Monday, June 28, 2010

S'mores and more

This weekend, we decided to attempt a backyard campout, though the weather threatened storms and the humidity tempted us to stay inside.  It turned out to be nice.  Not too hot and rain-free.

Putting up the tent, cooking hotdogs and marshmallows over the fire, and chasing fireflies was our evening's entertainment.  The stars hid behind clouds, but there's still something wholly relaxing about lying down with nature, looking up through the tent at the sillouhettes of trees.

Both Brody (the 3-year-old) & Max (the dog) couldn't figure out why we were still outside after dark and had a hard time settling down.  Max was escorted inside for the night, because the sound of him chewing on a tennis ball was getting on our nerves.  After a round of musical sleeping bags, Brody finally calmed down too. 

Bella was the first to fall asleep and the last to wake up- right past 6:00am, which brought daylight and noisy birds (that woke ME up).  I think she's almost a teenager.  The rest of us took naps throughout the day to make up for our restless slumber, but the adventure was worth the sacrifice- and it's always nice to have a Saturday to recover :-)

Our first family campout was a success, not just because we all survived and finally fell asleep, but because we shut out the distractions, the technology, the t.v. and enjoyed each other's company.  That's a good reason to do it again.

* * * * *
Boy, have I got a week planned (plenty of blogging fodder)!

A trip or two to the pool.
A free summer movie.
Small group girls' night out.
Phantom at the Fox with Tiff.
A tie-dye party.
The children's museum.

Okay, this is what I imagined summer break to be full of- lots of friends and lots of long as I can keep my ducks in a row, stick to the calendar, and gather my supplies :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Homegrown Child

Over the past few months, I became increasingly agitated by my daughter's education experience.  Through conversations with many friends and my own personal research, I decided that I wanted to take back my right to teach Bella what I think is imporant and focus on her specific skills and talents. 

So recently, my family decided to join the growing ranks of homeschoolers. 

It's a slightly terrifying but very exciting prospect.  I have high hopes that my daughter will flourish at home, and yet I realistically understand that we will probably get sick of each other now and then.  But I can't imagine that she could find a more supportive and loving environment while she grows up. 

This is our first try at a different form of education for our kids, but we're not advertising it as the only right way.  After all, we're new at this. 

I started a separate blog to share my research, trials, and triumphs over the next year and maybe future decisions concerning our family's education.  Check into The Homegrown Child if you're interested in following along!  I've been hesitant to share this, since I'm just beginning to gather my thoughts, so be patient as I work out the brainy cobwebs :-)

Photo by Squeezebox Photography.

Everyone needs a vacation

I'm settled into this dreadfully typical office chair with wheels that are of little use on our office carpet.  I can't wait to get rid of it and bring something a bit cheerier as I re-decorate this space.  However, here I sit, determined to spill out some worthwhile thoughts.  It's good to be home, and I have allowed my mind to vacation long enough.  It's getting lazy.

Our family just returned from a memorable vacation to the Magic Kingdom- my first, as well as, my kids'.  With my in-laws joining us, we survived 100 degree temperatures, hours of waiting in lines, and treasured the childlike excitement we so rarely partake in. 

As we watched Disney's tremendous fireworks display above Cinderella's Castle one night (they never disappoint), my eyes watered while I thought of how wonderful my daughter's dreams will be.  Treating her like a princess and allowing her to imagine herself as anything she likes- these things I do not take for granted, having missed them when I was a little girl.  This was the heart of our whirlwind trip for me.

We packed in so many activities in the 6 days we spent in Florida, its hard to list them all.  The highlights were meeting the princesses & fairies with Bella, as well as, scheduling her makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique; playing the Toy Story game at Hollywood Studios and meeting Buzz Lightyear with Brody; Watching the fireworks on a Friday night; floating around in the swimming pool for hours; watching Bella dance in the Lion King show at Animal Kingdom; and getting soaked on one of the water rides.

The great thing about Disney is their customer service.  When someone accidentally took our stroller which had the kids' autograph book and Bella's souveniers from Cinderella's Castle, Disney gave us vouchers to use their strollers for the rest of our days visiting the park, AND replaced the items we lost.  They gave us a new autograph book with twice as many signatures as we had collected before.  The kids were ecstatic!

Not only that, but every where Bella went, they called her "princess."  On our first day, walking down main street, a performer tipped his hat to our girl in her Cinderella dress and greeted her while pointing to the landmark at the end of Main Street: "Why, good morning, Princess.  I love your castle.  It is so pretty!"  That was just the beginning.

Now that we're back to the familiar sights and smells of our home, the significance of those many exhausting moments on vacation will stay with us.  Turning off the laptops and cell phones and really looking at each other, enjoying the ride (sweat included) and each other.  It was absolutely worth getting away and wearing our legs out for, so we can also return home with smiles on our faces.  It's good to be back.