March

March 21st, 2016

We made it through the winter. I wasn’t entirely sure that was going to happen. We’ve had a big change with our family dynamic. I began working fulltime. It has made things as chaotic as I thought they would be. A benefit to my new job is that it has made the bigger kids more responsible. You know, they are able to put their clothes mostly in the hamper. And, if I nag and threaten they will put their clothes away after they are washed. I did hire someone to hang out with them after school and help get them to their activities. I wasn’t ready to leave them to their own devices. Not to mention that taking care of Charlotte is a seriously exhausting job and not for the beginner.  It’s amazing how they are moving towards independence and yet they still need us around to guide them through the emotional and educational ups and downs.

Aiden just finished his peewee season of hockey. He moves into the next phase of playing hockey. The checking phase. Another phase towards growing up. I’m not worried about him getting hurt. He’s a goalie and people have been running into him since he started playing goal. He’ll be spending a lot of time practicing with teenagers. I’m sure he’ll learn a lot about hockey and about other things I don’t want to picture my boy learning about.

Madeleine has been learning a lot about tween girl dynamics. Enough said.

Charlotte doesn’t like me working at all. Apparently she is abandoned and is being raised by wolves. She makes her feelings well known.

We’re coming upon the end of 5th grade for Madeleine. She is pretty excited about being with Aiden at the middle school next year. Charlotte is getting ready for her dance recital. I’m not sure how her dances are going because she won’t share her “work” with anyone.

One day at a time.

Merrick hanging out with great grandma.

Merrick hanging out with great grandma.

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Charlotte “enjoying” a Washington Capitals game.

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We gave Merrick and Ovechkin doll.

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Charlotte got her ears pierced!

 

Middle School

December 14th, 2015

Aiden is over three months into his middle school career. I had more issues with him starting middle school than he did. I was sure wearing a uniform would send him over the edge but it’s been easy for him. He likes not having to think about clothes in the morning. He really prefers not to think at all in the morning but that’s a different issue. He has figured out how to get himself up and ready for school with a minimal amount of nagging from me. There are times when I need to tell him to brush his teeth. I hope to God I can stop reminding him to brush his teeth by the time he starts college otherwise he’ll need to find a job that has excellent denture benefits.

Aiden has been riding the bus everyday. I guess it’s loud and slightly chaotic so I’m guessing its a lot like Lord of the Flies. Most of the kids from that book survived so how bad can it be? He actually stays after school once a week to willingly participate in Model United Nations. I was positive he was forced into a group but he chose it. He is choosing to stay after school to learn more about different countries and their governments. This is fun for him. I’m not even joking. Oh and they fund-raise for starving kids in third world countries… during lunch! Lunchtime. The time when normal kids act like a-holes and fool around. I’m going to be honest and say I’m not sure where this kid comes from. I’d be worried that he was too good but then he asks to modify disposable lights and I know he is going to be OK. Well he wont be OK if he modifies lighters…

He has been working really hard to improve his goalie skills and it’s paying off. Goaling is an entirely different post so I’ll end this for now. Also I don’t feel like typing anymore.

navy

Summer Birthdays

November 11th, 2015

I need to write more so I can remember all the things that we do. My memory is pretty terrible right now. I’d like to think it’s because I have so many schedules to keep straight.

Summer went by fairly quickly. I worked during the summer so the kids were home during the day with the babysitter. I feel guilty about this. I think society has me conditioned to think that summer time should be fun for kids. Like nonstop fun. Which is insane. Morgan and I were home in the summer with my dad. He was never concerned about fun. I need to let my worry of fun go. They are kids and they aren’t in school, that should be enough fun.

Charlotte turned 7 this summer. I can hardly believe it and this is mostly because she is the baby of the family. We all treat her like this still. I’m trying to break us of this habit. We can’t keep calling her baby Charlotte when she finally graduates from college. My cousin came out to surprise Charlotte for her birthday. I’m sure it was the best gift she received. We took Charlotte and a couple friends to eat lunch and have their nails done. Judging by the amount of cartwheels that were done throughout the day the girls had a great time.

 

Aiden turned 12 this summer and his entire summer was like a giant birthday party. He attended one engineering camp and two hockey camps. See what I mean? It was the summer of Aiden. His actual birthday was spent in Beulah Michigan. We spent five days at my grandma’s cottage. Thank God the weather was great this year. We were able to spend a lot of time kayaking and swimming. They even went tubing.

It will probably be the last summer I need to use a babysitter for the kids. Next year they might might might be able to take care of themselves. Maybe.

Changes

June 3rd, 2015

I have 14 days until Aiden goes through his 5th grade promotion. When Aiden was in his four year old preschool class I made the decision to delay his start. His wonderful teacher Miss Sara suggested I start Aiden in kindergarten when he was six. Aiden has a late summer birthday and he was more immature than several of his four year old  buddies. Delaying his kindergarten start was the best thing I could have done for him. You know, aside from potty training him and taking away his binkie. School has gone very well for him academically and his socially he is right on track with his peers. It hasn’t always been easy for us. My kids spends have grown up spending the majority of their time with Keith and myself.  They often feel anxious around new situations and new people. Sometimes it takes Aiden awhile to get adjust to a new environment.  We don’t have our bio family in Maryland to help us our through tough times so we made our own family here in Maryland. I am so grateful to my Maryland family for helping Aiden grow into a more confident guy. Moving to middle school will be hard on Aiden and myself.  I know the elementary school staff incredibly well. I know he is safe and taken care of there. I hear about any problems before he comes home from school.

I don’t have connection to the middle school. I have to trust Aiden to take care of himself. I have to trust Aiden to be a 6th grader. I’m not there yet.  He has visited the middle school several times. He has been practicing using a lock. Most importantly he saw the variety of carbonated drinks in the cafeteria. (FYI, they are juice drinks and not soda). Aiden has chosen his language classes; either Mandarin or French. French in case he wants to play a game of hockey in Quebec. You know, cause that could happen to a Maryland kid. I think I am going to have him take some Tae Kwan Do classes this summer, to help with self defense. Aiden has a huge heart and will stand up for his friends. I want him to be able to do this without being stuffed into a locker. Thankfully,  he is not as small as I was at that age. I definitely fit into lockers.  So, 14 days until we move through the next stage of childhood. I’m heading to the drugstore to buy some cheap waterproof mascara so I can make it through without humiliating him or myself. But mostly him.

 

1st cottage trip

1st cottage trip

Aiden and His first shepherd Meadow

Aiden and His first shepherd Meadow

Aiden at three months old

Aiden at three months old

Aiden with his beloved grandpa Ron. Best guy ever.

Aiden with his beloved grandpa Ron. Best guy ever.

Aiden and Madeleine Feb. 2005

Aiden and Madeleine Feb. 2005

 

Spring 2015

May 29th, 2015

I have to keep my blog writing a secret from Madeleine. I am not supposed to talk about her. At all. Ever. On any platform or to anyone. However, I am often proud of her want to share stories about her. This has been banned. Now, when I talk about my kids it will sound like I only have two children. I’m worried people will think I don’t love her and have her locked up in a box somewhere.  However, If I was going to talk about Madeleine I would say she has really worked hard meeting her some of the goals she set for herself. She wanted to do better in Math and also learn some new skills in gymnastics. I would love to show you pictures of her doing math but those would be rather boring so I show you some gymnastics pictures.

Madeleine and Charlotte Upside Down

Madeleine and Charlotte Upside Down

 

Math has been the hardest challenge this year. She has had to learn a lot in a short amount of time. I don’t remember learning long division until fifth grade but she is doing it in fourth. I feel the familiar math panic set in when she brings her homework out at night. I have been saved many times by the internet and face-timing with my mom. Madeleine has some kick ass teachers who work really hard with the kids. If Madeleine doesn’t understand a homework assignment I will write a not on the top of the home and the teachers will go over the assignment in small groups to make sure the kids are learning the concepts. This is our second year with this teacher and I hope that Charlotte will get her too.

Some parents seem shocked when their children are learning more than they are. Not me. I assumed  my kids would be smarter than I am. I’m banking on it. It is going  to take some serious intelligence to take care of me when I’m old.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving

January 27th, 2015

I swear every time I say I am going to write more I do the exact opposite. But lets face it, most people follow Facebook anyway. Then, I remind myself that life is flying way too fast with the kids. It’s hard to remember everything that we do and I really need to remember.

We went to Michigan for Thanksgiving because I really wanted to see my nephew. He born in August and I felt like I had already missed enough time. Aiden and Charlotte had been asking to meet him, Madeleine wasn’t thank interested.  She isn’t really a baby person. I think that can be something you are born with. I always liked babies, kids, and babysitting. Morgan however, has never been a baby person. It has an eye opener watching her with Merrick. It’s like I wasn’t looking and my sister grew up into an adult with a baby and a career. That’s what I mean by missing things and trying to remember.

Charlotte and Merrick really bonded. She laid on the floor with him talking to him and he would coo back at her. Charlotte has these funny stuffed animals called “beanie boos” that she loves. She would hold them over Merrick so he could look into the beanie boos eyes. It was weird and really funny. I think he likes the beanie boos as much as he likes my mom’s ceiling fan. Aiden spent the majority of the time in Michigan trying to drive the four wheeler and shooting the rifle. I think he considers himself an expert marksman now. If Aiden could find a way to combine Annapolis with Michigan I am fairly certain he would do that.

Madeleine was able to go shopping with Cousins Laurel and Lindsey. That’s all she needed.

We spent the last day of break in Michigan with my dad’s side of the family. Between the cousins we  have a lot of children. My grandma is  almost up to 10 great grandchildren. The girl cousins are loud and had outnumbered the boys. The boys have overtaken them and have Aiden as their leader. Things could get serious as soon as all of the boys are potty trained. I mean the younger boys need to be potty trained. I think the three old guys have it under control. I think.

 

I also took Aiden to ice skate at Munn ice area. It was his best day ever.

Aiden, Charlotte, and Merrick  November 2014

Aiden, Charlotte, and Merrick November 2014

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Merrick and the Beanie Boo   IMG_3632 IMG_3620 IMG_3624

 

 

Horse Show

November 10th, 2014
Madeleine and Cinders

Madeleine and Cinders

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Madeleine and her ribbons

 

Madeleine has been riding for 4 years now. I should clarify and say she has been taking horseback riding lessons and not bike riding lessons.  She can ride a bike but it’s not her favorite thing. Side-note: She might not enjoy bike riding because her bike is really small for her and she looks like a circus act. Anyway, Madeleine has been riding for awhile now. I’m proud of her. She is extremely cautious and has learned to take risks through her riding lessons. I made it my goal to not push her or give her any feedback on her riding other than to tell her she did a great job. Her first year riding was strictly a time to figure out if she liked riding. She rode little ponies that were already tacked up. She rode on a lead rope the whole time, which means the instructor is leading the horse around the practice ring. After a year of that, we followed a friend to a new barn. Madeleine was matched with her first riding instructor, Marie.  Madeleine is very shy around adults. It took her a long time to actually communicate with Marie. I think they communicated through by using thumbs up or thumbs downs. She took lessons with  Marie for over two years. I feel like it was longer than that. Maybe it was, the years have started to blend together. My old age has addled my brain. Marie worked her ass off trying to get Madeleine to gain some confidence.  Two weeks ago Madeleine went way outside of her comfort zone and did her first horse show. She chose to show a horse she really trusts. Granted, the horse is super old and sometimes falls asleep during lessons. But, she knows he will take care of her.  Madeleine rode in two events and earned some ribbons. I’m totally proud of her and her horse. I’m mostly proud that he stayed away the whole time.

Madeleine and a Pony

Madeleine and a Pony

Madeleine and my horse enemy.

Madeleine and my horse enemy.

Madeleine and Lily with Gatsby and his cards

Madeleine and Lily with Gatsby and his cards

Summer

September 24th, 2014

Summer is almost over and I couldn’t get my act together to write about this summer. I started a new job at the end of June. Now i’m working  25 hours a week and it has been a huge adjustment for all of us. We didn’t do as many fun things as I wanted to do, so I am in the process of making myself feel terrible about that. After reading Pinterest and peoples’ Facebook updates, I am pretty sure I have failed parenting. The kids did spend time at the pool and played with friends almost every day. I guess I shouldn’t take all the blame of our unfun summer, school didn’t let out until the end of June.

My parents and my sister each visited for a few days. Aiden had a guitar recital and Charlotte had a dance recital. I am trying to figure out where I put the pictures for both those events so I can brag about how amazing my kids are.

We spent time in Northern Michigan with my mom’s side of the family. My mom and Aunt rented a house for the family so we could have some room and enjoy being together. We would stay at my grandma’s cottage but it has  two bedrooms and one bathroom.  There would have been more fights than normal.  I enjoyed watching the kids enjoy the lake. We live near the Chesapeake Bay and sadly, you can’t see the bottom of the bay.  They kept yelling that it was great to see where they were stepping in the water.  I am probably making the Bay seem really gross, it is.

I helped organize a baby shower for my sister. (Big shout out to my mom’s grade school friends for doing all the hard work). Morgan ended up in the hospital with a severe case of preeclampia which turned in the HELLP syndrome.  My beautiful nephew was born seven weeks early. Merrick Christopher was 6 pounds and 18 inches. Not that I think he should have been born that early but could you imagine how big he would have been had he been term.  Merrick was in the NICU for two week before he was released into his parents custody. He is doing great today. My sister and Adam, however, are sleep deprived and have gone insane.

It was an exciting way to end our summer.

 

Merrick flipping us off

Merrick flipping us off

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Merrick meeting his cousins.

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Merrick several days old

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Uncle Rob throwing Aiden.

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Aiden’s birthday party

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Old guys fishing

 

 

Kid’s Activities.

May 17th, 2014

All three of the kids have activities. I feel like parents are really taking their kids activities to a level that’s higher than necessary and I always worry that I will become like them.  I think if I keep following the lead of my kids then I will keep myself under control and not get caught up in activity fever. The girls do gymnastics one day a week and neither is interested in being on a team or competing. This is something I can completely understand as I was never a fan of competing. I liked learning to do different skills because it was fun.  Competing? Yeah, no. I was terrible at it. I would freak out before a meet, during a meet, and after a meet. I was a complete headcase. I’m afraid that they would also become headcases when they competed because I’m pretty sure I passed on the headcase gene. Madeleine’s other activity is horseback riding. Again, she rides one day a week and has been for four years. She just started jumping a few months ago but she is taking it very slow. Like really slow. She will only jump over flower boxes and do not mention cantering. No thanks she is just fine trotting. No need to be all extreme or anything. She is thinking about doing a show in the fall to get a ribbon and candy. I also get that too because I do like candy. This year we added another activity for Charlotte. She began taking dance classes. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out for her because she usually likes to copy Madeleine. Madeline however, has no interest in being a  performer. Charlotte went for it and began taking classes on her own. She seems to really love. Her costume for her June recital is hanging in her closet and her dances are being practiced. We had a meeting at the dance studio to go over details for the June recital. I was amazed at how serious these parents are. The studio is giving a class on how to do buns because a lot of moms are worried they won’t get it right. It’s a bun people. Pony tail, twist, pin it. Seriously. A class on how to do buns. I maybe have entered the dance twilight zone.

Aiden had try outs for travel hockey a few weeks ago. We never pushed him into trying out for the travel team, it was something he wanted on his own. During the process, I watched a lot of parents take it very very seriously. I found myself becoming nervous about the whole process. It seemed like the coaches knew ahead of time who they would pick. However ,through communication from the coaches it was believed that Aiden had a shot. Instead, it went in a whole other direction. Aiden would be playing on the rec league with limited playing time. I have always been a fan of him playing at the rec level. What began to worry me was that he would be on of at least three goalies on one team.  It looked like he would be playing every third game at the most. When I discussed my concerns with one of the coaches we were told to go elsewhere if we wanted Aiden to get playing time.  As a four year member of the hockey club, this was upsetting. I didn’t want Aiden to play at a club where the focus seemed to be on winning and not on learning. Again, this is my perception and nothing that was ever verbally stated. We choose to move Aiden to a club closer to our house where he would get a decent amount of playing time and learn a lot in the process.

I’m beginning to feel like an idiot for spending so much time taking the kids to these activities. I guess if I’m an idiot then there are a lot of idiots with me shlepping our kids from one thing to the next. I   justify this behavior  because they like their activities and we always put school first.

 

Now if you will excuse I am going to go watch Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras.

 

 

March Has Issues

March 15th, 2014

March has had some serious issues weather wise. We had two snow days this month along with several days of mild temperatures. All I want to do is get outside and work on my yard. Which is an odd thing for me to say because I usually wait for my dad to work on my yard. Not this year. This year I will tame my yard and make it my…friend.

Last weekend we took the kids on an exotic hockey themed vacation. Translation= Aiden had a hockey tournament in northern Maryland so we stayed at a Hampton Inn. In the past, I have complained about staying in hotels with obnoxious youth hockey players. I find the more judgmental I am the more life teaches me all kinds of lessons. The kids on the team had a great time and learned a huge lesson about fairness. Like life is usually not fair. They played a team that had louder parents, louder coaches and more aggressive players. The game ended with our guys getting slashed twice and checked once. It was really hard not to become angry and freak out but I did some hard core breathing exercises and calmed myself down. I reminded myself that it was youth hockey and not that big of a deal. I did make fun of one parent from the other team but he really had it coming. He named his kid Ranger and spent the entire game coaching from the bench. If I had to hear “Ranger, skate faster” one more time I was going to chuck my coffee at him. The parent. Not Ranger. I’m not even sure which one was Ranger. Anyway, they won two out of three games and ended their season with a win. I didn’t even get too mad when one of the kids on Aiden’s team got his toe stuck in an elliptical trainer. He didn’t realize it wasn’t a toy and you need shoes for it. We got his smashed toe out and he skated the next morning. If you are wondering  if the girls had fun, the answer is yes. They swam, they ate chick fil a, and they bought new shoes. Win win for all.

The standardized tests are done for the school year and now we are heading into science project season. Madeleine’s project involves crystals and Aiden is working on filtering bay water. Somehow. These projects will require a lot of coffee and mental toughness on my part. Working with Aiden on anything science requires the mental toughness.

 

Aiden and Adam getting ready for their game. Either that or they are stuck and can't move with all the equipment on.

Aiden and Adam getting ready for their game. Either that or they are stuck and can’t move with all the equipment on.

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Celebrating a hard fought win. Poor Aiden is at the bottom of the pack protecting his head and his manhood.

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Adam and Aiden the super nerds! I mean super goalies. But mostly super nerds!