Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Heart Faces

Ok, I'm doing something completely different. I'm going to participate in this:

This week's contest is "Favorite Photo Ever" for their Blurb Photo Book. This picture is of Drew at just over a year old (like maybe just a few days) sitting on our back porch in the snow. He wasn't walking yet, so I just plunked him down to check out the snow. I love how blue his eyes are.

I am submitting this photo into the www.iheartfaces.com Blurb book photo contest. If chosen, I grant I Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I Faces web sites.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tightrope Walking

We're nearing the end of the school year. Sort of. Due to two hour delays and lots of days off, the school year ends on June 22nd (which is my birthday; happy birthday to me). Next year Meg will be in 3rd grade, and at a new school. In our district, our town has an elementary K-2 school, the other town also has a K-2 school, and then in 3rd grade they all go to the same school. Our rec program is for both towns, so the kids already know each other, somewhat. These kids will go all the way through high school together. I think it's pretty neat, since the city Doug and I grew up in had 6 elementary school, two middle schools and then a single high school. He and I didn't even MEET until our senior year, in Calculus.

This school year has gone really well for Meg. She had the new teacher on the block, which was worrisome at first since we knew nothing about her, but she is fabulous. Unfortunately she didn't make the budget cuts and won't be back next year and we're sad about that. Last year's issues with the GT (Gifted and Talented) teacher are gone; the new teacher has been really great for her to work with (go here if you want to know what I'm talking about). We were notified last week that actual testing for the Gifted and Talented program will be done with a recommendation from a teacher or parent, and today got a notice that Meg has been recommended for testing. We're very proud of her, and not totally surprised. She reads voraciously and I think her reading level is around fifth grade. However, we don't care one way or the other whether she actually gets into the program, as long as she continues to do well in school and still loves going.

But it's a balancing act, a tightrope walk. We want her to excel; what parent doesn't want to see their child succeed. On the other hand, she's eight years old, and we don't want to push her beyond her capabilities. We're waiting for that moment that she is willing to push herself, and we're seeing glimmers of that this year. We want her to be challenged, but not so much that school becomes a place she doesn't enjoy. She already thinks we want her to be perfect, no matter how hard we try to tell her that we just want her to to her best. That really is all we're asking for~that she does her best. We know she can do it because we've seen it.

I feel for her at times. She's the oldest, as I am, so the rules we make and the decisions we make must seem so arbitrary to her; I know I sometimes thought that my parents were flying by the seat of their pants. She's our guinea pig if you will, our test subject. Sometimes we're walking blind, throwing things out there that we hope stick because it's all we have at that moment. We do everything we do in hopes that she'll grow up happy and healthy, but that doesn't always mean we're doing it right. We're just doing our best and we hope it sticks.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Etiquette Lesson

As a mom of four, there are some things that are necessary for us to do to get by and not go broke. Using hand-me-down clothes for the kids is one of those things. The twins wear Meg's old clothes, Meg wore a friend's daughter's clothes until she got taller than the child, and Drew sometimes gets some from other friends. I gave my neighbor all of the twins 0-6 month clothes when she had boy-girl twins and I'm pretty sure she never needed to WASH a single onesie, ever. I am not too picky with hand-me-downs; I appreciate them and if it saves me money, my kids tend to wear them. Well, I appreciate them to a point.

On Friday one of Doug's coworkers dropped off a giant bag of clothes for Drew. We were thrilled, because the poor boy is currently wearing high-water pants since he grew over the winter and all his pants are too short. I'm not about to spend money on pants since he'll grow over the summer, again. I'll just wait until fall. I digress. In going through the bag though, we were disappointed. The clothes were either MUCH too small (size 6-9 months doesn't fit ANY child in this house thanks) or three sizes too big. Argh.

I can understand if you want to share clothes and I appreciate the thoughtfulness. But don't just dump stuff on me that I have to go through and then get rid of MYSELF. That's disrespectful. Ask me what size my child is wearing before you load up a bag of junk for me that I can't use. Now we have to find a home for almost an entire bag of clothes that we can't use. Like I don't have enough to do with my time.

Do I sound whiny and ungrateful? Maybe so, but I don't care. I have four kids, one income and lots to do. Be respectful of that.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Just Manny being Manny? Heck no.

Dear Manny~

If you asked my 8 year old daughter who her favorite Red Sox player is, she would say your name. She cried when you were traded last year. Sobbed. It was heartbreaking. Don't believe me that she loves you?
That's her on the right, wearing YOUR jersey.

Personally, I don't care if you want to screw up your life and career by using performance enhancing drugs. I do care that you're a role model for my 8 year old kid, though. I'm sure you were a role model of thousands of other children as well. Notice my use of the past tense in "were". Those kids and YOUR kids, are going to be so disappointed that their Manny made such a horrible choice. I know my daughter won't be happy when I tell her.

I will tell her. I will also tell her that while she adores you, she needs to find a new player to admire. I know people make mistakes. But you made a conscious decision to do something illegal. I want her to learn from that. I want her to admire people who are strong enough to believe in themselves and their abilities and don't require the use of illegal substances to advance in life. So thank you Manny, for screwing up. It gives me a chance to talk to my child and give her a real world lesson in what happens when you make bad decisions. I only hope she listens to me. I hope she grows up to make good, smart, strong choices. I hope she learns from you, even if it is the hard way.


A Red Sox Nation Mama

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Where oh where is my clean little house?

When I was in law school and living on my own I kept my apartment very clean. I had a roommate bail on me so I lived for two years in a two bedroom, two bathroom condo, alone (and with the financial help of my then-boyfriend, now-husband, I was able to afford to stay there). I liked things neat and orderly. I suppose because I lived alone and only had my studies to keep me company, keeping my place neat was something that kept away the loneliness.

I wish I could say that my neat freak attitude stayed with me, but it hasn't. I don't know where it went, but it certainly isn't here in this house. We have so much STUFF. So many papers, toys, books. This is a large house, which I suppose with a family of six you have to have. I have a gorgeous kitchen island that I cannot see. I rarely see it, unless we're having a big family holiday here and we have to use the island for food. I have stacks of magazines without a home, kids' school papers that need to go to their box in the basement, bills, junk mail. It is overwhelming. Doug isn't allowed to do anything other than pile things up for me to go through, since he threw away something important when we first moved here that almost cost me the ability to declare myself an inactive attorney in the State of Maine. So, it's up to me to take care of the mess on top of the other things I'm already responsible for. To say that I relegate it to the bottom of the list is an understatement.

Last night I was watching the Red Sox game and checking Twitter, when I came across this from Casey at mooshinindy: When that moosh lady met the Style Network, Trish Suhr and reality TV. And had cameras FILM HER HOUSE. http://twurl.nl/0mcb8k. I checked out the website last night and this morning and did something very unlike me~I signed up for the contest to have a cleaning intervention staged at my home! A FILMED cleaning intervention. I doubt I'll win, but holy cow it would be nice for some help. I am good if I can keep on top of the mess, but when it gets to the stage it's in now, well let's just say that I turn a blind eye to it and hope it goes away.

Don't get me wrong. I like to clean. I love vacuumed floors, dishes put away, clean sheets and sparkling sinks. But hello, I have four messy, messy children who don't believe in my clean philosophy. When I vacuum the living room floor, the younger ones immediately take out trucks and go in circles, ruining my nice, clean rug. Someone always starts crying when I try to go upstairs for a few minutes to put things away (no, I don't take them with me due to the abomination that is the kids' playroom; it's not safe for the twins to go in there with all the toys on the floor thanks to Meg and Drew, and we've already had tumbles down the stairs and we don't need any repeats). My driveway is gravel, so my floors are always covered with dirt. Did I mention my kids are messy?

I once wrote a post about how I'd spend a free day scrapbooking. Ha. If I had a day to myself with NO KIDS, I'd clean. Really, I'd want to read a book or take a nap, but I would clean. For now though, since a day without kids isn't on my horizon, I'll have to do little bits here and there to try to tackle it all. And maybe I'll win the cleaning intervention and get some good hints for taking care of my house. I really want to be a better example for my kids.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Springtime comes slowly to Maine. We still had snow in our front yard three weeks ago. We are just starting to get leaves on the trees. I remember coming home from college where we'd had gorgeous weather, and having to wear turtlenecks and coats. In May.

A couple of weeks ago we took a trip to our favorite nursery and I brought along my camera. I was feeling really sad so I hoped the colors would perk me up.

The colors were certainly enough to pull me out of my blues. It also encouraged us to start working on our yard. We have a rather large yard, but not much grass (darn plow guy KILLED our front yard this year). We also have perennial beds along the rock "walls" we have at the back and side of our yard. We've been planting perennials, annuals, pulling weeds, mulching and raking for the better part of three weekends (and by "we" I mean Doug; I direct and plant). Yesterday we went back to the nursery and got seedlings for our vegetable garden. After last year's success with the veggies, we're mixing things up this year and trying onions, corn and broccoli, along with our peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. We're also going to get some compost for another section of our yard and plant our pumpkins and squash there, as they took over the garden last year.

It's been good getting outside and digging in the earth. Winters here are long and hard so we practically burst out of the house at full speed when the weather cooperates. I'm jealous of my friends that live in the South, since their flowers are in full bloom and they have lush, green lawns. But, I also enjoy the slow speed that Spring takes to arrive; I appreciate each flower that blooms and each leaf that makes an appearance over the next couple of weeks. I'll enjoy it while it takes its time arriving.