Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vacation Superlatives

Best Museum - According to Victoria and me: The Clark. Who knew a tiny little town in Massachusetts could boast an art institute with an impressive collection of 19th century French Impressionist art. Some people collect stamps, Francine and Sterling Clark collected Monets, Manets, Renoirs, and Degas. The Clark even displays one of our favorite works of art: The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, a bronze statue by Degas.

According to Kevin: Duh...the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

According to Alyssa and Hannah: Norman Rockwell Museum. We especially loved it when the guide explained the paintings to us. Shed new light on everything Rockwell did.

Best Baseball Stadium: Tie! Fenway is old; Citi Field is new. Kevin says they can't be compared. The boys attended a game (and got rained out) at Fenway while the girls and I connected with a friend from high school. The whole fam went to a game at the brand spankin' new Citi Field (Mets). It was quite nice, and we were thankful for seats under cover, as it rained.

Biggest Surprise: How many Dunkin Donuts are in the northeast. They are everywhere! I suppose if you can't have Krispy Kreme, you have to replace it with something second rate.
Kevin was just sad that it was so stinkin' cold and therefore was not in the mood for the drink he loves, Dunkin Donut's Iced Coffee.

Best National Park: Acadia Nat'l Park in Bar Harbor Maine. Hannah even likes it more than the Grand Canyon. The Statue of Liberty was great fun...and we saw that before the clouds and rain moved in so our pictures of Lady Liberty are terrific. Minuteman Nat'l Park has a great multi-media presentation, and it was sobering to see the North Bridge, home of the Shot Heard 'Round the World. We just love Nat'l Parks...can you tell?

Biggest Disappointment: the rain. We LOVED Bar Harbor and were so disappointed that it rained the entire time we were there. We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain twice, only to find the view completely obscured by the clouds.

Favorite Old House: Hildene, but it had no competition. Amazingly it was the only "old house" tour we made. The gardens were breath-taking and the sound of the organ alone was worth the trip to Vermont.

Best Meal: Lobster in Maine...what could top that?

Best Reunion: Both! I plotted and planned to meet Micki, a dear friend from high school who now lives near Boston. It was everything I imagined it would be and more. Despite a slew of e-mails over the past few months, I still found catching up after twenty plus years something akin to drinking from a fire hydrant. The second reunion was with a great friend from college, Angelique. This one was spur of the moment and Angelique was a dear to let the girls and me visit her at her Queens apartment while the boys soaked up the sights and sounds of Citi Field during batting practice. We were captivated by Lily, her adorable, curly-haired two year old and loved seeing a glimpse of her life in NYC. Now, both of these friends need to venture down the coast and visit me!

City with the Best Subway Workers: Boston. The very kind ticket agent helped us get the most bang for our buck. The ticket agent in NYC just acted irritated that such a subway dunce (that would be me) was taking up his time. I AM happy to report we did not get lost or miss a stop in our travels to and from Citi Field and Angelique's apartment, no small miracle for small town girls like us.

If it sounds like we lived in the van...we did! Grand total we logged over 3400 miles in about 75 hours. Except for the rain, we couldn't have had a more fabulous time!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bringing You Up to Date

I can't seem to find the time to be creative or witty; both of those require too much effort on my part, so this post is just a plain vanilla attempt to let you know what everyone is up to these days. Grab a cup of your beverage of choice and see what occupies our time these days.

Alyssa is still working at the store at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. They seem to be working her more hours during the summer, for which she is thankful. She begins some type of volunteer work at the hospital this week and needs to get her application in to the local college so she can dual enroll in a couple of classes this fall. Dance recital is this week...and we will ALL be glad when that is over.

Kevin entered the working world last week. He is carrying on the family name at Grandy's and seems to be a quick study, though eating there since he was born has probably helped him know the drill. He also joined Braveheart (the abstinence education program at Carenet). We haven't pushed the kids to be involved...don't want any accusations of nepotism, you know, but he's a natural at talking to kids and, well, doing what his dad does. He is also preparing for an upcoming trip to Honduras...those of you with check books will probably hear more details of that soon. :-0 And isn't Caitlyn adorable, sporting Kevin's Grandy's hat?

Hannah is still in love with horses and would live at the barn if Ms. Wendy would let her. She has day camp this week and is probably too excited to sleep at night. She has been surprised at how much joy her blogging efforts have given her. Giving her a platform and a voice makes me nervous, but it's great to see her personality shine through her writing.

Victoria is Victoria. She continues to love the stage and so is looking forward to the dance recital. She won her division in the South Georgia Scholarship Pageant on Saturday. She placed first last year too, but had no competition. She was relieved to hear she would actually have girls to compete against this year. How a child of mine can be comfortable with all eyes on her is beyond me. Definitely her father's child. Check out the hair bow...and no, I did not do that myself.

Patrick is busy as ever. Other than family travels and the trip to Honduras, it looks like he'll be home most of the summer. The fall is shaping up to be quite busy, but that's the norm. He received an unexpected phone call last invite to join a group traveling to Israel. Now that's a fun blip on the radar screen.

Me? I'm having a blast seeing these kids grow up. I can't tell you how relieved I am that everyone's horror stories of teenagers have, so far, not come to pass. I am blessed beyond measure. Keeping Matthew and Caitlyn has also been a blessing. I can't imagine our days without seems odd when Caitlyn's not here on a weekday. The garden started off well, but is looking a little weedy as of late. My family will soon be tired of eggplant and the neighbors will be reaping my harvest during our vacation. My recent diversion has been facebook and reconnecting with old friends. It looks like a couple of reunions are in the works and I am practically giddy with excitement.
The fruit of my labor
Discussions around the house have ventured in the direction of child rearing and training techniques. Some of this has come about as I've recounted funny comments from the parenting class I'm teaching at Carenet, and some from reading my sister-in-laws tales of life with toddlers. All my kids can recount times they received "the rod of correction" and apparently some more than others. Hannah even boasted, "Yeah, and the one who got the most, turned out the best." I think her older sister and brother would beg to differ; both about who received the most spankings and who has turned out the best, but I'm glad she now sees the wisdom in our correction and discipline. It's been a long, often exhausting road...but well worth the effort. So, for all you parents of toddlers, I'm rooting for you! Keep up the hard work of consistency. The results are priceless.

Friday, June 5, 2009

An Ill Wind

I've had blog posts swirling around in my head all week, yet haven't taken the time until right now to sit down and try to capture them with words. Just as I was at the point of inspiration, I received a message from someone via facebook. And everyone who has facebook knows, once you've logged in, you might as well check everyone's status. In doing so I came across this, which completely took the wind out of my blogging sail.

Flashback Friday

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

I Knew She Was in Trouble
Some months back I had one of my better "mom moments". Sometimes I look back over an "incident" that has occurred with the kids and I wish I had been more patient, more understanding, slower to anger. Maybe I should have held my tongue altogether. As I look back on that particular day, I have no regrets. I returned from an errand while the rest of the family stayed at home. I walked into an empty kitchen to find my favorite teapot broken. No guilty party was near. A bit of inquiry brought the truth...Victoria had done it. I can't remember if there were streams of tears as she confessed how the accident had occurred, but then it happened. I calmly and gently told her what my mother vividly taught me many years ago, "Things can be replaced, people can't." She looked at me as if some alien had invaded my lecture, no raised voice, no pointing my finger telling what she should have done differently. In that moment, she needed to know I still loved her even if she had accidentally broken my best teapot. Even if not consciously, she needed to know that our relationship was more important than any "stuff" we have in the house. She needed to know that "Things can be replaced, people can't."

Fast forward to yesterday evening. Victoria tracked me down in the garden, walked up and said, "Do you remember what you told me when I broke your teapot?" I knew she was in trouble...something was broken, but she was wisely preparing me, reminding me of my own words before she confessed. There was no sense of urgency in her voice, so I didn't think there was bleeding involved (besides, I think we already met our April quota for blood shed on Saturday night when Hannah cracked her head open on the cabinet door). She informed me that "just a little" finger nail polish remover had spilled on Alyssa's desk. None got on Alyssa's computer though, and she had wiped up what was on the wood just left a few marks. So...while this was an accident, it was also disobedience. She is only allowed finger nail polish and remover in very controlled situations with permission. Sitting at Alyssa's desk, with hard wood floor underneath her is NOT one of those controlled environments. So, she will have to make restitution to her sister. Since refinishing the desk is out of the question....maybe Victoria will be buying Alyssa a desk blotter. Any other suggestions for a punishment that fits the crime?