Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Playdate with Grandma, Aunt Ry, and Rachael

Since this past week was April Vacation week, we were able to plan a big playdate with Grandma, Aunt Ry, and Rachael. We headed to the Children's Museum in Holyoke, MA because it is just about halfway between us and our NY family. It turned out to be a great plan! The kids had a lot of fun and Mairead, especially, loved playing with her older cousin, Rachael. Rachael is great with Mairead and Mairead really learns a lot by playing with her. It's nice for the girls to have each other.

Mairead is learning to be a good big sister- even taking Jack's hand to help him down the stairs.

The water table was a huge hit. I think Mairead could have stayed there all day. She had a great time playing with Grandma and watching the boats go over the waterfall.

Then, the girls had a great time sitting in the 'tv studio' and reading the news. They could see themselves on the overhead televisions. It was pretty cool!

Jack and Ben, not surprisingly, loved playing with the mail (Thank you, Blues Clues). They had a great time sorting letters and inserting them into the mailboxes.

Ben must have played with this mailbox for half an hour. There was a bench directly across from it and some other parents and grandparents were laughing as they watched him go about his 'work' so seriously.

Grandma helped Jack build with some blocks.

The kids really had a great time and it was fun to see them spend time with their grandmother, aunt, and cousin. We even braved a restaurant (one that did not have a happy meal on the menu) and the kids did great. Everything is always hectic and seems to happen so fast. I can't tell you the amount of planning and packing that goes into a 'simple' playdate when you have three kids so young. I try to plan for various disasters (change of clothes for every kid, snacks, toys, etc, to keep them busy while we wait for food, first aid kit, etc). Dave and I work really hard to keep our kids safe and happy, and we make every effort to get them out to have different experiences. Every outing is a whirlwind, but as long as the kids have fun, we're happy.

Grandma made the kids some beautiful organizers for the car and filled them with toys and treats- what a great idea! Aunt Ry and Rachael brought the kids new pails and shovels and stuffed a few little Easter gifts inside. Thank you so much for your generosity- that was a really nice surprise for the kids.

The next day, Mairead said, "Hey, I have a idea. Let's go to Grandma and Rachael's house. Say hi to Grandpa and Rosie (the dog)." She is a sweetheart- and her conversation is improving all the time!

Kid Stuff

The kids are really having fun playing together lately. We love watching them interact and learn to be little friends. The twins are really interesting and fun to watch. They always want to be together. Just this morning, Ben woke up about a half hour before Jack and he just kept asking, "Where Jackie, Mama? Find it? Find Jackie?" And when Jack woke up first after naps the other day, he was yelling, "Wake up, Ben! Wake up!" They chase each other all over yelling, "You're it!" and create all kinds of mischief together. For example, you can take all the cushions off the couch and play Jumping Bean (their favorite game- introduced to them by their aunt, Jen). But Jumping Bean can be very tiring, apparently.

Last weekend, Katie brought Lily over for a visit and it was warm enough to get the kids out on the deck to play with bubbles and the rice table. Poor Lily had an unpleasant experience before she realized that the rice is to play with, not to eat.

Even Bean came over to play for a bit.

And, of course, the playdate ended with some snacks for four!

The kids love Lily. They get so excited when I tell them that she is coming. Mairead still calls her "baby sister," and has also added 'Silly Lily' to her nicknames. It's great to have a cousin so close in age and so close by!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

First day of Soccer

Yesterday was the first day of the soccer season for Mairead and the Blue Bombers of LYSA. My siblings and I all played soccer for this organization while growing up and I am hoping that our kids love it, too. It definitely was not a 'love at first kick' thing for Mairead yesterday- probably because it was incredibly windy and cold at the field. Also, she'd had a pretty tough week with the ear infections, conjunctivitis, penicillin reaction, etc, so I know she wasn't feeling her best. We debated keeping her home, but it was the first day and we wanted her to be there to be part of that, to meet the kids and the coach, etc. Unfortunately, every decision we make regarding Mairead is a bit colored by the fact that she is not typical. In this case, we wanted her to be there for the first day just like all the other kids because we know that, unfortunately, she is not just like all the other kids. We know she is amazing, but the fact is that she is different, and we want to give her every opportunity to fit in, and let everyone see for themselves how great she is. So, we bundled her up, grabbed Special Bear, and headed to the field. The fact that she asked for Special Bear was a sign that she wasn't 100%. She never asks to bring SB outside the house, except when she is really tired or sick. But, she was in a great mood and seemed excited about soccer, so we gave it a shot. At first, she was into it- even participating in the drills the coach was leading, and following what other kids were doing.

You can see how hard the wind is blowing. Mairead really doesn't like the wind and started getting a bit antsy.

She did, however, really like the part where everyone puts their hands in to show teamwork. She does love teamwork.

The wheels really started to come off the bus, though. She kept leaving the field, running away, coming to sit on my lap and ask to go home, etc. Every once in a while we could coax her into running with the kids, but she insisted that Special Bear go with her. In this picture, the game is going on around her, but she was just standing there half asleep, poor kid. Eventually, she just sat in the middle of the field while kids were running all over the place.

I give a LOT of credit to the coaches- they did a great job being patient and encouraging. Three year old soccer is MADNESS. It seriously is like herding cats. Mairead was running away or sitting on the field with SB. One boy repeatedly did somersaults down the field. If the ball went off the field, 10 kids ran after it, even if that meant running directly into another team's field. Kids come and go at will, have a juice box, and then hop back into the game. It is all very relaxed, which is great. We are going to keep trying each week and hope that she sees that soccer can be a lot of fun. Hopefully, it won't be so cold next week!

The boys' big excitement was on Friday when the gas company was doing some work outside the house. They had a jackhammer and a backhoe. Jack and Ben probably spent half an hour looking at the window at the trucks. The pictures are kind of lousy since the sun was streaming in the window, but you get the idea.

They are so funny- I know I say that all the time, but they really are! For example, the other day, Ben kept saying, "Hi Jackie" and Jack was ignoring him and whining. After a few tries, Ben pointed to him and asked, "Mama, it's a grouch?" SO funny! Jack calmed down and Ben asked him, "all better, Jackie?" To which Jack replied, 'Yeah, it's ok, Ben." Could they be any cuter?