Monday, April 28, 2008
Opening day greeted us with gray skies and mid 40 degree weather. Which wouldn't have been so bad, had we not had to stand outside for 5+ hours. Ah well, such are the joys of New England... gorgeous sunny 70s all week , then you need to break out the parkas.
The numbers are all their own doing. Totally planned. Pipo and EJ got their shirts first, and they all decided Margaret and Charlie would need to get #s 2 and 4 to make it all coordinated. My kids crack me up.
Our Little League website has a very cool feature where you can plug in multiple teams and create your own schedule. I put in all our times and was horrified to see the length of the printout... over 60 events in all. So much for unstructured. But we are now in the countdown. We will muckle through these 2 months, and then it will be summer. Ahhh, summer and our big Blue Bus. We will say goodbye to structure for 2 blissful months. Until then.... Play Ball!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
75 degrees and blue skies, everyone sleeping in until almost 9, Pipo making bacon, EJ stirring the pancake batter, kids jamming to Wylcef Jean, no real plans for the day.... life is good!
Little League season is almost underway, and these types of mornings will be few and far between. I grew up playing every sport I could sign up for, and loved every minute of it. I never thought much about all the scheduling, running around, and driving all over the place my parents did. I know sports can be a great thing for kids. I know they can teach them so many things, along with giving them fun, structured time with friends. I guess it's that word that gets me sometimes. Structure. I fully believe that structure is good and necessary for kids... some of the time. But sometimes it stifles the best part of kids.
We just finished a weeklong Spring break here. I didn't have very much planned, and we lucked out with some amazing weather. The kids spent almost the entire week outside, doing whatever came to their minds. Half a tree fort was completed, a giant skateboard was created, and attempted to be ridden by individuals and sometimes several kids at a time (along with a few skinned knees!) A small funeral was organized for a dead goldfish... several neighbors attended. A lemonade stand with live music was set up, and brought the neighbors all out of the woodwork, creating a sort of impromptu block party. Many new creations were baked by small hands (chocolate banana peanut butter cookies!) and many many books were read while lazing in the hammock or the front porch swing.
We try to limit the structure around here, because the beauty of a week like this is blatant to me. I wholeheartedly think this is the best way for kids to grow up, and learn. But in today's society, structure is the norm. We limit our kids to one activity per season. I am always amaze at the folks whose kids play on multiple teams at once... I just couldn't keep up. But even with one sport, when you multiply it by all the kids here, it does tend to take over life. I am looking forward to walking over to the baseball park to watch the kids play. I know they love it, love being with their friends, love playing any sports, love being outside. But a big part of me will miss moments like this one. The pure, unstructured joy of a lazy Saturday morning.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Been away too long, but it's spring break here in Fitzville and life is crazy... well, crazier than usual. So I thought I would make this long overdue post about a long overdue subject.
I have never really explained the name of this blog. It would be easy to assume it is just a cutesy play on our name. But people who know me would tell you that I could never be accused of being cutesy. The real reason for the name of this blog is that life in Fitzville, or more accurately, life with Fitz really is a whole 'nother world. I learned this right off the bat in our earliest days together, and it still hasn't changed. I'm glad it hasn't changed, because I couldn't imagine any other life. But it's a life most others who haven't stepped into it could probably not imagine.
In the very beginning of our marriage I used to get the occasional phone call that would go something like this...
Caller: "Hi, Denise! I was just calling about tonight... what can we bring?"
Me: "Uhmm... what?"
Caller: "Tonight.... Fitz said around 7 is good, so we don't want to come empty handed!"
Me: "Uhmmm... what?"
Thankfully, I have become slightly more articulate when answering the phone these days, but the pattern hasn't changed much. Just last Saturday, Fitz and I were talking about how we had the rare free day and night, with no scheduled activities, no plans. I was out running errands a little bit later, and my cell phone rang.lt was the phone call mentioned above... "So, what should we bring tonight?" Later that evening there were probably about 50 people scattered around our house and backyard. The photo above is kids diving into the spur of the moment feast. I will take partial blame for this. I have not only learned to roll with the punches here in Fitzville, I have learned to take off running with it. Once that fist phone call started I was as guilty as he was with mentioning to everyone I ran into that afternoon that there might be a bonfire in our backyard later.
So I don't know why I was so surprised yesterday. We celebrated Fitz's 50th birthday Monday night with a crowd of friends coming to here him perform at a little bar in the city. I left early to go relieve the sitter, and left Fitz with the guys, knowing someone would get him home. Yesterday he calls me from work, and casually mentions that he met a folksinger from Nova Scotia at the end of the night, and she didnt have a place to stay on Tuesday. She was asking for recommendations for local hotels, as she was without a car and waiting for a flight on Wednesday. Of course, he told her we have plenty of room... my wife won't mind!
So we packed up all the kids last night and headed into Cambridge to an open mike, and heard some great music, and we've made a great new friend. I don't even blink when I get these phone calls now. In fact, it was me sitting up until 1am talking about Nova Scotia last night, and planning a future trip on the big Blue Bus. I guess I should laugh at the fact that our kids don't even blink.... "Where are we going Mom?" "Oh.. just to go pick up some lady we've never met... she's staying here tonight." "Okay... can we get in the van now?"
It's Life in Fitzville... I guess our kids have never known any different. And I wouldn't want it any other way.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Is going to a Kindergarten screening tomorrow. I have talked nonchalantly all year about how Tommy starts Kindergarten next year, but now it's a reality. This is the end of an era in Fitzville...I have been home for 10 years now, and soon they will all be in school. Where did the time go?
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
My friend over at Smiles and Trials recently wrote a post titled Pro-Homework. I have been thinking about it for several days now, and wanted to write a friendly rebuttal. The funny thing is, though I have a completely opposite viewpoint, I found myself agreeing with many of the points she made. That's the wonderful thing about parenting... so many styles, and so many ways to make things work.
Many of our friends are shocked to learn how anti-homework we are here in Fitzville. I mean, we are a two teacher family... what gives? But honestly, I think our backgrounds in education is a big part of why we are so anti-homework. We have lived the day to day school life with these kids, and know how hard they work... why pile on more on top of that? As kids get older, I do understand the need for studying and reinforcing, but when they are young... the grade school years... I just don't see the point. If my child is struggling in any area, I am very open to the teacher talking with me about it, and I will help reinforce at home. But so much of the work that is sent home are mindless worksheets.
Our main reason for being anti-homework is that there are way to many other cool things for our kids to be doing other than more schoolwork. Like building forts... or catching bugs... or fighting with their siblings. Seriously.... there is a lot to be learned while fighting with a sibling! The fine art of negotiation, compromise, debate, logic... an entire curriculum could be built around sibling squabbles.
Last spring, I met with Pipo's teachers and the principal of the school he would be moving up to. We talked about the progress he had made, and what we would want for him in the coming year. Many suggestions were made about things we could do with him over the summer. I took this conversation to heart, and honestly meant to follow up on these suggestions. Honestly... I swear! But time got away from us, and summer is so much fun, and there are so many cool things going on... besides the fact that we spend a decent amount of time in the world's coolest place ever. As school approached, I got a little nervous that I hadn't broken out a single flashcard, or given him any writing assignments, or even had him read any of the recommended books. But a funny thing happened when school started. His teachers came to me raving about the amount of progress he had made over the summer. "What did you do with him? He has come so far!" Nothing more than letting him be a good old fashioned kid for the summer. All that learning comes from places beyond the books. And those are the places I am interested in showing my kids after school... not extending their school days.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Thursday, April 3, 2008
With a recent post about our table, my friend, Mayhem requested a better picture of the table being used. Well there is no night better to see the magic of this table than a Wednesday night. It's amazing to me how our Wednesday spaghetti dinners evolve over time. Last night dinner was in 3 rounds. The smaller kids (12 last night) ate first and ran outside to play while it was still light out. The teens (6) at next and then went off to gossip and play music. And finally, the adults (12) sat down. There were two small babies that got past around, and a couple of stragglers who came in late for a quick bite.
Not every night is like this. Some nights only a small handful of people show up, and it's more of a quiet sit down dinner. Those nights are just as fun in a different way... a time to catch up with old friends and have some good conversations. But the kids definitely love the nights like last night. The wild chaos of it all, never knowing who will walk through the door next. I love Wednesday nights!