Friday, September 25, 2015

My Morning Ray of Sunshine

Getting up in the morning has always been a chore for me.  I don't know how I was as a little kid, but I can remember being older and my mom threatening to pour buckets of water on me if I didn't get my ass out of bed.  I HATED getting up in the morning.  I still do.  So I don't know why I find it so hard to believe that my girls are right there with me.  Well, not all of them.  Lana is most definitely without a doubt the best morning person you've ever seen.  Yes, I said Lana.  

During the week, I aim to get everyone  up between 6:30-6:40 depending on when I drag my own ass out of bed.  Sonya sets an alarm, hits snooze a couple of times,  and I still have to make sure she gets up.  She is not fun to get up.  She huffs, and whines and buries herself back under the covers.  Sometimes Georgia is in her bed with her, because I don't know that I have told you all this but, Georgia does not like to sleep alone in her bed.  She always ends up in someone else's bed in the middle of the night.  Usually mine and Andy's first, but I move her after I wake up to find myself on two inches of mattress at 4AM with her feet in my face.  Since Sonya has a double bed, I usually opt to put her in there.  I try to put her back in her own bed, believe me.  Sometimes she refuses to go,  gets stubborn and at 4AM you tend to give in to what the hell they want so you can just go back to sleep, dammit!  Anyway-when she is in Sonya's bed in the morning I have to wake her up at the same time.  I usually  drag her out of Sonya's bed and carry her to her room where I plop her on the floor.  There she stays curled in a ball snoozing for at least another ten minutes.  Then I go to the kitchen where every two minutes, I yell for them to get up and get moving while making breakfast.  It's an incredibly enjoyable morning routine I assure you.  Especially since I myself hate to get up and am always exhausted.  If it weren't for the fabulous people who invented coffee, I would never survive. 

The other day Georgia wrote out her daily morning routine on the whiteboard in her room.  I think she was just trying to make it clear how she feels about getting up in the morning, so she added a little something...

For those of you who can't read my daughter's beautiful handwriting she acquired from me, after "wake up" she wrote "gron".  Which of course means "groan", but hey she's a 2nd grader, we are still working on the spelling.  Either way, she made sure she added into her morning routine a way to let everyone know how unhappy she was to be awake at that time of the morning.  Yup, those two are fun times to get going every morning.  Usually by Friday they are marginally better have it down, but then that pesky weekend comes and they sleep in throwing everything off on Monday morning.  It's a vicious cycle. Yes I know I should have them wake up at the same time on the weekend, but screw that.  Andy and I want to sleep in too!

There is one spot of sunshine every morning though...Lana.  I do not wake Lana up ever.  Last year she started getting up on her own.  Then she asked for an alarm clock so we go her one for her birthday. What 8 year old asks for an alarm clock as a birthday present?  Now she sets it for 6:15 every morning.  When it goes off she immediately turns it off.  No snooze for her! Then she proceeds to get dressed, make her bed, some mornings she will remember to unload her dishwasher or feed the cat when it's her turn.  When I come to their rooms in the morning to wake everyone up, there is Lana sitting on her made bed reading her latest book, with a smile and a cheery, "Good morning,  mommy!"  I do NOT know where this kid came from!  Because as I said, I have never been a morning person, so you would think that perhaps Andy is or was, but no.  Some days he groans louder than Georgia when he has to wake up.  

All I do know is I am so thankful that Lana is the way she is.  I suppose if I think about it I have my parents genetics to thank.  My parents have always been morning people.  My mother especially.  She was the type to wake you up with a song.  Oh how I hated that song in the morning.  She was always so damn cheery.  So perhaps the early bird gene got passed on to Lana. (Thanks mom and dad!)  I'm glad it did, because if all three of them were super grumpy in the morning, I'm not sure any amount of coffee would get me through that first hour of the day.  With Lana's smiling face and happy morning disposition, I can deal with what the other two throw at me.  

On the plus side, this past week I have been trying to put Georgia back in her bed after she comes to our bed in the middle of the night.  Sonya does not like having her in her bed, because of Georgia's starfish style of sleeping.  Can't blame the girl I guess.  So because she has been in her own bed in the mornings, Lana has decided to get Georgia up with her.  It's been like a dream.  Both of them up, dressed and in pleasant moods.  Only Sonya has been the obstacle.  I just need Lana to rub off on her too and we will be all set.  Maybe I can even sleep until 7 and have them come wake me up.  Then I can be the one to wake up and groan.  Oh wait-I do that already.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sonya's New Adventure

Well here we are three weeks into the school year and I finally have my shit together to sit down and write something. Anything at this point!  I always thought that when my girls were all in school I would have all this time to get everything done.  Turns out having all my girls in school means that I am in school more too.  I help out in the classrooms and chair a few PTA positions, so I end up with almost no time to do other things like writing.  However, I decided to forget about everything I'm supposed to be doing right now, to get back to my writing for a minute.  Especially because there is so much in my head that I keep thinking about wanting to write about.  Today it's about middle school.

Yes, Sonya started middle school this year.  I know some places middle school doesn't start until 7th grade and to be honest that might have been a better transition for us, but since Burbank Unified doesn't care about just my family, we had to go with what has already been in place for years.  It was a bit of a rough transition.  Well, let me clarify that.  It was a bit of a rough anticipation time this summer.  

As most of you know, Sonya is already on the young side of her peers.  Because her birthday is in November, and because when she started school the cut off date was December 1st, she started Kindergarten at four, turning five in November of that year.  It was a decision we struggled with and one which we would not have to think about today if she was going to kindergarten.  They moved the cut off date to September here in Burbank now.  We felt like we made the right decision at that time, because she was so smart, and academically she has always done well in school.  Emotionally, she is sometimes a bit behind.  She was sad to leave elementary school in May and this summer we went through some rough patches with her.  She was very emotional at times, crying for what appeared to be no reason and just being generally melancholy.  Now, I realize this is just a sign of things to come.  I remember being 14 and it was not pretty.  However I thought I had a least a couple more years of having to deal with this.  No such luck.

Some days she had so much attitude toward me I thought she was already 14 and I just missed it.  Other days she was her normal sweet little girl self.  Then there were the days of just general blahness.  I try to keep the girls busy during the summer.  They do a couple weeks of camp and we go everywhere from the beach to the museums here.  Luckily we live in a place that there is no lack of fun things to do.  That did not stop her from getting upset from time to time.  The unfortunate part is that she seemed to get more moody once a month when I did.  Not sure how our cycles are matching up already, since she's nowhere near starting hers, but I swear it seemed to.  So we got on each others nerves quite often.  It was a bit rough.  Thankfully, there is wine.  And a Bev-mo is two miles away to buy more wine.  For me, not her.  Although some days that might not have been a bad idea.  I think the Europeans are on to something giving their kids a glass of wine at dinner.  

As the end of the summer neared she started to get worse.  Every time I would try to get to the root of the problem she would insist she didn't know what it was.  Her best friend, who's birthday is in December and is almost an entire year older than she is, was ecstatic to start middle school.  She couldn't wait.  When I thought about that, and combined it with the way Sonya was sad at the end of elementary school, sprinkle on being younger than everyone else... it finally hit me.  

We were in the car going to the beach one day during one of our last weeks.  It had been another difficult morning with her where she ended up in tears and I was ready to tear my hair out.  After a few minutes in the car I said,

"Sonya, I think you are having a really hard time dealing with the fact that you are going to middle school.  I think you might be nervous and that's why you've been acting like this."

She shrugged and replied through her leftover tears, "Daddy kinda said the same thing to me yesterday."

"Well what do you think?" I asked.

"Maybe," she admitted.  "I don't know."

I then went on to explain to her that it is completely fine to be nervous and scared and even to embrace it.  She needed to realize that is what was making her so unhappy and stop trying to fight it.  I think she was having a constant battle with herself about this.   I realized that maybe she thought everyone else was excited to go to middle school and she was the only one feeling this way.

"Do you think everyone feels the same way about going to middle school as Charlotte does?"

"Kinda," she said.

"Well, I have news for you," I told her.  "More people feel the way you do about going than the way Charlotte does.  And if Charlotte is completely honest, even though I know she is excited, I am sure there is a part of her that is scared too."

"Really?" she asked.

"Of course!" I told her.  "It's completely normal to feel the way you are! It's a new school with a whole new set of circumstances.  I know for a fact that Garrett is nervous too."


"Yup," I said.  "I talked to his mom the other day about it."

About a week before we had been out at a concert in Burbank and I ran into another mom I knew.  Her son and Sonya had been in classes together over the years at the elementary school.  We had started talking about our summers and the kids starting middle school soon.   I had mentioned Sonya's emotional state and she said her son had been the exact same way all summer.  Informing Sonya of this fact seemed to put her mind at ease.  Over the next couple of weeks she became more pleasant and less stressed.  We went back to school shopping and she started to become excited about the new year and new things to come.  She was still nervous and would cry from time to time, but at least now she allowed herself to feel this way and not battle it.  

A couple weeks before school started we had to go register at the school  and get her books and her lock for her locker.  Seeing the school and becoming more familiar with it helped even more.  She constantly asked me questions over the next few days about her locker, or her classes, most of which I couldn't answer since I haven't been to middle school in quite a few years, and never went to this one.  One night at dinner  she said,

"I just wish I wasn't the first one to go.  Like when Lana and Georgia go, I will be able to tell them everything so it won't be as scary for them."

"I know," I told her.  "It's one of the things you have to take on being the oldest.  I totally understand that because it was the same for me.  It's hard, but it's a good job for you and you will make it easier for them in a few years."

Knowing that she had the job of learning it all first seemed to help her even more. 

The first day of school came and she was a bundle of nerves, but she was definitely ready.  She was up early and ready to go well before we had to.  We all walked her down to the school to send her off on her first day.  We were allowed  that day to come on campus and walk our 6th graders to their lockers.  As we entered the hall where her locker and first class were,  I was immediately hit with the incredible urge to  burst into tears.  It was like taking her to her first day of Kindergarten all over again.  Now I was the emotional one and it was completely unexpected. I swallowed hard and breathed deep, because it's one thing for kids to see their parents crying on the first day of kindergarten, but it's a WHOLE different embarrassing thing to see them cry on your first day of 6th grade.  I couldn't let her have that stigma.  It took some doing but I managed to get through it without tears.

She found her first class where Charlotte was already waiting.  Coincidentally, they ended up in ALL the same classes, which was also a huge help for Sonya's nerves.  We hugged and kissed her goodbye and walked out of the school to let her begin her next adventure.  THEN I cried.  I mean I wasn't going to hold back forever.  

The best part was when she came home that day.  She couldn't have been more happy or excited about being at school.  She loved every minute of it and enjoyed every class.  Sonya has always loved school, but the past couple of years that love started to wane, like it does for most kids.  So perhaps she was ready to move on to changing classes, taking P.E. every day and housing all her belongings in a locker.  I've often questioned the decision we made to send her to school so early and sometimes think we made a mistake.  Then I remember what a bright, strong,  brave, independent, social, sweet girl Sonya is.  She may be emotional, but she always finds a way to rise above.  That four year old kindergartner turned into a 10 year old middle school er more quickly than I could have imagined or liked.  I'm positive that her middle school years will be just as successful as her elementary school years were.  I  know, without a doubt, that we did make the right decision all those year ago.  I also know, that no matter what, I will always cry along with her with every transition she goes through.  Why does no parenting book warn you of those things?  

Excited and nervous

Lana, Sonya, Georgia - They are getting so damn big! The other 2 started 3rd and 2nd grade.

Sonya and her best friend Charlotte

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Making Memories

I'm sure I have mentioned somewhere in the 500 posts of this blog that our family is part of Red Sox Nation.  By that I mean we are Red Sox fans.  Well, let me qualify that.  Andy has been a long suffering Red Sox fan since the day he was born, watching them lose throughout his childhood.  When they won the World Series back in 2004, for the first time in 86 years, I was pregnant with Sonya and only a month away from giving birth.  While I wasn't born a Red Sox fan as he was,  I became one in college.  I had never watched much baseball growing up, but if you are living in Boston without a baseball team you better start cheering for the Sox or you better get out of Boston.  So I did. Cheer for the Sox that is.  I loved Boston.  It helped that my best friend, Melissa, and I could see Fenway Park from the roof of our apartment Senior year.  So when they were in the playoffs back in '04 I was just as excited as any long life fan.  Okay, perhaps I didn't get all the suffering for so long, but still.  I was pretty sure I was going to put myself into labor cheering for those games.  Luckily I did not.  Since then we have gotten to watch them win two more World Series.  One when Lana was just a baby and one a couple years ago when all three girls were old enough to watch it  on TV.  Luckily they will not spend their baseball fan years pinning away for a team that seems cursed.  They get to watch and cheer for the Red Sox knowing they have won 3 World Series (so far) in their lifetime.  

Before we had the girls, Andy and I would go to see the Sox play the Angels every summer when they came to Anaheim.  We went a couple years after having the girls, and even took Sonya one year when she was about six.  However, we haven't been in at least four years.  We've taken the girls to a couple Dodgers games, just to see some baseball.  For a long time the tickets for the Red Sox/ Angles games were way to expensive for five of us.  Just Andy and I going meant our tickets plus babysitting so we just forgot about it for a while.  Then this summer, Melissa mentioned to me about going.  She still tries to go every year.  While the Angels have been doing well this season, the Red Sox, not so much, so I thought perhaps I could find some reasonable tickets.  Fortunately, there were plenty.  They were the seats pretty high in the stadium, but they were $18 a piece.  Perfect to take the girls to.  It would give them the baseball experience, while cheering for our favorite team.

For those of you who don't live in California, you have no doubt heard about the drought horrors here.  The stories are all true.  In the 19 years I've lived here, I've never seen it so dry.  We are constantly monitoring how long the water runs in the shower, flushing toilets with water we collect in the shower, not watering our lawn, whatever we can think of.  When we went back east a couple weeks ago, I cringed at all the water waste there and had to remind myself that Florida has plenty of rain.  I don't think we've seen real rain since February?  Maybe there was a storm in March?  I can't remember.  So, when the weather reports were all predicting rain for this past weekend, Andy and I pretty much ignored it.  First of all it is July and even in our wettest years, it did not rain in July.  Second of all- no rain since this past winter.  Tickets for the game were for Sunday evening at 5pm.  They were talking rain Saturday and MAYBE Sunday.  Even if we got it on Saturday that would be it.  It would definitely not rain on Sunday.  When it did end up pouring all day on Saturday, we figured that was it.  We go rain-Yay!  But we would not see it again until November.  

I'm assuming you all can see where this is going....


That is Angels stadium at start time on Sunday evening.  Good thing I got the high up seats.  We were actually under cover.  We sat there for a while thinking it would eventually stop.  So did everyone else.  People who couldn't sit in their rain filled seats were hanging out on the concourse, consuming hot dogs and beer.  The thing is about rain in SoCal, is that even if is does actually rain, it never lasts long.  Maybe an hour, hour and a half tops.  Well this is what the powers that be thought too, because they moved the start time of the game from 5:05 to 7:15 thinking that they could wait it out, clear off the field and start the game.  We too were hopeful.  

We hung out with the rest of the fans at our seats, ate hot dogs, had a couple beers, chatted with each other, and were entertained by the videos of Angels players trying to "name that tune", and watched it rain.  My favorite part of that was when Sonya named Michael Jackson's "Beat It" well before the player in the video.  You gotta play the classics for your kids!   

At one point I realized my friend BethAnnDoddKoehn was there with her family just a few sections over from us.  So we all took a walk to say hi and chat with them.  It was a party at the stadium in the rain!  And it did continue to rain.  Huh.

Then 7 o'clock came.  The sky started to look lighter and it appeared to be slowing down, but when you looked at the tarp covering the infield you could see it was still coming down.  Still, it was slow enough for them to decide to do this...

They were out there with push brooms, doing their best to get the water off the field, but it was a futile effort.  They worked on it for 20 minutes, but the rain kept coming down.  Then a few of them huddled together and five minutes later we heard what we were dreading.  

"Ladies and Gentleman, today's game is being canceled due to rain."

A huge groan mixed with boos went up from the crowd.  What is this "game being canceled due to rain you speak of??"  That was the thought of  everyone there.  We don't see this kind of thing.  We see sunshine and blue skies and sure, brown grass, but at least our outside activities never get ruined!  Unfortunately this one did.  It was hard to be mad about it though, because damn do we need any rain we can get.  We were informed that we could have come back the next afternoon for the makeup game, but unfortunately the girls were starting an afternoon Girl Scout camp.  I would have been the only one able to go and where was the fun in that?  

The girls were definitely disappointed. I was sad for Lana and Georgia who had been so excited to see their first Red Sox game.  On the other hand, we kinda had a really fun night hanging out in the stadium, having dinner and watching it rain.  It no doubt became a core memory for me as I'm sure it did for my girls.  (For those of you who don't know what I mean by "core memory", go see Inside Out.  The best Pixar movie ever.  Loved it!)  It will go down in our family history as, "remember that one time when we were supposed to see the Red Sox and Angles play...." 

When we got home that night, I said to Georgia, 

"I'm sorry that we didn't get to see the game."

And she answered, "That's okay!  I had fun anyway!"

It's all in how you look at things.  Plus! We a got to become part of baseball, and more specifically Angles history, by being at the first rain out game in over 20 years. And who doesn't love being a part of history?

The mixed "core memory" emotions of the evening. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fact or FIC-SHUN?

A couple weeks ago, Georgia celebrated her seventh birthday.  This time in our nation's capitol of Washington D.C.  That child has not had a birthday at home for the past 3 years.  The pitfalls of having a summer birthday.  She doesn't seem to care though. In fact I think she likes being on vacation for her birthday.  Really- who wouldn't?

Let me just reiterate the fact that she is SEVEN.  You guys-I have been pregnant free for over seven years now!  Yay!  Although in all honesty, I am sad about that fact as well.  However, having older kids does have it's benefits, like being able to travel much easier and having three slaves capable children to do my bidding.  You know like oil changes and plumbing repair.  Okay fine!  Just unloading the dishwasher and making their beds, but still, at least it's less for me to do.  

Georgia has grown up so much in this past year.  She looks more like a little girl now than a kindergarten baby of last year.  She reads like crazy and she can do so much for herself now.  Although she still won't walk to my bedroom in the middle of the day.  You know we have monsters in our hallway that like to eat little kids.  Did I not tell you that?  Yes, if a child under 10 walks down our hall alone, the monsters will get you.   At least this is what I'm fairly certain Georgia thinks.  She is also getting better with the lying.  Well, let me rephrase that.  She is getting better with telling us when she is lying or telling us a FIC-SHUN story.  No, no.  I didn't misspell that.  That is how she says it.  "This story is FIC-SHUN!!"  That is something I started making her say to us about a year ago when we realized she was making up stories that sounded very real but in fact were not.  One of these stories led me to talking to her teacher, when she claimed she was having problems with a boy at school and told a entire story about him that was not true.  So now when she starts to tell a story that sounds like it might be a tad outlandish I give her a look and she will say-"Oh!  This is a FIC-SHUN story!"  Her sisters will even call her on it when they feel like it's being made up asking her, "Georgia is this a FIC-SHUN story?"  The good news is she always cops to it and while she still makes things up, she at least lets us know she is doing so.  

Regardless of all that, she will still start off with a lie now and then.  Especially when she feels like it will make her sound or look better than another person, usually her sister.  The last week of school was more or less nothing but fun times for them, as it always is in elementary school.  Lana was telling me about all the fun things her teacher had planned for the week and Georgia was standing there listening.  Now I don't know why this is the favorite fun thing for them to do at school but it is,  wear their pajamas one day.  Georgia and Lana love doing this.  Lana's teacher had planned a PJ day, but Georgia's teacher had not, even though they had other fun things planned that week.  The fact that Georgia was not getting to wear her pajamas, made her a bit jealous of Lana.   I wasn't surprised at her response to Lana telling me,

"We get to have pajama day on Tuesday!! I'm so excited!"

Georgia looked at Lana and said, "Yeah well my teacher said we get to wear our pajamas watch a movie, have popcorn AND pizza!"  

Now I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty kick ass day in first grade.  I also know that about 75% of what she said was completely untrue.  Even though she said this to Lana, I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen and heard every word.  She looked over at me, caught me starting at her and before I even had a chance to open my mouth she said, 

"I just made all that up."  

All I could do was laugh.  So far I think I have curbed the lying without squelching her imagination.  Point in the mommy column!  I only hope that when she's 16 she continues to tell me when it's a FIC-SHUN story or that she made something up.  You know -like this...

"I'm spending the night at Luna's.  Okay no.  That's FIC-SHUN, I'm really going to a party over at the abandoned where house where there will be lots of drinking."

That's totally plausible right?  

In the meantime, I will enjoy this win and wish my beautiful last baby a Happy (belated) 7th Birthday.  You are the sunshine in our mornings and the laughter throughout our days, and I promise that is not FIC-SHUN!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Milestone #56-The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Two weeks ago Sonya, my oldest, graduated from 5th grade.  Ok, I know- graduated -is a strong word at this age.  I guess she promoted out of the 5th grade and elementary school.  I suppose we have gotten a bit carried away with all of the pomp and circumstance, of celebrating every age of kids achieving something.  Sure graduating from high school is a big deal, but now we celebrate preschool, end of elementary and end of middle school.  I don't remember that ever happening when I was a kid.  That being said, they did have a nice little ceremony for the "graduating" 5th graders, and yes I cried.  Would you expect anything else?

It wasn't that long ago that I remember walking her into Kindergarten on the first day of school, just six years ago.  In fact it was so not long ago that I wrote it about it here.  Yet, here we are just a few short school years later celebrating the fact that she is done with elementary school and will soon be taking on a new much scarier challenge, middle school.  (Dun dun DUN!!!)

The ceremony at her school for her 5th grade promotion was full  the kids singing songs and reminiscing about their days at their elementary school aloud to the auditorium full of weepy parents.  It was all scripted, well choreographed and quite entertaining.  In all honesty, I was prepared to be bored in our hot un-airconditioned auditorium for two hours, with my only reward at the end a chocolate chip cookie from Portos.  Which if you know anything about Portos is a pretty damn good reward, but still, TWO HOURS.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it moved along and how fun it was to reminisce along with the kids and listen to their songs.  Of course they called each child up to receive their "diploma", which may have been the most boring part except when Sonya got hers naturally.  There was one song they sang in particular that made me tear up and the slide show they presented choked me up as well.  However, it was the last thing they did that had me close to sobs. 

Every year a certain number of 5th grade students receive the Presidential Academic Award.  This is an Award that out of Sonya's class of 130 students only 23 achieved.  Sonya was the second name called to the stage.  I tried to take a picture or two, but it's hard to keep a camera steady when you are muffling sobs.  I was so proud of her.  This little girl who Andy and I struggled with whether to send  to school at 4 years old, not only did well throughout her six years in elementary, but did extremely well. So well she got a signed (stamped) letter from The President. This little girl who was almost a year younger than some of her best friends, kept up with them and in most cases surpassed them academically.  This little girl, who I realized as she stood on that stage accepting her award, was not such a little girl anymore.  

How did this happen??  I feel sometimes like I missed it, but then I know I didn't because I can still recall every project I helped her with, and every friend she told me about.  I was there for the struggles of homework, the joys of doing well on a test,  and the problems with other kids from time to time.  Then there were the panic attacks she had last year, when she struggled with learning about the human body and worrying about her own mortality.  She has always come to me or Andy and talked to us about school or friends or whatever problem she was having.  In some ways I feel like emotionally she hasn't been ready for every grade, but she's always managed to come through with flying colors.  Now as she heads to middle school this fall, (or later this summer I should say), I worry that the little girl who is not so little anymore, will start to become distant from us.  We might not get to help with every project or hear about every friend.  She might shut us out if there is a girl being mean or she can't handle a certain subject.  I know this, because I know this is what every tween-teenage girl does, including myself at that age.  And this my friends, this is what makes me cry the most.  

Years ago, when I started this blog, I could have paid for college if I had a dollar for the number of moms who came up to me telling me, "enjoy them  now because it goes so fast!" Some of them much older and by themselves, some of them with a bored teenager standing close by rolling her eyes at her mom talking to a stranger.   I remember at the time, when I was housebound 90% of my life thinking-"it's not going fast enough lady!"  Now I find myself in Target or the grocery store alone and seeing younger moms with babies and toddlers struggling to get just one errand done, and I have to resist that same  urge to run to them and tell them the same things so many woman said to me just six years ago.  

It does go fast.  Way too fast and I know that now.  I still have some time to go with all of my girls before they leave us physically, but I am well aware of how I'm going to blink and Sonya will be graduating for real.  From High School.  So even though the summer sometimes drives me crazy what with having to drag them to Target and the grocery store, while refereeing multiple fights throughout the day, I will do everything I can to hold on to these days and have as much fun with them as I can, while they will still let me.  I know soon enough they will be trading time with me for time with friends, and (gulp) boys.  Then I will be left to sit in a dark room listening to "Cats in the Cradle" on repeat.  Hmmm...Is 41 to old to have my husband reverse his Vasectomy and have another baby??

In all seriousness, I am so proud of the daughter we have raised thus far.  I know she will continue to grow into a strong, smart, fun, sweet young woman.  Whether she talks to me or not.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Play Ball!

The two little girls decided to play softball again this year.  We are still in that, "it's just fun to play" stage.  It hasn't gotten hardcore yet.  I was suspecting that when it does they would be out, but after watching how good they have gotten this season, now I'm not so sure.

I love watching the kids play at this age, because they are just so innocent about the whole thing.  If you tell them always throw to first, dammit that's where that ball is going.  Even if the runner made it to first two minutes ago.  They try to figure out what's going on, but baseball can be confusing if you're not paying attention at all times and you know, sometimes when you are standing in the outfield a pretty butterfly goes by and you just have to see where it will land.  Then they realize it's landed on the ball that rolled past that everyone is screaming for them to get.  "Oh yeah!  You're at the baseball game!"

Okay, that scenario hasn't exactly happened to one of my girls, but there was a game a few weeks ago when Georgia did something that had us all giggling in the stands.  Well, laughing after we yelled at her to run.  The Peaches (the team the girls are on-yes after A League of Their Own) had the bases loaded and Georgia was on second.  The next girl got a hit and they started running.  The ball was far enough out that the third base coach waved Georgia home, but the other team was getting it together and the ball was starting to make it's way back home.  Luckily, Georgia was way ahead of it.  That is until she stopped running TEN FEET FROM HOME PLATE!  For whatever reason, she stopped dead.  Everyone in the stands cheering for The Peaches started yelling at Georgia to run home, along with all of her coaches on the field.  She looked up at all of us yelling and waving her to home plate, shrugged her shoulders, turned and ran the rest of the way a few seconds before the girl from the other team got there with the ball.  So yes she was safe, but damn was it close.  And why the hell did she stop running??

Well, I asked her after the game.

"Um, Georgia, why did stop running?"

"Oh yeah!" She said remembering.  "Then everyone started yelling at me to run."

"Yeah because you were supposed to keep going?!" I said.

"Oh, well I thought it was a foul ball and I had to go back." She told me.

Now why she thought this I have no idea.  She had already run past third and nobody was telling her to stop but something made her think this way.  Perhaps it was the butterfly.

Here we are just a few weeks later and that child had a kick ass game last week.  So did Lana.  Georgia, was definitely the star though.  She started out playing catcher, which in coach pitch means she just has to corral the balls that gets past the hitter, which is most of them at this age.  She wasn't just corralling them though, she was catching just about every ball that came behind plate.  They almost fell right into her glove every time.  Then I realized she was making the effort to get them into her glove every time.  She and Lana both got a hit off the coach pitching.  This is something they have been doing more of lately.  It's hard for the kids to get the timing right of when to hit the ball, even if the coach is pitching it directly over the plate for them.  

The best part about the kids when they get a hit off the coach is that they pause for a minute with a, "wait-did I just hit the ball?" thought.  Then they hear the screams for them to run to first base.  Unfortunately, Lana waited a little to long to realize what happened and was out at first, but hey at least she hit the ball!  Georgia hit it and managed to get safely to first.  

Then came the last inning, there are only three innings at this age.  Georgia was playing third.  Most of the time they go through eight batters on the team and switch whether they get an out or not.  However, if they make three out before the eight batters get to go, then they switch.  That last inning was short, because Georgia made not one, but two outs in a row at third.  That ball got hit in her direction and she as there to catch it and tag the base both times.  For those of you who haven't seen 6 and 7 years old kids play baseball, you are probably thinking "yeah, so? Whatever."  Those of you who have seen those games are just as impressed as everyone else was that day.  She had parents from our team and the opposing team come up to her after the game to tell her what a great job she had done.  I was so very impressed and proud.  Unfortunately Andy was out of town that weekend as was Sonya, so I was the only one in the family to see it, but I talked it up to both of them.  

We are coming to the end of the season in a couple weeks.  I'm not sure if they will want to play next year, I guess we will cross that bridge next  January.  At least  they know more what they are doing and with a little practice, they might actually be real softball players someday.  Who knew?  I honestly thought that butterfly would keep them from ever figuring this game out.  I will file this lesson under-Never underestimate what you're kids can do.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Following in Her Sister's Footsteps

A few years ago, three to be exact, Sonya was in a play at school called the Jungle Book.  It is something that the 2nd grade class does every year.  You might recall that she was not so happy with doing the play at first, as I told about here.  This was well before she pulled on the red wig and blew everyone away as Annie a few months ago.  That was when she was still terrified of having anything to do with performing.  Well, Lana is 2nd grade this year, and don't ask me where the hell the time has gone because I have no answers for you.  Lana had a much different approach to the Jungle Book performance.  Hers has been nothing but excitement since school started back in September.

The bad news for Lana, was that the teachers weren't sure they were going to be able to do it this year.  There were some recent changes made and they were thinking they might not have time for it.  I kept checking in with the 2nd grade teachers to see who I needed to complain to and be THAT parent, in order to make sure it DID happen this year, but not to worry they were on top of it.  When January rolled around we were told it was indeed happening.  It was at that point that Lana dug out Sonya's CD to listen to and learn the songs.  Starting in January we could hear the Jungle Book songs coming from her room.  EVERY.  SINGLE. DAY.  I was pretty certain that by the time the play rolled around our entire family could get up on stage and sing every song start to finish.  

They had "auditions" for the kids to see which parts they would be playing.  This basically meant every kid told their teacher which part they would like.  From there the teachers choose the kids who are the best behaved and do well in school to give the main parts to.  They kinda have to do it that way, because even if little Johnny is a kick ass actor he might be a total asshole to teach.   The goal of this play is not to make it a Broadway production, but rather to give the kids an opportunity to get on a stage and learn how to work together.  I think it's one of the best things they do during their elementary school years, because everyone eventually gets to participate, not just the kids that can afford after school lessons. So they give the parts to the kids who do well.  However, as long as you can keep it together during rehearsals and follow directions, everyone gets a part of some kind.  Even if it's not a main role.   

Lana had decided early on that she wanted to try out for Big Bear Baloo.  I knew she would have a shot at getting something, since she is one of the better kids.  I am very fortunate in that fact.  As crazy as my girls may drive me at home, they are amazing students both academically and behaviorally.  Their teachers can never say enough about how great they all are and I feel very fortunate in that fact.  Of course now that I've thrown that out there into the Universe, no doubt I will get a call from the school about someone doing something they weren't supposed to.  OK I will stop with the bragging about how amazing my kids are.   Even though they are.  Well, at school anyway.  Like I said, at home they turn into demon children half the time.  

So Lana had it set in her mind who she wanted to play.  Unfortunately, she did not get her first choice.  She was a little disappointed, but not crushed.  Especially when she was chosen to play the same part Sonya did just three years ago, Colonel Hathi, the main elephant.  

She continued to practice and knew the songs backward and forward.  I helped her memorize her lines and tried to give some suggestions on how to make her character sound better.  Then I contemplated for a minute maybe teaching kids acting.  That is until Lana took none of the advice I gave her.  Ah well.  

Yesterday was the big day.  When she was going to sleep on Monday night she told me she was nervous.  I told her it was totally normal and she would do great.  

Andy and I went in to help the kids with their makeup and costumes in the morning.  This was something I didn't get to do the first time, since the other two were little.   In fact, if I remember correctly, Georgia had a migraine and I had to have my neighbor come stay with her so I could see the show.  I digress.  We manage to get a good seat up front since we had been there volunteering and were able to make it in before anyone else.  

Lana stood up there and sang her little heart out to every song she had memorized over the last few months.  When her part came up she marched down to the front of the stage and leading all of her "elephants".  Then it came time for her lines.  She was doing well, but then stopped suddenly.  It got quiet for about two seconds.  I'm sure they were the longest two seconds for Lana.  Fortunately for her, her friend Lauren, who was playing Mowgli knew EVERYBODYS' lines.  She was the kid who was  mouthing along with everyone for most of the play.  I know everyone knows what I'm talking about.  Good thing for Lana!  When Lana stopped Lauren half whispered half said Lana's line and then Lana picked it up from there.  It was so damn cute and so second grade.  Everyone in the audience kind of giggled.  I was worried Lana would be distraught about it, but if she was she hid it for the rest of the play.  

Afterward when I congratulated her she told me,

"I forgot one of my lines!"

"It was fine," I reassured her.  "Lauren helped you out and you remembered the rest.  I doubt most people noticed and if they did they thought it was cute."

She seemed satisfied with that answer.  

Just like Sonya, I know she will remember doing this for the rest of her life.  She had such a great time and is sad that it is over.  I only hope that the teachers don't run into problems next year so that they can do it again.  I still have one more Colonel Hathi to go!  
With some of her elephant friends and Baloo

She kept that makeup on all day. 

Mowgli, Baloo, Colonel Hathi