Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Please Start Singing That "Back To School" Song From Grease Before Reading This Post, It Will Be More Fun

It's back to school week and this year it's a really big deal for this house.  It's HUGE. 

Aiden, Cole, and Stella will all be attending some form of "school" for all or part of the week. 


(Well, actually I'm going to work more at Noonday, but that's just fun...and kid-free.)

Stella will be attending a preschool/mother's day out program two days a week.  Since this is her first time going anywhere other than the gym or church without me, I assumed we would have some separation issues when I dropped her off for her meet the teacher time, while I attended a parent orientation.

Fortunately, it turns out Stella couldn't care less about me or my proximity to her.  Not only did she run in to the classroom, she screamed bloody murder for me to go away when I returned to pick her up.  Clearly, I'm doing something right with this one.

She's totally sneaking out to meet up with her friends soon.

Instead of sending Cole to kindergarten this year to scream and avoid dairy in a public school, Cole will be attending an awesome four day a week private kindergarten ready program.  It's a small class of twelve students, two awesome teachers, and essentially a kindergarten environment.  I am so excited for me...I mean him.

All summer he talked about how he was going to kindergarten ready and he was going to be so big, and then when I dropped him off for meet the teacher...massive tantrum.  I don't really know what to say about it other than the fact that he had only slept about six hours the night before and did I mention he's going to be there four days a week!?!?!

I do think he'll do awesome and end up loving it.  All prayers are currently being accepted that this actually happens.

Surely someone this cute though is going to end up just fine.

See how he's consuming dairy here? I blame everything he does on the cow.  Freakin' cows.

Aiden is a full blown FIRST GRADER.  There's no more messing around with words for his year of school, it's numbers from here on out and that means business. 

Aiden woke and left Monday morning filled with all the first grade ambition you can imagine.

He also is the cutest thing on Earth in this picture.
He enthusiastically jumped out of bed, only casually mentioning that it seemed early.  After school he jumped off the bus, full of joy to be back in the swing of things.  Day two was much the same, even commenting that, "he had a lot of fun," at school.  I was fully ready to settle in to a life of school induced joy and a burning desire to learn more, while keeping my children at a safe distance for the majority of the day.

My dreams were, however, shattered today, day three.  Aiden was completely zapped of all hints of happiness and enthusiasm for life in general, much less eight hours of school.

I'm fairly certain we mainly have a sleep deprivation problem, but he might just hate school, which would really be unfortunate since he's sort of involved in it for the next sixteen or so years.  He cried hysterically when woken up this morning, immediately falling into the depths of despair about the torture of wanting to ride the bus, but being unable to bear the cruelty of the seven am pick-up time. 

Alex generously offered to call the bus driver and see if he could just swing by later to pick Aiden up, but Aiden was not amused by this. There was all manner of wailing and thrashing in tortured sadness about any and all things school related, primarily the early start. 

After school there was no end to the drama about how challenging school is, how he'll never to be able to finish his work and write as much as his teacher is requested.  I gave him my best "practice makes perfect" and "try, try again," and "Oprah would never quit like this," speeches but he wasn't moved in the slightest.  

He's obviously unreasonable if he can't even be swayed by the example of persistence and hard work Oprah has given him.

We did have one moment of giggling when he relayed the shenanigans of the playground girls chasing he and his friends.  He smiled and explained that one of his friends has so many girls chasing him, because he's really fast....which I, of course, agreed could be the only reason all those girls are chasing him. 

And so it begins, my Aiden has moved on from sweet little boy to disgruntled child.  He wants to sleep, is too lazy to try too hard, and only feels excited when discussing girls. 

First grade is totally different than kindergarten.

I am beyond excited and optimistic about the year though, regardless of my daughter's apathy toward me, Cole's behavior issues, or Aiden's attitude. 

The truth is, this won't be happening all day long, five days a week in my house anymore....

And that sort of rocks.  I like the chaos in small doses, but school is this mama's best friend.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy Birthday?

It's been a difficult day...Cole style.

If you've read for long, you know that Cole has a tendency to make things interesting around here.  Shoes thrown at me while driving, over-turned furniture, lots and lots of sleep deprivation. Ever since we visited the witch doctor and took him off dairy, things really had been different around here.

(For some of my more interesting/difficult days you can read them here or here or here or here.)

But not today.  For some reason today was Cole, full-dairy style...and I really didn't want today to be like that for him or for me.

See, he's five today.  FIVE! 

It hardly seems possible...and yet I still find myself wondering how he isn't at least 11 yet given the amount of emotion I've poured in to this middle child of mine. 

I would show you a picture of the day he was born, but in typical middle child style, I can't find one.  Yes, I know, it's awful. I spent a full hour today digging through file cabinets and stacks of random DVDs and old photos, but I can't find one.

 Mom guilt in full effect.

Fear not though, there has been no shortage of Cole birthday attention around here recently, he has been well acknowledged.

We've spent the last week attempting to explain the difference between his birthday party, last Saturday, and the date of his actual birthday, today. It's really not sinking in, and I'm not sure why we are working at it at all since he still firmly believes Tuesday comes after Friday and can not grasp the fact that 30 minutes is substantially less than 3 hours.

Birthday, birthday party, same?

We celebrated this weekend with a gymnastics ninja party, with his handpicked invitees.  There are new Legos everywhere and for the first time, he's putting them together without assistance...and bragging about it accordingly. 

(I'm going to take a moment to point out that I decorated these ninja cupcakes myself from a Pinterest photo.

Surely he should be a joyful boy for months after a bakery delight such as this?)

He's worn his Birthday Boy t-shirt for 3 out of the last 4 days and I assume will push the celebration of this milestone birthday for at least another three, he's like me, it's important to let other people know they should be celebrating you.  Birthday month and birthday week are phrases that need to be repeated often.

Unfortunately, today is his actual day and he's, well as I mentioned, he's in  mood.

I had visions of taking and delivering food requests for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, fully prepared to fix pancakes three times a day.  I thought we'd hit the park or the bounce house, or maybe even the mall's cheap quarter rides for an hour or so.  The possibilities were endless.  I was up for some Cole indulging.

Instead, Cole had been in time out four times by the time we were leaving to meet his new teacher and he decided to throw a BIG fit upon being told he was going to spend 30 minutes in his new class while I listened to the parent orientation meeting.  He actually had to be restrained by his teachers while I left. 

Everything he is asked to do or experience today is "dumb" or "stupid."  Stella, nor I, can do no right. There is no putting on a shoe, only throwing. 

Cole and I just had a 10 minute argument about whether or not my Father told him that fall follows spring and is more hot than summer....and yes, I realize I had no business engaging in this idiotic discussion, but sleep was difficult last night and my ability to be the bigger person has vanished.

Oh Cole.

I know I celebrated him on Saturday at his party, but I wanted to celebrate him today.  I wanted to remember five years ago when I was driving to the hospital with Alex to have him, filled with excitement. I wanted to remember how quickly he arrived and how sweet he was those first few days in the hospital, just the two of us.

I guess in typical Cole style though, I was reminded that it isn't up to me.  He's going to choose his path.

I might spend more emotional energy, more tears on trying to raise Cole, but I know, this kid is worth it. 

Cole, the love I have for you is fierce.  You, can more quickly can drive me mad, and make me laugh, than your siblings.  Your faith, your joy, your determination to get your way are qualities I don't recognize in myself and I am captivated by you.  I feel honored to be your mother, and challenged by the way you never let me off easy. 

You are the worst liar I have ever seen, but the best at keeping the stories interesting.  You are more joyful about a Lego, a dog, a cool picture, a funny TV show, or a silly prank than anyone I know.  You try big words and make even the simplest sentences hysterical. You stir in me the use nicknames, which I strongly dislike, having me call you Colio, Cole-Train, Cole Cuts, Cole-Cole.  You don't mind playing alone or changing all the rules, you have your own sense of how this whole thing is supposed to be played out.

You are stronger than you know, and  I pray every day that I'm strong enough to direct and encourage all your amazing qualities.  I can't wait to see where you go.

It might not have been how I wanted it to be, and it might not have been the most fun, but I couldn't be more happy to celebrate YOU, turning the very big and very important five!


Linking up to Shell's Pour Your Heart Out! Check it out here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm Mostly Showing Photos Because I'm Easing Back In To Life

Indiana life was good.

Three weeks at my parents' house was fantastic, but now I'm back.  My parents, my three children, and I rolled back to Texas in my minivan late Saturday night, and fine, I'll admit it, it feels good to be back.

(Especially with my parents along.)

It's nice to be in my own space, with my husband, but I'd still give anything to have it be back in Indiana rather than here.  Plain and simply, I just love it more.  I fit better there than I do here.

(Even Money magazine just named my home town the #1 best place to live, check it out here. )

My kids loved it, maybe even more than I did. 

Fighting brothers embraced one another.

I got to spend lots of time with my best friend.

Ruffled outfits with large bows came out of nowhere.

Cute cousins giggled in prairie land.

A mirrored room was weird, and maybe fun?

Farm animals?  Joy.

Melt-your-heart moments happened like this.
We went out to dinner with adults only! (That's my big brother and his beautiful wife!)

It's always so good to all be together.

It was a good three weeks.

Coming home means getting ready for school to start next week for Aiden, celebrations for Cole's birthday, and a whole lot of getting back in the swing of things. 

I'm hoping that the swing of things will include writing more often, even it's just to share fun stuff like the fact that my Amity and her cool home design style were featured on the awesome Design Mom Blog

You can check out Amity's awesomeness here.

It's good to be home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's The 411?

Remember when people used to say that? 

"What's the 411?"

If you don't, I assume you were either extremely uncool several years back, or you lived outside the United States and this expression makes no sense because you are foreign...which makes you either really cool or weird. 

Should this be an entire blog about expressions that no one really uses anymore and why? 


Fine.  Here's 6 quick things.

(Because when I tried to type 411 it just got long and stupid. Alright, stupid-er.)

1. I have developed a serious condition of addiction to Sons of Anarchy.  I know I've mentioned it before, but things have escalated.  I'm contemplating a purchase of leather chaps and a reaper tattoo on my back.  If you think that sounds extreme then you haven't seen enough of the show.  Alex and I are logging two episodes a night and feel we are much better people because of it. 

Fine, we aren't better people, but I feel so much more informed on gun running, motorcycle clubs, and the turmoil of good versus evil and how this can exist within one person on multiple levels and that has to count for something. 

Fine, and I also learned that I totally can dig a guy with greasy-ish hair, lots of tattoos, and has a tendency to off people he doesn't like.  He's spectacular. 

Watch it people.  It's beyond good.

2. I colored my own hair again and picked a shade entirely too dark.  This isn't much more to say about this, but it's on my mind right now.  I feel as though I look sort of foreign, but it's possible I look like the weird variety rather than the cool one. Like perhaps I've decided I no longer like cold beverages or matching clothes.

Are those universal traits of foreigners?  They are in my head so that seems like it should count.

Black hair, it feels weird
3.  The other night I spent almost 25 minutes reading about the Kristen Stewart cheating controversy, including other reader's comments.  I read a lot of them, some to laugh and some I actually started to feel real emotions about the reader's views.

I'm so ashamed.
I also almost clicked on a link to what I believe was a timeline in photos of Jessica Simpson's body evolution. I'm apparently completely without any morals now. 

I blame my hair coloring.

4. I have eaten a s'more almost every night since I arrived at my parents' house.  I feel gluttonous about this, but also feel that it's arguable by the fact that it's a s'more.  Aren't these the pinnacle of desserts? 

Stella just likes the marshmallows

5.  Is anyone else feeling totally enticed by all JC Penny's (JCP if you're hip, Penny's if your old,)recent marketing?  I mean, the catchy tune, the bright jeans, that adorable tiny green car?

Now if only I knew a child that needed a free haircut they are giving away this month...

Yeah, I'm making an appointment tomorrow.

He's starting to look like that guy from Sons of Anarchy.  He's probably already working on a gun running scheme and plotting to hurt people that hurt my feelings.  He needs a tattoo ASAP.

6. I took my boys to a public pool today and all they wanted to do was play with me.  I feel like they don't even know me.  I do not want to play in the pool, that's not who I am.  That's their father's job.  I enjoy watching from a safe distance and complaining about splashing. 

I'm fun in my own way.

I think.

I discovered man that looked a lot like a boy I had a crush on in high school, but significantly more tan.  I spent the first half of our time at the pool trying to figure out if it was actually him, and then how he got so tan.  I felt genuine concern that a man that tan is surely not employed, possibly even afflicted with the tragic tanorexic problem that I think usually strikes women. 

It wasn't him. After that I had even less enthusiasm for the pool.

Am I the only Mom that doesn't want to "play" in the pool?

Could this be a result of too much violent TV and hair color?

Can men be tanorexic?