Saturday, August 22, 2015

Great Day at the GSO Science Center

Well, after a hellish week of illness, late nights, meetings, other adult crap, elementary school open houses, and general end-of-the-summer craziness, we couldn't figure out where to go for lunch today. So we went to the Greensboro Science Center's The Fresh Market Cafe. A short lunch trip turned into a delightful and relaxing 3 hours cruising around the science center, checking out the new-born gibbon (Duke's little sister), the new Monkeys, the old Tigers, and a couple of copulating tortises. Just what we needed to restore a little sanity to our lives.

The floor of the lobby, by the big plate glass windows, also appears to be a great place to take pictures:


We would have taken a picture of our third child, but it took Jack a long time to poop. So he missed out.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are You Ready For Some Futbol??

We got all the kids kitted out for soccer this fall while we were down at the beach, ransacking the Dick's Sporting Goods out on Mt Pleasant.

Of course when we got back to the condo everyone wanted to play. Sam surprised me by putting up some great defense against Jack's burgeoning dribbling skills, the post-block hand violation notwithstanding:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Aquarius of the Aquarium

On the way down to the beach this month, Jackson really got going with some coloring and Gend up this prized piece of art entitled the aquarium. featured are all of the various sorts of sea creatures that Jackson expected to find down at the beach:

Little did we know we would have such a prescient Aquarius with us in the car. we ended up finding about half of the described number of animals plus a few more that were unexpected.

In total we saw: two bucks, several stingrays, a dozen or more sand dollars, a few starfish, eight or nine hermit crabs of varying size with shells from the size of a quarter to the size of a softball, schools of fish from minnows to menhaden, a whole lot of seagulls and pelicans, and a few dead jellyfish.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Camp with Nana

In between Art Camp, and Spy Camp, and Cooking on the Farm Camp, and trips to the beach and the blueberry farm, Jack has won himself an all-expenses-paid trip to Camp Sparty to hang out with Nana for a week. And boy does it look like they are having fun!

Jack even decided to show off his new-found swimming skills at the CCS pool (where one summer, many many years ago, Matilda and Bud think they won first place in the Father-Son 100m Relay).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sweet Caroline

My little girl turned five today - FIVE - holy smokes. She's a princess now, but she is going to be a queen before we know it.

We've been building up this birthday into something special, and she's been enjoying every minute of it. On Sunday she got to pick out her cupcakes, and yesterday we had a small party at school. Matilda managed to pull all that off by himself (cupcakes, plates & napkins, gift bags, emergency re-allocation of gift bags due to extra kid in the class, etc etc) since Doc was out of town attending to urgent matters of familial import. Last night, we got some cool gifts from Aunt Rae and Callie & Emma and made them into jewelry in the oven.

Today we all slept in, had breakfast together, and then Caroline and Doc played hooky all day while Sam went to school (Jack is off at Nana-Camp). First they got a check up (but no shots!), then they got their hurh did. Caroline loved every minute of the salon, especially the wash / blow dry part.

We had a great lunch date at Mad Hatter, and there was cake baking and decorating this afternoon, and cupcakes left over. GG came up for dinner and we just had a grand old time. The whole day, Caroline was just glowing, gliding around and glancing approvingly at everything that was happening. Just like all was right with the world, and everything was as she expected it to be, a perfect birthday.


It was great to have GG here - Caroline always shines from a special place when she is with either one of her grandmothers. We've got another party slated for Friday night in Sparty with Bud and Nana and Brother Jack.

Sammy played the role of the adoring little brother to the hilt, doting on Caroline and eagerly devouring at least two portions of cake. He helped Caroline open some of her gifts, but not so much as to be grabby. He managed to score a pretty sweet kiss from his big sister as compensation.

Dean Dog even got in on the action:

All in all, another fantastic princess-edition party, one more year down the road. This year has big adventures in store for Caroline: graduation from Children's Corner, starting Sternberger, turning 5, first soccer season coming up. She's really coming into her own - it will be amazing to see what joy the next year holds.

I love you, girl.

Happy Birthday Pookie Face

Dean the Dog officially turned 8 years old today. It's been quite a journey since that fateful trip down to Harker's Island to pick him up one October day. He's a good dog, and he's not at all jealous that he shares his birthday with his younger, prettier sibling, who turned 5 herself today.

There were plenty of snack treats for the ol' Deando, and a couple choice photographs. Doc even got him a special bone, which he sat patiently for while wagging his tail.

 He even got a little bit of Sister's cake, too..

[cross-posted from]

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fool's Day

Jack piled out of bed at 6:25 this morning and came right into our room. That in itself is odd.

I cracked my eyes and deadpanned: "Good morning! Let's go downstairs and watch TV and eat chocolate on the couch! It's a holiday."

He scrunched his eyes up tight and tried to hide the sparkle of hope and cover up a smile. "You're just tricking me," he said, and went back to his room.

A minute later, I heard a scream and Jack cried out "Daddy, Sam threw up behind the chair!!"

I playfully rushed into his room, to find Sam jumping out from behind the chair shouting "Surprise" as Jack stood coyly, hands on his hips, and said "April Fools Day!"

I think this boy gets it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sam Shaw Turns Three

I got my last hug from a 2 year old last night. Sigh. When Sam woke up this morning, he was at least a foot taller and bullet proof.

Our baby Sam turned Three today. Hard to believe he started out on March 28, 2012 as just this little guy:

Sam has the heart of a warrior, a lion - generous, fearless, and gallant. He is quick to stand and fight but just as quick to stop and care when someone gets hurt. His favorite game du jour is to try to "knock you over," wherein I am to sit patiently on the floor while he backs up 3-4 yards, gets a good running start, and works on his tackling drills. He does this for about 45 minutes before moving on to some other game, and sometimes he yells, sometimes he just grunts, and about 2 out of 3 tries I go tumbling to the carpet. He is a tough little bugger and he really can lay the shoulder in when he wants to. I guess three years of wrestling with siblings twice his size will toughen a guy up.

We've been reading the Narnia books, and finally broke down and watched the first movie last night (we're on the third book). I was a little concerned that it would be too violent or scary for these kids - they are pretty young. But they were totally into it. At at one point during the climactic final battle scene, Sam stood up, punched his fist into the sky and shouted "The Lion DEFEAT the Witch!" Right on, kid.

About 3 months ago, Sam figured out what Super Heroes are. Since then, it has been Batman this and Spiderman that, and "Daddy I want the Super Heroes Cup!!!" at every meal (we only have two). And so it came to pass that this birthday party would be a Super Hero Birthday Party. It helps that we are also in the late stages of mostly successful potty training, and so every day is filled with several small victories, increasingly certain conquests of the porcelain arena.

Sam Shaw, like each of the celebrated Shaw men that have come before him, also selected Yellow Cake With Chocolate Icing as his birthday treat of choice. Despite being baked by Matilda himself, it turned out quite yummy. Somewhat at the gentle urging of Doc, the kids have taken to calling this particular confection "Man Cake." Fitting, I think.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sissy sings a lullaby

Matilda and I were talking about something as we drove home from lunch when we realized she was singing and the boys were listening.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Big Boy

Six years ago this morning, Jack entered our world, screaming and waving his hands like a crazy little preacher.

Tonight, he streaked across the moonlit yard with a red light-up bow and arrow, screaming and waving his hands like a crazy little indian brave.

Jack has just been tripping through the wickets lately, starting school, writing, nearly reading, chapter books, came home with his first toy shotgun from a weekend with Bud and Nanas. He's as good or better with the remote control than Doc, and its just flat out hard to believe how fast he is growing up.

But he still has this great and amazing sweet side to him, is so caring and quick to share, to reach out to others and open himself up. Jack's big treat for this special occasion was a family trip tot he zoo in Asheboro, something he especially requested, and a trip for which the late January weather worked out just fine. We saw the polar bear, harbor seal, elephants and giraffes.

But most importantly, we got to play on the playground. And only got separated from each other once (me and the littles took the turn towards the giraffes; Doc and J stayed at the elephants, and we were all sorts of messed up for the next hour until we finally crossed paths again).

Aside from the zoo, we didn't make a big deal about a party this year, and kind of quietly decided to just celebrate at home with family. And honestly, that seemed just perfect to him, because he got to pick out his decorations and help make (and frost!) cupcakes, and share the whole hullaballoo with the rest of his family. Which seems to be all that Jack really wants to do in the first place.

In retrospect, maybe he had gotten all the partying out of his system the weekend before down at Camp Sparty, which apparently was one long continuous spree of TV, cough drops, and shopping. Just as it should be at the grandparents house.


While I was writing this, Jack now six years and 14 hours old, wandered out of his room and into ours. "What are you doing," said Doc. No response. Then he wanders back into his room and stands in the middle of the floor. Doc follows him, asks the question again: "Its a Ninja Turtle thing, Mom," he says, before climbing back into bed.

Crazy kid.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A day of Firsts

Today was the first day of kindergarten for our eldest and the first day of the final class-step for Caroline at daycare. We've been talking it up for weeks, thinking this would be a tough transition for everyone.  J, sis, and Sam have been the Three Amigos their entire lives. They wake, eat, school, bathe, play, and sleep together. I was expecting the split to be on par with the breakup of The Beatles.  Especially after I announced Caroline would be changing rooms to have a single instead of sharing with her oldest brother and was promptly confronted with a pleading Caroline *and* Jack asking to "stay together until we turn 15." 

So we had a weekend of special treats, Costco trips to pick out fun lunch snacks, ceremonious packing of bookbags and snack totes, and even new clothes to help all feel special on this momentous day.  I even found Jack completely dressed for school around 11pm the night before because "I just wanted to be sure there was enough time in the morning to get everything done."  

I fully anticipated this morning to be heavy and full.  I could not have been more surprised.

All babes woke happy and helpful.  Jack kept to his promise and got (re)dressed, washed, bed-made, and fed on his own without direction. Caroline happily got dressed and Sam didn't empty the contents of his snackbag on the floor for a quick crunchy dance with the dog. 

We all walked hand in hand to the patio door at school.  Jackson gave hugs and flew through the school doors without a second look.  And the Littles let. him. go.  There was no crying or screaming or whining or clinging.  Angels didn't come down from the heavens with trumpets and trees didn't catch fire.  We almost even forgot to get out of our camera at all. 

I thought I would be overwhelmed with emotion.  I thought I would tear up and linger too long and have a hard time driving away.  But, just like so many other times in this parenting adventure when I have been proven utterly wrong (see potty training), I didn't.  I've been dropping Jack off at "school" since he was 8wks old so maybe that's why today didn't feel so momentous.  Or maybe it was the distracting chaos that still clung to each of my hands after I lost site of him through the double doors.  Or maybe it was how ready and calm he was to start this next chapter in his life.  Or maybe, and more likely, it just hasn't hit me yet.  Time has a funny way of lulling one into a distracted daze.  Maybe that isn't a bad thing.  Maybe that's the way we Mommas cope.

March on into the adventurous wonderful world, my sweet little ones.