Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ethan Bowls

Ethan bowls with the NJ Hawks bowling league. It's on Saturday mornings and a really nice time. He is usually grouped with a bunch of guys his age and I enjoy watching them interact.

Ethan bowls because the weather is always good, he never gets a sunburn on his bald head, and there's no killer downtime that invites all kinds of naughtiness or the desire to just go home. As long as there's a Pepsi offered after game two, we can get three games in.

The season ends with the possibility of competing with Special Olympics in a regional bowling tournament - I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

3 boys, 3 forks....

one cake.

Mom: Boys, can you can help me with something?

Boys: Sure, mom!

Mom: Wow, that was a nice response. I just wanted to know if you could finish this chocolate cake for me?

*All is well*

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Math for fun

I told Mikey he needed to find something to do for a for a little while. He asked, "Can I play with math?" I asked him what he would need and we picked some things out. I believe mathematics is one of easiest subjects to allow kids to learn at their own pace and at their own level. When it has not been forced on them by high pressure or boring or repetitive methods they can come to appreciate solving the puzzle. My kids ask lots of good questions about the price of gas, mpgs, time, cost, banks, taxes, bills, paychecks, allowances, etc. There is never a lack of interest. That leads us to alot of activities that you might consider "educational"! Speaking of boring and repetitive, Gavin decided that knowing the multiplication tables by heart would be of great use to him with his interest in math, building, chemistry and lego. After two different computer games geared to committ those to memory - he decided he likes doing flashcards! I think if I would have suggested memorizing multiplication tables from flashcards....well, let's not think about it.

p.s. After I published this post, a friend linked these two articles to my FB page. I wanted to include them because the information is amazing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Forever Families

I was excited to attend the adoption festivities surrounding the adoption of our friends' little girl from the foster care system. It was in the same courthouse, with the same attorney and case worker as Mikey's adoption. It was interesting to see it from the outside this time.

I feel like an adoption from foster care is very different from an adoption that happens shortly after birth or one that happens in a foreign country. In one way, I felt like Mikey's adoption was so much more of a formality at the point it happened. I felt like Mikey was "ours" long before signing a set of papers. For us, we had been parenting him since he was 20 months old and his adoption was not formalized until he was 4 1/2. I just wanted to get in there, do what we had to do and get out! I did not feel the 'festivity' factor that was so evident at this adoption.

But later, as we hosted his adoption party, and case workers stopped coming by checking if we had clothes in his dresser or food in the fridge, I felt the full impact of the legal renderings. It was like being able to finally exhale. So what I thought was so initially so anticlimactic, turned out to provide the security that had been missing for so long.

The Costello Boyz on Mikey's Adoption Day - June 7, 2007

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Trains Galore

We visited Northlandz in Flemington, NJ. I had no idea what was in store for us. I asked the gentleman who was chatting us up at the start of the tour how long he had been at Northlandz and he said only since he deisgned and built it! He told us not to rush through it and if you get to a section and there are no trains - just wait - they're coming.

I can't do it justice with pictures, so just go see it. At the end of the tour he asked the boys how closely they had paid attention. Gavin said he had and Mikey said not so much. Mr. Zaccagnino asked Gavin if he had found the 4 little ghosts - Gavin had and told him right where they were. We were told most people don't find them. He also asked what year was the height of the railroad - 1919 - replied Gavin. Phew! Glad he didn't ask me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Regatta in a raingutter

Mikey's boat stayed afloat, which is a good quality in a boat. Gavin's was apparently unbeatable! Go Boyz!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Apprentice

Gavin has been interested for some time in understanding what a landscape architect does. Dennis knew that one of the dad's we are acquainted with through the hockey league ran his own landscape architecture/landscape construction firm and asked this dad if there would be a job that Gavin could come see sometime. I though the best I could hope for him was that Mr. Dad might tell us we could swing by a local job he had. Dennis recieved an early morning phone call from Mr. Dad on Monday asking if Gavin would like to spend the day with him. Gavin could not get dressed fast enough and left with an apple in his pocket and a wallet full of lunch money. I was very surprised that this man would choose to spend the entire day chatting it up with my 9 year-old. He knew Gavin from around the hockey rink and playing a season of hockey with his daughter - but still, I think it's a far cry to decide to take your time out and spend it with a kid you hardly know. I thought it was incredibly nice. Mr. Dad mentioned something about South Jersey and some nurseries on the way down the front steps! All I know is that my boy came home all beaming face and tired body in a dump truck around 4 p.m. Mr. Dad did not seem too worn out by what I know can be Gavin's unending flurry of questions. He said Gavin "was great". They both seemed truly happy. As far as I know, they spent hours in the truck, looked at some $1,000 evergreens, visited nurseries, and "scoped out" some other work. I have been getting little drips and drabs of info over the past couple days. Here is what I know so far: ~ There is John Deere Green and Catepillar Yellow. ~ Catepillar makes Peterbuilt engines. ~ Mr. Dad's mom encouraged him to continue in college when he wanted to drop out and he discovered architecture. ~ Gavin has been sketching things on grid paper using rulers, protractors and french curves since Monday evening. ~ Gavin has explained to me *exactly* how a combustion engine works and what is meant by a "4 stroke engine". I don't think I get it entirely. ~ Bulldogs mean Mack. ~ The dump truck he rode home is was 13 tons - a ton is 2,000 lbs. (thanks) ~ Mr. Dad has a small engine plane pilots license. People often ask me if I am worried about my kid's social skills since we are homeschooling. I am not. I watched Gavin leave today with a dad he had never had a full conversation with, and somehow come home with stories that are taking days to recount. You would have thought he had just returned from a great play-date they way he has carried on. I guess he did.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stone Soup

Stone Soup is a story that is told in many cultures. It tells of people who each brought a little of something to a pot and the whole community ended up with abundance!! It's literally what we do at our Stone Soup event. The day was so sunny, warm and full of good vibes.

Children ran free, mom's encouraged each other, teenagers chopped veggies & kids challenged moms to a kickball ball game - truly magical!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conversation with an almost 2 year-old

I got the pleasure of getting Seany out of his crib this morning - it is an often fought-over priveledge. I found him standing with his arms casually hanging over the top rail.

Sean: Hi Mom.

Mom: Hi Sean.

Sean: E home?

Mom: Nope, E's at school.

Sean: Daddy home?

Mom: Yes, Daddy's home.

Sean: Yeah!! Wet.

Mom: Yes, you're really wet - that's alot of pee. You'll need a bath.

Sean: Pee, bath?

Mom: Yes.

Sean: Monkey bath?

Mom: No, monkey can't take a bath.

Sean: Monkey pee.

Mom: No, monkey can watch.

Sean: Monkey watch.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meaningful Math - sshhh!

I got some complaints today. They don't want to do math. Fine, we'll do some tomorrow. Today, we'll just play with our Cuisinaire Rods.
"Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in." ~ Leonardo DiVinci

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Lego Quest

Click on the link below. If you scroll down, you will find two creations - one by Gavin and one by Mikey! You could do it too!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend recap

There was alot to do this weekend! With high school football games to be attended, hot chocolate to be drank, hockey games to be played....

Cars that needed servicing...

A coup that needed staged...

Placemats that needed studied...

Brothers that needed love.