Fall 2012

Fall 2012
[learning to live a perfectly imperfect life]

The Big First Day

(We're taking a break from all the fun holiday festivities to catch up on some blogging! So, mentally take down your Christmas tree, melt some snow, and rewind to September for me!)

*****

Preschool.

How it was going to go (for him and for me) was definitely uncertain.

In the months leading up to this big day, the mood looked grim.

Many "preschool preparation conversations" ended something like, "No mom, I not goin' to pre-sool... I stayin' wif you."

However, there were glimpses of hope from time to time. (Say, when I mentioned being able to play with new toys or have yummy snacks... yes, you could say I was doing all I could to "sell preschool" at our house!)

So, we did what we often do.

We posted our countdown...



and read books about going to preschool.



When the day came, Carter really acted quite indifferent about going. He asked a lot of questions, especially about me coming back to get him. But, he really seemed okay with going.

We posed for our typical first-day-of-school pictures...






and I took him to school.



His teacher helped him hang his things in his cubby,



and he excitedly put his very first "Letter Show-and-Tell" in the special preschool mailbox -- a big plastic apple container I had for letter "A." (I realize not everyone has a big plastic apple container laying around... just a reminder that I used to be a Kindergarten teacher. I'm not that weird. Well, now that I think about it, it might be a little odd even for a Kindergarten teacher to have a big plastic apple container. So maybe I am weird. Moving on.)



The time came. He was there, backpack was hung, big plastic apple container in mailbox...

time for Mom to leave.

Then you get that little twinge of "This is a first... and a last. It's exciting and emotional and a moment that I'll never get back."

Balance. It is always about balance.

What did I want to do? Well, I wanted ask him to pose with every one of his classmates, both of his teachers, and stand in front of each play area in the classroom so I could get pictures. I wanted to tear up and give him a big hug and tell him how grown up he was and how much I would miss him though a tiny little bit of me was excited to get groceries without being asked 17 times if I would buy a new Buzz Lightyear and some gum. I wanted to stay there with him the whole time to be sure that all of the kids were nice to him, and that he could get his pants down by himself to go to the bathroom, and that he said "please" and "thank you" at snack time.

But I didn't.

I took a few pictures, told him to have a fun time, and waited to tear up until I got to the car.

There was a moment... just when I thought he had decided preschool may not be the place for him, that he found something in the classroom. Something that I will never forget.

A little plastic green army guy.

From Toy Story.

Just like the little plastic green army guys that he'd been eying in the stores.

It was all good after that.


(Notice the army guy in his hand...)

So, he was fine with me leaving. In fact, if I remember correctly, I had to ask for a hug.

And every Mom wants that. Every Mom is thrilled when her son or daughter is okay without her... it tells her that she has done a good job at fostering independence and confidence.

(But then again every Mom has a teeny tiny little bit of her that wishes her son or daughter would show a little hesitation when she left... wouldn't that make her feel important, loved, and needed?)

A mixture of feelings.

As most milestones are.

I don't remember what I did that first morning he was at preschool. I probably did, in fact, go to the grocery store. I probably kept looking at the time to see when I needed to go get him. I probably arrived back at school 30 minutes before I really needed to be there.

After he came out, he was (and still is) very excited to see me, which is such a fun feeling. (I don't get that very often because the kids are with me so much... that whole "absence makes the heart grow fonder" thing really is true.)

He couldn't even wait to get to the car to show me what he had.

Move that big 'ole plastic apple out of the way...



"Mom! Look what I found!"



A pinecone.

******

The next few weeks of preschool were a bit tougher than that first day. It was one of those, "Oh that was fun... now I can stay home with you, Mom. What? Oh. You mean I'm going back 2 times a week? For how long?"

Carter has gone to Preschool for 4 months now, and he really likes it. His teachers are great, his classmates (8 other kids) are fun, and he's learning lots of new things. I think he's decided that Preschool is pretty cool. (The little green army guys helped.)

So, "The Big First Day" came and went.

Seems like we anticipate milestones like that for awhile, prepare as much as we can, (for our kids and for us) and before we know it, the milestone has come and gone.

Now, it's just a matter of time when another "Big First Day" rolls around.

Holiday Preparation

We've had holiday decorations unpacked,



and outstretched arms.



Balancing acts on chairs,



and delicate ornament placement.



We've had fun with photos,



and tree admiration.



Cookie-baking,


(don't be too impressed... it was the pre-made cookie dough, and the pre-portioned cookie dough at that)

and book-reading.



We've had obsessions with Scotch tape,


(you know wrapping presents is much easier with the end of your tongue sticking out a bit.)







and name-writing practice.



Tree decorating,






and belly-laughs at Mom singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."



We've had successful lessons in teamwork,



and not-so-successful lessons in even distribution.



Moments of feeling a sense of accomplishment,



and moments of feeling togetherness and love.



We've had playdates with friends,



and sticky glue-covered fingers.



We're as ready as we'll ever be for Christmas!

Hope everyone has a great holiday with family and friends!

Courtside View







If It Were Up To Him...




we would live in Florida.

It Really Isn't Christmas...

Oh, the Elementary School Music Christmas Program.

...the parents, rushing from home after throwing together a quick supper for the kids... one parent with a video camera bag tossed over one shoulder and the camera bag tossed over the other... the other parent towing the tripod and clinging to the hand of the younger sibling who already has to go to the bathroom, despite having gone 6 minutes ago.

...the teachers, all dressed in their best, rounding up students and counting heads and hushing loud voices and getting all the kids in order.

...the bribes and promises of treats to young siblings if they will be quiet and sit still for the length of the program... (and the prayers that the length of the program doesn't last longer than an episode of Go, Diego, Go.)

...the Grandmas, wearing their fanciest Christmas sweaters, reading through the program to see if dear grandchild's name is listed anywhere, and the Grandpas, visiting with other Grandpas a few rows down, discussing the most recent snowstorm.

And then it begins.

The lights dim and the curtain opens and there is a sudden commotion in the audience as the parents, who are quite old enough to know they should be sitting quietly, can't resist the urge to wave with the hopes that little Sally will see where they are sitting and smile at them.

Oh, and the kids. The performers. They do nothing but make me smile.

The little boy with gel in his hair and a crooked tie... the little girl with a big smile on her face, curls in her hair, and tights already sliding down her legs... another boy that seems to be wearing what he wore to school that day because everyone knows it was Chicken Nugget day and he has a ketchup stain on his shirt...

and we have the little girl who's not much of a dress girl, but is decked out in a shimmery little black dress, glittery tights, and cute little dress shoes.... a little girl who obviously should have practiced wearing her dress before the program, as during song #1, she discovers the big bow on the front of her dress, sticks her hand through one of the loops, and spends nearly the length of song #2 trying to get her hand out of the loop. (Yup, she was ours.)

Some kids know the songs and sing as if their life depended on it... others toss some words in here and there, but are more distracted by the little boy in the 3rd row who is whispering to his neighbor. Some kids are doing the actions to the songs precisely as taught... others are watching everyone else because during practices they were more concerned with talking to their friends than listening to the teacher.

We have the songs about needing teeth for Christmas, waiting for Santa to come, and wanting peace for the world. It's all there. We have some songs where instruments are necessary, and while the audience should be listening to the cute words of the song, instead they are more amused by the little boy who doesn't figure out how to untangle the loop on his jingle bells until the song is over.

There are the periodic, bright flashes from cameras, (despite the large sign on every entrance to the theatre that flash photography is discouraged.) Video cameras are running, younger siblings are hushed, and threats are whispered when the auditorium seat springs up, making a loud sound and turning heads.

Holiday wishes are given, bows are taken, and the curtain is drawn.

The music teacher remembers that rehearsal on Friday went much better than the final performance, but breaths a huge sigh of relief that it's over, (and is thankful that Christmas only comes once a year.)

Parents grab their camera bags and bulky winter coats and younger siblings' hands and head through the sea of families to find their little star.

Hugs are given, more pictures are taken, and everyone bussles out the door and into the cold evening.

It really isn't Christmas until the Elementary School Music Christmas Program.


Happy Holidays 2010

And Now They Are...




on!

Flashback Friday (Thanksgiving Edition)

Two years ago on Thanksgiving, we all gathered on the couch for a quick snapshot with our new family member. Zoe, our Puggle (beagle/pug mix) had just joined our family.

A sweet little puppy, almost 9 weeks old, sat contently in Jordyn's hand.

Thanksgiving 2008
Jordyn (13) Rylee (5) Carter (1) Zoe (8 weeks)


As photos were taken, there were "Awww, she's so cute!" and "Look at how she just cuddles right up to me!" to be heard.



Fast forward 2 years.

This time, as photos were taken, there were, "ZOE! NO!" and "She's getting hair all over my shirt!" and "She won't sit still!" to be heard.

But, determined to duplicate the moment we'd had 2 years earlier, I clicked away at my camera's shutter.

And this is what we got.



And finally, all smiles... and a death grip around the neck of a rambunctious dog by our 7 year old.


Thanksgiving 2010
Jordyn (15) Rylee (7) Carter (3) Zoe (2)


Let's do another one... (and this time, nothing with 4 legs please.)


"Mom, do you want Zoe to be in our photo with you?"

"Thanks anyway hon, but I'm good."


A few years ago, I would've been disappointed that I didn't get a photo of Zoe sitting all calm and cute, looking at the camera along with everyone else.

But I'm going for "perfectly imperfect" these days, remember?

And these "perfectly imperfect" moments are definitely ones in which I am thankful.

Thanksgiving Math


2 large pieces of paper


+ 8 brand new washable markers


+ 2 creative kids


= 2 works of art showing appreciation for "Rylee, Carter, Jordyn, Mom, Dad and Zoe" (and apparently more of those cookies she draws so well)



and "me, my family, Woody, a rocket, and toys."



Oh, and don't forget to add one very proud, thankful Mom.