Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hockey and the Snowman

That sounds a little like a movie title. . .or a kids book.  They aren't really related subjects, except that Aidan is the main character in both. 

Hockey comes first:

Yesterday was Aidan's second and final (for this season) stint as Goalie.  Because it was so cold all week, we brought his net into the basement and he was able to practice every day down there, with one of us shooting a soft ball at him while he worked on moving with the pads on to defend the goal.  He got pretty darn good at it.  By the end of the week, no matter what we did, he blocked just about every shot. 

On Friday, he practiced on the ice and did really good.  He wasn't blocking everything, but he was doing really good. 

Saturday, we were kind of busy and I completely forgot to have him practice!  He did have ice time, but not in the Goalie pads.  Funny thing, though, he didn't even ask about it.  That night he told me he was going to get a Hat Trick at the game the next day.  I didn't look at him, so I didn't see his goofy grin before I said, But you'll be in Net!  He just laughed. . .what a joker!

Sunday, our game was early.  We left the house at 10 minutes before 7 and arrived with plenty of time to put on the pads.  I will tell you, I love that Aidan loves hockey, but I'll be really glad when he moves up to the next level where there are permanent Goalies.  There is so much stress involved for the Mama!  That being said, Aidan did awesome!!  He blocked so many shots, I was truly amazed.  The teams were evenly matched too.  At one point they were up by two and then our team was up by two and then it was neck and neck. . .it got down to the final 1:30 shift and the score was tied 7-7.  And then in the final 30 seconds, one of our really good players broke away with possession of the puck and came down the ice and scored!!!!! 

And the Grey Wolves win!!!  8-7, beating out the current #1 team!!!!!  Woo Hoo!!!

Happy Sigh. . .And then the Caps won too!!!!  finally. . .

Before moving on to the story of the snowman, I found a few pictures I hadn't downloaded from Christmas: lots of the Christmas parade, Aidan, family, etc.  Sticking with the hockey theme for a moment, here are a couple of cute ones of Aidan at the rink:

And then on to the snowman.  Yesterday, I tried to keep Aidan quiet after his game so Pat could sleep some.  We baked cookies and I made some soup and then Aidan headed out to the deck to "shovel" our meager amount of snow we had gotten.  I think it was about 2 or so inches.  After a bit, he came to the door and asked for some carrots because he had made a snowman.  Okay, I gave him several little baby carrots and he went to work.  And then he called me to take a picture. . .how cute is this???

The rest of the carrots made a little smile.  The only problem is that Maggie decided the snowmans face was a snack when she went out a little later!!!  Poor Aidan.  He was not a happy camper. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

All About What's Going On With Us.

After my last post, in which I said we didn't have any snow, it should have been no surprise that we would get snow. . .twice!  In fact, the first one came less than 24 hours after I wrote that post.

On Thursday morning, we woke up to

It wasn't a lot, maybe one or two inches, but it was enough to make Aidan happy and excited and delay school opening by two hours.  And I do have to say, if it's going to be as cold as it has been, at least the snow added a little excitement and covered the brown and grey of winter!

And then on Friday, we were predicted to again get some snow of about the same amount and intensity.  Only, this time, it was in the afternoon.  So, schools closed an hour early and I even got off work about a half hour early. 

Being off a little early, we were able to head to the Ice House and have dinner a little more leisurely before Aidan's practice.  It was kind of nice. 

Aidan is goalie this week (shudder) and it takes a little longer to put those pads on.  I'll be glad when this trip down goalie lane is over. . .I don't like it.  Aidan loves it, but I don't like it at all.

While Pat got that going, I went over to the Front Desk and plunked down some big money and signed Aidan up for three weeks worth of Hockey Camp.  Whew!  It's a lot, but it's done now and I am really glad.  We now have three weeks paid for for Aidan's summer vacation.  His weeks at Winwood will be paid on a weekly basis.

And then we discussed vacations.  I think we've decided to go to Mexico again this summer.  We haven't been for a while, but we think if we go to a resort it should be pretty fun.  We're looking at where we usually go--Playa del Carmen--and at Cabos San Lucas.  We haven't made upour minds yet, but our criteria is: cost of course, plus access to the ocean, pools, and all inclusivity.  Should be fun no matter what we figure out!

That discussion lead to our other big decision:  what to do about our deck and our yard.  Both our deckand our yard need a lot of work.  So, once we get the vacation all paid for, we're going to figure out our budget to begin saving to replace the deck with the screened in porch and then later add a stamped concrete patio and possibly the hot tub that Pat wants, behind the family room area (more privacy there).  We're hoping to get started on this part of our home projects next year. I told Pat we could vacation at home next year and then that might help cover some of what we'll need for this project. 

I think we both walked away from these discussions happy and looking forward to our plans.

Meanwhile, the Man Cave is really going to be finished this year. . .we've been looking at gas fireplaces.  The room is not that big, but it gets really cold in there.  We put down slate floor, which we love and is soooo easy to keep clean.  Add that to the fact that that room is the only finished room in the completely buried part of the basement and you can understand why we want the gas fireplace.  The basement is always cool, even in the summer, but the Man Cave is almost always freezing. . .my in-laws can tell you it really must be cold if I am saying that!  : )

I digress. . .

The Man Cave is a nice room to sit and watch TV. . .albeit, we tend to watch Hockey games in there, which then makes one feel even colder.  But, anyway.  We did get the new couch for the Rec Room and I am planning on a cool activity table for Aidan to also go in there.  Then with a leather loveseat for the Man Cave, we'll be done with the basement. . .finally. . .after starting it 6 years ago!!!

One caveat in all of this:  Pat's Union needs to sign the contract before it expires in April.  I have my fingers crossed.  I really really don't want them to go on strike.  They did once before and we survived, and this time we are more prepared with a couple months worth of our expenses saved up for this, just in case. But, I really really don't want them to go on strike.

It's rough, too.  I'm not really sure why anyone wants to be in a Union.  I've never really liked them.  I support my husband in his decision to join.  Unfortunately, Virginia is a Right to Work state.  So, the Union's power is limited at best. 

And so we pray they resolve the new contract sooner rather than later.  Hopefully, they won't be like the NHL and NHLPA in the amount of time they take!!!

Whew!  It seems a bit rambly, but all of these subjects really are connected!  They are all about what's going with us. . .

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Winter Doldrums

Not much happening these days.  We are working and going to school; going to hockey practice and going to hockey games.  Really, nothing is going on.  I think we have hit the Winter Doldrums.

Except that I feel incredibly tired.  I think it's in part because Pat has been on the 3 to 11 shift so all household and kid duties have fallen to me.  It's not a bad thing, just that it's so much nicer when they are shared.  And I think it's in part because I haven't recovered yet from Pat having the flu. . .that took a lot out of me!  : )  And I think it's just the blahness of winter. . .

Aidan's homework schedule has remained very busy and has actually even increased.  It now takes us about forty five minutes to an hour a day to do his homework.  He has to study his Quarterly Sight Words--read and write them and because I have noticed that he doesn't spell them correctly in his writing, even though he knows them, I have had him write two sentences each time using the Sight Words.  He also has a Math Sheet two times per week and then has to do this Quick Math Facts (sort of like a race: we deal out two numbers that he had to add and then subtract) for 5 minutes three times per week.  And then there is the Word Study activities:  3 sort and write and learn activities four times per week.  And he has to read two books to us every day, Sunday through Saturday which we then have to initial that it's been done.  It's crazy.  And I hear that each year gets progressively worse.  By third grade, they are telling the kids to do as much as they can each night.  But, if you don't complete it, you are then behind and have to do it on the weekend. . .sheesh!

I have been worried about the books he checks out at the library.  They aren't bad books and he is definitely interested in the subject: Firemen, Extreme Weather, Halloween, and Hockey--his favorite all time subjects!  :)  But, the level of reading is way above his level.  So, I had a talk with the School Librarian, whose daughter is in Aidan's class and is a Figure Skater so we see them all the time at the Ice House.  I told her of my concerns and asked for some suggestions.  And she sent home a stack of books for Aidan yesterday for him to read along with a wonderful note saying to let her know when he's ready for some new books.  How awesome is that???  I just love our community. . .

All in all, I think Aidan is doing really well in school.  I will see for sure in about a week when his report card comes.  I don't think there are any huge concerns other than the amount of homework and the desire to work hard at it on Aidan's part. . .totally normal for a boy his age, though.

We've begun talking lately about our summer plans.  I will be scheduling Aidan for three weeks of Hockey Camp on Friday.  Pat and I have been going back and forth about what we would like to do:  go to the beach, go to King's Dominion, go somewhere. . .or stay home and do a big home project instead.  I would LOVE to add a nice Screened Porch on the back of our house where our deck is now.  But, because of the cost, we wouldn't be able to do that and go away. . .I'm willing to sacrifice this year!  We COULD go to Virginia Beach for a long weekend. . .and possibly still go to King's Dominion, too. . . .we'll continue to discuss it, but we do need to make a decision soon.

Aidan is continuing to do really really well with hockey.  I have signed him up for the Spring House League.  Unfortunately, most of his little friends are moving up to the next level.  Aidan won't do that for two more years because of his age.  So, now we're actually thinking about letting try out for the Select Team where he would see more of his friends.  If he makes it, good.  If not, no big deal.  I'll need to decide that one soon although the try out is not until March 19th.  His coaches have said he is definitely ready for it.  We'll see.

And so, that's it.  Other than it is really really cold outside.  I mean like 10 degrees this morning. . .no fun!  Especially since we don't have any snow!!

Like I said:  We are in the Winter Doldrums. . .

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Week of Highs and Lows

This week has had it's highs and lows.  The highs were really high and the lows were really low.  Fortunately, the lows happened first which made the highs feel even higher!

Did you follow that??

So, our lows:

Well, of course it started with the Redskins.  What a sad way to end the season.  The field looked horrible at the start of the game and then RGIII re-injured his knee and even worse that it had been initially. 

But, I do have to say, we watched more football this season than we have in years!  They definitely kept us on the edge of our seats and excited!

But, the high for that day was the news that the NHL and NHLPA resolved the hockey strike!!!!  Woo Hoo!!!  The Caps will be on the ice against the Lightening on the 19th.  Can't wait!!

And then we had another low by Tuesday evening.  Pat came down with the flu.  He had missed getting the shot last fall because he was out with his ankle when they did it at his work.  Then, he was hunting and time just got away from him.  Next thing you know, he was sick as a dog!  I have never seen him as sick as he was.  I called his doctor on Wednesday and was able to get him Tamiflu.  That is a miraculous medication, let me tell you.  By Thursday, he was still sick, but visibly better.  He felt well enough to go back to work on Friday.  I wish he had stayed in bed at least one more day, but you can't hold him down long.  He continues to improve each day and still has 2 more doses of the medicine.  I am here to tell you that I can guarentee he will not miss the flu shot next year!

The next high came on Friday evening.  Aidan's hockey practice went really well.  He learned how to do a top shelf a couple of weeks ago and he has been practicing this every chance he can get.  This week, during the scrimage at the end of practice, he actually did two backhanded top shelf goals.  Pretty impressive!!

The next low came on Saturday afternoon.  Aidan does not like his Skills Class this time around.  It is so crowded!  And, it is supposed to be an Introduction to Hockey Skills class, but a lot of the kids can barely skate.  I ended up telling him on the way home that he should just use this as additional ice time and practice his foot and stick skills.  I then added the promise that I wouldn't sign him up for this class again. 

And then, today, we had an awesome high!!  Aidan had the early game today:  7:40.  We were on the road and on the way to the ice house by 6:50 am.  On the way, Aidan said, "Mama, I'm going to get a hat trick today!"  Okay then.  You go!! 

And he did score!  For the first time since the beginning of November. . .and then he scored again, and again, and again, and again!!  One away from an Ovechtrick!!  Yes, he scored 5 goals in a dominating game that our boys, the Grey Wolves won 21 to 10!!  I got one on video. . .hopefully it turns out!


And there you have it!!!  A lot of highs and lows. . .at least we ended on a major high!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day Care Itis

This is not a real disease, although those of us who know about day cares will probably agree that it definitely comes with disease! 

But, this post is really about moving on.  No, Aidan is not old enough yet to be home alone.  I don't anticipate trying that for a few more year--at least 10.  If he is mature enough.

This is about our transition away from a traditional Day Care. 

We have been at Winwood for 3 1/2 years.  And, other than a few little speed bumps along the way, I think it has been a wonderful place for Aidan to grow and learn.  I truly feel that the educational foundation he received there has been invaluable in how he is dong in Public School now. 

We started him there just after his third birthday and he started in the 2 year old room.  It was only for 6 weeks and then he transitioned to the 3 year old room.  Then, the following year he entered the Pre-K program.  In Kindergarten, he went upstairs to the Kinders Room for afternoon care.  And this year he transitioned to the "Tree House" for the School Age Kids.  He has loved it there.

Pat's work is just up the road from Winwood and he frequently picked Aidan up on his way home.  If he didn't have to work, that is.  We tried to make sure I didn't have to pick him up on Fridays because the traffic to get across town is horrendous.  It is a 5 minute trip, but on Fridays it turns into 30 minimum.  This year, Aidan has hockey, so it wasn't that big of a deal--pick him up at Winwood and go straight to the rink.

However, we noticed that Aidan would arrive at Winwood about 3:30.  Pat gets of work at 3:00.  Many days he would be standing there waiting for the bus to arrive in order to pick Aidan up.  Talk about Mr. Grumpy about the weekly tuition payment!!!  If I picked him up, I would arrive at 4:45, still only 1 hour and 15 minutes.  So, the maximum amount of time he could possibly be there would be 7 1/2 hours for the entire week--if I picked him up every day.  And we were paying $600.00 a month for that. 

Now, we were assured a place for all day care for Breaks, Teacher Work Days and Snow Days.  But, we had to pay an additional $25.00 per day for that.  So, we had already been trying to not take him there for those days as much as we could.

So, something had to change.  We decided to look in the CASA program that is run by the Parks and Rec of our County and the locations are right in the school.  For half the price, the children stay in the school and have the same play tme, snack time and homework time that we were paying for at Winwood.  And it is just a couple blocks away.  So, we made the leap.  Aidan's last day at Winwood was December 21st, before Christmas and he started CASA last week after the break. 

And he LOVES it!!!!

We are still enrolled at Winwood for Breaks, Teacher Work Days and Snow Days, but that now costs us $65.00 a day. we are trying to work our vacation schedules to not have to go for Breaks and Teacher Work Days.  We'll have to deal with Snow Days, if we get enough for schools to close.  So far, it's working out. 

This Spring, the only days we couldn't cover were the ones coming up in January.  Pat has to work the 3-11 shift and really can't be off.   I just don't have enough vacation time.  So, our neighbor girl will be coming over at 2:30 and staying until I get home at 4:45 on both of those days. . .I'll pay her about $20.00 per day which will still save me $90.00!

Aidan will still also go to Winwood for several weeks this summer for Camp, although we will also be putting him in Hockey Camp for 3 weeks. 

And so, there you have it.  The cure for the Harrison Family version of Day Care Itis. . .and we'll be putting that extra cash into savings, too!!  Added Bonus. . .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

4 times in 36 hours

Well.  2013 is shaping up to be just as busy as 2012 was! 

This past weekend, Aidan's hockey practice got back underway on Friday night after a two week break.  I think the boys were happy to be back together and on the ice.  They all looked happy and the coach kept them together as a team rather than doing stations with the other two teams practicing. 

Saturday, Aidan had his Skills class.  It was soooo crowded!!!  I don't think we will put him in the Spring Session but will again this Summer.  I saw him standing around for a good 15 minutes at the end of the class waiting his turn.  I just don't think he's getting what he needs out of that.  Next Fall we'll likely put him in a private lesson instead.  Or something.

Saturday evening, Aidan's school had a skating party at the ice house.  He had a blast skating with his friends, teachers and even the Principle was there!  There was an older girl who kept following Aidan, though.  Siren!!!! Of course, I think Aidan was teasing her a bit and trying to get her to follow him. . .little tease!!

And then Sunday morning found us back at the Ice House for Aidan's game. . .where he had some amazing passes an a couple of awesome assists!  He keeps getting closer to scoring again. . .it's hard right now because they are playing only the best of the best.  He has been practicing his top shelf and getting better at it all the time

So, if you were doing any mental calculations, yes, that was four times at the Ice House in 36 hours!

And we still found time to go to Costco on Saturday morning AND host a football party on Sunday afternoon! 


At Costco, we found the sectional we want for the Basement Rec Room.  I am pretty sure we're going back this weekend to buy it!  We're pretty excited about it. . .SO excited to get rid of the horrible stuff we have down there, too!!!  I'll post pictures when it's in. . .

Sunday's Redskin game started out good but, as I'm sure you all are aware, turne into a fiasco.  We are all hoping and praying the ridiculous decisions the two Shanahans made did not ruin RGIII's career.  We had such hope for him and our team!  But, I do have to say, that is the most football we have watched in years!  We have gotten into the habit of turning it off sometime in early October, so that was fun to stay in there until January.

Speaking of football, I had the Ravens game on Sunday and Aidan saw Michael Orr and said, Mama, is that Michael Orr?  Yes.  Wow!!  He's real???  Yes, he is.  So, that is a real story??  (Meaning the movie, which he has seen most of, but not the scary stuff.)  Yes, Aidan, that is a real story.  Huh.  Do you think his Mama is there watching him?  I am sure of it, especially since this is a playoff game.  Yeah.  She probably still goes to all his games like you come to all mine.  : )  I love that kid!!  Aidan loves the story of Michael Orr but never quite understands when they go looking forMichael's Mama.  He always points to Sandra Bullock and says, "But THERE is Michael's Mama!"  Isn't he great????

Well, that's it for now. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome, Welcome 2013!

New Years Day, 2013.  Wow!  Here we are at the start of another year.  So much has happened during 2012, some of it good and some of it not so good.  But here we are.  A fresh slate.  A new beginning.  And I am ready.

We are ready to get back on track and back to a routine.  We are ready to get back to working out and eating right.  We are ready to get back to our daily devotionals and our journalling.  We are ready to be staying within budget and not spending every last dime we have--not that we overspent, but you know what I mean!

The biggest thing, on this day, is that we are really ready to get back to a good family routine.  We're all tired and we're feeling punchy and, I for one, am feeling a lot like a doughboy. 

So, today Aidan and I are going to begin the process of packing up our Christmas decorations and storing them neatly for next year.  We are cleaning out the refrigerator and making room for fresh vegetables and fruits.  We have some goodies left over from Christmas, but those can go in lunches--for the boys. 

I have made my lists of things I want to accomplish this year: clean my work room (there is wrapping paper, tape, ribbon, and packing materials all over the place in there!!); clean out the office closet; and begin the process of getting our tax information together (I normally do this during our break--I don't know what I did with my time this year).  I plan to update this list with three new items after the first three are completed.  That way, it won't look so overwhelming!

I have also made our list of things we want to do on the house this year: finish the Mancave; paint and put in new flooring in our bedroom; replace the deck.  A couple of future projects include redoing our bathroom and doing the granite countertops in the kitchen.  Again, a rolling list makes it not so overwhelming!!

Another item I need to do this year is to renew Aidan's Russian passport.  I have always promised myself that I would keep his passports (US and Russian) current for him and when he comes of age, I will continue to help him in any way he wants me to.  But, it will be up to him to make any future decisions about citizenship at that point in time.  And now, in light of recent events, I have renewed my resolve on this.  I have found a company that will help with the translation and submitting of the paperwork to the Embassy.  It's a shame I can't do it myself since the Embassy is so close.  But, I will go through a third party rather than go there in person now.

And speaking of the Embassy: I don't think we'll go to the Easter party this year.  I'm not sure I feel that the hospitality would be sincere.  Another family and ours have made some tentative plans to get together anyway, though.  And I think that will be a lot of fun.

A little growth update on Aidan:  He is now weighing in at 55 pounds, which is up from 52 at the start of school.  He is 50 inches tall (that's 4' 2"!!!  Less than a foot till he is as tall as me!!!).  That is up by 1 inch since school started and 2 1/4 inches since the end of 2011.  The kid has been looking bigger lately, too, so I don't think this growth spurt is over.  AND, we took him to get new shoes yesterday.  He was just over a size 1 in August so we bought him a 1 1/2.  The shoes he really liked yesterday were a 2 1/2 and that was the smallest size they had.  Disappointed, I told him he needed to find a different shoe because those would be just too big for him.  Well, the clerk suggested we measure his foot, just be be sure.  And guess what??  To my surpise, his foot is now between 2 and 2 1/2!!  Yikes!  The poor kid has been wearing shoes too small and never said a word!  He got the ones he wanted.  And they were on sale, too.  Smiles all around!

And so, here we are: off to a fresh start.  A new day is dawning, folks!  Happy New Year!!  And may you be blessed in 2013!!!