Sunday, March 30, 2014

I've Waited Weeks To Write This Post

On Saturday, it was finally warm enough (and I do mean "enough") to go outside and play.  I've been waiting months for this exact moment.

Josie wore the roller blades that she got for Christmas.

She cruised up and down our driveway, listening to the music provided from speakers that Henry set up in the play-yard.

The whole thing reminded me of Olivia Newton John circa 1980.

Xanadu, anyone?

Henry got out his lacrosse pole (and shorts, which were silly as it wasn't THAT warm) and threw some lacrosse balls against the kickback wall.

The sun wasn't out and it wasn't particularly pleasant outside, but AT LEAST it wasn't freezing and it wasn't snowing.  

I was just so happy to have these two kids out of the house.

I feel like we've all been stuck in the house for months.

Oh.  That's right.  We HAVE been stuck in the house for months.

We haven't spent nearly enough time making noise and bothering our neighbor from our play yard.

It's high time we remedied that.  

Because you never know when the snow will come next!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Block Island

I had some business to take care of on Block Island this week, so Henry (who is on spring break) joined me.  It was my first time backing the car up onto the ferry and I'm proud to say that I successfully did so without even once driving the car into the ocean.  

Thank you, thank you very much.

Our original plan had been to go to the island on Wednesday, but then a big Nor'Easter was forecasted for that same day and so Henry and I made the very smart decision to move our journey up to Tuesday.  Avoiding large windy storms is always the smart move when there is a ferry involved.

Our trip wasn't entirely for pleasure, but we did manage to find time to walk down to the beach and breath in the sea air.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, but it was also bitter cold.  And one of us - cough HENRY cough - wasn't properly dressed.

I admit that I spent a few minutes searching for glass floats behind the various large boulders and inside a hollowed-out trunk of drift wood.  It probably won't surprise you to hear that I didn't find any.  

Some day....

After our walk on the beach (and after my two meetings were over), Henry and I got lunch at the grocery store and headed to the North Light to eat.  I posted photos of the day on my Instagram account, if you are interested (you can click on the camera icon to the right.  Feel free to follow me, if you are also on Instagram.  My pitiful 15 follower-count is a constant source of ribbing from my teenager, for whom these things matter greatly).

We then had some time to spare before the return ferry left, so Henry and I took a drive around the island.

And that is when I took the first picture of this post - Henry sitting atop of the Painted Rock, which was decorated for spring break (perhaps not as professionally painted as is usual.  This paint job was more Gang Graffiti then Banksy).

The girls have THIER spring break in April, so we are all going back to Block Island for a day then, too.  Summer on the island is still my favorite, but it's been great fun to see the rest of the seasons, too.

See you next month, Block Island!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sunday Morning Crafting

On Saturday morning, Gordy, Georgia, Josie and I all had to get up at 5:45am to make it to a soccer tournament.  On Sunday morning, Gordy and Georgia had to get up early again for more tournament games, but Josie and I got to sleep in.  Josie's soccer games weren't until the late afternoon.  I took advantage of the ability to sleep until the sun rose, then I wrote a blog post, made a shopping list, did the shopping and prepared dinner.  Josie got up early, watched some tv and then went downstairs to the basement playroom and did some crafting.  Guess who had more fun?

Crafting on a Sunday morning instead of playing hockey is a luxury only available in the off-season.

On this day, Josie made a paper lamp.

You can see how she included a paper "light bulb" and how she used an elaborate system of string and knots to keep both the light bulb in place and hang the light from the ceiling.

I was impressed with Josie's engineering.

And with her air-brushing skills.  She used her Crayola Airbrush machine to decorate her creation.

We hung the lamp from our family room entryway.

I'm sure you will all agree that it added some color to an otherwise dull, unused spot.

Good job, Josie!  Welcome to your hockey vacation - now get on your soccer uniform, you're going to be late for practice!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Josie's Last Hockey Game of The Year

On Saturday, Josie played her last ever Mite B game with her boys team.  They lost, sadly, 3-2.

I'm the first to admit that the hockey season in our town is much too long, but I'm also sad to see this particular team year come to an end.

This was an unusually great team - the kids were all really nice, the parents were all down-to-earth and not sports-crazy as some are wont to be, and the coaches were fantastic.  It was a season free of drama, fights, or jealousies.  And that is a miracle unto itself.

Josie enjoyed her year of being the only girl on a boys team, but she purposefully avoided the boys placements for next year.  

In the fall, Josie will be playing for an all-girls club team.  She tried out two weeks ago and we got news that she was invited to join the club's top team (in her age group) at the end of process.

We are all very excited for Josie.  She worked really hard this year and we noticed a great improvement in her game.

I wouldn't particularly say that she bonded with the boys on this year's team.  She started the hockey season with one good friend - Harry - and she ended the year with that friendship stronger than ever, but that's probably the only boy she spoke to on a regular basis.  

That's not to say that the boys were mean to her or excluded her.  She just didn't join in during many of the locker room conversations.

But Josie can be shy, so who is to say that she would have been more social with a locker-room full of girls?

We'll find out, I guess!

September is just right around the corner.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Woe Is Henry

I'm late getting my usual Thursday blog post up.  I'm sorry.  Just when things started looking up for Georgia's health, Henry took her place on the sick train.  Our house has been thrown into chaos.

It all started with a surgical procedure on Tuesday.  Henry had a baby tooth pulled, a bonus tooth-lette removed and his adult tooth, which is lying horizontally in the roof of his mouth, exposed.  And yes, it was as gruesome as it sounds.  

But wait - there's more!  The oral surgeon put a bracket on Henry's newly exposed tooth (which is in the roof of his mouth still) and attached a gold chain to the bracket and sent him on his novocained way.

And we've now learned that Henry is like me when it comes to novocaine.  It takes way longer for the effects to be felt than most dental practitioners imagine and when it does finally work, it leaves Henry (and me) feeling flu-ish and nauseous and generally awful.

Of all the things to inherit from his mother.  Henry really is one lucky kid.

We had two long, boring, painful days but by Thursday, Henry was starting to feel better.  So much better that he felt up to going to the mall and while there, the bracket fell off his exposed tooth, leaving the gold chain to dangle from the roof of his mouth in a very disturbing manner.

Which meant that TODAY, Henry was back in that surgeon's chair, breathing in more laughing gas (which did not make Henry laugh at all;  we deserve our money back), getting great quantities of novocaine, having his stitches removed, having the site reopened, a new bracket put on, a new gold chain added and then having the stitches reapplied.

And I watched the whole thing.  

It was really gross, but also really fascinating.

Now poor Henry is back to where he started - although this time his mouth hurts a whole lot more than it did the first time and he feels a thousand times worse than he did on Tuesday.  Not to mention the fact that he's very discouraged and concerned that this procedure is going to take up the entire second week of his spring vacation and not just the first.  And while we are on that subject, Henry would like it known that in general, this has been a pretty wretched vacation all around - even if you take out the whole two surgeries extravaganza.  His sisters are still in school so traveling to a warm location was impossible, his mother is still crazy busy doing normal tasks, so day trips have been out of the question, hockey placements are going on, he hasn't seen a single friend.  

I'm pretty certain Henry would happily go back to school if it meant that this nightmare would be over.

And on that cheerful note, Happy Weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Feeding Henry

Feeding Henry is a full-time job.

How come no one ever warned me about how much food teenage boys eat?

I grew up in a house with three girls.  I had male cousins, but they lived in far off Ohio and Texas and we didn't see them very often.  Most of my friends had sisters or younger brothers and I never noticed what they ate.  I don't really remember the eating habits of my male friends in high school or college.  

I've come into this whole teenage boy thing woefully unprepared.

Henry's always been a good eater.  Ever since that first mouthful of solid food (carrots), Henry has pretty much eaten anything and everything - and with glee and merriment. 

At six months old, Henry wore a size 2T, for heavens sake.

He was enormous - just look at those thighs!

I've always appreciated how lucky I am that Henry is a good and adventurous eater.  With the exception of peas (which he just doesn't enjoy) and nuts (which he is allergic to), Henry will eat absolutely anything you put in front of him.  He loves meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, grains, food of any ethnicity, any kind of condiment, any sort of side dish and every dessert imaginable.

He is a joy to feed.

Except for now that he's almost 14, feeding Henry is no longer so joyful.  Feeding Henry has become exhausting.

Henry currently has two food modes:  Eating and Starving.

The eating is quiet and enjoyable, but the starving mode is full of loud moaning and groaning.  

He just can not eat enough.  

On the days that I pick Henry up from school, I've learned to bring the kind of snack that most people would consider a dinner.  I pack a sandwich or take-out food like Sushi or an egg bagel from the local Brueggers.  If I'm feeling really kind (or desperate since our cupboards are bare), I'll stop at the Shake Shack near Henry's school and pick him up a Shack Burger and Vanilla Shake.  I try to find foods full of protein which our pediatrician suggested as a way to fill Henry up (when he was about 9, mind you, but I assume the same thing applies now).  I also bring a drink and some sort of small sweet - a snack dessert, if you will.

This "snack" (or second lunch?  or pre-dinner?) makes the 45 minute ride home bearable....  

until Henry's finished his last bite, at which point he tells me how hungry he is.

He's like a bottom-less pit.

Needless to say, there's more food consumed when we get home and while Henry's doing his homework.  And of course, very soon after, Henry will eat whatever dinner I make that evening and later on, when he gets home from hockey practice, Henry will usually help himself to any left-overs or make himself some cereal with milk.  It's truly amazing that he doesn't wake up in the middle of the night for a mid-night snack!

Feeding Henry has become my full-time occupation.  I find myself at the grocery store constantly.  No matter how well-stocked my refrigerator is, the shelves are stripped bare within a day or two.  The local Whole Foods must think that I'm feeding an army.  

I'd be worried, except like all teenage boys, Henry is the size of a toothpick.  He could easily hide behind a narrow birch tree.  

But this massive consumption will take a hiatus today.  Henry is having minor mouth surgery to remove a baby tooth and then uncover the adult tooth that is stuck the wrong way in his gums.  By noon, he'll be swollen, uncomfortable and drinking his food for at least a day.

I shudder to imagine the hunger pains!  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Josie's New Bicycle

I never showed you the bike Josie got from Santa this past Christmas.  And that's probably because since December 25th, it's been snowing non-stop in Massachusetts and the bike has been hanging out, sad and unridden in our garage.  

All that changed this past week, when the sun came out and the snow stopped for a day (and I mean that literally since it snowed the day after I took these photos).  Josie was motivated by the slight uptick in the thermometer to get out her new bicycle and take it for a spin on our driveway.

You might recall that Santa left Josie a letter under the Christmas tree explaining that he had given Gordy and me money to purchase a new bike for Josie at the store.  He felt he didn't have room enough in his sleigh to carry a big bike and he also knew that we had driven to North Carolina for this Christmas and that it might be hard for us to bring the bike back home with us.

Santa really thinks these things through, doesn't he?

On the day we returned from North Carolina, Josie picked out a bright purple and pink bicycle.  

And this new bike has the one thing that her old bike didn't have and which Josie considers crucial to riding her bike up the big hills on Block Island:  gears.

Josie is ever so happy to finally have gears like the rest of us.

And she's glad to have a bike that is all her own and not a hand-me-down from her brother and sister.

And I was glad to see her riding it for the first time since it had been three months since we bought the bike and I was starting to worry that Josie would out-grow the darn thing before she ever got an opportunity to ride it.

We are so very over the snow, but that shouldn't shock anyone.  I am always ready for the spring when it finally arrives in New England.

So hurry up, warm weather!  We have bicycling to do!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Second Place

Henry's Bantam B hockey team made it to the State Tournament last weekend.  They won two games, lost a third (but by the correct margin), won a fourth and ended up in the finals on Sunday afternoon.  The girls and I drove down to Foxboro to watch the final game.  

The hockey team that Henry was on last year won the State Tournament  (click HERE to read about that happy event) in their division and we were excited to see whether his new team could continue the tradition.

The game was unbelievably exciting.

The opposing team got two crazy goals in the first period, but our team caught up.  And then the other team got a third goal.  

Our team was working hard.  Gordy could tell you how many shots on goal we had over the three periods, but I'm not able to.  The suspense was almost killing me and I had to cover my eyes more than a few times.  We tried and tried and tried but the goalie was just too good.  Nothing was getting into the net.

In his consolation speech to the boys at the end of the game, Gordy pointed out that our team had out-played the winning team.  Those two crazy goals at the beginning of the game had been about luck and not skill and the fact that most of the game was played around the other's team net, was telling indeed.  

It's sad that Henry's team came in second place, but making it to the State Final Tournament is still an impressive accomplishment.

I took photos, as I am wont to do.  I liked this series (which is in reverse order, by the way).  The photo below is Henry checking an opposing player into the boards and the photo above is them skating away.

In elementary school, this sort of behavior would have led to Henry having to write an apology letter to this young man, but in hockey, we pat him on the back for a job well-done.

Here is a photo of Gordy giving the boys one final speech before the start of the last period.  The team was down 3-2 and hope was still alive.

Hope was still alive until the final second - the boys were still shooting as the buzzer sounded.

Afterward, they lined up to get their second-place medals.

Here is Henry getting his medal from Gordy and the man who managed the tournament:

It wasn't the outcome we had hoped for, but the boys should still be proud of themselves.  It has been a good year for this team and they had a lot of fun.

But don't worry!  Hockey isn't over yet.  Heaven forbid.

Try-outs and placements have begun and Gordy and I are diving twice as much around the state bringing Henry and Josie to various ice rinks.  

I'm pretty sure that hockey is the longest season ever.  

And I'm also pretty sure that I won't be sad when it's over.  

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