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.

Matilda

Matilda: The Musical

On Wednesday Eve and I went to an audition information session for Northern Stage’s upcoming production of Matilda: The Musical.  This will be a professional production that runs through the holiday season.  In order to audition she needs to memorize a “cut” from one of the songs (they gave her the sheet music with lyrics), plus a “cut” from a contemporary Broadway musical of her choice, plus a head shot and a resume.  Upon hearing this she leans over and whispers, “What’s a resume, Mom?”  I think hers will be fairly short!

The schedule is grueling! 78 shows! They are double casting the kids so she would only have to do half of them — but still!!

I’m not sure she has the stamina for such an activity, and truthfully I’m not sure this family has the stamina for it either.  However, she is excited and we are going with that.  The director reminded the kids that he isn’t looking for “beautiful people with beautiful voices,” he’s looking for quirky kids.  Eve was happy to hear that.  :)

Auditions are June 2nd.

The Highs and Lows

Because I need to write it out….

We’re getting to the age where I’m not sure what is blog appropriate and what isn’t, but I need to write.  I thought about sending an email to a friend or family, but, well, I dunno,  and so here goes.

We had a lovely afternoon (read about that before finishing this post.)

It’s Saturday, so we had Family Meeting with dinner tonight.  The plan was to play another round of Settlers of Catan after dinner, but sadly we didn’t make it through the meeting.  Eve brought up the problem of wanting to quit band (an ongoing discussion for months now) and some cat issues came up and things fell apart.  Well, Eve fell apart.  Alan went outside to do some work and asked me a few minutes later to hold the ladder for him.  I did that, then we stood in the garage for a few minutes, chatting about the pros and cons of letting Eve quit band.  When I came back inside I saw Eve running out the back door.  I watched her, figuring she was going to her tree fort at the end of the street, but she got close, then took off in a different direction.  Sigh.  Then I found this:

Double sigh.  Parenting kinda sucks sometimes.

I put Arlo on his leash and headed out for a walk.  I wasn’t going to drag her home, but I did want to know where she went.  I show Alan the note on the way out.  Along the way I met two neighbors, both had seen Eve running, and they pointed out which direction she went.  Then I passed Parrish who told me a whole route that Eve was going to take, down the hill, through the village, etc.  Ugh!  I called Alan, then headed in the opposite direction with the hope of meeting her along the way.  Alan called back five minutes later and said Eve was home, with a friend, asking if they could play together at her friends house.  Sigh.  He said yes and I headed home.

Back at home I stewed for a few minutes, then texted the friend’s mom, asking her to send Eve home.  It was 7pm, Eve still hadn’t eaten dinner, and WTF?!  She gets to run away and then play with her friend — no discussion.  WTF!?  Eve got home while I was unloading the dishwasher.  I told her to go take a bath and that we would discuss things after that.  I don’t know if she saw the tears or heard the anger (probably both), but she zipped right up the stairs with no questions asked.  I went up a little later and found her in her room, with this slipped out under the door:

Sigh.  I knocked.  She let me in.  We snuggled and cried and talked about better (safer!) ways to get some alone time.  She apologized over and over.  She said she had planned to go to the tree fort, but when she got there she realized she had no shoes and so decided to go to “the leaves” instead.  She swore the idea of going into the village wasn’t her idea.  She said Parrish suggested it, but she said she only wanted to go to the leaves to calm down, then home again.  Neither of them are super reliable sources, so I decided to let that part of the discussion go.  She met her friend on the street, her friend invited her in, so she came home to ask if it’s ok to go play with her friend.  The anger comes and goes so quickly!  Leaving me exhausted and confused.  Ugh.  Parenting is hard.

We snuggled and chatted, then she asked if I wanted to play a game with her.  She picked Sorry.  :)  We played and giggled, and she won in the end.

I need another week of vacation.  And a glass of wine.  And maybe a road map for the future.

My Sunny Girl

I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  The sun was shining for the first time in ages, which should have made me happy, but instead left me feeling even more glum.  Luckily my empathetic girl came to my rescue!  I invited her to come grocery shopping with me and she suggested a stop by the creek on the way.  Turns out that’s JUST what I needed!  Sunshine, fresh(ish) air, nature, and time with my girl.

She found a quiet spot. When she spotted me watching she invited me down to join her. :)

We sat by the river for awhile, then walked the whole trail (maybe a mile-ish).  The whole walk back to the car was spent discussing pollution, a conversation which morphed into how to make bird wings for humans and how awesome an invention like that would be.  Eve has big ideas!

Then we went to Pier 1 Imports because, well, why not.  Eve didn’t remember ever going there before and we had fun exploring.  Then she talked me into checking out the new Starbucks.  I felt like we were on vacation!  Hanging out by the water, exploring cool stores, and getting iced tea and snacks at Starbucks.  That’s a great vacation day!

Eventually we had to get to the real reason for the outing — grocery shopping!  Fortunately we had a fun new toy from Pier 1 that kept us giggling.

We got home to find the boys deep into a game of Settlers of Catana.  Alan had friends over last night who brought the game and taught him to play.  Lex read the instructions at breakfast this morning and was ready to go!  :)  I unloaded the groceries, then started to feel grumpy that Arlo was whining and no one had walked him… but instead of letting the glum settle in again, I grabbed the leash and took Arlo out for a good(ish) walk.

He was happy, I was happy, and I got home to find the boys had started a new game with Eve playing.  They are all happily playing Settlers of Catana right now.

So there it is, my afternoon in snaps.  I think it’s a “vacation is coming to an end” glum that I’m feeling.  I hope the sunshine and happy family sticks with me for awhile. <3

Montshire

I took my big littles and friends to the Montshire today.  The price of admission: posing for a photo.  They all paid up happily.  :)

There was a new exhibit about air that Lex read about in the paper and was interested in checking out.  It was fun.

 

The girls went through the whole museum in about half an hour and started whining at me to leave.  The boys, however, were really focused!  They stayed in the air exhibit for over an hour!

Us girls kept ourselves busy for another hour or so, before finally rounding up the boys and heading out.

I wish the girls were more engaged.  Admission isn’t cheap and I know the boys would have lasted for another hour, at least! Oh well.

Then we took a quick trip to the toy store (to appease the girls) and the candy store (um, maybe because I wanted candy), then home again.

That was our vacation outing for the day.  Now, back to our computers! :P

Off to see the wizard

This year’s elementary drama school was The Wizard of Oz, and, of course, it was awesome!  Eve played Nikko, the leader of the flying monkeys.  She was also a crow attacking the scarecrow and a citizen of Emerald City.  She loved her roles and had a great time!

Glenda the Good Witch, Dorothy, and Toto. (#notmykids)

Dorothy and Marvel the Magician gazing into the crystal ball. (#notmykids)

My crow, stealing the straw hat off the scarecrow.

The cowardly lion was awesome! (#notmykid)

Nikko threatening the merry crew on their way to Oz.

Nikko in the background, awaiting orders from The Wicked Witch, who was also amazing!

She was exhausted at the end, but already asking me to sign her up for theater camp again this summer.

Mema, Tom, and Katie came to see the show too!  I think a good time was had by all. :)

The Easter that mostly wasn’t

Easter this year was pretty low-key. After yesterday’s birthday fun, we were all ready for a “no plans” day. The kids woke to Easter baskets with minimal filling and no candy.

There were a few little toys and big cookies from King Arthur Flour, which they ate before I took the picture. I intended to get jelly beans and chocolate eggs, but never quite found the time, without kids in tow!

We spent the morning baking scones, banana bread, and buttermilk bread while listening to our audiobook and coloring Easter eggs.

After that was done we settled in with our respective screens while the eggs dried. They kids seemed in no hurry to hide and find them.

We took an afternoon trip to the dog park, only to find it was closed, and also windy as all heck, and also I forgot the leash.

Later in the afternoon Eirene and her boys came over for dinner. I warned her that there would be no traditional Easter meal served. 😀 We called around until we found an open pizza place. The kids ran and had fun. Then we snuggled up for dinner and a movie.

After the kids were in bed I noticed the beautiful bowl of Easter eggs that never got hidden. Oh well.