Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Holiday time!

It is amazing how crazy it gets after Halloween. Time seems to just fly by because we have something going on almost every weekend. Ben has been taking the boys to Queens to visit his mom, sisters and Adrian. It has been a nice break for me and has allowed me to make some improvements around the house. The best part of it is how much my boys love going there. Even little Brody talks about them after he comes home. He also says he is thankful for Diane and Adrian in his prayer. However, he also says he is sorry for them, so who knows what he is thinking. After being out there for Thanksgiving I got a chance to see how much they love being at the house. They knew exactly what they could do and went about their business building a fort a long with stair diving. Luckily Brody hasn't joined in on that one. I am so very thankful that we have Ben's family close by. It is hard to be far away from my family. If we didn't have Ben's side the family near by it would be difficult especially during this time of year. We had a nice intimate dinner with Susan, Gay, Adrian, Diane, and Mitzi. It was nice to all get together. I can't remember the last time we did all have dinner. That is why I love Thanksgiving. It is always about family. There is no pressure of giving the perfect gift it is just a special day that you enjoy family and food.

We have made some changes to the apartment. During the summer Ben painted almost the entire apartment while we were in Seattle. In November I finished it by painting our bedroom. It took me awhile to settle on a color and even when I was painting I was a bit worried. After I was done I loved it. Painting a room green can be tricky but I think I managed to make it look great. Once I started I realized how much work Ben had been through while we were away. I thank God that Kerry was kind enough to help me because I don't think I could have done it without her help. It is amazing how a paint job can make your home look completely different. We put up shelves, cabinets and changed the art work on the walls. I am dying to change the boy's room but I am afraid Brody might not be ready for complete freedom that a big boy bed gives him.

Coolidge started Hockey a few weeks ago. We live very close to a rink in Central Park and his school gave out fliers for this program for free hockey. I didn't think Coolidge would be interested but when I asked he was very excited. So we signed him up and they provided all the kids with the proper equipment. He goes every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30. We figured after one lesson he would say, "I don't really like it," but now we are on our third week and he looks forward to it. Ben said he went from not being able to move on skates to hauling butt. He plays games like red light green light. Right now they are teaching them to skate and listen to instruction. He is dying to play with the puck and stick but I told him it wont be long. He never seems to amaze me by how much energy he has. When he first started school. I thought there was no way we would be able to do an after school activity but now I feel as though I should add another. The boy never tires out. He is just so darn cute in his uniform. He is on the left and Edie is on the right. My little princess Edie is still going like a champ. I know her parents are so proud.

We also found out that a few kids from Coolidge's school will be playing violin at the children's inauguration this January. the children are very excited to play for the new president. It was written up in the daily news if you want to read about it. They offer violin lessons at Coolidge's school and I hope that one day he will want to take lessons also. It was one of the reasons we liked the school. However, Coolidge may not be interested in learning to play. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/12/02/2008-12-02_inauguration_thrill_for_young_violinists.html

Brody has been doing more activities indoors with me lately. The weather has gotten very cold and Brody gets out for an hour at most because he starts to lose it. The poor guy is bundle up like the Michelin man, his nose is runny and fingers are either freezing or stuck in some gloves which keeps him from being able to do anything. He has found the joy of coloring. He used to just scribble one line and then leave. Now he uses more colors and stays for a short while. he loves music so we do some dancing which is a great way for him to burn some energy but his favorite is to run from one room to the next. After Christmas I am dying for the weather to warm up. sometimes it can be brutal.

I went to the Martha show a couple of weeks ago. I meant to get tickets for my mom and I but couldn't get tickets for the days when she would be here. I ended up taking a couple of friends with me. I don't usually like those type of things but I am a huge fan of Martha and thought it would be fun. It turned out to be a lot of fun seeing her in person. I got some free gifts and was even able to ask her a question that I have been dying to ask. If any of you want to know what to do with a cast iron pan that you didn't season right, I now know how to fix it.


My mom is coming to visit for Christmas. We are so very excited to have her with us again. The boys love having her here to play with. I know Coolidge would love to show her his school and all that he has been up to. Beside the fact I love my mom I love the extra pair of hands around. It allows me to do more with my boys and gives me the chance to have quality time with my husband. I only get my mom's help two times out of the year so I take full advantage when she is here or I am there. My mom and I are also great friends so it is nice to have my buddy here.

I also found out this month that two of Ben's childhood friends have wonderful news. Lou and Daisy have a brand new son, Juan Andres. We are so excited for them. There is nothing like becoming parent and we wish them all the best. We also found out that Don is going to be a dad for the second time. He found out that he will be having a baby girl this April. We also wish him and his family all the best.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Hope


As you all know we have a new President, Barack Obama. It has been a long journey. I would have to say that this is the first presidential race I have experienced where so many were passionate. Even my own husband and I disagreed and fought over the issues many times. I wasn't like so many Americans who put complete faith in Obama. I kept an open mind and made sure to listen to the issues all the way up until about a week before I voted. Having done that I also opened myself to many arguments. I honestly think everyone should be an independent like myself. Instead of having two parties we vote primarily on the person and what they stand by. I am sure so many of you have a comment for that and I've heard all the arguments. I have to say that Nov. 4th is a day that I will never forget. From the morning I woke up and looked outside you could see the energy in the air. It reminded me of 9/11. That was different energy, a very sad one, but still a day a sense of urgency was palpable. On that day people looked at one another and embraced each other with their eyes. I felt that same look on the 4th when I stood in line to vote or as I walked past people on the street. NYC is not a warm and fuzzy type of city so when people come together you really feel it. At 11:00pm I sat at my computer and heard honking, screaming and laughing outside. People would stop their cars, get out and yell with such happiness. I sat at my window enjoying a unity I have never experienced up in Harlem. That day I saw in my husbands eyes a look I have never experienced before. As I sit hear writing my experience I am overwhelmed with emotion. I had a hard time choosing who to vote for because I honestly felt both, in their hearts, wanted do a great job. Even before I pulled that lever I prayed that Obama will not let us down. I am proud to say that my son got to go with his dad that day and help make that vote for the first African American President. I know it is something he will tell his children and grandchildren.

We also celebrated Ben's birthday in October. We normally go out and see movie and dinner for his birthday but I don't know what the hell is going on because there are no Oscar type movies out right now. Maybe movie making is on strike and nobody told us. I can't think of a single movie even worth talking about let alone seeing. It was a good thing in the end because we decided to do what we used to do before children. We walked from Chelsea through the village into soho. It was great to have that alone time and talk about all the new shops and get an idea of what we want for Christmas. Ben and I have always loved just hanging out so it was nice to do that for hours without having to worry about being somewhere or doing something. We stopped at a Brazilian restaurant and ate some Delicious food. I know so many of you parents know that when you can get out to eat you want to pick one that you know you will enjoy, so you tend to go to the same restaurants every time. Well we went against the grain and picked one that we have never been to. I am happy to say we were not disappointed, even the drinks were great. Thanks again Nicola for being so great to us.


We also celebrated Halloween. As many of you know Coolidge was the Joker and Brody was a rocker. They both had 2 costumes because Brody was originally a spider but hated having something on his head. So for Halloween I got his leather jacket out and made him a rock star. Coolidge wasn't aloud to be a super hero at school so we made him a costume where he was a NYC street. It was difficult for Coolidge because, to him getting dressed up entails blood and scary faces. However, he did it and he loved that I sewed cars on his outfit. They always get dressed up at least 3 times around Halloween. Between festivals, parties and Halloween we will wear that costume out. Coolidge wishes he could still get dressed up. He told me Halloween is one of his favorite holidays but for some reason he said, "Easter is the Best." I think it is because he loves the hunt for eggs and he gets a prize in everyone. Even Ben and I dressed up this year. We love getting dressed up but always thought we would scare the kids. This year we decided that it would be fun and if Brody got scared I would take it off. However, Brody laughed and enjoyed mommy and daddy having fun with him.

For the first time we went pumpkin picking. After the last venture out of the city being such a big disappointment I decided I need to redeem myself. I found a pumpkin patch in New Jersey only 30 minutes away. We road in a trailer out to the patch and picked out two big pumpkins. The kids just loved it. They got to play in the corn stalks and they had a bunch of Halloween decorations that the kids loved talking about. Coolidge had to pick a pumpkin that had the most scary stem because he wanted his pumpkin to be creepy. He wanted me to carve out a snakes mouth but being a awful artist that I am we agreed on a spider. I at least had a template for that.
I am looking forward to the next couple of months. I love the holidays but I am not excited for the bad cold weather coming our way. The next couple of months are packed full of stuff for us, so I am sure I will have a lot more to write about.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall


Fall is here and as of right now the weather is absolutely the best. It has been sunny and just warm enough that all you need is a sweater and scarf. We have been taking advantage of it and spending a lot of time outside. We took Coolidge to the park last weekend and took his training wheels off. He got the hang of it right away. The only problem is that you can see he is not dying to ride. It is as though he could careless if he rides or not. He is very comfortable running and jumping and he can only do one thing on the bike so what fun is that. I believe that is the only reason he is not riding with ease. He gets mad when I say that but I don't see the desire in his eyes. when we were teaching him to swim this summer you could see the desire and the eagerness to keep improving. It was as if he was learning to ride a bike to make mom and dad happy. I think the one thing that got him back on was me saying remember your cousins riding to the store in sunlakes and how many times you were unable to catch up to them. That seem to put a bit of a fire in his ass.

My girl, Nicola got married recently. I was so excited to see her get married. However, I wasn't eager to go because through the planning she made it seem like it was going to be nothing about her and all about his family. She wanted to elope and his family who is Russian and very traditional was sad that their only child would get married without them there. Nicola was a champ and knew that with getting married you have to comprise so she let them plan the whole thing. I figured we would go have a few drinks eat dinner and be home by 10:30. We barely knew anyone and there wasn't going to be any dancing. I forgot all about that fact that what makes a great wedding is the people. It turned out to be one of the most fun weddings I have ever been to. It took place at an orthodox Armenian church. I have never seen a wedding with so many traditions/rituals. It made you think about marriage and how it all got started. There was only about 28 people and all of us sat at the same table where we ate and drank much vodka. Almost everyone toasted the bride and groom and each time you had to take a shot of vodka. It is safe to say I was on my lips when I left. It was one of the best times I have ever had. I was so happy to see Nicola with such a huge smile and in love. She doesn't have any family here so I have always felt like the only one who watches out for her. I feel at peace knowing that she now has great in- laws who want nothing but the best for her.
Coolidge is having a great time in school. He has made lots of new friends and seems to go in and come out smiling everyday. I thought for sure I would have to beg him to get dressed every morning and then take him kicking and screaming. He never seems to mind going to school and actually looks forward to it. We had some bumps the first two weeks but now he is a champ. I am officially a class parent and have had my first conversation with a crazy parent. I think it is fascinating because all the people I surround myself with are eager to help and be a part of their child's school. This woman had many issues and somehow made it next to impossible to do a simple thing. I am told that this is just the beginning and I am sure there are many of you out their shaking your heads. I have loved the idea of being a part of my child's school and now I am actually helping with one of their fundraisers. I also know from a teachers point of view that they greatly appreciate the help.

Brody has adjusted to his big brother going to school. He no longer cries when he leaves. He loves to give a high fives and picking him up is also something he looks forward to. Brody now has his own play dates with kids around his age. It is nice to be able to spend some alone time with just him. It gets very draining to explain to Coolidge he is only two and to explain to Brody that you can't destroy his brothers constructions. Brody is quite the character. Very often he makes Coolidge and I laugh hysterically. Brody has a best buddy Martin. Recently I have started a babysitting share with his mom, Petra. They love spending time together and it allows us some freedom to get some cleaning/errands done. We just started doing it and so far it has been great.

We went pumpkin picking for the first time this year. It was a little farm right outside the city in New Jersey. We took a hay ride out through the apple orchards. The kids had a great time. Brody was a little nervous on the truck but once he got off he started yelling, "pumpkins!" I had to redeem myself for last weekend's day trip. We went to a festival that was supposed to be an hour away but was more like 2 going there and 1 1/2 coming back. The long journey wasn't the problem. It was supposed to be fun for the family and there wasn't much for the kids to do. We all know that no matter how excited we are to be somewhere if there is nothing for our kids to do it can become sheer torture.


It has been a great month but also a very tragic one. One of my friends pasted away suddenly. He was my friend that was in a horrific accident that I asked you all to pray for. He was doing well for months and was even on his way home to continue his rehab. We all expected a full recovery when he collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. He just wasn't able to make it and will be greatly missed. I appreciate all of your prayers and am asking you to pray for his family who are going through such a difficult time.



Sunday, September 14, 2008

School


We had a great fun filled summer and ended it with our first BBQ in Central park with some of our wonderful friends. You are only allowed to grill in the park 3 times out of the year so we all got together on Labor day with Kerry and Faan's tiny little grill and took turns cooking our meat. I have been living in this city for 12 years and have never grilled because I was too embarrassed to put a barbecue out on the sidewalk like I have seen many people do. I love to walk by and watch those folks but I just couldn't get myself to do it. When I finally found out I could do it in Central Park I rallied the crew and we all hiked with our carts and strollers up the hill for a true urban barbecue celebration. I even bought some marshmallows for the kids to roast. These get togethers have been great for our soul this year. The adults drink wine while the kids run around getting dirty taking turns pulling each other in an old Radio Flyer wagon Jean found abandoned in her building's basement. I know so many wonder how I can live in a tiny little apartment without a yard for my kids, but how many of you have Central Park as your back yard.

Coolidge started Kindergarten the day after Labor day. I was a bit worried about how he would handle it. In the past he has had a hard time going to school. He has always been my little side kick and would prefer being with me most of the time. However he handled it like a champ. He has matured a lot over the last year. He had his moment at the end of the week but he got through it and realized school's not that bad. The only time he gives me a hard time is when they do 'sing along' in the auditorium. He has never been one for group singing. He loves to sing and dance but not with a large group of people he barley knows. Even when he was younger I used to take him to music class and he would cry from beginning to end. I used to get embarrassed until I realized he just doesn't like it. I laughed observing how the other kids handle music class. You have those who sing their hearts out and those who refuse to utter a word. Some thought it was a great time for playing with the kid next them and then you had the kids like Coolidge who sang because you are supposed to, but inside were wishing they were somewhere else. He has made some friends and talks about all the fun stuff they do. He also has a great teacher who is very warm and just the right personality for him. One of my favorite things to do is pack his lunch. I remember as a kid how important lunch was. I always noticed the kids who's parents made it special and whenever you saw something picked just for you it made you feel loved. I can tell this year he really feels like one of the big kids.

We also had our first public school experience. The whole family picked up Coolidge on 9/11 and Coolidge said he wanted to go to the twin towers where there is a roller coaster and the airplanes crashed into them. He said he wants to see all the dead people. After a few seconds of silence I turned to Ben and said, welcome to public school. Ben and I tried to explain to him that the only thing there is a big whole in the ground. Of course he freaked out because he doesn't think we know what he is talking about and started to cry because he believes we just don't want to take him. I am sitting there thinking to myself, why do I have to explain such a horrific story to my son who is only 5? Why do schools feel the need to parent my child? Now I know that there are some kids who have family members who died that day, but my son wasn't even born and doesn't need to know until I think he is ready. I have heard people argue about how they don't agree with what is being taught in school and I always brushed it off like, what's the big deal. I have only had my son in school for two weeks and now I get what they are all fighting about.

Brody has a bit of a hard time when Coolidge leaves for school. He always wants to go with and I haven't brought him because I know it will be hard for Coolidge to say goodbye. Once he gets into a groove I will bring Brody with me but right now I know Coolidge needs the time to himself. Brody has his own playdates now. I love that I get to do that with just him, like I did with Coolidge. Once you have your second it is hard to get alone time with them. When Coolidge was in school last year it was during the time that Brody napped so I didn't get to do much with just him and I. Brody's vocabulary is growing so fast. He is pretty much speaking in sentences. Sometimes I can understand all of it and when he is in a hurry he doesn't use words at all. For the first time he said prayer all by himself without even being asked. He has heard us say it for over a year now and at first he would just say the word thankful. But last night he said, I'm thankful for mommy, daddy, Coolidge and grandma. Both Coolidge and I were in awe. Today he said it with a huge smile on his face. You can see he loves to be a part of the prayer. He also loves to climb and jump. The boy gives me a heart attack on a daily basis. They have a rock climbing wall at our playground and he climbs it with complete ease. He is moving at a faster speed because he wants to be just like his big brother. The two of them keep me on my toes at all times.

I don't know if it is because of this election, but recently I have been asked about being a stay at home mom more than ever. Even by people who barley know me. I really don't understand why it effects people. The interesting thing is that I am never asked by a man. I don't know if it is because women feel guilty for not staying at home or if those who do stay at home want to justify their own reasons. Or maybe they are just curious. I personally have never felt the need to ask another woman how they feel about working or not working. I know why I made the choice and I hate having to explain it. By explaining it I feel as though I have to convince them of my choice. In today's society I feel that a mom can't win. If I stay home I am praised for making the sacrifice but at the same time I am frowned at because poor me doesn't use my brain and has no stimulation. If you work your praised for being so strong but also frowned at for not being there for your family enough. The truth of the matter is the women that I am close to never question my reasons and nor do I theirs. Today I was asked when do I see myself going back to work. I just shrugged because, what answer is expected? What if I don't go back to work? What does that mean? Why do my decisions affect people? I never thought I would want to be a stay at home mom, and when I did work for the first 3 years of Coolidge's life I was often angry. I felt as though I wasn't able to commit myself to fully to either. It made me feel guilty and sad. Once I was done with the job I felt the guilt went away and I was a better person. Women have worked very hard to get to the point of being able to choose to work or stay at home but yet we don't accept each others choices. I am happy with my life and the day I am not happy is when I will change my choices. Maybe that is how I should answer the next time someone asks me when I will go back to work. Or, maybe I'll just fart in their direction. I'll play it by ear.






Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Seattle Summer



This year Coolidge, Brody and I spent 5 weeks in Washington. I extended our stay because the thought of spending any time in the hot august heat here in NY was unbearable. Ben joined us for the last couple of weeks just in time to celebrate my 36th birthday. Christie celebrated with us and we tasted some wine at a couple of wineries. The wine was great and we ended it with lunch over at the brewery. It sounds like we are a bunch of lushes but in reality we just wanted to be where no kids were allowed and enjoy a great buzz.

However before Ben got there we spent about 5 days in Seattle hanging out with my mom and most of my time with Aj and her girls. It was great to hang with them and Coolidge and Brody just loved playing with Lil, Maya, Harley and swimming in the pool. Coolidge is my little nature boy who thinks Maxine's home is all a person could need. He loved that he could pick some vegetables out of her garden, eat some plums from her tree, ride Harley, swim in her pool and end the day with some relaxation in her hot tub. Brody fell in love with Harley and still talks about him every time he sees a horse. And as you can see he makes an adorable cowboy. It was very hard to schedule our vacations with the Cochran's but I couldn't imagine our families not getting together every year.

We also spent a week in a place called Sun Lakes. We have been going almost every year since Coolidge was one. It is something that him and his cousins look forward to every year. I have to say it was a rough year for me. The weather was amazing, I was well organized, I just wasn't prepared for 9 year old vs 5 year old politics. I know that a lot of you parents understand how your adult brain gets in the way and instead of letting them deal with their battles you handle it for them. Well I felt like I spent most of my vacation stopping a fight or comforting my son who felt left out. Sometimes that can be more work than it is worth. I told my family that I wasn't going next year but I am already changing my mind so who knows. I went on these type of vacations my whole life and now I am getting a chance to see it through my parents eyes. I appreciate them more an more as my kids get older.

It is amazing how our families have changed over the year on these vacations. I remember when Christie was the only one with a kid and now all four of us girls have kids ranging from 11years to 8 months old. We each had our issues and we all tried to support and help the other when we could. Even though there was some rough moments there were quite a lot of funny times. Watching the kids and the big boys do the slip and slide was quite hilarious. We each got moments of rest and we also had one night where we had to feed the whole group dinner. We spend a lot of time planning the trip and it always seems to all work out. We used to take up 2 cabins and now we rent out at least 5. Next year I think it will be six. It is amazing to see how our families have changed. This year was different because Christie and I didn't have our husbands there. Brandi's husband Jeremy, who has been in Iraq for six months, was able to join us and had some great stories of what he has been through and witnessed. Lindsy was without her guy and so it was our first year of girls needing to come together because we didn't have the extra help. Jeremy did a great job in getting the kids together for a baseball game which was quite the highlight for all of them. Growing up I couldn't wait to take my kids on vacations just like this and now my kids are making memories with my siblings kids. It is amazing to watch the mini versions of us play and interact with family.

When we got back from Sunlakes my cousin Kiera came to visit with her little cutie patootie Ari. She spent 5 days with us and Coolidge and Brody just loved to have another rug rat to mess up Grandma's house. Coolidge prides himself on taking care of Ari and making him smile. He even helped my mom dislodge a band aid out of his throat. Everybody made a big fuss about it and Coolidge loved all of the attention. He would ask to baby sit him and it was interesting to see what he considered watching him. My cousin Kiera never seems to amaze me. She flew all the way from Nevada with Ari and then proceeded to take a bus from Seatac to my mom's house in Kenmore. All those Washington folks are reading this saying, oh my she's crazy. However, I know that's Kiera. Even though my mom and I said we would pay for her shuttle back to the airport she insisted on taking the bus back. Ari will be more worldly than most adults before he even turns 18. Nothing stops her and I can't wait to see where she takes her life once she gets her feet moving.

We also got to spend a lot of time with Cindy, Eric, Keelan and Skylar. I usually only get to see them twice maybe three times, but this time we got some good quality time together. I think this was the first year that Keelan and Coolidge really played together and enjoyed each others company. I am shocked it took this long but great to see them really get one another. I was also so excited to see what Cindy had been working on. I can't really write about it now because she is still under the process of getting all the kinks worked out. I have no doubt that she will blow up and I can't wait to see how it all plays out. It is so great to see your family and friends doing well and feeling good about there life. I have known Cindy for a long time. It never seems to amaze me that I played with Cindy when I was 10 years old and now I am watching her kids play with mine.

I was also lucky that Erin planned her trip during the same time we were there. It was the first time I got to meet Nicholas and I don't think I have seen Zachary for at least 2 years. Zachary has gotten so big and had a great time paddle boating with Coolidge, Henry and Kendal. Nicholas is just a little sweety. As much as the little guy has been through you would never know from his big smile and laughs. Even though they live on the East coast we never seem to see each other until we both fly 3,ooo miles to our home town. This vacation was well spent seeing family and I still wish I had a chance to see more.

The focus of this summer was definitely spending time with family and friends. We made many trips out to Christie's house and stayed for 2 - 3 days here and there. Coolidge just adores Kendal and Henry and having slumber parties in sleeping bags had to have been one of the biggest thrills. He stayed up until after 11:00pm many nights acting like a big kid. I worried he wouldn't get enough sleep and have major meltdowns the next day but every day he handle it and seeing his smile laying between his two cousins made it all worth it. It was great hanging at Christie's house. Henry worked hard and put up a beautiful deck with a hot tub. The kids would run to the pool jump into the freezing water and then run back to warm up in the hot tub. Brody kept calling the hot tub his bath. Luckily Christie would keep it cool enough so Brody could do circles around it until he pruned up.
It has been a great summer and I am looking forward to some fall weather and the holidays. I hope you all had a great one also.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Vacation

We just got back from a two week vacation with my mom. My mom came into town and a few days later we drove to Galloway, New Jersey and stayed at the Marriott. It was our second time vacationing there so we knew what to expect. It is a great place that is geared towards families. They have large suits that are bigger than my apartment and all sorts of activities for the kids to participate in. I don't think there was a single moment that the kids got bored. My favorite thing was the enclosed patio and Ocean City. I love being able to sit and eat without a single bug around. I also love the boardwalk. It has everything you could need plus more. I took Coolidge on his first go kart ride. It reminded me of how I used to do it with my dad. I am looking forward to when Coolidge can drive his own. The one bad part of staying in Galloway was the Greenhead flies. I have never experienced such a persistent bug in my life. They bite and it hurts. I had one sit on me and continue to suck blood from my leg. They are not like a typical fly that sits on you and moves off when you move. They get on your skin and with in a moment you have a bite that feels like someone stuck you with a pin. The worst part was there isn't any repellent that works on them. They also for some reason liked wet skin more than dry. I have never dried myself so fast after getting out of the pool. These bugs put quite a damper on our trip but didn't ruin it.

After we stayed there for a week we drove on to the Poconos, Pennsylvania. It was our first time there and we had no idea what to expect. It was hard to go from a 5 star hotel to a 1 star. We also went from a large 2 bedroom fully equipped villa to tiny one bedroom apartment. I can go on and on about the bad things at Mount Laurel Resort but I don't care to re-live it. There were some things we really enjoyed. They were owned by a place called Split Rock and it had a great lake equipped with an outside bar and activities. We spent most our time there swimming and watching Coolidge catch baby catfish and a crawdad. We were enjoying the outdoor life without having to sleep in tents. We took nature walks almost everyday to see the rabbits, groundhogs, and chipmunks. I even managed to get away for a horseback ride. Thank God there were no green headed flies but there were some black flies that would bite here and there. This vacation reminded me of the movie, "Vacation." I laughed more and did more cheesy touristy things than I have ever done on any trip. We even went to check out the World's largest General store. They failed to mention that it burnt down so it wasn't as impressive as I hoped it to be.

Ben and I celebrated our 7th anniversary on this trip. We went to Atlantic city and had dinner at Wolfgang Pucks restaurant. We had a great time eating drinking and we even lost a bit of money. Atlantic city is quite a dump but the hotel that we dined at was beautiful. It doesn't feel like we have been married 7 years. I have been with Ben for almost 11 years and I just love hanging with him no matter where we are. I am very lucky to have met someone that gets me.


I also want to share some wonderful news. My girl, Nicola is engaged. I have never seen her so happy with someone and Gleb is a great guy. I wish them all the best and can't wait to see them get married.

I am off for another vacation in few days. I am taking the kids to Seattle for 5 weeks. I am extending it a week this year because I want to fly home with my mom. As many of you know Ben didn't get into the DGA. He worked very hard and I am very proud of him. I never thought they wouldn't take him because if you know Ben like I do, you know he is born to work in film. However, I guess they didn't get a chance to see that in his last interview. That is why I planned to fly home with my mom. I thought he would be working very hard and I could use the help with the boys. Ben is still working hard to get into the film business so don't be too sad because he doesn't have his head buried in a pillow. I appreciate all your prayers and good thoughts.

My friend John is doing well. He has said some words and they even moved him out of ICU. He has had quite a bit of movement and showing affection. The last I heard they put him back in ICU because his chest infection has returned. I can't thank you enough for all your prayers and I am asking to please continue to add him to your daily prayers. I believe that next to his huge will to live that your prayers have been the reason for his great recovery.




Saturday, June 21, 2008

Busy Busy Busy!

We have had a crazy few weeks. I took a trip to Vegas without my boys for about 4 days. It was a great trip but I didn't rest enough. The room had a horrible bed and Christie and I were placed next to a family with screaming kids. It was quite ironic and very comical. Even though I was sleep deprived I had a great time drinking, eating, sitting by the pool, gambling and I even got some dancing in. However, next year I plan to make my long weekend trip all about resting and pampering myself.

When I got back I was in full throttle with my kids. Coolidge graduated from Preschool. It is amazing that a whole year has gone by. I think that once they are in school the year actually goes by even faster. He is very happy to end the year. He is looking forward to some summer activities. He liked school a lot in the beginning but I think half way through the novelty wore off and he said it was boring. I also went to the orientation of his next school and got a chance to find out what they will be doing next year at Central Park East I. It will be a long day for him but I think he will adjust. I was such a proud mama seeing my little Coolidge wearing a cap and singing a song at his graduation. He is so grown up. He wouldn't give me any eye contact because each time he saw me smiling all he wanted to do was laugh. So, he just avoided me all together. Not many kids get to graduate in a famous cathedral like St. John the divine. It was so beautiful to sit in the pews with stained glass windows, watching my 5 year old sing.

After all this school process I am happy that it is over. We applied to private schools. Which we had to have him tested. Then we decided to enter the lottery through our district which if you wanted to get him in Gifted and Talented then you need to have him tested again. The idea of testing a 5 year old just makes me laugh. He had no idea he was being tested. He was told he would do some activities and answer some questions. I taught him how to sit and listen to the question and then fill in the dot to the answer. We got the results about a month ago and he scored 99%. I was told that is the best you can do. I was amazed he did that well but not shocked because he concentrates well and is good at problem solving. When I realized he scored so high I felt I should try and get him into Anderson. Anderson is a gifted and Talented school. It was not a school that I loved but it is a great school. I don't love it because I am not a big fan of gifted and talented and feel that all is does is separate kids that are excelling at the same rate from those who are below their level and struggling to catch up. I don't for a minute think that because my son scored 99%, he is smarter than the other kids in his class who scored lower. I think Coolidge probably had a good day that day. Anderson gives there kids homework 4 days out of the week which consists of at least 15 minutes to 20 a day. I know my son and 15 minutes would be more like 30 and it would be like pulling teeth. He doesn't really care to go to school and homework is going to be a huge chore. I am a firm believer that kids don't need homework until the 3rd grade and after school should concentrate on playing. We just received the news that he didn't get a place at Anderson and part of me is glad. It is a beautiful school full of very involved parents, which makes it quite desirable. The whole process has been very grueling but quite educational. The good news is that I don't have to go through it again with Brody. When it comes time for middle school I will be pretty prepared.

We just celebrated Coolidge and Brody's birthday. Cool turned 5 and Bro Bro turned 2. We had a party in Central Park over on the great hill. It is one of Coolidge's favorite places to hang. Coolidge had a blast but Brody had the birthday blues. When planning the event I didn't take into consideration that it might be too much for a 2 year old. We had a great group of friends come and celebrate with us and even though I was sweating profusely during the whole thing it was all worth it in the end.





I recently about a few months ago started a chore chart for Coolidge where he does about 6 different tasks and earns a dollar every week. I started the chores because I was tired of him asking to get something every time we would walk into a store. I thought if he earned his own money then he could spend it whenever he wanted something. I have to say I am amazed what he has learned from the whole process and thought I would love to share it on my blog. The first time Coolidge earned 8 dollars we went to target and he brought his wallet with him. He picked out a toy that cost exactly 8 dollars and when we got to the check out and he realized he would have to spend all his money and began to get very sad. Because he had a target gift card for $10 he didn't have to spend his money this time. However, he didn't forget what that felt like. The second time we went to target it took him forever to find something under $9 that he wanted. when he finally picked something, he struggled with the idea that he would have to use all his money. I finally compromised with him and told him I would pay for half. He likes the idea of having money in his wallet. When we left and went to a restaurant to eat, Coolidge opened his toy and within 5 minutes it broke. He was devastated and said to me that he was so upset because he spent his money on it. I was surprised that he put that together and how much he is learning. He knows what he has to do to make this money and he also knows if he doesn't do all his chores he loses money. One week Coolidge threw many tantrums about cleaning up so I gave him marks on his chart every time and at the end of the week he lost .25cents. It wasn't a huge impact until the end of the week when I only gave him 3 quarters instead of a dollar. He was devastated and to this day it doesn't take much to get him to do his chores. One day he decided he was going to make some money for Brody to have in his wallet. With his crayons he drew the 8 separate dollar bills and then cut them all out for Brody. He told me now Brody has some money to spend. I explained to him that Brody can't really spend that money because it is pretend. He got very upset and said he didn't understand because he made the money for him. I realized that I had told him that daddy has to make money in order for us to spend it. He is very literal and I had to laugh. I explained that the government makes the money and we have to earn it by going to work and doing a job just like his chores. I still can't believe how a simple chore chart to get him to stop pestering me has taught him many lessons.

Brody is growing up faster than I would like. He is already trying to ride Coolidge's scooter. He loves to break dance and will bust a move whenever music is on. He showed all his moves in the store from a hip hop frog. He got his first goose egg on his forehead because he is such a daredevil who dives off the couch. He is talking more and more and tries to tell you a whole sentence but only one word is recognizable. He is already walking to the park pushing his mini stroller and wants no help when crossing the street. He is very stubborn just like his mom.



I am sad to say that my friend John Bishop is not out of the woods yet. Thank you all so much for your prayers and please, please continue to pray for him. He has made improvements but still needs your support.