52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Reunion

Reunited

Oh. My. Goodness.

I missed these two little boys. (And the dog.) Like whoa.

I didn’t expect to miss them as much as I did. But there’s lots of things going on in our lives right now. With my paternal grandmother having just passed, my maternal grandmother’s health declining, and other things just going on, the importance of being with my boys feels of the utmost.

Eight days without them felt like an eternity.

They obviously grew 87 inches in the time we were apart.

They also missed their dog while we were gone. The dog spent time with my brother and his family. Today we had a special dinner out, spent time outside when we got home. The dog ran circles. The boys played with swords and battle axes and chased each other in the setting sun.

Our little four person immediate family unit came back together and we are better for it. We only have 22 days left of our summer break. We’re going to make the most of it, that’s for sure.

Oh, and a conversation from today:

“Don’t sit on your notebook.”
“Why?”
“It will smell like BUTT.”
“OH! RIGHT!”
*all the giggles*

 

Banana Splits for Lunch (and a Giveaway)

I’m a bad mom.

I realized a few weeks ago that my sons had never enjoyed a delicious banana split. I mentioned something about a banana split, and they looked at me like I had horns coming out of my head.

“A what?”

“What do you mean ‘a what?’ A BANANA SPLIT.”

Lots of blinking.

And so I decided to remedy the situation by making them banana splits for lunch. Because summer. Because memories. Because Hershey’s sent me four bottles of syrup to give a whirl.

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

Because I wanted a banana split for lunch myself. And then I realized, huh, I’ve never made a banana split before. Well I’ll be.

It’s easy.

Peel a banana. Duh.

Cut it in half, and halve those pieces. Place them in a fancy pants bowl.

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

Add ice cream. We like vanilla. Well, BigBrother probably would have preferred chocolate but this is my banana split dream here, so there you have it. Vanilla ice cream.

Top with Hershey’s Syrup in Milk Chocolate or Special Dark, Caramel, and Strawberry.

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

Of note that I chose the Hershey’s Special Dark Syrup for my chocolate fix on the banana split. Dark chocolate is my chocolate. Also of note: BigBrother originally didn’t want the Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup. He choked on a strawberry when he was two and remains adamant that he does. not. like. strawberries. Update: He likes the Hershey’s Strawberry Syrup.

Whipped cream to top!

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

My banana split also featured peanuts on top of the whipped cream, because duh.

And enjoy.

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

Hey Let's Eat Banana Splits for Lunch

The boys thought this banana split for lunch thing was the best thing that had ever happened in the history of all things, or at the very least, in the history of all lunches. And, really, I can’t argue. We sat at the table, ate our splits, and slurped up the syrupy goodness at the bottom of our fancy pants bowls, happy smiles spread across our messy faces.

I’ll always remember the day I made banana splits for lunch.

Now I want to know what your favorite sundae option is: Do you go banana split or are you just a chocolate lover? Let me know in the comments for your chance to win. The giveaway will include four bottles of Hershey’s Syrup, one of each flavor—Milk Chocolate, Caramel, Strawberry and Special Dark— along with one ice cream scooper, six sundae bowls and 20 party spoons. Comments are open through Friday, August 11, 2014.

 

*This post is sponsored by Hershey’s. All ideas and images are my own. Be sure to visit CelebrateWithHersheys.com for more dessert and syrup inspiration.

 

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with See Ya Later

See Ya Later!

I dropped the boys off at camp on Thursday.

They’re staying there, with my family, while I’m in San Jose for BlogHer ’14 with my husband. It’s really a treat for everyone. They play, have a blast, get to stay up late and eat all the ice cream, spend time with family, and make new friends. My husband and I get a mini-vacation, even if I work the whole thing.

Saying goodbye to them doesn’t get any easier.

When we stopped in on Sunday to check on them, they didn’t care that we had been gone since Thursday. As we said goodbye until the following Monday, BigBrother simply gave me a hug and ran out the door to go find his friends, the screen door slamming behind him.

LittleBrother looked up at me. “Eight days,” he mumbled. His eyes were wide.

“Yes, but then we’ll be home. You’ll have a good time with your brother and your other friends.”

“Yeah, you’re right. See ya later!” He shrugged as he kissed me and ran out the door, chasing after his brother.

I miss them so much right now, but I am not worried about them nor do I feel guilty. They’re having a blast. They’re safe. They’re happy. The same can be said of us here in California. Not too shabby at all.

 

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Summer of Reading

Read All the Books

One day last week, just after the boys went to bed for the night, a friend of ours stopped by with his daughter and a bag of books.

An overflowing bag of books.

An overflowing bag of books full of all the kinds of books the boys find interesting right now: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (as in, the whole ding-dang series! score!), all kinds of mysteries (Jigsaw Jones Mysteries being a new favorite), books about science, books, books, and more books.

LittleBrother felt especially excited as he now has his own copies of Captain Underpants books. BigBrother has them as well, but now they can sit together and read all about fart jokes and poop jokes and other things that make them laugh. There’s something to be said about owning your own favorite book, not just having to share it with your brother. When one finishes a book we hadn’t previously owned or borrowed from the library, he passes it to the other. After they’ve both read the book, they talk about it, the characters, the plot. They’re back to writing their own books again too.

As an aside, they also want to start their own band as of this week. I don’t know where this came from and I’m not sure it’s book related, but it’s worth mentioning. Because we could use some ear plugs for Christmas.

They’ve been reading non-stop since the bag of books arrived. In fact, on two of their technology days over the weekend, they took time out in the middle of the afternoon to sit down and read. While we have “assigned” reading time every day (two to three chapters or two to three story books), they’re choosing to read above and beyond that time limit.

LittleBrother came to me today. “Mommy, I finished my three chapters, but can I read some more?”

Uh, yeah kid. Yes, you sure can.

They spent time this evening after dinner playing with a neighbor’s grandson. When the little boy left to go home, my two boys came inside, picked up their books where they left off, and continued reading. They’ve both already finished their Summer Reading Program for the school, earning a pool party when school starts back up. They raided the library today for chapter books, Pokemon books, The Puppy Place series, and a number of other books that looked interesting.

I can’t keep them in books right now.

It’s a good summer.

 

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Pirate Ship

ARRR-GAHHH

Last week on vacation, we took one morning off from our usual beaching to go do something as a four person family unit. When vacationing as a multi-generational family, we find great importance in taking time for our individual family unit. Sometimes we go to the aquarium. We’ve hit the Blackbeard museum a couple of times. We meant to go on a pirate cruise last year, but ran out of time.

So last Wednesday, we loaded the boys in the car and, per our usual, didn’t tell them what we were going—only that it was a surprise. We did, however, tell them they could wear the pirate hats they got at the pirate museum two years ago.

Pirate Hats Are the Best

When we walked up to the dock and they saw a pirate ship situated at the end of it, the excitement level sky rocketed.

We chose the Beaufort Pirate’s Revenge because it was child-centered, not overly long, and omg, pirate ship!

ZOMG PIRATE SHIP

Honestly, the cruise was quite fun. But it also showed the brothers’ personality differences quite well.

BigBrother got into the pirate role very well. He was all pirate, all the time. Intense, arrrg-gahhh-ing. Facial expressions that only he can make. Very dramatic, all the time.

Getting a Goatee

LittleBrother enjoyed himself, but he was more laid back, a little bit unsure. He had a lot of fun, but took a minute to warm up to each thing that they did—from the face painting to the sword fight… though he loved the water cannons. He’s just a little more introverted than Mr. All On All The Time. I like that about both of them; their differences.

Getting a Black Beard -- GET IT?!

I’m glad we took a morning off from the beach to drive to Beaufort and do something new, different, and fun. Watching these two get into the fun of imagination, of “being” a pirate, of laughing and playing and being on a boat on the Intracoastal Waterway. We, the parents, sat and watched them line up and follow orders; we smiled as the water cannons got us wet, cooled us off under the sun’s strong rays. They had a blast, and I hope it’s one morning they remember for all time.

THEY'RE GONNA MAKE YOU WALK THE PLANK

 

52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Beach Togetherness

Brothers Beaching

I started writing a beautiful piece about how these two boys are getting along splendidly at the beach, how they dig holes and/or convince Papau to dig them a hole that they can continue to work on after the hard work is completed. How they made friends with another brother pair and spent hours digging and playing. How they acted like pirates and laughed as they engaged in a sword fight on a pirate ship.

Then BigBrother punched LittleBrother in the head upstairs after I told them to go find something to do because they argued over a game.

Vacationing can be hard on brothers. On parents.

The close proximity feels awesome for a few days. As neither seems afraid of the ocean this year, they’ve enjoyed the togetherness as they jump waves, ride boogie boards, and swim in the warm ocean waters. They’ve oohed and ahhed over a clump of seaweed filled with teeny, tiny hermit crabs. They’ve eaten lunches, snacks, and dinner together. Showered together. Sat on the porch together. Read in the morning after breakfast but before beach time. Together. Everything. Together.

I’m not surprised that this morning, Thursday, they’re feeling a little punchy. Literally.

I don’t approve of punching your brother in the head just because he took the really cool blue pillow in your shared bedroom, but I get it.

Right now, BigBrother is reading two more chapters in his book. Alone. In the bedroom. LittleBrother is relaxing on the couch, downstairs, away from his brother. Silently. Because silence. When the reading is done, I’ll bring them back together and talk about how lucky we are to have a vacation like this with each other, with our extended family. I’ll use my most often used phrase when I talk to them about brotherhood: “He’s the only brother you’re ever going to have.” I’ll talk about expectations for the rest of the day.

And then we’ll go about our day.

I don’t know if it will go perfectly. Or, rather, I know it won’t go perfectly, but I have hope that it will go. We have some beach time planned this morning. By afternoon, my husband will be back from golfing with my uncles, hopefully in one piece as he will be in charge of the afternoon hours while I do a little work. Then we’ll all head off for our annual dinner out at our favorite restaurant on the island, The Crab Shack. Birthday cakes will follow as this week brought about a lot of family birthdays.

I’m hoping for less head punching and more happy times today. Because we all deserve happy times right now—even two punchy brothers.