Thursday, May 30, 2013

A lovely new chapter

I love this new stage in the parenting journey.  Today I had to leave the house for an hour and I was able to leave the kids by themselves -- no babysitter!  I told them to clean up the kitchen and do the dishes and then give each other violin lessons while I was gone - -and they did! 

Then, after I got home, we all went to the pool on our bikes – everyone on his or her own bike!  No more bike trailer, no more training wheels… it’s getting so easy.  Now if I can just get the last little guy to swim, we’ll be all set….

Miles spent the whole time at the pool sitting on the steps, too scared to go any deeper.  Then later back at home he had this conversation with Strider:

M:  Why are you wearing that Speedo to swim practice?
S:  It makes me swim faster.
M:  Well, can you tell Daddy when he comes home that he should get me a Speedo so I can go faster?
S:  Miles, you don’t even swim!
M:  Well…. I can go faster on the steps!

Anyway, now that we don't need the bike trailer (which I bought at a yard sale for $10 years ago) anymore, it has quickly been turned into a variety of things.  Among them:  a "Camaro bomber"(whatever that is), a mail delivery truck, a horse, a helicopter, and a train.

It's a new chapter for everyone!

Monday, May 27, 2013

USNA graduation

The day started early and cold.  As time went on, it got later, but now warmer.  It did get rainier and windier.  So... not ideal conditions to sit in an open stadium for over 4 hours.  Nevertheless, the ceremony was thrilling and inspiring -- and did I mention, cold?

President Obama was the commencement speaker, after the Superintendent of the academy, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Governor of Maryland -- quite a line-up!  Of course, by the time it was Obama's turn, Colsen desperately needed to go to the bathroom, which we should have expected.  (It was around this time that Pete and I were again congratulating ourselves on our wise decision to leave 2 children in Charlotte.)

Anyway, the speakers were all good (the parts we heard), and we loved hearing the new Navy and Marine officers take their oaths. What admirable young people!

Some pictures:

It was cold!  We looked a little silly in our hats.

Cole and his godfather
 Finally, the long procession started.  Here comes Andrew!
President Obama taking the stage

Andrew getting diploma

Now came the part the kids had been waiting hours for -- getting to run onto the field to collect a "cover" that had been thrown!  Colsen and Strider both found hats that had money in them, and notes.  Very cool tradition.

The Econ guys

After the ceremony, Andrew's sponsors put on an amazing party at their newly renovated home near the harbor so we were able to meet some of his classmates and friends.

It was a great day of celebration -- even if it felt like November instead of the end of May!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Annapolis Trip

 This past week 4 of us went to Annapolis for Andrew's graduation/commissioning week, and 2 of us (Rayna and Miles) went to Nonna and Poppa's for fun adventures there.   Traveling with just 2 kids was so much easier!  We missed R and M, but I think we all -- including them -- had a better time with these arrangements.

Anyway, it was great to see the extended Frank family in Annapolis, and to visit the USNA yard again.  We love it there!

Colsen checking out the formation

 Last time I was at this stadium, I was 9 months pregnant with this guy!  It was fun having him next to me this time.

Andrew was our willing tour guide

 We were able to watch the big parade on Thursday morning:

 This was our vantage point for most of the time (the rear), so the big viewing excitement centered on counting how many of them passed out and had to be dragged to the back and taken to shade.  Apparently it was much fewer than average this year.  Strong class, 2013!

In the afternoon, we walked into town and did some browsing and ice-cream eating, and then for dinner we headed back to the house Laurie had rented (which was in an awesome location -- right next to the stadium).

 Thursday evening was very nice.... Friday evening was frigid.  We found ourselves huddled around a patio heater that night during the graduation party.  But I'll write more about that day tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, we had a big, fun, family time this week!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What the little guys have been up to

Strider's been off with his GateWay guys, baseball team and swim team, and Rayna's been going to dance practices and tea parties, but Colsen and Miles have been largely hanging around the house.

  Or, in Colsen's case, hanging ON the house.  This is one of his new favorite perches.  He somehow scales the wall to get to the top, which definitely startled me the first couple of (dozen) times.

Miles, meanwhile, is trying to assume more and more control responsibility around here.  For example, every day he races out to get the mail before anyone else can.  It's a bit of an ordeal since he has to drag a step-stool out to the street each time.  But he persists....

.... and brings me the mail.

Most of it anyway.

He also recently used a similar method to take a hot 9 x 13 pan out of the oven (because he thought it was done -- thankfully he used potholders!) -- and then dropped it on the floor.

Such a "helper!"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Girl time this year

This past week we hosted a little afternoon tea for the girls' group that Rayna has been in this year.  The girls got all dressed up and we talked over some rules of etiquette and played a few "parlor games" -- on the patio since we don't have a parlor.

It's been a few fun few months with this group.  The girls range in ages from 7 to 14, and they've all been very supportive and kind to one another.  Each time we met we did something different -- learned how to cross-stitch, talked about pet care, tie-dyed t-shirts, made Valentine cards, etc.

We've been thankful for these girls and hope the group will continue next year!