Friday, May 31, 2013

Big Day

Yesterday was one of those really proud days. I went to see Issa be the absolute cutest maggot ever. The first grade did a great job with the play, and she cracked the gym up. The highlight for me, though, was when she found me in the crowd. I went straight to the gym when I got there, and I sat on the floor so I could record the show. I watched as she filed in and scanned the crowd. When she finally saw me, her whole face lit up and she did the tiniest wave. I have never been so glad to have two feet that were sound asleep on a hard gym floor in my life. That moment made it all worth it.
We also had ballet dress rehearsal last night, and I love seeing Issa on stage. Yes, it was hot and long, but those few moments on stage make it all worth it.
And then we came home to this:
Evan had his last Smart Start soccer night last night, and he brought home his picture. Look at that smile! I can't believe how much he has grown in the past year. He went from being so scared to loving the soccer field.

This time of year is so beyond exhausting. The end of year events just keep coming, and I think if I sign one more form or hot glue one more bit of randomness I might lose it. But...then there are these moments, and it's all worth it.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Never in a Million Years

Seven years ago, when the doctor told me I would have a baby girl, I had lots of visions of what the future might hold. Many of those have come true. Never in a million years did I envision the following events...
A couple of weeks ago, Issa came bounding off the bus, clearly excited about something. All of the first graders had been working on a bug musical (and believe me I know--and am so sick of--all the songs), and they had cast the speaking parts that day. I envisioned my baby girl as a butterfly or a dragonfly:
"Mom, mom, I got a speaking part in the play!"
"That's great, baby, who are you?!"
"I'm the maggot! It's the part I really, really wanted."
"WHY?" (It was not my finest mommy moment.)
"Mom, Granddaddy says there are no unimportant animals, and maggots have a very important job." (Point Granddaddy.) " is the funniest part."
She handed me the paper, where her teacher had carefully written that she had requested this part. I now know her teacher was thrilled because she was a bit concerned about making somebody be a maggot and some parents' reactions to their child being cast as a maggot--I get that. She has one line, repeated twice: "I'm a maggot." I failed to see the humor. Then she explained that all of the butterflies and dragonflies are fluttering about, bragging about their beauty, and in the midst she says her lines completely straight-faced. She is awesome at it, and she will bring the house down today when they perform the play.
Then I read the rest of the paper: I had to come up with a simple maggot costume. This required me to consult the Google for images of maggots. I don't recommend it.
This morning, though, Issa donned her maggot costume proudly and headed to school:
 You can see how hysterical Evan finds this, and how proud Issa is by that little smirk.

Here is a better picture of the fangs:
And so...I made a maggot costume for my baby girl, and I can't wait to watch her make her theatrical debut this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Feeling Appreciated

This morning was beautiful. A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation to Issa's school's volunteer appreciate breakfast. Issa was so excited I was invited. I thought it was a nice gesture, but to be honest I also felt like it was one more thing on my plate. I envisioned the same veggie donuts we have at the other breakfasts, and I was not too excited. But...I checked yes on the form and headed in this morning.

When I dropped Issa off at her classroom, the whole class was buzzing about the breakfast. They were very excited about a special surprise they had created, and I got a very sweet first grade version of "hip hip hooray," that was one of the cutest out-of-unison things I've seen in a while.

When I walked into the library, I was greeted by placemats the kids had created in art class and a beautiful breakfast prepared by the staff. There were breakfast casseroles, muffins, fruit, and coffee. The principal made a nice thank you speech, and then the highlight: the school video.

The media specialist had each class who had a volunteer at the breakfast record a little message. They were hysterical. There were class unisons of a simple, "Thank you!" a fifth grade class cheer, and Issa's class rewrote "The Adam's Family Theme" to say thank you. It was too cute. Issa was in the front row just dancing and snapping away.

It was a great way to start the morning, and I am certainly feeling very appreciated. Have I mentioned I love this school?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beach Bliss

After many weekends of rain, we were finally able to take Evan's birthday day trip to the beach on Sunday! We have this trip down to a science, and we arrived at the ocean just as the last sprinkles ended and before it got too crowded. We staked out the perfect spot, and Evan set right to digging:
Issa headed straight for the water and shells:

She found some of the biggest shells to date, and she also found a couple of large pieces of coral that she plans to give to her teachers as end of the year gifts--so sweet.
After a bit of digging, Evan decided he wanted to find shells with Daddy:
He's still not totally sure about the waves, so he likes to keep a firm grasp on Daddy's hand. (This picture kind of melts my heart more than a little.)

For the first time, Issa decided she wanted to really dig, too:
 She started out trying to dig to the center of the earth, but she ended up digging a hole for a seagull nest. She did not, in fact, lure a seagull.

Evan and I made a race track, and Daddy hauled countless buckets of water up to smooth the track:
 Evan attempted to bring water by the shovel-full:
 It did not work.

After lots of playing in the waves and sand, we headed to our aquarium. The hooligans decided to pretend the alligator was eating them this time:
 Issa loved the tide tank again:
 She was showing older kids how to pet the sea stars and anemones. She really is fearless.

We of course had to take pictures in the crab:
 Can you find Evan?
 The weather was actually cool enough to make the aquarium playground fun, too:
 Issa the Surfer:
 A quick snack:
 And a visit to the frog completed the trip:

 Issa opted for an eel this trip. She creatively named it Eely.

And Evan opted for a snake:
His name is Snakey. We are nothing if not consistent.
It was a perfect beach day with an even more perfect ending. After three years of searching, we finally found an incredible seafood restaurant on the way home. We have past it every trip, but Yelp gave it rave reviews. We had always driven right past it because it is in a strip mall with a gas station out front--not ideal qualities for a seafood restaurant--but inside it is really cute and the food was incredible! Hurrah!
Life is always just a little better at the beach, and I am so glad we were finally able to get back to our waves and fish.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Soccer Boy

Evan had his last Smart Start soccer scrimmage last night:
 I can't believe how much he has grown since the last time I went to practice. Last time, he got teary on the field and was not so sure about this at all. Yesterday, he was one of three kids that played the whole scrimmage, loving every moment.

 The coaches are awesome:
I love that they focus on skills and fun at this stage. Evan is pretty sure they walk on water. The picture above was before practice; Coach Robert just started kicking the ball around with Evan, and he loved it.
The hive scrimmage:
 They really didn't do a great job with your goal versus my goal, but they did get the idea that they wanted to get the ball in a goal and away from the other team.

Look at our boy go:
 He did score a few times. I embarrassed Issa by cheering every time anyone scored, though. Brad shot me a look for over-encouraging passes and tries from everyone. What can I say? It's who I am. I think these little guys deserve a lot of credit for putting themselves out there and trying. Go kiddos!

The best big sister dressed for the occasion:
I called her name, and I got that picture. I am in trouble.
And a Friday funny for you:
Evan asked me to take that one this morning--weirdo.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Last night was our last regular dance class of the year. I have seen Issa grow so much over the past year:
 I still get lost just watching her sometimes. Daddy snapped this picture last night:
There is just something about it. I'm not sure I quite know the words, but it takes my breath away a bit. My sweet little dancer.

On a completely unrelated note--a few updates:

Evan has decided he wants nothing more than to join a soccer team!

All pets are alive and well and seeming very happy! Here's hoping!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

This Just Sucks

There is really no other way to put it. It's been a rough week for aquariums at our house.

Mother's Day weekend, Evan lost another frog. He had been absolutely fine, and then Saturday morning Evan found him on his back in the tank. We thought he was dead, but when we went to take him out, we realized he was not, which resulted in a 24 hour watch in his own little tank before he finally passed. Meanwhile the other frog got a fungus, which we were thankfully able to cure pretty simply thanks to the google and the most stressful twenty minutes of my recent life while I gave the little guy a salt bath of just the right duration. For the record, any cure that states, "If done correctly, your frog will recover beautifully. If done for even a moment too long, he will die," is not my idea of a cure.

With the frog restored and the tank cycled, we started the process of replacing the dead frog. It always takes a couple of tries. It seems them live a week or a year--not much middle. But...the second replacement seemed to be doing okay.

Then this weekend, we noticed poor Bubble/Bow was not looking so good. Granted, he was a three year old betta, but he was noticeably struggling to breathe. At several points, we thought he was dead only to see him swimming by the time we got the net to get him out. It was awful. I recognize he was just a fish, but he was my dish-doing buddy, and I hated knowing he was in pain. Finally, he really did die yesterday. I think he was just old, but it was a hard day.

The kids and I decided we didn't want an empty tank, but we also knew Bubble/Bow couldn't be replaced. He was just one cool fish. So...I checked the google for other options for a tank our size and with our set up. Meet the Shinies:
The picture is awful, but we now have three neon tetras, all named Shiny, and I have taken to collectively calling them The Shinies. It's like our own little fishy rock band. They are fun to watch dart around the tank, and the kids are enamored.
With the Shinies nicely settled, we gave Bubble/Bow a burial at sea. I will admit I think I cried more than any one else. And then...we went upstairs...and we found new frog belly up. I want the Mom of the Year award for not saying what I wanted to say. Poor Evan just crumbled. It was too much. I asked if he wanted to give up on frogs, and he doesn't, so we will go get a new frog under warranty again this afternoon. I am praying for a long life for the little guy, though, because I don't think we can take another froggy funeral at our house right now.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Wondrous Last

Friday night, we went to Issa's school for an 80s themed family dance. It was a fundraiser for the fifth grade class trip, and we had a blast. Issa announced that we had to dress up, and I jumped on board:
 Issa had bangles up her arm, we were rocking the blue eyeshadow, and I would like you to witness these:
 I rocked the leg warmers. Even Evan got into the theme:
Who doesn't love a good mohawk?

There were lots of kids decked out in neon, but Susan and I were the only two moms who participated. We also were out there dancing with the kids and showing them exactly how the electric slide is done. I had a blast, and Issa and Briana declared us the coolest moms ever.

After a few dances, the girls took off with their friends, and Susan remarked that this may be the last time they ask us to dress up--much less proclaim us cool for doing it and dancing with them. I know I will eventually be relegated to the bleachers or drop off duty, but I'll take it for now.

Friday, May 17, 2013


We have a conundrum. Why is it that the little parenting decisions are the ones that make me the most crazy? I am totally aware that this falls squarely in the realm of first world problems, but it's stressing me out, so you all get to listen to me sort it out--sorry--sort of.

Evan loves, loves, loves soccer. He also loves, loves, loves Coach Logan. This is all fabulous. Here's the issue. In the fall, we have a choice. Evan can either play Smart Start Soccer again for a third time or he can start U6 soccer and play on a real team with real games and everything. Brad and I thought this was a no brainer. We have seen so much growth over the past two seasons of Smart Start we planned to let him do U6. Brad talked to the Coach, who agreed Evan is definitely ready for U6.

Here's the problem: Evan doesn't want to do U6; he wants to do Smart Start. My parenting gut says he will be bored by Smart Start and will love U6 once he gets there, but we said we would never make the kids start something they didn't want to start. Conundrum.

I tried to figure out why, but I don't know if you've tried reasoning with a four year old lately--it's not easy. It started out about not wanting to leave Coach Logan, but we told him they will be at the field at the same time and he could say hello. Then he didn't want to wear a jersey; no problem: they wear t-shirts. Then, he was afraid the really big kids would run him over; no problem: they play on a different field. He's out of reasons. He just doesn't want to. Sigh.

I don't know if it's change or just Evan being Evan. I also know we have a few weeks to make the decision and I probably just need to chill. I also know it the grand scheme of life this is so not a problem.'s currently making me crazy! Any ideas will be happily heard!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Never Say Never

Before children, I proclaimed lots of things would never happen in my house. Most of them have all happened: toys in the living room, the music room becoming the play room, glitter everywhere, a constant "project" on the art table. Last night, though, we had a new one:
Yes...Evan is playing baseball in the house! Uncle Brian and Aunt D sent a preschool pitching machine for his birthday. By the time it was assembled and Daddy made the run for the requisite batteries, Evan had already bathed and it was past bed time. So, we did what any reasonable parent would do: we let him try it out just this once in the living room. Who would have thought he would actually make contact? Thankfully it stayed low and only hit the DVDs. Nothing was broken, and Evan thought we were the coolest parents ever. I am totally planning on reminding him of this the next time  he is "going to tell Booboo" on me, which is his new response when I ruin his life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Miss Steph came over for a little impromptu play date last night! The weather was perfect, and the kids wanted to head outside. Steph started out first, and imagine our surprise when we walked out to see this:
 After Issa's last crash, she had sworn off the bike. Last night, she decided to try again. Bless Steph. She ran up and down that street with Issa. Issa never took a solo ride, but she was getting less wobbly--and she was back on the bike!

And...little man figured out the tricycle:
His legs are finally long enough to get going! You can tell he is just a little bit thrilled!

It was probably one of the most fun moments I've had in a while, watching my two kiddos experience the thrill of wheels, the wind in your face, and the freedom of the ride.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

No pictures. I took absolutely no pictures yesterday, but it was perfect.

I love Mother's Day. It's the one day a year where I don't feel a drop of guilt about doing nothing. And my family knows how to do Mother's Day. I am thoroughly spoiled the entire day.

The family woke me up to homemade English muffins and great coffee. I was showered with flowers, potted flowers made at school, all manner of handmade cards, a bright pink heart pillow from Evan that says "World's Best Mommy," a butterfly necklace and earring set from Issa, and a day at the spa from Daddy. After lots of snuggles, we decided to get dressed and go out to lunch at our favorite BBQ place. In an uncharacteristic moment, Evan got so tired he asked to curl up in my lap and fell asleep; it was a Mother's Day gift. We came home to high quality naps, and then Daddy made a small fiesta for dinner. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Happy belated Mother's Day to all of the mamas!

Friday, May 10, 2013


In all of the birthday celebration, Issa's big news got a little lost. She had her dance pictures this week! Brace yourself for some sparkle:
 This is her jazz costume. It's one of those pictures that hurts my heart just a little bit. I have no idea when she got that big. The ponytail. The missing teeth. The hip pop. I'm just not ready.

I can handle the ballet costume a bit better:
Look at those adorable friends. It's hard to believe they met at the studio three years ago.

We're getting very excited for the big recital and then a summer full of dance and tumbling at the studio. Issa is still head over heels in love, and I'm still loving every minute of watching my dancing girl.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

This is Love

This is love: Daddy and I took the kids to Chuck E. Cheese last night for Evan's birthday dinner. We let the kids pick a meal anywhere they want for their birthday, and we pray it's not this one. We were so sad.
The kids love the place. What kid wouldn't? Pizza and games and more cheap prizes than a kid could wish for. Daddy and I...not so much. We spend the evening following children, holding tickets, and occasionally pitching in to get a few extra tickets.
A perennial favorite: the horse race game:
 Evan is all business in this race.
Issa gave us a pose.

We survived. The kids had a great time and scored a combine 360 tickets. That is a lot of junk we brought home. Daddy is already starting the hard sell on Issa: anywhere but Chuck E. Cheese.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Birthday Celebration

Evan feels very, very celebrated, and we aren't even finished yet!
Yesterday afternoon, Issa and I took cupcakes in to his class:
 Did I mention it was an all Avengers birthday?

Look at our sweet birthday boy:
 It seems like yesterday I was taking in cupcakes for his first birthday, and this same group of friends were covered in green frosting. Now, they are all so much bigger:
 Please notice the best big sister ever taking off cupcake wrappers for everyone.

When he got home, he discovered his cake spread:
 See...more super heroes on the plates:
 And I tried my hand at a Hulk cake:
 Hulk is not exactly easy!

Evan couldn't wait until after dinner to open his gift:
 Yep...his very own Hulk graphic novels:
 The library doesn't even have these. He and Daddy curled up on the couch immediately to read them.

Issa and I headed off to ballet, and then we came home to have burgers on the grill and sing one more time:
 And Evan blew out the candles on another birthday celebration:
We love you, little man, and we are all bracing for our Chuck E Cheese birthday dinner tonight. We must love you an awful lot.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Evan!

It's official: my little man is four. Four just feels like a very big number today.
We are having a very Avengers birthday around here, so Evan woke up to a Hulk curtain:
 He was thrilled. I made chocolate chip pancakes and hot cocoa for breakfast, and Issa woke Evan up with huge hugs and a happy birthday song. He came downstairs singing, "It's my birthday! It's my birthday!" I guess you can say he's a little excited. The real excitement came when we loaded up to go to school:
 He is four and 40 pounds, so he made the move to the booster. He proudly carried it out to the van, and Issa showed him how to use it. I was more than a little proud to hear her explain exactly where the belt had to go to be safe. Maybe she does listen to what I say!

Look at our big guy:
We have lots more celebrating to do today! Happy birthday, little man!