at the physical and mental developmental stage for everything to click. She's supposed to have good bladder control and her brain should be able to figure out what she's supposed to do. Well, we can't wait for her it all to click in! I'm tired of the once a night in the middle of the night, below freezing excursions to the back yard for her to go pee. My husband is tired of picking up the wet newspapers and mopping up the floor twice a day.

Despite all of that, she's a fun, happy dog. The kids love her, even with her tendancy to nip at them any chance she gets. T calls her "the cutest dog in the world" all of the time -- even when she's getting scolded. (I think she's afraid we'll get rid of her out of frustration and wants to remind us of how cute she is.)

We keep telling ourselves that this "terrible two" stage will last just a bit longer and then we'll be in the home stretch. It's fun having a new puppy, but it's tons of work!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sparkling Snow

Last night we were driving home from "The Magic School Bus Live" (which the kids loved and we adults thought was okay) when I saw some vertical lights shooting up or coming down from the sky. It looked like one of those spot lights that used car lots have when they have a big sale going on -- except that the lights weren't moving and there were a few of them all in a row. Some of the lights were glowing pink and some were glowing yellow and some were white. I thought that maybe they were a form of Northern Lights, but they weren't. My husband remarked that he had never seen anything like it before. The temperature was about seven degrees and it wasn't snowing. Just then, I remembered something that I heard on the radio by "Mr. Science" about how on really cold nights (this one certainly qualified as really cold!) the humidity in the air freezes and becomes little ice crystals. As lights from the ground (traffic lights, signs on buildings) glow, the frozen crystals refract the light and keep passing it up to the next frozen crystal. That's what was happening last night! It was sooo cool. Then it began to snow and it was so cold that the snow was also little crystals. It looked like it was snowing glitter. It was absolutely magical. As we drove on, we'd see more and more and it was a great show.....a better show for my husband and me than the actual show we had just seen on stage :>

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Learning to Skate/Learning to Play

I wanted to sign up the kids for some kind of classes. R had learned a bit about floor hockey in school and really liked it, so I looked for a class or team that he could join. I lucked out and found an "Under 6" floor hockey league run by the Parks and Rec department that had spaces left for three kids. I registered on their website, but had to wait two days to get a password to use to sign him up. (Whoever heard of *waiting* for a password on the net?) Of course, by the time I got the password, there was no more room in the classs. Argh! So, I kept looking for something else for him to do -- something that would give him some excercise during the winter months.

His grandma gave him some ice skates for Christmas so that he could skate on their lake. When we went out on the lake, he wasn't too bad. I found a class called "Learn to Skate/Learn to Play Hockey". When I signed up, I made sure that it was okay that he didn't know how to skate. No problem, I was told. Today was the big day for the first class. It was from 8-9 in the morning. We showed up at 8:00 on the dot and there were two other kids with their parents, but no teacher. The man who was opening the rink up for the day told us that we were early because the class started at 9:00. Hmmmm.... Oh well. He let us use the rink. Luckily I brought T's skates too, so we all went out on the rink. I was in the middle, holding each boy's arm strongly as they shuffled their way on the rink. They were laughing and giggling the whole time as they tried to keep their balance. R went on his own a few times, making about 5 or 6 strides before he crashed on the ice. After falling, he would look up with a grin and say "did you see me skate mom? I did it myself!"

At 9:00 more kids came and more coaches came. The coach for R's class asked if I had his equipment....I told him we had his skates. He said, go over to the equipment locker and the coach will get you set up. Well......we are now the proud owners of a complete hockey set up. We have shin guards, elbow pads, kidney pads (that makes a mom nervous), long socks, garter belt, shoulder and chest pad, helmet, gloves and a helmet. I didn't know we were going to learn to skate while wearing all of this stuff! I must say that I was getting a bit nervous as I realized what I had done....I'm not a fan of hockey for my kids. It's kind of like football -- people get hurt. But as I watched the 70 kids in their 6 different classes out on the rink, I decided it was okay. After all, he's just learning to skate...we're not signing him up for the NHL, right? And the huge grin on my boy's face as he was getting fitted up was priceless. Every now and then, he would jump up and down in place a few times, saying "I can't believe I get all of this hockey gear. This is so cool!" So, even though it wasn't what I bargained for, I think that I'm looking forward to every Tuesdays and Saturdays at the rink cheering R on.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Sledding on a Snow Day

For a woman who grew up in California, winter in the midwest is something out of the movies. When I was a girl, the snow was something that you went to and then came in, we're going to the snow this weekend. You could find the snow in the mountains (Big Bear in my case). You went to the snow. You came home when you were done with it.

In Michigan, you don't go to the snow. It comes to you. It finds you where ever you are. And it stays. There's no hiding from it.

For my boys, this is a good thing. Snow means sledding, building snowmen, snow ball fights, snow angels, and eating snow cones. For a mom, this means helping your kids put on snow boots, snow pants, winter jacket, mittens, hats, scarves, and then taking off wet snow pants, wet jackets, wet mittens, cold hats and scarves and hanging everything to dry until the next outside adventure.

But, it's still pretty fun being the mom of boys who love see their pink cheeks and smiling faces while their running around, playing and falling in the snow.

Last Wednesday, R had his first "snow day". That meant that he didn't have to go to school because there was too much snow (6 inches fell overnight) for safe traffic to school. So, Mike took the boys to a local sledding hill that he had heard about from a neighbor. Boy did they have fun -- all of the boys, including Dad! They made about 20 runs down the long hill, trudging back up each time for more runs. My husband called me when they were done and they were all hyper and excited on the phone. It was about noon and luckily I didn't have any meetings, so we met at the Pizza Hut across the street from my work and I got to hear their sledding stories while they were still fresh. They were already at the restaurant when I walked in -- decked out in their snow bibs, rosy cheeks, and sweaty heads with hat hair :>

T proudly talked about how brave he was going down the hill by himself. R talked about the fact that he went "super sonic fast" when he went down the long hill. Dad beamed with pleasure that he was able to share such a fun experience with his boys -- an experience that he remembers fondly from his childhood in Wisconsin. I was happy that we were able to share that lunch time together. It made me smile all day.