Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How-to be Reedo

My crazy little man is such a sponge right now.  He is loving Kindergarten and his teachers and loves to show off what he has learned.  His favorite part of the day (be-still his mama's heart) is "Writer's Workshop." 

This past month, the students were taught Instructional Writing,  writing directions for how to do things.  Reed has made huge strides with writing and recognizing letters and sounds.  I had so much fun looking through the pile of Instructional Writing that came home in his folder this week. 

I love seeing his little mind working.  And I love the way his teachers encourage expression even before his spelling has caught up with his imagination.    Here are my faves:

 Getting ready in the morning in 4 steps. 

Get your socks on.  Get your shirt on.  Get your pants on.  Put your shoes on.

How to go sledding in 3 steps:
Get your sled.

Slide down.  (and smile!)

Walk back up.  (Duh.)
 How to pick an apple in 3 steps:

Reach high.

Hold on to the apple.

Pull down.  (Watch your head!)

Thank you Reed for making me smile, you little goofball. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

vacation adventures.

And here is a random collection of what the rest of our vacation looked like. 

A parade!  With instruments! And one of these kids has no pants!

When Suz, Ange and I "throw some lunch together" it looks like this.
 We took a short trip to Bath to visit Meredith.  There was a meal in a diner,
thumb-hole shirts and waffles:  Reed's favorite things.
...and a walk at Popham Beach.  

 So much love here.
This is Ulani, Meredith's happy girl.  Skyler is OBSESSED.

And a last highlight of the week:
a sunny run with Hillary.

We are back to school and into that looooong stretch into March. And snow in the forecast.  We can do this, right? Right?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N and a lesson in parenting.

On Monday, faced with a whole day with the kids and not much of a plan, I asked the kids to come up with one activity for each letter of the word VACATION and that would be our plan for the day.

They got right to work, and after some negotiating, they came up with:

For V we Visited Omom (my mom).

For A week took A Book Break (after Reed said, "Mom, is there a B in vacation?")
 For C we Colored Dinosaurs:
For A we did Arts and Crafts:

For T we took a short TV break.
For I we went out for Ice Cream:
 For O we had some Outdoor Fun.  It was freezing and incredibly windy so I was impressed that they followed through with this one. 

And finally, for N they each got a New Book:

The kids were focused and happy working on our checklist, but maybe a little hyper at times and needed reigning in.  By the end of the day, even though we were all out of letters, I needed to go to the grocery store.  Kids were D-O-N-E and kind of cranky and not listening in the store, so I had a stern talk with them in the car.  When I got them all tucked into bed last night, I found this note folded up on my pillow.

When I picked it up, I felt my breath catch for a second; I was overcome with all the joy and hard work that comes with raising kids.  I wanted to wake them up to hug them and thank them for being the two most loving, imperfect, and earnest little souls, and for making me have to work so hard on being fun and fair and patient.  I love my babies, and being a parent is the best and hardest job, the thing that stretches me as a person more than anything I do.  

Tomorrow we are going to spell:  WHEN DO WE GO BACK TO SCHOOL?  Kidding.  Seriously kidding. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

V is for Valentines and Vermont

This past week brought some Valentine love and other adventures. 

We made lots and lots of home-made Valentines for Reed and Skyler's classmates and went out for a date night.  I even bought them heart-shaped doughnuts.  

On Friday, I busted out of the doors of school and into the beginning of February break.  After a quick run and a hair cut, I was ready to hit the road for Vermont.  Tim and I decided to surprise his daughter Hillary at her playoff basketball game against Middlebury. 

Vermont is one of my favorite states.  The drive into Middlebury is a stunning one, up and over mountains and past mountain streams, and other things that makes you want to say "cute" and "quaint," like signs for road-side Maple syrup and local eggs, bright red barns, and liberal college kids.  

The scenery looked like this:  

 and this:
 and this:

And this.  V is also for Very Handsome travel partner:
We pulled off the surprise and watched a nail-biter of a basketball game. They lost, but made a mighty effort.   Understatement:  Hillary was thrilled to see her dad.

These two are the closest father-daughter pair I've ever known;  it's a beautiful thing. 

We enjoyed the car time, survived traveling in a snow storm, and came home to another blizzard. 

V is also for Vacation, and while my sister is currently sitting on a beach in Mexico, and my brother is surfing in Panama, we are coming up with creative ways to survive February in Maine.  I'm not jealous at all.

Enjoy your week, and good luck to all the parents with hyper kids.  xo

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Birthday Storm -and- What's for Dinner?

I had a birthday weekend full of beautiful meals, new running clothes, a glittery birthday crown made by Skyler, a few rousing off-key renditions of Happy Birthday from my students, some live music, and cards, emails, texts, and phone calls from friends far and wide.  39 is feeling very good. 

One of my seniors made these chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting for me and my class, and she hand-made these edible flowers, even the orange one.  Incredible.

Winter Storm Nemo brought us about 2 feet of snow and a whole lot of wind to blow it around;  it made the driving pretty crazy, but it sure is pretty to look at.   

After a full week of having a cold and no energy to exercise, I recovered well enough that Tim and I were able to get in a 4 mile post-storm trail run that felt necessary and good.   I am ready to get back to a "regular" week of exercise, whatever that means these days, and will try to swim, lift, and run enough that I can feel like myself again. 

What's For Dinner?

I wanted to share a new favorite dinner, inspired by a salad I recently ate at Suzanne's.  The only even slightly time-consuming part is the salad dressing, so if you make that ahead of time or make a big batch for future uses, you can make a super easy and healthy dinner in a snap.

Thai Peanut Salad with Salmon in 3 easy steps:

1.  Make the dressing, which was modified from Cooking Light.

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter 
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • a few splashes of hot sauce or a pinch hot pepper flakes. 
Throw this all into a food processor and mix until smooth.   

2.  Marinate the salmon in soy sauce and sprinkle with scallions.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.
salmon before it went into the oven.

3.  Meanwhile, make the salad.  I mixed together in one huge bowl:

Two heads of romaine, chopped
1 cup of fresh spinach, chopped
1 red pepper, sliced
1 cup grated carrots
1 handful scallions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 cup broccoli, steamed and chopped

Then, toss with a few spoonfuls of the dressing, top with something crunchy like peanuts or wonton crisps, and place the salmon atop.  Like this.  

Crunchy-peanuty-gingery goodness.   Looks like more snow is coming this weekend, so my flip-flop fantasies are on hold for now.  Have a great week.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

And I was starting to dream about summer...

Just when I was feeling that strong pull toward warmer weather,  daydreaming about sunshine and sitting on the deck and flowers and baskets of vegetables, there comes a storm that is so big it has been named.  Meet Winter Storm Nemo.

Tomorrow is my 39th birthday, and I thought I'd for sure get a snow day out of this badboy, but it looks that the snow won't begin until later on Friday afternoon and then it will snow all night and all day Saturday.  This storm is going to cancel the Valentine's Dance at the kids' school and cancel a visit from friends who were coming for a sleep over, but it will provide some more chances for outdoor fun.  I have only been on snowshoes once this year and cross country skis not at all, as we have hardly had any snow.  Tomorrow we get snow.

I know.  It was way too early for me to start thinking that winter was over anyway.  My mom tells me that there was a big snow storm on the day I was born in New Jersey, so I guess it comes with having a February birthday.  I also have a cold and cough like everyone else around me, which has kept me from running, and that makes me a little antsy, and it means I need to keep the scarves and sweaters and mittens (and tissues) for now. 

But can we talk about campfires and s'mores and watermelon and swimming in lakes? And wrapping up in towels in the grass after swimming and letting the sun dry our skin?  And can we talk about getting dressed on summer mornings by putting on sandals and a skirt and a t-shirt?  Grilled veggies and lemonade with fresh mint and Red Sox games?  Not yet?

For my birthday Tim gave me, among other things,  a gift of summer to help us with our warm-weather-daydreaming:  a scenic flight tour of Moosehead Lake and the surrounding mountains, one of my favorite places on the green earth.  Let's ride the motorcycle up there and then go flying.  Yes, let's.
One of the best parts of this gift is all the time I will spend imagining it, all the blues and greens and warmth that is Mooshead Lake. 

So, I'll hunker down for this storm and watch the snow pile up and suck on cough drops and think positive thoughts and enjoy the milestone of another year passing.  I hope everyone else in New England stays safe and enjoys the snow.  I'll try not to talk about flip flops or tan lines for another few weeks.

Monday, February 4, 2013

six years old.

We had an Angry Bird birthday party for Reed at the pool.  Reed is neither angry nor into birds, but he does love the iphone game almost as much as he loves to swim.  

Thanks to everyone who made Reed's birthday so special for him.  

Clearly, he had an excellent day:

 I just made the cake, but the Cake Pop Creations by Wanda in Hampden stole the show. 

party prep:  fruit on a stick.

My mom took this awesome photo while the rest of us were swimming. 

This is Reed's:  "I'm a little embarrassed but I love all this attention" face.

look at Rozzy looking at Reedo.

the kids were a little serious in the group shot.

so I asked Suzanne to do some antics behind me (you can see her in the mirror)  That's better! 
Happy Birthday to my sweet and happy boy.