Wednesday, April 30, 2014

White House Egg Roll - Take 3

I love attending the White House egg roll. If tickets were still available by camping out, I'd be dragging my tent down for the night. This is, admittedly, a different opinion than most folks I know (including Ed!). My enthusiasm for the event has rubbed off on Connor and Helen.

While we were waiting in line for the egg roll, I told the story about Helen basically thinking the task of rolling an egg across 8 feet of lawn was an exercise in ridiculousness back in 2012. Connor was thrilled that he had launched his egg across the lawn. Helen decided that this year, all bets were off. She was racing Connor to the finish.

First, they lined up.

Connor gave a huge flick to his egg, and launched it nearly to the finish.

But Helen was catching up!

And in the end, they were both thrilled with their slightly broken eggs, impressed by the large trash can of broken eggs that was at the finish.

Helen owned the obstacle course this year - flashing her fancy cowboy boots as she hopped over a little obstacle.

Connor was most pleased by the boat he built in the science experiment area. The first boat sunk, but the second one not only floated, it was able to carry a cup of beans around the pond. The volunteers working that booth were exceptionally nice and Connor had a great talk with them about the failed project and what might make things work better.

By the end, we were exhausted and hungry - so we snagged our commemorative wooden eggs and headed home.

That marked the official end of the Easter season in our home.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Will Run for Yogurt

 On the last Friday of spring break, I knew I'd be hard pressed to squeeze a run in. So I decided to host a kids' run for my running group. Since school was out of session, I figured the normally busy track at the nearby high school would be close to empty - and luckily, I was right.

Since Connor and Helen are basically reliable people - and definitely not the kind of kids that would just leave the track, I was able to race Connor around for a while, while Helen hung out with other kids, and then I ran a couple of laps with her as well.

After most of the kids were a little bit tired, I pulled out a box of fresh, homemade cookies and some YoBaby and YoToddler pouches. Connor was naturally skeptical about the new yogurt delivery device. I was able to coax Helen into trying one. The younger children at the event gulped them down like they'd been given the gift of a lifetime. I have to admit that most of the moms opted for the cookies.

During one of my laps, Connor and Helen opted for more of a track-and-field event in the sand at the end of the track, rather than joining me. Who knew high school students had so much cool stuff at their disposal?

Although Stonyfield claims these pouches are "no mess", Connor somehow managed to make a huge mess with one of them at the Science Fair this past weekend. I wouldn't have thought it possible - but his skepticism at the packaging combined with an ability to squeeze packages that shouldn't be squeezed combined into a mess. Hopefully, that was a one-time experience.

Cheers for the track! Cheers for Stonyfield!


This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

First swim of the season!

This past weekend, it was over 80 degrees. And for Helen, that meant exactly one thing. It was time to go swimming.

So she got the hose, filled up a little plastic crab sandbox we have, and went for a little dip. She dumped a small amount of water into the lid of the crab, to try and warm it up. Unfortunately, it was still freezing cold.

Clearly, she is crazy.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Playing on the Carpet

Helen and I spend most Friday afternoons together. A few weeks ago, we built a puppet show using many of the silks we have dyed together. Helen must be a little wiser than I give her credit for, because at one point, she covered our spring display with a carpet of snow.

This story was about a King and Queen who lived in a castle. The castle was surrounded by water. Beyond the water was a beautiful meadow, full of flowers that bloomed during the show. There was also a little pond and a dirt bank. At one point, the scene was covered with a white cloth as it snowed.


Yes, it snowed a bit.

Helen performed the show in a ridiculous wig that she purchased with her OWN MONEY. (Thank you, Grandpa Rodney for the shiny $10 bill you gifted Helen the last time you were in town. It's been burning a hole in her pocket for a while now.

I had the opportunity to sit with Helen's assistant teacher (whom she adores) this past Friday morning at a class potluck and Mrs. M. told me about a day that Helen and her friend G. had the whole class entranced in a puppet show they had created. There sat twelve children, watching these two girls. Only one child had a cell phone that beeped in the middle of the performance, and he was quickly escorted out of the show by a police officer. The rest of the audience thought that was hilarious.

I'm going to miss these days next year.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cherry Blossoms - 2014

It wouldn't be spring in DC if we didn't head down to the tidal basin for a picnic. Last year, we biked down to the tidal basin for the first time as a family of 4 (Ed and I did this plenty of time in our pre-kid days). I remember Helen waving to everyone whose attention she could get as she sat perched atop the trailer bike. Connor, on the other hand, was working pretty hard as it was the longest bike ride he'd ever taken.

Because Arlington is higher up than DC, the route to the tidal basin is largely downhill. So last year, we took the metro home, to avoid all the hills. This year, we went for it - and CONNOR MADE IT! Up all the hills! He would cheer or let out a little whoop when he got to the top. At one point, two adults nearly made him fall as they stopped riding, mid-hill, with no warning. But Connor was able to weave around them and pedal all the way up.

Bravo, Connor! Next year, hopefully we'll get Helen on her own bike, rather than on the back of Ed's!

Welcome, Spring!


Monday, April 7, 2014

Play Ball!

Helen tends to prefer crafting over running. She can string beads for hours, but ask her to play soccer and she'll pretend to play by standing in front of the goal and deeming herself the goalie. In part, I think this stems from the competition in the house. Who wants to be constantly outdone by a big brother?

I'm not exactly sure how Ed did it, but someone he convinced Helen to try girls' softball. She attended a clinic with girls ranging from Kindergarten through grade 3, and that about made her throw in the towel. We talked her off the ledge by explaining that the third grade girls were on different teams.

During Helen's first practice, which I note was held when it was cold enough outside that Connor's team opted to skip practice (good for me, as I had one fewer places to get a child to that night), the head coach's older daughter played first base. Helen walked out of practice excitedly reporting they had a THIRD GRADE GIRL on the team - which obviously a ringer, and obviously good news. She was a little disappointed when she learned the third grader wasn't a permanent part of the team.

She's tougher than she thinks. And she can stare down anyone.

Practices were rained and snowed out and finally, Saturday arrived, and it was game time. Helen was nervous before the game, noting they'd only practiced once. Ed and I assured her that the coaches would tell her what to do. And really, Helen has no idea, but she has absorbed a lot about baseball over the past three years. She's in great shape.

The game went off without a hitch. Helen played hard, hit the ball off the tee, and ran straight down the line. One of the assistant coaches spent a lot of time with her, which really made her feel good about what was going on.

My heart melted at the end of the game. We were leaving and Helen exclaimed "That was awesome!".

Indeed, Helen. You go girl.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another season...

Connor's soccer team used to be terrible. Some shuffling of players, combining of various squads, and general improvement seem to be paying off. Last fall, they made it to the play-offs and were third. But the team typically struggles in spring because most of the boys choose to play baseball instead. Only a few of the boys play both. Connor is one of those boys. It likely stems from Ed and I loving baseball, but Connor really enjoys soccer.

I missed most of today's game. I had attended an impromptu baseball practice in the morning in lieu of a canceled game. Then I went to Helen's first softball game (more on that, next). After lunch, I went on a 6 mile run to take down signs I had posted for a sale that took place earlier in the day. By the time I got to soccer, there wasn't a ton of time left.

But timing is everything, because as soon as I was in view of the field, Connor got right in the middle of the action and launched the ball away from the goal his team was defending, toward another member of his team. "Bravo! I shouted." And several of the moms applauded my very timely entrance.

And then the moms went on to tell me that Connor had actually been good that day. Now, none of these women would ever say anything negative about Connor's play, but there's no doubt he is not the star of the team. What he lacks in talent, he makes up for in enthusiasm though, and this is a pretty important characteristic for Connor - since typically he doesn't get that excited about anything that's not in a Minecraft video game.

I have often said what I love about soccer is that there are enough levels of play - that everyone should end up where they belong. The very best boys go play on travel soccer teams. They are truly awesome. We had a boy bound for travel soccer on our team once, and it seemed as if any time his foot touched the ball it went into the goal. It was amazing. He was singlehandedly (or signlefootedly, as the case may be) beating other teams. The coach had to implement rules like "no scoring - just passing" for this guy. By the time you get to rec league, you basically have a team of school friends that just want to play.

Today, though, it seems that Connor wasn't just the captain of cheer for the team. Instead, he chased down another player who was heading for a goal, stole the ball, and got it turned around. I saw several clean passes he made. One of the moms came and asked Connor if he had drunk "soccer juice" for breakfast.

It was really fun to watch. The coaches each made a point of telling Connor about some nice play he had made.

The best moment of the game was when a boy on our team managed to in-bounds a ball, get it straight to the open player, who kicked the ball hard - and right into the goal. A last-second goal which tied the game. No, Connor was not either of those players, but the whole game was filled with boys kicking the ball to their teammates in a timely manner and really playing with joy.

I hope it's the start of a really fun season.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Fool's Day

I think Helen was the April Fool's victor yesterday. She started on March 31 by taping the light in the refrigerator so it stayed turned off. I casually mentioned to Ed that the light was broken and it was making Helen nuts. By the time Helen and I got home from Connor's soccer practice, Ed and both bulbs out of the refrigerator and was preparing to replace them.

The next morning, on April Fool's Day, Helen told the parent who was taking her to school that they were going to the park (which they do on Wednesday), not school - hadn't he gotten the message? She's reliable enough that he probably did believe her, though maybe he was just playing along.

Then, according to Helen, she told her classmates at school "your shoe is untied" followed by "April Fool's".

Not bad for a 6 year old.

Connor got a couple of jokes in, Ed got one in on Connor, and our au pair had paper fish hidden in all sorts of crazy places, which made for a lot of laughs as Connor and Helen discovered them. I have a feeling we'll be finding them for a few days!

I sent Ed into a panic at work, which I thought was pretty good since I had told him earlier in the day I had a trick planned.

All in all, a good start to SPRING! May it officially be here. (It snowed on Sunday. A part of me started sobbing when I saw it. But since Monday it has been SUNNY!)