Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One For the Record Books

Well...this happened yesterday:
In case you are wondering, that's Issa's new reading log. Neela thought it was tasty. Poor Issa crumbled, "There is no way Ms. Alge is ever going to believe the dog really ate my homework!"

We decided to create a new reading log, and I wrote the following note:

Good morning,

We had a bit of a mishap at our house last night. Issa put her reading log on the table for me to sign. Unfortunately, our Great Dane puppy got to it before I did. Issa was quite certain you would never believe "the dog ate my homework," but in this case, it really is the truth. And we have now learned the puppy can reach the table.

We have recreated the reading log; I hope that is okay.

Best,

Heather

Just another day in our world, but I sometimes wonder if we are in fact "that family" in the teacher's lounge.


Monday, September 29, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

Issa had her first dance convention of the season yesterday. What a difference a year makes. She was calm and excited when we got there--no nerves at all:
 After the whole company huddle, Issa circled up the Tinys:
 And then they were off. I remember being a wreck the entire day last year. Issa just kept looking at me wide-eyed, and I knew she felt so lost and out of her element. Not yesterday. I'm a realist: she was not the best dancer in the room. But...she worked for hard. I can't believe how much more choreography she caught. She was smiling, and when she didn't get it she asked for clarification. I about fell over. She left it all on the floor. In fact, one of the teachers came over to high five her for the effort. That's what I want. I don't want perfection, but I do want her to get out of her head and try. And she did it, and I really couldn't be more proud. I couldn't be more proud of the whole group:
 And Issa was more than a little excited to take this pic:
Those were her teachers--all from So You Think Can Dance. The blonde played Giggles in Teen Beach Movie; Issa was thrilled.

It was a great start to the season, and I'm looking forward to the rest.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Dissenter

These hind quarters destroyed her zebra hind quarters yesterday:
Neela is apparently not a fan of fall. Her short hair makes the chill a bit more apparent than Viv's chow coat does for her. I'm having to drag Viv in and truly push Neela out. Since she doesn't want to be out, she doesn't get to run, which means she lost her mind yesterday. Poor zebra took the brunt of it.

Thankfully, she is also sweet and cute. Last night,  I sat down to work after the kids were in bed, and she wedged all 55 pounds of her between me and the laptop. I put the computer down, and then Viv hopped up. I had over 100 pounds of puppy love snuggling me last night, which was way better than more data analysis. I am hoping Neela learns to love fall, though, or I will spend the whole season restuffing and mending dog toys.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Coziness

I am in my very, very happy place. Fall is here--my favorite season--and last night I was able to just settle into its coziness.

Issa had a great day, including the bus. I have never been so grateful to see her smiling, laughing face come off the bus. We also are enjoying a blissfully normal week filled with nothing but the routine. All of that meant that when we got home from the dojo we were in--at 5:20. Ahhhh.

The kids headed up to take an early bath, and I puttered about getting everything put away from the day. The temperature had turned chilly, and it was drizzling. We all settled into flannel pajamas and the kids hauled out cozy blankets. I poured myself a nice glass of a full-bodied red and set to work kneading bread. I glanced out the window to see crimson leaves as I listened to Issa read to Evan. The book was wildly hilarious, and I couldn't hear the story for the laughter. We all settled down to spaghetti and fresh bread and listened to the rain.

After dinner, we pulled out a recipe for pumpkin muffins. Before long, the house smelled like fall. As the muffins baked, we piled under the blanket and ventured into Narnia, our latest world since Alice awoke for a second time.

Today, I'm working from home--in yoga pants and a sweater. It's still chilly and rainy, and my mug of coffee is steaming beside me.

Blissful. It's all so very simple, nothing extraordinary, but it makes me so very happy. I think I'll let myself just sink into this fall coziness...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

We Laugh

Yesterday afternoon started off way on the rocky side. Issa got off the bus and promptly burst into tears because of a bullying situation. She told us the whole story, which we are so thankful for. Brad and I exchanged looks, and then he headed to talk to the parent while I put Issa back together. I didn't think I could love him more until I saw him walk across our lawn, calmly but with purpose, for our baby girl. He came back and did some awesome pep-talking/coaching, and the other family responded as we had hoped. We are hopeful. We have also made it very clear to all involved that the next step is going to the school.

The most important piece in all of this is Issa's response. First, I am so glad she came straight to us. She knew it was not okay and she knew she needed help. I'm also glad she bounced back. We circled the wagons and gave her some extra love. We all went to watch her solo lesson, which went really well, and I was grateful she had time in the studio--her happy place--after a rough afternoon. Then we all went out to dinner and laughed. Like...we were that family. I'm sure people thought we were insane. It was great.

I think that might be the secret for our little family. We laugh together--a lot. When things get hard, we find joy. We laugh. Here's praying we are still laughing when she gets off the bus tonight.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Just What We Needed...

This weekend was just exactly what we needed. Issa hit a wall Friday. She was over-tired, missing Daddy, and just done. Thankfully, Miss Anitra was there to step in and have lunch with her, and she was able to vent all of that. When I picked her up after school, I got the full story from both of them. I will be forever grateful that Anitra took the time to be there and then fill me in. I am also so grateful that Issa spilled her guts without any prompting. It started the weekend well...

Saturday morning the kids and I headed to the farm, and there is nothing like chicks and piglets to soothe the soul. After a few hours of harvesting and repairing, we came home to Daddy and some much needed family time.

We took off to ivivva for the last of Issa's birthday celebration:
She helped pick that paint color. She spent an hour trying on dance clothes and playing with the store puppy. Daddy asked great questions and made her feel like a queen; Evan survived the ordeal. With new dance wear in hand, we headed out for fro-yo and then Italian. We came home to card games and snuggles and life got better.

Sunday, we spent the morning just playing and being together. Then we split boys and girls. The boys went to the ninja turtle movie. We girls went to the ballet. Everyone thinks they got the better end of the deal. We came home to a family dinner and a walk with the dogs. This morning we were all together around the breakfast table, and all is right with the world. Here's to a much less hectic week...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

People Are Good

So...I might have hit the roof yesterday. A segment of the PTSA and I had a difference of opinion, the details of which are not important, but I sprang. One of my goals is to decide if I'm willing to commit to being a part of the solution before I raise an issue. Since this had to do with literacy and kids, I decided to jump in...in the form of an email grenade to the PTSA leadership. I also offered to become a member of the team.

What happened after was beautiful. The initial responses were understandably shock and a bit defensive. From there, though, solutions started to emerge. Relationships were strengthened. Plans were made. Phone calls and emails and quick parking lot meeting this morning.

Most importantly, I was reminded, again, that people are good. Individuals make some terrible, horrible, no good decisions, but at their core people are good and well-intentioned. And so we move forward together...