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. 

Life Happens...

2.24.2014

I rarely like to miss a week blogging but as we all know, life can sometimes get overwhelming.  Two weeks ago, in the midst of my "Random Acts of Kindness" deliveries, I received a phone call from my husband who said he got injured at work.  He wouldn't give me anymore details until I came home.

As I entered the house with little guy, I saw my husband hobbling on one foot; apparently, he slipped on ice while trying to get into his car and his knee made a popping sound--his bad knee that is...

You see, my husband has had two knee surgeries in the past (both on the same knee).  One surgery was done while we were dating, and the other surgery happened just last February after a sledding accident.  When we went sledding just a few weeks ago, you could imagine my fear.  I was playing referee the entire time trying to make sure that we didn't have a repeat occurrence from last year.  I sounded like this:

"Lew, please keep your sled away from Little Lewie.  I'm afraid you're going to collide, and you'll hurt your knee again."

"Lew, can you move just another 10 feet in that direction?"

"Lew, don't go yet!!  It looks like those kids over on that end are going first."

Yes, my husband calls me "Nagarella" and the "Fun Police" with good reason.  After becoming a mom, I seem to "worry" all the time.  Sometimes for good reason, but sometimes just because worrying has taken over my blood..."

Last week, however, God and the universe taught me a very important lesson.  Worrying gets you nowhere; worrying is unproductive; and finally, trade worry with faith.

It appears that no matter how much I worried during the last time we went sledding, my husband was going to injure his knee regardless, and there wasn't a single thing I could do about it.  There wasn't anything he could have done differently either.  He slipped on ice and voila!   He went to his "knee doctor" the very next day, spent the week icing his injury, and had an MRI done last Sat.  We knew nothing...was it a torn meniscus, an ACL injury, what?

This is where the faith comes in...  Last Thursday, Lew got the good news from his knee doctor that he wouldn't need another surgery after all.  While he did "stretch" his ACL and it appears as if he has a painful bone injury, the doctor assured us that, in time, he would make a full recovery.  His knee would start to hurt less, and he probably wouldn't need any physical therapy either...

As you can imagine, we've been taking it easy this past week -- no sledding, no roller skating, no skiing or any type of sport, and that's okay.  Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and stop all the worrying.  In fact, I need to trade worry for faith.  Faith is what will assure me that everything is going to be all right, and faith is what will allow me to enjoy those days of sledding again instead of acting like the Police Patrol.  I'm sorry I ever had any doubts...

My two boys gearing up for their first time down the hill.

The hole of this snow tube was a little too big for him, but oh well, we tried!

Laughing!

My husband teasing me after I nagged him about being careful not to get injured.

Rare footage of me with my little boy.  (Not really, but there are way more daddy-son pictures than mommy-son pics!)

Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) Week

2.10.2014

Valentine's Day and Random Acts of Kindness Week are probably my favorite holidays (besides Christmas).  For me, this time of year is not only a chance to rekindle the relationship between my husband and me, but it's also a time to remind my friends and family how much they are loved and appreciated. 

There are certain values that I want to instill in my son--hard work, faith, courage, humor, passion.  However, above all of these, I want my son to learn love and empathy.  This year I decided that I'm going to use this year's Random Acts of Kindess (RAK) Week, which starts today, to teach these two important values and have fun in the process! 

Today, we started our mission by baking brownies and heart shaped cookies.  We then packed up little gift bags to give to friends this week.  While I'm not the craftiest person in the world, I did find some Valentine's Day printables on Pinterest that were really cute.  With a little ingenuity and the help of an awesome dollar store near me, I managed to "make" a few cute Valentine's Day items that I think my friends will enjoy.  The goal in making these Valentine's Day "gift bags" is twofold.

1) I want my son to learn that sometimes homemade gifts are even more meaningful than store bought items.
2)  I want my son to learn the joy of giving.  (This week, we will be randomly driving to friends' houses to surprise them with these Valentine's Day gift bags.  They might not be home, but leaving them with a special note will be half the fun.)

Finally, I hope to end our week of "surprise gift giving" by purchasing food and then driving it to our local food pantry.  Lewie is still a little too young to be helping out at a soup kitchen, but that will be our next goal as he gets older...

Do you have any plans for RAK week?  (Right now my biggest hurdle is finding the time to do everything between a full week of work.  Still, when there's a will, there's a way!!)

Lots of love (and concentration) went into making these cookies!

A perfect heart!

Now to make a double heart!  (Notice the flour in my little guy's hair!)

Making sugar cookies sure is messy!

A sample of our work!

Getting our Valentine's Day "gift bag" ready...

The free Valentine's Day 8X10 print is from How to Nest for Less, and
the free XOXO Valentines are from The Celebration Shoppe

Here's one more picture of the treats that will be going into this package from the "heart."

Here's the final bag...ready to be delivered!