Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Night Surprise

Today was a full day of tubing with the kids, playing with friends and hanging out on the beach. Drew is trying each day to get up on skis. We're just trying to keep him from frying in the sun. Despite multiple layers of sunscreen, he's in the water the majority of the day and the sun is getting him good!
With 25 minutes notice, John surprised me tonight with a night out and about. I had no idea what he had planned, but It was very welcome after a week of constant play and activity with the kids. We dined at The Wild Buffalo in anticipation of a country concert. I'm not sure which was more entertaining; the more than horrible opening act or the small crowd that had gathered to watch and make complete fools of themselves. Rounding out the group was Scary Stalker Dude, who was an act unto himself. There is a reason Bellingham has had a few infamous murders lurking about. Maybe our tolerance is a downfall. I couldn't help but be tickled that John had been so thoughtful to think I'd enjoy a surprise like this. I know he worked hard to keep it a surprise and get it all arranged with both sets of parents. Thankfully Tommy was asleep before we left and Cooper still has no clue who he loves more right now. It was a very enjoyable, relaxing evening out together. Much needed and even more appreciated, from John and our parents who gave us this opportunity.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Arroyo Park Hiking

Today I packed up the boys and we headed off for Arroya Park to check out the creek, waterfalls and the trails. It was so much fun watching the boys scramble over the logs and beaver jams, hopping through the stream and exploring off the trails. They love exploring and the farther they can get from me the better. It was especially endearing seeing Thomas try to keep up with Drew as he made his way through the underbrush, and to see Drew come back to hoist Tommy over a particularly challenging section of the creek or up and over a log jam. They really are buddies now. It's also nice not having to worry that Tommy will just suddently launch himself off the trail and into the ravine. For the most part he maintained his concentration on the trail, although Drew pulled him back a few times when his body kept going off the trail while his eyes were looking back towards something way more important.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Birch Bay Waterslides

What a fun day we had today! I've been wanting to take Tommy up to experience the waterslides, but didn't know what to do about Cooper. He sure wouldn't enjoy himself. Mom provided the solution by agreeing to keep him, allowing me the freedom to take the boys, Tommy and Drew, up for a day outing together. (Mom, you are a lifesaver, and we wouldn't be able to do any of this without your willingness to watch the Coop for me!) Although a bit apprehensive about the unknowns of taking the boys alone without help, I was eager to get out and away from the routine of the lake. The boys were super excited about it, however much balking they did about the lather of sunscreen we gooped on them. The neighbors must tire of the endless screeching from Tommy's daily battles about sunscreen. I know I am.
We headed out, the boys talking non stop from the backseat. I thought they would talk to themselves a bit, but the conversation was peppered continually with questions for the aunt/mommy who they think has the answers to everything. Do I prefer Chevy or Toyota, Dodge or Ford? Why do tornadoes rip things up? How many people live in Bellingham? How many people live in Washington State? What are legos made of? How many Legos would you need to build a spaceship? Do they poop in space?.......
The park was great for the kids and they're perfect ages to enjoy the new pool area and kiddie section that Tommy camped out in. It was free for all in the kiddie section, with the parents who actually parent their kids trying to maintain some order among the kids who's parents were lounging somewhere in hiding from their kids for the day. I allowed Drew to go off to another big slide a few times, and tried to train my left eye to watch that slide while the right eye watched Tommy on the kiddie slides. It was quite mind numbing, but I have to say it was refreshing to not have one single whine or complaint the entire day. Seriously...the entire day! It was beautiful! On the way home we stopped for huge ice cream cones in an effort to keep Tommy awake, and then headed home to wait for John to get home from work. I pulled a Bear Grylls and built a small fire down on the beach, until Bruce took pity on my pathetically small campfire and brought down more wood. I thought I'd raid his shop for spare wood, but today it was totally clean and tidy. What I had left would probably roast a half a marshmellow. The boys thought I was cool, though, and that's all that counts. I scored big on the camp counselor points today and went to bed entirely exhausted from the work.
I don't have any pictures, as I figured riding the tubes and chasing the boys wouldn't be good for John's camera. So sad!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Incident of the day

I am exhausted from keeping Drew and Tommy from killing themselves on the scooter and bike today. If the crazy traffic won't get them, then their own fearlessness will! After repeatedly telling Tommy to lay on his breaks to keep from screaming down the hill and biting it without a helmet, and warning Drew that he was going too fast, Drew nearly took a header out on the concrete. Only to be quickly followed by Tommy nearly flying into the mailboxes in quick succession. Standing in the middle of our road, I yapped at them, "Okay, guys, I'm serious. You're killing me here!" I just wanted to cry. Tommy said it all when he replied, "Don't worry Mom. We're just crazy nuts!" and continued on down the hill.

Shortly after pulling myself together to continue the trip home, I once again admonished Tommy about going too fast down to the house on the pavement. I really didn't want to clean out road rash from a gaping wound this evening. His comment as he continued down the hill?
"Don't worry, Mom. I'll make it."

Unfortunately for him, sometime moms are right afterall. I watched as he missed the curve and did a header end over end into Lil's flower bed, missing her concrete bunny by inches and just barely catching the lip of the embedded boulder with his elbow. With a stunned looked on his face and covered head to toe with beauty bark, he said to me,-
"Um, I didn't make it."
I couldn't help it. I was laughing uncontrollablly. I brushed him off, hugged him tight, and with my heart still in my throat, I whispered, "No, I guess you didn't."

Fircreek...abort, abort!

Despite our attempts to keep Drew invested, the cabins of Fircreek could not hold up to endless hours of water fun, tubing, scooters and hot tubbing it at the Whipples! Of course, I don't blame the kid. With a counselor who could barely keep himself upright, much less smile and talk nicely to his charges, who would? I'm serious! No sooner had I given kuldos to the big cheese about the waterfront life guards (which is pretty incredible considering how pathetic it's been down here in recent years) than Drew pulled out of Fircreek in tears. When I went to let his counselor know he wouldn't be taking the long walk back up to main campus, the dude didn't even know who I was talking about. This was when my big mouth almost embarrassed this family's good name. The mother bear in me was hovering right about ready to take his head off and ask questions later. Instead, I pictured Grandma Bernice watching from her chair up at the house, and pulled myself together, instead choosing to say to him, " Um, yeah, you should probably know the names of your campers by now, don't you think?" Cooper was in my arms, so his tender ears I had to protect. If not for Lil, my mom and my intervention, Drew would have spent his morning counting grains of sand with the other kids who hadn't yet been told they could get in the water. Meanwhile, four counselors stood around together, talking quietly about who knows what, basically leaving the kids to their own devices. And I was SO hoping this summer would be different. It's hard to sit back on the beach and hear it all, see it all, and wonder about what really is going on over there. This summer I've thought the waterfront was being handled so much better than last year, and definitely the year before when the staff yelled all day long at the kids, yelled at the kids out in the lake, yelled at the guess groups and pulled out the bull horn to yell some more---all day long! I just wish I could see that the counselors were invested in the kids while down on the beach. Maybe it was just an off day. Maybe I'm just noticing more because I'm keeping an eye out on the Lawrence kids and Drew. Maybe my expectations are just too high. Maybe the slug just had too many s'mores last night!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Things you don't Teach...

That it's extremely funny to fart, or ANYTHING that remotely sounds like a fart! I should be mortified, but I have to tell myself that this must be some sort of developmental stage that all boys go through, because it is definitely something we have not taught him, nor engage in. We do not sit around farting on the couch or belching over a meal or after a big gulp of soda. For some reason, though, Tommy finds it extremely entertaining and absolutely hilarious to "pass gas out of his bum-bum" or burp. Just tonight I saw him chugging down a swiped soda from outside, his head tipped back to get every last drop, then walked towards the house belching as he walked. I'm sure if he'd had pants on he'd probably had his hand down his pants scratching, too! Uhhhhhhhh!!!

July Updates

Wow! It's amazing how quickly this summer is flying by! So sad in a way, as we wait and talk all year about this time, and then it's gone. We are truly enjoying out days together, although they seem to pass by in a blur for me. Days that John works I feel like it is a constant high speed chase to stay on top, whatever "top" is. Running from here to there and not going anywhere. Trying to keep both boys happy is a full time job, and by the time John walks through the door I'm almost giddy with relief. Then I can switch gears and focus on one child for awhile.
Cooper updates....Cooper is a treasure. He is a beautiful little guy, full of full mouth smiles for just about anything. He loves to lay on his changing table, loves his bathtime, loves to sit in his swing and so far, enjoys his times when he is stuck in his bouncy seat while I chase after Thomas. He does not love to ride in the car, unfortunately, and is somewhat reluctant to go anywhere outside of his routine. I took him to the park the other day hoping that he would fall asleep on the car ride, only to have him fuss and cry for most of the time at the park, which was no fun for any of us. He is sleeping through the night pretty consistently, which has allowed me to contemplate going back to my early morning visits to the gym. So far, I am just talking about it. It is still a great relief to be able to wake up only once in the early morning hours then try to get a few more hours in before the world rocks with the awakening of Thomas. I haven't yet figured out his daytime routine, and he only sleeps in short bursts during the day, but I'm not complaining after a pretty full night's sleep. It would be easier on Thomas if I could figure the day out, as just when I think Cooper is down and we're out on the beach, Coop's eyes pop open and we're back to in and out of the house to hang with Cooper again. Tommy doesn't fuss about it too much, but is more and more prone to saying, "Grandma will do it" or "I'm going upstairs" when I have to put him off on something with Cooper. Sometimes I'm totally talked out trying to reason with Tommy about this and that and about his time upstairs. Sometimes I just give up and watch him march upstairs. He's starting to take more interest in Cooper, but it is still limited. Cooper still has to put up with rapid increases in his swinging rhythm when Tommy thinks I'm not looking and rapid bounces in his bouncy seat. Most of the time Cooper has his full mouthed smile in place, though.

Tommy Update

Tommy is an animal in the water. He loves to jump off the dock, both in the shallow end and out at the end into the deep water. The other day he was out inner tubing and I asked John how fast we were going. Tommy was yelling to go faster, the smile on his face huge. We were going 30 miles an hour. 3 years old and going 30 miles an hour! It just didn't seem right! I would never have imagined the fun we would be having! He can't quite swim, but loves to dive under water, and seems to get particular delight in going under, swimming around and doing circles, then coming up gasping for air. He loves to be out on the tube, up at the dirt pile and lounging around in his personal hot tubs out by the hot water shower. Legos are his new thing, although they are put together and from there I'm not sure what happens to them and their tiny pieces. He loves to cuddle up at night AND in the morning, and still refuses to cut his hair. Just yesterday we were finally able to get him to cut his hair, in stages throughout the day, with tons of bribes. He ended up with two toys from a trip to Fred Meyer, a trip solely to get him his haircut toys! By this time, we'd have bought him the toy aisle just to get his shag cut off.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Clayton Beach Trek

People travel great distances to see the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. It's heralded in newspapers, magazines and travel brochures. Here in Bellingham it's but a short drive away, waiting to be explored. Genius that I am, I decided that we were all ready and able to take a hike down to Clayton Beach. All of us being Andrea, Grace (19 months), Jake (almost 4), Tommy (3), Drew (7), Cooper (11 weeks), myself and my mom. I just knew it would be a great trail for the kids to explore, and from my recollections from my college days, held no more than a couple small spots on the trail in which we may have to scramble.
Well, to "scramble" is fun and adventurous if you're on your own and have sturdy shoes on. To "scramble" across sandstone boulders and a small cliffside sandstone face with a double jog stroller, 4 kids and a baby- and flip flops....not so adventurous-torture! People on the trail applauded our efforts, and after making it back with only a torn toenail and minor cuts and bruises, we all had smiles on our faces for our trip. Mom asked me if it was worth it. Dripping in sweat from the exertion of lugging a double jog stroller with Cooper hanging on for dear life inside, I had to smile. Yes, the memory would be worth it, I told her. After all, we could say we made it down, played in the ocean waves, climbed a few sandstone formations that make the Chuckanut area famous, and made it back alive. Sometimes it just takes a bit more effort to make memories, that's all!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Our Great Kenny Chesney Escape!

The goal was to run out of town with my mom and sister watching the kids. Tommy had other ideas. After a lengthy cry-fest, in which he re-asserted the importance of motherhood, Lil and Bruce were called into active duty and took the reigns with Tommy. Thankfully, Cooper could care less at this point, and is content to be adored, loved and smooched on by the baby whisperer and company. Split duties. Back when I just had Tommy, I had to fight to not think about him and focus on something else. Now when I try not to think about Tommy, Cooper enters my mind. Double whammy!
Back to Kenny.....
On the "to do list" in your lifetime, it should be a country concert. Preferably one in a stadium. Although not optimal for those wishing to actually hear quality sound, it should be experienced purely for the assault on one's senses. You will not be disappointed. I loved every minute of it this time around. Prepared for the long lines for food and drink, we gorged ourselves with Krispy Kreme and pizza outside the gates. I was dehydrated enough not to have to use the bathroom more than once pre concert, though John was not. His thoughts.... "Man, girls going the bathroom just don't shut up!" He said this after going into one men's restroom, only to find that women were bucking the excruciating lines in our own bathrooms and heading to the men's. I asked him if he peed with them in there and he said he left and went to another one. Again, he exclaimed, "Girls just don't shut up when they're in there." I asked him if he talks to others while peeing. He just gave me a disgusted look.
We saw a fight a few rows above us that John said was over a girl and watched numerous bumbling idiots drunk off there arses nearly fall down the aisles. Lots of cowboy hats and inappropriate short skirts. Towards evening the pungent smell of garlic fries was finally overpowered by the salty air coming from the waters of Puget Sound, although I'm still not sure which was more polluted.
John says he is done with concerts. This time it was my turn to give a disgusted look. I told him, "You know you won't be able to turn him down when he comes again next year." There was no reply. We'll see. I'm already planning for Kenny #4. A fun concert is like chocolate to me. I just can't say no. We don't go out to dinner much. We don't go out to see movies. We don't do date nights with other couples. But we sure can enjoy a concert!
The line-up:
Pat Green
Sara Evans
Brooks and Dunn
Kenny Chesney

Friday, July 06, 2007

July 6th-Family in to Help Out

With the weather it's hard to resist the lake for too long, and finally the family showed up to hang out and play for a few days. We spent the afternoon and evening playing on the beach, lounging in the hot water buckets and reintroducing the kids AND mom to the joy of tubing.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July 2007

We spent the day out playing with friends and family. Jack, Andrew and Lily were able to come up, and we enjoyed a BBQ of John's juicy ( 2 day!) ribs, as well as the other standards. I was excited that the weather was holding up so fabulously and that there was no rain and wind that traditionally blows in to put a damper on the festivities. Lance and the kids came over for some fun in the sun as well. By the time the fireworks started to shoot across the lake, both Cooper and Thomas had fallen asleep for the night. The only reason I stayed up was because John let me know that the Lawrences were on their way down to watch the fireworks from the beach. Otherwise I would have hit the hay myself. Sleep or fireworks? Hmmmmmm.....
We enjoyed the displays with a beach fire and smores. The finales were loud enough to coax Tommy from his bed, extremely bleary-eyed and big haired, looking dazed and confused. Although we were excited to get him dressed and ready to go out to watch, he was a bit slow to enjoy the noise, prefering instead to watch from the upstairs windows. Quickly that even faded and I ushered him quickly to my bed to cuddle him back to sleep. Cooper didn't get to enjoy his first 4th of July, but that was just fine with us!