Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Approach of 3rd Grade

Today John and I had a "Mom & John" day in celebration of his next-to-last day of summer.  He chose mini golf, go karts, and an arcade, and I went along with it just as contentedly as you might expect.  My only requirement was that we eat sushi first, which he happily agreed to.
After sushi, we went to our usual mini-golf place near our house, but it was closed.  Not sure if it's because it's Tuesday or because it was raining, but this left me with Dramatic Devastation Boy. 
So we went home and googled it and found that, of course, there's another location not too far -- in fact, conveniently located right beside Shopryland.  I winced at the location but pushed onward.
First, we played mini golf, and I got creamed, which, surprisingly, is pretty common when I am forced to compete in even quasi-athletic endeavors.  Not that golf is quasi ... just sayin'.

Yes, he got one.  #isthisreallymykid?
Next, we attempted to have a go-kart race, but it was still raining, and the track was temporarily shut down.
As a result, we ended up playing in the arcade, where I gave him $8 in quarters (because he's 8 -- his suggestion).  He played a racing game and several other borderline-casino-type electronic thingies (not that I would know anything about casinos; I have only seen commercials of course), and these produced minimal tickets. 
And then we found the ski ball lanes.  I have always loved ski ball, and this one was only 25 cents per game
I played and got a few tickets.  John played and got none.  So, I marched my entitled butt up to the attendant (who had already made a bad impression by refusing to honor my "really old coupons" -- "so old they were posted online under different management."  She finally agreed to give us $1 off instead of the printed $2 off for each mini-golf game.)  Said attendant asked if it happened to be the "middle" ski ball lane.  It was.  "That one's tickets get stuck," she said, and it was then I knew our rainy-day luck had changed.
She abandoned the register, grabbed a special key, and followed us to the game.  She opened the ticket-container door, and walked us through the repair:  The tickets had dis-engaged from the spitter-outter shoot, and so she had to guide them back in the right direction.  She then informed us that the game would first distribute all earned-to-date tickets that had not been claimed, then give us ours, and then reset itself.  She walked away while the machine regurgitated not one not three not five but SIX hundred unclaimed tickets.  Obviously, there are WAY too many Nashville tourists who are not standing up for themselves.  
John was mildly amused.

We continued playing.  The machine still seemed to be settling up old debts, and we ended up with an obscene amount of tickets. 
When it was all said and done, John walked away with loads of candy, two squirt guns, and a pair of fuzzy dice.
Then we came home and realized that we have no school supplies, which are traditionally delivered at the "Sneak-A-Peak" event that occurs the night before the first day of school (which is tomorrow).  I work 7:30 to 3:30 tomorrow and S-a-P starts at 4 p.m.
Surprisingly, fuzzy dice, squirt guns, and candy are not on the 3rd grade supply list, but then again, neither is having fun.  After all, 3rd grade is when test scores start to matter.
Oh well, at least we purchased the fun. 
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Mountain Trip

 We went to Gatlinburg to visit some old friends.  It's really too bad that the kids were so bored the whole time.
From L to R: Seren -- 4, Ariana -- 12, Avonlea -- 6, Jeff (our friend from Flagstaff who now lives in Japan and works for DODS), and his wife Jessica, who fortunately grew up in Tennessee and brings him home every summer)
Brian jumping off the cliff.
John doing same.
Sam watching.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

In Which Cousins Visit & Fun Ensues

John 8, Jack 7, Lucy 4, Sam 3

Lucy needed a sword pretty much constantly.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In Which John Sniffs Out a Prized Possession

As soon as Sam got home from preschool yesterday, he asked for Night Night.  John, who had been out of town with Brian on a beach camping trip (pics available soon) immediately began searching around the house like a hound dog unleashed on a prison break.  It took him less than 5 minutes to locate Yuck Yuck, and he even admitted that he smelled it before he actually saw it.  The video got cut off just before that crucial moment in the story, but still.  Let's just all be thankful I'm back to (a) posting at all, and (b) even posting videos!

Just another day at the office for the big one.  For the little, it's huge.

The Happy Couple

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Night-Nightmare

Warning: This is a post that might make grandmothers cry, so if you need to be at a social event within the next half hour, maybe wait and read this later.

Yesterday, the unthinkable happened. Sam lost his lovey, which is named Night Night.  He and I literally turned the house upside down to no avail. The couch is the last place we remember him having it.
The couch, post Night Night search & rescue

So, for the first time in at least 3 years, Sam went to bed without his blanket.  As I lay there beside him, rubbing his back while he sobbed quietly, I racked my brain. (Side note:  In case you're wondering about that spelling of the word rack, you can set your mind at ease -- "rack" is right (as opposed to "wrack") -- see:  We had looked outside, inside, everywhere. I even went into his bin of infant memorabilia thinking that perhaps I had saved a piece if it after one of the times when we hacked it into pieces (due to filth and choking-hazard potential).  I went through the laundry, dirty & clean.  I looked under beds, between mattress & box spring, between mattress & headboard/footboard, and under all couch cushions & both couches.  I looked in the pantry, freezer, refrigerator, toy box, Lego, marble track , and Lincoln Log bins.  I even looked up the chimney.  

I considered the Security Blanket Grim Reaper possibility. But even the Grim Reaper would be repulsed by Night Night.

Sam & Night Night (before NN was clipped into smaller pieces)
I'm not sure who is sadder, me or Sam.  I'm sad because it's one of the last vestiges of his babyhood.  I'm also sad because he hardly slept last night.  Sam is sad because he has nothing to suck on and sleep with and jam down his throat when he feels insecure.  I suggested a thumb, the sheet, his quilt, my night shirt, etc., and he dutifully tried all of them with WAY more enthusiasm than he has ever shown about new foods, but none could replace Night Night.  So he cried for awhile, and then stopped and stared into space, the way we all do when we're lying in the bed, tired of crying, and numbed by sadness.  

Tonight we'll likely begin the begin the search anew.  I promised him we would keep looking, but after today, I can't bear to keep his hopes up.  In my rational mind, I know that this is good -- he is 3.5 and already goes all day at school without it (including naps).  But my mommy mind says: Keep Looking, as if it's my child who's lost, and not just a scrap of stinky, dirty fabric that we all affectionately refer to as "Yuck Yuck," whose owner even once said was, "too disgusting to take into Chick-fil-A" (the same CfA in Alabama where he threw up immediately after walking through the front door).  

Wish us luck.  

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Kayaking & Cupcakes

The boys have been doing quite a bit of kayaking while I work.  The first few are shots from the Hiwassee River in east Tennessee and the last one is of John swinging on a rope swing into Shoal Creek in south Tennessee near the Alabama line.

The Hiwassee trip was quite eventful, and even involved rescuing a 300 pound man who had fallen out of his family's boat and gotten stuck.  The rescue went down like this:  Brian and John paddled their kayaks next to one another on a flat stretch, then John jumped from his boat into Brian's.  Next, Brian guided the boat to the stranded man, who, unable to hoist himself into the boat, used it as a float to get him through the rapids.  High drama, to be sure.

Video of Brian & John's commentary on the white water.  

Video of John doing the rope swing.  I think he enjoyed it somewhat.

During some of these tripe, I'm not working, and Sam and I have "Mom & Sam" days.  Our last one involved a 2-hour stint at a bookstore.  I hated to miss the river fun, but I have to admit that that was a great day too.  We came home exhausted from reading and took a 2-hour nap together.  Love.  Then we made cupcakes with sprinkles in the batter *and* on top of the frosting.  I let him eat three, but only after he scarfed a huge bowl of "noon-als with dad's sauce" in which I had hidden finely chopped spinach.  

Aren't y'all proud of me.  That's like 3 posts in a week.  Expect a dry spell.