Monday, June 28, 2010

Chore Chart

At the beginning of summer vacation from school, I told Matt and Ryan that I was going to create a summer chore chart so they would have responsibility and a little incentive for putting the house back together at the end of each day.  Most days if someone were to drop by, my house looks like seven different games going on simultaneously and the madness needs to stop.

Well, in true Matthew form, on June 21st (the actual first day of summer) he came to me and said..."Hey, remember you were going to make Ryan and I summer chore charts?"  Rolling my eyes, I told him I briefly remember the conversation and then said..."So, you really want me to go through with that??"  Are you sensing my lack of follow through and responsibility?

I had this big idea in mind.  Go to the teacher store, buy the class grid charts, buy the packs of smiley stickers for each chore done, and fill in all the chores and color code them for each boy .  It was all in my all looked darling...all I had to do was actually go and do it.  OR....I could go on-line and Google "chore charts for kids" and print out the ones that Parents Magazine already made.  Presto!  Two boys charts, colored coded for age group done!

When I finished putting them up, and adding a few chores to each of the lists, I brought both boys in to show them.  I explained the sticker/check program and what they mean and more importantly what they are worth.  I won't bore you with the actual points system and what a sticker vs. a check is worth, because frankly I had a hard time talking Rich out of four different symbols with each of them having a designated point.  Bottom line at the end of the week if Matt has a hundred points he gets a dollar.  If Ryan has fifty points he gets a dollar. 

Let me tell you, Matthew was ALL OVER THIS!  I had told the boys that we were starting the charts on Sunday and they are each a week at a time.  He was so excited.  Sunday morning at 7:30 he comes in my room jumps on the bed and said, "Mom, I already made my bed and I am on my way to brush my I get two stickers?"  I opened my eyes a crack and said..."Knock yourself out.  And shut the door on your way out."  Two minutes later I hear the sink turn off and feet running down the hall, followed by Matthew explaining to Rich that he ALREADY HAD TWO STICKERS AND RYAN HAD NONE!!!  At that point I threw the covers over my head and tried to will myself back to sleep. 

Now...on to Ryan.  Let's talk about Ryan and his enthusiasm for the chore chart....better yet, or the lack thereof.  Now, I understand he is three.  I get that.  However, Ryan doesn't follow his brother's regiment of "if I do this, then I get this."  Ryan is merely waiting for people to do things for him.  He likes the stickers, but wants nothing to do with the actual chore.  If I tell him to go brush his teeth, he whines and says..."But it will take too long.  I don't feel like it."  When I try and sweeten the deal with a sticker, he still has to be walked down the hall and I count off the time he has to brush his teeth so I feel some, if not all of his teeth, have been touched by toothpaste and or a brush.  He could care less.  And that feeds right into Matthew taunting him with the number of stickers he has compared to Ryan.

I left some spots to add stuff for new chores that might pop never know what new chores will pop up in the Marini household!

And, did I's only day 2! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Noelle and Natalie Pt. 2

Here are some more pics from our visit with Noelle and Natalie.  We're on a Toy Story kick here in the Marini Household, so please enjoy the music. 

Ryan and Natalie playing outside together.
Matthew and Natalie.  Looking more and more like cousins!

One of the rare times when we can catch all of them and put them together for a shot!

And lastly, Auntie Heather with Natalie.  I am usually the one taking the pictures, so I am thankful to Noelle for the picture of me and my girl!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

US Open 2010

This whole thing started last year.  We were sitting at Richard and Sharon's house, watching golf, when the announcers put up an advertisement about the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach.  I looked at my father-in-law and said..."Can you say Marini Family Vacation???"  And so it began.  He wasted no time.  He entered us into the lottery and was successfully chosen...we are in!!!

Up at 6:30 on Wednesday, we had a practice round to get to.  With a quick trip to the condo to drop off our stuff...we were off!  I was so excited because I was able to bring my camera and get some shots. 

Matthew in his first cab ride!
We were super lucky that we followed the advice of one of Richard's friends to just call a cab because we were so close and we would be trying to locate shuttles to take us in.  Turned out taking a cab was one of the highlights of the trip for Matt.  After our first day of taking a cab there and back, he wanted to call a cab and take it EVERYWHERE!!!  Even walking distance to the beach!

I was able to get my cell phone past security, however I was not gutsy enough to bring it out in public, so I texted my sister in the port-a-pottys' throughout the day. Our day there was ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! The weather could not have been better. It was perfect because we were able to walk around the course and get a good feel for most of the holes and plotting where we were going to be on Friday.

Walking into the Open.

Mastering the golf chair.
The boys scouting out the course.
Lunch break.

The view from the 8th.  When I may scatter my ashes here.  Breathtaking.

Tom Watson coming off of the 13th.  Matthew was lucky, he was only one of three that got an autograph.

Davis Love III on the 16th.
Signing Matthew's hat after the hole.
And what trip would be complete without SEVERAL trips to the garbage.
The 7th.

The 8th again.
Walking across the 6th.
Looking back on the 6th.
Looking up at the 6th.
The 14th.
Overlooking the Carmel Bay at the 8th.
Here is a small shot of the 5th.  This is the hole we spent most of Friday at.
At the 5th.
Next Year's Open.  (In 2012 it is in San Francisco)
At the Pavilion.
The Merchandise Village.  We did a fair amount of damage there.
Leaving on Wednesday....

We woke up nice and early on Friday.  Got our cab and headed back to Pebble.  The weather was not anywhere near as nice as it was on Wednesday.  In fact it was freezing.  I really can't remember a time when I have been as cold as I was on that day.  We were on the 5th, which overlooks the water, and the wind was brutal.  Matthew was a VERY good sport.  I, of course, thought I was going to freeze to death and all I kept thinking about was defrosting my body when we got back to the condo.  Sharon and I entertained the idea of buying a blanket ($45) for the day...but I really don't think it would have helped us that much.  I told Rich and Sharon at one point that if I wasn't having so much fun, I would be back at the condo.  It wasn't worth it to leave.  This is once in a lifetime and being cold would end at the end of the day.
Despite the was a fabulous day.  The 5th is a hole that is really set off by itself and it has a pretty small grandstand compared to the rest of the holes.  We were spoiled to have great seats and sit back and watch all the groups come through.   

Quick side note--whenever we take the kids to Disneyland or ANY other place other than our house, they ALWAYS say at the end of the trip that their favorite thing was the hotel room.  Rich often says we should wake up at the normal time we leave for Disneyland (which is 3:30am), and just drive to Cherokee Lodi... and stay at a Motel 6 and they would be just as happy.

Well, just because we are in Pebble Beach, for the US Open, nothing beats a hotel for my boy.  So when we asked him multiple times what his favorite part was...his answer was always the same....the hotel.  You see there was this murphy bed AND a spa.  Tough competition for a Major golf tournament and priceless views of the finest California coastlines!!!

A HUGE thanks to Richard and Sharon for a fabulous five days.  The condo was perfect, the company was fabulous, and the memories at the Open were priceless. 

Thank you!  Love, Heather and Matthew

Monday, June 14, 2010

Take me out to the city...I mean ball game.

Saturday we got in the car and headed into the city for a ball game.  I like saying "headed into the city" because it kind of sounds like we are close and it is really only a toll bridge away, but clearly from Lodi it is a hour and a half drive that is almost the length of the Toy Story Two movie that played the entire drive over.  I had told Rich a couple of months back that I wanted to go the a Giants game in the city, at night, and take the boys.  He told me that was nice and I know him well enough to know that meant no.  Well the baseball Gods must have heard me and ignored his lack of enthusiasm because someone had tickets for a night game, in the city, and both boys could come. 

Here's the deal.  I hate summer.  I hate being hot.  I hate being sweaty.  Dirty.  Sticky.  All the adjectives you can think of that describe miserable summer....I am those.  Hate it!!!  Maybe if I had a pool, I would think differently, but I don't have a pool so the summer months are my enemy.  So you could imagine when the weather on Saturday in Lodi was close to 94, I was almost giddy with the idea of spending the night in the cool, our temperature usually drops in the evening, city of San Francisco.

As we pass the Bay Bridge, the temp in our car for the outside reads 88 degrees.  It was 6:00pm.  WTF????  It was hot!!!!  And the Marini Family was NOT DRESSED for 88 degree temperature!!!!!  We had on pants, short sleeve shirts, with long sleeve shirts and jackets packed in a bag.  IT WAS 88 DEGREES!!!  What happened to my cool, escape from the valley heat evening?????

Well, despite the weather....we had a great time. I also would like to personally thank whoever decided on the one weekend a year that we chose to go to a Giants game that they would have a carnival in the parking lot adjacent to our parking area.  Trying to explain to two boys that people who go to the Giants game can't "get in" to the carnival because it is only for people not going to the game.  Ryan cried the entire walk from our seat back to the car pointing at the bright colorful lights. 

We had great seats!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Basketball Camp

Matthew has been at the Lodi High Basketball Camp all week. He is loving it. He loves that they encourage you to take a ball and shoot as many times as you want at any of the 10 hoops available. He loves that there are kids there from school he knows and it's like the longest recess ever! He loves that the "coaches" at the camp are high school players and they actually want to play with him and love teaching him new things. He just loves it. Period.

Yesterday he made it to the bottom four of the shoot out. They play this shooting game, that I won't even begin to explain, but they winner of each section then goes to the final group and then you have a chance to win prizes. The camp is broken into sections, his being the 2nd-4th grade section. There are a wide range of kids there and they are all different shapes and sizes. It was hysterical yesterday when he made it to the final group and here was Matthew up against these three other boys who were at least 10 inches taller. I started laughing and I thought...he's toast. And he was. He was eliminated first round. But what I loved was he didn't look like he was nervous or felt like he didn't have a chance. He got up, hit a couple of shots, then was out. Confidence is not something he lacks, which is good.

I took my camera the other night to take pictures, of course, and I figure I better do it now because next year he won't be so accepting of my picture taking. The older kids kept looking at me, and then their own moms, and it was like they were silently saying..."If you bring your camera and start taking pictures, I will disown you!" Luckily my boy is still oblivious to it and so until he utters those exact words to me, I will be continuing to do it.
 For old times sake...
Did you know dribbling the basketball with your tongue out actually makes you a better dribbler??? 

Practice.  Practice.  Practice
A friendly game of crocodiles.