Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Now that school has come to a close for an unbelievable fifth year for Number One Son and an equally unfathomable second year for Sweet Pea, we are challenged to come up with 'things to do' to fill our summer vacation days.

First on the list was to empty the kids' backpacks. The end of the year brought home all kinds of relics and artifacts from the first days of school last fall. For SP we got to see the progress she made in her writing and spelling. And about forty different works of 'art' which were all rolled and folded and origami-ed together into one bale. We 'oooh'd and aaaah'd' for each one before secretly putting them in the special summer file in the garage.

Number One Son had a few old homework pages and map he made and that was about all. His accordion style folder limped it's way to end of the school year with it's bottom falling completely out on the last day.

They each had daily planners to write down assignments and notes. In the margins of the pages were little trivia questions and games to write in. N1S's planner had assignments written for each day and that was it. No extra nothing.

SP's planner had assignments, every trivia question answered, spelling lists, stars, hearts, animal drawings and anything else she could squeeze into any available white spot on the page.

So with the backpacks retired for three months, what do we do now? Well, one thing we are doing is saying 'No' to playing video games a lot more.

To combat the video games, Number One Son is going to basketball camp this week. It's nice that he is able to reconnect with some friends from school and have something aerobic to do for an hour and a half every morning. Later this summer, he will attend a golf camp and an acting camp for a week each. N1S doesn't have too many friends his age in the neighborhood so we enroll him in these short camps spread throughout the summer.
Here's a shot of his shooting form. It looks a bit awkward because it is impossible for me to get an action shot of someone shooting a basket. I tried a dozen times to take his picture but I could never get the ball in the shot.

So I settled for this shot of him drinking water. As you can see I got most of the bottle in the picture. The angle of the picture also makes him look like he's in high school.

Sweet Pea could fill her summer with a different neighborhood play date every three days without duplication, but if her brother has camps to attend, so will she. This week she attended her Girl Scout day camp from 8:30am to 4:00pm everyday. Each fun filled day ranged in temperature from 85 to 95 degrees with about 200% humidity. That's a long day for a seven year old. It's also a long day for a thirty-something year old. Lady Di volunteered to conduct a class each day which consisted of keeping the attention of three groups of 12 or so seven year olds for fifty minutes. If it were me, I would have conducted fifty minute water balloon fights until lunchtime and then teach the benefits of lying still on a mat for afternoon naps.

SP was part of the pink shirt group with red scarves in their hair. I don't think the scarf stayed in her hair long though.
SP also has a basketball camp coming up in July and then both kids participate in golf camp in August to round out the summer.
Some may think we over-schedule the kids but I don't think three one-week long camps takes up too much of their summer fun. We have a few trips planned to the beach and we will probably visit each set of grandparents at least once this summer. Plus, family fun can be enjoyed at home with outside picnic suppers, running through a sprinkler or taking family bike rides to the Dairy Queen. The trick is to fill in the gaps between camps with simple family moments wherever you happen to find yourself.

And right now I find myself lying very still on the couch with the kids in bed recharging for another day. This is my kind of summer camp.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sand, Surf and Spock

We were planning on a low key Father's Day, so we decided to make Father's Day Eve our day of excitement.

On Saturday, we started out the day by sleeping in. Pretty exciting start, huh?

We then made our first trip of the summer to the beach. There is a state park close by with a man-made lake and beach area. The water was a little cool but not too bad once you got used to it. A couple hours of swimming followed by a picnic lunch thanks to Lady Di pretty much wiped me out. I also got my first sun of the summer and got a little pink on the shoulders.

Later that afternoon, we visited our neighbor boy's high school grad party. They had a real slushy machine which was very exciting for the kids who mixed the blue with red to get purple brain freezes.

We ended the day by taking in a movie. Lady Di and Sweet Pea voted to see Night at the Smithsonian. Number One Son and I chose Star Trek. So, for the first time ever, we split the family down the middle and saw different movies. Boy, did N1S and I ever pick the right movie! I have been a Star Trek fan since junior high. But not one of those nerdy fans. No, I was one of the cool fans. You know, one of the cool fans that has seen all of the TV shows and movies up to this point. One who knows each actor's real name and can quote the Vulcan motto. One who had a Spock birthday cake for his 25th birthday. That's not nerdy, right? At least I did one thing a Trekker would never do. I left the movie right in the middle to refill N1S's root beer. I sprinted it in under ten seconds but I still did it.

Also, in my defense, I can say that I have never attended a Star Trek convention and have never worn an expensive, authentic character costume.

Although, after seeing the latest movie I may have to rethink my position on costumes this Halloween. It also may be difficult to convince Lady Di to dress as the hot alien chick with green skin to go with my Captain Kirk outfit.

Overall, it was one of my best Father's Days yet. Even though it happened one day early.

On Sunday morning, Sweet Pea surprised me with breakfast in bed. Grapenuts, toast and orange juice. She helped me finish the toast while we watched Little House on the Prairie together.

I am very fortunate to be a dad with such a great family. Everyday seems like Father's Day to me. Even if I don't go to a Star Trek movie every day.

Happy Father's Day to all fathers. I hope you made great memories today and everyday. And as Sarek would say, "Get old, and thrive." (I'm paraphrasing, ST nerds will understand)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Invasion of the Barbies

When the kids were younger, Lady Di used to hit all of the summer garage sales in the area. They still are the best places to get baby and toddler clothes. But ever since the kids outgrew those yard sale bargains, we haven't returned to anyone's house to buy their junk.

Until last week that is.

Lady Di was invited by our neighbor to check out a few sales. It had been years so LD said OK.

Here is what she came home with.

Needless to say, LD is now banned from yard sales for awhile. It seems one household was divesting itself of a collection of Barbie clothes, dolls and accessories. It was an entire totefull.

This is a plastic bag full of just shoes, boots,flippers and apparently one cooking pot. Any guesses as to how long Sweet Pea will be able to keep at least one pair of matching shoes together?

Here is one of Sweet Pea's ideas for a snappy outfit for Ken. It fits, but I'm not sure those clothes actually belong to him. Although, it could be from his Miami Vice collection. From the next picture it's easy to tell which outfits are Sweet Pea's favorites. She had a lot of fun with the mermaid tails.

How many mermaid tails did this house really need?

It took about a day and a half to sort through all of the stuff and we had to build a Barbie wing onto the back of the garage to store it all. But at least we are now prepared for any Barbie emergency that might arise. No fashion crisis or wardrobe malfunctions are in our immediate future.

All except for Ken's outfit.

Monday, June 8, 2009

To your mark, splash!

This spring we signed the kids up for the local swim club. They have been practicing and working hard for a few weeks now. Last week, they participated in their first swim meet.

Once again, we were unprepared for the size and scope of one of our kids' events. One hour before the meet, the bleachers were full. We were lucky to squeeze into one space together. Lady Di had to sit on my lap the whole time, but I didn't mind. Add that to the 90% humidity in the room and I pretty much lost 5 pounds sitting for four hours.

We also dropped the ball by forgetting the camera. Although, we wouldn't have been able to free our arms enough to aim it toward the pool anyway.

Each kid was in three races and they finished them all. Number One Son's best race was the 50 meter backstroke where he finished fifth in his heat. Not too bad for his first meet ever. He had one minor mishap in his 50 meter freestyle race. When he dove off of the starter platform at the beginning of the race, his goggles slipped off. But he grabbed his goggles in one hand and swam the race holding them to the end. We were proud of him for adapting and not giving up.

Sweet Pea's best race was the 25 meter freestyle in which she won her heat. Her mishap happened during that race when the clock didn't work to record her time. Although, I'm sure it probably was a record setting effort. After the meet the kids each got a green swimming ribbon for participating. SP then asked if she got something else for her burn.

"What do you mean for your burn?", I asked.

She answered, "Do I get something for winning my burn?"

"Do you mean, for winning your heat?", I prodded.

"Oh yeah, my heat.", she corrected.

Well, she didn't get another ribbon or trophy for her burn, but she did get a bag of Reece's Pieces at the concession stand.
The kids have another meet later this week. Lady Di and I have both signed up to volunteer. LD is in the concession stand and I will be one of the timers. My number one goal, besides remembering when to press the button on my stopwatch, is to not fall into the pool. And I will also bring a camera.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

At The Hop

In the never ending social life of our daughter Sweet Pea, here is yet another dance that she attended. At the tender age of seven, SP has already kicked up her heels at more dances than I had ever attended all through high school.

This most recent soiree was a Sock Hop for the girl scouts. After explaining what a Sock Hop was, she was very excited to start preparations. Because everyone knows that the most important thing about a Sock Hop is, the poodle skirt. And since SP's closet was completely empty of poodle skirts, Lady Di went out and bought a sewing pattern.

I offered to help with my staple gun and wood glue, but was unceremoniously shooed away. Once I was out of the way, Lady Di and Grandma Toni (the golfing grandma) started snipping, pinning, and stitching. Here is the finished product modeled by our own bobby sockser, SP. Here's the poodle in action. Grandma and LD must have done a good job because SP sure gave it a workout. Notice some of the other girl's skirts in the picture giving out on them so they had to rest on the dance floor. Members of the 'Pink Ladies' gang taking a break from hopping. Since this dance was for girls scouts only, there were no 'Thunderbirds' or greasers.

Maybe for next years Daddy/Daughter dance, SP can wear her poodle skirt and I can don my letter jacket from high school, grease my hair back and roll a box of tic tacs in my t-shirt sleeve.


Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.