Sunday, September 28, 2008

Little Legs!

This morning was Tyler's 4th Learn-to-Skate Lesson. He did great! For the first time since starting class, he made it the entire hour! When you are in the stands and you see what these coaches have these little guys do, you know this is a major feat! Tyler skated backwards, practiced his stops, and did the obstacle course. Towards the end of the class, his entire group lined up at the blue line and they all took turns skating as fast as they could from the blue line to the red line and back. Here was Tyler's turn:

Look at those "Little Legs" go!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Tomorrow is my last day at work. I am scared to death! I am excited! My blood pressure is above 300! Help!

I have worked at MSPCC now for 8 1/2 years, not including a year prior to that as a graduate intern. I have done therapy, clinical intakes, parenting group, parenting assessments, FST assessments, special projects, supervised the Community Support Program. I have helped out at Christmastime with the toys that are donated. I have written thank-you notes for the donors, I have solicited for donors, I have done just about everything there is to possibly do there and it all ends at the close of business Friday.

I am leaving with mixed emotions. Anyone who has heard me speak about what I have been doing since moving out East has been flabbergasted that I have traveled in and out of really cruddy neighborhoods and have survived. I have also done my fair share of complaining and looking for a new position for many years now. In recent months, I was finally able to understand why things happened the way they did and become comfortable with my daily routine at work. It's going to end... soon! I am becoming more and more weepy as the time nears, but I imagine the butterflies will be going crazy with excitement on Monday morning as I drive to Boston for orientation.

I have lived in Massachusetts for 10 years. I worked with MSPCC for most of that time. I graduated from graduate school, got married, had a child, bought 2 houses, and switched positions 4 times while I was there. As I clean out my desk, filing cabinets, and shelves, I find things with "Jennifer Perry" written on them and become sad. I started there when I was 23 years old! I also find notes on old staff and friends that have come and gone a long time ago and think back to when my area office was a hallway with less than 10 offices. We are now 3 floors...

I have to be proud that I have lasted as long as I have with the agency and who I have worked for and with. I can not be upset with any experience that MSPCC has provided me, good or bad. I will shed tears on Friday as I have to part with the only "family" I have in the area other than Tyler and Frank. My staff are my kids away from home and I can only hope that they will remember me as fondly as I remember them! I would like to think that when I run into one of them in 10 years that they will thank me for what I did. I know I thank them for their hard work, dedication, and patience that they exhibit. My demands are not easy.

This is my best effort at this point to sum up all the feelings I have. Thanks for reading and wish me luck!

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
~Carol Sobieski and Thomas Meehan

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Springfield Quadrangle

On Friday, I decided that Tyler and I needed to have a "Mommy and Ty-ty" day. I did this for a few reasons. The biggest one is that my baby is going to be 4 (!) in a few weeks and it seems that over the last month he has matured like no other! Another reason is that with my upcoming job move, I will not be able to just take a day off for a few months. The last reason was probably the most important one for Tyler-- the Science Museum has a special exhibit in town and despite it being there for the summer, we just never made it! It is called "Hatching the Past" and is all about dinosaur eggs!

On Friday morning Tyler and I headed out on our own after a leisurely morning getting dressed. That does not happen very much around here during the week! we stopped and got coffee for Mommy and a doughnut for Tyler at Dunkin Donuts and then drove to downtown Springfield. I t was great inside the museum! There was hardly anyone there and because we had seen most of it already, we knew exactly where we wanted to visit! Of course we stopped in "Dinosaur Hall" and visited the Tyrannosaurus Rex model and the Stegosaurus fossil. Then we went into the "African Plains" and listed to the animal sounds and saw all the stuffed wild animals. Our favorite was the Warthog! The elephant was pretty impressive, too. Tyler was very happy to remind me that he was on one once and it was just as big as the one in the museum (I guess she forgot that I was right behind him on the elephant ride!).

Then we found the special exhibit. We were the only ones there and that was totally awesome! Tyler was able to go as he wanted between all the display cases and look at what he wanted to without having to fend anyone off! He had a great time playing archaeologist in the Sauropods eggs nest:

He also loved to look at the fossilized dinosaur in the egg:
When we finished with the egg exhibit, we made our way down to the "hands-on" exhibit area where we did dinosaur puzzles and didn't have to share with anyone else!
It was such a beautiful day outside that we took a walk to the Dr. Seuss garden. I had visited here once before when it first opened in 2000 and thought that Tyler would love it. For anyone who does not know, Theodor Giesel Seuss spent a lot of his life in Springfield, Massachusetts and some of the books he has written are in actual reference to places around town (Mulberry Street really exists!).

As soon as we walked up to the statues, Tyler immediately wanted to go and see Horton:
He also spent time with Max, the Grinch's dog and with the Lorax. On our way out, we stopped by to see a little turtle named Mac and his buddy Yertle:

I really could not have asked for a better day! It was really wonderful to be able to go out with him and spend time like we did. I know that I will have many more days like this to look forward to in year number 4!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet Tyler's "Guys"!

Tonight while I was giving Tyler a bath, he started talking about all his "guys". "Guys" is his word for any of his toys he plays with-- action figures, army guys, stuffed animals. Last week, Grandma Perry sent his some very real looking bugs (thanks, Grandma!). He decided tonight was the night to give them all names (I really couldn't keep them all straight at this point!). I told Tyler that when he was out of the tub, we should take pictures of him with all of his favorite "guys" that he sleeps with at night. This way we would have pictures to remember them all by.

After the bath was done, and he was dressed in his pajamas, he went right to his room and started posing for me! It was very cute and a few of these "guys" even makes me laugh!

The first, and most important one- Kitty. When Tyler was an infant or very young toddler, we found Kitty at Toy-R-Us. We were playing in the bins of stuffed animals and he was immediately drawn to this one. I told myself to let him hold it while we were in the store and before I knew it, Kitty was strapped into his seat with him on the way home. He has slept with Kitty during every nap and nighttime from then on. Kitty has traveled the ends of the Earth with Tyler (sometimes in a suitcase, but nonetheless with us!). A few months after we purchased Kitty, I had to buy Kitty's twin, and her residence is Tyler's daycare!

Ahhhh, Teddy Dufus and Teddy Rufus! Both big, soft, cuddly stuffed bears that were baby gifts before Tyler was even born! Even though Tyler is growing older, these guys still have important places in his room and they watch him sleep every night.

This is Teddy Chins. He was a gift from the Plainedge, New York Emergency Room (I think of him as a "thank you for visiting us, please come again" kind of gift.). Tyler aptly named him on the ride home from the E.R. on the 4th of July after his chin (get it?) was fixed with glue (I thought duct tape was supposed to fix everything?).

These two "guys" have the special privilege (at least this month) of sleeping right next to Tyler at night. They are Carny (the dog) and Sharky (the shark). We got Sharky when were in Florida in April. Carny was the very special prize that the woman working the carnival game at the fair a few weeks ago let Tyler and Frank win.
And last, but not least, Rexy and Johnny Cash! Rexy was a gift from Grandma this summer and immediately was given a prime spot on the bed when we returned home from Indiana. Johnny Cash was a Build-a-Bear design. Tyler and I visited there a year ago and wanted to make a special friend that would protect him at night. He was so excited when he found a Triceratops to stuff and design! On the was home Tyler said to me "I have a great idea, Mommy! Why don't we call him Johnny Cash?". The rest, they say, is history!

So there you have it! The history behind Tyler's prized "guys." This only breaks the iceberg of when he sleeps with on a regular night, there are still pillows, a stuffed Power Ranger, and some other random things I find when I change the sheets! On Sunday night, Tyler even fell out of bed because he ran out of room! But I will not be the one to kick one of these "guys" out of bed!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Meet My Family!

Hi! My name is Tyler and I am 3. Next month I will turn 4-years-old. I love dinosaurs, Cars, playing outside, the Yankees, Green Bay, and hockey. My favorite song is The Grand Old Flag and if I could eat ketchup for every meal, I would. I am a very smart guy and I am always looking for new ways to entertain myself. My Mom is always looking for ways to entertain me as well. She says I get in trouble when I have nothing to do. The other day she let me use her old camera. I had so much fun with it! Here are some of my first shots:

Aren't I cute?

That is my Mommy. She is a wonderful person and I love her very much! She loves to take pictures of me and spend time with her family. She said that she would eat Chinese food for every meal if she could. She also said that she would like a little more sleep during the week, but that will come in time.
That's my daddy. He is so strong! I want to grow up and be just like him! He loves the Islanders and is very sad that the Miami Dolphins are not starting out like he thought they would. He would eat pizza for every meal if he had a choice. He loves watching Sunday football with all of us and wishes every day were Sunday.

Where are the buttons?

Here is a small snippet from a morning in the Genovese household:

Me (from inside the master bathroom-- I am, of course, running behind!): "Tyler, are you getting dressed out there?"

Tyler (in the master bedroom): "Yes, Mommy, I am!"

Me: "Thank you."

I decide to take a peek and make sure that my super smart 3-year-old is not pulling a fast one on me. I see this:

And I ask: "Tyler, where are your buttons?"

Tyler replies: "They disappeared, Mommy!"

Yeah, right!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Learn-to-Skate, 2008

This morning Tyler started his Learn-to-Skate program with Holy Name Hockey Association. He was thrilled! When we got to the rink, it was a madhouse! Parents and kids were everywhere. Some were signing in, others were getting their jerseys, and a lot of people were just hanging out. After we signed in and collected our jersey, we were directed to a locker room where parents were getting their children all dressed for a morning on the ice. Tyler took it all in stride and just wanted Frank to put his helmet on! He was so excited and so proud to finally get his own coaches and his own jersey:

Unfortunately, the smallest jersey was a small-- no extra-small, no preschooler size! just small! we (like many parents) improvised and rolled the sleeves. Tyler was a pro in the locker room, he went right in and took a seat on the bench and was dressed in 10 minutes.
The children were divided up into skill levels. This is a picture of the "Walker Group." (Tyler is out there somewhere!) There were a lot of kids (and a lot of coaches) in this group. They all looked very similar-- black helmets, white jerseys, and black skates. It was like a game of "Where's Waldo" on the ice! While they were doing their drills I just kept thinking to myself "these coaches have great patience!"-- all of these kids were 3 to 6 years old!
"There you are!" One of the few times he actually looked for us while he was on the ice doing drills! He was so excited-- he listened to everything they told him to do and did it (I think they are on to something....). During drills they practiced starting and stopping, getting on their feet after a fall, and skating backwards.
Here's Tyler making his way across the ice. During the car ride home I asked him what his coaches were telling them out on the ice. He said that they told them to skate to the boards, stop when they heard to whistle, and to go to the big windows (huh?).
Although class was 60 minutes long, Tyler discovered the open door leading off the ice at the 45 minute mark. Who could blame to poor kid? We could tell he was beat! After a bit, whenever they would do a lap he would stop and lean over his walker in pure exhaustion and catch his breath. We took him out and started to get him changed. He was soaked with sweat!

Enjoy the video! It is a bit long and you will see how all the kids looked the same. At the 20 second mark you will see the coach come over and turn him around. What a guy! He was so cute to watch and I can't wait for next week!

Adios, Hannah!

Thanks for your parting gift!

Last night, we got rain. We got a lot of rain! Tropical Storm Hannah blew through our area and took her time in departing the East coast. There was one report that the town of Wilbraham received 6 inches of rain from the time the storm began to when it ended.

Frank and decided last night to hang out in the basement and play a few games on the Wii. After awhile, we noticed that there was a little water in some parts of the basement. A little while later, we noticed that there was a lot of water in a lot of areas of the basement! We stopped playing the Wii, and refocused our energy on making sure that everything was off the floors. At midnight we began watching Saturday Night Live. At 12:30AM, I got up and looked down. There was a PUDDLE under my feet, in the middle of the floor! Ye gads! After a few minutes of watching the room become wetter and wetter, I went to bed.

Frank stayed up and began to use the wet/dry vacuum. No use. When I got up this morning, I ran downstairs and took a look. I did not have to go any farther than the basement stairs to see what was in store for us today. The water was standing at the bottom of the stairs and in most of the basement. After hockey this morning, we picked up an extra wet-dry vacuum and went to work on the floors.

The bad news is that the floors were a lot more wet then in these pictures. The good news is that they are more dry. The bad news is that there is still a lot more drying to be done. Wish us luck!

The utility room. Our house has an old coal chute and although it is no longer in use and not accessible from the outside, the rain made its way into the house through it (and many other areas!). Cruddy picture, but Frank is posing with our new best friend-- the wet-dry vacuum!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Paging the future Mr. Hockey!

After weeks of research, we found a Learn-to-Skate program that is capable (and willing) to take on an ambitious and energetic 3-year-old! We start tomorrow morning promptly at 10:30A.M.. Most of today was spent outfitting Tyler for his first practice tomorrow. I don't know who is more excited, Frank or Tyler!

From what we understand about the Learn-to-Skate, the kids are divided up by their skill level- the beginners who skate with a walker (Tyler), the intermediates who no longer need the walker, and the advanced group who are using a stick and a puck on the ice. By the end of the season, hopefully Tyler will have graduated from the beginners level into another group.

In the skate store, we had to find shin pads, elbow pads, gloves, and a helmet. The salesman kept telling us "that is the smallest those come in"! Luckily Tyler fit into most of the equipment and at the end of our excursion I didn't pass out from sticker shock!

When we got home, Tyler tried on all of his new equipment and played on his rink in the basement for awhile. He was so excited to finally have his own stuff, including gloves that are "just like daddy's, all black! We match!". We can't wait until tomorrow morning when our little guy steps onto the ice and meets his first hockey coach! (**sniffle, sniffle!**)

Are you ready for some football?

We are!

Tyler got out his field goal kicking "Super-Toe" football guy this morning and was playing with him. He kept saying that he was kicking "yard fields." For the first time ever he was able to build the uprights without asking for our help. It hit me that as he gets older and starts doing more on his own that he is less and less my baby!

I hope that by the end of this football season Tyler will accomplish a few things:

1) He will know the difference between field goals and the yard lines on the field.
2) He will recognize the fact that Brett Favre is no longer the Quarterback of the Packers and that Aaron Rodgers is (despite the constant showing of the NFL '08 PlayStation cover!).
3) We will see I.U. play in yet another bowl game-- and win!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Three County Fair

Labor Day weekend means one thing in the Genovese household-- Three County Fair in Northampton! Ever since we stumbled on this gem of an outing last year, we looked forward to going again this year! Needless to say, we filled our pockets with money and made sure we had our comfy shoes on and only hoped that we would have as much fun this year as we did in 2007!

The first buildings we hit were the "Farm-o-Rama" buildings. We spent a lot of time looking for horses only to find either Alpacas or Llamas. After awhile, Tyler decided that he had enough of them and that daddy smelled better than they did! We eventually made our way into the petting zoo/children's area where much to my delight they had a HUGE pig! He really brought me back to my Indiana State Fair days! Tyler would only get as close to him as you see in this shot. I am not sure if he thought maybe he actually move or what! From the barns we wandered through the fair grounds and came across the "Trout Fishing" tank. Last year Tyler caught a fish within 3 seconds, threw the pole into the water and froze. this year we waited and waited and waited only to pull the pole from the water and find that something had nibbled the bait from the hook! Tyler loved watching the fish swim around however and even practiced throwing the line into the water (Grandpa Perry would be proud!). More than one parent made sure they walked a wide path around us!
Of course we had to stop and see the big tractors. Tyler was trying to convince us that these tires are as big as the ones on our ride on mower. I am not so sure about that...
No fair is complete without rides! Tyler reprised Leonardo DiCaprio's role on the Titanic bounce house slide-- I can just hear his shouting "I am King of the World!".
He drove a Jeep....

...rode a motorcycle, not once...
...not twice, but three times! We even played a few games. Tyler and Frank both loved fishing for the sharks. I think the woman in charge of the game loved Frank as well! She kept making him try again and then gave him the "$20 prize" because Tyler was "so cute." Yeah, right! After all that playing, we were all very hungry! Tyler chose pizza and lemonade for dinner, while Frank and I settled on steak and cheese sandwiches. We all ate in the Grandstand while we waited for the Demolition Derby to start. At the end of the evening we had dessert-- soft serve vanilla ice cream for Tyler and fried dough with powdered sugar for Frank and I!
Being the smart mom I am, we packed jammies for Ty and changed him for the ride home. He was wiped out (as were his mom and dad!). We all had a great day and can't wait for the Three County Fair in 2009!
Tyler holding his $20 prize from the shark game!