End of Summer Party

End of Summer Party

With sumer dragging on and Claire not having seen much of her friends the last couple of months, I felt like she could use a little lift before school suddenly started. ¬†We decided to have an end-of-summer party to match Claire’s beginning-of-summer party. ¬†Claire invited a small group of friends over to celebrate basically going back to school and being together again. ¬†Really, it was just a glorified play date.

The party featured a small inflatable pool with the world’s smallest water slide, water sprayers, and water balloons. ¬† Yes, school is starting, but it is really still summer outside. ¬†Claire had also wanted to do a lemonade stand, and she happened to have a workable cardboard lemonade stand that she had made with her favorite summer sitter, Julia. ¬†The girls set up shop on our front curb. ¬†The lemonade, made from a mix, was $.50 per cup — or free if you don’t have any money or too large of a bill to make change. ¬†Claire’s friends were really good at hailing cars, bikers, and walkers. ¬†It helped that the weekend exercise types were out in force. ¬†The girls ended up selling about $12 of lemonade in about 45 minutes. ¬†They split up the money and resolved to donate part to a cause of their own choosing. ¬†One friend was going to donate all her money to the Philippines. ¬†Another’s went to the pet shelter. ¬†Claire is saving hers for Winter the injured dolphin, who is featured in a favorite movie of hers.

The girls also put on an impromptu show when the various parents came for pickup.  It was sort of a very disorganized Hawaiian luau of sorts.  It was fun, and the parents clapped, etc.  Then the kids ran and hid to try to avoid going home, if only for a few more minutes.

The girls happily included Molly in the water play, the lemonade stand , and the show.  They all think Molly is adorable and want a little sister like her.

Summer Break 2013

Summer Break 2013

A few quick notes from summer 2013.

This was Claire’s break between first and second grades. ¬†Only Claire’s schedule changes for the summer so far. ¬†Molly does not have a summer break, being a full time pre-school student.

We decided to try out several different camps this summer for Claire to see what worked best. ¬†Some full day camps, some half day with a sitter the rest of the day, some in between. ¬†We basically have to experiment since up until now we mostly just used the good ol’ day care.

Over the summer, Claire’s weeks were split up like this:

  • Four full day camps
  • Four half-day camps, usually morning with a sitter after lunch
  • Most of the camps were art-oriented, at Claire’s request, with a week of gymnastics, a week of cooking, and ¬†a week of science.
  • Two weeks of vacation with the family to see family in “both Washington’s” — Washington DC and Washington state

To be honest, I think the summer was a little tough on Claire, who went from camp to camp on an irregular schedule and did not get to see a lot of her friends, some of whom were out of town for cooler climates or otherwise out of touch.

I know the summer was tough on me. ¬†The camps all started at 9:00 or 9:30, while my daily call for work was at 9:00 am. ¬†So I would ¬†drop Claire off an immediately get on a meeting on my cell phone for the drive home to work. ¬†And I would have to pick Claire up at odd times in the middle of the day (12:00, 1:00, 3:00, whatever). ¬†This is on top of Molly’s pick up and drop off at different times and places. ¬†This got old week after week.

On the plus side, Claire and I had a little time together each morning after dropping off Molly and before her camp started.  We would get breakfast and do a little studying to help keep Claire sharp over the summer break.  We would have a Smoothie and a bagel at Panera and then have Claire read or do some writing.  That was pretty sweet.

Since most of the public pools are only open when school is out for summer, I resolved to take advantage of the limited swimming time we had available. ¬†The plan was to take the girls swimming every Friday after school/work. ¬†We always went to the little circular pool at West Austin Park. ¬†We packed a picnic or picked up something from a drive through (not as much fun!) then swam for an hour or so before heading home to see Kit and go to bed. ¬†This was a fun time for us all, except it got a little frustrating for Claire at times since I had to be 100% “on” Molly, who cannot swim, so I could not really play with Claire or even just swim with her. ¬†I did not have any free hands or attention while trying to keep Molly alive and what not. ¬†I basically stood there holding Molly while Claire entertained herself. ¬†I think Claire liked the picnic best or those rare moments when I could actually play with her too. ¬†Anyways, the goal was to do the swimming thing every¬†Friday, which turned out to be 4 or 5 times total, with traveling, guests, other engagements, etc. often intervening.

So there you go — a sunny, fun-filled, stress-free summer! ¬†Well, it was sunny anyways. ¬†And intermittently fun and stress-free.

Anacortes 2013

Anacortes 2013

The trip to Washington State to see Grammy and Grandaddy and their boat is best captured in the pictures.  Actually, I am coming back to write this so much later that I forget many of the funny or interesting things I was going to say.  Hopefully the large collection of pictures tells the story.

A few notes that I can still remember…

  • Molly loved having a boat named after her. ¬†Molly called it “The Molly and Claire” even though it is really “The Molly Claire”.
  • Molly in her life jacket looked a little like¬†Mike Wazowski, the funny little green guy from Monster’s Inc. ¬†She was small with a round torso and two little legs sticking out the bottom. ¬†Fortunately, Molly did have two eyes, though.
  • The girls got to spend a couple nights on the boat while in dock. ¬†We had been concerned about water safety, but all went smoothly. ¬†Grammy basically had a hand on the girls the whole time.
  • Molly loves being on top of the boat in the wind.
  • We saw some sea lions hanging around the marina, which was really exciting, esp. for Claire.
  • We took the boat out for a couple of day trips to play around on some islands in the San Juans.
  • We spent a few hours at a beach throwing (“chucking”) the plentiful beach rocks into the water. ¬†Grammy and I had a lot of fun trying to hit a driftwood target out in the water. ¬†Eventually Claire got tired of this and protested, “You know, there’s more to life than chucking rocks!”
  • We saw Grammy Marvel’s childhood house and the Ballard Locks in Seattle
  • The kids did pretty well flying out and back, but by the end, Claire was no longer as enthusiastic about flying as she had one been. ¬†In fact, she was somewhat hostile to the idea of taking another long(ish) flight any time soon. ¬†Lucky for her, this was her last flight for a while.
  • We were all pretty well wiped out when we got back and used Sunday at home to refit and recover from our vacation, just like on our trip to the other Washington.
Bedtime Madness

Bedtime Madness

20130813I am going to rant a little bit on this one.  Please bare with me.  This might be interesting to read later.

After three years of Claire and Molly sleeping peacefully in the same room together, things have finally broken down.

Until about three weeks ago, Molly would sometimes get a little crazy while getting ready for bed, but once she was in bed she would sit and look at books until she fell asleep.  It might take an hour or more of reading books, but she would completely leave Claire alone and get herself to sleep eventually.

Now Molly is a complete maniac once it is time to go to sleep.  She finds anything possible to mess with.  She peels the paper off of all the crayons she can find.  Once she drew on the bed sheets with crayons.  She has bitten the erasers off of all the pencils.  No more writing implements in the room anymore!  Molly wanders the room.  She chews on stuffed animals.  She walked over to our room tonight with a framed picture from her room completely dismantled.  When we were on vacation in Anacortes, Washington last week (todo: link once blogged), Molly had the empty back hotel bedroom to herself while we hung out  in the living room.  We could hear Molly flipping through the hotel Bible for 45 minutes before she went to sleep.  (We ought to try that at home, I guess.)

But Molly’s very favorite thing in the world to mess with is her big sister Claire. ¬†She tries to make Claire giggle. ¬†She tries to make Claire mad. ¬†Anything to get a reaction out of Claire. ¬†Claire usually ignores Molly at first, but Molly wears her down and pulls her in. ¬†Before long, Molly (and maybe Claire) is giggling loudly, yelling, stomping around. ¬†You can hear it downstairs and on the other end of the house. ¬†It does not stop until you move Molly out of the room and into the guest room. ¬†Just going in and telling them to it out has no effect; Molly’s primitive thrill-seeking “rat brain” has completely taken over. ¬†She says, I think accurately, that she just can’t stop doing messing around.

Is something bothering Molly? ¬†We just don’t know. ¬†Molly says she just doesn’t want to sleep, and bedtime is for playing. ¬†She says she doesn’t want to leave Claire alone; she wants to keep her awake. ¬†Sometimes when we finally move Molly to the guest room, Molly says she wanted to move in there anyways. ¬†You just can’t tell what is going on in that three-year-old head.

This goes on from about 8:00 pm to 9:30 or 10:30. ¬†We wanted to give the girls time to work it out and get to sleep together, but after weeks of this, they have not worked it out. ¬†You would think they would just get so tired they would fall right asleep, but they do not. ¬†Molly¬†makes up for lost sleep with a nice hard two-hour nap each afternoon at school. ¬†Claire is tired but can’t get to sleep because she is all wired up by Molly. ¬†Now we are moving Molly immediately to the guest room for a few days, and it may turn into a few months (we’ll see). ¬†Not sure what we’ll do with the guests. :-O

Once we move Molly over, Claire falls back to her old issue of getting scared while being alone in the dark and still can’t get to sleep. ¬†Fortunately, Claire is seven years old and actually wants to work with us. ¬†She is slowly working on falling to sleep alone. ¬†Claire gets to sleep after an hour of two of being terrified, with occasional checks by us, but she sure toughs it out, the good ol’ sport. ¬†Claire says she knows everything is okay, and she should not be scared, but she just feels scared. ¬†She is just stuck there in bed scared but not wanting to bother us, because we have told her we are getting strung out, the poor thing.

Yes, Kit and I are going crazy. ¬†We have effectively lost our crucial 8:30 to 10:30 pm window of time for work, exercise, mail, etc. ¬†If you’r dealing with a kid down the hall yelling or crying or scared every few minutes, you are not really getting anything else done. ¬†Now days, everything has to be done before bedtime at 7:30 or so or else it just might not get done at all. ¬†By 10:30, we’re so strung out from all the commotion or just too sleepy to be effective. ¬†This schedule in particular does not work well with leaving work at 4:30 on the summer camp schedule, such as this week, and not getting back to it until late at night.

Okay, enough ranting.  I just hope that soon we have (1) enough sleep for Claire once second grade starts in a couple weeks, and (2) a functioning guest room available to guests.  Well, at least I knocked out this blog while the girls were going to sleep tonight!