Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rainbows in the Storm

So...I had a day yesterday.

I got home from work and thought it felt a bit warm. Sure enough...82 degrees inside and an air conditioner whose fan was not moving. Then I looked over to see a swarm of ants on our family room windows--inside--a swarm. And it was dress rehearsal night. And Brad was in Arizona.

I put my big girl panties on, though, and got to it.

I checked the neighborhood page for recommended AC guys, called one, and he is coming tomorrow. God is also smiling down on us with highs in the 70s and low humidity the rest of this week.

We had decided to switch pest control companies, and I made that happen yesterday. Again, the new company is able to come today and has promised the ants will be no more.

I texted the babysitter to let her know the AC was out, and she offered to bring three fans. Each of us had a fan pointed right at us last night, and it was wonderful.

Dress rehearsal went way better than any one could have hoped. It was Issa's first time doing her solo for a real audience, and her first time being on a big stage all alone. I was more nervous than she was. I openly admit I cried through her entire dance. She nailed it--best I've seen her do it. More importantly, she beamed. It was so obvious she was loving every single moment. It made my heart so happy.

In short, it was a day that could have been horrible, but instead it was filled with Wondrous Thing after Wondrous Thing. I am beyond truly blessed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

All is Well

All is well...I'm just meeting myself coming and going. Today marks the halfway point in my undergrad class, we are rapidly approaching the end of the school year, and Issa's recital is this weekend. Enough said. However...a list of the highlights.

1. We are still in love with our little farm! We went on Saturday, and the kids had a blast collecting eggs, playing with baby goats, and caring for the ducklings while Brad and I worked in the potato beds. They've kind of become ours. We were laughing that the farm has almost become like a date for us. The kids are off working with the animals, which leaves the two of us talking over gardens. It's really lovely. We're also getting to know the two middle school boys who join us most Saturdays. They are there because they made a few poor choices in school, but they are really good kids who are just a little dumb around the edges. They are great with our kids, and they work hard. Plus...we find them terribly amusing.

2. We spent much of the rest of the weekend working in our yard. We have declared this the year of rebuilding, which means a lot of ripping out. Brad worked on clearing the downed mess in the backyard from this winter's storm. I trimmed everything in the front. He also got me a set of cordless hedge trimmers, so I am one happy pruner.

3. Issa had her end of year pool party with the Tinys on Monday. I just love these girls, and while I'm looking forward to a less demanding dance schedule, I'm a little sad to see the season ending.

4. We had some friends over for dinner Sunday. Mr. Ryan gave Evan a ukulele for his birthday. In related news, if Evan doesn't learn the rest of the words to Clementine he will be moving in with Mr. Ryan.

5. Papers are flying in. I will be a grading fool for the next two weeks. With the course being so short I'm really trying to stay on a 24 hour turn around. In related news, my dreams all involved green ink and lots of text.

Those are the highlights. The blog posts will likely be a bit more sporadic until mid-June. Rest assured all is well. I'm just living so much life there may be less writing about it. Priorities...

Friday, May 23, 2014

Well this happened...

Do you see that? That is a sock on the windowsill--the one windowsill in the house that is impossible to reach. It's above the stairwell.

No one is quite sure how it got there, but I sent the children up to take a bath and Evan's sock magically floated up there. I have a feeling a certain little monster was throwing his clothing about and disaster struck.

I am currently taking suggestions for how to get it down. It doesn't really go with the decor.

p.s. As I was rereading this, I realized that when I typed the sentence about Evan throwing his clothes about it seemed perfectly normal. I realize I think I have finally just come to accept that a certain amount of chaos is just par for the course when you have a son.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mom of the Year Moment

I can write about this now because now it is funny...

Tuesday night, around three am when I was dead to the world asleep, this happened.

Evan: "Mama, my nose is drippy."
Me: "So get a kleenex and go back to bed."

Five minutes later...
E: "Mama, it's still drippy and I can't sleep."
M: "Ev, are you really telling me a little snot is keeping you awake?"
E: "'s not snot it's blood."

That got me all the way awake pretty quickly. I turned on the light to see what looked like a crime scene. Poor Evan, who thankfully only sleeps in pants, had blood smeared all over his little chest and face. There were bloody drops down the hallway, and the bathroom had bloody little hand prints from where he had kept reaching for tissues. The astounding thing was that he was totally cool. As I'm simultaneously pinching his nose with one hand and wiping him down with the other, he's giggling. Weirdo. After about twenty minutes, two rags, and an icepack, we got the bleeding stopped and him settled back into a little nest on his floor. As I was tucking him back in, I did suggest that he lead with, "Mom, I'm bleeding," next time, which made him belly laugh.

I am so grateful for such an easy going little guy. Yesterday morning I put everything in his bed in the wash, and when I got home he and the babysitter had moved it to the dryer, so he was able to sleep in his own little bed...and thankfully we all slept all night.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Library Love

Now that Evan is five, Tuesdays have become a very exciting day at our house. On Tuesdays, our library does a Kids Explore program for children ages 5-8, which means from 3:30-4:30 the kids get to explore a different topic each week. Last week, they learned about the water cycle and made bead bracelets depicting their journey as a water droplet. Yesterday, they learned about Andy Warhol and created these masterpieces:
They love the programming, and they are already trying to guess what next week might hold.

Tuesdays have also made me fall a little more in love with the library. Not only do my kids love going, but I have to stay in the library in case I'm needed but am not allowed in the programming room. That means for one blissful, guilt-free hour I sit in a cozy chair in the library and read my just for fun book. Alone. Without interruption. Before I'm getting sleepy. Surrounded by other mamas who are doing the exact same thing and understand that this is sacred quiet time.

Our librarians and angels on earth--end of story.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We have a molter!

Yesterday was a bit nuts. I taught all morning, worked in the office all afternoon, and then taught again last night. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I arrived home to find an extra friend for dinner and two very happy kids with the summer babysitter.

We took Parker home and started tackling the end of day routine, which I just wanted to be over. All I wanted was two little people in bed so I could eat my dinner and go to bed. Then I looked at Squirmy. I was quite convinced the little guy was dead. I saw what I thought was his little self outside of the shell. I broke the news to Issa, and found a little box. When I finally steeled myself to dispose of the remains, I realized it was was just the exoskeleton. He was molting! Successfully! Needless to say Issa was thrilled, I was shocked, and we all spent the next fifteen minutes learning about the process. Now we just hold our breath that the rest of the molting process goes as it should...

Monday, May 19, 2014


This was another lovely weekend. It started Saturday morning at the farm, and we are all quite convinced it is the best way to start a weekend. The kiddos fed the animals and worked in the fairy garden while Brad and I mounded potatoes and helped with the weeding and harvesting in the hoop house. It's just lovely to be outdoors and productive on a Saturday morning.

Saturday evening, Brad and I went out to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with some friends. It was a great show that was preceded by an amazing meal at a new place in Hillsborough. We laughed a lot and stayed up way, way too late and we can't wait to do it again on Memorial Day--this time with the kiddos.

Yesterday, I took Issa to see The Sleeping Beauty at the Carolina Ballet. It was beautifully danced, and she was on the edge of her seat for most of it. This time, she was really aware of the technique and would whisper amazement and critiques to me. I love listening to and watching her watch the ballet. I'm sure it will only become more fun as she grows.

Now, I'm off to teach a semester course in three weeks. If I'm not here much, you'll know why.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

He's Official!

Yesterday morning, I took Evan for his kindergarten physical. He passed with flying colors, and I dropped his paperwork off today. He is officially completely registered for kindergarten now, and he can hardly wait.

After his appointment, he and I went out to Starbucks for a second breakfast, and we chatted about school and summer. He really is the most easy going little guy, and I hope he holds on to that next year. He's so full of personality and orneriness, and I want him to hold on to that.

Suddenly, he's seeming less and less little to me. He's asking trickier questions, and he is able to do so much more. Last night, he greeted me at the door with a K'nex helicopter that he had completely designed and built on his own--complete with working blades. I just don't seem to have the words to describe how he's growing right now. I'm still taking it all in. I do know he's one cool little kid, and I can't wait to see where his journey will lead.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Bliss

I had an absolutely perfect Mother's Day, one in which I showered only to put on clean pajamas and snuggled my babies all day. My people know me well, and they know that we have been running like lunatics, so they gave me a day of nothing. We watched movies, Brad made all my favorite foods, and I felt thoroughly spoiled. I love that they know it stresses me out to be part of the masses celebrating in restaurants, so they let me have my very quiet day.  They also spoiled me with all manner of gifts that made me laugh at various levels.

Evan gave me the obligatory half-dead plant:
 This one might actually only be a quarter dead, so there is hope.

Issa chose this necklace:
 She said she chose this one because it was already stoned and I had done so much stoning for her this year--so thoughtful.

Evan chose this necklace:
 His reason: it says "mom" and I'm his mom, it's pretty like me, and he just liked the butterfly. Like you do.

They also brought me these flowers:
 What follows are my favorites though. Evan's card:
 The inside says, "Happy birthday to an awesome boy." He chose it because I did an awesome job on his Power Rangers cake.

Issa painted me van Gogh's sunflowers:
 And she wrote me this poem:
 I love that I am both mellow and eager.

This also amused me greatly:
Too cute. It will be kept forever.

See...a perfectly entertaining mother's day.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Ninja Turtles Invaded

Saturday, we had Evan's friends over for a Ninja Turtle birthday party. He was very relaxed about the whole thing:
 Those boxes held a Turtle mask and a roll of crepe paper for each kiddo.

Really, this was the easiest party ever. Evan really just wanted his friends to come play and Ninja Turtles. The only food he wanted was fruit and cake. I did have to at least make fruit kabobs, and I had the best team on the planet to help:
 This might be my favorite cake I've ever done:
 We served Ooze (watermelon juice) and Lime Water to drink:
 And fruit kabobs that looked like each Turtle and Splinter:
 When the boys arrived, they grabbed their boxes, put on their masks, and headed out to decorate their Turtle Lair with the crepe paper:
 It was a great way for the parents to meet and everyone to settle in. Then, we announced the Foot Clan (all those rocks I painted) had invaded and they needed to find them:
 They had a blast, and Issa did a great job hiding them all:
That's where the pictures stop, though. I sat down the camera and quickly got swept away by little boy  energy. They came inside for fruit and cake, and then they all took off upstairs to play. It was actually one of Evan's friends, John, who came back downstairs to ask if they could do presents because he was so excited to give Evan his. (By the way, this little guy steals my heart every time I see him. He is the sweetest, most gentle child you will ever meet.) The herd came running downstairs, and Evan opened nothing but Legos and Nerf guns, and he was in heaven. I loved watching his little friends get so excited about their choices. They know him, and Evan was so kind to share all of his new toys. They opened every one, and the rest of the party was Lego building and chasing.

It was Evan's birthday, but really it was one giant play date, and my boy couldn't have been happier. They are an easy group of kids and parents. The grown-ups took turns checking on kids, but we mostly stayed in the kitchen chatting. The boys all played nicely, and every single one of those children said thank you a million times. Nothing would make me happier than to watch this crew grow up together and parent with these parents.

Happy Birthday, my little Turtle. Cowabunga, Dude!

Friday, May 9, 2014

It Happened

I know I had something I planned to blog about, but I can't for the life of me remember because of the revolting development this morning. I have no idea why I feel like I need to write about it here, but it is truly all I can think about at the moment.

After I drop the kids off, I always call Brad to let him know they are delivered safely. It's Oprah's fault. When I was home on maternity leave with Issa she did a show about an assistant principal whose morning routine was off and she forgot to drop the baby off at daycare; the child passed away from overheating in the car. Clearly, I was traumatized, and so Brad and I have always called to confirm that the kids are at school. You would think that after nearly eight years I would be over this--especially considering I'm pretty sure my very grown up children would mention they are still in the car--but I'm not. I digress...

So, I called Brad and he mentioned that he had just cleaned up a dead bird from under Issa's chair at the table. Yes. You read that correctly. A freaking dead bird! Apparently one of our little furry hunters actually caught something this morning and snuck it in. It is taking everything in me not to go home and tear apart the house to be sure there are no other birds anywhere. Logic tells me there are not. But I am not a happy camper. Brad has it all cleaned up and sterilized, but I may never recover.

I have issues. The end.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Well Celebrated

 I would say Evan had a pretty fabulous birthday. The true celebrating started at school with his construction cupcake cake:
 I have never been so covered in frosting after hanging out with this little crew:
 Evan was so shy about all of his friends singing to him, but I love, love, love the look of pure adoration on Issa's face.

When we got home, we let Evan open his gifts from us. Issa gave him k'nex that include motors:
 And Daddy and I have him a huge Lego city police station set:
 The building needed to start immediately:
 It has since moved to the round table, which will be out of commission for the foreseeable future. This set came with ten bags and six instruction manuals. So far, we have a police car and a police helicopter surrounded with various police officers and bad guys. This was the first time Evan has really been able to build on his own. His plan is to build it the way they say and then see what happens, which thrills Daddy and I.

We made his requested homemade pizza for dinner, and then we enjoyed a Red Power Ranger cake:
As I was tucking him in, I asked if he had a good birthday, and he announced it was "the awesomest!" I think I'll take that.

I still can't believe my baby is a whole hand old, but he is one happy little boy, and that makes me one happy mama.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

He's 5!!!

Our little man is a whole hand! He has been counting down to his birthday since Christmas--because his birthday comes after Jesus's in our family. It's really quite cruel that it's a five month gap.

He woke up to 50 red and black balloons on his bedroom floor to begin his Red Power Ranger birthday. He has announced to everyone he has seen that it is his birthday. He can hardly wait for his homemade pizza and cake tonight, and Issa is about to explode with excitement for him to open her gift. It's a very big day.

Five is hitting Mama hard. He's five--a whole hand. It seems like yesterday I was in the hospital waiting and waiting and waiting for him to arrive. Now, I'm chasing a little ball of energy and helping him learn to write his numbers.

Little monster, you have brought so much adventure and laughter into our lives. Yesterday, you announced you were giving me your last four-year-old hug, but that your five-year-old hugs would be even better. It was a pretty great hug this morning, and I have a feeling five is going to be a very fun year for us. Happy birthday, sweet boy; we love you to the moon, the stars, and the sun and back.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It's May

May is a mean trick. It holds so many fabulous things: the return of weather than actually makes me want to be outside, Evan's birthday, dance recitals, the end of the semester. But here's the mean trick: all that stuff means a ridiculous amount of crazy for me.

I totally know I bring part of it on myself. I probably didn't need to paint 200 foot clan rocks for Evan's party. Teacher gifts probably don't need to be handmade, and I probably need to stop saying, "Sure, I can do that." But I like doing those things. I just wish they could be spread out over three months instead of all crammed into May.

I stayed up way too late last night finishing helper gifts for dance. I was happy to do them for the Tinys, but it meant I was a bit sleepy this morning. So when Issa announced I was making her eat bugs for breakfast I might have really had to work to not lose it. As it turns out, some strawberry seeds had fallen into her plate and were moving because she had her face an inch away from them and her breath was blowing them around. Mystery solved. Eat your breakfast.

On the way to school, we had a little chat about the fact that perhaps she was prone to overreaction. She admitted that it might be possible, and she also admitted she was a little thrown off by all the weird schedules lately. I get that. When we were running through the list of weirdness, though, there was nothing she wanted to skip. She wants to go to the optional ballet class tonight. We certainly can't skip Evan's birthday, and she loves making crafts with me.

This is when parenting is just hard. When is too much good too much? I've given up on balance a long time ago, but I'm just hoping for a little normalcy in the near future. Daddy gets home tonight after a week away at two conferences, so I'm certain that will help. Outside of that, I think I just have to resign myself to shaking my fist at May and remembering June is right around the corner.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wonderfully Exhausting

I am so tired, but we had another great weekend.

Friday, we went to the Spring Fling at New Hope! Honestly, it's not my favorite event. It's essentially a DJ playing music way too loud combined with hoola hooping and neon hair paint. This year, though, I somehow managed to avoid the gym almost entirely. The kids were content to dance without me, and I stood at the door and helped with ticket sales. The highlight, Evan got his first official Voyager shirt:
It was more than he could handle. Halfway through the fling, we left to go decorate the teachers' lounge and bathrooms for Teacher Appreciation week, which starts today. Anitra had everything so organized, and the kids had a blast helping.

Saturday, Issa and I headed to the last dance competition of the year while Evan went to the museum with Miss Erin and had way too much fun at their Robot Rumble. The competition went so well! It's amazing to see the growth in the dances since the beginning of the season! In fact, hip hop won best dance for 8 and under and was invited to Nationals! Jazz and tap won first and second overall, and Issa got to accept the Jazz first, which meant she got to say her name and studio. Bless her heart. She was so nervous, and stumbled over the last half of the studio name, but she was loud and clear on the first part. I knew she was mortified, but thankfully a senior from another company said the wrong name, so Issa felt so much better! We also had a big break in the schedule so we were able to actually go out to dinner with some other dancers. It was lovely.

Sunday, we headed out for our second adventure Sunday. This time, we just headed to Gold Park for a picnic and some easy hiking. I swear Evan was no where close to falling into the river:
I do love that this little park is less than 15 minutes from our house:
It was a gorgeous day, and the kids loved watching tadpoles and butterflies and just being by the river:

Did I mention it was just gorgeous:
When we got home and washed the river and mud off, we made all of the teacher appreciation gifts. Both kids wanted to do office supplies for their teachers, so we turned to Pinterest for some creative ideas. Issa did hers almost completely on her own:
She chose to do highlighters:
I just helped with the tags.

Evan needed a lot more help with his rubber band balls:
His little hands just weren't quite able to twist the bands into place. He did hand them to me and decide when they were finished:
Tonight, we head to the library and then have our little Cinco de Mayo fiesta. I'm just hoping I don't fall asleep in my nachos.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Highlights

Now that the weekend is finally wrapped up--just in time to start another--I thought I would share the highlights of the week:

1. I took Issa for her orthodontist appointment this week, and right now we are going nothing. She will eventually needs braces, but it's just not time yet. There was much rejoicing.

2. I finished (at least I think I finished) Issa's solo costume:
 We'll see what the verdict is when she has her lesson next week.

3. Yesterday was studio spirit day:
 She just gets bendy-er and bendy-er.

4. The studio moms wanted to show our spirit, too:
The words spell out the chant the girls do before every competition. I am so, so proud to be part of this dance family.

5. We are beginning to get ready for a certain little monsters birthday! The first gifts arrived from Papa Don and Grandma Nancy. Evan was thrilled to put his sea monkey eggs in water yesterday. Wish us luck!

I also started getting ready for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle birthday party with Evan's friends. The Foot Clan has invaded our house:

I painted the masks on all these rocks, which will be hidden around the backyard for the Turtles to capture and return to the lair (the tree house). Please pray for perfect weather May 10! I don't know if my house can survive six little boys trapped inside.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Sunday Adventure

We are finally coming to the end of the weekend wrap-up.

The weather was nearly perfect this weekend, and we decided we needed to take advantage of that. Our original plan was to go to a local park, but while we were at lunch Saturday we decided the zoo was a better option. So...Sunday morning we packed a picnic and left for the zoo right from church.

As always, the first stop had to be the stone hippos:
I love that picture of my boys.

Issa loves the little guy:
We decided to head into Africa, and the elephants did not disappoint:
Issa was our navigator:
Of course, we had to stop to fly the helicopter to spot the elephant herds:
Our little ostrich hatchlings:

The special exhibit this year is "Bugs," and the huge critters did not disappoint:

Check out this mantis:
Evan found the ants hysterical:
And both kids loved pretending they were dung beetles with the giant rubber balls:

It was a really cool exhibit, although I spent a good deal of time explaining that not all of the insects were bugs and not all of the critters were even insects. I did get major points for knowing the sex and scientific name of the giant dragonfly. I guess those four years of entomology in college come in handy in odd situations.

We stopped at the carousel on the way to North America:

And the highlight of the day was meeting the new polar bear:
I think the kids would have stayed all day if we would have let them:
We also explored the new Kids' Zone, which include lots of places to climb and explore. Our own Spiderman:
The trip really was perfect. It's so nice that the kids are big enough to walk the whole trip and not get too tired. It's also fabulous that the zoo is just over an hour away, so we can go often.

After this little adventure, we decided that Sundays will be adventure days. We may not always go as far as the zoo, but we plan to go out and do something fun as a family every Sunday. I could get used to this...