Monday, May 28, 2012

So, I got a new computer...

My husband was very good to me this year on my birthday.

Whether it was his great love and affection for me that prompted this amazing gift, or the fact that our old computer is currently on life support with a very grim prognosis - it doesn't matter to me one bit!

The result was a sleek little laptop that can do the most marvelous stunts:

Fun, huh?

Getting older certainly has it's technological perks!  Now, if I could just find the wrinkle-reducing app on here...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Are We There Yet?

This may go down as the most unceremonious last week of school EVER.

Drew's friends are all getting out of school this week for the summer.  Some today, some on Friday.  So, in my mind I've sort of planned for this to be his last week of first grade, too.  Kind of.

I'm a little surprised at how the end of a school year has caught me so off-guard.  In all respects, homeschooling has been full of surprises.  The end of the year has been no exception.

Last year, I was co-homeroom mom for Kindergarten at Drew's school, and let me just tell you I KNEW when the end of the school year was approaching!  We were ordering pizzas and finishing up 5-yr old crafts and burning images on CDs for all the parents and buying teacher gifts.  There were plays and awards ceremonies and field trips and field days.  It was crazy, but it was fun.  And it was just the chaotic way a school year is supposed to end.

But for us?

Well, we finished math last week.  And I guess we're mostly done with science.  And reading is just an ongoing thing, so I know we'll be continuing that throughout the summer.  And spelling, well, we NEED to keep up with that through the summer months, too.  So it's been very hard for me to figure out exactly how and when I should wrap a bow on this package and call first grade DONE!

For those of you who might advise me that, perhaps learning is never really done, and I shouldn't concern myself too much over putting a "Last Day of School" on my calendar... I hear you, but


I need this finish line more than my son does.  I need an awards ceremony and a play and a pizza party and an apple, too.  So, I'll probably carve out some time this afternoon to visit some homeschooling sites and see if any other moms have figured out creative ways to wrap up and celebrate the accomplishment of another grade.

And I'll no doubt find some great, amazing ideas that I'll just HAVE to try.
And I'll have a day and a half to plan it all.
Which will be super hectic and chaotic.

Hey... just the way a good school year should end!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Staples has an Easy button.  Their commercials imply that it makes life simpler.  I think you can actually buy one, and I have to say I've almost been tempted to place an order.

Image courtesy of
If they made a Do-Over button, I'd definitely take two.

A Delete button... now you're talking!

Because if people are gonna be pushing my buttons any more, I'd like have some more helpful buttons for them to push.

Instead of the "Please Make Me Feel Like A Horrible Parent" button that I was evidently wearing today.

During Drew's early morning check-up, the doctor asked him a question.  My seven-year old answered honestly.  The doctor looked at me briefly, then addressed my child by slamming my lack-of-safety-consciousness and telling HIM that I, as his mother, would be better about it in the future.


I eventually peeled my humiliated frame from the chair and slinked out of the office.

Straight to the wholesale club we went, because my car was yelling at me to fill it with gas and my daughter was still in the diaper she'd worn to bed last night because it was the last one in our house.  We filled the car, I parked it, and I unloaded both kids into a shopping cart and headed toward the store.

I was stopped at the entrance by the "greeter".  I use that term loosely.  She informed me that I had the wrong type of card/membership to shop at that particular time of the day.  "YOUR shopping hours are listed on the front of your card."

Good grief.  I had no idea what time of day it was.  As I lingered only momentarily to calculate how long I had to wait to shop, she apparently assumed I was posturing for some sort of fight.  Because she retorted (to my blank and still humiliated face), "If I let you in, I could really get in trouble!!"  I assured her I meant to stir up no harm OR trouble and would be back at my allowed time.  I maneuvered the massive shopping cart back out of the entrance and piled the kids back in the car.

I drove straight to my mom's to kill an hour or so. Nothing like a visit with my parents and my little niece & nephew to help push the Reset button.

Around lunchtime, we bravely ventured back to the store for the now-very-much-needed diapers.  I was relieved that my greeter was someone new.  We picked up our items and some lunch and Icee's, too!  I grabbed a stack of napkins and wheeled our crew and food and diapers toward the exit.  The "bouncer" from early this morning was now the exit door checker, however.  I was optimistic that she might remember me and be glad to know that I'd made me back to the store within my allotted time-frame and successfully accomplished my mission.


She apparently had no recollection of me.  But she was now VERY concerned about my Icee's.  To ensure that my daughter didn't dump bright red slush all over herself before we left the store, I put a lid on her drink.  And because of the expanding nature of said drink, the red stuff was beginning to ooze out the top of her lid.

"Umm... Do you need a napkin, ma'am?"  
"No", I answered with a big smile.  "I have plenty right here, and I patted my stack of napkins for emphasis.  Thanks, though!"
She wasn't satisfied.  She checked my cart and then sighed and tried again.  "Are you sure you don't want to stand here and fix that drink for a second?"
"Really, it's fine.  I'll get it when we get to the car."  A line was now forming behind me.  I began to push the cart toward the doors.
"My word... I would NEVER bring a drink like that into my car.  It would make me crazy to think that thing could spill all over the place!!!!"  She was practically frantic. I assured her that I was in control of the situation and that we'd all be fine.  We were all going to be just fine.

Our next stop was the library to check out books on snakes.  With the end of our homeschool year looming, my boy and I decided it was the perfect time to do an animal habitat project.  While looking for the right books and DVDs, I began a conversation with another homeschool mom.  Meeting fellow homeschooling parents can be awesome and encouraging.  Except when you're wearing the "Please Make Me Feel Like A Horrible Parent" button, I guess.  My fellow mama asked Drew what kind of project he was working on.  I smiled as he described the shoebox we'd be making and the kind of home his snake lived in (he wasn't yet familiar with the term Habitat).  The mom said it sounded "Neat!"  Then proceeded to tell me about the diorama HER son (age 6) just finished in his gifted program about Ancient Greece right down to the amazing columns they'd actually built in their backyard.


I glanced at her young son, and sure enough, you could tell he was a smart one.  He had a stack of chapter books and was flipping pages rapidly.  "Are you reading that?" I asked him.

"Oh yes", his mom replied.  "He's reading at a middle school level.  We just got his comprehensive assessments back this week.  He's been reading like this since he was 3 and his little brother is just following right along in his footsteps."  

Big Groan Grin. "Wow... that's AMAZING!"

She then leaned over and tossled his hair playfully.  "But I'd sure like it if he'd learn some of his math facts..." she sighed.

I saw my moment.  "Yeah, reading has been hard for us. But we've really been doing good in Math this year." I replied.  "I guess it's pretty common to have a real love for one at this age over another."

"Oh... He's great at math, too.  He's already doing long division.  He just doesn't like it as well."

Right.  Of course.

I was suddenly in a big hurry to find our snake books.  I wished her and her kids well (that probably wasn't necessary) and we made our escape.  We spent the afternoon reading about poisonous serpents then rummaging through the backyard for habitat-worthy items.  When his friends got home, though, Drew was off to play.

About an hour later, he came inside to ask if he could swim at the neighbor's house.  I said no.  That was followed by his asking me again 3 more times and then ending up punished and crying in his room.

Then sobbing because we didn't have a pool in our backyard and that life was in NO WAY fair for him.  I made him stay long after his normal time-out allotment to think about his life.  He was commissioned to present me with a list of all the ways life is, in EVERY WAY plus some, more than fair for him.

After his less-than-heartfelt list was shared, he sat pouting on the couch while I folded laundry (and chased a wayward lizard out of house).  Miss M was super fussy as she perfected her new game of "cling to the hem of mommy's dress and have her pull you around the house".  At one point, I found myself yelling at her to PLEASE STOP WHINING!!!!  She did stop whining.  But only because she was now sobbing.

I looked, exasperated, at my son.  He'd been quiet for the last few minutes.  I saw him holding my phone in hand, and at a familiar angle.  Not the angle he holds it while playing games.

"Are you VIDEO-TAPING right now?!?!" I asked, my eyes bulging incredulously out of my head.

"Um... yeah... sorry Mom!?"

I took the phone, told the kids to watch T.V. for a moment, and locked myself into the bathroom.

I pushed the Play button.

And have never been more relieved to have a physical Delete button.

No one should ever have to come to terms with their own ugliness.  At least not on a smart phone with an amazing ability to transmit high quality sound AND pictures.

Or perhaps, we should.  I was so ill about what I saw and the way I acted toward my kids that I literally became sick to my stomach once my husband got home tonight.

I'd allowed well-meaning people to push me in the wrong direction all day today.  I guarantee you that our appointment this morning didn't ruin my doctor's day.  And neither encounter with the wholesale club employee probably even made an impression on her day.  And the mommy at the library probably went home to her family and talked about the nice family she met in the Youth Fiction row.

So, Staples, I don't know if your Easy button could have made this Monday turn out any differently for me.  But I press on only because I'm already leaning hard on another button labeled GRACE.  And lucky for me, it's already been paid for.  And the supply is never-ending.

image courtesy of

His mercies... they are new every morning.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Just Call Me Pollyana

She is a determined little girl, after all.

It's not like I was OVERLY optimistic.

When she first came to me, I thought she was asking for a diaper change.  She'd been running around in just that cotton padding since she woke from her nap.  And now she was begging me to "Take it off!"

"Do you need a new diaper, honey?"

NO MOMMY!  Take it OFF!

"I can't just take it off and let you run around.  I'll go get you a clean diaper."


One look in those big blue eyes had me fully convinced.  I had no doubt that she'd considered her options, weighed the pros and cons, then come to the conclusion that today was potty training day!  I was giddy at the thought.

I've always heard that girls are easier to train.  And that if you wait long enough, the training process is a cakewalk.  Knowing my daughter's spunky, strong will, I began calculating how much money we'd be saving in the "diaper" column of the budget.

But after two hours, we had nothing to show for our work except a daddy on his hands and knees under the living room area rug with a bottle of carpet cleaner.

Miss M took one look at the scene and asked me for a diaper.

You can call me Pollyana, but I'm keeping the "unnerwears" close by.  And maybe I'll stock up on carpet spot cleaners the next time I'm at Sam's!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tidying Up

Tidying up around the blog today.  I am simplifying the look of things around here.  And learning how to use fun new tech-y things like Instagram.  (What?  It's been around for years?  Don't burst my bubble...)

Perhaps with a sidebar of constantly updating pictures, I won't be prone to live in the alternate reality that my children are frozen in time at ages 4 1/2 and newborn (the latest picture that was featured in my header).

The boy's foot is almost as big as mine, and the girl... well, at least her hairbows are getting bigger.

As I learn more, I hope to add pictures to the top.  But for now, there's a bit of elbow room around here, and I kind of enjoy it.

Hope you do, too!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

It Was Only A Matter of Time...

At the tender age of three, our boy climbed unsteadily up on his 12" red Huffy, training wheels removed moments before by his Daddy.  After a few awkward attempts at balance, Drew found his stride and was off on two wheels just as fast as his little legs could pedal him.  He's never looked back.

At any given moment, I might walk outside to find him riding without hands, over ramps, or (if he thinks I can't see him), standing on his bike seat as he coasts down our neighborhood street.

It was only a matter of time, I suppose, before we ended up here:

Drew's so excited that we have a pretty incredible BMX track just minutes away from our house.  He thinks this might just be his next big thing.

He's not so thrilled, on the other hand, about the caliber of cheerleaders in his corner.  

I don't know who embarrassed him more, his little sister who toddled out to meet him on the track with her sticky granola bar smeared all over her face... or his mom who was snapping photos and ensuring that big old helmet was doing it's job to protect his noggin!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Birthday Poem

Dear Drew,

On your birthday,
I have to say
I can
t believe youre SEVEN!
I often think
that if I blink

You will be eleven.

Youve grown so tall,
But that
s not all
Your mouth is full of holes.
That toothy grin
Just does me in.
My love I can
t control!!

But youre a kid
who needs to rid
himself of mommys hugs.
re growing up.
m outta luck.
I can
t do much but shrug

At all your boy-ish antics.
You certainly are busy,
Inventing things,
devising schemes,
and generally being silly.

 You laugh a lot
at words like snot.
(You think gross things are funny)
You like to run.
re lots of fun.
And you like spending money!

Youre well-behaved,
re getting brave.
We couldn
t be more proud.
of who you
ve become.
re a wonderful son!
ll say it again ALOUD!

Youre a wonderful son!
And God has done
great things for our family.
He blessed us with you.
(Then Megan made two!)
re grateful as can be.

So on this seventh birthday,
We pray you have a blast.
We hope its filled with fun times.
And memories that will last.

Happy Birthday, Bud!  We love you very much!!!