Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Researcher

Tomorrow is the big science fair, and Issa has been working on her project for months. She finally finished her poster last night, and although I'm not allowed to share pictures until the big event, I wanted to share this one:
Look at how grown-up she looks! I can't believe how much content is on her board this year. She did a significant amount of research (by second grade standards), and she typed her little heart out last night. It also amuses me that this is how she sits in her chair. This girl just can't be still. My goodness how I love her...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Really Listening

I noticed that listening is not always my strong suit. I'm great with a friend or a student or my kids. But I don't listen the way I should to strangers. I'm guilty of the quick, "How are you?" with no real plan to listen to the answer. So, I'm working on changing this. When I ask the question, I physically stop and look the person in the eyes. It so paid off yesterday...

I was grocery shopping, and an elderly gentleman was sweeping the floor. He said hello, and I stopped and started the conversation:

"Hello, how are you?"

"I'm tired."

"Long day?"

"I'm not a baby. I'm 77."

"Well, you don't look a day over 60."

Through his laughter, "Listen, I work here 32 hours a week and clean a building out in RTP five days a week."

"Wow, it must keep you young."

"I've got a 47 year old woman and she's not complaining if you know what I mean."

I think the whole store heard me crack up. He asked to give me a hug, and thanked me for taking the time to talk. He said he often feels invisible. And so, I will continue to stop, because no one should feel invisible.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Easter!

We made a whirlwind trip to Ohio to celebrate Easter with family. Per usual, I totally forgot I had a camera when we were with Brad's side, but we had a great time playing with the grandparents and hunting eggs.

When we got to Napoleon, Aunt Shannon reminded me to take lots of pictures since she couldn't be there this year. Our visit started with the traditional egg coloring:
Please notice that both children managed to put their shirts on backwards for the experience. This year, they were both determined to make vivid eggs, and Issa learned that dipping just part of the egg in each color made some pretty cool tie-dye eggs.

We then headed out for the annual Easter pictures with Issa's bush:
Aunt Shannon still sent appropriate attire, and the kids would live in the hats if I let them.

You can dress him up but you can't calm him down:
Such sweet siblings:
We had our Easter dinner Saturday night, and these cousins had way too much fun playing together:
I so love that these kiddos love playing together even though they don't see each other often.

After everyone left, Nana helped the kids make Easter cookies:
Each ingredient told part of the Easter story.
Since they were meringue based, when we woke up Easter morning they were empty--just like the tomb.

I can't explain this face:
Easter morning, the kids conned us into rejecting tradition and hunting in their PJs:
The bunny was very good to the kiddos:
It took us forever to find the last egg, but Evan finally did. The kids consented to the traditional Easter pics. Issa looking way too grown up:
He is too cute for words:
Such adorable kiddos:
Once we were all ready, we headed down to have brunch with Granddaddy and Grandma Judy. The kids love his stories:
We were so grateful for the time with family. These are memories that are worth the miles.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's a Blur

We're two weeks from the end of the semester, which means that life is a bit of a blur right now. I'm actually working from home today so I can simultaneously finish a major data analysis project, wait for the gas company to come fix our meter, and catch up the laundry. The highlights from the week...

1. I did my final observations of all of my student teachers. This is always bittersweet. They are teachers now--not students. I love watching that. It also means I say goodbye to three classroom that I will truly miss.

2. We have an orthodontic consult for Issa in a couple of weeks. She had a great check-up at the dentist, but she made the referral. The hope is early intervention will help the rest of her teeth come in straight and save her longer, more painful braces later. Here's hoping.

3. I have more stones to put on Issa's solo costume. I feel like this could be the story of my life.

4. I volunteered to write a new dance mom handbook for the studio. I'm actually very excited about it, but I have no idea when that's going to happen. It may be a June project.

5. I'm officially teaching two summer school classes. The great news is they are both first session, so I will actually be able to take some time off in July. The kids don't have camp in July, so I will get to enjoy summer break with them, and I am so, so excited about that.

Nothing extraordinary to report, but I still love my rather ordinary life.

Monday, April 14, 2014

So Many Happies

This weekend was a bit of a blur but in the best of ways. Friday, I arrived home to our first Produce Box:
 Just look at all that deliciousness from local, small farms. We set the cooler on the porch in the morning, and when we get home I get to unload all the freshness and plan menus for the week. We generally know what will be arriving, but these were a very happy surprise:
 Some of the carrots and leaks were part of a spring chicken vegetable soup I made last night, which was lovely, and tonight we are having spinach salads. Deliciousness.

Saturday, we had an all day (like 15 hours door to door) dance competition. Issa's group did the best I've seen them do, and they won second, third, and fourth over all for their jazz, tap, and hip-hop. Production took second in the overall for that group. The awards weren't the highlights, though. It was the small moments. Laughing with Issa in the dressing room. Watching a big sister watch her little sister compete a solo, dancing along in her seat and holding her breath for the tricky bits. Watching big sisters snuggle little sisters before Production:
Those are the moments I love. I love watching her dance on stage, but dance is just so much more.

Sunday was a gorgeous day, and we spent a good part of it outside. I loved watching Issa reading in the hammock, sometimes snuggled up to Evan and sometimes Daddy. I loved watching Evan defeat grass dragons with his foam sword. As one point, I looked down to see him smiling just lying in the grass:

"Buddy, this is pretty much your idea of heaven, isn't it?"

"Yep, Mama. It sure is."

Mine, too, Buddy, mine, too...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mom Day

Yesterday was a full mom day. I answered a lot of email, but other than that I was on mom-duty all day.

My morning started with running coolers back to the school and then making way too many copies for the PTSA. With that off my list, I set off to the Natural History Museum with Issa's class:
 It was bar none the most fun field trip I've ever been on. We've been to this museum several times, but I had the best group. Issa's teacher gave me the chatty group, and they were chatty. But...they were chatty about what we were seeing. They asked great questions, took turns reading about the exhibits, and talked to each other as much as me. They were genuinely polite, kind, fun kids. They were patient when they were finished with an exhibit but their friends were not, and when I decided it was time to move on no one complained.

I also realized--again--how incredible Issa's teacher is. These skills had been fostered in these kids, although she won't take any credit. I also had a whole conversation in English with a little boy who spoke no English in August. He told me everything he knew about lizards so confidently. He is an entirely different child, and as I listened to him participate in conversations I couldn't help but get a little teary myself. I will forever be amazed by incredible teachers.

When we got home, I shifted into dance mom mode. We have a competition this weekend, so I was doing last minute costume adjustments for that. While I had everything out, I also finished Issa's solo costume:
We are both pretty thrilled with it.

I'm glad I had that kind of day yesterday because today is a 13 hour work day packed with meetings, observations, and our senior dinner. I won't see the kids until tomorrow morning, and that just never gets easier.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I Surrender

I'm not even going to try to keep a shirt on that this summer. When I picked him up at school yesterday, the first thing he said: "When I get home can I take my shirt off? I'm burning." And so it begins...

As a side note, I think Aikido might just be his thing. Look at that stance. As soon as he turns five, we are there!