Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Santa Claus Comes to Town!

This evening Santa Claus made a visit to our neighborhood in his sleigh. I think Mommy was just as excited about it as Island Boy. We weren't really sure what to expect since we haven't had much snow around here this year (not that that is unusual, of course, but having grown up in the Midwest, I'm just not that familiar with how Santa travels when there's no snow).

Would Santa arrive via helicopter? Firetruck? Motorcycle? On foot? Reindeer? We had no idea! I have to tell you I was surprised as anyone to see Santa arriving on an ACTUAL SLEIGH!! He was accompanied by police escorts (and he was 30 minutes late pushing us way too close to bedtime for comfort), but he was so worth it.

This was no fake Santa. No, he was the REAL Santa. Jolly laugh and all. When he asked Island Boy what he wanted for Christmas, Island Boy raised the candy cane he had just been given and said, "I have this!".

Oh, yeah! If only a mere candy cane were all it took to make our little American children happy all of the time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Big Boy Bike

Today Island Boy got on his brand new big boy bike and rode!
And rode.
And rode.
And rode!

You would never know it was his first time on a bike with pedals (and no training wheels - we skipped those).
He started out with a balance bike, and voila! He's solid. And fast.
If you're thinking you might walk next to him while he rides his bike, adults, think again. Expect to break into a full run and work up a good sweat. Consider yourself forewarned.

Fortunately, on Thanksgiving Day we were all thankful for the unexpected exercise in addition to so many other things.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kids are People

There has been a lot of noise in the press recently about children and dining out. Come to think of it, there's been a lot of noise lately about children making noise everywhere - on planes, in restaurants and in general.

This post isn't about any of that. This post is about a different disturbing trend I've noticed recently when dining out: the inability of restaurant staff to recognize children as people. To be fair, this probably isn't really a "trend" - it's probably simply that I never noticed it (or experienced it) before I had children.

What's the issue? It goes something like this...we're seated at a restaurant and a very efficient waitress whisks away one of the place settings.

What the?!?

Excuse me, could we have one additional place setting - as in on for each of the people at our table, please?

At times, this request is met with a puzzled look. At other times, the request has been met with, "are you sure?" and the "helpful" wait person glances at the baby with a concerned look. Yes, I'm very sure that I don't want my baby to eat off the table and I don't want her to eat with her hands (unless she chooses to), so please bring her a place setting.

Yes, a complete place setting. Thank you!

A similar situation happens when we request water for everyone at the table and we receive either 2 or 3 water glasses for our family of 4. Yes, we'd like water for all of the people at the table. Yes, the baby is a person.

Yesterday, we had perhaps the worst of this category of experience ever. After our waitress took away one of our place settings and gave us 2 water glasses, she said, "Oh, your baby is so adorable! How old is she??". Island Boy, who is also incredibly adorable, spoke up and said, "I'm 3 and a half!". She glanced at him, did not respond, and continued to comment on and attempt to interact with the baby. Island Boy continued to vie for her attention, to no avail. I told him he was adorable, too and asked for the check.

If you do not have the courtesy, energy or common decency to provide an older sibling with at least as much attention (if not more) than you want to give to a baby, please don't say anything. Older siblings are people(!) and they are completely aware of what is happening. That means they might actually enjoy engaging in conversation and they might actually feel confused and hurt if you don't respond to them.

I am happy to report that we've also had some incredible experiences at restaurants with our little ones. It is such a pleasure to dine at a place where the staff "gets it". We come in early. The children are treated with respect. We're served quickly. We love it. And we return.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Green Expectations

Island Boy graduated to green belt earlier this week and today he was "big man on campus" (or rather "big man on the mat") as the highest rank belt on the floor during Martial Arts class. It was interesting to watch the change in him.

He certainly isn't the oldest child in the class, nor is he the largest - not by a very long shot. Still, he stepped up to the challenge. It's not always easy for him to pay attention during an entire class (he IS three, after all), but today he confidently demonstrated skills and behaved like a green belt: focused, respectful and courteous.

I was beyond proud of him.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to School

Island Boy went back to school today after a summer that was full of good things but still managed to be fleeting.

We rode on trains and planes and rental cars and shuttle buses, trolley cars and merry-go-rounds and boats and scooters, bikes and trikes and swings and slides, noodle boats and noodles and shoulders and orcas. We threw rocks in lakes and oceans and streams. We hiked mountains and forests and urban sidewalks. We fed goats and cows and antelope and yaks and even seagulls. We ate ice cream and more ice cream and more ice cream and cones. We ate tomatoes and beans and berries (blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) and grapes fresh from the vines and sweet corn from the cob so many times. We made pies and ice cream again and again and shared them with friends who loved to dig in.

We visited family. We visited friends. We visited state fairs and aquariums.

We scribbled, we read, we sang and we laughed. We played in the sand and the rocks and the dirt. We jumped into foam pits and bounced on trampolines, slithered through tunnels and soared high on swings. We watched otters and sea lions and seals and octopus and jellies and sharks. We waved at the scuba divers waving at us.

The list of things we still want to do grows longer and longer, but we're back at school now so some things will simply wait.

Of all of the things we did with our days, perhaps I'm most proud of the most lazy days. All summer long we had such a ball and still we made time for nothing at all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"Dad, can you help me find my airplane?", Island Boy asked.

The question seemed innocent enough, but something wasn't right. He's not yet four, right? And he's already calling his daddy, "Dad"?? When did that happen??

It wasn't exactly overnight, but it seems like it. I'm not sure when that particular transition is supposed to happen, but doesn't it seem like that is a little bit more grown-up thing to be calling Daddy? Shouldn't we get just a few more years of "Daddy" and "Mommy"??

I do understand, at least intellectually (even if I'm not yet ready to accept this sort of thing emotionally), that this is only the beginning and that prom is right around the corner - car keys and all.

Brace yourself, Dad! We're in for a wild ride.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cuddle up!

Here's proof that it pays to dote! Children that are doted upon may grow up to be happier adults according to this article.

Sure, it's not proof positive and there are lots of other factors that shape us, but now you have one more good excuse to cuddle your kids.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Independence Day

Island Boy has been interested in reading for a long time. I am still convinced he had never seen a book before we met him and that concerned me for a while. At this point; however, any concerns about that are long gone.

He's been reading along with us for quite a while now - often saying the words with us or finishing a sentence for us. Last night he insisted on reading to us and he read entire books to us.

Yes, books! Plural. Start to finish. He knows the words.

No, he didn't *really* read them, but he's getting there and it is delightful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Media Access

I've been vigilant in my quest to limit my children's access to media. As far as I know, Island Boy didn't watch any television before the age of two (in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations).

Since turning two, his television viewing has been largely restricted to what may be on when we visit a friend or relative's home with a few exceptions. Most of these rare exceptions have been made by Island Boy's Daddy and all for good reason. For example, "It's the World Cup!", might be something you would hear in our house in recent days.

As for me, the only time I can think of that I've voluntarily allowed my children to sit in front of the television is to watch...drumroll please!!...our wedding video. It's true. Instead of the grand plans we had for celebrating our anniversary, we spent the day at home with a sick little boy. And what's a mother to do with a sick little boy on her anniversary? I even let our daughter have a peek when she wasn't busy doing her thing.

Who knew just how entertaining a wedding video could be to a little boy?? He wanted to watch it over and over again. This is one time when I folded completely. It is difficult to say who enjoyed it more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yellow Belt

Island Boy earned his yellow belt today. I will be the first to admit that it was touch and go for a while - in fact really for much of the time. Would he earn it?

We knew he could do it, but would he?? Island Boy has been impressive at his kicks, punches and blocks - when he actually does his kicks, punches and blocks. So often there are better things to try or to think about (e.g. hmm...I feel like doing half moon pose! or hey, I think I'll do a forward roll! or the ever popular, "I'm thirsty!").

It's not an easy thing for a young gentleman of any single-digit age to remain focused for any length of time and since that is the primary requirement for earning belts at this stage, it was a challenge. A big challenge.

Still, somehow Island Boy pulled through and earned his yellow belt and we're very, very proud of him.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Chemically Enhanced

This article is pretty frightening. Chemicals on floors and other eating surfaces are not a good thing to have in your home if you have young children. No surprise there really, but for some reason we need to be reminded to get the chemicals off of our eating surfaces (yes, like it or not floors are eating surfaces when you have youngin's!) and out of our children's hands.

The article contains a number of easy hints about how to do clean up your act. Fortunately, it's really not all that hard (or expensive) to clean your home with natural ingredients and give your children non-toxic things to play with.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Crack Spider

Island Boy discovered a spider setting up shop in between our patio door and the track it slides on. Island Boy examined the spider at close range. The spider, naturally, retreated into the crack.

"Where is it?", Island Boy inquired. I explained that the spider was hiding in the crack.

He wanted to know more about what kind of spider it was and why it was making a web. We explained. That was yesterday. Today, the web had grown and I decided I'd had enough of the spider. We called in Daddy, aka Spider Removal Expert.

Daddy escorted the spider safely outside. Once outside, Island Boy gave us a detailed commentary about the incident.

"Daddy said it was a house spider and put it outside. The Crack Spider made a web and Mommy didn't like it. The Crack Spider is outside now." That pretty much sums it up!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Orange Belt

Island Boy graduated to his first real belt in Martial Arts class today. (Don't ask me how many belts they are - I have no idea!)

He's been taking classes since October when a new studio and a new instructor moved into our neighborhood. Perhaps eager to grow their fledgling business, the studio gamely agreed to accept students that were not-quite-three. There are days - and I'm only guessing here - when those instructors must ask themselves whether or not that was absolutely positively really really necessary.

It's true that Island Boy, like most now-barely-three-year-olds, can have a short attention span. Fortunately he is the youngest in the class and it is also true that he somehow manages to soak up some very impressive moves and snap to attention just when you fear that all hope is lost.

As the parents gathered for this class's first ever Belt Graduation Test and Ceremony, the children must have felt the excitement in the air. Although the parents routinely watch from the sidelines during class, on this day there was an extra current of energy running through the building and the children knew it. They reacted as expected - some wore their game faces and others pulled out nervous behaviors we had not seen before this day, but they all performed and, in the end, they all graduated.

Although at this age these children are still learning what it means to be "proud", every one of them was as proud as I've ever seen anyone as the rank of "Junior Orange Belt" was bestowed upon each of them.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Happy Birthday, Island Boy!

We celebrated Island Boy's birthday with the biggest cake you've ever seen. We didn't really intend for it to be that big - we asked the folks at the cake place how many the cake would serve when we ordered it and their estimate sounded right on target.

It started out when we asked Island Boy what he wanted on his cake.
"Sprinkles!", he responded.
We breathed a sigh of relief. Why? Because, selfishly, it meant that I could order a cake from a place that makes fantastic cakes, but not so much with the children's designs on them. And, naturally we asked about the number of people our cake would serve.

It turns out their estimate was WAY off. Perhaps it would have been on target had the cake been a single layer. Perhaps it wouldn't have been far off had it been a double layer or perhaps it wouldn't have been far off if everyone at the party ate as much cake as I like to eat.

However, THIS cake turned out to be a TRIPLE layer, ginormous (and very delicious) masterpiece. Did we have leftovers? Yes, yes we did. Even after giving some to just about anyone that walked by we had leftovers upon leftovers - so much so that we found ourselves distributing more around the neighborhood that evening. Too much cake? Not such a bad problem to have, really.

The bottom line is that the celebration was wonderful. Nearly all of Island Boy's classmates joined us for a party that was fun and even educational. All in all it was a very, very special day.

We love you, son. Happy Birthday!!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Island Boy woke up bright and early and we asked him what he wanted for breakfast.


Yes, our boy wants brussels sprouts for breakfast. That's my boy!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Purpose of Statues

We were reading to Island Boy today and he asked what statues were for. It was such a good question we asked him to speculate and naturally his answer was much more brilliant than anything most adults would come up with. The purpose of statues?

To make the buildings dance.

I love it!