Jeremy is almost 18 months old and there are days I envy him. I'd like to live his life for just one day. You see at that age you are really cute and can get away with pretty much anything. At the beach last week he saw some other boy his size had beach toys and just wandered over, sat down and proceeded to play with them (never mind that he had his own pile of beach toys, these were 'new' beach toys. And no one cares, no one says anything. At most people smile and nod. "Isn't that cute?" they think to themselves. The other child doesn't really care, there's someone else his size nearby who has just left open a pile of sand toys that are new to him. Can you imagine if we did the same thing? You know, you're on the beach and you've got your standard beach chair, and as you look around you you notice a better beach chair, perhaps a lounger so your legs can lay out. Maybe next to it is the latest issue of People that you haven't read yet. The owner is down by the shore so you just decide to walk over, sit in her chair and start reading her magazine. There's no way anyone would be cool with that. No matter how much you want a better place to sit and something new to read, you'd be told to F-off. But you see, Jeremy's beach mooching does not end just at the beach toys. Oh no, it gets better. Sometime after he's played with the other child's toys he decides to come back and see me. When he does, he has a Timbit in hand. We did not buy any Timbits that day. He noticed a box of them sitting in someone's wagon and decided to help himelf. When I went to go over to close the Timbit box and apologise, Jeremy reaches in for more. The owner of the Timbits laughs and says that's okay he can have one, there's lots. What if the roles were reversed and I was the one reaching in the Timbits box? Again, I'd be deemed crazy and a social outcast. And Jeremy proceeded to mooch food the rest of the afternoon. Aside from the Timbits he got an assortment of chips, some licorace, and a bag of crispy minis. He was also able to convince one woman to open her cooler for him so he could rummage through. (He found some ice to play with). For the record, yes, I did bring our own lunch and assortment of beach snacks. And yes, I did try to intervene and keep him eating only the food we brought, but everyone around us thought he was cute and kept telling me it was okay. After a while, they just started to offer him things. Another part of being one I'd like to experience is the sheer delight they find with everything. Jeremy loves water. Puddles, bathtime, streams...it doesn't matter. Everytime he sees it he shouts, "Waa Waa!". Repeatedly, until you show some acknowledgement that it's exciting and interesting too. The last stream Jeremy found he stood in the middle of, picked up rocks and threw them in, screaming with delight at their splash. And the fun-ness of this activity doesn't seem to wear off. He would stand there all day if one of us didn't pick up him to go somewhere else. And he can find water where there seemingly isn't any. Last Wednesday I took them to a park. Jeremy sat happily playing with the gravel as I helped Elijah ride the zip line, or so I thought. No, he wasn't really playing with the gravel. He was really digging it up until he hit water (it had rained the previous day). In the short time it took me to help Elijah on the zip line and come back, he had managed to dig himself quite the puddle and start rolling in it shouting, "Waa, waa!", and then proceeded to have a huge scream as I picked up and tryed to remind him of how much he enjoyed the swings on the other side of the park. Jonathan recently introduced me to the comic Dylan Moran (who is hilarious btw if you are looking for something interestingon YouTube, type in Dylan Moran Monster). Anyway he has a theory that looking after children is like looking after drunks. It's so true. They can't walk well. Jeremy will be walking on the perfectly flat floor and trip and fall and cry. He walks into all kinds of walls and tables and chairs and looks at you as if to say, how did that get there. The need for instant gratification is huge. This morning I set out to make toast, Jeremy saw the bread and started to shout, "toa, toa". And the shouts became more persistant over the 4 minutes or so that it takes to make the toast. He took his plate off the counter and waved it at me. He went over to the kid cutlery drawer and found a fork for me (he eats everything with a fork, don't ask me why) and when the toast couldn't be ready fast enough for him, he decides that I'm just being mean about it and starts to cry. No amount of explaining or reassuring will soothe. There is no reasoning at this age. It's all in the moment here and now. When the toast is ready, I strap him into the booster seat, set the toast in front of him. He smiles at me with the biggest smile and says, "Toa!". He points again and says, "Mama, toa", still smiling. Just in case I don't get it. This toast is now the most wonderful thing in the world. And I'm now wonderful too because I've given it to him. Oh they are funny.
Warning: The following post is gross! I have one New Hampshire story I've been saving...Near the end of our camping trip Jeremy got sick. It was Saturday, the day we went to Boston, the day before our drive home. I debated whether or not to go to Boston, but I figured he'd be sick if we were at the campsite, or, if we were in Boston, and both were away from home. While touring around Boston, Christy also became sick, as did Faith. The next morning, Elijah started to throw up as well. You know the car trip is going to be interesting when you have to pull over before you even make it to the highway. By the time we reached the I-95, there were a few more sick people in our group. Originally, the three cars were going to stick together on the drive home, but, each car had at least one person in it who was throwing up. So instead of continuously stopping for everyone, we split up and each car only stopped then when it had too. I'm so glad Christy was in our car. She was such a help. At one point in the trek, it became comical as I was looking for the switch from the I-95 to the I-295, Christy was looking for the toll money, Jeremy was calling out Bum Bum as he had a diaper explosion, and Elijah was calling out for a bag as he was going to throw up again. Needless to say we took the next exit. At that point in the day I had run out of clean clothes for the boys. Jeremy was dressed only in a t-shirt. We had no more bags for Elijah to heave into. So I asked the kind lady at the Blue Canoe for help. (we were in Portland a that point, not quite lunchtime). She gave us a stack of plastic bags and directions to Target. While at Target I bought both boys some clothes and a pack of wipes (because we had run out of those too). We decided to make Portland out lunch stop, but as soon as we left Target, Elijah promptly fell asleep. Maybe that was a blessing because he couldn't have had anything to eat anyway. So we grabbed some drive-through Wendy's and headed back out. We ended up back into the storm that had hit us the night before in New Hampshire when we got to Bangor (and the rest of the drive through Maine and New Brunswick), so that was fun driving too. By the time we reached home, I think we had only 3 bags left. Oh, it was not fun. Over the next few days more of the team had their share of whatever bug was hitting us. All told, 11 of the 14 had it in one form or another.
Gum has been on my mind lately. When I was a kid I loved to chew gum. The more pieces, the bigger the bubble, the better. I would take my gum out at dinner, saving it for later. It was an emergency breath mint. It was just something that kids did. Of course when I was a kid there were rules about gum. Chew with your mouth closed. Don't chew gum when you are climbing or running. Gum is only for time off times. Definately don't chew gum in school. Basically it boiled down to this: I could chew gum in my free time, provided I wasn't running or doing anything else that may cause me to choke on my gum. I've found out that the Maritimes takes a more casual approach to gum. I've seen gum chewed by people leading church worship, brides as they walk down the aisle and piles of students in the halls of the various schools I've worked at. I have to say (and I know how old fashioned and Emily Post I sound when I write this), I am more and more disgusted by gum chewing. I think there is a time and a place (your wedding is not one of those places). I think if you are going to chew gum keep your mouth closed, no one else wants to see it. And yes, I'm one of those teachers with a no gum rule. I don't want to find chewed up old gum under my classroom tables. I don't want kids to learn to sing with gum in their mouths. I just don't. Sure, some kids challenge me on this. There was one student in particular who tried to convince me that it was just part of him and why was I trying to change who he was? His friends just told him to give it up, he wouldn't win against me. Fortunately, I've been at the same school long enough now that my repuation for gum intolerance proceeds me and the kids just naturally spit it in the trash as the enter my room.
Oprah had a show on recently(?)...I don't really know when because I just look at her website, very rarely do I actually catch an episode of Oprah anymore...totally sidetracked there. Anyways, Oprah did have a show where she discussed how she enjoyed a cup of tea. She has the full on tea set approach. It looks beautiful. Me, I'm more into the comfort tea approach. I like my tea in a big mug. I do have a beautiful tea set that I've used sparingly and will one day reside in a hutch that I do not yet have, but that tea set is for company formal tea tea. My everyday comfort tea is completely different. During the school year my morning tea is usually toted off with me in a go cup, and I have my comfort tea at night and on weekend mornings. My comfort tea is usually served in a big mug. (hee hee, I just fixed my typo there that had me drinking out of a bug mug...wouldn't that be funny). Big Mugs must be part of the BC girl in me that is still hanging on as I live in the Maritimes. My first big mug I fell in love with at a local craft store in Abbotsford. It's handpainted with a sun on one side and moon on the other. And my collection just grew from there. I have a large blue one that could double as a soup bowl, I have a pretty blue one that was a gift from my friend Taryn and then there is my Starbucks collection. You can blame my mom for this one. Which in turn you could blame my brother for because he started her off on hers. The Starbucks collection is an assortment of city mugs that you can only purchase if you are in that particular city. The first of these entered our cupboard as a result of our fist trip to England 4 years ago. We thought we would pick up a mug for my mom's collection for a Christmas gift and while we were at it Jonathan picked up one for himself (pretty nice, it has Will Shakespeare featured on it). Since then we've added Vancouver and New York (we bought), Seattle and San Francisco (mom bought for us) and my latest hails from Boston. I have a couple of other hanging around too, one Jonathan bought me for Valentine's Day that's so pretty and one that showed up for one of us around Christmas time last year that I've adopted as my standard. It's red. It's funny now these big mugs are my norm. With everything else that's become supersized I've become irrated (you know what used to be a large is now a medium and so on) except when it comes to my comfort mug of tea. That has the opposite effect. If I'm having tea somewhere and they haven't yet adopted the big mug attutude I really do wonder if that's it. Strange.
I know my brother is probably laughing his head off at this title. He used to drive me nuts when we were kids calling me a bookworm nerd. Now that I'm the very grown up age of 32, I admit it, I am such a bookworm nerd. Books are my addiction. If I am not in the middle of a book, I start to feel nervous, it drives me crazy. Most moms say they miss reading once they had children...I gave up TV and other lazy pursuits and kept reading. So it has been driving me nuts that I haven't found a good place online to converse with other book addicts about my latest read. I haven't ever bought anything off Amazon, so I can't write there. Yahoo Answers Books and Literature helps a little but there are way too many Twilighters on there and frankly, Answers is not a discussion group anyway. (BTW, I have never read the Twilight series, nor have any intention of it, get over it). So I have started yet another blog. This one will be my little page on the web to share and vent about what I have been reading. You can find it at bookwormkristen.blogspot.com
So it's August, and there goes my well intentions of keeping up with the blog over the summer. I have good reason, my Dad has distracted me with all these games of Word Twist. If I skip at night of playing, I'll have twice the games to catch up with the next day, and that's a lot of word twist. I know, excuses, excuses. So with a week or so left of my summer break, I'm playing catch up. I think the last time I wrote we'd just gotten back from our trip to PEI. I very much enjoyed it. We'd been a couple of times before, but that was pre-kids. This trip was very different. You haven't camped until you've camped with two kids under 4. Unfortunately, the camping has interrupted my master plan of weaning Jeremy to his own bed. Why would he want to do that when he could snuggle with his parents? I actually believe he has a master plan to take over our bed completely. He hates the toddler bed for anything other than bouncing on. It's much too small in his estimation. Our next plan of action is to give him Elijah's bed (which is a twin) and move Elijah into the other twin that currently serves as a guest bed downstairs. The second half of July was spent doing things around here. Mostly, we prepped for Elijah's birthday. You would think that planning a party for a July birthday would be an easy thing...usually it is. Get some food, a cake and send them out to play for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, we've had a bizarre summer here in SJ and the 2 days leading up to Elijah's party poured rain. I was freaking. We had 10 kids and their parents coming over, what the heck was I going to do if we had to stay inside? Fortunately, the day was not rainy, but it was foggy enough that we cancelled the playing in the pool part of the party. They didn't care. Get 10 kids together under the age of 5 and they will play and play and play and have a blast! I seriously do not know why people get so stressed about kid birthdays and spend huge amounts of money and time (especially for this age group) planning and over manging. They don't need it. You can have a fun time for under $40 (including food)...we did. The highlights for me were Elijah's face when he saw the hockey cake I made for him (he'd only been asking for one since last November), and Jonathan's Pinata. He made one for next to nothing and it was a fun time for the kids (and the grown-ups)...I can't believe what they charge for a pinata in the stores, especially when you think that it is made to be destroyed. Shortly after the birthday party (and on Elijah's actual birthday), we headed off for New Hampshire for Soulfest. Soulfest is a Christian Music Festival, 4 days, 6 stages and I don't know how many bands. There were 14 of us altogether in our group. I didn't see a lot of the music, I was just happy to be out in a new place. I really love camping. Missing out on the music is just another part of the stage of life I'm in right now. My kids come first. They can't be up out late (even on vacation), or they will be miserable the next day. I did (finally) get to see Jars of Clay live. They were the fist Christian band that I really liked (and still do). They played 4 of the 6 songs that I wanted to hear (although the 2 they didn't, I didn't expect them to play as they are more obscure). That was the highlight (musically) for me. I didn't actually know what to expect going to New Hampshire. I'd drived though a piece of it before on the way to New York, but really knew nothing about it. The area we were in was really quite beautiful. We stayed at Gunstock Resort which is in Gilford, in an area known as the lake district. We did get to spend some time at the beach, which was nice. We also decided to take a little road trip on the Saturday down to Boston (a 2 hour drive away). That was fun! We had about 4 hours actually in Boston, so we saw Quincy Market (yummy Boston Chowda for lunch), and the area around the Boston Common. If I had known we were going to go I would have brushed up on my history a little bit because so much has happened in Boston. It's kinda funny living in Saint John which is a Loyalist City, and visiting Boston which is known for the same time period, but the other side of the conflict. Boston actually is a lot like Saint John in Architecture (or what I imagine Saint John would be like if it was a lot larger, better kept up and less slum lords). The thing in Boston that we saw that just made me so excited was the front they used for Cheers (the TV show). I love that show so for me, it was really cool, to go for a walk and there it was. Since we've been back from our trip I've been spending as much time outside as possible. We've had more rain this summer than I'd like :op I've been working at getting the gardens all weeded out and organised. It's amazing how fast the weeds grow (especially in the rain), but I feel a real sense of work well done when I'm out in the garden. I'm very excited about the giant sunflowers that Elijah and I planted earlier this summer. They are about as tall as I am now and still growing. Unfortunately, they are are one of the only things that turned out. A groundhog ate my pea plants (nasty thing), and I don't know whatever happened to some of the other seeds we planted. My herb basket is growing will, so fresh basil is just about ready. Our other summer project has been Elijah's library club. I think this is the 3rd summer Elijah's been part of the read to me program at the local library's summer reading program. Each Thursday that we have been here, we have dropped in on their pre-school story time. Jeremy has tried to take part as much as he can too (he's out to proove that he is a big boy too)...it's kinda funny to see him sitting at the craft table, this one year old surrounded by 3 and 4 year olds. The other part of the program has been reading to and with Elijah to reach his goal of 50 books. And as of last Thursday he did it! We finished out with 52 books read. This upcoming Wednesday is the summer reading celebration party that he's excited about. That's pretty much our summer caught up. Of course within each of these updates there are stories within stories, but I'm not sure how ambitious I am with writing them down (not tonight anyway, maybe tomorrow, there's a good one from the New Hampshire trip I'm wanting to share). My next project is starting a new blog...I'm not planning on quitting this one, but I wanted to start one that has a specific focus...I'll announce it soon.