Easter Treats

4.22.2014

Our Easter weekend began on Good Friday when my son requested to meet the Easter Bunny at the Danbury Railway Museum (again).  He remembered it vividly from last year, even pointing out the Easter Car:  "Mommy that's where the Easter Bunny is..." he said excitedly in his five year-old, high pitched voice. 

He insisted he was going to ask the Easter Bunny for a train when he met him but then said nothing when he realized the Easter Bunny doesn't talk.  Instead he gave the Bunny a hug and a high five while I snapped a few pictures.  I was excited the pictures came out cute this year with Lewie's "authentic" smile.  (These days I usually get a fake ear to ear grin.)


Lewie on the Easter Train Ride.

Hubby and me.

Lewie and Grammy--my little boy requested that Mommy, Daddy, and Grammy come this year.

Lewie and the Easter Bunny

Priceless.  I love age five!

On Saturday, Lewie had a chance to spend most of the day with our Aunty Irene and Uncle Terry that came up from Delaware.  We made birds next cupcakes for Easter (Lewie enjoyed sampling the frosting), and then we went to cousin Crystal's birthday party who turned one year old. (She was born on tax day). 
This birds nest was made with chocolate dipped Chinese Chow Mein noodles.

Our Easter dessert.  Lewie loved putting on the eggs and the bird.

Little Crystal Rae on her special day!

So cute...posing with her first phone :)

My son with his "fake grin" again.

On Easter Sunday, Lewie woke up somewhat groggy, forgetting that the Easter Bunny had come to visit our house.  (Ironically, he had woke up on Friday and Saturday announcing "It's Easter.  It's Easter," but actually missed making the big announcement on the real day.)  Once I told him I thought the Bunny had come, he started frantically searching for his plastic eggs in the living room and then his Easter Basket.  He started the hunt with confidence:  "Mommy, I'm good at finding eggs."  However, it didn't take long before he solicited my help, especially for the Easter Basket. 

Lewie and his "train" Easter Basket.

Looking at his jigsaw puzzles.

I think I taught my child too well.  He told me that I could have his chocolate Easter Bunny.

Excited because the Easter Bunny did put a train in his basket!

After a few hours of Lewie playing with his new trains and starting his train puzzle, it was time for church.  Mass, as usual, was beautiful and profound, and it reminded me that Easter is truly a time to rejoice.  We spent the rest of the day feeling thankful for God's grace and spending time with our beloved family.  It was truly a beautiful weekend on all accounts.


Pictures after mass...

I'm glad I can still pick up my little boy.

Lewie's Easter outfit.  I LOVE his sweater.

I hope everyone enjoyed this special holiday!

The Winter that Never Ends

4.17.2014

This year the weather has been interesting.  Thankfully, we've been spared from blizzards, hurricanes, super storms, and the like (for now), but the months of March and April have not exactly been easy.  Cold temperatures, snow, and ice storms have been frequent, and just when we think warmer weather is here to stay, we get this:





This weekend, we had temperatures in the high 60's and 70's.  For the first time this spring, my tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils finally managed to push their way through the rock hard ground and show their colorful pedals.  On Sunday, we decided to go hiking at an environmental conservation area called White Memorial Campground, and there, the forest seemed to be awakened too.  Squirrels were playfully running up and down trees, birds were diving over our heads, peepers were calling for mates, oh, and bullfrogs were grunting too.  I must admit that I never heard bullfrogs before during mating season, but my oh my,...if you're curious, this is what they sound like:




It was a fun weekend, but now we're back to the cold.  Our winter coats and hats had to come out once again. (Have I mentioned that this unpredictable weather has been making everyone sick in our house too?) Since the weather has mostly been cold, I scheduled our annual Easter Egg Hunt with friends at my house for the first week of May...  Boy, I'm sure glad I did!

On the way to school, April 16,2014

A fake smile from my five year old that's not too happy about our ice storm.

An Interview with My Five Year-Old

4.05.2014

This week has been a struggle.  Both Lewie and I came down with a bad head cold on Sunday, which quickly turned over to the flu for the rest of the week.  Our clean, organized house that we spent much time fixing over the weekend quickly turned into a war zone of germs, used tissues, medicine bottles, pillows, clothes, and blankets thrown all about the house.  I look at it now (after one full week of being sick) and wonder when will I have enough energy to start the clean up again.

Today, after feeling a little better and finally being able to sit upright again, I decided to "interview" my five year old.  Truth be told, I write about my son all the time--what he likes, what he doesn't like, what surprises me.  But as he gets older, I realize that he has his own little voice, and whether I want to admit it or not, my Little Lewie can begin answering for himself.  So today, I grabbed a piece of paper and decided to write down my son's answers--word for word.



Here are Lewie's answers to my most pressing questions:

Me:  What's your favorite toy,  Lewie?

Lewie:  My favorite toy is what I'm making right now.

Me:  What are you making right now?

Lewie:  Well thanks for asking.  Right now I'm building a Lego world and train tracks.

Me:  What is your favorite season?

Lewie:  Spring and Winter...Summer...and Fall too.

Me:  What is your favorite color?

Lewie:  My favorite color is orange and pink.  Just orange and pink Mommy.

Me:  What is your favorite thing to do?

Lewie:  My favorite thing to do is to live with you guys.

Me:  What is your favorite food?

Lewie:  My favorite food is broccoli, oatmeal, a corn muffin, and toast.

Me:  What is your favorite dessert?

Lewie:  You're talking about a treat, right?  Okay so it's ice cream and more ice cream.

Me:  What kind of ice cream?

Lewie:  Chocolate and vanilla and strawberry.  I like all of them.

Me:  What is your favorite time of day?

Lewie:  I like the morning and the afternoon but not school in the afternoon.

Me:  What do you think kindergarten will be like?

Lewie:  Well I think kindergarten is going to be like fun. 

Me:  What do you think you'll learn in kindergarten?

Lewie:  Nothing.  (laughs).  I'm just kidding.

Me:  No really, what do you think you'll learn in kindergarten?  Do you think you'll learn how to read?

Lewie:  I already know how to read.

Me:  What is your favorite letter?

Lewie: L because it starts with my name that's why. 

Me:  What is your favorite number"

Lewie:  10.  I mean 100.

Me:  Who's your best friend?

Lewie:  Bryan   (He means Ryan.)

Me:  What's your favorite cartoon?

Lewie:  Thomas the Train

Me:  What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lewie:  A train conductor.



Finally, here is the answer to Daddy's most pressing question:

Daddy:  What is the median income for a family in the Naugatuck Valley Region?

Lewie:  Poopy

So here you have it folks...Here is the transcript of my son's very first formal interview.  I am proud to say that all of these replies have come directly from my son without any prompting or coaching from me. 

I must say that he seemed a little relieved once all the questions were over. After all, according to him "It's taking for a long time."   I wonder how he will feel about these answers in the next few years...

It's Electric!

3.25.2014

Last weekend, my husband, Little Lewie, and I test drove a Nissan Leaf, and Thursday, we signed papers for a 36 month lease! 

A few years back when I first heard about electric cars, I was in awe.  I always knew I wanted one, but the price was much too high (about $31,000 minus a $7,500 tax credit), and of course, the technology, in my opinion, was just too new.

Last week, my mother listened to the Clark Howard radio show in the morning and told me that Nissan was leasing the Leaf at an affordable price.  This eliminated the high cost (my payments are less than $300 per month) and the worry that I'd be stuck with a car that's riddled with mechanical problems.  (After all, Nissan has to provide me with a car that will live up to the 36 month agreement.)

In less than one week, we were test driving a Leaf, making a deposit, and riding off into the sunset with a car that produces 0 emissions.  I was both nervous and excited all at once... 

Now that I'm a proud owner for a whopping 5 days, I can tell you that I'm super happy with my decision.  It's a perfect car for my daily commute back and forth to work and also my errand shopping on the weekends.  I calculate it will save me about $400 per month on gas.

Benefits:
  • No more trips to the gas station.
  • No more oil changes.
  • Cost to charge the car is equivalent to a load of laundry running in the dryer for an hour or two.
  • Our "trickle charger" plugs into any outlet.  (We don't need to install a Charging Station in our garage.)
  • High crash safety ratings (4 stars out of 5 stars).
  • Good for the environment.  (We signed up to use wind, solar, and water for our electric, and so this car is not using any fossil fuels to run--no gas, coal, or oil.)
Drawbacks:
  • Not a car for long commutes or family vacations.  (Gets 80 miles per charge during the summer and 50-60 miles per charge during the winter.)
  • Charging station locations (for quick 15 minute to 1/2 an hour charges) are few and far between. 
  • Not a car for large families that want comfort. 

Our Nissan Leaf at the dealership.  It's a fun car to drive!

(The little door behind me is where we change the battery.)

The Nissan Leaf is not a car that will accommodate everyone's needs, but it does work for someone that makes shorter commutes.  (I work approximately 40 minutes away from home, so it works for me.)  It's exciting to drive a car that back in the 80's (when I was growing up) was only something you saw in futuristic, sci-fi movies.  My little boy loves bragging that we own an electric car, and he's amazed that we charge it just like a cell phone or a laptop.  To think that in another 10 years, the idea of an electric car might be very commonplace...  The technology, I know, will continue to grow by leaps and bounds...

Lewie-isms

3.17.2014

I'm glad that even though my son is five, he still says the cutest things.  Am I correcting his words all the time?  Nope.  Guilty as charged.  I'd much rather revel in the joy of him being a kid than to make him grow up too fast!

"Mommy, can we go frontward?"  (He really means forward.)

"Mommy, I can't wait until my birthday to buy another train.  I'm really un-patient!" 

"I can eat now Mommy because I put appetizer on my hands."  (sanitizer??)

"Mommy, do you want to go on those elephators?"  (escalators??)

On Thursday last week, I took Lewie to the mall, so we could ride the elevators and escalators, get grilled cheese sandwiches and milk shakes and just enjoy doing something different.  He was excited to go to the children's play area.  (I swear we haven't been to the mall in almost a year!)  He first started playing chase with a few boys, but when they left, he found a girl his age to play chase with.  I couldn't help but to laugh out loud when he said...

"Hi, my name is Lewie, but you can call me Lewis." 

When leaving the mall, he then proceeded to tell me that he was allergic to girls, but he wasn't allergic to me because I'm his Mommy.

God, I love this kid.  As far as I'm concerned, age five can stay here forever! 

Homeschool for a Day

3.12.2014

Ever since Little Lewie was born, I entertained the idea of homeschool.  What if I could be a stay-at-home mom and be the one to teach Lewie everything I know?  There are many wonderful mommy bloggers that are doing just that, and I won't lie, their lives seem fun, rewarding, and fulfilled.  They don't have to worry about whether the new "common core curriculum" will help their children learn, whether their children are being bullied in class, or whether their teacher/s are successful at keeping their children's class under control.    They also don't have to worry about their children being held back or being kept from challenging themselves just because the rest of the class isn't at the same level.

As a parent, I worry about all these things and more when it comes to my child's education, and I especially worry as my son will be entering kindergarten next year.  Our town does not have a full-day kindergarten option for my son, and so I am faced with the dilemma of finding another "affordable" kindergarten that will provide a full-day experience; otherwise, he will go to school for two and a half hours and be placed in a "day-care" setting for the remaining four, which is hardly ideal.  This topic will be continued for sure...

Yesterday, Lewie woke up with a croup cough, and quickly my husband and I made arrangements to stay at home with our little boy.  I would take the morning off from work, and my husband would take the afternoon.  After Lewie and I finished breakfast, he piped in, "Mommy, can we play school today?  We can do a craft in the morning, have snack, and then read a book.  We'll have school at home." 

I loved this idea.  In fact, I had to pinch myself because I couldn't believe these words were coming out of my son's mouth instead of my own.  I quickly took out this train craft that I bought, and Lewie and I decorated the train by using scissors, glue, and, of course, his imagination. 

"Aren't I cre-tive?"  Lewie asked. 

"Yes, you are very cre-a-tive," I agreed.

It became a lesson in using our fine motor skills and creativity, and since the craft was all about creating his own train/engine, he couldn't be more attentive.  He was proud of his little train, asking if he could hang it up after it dried.  It was at that moment that I realized my son has never brought home a craft to me from daycare or preschool that he wanted to hang up.   Why was this craft so special to him?  Was it because it's a train, or was it because the two of us really took a lot of time and concentration to make it perfect? 

After his little craft, I prepared a fruit and yogurt parfait snack, and we read books.  It was the most perfect, unexpected morning I've had in a long time.  I think I could really love this homeschool thing...  If only I had the courage to leave my full-time job again...

Very meticulously choosing his train scheme. 

His masterpiece.  Perfect because it's exactly how he wanted to make it without any suggestions from Mommy!


I Lead a Double Life

3.05.2014

Oh, I know the title of my post sounds intriguing (maybe even a tad scandalous)...like I have some sort of clandestine relationship on the side. But quite honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. 

You see, I lead a double life because I split my time every day of the week.  (Working moms know this feeling all too well.)  Everyday, I must divide my time between being a mom and wife and being a full-time administrator at a small Catholic College.  While I'd like to say that I at least have my weekends to myself and my lovely family, nothing could be further from the truth.  On weekends, I must go to New Student Orientations, Accepted Student Receptions, Open-Houses, or any other college event, which requires my presence;  I must answer emails that never stop (day or evening), and I must offer feedback on essays, cover letters, resumes, and all sorts of other requests that come my way...

In 2008, after the birth of my son, I resigned from this first life.  I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom and dedicate my precious time to my family.  I wanted, in essence, to have one life.

This one life, however, would be short-lived after my husband started battling an illness, which would test our emotional and financial well-being.  In 2009, I started working several part-time jobs, and in 2013 (just last year), I had to move back to the working world on a full-time basis.

I know many working moms that love having a double life; they enjoy their financial freedom, and they love feeling productive both in and outside of the home.  For me, however, finding the balance between my worlds of family and work remains to be a struggle, and I often find myself feeling, quite honestly, split down the middle.

On the one hand, my current position, Director of Career Services, gives me great satisfaction.  I enjoy helping students learn about themselves, gain confidence, and find employment.  I enjoy organizing and running events, such as career fairs because their success provides me with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.  In essence, I can be proud of myself.

Last week I executed our first career fair at the college in many years.  It was fun to pose with one of our
Connecticut State Troopers.
 On the other hand, splitting my time also gives me feelings of remorse, regret, worry, guilt, and stress.  I look at my son, who is now five years-old, and wonder where the time went!  I feel guilty when I come home exhausted day after day with little time for family dinner, playtime, or bedtime stories.  I feel sad when I can't offer my full undivided attention in the mornings because I'm too busy checking calendars, scheduling appointments, and answering last-minute emails.  

Plenty of working parents tell me that Lewie will grow up just fine...that he will learn how to have a strong work ethic from watching me and his Daddy...and that daycare/preschool provides him with the socialization he needs to be around other children his own age. 

This maybe so..., BUT I'm not sure if I'll be just fine.  At this moment, I already have regrets.  My spirit is saddened to know that time is fleeting, and one day these precious moments with my little boy won't be there.  Will I be okay with the missed opportunities of helping him with his homework or bringing him to the park?  Will I be okay with the missed opportunities to read him bedtime stories or play chase with him early in the morning?  My heart right now says no.