Status Quo

1 Jan 2014 In: Holiday

Happy 2014!!! This is the first New Year’s Eve that we’ve ever spent with the girls awake. It was actually a complete fluke that they were awake. Hailey had a bloody nose at 11:45pm. She’s had bloody noses before, but rarely at night or of this magnitude. Luke used to get them all the time, and since she was up, we thought we’d let her watch the ball drop. Of course, Sophia woke up as well.

I can honestly tell you that they were 100% underwhelmed by the entire experience. In fact, Hailey asked if it was over and Sophia couldn’t figure out where the “ball” was. Not exactly their cup of tea, but it was special for us regardless.

Anyway, no major New Year’s Resolutions this year. Just quite content with the rhythm of life. So happy that we are all healthy. Love the girls and am trying every day not to be sad that they are growing up. Basically, I look around and feel very fortunate. All I want to do is resolve to give more to those less fortunate and cherish every day with my family because they are what makes life worth living.

Christmas Spirit

22 Dec 2013 In: Holiday

We’ve been so swamped with Christmas activities that it’s been difficult to find time to write, although I will I was capturing more of the insanity.

Regardless, we try to make each Christmas Eve about giving to others rather than receiving. Last year we cooked dinner for a homeless shelter in town. Every year we make candy canes with handwritten notes for children at the hospital.

This year, however, I was a little behind in coming up with our activity. So, I’m still working on our big charity project, but I thought that we could learn about giving in big ways and in small ways. Ok, fine. I’m covering my own ass in case my procrastination means that there’s no big giving opportunity this year.

Regardless, I’ve created the annual Christmas Eve Scavenger Hunt to highlight how we can make people’s day in little ways. I’m posting it here so that I don’t lose it next year!

Christmas Eve Scavenger Hunt

1) Go to the tree and point to one ornament with your name on it.
2) Find one toy that you received for Christmas in years past
3) Give Mom and Dad a big hug
4) Pick out 2 toys that we will donate to children who have much less than you
5) Place two cookies on the Santa’s Cookie plate
6) Find something that you made and give it to someone else
7) Point to your favorite picture of your sister on the picture wall in the playroom
8) Give each visitor from out of town a hug and tell them what you love most about them
9) Find an ornament with a number on it
10) Pick out one more toy that you will give to someone else
11) Pass out the Christmas Eve gifts

…Now you may open your Christmas Eve Gift!!!

Little Chef

3 Dec 2013 In: Hailey

Hailey frequents a local cooking store, Cooks Warehouse, with Luke which is how she came to be invited for this article. You can tell that she is a little intimidated by the photo shoot, but it was a fun experience all the way around.

See the article on page 69.

Thanksgiving Surprise

2 Dec 2013 In: Holiday

This Thanksgiving we were disappointed when Grandpa Gary couldn’t come to visit us. That left us with no out-of-towners coming to visit, which is a little odd for a Hamilton holiday.

Still, we had the Michotek family and Angie Moore coming for dinner. Angie, Luke and I were prepping for our meal in the morning when we received a call (or 4 because I didn’t pick up) from Grandpa Pete. This is the transcript of the call:

Me: Hi, Dad. Did you want to Skype with the girls because they’re in the shower?

Dad: No, I was hoping you could open the door for your Father who just drove 13 hours to get here.

I think that I can say that it was one of the biggest surprises ever. I had no idea he was coming. I had talked to him the day before, which he later told me was a completely phony conversation because he was already on the road.

The girls were completely surprised and thrilled as well. They got to spend the whole weekend wrestling and bossing Grandpa Pete around. What could be more fun!?!?!

It was a great weekend all the way around, but alas, all good things must come to an end. So, everyone had to go back to work, school, and Buffalo today.

Old Married Couple?

24 Nov 2013 In: sophia

For years, we’ve known that Hailey would marry Corbin Songer. We’ve known this since the kids could talk and betrothed themselves to each other. It doesn’t matter that they only see each other twice a year. It just is.

Anyway, so we’re here at the Songers this weekend, and I nearly died when I heard this conversation which I am transcribing word for word.

Sophia: Mama, you know I kissed him. And we’re going to get married.

Bennett: Maybe

Sophia: Yes we are.

Bennett: Maybe. I haven’t decided yet.

Sophia: YES WE ARE!

Seems like they already are married. Right?!?!?

Cultivating Our Many Talents

19 Nov 2013 In: Mommy Musings

My children have so many talents that it’s hard to keep up. Hailey has swimming; Fifi has soccer; both are wonderful artists. Of course, some talents are forced upon us, like when Hailey had to make a turkey out of multiple materials. She really did an amazing job with it – actually planning and executing the whole thing herself. Ok. Not the whole thing. I came up with and cut the cork feet.

Let’s not forget contortion…

Luke’s teaching both of them to play golf…

And there’s the magic of the Rainbow Loom. It’s only a matter of time before Sophia picks this up as well, but in the meantime, Hailey is mastering the art of following YouTube instructional videos.

Halloween – Better Late Than Never?

7 Nov 2013 In: Holiday

This year we all thought that we would be animals. The family came up with some specific options for me…Hailey said that I should be a poodle (my least favorite option). Sophia wanted me to be a dolphin and Luke wanted me to be a three-toed-sloth (no idea on that last one).

Anyway, it wasn’t long before everyone lost interest in the animal idea. Well, it was only as long as it took for me to drive to Target where Hailey fell in love with a really glittery Dorothy costume. Thus, Hailey became Dorothy. Sophia stuck with her Cheetah plan because Cheetahs are so fast, and someone at work suggested that I be Sharknado which I thought was brilliant.

Celebrity Status

4 Nov 2013 In: Mommy Musings

Hailey finally made it to Player of the Day on First in Math today. She played a lot yesterday when she was too tired to do much else. I called her a celebrity today, and she said, “what’s that?”. I guess I should be happy that she didn’t say, “I feel like a Kardashian.” One point for Mom!

You Haven’t Lived…

3 Nov 2013 In: Mommy Musings

…until you’ve spent the night sleeping on the floor in a room with 50 Girl Scouts. Now that is a treat that is reserved for only the bravest (or craziest) Mothers in the world.

What you see above is one-eighth of a giant conference room at the Zoo where all of us slept together in one heaping pile of snoring, coughing, breathing, Girl Scoutiness. But why jump to the sleeping part when there is so much else to tell.

Actually, the Zoo runs this sleep over event – Night Crawlers – with great precision. I guess you have to when you have 200 kids between the ages of 7 and 13 divided up into 10 separate groups and moving through 6 stations a night. It was very organized, which we all know I appreciate.

The sessions on Saturday night were educational in nature – learn about where they make the animal food in the Zoo kitchen, pet a snake, visit the reptile house at night, talk about the woman you most admire in your life, and hear about great female scientists. Hailey chose me as the woman she admires most so that made the entire trip worthwhile for me personally!

And we all got to touch a snake…yes…all of us…Moms included…

We also had a nice hot chocolate break in the middle of our sessions which was a pick-me-up for everyone. Our group, led by Beth who is pictured above, was a mix of our troop and a troop of third graders from Morningside. What a difference a year makes! The third graders asked a ton of questions which was nice for our girls to see, and were generally very respectful even though their troop only had 2 Moms for 10 girls (perhaps the other Moms had already been on this adventure and knew what they would be volunteering for).

I think that the most interesting part of the sessions was seeing what the animals eat…oh Circle of Life, you always seem to find a way to simultaneously amaze and disturb us. If you look at what Beth is holding up in the picture below, you might ask Is that a lump of dough? No, it’s not; it’s a frozen, dead white rabbit and some dead mice. Oh yeah. Which led to the discussion of how animals are “put to sleep” before they are frozen. Later, Hailey corrected me when I was explaining to Luke about the dead rabbit. “It was asleep and frozen,” she said. Hmmm…I guess we aren’t quite ready for that concept yet. Moving on…

By the end of the evening’s program, we were losing some of the girls to sheer exhaustion. Our last session was on great female scientists, and I thought that a few of them were going to just keel over.

After that, we headed back to our sleeping area which was just a conference room. I was ok with the concept of sleeping on the floor but less ok with the 11pm lights out. That’s right. 11pm. And of course, after lights out there was still whispering and giggling.

By about midnight, I think that the whispers and giggles faded into a cacophony of snoring and coughing. That was actually when I started to have a minor panic attack because all I could think about was the cloud of germs hovering just above my head, which might be why I think I slept for about three and a half minutes all night.

I guess if we had just packed up and left at that point, life would have gone on, but we packed up and journeyed onward for a 2-hour tour of the zoo. Breakfast was by far the worst part of the entire adventure because it was freezing outside, and they pretty much served sugar – cereal, muffins, yogurt or bagels. Nothing like dealing with exhausted kids who just ate chocolate muffins.

So, I think that 2 hours in the freezing cold is a little much for tired children, but most of them hung in there. It was pretty interesting to have our own private tour guide. Of course, I probably can’t tell you very much that we learned, but we know that the mama lion is pregnant, a baby panda looks like a tiny rat, a baby rhinoceros moves a lot faster than a grown rhinoceros, six pandas (their current count) is the max the Zoo can handle, and gorilla males usually leave their family group when they are adolescents which causes a bit of a problem for the Zoo.

I wonder what fun facts the girls took away. I should have had Hailey write a few down as we went just so she could impress Daddy with them on our next visit. Oh well, I’ll remember that the next time I chaperone this trip…oh wait…I’m not sure there will be a next time, but I’m sure glad I went this time.

First In Math

20 Oct 2013 In: Hailey

Back in the day when we had to walk to school uphill both ways, we didn’t have cool online learning tools like they have these days. This year we’ve been introduced to a new one called First in Math.

I don’t know who invented this First in Math program, but I would like to give them a huge hug because Hailey is obsessed OBSESSED with it. This is the question that I get at least three times a day “Mom, if I finish WHATEVER really fast, can I play First in Math?” She probably plays for an hour a day.

So, what’s so amazing about it? First of all, there are lots and lots of ways to play – games or puzzles. You can do addition, subtraction, logic puzzles, etc. Then, you get stickers for each time you “win.” Those stickers advance you from being a “Novice” all the way through “Expert” and each coincides with a new badge showing your proficiency. Then your stickers are added to those for the rest of the class which competes against the school.

I’m telling you that it’s genius, and I wish I had thought of it. Also, between the game and her desire to succeed at swimming (where she wins individuals ribbons), I’m learning more and more about what motivates Hailey.

About the Players

Mommy (aka Alisa, Mama, Al, Moo Cow, Mama Mia)

Daddy (aka Luke, Gadget Boy, Lukas)

Hailey (aka Big Sister, Turtle, Hailey Waley, Princess)

Sophia (aka Fifi, Phia, Lizard, Sophia Wia, Grabby McGrabstein)

Josie (aka Crazy Dog, JoJo Beans)

Anubis (aka Newbies, Mr Annoying)

Flickr PhotoStream