Sunday, June 29, 2014

16 Days of Summer Vacation - Day 1

I have been looking forward to our annual summer vacation since February 1 (give or take a few days). Each year, we take about 2 weeks in Newport just to recharge, energize, get to know our kids and ourselves a little better.
I'd love to say that we just wing it and go with the flow. But who are we kidding - I'm a planner and end up putting some good thinking into each day's activities. That's not to say we don't wing it based on weather or temperament. And there are givens that happen each day - reading, napping, running or biking of some sort. We're also looking forward to great family and friend visits throughout the time we're here.

Each year, we've discovered new things on island and near by to do and have incorporated them in to the plan. I also try to do some special things - 1:1 with each of the kids as well as some time for Dave & I and some (a tiny bit!) just for me.

For me, one hope is that I can log each of our days - not so much for everyone else's benefit, but more for our family and family history.

Day 1: 

Saturday June 28 - Beach Babies!

What's a better start to vacation than hitting the beach. We loaded Sophia, our neighbor Danielle (our new 8 year old friend who's up for the month visiting her aunt next door) and I into the car with the beach stuff. Dave & Theo trucked off in the stroller for the beach by way of a run.

We met up with new summer friends Alex and her kids Avery & Crosby. The girls met a few weeks ago and hit it off swimmingly. It actually feels like it gets easier the more kids around!
Danielle is virtually a mother's helper, playing with Sophia and the other girls and engaging Theo too.

Here's a shot of the girls in action doing a sanding of Sophia!

And posing for a little snuggle time:

It was a great day full of building, playing in the water, eel hunting and rock climbing. We had lunch on the big rock (no pictures yet - maybe on another day) and headed home with some tired, sunbaked kiddos and parents.

After some recharge time, we headed out to St. Barnabas for their annual carnival. We've driven past it every year, but this year decided the kids were just the right age for it! They rode all the rides - Danielle & I rode the 2 "adult rides" - one of which brought me back to the Gravitron that I used to love in high school.
We wrapped the night with a little photo booth action!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Theo's Getting Some Words

It's been a long time coming - maybe because he's the second child, maybe because the first child doesn't let anyone get a word in edgewise. Maybe because he's a boy, or maybe because he just hasn't felt the need to. Or maybe we don't give him the same attention that we gave Sophia. Who knows?

Slowly but surely, he's getting some words. Theo has never had problems communicating - he picked up signs easily and uses them often. He also is a determined little cuss, and will do anything he sets his mind to. We've had a speech therapist working with him for the past 6 months and she's been great. If nothing more, the hour we spend together each week is simply time just for him to practice and learn without his "spokesperson" Sophia.

Here's his recent word list:

Fee-A (Sophia) - this was new this week and so exciting!
Ma Bun

I'm sure there are a few more, and he learns and practices more each day. We're getting there day by day, sound by sound. And we couldn't be prouder!

Teachable Moments

They say that with children, everything can be a teachable moment - to help mold and shape the people they will become. And some believe everything should be a teachable moment. As a parent, I am coming to realize that I have influence and guidance to offer, a responsibility to keep them safe, the opportunity to teach, but that they need the ability to learn. Their amazing personalities, capacities and free will inevitably shine through and guide them.

What I was a little slower to realize is that the teachable moments are just as much for me as they are my children. As in, they teach me how to be a parent. In every day, every moment at their tender young ages, they embody the best characteristic one could ever ask for: Forgiveness.

You see, I'm just as new at being a parent as they are at being a child. I'm learning just as much every day as they are. They may make a mistakes: not share with each other, tip the cup up too far and dump water everywhere, stay awake later out of sheer excitement of what today held or tomorrow may hold. And often, I make mistakes: force them to share as opposed to letting them work it out, get exasperated about another mess to clean up or frustrated that she won't go to sleep because I know she'll be a zombie the next day and fragile like china.

And those mistakes often make me yell, be crabby or just downright annoyed. And I work, day after day, time after time, to hold it together. But I'm human.  I'm not perfect - no matter how many blog posts, articles or tips I read on how to be a zen like parent - it doesn't always happen. And I feel badly, when I yell, when I'm short, impatient or just frustrated. Because (most of the time) I know nothing is being done intentionally.

After some tears, some cooling off walks, or some deep breaths, I learn my lesson. The best lesson of all: Forgiveness. It comes in different forms: Snuggles. Kisses. Or an offer of a bunny snack. What ever it is, I'll take it, appreciate it and learn from it.