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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Week 17 (April 22nd-28th): Let’s Go Fly a Kite

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My daughter has a memory like an elephant. When Nana and Grampy came to visit in March, they brought a bag full of toys and treats. There were kites in that bag but Nana never got around to flying them with Caroline and Liam. I was left with the kites and since I am a responsible and loving mom, I promptly hid the kites. Why? Because Charlie Brown and I have a lot in common when it comes to kites. We just don’t get along.

It had been over a month since I had stashed the kites away and if it wasn’t for Caroline’s super-duper memory, they probably would have stayed hidden until the movers stumbled across them. I imagine a soft, gentle breeze floated across her face one afternoon, thus reminding her that we had kites in the house. It was that random.

My first response was going to be “no.” But I am afraid of being that mom. Not the mom that doesn’t say no to her children, because trust me, that word gets used plenty these days. But I don’t want to be the mom that says no to something just because I don’t know how/I don’t want to to do it. It already takes all my inner-strength to say yes when they want to do a craft project,so I guess I didn’t want to be anti-kite flying before we even got it them out of the package.

So I summoned my inner Mr. Banks (minus the tuppence but with the string) and agreed to “teach” them how to fly kites. The wind was decent, the kids excited and there were no kite-eating trees in the vicinity. Caroline was an apt student and was on her own within minutes. I am not sure how my lessons went, but Caroline had a great time. She ran a lot, laughed a lot and didn’t want to stop, even when the wind. But Liam–poor Liam–quite possible takes after me in more than just looks and stubbornness. He had no luck getting his kite up and no matter how much talking he did to it, it still wouldn’t fly. Don’t worry, Liam, I can relate!

Caroline sends it soaring

Liam tries to talk some sense into his kite


Week 16 (April 15th-21st) Home Sweet Home

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I am not sure if I should actually title this one “Home Sweet Home” but it felt better than “Mom-cation” or “One the Way to Cape May” and some of the other titles I tossed around. I mean, Cape May isn’t officially where I am from. When people ask, I always say I’m from Maine and without hesitation. Except for my good friend Joan and her family, the only thing tying me to Cape May is memories. But after a little thinking on it and finding the following quote, I guess you could say I left my heart in Cape May. Maybe that’s why I always look forward to getting back there.

Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Homesick in Heaven

Since I was sans husband and kids last weekend, I had some time to pretty much visit all the places I love in Cape May. I snapped some pictures of my favorites. I took a picture of the house on Fulling Mill Road but wont put it here. For starters, it looks the same but has a hot tub in the driveway. And secondly, it doesn’t seem right to post it now that it isn’t ours.

I regret that I didn’t get a few pictures of me with my friend (and most gracious hostess). I don’t know why I never do remember to do that. It is pretty funny, though, that I have more pictures of her husband’s famous burgers than I do of her!

The Peter Shields Inn where Jeff proposed on my birthday. I think he was just a little nervous.

The ice cream shop on the street next to ours. We would walk over before CSI. I am embarrassed to admit that the employees used to bet if we would get our "usual." A strawberry milkshake for Jeff, twist on a cone with chocolate jimmies for me.

My old school, the creatively named Elementary #2. It was here that I really began to know I was a good teacher. Pretty sure the ball stuck in the gutter was there when I left.

The Coast Guard chapel where we got married on November 11, 2006. I will never forget the pride I felt when Father Coffey took a moment from the ceremony to thank the Veterans in our families for their service.

This is the not the most popular beach in Cape May, but it allowed dogs. We spent more time here in the winter than the rest of the year. (Plus it's actually in North Cape May.)

Another shot of the same beach.

I'm adding this one because I totally thought that was my dad, hanging out on the Square in Cape May. I walked by twice just to make sure!

I wish I was a better photographer. If I was, I would spend days taking pictures of the homes in Cape May. Love them even though I don't know why.

I saw this outside of Starbucks on Saturday and I had forgotten how much I miss seeing the recruits in Rio Grande on their liberty from boot camp. They all (and always) look so young and unsure. I can't help but wonder what Jeff was like then.

Week 15 (April 8th-14th): Just Purr-fect

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These next pictures are just what the under-patient Mama needed. I love my Caroline. She is smart and funny and caring. She is a great big sister and lover of all babies. And lately, she is number one at testing my patience. It could be a mix of the extra long spring break we just endured together. It could be those “terrible threes” that I was told we would see since her terrible twos were (relatively) easy. Whatever it is, she has my number and she’s real fond of calling!

These days, nothing frustrates me more than hearing her scream and watching her throw herself on the ground in a tantrum. The list of antecedents (you know, I am a special ed teacher!) is outstanding but wanting to be carried, not wanting to clean up or fetch her belongings seem to reoccurring themes. If I was at school, I would say she is having trouble with transitions. But I am not. We are at home, or daycare, or the grocery store….doesn’t matter where, but the outcome is almost always one of two things: I stand my ground or I give in.

Neither one makes me feel great because they come with a string attached: me feeling like I should have handled it better, differently, anything. I know in the long run, all is will be fine. Heck, all is typically fine within minutes of the meltdown, which also annoys me! So yesterday, when we were at a birthday party (Happy Birthday, Megan & Trent), these pictures brought it all to the surface how much my little baby is growing up. It made me realize that even at the not so ripe age of three and a half, she is on a path of discovering who she is and what she can do.

The party had a lady offering face painting. When we arrived, I asked Caroline if she wanted her face painted. She firmly shook her head side to side, indicating a clear no. As more friends arrived and had their own faces painted, asked her again. Again, it was a no and I left it at that. She had never had her face painted and I figure today would not be the first time.

The party went on and Caroline played and ate and played some more. She had a minor meltdown over essentially nothing. And I gave in because I didn’t want a scene and really, it wasn’t a big deal. As the party wound down, I took her to get a drink from a cooler, which was right near where the face painter had set up shop. Caroline stopped and stared at a teenager getting her face painted in a way that only a young child can stare (body completely still, mouth open and eyes transfixed). I was about to scoot her to the backyard where sack races where taking place. I thought she would have a great time since she loves to race and is becoming quiet athletic. But she was staring so intently at the face painting that I thought I would ask her again, even though I assumed the answer would be no.

This time, she surprised me with a barely audible yes. She left my side and transformed herself into a girl that knew exactly what she wanted! She sat right up in the chair like she never had a shy moment in her life. The face painter asked her what design. A kitty. What color? Pink, please. She was praised by the face painter for her manners and Caroline beamed. The results of her first face painting experience are in the pictures. She is proud of herself. What she taught me from this experience is patience: these meltdowns and tantrums are just a phase. Just like Caroline didn’t rush in to get her face painted, I don’t need to rush in when she’s pitching a fit. I just need to remember to take that second (or third or fourth) deep breath!

Caroline decides on a pink kitty

Another first to add to her calendar: Face Painted on April 14th

Mirror Mirror on the wall....this kitty is purr-fect

Caroline as a kitty. It took her almost three hours to build up the courage for this, but she did it!

Week 14: (April 1st-7th): Giggles with Granny

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Caroline and Granny get in a few last laughs on Granny's last night in Maryland

We don’t get to visit with family enough. There are a million reasons why. Some have to do with logistics, some are probably excuses. That’s just the way it is right now.

Mail (email & old fashioned) is nice. Phone calls are good. Skype is better.
But nothing beats being together in person.

Thanks for visiting, Granny! We miss you already.

Week 13: (March 25-31) I Do Solemnly Swear

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On Friday, March 30th, Jeff reenlisted as a member of the USCG.  His mom was here visiting and was able to witness the ceremony, and the kids were excited for “Daddy’s Special Day.”  Jeff turned the tables on them and made it a special day for them too, by having the Captain present Caroline and Liam with certificates of appreciation.  The timing of this was great because April is the Month of the Military Child and we recognize that even at such a young age, they make sacrifices and support the USCG.   Without a doubt, Caroline, Liam and I are beyond proud of our Coastie.

Chief Smith & Captain O'Malley with Liam sneaking in

Caroline in the doorway at Cove Pt. Lighthouse

Captain Liam: Liam tries on the Captain's cover

Caroline explores

Jeff & Liam in the Lighthouse doorway