Category Archives: siblings

6 and 4

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After one of the craziest, most fun, busiest summers ever, we’re firmly back into the fall routine. The kids are happy with their teachers, school is going well and we have a nice rhythm going on. This is actually our quietest time of the year with minimal after school activities and I’m enjoying every.single.second of the peace – because you know it won’t last long.

So, the summer. We did a lot – we visited Lady Liberty…

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Saw a professional ballgame (or 3 – baseball was big this summer)…

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Visited with hundreds of our friends at a local music fest…

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Spent The Best Week Ever in the Outer Banks with family…

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Visited a Fort…

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And drove a dragon in a Harbor.

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The kids went to different camps each week- school camps, nature camps, sports camps. The Bean learned to sail a boat and Scorch got to hang with friends. In short, the summer was really just about perfect and I was beyond sad to see it go. But you know was solves your dread of summer being over? Having your kids home for 2.5 weeks before school starts while you’re working full time. Trust me, that’ll teach you to embrace a schedule.

So- 6th grade and 4th grade.

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This picture of their feet makes me laugh every time I see it because it captures them perfectly. Scorch will stand still and do what’s asked of him because it’s easier and he likes to please. Bean is literally trying to back away out of the picture as quickly as possible because she wants no part in following an order and cooperating. His feet are 2.5 sizes bigger than mine and she’s still obsessed with all things gold.

I love those freaking kids so much and I’m so very excited to see how they grow this school years. But honestly- I’m even more excited for next summer, because summers are the best.

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Rebel Girls

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The interesting part, at least for me, in raising both a boy and a girl is ensuring both my children understand their importance. I want to fully elevate my daughter- I want her to know down to her marrow that she is worthy, intelligent and as capable as any man out there. Period. But, I don’t want to do this at the expense of my son because he is just as worthy, intelligent and capable as any person out there. I struggle with the stereotypes of men as bumbling idiots or hostile assholes only out for one thing just as much as I struggle with any stereotypes of women. They aren’t true and falling back on them is harmful to everyone. I will always support female empowerment, but I firmly believe that empowering women doesn’t mean dragging men down (see the infuriating trend in young girls clothing to promote girls while dragging down boys).

My job, as a parent, is to raise my kids to be empathetic, kind, caring individuals who kick ass and take names at whatever they set out to do.

And yet, girls don’t always feel that way. Did you know that by age 6, most girls feel less smart than boys? At 5, when boys and girls are told a story about a super smart, high achieving person and then asked to share if they think the main character is a boy or a girl, boys picked boy and girls picked girl. At 6, girls thought the main character was a boy because only boys could do those super smart things.

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My kids read in fits and starts, each preferring different genres. But one series they have both have consistently loved over the years is the Who Was? series– biographies on everyone from George Washington to Walt Disney and Harriet Tubman to Sally Ride. Scorch owns a few of these and even now, when he’s between the latest James Patterson book for tweens, he’ll pick one up.

When I first learned about the book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls from a blog I frequent, I was intrigued. A book filled with 100 stories about women in all walks of life—inventors, doctors, dancers, pilots, protestors, abolitionists, writers, artists—complete with illustrations, sounded perfect for my kids. So I ordered them a copy and the book arrived this week.

You guys, I went from intrigued to in love. First, this book is gorgeous. From cover to cover, it’s visually lovely, with a butter soft cover. The stories are short—only a page long per person. I have read some complaints about that, but for me and the kids, it’s the perfect glimpse into each woman’s life, allowing us the freedom to do more research as we see fit. For example, after reading the article on Amelia Earhart we looked up more about her—how she got into flying, what she ate on her flights, how she disappeared and on and on.

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Every night before bed, the Bean reads about 3 or 4 women to Scorch and me. I truly, truly cannot recommend this book enough. It sits in the living room now and I find each kid thumbing through it at least once a day, stopping to read a story when a name or an illustration catches their eye.  I love that the kids are getting exposed to women who have changed the world in such a captivating way—proving in a subtle way that girls are just as smart and capable of just as much.

If you have  grade school aged child in your life- boy or girl- this book is a must.

 

Thankfulness: Snow Days

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When Scorch was a baby, I’d stare at him and wonder how in the world I’d ever love another child. I’d wonder why we’d want to try for another child when the one we had was so utterly perfect. When he was 18 months old, I was rolling around the idea of keeping him an only child semi-seriously in my brain. Then I started to notice my body do some odd things, so on a whim I bought a pregnancy test- never expecting it to be positive. I mean- it had taken us almost 3 years to have Scorch- what were the chances?

When that test came back positive, I remember the sheer panic I felt. What were we going to do? I hadn’t been taking my blood thinners, the secret ingredient needed for me to carry a healthy pregnancy to term! Was I going to love that child as much as I loved my son? I sat on the toilet and cried.

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Clearly the Bean joining our family was the missing the piece- the one that completed our family. I couldn’t even list all the reasons she’s amazing.

But the best part? It’s these two together:

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Especially on a snow day when we’re all stuck home together due to a travel ban.

 

Happy Easter

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EasterFrom our family to yours, I hope you had a joyous and blessed Easter filled with those you love most.

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We had a great, lazy Easter. Early morning mass meant we had all day home and we took full advantage by napping (the Hubs), playing (the kids) and eating chocolate (all of us).  All the chocolate may have contributed the general craziness after dinner tonight. We had at least 3 meltdowns, 2 bouts of hysterical laughter and 1 good fight that had to be broken up. In other words, it was the perfect day.

At bedtime, the kids and I were saying our prayers. We always say the same 3 prayers, then I say a prayer thanking God for all the good things that happened that day and the kids each thank God for specific things. The half hour leading up to bedtime was a disaster so I was rushing through as quickly as possible (like the good Catholic I am). I had just gotten to the part where I was thanking God for our more-or-less great day, when one of my kids (not telling who) piped up with “I just itched my butt and now my finger smells weird.”

God must have been so proud.

Winter Wonderland

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We got our first major snow storm earlier this week. It’s still early enough into winter that I find the snow charming and gorgeous. Don’t worry, Mother Nature will suck that joy out of me soon enough. But for now, it’s picturesque and I love rolling around in it with my kids. Have I mentioned how much fun 6 and 8 year old kids are? Because they are. They are funny, quick and really enjoyable to be around. Too bad I can’t freeze them at this age because I totally would if I could.

SnowLandscapeThe only down side to this weather (you know, outside of the treacherous roads, shoveling and car doors being frozen shut) is Crazy, our dog. She’s 12 years old and refuses to spend longer then 2 minutes outside when it’s 60 and sunny. But give her 28 and snow and she’s a puppy again. That’s her to the left of the Bean in the picture above after a long winter’s romp through the yard.

So my day has been spent today trying to distract the damn dog from wanting to go out over and over and over.  Most of the time I failed because when you’re trying to work from home, a barking dog isn’t exactly a boon to productivity and professionalism.

Here & Now

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There are a lot of things I love about my house (have you met my pantry?), but there are a lot of things I’m not particularly fond of.  Our porch is one of them.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

This is after we powerwashed it into submission.

It is the highest traffic area in my house and no matter what solid stain we put on it every year, it looks like that by summer. It’s annoying and time consuming and generally a giant pain in the butt.

When the kids were little, staining this (and the back porch- same issue, only three times as large!) was The Project of the spring as we could only do it when the kids were sleeping because they’d want to help. And anyone with half a brain knows that “help,” “paint,” and “3 year old” don’t belong in the same sentence.

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My kids finished school this week. Scorch ended a wildly successful 2nd grade year. The year wasn’t without growing pains as he’s had to learn to take on more personal responsibilities and make good decisions (the age old quandary of after-school recess vs homework club tripped him up a few times), but really, he rocked it. I couldn’t be more prouder.  And the Bean? She discovered her love of reading and writing this year as she went through Kindergarten.  She came out of her shell, made a ton of new friends and grew so much!

I seriously can’t believe I have 3rd and 1st graders.

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Tonight was the dreaded night to start staining the decks. We’re doing it later in the year then we normally do and it just can’t wait any more. The Hubs had to work late, so I got a jump start on it. I got a pizza and a movie for the kids and figured that would buy me a good 90 minutes of kid-free time to get this going.

Only the kids didn’t want to stay inside- they wanted to be outside with me.  Of course they did.

I told them they couldn’t help because I was doing the railing (a different coloring then the floor) and I couldn’t afford huge messes. Much to my surprise, they took that news just fine and came outside and played. For 2 hours. Peacefully. They played baseball and kickball and then spent 45 minutes trying to capture moths.

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There are times I miss having a babies and toddlers around so much that I ache. Then there are nights like tonight where I’m too damn busy being thankful for what we have right here to miss anything.

Keeping Him In Check

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There is a lot I worry about when it comes to my kids. I mean, come on- the list is endless when you’re a parent.  I worry about everything from the really serious- illness! drowning! kidnapping!*- to the mundane- sunscreen, bug bites & hurt feelings.  But the one thing I never, ever have to worry about when it comes to Scorch is his ego getting too big thanks to his sister.

Earlier this morning, the kids were getting dressed. They get dressed every morning in the living room (a legacy from when they were too little to dress themselves and I had to keep them corralled).  Today Scorch didn’t have to wear his uniform to school so he was dressing in casual clothes- in this case, a new t-shirt he got for his birthday. Scorch says to Bean: “Did you know my t-shirt says “Mom’s #1 Guy” on it?”  And without missing a beat, Beaner goes: “Did you know I can see your penis? You should cover that up.”  I choked on my tooth paste, I laughed so hard.

The Only Child

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Scorch was, more or less, the only child for the past 48 hours.  Saturday afternoon we shipped the Bean off to my parents so she could spend time with her cousin, Lala. Sunday we went down to my parents in the afternoon for big BBQ where there were 8 kids running around and then last night, the Bean got up every hour for 12+ hours sick with the stomach bug so she more or less slept the day away today.

I was really worried about Scorch during this time. My two are as thick as thieves and I wasn’t sure how he was going to do without his side kick around. Yeah- turned out I shouldn’t have worried. “Mom- this is awesome. There is no one around annoying me AND I don’t have to share a thing.”  Ahh- every 7 year old’s dream.

But y’all- having an only child who isn’t used to being an only is exhausting. The Hubs got the stomach bug too, so it was just the boy and I today trying to avoid as many germs as we could. We played baseball, lacrosse, basketball, lacrosse, more baseball, went to the park, walked through a creek, got ice cream, played more baseball and lacrosse, read multiple chapters in Harry Potter and watched at least 4 episodes of Wizards of Waverly Place. And it was awesome- this kid of mine is an absolute blast, funny as can be and a complete joy 95% of the time (don’t ask about the other 5%)- but boy is he busy!

So now it’s 8:15 and everyone in my house is sleeping. I’m praying the Hubs and the Bean are over this and I’m praying even more that Scorch and I are spared because the last night I need right now is a 12 hour stomach bug. Fingers crossed we all stay healthy…

The Same, But Different

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Before Bean was born, I had a 3D ultrasound. I still remember being struck at how much the child in my belly looked like her big brother.  And when she was born, I was flat out amazed at how much the kids looked alike as babies. When I compare their newborn pictures, I have a very hard time figuring out which kid is which without any context.

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Both kids- hours old. Any guess who’s who?

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Beaner is currently asleep in bed wearing a mismatched bathing suit as PJs. Her bottoms are on completely wrong and her top is at least a size too small for her. Do I care? Not at all.  She’s happy and went to bed without a peep, so I’m happy.

Scorch couldn’t figure out what he thought of the Bean’s sleepwear choices. Part of him thought it was hysterical while the other was slightly perturbed that the natural order of things had been upset. When I asked him if he wanted to wear something wacky to bed, he politely declined, telling me God made PJs for a reason and that was that.

And that right there sums up both my children perfectly!

 

You Learn Quickly, Padawan

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There is nothing that Scorch loves right now more then Star Wars. Nothing.  It’s all he reads about, talks about and watches on TV- he’s obsessed.

And there is nothing Scorch hates more then people getting sick. Freaks him right out.

So when the kids were having a light saber duel earlier and Scorch was beating the Bean pretty badly, she made noises like she was going to puke. Scorch immediately stopped what he was doing and asked her if she was OK. That’s when she pretended to skewer him right through the heart- winning their match.

Scorch was ticked that she’s tricked him, but I was in awe. That little girl is going to rule the world one day.