Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Clone Wars

Today I let Bruce watch a few episodes of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" in an effort to keep him quiet while Phoebe and Baby J napped. The plot is fairly complicated for a kids' show (way more than The Backyardigans, for instance), but Bruce followed every detail and obsessed about it for the rest of the day. After we turned it off, he went in his room and built General Grievous' battleship out of K'nex. He proceeded to blow up all kinds of things in his room and a war ensued until the girls woke up. Hours later, he was still quoting lines from the battle droids and laughing at himself.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Soccer Nights!

Bruce participated in his first organized team sport this week. He played soccer with a bunch of kids for two hours every night this week. He loved it!
The kids crowded around the ball during every game and Bruce mostly hung back as a defender or goalie. He didn't want to get into the crowd, but was very proud when his toe would finally touch the ball. He managed to score a goal once, but mostly hung back and added commentary like "Oh man!" and "Gooooooooooooal!"


The head on the table

This week Scott brought home someone's skull to study for his anatomy class. It's a real human skull, which sortof creeps me out. Scott brought home a skull a few years ago for another class and left it on the dining room table until I protested. This time, the skull stayed in its carrying case on the bedroom dresser when Scott wasn't checking out all the little bones and cavities in it. Scott's Step II board exams are in two weeks, so he is studying day and night now.
He did take a little time this weekend for a project he's been wanting to do for awhile: build a computer. He ordered some parts online and is putting together a new PC! Bruce has been helping out. Phoebe has been hindering.

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Yes I am a total nerd for being so excited about this, but Aldi finally opened near me. Now I won't have to drive so far every six months to load up on baking supplies and all things yummy and cheap. I went to the Grand Opening, snagged some free samples, scored pints of blueberries for $1.29 each, big watermelons for $2.99 each, and my fav yogurt-covered raisins for $1.69 a bag.


School is out.

When the school-year began, I didn't think it was possible for Bruce to maintain his first-day-of-school enthusiasm. He was so pumped up that the routine of school would surely be a let-down, right? Wrong. He loved every minute of kindergarten. He was never late to school, despite walking every day, and most days we made it a few minutes before the classroom door opened. Bruce would wait at the door like it was a line for a roller coaster at an amusement park, sometimes tapping on the window and waving excitedly at his teacher. The last week of school was full of events that made me wonder why there is a last week of school. Field day was on Monday; Bruce was on a team that won the egg-on-a-spoon relay. Tuesday was Fun Run day and I'll admit I was eager to hear how it went after school since I secretly want him to be a runner someday. Alas, he fell on the first lap and spent some time with the school nurse instead. On Wednesday, he met his first-grade teacher and checked out next year's classroom. Thursday was the last day of school, so they had a school assembly where each class presented something they've been working on.
I got to be one of the proud parents in the back of the gym until Phoebe freaked out and we had to leave. She yelled, "Bruce! Bruce!" as we left. Bruce's class had an ice cream party at the end of the day. I'd brought in some of the ice cream and I included his favorite flavor, so after school I asked him if he got his chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. He said he didn't want any because he wanted to play with Legos and K'nex instead!

On Friday, Bruce told me that his kindergarten teacher had said to stop by the school and say hello to him over the summer (some of the teachers do summer camps at the school here). Bruce informed me that it was officially summer, so we should go say hello. I told Bruce that his teacher was most likely taking a day off, but Bruce insisted that he would be there. We finally headed out the door and walked to the school, which was desolate. There were a few people in the office, but the lights were out in the classrooms and it was eerily quiet. We went home and had "writer's workshop," where I wrote sentences and Bruce wrote them in his neatest handwriting. Bruce told me he wants to have math workshop tomorrow, and reader's workshop the next day...

School starts again in September. Wish me luck!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Our awesome garden

Remember that plot of dirt that I was so excited about? Here it is today. There are tomatoes and red leaf lettuce on the back row, strawberries in the far left row, parsley and basil in the next, carrots in the next, broccoli in the next, and collard greens and beets on the right. In the back corner is a young blueberry bush that we just planted yesterday. We lined our plot with marigolds and put peas by the fence (not pictured). So far, we've just eaten herbs, broccoli greens, lettuce, and strawberries. I can't wait to eat some tomatoes!


Being outside in the city

I like many things about Boston, but perhaps my favorite trait of the city is that it's easy to escape. Our living room windows may overlook a parking garage and our weekly trip to the grocery store is always carefully planned to avoid rush hour traffic, but a quiet hike is only a 15-minute drive away and an outdoorsy excursion a walk down the street.
Scott and I went kayaking Saturday night. We've wanted to go for awhile and finally got the chance to see the city from a new perspective. We hopped in a double kayak and paddled around the Charles River. (by the way, check out those hot new glasses on Scott - he can finally see!)
We paddled by the little island in the river, made famous by the Make Way for Ducklings book.We paddled alongside the Esplanade, sheltered from the waves and sailing students on the main part of the river. The weather was perfect. It was awesome.
I love Boston!The kids get plenty of opportunities to get outdoors too. The park is the easiest way to let out some energy. And there are lots and lots of parks.If it sounds like I'm trying to sell Boston, you're right. The only thing this city is missing is some family. Any takers?
For Fathers Day, we served Scott a toaster streudel in bed, had friends over for brunch, went to church (which was more eventful than usual), and then went for a hike in the Fells. Being the awesome dad that he is, Scott carried Phoebe the whole way.
And even scrambled up a few rocks with her.
Bruce had no shortage of energy, as usual, and showed us that he hasn't completely turned into a sheltered city kid.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wiggly Haircut

I attempted to cut Phoebe's hair this week. I cut her bangs a few months ago because they were getting in her eyes and she refused to let me pull them back. I'd been holding off chopping the rest of her hair because I figured she would someday be tame enough to want to pull her hair back. Not tame yet, I guess. (by the way, she picked the above outfit/bathing suit by herself and she is stalking my computer desk because all kinds of mischief can be made there)
So this is Phoebe before the haircut. You can't really see the back, but it's layered and mangy like a wild animal. I've had several strangers comment on her "awesome mullet." When it's humid, it curls up. When she wakes up from naps/night, it's a tangled poofy mess. Most of the time, it looked something like this:

Thank you Chrissie Hynde for modelling the untamed Phoebe look. Anyway, I tried to cut Phoebe's hair while she was awake and it didn't go well. She kept shaking her head and her bangs got shorter and shorter. They're still not even, but I thought I'd stop while I was ahead (maybe "ahead" is not accurate, but I stopped anyway). I trimmed off her mullet into a bob that is also not even......but if I evened it out, it'd probably look something like this:Maybe it's time to pay someone else to cut her hair.

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Monday, June 06, 2011

Busy busy busy

"Busy" is the Word of the Month, but it's been a very good busy for us. The above video is of us at the Wizard of Oz exhibit in the Children's Museum; it was actually a little scary, I thought. But the kids loved it. Scott and I took Bruce, Phoebe, and three kid-friends to the museum on Memorial Day.

Scott has an intense anatomy lab this month, which has normal 8-5ish hours - yea! He gets to slice away at a cadaver for the entire month. Last week he did a shoulder repair and some spinal procedures, among other things. I get queasy thinking about chopping at a dead body, but Scott gets starry-eyed and excited. He claims there is no better way to simulate surgery and despite all the slicing and chopping, he has gained a deep respect for the intricacies of the body. Scott said plenty of people donate their bodies to Harvard and that the instructor of the lab said she hears the joke, "I've always wanted to get into Harvard" too often. If anyone wants to get into Harvard, here's one way to do it.

I've been busy keeping up with Phoebe and Baby J during the daytime, walking Bruce to and from school, running early in the mornings, and doing various things at night (condo association board meetings, track practice, writing camera reviews or magazine articles, visiting friends, grocery shopping, etc.). I am gearing up for the USATF-NE 5k this weekend; it'll be my first track race in awhile. My goal is to go under 18 minutes, so wish me luck!

Bruce has school through almost the end of June, and then he will be home with the kiddos for the summer. He has been taking classes after school twice a week - one for swimming and one for "Hot Wheels" (they just play with cars, tracks, and ramps). He has learned to do the backstroke on his own, and jumped in the pool for the first time last week (that's a big step for my timid Bruce). We've been having a weekly playdate with some neighbor kids and Bruce loves to play Legos with other kids at our house, and to play Lego Star Wars on their Wii.

Phoebe is mischievous as ever. She is climbing to new heights and has added a constellation of bruises to her arms and legs. Today her Early Intervention (EI) social worker asked about the bruises:

"Where'd she get those bruises on her arm?"
Me: "Honestly, I don't know. Every five minutes, she climbs something new and falls."
Social worker scratches her head. "Hmm."

But then five minutes later, Phoebe quickly shimmied up to the top of her high chair (from the floor) and turned around and grinned. I got to her before she jumped, but hopefully our social worker saw that Phoebe is totally reckless and not abused.

Phoebe has picked up a ton of words and signs. She has more words (47) than signs (29) now, and is completely caught up. She will be re-evaluated for EI in a few months and I suspect she won't qualify, which will be bittersweet. She learned to say Bruce's name - "Boo-s" - and said her own name for the first time today.

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