Sunday, April 29, 2012

Our Weekend

The huge crowd at the Science and Engineering event sitting and standing behind us

This weekend was full of many things including:
* The arrival of a much anticipated stroller. We left ours at home, and Benton has been needing it. His little legs cannot keep up with all the walking. It received a thumbs up after our weekly trip to the library. We left with fewer books and a spring in our step. The older two remarked that the library seemed much closer this time.
* Reading many new books from the library under mama's quilt while waiting for breakfast
*A chance to see Jamie and Adam speak a bit about one of the kiddo's favorite shows while attending the  USA Science and Engineering Festival
* Finishing the squishy sweater in time to wear it on Saturday while the weather was still cool. I am loving it (both the weather and sweater).
* Racing through walkways under the buildings in our neighborhood. This involved pushing the stroller as fast as possible and letting go. Much fun indeed.
* Everyone wearing lots of hand knits in the cooler weather much to the shock of most of the residents who think it is warming up.
* Exploring the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Sitting in the dolphin splash zone and being oh so disappointed about not getting wet enough. Vowing to go back.
* Walking around Baltimore's Inner Harbor and happening upon a street performer. We sat and watched his show which included juggling, a unicycle and fire.
* Climbing on propellers and iron sculptures while watching people along the harbor
* Grocery shopping at several stores trying to find the right mix while Dave and the kiddos walked to the corner store for snacks
* Talking to Grandma and cousins via FaceTime
* Watching a movie together before bed

Friday, April 27, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - Joining Amanda in a Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Turning it Around

To celebrate his birthday, Eamon wanted to go to the aquarium. Dave mentioned wanting to go as well, so we decided to save that trip for the weekend. Instead of the aquarium on his actual birthday, he settled on a trip to the zoo. He especially wanted to check out the invertebrates.

After a very early wake up for him, we waited for the other kiddos to awaken. Once up, breakfasted and dressed, we took off for the metro. Eamon did not eat any breakfast and decided mid-morning that he didn't want to go to the zoo. We talked about checking it out and leaving if it was horrible. Nope. He wanted to eat out and stay home. Since we had already decided on our adventure we forged ahead.
Eamon was grumpy. He was curt with his grandparents when they each called to wish him a happy birthday. I offered food from my bag, but he didn't want any. A dark cloud had settled over his person, and he didn't want to shake it.
The day was not proceeding as planned. After making a bathroom break, we regrouped. I asked what was really the problem, and he explained that he wanted to go out for breakfast. He was hungry. His head also hurt, since while I was in the bathroom he fell off the railing. I again offered what food we had. He begrudgingly took half a sandwich. I gave him a big hug and held him.
Only you can turn this day around. Are you wanting to do that? Or should we go home?
With a sigh and a sniffle, he stood up and said he wanted to go a bit further, so Aine could see the pandas.  We saw a popcorn vendor. Scrounging in the bottom of my bag, I found some money, and we bought a bucket (D.C. note to self - carry cash). 
Walking through the Asian Trail the day turned around. With popcorn in his belly, Eamon became a totally new person. Aine spotted the Giant Panda rolling in the back of the enclosure. We stood and watched it for a bit, jumping between rocks and finishing the popcorn. Eamon started laughing and joking again. 
As we left the trail, I asked if he was ready to go home. Nope. This is the best time. Alright then. 

We meandered through the next few exhibits and animal houses. Benton played in the misters. I was amazed at how many people hollered at their children to get out of the water. It was only misting water. It dries. The kids were having so much fun - laughing and giggling. Benton was oblivious to it all as he focused on catching water in his bucket.
We grabbed a bit more to eat and were able to view the octopus during feeding time. We sat amid a room of butterflies and marveled at the anatomy of an Elephant Shrew. The rest of the zoo was saved for a later day since little legs were tired and mama's shoulders could not carry him further.
A quick ride home on the metro found Dave waiting for us. Eamon wanted Noodle and Co for dinner. His main driving factor was the super cool soda machine. It has a bazillion choices on a touch screen. He really wanted to check it out, and it WAS his birthday. A stop at the candy store on the walk back was followed by cake at home. Return calls were made to family that called during the black cloud crisis. 
Much better spirits as the day ended. A tumultuous start ended quite well. Welcome nine! I know it will be great.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


He awakens at 6am to say goodbye to his daddy. Shaggy haired, long legged and oh so sleepy. He creeps to the closed bathroom door. Just a quiet little knock. Hi, Daddy. Good Morning, Bud. I wanted to say good-bye to you before you left. A hug and then a gentle, Happy Birthday. Slowly he walks back to me, cuddles up next to me on the couch. You really should go back to bed. A huge hug is given. Then, Happy Birthday my sweet, sweet Eamon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Busy with Pockets

It has been addicting. I never thought making tiny pockets for young children in Africa would be so consuming. When I read that Lori was making these small pockets for her upcoming trip to Africa, I knew we needed to be involved. Lori's dedication to her family, craft and passions is inspiring. I do enjoy reading her blog and quickly set to work on our donation.

I used part of our day at home this week to start. I wasn't sure wool would be a good idea, since it is tougher to wash. Instead I used some of the cotton yarn we brought with us. Aine used it on the trip for a gift she was making. The little pockets knit up quickly, and I soon had three. Today at the park, I started another one. I am hoping to send five after I find a couple small things to put into the pockets tomorrow. The kiddos have made some crafts to include as well.

This has been a fun project for our family. The pockets have definitely kept my hands busy. While not knitting pockets, I was able to work a bit on my never-ending sweater. The absence of sweater progress is overshadowed by the knowledge that the pockets will be much loved. Again I hope to finish it by next week. As far as reading, I finished The Handmaid's Tale. It is another unsettling dystopian novel. I am amazed at how far humanity will go in the name of a higher authority to subjugate others. The book is science or speculative fiction and a good read. Some of the themes are touchy and have landed the book on the ALA's list of challenged and banned books.
I started a new book before I was able to go to the new local library. It is called My Name is Mary Sutter. It was recommended by my friend Nancy for our book group. Even though I won't be able to attend, I wanted to read the book after discussing the title. It is about a young woman practicing as a midwife who yearns to become a doctor. It is historical fiction which I like about topic that interests me. I am only a quarter of the way through the book, but I like it a lot. My other read is Distant Hours. I had to return it to the library before I finished it back in Arizona. Once we found the local library, I checked it out again.

So, what is everyone working on this week? Lots of pocket making among Ginny's Yarn-Alongers, I am sure.


With so many wonderful places to explore and things to see, it seems a bit crazy to stay home. But that is exactly what we did yesterday. I had a few places picked out for the day. When the kiddos woke up, I queried which they would like to see. They returned a resounding, "Stay home!" Well, then that seems to settle it.
So, we stayed home. This respite allowed a lot of much needed play and relaxation. There was a bit of Old Maid playing, loads of Playmobil, Legos, Erector set construction, reading, trucks and even a bath - twice (he claimed to have stinky armpits for the second of the day). We snuggled into bed restored after so much busy.
I forget that even though we are in a place with so much to do we are still a young family. We need quiet home days just as much as we did before the move. I need them too. I was able to catch up on some knitting and reading. I read my long ignored emails and indulged in blog reading. I missed many of my favorite blog writers. I still didn't have a chance to comment on most, but I am now current. Phew! I even found out that I received a little award while we were traveling. Kelly of Who, Matters? awarded me the Leibster Blog Award. She has two boys and chronicles her life in Ohio. She was so very thoughtful to give it to me, and yes, I think we would be friends in "real life."

The Leibster award was hard to pin down. Kelly relayed that,

"The origins of the Liebster Blog award are somewhat unclear but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany, Liebster meaning favorite or dearest, to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to [three to] five more blogs of note."

Most of the blogs I read have over 200 followers. For this award, I really like:

Growing with Science - Roberta brings so many great ideas to her blogs. I read a couple of them. She has great non-fiction book recommendations, a seed guessing weekly challenge and a whole host of other science related goodies. Plus she taught me how to play pokemon.

House of Jays - Rachel is honest and forthright. She shares bits and pieces of her joys and challenges. I like that. Plus she knits.

Mamascout - Amy brings so much to the table. She has enthusiasm for her life and her family. I appreciate that she also lives in a warm climate, so her life reflects a bit of mine too. She is a fellow homeschooler who reminds me to relax, say "yes" and enjoy the ride.

Thanks again, Kelly!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Getting Our Feet Wet

The last few days have been spent getting to know our new city. We have walked, bused and metro'ed our way around town. Initially we stuck close to home. Each day our excursions take us a bit further afield. It is so much fun exploring this new place, but it is also a bit tough.

Eamon, Aine and I ventured out to the neighborhood grocery store the first night, while Dave and Benton brought in our items from the car. We walked along giggling, running and jumping. It was a bit chilly for this group of desert dwellers. There had been rain all day, but the sky was clear on our walk. We found the store easily and grabbed a bit of dinner too. We shopped by weight knowing we would be carrying our items back. This was met with a bit of resistance initially. By the time we arrived home, we were ready for bed.

The following day, we wanted to find the running/walking path and get more oriented. We ended up going the wrong direction. Instead of the path we wanted, a new area came into view. Going this direction from home, we were able to see the Washington Monument over the river. Eamon spotted it first with an exclamation of delight. 
Aine then spied a beaver's dam in the water. The excitement was palatable. We walked around this different path for quite a while. A train came into view roaring down the track beside our path with the conductor waving at our enthusiastic flapping hands. It was fantastic. On our return, Eamon determined that a faster way home existed and led us there. 
After some lunch, a trip to the park was in order. We hoped to meet up with some fellow homeschoolers and get a bit of cooped up car energy out. Parking is a challenge where we live, so walking or public transportation are the way to go. In Arizona we take the PhART and the neighborhood circular at times. The majority of our time out is spent driving. We decided to take the bus to the park. Of course, I thought I knew what I was doing. I determined that we only had to take one bus after consulting the city's transportation website. A quick lesson on bus ridding occurred as we sat at the stop. Signage, bus etiquette, routes and directions were shared amid a flurry of questions. When the bus approached the kiddos boarded first. I tried to use my fare cards for us. I knew everyone had to have their own card, I just didn't realize the cards were different for bus and rail. Oops. I only had rail cards and money for one of us. Fortunately the driver allowed us to ride and told me what I needed. 
The walk to the park was gorgeous amid older homes. There was a choice as we approached the park of taking the sidewalk or a tunnel path. Of course, we chose the tunnel. I think it was the favorite part of the trip since there weren't any kiddos at the park in the older kiddos' age range (most were under 4). The ride home was uneventful.

Walking has been a bit daunting for Benton whose little legs get a bit tired with everything his mama wants to do. He has been a trooper each day with only slight complaints of sore legs and requests for a ride on daddy's shoulders or for mama to carry him. Foolishly we left our stroller at home, and are now on the search for a small umbrella-type one. Apparently they are hard to come by where we live! I even wished I still had my Ergo to carry him. The older kids are fine with most of our walks. The only issue was when we found our local library. We each obtained a library card, and they were eager to fill their bags. I suggested only getting 3-5 books. Eamon checked out 22; Aine found 16. The walk home was arduous. 
Our first voyage on the metro included all five of us. Despite my claims of an adventurers spirit, I can be a big fraidy-cat at times. I wasn't sure how it would go with three kiddos. With Dave's help, we navigated the subway. I am glad we were together since one of our cards wouldn't work despite having money on it. (Note to all D.C. travelers, the cards will demagnetize easily!) People were very helpful on the metro and asked if we needed help. With a bit of aid we found our way to The Mall.

The weather was warm as we walked along The Mall stopping to see the various monuments. Dave led us to the National Academy of Sciences in search of my favorite statue. Unfortunately the statue of Einstein was fenced off much to my chagrin. I really love this statue. Dave and I are in a photo together on the statue from many years ago. It is a bit tough to find, but is a great discovery along Constitution.
After disappointment over the closing of the Washington Monument, the highlight for the kiddos was the Lincoln Memorial. They weren't in awe of the majesty of the statue, but rather they were head over heels excited about the slippery ramps on the sides on the stairs. They were perfect slides.

Yesterday after a search for breakfast by foot in the rain, we headed out grocery shopping by car to stock our refrigerator. It was a gloriously rainy day. The kiddos jumped in puddles and played under umbrellas. It was a definite novelty for us. Once home, we snuggled in for some book reading, LEGO building and Playmobil playing. It is definitely starting to feel like home.