Wednesday, September 28, 2011

T'was the Night Before the 1st Day of School...

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?

"Look Mom! I have glasses!!!"

(I'm not sure what the purple stripe down his nose was supposed to be.)

At least he did it before his bath...and they were only magic markers. Wouldn't that have been a great first impression?

Crazy kid.

The kid who wasn't too sure about this whole going-to-Kindergarten thing, but exclaimed on the second day when I picked him up - "Mom! Tool is fun after all!" and has had a good time ever since.

I have to remind him of that on mornings when he is wanting to play Super Mario Brothers and stay in his pajamas. "I don't want to go to tool!" usually comes out of his mouth at least a couple of times a week, but once he's dressed and eaten his chocolate chip Eggo waffles, he's ready to get on that bus! I think the bus is his favorite part.

Still, this is also the kid that when the teacher said to the class, "If you like Kindergarten, you may go get your backpacks," he stayed sitting on the rug. Knowing my boy, I had to laugh when his teacher mentioned it when she called last week to let me know how he was doing. At least he was honest, right?

When I asked him about it, he told me he was the only one who didn't go get his backpack.

"But why, buddy? You always have fun!"

"But I don't get to be with you," he says. That kid knows how to work it.

 I think he does like it - despite this little episode. As his teacher said, "He must still be trying to decide."

Let's just hope that enrolling him in this extra thirty minute "extended day" program doesn't put him over the edge. Since K is only two and a half hours, the school offers an enrichment time for extra literacy and math instruction - aka "Kindergarten Club". It would be good for him since he doesn't really want to work on his letters with mom. (Believe me, I've tried.) Noah wasn't too keen on the whole idea until I a deal with him that if he would stay and have a good attitude and learn his letters, he could pick out a new video game  when the session ends in a few weeks. ("A Wii game," he insisted, not a DS game like I offered. Thank goodness you can buy them used.)

Sometimes a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, right?

I admit though, I am sitting here kind of worried about it...obviously, blogging about it...and just waiting until I can go and pick him up....and hoping that he liked it okay.

We shall see...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Honesty Isn't Always the Best Policy...

I went to Pet Smart this morning to buy a new fish - a yellow guppy - to replace the one that I found lifeless at the bottom of our little aquarium about a week ago. 

I managed to hide our one-gallon-tank behind lunch boxes and a bag of potato chips for a few days hoping the kids wouldn't notice that one fish had gone missing before I had a chance to get to the store. Then a couple of days ago while Abby was still at school - thank goodness - Noah was standing next to the kitchen counter (before I replaced the lunchbox) and says, "Mom, where is Abby's fish?"

"What do you mean, bud? It's in there."

"But I don't see it."

"Oh, I am sure he's just hiding....hey - do you want a cookie?"

Lying to my kid. I know. I am not proud, but I tell ya, if Abby had found out that another precious fish had gone belly-up, it would not have been pretty. 

It was this past 4th of July when she discovered her zebra fish at the bottom of the tank. (That very same fish that I was tricked into getting three years ago.) She completely flipped. Flipped. I am talkin' screaming, crying, could hardly went on for probably thirty minutes. No lie. It was awful. There was no calming her down either. At one point, Pat and I looked at each other as she was wailing, her head buried in her pillow, as we sat on her bed - and we had to to keep from laughing. Terrible parents, aren't we? Her reaction was just so over-the-top dramatic, we were both taken off guard, I think. She had never had a meltdown like this before. Ever.  Of course, she wouldn't flush it. Once she regained her composure, we wrapped it in a paper towel and buried it next to a bush at the front of the house. She made a sign with its name - Flower - and taped it to a popsicle stick to mark its grave. Poor kid...and fish.

Yeah, I didn't want to put her through that again...and I didn't want to witness it again either.

So when I asked the guy at Pet Smart if I could get a fish with a longer yellow tail, I told him that I was doing a bad thing and replacing my daughter's fish without her knowing.

"Oh, we get that at least two or three times a week," he said, all nonchalant.

"Really?" I laughed, feeling relieved. "I'm glad I'm not the only one."

Still, I have my fingers crossed that this yellow guppy - Charming (Jr.) -  keeps on swimming for a good long while.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Snippets of Summer (Photo Story Friday)

Noah informed me tonight that tomorrow is the first day of fall.

Here I was thinking we had a few more days until summer was officially over.

With the school year in full swing, we've traded flip flops for tennis shoes and pink goggles for new glasses.

I'm still holding out for a day at the beach. This crazy rain has sure put a wrench into things. So summer, if you could stick around just a little longer...

My kiddos and I would really appreciate it.

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

When Mama Ain't Happy...

This morning didn't go so well.

More like the last five minutes didn't go so well.

When you find your son's new school shoes soaked, muddy, and stuffed with wet socks, his other pair is too tight, you can't find his sandals to wear instead, and your daughter is freaking out that "the bus is coming!" (and it really isn't) - things don't go so well.

Yes, we found the sandals.  Yes, I explained why he can't go stomping through streams of rain water in his school shoes. Yes, we gave hugs and said "Have a good day"....but I feel bad. Gotta love that "mom guilt".

I think I am just in a funk. Not quite sure what to do with myself. I still have tons of boxes I could unpack, pictures I could hang up...there's always cleaning to be done, but I am totally unmotivated to do it.

To my credit, I did trim down our crazy bushes, plant some flowers, and laid new mulch - finished it up yesterday.  I felt pretty accomplished...for a few hours. That is until the dark brown blanket of mulch was obliterated with grass clippings after my dear husband mowed the lawn.

I know that nothing goes untouched INSIDE the house. You put the pillows on the couch - they are back on the floor again.  You empty the dishwasher just to fill it back up. You vacuum the floor, then see the kids eating crackers in the living room. You finish the laundry...well, you never finish the laundry.

But OUTSIDE? You think your work might stay in least for a few days.

Ho hum...

I think there are some Cocoa Puffs in the cupboard calling my name. This mama could use some chocolate.

Monday, September 19, 2011

That Crazy Kid...

Noah's quote of the day:

This morning, I had just finished blow-drying his hair and combing it down so it would look decent for Picture Day. He smiles at himself in the mirror and says, "I look GOOD."

"You do look good, Noah. Very handsome," I say.

Still grinning at himself, he announces, "I look like I am going on a DATE!"
Such a nut, that boy of mine.

No dates for long awhile, Mister. Mom is still getting used to the whole Kindergarten thing.

"Talk Like a Pirate Day" (and that cake I promised...)

Evidently, it's "International Talk Like a Pirate Day", mateys!

Taking that as me cue (humor me if ye will) to share that tharrrr pirate cake I made a wee bit ago for me lil' scallywag's 5th birthday (the birthday post that was plundered by arrr movin' madness)....

I gathered me up a few swashbuckling ideas from Family Fun and put me own twist on it. The whoppers ferrr cannonballs, root beer barrels, and chocolate licorce linin' the top o' the ship were a big hit with the pirate crew.

A LEGO Captain Jack Sparrow steerin' his ship, and the candles comin' out o Rolo portholes got 'em bustlin' too.  I used food colorin' markers to add a bit o' texture to the sea, lined the bottom o the ship with blue fruit roll up strips, and cut strips o green ferrr seaweed.

Captain Noah went straight ferrr that tharrr seaweed. Wouldn't be a real pirate without green teeth, now would he? Between the cake, squid dogs (authentic pirate cuisine), paper pirate ship races, and a hunt ferrr treasure - it be a "Jolly Roger" of a good time!

 Our make-shift treasure chest - artwork by Abby

*Speaking of Pirates of the Caribbean - did ya see my boy on the Disney Parks website? Click here!

**After I wrote this, I picked Noah up from school and told him it was "Talk Like a Pirate" day - totally thinking he would be into it and want to play along. Yeah, not so much. "MAAAAoooom!" he says in response to my lame attempt at Pirate lingo. Got it, Noah. Better off leaving it to the professionals.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Family Curse

I was in second grade when I got glasses.

I vividly remember looking across the classroom at the bulletin board behind my teacher's desk, closing one eye and then the other, to compare which eye made the posters and cut-out letters more blurry. 

Not that I should have been too surprised. My dad was blind as a bat. Sometimes, I would put on his thick, orangey-brown-speckled framed glasses just for fun. Everything around me would become all distorted and shrunken in the middle - like a reflection in a fun house mirror.

At the time, I actually thought it was kind of cool that I'd have glasses just like my dad...and I pretty much did. I ended up with big, brownish, round frames.  That was the IN style at the time - totally 80's. (What were they thinking?)

By the time 2nd grade rolled around for three of my younger siblings, they all needed glasses too. My brother (next oldest in the birth order line-up) was the only exception. He had two years on the rest of us and made it all the way to fourth. Funny thing is that neither my mom nor my step-mom wear glasses so you would think that maybe Dad's vision-altering gene would have skipped one of the five of us kids, but no such luck.

When Abby told me last week that she couldn't see the board very well at school, my heart sunk a little. Not that glasses are so terribly awful, but you have to admit, it's nice not to have to wear them. I swear, it was like a whole new world when my mom finally let me get contacts when I was in tenth grade. (Yes, tenth grade. At least I had upgraded to gold wire frames by then, but still...)

The kids and I had just watched a rerun of "Good Luck Charlie" where the family goes to Hawaii and gets cursed when their mom "does the robot on sacred ground" so I started joking around that THIS was our "family curse".

Still, Abby kept on me to make that appointment. I admit, I was procrastinating a little, but I finally set one up for Wednesday.  Abby was kind of nervous/excited the night before the eye exam. As we were talking about it right before our family bedtime prayer, I realized that if, in fact, she did need glasses, I'd better put a more positive spin on this thing...

"You know, if you do get glasses, Abby, it will actually be like a family TRADITION!" (Good save, right?) That perked her up a bit, and that I assured her that kids' frames are really "in fashion" now (as she likes to say).

And, indeed, they are...

Yes, the family, tradition continues. Yes, my eyes started to sting, blinking back a few tears as she missed some letters on the eye chart, but seeing how excited she was to pick out those little aqua blue frames (her favorite color) with a heart on each side sure made me smile.

Cute, cute girl.

If only there had been frames like that when I was a kid.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever Remember

It's funny how I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I vividly remember this day ten years ago. I was at VCU in a Criminal Justice class. Total confusion. Cell phones weren't working. Coming home to see the footage of the twin towers aired over and over again...and feeling like I could hardly breathe. 
While flipping channels this afternoon, I came across "The Concert for NYC" that Pat and I took donation calls for at the Wachovia call center in Richmond, VA shortly after the attacks. We answered call after call for six hours straight. Along with their generous donations, each person had a sincere love and concern in their voice for those who were affected by the 9/11 tragedy as we spoke. Some shared where they were when it happened. Some were still in disbelief. Many said that they wished they could help more. 
We all wished we could do something more.  
A few months later, we had the opportunity to visit Ground Zero.  I'll always remember the messages of love and hope that were written on the tall wooden boards that lined the path leading up to the site.  It was a humbling experience.
When the kids are a little older, I will explain the significance of this day to them, and how even in a time of tragedy and despair, our country came together to comfort, help, and love one another.
My heart goes out today to those families who lost loved ones, the many 9/11 heroes, and those who continue to protect our country each and every day.
Click here for the 9/11/11 tribute: Rising Above - performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and narrated by Tom Brokaw.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fun Idea for Back-to-School Lunches

Last Monday, I surprised the kids with these little water bottles. It was a spur-of-the-moment idea and actually helped calm my night-before-school jitters.  A few strips of patterned paper, self-adhesive labels, Sharpies and VOILA!  Abby and Noah thought they were really cool so I just thought I'd share this super simple way to send a special back-to-school message to your kiddos. 

Here's to a great year...
and to calming those back-to-school mommy jitters!