Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 1st Compared to June 30th

PACKED (or as close to it as possible). Every drawer, closet, bin: sorted, tossed, recycled and packed. Except for the items we are using daily to function, we met our goal.

June 1st

June 30th

An extra happy closing today, we have earned it!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leaving Preschool

Ah June, one more day and you are done. What a crazy month. Ben is going to day camp this summer and loves it. Correction: LOVES it to the point that he is exhausted from swimming, games, whatever else a bunch of college age kids can do with a roomful of energy each day.

Each Wednesday they go on an off-site field trip via chartered bus. So far they have been to Frankie's Fun Park (Ben calls it "freakies") a Durham Bulls game, tomorrow the Carolina Railhawks soccer team is visiting. The best part the camp is at our gym so I can work out, even take Ian to the pool, and then pick up.

We finished preschool at the end of May and attended his graduation a couple of weeks ago. Without recounting (again) feelings about preschool, moving schools, general expectations not met suffice it to say that I am glad he will be starting at a new school with a stellar reputation this fall.

The graduation was nice, organized, and minus including Ben in any of the video presentation that appeared to have only come from pictures after we left, it was what I expected. Ben didn't seem to notice and the only tears really came from me. If I had one issue as a do-over more than not brestfeeding, going back to work, even the trials of potty training feeling like I failed him in providing the best pre-K education is my sticking point.

I know that he is going to be on par with his classmates come August. He is reading simple sentences and knows all the prerequisites entering school. I just wish the whole experience had been better. Better for him and selfishly better for us.

In the decision to return to full time work this fall comes the decision about childcare for Ian. Bill and I have talked ad nauseam about what options we have given the upcoming move, double drop offs, after care arrangements. I want Ian to be at one place until he is going to kindergarten and most of all I don't want to look back with regret that the experience could have been better. I really want to get this right and not spend the next five years second guessing our decision.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Only When You Are Five

Dear Age Five,

Where have you been hiding out? Had I known that this level of compliance and happiness were mine for reaping last summer I would have been a MUCH happier camper.

I love the kisses for no reason, watching Ben make a beeline to hug me at pick up, pointing and telling others "this is my mom, you should say hello" to complete and total strangers. I love this window being the apple of your eye.

Hence why your 5th birthday was a week long celebration. I think birthdays must mean more to a five year old than at any other age (even 18, 21, 30...)
How else can you explain five separate parties to usher in this glorious age.

1. Party at school- Store bought cupcakes consumed on what was Ben's final day with his class. One-Two punch of celebrations.

2. Surprise Party in FL- I had SO much fun decorating the house for him to discover after being out with Grandmommy (Bill's mom) and Uncle Jamie.

3. Party in SC on the way home with my mom and brother. Ben requested pink frosted cupcakes. My mom delivered.

4. Party at home complete with TWO sets of Dunkin Doughnuts. What to you get with Mom buys said the 5 YO favorite pink sprinkle doughnuts by the dozen only to realize that dad had the same idea? 24 doughnuts and a lot of guilt for eating so many in the days after.

5. Kid Party at Marbles Museum. After Ben's 4th birthday party at which guests got stuck in an insane (and unbearably hot) June event requiring shuttle buses to be ridden just to get to the location I gave Ben 2 options for Year 5.

Ground rules for both included minimal parent effort other than showing up. After discovering that a pool party at our gym required all parents to be in the pool at all times with the kids I began to push for a party at a favorite date night location, our local kids museum. Ben was game, and I was breathing a sigh of relieve not to include the words, "plan on joining your kid in the pool for the duration of the party" on invites. Nothing says, "worst party of the year" than requiring swimsuit clad parents stay in the pool for the duration of the celebration. Talk about flipping the coin to see who takes that party solo.

I asked Ben what kind of cake he wanted and as you guessed he wanted a pink race car. While I'm sure we got many a WTF looks for those who don't know he is obsessed with all things pink, know that I would have moved Heaven and Earth make it a reality.

Ben specially asked if we could eat the car at his new house so as you can imagine what will be hand carried to the new kitchen, a pink Hot Wheels Car complete with BEN 5 license plate.

Of course Ben has already started planning his 6th birthday. At this point I am still invited, until he gets mad and dis-invites me. When I mentioned maybe we could make a WipeOut course in our new backyard for the party I think I sealed my fate for 2012 party planning.

Because how sweet would it be to usher in age 6 covered in foam while running an obstacle course?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Boy(s) of Summer

I've been a little MIA for good reason, we are down to the last days before our hopeful and uneventful closing. My days are spent teaching my summer school section, spending time with the boys at the pool, trying to keep this house in one piece for showings, and packing if possible. Nights have been spent grading and contacting students, then more packing once the kids are in bed. Needless to say we are tired and very ready to be moved.

So much awesome has happened outside of the anticipated move this month between birthdays, FL roadtrips, t-ball, day camp, preschool graduation. Before June is packed up (literally) I hope for some short recaps.

First up, T-ball.

Yesterday was the end of season celebration with Ben's t-ball team, the YMCA 4-5 year old Mudcats. One of the parents (not me may I add who said no when asked), oraganized a family day out at our local basball franchise. The kids in full uniform got to run the bases, run out on the field with the team during warm up, and sit in a special section.

This is the first time we have played t-ball after trying soccer, swimming, basketball, and a sports sampler (inline skating, flag football, soccer, basketball, tball.) What I had hoped from the sampler was to check out without a full season committment for any sport (namely skating). In the end, Ben loved the weeks of t-ball, hence sign up for a summer league.

I cannot say enough postive comments about the YMCA program, coaches, facilities, and skills learned. From the start in April to end of June he has really fallen in love with a sport and has markedly improved his skills. We will definately be back again next season. Even with a weekly practice and game committment it was worth it to find an activity that Ben truly enjoys and looks forward to playing both with the team and with us at home practicing in our backyard.

Nothing like a hot summer day eating concession stand goodies and watching size XS white pants taking the field. Nothing like watching your child take pride for learning something new.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Want to See It, Wear It, Read It, Eat It

I'm waaay behind on reading and esp commenting on blogs but I so loved a recent post on Carrie's summer To-do list that included a Mom column.

It got me thinking that while we have knocked out a few items like camping and smores off our summer list, ours is understandably kid focused.

So how about a short list in this summer of moving for some things I really want to do by summer end.

1. Keep the Couch to 5k ReStart outside heat/humidity version going. What a difference non-treadmill exercise adds for endurance. Ask me how excited I am about 3 miles of park that run through our new neighborhood along with easy access to a local greenway.

2. Find some cute summer shoes. I went shoe shopping while in FL. I tried on at least 20 pairs of wedges thinking about how cute they would look. Maybe it's just me but they just looked so not right. Ideas? I really want to pull off this style before it passes on and we are back to crazy pointed toe ankle boots in gold lame. Last night I came across these. LOVE them. Really would anyone even notice your outfit with these beauties on? I think not.

3. While we are on clothing, I want a cute sundress. Not all frilly eyelet lace or over the top girly, just pretty, cool for our humid days, and something if possible with a cap sleeve to hide my lunchroom lady arms. So far nothing really looks right. I am shopping challenged and I admit it. Internet ordering has shamed me into not actually shopping in stores.

4. Eat or Drink it. I love, love, love cold summer drinks. With spirts or without, nothing is better on a crazy hot day. I found a couple of cute ideas to try like this ice cream cake made from ice cream sandwiches with the boys from Real Simple.

5. Farmers Markets- Love them. Meeting up with a friend today for a basket of NC goodness (and some kick butt biscuits.) I will be recreating this summer veggie crepes with my loot today. Filling: zucchini, corn, green beans, ricotta cheese and chive cream sauce. Farmers Market on a plate I tell you.

6. Movies- I must see Bridesmaids as I want in on this conversation. Can just one more person ask if I have seen it and then shake their head mentioning, "raunchy comedy, why were you not first in line?" Hangover 2, while panned, is still a date night option and then there's Super 8. I must see this on a big screen. So jealous of anyone who has seen this already. Too bad we have kids that keep us prisoners like North Korean hostages on Friday nights.

7. Reading- Started our July book club book last night. Short stories: always good for those with the limited attention span. While on vacation I am finally going to start the Stig Larsson trilogy. Even if I am the last person on Earth to read them I must finish if I have any intention of see the Christmas release of Hornets Nest (have watched and re-watched the trailer several times and I am impressed with the casting alone.)

Not a mention of old house woes, moving stress, or kid-free list. Seven things in the next 2 months. Totally can do this.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Moving System Only a (Kindergarten) Teacher Could Deploy

The weekend saw some major productivity in packing. Friday night Bill took Ben camping so I took advantage of a quiet(er) house and packed the kitchen. Wait, aren't you still living in the house until you officially move? What kind of family weigh loss plan are you enforcing?

Yes, so don't plan on a dinner party given I kept out just enough to keep our family afloat. At this point we are eating down on the pantry/freezer. Mighty creative meals, you bet.

When we started packing unlike previous moves, where ultimately furniture and lots of stuff eventually would be hauled away to charity AFTER the move, I planned a different system. The end game being I want the entire house moved in one day and if possible unpacked in 48 hours. Coordination of carpet, paint, cleaning, then moving is a challenge given we have a beach trip planned just before we move and are leaving a couple of days after closing.

Had I know in early March when I booked (without the thought of needing insurance,) that we would be in the middle of a move then I wouldn't have planned to back to back major events. Instead we are using leaving for the trip our catalyst to get the entire house packed before we leave.

This is a mighty task may I add. The kids are, let's just say do not share this plan of productivity, thus almost all packing happens after bedtimes.

From one of the moving companies I had gotten an estimate was the suggestion of color coding rooms using post it notes. This may around CRAZY not to write on the boxes the location or even the contents but instead just box it, tape it, mark it by room, and move on.

The idea is that the movers we have hired work on an hourly basis. Time is money. If at all possible I want to have the house loaded and moved under the 8 hour time estimate. I'm shooting for 6, 5 if we can dissemble furniture before they arrive.

Instead of parking someone near the door to tell the movers which room is which, make a color coded sign highly visible on the front door, sticky note each box, then put the same color sticky note on the door frame.

I added a strip of packing tape across the sticky note to make sure it didn't come off in transit and have also tried to wall up common boxes together in the garage. I also suggested to Bill that we pull all our shelving out of the attic and use to build a stronger base for the boxes instead of just thrown on top of one another.

We will see if this elementary school cut and paste approach works and helps us get moved from one place to another faster. You better believe that my motto of keeping something only because I use it 1. Once a day/week/month 2. Seasonal 3. Everything else goes, is in full force.

Ask me how much grief I gave Bill when he innocently asked if Ben would want his purple air brushed Blue Angles t-shirt. Take a wild guess where it went.

Did you guess the 4th car load of stuff to charity?

Good, you win (not that shirt my I add.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

I Will Sell This House Today

Minus the red slip, I might be mistaken for Carolyn Burnham these days. On Monday morning I walked outside and found a 4 foot sign gracing our yard, Tuesday we listed, and by midweek the house has started to show.

Needless to say my plan of packing at night has been railroaded by the start of summer school. I have major plans for weekend packing while Bill makes a 2nd attempt at a camping weekend with Ben.

I have a plan to have the house ready to show within a hour by trying to keep it in meticulous order and clean. YES that is possible with kids underfoot, even a toddler into everything. The trick I've found is to work upstairs to down, prepping each room all the way to the front door. An extra laundry basket works well for the last minute items to go in the car along with the kids and dog.

We have drastically paired down toys, clothes, and general kid related stuff as we pack. I also have a short room by room list of items to do should someone else have to prep it to show. Don't ask if lamination was involved :)

Our online listing looks great in part to fantastic professional photos that really capture every reason to love this house. In particular the fresh coat(s) of deck stain looks amazing.

The feeling I want potential buyers to walk away is seeing themselves in this house, raising a family and spending time together. There's a typo (yes I actually noticed it) on one of the fliers stating "checking out this LOVING instead of LOVELY HOME."

Maybe it's not a typo at all.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

At What Point Do You Throw the Barbie Horse from the Car?

Back in 1983 my family went on the only vacation that wasn't to Myrtle Beach or Gatlinburg. We were SO predictable that we even stayed in the EXACT room, in the same motel every single vacation. My dad also requested we make a ham ball that had to travel on ice for the trip down to be consumed in transit. Memories I tell you.

On this one and only summer we drove across the state of NC on the way to the Outer Banks. I don't remember much about that trip other than being sunburned, my brother getting sick and puking inside some giant boat he was touring with my dad, and my Barbie Horse being throw at 60 miles an hour out of our family car.

Why would any parent do this? I now know after driving Ben and Ian 1600 miles to Florida. I remember when we were packing the car and my dad saying, "Heather, for the love of God why in the Hell would you bring both a Barbie Car and Horse on this trip? Let me tell you that 1. only one is going and 2. don't be surprise if we don't have room and have to loose it along the way."

I never should have doubted him that at some point when Brian and I were in the cargo hold of the station wagon, and we started throwing toys at each other that both my Barbie horse and Brian's G.I. Joe Hovercraft both were hurled from our car somewhere on I-40.

Now as a parent who restricted what could go in the car to 5 items (because Ben would turn 5 on the trip)I get it. Knowing that we would be bringing back more gifts from meeting up with family + we had the iPad which I am eternally thankful for having on the trip. Minus having Angry Birds drowning out Tina Fey the time in the car was manageable.

So at some point I realized I had missed my exit outside of Atlanta probably because I spent an enormous amount of time on the phone with Bill dealing with house buying/selling stuff while on the road. Really, should I be making decisions about a large financial purchase while drinking a 44 oz drink from the Hot Spot Gas Station while eating a bag of my *restricted to road trips only* purchase of Turkey Creek BBQ porkrinds (also from the Hot Spot.) Probably not, but I realized I was entering Alabama two hours earlier than expected.

I decided to stop at the welcome center and couple a pit stop and ask for directions. I got a map from the heavily made-up and love chain wearing lady who reeked of Designer Impostors Body spray circa 1987. Do you love Giorgio? No, and you shouldn't either. Just give me a damn map lady do you not see my children? One has grabbed my shirt and is trying to pull it over my head and the other is jumping off a display of brochures and rolling into the floor. Feel my pain, I am single parentin' it and we need to get back on the road, o'smelly lady.

She gives me the map, directions that are the WORST ever resulting in another hour of backtracking on the GPS and we are on our way, back into the 106 (really it was according to the one bank in the one stop light town she had us drive through) heat. Reason #912 I no longer live in Alabama outside of the too close for comfort nostalgia for SC, the heat that lasts a good 6 months of the year.

I DID snap this great photo outside and I can't help but think they forgot to add, "the right to not wear shoes inside this welcome center"

Ben is intrigued by the map and at some point I let him have it to "help me." I got nothing from him let me add. Help turns into him covering himself and Ian playing tent. Cute. I start to hear growling like a bear, asking what is going on I then hear the sound of ripping, no busting out like a jail break channeling Shawshank Redemption, and the sound of paper ripping into a zillion pieces. Ian is also in on the action and is squealing with laughter and also trying to tear paper.

I am still finding shards of paper in the car. I wish I had a picture of the first real time I think the boys conspired against me. My laughing at them likely didn't help.

So what do you think happened when at Chick fillet last night before t-ball practice Ben got a MAP of the NEW ENGLAND states as the kid toy. Who the hell comes up with their toys anyway? Wendy's currently has Minute to Win it games so as you can image we ate Wendy's a lot on the trip.

I made him give me the map to avoid a repeat 5 mins before practice and have him acting keyed up with the coach. What he doesn't know is I am all over busting out of that map with him.

Map = Barbie Horse = Different parenting approach

Sunday, June 12, 2011

4th Annual Vinson Family Big Summer Fun List

Not quite sure why looking at the calendar that this week kicks off summer in my head. Maybe because our new summer schedule of day camp and summer school section I'm teaching kicks off tomorrow. Maybe because we've been on the road and now home focusing on the summer move. Or maybe it's because it was the first weekend we spent a majority of time at the pool?

Four years ago when I started this blog is was to post an insane list of items to finish off with my then one year old. Since then the summer list focus was on family fun. This year between the house moves we are full on in summer mode.

Ben is on a traditional school schedule so he will not start kindergarten until late August giving us the whole summer to play, travel, swim, and wear flip flops as our official footwear of the season.

1. Stay in a beach house
2. Host a bike/scooter car wash
3. Start a family cooking night
4. Eat S'mores
5. Go camping
6. Plant Ben's all pink container garden
7. Catch a fish
8. Go to a baseball game
9. Walk or wheel to the library each week
10. Go to a farmers market
11. Wash the dog outside weekly
12. Eat Shrimp
13. Go to the zoo
14. Visit the aquarium
15. Participate in a bike parade
16. NC Museum of Art Kids Saturday or puppet show series
17 See an IMAX movie
18. Scrap Exchange Saturday
19. Family game/puzzle night
20. Make ice cream
21. Try gymnastics
22. See an outdoor movie
23. Go to Pullen Park (once reopens) to ride the train, carousel, and picnic
24. NC Railroad at New Hill
25. Try out the Airport Playground
26. Go on a nature hike at Umstead or Eno River State Park
27. Watch fireworks
28. See a car race
29. Take swim lessons
30. Ride go-karts
31. Move into and decorate a NEW BEDROOMs and PLAYROOM!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

And Five Years Ago Today,

We welcomed Bennett Davis with open hearts and open arms.

Happy 5th birthday to my favorite Ben, my firstborn, my mini-Bill in looks but mini-Heather in attitude. You talk a mile a minute, make me laugh like no one else, have boundless energy, and attempt to befriend everyone. I think you would fit well in any profession where talking is essential. Used car salesman or politician anyone?

In the past year you have moved even further into boyhood as your love of sports, Leggos, any and all reasons to be active outside, and most recently graduating to video gaming with dad.

Your sweetness outweighs your grumpiness 10 to 1. You more than anyone else named Vinson that reminds me that life is way too short not to find a reason to play everyday.

Watching your relationship with your little brother develop has reaffirmed all my reasons that +2 is the right fit for our family. Your love and protection and recent attempts to integrate Ian into your play is goodness indeed. You fill my heart to watch the lifelong bond that is developing between you.
As you move to start kindergarten and a new phase of your life I have to let you go, ever so slightly. Why you are ours, you are also more the Worlds with each passing day.

For now hearing your voice, feeling your arms in a "Ben Monster" hug, catching and pocketing kisses are mine to cherish for this day and for all the others that I will call you my son.

Happy 5th birthday my beautiful blue-eyed boy.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

When Does A House Become a Home?

For the last 10 years this house has been filled with many things: a new-ish marriage, babies into children x 2, many days and nights of decisions about the serious and not so serious.

Last night we signed what seemed like a bazillion papers to make our home someone else's dream. In the past weeks of crazy days trying to get everything market ready is has been easy to forget that I have loved this house for so many reasons. On a hot summer day much like today we rounded the backyard for the first time, saw the porch and knew if was our house.

We have spent many a sundrenched afternoon under the shade of a huge fig tree on that porch, watched the boys play from the swing, and walked to the nearby park nearly every day.

For all the reasons we have called it home it was a good, good run. As someone who would rather do most anything than home improvement, the last weeks have been tiresome and frankly I have been a real joy to be around. The last thing you will most likely hear me say involves a love of products purchased at Home Depot.

I leave this morning with the boys on a week long trip to see my mom for a few days then onto Florida to see my inlaws then back to help with my mom who recently had two minor surgeries. We will stay for a couple more days with her before returning home late next week.

Ben's 5th birthday, the official start to summer, a new daily schedule, new schools for Ben and Ian, con't nightly packing and cleaning, and a transition to a new home will take up our days when we return. But for the next week I will lounging by the pool, taking the boys to the beach, and staying up late with like-minded late-night lovin' family (which is all of them.)

I never imaged that I would spend a decade in one place and I think I underestimated just how much 10 years would look like in a well loved home. As we walked through last night with our agent, he pointed out just how much this house has to offer, esp to someone similar to us a decade ago.

I agreed and I hope the right family is out there waiting to know the same.