Sunday, March 30, 2008

Parenting Class Conclusion

Last Friday I attended the last parenting class of the session and although there were no written requirements for the class I'm feeling like a brief summary is needed. Ahem...After little meditation I've determined that these classes were full of common sense. However, after more meditation, I've decided much of it was helpful to hear in order to remind me of what's best for my kids. For example, 2 lessons were dedicated to learning about self control. They reviewed how to recognize when you're losing control and how to calm yourself when beginning to lose it. Of course this is a skill no one is perfect at and by reviewing it in a classroom setting I found myself simply thinking about it throughout the respective weeks and working harder to "keep it together."

So, No, these classes were not a waste of time and I'm sure my family appreciated my added efforts to maintain control. These classes can be compared to going to church each week...for those of us who have been attending church since birth it can be said that, "I've heard it before." However, by hearing and talking about it again we are reminded of how we should be living so that we can be happy.

Hopefully, because of the reminders, we will work (effort required) towards becoming a better, happier person (and parent).

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Brotherly Battles are Beginning

Up until now Caleb has only bothered Luke on accident...knocking his tower down while trying to scoot around it, coloring on his page because he just wants to color to. In the last few days Caleb has now started to bug Luke just to bug Luke. He as taken to knocking over his trains because he enjoys watching Luke scream, "CAAAAALEEEEEB!" He smiles and laughs at Luke's turmoil. Already this morning Caleb wacked Luke on the back of the head with a toy car to which Luke retaliated by hucking a bigger toy car at Caleb's face. Yep, we had lots of tears and blood!!! Advice??? Pleeease!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Little Women

I speculate that like most modern, American girls, I had seen the most recent version of Little Women (1994 Winona Ryder, Christian Bale) but had never read the classic novel. I finally read it and I really liked it. I had actually forgotten whether or not Jo ended up with Laurie so I was able to read the book as a real first-time reader. Warning: stop reading now if you'd like to read it and not have any details spoiled. I found it very refreshing to read about characters choosing spouses not just with passion and romance, but with intellect and reason. Granted, I'm still a stupid girl of the modern day who has been infiltrated with love stories where both boy and girl make decisions based on nothing but twittering, undying, rip my stomach out through my belly-button emotion, and consequently I found myself wanting Jo to ease the poor pain of Laurie and except his offer as they seemed to have such a wonderful friendship. However, after the initial blow (as is the case with most "not-to-be" romances) I was glad to see each happily partnered with better people and felt satisfied with the ending. Although, I have to wonder how Laurie fared throughout life living so near his first love. That little detail would have had to be more than a little inconvenient.

In the back of my book there was a short little biography of Louisa May Alcott and after reading it I happened to google her and learn a little more. My more literary friends may know this, but if was all new to me. I had never known that Alcott was associated with so many other prominent literary figures, Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau. I was also saddened to learn that she didn't want all her women happily married off. She wanted Jo to remain single by choice as she had throughout her life. It's also speculated that Alcott may have been gay and that consequently Jo may have been as well since Jo is to represent her - loosely. She is quoted as saying in an interview

I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man's soul, put by some freak of nature into a woman's body ... because I have fallen in love in my life with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man.

Interesting, eh?? If in fact she was gay and intended for Jo to be as well, the ending of her book seems very believable. Anyhow, Alcott wrote Little Women at the request of her publisher who asked her to write a story for girls. Given that she had to be asked to write such a book AND that she didn't even like the way it ended she was still able to create an amazing story for girls with such great morals!! An easy read and a must for all modern, American, educated about literature through movies girls.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gia Is Great!!!

This weekend was lots of fun!! We spent Saturday night at the Jazz game in New Jersey with our friends the Hayters and Ben's brother, Nate, and his wonderful girlfriend, Gia. It was a good, exciting game, but as some might know, the Jazz lost by only a few points. We stayed the night at a hotel near the airport and spent the next day with Nate and Gia in NYC. Gia works for MSNBC and was able to give us an exclusive (and free) tour of the NBC studios. This was my favorite part of the trip...or at least in the top few! She took us to Conan O'Brien's studio and we got to pretend...

That is Raleigh and Kellen Hayter with Ben and Luke in Conan's bandstand.

That is Nate and Gia with much more impressive "pretending" faces!

We got to pretend some more on the Today Show set! This was really fun to see. I was amazed at how small the set was. I always assumed the "back stage" area would be twice or triple as big as what you saw on TV. It's not! It's very small.

If you look closely you'll see Caleb sprawled out on the floor there. We all walked away and he tried to come down the steps big-boy style and bit the dust. He didn't even cry; I had forgotten about it until I saw this picture. He's a tough one!

This is Nate pretending to be a grouchy camera man! We also got the see the SNL set, which was super fun to. We were there the day after Mariah Carey performed. I don't have any pictures of this set because Gia took us there first and it didn't don on me to get the camera out until we were walking away...idiot, I know! Gia works right outside Ann Curry's office and she even let us have a peek inside. Down the hall was Tom Brokaw's office which we also got to see and Ben said, "It's just like I would have pictured his office to be."

After the tour we went to the StarLight Diner (I think that's what it was called) on Broadway and paid way to much money for mediocre food! This restaurant is the one where the servers sing. Contrary to the food, all the singers were really good. Sunday night we drove to Philadelphia so that Ben could spend a day at Johnson & Johnson where he will be doing his internship this summer. J&J were so kind in setting us up on the top floor of the Loew's Hotel in downtown. I have to say, I was a little apprehensive about trooping my boys through this fine hotel only to receive pitying looks from busy business men and women, but it was all great! Thankfully both boys saved their most dramatic meltdowns for the elevators and our suite.

The service was great, and I have to wonder if this was because we were "floor 32" clients, or they are simply amazing at customer service. The concierge was particularly wonderful, giving the boys toys and offering up lists of great family-friendly restaurants. The next morning he was all a'shining with his interest in how our night went. It was great! The following night, Ben's dad found us a great deal at the Marriott across the street. A normally $250 room only cost $70 bucks on Funny though, when we got up to our room we thought, "Eh, not so great! A little small and no flat screen." FOR A $250 ROOM! Our standards changed in a night!! Don't worry, they came right back down after getting home!! Here is the only picture I got of the Loew's Hotel room. The view was amazing, with windows stretching the entire length of the room and into the bathroom. I loved it and one night was not enough!

Lastly, (and then I'll end this crazy-long post) a huge thanks to Gia not only for the tour, but for also spoiling my boys. The last couple times we have seen Gia she has left money with Luke and Caleb in order to buy a new toy. Luke and Caleb are now the proud owners of this Little Einsteins Space Ship and crew! Thanks Gia!!!! They love it and I am ready to rip out it's batteries..."We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship, there's so much to see, Little Einsteins..." I suppose it's only natural!

Weird Cornell Dragon Burning

Every year the Engineering Dept at Cornell spend months planning and building a giant Dragon to be marched through campus to it's inevitable death. Hundreds of undergrads dress up in strange costumes, none of which seemed to have any sort of theme, and many of them are drunk and chanting, "Burn, baby, burn!"

Professors, local families, and students line the streets around campus and then follow the procession to the Art Quad where the local fire department has secured an area where the dragon is burned to death.And that's it! The boys, including my biggest one, loved it as you can imagine, but to me it all felt a little mid-evilish.

An extra tid-bit...Cornell has many international students and as we were leaving and walking through the crowds two different sets of Asian girls stopped Luke and asked to take their picture with him. He loved it and thought it was pretty funny! I tried to get my camera out to get a picture of them taking a picture, but I was to slow, and I never thought it would happen a second time - I was still to slow.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It Must Be A Rollins Gene

My Grandma sent this stuffed cat to Luke a few months ago and he loves it. He sleeps with it every night. He seems to have a thing for cats! I asked him if when we move to a house someday if he'd like a dog and he says, "No, I want a cat." I don't get it! I'm definitely not a cat person - they make me sneeze and dogs are just more fun! Ben, on the other hand, prefers cats. He'll pet a neighbors cat way sooner than he'd bend down to pet their dog. Ben's brothers, Nate and Clint also love cats. Nate has adopted many in the years I've been a Rollins and Clint left a cat at home before his mission with instructions that it be there when he gets back. I don't get it!

This little trick was inherited by both of us - the roll of the tongue. Although...I swear I was in grade school before I realized I could do it! Luke said, "Hey Mom, look what I can do." Caleb watched and then said, "Uhhh" with his tongue stuck out and rolled.

It's hard to see in this picture, but Caleb really can do it!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Icy In Ithaca

Ice Storms!! This picture does not do justice to the amazing consequence of norhteastern ice storms. Although it's crazy cold, the ice covered trees are amazing. This picture was taken on Saturday and on Sunday morning the sun was shining which is a whole new feast for the eye. The sun shines through the ice on the trees and it's like they are covered with lights. Problem is that when the ice begins to melt it falls off the trees and telephone wires in sometimes, big chunks which can be devastating to your cars...or head!
Pretty cool, huh?? While it was raining ice outside we went ice skating. Here is a snap-shot progression of Luke's learning to ice skate. He began with a death grip on dad and even tears!
There were giant orange cones all over the ice and someone finally clued us in...these aren't for directing traffic, they are for learning to skate. Holding onto these cones helped a lot!

And finally - success and consequently happiness!! Ben was a little worried his son would forever hate skating, and then there would be NO hope for another Rollins hockey player!