Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Field Trip

David and I have a weekend trip planned this summer.  With no kids.  NO KIDS!  I can hardly wait -- I've already picked out the restaurants I want to go to, booked a wine tour and planned what I'll wear.  Because they'll be NO KIDS!  Unbelievable!

The only snag is worrying about the boys, especially Matthew.  Matthew's been going through a bit of a phase lately where he frequently mentions how sad he would be if I left him and asks me for reassurance that if I go somewhere, I will come back.  So, I figured he will need some preparation for this weekend away from us.  I've been talking to him about how much fun he's going to have with Cameron and with his grandparents while Mommy and Daddy are gone.  Yesterday, I said to him, "What do you think you'll do with Grandma and Grandpa when you stay with them?  Do you think you'll play?"

"Yes," he replied.  "I gonna play with Grandpa Frank."

"Who will be there?"

"Maffew," he said, pointing to himself.  "And Cami-cam."  For reasons I do not understand, Matthew has abruptly dropped the longstanding nickname "Didi" for Cameron and begun to refer to him as "Cami-cam."

"Who else?" I asked.

"Grandpa Frank, Grandpa Linda, Mama, Daddy," he continued.  Then he stopped.  "Wait.  No.  Mama and Daddy will not be there.  Because you're going on your field trip!"

I have never looked forward to a field trip this much!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anatomy Lessons

Last week, Cameron's class visited a farm.  They delighted in collecting eggs, holding chicks, bringing water to the ducks and learning about composting.  This was particularly entertaining to me, as we've recently started composting and Cameron is into it big time.  "And you can even compost coffee grounds!" said the farmer, as Cameron turned to raise his eyebrows at me and nod knowingly. 

The highlight, however, was milking the goat.  "Should I bring in a boy goat or a girl goat to milk?" she asked the class.

"A girl goat!" several children chorused.  This got a few of the boys riled up and they began to chant, "BOY! BOY! BOY!"

"Only girl goats can give milk," explained the farmer.  She brought in a goat who appeared to need to milking so badly that I don't know how she could walk.  All the mothers in the audience gave an audible groan of empathy.

The farmer introduced the goat and then asked the children, "How can you tell that this is a girl?"

A little boy waved his hand in the air enthusiastically.  "She has a GIRL name!" he shouted triumphantly.

"Well, let's say you didn't know the goat's name.  Is there another way you could tell?" 

"Oooohhh!" said another child, pointing.  "Because of THOSE!"

"That's right," said the farmer.  "Do you know what those are called?"

"YES!" squealed a boy.  "They're the gutters!"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things that are Totally Awesome

The last few days have brought lots of awesomeness. 

To celebrate the completion of our 5K, I made Bittersweet Chocolate-Cherry Sorbet from Cooking Light magazine and ohhhhhhhhhh was it good!  With Matthew's food allergies, we aren't able to stop at an ice cream store or buy ice cream at the grocery store.  We've been reduced to making our own soy ice cream and it's . . . not delicious.  But this?  This rich chocolate iciness with no milk or egg or peanut? 

So long, soy ice cream!  Bring on the sorbets!

In more awesomeness, we made a paper city with templates from Made By Joel

It was so much fun that we designed some of our own.  Then we made our paper people buy bittersweet chocolate-cherry sorbet from the ice cream man and fresh fruit from the corner market.  Then, sadly, the paper people feuded, knocking each other off their stands and plowing crazily into city buses, even toppling whole city blocks.  Then there were some time outs for some people who are not paper people.

Then, to cap off our awesomeness, Cameron and I went to hear Lois Lowry!!!  We just finished reading The Willoughbys and loved it.  Could there be anything more exciting than to hear the author herself talk about how she had her grandson pose so she could draw Jane pretending to be a lamp?!? 

And then, Lois Lowry signed Cameron's copies of The Birthday Ball and Gooney Bird Greene. As our turn approached, Cameron had been quietly rehearsing.  "Hello, my name is Cameron," he whispered to himself.  "I love your book The Willoughbys."  But when he approached Lois, she was still conversing with the man who had been in front of us in line.  I watched, dismayed, as she signed our books without Cameron getting a word in edgewise.  But then!  As she handed him the books, she said, "Here you go Cameron!" and he said, loudly and clearly, "Thank you.  I love your book The Willoughbys!"  It was, for lack of a better word, awesome.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cameron Walks for Haiti

Cameron has had an interest in Haiti ever since the earthquake in January.  He's come up with several ideas for helping the people of Haiti, including packing food to be sent there.  Then, we found out that there was a 5K walk planned to raise money to send more food and help to Haiti.  Cameron was immediately on board and began training for the big day.  He was able to do a two mile loop with me in a half hour and set a goal of completing the 5K in under an hour.

Today was the big day.  A wet, rainy day but we were undeterred.  We pinned on our numbers and set off -- actually starting a few minutes after the starting gun, since Matthew was loathe to get in his stroller.  And the course?  It was a LOT hillier than we expected and quite a bit more challenging with a stroller to push up those big hills.  But slowly, we began to pass people.  And by the end, well, we weren't the end of the pack any more!  And Cameron met his goal, finishing just a few minutes shy of an hour!  It was a proud moment.
Thanks to all the people who encouraged Cameron, sending him notes, cards and e-mails during his training.  And thanks for all the generous donations which will help the children of Haiti. Pa bliye Ayiti!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do you mind getting it out of my driveway?

I think my kids are doomed to be retro in a way that is not yet cool.  Some time in the future, the rest of the kids will catch up with them, but for now they are retro before their time. 

On our recent drive to Michigan, we listened to several Bill Cosby CDs.  The result?  Matthew now walks around saying "Hey, hey, hey!" like Fat Albert and Cameron keeps trying, unsuccessfully, to explain to other kids how funny the Noah and the Ark pieces are.  "So the neighbor says, 'Hey, what is that?' and Noah says, 'It's an ark!'  Then the neighbor says, 'What's it for?' and Noah says, 'I'll give you a hint.  How long can you tread water?'"  Cameron laughs uproariously and the other kid backs away, looking confused.

Tadpole update:  Pluto (as he has now been named) has teeny-tiny feet!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

I spent my Mother's Day just as I wanted to -- outside with my family.  We went on a gorgeous ten mile bike ride and then stopped at a river to throw rocks and try out our new nets. 

A few pointers for rock throwing, in case you aren't well-versed in the sport. 
1. Do not throw rocks at people.  Ever.  No matter what.
2. Do not throw rocks when there are people between you and the water, even if they really should have walked behind you.
3. Do not walk in front of someone who is throwing rocks, even if you found a really cool shell that you have to show your mom RIGHT away.

I am happy to report that these are rules we have learned from previous rock throwing expeditions and our Mother's Day rock throwing event was unmarred by rock throwing injuries.

As if that wasn't excitement enough, our nets worked!

That's a HUGE snail climbing up the wall and if you squint really hard you can see our new tadpole in the back right corner.

So, I am spending my day after Mother's Day researching how to care for snails and tadpoles, walking to the nearest creek to obtain fresh water for the aquatic life and boiling lettuce to feed our new pets.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

I feel so lucky to be a mother to my two amazing boys.

There are so many women who go unacknowledged on Mother's Day -- birth mothers, mothers who have lost a child, women who long to be a mother -- and I think of them (especially J) and wish them peace.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


On our visit to Michigan last weekend, we stopped in Ann Arbor -- our very most favoritest town -- to snap a photo of the boys on the bench.  (Well, really, we stopped to get a Zingerman's coffee.  And Zingerman's breakfast.  And the Zingerman's Dancing Sandwiches to go for lunch on the drive home.  But it doesn't hurt that Zingerman's is right across the street from the bench.) 

We started taking photos of the bench when Cameron was little and whenever we're in town and think to take another photo, we do.  I could swear that we took a photo of both of the boys on the bench before, but I can't find it, so you're stuck with this sequence.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fashion Statement

Yesterday, Cameron was wearing his new Tigers' baseball cap when I picked him up from school.  I had told him that he could not wear it in class, but he could put it on when he went out to play.  "Did your hat keep the sun off your face?" I asked him.

"Not much," he replied, "but at least it's good for looks!"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Detroit Legend

So, I posted earlier about how much fun we had at the Tigers game.  And then I heard that Ernie Harwell, the voice of the Detroit Tigers, passed away tonight.  Baseball won't be the same without him.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

We had a wonderful weekend visiting friends and family in Michigan.  The highlight of the trip was going to the Detroit Tigers game -- the boys spent the week preparing for this big event.  Matthew trained in Rookie Mode while Cameron went for the Advanced option.

As it turned out, the Tigers were able to win without the assistance of my boys, but they were at the ready.

We all donned our Tigers hats and the boys their mitts, just in case a ball came our way.  This was unlikely as we were seated in a suite.  We aren't typically suite-sitting folk, but this was a super special suite:  The Peanut-Free Suite.  If you don't have a child with a severe food allergy, it probably doesn't occur to you that every day events can be hazardous.  Cameron, my non-allergic boy, went to a Tigers game last year and came home reporting that there were peanuts everywhere.  Matthew, my nut-allergic sports nut, would never get to go to a game it seemed.

UNTIL my dad discovered that the Tigers have a Peanut-Free Suite available for a few games per year.  I can't begin to tell you how amazing it was to take the boys to the game, to see them cheer and yell, and feel like Matthew was safe.  The staff at Comerica Park went above and beyond, even having Paws come in the suite to visit with the kids.
Having grown up in Detroit, I've always been a Tigers fan but now I'm REALLY a fan.  I am hoping that this becomes an annual event for our kids.  So a BIG thank you to my parents and to the Detroit Tigers for an amazing day!