Category: parenthood

Staycation

I had forgotten just how much I am a fan of a good staycation. 

A couple of years ago, I took one at the end of a grueling summer. That one was so sorely needed that it barely counts.

Since I bought my car in 2013, I sort of got away from staycations and moved toward road trips.  In fact, Alex and I almost embarked upon a mini road trip that would have been ending right now, had I not decided to just stay home.

It was the right move. Alex and I mostly hung out at home, him doing him, me doing me all vacation long.

That is, until the night he decided that he wanted to teach me how to play a game that he learned at school. He taught me how to play a card game called, “Speed.”

He explained the instructions to me, and then we were off. He couldn’t believe how quickly I picked the game up. I think that he discovered just how competitive that I can be. I discovered that he inherited the gene. We stayed up past midnight playing the game. This alone made me grateful for our staycation.

Even if I can’t beat him every round.

In Search of a Coney Dog


On a whim, I asked Alex if he wanted to go on a quest to find the best coney dog in the area. Okay, okay, area  has a loose interpretation here. I included Flint because despite being from Flint, I’ve never had a coney at Angelo’s.

Why did I even do this? I’m not a huge hot dog fan, so the thought of chasing these saucy wieners around town isn’t right up there on the top of my list…but the universe must have known that this would be exciting to Alex. So, I asked and now we start the quest.

Being a planner, I had to start a list. What are we missing?

Ypsi-area

Ann Arbor

Flint

Detroit

Any suggestions? Favorites?

Road Trip Love

Now that my son is officially a teenager, the whole thing about time flying is smacking me in my face. He has already reached the age where he sometimes has plans for his own time that are different that what I had in mind. Over the last couple years, we’ve taken a few road trips together, and we both see them as a tradition. We drive somewhere, see some things and listen to some audiobooks. Last summer, we didn’t take a trip for a few reasons. For starters, that was the year following buying a house and I was spending money left and right on the house. He also had his first job working as a CIT at his summer day camp. The training for his job occurred during the time we’d normally hit the road. I had some work-related responsibilities to fulfill  at the end of the summer, the other time we’d normally hit the road.

This has me longing for a road trip.

Planning a road trip for us, and likely any family, is all about the balance. I would be perfectly content planning a road trip that was just one historically significant place after the next. While my son is a good sport, I don’t think that he’d like that too much. 

Mount Rushmore, though, would be interesting to behold even to one who isn’t the president fan that I am. There is no way I was going to do an out and back from Michigan to South Dakota, so I took a look at the map. Denver isn’t that far away from South Dakota, especially considering the distance that this trip will cover. This would be a good opportunity to swing out in that direction and see some natural scenes that we would not see where we’re from. I’ve been wanting to visit both the Eisenhower and Truman presidential libraries, and this might be the trip for that.  Along the same lines as rolling through Denver, it seems like a waste of miles to go into Missouri without visiting Kansas City and St. Louis.

If I’m headed home from St. Louis, I couldn’t possibly ignore Springfield, Illinois. I mean, a gal needs her Lincoln fix, right. Right?!?

That is how the outline of a road trip has come together.

I look forward to planning it out in much more detail in the coming months. After all, these are the things that memories are made of.

 

Watercolor Fun

mom-birchMy son is always making things. He is also the sort of kid who never really has an answer if you ask him something like, “What do you want for your birthday?” As a result, he has amassed quite a collection of art supplies.

Art is something that Alex enjoys; it is his thing. So, my approach as pretty much been one of letting him be, and giving him the space to do whatever he wants. However, I noticed that he only uses a few of his supplies. He’s branched out a tiny bit, but he seems to only use the the things he’s sure how to use. 

So, I wondered what would happen if I asked him to make something with me. I wanted to get him to try watercolors. He was game. We followed a YouTube tutorial and made mom and son paintings.

It was very interesting to follow something step-by-step with him. It illustrated the difference in our personalities/approaches very clearly. I had watched the video once already when I found the activity that I wanted to do with him. Then we watched it together. I followed the steps pretty closely. He followed them loosely. At one point, he realized that he had done something totally different than what the instructions required. He was pretty bummed. I told him to work with it anyway. In my opinion, that’ what made his painting more interesting than mine.

About three quarters of the way through the project, Alex lit up and said, “Hey, we did this in art class.” It was so weird to me that he didn’t realize this until we were almost done. Sort of. It is abundantly clear that the way that Alex processes things is different than the way I do.

He told me that he was glad that we had done the project together and that he would like to do more things like this together in the future. I am determined to take advantage of this while he still feels this way. 
birch-alex