Saturday, August 31, 2013

(Almost) A Week of Gratitude

I said I was going to start keeping a gratitude list here, and I didn't follow through. So, here I am trying again...

Tuesday 8/27
  • Zoe's homework including instructions to give me a tight hug
  • A walk around the neighborhood before the girls got home
  • The girls being so excited to ride the bus home
  • Down days because they make appreciate the up days more
  • That Bill offered to take Isabelle to the doctor today
Wednesday 8/28
  • Misread signs
  • The Oatmeal's comic today, I laughed forever.
  • No homework!!!
  • Dancing spelling practice (whatever works, right?)
  • The girls feeling so proud because they got to walk home from the bus stop alone (I can see the bus stop from the porch, it's 2 houses down)
  • Being in a better mood today
Thursday 8/29
  • Miss Thelma's comment about Dr. L.  I haven't laughed like that in a looooooong time
  • That Dr. L didn't sneak up on me today.  He needs a bell or something.
  • That days when I feel really low, random people pop up to check on me out of the blue
  • My kids doing their homework without any nagging or crying.  It was like the heavens opened up and the angels were singing.
  • Firehouse on repeat all. day. long.
  • Isabelle's amazing memory for song lyrics
  • A slightly (very slightly) smaller electric bill this month
Friday 8/30
  • Sweet notes from Zoe's teacher
  • That Bill had the foresight to ask me take him some Gatorade so he doesn't get sick in the heat tonight
  • Friendly cashiers who think my kids are charming
  • Aunt Lynne.... best in-law ever (not that they're not all great, she just always makes my day, though)
  • A new "virtual" workout buddy
  • Feeling like myself again
  • Three day weekends =)
Saturday 8/31
  • Finishing up the laundry marathon before the girls went to bed
  • My laundry putter-upper, Zoe
  • That I have Monday off and can put off my long walk until then, because it will be a bit cooler than tomorrow
  • Snarky, sarcastic people
  • That my kids have stopped asking for dessert every night
  • The photo challenge because I really loved looking through my old pictures and remembering those times
  • The creativity of others

Friday, August 30, 2013

The post full of TMI

Let's talk about sex, baby...

OK, not really.

But we are going to talk about puberty.  Because we're on the cusp, y'all.  And I never say "y'all" lightly, you know.

I guess it was about 6 months or so ago that I was talking to my sister and mentioned that I guess it was time to have "the talk" with Olivia.  She was just shocked I hadn't done it sooner.  The child is almost 9, and my sister and I were both really early bloomers.  I believe I was in the 4th grade, so only a year or so older than Olivia is now.  But you know, Olivia is just not all that mature, I don't feel.  Isabelle and she seem to be about the same maturity-wise and I don't think Isabelle is overly mature for her age.  So I just hadn't thought to do it yet.  Plus, it's not on my list of exciting things I can't wait to do with my kids.  

So I tried.  We looked at together.  I tried to explain what a period is and that she will one day have one.  She looked at me like I was insane and asked if she could go play.  Well done, Jennifer.

Then, earlier this summer, we saw Olivia's BFF.  My jaw dropped.  She's already turned 9.  And is already in need of a bra.  Oh. my. word.  Big wake up call.

So I hit snooze.

I'm sorry, I know that it's silly.  I'm just not ready for this crap.  Hormones and periods and shaving armpits...  I have enough on my plate dealing with my own PMS roller coaster, thank you very much.  

But this past weekend, Olivia had on a tshirt and I was all like "are those breast buds?!?"  No, it can't be.  Then I went to help her in the tub and I just couldn't deny it any longer.  She's my broomstick child.  Super thin.  It's not like she's just chunking up in preparation for a growth spell.  It was obvious.

It's begun.


So.  Someone suggested I get the book The Care and Keeping Of You.  I requested it from the library and picked it up today.  I didn't want to buy it without looking it over to make sure it was actually going to be helpful.  It looks really good.... it goes over far more than periods.  It's about, well, just taking care of yourself in general.  Which Olivia needs.  She hates any sort of personal hygiene.  Unfortunately, it doesn't explain the whole "how a baby is made" aspect.  I really need to just get it all out of the way at once, you know.  Not that I want to explain sex, but they need to know that they did not just always live in my tummy until I wished for one of them to come out.  Which is what they think.  (And they're convinced a little boy still lives in me, which I can only assume means that I still have far to go on my weight loss journey)

I gave the book to her and told her if she wanted to talk about anything she saw in there, to just ask me.  She looked it over for a while.  She got really mad at me when I walked in the room while she was reading.  Then she put it down and announced she would no longer look at the book, she did NOT want to read it.  I really think it just embarrasses her.  And she wants her body to change about as much as I want her body to change.  Meaning, not at all.


Isabelle picked it up, and of course, turned straight to the page talking about inserting tampons.  She doesn't read as well as Olivia, so I didn't intend for her to look at the book yet.  She pronounced it disgusting and walked off.


This is going spectacularly.

Later, as we were eating dinner at Newk's, they asked, "Mom, how did you get us?"  Ah, the "where do babies come from?"  I told them we would have to talk about that when we weren't in public.  I can only imagine how much the guy in the booth behind me would have enjoyed that dinner conversation.  "See girls, when a man and a woman love each other very much...."  Nope, not happening over dinner.

Another friend has given me two more books to introduce to my amazingly productive birds-and-bees repertoire.  

It's Not the Stork!, which explains where babies come from obviously.  I haven't seen it yet, but it is supposed to be very age appropriate, even for Zoe.  It's really going to be impossible for me to just do this with Olivia.  Isabelle's plenty old enough to know about it all, too.  And while Zoe is only 5, she is old enough for the basics.

Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts is the other book.  Again, geared towards the younger kids and pretty self explanatory.

I'm going to pick them both up at the library tomorrow.  This should be fun.  "Come here girls, let's read a book!"  

So, that's how the birds and bees are flying around here.  Needless to say, we're all a little uncomfortable.  Bill is just absolutely thrilled about it all, I must say.  Poor guy.  He may need to talk to my Dad about how to cope with being the only male amongst 4 females.  My Dad survived somehow, I'm sure Bill will, too.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Oh, Monday...

I used to think people were just so dramatic with all their "I hate Monday" whining.

Then my kids started school.

I hate Monday.  

Monday is the day that my kids come home from school absolutely exhausted... and promptly melt down.  And that's before homework. 

Monday is the day that I start off skipping around in a field of daisies, singing about how magical the week will be.  And then I run face first into a tree.

Tuesday... now Tuesdays, I pick myself up and resolve to make the week a good week, instead of expecting fairies and butterflies to spit happiness all over me.  On Tuesday, I go back to a reasonable positive attitude.

But I have to do Monday before I get to Tuesday.  And by Monday nights, I'm a mess.

I am terrified of this school year.  My children are bright, intelligent, pleasant children.  Last year, I felt like the biggest failure at the end of the school  year.  They hated school.   They refused to do homework.  Olivia even refused to do class work.  They are bright, intelligent, pleasant children, so I felt like *I* had to be doing something wrong, that *I* was failing them somehow.

That was with TWO kids in school.  Now I have THREE.  I am terrified.

I'm not going to say that I've been a perfect parent, I know I have plenty of faults.  But I really can't and shouldn't take all the blame for school.  They have so much pressure put on them.  Our Kindergarten teacher told us that before she took time off to stay home with her kids, she was a 1st grade teacher.  When she came back and started teaching Kindergarten... she was still teaching the same material.  Kindergarteners are doing the work that 1st graders just 10-15 years ago were learning.  That's awesome, but scary at the same time.  How many of these kids are really ready for it?  Isabelle wasn't.  She struggled... I felt like a failure.

The next year, Isabelle gets a teacher who thinks 1st graders need homework every night.  We fought every. single. day.  She hated school.  Still does.  She is always tired when she gets home.  Always.  And to have to push her to keep going, to do homework, to not play... it's just not fair.  To her.  To me.

Fortunately, this year won't be a problem with Isabelle.  Her teacher doesn't like homework.  I don't really know about Olivia yet, though.  But I worry about her because she starts the gifted and talented program.  If she's out of the classroom 150 minutes a week, she's missing something in class.  Is she going to have to take it home to do?  I spent over an hour this afternoon to get her to copy her spelling words three times.  Whining, moaning, refusing, crying.

And Zoe just thinks that's how you handle homework.  Her homework was super simple.  Color certain shapes certain colors.  45 minutes of tears.

I had someone suggest that I just tell the teachers that we will not accept homework.

A little extreme, especially for me.  But I wish it could be that simple.

It's not fair that they spend all day in school and have to come home to do homework, too.  IF they would just do it, I'm sure it would only take up a few minutes of their time.  But they're tired, mentally and physically, so they end up fighting it for an hour or more.  They get no time to be a kid.  Relax.  Play.

I don't like it.

It's just the second week of school.  I'm supposed to still be on the "this is going to be an awesome year!" wagon.  But it's Monday, and I'm discouraged, and tired.

Tomorrow's Tuesday, though.  I'll be OK then.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to school

The first week of school is now over.  So far, so good.  We had a glitch with the girls riding the bus... they didn't have them set up yet, then no one called when they were.  Finally, I was able to get it all straightened out today.  Starting Monday, I will have a glorious 45 minutes of empty house before going to walk them home from the bus stop.  Ahhh.

Olivia is in the third grade this year.  I can't believe how grown up she looks, especially with her glasses.


She starts Alpha (the talented and gifted program) this year.  It's 150 minutes a week... I'm not sure if that's 30 minutes a day or how it's broken up.  They are supposed to have an open house soon, and I'm curious to know what all they will be doing.  I really hope she enjoys it, because she certainly isn't thrilled about it.

Isabelle is in the second grade this year.  Again, too grown up.


She has been so exhausted by the time she gets home that she's had a melt down every afternoon.  Oh, how I wish she could nap at school!

And my Zoe... my Kindergartener.  


She comes home every day to tell me the names of her new friends.  She was so afraid that she wouldn't make any friends.  She's such a sweetheart, I can't imagine anyone not liking her.


I managed to not cry the first day.  Only because Bill was with me, I'm sure.  


The flare above Olivia's head makes me think of The Sims.  LOL


They are so excited this year that they got to pick out "real" backpacks.  Up until this year, they had to have mesh or clear plastic back packs.  Boring.  But neither their supply lists or dress code mentioned anything about the backpacks having to be see-through this year.  I double checked, just to be sure.  

And, I just have to say that Isabelle isn't really all that into One Direction, I think she just knows they're cool.  If they had had a Justin Bieber backback, she would have grabbed it, and she probably has heard maybe 2 of his songs...  It's my first taste of my kids just trying to fit in...

I just noticed the shadow of the little paper doll Isabelle's carrying.  It looks like they're being followed by a tiny big-headed person.  =) 

All in all, it's been a very good week.  They earned their allowance for the week by helping me out with chores with minimal complaining.  And, miracle of miracles, Olivia voluntarily took a bath Thursday night.  I do make her bathe, but it's always under protest.  

I'm hoping it will be a good year!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Currently 8/18

Current Book: I'm in the middle of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, but my library loan for Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz came in and I only have 2 weeks to read it (and there's a hold list for it, so I can't renew it), so I'm focusing on that right now.  I've read it before, but before I read the newest Odd book, I want to reread them... I was a little confused when I read the last one because it had been so long since reading the older ones.  I still haven't finished Search inside Yourself, but it's due back at the library tomorrow and there's a hold list, so I can't renew it.  I may end up buying it. 

Current Music: Macklemore.  I can thank the girls' day camp for that.  Isabelle's been singing Thrift Store nonstop and I had to listen to it because all I knew was something about $20 in my pocket.  I actually like it, much to my surprise.  =)

Current Guilty Pleasure: Dozing off in the afternoon..

Current Nail Color:  I bought some silver polish for my toes, haven't made the time to paint them, though.

Current Drink:  I found some kombucha at Kroger yesterday.  That's exciting (and much closer than the other places that sell it)

Current Food: PBJ toast

Current Favorite Show:  I haven't watched TV this week, but I really want to sit down and catch up on Wilfred.

Current Wish List:  An "I believe in The Blerch" shirt
Current Needs:  A new ceiling fan in the kitchen... the light chain pulled out at the switch and it's dark in here...
Current Indulgence:  Diet Dr. Pepper

Current Blessing:  Realizing that there are "regulars" out on Sunday mornings on the trails and that they recognize me =)

Current Outfit:  Jean shorts and a henley from Old Navy

Current Excitement: First day of school tomorrow!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

And we have survived!

It's official.  Summer break is over!  This is the first summer that I haven't threatened to quit my job or drastically cut my hours to stay home with the kids.  No major disasters at all!  I'm happy, even if it means the kids are getting older...

I can't say that the summer went as planned, but it never does.  Walking Wednesdays only lasted a few weeks before the heat and whining won out.  The girls only went swimming once.  I haven't seen the rec center in weeks (but I'm still walking and trying to run, and starting to get back into working out at home).  Bridge books were abandoned pretty quickly.  I don't think the girls read more than a few books on their own.  Even so, it was a good summer.  Maybe one summer I can stick to a plan.

The new school year is like another New Year's.  New resolutions, new habits to try to form... and hopefully I'll do a good job of keeping them.  I've done my very best to get as organized as possible for this school year, and I'm determined to make it run as smoothly as possible.  I've even written up a schedule for how the afternoons and evenings will go.  Fingers crossed it helps.  =)

It's been a crazy week.  I feel like I've had very little down time.  Running here and there, trying to clean and declutter the house, tying up odds and ends before school starts.  

I took the girls to get haircuts the other day.  


Isabelle cried when I told her I wanted to get her hair trimmed.  Her hair grows so slowly and she's really wanted to grow it long.  I told her I wouldn't make her if it was going to upset her that much, but I suspected she'd want to once we got there.  And I was right.


I didn't expect her to want to cut it off, though.  I love it like this though.  Very Ramona-esque.  =)

We also had to go shoe shopping.  Ugh.  They're such girls.


We did have a little fun with it.  Bill hates these kind of shoes, so I had to send him the picture and tell him we bought some.  


We got these instead.  Do you know how hard it is to find girls' shoes that aren't glittery?  Impossible almost.  Ugh.  But I love that two of them went with the Converse-like shoes.  I couldn't get them to buy actual Converse, but close enough.

We had Open House on Friday.  Zoe has the same Kindergarten teacher that Olivia and Isabelle both had, and I would have been upset otherwise.  She's just amazing.  I had to hide behind some papers I was holding a few times... just taking Zoe to class for Open House made me choke up.

Isabelle has Olivia's teacher from last year, which is great, too.  

Olivia's teacher seems very sweet, so I have hopes that this will be a good year.  Better than last year, I hope.  I had hoped that her BFF was in a different class, but no such luck.  I know that sounds awful, I really think she'd do better if they weren't together all day.

That's about all that's been going on.  Hopefully soon I will find the time to sit down and tell you all about my mom's new dog...


Meet Mr. Farley.  

And I'll leave you with the cute little scene I discovered on my long distance walk/run last Sunday...


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Currently

Sorry I've been a slacker blogger lately.  I've been a pout pout fish and I didn't want to spread the dreary-wearies all over the place.

Current book:  Well, I just finished The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (cute book... it's YA, very kid friendly) last night so I need to decide on a new book.  I have Neverwhere and Coraline (both by NG) to choose from.  I'm still plugging away through Search Inside Yourself, as well.  Non-fiction books are difficult for me to get into sometimes.

Current music:  I'm on a tiny Justin Timberlake kick, but only a few songs.  I think I could listen to My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark by Fall Out Boy on continuous repeat at the moment though.  It's been a long time since I've been on a pop music streak, so I feel weird.  LOL

Current guilty pleasure:  Chocolate covered espresso beans.  Probably was not a good idea to eat a crap ton of them at 10pm last night with a 6am alarm set to go run/walk....

Current nail color:  Fingers - naked.  I don't paint them.  I have to hand wash dishes and it wouldn't last long enough to justify it.  Toes - chipped red.  I need a pedi.

Current drink:  Water.

Current food:  I really want some Benihana's fried rice.  I made a knock off last week, it was satisfactory, but I still am craving it.

Current favorite show:  Didn't watch any TV at all this week.  I gave up on Big Brother a little over a week ago.  

Current wish list:  I want one of these bracelets... with 13.1 on it

I also want a heart rate monitor and new running shoes.  I need to focus on back to school first.

Current needs:  A nap.  8.5 miles on caffeinated sleep has left me a little sluggish.

Current indulgence:  Ice cream.  I've eaten way too much lately.  We went to Baskin Robbins on Friday and I had my all-time favorite - their chocolate peanut butter.  Mmmmmm

Current blessing:  Seeing my mom so happy over her new baby, Mr. Farley.  He's such a cute dog.

Current excitement:  The girls go back to school in a week!  I'll have about an hour every day between getting off work and their arrival home to myself!  Also, I figured out how to make the scale move in the right direction again!  LOL

I'll be sure to come back and update you sooner than next week, OK?  OK!

(Linking up @ siddathornton)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Saturday Happiness

I seem to be on a bit of a self-improvement kick... not just with my weight loss and fitness goals, but just in general.  I'm reading two different books aimed towards cultivating happiness right now.  The Happiness Project, which I've mentioned before, and Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan (which is about meditation, and really funny.)  

I generally do think of myself as a pretty positive and happy person, but I've been in a bit of a funk lately and want to boost myself out of it.  Even if I hadn't been in a low mood, I think everyone can stand to be a little happier, no matter how happy they already are.

I've been reminded of when I used to keep a gratitude journal, and I really want to get back to that.  So, the plan is that throughout the week, I am going to keep a list of things that make me happy and that I'm thankful for and publish it here every Saturday.  This week will be short, since I didn't start this list earlier in the week.  Hopefully, it's a ridiculously long list every week!

Music to make me happy this week
  • Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
  • Friday I'm In Love by The Cure
  • There's No Going Back by Sick Puppies 
  • Need You Tonight by INXS
I finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman (awesome book, BTW), and now have a stack of Neil Gaiman books beside me... Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Neverwhere.

I'm happy that school shopping is done!  

My Mom is getting a new dog next week, and he comes with the best name... Mr. Farley.  I just can't get over how flipping cute that name is and that my Mom doesn't want to change it!  

I've been trying to wear jewelry more this past week.  I usually wear all three pieces of our wedding set (Bill can't wear his), an opal ring with 2 tiny diamonds, and a turquoise ring and some bracelets.  I realized the other day that, without even planning it, I wear all three of the girls' birthstones... opal for Olivia, diamond for Isabelle, and turquoise for Zoe.  =)

I was made a Healthy Body forum administrator in a group on CafeMom.  I'm pretty excited about that and hope that it helps keep me on track and accountable since I've been such a slacker this summer. 

I hope everyone had a good week!  

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Purple Stars

Zoe doesn't go to the same day camp as her sisters, she's pretty much back in Mother's Day Out for the summer, and she has to be picked up at 2:30pm.  On one hand, it's a bummer because I was really looking forward to having a little free time two days a week.  But on the other hand, I get to spend a little one-on-one time with her.

She never wants to just go chill out at home, so we go get ice cream sometimes, or wander the bookstore, or go to the playground.  Today, we were trying to decide where to go and passed the Lakewood fountain so she asked if we could go to the playground by the fountain.  Sure thing.

We parked and walked down there, only to discover the playground equipment had been removed.  I wasn't all that shocked... it was looking pretty shabby the last time we had been there.  But Zoe was bummed.  We wandered around a little bit, looked at the fountain, and then decided to leave.

On the way back to the van, Zoe found a purple foil star on the ground.  Purple is her favorite color, so she thought it was so cool.  She picked it up, and then saw another star and then another... there was a little trail of them leading to the playground area.  So she followed it, picking up the tiny stars as she went.

We went down into the tire chips looking for more stars, and then Zoe gasped and took off to the far side of the playground.  This is what she found...


A huge pile of tiny purple foil stars.

Of course, I knew it was just a package of star glitter that someone had dumped out, but Zoe was just amazed and couldn't figure out where all the stars could have come from.  She asked me, and not wanting to ruin the magic of it for her, I told her I didn't know.  She looked at me and said "I bet it was fairies!"  

Oh, how I wish she didn't have to grow up! 


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