Saturday, July 30, 2011


Do you think the kids will be permanently messed up because 1) most nights they only get to talk to their dad on the computer, and 2) while he talks to them he changes his face around to look like variations of himself. Like tonight when Calvin and Autumn talked to this meat-head of a man:

That can't be healthy, right?

4th of July

This year the holiday which consists of being unbearably hot, eating watermelon, and blowing things up included the following:

We went to the big parade and met my family there. My mom got in a fight with some incredibly rude, egocentric people, but other than that we had a good time.

Carrie brought cookies and doughnuts for breakfast:

Cute kids:
Carrie and her current beau Jason:

Autumn kissing Eliza to death:
The kids loved the front row seats:

An odd (patriotic?) tribute to Star Wars:

Swim time at Grandma's:

(I forgot a swimsuit so my mom put Autumn in one that's a bit ill-fitting.)

These pictures remind me of those fish in koi ponds when you throw in food and there's a feeding frenzy, full of splashing and thrashing.

Playing outside:
Chasing roosters:
Jared built one of those test your strength hit the bell games they have at carnivals. The kids loved playing with it and arguing over who was the toughest. Here they are waiting in line and taking turns whacking the thing:

Playing bocci ball:


(a one-legged man)

And then we went home. It was a very good day.

Teacher Gifts

Since I'm new to this kid in school thing, I asked my BFF Robyn who teaches 2nd grade what her favorite teacher gift is to get. She said gift cards, bath soaps/lotions, and lemonade for sipping during the summer. So we got all of those. I tried to put together an "all of the good things in summer" type theme, and here's how it turned out:

Inside each is a:
B&N gift card for a good summer book
Individual lemonade mixes
Bubble bath
Pier 1's yummy scented diffusers
Pencils, and some other random things I don't remember.

I think they liked it, but who knows, they are like moms: they always act like they like everything you get them.

And the whole time I was putting it together, Autumn was chasing me around the house with a big grin.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Preschool Program

In mid-May Calvin brought home the cutest invitation from preschool. It looked like this:

(Calvin being oh-so-pleasant)

We were so excited about the boy's first end of year preschool program. One day when I picked Calvin up from school, a little girl yelled, "Calvin doesn't sing!" so I asked his teacher about it. She said that he was struggling with singing time and didn't like to participate, but she offered to make him a CD of the songs and bring it over so that he could practice at home.

We started a reward chart and practiced several times a day. Most days he sang and danced to the songs, and knew every word by heart. One day he dramatically crossed his arms, stamped his foot, and yelled, "Mom, I'm just a dancer, not a singer!" but for the most part he did a great job. I couldn't wait to see the program.

We got there early to get a good seat, and everything was decorated in an adorable zoo theme. We, like the other parents, waited anxiously for our little sweetheart to perform.

All of the kids came on stage looking darling and so excited to see their parents watching them. All of them sang with excitement and gusto, except for one little girl that was sobbing. I was so glad that for once it wasn't my kid misbehaving.

He was so cute. He knew all of the words. He knew all of the actions. I was so proud of him that I found myself getting teary as I watched him.

And then....
When it was time for him to put on his animal hat (they even let him be the lion, his favorite animal), he threw it on the floor, crossed his arms, and pouted while everyone else sang.

Then he started to scream. We tried to coax and plead and threaten from our place on the second row, but he ignored us by turning his back to the crowd and facing the wall with his arms across his chest. And then he just left. In the middle of a song, he stormed out the front door. I debated whether to go after him because the door was behind the singing kids, but since the school is on a busy highway and I wasn't sure if he was heading outside, I cut through the singing kids to go find him. I'm glad all of the parents recording their children will have pictures of an obnoxious three-year-old storming out, and his obnoxious mother chasing after him.

In the hall, I begged and pleaded and threatened him again, and finally bribing him with a trip to Toys R Us was enough to get him back in with the other kids, although he continued to face the wall. Just as the kids sang their final note, Calvin turned around to face the crowd, squatted down, clenched his fists, and yelled at the top of his lungs, "NOBODY HATES ME!!!" (Clearly he meant everybody, because what's the problem if nobody hates you?) The room was silent. His timing is impeccable.

Anyway, I was sad. And slightly embarrassed. But mostly I was disappointed that he had worked so hard on the songs, and that his grandma had promised to come but forgot, but mostly because I wanted him to have such a good experience and he didn't.

Here's his post performance picture with a sad face and tears in his eyes:

At the end we had refreshments, and there was a table set up with a letter for each child with a cute little lion paperclip.

This letter represents one of the things I adore about Calvin's teachers -- the personal touch they add to everything. They treat Calvin like he's something really special, and I have no doubt that each of the children feels the same way. Inside was an assessment of his performance over the school year. Basically he got great scores on academics, but all of his behavioral marks were "Needs Improvement." Apparently he has a hard time following directions, waiting his turn, and playing cooperatively. Who knew? But the best part was the handwritten letter from his teachers. It said:

Three things we love about Calvin:

His laugh is contagious. If Calvin is laughing, we are laughing! The best part about it is that you really never know what is going to set him into a fit of laughter.

Calvin is constantly surprising us with his broad knowledge and his ability to remember things. For example, his ability to name shapes, not just regular ones, but the random ones like hexagon, pentagon, etc. Also, he easily recognizes the dots on a die and names their value without counting. Basically, his knowledge far exceeds what is normal for his age!

Without fail whenever Calvin chooses a color it will be black. He always makes black look good!

Overall, I think he had a really good experience with school. He adored his teachers, and was proud of the work he brought home. Also, the last day of school they had a pj party. For months Calvin has fought us to stay in his pajamas all day every day, so he was convinced the pajama party was just for him. I think he's eager for a summer break, but he asks every day when it will be fall so he can go to school in his pajamas again. 5/19

Thursday, July 28, 2011

And we're back...

It's not hard to tell that I'm having a hard time blogging these days. I have so many posts to catch up on, but I feel summer slipping away so quickly that I have a hard time sitting down to journal what's been going on.

This summer I've been finishing up projects I've had half-finished for ages, doing yard work like it's a full time job, playing with my kids full of guilt that in a few weeks they're going to be neglected babies once again, trying to work out and lose a few pounds, keeping the house mostly clean, attempting to find recipes that have some actual nutritional value rather than the mini-corndogs and tatertots that the kiddos prefer, working on the alumni collection project for which I'm a research assistant spring/summer term, working with my thesis director and writing a prospectus that's due soon after school starts, and creating lesson plans for the two different subjects I'll be teaching in the fall. Who said summer was supposed to be relaxing?

Yet, it has been.

I'm not a summer fan. I love fall and I love spring. The time in between is usually just a nuisance to me. But not this summer. I've loved spending time at home and getting things done. I've loved shaving my legs on a regular basis and painting my toe nails pretty colors. I've loved having visitors. I've loved going to the pool and eating ice cream sandwiches on the back porch. I've loved scrubbing toilets and dusting surfaces that haven't been touched for longer than I care to admit. I'm sad it's going ever so quickly.

But alas, I also promised myself that I would catch up on this blog before another hellish semester starts, so I'm committing today to dust off my laptop. To take my camera to the shop after months of having a broken lens. To try and document the pieces of our lives that are long past. Someday my kids will thank me, I'm sure.

Testing... Testing... Is anyone still out there? If you are, be prepared for an onslaught of totally random, outdated posts. I hope you're all having a fantastic summer as well.