Happy 13th Lex!

I can hardly believe it, but my baby boy is a teenager today! At what age does it become believable? At what age do you forget their actual birth day, forget what they are like as tiny babies, forget the sweet baby head and tiny fingers? I hope never! I love the growing boy I have now just as much. He’s kind and funny and smart and silly and still loves his momma! Always happy for a hug and still says “I love you” when we part.

He didn’t want much for his birthday this year. Just the usual books and Legos. I offered him a party or a weekend trip, but he said no thanks. He did take me up on my offer of a piano! :) That’s really a present for all of us though. We ordered it several weeks ago and it’s on back order. I hope it comes soon. I’m excited for that one.

I can’t have a birthday without presents on the table (and he sweetly reminded me of the tradition and asked if he would still get little presents even though the piano was expensive), so I got 13 presents, wrapped them all in the same paper, and numbered them. Just for fun.

We also got 13 balloons, wrote sweet notes on them, and left them in the family room for him to see when he woke up this morning. My original plan was to put them in his room, but reconsidered when I realized the fan would blow them around and it would probably be scary.

He said it was wonderful walking into a room full of compliments. :)

We had breakfast and presents, then it was off to school and work — for them! I got to skip work on this beautiful day and take Arlo for a visit to a dog trainer. It was a very nice experience and a lovely place. More on that later. Now, presents!

Back home I decorated the cake and then we headed out to friend’s house for a visit. Eve and her son are both auditioning for Matilda next month and wanted to rehearse together. Really it was an hour of bouncing on their trampoline and five minutes of rehearsing (while still on the trampoline). Lex and her daughter are chess pals and were happy to fit in a few games. He won one and lost one. He said they’ll have a play-off match at school on Tuesday. :)

By this point it was dinner time and if you know this family at all you know that Lex’s preferred place for birthday dinner (and any dinner) is Panera Bread! Alan met us over there and proceeded to be so silly he had both kids in tears. Dads are good at that. :) Then home for cake and more presents!

Now it’s 9pm and the boys are happily Minecrafting. Eve is in bed waiting for me to turn off her light. I am full of cake and love and peace. Tomorrow we will go see the new Star Wars movie (the boys are excited and the girls are along for the ride) and get dinner at the Olive Garden. Sunday we have an invite to a BBQ, but I’m secretly hoping it rains so I have an excuse to stay home and read the paper and drink tea all day. :)

PS. I measured him on the wall this evening.  62 1/4″.  He still has Eve beat by an inch and I still have them both beat!  For now.

Parenting is hard, and other goings on

First the deep thoughts:  Eve’s spring concert is tonight.  It will be her last concert ever at DBS. Guess where she was?  Home.  She went to school today, participated in the dress rehearsal and even smiled through most of it.  Then she got to the library and said, “Please, please, I don’t want to go to the concert.  Please let me stay home tonight.”  Sigh.  I had a meeting and sub plans to write, so I told her we’d talk about it later.  Later came in the car ride home and I told her my true, honest thoughts.  I was (and still am) conflicted by what is the “right” thing to do.  On the one hand, I know she doesn’t love band, and she stuck with it all the way through the dress rehearsal, and truthfully I was tired and not interested in going to the concert either.  I’d already seen the dress rehearsal.  Skipping it is easy, but on the other hand, what lesson is that teaching?  Shouldn’t I be emphasizing the importance of following through, sticking with it to the very end, supporting your classmates and school, and just showing up?  I know those are all good habits to have.

The day was busy and the schedule had me getting home around 4:30, all three of us leaving for drum lessons at 5pm, and then getting back to DBS for the concert by 6:15.  Eve and I got home from school and found Lex at the table, completely stressing because he remembered a homework packet that he was supposed to be working on all week, but had forgotten.  That, plus a group project assignment that is due tomorrow and he is not happy at all with his group, therefore feeling frustrated by the whole thing.  We talked through the plans and around 4:45 I just said f*ck it and we bailed on everything.  Then I laid down on the couch and fell asleep for an hour!

Was that the “right” thing to do?  I don’t know.  I certainly think it was for this evening.  But whether it was the right thing to do when you look at the bigger pictures, I don’t know.  Should Lex have gone to that lesson because we committed to it and (likely) won’t get the money back for it?  Should he have had a bigger consequence for not remembering his homework?  I don’t know.  It’s 7:52 at the moment and he’s still working on it! (with a dinner break in there too)  Am I teaching my kids to bail when things are too hard?  Or to prioritize their own mental health?  I don’t know.  These are all rhetorical questions because I *do* know there is no manual for parenting and no clear, black and white answers.  We’re all in this together, doing the best we can with what we’ve got.  And today, I needed a nap.

Now for the lighter stuff:  Here are some photos from the past few weeks.  Life, overall, is quite good.  We have 13 more school days until summer vacation.  We have some camps planned for the kids, some conferences and professional development for me, and some downtime.  We are all looking forward to it.  Even Alan gets to sleep later on vacation days.

Eve made me this weird pot decoration for Mother’s Day. She filled it with sticks of gum, but I know she originally bought Twizzlers to put in it and I’m pretty sure they ended up in her belly instead.

It has been on the counter since she gave it to me and the more I look at it the more I like it. :) It is a sweet reminder to the little girl she is. The little girl who loves her mommy.

My parents were in town last weekend and we all went to a magic show.  It was fun.  Eve met a friend there and bought him a magic kit from the gift shop table.  He was so excited.  He was there with his grandma and the kids were thrilled to see each other.

The Magic of Bill Blagg!

Today I saw his grandma at the concert dress rehearsal and she handed me a package for Eve.  She said she was so moved by Eve’s thoughtfulness.

I love this note.

My life is to make miracles. I’m a magician.

The concert dress rehearsal went well.  I was there with wiggly kindergartners, but able to get a few pics of my own kid.

She *can* play the flute when she tries. :)

Singing. Her last concert at DBS and she’s wearing shorts and Navy swag.

Banging sticks on chairs. Is there a musical term for that??

On the way out of school she noticed her best friend’s hat on the lost and found shelf.  She grabbed it immediately and has been wearing it ever since.

The shirt is her new gift.

The other day my mom pointed out that all the other houses on our street (yes, there are four occupied houses now!) had benches on the porch, so when I saw this one for sale on Facebook I spoke right up.  Alan loved it and picked it up after work that same day.  Now we are cool like the rest of the neighbors. :)

It does look nice on the porch.

And it’s getting a lot of use already! Eve had her snack out there and I took a sneaky picture.

Lex is sitting out there right now doing his homework. Another sneaky picture. :)

Lots more on Lex tomorrow — the big birthday is coming right up!

HMMS Musical

Lex just wrapped up another season with the middle school musical.  This year was The Music Man and I got exactly zero pictures. (except this one that I just took right now)

He was part of the stage crew and got to move walls and furniture.  Last year there were a lot of crew and he didn’t get to do much, but this year they had a stricter process that required applications and teacher references, so there were fewer people, which resulted in lots more to do.  He was happy.  :)

The show was great.  I helped with ticket sales.  Eve saw it with her class and again with the family.  I love seeing all those kids up there signing and dancing.

Next year I might have both kids involved with the musical!  Crazy!


Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher appreciation week is a funny thing when you’re a teacher, a parent, and VP on the PTO.  There are lots of hats to wear and lines to consider.

Each year the PTO organizes a week of lunches and treats for the teachers.  As VP I did a lot of the logistics and organizing for this.  I mentally refused to bake or supply food though.  :)  I did set up a “thank you note” station in the library and had all of the classes write thank you notes for teachers and staff.  Fortunately another parent was kind enough to bundle them together and I arranged for the Standing O winners deliver them to teachers.   I was a little stressed going into the week, but parents stepped up nicely and there was a great spread for lunch each day.    I was thrilled to walk into school on Thursday morning and find this:

Chalk love

It was thoughtful and sweet and (most importantly) not organized by me!  I still have no idea who did it.  There were hearts and flowers drawn all over the walkway.  It definitely made me smile.

Friday I allowed myself to relax and consider it a week well done.

Tea and cookies.

I love seeing my messy craft table where the kids have been working for two weeks turned into sweet little bundles and delivered by smiling children.

Some of the love.

Next year I will be just a teacher, no longer a DBS parent (*sniff*) and no longer on the PTO.  I bet the week will look and feel a little different for me.