Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

I worked from home yesterday, to give Junior a much-needed break from the endless holiday break play-dates, ski camps, and YMCA care. I got a nice break, too, when I spent a few minutes on the trampoline with him (it IS 60 degrees here in Boulder, CO after all).

During a little tramp snuggle time, we were looking up at the most beautiful tree, in the most beautiful afternoon light, when Junior asked me what the future of that tree looked like to me. I told him, “I’d like to see all the dead limbs trimmed and gone”. His future for that tree?

Mom, I’d like to see all the dead stuff grow back. It might grow back as dead, or it might grow back alive. It should be whatever it’s supposed to be!

Where does he come up with this stuff, my little trampoline philosopher?

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T-Ball 101

Say “Hi” to Coach MaryBeth.  And no, this isn’t a life-long ambition fulfilled at last – sorry, no bucket-list check-off for this one.  It would be more appropriate to put this in the “No good deed goes unpunished” column.  Either that or “Naivete has its price”.


Who knew (we didn’t) that Little League coaches were in such short supply!  So when MaryBeth signed Junior up for Tee-Ball, she innocently checked the box on the registration form that said she would be happy to act as an assistant coach on Junior’s team.  Ha!  No other parent fell for that trap, so now we have a Coach in the family. After the shock wore off,  she realized she really was glad to help, and was looking forward to a little special Mom-Junior time.  But seriously…..the YANKEES?  Many apologies to her extended Red Sox Family…..

MaryBeth’s initial jitters about being a good coach and teaching the kids the finer points of the game quickly vaporized when it became clear that for T-Ballers, the finer points include learning which way to run around the bases.  And the fact that you have to run around the bases.  In fact it turns out that coaching T-ball is as much about herding cats (look at the huddle ball happening, far left in the video) as it is about teaching skills, though we do slip in some basic safety skills so the kids don’t get beaned by the ball…..too often.

Fortunately, 5 and 6 year olds are a little like sponges when it comes to learning new skills.  We are half-way through the season already and it is amazing to see the kids get better so quickly.  Turns out, MaryBeth is having a blast at her coaching stint.  And since there are no outs, no score is kept and all the kids get to bat each inning, everyone just gets to have fun….and there is nothing for the parents to get worked up about.  We’ll save the dreaded “Little League” parent for the distant future.  By then MaryBeth’s coaching career may have come to an end.  And if it hasn’t, she can no longer blame naivete!

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Double Dark Chocolate from Glacier – the perfect remedy for a bonk on the head!

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In one of our very first posts on this blog, we talked about Trading Kids. We put that system to the test a couple of weeks ago when Mark and I went to Steamboat for 5 days of ski heaven. Without Junior.

Before we left, I let both our Nederland friends and Junior’s preschool know that Jr. could call us any time. Since Junior now has my cell number memorized and has been pretty obsessive about using it (he called me the other night to tell me that dinner was ready….I was downstairs in the office.), I expected at least one call a day. Um….no. Not one call…at all!

Finally, I caved and called him four days into the trip. I half expected a meltdown when he heard my voice, but after we talked for 2 or 3 minutes about how much we loved and missed each other, he casually said “Did you have anything else to tell me, Mom? OK. Bye.”. Other parents might have been offended at this blatant dismissal. I prefer to think that he is simply comfortable and secure…and apparently enjoying his own vacation from his parents!

(photo courtesy of our very own Rich Seeley: www.pix2love.com)

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I can’t imagine why Junior didn’t want to ride his bike to school Friday morning. It took a lot of convincing, but he eventually caved….and we had a lot of fun. As usual.
Lately we’ve been into “experiments” and “observing”. I think it might be genetic. During this snowy commute, we observed that some trees still had leaves even though it had snowed (wierd!), and that the snow was sticking only to the dirt and grass, and not to the street or sidewalks or bikepaths (warmth!), and that….bike commuting gives us much more time together in the morning than riding in the car!

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Junior loves to cook. I’m not sure if it because he likes to spend time with me (and I can usually be found in the kitchen), he likes the ‘tastings’ on the way to making dinner, or he simply likes creating yummy-in-the-tummy-can’t-get-enough food.

This weekend, I think it was “all of the above”.

It turns out that the basic recipe for no-knead bread also makes a mean cinnamon roll. Of course, with enough butter, cinnamon, sugar, raisins, pecans, and LOVE, dog food could be transformed into a tasty treat…

While I am sure that there is an official recipe for cinnamon rolls in the “Artisan Bread” book, that book is currently on loan to some friends, so we had to wing it.

Pretty simple:

Pre-heat oven to 375

*Roll out 1-2 servings of no-knead bread basic dough
*Brush dough with large amounts of melted butter
*Sprinkle liberally with a cinnamon/brown sugar mix, lots of nuts, and lots of raisins
*Roll dough jelly-roll style along the wide edge
*Cut jelly-roll in 1/2″ slices
*Place slices in prepared cast-iron skillet and let rise in a warm place, 1 hour

Prepare cast iron skillet (thanks to Mark’s grandmother!):
Coat generously with more of all of the ingredients listed above (minus the dough)

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Cover skillet with cutting board, and invert.

Enjoy….with those you love!

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We plan a vacation every July. The timing is picked for us as our vacation coincides with the week that the teachers at Junior’s preschool have determined is the week that they will have had enough of other people’s children. We either give the teachers a break or face up to the very real possibility of a horrible incident involving Play-Doh, popscicle sticks and face paint….

This year we had grand plans of touring New England with MaryBeth’s folks. Then reality set in. We set our fare-watchers on Orbitz and Kayak and waited for emails telling us that airfares had come back down to earth. Not a single email came our way. When fares finally hit $650 and gave no indication of dropping, we joined the staycation bandwagon.

It’s fun and odd to be a tourist in your own town. It turns out that there is a LOT to do in and around Boulder. Maybe that’s why there so many tourists here all summer. We kept the schedule somewhat fluid – we aren’t “going home” at the end of week, after all. That also helped us to avoid the vacation death-march that is all too common. Like trying to see everything at the Smithsonian in a morning – sprinting past/through what you came to see or do rather defeats the point of being there.

We also tried to avoid the trite touristy (and expensive) options and focus on everyday family-oriented activities that normal dual-income parents would be lucky to partake in once a month and that stay-at-home parents do more frequently for the sake of their sanity.

The week in review:

Monday: Since time is in abundance on staycation, the day starts with a super-special bus ride to gymnastics class, followed by a lazy afternoon on the trampoline and an evening of baking Congo Bars.

Tuesday: A bike ride to the local playground for a morning of crawdad “fishing”, baseball, and bike riding. (A prize to anyone who can identify the bug in this picture!) The afternoon was geared to the whole family with a tour at Haystack Mountain Goat Farm followed by a deep tasting of their great cheeses. Junior (and his folks!) loves cheese. Since Dad “had” to work in the morning, Mom took the evening off to accompany a friend to an Abbondanza-sponsored workshop on Ayurvedic cuisine.

Wednesday: An early morning trip to the Denver Zoo, followed by a nice rest in the cool basement. Despite having broken the local record for consecutive days above 90 degrees, we also biked down to the Farmers’ Market and Boulder’s own Band on the Bricks.

Thursday: Another trip to the local park for Junior and Dad, followed by yet another time-honored way to beat the heat – a movie! Wall-e was the movie of choice, and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Friday: It’s not a summer vacation unless you’ve gone swimming! Choices abound here in Boulder, including the cool pools and slides at the Boudler Recreation centers, the public pools at Spruce St. and Scott Carpenter Park, and the ever-popular-slice-of-1950 Eldorado Pool (OK, that one is touristy but the setting is too amazing to pass up) Junior chose Eldo, where we ran into a few of his schoolmates.

Friday night was a special treat and, at the suggestion of Dave and Megan, we found ourselves at the County Fair. More specifically, we found ourselves at the Demolition Derby. Needless to say, that was a HUGE hit with everyone. Combined with the fair rides after the Derby, and it is fair to say that there were at least two little boys who were in heaven that night.

Saturday & Sunday: A little break from the vacation, with lots of ordinary stay-at-home stuff…a fine end to the perfect staycation.

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