Monday, October 23, 2017

Visit from G&G

This weekend we had a nice visit with G&G. We were able to visit and catch up with each other, and Grandpa even rolled out his famous "Donald Duck Voice" for the boys. The next day they spent a great deal of time in the car trying to replicate the voice themselves.



Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Cub Souts Campout

Last weekend was the Cub Scout Campout for my little dudes. They LOOOOVED it so much -- they got their tent setting up merit badge and Little Ham showed the counselors that he could light a fire from the embers of the fire from the night before.

They are definitely "into" the outdoorsy stuff now, even though the temperature overnight plummeted to 42 degrees. They didn't sleep much, if at all, and we have been paying the price with poor behavior ever since, but they did have fun.

Here are pics of them next to the tent they set up together:


And of course, we needed to do some 'dabbing' in at least one of the photos.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Heart-to-Heart Talks

On Tuesday it was my night to put the boys to bed, and Little Ham and I had a spontaneous heart-to-heart talk about the family and chores and what working means, and why things can't just be fun and playing all the time. We have these every now and then and they are super special.

Meanwhile, Hamslice was in his bedroom across the hall getting jealouser and jealouser as the moments ticked by. So as I was leaving Little Ham's room, Hamslice called me into his room for his own heart-to-heart talk.

His talk was a little different. He told me about "Ryan, Ryan, Ryan and Ryland" (you can't make this up, people. From what I understand, one of the Ryans is a girl) who were going through everyone's lockers at recess and how Hamslice was getting nervous about that. I asked him if there was another kid in the group named "Brian" to round out the names and he laughed.

Once downstairs, I told Hambone about the RYANS plus RYLAND and we reminisced about Federal Hill prep where Hamslice's classmats were "Shawn, Shaundra, Tyshawn and Deshaun." 

Oh hey, also we are two weeks into school and so far no phone calls home about either boy. THIS IS A WORLD RECORD, FOLKS!!!

+1 for the Menagerie

About a week ago, Hambone noticed a bird in his warehouse. Not just any ordinary bird, but a genuine Cockatiel. So, being the Bird Whisperer, (see earlier posts about his ability to woo the geese at Dutch Wonderland) he lured the Cockatiel into a cardboard box, then into a dog crate, and then a bird cage in succession. After getting to know this bird a bit, I see what a feat this was.

So the bird is a beautiful addition to the household. But, since it was a pet that then escaped and had "God knows what" happen to it in the wild, and then had a day-long adventure with Hambone, I can see where it is legitimately a little weird.

And the weird runs deep, man. For instance, the bird loves to look at itself in a mirror, and the bigger the mirror the better. If you remove the mirror, the bird SCREAMS until the mirror is restored, and then when he sees himself in the mirror again, he makes a noise like "Hey buddy, I missed you. What's been happening since we last spoke?"

He is also pretty bad at flying. When he did try it one day in the house, he tried to land on the moldings above the doors. In order to make this tricky landing, he crashed his whole body into the wall and sort of stuck his feet down. And then because there are no mirrors up there, he just screamed the whole time until he got back into his cage.

 The boys (all of them except for the dogs) LOVE the bird. We have named him "Bob" but Hamslice also calls him "silver wing" which is a favorite Pokemon character (or something). They love cleaning the cage and feeding him and just watching him. They can't play with this pet, though, because if they stick their fingers in the cage, the bird does a full-body peck. Even though that doesn't hurt very much, the visual is stunning.

The bird also really can't stand certain kinds of voices. I have my phone on speaker all day, and when certain people call (uncle Curt in particular) the bird starts chattering away. When I have conference calls, therefore, the bird cage has to move into the kitchen where, you guessed it, there are no mirrors. So during the conference call there is constant, faint screaming in the background.  I wonder if they notice.

So... bird. +1 to the pet list.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Family Camp

This summer we went to Medomak Family Camp for the second year in a row. This is a healing place for our family -- we go and relax and learn things like stone carving and rope making, and come back a stronger family for it. I am not sure why it works but it does.


 This is us on our way up to Maine -- we stopped for lobster dinner at one of the many lobster places right on the water. I believe this was in Portland. I wore the bib, Hambone was too classy for that. Only one of us smelled like lobster juice for the rest of the night. Hint: It was me.

 This is the beach at Medomak, where we spend every afternoon. Activities are in the morning, and then all the families at camp just chill at the beach all afternoon.


 During one of the activities (SKEG) which is a hybrid soccer game, Little Ham accidentally bumped heads with one of the other kids. Oh so many hugs that night.

 This is my "Catch of the Day" -- we went fishing on the pontoon boat and caught several fish about this size. It was fun, even if we didn't get enough to make a meal. We also saw a Bald Eagle swoop out of the sky and capture one of our little fishes that we caught. That fish flopped around on the surface of the water for *just* too long.


 This is Hamslice and Little Ham playing on the moose sculpture at camp.


 And this is us at the Life Sized Chocolate Moose display at the candy store in Portland ME.

 On one of the mornings, Hambone and I took a cheese making class with Holly, the owner of the camp. We made Mozzarella, and while I was fully planning to catch the "cheese bug" from the class, I have decided to leave it to the professionals.


 The above and below pics on the trail are of all of us walking from the main camp to the beach. It's a hike but well worth it. You'd only want to do it a couple times a day.

 More pics of us at the beach at Medomak


 This is the "sand castle-off" competition between my boys. The other kids in camp got all revved up about it too. Who made the biggest sand castle! WHO!?!  And by What Criteria. *hint* the criteria changed often. Hamslice also won an award for "deepest hole" at camp. It was pretty deep!

 Here we are milking the camp cow. All of the milk and dairy products for the camp are produced by these two cows. Talk about meeting your food. The boys learned a lot about where food comes from during our week.






 This was Little Ham's "war paint" for the camp-wide scavenger hunt. We came in fourth, and were happy with that result. It gives us room to improve next year!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

On TARGET for Shenannigans

Target is my boys' ABSOLUTE favorite store. They beg and beg to go there, and when we arrive, they treat it like a wonderland of retail. And usually one of the two of them, if not both, starts to act up. There is a lot of running ahead of the cart, spinning in circles in the aisles.... lots of movement.

After all these trips to Target, the last time we went there, I OFFICIALLY TIRED of the goofing around. And I believe a little something in me broke. I said to the boys, "THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO SHOP WITH YOU." And I threw my hands up in the air and started racing up and down the aisles, spinning in circles.

Yes there were a lot of stares, and a few knowing smiles from other parents.

The boys slowly started fading away from me into other aisles, so I started shouting, "HEY I AM [LITTLE HAM]'S MOM. AND HE'S RIGHT THERE (pointing at him) AND I LOOOOOOVE HIM!"


Never in their young lives have they been so mortified. Since then, they have been on their absolute best behavior in Target. All I need to say is, "ARE WE PLAYING THE CRAZY IN TARGET GAME AGAIN? I'M IN!!!"

I believe I have won. Just this once, score one for Mom.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

End of school year update

 My little boys are starting to grow up. In April, we had a "Come to Jesus" again with the school about Hamslice, where the teachers were frustrated with him again due to his lack of willingness to do any schoolwork. I was completely caught by surprise because *I* thought things were going well, using the adage "no news is good news."

I made a contract with Hamslice, where if he was able to do good work and not have any notes home from his teachers for the rest of the year, he could move his bedtime to 8pm from 7:30. If he didn't keep the contract terms, he owed me $100 payable in sticks @$.03 per stick. (That's over 3000 sticks, for the math challenged who are reading this)

And like a miracle, he fulfilled his contract. Furthermore, he decided that he liked the way he was treated by the teachers and administration when he actually tried a  little. It has been a turnaround that has lasted for 6 weeks now. I am so hopeful.


Meanwhile Little Ham has been making his way as a chorister, and is the creative department for the family. He just completed his King Tut costume for Living Museum day, and it was fabulous. Little Ham has been making huge strides integrating with the family. Yesterday, Hambone and I spent some time comparing this year to last year, and the growth has been really impressive. He is one of the family more often than he is trying to not be part of the family. We're at about 80/20 now, vs last year at 10/90.

The boys are also experimenting with driving go-carts and our golf cart. It's great vestibular stimulation and it provides a feeling of adulthood for the boys. They are so proud of their driving abilities, although Little Ham still corners a little fast in the golf cart, throwing himself out of the vehicle entirely. Hamslice is the self proclaimed expert of driving, and he is now a little critical of everyone's driving.


We also had the pleasure of nursing a baby bunny for a few days -- the boys saw a hawk drop the baby bunny out of its claws, so they took it home. The bunny was so young its eyes were not yet open. We fed it Kitten Milk Replacement and watched as its eyes opened and it became strong enough to hop. The boys liked learning that it takes three swallows for a bunny to drink one drop of milk, and they were sad but hopeful when it was time to say goodbye to it.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Budding Rock Star

One of the very first things Little Ham told me about himself when he arrived here is this: "I am not going to college because I want to be a rock star when I am an adult."

And so I took that statement just as seriously as any parent would, primarily filing it away for later. But we've been watching Little Ham and have noticed that he knows how to (ahem) project his voice and really control tone.

Fast forward to January of this year, there was a poster for the Maryland State Boys Choir in the school lobby. I asked Little Ham if he wanted to participate, and received an emphatic "YES".

The audition was nerve wracking for him because he knows absolutely nothing about music, but they admired his lower voice (a full octave lower than the other kids, due to his.... ongoing vocal exercises at home...) and willingness to learn.

He had his first rehearsal on Saturday and said it was a "10 out of 10" positive experience. He even did his music theory homework yesterday without complaint.


He really does want to be a singer. It's amazing to watch.