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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wonder Twin powers activate! Form of a fly on the wall!

Peter brought home this paper from school yesterday.  It was something that he wrote last week about his first day of school.

Please don't give Peter a hard time for his cursive because I think it looks wonderful!  It is so much neater than his printing and he basically taught himself over the summer.   He would get so angry when I would try to help him that he would tell me to go away.  And my kids still ask me why I won't home school them.  Hmmmm...I wonder?

Anyway, there are misspellings and he still forgets to cross his t's and dot his i's but I think this is great even though what he has written makes me just a little sad.

Here is the translation with the misspellings corrected and everything dotted and crossed:

On the first day of school I was VERY nervous.  I didn't want to get out of bed.  I was nervous because I wouldn't know anyone.  When I got downstairs I ate breakfast and got dressed.  After that I brushed my teeth.  Then I read Harry Potter for a  little. A little while later my mom told me to get in the car.

I knew he was nervous.  Why wouldn't he be?  But to see it written down in his own handwriting just made it seem so real.  But I love that his teacher wrote that she's glad he's there at the top of the page and I love how she agreed that not knowing anyone is scary.

It's been a week now since their first day.  Peter still doesn't like the uniform and the fact that the school day is 30 minutes longer.  But he has made a friend.

It's the same guy that spoke to him the first minute that we walked into the gym.  He was a sweet little kid that asked Peter how old he was and if he had received his first communion yet.  (Only at Catholic school would that be one of the first questions someone asks you!)

Seems these two have a lot in common - they both love Legos, Pokemon, and Mad TV just to name a few.  This little boy even has a peanut allergy and on days when someone in the class brings peanut butter for lunch the two of them get to sit at a special table together.  Peter thought that was pretty cool!

Of course, the only way I know about their friendship is through a conversation I had with this little boy's mother at a parent meeting at school last week.  Apparently her son told her all about Peter.  Peter has not mentioned a word about him.  Sarah on the other hand told me that the two of them were talking and laughing all through lunch yesterday.  That made me so happy to hear!  Of course, if you ask Peter how school is going all you get is, "It's so long!  I hate the uniform!  Why are you sending us to this new school?"  So at least I know there is some laughter and some enjoyment.

 I would love to be a fly on the wall but since I don't have that super power yet, at least I have Sarah!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One of these days I'll be right on top of a trend instead of way behind it.

Good news! I have finally lost almost all of the weight I put on over the winter! 

Yep, that's right!  The 5-6 pounds I gained from January - mid March are now gone.  What took less than 3 months to gain took over 5 months to get rid of.  (I'll be reminding myself of that little tidbit this winter when I decide it's just too cold to run.)

And I did it just in time to buy a new bathing suit!

Oh, wait.  No, I did not do it just in time to buy a new bathing suit.  I did it just in time to put away the bathing suits for the summer. 

But no worries!  I'll look great in the skinny jeans I bought this past spring for my trip to Ireland.  I splurged and got a couple of pairs knowing that I could wear them this fall and winter.

But, no. 

Every article I read on Fall fashions is proclaiming that flare jeans are IN! And not boot cuts that I have several pairs of - FLARES! 

Flares. Ick.

Feels like I'm always a day late, a dollar short or a pound over when it comes to fashion.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Only a mother would pray for this!

This is the first real week of school.  Last week the kids only went three days and they got out at 1:00 instead of 3:00 each day.  It was nice to  ease into things.

And homework starts this week. 

Peter hates the uniform.  Hates it.  He loves his "squishy pants" as he calls them.  Basically his "squishy pants" are athletic shorts or long pants that have an elastic waist.  He even stopped wearing jeans last year and exclusively wore "squishy pants".

His uniform consists of pants that have a button and a zipper and must be worn with a belt and his shirt must be tucked in.  That's a lot for him to do.  So we made him practice yesterday.  My big fear is not that he isn't going to make friends or that he isn't going to do well academically, it's that he isn't going to get everything untucked, unbelted, unbuttoned and unzipped in time when he needs to go. 

So in addition to all of the things I pray for on a daily basis, I have now added a special "please help my kids make it to the bathroom in time". 

And I'm sure this afternoon when it's time to do homework, I'll be adding all sorts of other special prayers.   

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day Jitters

The kids were very nervous this morning.  Both stated several times that they had butterflies.  We said a lot of prayers and I reminded them of all the people that were praying for them this morning as they started at their new school.

On the way to school this morning, we saw two deer cross the road about 100 yards in front of us.  The kids thought that was very cool.  I was jsut thankful that the car nearest to them saw the deer and slowed down to let them cross.  Seeing Bambi and her mother smashed in front of you is not the way to start the new school year!

We decided that I would walk them in and wait with them until the bell rang for class to begin.  Dan couldn't stomach the idea of them waiting all alone on their first day.  He was right.  That would have been miserable.

At this school, all the kids gather in the gym before school starts and congregate by grade level. I walked in with them and helped them find the kids in their grades.  I introduced them to a few kids and we waited for the bell.  Everyone was very friendly.  One little girl even gave Sarah a big hug.  Sarah seemed a little taken back at first but then she flashed  a big smile.

I met a couple of the mothers and they all seemed very friendly and welcoming.  Then the bell rang.  All the kids immediately stopped what they were doing and began to line up.  The boys lined up and the girls lined up right beside them by class.  The principal (Sister Geri) and all of the teachers came into the gym.  (The teachers start every morning with a meeting and prayer before coming into the gym.)  Then Sister Geri said a prayer and we all said the Pledge of Allegiance and ended with a resounding "God Bless America!"

Then the teachers led their classes out of the gym and into their rooms and  I left but not before saying a boat load of thank you prayers! 

I'm glad I went in with them. They both seemed fine when they left the gym.  I was a little nervous that one or both of them was going to start crying and not want me to leave.  But this isn't preschool - I guess they really are growing up!

And without further ado here are the annual first day of school pictures:
Aren't they cute in their uniforms?

Add caption

They always want to do a "crazy shot"!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daily Bread

I've never been one of those moms who looks forward to summer vacation.  In fact, I'm just the opposite.  I always look forward to the beginning of school.  I know that probably makes me a horrible mother but that's just the way it is.  The kids seem to operate better with a firm schedule and I seem to operate better with calm and order. And with summer there is usually no firm schedule and never any calm and order.

But for some reason this summer was a little different.  I was ready for the school year to be over.  Sometimes the kids  need a new environment and a new routine.  And I had already told myself that I was not going to be unnerved by a dirty house.

My only problem was that my best friend was going to be working full time!  Egads!  How, I wondered was I going to manage?

Well, I'll tell you how I managed -   I prayed.  It wasn't a big fancy prayer that I prayed to get me through a long, hot summer.  No.  It was a very simple one. 

Give me this day my daily bread.  

Every day, I prayed the way God instructs us in the Bible.  I asked him to get me through the day.  This one day.  Not the whole summer, just today. 

And do you know what? 

He was faithful.  He answered my daily prayer daily! (He's good like that!)

We kept busy with swim practice and music lessons.  We played with Jennifer's kids.  We worked on summer homework.  (I needed a whole set of extra prayers for this one.)  And we played with Jennifer's kids a lot more. We went on vacation. We ran errands.  We played on the computer.  We watched TV.  We went to the pool. We read books.  We played Legos.  We played Sing-It.  And we played with Jennifer's kids.

Did I mention that we played with Jennifer's kids?  

We have had a very nice summer and I've gotten used to having a house full of kids.  It's going to be quiet around here tomorrow when my kids are back at school.  And dare I say it?  Lonely.

But don't worry.  I will continue to ask God for my daily bread.  And he will continue to provide.

Hopefully tomorrow's provision will come in the form of a pedicure!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Look Ma! No dead bodies!

We tried geocaching again this weekend and were successful this time!

Dan and I purposefully chose two locations that were nearby and we knew would be in nice areas.  That way we wouldn't have to stumble on across a dead body while searching through some trashy woods off the highway.

Friday night after dinner we went on our first hunt.  It was near a new church near my grandmother's house.  The description for this geocache said it was "super easy" and they weren't kidding. We literally pulled into the drive way of the church and we spotted an ammo box sitting on top of a large concrete drain cover.  The kids ran to it right away.  They were pretty excited with our find - especially since our first attempt at geocaching left us grumpy, sweaty and empty-handed.

On Sunday evening we attempting another hunt.  This one was outside the local Lowe's Home Improvement store.  The cache was a tiny bison tube but thanks to some really good clues and a quick search of the internet to see exactly what a bison tube looked like, we were able to find it.

We had a lot of fun searching for and finding these two caches.  This is a nice activity for us to do as a family and other than the cost of gas, it is free.  And you can go as close to or as far from your home as you like. 

The kids happily running to our first geocache find!

Holding the ammo box.  (And please note - no trash and no dead bodies!)
Holding our second geocache fine.  It was magnetized and attached to the back of this fence.
It's very tiny and I have to give Dan credit.  He's the one that found it.  The kids and I might still be out there searching for it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I just wish the pizza sauce had some flavor.

I survived!

6  kids,  2 hours, 2 large pizzas, 250 tokens and I still have my sanity!  I think the kids had fun and for once, we didn't have to stand at the cheap toy counter agonizing over what little plastic toy they wanted in exchange for all of the tickets they won.  They quickly made their picks and we were out the door.

I guess they really are growing up.  sniff sniff

Sarah and I took three pictures.  She likes the first one the best.  I like them all!   Not sure which one will make the refrigerator.  I may have to rotate them until next August!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shhhh...don't tell her that!

Today I will be taking 6 kids to Chuck E Cheese. 

Why, you ask, would a perfectly sane woman be taking six children to Chuck E. Cheese?  Simple. Because in May, Sarah asked if we could go to Chuck E. Cheese this summer and since "this summer" seemed so vague and distant way back in May, I brightly said, "Sure!"

And here we are with only a few days until school starts and we haven't been yet.  And Sarah keeps reminding me.  So we are going since I said we would way back in May.

Sarah is very sly though.  She keeps pointing to the picture on the refrigerator of the two of us last summer at Chuck E. Cheese and keeps saying, "Don't you just love that picture?  Don't you want to get another one made this summer?"

And of course I do love the picture.  I love that it's in pencil so it looks timeless and my crow's feet don't show (as much).  I love that it's just the two of us.  I love that we both look happy.  I love that she wanted to be crammed into the little photo booth with me.  And I guess, I just love her.

So we will be squeezing in the booth at Chuck E. Cheese today for another picture.  And quite honestly, as long as she keeps wanting to squeeze in the booth with me for a pencil drawing, I'll keep going.  (But shhhh....don't tell her that!)

August 6, 2010.  If all goes well, I'll have another one to add to the collection this afternoon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Let me qualify that.

We took the kids geocaching for the first time yesterday.  Geocaching is, as Peter called it, "GPS treasure hunting".

The first step is to head to this website and sign up.  Then you plug in your address and the website will supply you with the GPS coordinates of all the hidden containers (called geocaches) in a certain radius and off you go.

We decided to do this on a whim yesterday afternoon. We grabbed some coordinates, the kids who were all "what are doing?" , "how long is this going to take?" , "what kind of treasure will we find?  money?" and the GPS and were were off.

20 minutes later we were in the parking lot of what used to be a Winn-Dixie in a strip mall that contained little more than a rundown looking nail salon and one of those "sweepstakes" places. 

We hopped out of the car and began searching the parking lot and the sidewalks.  We even walked around behind the building.  We weren't even exactly sure what we were looking for but we were searching high and low.

Unfortunately, a large tour bus had just pulled in and was unloading.  I guess the tour company used the empty lot as a place for their tourists to meet and park their cars.  So there were about 40 people unloading the bus and reloading their cars and wondering why we were wandering through the parking lot of this abandoned Winn-Dixie with a GPS like we had lost our minds. 

After about 15 minutes we decided that perhaps the geocache had been moved or maybe we just weren't "doing it right" and we tried the next set of coordinates that we had copied down from the website.

A couple of minutes later we were pulled off the side of a service road and were walking into some questionable looking woods.  There was a lot of trash and liter in these woods. An old matteress, a shoe, an old dish drainer and us once again looking like we had lost our minds wandering around with a GPS.

We poked around in those woods for about 5 or 6 minutes and I decided that I didn't really want to poke around there any longer.  Quite honestly I was afraid of what we might find. 

So we headed home, dejected treasure seekers with no treasure. 

I had just give Peter a lecture earlier that afternoon about not quitting.  He was doing his homework and he was struggling - struggling with the newly-learned cursive, struggling with the fact that it was summer and he was doing homework, struggling because he really wanted to be playing on the computer and I told him that he was almost done and to just finish it already and quit WHINING!.  I told him I didn't like quitters and he needed to finish his homework and NOT BE A QUITTER!  I believe my exact words were "don't stop doing something just because it gets hard. I am not going to raise a quitter"

And so not two hours later we are leaving the woods dejectedly without our treasure and Peter says, "but we can't stop.  If we stop now that means we are quitters."

I guess I should have qualified my statement about not quitting. The not quitting is applicable only when we aren't in a patch of mattress-littered woods off the side of the highway where there may or may not be a decomposing body laying underneath the brush.

So our first attempt at geocaching was not successful but I think we had fun.  I am looking forward to trying some other coordinates next weekend. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Glory Days

My son's guitar teacher, Zach, is probably about 21 years old.

Peter thinks Zach is the coolest teacher ever because he calls Peter "little bro" and "little dude".  And Peter loves to tell me about how "awesome" Zach can play the guitar.

My husband thinks Zach is the coolest teacher ever because he is teaching Peter how to play the choruses to songs like "Rock You Like a Hurricane", "Wake Me When Septmeber Ends", "Smoke on the Water" and "Wild Thing".

I think Zach is the coolest teacher ever because he has gotten Peter excited about something other than Pokemon and Super Mario.

But I have one problem with Zach.  He calls me "Ma'am".

I'm sure most of you are thinking, "What a polite young man.  Why is that a problem?"

Well I'll tell you why it's a problem.  In my mind I am still a 21-year-old college kid.  And when another 21-year-old kid calls me "Ma'am" it makes me feel like I am old enough to be his mother.

When I told Dan this, he said, "You are old enough to be his mother."

insert sound of needle screeching across an LP record

What? How can that be?  But he's right. I am old enough to be his mother.

I hate it when he's right.

I was going to tell Zach he could just call me "Beth".   But I decided that I don't want him to feel disrespectful (or creeped out) by calling an old lady by her first name.  And I guess I don't want to be one of those old ladies who desperately tries to cling to their youth by trying to be hip and cool with the youngsters. Because the next step is  Botox and cheek implants and the only thing worse than trying to be hip and cool with the youngsters when you are neither hip, cool or young is looking like Joan Rivers while trying to do it.

So I guess I'll  just be thankful that Peter's guitar teacher is so polite and I guess I'll just let him continue to call me "Ma'am".   And I guess I'll try not to wince every time he does it.  

I can't stop humming  "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen.  Hopefully Zach doesn't teach Peter that one.

Glory days, yeah they'll pass you by
Glory days, in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cape Cod - 2011

Here are a few highlights of our trip to the Cape.

A trip to the Cape is not complete unless we play mini golf with Jillian.

Riding their bikes to the beach.

Sitting underneath the 200 year old weeping beech tree at Captain Bangs Hallet House.

My family! (Peter's making quite the crazy face!)

Brrrrrr!  Cold water!

Looking for treasures.

Getting set to head out an a whale watch!

About 20 whales fed around the boat for about an hour.  They put on quite a show!

Love that crazy hair!

Swinging in the back yard.

It was so hot on the Cape that even Mommy got in the water!


Me and my two favorite little people!

Me doing what I do best - nothing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Coffee, 3 mile run, long to-do list. It must be Monday morning and I must not be on vacation any more.

So I have returned from the land of donuts, pizza and ice cream - my vacation that is!  We had a wonderful time.  I overate as I intended to and didn't run at all but that's o.k. because I enjoyed every minute of my vacation.  But never fear, I hit the pavement at 6:15 this morning.  It was a sluggish run with lots of things wiggling and jiggling  that weren't wiggling and jiggling before vacation but again, that's o.k. because I enjoyed every minute of my vacation.

I can't believe that the kids start back to school in two and a half weeks!  I just wrote my weekly to do list and it is loaded with items like "buys school supplies", "get uniform belt for Peter", "finish start summer homework", "order PE uniform" get the idea.  I'm sure every mother with kids in school has a very similar list.

I have tons of vacation photos and I'll be posting some of those later because I know that every single one of you reading this wants nothing more for your week than to see my vacation photos.  I'll get to that as soon as I can get Peter off the other computer (a week at the Cape with no computer has left Peter hungry for computer games)  and as soon as I can work through some of my more pressing to-do list items like "pay bills" and "figure out what's for dinner".

Happy Monday and Happy Two and a Half Weeks Till School Starts!