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play ball!


We will be spending lots of time this spring at the softball field. Bridget started playing recently and she is both enjoying it and doing really well. I’m pretty proud as I was a softball player throughout most of my childhood. Sadly, I cannot help her do most things — I am terrified of throwing due to my shoulder’s tendency to dislocate — but Brendan’s been a very good teacher. I don’t know if it’s her age or the sport, but she definitely seems more suited and to enjoy sofball more than soccer.


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I went to check on the kids and discovered Johnny was not in the bottom bunk, but up with his sister*. Usually Bridget doesn’t like it when Johnny climbs up into her bed. Maybe she was asleep by the time he made it up? Camp and swimming lessons have been exhausting for her this week, so I wouldn’t be surprised. I may have been able to get away with taking a photo of them with the flash on but there is no way I am going to attempt moving anyone at this point!


*I expected to find him in the office looking out a window or causing trouble somewhere else.



Bridget’s been taking swimming lessons at the local aquatic center. She went through Level 1 last summer prior to our trip up to the lake. We meant to get back to it this winter after she’d (and us too) adjusted to her new schedule and going to school, but it never happened. Finally though, last month we signed her up for Level 2 (so she’d be confident at camp when they are at the pool). She did extremely well and was advanced to Level 3. Not all of the kids in her class got the OK to advance which made us all the more proud.

Level 3 is definitely more serious — they are learning to swim properly side breathing and all. She might have to do it twice because it’s a little tricky, but she’s really doing a good job. It’s amazing to me how fast she went from flailing around to just hopping in and pushing off and swimming. Her teacher this time is much more serious, too — he’s former military — but definitely still really great with the kids and so on. If we could have him as her teacher forever we’d be thrilled. 


I’ll be the first person to admit it: I am not a fan of balloons in my house. Balloons have a purpose and I’m all for them being decorations at a celebration. They are festive! So is crepe paper — and no one would ever accuse a person of being a killjoy or a merriment killer for taking down some crepe paper after the party is over. Why is it then, that a person who wants to pop balloons and throw them in the trash after the party is done is a terrible person?

As you can probably guess, I am that person who pops the balloons and is accused of being no fun or called mean (or both). I’m fun. I swear. It’s just… Ballooons get in the way. I don’t like running into them. I don’t like tripping on string. I don’t like the kids going bonkers slapping them around (and in the process driving the dog absolutely crazy). So after a day, yes, I pop them.

There was one particular balloon — a Steelers balloon from the last time they won the Superbowl — that stuck around FOREVER. Months. I got so sick of it. It was a mylar one and didn’t seem to be loosing any helium, so I very ceremoniously threw it out (maybe I went a bit Elaine versus George’s toupee on it though). That moment has never left Bridget’s brain. It’s burned into her mind. I murdered the poor balloon! Plus, Brendan always talks about how I was mean and popped that particular one. There is no forgetting.

It’s become a bit of a joke (with an admitted kernel of truth) in our house that Mom Hates Balloons. Fine, it’s an exaggeration that perhaps I get a bit sensitive about but whatever.

Of course, this joke has gotten out. Bridget recently went to a schoolmate’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. There was a balloon on the table, but none tied on the back of the chairs. I randomly noticed that the decorations were different for the other parties but didn’t really think about it. Well, it turns out that Bridget told the birthday girl at school some point earlier that she wasn’t allowed to have a balloon. And that turned into: since she wouldn’t be able to have one, it wouldn’t have been fair for anyone to have them at the party. Thus, no balloons. So now I feel awful. I mean, it’s a bit hilarious to think about, but kids, I’m sorry if I’m the reason there’s no balloons at your next party.

this december

We have been pretty darn busy over the past month. 

We took the kids to see The Muppets just after Thanksgiving. Bridget really loved it (and so did Brendan and I), and now we’re watching The Muppet Show! thanks to Netflix. Johnny would have made it through the whole movie quite nicely had the previews not gone on so long. He loved Ms. Piggy and her karate chops. 

We went to a fancy holiday party at the National American History Museum. It was pretty awesome. Saw the Jefferson Bible and Brendan totally geeked out. The next morning we were (some of us more than others) reminded that we are not in our 20s anymore.

We did a little bit of decorating, but not too much until…

The basement got finished! Brendan and I put in a lot of time putting up walls (him) and painting and painting (mostly me, but also him) and getting trim up (him). And still more painting. Carpet was ordered and installed just in time…

.. for the MuskoX-mas celebration at our house. And though I mis-read the directions on how long the ham would take to heat up, it was still very successful. 


Now we just have some final preparations for Christmas. I think our artificial tree looks pretty darn good. 

and so it begins

Last night was our first Kindergarten (preparation) event. Bridget and I went to the school, sat in the “Cafetorium” and met the teachers. About fifteen minutes in, all the kids went back to the classrooms with one teacher and the assistant. While some of the children were hesitant, Bridget was not. She was the furthest from the exit and the first one there. I think it’s safe to say that she is excited. It’s a little disheartening to know that Kindergarten isn’t quite as much fun as it was when I was five – but I know that she’s more than ready. I am certain that as we go along, there will be certain things about the system (and certain assumptions) which will annoy me, but I am hopeful that they’ll be kept to a minimum.


We’re all experiencing some mixed feelings around here. Firstly, in exciting news, Bridget turns five on Saturday and lots of family and friends are coming to celebrate with us. It’s hard to believe she’s starting to write really well, read, add and subtract and will be hopping on the bus to school in the fall. Wasn’t she just born yesterday? I don’t think I’ve ever gotten really sentimental about any birthdays, but this one has me feeling a bit sniffly (but I’ll blame it on the pollen).
In less happy news, our current daycare provider is moving. Our last day is tomorrow, and that’s got us all a little bit bummed out. We’ve got a new place all lined up, and I’m sure it will be wonderful, but we’ve been with Mrs. Diana for three years now. Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
So, I’m going to concentrate on the awesome things this weekend – seeing family and friends, lots of kids running around and general merriment. (Or at least, that’s the plan.)
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Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

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