Outside my window... it is dark, but still HOT! I think this is going to be a scorcher summer.
I am thinking... that the kids have two days of school left, and I haven't bought teacher thank-you gifts yet! Ack! I had the gifts all planned out but dragged my feet in ordering them. How does Christmas and the end of the year sneak up on me like this every year?
I am thankful for... Nina having such a great kindergarten year. Her graduation is tomorrow, and I hate to see the year come to an end.
From the kitchen... chicken lasagna.
I am wearing... a tee and denim shorts.
I am creating... a big girl room for Addie.The bedding has been ordered. The crib has been removed. The bed has been assembled. The mattress arrives tomorrow. I'll pick out paint once the bedding arrives.
I am going... to bed soon. I'm tired.
I am reading... I seem to have the attention span of a gnat these days, so I put down the Chris Bohjalian book in favor of Dance With Them. The short essays and poems are just my speed right now. Most of my parenting struggles lately seem to be with my school-age children, so these essays by Mormon mothers about finding their way through their own challenges with that age group are good for me right now. I'm also reading a little fluff - Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson.
I am hoping... that Elise and Nina both get great teachers and have a few friends in their classes. We haven't received teacher assignments yet, but "Meet the Teacher" is this Thursday.
I am hearing... the TV show "Yard Crashers". Wouldn't you kill to be wandering around Home Depot and have that guy walk up to you to say he's coming home with you to make over your yard??
Around the house... the AC is working hard to keep up.
One of my favorite things... my new iPod Touch that JC bought for me! He stuck it in my purse as a surprise!
A few plans for the rest of the week.... busy week... kindergarten graduation (sniff, sniff!), toddler class ice cream party, meet the teacher, tumbling (Elise), jump roping (Nina), book club (me) and Addie's mattress delivery.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Elise's class today at their end of the year party. I asked them to show me how they feel about homework!
I've written this post in my head dozens of times over the past few months. It was never right. I was stumbling as a mother, drowning in my thoughts, and paralyzed by a decision that needed to be made. The struggle was all consuming, and so the post went unwritten.
Then last night, I read a passage in the book, Dance With Them. It is a collection of essays by Mormon mothers about mothering school-age children. Kathryn Soper writes:
"And growth - ours, and theirs - is a process as challenging as it is rewarding. Every day we live the complexities of loving kids who drive us nuts, of understanding kids who seem like alien creatures, of negotiating everything from breakfast menus to necklines to major life choices. As well as moments of indescribable sweetness and satisfaction, mothering inevitably includes the agony of watching a child hurt as a result of his choices, or yours, or the randomness of life and nature."
Negotiating breakfast menus and necklines I can manage. I make mistakes. I lose my patience some days. I regret my decisions at times, but I can muddle my way through breakfast menus and necklines. Give me a major life choice though, and my stomach ties in knots. The pressure crushes me. We had to decide whether or not to hold Elise back to repeat third grade. I cringe at the thought of "the agony of watching a child hurt as a result" of our choice. Would promoting her to fourth allow her to fall so far behind in school that she would lose all self-confidence? Would she be so overloaded with homework that she wouldn't have any time for a life outside of school? Would retaining her destroy her self-confidence in thinking she wasn't smart? Would she be taunted and teased mercilessly about repeating?
The decision felt so huge, so overwhelming. We talked to her teacher and the principal. They both agreed there was no best answer. Every night after the kids were in bed, we discussed it... the pros and the cons, the what-ifs. What was best for Elise? Without being able to see into the future, how could we possibly know what was going to be the right answer?
I think back to being a mother to an infant. There were decisions that seemed huge then too. They are the standard infant debates that torment fragile post-partum mothers - breast vs. bottle, cry-it-out vs. co-sleeping, and dealing with the mommy-guilt that can seem so overwhelming as a new mom. Now, I can look back on that time and see that those issues should never have been made to seem so crucial. I look around at Elise's friends, and I have no idea who was breastfed or bottlefed, who cried-it-out or co-slept, who potty-trained at 18 months or five, who ate organic homemade baby food and who ate Coco-Puffs. Those decisions seemed so huge then, and yet now, so insignificant.
I can only hope that a few years from now, I can reflect on this time in my life and wonder why I ever worried so much about this decision as well.
As Elise starts third grade again this fall, my stomach will once again be in knots, and I will be biting my fingernails to nubs with anxiety. Only time will tell whether the decision that seemed right in our hearts is the one that will be right for her.
Outside my window... the sun is shining, and the sky is blue.
I am thinking... about how I love the new set-up of our bonus room. J.C. has been working on it the past couple of weeks. We now have a computer area, craft/homework area, TV area, and laundry folding area. Previously, we had a computer area and junk area, so this is a big improvement!
I am thankful for... Nina finally being over her wretched ear infection. In all of my years in dealing with kids with multiple ear infections (we've been through 6 ear tubes surgeries, so I've seen my fair share of ear infections), I've never, ever seen one that bad.
From the kitchen... sloppy joe bites, baked beans, and salad.
I am wearing... a Boden tee and denim shorts.
I am creating... not much right now. Creativity Boot Camp ended, and as fast-paced as it was to try to take the photo each day, I'm going to miss it.
I am going... nowhere today. I'm home with two sick kids. What's up with all these sick kids in the summer?
I am reading... nothing... too tired to read. Double Bind by Chris Bohjalian is next to my bed, but I haven't touched it since last week. I read US Weekly one day while the kids were playing in the sprinkler, but that's about it for now.
I am hoping... that Elise and Addie are on the mend. Elise's viral fever and migraine combo has been really miserable for her. We got some prescription migraine meds today though, so hopefully that will help.
I am hearing... Elise coloring.
Around the house... piles of stuff in our bedroom that I need to clean up before we can paint in there.
One of my favorite things... afternoon naps... just got up from one, and I feel so refreshed!
A few plans for the rest of the week.... getting kids well and back to school.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... 2 pictures this week...
First, Nina was absolutely convinced that she would be able to jump the single rope and the double rope at the same time. I was not so convinced, but we tried and tried and tried and tried some more. Finally, she got the timing right and did it! I was so impressed at her perseverance!
and this second picture was a request from my husband, "You need to put a picture of our front yard on your blog." I think he wanted to make sure everyone fully understood how completely I destroyed it with the slip n' slide. Grass is overrated, right?
Father's Day brings about visions of a hearty homemade breakfast, quality time with the kids, filet mignon on the grill, or perhaps a nice dinner out with a bottle of wine and classy chocolate dessert, along with "Hape Fathrs Day" cards made by the kids with love, and the latest electronic gadget wrapped in fancy paper. Ahhh... sounds like a great day, doesn't it?
And then, there's reality. Waking up to an 8 year old with a fever and a screaming migraine, a 6 year old recovering from a combo of a middle ear infection and swimmer's ear, and a 2 year old with a fever, a painful ear, and a mood to rival rabid raccoon with pms makes for a less than stellar Father's Day. We managed a homemade breakfast (with only a few burned pancakes), a sweet "Hape Fathrs Day" card, and the latest electronic gadget (an iPod Touch - yes, I know the iPad is technically the "latest", but have you seen the price?) wrapped in a cardboard Amazon box because I couldn't find the card and gift bag I purchased last week. Other than that, we mostly doled out Motrin, Tylenol, and antibiotics all day while the toddler yelled at us. Good times.
Maybe I can convince J.C. that Father's Day was actually last weekend, and he spent it having fun at his testosterone filled Snowshoe weekend. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure we scored on the low end of "Happy" this Father's Day.
To the grandfathers reading this... your Father's Day cards are in the same bag with J.C.'s and the gift bag. If you receive a Father's Day card six months from now, it is because I finally found the bag. Sadly, my family is used to getting oddball Christmas presents in July when they surface from their "great hiding place" where I forgot I hid them. Sigh.
This week, my dear friend over at The Planet Pink presented me with the Outstanding Blogger Award. I have to admit, I've never been quite sure where blogger awards originate or what sort of meaning is behind them, but I'm honored to have received one regardless! Planet Pink is another girl mama who has me beat with FOUR girls! Blows your mind a little, doesn't it? At least it does mine. I am maxed out at three, so I bow down to Planet Pink for tackling another!
I started blogging as a way to share pictures and stories with friends and family without bombarding them with email. Somewhere along the way, it has become much more than that. It is my digital scrapbook, my creative outlet, my connection with other blogging friends, my photography hobby, my creative writing, my challenge, and my baby. I write it for myself, for my family, and for anyone who cares to read it. I'm always so touched when people say that they enjoy it or take time to leave a comment, so I am especially honored that Planet Pink chose to pass along this award. Thank you!
Now I'd like to pass along this award to a few bloggers I follow who I think are outstanding...
Tracy at Sellabit Mum - another 3 girl mama whose humor I love!
I am sad to see Creativity Boot Camp come to an end. It has been a great exercise for the creative side of my brain. I have really enjoyed pushing myself to take photos I normally wouldn't take, trying new things in Photoshop, and finding inspiration from the prompts. Some days were certainly more challenging than others, I skipped a few days, and some of my photos were better than others. Overall though, it has been a great experience, and I want to say thank you to Maegan of Madeline Bea Photography for hosting it. She is starting a new feature called the Sunday Creative, so I hope to keep up the creative spirit through that.
Today's word was "Smile" - what a great way to conclude Boot Camp... with lots of smiles. I had a few ideas I was tossing around in my head all day, but as we were driving home from dinner, I looked in the rearview mirror and spotted Elise's shirt. At that point, any other ideas were tossed out the window. It was like the creativity gods were sending me a message that Elise needed to be my subject today. We got out of the car, and the light was perfect. I barked out orders, "J.C., put the baby to bed!", "Elise, go brush your hair!", "The light is perfect! GO, GO, GO!!!" I grabbed my camera and captured the shot just before the sun disappeared behind the trees. That made me smile.
Two and a half... Wow. Time flies. No, time does more than fly. It is like a runaway train. I'd love to stop time for moments here and there, but there is no slowing it. It just keeps barreling along.
You are so very two. Two is the cutest, most wonderful, magical time one minute and the most frustrating, aggravating grey-hair-inducing time the next.
There are days I want to slow time and keep you at two forever. There are so many things I love about you at two. I love the way you say "Oh Tay" rather than "O.K." I love that when you want to say "I don't know.", you say, "I know?" in a questioning tone that somehow clearly indicates that you mean the opposite. I love how in the mornings when I ask you "one piggy or two piggies" about how to fix your hair, instead of answering "one piggy", you say, "no two piggy." I love the way you do a roll call of where everyone in the family is... "Daddy Snowshoe. Addie no shoe. Sissy no shoe. Nina no shoe. Mommy no shoe. Daddy Snowshoe." I love the way you play music on a little toy and then exclaim, "Ice ceam shruck!!" I love hearing your little feet pitter pattering around the house as you chase your sisters. I love the way you call Dora the Explorer "Duh duh duh Dora", as in "MY duh duh duh Dora PJ's" I love the thrilled look on your face when you jump to me in the pool wearing your little floatie, and then you swim to the ladder and climb out to "Do 'gin!" I love the way you'll walk from person to person with a crayon and piece of paper asking, "Draw mile fess" until someone realizes you're asking for a smiley face and draws it for you. I love your hugs and kisses. There are so many things I love about the two year old you.
Then there are those things that have me cursing time wishing it would speed up. "MY DO IT!!!" is the number one. I know you are expressing your independence. I know it is your way of separating from me and learning to do things on your own. I know all that. Really, I do, but do you really have to do EVERYTHING independently? Could you let me put your shoes on the right feet just once? One time? That's all I ask.. that I don't have to drop you off at daycare every day sheepishly saying, "Sorry... her shoes are on the wrong feet again. She won't let me switch them." If I dare to put a shoe on your foot, you immediately take it off and put it back on with your very adamant, "MY DO IT!" I'm pretty sure I've never picked out the right bowl, cup, or fork for you. Even if I did pick out the one you wanted, you would throw it across the room and choose another one just to spite me.
"Independence" I remind myself, "Independence... it is a good thing." Independence gets me off the hook for making lunch in the morning when Nina makes her own. It has to be a good thing eventually, but right now, your battle for independence is a neverending source of frustration for both of us. I'll attempt the tried and true, "Offer a toddler two choices so that they feel like they are in control of the decision" method in the morning, giving you two outfits from which to choose. Invariably, you walk over to the hamper and pull out an outfit or simply yell, "BUNNY DRESS!!!" Sigh. Why doesn't the two choices thing work on you? As a third kid, are you already savvy enough to realize that you really aren't being given a choice when mom has already narrowed the choices to two? Darn older sisters!
The great thing about two though is that for every time I bang my head against the wall over "MY DO IT!" or "NO MOMMY!!! DADDY DO IT!", you turn around and crank up the cuteness to make up for it. At the end of every day, seeing you peacefully snoozing in your bed always reminds me that time is going by way too fast. Two really is a wonderful, magical age, and I need to just enjoy the ride.
It is hard to believe this is my last letter to you as a toddler. In six months, you'll be turning three and starting preschool. I know I'll miss the sweet, wonderful, spunky "terrible twos" when it is all over. You are my little love. Thanks for being you, and thanks for the fun of two!
Although the majority of our vacation was spent enjoying the beach, the pool, and the beach house, we did go out occassionally to explore the rest of the island.
We had a couple of great bike outings. You should have seen our crew... 4 adults on bikes, 3 kids on bikes, one kid on a trail-a-bike, and two toddlers in the trailer! We formed a pretty impressive train.
Along with cooking some great meals at the house, we always enjoy going out for seafood a few times too. We hit our perennial favorite, Sanitary Fish Market, for lunch one day. Mmmmm... hush puppies! Nina's pose is... uhh... lovely, huh?
We also hit Whidden Landing one night which is so nice because you can eat out on the dock, right on the water. It was such a pleasant night for dining outside, and their chocolate silk pie melts in your mouth.
So, this concludes this year's beach photo posts. I love having the photos out on the blog where I can relive our trip any time. I wish I could actually go to the beach several times per year, but for now, the pictures will have to hold me over until next year. Sigh...