Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall Blues . . . . . Homework . . . (blah . . . . ).

We were ready for another great weekend (15 - 17 Oct) but had to temper it with the reality that a lot of the time would be spent doing "homework" as Jacob and Hannah are both far behind in school. Jacob seems to be struggling more than Hannah and honestly has me very concerned for him. So - we knew that we would not be all "play" this weekend.

Friday we were invited to a "Taco Dinner" and play date with William and Quinn at Erin's house. I have become very thankful for Erin, William and Quinn. It is awesome that the kids get along so well with them and I enjoy the adult company and conversation with Erin. So - the four of us made the journey to Erin's on Friday night and had Taco's, played, X Box 360 and played outside. Erin lives "way - way" off the beaten path so the yard is huge and the kids had a ton of area to play in. This is new for them as although my house is large there really is no "yard" to speak of. So it was a great joy for me to go out and have fun outside with them. They enjoyed playing on the swing set. Hannah loved playing with the boys dog, Reese (yes, he is named after the peanut butter cup).

Hannah, Quinn and Knoah playing on the slide.

Jacob (foreground) with William (background) playing on the swings.

Knoah and the slide!

After playing outside we all ventured in for Taco's and games which mostly meant X Box 360. Jacob and Quinn are really enjoying playing together while Hannah and Knoah are having a hoot playing with the many thousands of Lego's! We all had a good time but needed to venture west to my home. We arrived at my house just before ten and of course, Knoah was fast asleep. I put him in my room only to find that he would be coming out of to the living room to join me by 11:00. I am not sure why but the kids have been really needy over the last several weeks and have spent a great deal of time wanting to sit on my lap or hug me. Part of me is really cool with this because I am a very affectionate (translation - touchy / feely) kinda person so I was good with it. But, I am growing a bit concerned that Knoah has gotten to the point that he now does not sleep anywhere in my house except on my chest. Hannah is making it a point to always hold my hand and always be in the same room with me - which is a really good feat inside my house as it is a pretty big rental. Jacob, well - we will get to that later.

Saturday Morning came with some not so good surprises for me (see blog post; Go to a happy place, go to a happy place . . . below for more details) and some wonderful surprises for the kids! I was able to find Jacob's Halloween costume on Amazon and that was ordered so he was happy but that now means we had to go out and find him a Ninja Sword. After breakfast and a bit of homework we all dressed and set out to find the swords we would need for Jacob.

I had decided that we would start out looking for his ninja sword at Value World (honestly - because if I can get a good deal . . . yeah, that's what ya do). We set out and made the trip to Ypsilanti and began shopping. Sadly, we were not able to find his sword at Value world but - OMG! What we found was awesome. We found three Ralph Lauren sweater vest for Knoah (total 3.00), the game "silly golf" (2.00), a pair of Timberland boots for Hannah (4.00), a pair of Children's Palace saddle shoes for Knoah (2.00), three Coach belts for Jacob (2.00), Harry Potter board game, Candy Land Boardgames, trouble tracks play set, dress up dolls (wooden play set), power kicker play set and Thomas the Tank Engine board game (7.00) and walked out of Value World with a huge hall for only 20.00! Yeah! !

We then went to Wal-Mart and found Jacob's swords for his costume. By this point the kids were ready to eat and so we decided to grab a quick bite at McDonald's. We then had an appointment to meet Quinn, William and Erin at one of your favorite places; Jungle Java!

If I have not been more forceful with saying this I will do so now - if you live near Jungle Java and have young children - you have to go! The food is awesome; organic, reasonable prices (for Ann Arbor - keep that in mind) and the best part is that you can sit for hours as the kids play. On site free Wi-Fi and a terrific atmosphere, what more could you ask for.

We found ourselves playing until they closed at 8:00 which is always and awesome thing. I have really found that I love rolling on the floor and goofing around with Knoah! Sadly, I really need to lose some weight so that I can get back up into the big play area with Jacob and Hannah more often. Oh, I can fit but I just feel a bit more "sluggish" than I should!

Playing with Knoah in the "Toddler" area!

Hannah had a bit of an attitude Saturday night at Jungle Java. I think much of this was because she was enjoying playing with some of the "girls" that were there instead of being surrounded by Jacob, Knoah, Quinn and William. Hannah darted from place to place with her "new friend" and then at the end of the visit asked if she could, "give your telephone number to her" . . . yeah - no - she didn't quiet get the idea but it was cool to at least have Hannah playing with some girls for a change and she obviously loved it.

Hannah and her "new" friend.

Jacob enjoyed running and playing "tag" in the upper play area including the tree house. It is so cool to see Jacob running, playing and smiling - he is such a wonderful young man and I can't really express how much I love that guy!

Jacob - playing in the large play area at Jungle Java.

We ended up leaving once Jungle Java closed down at 8:00 and made the 40 minute drive to my house where the kids all quickly went to bed. Knoah has been doing this thing the last several weeks where he does not want to sleep in the bed but instead will only sleep laying with me. The cool thing is that I am good with it and it gives me a great chance to simply be with him and spend some quiet time.

Sunday came way too early and sadly was set aside for Lions football tailgate - which has become a staple of our visits and more homework. Jacob was able to finish nearly everything that he had brought with him for work and of course the Lion's win steak ended at one thanks to Eli Manning and the NY Giants!

We then headed east and met up with Mommy at 7:00 pm and it was time for the weekend to end. Leaving them is always hard and I keep praying that it will get more and more simple but - I am nearly sure that it wont! The good news was that come Monday afternoon (18 October) I get to go to Monroe and hang out with the kids for the evening. I am working sixteen hour days on Tues, Wed and Thurs so it will be awesome to see them during the week.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's cool . . . because it's random . . .

Happy things that I found around the house (and one outside the house) this morning before the kids awoke to face the day.

Hannah's "sailing painting" in the bathroom.

Hannah's "Popsicle" book marks.

More of the "Popsicle" book marks by Hannah.

Hannah's "Lion's Rule" drawing.

Hannah's "Tiger's Rule" drawing.

Hannah's "Bull" drawing.

Hannah's "Rainbow Lion".

My car door - Thanks to Hannah!

Hannah's "Blue's Clues" for Knoah.

Jacob and Hannah drawing from Chuckie Cheese.

Knoah and Me drawing from Chuckie Cheese.

Good memories.

Not so "Happy Hump Day" . . . again . . .

So - here we are . . . 6 October and another chance for a mid - week visit missed on work! Oh well - there is no way to be happy about it but I can at least think about something good - Jacob, Hannah and Knoah preparing for Halloween 2010.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mid Week Visit . . . What a Happy Hump Day - Again ! !

So after this past weekend (3 - 5 Sept) I was really missing the kids and so I took the chance on to arraigned a dinner meal on the 8th of September.

We met at Buffalo Wild Wings in Monroe. Yeah, I know not the most wonderful restaurant but they do have good food a cool enviornment and on Wednesdays a clown that does balloon animals!

So - the short of it; we had alot of fun and it was awesome to see them. Now - here are the pictures:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bye, Bye Summer . . .

A couple of weeks back (30 July) the kids and I went to the Monroe County Fair which has traditionaly been the "end of summer" for folks in Monroe County. But as they have moved "fair week" back from mid-August to early August it just isn't the same - end of summer deal as it once was. So, I decided to come up with some other "end of summer" ideal that would help fill the bill for a kinda - back 2 school kinda thing and so this weekend (3 Sept - 5 Sept)was focused on those "transition" activities.

The first activity was each to pick - Hot Dogs! ! Not just any hot dog mind you, an end of summer hot dog from the greatest place for weiners in America - Monroe's Original Hot Dog's and Rootbeer. Monroe's Original has always been one of our favorite places and with me living so far away this would be a special treat for me! The kids have always loved hot dogs and as you can imagine they were happy to humor me in this endevor. For those unfamilar - and if that is you, I am sorry, you really are missing out, Monroe's Original is a traditional type of place straight out of the 1950's with young girls coming to the car (car hop's) to take your order then deliver your food on a platter that hangs on the glass of your door. The cooliest part of the meal (ok - other than the terrific food) is that you have a great opprortunity to sit in a captive enviornment with your family to laugh, joke, talk and just be together.

After our meal we made the normal trip for snacks and then out to my home for the weekend. It isn't that I live forever away from Monroe but normally the hour drive is not something that I look forward to but with the kids in the car I really adore the drive as it gives us time to not only talk but do some of the silly things that I miss so much - like singing Ramones songs as we go down the road!

Friday ended with the normal movie and then our typical arguing over who would sleep with Knoah. I normally like this argument because Knoah has really taken to sleeping with me and to be fair - I love that. I so miss him when he is not with me and every second that I am with him is one that I want to spend close to him!

Saturday we had a wonderful breakfast and then set out to find some more odd and end items that they may need for school. This was fun as it allowed us to go shopping and mostly browse for items. Hannah, while we were shopping, came up with one of the better ideas for us which was to purchase some "crafts" that we could build together. This has become something that we normally try and do at least a couple of times a month and this weekend was no different.

Hannah picked a wonderful Birdhouse for herself, Knoah decided he needed to do a sailboat and Jacob was estatic that they had a "race car".

The kids grew hungry before we headed home and so we decided to stop and pick up something to eat. We settled on a place that none of us had ever eaten at in Yspsilanti called Sinbad's Koney Island. While the food was pretty good and the service was excellent the one thing that Sinbad's gave us was something we never expected - a trip in a time machine! Well, maybe not exactly but once we sat down Jacob noticed that the chandiler hanging above us in the resturant was the very same chandiler that used to hang in our home on South Macomb in Monroe. Seeing the lamp hang above me was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was cool that Jacob's memory is so wonderful but it was a bit uncomfortable to be reminded of happier times. Still we had a good time at the resturant and everyone seemed to enjoy there food. Hannah seemed the happiest as she not only finished her pasta but also tow of Knoah's chicken strips and my salad!

Saturday ended again with another film and the promise of another awsome day on Sunday. With sunday's arrival we decided that we would build our "crafts" so we spent time putting them together. Of course, since this involved painting, Hannah was the most aggresive at doing this and the happiest.

Thankfully though Knoah seemed to enjoy doing his "sailboat" too and we were able to finish it before making the journey home. Again this week the separation was, for me, difficult at best but it was made somewhat easier by knowing that in just a few days we would be meeting for dinner. Still, leaving the most important people in your life is never easy but is something that I am finding I have to learn how to deal with, at least for now.