Wednesday, October 8, 2014

School notes


James's first day of preschool was three weeks ago.  The first week went pretty much how I expected: he cried when I left and when I went to pick him up, I saw him through the window acting upset and holding his backpack, clearly signalling that he felt it was time to go home, so would someone kindly summon his mother, if you please?  The next day, I had to carry him in because he recognized where we were going and he started crying before I left.  But he was happy when I picked him up.

The next week?  He happily ran in and left me without a second thought.  Clearly I don't rate nearly as highly as a sand table.  He was playing quite happily when I picked him up as well.  That's how it's been ever since.  Today, he blew me a kiss from the sand table as I left.

I'm pleased, of course, but a bit stunned that he adjusted so quickly since he's always been my koala baby.  And maybe a little melancholy at my baby growing up.  *sniff*


My other babies are doing well in big kid school.  We went to Back to School night this week and I was once again blown away by all of the emphasis on social/emotional learning and developing compassion, and what they're doing to promote them.

I was even more blown away when I went to Katherine's classroom and discovered all of the writing she's been doing.  Writing was such a huge source of drama last year.  She would rather refuse (loudly) to do something than try and fail, so last year featured a lot of loud refusal when it came to writing.  But this year?  For whatever reason, she's willing to try.  Her teacher transcribes what she says and she winds up copying about half of it, which solves the one of the big issues, which is being scared to misspell things.  There was even a pretty cogent three paragraph essay.

Alec, meanwhile, is having a great time.  It took a couple weeks for him to get with the program and stay on task, but he's doing just fine now.  I was a little worried after his bad year in preschool last year that he might not be ready for kindergarten, but one thing we've never had any problem with is getting him to use a computer, and since their academic work is done on the computer, he's perfectly happy to sit down and do his schoolwork.

I'm not sure who told me my babies they could grow up and leave me to go to school, but they're doing it anyway.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Hey look, I blinked and the summer is gone.  The older kids had a fantastic time at camp.  We took our annual two-week summer trip to Michigan, spending time with both of our families and seeing friends in Indiana and Ohio on the way.

And now it's time for school again.  Katherine was not entirely resigned to starting school again:


Alec, on the other hand was entirely ready to rock kindergarten:


The dress code was changed this year from navy blue polo and khaki bottoms to any color collared shirt and long pants or skirt.*  It is, however, entirely silent on the subject of monkey hats.

*which I didn't find out about until after I ordered 15 navy blue polo shirts and 6 pairs of khaki pants.  Sigh.  Fortunately, you can return website orders from Target to the store, so I returned 75 percent of them and bought some other colors, which makes Katherine very very happy.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


A conversation with a five-year-old:

B: Put your shoes on.

Alec: They're sandals, not shoes

B: Yes, they're sandals, Mr. Precision

Alec: No Daddy, it's Alec


A cautionary tale:

They tell you that the Internet is dangerous for kids.  That you should carefully monitor where they go, especially sites like Youtube.  But the thing no one tells you is that the real danger of Youtube is that your child may watch cooking shows and then be inspired to do things like combine flour and water into a reasonable facsimile of a pie dough and then make a pie with grass filing and pretty impressive lattice crust - all on the floor of her bedroom.  Or you may wake up to find she's been inspired to get out the powdered sugar, butter and food coloring so she can experiment with making frosting.

Although I will give her credit that she did a decent job of cleaning up after the frosting.  And the most damnable part is what a good job she does on these experiments.  If they were disasters, it would discourage her from doing it again.  But no, she made a pretty good frosting, put it in plastic bags and piped it onto cookies for her brothers.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


We are having a very nice, relaxing summer. Back when it was time for B to put in requests for Sundays for the summer, I realized that 1) we had both just gotten raises and 2) he has lots of time off banked already. So since the reason for him to work Sundays is to either get overtime pay or comp time, we decided to treat ourselves to a summer off. The branch libraries are closed on Saturdays in the summer, so except for an obligatory Saturday at the regional library (which still has Saturday hours), he has no weekend hours this summer. I still have them, of course, but we've still managed at least one weekend day off together for the past month except last weekend. Lovely.

The older kids are having a great time at camp. Katherine has reunited with her camp friends and Alec is learning how to swim. If they could only stop bringing viruses home, life would be great (I have been trying to mail a package for the past 2 1/2 weeks, and no kidding, every single day I thought I might be able to make it to the post office another kid would get sick). When they're not running fevers, though, they're having a great summer. See?

Exercise: 25 minutes on exercise bike

Monday, June 30, 2014



Last Monday, Alec turned five. He also started his first day at Big Kid camp, attending day camp with Katherine for the first time, five days a week. In the past month, he has also had his last day of preschool ever, because he starts kindergarten in the fall. My little boy is getting so big!

Very big, actually. He's 45 inches tall and 43 pounds, which is the 90th percentile for height and 75th for weight. He's always been a very solid kid, and he's starting to thin out and get a bit more willowy.

Currently, he loves Legoes and playing Lego-related computer games. He can spend hours playing with Play-doh. He has started enacting elaborate conversations between toy figures (or the other day, puzzle pieces). He's starting to read short words and do basic addition. I predict great things for him next year in kindergarten.


Sunday, June 29, 2014



Last Saturday, Katherine turned nine years old. That's just one year away from double digits. I started getting body hair at nine. I'm so very not ready to contemplate puberty yet.

Currently, she's 53 inches tall and 60 pounds - long and skinny. I have a strong feeling that she's due for a growth spurt upwards any day now. She's solidly in Big Kid territory these days, and starting to show hints of the young woman she's going to become.

She still happily plays involved games with toys and plans out elaborate projects. She's a Minecraft aficionado. She loves sewing, crafts, science and cooking. The confluence of those things have resulted in her being banned from using flour unsupervised (a choice quote from the last incident: "But I didn't use it in my room!" It can be a bit exhausting trying to keep up with a child who has always had a talent for enacting projects that I had no idea I needed to forbid, but I so admire her creativity and ingenuity.

I can't believe we're going to have a fourth grader next year. Our Big Girl.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

It was a day

It was... not a great parenting day. More like the kind of day that makes you wonder if Medea had the right idea. But it was pretty amusing when Alec was wailing as I carried him into preschool that he didn't want to go to this school because "It has too many windows!"

He's in a phase lately where if he doesn't like something but can't verbal why, he grabs onto the first trait he can see. Recently, he was insisting he didn't like the Spiderman shirt I bought him because "It's too stripy and fluffy."


Exercise: 20 minutes on exercise bike

Excuse note

So Thursday night, I stayed up obscenely late finishing Katherine's dress. Then after I finally made it to bed, that special sensor that babies and small children possess that lets them know that since their parents are choosing to go without sleep tripped in James and he decided to join me.

Friday, I was foggy and tired all day, and the gnome inhabiting my sinuses had babies and they all tried to burrow out through my forehead with their adorable little pickaxes. Since then, there have been several nights where 2 AM has been prime toddler party time. Last night, Katherine got in on the act and I had the pair of them in bed with me, completely failing to sleep.

Which is all to say that I've been very very very very more than just a little bit tired, not to mention not feeling great. I DID manage to exercise several nights - 25 minutes Sunday, rearranging and vacuuming Katherine's bedroom on Monday, 30 minutes on Tuesday. But I haven't been managing to write, since the place in my brain where the words are is mostly a dull tired hum at the moment. Not to mention the fact that I keep falling asleep on the couch every evening.

Today, I walked around Costco, which seems sufficiently exercising, and I made myself sit down at the keyboard early enough to dredge some dried up words out of the corn stubble of my brain. All of the children went to bed at a reasonable hour, so hopefully they'll let me sleep as well and I can get back on track with this whole writing and exercising thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I'm making Katherine a dress with the solar system appliqued on it, and in a foolhardy moment, told her that I might be able to finish it in time for her to wear to school on Friday when she has a no-uniform day. Thus I have no time to type. I'll post a picture when I'm done though, because such an absurd amount of work needs to be shared.

Exercise: Some sort of malicious gnome decided to climb into my sinuses and is attempted to dig his way back out with a pickaxe so I'm not at my best. 20 minutes on the exercise bike tonight. Nothing formal last night, but I made two trips to Target and went to the grocery store, which adds up to approximately two and a half Bataan Death Marches worth of walking.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken gyros

I recently discovered the most wonderfully easy dinner - chicken gyros. I know the word "gyros" conjures up the image of specialized equipment and meat on a spit, but the magic of chicken is that you don't need any of that.

Boneless chicken in an amount suitable to feed the number of people you want to feed
ditto flatbread
tzatziki sauce
feta cheese

Throw a couple pounds of boneless chicken in the crockpot with some olive oil and greek seasoning (the seasoning I use is McCormick Greek Seasoning, which I bought in the grocery store. If you can't find anything like that, there are about twelve million recipes for greek seasoning mixes available for the Googling). Cook on high for two hours or low for four hours. Cut the chicken into slices.

Warm up some flatbread or pita to make it more flexible by putting in it a hot skillet for a couple minutes or wrapping it in a damp paper towel and microwaving it for a minute or so. I've taken to using our Foreman grill, which lets me do several at once. Cut up some tomatoes and cucumbers into slices and finely slice some onion. Crumble of some feta cheese if you're of a mind to. Put some tzatziki sauce (Trader Joes makes an excellent tzatziki, but I've seen it in most supermarkets. And ooh, Trader Joes Greek Yogurt dip is fantastic on this too) on the flatbread, pile on the chicken, vegetables and cheese and eat, reveling in the knowledge that you've provided a hot meal with about five minutes of prep time. I've served this three times in the past three weeks and so far nobody has started pelting me with pitas when I announce we're having it yet again.


Exercise: 20 minutes on exercise bike - I was sick today, so I feel pretty damn heroic doing that much