Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Got A Call Today

Got a call today from Brandon's school. The administrator said it wasn't an emergency, but that I should call her when I get a chance. I was a little apprehensive, but calmly called the school to see what it was they had to say. The office had gotten a call from Brandon's teacher saying he was sitting in his class sucking on his arm and leaving little red marks. So that's what they were! Brandon's been sitting in class giving himself little hickeys! Brian and I had seen one over the weekend, but failed to recognize the tell-tale hickey mark for what it really was. Are we so old that we don't know a hickey when we see one?

On one hand, it's just a hickey or two (or three or four, as Brandon's arm points out). We can completely imagine Brandon sitting in his class, silently listening to his teacher, all the time sucking away on his arm. On the other hand, it seems to be a sign of stress that the all day schedule is a little more demanding than he's use to. Brandon and Caitlin are both still adjusting to school. Brian and I have been loving the early bedtimes, and I have been relishing the few hours I get to myself when both kids are in school. But neither on of us likes the increase in whining and crying that has happened since school started! Not long after we moved here I met a woman who told me that my kids were the whiniest children she'd ever met (so much for wanting to explore that friendship!). At the time I didn't agree with her, but in the last couple of weeks I've changed my mind. I guess this one just one more thing that I need to get use to. The kids and I are a little exhausted from our last week of school. Getting up so early is new to all of us, and the 8:00 - 2:30 school day is still a little rough on Brandon. Next week he gets homework! We'll see how that all goes. For now Brandon will just need to adjust. To learn how to be a first grader and be in school all day. Without sucking on his arm.

Brandon Plays Peek-A-Boo

5 years ago today I took this video with my camera. Brandon would stand up, giggle hysterically, and then fall back down behind the table again. Unbeknowst to his buddy Max, Brandon was playing peek-a-boo. This had happened once before when Brian and I were eating at Yoshinoya, but that had been about a month earlier. Max, the object of Brandon's game, was fairly oblivious to the fact Brandon was playing a game with him, but Brandon kept playing anyway. To Max, balancing was much more important. But that didn't stop Brandon.

I watch this video when I've had a bad day, or just need a giggle. And, Leanne, I always think of you and our friendship when I watch it.



**note the mullet on Brandon. I cut it off that evening. It grew in quickly, and we hadn't noticed it. But once we did man, it came right off!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Suburban Housewife

Mid-morning, around 10:00 am, I drove my SUV to the mall to get a gift for a birthday party tomorrow. I promised Caitlin she could play in the play area before we left. I was a little tired from my early mornings, so I stopped by Starbucks to get a cup of coffee. There I was, sitting in the play area in my capri sweats and Sketchers shoes, drinking my Starbucks coffee. Next to me was a bag from Williams-Sonoma, where I had purchased a baking sheet. Oh my gosh! How suburban housewife of me!!

The store at the mall didn't have the gift I was looking for. After Caitlin was done playing we headed over to Michael's, which did have the necklace kit I wanted. Next to it were several very cool toys on clearance (I picked up a full-sized Etch-A-Sketch for $2.99!), so I grabbed a few for future birthday parties. So suburban housewife of me.

Does the fact that the birthday party is at Chuck-E-Cheese's make me more suburban?


Do urban moms do it differently?

Second Day of School

In the blur of yesterday, I forgot to take a few pictures of school. Today I remembered to take my camera with me to school, and got a few pictures of the lineup. The don't capture the craziness of yesterday, but they do show the kids lining up. Trying to corral Caitlin in all this mess isn't fun, and the other kids don't watch where they're going. I'm trying to imagine doing this in the cold, snow and ice, but it's not happening! Maybe soon I can start trading off with my neighbor, and then I won't have to do this every single morning!




Thursday, August 20, 2009

On Entering First Grade

Brandon started first grade today! I'm so proud. I think he is, too. While he hasn't wished summer never happened, like a friend's little boy, he is happy to be back in school.

Yesterday was our last truly free day of the summer. I didn't sleep well on Monday night, probably because I knew I needed to wake early to take Caitlin in for her first day of school. So yesterday I wanted to sleep in! I'll be getting up at 6:00 daily, and getting the kids up before 7:00 am to get ready for school. The kids, of course, decided to be rise early, around 7:00 am. I heard them playing quietly in Caitlin's room. Still wanting to sleep, I softly shut the door to my room, and got another hour and half before the kids came in, hungry for breakfast! Amazing! We all went to the pool yesterday afternoon/evening to swim, and to wear them out! With Brian gone, I'm worn out by 6:00 pm. The pool was followed by Brandon's favorite dinner of Alfredo chicken with pasta, and some edamame on the side. The kids were asleep by 8:15.

We woke up bright and early. The late bell at school rings at 7:55 am. Bleah. And both kids have to get ready now. It's not usually an issue, but little Miss Independent, aka Caitlin, can make mountains out of molehills while getting dressed and during breakfast. We were out the door at 7:38, and still barley managed to get down to the lower playground, all the way in the back of the school, to line up by the time the bell rang. The hoards of kids and parents were hard to get through. I hope it settles down soon! Brandon was so happy to find his friends and get in line. I didn't expect any tears, from him or me, so I was quite surprised to feel some welling up in my eyes as Brandon headed off to his classroom. This is the last day of this stage -the end of raising my kids as I know. The end of having them home all time.

I know I'm not done raising them, by any means, but my role is changing. Brandon's life will be influenced by his friends, good or bad, and I'm going to have to learn to adapt my parenting style around that. Brian and I will have to be more vigilant about reinforcing our Godly and family values while not being too critical of his friends. We experienced a bit of this over the summer as Brandon was heavily influenced by a new friend, to the point of having nightmares because of this friend's obsession with all things shark, ghost, and skeletons, and an almost complete lack of parental supervision.

But for now, I'm just going to enjoy the first day of school. Caitlin went to her school, and I got to do the grocery shopping without yelling. The house was eerily quiet, but only for a while. I don't think I'll have any problem adapting to that part of my new life!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take a Chill Pill

Recently I posted a few photos to Facebook. Nothing big, just a few photos of me and some friends from high school. Were we doing anything crazy? No! Not at all (unless you think sitting around a table in formal dresses is crazy. You may, who knows?). But yet the uproar, the furor, the "How could you?"!!!! It's been a little too much for me. I deleted the comments. Heck, I deleted the pictures. I can't take the comments anymore. Really, folks, those pictures are not that bad. You're just 12, or 15, or whatever. Seriously, I love, love, love to see old pictures of my friends. Pictures of them from their childhoods.

Apparently I'm the only one.

What is everyone so afraid of? Have you not reconciled with your past, people? Have you not accepted who you use to be? Is is totally different from who you are today? If yes, then I can accept that. But most of us are not all that different than who we were in the past. And, especially in this case, those pictures do not convey *anything* from any crazy sort of past that the people in the picture may have had. We're high school students! Doing nothing but being part of a stupid organization. Yearbook pictures have proven to be more offensive!!

And yet you, my Facebook friend, have chosen to get all riled up about it all. Calm down! Seriously. You're being weird.

As you can clearly see, this is bothering me.

So, I'm taking a break. Again, for my own sanity. Deleted the pics. Cleared my status. Checked my old friend's profiles, maybe for the last time (since I'll probably be deleted from their Facebook pages for this). And now I take a deep breath. Relax. Realize that I'm really okay - they are the weird ones. The ones who can't handle it.

Speaking of being bothered - then there are the ones who have deleted me from Facebook. Granted, they're not really friends of mine in life. Just acquaintances. Those whose names we don't remember year to year when our social circles change. But I still get offended when people request me as a friend on Facebook, then make the conscious choice to delete me. Do they think I won't know? Again, though - why does this bother me? I think it's the conscious choice aspect of it all. Even though I see these people regularly, we aren't friends, so it shouldn't bother me. But it does. And I haven't been able to change that part of my brain to think differently about the situation.

Relax.

Breathe.

Don't check things for a while. Lay low.

This is not, I repeat, not at all important! It's only Facebook.

First Day of Preschool

Caitlin, in her mind, became the biggest of big girls today. She has achieved a milestone - her first day of preschool!!!

Caitlin has wanted to go to preschool since Brandon went just two short years ago. She was only 19 months old, and so badly wanted to stay at the school with her big brother. Once she figured out that I'd let her play for a while after school either in the playground or in the gym, she was better. Still, dropping Brandon off was always a challenge with Caitlin in tow.

She's told me all about when she gets to go to school. All the time for the last two years! And today it finally happened. Brandon, Caitlin and I all managed to get up early, get dressed and have breakfast in plenty of time to leave at 8:15. We even managed to get in a few pictures:


Dancing with excitement! (She is wearing her 'dancy dance' shoes, so that could have something to do with it!)


Caitlin's About Me Poster for school


Playing on the circle rug, wondering why the kid behind her is crying



Monday, August 17, 2009

What You See When Chris Shows Up

He only had access to the company van when he was in Colorado. We certainly didn't mind, and were happy to see him. But this is what I saw outside my house when I came home from the store. I laughed out loud. Wonder what the neighbors were thinking?



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chick Lit for Guys?

I know nothing about this book, but the title made me laugh out loud. Jane Austen for guys, anyone?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Unblogged Summer

Summer's almost over and I've barely written. School starts next week, and I don't know where summer went sometime between school getting out in May and now. It's been a strange summer. Different in many ways than what I've been use to. Different than what I might have thought it would be like, had I thought about it. This summer brought home the understanding of what other mothers meant when they said how different their summers were from their school years. Having small children at home at the time, I really didn't get what they meant Summers were relatively the same for me, only with less activity from the outside world. Now however, after having a stricter routine during the school year, I understand. But before I forget the point of this blog, I'll let you know what we've been up to.

School got out the end of May. I don't remember much about that time, since I got sick the last week of school. Thanks to many pharmaceuticals, I navigated my way through Brandon's end-of-the-year activities and successfully attended the ceremonies and parties that brought him out of kindergarten and into first grade. The weeks after that were a blur, since I spend the next two camped out on the couch, unable to get any pharmaceuticals to work on the horrible cold I had, and thus taking nothing to relieve the symptoms. To let you in on how sick I was, I took $300 out of the bank for grocery cash in mid-May. I forgot about it! Seriously - $300 that I forgot about. I don't forget about money. I only recently found it (2 months later), in an envelope in a drawer, along with the the bank receipt. Once I saw the date, bits and pieces of the month (the stuff I remember) came flooding back

We got new neighbors the last weekend of school. A little boy who is only one week older than Brandon moved in three houses down. They became instant friends. Mom works and Dad stays home with the boy/ Brandon and Caitlin love playing at his house, and the dad and I became acquaintances through our kids. It was nice to have someone to talk to on our street. Our town has excellent schools, and is known for having a lot of kids, but none of those kids seemed to live on our little isolated street. The whole neighbor thing has been a mixed blessing, though (with emphasis on "mixed"). The neighbor boy is a fairly unsupervised child and would come over to our house at the most random times - like, right after he'd eaten breakfast. I'd still be in my nightgown and the kids weren't even awake! His dad would call me, wondering if his son was at our house. Wondering??? If???? His parenting style was much much different than mine. I don't allow my kids to roam free. And there was always drama. Too much drama.

In late June and early July we took off for a couple of weeks back to California. We spent several wonderful days in south Lake Tahoe with our friends the S's, from our old 'hood back in S-town. Brandon and Emily played together like they'd never been apart, and Caitlin and Josh, only 6 weeks apart, started playing together, too. We swam in the pool, ate good food, and enjoyed being with friends we love and miss.

After Tahoe, we headed down to my parent's place in the central valley, and amazing did not melt in the hot temps. Both my brothers took time to come to my parents house while we were there. My sister had moved back home after her husband went to South Korea, so we saw her, too. I'm glad she was there, as she is moving to S. Korea in two days and I won't see her for a while!

The trip to my parent's house was followed by a trip to Brian's parent's house back in the bay area. At this point, we were expert packers! Brian's mom and sister organized a surprise open house, and we got to see many of our old friends. It was overwhelming. Wonderful, but overwhelming. I almost cried when it was all done! I wanted to let everyone know how much I appreciated their taking the time to come over, but didn't know how to approach that. If you're reading this........ now you know. And Donna and Jackie did it in their usual planning style - with panache! There were crafts, fun things, and even a little bounce house for the kiddos! Our friends were amazed! Thank you, Donna and Jackie! We had a great time!

Back at home, we continued our summer with visits to friends, the park, VBS, and all sorts of other fun stuff. Brandon and our neighbor boy played a lot. The boy's friend was always over. The novelty of having a friend close by took a while to wear off. The neighborhood drama escalated recently, and the dad was asked to move out of the house. I know very little about what's been going on. One neighbor told us about the events, and the mom told me the other night that he was gone. I'd been wondering when she'd say anything. My kids have had lots of questions about why the dad is gone. I'm trying to explain it all the best I can without making him out to be the bad guy. Our neighbor has been in some form of daycare for the last couple of weeks due to all of this. It's surprisingly calmer at our house without him here all the time, but we are glad to see him when he's home. School starts up on the 20th for Brandon, and the boys will be in the same class, which has made them both very happy.

The next big thing is coming up - school! Brandon is a bona-fide first grader and will be in school all day (7:50-2:30). We'll see how he likes it this year. Of course, this is the same kid who wondered why school was so short last year (he had half day kindergarten). Caitlin will be going to preschool in one week - next Tuesday. She is so excited! I can't buy school supplies for Brandon without her asking about her supplies. She even picked out her own lunchbox at the store. She didn't even ask. Just trotted over to the display. Guess she assumed that she got to pick one out since Brandon got to pick one out! I'm excited for her. She needs a little space to be on her own, learn on her own, and be a big girl without me around. I'm exited for me, too, since I'll get a few free hours to myself during the week. Only a few, though. I'm no longer in my Thursday MOPS group, and I've turned down other offers to help out with groups or events. I'm still protective of my few, precious hours. Maybe next year.

So there you have it. The Cliff Notes version of our summer. I'm hoping that my interest in blogging will come back. Right now I'm more interested in reading other blogs instead of writing in my own. I have a lot of drafts. A lot that may or may not be publish-worthy. But with a few free hours to myself, you might get a little peek back into our lives again soon!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pain

Caitlin hurt her finger. Here she is, showing us her hurt finger.