Sunday, December 26, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

January: We enjoyed settling into our new home!
February: I am fully in the swing of teaching full time, attending grad school on the weekends and trying to balance the duties of mommyhood and marriage.
March: James survives a nasty fall at preschool. However, one of his front teeth did not and we had to have it sealed off. Luckily, he wasn't too traumatized at the dentist's office.
April: We enjoyed our first Easter Mira Bay style!
May: The hubs and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.
June: My first conference-level presentation to teachers, educators and principals at Eckerd College as an Untie-the-Right-Brain Arts Coach. It was a wonderfully positive experience and I hope to present again someday!
July: James celebrated his 3rd birthday with a pool party at the house!
August: We were able to spend some precious quality time with Will's mom (who underwent lung surgery to become 100% cancer free!) We are so thankful and blessed that she made it through this terrible disease.
September: I'm too swamped in my grad classes to have much of a life outside of work and school.
October: Still too swamped with work and homework to do much of anything else! But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.... or is that a train?
November: We celebrated Thanksgiving with friends and our Florida family. I cooked my first turkey and it turned out delicious!
December: I graduated from the University of Tampa with a Master's degree in Education! So glad to have my free time back!

Wondering what the New Year will bring and wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mira Bay Boat Parade

Last night, we ventured up to the clubhouse to watch the 7th annual Mira Bay boat parade. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary since we moved into our home. So, we were still in the moving process last year at this time and missed the parade. Our "florida family" Tom and Veronica came over to enjoy the festivities. Uncle Tom and Aunt Veronica (as James calls them) are always a big hit with our little sunshine! Uncle Tom was learning how to work his new camera (early Christmas gift from Santa) and he found plenty of willing subjects to practice on.
The weather was perfect for outdoor-lighted-boat-viewing and the parade was short and enjoyable. We wish there were more boats in it, but maybe next year we will be able to help them out in that department. As for now, we enjoyed being land-side spectators!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend Highs and Lows

High: Attending my FINAL Saturday graduate class at the University of Tampa! During class, we "peer reviewed" each other's research papers and then I presented my paper to the professor. She gave it the "okay" and I was done! Whew! Now, only two more presentations this week and I am officially done with my Master's education courses! Woo Hoo!
Low: Realizing that my time with these wonderful women is coming to a close. We have been together in the same cohort since August of 2009. We have shared educational research, lesson plans, brain dances, video memoires, countless Dunkin Donut munchkins, creative ideas, laughs, jokes, stresses, bad attitudes, empathetic hugs, family secrets, breakups, tears and more Facebook conversations than you can shake a stick at! Yep, I'm going to miss these ladies!
High: On Saturday, the hubs and I attended my school's holiday party at a restaurant in Channelside. It was located right beside a popular bar that we used to frequently go to when we were dating. We decided to "live it up" for one night and go join the lively libations of yesteryear.
Low: Being at the above-mentioned location and realizing that sometimes, "you can never go back." It just wasn't the same. We sipped our one beer and headed home before 11:30. Yep, we are "that couple" now. That's okay, wouldn't change it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fall Photo Shoot!!!

Once again, we had the privilege of being photographed by my talented friend, Susan Gentile. Her work is amazing and she does such a great job of capturing those candid moments between mom, dad and baby! I hope you enjoy the pics! You can check out more of her work by clicking on the link to the right!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Halloween Parade!

So, one of the things I love about James' school being so close to mine is that I can sneak out during school hours (thanks to having a great team!) to attend special school events, such as the annual Carlton Academy Halloween Parade!
When I showed up, I found my little Batman showing off his muscles while doing some calisthenics. Just don't call him "The Situation!"

Of course, we HAD to get a picture taken with Mrs. Batman! Actually, Ms. Jihann was his first teacher at Carlton and I absolutely LOVE her! Apparently, so does James. Err.. ummm... is it just me, or does anyone else see him totally trying to grope Mrs. Batman???? Oh dear!
Here he is.. Waving to all of his adoring fans... Me! It was such a fun morning and I loved being able to do the "mommy thing" for once in a while during the school day! Such a treat!
Apparently, my son has a way with the ladies. He was surrounded all morning by fairies and princesses. Lucky guy!

An Apple a Day....

....keeps mommy sane!
Okay, so I don't have many mommy-tricks-of-the-trade, but I have come across ONE that WORKS! Well, it works for my son, some of the time, so that makes it PRICELESS!
Basically, it (like all great inventions of our time) came out of pure necessity. You see, we have a bit of a commute from James' preschool to our home. It's about 30 minutes door to door. And, let's just say that after a day of playing hard in preschool, James is bit famished on the way home.
Usually, he screams, begs, whines, demands for a cheeseburger or a stop by the "cheeseburger store." (Healthy moms, please don't judge me.) In my efforts to curb those fast food cravings, I started packing healthy, high-interest snacks for the ride home. Not everything was a hit, but I have come across one cheap, easy-to-prepare, high-on-the-hit-list item..... APPLES!
Yep, you heard me. Apples. Not cut up, sliced and diced, but whole apples. Yes, I have to "open" the apple for James by taking a bite or two from the middle. But, then I pass it along and he does the rest.
Now, instead of a car ride home listening to screaming demands for cheeseburgers and chocolate milk, all I hear is "crunch, crunch, crunch" .... "munch, munch, munch." James loves manipulating the apple and trying to get the biggest bite after bite. He will literally eat one down to the core and seeds.
Yes, my friends, not only are apples handy for long car rides, but they are great snack/time savers while you are shopping or running errands. I carry an apple a day in my purse for those last minute errands too close to dinner time. Maybe you will think of doing the same.
So Moms.... what are your "go to" snack saves????

The Glazer Children's Museum

(Note: This blog was almost titled "To Hell and Back...."
But, I digress....

This place is amazing! Their slogan is "It will grow your mind!" It features so many "Hands On/Please Touch Me" rooms that we lost count! The best news is that the first Tuesday of every month from 4-8 pm is FREE to Everyone! That sounds great, right? Amazing, right? Especially since it is located mere blocks from my school. So, a couple of Tuesdays ago ( I've tried to erase the exact date from memory), a coworker and I took our sons to the museum for everybody-gets-in-free-Tuesday!

James loved playing and splashing in the water/beach exhibit!
All of the rooms were high-interest, child-friendly exhibits and James literally ran with glee from room to room! He was in awe of all of the people and things to explore! I loved seeing him having fun and exploring the world around him! If I only knew that it would soon, bite me in the arse!

This "room" was a three-story, multi-level contraption of nets and platforms that represented the water cycle. It was HUGE! James was pretty intimidated at first and it took him a good five minutes to get used to going from platform to platform. After he gained confidence (didn't take long for my little daredevil), he explored from the bottom to the very top of the water cycle. I took pictures of him waaayyyy up at the top, but he was so far away and the lighting quality wasn't great, so those pics were not post-worthy. Sorry!

Another thing he loved was the rock wall. He mad it all the way up to the top!

Other favorite "rooms" were the Fire Station, complete with a simulator fire truck, a two-story fire house and a pole to slide down on ! As nerve-wracking as it was to chase him around a huge facility PACKED with hundreds upon hundreds of people, it was no comparison to the fun we had leaving.
Yes, two hours of fun at the museum was enough for mommy. But, clearly, it was not enough fun for James. I tried every "trick of the trade." I gave him the five minute warning. Then, a two minute warning. Then, a one minute warning. Then, I caved and gave him ten extra minutes. I would go one way, he would run to the other. I would block one pathway, he would dash to another. He ran through the maze of strollers, laughing because he knew I couldn't reach him. Then, he took off up the stairs and I had to literally plow OVER people to reach him and drag him back down the stairs. He tried an exit door. Then he tried another play room. My son is fast, if not determined. And, he was determined to stay in that museum all night long!
Finally, I was sweating, embarrased and exhausted. But, I picked James up with both hands and tried walking out. At this point, he knew he was fighting a loosing battle, but he was determined to win the war. He bucked his head. Kicked and screamed. Reared his head back some more. We finally made it out of the building, walking past the hundreds of families still in line waiting to get into "Free Family Fun Night" and I am carrying out a screaming, head-bucking banshee. Not only was he screaming and I was dripping with sweat, but as a last resort, he BIT ME on the shoulder. Never before has he bit another child, much less ME!
He was super over-stimulated and just could not calm himself down. It was a tantrum to beat all other tantrums. After five minutes of screaming in the car, he literally took a deep breath in and said, "Okay Mommy. I stop crying! I feel all better now!"
Wow. Just like that, I had my son back.
So moms, what was your worst, over-stimulated, tantrum-inducing experience?
No really, please share and let me know that I'm not the only one!
Please... please!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Bloggin' Buddy!!!

A good friend of mine (self-described Air Force wife, homeschooling mother of 5 and runner) has FINALLY joined the World Wide World of Blogging! Does that make sense? Not really, but my post school-day, pre-grad class brain is fried right now, so bear with me!
Anyway, she has decided to share her trials and tribulations of barefoot running with the rest of us! She is such a strong person who is DETERMINED to find a way to pursue her passion for running. After being plagued with injury after letdown after injury, she traded in her running shoes for the freedom of bare feet. Every time I hear about one of her runs, I literally dream of running down the streets of my own neighborhood with no shoes on! Maybe you will be inspired too! And now, without further ado.... MamaRunsBarefoot!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Better Late than Never

Well, when it comes to my blogging lately....
Everything else is rolling along like clockwork. Grad school assignments, lesson planning, meetings, conferences, doggie groomer appointments, etc....
However, we carved our pumpkin almost two weeks ago, it is already rotting away on our front porch from the hot, humid, Florida weather and I STILL haven't posted the much anticipated (humor me, will ya?) pictures.
So, without further ado.... Here you go!

Mom and Son, busily working on their pumpkins!
Don't worry, I had the knife, he had the marker.

One more quick pose with our finished products!

And here are our pumpkins proudly displayed on the front porch. Can you tell which one is the actual carved-by-me pumpkin and which one is a store-bought plastic, pre-lit pumpkin?
Well, now you can. It's the one with rotten insides, caving in from the October humidity. Oh well, gotta love Florida!
Tomorrow, James' preschool is having a costume parade around the playground! Luckily, his school is located directly behind my school so I can walk over! Yes, pictures of my "Bat Man" will follow shortly!
Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nature vs. Nurture

I, by nature, am not a gardener. I have no green thumb and have routinely killed most green things that have the unfortunate experience of inhabiting our home. However, I can nurture an entire classroom of 8 year olds and motivate their minds through the wonderful world of reading and writing. How does this relate to James, you may ask?

On Friday, I picked James up from preschool and he proudly showed off his latest class project, a green bean sprouting from a paper cup. The mature adult in us would think, "yeah, yeah... so what?" But, to the mind of a three year old, it's "This is the coolest thing ever! You start with something hard and tiny and then this green leafy thing grows up and up and up! Amazing!" Yep, those were pretty much James' thoughts verbatim. And, he was determined to take very good care of his plant! For example, he wisely rolled down the car window and held it out in the sun on the way home because "plants need sunlight, mommy." Then, I caught him trying to pour water out of his sippy cup into the plant cup because "plants need water, mommy." And if that's not enough to convince of you of my child's green thumb, he later informed me that "plants need seeds." Mind you, he was telling me this as he tearing apart the sprouted bean plant in search of seeds to put back into the dirt. So, he got the right concept, but his execution needs some work. Hmmm..... maybe he does take after me in the Nature department after all!
On the homefront, we had a very relaxing and productive weekend. Can you really have both, you ask? Why, yes you can!

Friday night we hit up the clubhouse for sunset happy hour. We got a sitter for James and really enjoyed getting to have real conversation for the first time all week. It makes for a happy mommy and daddy!

Saturday was chore day. Grocery shopping, cleaning house, laundry. You know, the fun stuff! Then we got to enjoy the rest of the afternoon by the pool. Dinner was grilled shrimp and chicken, followed by more family pool and hot tub time. After we got James to bed, it was movie night complements of Netflix (best thing ever!)

Sunday was more laundry and then tackling our garage. We had TONS of stuff to clean out, but I think we are now able to definitely fit one vehicle in there and maybe two if we're lucky!



While cleaning out said garage, I found two pictures that I had bought over two months ago with the intentions of hanging, and well... you see where they ended up. After much discussion and searching around the house, we decided that the back hallway could use some brightening up. Success!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Week

My Week was....
~A full week of teaching, which included mentoring my level 3 intern
~Monday: Grad class until 9 PM! The class is on Epistemology, so we have to complete all of these fascinating (not!) readings by Descartes, Stroud and Moore, who were basically a bunch of men with PLENTY of time on their hands to sit around a ponder/discuss/reflect/argue the essential questions like, "How do you prove that two human hands exist?" Seriously????
~ Tuesday: after teaching all day, I came home, made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, started laundry and promptly fell asleep at 8:00 pm.
~ Wednesday: Grad class until 9 PM! (again!) This class is on Cross Cultural Diversity. Here, two white, male principals attempt to teach Diversity to a class of all white females. Anyone else see the irony here?
~ Thursday: Gym time after school, then home for dinner, playing with James, bath time, books and bedtime.
~ Friday: oh! Glorious friday! Here at last! Here at last! I came home from school with a migraine, so Will took over with James for a while (maybe a hour). After we got James to bed, we got to enjoy Movie date night compliments of Netflix. Bring on the True Blood extravaganza!
~ Saturday: School work in the morning, followed by a trip to Sweetbay for some groceries. Then, Will and I are heading over to some coworkers of his for a "housewarming" party/cookout. I'm looking forward to the downtime!
~ Sunday: A day of rest????? I hope so!

As I'm typing this, James is running in circles around the house "like a rocket!" This boy has SO much energy. He is literally running in a circle, while twirling around in circles. Last night, he insisted that we call him "puppy" as he was no longer "James." Then, he proceeded to try and lick our faces and only responded to us in barks. Yes, we think he's highly talented and gifted, too. (insert sarcastic laugh here)
Either way, I'm looking forward to my weekend with my "three" dogs and the hubs! Hope all of you out there are having a great weekend!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The irony

So I'm sitting here, watching a Netflix movie on the couch with James (Fly Me to the Moon) and thinking of the irony of my Life.
Let me explain....
Last week, there was a certain event that I had planned for and looked forward to ALL summer long. It was to be FUN, relaxing, romantic, entertaining and inspiring. (I don't expect much, do I?)
And, it turned out to be the exact opposite. Oh well. Sometimes Life deals you a raw deal. I'll live, right?
Then, late Friday night, I throw together some plans with a fellow teacher/friend from grad school. Plans included meeting up with some people, boating out to a nearby island and partying for the day. Turns out... it was one of the best days the hubs and I have had in a while. Our favorite sitter was available for the entire day, I packed the cooler with drinks, water and Publix sandwiches. I applied a heavy dose of 50 sunblock, we donned our bathing suits and drove ten minutes to the boat ramp.
Our saturday included...
-waiting for an hour and a half for everyone else to show up at the boat lift (we chose to stay in the air conditioned car, open up a few drinks and enjoyed having conversation with no interruptions for juice, potty, trains, etc.)
-yummy pina coladas
-bright sunshine
-a boat ride
-fun picture-posing with drift wood along the beach
-cuddling in the warm Gulf water
-a walk around the island, complete with hand-holding and smooching
-lots and lots of laughs at stuff that I can't really remember right now
-a "private" acoustic guitar concert from our new friend Pablo featuring the ever-romantic music of Tenacious D
-roasted hot dogs on the fire
-making new friends
-a relaxing day filled with fun, friends and each other!

I hope everyone else is enjoying their impromptu Labor Day plans!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Reflections....

Since today was the first day of school, I guess I have to admit that my summer is officially O-V-E-R. See, I can't even say it! I guess it's because I feel I didn't have much of a summer. For the Hayman Household, Summer was....

* Too short (I think you got that hint already!)
*Five weeks of grad-school HE!! (I was SO stressed out and uptight, just glad hubs didn't divorce me!)
*Spending some quality time with Peggy, aka Nana (Will's mom)
*Family trips to the clubhouse pool
*Lazy weekends around the house in our PJ's
*Grilling poolside and watching James jump in the pool over and over again during dinner
*Spending quality time with Grandpa (my dad)
*Planning and savoring our ONE crappy dive trip of the season (after last summer's dive season, this one was just a let down. We just didn't have/make the time for diving and we both missed it dearly, but there's always next year!)
*Homemade Sushi Night (with the Sushezi, it's perfect sushi made easy!)
*Too short (oh wait, I think I mentioned that one already!)
But you get the jist!
Here are some quick pics to recap!
James totally inherited my sweet tooth! "Will run for cupcakes!"

(Are these the cheesiest, most innocent-looking smiles or what!?!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Summer Reading

"I knew you could! And you knew it, too-
That you'd come out on top after all you've been through.
And from here you'll go farther and see brand new sights.
You'll face brand new hills that rise to new heights.

I wish I could show you the stops that you'll visit,
But that isn't my choice to make for you, is it?
Instead, I can tell you some lessons and tales
That I've learned and relearned in my time on the rails."
I Knew You Could!
Written by Graig Dorfman

So that's the introduction to this very awesome, filled-with-adult-life-lessons new picture book that I picked up for James at the low, low cost of $4! (Thank you Wal-Mart!)
Of course, it's a huge hit with the train theme and all, but the sing-song, Dr. Seuss-style verses tell about overcoming life's obstacles, being a good friend, staying true to yourself and believing in yourself, which made it a huge hit with mommy and daddy!

James is enjoying his summer reading! Not quite sure what he's doing with his arm. We'll say he's waving me over to come read the book with him...

And now that I'm done with my summer grad classes (thank GOD!), I have found some time to do my summer reading (for pleasure!) I finished this book, Eat, Pray Love (maybe you've heard of it?) this week. I can't say it was the most engaging or powerful book I've ever read. The funny thing is, when I was reading about her stay in Italy, all I wanted to do was eat and eat and eat. When I was reading about her stay in India, I longed for a quiet space to sit and breathe and listen to my inner thoughts. (dare I say meditate?) And when I was reading about her stay in Bali, well.... I don't remember having much of a reaction at all.

What should I read next before my precious days of summer come to an end?????

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Letter to the Birthday Boy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: James' 3rd Birthday
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Dear James,

What an independent little man you have become! You approach Life with so much gusto and determination like I've never seen before. You are persistent in what you want and demanding when you don't get it quickly (heh-heh...wonder where that comes from!) You have no fear (wonder where that comes from!) when it comes to climbing, jumping, playing, running or heights. However, you do have a fear of eating anything green, which makes getting your daily number of veggies in quite challenging!

Your "little" personality wins over the heart of everyone you meet! You aren't afraid of new people and in fact, have "never met a stranger." For example, I have walked down the halls of your preschool and pass by staff workers who all wave and say "Hi James!" yet you are not in their class and I've never met them before! At other times, you will wave and repeatedly say hello to the homeless person standing by our car at red lights until they wave back (forcing me to hand over any spare change or snacks we have in the car!) I'm seeing a lesson on "stranger danger" is in our near future.

At age three, you love to run, kick, climb and jump! Your energy and endurance would rival a world athlete! You often tell me what a fast runner you are and you are very proud of this fact (who wouldn't be?) You still have a strong love of trains, but that also includes anything with wheels. You are expanding your horizons to include craft items such as crayons, markers, paint and my all-time favorite (not) - play doh!

Your love of classical music is still very apparent, as you still call the guitars on your shirts "violins" and you still prefer to listen and hum along to anything by Beethoven or Bach. Your latest favorite movie is the Disney classic, Fantasia. You actually will cheer during the upbeats and move your arms as if you're conducting the music. I love watching your expressions as they change from concern to excitement, based on the mood of the music.

I love our conversations. Lately, you've been talking a lot about the volcanoes near our house (TECO Energy smoke stacks) and about going on a rocket ship. You haven't figured out where to find a rocket ship yet, but you have informed me that I'm not invited to come with you (thanks a lot!)

You are still set in your bedtime routine. First, you take a nice, hot, bath...complete with plenty of splashing and toy-playing. Then it's off to the bedroom for pajamas and story time. Lately, you love to count anything and everything in the books we read. You love to point at the pictures and label what you see. And, you often ask for the name of something when you don't remember or don't know what it is, which is a good thing. After reading an ever-increasing number of books to/with you, you always, without fail, ask for a hug and a kiss, which I always, without fail give in generous amounts. I cherish and count each one of those hugs and kisses because I am all too aware that one day, you won't ask me anymore. And one day, I won't be around to give them.

Lastly, your daddy and I want you to know how much you are LOVED! We can't wait to see what the future has in store for you and what you will accomplish once you set your mind to it. We love you right up to the moon...... and back!



Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July with friends and family! We spent the weekend grilling by the pool, going to pool parties, having pool parties, eating a lot and spending time with family and friends!
One of my new favorite resources for the classroom is Animoto . I was exposed to this dynamic website during one of my summer grad classes (which I'm LOVING actually!) and I wanted to play around with it. So, I made an image slideshow using one of my favorite subjects- James! When I return to the classroom in the fall, I can't wait to incorporate this technology to awaken and inspire my young readers!

One funny story that I have to share with you from this weekend...

During the pool party at Tom and Veronica's house (James' godparents, our good friends, and fellow SCUBA divers) Veronica brought a scuba tank/regulator set into the pool. She planned to let another girl practice breathing scuba (without descending) as her "introduction" into SCUBA. Certain diving agencies start Scuba certifying children as young as 8 years old. We have said that we want to wait until James is 12-14 years old before he gets certified. Well..... we might not be able to wait that long!

As soon as Veronica jumped into the pool with the tank and regulator, James ran up to me and demanded, "Mommy, I want to play that!" Then, he proceeded to jump back into the pool and try to stick the adult regulator into his mouth (because he noticed that this was what the adults were doing with it.) Most adults are very hesitant to stick this large regulator into their mouths and then stick their heads underwater. Not our son! He thought he was doing something very special! Although he didn't actually "dive" and he only breathed in about two breaths on the regulator, I can see that this is something he is definitely interested in! Future family SCUBA vacations, here we come!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Boy Just Wants to Dance!

So, I picked James up from school yesterday and noticed his "new do!" His teachers said that James wanted something done with his hair because all of the girls were getting their hair put in pony tails before going outside. Since he can't get a pony tail, (thank goodness!) he settled for the fashionable mohawk! Luckily, it wore off a bit before daddy got home!

Now, onto the dancing! Seeing as Will's mom is a former ballroom-dance instructor and Will was invited to (dragged to) several ballroom dancing competitions as a young child, I am hoping that James gets some of his daddy's moves! He already has a love of music, so now we just need to develop the movement/dance ability!
On Tuesday, James attended his first "dance class" provided at his preschool. After school, we went to the gym and he talked about dance class the entire drive there. It went something like this:
James: "Mommy, I pushed."
Me: "What? You pushed a friend at dance class. That's not nice, James. If you push your friends, you won't be able to go to dance class."
James: "Okay mommy. James no push friend."
Me: "Did you push because you were angry or because you were excited?"
James: "I was EXCITED!"
Me: "James, I understand that you were excited and having fun. But, you still cannot push your friends. Okay?"
James: "Okay mommy!"

Once inside the elevator, he happily showed me his "moves" that he learned in class. Then, when we got home, he asked me to put on music so we could dance. In case you weren't aware, "dancing" to a three year old mostly consists of leg-lifts, bouncing up and down and holding hands and walking in a circle (ring-around-the-rosie style.)
Of course, when daddy got home, James had to show him his dance moves and dance with daddy. I tried to snap some pictures of this, but they were all blurry and the dance session ended as soon as James spied me with the camera. Oh well!
Hopefully next week's dance class will spark some more moves!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weekend Assignment

Okay, so I totally stole this title from my friend's blog (please don't sue me!), but I like it and it fits! And, my brain is totally removed from all creative thoughts after a full week of academic reading and writing. So, there you go....
Let's do a quick recap of this week, the teaching school year ended for me last Friday. The "student" portion of my school year began on Monday with my 8-5:00 Monday thru Friday graduate class at the University of Tampa. Woo Hoo! Bring on the fun research-based readings and lengthy papers and group projects! Do I know how to ring in the summer or WHAT?
Okay, before you get beside yourself with jealousy, let me bring us back to my Weekend Assignment (hence the plagiarized title of this post.) I have been chosen to present a right-brain based lesson to an audience of teachers and administrators at Eckerd College. Yes, folks, I will be presenting at my first ever teaching conference. Luckily, I'm co-presenting with another teacher from my school (safety in numbers, right?)
And then, Monday brings a whole new round of week-long coursework. Good times, good times.
On the James' front, he is absolutely LOVING his new school- Carlton Academy Day School. He loves his new friends and his teachers (I hear about them all the time!) When I walk down the halls with him, all these other teachers (whom I don't know) all wave and say "Hey James!" like they've known him for years. Yep, my boy gets around! Yesterday when I picked him up after a long day, his teacher was sharing a story (Pirate Pete) with the class. Instead of her reading it to them, she was playing a tape recording of the story. James put a death grip on my pinkie finger and instructed me to "sit down and listen" to the rest of the story. There were three other parents who walked in after me and were also sequestered until the end of the story.
Apparently, these kids take reading seriously (and they just LOVE Pirate Pete!)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Birthday Bash

After I gave birth, I had the wonderful luck of joining a fantastic new mom's support group! Oh, how I looked forward to those weekly meetings for the socializing and how I truly NEEDED those weekly meetings for the advice and support that only a new mom can get from another new mom. But, I digress...
Fast-forward three years and here we all are! Who knew that we would ever survive those early years, much less have beautiful, active healthy children who survived?
Since our children were mostly born around June and July (two of the hottest months in Florida) and since we have had two full years of traipsing from one party to the next all summer long, we decided to get smart and have one big birthday bash for all the kids in our new mom's group. And, we decided to get extra smart by having it INDOORS in the air-conditioning.
Operation Summer Birthday Bash occurred at the south Tampa Gymboree on Sunday and it was a smashing success! Well, if you call 20 three year-olds running, jumping, rolling, falling, climbing, mosh-pitting, screaming, giggling, laughing and just having a grand ole' time.... then, yes, it was a huge success!
Here are some moments I managed to capture with my camera...

In this photo, the kids got to "hide" under the parachute and at the count of "five", they all came running out from under it. Oh my! This was so much fun, we had to re-enact it several times. James was always one of the first jetting out from under the parachute and he completed his exit with a throw-myself-on-the-nearest-mat-roll-around-stuntman-style-exit every time.

James getting into a tickle contest with daddy.

James started the mosh-pit with two of his roughest friends. It's a good thing these boys are sturdy! James was running and body-slamming up against them and they were loving it! When people say that boys are rough, please believe them!

One quick pose with mommy in the midst of all the tumbling and playing! Big smiles all around!
oh, I have to note that when James first saw my shirt, his immediate response was: "Mommy's got train tracks!" Does this boy ever think of anything else besides trains????
On a side note, his actual birthday isn't until July 9th. We are thinking of keeping things low-key (ie, cheap) and taking James on a trolley ride. A trolley ride to the ice cream shop and back should make for a pretty nice birthday celebration, right? He sees the bright yellow train (trolley) every day as we drive through downtown. It's only about $3 a ride and I'm thinking he will really enjoy it!
Any other cheap ideas for a three year olds birthday party?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


May was...
  • a wonderful visit to Key Largo with good friends and my wonderful hubby!
  • My first dive trip of the season in ideal diving conditions on two deep wrecks off the coast of Key Largo
  • an extra long visit from my mom and my uncle Joe
  • extra doses of grandma's kisses and hugs for James!
  • a heartbroken mommy when we had to take grandma to the airport and James started bawling his eyes out because he wasn't getting on the airplane with grandma
  • our 5th year wedding anniversary
  • fun weekend visits with good friends
  • lots of trips to the clubhouse pool and slides down the "big" slide
  • putting daddy on a flight to Ohio to stay with grandma while she recovered from surgery to remove her lung cancer
  • putting James in a new preschool that's conveniently located to mommy's school and the University of Tampa (mommy's grad school for the summer)
  • being so proud of James for acclimating so easily into his new school and fitting right in after the first day like he's been there for years
  • still missing daddy because his week-long trip got extended another week
  • the end of the school year (with all it's craziness, report cards, portfolios, etc)
  • gone too quickly.....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Operation Potty: Bust!

Okay, so this past weekend was try # 2 for Potty Training with James. WShen my mom was here, he showed all the signs of being ready. Finally, I had a nice three day weekend with no plans or distractions, so I decided to "take the plunge."

Saturday morning went very well. James wore his "big boy undies" all morning and went to the potty when prompted. Then, before naptime, I put on a diaper so he doesn't wet the bed during his sleep. He took his usual 2 1/2 hour nap and when we awoke...

he REFUSED to put his undies back on. Flat out refused. He would not go try to use the potty (even when reminded about gummy treats and cookies!) and DEMANDED that I put a diaper back on him. And honestly, I just didn't have the "fight" in me to force the issue.

Skip forward to this week....
I took James to his new preschool (just for the summer, for convenience reasons) and he has pee'd on the potty several times every day since then. I'm convinced that PEER PRESSURE will potty train this boy, because it sure doesn't seem to be mommy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter- Mira Bay Style

What's the perfect recipe for a pre-Easter bash?

- 2 willing daddies

- 3 adorable toddlers, armed with empty baskets

- 1 egg casserole, 1 hashbrown casserole, 1 large bowl of fruit, 3 bottles of champagne for mimosas

- 1,000 eggs for a toddler egg hunt

- lots of Florida sunshine!

We walked to the clubhouse and waited patiently for the hunt to begin. We timed it just right and only had to wait about 1 minute for the hunt to begin. Good thing... the natives were getting restless!

Well, some of us rode in style...
James got right to work. Of course, he had daddy with him, pointing out which eggs to get.

Afterwards, James walked over and shared some of his eggs with Donovan. What a good friend!
My sweet boy took time for a quick pose with mommy!

Of course, we anxiously waited our turn for the Easter bunny to come over! James was literally bursting with excitement.
Thank you Easter Bunny!