Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Issa's morning...

Issa might be a photo journalist when she grows up. Here is our morning from the point after everyone is ready until she and I pack her lunch.

First, she found a dead butterfly on the deck. True to tradition (follow the link for the back story), it had to be photographed and placed in a shoe box: Then, it was time for Daddy and Evan to head out. The blur on this one is so metaphoric: Issa and I wave goodbye on the porch:

And then Daddy and Evan are off:

Lunch is packed, and we are headed out the door. I'll drop Issa off and then head to jury duty. Did I mention our mornings are a blur?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Self Portaits

So...Issa announced she was going to photograph our clean up efforts on Sunday. However, her photo journalism soon turned into a self portrait session. The many faces of Issa:

Happy Issa:
Kissy Issa:

Issa's Grubby Feet (there were many of these):

Elvis Issa:

Crazy Issa:

I Don't Know What to Call This Issa:

Winking Issa:

Purple Toe Nail Issa:

Ta-Da Issa:

She is so funny, and these pictures just cracked me up. She had a blast taking them, and I am so glad to be looking at them again this morning.

You see, yesterday was a dicey day for this mommy. Issa convinced me we should walk to school. My usual sense of spatial relation struck, and I said we could. We left early, and I thought this could be a fun thing to do while the weather is so gorgeous. Yeah. Thank goodness Daddy was working from home. We got about 3/4 of the way there and Issa was tired and this was no longer fun. He came and rescued us. We clocked it on the way home. Um...our "short" walk would have been 1.1 miles if we made it the whole way. Oops.

When I picked Issa up, her teacher handed me her pile of work from last week--that I was supposed to pick up on Friday. I didn't even know to look for it. Oops.

In that pile, there was a form that was due last Wednesday. In my defense, I know I turned that one in! They got all the other forms that were in the same envelope, and they readily admitted they probably lost it in the move. Still--oops.

Then, Issa proceeds to tell me she almost fell asleep doing her spelling. She told her teacher it's because she didn't sleep well because she was cold. Fabulous. Mind you, this was the first time I'd heard of this.

So...I was feeling like pretty much the worst mom on earth last night. I was thoroughly convinced her teachers think I am terrible. My brain knew better, but my heart just wouldn't hear of it. Thank goodness for great friends. I sent an email literally titled "needy moment" bemoaning my day, and within minutes I had the response I needed. I'm really trying to rely less on external validation, but yesterday I needed to hear it from someone else. Wondrous thing that girl.

I think the bigger situation is that I'm adjusting to big girl school. I've been spoiled by daily reports and teachers that tell me every detail of their days. Now, my primary source of information is Issa, and the details are plentiful but not necessarily the ones I'm looking for. Tonight, we have our first open house, and I'm praying for some reassurance and a better idea of how she's really adjusting and how she spends her days. If not, I'm on the fast track to neurotic. Brace yourselves.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Goodbye Irene

In case you are wondering what appropriate hurricane clean up attire is, here is what Issa considers appropriate:
Yes...Evan is in pajamas and she is wearing fleece in 90 degree weather.

The boa was a last minute addition. The fleece did come off, but I will save the rest of her adventure for tomorrow. It's too hysterical to not get its own post.

We did have some cleaning up to do. Our poor butterfly bush:

It was sad. We actually had both of our butterfly bushes blow over. The one on the far side just blew into the deck, so we didn't realize it until we were cleaning up.

Please notice the branch in the garden:

We had quite a few branches down. The kids helped haul the big ones to the curb for pick up and the little ones to a pile for the fire pit. It's almost getting cool enough for smores, and we are excited!

We also had a lot of leaves in the pool.

We removed the cover so it wouldn't take flight, and the pool didn't have any damage!

Our little pond also needed leaves and branches removed. Evan was on it:

He did more frog frightening than scooping, but he was good company.

Just call him E-diddy. I have no idea what is up with the hat.

We used the clean up as an excuse to do a little yard redecorating:

I love the new hammock nook. I think it will be a more restful place to lounge, and it opened up a really nice grassy spot for the kids to play. We also moved the deck furniture a bit. It creates a better walk way--I think. The verdict is still out on this one:

The finished pile:

We had a lot branches, but we were really lucky. We heard a lot of chainsaws going yesterday, and our neighbors lost a whole tree. We'll take a few branches any day!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Can You Say Stir Crazy?

We were incredibly blessed. Hurricane Irene came and went with incredibly minimal damage. We'll be doing quite a bit of yard work today, but we had no real property damage. We spent the day watching some really incredible wind and listening to the rain...
By dinner, though, we had some stir crazy kids. It was a little difficult to explain that we really can't go out and play in a hurricane. We had colored all that could be colored and cooked all that could be cooked. I made chicken noodle soup for dinner, and the crazy came out of Evan:

I'm not quite sure what that face was, but I do know shortly after that a cracker turned into a train...

He even sang "Down by the Station." And...I do know that if you roar at your soup it tastes better...

Normally, we wouldn't condone playing with your food, but by this point last night we were all a little stir crazy and enjoyed a good laugh about it. It's one of those fine lines in parenting. When do you tow the line and when do you throw in the towel? It's a balance, and in this case, I think we absolutely made the right call.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Anyone?

Irene is blowing her way through. We're wondering how long this butterfly bush will hold on in the wind. For now, we're all snuggled in and enjoying listening to the wind in the trees.
The real hurricane, though, is in our family room: Yep...we're all cooped up and imaginations have run wild. I think it's time for Mom to go do a little damage control.

Ironically, as I'm finishing this post the butterfly bush just blew over. Issa wins the poll!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Still Little

Issa may be so grown up and loving big school, but she's still little:
That is one tired baby. When she came home yesterday, she asked for some quiet time. She watched Sesame Street and snuggled Baboo, and I snuck a picture to capture this little moment. My sweet baby girl.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Us

Good gravy I feel like I'm already in a hurricane--forget the fact that Irene is well east of us and likely will only result in a lot of rain and a little wind for us. Today feels like a list kind of day:

1. I'm trying to get my office all set up. I was thrilled to get my first phone call yesterday. I was less thrilled by jousting with multiple IT people to set up voice mail. Mission unaccomplished.

2. I tap danced through class last night. My poor students start their own classes today with their little people, and somehow the history of the field of reading just can't compete with that. We had a great conversation, but at times I felt like only jazz hands could keep them with me.

3. Issa is still loving school!

She insisted on a picture again today. Don't ask me what that face is all about. She's weird sometimes; it's part of her charm.

4. Part of Issa loving school is packing her lunch. Yesterday, I had to come home and clean up the kitchen because we couldn't manage to pack and clean before we had to go. Today, we managed to do both--hurrah!

5. I was the mom in yoga pants and a baseball cap at drop off today. I swore I would never be that mom, but I have to hurry up and mow before Irene blows past. Our HOA does not accept Acts of God as an excuse for long grass. The trials of suburbia.

6. I will have to brave the grocery today. I would normally go tomorrow, but with the storm possibly coming it will be a zoo. It will be slightly less zoo-like today, and we need groceries. And batteries. Because if I buy them, Irene will not come.

7. I have written exactly two sentences in the past two days. Crud! Must...write...

8. Even though life is feeling hurricane-ish, I'm loving finding our new normal. Happy fall!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


She still looks so little in this picture:
Issa and I enjoyed our last stay home afternoon yesterday. She made a thank you card for the library since yesterday ended the summer reading program. She wrote "Library, Thank you, Issa and Evan." I had to help with the spelling, but she wrote it all flawlessly. Then we headed to the park, where she looked very big:

We came home and were enjoying a snack when we felt our first earthquake. I am so slow I checked for big trucks and helicopters before it occurred to me that it was an earthquake. As I finished telling Issa it was an earthquake it stopped, and Issa declared it to be the a fun ride and asked to do it again. I explained the science behind it and that I couldn't just make an earthquake. Issa was disappointed but settled for painting. (By the way, Evan slept through it.)

This morning, Issa headed out for her first whole day! She was so excited she didn't even want to pause for pictures. Hence, this is the face I got:

She was willing to show off her lunch box:

She packed a salad, biscuits, and juice for lunch. She has an apple and cheese stick for morning snack and edamame for afternoon snack. She is happy.

Issa is loving school! Not once has she looked back when I dropped her off, and I barely got, "I love you!" out of my mouth before she closed the van door today. She has made new friends, and she loves her teacher. She has made a necklace from straws and beads every day, and she tells me all about the books and work she did. She can hardly wait for her turn to help take care of the class fish, and the playground is just about the coolest thing ever. Her teacher says she is doing great, and I am so grateful for such a smooth transition.

Now, it's back to reality for me. Time to write and read and teach and do a load of laundry or ten. I have to admit, I am so grateful for a break from finding rhyming words, but I am even more grateful for all this time with my girl.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Call Him Dozer

Issa had a great first day yesterday, and the details will be forthcoming. However, my little man needs a little blog time.

You may remember the kids constructed a little play space from sheets, and I have come to accept that if they are home the space will be up. Evan decided that little space is ideal for building.

I love the concentration on his little face. He was building a train, and then he built a dog house:
Then he turned into a bull dozer: I love his smashing face. When he knocked it down, I shouted, "Oh, no! The train crashed!"

My sweet boy looked at me like I was daft and said, "No, Mama, they blocks."

Clearly. You can't bulldoze a train. I love that he actually calls himself Dozer as he knocks down his blocks, and I love that he can sit for an hour building and dozing quite happily. He's getting so big, and he really is the funniest kid I've ever met. He has a way of cocking his head to one side and making a crazy face, and it always makes me laugh. His world also happens as a growl right now. I think it might be more of a roar, but whatever you call it any phrase can become a guttural utterance--even songs. The last line must be roared. It's a rule.

I can't wait to watch this little man grow. He is so easy going and entertaining, and I am sure he will keep me laughing even as I'm pulling out my rapidly greying hair.

Monday, August 22, 2011

First Day!

This big girl is at school! She could hardly wait to get there, but she indulged me with a few pictures.

No...she doesn't have a flair for making an impression. She dressed herself from head to toe.

She wanted to be sure I got a picture of the matching nail polish and snack pack. She was so proud.

As I was stalling to take her (because she would have been there at 6:45 if she had her choice), I was reminding her that I would be back before lunch and that she should be a good friend and use her listening ears. She looked at me, put her two little hands on my face, and said, "Mom, are you going to cry?"

I told her no. This was a happy day! She was going to have so much fun. Without missing a beat, she replied, "I know, Mom, but you are good at happy tears," which made us both laugh.

When we pulled up to school, her head of school came to get her from the van, and she couldn't get to the playground fast enough. She never even looked back. There was a spring in her step, and she was blissfully happy.

I can't wait to hear all about it when I pick her up!

And for the record...I didn't cry...until I got home. But they were happy tears.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Two Sheets and a lot of Imagination

Meet my two little muskrats. Yesterday, Issa asked if they could be muskrats, one of our favorite critters to watch at our museum. Why not? So, Issa built this muskrat house. It's pretty ingenious. She used her old school sheet stretched between the banister and the armoire.
It then became a puppy house, complete with a dog door (unhooking the bottom piece).

It was big fun, I tell you! There was much crawling in and out.

And then it became a dressing room, a secret passage to fairy world, work, home, the troll bridge...I think you are getting the point.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"How Can I Sleep After So Much Fun?"

The title pretty much sums it up. Yesterday was a day full of fun, and I don't blame Issa for not wanting it to end.

Our day started with a trip to her new school. Issa got to "play" with her teacher while Brad and I talked with the assistant. It made Issa even more excited to go to her new school. When we finished there, Issa and I went out for a latte and hot cocoa and to talk about her morning. I don't think I said two words.

In the afternoon, Issa and I made our own fruit roll-ups. They are actually super easy, but they do take a while (like three hours). Most of it is hurry up and wait, and I'm quite certain they will become a snack staple!

Yesterday afternoon, Miss Shelby came to play. There was much dress-up! Please notice the heels:
Then, as bonus surprise, Shelby's daddy came for a a fire truck...

I have never seen my neighbors run out of their houses so fast. It was hysterical. It was more than any of the kids could handle. Shelby was thrilled to see Daddy who was working a long shift, and my two were thrilled to see a fire truck at their own house. My favorite moment was when Evan saw a car coming and told all the firemen to get in the grass--and they did! He thought he was a hero. There is nothing better than hanging out on a fire truck:

Evan was more interested in climbing around the fire truck:

Miss Crystal and Shelby stayed for dinner, and great fun was had by all. It was so good for me to have some conversation about some grown-up girl stuff (like shoes and parenting and trying to find new rhythms as fall approaches). The kids had way too much fun, and the giggles are still ringing in my ears. (Apparently, it is absolutely hysterical to dance in the dark.) I am still so grateful for such good friends.

And's off to celebrate the weekend. Who knows what adventures are in store.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where did they go?

Where did my babies go? I suddenly have two very big kids.

See this boy:
He got a big boy hair cut last night. It's not his first, but his hair is getting so much thicker so he looks older. In the past week, he has also switched to real hugs, too. No more little boy hugs that are more of a snuggle; now we get real squeezes. I also caught myself referring him to as a preschooler rather than a toddler. It is just so much more fitting, but I don't know how that happened so quickly.

See this girl:

She got a big girl hair cut for big girl school. It was all her idea. She announced yesterday that she needed some style, and she proceeded to describe this hair cut. It's pretty darn cute. It's also pretty darn grown up.

God's greatest gift to me this week has been unanswered prayers. Prayers that she might take a nap or want to play on her own or want to do a project without me. It has been a week full of laughter and real conversations. There have been countless projects and recipes, and we have followed every whim we had. For instance, yesterday we tried to sit criss-cross applesauce, balance carrots on our knees, and see if we could "walk" across the floor. I have no idea why, but we did and we did it! It was fun and bizarre and we both laughed until we cried. I am exhausted and so far behind I've stopped looking at the lists. But more than that, I am immensely grateful.

I want to believe Issa will remember this week when she is older. "Mom, do you remember the week before I started Pinewoods? The week we played and laughed." I want her to remember we were present; if I only teach my kids one thing I hope it's that: to always be present in the moment--whatever it is. I want to live that example.

Even if she doesn't remember this week, I will. My babies may not be babies any more, but they are certainly my babies--always will be. So, I'm enjoying these little moments, following whims, and dancing to the sound of laughter.