Monday, October 17, 2011


Another lesson learned:

no matter how desperate you are, don't ever trust your husband to trim your hair.  Even if it's a tiny piece that you can't quite reach.  You'll end up with the shortest hair you've ever had and will have to decide whether it's worth it to just do him in right now and be done with it.

End scene.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Girl Goes To School

This Girl has been begging to go to school since Boy One started kindergarten four years ago.  She begged.  She planned.  She chose and re-chose outfits.  She gleaned important information from her brothers as to the skills/songs/behaviors needed to become the model student.

And, finally, the day arrived.

There she is, posing for Daddy on the first day of school; five-years-old going on eighteen.

We all walked down to the elementary school to take the boys to class and put Girl on the bus.  Without the slightest hint of fear she tromped straight up to the bus and climbed the steps, talked to her new bus driver about her new tights, and chose the seat closest to the front.  Her grin wrapped all the way around her face!

I sneakily walked down to the kindergarten and watched while the buses unloaded the kids in front of the building, and as the line of children wobbled into the school and drifted towards the foam blocks to waste some time before classes began.  I could hardly believe how confidant she was! 

She finally noticed me hiding behind some other parents and acknowledged that I was there, but never needed my help.  I ended up helping a few other kids with very wide eyes find their cubbies, their seats, their attendance markers, and open their crayons.  Girl barely even noticed me, she was so busy asserting her independence. 

I was surprised it didn't make me sad when she didn't even say good-bye when I left.  I guess we both knew how ready she was for this that enormity of it (all my kids in school!) seemed so nonchalant.

Friday, September 9, 2011

School resumes

The boys are in first and second grade this year, and Girl will be in kindergarten when it starts classes next week.  For the first time, we have kids repeating teachers: Girl has Boy Two's previous teacher, and Boy Two has Boy One's previous teacher.  Its kind of nice to start out the year with teachers that I know and are actually looking forward to having my kids in their classes!

Boy Two happens to have his best friend from kindergarten in his first grade class, along with a boy from his T-ball team (yay!) and also the neighbor girl from across the street.  His teacher came up to me after the first day of class and was amazed at how terrific Boy Two is.  Having never had him in class, she was blown away by his politeness / helpfulness / knowledge of routines / quietness / kindness with other students.  He isn't always like that at home, but I love to hear about how great his is elsewhere.  He takes school very seriously.

Except when he brings home the garbage from his lunchbox but accidentally throws away the Tupperware containers.  Oops.

Boy One was a little reserved and distracted by his new second grade class (which I knew would be the case).  He has thirty one kids in his class (!) and at least five of them are special needs kids.  In talking with the classroom aids, apparently there was an insurgence of special needs kids this year (right after they had their budget cut for classroom aids) and everything seems to be slightly chaotic.

Boy One doesn't have a lot of friends at school, and hardly anyone in this class whom he remembers from first grade or kindergarten, so instead he's choosing to spend time with his teacher while the other kids are at recess.  He's generally much more comfortable with adults than kids but it makes me a little sad for him.  I'm glad that he and his brother are so close -- he told his teacher that his brother is his best friend. (Cue mom's tears.)

There was a minor incident at library time when he wanted to check out books about trains and airplanes from the reference section and he was instead told to look at picture books.  Not his idea of fun.  But I'm on it; I've got a Plan B for library days.....

I'm glad that I will have mornings free to volunteer this year.  It looks like the school could really use the extra set of hands - especially with the special needs kids.  And if there's anything that I feel ready to jump in with, its helping those special needs kids.  I guess God knew what He was doing all along.....

Friday, August 26, 2011

Church Camp @ Cove Palisades

Boy Two with a tiny lizard that he caught; one of the hundreds that the kids searched for and chased over the week.  We also saw jack rabbits, garter snakes, buzzards and mice, none of which we caught.

Girl and I in the kayak.  She fell asleep!
Our church usually spends one long weekend a summer at a campground and this year it was at Cove Palisades on Lake Billy Chinook in Central Oregon.

While I seem to have (or, at least, want to have) fond memories of tent camping with my family as a kid, I realize as an adult that there is nothing fun about tent camping with small children.  Nothing.

That said, the other families all brought their RVs and we happened to benefit from their relative luxury, which made the experience bearable.  That, and the camp hosts were a retired couple from our church that made everything easier: from collecting excess wood and giving it to us for our campfires so we didn't have to bring our own; to advising us on which of the shower stalls were the best; to sharing their air pump when we forgot ours; to opening up the laundry facilities early (Laundry facilities!  While camping!!) so I could do two loads of laundry the morning my son had an accident in his sleeping bag.
Boy One in the little raft he commandeered for himself.  He was very good with it!
Camping Cons:

The dust.  It was everywhere.  It coated everything.  The kids threw it in the air in handfuls when they had nothing else to do.

Forgetting the pump to your air mattress at home.

Five people in a four person tent.

Not having room for a decent sized ice chest and having to make do with a miniscule plug-in fridge.

Night critters chewing on all your Tupperware containers so that you eventually have to throw them all away.

Husband having to work all day Friday and missing out on a day of fun that he really needed.

Exhaustedly falling into bed at 9pm every night, and getting up every morning at  5:45am.  I felt so old.

Girl with one of the many bugs that she found, picked up, and tortured.  No fear.
 Camping Pros:

Five entire days away from home.

Seeing my husband relax enough to enjoy himself - it's been years since he's been that relaxed.
Boys and their sticks.  There were many.  They were coveted.

Boy One driving the paddle boat with a dear friend from church.
 My children spending two entire days in the water and loving it.

Life jackets for the whole family!

Our pastor taking each of the kids out on the Wave Runner as many times as they wanted and even letting them 'drive'.
Someone sharing their homemade smoked fresh salmon.  Deliriously happy.

Finally getting a chance to talk with the two women in our church that I'm closest to.  Honestly, it's been years since I've gotten to talk with them.

Boy One getting to take the paddle-boat/ kayak/ raft/ wave runner out as much as he wanted, asserting his independence, learning his strengths, gaining more self confidence.  He bloomed before my very eyes.

Taking the kids to explore the Lava Tubes in Bend.  We were prepared with torch lights and warm jackets and the kids were delighted with the trek.  That is, after the teenagers ahead of us in the cave stopped making scary noises.

My husband declaring "This isn't just camping, it's our vacation" and taking us out to dinner at Mazatlan in Madras on Thursday night instead of my having to prepare something back at camp.

Boy Two declaring "I like the green stuff!" and heaping the lettuce onto his tacos.

Daddy learning how to drive our pastor's Wave Runner.
BLTs with avocado as camp food.  Why didn't I think of this earlier?

Scattering quarters around our campsite as we left, knowing that our camp hosts rake the sights and get a thrill out of finding the spare change.

 Knowing there is a Fred Meyer in every Oregon town, just in case you need to make a run to the store one or all of the days that you are vacationing.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My daughter started early making her own hair decisions.

She wanted pigtails instead of barrettes.  Then she wanted butterfly clips with elaborate hair styles (think Princess Leia).  Then she decided to grow her bangs out. (Waaahh!  She was so adorable with them!)  Then she wanted to leave her hair down, with the possible little braids at the front to keep the growing bangs back.  Then came, TODAY.

Cue dramatic music.

She had been talking for a few weeks about wanting to cut her hair because, let's face it, the twenty minute morning ritual of hair styling was a bit over the top.  It's the same morning hair routine that I remember vividly from my own childhood.

Mom calls for Girl "Let's do your hair."
Girl reluctantly abandons her play and come to sit on the stool. 
Mom arranges her arsenal of hair styling supplies and grabs a brush in one hand and hair conditioning spray in the other.
Tilt Girl's head up.
Brush.  Brush.  Squirt.  Brush.  Screech. 
Tilt Girl's head up.  Brush.  Screech.  Squirt.
Tilt Girl's head up.
Squirt.  Screech.  Brush.
Finally have all the tangles out.  Use the painful end of the comb to make a part. 
Redo part.  Tilt Girl's head up.  Make another part.
Mist hair with water.  Comb.  Tilt head.
Divide portion of hair into equal thicknesses.  Braid - tightly. 
Bind ends with rubber band.  Rubber band snaps.  Find another and bind hair again.
Begin the process again with the other side of the head.
Using various clips, butterflies, bands, bobby pins, hair pins and flowers, design and secure hair in elaborate styles, all the while tilting Girls head up.
Spray liberally with hair spray.
Repeat every day without killing each other.

Girl decided to end the cycle of madness and cut her hair.  And she trusted ME to do it for her!

After only fifteen minutes she had a quite respectable haircut that I must admit looks charming on her.
She even insisted that we walk down to her soon-to-be kindergarten and show the office manager (whom she esteems for her great fashion sense).  Gosh, she's so cute!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives...

This morning Girl and Boy Two decided to play Mom and Dad Drive The Car with the mats from the van. 

They arranged the mats in the driveway and Boy Two took the position of Dad in the driver's seat, and Girl sat in Mom's passenger seat.  They took this very seriously.

Boy put his arms up where the steering wheel would be and started the 'drive'.  Girl, apparently mimicking Mom, immediately put on pretend hand lotion.

'Dad' turned the 'car' right, then left, leaning way over to each side like a race car driver.  'Mom' screeched and encouraged 'Dad' that "We're here!" every few seconds.

Eventually, 'Dad' pulled into his desired destination: McDonald's.  Sure, why not.

'Mom', of course, put on more hand lotion.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I'm still alive, I just have nothing to say

For some reason, August brings out a blah attitude towards chronicling our lives.

Not that there is anything altogether exciting to report.

Girl had her annual echo cardiogram and pacemaker check appointment in the big city.  Now that she has turned five she is completely comfortable with whatever they need to do to her.  She'll lift her shirt for anyone.

The pacer technician re-set her pacer to beat as low as 60 bpm and it tops out at 180bpm.  I was shown a chart that measures her usage of the device: she regularly gets her heart rate up to 180bpm.  I'm gad they didn't have a chart of how high my rate goes.  I think she would top me.

They also re-set the sensitivity so that the lower wires (this is as technical as I get) are no longer reading the upper wires and delivering the wrong information.  It makes it appear that she has an arrhythmia.  We don't need to add that on, too.

The echo showed that her heart is still hanging on as they designed it to.  Her cardiologist drew us a picture comparing what a normal heart looks like and what her's looks like: it's difficult to compare the two.  He commented that Girl's heart is utterly unique: there isn't another one designed like it in the world. 

I don't know why, but this makes me smile.

A few days after the appointment Girl turned five years old.  This made me feel a little odd, since I distinctly remember my own fifth birthday (and, moreover, the evening before when I received not one, but two spankings.).  Reflectively, I guess I should have put more effort into making it seem memorable for her but I shamefully admit to being the World's Worst Birthday Planning Mom. 

My children's birthdays usually end about ten minutes before bedtime when I have had just enough time to slap some frosting on the still-hot-from-the-oven cake, cut it into pieces, serve it to the children, then bemoan the apparent facts that not only did I forget to get any ice cream, but I also forget to sing and let them blow out candles.

My children will probably need therapy after having grown up with me.

But back to Girl's birthday: she picked out her own presents of Disney Princess play sets (the ones that come with the prince included: she's no dummy), and also was gifted with Princess dresses, a backpack, a thermos, coloring pages, the works.  Disney certainly makes its share of money from my daughter's unflagging interest.

And to close, the cute anecdotal and ongoing conversation between Girl and Boy Two.  Girl will declare throughout the house, "Who wants to play the princess is getting MAR-ried?!"  And Boy Two will distractedly counter that with, "I'm playing the DINOSAUR learns how to FIGHT!"

Combine the two only with tremendous caution.