Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ch-ch-changes...

I have been fed up with Blogspot for several months now. Whenever I do a post with pictures, Blogspot wants to interfere and wreak havoc on my paragraph spacing and all other manner of bothersome weirdness. So, I have done some scientific research (read: informal Facebook poll) and discovered that Wordpress is the preferred blog provider.

So, without further adieu... here's a link to my new bloggy home:

http://musingsofamommyatlaw.wordpress.com

Please visit me there and bookmark me and maybe even leave me a note to let me know you found me. Perhaps I'll even be better about updating if Wordpress lives up to my expectation of being much. less. frustrating....

In fact, there is a new post there already with some pictures from our Memorial Day weekend at the lake.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Mommy, I think this may be our lucky day."

In an effort to share the role of "fun parent" every once in a while, I decided to take the kids - on my own - to 6 Flags today. I proposed the 6 Flags trip yesterday - out loud - so when I lay down to go to sleep last night and began worrying about the logistics of taking two relatively small kids to 6 Flags with only one adult, it was already too late to take it back. We had a talk this morning on the way home from swim practice about the fact that Mommy wouldn't be able to ride with both of them on rides, so sometimes they'd have to ride with each other or one would ride alone while the other rode with Mommy. They took it surprisingly well. In fact, at one point I wondered why I didn't just drop them off and go get a pedi they seemed to be taking it so well.

Oh, I kid. I never contemplated leaving them alone.








We got there this morning at 10:30, when the park opened. We got all sun screened up and headed into the park. The rain last night had cooled things off to a pleasant 73 degrees this morning, but we knew it wouldn't last. And it didn't.




But, let me tell you. The lines were really short. We walked onto many, many of the rides without waiting at all. Before lunch we had ridden the Mindbender, Monster Mansion, Wiley Coyote Canyon Blaster, several kiddie rides in Bugs Bunny World, and Splash Mountain Falls. Oh, and Evan had ridden the swings.



Pressley cried, and cried, and cried, and cried some more while Evan was riding the swings. (There were some other swings in the kid's section that she could ride and did ride - picture to follow - but she would not be consoled.) It was so unfair that Evan was tall enough to ride and Pressley was not. I tried (really hard) to empathize with the kind of understanding that only a fellow little sister can have. But, dang was it frustrating that we were less than 2 hours in and she was having a giant melt-down. So, I had to shift from empathetic-fellow-little-sister to mean-counting-to-five-and-you-better-be-done-with-this-tantrum-mommy.



Once we found the next ride that she could ride, all was right with the world again. Thank the Lord.

Until we rode Splash Water Falls. Perhaps you might refer me to Kali River Rapids Debacle of Spring Break and ask me if I have learned nothing. Well. I thought I had. I took the child's bathing suit in a ziplock baggie in my purse. And I took her to the restroom to change into it before we rode the water ride. I asked 17 times if she was sure she was ok getting wet since she was in her bathing suit. She said yes.




Then, the 16 year old girl working the ride said she couldn't ride in nothing but her bathing suit and did she have some pants she could put on over her suit.

Seriously?

"Young woman (who clearly has no children): I had a plan. It involved being able to make my water-ride-lovin' son happy without having my baby-girl-drama-queen have the epic melt down of the century. And you've ruined it."



So, Pressley put her skirt back on over her bathing suit. And the questioning began again. Are you sure you are ok getting wet in your bathing suit and your skirt? We will try to keep your skirt as dry as possible, but I can't make any promises.

Yes. Yes. And yes. I'll be fine, silly woman. Why do you patronize me?

Alrighty then. So we went. And, she cried the minute she noticed there were drops of water dripping from her very wet hair and bathing suit onto her otherwise dry skirt.

For the LOVE!



Back to mean-countdown-mommy. I will leave this park and go home!! But, we took off the wet skirt, ate lunch, and all was right - once again - with the world when the skirt was dry by the end of lunch and we could change her back into her dry clothes.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. But pleasant. On our way to ride the All American Scream Machine (how many times will I say never again after that ride only to ride it again the next time?), Evan looks at me and says, "Mommy, I think this must be our lucky day. We haven't hardly had to wait in any lines. And I've never seen the Scream Machine line this short." Our lucky day indeed.



We did wait in one line. Evan wanted to ride the new Dare Devil Dive coaster and it is new and it was closed most of the morning. So by the time they opened it, there was a 45 minute wait. And at the beginning of the wait, Evan told me he was pretty sure he wouldn't like it. I asked him why on earth we were standing in a 45 minute line to ride it if he didn't think he'd like it. And he informed me (basically) that he has a policy that he likes to try all new roller coasters before he rules them out. Very practical.

All in all, it was a great day. I think I earned (and retained) a few fun parent points. (I often earn them and then blow it by getting all mean-mommy on them before it is over, but this time I managed to maintain my fun parent status all day.) And now, I'm letting them watch Scooby Doo and skip dinner because we had too much pizza for lunch and treats (nasty Icee things that they insisted they wanted) way too late in the afternoon. I may try to sneak some fruit in them later, but for now, I'm just relishing being the fun parent.

I'm certain that when it comes time to brush teeth, I'll fall decidedly out of the fun parent role once again...

Pressley's Pre-K Graduation

I knew I had been neglecting the blog a bit lately (what's new?), but I didn't realize until this morning that I totally failed to report on Pressley's pre-k graduation. I can't let that foul go un-remedied, so I'm taking a couple of steps back in time to rectify my extreme error in judgment.

I have known for some time that Ms. Martha and Ms. Sheila were pulling out all the stops to make some parents cry. The first time I heard Pressley recite this poem, I got a little teary-eyed. That time she did it with a lot less silliness and it was super touching. By the time I got around to recording it a few weeks later, she was hamming it up pretty big. (Not nearly as moving when she is using the silly voices.) But, for what it is worth, here it is:




video


So, I was prepared for a tear jerker. But, since I had heard the poem several times before graduation, and since I was blown away by Pressley and her classmates and all they've learned this year, I managed not to cry. But it was just one big display of cuteness right across the board.


The class sang many of their letter songs (they learned a song for every letter of the alphabet - mercifully, they didn't sing them all), they counted to thirty in English and French, they recited poems, and even did a little interpretive movement (which Pressley was chosen to do on-stage, because if there is anything Pressley is good at, it is expressing herself).

Here is one of the poems Pressley recited on stage: (Sadly, she wasn't on-stage for the one about her little feet.)



video

Aaaannnnnd, here is the interpretive movement: (Because I know I can't just say she did interpretive movement without showing you...)




video



Pressley took her role very seriously. I mean, it just doesn't get any cuter than that, does it?



Clearly, we were very proud. With good reason.





And, now my baby is off to kindergarten. But wait, first...the rest of summer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Photo Updates

I just realized that my latest photo album links on the sidebar were from September of last year. That has been remedied if anyone is interested. They are now current through May. Enjoy!

Swimming highlights so far

The kids have both been swimming on the swim team this summer. This is Evan's second season as a Wahoo and Pressley's first. I am very proud of both of them. Evan continues to improve and is learning the breast and butterfly this year.

But, Pressley has made the most progress. When we started practice in early May, she couldn't swim the whole length of the pool without stopping to hold on to the lane lines. By the first meet, she was easily swimming 25 yards in freestyle and was able to make it 25 yards in backstroke as well. Granted, it took her almost 2 whole minutes (1:58 to be exact) to do it since she was almost completely vertical in the water. She got lots of attention from the crowd and grinned ear to ear when she heard people cheering for her as she inched slowly toward the finish.

Last week (the third meet) was quite a difference from the first meet. Due to a clerical error, she was entered in the meet late and ended up swimming in the first heat of both of her races (as opposed to the 4th heat in the first two meets). I was worried sick. I didn't mind her coming in last, but I was so afraid that she'd be scarred by finishing so much slower than the other girls. But, my baby rose to the occasion. She came in last in the free style race, but only by a nose. And, she managed a 5th place finish in her backstroke, beating one other little girl. Her times were personal bests by a long shot. I was SO proud!!

Fast forward to last night: I had been noticing Pressley holding on to the lane lines a lot in practice the last couple of days, so we did a lot of talking about the importance of keeping on keeping on - even if your arm brushes against the lane line or your goggles fill with water. She said she was going to do just that.

First up was her relay. Unfortunately, she jumped into the water without putting her goggles down over her eyes, so she stopped about 4 times to put them on and then adjust them repeatedly. Still, her relay team finished second, so... no harm no foul.

Next up was her freestyle race. She dove in and looked poised for a second or third place finish in the second heat. Then, she disappeared from the surface of the water. I was puzzled, but continued to cheer her on to the finish. When she surfaced and climbed out of the pool, she held out her hand and proudly announced, "Look what I found!" and showed us the bracelet she had retrieved from the bottom of the pool during the middle of her race. Hilarious. What else could we do but laugh. I mean, she's five. What five year old girl wouldn't do the same...?

Then came Evan's freestyle race. Corin and I were poised to cheer him on. The whistle blew...and he jumped into the pool...backwards. He appeared to be headed back toward the block when he noticed he was being left behind by the other swimmers. So, he rolled onto his back and took off. Doing the backstroke. While all the other swimmers swam freestyle.

Amazingly, he managed to come in 4th or 5th, despite the fact that he was doing a harder stroke, but I'm pretty sure they must've disqualified him, so I'm guessing there will be no ribbon for that one.

All in all - not the best race for the McCarthy kids. It is a good thing that our attitude about swim team is that we're just thrilled to have them learning to swim and becoming strong swimmers. We don't place a whole lot of emphasis on winning, because I'm guessing that this won't be something they choose to compete in long term. So, we'll just chalk up last night as a learning experience. And chuckle.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not much of a swimming party

The plan for Evan's birthday was a pool party.

I had seen the forecast earlier in the week predicting thunderstorms, but I resolved not to get all worked up about it. Then, apparently I went into denial mode. Until Corin called this morning when we were walking home from swim team and said that the front page of the paper was screaming about severe storms rolling in.

Still, I resolved not to panic, but began talking to Evan about what we would do if we couldn't go to the pool. Not rock climbing. Maybe bowling. We'd see.

Then, as the sun continued to shine, I felt silly for having called the bowling alley in Midtown to check availabilty. It was going to be just fine.

Ahem. Until we stepped outside at 4:40 to grab towels and head up the street for the 5:00 party. That is when I notice the ominous clouds. And that was when the phone started ringing.

One of the moms up the street (between our house and the pool) had just stepped out and heard the thunder and was wondering what the plan was. And then the phone rang again. And again.

What happened after that is a little blurry. It was all a flurry of making phone calls to the Decatur bowling alley, parents of boys who were coming to the party, etc.

Ultimately, we made the decision to have the parents bring the kids to our house and have my parents and my sister help us ferry them over to the bowling alley. It was a little tricky to get the word out, and Corin ended up going to the pool to hang out to wait for the two kids whose parents we couldn't reach. But all in all, the party was a huge success. Who knew 7 year old boys were such big fans of bowling?

I'm choosing to block the part that happened after the goody bags containing the beyblades were handed out and the beyblade trading had begun and one of the trades went horribly wrong. I could tell you that there was literally much wailing and gnashing of teeth, leaving the birthday boy and one of his sweetest friends in tears... but, I'm choosing to block that part. (I had just finished patting myself on the back for giving out such awesome party favors when it all began to unravel.)

Otherwise, the boys (and Pressley and Abby) had a fantastic time.

Now, if you'll excuse me... I need a glass of wine.











That's the Poison Serpant beyblade, thank-you-very-much. Had never heard of it two weeks agao and now I've made it into a cake. The boys all thought it was way cool, so it was worth the few new gray hairs it caused.










Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It is hard to believe...

...that seven years ago today,


I was just beginning to fall in love...



with this little bundle.



It is hard to believe...




that in such a short time...


he has grown into this sweet, sensitive...
smart, inquisitive...
charming and handsome...
young man.