Friday, June 29, 2012

Mom's getaway to Denver!

Dan has been traveling quite a bit with his new job.  He's been back and forth to D.C., Kentucky, and Arizona.  Sometimes the trips are just a few days and other times they last a week.  I don't mind when he travels, but several times I have wished I could go with him....especially on the D.C. trips.  I'd love to see my friends! 

When Dan travels during the school year, it just isn't a good time for both of us to be gone.  BUT recently, he was slated to take a trip to Denver, CO for 4 days.  I was thrilled with the idea of tagging along WITHOUT THE KIDS! heehee.  I knew it would be my last chance for us to escape before I cannot travel anymore, we move and welcome a newborn in Oct.  So, thanks to Bebe and Pops for keeping the kids, Dan and I took a little working vacation - just the two of us.

Monday afternoon, we drove the kids to OKC and dropped them off with Bebe and Pops.  Dan and I took a direct flight to Denver from OKC and the whole journey was easy and stress free.  I can't remember the last time I flew with just a purse.  I saw lots of families traveling and I laughed to myself as I tried to steer clear of standing behind them in the security lines or even sitting near them on the plane!  Yes, this was a KID FREE vacation for ME!

Dan and I stayed at the Magnolia hotel in downtown Denver.  It was the site of Dan's coal conference and a good location for walking the 16th Street Mall.  The museums were also within walking distance and I took advantage of some sightseeing while I was on my own.

I was able to reserve a slot for a tour of the Denver Mint where they make all the coins.  It was very interesting and worth the hike in the 100 degree heat.

But I spent a lot of my time just hanging out - alone - in the hotel room.  It might not sound real thrilling, but I found it completely relaxing and very ejoyable.  I am never alone and just being able to do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and for 4 days....well, it was delightful.  I worked a lot on needlepointing Adeline's stocking, I took a few naps, I shopped, I played on the Ipad, and I went to tea........

Yes, tea.  It's one of my most favorite treats and I think the whole event of high tea is super fun.  I love it.  I use to go all the time in D.C. but now that we are in Tulsa, I cannot seem to find a hotel that caters to the fancy tea services. 

So one afternoon, I went to the Brown Palace hotel for high tea.  Alone.  wearing lipstick and carrying a real purse.  no kids.  no bibs, no sippy cups with lids.  Just me, my scones and a decorating magazine.  I had a great time!

Dan would get back from the meetings around dinner time, so we had our evenings to enjoy each other's company and grab a good bite to eat.  It was really fun to just be with him. 

 I kept thinking back to the 3 years before we had our kids and how often we'd go out for dinner, just the two of us.  Or how we took hundreds of day trips through VA simply on a whim and without a care in the world about what time we'd return or what kinda schedule we were on.  I cherish those days so very much.  Don't get me wrong, I am beyond thankful and full of happiness for the life we've created together, for our children and for the future.  But there is just something so bittersweet about the time we can't back when it was just the two of us. 

LIke our honeymoon in Nova Scotia

Or the time we went to Spain

 Our trip to Quebec City


 3 year anniversary to Newport, RI

 Waiting for William in Oregon

Our trip to Ireland

 Fun fall at the Greenbriar

Our trip to Prague!

And so, I simply love just being with my Dan.  He's my best friend and the most magnificent gift I have ever received.  He's my calming force and he's made my dreams come true in ways I never thought imaginable.  He is simply the best.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Father's Day 2012 in Pictures

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We Read 20 Books!

Today was an exciting day for William and Adeline.  You may recall my post about the kids participating in the Tulsa Library summer reading contest.  To recap, kids have to read 20 books and visit the library 4 times in order to earn stickers.  Once a child completes all the criteria, they can turn in their book log for a reading medal and stuffed bat.  The bat is the library's summer reading mascot.  Go figure.

William and Adeline earned their medals today!  William was so excited to get to the library for his award. On the drive to our library, William told me, "Mom, I am going to share my medal with you because you helped me read all of those 20 books and log them in my journal."  So sweet!

 He was SO PROUD when the librarian placed the medal around his neck.  She asked to see his book log and he beamed when he handed it over to her.  He told her, "we read more than 20 books but my mom ran out of room to write them down.  I love airplanes and we read lots of those books."

William's enthusiasm was just as precious for Adeline when she got her medal.  He told her, "Adeline, I am so proud of you!  This is your very first award!  It's sooooo exciting!"

I truly love that my kids find joy and imagination in books.  The road to the gold medal was fun for all of us!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Adeline goes to Summer Camp

This little lady is 15 months old and this week was her first time to attend summer camp.  Adeline is attending the Kirk of the Hills Mother's Day Out in the fall, but I enrolled her in their summer camp program for 8 weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am-2:30pm. 

Tuesday was her first day.  As I explained in my last post, Adeline isn't a fan of being left behind.  I know this is totally normal and after she gets use to the routine, I am sure she is going to love Mother's Day Out.  Summer camp is a great way for her to ease into the transition for the fall. 

She wears her swimsuit to school each week so the kids can have water play in the morning.  I pack a change of clothes, lots of diapers, sippy cup, lunch, her blanket and her pacifier.  Here she is right before getting in the car.  She had just finished brushing her hair which is why the red hair comb is in the photo. 

My constant motto for my kids when they are in new situations is "keep it positive" and that means even packing cookies for lunch if I need too.  So I put several of Adeline's favorite things in her lunch box - ham, cheese slices, half a Nutrigrain bar, a squeezable fruit and some graham crackers.  And thankfully, she did eat her entire lunch.  

William and I took her in to the church and just as we turned the corner to her hallway, Adeline clung to me in panic and softly repeated "Mama Mama Mama" with a pathetic lip quiver.  I hugged her tight and reassured her that I would be back to pick her up and I gave her tons of tight hugs.  Yes, it's always harder on the Mama than it is for the little one.....sigh.  I kept it positive and when she asked me for her paci, I gave in and gave it to her. 

  Luckily, I had William there as our cheerleader and he loved on Adeline too.  She knew from VBS that we were leaving her behind.  I quickly handed her over the door to her sweet teacher and gave them her bag.  I mentioned that I packed a note listing some things about Adeline for their own review.  Nothing lengthy, just that she still likes a morning nap, needs help with her squeezable fruit packs, loves bubbles, stroller rides and books and needs her pacifier for her nap.  The teachers thanked me for the helpful note and if anything, it gave me peace of mind that Adeline could get through the day.

 I know.  I know.  SO HARD to let go!

William and I took a deep breath and headed out the door.  As we walked to the car, William gave me a hug and said, "Mom, I hope Adeline has fun.  Do you think she will cry a long time?  I hate to see her so sad like that when school is so much fun."  Bless his heart.  My sweet, sweet boy.

And off we went to enjoy our first Mom Mom and William day in a long, long time.  We had fun and hit the spray park with some friends before coming home to a round of video games and a few story books.  William would stop a few times during the day and ask me what Adeline was doing or how much longer until we got to pick her up.

At 2:30, the two of us busted into the church so eager to see our girl.  There she was standing at the door sobbing and holding her hands out to us.  She was crying because she was so thrilled to see us.  I was relived to hear the teachers say that although she had a very hard day, she did find moments to enjoy.  She loved the stroller ride, her lunch, a few of the toys and she took a small nap.  She survived and I am hopeful that the next 7 weeks will ease her transition into the fall.

Note - Thursday she did much better.  She cried quite a bit, but took a hour long nap and loved going outside.  She cried when she saw me just like she did yesterday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

VBS Kirk of the Hills - SKY! UP! UP! AND AWAY!

One of William's most favorite things about summer is Vacation Bible School.  He's attended since he was 18 months old.  As a teacher, I could bring William to VBS and he'd attend the teacher's childcare even though VBS didn't officially start until the age of 4.  We loved First Baptist Alexandria and they have a FANTASTIC VBS program.  Even at 18 months, William came home with tons of art projects, hand prints, photographs, etc. all of which pertained to the VBS theme. 

The summer before we left for Tulsa, First Baptist revealed their VBS theme for the following year and low and behold, it was SKY - UP! UP! And AWAY!  - AIRPLANES and FLYING!  My heart sunk because I knew that William would be beyond thrilled.....and we would be in Oklahoma by then.

So one of the first things I did when we moved to Tulsa was research VBS.  I knew it was really early (November), but I needed to find a program William could attend before it became an issue.  In VA, everything has a wait list and I wasn't sure how VBS operated in Tulsa nor was I even familiar with churches in the area.  Most importantly, I HAD to find a church doing the flying theme.

But just as life has showed me, everything works out in the end.  We've found a wonderful church, Kirk of the Hills, and do you know their VBS theme????? YEP!  SKY!  Meant to be!  So I signed William up the first day of registration.

William LOVED VBS as much as he loved attending in VA.  He told me everyday how sad he was going to be on the last day of camp.  He wanted desperately to buy a CD of the VBS music about flying, and for days he reminded me to bring $5 on Thursday.  The one bad thing is that on Friday, William came down with a virus.  He was SO tired when I picked him up and I knew instantly that something was wrong.  I told him he should have asked the teacher to find me and I'd take him home early, but he said, "Mom, I didn't want to miss out on anything about VBS.  I love it and I wanted to do all the activities.  But I was so tired and my body hurts all over."  Yikes.  For him to admit he was sick was huge, so I knew it was ligit.  We raced home and William literally crawled up the stairs and slithered into his bed.  He was asleep in seconds.  Turns out, he caught a virus that had to run it's course and after a few DAYS of laying in bed and sleeping for HOURS at a time, he bounced back.  On a sad note, he had to miss Family Fun Night which is on the Friday night of VBS with bounce houses, carnival rides, and water play.  Although disappointed, William knew he was not feeling well and he knew he wouldn't last a second at the party.  He was more concerned about feeling better. 

Sadly, this is the only picture I took all week during VBS.  I was so busy trying to get us out the door on time, organizing Adeline's bag for the nursery, and keeping her excited to attend that I just didn't take pictures. 

Except this pathetic photo of William sick as a dog.


For Adeline and notes for myself -

When VBS week arrived, I made a quick decision to volunteer.  Being 6.5 months pregnant, I wasn't really planning on helping out.  But, Adeline would be attending summer camp the following week and Mother's Day Out in the fall at Kirk.  She is NOT a fan of being left behind, especially at church.  It probably has something to do with separation anxiety and the fact that we live in about 900 sq. ft so she is ALWAYS near us.  She simply HATES it when I leave her with people she doesn't know well in an environment other than home. 

That said, I felt like it would be in her best interest (and mine) if I volunteered at VBS so she could go to the nursery for a full week before summer camp.  It would allow her to get use to the room and the routine of me dropping her off and picking her up.  Overall, this was a great decision despite the fact that Adeline was a complete wreck each day when I dropped her off.  She would sob and sob. 

Although the obvious reason was the separation from me, Adeline was also terribly tired by the time VBS started.  She gets up around 6:30 a.m. and is ready for a power nap by 9:00 or so.  Well, VBS drop off was at 9am, not exactly her best time of the day.  So all those factors just made for a tired and confused little girl.  The teachers in her room were wonderful.  They pulled out all their tricks to help the 8 crying babies in the room.  They had balls, bubbles, strollers, dolls, slides, snacks and the basic toddler fanfare.  Amy, one of the sweet ladies at church, would graciously rock Adeline and help her take that morning nap.  However, all the kids were in one room so Adeline's nap was always short lived.

  I do NOT expect special treatment in situations like this because I know the teachers have other children in the room and a schedule to keep.  But, I was so thankful for Amy.  She made my level of worry dwindle with every passing day.  Monday was of course the worst day for Adeline as she was thrown into VBS without warning!  By Wednesday, she was playing independently but still had her sad moments when she really didn't want to be there.  By Friday, she was still crying when I dropped her off, but had more quiet non crying moments during the 3 hour stay. 

I am very glad I volunteered and stuck with it the entire week.  I knew it would help Adeline with her transition to summer camp and hopefully prepare her for MDO in the fall.  On Wednesday, the preschool director, Pam, pulled me aside during VBS.  She told me that she'd been watching Adeline and wanted to suggest that we put her in the younger 1 year old class for summer camp.  Her concern was for keeping the experience positive for Adeline and she also recognized that Adeline needs that morning nap and a little more attention for comfort and reassurance.

 For summer camp, Adeline was going to be in a classroom with 10 kids, 2 teachers and one nap that would take place at 12 noon for the whole class. Pam also said Adeline was one of the youngest children in that summer camp class.   We both knew Adeline wouldn't make it until noon for a nap and in that class, they don't nap kids earlier than that time.  So, Pam thought if Adeline could be in the younger summer camp class (ages 10m-14m), she would have a much better time.  In the younger class, there are only 4 kids and 2 teachers.  This way, the teachers could give her the attention she needed and that morning nap when she needed it, not when the class schedule called for it. 

Oh. my. goodness.  You have no idea how wonderful I felt after Pam made that observation and suggestion.   I was SO appreciative that Pam took the time to look in on Adeline during VBS and evaluate her happiness.   After all, it is JUST summer camp.  I am only having her participate in order to help her get ready for MDO in the fall.  I don't care how old the kids are in her class as long as I know she's having a positive experience and not getting lost in the shuffle. 

This is a long winded post about VBS and Adeline's experience, but I want to remember it so better to blog than forget! 

Summer camp has started and I will post about that soon. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Birthday Pictures - 5.5 years old and 14 months

Every year around my kids' birthdays I get their picture taken professionally.  It's a treat I look forward too and it documents their personalities as they grow and change so quickly.  I am grateful to have found a wonderful photographer (and now friend too!) in Tulsa.  She met us early one Sunday morning in Woodward Park and I am so pleased with the results.  HOW do I pick the best ones!!  YIKES!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Just Plane Fun - The Big Plane Pull

Last Saturday, Dan got up early and headed to the new house to do some gardening.  Since the kids get up at the crack of dawn, we were looking for a good time by 8:00 a.m.  One of my friends had told me about Just Plane Fun, a free event put on by Camp Fire U.S.A.  It takes place every year. Teams of 20 people pull a 100,000 lb. Plane and the team with the fastest pull-time wins!  Admission is free and inside the hangar is a family festival, complete with Carnival Games, Inflatibles, Food& Refreshments, Crafts, Silent Auction, & much more!

I knew William would LOVE this, so I packed up the kids and off we went to the big event.  I explained to William that a Plane Pull was where people try to pull a jet liner with a rope.  At first, he was really confused and told me I had to be joking.  No one can pull an airplane with a rope.  I got a laugh out of that and it took me awhile longer to explain how this would take place in large teams of people.  He sorta got it at that point, but I knew he'd have to see it for himself.

We got to the event right when it started and we were able hit all of the carnival games without any lines.  First, William decorated a goodie bag to store all his prizes from the various games.  He drew an airplane on his bag and off we went.

We stopped at the face painting booth and HAD to get a red airplane.  Then William played some putt putt, ate a few suckers, enjoyed the toilet toss game, ring toss, and bow and arrow game.  We even cashed in some tickets for a ride down the enormous bounce house slide. 

Once William got his fill of the carnival games, we headed outside the hangar to watch all the teams pull the big American Airlines jet.  He realized exactly what I was trying to describe to him earlier and we stood out on the runway watching the plane pull for about 20 minutes.  The weather was great and it was still early in the morning, so very few crowds had formed.  Adeline loved seeing the airplane upclose and made airplane noises the whole time we watched the contest. 

On the far end of the runway was a group of 5 prop planes.  William saw these right off and was so eagar to go study them upclose and in person.  He asked me to take his picture in front of all of them and one pilot even let him climb in for a turn at the controls.  He LOVED this part of the event and we stayed at the prop plane area for a long time. 

After a few hours, more people were starting to arrive.  I asked William if he wanted to stay longer but Adeline was getting squirmy in the stroller and we had pretty much tackled all the event had to offer. 

William had a great time and I am sure we'll go to the Plane Pull next year for sure!
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