Monday, February 13, 2012

Mickey's 8th Birthday

In the wink of an eye, Mickey is going to be 9 years old and here I sit on photos from his 8th birthday. Previous birthdays always featured a meltdown supreme, but not so for his 8th birthday. Hallelujah! Because of the previous meltdowns, we decided to keep the festivities for this birthday close at home. Mickey invited a handful of friends over for playtime in the yard and homemade pizzas in front of the TV where they all watched "Rango". Funny movie.

Tom's job was to organize the party games. It being summer and hot, what better games to play than those with water balloons? They started with a free-for-all throw fest, then a back-to-back partner race trying not to drop or squish the water balloons, and then an all out shoot out with water guns and wicked squirter poles, or whatever they're called.




My job was the food. Dinner started with homemade pizzas. I wish I could say that the ingredients came from my garden, but alas, that's not possible. The crusts were made from scratch, but the only thing on those pizzas from my garden was the basil, everything else game from Big Y's garden.


I must confess, however, that these pizzas
- one for each kid -
were the most successful homemade pizzas ever.


Every year Mick tells me what kind of cake he wants. This tradition started after I made him a carousel birthday cake for his 3rd birthday. The next year it was a monkey cake, then a shark cake, then a tiger cake, then an alligator cake. For each cake I made coordinating cupcakes. I can tell I'm getting old because I talked him out of wanting both this year. I suggested that we do really special cupcakes. His birthday present - Tipper, in the photo above - was the inspiration for the cupcakes below.

  Mick wanted to open all the presents while all the kids were present, which we've done in the past, but this year we made him wait until all the party guests had gone home. Well, all but one. Lily, who visits her dad up the street every other weekend is one of Mickey's best friends, if not the best. She is one of those playmates that make me think of the kids in "To Kill A Mockingbird". Well, sort of. Neither Mickey or Lily are like Scout or Jim or Dill. It's their relationship and the fun times they have that is what's reminiscent of the kids in that movie. I think when they're grown, they're going to look back on all the weekends and summers they've spent together as deeply important and truly memorable.

It was a great birthday, so I'm thinking Tom and I have come up with a recipe for success.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Summer Camp 2011

Yes. I am way behind in posting. And I thought I'd better slap these photos up quick before Summer Camp 2012 is underway. It could happen.

The first two summers here found Mickey at a summer camp not far from the house called Flying Cloud. It was a very eccentric and eclectic place with a varied curriculum and amazing teachers. It was hugely expensive to send Mick there, but since Tom and I both work and no family lives nearby, we had no choice. Now that Tom is a public school teacher and on the same schedule essentially as Mick, we decided to mix up Mick's summer camp a bit and not send him to one summer camp the entire summer. We also found that by placing him with different day camps around the area, each camp having a narrow focus, we could actually save money and give him a more varied yet concentrated experience.

Since Mick loves art, drawing specifically, we enrolled him in various classes at an art school in Stockbridge, a town two towns north of where we are. While he was there he seemed to love it, but after it was all over, he confessed he found it boring. I think that if his classes were more drawing centered and not so arts craftsy, he's like them better. Who knows. Below are a few photos of the school and some of his finished products.

Each class lasted a week and had a different theme. One theme was "Up, Up and Away!" and focused on things that flew. Below is his hot air balloon - a very heavy hot air balloon made of ceramic, a bird and a wind sock.

Mickey's spent one week at a soccer camp from 9 am to 3 pm. I thought for sure he'd hate it. I can't hardly get him outside at home for more than 15 minutes at a time, and here he was going to have to be outside in the heat, sweating and with bugs a plenty but he loved it.

His last week of summer camp was spent at a YMCA camp called Camp Wa Wa Segowea and it is not five minutes from the house. At this camp he got to do all kinds of things - swimming, boating, archery, and all kinds of games. Again, he was outside all ding dong day in the woods with bugs and he loved it so much he wants to spend a week of sleep away camp there this coming summer. We're contemplating fewer day camps this coming summer, but letting him show us how grown up he can be - Oh, Lord! - and go to sleep away camp at Camp Wa Wa for one week. He'd love it, if he could hold it together. I'd be a little weirded out, but thankfully it is, like I said, not five minutes from the house. We'll see.