Thursday, January 29, 2015

Little League

Last night we took the boys to sign up for Little League.  Big Boy and Little Boy are both old enough and we thought it would be good exercise and a chance to learn a new sport.

We chatted with the organizers about the timing and commitments required.  I was hesitant but we decided to go ahead and register the boys.  I have to say....I still find it shocking that here in Houston it is expected that you will sign your child up for an activity without knowing the date and time of practices and games.  We were surprised by this with Little Boy's soccer in the fall but it seems consistent across all sports.

I filled out paperwork for 1/2 an hour.  Then we went to register them and found out they only accept cash and cheque.  We had to drive to the bank machine to finish up the registration.

Once we got into the car, my husband and I started to talk about what a typical week would look like for us.  Each boy would have 1-2 games with an occasional 3 game week.  Each boy would have 2 practices with an occasional 3 practice week.  Big Boy's games end around 8:00 p.m. (an hour after the bedtime of the younger boys) and Little Boy's games end earlier.  Once we talked it through and considered the tennis lessons that Big Boy is taking we figured out that the scheduling would be impossible!

I went back and told the organizers that we had changed our minds because we couldn't handle the driving schedule.  They agreed that it would be tough, particularly as Little Boy and Big Boy would have been in different leagues and on different teams (Little Boy would have been in T-ball).

So that ends our Little League experience for the year.

I do wonder - for one child it would be a minimum of 3 times per week commitment and up to 6 times per week - who can make this type of a time commitment to a single activity?

*****

This is unrelated, but today I cleaned the house.  Baby Boy was supposed to be in school but his school was closed for some sort of conference.  He was home with me and he was a very good boy - playing near me while I cleaned and drawing some pictures.

I had to send my husband an email and while I was at the computer I heard some "dishes" noises coming from the kitchen.  I went to check out what Baby Boy was doing.  He proudly announced that he had cleared the breakfast table.  We had porridge for breakfast and orange juice.  The table held 4 bowls with small bits of porridge and milk in them, 2 juice glasses, and a sippy cup.  He had cleared the dishes, dribbling bits of sticky porridge everywhere.  He had dumped a juice down his shirt.  The counter was full of porridge and sticky bowls.

I've been trying to be a better positive parent, so I praised him for his help and went to work clearing up the dribbly bits of porridge, milk, and juice (with no complaint!).  He watched proudly and helped me clean off his shirt.

Later when I was clearing up our lunch I found the rest of the breakfast dishes (I hadn't noticed they were missing)...the spoons and cups:


That's right, he helpfully dumped them into my recycling bin.

*****

One more unrelated thought.  I can't use the updated iTunes.  It shows my playlist titles and the correct number of songs.  It loads those songs onto my devices.  But I can't see the song titles or play them on the computer.  As soon as I try, it says that the playlist has zero songs (which it doesn't).  It's so frustrating.  I managed to load my iPod shuffle but I can't play any music on the computer.

I wonder if there is a way to change how the programme looks (a different view?) that would make more sense to me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tennis!

Yesterday, Big Boy attended his first tennis lesson.  I learned about the tennis class yesterday morning and he needed to attend immediately to hold the spot so I didn't have time to ask Big Boy or my husband whether it was a good idea.  I was nervous about starting him a new programme, particularly when he knows nothing about the sport (he got it mixed up with baseball), but it went really well.

The lesson is with a group of children and they are all beginners.  They spent a lot of time warming up and learning how to swing the racket.  Big Boy had fun and seemed to do well.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Trying Something New

The kids are trying something new tonight.  I will tell you all about it tomorrow....I am being mysterious because I'm excited but a bit worried.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Busy busy

It's been busy around here and I hate to admit it but I've been ignoring my blog.

Here's a catch up on what I think is exciting:

1.  I went to pay for a lost library book on Thursday.  It was showing as checked out on Tuesday when I had last looked and we could not find it anywhere.  Turns out some kind soul returned it for us!  Yay!  I don't have to pay for the book!

2.  On Thursday we had another insanely long trip to the doctor. Little Boy had his well-child check-up and both Little Boy and Baby Boy were vaccinated.  This took 1 hour and 20 minutes total.  It was a painfully long wait.  I took activities but they finished everything in about 40 minutes and were climbing the walls with boredom.   Then they discovered ants in the exam room and watched them for the rest of the appointment.

Anyways....Little Boy is 42 inches tall and about 42.5 pounds.

3.  The vaccinations made the kids sick and grumpy.  On Friday Little Boy stayed off school and we went to Ikea for cinnamon buns.

My husband was away all last week and had the delightful experience of returning home to 2 sick kids.

4.  On Friday night we took them swimming to the warm pool.  They had fun but they were sicker and grumpier on Saturday.

5.  On Sunday Little Boy was better and Baby Boy was still under the weather.  We went to the zoo and focussed on the reptile house.  Baby Boy loves reptiles!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This changes everything! (....about hemming jeans)

Or maybe it doesn't.  But I'm excited.

If you read social media (or even just "media"), you may have noticed a trend.  There are countless stories, articles, and posts that have titles proclaiming "This changes everything!" or "I will never look at X the same way again!" or "Here's a life hack!" etc. etc. etc.  Sometimes I read this click bait.  Once you get into the article, it's often a trick or a shortcut for a completely unnecessary task.  It doesn't change everything.  It feels like the (social) media is fibbing.

I'm not fibbing....this will change the way you hem jeans!  For real.  Seriously.

Those of you who know me in the real world know that I'm of average height but I have short legs.  I have a long torso (like a ballet dancer...ha!).  When I buy jeans, unless I can find long-torsoed petite jeans, they are usually too long.  (Just by way of explanation - the petite jeans have to be long-torsoed or they sit scandalously low on my backside.) 

I'm frugal and somewhat lazy so usually I just roll up my jeans or hem them using the "fold under" method.  Hemming by folding the excess under and sewing isn't a great method for jeans for a couple of reasons:  denim is thick and it stresses out my sewing machine needles; and the bottoms of jeans that you buy at the store usually have a nice contrast thread and "weathered" look - if you hem by folding under you lose these features and they look home-hemmed.

I have newish jeans that needed to be hemmed and I really like them so I was considering taking them to the tailor.  Before I did I googled hemming jeans and found a number of blog posts about how to hem jeans and save the look of the bottom edge.  My favourite post is this one:  http://rileynoehren.blogspot.com/2010/01/tutorial-how-to-hem-jeans-like-pro.html.  I followed her method and my jeans look great!  Start to finish it took under half an hour.  That includes: trying on the jeans with 2 pairs of shoes; triple checking my math; and reading her blog post.  I will be much quicker next time.

The finished product.  They just look like jeans...right??

I won't go over the details of the method (you can click the link) but here are a couple of comments.  My jeans are boot cut, therefore I had to stretch one layer of fabric to get the  side seams to meet up. She mentions this in her post and I think it's brilliant!  I wish I'd thought of it before hemming my last couple of skirts. 

If you read the method, the "stitch in the ditch" step tacks up the excess.  Tacking up the excess creates a bit of a cuff  inside the bottom of the leg.  Most of the other bloggers don't tack up the excess but trim it using various methods to prevent fray.  I tacked the bottoms because I didn't have much excess (4 cm in all) and the cuff is not an issue.  If the excess were any larger, I definitely would trim it.  


Zoo Day

Monday was a holiday from school for Martin Luther King day.  Unfortunately my husband (and husbands in general) did not seem to also have a holiday from work.

A couple of friends and I decided to take our kids to the zoo.  In total we had 3 mothers, 7 boys, and 2 girls.  It was a big crowd but we had loads of fun.

We arrived at the zoo a few minutes before it opened and it was already busy.  The parking lot was filling up as well.  Inside the zoo we wandered through the primates path and past the big cats and bears before it got really busy.  Around 11:00 a.m. we took the kids to the zoo playground and the place was heaving with kids.  We decided to let the kids stop at the swap shop before heading out.  

At the swap shop, kids can bring in items they find in nature to trade for points.  They then use those points to "purchase" other natural items.  My boys brought in some spiky seed pods and leaves from our front lawn.  Points are assigned for unique items and for the amount of knowledge that the child has about the item.  If they have done some research they get even more points!

We didn't know what the seed pods were but the are interesting and unique.  Overall the boys were awarded 30 points.  They used those points to buy some lovely seashells.  They are now saving up for a 200-500 point turtle shell!

We left the zoo and picked up a picnic lunch from our cars.  The parking lot was full and people were trolling for spots.  We caused a bit of false hope because we looked like we planned to leave when we were really just getting our stuff from the cars.

Then we walked over to the Japanese garden for a quiet picnic and a walk around the meditation trail.

When we went back to our cars to leave the parking lot was a madhouse.  I couldn't even get out of my space because of a car waiting to get in - it would not move over so I could pull out for fear of losing the space!   We drove home, exhausted, for naps.  It was a lovely day!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Arboretum - January Walking Challenge

The Houston Arboretum set a walking challenge for this January.  If you walk a particular trail in the Arboretum 8 times this month and log your walks on FaceBook or at the front desk, you get a reward - a free membership and a class (yoga or tai chi).  I finished my walks last week! 

I've had a lot of fun during the walking challenge.  The best part for me is that I never walked alone.  I have enough friends walking the challenge that I was able to meet up with someone for every walk.

I plan to keep walking at the Arboretum, but I will try different trails.  The Outer Loop is the designated trail for the challenge and to me it's the least inspiring trail in the park.  It  passes close to the roadway and a train track so it's a bit noisy as well.

Also at the Arboretum, last weekend Little Boy attended a class about hibernation.  They got to see a hedgehog eat!  He was very excited.  My husband went with him and noted that Little Boy behaves differently in a classroom setting than he does at home.  He participated, followed the rules, and co-operated.  Hmmmm.....I need to channel some of his classroom energy for home!