Friday, June 26, 2009

Pasta on Parenting

Being a parent is both a job and a joy. I have a magnet at my desk at work that says "Parenthood - The only job that's REALLY full time." How true is this statement?? Parenting never goes away. Some days this makes me mad because I just want to be me - all by myself. I don't want to have to take care of everyone else's needs before I can attend to my own. Some days this makes me exhausted because the 'tending to everyone else's needs' just never seems to end. Ever. No, really, I mean E-V-E-R. Then there are some days when this makes me feel important because I have people who depend on me for their needs. Needs such as, "Mom, where is my ____?" (Fill in the blank with any item that is lost, misplaced, or maybe even in plain sight.) And some days this statement makes me feel sad because I can't really be with them full time like I wish I could. And then there are days when I am so happy about this statement because I know that parenting truly is the most important job I have.

I have had some recent milestones as a mother - you know - the little jabs in the arm that you feel when you see positive results and progress in your children. The one that comes to mind most easily is Hayden's maturity. Yes, I know that because he is male that he will, by definition, be immature until he is about 30 years old, but I did say progress, not completion! He has been showing maturity is several areas, but mostly what it boils down to is respect and consideration for others. He's thinking more about the world (and the people) around him and less about himself and his own feelings. It's wonderful to catch him in the middle of it. I sorta stand back, and go "Wow - he's really growing up!" It's awesome.

And Mallory (who will always be my little girl, my baby) is getting ready to start 2nd grade. She's a little social butterfly, she's a space cadet, and she loves attention, but I'm starting to notice something unique and interesting about her. She not only loves to receive attention, she also loves to give attention. She doesn't care who she talks to or plays with. It doesn't matter if they are much younger or much older than her. It doesn't matter if they don't look the same or talk the same. She does not show preference or avoidance. She is just as happy to play the 3 year old little boy who lives next door as she is to spend the afternoon with a grown up. And to me, that is amazing. That she hasn't developed a sense of who is different from her.

So, today I feel successful as a parent. Because even though they drive me crazy when they argue with, pick on and nag each other CONSTANTLY, they also make me so proud when I hear them say encouraging, kind or thoughtful things to the people around them. I honestly believe that the mark we make on the world will be made on the souls of the people with whom we interact. I try to work on myself and my "mark" every day - and I'm seeing that in the kids, too! Hooray!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

S'mores anyone?

My mom was in town last weekend for a few days. She came up to go camping with some friends. She had called me about a week earlier to let me know she was coming and insisted that we join her to roast marshmallows. Being the outdoor lovers that we are, we were excited to sit out by the campfire (and to see my mom, of course). I told her that we would bring chocolate and graham crackers because if we were doing marshmallows that the kids would definitely want s'mores.

So, we packed up our lawnchairs and goodies and off we went. The weather was beautiful, making me anxious for our own upcoming camping trip. Just being in a campground gets me feeling all "one with nature," you know?

After they finished eating and the kids finished wading in the river bank, my mom breaks out the marshmallows. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Yea, they're just marshmallows, but check it out . . . . .

Looks like a mini marshmallow and the jumbo ones, right? Nope. It's a jumbo marshmallow (on the left) and the ones my mom brought (on the right). They were H-U-G-E.

Here's another photo to give you an idea just how big:

Mallory couldn't even eat her s'more because her mouth was too small!

One Lucky Dad

Who is the luckiest (and best) dad in the world? Well, the Waffle, of course! In our family, we think he's top notch. This year for Father's Day, he told me exactly what he wanted. It was a modest purchase, some stacking tool box thingy that unfolded the way a tackle box does. Ok. Whatever. If it's what he wants, I guess it's what he gets, right? It was a little exciting for the kids, since I had been driving around with it in the trunk of my car for two days at the Waffle still hadn't noticed. Oh, the giggles over one little secret!

On Father's Day, I got up earlier than him, made coffee and waffles for breakfast (yes, I said waffles). This, as many of you know, is a gift in and of itself, since I never cook breakfast in our house. That's the Waffle's job. Turns out, Mallory was sick, so Hayden and dad went to church without us girls. We grilled out for lunch and the rest of the afternoon was like any other Sunday. Pretty boring, huh?

Well, that's because the exciting part of Father's Day 2009 actually came two days later.

I got home from work on Tuesday and there was a message on the machine. I checked the caller ID - the number showed Abuelo's (a Mexican restaurant in Indianapolis). Must be a marketing call or something, right?

Well, yes, right, but also wrong!

You see, a few weeks ago, we took the kids to Kings Island for a few days. On the way home, we stopped at Abuelo's. While we were there, Hayden entered Brett in a Father's Day giveaway. It was for a grill and some utensils. The entry form asked for all the usual - name, address, phone #, email address - you know, all the ways companies gather marketing info, right?

Turns out they actually gave away the grill, too! To the Waffle! I couldn't believe my ears when I was listening to the message. Then I called the kids in the room and played it again. Hayden's face was all smiles - ear to ear. He couldn't wait until the Waffle got home so he could tell him - he kept going to the back window, watching for him to pull in.

Needless to say, the Waffle was pretty pleased with this bigger and better Father's Day present, even though it was a few days late (and not really what he asked for).

I must say, though, it was so very inconvenient for us to have to drive down and eat there again tonight when we picked it up!

Steaks anyone?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Titus Turns One

The Waffle and the birthday boy

After our Indians Outfield Adventure, we went to Titus' 1st birthday party! The Waffle and I have been friends with Titus' parents for over 12 years. They are wonderful friends, amazing parents, and just plain good people. In fact, when we got the invitation to Titus' party, I sent an email asking if we could come over at 9 am. The party started at Noon. There aren't too many people whom you can ask to come to the party 3 hours early, but they are that kind of people. You see, we had to be off the Indians field at 8 am, we were already in Indy, and they live in Danville. So, we showed up at 9, used their shower, and had a blast all day long. The theme for Titus' party was "Mr. Smiles is turning One." As you can see, he is almost always smiling. Check out these one year old photos taken of him by his cousin, Ashley.

Yellow Happy Faces were all around. His daddy decorated the cakes - with help from big sis #1 and big sis #2. He especially enjoyed the big yellow balloons. After the main festivities, the guys played bocce ball and the little girls played dress up. They were going to put on a play for the grown ups, but somehow it never materialized . . . They sure had fun practicing and coming up with ideas for it, though.

Drama princesses in pink - so sweet!

Getting together with their family is always the best of times and this weekend was no different. We were going on six hours of not so great sleep, so we were exhausted when we got home, but it was worth every minute of it. Thanks guys! We love you!

Indians Outfield Adventure

This past weekend, we went on the most unique campout. Ever. We pitched our tent on the outfield of the Indianapolis Indians' Victory Field! It was amazing. The Indians host an annual Cub Scout Campout where scouts can attend the game, watch a fireworks show, then see a movie on the big screen scoreboard, and finally camp in the outfield. It was C-O-O-L. As many of you know, we love to camp. Yes, in tents. And yes, we all went. It was a whirlwind weekend for the family. Hayden had his own ball game at 5:15 on Friday. After his game, we hit the road to Indy. We arrived during the 3rd inning and there was no score, so we hadn't missed much. Our seats were pretty good - 2nd level, 1st baseline - perfect for catching foul balls. The Indians won it 2 - 0. Hayden was really into watching the game - I've noticed this much more lately. He is really turning into a basbeall player and fan. He's watching them to see how to get better. Being at the field after the game was over was pretty neat, too. We got to see everything they do to care for the field - they worked a long time on the pitcher's mound, then they rolled out a HUGE tarp to cover all of the infield. Sure wish we could get some of those for our little league fields! The fireworks show was very good. I couldn't believe how long it went - very impressive. Then it was time for the movie. They played Everybody's Hero which was very fitting for the occasion. Pitching the tents was total chaos, but the picture I got when it was all done is totally worth it. I've never seen anything like it. We obviously enjoyed every minute of it. And when it's time to do it again, we will be there. Definitely.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Practice makes perfect

The Waffle has taken Hayden to the batting cages here in town a few times this summer for some batting practice. I was able to go this past weekend and got some shots of him in action. He's got good form and some strength, too. It's funny to watch him, because, even at the cages, you can tell he wants to drive it as hard and far as he can. Can you say "Tes-tos-ter-one?"  

Great form

And . . . the swing!

Here he is during a game.  I just love watching him bat.  He's really good at it.  
And here in this photo, you can really see the form.  

That hit got him a triple!  Way to go Kincaid!!!

Since one of the boys on his team had to move, he's been playing first base for the past few games.  Turns out, he's not too bad!  He knows where to stand, how to hustle, and how to make those plays.  Yes, I'm proud of him.  I know you can tell.  But mommies are supposed to be proud of their babies, right???  Here is a photo of him playing first at last Friday's game.  The first base running coach (in the dark shirt) is a friend from high school.  His wife writes a blog.  She's the one who inspired me to start this one.  You can check it out here.

Well, the Waffle is turning in for the night.  And, for some weird reason, I feel that we're more connected if we go to bed at the same time.  So, even though I have so much more to say, it's time to sign off for today.  Besides, he called me a "Blog-aholic" . . . is that bad???

Monkey Joe's!

Our life has been revolving around a ball and bat lately.  It's been great - crazy, but that's life, right?  My mom drove up from Columbus, IN, to see the kids play last Friday.  We didn't tell them, so it was a fun surprise for them to have her here.  Mallory's game was first, and, apparently, she told her coach that she wanted to play catcher so "her Gramma could see her do somthing during the game."  Ha!  Something other than play in the dirt, that is!  Turns out, she made a fairly decent pitcher.  At least it kept her head in the game while she was up there!  She hasn't been very consistent as a hitter - sometimes she can hit a moving ball, sometimes she has to take the tee.  She seems to enjoy it - we'll just have to wait and see if she wants to play again next year . . .  Here's a slide show with some shots from her past few games.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ride Warriors

For the past few days the Kincaids have been enjoying vacation #1 of the summer.  We hopped in the car and took the kids to King’s Island for a couple days.  We’ve been to Holiday World for the past couple of years, and Hayden had definitely outgrown the selection of roller coasters offered there.  The Waffle and I both have fond memories of coasters such as The Beast, The Racers and Vortex, so we decided it was time to start making some of those memories with the kids.

A few days before the trip, we got out the measuring tape to see where we “stood.”  As is turns out, Hayden was just under 54”, so he wasn’t able to go on everything that he wanted to.  He sure did make the best of it, though!  Here’s his list of accomplishments for the 2 day trip: Beast, Son of Beast, Racers, Vortex, Flight Deck, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Delirium, and some other not-so-exciting rides that shall go unnamed.  Of course, he had a great time.

Hayden and Mom on Delirium

Hayden at the water park

Mallory had a good time, too, for the most part.  She measured in at just under 46”, which prohibited her from going on any of the adult roller coasters.  She did enjoy the Viking Fury, the Fairly Odd Coaster, Scrambler, Monster, Shake, Rattle & Roll, and the Avatar ride (which mom enjoyed very much, too!).  We all stayed together for most of the first day, managing to visit rides and coasters alternately.  On the second day, however, we had to divide and conquer.  Mallory was tired of walking from one roller coaster to another, so I took her to Nickelodeon Universe (kids area) while Hayden and the Waffle visited various coasters.  This area was just her speed - kid friendly with a handful of rides for the more daring children.  Mallory is equally both!

Mallory and Mom on Viking Fury

Mallory at Nickelodeon Universe

Overall, it was an ideal trip.  The weather was beautiful – sunny and hot enough on day one to need a little refreshing.  So, we tried to hit a few water rides, so that we could all cool off a bit. The kids got just a little wet from the Wild Thornberry's River Adventure, but they needed more.  So, we visited the Congo Falls ride . . . only to find out that Mallory wasn't tall enough.  
So, we improvised.

After the Wild Thornberry's ride

Congo Falls observation deck


Day two was a bit more hot and humid than day one, which worked out perfectly for us to visit the water park.  We spent about 4 hours there, left for dinner, and came back to the park about 6:30 on day two.  That was when the weather took a nose dive.  The Waffle and I were in line for the new coaster, Diamondback, planning to take advantage of the "Parent Swap" so we could both ride, when they closed the ride due to expected inclement weather.  And sure enough, about 5 minutes later the sky opened up and we experienced the biggest hailstorm any of us had ever seen!


All in all, it was a great trip that we will all remember.  Which, for us, that's what it's all about.  Time spent together making great memories.  After all, for kids, love is spelled T-I-M-E.

"Mom, I'm the Tin Man!!!"

On Hayden's last day of school, the second graders had a musical performance of The Wizard of Oz. There was a note sent home saying that the children should either wear green or wear nice school clothes. That morning Hayden came out wearing gray warm up pants and a gray t-shirt. So, I got out the note to remind him what he was supposed to be wearing. This was the response I got (to be read with the appropriate tone of an 8 year old son to his mother, who obviously knows nothing), "Mom, I'm the Tin Man!" Of course, the Tin Man wouldn't wear green, he would wear gray! How silly of me.

This quick little 30 second interaction with my 8 year old did, however, cause my spaghetti like tendencies to flare up a bit. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, click here. Where, I wondered, have I been that I didn't even know that my son had a solo in the second grade musical performance? I had not even made plans to BE at the musical because the week prior I had been at the class play performance (Fractured Fairy Tales). The Waffle was going to see this one, but not mom, nope, not this time. HOW on earth could I have missed this? Is this what the next 10 years are going to be like? He doesn't willingly tell me things, and I must not be asking the right questions because I didn't know the information that I needed to know on this one! Spaghetti knows deep down that it will be ok, I was just having a weak moment. Check out these photos - and the video!

The kids prepare for their debut performance.

Front row - all in GRAY!

The Waffle said the choreography was very good.

Here's the video. We are so proud of him!!