Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summertime Insanity

So, yeah. I have/had this blog thing, but updating it has gotten a little, well, difficult. Summer should be for relaxing, but most years it seems even more hectic than the school year. Mostly because the schedule is so much more inconsistent. So far this year, we've had 1 week of art camp for 3 kids, 1 week of hockey camp for 1 kid, and 1 week of golf camp for 2 kids. We have another week of hockey camp coming up, a week of vacation, a week of gymnastics camp for the girls, and a week of lego camp for Sam. Plus I have 9 chickens to tend to and a garden full of tomato fungus, cabbage worms and japanese beetles.

RIP Big Boi and Andre 300. Roosters who crow gotta go

It doesn't sound like much, but them I'm working like crazy, and occasionally trying to use the damn pool in the backyard! 

Plus holidays...

And museum trips...

And legos, legos everywhere! 

It's been fun, but very, very busy. Luckily, next summer I'm carting the kids off to France, and we won't be able to afford to do anything but relax! 

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation by Amy Jo

I know it seems silly to be recapping my summer vacation when the season only properly began a few days ago, but trust me we've already crammed an entire summer's worth of stuff in! At the time of my last posting, the big children were just wrapping up school. We got them home just in time to ditch the boys with their grandparents and whisk the girls away to Hilton Head for a few days. It was non-stop beach going, swimming, sandcastle building fun.

We got home early Tuesday afternoon, said hello to the boys, got cleaned up and headed out for a fun filled night at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, featuring Ben Folds. We were exhausted, but it was amazing!

We slept like a ton of bricks that night, got up Wednesday, and got straight to work. SOB was off the rest of the week, and we had many projects to tackle. We planted EIGHT MORE SHRUBS (we've been kind of on a shrub planting tear around here), we spread 8 yards of mulch inside the garden and around the new shrubs, we pulled up all of the carpeting in the basement and on the stairs leading there, then SOB fixed the sub floor down there in anticipation of our brand new carpet that was supposed to be installed yesterday but still isn't here, we bought new couches, we mowed and weed whacked many blades of grass, harvested many peas, cleaned out the entire garage, and SOB (with the help of my dad) built me an amazingly awesome new chicken coop out of reclaimed doors from this very house that we live in! 

The little chickens aren't so little anymore, and keeping them in the garage was keeping the garage very filthy. Now they can all live happily outside! 

(Related: do you know anyone who might want a few roosters?) 

Oh, and I also shot a wedding all day Saturday, with the help of my lovely and talented new assistant, my sister-in-law Tori!

Then first thing Monday morning, I dropped three kids off at camp and headed to court for the very first time in my life! It was nerve-wracking, even though I knew the outcome mattered nil. I just had to make an appearance so that one of many bureaucratic boxes could be checked off. 

Today Sam is off on an amazing adventure, and I'm all super mixed emotion-y about him growing up and having experience on his own, but that's another post for another day. I'm stuck here waiting (still) for the afore mentioned carpet to arrive and be installed for a little bit longer before camp pick up. If the sun stays out maybe we'll go swimming tonight. 

Summer, you're pretty bitchin' so far.

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Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Sound of Music

Today Sam and Lucy had their first ever piano recital. They began lessons in January, and they have an amazing teacher. She is fairly strict with them, but very kind and encouraging. She actually called Sam out at the end of the recital today because he kept insisting that he wasn't going to perform. Meanwhile, he knocked it out of the park. Lucy played her little heart out as well, and watching her watch the other students was enough to make me weepy. I'm so very proud of how hard they both worked to master their pieces, practicing several times a day for many, many weeks. Sam in particular was very nervous, and we had to bribe him with  a soda to get him in the car, but once we got there he relaxed a bit. Plus he was totally distracted by the cute little girl sitting next to him. (Not Lucy)

It makes me so happy that my children love having music in their lives. Sam just signed up to play cello next year, so he's going to be working on TWO instruments! And Lucy just may be a little virtuoso in the making. In the time she's been working on her two recital pieces, she basically taught herself the next two songs in her book. I have to ask her to stop playing sometimes! Do I sometimes have to remind them (more than twice) to practice? Yes. Are there times when they don't want to? Yes. But we've gotten over this big hump and I think it's going to be smooth sailing from here on out. And that is music to my ears.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hockey Tryouts 2.0

Remember last year when Sam had to tryout for hockey for the first time, and I was a mess, but ultimately he made a team and had a great season? Turns out, that crazy mother tryout anxiety doesn't go away just because you're pretty sure your kid is going to make the team. Sam had his tryouts for next season last Sunday. He will always be in the first session of tryouts because of our last name, and I saw more than one parent/child combo from later sessions there early to check out the drills, which is smart but annoying. We were both so much less nervous than last year, though, and I thought he had a pretty good showing at his session. There was a little too much talking on his part, I thought, but he performed the drills well and seemed to be paying attention most of the time. But the week between then and when we got his team placement email was excruciating.

Last year there were six teams, and they were ranked 1 though 6. Sam was on team 4 last year, and his big goal was to move up two spots, even though I bet he would have been happy with moving up one spot. Unfortunately, the organization decided to change things up this year and not tell us until after tryouts. This year they are having one elite team, and then the rest of the teams are sort of evened out, with a mixture of older and younger kids. All of the teams in our region are moving to this sort of system, and while I think it will be good for player development, it would have been nice to know this info ahead of time. The look on Sam's face when I tried to explain that he didn't really move up or down really bummed me out. Plus, he only has one friend from last year on his team, and I think he was really hoping that more of his old team mates would be on his new team. We had a really, really awesome group of kids and parents, and we all kind of wanted to stick together. But since they were all fairly skilled, they had to be split up to keep the teams evened out. BUT! We'll just have to bring that special awesomeness from our last team and spread it around to our new team.

No matter what, I think Sam's final season as a mite is going to be a great one!

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Big Dig

So I mentioned a few weeks ago about how we expanded the garden...

I thought I'd provide a little visual evidence. As you can tell by the different colors of wood, the six boxes in the center were the original, and the five (soon to be six) boxes on the perimeter are new. It's  a little hard to see, but behind the original six boxes ( heretofore known as O6, boi) is a long row that was put in last year. This year we also added two more rows along the far side. Plus, the fence, while still temporary, is much prettier and more pest resistant than last year. We've covered the grass in between the boxes and are planning to mulch all along those pathways to help keep mowing and weeds to a minimum. Everything looks great, but because of the cold spring we've had, all of the plants are puny. Most of the things I planted stayed the same size for weeks, and didn't start growing much until recently. At this time last year my peas and beans were twice the size they are now. Luckily, I had a huge number of volunteer tomato and tomatillo plants, and those are doing great! I had to replace most of my pepper plants with store bought ones, because my seedlings were seriously weak. My cucumbers, too. At this rate, I doubt I'll be getting much in the way of produce until August.

If we have an early fall, I'm going to be so pissed.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wrapping Up

It's that time of year again when all things are coming to an end. Tomorrow is Fred's last day of toddler class, and Maggie is finished in a week. (Side note: Sam and Lucy have to go until June 13th and they are PISSED about this.) Hockey is finished except for tryouts on Sunday morning, and music class and ice skating classes are coming to an end as well.

Maggie will mostly miss the playground and her music teacher

Lucy passed her level 2 ice skating test and declared herself ready for the olympics

Throughout the courses of these lessons and classes I have met some very nice people, and I was thinking about how to continue seeing them occasionally with them without being too weird. Because I only know them as Emily's Mom or Thalia's Mom, but they seem cool, so I want to try and maintain some sort of connection, but not come on too strong, you know? Mom dating. Luckily I have experience with these sorts of things! Some of my very best friendships were the direct result of stalking other moms who seemed fun. I gave out my number three times in the past few days, and scheduled one playground playdate, so hopefully by the fall I will have widened my circle a little more! 

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