Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
We found decent spots along the hot downtown streets of Alexandria, just south of the judging area. As we waited for the parade to begin, I found myself already dreading the heat, at 77 degrees....but then I kept reminding myself that last year, it was 20 degrees hotter. No kidding, it was awful. Big surprise today: Daddy was able to get a few hours of coverage at the hospital, so he made it up to see part of the parade! Out of 21 bands, Waconia played first, and they did an awesome job. Bob continued to follow them down the route, watching each performance before heading back home. After two hours, the sun fell behind the buildings enough to provide us with much welcomed shade, and the people in front of us left the scene, leaving us with front row shady seats and perfect views of the rest of the shows. It was great, a perfect day for a parade, and everyone was on their best game. We also enjoyed a performance from a visiting school marching band from Norway. They were fun to watch, as was their nice performance in the awards stadium later on that afternoon. For all of us who have been complaining of high gas prices, this visiting band was shocked with how low our prices are...apparently in Norway, it is over $9 a gallon! Perhaps we don't have it so bad?
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Jonny had to be at play rehearsal and Alex to marching band in the mid afternoon, so after dropping them both off at the high school, I caved in and brought all the little kids and the neighbor girl to open swim. Though I did not feel I had the time to do this, I am so glad that I did....Melissa and Crispy finally had the swimming switch "click" in their brains. Both of them were going all the way under the water repeatedly, and Crispy was actually dog paddling underneath too! It was really an "ah-ha" afternoon for both of them. They were pretty proud and happy with themselves. Tubby and Laura enjoyed much more cautious play in the zero depth end of the pool playing with water scoops and buckets.
We had a quick dinner of something or another, and then the Grandparents all arrived to see Jonny in his Tow Sawyer play. The play was fantastic. It was amazing that these kids put the whole thing together in only 5 days time. Jonny made an excellent Huck, and looked just swell in his patched up overalls and straw hat. He had a great southern accent to go along with his character. He had a great time, and loved every minute of it. We celebrated his stage success with huge ice cream waffle cones at the quaint local ice cream and coffee shop "downtown". It had turned into a beautiful evening upon which to reflect on this very lovely and successful day.
How cute is that?? When Tubby awoke later as I brought him with me to pick up Alex, he immediately started calling for his sister, "Row-rah! "Row-rah!" He must have remembered snuggling up with her before drifting off to dreamland.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thus, we have been crazy busy the past two weeks. Alex has been MIA nearly everyday with multiple marching band rehearsals and parades. He is down at the park by 7am every morning, comes home for a quick lunch, then is often off to a parade competition, usually not getting home until 11pm or midnight. The new show~Trempe Ardent~ is fantastic, as always, and the band has enjoyed winning many awards already. Though the marching band season is so very short, the amount of time these kids put in and the number of competitions they are entered into in a short one month span is staggering to anyone's endurance. It is like being in boot camp. These kids work HARD, usually in sweltering heat under layers and layers of polyester uniform. But they put on a great show, and our band is certainly one to be proud of. We are one of three in the Minnesota area that are expected to win all the competitions. That's one good band!
Michael has picked up a bit more hockey again, but with a little less rigidity over the summer. He has been enjoying the benefits of our brand new arena that opened this month meaning only a 3 minute drive for us instead of our typical 20-30 minutes to find a good sheet of ice. He has been skating two mornings a week, and every Friday night. The parents that are showing up at these times are also coaches who have been running the kids through drills and working their little tushies off. This has been a great adjustment on our pocketbook, as we have now only to pay the entrance ice fee of a mere few bucks per time versus the blanket hundreds of dollars for an ice hockey program/camp in which you may or may not make all the practices anyhow.
Jonny is our busy body this year who is trying his hand at everything. He has already completed a week of basketball camp, is currently taking weekly golf lessons, is still playing baseball two nights a week, and is looking forward to tennis lessons next week. But the best thing so far has been this week's acting opportunity with the Prairie Fire Children's Theater....85 kids have been working like maniacs all week, memorizing lines, putting together scenes, learning songs and acting technique, all to put on two evening performances of the play "Tom Sawyer" this weekend! Our born actor, Jonathan, was chosen to play the second leading role of "Huck Finn". He has been enjoying this immensely, and he truly has a gift for this. I am so proud of him for being so responsible in accepting such a big role with such short time constraints. I can't wait to see the play tomorrow night. He certainly gets his acting gene from his Daddy....I would keel over and die if I had to stand in front of all those people on a stage.
Melissa, Crispy, and Laura have been busy with morning swimming lessons. Because Laura had not passed her first round of Puddle Jumpers in May, I had to scramble to get her a spot which did not coincide with the other kids' lessons as well. We therefore ended up with spending two hours at the community center every morning instead of the less than one hour that was originally planned. The kids always had fun, and would be able to play in the inside playland when Jonny or Michael would come along to supervise in between lessons, but it made for very long mornings.....and hot and humid mornings sitting in the pool area, watching the kids, sweat rolling down our backs, the lifeguards not allowing spectators to even dangle their feet in the water during lesson time. Laura passed this time, and Melissa was getting very brave with bobbing all the way under the water, and came SO CLOSE to jumping off the diving board. I think that her hesitation was more the fact that she has difficulty jumping forward in general, even on land.....you could tell that she really wanted to jump off of the board. Poor kid....we have been practicing jumping off the couch (always fun since standing on the furniture is a no-no), but it just did not quite transfer to the diving board at the pool. Crispy was just down right scared....no chance was he going to jump. We now have two weeks off before we start another swimming round. Hopefully we will get some practice at the pool in before then.
Thomas is trying his best to be a good sport, getting dragged from one thing to another. He has been missing all of his morning naps, and by the time we get home, it is necessary to make everyone lunch. He is usually beside himself with whininess and tiredness, crying, crying until I can get the kids settled at the table and finally give him some attention. Still not walking, but he does have a few new tricks. He has been perfecting standing up from the middle of the floor hanging onto nothing. He sure thinks he is hot stuff. He also has been doing this funny fake crying thing....when he hears someone else cry, he begins to copy it, but with no emotion on his face. Just "wah, hah...wah, hah..." on and on. Like he's mocking the other kid who is in distress. Funny boy.
In my very sparse few moments, I have managed to make a fool of myself in hockey, thanks to my neighbor. She convinced me to sign up for this game in Richfield. What we thought was the appropriate level for us by the Internet description, ended up being about 2 levels higher than our ability, was 80% men, and lasted an excruciating 90 minutes. There were times I thought I was going to get killed. It was awful. It was the first time I have not enjoyed myself playing hockey, and I hurt my back, causing me to miss a golf lesson the next morning. Never again. But my neighbor is pestering me to sign up for another one next week. I am starting to wonder if perhaps she is seriously insane.
Golf lessons have been going well, and it will be interesting to see how that transfers onto a real course. The instructor really knows his stuff, and it is exciting to actually be hitting the ball each time. What else.....ah yes, I spent 6 hours replacing our mulch in front and back yards. That was after 3 hardworking boys spent 4 hours together laying most of it. It was not fun at all, so much work, and such a waste of money. I do not think that I will be able to rationalize it two years from now when this comes up again. Hundreds of dollars and hours of work, for what? For most of it to just blow away, or get washed down the hill by the rain? Fantastic.
We did get new neighbors last weekend. After over one year, the house next door finally sold. Despite the mom next door yelling at our girls the first day because they had the audacity to ask her seven year old to stop spitting gum in our yard, things have gone well, and they seem to be nice people. They have lived in this city for 8 years already, so they already have a life and family here and don't need us. That's good, it takes the pressure off.....we don't have time to make new friends!(or barely keep the old ones......:o( )
Sunday, June 8, 2008
The rain was only constant on one of our four days, so we turned that into an indoor activity day. The older boys, Daddy, and Grandpa went to the new Indiana Jones movie, while the little ones and I visited the Aquarium. The kids really like to go there because there is an enormous water table depicting all of the Great Lakes, the rivers that connect them, and the passage through them with an eventual end in the Atlantic Ocean. The kids get to float their boats through locks and channels getting from one end of the lake maze to the other. By the end, the kids are always sufficiently soaked and quite happy. Thomas was in water table heaven, and he spent no time getting drenched from head to toe. Once he found the foot bridge, he was on his butt scooting in running mode over and back again and again with squeals of delight. After 45 minutes, I had one VERY wet but extremely happy baby. The kids also learned about fish, boats, and seahorses. Was is worth the $40 entrance fee? Certainly not. But the two hours of distraction that it provided my little ones on this rainy day was very nice.
On Saturday, Bob and Grandpa took the boys on an agate hunt up the beach, taking them all the way to the Superior, Wisconsin entrance. The kids love this because though it is hard work to walk for hours on the sandy beach, they are walking in areas not travelled by many feet, so the agates are plenty to be found. And with the rainy, windy storms of yesterday, the size of the agates washed up onto shore was pretty impressive for a bunch of kids. Some were between 2-3 inches in diameter!
While the boys were gone, the girls and I (and baby) headed up to the mall to buy shorts and swimsuits for everyone. We had only packed for temps below 60 degrees as the weather had forecasted, but today was a sunny and HOT 80 something! We definitely had to take the opportunity to play on the beach, but no one wanted to do that in long pants and sweatshirts. During our shopping escapade, I asked Laura the same question I always do as we pass Claire's earring store, "Laura, do you want to get your ears pierced and wear earrings like Melissa?" Her answer is always a quick and pouty "NO!" But today, she surprised me with a "Yes!" I asked her a few more times to be sure. She hopped onto the chair, and with all bravery, faced the earring punchers on each side. She jumped a few feet in the air as the "guns" surprised her with their heavy pinch, but she never cried, though it was clear she wanted to. After the shock wore off, she was obviously proud of her new big girl status, and ran into the house to show her Daddy.
I took all the kids over to the beach for a few hours while Grandpa and Daddy grilled dinner. The kids, as always, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Did it matter that the lake water was at best about 48 degrees? Not to my kids. They all were running in and out of the water anyhow. Tubby's eyes got so big as we came over the hill and the ginormous lake came into view....he was obviously thinking, "Water table jackpot!". He "ran" across the sand (on his little butt), making it straight into the shallow water on shore. He was still going quickly forward as a tiny *freezing* wave caught up with him at his chest. The poor little guy was stunned by the cold, then turned quickly away and "ran" back up the sand hill a ways. Unlike most Zajac males, he learned his lesson the first time, and kept a reasonable distance from the water for the remainder of our time on the beach. He was totally content to play with his hockey stick in the sand, using it for digging and flinging. The others occupied their time by growing sand gardens, making castles, playing horseshoes, and burying themselves up to their necks. It is always so relaxing to sit on the beach, silent, sans the waves and my kids' happy screeches.
Our last day in Duluth was spent lazily skipping stones and climbing rocks at a small scenic park up the road. I think that the kids would have been content to stay all day long. I held my breath as Melissa climbed through rock pile after rock pile, with nary a falter. Tubby proved to be an avid rock climber himself, even with his unique forward foot frontal lead system. He would have ended up in the water several times had our reflexes not been quick that day. The boys had skipping and throwing contests. Ah yes,
a pleasant time for all, indeed. We look forward to many more times like this over the summer this year...next time with Alex, too!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
An evening program was filled with songs the fourth graders sang for us, and certificates of completion. Jonny was one of the kids picked to read his speech about fourth grade memories. A slideshow of the 100+ students was a nice touch, and each kid was sent home with a video CD of the program. Cake and punch followed, and we all viewed the class pictures taken from the time these guys started kindergarten. From buzz cuts and enthusiastic wide faced smiles, to knowing grins and tousled thick hair. What a change in five years!
The Grandmas and I watched on as my boy filled with self confidence went through his routines. I am very proud of this boy who continues to excel in all he does (except for cleaning his room). He is looking forward to facing new challenges, entering the music program (playing trumpet), having new classes, and growing experiences with his friends. With his exuberance of kindness and a positive attitude, he may just be what that middle school needs. And if his good nature proves to be too much for the school to handle, he is always welcome here at home!
Monday, June 2, 2008
My wonderful mom came out this morning to stay with the kids as I went in (finally!) to the clinic. I truly do not know how I made it to the cities and back...the pain was so intense I was sure that my ears would explode off of my head. The doctor confirmed what I had expected. It was a flare up of a skin condition that settled in my ears while I was pregnant with Tubby. Thanks Thomas. The canals were so inflamed and swollen, that she was unable to even see through the left ear. She sent me away with some steroid and antibiotic drops, and some pain meds(since I can't take anything helpful like Ibuprofen due to severe allergy). By the time I got home, I felt pretty yucky, and was starting to feel feverish. I think that I kept passing out on the couch. So my mom, who was the adult thinking clearly in my home today, insisted that she take Melissa to her riding lessons 30 minutes away. Good thing too.....I didn't get up once the two hours they were gone, and I am not sure how many of those minutes I was even awake. Boy is it good to have such responsible boys like Jonny to pick up the slack and watch the baby during times like this!
So the world went on, Melissa had a good riding lesson....I am sure that she was so happy to have Grandma there watching. I would bet that Grandma enjoyed it too! Grandma made dinner for my kids. Grandma ? brought Jonny to his last cub scout meeting of the year. It has been nice that she has been Jonny's scouting buddy over the past few years. One more year, then he moves on to Boy Scouts! Daddy took control of the rest of the crew when he got home while I slipped in and out of consciousness. The girls made me get well cards that were very sweet. Melissa wrote on hers "Get very better soon. The world is such a disaster when you are sad." How sweet! I need to be done with this....I do not have the time or patience to be sick!