Sunday, January 30, 2011

Extreme Winter Sports

Let's get something straight from the beginning. There are days in winter when it is rather extreme for me to even leave the house, instead opting to hang out in jammies, sipping hot chocolate by the fire while reading. I honestly think I'm doing a pretty good job getting outside with the kids once or twice a week. I'm hoping this weekend didn't set a precedent. In that case, any hope of cozy days lounging by the fire might be long-gone.

When the outdoor sports club at our church was hosting a winter outdoor festival, I initially read that as "hunting festival" since that tends to ne the outdoor "sport" of choice here in small-town midwest. But then I read there would be hot chocolate so I was sold. We bundled up and headed the 500 feet to church where we spent the next few hours snowmobiling, ice fishing and being pulled in a tobaggon on a 4-wheeler. And eating chili. And, of course, drinking hot chocolate. It was fun. Maybe a little too much fun. I'm afraid taking my kids to the nearest sledding hill isn't going to cut it anymore.

Today, though, we did go to a sledding hill (across from Grandma Jackie's house where we were celebrating Michelle's birthday). It was still fun. There was no begging for a snowmobile. We didn't last long there, but Rowan and I stayed outside to play for a while. The snow out there is way too powdery to make a snowman (which is what Rowan really wants to do). But even with all the powder underneath, it's kind of like creme brulee. The top is hard and crusty and we were able to carve out a giant heart and just kind of lift it up. Rowan was so excited she went to ring Grandma's doorbell. Then we set it up against Grandma's house and hope she notices it--like a Valentine card in her front yard.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Little Baryshnikov


It amazes me how much I love you. Before you were born, I worried. I worried that having two kids would overwhelm me (it did), that labor wouldn't go as planned (it certainly didn't) and I even worried that I might not love you as much as I love Rowan (I do. I really, really do). I couldn't really imagine how my heart could have that kind of love. But ever since you were born and your dad shouted out "It's a Boy" (much to my surprise as I'd been calling you Baby Charlotte for a good portion of my pregnancy), I have loved you. And though it doesn't seem possible, it seems like every day I love you even more.

You aren't quite like any other almost-three-year-old boy I know. You always choose cuddling and kisses over rough housing. Your favorite color is orange, but pink is a very close second. You have the most active imagination ever and could play pretend with Rowan and me all day (if only I could stand playing for more than a few minutes). Your favorite part of the day is picking up Rowan from school. You wait until Maestra Lake opens the door and run in. Rowan runs up to give you a hug. You are best friends. You love to be held, love to read books, love your family. You are the sweetest, most sensitive little boy I know.

So when I asked you several months ago if you wanted to do a sports class or tumbling, I shouldn't have been surprised when you said "I just want to take ballet". We had to wait until you were almost 3 and Miss Angie pulled some strings to get you into her class. So you took a sports class. And a music class. And a tumbling class. And kept asking when you could take ballet.

That day finally came last Monday. You wore some comfy clothes, grabbed your ballet shoes and tap shoes and I took you to class. You fretted a bit that I'd be dropping you off and not staying with you. Lucky for you, Rowan was there to hold your hand. I peeked in the window more than once. You were smiling. You were serious. You were really trying your best to follow Miss Angie's instructions. You were adorable. You can't wait to go again today.

I have to admit, I got more than a few odd glances and even some not-trying-to-be-rude, but still a little bit rude comments about signing my son up for ballet. And I want you to know that no matter what you choose to do, I will always be proud of you. You can be a dancer, an actor, a football player. You can become a CEO or a CNA. You can be gay or straight. You are my son, my perfectly unique little man and I adore you.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas, Part 2

On Christmas Eve, we headed to Grandma Jackie's house along with Eric, Thy, Nathan, Gracie and Aunt Kathi. We stayed for 3 days. There was lots of playing, laughing, eating large amounts of spectacular food. Not much sleeping for anyone, way too many presents to bring home, but a great way to end the year--celebrating with people we love, counting our blessings, eating a meal (and the accompanying desserts) that I look forward to all year. The kids love their cousins, love all the attention and, of course, can't get enough of Grandma. They loved spending time with Aunt Kathi, sledding down the neighbor's hill and, of course, opening more presents. When we read Luke 2 (as we always do Christmas morning), Rowan chimed right in and read 2 verses when it was her turn. Rowan was thrilled she got the "music player" that Santa had not brought her, Tate was excited that his Woody doll finally had a Buzz Lightyear friend and I was less than happy that my mom decided to buy the kids lots of presents since we had previously agreed to just one big present for the backyard. Instead they got the big present and the little ones (which we do not need or have any more room for in our house!)

There is something really comfortable about being back in my childhood home. It's warm, there's always a hustle and bustle going on in the kitchen, there are lots of people who love my kids and who love each other.

Christmas, Part 1

We here at the Pellow home have a special pact with Santa. We'll lighten your load a bit on Christmas Eve if you come the day before. It works great. The kids get their gifts, we have our own little private Christmas at home and we all head to Grandma's the night of Christmas Eve for it to all happen again (except for the Santa part. We are the only Santa "believers" in that group). So, on Dec. 23, we wrapped, filled stockings, left cookies and reindeer food for Santa, Mrs. Claus and the reindeer and went to bed. I'm loving that the kids don't feel any great need to wake up ridiculously early and pull us from our slumber. We slept in. The kids ate breakfast (and the leftover crumbs from Santa) and we opened the presents. The biggest hits? The matching American Girl jammies (despite the fact that they are enormous on my tiny little girl), a spinning teeter totter, an orange chair and all of Tate's Toy Story insanity (Toy Story dolls, Toy Story walkie-talkies, Toy Story game, Toy Story cards, Toy Story EVERYTHING!). Rowan did mention when she opened a cute pair of shoes that shoes are not an appropriate gift. "Mom, I DO NOT want shoes for a present." After it all, they both stated that their favorite gift was the candy (even though we hid virtually all of it later and they didn't actually eat it!) Note to self: avoid malls, Target, and online shopping and head straight for the Holland Peanut Store for Christmas gifts next year. The kids picked out gifts for each other this year. Rowan picked Tate a singing Toy Story card at Hallmark and while I balked at the $8 price tag (for a card!), it remains one of his favorite gifts. Tate got Rowan a watch. He picked the one he wanted and was such a good little brother at the store. Lance and I pared down the gift giving a bit and bought tickets to Wicked instead, which we loved. A nice, adult night out is much better than something I would have probably just bought for myself anyway!

Last Day of Ballet

Rowan's ballet class goes in 6-week increments, so every 6 weeks or so is the "last day" of class. This is her most recent "last day" (though her "first day" will be next week--as will Tate's). Despite spending alarming parts of the day standing on her head, Rowan still chooses ballet over gymnastics. I'm hoping it's not just for the lollipops they get every "last day". But, really, she does love it. And Tate loves the idea of it, too. So much so that he has been begging to take ballet for quite some time now. He's not 3 yet, which is the age of the drop-off classes (and the starting age of this particular ballet class), but Miss Angie is so excited about having a boy in class she gave us special permission for him to join. As you can see from the pictures, he loved dancing with Rowan. And did NOT love when we made him sit out so she could dance on her own a bit.