Monday, April 30, 2012

A Journey to Mt. Olympus

Friday night, we journeyed to Mt. Olympus for the spring festival at Issa's school! With the Olympics coming, we embraced the Classical and modern. The Olympic Ring bean bag toss was ridiculously popular:

Even the bean bags embraced the theme:
Who doesn't make grape vine bean bags to go with the game? Evan was happy to test the game for us:
 What amused me most was watching the big kids toss, too.

We also had the kids dress like Greek gods and goddesses. Evan opted for Poseidon:
 Kids could also be Zeus, Ares, Aphrodite, and Athena. I hauled out some mythology books and told plenty of stories to the kids who wanted to know more.

This is how Issa spent most of her evening:
 Who doesn't love a bounce house? She did eventually come out to play games:
 She went with the hybrid route. We weren't sticklers for accuracy in the dress-up department.

I think this face sums it up:
She was one happy butterfly. It really was a huge success, and I think all of the kids had a blast.

We spent the rest of the weekend going to a friend's birthday party and venturing out to a new park. Issa and I had been there on a play date, but we took the boys back yesterday for some big fun. Daddy has announced we will be going every weekend, and I announced I will remember the camera next time!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Our Fixer

Today is the last day of Toddler Spirit Week. It has been a lot less labor intensive this year. They decided to focus on helping the kids do more at school. I like it for a number of reasons--creates ownership for them and takes something off my plate. Monday was book day, and they spent the day reading favorites and making their own. Tuesday was silly day (you remember), and they sang silly songs and played silly games all day. Wednesday was the kids' pick, and they picked ice cream day. So...we took in toppings and they had a big party in the afternoon; in the morning, they made crafts and did all kinds of counting activities. Thursday was team day, and they had a toddler Olympics. Today, though, is career day. I held my breath when I asked Evan what he wanted to be. Recently, his answer has been "train rider." Not driver. Not engineer. Rider. We're working on setting the bar a little higher. This week, though, he answered, "Fixer!"
 Please excuse the pitiful face. He was so excited to get to school, he fell putting on his shoes. (Don't ask--still not sure how that happened.) He ran head first into the column, though:
 He's sporting a nice goose egg at the hairline, and it almost split. Thank goodness for almost. But...if you let a fixer hammer a door, he will perk up:
Happy Friday, y'all! I still have games to finish!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why I Might Lose It:

A List of evidence proving I do not have it all together:

1. The spring festival is tomorrow. Progress on the games: I have sorted the supplies into different bags. That's it. Bring on the coffee it's going to be a long 36 hours.

2. Yesterday was my last day of class. That alone is enough to make me crazy. It's always bitter sweet, and it always puts me in a bit of a funk. I hate goodbyes.

3. My honors students are presenting their research today. I want to vomit for them. I so understand the nerves they have this morning. I had the nightmares for them last night. They will be fine.

4. I have a pile of papers to grade that would make anyone cry.

5. I'm estimating I have five loads of laundry to do...which probably means I have eight. We have clean towels in the dryer and I did an underwear check. We're good for at least two days. It will have to wait.

6. There are ants in my kitchen. Ugh!!! That is enough to drive me to distraction. Reggie is coming this afternoon. Reggie is my Orkin Man. He is also my current hero.

7. Reggie will say nice things like the ants are not my fault. Have I mentioned Reggie is my current hero? I have no idea how this fits in the list, but I am very much looking forward to it.

Time to hook up the coffee IV and get to work.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Small Town

Yesterday, I fell in love with our small town all over again. A friend's kindergartner's class (follow that one) is trying to collect postcards from all 50 states, and I volunteered to send one from NC, which meant I had to find a postcard.

After our weekly trip to our fabulous library, the kids and I headed to the Chamber of Commerce to see where we could find a postcard of our historic town. The one room Chamber, tucked into a historic building, was filled with brochures of upcoming events, maps, and all manner of other information, and the back was filled with a large table surrounded by mismatched antique chairs. The volunteers were meeting to discuss all of the summer happenings, but they cheerfully stopped their meeting to greet us and encourage us to take anything from the shelves. I asked about postcards, and they directed us to the local hardware--as in the only hardware in downtown.

The kids and I headed out, and Evan promptly found himself in heaven. The hardware is like entering a time warp where you could find any odd or end you might need in one place: boxes of loose screws and bolts, all manner of hand tools, seed packets, pinwheels, wooden toys, small tractors, canned goods, motor oil, and jars of candy. The wooden floors creaked as we explored, and the narrow aisles whispered charming and death trap simultaneously. The postcards are prints of a local artist's paintings of historic sights, and they truly look like tiny oil paintings. We finally chose one that features the historic buildings that line the main street, complete with the local newspaper box and a man in thoroughly modern clothing walking down the sidewalk. As we checked out, the elderly lady who "minds the store since she retired" produced a case of Tootsie Pops and offered one to each child, holding the box patiently while they chose the perfect one. I'm certain we cost her more than we paid for the postcard.

The kids enjoyed their suckers as we walked the sidewalk in our postcard back to the library, greeting people we passed and admiring windows of the little shops, stopping to smell pansies in window boxes, and in general slowing down--the way I always do when I'm downtown, falling in love all over again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Super Silly

Today is silly day for toddler spirit week. The kids get to dress all kinds of crazy and play fun games all day. This is what surprised me:
 I had two silly kids. Issa still wanted to participate--even though her school didn't:
 You have to love the crazy faces. We talked with Issa about how she would be the only one at her school doing silly day; she was unphased. So we said yes. Please notice the two different socks. And my favorite:
Everything is backwards. You have to love silly day!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Yin and Yang

This weekend was the perfect blend of yin and yang--productivity and lounging. Saturday, we spent almost the entire day outside being productive. All of the front bushes received their final spring trim, and we finally started tackling the elephant in the yard:
This tree is way too huge, and after years of pruning we decided it was time to just take it down. After much debate, we decided to start on the side of the house:
You can see how big it is compared to Evan. Daddy took the plunge:
By the end of the day we were left with this:
It looks like a tiny dent, but the branches filled the back of the van. Brad took out the seats and hauled a load to the town's compost pile. That's the plan for the next several weekends since  we can only take a load a weekend. Little bites. We only had one casualty:
We don't think this nest was still in use, but it came toppling out. The kids did love looking at the construction of the nest.

And...I tackled the mailbox:
Our HOA is on a tirade against unsightly mailboxes, so I scrubbed and stained ours. I don't think it looks markedly different, but we'll see. The trials of suburbia.

Yesterday, we woke up to rain and chill, so we did nothing. We lounged in pajamas, watched some movies, did some art, and snuggled up. There were high quality naps and a whole lot of nothing. It was bliss after such a busy productive day.

And now we're off into a crazy busy week. It's toddler spirit week for Evan, and I'm coordinating the spring festival at Issa's school on Friday--including making all the games...of which I have started exactly none. Thankfully, Evan had a soft start with favorite book day this morning. He headed off with a Thomas book and was one happy camper. Happy Monday, all!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Fairy Visit!

We had a very special visitor last night--the tooth fairy!! We were eating dinner, and Issa was having trouble biting into her strawberries because her tooth was so very loose. I asked to take a look, and with barely a pull it popped right out, a very tiny front tooth leaving a very cute hole:

Issa was so excited to leave her tooth for the tooth fairy! We very carefully put it in a plastic bag and found just the right spot to leave it for the night. This morning, Issa came running in to announce a visit from a very special fairy:

The fairy left a very cute tooth box to put the next tooth in instead of a plastic bag, and she put a whole dollar inside! Needless to say, we are already wiggling the other three loose teeth!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Star has Arrived

So often, I find myself saying yes simply because I don't have a good reason to say no. Last night, our little ballerina caught me in exactly that situation. We had a cold snap, so I asked her to grab her jacket for ballet. This is how she appeared moments later:
That is not her jacket; that is her robe. Ballerinas wear their robes in the dressing room. Why shouldn't she wear her robe to ballet? It was just as warm as her jacket. Well played, my little star, well played.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Right Where I'm Supposed to Be

This has been a rough teaching semester. I have a big class with a lot of needs. They are high anxiety, highly emotional, and generally exhausting. I love them, but holy cow. There have been moments when I wasn't sure we were going to make it.

We are two weeks from the finish line, and we are teetering on the edge of full on melt down. I've had girls burst into tears in class, and my office hours have been hopping. As I was walking down to class yesterday, I saw a group of my students sitting on the floor in a side hallway, and I sat down with them. What happened over the next ten minutes was one of the most remarkable conversations about coping, life, and teaching. It was honest, and it was so very real.

As I sat there, I heard my own words and nearly laughed. W were talking about paths, and how very rarely can you say with certainty what you are and are not going to do in life--who you are going to be. Four years ago, when I started my doc program, the one thing I said I was definitely not going to do was teach teachers. As I sat there yesterday, talking with my preservice babies, I realized I was right where I was supposed to be. The one thing I said I was never going to do is exactly what I was meant to do. I love it, and I love them, and I am so very grateful for those ten minutes sitting in the hallway.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Keeping with tradition, the kids and I went to McD's last night. We always go the last dinner before Daddy gets home, and the Playland never disappoints. Last night, we took one of Issa's little friends with us. Consequently, Evan spent most of the evening like this:

Looking up. The girls spent most of the evening floating:
Eventually, Evan gave up on trying to climb all the way up and stuck to the lower, greener pastures:
Much fun was had by all! They love the tradition, and by that point in the trip I love being somewhere that allows me to get a little break. Welcome home, Daddy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mr. Handy

Brad is flying back from California tonight. He's been out there for work, and Evan takes his job as resident repair man very seriously when Brad is gone. When Brad was in Australia, I actually had to fix the oven door after Evan "fixed" it. In case you are wondering, hammering an oven handle is not a great idea. Unfortunately, everything in Evan's world can be fixed with a hammer. Yesterday, he decided the door frame needed a repair:I'm still not sure exactly what was wrong with it, but a hammer wasn't doing the job. So...Evan got two hammers:
How can you not just melt for this boy? By the way, he dressed himself. The red shorts went with the red lettering. Sigh.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Well...This is the Best I've Got

I would love to say we had a highly adventurous weekend. I would love to say we were highly productive. But...we didn't, and we weren't. We did get hair cuts, get me a phone from this decade, and open the pond for the spring. We played with friends, and we braved the grocery on a Sunday afternoon. That's about it.

I do have a funny. I was in the kitchen, doing a little cleaning, and I hear Issa's little voice, "A little help over here." I looked up to see this:
It appears Evan was stuck:
Issa can climb behind the couch, and Evan attempted to follow. He could get down, but he could not get up. Hmmmm....
He didn't seem too bothered. It's their little club house, and when he's ready to come out we give him a lift. Who knows what these two will think of next!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This is What Two Looks Like

When you are two, you can do everything by yourself. Clearly. Consequently, this is what two looks like:
A close-up:
Yes...the sleeve is inside out and twisted through the neck hole. That's as much of that belly as the shirt would cover. If you asked Evan, it was perfect. The photographic evidence was enough to convince him that maybe we should try again. He really is getting much better at dressing himself, but when we have a glitch we have an epic fail. It's a good thing he knows how to do everything all by himself, though.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Walking the Plank

After dinner, the kids headed outside to play. When I heard Evan yelling, "Walk the plank!" I was not entirely surprised. Pirate is one of his new favorite games. I was surprised to see this:
Apparently Tumbler had started the mutiny. Evan didn't put her up there, but I thought it was hysterical that Tumbler became part of the game. If you are on the ship, you are a member of the crew. Consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter

We had a fabulous trip to Ohio to celebrate Easter. We started with Brad's side of the family. The highlight for the kiddos was playing with their cousins. Exhibit A:
This was the first trip where Evan was really big enough to play with the big kids. Naps are a thing of the past, and as he whispered to me Friday morning, "Alec is a boy!" The poor kid is so used to being surrounded by girls! The chance to play ball and Nerf guns and such was just more than this little guy could handle. And Issa, well, let's just say there was enough make-up and giggling to prove the girls were not to be out done. They are quite the crew:

Saturday morning, we headed North. After playing with Nana and Papa for a while, Aunt Shannon and Uncle Jeff rolled in and hilarity ensued:

It was an Aunt Shannon pile. Once Aunt Shannon was rescued, we moved on to egg coloring:

It was big fun! Evan decided green was the best color ever.

Issa took a more varied approach:

The finished products:

Nana used farm-fresh eggs, so they were originally shades of blue and brown. The dye took to them beautifully, and I really love the rich tones.

Egg dye necessitated a bath, and then it was time for the pre-party photo shoot:

Please notice my ring. Also notice Captain Grump. I thought this photo shoot might not happen.

Enter the big cousins:

Becca and Tyler are always good for bringing out the smiles:

(As a side note, Ty changed his facebook profile pic to this one last night. Made me cry.)

And finally, we saw a smile from Evan:

I love that these two grown-up cousins still make time to hang out with my kids. It makes my heart happy.

And I think these two kind of like it, too:

I also think they kind of like each other.

After a slow start, Evan decided it was time to be a little ham:


And Easter morning brought another photo shoot:

Dear goodness they are so cute.

In the middle of the picture taking, Daddy decided to be not-funny:

Now that is a look.

Our Easter Bunny is crazy, by the way. There are some very normal hiding spots:

There are also eggs impaled on any available hook or nail:

It is a good thing Nana and Papa don't mind cleaning up yoke.

Issa is quite the hunter:

Evan held his own, too:

And then it was back home after a whirlwind trip. It was absolutely wonderful. I love having time with family, and I love watching my kids make those memories. Happy Easter, all!