Elise headed off to eighth grade, and in typical eighth grade fashion, she decided the dress code rules did not apply to her. When I said, "Um... really? spaghetti straps and bra straps showing?" She said, "Oh I have a T-shirt in my backpack in case I get in trouble." Um. No. We are not starting off a new year with a dress code violation. I sent her back in to change. She seemed to have a great first day and likes her teachers so far.
Next we had nervous Nina heading off to middle school for the first time. Sixth grade is kind of a big deal, and thankfully, she survived. She only ended up in the wrong classroom once.
Then we have Addison...
who was clearly not at all nervous about second grade.
She and I are on our own now in the mornings. Nina was usually the one who kept us on track to make the bus on time, so it was no big surprise when we missed the bus this morning. As I was driving to school, it occurred to me that this was the first time in nine years of school that my kids have not taken the bus on the first day. Even in kindergarten, we always hustled them on to the bus, their backpacks weighted down with ten tons of school supplies. I drove along wondering how long the carpool line would be, assuming that many parents probably drive on the first day. Then, completely bewildered, I pulled up to a perfectly empty carpool line. It confused me until I looked over and saw the packed parking lot. Parents were walking kids into the building in droves. I briefly wondered, "Should I get out and walk her in? Is that what I am expected to do?" I quickly pushed that thought out of my head though. If she is independent enough to get off of a school bus and find her classroom on the first day, then she can get out of my car and find her way as well. With that, I dropped her off as the one lone carpool kid of the day. I haven't decided if that makes me a bad mom for neglecting my first day of school parental duties or a really great mom for encouraging my child to be independent. I'm just going to go with the latter... makes me feel better. Don't judge.
Addison had a great day, and wouldn't you know... she found her classroom, all by herself.
I love questions from seven year olds. I have no idea how their brains work or how their thought process gets them to the questions they ask, but I love it. This week, Addie said to me, "Mom, I was just wondering... are God and Jesus on the same team? Or different teams?" I paused for a moment and then responded, "They are on the same team." She said, "OK. I was just wondering."
I can't help but wonder what sort of team God and Jesus are on together. Basketball? Hockey? Debate? I didn't ask or pry. I just left it alone and smiled.
You turned seven last month. We celebrated with a gingerbread decorating party at home. I tried desperately to convince you to do a party outside the house - Ice skating! Bounce house place! Taekwondo! Manicures! Build-a-Bear! You would have none of it. You were determined to have a party at home, so I relented. It was fun... chaotic and crazy, but fun.
Your insistence and never-back-down attitude about the home birthday party is pretty typical of your temperament these days. You are strong-willed and not shy about it. That will serve you well in a board room some day. Right now, it can be a bit draining for your parents. You and Nina are the stubborn soul sisters.
As you entered first grade, we crossed our fingers that the transition would be smoother than your transition to kindergarten which had been pretty traumatic. Things certainly went better, but it was still really tough on you. I think you are just someone who is very sensitive to change. Change is hard for you, and it takes you time to adjust to new classes, new camps, new situations. It isn't a bad thing, it is just part of what makes you you. I am starting to think that a traditional calendar school might be a better fit for you. Tracking in and out of school (9 weeks on, 3 weeks off) brings on a rough transition period every time. It is hard to get your behavior back in line after we track in or out of school. Overall though, school is going well. You like your teacher, and you are cruising along fine academically.
You enjoy reading. A couple of your favorite books lately have been Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo and The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale. You have some good friends both in and out of school and still participate in Daisy Girl Scouts and book club. You love to ride your bike and scooter.
The biggest change in your life in the past year has been your participation in Taekwondo.
When you first approached us about doing Taekwondo after a track-out camp field trip, I assumed this activity would go the way of others you have tried (T-ball, cheer, dance, and soccer). Your typical M.O. is to enjoy the activity for the first few weeks, tolerate it for the rest of the season or session, and then quit.
I never imagined that Taekwondo would have the impact on you that it has. It has made you a better Addison. I think you needed and craved the structure and discipline of martial arts. It just works for you. All of the tenets of Taekwondo are incorporated into the classes - honor, courtesy, integrity, self-control, perseverence. You are picking up all of that. Your first grade teacher told us that she noticed a difference in your respect and courtesy toward her after you started doing Taekwondo. We notice it at home too.
You are dedicated, determined, focused, and happy working toward your goals at Taekwondo. It is not an activity I ever would have chosen for you, so I'm so glad you found it and pursued it on your own. It is a good fit for your soul. I hope you will continue in Taekwondo for a long time. It has been such a great influence on your life.
I hope seven will be a good year. You continue to challenge us as parents, but you continue to bring us smiles and joy every day too. You talk all the time, giving us all your seven year old observations on life. I love your thought processes.
This Halloween, we had an Elsa, a minion, and a teenager dressed in black jeans and a black shirt who claimed she was a "vampire hunter". Her mother made her put on a cape, so she at least had some semblance of a costume.
The vampire hunter deserted us for a friend's neighborhood. That's the cool middle school thing to do. Elsa had a great time in the gorgeous dress my mom made.
She trick-or-treated with Batman for a while and then hooked up with several other Elsas and assorted princesses. She was even brave enough to to reach over this not so dead corpse to grab candy.
The adult trick-or-treating was pretty stellar this year. I ended up with a glass of wine, a toasted marshmallow shot of Kahlua, and a Frito pie. Plus, I stole all the girls' Kit Kats. Score.
Then we have the minion. Weeks of planning went into putting together the perfect minion costumes with a friend. Minion socks, a minion jack-o-lantern, figuring out who would be the yellow minion and who would be the purple minion and then deciding they should both be yellow minions, making minion goggles... it seemed to be the grand master plan leading up to a perfect night of minion trick or treating.
Until it wasn't. Nina burst into the house sobbing, completely heartbroken. Apparently her minion partner in crime had left to trick-or-treat in another neighborhood with another friend. With tears streaming down her face, she declared, "I don't want to trick or treat at all!" It ripped my heart out just a bit to see her so upset. She had been looking forward to this night for weeks. I don't know how things fell apart, whether Nina had bigger expectations about being together that night than the friend, or whether the friend got a better offer and ditched her, but at that point, it didn't matter. She was learning that awful lesson that we all learn at some point... friends sometimes let you down, and it hurts. I gave her a hug, wiped the tears off her face, and told her not to let that ruin her night. I convinced her to go find another friend. By the end of the night, she had hooked up with four other girls and had a ball. Thankfully, the night was salvaged. She came home with a big sack of candy and a smile on her face. She still can't really talk about the whole minion ordeal though. It was definitely a night of Halloween heartbreak for one yellow minion and her mom.
Last weekend, I had a glorious child-free weekend with girlfriends at Myrtle Beach. We gabbed, walked, napped, swam, ate, drank, laughed, shopped, and relaxed. It was definitely a different vibe from our family trip to Emerald Isle last month, but both trips were fabulous. The beach is always my happy place. I love this quote from the book "Where'd You Go Bernadette?" (a great beach read, by the way).
"When your eyes are softly focused on the horizon for sustained periods, your brain releases endorphins. It's the same as a runner's high."
~ Maria Semple
I'm thinking these faces have some of those beach horizon endorphins coursing through them.
We did a lot of boogie boarding.
Elise did some jumping.
Grandparents came... my parents for the first part of the week...
And J.C.'s parents for the second half.
This was a very laidback vacation. We didn't play putt-putt, or go to the aquarium, or take a boat ride. We just played in the pool,
buried sisters in the sand,
got lost in a good book,
got illegal lessons in driving a golf cart,
rode bikes behind the golf cart,
went out for seafood,
and some of us may have taken afternoon naps.
Overall, it was a very mellow, relaxing vacation spent with family. In other words, it was just about perfect.
I feel like there are all these odds and ends going on that I should blog about, but my brain can't catch up. Lots of things are happening. A lot is on my mind, but between chasing sleep deprivation, my decaffeination continuing, and J.C. out of town, I don't think a coherent blog post is going to happen any time soon. Thus, the midweek brain dump.
Nina had oral surgery on Tuesday. I don't think I slept at all Sunday or Monday night in anticipation. She had two baby teeth extracted and two permanent teeth extracted. That was the easy part of the surgery. The awful part that haunted me at night was the tooth exposure she needed. I'll spare you a graphic photo of her mouth and show you this model of the procedure instead.
She now has that freaky little gold chain coming out from her gums to pull her tooth down in the right direction. It sounded barbaric and painful, but she weathered the surgery much better than anticipated. She can't eat much yet, but otherwise, she is fine. I'm still recovering.
Did you know that tea bags are good for stopping bleeding? Now you know.
Elise had her first experience with playing in pep band at a middle school football game... a fun first.
I moved to a new office building this week. It is cool, posh, and modern, but moving is never much fun. Also, my new building doesn't have a Starbuck's like my old one did. That's a problem.
I upgraded to iOS8... turns out it isn't recommended for the iPhone 4S. My phone now rivals a paperweight in its usefulness. Good times.
We went out to Noodles & Company this week. We looked at the menu, and Addison said, "I want barf." As her sisters laughed, she got angry and indignant and said, "That's what I order here. I order the barf." More giggling ensued. Finally Nina recognized Addie's error and saved the day when she said, "Addie - you like the BROTH! Not BARF!" I'll never be able to look at broth the same way again.
This is closing weekend for downhill biking at Snowshoe. Can I get an Amen?
Is age 6 when the symptoms of multiple personality disorder first manifest? If so, we may have a problem. If not, then I will just write this off as the year when I. Can. Not. Win.
A couple weeks ago, I said to Addison, "There is a board breaking clinic coming up at taekwondo. Do you want to go to it? I know you had a lot of fun at the last one." She responded, "Yes! Last time I couldn't break the board with my punch, only my kick. I kept trying to break it with my punch, and I couldn't. This time I want to break it with my punch."
Two days later, in the car, I said to her, "I got you all signed up for the board breaking clinic on Saturday!", expecting a "Thanks, mom!" or "Yea!" in response. Instead, I got a tearful, "What? I don't want to go to board breaking! Why did you sign me up? Can you unsign me up? I don't want to go!"
I chose not to "unsign her up." When Saturday rolled around, I casually said, "OK, put on your taekwondo uniform for the board breaking clinic." I had no idea whether I would get tears or cheers in return. She asked, "Am I going to class too? Or just board breaking?" I said, "Just board breaking. The class is right before it, and I figured having class and board breaking back to back might be too much." She threw up her hands and stormed off yelling, "I wanted to go to class too!!! Why am I just going to board breaking and not class too?"
Can. Not. Win. Ever. There was no way I could have played this differently and not had her mad at me at some point (or every point) along the way.
Fortunately, she had fun breaking boards and left feeling very proud of herself. She didn't try her punch again, but the forearm thing worked pretty well for her.