Friday, August 31, 2012

Big Boy

Look at this big boy:
He made the move to the little pre-k classroom this morning. He is so excited to be in the big boy room with new books, harder puzzles, and more balls. For the first time in his three years there, he also has a new teacher, Miss Nancy. She was Issa's teacher, too, which is about the only thing that is getting this mama through. Miss Shirley has been his teacher since he was three months old, but we all decided it was probably time for a change. She can't go to kindergarten with this group, and this seemed like a nice break.

Evan did want to give her a little something to celebrate. Per usual, we followed his lead. His first choice was a huge fire station set. We convinced him that maybe a small fire engine would meet that need, and he chose a candle to go with it. He also wrapped it in Christmas light paper. It's bright and colorful and sometimes I just don't argue. He was proud, and the gift was heartfelt.

He's officially a big boy. Be still my heart.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


All is well with my soul.
Issa is still loving first grade. Evan is transitioning to the big boy classroom beautifully. I have been tackling random projects all week. I am blissed out. For instance...
Issa loved this dress:
 Two years ago, she wore it as a drop waisted, long sleeve dress. Last year, she wore it as a regular waisted three quarter sleeve dress. This year, she could not wear it with even a modicum of decency. There were tears. Oh, the tears. Big alligator my life is over tears. So...
 I made it into a pillow. She came home from school and literally squealed. It was wonderful.

And this shirt:
 It was her favorite, but the huge tomato sauce stain was ugly. So...
I made a doll. More squealing. (Ignore the funky face; it's a horrible picture.)

Both of these projects have been living in my laundry room for months, along with piles of mending and other little projects. I had delusions of doing them with Issa this summer. That didn't happen. I did them all this week, and my laundry room is clean, and the angels are singing.

This is hard to write, but it's true. Maybe someone else will relate; maybe Issa will read this someday and understand...find some whispered permission. Maybe someone else will. I just feel compelled to write it today:

I am a better mom when my kids are not with me all day.

There. I said it. I miss them like crazy, but I am more present, more fun, when we all get a little space. I need to work. I need the intellectual stimulation, and I need to feel like I'm giving back to a field I love. I also need space to be creative and just check things off the never-ending to do list. When I can do that, I can make thank you cards and airplanes before dinner without feeling the need to juggle. I can read the same book for the millionth time without making every word sound like a curse through gritted teeth. I feel calmer and more centered. It is my reality.

Some days, I feel so guilty feeling this way. But as I was laughing with my kids last night in a clean house with empty laundry baskets and all my paperwork caught up for the registrar (because miracles happen, folks), I realized this is what works for us. And it really works. And I am happy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Check out our little soccer player:
Evan started his first rec league soccer program yesterday! He is in love.

Evan and Daddy both get to play in this league, and it is more skill practice than anything else. They will play one scrimmage, but it is mostly about learning the rules and fundamentals. Evan came home all kinds of pumped up, explaining different kicks and talking about the little girl with pink bows in her hair. Be still my heart.

I have the feeling this is the beginning of a very long rec league career for our little all-star.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fantastic First Day

I waited for this all day:
 My girl's bus. It comes at 2:50; I was waiting at the curb by 2:40. I missed her--so much--and I wanted to hear all about the first day. The waiting was almost more than I could take.

And then the bus pulled up:
 It's so big. I nearly bit through my lip waiting for her to come around the bus. My little angel:
She posed without me asking, and her smile said it all. She was so proud of riding the bus, and she looked so...grown.

She talked without taking a breath for the next twenty minutes. She loves first grade. She loves Ms. Wright. She loves P.E. and Coach B., who is very nice. She made a new friend, Luke, who helped her open her lunch container that got stuck. She made it across the monkey bars three times, and she earned three tickets. If she gets ten tickets by Friday she gets to go to the treasure box. My heart sang.

I opened her backpack and found a first day book she had written, and a half eaten ziplock of goldfish. I asked where they came from, and my heart sank. They have snack in the morning, and Ms. Wright gave everyone who didn't have one goldfish. I had no idea about snack. Panic must have crossed my face because Issa told me, "It's no big deal, Mom. Chill."

Chill. This girl who might have crumbled about a missing snack a year ago was telling me to chill. She's learned to cope. She's learned what matters, and what matters is that she had a great first day of first grade. My heart is still singing.

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of First Grade!

We sent a very excited Issa off to school today! When I asked for a first grade pose, this is what I got:
 For the traditionalist:
 And the traditional "I'm so done with pictures, Mom," pose:
 Her backpack was filled with all the supplies and paperwork, and she packed make your own bagel pizza for lunch.

Last week, Daddy brought Issa and I back matching bracelets, and we decided to wear them today:
We promised to think of each other every time we see them, and I reminded her that every time she sees it I am thinking of her. I think they were more for me than her. She was so excited, and walked into her classroom without a backward glance. I couldn't be more proud of my girl.

She asked me to curl her hair this morning, and as I curled we had a conversation I plan to have every first day of school...

"Issa, we don't send you to school the smartest or the best at anything. We already think you are the smartest, most wonderful girl in the world. Nothing could change that, and we couldn't love you more or be any more proud of you."

"I know, Mom; you send me to school to learn things."

"Yes. We send you to learn. You'll learn math and science and reading, but we send you to learn how to learn, how to keep trying when things get tricky, and we send you to learn to be empathetic. That means we want you to feel what other people feel and do something about it. When one of your classmates is celebrating, we want you to be her biggest cheerleader! When one of your classmates is sad or lonely, we want you to feel it and do something. Sometimes that will be easy, like asking a friend to play at recess. Sometimes it will be hard, like remembering that kid is being mean because he is probably scared or lonely. When it gets too hard, tell your teacher or tell me, and we'll make a plan together.

You love the Lorax, and when he says 'Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is ever going to get better--it is not,' he's talking about more than the trees. He's talking about people, too, and we need to take care of them. It's who we are.

You are going to have so many wonderful adventures this year, and I will be there for every single one. I'm your biggest fan, and I love you more than the sun and the moon and the stars, baby girl. Happy first day or first grade..."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Little Flyer

Meet our favorite member of Ms. Wright's Flyers:
The whole family headed to Open House last night, and Issa has already proclaimed Ms. Wright her "best teacher ever." I am pretty thrilled, too.

We were greeted by a huge poster of the Wright Brothers' plane and little "First in Flight" license plates with the kids' names on them outside the door. Issa was thrilled to find hers, and half skipped in the room to meet Ms. Wright. I hadn't even signed in before I saw Ms. Wright give her a hug and welcome her to the room.

As it turns out, Ms. Wright has been teaching first grade for quite a few years. She did student teach here, but that was a while ago. She showed Issa pictures of her grown children and chatted with Brad and I about returning home. She is so incredibly warm and friendly, and she is also a fan of Fancy Nancy. Issa is in love. She guided Issa to her place at a hexagonal table, where we found a whole packet of information that answered every single one of my questions. Her welcome letter addresses all the mom questions and makes it quite clear that the main goal this year is to develop a love of reading. My heart is happy.

We also got to meet Ms. Wilder, the assistant in Issa's room, who reminds me so much of my own mom my anxiety plummeted. Issa is in good hands with these two women.

Issa showed Daddy the library, and as we were walking out of the library to go to the cafeteria to sign up for the bus and get a t-shirt, I put my hand out towards Issa. She brushed it off, announcing she knew where she was going, just as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" started to play in the background--I kid you not. I very nearly dissolved into a puddle right there and then.

I think our little Flyer already had a perfect take off, and I'm confident we are in for blue skies and great heights this year.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

I Love: A List

This has been a rough few weeks. Brad has been traveling so much (about four days a week), my semester is starting, and Issa's summer is ending. It's been a perfect storm for one tired, emotionally exhausted mama. When the alarm went off yesterday morning, I truly wasn't sure how I was going to make it.

I started my day with an audible prayer, "Help." That was it. It was all I had, but it was so much more than enough. My wondrous thing list from yesterday of things I loved:

1. My inbox was empty yesterday morning. It was a miracle.

2. As I was doing my paperwork, I listened to my girl and the neighbor girl giggle ridiculously over get well cards for our neighbor who broke his arm. It was their idea, and they made enough cards for a hospital.

3. I baked cookies with the girls. I loved seeing how confident Issa is in the kitchen, and I loved watching our neighbor discover the kitchen.

4. I finally found the sweet spot for the class I'm teaching. There was a significant gap between where I thought we should begin and where they are. We are accelerating, and life is good.

5. I've rediscovered the joy of classical music. My world is words: reading, writing, and talking. That's what teachers do. Add parenting, and I am constantly surrounded by words. Music without words clears my head. It is lovely.

6. A great friend took great care of my kids. I came home to two very happy children who were just snuggling into bed. I loved listening to him read Evan a story while I cleaned up from bath. As I tucked Evan in, he read Issa a story. I tucked Issa in after the story, and I saw two very happy children drift off to sleep, which makes me happy.

7. I am making time to read for fun. It's lovely.

8. I climbed in to Mom's bed. It sounds insane, but Mom changed the sheets on my bed before she left. Since I don't untuck the sheets and sleep insanely still, it still feels like my childhood bed. There is just something about the way that she gets the sheets so smooth and turns them back just the right amount. It just feels like love. I fell asleep snuggled in and wondering what my kids will remember that way. It was a lovely way to end the day...a wondrous day indeed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Good Neighbors

Yesterday, as with much of the summer, my neighbors saved my tail.

I needed to visit my student teacher this week, and I got an email yesterday morning letting me know that the only day they had in the classroom was yesterday. Could I come at 11? Brilliant. The answer was of course yes, but I didn't want to drag Issa to yet another meeting.

I called my neighbor, and without a moment's hesitation, she agreed to keep Issa. Her girls came down here until I had to leave, which gave her some time to do a couple of things at her house, and then they all headed down there when I had to leave. I checked in when I got back, and they were all playing so well she offered to keep them. I finally called to get Issa back just in time to get Evan. That meant I had almost six hours of uninterrupted work time. Bliss.

This has been the rhythm of the summer. One of us has something pop up, and the others cover. The girls have a blast, and we all get the help we need at just the right moment. A truly wondrous thing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hot Mess

I openly admit I can be a bit of a hot mess as a mama. I figure it's my right. Every once in while the tears just sneak up on me over the craziest little things, and yesterday was just one of those days.

Issa and I dropped Evan off at school and headed to the grocery store. It's been our Monday routine this summer, and it was a relatively short week. As we walked up and down the aisles, I mentioned that next week I would have to shop by myself because she would be at school! I glanced over, and she was beaming, pushing the cart all by herself. I no longer need to guide the cart around obstacles or help avoid collisions.

I felt the familiar sting in my eyes, and I caught myself biting my lip, willing the tears not to come. Issa chatted about her excitement, and I didn't want her to lose a little of that if I got teary. She's so empathetic, and I know she would worry about me next week if she thought I was sad and grocery shopping alone.

This summer hasn't always been bliss. There have been moments when I have been on the edge of insanity, but I wouldn't trade it. Our home has been filled with little girl giggles, flour messes, and extra snuggles. Next week, I send my baby to big school--real big school--and as excited as I am for her, I am also anxious and over-whelmed. So...I think I will enjoy this last week a little more and worry about Monday on Monday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

And the Celebrating Begins...

We officially kicked off Issa's birthday celebration this weekend! First, I got to take this cuteness shopping:
 We headed to the craft store to pick up the last of the supplies for Issa's party with her friends. We are going to be hosting one way cool tea party in a few weeks, and Issa can hardly wait!

Friday, Nana, Papa Rich, and Aunt Shannon rolled into town for the first party, though. I am so grateful that they asked to make the trip, and I am even more grateful that we had a relaxing, fun weekend together celebrating our girl.

Issa requested a Fancy Nancy party, and Nana and Issa created a fabulous cake:
 Nana did most of the work, but Issa did help with the border:
 With the cake finished, we headed to Issa's favorite restaurant to celebrate:
 She wanted them to know it was her birthday, but she was not so sure about the loud singing. So...our waiter just brought her a sundae and our family sang three different versions of Happy Birthday. It's just how we roll.

We came home and our little fashionista was spoiled rotten. Even though Uncle Jeff wasn't feeling well, he texted with our girl and sent a special shirt:
 She is wearing it today. I love that these two share that ridiculous game.

The birthday hero was Aunt Shannon:
 She found white bunny slippers. That sounds easy, but they are so hard to find in Issa's size! I am so glad I captured this moment. I get teary every time I see it.

We also had to be appropriately fancy for a Fancy Nancy party:
 Issa made these bracelets with Aunt Shannon thanks to a kit sent by Uncle Nick and Aunt Beth.

And cake required a wardrobe change:
 Issa finally outgrew her Hello Kitty dress, and there was much gnashing of teeth. Nana and Papa replaced it with these pajamas and a new t-shirt. The pajamas go perfectly with bunny slippers--don't you think?

And then there was cake:
 I love that big smile. Make a wish:
 And yesterday she donned some of her new apparel and rocked it:
 I actually got teary as I folded the new clothes. She's just so big. Six. It seems like yesterday I was awaiting her arrival. Sniff.

Lest you think little brother was forgotten, check out the cool jacket Aunt Shannon brought:
Yep...he gets to be a fireman every day this fall. He thinks he's pretty hot stuff.

With all of the celebrating, there was plenty of time to just be. We played games, read books, and laughed until we cried. It was a wonderful beginning to a month of celebrating a very big sixth birthday!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Evan's Year in Review

At long last, I finished Evan's Year in Review yesterday. As I watched my little boy grow before my eyes, I wanted to capture a few memories that don't appear in pictures. Following tradition, a year in review for my boy...

Oh, Evan, it has been a whirlwind year with you. You are becoming such a little man--no longer my baby, not even a toddler. You crossed the threshold into preschooler, and there are so many, many things I want to remember about this year that aren't necessarily captured in photographs.

As I was compiling your year in review, I gasped as I saw you in the stroller. It's hard to believe you were still riding at the beginning of this year. I can't imagine strapping you into a stroller. You would have none of it. Now, you are in constant motion, running into all kinds of adventures. You tend to jump first and look second. I may wince when you take a tumble, but I so admire your courage and sense of adventure. I hope you never lose it, but I do hope that you start looking at least as you are jumping if not a little before.

I have learned more about rocks, trucks, and trains this year than I ever could have imagined. The library actually ordered new truck books with you in mind because you have checked them all out at least twice. I love listening to your little mouth pronounce big words like "fork lift" and "excavator." I could do with a few less rocks in the dryer, though; please check your pockets. I stopped checking after I pulled out a live beetle.

Small boy, you are stubborn. I will never forget spending an afternoon inside with you while Daddy and Issa played outside. All you had to do was clean up some blocks, but you would not. And so you watched from the window. You may be stubborn, but you may have gotten that streak from me. I hope you learn sooner than I did when to be a little less stubborn. In the meantime, I will still be a little proud when you dig in your heels over something that is important to you. It will serve you well later.

For all of your stubbornness, you are still my  cuddle bug. You love being my "pocket boy," and I will be so sad when that stops. You want me to sit on the couch, and you wedge yourself between me and a pillow, in the pocket. You may be talking about Spiderman or powing something, but you are still snuggled in and a little piece of my baby boy is still there.

In those moments when you are chatty, which is often, I frequently find myself giggling at the cute little way you say things. Dessert is "bee-sert," and I can't pronounce or spell the way you say popsicle. Someday, you will say these words "right," and I will probably cry a bit. I also love that you must say, "Hamma hamma," anytime a hammer is in your hand. It makes me happy.

You got your first big boy haircut this year--complete with buzzers--and at your last hair cut Miss Kelly actually had to thin it a bit so it would be a little less crazy. You went from baby to big boy with one hair cut, and I promise your future teenager to keep plenty of hair gel in the house.You will need it.

You and your sister are fast friends, and it makes my heart happy. I love watching the two of you play, and I even love watching you push her buttons. You have an ornery streak, but heaven help anyone who messes with your big sister. I have seen you puff up and tell bigger kids to leave her alone. I hope you are always this chivalrous. It suits you well.

As tough as you can be, you have the best laughs. And I mean laughs--plural. You have a wicked sense of humor that brings out a full belly laugh, you giggle in a way that could crack crystal when I tickle you, and you have the best maniacal laugh on the planet.

That maniacal laugh comes out most when you are being a full-fledged boy. I never believed in those stereotypes until I had you. You are loud, and boisterous, and full of life. I may occasionally lose my mind with the volume and the constant fear of stitches, but I don't think I would have it any other way. I think God sent you to teach me to worry less and live more--thank you.

I still can't help but worry, and you gave me the scare of my life this year. You had RSV, and it was the longest 48 hours of my life. You avoided the hospital, but seeing you on a pulse ox machine and watching for signs to take you straight to ER was the closest I ever want to come. Never do that to me again. Deal?

On a much lighter note, you are trying your hand at your dressing yourself. I am praying you develop some sense of coordination at some point. Right now, you are a hot mess. Forget about matching, and you have a thing for papa socks with crocs or sandals. Your sister is mortified.

Even when you look like a hobo, I still love you fiercely, little monster. You bring so much joy and laughter and adventure into our lives. You've taught me to worry less about dirt and falling and to focus more on exploring and living. I hope you always, always keep that sense of life about you, and I am so grateful I get to be your mama and enjoy the ride...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Five is Odd

I know five is an odd number, but it is a really odd number of students. After big classes that were nearly at capacity, five just is so...small. I've had two of the students before, and all five seemed to mesh well. It's just going to be a bit of an adjustment.

I ended class early and made it home to tuck some little people into bed. I was glad to get to see them, and grateful that I was able to tell them last night that Daddy's flight was delayed and he won't be home until tonight. It would have been an ugly morning otherwise. I was also grateful that our friends stayed a bit later so I could have a little grown-up conversation. It was a wondrous thing for sure.

Family is coming to celebrate a certain little girl's sixth birthday. More exciting posts to follow!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I have nothing earth shattering today. This has been a week when I'm hating the word balance. There is no such thing; there is just pure craziness. I read a blog the other day (although I can't remember who it was) that classified August as the secret December. It's that time of year when everyone is crazy busy with all great stuff--back to school, end of summer, extra-curricular activities, and fall excitement all in one giant mess of life...just without the carols and cookies. Yeah...I'm feeling that. Today's list of randomness:

1. I start teaching tonight. It's a master's level course I've taught before, and I love the content. However, because technology hates me I don't have access to a roster or BlackBoard yet. Lovely. I think I have six students--I think. I guess we'll find out tonight.

2. I hosted a PTSA meeting here at the house last night. I had the horrible realization yesterday morning that I had no idea how many people were coming. As the new good on the block, I didn't want to send the "RSVP dang it" email, so I guessed--I guessed way wrong. I prepared for eight adults plus kids. Four adults arrived. We will be eating heavy hors d'oeuvres for the foreseeable future. It was a lovely evening, though.

3. I need Issa to go back to school. She is getting bored, which means I am getting edgy. I actually heard myself say, "Find something to do or I will find something for you to do," yesterday. We are both card gamed, crafted, and tea partied out.

4. In related news, my calendar is getting complicated. Note to self: I need a better plan for the end of the summer next year. I sort of forgot that my school starts earlier than Issa's, and I now am trying to find play dates or babysitters so I can attend meetings. I am also a bit afeared when I look at a calendar that is so full already.

5. On a happier note, we are getting ready for Issa's birthday! We have our first celebration this weekend, and she and I are going shopping tomorrow to get everything for her friend tea party. Issa and I have a date with the craft store. Wish me luck!

6. Daddy comes home again tonight. We can't wait!

7. My laundry is refusing to do itself, so I suppose I should go do that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shiny and New

It's funny how life comes full circle...

Yesterday, I met with my first student teacher as a university supervisor. I couldn't help but smile as I sat across from a girl that reminds me so much of me from eleven years ago. She's so shiny and new. Full of theory and ideas and optimism and a binder of lesson plans that would make your head spin. They are wonderful and long and plentiful.

I met her at a coffee shop so we could meet before I walked into her classroom for the first time. On the way there, I remembered the nerves and the over-whelming moment you begin student teaching. It seems so very big. When I saw a young woman dressed in elaborately teacherish clothes sitting at a table with a binder, a notebook, and a wide-eyed look, I knew I had found my girl.

We chatted about why she wanted to teach, what she is really good at, and what she wants to grow in this semester. I was impressed, and mildly amused, and excited to see her in the classroom. I reminded her that I was not expecting perfection, and she visibly relaxed and nearly cried. She's going to be fine, and I'm glad I get to be a part of this circle.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Saturday, the kids and I headed to the Farmer's Market here in town. We had never been to this one, and we had such fun. The variety of vendors was amusing. There were big farms with professional-looking boards, and there were small gardeners with handwritten white boards. There were some local artists selling stained glass and wooden furniture. There was a folk singer filling the market with his guitar and soulful voice. There was a small baker selling old world breads, and there was a bigger bakery selling everything but bread. In short, it was lovely.

The kids and I were on a mission to find salsa ingredients, and we did well:
 Aren't they beautiful?  The white package was half a loaf of sourdough rye, and the tupperware holds fresh figs. We enjoyed those two things with a little marscapone--delicious.

We chopped and chopped. Batch one:
 We ended up making two batches. I had no idea how many peppers and tomatoes we would need, so I bought a bunch. Considering the last jar of this salsa lasted us two days, I didn't mind making a little extra:
One afternoon and nine jars later, my house smelled like salsa and I was a very happy woman.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Deep Sea Diver

Issa finished her last week of camp for the summer. This week, she was a deep sea diver! A week in lunch notes:

 They learned about nautical navigation and how sailors used the stars to steer the ship. The museum brought in a mobile star dome, and Issa came home telling myths of the constellations. She is an awesome story teller.

And...that note is written on the back of the bottom of my grocery list. I almost forgot, and I had to so a make-shift version in the car.

 Issa learned about the different ecosystems in different parts of the ocean. She made a coral reef, and they even made "scuba suits" from two liter bottles.

 Invertebrate day! Issa loves jelly fish (because she has never met one in the open water), so she was thrilled! She has been walking around classifying invertebrates and vertebrates and looking for animals with exoskeletons. When those big words roll off her tongue, I can't help but be in awe of my baby.

 Fish day! They learned about how some fish hide and how some fish talk with light. They talked about food chains and how different fish swim. She learned so much she is still throwing out random fish facts.

It was whale day! They talked about why whales are not fish. They measured how many campers it would take to be the same size as different whales, and they talked about how something that big floats.

It was another wonderful week, and Issa is still good tired from such adventures. She is already waiting for the camp brochure for next summer...and that makes my heart happy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Big Kid Hair Cuts

Right before school started last year, Issa announced she needed a big girl hair cut and got bangs. Apparently, it has become a tradition.

Evan's hair has gotten so thick Miss Kelly actually had to thin it a bit so it won't look completely insane. When she was finished, Evan announced he was big enough for gel:
 Be still my heart.

Issa decided she needed a little face-framing fringe and a feather:
 Ignore the crazy face--don't ask, I have no idea.

Evan also wanted everyone to see my new hair cut, which is the same cut just trimmed up:
Perhaps photography is not his thing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Last night, Crystal, Shelby, and Tyler came over for dinner. Both daddies were working.

After dinner, Shelby and Issa danced off to play dress up and Barbies--the usual. I sat at the kitchen table with Crystal and spilled my soul. I'm tired. Brad's traveling a ton. The semester is starting before Issa is starting her school, which is a deadly combination. I am out of cope. She knows. She listened. She let me curse and cry and curse. She said all the right things, and she sent me a "hang in there" email this morning. I needed it.

What did my heart the most good was Evan and Tyler. My three year old adores this 15 year old. Tyler dutifully played baseball and trains. He chased Evan; Evan rolled with laughter. They wrestled and pounced. In short, they were boys. Poor Evan has been surrounded with girls a lot lately, and he needed this. Not once did Tyler say no or roll his eyes. Not once did he seem a bit frustrated or board, although I know he had to be. I am beyond grateful.

When you live a long way from family, you have to build a new support system--a safety net--a kind of family. I am so blessed to call these people mine.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Yesterday was a big mail day around here--in-coming and out-going. Issa got a very special post card from school:
 It's official: Ms. Wright will be her first grade teacher. I want points for not even tearing up when we got it. Issa is very excited. Ms. Wright is new to the school, but the principal recruited her after she student taught there. That is always a fabulous sign, and Issa can't wait to meet her at open house.

We also sent Issa's birthday party invitations yesterday:

She has invited six little friends for a tea party, complete with a tea hat making craft and a teacup cake. She has helped me plan every detail, and she can't wait for her first friend party. When did my girl get so big?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Best Alarm Clock

This morning, I woke up to this:

"Iss-y, my aw-ake!'

Pitter patter pitter patter. Issa goes dashing into Evan's room, "Good morning, buddy!"

I hear her climb up into his bead, and there are whispered conversations about who knows what. I hear the bears and the turtles greet each other, and I hear more giggling than I can imagine this early in the morning. My heart is happy.

Parenting is so full of what ifs and worries. Did I make the right decision? Are they getting everything they need? But every once in a while, there is a resounding moment where you know you are doing something right. This brother and sister love each other fiercely, and that is definitely right.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Big Weekend

This was a very big weekend around here! Friday started with school shopping. Issa did a great job sticking to the list, and she was so excited to pick just the right glue sticks, pencils, and erasers. This was her big thrill, though:
 Hand sanitizer. She was beyond thrilled to purchase hand sanitizer. I have no idea.

We came home, packed the backpack, and then waited for Grandma Pat and Grandpa Kevin to arrive. Saturday, we took everyone to our museum:
 Evan hasn't quite figured out his binoculars yet. Issa still is the master of the pose:
 Grandma and Grandpa used to live in Maryland and were missing the ocean, so we packed up yesterday morning and headed east! Our usual beach was incredibly crowded, so we drove a bit and found our new favorite beach! Evan remains king of the sand:
 But he did venture into the ocean! Daddy has him, and you can see Issa and I out a little deeper:
 There is just nothing better. It was odd to be at the beach when the water was warm and the sun was hot, but we loved every minute. We found some shells and enjoyed the ocean air.

The best part of our new beach: we are five minutes from the aquarium! Evan fell in love with the little lizards:
 And we had two very happy kiddos:
 Grandpa got to see an alligator:
 And Issa got to pet a horseshoe crab:
Issa and I also got to pet a shark! It was just a little sand shark, but it was amazing. I'm still trying to find the words; it really felt like nothing I have ever felt.

It was a great weekend, and now it's back to the races! Issa is at camp, Evan is at school, and I'm already two days behind. Happy Monday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Small Things

Sometimes, the kids growing up sneaks up on me. Yesterday, Issa and Evan asked if we could play Candy Land. Although I would have preferred to gauge my eyes out with a spoon, I said yes because that's what mommies do. (I find that game to be the most numbing moments of my life I will never get back; I know that it teaches all kinds of wonderful things, but come on! It is so dull.)

As we started to play, I caught myself gasp. Evan was playing. Like, draw a card and move the right guy to the right spaces playing. When did that happen? And...he won! Fair and square. My baby is growing up...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Evan the Chef

Evan helped me make spaghetti last night. He loves to brown the meat:
 Please note, although his face looks a little sad in the picture above, he is not. That is his smash face:
 Most people stir; Evan smashes. It works. The meat gets brown. My little chef:
A towel over his shoulder--just like his mama.

I love cooking with my kids for a few reasons. First and foremost, I love that both of them are learning how to cook and to love cooking. I love knowing that they will be able to feed themselves once they leave the nest. I also love the time in the kitchen. "I don't know" responses to questions about the day turn in to long conversations. There is just something about the kitchen that gets the kids talking--even if Evan decided to regale me with tales of who went to the bathroom when and where yesterday. I'll take it.