Tuesday, August 25, 2009

School's Comin'

We got our letter from our district school today saying which teacher our 5-year old will have. This is new territory for us--sending our firstborn off to school. Kindergarten around here is only half day. Our son is in the morning class. So, it's not too big of a deal. Just a couple hours. He can handle it; we can handle it (or so we're assuring ourselves at this point). We had met both of the teacher potentials--one actually subbed for the coach of his soccer team--and both are good, so at this point it was just knowing. He'll most likely be in the same class as a girl from our neighborhood he knows (her sister had the same teacher last year, so they were requesting the same one). Either way, chances are good that he'll be in class with some kid he knows from the park. And there'll be plenty of new friends.

Next week he goes in to meet his teacher and see the classroom. We're going to miss his opportunity to meet his bus driver, but that'll be okay. And so with just around a week and a half until Kindergarten starts, we're mostly ready to embark on this new journey. Parents of a Kindergartener. It's going to change dynamics at home. His younger brother will get more focused attention for one thing. And so it begins.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rainy Days

My wife was off yesterday & it was a another rainy day in the Twin Cities. But I needed a change of scenery. So out we went.

First stop: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Our 5-year old liked it. Egyptian mummy sarcophagus, swords, armor, African masks, sculptures, paintings. He wants to go back sometime with paper and pencil and draw, too. Our 2 1/2 year old wasn't as sold on the experience. He enjoyed some of it, but 20 minutes was about his tolerance level.

So we headed over to Como Park Zoo to see the butterflies once more before they leave for the summer (my wife hadn't seen them yet, either). We caught a break in the rain; there were no lines at the zoo and plenty of parking--which is a rarity in the summer. The boys were a bit worn out from late nights and no naps (not our fault--they just won't sleep), so we only saw the butterflies and the primate house. And that was enough. Enough to make it a nice day.

Some rainy days it's nice to be in the house and watch a movie or do an art project or bake some cookies; some rainy days its nice to be out and explore.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Watery Eyes

One of the many things I love about our five-year old is his sensitivity. At times he can be a bit overly dramatic, but there are times when he's quite sincere in displaying his emotions (which he definitely--and unfortunately--didn't learn from me). Tonight we were watching the movie Lilo & Stitch. Towards the end when Stitch and Lilo get separated, he started crying saying that he never wants to get lost (it may be connected to telling them the importance of always being right next to me when we were at the concert with 20-some thousand other people this weekend). One of the first movies he cried at was Iron Giant when the robot sacrifices itself to save humanity. There have been countless others in the last couple of years.

I know that I've been learning to be healthier recently by sharing my emotions rather than repressing them. I hope he never learns that it's wrong to cry (though we could loose a little of the drama at times). Plus, right now, at his age, it's a good excuse to get to hold him a little before he gets too big.

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Concert

My wife worked yesterday afternoon, so we dropped her off so we could have the car and go to a concert. It was a big outdoor venue with 7 artists over 7 hours (we weren't there for all of it) with skateboarders and other display areas. It was put on by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, so a few "altar calls" by Franklin Graham were part of it. It was only $10 for my ticket (the boys were free). We heard a few sets by DecembeRadio, SuperChick, Lecrae and Kirk Franklin. None were bands we knew well, but we'd heard some of their songs on the radio before. It was a long day and we didn't have extra money for food with (and didn't get to our cooler in the car until late), but the boys did well with it. I think they were a bit overwhelmed at times--there were several thousand people there. And we were so far away from the stage, it was hard for them to get energized with the crowd, but overall it was a good venue. It was a good first concert for them to attend. I didn't have to worry about much besides them getting lost (and I had my cell phone number "tatooed" on their arms), and they heard positive messages and saw vast diversity within the crowd (which is a positive for a "religious" gathering). Plus, I believe they had a good, memorable time.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cooling Off

We haven't had many opportunities this summer to cool off in style on the few occasions that we've had hot, humid weather. Oak Hills Park in St. Louis Park has a nice (and free) splash pad. The boys enjoy cooling off there on hot days. It's not far away, but it's unfortunately too far for us to bike to; thankfully my parents took us down along with my niece this week.

Today my wife didn't work until late afternoon, so we packed a picnic and headed to Lake Calhoun to cool off from the heat and humidity. Can you really enjoy summer in Minnesota until you've done some swimming or hung out by the water? For the boys, sand castles were high on the list of things to do as well.

We can't afford a swimming pool pass right now, but thankfully there are plenty of other ways to cool off around here.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Our boys went away for a couple nights to my parents' farm. They're coming back late tonight. I know some parents can't handle that well. We're all in favor of it. This was this first time its happened in a couple years. But it sure won't be the last. It's good for the boys as well as us. Our oldest was a little worried about going without us--even though he's done it when he was younger.

It's good for us as parents, too. Yesterday was my wife's day off, so had a whole-day date (farmers market, a couple art museums, dinner with friends and a movie). We seldom get out by ourselves anymore, not having a big babysitting base, so it was good to have some time with just us as a couple. Which, in turn, is good for the boys. The better our relationship is as husband and wife, the better we parent. Plus, our marriage was our first commitment. We need to put into that first before being parents.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Bus Ride

Last night our family went to the central school in town where all the new Kindergartners and their families were invited to learn about school bus safety and get a ride on a bus. Even our youngest sat well during the Winnie-the-Pooh bus safety video (with live actors in character costumes--a little scary, truth be told). And of course they loved the bus ride. Any big vehicle is good.

So in about a month, I'll be sending our firstborn off to school all by himself. I know that step can be hard for parents. But it's what we raise him to be able to do--live on his own someday, making the right decisions and following his faith. And we let them go a little at a time: the first sleep over away from home, the first bus ride to school, the first week away at camp . . . I don't want to think too much beyond that yet. But he can do it. And he'll do just fine. There may be some issues here and there to work through, but there always will be. As long as he remembers to stay seated and don't get too close to the bus after leaving, that's all we can ask.