Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things that happened on Monday

I am trying a new tactic this summer. It will work on 3 out of 4 children. The 4th child is simply a statistical anomaly that may have to go to military preschool or some other such Place For Wild Toddlers.

Here is my tactic, named Scratch My Back and I Will Scratch Yours. Otherwise known as Bribe, Baby Bribe. It is a follow-up to last summer, which was Survive Baby, Survive, and is notably better than Run Baby, Run and Cry Mommy, Cry.

It goes like this: "Small children seated in a row on the couch before me, this is how our summer will progress. I will need to go to the Y gym 3 times a week. I will need you to get dressed and in the car nicely, without complaint and without dressing like homeless hobos. In return for this, you will get to have a friend over once a week. Sweet!" (cue excited squeals and handshakes on this trade.)

It also goes like this, in the car upon leaving the Y: "Small children, that have managed to dress properly and much unlike hobos, your hairdos still look hobo-ish. For each of you that decide to get haircuts at *the same place* (ie: do not force me to drive to any other places, though I may have done so in the past), there will be a pudding pop waiting for you at home. And don't forget that playdate!" (cue suspicious nods and quiet assent to proposed shearing of hair.)

I may also have made various remarks about how nice haircuts make children cuter, and cuter children make me more inclined to give them things. Or something like that. Shameless deal-making, back-scratching and trades, I am summer-mommy.

And so I give you the results of Day 1- haircuts all in a row: (please excuse Cole, who just woke up, though with the new cut, his bedhead is almost gone! And notice the girls - still up to their tricks of dawn rising and immediate dressing for action.)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Merci beaucoup, teach!

Here are the teacher gifts that I chose to treat our much-loved teachers with this year! The Chocolate Ooh La La boxes are made by a nearby mom and filled with delicious handmade local chocolates. And a touch that I found really sweet and personal - the box is padded with paper shreds printed with a message: "Thank you for being so sweet.... with love from Isabella & Jadyn" (or Cole). Ooh la la, indeed! The girls came home today and told me that their teachers opened the box right away, and shared a chocolate with them. Now that is a sweet teacher! That says it all about the preK team this year. So with some chocolates and a restaurant gift card, we said thank you and good-bye to the women who have taught and cared for our brood all year.

The kids said that as the bus pulled away from the school, they looked out and saw all their teachers lined up beside the school, waving good-bye to them. That really made me tear up... because that is the sense you get from the staff of our school. True caring and compassion - and the strong drive to push academics.

In that vein, let me celebrate Cole!

He had a great year, but what I was most delighted with was his Writing Assessment. It was a "That's my boy" moment when I read that he had exceeded standards in 3 out of 4 categories! (The 4th writing category was organization... yeah, we'll get to that another year. Both of us.) I am fumbling with words here - ironic, yo! What I want to say is that I am so proud of him for working hard and achieving what he is capable of. That is a tight-wire deal for a clever yet energetic boy. It was truly a daily family effort - from banishing Phoenix and his projectile toys, to the girls being sequestered in the playroom during Cole's homework and study time. And you know there was some parental mental torture in there...
So to see the pay-off on paper... Well. It was a moment. The boy moves on to 4th grade with flying colors and a reward. Straight A's = Super Soaker water-projectile-fun. Yowza!

Now begins the 3 month hiatus: In Which I Contemplate My Love-Hate Relationship With Summer. You'll be the first to know which way the pendulum swingeth.
Happy Summer, friends!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Love Affair

I have to share with you my new love affair.

I didn't know it could be like this. Gazing, smiling, unable to break away.

I am in love.

My weekend activities revolved around this love. I had to rush back and be with my new love. To see my love in all types of daylight - from the soft morning blush to the bright afternoon blaze.

I blush to bring to you: A Love Affair... hardwood flooring-style!

(The lighting in the foyer behind me is really bright - the wood is not this pale. The Easter bunny brought this rug - it just appeared there! :) Courtesy of a craigslist bunny...)

It's still a work in progress, placing things on tables and straightening rugs, on our exquisite new floors. I mean, it's only a pretend makeover show! It's still only me and my minions around here. I almost want to say that the most beautiful part has been taking down the baby gates into my sanctuary... And I may just not put anything on the tables for a while, so that I can leave the gates down. But of course, the moment I thought this, Phoenix tried to climb up the emtpy bookcase. Oh. That. Child.
Back to The Love Affair - this is the best decision we have ever made! I honestly walk in the door now and say "Oh! Look how pretty!"
Ahhhh... love...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

False Start

So, if this was a real makeover show, things would have happened on schedule.
Instead, this is real life. In which the hardwood installer's truck broke down on the side of the road. The fellow was so sincere and apologetic, I could hardly groan at him. OK, maybe one tiny groan about how I was disappointed...
And then on with the day. They should arrive first thing tomorrow, and complete the job in one day. (?!) This makes my eyebrows raise, and have a hard time coming down.
The two day job became a one day job - and the content husband started grumbling about people possibly cutting corners. And the wife that stacked all the breakables in the loft for Just One Night is now seeing the writing on the wall.

The day was good! How could it be otherwise, when I got in the car and started driving along to Love Shack! And I was actually heading down the Atlanta Highway... and man, I wish I was looking for the love getaway! But I did have a car as big as a whale! I can dare you not to be happy under those circumstances, dude. Dare. Sign says: Stay away fools!

So I eventually grooved on over to the school, for day 4 of Teacher Appreciation: In Which I Volunteer for Lunch Duty. Here are a few of the questions I fielded, because truly - the kids were all great. No shakedown food fights here. No, there were polite hands-a-held-high as the kiddos waited to have their burning questions answered.

"Umm, why are all these new people here?"
"Could I have some ketchup?"
"Are you a Mommy?"

And my personal favorites: "Are crocodiles dinosaurs?" followed by "Are dinosaurs alive?" Luckily these were both within my parental provenance. That boy will have so much fun looking for live dinosaurs! Rule! And his parents will never find that lunch lady...
(you know I'm listening to Love Shack right now)

Next it was time to meet a lady about a chocolate.
But that's a topic for another post...

Tiiiiiinnn roof's. Rusted.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Birthday Bonanza!

Hello and welcome to Birthday Bonanza!

I am playing catch-up today, since new presents always bring a new (entertainment) dynamic - allowing me a moment to sneak to my desk!

So it's Birthday month around here, which brings the days of my boys, my brother Isaiah, Rick's three brothers, and three of my dear friends... Whew. Whew! What is up, May?! Or, more appropriately: What is up August?! :)

This day brings us the birth of Phoenix Alexander. A fine and dandy little fellow, full of excitement, enthusiasm and mischief. Phoenix loves making noise & crashing things, but most of all, he loves d-a-n-c-i-n-g. He will stop and dance at the tiniest hint of a tune. And he has got the moves! He pumps his arms, and lately has added some break-dance moves or somersault moves. Some sort of floor action is going on, and it cracks us up. His most frequent phrases are: "Oh no!!" and "Ryyyyyyye?" which is "why," asked often. With an up and down tonation. Try it, it is delightful to hear...

As you can see from the shots above, he understands "cheese!" As you can also see, Jadyn did not get to sit where she wanted to sit, in the line-up. Oh-la-la.

And now, let me play catch up on Cole's 9th, which was a week and a half ago. We went to Star & Strikes arcade, along with his 2 friends, and they played games, lazer tag and bumper cars.

And there you have it.
Next what you will have is the shots from my very own home makeover. Sort of. Ok, so it's only floors being made over. But... WOW! Wow it will be, first thing tomorrow. I have the "before" shots ready to go, so stay tuned for the exciting developments the next few days will bring. You already know the answer, so yes. Yeah, I watch a lot of HGTV.

And now I must leave you, so I can start taking everything off the bookcase, and move breakables, etc, so the furniture can be shifted around tomorrow. Join me in a moment of silence, in which we ask Todzilla to occupy himself out back, and not notice what I am doing.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Day in the Life

Happy Mother's Day!

I sincerely hope your Day in the Life is sweet. As for me, I am re-posting my Mother's Day writing from last year. I can't even pretend to top that this year... it is still one of my favorites, and it is still true to life. Maybe I would add to my orchestral metaphor some bit about the conductor... but then it could shift whole dynamic and be a big miss. :)

Sweet love going out to all my friends and moms and mom-friends!

Please enjoy this re-run... Mothering and Living. As the women in my family are eternally fond of saying: It's still good.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

On the way to grace

I started this post in my head yesterday, and it was all about the many things that must get done before the end of school. The teacher gifts and cards. The upcoming Teacher Appreciation Week. The flooring installation next week, the parent-teacher conference times, 5 family birthdays, including Phoenix's (what is WITH all the May birthdays, between my boys and 4 of their uncles! Another time, people, a post for another time), classroom donations, and last but not least, the postal carrier food drive request - at that point I thought if one more request walked in my door, that would be it. It, I tell you! I was feeling that crunch big-time, and knowing all this had to happen in a coordinated, well-planned manner.
As in, everything that needs to be sent in all next week for the teachers, needs to be purchased this weekend. My days of running out to the store at night are at an end. When Rick is gone, I do not leave the house with all the kids unless we are bound for the park. Shocker! Every few months I get brave and try again... only to remember exactly why I should. not. do. this.
I was getting itchy hands about the fact that every day on the calendar has something written on it. Ever get itchy hands? Nerves will do it every time. Now, nerves, you say? Why nerves? Let's be clear. Along with all the scheduled events that will happen, there is one major event.
The Last Day of School.
Otherwise known as "Please don't leave me home alone all summer with them, sweetie!" Heh. The day that I am eager for, and dreading in nearly the same measure.

So I started to feel overwhelmed, and that made me clean my desk, while musing on teacher cards, and whether I would have time to make some Thank You notes. My children have had wonderful, dedicated teachers this year, and I felt like I needed to make a good effort at showing my appreciation.
And then a moment of grace occurred.
A moment in which I laid eyes on some handmade cards in my desk, three of which were Thank You cards - and half smiled, half breathed a sigh of relief. For this moment in time, when I needed an intervention, there were three perfect cards, ready to go.
Well, how? Where? Who?
This is a redemption story!
The story of the stressed-out Mom who was redeemed by a friend.
See, my friend Traci gave me some beautifully crafted cards a few years back. I have been slowly using them, and happened to have a few left. (Oh, who am I kidding. I dole those precious things out like gold.)
At that moment, my worry dropped away.
Sometimes, life just works.
All the time, it works out through small moments, and small gestures, that come together to let us know we are connected.

Happy May, friends. May you feel that connection, and know it is purposeful.

(I will have to play catch-up with Cole's birthday post. I am having technical difficulties and need to wait on uploading pictures. One more thing.)