Friday, May 30, 2008

Things to smile about today

Today is my fourth and final full day without A. I'm feeling a little down and missing him, plus I had a terrible drop-off with R at school (he had to be pried off of me while he was crying - heartbreaking!), so I thought I'd cheer myself up by focusing on the nice things.

Friends. This week, our friends "adopted" us for dinner for two nights, which helped a lot because the evenings have been the time when I've been exhausted and losing my patience with R. On Wednesday night, R and his friend Z rode bikes for nearly an hour on Z's cul de sac. And, yesterday, we spent three hours at the park with assorted friends, which was wonderful for R and for me. We got fresh air, exercise, and had social time.

Weather and nature. It has been absolutely gorgeous this week! Sunny, warm, and breezy. We took a walk to the library yesterday morning, and spent a lot of time along the way looking at bugs and plants, and looking for shady spots on the sidewalk. At the park, R found an inchworm that he wanted to keep and bring home. He called him Inchy. He put Inchy inside his little Eiffel Tower keychain, along with some bits of leaves to eat. Every few minutes, R would run back from playing to check on Inchy. Inchy eventually made his way out of the tower, and R was okay with that. We also spent time in the yard, and R picked me a tiny bouquet of flowers.

Books. R and I found some of my old favorites at the library, and we read them at bedtime. He loved Amelia Bedelia and Frog & Toad. This morning, he begged me to read The Lorax before we headed out to school (which I did). I love all the questions he has and the theories he develops about the stories.

R's thoughtfulness. Last week, R picked out a bouquet of flowers for me at Costco, and I've been enjoying them ever since. And, he keeps telling me how I'm the best mom/woman in the world and his best friend. Or how delicious lunch or dinner is. Those compliments never get old!

And, of course, the biggest thing that kept me smiling this week was R. He's my little buddy, and I'm blessed to be his mom.

I'm also very thankful for A. This week has made me realize how much we rely on each other to get through each day. And, although I'm proud of myself for managing things this week without him, I'm counting the hours until he's home again.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Fun weekend!

We did so much this weekend! On Saturday, we ran errands and went to the park during the day, but in the evening our wonderful babysitter came over so A and I could go out for the night. Our friends' band was playing in Cambridge, but before the show we grabbed some appetizers and drinks at a place next door to the club. Then our friend L came to join us. It was a beautiful night, and the bar was using its open-air seating. The band was fun to see (Lynette: I have tidbits to share!), but mostly it was nice to hang out with some of our friends that we just don't see that often.

On Sunday, we were very productive. A mowed the lawn while R and I played inside, then A took R out to a park for a couple of hours while I cleaned our three-season room/porch, which was a complete disaster area. You could hardly walk out there from all of our stuff. It becomes the dumping ground for outdoor toys, shoes, boots, shovels, garden tools, plus all of our recycling, extra chairs, and pots and glassware that we can't fit in the kitchen. But now it looks really good and R has another room to play in. He immediately made use of it by riding his tricycle around the room. It makes me feel so much better to have it organized because it's the first room guests come into when they enter our house. And, it'll look even better on Wednesday morning after I take the trash and recycling out to the curb.

Today was rocket day - woohoo! It was pretty windy, but otherwise gorgeous (sunny and 80ish degrees), so we went for it. Besides most of our usual crew, two brothers from R's school came, and I think their family really had a good time. The boys spent their time running up and down the field after rockets to recover them, and flying kites in between launches. We lost a couple of rockets because of the wind, but they were inexpensive ones so it wasn't too bad. We'll probably go again sometime in June and launch more then.

After rockets, we came home, grilled up some steak and hot dogs and had a lovely dinner. Now, R is sleeping, A is in the shower, and I'm relaxing on the couch.

The other fun thing this weekend was that R invited his little friend from a few houses down to come over and play and to come over for dinner. The little guy is 2.5 years old, but he and R get along great. It was so sweet to watch R playing host. He was very kind and nurturing, like when he helped S climb down the stairs and told him to be careful of the hot grill, but he also seemed to enjoy telling someone else what to do. R nicely asked S to take off his shoes (we don't wear our shoes in the house) and informed him of several of our rules. A and I were cracking up listening to the two of them: R ordering S around and trying to get him to see 500 different things at once (he gave S a crazy whirlwind tour of our house and his toys), and S happily going along with anything R says because he adores him. It was so cute.

I also bought me some new shoes this weekend. I needed them badly. I don't remember buying shoes for myself since long before R was born. I pretty much wear the same pair every single day, except in the summer when I have a couple of pairs of completely worn out and faded sandals. So, this morning, I found two pairs of funky and cute Skechers on clearance - woohoo!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, too. :-)

Friday, May 23, 2008

A tale of two movies

I'm sitting on the couch blogging and watching what appears to be one of the stupidest movies I've ever seen: "Mission to Mars." I suppose it might be a little better if we turned the volume up enough to actually hear what was going on, but just from watching it, it looks pretty bad. Two minutes into it I wanted to strangle half the characters, including Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins, who I normally love. The cable info gives the movie 2 stars but called it "an exceptional sci-fi saga, with stunning special effects," so I figured I'd give it a chance. Big mistake. It's not even stupid enough to be funny. Maybe with some Mystery Science Theater commentary - then it might be good.

On the other hand, when I was home this morning waiting for my doctor's appointment, I watched "Amazing Grace," the story of the abolitionist William Wilberforce. It was very good. It was sickening to watch how people were more concerned about business interests than doing the right and moral thing. But I know that still happens today. It doesn't seem as obviously immoral, but it happens. Of course, I'm sure that slavery didn't seem as obviously immoral then to many people. In the movie, people had to convinced. I still don't understand that.

There was this wonderful line in the movie by John Newton, the former slave trader who wrote the hymn, "Amazing Grace." (He was played by Albert Finney.) I can't remember it exactly now, but it was about how sometimes God doesn't work in lightning bolts and thunder; sometimes he does his work with a gentle drizzle - drop by drop by drop. I just love that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pink eye

I'm working at home today because I woke up with what looks like conjunctivitis, and I'd prefer not to infect everyone at the office. I took some Claritin just in case it's related to allergies, but so far it's having no effect, so I may have to visit my doctor tomorrow for some antibiotics. Argh. I'm not looking forward to the havoc that they'll wreak on my digestive system. :-(

The tooth fairy visited our house on Tuesday night. Somehow R got it into his head that the tooth fairy brings presents instead of money. (Since none of his friends have lost teeth yet, I blame PBS. I'm sure it was that whiney Caillou!) He also said that she comes every night to check for teeth. I'm glad that doesn't give him the creeps, but it does me, so I told him that maybe she receives some kind of radio signal when there's a tooth waiting for her so she knows to visit that child's house. A picked up a little package of an "instant railroad" - the little capsules that you put in warm water and then foam shapes inside expand and appear - as the present. R was beside himself with excitement when he found it in the morning. It actually is pretty cool because it includes an engine, tender, tanker car, flat car, cargo car, and a caboose, and they all fit together (that is VERY important to R - he gets upset when trains don't "click" together).

I have mixed feelings about perpetuating the tooth fairy idea, especially since I don't do it for Santa, but R got most of this from other sources, so I'm just playing along. I did ask him if he thought the tooth fairy was an angel, and he gave me an emphatic "No!" with a look on his face that indicated I was very silly and naive.

What are you all up to for the long weekend? We have a rocket outing planned for Monday, and A and I may get out to see a friend's band on Saturday night, but other than that, we don't have any plans yet. Which is just fine with me. :-) It's supposed to be warm and beautiful here, so I'm very excited!

Cute R quote of the week:
"Daddy? Can you come lay down on the couch with me? I need some help warming up my feet."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Update on the boy

I kept R home today. He had a great night last night, but his mouth was still swollen this morning and I was worried about him being able to eat. Plus, I didn't feel right dumping him off for his teachers to deal with. So he and I had a lovely day together at home, and we even went to the playground (not the scene of the crime one, but another one close by) for a couple of hours.

Thank you all for your prayers and and your kind words and advice. God's healing hands are definitely at work in R! By the end of the day, his mouth was only slightly swollen. He ate a lot today - banana, yogurt, blueberry pancake cut up in teensy pieces, macaroni and cheese, a soft cereal bar. He asked for other things like popcorn and an apple, but I was afraid that they'd re-open his wounds so I didn't let him have those yet. He told me that his mouth didn't hurt him at all (thank goodness!). He was speaking normally by late morning. He was full of energy and climbed and jumped at the playground just like his normal self. And, the tooth that was bent backward already seems to be moving back into place.

God helped wash away my guilt and fear as well today. I prayed last night for God to sit by R's bed and watch over him during the night, and that helped me to relax a little and sleep peacefully myself. And, although I did briefly question whether this all would have happened if *I* had been the one to take R to the park yesterday, I realized that God's hand was in that as well. I'm sure it still would have happened, and I think A was the right person to be there with R at the time. Apparently, I would have fainted and been no good to anyone!

And, I admit that part of why I was so upset yesterday was because R's perfect little face and smile were mangled and horrible-looking. Wednesday is his school picture day! I know that was completely vain of me. But God even helped with that. R looks almost normal tonight and you can't really tell that he's missing teeth when he smiles. The only time I could see anything was when he was hanging upside down on the rings at the playground and had his mouth open.

Thank you, God, for healing R and watching over him. And, thank you again to all of you for your encouragement and prayers for me and my little guy.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A giant hamster ball is looking pretty good right now

R had his first major accident today. I needed to lay down for a little while, so A took R to the playground around the corner. Within minutes, R fell and hit a metal bar with his mouth. I woke up to the sound of our phone ringing over and over again. The first time I heard it, I ignored it (as we always do). When it immediately rang again, I thought, "That's weird." When it started ringing again, I ran downstairs to grab it, but was too late. I saw that A had called, so I called him back right away, but while it was ringing, I heard the horrible sound of A yelling my name from down the street. I ran to the back door and saw him running towards me, carrying R in his arms. Both of them were covered in blood.

I am so thankful for our next-door neighbor who saw everything and basically busted into our house to help. She's raised three kids and she adores R. She took control of the situation, told A to call the hospital, got R to show her his mouth, and calmed him down. It was really hard to tell, but it looked like two of his teeth were missing - one completely, one partially - and one was pushed backward. His gums and lips were swollen and purple. I ran and got ice and paper towels and held R on my lap. After A talked to the doctor, he ran to the playground to find R's teeth. I'm never squeamish, but for some reason, I started getting lightheaded and knew I was going to faint. I told my neighbor, and she flung her arm around me, led me to the couch, put a blanket on me, checked to see if I wanted any water, then went back to tending R. R got upset again because he was worried about me, my poor sweetheart. So he came out of the bathroom and sat with me on the couch. Within a few minutes, he was smiling and laughing, although he couldn't really talk.

When A got home, the first thing R said was, "Let's go back to the park!" So I think he's going to be okay.

God bless our amazing pediatric dentist who met us at his office within 10 minutes after we called. He was fantastic with R. The x-rays show that one of R's canines may be shoved up into his gums, he definitely lost one tooth completely (which A found at the playground), and one of his front teeth is bent strangely. We have to take R back once a week for the next couple of weeks and keep an eye on him for potential infection. He has to eat soft foods for awhile, but other than that, we just have to see how it goes.

I can't begin to express how badly I feel about being home napping while this happened. And then to almost faint on top of that. Ugh. But I am so thankful to God for R being pretty much okay. And for our neighbor who was a real-life angel. And for the dentist who was so kind and gentle with R (and us!).

R fell asleep within two minutes tonight. His last words to me were, "Mommy, when are my teeth going to feel better?" because he couldn't suck his thumb. We prayed together to ask God to heal his mouth quickly, and then I cried softly while I watched my baby sleep.

I know putting R inside a giant hamster ball to keep him safe from now on isn't the answer. But I can't help thinking about it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mission accomplished!

A and I took today off from work to go on the hunt for things for our bathroom. We've tried this a few times already, usually with poor R in tow, and it hasn't gone well or very far. But today we finally made some decisions!

One of the trickiest things is trying to find a vanity for our bathroom because the bathroom is so dang small. Our current vanity is only 18 inches wide, and we can't fit anything much bigger than that even with the renovation. Most vanities start at 24 inches wide, which is way too big for our space. To complicate matters, I really wanted a vanity on feet so that I clean underneath it and beside it. Our current one goes to the floor and leaves about 1 inch of space between it and the wall next to it, so I can't really get in there to clean, which drives me bonkers. Just as we were about to give up and go with a pedestal sink today (in other words, give up our hopes of having any kind of storage in the bathroom), we found a vanity in beautiful hardwood on feet in a dark cherry stain for a decent price - woohoo!

We also found a faucet we loved (although we may have to ditch that one because it's very expensive) and an undermount sink that will work. And, here's the toilet we picked out a few weeks ago.

Next it was off to the granite/marble/stone and tile showroom. We really want a granite countertop because we figure it won't cost us *that* much since the countertop will be so small. The owner recommended that we go visit their warehouse this weekend so that we can find a "scrap" piece of granite and just pay for what we need, instead of having to buy a whole slab. Apparently, the warehouse is never open on weekends, but they're going to be open this Sunday morning for a one-time thing. It's a sign! :-)

We also decided to look at tile while we were there because we both really love slate and wanted to check out the price. The owner showed us the slate but also showed us porcelain tile that looks just like slate and is easier to take care of, more durable, etc. We found a gorgeous tile that we absolutely love for the floor and we can afford it (again because the bathroom is so ridiculously small). It's dark gray but has patterns of color through it that go well with the vanity. Around the tub, we're going to do white subway tiles but with a band of mosaic tiles of the tiles we're using for the floor. We laid it out on the floor of the showroom and got so excited! We finally have a plan and an idea in our heads of what it's going to look like. Yay! Plus, I'll still get to have my dream of white beadboard on the non-tub walls.

In R news, he started going to the Pre-K-II classroom this week and loved it. It's a much bigger class than he's used to (18 kids), but they have 2 or 3 teachers there at all times, and they break up into smaller groups throughout the day. Seven of R's very good friends are already in that class, so he's happy to be there. For a few weeks, he'll be in the Pre-K-II class twice a week and in his Pre-K-I class once a week. So I think that will be a nice transition for him. In Pre-K-II, they have a lot more activities - like cooking, visiting a local nursing home, movie night, plus they are working on two plays right now that they're going to perform at the "graduation" ceremony in June. I'm excited for R to get to do some new things, but I'm still a little sad at his growing up so fast. All of a sudden it seems to have kicked into full speed.

Recently while R takes his bath, I've been writing out words for him to figure out - either on the tub walls in bath crayons or with our little doodle pad. If I forget, R asks me to do it. Tonight, I wrote out probably 20 different words, and he sounded all of them out all by himself. I was so proud of him! I started out with sock, then built on that with block, dock, clock, etc. Then I would write out words that he had just spoken while playing, like tweet, splash, blast, rocket. Later on, when he came downstairs from bed to go to the bathroom, I found him in the hallway with the doodle pad practicing writing Ss.

Tomorrow, we're off to get R some new shoes because he broke his again today (second pair in three months). Luckily, we bought them at L.L. Bean and they have a lifetime guarantee. You just bring in the broken shoes, they give you a store credit, and you go find a new pair. I love that.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's that burning smell? Oh, it's my face.

Not much exciting going on in Kristenland this week. I could go into great detail about how my body is messing with me and making me think all kinds of paranoid things about my health, but the summary is that I just feel weird. I don't know what the heck it is, but it's almost always nothing, so I'm going with that.

Yesterday, I got my lovely package of products from DHC Skincare. I LOVE this company. A lot of their products are olive-oil-based, everything is packaged so beautifully, and you get to pick four free samples with every order. Plus, they send you 2-3 free samples in every catalog. I save the free samples for travel or to treat myself to a spa night once in awhile. Oh, and everything I've used from them works amazing!

This time, I decided to try their new skincare set for "problem" skin because my face gets progressively oilier and more broken out with every year. I never had these skin problems when I was a teen! Anyway, I tried it out last night. Everything had salicylic acid in it and I was a little worried that I'd wake up with a beet red face, but so far so good in that respect.

The products even smelled all lovely and pepperminty when I put them on. But when I laid down in bed last night, I smelled a very distinct burning odor. And it's still with me this morning.

There's something unnerving about my face smelling like a bonfire.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My mom

It's probably a cliche to write about my mom for Mother's Day, but I really wanted to do it this year.

My mom is the person that holds our entire family together. She's the one who almost always knows what's going on with my sisters and I, so that even when my sisters and I can't seem to connect and catch up, we talk to my mom and she fills us in. She remembers everyone's birthdays and anniversaries. She even knows what days I'm home with R and calls to see how we're doing. She calls after R's doctor's appointments to find out what happened.

She is the most amazing grandmother. Her grandsons adore her because she's loving, silly, fun, creative, and she never talks down to them. When my mom was here for R's birthday a few weeks ago, R was in heaven. Grandma built the coolest railroad track and played trains with him. She doesn't watch from the sidelines - she climbs in the sandbox, gets down on the floor to play Candyland and Chutes & Ladders, and hides in the closet for hide and seek. She loves and appreciates her grandsons for who they are, and she learns their likes, dislikes, and dreams. She got R the coolest space pajamas and a pillow with the planets on it because she knows how much he's into spaceships and astronomy. I think if he were obsessed with earthworms, she'd do everything she could to find worm stuff.

My mom has this amazing ability to get things done. She's like a whirlwind of productivity. I'll talk to her on a Saturday morning, and by 10 a.m., she'll have done several loads of laundry, cleaned two bathrooms, made food for a church function, weeded her garden beds, walked the dog, and painted an entire room in her house. (I'm not exaggerating.) I'm constantly in awe of what she accomplishes. I still have no idea how she raised three daughters while keeping the house and yard beautiful and cooking all the meals. (I can barely deal with my house and one child - never mind my yard!)

I have so much fun with my mom. She's crazy and silly, and she has the cutest giggly laugh. When we were little, she made up songs that we still remember today. (One was about pinching heinies!)

My mom is incredibly smart and well read, and she always encouraged us to read as much as possible (we spent our summers at the library). She took us to museums and historical sites when our friends went to amusement parks. (Although I didn't appreciate it as much then!) She went back to college when my sisters and I were grown, and she earned her B.A. She and I took the GREs together. She kills in Scrabble.

She is creative and talented. I love her drawings. Growing up, we all made homemade valentines for each other. I still have a couple that my mom made me. It's amazing what she can do just with crayons. She made up a whole series of stories for my baby sister starring my sister's favorite stuffed animal, Jonathan Duck. Although the stories were for my sister, I seem to remember being there and soaking up every word my mom spoke.

My mom made growing up special with little traditions and celebrations. During Advent, we lit the Advent wreath each night, opened a window on the calendar, read from the Bible, sang a Christmas song, and then my dad would read part of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" to us. After school each afternoon, we'd sit down and have tea and cookies to connect and talk about our day. When I turned sixteen, my mom took me to a furniture store where I got to pick out a hope chest. It's still probably the finest piece of furniture I own. She and my grandma bought me linens and doilies and other traditional hope-chesty things for it. That was so special to me. The day I "became a woman," my mom gave me a card with a wonderful note in it and celebrated with me. On Thanksgiving (a big day in our hometown of Plymouth, MA), we'd get up early to help her with the turkey and stuffing, then we went to an ecumenical service at the oldest church in town. People dressed as Pilgrims were there, and the chief of the local Wampanoag Indian tribe would recite the Lord's Prayer in Wampanoag. Then we went to "Mug & Muffin" for hot cocoa and chocolate chip muffins (grilled, with butter), and then home again for our meal. Thanksgiving has always been my absolute favorite holiday because of that tradition.

She was (and is!) my spiritual teacher, helping me to know and love God and to discover his word. I watched my mom live out her faith - always helping the older women in our church with whatever they needed, driving all over creation to help refugee families get housing/welfare/medical care, and always being honest with us. I have always respected my mom for refusing to do the whole Santa Claus thing (she didn't want to lie to us and told us early on that he wasn't real - but also that we needed to keep that to ourselves). We did our egg hunt on the first day of spring so that Easter would be about Jesus and not about bunnies or candy. I love that she gave us the experience of going to both Lutheran and Evangelical churches. I learned to appreciate the deep reverence and formality of traditional liturgy and the moving, emotional, and often physical experience of less formal worship. But mostly she taught me to experience God on a personal level, in my heart and mind.

Woven through all she does is her love for her family, and she has infused each of us with that love as well. No matter how far apart my sisters and my mom and my dad are, we all know that we love each other fiercely and that nothing can change that. Growing up, we lived far away from my Grandma, but my mom packed us up and drove to see her what seemed like all the time so that we could know our Grandma and Grandpa and our aunt. My mom gave us the wonderful experience of being with her mother. I'm so grateful for that.

And, I'm so thankful to my mom for everything she's done, for making my childhood a time of special memories (even when life was pretty tumultuous otherwise), for teaching me about being a mother, for loving my son and my husband, and for always encouraging and loving me. She is one amazing powerhouse of a woman, and she's a true gift from God.

I love you, Mom!

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Unexpected blessings

Tonight, while we were playing Chutes & Ladders with R before his bedtime, the phone rang. It was Mike, one of A's friends who we haven't seen in awhile (even though he lives only a few blocks away from us). He asked if he could come over for a few minutes because he had something for us. This made R extremely excited - to the point where he was waiting on the back steps in the rain for Mike to arrive. But when Mike came, his surprise was a single, perfect, peach rose for me for Mother's Day. I am just so touched and humbled by his thoughtfulness.

So, Lord, please bless Mike tonight. Thank you for the overwhelming kindness of friends and for the little surprises that you send my way. Amen.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The day began with pillows

R and I had our day together today, and it was wonderful. First thing this morning, after reading a story in bed, we built a pillow fort on the couch. We used almost every pillow in the house, and R declared, "This is a surprising pile of pillows!" He then maneuvered his way inside his "burrow" and waited for A to wake up so he could surprise him. So cute. (Can you see him peeking out of the pile?)

Then we played cars and racing and we made modifications to his Hot Wheels track by adding tunnels (paper towel and toilet paper tubes). Breakfast was fresh strawberries and cereal; snack was dried fruit and cashews. Then we headed for a little shopping trip at the new dollar store, mostly for snacky stuff. But R also found a package of glow sticks and two musical recorders. He found lots of other things he wanted, too, but he was so good about putting them back when I asked him to.

We came home for lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, alphabet soup (because we had just read Martha Speaks - one of my favorite kids' books), and Swiss cheese chunks. Then we headed for a playdate with R's friend Z. We walked to the neighborhood playground and spent close to two hours there because it was so beautiful outside (80 degrees and sunny!). After snacks with Z, we headed to the library to return some books and pick out others. Finally, it was home to have a popsicle in the backyard, water the plants, and cool off until we had to go pick up A at the train station.

All in all, a simply perfect day with my boy.

And, can I just say that after spending a day with R, especially when we're outside most of the day, I look really good! My face is glowy and healthy now, even though I didn't get much sleep last night (I took a Claritin much too late in the day, and I had the jitters all night). But, after one day at work tomorrow, I'll look like all manner of crapitude - pasty, dull, and tired as usual. Blech. But hey - at least I look good every other Thursday! ;-)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Two discoveries

I have two recent discoveries to share:

1) If you have Indian food for take-out dinner, be sure to check under your four-year-old's chair after he's finished eating. R loves chicken tikka masala, but in his frenzy to stuff it into his mouth, apparently he dropped some on the floor. Now, there are orange stains on our linoleum. Doh!

2) This

plus this

equals GOOD.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The party

R's big party was finally on Saturday. (I decorated the cake myself, well the space stuff anyway not the writing - what do you think? Hee hee.) R had a lot of fun, except for the games at the gym that involved him being the center of attention with all of his friends watching him or wishing him happy birthday. At one point, the young women running the party took R aside while everyone else (i.e., 16 four-year-olds) had to sit in a circle and wait. When they brought R out, he was being pulled around in a wagon. He was also supposed to be wearing a special hat and holding a sign or something, but he refused (can you blame him?). He really just wanted to play with his friends instead of having them all circle around him like he was royalty. I didn't realize that that was part of the party package. If I had, I would have asked them to drop that part. Other than that, the kids had tons of fun. The gym was great; there was so much for them to do and climb and jump on. And, it was perfect because it was a cold and rainy day outside, so everyone used up a lot of energy.

The best part was at the end with an activity they called "space flight." It's basically a zip line across the entire gym with a little swing seat attached. Each child got to take a turn zipping across the room. R got two turns as the birthday boy. I wish they could have given all the kids multiple turns. I think they all would have loved to just do that part the entire time!

We decided to have a book swap instead of presents, partly because we have nowhere to put 16 presents/toys and partly because I don't want R to focus on the getting part of his birthday. So, every kid brought a wrapped book, and then we put them all in a big bin and everyone got to take a new book home with them at the end. That worked out GREAT! The parents were raving about it, so that made me happy.

Afterwards, a few of the kids and their parents joined us at the pizza place next door for dinner. (The party was from 3-4:30 so it was too late for lunch, and there wasn't much time to have anything but cake.) I wish we hadn't done the pizza thing because some of the kids were INSANE. R was cranky and sad from being overtired (he woke up extra early that morning), and a few of his friends were in hyper mode, yelling and screaming and pretending to shoot each other. Fun! R asked A to take him away from the table for awhile because he couldn't stand the noise. It also didn't help having to wait for the pizza for half an hour. The kids had all that energy and nothing to do about it.

But, all in all, it was a good day. In retrospect, A and I both felt like it was too much. A said that all the preparations and expense felt like we were celebrating a sweet 16 birthday instead of a four-year-old birthday. R doesn't really care if everyone he knows is at his party - he just wants to have fun. I don't know why I talked myself into doing this big shebang this year. I guess it was because it seemed like all his friends were doing the same thing. So, although I don't regret it because R did have a nice time, we probably won't do another big party like that for a long time.

We spent our rainy Sunday today sleeping late, having pancakes and ham for breakfast, browsing at the bookstore and having scones at the cafe, watching a movie at home, and riding the subway (R's request) to go have dinner in Harvard Square. It was a nice way to relax after the craziness of the party on Saturday.

Question for all of you: Do you think we should send out thank-you notes to R's friends for attending? Because there weren't any presents (and we did give out goody bags), I wasn't sure if it was necessary. I mean, I know it would be nice to do, but do you think it's expected?

Finally, quote of the week:
Me: "R, why are you punching me in the arm?"
R: "Because I love you!"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

I've got a whole lot of nothin' for you

I really do not have a whole lot to write about lately. Just little snippets about what the heck I've been up to, which will probably only interest my family, so I apologize in advance to my non-blood-related blogger family.

R had his annual doctor's visit on Tuesday. He grew 4.5 inches last year (average is 2 inches)! He's at the 96th percentile for height (43 inches) and 60th for weight (38 pounds). So he's tall and lean just like his handsome daddy. May he always be that way!

I've been stressing a little this week about R's big party coming up on Saturday. For some reason, no party stores have anything for a space-themed party. NOTHING. What is up with that? We know of at least two other families who have struck out with trying to plan a space party. We finally decided to get dark navy tablecloths and utensils, and we found some rocket plates online that I had express-shipped. (It was worth it, though - they are pretty cool.) We're picking up a plain cake from Costco, and then I'm going to decorate it myself with rockets and other space-related stuff because I've gotten pretty good at drawing rockets for R. For the goody bags, we got star-shaped rubber balls that light up when they bounce, books of stickers about the planets (that are also educational), bubbles, noisemakers (by R's request), mini spirographs, and I can't remember what else now. I do understand now why most people just buy a bunch of junk to put in goody bags - all of that stuff is SO expensive!

I'm also putting together a CD of R's favorite songs for the party. That was fun. I've got some train songs (Johnny Cash, Grateful Dead), reggae, ska, some of our friends' bands, Aretha, some 50s stuff, and even the Andrews Sisters. He probably won't even notice with all the craziness of 17 kids, but that's okay.

Instead of presents, we're doing a book swap at the party. Everyone is supposed to bring a wrapped book, and then take another one when they leave. The other parents have all told me how much they like the idea, so I hope it works out okay. I'm not sure R realizes that he won't be getting a slew of presents, but I again think he won't even notice with all the excitement.

In non-party matters... I got my copy of Trish's book in the mail yesterday, and I started reading it on the subway today. I'm really enjoying it - it's one of those books that I didn't want to put down when I got to my stop and got really annoyed at having to actually work today because it's interfering with my reading time. Plus, it's so interesting reading a book by someone you know in real life. It's almost as if I can hear Trish telling the stories as I'm reading it, which is really nice. :-)

I've also started reading Tony Campolo's Red Letter Christians: A Citizen's Guide to Faith and Politics. I'm only a few pages into it and I like it so far, although I've definitely had a couple of moments where I felt myself cringing in disagreement. But that's fine!

And, I ordered a Love and Logic parenting book because my favorite mom blogger swears by that method. Lately, A and I have been very frustrated with R not listening to us, running away from us, talking back, etc. He's not a bad kid at all. He's really a sweet boy with a ton of energy. But it would be nice to have some techniques to rely on in dealing with him instead of A and I winging it and feeling a bit useless.

It's gorgeous up here in New England again today: sunny, bright, warmish, and everything is blooming. I walked to the train station again. I'm really treasuring the times when I can do that because I'm getting exercise, plus I have 25 minutes to myself and with God. Beneficial in many ways! And, today, I get to head home mid-day to hang with R because A has another dentist appointment. So yay for that!

I hope you all have a great day!