Paige and Benedict

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I Just Make Hats

Mon Dec 21 09:40:14 EST 2009 (john)

Gift of a Morning Laugh

A while ago, Paige gave us a colored picture, and we hung it on the mirror in our dressing room, and she recently gave us the new one (in the photo) with a whole message written on it and everything.

I asked her, "Is this how I'm to use this?", and she simply replied, "I just make hats -- It's what I do."

She says it like it's her artistic calling -- like Daddy makes photos of toys, or Ben plays with sticks and dirt. It's just what we do.

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Back to School 2009

Tue Sep 01 06:50:59 EDT 2009 (john)

Ben Paige Paige and Ben are back to school now. Ben's at the newly expanded K-Prep preschool, and Paige is in first grade.

Apparently, first grade recess is a bit short ("I barely had a chance to cross the monkey bars."), but Paige quickly remembered that she also has art class and music class within the first days of school. She also knows a couple kids already in her class.

Ben had been sort of on and off about school over the summer, but he's greatly excited to be in the brand new preschool rooms of K-Prep -- there are new friends and new toys.

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Watching a Bit More Television

Tue Mar 03 07:05:05 EST 2009 (john)

In the winter, we've decided it's OK for the kids to watch a little more television, and much to our pleasure, the kids have been choosing more than the regular PBS stuff to watch.

In addition to the old Sesame Street, Handy Manny, Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, they've taken to the Science Channel. Comcast a few episodes available On Demand, and the kids jumped on them when I offered them. Ben and Paige are equally excited about this programming.

In particular, they've been enjoying How It's Made and Colossal Construction. In the first episodes, they've seen how disposable diapers are made and the building of the amazing Ice Hotel in Sweden.

I now have the DVR collecting more episodes of these shows for the kids (and us) to watch on these cold days of winter.

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funny car trip

Tue Feb 24 19:51:10 EST 2009 (claire)

My conversation in the car with Ben, (3 1/2 years old).... Ben - When I grow up I want to be a firefighter! Mommy - That's nice, a firefighter could be fun. Ben - Yeah (so and so kid at school) wants to be a fireman and drive a firetruck too. Mommy, what do you want to be when you grow up? Mommy - Well, I think a teacher. Ben - (laughing like I made a joke) No, Mom, you already ARE a teacher. Mommy - Oh, well, ok. Can I teach grown ups then? Because now I teach kids, so I guess I'd like to teach grown ups. Ben - Ok. (pauses) Mommy, are you all grown up? Mommy - Well, I'm done growing, I won't get any taller. Ben - (excited) You could always put blocks on your head. I turn and look at him, and he's dead serious, this is the solution. Blocks on my head. I respond, I guess I could, Ben."
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Paige is growing up!

Mon Sep 01 22:17:53 EDT 2008 (claire)

Paige has started Kindergarten, she loves it! I know nothing about what goes on all morning, other than some bits and pieces Paige tells me. She enjoys that they dress the weather man every morning at circle time and that the teacher called her to help one day. After (according to her) days of being patient while other kids raised their hands and called out, she just used a quiet hand. Paige does enjoy her afternoon program, WRAP through the YMCA. Every story she tells me is about WRAP, she says they don't play in the morning kindergarten, that's all work.

All of this is new for me, I think I knew deep down that it's not her growing up, or missing her during the day that would make this new experience so hard, but the fact that I don't know what's going on all day! I'm used to knowing the teachers, the lesson plans, the layout of the classroom and nearly every interaction she has all day. I'm sure I'll adjust. I did very well on her first day, I only had a few tears AFTER the bus pulled away. She didn't know I was upset at all, which was my goal.

She is definitely growing up! Tonight after a summer of practice, she road her two wheeler all by herself! I had just given up and flopped down on the basketball court so John could run along side her. I figured we would be her training wheels until she was 18, but then we just said to her, you try alone. John was taking some pictures of Ben and I saw her come across the court riding alone! I starting cheering for her and I had this amazing feeling of accomplishment for her, it was like she just won the Olympic gold. I was that excited!

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The Simple Things

Thu Jul 31 22:50:40 EDT 2008 (claire)

It's amazing how as a parent you get excited over the littlest things. Tonight I cheered because I am 99% positive I won't have to change the sheets on the queen bed in the morning. I have washed them EVERYTIME Kha'sheim has slept. His paperwork from Deb's house says he is potty trained over night and John and I have found that to be completely not true. I didn't want to put him in diapers over night right away in case he would get upset, but finally today I gave up, I just couldn't keep up with all the laundry!

I could tell John was hesitant too in giving Kha'siem the pull-ups I bought. He said casually but enthusiastically (something only John can pull off), "Look Kha'siem, this is to wear for bed, put them on like underwear, see they have Shrek on them." Kha'siem had no clue about them being diapers and he ran around to tell Ben about the picture on them! Ben was excited for him and it was very cute.

Kha'siem has taken to calling me Mommy and has referred to John once or twice as Daddy. I think this could be a culture thing, or just something he picked up from Paige and Ben. This doesn't bother me at all, but I'm not sure if it should be something to be encouraged. We have a lot to learn about this type of care...

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Temporary Mother of 4

Tue Jul 29 22:08:16 EDT 2008 (claire)

John and I have become respite care parents through Deb's House, an organization in Lancaster City. This week is the second time Deb's House has called and needed us. The day before we left for vacation we had two children, Camrin, age 4 and Anja, age 1. We had them for 24 hours and we had a blast! I was exhausted while trying to get ready for a week vacation and suddenly having two extra children. But we made through it and everyone was really happy.

The day after we came home from vacation we accepted two new children, this time for a whole week. Kha'siem is 3 and Myasia is 11 months. We are having another great time, although this is a little more challenging. Kha'siem and Ben definitely play like brothers, although they don't have the completely love down yet, but I imagine it will come by the end of the week. Today at DW they held hands and rode some rides together. Paige loves Mya and loves everything about being a helper and the teacher. This is a HUGE help to me, I know I can trust her to hold hands, to get things for me and to keep an eye on anyone, especially Mya, when I ask. I am so proud of Paige and I keep thanking her for being so wonderful. It's a nice to change for our relationship.

I am curious to see how this whole week will continue to play out, I'm exhausted but we are having fun. Of course to add to the FUN, we are getting the entire foyer, downstairs hallway, steps and upstairs hallway painted this week! I thought the painters head was going to pop off when I mentioned two other children would be here this week. Ha Ha Ha!!!

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Horseback riding

Mon Jul 14 09:40:45 EDT 2008 (claire)

On Saturday, John, Paige, Beneidct and I went horseback riding. It was very cool, a fabulous experience I would love to repeat.

We went to Allimax Farms, right off Chickies Hill in Marietta. I would recommend this farm to anyone who wants a relaxing experience, especially with kids. The owner was very comfortable with kids and he rode with Paige and Ben rode with his daughter. You can see in the pictures that Paige is riding in the back, but Ben rode in front of the Ms. Amber because he is smaller and she could hold on to him and the reins. Paige was old enough to hold on herself. Many of the other places I looked at wouldn't allow children to ride until they were 7 years old.

Allimax was great that they took the kids along and it was very safe and comfortable for everyone. We had a blast and I look forward to another trip, let me know if you and/or your family are interested in coming along!
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A visit to Grammy and Gramps house!

Thu Jun 26 12:52:56 EDT 2008 (claire)

Paige just returned from 5 days at my parents house. She loved every minute of her vacation. I was a little worried she would get homesick - but she was wonderful. Paige called everyday and talked to me, Daddy and Ben for a few moments each. The last day when I called her, she was busy riding her bike and didn't want to say hello, which was fine with me. I am so proud of her for being so grown up.

The highlights of Paige's vacation include: playing school with Grammy (constantly), riding her bike all around the driveways, including up and down the big hill, getting her nails painted, going shopping at Target, where she got new jewelry, and visiting my uncles house for my cousins high school graduation party. She had an all around fabulous time and it was just the right amount of time, she was very happy to see Ben and I on her last day. I knew Paige missed us, because she snuggled with me for 45 minutes while we watched part of a movie. Also Paige and Ben played together pretty much non stop for the next two days, it is great that they are buddies.

Ben enjoyed his alone time with Mommy and Daddy too. We kept him pretty well entertained so he didn't get bored without Paige. The highlight of his weekend was going to the Hands on House and a special lunch with just Mommy. The highlight for Daddy and I was when he learned to ride his big boy bike on Friday night. It was a magical moment, he was no longer a toddler on a tricycle, he was a grown up boy.

Some moments I am sad by how big they are, but mostly I'm proud of them for who they are becoming!

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Listening

Thu May 29 15:11:42 EDT 2008 (claire)

I was just reading an article in my Real Simple Magazine that I swear was written exclusively for me. As much as I try, I am not a good listener. At times, I think I do a half decent job at appearing to be a good listener, and I think I'm listening, and I want to listen, but my brain has too many other things going on for me to always listen -- especially to my kids...

Paige is a CONSTANT talker, and it's impossible and exhausting to always listen to what she is saying -- I would never get anything else done, but I am trying to at least listen to the big things. At 5 years old, there doesn't seem to be too many big things, but I did catch one in the car the other day.

I want Paige to play soccer in the fall, not ballet. I think she would benefit from playing a true team sport. There is nothing wrong with ballet, but she has done it for two years already and I'd like her to try something new. Also, I have a slight fear of potential self esteem problems, knowing that her adult build will not be tiny and dainty.

I pretty much figured I could convince her over the summer to take a break from ballet and do soccer. That's my job, to convince her to do what I know is best for her, right? Well, luckily I stopped to listen to her talking to her friends in the car about next year in ballet. She went on about how excited she is to be in a longer class, to practice what she sees the "big girls" doing and on and on about ballet. Never once have I heard her mention soccer to her friends who are also playing in the fall.

As much as I am unsure about ballet, I figured I needed to pay attention to her now at 5, not wait until she yells at me at 15 that I never listen to her. So, I looked over the fall schedule and signed her up for her next ballet class....and soccer.

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A weekend with Daddy!

Thu May 29 13:43:40 EDT 2008 (claire)

On Saturday my cousin got married in Philadelphia, and I went solo, leaving the children with John. I'm happy to report that everyone had a good time doing something different. John experienced how the kids can behave so well with only one parent -- he took them to Harrisburg for the Arts Festival, and they had a blast. They also ate Chinese food for lunch, and John enjoyed that the kids are great eaters.

I had a nice time at the wedding. It was great to see my extended family, and I managed to sneak in a lunch with my good friend Erin. I enjoyed my train ride listening to my podcasts, reading the Real Simple magazine that I picked up and even the silence of the cab ride. It was nice to spend a bit of time without the family, but it was nice to come home too!

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TOO MUCH STUFF

Thu May 08 15:21:20 EDT 2008 (claire)

In addition to this month being completely busy for John and I at work, I have been trying to clean and organize the house. Perhaps some of this is spring fever, most of it is realizing that the kids and John and I have way too much unorganized stuff! We've lived here for over 5 years and I have never done a major "get rid of stuff season." I feel very cluttered. K-Prep had a recent yard sale which helped get rid of some things, but it's been more of a motivator to go through everything to determine what to keep and what to donate.

Let's face it...Are Paige and Ben suddenly going to start playing with the toy they got for Christmas two years ago?

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The Plague

Fri Apr 04 20:55:02 EDT 2008 (claire)

We have just had the worst health period in the history of our family and K-Prep. After many years in childcare, I can weather most any virus that appears at school. This recent stomach virus took down my family, Ann's family, nearly every student at my school had some form of the virus. Every teacher was sick in some way these past ten days. It was awful! The worst part was that even when people thought the virus was over, they'd eat normally and be sick again within 24 hours.

When all the kids were finally healthy, parents were coming in to K-Prep telling us how they were getting sick...it's the virus that never ends!

Paige and Ben had their share of getting ill, mostly on pillows and mommy. Thankfully their spirits have been great, even though they have been barely eating. Of course, the decreased appetite has been nice since I have not been able to get to the grocery store because all I have done is work like crazy this week!

This weekend we are looking forward to some much needed rest and return to health!

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Virginia Beach

Tue Mar 25 22:10:38 EDT 2008 (claire)

We just arrived back from a long weekend in Virginia Beach where we visited my Aunt Rita, Uncle Ed and cousins SarahJane and Krista.

This was the kids farthest trip south and longest car ride. I'm happy to report that the car ride was a big success, it took almost 8 hours to get there, with a few stops, including breakfast. The best part of the drive was crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel. We were literally on or under the water for over 15 minutes, it was very cool, too bad we weren't crossing the Bay during sunrise.

Of course, the "highlight" of the trip happened about an hour after we arrived late Friday morning. Before we finished unpacking, we had to take a break to find the local 24 hour emergency care station for Paige. The children learned the hard way what happens if you play with the doors... Paige experienced her first x-rays, but thankfully nothing is broken, her left thumb is just really ugly.

The rest of the trip was less eventful, we went to the local aquarium, went for a bike ride around the campground and celebrated Easter with the family! The easter bunny visited the campground and brought muffins and doughnuts for breakfast. Paige and Ben also enjoyed an Easter egg hunt at my aunts house, which was a highlight!

We are looking forward to more camping trips, especially now that they kids have convinced us they can handle longer car rides. I think we'll wait a little for some warmer weather though. Even down south, 30sih overnight is a bit cold for a pop-up camper!
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Visiting Family

Thu Mar 20 21:52:21 EDT 2008 (claire)

Last weekend we went to Baltimore, MD to visit my sister and brother-in-law and to see the St. Patrick's Day Parade. This was the first parade the kids have seen, which is somewhat sad on our part, but I generally associated parades with being cold and standing still. Thankfully, the weather was decent and everyone had a great time! Since the parade, Paige has been practicing her Irish dancing, although in secret, she is suddenly modest.

This weekend we are traveling to Virginia Beach to visit my Aunt Rita and her family. We are all looking forward to this as it is our first visit and our first weekend camping of the season! YEAH!

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