Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nature Camp

Even though everyday seems like nature camp day around the marina, we've also been adding an extra outing to our usual summer meanderings. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) runs mom'n'me summer programs for wee ones, or as Zach calls it "nature camp". He looks forward to this more than just about anything in the week. Each time is a different topic, there was "hidey holes" where we went for a hike and looked for animal and bug hiding places. There was one all about butterflies. And another on insects. Tomorrow we study jellyfish. And last week was blue crabs. They also offer homeschool programs which we will check out in the fall. The nice part is that SERC is a huge nature preserve that we can explore before or after camp. There are forest trails that lead to shaded beaches with clear, calm water.





















What we did tonight instead of watching TV...

As most of you know, we don't own a television. It was a family decision to toss out the brain sucking box when Zach was born. No regrets. People often ask, what do we DO to pass the time without a TV? Well, I think the real question is, how on earth would we find the time to watch TV if we owned one? Sure Zach gets the occasional family movie night via DVD on the lap top. But his daily rhythm is so natural, so imaginative that parking him in front of the blinky box is just unthinkable. Many people ask how we get through those "witching hours", the times when the day seems long, when mom needs a break, when the weather is bad. So I thought I would document some of the things Zach does during the times when the typical American kid is parked in front of a TV.

Tonight, after dinner, instead of watching TV Zach cuddled up with his daddy and read Shel Silverstein's Where The Sidewalk Ends cover to cover.

New Friend

A special summer gift.




Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Sleepover (July 5, 2008)

Zach's best friend Thomasa has been pestering her mama for a while now about spending the night at our place. Actually the real talk was about moving in with us, but sleeping over was a first logical leap. She is only 3.5 and very attached to her mom, she's co-slept since birth. So we didn't think she was serious. Her mom finally asked if she could call her bluff and let her spend the night. I agreed, and we set up a phone schedule, both of us figuring she'd want to come home sometime around midnight. Well Miss Thing didn't miss a beat. She not only didn't want to call mom, she kept saying to me wistfully all evening, "Auntie B, I love living with you now."
Of course the fact that she has a relatively new baby brother in her life explains an awful lot ;)
The kids had a ball. We started out the evening after dinner with a sunset dinghy ride, then a bath, some playing and stories, and they collapsed! Doug got kicked out to the guest cabin and I got to cuddle with the two kids. While it was lovely having T over, who I truly love like family, I realized how much I relish the quiet of an only child (even one who talks as much as Z) when she did finally go home.


We spied a deer and a heron very close to shore. Evening dinghy rides are always the best for nature spotting.



best friends








... watching the sun set from the dinghy...



... hiding in the laundry cubby...




































...after a bath, then FINALLY asleep.

Gunkholing Weekend

A lovely weekend anchored out in the Rhode River with our old friend Captain Jeff and his sweet son Sam.


























Good Bye!

Birthday Bounty








Once again this year Zach asked me to tell his friends to bring donations for the Anne Arundel Country SPCA in lieu of gifts. Everyone was extremely generous in their donations and Zach had a ball delivering the goods himself. His favorite part was getting to pick out which cats got a little mouse toy that a friend donated.

Getting donations rather than gifts for the party fills so many more needs than the traditional gift giving orgy. Zach doesn't even realize that friends are "supposed to" bring gifts. He gets PLENTY of presents from mom, dad, tio, uncles, aunties, and grandparents, so he isn't missing out on anything. It also helps eliminate the issue of clutter and crappy toys. With such a small living space, we choose very carefully what playthings get to share our precious square footage. We want them to be well made, open ended, and versatile. Telling people to bring nothing somehow leaves people feeling awkward. But telling them what they CAN bring if they choose to bring something usually empowers people to rise to the cause. Of course we always tell our friends what we really want is their company in celebrating a special milestone for Z. And yes, just showing up is enough.

Sleeping In His Own Room (June 20, 2008)


I was clearing up Zach's cabin in anticipation of our friends Captain Jeff and his 4.5 year old son Sam spending the weekend sailing with us. Sam has his own room at home, so I figured he might want one here on the boat. Zach has slept with us every night of his life, and we have never tried to transition him to his own cabin because we LIKE having a family bed. He knows it's there, but it's usually more of a play room, toy dump, laundry sorting, mess area.

When he saw how it looked as a "bedroom", complete with pillows and clean sheets he asked if he could sleep there that night, "like a big boy". I was floored. I let him know that sleeping in there meant no nursing and no mommy and daddy. He said, "All I need is a water bottle, my blankies, a flashlight, and some stories." So I set him up with the requested items and he laid in there alone, listening to stories on CD, and went to sleep all by himself. The boy who has either nursed or snuggled to sleep every night of his life just turned around did this out of the blue.

Of course I was a nervous wreck. I stayed up half the night baking and checking on him. Doug was loving the extra real estate in our bed. At around 5am Zach called out to me. Ohhh, my baby needs me! I went in expecting he would want to come to our room or nurse or something.

Nope.

"Mommy, can I have some cheese and crackers? I'm so hungry."

Apparently I have been replaced by a cheap appetizer.

So he did it, and he was excited by the whole experience. I asked him what it was like, he answered, "It's like being without your mommy and daddy." So I asked what THAT was like?
He said, "Well at first I was scared, but then my friend T-Rex came and cuddled me and everything was ok."

Again, replaced by an imaginary cold blooded, carnivorous, reptile. H

He asked a few more times to sleep in there, but it's been a bluff so far. I am happy to report I still have my snuggle boy next to me at night. But I am keenly aware that June 20 was a warning shot across the bow to emotionally prepare myself for the next step in growing up. I am going to need to be sedated when this boy leaves for college.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZACH! 4 YEARS OLD

We had Zach's birthday party the weekend before his actual birthday. We did a "messy party" with small inflatable pools filled respectively with mud, green slime, and whipped cream. Then we had a slip-n-slide with paint and water on it and a small pool of just plain old water. I didn't take any photos except for cake time because a storm was on the horizon and things got nutty with the kids. One little boy was sitting quietly in the grass, happily licking whipped cream from his toes like an ice cream cone. For party favors, we gave little bags of fun soaps, bubble bath, and magic wash cloths.

Zach wanted a Hercules-Hydra-Pegasus-Zeus cake. I bought a regular ice cream cake and plopped these bad boys on top. He was thrilled!



















On June 18 we celebrated at home with just family. Zach was excited to light his birthday ring. Each year we will remove one "toy" and add another candle. When we light it we tell him the story of his life to this point, which he loved hearing. We're trying to wrap things in pretty, cloth baggies that can be reused year after year, and holiday after holiday for the whole family rather than creating garbage and buying paper that gets used for 5 whole minutes. We had a big, chocolate cake and some of his favorite foods.


























Monday, July 07, 2008

Day on the Bay (December 29, 2007)

We took the boat out on a mild day back in December. (I forgot to post pics back then) Our friends Rochelle, Vince, and Amelia came along for the ride. It was dead calm and very peaceful.














































Our friend Rochelle was about 6 months pregnant
at the time. Zach was obsessed with touching
her belly!









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