Monday, August 21, 2006

The End Is Near

The end of summer is almost here. Although I really don't consider it over until the warm weather disappears. We pretty much do what we do regardless of the calendar. But, the end of scheduled summer is upon us and it does make me pause and marvel at how quickly the past three months went by. I wonder sometimes if summer seems to go on forever for Katie and Zack the way it went on for me at their age but I suspect that it is a faster moving world for them. Now for me, I'm just getting old.

Last week was full of stuff.

We, at last, used our Hershey Park tickets. I prefer going on Tuesdays and now I know just why. We had to go on Monday this time and the lines were crazy! I can't imagine what it must be like on weekends. Pete and Zack got some good time together as the rollercoaster team. Katie and I go for tamer, but just as fun, fare. Katie can spin endlessly, so I would go with her on the first ride and then watch her for the next 4 turns. However, THIS year I did not inflict the Tilt-a-Whirl on myself, which I can barely watch without getting nauseated! Katie and Zack are on the Whip in the picture. I love this ride. I would have been a very daring amusment park goer in the 40s :-)

Tuesday we were wiped out from Monday and we had a pajama day and just lazed around. I think the kids went to bed around 7:30, a record for the summer.

Wednesday, Katie went on a playdate at Mai's (after we waited around for an hour for her to come to us and then called to find out that Mai's mother had made other plans and didn't bother to tell us--not my favorite family to deal with). Zack and I went for a bike ride--I looked ridiculous. I don't have a bike, so I donned Katie's helmet and jumped on her bike. I received many stares. I have GOT to get a bike. That night, Pete and I took advantage of Restaurant Week to go out for a fancy dinner at Dish in Foggy Bottom. It was great and we had a chance to talk through a ridiculous argument we'd had earlier in the week. We discovered that tough conversations are so much nicer with good food.

Thursday is a blank.....feel like we did something but have no idea what...hmmm--wait, that's the day we went to a library program and collected the kids' coupons books. The summer reading program isn't a reading incentive for us (they read far more than 15 books with no promise of a prize) but I noticed they could get the coupons, so filled in the latest 15 books they' read and went over to collect. There was a nice program that day. They got to make lots of different games, instruments and picture books. That was nice.

Friday, the kids and I went to the Arlington County Fair with some friends. Their web site touted canning competitions, pig races and pony rides, so I was expecting something more farm-like. It turned out to be mostly midway games and carnival rides (none to cheap but not horrible). The heat was unbelievable and I was a bit disappointed. No big, Kate and Zack had a terrific time, and why not--they both got to get scrambled on the Tilt-a-Whirl again--that's twice in one week! We had to rush home from the Fair to clean up, get Pete and grab a little dinner at McD's before heading out to an outdoor screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Love the screenings in Bethesda. There were tons of things to keep the kids busy while waiting for the sun to set. They made spin art, sand art, they got waterless tattoos, played ball-toss games for prizes. We came home with a nice bag of goodies, all for my favorite price--Free!

Sunday was another lazy morning, then we headed out to Burke to go to Kohl's for some clothes for Pete and to go to the only remaining Friendlys in the area. Unfortunately, it took about 45 minutes to get our food and another 20 to get our desserts (which were the reason we went in the first place, so didn't want to skip them). We got one lame excuse after the next and never saw the manager who was promised therefore our waitress go a terrible tip, which is too bad for her since we usually are great tippers. Think we'll just go to Baskin Robbins next time.

And now it's Monday and less than a week until the VaHomeschoolers Conference (have you registered yet? ;-).


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Cycling Picts

For our next trick, we'll be heading out to a biking trail and have a whole biking/picnic day. Zack is still riding the 14" bike because his feet don't quite touch the ground on the 16", so I'll use his bike until I get one of my own.

What a lesson in waiting until they were ready. I literally took 30 minutes with each holding the back of the bike and they were off to the races!

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Yes, we have two wheeled bike riders! Pete and I were feeling totally inadequate as parents, having not taught our kids how to ride their bikes yet. We live on a very steep hill and so it takes a trip up the hill to the school parking lot to get some space to ride flat.

It's not that we haven't taken them on their bikes at all, but it was pretty rare that we wanted to go and the kids wanted to try at the same time.

But this summer I was determined to get them up on a bike. Plus, I learned the secret--teach them how to keep from falling. [Brilliant!] I was advised to teach them the V, which Kate and Zack decided was more like an A. Basically sticking their feet out at the same time so that however the bike fell their feet should hit the ground first.

Previously, I'd been trying to teach them how to ride. Now, at my parents, on a bike that was just a bit too small, I taught them what to do if they started to fall. Once they got this down (in about 15 minutes) they were more than happy to pop on the bike and go!

Since then, Pete has been taking them up to the school and riding around with them. Now I need to get a bike so we can go on some of the bike paths.

In other news we've been taking it pretty easy for the summer days. It was super hot for a couple of weeks. We've hit some free movies at a local theatre, caught the ooky exhibit and the DAR and found that it was a very interesting museum all around, took in some library programs, spent a day in Baltimore at the aquarium and science museum, shopped at the farmers market and Katie started up piano lessons again. We went to pools with friends and also got to see our cousins from Africa and friends in from Australia.

Still to come, we need to use our Hershey Park tickets. Then there's the VAHomeschoolers Conference in a few weeks, off to a last visit with Gma and Gpa and that's the summer!

Fall is beginning to take shape:
Katie shocked us by saying that she wants to take a year off from ballet this year! I was stunned and also happy that I didn't buy her new dance shoes at the end of last season. I told her she has to have a sport and she's decided to try Tae Kwon Do along with Zack. Yay--one less place to drive.

So, that will be Tae KD probably on Tues and Thurs, Piano on Wed, and our regular Friday group, plus we have to work field trips in (Tuesday class is going to conflict with those, so not sure what we'll do about that yet).

Zack has decided to play the drums but wants to do it himself for now. We're going to let him alone about it and just set up the drums downstairs as soon as he clears a space in the mess down there. We learned from the piano lessons experience that it's best to have him play around on his own. He barely touches the piano anymore, just wasn't interested in having to learn specifics yet.

I've already dropped out of one field trip group and am hoping to limit the amount of running around we're doing but it's definitely a challenge.

Ofcourse, as I dropped one group, I picked up another group. REACH is run out of the Fredericksburg area, but the woman who runs it gets amazing discounts and group rates all over VA. We're heading to Williamsburg in September and if that's the only thing we do with them, we will have saved more than we spent to join the group.

So, the challenge again will be balancing the structure I need to get things done around here, like laundry and gardening and the unstructured time for discovery that we love so much and time for friends, time for family and time time time. :-)

For now, we will enjoy the last lazy days of summer.