Monday, September 29, 2014

Playing in the Park after School

Today, after school, the boys and I visited the park behind my school. This is a relatively new park, and the boys were excited to be able to play there.

Henry and Nick just about flipped when they figured out they could both fit in this swing. They didn't want to get out!

Nothing beats the grins on these guys faces, and seeing them so happy helps a lot after a stressful Monday.

The boys like walking through the school garden and trying to identify the plants there. Both boys were surprised at how big the pumpkins had gotten.

Mondays are hard, but these guys make them much more palatable for me. We played at the park for a good hour before heading home. Now it's time for homework (mine and theirs).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Nick Dresses Up as an Elephant, and Henry Rides an Elephant

I'm going to flash back to our summer vacation in August, when we visited Circus World Museum, in Baraboo, Wisconsin. They have a Kids' Circus Show every day, where kids are the performers. Nick got picked to be an elephant performer in the show.

Henry was a little irked that he didn't get picked.

In fact, he later had to be escorted out of the show because he was so upset. Nick, as expected, performed well as an elephant; he likes being the center of attention.

Henry decided that if he couldn't be an elephant, at least he could ride one!

He was so small they let him ride up front, and he had this big grin on his face the whole time.

They only let the elephants give rides for a very short time, but we got there at the right time. Henry loved it!

This time, Nick was the jealous one. I have to give him credit, though. He didn't throw a tantrum at all. My boy is growing up.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Search for Halloween Costumes, Part II

Something I didn't mention about our shopping trip last Friday night was how Nick found, as he put it, "a Marty vest." While I was looking around at Gymboree, Nick came across a red puffer vest just like the one Michael J. Fox wears in the first "Back to the Future" movie. He insisted that I buy it, so he could be Marty McFly for Halloween. Then the search began for the rest of his costume. First, we had to find a jean jacket that would work under the puffer vest.

What do you think? Nick knows he's cool in his new jacket. We found it on the clearance rack, thank goodness. That wasn't all, though. Marty McFly, you see, dressed in layers.

Nick needed a red t-shirt, then a blue checkered button-down shirt, then a jean jacket, then the puffer vest. Whew! Thanks to some very helpful store clerks (it was a slow night with not many customers), I found almost everything in the Oshkosh store. Does Nick (above) look like Marty (below)?

He sure thought so! "Nobody calls me chicken!" he said as he checked himself out in the mirror.

Now all that's left will be finding him white Nike shoes with the red swoosh and some retro 1980's sunglasses. Oh, and maybe I can find a little DeLorean or a kid-sized skateboard to carry around.

We've been watching the trilogy all weekend.  

Oh, and Henry? He begged for a jean jacket too, so he could be "cool." And for his costume? Hmm. Well, we were thinking perhaps Doc Brown. He already says, "Great Scott!" in perfect character.

His hair is already nearly white and it sticks up in a pretty funny way when we gel it up. Anyone have a poodle skirt? Nick wants Greg and I to be George and Lorraine.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Search for Halloween Costumes, Part I

Ever since the first Halloween stores started popping up, Nick has been asking me to take him and Henry to look at costumes. Last week we spent a good half hour in one store trying on costumes, though I wouldn't let them decide yet.

Nick liked this skeleton costume, but I thought it was a little bit scary for a Kindergarten student. Henry wanted to be Darth Vader (of course), but I told him we did a Star Wars theme last year and we needed to move on.

Cute, but we need a new theme this year.

So Henry tried on a lot of costumes without committing to anything. He kept asking, "Does this once have a light saber?" Sigh. Henry has a one track mind. He did like this monster costume, mostly because of the fuzzy hat.

Both boys found plenty of costumes they liked, but they were either too scary (all of Nick's choices), or only Darth Vader costumes (that would be Henry). Last Friday, though, Nick came up with a cool idea all on his own. I'll write more about that tomorrow, but here's a teaser. . .

Who do you think he wants to be for Halloween this year?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Shopping is Different Now

I remember the days when I could shop for hours and come home feeling slightly guilty but incredibly cheerful. Before I had kids, most of my shopping was done for myself, and I could spend hours trying on clothes. To tell you the truth, my favorite way to shop is when I wander aimlessly until I see something I like. All of that has changed now. Henry, apparently, had only three long-sleeved shirts in his size, and somehow all of our 3T clothes from when Nick was that size have disappeared. Therefore, he needed new shirts. I suppose I could have waited for that elusive thing called "free time" and gone by myself, but the boys were begging me to "Take us somewhere fun, mommy!" I took them to the outlet mall.

Do you see the large stack of bags on the chair next to Henry? None of that is mine. Not one thing. All of it is for Henry and Nick.

Also, my boys don't generally like trying on clothes. They care about what they wear, just not enough to, you know, glance at what you're buying.

They will, however, glance longingly at cookies. They also walk directly (in a pied-piperish way) toward the Mrs. Field's store as if mesmerized. Good thing I was in the mood for a cookie, too.

These metal quarter-eating monsters occupied most of my boys' thoughts for the several hours we were at the mall. (As in, "Are we going to the cars now?" and "How about now?")

Two of them in another area ate our money and didn't work. I was mad and the boys were miffed (which, for a three-year-old, means absolutely devastated). So we walked around the corner and found some more cars to sit in. These, thankfully, worked. Four quarters for about two minutes of joy--it was worth it for them because it wasn't their quarters.

Shopping used to invigorate me. Now it just makes me tired.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Busy School Days

There is something about this time of year that makes me feel frantic. Busy days are followed by busy nights, and every night is getting shorter. Nick doesn't understand how days shorten as summer wanes, so he keeps telling me "it's very late at night!" even when it isn't.

It looks dark, but it wasn't even 8 p.m.

Nick has been very "into" drawing pictures of people lately, and his pictures are getting better. We think this is great, since Nick usually doesn't sit still for very long.

Does it count as "sitting still" if he stood wiggling his feet while drawing this?

Sometimes he'll even draw a whole village of people. I'm always afraid to ask who they are; he once drew a whole page of Grandma Tonis and no one else.

Yes, many of the people in this picture are holding light sabers. 

Henry's art is a little bit more free form. I believe he did this one at preschool with stamps. I like how his preschool teacher gives the kids something to use and lets them create whatever they want. His projects may not be cutesy, but they are clearly made by Henry.

I love this picture Nick drew. No, he can't swim, but he can draw a stick person swimming. That's better than I can do! (Though, to be fair, I can actually swim.)

Not too shabby for only a few weeks into Kindergarten.  

It's funny how often Henry and Nick talk about their water park visit, even now, nearly a month later. Nick even wore his wolf ears tonight while Greg helped him with his homework. Nick has homework every night, plus he has to practice reading two easy-reader books.

He was practicing writing the number 2. 

I don't mind story time, even when the books are sent by the school. It is different being the parent reading assigned books instead of the teacher assigning those books. I still see the benefits, but it's a different perspective. Since school started, though, I've been extra tired every night. It must be waking up every day before 6 a.m. I know how Henry feels; he's been making a habit of passing out on the stairs.

Henry has homework, too, for his Speech Teacher. He has to practice saying certain words. 

Now I'm off to bed myself. These long school days make me very tired.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Ride in a Duck? Yup.

One thing I made sure to plan on during our trip to Wisconsin Dells was a ride in a Duck. If you've never been, Ducks are these really neat WWII amphibious vehicles that can drive in land and in water.

I figured that even if the boys weren't into the scenery, they'd like the excitement of going in and out of the water. I was right.

I love the way the trees grow right on top of and into the rocks. Honestly, anytime I travel, I'm always drawn to any activities that take place on a boat. Though I just like the peacefulness of traveling on the river and watching the scenery, Henry and Nick liked the bumpy, rowdy parts of the ride.

This is the face Henry made when I told him to smile.

At one point, our driver gunned it and drove straight into the lake, making a huge splash and delighting the boys. A Duck handles like a really old car without power steering, shocks, or brake pads.

Greg said he hit the side of the duck and got bruised. Henry said something that sounded like, "Again!"

This was before the aforementioned bruising splash.

Grandma Toni enjoyed the duck ride, too, despite the fact that it was really cold that morning. In fact, our whole trip the weather was chilly for August. Poor Greg didn't bring a sweatshirt because, well, it was August!

Even after our Duck ride, we were able to ride a Shuttle Duck back to our hotel. Nick liked the Shuttle Duck so much it made him sing "Let it Go" from Frozen.

For the rest of our trip, every time we saw one of these ducks, Henry and Nick announced, "That's our Duck!"