Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Early Birthday

Tomorrow is a very special day at our house: Daddy's birthday! Our plan was to celebrate tomorrow, but the kids had chosen their gifts last week and clearly waiting another 24 hours to give them to him was absolutely torture. So, they presented their gifts this morning: Mousetrap and an Angry Birds Jenga game. They put so much thought into these gifts. We have been playing more board games as a family, and they wanted to get Daddy some new ones. Issa remembered that he mentioned he loved Mousetrap as a kid, and Evan knew Daddy likes building, too. Such sweet children.

Tomorrow, he and I are going out for breakfast after we drop the kids off, and being the awesome Daddy that he is he wants to cook dinner with the kids for his birthday. We will make a Chinese feast and then probably play the new games.

And that is one of the many reasons I love this man. He doesn't choose to go out with friends or go to his favorite restaurant. What he wants for his birthday is to spend time with his family. Since it's Chinese, he will do the lion's share of the cooking. He will tuck kids into bed after extra snuggles because they will be all over him since his birthday--and he'll love it.

When we were 17, I couldn't have imagined the life we have now. We knew we would be together, but the crazy chaos we have created is better than I dreamed, and I am so very, very grateful that he chose me to be his partner in the everyday as well as the big stuff.

I love you, sweetheart. Here's to many happy returns on the day; 35 looks great on you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nervous Wreck

I'm a wreck this morning, even though my head knows I have no reason to be.

It's a bit of a big day at work. We have a guest lecturer coming in for a colloquium, and I recommended him. I heard him speak years ago as a very young teacher, and he absolutely changed the way I graded. I'm hoping he's as good as I remember!

Before he comes, we are having a reception for Teaching Fellows alumnae. By all accounts, it's an easy event for me. The Alumnae Office did all of the planning and detail work. I truly just have to show up. But I'm a wreck. I don't mind small talk and social functions like this in my personal life or even when I'm playing the good wife at one of Brad's events. I actually enjoy them. Going as the current director for a group of alumnae I don't know is making me queasy, though. It's not logical, but I'm dreading it.

It doesn't help that I won't get to see my kiddos tonight. Our new, fantabulous babysitter will get them off the bus and do all the running; Brad will be home to have dinner with them and tuck them in. Dinner is already in the crockpot, and I know they will have a great afternoon and evening. I just hate that I'm missing it for an event that has me on edge.

I try not to wish days away, but I'm kind of ready for this one to be over.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Confession

Just to keep it completely real here, I have a confession:

I have no idea what Issa's damn hermit crab's name is.

In my defense, we've been through a few hermit crabs, and  I do nothing with him anymore. Issa has been taking care of this one completely solo, and he is thriving. In fact, Brad pointed out that he's lasted longer and grown more than any crab to date; I think he was implying that perhaps I had fussed a couple other things to death in our house a la the initial series of betta fish. Aside from observing whatever cool hermit crab thing he is doing that Issa needs me to see right now, I have zero interaction with our crustacean family member.

Then this week, I realized I have completely forgotten the bugger's name. I know we had a couple of Hermes and then a Squirmy, and I feel like this might still be Tiny, but I also feel like Tiny might have been the last one. If it's not Tiny, I have no idea.

Now, I could just ask Issa, but I'm certain that would cause quite the rancor. And so...I'm hoping she just casually drops his name in conversation. However, I think she suspects I might not know because I asked how her crab was, and she worked very hard to not say his name.

Curse having smart kids and a horrible memory!

Monday, October 20, 2014

I Might Still Be Tired

Friday, I spent the day at the pumpkin patch with my littlest pumpkin:
 It was his first field trip of the year, and although I have gone on a pumpkin patch field trip every year for the past five years, this one took the cake. It was the best experience for the kids I have seen yet--lots of hands on exploration. I also learned that going with my son is very different than going with my daughter. This was my group for the day:
 They are the sweetest boys, but they wore me out! We started our day with a hay ride out to the big pumpkin patch. I had thought the patch was big, but it was the pumpkins that were big! They turned us loose to explore and climb. I just tried to keep up and keep track of my crew.

Then we played on the playground and had lunch, which was easy enough. It was a great little playground, complete with plenty of balls. But the highlight was the corn maze. Before we went in, each child was given a bag to collect three ears of corn. They were also told to get one stalk of sassafras and a sunflower. I am counting it a personal victory that I didn't lose anyone in the corn. There is nothing quite so terrifying as three little boys in brown shirts setting off into the stalks in search of corn; the path is clearly there for everyone else.

In a moment that is still making me chuckle, we tried to get a picture of the class with their sunflowers in front of the sunflower field after we left the maze:
It was like a Where's Waldo of kindergartners.

Then, we got to go feed the animals all that we had gathered:
 The goats were a highlight, but we also saw cows, horses, chickens, and pigs. It was great for the kids to see how the food was grown and then actually get to feed it to the animals! Once we were out of food, we picked our own pumpkins and then headed home. In short, it was a perfect field trip...with one tiny glitch:
That is a small sample of the patch I brought back in my shoes. When we were in the big patch, we had lined the kids up on the edge of the cornfield to take a picture. All the adults went into the patch to take said picture, and once we had snapped it I was the lead duck to get out. Unfortunately, that meant I discovered this particular part of the patch was essentially quick sand. Both feet went in deep and were firmly stuck. My only option was to pull my feet out of the shoes. Thankfully, another mom helped me dig them out, and I had a water bottle in my purse to give them a quick rinse after I dumped the mud out of them. It was hysterical. The boys were just beside themselves, and Evan earned some serious cool mom points because I laughed and just walked out of the patch in my socks. In fact, his buddy loudly declared I was a cool mom because I didn't scream. I'll take it.

Friday, October 17, 2014

This sums it up...

From Evan to his father last night:

"You messed with the dancer, now you have to deal with ninja." (Insert ninja ready position here and a look that would intimidating if he was taller than four feet.)

Dinner is never dull around here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thankful...

I'm working from home most of today. I have meeting with some teachers at the kids' school mid-day to work on their accreditation report, and we have Issa's parent/teacher conference right after school. I will leave right from the conference to head to work and teach.

I will be forever grateful to have a job where I can do this. I will work late tonight grading to catch up, but I have the flexibility to be at the kids' schools when I need or want to be. In fact, it's highly encouraged and supported. That flexibility makes some of the other craziness so much more bearable...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Glimpse Into Another World

Finally, the last of the weekend round up...

Friday, we attended what just might go down as the best school event in history. All four of us agree, which should tell you something.

The Latino PTSA hosted a Latino Cultural Festival, and let me tell you, they did it right. For one evening, even though we were in the same gym, I truly felt like I was in a different world. They had created activities for the kids about actual Latino culture--not the Anglo version you typically see. They had Day of the Dead activities and Carnivale activities and activities I couldn't completely place. They had fabulous music, live dancers, and an authentic taco truck. The event followed their cultural norms--including a focus on people rather than time--and all of the activities were conducted in Spanish. It was awesome.

Kids I knew that typically speak English to me were running up, excited to share their culture, in a frenzy of language I didn't speak. At times I felt so lost and overwhelmed, but every time I realized this is what so many families feel like every day. And while that certainly wasn't their intention, it was a great experience for me. I stretched a little bit, and I learned.  And although I couldn't translate, I understood those kiddos.

The kids just had plain fun. Brad and I learned so much, and it was fun to watch the evening unfold. I feel like we all grew a little bit--hearts just a little bit bigger. New connections were made. It was good.

On a side note: It was also the first time Evan has ditched us for his friends at a school event. I will admit my stomach hit the floor when he ditched me to sit with Allison during the dance show; so it begins.