Saturday, August 30, 2008

Forever Summer

Wish it could be. . .Forever Summer. . .wish it could be. . .forever summer!

Melanie attended a two week drama camp this summer at her school. At the end of the two weeks they put on an entire musical production entitled Forever Summer with 7 songs and dance routines they had learned. Each child of the 20 3rd-5th graders had a speaking part as well. I recorded the whole show, but at 28 minutes, it's too long for YouTube and I haven't figured out how to compress it. So below you will see the final song and curtain call of the show. Melanie is in a pink skirt and jacket and starts out in the middle.

The play was the perfect theme to our summer. I also wish it could be forever summer. In the play the teacher on the first day back at school is asking her students what they did over the summer. Melanie's lines for the play sum it up pretty well:

If it's proof you're after, let's flash back to the past
To a one room school house and a sad sack class
It was the first day back to school you see
And school was the last place they wanted to be.
The answers for the teacher were everything from going to a baseball game (Take Me Out to the Ballgame musical number), to going to the beach (By the Sea, By the Sea), attending a 4th of July parade (When the Saints Go Marching In), going fishing (Crawdad Hole) and visiting New York (The Streets of New York). Very classic ways to spend a summer vacation.

It got me to thinking. . .what would Melanie say if her teacher on her first day back on Tuesday asks her those same things. What did she and Kylie do this summer?
1. Trip to Vermont
2. Trip to Kansas
3. Learned to play classic games like Pick up Sticks, Marbles, Dominoes, the Game of Life, String Games (Cat's Cradle, Cup and Saucer, Eiffel Tower, Jacob's Ladder - just Cat's Cradle for Kylie)
4. Read 6 Magic Tree House books (Melanie)
5. Had a ton of sleepovers, playdates and beach days!
6. Took swimming lessons, drama camp, jump roping, Vacation Bible School and doggie camp (Princess Ballerina camp for Kylie)
7. Finished summer workbooks
8. Dressed as a firecracker for the 4th of July
9. Survived a wild and crazy 4th of July cookout at our house
10. Said goodbye to a very good friend

And what did I do this summer?
1. Numbers, 1,2,3,9 and 10 above count for me too!
2. Got my throat stretched and started on a myriad of medications
3. Got reacquainted with an old friend
4. Added several new words to my vocabulary - tomtom GPS, iPhone, Pandora, Shazam
5. Started Facebook and have acquired 49 friends
6. Read too many books to count. . .probably 2 or 3 a week
7. Taught Vacation Bible School
8. Huey Lewis concert and a few other fun nights out with friends
9. Finished writing another novel
10. Watched the 2008 Olympic Games

All in all a very good, complete and busy summer. I will be sad to see it come to an end. But I think we feel fulfilled and are ready to dive back into our school year routine. Melanie starts 3rd grade on Tuesday, Kylie has one more week and starts kindergarten officially on Sept 9th.

Wish it could be. . .Forever Summer. . .wish it could be. . .forever summer!

Drama Camp

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Land of "Ahs"

It's always good to go home again. Melanie, Kylie and I just got back from our annual trip to my hometown of Lansing, Kansas. We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends and it was bittersweet to come back to the Cape to vacuuming, laundry, groceries, back to school planning, etc, etc, etc. . .

The first thing Melanie and Kylie said when we got to Kansas last Tuesday, was, "when can we see Alex?" Alex is my brother's little boy, their 4 year old cousin. So, Wednesday we trekked to Overland Park (suburb of KC) and spent the day at Alex's house. They swam, played games and just generally had a great time.

Melanie, Alex and Abigail
That night I had a wonderful eye exam with my buddy, Kim who fixed me up good as new with some miracle eye drops for my allergies and new contacts. I felt like a new person. After my new eyes were in place, we went out with some of her friends for some food and a movie (Pineapple Express).

Thursday was spent touring Leavenworth (Leavenworth and Lansing are kind of like Sandwich and Forestdale - sort of). First up was the Parker Carousel, a refurbishment of a real old fashioned carousel that used to be manufactured in Leavenworth. (In fact if you have been in Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, you will see a print of a Parker Carousel from Leavenworth on the wall outside of the carousel nearest the art history room). Next, we went to a museum that I always loved as a kid, the Carroll Mansion. It has wonderful Victorian era memorabilia and shows how the rich and elite used to live back in the days of new electric lamps and indoor plumbing.

Riding the rabbits at the Parker Carousel

The "heroic" big black dog outside the Carroll Mansion

Abraham Lincoln once stood on these steps to give a speech

Friday was spent at the Overland Park Arboretum, (free!) near Alex's house. The landscape is absolutely gorgeous and was in full bloom. We took tons of pictures.

An interesting frog sculpture

Lemonade anyone?

Aunt Freddie, the kids and MomThe Medicine Wheel hut

From there we took Alex home to Lansing with us for a sleepover with his cousins. They played non-stop and had a great time.

We took him back to O.P. the next day to meet up with his parents and for a trip to the can't miss Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead. Deanna Rose is a place we have gone every single time we have been back to Kansas. I WISH there was somewhere just remotely comparable to it here in Massachusetts. It's an amazing (and FREE) place to take the kids. Tons of animals that depict Kansas' regional flare including buffalo (the state animal), prairie dogs, bobcats, bald eagles, pigs, horses, goats, cows, fish, etc, etc, etc. . .All this is combined with beautiful gardens typical to Kansas and walking trails. You can rent a fishing pole to fish in the pond (you catch about a dozen fish, but throw them all back), take a hayride, ride ponies, feed the goats from a milk bottle, milk a cow, be a student in a one room school house, tour a wigwam and tee pees, mine for gold, tour a chicken coop, ride little tractors and play on an extensive playground and run through a watering hole!

Everyone was worn out after the farm and fell asleep super early Saturday night. Sunday we were up for Sunday School and church in the church I grew up in. It was great to sit in Sunday School and hear my dad share his vast experiences and knowledge and see all the familiar faces. Then I headed to my friend, Michele's house for our annual Fab 5 reunion with Michele, Darcee and Amy (missed you Tanya!). We had a great time reminiscing about OT school and looking at pictures from our younger days! It's great to see we haven't aged at all!!!

Me, Darcee, Amy and Michele (minus Tanya!)The Fab 5 kids

Next up was visiting with my friend Karen and her two little girls Morgan and Kendall. I've known Karen since we were 4 years old. Ever since that day she asked me to play at the little chalkboard desks in preschool. Melanie and Kylie had a blast with her two little girls, but it was short lived and no one wanted to part ways at the end of the night.

Kylie, Melanie and Morgan

Kendall and Karen

Monday was spent letting the girls play, play, play. Mom kept all my old toys including Strawberry Shortcakes (the old version), Little People (when they used to be wooden), Barbies, dolls, board games and card games. That night we threw together and impromptu party for everyone to come say goodbye to us. My grandmother, Aunt Freddie, my brother and his family, Karen and her kids and Kim and her boyfriend Rich all came. It was a great going away!

Puzzle time with Great Grandma

The Party!

Kim and Rich

It was good to see how my dad is holding up with his chemo treatments too. He does get very tired and has to stay out of the sun, but all in all he kept up with our crazy schedule pretty well. Thanks for everything!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Fonz

Here's some nastalgia for you. I showed this to the girls so they would know who Fonzie was and they thought it was really weird!! It was hard to explain the whole Mork thing.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

iPhones, tomtoms and the Fonz

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday. . . Janet and Dean (along with Tom) were very gracious with a gift of a tomtom GPS system so I could navigate my way more easily when I have to go to Boston and unfamiliar places. Thanks!

Also, Tom was in the need of a new cell phone and has been eyeing the new iPhone since it came out a couple of weeks ago. We were planning a trip to Braintree anyway, where there just happens to be an Apple store, so we checked them out and before we knew it, we left with two iPhones (I had to get a new phone too if we were switching services). Here is a picture of the girls in matching dresses (thanks to Janet too!) and matching iPhones. What a rough life!

The iPhone is great. It has an iPod, calendar (syncs with my calendar on my computer), email, text, internet, youtube, weather reports, etc. Now if it could just do my grocery shopping we'll be all set. We had fun playing with them this week. It is a little cumbersome to make a call - you have to push about 3 buttons no matter what to call someone when we were used to just hitting one number on speed dial. I'm sure they will make improvements to it as time goes on. You can download new applications once they become available.

This has been a crazy, busy week. I've worked more this week to cover a vacation, Melanie has had drama camp everyday, both girls have swim lessons three days a week - Melanie's is at 1:00 and Kylie at 3:00, so we are forced to stay at the beach for 2 1/2 hours those 3 days : ). Melanie finished up with her jump roping class on Tuesday, so that's one less thing to do.

Since it was so busy and next week is equally busy, I was ready to shower and get in PJs after yesterday's swim lesson, but friends of ours were going to see Henry Winkler at a book signing in town and I decided to go. Who could pass up seeing the Fonz? I was glad I went. He has co-authored 15 children's books about Hank Zipzer, a boy with dyslexia who struggles academically. It is based on Henry Winkler's own childhood where he suffered from undiagnosed dyslexia. He gave a speech to the audience before the book signing that was funny and engaging. He really pointed out to us as parents that we should not berate a child for not being able to learn the same way or pace as we think they should. Also he stated that how you learn does not have anything to do with how brilliant you are. The girls enjoyed it as well. The signing itself took a long time because of the crowd. We weren't able to chat with him. He just signed quickly and we got a quick pic.