Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Seven years ago...

Dear J-Mav (aka Stink) -

Seven years ago you made your grand entrance into this world. You weren't waiting for anyone or anything, least of all the pain medication that would've made me a little more comfortable while you were making your way out into the world. But it was all good -- an 8-pound, 13-ounce bundle of joy with dark eyes and lots of dark hair!

Not to be outdone, your big brother lost his first tooth on the very day you were born! Too big milestones on one summer day.

From the time you were very little you have been very expressive. To this day, you make the funniest faces. Your eyes can open wider than any I've ever seen. And your sense of humor is just coming into its own. Trying to keep up with your brother causes you to push things a little too far at times; however, most of the time you are very cute.

Your young life has not been without medical issues, but luckily they have all been relatively minor and completely treatable. You were diagnosed with acid reflux when you were just six weeks old, but the Zantac (I think that's what it was called) prescription turned you into a new baby, and you outgrew it before you were two. You were diagnosed with asthma early on and had to use a nebulizer for a few years. We were able to pretty much stop that a couple years ago. Now you just need your inhaler every once in awhile--mostly when you have a cold, or when your allergies are really acting up. The allergies just popped up last year. What a mess. March, April, and May are not happy months for you. We control it as much as we can with your allergy medication and wait for the pollen season to pass. Most days you are such a trooper.

And the stitches... only my little J-Mav could manage to fall in a pool and require stitches in your chin while on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean! Again... you were such a trooper! You were parading around the ship that night dressed as a pirate with all the rest of the kids from Adventure Ocean.

You made two best friends when you were still in daycare and have maintained that friendship until this day. The Three Amigos are alive and well, and I'm so glad you have such great friendships at such an early age.

You have two years of school under your belt and are doing great. On to 2nd grade next year to learn new and interesting things.

The travel bug seems to have hit you, too... you are mostly a homebody in that you'd rather stay home with us than go out to eat or something like that. But you love going on trips! In your young life you've been to Alaska, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, and New York, as well as Puerto Rico, Canada, and several Caribbean islands! Next summer: Hawaii! You are one lucky little guy!

And sports. Another natural athlete. You played soccer from the time you turned four, and have now also played two seasons of baseball. You just started hockey and are planning on playing on a Mites team in the fall. Unfortunately, I think that means you're going to have to give up soccer, but you are SO excited to be playing hockey (and you look adorable in all your gear).

It's been a wonderful seven years, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store. Happy birthday little man. I love you to this much!!


Ten things about my trip to the Jersey shore...

1. I made it there. In the dark. Using the bass ackwards route that my dad taught me when I first learned to drive. This is no small feat considering I have made the drive only once a year for the past 20 years. I know how to get there, but there is no way I could tell anyone else how to get there the way I go. I couldn’t have even told Hubby where to turn, at times, until we were right on the turn. I just know. Thus, I drove the whole way up, and until we got over the Delaware Memorial Bridge and onto I-95 South on the way back.

2. When J-Mav gets even slightly comfortable, he has no fear. We knew this; however, he continues to reiterate this fact. In the lake at the campground, he would go right out over his head. If he got tired of swimming, he’d just bounce off the bottom and come up for air until he got back to where he could touch the bottom. Yes it made us nervous. Yes we started staying closer to him. No it didn’t change anything. When we went out for a boat ride with my aunt, he was scared. He and Keeper Boy both sat in the front of the boat and clung to the side rail with white knuckles. About 45 minutes in, JMav started walking around the boat and grilling my aunt on all the dials and buttons on the dash. Keeper Boy stayed glued to that rail. When she sped up for about 30 seconds of the two-hour ride, J-Mav whooped. Keeper Boy stayed glues to that rail. By the time we were headed back to my aunt’s house, he was hanging over the front of the boat trying to see the lights. Oy!

3. The weather is weird. My grandfather always insisted that it could rain on the “mainland” and not in Avalon (which is a barrier island). I don’t know if that’s true, but we went to Sea Isle City for dinner one night (Lobster Loft = FABULOUS seafood restaurant if you’re ever in the area) and the heavens opened up just as we pulled up in front of the restaurant at the valet stand. We made a run for it and squished our way to our seats in our soggy flip flops. By the time drinks and bread came to the table, the monsoon had passed and the sun was coming back out. We actually walked on the beach after dinner. The day before that, we went to the beach (the ocean beach, not the lake beach) and when we got to the head of the walkway to enter the beach, we couldn’t even see the lifeguard stand (which wasn’t that far away because the tide was in) because of the fog. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen at the beach. The guards weren’t letting anyone in past about their waists because that’s about as far as they could see. It did burn off as the hours went on, but it was just weird.

4. K-Dog needs some Xanax. She is a very stressed dog. We are fairly certain that when we left the trailer she didn’t relax… at all… until we got back safely. Then she would lie down and zonk out hard because she was exhausted. Thank goodness we never left her for more than about three hours at a time!! If Hubby was sitting outside my parents’ trailer and the kids and I walked away, she flipped out and watched until we came back. She’s always flipped out when she sees us packing the car up. I don’t know if she thinks she’s going to get left, or what. At least giving her a Dramamine pill before we left to go up and come back seems to have kept her from getting carsick. Thank goodness for small favors.

5. S’mores (or S’mos, as J-Mav calls them) rock. ‘Nuff said.

6. I’ll never understand why people build huge houses. The size of a lot of the houses is ridiculous—especially since many of those people who build those huge houses do not live down there full time and don’t rent out their houses when they’re not there. Why on earth do you need a small hotel? My aunt’s house is a “normal” sized house… three bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room upstairs; rec room, bathroom, laundry room downstairs. I would go as far as to say even that is bigger than necessary for someone who just goes to the shore a few times a year. However, my grandparents built that house in the 70s and they LIVED there for half of the year. So that’s a different story. I would love to own one of the smaller “original” houses, and it’d be just fine. If only I had a few million spare dollars floating around…

7. All mini-golf is not the same. We played mini-golf with the kids on one of the rooftop courses in Stone Harbor. It was remodeled since the last time we played there. Strangely, the holes had no turf. Instead, the surface was cement board or something similar. This meant the balls rolled really well. The course was fun, and there were a lot of unique holes. Everyone got at least one hole-in-one, and J-Mav got a hole in one on a hole that Hubby and I couldn’t even complete (anything above a 5 was scored as a 5). The hole had you shoot the ball up a ramp and (assuming you hit it at the correct velocity) into a fishing net. We all had a great time. Thank goodness for the breeze that morning because the sun would’ve been brutal otherwise.

8. I CAN go to the shore and not purchase a piece of clothing that says “Avalon.” It doesn’t happen too often, but I did not come home with any new Avalon clothing this year for myself or the kids. Nothing floated my boat.

9. The campground is ripe for people watching. I mean, it could be an Olympic sport there! Campgrounds always attract a wide range of people. But Sea Pines seemed ripe with those on the lower end of the scale while we were there. My favorite was the couple who thought it was adorable that their child (no older than J-Mav) was dropping the F-bomb in conversation every other sentence. The only “discipline" I heard was from the mom when she removed her tongue from her husband/boyfriend/baby daddy’s throat long enough to say, “Colin, stop cursing.” Not so effective when said while giggling.

10. I could move to the beach in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t necessarily need to be Avalon, but that’d be my first choice since I’ve been going there for all of my 39 years. If I had a few million extra dollars and Hubby actually liked the beach (oh, and I could find gainful employment), I’d be there. Alas, I don’t think any of that is going to happen anytime in the very near future, so I’ll have to be content to visit once a summer.

BONUS item: Sea gulls beaks are hard and tend to hurt when they bite your finger while trying to steal your last bite of sandwich when you're watching the kids play on the beach instead of paying attention to the thieves flying around you. Evil birds.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And then it was over

J-Mav was dismissed for the last time from his 1st grade classroom about ten minutes ago and is now in after-care until one of us picks him up this afternoon. Keeper Boy will be dismissed from his 6th grade classroom for the last time in about five minutes. He will be home by Noon and, I'm sure, at the pool with his friends by 12:15. I now have a 2nd grader and a 7th grader... and a summer that will fly by far too fast in which to prepare...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pomp & Circumstance

Keeper Boy is now a middle schooler. Well, technically, I guess he won't be a middle schooler until Thursday, which is the last day of school. But yesterday was his promotion ceremony.

The ceremony was very nice, but I'm kinda glad it's over. Why? Because I was the PTA Chairperson in charge of coordinating it. Someone just stop me before I volunteer for something else! No, really, it wasn't that bad. Just busy this past week. I volunteered back at the beginning of the year. The school has the ceremony down to a science, so "all" I needed to do was put together the program, get flowers for the teachers, and put together a slide show of baby pictures and now pictures of all the kids in the class (150). How hard could that be, right?

It wasn't HARD. I had the program pretty much done months ago. Just needed to wait to print them until the last minute because a student essay was chosen from each class to be read during the program and they weren't due until this past Monday. Getting the flowers wasn't hard either; I just couldn't do it until Thursday night. And do you know how much space ten bouquets from Costco take up in a minivan? Sheesh!

Honestly, the photo slide show wasn't hard, either. I put it together as I got the pictures from the families. The hard part was getting the pictures. I started collecting them in January and got the last one less than a month ago. But I had a baby photo for every single child in the class. I guess I probably spent a lot of time on it, but I did in spurts over the past several months. And it was fun. I did get tired of listening to the same five songs over and over again while I was working on the music transitions.

It was all worth it, though. The kids had such a great reaction to the photo show during the ceremony. They all really seemed to like it. And I got a thumbs up from Keeper Boy when the lights came back up. That was worth it right there. :)

So anyway, Keeper Boy is graduated from elementary school. He looked very snazzy when he walked across the stage to shake all of his teachers' hands and receive his promotion certificate. He is tall enough now that he wore one of Hubby's ties. He was very handsome.

Last night, there was a celebration at the school for three hours for the kids. All but four kids in the class showed up. It looked like the kids were having a great time. They were line dancing and making sundaes at the sundae bar and eating pizza, and taking pictures of each other and singing.

It was a mini glimpse into future, more official promotion ceremonies... 8th grade in two years and high school in six. I know that time is going to fly.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

And they're off!

My parents are coming tonight for the weekend. They will attend Keeper Boy's 6th Grade Promotion Ceremony with us tomorrow, J-Mav's last baseball game of the season on Saturday, and J-Mav's birthday party on Saturday evening. And I'll get to see my dad on Father's Day for the first time in quite awhile. :)


I will never understand some peoples' need to follow a person somewhere just to get out of the car and scream at that person about some perceived wrong that was committed in traffic. Do I get pissed off at people in traffic? Yes. Do I honk my horn? Sometimes. Do I yell at them? Yes. But within the confines of my car, with the windows up. Would I ever spit on someone? Um, no.

So I was out doing some errands last night and saw that my gas gauge was below 1/4 tank, so I decided to fill up while I was out. My next three days will be quite hectic and needing to be somewhere only to discover an empty gas tank would not make me very happy. I noticed two cars pulling into the station while I was waiting to cross the street and enter the station parking lot, but I wasn't paying too much attention to those cars or what they were doing prior to pulling into the lot.

I pulled up to the only empty pump and got out of my car only to be greeted by the sounds of a woman screaming at a guy at the top of her lungs about him being in her lane while she was trying to yield. (Side note: I don't know what the problem was in the first place if she was yielding as she claimed, but there I go being logical again.)

These two people--a well-dressed, young man of maybe Hispanic or Arab descent driving a middle of the line Toyota of some variety, and an older (maybe my age) "comfortably" dressed woman of African American descent driving a late model car of undetermined origin--were pulled up on opposite sides of the same gas pump on the next island over from where I was. They were seriously screaming at each other and getting up in each other's faces. The man then proceeded to tell the woman she was ugly and from that point forward, referred to her as "Ugly Bitch." What that had to do with the issue at hand, I have no idea. She had also been referring to him as "Bitch," so perhaps he was just turning it back to her and adding some adjectives. No points for originality there.

Next thing I know, he spit at her. She claims he spit on her face. I don't know if that's true... he didn't appear to be close enough to make it that far, but then again, some people are accomplished spitters so who knows! Then she hacked up a loogie and spit on his car. Yes, I'm serious. They continued spitting in each other's general directions until they were apparently both out of saliva.

I continued filling the gas tank, while watching the action through the windows of the van. Had I not been afraid I'd get killed (or spit on), I would've recorded this ridiculousness on my Blackberry and posted the entire altercation here!

By the time my gas tank was full, they had stopped yelling and spitting and were filling their respective gas tanks relatively quietly. But just as I pulled away, the woman started yelling at another (as yet uninvolved) person, who was apparently staring at the scene (gee, I can't imagine why).

I got in my car and left, not willing to be part of any road rage demolition derby that might have occurred when these two idiots started jockeying for position to leave the gas station.

I'm still kind of shaking my head this morning. I, mean, seriously? Life is too short. Let. It. Go.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


... on my TV just now during a story about a man with a shrimp business somewhere along the Gulf coast. He was talking to the camera, and this was the graphic label at the bottom of the screen:

[Guy's name]

Edit much?

Three Amigos

J-Mav has a special thing going. He's a friendly guy, and he has lots of friends. But he has two friends in particular that are his best buds. They are the Three Amigos, and they have been virtually inspeparable since they were in daycare together. In fact, one of them not being able to attend J-Mav's birthday party on the originally scheduled date was a deal-breaker. We had to change the day of of the party. Now two of the three Amigos are having their birthday parties on the same day (for the third year in a row, as it turns out). That's friendship.

One of the Three Amigos lives about 50 yards down the street and was born exactly four weeks after J-Mav. They have literally known each other their entire lives. The third Amigo lives about a mile away, still within the subdivision. His family moved here from VA Beach three summers ago. They formed a bond at daycare that other kids found difficult to penetrate. The cool thing is that the parents of the Three Amigos are all friends, too. We genuinely enjoy each other's company. In fact, once (and we need to do this again) we got a babysitter who was crazy enough to watch all of them at the same time (as well as Keeper Boy) and we six adults went to dinner at The Melting Pot. What a great evening we had!

Last year, when the pool opened, the Three Amigos and their moms started meeting at the pool after work/school every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm. We'd order pizza delivered right to the pool (there's a pool special!) and hang out. When the pool closed, we kept up our weekly ritual, alternating between our three houses and switching nights with the changing sports seasons to accomodate practice/game schedules. Now the pool is open again, and we've resumed meeting there each week.

The thing is, not only do the kids get along extremely well (a rarity, I think, for three six-year-olds to play so well together on a regular basis), but the Amigos' mamas are among my closest friends, and I look forward to my two hours each week with them. We laugh together, complain together, plot together, and even cry together.

Over the time the Three Amigos have been inseparable, one mama has lost a baby late-term and subsequently had a successful pregnancy resulting in a beautiful now-four-month-old baby boy. She is patient, beautiful, determined, and I am so happy that she finally was able to complete her family. The other mama was diagnosed with breast cancer just over a year ago, has undergone several surgeries and procedures, and come out on the other side a survivor. She, too, is beautiful, determined, and amazing. I have largely played the role of babysitter, meal provider, and taxi driver to help out where I could when I was needed. I am thankful that I haven't had a serious situation such as the ones they've been through in the time that we've known each other. But I can say without a doubt in my mind that if I ever do they'll be right there doing whatever I need them to do -- even if I didn't ask them to.

I'm thrilled J-Mav has cultivated two best friends at such a young age. I hope they remain tight throughout their school years. It's pretty cool that the Three Amigos' mamas have formed their own older version of the Three Amigos, too! :-)

And they're off...

Well, just one this time. My dad is off on his annual trek to Maine with his friend and his friend's brother to volunteer at some railroad that has steam trains. They left earlier this week, and I think they actually might be going home tomorrow or Friday. This is the third or fourth year they've done the trip. Cool road trip for a bunch of train enthusiasts. :)


We're minutes away from a long, hockey-less summer...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I guess it's been awhile...

OK, OK. I know. I have been slacking off on the blog... Here's some stuff that's been going on lately...

Keeper Boy's baseball season actually ended today, one game shy of the championship game. They went out in spectacular style... a 13-1 loss. Ouch. While he hasn't complained (too much), it's been a frustrating baseball season for him and for us. He joined an already formed Majors team as a 12-year-old. That means he had only one season on the team before he aged out. Some kids have two or three years on a Majors team if they get drafted as 10- or 11-year-olds. Don't know if it was a matter of not wanting to make the investment in a player they'd have for only one year, whether it was a matter of baseball playing second fiddle to hockey for Keeper Boy, whether it was a matter of Keeper Boy being one of only a couple "new guys" on the team, or whether it was something else... but he played the minimum required time for Majors (2 innings; 1 at bat) in EVERY game this season but two. And in those he got three innings in one and four innings in one. Long story short, I think Keeper Boy's desire to play baseball has been severely curtailed through his experience this year, and it's a shame. I am very glad this season is over and I hope that some day he might want to try baseball again because he does have some talent.

J-Mav is having a great Single A season. He still has four games left. He's figured out the pitching machine and is getting hits in every game. In Single A the kids play all positions, so he's getting exposure to all of them. He is loving baseball (except when the pollen is really bad) and I hope that he can stick with his coach next year. He's great!

Speaking of allergies...
J-Mav was hit hard with allergies this year. Apparently the pollen is worse than it's been in 12 years. He was a MESS in April and through most of May. It seems to have gotten better now. I don't know if it's because the pollen counts are lower or if it's because the medicine regime is working. The doctor has him taking two 30mg Allegra pills in the morning and one at night, as well as antihistimine eye drops twice a day and prescription nose drops as needed. He also uses a Neti Pot sometimes. Poor guy. For a few weeks he didn't even want to go to baseball practice/games because his eyes hurt/itched so much. :-(

Other medical issues...
J-Mav has been dealing with a pesky case of ring worm for MONTHS. The actual rash/scaley stuff went away within a week of going on prescription cream. However, there are still a few red bumps so we continue to use the cream religiously twice a day, keeping it covered with a bandaid when he goes to school (as we were told to do by the doctor until it is completely gone). We have graduated from extremely large bandages at the beginnig, to regular sized bandaids, to the small bandaids he is using now. We are dredging the bottom of the bandaid barrel, using up all the random bandaids we have collected over the past 12 years. I think he's even worn a Sesame Street bandaid or two over the past couple of months. We'll always remember "the ring worm era" of J-Mav's life by the ever-present bandaid in all pictures taken of him from March until now. He has his 7-year well check in mid-July, so I guess we'll just keep using the cream until then and be sure to ask the doctor about it at that time. We were warned it could take a long time to completely clear up, but this is kinda bordering on ridiculous...

J-Mav started hockey!! He's taking a learn-to-play hockey class and is all grins when he's on the ice. He'll be taking seven lessons (he's already had two) through the summer, and he will be playing on a Mites team in the fall. He looks so cute in his uniform. :)

Keeper Boy played the spring season with a great group of kids, competing in two tournaments: one in Richmond and one in Philly. The Philly tournament was over Memorial Day weekend. His team ended up winning its division and bringing home a big trophy. Woo hoo! There were three other teams in our division: a doormat team that scored, I think, one goal through the entire tournament; a thug team from New York; and a well-behaved, competitive team from New Jersey (the team we ended up facing in the finals). While playing the one team, our coach told our kids they had to pass at least three times before taking a shot, and Keeper Boy and our other goalie went almost entire periods without seeing the puck cross the blue line into their end. At any rate, the kids had fun (except for the one who broke his arm during the first game), and it was a good introduction to the world of checking for those who are new to Pee Wee level hockey. Keeper Boy will be playing with some of the kids from his spring team in the fall, so it was good to get to know their families over that weekend.

The hotel we stayed in in Philly is a whole 'nother story. It was a Quality Inn that is in the process of being renovated into a Wyndham Gardens Hotel. We checked in with little fanfare (once we figure out where to get into the hotel... construction had the front entrance inacessible); however, when we returned to our hotel that night after our first game, we were met with water streaming down our walls and out of the light fixture in the bathroom into the bathtub. That wasn't something we wanted to deal with all night, so we went downstairs to request another room. We discovered that the toilet in the room above us (one of Keeper Boy's teammate's familes) had overflowed while we were all at the hockey game. Great. Not just waterfalls within our room, but TOILET water falls. Ick. We got a new room, but it was a King bed instead of two doubles. Of course, this is the one time we didn't throw in a sleeping bag. Had to wait for a cot to be delivered. By the time we were all set up, it was after 10pm. Late night for J-Mav! Our room was fine after that, but we weren't impressed with the hotel for a variety of reasons. I won't even waste time talking about them, but I was moved to write a review on It's never good to piss off someone who likes to write letters. ;-P

Keeper Boy FINALLY got his braces in April. He had relatively little trouble adjusting. I think he took Motrin for two days after he got them, and ate mainly soup, pasta, and mac & cheese for about a week. Since then, completely normal. And we've already seen a big change in his top teeth! Good thing because OMFG! Braces are WAY more expensive than when Hubby and I wore them many moons ago!

Eh. Not much new to report. Same old struggles. Keeper Boy did bring his Math grade up from a D (yes, he had a D for the second quarter) to a C and everything else back up to As and Bs. We're hoping for all As and Bs for the last quarter. We'll see. He has MUCH room for improvement in his study habits.

J-Mav is doing well in school. His reading has improved enormously since the beginning of the year, as has his writing. And he likes school most days. The attitude toward school is directly proportional to how tired he is. More tired=less enamored with school and with his teacher.

Weight Watchers
Yeah, not even going there. Let's just say I have A LOT of clothes in my closet that I can't wear right now. :-(

Hockey, Part II
The Capitals. Sigh. We had such high hopes that we'd be sitting here watching the Capitals in the Stanley Cup finals. But alas, instead I'm sitting here watching the Flyers (which I guess, for me, is the second best scenario) and Blackhawks. The Captials just couldn't get it done against the Habs. I guess the only thing that makes it slightly better is that the Habs also took out the Penguins.

We did hear late last week that the Caps will be playing in the Winter Classic (in Pittsburgh) on January 1, 2011. That's very cool. We entertained the idea -- for about a second -- of making a hotel reservation and trying to get tickets. But we quickly came to our senses and realized we'd be a lot more comfortable sitting in our own rec room. And we'd save A LOT of money. So that's the plan. Perhaps we'll try to go when DC hosts it, which apparently is also in the works for sometime in the next three to five years. Not quite sure how THAT's going to work since some years it's in the 60s over new years. This past year would've been perfect, though! Guess the NHL takes it chances...

In other news, I quit my job at ManTech. My last day was May 24... almost exactly a month shy of a year there. Weird to leave a job so soon after I started, but it just wasn't the same job I took those 11 months ago. Re-orgs (yes, multiple) and executive management changes just weren't making me very happy to go to work every day.

I wasn't completely miserable, and I could've stuck it out, but I had an oppoturnity to take a position as Corporate Communication Manager at a small government contractor... Zimmerman Associates, Inc. I have been there a week and so far, so good. :) I will still be working in proposals, but I will also be working with website content and marketing material... much like I did when I first started at Datatrac all those years ago. :-) I am in the process of creating and implementing standards for proposals, style, editing, etc. Stuff I love! :)

When we were in the Philly area for the hockey tournament over Memorial Day weekend, we went to visit my grandfather. Well, first, J-Mav and I went with Mom and Dad to Grandpa's house. I wanted to visit it as I haven't been there in more than 20 years. I have such good memories of gathering there with my dad's side of the family every Thanksgiving, up until the year after my grandmother died. I remember the house being big, with a big yard. The thing is, it's not really so big! My dad pointed out that it seemed big because I was smaller. That's probably true. He said my next-oldest cousin had the same thought when he visited a few months ago.

I wandered through the house, which my parents and my aunts and uncles have been working on going through and boxing up since my grandfather moved into the assisted living facility. It was dark and seemingly stuck in the 50s or 60s. But it was much as I remembered it... except for the not being as big as I remembered it. J-Mav thought it was cool that my Dad had a bedroom in the attic and was very concerned that the floor was "tilty" in various parts of the house. He was fascinated with the sunroom for some reason. I finally saw the basement and wine cellar. In all my years, I had never been in that basement. I took some pictures of the outside when we left. It definitely needs some work, inside and out, but it's still my grandparents' home and the house my dad grew up in. J-Mav said it looked like a haunted house. That may be, but I think any ghosts that are there are the good kind. :-) That visit makes me want to go back and walk through my other grandparents' home again, just to see what the new owners have done with it. It was also a big, cool house.

On Sunday, Hubby, Keeper Boy, J-Mav, and I visited Grandpa between Keeper Boy's hockey games. We spent a little over an hour with him. He was eating lunch when we arrived. The man can put away some food! I went and said hello and told him we'd sit in the TV area and wait for him to finish because I didn't want him to not eat because we were there. I'm not sure he recognized me right off the bat. We took him down to his room after he was done, but not before a woman came over and told Hubby that he was very handsome and she loved him. :-) Did I mention my grandfather lives in the memory unit of his assisted living facility?

We took him down to his room, which is very nice. The whole place is nice, actually. It's in a residential area and it has a homey feel. Even the dining area looks and feels like a super-sized dining room in someone's home. Very nice. Anyway, we took him to his room and he was telling us how the restaurant has "gone down hill" and that they'd been going there for years and it just wasn't the same anymore. We played along. Then we started looking at some pictures that were displayed and at that point he definitely knew who I was, and he made the connection between the pictures of the boys and the boys standing in front of him. Keeper Boy and J-Mav did great with him. They didn't seem scared or put off by anything or the fact that he was in a wheelchair. We had warned them that great-grandpa might not recognize us, so they were prepared.

The TV had been on when we went in, I had my back to it most of the time. After a while, Keeper Boy made an interesting face and we realized it was on E! and the show that was on was Kendra... a reality show about a former Playboy bunny. We asked grandpa if he was watching it, and he said he never watches TV, so we turned it off. Didn't think the boys needed to be seeing it, though they might have disagreed. :-) Anyway, we looked at all of his pictures and talked about who was in them. And then we gave him a couple more that we'd brought. He seemed to like them -- he flipped through them multiple times, either to look at the again, or because he didn't remember seeing them a few seconds before... not sure which -- and made comments about how the boys are both so tall. Eventually we had to leave to get back to the rink, but it was great to see him and he looked good.

I think we're mostly organized for summer. We're renting a lake house with friends in late July. Keeper Boy is going to sleepaway camp in early August. J-Mav is doing the same camp in early July, but as a daycamper. He's not ready to go away for a week yet. He's a homebody. They're spending a week at Grandma and Grandpa's house in PA, and a week at Grandma's house in OH. Keeper Boy is doing tennis camp and is on the waiting list for an adventure camp. He's also doing a half-day, week-long camp as a sort of orientation to middle school at the end of August. J-Mav will be spending time with the same wonderful girl who watched the boys last summer, as well as a week with the college-aged daughter of family friends. They'll be busy all summer and I think it'll be a good one! The boys and I are also meeting my college roommate and her kids for a weekend at Knoebel's Grove. We're all looking forward to that!

I'm done...
OK... that's all I can think of for now.