Thursday, March 31, 2011

she talks to angels

Late last year, I recognized that Elizabeth was struggling more with her numbers than her siblings. So, I created a number chart that I hung in our kitchen and every day, I would practice with her - reciting number after number after number. Until, the novelty of the number chart wore off and although it still hung on the wall, we referred to it only occasionally.

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Two weeks ago, we received an e-mail from Elizabeth's kindergarten teacher. She noted that Elizabeth is still really struggling with her numbers and cannot differentiate a 7 from an 8 from a 9. She requested that we please continue to work with Elizabeth on these numbers at home, until she can recognize them with ease.

So Charlie and I broke out the flashcards and we broke out the finger pointer for our number chart, which we've started using again, every day. For two weeks straight, I'd wager that we spend an hour a day working on numbers. We spend a bit of time before school, a bit of time after school, and a bit more time every night, before bed.

Two weeks later and there hasn't really been any progress. And what seems to discourage her the most is that Carolyn and William are totally proficient in their numbers and although they only need to be able to recognize numbers up to "31" to graduate from kindergarten, her siblings can easily recognize numbers up to 1,000.

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It's important to highlight and acknowledge that each of our children are so different from one another and they each possess strengths that are unique to them.

At the age of six, it's evident that one of Elizabeth's key strengths is her ability to express herself through creativity. Several of her teachers have told us that our daughter is beyond her years in art competency. She paints and draws and transfers all of her life experiences through some kind of creative outlet. For example, she picks and arranges flowers. She creates her own clothes for her dolls. And more recently, she draws pictures to capture important moments in her life. For example, a few weeks ago, when the girls were arguing over their Pillow Pets, I took them away. In response, Elizabeth rushed over and sketched a picture of me, taking their Pillow Pets with a big smile across my face, while she and her sister had tears squirting from their eyes.

I recognize that it's my responsibility as a parent, to help foster my children's confidence in themselves, while encouraging them to branch out and try new things. I also recognize that at this young age, Elizabeth's strength may not be in mathematics. And while I can appreciate that ... she still needs to learn her numbers.

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So tonight, in a bout of frustration, she and I were sequestered in one of the bedrooms, working on flash cards. Those numbers that she recognized, zero through six, were removed from the deck and set aside. Seven through nineteen remained. We put them in sequential order and counted them, one by one. Then, we scattered them on the floor and I'd ask her to pick up whatever number I called out. "Sixteen!" I'd ask. "Fourteen!" "Twelve!" "Eleven!"

One pass through, she'd get almost all of them. Then, I'd ask her to do it again and she'd confuse the eleven with the seventeen. The nine with the seven. The eight with the twelve. And before we knew it, we couldn't even recognize the numbers that we knew when we had started.

What I've learned during this experience is that it's an exercise in extreme patience when you feel like your child should know something. In those situations, it's best to put yourself in the place of the child. To imagine what it must feel like when your siblings know something that you don't and how disheartening it must be when you think you're disappointing your parents.

I remember when I was a child and I struggled with multiplication tables. I remember my father asking, "What's nine times nine?" While I would try to imagine and count in my head nine nines, he'd prompt, "Think Jenny. THINK!" It really didn't help me one iota when he did that and would more often than not, send me in reverse. So I'm not sure why I thought it would help my daughter if I told her, "Open your mind! I know you can do this!" ?

(Note to self: The next time you feel compelled to tell your six-year-old to OPEN HER MIND, go hit yourself in the shin with a golf club, instead. OK?)

Tonight as I was working with Elizabeth, I had a feeling she was slipping further and further in to a pit of despair. But I also felt like I was incredibly close to making a break-through. As a result, instead of acknowledging the fact that she was tired and frustrated, I picked up the flash card deck and started to work through it again.

Just then, at that very moment in time, when my heart was telling me, "Knock it off, already!" but my mind was telling me, "She's so close to getting this!" our kitchen oven, which we estimate to be at least 40 years old, exploded. All I noticed was that the lights in the house flickered, but Charlie - an eyewitness in the kitchen - said that a puff of black smoke came billowing out when the heating element burst in to flames.

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We promptly concluded our flashcard session and I tucked Elizabeth in to bed. As I kissed her on the head goodnight, she gave me a very relieved smile. Then, she grinned up at the ceiling and said, "Thanks, Mr. S."

Recall: this isn't the first time my daughter has said something profound that's made me think twice. So yeah. I've still got goosebumps and am interested to see what kind of painting she creates to capture this experience, tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

God Bless Daisy Low

Tonight was our first official Daisy Girl Scout meeting.

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It was without a doubt one of the most insane experiences of my life.

Parents dropped their children off promptly at 5:30 PM and drove away smiling and grateful that they weren't the brand new troop leader.

Because there needs to be one non-related adult here with me for all troop meetings, I've recruited one of the parents to participate during every event from now until our last meeting in June. So tonight it was just the two of us ... and one Girl Scout Cadette (i.e., an older Girl Scout) with a room full of absolutely WIRED six-year-old girls.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

Less than five minutes in to it, I couldn't tell if I was suffering from the onset of a rapid and acute migraine or if someone was trying to squeeze my brain out of my head.

For years and years and years, I've been getting together with three of my triplet mom friends and their kids and there would be TWELVE children and there wasn't nearly the chaos as there was with a room full of "Daisies."

That name "Daisies", does not do them justice. I suggest they change it to "MAN EATERS." Of course if they did that, then they wouldn't have people falling all over themselves to volunteer with these absolutely adorable little girls.

Now would they?

Despite my best laid plans to prepare for this meeting last night, Charlie and I instead watched a movie, while my mind was reeling with what I needed to do today to get ready. I've been thinking about it a lot, I just hadn't put any of my "thoughts" in to action. So this morning when I woke up, and I realized just how much time it would take me to prepare, I had a mini-nervous breakdown because I had to be at work and the meeting was scheduled to start 30 minutes after I arrived home, this afternoon.

My husband being the superstar that he is, stepped in to help.

His job was to pull together the "Welcome Daisy Troop!" board.

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How it works in "Daisies" is that when the girls learn certain components of the Girl Scout Law, they earn a "petal" which corresponds to that law, in a specific color.

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For instance, once the learn how to be courageous and strong, they earn a red petal patch. Once they learn to make the world a better place, they earn a pink petal patch. And so on and so forth until all of the petals are earned and they have a complete "Daisy" patch in the middle of their uniform. He did a fantastic job.

And once he completed that, he set about working on the "Who Am I?" board, which was an idea I had partially borrowed / partially created to help the girls get to know one another while also learning about the Girl Scout founder, Ms. Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low.

I'd read in one of my handbooks that we should cut out little "footprints" and put in basic trivia about Daisy Low that we would hide around the room. The girls would scatter to find the "footprints" and bring them back. We'd pin them up on the board and piece together who was this FIRST Girl Scout. I added a spin to the game by cutting out footprints that had basic trivia about each of the girls in the troop, as well.

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But we never got to that game.

When they arrived, we set about on activity of drawing a picture of themselves with the appropriate eye color and hair color on individual little faces. Then, I had them draw a little "Daisy" that each picture was glued to.

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There was more to this activity, that involved hunting and finding all of the "footsteps" that had been strategically hidden around the room which I had planned to glue to the "Who Am I?" board, but before we could get to that, there was a wrestling match in the middle of the floor and children were climbing the walls.

So we shifted to the "Name Game." Ten minutes later we shifted to "Mother May I?" Ten minutes later we shifted to "Duck Duck Goose." Ten minutes later we shifted to learning a new song. Ten minutes later we shifted to learning the Girl Scout handshake. Three minutes later we switched to the "Blob" game. Ten minutes later everyone was thirsty and needed a drink of water. And so on and so on it went for SEVENTY FIVE MINUTES.

All in all, it was truly fun. The children were delightful. But I need to figure out some kind of way to keep them focused that doesn't involve a cattle prod.

After everyone left and I was cleaning up downstairs, I was actually grateful that we didn't get to the "footprint" game, because now we'll have something to do in two weeks, when we have our next meeting. Although, at that meeting there will be FIFTEEN more girls, because I invited over another Daisy troop that will be bridging to Brownies and if they are able to come help our girls learn the "Girl Scout Promise" they'll earn a badge. And I feel like if I'm able to pull off a troop meeting with TWENTY FIVE children in my house, someone should make me a QUILT out of badges.

As I'm picking up the various "footprints" that Charlie had hidden, I was smiling at the various trivia that he had chosen to write down about Daisy Low. She liked to stand on her head. She enjoyed working with iron and made gates for her home. She enjoyed poetry and art and loved animals.

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He told me that he had gone on line to look up some facts about her, and since anyone* can alter a definition on Wikipedia, he wasn't sure if the story about her being kidnapped by Indians was true or false. He thought probably false, so he left that one out. (I just went and looked it up myself and it turns out her great-grandmother was captured by Indians.)

(*Is anyone reading this that remembers Diana from the Resolve days? If so, do you remember how her husband went on to Wikipedia and altered the definition about "Jeff" from the Wiggles? He fictitiously wrote something along the lines of, "Jeff is best known for carrying around a butcher knife and the other characters will yell, "PUT DOWN THE KNIFE, JEFF!")

Ha!

Anyway, as I was looking over some of the trivia that Charlie included in his "footprints" it's probably better that I provide a QA/QC before we read these aloud to our kindergartners.

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I'm guessing that at their young age, they don't really need to know that when Daisy Low died, she was buried in her Girl Scout uniform.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

good day, sunshine!

We were supposed to leave Florida on Friday, March 18.

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Our thought was that we'd break the drive in to two separate days, as opposed to pushing through in one, long, 17-hour day, as we'd done on the drive down. So on Friday morning, I was out of bed early with the intention of packing and also, photographing the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean.

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It's not very often that I see a sunrise. Mostly because we have a lot of trees around our house. But also, while waking up and seeing the sun peek over the horizon is a truly spiritual experience ... as a busy mother, I've determined that snoozing in a blissfully quiet house is quite possibly, the most intense spiritual experience of all.

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So on that Friday, I arose early and felt like I was part of the elite few who were awake to witness the very first light of day. Because we were determined to get an early start, I packed up all of our belongings and Charlie ran down to put them in to the car. As he did ...

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Our children were slowly waking up.

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And the pelicans were flying in formation, overhead.

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Everyone got dressed, ate breakfast and we said goodbye to my mother and Jim.

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And then, as my husband prepared to take the children down to the car, I took one last look over the beautiful ocean.

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Right about then, a force greater than myself provoked me to go to the refrigerator, take out a beer, crack it open and sip it while sitting on the porch watching the waves crash on to the sand as the sun rose higher and higher in to the sky.

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When Charlie saw me, he was shocked. "Uh, what are you doing?" he asked. "Aren't we supposed to be leaving? Driving away? MmBye, Bye?! Seriously? What's with the BEER?"

Doing my best to feign surprise I responded, "WHAT? How in the WORLD did THIS happen?! I honestly have NO idea! The sunrise has provoked insanity!"

Then I added, "Aw, come on. The drive down wasn't really that bad was it? What would you rather do, spend a day on the road... or spend a day here?"

Before I could even finish my sentence, Charlie was sitting next to me, sipping a beer of his own.

And that's how we made the decision to stay an extra day.

It's the reason we were able to see the sun set that night on the opposite side of the island...

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And watch the moon rise, over the Atlantic, a short while after that.

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I absolutely love spontaneous decisions.

Sometimes they make life so much more fun.

Monday, March 28, 2011

the people on our path

I totally forget where I read it, but not long ago, I was thumbing through a book and read a passage that has totally stuck with me.

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In essence it said, if you are feeling depressed, every day for 14 days, you should do something positive for 14 different people in your life. At the end of two weeks, you will be cured. Now I'm not really sure that's a sure-fire cure for all cases of depression, but I do think there's a lot of truth in the positive impact it will have on our own psyche, if you consistently make an effort to take the focus off your own troubles and instead, direct your energy towards doing something positive for the world.

I've said it before, not in an effort to convince myself, but because I believe it's true: we are genuinely happy here and feel like this "season" in our life is one of incredible growth on many levels. Although, I'll admit, we have had some bouts of homesickness for California that have caused me to eat an alarming number of cookies.

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Take yesterday for example. When we went to bed on Saturday night, we were still reveling in the awesomeness of a warm Florida vacation a mere week prior. My mind, as I dozed off to sleep was on cherry blossoms and dogwoods. So you can imagine my surprise (shock, horror, dismay) when we woke up yesterday to SNOW covering our forsythia.

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OK. FINE. I know what I said about loving snow. And I really do love it. But as it turns out, I only love snow in the WINTER, when all of our boots and gear are strategically placed and not packed away in boxes in the basement. Wouldn't you know? I got overly ambitious by a few 70-degree days and packed all of our cold weather gear away. Apparently, I've got it in my mind that it's now SPRING and we're supposed to be outside in shorts and t-shirts, skipping through the flowers.

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What is going on with these radical temperature fluctuations? For the past 20 years, I lived in a climate that didn't fluctuate more than 30 degrees all year long. Last week it was in the 70's. This morning it was the 20's and my eyes nearly froze shut when I walked outside to get the paper.

All of that aside ... there's no doubt - as much as this move has been a BIG adjustment for us, every so often, we are hit smack dab with the sensation that the universe really is unfolding exactly as it should and this, right here, is exactly where we are supposed to be.

(With my space heater.)

Charlie and I have been searching around trying to find a church that we like in the area. And on one particular weekend - when we'd had an especially long week and were feeling overly homesick for California - we stumbled in to a church not far away.

As we were registering the children for the children's program, I thought that the woman who was checking us in looked vaguely familiar. She was carefully entering all of our children's information in to the computer and we were making small talk about the weather and for some reason that I can't quite explain, I felt a lump rise in my throat as I thought about our church in California that we loved so very much. Up until that point, our attempts at finding a church remotely close to our great church in San Diego had yet to happen and I was feeling increasingly discouraged thinking that it never would.

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The woman asked what brought us to the church and I mentioned that we had just moved here from California.

"Oh really?" she asked. "Where 'bouts?"

"San Diego." I replied.

"No kidding!" she said. "I just moved here three years ago from San Diego!"

We chatted for less than 10 more seconds before we pieced together that she lived two blocks from where we used to live. She attended the same exact church that we attended, and as she talked with me about our "former" congregation and our "old" neighborhood and how it took her a little time to adjust to the area, these days, she could never imagine leaving.

Her words had more of a healing effect on me than if she'd thrown her arms around my neck and given me a hug - and I told her so.

Isn't it funny how sometimes, it seems people are placed directly in our path as if on purpose?

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We must live under a curtain of oblivion because we didn't realize that a house, three doors down from our house, recently sold. It wasn't until Charlie was talking with one of our neighbors, yesterday, that he mentioned a family moved in that have a one-year-old toddler and the mother is currently pregnant and on bed rest with twins.

Years ago, when I was pregnant with the triplets, we were "adopted" by the church that eventually became our church home. And for six weeks, after the triplets were born - families would come by twice a week and drop off meals for us. They would cut our grass, volunteer to help clean our house, and would offer words of support and encouragement. To this day, their acts of kindness were some of the best gifts we have ever received.

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This afternoon, we swung by to meet the family. In the very short time that we spoke with them, it was evident they are feeling extremely overwhelmed - and the babies aren't even here yet. Now I'm not sure if the fact that they live just down the street from us is better for our spirits or theirs ... but we are really excited at the prospect of helping them. Paying forward, if you will, the gifts that were paid to us, way back when we had a house full of newborn babies and were so exhausted, it's really a miracle how we survived.

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While we certainly have our own chores to do, it makes our hearts feel lighter to know that we can lend support to someone in need. Suddenly, we've got 14 good deeds to do for this one family alone, and it definitely helps to offset the depression that comes from the knowledge that we've got a 30% chance of snow showers, again. Tomorrow night.

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In totally unrelated news ... I just realized that I started this blog five years ago, this past Saturday. FIVE YEARS AGO! So to all of you who have befriended our family over that span of time, please accept my sincere thanks for being a part of our lives. I'm very glad that your path has intersected ours.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

my little megamind

Henry was "dismissed" from preschool three months ago, after having attended preschool for four days.

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Looking back, I realize that I was at first embarrassed and discouraged about his expulsion. But those feelings were quickly replaced by anger and disappointment. For a few days there, I was superbly livid.

And very heartbroken.


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When the triplets would traipse off to school and I'd watch my little boy grab his backpack and happily declare, "I go to school, too!" I'd tear up before he would.

It was obvious to us, Henry didn't fit the "mold" so they booted him out, less than a full week in to the program. Their departing gift was an e-mail from the Director that read, "Good luck in the future. We remain optimistic Henry will achieve good academic success!"

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To which I thought to myself - but did not reply, Good academic success? Wait a minute. Aren't we talking about PRESCHOOL? What exactly does "good academic success" mean as it pertains to a three-year-old?

Does it mean that he'll eventually blend with the general population and be able to attend a "normal" school? Or, does it mean that he'll score a full academic ride to a prestigious university so his father and I can blow his college savings on a sail boat?

When I signed him up for preschool, I was just hoping that it would be a good opportunity for him to play with kids the same age for a few hours each week while Charlie got some things done around the house. I had no idea that a three morning a week stint at a local church was intended to prep him for the Ivy Leagues.

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E = mc2 !

A few weeks ago, I took Henry in for his Child Find evaluation. Once we arrived, we were immediately escorted in to have his hearing tested. Following that test (which he passed), we were escorted in to a room so he could be evaluated by a child psychologist. She engaged Henry in a number of play activities, which were designed to test his fine motor skills, gross motor skills and overall behavioral development.

Henry was doing great.

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Until, he realized that he was being tested. And then all bets were off as his cooperation came to a prompt conclusion. He dropped to the floor. Laid on the ground. Kicked his legs over his head and started quoting movie lines, "I'm the bad guy! I don't save the day, I don't fly off in to the sunset, and I don't get the GIRL!"

The psychologist looked at me and with a surprised expression asked, "Is he quoting Megamind?" Yep he sure is. Although I'm not sure whether to be ashamed or proud?

She placed a toy dog inside a small ring and asked Henry to take the dog OUT of the ring and place it on a piece of paper. My son swiped it off the table with his elbow.

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She very calmly said, "Let's try again, Henry." She placed the dog back in the ring and firmly said as she gestured with her hands, "Henry, I want for you to take the dog OUT of the ring," and then tapping the paper with her finger said, "and place it here, on the paper."

I could see the sparkle in his eyes as he leaned over and picked the dog up WITH HIS MOUTH and then shook it around like a wild animal, before he dropped it on the paper. Then, he fell down to the ground again and shouted, "DO YOU CALL THIS PREDICTABLE?!"

"Well, he did put it ON the paper. Right?" I weakly asked.

The psychologist smiled at me and concluded the interview. In her report she indicated that Henry is a perfectly normal three-year-old boy with no developmental delays. She told me that she believes the school reacted too harshly, but she also assured me that this was a very good thing because we could do better for him.

She told me that she thinks that Henry's behavior is largely a function of our family dynamics. (JUST AS I SUSPECTED.) She thinks that because he is almost three years younger than his triplet siblings, he doesn't want to even try to keep up and would instead, prefer to carve out his own niche.

She provided us with a list of some wonderful preschools in the area that are geared toward working with children who are referred by Child Find. What that means is that these schools have a bit more tolerance and won't respond by immediately kicking a child out of the program if they don't sit still during circle time.

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Turns out, there is a huge variance in preschools. Who knew? Not I, because unlike some of my co-workers who have interviewed more than 20 preschools for their children a year before they were actually scheduled to begin, we simply chose the one that was closest to our home. Come to think of it, I didn't even put as much effort in to researching COLLEGE as these people are putting in to researching PRESCHOOLS.

BAD PARENTS. BAD!

Clearly, we're way behind the 8-ball by local standards. So over the past few weeks, Charlie and Henry have been interviewing several new preschools. Wait, let me clarify. Charlie spoke to several new preschools on the phone, but registered Henry for the first one that they actually visited. Interestingly enough, the Director of the new preschool started the preschool that Henry attended for the brief stint in December. When Charlie told her about what had happened at Henry's prior "preschool engagement" she was very surprised and told my husband, "What they did to you, does not happen around here. I am absolutely shocked that they would have expelled him less than a week in to it, before they sat down with you for a consultation, and BEFORE Child Find became involved. That's just unheard of!"

So, that certainly helped to validate our feelings of being tossed out in to the cold.

We suspect that we'll start him in a new preschool next Fall, a few mornings a week, and he'll continue there until he begins Kindergarten in 2013.

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While he could begin Kindergarten next year - in 2012 once he is five - we've already opted to "Redshirt" him, like we did his siblings, and hold him back until he is six years old. I really don't understand the big rush sending kids off to school so young? There are children in the triplet's kindergarten class that had turned five a week PRIOR to beginning school. So although we recognize that holding Henry back a year might make him the oldest child in his class, I suspect it will also put him at a distinct academic advantage.

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After all, Charlie and I have BIG plans for that college money.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

i was born at night ... but not LAST night

I noticed this afternoon that one of our children had drawn on one of the walls.

I wasn't at all upset about it because their palette happened to be our bathroom wall that has recently been partially stripped of wallpaper and will eventually be fully gutted and remodeled. But when I inquired, "Hey guys, who did this?" they immediately looked guilty as they started to point their fingers at one another.

With the exception of sidewalk chalk on our driveway, everyone around our house knows that you are only allowed to paint, color or write on PAPER. Not walls. Not books. Not window ledges. Not furniture. Not floors. Not computer screens. Not each other.

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Not anything except ... say it with me ... PAPER.

So today while the great inquisition was occurring in one room, Henry was happily and obliviously playing with a super hero figurine in the next room. His siblings realized that he was absent and that factor made him a very convenient scapegoat. When Elizabeth noticed that Henry wasn't paying one iota of attention and was vulnerable to their accusations, she cupped her hand up to her mouth and whispered, "Mom. I know who did it." Then she looked over at her younger brother and added, "He has brown hair and lovvvvves Buzz Lightyear."

"Reeeeally? Tell me more..." I encouraged.

"Uh huh!" she eagerly nodded. "His name is spelled H-E- ..." she stopped and looked confused for a moment before she asked, "Um. How do you spell HENRY again?"

Oh my, that was a good try, little one.

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But I happen to know a very talented artist who always signs their name.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

what's in you wednesday

Charlie had his appointment with a cardiologist today. He'll be going back in for a stress test in two weeks, but for now - due to what appears to be borderline hypertension - they've instructed him to buy a blood pressure cuff and significantly reduce his sodium intake.

This will be difficult since one of my husband's favorite foods is ... anything with salt.

The doctor has also requested that he not begin the P90X program until he has completed his stress test. Seeing as I don't have any [known] cardiovascular issues, I could of course re-start the program without him, at any point. But I'm a very dedicated wife and feel it's important to show support for my husband. Which should be relatively easy since my legs still hurt from the 1,000 squats I did two weeks ago.

While I was at work today, Charlie sent me the following photo with a caption that read, "Don't panic. She totally knows how to use it."

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And to think, I'm worried about him having a heart attack.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

three for three

Carolyn lost her third tooth, tonight.

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Following suit of the other two, it went down the pipe as my daughter ate a slice of watermelon. Once again, we have nothing to place under her pillow for the tooth fairy. And once again, the tooth fairy will need to make a gastrointestinal rescue, so that my children are not in any way, shape or form, compelled to sift through the contents of a potty and retrieve it on their own volition. Now please, keep in mind, I would never accuse my children of such a heinous act if I hadn't personally overheard their conversation where they were plotting such a "rescue mission" following the loss/ingestion of the first tooth.

William doesn't have any loose teeth of his own, so he is becoming increasingly frustrated that his sister won't give him a tooth for his collection. And at the rate we're going, I fully recognize that I need to quickly get over the squeamishness that comes from plucking a loose tooth out of my child's mouth if I ever hope to actually have a tooth to place under a pillow. But that of course begs the question of what exactly does one do with a child's tooth once it is retrieved from beneath a pillow?

Does the tooth fairy save them up and make a maraca?

Or, stuff them in a drawer next to a dried up umbilical cord stump?

Do people actually save their children's teeth? Is it possible that they lose all their cuteness once they fall out of a child's mouth? Because right now, despite the fact I don't want to physically extract one OUT of my child's mouth, I'm oddly attached to those little chompers and can't imagine just throwing them away with the trash.

Speaking of children's teeth...

We found a fantastic new pediatric dentist a few weeks ago and she gave to us these awesome little sand timers that we* now use whenever we brush the children's teeth to show exactly how long we need to brush (two minutes.) I've been thinking that a great Halloween idea might be to buy a 40-pack of these (that works out to $0.60/per) and hand them out next October along with some nice shiny red organic apples in lieu of Snickers bars.

(What do you think that says about me? Perhaps, "I am so practical and would absolutely LOVE to have my house egged!")

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(I say "we" because I once read that an adult should brush their child's teeth until the child is capable of tying their own shoes. Since our children mostly wear slip-on Keens or Crocs, we might still be brushing their teeth when they're twelve unless I run out and buy them some sneakers.)

That's me in the mirror there.

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Yes, that's a headlamp that I'm wearing. Why? Because it helps me to see my children's teeth better when I'm brushing them. And yes, I'm almost positively certain the reason I've been having increasing difficulty focusing on objects within a foot of my face has a little something to do with the fact I'll be 40 one month from yesterday.

Is it just me, or is time flying past?

Before I know it, I'll probably be swallowing my own teeth.

Monday, March 21, 2011

spring in my step

Today marks the first day of Spring and I'm trembling with anticipation.

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Yesterday morning, I was awoken early by our children who were running around the house yelling that there were FLOWERS in the back yard. This seemed unfathomable to me, since when we left on our vacation, a mere seven days prior, our yard was devoid of all color, except brown. But when I climbed out of bed and peeked through the window, surely enough, there were random patches of yellow in the yard.

Forsythia!

Seeing this splash of color, among the barren trees, was like pure magic and nearly took my breath away. When I looked around the yard, I could see that all of the trees are now sporting the smallest little buds. Just waiting...

The kids got dressed and rushed outside to play. A few minutes later, they returned, holding hand fulls of beautiful flowers for me. While we don't have any daffodils in our yard, it appears that our neighbors do. Or rather, did.

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(
Oops.)

In addition to being the first day of Spring, today marks my first day back to work after an awesome reprieve. It's funny, because when I took the time off from work - I did it with great hesitation. I've got so many things happening both at home and the office, I had erroneously convinced myself that I was far too busy for a break and would be unable to clear my mind.

Turns out, that wasn't a problem at all and this morning when I lifted my work bag for the first time in more than a week, I was struck by how heavy it felt. This made me realize when you can hardly lift your briefcase after a vacation, you really needed the time off and/or you've got far too much stuff in your bag.

(In my case, it's probably more of the latter, although, I can rationalize the need for both a first aid and sewing kit in my bag. What if I need a band-aid or Tylenol? And what if a button pops off my trousers or worse yet, they split when I'm bending over to pick up something?! So long as I have a needle and thread, I feel like I'm covered. Literally.)

Today, on this first day of Spring ... I've got a mug full of flowers and I'm celebrating.

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The moment - life - and our next vacation, which we're already starting to plan.