...I'd like to say that some of my absence over the last few months can be accounted for by me reading some great novels, working on my own writing, curing cancer, solving world hunger, catching up on five years of sleep deprivation.
But the truth is, I've just been busy.
On June 7 (the exact date), an old friend said, "Oh, you liked House of Cards? You should watch Dexter next." So, since June 7 that's pretty much all I've done. Watched eight seasons of a television show. It's not something I'm proud of. I watched the last episode last night and I'm left with this feeling of, "Now what?" And kind of feeling like my best friend (Michael Hall) broke up with me. And googling, "Will Dexter come back?" But I am looking forward to sleeping tonight.
...in 47 days he starts kindergarten. Whenever we have had an activity planned this summer, I'll say to him, "Charlie guess what we are doing tomorrow?" And his answer is always a question. "Kindergarten?"
He started Lego Camp yesterday and came home with pockets full of contraband Legos, which were promptly returned today. I picked him up when a bunch of other kids were getting picked up today and as he ran into my arms, "Bye, Charlie," rang out in chorus from the other kids. And then my heart burst into 18 million pieces.
Tomorrow he starts occupational therapy to work on improving his strength (low tone) and motor processing. He's pretty cool with visiting a new friend who has a swing in her house.
It seems like he is learning new things every day, saying new things every day. "Oh my gosh," is probably our current favorite. Or, "But I love it," when referring to something he can't have (candy, contraband Legos, etc.) I still hear every word as a present to us.
He is starting to read sight words. Which, in a word, is thrilling.
He can play with Legos for hours, and makes these incredible little creations and stories about spaceships or monsters or superheroes to go with them. He dreams of Legoland and talks about going there with a longing in his voice that's similar to when I talk about how I used to sleep until noon on Saturdays.
He is gradually learning to swim, getting more confident every time he's in the pool. He prefers the noodle though and his demeanor often reminds me of a 90 year-old Ethel or Dolores in her aqua aerobics class.
He has finally learned to pump. And isn't a bit proud of himself.
...having a date night here
...enjoying my new nail polish from Carron. (Don't worry, stopped at a stop sign on a country road. Even if it looks like I was in the middle of the road)
...Eating Rita's on a cold night
...taking pictures at Target for our Christmas list. (Only five months, people!)
...Happily playing with our friends at the park
...reading to each other...playing...fighting...repeat...
...going to birthday parties
...eating ice cream in the middle of the day after our pre-tubes appointment
...a trip to the beach
...going to the park at the beach
...and the fountains at the beach
...and the pool at the beach
...spelling our name using everything and anything
...time at the boardwalk
...learning to order sushi
...being thankful that at least one of us has good hair in this weather
...and lastly, rolling with my homies
...Will be back more. Trying to make a plan for ye ol' blog. xo
...the kids had their first sleepover with each other this weekend at the beach. We pushed Clara's bed all the way up against the wall and Charlie's bed right next to her's.
Their conversation ranged from the beach to potty talk. Literally, Clara talking about going potty.
Then, Charlie showed Clara how to tuck herself in.
...Then she fell off the bed at 2:00 a.m. and the sleepover was over.
It was a great weekend.
...The one that you look at on your phone after walking back into your office and it makes your heart skip a beat, takes your breath away, really.
I caught her. I finally caught her. The her that runs toward me when she sees me at any point during the school day. The her that runs ankles touching butt. The her that has enough hair for a Pantene commercial. The her that smiles with her whole face, her whole body really.
We were together. I forget the rest. -Walt Whitman
...clara and mommy will play.
Charlie is spending the week at Ammy and Poppy's. (And let me tell you, we could all use a week at Ammy and Poppy's...trips to the beach...pizza...ice cream...the Lego Movie delivered to your bedside at 6 a.m. the morning it came out).
Clara and I don't get a lot of one-on-one time. And dear lord, is one child so much easier than two. It's like a vacation all on its own.
We started our day by sending mail to our favorite camper.
After a latte, we were back to our traditional hiding-from-the-ENT-ness.
Then it was on to Trader Joe's. Ahhh, one child, no fighting over who gets to push the miniature shopping cart (or calf weapon, in my children's case).
She purchased Jojos, squeeze fruits, and pasta. That covers all the food groups.
Pit stop for some tomato soup.
Then home for a tea party, shower, pedicure, and some Sophia watching.
Then it was Clara's turn. She grabbed one of our old point and shoot cameras and went to town.
She captured an afternoon FaceTime session with Charlie.
Gracie's crazy eyes.
...and mommy and daddy.
Then there was a little catalog-shopping for her big-girl bed.
Wrapped up the night with some fajita-eating and then off to bed.
She is delightfully chaotic; a beautiful mess. Loving her is a splendid adventure. - Steve Maraboli
...I have a guest lister this week. Midshipman 4/C Kenneth Kurz at the United States Naval Academy. Or, Ken, my husband, almost 20 years ago.
(Yes, he ate all that food. And at the time, I'm guessing he weighed close to 120 pounds).
Ken wrote this list to Midshipman 2/C John Collins. And yesterday, a little shy of 19 years to the day, we watched Commander John Collins take command of his very own squadron.
That's one of my dearest friends in the whole world, Laura, up there with John. We are also the god parents to their son, Jack. I bet when 4/C Midshipman Kurz wrote that list to 2/C Midshipman Collins, he never imagined we would be sitting there yesterday, watching this. Well, he was probably too busy with a stomach ache.
...I know some people say there's nothing better than a baby's laughter. Charlie's Zyrtec video is proof of that. But I've found something even better. A brother and a sister, laughing together, hysterically.
They had just finished a beautiful rendition of I've Been Working on the Railroad. The cackle belongs to Clara. The messy house belongs to me.
...I love Ali's Weekend Lens. Tried to think of a better name but couldn't come up with anything besides, "Pictures from Saturday and Sunday."
This was our first beach weekend of 2014. Bring it.
It wasn't really warm enough to spend an extended period of time on the beach, so we did all the other activities that make our kids ask, "When we go to da beach again?"
Reading their books to each other on the bandstand:
Funland. Only fun in late May when no one else is there.
...Pretty lucky to have a professional photographer (my dad) with us at all times.
Here's to Beach Season 2014.
...My birthday gift to Ken (back in February) was tickets to the Orioles versus Indians game last weekend (Ken grew up in Cleveland, and since we are all gluttons for punishment, we've all become Ohio sports fans. They never fail to amaze disappoint us).
Before the sweat baths:
Our seats were 15 rows up from the Indians dugout (not as good as the last time we went).
The kids were remarkably into it, considering it was about 120 degrees in the sun. At least the Orioles fans behaved themselves and no one threw a hot dog at us. Charlie particularly enjoyed all the clapping. Clara particularly enjoyed all the food.
At the bottom of the sixth, we were all done (including the Indians).
In all honesty, the train ride to and from the game was probably the highlight of both kiddos days.
...We'll call this one "What you do when your husband, 50 percent of your manpower, is gone for six whole days and six whole nights."
1. You rise before the sun, before the children, before the dog to prepare yourself for the day ahead
2. You try to follow the rule of new parenthood to, "Nap when they nap." But instead of napping you spend 45 minutes laying in bed thinking about all you could have accomplished with those precious 45 minutes. You fall asleep five minutes before you hear your child screaming, with drool down your chin and sheet marks across your forehead. It was a hard five minutes.
3. You try to explain the difference between Gracie and Charmer to a friend when it finally hits you: Charmer was a person. Gracie is a dog. Charmer never liked other dogs, Gracie does. Charmer never chased her tail. Gracie does this to find her tail (she swears it's in there somewhere):
4. You take snapshots and send a ridiculous amount of pictures to your husband. This is not meant as a guilt trip. At all.
5. You take your kids to swimming and send ridiculous amounts of videos to your husband. This is not meant as a guilt trip. At all.
6. You write lists, cross things off, get things done.
7. The highlight of your week is not successfully single parenting two children, keeping the dog alive, and not setting the house on fire, or planning one of your biggest work events, or turning 35, but rather when your local farmer's "Our Tomatoes" sign pops up on Wednesday. Let the cheese and tomato sandwich season begin.
8. You spy on your little boy visiting Kindergarten. Kindergarten.
10. You rejoice when your little family reunites to celebrate the success of Team Mustache and all those who supported us.
...I decided to take the kids to see the Blue Angels demonstration today at the Naval Academy. I made the eight-mile march uphill pushing my ghetto double stroller (a single BOB that Charlie sits on the front of) to the best vantage point (and the VIP tent we were invited to, but my kids do not appreciate VIP-ness). They happily snacked along the water.
...we took photos in the photo booth (Charlie is wearing a lacrosse helmet):
...And then the skies fell (or, more accurately, the demonstration started). I knew it was going to be loud, I've been before, and I showed the kids videos on YouTube last night of how loud it was. But yeah, nothing prepares you for it, really.
I literally couldn't walk my ghetto double stroller back down that fifteen-mile hill fast enough.
(That's Clara cowered in the back, scrunched into the corner with her lovey covering her ear). When we finally got to the end of the twenty-mile walk to the car, she jumped out of that stroller and as luck would have it, four of the angels went screeching overhead at that very moment. I swear she almost went back into the womb.
The funny thing is, for the rest of the day the two of them couldn't stop talking about it. They want to go again, but bring the headphones they wear on the riding mower. Go figure. Maybe I didn't permanently damage them after all.
(Sorry for the horribly grainy, boring video).
...Charlie (and Clara, who was not interested) started swimming lessons this afternoon. When we first arrived, the instructor had the kids all sit in a circle and she wanted them to answer three questions: their name, their age, and their favorite flavor of ice cream.
I'm sure I did a sharp inhale from the bleachers. These situations always make me nervous. It's happened before when I've seen a teacher in a group setting struggle to understand him, to feel embarrassed that they don't understand him. Then it came to Charlie's turn. "Charlie. Five. Chocolate," he said. They moved on to the next child. "They understood him" I whispered to my friend Erin. They understood him.
We have a little more than a week to raise $500 for Team Mustache. I hope you'll consider helping.
...Top 6 favorite things from a Saturday at Terrain:
1. French Toast
2. Correction, French Toast with a side of super-crispy bacon and a ginger iced tea. And bread and butter. Carblicious.
3. These marble/wood cutting boards. Beautiful.
4. Bamboo dishware that is dishwasher safe. They jumped into my basket and refused to leave.
5. Plants. Glorious plants. I didn't know I took this picture but I love it.
6. Girl time.
Team Mustache is back! Last year, our friends and family helped raise more than $1,500 to support our children's wonderful school - Radcliffe Creek. As you all know, I also work at the school. I shook my head last year on the last week of school when I heard students out in the hallway talking about how much they were going to miss school over the summer. These kids, this school, they are incredible!
We've made a fundraising page to help tell our Radcliffe story - here!
I hope you can take a second to watch the video of Charlie now and Charlie three years ago, and to read our story. Although he's still a little hard to understand, he's come a long way. (Captions for what he says: "Go Team Mustache! My name is Charlie Kurz. I five years old. I love Legos. My sister's name is Clara. I love school. My teachers is Ms. Armstrong, Ms. Holmes, and Ms. Clara [McClary]. Thank you!")
Radcliffe Creek is a great school because of the private donations that make it possible for most of our students to attend. We hope you will consider supporting us this year as we make the opportunities available to our children possible for even more children.
Thank you, so much, for your love and support.
Laura, Ken, Charlie & Clara
My favorite details about Charlies Fifth Birthday Extravaganza (as it shall now-and-forever-more-be-known).
1. The invite. From here. Loved working with Laura on this (again, not talking about myself in the third person. Although I do love working with myself).
2. Favor bags with a lego man stamp. They held a little minifigure kit and sugar cookies from here.
(This is one of the few I have left...His left eye appears to have popped, which is kind of what I still feel like).
3. Decor. I know Charlie appreciated all of this. Right?
I totally blew out every picture of the centerpieces. They were Legos we had built with the balloons tied to them.
4. Activities - make-a-mask station, master builder station
...and the crowd favorite, the photo prop, from here. I used my polaroid camera that not only prints the pics but saves them for us to print out more.
Adults and children alike enjoyed it. This is my brother and I.
5. The bounce house. There was not one kid that did not go home tired and whiny (mine included). SUCCESS!
6. The 80 friends and family that came to celebrate with us. Our nearest and dearest friends were there (my college roommate, my summer sister, and my first friend I made as a married lady), our newest and dearest were too. Aunts and uncles, my first cousins my kids call aunt and uncle. It was chaotic and crazy but at the end of the night I couldn't have been happier to have all those people celebrate "peanut's" fifth birthday.
...12:05 a.m. April 29, 2009. Five years with Charlie.